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Tony Choke-o: the new Carson Palmer

December 04, 2008 by Guest

Tony Choke-o: the new Carson Palmer


'Sucks Says

December 5 2008



Like Carson Palmer was a few years ago, Dallas QB Tony Romo is the NFL's most pampered player, throwing to an All-World cast of receivers, supported by an outstanding run game and protected by a wall of blockers that allows him to sip tea and nibble on scones while waiting for WRs to break open.


How bad is it? Well, consider that none other than Troy Aikman made this comment re: Choke-o on Thanksgiving Day: "I don't think I've ever seen a quarterback get more time to throw." On top of that, Choke-o gets to play most of his games in the cushy, quasi-indoor confines of Texas Stadium, where the wind is gentle and the footballs float on angels' wings. Yes, life is good when you're Tony Choke-o.


Choke-o's even better suited for the hype machine than the Cincy gagger, what with his Hollywood bimbette girlfriend and soap-opera love life. His 103 QB rating puts him on top of the pack, further adding to the media fawning. Combine the gaudy stats with the gossip, and you've got the formula for one very overhyped pro athlete. 


His 26-9 record as a starter rivals Roethlisberger's sparkling 27-4 record his first two campaigns -- but here's where the similarities stop.


I've put together a little comparison of both guys' records in December, the time when the real contenders start to raise their games a notch. Have a look, and see what you think:




BEN ROETHLISBERGER (13-3 record): 258-of-417 (61.9 percent), 3,594 yards (224.6 per game), 25 TD, 14 INT


TONY CHOKE-O (4-5 record): 178-of-295 (60.3 percent), 2,106 yards (234.0 per game), 9 TD, 13 INT


(Source: Dallas Morning News)


In true Palmerian fashion, Choke-o goes from Superman to Clark Kent just as the real football season begins. Suddenly the picks outnumber the TDs, and the losses pile up, as you can see from the stats. Tony Choke-o's what I call a "turkey" player -- great til Thanksgiving, then starts to stink right afterwards.


No doubt that's from having to face the colder-weather away games and greater-magnitude contests -- the classic m.o. of the pampered choker. The Steelers have the chance to expose his fraudulence just as they normally do with Palmer. However, that's certainly not a given -- with time, Choke-o can pick apart about any defense, and his improvisational skills are a good deal better than duckfoot Palmer's. Choke-o reads the field about as well as anyone in the game right now, and if fave target T.O. is covered deep, he has the luxury of checking off to the best receiving TE in the game.


Still, no QB in football makes dumber mistakes under pressure than Tony Choke-o, and he's good for at least one really boneheaded play every game. The one time I saw him face any kind of rush against Seattle last Thursday, he panic-pitched it right to the defensive back, who in true holiday-giving spirit dropped the ball rather than return it for a TD. The Stillers will have their own chances to get their mitts on some Choke-o passes; the question is, can they wipe the gravy off their fingers and start holding onto the ball themselves?


Remember, pampering is a two-way street. A QB used to cruising past lesser opponents often has trouble dealing with the adversity that comes from real competition. No wonder then, Choke-o's first two forays into the playoffs have been such throat-clutching gagfests. Come Sunday, we'll see which way the windpipe blows.






Carson Palmer: Yes

Tony Choke-o: Yes



Carson Palmer: Yes

Tony Choke-o: Yes



Carson Palmer: Yes

Tony Choke-o: Yes



DEFENSIVE GAME KEY: Make Dallas run left


The Stillers will be facing one of the NFL's warriors this week, the most excellent Marion Barber.

Marion the Barberian plays it old-school, blasting into defenders as if he'd just found out his girlfriend had gonorrhea. With near-reckless regard for his body, Barber pinballs off would-be tacklers and grinds out the tough yards after contact. He�s not huge, but he�s a load to stop. (Barber's status is questionable, but knowing him I'd expect to see him suit up.) 


According to NFL breakdown, this year Dallas ran 79 plays up the middle. The 'boys like to plunge Barber straight ahead, behind outstanding center Andre Gurode. That'll provide the Stillers with a different challenge than they've faced from more finesse-style rushing attacks. The key is to stopping the Dallas running game is to make the Cowboys change direction.


Dallas averages 4.1 ypc when they go straight north, and an even better 4.4 when they run off right tackle. The average drops to 3.2 a carry when they run left, however -- the key will be to force Dallas to start running that way � by showing they can stop them up the gut.


The Stillers get a break not having to face super-rookie Felix the Cat Jones, the lightning to Barber's thunder. Like Mendenhall, he's gone for the season thanks to injury. 




Speaking of Barber, what took the Stillers so long to discover Gary Russell's skills? I've been banging the drum for Russell for some time, and here's why: the guy managed to thrive in a college backfield that included both the Barberian AND Laurence Maroney. The dude can play.


Mewelde Moore's proved to be an excellent pickup. But as fine a back as he is, he's NOT suited for goal-line situations. Flash back to that infamous second-and-goal in the Colts' game: yeah, a) Eric Foster made a nice submarine move on the play, and yeah, b) you can blame the stupid guard for not just flopping on top of him, but look at how Moore was posed going in: upright and stiff as a teenage boy on Red Bull and Viagra. That's as much the running back's fault there as it is the lineman's.


Russell's line-blasts have people talking, especially his second efforts to gain critical third-down

conversions. But at 215 lbs. Russell's no Bettis, and in fact roughly the same weight as Moore. So what's the difference? Let me spell it out: f-o-r-m. Watch as Russell LOWERS himself into the line, making himself a tougher target to tackle. He then drives with his legs, pumping forward instead of standing up like the town idiot waiting to get hit. If that had been Russell going against Foster, the outcome may have been slightly different.


Blame the coaches too -- this is pee-wee level fundamentals we're talking about here. Who DOESN'T teach their rushers to get low on short-yardage plunges? Apparently, the Pittsburgh Stillers.


What's worse is that Russell's obviously turned around the Stillers' kickoff return game, yet somehow not long ago they had given the job to Najeh Davenport -- right off the street! Management deserves a good ass-roasting for this, an embarrassing display of unawareness of its own players' skill sets.


The sad fact is, it took a game-costing goal-line failure to cure Gary Russell's case of bench rot. Remember this next time you hear the coaching staff "knows better than we do."




Am I the only one with a mancrush on Patrick Bailey? If you don't know who he is, please, watch closely for #55 the next time the Stillers kick off. Like Harrison on pass rushes, Bailey can't be stopped on kick coverage. Sooner or later this guy ought to earn a Hard Hat, giving up his body the way he does. Thanks in large part to Bailey, I actually look forward to kickoffs now, and no longer suffer from PSTKFS: Post-Stiller-Touchdown-Kickoff-Fear Syndrome. Score one on the positive side for management, with yet another gold strike in the free-agent mines.


Well that�s it for now, Stiller fans. Until next time, I'm PalmerSucks, and this is what I say.


The views of PalmerSucks are not necessarily those of -- but should be.

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