The Nickel: Week 12

QUESTION 1: The NFL is going to review Ndamukong Suh’s maybe-foul kick to Matt Schaub’s crotch. Your boy Suh loves to do his dirty work on Thanksgiving, as we were endlessly reminded of his Motor City Stomp against the Packers, last season. Our Brandon Scott interestingly compared Suh to Kimbo Slice in a recent column — all intimidation, decreasing production. Suh had no tackles or sacks against the Texans. Three questions in one here, fellas: Is Suh crazy? Is Suh good? Is Suh misunderstood?

JAMAR: Ndamukong Suh is crazy to think that people don’t see what he’s doing on the field at times. For all the talent he has — and yes, he’s a talented football player — the dirty plays and unnecessary antics diminish the good he does and makes him unlikeable. The skill is there, but the extra leaves us scratching our heads.

GAMBLE: You have to be crazy and edgy to play in the NFL’s trenches. Suh’s a Bill Romanowski/Conrad Dobler–throwback. A ball of dirt clouds his brain and surrounds him like Pig Pen from The Peanuts .  Kickin QB’s in the nutsack is just Suh’s Sunday, show time steez. The NFL All-Pro love doesn’t matter. Sonny told us in Bronx Tales — it’s “better to be feared.”

NUBYJAS:  When Suh is on, he’s one of the best linemen in football. When he’s going crazy, he’s crazier than any athlete out there. The problem is, he’s crazy more often than he’s just a dominant player. Suh will have to make a choice very quickly as to which guy he’s going to be or no more cute Subway ads.

BOADU: Yes, Suh is crazy, but isn’t crazy a basic requirement to make it to the NFL? Suh is good. The Lions hid Calvin Johnson’s injury, so maybe Suh is hurt. No, Suh is clearly understood — he’s a dirty player that’s delusional when it comes to his dirty play.

TILLERY: The game needs cats like Suh. He’s the football Mike Tyson. Intimidation is imperative. There are no tea parties on the field. No little plastic cups. No fake water. While he does see quarterbacks as stuffed animals ready to be torn, you can bet Detroit Lions brass is not regretting taking Suh.


QUESTION 2: No matter how precocious a rookie is, typically, he still won’t be better than most capable veterans. You saw RG3 give the Cowboys that work on Thursday. Right now, today, this season, is he already a better quarterback than Tony Romo?

JAMAR: RG3 out-everything’d Tony Romo on Thanksgiving. And yes, right now, he is the better QB. RG3 still has room to improve, but he doesn’t make the mistakes Romo does and puts the Redskins in a position to win rather than scrambling to catch up like Romo often has to do with Dallas.

GAMBLE: Measuring RG3 by Romo standards is insulting to a player projected for greatness. Tony Romo is the John Starks of the NFL. He had a mythical come up, but he’ll never be that dude. If anything, I’m expecting RG3’s first ride on the NFL stardom wave to gain him better booty than a pudgy Jessica Simpson, fresh off a wrecked marriage.  

NUBYJAS: Let’s allow RG3 to cook some, he’s still not even a year into the game and, while he did work in the Dallas, he did make quite a few rookie mistakes in the second half. I still want to see how RG3 reacts when teams adjust to him before we crown him in full.

BOADU: Hell naw! The hypebeast gotta chill dogg. Cam Newton had a great rookie year and look at his current sophomore slump now that teams have tape on him. Romo is a very good QB, but he’s also a product of his environment — the sh!t show that is the Dallas Cowboys organization.

TILLERY: Tony Romo. RG3. I don't see 642 rushing yards anywhere on Romo's career line, but book it, RG3 will also pass for Romo's career high sometime in his career. Tony Romo has won one playoff game and still has a job. It's time to sit his ass down on the bench.  

QUESTION 3: Colin Kaepernick ran in an early touchdown in San Francisco’s (UPDATE win/loss) when the cameras found Alex Smith with the saltiest of expressions on his face. Did the 49ers do Smith dirty?

JAMAR: Alex Smith wasn’t done dirty. He just happened to get injured at the wrong time. And we can’t hate on Kaepernick for stepping up and taking advantage of his opportunity when his number was called. The man with the tightest hairline in the NFL is now 2-0 as a starter and seems to be the man Jim Harbaugh wants to lead San Francisco.

GAMBLE: The NFL’s a dirty business. Just ask ya boy “Sucker Punch Suh.”  Drew Bledsoe was nice wit’ it, but Tom Brady made it rain Super Bowls.  Peace, Drew.  Smith peaked last season, but his best wasn’t good enough. To a chip-thirsty competitor like Harbaugh, a bird in the hand never beats ice on the knuckles. Welcome, Colin.   

NUBYJAS:  Alex Smith was never given a chance to succeed in San Fran. Prior to Harbaugh, we saw Smith play for more coaches and coordinators than there are spin offs of American Idol. He finally gets a good coach and consistency but Harbaugh doesn’t want him. Hate to see it happen, but these are the breaks.

BOADU: A few weeks back, Smith went 18–19 for 3 touchdown passes on Monday Night Football. The following week, after he suffered a concussion, he threw a touchdown pass with blurred vision before leaving the game. He hasn’t done anything to lose his job and he’s been mashing for his dreams since last season, so yeah, A. Smith is getting done dirty.

TILLERY: Most plays in the NFL, someone is injured. The smart ones, get up and run straight to the huddle. No one's job is safe. Alex Smith is a game manager. Colin Kaepernick gives Jim Harbaugh dynamic, NFL-updated athleticism and an arm to make defenses think at the quarterback position.

QUESTION 4: Who’s the first coach fired?

JAMAR: The easy answer here would be Andy Reid. I don’t think anyone expects him to be back next year. So I’m going to go in a different direction and say Ron Rivera in Carolina. The Panthers haven’t made any strides in Year 2 of the Cam era and with nothing left to play for this season, the Panthers are just playing out the schedule until the offseason. It may be time for a change in Charlotte.

NUBYJAS:  The loser of the Monday Night Football “toilet bowl” game between the Eagles and Panthers. Both teams came into the season with lots of bravado and, now, both have their tails between their legs. It’ll be a hell of game because it might be the last chance either team has to win a game.

GAMBLE: It should be Norv Turner, but he has more lives than the cat from Quantum Leap. It’s going to be Romeo Cronnel. Head coaching isn’t his handle (27-51 career record). One stinking Kansas City win? It’s a Reynold’s.  A win over the hated Steelers got Pat Shurmur a stay of execution.. Ron Rivera’s on thin ice and 2-10 might break him.  

BOADU: Agree with Gamble. Turner has a gig because West Coast fans don’t care about their teams. Andy Reid will be the first coach fired. If Reid didn’t lose his son this past off-season and not have been the coach since 1999, he’d would have been fired after the team’s bye week.

TILLERY: Rivera. What the hell is he doing? Teams haven't figured out Cam Newton. Teams have figured out Ron Rivera. While Carolina needs another go-to receiver, it also needs a diverse running attack. Stewart and Williams want the rock. Rivera will look back on his time in Carolina with much regret.

QUESTION 5: The Giants have now straight dominated the 49ers and the Packers. But they’re such an iffy, wishy-washy squad. If you could pick one squad to win a playoff game, though, would it be NYG? If not, then whom?

NUBYJAS:  I don’t trust the Giants, this year. Other than their two Super Bowl wins, they’ve been late season and playoff failures over the past ten years. So if I had to pick a team to win one playoff game this year, it’ll be the 49ers because I trust their defense.

GAMBLE: The Giants are usually iffy during the regular season. “Working out the kinks” has become a character-building component of their championship DNA. You’re never surprised when they win and never shocked when they lose. But in the playoffs, you expect a run. And the defense shows up.  If I need a sure playoff win – especially on the road – Blue Magic’s track record is killer.

BOADU: The Packers are playing with a ton of injuries. In a QB driven league, you roll with the best QB to win a playoff game. Rodgers is a better QB than Eli and Kapernick/Smith and that’s why I’m rolling with the Packers. Also, the Packers have lost to both the 49ers and Giants and would most likely win a rematch.

TILLERY: Y'all trippin'. New York lulls the league and fans to sleep this time of the year. Straight Rip Van Winkle style. While I do think, with Kaepernick, SF is to be feared, gimme a battle (and media) tested Giants squad rough and tough with that cold rock stuff.

JAMAR: We knew it was coming, didn’t we? After their yearly “slump,” the Giants would come out and remind everyone why they are the best team in the NFC. And when it counts the most, there’s no other QB I’d trust more to make the big play than Eli Manning. And there’s no other defense I’d trust to shut down an opposing offense that Osi, Justin Tuck and the boys of Big Blue.

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