Marshall Faulk's insight on motivation

Firing a coach or benching a quarterback can spark underachieving teams, at least for a while.

Retired St. Louis Rams great Marshall Faulk explained why during an NFL Network spot from the Pro Bowl.

Faulk, in downplaying the job Jason Garrett did as Dallas Cowboys interim coach last season, said players sometimes perform better when they know the established coach or quarterback isn't around to take the blame. That sounds cynical, but it makes sense.

The Cowboys seemed to play better after losing their quarterback and head coach last season. Two years ago, the San Francisco 49ers quickly signed interim coach Mike Singletary to an extension after finishing strong following a coaching switch. By Faulk's logic, players might have been reacting to Mike Nolan's ouster as much as they were reacting to Singletary's promotion.

It's something to keep in mind when assessing how the next interim coach or backup quarterback fares.