Monday Morning QB (cont.)
Posted: Monday February 19, 2007 12:07AM; Updated: Monday February 19, 2007 12:45PM
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think you'll have to pardon me if I've missed a few of the NFL stories of the last few days here in the next couple of pages. When I heard my hotel had wireless Internet in the lobby and lounge area, I said, "No problem. I'll just set aside an hour Friday or Saturday to catch up on things.'' Wireless Internet here, however, is something like dialup internet. Only slower. I felt like one of the Slowskis, growing a thick beard waiting minutes for each pageview to download. So I'll have to catch up with a few things Monday night on my return.
2. I think the one little paragraph in the staid, English-language-international-paper-of-record International Herald Tribune the other day, about Marty Schottenheimer's firing, confirmed the ridiculous dream of last Monday night and Tuesday: The Chargers went and fired a coach with a 35-13 regular-season record over the last three years, a month after saying his job was safe and just days after losing the last of four of the top assistant coaches on the staff to other NFL jobs. They fired him because the coach and general manager, who weren't getting along a month ago, still couldn't get along, and because they didn't like the caliber of assistant coach he was thinking about bringing in. Roll that one around, one final time, in your heads.
Think how idiotic this story is, about adults who can't bury their petty little crappola for the good of the team. The one Herald Tribune paragraph won't make Jean-Luc from Strasbourg understand what happened halfway across the world, which I'm glad about. He'd just think we're bigger fools in America than he already thought.
3. I think, A.J. Smith, you don't make the General Manager Hall of Fame by winning the kind of power struggle you just won with the sixth-winningest coach of alltime. I'm still incredulous that the two most important non-players in the organization with the best record in football last season didn't communicate.
4. I think the Patriots had to franchise Asante Samuel, just as the Bears had to franchise Lance Briggs. Neither defense would be nearly the same without them, particularly New England's. And spare me the bleating from Samuel and his agent about being forced to play for the franchise number, $7.8 million, next year. You get no sympathy from me for being "forced'' to play with one of the five best cornerback salaries in football next fall.
5. I think, by the way, the one rant that gets so old every year is the one from players about their hatred of the franchise tag. "They've got to get rid of it,'' soon-to-be-franchised defensive end Dwight Freeney of the Colts told me a couple of days after the Super Bowl. "How can you be a free agent when the team doesn't allow you to ever get to the market?''
Study your history, Dwight. In 1993, you got free agency and a guaranteed cut of the gross revenues -- which your football brethren struck over in a previous football generation -- and in return your leadership gave each team the freedom to keep its best player for the average of the top five salaries at his position. Hardly a hardship. What the best players miss in this system --but not often -- is a huge signing bonus, but that's a small price to pay for a system that has worked this well for players and owners for 14 years.
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