by Tommy Lawlor - ScoutsNotebook.com
* What do I think of the Super Bowl being played in a cold weather city with an outdoor stadium? I think the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills are pissed off. Those teams combined for 8 SB losses. Both teams were built for cold weather and earned trips to the big game by winning in nasty weather. I guarantee you those coaches and players would have loved to play a Super Bowl in NYC or some place like that. Dallas against Buffalo in cold weather might have been a different game. The Vikings lost to Miami and Oakland. Maybe one of those games would have been different.
Personally, I have no problem with the game being in cold weather. I watch the Super Bowl to actually see football being played. The elements being part of the game is fine with me. I’d love it if they didn’t play anymore games in domes.
* Did the Eagles make a mistake by trading Donovan McNabb within the division? Joe Gibbs thinks so. He feels that dealing McNabb to Washington was risky. His exact quote “I think Philly’s going to be holding their breath on this one.” I listened to Mike & Mike one morning for a few minutes. Golic predicted that the Skins would finish ahead of the Eagles in the division. His point was that Washington now had a good coach, good QB, lots of RBs, and a good defense.
Let’s look at a couple of things. First, Washington could be a better team. We see quick turnarounds all the time in the NFL. The thing you have to look at is how the teams compare. We’re not talking about a 2 or 3 game swing. WAS was 4-12. PHI was 11-5. The Eagles need to lose 4 more games and the Skins must win 4 more in order for them to switch places. That isn’t likely.
Next look at Golic’s comments. The Skins have a slew of RBs, but in order for that group to be Murderer’s Row you need a time machine. Portis, Parker, and Johnson didn’t exactly set the world on fire in 2009. I know they have excellent track records, but none of them is a young guy in perfect health. As for defense…WAS lost Defensive Coordinator Greg Blache. He kept the Skins playing at a high level. They are switching to a 3-4. Change can lead to some confusion as the adjustments take place. The best DB, LaRon Landry, is prone to making huge mistakes. See the Saints debacle. The best LB, London Fletcher, is older than dirt. I’ve been predicting his demise for years and kudos to him for staying at a high level, but as a human being he’s got to decline at some point (right?). The best DL, Big Al, doesn’t like the team, hates the new scheme, and wants out. What could possibly go wrong?
Back in 2002 Bill Belichick traded Drew Bledsoe to Buffalo. The Pats won a couple of more SBs. The Bills never made the playoffs with Bledsoe. There is risk involved, but the team that does the trading knows the QB better than anyone. They know his weaknesses. Also, the Eagles have shown over the years they can win without Donovan in the lineup. There was risk involved in the trade, but it wasn’t dumb or careless. The Skins will be an improved team, but I don’t see them finishing better than Philly. And remember that McNabb is a free agent at the end of the year. He, Shanahan, and the Skins will have to deal with questions about the future all year long.
* Former Skins QB Jason Campbell is doing well so far in Oakland. The Raiders are having good OTAs this spring. It is amazing the difference you can see when you have a veteran QB who will work hard and be a positive influence on the players around him instead of an overpaid, lazy QB who just doesn’t care.
* Where will TO end up this year? My money is on Seattle. Pete Carroll loves competition. He’s got a marginal group of wideouts right now. That may change if Deon Butler has a breakout year or if Golden Tate proves to be a difference maker, but the fact he slid in the draft has to make you a bit nervous about counting on him as a rookie. The NFC West is wide open right now. TO could have a big impact on the Seahawks.
* There has been some talk recently about whether the Broncos tried to trade QB Kyle Orton or not. He’s clearly not in the future plans with the drafting of Tim Tebow. Orton is a capable starter, but he needs good players around him. He can’t take marginal talent and lead them to the playoffs. There is a place for guys like Kyle in the NFL, but you sure don’t build a franchise around him. If the QBs in Arizona struggle this summer I wonder if Ken Whisenhunt would call Josh McDaniels about Orton.
* Marshawn Lynch is in a critical year. He has shown flashes of his potential at times, but hasn’t played at a consistently high level. That’s not good for a guy who’s had his kind of offseason problems. Basketball analyst Bucky Waters once said “that will make you as lonely as a hitchhiker with pets.” Lynch is now a backup with baggage and NFL teams generally aren’t real fond of those guys. Lynch needs to keep his mouth shut and play his butt off as the #3 RB. If he does, some team will want to make a play for him in 2011. Lynch has talent, but teams aren’t going to put up with a problematic player who is “okay”. Lynch ran for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first 2 years. That’s good production, but he’s never really looked like the guy at Cal who was such an impact player.