Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think the NFL, in its thirst to get more eyes on more preseason games, hurts the product. How is having Pittsburgh and Washington play their second games on a Monday night, then play five days later in Week 3, then play five days later in Week 4 good for the game? The league is essentially encouraging teams to play non-starters by doing that. Minnesota and San Francisco played Sunday night … then play games four nights later. Why would Vikings coach Leslie Frazier play a single starter in the Thursday finale this week after flying home and getting back to the Twin Cities at 4 o’clock this morning, then having to get ready to play another game 3.5 days later?
2. I think, after this weekend, the Jadaveon Clowney Draft Sweepstakes has three leading contenders: the Raiders, the Jets, the Jaguars.
3. I think if E.J. Manuel can’t play in Week 1 against New England, I vote for Matt Leinart. Always thought he deserved one more shot.
4. I think the toughest thing about making my picks this year—you’ll see them in Sports Illustrated this week—is how I simply couldn’t find that worst-to-first team that happens every year. I just couldn’t find one. I hate the fact that my picks are mostly predictable, but this was just one of those preseasons. No stunners that I saw.
5. I think I feel for Kevin Kolb. Terrific guy, dedicated and all that. But did you see the hit that resulted in yet another concussion Saturday? It was hardly a ringing hit—the kind you see accidentally 10 times a game. And now, from Tim Graham of the Buffalo News, comes word this one could be career-threatening. When a hit like that threatens a quarterback’s career, it’s time, as Paul Brown used to say, to start thinking of your life’s work.
6. I think I’m just not feeling Hard Knocks: Return to Bengaldom this year. No buzz. No real excitement. I do like the inside stuff, and the control I see Marvin Lewis showing over his team, but there’s not a story that tugs at me.
7. I think I understand they’re still fairly new, and they’re relatively unknown from owner to GM to coach to the rank and file, but the Houston Texans are a model organization. The NFL was smart to go into business with Bob McNair, who was smart to hire Rick Smith and Gary Kubiak and stick with them. From top to bottom, that’s a heck of a football, business and PR team McNair has built.
8. I think the best play I saw all weekend was Ben Tate’s terrific block on the onrushing Will Smith, taking him out before he could clobber Matt Schaub. That’s the kind of play coaches notice more than great runs.
9. I think whoever designed those horrific new Jaguar helmets needs to go on vacation for a couple of weeks. Relax. Clear your head. Understand that America is fond of experimentation. But anyone who looks at that black and tan thing and says, “Cool,” is the same kind of person who wouldn’t tell the emperor he was naked.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. I doubt he’s an MMQB devotee, but Robert Mueller deserves our best wishes as he goes into retirement after 12 years leading the FBI. He took office a week before 9/11 (nice time to take the gig), and I appreciate everything he and his bureau have done in that time.
b. I realize that’s not exactly MMQB material, but I heard a great interview with Mueller on NPR the other day. He deserves our respect.
c. Larry David, for once, did a clunker with Clear History. To me, it plodded. Got through about 50 minutes and said, “Enough.”
d. Coffeenerdness: Thanks to the Bold Bean in Jacksonville for a great latte and and a better work environment. Love that place. Homey and welcoming, with local craft beers for the evening crowd.
e. Beernerdness: Saddest part of a late work night in Houston? Missing a St. Arnold’s Fancy Lawnmower Ale. Greatest name in America beerdom, and a pretty good ale too.
f. Happy 30th birthday, Laura King! Many more! Like, 70 of them!
g. All I know is, after the Jake Peavy performance Sunday night at Dodger Stadium—he threw a complete game against a good lineup—I want him to be on my team in pickup anything.
h. Hey! pay attention to my Twitter feed this week. You’ll have a chance to win a spot in my daughter Mary Beth’s fantasy football league up in Seattle. I’m in it. So there’s ninth place to battle for—with me.
i. That’s @SI_PeterKing for those new to the place.
The Adieu Haiku
Rex Ryan. Hot seat.
Jon Gruden studies Geno
down there in Tampa.