Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gruden LOVES DeAngelo


Did you catch the way Jon Gruden was practically panting on "Monday Night Football" a couple of days ago with his praise of Panther RB DeAngelo Williams?

Gruden said, among other things, that DeAngelo may be the best back in the NFL.

Gruden said there's a "debate" about that title in the NFL, but then left the unmistakable impression that he thought the Panthers' No.34 was indeed the best. When fellow MNF announcers Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski teased Gruden about it, asking if his "sources" had ever heard of Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, Gruden stuck firm to his guns. He also said that while coaching Tampa Bay he kept thinking DeAngelo was getting stopped behind the line on a 1st-and-10 and all of a sudden it was instead "2nd-and-10" or "2nd-and-5."

Gruden also sounded almost lovestruck when he said that in the crew's pregame meeting with DeAngelo he "hated to say goodnight." And MNF also put up some statistics during the game to illustrate how great DeAngelo's 2008 season was, comparing it to one season apiece by Jim Brown and O.J. Simpson (even though DeAngelo didn't make the Pro Bowl team announced in December, which we all know was a joke).

In other words, DeAngelo ain't flying under the radar anymore, although he often says he'd like that to be the case.

When you lead the NFL with 20 TDs (18 rushing) and rush for 1,515 yards (3rd in the NFL behind the Vikes' Peterson and Atlanta's Michael Turner), you're a big jet airplane, and everyone is going to see that on the radar.

Now this much is true: DeAngelo had the best season of any RB in the NFL last year, bar none. I firmly believe that. Here's why. He scored more times than Turner and Peterson, and most importantly, he fumbled ZERO times.

Peterson (a league-high 1,760 yards) was a fumbling machine, with nine. Turner (1,699 yards) had three. And every other back in the NFL's top 10 in rushing yardage had at least one fumble except San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson, who has legendary ball security. Like DeAngelo, LT had zero fumbles in 2008 (but 405 fewer yards).

This is also true: Gruden has long been a master of hyperbole. He also mentioned Monday night that he long ago nicknamed Panther WR Steve Smith "Freddy Krueger," because Smith had scared him badly twice a year for seven years at Tampa Bay. Reporters all over the NFL knew that Gruden would come up with a great "this guy is unbelievable" quote about opposing players he was about to face -- it was partly the way Gruden motivated his own team.

But now Gruden is out of coaching and has nothing really to gain by excessive praise. And DeAngelo... well, he's got to be in the conversation for "Best Back in the NFL."

The key, of course, is consistency. In his first year as a starter, he had the best season any Panther back has ever had.

And the question, of course, is can he do anything like that again?

As I've written before, I think the number of times DeAngelo scores this year will drop -- 20 is a huge number, after all, and I think teams will dare Jake Delhomme to throw inside the 10 this season. Also, it stands to reason that the second part of "Double Trouble" -- Jonathan Stewart -- may get some of those carries as well.

But DeAngelo's rushing yardage? With that explosive burst he possesses, he might hit 1,500 yards again. In this run-first, run-second offense, he's certainly going to get opportunities. And you know what?

It might even be more than 1,500. A lot more.

(An unrelated note: Thanks to all of you who have already signed up for my new Twitter updates -- which are the best way to know when I've posted something new on the "Scott Says" blog here at CharlotteObserver.com. If you'd like to follow me on Twitter, you can find me at Twitter.com/scott_fowler)

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

To answer the headline's question, no.

Anonymous said...

Yeah we saw the game retardo. Another genius piece by a less than average writer-thanks

Doc said...

Deangelo and Jonathan should dump the 'Double Trouble' Nickname. They should add Mike Goodson to the mix and have "Boom, Boom, Pow!" as their nickname (Scott, thats a Black Eyed Peas song BTW)

Anonymous said...

We'll see this year when the Falcons take the NFC South who the better running back is.

Bill said...

He isn't the best in the NFL, that 4th stringer who fumbled and penaltied his way through Monday's game is, according to the ding dongs on this forum. Get rid of Williams, this new kid is THE answer.

par said...

Not the best. DeAngelo is one of the top five (5) runners in the NFL.

Anonymous said...

Oh sure he's much better than LT or Peterson....

David said...

"But now Gruden is out of coaching and has nothing really to gain by excessive praise."

… what?

Sure he has something to gain... by praising panther players, he puts his door in the door in the panthers origination for when FOX and HURNEY are fired... we can have Chucky as coach of the panthers ;)

David said...

DOC,
I like that :) - Boom, Boom Pow!!!
Tthey so need to use that nickname!!!

LOL though they will probably do something stupid and call themselves "Tripple Trouble" or "Triple Threat"

Boom boom pow, would be perfect "punch in the face" to Lendale white and 'what his face' that stole smash and dash from us...

...I like that boom boom pow
Them chicken jackin' my style
They try copy my swagger
I'm on that next *** now
I'm so 3008
You so 2000 and late...

Anonymous said...

He was last year, and I hope he is this year.

Anonymous said...

LT is on his last leg. He might come back to form, but I doubt it. Adrian Peterson fumbled more than DW last year while not being as effective. Last year, DW was the best running back in the league. He very well could be this year. This is coming from a Panthers hater. I'm also pleased to be able to point out that your QB still sucks, the D line has one disinterested superstar and a bunch of 2nd stringers (at best) and an offensive line that could go from excellent to poor with one injury (same goes for the secondary, but I wouldn't call them excellent as is). But yes, DW is absolutely nasty.

Kconrad84 said...

Makes you question the decision-making skills of Fox and Co. Honestly, Williams could supplent DESHAUN FOSTER as the team's starting back? Why is this so rarely mentioned?

Anonymous said...

Not even close....

Chuckie said...

It's just a little man crush...my wife knows I wouldn't cheat

Anonymous said...

You people on this forum are idiots. It was a simple question to analyze Gruden's comments, not an endorsement of a hall-of-famer. Get a grip.

MTB said...

I can see Gruden being love-struck by DeAngelo. Let's not forget last season when DeAngleo and Stewart ran all over Tampa. That 2nd half was a rushing display that neither team will soon forget. That game was the beginning of the end for Gruden in Tampa.

Anonymous said...

Williams also averaged about a yard more per carry than most other rbs last year. To all those who disagree, who is better?

Brett williams said...

he is the best running back in the league, and the season that he had last year is a top five season of all time for any running back, if he retired now, i would say he would be a first ballot hall of famer, ive met him a couple of times and just wish that he would notice me, because with me sandwiched in between him and stewart we would be a real triple threat

Peter said...

I don't think one year makes someone the best in the league. Yes, his stats were amazing, but stats aren't the only thing you have to look at. If he continues to put up the same numbers year after year, he'll grow into a top-3 RB in the league. Right now, he's a top-8 RB, but top-3 fantasy RB.

F*** ATL said...

If only DeAngelo could play Quarterback... oh wait, he did. Let's break out the Wildcat like the Panthers used against the Atlanta #&%@$*# in 2007 (sorry can't mention that team from Atlanta without copious profanity). It would certainly be an improvement over Delhomme.

Anonymous said...

Gruden had a NFC South bias not unlike Jaworski's NFC East bias. The NFC South doesn't get a ton of ESPN attention and I think Gruden wanted to make note of the stars in the division. I don't like to annoint players after one great year but, D Williams is in the top 5, no doubt.

Ghoul said...

He will be the #1 fantasy runner back, especially in point per reception leagues. He will rush for 1500 yards again, but also catch 60 passes for 800 more yards.

Anonymous said...

I thought that was simply a mistake by Tirico. I thought Gruden said in the beginning of the broadcast that Steve Smith was arguably the best receiver in the NFL. Then later Tirico falsely said to Gruden that he called Williams the best back. I recall Gruden sounded a little stomped and seemed to just run with what Tirico said. Perhaps there's a transcript, but I don’t think Gruden initially said that about Williams.

Anonymous said...

That is real easy. NO ! not even in the top five.

Mak said...

Not in top 5? GTFOH lame

Anyway he might not get 1500 yards again, but I can guarantee he get over 1200 yards and probably 15 Td's