“Andy’s a very smart player,” Crennel said. “He’s a very conscientious player. He studies the game plan, he works hard, and given the opportunity, he goes in and plays and produces. All of those things are valuable to us, and valuable to him because that allows him to stay on the team … a Division III guy coming in and making a pro football team is a pretty good thing.”
Oh, and about that name, Studebaker. Yes, he is a descendant of the family that produced the unique Studebaker cars in the halcyon days of the automobile industry.
“There’s a big family book, and I’m in the book,” Studebaker said. “Part of the heritage of our family was related. I’m not sure how high up it goes. There were five brothers who moved to the United States and started making wagons for the westward expansion.
“I think in anything in life, no matter what job it is, you have somebody there that can make you better because they’re that talented. I think it’s good for both of us. He brings something to the table that I look up to, I try to learn some of his game to apply to mine and hope it can help my game out some. I’m blessed enough to be in the same back field with him and to play with him.”
Gonzalez, whose Hall of Fame clock begins ticking the instant he retires, will visit Arrowhead Stadium for the first time as an opposing player when the Falcons start the rebound from yet another early premature playoff exit in Sunday’s clash with a Kansas City Chiefs team he starred on for over a decade.
The 12-time Pro Bowler has never faced the Chiefs, for whom he still holds team records in receptions (916), receiving yards (10,940) and touchdown catches (76) after a sterling 12-year run from 1997 through 2008.
Matt Ryan (ATL) vs. Kansas City — Injuries to cornerback Brandon Flowers and safety Kendrick Lewis really hurt the Kansas City secondary this preseason, with opposing quarterbacks completing 64 percent of their passes and just one interception. Both players are not expected to suit up for the opener, meaning the Chiefs’ struggles against the pass should carry over into the regular season.
Philip Rivers (SD) vs. Oakland — Despite a down year in 2011, Rivers managed to average 23.5 fantasy points against the Raiders (4th best QB matchup) last season, and the Chargers might have to lean on his arm even more with running back Ryan Mathews’s Week 1 status in doubt.