Positively Gruden, Texans at Ravens: You Down with V.P.P.?
Welcome to another rendition of “Positively Gruden,” where we chronicle the top cheers, compliments, and commendations from America’s favorite fawning former coach. Well, it was another Monday Night snoozefest, with two inept offenses dueling to stumble into the playoffs for the right to exit promptly in the first round. That distinction fell upon the Ravens, who rode a dominant defense and special teams to victory. Flacco didn’t do much, but he certainly didn’t hurt.
Meanwhile, someone needs to put Tom Savage out of his misery. He moved the ball, but committed three backbreaking turnovers, including a horrendous pick (throwing it right to a Ravens linebacker) to effectively end of the game.
As for the Grudenisms, fortunately there was enough fodder from Terrell Suggs, Jadaveon Clowney, DeAndre Hopkins, and Justin Tucker to make up for the lack of QB fodder. The game also featured a new acronym (which is apparently Gruden’s thing this year), a middle name for the ages, and the triumphant return of an old fruity standby.
As always, top Grudenisms are graded on a slide scale of hyperbole, vivid imagery, and outright absurdity.
22. On Ray Lewis, “I believe he could probably show up and play tonight and play if he was needed.”
21. “CJ Mosley can do it all. You talked about his football character, but when it comes to playing linebacker, there’s nothing he can’t do.”
20. On Jadeveon Clowney, “I think he’s going to be the highest paid non-quarterback in football in just a little bit of time.”
19. More Clowney love, “You have to admire talent, you have to admire supreme effort. And you see a man who combines them both, there’s a lot to get excited about.”
18. Inventing another new acronym, “I call it VPP, the vertical pass production.”
17. More VPP, “You gotta have vertical pass production. They have none. The only vertical pass production I’ve seen has come from their punter.”
16. After a Ravens TD, “That’s old school Ravens football, I love it….That looks like the Longest Yard. That’s how it’s done.”
15. “It’s Savage, it’s Tom Savage who can save the Texans season tonight.” (Promptly throws INT; Gruden really is the anti-Romo with predictions)
14. On the Texans, “they lay it on the line for each other. The coaches for the players, the players for the coaches. It’s a beautiful thing in football.”
13. On Terrell Suggs, “T. Sizzle still getting it done after 15 years.”
12. More Suggs love, “He represents this franchise as well as anybody that’s ever wore the colors.”
11. And finally, “He is just amazing the way he can go and go and go… One of the all-time greats. Get a ticket if you’re in Baltimore, watch him play. Passion for the game unmatched. I like being around guys like him. He loves football, he’d play for nothing.”
10. “Chris Moore, they call him scoop and score Moore.”
9. On John Christian Ka’iminoeauloameka’ujeokekumupah Fairbairn (that’s really his name), “I’d like to meet his parents. How do you come up with a name like that?”
8. On DeAndre Hopkins, “Incredible durability, 75 straight starts. And he never misses a snap, that’s what I admire about him the most. He loves the misery of the 4th quarter and being tired. He wears people OUT.”
7. More Hopkins love, “He thrives in the fourth quarter. The harder it gets, the better he likes it.”
6. On Brennan Scarlett, “He played at Cal for four years and then transferred to Stanford? That doesn’t even sound American.”
5. On Alex Collins, “There’s the man that Lisa Salters previewed, the Irish dancer.”
4. More critical dancing commentary “I’m polish, I do the polka, so I’m off the hook.”
3. On Justin Tucker, “That’s either lucky or really good, I don’t know which. I’m gonna say really good because it’s Tucker.”
2. More Tucker, “it’s a pleasure watching this young man kick a football. These are majestic blasts. You can’t hit a ball better than that…That’s what I do during the week, I watch Justin Tucker trick kicks. What a performer he is.”
1. “That’s a play I call Spider-2-Y-Banana. First time I said that all year. Boy that felt good.”