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By Joe Kazmar
For the Record 

Kaz's Korner

Changing QBs or even head coaches doesn't assure future success

 

Last updated 11/29/2022 at 5:40pm

Besides getting stuffed with turkey last week, we also had to tolerate some “major moves” in the world of football as college and the National Football League made changes either with their quarterbacks or even canning a few head coaches.

The most hilarious move was done by our feeble Houston Texans, who benched two-year quarterback Davis Mills for journeyman Kyle Allen, who was picked up in the free-agent marketplace last spring as the team’s back-up quarterback.

Mills has thrown more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (9) in his last eight starts, his passer rating (78.1) ranks 34th among all qualified quarterbacks and he has stumbled to a 59.8 completion percentage on Houston’s cumulative opening three drives this season. Head Coach Lovie Smith said Friday that this is a “short-term decision”.

You must understand that Allen hasn’t been in a real NFL game for two or three seasons and was probably very rusty, especially when trying to elude 375-pound defensive linemen breathing down his neck.

Lovie Smith—whose fans’ love has dwindled to “just barely like”—announced this quarterback switch early last week—from probable to maybe to he’s our man for Sunday’s game—and put Mills on the bench where he should have been many losses before.

Smith made the change out of sheer desperation. His job was on a wobbly cliff as many fans—especially those who purchased season tickets—were calling for his scalp and begging the front office to make a change for anybody who knew how to win with the NFL’s lousiest team.

And Smith’s job wasn’t the only one hanging by a loose fingernail—offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Pep Hamilton was in the same boat. Their only move was to substitute Allen for Mills and do a lot of hoping or even praying.

Compared to Mills’ arm strength, it appeared that Allen was throwing change-ups to his receivers, who mostly had to wait for the rainbow-like pass would get there and then grab it with both hands so it wouldn’t squirt away, which many of them did.

The headline Monday morning on the front page of the Houston Chronicle “Miami Vise” pretty much told the story about Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was eating up the incompetent Texans pass defense, completing passes at will and giving his team a 30-0 lead at halftime.

Whether the Dolphins felt sorry for Houston or was saving the starters for a “real” future opponent, the Texans got to operate against the second, third and fourth stringers. I saw the cheerleaders approach the Miami bench in the second half, probably because they wanted to get into the game, too, against the hapless Texans.

On a more serious note, early last week closer to home the Lamar Cardinals fired their head football coach Blane Morgan after a 1-10 season in 2022 and 5-23 record during his three-year stay at the Beaumont school. His record in conference games was a dismal 3-16.

But it must be remembered that the hiring of Morgan was just one of the many boneheaded moves made by then-athletic director March Born, who got on my bad side when he fired the two softball coaches as he was stepping off the plane to assume his new job.

It took a couple of years for the Regents to see things the way I first saw them and gave Born a one-way ticket out of Beaumont.

The school had better be very careful about who they hire to replace Morgan. There’s an old saying my Grandpappy told me long ago— “You get what you pay for”—which means if Lamar really wants to continue its football program, they must win. And in college football, wins are based on the number of dollars each school is willing to pay their head coach.

Lamar dropped football for several years until the alumni and Beaumont college football fans begged the administration to re-start the football program.

They promised to show up for the home games—but they forgot to add the clause “as long as the Cardinals win” –and lately the number of fans at the stadium could be counted by a passing helicopter.

I’ll give Lamar University five years to produce a winning football program or give it up entirely again. Born’s replacement Jeff O’Malley had better be very careful who he chooses to replace Morgan, because he very well could be the Cardinals’ very last head football coach.

KWICKIES…Ohio State’s head coach Ryan Day has plenty of Buckeye alums and fans wondering if he really is the right guy for that job. Although his Buckeyes rip through the first 11 games on their regular schedule usually unscathed, it’s that final one against Michigan that has everyone up in arms. Why can’t Day’s team win the most important game on his schedule? For the second straight year Michigan’s coach Jim Harbaugh has pummeled the Buckeyes. Day is 45-5 as Urban Meyer’s replacement, but he’s 1-2 against Michigan.

Nick Chubb scored the game-winning touchdown on a three-yard run with 19 seconds left in the overtime period to give the Cleveland Browns a 23-17 come-from-behind victory over Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday. Chubb, who rushed for 116 yards on 26 carries, broke the 100-yard rushing mark for the 28th time in his career which is the second most in NFL history. The win leaves the Browns with a not-so-great 4-7 record as they await the first game for their savior Deshaun Watson, who is slated to start Sunday against his old team—the hapless Houston Texans at NRG Stadium.

Georgia barely retained its top spot in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 Collegiate Poll over Michigan, who moved up one place with its upset win over Ohio State, who dropped three notches to No. 5. TCU and Southern Cal each moved up one place to No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, Alabama came up two notches to No. 6 as did Tennessee at No. 7, Penn State and Washington each jumped three places to No. 8 and No. 9, respectively, while Clemson dropped three spots to No. 10. LSU sunk from sixth place to No. 11 while Tulane moved up one place to No. 18 and Texas jumped three places to No. 21.

The autobiography of ESPN’s “First Take” host Stephen A. Smith entitled “Straight Shooter” will be available for sale on Jan. 17, 2023. He is very opinionated and hates the Dallas Cowboys.

I would be very surprised if Nathaniel Hackett is still coaching the Denver Broncos at Christmas or maybe even when the paper hits the streets Wednesday. This is his first year as a head coach and he doesn’t seem to do anything NFL-wise. For example, the organization put up big bucks to sign quarterback Russell Wilson after trading him from the Seattle Seahawks for several good players and then made him learn his offensive scheme. When you obtain a franchise quarterback who is probably headed for the Hall of Fame, you adjust your offense to the strengths of Wilson, not vice versa. And next to the Houston Texans, Denver is the worst team in the NFL.

JUST BETWEEN US…Talented wide receiver O’Dell Beckham, Jr. (OBJ) is shopping for another Super Bowl ring which will probably go to the most capable Super Bowl team that offers him the most money. But throughout his brilliant career, OBJ has had a difficult time following team rules and has been traded or released several times. Right now, he is a free agent after finally recovering from an injury he suffered making a touchdown in February’s Super Bowl for the Los Angeles Rams and is ready to play again. But once again, OBJ had a difficult time abiding by rules used by every airline in the world—fasten your seatbelt. His flight was getting ready to depart from Miami to Los Angeles, but he wouldn’t—or couldn’t--fasten his seatbelt. After several requests, the flight attendants called airport security to get him off the plane, and they did. I believe he just cost himself a trip to the Super Bowl with either the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles or the Miami Dolphins who have expressed an interest for the flaky—but real talented—pass catcher who had to use his attorney to tell the press why he wouldn’t buckle up.

 

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