2012 Positively Gruden, Week 8: 49ers at Cardinals, The Greatness of Alex Smith
Welcome to another rendition of “Positively Gruden,” where I chronicle the top plaudits, platitudes and pontifications from America’s favorite fawning former coach. With last night’s Cardinals-49ers blowout, combined with Hurricane Sandy wreaking havoc on the Northeast, last night’s MNF contest might have one of the least watched Monday night games of all time. Knowing this, I’m afraid Gruden’s heart wasn’t quite in it last night, as he: (a) often passed up tailor-made opportunities to gush over the San Francisco 49ers; and (b) he spent almost as much time during the game ripping the Cardinals. (Guess what, the O-line is bad). Still, like the mailman who braved the hurricane yesterday to deliver me a Land’s End catalog and Diner’s Club credit card pre-approval, we are obliged to press on…even if what we’re bringing is crap.
As always, Grudenisms are graded on a sliding scale of hyperbole, vivid imagery, and outright absurdity
10. On Darnell Docket, “some day he’ll be in the Arizona ring of honor.” (Wait, there’s an Arizona ring of honor?)
9. On Patrick Peterson, “He’s an emerging star, Mike. He can intercept passes, return punts, and he’ll run right through ya’!” (Peterson got burned by Crabtree all night)
8. “Look out, if the 49ers get Randy Moss going. . . . He ran through the Arizona Cardinals like they weren’t even there. He looked like the 1999 Randy Moss. What a COMEBACK.”
7. After a Alex Smith- Michael Crabtree TD, “I love that. Great, strong hands from Crabtree bring it back to pay dirt. That’s what they need from this wide receiver corps. Touchdowns!”
6. “Watch Ahmad Brooks ACCELERATE when he sees this quick screen. FIRE IT! Man, I love to see that.”
5. More on Randy Moss, “He’s one of the Godfathers of the position.”
4. After a Daryl Washington sack, “There’s a lot of linebackers sitting at home saying, ‘seven sacks for an inside linebacker. AMAZING.’”
3. On Alex Smith, channeling his inner Eddie Vedder, “I know he’s got a big day coming up in April, do you pay him the roster bonus, is he the future of the 49ers. How can’t he be? What do you want to see Smith do, Mike? He’s won 20 out of 25, he’s completing over 70% of his passes. The only change in Alex Smith this year is there’s been no change for a change. And he’s grown into an outstanding quarterback.”
2. On Jim Harbaugh, “Well, he took over an underachieving team. Not everybody likes his mannerisms. He’s had some conflicts with Kevin Gilbride and a lot of other head coaches, but you’re not going ot\ omake a lot of friends if you’re a head coach. All your players aren’t gonna like ya’, the owner might get mad at ya’, some of your staff members, the Twitterers, the bloggers, the media. It gets on your nerves after awhile. But he’s a tough coach, he knows what he wants to do, and he’s doing it quite well. I’ve got a lot of respect for the way he runs the San Francisco 49ers. Personally.” (Hmm…this one hit a little too close to home).
1. “How would you like have Tom Rathman as your running back coach when you’re a running back for the SF 49ers? Nobody can coach running backs like Tom Rathman.”
Bonus on Kiss, during garbage time, “I know all those guys. I went to the Kiss concert, everybody knows Ace Freeley. Gene Simmons, I sat in his BOX. I got to meet Gene. He’s not as tall as he is in real life. Paul Stanley, these guys used to be TEACHERS. And look at them now, I love Kiss. “Shout it out LOUD, MAN.” I would sing it for you, but….my wife…she won’t have any of that. Boy, that’s a great concert. Get a ticket, man.”