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Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Page 2 Quickie: August 28, 2006

The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Who needs T.O. and his meeting-skipping, late-arriving, fine-inducing, hammy-injuring, practice-missing off-field drama?

(Not when the Cowboys have Terry Glenn and his on-field dramatics.)

"Aug. 25" might be the office-pool-winning day for "T.O.'s first fine," but fans' interest in the T.O. saga expired way earlier than that.

That's why it's so key that, as the NFL preseason enters its final week, there are even more "Who needs?" questions (ones you might not even be sick of yet):

Who needs…

An NFL steroid policy if the teams are simply going to look the other way as players abuse them? (Cough! Panthers! Cough!)

Holdout WR Deion Branch when the Pats can hang 41 on the Redskins, including 230-plus yards from Tom Brady and 6 different players catching passes that gain 10 yards or more?

To give Rex Grossman at least two real games before booing?

Bruising TJ Duckett when the Falcons have a shifty rookie like Jerious Norwood?

To name a starting QB for the Jets when you've got a truculent rookie coach sending his larger message about who's REALLY in charge?

Any semblance of RB offense when the Colts have Peyton Manning to throw?

'07 Cardinals season tickets, now that Matt Leinart looks good?

To have the next Eli Manning when Philip Rivers can be the next Trent Dilfer?

Too many more omens besides injuries to the leading tackler and co-starting RB that this might not be the Jags' breakthrough year?

The reality check that the Redskins look more like 4-12 than 12-4?

Koren Robinson when the Vikings have got that suddenly sizzling D? (Of course, "sizzling" as only the Vikes can do it: See next item.)

Tuesday: NFL '06 Preview!

Vikings Blotter
Any NEW Vikings sex scandal earns its own item:

Player: DB Dwight Smith
Scene: Nightclub stairwell
Penalty: Misdemeanor citation
Offense: "Indecent conduct"

A plea to ease up, Zygi Wilf: At least Smith was on dry land. It IS an improvement.

Still, there IS something about those get-freaky Vikings DBs…

MNF: Bengals-Packers
Yeah, so I've got a question for Tony! Tony! Tony!:

Which ya got, TK: The "under" on Favre improving his career-worst 70.9 QB rating or the "over" on Favre topping his career-worst 29 INTs?

Meanwhile, some might say the biggest subplot is how Carson Palmer looks in his first game action back from that playoff knee injury…

…But I'd argue that it's whether Chad Johnson -- dazzled by national-TV lights -- bothers to ask permission from refs to do his TD thing.

NL Wild Card Mania
Reds cooling off: I barely remember (last week) when Cincy was in a virtual tie for the NL Central lead. They've lost 4/5 since, including a sweep by the Giants, who are now only 2 GB the NL Wild Card.

Marlins heating up: 7 wins in a row puts the overachieving Fish 3 GB the Wild Card lead (and 3 GB .500 for the first time since 4/15).

Am I SO crazy in thinking that Jeff Conine has exactly the kind of postseason mojo (Upset WS titles in '97, '03) to signal the Phillies will win the Wild Card after acquiring him?

NL WC race worth displaying:
Reds (67-64) -
Padres (66-64) .5 GB
Phillies (65-64) 1 GB
Giants (65-66) 2 GB
Marlins (63-66) 3 GB
D'backs (63-67) 3.5 GB
Astros (63-68) 4 GB
Brewers (62-68) 4.5 GB
Braves (61-68) 5 GB

(Why do I list ALL of those teams as contenders? Call it the "Red Sox-Mendoza Line": All are currently CLOSER to the playoffs than Boston.)

AL Wild Card
ChiSox salvage series: 6-1 win on Sunday side-steps a sweep and keeps them .5 GB the Twins for the Wild Card. It's obvious this is coming down to a virtual 3-game playoff to end the regular season.

Red Sox season is tanking:
*Now 5.5 GB the Wild Card
*Now 6.5 GB the Yankees
*Swept by SEA (1st since '89)
*AL's 9th-best record vs. AL
*Manny sat out Sun. (knee)
*Lester scratched Mon. (back)
*32 games 'til end of misery

U.S. Open
As usual, the U.S. Open is as much about the spectacle as anything else:

So you should expect to see the same crazy James Blake cheering section, who went from fun to mania to insufferable in a mere week.

Expect to see Andy Roddick lose to "Pong" in the same way he lost his lost TO his "Mojo" last year.

And expect to see Maria Sharapova dominate the fashions, with her new good-girl pink "day" and bad-girl black "night" match outfits.

And obvs: Andre, Andre, Andre

Quickie Closure
The final edition (ever) of the Daily Quickie will run this Thursday, 8/31. Leading up, I'm highlighting some superlatives.

03/21/06: Best "Vocab"

Over the years, some sports news has been so notable as to create its own vocabulary. Here's a sample:

"Fear Goggles"

And perhaps my favorite:


Only 3 new editions left!

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