Frankly Football (cont.)
I am very tired of hearing selfish Chad Johnson stories. What ever happened to winning? Johnson has been in one playoff game in his entire seven-year career, and his team lost that one. Can you win a little before you try to dominate the news?
Mike Brown, the owner of the Bengals, will not bend. I don't think that; I know that.
Commissioner Roger Goodell did a very smart thing last week, forming a committee of general managers and appointing former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi to serve as co-chair along with Ray Anderson from the NFL office. This new committee will provide advice and other feedback to the Football Operations Department on key issues such as the expanded use of technology; player development and scouting opportunities; innovation initiatives affecting the Pro Bowl, combine, draft and preseason; and all matters concerning protection of the integrity of the game.
Minicamps? OTAs? This isn't real football, people. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin understands the true essence of the dog days of the NFL offseason, where headlines are made every time a player doesn't show up to practice. "It's different than playing the game of football," he said. "Don't read too deeply into evaluating this time of year. It's about teaching. This is football in shorts, and I keep that in mind as I look at what goes on out there. People that may do great things out there may disappear in pads. Guys who struggle out there in shorts may be great players in pads. I always keep that thought in mind. I reserve judgment until we go to training camp and put pads on."
Tomlin is Bill Walsh-like in his thought process. Walsh, who firmly believed we should teach the players the system, then develop the skills within the system, used the offseason for teaching his course of football.
By the way, I saw where Buffalo and Denver cancelled parts of their mandatory camps. So why do we make such a big deal when players miss an OTA?
If I ...
If I was starting an expansion team or if I was an owner possibly looking for a new coach, my first choice would be Josh McDaniels, the offensive coordinator of the Patriots. This season, watch the dynamics during the games on the sideline between McDaniels and New England head coach Bill Belichick. You can tell Belichick has the utmost confidence and respect in McDaniels. And that confidence and respect is not easily attained from Belichick.
If I needed a running back, I would call the Giants and inquire about the availability of Derrick Ward. Ward's contract expires after the season and he becomes an unrestricted free agent. In 2007 he was second on the Giants with 602 rushing yards before a fractured fibula sent him to injured reserve. Ward has been tremendously productive in all phases -- returning kicks, catching the ball and displaying excellent run skills. He has been a little injury prone in his career, but he would help any team looking for a bona fide No. 1 back.
Buc-ing the system
What is going on in Tampa Bay? Is anyone happy? Witness these three quotes from three Buccaneers quarterbacks and tell me this won't be the best training camp soap opera next month.
"I do believe that he thought I might be faking it. I mean, he asked me, 'Is it in your head?' For him to say that, that's just not right. There are just a lot of things that I can never forgive him for."
"Chris did what he felt he had to do. I think he had to do it. ... I think Jon's a great coach, I think he is. But this is a tough business. I've been on the other side. I understand exactly where Chris is coming from. Chris is going to be a heck of a player once he gets his opportunity. I love Chris like a brother. It's just a shame what he's gone through with the injury. He'll come back. He'll bounce back. He deserves the opportunity."
"There might be a time when I might have to stand up. I hate to do that to jeopardize my teammates because they're out here and I don't want to let them down in any sort of way. But I think at some point, you just want to see the respect from up top given."
Taking a knee
I am very proud to be the son of a barber, and even prouder that my 82-year-old father still cuts hair every day. Happy Fathers Day.