Monday Morning QB (cont.)
Posted: Monday July 30, 2007 9:30AM; Updated: Monday July 30, 2007 1:23PM
5. I think if I were the Giants, I'd jump all over Simeon Rice. Because even if Michael Strahan comes back, what kind of desire is he going to have to play for $4 million, the salary he abhors? There's a chance Strahan could resume his career as a dominant pass-rusher, but there's also a chance he'd give the Giants the production they've gotten the last three years, with 15 missed games and a combined 18.5 sacks.
The Giants are smart, though, not to burn bridges with him, even though they're ticked off he pulled this the day camp opened.
6. I think at this time of year, everyone is anticipating what the future looks like, how every team is going to change and which teams are going to be the fast-risers. But when you go to New England's training camp, you'll have to do the anticipating without the help of the coach. This is as perfect a quote summing up the Bill Belichick approach to a season as you can read -- no matter how maddeningly boring it is. After the first practice of camp the other day, Belichick was asked about his expectations of the team this year.
"I think right now what we're trying to do," he said, "is correct the mistakes from this morning and go in and have a meeting and put in the stuff that we have scheduled to go in this afternoon and try to go out and have a good practice this afternoon and that's really where we are. It's one practice after another. It's putting one foot in front of the other. We're just day-to-day right now. There's no light at the end of the tunnel. We have a long way to go and a lot of work to do and I'm not really worried about anything down the road or a month from now or two months from now or any other team in the league right now. I think we just have to work and get better each day and there are so many things that we have to work on that that is where our concentration is.''
That's summer football. "Amen,'' Trent Green said the other day. "Perfectly said.'' There is nothing magic about it. It is the methodical preparation now that determines whether you'll win in November, and no one is more methodical about preparing than Belichick.
7. I think Marshawn Lynch impressed me off the field the other day, after showing terrific moves on the field. Lynch was telling me how much he loves to watch Michael Vick play, and how last year at Cal he never watched much football, but every time Vick was on, it was appointment TV. And I asked him if he thought Vick was getting a fair shake and if he thought the charges against him were fair. (Which, of course, Lynch can't know. But I was trolling for his opinion in case he had a strong one.)
"I don't feel I'm in a place to have an opinion on that,'' he said. "I don't know anything about the case. So I really shouldn't say anything.''
Maybe Deion Sanders should go to the Marshawn Lynch School of Intelligence.
One other thing about Lynch. I asked him about his goals for the season and how good he thought he could be as a rookie. "I haven't even put on the pads yet,'' he said. "We can't know about that yet. I'm just getting comfortable here. Guys have been doing this for years and I just got here.'' Impressive kid, at least at first glance.
8. I think Joe Thomas, who I wrote about in April for Sports Illustrated, experienced the kind of welcome-to-the-NFL moment the other day. In Thomas' first one-on-one protection drill against emerging Browns pass-rusher Kamerion Wimbley, Wimbley lowered his shoulder nearly to ground level and burst past Thomas. Thomas swiped at air. "Now that's a move I've never seen in college,'' Thomas told me. "Mentally you beat yourself up for a minute after that, but it's football.'' Interesting about Thomas: Rookie linemen often show up at camp and look fleshier than the vets. Not Thomas. It looks like he's been in an NFL strength program for five years.
9. I think one of the most underrated people in this game is egoless, nose-to-the-grindstone Steeler personnel czar Kevin Colbert. Someone must pick all the players who make Pittsburgh a perennial contender, right?
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Aaah, fans. You guys are great. I mean it. At Steelers camp Saturday, I passed a gauntlet of fans, one of whom called out: "Peter! What grade did you give our food at lunch?'' For the record, a B. Check out my postcard on the Steelers. The sizzling fajita was tasty, but it did not sizzle.
b. Roger Clemens: 3-5, 3.92 ERA. Lamborghini price, Avalon results.
c. Coffeenerdness: This actually happened Saturday night at 9:57 in the Starbucks on route 30 in Greensburg, Pa. A bride walked in, in a gorgeous white, flowing wedding dress, with her tuxedoed husband trailing her. I'm writing, next to another guy on his laptop, and in a very droll voice, the other guy looks up from whatever he's doing and says: "The reception must have been pretty bad.'' So I ask the bride: "What are you doing here?'' She is gleeful, quite sober, the picture of happiness. "We had to relax!'' she gushed. And she, the husband, and a few wedding-party trailers go get blueberry ice tea lemonades. Apropos of nothing, but a cute moment.
d. Brent Musburger, you are the man. The man! Now you're doing NASCAR? I don't know anyone who loves sports as much as he does, unless it's Chris Russo.
e. If I were home this week, I might invest a half-hour or two watching Chris Spielman mentoring six soon-to-be college football freshmen in Summer House on ESPNU. I'm not a big reality show guy, but Spielman is about as real as they come. This show will be real, or Spielman wouldn't do it.
f. Many of you probably have read Mike Silver is leaving our little empire for Yahoo! and I wanted to say a few things about Mike. He's been a great friend over the years, and I'm privileged to know him. He's added so much insight to the athletes we cover in the pages of SI and SI.com, and we're going to be diminished without him. We've spent good chunks of Super Bowl night together, Mike struggling for his lede and me feeding him whatever I can to help and realizing: He needs my help about as much as I need a Krispy Kreme glazed. Good luck, Mike.
g. I have a confession to make, Rich Fitter: The Krispy Kreme drivethru in Cranberry Township, Pa., grabbed hold of me and shook me hard the other night. Couldn't resist. I'll try to do better the rest of the trip.
h. Hey Donnie Brasco: If the columns are this long in July, what am I going to do for an encore in October?
i. Something's up with Papelbon. Doesn't look good to me.
j. Terre Haute, Bourbonnais, Green Bay, River Falls, Mankato, Kirkland, Napa, Denver, Hempstead, look out. Here I come.
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