Today’s Three Things is really four things squeezed into two things. (Don’t worry, it’ll make sense tomorrow)
Ndamakong Suh is Learning Dirty
Remember that classic anti-drug commercial where the kid gets grilled by his dad about where he learned to use drugs and the kid finally cracks and says… What am I doing? Just watch the video.
Now, picture Ndamakong Suh on the bed jamming out some Drake, or some other terrible rapper, and Jim Schwartz busting in the room. Schwartz exclaims, “Ndamukong! Why are you such a dirty player?!” …stammer… “Why do stomp people?!” …stammer… “Why did you kick Matt Schaub in the junk?!” …stammer… “WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO BE SO UNDISCIPLINED?!?!”
“I LEARNED IT FROM WATCHING YOU, COACH! OKAY?! I LEARNED IT FROM WATCHING YOU!”
As the camera fades from Schwartz’s shocked face, you hear Roger Goodell’s voice say, “Coaches who can’t control themselves have players that can’t control themselves.”
That’s what I picture every time a Detroit Lions personal foul happens. It isn’t that other teams don’t have players that make mistakes, it’s that these Schwartz led teams are marked by too much emotion and not enough discipline. That’s what derailed them last season, and the inability to make rational decisions is forever going to plague the team until the head coach can start making those rational decisions himself.
Want proof? Well, you have the on-field discipline of his players during his tenure in Detroit, but the Thanksgiving loss to Houston unearthed another tidbit if you’re interested in something more concrete.
Texans running back Arian Foster was tackled and down by contact in the middle of the field after a modest gain. He spun back up to his feet, and since the whistle never blew, took off and scored a long touchdown. By rule, the play was going to be reviewed by the replay booth because all scoring plays are reviewed by the replay booth.
Jim Schwartz should know this. Wait, Jim Schwartz did know that, but he flipped out and threw his challenge flag.
“I know that we can’t challenge a turnover or a scoring play and I overreacted. I was so mad that they didn’t call him down – because he was obviously down on the field. I had the flag out of my pocket before he even scored the touchdown and that’s all my fault. I overreacted in that situation and I cost us a touchdown. I was still smarting over the first challenge that wasn’t overturned. I thought it was pretty obvious that the ball hit their guy and we didn’t get that ball and we seemed to be behind a lot of those calls today and I overreacted and I cost us.” ~ Schwartz, after the game
So, the Lions have a guy that knows the rules but can’t keep himself from breaking them when the game gets tense. Look, I’m not saying that Ndamakong Suh isn’t a dirty player, or that he doesn’t deserve consequences when he does things like kick a quarterback in the baby-maker, but I do wish that he was playing for a coach that might be able to help him mature and use all that talent and aggression in a more constructive manner.
Also, I’m publicly suggesting double strength cups for players suiting up against Detroit for the rest of the season.
2012 Has Been a Bad Year for Once Great, Overweight, Mustachioed Football Men
As a Browns fan by nature AND nurture, I’ve got no real love for Holmgren on his way out of Cleveland. But I don’t actively hate the guy, either. I was optimistic about Holmgren when Randy Lerner hired him to run the Browns. He had a serious resume and was a Super Bowl champion. Those things were – Hell, are – exciting. It turns out that Holmgren spent his time in Cleveland aggravating the fan base and overseeing a 12-31 record. That’s no good.
If the Browns start winning in 2013 and eventually contend for the playoffs with our current core of players, will it be fair to say that Holmgren left his stamp on this team during his tenure here? Yes. That’s fair. But it also won’t be fair to lay too much praise at his doorstep, especially after we found out that hiring Pat Shurmur to be the Browns coach was tantamount to laying a flaming bag of dog crap on ours.
As far as Andy Reid’s future in Philly, there’s really nothing to play for in the City of Brotherly Love this season. And the Eagles aren’t used to that feeling. Reid is 129-88-1 (cue Donovan McNabb overtime joke) in his 14 years as the Eagles head coach, and he’s made the playoffs in nine of those 14 seasons. Something happened in Philadelphia that sapped the energy out of its coach, and eventually out of the will of the rest of the team.
That thing is Michael Dwayne Vick. Vick signed in Philly for the 2009 season and his swashbuckling, flashy style won the Eagles 11 games that season. (Vick went 9-3 in the 12 regular season games he played that year and lost his only playoff game) The Eagles won 10 games in 2010. (Vick went 8-4 in his 12 regular season games, and lost his only playoff game) The Eagles were an eight win team in 2011, (Vick won seven of his 13 regular season games, no playoffs) and have only won 3 games so far in 2012. (Vick is 3-6 in his nine games after 12 weeks)
In 2009, Andy Reid sold his soul to the NFL devil for Michael Vick, and the man downstairs hasn’t paid up. (Did you really expect him to?) This is the power struggle that ran ex-Eagles president Joe Banner out of town and ultimately, he was right. Don’t go crazy signing free agents and ruining a well made plan. The Eagles had sustained success for a decade. Sure, they only made it to one Super Bowl and didn’t win, but this new Andy Reid philosophy will miss the playoffs in 2012 for the second straight year.
If we’re going to do the full-circle thing, Joe Banner’s philosophy under new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam – who just fired Mike Holmgren – is something that I’m optimistic about. Yes, just like I was optimistic about Holmgren in the first place. But things are looking up when your new president isn’t nicknamed The Walrus.