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Snap Judgments (cont.)

Posted: Friday June 8, 2007 3:42PM; Updated: Saturday June 9, 2007 1:27AM
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• I understand the bar has been set pretty low in what passes for quality quarterbacking in Miami since Dan Marino hung 'em up after the 1999 season, but I'm not getting all excited about Trent Green's arrival if I'm a Fish fan.

Just pop in the game tapes of Green playing against either Baltimore at Arrowhead in Week 14, or at the Colts in the first round of the playoffs.

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Green didn't just struggle in those losses, he was atrocious, throwing four interceptions, fumbling five times and absorbing nine sacks. In both cases, Chiefs coach Herman Edwards stuck with Green long after it would have been wise to turn to backup Damon Huard, who played superbly when Green was sidelined due to the severe concussion he suffered in Week 1.

• Let me get this straight. NFL Players Association chief Gene Upshaw is quoted saying of retired Bills lineman Joe DeLamielleure "I'm going to break his ... damn neck,'' but later declared his comments weren't intended to be threatening.

What exactly would a threat sound like then, Gene?

• Even though he's technically an unsigned free agent, there was 43-year-old Vinny Testaverde at the Patriots mini-camp this week, firing spirals at the likes of rookie free-agent receiver Chris Dunlap, who was born 22 years and three days after Testaverde, in November 1985. Testaverde was in the midst of his junior season at the University of Miami by then, and roughly a year away from winning the Heisman Trophy.

Here's what puts Testaverde's longevity into perspective for me: He was born during the Kennedy administration, just nine days before JFK was gunned down in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

• Very quietly -- which is the way he always did his work -- the 36-plus-year career of longtime Vikings scout and personnel man Frank Gilliam might have come to a close this week. Gilliam, who joined the organization in 1970 and served as a regional scout last year has reportedly asked to pursue other opportunities, according to Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman.

Gilliam served as the team's VP of player personnel for many years and was known for his superb touch in identifying late-round picks or collegiate free agents who could contribute to the Vikings success. Scott Studwell, Wade Wilson, Steve Jordan, John Randle, Ed McDaniel, Brad Johnson, Robert Griffith and Matt Birk were among the players who went on to Pro Bowl selections after being either drafted in the later rounds or signed by Gilliam and his scouting staff.

As good a football man as he was, Gilliam was an even better person, and I can't ever remember him being anything but dignified and professional in the years I covered the Vikings. Best of luck, Frank, wherever you may land.

• You hate to predict trouble for any rookie, but the news that Saints first-round receiver Robert Meachem underwent arthroscopic knee surgery this week to repair cartilage damage certainly makes you wonder if he'll be another example in the recent trend of first-round receivers who have struggled as rookies.

The Saints say Meachem should be ready to go at the start of training camp, which is less than seven weeks away. But we've heard that kind of optimistic prognosis many times give way to a different type of reality come late July and early August.

• Even if the now-federal-level investigation into a possible dog-fighting ring doesn't wind up affecting Michael Vick's on-field status this season in any way, due to the length of the ensuing legal process should charges be forthcoming, I'm of the belief that Vick won't be able to completely block this story out of his mind and focus on his quarterbacking alone.

One way or another, I get the feeling that No. 7 might be in for a very long and trying conclusion to 2007.

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