Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think these are my quick-hit thoughts of Week 2:
a. Two journalists deserve kudos for good weeks. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times broke the story about a the German-based insurance and finance company, Allianz, trying to buy naming rights to the new stadium in the Meadowlands while having major Nazi connections in the company's past. On Friday, a spokesman for the new stadium said talks had broken off with Allianz. That's how journalism should work ...
Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean did a terrific job covering the Vince Young drama, writing last Wednesday that Young balked at having a team-ordered MRI on his injured knee; the team dispatched a psychologist to his home, who reported Young was extremely depressed; and that Young "might not get his job back'' when he returns from his injury in two to four weeks. The quotes from his mother, about the "growing-up process'' her son is going through are especially troubling long-term.
b. Did you honestly think Ohio State was going to give USC a game?
c. You recruited the Pryor kid for a reason, Jim Tressel. He's not a pane of glass. Put him in there. He won't break.
d. I'm not going to give the thoroughly misguided human (if he or she is indeed human) who began selling the Bernard Pollard Fan Club T-shirts online after the Tom Brady injury any more attention than this one sentence and this one question: What would your mother think of you if she knew what you were doing?
e. Sign of the Day: In Kansas City, watching a horrendous quarterback performance by the Chiefs, one fan held up a greaseboard with this message "Colquitt for QB.'' Dustin Colquitt, the sign-maker meant. The punter.
f. Who'd have thought after two weeks the Eddie Royal/Brandon Marshall combo would be more dangerous than Randy Moss/Wes Welker.
g. I have a bold prediction: Jack Del Rio will have the Jacksonville defense on a rampage this week at Indy, one unlike the Colts have ever seen.
2. I think these are my Vince Young thoughts of the week:
a. Perhaps someone in the Titans' college scouting department needs to work a little harder in the background-check area, or Bud Adams needs to hire a private eye. Three times in the past seven years Tennessee has had a pick in the top half of the first round, and the yield has been Albert Haynesworth, Pacman Jones and Young.
b. Though the one thing I'll say about Haynesworth is this: When he screwed up, he knew he screwed up (when he stomped on Andre Gurode), and he admitted he was wrong and he apologized about 16 times and went about trying to make things right. The only thing I've heard from Young is some impossible-to-believe schmaltz last Thursday, wondering why everyone was so worried about him. Vince, we cover things a little differently in the NFL than they were covered at Texas.
c. Vince Young reminds me of who Bruce Springsteen wrote and sang about in "Glory Days.'' And Young's glory days were in Austin, not Nashville.
d. Tennessee has home games with Houston and Minnesota in the next two weeks. Suppose the Titans are 3-1 when Young is healthy enough to return. Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger likes throwing deep; Collins is more accurate deep than Young. I would not be at all surprised, when Young says his knee is ready, that Jeff Fisher says to him, "You don't look ready to me.''
e. One final quote about Young, from someone I'll call Deep Titan, someone inside the organization: "Vince definitely is going to have to win the locker room back. As bad as Pacman was when he left the building or at 3 o'clock in the morning, it never interfered with his football. He loved football. Loved practice. The guys loved him. Players are going to be on your side if you show that you're going to help them win. Vince has to prove that to this team.''
3. I think it's going to be a tough few nights sleeping for Ed Hochuli.
4. I think once the Raiders saw Lane Kiffin flirting with Arkansas last year, then had to swallow a 31-point opening-night loss to Mike Shanahan, it became clearly a question of when, not if, Al Davis will fire Kiffin. I don't know when it will be. But beating Kansas City is no cure-all, believe me.
5. I think there's enough blame to go around in Cleveland. The secondary is as bad as advertised. Derek Anderson isn't accurate enough. Braylon Edwards has five drops in two games. The pass-rush is on a poor 24-sack pace for the season. And now they're 2.5 games behind Pittsburgh with only one home game till November on the horizon -- and that's against the Super Bowl champion Giants Oct. 13.
The saddest thing Sunday night was the deflation of the crowd, about 15 percent of which stayed 'til the end of a 10-6 game. I can tell you from being in Cleveland a lot in the offseason that you cannot overestimate the crushing disappointment these first two weeks have been for people who love the Browns.
6. I think Scott Linehan's got to get a little better control of himself before he goes to the podium.
7. I think this is what I liked about Week 2:
a. The flexibility of the NFL Broadcasting Department and the league -- making provisions for a Baltimore-Houston Monday-nighter, had it been played, to be aired on DirecTV. It stands to reason that the displaced Texans fan in Yakima and the Ravens fans in Fargo who plunked down $300 for a season of NFL Sunday Ticket should be able to see every game for which they paid.
b. Dan Dierdorf on Colts-Vikes, with good information on Manning's wounded knee. Said Manning told him, "It's a constant struggle to keep it loose.''
c. John Abraham can't stay healthy for 16 games, but the year he does he'll be All-Pro.
d. You can see why the 49ers gave the quarterback job to J.T. O'Sullivan. He's calm under pressure, throws an accurate ball (65.4 percent through two weeks) and looks like a tough kid. Mike Martz's kind of guy.
e. Arizona's allowed only 23 points in two weeks. I'm not a buyer yet, but I'm paying attention.
f. The way the Titans play defense, you've got to figure if they can just score 20 points a week they'll go 12-4.
g. I love Keith Bulluck. What a gamer. Plays great in the regular Tennessee defense, is the unquestioned leader of the unit, and blocked a punt for a touchdown in Cincinnati on Sunday. Not many players in the league do more for their team than Bulluck.
h. I really have to be careful not to go overboard on Justin Tuck. He's one of the five best defensive players in football right now, and he's just scratching the surface. If you gave me a choice between Tuck and Mario Williams right now, I can't tell you which one I'd pick.
i. Chad Henne looked good in garbage time in Arizona. He's got a commanding presence for a kid.
8. I think this is what I didn't like about Week 2:
a. Come on, Visanthe Shiancoe. You absolutely have to catch that touchdown pass from Tarvaris Jackson. Beautiful play-action from Jackson, fades left, throws a well-timed ball to Shiancoe with a step on his man ... and Shiancoe dives and has it right in his breadbasket, and drops it. Minnesota settled for a field goal, making it 6-0 instead of 10-0.
b. How can a Rod Marinelli defense leave Greg Jennings uncovered deep downfield?
c. Tyler Thigpen cannot be playing for Kansas City right now. His decision-making is horrendous.
d. David Garrard threw his third interception at 2:17 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday. Imagine equaling your interception total for all of 2007 on Sept. 14.
e. I'd like JaMarcus Russell to look a little better than six of 17 for 55 yards at a poor Kansas City team early in year two if I were a Raiders follower.
f. Tarvaris Jackson looks awful, and I think the Minnesota play-calling is too protective of him.
g. Anyone want the NFC West?
h. The one crazy stat that's incongruous to me: Against Buffalo and San Francisco, two teams with middle-rung offenses at best, Seattle's allowed 67 points.
9. I think rookies have really hit the ground running. Anyone notice that rookies are 4-5-8-16 in the rushing standings after two weeks? Matt Forte (215 yards), Darren McFadden (210), Chris Johnson (202) Jonathan Stewart (130) all are on pace to exceed 1,000 yards.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Cliff Lee is 22-2 with three possible starts left ... for a sub-.500 team. Should there even be voting for the Cy Young in the American League?
b. How good is Roy Halladay?
c. How weird is it to see the Yankees closing the old stadium with semi-meaningless games?
d. I don't care what Tim Wakefield's numbers (9-10, 3.92 ERA) say. The only more valuable Red Sox this year are Dustin Pedroia (200 hits, 13 games left), Kevin Youkilis and Jon Lester.
e. Speaking of Youk, and I certainly don't want to brag here, but the team I own but didn't pick in the WEEI fantasy football league in Boston beat the team Youkilis owns but didn't pick, 124.77-85.71 in Week 1.
f. Coffeenerdness: Now this is sure to be a big hit with travelers coast to coast. Delta Sky Magazine interviewed me about coffee and took my picture with Bailey, the golden retriever, and you'll see it -- if you're really, really lucky -- in your seat-back pockets come November. I should let everyone in on a secret: I really don't know anything about coffee, except what I like.
g. Good to be with you the other day, Red Hawks of Montclair State, and to experience your sidelines for a half Saturday. Those are some ratty haircuts you guys have. And congrats on your first win of the season, 13-6 over Wilkes. You're doing a heck of a job, Ralph Pacifico.
h. By the way, Emma Pacifico, if you think fifth grade is hard, wait till you get to sixth.
i. One of the funniest/most interesting hours of radio I've ever heard: Howard Stern grilling Chris "Mad Dog'' Russo. Never, ever did I think I'd hear the Dog discuss his sexual habits on a national radio program.
j. You could have been on land Saturday, Anderson Cooper. You didn't have to be standing in the water.
Who I Like Tonight, and I Mean Tony Kornheiser
Cowboys 28, Eagles 23. But ... Donovan McNabb is 10-5 lifetime against Dallas (4-3 at Texas Stadium), and, feeling lousy last year, threw for 208 yards in a 10-6 win over Dallas in December. If I were the Cowboys, that would worry me.
McNabb put up 38 points last week against the Rams (OK the Rams) and looked like vintage McNabb. With one exception -- he ran only once, for three yards. And in his conference call with Dallas reporters the other day, he said, "There's no 14-second scrambles with me anymore. I drop back, get the ball out of [my] hands and let my receivers work.''
I pick Dallas because I think Dallas is the best team in the NFC right now. But what's important in this game, as Bill Cowher used to tell his Steelers, is to withstand the early barrage of emotion from the Cowboys and noise from the fans. By late in the first quarter, it will be a football game, not a frenzied pit bull attack. McNabb's the kind of player who can ignore all the stuff swirling around at the start of the game, settle his team down and be sure that the best team wins. That's the most troubling thing for the Cowboys tonight, that the stage won't be too big for the other quarterback.