Monday Morning QB (cont.)
4. I think you may have never heard of Daven Holly, but he's my choice for the most significant injury of this offseason so far. Holly would have been either the Browns' second corner or their nickel, and he crumpled to the turf Tuesday during Cleveland's organized team activities while covering Braylon Edwards. The result: a torn ACL.
The Browns already were paper-thin at corner after trading Leigh Bodden to Detroit and ignoring the position in free agency and the draft. Only Brandon McDonald and Eric Wright are sure to make the team, and neither are better than passable. But it's unlikely you'll see either Lito Sheppard traded to the Browns or Ty Law sign.
Sheppard wants a new contract and to be paid like a premier corner, though he's missed 14 games due to injury in the past three years; plus the Eagles are notorious for wanting too much in trades. That will never happen. Law probably is out because he wouldn't come cheap either. Look for the Browns to add a couple of corners -- they signed free-agent vet Terry Cousin over the weekend -- in the next week or so.
5. I think, by the way, that I saw a very frisky Shaun Rogers running around the practice field in shorts the other day in Berea, Ohio, and the honeymoon is on. The Browns love him. He loves the Browns. He's hustling. I caution you: Nothing ever, ever can be divined about a football team in May, when hitting is very light and pads are in the lockers. I'm just telling you what I saw. The guy's hustling.
6. I think the question of the week should be this: Why is everyone so bent out of shape that Indianapolis got a Super Bowl? Northern cities with domed stadiums that have lobbied hard for Super Bowls HAVE ALWAYS gotten Super Bowls. The Silverdome, the Metrodome, Ford Field and now Lucas Oil Stadium, or whatever it's called.
Owners award Super Bowl sites. Sportswriters don't. Party-planners don't. Travel agents don't. And owners are always going to give one Super Bowl to other owners who build new stadiums. One. That's it. So Indy won't get it again, barring a miracle, but the city deserves to get one, no matter what.
See, when teams build the kind of public-team partnerships that have to be built to get stadiums done, there are implicit vows that the owner will do everything he can to convince his fellow owners to give that city a Super Bowl. It will never change. Nor should it. We get so ticked off that once every 10 years we're in a city we don't want to be in for a week in February. Who cares?
7. I think if I'm the Titans, I'm not feeling very good about my quarterback right now. Did you see what Vince Young told Thomas George of NFL.com? He said he thought about retiring after his rookie year. "It was crazy being an NFL quarterback,'' he said. "It wasn't fun anymore. All the fun was out of it. All the excitement was gone.'' He said praying "really hard'' helped him realize football was God's calling for him.
Wow. The Titans hand Young the keys to their franchise, he misses a plane to one of his rookie-year games (Philadelphia), and now he admits he thought of quitting at the end of the year? Now there's a solid guy.
8. I think it's nice to write a column with only 71 words on Spygate (Joey Porter's quote and subsequent explanation).
9. I think I appreciate everything Joe Paterno has done for football, and he has certainly been a generous ambassador for Penn State. But can't one of his friends tell him he's being selfish in not stepping aside to allow a younger man to coach the team? At the very least, Paterno should announce that this will be his last year -- or confide this to the university president. Every coach should always do what's in the best interests of his team.
It's not in the best interests of his team for an 81-year-old man showing increasing signs of frailty to be running a world-class college football team. Penn State's not the Vatican, and Paterno's not the pope. He shouldn't be keeping this job just because HE wants to.
I'm prompted by Paterno's words in Pittsburgh the other night at a dinner honoring him. "I've got a good football team, and I'm anxious to see what we can do with it,'' he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I'd hate to walk away from it right now because I think they can be pretty darn good and I want to be a part of it.''
That's just it. I want to be a part of it. Of course he does. But what he should be thinking is: The team would be better off without me, and with a younger, more energetic person who can recruit, coach and lead the way I used to. There's no shame in admitting that at 81 you're not as good as you were at 51. The shame is not being able to walk away, and making it about you.
Now, all those who are outraged by criticism of Paterno should ask yourselves these questions: Is it about Paterno wanting to coach, even if it might not be best for the team, or is it about the team? And would Penn State be a better football program right now with Paterno as coach or, say, Greg Schiano?
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. I don't care what sort of logic there is in baseball for batting the pitcher eighth and a regular hitter ninth. It's not a good idea. Now it's not just Tony LaRussa doing it. The Brewers are copying it. If over the course of the baseball season, the eighth spot in the order comes up more often than the ninth spot -- even with double-switches having pitchers bat in other spots in the order -- I defy you to explain to me why you'd want a lesser hitter have the chance to come up more often than a better hitter.
b. Watching Doug Mientkiewicz play third base -- he is platooning there with the Pirates -- is not just a sad commentary on a player who's through. It's a sad commentary on the state of the Pirates' farm system for recycling a guy who hasn't had a good offensive season in five years.
c. The Mets are frauds. They're 77-81 since last June 1. In sports, you are what your record says you are, not what anyone says you should be on paper. And 77-81 is Marlins territory. Actually, the Marlins are 74-82 since last June 1 ... just two games worse than the almighty Mets.
d. Found myself thinking the other day about the aborted Johan Santana trade to the Red Sox, which the Sox didn't do because it was too rich for their blood. Minnesota wanted, if you believe the reports, either Jon Lester or Jacoby Ellsbury, along with minor-leaguers Justin Masterson, a pitcher, and Jed Lowrie, an infielder.
Lester threw a no-hitter last week. Over his past five starts, he's thrown 34.1 innings and allowed 18 hits and six earned runs. Over his past five starts, Santana has pitched 32.1 innings and allowed 37 hits and 13 earned runs. I haven't even mentioned Masterson -- who, in two emergency-duty starts after being called up from Double-A, is 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA -- or Lowrie, who beat Minnesota with a homer May 10 before being sent back to the minors.
If your system is good, and you can shield yourself from the outside noise, you're going to make smart deals. And the deals you don't make are going to be smart too.
e. We went to Yankee Stadium, the old one, for probably the last time Friday with our good friends the Normans, thanks to the generosity of SI's athletic events guru, Christine Rosa, who got us nice seats a few rows behind the Mariners dugout. (Good thing they were free, and thanks to my beloved SI. I'm not shelling out my own $250 a seat to watch the Pinstripes.) Beautiful night, and nice to be in the old ballyard one more time. I'm not the type to get sentimental over stadiums, particularly one with memories of Aaron Boone in it, and so I won't miss it. Plus, the park rising next door looks gorgeous. Progress, most often, is good.
f. By the way, Mike Norman, a Vietnam vet, has one heck of a Memorial Day story on the back page of the New York Times Sunday magazine about his chance encounter with a a very-soon-to-be-dead soldier and the impact it had on his life. You've got to read it. Find it here.
g. Have a great Memorial Day.