Ryan’s speech rallies Saints defense, saves his job?
With his job as New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator very much on the line, Rob Ryan delivered a stirring speech to his players at halftime of their game against Tampa Bay. He said he didn’t like their attitude or their body language or their tackling, and he told them to “act like you want to be here.” Linebacker Junior Galette credited the speech to a second-half turnaround. He said: “Rob came in here and chewed us out.” The Saints, down 20-7 at halftime, rallied to win 23-20. But with the team ranking among the worst in defense, Ryan may not have been able to save his job. Coach Sean Payton has not said he will be back next season. A gesture of nonsupport like that normally precedes a firing.
Dolphins’ Mike Wallace benches himself
When his teammate, tight end Charles Clay, caught a touchdown pass with 43 seconds left in the first half of the Miami Dolphins’ game against the New York Jets, Miami wide receiver Mike Wallace was in no mood to celebrate. In fact, he left the field, after telling his coach, Joe Philbin, that he didn’t want to play. And he did not play the entire second half of a game the Dolphins lost 37-24. Another Miami receiver, Brandon Gibson, said, with Wallace standing next to him, that Wallace was unhappy about “not being involved as much as he wanted” in the offense. NFL Media’s Jeff Darlington tweeted: “Many Dolphins teammates were very displeased with Wallace’s action. . . . They felt that he abandoned them when needed.” Another Darlington tweet: “Something’s wrong. Wallace ends season on bench. Tannehill ends season on ground. Dolphins end season with loss. Philbin ends season with job.” Wallace later said he wants to remain a Dolphin, but he isn’t sure the team wants him. But since he’s in just the second year of a 5-year, $60 million contract, he may not be easily moved.
Suh gets dirty again, suspended for stepping on Rodgers
Much has been said and written this year about Ndamukong Suh playing by the rules and avoiding the petty but painful assaults that had marred his career as a defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions. But Suh was back to his old ways Sunday at Green Bay, when he stepped backward, and his foot landed on the calf of a sprawled Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. It may have been an inadvertent step, but Suh then stepped on Rodgers again. The second time could not have been an accident. Or so the NFL office ruled, and Suh was suspended for Sunday’s wild card playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys. Suh has been suspended or fined 10 times for player-safety violations.
Photo shows Bret Beilema giving Horns Down gesture
During a press conference leading up to the Texas Bowl, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was photographed shaking hands with Texas coach Charlie Strong. Meanwhile, Bielema’s left hand was shown giving the Horns Down sign that is thought to enrage anyone connected to the University of Texas. Bielema insisted the gesture was not intentional, but Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen went Horns Down during the game and said it was very much intentional. The Texas players did not seem especially fired up about the insult. They lost lamely, 31-7, to finish the season 6-7.