1. I think Giants co-owner John Mara doesn’t speak off the cuff, so when he says on WFAN radio that he believes there will be two NFL teams in Los Angeles by 2016, you can bet that’s the scenario in the works.
2. I think the first rule of training camp fights is that they should never be taken too seriously. It’s hot, guys are putting in long days and a group of 90 über-competitive players are returning to an über-competitive environment after five or six weeks off. A little feistiness is good. (Remember when Rex Ryan asked Rob Turner to pick a fight with Vernon Gholston in 2010?). It’s a total stretch to say a skirmish like the one between Dez Bryant and CB Tyler Patmon has any greater meaning at Cowboys camp.
3. I think this reminder from NFL Network’s Albert Breer put Tom Brady’s 38th birthday in the right context yesterday: 38 was the age when both John Elway and Dan Marino retired. Time really does fly, indeed.
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4. I think Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk suggests an interesting potential outcome from the ongoing Deflategate fallout. With U.S. District Judge Richard Berman involved and pushing the NFL and NFLPA to reach a settlement in the Brady case, could this be the trigger the players have wanted to reduce Goodell’s power? As NFLPA outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler told PFT, it’s “better for the league, better for the commissioner, better for the players if there was neutral arbitration.” The NFL has always held firm against that, but this case is an extreme example of the legal and public relations mess that can result from the commissioner having final say over disciplinary issues.
5. I think it’s hard to imagine an NFL player with more work to do in training camp than Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford. On Sunday, just 43 days before Philadelphia’s season opener, he took off the brace on his left knee and did his first 11-on-11 work since tearing his left ACL for the second time last August. In 43 days, he has to shake off nearly a year’s worth of rust, become comfortable directing a new offense and build up the endurance required to run Chip Kelly’s up-tempo system.
6. I think the fact that Giants general manager Jerry Reese and VP of medical services Ronnie Barnes finally spoke to Jason Pierre-Paul on Sunday, for the first time since the defensive end’s fireworks accident in early July, means one thing: The Giants’ public pleas got through to their estranged player in South Florida. John Mara and coach Tom Coughlin did a smart thing, expressing public concern and frustration that Pierre-Paul did not respond to the organization’s attempts to help. Pierre-Paul, if he wants to return to the Giants this season, had no choice but to call.
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7. I think Matt Cassel will be the Week 1 starter for the Bills. The safer veteran option will win out for a team that wants to revolve around ground-and-pound and a tough defense. The bigger issue for the Bills than quarterback, however, is the offensive line. When Rex Ryan grounded and pounded to back-to-back AFC Championship Games in New York, he did it with one of the finest offensive lines in the NFL. The Bills had one of the worst offensive lines in the league last season.
8. I think I’m surprised that All-Pro guard Evan Mathis is still unsigned after all 32 teams have opened camp. Jets GM Mike Maccagnan hinted why, telling beat reporters this weekend, “Evan might have a value he’s looking for right now that may not be in the value that some of the teams want to potentially spend on him.” Mathis was scheduled to make $5.5 million this season before the Eagles cut him, so he’d clearly be looking to be paid as close to that figure as possible. Now it’s a question of whose desperation wins out: Mathis’ to get back on the field, or some team’s whose offensive line woes become glaring.
9. I think the promotion of Jacqueline Davidson to the Jets’ director of football administration is well deserved. It’s also another encouraging sign—along with Sarah Thomas working as an official, Jen Welter being hired as a Cardinals coaching intern and Beth Mowins calling play-by-play for the Raiders this preseason—that shows more opportunities are available for women in the NFL. Davidson, who is in her ninth season with the Jets, is respected among agents for her handling of tough negotiations—including the many rounds with Darrelle Revis and his representatives.
10. I think one particular part of the story that Peter King told yesterday, about Panthers special-teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven coaching this season after being told he has only three to five years to live because of prostate cancer, really stood out to me. DeHaven described his path from a farm in Kansas to coaching 29 years in the NFL, including the Super Bowl. “My gosh, I understand what Lou Gehrig said. I honestly feel it. I am the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Someone recently said to me that work is not life, but I don’t think that’s entirely true—and that’s certainly not true for a man such as Bruce DeHaven. Work is a huge, wonderful part of his life, and his work is also a part of history. That is truly living.