Rodney Harrison is the latest ex-player to come down with the Joe Namath disease — you know, how things were so much better when he played.
In a Boston Herald story, Harrison, a veteran of 15 NFL seasons, the last six when he played for New England before retiring after the 2008 season, comes down hard on the Patriots’ overall defensive scheme, one that he considers to be soft and safe and therefore not getting the job done.
The Patriots defence has been suspect all season and certainly wasn’t up to the task in Sunday’s 25-17 loss to Pittsburgh where they allowed 427 total yards including 329 through the air.
In the good old days, when Harrison played with a leather helmet the Patriots, he said, were decidedly tougher.
“I hate it, I don’t like it at all,” Harrison told the Herald of the defensive scheme the Pats now employ. “That scheme doesn’t work for me. When you play a good offence, a team that spreads you out, there’s just too many openings in zone coverage. You have to mix in man-to-man coverage. You have to become more creative on defence. You have to disguise, bring more pressure.
“Then I look at that secondary, and they’re playing really soft coverage, that bend-but-don’t-break defence. I hate that. I think you have to challenge your players more. You have to start blitzing, force the quarterback into making mistakes. I know you can’t stop everything. I know they were afraid of their speed. But sometimes you just got to go challenge them. And I just don’t see them doing it.
“Here, I just see a basic, plain defence. So if the offence isn’t scoring 25-30 points, you’re in trouble.”
On the final point, Harrison, now an analyst for NBC, is dead on.
IT’S BLOUNT, ALL THE TIME
One of the plans to get the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back on the beam following their bye week in their key game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday is to have LeGarrette Blount pound away inside.
Blount has been out of the lineup since he injured his left knee in the Bucs’ disastrous game against San Francisco (they lost 48-3) back on Oct. 9. Despite his absence, Blount continues to lead the Bucs in rushing with 328 yards and three touchdowns on 77 carries.
The game, played in the Big Easy, is a key game in the hotly contested NFC South. In the first meeting between the teams Oct. 16 at Tampa, the Bucs pulled out an impressive 26-20 victory.
At home, though, the Saints are 3-0 and to counter that advantage, the Bucs look to Blount to provide a spark.
“I feel good,” Blount said. “Everything is back in (order); everything is back where it needs to be. My recovery was a little faster than we thought, so everything is going really well.”
It isn’t likely that Blount will be eased back into duty either. Earnest Graham, who took over the running duties when Blount was out, is now gone for the season with an Achilles injury. Graham was the Bucs’ featured back in third down situations and now Blount will add those duties to his own.
“I know I’m going to play third downs in this game,” he said. “I probably won’t play all of them but I know I’ll play quite a few of them.
“I’ve shown that I know the protections and that I know the routes and that I can catch the ball so that’s going to help us out tremendously. And it’s going to help me stay in the game a little longer and play a lot more snaps.”
On Sunday in the Superdome the Bucs will be all Blount all the time.
FINALLY, A TEAM THE COWBOYS MIGHT BEAT
In Dallas, colourful Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is really freaking people out.
Normally, following a one-sided pounding such as the Cowboys received Sunday in their 34-7 rout at the hands of the hated Eagles, Jones would be building a gallows and making sure the trap door was working properly.
But on his weekly radio show, Jones confounded one and all by being in a ‘serenity now, insanity later’ moment. For an owner as colourful and passionate as Jones is, it was a bizarre reaction.
“I think we’ll go right back (to their winning ways),” Jones said. “We just have to do that. In my life, I’ve stuck my head in the sand and not recognized and dwelled on the situation, because if you do, you’ll become the situation. I just want us to move on past this one.”
Yeah, that’s what Jones has always preached in the past after tough losses and losing campaigns — just move on.
But he didn’t stop there.
In Dallas, the mere mention of the name Tony Romo causes panic as you never know what kind of performance you will get week to week. Jones, though, has been consistent this season in having his quarterback’s back.
“In my perspective, when we have a quarterback that’s healthy — Romo — that can play at the level that I believe he can play at, then I don’t think you ought to lower your expectations,” Jones said. “I think you’ve got an opportunity to have a good team. Consequently, when I look at the makeup of our team, that’s why I don’t want to — and fans shouldn’t either — dwell on this game.”
For whatever the reason, Jones remains calm and peaceful during their yo-yo season. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that the 3-4 Cowboys will be playing host to a dreadful 2-5 Seattle squad on Sunday.
GOODELL WANTS SUH TO PLAY NICE
Following his meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell earlier in the week, Detroit defensive tackle and quarterback tormentor Ndamukong Suh now has an understanding of the proper etiquette he is to display when he takes the field.
It was explained to him in exact detail that when he rips the arms out of opposing quarterbacks, he must place them gently on the ground and not beat them against his chest while engaging in some hair-raising tribal scream. That is a no-no and now Suh understands.
“I am very appreciative of the opportunity to sit and speak with the Commissioner and his staff to clarify a few questions about my play, and the game in general,” Suh wrote on his Facebook site. “I have gained a better understanding how I need to play the game to help my team win.
“I look forward to the rest of the season and the doing everything we can to bring the Lombardi Trophy to Detroit.”
Suh met with the commish to get a proper understanding of why he had been hit with penalties and fines for the ferocity of his play.
“We appreciate that Ndamukong Suh, Coach (Jim) Schwartz, and team president Tom Lewand took the time to meet with us today,” Goodell said in a statement. “Ndamukong plays the game with great skill and passion and is a major reason for the Lions’ success this year. We reviewed video showing that he has clearly made the adjustments to play consistently within the rules so that he can continue to help the team. We commend Ndamukong’s leadership in taking the initiative to schedule today’s meeting.”
At last, peace in our time.