Monday, April 9, 2012
Quickly catching up on developments
By Paul Kuharsky
A few thoughts on developments that unfolded last week, when I was away:
Gregg Williams: I know Williams from early in his career, when he worked his way up to the defensive coordinator spot with the Titans.
As I tracked him after he left Tennessee, I thought he changed. Of course a coach who gets a head job, as he did in Buffalo, is going to continue to evolve. But in his time with the Bills and then back as a coordinator with the Redskins, Jaguars and Saints, his ego seemed to balloon. The recent audio tape gave us specific evidence of the sorts of things he instructed to do as part of the bounty program he ran in New Orleans. It illustrates what can happen to a good coach when he gets unchecked power and goes a long time without any interference.
The great disappointment to me is that not one player stood up to Williams or took a complaint up the ladder about the way he was talking, at least until the whistle-blower emerged. Or maybe someone did before then and was rebuffed, but I would think we’d be hearing from him now. If a guy listening to that Saturday night sermon couldn't or wouldn't object to specific talk of testing an opponent coming off a concussion or going after a player’s ACL, that culture is the big concern to me here. That’s the sort of thing Roger Goodell is surely looking to change with the significant punishments for those involved.
Exhibition games: I am a preseason hater, but the division’s schedule offers two games that will bring significant storylines.
Indianapolis is at Washington in Week 3, which will give us a matchup of the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the draft. Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III should be starting for the Colts and Redskins, respectively. And the third week of the preseason is typically the most meaningful game where starters play beyond intermission.
It will be the AFC South preseason game I am most interested in.
Tennessee travels to Seattle in Week 1, which is a ridiculous trip to ask a team to make in the preseason. Such things are supposed to be minimized now. But Matt Hasselbeck playing against his old team and Jake Locker returning to the region where he’s from and played in college make for some intrigue.
Our first mock: I gave the Colts Luck, the Jaguars defensive end Melvin Ingram, the Titans defensive end Nick Perry and the Texans receiver Rueben Randle.
I think all four teams would be reasonably happy with a first round that panned out like that. But I offer the standard disclaimer: Beyond the first pick, it’s all guesswork.