- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 6, 2009

Talk about a tough preseason for NFL offensive coordinators. No fewer than three of them were fired last week - Chan Gailey by the Chiefs, Jeff Jagodzinski by the Bucs and Turk Schonert by the Bills.

That’s right, Turk got a visit from the Turk. Who saw that coming?

•••

Compared to those guys, Raiders defensive assistant Randy Hanson got off easy. He only had his jaw broken, according to reports, by coach Tom “K.O.” Cable.

•••

It’s hard to decide which is the bigger surprise, Schonert getting axed or the fact that Terrell Owens was nowhere near the scene of the crime.

•••

Elsewhere in Wide Receiverland, Chad Ochocinco says he’s closing his Twitter account because of the NFL’s decision to ban tweeting during games. Bummer. I mean, after breaking the news that the Bengals had finally signed their No. 1 pick, Andre Smith, Chad could have been the first NFL player to go to the Pro Bowl and win the Pulitzer Prize in the same season.

c c c

Plenty of quarterbacks, I’ve gotta believe, would be happy to kick in a few bucks if somebody started an Illegal Crackback Block Fund for Brett Favre.

•••

All this hand-wringing over final cuts is just comical. You’d think the Redskins were being forced to lop off an arm or a leg. When Jim Zorn broke into the NFL with the expansion Seahawks in 1976, the roster limit was 43; now clubs can keep 53 players - plus eight on the practice squad for a total of 61.

That’s 18 additional spots - almost an entire offense and defense. Heck, in the late ‘20s, 18 was the maximum number of players clubs could carry.

•••

Cut-down day was much more harrowing Way Back When. Fifty years ago, the Giants drafted quarterback Lee Grosscup in the first round (10th overall) and receiver Buddy Dial in the second (22nd overall) - and neither made the final squad. They just couldn’t carve out a place on a team that had reached the title game in 1958 and would again in ‘59.

•••

Thoroughly enjoying the back and forth between John Riggins and Clinton Portis about No. 26 possibly breaking No. 44’s Redskins rushing record this season. (Portis needs 1,370 yards to top Riggins’ 7,472.) Here’s what’s really funny, though: They’ll probably be sniping at each other again next year, when Clinton could very well overtake John on the NFL’s all-time rushing list. (He’s 2,150 yards shy of Riggo’s 11,352, currently the 15th-highest total in league history.)

•••

I say “currently” because the Patriots’ Fred Taylor (11,271) should pass Riggins early this season.

•••

Portis might not erase all of Riggins’ club marks, though. Riggo still holds a sizable lead in touchdowns (85 to 45) and rushing TDs (79 to 43).

•••

He also leads Clinton in the all-important blood-alcohol-content category.

•••

Something I stumbled across while researching the previous item: Portis would be the third running back from the University of Miami to rush for 10,000 yards in the NFL, more than any other school. (Edgerrin James and Ottis Anderson have already done it.)

Trivia question: Five other college programs have also produced two 10,000-yard rushers. How many can you name? (Answer below.)

•••

Thursday was just a great night for college football. Before the Oregon-Boise State game, players from both teams shook hands at midfield as part of the sportsmanship initiative by the American Football Coaches Association and the NCAA.

And after the game, of course, Ducks running back LeGarrette Blount served punch.

•••

Oh, to have seen the expression on Duke coach David Cutcliffe’s face when Greg Paulus threw his first touchdown pass for Syracuse on Saturday.

The Blue Devils, after all, were 6-41 during the four years Paulus - the best quarterback on campus - was throwing bounce passes for Mike Krzyzewski.

•••

Did you hear about this? About 1,200 adults read to children the other night at the Brooklyn Cyclones’ baseball game - in an attempt to set a Guinness world record for “most adults reading to children in a single location.”

The Cyclones, meanwhile, lost 8-2 to the Lowell Spinners to continue their tumble out of first place in the New York-Penn League - after which, I suspect, their manager, in keeping with the occasion, read them the riot act.

•••

Overheard at Jerry Koosman’s tax evasion trial (in my imagination, at least):

“Your honor, my client doesn’t know the difference between the earned-income credit and his earned-run average.”

•••

Should Curt Schilling decide to run for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, his opponent might want to consider the following campaign slogan:

Millions for Defense, But Not One Schilling for Congress.

•••

News item: Red Sox closer Jon Papelbon has been fined again by Major League Baseball for taking too long to throw his first pitch.

Comment: Papelbon’s pitches arrive at the plate in a hurry - usually at around 96 mph. Seems like that should make up for how long it takes him to throw them.

•••

If MLB really wanted to speed up games, it would authorize a golf cart for Prince Fielder.

•••

Actually, Prince, I’m told, is doing what he can to hurry things along. For starters, he’s eating only fast food now.

•••

Answer to trivia question: Other schools besides Miami that have turned out two 10,000-yard rushers in the NFL are Florida (Emmitt Smith, Fred Taylor), Notre Dame (Jerome Bettis, Ricky Watters), Oklahoma State (Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas), Pittsburgh (Curtis Martin, Tony Dorsett) and Southern Cal (Marcus Allen, O.J. Simpson).

•••

And finally…

Officials for China’s national table tennis team are reportedly allowing Wang Hao, the 25-year-old reigning world champ, to - brace yourself - have a girlfriend. They apparently weren’t so permissive five years ago when Wang began dating another national team player - and booted her off the squad.

Two relationships with women by the age of 25 - this Wang is a real ladies man, isn’t he? Yup, he’s a regular Tony Romo.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide