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News » Second guesses: Roethlisberger needs a break

Second guesses: Roethlisberger needs a break

Second guesses: Roethlisberger needs a break
Maybe Ben Roethlisberger needs a rest. He has thrown eight interceptions in his last 88 pass attempts, and not much has been working for him lately. It's hard to bench a franchise quarterback, but maybe he needs to take some time off.

I know this sounds crazy because he has February and March and April and May to lie on a beach or simply stay in bed and relax while his throwing shoulder mends. But things are not going right for Big Ben right now. He had four more passes intercepted Sunday. He's struggling and forcing throws and basically having a lot of bad luck.

NFL Week 10

Week 10 action

    Broncos 34 Browns 30 -- Recap | Box
    Falcons 34 Saints 20 -- Recap | Box
    Titans 21 Bears 14 -- Recap | Box
    Jaguars 38 Lions 14 -- Recap | Box
    Ravens 41 Texans 13 -- Recap | Box
    Dolphins 21 Seahawks 19 -- Recap | Box
    Vikings 28 Packers 27 -- Recap | Box
    Patriots 20 Bills 10 -- Recap | Box
    Jets 47 Rams 3 -- Recap | Box
    Panthers 17 Raiders 6 -- Recap | Box
    Colts 24 Steelers 20 -- Recap | Box
    Chargers 20 Chiefs 19 -- Recap | Box
    Giants 36, Eagles 31 -- Recap | Box
    49ers at Cardinals -- Preview | Notes


  • Ranking Week 10's best games
  • Marvez: Kerry Collins the difference
  • Glazer: Sunday Scoops for Week 10


  • Glazer's Edge: 'Skins commit to Hall
  • Albert and Johnston on Jets' huge win
  • Online OT: Complete NFL coverage


  • Week 10 snapshots
  • Broncos-Browns action

The Steelers are still a very good team, but they lost Sunday because the Colts had a better quarterback in Peyton Manning. He fired three touchdown passes to Ben's none and didn't have an interception, either.

I say give Byron Leftwich a chance against the Chargers next Sunday and see if it feels right. Coaches make changes all the time with other positions; quarterback, though, has become very sacred. The Steelers have made a long-term financial commitment to Roethlisberger. That isn't going to change. The two are stuck with each other. But right now, the Steelers need something different at the position.

It's a short-term fix and definitely nothing permanent. And I bet if Coach Mike Tomlin took a vote in the locker room, Leftwich would win much like Obama did last Tuesday.

What did Chiefs have to lose?

Basically, Chiefs Coach Herm Edwards went all in. He pushed his chips to the center of the table, hoping to catch the winner in a matter of seconds. There was really no time to review the decision. It was all guts. It was all instincts. Yes, we can second-guess the decision to go for the win, to call for a 2-point pass with seconds left, but when you have won only one game all season, what really are your options?

I asked Jimmy Johnson what he would have done.

"If I was coaching a team like the Chiefs, I would have went for it, too," Johnson replied.

It would have been a super high had Tyler Thigpen been able to complete his 2-point throw. He had two receivers to his right side as he rolled in their direction, but with a Charger in his face, closing fast. He had to hurry his throw and it was off target. Tight end Tony Gonzalez, who had just caught his second touchdown of the day, was a couple yards away from the errant pass. He had just caught his second score on a fourth-down play.

The Chiefs played a gutsy game. But the only people rejoicing were the Chargers and head coach Norv Turner. Even with the switch to Ron Rivera as defensive coordinator, the Chargers simply don't resemble their customary, explosive selves. LaDainian Tomlinson never seems to find his fourth gear anymore and Philip Rivers continues to throw interceptions in the end zone after driving the offense the length of the field.

Finally, if there was one Chief to second-guess it was punter Dustin Colquitt, who also serves as the holder. He botched a snap earlier in the game and panicked. He still had time to collect himself and put the ball down for kicker Connor Barth. But, no, he got up and had no where to go with the ball.

Had Colquitt kept his cool, the extra point might have been good and Herm Edwards wouldn't have had to gamble and go for two at the end. Funny twist to another tough-luck loss for the Chiefs. At least Edwards and the Chiefs can console themselves in knowing they did the right thing in sticking with Thigpen and turning their back on Daunte Culpepper.

Fisher gets this vote

This next debate starts by admitting that I like Falcons coach Mike Smith and I am thoroughly impressed with how he's turned Arthur Blank's franchise around. It is one of the most amazing storylines of this NFL season. But if you had to vote for Coach of the Year right now, should Smith be a landslide winner? Is he doing a better job than John Harbaugh, another first-year head coach, in Baltimore?

Like Smitty, Harbaugh is 6-3 and also is playing with a rookie quarterback in Joe Flacco, a kid not as highly rated as Matt Ryan. You would think both men are worthy candidates. Heck, they are probably the favorites with most of the AP voters.

But right now I would vote for Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher. His Titans are the only unbeaten team and he is winning with Kerry Collins, a venerable backup who doesn't exactly remind anyone of Tom Brady.

But before turning to Collins, Fisher had to basically bench Vince Young, a former first-round pick earning millions of dollars. He had to keep his team together while telling the so-called future of the franchise to heal up and take a seat. And take a seat for probably the rest of the season.

Sometimes the best decision any coach makes comes on a weekday and not on game day. Fisher made the right call, moving on without his former Rookie of the Year. It was a tough one. It helped that he also knew most of his locker room believed he was making the right call. But does anyone know how hard it is to go unbeaten without your starting quarterback, the guy you prepared with all summer to be your leader?

Often, when voting for awards, it becomes fashionable to vote for the newcomer rather than someone like Fisher who has proven once again that he remains among the game's top three or four coaches in the last decade.

Parcells had the right idea

I wanted to second-guess Bill Parcells' decision to leave the Cowboys and try something new in Miami. He went to run former owner Wayne Huizenga's franchise for a tidy $4 million a season. It seemed like a great semi-retirement job with good pay. All he had to do was pick the head coach and the general manager. Not surprisingly, he picked two men he groomed with the Cowboys, Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland. They are both no-nonsense leaders like Parcells was when he roamed the sidelines.

But if we call the Falcons a major surprise, the Dolphins are in the same league. They have won five games and still have a playoff chance, having already beaten the Patriots and Bills. Who knows where they would be without Chad Pennington? They have the Packers and Jets to thank for that.

But they are alive because Sparano had the guts to try something different with two of his best players, running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. They shocked the Patriots and the NFL with a wildcat formation, basically a direct snap to a running back while the quarterback splits out wide like a receiver.

You see everyone doing it now. The Eagles did it Sunday night with DeSean Jackson. Penn State used the formation on Saturday against Iowa. I have counted six other NFL teams employing some version of Miami's wildcat this season.

The NFL is the greatest copycat league in America. And what's amazing to me is that the formation is still clicking for the Dolphins. Miami has scored 21 offensive touchdowns this season and eight of them have come from the wildcat formation. In their close win over a pesky Seattle team, the Dolphins scored twice from the wildcat and their other touchdown, a long Pennington pass to Ted Ginn, came off a flea flicker. The Dolphins are not NFL traditionalists, but they are finding a way to win and that's all that counts.

Some advice for the Lions

We heard that for his physical last week Daunte Culpepper weighed around 280 pounds. Culpepper has always been a big quarterback, much like JaMarcus Russell in Oakland. He probably is better at 260 pounds, but what do you want from a former Pro Bowler who has been coaching PeeWee football the past two months?

Culpepper looked sluggish at times and also accurate on one particular possession. The Lions did a smart thing, rotating Culpepper and Drew Stanton, who's quicker and stronger right now. Plus, Stanton deserved to get some playing time.

Right now, the Lions have no answers and also no solutions. They have lost 10 straight games and 16 of their last 17. They were so desperate for a win against Green Bay earlier in the season that former GM Matt Millen attempted to pick Brett Favre's brain for clues and tips about the Packers' offense while one of his defensive coaches listened in.

Millen is gone and eventually the coaches will be, too. I don't know if there is a quick fix in Detroit, but there is really only one man the Ford Family should consider: New England's Scott Pioli. He's the best personnel man out there who is young enough to consider starting anew.

Like William Clay Ford did with Millen, he has to give him total control and the keys to his facility. Ford has to at least try. And there's a good example of why the move may actually work — just look at the job Tom Dimitroff has done as a first-year GM with the Falcons. A year ago, Dimitroff was Pioli's top college scout.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 10, 2008

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Haloti Ngata Name: Haloti Ngata
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Age: 24
Experience: 3 years
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