For former players-turned-announcers, it can be uncomfortable knocking ex-teammates for reasons beyond performance. So John Lynch and LaDainian Tomlinson deserve credit for criticizing two players with whom they shared a locker room.
In Tomlinson’s final game with the Jets last season, a pouting Santonio Holmes was benched after arguing with a teammate in the huddle.
Now an analyst on NFL Network, Tomlinson said of Holmes: “The one thing you know, when you play with a guy that has quit on you, you know that when the times get tough, he will quit on you again. That’s one thing I know. That’s one thing I expect as the season goes along.”
We’ll never know, since Holmes then suffered a season-ending injury.
Fox’s Lynch justifiably called out his ex-Denver teammate, Jay Cutler, for his infantile behavior, including pushing OT J’Marcus Webb during the Week Two Bears-Packers game to express his unhappiness.
“You point fingers at yourself after a loss. I’m not sure Cutler has figured that out,” Lynch said. “In my mind, when you’re wrong, you own it. That’s leadership. I talked to Cutler privately and told him my feeling.” Cutler subsequently was ripped by Terry Bradshaw, Boomer Esiason and others for walking away from Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice in the Week Four Dallas game.
AROUND THE DIAL
• The league can’t be happy with Lynch, who said the NFL told Fox announcers this before the season started: “We’re close to a deal (with the officials), so take it easy on those guys.” Added Lynch: “They duped us. It speaks to the arrogance of the owners.”
Network announcers have been ripping the league more than ever before, including Bradshaw blaming the commissioner for not releasing “BountyGate” evidence, and Shannon Sharpe blasting the league for allowing Saints coaches and GM Mickey Loomis to attend a game, but not suspended players.
• NFL Network’s Marshall Faulk was unreasonable on the Week Five pregame show to criticize the Eagles (3-1 at the time) for not blowing teams out. What’s so objectionable about narrow wins against Super Bowl contenders Baltimore and the Giants?
• NFL Network keeps wasting time by debating inane questions. Faulk, reading off a script, asked Michael Irvin if it was more important for the Saints to win in Week Five (after an 0-4 start) or for Drew Brees to break Johnny Unitas’ record for consecutive games with a TD pass? Is there any doubt? Irvin, obviously, said to win.
• Dumb response of Week Five: ESPN’s Keyshawn Johnson, asked if the Falcons can be trusted: “Sounds good, smells bad.” Huh?
• Hmmm: Different replacement officials who worked the Green Bay-Seattle Monday-night game were interviewed in Week Five on Showtime and CBS. On Showtime, two of them said it was strongly suggested by the NFL, in training, that pass interference shouldn’t be called on Hail Mary plays.
On CBS, the official said no such thing was said or implied. Of course, pass interference should have been called against Green Bay on that final play. One official in that game (Wayne Elliott) said on Showtime that Packers coach Mike McCarthy surprisingly called to tell him he was handling the situation with class.
• Announcers often gloss over mistakes by their partners, so it was odd to hear this: When Fox’s Troy Aikman said “Reggie Cobb gives Green Bay an element they haven’t had,” Buck replied, “What about Randall Cobb? Does he do it, too?” Aikman didn’t seem offended by Buck’s wisecrack.
Barry Jackson covers sports media for Pro Football Weekly and the Miami Herald.