On Draft QBs, Trade Rumors and a New Rule That Might Change Football Forever

In this week's column: The truth behind the odd Josh Rosen-Jim Mora situation, the latest on a potential Odell Beckham trade, the next steps on the helmet-lowering rule change and much more
April 01, 2018

Rumors, factoids, league-meetings leftovers and draft niblets 24 days before the start of the NFL draft:

I know the first question I’d ask Josh Rosen in Cleveland this week. The UCLA quarterback travels to Cleveland to meet with Browns brass this week. (He has seven team trips scheduled by mid-April—Browns, Jets, Giants, Cards, Broncos, Bills, Chargers). Cleveland owns the first and fourth picks in the first round and will use one of the picks on a quarterback. You know that Cleveland GM John Dorsey at some point is going to ask Rosen: What’s up with you and your coach at UCLA? Last week, Jim Mora, fired as Bruins coach last fall, said on NFL Network that he’d take USC quarterback Sam Darnold over Rosen with the first pick in the draft if he were running the Browns. Mora said it was “because of fit” and cited Darnold’s “blue-collar, gritty attitude.” My jaw dropped when I heard that. And I can tell you the jaws of more than a few NFL people at the meetings in Orlando last week dropped too. Mora did go on to say that if he were the Giants or Jets at two and three in the draft order, he’d have the card with Rosen’s name on it, ready to turn in. But that didn’t get much attention.

Mora coached Rosen for three years. Rosen and Darnold are competing to be the top player picked in this draft. Oh, and Darnold played for UCLA’s archrival. Was Mora trying to slap the free-spirited Rosen with some tough love? Was Mora taking this TV analyst neutral-party thing very seriously and simply telling the truth as he sees it? Or was Mora trying to help his old quarterback avoid Cleveland and land with the Giants and a quarterback mentor he trusts, Pat Shurmur, at number two?

I spoke with Mora on Sunday, and he understands the tornado his words created. But he stood by his point that Darnold and his don’t-worry, be-happy ethos (my words, not his) would be a better long-haul fit for a Cleveland team that likely will take a while to win. “I put it in the context of ‘fit,’” Mora told me. He strongly emphasized the word “fit” in our conversation. He said Darnold has “the underdog mentality that I think will fit so well in Cleveland, a franchise that’s really been down.”

Of his own quarterback, Mora said: “Josh, I think, without a doubt, is the number one quarterback in the draft. He’s a franchise-changer. He’s got the ability to have an immediate impact. His arm talent, intelligence, and his ability to see the game and diagnose the game is rare. He’d come to the sidelines after a play and it was uncanny—he could right away say exactly why he made every decision.

“He needs to be challenged intellectually so he doesn’t get bored. He’s a millennial. He wants to know why. Millennials, once they know why, they’re good. Josh has a lot of interests in life. If you can hold his concentration level and focus only on football for a few years, he will set the world on fire. He has so much ability, and he’s a really good kid.” It sounded like Mora thinks Rosen would be well-served to be pushed by quarterback mentors like Shurmur (Giants) or Jeremy Bates (Jets), and to learn for a year or so from Eli Manning (Giants) or Josh McCown (Jets).

Much of what Mora just said in the last two paragraphs is what he’d tell an NFL GM if he called to ask about Rosen. Curiously, Mora said: “None of them have called, which is interesting.”

There’s time, of course, and Mora figures the calls will come. I’d be surprised if they didn’t, after the hubbub around his NFL Network comments. Rosen, by the way, got an explanatory text from Mora before Mora said his piece on air, but I’m told Rosen still was stunned by what his coach and neighbor said on TV. (Rosen lived in the same L.A. neighborhood as Mora, and he is friendly with Mora’s daughter.)

I have never heard of anything like this, even with the Giants/Jets note following what Mora said first. When Mark Sanchez declared for the draft after the 2008 season at USC, coach Pete Carroll was critical of the decision, saying he thought Sanchez should stay in school. That’s a little different, though, than saying the quarterback of your archrival should be picked above your own guy. That’s not going to help Rosen’s cause at the top of the draft. It will also be noted by teams that Mora says you need to “hold Rosen’s concentration level.” It’ll be fascinating to see which team takes the plunge with Rosen, and how they process the information they’re hearing out of UCLA.

“One thing I do want teams to know,” Mora said. “It’s desperately important for Josh to be a great player.”

Noted.


FOD (Friend of Dorsey) thinks Browns will go Allen-Saquon at 1 and 4. What would an April MMQB be without another draft rumor?! This friend of Cleveland GM John Dorsey believes he’ll go Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen over Sam Darnold with the first overall pick, keep the fourth pick, and take Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. “I would be surprised if he traded down,” FOD told me. “This would be his chance to take his two offensive cornerstones for the next eight or 10 years.” The most interesting thing there? That FOD thinks Dorsey will not trade. I think that’s great. Cleveland’s been very good at trading and stockpiling, and not very good at drafting, in the last few years. I hope Dorsey’s more about the (relatively) sure things instead of Cleveland leading the league in draft picks.

NFL
Rex Ryan Really Likes Josh Allen—and Tyrod Taylor

The next step in the controversial lowering-the-helmet ban rule is a month away. It’s now going to be a penalty for an NFL player to lower his head to initiate helmet-to-opponent contact, and the devil will be in the details on this one. The NFL has seven weeks to write the rule the right way; the league wants it done by the NFL spring meetings beginning 49 days from today, May 21-23 in Atlanta. About three weeks before then, the NFL will invite some eight or 10 people to New York for a summit meeting—four to six coaches, a couple owners or top club officials, and a two or three players—to get the language of the rule right. The other interesting parts of this new rule:

• Replay. Still to be determined, but it’s highly likely replays of the helmet violations will be handled by VP of officiating Al Riveron in the officiating command center in New York. The league does not want to add the element of delay into the system that would come if the referee in the stadium had to review the play on his tablet. The likely scenario is if there’s an infraction or ejection, Riveron and his New York crew will review (quickly, the hope is) and inform the referee on site whether the call is upheld or reversed without any sort of coaching challenge.

• Frequency. The league is hesitant to project how many helmet-lowering fouls per game will be called; after instructing teams in the exact rule this offseason, it’ll be up to the coaches to teach it right and the players to live by the rule. But last year there were 2.65 offensive holding infractions walked off per game, and 1.08 defensive pass interference penalties accepted. The best guess, one league official said, is probably between those numbers, between one and two fouls per game. Ejections? I’ll be surprised if there’s more than a dozen in 2018. “I think we won’t be ejection-happy,” said Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay. “We’d eject only with the obvious infractions. We will make it clear what the standard for ejection will be when we meet with the teams. We [the Competition Committee members] were actually caught off guard that coaches wanted ejection to be an immediate part of the rule.”

• The big change. One of the major boosters for the new rule was John Madden, who is the league’s co-chair of the Player Safety Advisory Panel and the head of the Coaches Subcommittee of the Competition Committee. “Coach Madden said he thinks this could be the final step to get the helmet out of the run game,” McKay said. Currently, helmet-to-helmet contact is allowed on running plays, the theory being it’s just too hard in close quarters of running plays to police when players bash helmets. The other area of adjustment will be in open-field collisions. When the NFL studied its 291 documented concussions in 2017, many players were seen lowering their heads to deliver a blow in the open field. That was a factor in making this a rule for 2018.

NFL
Joe Thomas on the New Helmet-Hit Rule: If It Makes the Game Safer, I’m For It

• Coaching it. “I don’t feel like this is going to be a revolutionary change to the game,” said Saints coach Sean Payton, a member of the Competition Committee. “I’ve got a big note here [to relay to his coaches]—our job is to teach the fundamentals. I learned a lot about teaching during my one-year suspension, coaching my son Conner’s team when he was in sixth grade: eyes up, heads up, wrap up. When we coach taking on blocks, it’s eyes up, heads away. It’ll become our dialog throughout the team.”

• Officiating it. This is the bugaboo. Calling this consistently is going to be very hard. As former officiating VP Mike Pereira said on SiriusXM NFL Radio: “I think it will be impossible to officiate.” That’ll be the biggest thing to watch. Along with the new catch rule, the officials are going to struggle making the helmet call, and they may struggle for years.

I find it ironic that in the wake of the passage of this rule, the majority of players who have spoken out hate it. They think it will change football as we know it. It’s ironic because part of the reason for the rule—maybe the biggest part—is to minimize the kind of blows that could lead to brain issues for players later in life, and here are so many players against what should be good for them. Ironic, too, that Payton is one of the biggest supporters of the rule. Payton spent lots of time before and during his Bountygate suspension at absolute loggerheads with the league on sanctions. Not now. Even though the final version of the rule is still cloudy, Payton thinks this is a vital change for the next generation of players.

“We owe this to the game,” Payton said. “Ten years from now, people will look at this moment and say, ‘That was a big deal.’”


There’s too much smoke around the Odell Beckham Jr.-to-the-Rams trade story to dismiss it. First it was Giants CEO John Mara saying in Orlando: “I want him to be a Giant. I can’t promise that’s going to happen.” Then it was the Rams doing nothing to debunk the rumors of their interest. Then it was Beckham, according to the New York Daily News, telling Rams players he would like to play there. Here’s what I think now: The Rams are definitely interested. The price tag—likely two first-round picks plus a contract averaging at least $18 million a year—is daunting and could eventually road-block L.A., but that’s not happening now. If the Giants move Beckham, the Rams will be in the game until the end.

There’s no way Giants coach Pat Shurmur would want Beckham traded; Shurmur took the job in January believing he’d have Beckham as his biggest weapon. Shurmur’s desire isn’t going to be what decides this, but it’s a factor. On the other hand, Rams coach Sean McVay isn’t afraid of taking on the mercurial Beckham.

This isn’t an easy one to decipher. The Giants already have a short fuse with the immature Beckham. He lives in Los Angeles in the offseason and could make it very hard on the Giants and their rookie head coach by not showing up for any of the offseason work, and holding out well into the summer. They may decide he’s not worth the trouble, and take two low first-rounders for him, and save all that cap money they’d have to pay him long-term—realizing full well it’s a deal they could soon regret. Look at GM Dave Gettleman’s history in Carolina. He had a big veteran star, Josh Norman, about to be a contract-related distraction for the Panthers in 2016. Gettleman’s solution was simply to cut him loose. If you told Gettleman he could get two first-round picks for a huge headache … well, I don’t have to draw you a map.

NFL
The Beckham Trade Rumors, Reality of a Manziel Comeback, and Rule Changes from Targeting to Kickoffs

I’d feel more confident that the Giants would dump Beckham, except for one thing: I covered the Giants in the ’80s, and I remember how Giants scion Wellington Mara, John’s father, overlooked all the headaches the great Lawrence Taylor gave the franchise for years, because of his transcendent talent. I saw Wellington Mara get emotional with Taylor after he played a heroic 1987 game. Mara knew how important Taylor was to his team. John Mara is very much like his father. So there’s that. This one’s a conundrum.


Yes, Beckham is worth two ones. The narrative in some NFL quarters that Beckham is not worth two first-round draft picks in trade—especially two late first-round picks, as would likely be the case if the Rams traded with the Giants. Check out the first-round receivers in the last three years, many of whom have “bust” written all over them:

Beckham was hurt in game four last year, his fourth NFL season. His average season for the first three years—96 catches, 1,374 yards, 12 touchdowns—was historic.

My point about Beckham’s value isn’t that because 12 of the 13 receivers picked in the last three first rounds have been underwhelming the Rams should overpay for Beckham. It’s that recent history says the value of first-round receivers is not good. And if you’re desperate for a receiver, and Beckham, 25, is in the pool, why wouldn’t you consider paying two low first-rounders—as the Rams would have to—in order to make a serious bid for a premier player?


“I think the quarterback class is a hair overrated.” So says former NFL quarterback Chris Simms, now a Bleacher Report analyst. I asked him to rate this class of quarterbacks, in first-round order, and he had some interesting thoughts. His list:

1. Josh Allen, Wyoming
2. Josh Rosen, UCLA
3. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
4. Lamar Jackson, Louisville
5. Sam Darnold, USC

Notable, obviously, is Darnold’s placement. “The most confusing thing to me is that Sam Darnold is definitely the number one or two pick by everyone,” Simms said. “I am not trying to be a jerk to the kid, but the skill set I see on the field doesn’t relate to a can’t-miss prospect. I don’t think there’s anything he does elite physically. He’s toward the bottom as a thrower of the football, and he’s careless with the football.”

Simms on Allen: “He’s got elite arm talent, a [Brett] Favre or [Pat] Mahomes arm. Elite athlete for his size, like Carson Wentz. People talk about his accuracy, but his pass-protection was poor, and he had the worst talent around him of any of these guys.” He likes Jackson, but, as most draft observers say, Jackson is hurting himself by not being available to do the pre-draft things franchise quarterbacks need to be available to do. “But he’s got the biggest upside of anyone in the class,” Simms said.

NFL
What Makes Baker Mayfield Tick—and Why it Might Be Problematic

The Josh McDaniels rule should not be called the Josh McDaniels rule—and I doubt it’ll ever pass anyway. I could never figure this out. McDaniels, the New England offensive coordinator, and the Colts had an understanding in mid-January that he’d become their coach after the last Patriots game of the year. When he jilted Indianapolis on Feb. 6 and told them he wanted to stay in New England, the Colts were ticked off. But as GM Chris Ballard told me at the time, “We’re glad we found out now. I wouldn’t have wanted a guy who wasn’t all in.” So at the league meetings, it was bizarre to me that owners wanted to pass a rule that would allow teams to hire head coaches before the end of a coach’s season, using the Colts’ situation as a spur. The Colts didn’t want the rule; they would have voted against it had it come to a vote.

Suppose this rule existed this year, and suppose the Colts and McDaniels announce they had a deal … and then, after the last game of the season, McDaniels decided he’d rather stay with the Patriots. Then you’d have had a real mess.

Neither solution is ideal. But I think the current rule is better than a coach signing with a new team, then continuing to coach his team through the playoffs.

The debate on this was interesting in Orlando. As someone in the meeting told me, 10 coaches spoke, and nine supported keeping the rule the way it is. Bill Belichick was the leader of the status-quo, according to my source. “Bill said, ‘We work hard to get to the playoffs. We tell our fans we’re doing everything possible to win the biggest games of the year, and we do everything to eliminate distractions. And then, in the middle of that, we announce one of our coaches is now the new coach of another team? And he’s going to coach for us until the end of the year?’ Bill also made a very good point about being employed by two teams at once. ‘If you’ve been hired by one team, you’re continuing to coach your original team, and you talk to some of the assistant coaches you work with about joining your staff—shouldn’t that be tampering?’”

NFL
Legal Sports Gambling is Coming, and the NFL Is Getting Ready to Capitalize (Of Course It Is)

The process needs to slow down anyway. It’s ridiculous that coach-seeking teams spend three or four hours interviewing the hot coach of the postseason, do some investigation into the guy, and then see other teams drooling over the same guy, and get pressured into making a deal with the coach. As one club exec told me in Orlando, the Yankees took four or five weeks to pick their manager last fall. Who knows if Aaron Boone’s the right guy? But the Yankees had plenty of time to figure it out.


Quotes of the Week

I

“Those guys have been in the war room a lot longer than I have. They’ve done an excellent job so far in the offseason. I keep seeing Sam Darnold’s name up there for the number one pick. But I think they’re gonna do what’s best. We got one and four [the first and fourth overall picks]. Lotta great players in this draft. Saquon Barkley’s one of them. Minkah Fitzpatrick, oh, lotta guys.”

—LeBron James, to sideline reporter Adam Schefter of ESPN, when Schefter asked James, “What should the Cleveland Browns do with the number one pick?”

II

“It’s a place where quarterbacks go to die.”

—Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf, the second pick in the 1998 draft, on Cleveland, to FS1.

III

“There were times when I was on the sideline and I just wanted to go up to Belichick or Matt Patricia and just say, ‘Is this how we’re gonna end this?’ I grew up in the Patriots system … I was close to going up and saying what I wanted to say to Matt or Belichick … I really wanted to go ask ’em, but I didn’t.”

—Malcolm Butler, on his reaction to being benched for every defensive snap in the Super Bowl, from a new video about Butler’s free-agency trek from the video team at Sports Illustrated.

You can watch this video and others in the SI series in a new subscription service. It is really good. I watched the episode, and Butler emotes.

IV

“The Giants are NOT getting rid of OBJ. He will be a New York Giant!”

—ESPN’s Darren Woodson, per Dianna Russini of ESPN.

You sure?

V

“It’s not meant to fix minutiae. Just as players make mistakes, officials are going to make mistakes and coaches are going to make mistakes. This is not a video game. It is a game played, officiated and coached by humans. It is what it is. We need to think about replay as something that makes sure we get the obvious error corrected but not destroy what is the game by making it a video game.”


—Retiring referee Jeff Triplette, on instant replay, to Jonathan Jones of The MMQB in our “Exit Interview” series.

That is about as common-sense a view of replay as I’ve heard.

VI

“I would imagine Deacon Jones was pretty unhappy when they outlawed the head slap. That’s how he learned to play the game—it was a technique then. But that was change that was necessary at the time. This is change now. Change is hard. It’s not for punishment, it’s for protection.”

—Competition Committee chairman Rick McKay, on the rule passed at the NFL meetings last week outlawing a player lowering his helmet and using it to strike another player.


Stat of the Week

There’s a lot of pressure on Chiefs sophomore quarterback Patrick Mahomes, with the departure of the reliable Alex Smith in trade and the signing of projected Kansas City backup quarterbacks Chad Henne and Matt McGloin.

In the last four seasons, Henne and McGloin have combined to start four games. Their record in those games: 0-4.

The only quarterback on the Chiefs roster to have won an NFL game in the last four years is Mahomes. He has won one.


Factoid That May Interest Only Me

Comments from the 32 NFL coaches and GMs in the league’s general session when the ballyhooed catch rule was presented for discussion at the NFL meetings, and then passed by a 32-0 vote: zero.

For football people, changing the rule that has tormented the game for so long was easy, because everything had been said. There was such a minuscule chance to stand in the way of the freight train that was the new catch rule that no one wanted to waste his breath.

Still, no comments? No discussion? Noteworthy.


Devils Factoid That Very Likely Interests Only Me

In five fewer games this season, Taylor Hall (37) has nine more goals than Sidney Crosby (28).


Tweets of the Week

I

II

III

The lyrical Yankee radio play-by-play man said after Giancarlo Stanton’s first home run as a Yankee, “Giancarlo, non si pue de parlo!” Translated, it means, “Giancarlo, I cannot speak of it!”

IV

V


Pod People

From “The MMQB Podcast With Peter King,’’ available where you download podcasts.

This week’s conversations, from the NFL owners meetings in Orlando: New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur and Peter Schrager, reporter for FOX and host for “Good Morning Football.”

NFL
Pat Shurmur on What He Really Thinks About Odell Beckham Jr.

• Schrager on the burgeoning rivalry between the Rams and Niners, and between young coaches Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan: “I spent a lot of time with both organizations down here; they are competitive as hell with each other, the head coaches are as close friends and as competitive rivals as you'll find in the NFL. McVay was the tight ends coach under Kyle Shanahan and now is the coach of the year, belle of the ball. Meanwhile Kyle just got his dream quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, and there's a healthy friendship there. They're still friends for sure—I've been with them where they interact and stuff—but boy, they want to beat each other. And the NFL, it's been a couple years since those two franchises have been at the peak of their game. I cannot wait over the next five years to see how it all plays out, because the GMs are young, the coaches are young, the quarterbacks are young, and the fan bases are both so hungry for it. I think Rams-Niners could end up being Steelers-Ravens over the next 10 years.

“There was a Week 17 game between the Niners and the Rams, and neither one of these guys would say it on the record and neither one of them has said it to me personally. I just know. The Niners gave it to the Rams. [San Francisco 34, Los Angeles 13.] The Rams were putting their second string guys in, they were already looking forward to Atlanta—the Niners rolled up that score and they ended their season five straight wins and they went into the Coliseum and blew out the Rams, and it might have been their backups, but McVay won't forget that. And I love that stuff.”


Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think the NFL, which treated any mention of anthem-related protests like the plague at the league meetings, is going to continue to have issues no matter how thoroughly the discussion of it is swept under the rug.

2. I think it’s only going to get worse if no team signs Colin Kaepernick friend and fellow protester Eric Reid, who is an above-average player with opinions. Let him have them. And let him play.

3. I think I wish Mike Ornstein, a longtime league staple and the most colorful character I’ve met covering this game, the best as he fights an infection stemming from a kidney stone at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. He’s had some starry visitors in the past few days—Sean Payton and Isaiah Thomas on Friday. Ornstein was at one point Al Davis’ right-hand man with the Raiders and lately a great friend to the Saints.

4. I think the fight for Jim Kelly goes on—a 12-hour surgery Wednesday in New York to remove his cancerous jaw and lymph nodes, and reconstruct the jaw using one of his femur bones. Three times in four years Kelly has thrown haymakers at this insidious disease. All of western New York, and the rest of the football world, hopes this is the time that doctors got it all.

5. I think, by the way, we’ve got an excellent series of draft preview shows available on Amazon—“The MMQB Draft Preview Show with Pro Football Focus.” I watched the running back show over the weekend, and until seeing it, I thought Saquon Barkley was flawless. He is not, our PFF panelists say. Interesting, too, how much they love Michigan defensive lineman Maurice Hurst, his health issues and all. Really good education here.

6. I think the Marquette King cut by the Raiders was stunning—he’s one of the top five punters in the NFL—until you realize the cash-strapped Raiders can save $2.9 million in cap money this year. I think GM Reggie McKenzie figures, and probably correctly, that of all the moves he could make, cutting the punter and paying a young punter the NFL minimum is the best of some bad alternatives.

7. I think this is the Good NFL Nugget of the Week, from Tom Pelissero of NFL Network: Desperado quarterback Paxton Lynch of the Broncos has enlisted the training help of Tom Brady body guru Alex Guerrero to prepare him for the 2018 season. Smart of Lynch to pull out all the stops to evade the bust label. This season is it for him in Denver.

8. I think it’s not probable but certainly possible to think that the Giants could make two trades before the draft: with the Rams for Odell Beckham Jr., and with Buffalo for the second pick in the draft. Let’s say New York did that. And let’s say New York, in return, got two first-round picks from the Rams and three first-round picks from Buffalo. Three? Three! For Buffalo to move from 12 to two in this year’s first round, and to get a top quarterback prospect, the Bills, I believe, would have to deal the 12th and 22nd picks this year, plus their first-rounder next year. How interesting would that be? It would give the Giants quantity, and allow them to own the next two first rounds. As you see here:

• In 2018, the Giants would have Buffalo’s 12th and 22nd overall picks, and the Rams’ 23rd. So three picks in the top 23.

• In 2019, the Giants would have their own first-round pick, Buffalo’s first-round pick, and the Rams’ first-round pick.

Obviously, in order for the Giants to even consider doing these deals, they’d have to believe they could eschew a drafted quarterback this year and Eli Manning would give them two more strong years (he’s slipped in recent seasons), and they’d have to have a willing partner in the Bills. Buffalo would have to be willing to denude the top of its next two drafts to get the quarterback it wants. I don’t expect both things to happen, but the Giants could do something historic this year.

NFL
Why the Giants Should Pass on the QBs at No. 2

9. I think teams should not be afraid of Baker Mayfield.

10. I think these are my other thoughts of the week:

a. Video of the Week: From the digital arm of the Arizona RepublicOf everything I saw or read in the past week, this had the most impact on me. It’s a teacher in Arizona, with two masters degrees, protesting her pay. It’s heartbreaking. We have to pay teachers a good, sustainable, living wage, with the chance for some savings,, that reflects their incredible value to our society. Watch and share.

b. Story of the Week: Wow, wow, wow, Michael McKnight and Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated. What a story about internet trolls trolling players and officials viciously.

c. This is a great paragraph in the McKnight/Bishop story, concerning a troll from Kentucky who wrote on the Facebook page of the wife of NCAA basketball ref John Higgins after the ref’s performance in a University of Kentucky basketball loss, blasting the ref. SI found the troll and reached out to him by phone. Contacted at work and asked if he has a few moments to discuss the Higgins matter, he lowers his voice to a whisper and, retreating beneath his figurative bridge, says, “No. No, I don’t.”

d. When I grow up, I want to be able to write a paragraph like that.

e. Great job by KHQ-TV in Spokane, with a revealing, startling look at the mental health issues suffered by former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien. The most emotional stuff is about how Rypien encouraged his daughter Angela to be a quarterback, and she played, and she’s been having issues of her own, perhaps because of the head trauma suffered in the game. Well worth your time.

f. Really good work by KHQ anchor Stephanie Vigil. That’s a tough interview to do, and she asked the right questions.

g. Rypien to Vigil: “If I can save one life by this interview, then I feel like I am doing my legacy.”

h. Coffeenerdness: I respected the kind of reporter Peter Schrager is, and the stories he has broken in his time with FOX and “Good Morning Football,” before he showed up in my hotel room in Orlando on Tuesday afternoon to record this week’s podcast. But I did not realize what a bloodhound he is, and how dogged and resourceful he is, until he reached out when I opened the door and handed me a coffee from Starbucks. “Wh-wh-what?” I stammered. That was certainly thoughtful. But then I find that’s not just just drip coffee—it’s my new usual, a triple grande smoked butterscotch latte. I demanded to know how he knew. “I’m a reporter,” he said. He wouldn’t give up his source, a practice of good reporters. Darn impressive, Mr. Schrager.

i. The Miami Marlins have eight uber-attractive home games this season: four against the Cubs, two against the Red Sox, two against the Yankees. Six will be finished tomorrow: the four Cubs games that opened the season and the two against Boston that followed. That leaves two against the Yankees, on Aug. 21 and 22, remaining.

j. Interesting scheduling.

k. You go, Nick Ahmed.

l. You go, Joe Panik.

m. I see the Dodgers have their hitting shoes on.

n. Happy Easter and Happy Passover, everyone.

o. I miss malted milk eggs, the greatest Easter candy in history.

p. I’ll miss Loyola, but the right two teams are in the championship game tonight. Give me Villanova 62, Michigan 57.


The Adieu Haiku

The Gronk returneth.
Patriot Nation, joyous.
Vince McMahon. He's blue.

• Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)