The Wolfpacker

November 2019

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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134 ■ THE WOLFPACKER ■ PACK PROS have Wilson, it's fair to wonder if that record would be flipped. Wilson is the very defini- tion of valuable." "There's been only one way to describe him this season: the MVP favorite and best player in the NFL," The Ringer's Robert Mays concluded after week six. Trea Turner Helps Lead The Nationals To The World Series There has been an NC State flavor to postseason baseball, courtesy of former Wolfpacker Trea Turner. Not only has Turner continued to start at shortstop and bat atop the Washington Nationals' lineup in every playoff game, he has been seen after series-clinching wins celebrating while wearing various helmets adorned with NC State logos. After the Nats defeated the St. Louis Car- dinals 4-0 in the National League Cham- pionship Series, capped by a 7-4 victory Oct. 15, Turner's Pack gear could get broken out again in the World Series. The star shortstop will be the ninth former NC State student to appear in the Fall Clas- sic, and the first since another former Pack shortstop, Adam Everett, with the Houston Astros in 2005. After finishing 22nd in the majors with a .298 batting average during the regular season, Turner has boasted a postseason av- erage of .286 through the NLCS. That figure ranked 13th among players with at least 20 playoff at-bats as of Oct. 15. Turner's playoff success is even more impressive when hearing his teammates de- tail the gruesome status of his hand, which forced him to miss 40 games earlier this year. Though The Athletic's Brittany Ghiroli reported the team's initial fears were that he could miss months, he was out for only 45 days. Since he returned from suffering multiple fractures in his right index finger — and one teammate told the media his middle finger was broken, too, but Turner doesn't like to talk about it — after it was hit by a 92-miles-per-hour fastball, he had missed just a handful of innings. With Turner back the team found its stride — one reason why manager Dave Martinez commonly calls the 26-year-old Washington's "catalyst." The Nationals were 16-25 when he re- turned, but earned a wild card berth with a final ledger of 93-69, going 77-44 after their shortstop returned. "If you've seen his finger, it's like the size of two of my fingers," teammate Anthony Rendon told The Athletic in late September. "I'm like, 'How did you throw a ball?' 'How do you play every day?'" "You'd think there would be more excuses in there. But there just isn't," hitting coach Kevin Long told The Athletic. "It shows the character of Trea, shows his toughness and willingness to fight through things. To basi- cally use nine fingers when you're hitting is a lot to ask. "He's done quite a job with it all year. The amazing thing with it is there's been times where it's clearly hurting and I can tell, and he won't use it as any type of excuse." No rest and no excuses — that's defined Turner since he has returned from the bro- ken finger, and the hope is that both will continue through the end of the World Series in late October. ■ Turner has been dubbed the Nationals' "catalyst" by manager Dave Martinez. PHOTO BY LARRY BLANKENSHIP The Best Non-QB Pack Pros In The NFL Through Six Weeks NC State's trio of starting quarterbacks is well known and has given the Wolfpack a claim no other college can match, helping three NFL starters on their way to the top of a depth chart at the most important position with an unmatched total of five signal-callers in the league. Here is a look at some of the other Pack Pros shining through the early portion of the season: • C Garrett Bradbury (Played at NC State from 2015-18), Minnesota Vikings: Has started at center and played every snap for the 4-2 Vikings … Has steadily improved and posted his top two Pro Football Focus (PFF) offensive grades Oct. 6 and Oct. 13, with a pair of above-average marks. • LB Bradley Chubb (2014-17), Denver Broncos: Was off to a solid start with 20 tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack, a forced fumble and one pass broken up before tearing his ACL in the fourth game of the year. • P A.J. Cole (2015-18), Oakland Raiders: The undrafted rookie beat out the team's incumbent punter during training camp and has thrived this year, averaging 47.2 yards on his 22 attempts for the 3-2 Raiders … His punting average was tied for ninth in the NFL … His nine kicks that have landed inside the 20 were tied for 16th. • OG J.R. Sweezy (2008-11), Arizona Cardinals: Far from a household name, he has started every game and played every snap at right guard for the 2-3-1 Cardinals. • OG Joe Thuney (2012-15), New England Patriots: The starting left guard has played nearly every snap this year for the 6-0 Patriots … In week two, he came out for six plays, which according to The Boston Globe's Ben Volin were his first missed snaps since week 13 of the 2017 season, snapping a streak of 1,938 consecutive offensive snaps over 27 games (including postseason) … Has been in for every snap since, playing 433 of a possible 439 (98.6 percent), and he even played some right tackle in an emergency situation in week one. • WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (2013-14), Green Bay Backers: Has made 19 catches for 283 yards and a score in the first six games (six starts) for the 5-1 Packers … Ranks second on his team in receiving yards.

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