Philbin didn't go looking to make an example out of Johnson, but I think he dealt with the situation wisely, teaching his team there are consequences for bad decisions. Especially bad decisions made just after a warning shot of sorts had been fired in the general direction of the player (the "watch your mouth'' advice Philbin offered Johnson last week). For a coach with a fairly laid-back personality and a low profile prior to this job, Philbin getting his team's attention (not to mention a little fear-based respect) with a bold move might be a good thing in the long run.
I don't blame the replacement refs for not doing an A-plus job; they're simply not as adept or qualified to handle their assignments as the men they're replacing. They're trying, but some of them are making some glaring mistakes. Big surprise. Film at 11.
The reality is this: The NFL is willing to take a short-term hit to the game's integrity, because it's the preseason and nothing's really at stake in the stare-down with the locked out officials other than a little discomfort on the part of the media, the fans and some players. The preseason stinks anyway as a product, and even Goodell admits that (see 18-game schedule debate). It's why I think no deal gets done until just before the regular season starts, because there's no real pain until then. Remember, everything happens in the NFL right at the deadline.
But there's the business part of the equation, and then there's all that stuff about doing the right thing by the game. If doing what's best for the game always mattered foremost, this situation wouldn't be unfolding in the same manner. I get that it's a negotiation, and most negotiations get ugly at some point. But the NFL can't have it both ways. Goodell and Co. can't take a hard-line stance on the refs and still sound convincing when it comes to putting the game first. In this case, they're choosing to look the other way. At least until September arrives.
Kolb looks lost, has already battled a rib injury, and has to be suffering from an ever-decreasing confidence level. It's only mid-August, but how Kolb fares at home against the Raiders on Friday night in the Cardinals' third preseason game might well determine his QB competition with second-year man John Skelton. Neither option looks too appealing at the moment, but at least Arizona didn't sink a boatload of money into Skelton, or trade a starting cornerback for him, as it did for Kolb.