Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think the Ravens’ deal for tight end Dennis Pitta (five years, $32 million, at age 28) was smart and will pay great dividends. Two reasons: Pitta is the perfect complement to a strong outside passing game for Joe Flacco, a smart and sure-handed receiver who knows how to get open in small spaces. And Flacco and Pitta are best pals. For Pitta to count as about 4% of the cap over the next three or four years is very good value for the Ravens.
2. I think there’s no way I’m giving up two first-round picks and $12 million a year for a tight end, particularly one I’m not sure is going to be great consistently against physical defenses. That’s not a knock on Jimmy Graham. But two ones and 9% of your cap? Nope. Really good player. Not worth that.
3. I think now that De Smith has told the current player reps he’d like to stay on the job as executive director of the NFLPA for as long as they want him, the question is, Who will be the next generation of player leaders, and will they want Smith to continue when his current term expires in March 2015? There will be a new president and as many as seven of 10 new Executive Board members elected later this month, and the usual changeover in the player reps will help determine Smith’s future.
4. I think a De Smith-Sean Gilbert battle would be interesting, if only for this issue: Smith is adamantly opposed to an 18-game schedule, and Gilbert’s on record saying he’d be willing to give the owners 18 games in the regular season in exchange for a three-year path to free agency.
5. I think I cannot see a majority of players agreeing with Gilbert. I just can’t.
6. I think if I’m guessing where Jairus Byrd lands—assuming he’s not tagged by the Bills—I’m guessing Tampa Bay. His dad, Gil Byrd, is an assistant coach in the secondary for the Bucs. Not many instances of father coaching son in NFL history.
7. I think we all want to know: Jerry Jones, what were you doing at the Oscars last night?
8. I think if Peyton Manning flunks his 2014 physical—Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com reports the exam will happen today—I will eat this laptop. The Broncos are not about to let that happen.
9. I think the biggest sign that Greg Schiano will someday work with Bill Belichick in New England, and the most interesting personnel result from the last week, is this: New England could start three Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the secondary this fall: free safety Devin McCourty (round one, 2010), strong safety Duron Harmon (round three, 2013) and cornerback Logan Ryan (round three, 2013).
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Lupita Nyong’o. Awesome.
b. Nyong’o: “No matter where you are from, your dreams are valid.”
c. Great job, P!nk.
d. Great job, U2.
e. But you, Bette Midler, you are still amazing. What a voice, what a song.
f. RIP, Harold Ramis. Groundhog Day is in my all-time top 20.
g. Who can forget this line from the Ramis classic, from the long-lost and forgotten insurance man, Ned Ryerson: “Ned! Ryerson! Needle-Nose Ned! Ned the Head! Ned Ryerson! Come on buddy! Case Western High! I did the whistling belly-button trick at the high school talent show! Bing! Ned Ryerson. Got the shingles real bad senior year, almost didn’t graduate! Bing, again! Ned Ryerson, I dated your sister Mary Pat a couple times till you told me not to anymore. Well?” Just watch it.
h. The look Bill Murray gives Ned … one of the greatest in Murray history.
i. Wow. What a putt by Paula Creamer.
j. If this is it for Martin Brodeur in New Jersey after nearly a quarter-century as the goaltender of the Devils (1991-2014), and I hope it is not (the NHL trading deadline is Wednesday, and Brodeur is a clear number two in goal now for the Devils), it should be noted that Brodeur has 132 more wins in goal than any goalie ever, and 21 more shutouts than any goalie ever. All for Jersey.
k. Beernerdness: Thanks to my friends at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and especially Joe Horrigan, for taking us out to a place that served Great Lakes Brewing’s Burning River Pale Ale. Fresh and with a good bite, this ale reminded me of the San Diego pale ale, Ballast Point. Both have a touch of pine. This is my favorite of the Great Lakes beers.
The Adieu Haiku
Commercials. Which has
more—Oscars or Super Bowl?
Brick through the TV.