Z Mail (cont.)
Posted: Friday April 11, 2008 11:58AM; Updated: Friday April 11, 2008 11:58AM
Greg of Marquette, Mich., noting that my colleague, Ross Tucker, ranked the OL positions according to degree of difficulty and placed them in this order (toughest first) -- LT, RT, RG, LG, C. Well, I guess that's the way it is in the NFL, but from my meager background, at a much lower level, I can only tell you my personal reaction.
In the army, and before, I played both tackles and found them equally hard. Then for a week my army coach decided to shift me to center. Oy vay! Nose tackles -- middle guards they were called in those days -- were taught to beat up the center. I had a headache every night. I wrote my mother that I wanted to come home. Then my buddy, Joe Palmieri, our fullback from Fordham, said, "Schmuck, just keep screwing up your assignments and they'll figure you're too dumb to play center, and they'll move you back."
Bingo! And thank you, my paisan Joe! Back I went to tackle. Yeah, center was toughest for me. Later I was a guard in the semi pro leagues and I didn't like that much, either. Didn't like much of anything, actually. A wideout! That's what I was born to play. But there weren't too many of them in our league who ran a 6.8 forty.
The name, Bob Kraft, comes up, not once but twice. Ah, that name, "mixing memory and desire" (The Waste Land). My cavalier treatment of his mea culpa that climaxed the League Meetings produced the response that "your anti-Patriot venom-ness grows wearisome." And the response was from Bill of Peru, Vt., as if you hadn't known.
"You could of included more of what Mr. Kraft had to say that elicited the standing ovation in the first place," he adds. I could of, uh, could have, if said ovation had actually taken place. The actual incident elicited a smattering of applause, a few owners getting doused by the smatter. The only thing he could have said that would have induced an ovation would have been, "Drinks are on me."
I particularly liked friend Bill's closing remark: "Upon further review maybe it is time for you to move on as your constant cynicism has clouded your ability to do your job. Bring on the redhead."
Hold on a minute. " Linda! Hey Linda, put down that needlework for a moment and listen up! Has my constant cynicism clouded my ability to do my job, and do you want to start writing a mailbag column? No, you say? You say that I ought to go in the other room and play with my charts for a while and stop bothering you? Say, that's not such a bad idea."
This Kraft thing gets deeper. Next email is signed Bob Kraft, Boston. Oh gosh, a frisky chap is having sport with your faithful narrator. First of all, if Kraft were writing me, he'd have some reference to the Lions, you know, the Light Blue of Columbia, fight fight! We're both aluminum. Secondly, "obduracy," is a word he'd never use in a personal letter, and third, if he were really as scorched as you pretend him to be, he'd never underplay my senility with "a little." He'd say, "you poor crazy bast...uh, chap."
Dom-baby, you really had fun with these, didn't you? I mean I haven't had a collection like this since the old Rush Limbaugh days.
Whoops, this next one is halfway sane. From Bill of Westlake Village, Calif. -- "If it is so important to protect QBs from the blind side rush, why don't teams routinely line up the tight end on that side?" Because then the defense would load up its pass rush on the other side of the offense, its right side, or new weak side. Some defenses like to rush from that side anyway, the quarterback's front side, in other words, because they want him to see the rush coming, especially if he is a bit timid.
Mark of Holliston, Mass., said I showed the white feather in my Roger Goodell interview by not unleashing my negative feelings about the NFL Network when he came on in favor of it. Well, I told him I disagreed. I just didn't write that part of the conversation. Why do it? To show what a hero I am? We didn't carry on a debate, and I'd already made my views known in print. You don't like the Network, I don't like it. The league has a lot of money invested in it. How do you expect it to come on?
Jeff of New Orleans/Bozeman, Mont. (a sicko parlay if ever I saw one) disagrees with both of us and thinks the net is simply wun-der-fooool. He writes, "I like Eisen (disagree), I like Dukes (disagree), I like Faulk (agree, when he's doing a game in which he's interested), get rid of Sanders (except when he's teaming with Faulk on a game)." You're forgetting Mike Mayock. I think he's just fine on the draft. I'm leaning so far backward here to be absolutely fair that it's giving me a neck ache.