Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think these are my quick-hit thoughts of the kickoff of free agency:
a. Carson Palmer on the possible addition of Terrell Owens to the Bengals, via a text message to Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson: "If any qb can deal with extravagant wrs, it's me."
b. Be careful what you wish for, Carson. I mean it.
c. Thomas Jones will visit Kansas City today. All the factors argue against anyone giving Jones real money. He carried the ball 376 times, including playoffs, last season at 31. What 32-year-old back is worth any sort of money, coming after three straight seasons in which he carried it more than 900 times? I say it's Jones -- because he will be supremely motivated to stick it to the Jets for jettisoning him after three straight standout years. I'd pay Jones, then team him with Jamaal Charles to try to get 175 between-the-tackle carries out of him.
d. I admire the Panthers for firing Jake Delhomme. He was so bad in the last year plus one game that it had to be done -- yet Delhomme's such a leader and a class person that it had be torture for John Fox and Marty Hurney.
e. Good to see, by the way, John Fox. You've been Mr. Recluse.
f. Justin Bannan's a nice signing by Denver, but he won't be a big star. When role players leave Baltimore, they rarely shine.
g. No excuses not to be great, Karlos Dansby.
h. Same with you, Julius Peppers.
i. Good save on Gary Brackett, Colts.
j. And on Chad Clifton, Ted Thompson.
k. Scott Fujita did not want to leave New Orleans. No way. But when the Browns gave him $8 million guaranteed over three years (three years, $14 million total), Fujita just had to say yes. He wouldn't have gotten half that with the Saints. Now he'll be a great role model type for a young defense and work alongside looming star D'Qwell Jackson for a year or two.
l. Chester Taylor will be the best thing that ever happened to Matt Forte.
2. I think this is a good get for UMass-Lowell: The commencement speaker for the Class of 2010, on May 29 at 10 a.m., is Roger Goodell.
3. I think I've always admired the work of Aaron Schatz of footballoutsiders.com, and I recommend his intelligent takes on pro football. Good example: Schatz posted his 2009 Football Outsiders awards the other day, and this was his line on Darrelle Revis winning FO's defensive player of the year in a rout over Charles Woodson, after the vote of 50 media members actually gave the NFL award in a rout to Woodson: "I'm not sure what the guy [Revis] had to do to actually win Defensive Player of the Year, maybe kill Randy Moss with his bare hands on national television while simultaneously picking off a Tom Brady pass using only his teeth.'' I wish I'd thought of that. Great work.
4. I think the more I hear about the players at the top of the draft, the more I think the Rams should use the first pick on one of the two top defensive tackles (Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy), then trade up to the mid-20s with their second-round pick to nab Colt McCoy, the Texas quarterback. You think he'll be there with the first pick in the second round? Not sure of that. Not sure at all. I think he'll end up going in the 20s.
5. I think we all have to be careful about rushing to judgment on Ben Roethlisberger after he was accused of sexual assault by a 20-year-old woman in Milledgeville, Ga., near where Roethlisberger has an offseason home. It's the second time in seven months that a charge of sexual assault against Roethlisberger has come to light, the first coming from a Nevada woman last July.
So without being judgmental ... if Roethlisberger is without fault, it still is utterly preposterous he puts himself in these situations. If Roethlisberger is without fault, he has to re-think who he associates with, and he has to re-think whether it's a very good idea to be hanging around college bars at 2 in the morning. If Roethlisberger is at fault, the issues are entirely different. If he's at fault, he has got to grow up. So we'll see.
6. I think NFL Films did a heck of a job on the Saints' Super Bowl video -- with one exception. The video comes out Tuesday, and I highly recommend it for the (as usual) inside-the-game aspects that you'll never see anywhere else. I got a chance to preview the DVD this weekend, and the only thing the video doesn't capture, in my opinion, is how different this Super Bowl title was from all the others.
This Super Bowl was a win as much for the community and Saints Nation as it was for the team. And though NFL Films touches on that several times in the sometimes transfixing video (interviewing local luminaries like Anne Rice about the meaning of it, and Drew Brees as well), it missed the chance to immerse the video in the local emotion of it. I thought the Tuesday Super Bowl parade deserved more than the credits rolling over it at the end of the video. [It turns out the Saints are going to put out their own DVD of the parade and other local events, and so NFL Films was not allowed to include much of substance from the parade. A shame.]
Here are some of the highlights from the Saints' season and the Super Bowl DVD that I liked, and that I'm sure you will:
a. Four men dressed as priests in white robes at one game ... and one of the "priests'' is holding a crucifix with a beer coozy around the middle of it. That's right -- a beer coozy, the foam thing that keeps beer cold. Just classic.
b. You'll see from two more NFL Films angles how easy a time Brett Favre would have had running for the first down on the play he threw the interception to lose the NFL title game. I know he said he couldn't have run for it, and maybe he couldn't -- but from my view, he had such an open field in front of him, he easily could have made the five or six yards that would have made the winning field goal by Ryan Longwell conceivable.
c. What a year Pierre Thomas had. He's the most underrated player on the team, easy.
d. What a playoff season Reggie Bush had. They have to keep him, even at $8 million for the year, in 2010.
e. Sean Payton to his offense on the sideline before attempting the fourth-and-one in overtime of the NFC title game, the two-yard plunge by Pierre Thomas: "You got the call here right? I love this call. I don't like it. I love it ... Hey, don't think. Ball security, Pierre.''
f. In the Super Bowl, Scott Fujita, miked, came to the sideline in the first half and reported on the progress about the mantra that was the defensive gameplan against Peyton Manning: "I'm getting Peyton good, man. Got three shots now.''
g. Sean Payton presaged the Manning first-half touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon, right over sub corner Usama Young. "Saw that one coming a mile away,'' he said.
h. You'll love the cinematography on the one-handed sack by Dwight Freeney and wonder to yourself: Imagine if Freeney were healthy for that game. What kind of difference would he have made?
i. In the second half, Payton walks to defensive assistant Joe Vitt, one of his most trusted coaches, and said pointedly: "Dallas Clark's got 149 yards now. Let's not let their best player beat us! That's a sin.''
j. Great reversal by Scott Green on the two-point conversion pass to Lance Moore. You can see it clearly -- Jacob Lacey kicks the ball out of Moore's hands when he has possession and has the ball stretched over the goal line.
k. Payton to an inactive player late in the game: "I want a piece of Juicy Fruit! Is this Juicy Fruit? ... It's good.''
l. Not that it would have mattered, down two TDs inside the two-minute warning, but you never know: Reggie Wayne dropped a touchdown in the end zone that would made the game a one-touchdown match with enough time left if the Colts could have converted an onside kick. Those are the breaks.
7. I think I haven't spoken to one coach or personnel man in the last three days who thinks Seattle would be smart to deal the sixth pick in this draft for Brandon Marshall. It just makes no sense. He's a great player, potentially, but you're giving up a cornerstone pick in the best draft in years and paying an incendiary player at least $8 million a year on a long-term deal. No question Marshall could justify the faith if Pete Carroll shows it in him. But the operative word there is "could.''
8. I think I don't understand one thing about the Cardinals' deal of Anquan Boldin: They had the Chiefs on the hook, and K.C. had to be willing to give its third-round pick to be in the discussion; The Chiefs' third pick was the 68th pick in the draft. Even if Kansas City wanted something minor in addition, isn't the 68th pick better than the 88th pick that Baltimore gave -- along with the Ravens giving their fourth in exchange for the Cards' fifth rounder to even out the deal? That's 20 slots in a very good draft.
9. I think Greg Olsen is right -- he won't be a featured player in the Chicago offense, and I understand him being upset that Mike Martz is running the show now. But I also think the Bears would be foolish to deal Olsen for anything less than a pick in the first half of the second round or better. You never know how long Martz, and the entire coaching staff, will last.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Can those people on the red carpet please think of a question with some smidgeon of intelligence? Kathy Ireland asked the star of "Precious,'' Gabouray Sidibe, "The world is hanging on your every thought right now ... What can you share with us?'' WHAT!!!!! What world is hanging on anything that any of these people say walking on a red rug into a big theater? Said Sidibe, looking shocked at such an incredibly bizarre question: "What can I share with you?'' she said, her mind racing to try to think of something, anything, she could. "I don't know. I have no idea. Uh, my excitement.''
And how about these two questions from Ireland's partner on the carpet to the greatest actress of our time, Meryl Streep: "What's your favorite part about [being here]?'' And: "What else are you looking forward to tonight?'' You've got the great Meryl Streep up there, and that's what you think to ask?
b. Disappointing big, big, big episode of "The Office.'' I'm always warned about spoiling the show for those of you who have DVRed the thing but not watched it yet, so let me make my three problems with the show known without being exact. One: Pam is too smart and too caring about her child to be so crazy to delay her trip to the hospital for the dumb reason that she uses, over and over again. Two: Dwight's the best, but doing what he does because he sees a spot of mold? Don't buy it. Three: It's not funny.
c. You can start dominating any time now, Ilya Kovalchuk.
d. Coffeenerdness: Great to be back in my Upper Montclair Starbucks for a while over the weekend, and to see so many familiar faces. The more things change, the more they stay the same: Martin's still the mayor of the place.
e. Thank you, Academy, for voting the Best Supporting Actor to the "Inglorious Basterds'' Nazi, Christoph Waltz. Incredible job.
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