Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Day 2: Super Bowl XLI in Miami

I wish I had more time this morning, but with media day in 30 minutes, I have no choice but to leave you with 30% of my best blogging efforts.

The latest on the Cowboy is that Mike Singletary will be interviewed …Perhaps to be Norv’s DC? Or maybe a late surge for head coach – but I would call that a shocker of the highest order…

The Cowboys' coaching search took another twist Monday when the team said it would bring in Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary in for an interview on Tuesday.
Singletary, 48, has spent the last two seasons as San Francisco’s assistant head coach/defense and in 2003 and '04 he served as inside linebackers coach for Baltimore.

One of the most intense players in NFL history, Singletary was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998 after spending 12 seasons with Chicago, finishing with 1,488 tackles and 10 straight Pro Bowl appearances. He was named All-Pro eight times.

He grew up in Houston and starred at Baylor before the Bears took him in the second round of the 1981 draft. Before entering coaching, he served as a motivational speaker and wrote three books. He and his wife, Kim, have seven children.

He will be the eighth candidate to replace Bill Parcells, joining Tony Sparano, Todd Haley, Todd Bowles, Jason Garrett, Wade Phillips, Gary Gibbs and Norv Turner.

The pending interview further puts the Cowboys in compliance with the "Rooney Rule," which states a team must interview at least one minority for a head coaching vacancy. According to the NFL, the Bowles' interview had satisfied the rule.

Revo, who appears to have heard my rantings from yesterday, defends those of the media that knows Norv with this column …but he still never answers for those 9 seasons as head coach…

There are quite a few of us around here who know Norv Turner, know him well enough to believe he should be the next coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

In fact, I don't think I've heard a single person who knows Norv, who was around here to watch him work from 1991-93, who has spoken up to say he shouldn't be Jerry Jones' choice to replace Bill Parcells. Doesn't mean that hasn't happened, but I haven't heard it.

But then, obviously, those of us who were around back then are all biased, because we happen to know and like Norv.

It's a double-edged sword, you see. If knowledge is supposed to be power, how come in this case it feels more like a handicap? We're not objective, the rather virulent and angry anti-Norv faction rails, thus we're not credible.

Interesting dilemma, isn't it? Do you, the fans, listen to the people who actually know Norv Turner? Or do you dismiss our opinions because we know Norv Turner and listen to those who don't know him at all?

I'm definitely biased, so I'm making an attempt to take myself out of the equation for the purposes of this column. The problem is that most of the people whose opinions I value most when it comes to the Cowboys also know Turner.

There's Troy Aikman, of course, but you already know how he feels about Turner. He made that pretty clear during the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Canton last August, when he asked Turner to introduce him and said they were as close as brothers.

I certainly haven't spoken to all of them, but I would be willing to bet you wouldn't find a single Cowboy from those Super Bowl teams who would say a bad word about Norv.

But in case it's just me -- and while we're waiting for Jerry to get on with his decision -- I checked in with a couple of other guys who have been around the Cowboys for a while to get another perspective.

Not surprisingly, Brad Sham and Babe Laufenberg could only say good things about Norv.

Like me, they're getting tired of hearing that the Cowboys must hire a defensive-minded head coach or that they shouldn't hire Turner because he's a retread, or that he's too nice a guy.

Anybody notice, by the way, that two of the "nicest" guys in the NFL -- Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith -- have their teams in the Super Bowl this week?

To the shock of nobody, Mickey has Norv ready for Canton

Does it also not make sense the Cowboys would hire an offensively-oriented head coach? We know all about the need to continue grooming the young Tony Romo. But don't forget this offense scored 425 points in 2006, two short of being second in the NFL, and really, all but one of the guys who had his fingerprints all over that offense has departed. Gone are Parcells (heaviest), Haley, Anthony Lynn, Chris Palmer (just hired by the Giants) and David Lee, leaving only Sparano and first-year tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens behind.

Plus, here is what everyone overlooks about Turner since he seems most heralded from his development of quarterbacks - from Troy Aikman, to getting Gus Frerotte to the Pro Bowl in Washington, to the Skins' Brad Johnson leading the league in passing, to grooming rookie Drew Brees at San Diego, to nursing Jay Fiedler for two seasons in Miami, to milking 3,495 passing yards out of Kerry Collins in Oakland, to nearly doubling the struggling Alex Smith's QB rating this season in San Francisco, going from 40.8 to 74.8, along with increasing his touchdown passes from one to 16.

Turner is a football-running-coordinating dude. Emmitt Smith led the NFL in rushing Turner's three years in Dallas. Terry Allen had two 1,300-yard seasons in Washington under Turner. Stephen Davis rushed for what was then a Washington single-season high 1,405 yards under Turner in 1999, and then turned in a 1,318-yard season in 2000 when Turner was fired after 13 games (7-6, the last three losses by a total of six points).

Let's see then. In his only season as offensive coordinator at San Diego, rookie LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 1,236 yards in an offense that jumped from 28th in the NFL to 11th. In 2002, his first of two seasons coordinating the Dolphins' offense, Ricky Williams rushed for 1,853 yards and then 1,372 the next year- the top two rushing performances in club history.

And this past season, San Francisco's Frank Gore, following a 608-yard rookie season, led the NFC in rushing with a club-record 1,690 yards, helping the 49ers to improve from 18 last year to sixth. That meant since arriving in Dallas in 1991, Turner's lead running backs, no matter if he was the head coach or the OC, averaged more than 1,200 yards a season.

The Cowboys sure can use some of all that.

Fine, you say, but what about the defense?

Glad you asked.

You know, the Cowboys were just about to turn this defense over to Bowles had Parcells remained, since the head coach would have kept an eye on what would have been a first-time coordinator. Obviously that's no longer the case, but I've got a great idea.

Make Bowles the defensive coordinator, but then bring in - and I want absolutely no snickering on this one - Dave Campo to oversee the defense, maybe be the assistant head coach or something. Look, Jacksonville was willing to let Campo, the Jaguars' assistant head coach/secondary coach, interview for the D-coordinator spot in San Francisco this past week. And say what you want about Campo as a head coach here, no better than 5-11 his three seasons, but he was - and still is - a damn good defensive coordinator. Remember the 2006 opener?

Who better to continue grooming Bowles, if that's the way the Cowboys want to go? Then, just go back to playing the 4-3, which would take no time at all - or added personnel - to transition to this year. Hands of Greg Ellis and DeMarcus Ware go on the ground at end. Jason Ferguson and a combination of Marcus Spears, Chris Canty and maybe Jay Ratliff inside. Bradie James in the middle, Akin Ayodele returns to his strong side and Bobby Carpenter goes weak. Go find me a free safety, and let's play.

So to ol' simpleton me, this all looks pretty easy, if not already thought out to this point from the very start. Cuz' remember, Jones doesn't fly all that much by the seat of his pants. He's had an idea all along.

Since no journalists wrote this, I am left to post you this rant from a Cowboys message board that I thought pointed out a fact or two about Norv’s head coaching career

Dan Snyder had little to do with Norv Tuner's failure in Washington. Yet so many on here including some in the media like to promote this myth that his tenure with the Skins was ruined by Snyder.

I have no love for Snyder but the fact remains that he has only owned the team since 1999. Norv was hired in 1994. Synder had nothing to do with Norv's dismal record during those 5 seasons.

1994 = 3-13

1995 = 6-10

1996 = 9-7

1997 = 8-7-1

1998 = 6-10

Now the first excuse for that record is that the Skins had no QB since Shuler was a bust and you can't blame Norv for that. To which I say "so what". The Parcells haters didn't excuse his record even though he came to a talentless team and didn't find a QB until half way through his final season. Why should Norv be let off the hook?

Plenty of coaches have had to deal with prospects who don't turn out as well as expected. That's part of the game and should not be used as an excuse. Parcells had a pretty damn good draft record here with us and people still criticized him for the one's who didn't work out.

Norv had one playoff appearance in his seven seasons with the Redskins. Parcells had two here with the Cowboys and many still wanted him gone. Why is one out of seven good enough for some of you guys but two out of four (50%) wasn't?

The problem is some of you are drinking the same koolade that Jerry is sipping from. You think that because Norv was our OC here during the golden age that somehow he will bring that same magic back to the Cowboys. You're living in the past. Did Dave Wannstedt bring any magic to the Bears or Dolphins? Did Campo bring any magic to our Boys? Did Butch Davis bring any magic to the Browns? Did Jimmy Johnson take any with him to the Dolphins? What makes you think Norv will bring any here? What has he done in his past two HC tenures that would indicate this?

If you count his time in Oakland he has 1 playoff appearance in 9 seasons. Thats the kind of magic you want sprinkled on this organization? Of course many of you will excuse his time in Oakland because of Al Davis. Al Davis didn't seem to prevent Gruden from winning when he was there. Bill Callahan managed to take Gruden's team to the Super Bowl despite Al Davis. If you go by the logic (or excuse) that no one can win under Davis perhaps we should hire Callahan since he performed a miraculous feat by winning the AFC Championship.

And why exactly is Al Davis any worse (or much worse) than Jones? If Davis walked all over Norv what do you think Jerry will do? Al has an AFC Championship since 2000. What does Jerry have? Zero Playoff Victorys. Many have compared Snyder to Jones and Jones to Davis. They're all meddling owners, mavericks who march to the beat of their own drummer. What makes you think Norv's third time with a meddling owner will be the charm? Where is this faith in Norv Turner coming from? Are some of you so stuck in the past that you actually think the results will somehow be different since he will be coaching the Cowboys?

Norv is the teflon coach, none of his failures seem to stick or matter (to some of you). Just remember one thing, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

Here are the facts on Dan Snyder’s purchase of the Skins

In May 1999, he purchased the team and their then two-year old stadium for $800 million following the death of the previous owner Jack Kent Cooke, the most expensive transaction in sporting history. The deal was financed largely through money, including a $340 million borrowed from Société Générale and $155 million debt assumed on the stadium. Annual loan servicing costs are an estimated $50 million.

Joe writes:

You’re down on Turner’s previous experience. Belichick had 8 years before he became “the great coach”. Some times the situation is just right for someone.

I hope everyone is right and I am wrong on this. But, the Belichick stuff needs to stop. Look, just because one guy had a less-than-great run in one city and then won 3 Super Bowls in his next stop doesn’t mean that every coach will do it. That is right out of the Heath Shuler Theory…

Welcome back, Mike Modano …They need you badly…

Every action, every drill carried a special purpose Monday for Mike Modano.
Each was a test for Modano's healing hip, which has sidelined him since Dec. 4. The objective was the same, whether he was racing up the ice with familiar linemates Jere Lehtinen and Jussi Jokinen or going hard into the corner to check Trevor Daley or practicing one-timers with Philippe Boucher.

Modano called it a "mental checklist" – one that he passed. Barring a relapse, he expects to play tonight against the San Jose Sharks, which would be at least one game ahead of schedule.

"It's as close as I'm going to get," Modano said, when asked if he's 100 percent. "It's not going to feel any better by Thursday or Saturday. The sooner I can get in there and get my legs going and get into those game situations, the better."

Modano's progress has accelerated since seeing a specialist in Nashville on Jan. 18.
A cortisone injection reduced swelling and helped break up scar tissue in Modano's upper hip.

"I think we were waiting for that day where I didn't feel anything that held me back, just testing it and really seeing explosiveness and what was there," Modano said. "The last five days have been like that. That kind of gave me a good idea that we've finally turned a corner."

The Stars, who have been getting healthier since the All-Star break, could use Modano at full strength.

He had 20 points in his first 27 games while playing almost 18 minutes a game. Without Modano, the Stars are just one game above .500 and have been outscored by six goals. His absence was felt even more against Pacific foes. The Stars were 8-1-0 against the division prior to losing Modano and have gone only 5-5-0 since.

Bill Simmons is here

For years and years, I've been arguing for a switch to the "Big Three," where we'd hand the Super Bowl exclusively to Miami, San Diego and New Orleans (rotating every three years) and ban every other city from having it ... well, unless they build a 75,000-seat football stadium in Las Vegas, and we expand the concept to a "Big Four." Either way, the Super Bowl should be given only to cities that double as bachelor party destinations or feasible destinations for a "Real World" season. Think about it. If you were a best man throwing a bachelor party, you'd never say the words, "Hey, guys, we're going to Jacksonville!" If you were an MTV executive planning a "Real World" season, you'd never say, "Hey, what about Houston?" So why would we hold the Super Bowl in those places? Isn't Super Bowl week supposed to be fun?

Until recently, the NFL agreed with me. You could always count on the big game to take place in Miami, New Orleans, San Diego or Tampa (a poor man's Miami). Then they started handing out Super Bowls as rewards for owners who built state-of-the-art stadiums, which defeated the whole purpose of the event. Shouldn't this be a vacation? Shouldn't it be a memorable week for just about everyone on both teams, as well as a seminal experience for any fans who travel to support their team? For instance, one of my friends (a Seahawks fan) voyaged to Detroit to see Seattle's first-ever appearance and is still griping about it 12 months later: "I waited all those years for my team to make it, and they do, and then it's in freaking Detroit in the dead of winter?" Exactly.

You won't hear the Colts and Bears fans complaining this week. Here's a place that definitely passes my Movie Test, especially when you're driving from the airport to South Beach and having about 145 "Miami Vice," "Scarface" and "Grand Theft Auto" flashbacks. (The weirdest thing about Miami is that I haven't been here in 16 years but I feel like I know the place inside and out. And sure, I feel that way because of two Ferrari-driving TV detectives, a megalomaniacal Cuban coke dealer and a video game that allowed you to run over pedestrians and shoot cops, but still.) Everyone uses the words "decadent" and "swank" to describe Miami, and even though those words sound like porn magazines, I can't quibble with either description. Even on a Sunday night, the famous stretch of hotels along Collins Avenue (right along the strip in South Beach) was hopping with gorgeous women, overdressed foreigners, club hoppers and older guys wearing blue blazers and looking like they just showed up for the Judge Smails Look-Alike Contest. I met a friend for a drink at the Raleigh Hotel, where the bar was tucked behind the hotel and hugged along the pool, replete with tiki huts and lava lamps and cabanas and soft couches, and it stretched as long as a football field. If you closed your eyes, you could even hear the ocean humming in the distance. Now this was a scene.

Greggo Jumps

Fight for your right to party

Irv and Joe was done last night here in Miami…Should be radio gold today…


BACM said...


Please anyone but Norv "Cheese Grader Face" Turner.

CFB123 said...

C'mon Bob, you should know that Turner had to deal with Charley Casserly as his GM for almost his entire time in Washington. Do you need a reminder of how utterly inept that guy was both there and in Houston??? He's going to go down as probably the worst GM of all time when you look at the draft picks he made over the years. He makes Jerry look like a genius by comparison.

Cap It said...

no joke, especially in HD and the cameraman has the camera right up in his grille. find some spackle for the guy.

The greggo water bridge jump? Who's the effing moron that thought it would be a good idea to film AT NIGHT, with NO LIGHTING?

No wonder you guys are on radio and not TV.

Brad C said...

If you guys can't spring for a decent camcorder, at least stop down the shutter speed and max out the gain. Might look crappy, but not as crappy as that mess. At least you might be able to tell what is going on. You guys need to hire at least one video dude who knows what the heck he's doing for a change. And of course YouTube is going to automatically compress it to MPEG4 so that's going to make things even darker, so you need to bump up the brightness in post. I mean, anytime there's a webcast or compound or anything, whoever is running the cameras is incompetent.

Fake Sturm said...

How many bottles of wine had Greggo drank at this point of the night? I will give the over/under at 5.

Jay Clendenin said...

well hello there, Technology Snob Brad C.

ChozSun said...

Who in the hell thinks that Norv hiring is a good thing?

Brad C said...

JC - what are we going to let Bob have the title to every kind of bully?

CFB123 said...

Norv or no Norv? Well, I gotta go with Jimmy Johnson's opinion over yours Bob. Sorry...

Robert Bentley said...

East coast media bias warning:
When the Yankees hired Joe Torre in 1996, the back page of the Daily News ran the headline 'Clueless Joe'. This nice example of Norm/dad humor was based on Joe's record as a three-time loser as manager of the Cardinals, Braves and Mets, a record nobody seems to remember anymore that his stupid Yankees that I hate are 4-for-6 in the World Series.
Could this be analagous to Norville having success his third time around? Who knows? Probably not, but I will say this: If (and that's a big if) there is a place where he can succeed as a head coach, Dallas is it.

Robert Bentley said...

By the way, no Rashad Evans clip?

artfromtex said...

all this talk of 3-4 and 4-3, no one has mentioned the possibility of the 4-6. that would bring Roy closer to the line and we'd be only club running that D.


artfromtex said...

46 not 4-6.

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