Posted: Monday November 7, 2005 9:42AM; Updated: Monday November 7, 2005 7:51PM
TEN THINGS I THINK I THINK
1. I think these are my quick-hit thoughts of Week 9:
a. I finally see Ricky Williams -- 40 yards on his first six carries in Miami's loss to Atlanta -- lowering his shoulders and punishing defenders.
b. Someone named Samkon Gado was Green Bay's running back against the Steelers. That is not a good sign.
c. Graham Bensinger, congratulations. You might have gotten used a bit -- by both Owens and ESPN -- but you did 43 times better than any college freshman had the right to expect. You don't have a future in the business, kid. You're in it.
d. Wonder how much that weird sock combo will cost Clinton Portis. Did you see those things? One leg was adorned with something Mary Beth would wear on a cold winter night up at Colgate. Same maroon and white colors. I'm guessing $2,500. This isn't his first rodeo, if you know what I mean.
e. The Visa Skycam just isn't the same at an Eagles game without Terrell Owens' frothing anger to document.
f. Heck of a job, Mark Eckel of the Trenton Times. The Eck broke the Owens-Douglas fight story in Sunday morning's paper. The best part: Eckel quoted a source as saying the fight was "like WWE Smackdown.'' I've never seen that, but I think we all can figure out what it means.
g. Unless I'm mistaken, the Carolina Panthers are the most complete team in the NFC right now.
2. I think it's hard to mine information about the stalled talks between players and owners on a new collective bargaining agreement. Hard, but not impossible. Owners can't talk publicly about the stalled negotiations with players for a new CBA, but one told me the public has no idea why the owners aren't fearful of playing the 2007 season as an uncapped year. The public perception is that the Joneses and Snyders will bid up players so high the other teams won't compete. There may be some of that. But if there is an uncapped year, these factors will be in play:
a. Owners will not have a minimum spending limit. For instance, if the cap is $90 million in 2006 and there's no cap in 2007, the Arizona Cardinals could spend $45 million on players. And you know some teams will cut back. That's just the way certain owners are. So you'll have a huge gulf between the spenders and the savers.
b. The free-agent minimum on players will jump from four years to six years. As things stand now, once a player has finished his fourth year and is unsigned, he's totally free. In 2007, a player will have to have finished his sixth year. That means the number of player benefiting from the uncapped year will be cut severely. And players who are entering their sixth, seventh or eighth years, will likely sign long-term deals because they'll fear getting hurt before the end of the 2006 season and not being able to cash in on the uncapped 2007 riches.
c. "The bottom line,'' the owner told me, "is that there will be very few high-quality players on the market in 2007 if we get to the uncapped year. The players are being sold a bill of goods if they think it's going to be a bonanza.''
3. I think this is what I liked about Week 9:
a. Brad Johnson. With a 15-of-22, two-touchdown, no-pick day, he did just what I thought he'd do. Play mistake-free and give his team a chance to win, which the Vikings did.
b. Way to get that Hall of Fame ring, Dan Marino. Good job.
c. Neil Rackers needs 14 field goals in the last eight Cardinal games to set the NFL record for field goals in a season. The record is 39.
d. Shaun Alexander. It's Nov. 7, and the guy's got 949 yards. He can't be thinking 2,000, can he? Eight games, 1,051 yards. Not the impossible dream, really.
e. Miami tackle Vernon Carey. He doesn't look like a wasted first-round pick to me.
f. Great intro by ESPN on the Sunday night game. Really good. Captured the drama and the weirdness well.
g. How about ReggieHodges' first punt as a Philadelphia Eagle. Dropped it right at the Redskins' 4 in the first quarter
h. LaVar Arrington. Impact player.
i. The Panthers are coming.
j. The Bears defense, which never has a bad day.
4. I think this is what I didn't like about week 4:
a. Chris Simms.
b. Don't be bush league when you score, Brandon Jacobs. Stopping at the one and turning around to look at the defense, then showboating in ... that's not class.
c. Remember back, oh, about 100 years ago, when Cadillac Williams was an impact player?
d. DanDierdorf's silly comment at the end of the Chargers' tougher-than-it-should-have-been win, effusively praising the Jets for not mailing it in. Dan, you effusively rip teams for mailing it in. You don't praise teams for not mailing it in.
e. Joey Harrington.
f. Philly's run-blocking. Twenty-three carries, 45 yards. Ridiculous, particularly against a team that came in allowing 4.5 yards per carry.
g. Gus Frerotte, who just played himself out of any plans for the future that NickSaban has.