Monday, August 10, 2009

Training camp story that some people are trying to make seem funny or ironical when it is neither funny nor ironical...

From Peter King's Monday Morning QB blog on (and I quote from page 2..):

9:45 a.m., Wednesday (Chiefs camp, River Falls, Wisc.): You're not going to believe this. It's midway through Kansas City's first of two daily practices and Matt Cassel Tom Brady's longtime understudy now on his own in the heartland, fades back to pass. Quarterbacks in training camp are not supposed to be hit in camp, but in this pass drill, with Cassel setting up in the pocket, safety Bernard Pollard comes on a blitz.

You remember Pollard. He's the guy who tumbled/dove into Brady's planted left leg on an identical rush last September, collapsing the knee, shredding Brady's ACL and knocking him out for the season. Now, on a sun-baked field miles from anywhere in western Wisconsin, here came Pollard at the man who replaced Brady and who, ironically, became Pollard's teammate after New England traded Cassel to Kansas City in February.

What makes the play even more amazing is that Brady got hit last year when a back missed a block on the onrushing Pollard. And as I'm watching, I can't believe what I see: Again, a back (I didn't catch his number) throws an ¡Ole!block, and precisely the same thing that happened a year ago happens now: Pollard thought he was going to be blocked by a running back last year against New England, got low to take on the block, wasn't blocked, and fell into Brady. Now, he thought he was going to be blocked by a running back, got low, wasn't blocked, and stumbled and tried to avoid hitting Cassel, yelling at the last moment, "Move!" It was too late. He fell hard and rolled into Cassel's left leg.


Pollard was able to put on the brakes enough so that he only tapped Cassel's left leg. Cassel flexed it a couple of times and was fine. A couple of his offensive mates hustled in to defend him against Pollard. Words were exchanged, but that was it. No harm, no foul.

"Pretty weird," a smiling Cassel told me an hour later. "Yeah, I realized it."

I caught Pollard after lunch on campus. His eyes got wide when I asked him about the play. "I got to the sidelines after that play," Pollard said, "and I realized what happened, and I thought, -- OH MY GOD! It's like a replay.''

As I said, Cassel was fine, and held no grudge against Pollard. That's football. But it's such happenstance. How history would have been changed if Pollard tapped Brady's knee the way he tapped Cassel's. If it had happened like that, what would have happened to Cassel? Would he still be the permanent backup to Brady? Or would Cassel, whose contract expired at the end of last year, have been picked off by new Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, who was behind Cassel's drafting in the seventh round five years ago by the Patriots? My money's on the Chiefs taking him off New England's hands -- money being the key word. He parlayed his opportunity with the Patriots last year into a six-year, $63-million contract in Kansas City.

What might Cassel have gotten had he never played? Well, a parallel player to Cassel a year ago at this time -- a totally unproven backup with a little marketability -- was Brian St. Pierre, the third-stringer on Arizona who re-signed with the Cardinals this offseason: For one year and $1 million.

So, Pollard's hit was a $62-million whack, give or take a million, for Cassel. On this morning, double jeopardy almost struck. Football is a funny game.

I don't see what the big deal is here. This is how a guy gets labeled a cheap shot artist. Hell, the NFL changed its rules and plans to now penalize all low hits on quarterbacks because the Golden Boy got hurt for a season last year. And this Pollard guy looks like a shithead for expecting to get hit...and having a back not do his job...TWICE. Had Cassel got hurt last week it should have been the scrub getting shit on and losing his job. No mention should have been made of Pollard.

People get hit in football. People get hurt in football. That's just the way it is. This is also why football is an absolute pain in the ass to coach. If one person out of 11 messes up someone can get clobbered. I don't remember the last time I used clobbered. It's a good word. I think I'll use it more.

Peter King, in my opinion, usually has a good head located three feet above his ass and does a fine job writing about the game (No way is he better than Dr Z, and I'm choosing to ignore the fact he would father BrettFarve's children if BrettFarve asked him to...and yes I stole the BrettFarve thing from Jerry Thorton. Jerry's a much better sportswriter than I am), but in this case this run-by from Pollard is a non-story. I will guarantee Matt Cassel was not the first QB that was struck by a defensive player in training camp this preseason. Shit happens. Go on amongst your business and let the guy keep playing hard.

While I'm on the subject of football someone in the NFL needs to sign Michael Vick ASAP. Teams worrying about the PR hit need to just suck it up for the last three weeks of preseason because after he touches the ball seven times and has a passing TD and a rushing TD (for 16 fantasy points) in his first game back people will shut the hell up and remember why he was liked in the first place: HE'S GOOD AT FOOTBALL. You don't need to be a good human to be a good football player. That's the long and the short of it.

I'm not the first to say this, but Leonard Little got EIGHT GAMES for KILLING A PERSON. And Vick's been out of the game for well over two years. Donte Stallworth got 23 DAYS for KILLING A PERSON. Vick got 23 MONTHS for killing dogs. What's wrong with this picture? Man's best friend is not MAN. If Stallworth isn't out of the game for at least two years then Goddell's "get tough" talk is pure bullshit. And he should get clobbered (nice usage, right?) by MADD and folks in the media. And that's all I have to say about that.

Go Giants.

And chances are this will be my last football-related blog until fantasy fooseball begins with the annual Auburn Football League draft on August 30th. Getcha popcorn ready (And to those in the AFL: Prepare to get...CLOBBERED!! K, that's enough of clobbered for the year..). Cheers.

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