Monday Morning QB (cont.)
Posted: Monday January 28, 2008 1:55AM; Updated: Tuesday January 29, 2008 6:42PM
5. I think if the Giants win this game, two of the most important five players will be names America knows little about: defensive lineman Justin Tuck and running back Ahmad Bradshaw. I think Tuck will be a matchup issue for the Patriots' interior offensive line, and he could line up anywhere from end to end.
I can tell you the Patriots, who have watched coaches' tape from the first game, will be aware where he lines up and will very rarely block him one-on-one, without at least a chip-block from someone else on him. As for Bradshaw, every team that plays him says: Where'd this guy come from? He's a slithery quick guy, a Dave Meggett type.
6. I think the ref choice for the Super Bowl will be interesting on two counts. One: Patriots-Giants referee Dec. 29: Mike Carey. Patriots-Giants referee Feb. 3: Mike Carey. Two: Carey, an 18-year NFL vet, becomes the first black referee in Super Bowl history.
Speaking of Super Bowl officiating, in examining the tape from the Week 17 Giants-Patriots game, I saw -- on both sides -- an awful lot of clutching and grabbing by corners and wideouts. The Carey crew will be challenged by how closely to call this game. If the crew calls it too close, there'll be grousing. If the crew calls it too loose, there'll be grousing.
7. I think it was interesting to hear Tom Brady be so philosophical about the weird media world that crashed into his time off in Manhattan last week. "It's part of the world we live in these days,'' he said. "If we were 0-16, no one would give a crap.'' Deep down, I'm sure he wants to strangle some tabloid types, but he's never going to let anyone see him sweat. And please Lord, enough of that TMZ clip with the booted and monkish Brady in the city. Three hundred and twenty-six viewings is my limit.
8. I think of my 20-minute chat with new Falcons coach Mike Smith the other day, the point that stuck with me -- and the reason I think Arthur Blank hired him -- is that he's going to be uber-communicative (which Bobby Petrino wasn't) and a very consistent, systematic coach and team organizer.
He's a child of technology, like his brother-in-law, Brian Billick, and he'll do things with the players to hold their interest, like use animation within power-point presentations. The most impressive thing he said was in reference to what he'll do to help the Falcons repair their fractured relationship with the fans. "When you have success, and you win, fans are usually pretty happy,'' he said.
Good answer. Smith's not there to walk through the city and convince fans to stay loyal. The only way you do that is to coach hard and to win, and he recognizes that all the Chamber of Commerce luncheons he could attend won't mean anything if the team is 3-13 next winter.
9. I think the Bills made a very good choice in Turk Schonert as offensive coordinator. His appointment means more of a power running style, which will help Marshawn Lynch rush for more yards, but it also means great things for Trent Edwards. Schonert's an underrated pass-game brain.
10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:
a. Wait a minute. New Orleans is the NBA's best team in the West?
b. For a guy who doesn't watch the NBA, I have to admit I was attracted to the last three minutes of Magic-Celtics while working out on the treadmill Sunday, and that Hedo Turkoglu is some marksman. Three at the buzzer, and nothing but net.
c. Kimmie Meissner, shake it off. Can't begin to tell you how much admiration I have for you, to keep skating so resolutely after falling three times early in the long program in the U.S. figure skating championships and to make no excuses afterward.
d. Dick Button is more than a treasure. He's a riot.
e. Hang in there, John Edwards.
f. Transaction of the Week: Noticed this in the paper the other day, under baseball transactions in something called the Golden Baseball League: CALGARY VIPERS -- Agreed to terms with OF Jorge Poo Tang. Now there's a guy who must have had an uncomfortable adolescence.
g. I miss House. How's it been this year?
h. Interesting session the other night at William Paterson College, in Wayne, N.J., with Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman on the stage discussing life in the baseball crosshairs of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. Refreshing that Epstein, according to the Newark Star-Ledger, talks about the humanness of his relationship with Cashman. "One thing I really respect about Brian is that I'll usually hear from him when things aren't going well, for the Red Sox or for me,'' the paper quoted Epstein as saying. "That's when you find out who your friends are, as opposed to all the calls you get after you've won the World Series.'' Nice thought.
i. I know that I've broached this subject before, but I still don't understand why hotels that supply medium-sized bars of bath soap throw them away daily when the housekeepers clean the room? In the last two weeks, I stayed eight nights at a Green Bay hotel that featured good-sized bars of soap in the bathroom, bars that could have lasted two weeks easily. Every day there was a new box of soap sitting in the dish. Imagine the waste. That's six bars of soap, wasted. And for what?
j. My favorite long-shot draftee, and a first-team all-name pick: Boston College senior fullback J. Survival Ross. That's correct. J. Survival Ross.
k. I'll be on the ground in Phoenix this afternoon, and I'll begin my daily Five Things I Think I Think starting tomorrow. Whoopee!
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