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Tony Dungy: Aaron Rodgers Is the Best Player in Football

Despite winning Super Bowl MVP last season, Aaron Rodgers is rarely mentioned when people are asked to name the top quarterback in the NFL. The list usually starts with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. When those two were ranked one and two on NFL Network’s Top 100 players of 2011 list, I said that Rodgers should have been No. 1. Instead, he was listed 11th. Apparently someone else agrees with me.

During the pre-game analysis of the Packers-Saints season opener on NBC, former Colts coach Tony Dungy declared Rodgers the best player in the NFL.

“Rodgers is special,” Dungy said. “He’s smart, he’s tough, and he can make all the throws you need to make.

“What separates him is the mobility. This is what makes him a great quarterback and why if I were building a team right now, I’d take Aaron Rodgers if I wanted to win a Super Bowl. I would take Rodgers over [Drew] Brees, [Tom] Brady, and [Peyton] Manning.”

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Tony Dungy: ‘I Would Cut Ties with Vince Young’ if I Were Jeff Fisher

It’s one thing for an impetuous writer or a schmuck caller on sports talk radio to say the Titans need to part ways with Vince Young. It’s quite another when Tony Dungy says it. See, Dungy was a Super Bowl winning coach with the Colts, so his words actually carry some weight around these parts. He’s run teams, helped with personnel decisions, and he seems like a rational dude. Rational people don’t make conclusive remarks without really believing in them, so you know Dungy was serious when he commented on the Vince Young-Jeff Fisher situation in Tennessee.

Asked what he would do with Vince Young, Dungy said “I think you cut ties with Vince Young … that’s just wrong.” Tony added “No coach in the National Football League has his players’ back as much as Jeff Fisher does. And Vince Young as a quarterback, he’s gotta be with them.”

That’s coming from someone who knows how difficult it is to find a quality quarterback, and how much a team can be hurt by a lack of good quarterback play. Dungy wouldn’t have recommended the Titans part ways with Vince Young if VY hadn’t really screwed up, and if he didn’t believe Young were expendable. We already knew Buffalo would be looking for a new quarterback in the draft, maybe now you can add Tennessee to the list.

Tony Dungy Upsets Wade Phillips, Tony Romo This Time

The same week that Tony Dungy elicited the anger of Chargers coach Norv Turner, he also upset the Dallas Cowboys. Dungy inspired the Cowboys last year saying they had no chance to beat the undefeated Saints, but this time his comments were reserved for quarterback Tony Romo. After Romo threw three picks including one to seal the loss for Dallas, Dungy said on NBC “Part of being a leader at the quarterback position is protecting the football. You’ve got to do that to be a great quarterback.” Fair comment, especially since that pick sealed the loss.

Well head coach Wade Phillips went after Dungy, bringing up how Tony wasn’t so successful entering a game for the Steelers as their emergency quarterback when Wade was on the Houston Oilers staff. Phillips added, “Tony Dungy has been a great coach in this league. He told everybody that New Orleans would kill us last year and we had no chance. I don’t know his credibility that way.”

Romo responded by saying that Dungy wasn’t qualified to comment on his leadership since he’s not around the team. Romo pulled a Rex Ryan, inviting Dungy to practice. “He can come along if he wants to see. He can see it anytime you’re out here. That’s just part of it. If you’d ask any of my coaches you’d probably get a different answer. If Tony Dungy was in here it’d be the same way.”

This really is unbelievable. I can’t recall another commentator — aside from Charles Barkley — whose analysis and comments caused more discomfort. For coming across and having a reputation as such a nice guy, it sure seems as if Dungy has a lot of enemies in the league. To think, we still have another three months of this!

Norv Turner Fires Back at Tony Dungy

Tony Dungy has been known to get under people’s skin with his remarks as a commentator on NBC. His words inspired the Cowboys against the Saints last year, and he also upset Rex Ryan saying he wouldn’t ever hire the man. Now he’s pissed off Chargers coach Norv Turner.

Apparently Dungy must have said on Football Night in America that Norv Turner shoulders some of the blame for San Diego’s struggles this year. I was watching the show and don’t recall Dungy saying anything inflammatory, and that comment certainly doesn’t qualify. 99% of unbiased people would agree with what Dungy said, particularly considering the way the special teams problems have cost the Chargers three games.

Someone from the San Diego media took Dungy’s comments to Norv on Monday and served him up a softball. Let’s just say Norvell knocked it out of the park.

“You make a comment and see a team from (afar),” Turner said. “I can relate to him. It’s probably how he felt when his players let Darren sproles return a punt and a kick for a touchdown here on a Sunday night game or when Peyton (Manning) threw six interceptions against us. I understand we have work to do. It’s like any head coach would feel after a game like that.”

Damn, that was a pretty strong comeback from Norv. I can understand why he would be upset, but Dungy’s comments were completely fair. Then again, if you’re 2-3 and being questioned by a coach whom your team owned head-to-head, you’d probably be upset too. Keep it coming Norv, I love it.

Tony Dungy: I Would Have Deactivated Braylon Edwards After DUI

Wide receiver Braylon Edwards became the headline story for the Jets this week when he got popped for a DUI with his car full of teammates. Media members and the front office debated how the team should handle the situation, and we said the Jets should have shown him a lesson by benching him for the big Sunday night game against the Dolphins. They ultimately decided to bench Braylon for the first quarter of the game, with coach Rex Ryan explaining that Edwards had already been embarrassed enough by his teammates and media so there was no need to pile on. Fair enough.

NBC analyst and former Colts coach Tony Dungy, who met with Ryan to settle their cussing differences, says he would have acted differently. During Football Night in America on NBC, Dungy said “I think you have to discipline players. You have to let them you know what you expect. When I coached, I wasn’t worried about the Collective Bargaining Agreement. I told our guys I’ve got two rules: if you’re out after 1am, if there’s drugs or alcohol involved, if you’ve got a gun, you’re not going to get the benefit of the doubt. I don’t care about the Collective Bargaining Agreement. I would have [deactivated Braylon Edwards] and the players would have known about it.”

I’m glad that Dungy stands for discipline and doesn’t tolerate drugs, alcohol, or guns, but I wonder if he would have done what he said had he been in Rex Ryan’s shoes. I’m sure Ryan wants to discipline Edwards, but it’s hard to make that move when you’re 1-1 and facing a divisional opponent who’s 2-0. Moreover, it’s a lot easier to say that when Peyton Manning is your quarterback. Dungy is saying the right thing, but I honestly wonder if he would have carried out his words had he been in Rex’s situation.

Tony Dungy Will Travel to Jets Practice to Kiss and Make Up with Rex Ryan

Former Colts Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy made headlines when he said he wouldn’t hire Rex Ryan after hearing Ryan’s profanity-laced speeches on Hard Knocks. Dungy’s extreme comment unfortunately buried his message that an NFL coach can be effective without swearing. While Dungy comes across as mild mannered, it’s not the first time he’s gotten in a zing on an opponent.

Had Dungy presented his commentary without invoking Goodell’s name and without saying he wouldn’t hire Rex Ryan, then the Jets coach probably would not have been quite so upset. As it was, things got completely out of hand. Ryan is surprisingly self-deprecating and sensitive, so the criticism had to have stung. Not only did the two talk things out “man-to-man” on Wednesday, but Dungy will also visit a Jets practice at some point.

The uniting factor between Dungy and Rex apparently is an anonymous figure who knows both men and spoke highly of Rex. Because of the positive recommendation, Dungy is going to see things first hand to learn what Rex is all about. Aside from wondering who the uniting figure is, the obvious question is: will Rex cuss while Dungy’s at practice or will he be on his best behavior?

Sources:
Dungy to visit Jets after a heart-to-heart with Rex [New York Post]

Tony Dungy: I Wouldn’t Hire Rex Ryan

By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the speech that Rex Ryan gave to his team on the HBO series Hard Knocks where he was absolutely raining f-bombs.  A lot of players and fans like to see and hear that kind of attitude from a head coach, but Tony Dungy thinks there’s no need for it.  Rex likes to talk a lot of crap and use a lot of profanity, and Dungy told the Dan Patrick Show on Monday that that would be enough to keep him from hiring the Jets head coach if he were in charge of a team.  Here’s what Tony Dungy had to say about how he would not hire Rex Ryan, courtesy of Pro Football Talk:

I’m disappointed with all the profanity,” Dungy said. “I think Rex can make his points without all that.”

I would not [hire Ryan]. I personally don’t want my players to be around that. I don’t want to be around that. . . . It’s hard for me to be around that, and if I were in charge, no, I wouldn’t hire someone like that. Now, I’ve been around ‘F’ bombs, so it’s not like it’s new. I just don’t think that has to be part of your every-minute, everyday vocabulary to get your point across.”

Dungy even went on to say that he thinks NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should give Rex Ryan a call to tell him to knock it off.

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