MMQB Mail: Broncos set dangerous precedent; Favre interview update
Analysis on Brandon Marshall, Plaxico Burress and Brett Favre
Vince Young was likely the victim of coddling before turning pro
Questions on Rex Grossman, Tom Brady and more from readers
A few thoughts on the terminal ugliness in Denver, Roger Goodell being plagued by the stalling injustice of Plaxico Burress (with a judge echoing me in deriding the legal process), and the Brett Favre HBO interview before I get to your mail:
The Brandon Marshall story is starting to smell like the Jay Cutler fiasco, with one exception: The Broncos are clamming up. During the Cutler thing, Josh McDaniels was an open book, talking to me four or five times at length about everything -- how he had nothing against Cutler, how he didn't offend him (in his view), about how he wanted Cutler to be his quarterback. But Monday night, I texted McDaniels, who is a big texter. Nothing. Texted his assistant and got back that the coach is laying low and had nothing to say for now. Texted Marshall, who's also a texter. Nothing. So this one's going to be contested below ground, it appears.
My feeling is the Broncos will play a harder brand of hardball with Marshall, in part because he's the second star trying to shoot his way out of town in four months. Owner Pat Bowlen might regret how precipitously the organization acted in rushing a franchise quarterback out of town if this stalemate with Marshall lasts into training camp.
Yes, Marshall wants to be traded. Now the interesting story is whether Denver will acquiesce and, if so, what sort of precedent that will set. Cutler seemed to write a how-to book on The Right Way To Force a Trade. If the Broncos deal Marshall, the next time a star feeling underpaid (Ryan Clady, Ryan Harris, Eddie Royal, i.e.) wants out, the Broncos will have shown they're weak and ineffective with unhappy players. That's why I feel strongly they won't let Marshall out, and they'll let him sit as long as he wants, even if that means he won't be in camp by September.
Goodell has been thrown a curveball by the New York justice system. All along, obviously, he was waiting for Plaxico Burress to be sentenced for possession of an unlicensed handgun in New York City, and the discharge of said handgun. It was going to be open-and-shut, with some prison time and some probation, from all indications. But then New York dropped the ball and allowed the defense team to push the case back to 2010 -- at least 14 or 15 months after the offense occurred. That's a ridiculous, system-abusing trial decision that Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the powers who oversee the criminal justice system in the state should be railing against.
I'm friendly with a judge in the New York area, and, prompted by my outrage of the continuance of the case in Monday's column, this judge, who asked that I not use his name, wrote me an e-mail sharing my wonderment over how this case was going to go more than a year without being heard. He said he was "disgusted with the way the defense dictated the timing of this case,'' and said Burress' possible employment should have nothing to do with when the case is heard.
"If I based all my trial dates on a defendant's work schedule, we'd never have any trials,'' the judge wrote. "Why should Plaxico be different than any other working defendant? In fact, there are working defendants who can barely pay their bills. His case is not one requiring extensive discovery or pretrial motions. It's a straightforward gun-possession case. The case should be over, verdict and all, by Nov. 1.''
But the delay has put Goodell in a tough spot. He's on record as preferring to allow a first-time offender to have his case adjudicated before the league imposes discipline, but I asked league people about that Monday, and there was no assurance forthcoming that Goodell would wait for the case to be tried. That's why I think that whoever signs Burress will be looking at a four-, six- or eight-game suspension, and a certain NFL Players Association appeal on Burress' behalf. It may be that the team taking him on will have to pay dearly for Burress -- in salary, in public ridicule for aligning with a gun offender, and in distraction for having him around the team.
Brett Favre's interview with Joe Buck hit all the notes we thought it would. He's going to play if healthy -- and if the Vikings will deal with all the distractions, which I'm sure they will. I credit Buck for asking him everything, except perhaps the question about whether he was coming back to stick it to the Packers. Buck got it on the record that Favre's playing if his right arm and shoulder are willing. Should be the end of the story for a couple of weeks, at least ...
And by the way, I'm an Artie Lange fan. He's funny on the Howard Stern show, and very human. But he must have taken mad pills before Monday night's segment. His segment was out of place, dumb, uncomfortable and altogether needless. It's one thing to make people squirm, which in some comedy is great. To lash out at Favre's inability to stay retired is fair game. To lash out at Buck -- I guess that's what Lange was doing -- was apropos of nothing.
Now onto your e-mail:
YOU'RE WELCOME. From Brad of Medina, Ohio: "Thanks for abating my fears that Derek Anderson will be the Browns' quarterback this year. What's the 'competition' for then -- just to try to create some trade value for him?''
Put yourself in Eric Mangini's shoes. You have two quarterbacks. One threw for almost 4,000 yards two years ago and was a disaster last year. One has never proven anything in the league but is a prospect. Why, if you've never coached either, would you rush to judgment?
It's different in Denver, where Josh McDaniels traded for Kyle Orton after studying four or five quarterbacks (like Jason Campbell) and determining the best quarterback he had a chance to get was Orton. Orton over Chris Simms was a gimme. Brady Quinn over Anderson is quite probable, but why not make them fight it out and let the best man win?
NFL Truth & Rumors