Too early for congrats, NFL

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:10 PM ET

Predictably, the NFL went a little overboard over the fact that no player was killed this weekend due to violent helmet-to-helmet hits.

It seemed like everybody went a little nutsy a week ago after some jarring hits just about KO’d a couple of receivers. Fines were levied, somber warnings were issued and on Sunday, a lot of candles were probably lit.

So, Sunday came and went and when nobody was laid out, the NFL, in a totally premature move, announced that the message had sunk in and all was right with the world.

“We like to think we’re off to a good start in terms of the new emphasis and the recognition that we are going to play aggressively but well within the rules. It’s a good start,” said Ray Anderson, the league’s executive vice-president of football operations.

It seems to me it’s a little too early to be patting each other on the back.

Let’s let the season roll out and watch what develops.

The culture of the game is to have defensive backs operating like heat-seeking missiles and that approach isn’t about to change in a week.

Put a hold on the “message has sunk in” crap.

IT’S BACK TO VICK

How long did it take for Eagles coach Andy Reid to turn back to Michael Vick to be his starting quarterback for their next game, Nov. 7 against the Colts? How about two seconds.

The sharp play of Kevin Kolb went dull on Sunday in a bad loss to the Titans at Nashville, which more or less got Reid off the hook as far as having a quarterback controversy.

Three turnovers by Kolb led to 17 Tennessee points in the Eagles’ 37-19 loss, which was all the ammunition Reid needed. Previously, he had said that when Vick and his ribs are ready for battle, he’d be back running the show. So, Reid is merely keeping his word, not back-tracking as he did earlier in the season.

Vick hasn’t played since he suffered a torn rib cartilage on Oct. 3.

“Obviously, I guess they trust in me and believe in me, and also they trust and believe in Kevin,” Vick said. “At the end of the day, we’ve both just got to get the job done, regardless of who’s out there.”

As to how game-fit he is, that’s up in the air.

“I won’t know until I get hit, whether I’m 100% or not,” Vick said. “I really won’t know.”

RAIDERS TALKING PROUD

Okay, the Browns’ upset of the Saints in the Superdome was truly a jolt, but given the way the champs have been sleepwalking through the season, it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility.

But did anyone on the planet, in their wildest dreams, believe that the skunky Oakland Raiders would roll up 59 points and 508 yards in offence against the Denver Broncos on the road? Didn’t think so.

But with the win, the Raiders are 3-4, behind only the division-leading Chiefs (a statement that’s hard to believe in itself), ahead of the absolutely stunned 2-5 Chargers and actually holding a belief that they can use the beatdown as a springboard to a series of wins that leads to a division championship.

This season, just about every team is dreaming large, so why not Raiders Nation?

Next up for the Raiders is a home game against the Seahawks, a team with big issues on the road. The following week is another home date, this one against the front-running Chiefs.

That’s a trifecta that this Raiders team believes is more than a remote possibility despite the fact that Oakland hasn’t won back-to-back games since the end of the 2008 season.

Details, details.

“When you win a game, it’s like: ‘Okay, we won, let’s go on to the next one.’ Now, this one, it’s like: ‘We won and we won convincingly. Let’s let this build into a momentum swing for us,’” said Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

Coach Tom Cable is asking the fans to get behind his team.

“Raider Nation, hear me, I hope you get this, we need you in those stands supporting us,” Cable said after the game. “We need to have a great 12th man from here on in because we’re doing our part and it’s coming together.

“We’re not going to let down. We’re going to go after this.”

As owner Al Davis so famously said: “Just win baby.”

STEVENS RELEASED

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Buccaneers released tight end Jerramy Stevens on Monday after he was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana on the weekend.

On Saturday, Stevens was pulled over in his pickup truck for playing loud music. When an officer poked his head inside he smelled marijuana and a search revealed that Stevens had 38 grams of marijuana. Stevens, who didn’t play in Sunday’s win, was taken to jail and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia.

mike.rutsey@sunmedia.ca


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