Posted: Monday April 16, 2012 7:56AM ; Updated: Monday April 16, 2012 11:19AM
Peter King

MMQB (cont.)

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Ten Things I Think I Think

Saints still contenders
Source: SI
While the Saints offseason has been mired in scandal, New Orleans has been active in the free-agent market.'s Don Banks breaks down the Saints' personnel moves.

1. I think it's cute how Ben Roethlisberger said, "I feel bad for the Sanchez,'' the other day, when asked about Sanchez and Tim Tebow having to coexist. The Sanchez? I've heard of Mark Sanchez and The Sanchize. It must be great to have a first name of "The.''

2. I think this quarterback's decision is going to be a big story because the NFL is covered the way the Washington Post covers Congress. But it's really not a big deal that Drew Brees will miss the opening of the Saints' offseason workout program today. Now if he's not in training camp Aug. 1, we'll have a story. And you'd surely like to have him involved in some of the offseason program. But this is a guy who can call the plays in that offense in his sleep, with most of the main characters the same. The Saints will be fine on offense -- assuming he'll be signed to a one-year or multiyear deal by six weeks before the start of the season.

3. I think being better than his brother on Saturday Night Live will be a tougher task for Eli Manning than beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl. I'm serious.

4. I think if you love the Saints (or you simply can't agree with the league coming down on them like a ton of bricks for the bounty scandal), know this: The number of players involved in concussion- or head-trauma-related lawsuits against the NFL now is 1,186. Someday those cases are going to get to a courtroom somewhere. And someday Roger Goodell is probably going to have to testify about what an attorney will say is the NFL's lax approach to player safety. Don't think those sanctions were made in a vacuum.

5. I think I was reminded of those 1,186 players when I saw Giants president John Mara say to a few days ago that kickoffs could eventually be phased out. I don't want this to happen. I know you don't want this to happen. But the sky hasn't fallen because there were 1,120 touchbacks in 2011 with the kickoff moved from the 30- to 35-yard-line, as opposed to 416 touchbacks in 2010.

"We had a lot of discussions about whether we should eliminate it," Mara said. "There's no consensus on it right now, but I could see the day in the future where that play could be taken out of the game. You see it evolving toward that."

6. I think it's not certain the schedule will be released Tuesday, but the plan is to get it out in time for a prime time TV show. The final document, though, is not done yet. Meaning this: It's written in pencil and the league's probably happy with it, but these things always take extra time because of all the league officials who must sign off on it after considering what is best for every team and the networks. But look for it this week.

Highlight of the first weekend, I would think: Peyton Manning's Denver debut somewhere in prime time on Sunday (NBC) or Monday (ESPN). The Giants and Cowboys kick off the season on Wednesday, Sept. 5 in New Jersey (instead of Thursday) because of President Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.

7. I think the arrival of Lee Evans in Jacksonville -- Adam Schefter said over the weekend Evans will sign today -- means only one thing: The Jaguars still need another receiver. It's Laurent Robinson and Mike Thomas and a cast of Lee Evanses. I wouldn't expect that receiver to come in the first round 10 days from now either.

8. I think every Rams fan will join me in sending condolences to the family of six-time Pro Bowl center Rich Saul, who died Sunday of leukemia at 64. Saul was a feisty fighter who helped build the Rams' bruising identity.

9. I think two teams did nice things over the weekend that should be recognized: The Chiefs announced that owner Clark Hunt will give each season-ticket account-holder a free personalized Chiefs jersey, with a STH (season-ticket-holder) patch on the shoulder. These are the new Nike jerseys that lots of fans would likely have been buying anyway. Now Hunt will be buying them for the fans, one per account. And in Tampa, the Bucs surprised their most veteran employee, Jill Hobbs, who has worked for the team for 35 years, with a personalized Bucs jersey, No. 35, and a check for $35,000. Classy moves, both.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

a. To all at The Post, the independent student paper at Ohio University that birthed me in this business: Congrats on your 100th anniversary celebration over the weekend. Sorry I wasn't there to celebrate with you.

b. Good luck in your first marathon (Boston) today, Tedy Bruschi. It's going to be historically warm, so be safe. Bruschi's running for the American Stroke Association.

c. Why would Tebow get lustily booed at a Yankee game, which happened last night?

d. Good luck with the New Orleans Hornets, Tom Benson. That's a good civic thing to do.

e. Mike Florio on the abomination of the Flyers-Penguins fight fest Sunday afternoon: "So when do former hockey players start suing the NHL over the referees allowing the players to pound the crap out of each other?''

How can Gary Bettman allow that to stand? I don't care if it's the playoffs. The only way that crap is going to stop is with suspensions. Lots of them.

f. Best three hours I spent last week: sunny Friday afternoon watching Red Sox 12, Rays 2. Fenway spooks David Price. Josh Beckett got 'em out throwing 89-mph fastballs. Odd.

g. Glad I drafted Ortiz.

h. Most interesting 10-minute conversation last week: chatting up Joe Maddon before the game. "Everybody says we're a pitching and defense team, and we are, I guess,'' he said. "But did you know that over the last two years, we're sixth in the major leagues in runs scored?'' That I didn't know. Pleasant fellow. We talked a lot about how much he puts the shift on -- even against lousy hitters. "The information's there for everyone to see,'' he said. "If they're not going to hit it in a certain spot, why play someone there?''

i. Best two hours and nine minutes I spent, non-baseball edition: Watching To Kill a Mockingbird, 50 years after its release. Remind me to watch it again next year. And the year after that.

j. Best TV feature of the week (by far, from what I saw): ESPN's story of Trent Richardson taking cancer survivor Courtney Alvis to her Hueytown (Ala.) High senior prom. "I'm kinda nervous,'' Richardson says as he finishes dressing in a tuxedo for the prom. "I gotta ask her parents if I can take her to the prom.'' Really heartfelt and warm. That was one happy kid. Watch for yourself.

k. Utterly fantastic tribute to the late Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes Sunday night. Loved seeing Wallace sitting on the floor during the Iran hostage crisis, asking the Ayatollah Khomeini how he would respond to charges he was a lunatic.

l. I love Jim Irsay tweeting that he'd like to find the "fowl swine'' who stole Tom Petty's five guitars last week. It's "foul,'' by the way. And my guess is the lousy lout probably doesn't follow Jim Irsay on Twitter.

m. Wouldn't go handing the NL pennant to the Phils just yet, not with a 3 through 8 in the order Saturday against the Mets of Jimmy Rollins, Hunter Pence, John Mayberry Jr., Ty Wigginton, Freddy Galvis, Brian Schneider. Yikes.

n. Heath Bell's last three outings for Miami: 2.0 innings, 17 batters faced, 11 baserunners, six scored. Yikes.

o. Beernerdness: Spring at Fenway, and UFO Hefeweizen on tap in one of the stadium bars. Nothing wrong with that.

p. Coffeenerdness: Finally found a restaurant in Manhattan with good post-dinner espresso. Montebello, on 56th Street in midtown. We'll be back.

q. So long, Rick Cleveland. Been great having you in the business. Mississippi's been lucky to read you for so many years:

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