|08-29-2006, 01:49 AM||#1|
Draft Defense Early&Often
Join Date: Oct 2004
NFL preseason: What we've learned thus far
SoCals link: http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/5898746
As we limp into the final week of the preseason, let's take a few moments to review what we've learned through the bell-lap point of the NFL's practice schedule.
We can begin by transitioning from limp to prep walk. Our tour guides are the Minnesota Vikings, who may have qualified to become the Triple-A farm club of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Thanks to the work of now-former-Vikings receiver Koren Robinson and newcomer defensive back Dwight Smith, a few players may be required to pose sideways for their media guide mug shots.
Another accepted mode of NFL locomotion is the exaggerated swagger. Our newest practitioner is Trent Dilfer, who also works as backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.
Despite a pre-Week 1 victory over the allegedly mighty Chicago Bears, the Niners still seem prepared — the presence of 2005 draft hotshot Alex Smith notwithstanding — to compete in the Brady Quinn Sweepstakes.
This lingering mediocrity didn't prevent Dilfer from earning a pair of taunting penalties in a convincing Week 2 loss to the unbeaten Oakland Raiders. We're hoping someone reminds Trent that his current team is at least two years away from having a legitimate excuse to taunt anyone.
Now that we've dragged the Raiders into the issue, let's reestablish the following premise: regardless of ticket prices and our own NFL cravings, the preseason — sit down for this part — may not be very important.
This astonishing notion is supported by Oakland's 4-0 record, which represents a victory streak largely absorbed while newcomer Aaron Brooks has seemed as field-savvy as Mel Brooks.
The preseason is so crucial that San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson will pile up the same number of NFL dress-rehearsal carries recorded by Ricky Williams.
Further statistical evidence is provided by the Kansas City Chiefs, who — through pre-Week 2 — were last in total offense. Another indicator is Matt Cassel, the league's leading practice-game passer.
But even though these exhibitions have little staying power, we should not underestimate the following observations:
First-year New York Jets Coach Eric Mangini May Be Willing To Kiss Joe Namath About Now: With Chad Pennington and Patrick Ramsey checking in as the ranking Jets QBs with NFL experience, Mangini has refused to name a starter. He may be awaiting the invention of time travel, which would accelerate the learning curve of Kellen Clemens or take us back to Broadway Joe.
Chicago Bears Quarterback Rex Grossman May Not Be Very Good, After All: This controversial suggestion was advanced when Rex was unable to move the Bears offense downfield against the Arizona Cardinals.
This means Chicago-area critics may be forced to embrace newcomer Brian Griese, whose rollercoaster history includes an unfortunate sacking at the paws of the family dog.
Griese arrived from Tampa Bay, where he was one of two Buccaneers quarterbacks destined to be lesser pros than their fathers.
This doesn't mean Griese is a lesser pro than Grossman, who — many Chicago fans believe — will be injured before the Bears' second loss.
The Arizona Cardinals' Offensive Line Still Stinks: This is rotten news for Edgerrin James, who left the Indianapolis Colts' scoring machine to work in the desert.
Before officially pushing "Edge" into "Ledge," the Arizona blockers taught rookie Matt Leinart how to run for his life in his first NFL weekend. No wonder the kid wanted to be paid before showing up at training camp.
According to observers, James may be the best blocker in a Cardinals uniform.
In related news, the Cardinals have sold out their new stadium, leaving ownership with enough loot to buy another blocker or two.
Bryant Gumbel Is A Prickly Rascal: On a recent HBO shift, Gumbel — who also is employed by the NFL Network — suggested that incoming commissioner Roger Goodell continue certain protocols established by outgoing boss Paul Tagliabue.
These include keeping players' union chief Gene Upshaw as a "pet" on a "leash."
I'm wondering if Gumbel's incendiary remarks were intended to upgrade the Winter Olympics — one of his favorite events — by adding a dogsled competition.
T.O. Stands For "Tour de Oxnard": Oxnard, by the way, is a city in California that provided a home base for the Dallas Cowboys' camp. While in Oxnard, the Cowboys were treated to a stationary-bike race featuring first-year receiver Terrell Owens.
T.O.'s peddling presence may be proof that while God will intervene to mend an injured ankle, he draws the line at hamstrings.
For the record, the Cowboys now miss Owens even more than the Philadelphia Eagles do. In related news, a big-time Hollywood producer — inspired by the weekend success of another film dedicated to the exploits of a former Eagle — is planning a film highlighting T.O.'s days in Philly.
The working title is Incorrigible.
Deion Branch's Middle Name Is Not Olive: The (for now) New England Patriot's receiver may be asking for more loot than he's worth; but at least his hamstrings are healthy.
Tagliabue Needs To Write His Own Material: The departing commish recently was attached to this comment — "My main job is to disappear."
Anyone following the NFL will recognize the preceding as a training-camp statement made by Baltimore Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller.
Mike Williams Must Not Be Abundantly Bright: The Detroit Lions sophomore has solicited headlines by putting the wide in wide receiver. After snagging fines for being overweight, the former USC star announced his intention to embark upon a rigorous regimen of fitness and nutrition.
According to insiders, Mike developed an uncanny ability to snag passes with one hand while cradling a Snickers bar in the other.
The Washington Redskins May Have Made A Huge Mistake: With an offense that had been slightly more potent than a happy-hour cocktail, head coach Joe Gibbs decided assistance was required.
In addition to adding a couple of fleet receivers, Joe (and $2 million) hired Al Saunders away from Kansas City. Through two preseason games, it appears that Gibbs should have brought in David Blaine.
Denver Broncos Rookie Jay Cutler Makes Other Players Better: OK, this claim was hard to validate while lining up at quarterback for Vanderbilt. But Cutler's presence in Denver seems to have had a profound influence on the efforts of Jake Plummer.
Superstar Linebacker Junior Seau Received A Sweet Gift To Commemorate His Brief Retirement: A stopwatch.
It Could Be A Long First Year For Monday Night Football Analyst Tony Kornheiser: For the record, I think Kornheiser will do a good (no, make that wonderful) job for ESPN. Unfortunately, the multi-talented Mr. Tony is even more thin-skinned than Nicole Richie.
After ESPN Radio host Mike Golic said Kornheiser's first in-booth effort was "fine," Tony referred to it as a rip job.
The Seattle Seahawks Won't Stink As Much As Karma Intends: In case you've forgotten, the Seahawks are facing a double-whammy.
As losers of the last Super Bowl, they must combat a recent trend that requires the failing team to miss the playoff the following season.
The Seahawks also re-signed superstar running back Shaun Alexander, who is the cover-box model for Madden '07.
Don't believe in the Madden Jinx?
You probably didn't believe in Turducken, either.
|08-29-2006, 02:05 AM||#3|
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Colorado Springs
only one thing can be taken away from this article. and that is someone has way too much time on their hands to analyze the preseason like this