1. I think I'm more convinced than ever: The Patriots, who need major help on defense, should be at the front of the pursuit pack for Mario Williams, assuming the Texans don't put the franchise tag on him.
2. I think if any of the 22 players implicated in the Saints' bounty program ever ends up in one of the burgeoning concussion or football-as-long-term-damage lawsuits 10 years from now, I hope the judge takes one look at the suit, chuckles, and says, "Are you kidding? Get out of here.''
3. I think kudos are in order for former Cardinals and Seahawks center Ed Cunningham, who won an Oscar eight nights ago as the producer on the best documentary, Undefeated, which tells the story of a coach and players who lift a downtrodden Memphis high school football team to prominence. In the process, the kids learn some great lessons. That's the vast oversimplification of it. "It's not a football movie,'' Cunningham told me. "It's a movie about what sports can do for people when they need something done for them.'' Interesting that when Cunningham was asked who he wanted to thank for the award, he thanked coaches in his life -- Bruce Patrick from his Virginia high school, Don James and Keith Gilbertson from his college days at Washington, and Howard Mudd from the pros. "Coaches,'' he said, "are so incredibly influential in all aspect of so many lives.'' Can't wait to see how this coach in Memphis molded the lives of boys who needed him so much.
4. I think there's one player who should be affordable, available and sought after by any team needing a nickel rusher or maybe an every-down rush end: Jeremy Mincey of the Jags. With four sacks and 18 quarterback hits/pressures in the last four weeks of the season, Mincey, 28, put on a good free-agent rush. His name has come up three times since the end of the season with personnel guys looking for help pressuring the quarterback.
5. I think I had this reaction to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch report Sunday that the Browns are balking at including their second first-round pick, No. 22 overall, in a trade for the No. 2 overall pick: Let the posturing begin. Cleveland can't seriously think RG3 can be had for anything less than two first-round picks and at least two additional picks or an additional pick and a player.
Now, if the Browns are talking about a one this year, a one next year, a two this year and something else, that's a good starting point. Just remember -- in 1998, the Chargers moved up one spot, from three to two, in the first round by dealing two ones, a two, a three and a Pro Bowl running back. Ryan Leaf was talented with baggage. Griffin is talented with no baggage.
6. I think Tom Coughlin deserves a back-pat for doing the right thing and naming Kevin M. Gilbride the team's receivers' coach. Coughlin had denied Gilbride, who served as the team's offensive quality control coach and was the son of offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, the opportunity to interview for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' quarterback coaching job. And he didn't immediately give Kevin M. Gilbride a bigger job, but he did late in the week, which was clearly the right thing to do.
7. I think the admirers for Ryan Tannehill continue to grow, despite the fact he was a part-time wide receiver at Texas A&M. This from GM John Schneider of the Seahawks: "The guy was a quarterback in high school, just a football player. First and foremost, that's what we're looking for. Especially at that position. Guys that have always been in the quarterback schools, the special camps, and all that kind of stuff -- they make me a little nervous to a certain extent. This guy is a real football player. He played defense. You could see him last year when he stepped in, he just went out and played. He had this natural toughness about him that the players really rallied around and went on a winning streak. And he did a great job.''
8. I think that was a good hire of Bill Polian, ESPN. You'll be able to get him to talk, and about important things.
9. I think this comes from one agent, who is ready to retire early because of the sharkiness of the business (235 new agents are registered this year in an already-jam-packed pool: "After about the first 15 picks in the draft, the rookies don't even need agents. The slotting system for every pick eliminates the need until a player is finished with his rookie deal. Pretty soon, the smart kids are going to realize they should just pay an attorney $750 to go over the contract just as insurance. It's a myth that we're going to be able to get more money for a kid picked in the third or fourth round.''
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Our neighbors in the Midwest and south are reeling from the tornadoes of the past few days, and if you can find it in your heart to donate $10 or more, here's the American Red Cross site. The human suffering looked so awful last night on the news. Ninety reported tornadoes, 38 deaths. Lord.
b. Toured the expanded Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center on the campus of Montclair (N.J.) State the other day. What a treat. The place is a treasure trove of baseball history -- with Berra's jersey from the Don Larson perfect World Series game, rings from throughout his career, used bats and gloves from the '50s. And the love letters from Yogi to his future wife are so charming. The place is used for coaching clinics, educational seminars, speeches, book signings and readings, but it's worth it to just drop by and spend two hours soaking in baseball history up close.
c. Dick Ebersol has urged me not to mention anything about politics in this presidential-election year. And so I won't. But as a college grad and father of two college graduates and a husband of a college graduate, boy, am I dying to.
d. Rotisserie time looms. I've swapped Jacoby Ellsbury and Ryan Howard for Adrian Gonzalez and Buster Posey, which leaves the Montclair Pedroias with Posey, Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia as keepers heading into my draft later this month. As usual, I've done no homework on the draft, and the only non-Sox thing I've read about baseball in the last couple of weeks is that Mike Stanton is now calling himself Giancarlo Stanton. I'd better get on with the serious business of draft prep.
e. I can't believe you didn't know who Adrian Gonzalez was, Adam Schefter.
f. RIP, Davy Jones. Third and fourth grade, Enfield, Conn., saving allowance to buy 45s of Last Train to Clarksville and I'm a Believer and Valleri. I never got into the silly TV show, but the music for little punks like me was gold. Gold, Jerry!
g. I've seen a couple of ads for the Masters, which starts a month from today. After going last year and crossing it off my bucket list, I strongly, strongly urge any of you who've thought twice about doing it to act on it, if you can afford it. One of the things I recall is being impressed with the course not being overcrowded, and being able to get pretty close to most any tee box and certainly having room to stand in the fairways right next to players hitting shots.
h. The Hank Haney book gives me the creeps.
i. Trading Rondo, Danny Ainge? Linsane.
j. Go get him, Rachel Maddow.
k. I am either old or out of touch with modern sports or both, because these first two paragraphs of a USA Today story confused me: "This weekend's title bout for Strikeforce will mark the first time a major promotion leads a card using a women's division with staying power. Bantamweight champion Miesha Tate and challenger Ronda Rousey will enter the cage Saturday (10 p.m. ET, Showtime) at Nationwide Arena more than 2 ½ years after Christiane 'Cyborg' Santos defeated Gina Carano in the main event of s Strikeforce card in August 2009. This time the women have a realistic chance of producing future headliners.''
What is "Strikeforce?'' And the third graph tells me this is MMA (mixed martial arts). But I still have no idea what the first sentence in this story means. I guess I must be lower than the lowest common denominator the paper is trying to reach. I don't get it.
l. Coffeenerdness: Terrific PJ's latte in Baton Rouge, just off the LSU campus, the other day. Now that's some good, rich, eye-opening espresso.
m. Beernerdness: Don't know how good you've had it until you walk into a restaurant in Manhattan, far from Portland, Maine, and they have Allagash White on the beer menu. Heavenly.
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