Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think these are my thoughts of the preseason weekend:
a. Two really impressive players for the Jets Thursday night: Wideout David Clowney, taken off the Green Bay practice squad last year, should make the roster; he can fly, and he gets good separation from corners. And I don't care who Brett Ratliff was playing against in Cleveland -- he's a confident quarterback with some ability and a good-enough arm to be on an NFL roster.
b. Matt Leinart will win the Arizona job if he plays two more games like he did Thursday night against the Saints. He looks like the USC Leinart, confident with a good-enough arm.
c. Chris Simms (8-of-10 vs. Miami, took a good hit, felt fine) will be well-pursued when the Bucs let him go this month.
d. John Beck will not.
e. Ricky Williams (five carries, 31 yards) looked like an NFL running back against Tampa Bay.
f. Ahman Green strained a groin against Denver, and he continues to look like money poorly spent for the Texans.
g. Watching the highlights Sunday morning, there was nothing as impressive as rookie Titan back Chris Johnson's 66-yard touchdown burst against the Rams. Remember when we all ridiculed Tennessee for taking their third straight running back on the first day of the draft in April? Never mind. Johnson's speed could be a real difference-maker for Tennessee.
h. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Jason Campbell (12-of-15 in two quarters so far) is going to be really good for the Redskins.
i. Reprising my stats of the week from last week: Indy is 2-14 in its last 16 exhibition games.
j. Marvin Harrison's back. Three catches, 22 yards, apparently no knee pain.
2. I think one of the things from this weekend that will pay big dividends this year was the play of Julius Peppers. A shell of himself last year, Peppers had a strip-sack and pressured Jim Sorgi into an interception. If he's back, the Panthers are a very big threat.
3. I think these are my last few thoughts on the Brett Favre situation:
a. Remember what Steve Mariucci once told me about Favre, and apply it to learning a new offense. "He's got a photographic memory, or very close to it,'' Mariucci, his former quarterback coach, said. "You think he's sleeping there in the meetings, and he still knows everything he has to know and doesn't make mental mistakes.''
My Favre memory story: Two nights after seeing Sling Blade in 1996, he couldn't stop talking like Billy Bob Thornton. I'm not talking just a few words in the Billy Bob voice as the developmentally disabled vigilante Karl; I'm talking paragraphs. "I reckon I kilt him,'' he'd say in the Thornton drawl. And on and on. "Some folks call it a sling blade. I call it a Kaiser blade. Mmm-hmm.''
He'll learn it well enough. Chemistry with the receivers, now that's another issue.
b. Marty Schottenheimer says his son and Mike McCarthy have systems that are closer in philosophy than you'd think. It's not a strict West Coast offense versus a downfield system without West Coast tendencies. Favre will have to throw deeper in New York, but he's never minded that, obviously. Remember his bomb to Greg Jennings on the first play of overtime to beat Denver last year?
c. Favre is tired. I can tell you that.
d. I expect once Favre and his family settle somewhere in west-central New Jersey (the Jets on Labor Day weekend are moving their training facility to Florham Park, N.J., 23 miles west of the Meadowlands and 55 miles west of the Jets' current facility on Long Island), the only time he'll go to Manhattan is when he's forced to.
e. If I'm Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles, I'm thrilled this morning. I'm not running all those 12-yard curls and eight-yard outs anymore. I'm running the deep gos and the posts. According to the can't-do-without-it Pro Football Prospectus 2008, Cotchery averaged 4.9 yards after the catch and Coles a dismal 2.6. Greg Jennings and Donald Driver were at 7.7 and 4.8 YAC last year. If I'm Cotchery, I'm making reservations for the Ihilani Resort and Spa right now. That's the Pro Bowl players hotel on Oahu, for all you mainlanders.
f. Tampa Bay's getting a lot of criticism for not dealing for Favre. I don't understand why. Now, if you're the Bucs, and you think Favre's taking you to the Super Bowl and it's an all-for-now year, then you make the trade the Jets made, and you bite the bullet and give up your first-round pick in 2009. Would it be worth the 31st or 32nd pick to do that? Of course.
But what if you fall short, and Favre takes you to a division title and a loss before the Super Bowl? That's a second-round pick -- and with Jeff Garcia playing efficiently (he completed 65 percent and threw only four interceptions last year), who's to say Garcia wouldn't have done the same thing? The only way I'd criticize Tampa Bay is if Favre told Jon Gruden he'd play for two years, which I don't think he did; in that case, you have to jump on the carnival ride and take it, because two years of Favre for a late second-round pick is a chance you just have to take.
g. I'm not sure the left hand knows what the right hand is doing with the Jets. In his first press conference with his new team Thursday night, Favre, who admitted how far behind he was, said: "I'm so tired of doing interviews and talking about this or talking about that. Tomorrow, hopefully, the mad rush is over.''
Less than three hours later, this e-mail landed in my inbox: "Media Advisory: Photo Op -- Friday, Aug. 8, 2008. Jets quarterback Brett Favre will be welcomed to New York City by the New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Blue Room at City Hall in Manhattan at 9:05 a.m. New York Jets chairman Woody Johnson will also be on hand.''
Let me get this straight: Favre, already exhausted and with no knowledge of the playbook, probably got to bed around 3 a.m. Friday morning. And instead of rising early to get cracking on his new offense or sleeping in and getting a fresh start at, say, noon, Favre got an early wakeup to meet the mayor -- and, of course, get his picture taken so the papers could trumpet the new Jet hero. Memo to Jets: Opening day is closer than you think. Learning playbooks is more important than meeting the mayor and winning the front page right now. Handle your quarterback with care.
h. I think in 18 years, when the Favre statue is unveiled next to those of Lombardi and Lambeau outside the stadium in Green Bay, and Favre is standing next to the recently retired Aaron Rodgers at the ceremony, we're not going to remember the intramural sniping of the last month between Favre and the Pack.