Tuesday, January 7
Andy Reid is my kind of coach
By John Madden
As we enter the second weekend of the playoffs, here are some thoughts I want to share with you while I spend some time at home in California awaiting the Super Bowl.
A big reason why they have done so well this season and over the last few years is because of Reid. There are three things that stick out to me about him. One is that he's a good guy. Basically he's just a good man. Two, he's a very bright football coach. And three, he's a very detailed and fundamental guy.
I am an ol' sled guy -- a blocking sled guy. I've always believed that's where you get fundamentals from; that is, blocking sleds and those kinds of things. That goes all the way back to coaching in junior college, and in college, and I did it in the pros with Oakland, too.
Well, Andy Reid's one of the few guys who still has blocking sleds. Every time I go to Philadelphia, he'll point out the sleds. If I don't bring up the old seven-man sled, he'll bring it up, and he'll say, "You see my sled out there?"
Not that every coach that has a seven-man sled or still blocks on sleds is a good coach, and every coach that doesn't is a bad coach, but I think it's an example of him and his fundamentals and details. It's not just let's get a script and then go out and play. He works on the other things that are so important in the game of football.
Trying to contain Mike Vick: It is something you can't really do. He keeps defensive coordinators up at night because he's so darn dangerous when he has the ball in his hands. You want to have your players in position to keep containment on him, but it's not enough. You can have a guy out here for containment, and a guy out there for containment, and someone for containment up the middle, but he's faster than anyone on the field. He's the fastest player in the NFL, and you can have guys in the right position doing the right things, but -- BOOM! -- he just runs right around 'em. It's amazing to watch him run with the football.
No lead's a safe lead: It seems like in football -- and in all sports -- that teams just don't protect leads anymore. It used to be that if you had a lead in the fourth quarter by two touchdowns or whatever, you'd win the game. That's just how it was. It was like that in baseball, too. Heck, if you had a five or six run lead, you won the game. You'd close the other team out. Not now, though.
All you have to do is look at last Sunday's two playoff games and realize that there is no such thing as a comfortable lead anymore, or a number that gives you a comfortable lead. Now, guys on the losing team know that they can come back and win the game, no matter what the deficit is. There used to be a point in football that when you were ahead at the start of the fourth quarter, like by two touchdowns, your running game and your defense would take over the game and finish things off. The football I watch now, however, that's not happening. Defenses aren't strong enough to take over the game nor are the running games strong enough to take over a game.
I know after the game when Favre didn't talk to the media, but did say through the team that he would have a statement on Monday that something like that leads to speculation about retirement. On Monday, however, he said that he wasn't going to retire. I know that as long as he felt well and he didn't have an injury -- and you have to assume that the knee healed from when he got hurt back in October -- that he would be back next season.
It is always tough right after a season ends, and after the game on Saturday night, he probably felt that he had had enough. He's coming back, though, and that's great news.
Quarterbacks coming out of nowhere: One of the biggest differences in football is that guys can come in at quarterback and put up big numbers right away. That's what Jeff Garcia and Tommy Maddox did last weekend in helping their teams win at home in comeback fashion. And that's what Garcia's been doing ever since he came to San Francisco, and that's what Maddox has done since taking over as Pittsburgh's starter.
I remember before free agency and stuff, when you could really develop a quarterback, that we always felt that it took five years before a guy could really play. Now, they come in -- and they come in from all over -- and do good things. When I say that they come in from all over, I mean other leagues and stuff. Garcia came to the 49ers after playing in Canada, and Maddox played Arena ball and in the XFL. Heck, he's kind of going around the horn. He started his career in Denver in 1992 and now he's with the Steelers after stops in other places. You also have to look at a guy like Kurt Warner from St. Louis. He's won a Super Bowl as a starting quarterback and he came to the Rams from the Arena Football League and NFL Europe.