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Florida Gators in the NFL, Week 4: Receivers lead the way as defenders take a beating

Florida defenders in the NFL had a week to forget. But Kadarius Toney and Freddie Swain did some memorable things.

New York Giants v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Thursday Night Football crew member Shawn Kopelakis wrote this for Thursday, when he and I didn’t know that Van Jefferson and Freddie Swain wouldn’t do much in the actual game played between their teams, and then I spent Thursday under the weather. The best-laid plans of mice and bloggers...

To say it has been a rough week for Florida Gators football past and present would be kind. We all watched the debacle in Lexington, surely one of the more injurious losses in recent Florida history. But a few former Gators in the National Football League had it far worse.

Early last week, Marcus Maye was ruled out for at least three weeks with an ankle injury. And that was the best part of his week. On Monday, it was reported that Maye is facing charges from a DUI arrest and car crash in February in Fort Lauderdale. He’s now facing a likely suspension from the NFL.

Maye was placed on the franchise tag this year and was expecting a huge payday as a free agent after the season. This past week has changed that significantly.

On Sunday, four former Gators left games with injuries, some significant. Jon Bostic was placed on injured reserve Tuesday and is likely done for the season with a pectoral injury. Bostic was struggling on the field but remained a team captain and leader. Now he will be a free agent after the season, a tough situation for a veteran coming off a major injury.

I was in Seattle this week with Thursday Night Football and was looking forward to seeing Carlos Dunlap in action. Unfortunately, Dunlap sustained a turf toe injury and did not suit up, given the short week.

Jonathan Greenard left early in the Texans’ loss to the Bills with a chest injury. Houston head coach David Culley said the injury doesn’t appear serious. But you don’t want to get the injury-prone label, and Greenard already missed the first two games of the season with an ankle injury.

Lastly, special teams ace Lerentee McCray exited the Jaguars game early with a hamstring injury. Of course, that was nothing compared to the weekend his coach had.

I don’t have much more to offer on the Urban Meyer situation other than to say it’s really, really bad. Even without the off-field distractions, Meyer seems in over his head only four games into his professional career. At this point, it’s hard to see how he makes it beyond this season in Jacksonville.

Player of the Week

After four touches in his first three games, Kadarius Toney finally got a chance to show the NFL what his joystick jukes can do. The Giants were without Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, freeing up a starting role for Toney. All he needed was opportunity, apparently, because his first start was also his professional breakout.

If you watch the full highlight reel from Sunday, you see Toney doing what he did in Gainesville — breaking ankles and breaking tackles. In fact, I counted three missed tackles alone by Toney’s former UF teammate C.J. Gardner-Johnson.

Perhaps Jason Garrett and Joe Judge are figuring out how to utilize Toney’s special skillset. They even called an end around pass for Toney, although no one was open and he didn’t throw the pass.

Play of the Week

During his Tuesday press conference, Russell Wilson was asked about his ridiculous TD pass to Freddie Swain. Wilson said Swain was his third or fourth read on the play, but he trusted the second-year receiver to make a play.

Wilson threw to the front corner and Swain ran his defenders off and came back for the back shoulder toss. “I just had a little wheel route, it worked out pretty good,” Swain said of the grab.

Of Swain, Russ added, “I love him. He’s an energetic guy. He works extremely hard. True pro and has been that way since day one.” Wilson complimented Swain’s great hands and said he’s just a really smart player. Swain’s confidence has to be sky high after such high praise from his superstar quarterback.

Here are all of the Week 4 stats (ranked in order of performance):

The Good

  • Van Jefferson: 6 rec, 90 yds, 1 TD, 46 snaps (68%)
  • Kadarius Toney: 6 rec, 78 yards, 1 rush, 1 yard, 49 snaps (78%)
  • Freddie Swain: 3 rec, 20 yds, 1 TD, 2 punt returns, 11 yards, 25 snaps (45%)
  • D.J. Humphries: 76 snaps (97%)
  • Max Garcia: 76 snaps (97%), first start of the year
  • Marco Wilson: 8 tackles, 64 snaps (94%)
  • Dante Fowler, Jr.: 3 tackles, 2 TFL, 52 snaps (78%)
  • Evan McPherson: 1/2 FG, Long 35, 3/3 XP, 2nd game-winning FG this season
  • Kyle Pitts: 4 rec, 50 yds, 55 snaps (72%)
  • Alex Anzalone: 6 tackles, 1 QB hit, 58 snaps (100%)
  • Marcell Harris: 5 tackles, 33 snaps (59%)
  • Janoris Jenkins: 3 tackles, 60 snaps (98%)
  • Jon Bostic: Left with foot injury, 6 tackles, 33 snaps (43%)
  • Jawaan Taylor: 56 snaps (100%)
  • Chauncey Gardner-Johnson: 1 tackle, 56 snaps (89%)
  • Joe Haden: 2 tackles, 41 snaps (100%)
  • Demarcus Robinson: 0 targets, 0 rec, 45 snaps (67%)
  • Carlos Dunlap: Left with toe injury, 47 snaps (62%)

The Limited

  • C.J. Henderson: 3 tackles, 18 snaps (30%)
  • Tommy Townsend: 0 punts, holder for six XPs
  • T.J. Slaton: 1 tackle, 9 snaps (15%)
  • Taven Bryan: 16 snaps (28%), no stats
  • Jonathan Bullard: 2 tackles, 25 snaps (37%)
  • Lerentee McCray: 1 tackle, 1 snap on D (2%), 14 snaps on ST (61%), left with hamstring injury
  • Jonathan Greenard: Left with chest injury, 18 snaps (26%)
  • Johnny Townsend: 5 punts, 37.6 Avg, 1 tackle
  • Vernon Hargreaves III: 1 tackle, 14 snaps (19%)
  • Feleipe Franks: 1 rush, 3 yards, 1 snap (1%)
  • Stone Forsythe: 4 snaps on ST (13%)
  • Jeff Driskel: no snaps

The Inactive

  • Marcus Maye: DNP (ankle)
  • Keanu Neal: DNP (COVID-19)
  • Trent Brown: DNP (calf)
  • La’mical Perine: Inactive
  • Kyle Trask: Inactive
  • Fred Johnson: Inactive
  • Quinton Dunbar: Released from the practice squad by Arizona after only one week