Quotes of the Week
“Russell has won more games through his first two seasons than any quarterback in history. He also became only the second African American quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl. And the best part about it is nobody commented on it, which tells you the progress that we’ve made.”
—President Obama, on quarterback Russell Wilson, during the White House ceremony celebrating the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory on Wednesday.
“I am sorry that Marshawn is not here, because I just wanted to say how much I admire his approach to the press. (Laughter.) I wanted to get some tips from him.”
—Obama, joking (we think), about the reclusive and absent Marshawn Lynch.
“I’m not going to get into speculating on what’s going to happen, what could happen, what will happen. There’s nothing really I could further add to this line of questioning. You can take bamboo shoots and stick them under my fingernails, and there still wouldn’t be any more I could add further to this discussion.”
—San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, in a testy exchange with San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami concerning the organization’s stance on oft-accused linebacker Aldon Smith.
“I haven’t played football in a long time. We’ve been practicing to be track stars through this whole draft process, so it’s good going out there and competing.”
—Dolphins first-round tackle Ju’Wuan James, as he prepared to take the field to practice actual football at a Miami minicamp this weekend. Out of the mouths of first-round picks … He is speaking, of course, about how football players practice combine and Pro Day drills throughout the winter and spring—not football activities exclusively.
“He’s a man’s man. He knows how to lead alpha males. The culture that he’s forming here with the help of [GM] Phil Emery and the McCaskeys and everyone upstairs, I’ve never been around it. He puts us in position every single day to grow as men.”
—Brandon Marshall, expressing his appreciation to Bears coach Marc Trestman at a press conference announcing the wide receiver’s three-year contract extension.
The press conference, from a distance, seemed extraordinary for how many people Marshall included in his gratitude. Marshall, according to Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune, thanked 56 different people for the contract—including Bears media czar Jim Christman, for his counsel, for fixing his tie, for the post-game gum, and for the Chapstick. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a football player thank that many people for making his life so good.
Factoids of the Week That May Interest Only Me
You have gotten to know Andy Benoit, I am sure, from his exhaustive work at The MMQB over the past year. He’s insightful and football-insatiable, and a delightful guy to be around. The other day, Andy, who was on the East Coast to do some homework at NFL Films, stopped by and a few of us at The MMQB met him for lunch downstairs from our midtown Manhattan offices.
Andy is a bachelor. He lives in Boise. He told us he has two cats: the quite unathletic Mister Fizzles, whom he inherited from his sister a couple of years ago (“Mister Fizzles might have been raised by potheads; that is just not an agile cat,” Andy said), and the athlete in the feline family, Othercat.
“I didn’t know what to call him,”Andy reported. “He just came into my place one day. He came right into my living room, like he’d been there for years. I was caught off-guard by his bravado, and whenever I spoke to Mr. Fizzles I felt obligated to speak to the other cat in the room too. So I just started calling him ‘Othercat.’ Not ‘Other [space] Cat.’ One word: Othercat. It just stuck. One day my parents were over for dinner and they were aghast at the name, implored me to change it and that’s when I dug in my heels.”
“I did genuinely believe—and still believe—that it is a great name.”
Othercat evidently likes the name, according to Benoit. “I call out the door, ‘Othercat!’ And he appears!”
Andy Benoit likes two drinks and two drinks only: water and skim milk. He recently had ginger ale for the first time.
“It’s like Sprite,” he reported. “Only more sophisticated.”
Mr. Starwood Preferred Travel Note of the Week
Because I have not been to Portland, Ore., much in my life, I didn’t know the city had a thriving community of food trucks and carts. Last Tuesday, on a walk through downtown Portland, I was amazed to see an incredible variety of food available in small trailers, all set up in an open-air parking lot in the center of the city, facing out on a square of sidewalks surrounding the parking lot. Transylvania food. Iraqi food. Georgian food. (Not Georgia the southern state; Georgia the country, halfway around the world.)
I was walking at about 7:30 in the morning, and so most of the carts weren’t open yet. But if you came back at lunchtime, here’s a sample in one square block what you could have had for your midday meal:
Basil pesto penne … Chocolate crepes … Tofu burrito … Chicken paprikash … A sausage cooked in a cheesy pretzel dough … A German bratwurst … Fresh lamb Green salad … Lemongrass noodle salad, with tofu … Fried mahi-mahi, with mac and cheese … Fresh Peruvian bean bowl … Yakitori (salted and peppered Japanese chicken thighs) … Scottish fish and chips … Gluten-free meat loaf platter … A “Spicy Goat” waffle, with peppered salami, arugula and pistachios … A Cajun shrimp hoagie … A Philly cheesesteak … Stuffed Georgian dumplings … Fresh Brazilian roast coffee, the aroma of which filled the air as Portlandians walked to work.
That’s all in one square block.
Ole Latte, where the Brazilian roast was brewing, was thriving among the morning commuters going to work downtown. The 27-year-old barista, Rachael Metzger (“Barista is another word for daytime bartender,” she said), filled me in on the culture. “Obviously the overhead’s not as much as the brick-and-mortar stores,” she said. “And it gives such a variety to the food scene in Portland. People just love coming to the food trucks and food carts.”
No time to chat. Customers.
“Hey David! Costa Rica today?” Rachael said.
David: “Nooooo. Brazil. My favorite. How was your weekend, Rachael?”
Stat of the Week
With the Packers’ plans to use Julius Peppers as a hybrid defensive weapon—part rush outside linebacker, part two-way defensive end, part three-technique tackle—I think the 34-year-old free-agent will turn out to be a good investment for Green Bay. But defensive coordinator Dom Capers will have to be imaginative to reverse the recent decline in Peppers’ game. Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy is obviously hoping the combination of being rejuvenated (the Packers were Peppers’ first choice in free agency), being able to hide in Green Bay (he’s a reserved guy), having another good pass-rush threat in Clay Matthews opposite him (if Matthews can stay healthy), and having a defensive coordinator (Capers) who will know how to free him up bodes well for Peppers in 2014. As these Pro Football Focus numbers show from his four seasons in Chicago, Capers and Peppers will have to be on their game to make the Pack’s three-year investment worth it:
|Year||Plays||Sacks||QB hits||Pressures||Total QB sacks/pressures/hits|
Tweets of the Week
Always announce ticket price increases the friday of a holiday weekend, make sure ownership is not quoted
— Jim Steeg (@jimsteeg) May 24, 2014
Steeg is the former NFL director of special events, and current NFL sage-in-retirement.
Almost every franchise has been in the gutter before. Win at all costs defines NFL just like it defined #Packers Mon. So risky. Just say no.
— Bob McGinn (@BobMcGinn) May 20, 2014
The veteran scribe for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was referring to the Packers’ signing of troubled Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla as an undrafted free agent.
For once, I’d disagree with McGinn—but only if Packers GM Ted Thompson has a one-strike-and-you’re-out policy with Lyerla. If so, I have no problem with giving a potential bad seed one redemptive chance.
I know you can’t suppress news. But how long before another rampage from someone who wants to be famous like Elliot Rodger?
— Scott Simon (@nprscottsimon) May 25, 2014
The NPR host posed this question on Saturday night in the wake of another slaughter, this one killing seven and wounding six near a college campus in California, by another demented kid with a grudge against people and access to guns.
@RealPeterson21 wideouts regularly have career days on u. They ask u to stop them. Not let them score at will.
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) May 23, 2014