A few random NFL thoughts on the eve of rookie minicamps for Ohio’s teams…
*Not sure what to think about Mike Holmgren’s radio tour and the thought that the Browns would have any sort of quarterback competition this spring and summer. Wasn’t Brandon Weeden drafted because he’s going to be the guy to upgrade — and, hopefully, be the answer at — the position?
*Part of the Browns’ defense of Pat Shurmur’s rough year last year was that he was a rookie coach who had no offseason minicamps or work to get to install his system and get to know his players. Isn’t every first-team snap that doesn’t involve Weeden this spring a bit (or more than a bit) counterproductive?
*You drafted him in the first round. Give The Kid — er, the New Middle-Aged Guy — the ball and let him go.
*That’s (a bad attempt at) a joke. If Weeden can play — I think he can; the Browns obviously think he can — then his age matters little. Lots of quarterbacks play well into their 30s. It’s on the Browns to keep him as healthy as he is now.
*If the NFL’s labor issues last summer brought one good thing, it was the elimination of crazy signing bonuses for guys who have never played an NFL game — and crazy holdouts from which nobody benefited. The new rookie pool and rookie contract structure means draft picks are already being signed. That’s good for all involved parties.
*Remember when the Browns used a second-round pick on a linebacker from West Texas A&M and he held out for almost a week of training camp because of Butch Davis’ demands that his rookies sign five-year deals? Remember when Davis’ best draft pick was a long snapper?
*If the Browns still had to pay $40 million or so up front to the third overall pick in the draft months before he got a significant carry, I still think Trent Richardson would be worth every penny.
*The Bengals’ top priority over the next 5-6 weeks has to be getting Dre Kirkpatrick ready to play right away and finding answers in the cornerback group. They’ve signed a bunch of veterans to hold down the fort while Leon Hall rehabs. By August, we’ll know if Brandon Ghee can make something of his career after two years mostly watching. We might know a lot about rookie Shaun Prater, too.
*The thought of the Bengals getting a full offseason for Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham and Company to work with Jay Gruden has to be an exciting one for Bengals fans. Maybe there are a few 35-33 games in the Bengals’ not-so-distant future?
*Here’s the link to a FOXSports.com story on the NFL and the possibility of replacement officials for the 2012 season.
*I bet Ed Hochuli won’t go on strike from lifting weights. I know he won’t go on strike from talking. And talking. And talking…
*My quick Hochuli impersonation: “After further review, the last six minutes or so, we have determined that the receiver left his feet and came down near the sideline, 22 rows from his mother, Bernice, who is a very nice lady, but the receiver’s second foot did not conclusively land inside the white line on that sideline, therefore we huddled again and determined that it is not a catch, which led to another huddle to determine the original line of scrimmage and exact time to place on the scoreboard 15 rows above Bernice for the next play, which will come after a TV timeout.”
*I miss TV timeouts. I even miss the multiple hours the networks spend isolated on Ray Lewis, even when he’s not making plays. I miss football.
*Soon enough. I’m off to Cincinnati later today for Bengals minicamp. Updates throughout the weekend.