Fears, in late trades, has added a leavening of experience to the team. He obtained Doug Atkins and Herman Lee from the Bears, both in their 30s and with years of experience.
"You need some old heads around to settle the youngsters," Fears said. "And Atkins is still one of the best defensive ends in football. Lee'll help where we need help most—in the offensive line. We want a young club, but we want to win some games, too."
An interested observer at every practice is Mecom. A big man, the 28-year-old Mecom might be mistaken for a tight end if he suited up. Preparing for his first year as a pro football owner, he trimmed off 40 pounds to a svelte 200, and he expects to lose even more before the year is out.
"How do they look?" he asked a visitor, anxiously, the other day.
"Good," he was told. "They look now like the best of the expansion teams. They won't win a division championship, but they could surprise some clubs early in the year."
"How many games you figure we can win?"
"Three or four. Five if you're lucky."
Mecom's face fell a bit, but he rallied quickly, watching Taylor churn away.
"Maybe we'll do better than that," he said. "You can never tell."
He won't need a diet to lose weight if he worries about winning more than five games.