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NFL Truths: Brady will always hear the footsteps

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Jason Whitlock

Jason Whitlock writes about the sports world from every angle, including those other writers can't imagine or muster courage to address. His columns are humorous, thought-provoking, agenda-free, honest and unpredictable. E-mail him, follow his Twitter or become a fan of Jason Whitlock on Facebook.

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Dear Jason:
I'm glad it's football season and you're no longer writing the truth about tennis. Maybe you noticed that me and my oozing pumpkin own a piece of the Dolphins. Jealous?
Serena
10. Given the American public's fascination and obsession with fame, the obvious lesson in Plaxico Burress' and Michael Vick's incarcerations is getting perverted. The biggest stories in the league this week are Plaxico's trip to Rikers Island and Vick's Shawshank Redemption. Before he shot himself in the leg at a nightclub, Plax was a very good NFL receiver. In nine seasons, he'd recorded four 1,000-yard seasons and two double-digit TD seasons. He was never all-pro or a Pro Bowler. Now he's one of the biggest stars in football. His trip to the joint on Tuesday was covered damn near like Al Cowlings escorted him there in a white Bronco. Of course, Vick has always been a cult figure. His resurrection elevates him to Tupac Shakur status. In two years, when Plax gets sprung from Rikers and Vick is back as an NFL starter, I fully expect Dan Snyder to make Vick and Plax the 'Pac and Snoop of the NFL. Can't you see Vick and Plax highlights playing with "2 of America's Most Wanted" bumping in the background? And what's the over-under date on the launch of Vick's reality TV show? Look, I'm rooting for Vick. I want him to do well. But I'm not sure there is going to be any great lesson learned from his rise and fall as an NFL star. There's a segment of our society that has been so indoctrinated in prison values that Plax's and Vick's journey behind bars were rites of passage and additional fuel to their star power. 9. Was I the only one troubled by Plaxico's decision to carry his young son into court with him on sentencing day? For the most part, I believe the prosecution has been heavy-handed in dealing with Burress. Two years seems a little stiff for shooting yourself. Six months to a year seemed about right. I'm sympathetic. But Plaxico appeared to be pandering for sympathy by carrying his son into the courtroom. Do you really expose a child to that? It came across as a ploy to remind fans and the media that Plax isn't the only one getting hurt by the two-year sentence. I get that. Well, maybe next time Plax should strap his young son to his waist wherever he goes rather than a pistol. I bet if his boy was in his arms, he'd find it less necessary to carry a concealed weapon. 8. Tom Brady is never going to mentally get over his knee injury. I hurt my right knee in 1988, tearing an ACL. I still dream about my college roommate getting blocked into my knee during spring practice. Brady's fearlessness in the pocket is/was the asset that separated him from every other quarterback. Through two games this season, Brady looks ordinary in the pocket. He's not afraid. He's just cognizant of the fact that on any given Sunday someone else can do what Bernard Pollard did despite rule changes implemented to stop it. Wes Welker's absence last week accentuated the problem. Welker is the guy Brady turns to when the pass-rush heat gets warm quick. When this season is over, we might be looking for a new quarterback king. Drew Brees is the early favorite. Peyton Manning could also ascend to the throne. And don't count out Big Ben Roethlisberger, the new king of pocket toughness. 7. Dwight Freeney owned Jake Long in their "Monday Night Football" clash. I'm not sure why, but Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski spent much of Monday night painting the picture that Miami left tackle Jake Long did a nice job against Indy defensive end Dwight Freeney. Not true. On Miami's first two pass plays, Freeney put Long on his butt, and from that point on the Dolphins adjusted and started giving Long help in all passing situations. By the end of the game, after the Indy defense was exhausted from being stranded on the field for 45 minutes, Freeney was too tired to mount much of a pass rush. But make no mistake, Freeney, without recording a sack, had a great night against Long. And when you pay a left tackle $57.5 million over five years and $30 million in guarantees, you're expecting him to go one-on-one with every pass rusher in the league. Atlanta's John Abraham clown-suited Long in Week 1 and Freeney had a red nose and floppy shoes picked out for Long, too.

6. Indy's victory over the Dolphins raised far more questions about the Colts than it answered. Ted Ginn Jr. dropped two touchdown passes. The Dolphins should've won. Indy absolutely can't stop or even slow the run without the services of safety Bob Sanders, and I'm not sure Big Hit Bob fixes Indy's run-defense problems. The Colts don't have the corners to commit to the blitz as a way of creating 2nd-and-12 and their beefier run-stuffers aren't quick or strong enough to get in the backfield and demand true double-teams. Tennessee is going to smoke Indy. If they played, the Bengals might get the Colts, too. 5. This week's teachable moment is a warning to members of the national football media: I'm respectfully asking that writers and broadcasters do not visit Kansas City with the intention of carrying Scott Pioli's water. My reaction to any homer-ish, out-of-context Pioli water-carrying will not be respectful. Pioli came to Kansas City and quickly unveiled the biggest ego in professional sports, earning him the nickname Scott Egoli. He absolutely doesn't need Peter King, Adam Schefter, Mike Florio or anyone else rationalizing the roster he put together. It is no secret around the league that Egoli believes he is equal to or superior to Bill Belichick in football intellect. I'm anxious to see him prove it. I campaigned for the Chiefs to hire Egoli. I'd like for him to be successful. But there's no reason for us to prop him up. So let's kill the little notes about the Chiefs releasing 30 players (five off injured reserve and five off the practice squad) since Pioli's arrival and only three or four of them landing on an opponent's roster. Do you think Bill Parcells didn't release some players off the 1-15 Dolphins team he inherited? By the end of the 2008 season, I believe there were fewer than 30 Dolphins left from the 2007 roster. Parcells also acquired a veteran quarterback, Chad Pennington, and gave him a two-year deal worth around $9 million. Meanwhile, Egoli acquired Matt Cassel, giving the career backup a $60 million contract. We're not throwing any pity parties in Kansas City. If you acquire information by providing back massages to ego-bloated general managers, I'm politely asking you to find another city. I like and respect the overwhelming majority of the men and women covering the NFL -- particularly King, Schefter and Florio -- but I can't tolerate anyone interfering with how I run my corners in Kansas City. 4. JaMarcus Russell makes Ryan Leaf look like a Hall of Famer. Do not get caught up in the hype that Russell's game-winning drive against the Chiefs is some sort of sign that he's a competent NFL quarterback. He's not. Never in my life have I seen QB play as bad as I witnessed from Off-The-Marcus Russell. From his demeanor, body language and the way he trotted off the field after every Oakland three-and-out series, Russell looked nothing like an NFL quarterback last week. Until his game-winning drive, Off-The-Marcus had completed three of 17 passes for 42 yards. He missed countless open receivers. He never once read a defense. Despite being as big as most left tackles, Off-The-Marcus never threatened to tuck the ball and run. He got lucky at the end of the game. The Chiefs softened their defense and the refs bailed him out with a questionable late-hit call.

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3. Based on what we've now heard from Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett, it appears many of the old Cowboys want Tony Romo to fail. They're putting enough pressure on Romo to break him. I'm not sympathetic. Jerry Jones spoiled Romo. And Jones likely ruined Romo's career when he interfered with the Cowboys enough to run off Romo's creator, Bill Parcells. I just don't see how the public flogging of Romo by Cowboys greats is going to help the QB overcome his shaky start to the season. 2. This is what I don't get about Twitter: I don't want everyone to know what I think about everything. A good percentage of my thoughts are irrational, stupid, sophomoric, uninformed, sexist, narcissistic, pornographic and a bunch of other things. I prefer to keep most of my thoughts confined to a tight circle of friends who are like-minded or nonjudgmental. We talk on the phone, via text or when we're out having dinner and drinks. I'm satisfied with that. It's a good life. It's a life that served our founding fathers well. Why now is everyone on Twitter and Facebook sharing intimate, private feelings with strangers? I don't get it. Marcus Fitzgerald, little brother of star receiver Larry Fitzgerald, could easily spend Cardinals games texting his father and a small number of friends his thoughts about Kurt Warner's play. Big Larry, the father, knows the game of football as well as anyone in the media. Big Larry has a great sense of humor, and he's passionate about Little Larry's performance. Who better to vent frustration about Little Larry's lack of pass-catching opportunities. Marcus' decision to air his feelings about Warner's decision-making comes off as a ploy instigated by an attention-starved, jealous little brother. 1. Ray Lewis' fourth-down hit on Darren Sproles made me leap from my couch in pure joy. I'm a Sproles fan. He grew up just a couple of miles from my home. But seeing Ray Ray make such a crucial, textbook tackle is the reason I love the NFL. The hit cements Ray Ray's legacy as the Dick Butkus of football's modern era. You can e-mail Jason at BallState0@aol.com or find him on Facebook at facebook.com/jasonwhitlock.
Tagged: Falcons, Bengals, Cowboys, Colts, Chiefs, Raiders, Dolphins, Patriots, Saints, Giants, Eagles, Buccaneers, Ravens, Cardinals, Steelers, Chargers, Michael Vick, Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner, Tom Brady, Chad Pennington, John Abraham, Plaxico Burress, Drew Brees, Ray Lewis, Dwight Freeney, Tony Romo, Bob Sanders, Larry Fitzgerald, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Cassel, Darren Sproles, Bernard Pollard, JaMarcus Russell, Jake Long

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