Deja Vu, Tuna
Bill Parcells has been here before. Twice, in fact. The previous two times he had the Number 1 pick in the NFL Draft, he foolishly traded it (1997, losing out on Orlando Pace for James Farrior) and took a franchise quarterback (Drew Bledsoe, 1993). Now, we're all waiting to see how he's going to rebuild the cesspool known as the Miami Dolphins. Quite frankly, this team has been so bad you could substitute the University of Miami Hurricanes roster for theirs and they would have won more games. Come to think of it, you probably could have substituted Miami Northwestern High School's roster and won more games. This team just plain stinks.
Parcells is known for, if nothing else, leaving his teams better than when he found them, though ironically they seem to go one less level farther with each stop he makes; 2 Super Bowl wins with the Giants, 1 Super Bowl loss with the Patriots, 1 AFC Championship Game loss with the Jets, and 2 playoff losses with the Cowboys. I guess that means his Dolphins teams don't even sniff the playoffs, if the trend holds true.
And this year, he has questions to answer, starting with the pick. Will he take another franchise quarterback (Matt Ryan?), or will he give John Beck a year to see if he can prove himself? Will he opt for Darren McFadden, signaling the end of Ronnie Brown's time as "the man" (if he ever was the man, that is)? Will he take the big fat tackle out of LSU (Glenn Dorsey) and clog up the middle of his 3-4 for the next 10 years? Or will he trade down and stockpile more picks that this team desperately needs?
See, the Dolphins need to be rebuilt, and that will take time. And Parcells has an advantage in that Miami needs help at so many positions that he can afford to trade down, even 7 or 8 spots, to a team wanting to draft Ryan or McFadden.
I know this is early, so I reserve the right to change my mind until Draft Day, but I see Parcells probably taking Dorsey at No.1 and possibly a running back (Mike Hart, Ray Rice, Steve Slaton if he falls) at the top of the second round to complement Brown. Yes, they already have Lorenzo Booker, but you don't want to rely solely on him if Brown goes down again, and no one's sure what Ricky Williams' status is at the moment.
Look for a deeper preview once the draft order is finalized next week.
Other Thoughts From the World of Sports
1. I know what everyone's saying, but the Patriots are primed to lose. If not Saturday, then in the playoffs. So far this season, Brady and Co. have been fortunate enough to have all the breaks go their way, all the timely calls, all the third-down conversions, everything. By rights, they should have three losses already (Colts, Eagles and Ravens). The law of averages will work itself out, and at some point, the Patriots are going down.
2. The Denver Nuggets are one of the classiest organizations in sports. When I took my son to a game this week, I asked if I could take him down for some autographs since we were from out of town (the Nuggets currently don't allow autographs before a game). The man (I can't remember his name) came back and said he couldn't get us on the floor, but he upgraded our tickets to the lower section of the arena. Considering he didn't have to do that, I thought it was a very nice gesture. Now about that autograph policy.
3. Check Jon Heyman's Baseball Hall of Fame ballot on si.com. I agree with most of it, though I think you could make a strong case for Tim Raines, Harold Baines, Bert Blyleven, Lee Smith and Tommy John. I know these guys may have never been dominant, but they did what they did for a long time at a very high level. Let's put it this way. Raines had 2,605 hits, Baines 2,866. Is Baines any less a candidate because he didn't get 134 more hits?
4. Sad story about Jim Leyritz. Whatever caused him to drink and drive that night must have been terrible, and now he's got a DUI manslaughter charge. It's a situation I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy (unless he wore a turban and his name was Osama).
5. Hear that ticking? That's the clock winding down on Scott Linehan's NFL coaching career.
6. Can anyone stop the Boston Celtics?
7. Saw the Sagarin Ratings yesterday. Kentucky was ranked all the way down at 160, below such illustrious NCAA powerhouses as Rider, Utah State, Toledo and Drexel. How far the mighty have fallen.
8. Great year for boxing. Let's hope next year produces more of the same. Here's a couple to get things started: Ricky Hatton-Paulie Malignaggi, Paul Williams-Kermit Cintron, Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito, Floyd Mayweather-Shane Mosley, Kelly Pavlik-Arthur Abraham.
My Non-Sports Thoughts of the Week
1. Shame about Benazir Bhutto's assassination. Even more shameful is the Pakistani government claiming she died after hitting her head on her vehicle. Let's see; woman, leader, Muslim country...Oh, I get it now.
2. Saw The Great Debaters yesterday. Truly deserves its Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture. Denzel Washington could very well become the next Clint Eastwood, as he had directed two great films in the past five years (along with Antwone Fisher).
3. If you're ever in Denver, go hit up Lucky Strike. It's a rarity in that it's a restaurant that happens to have a bowling alley, not the other way around. I never thought that mashed potato puree and cheese would make a good pizza, but I was deliciously proven wrong. A must-visit, it is right next door to Coyote Ugly (yes, the Coyote Ugly).
3. I hear we may be paying $4 a gallon for gas next year. In that case, I would like to know what the robber barons at Shell and Exxon plan to do with their $58 billion profit. Even more, I would like to know how much of that is getting kicked back to our leaders who sit around and do nothing?
Until Next Time