The Designed Rush column covers all NFL action through Sunday each week. Of course, with the exception of Week 17 and the postseason, there's this pesky thing called Monday Night Football. Which means there are possibly significant developments and storylines left uncovered. Enter The Designed Rush Redux.
Loosely Connected Observations About ESPN's Nightlong Favre Apology
- I realize that bashing ESPN for sucking up to star players is so commonplace as to be redundant as this point, but last night's treatment of Brett Favre was sickening even for ESPN. With every early game miscue came an announcer asking aloud whether it was because Favre was actually being held back from injury. What's worse was the transformation of a possibly damnable scandal being used as a means of triumphant motivational context for Favre. It's fine if ESPN doesn't want to presume that Favre is guilty. All the better, actually. But to act as though the scandal itself is something that would make the fan at home would want to root for him to overcome merely with a big performance while possible dire consequences loom is one of the more cynical examples of audience manipulation I've ever seen during a sports event.
- Even though Randy Moss eventually broke through for a long touchdown and drew an interference penalty in the fourth quarter, you have to give credit to Antonio Cromartie for playing an impressive game matched up against him. It was expected that if Minnesota was going to go for their new big play target, it was going to be long in man coverage, what with Moss being new to the system. That Moss was held without a catch until about five minutes left in the third quarter was a testament to Cromartie being able to withstand a tough test. Also, with all the talk of Moss being uncaring and surly over the last week, it was cool to see him involved with the offensive coaches discussing possible routes on the sidelines before the final drive.
- Mike Tirico doesn't get incensed by seeing Favre fumble or miss a wide-open Percy Harvin on what could have been a game-winning play for the Vikes, but don't you dare execute poor clock management around him or you'll face the wrath of the gods.
- Fortunately the last 17 minutes of Monday night's game offered a modicum of excitement or else we could establish a quick template for Jets home games in prime time: rain delays followed by copious three-and-outs and field goal fests. Given that their two opponents in Monday night games this season have been the Ravens and the Vikings, two teams not lacking in defense, it's understandable to a degree. But the league is lucky there were some late-game fireworks or the NFL might have to reconsider giving the Jets so many prime time contests, not that this one wouldn't have been highly rated even if it were 3-2, what with the Favre and Moss drama.
- The Jets did an excellent job shutting down Dustin Keller, who's been Mark Sanchez's best safety valve this season. Keller will likely continue to be doubled until Sanchez can get some timing down with Santonio Holmes. The Jets' new receiver and their quarterback looked off most of last night, though some of that was just the result of poor performance on one end rather than a lack of a rapport. Holmes had one bad drop while Sanchez underthrew him badly on a deep route where Holmes had a step on the defender. As a quick aside, if Sanchez ever brings the Jets another Super Bowl, there are going to be mariachi bands cropping up in the stands at this point. Don't cast that critical eye at Jets fans. THEY TRANSCEND RACE, HOMBRE.
NFL Player Tweet Of The Night
Brett farve not worrying about no chick texting, brett like ill pay her off "people will do anything for money" IM BRETT FARVE ya digg!
Darnell Dockett has shown himself to be not at all shy about calling out other players on his Twitter feed. The most notable previous example was when he mocked Albert Haynesworth's intransigence about playing in a 3-4 system during the preseason. Last night, Dockett started in on Favre's alleged sexting scandal with what sounded like sarcasm about how Favre can seem to get away with anything. With subsequent updates, however, it became clear Dockett's tone wasn't sarcasm, but actual unmasked admiration for Brett being "a pimp." Which is, I suppose, an interesting take on the matter. Though when one considers how Dockett reacted during the Ines Sainz debacle, it's not entirely surprising, either.
A Delicious Bundle Of Gripes
- Drew Brees is turning to Twitter for help to name his second son. He said he's looking for uncommon "B" names. I think Blunderbuss Brees carries a certain brutish charm.
- Colt McCoy will start Sunday for the Browns in Pittsburgh in the game marking the return of Ben Roethlisberger from his four-game suspension. While I doubt the CBS announcers will give Ben quite the break ESPN gave Favre, having Colt under center for the other team provides a huge contrast in character that will only be referenced say, oh, a few dozen or so times.
- Cincinnati police apologized to Adam Jones for his arrest on Sunday being the result of a case of mistaken identity. Any lawyer Pacman has worth his salt needed to launch five minutes ago an immediate counterstrike claiming this doppelganger is to blame for all the behavioral missteps in Jones' career.