My Two Cents
The most disappointing rookie in the league is Cardinals running
back Thomas Jones (below). The seventh pick in the draft, Jones
has been tentative while running for only 334 yards.... Don't
underestimate the importance of the departure of linebackers
coach John Bunting in New Orleans. Bunting, who was named the
head coach at North Carolina on Monday, helped script game plans,
including the one the Saints used to stun the Rams. New Orleans
will also go without a true linebackers coach for the rest of
this season.... He may have rushed for 748 yards, but I continue
to be amazed at what a soft runner the Giants' Ron Dayne, the
253-pound rookie back, has been. Run over somebody, Ron.
An AFC pro scout sizes up Broncos center Tom Nalen, the key to
the blocking scheme that has opened the holes for three different
1,000-yard rushers in the past three years.
"He's incredibly quick getting into his block, which is vital for
a center because a split second after he snaps the ball, a
320-pound defensive tackle blasts into him. Great feet, great
using his hands. Doesn't look strong, but uses leverage well and
always seems to have his man tied up. Young centers should watch
the way he's constantly between his man and the ball, and how
long he maintains his block. When I watch tape of the Broncos,
it's like Nalen has Velcro on his forearms, because he never lets
his man get free."
The careers of two of the biggest stars of the Cowboys' title
teams are heading in opposite directions. Troy Aikman, 34,
suffered the 10th concussion of his career in Dallas's win over
Washington and might have to retire. Emmitt Smith, with 150
yards against the Skins, became the third back in NFL history to
rush for more than 15,000 yards. Smith, 31, trails alltime
leader Walter Payton by 1,626 yards.
Beast of the NFC East
The Giants scored 30 points against the Steelers, serving notice
that their offense is potent enough to win a playoff game.
The Dream Continues
Broncos running back Mike Anderson says he has to pinch himself
to believe his run of luck. With a 131-yard outing against
Seattle, the sixth-round pick pushed his rushing total for the
past three games to 577 yards. He appears poised to win NFL
Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Inside the locker of which NFL player?
A Polish flag; a team playbook; knee braces; a black leather
belt; a protein bar; one banana "for after lunch, because I can
never eat enough lunch"; three canisters of supplements; a
mouthpiece; photos of his children; eight pairs of shoes; four
pairs of shorts; a combination safe for which he doesn't know the
combination; a windbreaker; and a Utica College football T-shirt:
a. Steelers guard Tom Myslinski
b. Raiders guard Steve Wisniewski
c. Bills linebacker John Holocek
COLOR PHOTO: ROBERT BECK
The Last Word
"Don't tell me about the pain. Show me the baby. We're not
showing the baby; we're just bitching about the pain."
--CARDINALS STRONG SAFETY PAT TILLMAN, on his teammates' excuses