Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, DeMarco Murray, Johnny Football, Mike McCoy, Pittsburgh Steelers, Robert Griffin III, San Diego Chargers, Washington Redskins
I can tell you the exact moment that I knew I didn’t have what it took to be an NFL player.
It was January 7, 1995. I was 15, which explains the youthful optimism. The Cleveland Browns were playing the Pittsburgh Steelers in a divisional playoff game. I remember this as being one of the most brutal games I’ve ever seen, and as those running backs took those shots, I knew that if someone hit me like that once, I would die on the spot.
Big backs were in vogue then.
The Browns had Earnest Byner, Leroy Hoard and Eric Metcalf as the change of pace back. (The head coach was Bill Belichick, his defensive coordinator was Nick Saban.) On defense they had Pepper Johnson, Carl Banks and Michael Dean Perry. Conversely, the Steelers had Bill Cowher, Dom Capers as the defensive coach, with Dick LeBeau and Marvin Lewis as position coaches. The running backs were Bam Morris and Barry Foster and the defense, good God.
Chad Brown, Levon Kirkland, Greg Lloyd, Rod Woodson, Kevin Greene, Brentson Bucknew, Jason Gildon and Carnell Lake. (Why yes, the Steelers did have Tom Modrak and Tom Donahue handling scouting and personnel! How did you know?)
So when the Brown ran the Steelers out of the building this Sunday, I smiled. When both teams are competitive, this is one the great rivalries that the NFL was built on. This is old school football. This is what we needed in a year of reality show drama, scandal, public relations nightmares.
Its worth noting that Chicago Bears defensive end Jared Allen got a sack against the Falcons. Allen had the flu, recovered partially and had seven tackles last week. People asked him why he didn’t have a sack yet this year. Aye Carrumba.
Also, don’t look now, but the Chargers are 5-1 and on top of a division that includes the mighty Denver Broncos, except they have one tenth the talent the Broncos have.
I tend to beat dead horses, but when Mike McCoy was offensive coordinator for the Broncos, he customized one offense for Tim Tebow, and a different one for Payton Manning. That’s an incredible job of adjusting your system for your personnel. Suddenly people are talking about Phillip Rivers as an MVP candidate, and Malcolm Floyd is better than he has been in years. This is not a coincidence.
Also Kirk Cousins has lost all seven games he’s started the last two years for the Washington Redskins. A few weeks ago, Robert Griffin III was all but dead and buried, and now people are hoping that he will heal like Wolverine.
I’m going to say it here first, Griffin’s contract is up in 2016, but the team option is up a year before that. If you’re RGIII, why would you want to stay in Washington? The line is flawed, the coaching staff has been in turmoil, the fans turned on you the moment someone else showed up, and all you can look forward to is taking a beating in the future. He has a career passer rating of 91.8 and the Washington Post just published an article asking if he was competent enough to be a starter.
If you’re Cam Newton, why would you stay? The Panthers only have him for another year. He lost his receiving corps and they didn’t even talk to him about it, and he lost his line. The general manager invested in running backs only, because apparently he was a fan of San Francisco’s ‘Million Dollar Backfield,’ except they’re all like two hundred years old and no one can stay vertical for more than four yards.
The same fans that think Johnny Football is ‘passionate’ when he’s snorting coke in the bathroom, or throwing a tantrum onfield, think that Newton lacks poise, when sometimes he looks stern as his team is imploding. They only got him decent quarterback coaching last year, with Ken Dorsey. They shelved the team’s top pass rusher as a public relations move, so now they can’t rush the passer and the Panthers need 30 points a game to win…throwing to Jason Avant. Why would you stay?
If you’re DeMarco Murray…well nevermind. Look, he always passed the eye test, people just weren’t looking before, but he’s averaged 4.9 yards a carry over his career. The problem is that Tony Romo and Tyron Smith have devoured the Cowboys salary cap like Galactus, and Dez Bryant has a new deal coming.
We all know Adrian Peterson is coming next year for less money than Murray would want. Now we have to see who is willing to overpay Murray.
I end this week simply. The Titans played the Jaguars. Although there were probably was a victor, let’s be honest, no one actually won.