Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think the most meaningless, dumb story of this offseason is the constant, unending, logic-defying debate over who is the Jets’ starting quarterback, and that anything done before the battle is joined once training camp is a tangible factor in who will win the job—Geno Smith or Michael Vick. To recap all that matters: Smith is the incumbent. Smith gets the first snap in training camp. Vick was brought in to compete with Smith, whose minus-9 TD-to-pick differential and 66.5 rating was the worst for any starter in the league last year. Smith and Vick will compete for the job. If Smith is better or it’s a tie or it is a close competition in camp, Smith starts. If Vick is markedly better or Smith flops in camp, Vick starts. Period. End of invented story.
2. I think no matter what owner Woody Johnson, GM John Idzik, coach Rex Ryan, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, Smith, Vick or John Carollo—he’s the team dentist; surely he is the only one related to the franchise who has not yet been quoted on the subject—says, very little matters until we see Smith and Vick competing in practice and preseason games this summer. OTA practices matter a small amount; but no matter what impression is left this month, it will be overtaken by the reality of padded practices in full-squad camp and in preseason game action in August.
3. I think there’s an incredible story out there, waiting to be written about Josh Freeman. It could be called: “How to ruin your football career in just 18 months.” In the span of the past year and a half, Freeman:
- Threw for 4,065 yards at age 24 in 2012, appearing to be one of the best young quarterbacks in football for a young Tampa Bay team.
- Had his work ethic questioned in Tampa, where he was mostly scarce on game-planning Tuesdays, a day very few if any starting NFL quarterbacks take off.
- Was benched by coach Greg Schiano in Tampa.
- Was cut by Tampa.
- Was signed by Minnesota last October.
- Completed 43 percent of his passes, a laughable figure, in seven games in 2013.
- Lost his only start as a Viking, to the previously winless Giants.
- Got cut loose by the Vikings after the season.
- Got signed April 21 by the Giants, who planned to give him a chance to win the number two job behind Eli Manning.
- Got cut by the Giants on Friday.
4. I think it’s easy to say Sean Lee is injury-prone and leave his latest bit of terrible news—he suffered a torn ACL last week when he was jarred by rookie offensive lineman Zack Martin at a non-padded Dallas workout—at that. But with DeMarcus Ware and Lee gone for 2014 (Ware was cut in a cap move), and defensive tackle Jason Hatcher not re-signed, I cannot see any way new defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli can make a strong defense out of what he has left in Dallas. Talk about pressure on Tony Romo. He certainly was looking forward to not having to outscore every team he played this fall. Now, the Cowboys’ only real chance for the playoffs seems to rest on just how high-scoring the offense can be. The defense will be one of the worst in the league.
5. I think Arizona GM Steve Keim (see Quotes of the Week) is justifiably fuming over the year-long suspension handed to Daryl Washington, the best player on his front seven. Look at the team with Washington and without him last year. With: 8-4. Without: 2-2. In his first game back after a four-game drug suspension to kick off the season, Washington sacked Cam Newton twice and intercepted him once, and the Cards blasted the Panthers. With both Washington and the departed Karlos Dansby (Cleveland, free-agency), the Cards have lost all their linebacker playmakers, and there’s no time or market to find spares. In March, Keim essentially handed Washington a $10 million option bonus to trigger his contract for 2014. Now Keim has to feel altogether double-crossed, and it’s certain the team won’t allow Washington to keep that money without a fight. Arizona also could move on from Washington, figuring a player the coaches cannot trust (suspended for 20 of 32 games over a two-year span) is worthless to them.
6. I think Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III deserves a hand for helping a Centreville (Va.) High girl ask a fellow student with severe cerebral palsy to the prom. This is a terrific story from WJLA-TV in Washington.
7. I think when Stephen Ross says an NFL team will be in Los Angeles within five years … well, I’m not saying he’s flat wrong, but I will ask this question: Now that Steve Ballmer has handed Donald Sterling (apparently) $2 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers, how many other sports-freaky people have $3 billion to $4 billion to spend to do what it takes to put a pro football team in Los Angeles? Speaking of Los Angeles, here’s a tip: Read our NFL 95 story on The Day Football Died in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Cool story.
8. I think if Will Hill can blame second-hand smoke for his positive drug test—the league suspended him six games for the positive test last week—I can blame second-hand pizza for my weight. And if Tom Coughlin takes him back in October, I will be surprised.
9. I think it is impossible to read this well-reported story on soccer match-fixing by Jere Longman and Declan Hill of The New York Times and not worry about the other football—fútbol—beginning in 10 days in Brazil.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Reader/Tweeter Scott Marler, @hunkish, asks: “I would enjoy a mmqb of you describing your approach to twitter, ie who gets retweeted or blocked.”
I’m fairly inconsistent, Scott. Most often, though, I have one rule: If you curse at me, you get blocked. Sometimes I can look at Twitter and laugh at the reactions, foul or fouler. Other days, if someone comes at me with total disrespect and is an idiot, that person gets blocked. I can’t define that; it’s more of a feeling. When Sports Illustrated asked me five years ago to interact with people on Twitter, I was told to go on for five minutes or so every day or two and answer questions. That’s how I started, re-tweeting the best questions and answering them. I still mostly do that, but I also throw some critical comments up, and occasionally a really negative one. I do not do that to elicit sympathy, but rather for two reasons: to illustrate the volume of those I get, and, sometimes, to embarrass those who send the vile or foolish comments. Hope I answered your question.
b. Holy cow, Edwin Encarnacion. You’re the most dangerous hitter in baseball right now. Encarnacion hit two homers the other night—16 for the month of May—that traveled the length of three homers in any ballpark in America. Wow.
c. George Springer: You don’t get cheated on your swing, do you?
d. I don’t know exactly how this is possible, but when I looked at the baseball standings Saturday night, Houston had a better record than Tampa Bay, by half a game.
e. Johnny Manziel throwing out the first pitching at Red Sox-Cleveland game Wednesday. Will Ortiz do the finger-rub cash sign?
f. My sympathy to fellow Hall of Fame voter Nancy Gay on the loss of her lovely dog Scooter on Saturday. What a great life you had with Scooter, Nancy.
g. RIP, Maya Angelou, who said in 2000: “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.” What a tremendous person to follow and read about and learn from.
h. Coffeenerdness: So I’m weak, and I just had a five-latte week. Just don’t tell the nutritionist.
i. Beernerdness: Thanks to The MMQB’s Robert Klemko, I got to try the new Maryland beer, Flying Dog Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale (now that’s a handful). Thought I’d taste some of the Old Bay seasoning, but there was none of that, just a crisp and new ale with a near-IPA taste to me. I liked it.
The Adieu Haiku
Freeman, cut again.
How were so many so wrong?
Two words: work ethic.