I nearly puked watching the 5 and 8 Panthers destroy us on Sunday night. Okay, the cats are no joke, as in there's some real talent down there... but c'mon! They're NOT that good! I had to breathe into a little brown, paper bag and repeat, "I'm not going to panic! I'm not going to panic!" I've had a couple of days of thinking it through, and I've come up with a few ideas... bear with me people.
1. Message to the Team: Chili, pull Brett into your office for a couple of minutes this week, Thurs or Fri should work. Explain, that both of you need to win this team over, and now. Chili, you've got to let your QB and OC do their jobs... loosen the grip a little. Hell, feel free to let Bevell coordinate the offense AND manage his ol' pal Brett. You've got your extension, you can relax a little, bud. In fact, why don't you take a moment to remind yourself that football is a game, and have some fun. Maybe the team you're running can relax enough to have some fun too... Just a thought.
Brett, brother, you're 40 years old. 40 freaking years old, bro! You need a rest, clearly. Your QB rating is sinking like a stone, and the Eagles are about to take over that all important first round bye. Sit the(insert fan expletive here) down once in a while, hell, take most of the Chicago game off, especially if we have a 10 point lead early. No one's gonna say anything stupid. You're still a stud, but you're killing us with the middle-aged heroics that really aren't so heroic... Try listening to Toby Keith's "I ain't good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was" song.
Truth is you'll BOTH need to save that locker room together, or its over. Plain and simple.
2. Message to the Offensive Line: For the past month, you guys have just been flat out offensive. Seriously. You're starting to hurt my feelings. I almost had to pull a paper bag with 2 eye holes over my head on Sunday night so I could finish watching the game... you know, from the comfort of my own home!! NEVER thought I'd see the day I'd be asking for Ryan Cook to start at RT, Loadholdt at LT, and Cooper at C, but I'm asking. And while we're at it, could I get Hicks at LG? McKinnie, either you're that bad, or you're not healthy. Either way, sit down for a week before you kill my 40 year old pro bowl QB! Hutch, either you're overrated, or you're not healthy. Either way, sit down for a week before All Day gets his legs broke in the backfield. Sully, I love you, bro, but sit down for a week or raise your game.
All I'm asking for here are some big bodies to slow people down. Any time a QB feels pressure or gets SACKED from a 3 man rush, the time for some benching has come.
3. Message to the Defense: Tackle somebody. TJ, you play strong safety... We could forgive you for blowing coverages here and there, but you'd better be making up for that by putting the lick on some folks. At least Sanford gives us that much, albeit, he broke his own teammate's leg... Who do I stick with here? Jasper, dehydration, bro? in December? Really? Um, guess drinking in between defensive series and during timeouts isn't coached in college or the NFL. Maybe because its ASSUMED!
I'm getting off track here, calling individuals out, when clearly I should be focused on the entire defense. Tackle somebody. "That offense out there doesn't gain another yard all night. If you can't do it, I'll find someone who can! I want you to make them remember the night they played the Vikings!" or something like that...
4. Message to the Coaching Staff: Prepare these guys! Go over the basics, go over the plan... till people either puke or can give it all back to you without hesitation (preferrably both). Mr. Frasier, I wouldn't even consider you head coaching material, until you find a way to step on someone's throat with your defense. Simply slowing teams down in the red zone isn't my idea of a vaunted defense. Here's an idea, why don't you force some turnovers now and again... you coach that you know. As opposed to stumbling upon the occaisonal INT or getting fortunate with a fumble here and there, you could you know, encourage the Defense to play, oh I don't know, aggressively? Its a little bothersome to see Jared's hustling on every play, and everyone standing around watching him go. Rotate Sanford, Sapp, Asher into that secondary. Get Winfield all the way back before you throw him up against elite freaks like Steve Smith.
Mr. Bevell, as offensive coordinator, I'm guessing its your job to actually coordinate the run and pass blocking schemes, yes? Watch the tape from Sunday night, and evaluate your job performance (preferrably before you try picking up this week's paycheck with a straight face)... 'nuff said.
Mr. Childress, loosen up. You were right to yell at half time, but you've got to remember, you're talking to men. They don't scare too easily. Bench some folks, and when I say that, I'm not suggesting you start with your QB... Benching McKinnie was a good move, but hey, how about sliding his backup a little help? Or maybe suggesting such things to your napping offensive coordinator? Encourage these guys to have some fun, and if you really want to know why I keep harping on that point. Go back to early in the first quarter of the Carolina game (first or second series), Brett doesn't look like he's having typical Brett fun. I got me a big ol' closeup of his face between snaps right here in Dallas, and the look on his face says it all.