Here's your Friday whip-around on the stories dominating the headlines and lingering in the margins of the NFL. No pads needed.
- Despite head coach Bill Belichick opting not to play his starters in the New England Patriots' first preseason game, last week, Tom Brady and the rest of the first team looked to be in midseason form, last night against the Tampa Bay Bucs. The Pats won 31-14. A typically brassy Belichick said, "I thought we accomplished a few things." It's that kind of brazen collar popping that drives Rex Ryan up a tree. In his first preseason action, Brady overcame a clinically diagnosed case of being "antsy" to go 11-19 for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
- How did the Bucs feel about getting taken out behind the woodshed by Brady and Co.? Grab a nice cold beverage and settle in for some refreshing and funny talk from Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy: "Man, I’m telling you man, they came out, they’d turn around huddle, snap, oh, 'There’s the Mike, Go!' I was like, ‘Dang! Um, Mr. Brady, can we line up?’ He didn’t care. He was like, ‘You’re not going to line up.’ When we turned around one time I checked back around and my hand was going to the grass and they were like, ‘Hut!’ And I said, ‘Noooooooooooo!’"
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Chris Ryan is a staff writer for Grantland. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisryan77.
- In Chicago, Roy Williams and Jay Cutler are trying to find their way in offensive coordinator Mike Martz' pass-happy funhouse. According to Cutler, "You can see more glimpses of Roy Williams each and every day on film." Mike Martz is also feeling pretty positive about the partnership, "Jay is very comfortable with Roy and Roy obviously is getting back into the groove of what we do." For his part, Roy Williams, well, he is very Roy Williams about the whole thing. When asked who was the best quarterback he's played with under the Martz system, the Texas football legend, and now two-time Martz disciple, responded with two words that are sure to be music to Cutler's ears: Jon Kitna.
- Back in Cutler's old stomping grounds of Denver, the competition for quarterback continues to be on everybody's mind. While Kyle Orton has firmly established himself as the starter, Brady Quinn is pushing Tim Tebow for the number two role. One person who seems to be in Quinn's camp is Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, "I don't know why it is, or exactly how to explain it, but Brady is much better this year than he was last year." One explanation for the Quinn renaissance? The former Notre Dame QB contemplated trying out for the Colorado Rockies this off-season. "I was contemplating making myself available for a baseball tryout, just for something to do during the lockout. I said, 'Hey, what do you think about this?'" I think Brady Quinn is pretty obviously the new Bo Jackson.
- If you're waiting for an offense to come along as awesomely high octane as the '98-'99 St. Louis Rams, Dick Vermeil, head coach of that tea, thinks you shouldn't hold your breath. Due to the new easier, preseason training camps, as mandated by the new CBA, Vermeil suggests the game, and specifically the passing attacks, will suffer. According to the former Rams, Chiefs and Eagles boss, "I think it's going to hurt the quarterbacks, especially the young ones. It's going to hurt the medium player, the average guy. How does he get better and hang on the roster next year? How are young kids coming up going to make it when you don't give them any reps?" Food for thought, for sure. And why don't you wash down that food with a nice glass of 2009 Zinfandel from Vermeil Wines.
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