Tag:Jeff Fisher
Posted on: December 17, 2010 2:59 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2010 3:39 pm
 

NFL Honorable Mentions: 2010's top stories

CBSSports.com is counting down the top 10 stories in all of sports of 2010. Here are the top 10 stories from the NFL that just barely missed the cut.


10. The Breakout Backs
Honorables
It was a swing year in fantasy football, as the over-valued running back position turned out a pair of new stars in the AFC: undrafted Arian Foster for the Texans and former Broncos seventh-round pick Peyton Hillis. Both players have well over 1,000 yards rushing and rank first and second in touchdown runs (entering Week 15, Foster has 13 and Hillis has 11).

Foster and Hillis share two things in common: a) both got their opportunity because their team’s second-round rookie running back got hurt prior to the season (the Texans lost Ben Tate to an ankle injury and the Browns lost Montario Hardesty to a knee) and b) both have an ideal skill set for their team’s system. Foster, a powerful yet fluid one-cut runner who thrives downhill, is tailored for Houston’s zone-blocking scheme. Hillis, a thundering steamroller who plays strictly north and south, was made for a power scheme.

Another running back who was undrafted and has blossomed unexpectedly in 2010 is New England’s BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The third-year pro is tied with Hillis for second in the league in rushing touchdowns and needs a little over 200 yards in the final three weeks to reach the millennial mark.

While we’re at it, there’s another Patriots running back who was undrafted and meets “breakout” status for 2010: Danny Woodhead (insert obligatory mention about his 5’7” size here). Woodhead, who was released in the preseason by the Jets, has done a masterful job filling the third down role of Kevin Faulk.  -- Andy Benoit


9. The Slowing Carousel



Labor negotiations have slowed the degree to which coaches have been canned in 2010. Yes, that's a terrifying thought, considering the number of gigs at risk this late in the season coupled with the coaches already fired so far this year. (John Fox and Marvin Lewis are the two most obvious "winners" when it comes to uncertain labor issues helping a coach keep a "good" job.)

In fact, the tides might have turned enough to warrant saying both gentlemen are in a worse position because of the labor strife -- they have to coach out abysmal underachievers and, sadly, hope to find some (ahem) luck at the top of the draft.

It won't matter for that pair of lame ducks, though, because their contracts are running out. On the other end of the spectrum are Wade Phillips, Brad Childress and Josh McDaniels; three coaches whose performance was so putrid that it warranted a midseason change.

Of course, neither of the first two were surprising. In fact, the only shocker involved with Wade and Chilly getting canned was the success that Jason Garrett and Leslie Frazier had afterwards.

Actually, check that -- it's also surprising that McDaniels would hire the same guy who operated the video camera during SpyGate! Which, perhaps, makes it less surprising that Pat Bowlen was less willing to sit around and wait for his newly-minted head coach to mature and suddenly found himself paying not just Mike Shanahan, McD, Eric Studesville but someone else next year. This is outrageously ironic given the lack of success that Mike Singletary (the quintessential interim coach) had in 2010, guiding the 49ers to a sub-.500 record (it seems like a fair guess at this point) in the weakest of the weak divisions, the NFC West.

Singletary said as late as Week 15 that he didn't worry about a) early season performance or b) his job security, and, well, that may say all you need to understand about why he won't land a head coaching job again.

Of course, Lovie Smith is casually guiding his team to a playoff berth and himself towards a blatantly misguided extension from Jerry Angelo, so maybe this would be a good year to take a step back and evaluate whether or not it's worth really judging a particular coach until 2011 gets nearer.

Rest assured, that's exactly what a number of owners will do. -- Will Brinson


8. Revis and the Jets

In this day and age of video games and fantasy football, it takes a special kind of greatness for a cornerback to become THE story in the NFL for an entire summer. Darrelle Revis has this special kind of greatness. As the first true shutdown corner football has seen since Deion Sanders, Revis has been by far the most important player on Rex Ryan’s vaunted defense. Without him, the Jets don’t make their run to the AFC Championship in January ’10, and they don’t enter September ’10 as one of the league’s leading Super Bowl contenders. So it’s no wonder that Revis’ contract holdout captured the headlines this past summer.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that Revis was holding out for a New York market team that happened to be featured on the über-popular HBO reality series Hard Knocks. The Jets training camp became a top 10 story in and of itself simply because we’ve never seen such transparency and personality from an NFL club. And we’ve never seen such star power or controversial new talent. The Jets are developing Mark Sanchez, the game’s first Mexican-American franchise quarterback, before our very eyes. They signed top Q-rating veterans and future Hall of Famers LaDainian Tomlinson and Jason Taylor. And, they unapologetically acquired gifted but questionable stars Braylon Edwards (in ’09), Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie.

All of this goes against the typical nature of the conservative NFL. But this, along with the aforementioned Super Bowl aspirations (which stemmed largely from the boastful Jets themselves, is why Jets regular season games landed in a featured television slot 10 times in 2010, including six in primetime. -- Andy Benoit


7. Looming Lockout

The NFL is the most popular sport in this land. This much is obvious. It doesn’t take a genius to come up with that conclusion, not when advertisers have to spend $20 million per 30-second spot in the Super Bowl (that might be a slight exaggeration) and not when the NFL ratings continue to climb every Thursday night, Sunday night and Monday night.

So, would the NFL owners and the NFL Players Association really be dumb enough to shut down the 2011 season, even partially? Wouldn’t commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith realize that a lockout could potentially kill – or, at the very least, assault – the momentum of popularity? Wouldn’t they realize that sending the 2011 season to whatever dimension the 1994 World Series exists now would be a terrible, terrible move?  

Of course, they do. But the allure of money to be made and money to be spent keeps the two sides far apart. As the expiration of the CBA comes ever closer in March, the pressure will increase. Goodell said the other day that he thought a deal could be worked out by the end of the postseason, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they go into the spring and summer without a new agreement in place. 

It’d be short-sighted, and it’d be stupid. But it’s also very possible.  

Anybody up to watch a good game of soccer?  -- Josh Katzowitz


6. So Many Second Chances

No, we're not talking about Antonio Cromartie, thanks for asking.



And yeah, maybe that's inappropriate.

But what's the old line? "Shame on me for expecting you to hang out in a terrible situation the first time and shame on you for expecting me to believe that you would legitimately stop putting yourself in terrible situations after getting in trouble the fifth or sixth* time?"

Maybe that's paraphrasing things a bit, but there are only so many chances one individual is afforded, and it seems, all asterisk jokes aside, that Ben Roethlisberger -- in trouble twice -- has maximized his chances. (The motorcycle thing doesn't count in the scope of what we're asked to judge here.)

On the front, Roethlisberger is the classic case of why the personal conduct policy is absolutely necessary -- a young man, wealthy beyond his means, cutting loose above and beyond his scope of responsible behavior in a town that doesn't understand how to handle him. Allegedly.

There's plenty of reason for people to find disgust with him, but it's about second chances here, people.

Is the world supposed to be annoyed with someone who can't fully summon their talent because they're too busy doing whatever they do in Milledgeville, Georgia? Absolutely.

Should the general public become disgusted when whatever behavior a certain talent was involved in leads to legal allegations in the same town? Naturally.

But is it only fair if the same youthful talent -- who heretofore had only developed as a person ON the field -- somehow finds a different, perhaps more mature path and ends up getting judged differently?

Hell yes it is. Hate on second chances all you want, but the eerily parallel dichotomy between Roethlisberger and Vick at least warrant giving pause to the fact that sometimes second chances are only afforded when we want them to be. -- Will Brinson


Haynesworth 5. Coup De Faill

Face it, part of the reason you watch sports is to see the inevitable downfall. It’s why Tigers Woods was so compelling, why you watched Larry Holmes dominate Muhammad Ali, why you followed Michael Jordan when he played minor league baseball. And you watch NFL football (partially) to see the same thing.

Which is why the decline of Albert Haynesworth this year was so noteworthy, why the Vince Young blowup continues to make news, why a backup WR in Randy Moss continues to attract attention.

The downfall of Haynesworth has been the biggest train-wreck of the season. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan deactivated him for four games before deciding to suspend him the rest of the season. Haynesworth has been out of shape, he’s been insubordinate and now he’s out of a job. Thankfully, he can fall back on those tens of millions of dollars.

Young’s downfall was sudden, as quick as it took to walk out of a locker room full of teammates, but depending on Bud Adams’ inclination, he unbelievably might return to the team (surely, coach Jeff Fisher wouldn’t be around any longer if that’s the case). Meanwhile, Moss believes he’ll still get paid big bucks next year, despite a season in which he’s played for three teams and has had his least productive year ever.  

All of it has made for great viewing. -- Josh Katzowitz


4. The McNabb Trade

D. McNabb's five-year deal doesn't seem all that great today (US Presswire).

There are a million different angles a person can take in describing the significance of the Easter Day McNabb trade. For starters, the trade meant the dismissal of the decade-long face of one of the NFL’s most preeminent franchises. Few athletes have ever been as polarizing in a town as McNabb was in The City of Brotherly Love. And no athlete has ever been so polarizing simply by going about his business. McNabb never exhibited a controversial personality, yet his career in Philly was littered with controversy. It required a world of class for McNabb to take it all in stride for 11 years. That classiness was appreciated and returned by the usually-ornery Philly faithful, who gave their former quarterback a standing ovation when he returned to town as a member of the hated Redskins in October.

That’s another key facet of this story: McNabb wasn’t just traded – he was traded to a division rival. Never before had a franchise quarterback been dealt within the division.

To be brutally honest, the trade has become a symbol of why the Eagles, counting this year, have eight more playoff appearances than the Redskins since 2000. The Eagles have always parted with veterans a year too soon rather than a year too late. We thought McNabb was an exception to this rule, but sure enough, he has just another testament to it (14 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, completion percentage of 60.0 through Week 14). The 34-year-old was tossed to the bench in mid-December, becoming the latest aging Pro Bowler to come to Washington only to fizzle out.

The Eagles were only comfortable dismissing McNabb because they had their signalcaller of the future already on the roster. Of course, little did they know that signalcaller would be not Kevin Kolb, but Michael Vick, the Comeback Player, MVP candidate and headline story of 2010. -- Andy Benoit


3. The Old Croc Slinger

It was the story everyone loved to pretend to hate: Brett Favre, Brett Favre, Brett Favre, Brett Favre, Brett Favre. Did you get sick of him? Maybe on the surface. But deep down, you were never sick enough to ignore him. And that’s why he stayed in the news.

Favre’s 2010 essentially began and ended in pain. He suffered a gruesome ankle injury in the NFC Championship loss to the Saints and, 11 months later, had his consecutive starts streak end at 297 thanks to a bad shoulder. In between the ankle and shoulder was a thigh, elbow and foot injury. Each injury brought about an additional slew of reports, 99.9 percent of them speculative.

It’s the very concept of speculation that has become the defining characteristic of Favre’s public image. There was speculation about whether he’ll retire or come back. (Once again, 2010 gave us plenty of those stories, too. Remember Favre’s “this is it” texts to teammates during the summer? The workouts at Oak Grove high school? The Brad Childress visits to Mississippi? The more fruitful Jared Allen-Ryan Longwell-Steve Hutchinson surprise visit at the last minute?) There was speculation about his relationship with Brad Childress (it was poor, at best). And, for the first time since his substance abuse issues in the 90s, there was speculation about Favre’s character and private life.

The Jenn Sterger ordeal never took on the life of Tiger Woods’ scandal, but that was only because Favre, for the first time in his career, wasn’t willing to publicly address a topic in his patented stream-of-conscious manner. In the end, Favre admitted to placing calls to Sterger but denied sending lewd photos. The NFL investigated but, with the year winding down, the story seems to be fading away. Oddly enough, it helped Favre that, by the time the Sterger story came out, people had grown tired of hearing his name in the news.



People may have been tired of Favre, but they weren’t sick of him. It’s doubtful that he’ll be part of the top 10 NFL stories of 2011, but it's not inconceivable. The year ahead will still carry speculation about a possible comeback (don’t count on Favre biting this time), speculation about what Favre will do next (a lot of people will say broadcasting, but Favre’s never had that kind of persona) and, perhaps most intriguing of all, speculation about when Favre will return to Lambeau Field to make amends with the fans and accept his number being retired. -- Andy Benoit


2. Injury Du Generation

This space perhaps should have been dedicated solely to Steelers LB James Harrison and James Harrison alone. He’s racked up $125,000 in fines this year after illegal hits on Browns WR Mohammad Massaquoi, Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and Saints QB Drew Brees. He’s also been quoted as saying he’s not trying to injure players, but instead, he’s only trying to hurt them (or was it, he’s trying not to hurt them, but to injure them instead?).  

Either way, it seems like concussions in the NFL have risen (there’s really no way to tell if this is true; only that the diagnosis of concussions might have risen), and in actuality, it seems like every player in the NFL this season has suffered at least one concussion. Even after the Dunta Robinson/DeSean Jackson collision forced the NFL to announce that it was going to enforce the penalties against illegal hits, the concussions have continued.  

But that’s not the scariest part of this whole scenario. The scariest part is what an examination of Chris Henry’s brain found in June. Though he played in the league only five years before he died last season, his brain showed signs of significant brain damage caused by repeated blows to the head.  

While it’s great that people like Chris Nowinski are making a concerted effort to educate the public about the dangers of concussions and continued head injuries, nothing is likely to change. The players don’t want rules-makers messing with the game, they don’t want to change their tackling technique, they just want to hit people and hit people hard. Many fans agree. Which, of course, is easy to do when you’re not the one who is getting smashed on the field every week.

This problem, I fear, will continue until the end of time.  -- Josh Katzowitz


1. First-Place Second Chance



There's a reasonable argument that Michael Vick's current situation is the most compelling redemptive story we've seen in sports.

Ever.

And yeah, I'm sorry that it requires the age-old tripe that is the one-line semi-paragraph to describe what Vick did, but, well, he tortured dogs and somehow returned to the good graces of America. Or at least the majority of America and/or those that buy their Nissans from Woodbury, New Jersey.



That's less than half a joke. Take a step back and look at what Michael Vick did, compare it to what any "sports villain" has done in the past 50 years (versus their redemptive story, natch) and, pretty please, find a comparable. Josh Hamilton is the closest thing there is and even he dealt with sins beyond the level of self-indulgence. That's not to say that we should applaud someone who manages to jerry-rig an engine to drive a broken car more than we should applaud someone who happens to repair the tires on a four-wheel flat.

It's just that if you're going to gauge a level of success by figuring out where someone ends relative to where they started and award bonus points for where they went in between (which, folks, unless you've stopped paying attention for the last several hundred years, is the "American Dream"), then it's very, very difficult to root against Michael Vick.

And also why he was nearly the most compelling story of 2010. -- Will Brinson

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Posted on: December 17, 2010 2:01 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2010 2:08 pm
 

Was Moss ripping Fisher or being impersonated?

Posted by Andy Benoit

On Friday afternoon I received an instant message from my blogging partner Will Brinson. In the message was a link to a Clay Travis of FanHouse article that had audio of what sounded like Randy Moss calling a Nashville radio station and ripping Jeff Fisher.

Upon clicking the link and listening to the voice, it was immediately clear that the topic of any post regarding this subject would be not about what Moss said, but rather, about whether the caller was actually Moss. The caller identified himself as “Woody”; the radio show host, Blaine Bishop (a former Titan) was the one who, after hearing the voice, claimed it was actually Moss.

You can listen here for yourself.





Instead of starting a rumor, I decided it would be most effective and unique to give readers a peak behind our curtain by copying and pasting my ensuing chat with Will:

Andy Benoit
    that's not moss in the interview

Will Brinson
    you don't think so?

Andy Benoit
    no. absolutely not.

Will Brinson
    how are you so confident? (just legitimately curious)

Andy Benoit
    that would be 100 percent against moss's nature. it would have never been done before in sports media history. there's nothing for moss to gain by doing that. and the voice did not match moss's voice well enough. the delivery is similar but not enough bass. and also the voice said "oh" after the radio host responded to him. moss asks rhetorical questions but he does not respond to responses. he wouldn't say "oh" based off another guy's point. he'd just say what he wasnted to say and continue, he doesn't offer feedback to people when they talk to him (at least he doesn't nod in press conference questions or anything like that).

Will Brinson
    hmmmm. very good point
    you should debunk it in the post (and actually, that's an awesome point)

Andy Benoit
    ok i will (was just thinking that myself)
   
Will Brinson
    woah. you're right. the "Oh, okay" isn't Moss


Are we wrong here? Is there anyone who can argue that the voice in the audio is indeed Moss?

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Posted on: December 12, 2010 10:43 am
 

Fisher seemingly on shaky ground

Bud Adams has some decisions to make regarding Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Every day, it seems like Titans coach Jeff Fisher is closer and closer to becoming the fourth coach this NFL season to get the pink slip.

While Tennessee owner Bud Adams has been more than loyal to Fisher – even though his teams have had more non-winning seasons than winning seasons in his 16-year tenure – you have to wonder if Adams’ patience is running thin. And if he could, gasp, actually choose to keep QB Vince Young with the squad and get rid of Fisher.

"I am not too happy right now, I'll tell you that," Adams told the Tennessean . "But I think it is too early to talk about it. We have three more games to go and I'll be able to talk a lot better after those three games. We'll go up to the end of the season and then I'll make my decision. I am not very pleased with what has happened here, though. It's not what I had in mind.''

Assuming Tennessee doesn’t make the postseason this year, it’d be the fifth time in the past seven seasons the Titans didn’t earn a playoff berth.

One positive aspect for Fisher: Adams doesn’t hold him responsible for the injuries to Young and backup QB Kerry Collins, and he understands that playing rookie Rusty Smith wasn’t exactly ideal.

"You can't blame (Fisher) when you don't have your key guys playing,” Adams said. “But I have to look at the whole picture and what has been happening since we have been in Nashville, what our record is, where we stand in the league. That is important.''

For the record, Fisher’s record with the team is 141-118.

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Posted on: December 10, 2010 5:06 pm
 

Fisher is cool with Britt liking Vince Young

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Earlier today, Will told you about Titans WR Kenny Britt’s tribute Thursday night to Vince Young when he wore a towel with #10 VY written on it in black ink.

Considering Young is in a very public feud with Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher, Britt’s gesture would seem like a slap in the face to the person who decides how much playing time he’ll get for the rest of the season. Especially if owner Bud Adams decides he’d rather live with Young on the team rather than employ Fisher as the coach.

Fisher was asked about the towel today, and the gesture didn’t seem to bother him.

“I wasn’t aware of it last night and I haven’t addressed it with him," Fisher said via the Tennessean. "Today, we cut the players loose (for the weekend). I’m not too concerned. What I want him to do is play."

Which he did Thursday, taking pretty much all of Randy Moss’ reps, though he only caught four passes for 39 yards in Tennessee’s loss. Fisher also wouldn’t be surprised if Britt is a little lighter in the wallet when the NFL is finished with him.

"There’s fines levied every week for uniform violations across the league, whether they’re socks or towels or what have you,” Fisher said. “So if it’s something that didn’t fit the requirements, I’m sure there will be a fine.”

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Posted on: December 10, 2010 10:06 am
 

Britt salutes Young in return, Moss goes goodbye?

Posted by Will Brinson

Kenny Britt may have helped put the Titans in a first half hole Thursday night (his costly third-down fumble led to the Colts' second touchdown of the game), but his return also provided a spark for an offense that hadn't scored in 33 consecutive drives before their touchdown near the end of the first half.

It was a spark that Randy Moss didn't bring/hasn't brought to the Titans, and the wide receiver essentially sat out the entire game, either because he's not worth sending deep or he simply can't provide enough run blocking to make it worth keeping him on the field.

Either way though, Moss was the surprisingly quiet one off the field -- it was Britt that might be stirring up trouble in the locker room, with his decision to show support for teammate Vince Young. Britt sported a white towel with #10 VY written in black ink, according to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, but didn't come back out with it on in the second half.

This is problematic since Britt's current head coach, Jeff Fisher, isn't exactly BFF's with Young right now. Fisher told the NFL Network before last night's game that he hasn't spoken to Vince and doesn't know where Young is and that he wishes Vince would be more of a "pro." (Although he wishes everyone would be, but that's neither here nor there.)

It's even more problematic, though, because Fisher also said last night that "to a man most everybody in that locker room" was not on Young's side. Britt's display would at least seem to imply he's not directly in Fisher's corner (although Roddy White once sported a "Free Mike Vick" t-shirt and he's doing just fine, thanks). Regardless, expect him to pick up a fine from the commissioner's office for the uniform violation.

As for Moss, his time in Tennessee -- remember, his third team this year -- might be coming to an end sooner or later. The Titans have either decided that he's not elite enough of a wideout to start over Britt or Nate Washington or they're convinced that since they haven't won a game since they acquired him six weeks ago, he must just be a jinx.

Either way, it seems increasingly likely that we've seen Moss play his last meaningful down as a Titan (which might actually be his first) and, unless a fourth team thinks they can use him for the playoff run, perhaps the end of Moss in the NFL for 2010. Which will make his contract negotiations going forward incredibly awkward.

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Posted on: December 10, 2010 12:10 am
 

Peyton politely reminds us not to overreact

Posted by Will Brinson

It would nearly have been possible over the last three weeks to forget that Peyton Manning is really, really good. I say nearly because if you turned on the television at any point, that idea was ruined because everyone was screaming about one of the worst stretches in Manning's career.

On Thursday, as he led Indianapolis to a 30-28 win, Peyton reminded everyone exactly who he is and what he does.

Lest you forget, some numbers: Manning's 315-yard game puts him in a tie with Dan Marino for the most 300-yard games in NFL history (63), he crossed the 4,000-yard marker (11th time in his career), and his two touchdown passes gave him 25-plus for the 13th straight season.

He should have had another, but Blair White's, ahem, defense in the middle of the third quarter on a third down would-have-been touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne gave the Titans a little bit of new life.

Asked afterwards what he said to the rookie following the play, Manning laughed it off.

"Like I said, y'all have so many cameras with this coverage and I realize you can't do anything without getting filmed," Manning said. "So I asked [NFL Network sideline reporter] Alex [Flanagan] what I said to Blair and she said she couldn't repeat it."

He was a lot more jovial after the game though, especially because a) Indy's back in the playoff race and b) we don't have to spend the next 10 days talking about the decline of Peyton (Manning claims he doesn't read/listen to stuff, but at some point Tom Moore told him to "keep his head up," so he knew things were bad).

"Hey, nobody likes losing three in a row," Manning said when asked if he was frustrated by the losing. "That's been kind of new to us, that's been kind of foreign territory to us, but it's part of football. "Somebody asked 'Are you in a slump?' and I guess maybe I was, but I'd been on kind of an eight-and-a-half-year hitting streak going into that. It kinda came out of nowhere, but I plan on getting out of it."

Indy's still got work to do, of course, but Thursday night's game -- coming off three straight losses on a short week, no less -- was an example of a different-looking Colts team than we'd gotten used to over the past few weeks.

I kind of thought we got back to being that three-dimensional offense again," Manning said afterwards. "Some first-down runs, some play-actions, some drop-back, we had a good mix and I thought that really got things going for us tonight."

Of course, it's easy to run when the Titans are begging you to do it -- Tennessee declined to put anyone in the box, and Javarris James (17 carries, 49 rushing yards) and Donald Brown (15 carries, 38 yards) were able to establish something resembling a mediocre running game, which is more than you can say for the Colts over the past few weeks.

And aside from White's blunder, the Colts did what they've been doing all season, which is get locked in once they find the red zone and convert drives into touchdowns.

"I just thought we had that good flow," Manning said. "We stayed out of the third and long for the most part. We've been getting in some third and longs, and those are hard to overcome.

"We've been really good in the red zone -- I think we are No. 1 in the red zone, we just haven't been getting down there much. As you can see, it's taken us long drives to get down there, but once we get down there, we get touchdowns."

There are still plenty of issues for Indianapolis to work out, especially on the defensive end. Allowing Kerry Collins to go 28/39 for 244 yards and three touchdowns (even if it some of it was in junk time) and giving up 100 yards to a previously stone-cold CJ2K is indicative of issues that could come into play during the next three weeks as the Colts try and walk down Jacksonville in the AFC South.

They're dealing with injuries too, but at least things are all good on the locker room/team chemistry front.

"If you had told me [White, Tamme, James, etc] were gonna be playing at the beginning of the season, I probably would have said that's not good for us," Manning said when asked who was to blame for the team's losing streak and his rash of picks. "But these guys are learning, and it's my job -- and our job -- to help them. So I think as a veteran, it doesn't do any good to blame anybody else and it's really not about who's fault it is. It's about how you handle it and how you fix it."

And that's the thing -- you can take away Joseph Addai, and you can take away Dallas Clark, and you can take away Bob Sanders (although he hasn't really been there since he signed his contract anyway), and you can take away Austin Collie, and as long as you don't take away Peyton Manning, the Colts are going to have a chance at winning week-in and week-out.

That doesn't make him the 2010 MVP (although you have to imagine he heard everyone crowing about Tom Brady's performance Monday and it boosting him to top dog status), but it does make him, well, Peyton Manning.

Which is something that a lot of people foolishly forgot for the last three weeks.

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Posted on: December 9, 2010 7:55 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2010 8:59 pm
 

Fisher gets candid on VY: 'I haven't seen him'

Posted by Will Brinson

Vince Young's situation with Jeff Fisher (it's not good!) is irrelevant for Titans' football played on the field this year, because Young is on injured reserve.

But it's extremely relevant for next year and Fisher's future as a coach for the remainder of the season (oddly enough, Andy and I discussed this very subject on the podcast Thursday); Bud Adams has made it pretty clear that he wants Young on the team, while Fisher has implied quite strongly that he would prefer Vince not to play for the Titans.

On Thursday, he got extremely candid with Steve Mariucchi of the NFL Network about the situation.

"I don't know," Fisher said when Mooch asked him where Young is at the moment. "I haven't seen him since the Redskins game, since he left the locker room -- left the team in the locker room."

You probably recall that there was some discussion as to Young walking out of the locker room, and then some more discussion as to Young texting Fisher an apology instead of offering a face-to-face mea culpa. That led to the speculation that Young wasn't welcome at the team's facility. Thursday, Fisher confirmed that wasn't true.

"Yes, he's welcome -- he's treated no differently than any other injured reserve player," Fisher said.

However, the technicality of Young being "welcome" may not mean that he's actually welcome, if you know what I am saying.

"My gut feel is the locker room's much better [without him] because of his actions after the game," Fisher said. "There's no excuse for what he did.

"I think to a man most everybody in that locker room would have disagreed with his actions and from that standpoint, he's probably better off not being here. But he is welcome to come back and rehab and be in the meeting rooms and so on."

Fisher also told Mariucchi that he hasn't spoken to Bud Adams about the future with Young -- only that they'd had a discussion about the "franchise quarterback's" thumb surgery and season-ending trip to injured reserve. Mooch ended the segment of the interview by asking a stupendous question: what's the one thing that Fisher would like to change about Young.

"This is not just Vince -- this is most players in general," Fisher responded. "I think it's understanding what it takes to be a pro and the time commitment. It's a privilege to play in the National Football League and it takes work. And there are also going to be ups and downs associated with that and you have to be able to keep those in perspective."

To sum up quickly: Fisher isn't going to be happy if he's trying to live with Young next year, regardless of the fact that Adams clearly thinks the former Texas Longhorn is forever young.

That's obviously not the case, as Young is now 27, without having shown any clear signs of becoming a "pro." And Adams would be wise to note that the Rose Bowl was a really long time ago, and that Matt Leinart (Young's opposition that night) has already moved on. If the Titans' owner was wise, he'd give V.Y. the same fate, instead of potentially losing the longest-tenured current coach in the NFL.

Because if you read between the lines (words?) and you look at the way Fisher's approaching his future (by being extremely candid on-air with just for weeks remaining in 2010), it's pretty clear he'll walk if he has to.

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Posted on: December 9, 2010 2:52 pm
 

NFL Podcast Preview: Titans vs. Colts

Posted by Will Brinson

The Thursday night NFL matchup features the Titans vs. Colts and before the season, this puppy looked pretty sweet, since it features superstar power in Peyton Manning and Chris Johnson. Somewhere along the line, Peyton lost his arm strength and defenses figured him out (just kidding) and Johnson's team forgot he was on the roster (maybe not kidding).

Can Peyton bounce back and find someone other than Reggie Wayne for big yards? Will the Titans be motivated with the possibility of Jeff Fisher leaving? Should Fisher leave if Bud Adams refuses to cut Vince Young loose (random rant No. 2)? Just how handsome is Tom Brady (awkward, random rant No. 1)? Why isn't Brady a bigger star than Peyton? Can the Titans get CJ2K more involved? Will their defense even bother showing up on Thursday?

Andy and I answer all those questions (plus, much, much more) below -- just hit the play button below and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes.

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .
 
 
 
 
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