Next Time Brett Favre Should Not Make it so Obvious He’s Ed Werder’s Source

Last December, ESPN reporter Ed Werder was being heckled by a Cowboys fan for his report suggesting T.O. was resentful of Tony Romo’s relationship with Jason Witten. A year later, Werder’s in the middle of another team controversy, this time regarding the Vikings and Brett Favre’s relationship with coach Brad Childress. Childress tried unsuccessfully to bench Favre on Sunday night, with Favre later saying there was a heated discussion on the matter. Childress tried to downplay things but then Werder came out with a report delineating Favre’s issues with his coach. It couldn’t be more obvious from whom the criticisms came:

According to sources, Favre dislikes that Childress seldom discusses the game plan with him during the week, and does not encourage the quarterback to offer suggestions as to which plays he feels most comfortable calling in certain situations. When Favre changes the play at the line of scrimmage — using his film study and experience — Childress bristles, even when the audible Favre calls works perfectly.

Unless Favre has a best friend or wife or someone who knows exactly how he feels, it’s pretty clear that those items came directly from Brett. While I understand that players have competitive spirits, it’s wrong to undermine a coach by not doing what he says (coming out of the game), and it’s just as bad to then run to the media about the problems, speaking anonymously. Favre needs to handle his issues by speaking to his coaches directly, not as a source to the media. Good ole number four may have learned how to take care of the ball better in his 19th year in the league, but he still has figured out the best way to resolve issues.

Tony Dungy’s Disparaging Comments Inspired Cowboys Against Saints

For a guy who seems so reasonable and fair, former Colts coach Tony Dungy made quite an absolute statement last weekend on Sunday Night Football on NBC. When discussing the upcoming Cowboys and Saints game regarding Dallas’ chances at the playoffs, Dungy said the Cowboys didn’t stand a chance against the Saints in New Orleans, adding that the Giants were likely to jump the Cowboys for the final playoff spot in the NFC. Apparently the Cowboys coaches got a hold of the tape and played it for their team as a motivational tactic. The tactic proved to be quite effective; Tony Romo was particularly motivated by Dungy’s remarks.

In two separate occasions after the game, Romo made reference to Dungy’s disparaging comments. First, on the field after the game, Romo told Alex Flanagan of NFL Network that Dungy’s comments motivated the team. Later in the postgame press conference, Romo said the same thing and elaborated, adding that he was surprised to hear such a definitive statement coming from a former coach. Romo’s right — if anyone should understand the “Any Given Sunday” concept, it would be a former coach. But Dungy is now a television commentator and he has clearly embraced that role, making firm and polarizing statements. Even if Dungy’s trying to be controversial, I’m surprised he didn’t leave any room for the possibility of a Dallas victory. I remember being surprised to hear Dungy discredit Dallas, but I’m more surprised it got back to the Cowboys players and that they used it to their advantage. Good for them, it was a well-deserved win. So much for the December lull b.s. the media was drilling into everyone’s mind; beating the Saints proves the Cowboys can be as good as anyone in the NFL.

Here’s a taste of Dungy’s analysis of the Cowboys last weekend on NBC:

Brett Favre Was a Boone’s Farm Guy

Brett Favre has already sold us on his image of being a simple Southern boy. He’s the pitchman for Wrangler jeans and he’s hardly ever been caught wearing anything too fancy. The famous line about good ole number four is that he’d play the game for free. Maybe at some point he was close to doing so because he admitted to drinking the cheap stuff back in the day. From his USA Today interview:

“I haven’t drank in 12 years — not a drop,” says Favre. He says he never liked the taste of alcohol, only its effect.

“I thought I used to like Boone’s Farm,” he says with a laugh. “Three-dollar Strawberry Hill — perfect for throwing at signs when you were done.”

Anyone who’s been in high school or college should be quite familiar with Boone’s. The funny thing is seeing such a tough guy, Ironman quarterback like Brett Favre who’s never missed a start, admit he used to like a girly drink. Brett may have just lost a few man points for that admission.

Reggie Nelson Called Out for Sucking, Screwing Jaguars, and my Fantasy Team

(that’s Nelson above, getting brushed aside by Reggie Wayne)

As is the trend for the Jaguars, they took the Colts down to the wire but eventually lost because Indy made the plays down the stretch that they didn’t. Jacksonville, like many teams, seems to be good enough to hang with Indy but they cannot deliver the knockout punch. They might have been able to win on Thursday night had they not given away a touchdown with about five minutes left. Reggie Wayne had beaten Dwayne Cox down the sidelines in what seemed to be a cover-2 zone. Peyton Manning then heaved it over safety Reggie Nelson’s head into the arms of Reggie Wayne. The Colts had a 60-yard bomb that would have taken them inside the 10, but Reggie Nelson’s second bad decision gave them a touchdown.

Instead of pushing Wayne out of bounds — which he easily could have done — Reggie Nelson decided to go for a low-probability strip. When he whiffed, Wayne waltzed in for an easy score. Not only was Nelson’s choice dumb because even with a strip the ball would have gone out of bounds, but also because the defense had a shot to hold Indy to a field goal after that. Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio was understandably pissed, saying about Nelson “He didn’t play well. You can’t stay in the lineup playing like that.” I wish I had the power to bench Nelson too because his sloppy and lazy play put me in a major hole. In both of my fantasy football leagues, my opponent in the playoff has Wayne and is off to a great start. Even though I entered the Coors Light Fantasy Football League playoffs with the top overall seed, I could get knocked out in the first week! Maybe if Reggie Nelson knew was at stake here he would have made the stop. Furthermore, Nelson’s crappy tackling job allowed Dallas Clark to score Indy’s fourth touchdown of the game. Heck, Nelson was one of the Colts’ MVPs of the game. Here are the highlights lowlights in case you haven’t seen them:

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Bob Griese’s Advice to the Unbeaten Colts and Saints: Lose a Game

Much talk around the NFL lately has been devoted to the looming question for the unbeaten Saints and Colts. Should the teams try to run the table and become the third team in NFL history to finish the regular season undefeated, or should they rest their players to try and get healthy for the playoffs? There’s no right or wrong answer to the question considering both practices have produced failed results. For instance, the Colts started off 13-0 in ’05, lost in week 15, rested their starters, and still lost their playoff opener to the Steelers. Contrarily, the ’07 Patriots went 16-0 in the regular season and came a David Tyree miracle catch away from winning the Super Bowl. Even though it’s an arbitrary subject, ’72 Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese offered his suggestion to the 13-0 Colts and Saints on ESPN:

“The advice that I would give them is that the season is not defined by going 16-0 or 18-0. Ask the New England Patriots about that from a couple of years ago. The thing that I would recommend is this: keep your practice schedules the same, keep your game schedules the same, and if you do anything different, pull the starters after the first quarter or before the first half. But the bigger advice that I would say: lose a game before the end of the season. You’re team will go into the playoffs and have the best of chance of winning because that monkey won’t be on their back.”

Many people forget that Griese was hurt in ’72 and only started five games for the Dolphins. Regardless, he was a member of the only NFL team in history to go undefeated. So the question I have for you is this: was Griese’s advice motivated by his desire to preserve his ’72 team’s place in history, or do you think it was honest advice? Even though I believe there was a touch of preservation in his answer, you can probably ask John Elway, Terrell Davis, and the rest of the ’98 Broncos to see what they’d say about Griese’s comments; I bet you they would agree.

Did Randy Moss Quit on the Patriots?

That’s the question many people are asking in the wake of Randy Moss’ one catch, one fumble, multiple drop (lack of) effort against the Panthers on Sunday. People could judge Moss’ attitude based on how he played, but the talk about actually quitting stemmed from what a few Carolina DBs said. According to Albert Breer:

“We knew [Randy Moss] was going to shut it down,’’ Carolina cornerback Chris Gamble said after the game. “That’s what we wanted him to do . . . he’d just give up a lot – slow down, he’s not going deep, not trying to run a route. You can tell [by his] body language.

Safety Chris Harris said, “You get physical with him, and I don’t want to say he quits, but he kind of doesn’t run the routes the way they’re supposed to be run. If you get a jam on him, he’ll just ease up. He had the one catch, and he fumbled.’’

Thing is, this is nothing new. Randy has freely admitted that he plays when he wants to play and that he takes plays off. Furthermore, the Patriots work Moss heavily when he has good matchups but he does become somewhat of an onlooker when defenses make a conscious effort to take him away as an option. The Patriots have enough talent on offense that they don’t need to force feed Randy the ball and that’s probably more responsible for the appearance that Randy’s effort wasn’t there.

The bottom line is that Moss had an awful game by any standards. Maybe he wasn’t focused because he was still hurt from being sent home during the week after showing up late to a meeting on Wednesday. Clearly Randy didn’t respond the way the team would have wanted him to so maybe they need to come up with different ways to handle him. Additionally, Moss needs to put his feelings aside and step up no matter how badly he feels. He can’t let his team down by not making sharp cuts on out patterns, fumbling, and dropping passes. He’ll bounce back but this certainly was a game to forget.

Steve Spagnuolo Pissed at Jeff Fisher for Running up the Score

Seems like we come across a “running up the score” issue each week when it comes to football. In week 14, it was the Titans and Rams that had a problem. St. Louis was getting smashed by Tennessee the entire game. The Rams had zero offense (which is to be expected when you’re starting Keith Null at quarterback) and they were lucky to be trailing just 23-0 at halftime. Midway through the fourth quarter, Tennessee was up 33-7 and they had the ball at the one-yard line in a 4th and goal situation. Rather than “run up the score,” you figure the Titans would just take the field goal and keep from further embarrassing the helpless Rams. At least that’s what Steve Spagnuolo thought. Titans coach Jeff Fisher had a different idea:

We settled for (field goals) early and we needed to learn to score touchdowns, and if they were unhappy with it — they faked a punt when they were down by 30. I wasn’t doing anything from a personal standpoint. I was trying to score points and coach a football team.”

Fisher’s point about the Rams running the fake punt is valid. If the Rams are doing everything possible to keep competing, why should Tennessee show mercy? To whom do they have that obligation? Maybe I was upset at the time of the call because I have Rob Bironas as my fantasy kicker and I was hoping he could pad his stats, but looking at it, Spagnuolo should not have been offended by Fisher’s decision. If he had his team better prepared, they wouldn’t be in that situation anyway. Once Marc Bulger went down, the Rams began challenging for the worst team in the NFL title.