Buss Stops (cont.)
Titans should have paid to keep Jim Schwartz. Let's be clear about why Tennessee's defense is struggling -- and it doesn't have to do with Albert Haynesworth. All anyone asked this offseason was, Will the Titans be OK without Haynesworth? They're OK without him, but they really miss last year's defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz. They've lost their continuity. Schwartz's loss hurts them in so many more places than Haynesworth's. Last week it was the play-calling late against Pittsburgh. Why would they stop blitzing late with the game on the line? This week it was the pass defense. They got shredded.
Maybe Tennessee should have put some of the millions of dollars it saved by letting Haynesworth go towards paying Schwartz like a head coach. They'd be better for it.
My Hall of Fame favorites. The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 2010 candidates yesterday, and I like more than just the shoo-ins. Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith... Those guys are obvious. But just as much I like guys like Cris Carter, who helped change the game. A lot about the way coaches defend or attack the red zone goes back to Carter, a big guy who you tossed the ball up to and let him make plays. When you hear someone say, "The Giants can't score in the red zone because they don't have Plaxico Burress," I believe that's a direct result of Carter. Those big receivers are the receivers of choice today.
Ex-players think of the Hall in those terms: game changers. That's why I admire another guy in this class, Eddie George. Though he wasn't the first tall guy -- Eric Dickerson was before him -- he certainly helped break the mold for guys like Brandon Jacobs.
Another guy I like to get inducted is John Randle. Warren Sapp, for example, is a direct result of John Randle having played the game. Some coach said, let's try this athletic and fast -- but undersized -- guy in-between the tackles. Then 10 years later someone says, "Warren Sapp will be our John Randle." That says something about the guy.
And of course, I have to love Dick LeBeau, Pittsburgh's defensive coordinator and an outstanding cornerback in his days. This guy helped invent a package, the zone blitz, that's used every day now. Last night I was watching the Giants-Cowboys, and there was nose tackle Jay Ratliff out defending a pass in the flat. That scheme came directly from the mind of Dick LeBeau, who's as much of a shoe-in as you can have in this bunch. If you know the NFL, you have to know about this guy.
Ochocinco is good for the NFL. There's no way -- no way! -- I'd jump into the Lambeau stands, but Chad Ochocinco is good for this game. Chad's antics don't come from anger. He's all in good fun. He's all about entertainment. And when Chad plays around like this, you know it means he's performing well again on the field. He's earned his fun.
If anything, the NFL should be thanking this guy. What he does is good for the game. Maybe it brings more viewership. If you'd read in the paper last week that Chad was going to do the Lambeau Leap if he scores, wouldn't you at least have considered watching that game?
A few more quick thoughts ...
--Looking down the standings, I see a few 2-0 teams that won't make the playoffs. I wouldn't get excited about San Francisco just yet; even less about Denver. Having a weak division helps, but the Broncos are not even the class of the weak AFC West. That's still San Diego.
--How about an 0-2 team I like? Tennessee, easily. With their personnel, they'll turn this around. Maybe not against the Jets this week, but their schedule gets easier down the line.
--I caught some flack for trashing the Steelers' line and running backs last week, but a lot of those things happened again. The defense was good, not great. They ran a little better and protected Ben Roethlisberger a little longer for most of the game. I'm still watching these guys.
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