Posted: Tuesday February 20, 2007 3:28PM; Updated: Tuesday February 20, 2007 3:55PM
On to more e-mail:
THE ANTI-TIKI PATROL IS OUT TODAY. From Chris of Pt. Pleasant, N.J.: "Tiki Barber's a great player and performed very well with the Giants, but I think he and some other Giants vets have made it very difficult for Tom Coughlin to get full support of the team. Well, I say good riddance. What makes any football team click is the players buying into the coaches' philosophy. I think getting rid of Luke Petitgout and potentially other players is the Giants' way of looking for more guys that want to buy into the system.''
My view, Chris. Now that Barber is retired, he is being paid by NBC to tell the world what he really thinks -- not the locker-room version of what he's supposed to say because he's on a team. I like the fact that he questioned whether Coughlin can win this team back. I question it too. You can't tell me as a Giants' fan that you don't wonder sometimes if Coughlin is the right man for this job right now.
I'M WRONG ON SCHOTTENHEIMER, THIS FELLOW THINKS. From Richard Karp of Sacramento, Calif.: "Let me start by saying that I'm a big fan of your column. I have to say, though, that I disagree with your assessment of the Chargers' firing of Schottenheimer. Although he put up a very good regular-season record for them, I think you have to look at the overall situation for the franchise.
For one, he and Smith were not seeing eye to eye. And there wasn't just one instance of this. It was pretty much known throughout the league that this situation was going on. Which means they must have been butting heads on a fairly regular basis. As someone who works in a management capacity, it has been my experience that you just can't have that kind of incongruity on any staff, and I think that is especially so when talking about the relationship between the GM and head coach of a franchise in the NFL.
Secondly, let's not forget the fact that San Diego has one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. And third, Smith and the owner didn't like Marty's coordinator candidates. I think they're making the right move and that in the long run their record (and postseason record) will reflect that.''
Thanks, Richard. The big problem I have with the decision that was made, simply, is that not a lot changed between the time the Chargers announced they were keep Schottenheimer in January and when they announced in February they were firing him. One thing did change, however. Four coaches, including both coordinators and two coaches who became coordinators elsewhere, fled the staff. Didn't have to happen this way. If Smith and Spanos thought the water was so poisoned by Schottenheimer, they should have canned him before the mass exodus of four very good coaches.
CHUCK'S INSPIRED. From Chuck Tabb of High Point, N.C.: "Thank you for writing about Omaha Beach. My father fought in WWII, and relatives and many of my family's friends died in that war, some in France in June 1944. Sometimes I wonder if we deserve the life those boys died for. I cried during Saving Private Ryan. When the captain tells the young man to "earn this," he is speaking to every one of us. Too many of us haven't done what Private Ryan did ... earn what was done by young boys braver than I will ever be.''
Thanks, Chuck. And thanks to your kin. I hope we all can take a step back once in a while and realize a free life isn't always free.
WHY STARBUCKS IN EUROPE, KING? YOU HEATHEN! From Bennie of Dallas: "I consider you a coffee god. Why in the hell were you in Starbucks in France or anywhere in Europe? We were in Paris a couple of years ago and found the most incredible coffee in the little out of the way shops. Not espresso, but made cup for cup when you ordered. I love coffee -- this was the best (except for the cup I had at a coffee shop in Amsterdam, but that's another story!)''
Well, Bennie, I had probably 28 cups of coffee in France and Switzerland, two mostly experimental ones in Starbucks. You're right -- the espresso with a little foam on the top is consistently marvelous, and I'd probably switch over if I weren't so addicted to lattes. Quite a kick to those babies.
THANKS, JOHN. From John in Anchorage, Alaska: "THANK YOU! You brought back so many wonderful and sad memories I have of serving in Europe from 1979 to 1983 in the U.S. Army. I traveled, seeing the sights as often as I could, but the ones I remember the most are the American cemeteries, the Berlin Wall and the concentration camps. In retrospect, I know now why I recall them with more clarity than I do the Louvre or the Leaning Tower of Pisa or anything else. They put life in perspective, and are silent screams that freedom is never free, and others have freely given their lives in defense of freedom.''
Let's hope at least one person who had never planned to stand in the battlefield above Pointe du Hoc or at Omaha Beach now plans a trip to France to do that before he or she dies.
ANOTHER REX RYAN FAN, THANKFULLY. From Robert Williams of Phoenixville, Pa.: "There is a lot of talk about Rex Ryan getting a head coaching job somewhere in the near future. I was wondering what your take is on his head coaching abilities. I remember his father as the Eagles head coach. There is no doubt that Buddy Ryan was an excellent defensive coach, but as a head coach -- not so great. Do you think Rex Ryan is too much like his dad or has he been able to master the offensive side of things better?''
I think Rex Ryan would be a little more flexible than his father was, and he'd get along better with the guys on the offensive side of the ball. To me, Ryan is the next guy who deserves a head job in this league. His defensive schemes are imaginative and relentless.