Bill Cowher isn’t always right. Some of his comments might even leave his colleagues scratching their heads. But say this about the former Steelers coach: As a TV analyst, he’s considerably more interesting than when he joined CBS in 2007.
Initially guarded and somewhat dull, Cowher is now bolder, more critical and an outside-the-box thinker.
Cowher presented an interesting suggestion for how the Jets should handle their quarterback situation: Play Mark Sanchez the first two series and Tim Tebow the third. Then stick with whoever moves the team more effectively. Dan Marino looked at Cowher like he was nuts, saying that’s no way to treat a starting QB.
He said Tony Romo will not win a championship because he’s “too inconsistent” — nothing particularly inflammatory, but the type of comment Cowher wouldn’t have made a few years ago.
While others were praising Peyton Manning, Cowher repeatedly cautions that he wants to see how Manning will play in wintry, windy conditions in Denver in December.
He said Tom Brady “is not as accurate” as he used to be “throwing the ball outside the numbers” because he hasn’t done it as much since Randy Moss left. “You lose that skill,” Cowher said.
Cowher and Marino engaged in an interesting discussion of Marino’s ranking of the top-10 first- and second-year quarterbacks. Cowher contended that Marino had Andy Dalton rated too highly (fourth), noting he’s 0-8 against playoff teams. Cowher said that Brandon Weeden (sixth) and Ryan Tannehill (fifth) both should be ahead of Dalton.
Cowher did an exceptional job demonstrating Philip Rivers’ faulty mechanics recently, showing how he “doesn’t get his arm back as far” as needed and has “no step into the ball.” And he scoffed at South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier for suggesting Alabama could beat a couple NFL teams, saying Spurrier’s poor “record in the NFL speaks for itself.”
Cowher likely will regret his prediction that the Chiefs would make the playoffs — a prediction he made when they were 1-3. But at least Cowher now says things worth remembering, something you never could have said when he started in the business.
AROUND THE DIAL
• Before the Week Nine Carolina-Washington game, NFL Network’s Sterling Sharpe asserted that the only reason that Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III are compared is because “they are both black. They are two totally different quarterbacks. I want them to be compared to players they are actually playing like and not to each other just because of the color of their skin.” I can see where Sharpe might think that — and he’s entitled to feel that way — but they do share similarities in terms of mobility and strong arms.
• We love DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket, but it has made a bunch of mistakes this season on its multiscreen Game Mix channel. Scores and time remaining have been incorrect at least half a dozen times.
And on Sundays when there are only two late-afternoon games, DirecTV should split the screen in half instead of displaying four screens — two with live games and two others, of equal size, showing the words “Bears win!” or something to that effect.
• CBS’ Dan Fouts made the best point about Tebow, noting the Jets have shown no creativity in how they have used him offensively.
• Quarterbacks don’t often share private strategy with network analysts if they believe analysts will use it on air. But when they do, it’s insightful for viewers, such as Fox’s Tim Ryan noting that Christian Ponder told him that the Vikings thought they could attack the middle linebackers and interior of Seattle’s offense in Week Nine, believing that is where the Seahawks are vulnerable in the passing game. Of course, Ponder never would have said that during the week to print reporters.
Barry Jackson covers sports media for the Miami Herald.
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