|Some guidance against a hurricane|
By Ralph Wiley
Page 2 columnist
If they expect pass, run."
-- R-Dub's NFL Proverb No. 8
He'll figure it out. So will Michael Vick. Maybe Chad Pennington. And Patrick Ramsey. And Chris Redman. Any number of first-year bush pilots who are trying to keep their ships aright, while in the eye of the hurricane.
For example, Atlanta calls an inside handoff to big rookie RB T.J. Duckett, who rips off 9 against the Bucs in the first half of a 3-3 ballgame. The Bucs are playing great contain D in their base package Cover 2 with LB Derrick Brooks like another DB, really. The Bucs are who first exposed the Rams as Ground Chuck under their package. Near-rookie Vick is not going to be a problem. Brooks has three picks-and-go (OK, laterals-and-go) already this year. The Bucs get their push with four, keep everything in front of them in Cover 2 with seven, are quick to the ball and punishing. Classic Dungy. So Atlanta runs pass-action, and an inside handoff again. Duckett rips off 10 more.
The Falcons had Tampa in the Sequence.
The Sequence occurs in boxing, when Ali throws a double-left hook sandwiched around a right-hand feint, followed by a cross right that finishes the job against Big Cat Williams. And Big Cat was tough, man. Very tough. At least as tough as even the Tampa Bay Bucs. The Sequence is also in big-league baseball. With a runner on in Game 5, Brad Radke throws David Justice three straight dead fish to punch him out, him and his 63 postseason RBI.
On the third play of this NFL Sequence, it is broken, Atlanta calls another interior run to Duckett. The Bucs shut it down for no gain. Hypnosis broken. By then Duckett was a little gassed. Play-action to him keeps the Sequence going. You could call a run, but it would be better out of Empty; say a slot inside screen, or sub in Warrick Dunn, and go counter-trey, or draw.
Or, you could just laugh at it all, especially the following, Week 5 NFL Uncensored Thought Balloons, compiled here for your amusement:
Shane Matthews, QB, Washington Redskins -- "Look at that ball Ramsey throws. Zip!-a-dee-do-dah. Wow. Better try to look busy. Look at Spurrier's eyes. Never looked at me like that. I'm not gonna compete for his attention."
Jeff Fisher, head coach, Tennessee Titans -- "Bud Adams said he thinks I'm getting out-coached? How would he know? Read my expression, my weary eye-roll. Compare to Bud's toupee. Which do you believe is most sincere?"
Emmitt Smith, RB, Dallas Cowboys -- "LaDainian says he used to idolize me? Used to? What am I, the Mummy? I'm still here. Tired of people saying I'm shot. Of course I'm shot. After 16,000 yards and 160 TDs, you'd be shot, too. Difference is, you'd never get to 16,000 yards and 160 TDs."
Warren Sapp, DL, Tampa Bay Bucs -- "C'mere, Vick. Lemme massage that shoulder for you. Oops, here comes an easy pick. Backup coughed it right up. Lateral it to D Brooks. Lookit Keyshawn go. For him, I mean. 76-yard TD. Frame it. Never seen him run that far. Other guy must'a fell down."
Michael Vick, QB, Atlanta Falcons -- "I don't think it's separate-- OWWW! Don't touch it! Don't touch it! Oww. Can somebody brush my hair for me?"
Rich Gannon, QB, Oakland Raiders -- "Coach Cally, I like this green light, we-aren't-sitting-on-it, 400-yard, weapons-out-the-wazoo thing. Ironically, if you know Al Davis' history, we have no vertical stretch on offense. We have vertical stretch on defense and special teams. I feel like a limo driver, I'm stiff as cardboard on Mondays, but all in all, I'm ... quite happy."
Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts -- "Hate the way I look on TV out of uniform. Huge head, narrow, little-kid shoulders. Eli beat Florida. I beat Cincinnati. Advantage -- Eli. I've got Marvin Harrison. Advantage -- moi."
Bill Cowher, head coach Pittsburgh Steelers -- "Can't bench 'em all. Gotta change something. Maybe it's the goatee. Well, with my chin, Leno-tee."
Jim Haslett, head coach, New Orleans Saints -- "Spurrier. Come on. I ain't forgot you, boy. Said working overtime didn't do me any good. Too-lane rook at QB won't save you. Gonna blitz his ass from directions he never even heard of. You neither, smart guy, Mr. Swamp Fox, Mr. Genius ..."
Bill Gramatica, PK, Arizona Cardinals -- "No blame for missing a 50-yarder. There's no pressure. There's no pressure ... Good. Good? Good! Jump up and down! Oh. Better not. McGinnis, you madman. Hug me. Hug me now."
Julius Peppers, DL, Carolina Panthers -- "Knock ball out of Jake the Snake's hand. Check. Now get on it. Che-- Eh? Snake picked it up? On the move? Now he's throwing? No way. Way. Can't be complete. Complete."
Curtis Martin, RB, New York Jets -- "We're not done. We're not done. It looks like we're done, but we're not. Keep feeding me, Herm. Unless you want your life only in Chad's young hands. Yeah, that's what I thought."
Clinton Portis, RB, Denver Broncos -- LaDainian who? Priest who? Curtis who? See my end zone dance. I been practicin'it. You like it? I do. I got a rap CD comin' out. Cut it myself. Wanna hear it? Where'd everybody go?"
Marty Schottenheimer, head coach, San Diego Chargers -- "I'd like to tell the people who rode me out of D.C. on a rail -- bite me. If I say that, I won't be on the high road. Screw the high road. I got my check. And I'll get a piece of Spurrier's ass one day. If there's any of Spurrier's ass left by then."
J.J. Stokes, WR, San Francisco 49ers -- "Drafted to replace Rice. Spit on by Romo. Trying to share balls with Terrible Owens. How about throwing me in front of a truck while you're at it, Mooch? Hey. I'm kidding, OK?"
Eric Crouch, Heisman-winning, retired ex-WR, St. Louis Rams -- "Warner's hurt? He should try wideout sometimes. Your Royal Highness Martz, I'm all better. Can I come back now? Yeah. Say it like that. As long as knows that I'm a QB. I need the ball in my hands. I need to be in the red zone. I need control. I need to be the center of attention ... I need out of Lincoln."
Brian Billick, head coach, Baltimore Ravens -- "I'm baa-aaackk ..."
Tim Couch, QB, Cleveland Browns -- "Cleveland is a f%$!# joke. Like that's news. Worked my ass off, and they boo me? For being hurt? F&%$!# joke. They don't like me? Well, I hate them too. (Nose begins to burn) Stop it, Tim, you know you don't hate anybody ... I do too ... no you don't ... do too ... do not. Stop it. People get booed at sporting events. It means you're in the arena ... I was hurt ... now you're better; they pay you all that money, now people gotta be quiet as you play through? ... what are you, my conscience or something? Shuddup. They don't deserve a team. I'm getting me a dog and naming it Cleveland. How about that!?"
Brett Favre, QB, Green Bay Packers -- "Damn, I'm good. I am so good."
Ralph Wiley spent nine years at Sports Illustrated and wrote 28 cover stories on celebrity athletes. He is the author of several books, including "Best Seat in the House," with Spike Lee, "Born to Play: The Eric Davis Story," and "Serenity, A Boxing Memoir."