Audibles From the Long Snapper

| September 29th, 2010

Benching Tommie Harris

There are very few writers out there as critical of the play-for-play coaching decisions of Lovie Smith as I am.  I think he is as brutal a clock manager as there is in the sport.  I think he acts stubbornly in support of his own poor decisions.  (Who didn’t know he’d go for it on the fourth down this week?)  But I think his benching of Tommie Harris is a bold stroke of desperate genius.  For too long Lovie has been The Great Excuser, putting overmatched players on the field simply because they’re there and he likes them.  Benching Tommie shows that Smith is well-aware he’s coaching for his NFL life.  And I like that.  (To hear Warren Sapp break down the situation, click here.)

The End of the Game “Controversy”
There has been tremendous debate over the last two minutes of the Bears v. Packers game.  Most believe, and I agree, Mike McCarthy should have allowed the Bears to score a touchdown, giving his team about two minutes to drive the length of the field to tie the game.  (Anyone who’s watched Lovie’s defenses at the ends of games knows this probably would have worked.)  Now questions have arisen as to whether Lovie should have had Jay Cutler take a knee instead of attempting to punch in the score.  Lovie’s wrong a lot but not on this one.  Eventually the Bears will need to punch the ball in at the goal line.  Against the Packers at crunch time would have been the perfect opportunity.
George Blanda, RIP
Quite simply one of the greatest players to every play football.  John Madden’s comments from the Los Angeles Times:

“If you put him in a group of most-competitive, biggest-clutch players, I think he’d have to be the guy who would win it all,” his Raiders coach, John Madden, said in a phone interview Monday.

“He was the most competitive guy that I ever knew.”

Never was that more evident than during a five-game stretch in 1970 when the 43-year-old Blanda, his chiseled jaw framed by salt-and-pepper sideburns, led the Raiders to four victories and one tie with late touchdown throws or field goals.

“It got to the point where when he’d come in [the game], the whole team would go, ‘Here comes George. We’re going to do it now,’ ” Madden said. “Then pretty soon all the fans started believing, and they’d all go nuts. And then the topper is when the opponents knew it. It was like, ‘Oh no, here he comes.’