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MIchael Vick Names Upcoming Autobiography “Finally Free”- Will You Read It?

I decided to focus my headline on the title of Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick’s autobiography rather than say something off color about how I have no intentions of reading it.

*brace yourself for negativity*

Okay, I love Michael Vick. I, too, grew up in Hampton Roads Virginia. I was lucky enough to see Vick play many times in high school. And I, just like other people from the Tidewater area, kept my eye on Vick from high school to college at Virginia Tech to the Atlanta Falcons to his stint in jail to his speaking turns on animal rights to his signing with the Eagles.

So it’s not that I don’t care…it’s just that at 30 years old and having not won any championships at the collegiate level or in the National Football League (he doesn’t even have a Heisman!), releasing a story that chronicles your life seems a bit premature to me. We’ve heard all about Vick’s trials with his friends, with dogfighting, arrogance and redemption. It’s hard for me to imagine this autobiography being highly engaging given Vick’s mild mannered personality. And with Vick still being in full out apology mode, I can’t see him doing much criticism of others-that kind of honesty sells!

From USA Today.

Vick, 30, hopes he can impart the lessons he learned confined inside a lonely prison cell to young people who might now be damaging their own lives. They are lessons that Vick regrets that he, at age 26, was too naive to absorb.

“My propensity for trying to lie my way out of trouble only made my consequences more severe,” he wrote.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz *snores*

The title “Finally Free” is certainly appropriate, I can see him discussing how hard it was to let go of past negative influences his life in addition to what it felt like to regain his freedom after being incarcerated. But all in all, if I had to predict…I don’t get the impression that Vick’s autobiography will be candid or contextualized, I think it will be image-driven and a summary of things we already know.

If his story reads as I think it will, it probably would have been much BETTER for him to write a handbook for young men. I think a lot of boys would rather get a pep talk from Michael Vick than Hill Harper. And Harper’s book “Letters To a Young Brother” sold pretty well. Young boys might actually read Vick’s book rather than using the pages as toilet paper after their moms and aunties force it on them.

From my view, I’d rather read Vick’s autobiography when he’s not longer walking on egg shells and can come clean about the herpes/Ron Mexico rumors, the woman who sued him, his relationship with Dan Reeves and Jim Mora Jr., his thoughts on being betrayed by his friends and family and that kind of thing.

Is it rude to speculate that Vick’s financial problems are the reason he is releasing an autobiography at 30 years old? What do you all think, will you read Vick’s story?




Roger Goodell and Dan Snyder Pen Embarrassing Opinion Pieces; Whose Is Worse?

The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal published opinion pieces by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell today. Snyder’s piece is notable if for no other reason that it is one of the most terribly-written opinion editorials ever published by a paper of record. Based on the syntactic errors, poor organization, and questionable grammar used in the piece,  I strongly suspect that Snyder wrote it himself, rather than leaving the spin to the professionals. Goodell’s piece, although better written, will raise eyebrows because it’s just so hilariously oblivious.

As you can guess, the focus of Snyder’s piece is his embarrassing lawsuit against the Washington City paper which he accused of false reports. He refiled his lawsuit against the paper in New York and uses his opinion editorial to scold the paper for failing at “fact checking.” The entire piece wreaks of a spoiled little boy having a diction-deficient temper tantrum.

Speaking of spoiled little boys throwing fits, the NFL owners are still hell-bent on squeezing more blood from the 200lb + turnips they pay to crash into each other every Sunday. The latest lockout news is that Judge Ryan granted an injunction meaning that technically players should be able to show up to work tomorrow (though weight rooms may be closed). Of course the NFL is pursuing a stay (to keep the players locked out and off team premises).

The injunction has resulted in a clusterfuck big enough to make any rich white man afraid of the chaos that could ensue as large black men try to figure out if they should bother reporting to work and what parts of those facilities are or should be accessible to them.

Goodell’s editorial aims to lay out a case for why a CBA (and a union) is needed and that players should be aiming to improve the CBA process rather than dismantle it. I found his position to be interesting, since from my vantage point the NFL didn’t really come to the table ready to negotiate, rather with a list of demands that, if not met, would result in a lockout that seemed planned for from day one.

Therefore, Goodell’s support of collective bargaining in lieu of individual player-team negotiations can only be looked at as a last ditch effort to save a process that benefits the owners without admitting that it does, in fact, benefit the owners. That fact should be obvious because why else would a blatantly pro-executive commissioner write such a pro-union anti-capitalist opinion editorial and publish it in the Wall Street Journal of all places?

The funniest thing about Goodell’s piece is that he gives a list of things that would change if there is no NFL union. The bulk of the list (no draft, free agency after every contract expiration) includes things that would essentially cause owners to actually have to make more critical business decisions about personnel on a routine basis. In other words, it is actually to the NFL owners’ benefit to have a union because it takes a lot of the guesswork out of managing a “free market” system. Not to mention, it allows ownership to focus on things like convincing cities to fund their stadiums and the signing of key players rather than getting into the nitty gritty of the entire 52-man roster.

In other words, with his piece, Goodell accidentally reveals just how LITTLE owners have to do under the current system to make a profit-save for that one time every few years when the CBA is up for debate. Not sure who Goodell is trying to appeal to with this argument. Ultimately, as a fan I don’t give a shit how much work Arthur Blank or Joe Banner have to put in to making the Eagles and Falcons successful as long as they achieve that goal.

This section was pretty eye-opening to me:

In an environment where they are essentially independent contractors, many players would likely lose significant benefits and other protections previously provided on a collective basis as part of the union-negotiated collective-bargaining agreement. And the prospect of improved benefits for retired players would be nil.

Is this the NFL that players want? A league where elite players attract enormous compensation and benefits while other players—those lacking the glamour and bargaining power of the stars—play for less money, fewer benefits and shorter careers than they have today? A league where the competitive ability of teams in smaller communities (Buffalo, New Orleans, Green Bay and others) is forever cast into doubt by blind adherence to free-market principles that favor teams in larger, better-situated markets?

Here you have the commissioner of the NFL  basically admitting that without the union the NFL and its ownership will not in any way  seek to promote fairness or equity. I mean, how fucking bold is that shit? Goodell explicitly states that should players have to negotiate completely as independent contractors he and the owners are almost certain to offer them little to no protection and blame it on the dissolution of the union. This proves that the NFL and owners are more concerned with short term revenue than maintaining the total health and longevity of the sport.

It also shows that there remains little interest in having owners be responsible for the decisions they make e.g. how much to pay a particular player at any given point of time. This is one of the reason NFL owners wanted a rookie wage scale.

Stacked up against each other, I’d say both Goodell and Snyder do a great job of showing us what’s wrong with the National Football League. In terms of who’s worse, I give the title to Goodell because his leadership has helped set the stage for the Snyders of the world to conduct business however they see fit.





Kick Returners Complain About Kickoff Changes…And So Do I

Josh Cribbs still wants a chance to prove himself as a returner.

Placekickers just had their best week ever. Kick returners? Not so much.

Fans and players alike were looking for a break from the lockout talk and the NFL just gave it to them in the form of the latest rule changes. The NFL announced this week that kickoff will now take place at the 30 yard line instead of the 35 yard line. Touchbacks will remain at the 20 and coverage teams will get a 5 yard head start instead of a 10-15 yard head start.

What does this mean?

Less returns

Less injuries on returns

Less excitement

More touchbacks

Less excitement

Last season, with kickoffs taking place at the 30 yard line, there were 23 kickoff returns that resulted in a touchdown. The last time teams kicked off from the 35 yard line was 1993. That year there were four such returns.

I can’t boo loud enough!

Kickoff returns are one of my favorite parts of football. There’s just nothing like a an exciting return, especially to start a game. I’ve heard a lot of theories about why 26 teams would vote in favor of the rule change-everything from having to avoid paying returners to setting the stage for an 18 game season. All valid. But I think that the owners heard the phrase “prevent injuries” and knew they could go for it both for financial reasons as well as to appear sensitive to the safety issue-especially since they voted down increased protection for defenseless receivers at the same meeting (SIDE FUCKING EYE!).

If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that I support anything that keeps the fellas on the field safer. But I really hate when practices are eliminated through the backdoor. In this case, the NFL isn’t really reducing injuries through modification, they’re doing so through elimination.  If the NFL wants to get rid of kickoff returns they should just do it rather than pretending there’s still a real choice for coaches and players.

Even the reduced lead time for coverage isn’t going to help returners enough to prevent their inevitable drift into never never land. One day I will tell my grandchildren about the spectacular kickoff returns I’ve seen. By then I’ll probably also have to explain to them that there used to be punt returns, sacks, and tackles too.

I’m exaggerating…slightly.

But I really am uncomfortable with the way that the rule changes that happen every year send different messages about the game’s direction.  Perhaps as soon as we’re done discussing the CBA there should be a general conversation about the future of the game.If kick off returns are so dangerous, is it possible that they may eliminate punt returns next? PLEASE GOD NO! Hi Roger! Let’s chat about this. Call me.

Seriously though, some teams have invested in their special teams (the Browns being one example as well as the Bears who both voted against the rule) and if we’re going to talk about finances, it might be good for owners to talk about where the game is going before making rules that negate investments some of them have already made. Part of being a good business owner is planning. ZING!

On another note, it bothers me that the NFL refused to release any data on this issue. Football players are injured on any time play action takes place. I couldn’t begin to take a guess about whether kick off returners are being injured more often on returns than in other times they’re on the field.

The most notable return injuries last season weren’t a result of velocity rather awkward tackling and illegal hits such as what happened to Dez Bryant and Ellis Hobbs. Kick off return injuries are also more memorable than other types of injuries and without data, how do we know the NFL isn’t scapegoating?

That being said, many injuries on kickoff happen to other players-not the returners. And even without numbers you can assume that there’s a health benefit to the rule change (reduce contact, reduce injury, 2+2 = 4 and other complicated things of that nature).

Predictably, kickers around the league went to bed while visions of touchbacks danced in their heads.

Graham Gano:

“On kickoffs you do see a lot of big plays, a lot of big hits, and a lot of big touchdowns. I think it will affect that a whole lot. You’re gonna see guys who don’t have a strong leg putting it in the end zone, getting touchbacks, so that’s going to take away chances to get big returns. For us I think it’s going to help us out a lot.”

Jay Feely

“Personally, I’m very happy about it. I think all the veteran kickers are happy about it. I do think it will definitely take some excitement out of the game. It eliminates good returns from guys like LaRod (Stephens-Howling), Devin Hester, Leon Washington.”

Speaking of Hester and Washington, they had plenty to say, so did Josh Cribbs.

Devin Hester

“They’ve gone too far. They’re taking the whole fun out of the game,” Hester said. “The fans come out, especially in Chicago, to see returns. That’s one of our key assets to our team. Fans love our big returns. Not only do they kick it out of bounds when it’s time to punt the ball. But now they get this advantage on kickoffs where we felt we were guaranteed a kickoff return. Now you’re taking that away from our return game. The return game is out of the picture.”

Leon Washington

Oh they hating on me man. Come on now. You know I don’t like the rule. I’m sure sure Brad Smith and Devin Hester and Joshua Cribbs and the rest of those guys you know doing a good job returning the balls don’t like the rule. I mean it’s a part of the game that is really exciting. I think fans look forward to it because it’s an instant momentum change. You gotta think about it. It’s the first play of the game or the first play after halftime after the opposing teams scores, so it’s one of those things. I think the NFL is trying to figure out how can they minimize the injuries on the kickoff and kickoff return unit. Also like you said there might be some greed involved. I’m sure teams will try to adjust to it. I was telling my dad the other day you know it looks like there’s going to be a bunch of 109-yard kickoff returns because I plan on coming out of the end zone if that takes place.”

Josh Cribbs

“It’ll be a tremendous amount of touchbacks…They’re already kicking away from Devin Hester, myself, other guys and this will just make it over the top, like no kickoff returns.

“I guess I just have to get my punt game up until they change that. I just can’t fathom that other alternatives were not taken. What it does do is take a lot of the excitement out of the game, decreases the opportunity for guys like myself coming out of college to have an opportunity to play football because scouts won’t recruit guys like that anymore because they won’t need them.”

Just so you know, the Eagles, Browns, Jaguars, Bengals, Raiders, and Bears were the only teams to vote against the rule change.


Video of DeSean Jackson and the Boy Who Was Bullied Made me All Emo and Whatnot

Usually I don’t post stuff like this because I figure everyone has already seen it everywhere else. But, I’m posting this on the off chance that my readers haven’t seen the clip from The View episode where Philadelphia Eagles players came out to meet a boy who had been bullied at school.

Bullying is a subject I feel strongly about. Not because of this whole media and celebrity obsession with it. I’ve just always stuck up for people if I felt they were being bullied. So of course seeing this cute little boy who’s so smart and sweet be sad because kids are picking on him really made me upset

It was great of the Eagles players to do something nice for the boy, but as adults we have to start taking bullying a little more seriously. Seems like people have the attitude that it happens to every one. Everyone gets teased, sure, but bullying is different.

Plus kid bullies grow up into full asshole adults! Stopping bullying is really doing a service to society.


New Years Resolutions Around the League

I know a lot of people don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions but I do. I made a list of things I want to change over the next year and decade. I think I did a really good job, so it follows that I’d make some resolutions for other people. To help out people in and around the NFL, I made a list of resolutions that I personally think others should make.

Roger Goodell - Begin to apply fines equitably across the league.

Donovan McNabb - Learn the difference between being professional and being a pushover.

James Harrison - Relearn the fundamentals of tackling.

Braylon Edwards - Utilize cabs.

Troy Polamalu - Put some bass in your voice.

Ryan Clark - Ignore the heckling on twitter.

Darren Sharper - Come to terms with being 35.

Brett Favre - Fall back in love with your wife Deanna.

Andy Reid - Resign.

Michael Vick - Spend money more wisely.

DeSean Jackson - Balance having fun with being professional.

Roddy White - Get media training.

Coy Wire, Cortland Finnegan - Hold a press conference announcing whether you’re black or white.

Rex Ryan - Put your face in the videos so that your wife isn’t the only one exposed.

Terrell Owens - Begin to take responsibility for your shortcomings.

Shawne Merriman - Sleep in a hyperbaric chamber and stretch before practice.

Maurice Jones-Drew, LaGarrette Blount, Michael Turner - Do side bends or situps, but please don’t lose that butt.

Eli Manning - Stand in the mirror and repeat “I am somebody” before leaving the house each day.

Jerry Jones - Consider the opinions of others.

Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, and Washington Redskins - Improve your  awful offensive lines.

Announcers, analysts, and media outlets — Stop mentioning dogfighting every time you mention Michael Vick.

Gus Johnson - Call more games of all kinds.

Bob Costas - Tone the dramatics down a notch.

Jon Gruden - Lobby for the HC gig in Cincy.

Collinsworth - Think before you speak and get some black friends.

Bob Papa - Point to Theisman and Millen and inform your bosses that you simply cannot work under these conditions.

NFLPA - Continue to make the NFLPA truly friendly toward the players and improve the information contained on the lockout site.

This is my quick list, but use the comments to tell other players, announcers, and NFL management and ownership what you think they should work on in 2011.


The Redskins Suspend Albert Haynesworth Without Pay, I Call EPIC Bullshit

The Redskins are a shambles of a team if I’ve ever seen one. This makes me feel bad about all my years of crying about Falcons’ losing seasons and the Eagles coming so close yet not close enough year after year…all along I should have just been glad that I’m not a Redskins fan.

Today, the Redskins announced that they were suspending Albert Haynesworth without pay for conduct detrimental to the team. This is total bullshit, but I must say it’s well played especially as it will go over with the casual fan. The Redskins have perfectly played played up the narrative that coaches/owners who misbehave are justified and players who do are petulant.

Timeline: Shanahan and Haynesworth fall out during offseason and again during pre-season (over illness and playing time-deja vu anyone?) thereby establishing that Haynesworth as a “troublemaker.” Shanahan then goes on to avoid working Haynesworth into base defense making it seem as though Haynesworth is some how incapable and better used that way. This probably in an effort to see how things go without him.  Shanahan, himself said, that Haynesworth had to earn his way into the group.

Haynesworth…who was dominant for the entire 2007/2008 season has to earn his way onto a defense that features the smooth stylings of Reed Doughty and Carlos Rogers?

So basically it looks like Haynesworth was a non-factor and therefore overpaid and spoiled (cause you know, he snuck into Dan Snyder’s house, stole his wallet, and wrote the checks to HIMSELF). The blown tackle against the Eagles who blew the Redskins into the wind didn’t help the imagery either.

Finally, last week, the  Skins complained that Haynesworth wouldn’t practice or didn’t practice well-at this point I’m confused about what actually happened- while simultaneously admitting that he was ill the day before.  They then deactivate him, and refuse to answer any questions about the deactivation until today’s announcement that he is suspended without pay.

Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret.

What this looks like to me, is that the Redskins had buyer’s remorse over Haynesworth and then set about a path to make it seems as though he is completely impossible to deal with on any level. The Redskins have actively tried to trade Haynesworth since at least April after he complained about the 3-4. They should have cut him then rather than heading down this rollercoaster road.

Let’s be clear, Haynesworth’s outspokenness and general fuck-you-and-fuck-you-too demeanor doesn’t help. But given the fact that I have the same demeanor, I know that demeanor does not equal guilt regardless of how it looks to an outsider.

Even if you believe Haynesworth has engaged in a series of decisions that warrant discipline, one has to admit that the Redskins have branded other players has troublemakers when they wanted to shop them, Clinton Portis, arguably their best blocker, being one of them. Further, the way they handled the McNabb benching (and subsequent 78 million contract worth nothing if they cut him this season) is yet another example of how this team operates. Call a man with a history of production fat and lazy, give him an opportunity to earn more money than God but then stick him behind an offensive line that couldn’t protect itself during sex wearing a condom and voila: The perfect scape goat.

The NFLPA shouldn’t allow the Skins to dodge paying Haynesworth through the rest of the season. It’s simply not ethical. And with all the drama going on around the Skins, whose conduct  REALLY detrimental to the team? Hint: It ain’t Hanynesworth’s.

If I had a crystal ball, I’d say Haynesworth ends up with another team next year (barring lockout) and does really well. Something tells me we have a Code Brandon Lloyd on our hands.

Listen to Haynesworth discuss the situation pre-suspension here.


Redskins Continue Odd Tradition of Over Paying Past Prime Players

Donovan McNabb…

33 years old…

Contract extension…

78 million…

5 years…

40 million guaranteed….

No offensive line….

Iffy health…

None of this would make sense if this deal weren’t offered by the Redskins. This team has, over the years, obsessively pursued past-their-prime players (and coaches) only to overpay and, in some cases, get rid of them early.

Deion Sanders…

Bruce Smith…

Mark Carrier..

Adam Archuleta…

Jeremiah Trotter…

Joe Gibbs (the 2nd or 3rd time I lost track)

As hard as it is to be an Eagles fan and watch good players be cheated out of the money they deserve in favor of giving stars who never prove their worth big pay days, I have to say even that is preferable to what Redskins fans have to sit back and watch year after year.

For a team that is housed in the nation’s capital where celebrity doesn’t get you as far as legitimate power, you’d think the Redskins would have learned something about paying for performance rather than name.

I’ve stated several times what a huge fan I am of Donovan McNabb, but I don’t think for one second Donovan Mcnabb will still be in the league at 36 much less 38. Snyder may have deep personal pockets but the salary cap is real, and this is money they could have spent building an offensive line to protect McNabb during his last two years in the NFL (2011 and 2012).

Now that they’ve extended McNabb’s contract and signed Haynesworth during the off season for an absurd amount, they’ve reached their goal of overpaying the wrong people on both sides of the ball.



Is History the Reason For the Love Dallas Coach Jason Garrett is Getting?

The Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants played a hell of a game yesterday. Only the numerous flags and challenges kept the game from being a complete shoot-out. Everyone was surprised by how cohesive both the Dallas offense and defense were (aside from a weird mini-alteracation between Sensabaugh and another defensive player whose jersey # I didn’t catch). The other surprise was how badly Eli Manning played. He threw repeat passes in to double coverage and just generally had trouble advancing the ball something that seems odd given the fact that they scored quite a bit. However, the Giants defense was the biggest letdown because Dallas scored freely for most of the first half.

After the game, the love thrust upon Jason Garrett, who moved up this week from offensive coordinator to interim head coach, was over the top. Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw couldn’t gush enough. Even before the game, Jimmy Johnson clearly expressed his wishes that Garrett do well and made it very clear that when he left Dallas, he did so on his own terms.

Football is a sport that is all about connections. Sure it’d be nice to believe that Garrett is the recipient of random good will or, even better, that he deserves all this love, but I suspect that the fondness for Garrett has more to do with history than performance.

Garrett’s father, Jim, was also a football coach who recruited both his sons to play under him at Columbia (Jason and his brother returned to Princeton to graduate once their father left the coaching spot at Columbia). The older Garrett went on to become a scout for the Cowboys opening the door for the younger Garrett to take a position with the team so many years later. It should be noted that Garrett was hotly pursued for a head coaching position by the Ravens and turned it down to remain in Dallas as offensive coordinator.

When Garret turned down the Raven’s coaching job Cowboys blogs wrote:

Garrett has an attachment to the Cowboys organization dating back to his playing days, when he was Troy Aikman’s backup on two Super Bowl championship teams and served as the practice squad quarterback for a third. He wanted to return to Dallas last off-season even though he was still under contract as the Dolphins’ quarterbacks coach. His father, Jim Garrett, also had been a longtime scout for the Cowboys.

But Garrett also has family ties to the Ravens organization. His dad coached the Browns’ running backs when Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and vice president of football administration Pat Moriarity played for Cleveland. Owner Art Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore in 1996.

Ravens president Dick Cass and Garrett are fellow Princeton graduates, and Cass actually represented Jones in his acquisition of the Cowboys and Texas Stadium back in 1989. Garrett met with Cass, Newsome and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti during his visit.

Ahh good old history. So that takes care of the good will toward Garrett by Jimmy Johnson, Troy Aikman, and Jerry Jones. But what about Joe Buck?

This one might be a stretch but connections don’t have to be strong to be impactful. Joe Buck’s father Jack was also a sports announcer back in the days when most announcers were assigned specific teams to cover rather than time slots as is more the practice today. For a while Jack Buck was assigned to cover Cowboys games, so that may explain some of it. However, due to the large amount of NFC games that seem to occur on Fox (not completely sure why) in 2007 alone Joe Buck and Troy Aikman called at least 7 Dallas games during the season making them pretty familiar with Dallas Cowboy talking points. Could those two things be totally coincidental? I suppose so.

As for Terry Bradshaw I’m chalking it up to him not taking his meds.

The final explanation could be that the Cowboys are America’s team, and we want America to win right?

Overall I just think it’s always interesting to think of all the ways history “may” impact the present. In sports fond memories of the past are never far from current consciousness.


Jon Gruden Is Not the Right Coach for Dallas

Jon Gruden is being touted as a top pick to be the next coach of the Dallas Cowboys. The chance to coach “America’s Team” *gag* and the lure of a big market and lots of attention might appeal to the ego of any coach and certainly one that likes the spotlight as much as Gruden. But this is one of those times when we need to be realistic. I’m a huge fan of Gruden, but he and Jerry Jones would be about as good a pair as Brad Childress and Zygi Wilf are right now.

Wilf, by the way, after being asked about one of the Vikings most recent incidents, said he had “nothing” to say.

I can easily imagine Jones having “nothing” to say about Gruden about a year and half into the job. Gruden has never been one to shy away from making controversial and independent decisions. Decisions that aren’t just unpopular with fans but also with sports media. In Dallas, the discussion around those decisions would be amplified.

I remember back in 2007 after the Bucs lost to the Panthers 31-23. Gruden was accused of lying down for the Panthers when he undertook a safe end of the season game plan which included “resting” starters. Gruden dismissed all the criticism and owned his decision with some pretty colorful commentary.  That’s the kind of thing that wouldn’t go over well with Dallas’ front office.

When it comes to play calling, Gruden would be a different coach from the recently-fired Wade Phillips, but whether it would be a change for the better depends on how you look at it. One of the main criticisms Phillips received was that his offense was “too predictable.” I think that’s fair; however, if players can’t execute the intricacies of what they’re given and that results in losses, the logical step is to scale things down and work from there.

What this comes down to is whether you believe Phillips and Garrett failed at teaching or whether the players have failed at learning. If it’s a learning issue, that makes someone with a record like Bill Cowher’s—who is presumed to be Dallas’ first choice— even more attractive as a pick over Gruden.



FOX’s Jason Whitlock Recommends the NFL Distinguish Flagrant Hits from Incidental Ones

Fox Columnist Jason Whitlock who I’ve agreed with more in the past couple months than I care to admit, advocates in his column for the NFL to make a distinction between flagrant and incidental hits. If you saw the Eagles/Colts game yesterday you understand why:

On Sunday, Quintin Mikell and Kurt Coleman executed the perfect defensive secondary play, sandwiching Colts receiver Austin Collie just as he reeled in a Peyton Manning pass and took a second step running upfield. Collie fumbled. The Eagles recovered. The hit knocked Collie out cold.

A ref threw a flag, penalizing Mikell for unnecessary roughness. The ref ruled Collie’s catch an incomplete pass and flagged Mikell for a helmet-to-helmet hit. The Colts went on to score a touchdown on the drive.

In the fourth quarter of the same game, with the Colts trailing by nine points, Philly’s Trent Cole beat Indy’s left tackle and executed the perfect tomahawk-chop sack/strip on fourth-and-18. Game over.

Not quite.

A ref flagged Cole for unnecessary roughness. Cole’s hand hit the back of Manning’s helmet as he chopped down on the cocked football. The penalty gave Indy a first down. The Colts scored a touchdown, cutting Philly’s lead to 26-24.

Beyond the speculation that the NFL tried to “fix” the game for Peyton Manning, it’s obvious that this is one of those situations in which players are being (and will continue to be) punished unfairly. Whitlock’s call for a distinction to be made between an intentional hit on a defenseless player and one simply caused by momentum (or in the case of Collie, partly or wholly caused by the offensive player lowering his own head) is great in theory but getting the NFL to consider it might be difficult.


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