Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Huddle Up

Everyone says this is the worst sports week of the year, but it’s really only the worst sports 3-days of the year.

Three days with no Yankees is a little rough. The All-Star Game has some meaning that now directly affects the Yankees, so that’s good. And the British Open begins Thursday, one of my favorite events.

But mostly this Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday is a time to reflect and gear up for what’s next: The most insane preseason in NFL history.

Think about the Top 10 storylines involving QBs alone. So let's play Quarterback:

1. What will be the fate of Michael Vick?

He has committed a terrible crime, but paid a heavy price for it. He needs to be reinstated.

But what then? Who will take the chance on a 29-year old ex-con who has made numerous errors in judgment? Even for one of the most unique talents in the history of the sport?

2. Can Favre still bring it?

The old gunslinger’s got a weak wing. It’s the Vikings’ turn to roll the dice. This whole game of Groundhog Day with the media has gotten tedious. But the bottom line is if Brett Favre can still play, how can anyone deny him the opportunity?

Still you have to question his motivation, trying to stick it to the Packers, who treated him as bigger than the team for years.

3. Brady’s back.

The balance of power in the AFC (and entire NFL for that matter) evened out for one year when Tom Brady was lost for the year in the 2008 opener.

Now the Patriots are the class of the league again. Brady is fully rehabbed, and should even be pretty fresh after not getting hit for a year.

4. Bright lights, big city, a bit risky.

All of a sudden the Jets have decided they want to be media darlings. Let’s hand the keys over to rookie phenom Mark Sanchez, he’s got broad shoulders and rugged good looks. He’s exactly what we need!

The Jets traded 5 guys including a pair of defensive starters to move up in the Draft and get him. Do you think the Patriots act this impulsively?

5. The new king of Chicago.

It’s been a turbulent off-season and regime change in Denver. New boss Josh McDaniels decided to punt on 1st down and kick 26-year old franchise QB Jay Cutler into the wind. Now he’s Chicago’s problem, or as Bears fans call him, “godsend.”

6. TO is gone, but TOny’s soap opera continues.

Tony Romo may have finally put his foot down and helped show Terrell Owens the door out of Dallas. Now finally he may have wised up, and done the same to Jessica Simpson. The spotlight in Big D might just have gotten a little dimmer, so maybe it’s Tony’s time to shine. Until his next celebrity girlfriend comes along.

7. What will Drew Brees do for an encore?

In 2008, Drew Brees became the second NFL QB to throw for 5,000+ Yards in a season. And he did it without a household name at Wide Receiver. He may be the most underrated player in the whole league.

8. Whither Vince?

Maybe we should have seen the signs. But how could we? He was cover boy of Madden ’08 for a reason. He carried his college team to a championship and was tremendous as a rookie. Now he sits behind Kerry Collins on the Titans’ depth chart. Can he be washed up at 26?

9. Here’s…Carson.

After 100+ TD passes in his first 4 seasons as a starter, he played only 4 games in ’08 with elbow problems. Now his return won’t get as much pub as Brady’s, but will even be more important to his team.

10. Mourning Steve McNair.

Tennessee and Baltimore are just a few years removed from his energy and leadership. He’s just ten years removed from a Super Bowl appearance, and six years from a co-MVP. Last year we missed seeing him on the field. This year, he’ll just be missed.

And that’s just the QBs. Numbers 1 & 2 aren’t even on NFL rosters. While the NFL is generally second on my priority list to Saturday-variety football, it’s hard to compile these kind of storylines on the college side. At least before the season starts. At least this year.

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