Snap Judgments (cont.)
If the indications coming out of Baltimore are correct and former Heisman winner Troy Smith does win the Ravens starting quarterback job this preseason, new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is likely to be in line for much of the credit. Sources in Baltimore told me last week Cameron's calm and steady approach to teaching has really been behind the quantum leap Smith's game has taken this offseason.
"Cam's very good at figuring out a player's strength, figuring out what he does well, and then tailoring the offense around those skills,'' the Ravens source said. "He's got Troy moving around and doing a lot of the same things he had success doing at Ohio State.''
New rule that the Raiders would be wise to insert in Javon Walker's contract: The veteran receiver, who seems to have a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, doesn't get to spray champagne on anyone ever again until he finds himself in a Super Bowl-winning post-game locker room.
And yes, that could mean he's in for quite a wait in Oakland.
I see where Tony Romo is reportedly close to a $10 million endorsement deal with Starter that would give him his own line of clothes and shoes.
That's great. Now if the Cowboys always-telegenic quarterback can somehow negotiate an actual playoff victory as his next feat, I'm sure the slightly out of order procession of these accomplishments will quickly be forgotten.
Michael Strahan to the Fox pre-game show? Now there's a shocker. He's only been auditioning for that gig since, oh, 2001 or so. Looks like more hi-jinks and hilarity to ensue this season with Terry, Jimmy, Howie and the rest of the crew. Can't wait.
Bit of a head-scratcher that Daunte Culpepper would turn down an offer to be Green Bay's backup at $1 million for 2008. If it's a potential starting shot he wants -- and it apparently is -- it's hard to imagine where Culpepper might have a better pathway to some time at No. 1 than with the Packers, who are tossing the keys to first-time starter Aaron Rodgers this season.
Culpepper's familiarity with the NFC North from his days in Minnesota seemingly would have been another check mark in Green Bay's favor. Culpepper is thought to be hopeful of landing in Jacksonville, which isn't far from his hometown of Ocala, Fla. But with David Garrard and Cleo Lemon sitting 1-2 on the Jaguars' depth chart, does Jacksonville need Culpepper as much as Green Bay did? This is where I have my doubts about whether Culpepper, who has been self-represented in recent years, is getting sound advice regarding his career choices.
What a precipitous fall from grace it has been for former Chargers starting right tackle Shane Olivea. The former seventh-round pick was sensational as a rookie starter in 2004, and San Diego awarded him a fat new contract just before the 2006 regular season began, locking up what appeared to be a key building block player for the long term.
But Olivea's play was never as impressive after the new deal, and the three-year starter lost his place in the lineup mid-way through 2007, with Chargers officials questioning whether big money played a role in him losing his motivation. San Diego released Olivea in February, no one signed him, and this week came news that he has been suspended while team-less for the first four games of the coming season due to failing a league drug test.
Sometimes the NFL really does stand for Not For Long.
Didn't you just know Dallas would eventually find itself in a messy contract stalemate of sorts with that veteran receiver who entered the league in the 1996 draft? But didn't we all assume it would be Terrell Owens and not Terry Glenn? I know I did.
Has anyone thought of printing up "Free Chris Simms'' T-shirts in Tampa Bay yet? I mean, other than Simms himself, and probably his Jon Gruden-loathing father too?