Rider's NFL Whispers (10/15/08)


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Rider's NFL Whispers (10/15/08)

The Cowboys need Wade Phillips to do more than just be a cheerleader.

Below are some tidbits I've gathered from different sources. Keep in mind that I'm passing along this information. It's not my OPINION. If I want to add my thoughts after I post the info, I'll write it under "Tommy's Two-Cents." Also, these are RUMORS. A lot of media people and personnel guys hear things but media people, in particular, can't just publish everything they hear. That's where I come in. I'm not stating these things as fact, just buzz going around the league. If you don't like that sort of thing then you probably won't like this column. I have no favorites. If I hear something on Tony Romo, I will let you know about it. I will run this whispers segment once a week if you guys find it interesting and helpful.

--Obviously, a large portion of this column will be devoted to the Dallas Cowboys this week. I remember in August, I talked to a very well respected Cowboys writer and he told me, "Tommy, the eyes of the football world will on the Cowboys by Thanksgiving. You can just feel that this team is headed for a disaster. Wade is losing this team more and more every day and as soon as one bad thing happens, it's going to blow up."

This week, I called the same guy who told me that two months ago. I asked him to break down the Cowboys current situation. Here is what he had to say. "This is where Dallas' lack of leadership at the top is going to do them in. When you lose guys like a Romo and a Newman, you need a real head coach to keep the team focused and headed in the right direction. I have told you since Day 1 Tommy that Wade is not that guy. I talked to one player this week and asked him how many meetings T.O. has been late for since the season started. He told me 'It would be easier to tell you how many meetings where he's arrived on time.' That's the culture here now. No one respects Wade. They like him, but they don't respect him. I don't believe you can just flick a switch and change that overnight."

--He didn't have anything earth shattering to say about Pacman Jones. No one was really surprised by the situation. However, I did ask him about the Roy Williams trade and he had some really good insight. This is what he had to say, "I spoke to 10 different NFL personnel guys and not one of them thought it was a good trade for Dallas. The Lions where asking for the moon and Jerry Jones panicked and gave it to them. Teams hold on to those No. 1 picks for a reason. Fans always say, 'You aren't going to draft anyone better than Roy Williams with that pick anyway.' They totally miss the point. First-round picks are like money in the bank. They give you flexibility. That's why teams don't like to part with them.

We don't know what is going to happen in April. For example, what if the Broncos want to move Champ Bailey? Now Dallas is out of the running. All NFL people tell me the same thing: You don't pay a big price to get receivers. Remember, both Dallas and New England paid very little for T.O. and Moss. The sense around the league is this is just another example of why the Cowboys need a real GM, to avoid these panic moves by Jerry Jones. You only give up this much for an elite player. You can argue that Williams isn't even the best receiver on the Cowboys right now. That's not elite in my book."

--I was talking to someone I know who has been an NFL scout for the last 25 years about Matt Ryan. I told him how impressed I was with the rookie's pocket presence and leadership. He told me something very interesting. "The first rookie class of quarterbacks I ever scouted was the famous class from 1983 with Dan Marino. As a rookie quarterback after six games, Marino is the only quarterback I have ever graded higher than Matt Ryan. Tony Romo is currently one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL but he only has 30-some starts, so he's still young by those standards. Ryan actually grades favorably to Romo in many different categories, including looking off the safety and getting the ball to his second and third options. From what I've seen, this kid is going to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He reminds me a lot of Troy Aikman, only he's much further along than Aikman was at this point in his career."

--You can forget about the rumors of Vince Young playing a "Slash" role for the Titans. Head coach Jeff Fisher realizes that with Kerry Collins pushing 40, there's a chance he won't play the entire season and the team may have to go back to Young at some point. Tennessee has Super Bowl aspirations and they believe Young is much more valuable to them as a backup QB than he is catching passes. Fisher doesn't believe the risk is worth the minimal reward of having Young play receiver.

  • Gback, You are 100 percent right. The Cowboys are just one step above the Raiders when it comes to coaches not wanting to coach there. Parcells tried it and did have control at first but then Jones stepped in at the end. It will never happen again because Jones wants all the control. You will never see a guy like Parcells coach the Cowboys ever again. Hence, they probably won't win the Super Bowl for a very long time.

  • Tommy

    As always I enjoy reading your NFL whispers.  FOr sure the Cowboys need a talented coach, I was never a big fan of Wade Phillips and not real sure Jerry Jones even picked him. The Cowboys do have a veery talented team but will not go any where or do any thing in the playoffs if they make the playoffs with Wade Philips at the Helm. Personally I do no think no one really wants to be a head coach under Jerry Jones b/c they do not have any control it is all Jerry his way or the hi-way.

  • Great stuff Tommy, as always!