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 Andrew Sharp's Shattered Cowboys Dreams
- Hoo boy, that Wade Phillips post-game press conference was a Texas-sized helping of awkward. One reporter asks Wade whether there's any hope left in the Cowboys season, which the coach responds to with a pat "sure." Then the guy fires back with, "what is that based on?" You're lucky you're dealing a docile coach, there, media guy. I give credit to Wade for not flipping out at that pointed question, though, again, this is Wade Phillips and flipping out could constitute not much more than a doleful shrug.
- At what point is it prudent to give Stephen McGee a look under center? Granted the guy has yet to throw an NFL pass, but I don't think anyone in the Dallas organization sincerely believes a playoff run is possible with Jon Kitna as quarterback. While it's not something Dallas could do right away, they might want to consider getting McGee in there to see if the team has a potential younger back-up to unseat Kitna in future years.Or do the Cowboys simply have to wait for Jon Kitna to get injured at some point, which is probably only a matter of time (when do they play the Giants again?).
- After a few weeks of displaying a glimmer of promise that might resurrect his career, Roy Williams reverted to the drop-prone wretch that has characterized his tenure in Dallas. Williams was held without a catch, but had one bad drop in the red zone and had his hands on another ball in the end zone that fell to the ground. That Williams after the game made the pronouncement that Kitna is as good as Tony Romo makes you wonder how good he thinks Kitna might be if only receivers other than Dez Bryant might help him out.
- I appreciate David Buehler's strategy in trying to recover the Cowboys first onside kick attempt in the 4th quarter last night, camping out 10 yard down the field in a cradling position, even if it just narrowly failed. Impressive enough that Gruden lent his usual style of clunky phrasing to praise the Cowboys kicker. "This Buehler is an interesting athlete." That he is, Jon.
- Mike Tirico is turning into the quite the backseat coach in the MNF booth. Tirico didn't even stop short of calling Wade Phillips dumb for trying to convert a 4th down rather than get a field goal early in the 4th quarter, then chastised the coach again brutally when the Cowboys went for two points to narrow the score to 10. While it's nice that someone is willing to call out coaches for the occasional lapse in clock management, we don't exactly need a railing Howard Beale in the booth, either. Leave it to Jaws to be the one to pretend like he's smarter than everyone.
NFL Tweet Of The Night
If you happened to tune in to last night's game for any of the Giants possessions, you caught Jon Gruden pushing his "Jet Blue" nickname for the Giants receiving corps. As Tirico later gleefully noted, the official Twitter account of JetBlue Airways acknowledged the company inspired nickname, which would make more sense if the Giants didn't share a hometown with a team called the Jets. Anyway, I can't blame JetBlue for seizing on a prime opportunity for free publicity. The fault, as always, goes to every struggling football team out there not making overtures to get Gruden back on a sideline and out of the broadcast booth.
A Delicious Bundle Of Gripes
- There's no conversation about the NFL that gets more simps more easily worked up than discussing who is or is not an "elite" quarterback, who is almost always a highly subjective determination. Yes, Eli Manning looked very impressive last night after the first few drives and that isn't exactly new, either. Eli was playing at a remarkably high level last year when healthy as well. While the recent SI poll about overrated players indicates there's still a prejudice against him, let's just accept that Eli has been very good for a while now.
- The NFL and NCAA are exploring a joint effort to crack down on players accepting money from agents while still in college. According to sources involved in the discussions including NFL, NFLPA, NCAA and American Football Coaches Association officials, NFL rookies found to have accepted money while in college could face between a six to wight game suspension. Of course, not only is this stupid as a general rule that protects an unfair system that exploits these athletes for great financial gain for the colleges, it also sets an inane statute of limitations on penalties even if players are caught. As we discovered with the recent Sports Illustrated feature on agents, it may be years before athletes are found to have met with agents at all. Meaning unless someone is caught right away, it's still nothing but condemning press.