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Archive : November 2010

November 30, 2010

JOHNSON, FINNEGAN PUNISHMENTS NOT HARSH ENOUGH

I don't think I'm ready to go so far as to say that Andre Johnson's actions were justified. But I certainly understand why he did what he did. In fact, I would have done the exact same thing were I Andre Johnson in that situation.

Cortland Finnegan is a punk by all definitions of the word and deserved the "Nolan Ryan/Robin Venture-esque" haymaker he received on the top of his punkish head.

The NFL fined both players $25K for their brawl during a dead ball on Sunday afternoon. Neither player was suspended.

It's also important to note that Johnson and Finnegan weren't playing checkers either. They're playing an extremely intense, high-pressure job that is full of testosterone (some natural, some unnatural), adrenaline, machismo, pride, revenge, and intensity. They're playing a game which will, every now and then, cause someone (or a group of someones) to explode and go ape crazy (Boise State/Oregon 2009, Pacers/Pistons 2004, Rockets/Blazers 1977, Miami/Florida International 2006).

I'm not going to say what I think the punishment should have been (for the same reason I don't like to call for a coaches job...it's not how I earn my living and there are other people way smarter than me on this). But I will say that there has been recent precedent we should remember at this time.

James Harrison, Brandon Meriweather, and Dunta Robinson were just fined a collective $175K for their helmet-to-helmet hits a few weeks ago. That's an average of $58K a man for things they did IN BETWEEN the whistle...during a play.

Were the hits nasty looking? Yes.

Can those kinds of hits lead to long-term brain damage? Yes.

Do I think that players should be fined for those types of hits? Didn't use to, but as a dad now? Yes.

But we have to remember, these are big, fast, incredibly athletic football players who have been trained to do one thing since they were four years old...hit the other guy as hard as you can. That's the nature of the game.

It will be hard to change that nature into one where ball-hawking safeties "let up" on receivers and backs coming across the middle. A nature where 6'6", 290 pound, lightning fast defensive ends start trying to avoid contact with the quarterback instead of ripping their heads off - or, to use a better visual, putting the QB in a sack and beating them (which is where the term "sack" originally came from).

So you get three guys that make viscous (formerly legal) hits during the play, and they get fined nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

Then you get two guys who rip each other's helmets off and start going at it like Ron Artest at a West Virginia victory parade...after the whistle...and they get fined $25K each. A proverbial slap on the wrist.

Lets also remember that a good, solid punch to the noggin' can have just as much impact as a helmet-to-helmet hit, if not more so. Especially a punch from Dre Johnson (or any NFL football player). Have you looked at the size of their arms? I'd rather jump out of my second story office window into a pit of broken glass than to take one from ANY player in the NFL. Well, except for maybe Chris Boniol, I could probably take him if he wasn't ready for me.

Oh, but they do that stuff all the time in the NHL. True. But that's the NHL. That's a culture that the league has allowed to flourish and actually encourages.

That's not the NFL. Never has been. Never will be. Unless Ron Artest becomes the next commissioner.

All that to say, I completely understand why Johnson did what he did. I was actually amused by it and thought Finnegan deserved a worse beating for his cumulative actions.

But I believe the league should have come down a little harder on an ugly incident that was so far removed from the culture and perception of  "class" that the NFL has worked so hard to attain.

  • mark rogers
  • November 30, 2010 9:21 AM

November 19, 2010

GARRETT COULD PROVE HIS WORTH

I know last week I wrote that Jason Garrett was just a band-aid...something to keep the Cowboys from bleeding out all over the NFL, and that he shouldn't be the next Cowboys coach.

I mentioned that Garrett being named coach would be like turning your hat around - it wouldn't be real change.

I'm not ready to strike those comments from the record, and I don't think one win is reason enough to name Garrett the next Tom Landry...but after watching the Cowboys beat the Giants in New York, I believe that Garrett has at least earned the chance to make a case for himself.

Make sense?

If Garrett goes 5-3, I believe he should be heavily considered for the job.

If he goes 6-2, I'd say he should be the front running candidate.

If he goes 7-1, he should get the job.

8-0? See my thoughts below...

Being a Cowboys fan lately has made me cynical, negative, cranky, irritable and a bit ornery, but that 10 year old boy who wept when the starting lineup was announced at the beginning of Super Bowl 27 is still down in there somewhere. And he wants out.

That little, weeping, naive boy with a girlish high-pitched scream had a thought after last week's win...

He thought, "hey, we could beat the Lions and be 3-7. That would make us 2-0 since the regime change and owners of the NFL's best record over that stretch. We could get hot and beat the Saints who've lost 2 of their 3 games to 3-6 teams. Then we get 10 days to rest up for Indy. Then it's Philly and the Redskins at home. Then Arizona on the road. Then we close it out like we did last year...with a win against Philly." That dream would make us 9-7 and most likely earn us a trip to the playoffs.

A pipe dream? Yes.

Impossible? No.

Lest we forget that 41 point underdogs have won games. Boise State beat OU once upon a time. The Red Sox came back from 0-3. Barry Switzer won a Super Bowl...

Crazier things have happened.

Am I officially predicting the Cowboys are going to win the next 7 games and win the Super Bowl? No.

Do I think it could happen? Depends on how you define the word "think".

If it does happen, do I want to be able to point back to November 19, 2010 and say that I mentioned that it could happen to make myself look smart? Absolutely.

Garrett is saying and doing all the right things to make a culture change at Valley Ranch. Whether or not the players keep responding is something we'll just have to wait and see.

Having the talent he has to work with will make it much easier for the change to take place.

The possibilities for what will happen during the remainder of the season are many. But there is one thing that has already taken place:

The Cowboys are interesting again all because of an Ivy League, third string QB.

Go Cowboys...


November 11, 2010

JERRY HAS FOUR OPTIONS. PERIOD.

I don't get a chance to toot my own horn very often. So when the chance arises, I become a master tootist (some may argue that I take on that role far too often....ahem, Jenn).

When the Cowboys were 0-1, on September 13, I wrote this:

The mistakes that cost Dallas the game are culture problems. And you don't fix those in the film room...you fix those in the Human Resources department.


One month later, on October 13, I wrote this:

The Dallas Cowboys do not have a player personnel problem.
They have a culture problem.

And what was the language used by Jerrah Jones during his "Wade Phillips is Outta Here" press conference? CULTURE change.

BOOM!!!

I've said from week 1 that we need a major culture change. Why? Because Jerrah brought in Granpuh Wade to manage the best roster in the NFL. Wade was set up to fail from the beginning. He had no chance to succeed. I feel horribly sorry for him. I want to pat his head and give him some peaches and cottage cheese.

Oh, but he won a playoff game and had winning records, you say? Right. But you can credit those things to Jerrah's check book. Period.

Pure talent was masking the fact that our team was becoming more and more about great players and less and less about the biggest factor in winning a Super Bowl: being a TEAM.

Since I'm not a Cowboys executive, I can only speculate about Jason Garrett, but my thought is that he is just a band-aid. A short-term solution that will get us through the rest of the season without bleeding out all over the place while Jerrah plots out his next dark and evil plan.

And while we're on the subject, let's remember something: Jerrah is a successful football exeutive and manager.

The entire city of Dallas and many across the nation wanted to murder him when he fired Tom Landry and allowed Landry's replacement, Jimmy Johnson, to trade Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker.

What outcome did those decisions have? Oh, just 3 Super Bowls, some Hall of Famers, and a place in NFL history forever.

Also remember that Emmitt Smith was "Plan C" in the 1990 NFL draft. He only ended up the NFL's leading rusher and face of the franchise.

Those weren't lucky decisions either. Those were genius moves.

Now, has he made some ridiculous decisions since then? Sure. But lest we forget what Jerrah is capapble of.

OK, back on track.

Jerrah (hopefully) has heard the disgruntled fan base loud and clear. Surely (and stop calling me "surely") he knows that Jason Garrett is not the answer.

Garrett (whom I hold in a dear place in my heart and absolutely love) being named the permanent coach would be like someone flipping their hat around backwards. It wouldn't be a real change. It would be like adding ice to a milk shake. Like spraying air freshener in a dumpster.

A real change would be taking the hat off, lighting it on fire, pouring acid over it, burying it 6-feet deep and building a Pontiac dealership over it.

Jerrah needs to make a statement. He needs to show the fans that he knows he messed up and is going to make everything all better.

He needs to put us all in our jammy-jams, read us a story, tuck us in, tussle our hair, sing us a song, and make us feel all warm and cozy so we can get a good night's sleep.

He can do that one of four ways...and that's it. Four decisions:

(in no particular order)

1. Bill Cowher

2. Jon Gruden

3. John Fox

4. Tony Dungy

Period.

If anyone other than one of those four men is named head coach, get ready for 3-5 years of the same old, under-achieving Cowboys.

I don't know much, but if I know my Jerrah. He will make this right. He's spent too much time, worked too hard, built too big a stadium, played second fiddle to too many other Dallas franchises, and been too embarrassed to not make a big time move that will shake up the NFL. That's what I love about Jerrah.

But if it's anyone other than the aforementioned chop-busters, it may be time for Jerrah to move one.

Either way, I'll continue my master tootism for as long as I can.

Thanks for reading.


November 2, 2010

PHILLIPS SAID IT HIMSELF

"If I knew what to do, I'd have done it already."

Wow. Really?

Did the head coach of "America's Team", 5-time Super Bowl Champion, most talented team in the NFL really say that in a public setting?

Yes. He did. And it should be the final nail in his coaching coffin. Can you imagine Jimmy Johnson, Bill Parcells, Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, Tom Coughlin, Bill Belichick, Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, or Joe Gibbs saying those words in public???

Phillips pathetically uttered those words in the post-game press conference after a 35-17 home beat down against a mediocre Jacksonville team on Sunday.

It's really hard not to feel super sorry for Phillips. Getting mad at Phillips is like getting mad at your senile grandpa for spilling a glass of water at the dinner table. He's helpless. He's hopeless. And, by his own admission, has no idea what he's doing.

So, then, why is he still the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys? Because Jerry Jones can't admit he made a mistake and wants to keep pouring time, energy and resources into a project that is doomed to fail. All those resources are just delaying the inevitable.

And this ball was set in motion when Bill Parcells left. Those good years with all those Pro Bowlers and a playoff win were just facades in front of a diseased and rotting core. Facades put in place by an agressive owner spending buckets of money, which isn't bad, he's just spending buckets of money in the wrong places...easy for me to say, I'm not a billionaire.

This diseased and rotting core should have been noticed when the Cowboys won 13 games then lost their first playoff game.

It should have been recognized when we began leading the league in penalties every year.

It should have been identified when we were absolutely embarrassed in front of the last home crowd at Texas Stadium.

All that to say...Phillips will be out before the season is over. I can almost guarantee that. What I can't guarantee is that Jerry Jones will wake up and smell the roses. And those roses are thousands and thousands of money-spending Cowboys fans who are about to start spending their money elsewhere. Maybe that's the only way the fans can get Jerry to listen.

I guess if any of us knew what to do...we'd have done it already. Sheesh...

  • mark rogers
  • November 2, 2010 2:29 PM

HOW DID COOPER DO IT? EASY

PIcasso doesn't paint Guernica without a paint brush.

Jack the Ripper doesn't murder anyone without a knife (well, at least he doesn't get THAT nickname).

Mike Tyson doesn't knock anybody out without hands.

Judge Judy doesn't get order in her court without a gavel.

Roger Bannister doesn't break the 4-minute mile without knee joints.

Get where I'm going with this? How about a few more...

John Hancock doesn't sign his name without a pen.

Bob Villa is just another Bob without his screwdriver.

King Kong is just a big monkey without the Empire State Building.

And the Abilene High Eagles can't score points if they don't have the ball.

And that's EXACTLY how Cooper beat Abilene High on Friday night - with exceptional ball control.

Racking up nearly twice as many total offensive yards than the Eagles didn't hurt much either. But if your opponent is limited to just three possessions in the final 24+ minutes of a 48 minute game, you have a pretty good chance to win.

And Cooper didn't just win. They absolutely dominated. The last time Abilene High lost by more than 17 points? September 8, 2006 vs. Lubbock Monterey. Four years ago. The Texas Rangers infield was still made up of Teixeira, Kinsler, Young, and Blalock. UT was the defending national chamion. Bird flu had just hit the UK. It was the month Byron Nelson died...

Anyway...it's been a while.

Props to Mike Spradlin for a signature win and gaining some state-wide publicity.

The Eagles can and will still make a deep playoff run. But Cooper proved on Friday night that it does belong in the conversation of best high school football teams in Texas this year.

  • mark rogers
  • November 2, 2010 10:59 AM