Without further ado-doo, let's get to the burning issue of the day.
In order to answer that question, I have to take a roundabout route, and in that circuitous fashion your question, hopefully, will be covered. Is this OK? It's the best I can do.
First, a little background on the whole nature of football players and, uh, well, activities that might detract from their passion for the game.
"Honor system," Walt said, with a wink.
Now I find that funny, too, so as you can see, I'm trying to establish myself as a guy who doesn't take this kind of stuff too seriously. YET, and I wish to stress this teeny weeny little adverb, this Romo thing does not sit right with yours truly. He's coming off a bad three-game set; Eagles, Panthers, Redskins. He has a bad thumb and his go-to receiver might be down for the count. Not a happy time.
The game he had against the Eagles -- and maybe the thumb was responsible for it and maybe it wasn't -- was as bad a game as I've seen a QB have this season. And I'm talking about some of
Romo against Philly had 14. I probably have, sometime in the past, recorded that many, but I can't recall when.
If I were
My All-Pro team, as usual, has generated its share of froth. First I'll address the blog questions (Quogs? Blestions?) that
OK, bring it on. Here come the people who hate me and my All-Pro selections, and the following e-mails, to save time, all will begin with, "HOW COULD YOU?"
" ... bail out on
"Have one running back instead of two? A lot of teams actually use two."(
"not see enough in
Ryans was a guy I got special film on last year. He made a lot of tackles and he swallowed a lot of fakes, and, through great athletic ability, came back and made tackles after he'd been out of position. Hence, a huge number of T and A's. This year I didn't see him noticeably advanced on his reads, but he played a bit more hesitantly, probably because the coaches got on him about being out of position. The result was a muted version of the Ryans of 2006 and in a position as swollen with quality as MLB, he just didn't figure in.
Following are e-mails from people who hate me just as deeply, but have worded their queries differently:
"There is not a single San Diego Charger on your All-Pro list. You guys wonder why everyone out here says there is an East coast bias in the media." writes
You think that's bad, Frank? I don't even use the proper Ca abbreviation for your state, preferring the old style Calif. Yeah, you're right. Not a single Charger. Nor a married one, either. You bet I've got a West Coast bias. After Stanford booted me out around 100 years ago I swore that never on my All-Pro team would I have a representative of the Raiders, Niners, Chargers, Rams, and to make the sweep complete, Seahawks, and just to make sure, Cardinals. And if Portland or Vancouver ever got a franchise, I'd stiff them, too. Anything else on your mind?
Who else would you have on the defense? How about
Hey, Frank of Oceanside, I'm not through with you yet. West Coast bias, huh? How about the fact that I had three Chargers on my All-Pro team last year,
You over there! I see you! What the hell do you want?
"I wanted you to know how much I enjoy reading your column every week, and as an avid oenophile and UC-Davis grad, I always appreciate hearing your wine thoughts as well. And my name is
I, uh, well, thanks, Scott. Damn nice of you to say those things. Sorry for throwing my shoe at you. Anything I can help you with? You what? You don't understand why it seems to be only the defensive players who get face mask penalties when you've seen a lot of runners and receivers do the same thing and get away with it?
Yeah, I agree with you. And I think that, going back to the days when
First of all, a coach who says he uses a chart tells me that he hasn't kept up with the game. The charts were devised in an era in which field goals weren't automatic, as they are now. You can collect a lot of threes in a hurry these days, and coaches who understand that don't go for the deuce until it's absolutely necessary in the game's dying moments.
I thought I was the only one who yelled at the TV. Players are lazy. In some instances they remove articles of padding to lighten themselves. I did it, toward the end of my mediocre career. The hip pads were the first to go. We didn't have mouth guards when I played, but I wore a mouthpiece when I boxed and I didn't like it. It affected my breathing, and I don't how QBs call signals with them on.
I would guess they leave their hats unsnapped out of laziness, or convenience -- just not wanting to take the trouble to snap them. Dangerous? I guess it could be, but you know how it is when we were young and foolish.
Yeah, I guess it could be legislated, but officials will tell you they have enough to worry about during a game, rather than continually stopping the action to get somebody dressed correctly. And thank you for your kind words.
Fear of missing the jam is one thing, since receivers, especially big ones, are skilled at evading jammers. Reluctance to regularly tie up two people is another. Lots of copouts abound, but I would do just as you suggest.
I think I must have written this 400 times, but I saw Marshall play Ole Miss in the Motor City Bowl in Moss' senior year, and he started off free and easy, But when it came down to the crunch, and his team was trying to catch up, Mississippi had two little cornerbacks who played Moss tight and jammed him at the line and took him right out of his game. Toward the end he was just waving at the ball. And old Z sat down and wrote, for his NFL Draft preview, that Moss would be a tremendous bust. "They'll jam him right out of the league," I wrote. Some genius, huh?
Chris, in a P.S., asks me if I could do one piece a week on technical football, in which I took one aspect of a game and really broke it down. It's a nice thought and I'd love to do it, but the early part of the week is taken up by, first that (ugh)
I'll keep you in mind, though, and if I can squeeze in an analytical piece from time to time, I'll give it my best shot. Hey, maybe I can somehow squeeze it into the video, with Brookie and I demonstrating the intricacies of the zone blintz, uh, blitz.
Honestly, I don't know, and I hate to waffle. To be very honest, he does some good things out there, but his accuracy isn't great. And his galloping style seems to open him up for too many shots. Is he the future? I think they have to give him at least another year and look for progress, not miracles. Too early to think about giving up.
There are some things you mention, though, in presenting your case, that I must amend slightly. You talk about issues such as "today's media." Hardly a problem. They are whipped dogs up there, forced to take whatever he dishes out. Is this the basis for awarding a medal? Perhaps, if you like to see a captive press, but when you're winning you can get away with almost anything.
"Free agency," is another thing you mention. Yes, in the salary-cap era, it's amazing to be able to build a storehouse of talent the way the Patriots did, but a lot of the credit for this must go to
"Egos." Here he gets tremendous credit. Egos are made to be swallowed up in Foxboro, and if they're not, the strong inner complex of players Belichick has developed will keep things under control. There are egomaniacs on that club, to be sure, but you never hear about them. I guarantee you that if the Pats go the distance you will see, in the weeks to come, at least 150 "greatest ever" designations connected with this team, and the coaching job will be one of them.
I am looking out the window and I see a sea of frantic faces. "Who's the E-mailer of the Week?" they are yelling at me. Scott Scaramastro of Elk Grove, Calif. I thought I made that clear when I included his last name.