2020 NFL Football is here! Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the National Football League is officially underway with its 2020 season. It, however, was no easy feat. Both the league and the NFL Players Association had intense negotiations over the summer in order to try and make this season a reality. Both sides agreed to a number of protocols. Among them, strict COVID-19 testing/prevention, elimination of this year’s preseason games to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus. A reduction in training camp rosters from 90 players to 80 in order to allow for social distancing in the locker rooms. The league has also limited the amount of contact in practices, with each team wearing face shields attached to the face masks of their helmets.
Yet, as the league looks to navigate what will be one of the most difficult seasons in history, there will be many Latino players looking to show their worth. 2020 brings a mix of both young upstarts and veteran players looking to make an impact. As we at ‘LLERO have traditionally done. We look at some of the Latino players that look to change the game in 2020….
Will Hernandez, Guard for New York Giants
Las Vegas native Will Hernandez is entering his third season on the New York Giants offensive line. To date, Hernandez has stood out from the pack. Last year he became the first Giants’ offensive lineman to start each of the first 32 games of his career since David Diehl in 2003-04.
“Will is a great, great leader in the room,” offensive line coach Marc Colombo told Giants.com. “He’s a great player and I love having him in the room. I think just learning from experiences that I’ve had and have been able to teach these guys, they’re really absorbing a lot right now and they’re taking it all in. I believe we’re pushing in the right direction, and Will is a big part of that.”
Daniel Jones is entering his second season as the team’s quarterback, but last year he took 38 sacks as a rookie. If the Giants are to improve on last year’s 17th ranked offense (21.3 points per game), they’ll need to keep Jones upright and Hernandez will play a major role in those efforts.
Andrew Sendejo, Safety for Cleveland Browns
During nine seasons with the Minnesota Vikings from 2010 to 2019, Sendejo was instrumental in turning the Vikings defense into what it is today. Sendejo is now looking to help improve the Cleveland Browns defense. The Browns will pay Sendejo $2.25 million this year to help improve a unit that finished 23rd in the league last year (allowed 361.6 yards per game). Since entering the NFL in 2010, Sendejo has registered 416 tackles, 21 pass deflections, and nine interceptions. Now he joins a defense that includes stud pass rusher Myles Garrett (30.5 career sacks), tough linebacker Mack Wilson (made 82 tackles last year) and shifty cornerback Terrance Mitchell (36 career pass deflections, 7 interceptions). Let’s hope a little of that Minnesota luster rubs off in Cleveland.
Blake Martinez, Linebacker for New York Giants
Martinez started his career with the Green Bay Packers. Playing for the team from 2016 to 2019. In Green Bay he made his reputation as a fierce tackler and an aggressive defender. Now he brings his 512 career tackles to a defense that can certainly make use of his services. The Giants last year ranked 25th in total defense (allowed 377.3 yards per game), 28th in scoring defense (gave up 28.2 points per game) and 16th in takeaways (16). Martinez’s abilities to help stop the run and make plays in the open field will be key to helping the Giants improve in those areas.
Max Garcia, Offensive Lineman for Arizona Cardinals
While the Cardinals did have a losing season in 2019, one bright spot was quarterback Kyler Murray winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Murray accumulated 4,266 total yards of offense (with 24 total touchdowns). He also made his way through numerous Cardinal rookie records along the way. Why do we make note of all the Murray accomplishments? Because you can’t do all that without a solid offensive line. Max Garcia is the anchor for the interior of that line. He didn’t commit a single penalty last year. Garcia has only committed 13 penalties in five NFL seasons. The Cardinals look to turn the corner this year. And if Garcia and the o-line continue to hold down the fort for Murray and company, the Cards’ are one step closer to doing that.
While the 2020 NFL season will be an interesting one given the state of the world. These players will look to make it all the more interesting, in only the best of ways.