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Notes from Indy (cont.)

Posted: Monday February 26, 2007 8:27AM; Updated: Wednesday February 28, 2007 1:23PM
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5. I think it's hard not to root for Steve DeOssie's boy Zak, a 6-4 1/2, 250-pound linebacker and long-snapper from Brown -- the first Brown player ever invited to the combine -- and former Bill Belichick ballboy with the Patriots. "I hope football's going to be my life for a long, long time,'' he said, soaking up some media before hitting the RCA Dome today for his trial. "I'd play for an expansion team in Hawaii, I don't care.''

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His Brown major: Public and Private Sectors of Organization. His Brown classes this term: Ancient Samarian writing ("deciphering tablets,'' he said), business management, Russian literature. Four times a week since November, he drove an hour from his Providence campus to a workout facility run by the same man who trained legendary workout warrior Mike Mamula for the Combine, Mike Boyle.

After an impressive showing in the Hula Bowl, Zak's hoping to run a 4.5 40 today so he can assure his mid-round draft status. "He's redeemed my faith in a lot of ways about what a student athlete should be,'' said his agent, Brad Blank.

6. I think the league is playing with fire by considering allowing fans into the Combine. First, you'd bore them silly. It's not sporting to watching 21-year-old after 21-year-old run around some orange cones. Second, can you imagine if the Patriots beat the Colts in the playoffs next year, and Belichick walks out on the carpet at the Dome next February to watch the proceedings, and somebody yells, "Belichick, you SUCK!'' What if there's beer sold? Isn't the object here to make money to defray the cost of the Combine? I don't get it really.

7. I think the Eagles still need Jeff Garcia.

8. I think if a third of what's alleged against Pacman Jones is true, the Titans have to cut the guy.

9. I think it's safe to say the Jets and Patriots aren't going to kiss and make up anytime soon. Take my word for it. There's some hard feelings over how New England receivers coach Brian Daboll ended up the Jets quarterbacks coach, and the Patriots won't forget last year's tampering charges against the Jets, even though the league recently dismissed the case. I doubt that Eric Mangini will be Bill Belichick's guest in Terry Francona's box seats at Fenway this spring.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

a. How sad at the Oscars. The Departed kicked tail. I say that's bad because ... well, have you seen it? Did the gore bother you? The over-the-top, pandering, blood-gurgling murderous spree was too much for me. We must be inured to it by now, because the Academy voted Oscars not only for the movie but also for Martin Scorsese for making the flick. What's next, I wonder. A beheading in Times Square? Gouging someone's eyes out? So sad we seem to be in search of the next great gruesome thing in movies.

b. Good for Helen Mirren winning Best Actress. I can't imagine a better acting job than what she did playing the Queen in The Queen.

c. Frank Cooney, that nfldraftscout.com is gospel to me. Thanks for making a site that is part Encyclopedia Britannica, part Inside the Scouting Combine.

d. Coffeenerdness: You learn one thing about restaurant coffee when you go to Indianapolis. I'm a coffee-after-dinner guy. Always have been. But in much of middle America, coffee after dinner too often means coffee-flavored water after dinner.

e. Adam Schefter's doing a really good job on NFL Network. I think he might have found his calling. The camera likes him. Combine that with his Grudenesque work ethic, and you've got a good TV guy.

f. Will Carroll really knows his baseball.

g. Belated thanks to friends-of-MMQB Patrick Pantano and Alex Marvez of the Pro Football Writers of America. Pantano, a PR man for NFL Films, is the classic good PR guy, suggesting good stories but not overly pushing them, passing along good NFL Films clips and ideas. Re: Marvez, he got commissioner Roger Goodell to address the annual Pro Football Writers of America meeting two days before the Super Bowl, thawing some icy waters with the league office.

h. There is no one -- not Letterman, not Leno, not Caliendo -- funnier than Bill Bryson. That's saying something.

i. Finally got an iPod. Yes, I was the last man in America to do so. And I must say two things: Mick Jagger is a better singer, remixed, than I ever thought. And also, what a country.

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