Snap Judgments (cont.)
Posted: Friday September 7, 2007 1:02PM; Updated: Friday September 7, 2007 1:03PM
I didn't think it was humanly possible, but the more Tiki Barber talks and writes, the more he makes Tom Coughlin seem a sympathetic figure. We get it, Tiki. You didn't like playing for Tommy C. You were dubious about Eli Manning's leadership ability. Oh, and the Giants underpaid you $10 million throughout your career.
My question is, with stand-up guys such as Barber and Michael Strahan to work with, is it possible Coughlin hasn't underachieved the past two years in New York after all?
I'm only going to make this point once and then I'll move on: Starting with the Packers home game against Philadelphia on Sunday, can we please not treat Brett Favre's pursuit of Dan Marino's career record for touchdown passes this season like it's some magical milestone that deserves our rapt attention? Most NFL fans don't even know the number of TD passes that Marino threw (420), or can recall whose record Marino broke (I must admit, I'd have to Google it to find out).
It's an accomplishment of distinction to be sure. But we tend to over-do everything that involves Favre and have for many years now.
I happen to agree with Jack Del Rio. I wasn't convinced that Byron Leftwich was ever going to be Jacksonville's long-term meal ticket at quarterback. If Del Rio believes David Garrard gives his team its best shot to win, then Garrard should be starting, as he will Sunday at home against the Titans.
But the timing of Del Rio's gamble really leaves room for questioning his decision to jettison Leftwich and elevate Garrard. It sends a message to the rest of the Jaguars that the head coach has a difficult time seeing very far down the road, and can be swayed to make fateful calls at least partly based on emotion. The time to make the Leftwich decision was this offseason, when Jacksonville could react to a potential quarterback need in the draft. Giving Garrard more time to assume the No. 1 role, with all its accompanying responsibilities, wouldn't have been a bad idea either.
Watching how Del Rio's decision plays out will be the backdrop of the Jaguars season.
If Josh McCown gets the starting quarterback nod over Daunte Culpepper in Oakland this week, as is expected, I think he'll be one of stars of Week 1. McCown has all the motivation he needs to beat visiting Detroit. The Lions never really gave him much of a chance to push Jon Kitna for the No. 1 job last season, and there's always the cheap but effective "I told you so'' mentality to grasp onto in this case.
I'm not wishing Rex Grossman ill will, but for a quarterback who has had his share of turnover problems recently, it can't be ideal to be opening the season on the road against a Chargers defense that loves to separate quarterbacks from the football. The Bears best chance to pull the upset in San Diego will be to ride the shoulders of Cedric Benson and the running game, and hope their vaunted defense makes more big plays than the Chargers'. If the game is put in Rex's shaky hands Sunday, Chicago could be in trouble.
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