Remember when Hank Haney mentioned in his book that I was obsessed with joining the military? I used to party with General Petraeus and General Allen. Good dudes who know how to have a good time. I’d go all in with Paula Broadwell and Jilly Kelley.
Your NFL Truths for Week 11:
10. On Rich Eisen’s latest podcast, we discussed the possibility of the NFL expanding its schedule to 18 games, limiting players to 15 or 16 regular-season games and adding players to the roster.
These changes could be tools in growing revenue while also enhancing player safety. I wrote about these suggestions last year. Eisen, the voice of the NFL Network, said during the podcast that the league is considering the concept. You can listen to the podcast here.
The big story coming out of last weekend was the head injuries suffered by Michael Vick, Alex Smith, Jay Cutler and Fred Jackson. The NFLPA is concerned teams are not strictly following concussion protocols established by the league and the union. DeMaurice Smith wants non-team doctors on the sideline administering the protocols.
This offseason I think the league should explore broader ways to enhance player safety. In exchange for more practice time and two additional games, I think the league should offer the union 65-man rosters and maximum 15-game regular seasons for each individual player.
If you had bigger rosters and all the players were active on game days, I believe there would be less pressure on coaches to play non-quarterbacks who get injured during games. If players were required to sit for three regular-season games, there would be less pressure on coaches to play quarterbacks dealing with concussions. For example: If Vick has to sit three games, Andy Reid would declare him out for the upcoming game and let him recover from his head injury.
Lastly, with a bye week and three inactive weeks, each player would get four weeks during the season to rest their wounded bodies. This a win-win for the league and the players. More revenue. More players. More rest. And, in my perfect scenario, two fewer exhibition games.
Plus, I think requiring players to sit would add a fascinating strategic element to football that fans and media would come to enjoy. We love to second-guess. It would be fun to see how different coaches and organizations strategized around their fluctuating rosters.
9. Someone should investigate the New York Giants and their collective effort in the loss to the Bengals.
On Cincinnati’s first touchdown, Giants corner Corey Webster was at the same level as the safety on his side of the field. Webster looked at the safety and could clearly see the safety wasn’t going to give help on Bengals receiver AJ Green streaking down the sideline. Webster stopped and then jogged toward Green and then slowed down again. Webster gave Green the touchdown.
Throughout the game, the effort of New York’s defense raised all sorts of interesting questions. The Giants played “Pro Bowl” defense. I’m not exaggerating. Check the tape.
8. Isn’t it funny that Jets players feel the same way as John Fox and John Elway did about Tim Tebow?
According to the New York Daily News, many Jets players suggested it would be ridiculous to replace Mark Sanchez with Tebow. Sanchez is arguably the worst starting quarterback in the league.
What does that make Tebow? A total media creation. Honestly, I’m glad Tebow is an athletic, white quarterback so we don’t have to hear whining about how racist it is that the Jets don’t like Tebow.
Tebow is Vince Young, a great college QB who can’t cut it in the pros.
7. Am I the only one who would prefer to see Charlie Batch play QB for the Steelers rather than Byron Leftwich?
When did Batch lose the backup job? I’ve always seen Batch as one of the top backup QBs in the league. He’s done a solid job filling in for Big Ben over the years. I know Batch is 37, but I still see tread on his tires. He won a game last year for the Steelers.
Leftwich’as delivery is just too slow. He telegraphs the football with his deliberate and exaggerated delivery. Leftwich struggles with touch. He’s not mobile. He’s a target in the pocket. On the plus side, Leftwich will prepare. He can be effective with the right game plan. But he’s not good with improvisation.
My bet is Batch will finish the game against Baltimore.
6. If you were wondering why the 1-win Chiefs were dancing on “Monday Night Football,” it’s because they wanted to show up Todd Haley, their former head coach and current Pittsburgh offensive coordinator.
The Chiefs played with a lot of passion Monday night. I’m not defending their antics. Their group celebration dance of a non-existent touchdown gave Pittsburgh a first down. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston’s Kid-n-Play routine celebrating the sack that knocked Big Ben from the game only proves my point that it was silly to get upset because a few Chiefs fans cheered when Matt Cassel got hurt a month ago. Football is a barbaric game that glorifies violence.
My point is Haley inspired the Chiefs, particularly KC defenders, to unleash their A games. And sometimes when you’ve been inspired to play your best, when you’ve tapped deep into your emotional well, you can’t contain your emotions, you go too far.
I say give the players a pass. Haley was an insecure tyrant when he was head coach of the Chiefs. The players wanted some payback. They almost got some.
Plus, I say give ’em a pass because middle linebacker Derrick Johnson played one of the best games I’ve seen on the defensive side of the ball this season.
5. I see the Cowboys winning the NFC East.
Yes, I’m crazy. Yes, I know the ‘Boys are 4-5 and two games behind the Giants. Yes, I realize that I coined the nickname Tony Boo Boo because Romo is mistake-prone. But Dallas has a favorable schedule — Cleveland, Washington, Philly and Cincinnati the next month. The Cowboys should win all four and then face Pittsburgh in a big game that might reveal Dallas as a Super Bowl contender.
Yep, I said it. I can see the Cowboys reaching the Super Bowl. I love Dallas’ roster. Dallas has an edge rusher (DeMarcus Ware), two good corners (Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne), three prime passing targets (Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten) and a reliable running back when DeMarco Murray returns.
Jerry Jones isn’t as bad a GM as the hype.
Plus, you can still get the ‘Boys at 40-1 to win the Super Bowl and 18-1 to win the NFC. That’s good value.
4. Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert have a common flaw: They struggle with accuracy on downfield throws, especially routes along the sideline.
I noticed this about Gabbert when he played at Missouri. He was terrible throwing the fade route. I thought he’d get better over time. He never did. Since joining the pros, his lack of proper footwork and his fear in the pocket have hurt his accuracy.
Cam is not afraid. He’s just inaccurate. He lacks touch. He lacks the discipline to stay focused and set his feet.
3. Lions coach Jim Schwartz is making the argument that Ndamukong Suh is playing well because Schwartz realizes Suh’s failure will get the coaching staff fired.
On Monday, following Detroit’s 34-24 loss to the Vikings, Schwartz said: “I thought Ndamukong Suh might have played the best game since he’s been here.”
Suh had one tackle. Adrian Peterson ran for 171 yards. The Vikings scored 34 points. Stats don’t tell a complete picture. But Suh has 14 tackles on the season. And it’s disingenuous to keep defending Suh by saying he faces constant double-team blocks. You think JJ Watt isn’t getting doubled? Watt has 41 tackles and 10.5 sacks.
Suh was the No. 2 pick in the 2010 draft. He was supposed to be the second coming of Warren Sapp and Reggie White. Right now, Suh is a bust. And because of Suh’s failure, Detroit’s defense is a bust.
I don’t believe Suh likes football. He plays the game because he’s big and he’s good at it. Ray Lewis, JJ Watt, London Fletcher, etc. love the game. Football is a love-it-or-leave-it game.
2. My new MVP ballot: 1. JJ Watt; 2. Peyton Manning; 3. Adrian Peterson; 4. Matt Ryan; 5. Tim Jennings; 6. Jeff George.
The weather prevented Watt from taking advantage of Chicago’s leaky offensive line. Watt maintains a narrow advantage over Manning, who has a narrow lead over All Day. Don’t count Matty Nice out of the race. It wasn’t his fault the Falcons lost on Sunday. Why isn’t Jennings getting more hype for his incredible eight-interception season?
I mention Jeff George as a dog whistle for teams looking for a QB solution down the stretch. George would be the ideal fill-in for Big Ben in Pittsburgh. 🙂
1. Tiki Barber is renting himself out to play in flag football games and whatnot. That’s rock bottom.
It was just a few years ago that everyone believed Tiki would be living the life Michael Strahan is living. There’s a lesson in all of this but I don’t know what it is.
Did anyone envision Charles Barkley becoming the best broadcaster in sports?