Learn how to win like a professional

BY foxsports • October 16, 2011

The Lions and the 49ers played a great game and both of them look like playoff teams to me. The 49ers are obviously better because they won on the road. I mean, they also took Calvin Johnson out of the game. And I thought they did a good job on Brandon Pettigrew, too. Jahvid Best didn’t do that much, either.

The 49ers are a team with a new attitude. It’s pretty obvious what a good coach Jim Harbaugh is. The organization there has done a great job, too, in believing in what he brought to this team.

I don’t know what happened at the end, with the handshake deal between Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz. It looked to me like Harbaugh needs to be a little more professional. I praise him for his enthusiasm, but a coach has got to be a little more poised after a game. This is a tough game. He has to understand that everybody, on both sides, is working hard.

That was a tough loss for the Lions and Schwartz. Yes, it was a great victory for the 49ers and Harbaugh, but there has to be a certain amount of personal control and humility.

I mean, wait until you get into your locker room — then you can go nuts and celebrate and brag on yourself. Harbaugh was like that in college and also while coaching at Stanford. He had his run-in with Pete Carroll at USC when he went for two points up a few touchdowns in their 2009 game. He’s just a robust, energetic guy who doesn’t give a crap about anybody else. That’s the kind of guy he seems to be.

Now, I’m not going to say change any of that, anything regarding his personality, because whatever Harbaugh is doing, it’s definitely working with his players.

What I’m referring to is that slap on Schwartz’s back. To me, it looked like he hit him pretty hard. Some words had to be exchanged there. I just don’t know what. I’m not going to absolve Schwartz on this, either. When he was winning all those games earlier in the season, he was acting pretty big-time after those games.

The 49ers are winning and Harbaugh is on top of the world right now. Both of these coaches are doing a helluva job. The more obvious job well-done is what Harbaugh is doing in San Francisco. Schwartz has been working on his makeover for a couple years and been putting his team together. Harbaugh has come in and taken over.

What Harbaugh has changed is an attitude. The Lions have changed a lot of personnel and an attitude, but the 49ers are pretty much using the same personnel as last season.

And Harbaugh has really made me a believer in Alex Smith.

Now, the Lions were coming off a short week and a young team like them, they might have gotten a little full of themselves. They are sitting at home and thinking we’re undefeated, but the reality is they haven’t done anything yet. Sure, they were 5-0 but they haven’t won a division, they haven’t been in the playoffs. You have to do something you think you are something special.

Now, I definitely think the 49ers will be a playoff team. They will win the NFC West and I still think the Lions have a real good shot at a wild-card berth. They still have to deal with Green Bay and nobody has beaten them yet.

Here’s what Jimmy Johnson had to say about the Harbaugh-Schwartz postgame incident:

First of all, you have to realize that this was a very emotional game. If I was Jim Schwartz, he’s got to be upset. His team just lost a big game and he’s no longer unbeaten. Now, he has to go to the middle of the field and shake the hand of the winning coach.

I never wanted to hear that — “Good game!” — when I lost.

Then Harbaugh gives him the old slap on the back. I never liked that. I can understand Schwartz not liking that. I never, ever liked any of that when I lost. I’m telling you the last thing you want to hear is from the winning coach, telling you congrats.

Now based on today, something else had to be said between these two. What, none us know.

Now, back to Terry …

The Panthers are not that bad

Even though they have won only one game, I think Carolina falls into the same category as the 49ers and Lions. I really believe Ron Rivera has changed the attitude in Carolina, changed the thought process there.

I think moving on from John Fox and bringing in Rivera has been a good thing. It’s like our FOX Sports’ theme. Same game, but a different attitude. And that attitude seems to have played well in Carolina.

Cam Newton has played well. They are running the ball. I know the Falcons got to the Panthers in the second half, but they are still a good football team. I mean, you have to be able to put the Panthers away. If you don’t, they are going to come back and bite you.

Carolina has won only one game, but I know that everyone who prepares for the Panthers knows that if you don’t play your best, these guys will beat you.

I really like this FOX theme -- same game, but a different attitude.

Now, Cam had a rough game today. He threw three picks, one that was really bad. But they do have a good running game and both of those tight ends have helped open up the game for Steve Smith. The defense is playing OK.

The Falcons may plug along now. They got Michael Turner and that running game going. When you can run the football, then Matt Ryan can throw it. If you can’t run it, you can’t throw it. It was no big deal having Julio Jones out. The Falcons still have enough weapons to get it done.

Coach Mike Smith has had two good years now. The Falcons still have a shot. But I do think they have fallen off a little bit. The Falcons may struggle a little bit, but the Bucs beating the Saints today has really tightened the NFC South.

I don’t think anybody saw the Bucs coming back like that and now Sean Payton is having surgery on his knee. How tough is that going to be on making up the game plans and being the head coach?

This could be a huge problem because the Saints still aren’t showing me enough defense.

Don’t bench Rex

I have some advice for Mike Shanahan. If I’m him, I’m not making a quarterback change from Rex Grossman to John Beck. You have apples to apples there. Not apples to oranges. Both of these guys are the same.

The thing I love about Grossman is that he doesn’t even know that he threw four interceptions today. He’s got the best attitude in the world. I would come right back and start him next week. I wouldn’t even hesitate.

There are no glaring differences there. I mean, what’s makes Beck better than Grossman?

The NFC East has gotten pretty interesting. The Eagles look like they are back. One win and they’re back.

Now, I’ve seen this before from Andy Reid. He ran the ball more today than he ever did this season. I think it was 38 rushes to 32 pass plays. Andy always does that when his team is struggling and invariably he goes back to what he loves to do--- throwing the football. He just loves to thrown that dang ball.

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