Tag:Marvin Lewis
Posted on: November 25, 2010 10:48 pm
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The legacy of Chris Henry

C. Henry was an organ donor, and today, the NFL Today featured the recepients of his gifts (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If you watch one thing before you go to bed tonight – or if you already saw it on the NFL Today this afternoon and want to rewatch it again Friday morning – check out this amazingly bittersweet story on Chris Henry, Henry’s mother and the people (and their families) who were given the gift of Henry’s organs after he died.

Believe me, it’ll make the room real dusty.

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since Henry died after falling off the back of a moving pickup truck. Those of us who knew and covered Henry couldn’t have been shocked (he’d been in so much trouble that a death at an early age wasn’t an altogether unlikely scenario), but we were all saddened by the news. In the last year of his life, he had tried so hard to prove to his Bengals teammates and coaches, to Bengals fans, to himself that he was a changed man.

Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote after I heard the news:

RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico – It was the week after he broke his arm and a couple days after the Bengals placed him on Injured Reserve. We spotted Chris Henry, arm in a cast, in the locker room, and about four of us reporters walked over to his corner locker to see how things were going.

We asked fairly innocuous questions – did you know the arm was broken immediately; how frustrating is this injury when it comes at a time like this; do you want to be back in a Bengals uniform next year? Like usual, Henry was soft-spoken and pleasant. He wasn’t a great talker – you might have to combine two or three answers together to get a three-line quote for the story – but he was usually agreeable. For a pro athlete, much of the time, that’s all for which you can hope.

But then, just as we were wrapping up an interview that was probably 2 or 3 minutes long, one reporter asked something like this, “Eh, Chris, some people would say that since you’re not going to be around the team on a day-to-day basis, you might fall back into your old ways. What do you think?”

… The reporter’s question – some people are saying you might screw up again – caught Henry off guard.

“Who’s saying that?” he asked.

“Eh, uh, I guess I am,” the reporter said.

I don’t remember the answer Henry gave, but it was something along the lines of, “Don’t worry about me. I’ve changed. I’ll be just fine.”

That exchange from last month was the first thing I thought about when I saw online that Henry had fallen off the back of a pick-up truck during a domestic argument and was in bad shape. Then I thought: if he hadn’t suffered his broken arm, Henry would still be with the Bengals. He wouldn’t have been in Charlotte arguing with his fiancée. He wouldn’t have jumped onto the back of a pickup truck shirtless and the cast still on his healing arm. He wouldn’t have reportedly threatened suicide. He wouldn’t have fallen off. He wouldn’t have died.

Coach Marvin Lewis called Henry a “beacon of hope.” I’m not sure I agree with those exact words. But here’s what I believe – Henry finally realized he had to make changes and that he was trying to turn his life around. Trying really hard. He was trying to be the best father and the best domestic partner he could be. He made a bad decision during an argument with a loved one, and it cost him his life. The way he died doesn’t make him a bad man. The year leading up to his death showed who he truly was trying to become.

Sadly, we’ll never know the end result. And that’s a shame. He could have really had something to say.


Turns out his mother has something to say as well: enhance somebody else’s life. Be an organ donor.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: November 20, 2010 11:58 am
 

Five Questions (or More) with Mike Gottfried

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Bill Gottfried was a longtime college football coach (for a combined 12 seasons, he was the head coach at Murray State, Cincinnati, Kansas and Pitt with a combined record of 75-56-4), and since he hung up the whistle for good, he’s kept involved in the game. He was a TV analyst for many years at ESPN, but he’s also turned to helping boys who are growing up without fathers.

A decade ago, he started Team Focus, a program that helps provide those fatherless children with the skills of life and provides them with a long-term mentor. Three years ago, he wrote a book called Coaches Challenge: Faith, Football and Filling the Father Gap.

Now, he’s back with his second literary offering, Wisdom From Winners. In that work, he talks to coaches – including Houston’s Gary Kubiak, Indianapolis’ Jim Caldwell, former Atlanta coach June Jones and former Dolphins QB Bob Griese – about the nuggets of wisdom they’ve learned in their lives.

We caught up with Gottfried, who now lives in Mobile, this week to talk about Team Focus, his former NFL aspirations and his new book.

Previous Five Questions or More:

Nov. 12: 49ers LB Takeo Spikes

Nov. 5: former WR, current NFL analyst Keyshawn Johnson

Oct. 29: Chargers LS Mike Windt

Oct. 22: Bengals WR coach Mike Sheppard

Oct. 15: Redskins WR Anthony Armstrong

Oct. 8:
Patriots LB Rob Ninkovich

Oct. 1: Kent Babb of the KC Star

Sept. 24: Texans WR Kevin Walter

Sept. 17: former Bengals, Titans DT John Thornton

Sept. 11: Seahawks RB Leon Washington

1. CBSSports: I know you wrote a book a few years ago about kids with no fathers, but tell me about this book idea and where it came from.

Mike Gottfried: I was riding on an airplane with Mark Harris, a singer-songwriter. He lives in Mobile. We were coming back and he said, “Of all the people you know, why don’t you write a book on legacies?” I said, “Well, maybe someday.” I went back and that’s about the time (former NFL coach) Sid (Gillman) died. Bill Walsh died a little bit later, and I got to thinking that with those boys I’m working with, they’re not ever going to meet a Sid Gillman or a Bill Walsh or Pete Rose or John Wooden or Nick Saban or Bobby Bowden. I thought if I could get these people to give a little nugget of influence they got somewhere along the line, I could combine it into a book. I started calling guys and sending out questionnaires.

CBS:
I know Sid died in 2003. How long did it take you to compile this?

Gottfried:
It’s been about seven years. I was real fired up right way, and then I got involved in some other things, and I put it on the backburner. Probably about a year ago, I really got everything accumulated. I took everything and started compiling it.

2. CBS: Most of these coaches are successful at the highest levels of their profession. Do you think they really stop to think about their legacy?

Gottfried: I think you do at different times. You don’t go around every day thinking about it. But when I sent the letter to them and the questionnaire and told them about the boys, they took it serious. They thought, “I do want to be a part of this. I do have something to say.” It became very important to be a part of it.

CBS: How did you get involved with Team Focus?

Gottfried: My father died when I was 11. I felt the loss of a father and I kept a lot of things inside me. I didn’t have a lot of people to ask, “How do I do this?” I grew up in a small town where the people really kind of helped raise us. They would encourage me and my brothers. I knew that played a big part in getting me where I’m supposed to be.

CBS: Were a lot of the coaches you talked to in this same scenario – maybe not a father dying but having to overcome long odds to get to where they are now?

Gottfried: Many of them. Bob Griese is one that comes to mind. His dad died when he was 10. Coaches, teachers and Little League helped him, because he was struggling. I think there a lot of guys that know the importance of coaching and the importance of being a mentor in somebody’s life. They were so interested in helping and getting out the nuggets that people taught them. That was a really encouraging.

3. CBS:
It’s interesting you say that. I always tend to think the mentoring coaches are more those guys in high school and in college. But I remember watching the TV show Hard Knocks last year, and Marvin Lewis spent time mentoring Chad Ochocinco in the world of banking and saving money. Here’s a guy who’s grown up and in his 30s, and still, Lewis is mentoring him about life. But I guess that’s why people get into coaching when they first start out.

Gottfried:
Without a doubt. So many guys I saw come to schools I was at – Murray State, Cincinnati, Kansas and Pittsburgh – I would see things in them that if you just would work with them, they really could be polished in those areas. Some of them were real shy and didn’t want to speak. We talked to them about speaking, and with some of these young boys, we put them on camera so they could see how they looked to other people. All those things you take for granted if you’ve grown up with a father. But growing up with a father who’s absent, they don’t learn it. It’s missing. If you can help them be complete, that’s coaching.

4. CBS:
When you were coaching college, did you ever have the desire to go to the NFL?

Gottfried: I had some chances to go in the NFL after I got fired in Pittsburgh. I got into TV, and I wanted to go back. One year, I had a chance with the Browns, one year with the 49ers. I talked to Bill Walsh, and he talked about going back to Tampa and I talked to him about that. Then he decided not to go back. But I thought about it a lot.

5. CBS:
Following the stroke you had a couple years ago, is the TV career over? Is that something you can get back into?

Gottfried:
Right now what I want to do is focus on trying to raise money and reach more boys with Team Focus.

CBS:
That must be satisfying experience.

Gottfried:
It really is. I’ve seen guys when we statted 10 or 11 years ago and now we see so many young men, so many serving in Afghanistan and in Iraq, so many in college, working in business, and leading all kind of different lives. When you see a picture of them from 2002 and you see this little guy in the first row and you know where he’s at today, it’s pretty rewarding.

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Posted on: November 18, 2010 12:02 am
 

Dey Took Er Jobs: Did We Really Doubt Mike Vick?

Posted by Will Brinson

Dey Took Er Jobs takes a look at the various job controversies around the league. If you don't get the title, you don't watch enough South Park . This week: Where have all the job controversies gone? No, but seriously, we're all locked in! Also, Vick talk, because it's Vick Week. And who's on the hot seat?

It's fairly bizarre that for at least say, oh, five weeks we wondered whether or not Michael Vick should be the starter for the Eagles.

Well not so much wondered but at least kind of debated. Well, okay, after we saw how Vick played against Detroit and Jacksonville there wasn't a debate, but Kevin Kolb's performance against Atlanta and his strong effort while Vick was sidelined at least had people thinking twice.

Speaking of thinking twice, remember when Andy Reid decided to go with Vick and we all got all RABBLE-RABBLE! on him for not being man enough to make up his mind?

Yeah, we should probably all apologize for that, because he ended up being 100 percent correct in his decision making, which culminated in Week 10's fantasy point explosion where Vick piled up 413 yards and four touchdowns via the air and ground. (And really, it's kind of criminal that he didn't win both the FedEx awards this week.)

Reid's decision making also includes signing Vick in the first place, prepping him to be a better pocket passer, and putting him in situations to succeed (even if sometimes those situations have fans of football screaming "STOP LETTING HIM TAKE HITS TO THE RIBS, BIG GUY!").

At the end of the year, if the franchise tag survives the new CBA, Vick's likely to get tagged, which may be why the two sides have yet to discuss an extension. Mike Florio of PFT cites a source who says that Vick's contract/extension value is lower than one might think (relative to the market value of the guy he whipped on Monday, Donovan McNabb, who just got a pretty big deal) unless the Eagles can get some sort of assurances that Vick won't get in trouble. In fact, one of the sources points out that "all he has to do is breathe in the wrong direction and he will be suspended for life." Obviously that's a bit of hyperbole (after all, Vick survived his birthday party that wasn't exactly a Sweet 16), but not that much -- he's about to go from one of the greatest second-chance stories of all-time right back to super-popular, rich mega-bajillionaire.

His current humility and attitude towards life sure seems like it can survive that temptations that come along with that, but in the same way that Reid showed some good faith in Vick, well, the quarterback should reciprocate towards Philadelphia, even if it means taking less money than he could get elsewhere.

Reid's talents for offensive scheming fit Vick's talents for offensive performance, and there's no reason to mess with a good thing. Not saying he should completely cave on contract demands (this is a business after all) and not saying the Eagles should put all their eggs in one basket, particularly one with a history of not always holding up, but this is a pretty good marriage right now, and everyone involved would be wise to let it keep rolling.

****
Elsewhere in the NFL, well, man, there ain't a whole lot of job issues anymore. We can start in Carolina (per usual), but at this point we're debating the semantics between Brian St. Pierre and Tony Pike, which is like debating between, um Mike Goodson and Tyrelle Sutton.

Actually, no it's not, because Sutton, along with Jonathan Stewart, aren't likely to play this week. Which leaves Goodson and whatever poor soul the Panthers have to start at quarterback against a Ravens defense that is suddenly enraged at being called "not elite." Should be good times!

Arizona's "solved" their quarterback problems the same way Seattle has -- by default. It just makes more sense to roll with Derek Anderson and Matt Hasselebeck at this point, rather than go with the alternative, which involves a rookie and Jesus Beard, respectively.

****
Troy Smith appears to have solved the problems in San Francisco (yes, those problems were "losing" coupled with "crappy quarterback play") and, as we mentioned last week, why wouldn't he? Well, except for that ridiculous "week-to-week" tag that Mike Singletary hit him with; that's insulting to Troy and the team and anyone who's ever seen Alex Smith or David Carr lose games.

People lamented his height as a reason for not having quarterback success in the NFL, but that's a poor excuse when the talent is there. And, frankly, probably an indicator of why talent evaluation misses so badly sometimes.

****
Even the Dolphins, who just lost TWO quarterbacks in the last week, aren't a debatable team, because there's Tyler Thigpen, who's had some decent success in Kansas City, and there's Patrick Ramsey, who has a resume with enough teams on it that even Todd Bouman cringes when he reads it.

So …

****
Pants on Fire (Because, you see, it's a hot seat)

- Brad Childress: Once Brett Favre's lost all hope, there's no reason to continue believing that you've got a job as a head coach. Even more telling of Chilly's future is that he didn't know about Favre's "shoulder injury," which should probably be indicative of his status after this year. Frankly, the team's absolutely foolish not to give Leslie Frazier a chance right now.

- John Fox: He's as good as gone at this point, but give him credit for this -- he 100 percent has not lost the Panthers in terms of the team believing him. You can see it from those guys that they buy into what he's saying, even at 1-8, and that's perhaps the best possible endorsement one can give the coach of the worst team in football.

- Marvin Lewis: Donovan McNabb is making fun of his team's record. If you watched Monday night, you know Donovan shouldn't be making fun of anyone. So, yeah …

- Gary Kubiak: He got an endorsement from the owner, which is always considered a good thing, except it always ends in someone getting fired. Still, considering how terrible his defense is, maybe he should be getting credit for the fact that the Texans are 4-5.

- UMM, seriously, what happened? There were at least 15 guys on the hot seat a week ago. Now all of a sudden Wade Phillips gets fired, Jacksonville's a winner again, Lovie Smith is getting freebies from Chilly and everyone's either being coached by a new regime or a guy who's quickly reviving the team (yes, we're even lumping Mike Singletary there, but . NO GOOD PEOPLE. WE WANT MORE FIRINGS.

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Posted on: November 16, 2010 4:45 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2010 4:55 pm
 

Top Ten With a Twist: Potential head coaches



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With Wade Phillips getting the pink slip last week and with much discussion about the job security of Minnesota’s Brad Childress, it’s become obvious that it’s that time of the year when fans debate the merits of firing the coach of their favorite teams. That obviously equals bad times for coaches like Marvin Lewis, John Fox, Gary Kubiak, Norv Turner, Josh McDaniels and Mike Singletary.

Since Phillips is gone and Childress might as well be gone, let’s dive into the intriguing possibilities of who will be available – some long-time assistants who hunger for their first shot at a head coaching job, some former head coaches who wouldn’t mind getting back into the business and maybe a college coach or two who want to test himself at the pro level.

Many of the following likely will get interviews after the season when the current coaches who can’t work themselves off the hot seat clean out their offices. Until then, let’s speculate on who might be available.

10. Dick LeBeau: I know, I know. He’s probably not going anywhere, and his three-season stint as the Bengals coach wasn’t so good (12-33). But LeBeau has been such an innovator on defense, I’d like to see the Steelers defensive coordinator get another shot at running a team. It’s not going to happen, because he’s 73 years old, but there would be a ton of smiling faces around the league if he got another chance.

9. Rob Ryan: We need – I mean, we NEED – another Ryan brother as a head coach in the NFL. Aside from being the most entertaining coach out there today – publically, at least – Rex Ryan has done a wonderful job turning the Jets into Super Bowl contenders. Now, Rob Ryan, the Browns defensive coordinator, needs to get his chance. With the marked improvement in Cleveland, does Ryan deserve the shot? Probably not at this point. But how awesome would it be if somebody gave him a job?

8. Mike Zimmer:
He arguably performed his best coaching job of his career last year when, despite the death of his wife and of Bengals WR Chris Henry, the defensive coordinator led Cincinnati’s defense to the No. 4 ranking in the NFL. For as long as the Bengals have tried to improve their defense, Zimmer finally was the one to make it happen. Cincinnati’s defense ranks 15th this season, but his players respect him and his coaching style. At some point, you’d think a team will take a chance on him.

7. Jon Gruden/Bill Cowher: Yes, they’ve both got lucrative analyst deals with ESPN and CBS, respectively, and both seem to do a pretty nice job (although Gruden spends a little too much time being a little too positive on his Monday Night Football gig). It’s hard to tell if Cowher is serious about getting back into coaching, but it wouldn’t be hard to believe Gruden wanting to jump at the chance (those are the whispers you hear, at least). He just seems hard-wired for the long hours, and it wouldn’t be surprising at all if he were to return. For Cowher, it’d probably have to be the perfect job. And I’m not sure that kind of job will appear in the offseason.

6. Marty Mornhinweg: The 5-27 mark he recorded while coaching the Lions is pretty difficult to swallow. But one of the biggest achievements this season made by Mornhinweg – the Eagles offensive coordinator – has been the transformation of QB Michael Vick from a playmaker with brilliant talents to a complete quarterback that’s nearly unstoppable with his legs and his arm. The Eagles rank second in points scored and third in yards per game, and much of that is a credit to Mornhinweg.

5. Cam Cameron: It’s a testament to Cameron that the Ravens, previously known as a strong defense that couldn’t score points, are now known as a high-powered offense that has a more difficult time stopping opponents. Cameron has weapons (QB Joe Flacco, RB Ray Rice, a plethora of receivers), and he knows how to use them. It might not happen for a few more years, but Cameron deserves another chance (if a prospective owner can overlook the 1-15 season he had while running the Dolphins).

4. Perry Fewell: He had a taste of head coaching last season after the Bills fired Dick Jauron and made Fewell the interim. He led Buffalo to a 3-4 record – looking back on it, it was almost miraculous – but he and the rest of the coaching staff were fired anyway. Now, he’s the Giants defensive coordinator , and not surprisingly, they’re the No. 1 defense in the NFL in yards allowed.

3. John Fox:
He doesn’t have much longer in his current role, as the head coach in Carolina, and despite the team’s putridicity (?) this season, he remains a well-respected figure in the league. Why, you ask? Well, he led the Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII, two seasons after a George Seifert-led Panthers squad went 1-15. Overall, he’s 72-65 as the coach in Carolina, and you can be sure Fox will have a job somewhere in the NFL. And quite possibly as a head coach.

2. Jim Harbaugh: If the Stanford head coach still wants an NFL job, he will have an excellent shot to get one. The brother of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, Jim – a 14-year NFL QB who made the Pro Bowl in 1995 – has done wonders in Palo Alto. The previous two coaches before Harbaugh went a combined 16-40, and in the past two seasons, the Cardinal has gone a combined 17-6. He already interviewed for the Jets job that Rex Ryan eventually won two years ago, and it seems like it’s only a matter of time before he beats out somebody else for a head coaching position.

1. Leslie Frazier: How long will it take before Frazier – perhaps the most respected assistant coach in the league - finally lands the head coaching position he so obviously wants? Well, considering his office is just down the hallway from Childress’, it would make sense for Minnesota to hire its current defensive coordinator when it fires Childress. For a defense that hadn’t been good in more than a decade before Frazier took over, he’s transformed the unit and made himself indispensible. No doubt about it, he should be a head coach.

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Posted on: November 11, 2010 9:51 pm
 

Andre Smith hits another road bump

It appears A. Smith could be done for the season (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Just when it appeared former Bengals first-round pick Andre Smith was turning a corner in his career, the foot he broke in practice this week might keep him out the rest of the season.

That’s what Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson is reporting.

It’s the same foot the offensive tackle broke last year in the preseason when he came into training camp overweight for his rookie year. He also had offseason surgery after last year that made him ineffective for much of this season, much to the Bengals coaching staff’s chagrin.

But he’s begun to improve, enough for him to earn the spot at starting right tackle. Now, though, it appears his season is finished.

And the consequences might not be pretty for Smith.

From Hobson:

Complicating the physical concerns are the financial issues. The Bengals have to decide this offseason if they want to exercise a $5 million option in his deal that would make it a six-year contract or decline it and keep it at four years.

The fear is that what happened this past year will happen again. He got heavy enough while rehabbing (some reports had him as high as 375 pounds) that it delayed his return to the field. It is believed he is down to 345 pounds after some furious dedication in the cardio and aerobic room but he’ll be warned a repeat performance would jeopardize his career.

Lewis doesn’t think it will happen because he’s matured. They’ve had their moments. He deactivated Smith for the third game in Carolina when he wasn’t happy with him. But asked what another injury like this does to Smith’s career, he said, “Nothing. It means it’s another bump in the road.”


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Posted on: November 5, 2010 4:25 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2010 4:58 pm
 

Five Questions (or More) with Keyshawn Johnson

Keyshawn Johnson had strong comments today regarding R. Moss, Brad Childress and Mike Shanahan (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Keyshawn Johnson is a busy man. Since retiring from the NFL in 2007 after an 11-year career in which he made the Pro Bowl three times, he’s been an ESPN analyst, the host of an A&E show called Keyshawn Johnson: Tackling Design, and a business man.

Now, he’s partnering with Captain Morgan for a year-long project that allows fans to post their own Captain Morgan’s pose on Facebook , and for every pose uploaded, the company will donate to the First Mate Fund, which was created to benefit non-profit organizations. “It’s all for charity,” Johnson said. “Every time you upload a picture, Captain Morgan donates a dollar.”

We caught up with Johnson, and he gave us some interesting answers regarding Randy Moss, Brad Childress’ authenticity, Mike Shanahan’s truth-telling skills, and why the Bengals haven’t produced with Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens lining up on the field.

Previous Five Questions (or More):

Oct. 29: Chargers LS Mike Windt

Oct. 22: Bengals WR coach Mike Sheppard

Oct. 15: Redskins WR Anthony Armstrong

Oct. 8:
Patriots LB Rob Ninkovich

Oct. 1: Kent Babb of the KC Star

Sept. 24: Texans WR Kevin Walter

Sept. 17: former Bengals, Titans DT John Thornton

Sept. 11: Seahawks RB Leon Washington

1. CBSSports.com: Obviously, the big topic this week was Randy Moss. Now that he’s going to Tennessee with a guy you know pretty well in Jeff Fisher, how do you think he’ll do with the Titans?

Keyshawn Johnson: I think he’ll do well. You have a strong-minded coach with a strong head there, and I really think Jeff has done a tremendous job in terms of getting players to play for him and do the things he’s asked in his 16-year tenure. He gets players to respond for him. There are only a handful of coaches who can do that, and he’s one of them.

CBS: Is that what you need for a guy like Moss? Obviously, it didn’t work with Brad Childress, but it did work with Bill Belichick. It seems like Fisher is a coach that can command that kind of respect.

Johnson: It’s really about how you approach people and how you talk to people. You don’t have to scream, you don’t have to yell. It’s the way you approach a guy like Randy. If you approach him and you’re authentic and not being some phony fake-ass guy, he’s going to respect it. You think he was born yesterday? He knows phony when he sees it. I’m sure he realized Brad Childress isn’t for real and that he’s a phony guy. He went in with no respect for him. Then, Childress recognized it and thought the best thing he could was to cut bait.

2. CBS: When a guy yells at the people who cater the food in the locker room, though, what …

Johnson:
If that happened, it’s shame on Randy. You don’t demean somebody for their cooking skills. Just don’t eat it. I’ve been on many teams where I didn’t like the food. So I brought my own food.

CBS:
But when you have a guy being a jerk like that, how does that affect the rest of the locker room?

Johnson: I wouldn’t say that it would affect the locker room. It’s always one or two guys on the team who are trying to be the coach’s pet and who are going to stand out and take on the big fish. There are always one or two guys. That’s the realness about it. That’s the normal way it goes. Every team, you have one or two guys that side with the coach and not the players. The other 50 guys side with the players.

CBS: If that’s the case, how do the rest of the guys respond to those one or two players?

Johnson: You deal with those guys at face value. You don’t give them much. You don’t tell them anything, because basically, you know they’re going to snitch.

3. CBS:
The other big story this week was Donovan McNabb and how Mike Shanahan pulled him and replaced him with Rex Grossman with the game on the line. I was watching that game, and when he did that, I was very confused.

Johnson:
Very, very confusing to those of us that don’t really know how coaches work. Since I know how they work, it wasn’t confusing to me. But he could have explained to Donovan or explained to the media a little bit better than just lying. All you have to do is lie to me once, and I won’t let it happen again. Players know it. But they’re not going to say it, because they have families to feed.

4. CBS:
Regarding the Bengals, with Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens and a good running game, did you think T.O. and Ochocinco would have had more of an impact on the team? Did you think that team would be better than it is?

Johnson: I thought they would be better. But statistics aren’t going to make you better. You need to have some cohesiveness in terms of how you deal with each other and the team and players around each other. There has to be something there to be able to deem yourself a championship-caliber football team. They don’t have that. That’s why they struggle. They’re 2-5, and at the end of the year, they’re probably going to have be looking for a new head coach.

5. CBS: How much of it falls on Marvin Lewis? I know he was a popular guy in the locker room …

Johnson:
It’s so hard to win in places like that. It’s just hard. It’s a constant losing vibe. You can win 50 games, and you feel like you lost. It’s just a whole perception, and it’s hard deal to deal with.

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Posted on: November 4, 2010 11:16 pm
 

For the gambler in you

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s our favorite time of the week (or, more accurately, my favorite time of the week. Maybe not everybody’s favorite time of the week). It’s time for the weekly prop bets from bodog. As usual, we’ll skip past the newly-crowned Super Bowl favorites (though the Steelers and Patriots are at 15/2) and go straight to the fun stuff.

Randy Moss - Total receiving yards as a member of the Tennessee Titans in the 2010 NFL Regular Season?

Over/Under  475

At this point, how do you go over? Hell, he might not be with the team in three weeks. Plus, aside from taking defenses away from RB Adrian Peterson in Minnesota – Chris Johnson can expect similar results in Tennessee – Moss simply doesn’t have the gaudy stats this year.

Shawne Merriman - Total sacks as a member of the Buffalo Bills in the 2010 NFL Regular Season?

Over/Under 2.5

At this point, how do you go over? Hell, he might be injured again next week.

Who will be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys for game 1 of the 2011 regular season?

Jon Gruden  3/2

Bill Cowher 5/2

Jason Garrett 4/1

Wade Phillips 50/1

Any Other Coach 1/1

I might be tempted to put a few bucks on Phillips just because the odds are so high. But otherwise, I’m going with “any other coach.” I don’t think Cowher will take it, and I don’t think Jerry Jones would offer Garrett the job. I think there’s a chance with Gruden, but I’d still take the even odds at 1/1.

Will Marvin Lewis be the coach of Cincinnati for game 1 of the 2011 regular season?

Yes Even

No 130

I’d go No every day of the week.

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Posted on: November 4, 2010 3:06 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2010 3:31 pm
 

Dey Took Er Jobs: We Talking About Stamina

Posted by Will Brinson

On Sunday, Mike Shanahan inexplicably pulled Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman. Were it not for Randy Moss and Brad Childress, that's all anyone would have talked about Monday and Tuesday.

To counter said distraction, Shanahan and the Redskins brought in Jamarcus Russell for a tryout.

As much as all of that reads like an Onion Sports story, it's the truth, folks -- and as such we have some sort of a quarterback controversy going down with the 4-4 Redskins.

Well, perhaps "controversy" is too strong a word. After all, Grossman isn't as good as McNabb, and Russell, who weighed in at 286 pounds, might have trouble making a Lingerie Football League team. (Actually, he might have an easier time getting on an NFL squad than that, but you see the point.)

The hemming and hawing of Shanny was the worst of it all -- he originally claimed that Grossman was better at running the two-minute offense (clearly a) a lie and b) patently wrong) and then decided that McNabb wasn't in good enough shape to stay on the field.

Regardless of why, Kyle Shanahan (yes, son of Mike) protege Grossman entered the game and immediately guaranteed the Lions a win with a fumble-turned-touchdown.

We understand now that there are locker room issues with Washington (I mean, duh, right?) thanks to Shanahan's decision, and that while he certainly doesn't have the problems of the aforementioned Childress, he's getting dangerously close to blowing up a Washington season that once had promise.

Will Grossman start for the Redskins the rest of the way home? We can only hope so -- after all, that means when the Vikings sign McNabb next year, Leslie Frazier will finally get the respect he deserves.

Whatever, that's a lot of projection, but is it really worth discussing whether or not Grossman should replace McNabb in the starting lineup? Of course it's not -- if the possibility of David Carr replacing Alex Smith in San Francisco a mind-boggling mishap of mediocrity (and it was, as I said and then we saw) then this is just a slap in the face to common sense.

Most coaches go out of their way to avoid quarterbacks controversies like these -- somehow, Mike Shanahan has managed to invite one, while also insulting his veteran leader and the only talented quarterback on the roster.

No amount of humiliation-based motivation is worth the obvious downside to this. And swapping out McNabb for Grossman at this stage would just be proof that Shanny had his brain surgically replaced with Dan Snyder's.

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Speaking of the 49ers, Troy Smith did a pretty good job of making sure that David Carr won't be seeing the field as a starter (there are always injuries, and he'll seemingly always get a job based on just potential, sigh) any time soon.

But what happens when Alex Smith returns in a few weeks? At that point, Troy will have had multiple weeks with reps as the starter and possibly even more wins than Alex, in many less tries.

It's not like we're discussing someone off the street either -- Troy has the credentials to a degree (the Heisman Trophy has to be worth something, right???) and reasonable stats when he started. His accuracy isn't as good percentage wise as Alex, but he doesn't cough the ball up as much, and San Fran is very much a Frank Gore-based team.

Just saying we shouldn't be so quick to roll right back to Alex just because he was the top pick a few years ago.

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Matt Moore and Derek Anderson will continue getting the nod -- both moves are the smart play, in reasonably similar situations -- both teams are equal at -65 in point differential, both have star wide receivers, both have a talented pair of running backs that are underperforming, both teams have rookie quarterbacks they believe to be the future, etc., etc. The only difference is that the Cardinals are in a crappy division. And given the way Jimmy Clausen and Max Hall have played, which is to say, "not good," it behooves both coaches to allow their youngsters to develop on the bench and learn while watching for a little while.

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Pants on Fire (Hot Seat Watch)

- Brad Childress: If I fired Andy right now, no one would notice or care, but the bosses would probably say "um, why did you do that without telling us?" and then fire me too. (Just kidding, I don't have hiring/firing power. And if anything, I'm the Randy Moss of the group. You should see what happens when my coffee isn't premium brand.) Thin ice for Chilly.

- John Fox: Someone asked Sean Payton if he would be willing to hire Fox as an assistant next year, even though Fox still has a job (technically). That's an indication of something, insomuch as 1-6 is at least.

- Wade Phillips: At some point, the awkwardness of Wade's eventual firing will wear off. Thank goodness he doesn't have a primetime game this week!

- Jack Del Rio: Betting against Del Rio when his job is on the line is like betting against Michael Jordan these days. Still, the Jags are going to be hard pressed to make the playoffs in that division with that talent and you have to think Wayne Weaver will at least explore something new once the CBA gets sorted out.

- Mike Singletary: The bright side of eventually losing the NFC West race to the Seahawks and Rams is that he'll be immediately employed as a six figure motivational speaker.

- Marvin Lewis: No one's really talking about Lewis' job being in jeopardy because it's too easy to place blame on Carson Palmer for stinking. But there's a lot of talent on this team and they're underachieving badly.

- Josh McDaniels: The biggest problem for Pat Bowlen is that admitting he messed up with McDaniels is about as fun as Mike Shanahan admitting he messed up with Grossman. Which is like full circle or something, man.

- Norv Turner: A win against the Texans on the road would go a long way towards keeping Norvell safe, particularly with divisional games coming up and Vincent Jackson returning. He should also give Philip Rivers 10 percent of his paycheck for winning games with a receiving corps only outflanked in mediocrity by the Bolts' special teams.

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