PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Bob West

November 2, 2013

West column: ESPN's Casserly labels Charles as NFL's MVP

PORT ARTHUR — Former Texans and Redskins GM Charley Casserly is the latest to jump on the Jamaal Charles bandwagon. While many who write and talk about the NFL consider Peyton Manning the league’s MVP at the midpoint of the season, Casserly cast his vote for Charles Friday on ESPN radio. He made the case by pointing out no player carries a bigger share of his team’s load than the Memorial ex, and backed it up by saying he’s irreplaceable in KC’s offense. Charles, through eight games, has more touches (194) and more rushing/receiving yards (1,018) than any player, has generated more first downs (59), is No. 2 in rushing yards (635 yards) and is tied for third in touchdowns (8). Backing up Casserly’s contention is the following quote on Jamaal from Chiefs’ GM John Dorsey in Friday’s USA Today. “He’s the best back I’ve been around in 30 years of football,” said Dorsey, a former Green Bay linebacker who has been involved in NFL scouting since 1991 . . .  Voting on the Southland Conference’s 50th anniversary all-time football team has moved to defensive linemen  and linebackers. Lamar has two linemen — Gary Crockett (1969-71) and Dick Croxton (1965-67) — among the DL finalists and three  linebackers — Beaumonter Anthony Guillory (1964), Jasper’s Eugene Seale (1983-85) and Baytown’s Vernon McManus (1964-65) — with a shot. Best bet to make it is Seale, the 1983 SLC Defensive Player of the Year who wound up playing six seasons for the Houston Oilers.

If his schedule permits, Texans’ defensive coordinator Wade Phillips says he wants to come to the Golden Triangle, soak up the end of Mid County Madness week, then present the trophy to the winning team at the conclusion of the inaugural Bum Phillips Bowl in 2014. “I am so happy that steps have been taken to remember my dad in that fashion,” he said. “It would mean a lot to me to be there to present that trophy. Both PN-G and Nederland represented very important parts of his life. He’d be so pleased at what is being done.”  . . . It was mentioned in this space last week that Bum Phillips would be buried in a coffin hand-crafted by inmates at Louisiana’s Angola prison. Here’s how that came about. On one of his ministering trips to Angola with former tight end Mike Barber, Phillips saw a casket in the prison’s museum and remarked  that he’d like to be buried in one. Barber made the request through warden Burl Cain, who thought so much of Bum that he was one of the speakers at Tuesday night’s memorial service in Houston. The coffin, with the logo of Phillips’ charity engraved into the side, was made of pine and reflected the simplicity of who Bum was. Also buried in an Angola coffin is  Ruth Graham, wife of the Rev. Billy Graham. Graham, who turns 94 Thursday, will get the same treatment when he passes . . . Bob McNair made a lot of friends among the Luv Ya Blue crowd Tuesday night when he had some 25 Texans players bused from Reliant Stadium to Lakewood Church for the memorial service. It was announced during the services that the Texans owner was making a donation of $150,000 to Bum Phillips Charities to go toward building a school for deaf children on Bum’s Goliad ranch.

Here’s a prediction I feel totally comfortable making. With the punching-bag Minnesota Vikings furnishing the opposition at JerryWorld today, Tony Romo will target Dez Bryant 10 to 15 times, maybe more, to keep him happy. Afterward Jerry Jones, who continues as the great enabler for players who can bring a team down with their antics — surely you remember T.O and Pacman Jones — will get a chance to publicly fawn over Bryant and maybe even compare him to Calvin Johnson. All will be well until the next time Dez doesn’t get the ball often enough . . . Speaking of Jethro, and it’s difficult not to, how about his dopey comments following last week’s loss to Detroit? On his Tuesday radio show in Dallas, Jones casually remarked that former Cowboy cornerback Deion Sanders could have shut down Calvin Johnson. Even Sanders, who is not exactly the humble type, was so stunned by the out-of-left-field remark he refused to be drawn into the conversation . . . Dallas’ defense, as most Cowboy fans surely know by now, has already set a record by having four quarterbacks — Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning and Matthew Stafford — throw for over 400 yards against it. Reckon the Saints’ Drew Brees is salivating over the knowledge that Dallas is coming to New Orleans next weekend? Brees may become the first NFL QB to throw for 600 yards in  game. Of course, he couldn’t do it if Deion were playing. And if Bob Lilly and Too Tall Jones were rushing him. And certainly not if Jimmy Johnson was devising the defensive game plan.

Here’s what gamblers think of the Texans. Tonight’s Houston-Indy game opened as pick-em on the betting line. Three days later the Colts were favored by 2 1/2 points. When a line moves that much, that fast, you’re usually talking about millions being bet. From this vantage point, though, the Colts look like a risky bet. This is circle-the-wagons time for the Texans and they figure to play with the intensity and desperation of a team knowing another loss sends its season down the drain. If Arian Foster can go at anywhere near full speed, which will slow down the Colts’ pass rush on rookie QB Case Keenum, the Texans will probably make Vegas bookies a lot of money . . . It was big news a few years ago when the city of Allen committed a record $59 million for an 18,000 seat stadium to be used primarily by its one high school football team. Records, as they say, are made to be broken. If a $99 million bond issue in Katy passes, $69 million of it is committed to building the most expensive high school stadium ever. The only difference in Katy and Allen is that Katy has seven high schools, with the likelihood there were be two and perhaps three more in the near future. Still, $69 million, or more than twice  the cost of the Houston Astrodome, is mind-boggling for a high school facility. If the Katy Stadium is approved, it will be the seventh in Texas since 2000 built at more than $20 million . . . Memorial’s impressive 31-14 victory over West Brook Friday night stands to reach the largest audience of any game ever televised by the Port Arthur News Friday Night Experience. In addition to the  Time-Warner telecast today at noon, FNE head honcho Jim Barton has arranged for the game to be carried on Comcast Sports Net in Houston at 3 p.m. Barton says that adds 2.2 million potential viewers. Titans fans might want to alert anyone with Port Arthur ties in Houston that the game can be seen there.

If you’ve wondered why Lamar basketball coach Pat Knight suited up several below Division 1 caliber players who would have had a difficult time beating a good junior college team last year, here’s the explanation. “What people didn’t understand is that nobody wanted to come here last year,” Knight responded to a question during the Southland Conference’s media-day conference call on Thursday. “We had to piece something together. What can you do when kids don’t want to come here? It wasn’t that we didn’t know what we needed to have to win, we just couldn’t get those kids here. We took some chances on kids that didn’t work out.” Guess that explains LU’s all-time worst season record of 3-28 overall and 1-17 in the SLC. Knight also said, “I thought some people took shots last year that were uncalled for.” Gosh, I hope he wasn’t talking about me. LU, by the way, was picked 10th in the SLC by league coaches and 9th by Sports Information Directors for the upcoming season . . . From time to time regular readers have heard me rail about revisionist history and how it distorts reality. Here’s a classic example. When former Oiler owner Bud Adams died recently, one of the points made in the Associated Press obit was that Adams engineered the trade with Tampa Bay that allowed Houston to draft Earl Campbell, a move that helped the Oilers become an AFC power. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The trade — actually it was a heist —  was Bum Phillips’ genius all the way. All Bud did was agree to pay what it would take to sign Campbell. The same thing will happen when Jerry Jones’ obit gets written. He’ll get credit for the stunning Herschel Walker trade engineered by Jimmy Johnson that brought numerous draft picks to Dallas and helped Jimmy win two Super Bowls. Like Adams, all Jethro did was write the checks. But in the end he’ll get credit he doesn’t deserve.

    Sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at rdwest@usa.net.         

  

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