It's very quiet out there, but with the Leafs exactly one month away from opening training camp, it's a good time for -- an NFL collection, with opening night a little more than three weeks away:
|AL BEHRMAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS|
|Clinton Portis: Hors de combat. More to the point, hors de preseason.|
The Washington Post's Michael Wilbon on the too-long, too-dangerous, otherwise nearly devoid of meaning NFL preseason, after Redskins' Clinton Portis was injured over the weekend:
Okay, it's not news that football players get hurt. And the Portis injury wasn't nearly as gruesome or as maddening as, say, the blast to the knee of Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer in that playoff game against the Steelers in January that still has Palmer on the sideline.
But it's worth getting hurt in the playoffs because it's the playoffs.
It's unspeakably unnecessary to get hurt in the preseason because it's nothing.
But the story here concerning the Redskins wasn't the way the team played or how Jason Campbell looked; it was the Portis injury. When I asked him what he thought about the number of preseason games and chances to be hurt, Portis looked into a bank of cameras and said, "Let's get rid of some of these games -- four games is ridiculous -- then you go out and have a 16-game season and the playoffs are after that."
In general, the preseason in any pro sport, with its regular-season ticket prices, its betting lines and its stars just one hit or one false step away from missing the real games, is one of the greatest swindles going. Give them 10 days or two weeks of workouts, a week of fine-tuning with the first team and the backups set and if you insist a game or even two without veteran players logging heavy minutes (and in some cases, no minutes at all), and turn them loose -- all tickets priced so low that no one comes out of it feeling burned, and casual fans have a way into buildings priced so high in the regular season they're all but unattainable.
(UPDATE: Just moved, Washington's Kerry Carter, from Vaughan, is out for the season with a knee injury suffered in the same exhibition game Sunday night.)
Good work from Vito Stellino in Jacksonville: This NFL that Roger Goodell is inheriting from Paul Tagliabue is not quite the unsinkable ship that it's made out to be, with small-market owners in Jacksonville (and in places like Buffalo, too) looking for a new economic model (via the Sports Law Blog):
If Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver had the right sense of his colleagues' feelings at the league meetings last week, when Goodell was elected on the fifth ballot, the new commissioner might soon find himself in a crisis mode.
Weaver said the consensus of owners is that they need a new business model. The old model is the agreement that owners passed by a 30-2 margin in March but hasn't even been finalized in written form.
From the weekend, this season's rule changes (now let's see how many are enforced. The 60-second replay review limit, down from 90 seconds and always ignored, is a case in point).