Balzer on the NFL: Why Hardy?; Seattle blues

Howard Balzer

November 20, 2015 at 1:58 pm.

Nov 15, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin (89) scores on a 32-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter against th e Arizona Cardinals during a NFL football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 15, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin (89) scores on a 32-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter against th e Arizona Cardinals during a NFL football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Why Hardy?

Defensive end Greg Hardy has a job in the NFL and running back Ray Rice does not. Does that make any sense?

Wherever anyone stands on this sensitive issue, we are a nation of second chances when it is believed someone deserves that opportunity. Rice has done everything he can to atone for the mistake he made, accepting responsibility and trying to help others.

And yet, not only is he out of football, but he has never had a tryout with a team.

By contrast, Hardy is believed to have paid off the victim in his case so she wouldn’t testify, and not only hasn’t owned up in any way to what he did, but then continues to be involved in outbursts with teammates and coaches. Through it all, he is considered a leader in the locker room by the Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones.

Rice made a recent appearance on WFAN Radio in New York and was asked about Hardy. Blunt and to the point, Rice said, “One thing I would encourage Greg to do is to take a deeper look into what the severity of domestic violence is. It’s better late than never. You have to be sincere in your actions. Show it on and off the field. Take that uniform and use it for what it’s worth. You don’t have to win another football game, you don’t need another dollar to go out and make a difference in other peoples’ lives.”

We will never know if another team would have signed Hardy if the Cowboys didn’t. We might find out that answer in the offseason if the Cowboys not to re-sign him.

Hardy is in his athletic prime; Rice was approaching the latter stage of an NFL running back’s career. Teams will take chances on troubled players based on perceived value. There is a downside to taking a chance on a player with off-field issues. If there are questions whether the player will be productive, bringing in a potential distraction isn’t deemed worth.

That reality hurt Rice. Yet, while hoping to get another chance to play, he is making an effort to have a positive impact on people, especially those in the NFL.

He said, “If I don’t have a second chance on the field with the NFL, I would love to work with them to help make a difference, speak to rookies or anybody else they wanted me to. I know I can make a difference.”

Off the field.

Telling It Like Is

That’s what Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin did recently after hearing frequent criticism of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Players are constantly counseled to “ignore the noise,” but that can be difficult to do.

The vitriol gets incessant any time an NFL offense struggles. Dropped passes the problem? Nah, let’s pretend those didn’t happen. Blocking sub-standard? Really? Let’s ignore that. Quarterback throws interceptions? Not his fault, right? It has to be the play-calling with the blame laid in the coordinator’s lap.

In some ways, hearing the predictable reactions, is so off the chart, it’s funny in a weird sort of way. Of course, Baldwin didn’t think so. He was outspoken in his support for Bevell.

“There’s plays all over the field to get to, but we just don’t get to them, for whatever reason,” Baldwin said. “And that’s frustrating. I know a lot of people talk about play-calling, and that’s not it at all. It’s the execution. It comes down to execution. It comes down to converting on third down and being efficient in the red zone, and that’s passing the ball. And we gotta be better at those things and keep our defense off the field. Our defense was on the field for 40 minutes.

“People blame the defense, that’s not the defense either. When you got one for eight on third down as an offense, you’re gonna leave your defense out there. I take a lot of responsibility – I would as an offense take a lot of responsibility for the downfall of these games, because we’re not getting to the plays that are out there on the field to get there and we’re also not converting on third down.”

Baldwin said the problem with certain opinions is simple.

“Obviously people who are saying that aren’t looking at the game,” Baldwin said. “You know, they’re not watching the films. I don’t know what film they’re watching if they’re saying that Darrell Bevell’s the problem because, like I said, there’s plays out there and we just have to get to them. And we consistently have been inconsistent in getting to them. And on top of that, there’s penalties. … We shoot ourselves in the foot. There’s not much more that Darell Bevell can do. He’s calling good plays.”

Simply Noting

*Rob Ryan is the latest scapegoat in New Orleans, having been fired by head coach Sean Payton after the Saints’ 10th game of the season. Since 2006, when Payton became the head coach, defense has had some good times, but not a lot of consistency.

Of course, it’s difficult to generate consistency when the coaches don’t last very long. With the firing of Ryan and hiring of Dennis Allen, who Payton brought in this past offseason as a senior defensive assistant, that makes it five defensive coordinators in 10 seasons.

For the record, they have been Gary Gibbs (2006-08), Gregg Williams (2009-11), Steve Spagnuolo (2012), Ryan (2013-15) and now Allen.

Anyone know the over/under on how long Allen lasts?

*St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley spent part of his growing up years in Baltimore, so playing in his hometown will be special.

Gurley said before the game, “Yeah, man. I grew up a Ravens fan, so it will definitely be. All of my family is there. It will definitely be a good feeling being able to play against a team I grew up rooting for.”

As for being asked to supply tickets for family and friends, Gurley laughingly intimated he won’t be a ticket machine.

He said, “ – that’s all I have to say.”

*A Charlotte woman was critical of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton because of the celebratory dance he did after scoring a touchdown in Week 9. The woman, Rosemary Plorin, wondered what she would tell her daughter.

However, Plorin changed her tune after hearing Newton talk about the dance, including the offer to apologize if she was offended. In an email to the Charlotte Observer, Plorin wrote, “I watched the video of Cam Newton responding to media questions about my letter to him earlier this week. I really appreciate his comments and his respect for my thoughts, and I was impressed with the sensitivity and graciousness with which he spoke. I am sorry I didn’t understand him better until this week.

“It is clear from his remarks that he recognizes his leadership role, both on and off the field, and that he truly cares about the kids watching him. I respect his comments just as much as he did mine, and I wish him nothing but continued success on the field and in life.”