Michael Irvin on why he loves watching Dez Bryant play, having sympathy for Johnny Football and Geno Smith, and what you couldn't pay him to do
1. I think Michael Vick really needs to start sliding. It’s a preseason game and he’s taking these unnecessary hits. You can’t miss another game, and you take that chance for that one yard that’s really superfluous. It’s mind-boggling. It means nothing. The only time you do it is when John Elway did it in the Super Bowl—when the game's on the line. Outside of that, anywhere else in the season, you slide. Somebody’s got to say that, man. Stop putting your body in harm’s way.
2. I think I hate the smaller injuries that we are seeing become bigger injuries. Because the process is not the same as we used to go through. Guys are only getting so many OTAs and so many days in pads. Now, the body doesn’t get used to the beating—it’s like tenderizing meat before you get ready to cook it. Now you hit training camp, and it’s a shock to the body, when the buildup has been so light. See what I mean?
3. I think I’ve never heard Rex go so hard at a guy as he did on Geno Smith after practice on August 14. Rex said it was a "brutal" practice. I thought Rex could have done a much better job of high-pointing that interview. Here you’ve got a guy that’s coming out and practicing with a bum ankle, and you should have been saying, "He didn’t have his best practice, but he’s out there gutting it out." I’ve never in all my years seen a head coach do that to a young guy. You’ve got a young quarterback with a fragile ego, and you go and do that? That blew me away. I thought Rex was way out of line.
4. I think I like the Cowboys’ new defensive scheme. I like a scheme that says, "We may bend, but we won’t break." That’s what this Monte Kiffin defense says. I like a guy like Monte Kiffin who has a track record. You can look at him and say, "Hey man, we know what he did in this league." So it gives the defense confidence when he makes the calls. I like that they have a whole lot of defensive lineman to rotate. When you’re rotating those fat boys on the defensive side, sooner or later it’s going to tire out those fat boys on the offensive side.
5. I think I love watching Dez Bryant play. He’s built like me, but he has the thing that I used to always pray to God for—explosive speed. He’s strong. He plays with an attitude. He’s emotionally involved. I used to always think, What would I be if I could really run? I see it in Dez, and I enjoy watching that. And I enjoy watching him with an 88 on his back.
6. I think Von Miller is going to kick himself in the head after this suspension. You don’t know how many years you are going to get with Peyton Manning. I’ve been there too; it’s a hard place for a man. There is nothing you will experience in this league like sitting at home watching your team play its games. It’s a hard place to be. It’s the punishment of all punishments. I’d rather have them take the money and let me play for free.
7. I think the Seattle Seahawks have the kind of spirit in their locker room that reminds me a lot of our early Cowboys teams. They’re starting to build something. We might be saying that they are a year or two off. Internally, they want to show you that they are not.
8. I think they should have put a roof on Met Life Stadium if they wanted to have the Super Bowl there. You can leave it open all year for the Giants and Jets if you want. It’s mind-boggling not to have the Super Bowl on this stage in New York). It should be there every four or five years—all you had to do was put a roof on the stadium. The NFL missed the boat on this one.
9. I think Johnny Manziel is great for the game of football. I love his ability to play the game. What we like to do in our business is take kids and put them in places where even adults make poor decisions. All of this fame and everyone’s offering him things. Then we sit back and want to pounce on the young man when he makes the decision. It blows my mind. In the game of football we put young men in tough positions. Then we sit back and say, "Oh my god, I can’t believe he did this." Stop the madness. I hope it works out for Johnny, and I hope he gets a chance to get back on the field and play football, and ultimately bring some excitement to the NFL.
10. There’s no amount of money you could pay me to get in the ring with one of those MMA guys.