Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think much has been made of the decline of Jared Allen as a pass-rusher, but the three factors that mean the most to me are these: 1) He led all Vikings defensive linemen in snaps played for all six seasons he played in Minnesota; 2) he had double-digit sacks all six years; 3) in his best season rushing the quarterback, 2011, he had 66 pressures/sacks/hits of the quarterback, according to Pro Football Focus; last year he had 65. Maybe the Bears can spot him a little better and get him to take a few plays off this year, but I’ll take Jared Allen on my team anytime.
2. I think the more I think about Devin Hester on the carpet of Atlanta for eight games (with a ninth at arch-rival New Orleans) the more I think the Falcons made a good signing. His 14.2-yards per punt return last year, when he turned 31, was fourth-best in his career, and only once has he had a better kick-return mark than his 27.6-yards per runback in 2013. If the Falcons limit his touches, he should be a big factor in 2014.
3. I think the most interesting thing about the Bills’ future in western New York is that if they move before the current lease expires in seven years, the new owner would have to pay the state of New York $400 million. That gives a new owner a good chance to put a group together to either buy and keep the team in Buffalo (probably a long shot as the 51st-largest market in the country) or move it.
4. I think I would not be shopping All-Pro guard Evan Mathis if I were Eagles GM Howie Roseman. I’d be shopping for his groceries to convince him to stay for the rest of his career.
5. I think Tom Coughlin might be 68, but he talks like a man who wants to coach multiple seasons. “There is no number,” he said when asked how much longer he wants to coach. “I don’t have a number.” I wouldn’t be surprised to see Coughlin, if he wins, coach five more years. He’s amazingly young for a man in such a stressful job.
6. I think if the NFL had to delay even one game because of a goal-post dunk (and it did Saints-Falcons when Jimmy Graham did it last year and it took 15 minutes or so to get the crossbar straight), that’s one game too many. Good idea to ban a silly practice.
7. I think the oddest thing that came out of the month of March was news that the Saints will spend the first three weeks of training camp this year (except for travel to the first two games) at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. The place will install two natural grass fields and one artificial-turf field for the Saints, along with a 55,000-square-foot building for offices, weight room, meetings and locker room. That’s an amazing investment to make, one the Greenbrier probably doesn’t make if it’s only for one season. We’ll see. The Greenbrier is one beautiful spot.
8. I think, and this is an emotional thought from a 56-year-old man, that I hope the Bills stay in Buffalo. That city needs the Bills.
a. Hooray! Baseball starts in full today!
b. What other player could have made $144 million by age 29 and then hit free agency in his prime? Mike Trout’s going to do that, if his health cooperates.
c. My picks: American League division winners: Tampa Bay, Detroit, Oakland. Wild Cards: Boston, Cleveland. AL champ: Oakland … National League division winners: Atlanta, St. Louis, Arizona. Wild Cards: Los Angeles, Cincinnati. NL champs: St. Louis. World Series champ: Oakland.
d. MVPs: Dustin Pedroia, Boston; Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona … Cy Young: Masahiro Tanaka, New York; Alex Wood, Atlanta … Rookie: Xander Bogaerts, Boston; Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati.
e. Grady Sizemore starts in center field today for Boston in the opener at Camden Yards. Amazing story. Sizemore’s last baseball game: Sept. 22, 2011. That’s 30 months ago. Sizemore’s injuries since 2009:
• Left knee microfracture surgery.
• Elbow surgery.
• Hernia surgery.
• Right knee surgery.
• A second hernia surgery.
• Back surgery.
• Right knee microfracture surgery.
f. While we’re at it, let’s compare a season in Sizemore’s prime to the same season by the then-unconscious Albert Pujols:
|Player, Team, Year||Runs||Hits||2B||3B||HR||RBI||SB||TB||OB%|
|Sizemore, Cleve., 2006||134||190||53||11||28||76||22||349||.375|
|Pujols, St. Louis, 2006||119||177||33||1||49||137||7||359||.431|
g. Just wanted you to recall how great Sizemore once was. Not Pujols great, of course, but pretty good. He’s still just 31.
h. Houston manager Bo Porter is an interesting story. He played cornerback at Iowa under Hayden Fry. He once got a hit off Dwight Gooden. He’s a Newark guy who loves Bill Parcells.
i. The Dodgers will begin their fourth game of the season Tuesday at 3:40 p.m. in San Diego. At that time, the Yankees and Astros will not have played a regular-season game.
j. Mike Trout deserves $24 million a year. It’s always strange to think of a player making more in millions than he is in age. Trout is 22.
k. The times are changing in baseball. They’ve already changed, actually. The Houston Astros have a “director of decision sciences,” Sig Mejdal. He formerly worked for NASA, Lockheed Martin and the St. Louis Cardinals. He has two degrees in Engineering from Cal-Davis, and two master’s degrees from San Jose State in operations research and cognitive psychology/human factors.
l. Allie LaForce is good and fast and asks the right questions as a sideline reporter. And she’s got a heck of an alma mater.
m. The 5.5-minute delay at the end of Arizona-Wisconsin? Intolerable. You don’t delay a game for that length of time to look at replays. You just don’t.
n. Coffeenerdness: Gotta do better on the coffee, McDonald’s. Tried you two times in Florida last week. Way, way too weak.
o. Beernerdness: Thrilled that Whole Foods in New York is selling Bell’s Oberon Ale, its summer ale. A great, great beer.
p. RIP to the two Boston firefighters, Michael Kennedy and Edward Walsh, who were killed when a raging fire trapped them in the basement of a Back Bay building. They had the hearts of lions, as do so many firefighters across the country.
q. With regard to Jerry Remy’s job status as the color man in the TV booth for the Red Sox, he should not lose his job because his son is a psychopath who is charged with murdering the mother of their child. Even if Jerry Remy is somehow at fault for his son’s wayward life, you don’t fire an announcer because his son’s an idiot, even a murderous idiot.
The Adieu Haiku
Who wants ex-Eagle?
DeSean, Decker and the Jets: