Decisions, Decisions and QB’s, Too!

By Michael Reghi

Want to thank all of you who took the time to send comments on my declaration that Eric Mangini should have gone for two, and the win, in the final minute of the fourth quarter, to give his Browns a potential surge of belief and confidence against the New York Jets Sunday.

And, whether you disagree or agree with my beliefs, which I’ll always give solid reasoning for, you taking time to partake is most meaningful to me.

Now, regarding some of your statements. Many of you who diasagree with me, followed by saying something to this effect……..

“And let’s not forget…the Browns moved the ball in overtime, and would have won if Stuckey didn’t fumble”…. or… “the defense did get a stop on the Jets in overtime.”

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury…your arguments speak to WHAT EVENTUALLY HAPPENED IN OVERTIME! The ultimate, ‘after the fact, second, third, and fourth, guess.’

When a head coach makes a decision to go for two and the win, he, you, me, and the rest of the free world DOESN’T KNOW WHAT overtime will bring.

And, therein lies the reasoning you make the decision based on the previous 59 minutes of football, and what you’ve experienced THAT GAME. Not having a ouji board, or palm readers at his disposal to decipher what overtime will consist of, going for two made the most sense, as for ALL the reasons I laid out for you Sunday night and Monday. The Jets, in my estimation held a distinct advantage in overtime. See my blog from Monday at ESPN Cleveland.com for a refresher!

Believe me, I wish I would have been wrong, and it had played out with the Brown doing enough to grab the ‘W’ in ot…..yet, now I can state (not as an after-the-fact), see- I told you so, unfortunately, overtime played out exactly as I feared it would. The Jets’ superior skill, the stronger defense, that winning playoff experience on the road, and their overtime win over Detroit just 7 days earlier were the ultimate key ingredients.  And, they did dominate the second half!

Eric Mangini felt he had enough to overcome all of those components in overtime. I am very pleased to hear he at least discussed it with Brad Seely, and had “given going for 2 some thought.” That’s encouraging to me. Mangini and his coaches have been razor sharp in their preparation and game planning the last four weeks against the NFL elite. Now, end game management at crucial times, and decision making based on the game he’s experiencing that Sunday afternoon, should come into much clearer focus for all of us as his Cleveland coaching regime goes forward.

Again, thanks so much for bringing your thoughts to ther table!!

Quarterbacks, Quarterbacks, baby! Here, there, everywhere, around the NFL landscape this weekend!

1. If you’ve studied leadership capabilities, gaining the winning edge, and influencing people, you had to love the raw emotion Tom Brady had working for him and his New England offense Sunday night in Heinz Field. C’mon Browns fans!!!! You LOVED seeing Brady go all Superman…AGAIN, as he always does in dismantling the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hey, think about this, if Brady, who flat-out owns the Browns most hated rival, could play the Stillers, say, 6-8 times a year, you might not be hearing so much damn crowing from the Black and Gold crowd! Brady, who had me all jacked up, as he was at his leadreship best on the sidelines with his offense, toyed with the Pittsburgh ‘d’ yet again! He’s now 6-1 lifetime against them, two AFC Championship wins in Heinz Field, always throws for 300-400 yards per outing, and has a 14-3 td/interception ratio against them. Can you say DOMINATION! He is one of the few qb’s walking who can go off like that on his teammates, and have them respond to his personality and winning ways….HE MAKES EVERYONE AROUND HIM BETTER! PERIOD! Love that!

2. Also love how Michael Vick has taken his qb’ing job much more seriously in this, his 2nd NFL go round. What a phenomenal performance last night in destroying Washington. Vick, who now understands he can’t just ‘show up’ on game day, while taking his preparation time lightly, is exhibiting the fantastic athletic skills we always knew he possessed, and combining them with the newfound leader/winner approach, that has won over Andy Reid, and Philadelphia Eagle teammates.

Retribution for a man who will always bear the burden of his dog killing actions. He was convicted, served his time, and genuinely seems like a changed individual. He has to be. Yet, America equates forgiving with winning in professional sports. While Vick wins, he gains that retribution.

In Vick’s case, as in many other’s (Ben Roethlisberger, Kobe Bryant, etc.), I have decided to judge them on their performance on the job, and not include their social, and personal missteps as part of my professional opinion. The two don’t equate. I always maintained Vick could not be my quarterback because he lacked the accuracy with his passing the football, just 53% career in Atlanta, which is well below strong NFL standard, and, he did not take his most important position as a quarterback seriously. Know what? He’s admitted that he didn’t, which held him back in Atlanta, promised to change that, which by all accounts he has, and now is hitting 62% of his throws! He studies defenses now, knows his offense and personnel inside out…takes the job seriously! He’s got it rolling! Great to see! I urge all of you Vick detractors to judge him the same way…I can’t be Michael Vick’s buddy, because I don’t condone his actions that got him in serious trouble. Yet, I can promise to ONLY judge him, as a professional athlete, on what his job performance says he is. He deserves that.

3. And, finally, it was good to see Troy Smith, Glenville community’s own, make the best of two starting chances with the San Francisco 49’ers. Two W’s! Bottom line. Smith lit it up in the win over St. Louis, backing up the confidence Mike Singletary has in him with Alex Smith down. Just as here in Cleveland with Colt McCoy, should Troy Smith continue to play well and win, Alex Smith, the Niners starting qb will stay seated. That’s the way it should be. The ‘can’t lose your starting job due to injury’ thing, in any sport, is antiquated, archaic thinking. Troy Smith keeps winning, he’ll stay in…he begins to falter, and the Niners drop a couple, he’ll return to the sidelines as a backup, that’s just the way the business of professional qb’ing goes. Troy understands that. And finally, many of you are going to start the ‘see, I told you so’ regarding Troy. Slow down, I’ve always felt the kid could play, yet facts are facts. Not only did a winning organization, strong playoff team, the Baltimore Ravens, and Ozzie Newsome, decide that Smith could only be their backup, as Joe Flacco was better for, and proved that so, for them….Newsome and the Ravens decided last off season that they felt better with Mark Bulger, as the BACKUP to Flacco, and relegated Troy Smith to 3rd on depth chart, and ultimately waived him. I’ll go with their accumen here, because their organization is a proven winner. Maybe Troy Smith pulls the Michael Vick coup, without the criminal attachment, of course, and makes the most of this opportunity in San Francisco. Best thing for him was being waived by Baltimore. Troy knows, and you guys should to…when you’re a backup, and the team is WINNING, with a qb ahead of you who is rolling…there isn’t a damn thing you can, or should say. Makes you look ridiculous and very, very selfish. To Troy’s credit, he knew to keep his mouth shut, and accept the reality. I admire him for that. Just, please, don’t do him the diservice now, of trying to spout off that he jobbed in Baltimore. No he didn’t. He wasn’t good enough to be the starter with a winning team, or he would have been. Period. Let’s hope he gets Singletary so on board with continued winning, that tough man Mike doesn’t feel the need to go back to the other Smith, Alex.

Bring it Strong, Cleveland! Talk Wednesday at 3pm..Dinner with a Legend, Afternoon R & R’s qb…Bernie Kosar, from Morton’s! Should be tremendous!  Keep the comments coming! Love interacting with you!

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