Random Shots - Week 9
By Joe Bryant
November 2nd, 2011

Hi Folks,

We do a lot of really insightful, thoughtful and serious features here at Footballguys with some very smart people thinking deeply for you. This is not one of those features.

This is a few pages of me downloading my goofy and dysfunctional mental hard drive that gets stuffed with way too many random items from too many hours watching, reading about and listening to football every weekend and throughout the week. It's the only way I keep relatively sane. Here's hoping it has a tiny bit of value for you. Let's go.

Watching John Beck Sunday, I wonder if the Shanahans had their "Sexy Rexy, you there, Buddy?" voice ready?

Joe Namath just won't let it go. ESPN reported Rex Ryan wore a Joe Namath jersey to the mall.

Namath was asked about it on "The Michael Kay Show," and said, "I'm just stunned that the jersey with No. 12 come in that size."

"Shoot, hey it doesn't matter," Ryan said when asked about wearing the jersey. "I'm still a huge Joe Namath fan."

I've been as critical of Ryan as anyone as I'm not a big fan of his style. But he's handling this one with class and Namath's continued toolishness on this is nearing the Suzy Kolber incident level of sad.

Steelers safety Troy Polamalu dove and punched the ball into the end zone Sunday where it resulted in a safety against the Patriots. Turns out the officials got the call the wrong (as did the announcers who were praising Polamalu's "heads-up" play). I wonder how many owners had a game decided by those two points Sunday.

For his part, Polamalu was saying all the right things afterwards - which means basically saying nothing. When asked about the play he said, "Whatever is going to get me in trouble, I'm saying the opposite."

That's probably pretty good advice there.

Andy Reid's Eagles are now 13-0 in the game coming off their bye week. That's pretty good for a guy that's supposed to be such a terrible coach.

Cincinnati's Adam Jones returns to Nashville this week. The Tennessean ran a nice article this week with some clips from an interview with Jones on his new approach to life.

"It would have never worked for me in Tennessee,'' Jones said. "I was 21 or 22, and I didn't understand what I understand now. I was out every night enjoying myself. I wasn't really focusing on football. I had a lot of distractions. I take responsibly for everything that went on back then, and have learned from it.

"Yeah, I did (mess) things up off the field. I blame myself for that. But I will say when times got hard (the Titans) weren't there for me. But I ain't holding no grudges, man. Life is too short for grudges. I don't have time for all of that."

But the best part was when he was asked if he expected the Titan fans to give him a warm reception:

"Hell no fans aren't going to give me a good ovation,'' Jones said. "They booed me when I was there, so you know they are going to boo me when I'm on the other team. But I don't care. That (expletive) don't bother me."

That sounds like a guy with a pretty good grip on reality. I wish him the best.

I've long said the NFL needs to implement a minimum 40 yard dash time for the officials. There are too many that are not physically capable of keeping up with the speed of the game. Carolina's Steve Smith agrees with me. He was called for a holding penalty that negated a first down and told the Charlotte Observer "If the ref says it's holding, I can sit here and say this and that. But at the end of the day he's the guy with the flag and he calls it," Smith said. "I got a few texts already saying in the HD it didn't look too bad. But for a 70-year-old man gimping down the field, I guess that's what he saw."

I'm with ESPN's Christopher Harris: Apparently the Madden Curse extends to backups. Browns RB Montario Hardesty lasted two carries in replacing the doomed Peyton Hillis before blowing out his calf. Chris Ogbonnaya has reportedly asked for a trade...

Feel good story of the weekend was Chargers RB Curtis Brinkley. Great article from SanDiego.com talking about his road to the NFL. Brinkley grew up in the projects of Philadelphia and was shot three times in 2009 as he went to pick up his sister from work at a medical clinic. Turns out the location might have saved his life as he received medical care quickly at the clinic.

"It just wasn't my time," Brinkley said. "God has me here for more reasons. I know what it is like to be in that bed and to think that my career is over. I used to take a lot of things for granted. I know how to appreciate things when I didn't before."

He's been released and resigned by the team on five different occasions and continues to be a great picture of patience and perseverance.

He says the timing of the shooting might have actually saved his career as it postponed his opportunity in training camp.

"This why I think everything happens for a reason and there is some stuff you just can't question," Brinkley explained. "When I first came here we had LaDainian Tomlinson, Gartrell Johnson, Darren Sproles, Michael Bennett, and Mike Tolbert. Where would I have fit in? Before the shooting I wasn't getting any reps at all."

But Halloween night, he got the chance before a Monday Night Football audience to show what he could do. And he delivered with 43 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown. Nice.

I told you back in the Week 5 Random Shots that Chargers DL Antonio Garay doesn't drive a Smart Car. He drives a Hello Kitty Smart Car. That's awesome. He also loves to sport funky hair styles and for the game on Halloween, he did not disappoint. Hat tip to Shutdown Corner.

Music note of the Week. I've been a Tom Waits fan since I saw him in one of my favorite movies, Rumble Fish back in 1983. It's a great movie if you haven't seen it. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola starring young versions of Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Dennis Hopper, Nicolas Cage, Chris Penn, Laurence Fishburne and Tom Waits as Benny the bartender. Waits was cool back then and he's pulled off the difficult feat of staying the coolest guy in the room since then.

For classic Tom Waits, I don't think you can ever do much better than his killer version of Heart Attack and Vine. You know you're cool when Sreamin' Jay Hawkins covers your songs.

His new album, Bad As Me is excellent and this single titled The Last Leaf featuring a 61 year old more reflective Waits is cool. That's Keith Richards on guitar and backup vocals. Enjoy.

In the "A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words" department, words can't begin to describe the lameness exuding from these Colts "fans" sporting Andrew Luck jerseys. The surfer white Oakleys were the perfect accessory here. Hat tip to Larry Brown Sports.

Buffalo's doing most everything right this year. Except playing in Toronto. And that's really really wrong. I hate that for the fans in Buffalo.

Of all the things Tim Tebow has to worry about, holding onto his mouthpiece shouldn't be one. Thanks to Footballguy Dave Blaschke for this photo.

On Tebow - he was terrible Sunday. Really bad. Might have just one more game to show he can be an NFL QB bad. I've been a supporter thinking he could make it. But I've got serious doubts now. It was the Lions and they are as tough as you'll see on defense but it's not looking good here.

And make sure to understand, his final numbers were bad but they were pumped up at the end. With 11 minutes left in the game, Tebow was 8-for-26 for 85 yards.

Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports had some interesting quotes from the Lions. "Can you believe '15'?" one Detroit Lions defender asked after the game. "Come on – that's embarrassing. I mean, it's a joke. We knew all week that if we brought any kind of defensive pressure, he couldn't do anything. In the second half it got boring out there. We were like, ‘Come on – that's your quarterback? Seriously?' "

Linebacker Stephen Tulloch and tight end Tony Scheffler had fun mocking the "Tebowing" where he goes to one knee in prayer after a touchdown. It's always lame to be so lacking in creative thought for your celebration that you have to resort to mocking someone else. Whether it's mocking Ray Lewis or Terrell Owens or Aaron Rodgers. But mocking a guy with a handful of NFL starts under his belt that appears quickly headed for the bench takes the tool factor to a different level.

Sports Illustrated's Peter King had some great stats Monday: "Andy Dalton has more wins (five) than Philip Rivers, Mike Vick, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman. Cam Newton has more passing yards (2,393) than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning."

To my mind, the performance of Cam Newton, Andy Dalton and even Christian Ponder are the stories of the 2011 season. Incredible. Especially Newton. And especially given the crazy offseason with the lockout.

On that note - Count me in right now as not buying into the "Andrew Luck is the can't miss guaranteed superstar" business. I like Andrew Luck. I hope he does well and I think he will. But this anointing him an NFL superstar thing is out of control.

If he performs 75% as well next year as Cam Newton has this year, people should be thrilled.

Eric Williams of the News Tribune had this from Seahawks coach Pete Carroll after Sunday's loss: "We learned about what happens when a coach gets hormonal and tries to freakin' jam it down their throat for the touchdown there right at the half," Carroll said about the play. "That was a mistake. It would have been a good call if we made it. But we didn't."

I've followed football for a pretty long time. I don't think I've ever heard a coach reference being hormonal after a game. Can you imagine the coach of the Steelers or Raiders saying that?

As if you needed another reason to always play your studs: Dallas went into Sunday night's game with the top ranked run defense allowing under 70 yards rushing per game. Philadelphia rolled up 115 rushing yards in the first quarter.

While I'm on that, can we please stop acting like LeSean McCoy just suddenly became awesome? I keep hearing people talk that we need to recognize McCoy as one of the best backs in the game. Who doesn't think that?

Ravens QB Joe Flacco is fine. He's been fine. People that weren't watching the game were jumping off the ledge with him. He's a non emotional guy that is easy to get down on. The truth is his mechanics are fine and nothing had changed with him.

Note to Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha: That's what we were looking for.

After the Saints drubbed Indianapolis, I wrote Sunday night the Saints put up more points than the Rams have all season. . As we all saw, those Rams rolled over New Orleans this week. We must have some Random Shots readers in St. Louis...

ESPN's Mike Sando had an incredible stat: Until this game, the Rams had not run an offensive play all season while leading the game. Wow.

Footballguy Mike Gurley sent me this picture from Sam Adams. Apparently, even Sam is a Black Eyed Joe's and Footballguys fan...

New Oakland QB Carson Palmer was asked on 95.7 The Game in the Bay Area how much pressure there is in leading the Raiders. He seemed pretty realistic and optimistic: "A ton, a ton, and I love every bit of it. I really look forward to the opportunity to prove the naysayers wrong and Hue right."

We'll see.

Make time in the next few days if you can to watch the ESPN documentary, "Unguarded". It's the story of Chris Herren, the basketball phenom turned drug addict from Fall River Massachusetts. Herron was a high school legend, a star in college for Jerry Tarkanian and then the 33rd overall pick in the NBA draft. He found himself fulfilling a dream playing for the home town Boston Celtics. Then drugs and alcohol derailed his career.

The film is compelling as it features Herren telling his story. There are cringe worthy moments when he talks of running out to the street corner in the rain in front of the Boston Garden in his uniform ten minutes before tipoff to meet his drug dealer.

But it's ultimately a story of redemption as while he lost his pro basketball career, he got sober and retained his family and his life. There's a powerful scene where he goes back to his former high school and gets in the huddle of guys before the game. He tells them as they prepare to take the court against their rivals, "I've played games for the Celtics in the Gahden and when I think about big games, THESE are the games I think of." Wow. That's cool.

Well worth the time to watch.

San Francisco's Frank Gore posted his fourth 100 yard game in a row. That's solid. And he's doing it without a lot of fanfare or hoopla. Nice.

I've long said one of the benefits of being Bill Belichick is that he's basically untouchable. It lets him go for it on 4th down when the conventional wisdom says punt. That kind of thing. But he's hearing it from well respected writers in Boston this week.

Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Globe wrote: "Belichick the general manager has let down Belichick the coach. The Patriots simply don't have enough talent to beat the elite teams in this league."

Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston wrote: "Has Belichick lost his fastball when it comes to defense, both in terms of schemes and personnel evaluation, and is it time for him to open his mind to outside thinking?"

We'll see.

He's a dead man walking but I was impressed to Tony Sparano Sunday. His team genuinely seemed to play hard. Good for them.

During the spring, Washington's Chris Cooley had some interesting words on the lockout as reported by Eric Schmoldt:

"But it (the lockout) doesn't matter to me. I don't care. I'm one of those players that's somewhat in an ideal position in terms of, I don't need it financially, I'll be ready to play when we're ready to play. I can be on the players side and say, ‘You're going to pay us.'"

"I really hope that we don't lose games because that's an ugly thing. It's already ugly, the argument over this amount of money, and I really hope we don't lose games. It'd be just right if we just settled it about Sept. 1 and just decided we weren't going to have training camp and get back to playing football."

Now he claims he's a casualty of the lockout: "I feel 100 percent that I'm a casualty for the season of the lockout. I think it was a shame that they didn't let players who had surgery spend time with the doctors and trainers they trust on daily basis, I wish I could've."

I love how the Eagles are dead and buried by everyone and then one game later they're expected to go deep into the playoffs. Pick a lane.

I live in Knoxville Tennessee and that means I'm supposed to not like Lane Kiffin. I said it when he left here and I still say it today: He'll have USC back in the National Championship mix within 5 years. Like it or not.

While I'm on predictions. How about those Cardinals in seven? Not that I called that or anything...

The ESPN guys were having fun with the breakout players Sunday morning. Tom Jackson picked Tim Tebow. Cris Carter picked Andy Dalton saying "I'm going with the QB that can throw a spiral." Ouch.

Al Michaels was smooth talking about Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Michaels said, "Quite a contrast between the urbane, slender, head coach Garrett...And Rob Ryan which gives you ...everything on the other side"

Dan Wiederer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune had a great line from Vikings QB Christian Ponder starting his warm-ups too early in Week 7: "I was out there way too early. I was icing my arm before the game even started."

Our friend Adam Schefter reports that it looks like Ray Rice and Matt Forte could both be given the franchise tag as Baltimore and Chicago are hesitant to open the vault. I bet Chris Johnson doesn't get a Christmas card from these guys.

Is it bad when you're old enough to see the name Jimmy Smith and think Jacksonville WR? I'm there.

Thanks to Footballguy Jon W. Michelson for this great pic. It's an old one but still fun with the refs pointing in all different directions.

OK, another week with no Hard Luck Awards. I had some people say that was the only thing they read in the column and others that said they liked it better with no Hard Luck. I'm going another week without to see how it feels.

That'll do it for this week, Folks. Thanks to Footballguy Doug Drinen, Clayton Gray, Steve Zander and Dave Blaschke for the help on this one. If you've got a Random Shot of your own, shoot me an e-mail at bryant@footballguys.com.

Thanks for playing along. I hope you have a ball with whatever you're doing in your life. Here's to Football.


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