Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think I hear and believe what the Cardinals are saying -- and Ken Whisenhunt said it to me again last week, that he is determined to keep Anquan Boldin on his team. But I've seen too many of the guerrilla tactics by agent Drew Rosenhaus to think it's going to go down that way. The Eagles are sitting there at 21 and 28, frothing for a receiver. So is Miami at 25, Baltimore at 26, the Giants at 29 and Tennessee at 30. If the Cards think it's going to be tense with Boldin, with more problems at training camp like last year, they're going to have to think seriously of auctioning Boldin and spending the money on Karlos Dansby long-term.
2. I think one of the reasons I like Jim Schwartz's chances to succeed in Detroit (and don't ask me what the word "success'' means in Detroit, because nine wins there is a Super Bowl-winning season somewhere else) is because he thinks. It's nothing revolutionary, maybe, but it's just smart. He won't be cowed into drafting Georgia's Matthew Stafford just because he's a good quarterback. If Schwartz has sincere doubts about any aspect of Stafford's game, he'll take someone better at his position, like Baylor tackle Jason Smith or Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry.
Schwartz was interesting when we spoke the other day about Curry. I told him how Curry played the outside, yet had one sack per four games at Wake. "Not that significant,'' he said. "Here's a guy who would fit perfectly for us in the middle and never come off the field. In college, he played the run, he covered, he did everything linebackers at every position would do. For us, he'd be perfect going sideline to sideline.''
3. I think, if I had to guess right now, Detroit will take Jason Smith No. 1. He's a pure football player who loves football, and he's athletic enough to step in at left tackle in either year one or year two ... plus, the Lions' selfless left tackle, Jeff Backus, has already told the Lions he'll do what's best for the team, and if that's moving inside to left guard or to the other side at right tackle, that's what he'll do.
4. I think, if I were Stafford, I'd be ready for some funny business when the Lions show up at Georgia to work him out. I don't mean ha-ha funny. I mean Schwartz is going to put Stafford in some uncomfortable spots and force him out of his comfort zone. If it's windy, you can be sure Stafford will be throwing his fastball into the wind, for instance.
5. I think the moment I'll remember from these league meetings, other than the Rooney things, happened just before the owners scattered at midday Wednesday. "Peter King!'' boomed Al Davis, and he wasn't smiling. "You haven't written a good thing about the Raiders in 10 years!'' That's not entirely true. I did like the Robert Gallery-Jake Grove draft (oops!), and I praised the Lane Kiffin hire in his rookie summer (nice honeymoon). But Al's right. I haven't liked much about the losingest team in football over the last half-decade.
6. I think, just to tease tomorrow's column, I'm going to examine the cases of the two men Davis is passionate about for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Hint: They both wore the silver and black.
7. I think if the NFL begins to seriously discuss expanding the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams -- and believe me, the expansionist orators are preparing their speeches to fellow owners -- I'm going to be prepared to argue against that absurd, watering-down-the-game-for-TV notion.
8. I think, still, that a division winner should not be guaranteed a home playoff game. Why the 12-win Colts had to travel to face the eight-win Chargers is still an injustice that too few people got exercised about. The solution is simple: Excellent teams should not be penalized for being in a division with a superb team, so the playoffs should be seeded, per conference, on the basis of record alone.
9. I think I admire Vince Young's moxie -- he said to Jeff Fisher recently, "What do I have to do to win my job back?'' -- but in this league, it's about what you do, not how passionate you seem. The Titans are Kerry Collins' team, unmistakably, for at least the next few years.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. I've had pizza, like many 51-year-old old males who travel a lot, in many cities in this country and others. The best I've had is from Pizzeria Mozza here in West Hollywood. Good luck trying to get in, but if you do, the thin crust and perfect blend of natural ingredients will make you plead, "Don't make me give up my table. Let me just sit here 'til I'm hungry again.''
b. Amazing how many movie billboards there are in L.A. You'd think they made movies there or something.
c. There's something wrong in America when you go on the road, need a prescription filled and have to pay full price because you have your HMO card and your prescription card to show the pharmacist but don't have the approval for a clearly approved medication on the prescription bottle.
d. Coffeenerdness: Very, very interesting coffee choice in Laura's neighborhood. Peet's, Coffee Bean and Starbucks, all within about 1,000 yards. That's a reason to live somewhere.
e. Hey, spring! Opening Day's a week from last night. You available?
f. Don't ask me about my bracket. I liked Siena, Syracuse and Washington too much.
g. What more does Clay Buchholz have to do to win a spot in the rotation?
h. It's official: There are more dogs than people in the South End of Boston.
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