1. Just a few days out from the first preseason tilt between the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Browns, and I find myself thinking: not the most appetizing dish on the menu for the television execs, right? Don't get me wrong, these are two franchises with nowhere but up to go. The problem is that when it comes to sinking to new depths, these two teams have been the James Camerons of the NFL. Setting aside the past for a moment, I look forward to seeing a pair of unbeaten titans clash on Thursday night. Of course, we want to see the first-stringers come in and get off the field without injury--preferably after executing a flawless drive--and then it is time to enjoy unwrapping all the presents we have received from McLovin' this offseason. We'll spend the week going over who we are looking forward to watching most, but today, my mind is fixated on Morgan Moses, Spencer Long and Trent Murphy. These players, if they make marked improvements from 2014, could be the reason why we are talking about a bright future (among other players , obviously).
2. Is anyone watching the HBO show "The Brink" on Sunday nights? Not that my television recommendations mean much, but I do think you are missing out if you are sleeping on this show. As I was watching it last night--don't worry, no spoilers are coming--the President's team of advisers were discussing the potential civilian casualties of a missile strike. I believe it was the Secretary of Defense who blurted out that it would be the equivalent of a crowd at a Redskins game. In an attempt to suggest that this was more than an acceptable number, he added, "And they didn't even make the playoffs last season." (Or something to that effect.) First, I laughed, but then it kind of sank in and the joke finished with a twang of heartache. On one hand, these guys would be Washington-based, so the analogy was geographically relevant to the characters, making the joke...not as bad...I guess. On the other hand, you never want anything about your team to be ideal fodder for such jokes. (I wonder if Dan Snyder will sue them? Hahaha)
3. I saw that the Hall of Fame last night did a better TV number than the first Thursday of NCAA tourney action. That is pretty amazing. Think about it: when is the last time you DID NOT watch college basketball on the first Thursday of the NCAA Tournament? I can't recall a time. The fact that an exhibition football game--played on a high school field between players who likely have no future in the NFL--was able to beat out March Madness is insane. I also saw that from an "action" perspective, sports betting was heavily concentrated on the preseason game. I have not gambled on a preseason game in years, but I do remember the excitement of having everything riding in the fourth quarter of a game featuring ZERO players I have ever heard of or will ever hear of again. That's living! The HOF game is hard to get away from. It is the first time since the Super Bowl that actual (kind of) football is played. Based on the reception of the game, anyone out there suggesting the NFL's dominance is waning even a little bit might need to re-examine their hypothesis.
4. I am not sure why, but the news of Frank Giffords' passing made me pause. Clearly he was a player that very few of us saw play, but almost all of us remember him from one of the Monday Night Football broadcasting teams he was a part of over the years. I can hear his voice now. His always seemed to be the voice of reason and calm. His words never seemed wasted. I never felt like he was talking to fill airtime. He has been away from the center of attention for some time, but hearing that he is gone for good is certainly a bitter pill. Rest In Peace, Frank. You were cool enough to overcome the fact you were a New York Giant!
5. So I heard there was a fight between the Redskins and Texans last week. The first thing I looked for was J.J. Watt, and maybe some kind of Rocky vs. Apollo Creed square-off between him and Terrance Knighton. No such luck. Fights are a part of training camp it seems, and though I understand why, it still strikes me as an incredibly stupid venture. Guys are wearing pads and helmets for the most part. Where are you going to hurt a guy? You risk hurting yourself--and your hands--more than anything, right? Then again, there was the ol' Michael Westbrook vs. Stephen Davis throwdown. On the heels of the brawl last week, I am just happy it was us against them and not us against us.
6. I think a telltale sign of how good your team is going to be is how worried you are while watching preseason games. Injury concerns are never higher than when you have a Super Bowl contender. Sure, no team wants to lose a frontline player, but some teams can go from contender to pretender if they lose the right player. It isn't that I am hugely unconcerned about injuries on Thursday night. On the contrary, I am already losing sleep. Still, it is not as if this roster can't be "about as good" with a few different players subbed in at most positions. I was trying to think about who would have to get hurt for me to curl up in the fetal position and wait out the season. Trent Williams is right there, and even though he is not my favorite, DeSean Jackson also has to be in the conversation. Do I want to see Robert Griffin III get nicked up? HELL NO!! Do I think our season would be soooooooooo different with Kirk Cousins under center? I can't honestly say that I do. Let's hope that changes soon! Perhaps someday soon, the reason why we will all breathe easy throughout the preseason will be the depth at EVERY position that McLovin' has put in place.