Brandon Marshall Comes To Geno Smith’s Defense
1. I think Brandon Marshall deserves kudos for putting his name on his account of what happened between Geno Smith and IK Enemkpali. Marshall told ESPN Radio that he witnessed the altercation, and that Smith did not stick his finger in Enemkpali’s face. That’s a different story than what has been widely reported, including the version I wrote last week, which the Bills had been told by an unnamed Jets player. There’s no way to be sure about what happened exactly that day, but Marshall deserves credit for being the first Jets player to give firsthand testimony with his name on it.
2. I think you can take this to the bank: When the Bills play the Jets in Week 10, Rex Ryan will send out Enemkpali for the opening coin toss as Buffalo’s lone captain.
3. I think one of the Dolphins’ most important offseason moves—other than Suh—was signing veteran receiver Greg Jennings. Sure, he’s a savvy route-runner who can mentor a young group of receivers, but even more important, he’s known Joe Philbin for almost a decade. Every head coach needs a player ally like that, especially as Philbin’s on a mission to connect better with his players. He wishes he had a guy like Jennings in his locker room sooner.
4. I think Ameer Abdullah’s the real deal, and here’s another reason besides the rookie running back’s 45-yard run in his preseason debut. When veteran Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy wanted to practice one-on-one pass coverage after a practice last week, he asked Abdullah to be his foil. “He’s so shifty,” said Levy, one of the best linebackers in the NFL. That says a lot.
5. I think I’m fascinated by this tidbit that Twitter follower @ctoncic pointed out when I mentioned the run of former Jets I’ve encountered during my training camp tour: The people calling the shots for all three other AFC East teams are former Jets bosses. Rex Ryan in Buffalo, Mike Tannenbaum in Miami and Bill Belichick in New England (if you count his day as HC of the NYJ, that is). And yes, those are the people running the show for each of those teams. Talk about making a division interesting. Has there ever been so much cross-pollination?
6. I think Mike Pettine’s reasoning for making a switch at the Browns QB coach position this offseason was very telling. “What we did not do a good enough job here, not nearly a good enough job, is holding [Johnny Manziel] accountable, even when he wasn’t the guy,” Pettine said last week. That was the main reason Pettine fired Dowell Loggains and hired Kevin O’Connell, who tutored Manziel before the 2014 draft. Rex Ryan once nicknamed Pettine “Blunt Force Trauma” because he can be painfully direct, but the fact that the Browns aren’t sugarcoating anything with Manziel, in words or actions, may be the best approach to turning things around for the young QB.
7. I think watching training camp practices always reinforces to me how badly the NFL needs a developmental league, namely for quarterbacks. This is the only time when No. 3 and 4 quarterbacks get meaningful work, but even so, it’s mainly a smattering of team reps when it doesn’t interfere with the top guys’ workload. That’s not enough for them to truly develop at the position. I haven’t met a coach or GM who doesn’t like the idea of a spring league to help harvest some of the raw talent that languishes on the bottom of camp rosters.
8. I think that’ll teach Robert Griffin III to give an honest, thoughtful answer about the mindset it takes to be an NFL quarterback. Whatever you think of Griffin, he’s been an easy target for the past two years. There was more nuance in his answer during an interview with WJLA than simply saying he’s the best quarterback in the league, but it’s a hot-take world and we’re all living in it.
9. I think this is an interesting look by the New York Times’ Dave Waldstein (my former Star-Ledger colleague, by the way!) at how new PAT rules introduced in the CFL seven weeks ago may provide a preview for what happens in the NFL this year.
10. I think I hope you read SI colleague Richard Deitsch’s column on the far-too-common sexual harassment of female sports reporters. It’s a frustrating but honest look at some of the challenges women in this business face.