Monday Morning QB (cont.)
Posted: Monday September 3, 2007 12:13AM; Updated: Monday September 3, 2007 11:52PM
5. I think I get in enough trouble on my own, but when I saw Jets beat writer Rich Cimini's story in the Saturday New York Daily News involving my ranking of the top 500 players, I choked on my Cheerios. It said Belichick was quoted in my story as saying of Jets safety Kerry Rhodes (ranked 29th) and Buffalo tackle Jason Peters (39th), "Neither of those guys could make my team.'' Cimini informed Rhodes of the quote and wrote: "To tweak Rhodes ... is really just a shot at the entire team ... Another subplot for an already juicy rivalry.''
One problem: Belichick never said it. And I never reported he said it. What I wrote in the story about how I arrived at my rankings: "I decided I wouldn't make a significant change unless two people whose judgment I trust could make persuasive arguments. Most told me I was loony to have Rhodes ranked in the 20s and Peters in the 30s. I believe Rhodes comes closest to Ed Reed (12), the best impact safety in the game, and I believe Peters, a converted tight end, will be an All-Pro within two years. So I wouldn't move them down even if Belichick called and said, 'Neither of those guys could make my team.'"
Geez. And you wonder sometimes why guys like Belichick treat us like vermin.
The Daily News did use a retraction Sunday, which is only right, but that doesn't fix everything. In Sunday's Florida Times Union, for instance, the NFL column used a Belichick quote, as though it was a quote he actually said.
6. I think I'm not surprised I haven't heard back from the Jets yet on the story. I called the Jets on Saturday and said I'd like to speak with Rhodes to tell him Belichick never said what was reported. As of this morning, I haven't gotten a call back. I don't expect one either. Why would they allow Rhodes to call me back? Why lessen his motivation, stoked even higher by what he thinks is Belichick's colossal dis, by letting him hear the truth? Coaches -- Belichick, Eric Mangini, even high school coaches -- love to motivate their players any way possible, even when they know that something they're using either isn't true or probably isn't true.
7. I think the most logical team to sign Leftwich is Kansas City. Logical, and wrong, evidently. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the new backup quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs ... from Coastal Carolina, Tyler Thigpen.
As a personnel man from an NFC team told me Sunday night: "There is only one team in the NFL that should have signed Leftwich -- Kansas City. And they sign Tyler Thigpen? With Damon Huard and Brodie Croyle as their quarterbacks? It's a clear sign to me they have no intention of doing anything this year, except get ready for 2008.''
8. I think Gil Brandt made a great point on Sirius NFL Radio the other day: Be patient with Alex Smith. It's his third year, and let's not go thinking if he hasn't arrived yet that he's some stiff. He's 23 -- the same age, Brandt pointed out, as Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan.
9. I think the most amazing story of the preseason -- even more amazing than Leftwich getting whacked -- is that a man bigger than Jonathan Ogden is getting ready to be the heir to Ogden in Baltimore, and it could happen in September. Not that the Ravens are pushing Ogden out the door; they're not. But if he's not healthy enough to play a full season, the Ravens will likely use their fifth-round supplemental-draft pick, 6-9, 345-pound Jared Gaither at the crucial left tackle spot. It's crucial because Steve McNair has grown increasingly immobile late in his career, and Ogden always sealed that left side.
When I was in Ravens camp, Gaither was the talk of the place; and it seems he's the latest terrific young player brought into the pipeline by GM Ozzie Newsome and his strong personnel staff. The interesting thing, to me, is that here's a guy who was such a great, raw talent, and the Ravens were the only team to bring him in for a physical before the early July supplemental draft. If Gaither, a former basketball recruit at South Carolina, ends up being a solid NFL tackle, a lot of teams who passed on him through four rounds will look very stupid.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Thanks, Scott Yoffe. You don't know Scott, probably. But he stuck with me for four days and 31 traded text messages in search of a phone chat with Tomlinson. The mission was accomplished, but it never would have been if Yoffe hadn't worked about five hours to get it done.
b. Farcical Baseball Note of the Week: J.D. Drew (hitting .246, seven homers) is making more money this year ($15 million) than Mickey Mantle made his entire career (hitting .298 with 536 homers).
c. Went to Sox-Yanks the other night and was reminded how unpleasant a Red Sox-Yankees game is to the senses, at either venue, and why I'd rather watch those games on TV so I can retain my false sense that the world is not totally screwed up. After Yankees reliever Kyle Farnsworth surrendered a two-run homer to Kevin Youkilis, the drunken lout behind us (and I know he was drunk, because he said to a woman in our row when he sat down, "I promise, I won't throw up on you tonight'') exclaimed in a voice loud enough for about 46 kids in sections around us to hear that Farnsworth engaged in unscrupulous activities with a member of his family.
All well and good that he was shouted down and made to feel like an utterly useless slimeball. But he wasn't thrown out, and he continued to berate various players for the last couple of innings of the game. My buddy, Mike Goldstein, the famous Mike from Montclair of WFAN fame, agrees with me: We go to fewer games in New York because what I just told you is not rare, and the ushers rarely do anything about it. And believe me, I'm not singling out Yankee Stadium. I've see similar crap at Fenway and heard similar stories about NFL games in New York and Philadelphia.
d. Coffeenerdness: Might be just my imagination, or my experience at the local Starbucks, but this breakfast-sandwich thing is slowing the service there noticeably. It's a coffee place after all.
e. In the last couple of weeks, TV cameras have focused on a rat (at Tropicana Field, on a Red Sox telecast), on a praying mantis (at the Steelers-Eagles NBC telecast eight days ago) and on a squirrel (on the Yankees-Red Sox telecast last Tuesday). Best line from the animal viewing came from Yankees telecaster Ken Singleton, after about the 14th camera shot of the petrified squirrel on the top of the right-field foul pole. "We should stop showing the squirrel,'' Singleton said. "It'll only encourage other squirrels to do the same thing.''
f. The sports world needed Clay Buchholz's no-hitter. Pure kid, happy kid. Heard an interview with him late Saturday night when he said he needed to cut the interview short so he could call his mother and father at home in Texas.
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