We all know the NFL headline machine never really gets unplugged, but the next two months unfold at the most leisurely pace of any on the league's calendar. While we wait for things to pick up, here's a sneak peek at 10 of the most intriguing topics I want to know more about once training camps start springing to life in late July.
All indications point toward Jones being reinstated by NFL commissioner
That said, for now I'm buying the notion that Jerry Jones' calculated gamble is going to pay some dividends this year. They call them the Cowboys not the Choir Boys, but Dallas does have an asset at its disposal in player development consultant
Russell really didn't have a rookie season to speak of in 2007, and that's only going to cost him in terms of Year 2 development. It's clear the Raiders don't want to put too much of the offensive burden on their young starter's shoulders, and that spells plenty of work for running backs
But you can't exactly hide a quarterback in the NFL, and that's why it could get ugly at times for Russell this season. My hunch is that Oakland head coach
Put me down for the doubleheader of Potomac-area positive vibes being generated by the league's two most energetic and enthusiastic new head coaches in Baltimore's
It's almost hard at this point to remember when Baltimore wasn't
Got me. I really don't see whatever it is that
What's that definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? That's about sums it up in Chicago.
You don't have to remind
The Saints at least have a nice big early target to shoot for in Week 1, when they open the season by playing host to their division's defending champion, Tampa Bay. Then come games at Washington, another NFC playoff team in 2007, and at Denver. New Orleans has re-tooled its defense nicely, and looks ready to take another stab at the big prize. But the Saints now know they have to be early risers this season.
This is New York we're talking about, so of course the good vibes will come to an abrupt halt far sooner than they should. Either
As sure as
Seattle and Indianapolis will play out their 2008 seasons under a different type of microscope than the rest of the league, given that Seahawks head coach
Their successors have already been named --
Mora and Caldwell won't make a collective wave among them, but the fans and us media types won't be able to leave the farewell story line alone all season. It might even make us all pine for the nostalgia of the
Keep in mind that Johnson won't really be giving up anything but some training camp sweat until he starts missing regular-season paychecks. That's when we'll know if all his bluster means anything, or if he has no intention of letting his mouth cost him real money. I suspect he already knows that his plan to talk his way out of town is not off to a rousing start.
When I saw McNabb early in training camp last year, I thought he was in midseason form. When I saw him in midseason, I thought he was toast in Philadelphia after 2007. So don't ask me which McNabb we're going to get this year. But if the No. 5 who wound up winning his final three starts of last season is there from day one this summer, we can all put the
McNabb finally looked comfortable in December on his surgically repaired knee, and maybe he really did need the year that it is said to take to recover fully from an ACL. All I know is that he'll never have much of a margin for error in Philly, and especially not at his age (32 in November), with all three of the Eagles' NFC East opponents coming off of playoff trips last season. As McNabb's 10th season as the face of the Eagles franchise dawns, it doesn't feel like hyperbole to suggest it's now-or-never time for him in Philly.
I sincerely doubt that a mention of last year's Super Bowl meltdown or a certain videotaping scandal will ever cross
The Patriots had some weaknesses exposed in the Super Bowl, especially along their offensive and defensive lines, but that just means that Belichick once again has been given all the motivational tools he could possibly require. Somehow he'll have the Patriots completely forgetting about the 18 wins last year, at the exclusion of their one, rather shocking, three-point loss. We can all count on that.