As I open this week's MMQB, the final one before Peter returns next week, I would like to thank him for considering me to fill in for him. I am the first NFL coach to pen this column, and with that, I feel a certain pressure to make sure I provide his followers with something of substance. So, let's get started.
• We are now just 10 short days from the start of most NFL training camps. Every team can officially begin practice 15 days prior to its first preseason game; the Bills and Titans can start earliest because they play in the annual Hall of Fame game Aug. 9 in Canton, Ohio.
One of the great things about our league is the optimism each team and its fan base share at the start of a new year. History has told us there will be four to six new playoff teams this season. Who are this year's Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens or Arizona Cardinals? If I had to choose one non-playoff team from last season that has a chance to make it into the 2009 postseason it would be the New York Jets. I think
• So, Peter, what's with putting the Saints
• A tip of my visor to NFL commissioner
• If there is one player who climbs right back into the pilot's seat this season and doesn't miss a beat, it's
When we signed
Clearly the business of building teams is not an exact science, but I can say with certainty that players like Brees, Brady and
• What a coup for ESPN to get
Having spent some time with Jon this offseason, I was reminded his passion for our game is unchallenged, his desire and knowledge of our game is unquestioned. He will make his mark in television, just as he did every year on the sideline. In 1997, he gave me my first NFL job. I prefer him up in a television booth somewhere with a coat and tie on, but I know it's only a matter of time until he's back on the sidelines causing us all fits once again.
• A lot has been written and discussed regarding the tragic death of
1. I think everyone reading this column wishes the best and a full recovery to Eagles defensive coordinator
2. I think former Saints linebacker
3. I think I heard that
4. I think
5. I think the day the Texans opened their new stadium,
6. I think congratulations are in order to our favorite NFL writer, Peter King. During next month's Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement festivities, Peter will be honored with the prestigious Dick McCann Memorial Award, given to Peter by his peers in recognition of his long and distinguished career as a pro football writer. Well deserved.
7. I think
8. I think these are my New Orleans, La., thoughts of the week:
a. A long and loud standing ovation should go out to the state of Louisiana, Governor
b. I think the City of New Orleans is fortunate that its two major sports franchises have leaders like Drew Brees and Hornets point guard
9. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. I think that
b. The Drake Hotel in Chicago has a long and storied tradition with a great location and great views of Lake Michigan. History has it that one of the rooms is haunted. If you can get there, it makes for a perfect step back in time. They say
c. Craziest thing I have seen in awhile. In early June, I had a chance to take a trip back to my hometown of Chicago. Just a simple golf weekend, a Cubs game at Wrigley and a nice steak at Gibson's. While I was enjoying the Cubs game against the Twins, outfielder
d. Congrats to the U.S. men's national soccer team, finishing second in the recent Confederations Cup in South Africa. In the coming weeks, they will play Mexico in a 2010 World Cup qualifying match in Mexico City. In 23 games, the U.S. has never defeated the Mexicans on their home soil (0-22-1), but this is the year it could happen. I believe they have their best chance to beat Mexico and I think we should all be pulling for the upset and support this team.
e. If you're looking for the best sand beaches in America, look no further than the Fort Walton beaches along Florida's panhandle. They are fantastic. Our family has vacationed here the past five years. I am actually typing feverishly to meet my deadline as I sit on my porch overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Plenty of sunshine and not overly crowded. If you like getting in crystal clear water, swimming and surfing, you will love this spot. The water temperature is perfect, high 70s, low 80s. A great place to visit and I use it to unwind before the rigors of the 24-7 NFL season.
10. I think I like working on an upcoming game plan more than I do writing a column. I was terrible in English and I have to thank