Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think this is what I liked about Week 3:
a. The blitz pickup by Jamaal Charles. Did you see how he demolished Eagles safety Earl Wolff?
b. Dontari Poe. When former KC GM Scott Pioli picked Poe, he was supposed to be the most perplexing prospect in the 2012 draft—a 346-pound defensive tackle who could run a 40 in under five seconds but had questions about his desire. He’s been a disruptive player for defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, and has 3.5 sacks through three games. He swatted down a Mike Vick pass Thursday.
c. Philadelphia Inquirer headline Friday morning: “Reid It And Weep.”
d. Good reporting by Mike Reiss, too, with the story of Rob Ninkovich’s contract extension through 2016 in New England.
e. Antonio Gates and another one-handed catch.
f. Fantastic touchdown throw from Brian Hoyer to Jordan Cameron. In stride.
g. I kept hearing Johnathan Franklin was looking like a bust, and then he went out and ran for 103 yards on 13 carries against the Bengals. Had a big fumble late, but the Packers know they’ve got good depth in the backfield for the first time in a while.
h. Chuck Pagano can coach.
i. Speaking of coaches off to good starts: Joe Philbin, a Bay Stater, is tied with the team he grew up loving, the Patriots, at 3-0 atop the AFC East. And Marc Trestman is proving he should have had his NFL head-coaching chance a long time ago.
j. Geno Smith’s intriguing. Makes too many errors, but he also makes two or three throws a game that make you say: This guy’s got a real chance to make it.
k. Santonio Holmes, five catches for 154 yards. Not bad for a guy who didn’t know if he’d be playing at all this year.
l. Think of the Eagles without LeSean McCoy and his 132 rushing yards a game. Yikes. Big trouble.
m. Ezekiel Ansah caught RG3 from behind Sunday. I think that says a little more about Ansah right now. The guy’s got difference-making speed.
n. Brandon Fields makes a difference every week as Miami’s punter.
2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 3:
a. Mike Vick reverting to the turnover-prone Mike Vick.
b. Aldon Smith and Von Miller, top-10 picks in 2011 and big, big stars. Miller is suspended for six weeks. Smith will be out indefinitely. Disconcerting is what it is. Smith and Miller could learn from a player picked No. 11 in that first round, beneath them both: J.J. Watt. Now we know why Von Miller’s suspension was six games, not four. Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported Sunday on ESPN that Miller tried to corrupt the urine-collection process by getting one of the collectors to substitute someone’s clean urine for Miller’s dirty urine.
c. The first pick in the draft, right tackle Eric Fisher of the Chiefs. He got beat up by the Eagles pass rushers, and called for two penalties too. You mean there’s an adjustment period from the Mid-American Conference to the NFL?
d. How is that Dez Bryant red-zone TD catch not offensive pass interference? He pushed the defensive back down, then turned around and caught the pass. Yes, he and Cortland Finnegan both made contact, but Bryant extended both arms and pushed Finnegan down.
e. The Giants’ offensive line is a disaster. What a fall from grace.
f. Art Vandelay Import/Export Note of the Week: The four teams playing in London this season—including Steelers-Vikes next Sunday—are a combined 1-11.
g. I can’t think of any reason to be optimistic about the Bucs. I’m starting to wonder if Greg Schiano can survive if the Bucs continue like this.
h. Year too early on the Rams optimism.
3. I think Aldon Smith is trying to catch up to Lawrence Taylor, in all ways.
4. I think Von Miller’s lucky he got only a six-game ban. Very lucky.
5. I think I learned a few things from The MMQB’s Andrew Brandt’s interview with concussion lawsuit plaintiffs attorney Sol Weiss at a sports law conference at Villanova Thursday. They are:
a. Weiss, on taking the settlement instead of fighting the NFL longer: “People say you only got $765 million. I’d rather have that than $1.5 billion 10 years down the road.”
b. If players chose to splinter off from the settlement and fight the league on their own, Weiss brought up an important point, and something I’d heard previously: The NFL was prepared to show that players got head trauma in games before they reached the NFL. Said Weiss: “They were going to have to prove that the injuries they have didn’t occur when they were playing football in high school or college.”
c. He insisted that the pool of money would last 65 years, long enough for retiring players this year to live into their golden years. That’s a matter of some dispute. What it means, I believe, is that players with cognitive difficulties aren’t going to get the gold mine they’d hoped for. “We hired economists and actuaries and medical scientiests,’’ said Weiss, “and we are very comfortable there is enough money in that fund to last 65 years.”
6. I think this is one interesting take on the Trent Richardson trade, from former longtime NFL assistant Mike Westhoff after watching the narrow Week 2 Miami win over Indianapolis: “I think if the Colts had Trent Richardson in that game and could have controlled the clock better against the Dolphins, they’d have won that game.”
7. I think, ICYMI, I strongly urge you to check out two stories from last week from The MMQB. The first is Greg A. Bedard’s enlightening look at the NFL prospects of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Jenny Vrentas with the intimate details of a 63-minute ACL surgery. So proud to have both writers on our staff.
8. I think I never thought I would see a Tom Coughlin team look as rag-tag and feeble as these Giants.
9. I think I love the nickname Mike Florio has adopted on the grounds where the Cleveland Browns play: The Factory of Sadness. (Browns fan Mike Polk Jr. dubbed the stadium that in a YouTube clip.)
10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:
a. “I’m hoping my son’s death is going to save other kids,’’ says the mom of a 16-year-old Montclair (N.J.) High School football player who died on the football field five years ago. Parents of concussed athletes, please read this story about his death, a lawsuit, and Second Impact Syndrome, from the Newark Star-Ledger.
b. Speaking of excellent newspaper stories, here’s one, from Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, about the difficulties the Boston Marathon bombing victims face in returning to normal lives. Haunting.
c. Starting Tulane quarterback Nick Montana’s four-game numbers: 77 of 135 (.570), 919 yards, eight touchdowns, three picks. Son of Joe.
d. Couldn’t be more surprised about a baseball season. For Boston to clinch the division with nine days left in the regular season … I mean, bizarre. Baseball is such a mysterious game. I liked this quote from Red Sox owner John Henry to Gordon Edes after the Friday night clincher, referring to former manager Terry (Tito) Francona: “Tito used to say if we had nine Dustin Pedroias, we’d be champions. This year, I felt like we had 25.”
e. Congrats, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. Impossible to not admire those two retiring Yankees, no matter what you think of the franchise.
f. Also hard to not have admiration for Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters (who has sat 20 games all season) after his four-day stretch in Boston and St. Petersburg last week. Wieters caught four days in a row (big deal) and four full games—two nine-winning games, as well as 12-, and 18-inning games. He never came out. All on the road, all with wild-card-race pressure, and the 18-innning job after the Orioles arrived at their St. Petersburg hotel after 3 a.m. Friday from Boston. The totals:
Innings caught: 47.
Hours between first pitch of Game 1 and last pitch of Game 4: 79.
Batters faced: 190.
Pitches called: 748.
Different pitchers: 14.
Passed balls: 0.
g. Finally saw the last episode of The Newsroom. Other than the fact that anchors and producers don’t get engaged on Election Night while in breaks between awarding states to Obama or Romney, it was a pretty good episode that buttoned up quite a few loose ends.
h. Everyone seems to think The Newsroom will be back for year three.
i. In case you didn’t catch Jeff Garlin’s Ten Things I Think on The MMQB the other day, he said his gut feeling is Larry David will get the Curb Your Enthusiasm gang back together for another season—at some point. “I don’t ask,’’ he said.
j. Coffeenerdness: I might be mainlining Italian Roast too often at 1:15 a.m. I’m sure it’s not good for me. But I’ve tried the va-voom energy drinks. They taste foul.
k. Beernerdness: Flower Power IPA, from the Ithaca (N.Y.) Beer Company, was already one of my favorite beers before I found it on tap in Eastern Standard, the restaurant around the corner from Fenway where I met Greg Bedard and Pete Thamel for dinner Tuesday. But on tap it’s ever better—just the right kind of bitterness for an IPA.
l. Congrats, Max Scherzer. Took you a long time to get to 20, but that shouldn’t derail your Cy Young.
m. I’d be worried about the October Miguel Cabrera if I were the Tigers. Just doesn’t look the same.
Who I Like Tonight
Denver 30, Oakland 13. The story here is one of the game’s top left tackles, Ryan Clady, on IR for the year with a Lisfranc injury. And so the spotlight will be on a man getting his first NFL start ever at left tackle, Chris Clark.
“No feeling of fear,’’ he told me the other day. “I will not be afraid.” One of the reasons he shouldn’t be: Peyton Manning gets rid of the ball fast. For Manning’s sake, he better look to his left. Often. The man across from Clark, Lamarr Houston, had more quarterback pressures and knockdowns in the first two weeks of the season (18) than any rusher in football.
The Adieu Haiku
Yo, Spencer Lanning:
What a day you had v. Vikes.
You sell popcorn too?