Maurice Jones-Drew and 5 Players Who Should Shut Up Until They Win Something
NFL Players get paid plenty, but they also perform a pretty dangerous task, all for fan enjoyment. So if a player wants to run his mouth after spending three hours breaking his body so that there's actually something good on TV on a Sunday night, he's somewhat entitled.
Of course, it never hurts to back those words up. That's the case in any arena, but it's especially true of football, where the results are divided into two columns and then posted publicly around the world. If you're winning, you can get away with talking. If you're losing, you can talk your way out of playing.
These five players aren't in any real danger of losing playing time, but they could still stand to do their talking on the field with touchdowns and wins instead of on a camera with excuses and charades.
Jones-Drew probably chuckled to himself when he thought of it. And he probably rolled the idea around in his head leading up to today's game. And when he finally scored, a happy moment for any player, especially in a close game, he finally decided to do it.
And so he mocked Cleveland's fans with an impersonation of LeBron James and his famous chalk toss.
It's not that big a deal. At all, really. In the scope of offensive touchdown celebrations, this one's closer to Jamaal Anderson's "Dirty Bird" than it is to Randy Moss's fake mooning, which means it's somewhere in between hokey and funny, and nowhere near uncouth.
But the real reason this celebration doesn't matter is the fact that it was performed by a member of the losing team. The Browns won this game, and while their fans may not have liked the act, Cleveland's players most likely don't care, or even remember, Jones-Drew's dance.
It's a retroactive "shut up" at this point, but that doesn't make it unwarranted.
After bitching all offseason about not making more money than his apparently harder-working colleagues, Chris Johnson was finally awarded with a contract containing $30 million guaranteed—which is why Tennessee probably thought that it was more or less "guaranteed" that Johnson wouldn't suddenly turn into Bette Midler on the field.
Just to rub it in, Johnson teased fans and teammates alike with a 174-yard, one-touchdown performance in a win over the Carolina Panthers before promptly reminding everyone that what you do against the Panthers doesn't count by going for just 14 rushing yards in a loss to the Falcons.
Hopefully, Johnson's limp year will lead to a quieter offseason in 2012.
Hillis, after watching it work so well for Chris Johnson, has apparently decided to take a stab at the same strategy of demanding a bigger payday.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and it's easy now to see that Hillis overlooked a few key points of Johnson's plan.
First of all, Johnson backed up his bitching with a 2000-yard season and a track record of impressive all-around performances. Hillis, on the other hand, simply wore down at the end of a 1,100-yard season before winning a fan-based bracket competition to be on the cover of a video game. And then he got strep throat.
Secondly, Hillis waited until the season started to kickoff his holdout, which means his "bargaining" period is overlapping with what was supposed to be his "actually running toward the endzone while holding a football" period, and he's not doing anything to prove his value to the team.
Had he started this process in the offseason, he could be closing in on 500 yards right now, like Johnson.
Okay, so he's no longer a player, and he really hasn't done anything out of the ordinary since the Jim Schwartz fiasco, but he's still making the list.
The San Francisco 49ers are widely considered the NFL's second-best team, and at 9-1 they're doing all they can to prove it. But, they haven't won anything of merit yet, and they do play in the NFC West, a division which has provided two of their wins so far, with four more chances still on the slate.
Of their seven remaining wins, four have come against teams at least two games under .500, leaving just three quality wins by a combined 18 points.
I get that the final result is all that matters, and there's no denying how much San Fran has improved in year one under their new coach, but before we anoint them the NFL's second-best team and convert to Harbaugh-ism, let's let the 'Niners win a meaningful game.
So maybe this slide should be dedicated to the media driving Harbaugh's hype train, but it's easier to find a picture of Harbaugh.
Scott's been quieter this season, and he has been a major contributor on some very successful teams, but when he goes off-cuff and starts talking about how great his defense is or how surely they'll suffocate an opposing offense, he sometimes forgets his own team's weaknesses.
The Jets, for all their talk about owning the league's greatest stop unit, haven't exactly backed up their self-imposed reputation this season.
They rank just 16th against the run and 19th in points allowed, and they've already slipped well below the precedent they set just last year.
In 2010, the Jets allowed over 20 points just three times during the regular season. It's already happened six times through just 10 games this year. They were toasted for 37 points by the Patriots in a Week 10 loss, and they couldn't stop Tim Tebow at the most crucial point in the game even though every fan, coach, media member, food vendor, cheerleader and cupholder in the stadium knew he was just going to run the ball.
It's certainly not all his fault, but until the Jets start winning again, his words won't carry the same weight.