7. I think these are my thoughts of preseason Week 1:
a. Other than the weird fly ball he threw not deep enough down the left side that got picked by Sheldon Brown, Tom Brady looked like Tom Brady against the Eagles, and the northeast corner of the United States exhaled.
b. The first play of Mark Sanchez's NFL career is one he'll remember for a while -- the 48-yard bomb called by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to speedy David Clowney while fans were still filing in from the parking lot. Said Sanchez: "I was joking with Coach Schottenheimer; I told him, 'I'm coming off the bench cold and shooting three-pointers. What's the deal?' It was a great call and we executed well.''
c. How Sanchez doesn't win the starting job ... that's beyond me.
d. Saw the first quarter of Jets-Rams, and Marc Bulger looked sharp. Good for him. Good guy, and I still think he can be a top-12 quarterback if he's protected, and if Donnie Avery comes back in time for the opener from his stress-fractured left foot.
e. It won't matter what kind of play the Broncos get out of Orton or Simms if they play defense the way they played against the all-star lineup of Shaun Hill, Alex Smith and Damon Huard. I know, I know. Preseason Week 1. Who cares? Half of these guys will be gone in two weeks. But 14 of 18 passing, for a 143.5 rating? And 30 San Fran carries for a 4.5-yard average? Not good.
f. Really liked what I saw out of Glen Coffee, the Niner rookie back from Alabama. After scotch-taping together the running-back situation behind Frank Gore last year, GM Scot McCloughan used the 74th pick in the draft on Coffee (14 for 67, a 4.8-yard average Friday). He looks like he runs heavier than his 209 pounds -- tougher to tackle, with some lead in his pants.
h. Keep repeating after me, Redskin fans: It's only the preseason. But zero points scored and 500 yards allowed?
i. Welcome back to the NFL, Jeremy Shockey. His TD against the Bengals was his first in 21 months (21 months!) You can look it up: Nov. 11, 2007, Dallas at Giants. Jint fans might recall that tour de force Shockey game -- 12 catches, a career-high, for 129 yards. Where did it all go?
j. That is not a misprint: Peyton Manning was sacked three times in his first five snaps against the Vikings. Several reasons, not the least of which was his tackles were Corey Hilliard and the banished-from-the-starting-lineup Tony Ugoh.
k. You don't want to make too much of Trent Edwards going 10 for 10 against Chicago, but the one thing it tells me is he's getting comfortable with Buffalo offensive coordinator Turk Schonert's offensive ideas, particularly the no-huddle. I said it when I visited the Bills' camp -- that no-huddle, played excessively, could be a matchup nightmare for defenses, particularly early in the season when it's warm and the Bills are used to it and defenses aren't.
m. Kicker Brandon Coutu is nine-for-nine in two preseasons with Seattle, but probably won't make the team because Olindo Mare is five yards stronger on kickoffs. Coutu drills 'em. He should find a home when cuts are made.
n. I can think of about 10 teams that need the special-teams presence and leadership of David Tyree if the Giants whack him.
8. I think Plaxico Burress is about to go down for the count. Knowing Goodell 's hatred of gun crimes by players, I believe the commissioner will suspend Burress soon, for all of 2009. I agree with Gary Myers, who wrote in the New York Daily News that Goodell will suspend Burress for eight games at a minimum, and potentially for the entire 2009 season if any team wants to sign him. Count me in on the more side. The NFL warns players time and again, starting with the rookie symposium after college, that it will have zero tolerance for gun crimes. So when a player takes an unlicensed weapon into a crowded night club in the state of New York and the gun goes off, well, it's not a very difficult decision for a tough commissioner to banish a player for a year.
9. I think anybody who was surprised at Goodell's banishing Donte Stallworth of the Browns for a year for his vehicular homicide conviction hasn't been paying attention to the new police chief at 280 Park Avenue. This one wasn't even hard. Stallworth was legally drunk, admitted smoking marijuana the night his vehicle struck and killed a man, and he was driving over the speed limit. Why would anyone be surprised that he has to take the year off?
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Best wishes to the retiring Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News, one of the greatest baseball writers ever. Almost 30 years ago, I was a young pup covering the Cincinnati Reds and was privileged to learn much about the craft from McCoy. What really struck me about Hal was that he could go to work every single day for seven months and find something new and interesting at the same job. There's a great lesson for all of us right there.
b. I hit a deer on the highway out here in Colorado Saturday night. Crunched up the car pretty well. Killed the poor deer. Scared the living heck out of me. Quite an experience. I think my heart rate is back down to near normal now, but just barely.
c. I've never seen anything quite so violent in baseball as the line drive off pitcher Hiroki Kuroda's head Saturday night. I can't believe he's OK. After the second replay, I just couldn't watch it anymore.
d. Coffeenerdness: I've often sung the praises of Peet's Coffee. But the thing I've realized landing in San Francisco Friday and walking into the terminal was that part of the greatness of Peet's is the aroma of the espresso. It's like smelling the grass in baseball or the leather smell of the ball at the first football practice of the year. The aroma is part of the reason you love it.
e. I've learned three things from my summer Tweetups. One: the football fan's appetite for information is absolutely voracious. Will Carroll and I spent three hours talking about everything football with fans in Indianapolis last Monday, and fans would have stayed three more hours if we'd let them. Two: The football fan is smart. Three: It's a heck of a lot of fun, and I'll be doing more of them. I hope to do one in or around Boston before the start of the season.
f. I have to get home. Today is Day 21 of my trip -- I'll see the Broncos practice this morning -- and after one lost rental car, one killed deer, one ridiculous hotel snafu, and way too much fun, I can't wait to sleep in my own bed tonight.
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