Patriots, Steelers, Giants ... Bears? How 32 teams stack up right now
You'll find one very predictable thing in common with every top team in my annual Tick Off Half The Football Fans In America Post-Free-Agency, Post-Draft NFL Power Rankings: quarterbacks. The best teams have 'em. The worst teams don't, at least not that we can see yet. Look at the top dozen teams. Every one has a quarterback you wouldn't be shocked to see playing deep into the playoffs this year.
It's still 11 weeks before most teams enter training camp, but the personnel hay is in the barn for almost every team. Maybe
New England was seventh in the league in scoring with Brady playing one quarter in 2008; it'll be in the top three, easily, with him back. With new young talent in the defensive backfield -- Belichick can mix and match all the toys he's gathered over the past two offseasons, maybe playing
I had a friend of
I worry a little about
Now, there's two things we don't know about Cutler and this offense. There's not a great receiver in the house and no promise of one on the way (Angelo should have guaranteed
Two: How good of a leader can Cutler be, coming in with the knock that he chafes on some teammates. It'll be interesting to see if he meshes well with
"I think you realize that if I was to stop playing today, I would look back and say, 'Man, I wish I could've kept playing and try to go after that record.' I don't want to have to do that. I want to be able to give it all I got and I feel like I'm close enough where I can make a serious run at the record.''
To break the record, Tomlinson would have to rush for 6,596 yards ... in his 30s. Not saying it's impossible, but the Lions going 12-4 this year is more likely.
"It all culminated when our quarterback didn't return calls from the owner. That's not the best idea for you young kids out there. You work for someone, you call them back.''
I said it then, and I'll say it again: Lynch is 100 percent spot-on. The Cutler deal had a lot to do with the relationship between him and Denver coach
"It would be a wonderful little salt to rub in the eyes of some of our Green Bay Packer friends.''
I wonder how many votes Pawlenty lost with that quotation. Think of it: My guess is the state of Minnesota has maybe 10 percent Packer fans. Just a guess from being there over the years for a few Viking-Packer games; it could be 15 or 20 percent. But there's a vocal minority of Green Bay followers. Very vocal. And here's your governor saying he'd love to sign your hero and rub it in your face.
"I think he should do whatever he feels is in his heart. But once he puts on that purple, he will become an enemy, which is all part of the game ... It's hard to imagine him doing that.''
If the Steelers could win the Super Bowl last year with the kind of slate they faced, what might they do this year? Charting the difference in schedules entering 2008 and 2009 for the defending world champs:
The blogging, the instant-knowledging, the Tweeting ... it's all getting pretty hard to follow. But one of the blogs I enjoy a lot is the football/human one of
It's amazing the coverage that football gets now. We're reporting critically on a wounded duck in a mini-camp practice.
McDonald also reported that early in the afternoon practice Saturday, "a hawk emerged from the field beyond the fence at the Oakland airport, flew through the air with a snake, and landed on a nearby communications tower, where it came under the scrutiny of a few other birds who were diving at his prey.''
I refuse to brag any more (after this column) about the joys of living in a city, particularly a city near the airport. But it's pretty cool when you can fly into Logan International Airport, hit the tarmac at 1:50 p.m., gather luggage, walk through customs, get in a cab, and walk into your apartment at 2:35. That just happened to me. I think we're going to like it here.
A week from tonight in West Orange, N.J., is our effort to raise money for SI's longtime pro football maven,
I continue to be amazed at the response. The other night, my phone rang. "Mr. King,'' the voice said, "it's
Thanks for your response to the big-ticket items last week. There is some wine that still needs a home, and two fun football weekends for two -- in Dallas and Denver -- that need bidders. But
For now, we're down to the deadline for dinner tickets.
Dr. Z/Nothing is Impossible Foundation
All tickets are tax-deductible. Donations may be sent to that address as well. For further information, please e-mail me in the box that comes with this column, or
1. I think I've been so focused on helping Zim that I've short-shrifted the Dallas scout,
2. I think if the Saints didn't have bad luck, they'd have no luck at all. In a draft already skinned to the bone because of trades robbing New Orleans of its original second-, third- and fifth-round picks, the team had four choices. And the third of those four, linebacker
3. I think the Rams' release of linebacker
4. I think that
"It's something I've always dreamt about -- seeing how we can merge Jimmy Buffett and the Dolphins,'' the Dolphins new owner,
I'm not trying to kill Ross here. It's good that he's trying anything he can to market his team to a fan base that doesn't buy enough tickets. I'm just pointing out what a strange reach it is. Stirring lyrics to the song Buffett wrote that the team hopes will become its theme song. "Kickoff time's approaching, we gotta shut off our cell phones, and get our arms up in the air. We are entering the 'FinZone.' ''
5. I think I love the
6. I think I don't have much illuminating to say about
A couple of important points: The right biceps near his throwing shoulder isn't right, dating to last year with the Jets. He also has to decide that he'd want to train the way he did two years ago, when he had a live-in trainer for much of two months at his home in southern Mississippi.
I feel sure the Vikings want him and will put up with this long hiccup, regardless of the outcome. If they think he can be healthy come August, and he wants to play, they'll have him. And if Favre feels that by August he could play with no pain in the shoulder -- either after having surgery or it going away naturally -- it's likely he'll play. No matter what is said this week, it's not over now. Even if Favre says he's decided not to play, it's not over, because he's ruled by emotion.
Now, could the Vikings tell him no thanks, unwilling to be held hostage by the emotion of the moment? Yes, of course. But they shouldn't. What
Then he should announce that the Vikings are going to give Favre the time he needs to see if he wants to play and can get healthy enough to play, and then the Vikings will see if it's a smart idea for the franchise to make a deal with him, and everyone's just going to have to be patient while this process plays out.
7. I think you might be wondering how two news organizations, Yahoo! Sports and ESPN, could have such disparate stories 24 hours apart last week. Yahoo's report said Favre called Childress and told him he's not playing. ESPN's said Favre will play if his shoulder's right.
Having been around Favre a lot over the last decade, I can tell you why these stories happen, and why there's a very good chance both are correct: Because it's hard for him to make up his mind (no crap, Sherlock!), and he keeps his own counsel a good deal of the time, and there are very few "sources close to Favre'' who have a good idea what he's planning to do at a given moment -- and even then, he could change his mind about what he's likely to do.
Good example: Last year, I sat with him for a few hours five days before he signed with the Jets. It was a discussion about everything -- playing, not playing, venom about the Packers' decision to not allow him to come back or start or release him. And when I walked away from that meeting with him, I remember telling someone who knew I'd been around him, "He's going to play hardball with the Packers for a few weeks, at least. One of the reasons is he doesn't want to go to the two teams that want him -- the Bucs or Jets.'' I told a beat-guy friend of mine covering the story: "He's not going to the Jets.'' Eleven days later, he's posing with a Jets' jersey at a press conference. Moral of the story (painful for me because I'm supposed to know the guy, and I keep getting his fate wrong): Write your stories about Favre with a big eraser on the end of your pencil.
8. I think here are my two cents on the fate of
So in response to a Twitter follower's question about Harrison a week ago, I tweeted that I was told reliably Harrison isn't going to play. His agent,
If I were Harrison's agent, and I was still holding out hope that some team desperate for a veteran receiver (Chicago? Tennessee?) might guarantee my client $5 million to play in 2009, I'd say exactly the same thing -- especially because I'd want to leave no thought in a future employer's head that my client's wheels are healthy enough to play.
Barring a big offer from someone, I'd be surprised if Harrison shows up on anyone's team this summer.
9. I think I agree with
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. I trust you all had a nice Mother's Day.
b. Happy graduation day,
c. And a happy graduation day to you, six days early,
d. I'm not going to give you any I-told-you-so reaction to the
e. And I would also say that
f. Coffeenerdness: I'll say this about England: It has to work on its espresso, in a big way.
g. Finally saw
h. Finally saw
i. Speaking of getting to know something about a world we know little about: I can't say enough good things about
j. Every time I read a British sports section, I feel like there's an inside joke and I'm not in on it.