Understanding the situation around Eagles coach Andy Reid and his decision today

Eagles coach Andy Reid made a surprise(ish) move today, firing embattled defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. Sure, the offense has its issues, with QB Michael Vick and his fumbles and inconsistency. But Reid made the call that a defense that’s 12th in yards and 13th in points allowed was the issue. What does this mean for the Eagles? It’s kinda like I wrote last month about the Eagles situation. Reid gets his standing. I spoke with a high-ranking Philly source recently who made two distinct points that provide clarity. 1. Reid is being truthful when he said it was his decision to fire Castillo, one he made last night. He is the head coach, it’s his show, and he is in charge. […]

Texans hope Sunday was not a defining moment: “It’s a moment you’re going to have to respond to”

The Texans were undefeated and unblemished heading into Sunday’s game against the Packers, and they hadn’t even trailed by more than five. They were easily and resoundingly anointed the NFL’s best team… and then the Packers showed up. The result was an ugly beat-down, a 42-24 defeat that left the stands empty except for chants of “Go Pack Go!” and wasn’t even as close as the score. QB Aaron Rodgers torched the previously respected Houston secondary. Penalties crushed them, prolonging two drives that turned into 14 Green Bay points. And their best offensive weapon, running back Arian Foster, remained in neutral all night. So… what the heck happened? “It was shocking but if you go out and play the way […]

Rap Sheet Rundown: The Week 6 Edition

We arrived in Houston last night for the Packers-Texans game, expecting to see a showcase of one of the NFL’s heavyweights. We did. Except, it wasn’t the Texans. QB Aaron Rodgers put on a show, a six touchdown masterpiece in a 42-24 beat-down of the Texans. All those offensive struggles, the inaccuracy from Rodgers, the up-and-down play? Not last night. Instead, it was the Texans shooting themselves in the foot. As for Rodgers, he put the team on his back. And, as I learned in the Packers locker room, it’s exactly what he told his team would happen. He wanted to be a leader, and he led. “It was time for our offense to make a statement,” center Jeff Saturday told […]

Nine really random things and whatever else is going on around the NFL…

As we do every week, let’s take a swing around the NFL, looking at a bunch of random things… So, what’s been up? 1. Last week, we saw the brilliance of rookie QB Andrew Luck, who led a stirring comeback for the Colts against the Packers. It improved his team to 2-2, making me think the Colts are actually on their way to being pretty decent. It also gave way to an eye-popping line of thinking. Is it possible Luck is further along than Peyton Manning was as a rookie? Well… the numbers point to that being the case, and not just because Manning started 0-4. Through four games, Luck is 96 of 177 (54%) for 1,208 yards with seven […]

Former Purdue QB Drew Brees laments how bad the Big Ten is while living in SEC Country

So, Sunday is for the NFL, but Saturday is for college football. And, since today is Saturday, we’ll take a brief break from NFL talk (kinda) to discuss college football… with one of professional football’s stars. Today’s topic? Why the Big Ten sucks. Now, the Big Ten being terrible isn’t new. But it is timely, with no conference teams in the coaches’ poll. Why not ask former Purdue QB Drew Brees what he thinks… especially because he lives in New Orleans, which is SEC Country through and through. It’s all LSU there. In the phone call that led to posts like this one and this one, Brees explained. “You know what? I’m so disappointed… especially because I live in New Orleans […]

Texans LB Brian Cushing on Slauson’s fine: “That’s not going to change how my knee feels”

For the first time since his season ended with a torn ACL, Texans LB Brian Cushing met the media. And because we are here in Houston, we were there to listen. First, the newsworthy stuff. Cushing hasn’t heard from Jets G Matt Slauson, who was fined $10K for his hit on the former USC star that ended his season. He doesn’t expect to. Nor, by the way, did Cushing seem to care one way or the other that Slausin was fined for the cut block. “That’s the thing,” Cushing said. “That’s not going to change how my knee feels or whether I can get back on the field. That’s up to me now, the doctors, rehab as much as I […]

Saints QB Drew Brees says of the younger breed: “They seem so much more well-prepared than I was”

Earlier today, you saw the first installment of my interview with Saints QB Drew Brees, who discussed dealing with unforeseen losses. As part of his venture with Xbox 360, I spoke with Brees about other topics as well. One thing I really enjoyed was getting his take on the younger brand of QBs in the league. I asked him an open-ended query about quarterback play, and where Brees took it was to discuss the young’ns. Seems Brees is pretty impressed with several QBs around the league. But first, when I mentioned his struggles, and that of Cam Newton, and that of Aaron Rodgers, he brought up a good point. “First of all, it’s hard to win in this league,” Brees told […]

Saints QB Drew Brees explains how dealing with losses means taking “things opposite of human nature”

Saints QB Drew Brees made the media rounds yesterday, beginning with our crew on NFL AM. There, they discussed with him some bounty issues, Terry Bradshaw’s view on his record, and his endorsement deal with Xbox. Well, I was slated to talk with him later in the day about some other stuff… along with that Xbox-related program called the 60 Million Minutes Challenge, which encourages kids to be active for 60 minutes each day. So what did we discuss? Losing. In his 12th season, Brees only has two losing seasons. Yet this year, following a holdout and a tumultuous offseason for obvious reasons, the coach-less Saints are 1-4. How does Brees deal with it? Has it gotten easier? What has it been […]

Giants WR Victor Cruz needs to shrug off salsa dancing imitators…

The Giants and the 49ers play this week, another installment of what has historically been a great rivalry. In my weekly ranking of the games, I put this showdown as No. 2. The storylines, literally, are endless. But one thing that I take issue with revolves around Giants star WR Victor Cruz and his salsa-dancing ways. See, 49ers DB Carlos Rogers had said he likes Cruz’s signature dance, but that he would imitate it after a big play. And Cruz responded that he wouldn’t like that one bit. He got pretty fired up. Later, when Rogers found out that Cruz’s dance is an homage to his late grandmother, he backed off. That’s cool.  I love how Cruz honors the woman who […]

Rap Sheet Rankings: The Week 6 Edition

This is not one of those weeks where we have to search far and wide for the best games. Really, the first three or four are fairly obvious. I love the historic rivalry of Giants-49ers, and I’m intrigued by the clashing styles of Patriots-Seahawks. Of course, there are serious ramifications for the Cowboys-Ravens game. But for me, the best one is Packers-Texans. The intrigue abounds. If the Texans, one of the NFL’s undefeated teams, is as flawless as we think, they’ll win. If the Packers are as high-powered and undaunted as they’ve been in the past, they’ll win. And the fact that each team has a key injury to overcome — the Packers have RB Cedric Benson, at least, out […]

Recapping this trip: The Green Bay/Indianapolis edition

Last week has turned into this week, and the Packers-Colts game is long over. It was, to be sure, a memorable one, with Indianapolis winning for coach Chuck Pagano and providing an uplifting moment in his battle with leukemia. Want to hear what else happened last week? — The Packers offense disappeared in the second half against the Colts, scoring just six points and allowing Indy to fight back. QB Aaron Rodgers struggled even more than he did in the first half, showing indecision and inaccuracy. What the heck happened? “Earlier in the game, Aaron was doing a great job of getting rid of the football, he didn’t have to hold it,” OLB Dwight Freeney explained. “Toward the end of the […]

In appreciation of Patriots RB Kevin Faulk, who officially retired today

Today, in a ceremony at the Patriots Hall of Fame, RB Kevin Faulk officially retired. It was no surprise. The 36-year-old former second-round draft pick of the Patriots wasn’t on a roster and contributed only in the role of elder statesman last year. And so, in what sounded like a fantastically classy ceremony, Faulk announced his career was over. The only player to precede Bill Belichick was calling it quits. Considering how many people were in attendance (as in, most of the organization), Faulk didn’t get the last word. ”It’s truly been an honor to have the opportunity to coach you and to be on the team with you,” Belichick told Faulk, according to the Boston Herald. ”He’s the ultimate team […]

Examining the move to re-sign WR Reggie Wayne… a Colts bargain?

Nearly lost amid the craziness of yesterday’s 30-27 win for the Colts over the Packers was that WR Reggie Wayne had the best day of his career. Yes, his career. With 13 catches, 212 yards and a TD, Wayne was unreal. Oh, and he was fighting through leg cramps to make it happen, according to Yahoo! Sports. It’s times like these when I like to bring up my original thoughts on the situation when Wayne signed a three-year, $17.5 million deal to return as a 33-year old. I remember thinking something like, “Huh?” I didn’t get it. I didn’t see the upside for signing a veteran coming off his worst season since 2003 with just 75 catches for 960 yards […]

Rap Sheet Rundown: The Week 5 Edition

The Colts said all week they wouldn’t try to “play for” coach Chuck Pagano, who is battling leukemia in a nearby hospital. They didn’t want their emotions to overwhelm them. Yet following a stirring, 30-27 win over the Packers that Pagano no doubt cheered from his hospital bed, they could admit the obvious. They wanted to win for him like crazy. Shoot, WR Reggie Wayne even fantasized earlier in the week about having a great game, then having the game ball delivered to Pagano. Well, that’s exactly what happened. In the end, in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium, there was owner Jim Irsay clutching the football, surrounded by security, racing to the hospital to award it to Pagano. It […]

Nine really random things and whatever else is going on around the NFL…

As we do every week, let’s take a swing around the NFL, looking at a bunch of random things… So, what’s been up? 1. The Jets play on Monday night, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to talk about what’s going on with them. Banged up, beat up and struggling, the Jets face a critical home game against the powerful Texans. And all eyes are on their quarterback situation. Rex Ryan said he’s sticking with starter Mark Sanchez, but for how long? When does Tim Tebow Time happen? At what point will Ryan said, “Screw it, let’s put Tim in?” Because, as people inside the building say, that’s what it’ll be. I mean, can’t you hear Rex saying that… […]

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