Daily Noontime (Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020)

By Matt Noonan

Welcome to Thursday, everyone!

Hopefully everyone is doing well and thinking optimistically as we anxiously await the outcome of the election. Can it please end today?

Alright, let’s get to some news, beginning with the National Football League (NFL) as part two of the 2020 season begins tonight in Santa Clara, California with the San Francisco 49ers hosting the Green Bay Packers at 8:20 p.m. (eastern).

Here are some pregame reads to get you excited for tonight’s matchup:

Let’s switch gears to basketball – I prefer to call it hoops (😉)! – as we may know later today if the 2020-21 National Basketball Association (NBA) will tip-off next month or perhaps in mid-January.

As we all know, the 2019-20 season concluded last month in the Orlando, Florida, so the turnaround time would be much shorter than a typical offseason, but according to a few reports, the league is planning to play 72-game season instead of the typical 82-game season.

And finally, here are some additional news and links from the world wide web – have a great day, everyone!

  • According to Sportico‘s Anthony Crupi, ESPN is eliminating 500 jobs.
  • Apparently the first Mid-American Conference (MAC) football game of the 2020 season took place last night and featured a power outage – yikes!
  • While we anxiously await the outcome of the 2020 election, we did learn recently that three more states – Louisiana, Maryland, and Soith Dakota – will allow wagers “on sporting events,” which is good news for DraftKings and FanDuel.
  • Could Alex Cora become the next manager of the Boston Red Sox? It seems like a second stint is possible, according to multiple reports over the past few days, including MLBTradeRumors.com.

Enjoy a BRAND new Noontime Sports Podcast this morning (or afternoon) – today, we welcomed Darryl Konicki, who is the associate commissioner of the Little East Conference (LEC), to discuss the content he and his the league have produced over these past few weeks and months without games being played.

You can listen to today’s podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor and wherever you get your podcasts!

San Francisco’s Kyle Juszczyk Receives Praise From Bill Belichick

Kyle Juszczyk will be a player to watch on Sunday against the New England Patriots. (PHOTO COURTESY: Twitter)

By Matt Noonan

As many New England football fans know, Bill Belichick has a soft spot for certain positions and players, both past and present, including opposing members of teams his New England Patriots meet on a weekly basis.

When asked about a certain member of the San Francisco 49ers, who will be competing against the Patriots this weekend, Belichick responded with some positive and kind words about their fullback, Kyle Juszczyk, who played locally at Harvard University before being selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round of the 2013 National Football League (NFL) Draft.

Since becoming a professional football player, the former Crimson has recorded 186 catches for 1,722 yards and eight touchdowns while rushing for 111 yards on 28 carries and two scores in 112 contests. His best season as a pro occurred in 2015 when he hauled in a career-best 41 receptions for 321 yards and four touchdowns. He also moved the sticks 17 times.

While Juszczyk may not receive the same attention or recognition as his other teammates do like quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo or tight end George Kittle, he is certainly someone to watch every week, according to Belichick, who considers him a “versatile player,” but also one of the best fullbacks in the league.

“When he was with the Ravens, they used him in a lot of different ways and then San Francisco signed him to a big contract for a fullback,” Belichick said when addressing the media via Zoom this morning. “(He) certainly is the highest paid player at his position by quite a bit if I remember correctly, and he continues be used in a variety of ways.”

Belichick would continue by highlighting the various personnel the 49ers use when he is in the game, including 11, 12 and 21 personnel, before adding that the 49ers “use the fullback more than any other team in the league.”

“He’s been very productive for them,” said Belichick.

Through six games this season, Juszczyk has caught six of ten targets for 75 yards while rushing for 18 yards on three carries and one score. He is averaging close to two targets per game and one catch per contest while averaging 12.0 yards per reception.

Juszczyk will be the third Harvard alum Belichick and the Patriots will face this season – New England defeated Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins in the opening week by a score of 21-11 before falling to Tyler Ott and the Seattle Seahawks in week two.