The sports wonks in Dallas have been talking and writing about the Titans' defense this week. The feeling seems to be that this defense is, at best, very physical, at worst a bunch of cheaters. These guys lead the league in roughing-the-passer penalties and are tied for the most defensive penalties. Of course, they also lead the league in sacks. No surprise, I suppose, since Jeff Fisher is a Buddy Ryan protege. In a column in today's Dallas Morning News, Gerry Fraley urges the Cowboys to turn the other cheek, noting that in the Titans' 2 losses, their opponents did not retaliate. On the other hand, in Titan wins, the opponents lost their
respective cools and had double-digit penalties by game's end. According the Fraley, this is exactly what the Titans want.
I heard the great Drew Pearson interviewed on this topic by Randy Galloway on Friday and found his comments really fascinating. Pearson said that if someone gave him a cheap shot, he made a point of getting the guy back at some point in the game. When asked how he did it, Pearson said that he would wait for an opportunity to (legally, he said) clock the guy under the chin or upside of the head with an elbow or forearm. Usually, he said, this would be on a running play, or sometimes in a pile. He then said he thought it would be useful for the young receivers to talk to the veterans, like Pearson, to learn how to do this because the receivers coach, having never played, wouldn't know.
While I completely understand Pearson's point of view, I think that in the end, you have to behave as though nothing the other guy does bothers you. Take a hit? Just get up and trot back to the huddle. Keep playing...DO NOT BACK OFF. The absolute worst thing you can do is let the other guy know he is getting to you and if you retaliate, he knows. If you change your game, he knows. If you short-arm the ball, whine to the ref, change your route, run out of bounds to avoid a hit...he knows. Don't be p*****s. Execute. Win. Winning is the best revenge.