Quote of the Week I
"Is it truly fair when one team doesn't get the opportunity to possess the ball? I think we've come up with a balanced system that is thoughtful, respects the game, and respects the people who play it.''
-- Roger Goodell, on the new overtime system that was approved 28-4 in a vote by owners on Tuesday.
Quote of the Week II
"I hate it.''
-- New Orleans coach Sean Payton, on the new overtime rule.
"I can see the press conference now,'' Payton told me on Sirius NFL Radio the other day. " 'Coach, did you consider going for the touchdown rather than kicking the field goal?' I can write the questions right now.''
That's life in the big leagues. The one thing I've heard in the last few days, from fans mostly, is that coaches who make $4 million a year won't get much sympathy over the burden of having to make a big call with the game on the line.
Quote of the Week III
"I had no idea who Charlie Whitehurst was until there was talk about him. I'd never heard of the guy. I have some friends on the San Diego staff, and they're feeling pretty darn good about the deal."
-- Fired Seattle coach Jim Mora, on ESPN Radio in Seattle, asked about the new Seattle quarterback, acquired from San Diego for a third-round pick in 2011 and a swap of seconds this year. That swap moved San Diego from 60 to 40 in the second round.
Mora might be a little prejudiced in making this trade sound boneheaded for Seattle after being unceremoniously fired and replaced by Pete Carroll in January. Maybe just a little.
Carroll faced the music on the deal at the league meetings. "It's really simple,'' he said, asked about dealing so much for a guy who hasn't thrown a pass in four NFL seasons with San Diego. "There are a lot of throws that Charlie had a chance to do over the last few years in the preseason. You can say what you want about preseason being the real deal. When you drop back and you throw comebacks, and you drop back and you throw in-routes and there are guys rushing you, you drop back and you got to move in the pocket and find a second and third receiver. That is definitely on the film clearly.
"It is not the same as week in and week out having to handle the stress and the pressure of the schedule and all of that. That is different stuff that we have to find out, but to see him carry out the demands of the position from a physical side you could see that easily. Plus, our guys had watched him coming out. We had all of those early evaluations just like you have as a draft choice and a college career behind all of that. If it is just one preseason and he only played in a couple of games that is one thing, but he has played in games for years. That was enough for us to see the kind of raw talent that we were looking for and the movement we were looking for.
"We are looking at him coming into this program like he is a very high draft pick and how we would evaluate his background at that point. So we feel good and confident about that. Now we have to develop him in our program and make him a Seahawk and make him a guy that can execute our offense and carry that and we will see how long that takes."
Stat of the Week
Colt McCoy seems like Drew Brees, nine years later. Accurate, confident, undersized, historically prolific at a major college. Obviously, he can only hope the comparisons many NFL scouts and coaches are making, linking the two, are valid. Comparing the college stat lines:
Brees was a high school football star at Austin (Texas) Westlake High. McCoy was a high school football star at Jim Ned (Texas) High.
Brees married a volleyball player at Purdue. McCoy is engaged to a track-and-field athlete at Baylor.
Brees is active in many children's charities and is a benefactor of a children's hospital in New Orleans. McCoy is active with the Children's Miracle Network telethon and volunteers at the children's hospital in Austin.
Enjoyable/Aggravating Travel Note of the Week
I return to the real world tonight after a terrific holiday with my two brothers and brother-in-law. Seven spring-training games in seven venues in six days, finishing Monday afternoon on the east coast of the state, in Viera, at Nats-Mets, weather permitting. Notes from some fun days:
Wednesday: day/nighter: Phils-Braves at Disney's Wide World of Sports, Nats-Yanks at Tampa. The Disney complex reminds me of the very old days, just out of college, when we'd go occasionally to Kings Island north of Cincinnati, and there'd be an army of park cleaners, sweeping and tidying and making sure the place was spotless, no matter the size of the crowd. At one point, I turned around and saw a woman trailing me with broom and handled dustpan. Nothing on the ground here either ... At Steinbrenner Field, it's majestic and bigger and better than anywhere else, and the barbequed pork nachos weren't bad.
Thursday: Braves-Pirates in Bradenton. In my early days as a backup Reds writer in Cincinnati, I remember a man who seemed like an old war horse then, the fungo-hitting Bobby Dews. And there he was again, 71 now, a little stooped over and as bow-legged as Walter Brennan, smiling and hitting grounders to third and short in between BP pitches. Rookie phenom Jason Heyward's fun to watch swing. The ball has a Bonds-like thwack coming off the bat.
Friday: Rays-Jays in Dunedin. Great vendor out in right field at the Toronto camp. "Canadian beer in an American can made in China!'' he hawked. These Rays scare this Red Sox follower. Evan Longoria hit a Frank Howard home run to left, a mile high. Cute little old-time ballpark with ospreys nesting in the left-field light tower and some very good Land Shark Lager nesting behind the first-base stands.
Saturday: Red Sox-O's in Sarasota. My brother Bob, in the first inning, points to the sky from our seats in the right-field foul-line bleachers. "Look,'' he said. "Bald eagle!'' And maybe a flock of white pelicans way up high over the field later on. But I give Ed Smith Stadium the beer award: Shock Top Belgian White, with orange slice, under the first-base stands. John Lackey looked mostly sharp for the Sox, but sticks were dormant. O's, 6-1.
Sunday: Jupiter, Fla.: Astros-Marlins in Jupiter, a split Cards/Marlins facility. Fun day at the ballpark with Bill Parcells, and stopping to meet Tony LaRussa before the Cards left to play the Mets in Port St. Lucie (interesting story about how he collaborated with Buzz Bissinger on Three Nights in August to help pay for his monstrous animal shelter in the Bay Area), then watching fielding and batting practice with some Marlins. I held Dan Uggla's bat; I think it'll take three showers to get the pine tar off my hands.
Couldn't believe how the ball jumped off the bat of catcher Ronnie Paulino during BP. "The Babe,'' Parcells called him. Later, we sat upstairs in a radio booth, and my sibs were entertained by Parcells' stories, particularly when Ron Wolf and family and then Marlins VP of player personnel Dan Jennings stopped by. Jennings worked on a trade during his time with us, and I'd like to tell you more but then I'd have to ... well, not really. I actually have no scoop for you there, Fish fans.
All in all, a very fun time with my bros. I've got to think it's more convenient to do one of these trips in Arizona, with every team being within 45 minutes of each other by next year.
Tweet of the Week
"Does Tebow sponsor your page?''
-- @lizmatthews12, Liz Matthews of Seattle, apparently perturbed by the amount of attention I am paying to Tim Tebow in pre-draft coverage. Liz, you are not alone in that thought.
No on the sponsorship, but from what I hear, he'll be able to afford to when his new contract with a very big sports equipment and apparel manufacturer is announced very soon.
NFL Truth & Rumors