Ten-Point Stance: In plain language, nice quarterbacks finish last

by | National NFL Insider

Tom Brady was filmed dropping a nice little F-bomb. And a B-bomb. The result was the video becoming a viral A-bomb.

Matt Ryan, who looks like a grammar school principal, dropped an F-bomb, too. Oh, naughty Matty Ice.

We have the reading of Cam Newton's body language and we have the analysis of Jay Cutler blowing off an assistant coach during a game.

There has never been this level of psychobabble, photo analysis, language policing of players, maybe ever. Presidential candidates don't get this level of scrutiny.

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We have to understand and re-remember something about professional football: Despite all the glitz and glamour associated with the NFL, this is not a gentleman's sport. This is a brutal, bloody one. Tempers flare, stuff gets said, curses get dropped like heavy anchors. People spit. People fight. Teammates brawl. They argue.

It would be a shock if players and coaches didn't do this.

You do this in your workplace. Why would anyone expect differently on a football field?

Now Cutler's situation is slightly different. He has long been a pouty infant with a punch-able face, and walking away from a coach like that isn't smart. A coach has information that can be useful, and ignoring that information can be problematic. It's also not good leadership. But that's Cutler.

Still, even in his case, the abundance of cameras and technology are leading to insanely stupid levels of overanalysis. Players have foul mouths. (Expletive deleted) breaking news.

The reaction to Brady is the most amusing. There was almost shock expressed by some fans and media at what Brady said. Have people been watching Brady for the past decade? He's a fiery, angry player, and some of that anger is channeled from the NFL scouting apparatus that ignored him when he came out of Michigan. Brady plays with a chip on his shoulder. That's a good thing. That's a great thing.

And there's a difference between Brady screaming at coaches or to no one in particular and Cutler. Brady got into a heated argument last season with an assistant. Cutler walked away from a coach like a punk. This past weekend, Brady cursed at the air. Cutler put his hands on a teammate.

No one should want their quarterback to be a nice guy. They should want their quarterbacks and players to be vicious.

And who cares how much they curse?

2. A quick note about the Minnesota Vikings, low expectations in strange places and Aaron Rodgers.

This summer, when speaking to Rodgers, he asked what camps I had been to. I told him I had just come from the Vikings camp. Rodgers volunteered that he had recently communicated with Vikings pass rusher Jared Allen and that Allen had told Rodgers that Allen didn't think his team would be very good.

I was momentarily stunned. This wasn't off the record. This was conversational and honest. Rodgers and Allen are friends and talk often. I wondered if Allen was trying to play Rodgers for a sucker, but that is too Austin Powers-ish. It's likely Allen was being truthful, thinking Rodgers would never say anything.

I stored that anecdote away. Now, it's relevant. Because it seems even some Vikings players had doubts about how good their team could be. Not me.

The Vikings and Cardinals are the two huge shockers in football, but the Vikings shouldn't have been. Christian Ponder demonstrated numerous flashes of ability last year, they have a strong running game and the defense was clearly improving. But the big thing, I believed, was that while the Vikings took a step forward, the rest of the division would fall back toward them. That's happening, for the moment.

Even though, apparently, at least one Vikings player didn't think it would.

3. Anyone seen Mario Williams? Anyone? Hello. Mario? Hello? Echo, echo, echo ...

4. The truth about why the Lions offense is struggling? The franchise invested heavily in maintaining its core, keeping players like Cliff Avril in the fold. That was the right move. But the Lions could have also added to that nucleus while simultaneously boosting the offense. The team decided not to. That running game has no great threat, and defenses have made smart adjustments. They basically ignore the run and focus on shutting down the wideouts.

5. Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings has said twice recently he would take Rodgers over Brett Favre. Of course he would. Imagine the storm if Rodgers said the opposite. The question no one seems to know the answer is: Why is Jennings suddenly so vocal on this topic?

6a. Champ of the week: the Baltimore Orioles. I'm sorry. Have to get this in. To those of us who grew up in the state of Maryland, the Orioles have been a putrid embarrassment for many years. Now, they are in the playoffs. The crab cakes are on me. This baseball-note-in-a-football-column will self-destruct in three, two, one ...

6b. Chump of the week: Cutler. This award might be named after him. And this is fantastic.

6c. Tweet of the week: "God---- Romo!!" Noted bandwagon phony LeBron James, after a Romo fumble was converted into a score by Chicago on Monday night. Typical Romo. Typical LeBron.

7. Dez Bryant is a calamity wrapped inside a knucklehead wrapped inside a beastly talent. He is either going to suddenly get it and become a superstar, or end up playing in Edmonton in two years. I'm betting on the latter.

8. Scout on Mike Vick: "People hate him and I understand why. He's played poorly at times but the truth is there are only two or three players in the sport who could do what he's doing behind what at times has been awful offensive line play."

9. The following stat might best symbolize just how opportunistic Chicago's defense has been under Lovie Smith since he became coach in 2004. Since that year, according to Bears writer Michael Wright, Chicago has returned 21 interceptions for touchdowns, seven fumble returns for scores and 25 games with a defensive touchdown. The latter stat means the Bears almost have two regular seasons worth of defensive touchdowns. That remains one of the more remarkable stats in football this season.

10. The Cowboys would be fools to break the bank for Romo. Still, he isn't the main problem. The big issue remains Jerry Jones. Until he takes a massive step back, hires a real GM, and becomes mostly invisible, the Cowboys will struggle.


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