Rough on Romo
Quarterback Tony Romo has taken his share of heat this season, especially after his Cowboys blew a 24-point lead in a loss to Detroit last week. Former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann, now an NFL Network analyst, took a sizable shot Thursday, calling Romo an "average" quarterback and saying the Cowboys need a replacement. "Tony Romo continues to do things to hurt his football team," Theismann said during an NFL.com podcast. "He doesn't understand how to play the quarterback position. Somebody had to say it, and I just said it. Tony, you have to start proving to everyone you understand football. You're doing things that Pop Warner kids would get benched for."
Peyton's (new) place
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is returning to the sideline today. Well, not so fast. The four-time MVP is not close to playing following three neck surgeries, but he said he'll swap his seat in the press box for a place next to offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen. "I just get a bad feeling being close to y'all up there in the press box," Manning said, jokingly, to reporters in Indianapolis. "I mean, I can hear you second-guessing every call and writing your stories. I've got to get out of there; bad vibe being near all y'all."
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick acknowledged the "Dream Team" moniker for the preseason Super Bowl contenders — created by backup quarterback Vince Young — is "dead now." And with Philadelphia having lost three straight (each of which it led in the fourth quarter), coach Andy Reid is searching for answers. There's not a sole reason why Eagles haven't lived up to their hype, but being minus-6 in the turnover battle and boasting the 30th-ranked rushing defense doesn't help. And considering the Eagles face the 3-1 Bills today, it won't get any easier. History isn't in their favor as only 15 percent of the 144 teams to open a season 1-3 since the current format went into effect have reached the postseason. "We've got to make sure we fix it," Reid said. "I, obviously, don't like what I'm seeing, and I'm a part of that problem."
Battle of Hall of Famers
Jets coach Rex Ryan, left, has always known how to talk a good game. In a lot of cases, he has backed it up. Last week, with his team having lost two straight entering today's showdown with the first-place Patriots, Ryan pulled out the props again, a black blazer he received when he entered the Hall of Fame at Southwestern Oklahoma State. He pointed out how Patriots coach Bill Belichick is a Hall of Famer at Wesleyan. "I mean, you're talking about two Hall of Famers," Ryan said. "Because we know he's going to have a bust in Canton and all of that — that minor Hall of Fame. It boils down to two Hall of Famers butting heads." In reality, it's the struggling Jets butting heads with their biggest rival, who would love nothing more than to put them in a huge hole in the AFC East.
1. Packers2. Lions
3. Ravens4. Saints
5. Bills6. Patriots
Falcons (2-2) over Packers (4-0)
Atlanta needs a win and gets a big one, avenging an embarrassing home loss to Green Bay in last season's playoffs.
Comeback of the week
The fact veteran journeyman quarterback Sage Rosenfels signed with the Dolphins last week — after starter Chad Henne decided on season-ending shoulder surgery — didn't garner much attention. After all, Rosenfels likely will back up Matt Moore. But it is significant considering Rosenfels, 33, spent a lot of August in a New York hospital trying to figure out the cause of a blood infection. Rosenfels told Foxsports.com he was concerned about when — and if — he would be back in football. "There were times when it really did hit me how sick I was," said Rosenfels, who spent 12 games (appearing in none) with the Giants last season. "I guess that should have been my main concern. But most of the time, I was more concerned about getting back on the practice field."
Times wires and NFL.com contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at email@example.com.
For the first time in a decade, all eyes will be on Motown for Monday Night Football. The Lions at 4-0 one of the league's biggest surprises, host the Bears one night before the Tigers host the Rangers across the street in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. • "It's going to be like an NFC Championship Game," Detroit receiver Nate Burleson told the Detroit Free Press. "There's going to be some big hits. There's going to be some trash-talking. There's going to be some highlights." • The Lions, coming off consecutive comeback victories over the Vikings and Cowboys, boast one of the top receivers in Calvin Johnson and a daunting defensive line. And while they haven't hosted a Monday game since Oct. 8, 2001, they could get more national exposure if they keep winning. • "The NFL, they love to make money," Burleson said. "So if there's a demand to see a certain team, they're going to figure out a way to get that team on TV. So if we get good ratings and play a good game (Monday), we might have a little demand out there like, 'Let's get them Detroit boys back.' "