PALM BEACH - It'll cost you 900 a night to stay at The Breakers Hotel here in Palm Beach. They'll leave the light on fer ya!
During NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's press conference Tuesday evening, there was a question about whether it was appropriate for Sean Payton to have a hand in hiring his interim replacement. I don't get that - the guy's suspended for coaching for a year but he can't have involvement in deciding who runs his team? Suspended from coaching means suspended from coaching not suspended from picking a replacement coach.
Donte Stallworth can still play says his former coach in Washington, Mike Shanahan. "He's really a team guy. Can still run. Very physical. That was a good get for the Patriots," said Shanahan on Tuesday. Stallworth has only caught 41 balls since leaving New England in 2008. He caught 46 in his one season with the Patriots in 2007. "I'm happy we have Donte Stallworth back in our offense," Robert Kraft said. "We really liked it when he was there with us so we're excited about that."
Another free agent pickup by the Patriots was former Raiders linebacker Trevor Scott. Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie had this to say about the player he never worked with directly but did make a personnel decision on. "He came off of an ACL injury and played last year. We just felt like he was one of those guys, if he was available later on in free agency we would have considered him but we decided to move on from him. Prior to his ACL injury he had some production. Hard working guy. Tough guy. You'll like the way he plays. I'm sure he'll do well in New England in a rotation-type situation."
I spoke with Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt and he felt that, given a little more time, Peyton Manning would have been in Arizona. The reason it didn't happen? Manning wanted to go through all his options and make a very deliberate decision. The Cardinals had a looming option they had to pick up on Kevin Kolb. If they didn't pick up the option and didn't get Manning, they ran the risk of entering the season with just John Skelton as their experience at the position. The Cardinals had to play it safe. They picked up the option. But if they were still in the race when Manning was done his research? He might not be a Bronco.
When the player suspensions are handed down to the Saints, you have to figure the most egregious offenders will get at least eight games. If a PED suspension is four games and an Albert Haynesworth head stomp in the heat of battle is five games, an orchestrated betrayal of their peers' health and safety for a few hundred bucks and some "attaboys" warrants at least half a season.
I think its fair to say that non-contract bonus payments have been happening throughout the league more frequently than we would like, and that is going to be discontinued, Goodell said during his Monday press conference. That, folks, is referring to big play pools for sacks, picks or touchdowns. Not attempting to knock out and injure opponents.
On Sunday, Woody Johnson spent 12 minutes asserting and reasserting that Tim Tebow is a backup. "I look at him as a versatile . . . as a backup quarterback No. 1. Mark Sanchez is our starter. He's a backup quarterback that can do a lot of things. Whether he's like Brad Smith or you can compare him to whoever you like. But I think he gives us a versatility particularly in our division in our conference that will be helpful to us. He's gonna be hard to prepare for, one would think, along with our team." Then, about an hour later, you have Rex Ryan putting an actual play count on Tebow saying he could play upwards of 20 plays a game at quarterback. Teams run about 1,000 plays a season (the Pats ran 1,082 last year, most in the AFC; the Jets ran 1,030). So about 320 plays? 32 percent of the offensive snaps? He's not going to play 320 snaps. So why even say it? What a mess.
It will be interesting to see what the Patriots have planned for the fullback position in 2012.The signings of Spencer Larsen and Tony Fiammetta make you wonder if their role will be to take the ball security and goal line carries of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. As terrific as BJGE was in taking care of the ball and inside the 5-yard line, he was not a great fit as a bellcow back because he just didn't make the first tackler miss often enough. That showed up clearly in 2011.
I think the league is going to regret docking the Redskins and Cowboys for 36 million and 10 million against the cap this season. It's gonna get messy.