Archive for the ‘Editorial’ Category

caldwell2

Generally, during head coach hiring season new employment comes from one of three places: highly touted offensive or defensive coordinators, whizz-kid college minds, or former head coaches, some of whom spent a year or so doing good things as a coordinator (and some, like Jeff Fisher a few years back and Lovie Smith this year, spent a year on their sofa).

The thing about door No. 3 is that it often comes with another step, or something else required to make the hiring work. For example, Ken Whisenhunt signed on with the Titans yesterday, and as we’ve seen in the past with first Ben Roethlisberger, then Kurt Warner, and now Philip Rivers, Whisenhunt is a great offensive mind and a fine quarterback tutor who can develop both a young arm, and rejuvenate a veteran. All that’s required of you, the general manager who oversees a Whisenhunt team, is to provide a quarterback who can at least breathe properly, and if he can even meet league average standards, that’s great too.

Jake Locker has yet to meet that standard, but if he can or if someone else can, the Whisenhunt hire will be a fine one. Similarly, Smith down in Tampa is an elite defensive mind, though he needs his equal to manage the offense, and that may or may not be Jeff Tedford.

But what, exactly, attracted the Lions to Jim Caldwell?

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Jay Gruden2

The Redskins were between two needs after the Shanahan era came to its inevitable fiery conclusion.

They needed a head coach who could resurrect — or at least re-direct — the career of Robert Griffin III, the 2012 rookie of the year who had both his knee and then seemingly his will to function under the current regime ripped apart. Or they needed a defensive-minded head coach whose system could improve a unit that was at best mediocre and mostly horrendous while giving up 29.9 points per game (31st), and 5.7 yards per play (27th).

For everyone else, that decision would have been difficult. But everyone else is not Dan Snyder.

For Dan Snyder, the decision was surely easy. Get the guy who will toss the necessary life ring to the quarterback who cost you multiple first-round picks, including the second overall pick this year. Get the guy who satisfies the apparently selfish desires of that quarterback, if we are to believe the various reports of Griffin’s smug and commanding nature, and his firm grip on a pet owner. And most importantly, get the guy who’s name is Gruden.

Jay Gruden, not Jon. Dan Snyder knows he hired Jay Gruden, right?

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cutler2

There are two fundamental and repeated thought flaws I see/hear every time a quarterback agrees to a major contract extension, and they increase ten fold when the name in question is one the public at large enjoys hating. Like Jay Cutler.

They go as follows:

  • Caring at all even a little about the length of the contract.
  • Caring far too much about the average annual salary.

I’m trying to keep my broad, sweeping brush in its holster here, as surely many of you see an NFL contract for what it truly is, and the rest maybe haven’t considered how utterly useless things like length and an unguaranteed salary are. Of the numbers associated with the contract Cutler agreed to this morning — seven for the years, reportedly just north of $17.6 million for the average annual salary, $126 million for the overall salary, and $54 million for the guaranteed money according to Ian Rapoport — the last one is where your focus should lie.

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The top five Pro Bowl snubs

david2

There will be some intrigue around the Pro Bowl this year with the new format, and two “fantasy teams” being selected. It’ll be the first time in recorded human history that the NFL has borrowed an idea from the NHL, one that will surely add some life and personality to a game that had exactly zero of both.

Can you watch and tell me how it goes? Thanks.

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romo2

Tony Romo is a better quarterback than Kyle Orton, and therefore having Tony Romo as your starter in a Week 17 play-in game is the far more preferred option than rolling with Kyle Orton. That’s true for both the Cowboys this weekend against Philadelphia, and for narrative enthusiasts everywhere.

But alas, what’s been assumed (and laughably denied) all week was finally confirmed earlier today: Romo has a herniated disc which required surgery, and it will indeed be Orton under center for the third annual NFC East win or go home death fight Sunday. While that’s clearly something less than ideal, it may not even be the most important Cowboys injury Sunday night.

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snow slide2

As I write this it’s mid-afternoon on a Monday (you’re reading it on a Tuesday morning, or sometime far in the future…do we have self re-filling beer yet?). That means almost exactly 24 hours ago, I was laughing while watching football.

Football can provide many sources of comedy, I suppose. Hey, remember last week when Vernon Davis was tackled by his, er, mistletoe? Ha yeah, good times. Or just awful play can be amusing in a “hey all you can do is laugh” sort of thing. This is the overwhelming feeling I get whenever I watch Geno Smith or Brandon Weeden play quarterback, and I’m doing it on purpose.

But this past Sunday was different. The source of the comedy wasn’t any one player or team, and the laughter was mostly rooted in amazement, rather than amusement. It was that mix of smiling and head shaking we do when watching something unique. It wasn’t really laughter or comedy at all then. It was disbelief.

This is what watching football played in a giant snow globe felt like throughout the first half and a bit of the second during the Lions-Eagles game Sunday in Philadelphia. So now seems like a pretty good time to revisit a question we’ll be beaten down with in about two months. Do we still like this whole cold weather Super Bowl idea?

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How a QB cut down a coach

gary-kubiak2

Being in control of everything is central to the job of NFL head coach. You are the great high overseer of all, and must install the best strategy each week to win a game, and put your players in the best position to succeed.

The problem, though, is that despite the best efforts and intentions of a head coach, he can be completely unraveled by an insufficient quarterback. To an extent, this is out of the coach’s control, as there’s only so far instruction and guidance and, eventually, outright reprimanding can reel a quarterback in as he regresses. This is how Matt Schaub cost Gary Kubiak his job.

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