There’s no letup in Broadway Joe.
The legendary former New York Jets quarterback has often been the team’s harshest critic and Namath was at it again the other day as he jumped all over general manager Mike Tannenbaum for making some bad draft picks.
His target this day was offensive lineman Vlad Ducasse, a second-round pick in 2010 who has not lived up to his billing. Like all members of the offensive line, Ducasse had a bad night in the loss against Baltimore.
“I’m not sure what’s going on there,” Namath said on ESPN 1050. “We picked some poor players and we’re not owning up to it. That’s what it amounts to. You’ve got guys on the roster who have been picked and you keep trying to say, ‘OK, they’re going to work out.’ Well, guess what? We tried that with (Vernon) Gholston (the sixth overall pick in 2008) and it didn’t work out. You have to say: ‘Hey, I made a bad pick, a bad selection,’ and move on. The Jets didn’t do that and it’s a little late for the season to get it righted.”
Namath, however, wasn’t content to stop there and went on to jump all over receiver Santonio Holmes who told reporters following Sunday’s game that the offensive line has to do a better job.
“That was a mistake, it surely was,” Namath said. “For Holmes, as a captain, to go outside, to the media, and start pointing fingers ... I mean, he’s right about the ball getting out late to him (on Mark Sanchez’s third-quarter interception), and he’s right about the offensive line, but that can create a problem in the locker room. That divisiveness can bury a team. They’ve got to correct that right away.”
It seems the only person allowed to offer criticism is Joe.
BENCHING MCNABB SHOULD BE PONDER-ED
Four games into what looms as a dreadful season and it’s circle-the-wagons time in Minnesota concerning the aging and unproductive Donovan McNabb.
McNabb has given the Vikings next to nothing at the quarterback position but head coach Leslie Frazier isn’t about to pull the chute just yet and turn to first-round draft pick Christian Ponder.
The only question is, why not?
The Vikings are 0-4 and going nowhere so why not start the clock on Ponder as they have in Cincinnati with Andy Dalton, Carolina with Cam Newton and Jacksonville with Blaine Gabbert?
Frazier, though, is holding firm with McNabb for the time being and will go with McNabb for Sunday’s home game against the Arizona Cardinals.
“Based on these four games we’ve had this season, we’re not at a point where we’re making a quarterback change,” Frazier said. “There are a lot of things that we need to correct on our football team based on the fact that we’re 0-4. But at this point, a quarterback change isn’t one of those changes.”
On the season, McNabb has completed 65 of 111 passes (58.6%) for 680 yards. He’s thrown four TD passes and two interceptions. In the second half his stats dip as he has completed 27 of 55 passes (49.1%) for 262 yards and just one TD.
Still, Frazier continues to be a believer.
“If you look at Donovan’s performance on Sunday, there was much more consistency in some of his throws,” Frazier said. “Plus, he hit that play with Devin (Aromashodu). That was a big play for us, something we’ve been hoping to do from the beginning of the season. We finally got one and hope to see more of that to come.”
What more and more Vikings fans would like to see, though, is Ponder.
TEBOW A BRONCOS’ DISTRACTION
This Tim Tebow nonsense refuses to go away.
It reached an absurd level on Sunday in Green Bay of all places when, with the Packers blowing the Denver Broncos out, many in the crowd began the derisive cheer of “Tee-bow, Tee-bow, Tee-bow.”
Last year, to much controversy, the Broncos selected Florida Gators heralded quarterback Tim Tebow in the first round, a decision they probably by now regret.
The selection of Tebow was made by the now departed Josh McDaniels but the new regime seems to have less of a plan for Tebow than the former one.
The Broncos are 1-3 after the loss on Sunday to Green Bay and their fans have never warmed up to quarterback Kyle Orton, who came close to being traded in the off-season.
Orton has yet to prove he is the answer to the Broncos’ prayers but he isn’t a complete stiff either. In the loss to Green Bay he completed 22 of 32 passes for 273 yards and fired three touchdown passes against three picks.
Orton has the backing of new coach John Fox and the players but after each loss, Tebow is there like the elephant in the room.
“We feel Kyle Orton is our starting quarterback,” Fox said about the issue. “We need our starting quarterback to get experience for us to improve. That’s the idea behind that. You know he needs to get better in our system.
“I know he gets judged on the past couple of years, but we’re trying to get him better in our system and use that experience to get better.”
The thing is, the controversy will be there as long as Tebow is.
He has an almost cult-like following among his fans and given that he was a first-round pick, maybe the Broncos should give him a shot and find out if he’s up to the task.
If not, then they should ship him out and get rid of the distraction.
BUCS WIN BUT IT’S UGLY
There was nothing pretty about Tampa Bay’s victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Monday night’s stinker but that has been their standard operating procedure through the opening four weeks of the season.
The Bucs have gone 3-1 for a share of first in the NFC South along with the New Orleans Saints and they have not looked ‘sparkling’ in any of their games.
The best that could be said of Monday’s victory is that they pulled out a win and didn’t suffer a letdown in a trap game following last week’s emotional victory over Atlanta.
The Bucs have a stud at quarterback in Josh Freeman but they do not have any downfield threats and move the sticks through check-off routes and screens by their running backs and short, high-percentage routes.
They also have an effective yet unspectacular running back in LeGarrette Blount plus a stout defence that this season looks to have a more effective pass rush.
They are also very young and with that immaturity comes sloppy play as witnessed by the 14 penalties they took against the Colts.
“You want to go in every week and play a spot-free football game, but that’s rarely how it goes,” Freeman said. “I think we showed a lot of people that regardless of penalties — we didn’t turn the ball over — but whatever the adversity, we continue to play four quarters and persevere. That’s kind of our makeup, that’s how we’ve been getting it done.”
Veteran corner Ronde Barber had a different spin.
“We’ll take it,” Barber said. “We’ll take ugly.”