FoxSports: Fox NFL Sunday Countdown Week 8 Roundtable

Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by WoodysGirl, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

    74,214 Messages
    23,000 Likes Received
    WEEK 8: Unsettling week for Chargers

    Every week, the experts of FOX NFL Sunday will candidly reveal their observations and make their opinions known as they prepare for their top-rated pregame telecast — seen each Sunday at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT. We'll share with you some of the highlights and observations from Curt, Terry, Howie, Jimmy and Barry grabbed from their weekly conference call with insider John Czarnecki and pregame show producer Scott Ackerson.

    This week, Czar probes FOX NFL Sunday on the Chargers' displacement, the game in London, disciplining critical players and more.


    CZAR: What do you think this week has been like for the Chargers, who were forced like thousands of others to evacuate their homes and practice in Phoenix?
    Howie Long: "I think it's got to be tough on the players because they have to be worried about their homes and their families. I know LaDainian Tomlinson had a close call and who knows about all the support staff to this team and what those people have gone through. It's not the same, but the closest recent thing is what the Saints went through. But that was for a full season and thousands of people lost their lives."

    Jimmy Johnson: "When I talked with Norv Turner this week, he was really worried about where they were going to play, too. I guess there's a slight chance they could be back in San Diego for the game and nobody knows what that's going to be like. When this happened in 2003, they played the game in Arizona and allowed everyone to come to the game for free. That isn't going to happen this time. I guess Jerry Jones jumped in and offered Texas Stadium, saying he'd pump up the game because L.T. is a Texas kid and played nearby at TCU. But I know Norv didn't want that, thinking that would still be a home game for Houston. Norv was hoping they could go back to San Diego."

    HL: "One year with the Raiders we lived in Oakland and played all our home games in Los Angeles, meaning we were on the road every weekend. It was hard as a player because it was a total disconnect with the city you were living in and the city you were playing in. If they play in Dallas, there will be no connection between the players and that crowd."

    (Note: Following this conversation, the Chargers announced they would play Sunday's game against the Houston Texans at Qualcomm Stadium, as scheduled.)

    CZAR: Why are coaches and players never really excited about playing international games like this Sunday's major event in London?

    JJ: "The four, five-hour flight isn't the complaint. It's a bunch of other stuff, like going through customs. All of it is just distractions. It's a different country; guys will want to do some sightseeing; players and coaches will have families over there and be entertaining them. All of it is a huge distraction rather than just winning a game."

    HL: "For the player the only normal stuff are the practices and at the end of the day being on the field for the game. But you feel obligated to family and special press functions with a game like this. You got to be worried a little about security. London is a different place and security is pretty significant."

    CZAR: How do you discipline players who rip their head coaches in the media?

    JJ: "I don't like it when a player puts a coach or an organization in a bad light. I think there should always be a threat of a fine, but a lot of today's players don't care about being fined. It comes down to respect for the head coach and his credibility and the approach of the head coach. Is he a hard-line, firm, no-BS guy? And do they know it? If that's the case, I firmly believe they are going to be guarded about what they say. In Atlanta, I think some of those players feel they can run roughshod over Bobby Petrino right now. In the case of Ray Lewis criticizing Brian Billick, I think he probably feels he can say whatever he wants. He's become bullet proof."

    Barry Switzer: "A lot of this still comes down to character and intelligence, too. Players who are apt to say anything generally don't care about anybody but themselves."

    HL: "What we've seen a lot lately, ever since Keyshawn Johnson or Terrell Owens, is something totally different than when I played. I think Lewis was spot on to what Billick did, and he's been with that coach so long that I believe Billick understands. I mean, the coach probably should have run the ball on second and one. What Ray Lewis said was out of frustration. But the DeAngelo Hall remark, calling the release of Grady Jackson asinine, sounds to me like a guy who wants out of that organization. Now, I think he can still play and there are quite a few coaches who could handle him. What happened with Frank Gore in San Francisco is also out of frustration. It's bigger than the young offensive coordinator. The offensive line is beat up and the young quarterback has been hurt."

    JJ: "I don't think the threat of the fine carries a lot of water. Some of today's players have no fear. You want them to be in fear of losing their job and wanting to be an important part of your team."

    BS: "When they got free agency, that's when the players started to run the league. The players run the league now, and then it's the owner and then the coach. In some of these situations, the head coach is cut off at the knees because the untouchable players don't have to listen and follow orders if they don't have enough sense to be a solid, team guy."

    JJ: "They are smart enough to know that the way their contract is structured, they have had so much bonus money that they can't cut him."

    HL: "Remember, Tampa Bay paid Keyshawn money simply to go away and leave the team."

    BS: "In the old days, before free agency and all this big money, a coach could pull a player in and tell him if he didn't start playing well that he better get his U-Haul ready because you were shipping him to Buffalo or Green Bay. Back then you could do that because everyone was paid about the same. In college, I didn't have any problems. I was the dictator. But with the Cowboys, I tried to manage the players and tried to deal with them one-on-one, get to know them and get them to know me. I tried to do it through positive reinforcement. Jimmy did it with fear. Jimmy scared his players, the fear of being cut."

    JJ: "The problem players in most cases you can't cut them. You want to keep them in line, but you also walk a fine line dealing with them. I'm sure Petrino is treating Hall like a college player."

    CZAR: Raiders coach Lane Kiffin seems to have no interest in starting or even playing JaMarcus Russell. Why is that?

    HL: "I believe the first issue is this young man has just finished training camp without any preseason snaps. I think the Raiders have no idea what they're going to get out of him if they do play him. I compare it to the Colorado Rockies taking batting practice for a week and trying to simulate going against Josh Beckett. How do you prepare for that? Also, his representation did a poor job of not getting him into camp. If you want to play at all at that position, you have to get into camp."

    JJ: "When you put him in is definitely an organizational and coaching decision. But you have a first-year coach in Oakland who is trying to win and turn around a long cycle of losing up there. He's still trying hard to win games and from what I've seen of the Raiders it's not a hopeless cause. What's impacting this decision is that he has two veterans who can play some. I think we're still a month away from saying the hell with it and play the young guy."

    BS: "He can't be wowing them in practice or the players would be screaming to play him. I mean, he is the scout-team quarterback."

    JJ: "The backup quarterback doesn't get any work with the first team in a typical NFL practice, so there's no way of really knowing how much offense he knows."

    CZAR: Jimmy, give us a rundown on your five ingredients of building an NFL winning franchise? You'll go in depth on Sunday's show.

    JJ: "My top ingredient is having the very best personnel evaluator that you can find. He's more important than a head coach. I think what makes New England pretty unique is that it is a two-man operation. It's Bill Belichick and personnel man Scott Pioli. They don't have a cap guy or a contract guy. And a lot of times, things fall through the cracks when building your team because you have a bean counter who's working the contract with the agents and he rips the player, trying to negotiate a good contract for the club. And the player ends up resenting the coach and the organization because of what was said during the negotiations. In New England that doesn't happen because the coach and talent evaluator are involved in the negotiations and that is so important. Of course, you need a winning quarterback, but he doesn't have to be a superstar. Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer both won a Super Bowl. Yes, it's a lot easier if you have Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, but long-term the talent evaluator is more important than the head coach."

    CZAR: The Redskins are a 17-point underdog to the Patriots. Do you give them any chance?

    JJ: "I think New England has covered the spread every week, but this could the first one that they have trouble with. What's scary about New England is that they seem to want to beat you as bad as they can. But Washington has the defensive backs who can apply enough tight coverage to give Randy Moss and those other receivers some problems. It could end up being one of the closest games New England plays all season as long as Jason Campbell doesn't turn it over."

    HL: "Washington needs to be able to run. They have struggled to run because the offensive line has so many injuries. The other key is how Campbell will deal with what he's going to see from New England's defense. The Patriots will try to confuse him. On offense, the Patriots have to get Sean Taylor out of position and confuse rookie safety LaRon Landry. That's real important to the deep passing game."


Share This Page