Here are some notes around the NFL that are interesting.
1) Sergio Kindle- He certainly has his priorities in order. Studying the playbook until midnight?! Seems like a good first step. Being mentored by future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis about how to succeed at LBer in the NFL? Seems like another good step. Whether or not his knee is an issue or not, when he slipped into the second round it makes the risk reward on this guy go from sizzle to steak. His level of focus and determination has to be just a little bit higher now. Second rounders do well because they have a great combination of athleticism and resolve, minus the limelight. And now Kindle has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. Good for him. If the injury is not a long term issue, this is sensational value for the Ravens.
2) I commented on Brian Cushing the other day when the news broke, but want to reiterate those comments here in this post. This has to be front and center. It is not a coincidence that we are going from one rookie who wants to be Rookie of the Year to the next guy who IS the rookie of the year. Cushing has been suspended by the league for 4 games, most likely because of steroids. Commenting on players who may or may not be users of steroids is a minefield. What percentage of them use steroids? What percentage do not? Wonder gave us some great insight a while back, and Glenn (who works in the pharmaceutical industry and knows more than a thing or two about the underground economy of designer drugs Wonder refers to) was blown away by how perceptive those insights actually are, essentially confirming those suspicions. For us on this blog, we simply do not know where a player’s talent ends and the steroids begin. It is a brutal game out there and obviously more than a few are cutting corners to get there. I cannot condone the practice because it makes the playing field unlevel for those who stay clear of them. It is not much consolation to the non-user that he gets cut and the guy who took his job gets to die of cancer at age 50.
3) Eagles Receivers, 2004 vs 2009. What is really scary to us as Giants fans is that these Eagles WRs are babies, a rookie and a 2nd year star. They are only going to get a lot better. Obviously the response in getting Antrel Rolle was not only in getting help for a questionable Phillips recovery, but also for DeSean Jackson, whom Michael Johnson (and the Giants) got roasted on this pivotal play of the season. The replay does not show how Johnson is caught out of position, blowing his responsibility for Jackson. It looks as if Ross is culpable, but he was on the other side of the field trying to recover to make a play on what was NOT his assignment. Separately, Jackson had some interesting words about his former QB, Donovan McNabb.
4) Hayneworth was absent again from voluntary camp with the Redskins on Friday. That the Giants drafted Linval Joseph in Round 2 means that the chances of them ever dealing for Haynesworth are less than small. But he is cheap now; the Skins made the mistake of paying him off, so I would still do the deal. (You get him for 3 years now for ~15M or so, which is a bargain, since the last 2 years of the deal are voidable.) With Haynesworth, Perry Fewell could be deaf, dumb, and blind and he still would lead this defense to the Super Bowl.
5) Nightmare in ’87. Where were you when the replacements came? Just thinking about this sends me into a bout of uncontrollable twitching. Followed by violent retching. I am NOT ready for another lockout. Isn’t it bad enough that we have to endure ~6 months without football? To have to watch our team get sullied again by fringe players who we will never see or hear from again, that is a pain I will not endure again. In ’87, the flagship NFL franchise (aka New York Football Giants) took the high road and honored the league-wide commitment not to speak with potential replacements until after a deadline had passed with the existing players. When the Giants went to call these players, they found that they had already been signed by other teams. The proud and loyal Giants were skunked. They got buzz sawed by (just about) every other team in the NFL. All of the (good) replacements were gone. The NY Midgets then proceeded to get whooped, losing all 3 games. Between the Super Bowl hangover, a 15 game season, an 0-2 start and 3 replacement losses thereafter, 1987 was a nightmare I had worked hard to forget. I do not want to spend the 2010 season worrying about a 2011 work stoppage. We’ll worry about getting a supply a barf bags in September of 2011 if the need arises. Until then, let’s all just hope that the players and owners figure out that they need to settle this well before the midnight hour when the replacements get called again.