Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think these are my quick-hit thoughts of combine weekend:
a. Mark Sanchez looks like Johnny Damon. "Really?'' he said. "I've gotten the guy from Entourage, but not Johnny Damon.'' Well, you'll get it now. You look like Johnny Damon.
b. I asked Sanchez how he's going to overcome the inexperience stigma, because he threw the ball only 313 times in college. "Matt Cassel,'' he said. "He never started a game in college, and look at him. Plus, I played the best defense in the country every day in practice, ones against ones, at USC.''
c. I'll tell you who looks like a man. Brian Orakpo. The Texas defensive end, at 6-4 and a rockish 260, looks like he'll be ready to play opening day for somebody. He's trying to model himself after Osi Umenyiora of the Giants.
d. Nobody's got much good to say about a player who apparently majored in taking plays off at Georgia Tech, defensive end Michael Johnson.
e. Scouts love Alphonso Smith, the Wake Forest corner, even though he's a shade below 5-foot-9. Some teams will take him off their board for being less than 5-10, but his instincts and playmaking ability should make up for his size.
f. Rey Maualuga. Ray Lewis Jr.
g. Correction from last week's column: I said the Jets had two picks in the top 100 of the draft. I was wrong. The Jets have three, including the Saints' third-round pick as payment for linebacker Jonathan Vilma in 2008. My mistake.
h. So none of the running backs ran under 4.4. Big deal.
i. Pitt running back LeSean McCoy sounded like he was as sick as a dog here, and he revealed to reporters: "When I was flying here, I vomited on the plane. Embarrassing moment. But that's life.''
j. Plane vomit is life. Maybe the "Life is Good'' people can put that on their summer line of T-shirts.
k. I don't care one bit about Michael Crabtree's stress fracture in his foot. He's been playing with it, and it can be repaired perfectly with the implantation of some screws. Players have survived and flourished with similar injuries, and I can't see any reason why he still shouldn't be the sixth or eighth pick in the draft.
2. I think one of the stars of the combine Sunday was Pat White, the West Virginia quarterback, who's trying to show the world he's more than just a Wildcat quarterback who'll have to play receiver or running back as well.
3. I think if you want to know why the Atlanta Falcons whacked safety Lawyer Milloy on Sunday night, all you need to know is this: He was a gigantic pain in the rear end. Clubhouse lawyer, yakker, complainer. Totally not a Mike Smith, one-for-all, all-for-one guy.
4. I think I know these two things don't go hand-in-hand, but the Carolina Panthers just laid off 20 employees. Let's say in salary and benefits, that's an annual savings of $1 million, or $50,000 per employee. You're telling me in a week you commit $60 million to Jordan Gross for six years, and $16.5 million for one year to Julius Peppers, that you've got to whack 20 employees? I don't like this one bit, and the Panthers are not the only team to do this, obviously. The NFL is a profitable venture, and in times of economic stress, teams need to show loyalty to the people who've worked hard for them -- people not at the top of the salary foodchain.
5. I think Josh McDaniels was being far too modest here when he said of Matt Cassel: "I was a small part of his success. He was a big part of my success.'' Coach, coach. The next 346 times you and Cassel go to Capital Grille, he's picking up the check.
6. I think we are watching Andre Smith, the AWOL Alabama left tackle, turn into the 33rd pick of the draft, right before our eyes. Suspended by his coach for the bowl game. Out of shape when he gets to the combine. Leaves a day early -- he says because he wants to get home to hurry up and continue working with his trainer. Right. Smith will be hurt by the fact that, for the second-straight year, there are six or seven very good tackle prospects, and teams would rather have a William Beatty (the UConn kid) with maybe a lesser upside than to take a chance on wasting a pick on Smith.
7. I think if Matthew Stafford succeeds, he's going to owe a very large debt of thanks to his new good buddy Drew Brees. I'll be writing about that tomorrow. But trust me. Brees has been a solid inspiration to Stafford.
8. I think Marvin Harrison simply can't go back to the Colts, because Bill Polian does not give scholarships for longer than one year. And Harrison was on scholarship last year. That's it.
9. I think some cornerbacks and some defensive linemen are going to make an awful lot of money Friday morning.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Kate Winslet is so real. I'm glad she won Best Actress. Was that one of the great Oscar speeches you've ever seen?
b. Frank Langella, you got robbed.
c. I understand how great Mickey Rourke was in The Wrestler, and I realize Sean Penn is our Bogart. But Langella was the real-life biggest villain of our political lifetime.
d. Coffeenerdness: Shula's, I've got to congratulate you on your coffee. Other nice restaurants should take a page from your quasi-dark-roast and brew good, honest coffee, not coffee-flavored water.
e. You had a chance, A-Rod. You had a chance to do the honorable thing and say you either made a mistake or flat-out lied about Selena Roberts breaking into your home and stalking you and your children, which is patently wrong. You didn't do it. You should be ashamed.
f. I got the Blackberry Storm. Phones are never going to be the same again.