Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think everyone doing free-agent lists should add one name in pencil: Terrell Owens. I'll bet you a month's worth of lattes he'll be free in six weeks.
2. I think Jon Gruden is absolutely, positively right. "Tim Tebow is a Wildcat who can throw. This guy is 250 pounds of concrete cyanide. He throws well enough at any level to play quarterback,'' Gruden told the Orlando Sentinel the other day. Scouts in the NFL like to look at very unusual players like Tebow, who can play quarterback, running back, H-back and tight end, and say, He can't fit into our system. He'd be a fourth-round pick -- maybe. Big, big mistake. Tim Tebow is the kind of player you draft in the first or second round and find 20 plays a game he can fit in somewhere, minimum, or let him compete for a starting quarterback job. You watch. Next year, when Tebow comes out, a smart and flexible organization with a smart and flexible coach -- like New England or Baltimore -- won't let Tebow get out of the first round.
3. I think Matt Cassel will not play for the Patriots in 2009.
4. I think Kurt Warner will play for the Cardinals. Seeing Todd Haley go to the Chiefs, and figuring the Chiefs want a quarterback, and figuring they can get Warner to pilot them for the next year or two is awfully faulty logic. First, Scott Pioli doesn't want a quarterback for the next 10 minutes. He wants a quarterback for the future. Second: The Patriots picked their own quarterbacks, which is the way Pioli wants it. That's not to say the Chiefs will get a sixth-round QB like Brady or a seventh-rounder like Cassel, but there's a much better chance they'll develop their own than go outside the organization for one. Even if the Chiefs have no interest in Cassel, I can tell you that Pioli wouldn't have wanted to pay him $10 million a year anyway -- plus significant compensation in draft choices.
5. I think I like the Haley pick for the Chiefs. He and Pioli have much in common: Pioli was a college coach, then a scout, then a GM. Haley was a scout, then an inside personnel man, then an assistant coach, and now a head coach. "We both went on the same trip in New York -- scouting just about every small school east of the Mississippi,'' Haley recalled Sunday. "Scott did it in 1996, I think, and I did it a year later. Elizabeth City State, Hampton, school after school, looking for players. I started feeling good during the interview when Scott said to me: 'You've always respected scouts. Not all coaches do.' '' Haley first coached under Bill Parcells with the Jets, and this is the advice Parcells had for Haley when the pupil phoned the teacher for advice last week: "Don't [screw] it up.''
6. I think some of you might not agree with me, but I'm boycotting the worst all-star game in sports history, the Pro Bowl. You'll have to look elsewhere to read about meaningless nothing.
7. I think it doesn't take a Ph.D. to see the Texans went a little too hard in offseason practices, as ESPN reported. The league can't let this go by without penalty.
8. I think one of the biggest MMQB fans on the planet, Michael Whelan of New Orleans (formerly of Detroit), got married over the weekend and deserves a kudo or two, particularly for finding such a lovely gal in Emily Edwards. But Michael: No invite for the Kings of Montclair? Come on! We sat home Saturday night and watched Casablanca! We'd have loved an excuse for a trip to New Orleans! There was a huge Saints' presence (I think everyone but Reggie Bush was there), including best man/PR guru Greg Bensel, but the most stunning event of the night was the wheeling-out of the wedding cake: a red-and-white Detroit Red Wings logo. That allowed Saints GM Mickey Loomis to get off the line of the night: "For Bensel to allow a Detroit Red Wings cake at this wedding is just bad Best-Manning.''
Good luck, newlyweds.
9. I think I don't understand why it became such a sticking point in the contract Jerry Jones slid under Dan Reeves' nose that Reeves would have to work X number of hours per week. I side with Reeves here. Does Wade Phillips have a minimum-hours clause in his deal? And you'd ask a man who's been a head coach in two places, and who's dying to get back into full-time football work, to have a number of hours inserted in the contract? What was Reeves supposed to do, punch in? If Jones needed that assurance, he shouldn't have gone so far down the road with Reeves.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. David Beckham should be ashamed. Nice message he sends to his children and to the soccer community full of children by signing a five-year contract with Major League Soccer in 2007, opening a soccer academy in California, then trying to walk out on the deal last week because he likes his new team in Milan. Play hardball, Don Garber. Get a ransom for the bum.
b. Nice friends you've got there, Michael Phelps. Even if a total stranger snapped that photo at the University of South Carolina, the mercenary who took it and sold it should be more ashamed than Beckham.
c. A-Rod! Never lie to Katie Couric, and never lie to her when you know the truth is bound to come out someday. I probably side with Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe, who wrote intelligently Sunday that it's pretty absurd to blame Rodriguez and Rodriguez alone as the only one of 104 baseball players who tested positive for steroid use five years ago. A-Rod doesn't deserve a hall pass for doing 'roids. He also doesn't deserve to be the only one nailed to the cross for doing them.
d. By the way, Selena Roberts and David Epstein, that was some great work. Congratulations on breaking the story of the year for SI.
e. Whoa, Coldplay. Heck of a performance at the Grammys last night. Tremendous. That's a band I need to see.
f. Nice week for Jennifer Hudson, starting with the National Anthem at the Super Bowl and ending at the Staples Center with a live performance at the Grammys. Gutsy.
g. If I don't see Gran Torino soon, I'm going to scream.