Positively Gruden: Everything’s Bigger in Texas Edition
What an amazing performance last night. No, I’m not talking about Demarcus Ware’s 4th quarter domination of the Redskins’ offensive line. Or even Dan Bailey’s eye-popping 6 for 6 field goals that propelled the Cowboys to victory. I’m talking about Jon Gruden, who provided such entertaining and knowledgeable commentary that I actually forgot I had a column to write. Obviously, myself and the other 15,963 NFL bloggers out there derive a lot of pleasure snarking on Gruden’s consistent supply of absurdity, hyperbole, and just flat out wrongness. But let’s give credit where credit is due. When Gruden is on his game, no one can compete in terms of relating what’s on the field to the average viewer. This was the case last night. Whether it was Cowboys receivers’ bumbling around, the referees missing huge calls, or each defensive coordinator consistently dialing up pressure, Gruden was on top of everything with spot on commentary (much of it critical) that was passionate and insightful. What else can you ask from your color analyst?
(The only thing I’ll take exception to is Gruden giving Rex Grossman a free pass. If Grossman had even a mediocre performance last night, the Redskins win that game. As a Bears fan, I can tell you that I was 98% sure the game would end as it did, with a strip stack. After 9 years in the league, Rex still has this crazy idea he can scramble out of pressure despite being quite possibly the least elusive QB in the league.)
Sorry for the digression. Of course, Gruden wouldn’t be Gruden without giving us some nuggets to chew on. Here are the top 11:
11. On LaRon Landry, “This guy is a Troy Polamalu clone. Watch him rotate over the top and just splatter Laurent Robinson. That’s 4.4, 230 lbs.”
10. On Redskins’ future Hall-of-Fame running back, Roy Helu, “It must be slippery out there because normally Helu sticks his left foot in the ground and he’s off to the races.” (It’s his third game ever)
9. On the other ‘Skins RB, “The thing I love about Tim Hightower is not only does he know who to block and how to block, he can’t wait to block somebody on game day.”
8. “What I love about Jason Witten is when they need him the most, he plays his best. He’s a real Cowboy. He’ll be in the rafters someday.”
7. Predicting a Redskins Super Bowl around the corner (right before they lost the game), “Mike Shanahan has done a great job acquiring quality players and quality people. He doesn’t just keep the best 50 players, he’s gonna keep the right 53 players. Character guy, believes in character football players. And he’s been an innovator in football for a long time.”
6. Discussing the Cowboys’ makeshift receiver corps of Laurent Robinson, Kevin Ogletree and, um,…who? “Jolley, wasn’t he on Michael Irvin’s variety show?” (That’s Jesse Holley, and “variety” show? Was Irvin doing dance numbers with strippers or something?)
5. “How old is London Fletcher, Mike? London Fletcher, you talk about sideline pursuit. He flashes like a bolt of lightning . . . and says goodnight Dez Bryant.”
4. “Romo might have bad ribs, but there’s nothing wrong with this guy above the neck.” (And below his waist, amirite Candice?)
3. Five minutes into the second quarter, “You get into all this good Rex, bad Rex stuff. But I think this guy’s mentally tough. That takes a lot of amnesia to throw a terrible interception and come right back with a great play action throw to Gaffney over the middle.” (What’s the opposite of clairvoyant?)
2. “How about this Redskins offensive line? They used to call them the hogs. I don’t know what you call them, the hunting dogs…like elephants on a parade” (Wait, what?)
1. More Landry, during pregame, “You see this guy with his shirt off, this guy is really put together. This guy makes you want to do some situps.”
Finally, for your viewing pleasure, here is a dog depicting the end of this game.