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Gruden on target more often than not

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Recent posts by Barry Jackson

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Posted Sept. 28, 2010 @ 12:33 p.m. ET
By Barry Jackson

ESPN's Jon Gruden still spews a bit too many superlatives on "Monday Night Football," but give him credit for becoming the Nostradamus of play-calling.

During the Saints-49ers game, he told viewers "to look for Vernon Davis down the middle.'' We saw exactly that on the next play.

Then he said not to be surprised if the 49ers run in a potential passing situation. Right on cue, Frank Gore ran for a touchdown. Not every prediction is right, but Gruden is on target more often than not.

• Memo to NFL Network's Sunday-night studio team: Dolphins coach Tony Sparano does not wear sunglasses to look cool. When he was a teenager working in a restaurant, grease was splattered in his eyes and his vision was temporarily impaired. Even now, bright lights bother him — hence, the dark glasses.

• Thanks-for-nothing award: To Fox's Terry Bradshaw. When asked why the Chiefs are 2-0, he said, "Because they won their first two games. I don't know. I don't watch them." Guess he can't be bothered to prepare.

• ESPN's Trent Dilfer sometimes sounds as if he believes he invented football. "People throw around the word 'resolve' like they know what it means!" he protested after the Saints-49ers game. Talk about condescending!

• Fox's Pam Oliver made Bears LB Lance Briggs squirm when she asked him, "What on earth possessed you to say women should not be in the locker room?" Briggs gave a poor answer — "because the locker room is our realm!" — and Oliver later dubbed Briggs "my least favorite player of the week."

• Best line of Week Three, from CBS' Bill Cowher: "Brett Favre has better rapport with the receivers in his jean commercials. He looks more comfortable there."

• One thing Fox's Michael Strahan does that we respect: Unlike some studio analysts, he calls current players to solicit information and opinions. Before Michael Vick was named the Eagles' Week Three starter, Strahan said Eagles players were telling him that they love playing with Vick because he keeps plays alive. And he relayed that Cowboys coach Wade Phillips was more demanding at practice after the team started 0-2.

• If you're not close to your television — watching a game at a bar, for example — it's difficult to see the NFL scores that Fox superimposes in the upper right corner of the screen. They should be on a scroll at the bottom.

• From the you-can't-be-serious file: CBS' Steve Beuerlein declared, "Who would have thunk Cleveland would be ­ 0-2?" Did he confuse them with the ­Cowboys or Vikings?

• Fox's Curt Menefee portrayed the quarterback changes in Philadelphia and Carolina as "teams pushing the panic button." That cliché is simplistic and inaccurate, especially in Philadelphia's case, where Vick earned the job with his play.

• Fox is assigning Brian Billick to ­Falcons games even though their coach is his brother-in-law, Mike Smith. That could make opposing coaches think twice about sharing information with Billick when they're playing the Falcons.


Barry Jackson covers sports media for the Miami Herald.

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