That may be why what the Falcons did Sunday in dismantling the Philadelphia Eagles has been lost in a shuffle of stories about the losing team. Is Michael Vick going to be benched? Has the defense quit? Will Andy Reid finally get kicked to the curb after 14 years on the job?
Those questions have taken center stage over the fact that the Falcons not only improved to 7-0, but dominated a team that had given them fits the previous four years. If there was possibly a game in the regular season that could have signaled the Falcons have turned a corner, it was Sunday's win in Philadelphia.
Sorry, but nobody is ready to buy it. You can hear it in the tone of various analysts who findRead More »from Even Falcons QB Matt Ryan downplays dominating road victory, team's 7-0 start
CHICAGO – The Carolina Panthers suffered yet another frustrating loss and, given the events leading up to it, may have opened wounds that run all the way to the top of the organization.
But the one thing that may have come out of the latest letdown is that their most important player hit rock bottom and seemed to cope with it. In the aftermath of a 23-22 loss to the 6-1 Chicago Bears on a game-winning field goal as time expired, there were plenty of guesses about which emotional state Newton might put on display.
searching for suggestions? Would he do something that would cause owner Jerry Richardson to throw another employee under the bus?Would he be defiant? Would he be melancholy? Would he be
Richardson did that earlier in the week when he fired general manager Marty Hurney – a move that one veteran employee of the Panthers after another said was done simply to appease the fans.
Newton responded with determination in the face of his team falling to 1-6, five ofRead More »from Cam Newton keeps emotions in check after Panthers suffer another last-minute loss
The Philadelphia Eagles' defensive player had barely left the parking lot outside of Lincoln Financial Field after Sunday's 30-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons when he came to the conclusion that so many people are making about his team.
"I won't say we quit because I don't believe in that," the player said, trying to find just the right way to mince the words while still making his point. "No way we quit. No way, no how."
Then came the inevitable hesitation.
"We didn't have no passion and you have to have passion in this game," the player elaborated. "You have to want to throw everything you are out on that field on every play. You have to feel like you're playing with your teammates and for the fans and your coaches. Nothing, nada. No energy, no passion."
This is what happens when a team doesn't believe in its leader. This is what happens when players think they are no longer part of something greater than the individual. This is what happens when a leader throwsRead More »from Week 8 winners/losers: Eagles defender says team played without passion in loss to Falcons
Admittedly, this is never going to happen and I can't blame New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Still, imagine if he could forgive former assistant Eric Mangini and hire him next week to run the Patriots' secondary for the rest of the season.
Trust me, you don't need to send me emails explaining the situation or talking about what an idiot I am for even suggesting that Belichick rehire his personal Benedict Arnold – the person who revealed the Patriots' videotaping practices in 2007. I get it, it's impossible. But it could save a season and bring Belichick's Patriots the title that has eluded them twice in the past five years and will likely escape them against this season based on what you can see from a distance.
The Patriots pass defense, which last year was the worst to ever reach a Super Bowl, hasn't improved much statistically this season. Last week, the Patriots danced with defeat before finally putting away the New York Jets in overtime. However, the lasting Read More »from Direct Snap: Patriots' Bill Belichick could help his porous secondary by doing the unthinkable
It is only too perfect that on the day the NFL Players Association made its latest legal chess move in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal case, linebacker Scott Fujita's career likely (and sadly) came to an end.
The way things are going in this case, all the players will be retired by the time the league is allowed to punish them.
recuse himself as the appointed appeals arbitrator between the league and the players in the bounty case. The union, partially forced to make the move because of the legal wrangling in the case, is also trying to wear down NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in hopes that he eventually agrees to a revised punishment system.On Wednesday, the NFLPA requested that former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue
However, the league shot back Wednesday afternoon.
"We have advised the union that we believe there is no basis on which former Commissioner Tagliabue should recuse himself and we will oppose any request that he do so," NFL spokesman GregRead More »from NFLPA's rejection of Paul Tagliabue as arbitrator continues cat-and-mouse game over bounty case
If Cam Newton is wise, he'll take the following suggestion:
Shut your mouth and do your job. Popping off the way you did Sunday likely helped cost general manager Marty Hurney his job and, ultimately, that's not a good thing for Newton.
19-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys directly led to Hurney's dismissal Monday can only be answered by owner Jerry Richardson. However, it's hard not to draw the conclusion publicly that Newton's comments factored into Hurney's ouster.Whether Newton's statements following the Carolina Panthers'
While there's plenty of fair criticism that can be lobbed Hurney's way following Carolina's 1-5 start, it's still a stunning reaction in light that Hurney helped bring a franchise quarterback to a team that has never really had one just 18 months ago.
Theoretically, Hurney and second-year coach Ron Rivera should have been in the process of executing a plan to build around Newton for years to come. But when the quarterback starts ranting aboutRead More »from Here's a 'suggestion' for Panther Cam Newton: Stop throwing people under the bus
No, this is not a complaint about the freezing cold that comes in December and January. Rather this is a plea for the chance to see something ridiculously awesome every week. There is nothing quite like watching quarterback Aaron Rodgers when he's indoors.
"It's hard to explain," the league's reigning MVP said after leading the 4-3 Packers to a 30-20 win at St. Louis. "I just always enjoy playing in a controlled environment. I think a lot of it is that we have an athletic team that plays fast and playing inside helps an athletic team."
Fair enough, but "enjoy"? Seriously, that's like saying Kim Kardashian "enjoys" attention. On the heels of lighting up the Houston Texans for six touchdowns last week to get Green Bay's season back on the right track, a "focused" Rodgers posted another sensational game by going 30-of-37 for 342 yards and three touchdown passes.
"I would sayRead More »from Week 7 winners/losers: Packers' Aaron Rodgers putting up monster numbers at indoor stadiums
Ultimately, it's generally better to quickly pull the trigger as opposed to letting the situation linger when quarterbacks are involved. And while it's highly unlikely that Smith will be yanked by the time the 49ers (4-2) line up for Thursday night's NFC West matchup with the highly improved Seattle Seahawks (4-2), the switch could be coming soon if Kaepernick is ready – which is a question only Harbaugh and his staff can answer.
Harbaugh, who has worked Kaepernick more into the offense the past three weeks, should understand these dynamics all too well. From 1994 to 1997, he was Indianapolis' quarterback, replacing the talented-but-enigmatic Jeff George and leading the '95 Colts to the AFC championship game when everything fell right for the team.
By 1998, however, the Read More »from Direct Snap: Niners would be better off switching to QB Colin Kaepernick sooner than later