Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods returns to golf

<p>PYEONGCHANG, South Korea—Just past noon Monday (Sunday night in the U.S.), Lindsey Vonn was laughing. Not just laughing, but cackling. A little while earlier she had completed the second of three official training runs in advance of Wednesday’s downhill, finishing third despite largely experimenting with her potential racing line and only occasionally punching the gas pedal. She is 33 years old, the best women’s ski racer in history and a major threat to win a medal—possibly gold—in the downhill. She would become the second woman to win the Olympic downhill twice (Vonn took gold in 2010 in Vancouver, and Katja Seizinger of Germany won in 1994 and ’98).</p><p>But that’s only part of the story of the moment because well, because: 2018. On Dec. 7, Vonn did an interview with CNN.</p><p><strong>CNN: </strong>“You’ve previously competed at three Olympic Games, under two presidents. How would it feel competing at an Olympic Games for a United States whose president is Donald Trump?”</p><p><strong>Vonn:</strong> “Well, I hope to represent the people of the United States, not the president.... I take the Olympics very seriously, and what they mean and what they represent. What walking under our flag means at the opening ceremony. I want to represent our country well. I don’t think that there are a lot of people currently in our government that do that.”</p><p>Vonn was later asked if she would visit the White House with other Olympians and said, “Absolutely not. No.”</p><p>Okay, you know where this is going. Vonn was pummeled by Trump supporters on social media and harangued by Trump-leaning media. As a wealthy, successful and attractive professional athlete, she made a convenient villain. When I visited her at her home in Vail on Dec. 21, for a <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/01/09/lindsey-vonn-winter-olympics-2018-pyeongchang-injuries" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:feature story" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">feature story</a> in <em>Sports Illustrated, </em>Vonn said, “People were calling me un-American or some crazy liberal, which I’m actually not,” says Vonn. “I was taken aback by the negativity. I love my country. I’m proud of the flag and our troops. Just because I disagree with some things doesn’t make me less American.” Okay, we know this makes perfect sense, but we also know it leads nowhere good because the political digital underbelly doesn’t traffic in subtlety of any kind.</p><p>On Saturday morning in South Korea, Vonn raced in the super-G, a high-speed hybrid of downhill and giant slalom. Through the arcane rules of the sport, she drew racing bib No. 1, which meant that she would get the fastest, hardest surface on which to ski, but also she would not benefit from seeing how the course was playing by watching other skiers. In fact, there are no training runs before the super-G, only a course inspection. After the race Vonn would say, “I thought, it’s either going to be really good, or really bad.’’</p><p>In fact, it was both. Vonn skied the top of the course brilliantly, but made a whopper of a mistake 15 seconds from the finish, hanging on her left ski too long before transitioning to the next gate. It was <em>at least </em>a 0.50-second mistake, and maybe a one-second mistake. She finished tied for sixth and missed the gold medal by 0.38 seconds and the bronze by 0.27 seconds. Later, she would say, “I’m, proud of my performance, I left it all out on the hill.’’ She gets no sympathy: You have to ski all the way to the bottom to win. Vonn knows that.</p><p>The story of the day became the remarkable performance by 22-year-old Czech racer Ester Ledecka, a world champion in parallel giant slalom <em>snowboarding, </em>who took the gold medal from the distant outpost of the No. 26 starting spot. She was such an unlikely winner that NBC had cut away from its live telecast before her run. Ledecka was so shocked by seeing the green No. 1 next to her name on the scoreboard that she just stood, mouth agape, beyond the finish line, waiting for officials to correct her time.</p><p>But there was another story. Here is how it unfolded from my perspective. After Vonn’s mistake late in her run, like any sportswriter with a smartphone, I Tweeted about it: “Obviously a massive mistake by Lindsey Vonn. She was fast on top, but lost a ton of time. Hard to imagine a good outcome here.’’</p><p>Responses came quickly. I’m not naming the accounts, because why do that?</p><p><em>HA HA HA GOOD</em></p><p><em>She deserves to lose. She made a point of being political</em></p><p><em>Her biggest mistake was the WH comment. Karma is a bitch.</em></p><p>It was all very obvious and predictable, and frankly, boring. But let’s step back and state two truths: 1) Vonn finished tied for sixth in the Olympic super-G not because of anything she <em>said </em>in her life, but because she hung on her left ski too long and barely made a gate. Simple. 2) On Dec. 7, <em>Vonn was asked a question. She answered it honestly.</em> Hold that thought.</p><p>Again, you know what’s next. Vonn’s own social media feeds were flooded with sulphurous variations of the little responses that I got. Dozens of them. People defended her afterward, and Vonn thanked some of those people. Vonn was back on skis the next morning, in the first of the three downhill training runs. Afterward, she stopped to answer questions from the media about the trolling. Monday she raced again and afterward, wearing aviators and a blue U.S. ski team hat, she talked to the U.S. media. She knows most of those who were waiting for her. So she was laughing. Somebody asked what was so funny. “I’m <em>always </em>funny,’’ she said. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.’’ She was loose, unbothered.</p><p>Two questions in she was asked about getting trolled by Trump supporters. (Okay, I asked the question, but somebody was going to ask.) She said, “There’s of course going to be people that hate me and hope I ski off a cliff and die. [One of the December trolls said exactly that.] But you know, that’s fine. I’m not going to do that. It’s people sitting behind a computer and they will say anything. You take it for what it’s worth and at some point, you just laugh because it’s ridiculous.’’</p><p>Vonn is very active on social media. She posts inspirational sayings, she posts about her three dogs, she tags celebrities. In South Korea, while waiting for her races to begin, she posted—cheekily—about seeking a date for Valentine’s Day. It’s all pretty harmless. She says the trolling will not drive her away from Twitter or Instagram. “That’s what bullies want you to do,’’ she says. “They want to defeat you. And I’m not defeated. I’m the same. I stand by my values. I’m not going to back down. I may not be as vocal right now with my opinions”— she is <em>in the middle of her last Olympic Games</em>—“but that doesn’t mean they’ve won. I haven’t changed my mind.’’</p><p>This is where I am supposed to express outrage at the decay of our society and the absence of polite discourse in the age of Trump. F--- that. Yes, it’s outrageous. And it’s pathetic that humans with double-digit numbers of followers and bots from some troll factory in St. Peterburg are staining human existence. But at some point it becomes white noise. And Vonn is right: You have to just laugh because laughter castrates the rabble.</p><p>At the same time, some say it’s outrageous that the trolls who are stalking Vonn are encouraging athletes from other countries to defeat a red, white and blue American. I’m all for supporting U.S. athletes, but as a sportswriter who has covered 14 Olympics and hundreds of non-American athletes, that attitude corrupts the purity of sports. You don’t think a lot of Americans rooted for the ebullient Usain Bolt, a Jamaican? Even when he was racing against Americans? I’m enthralled by watching Austrian skier Marcel Hirscher in PyeongChang; he’s an artist on Atomics. Vonn is the co-favorite in the downhill here. I’ve made lifelong friendships with foreign athletes I’ve profiled, wonderful people from wonderful places. The other co-favorite is Sofia Goggia, a delightful Italian skier. If Goggia wins, you know who will be the first person to embrace her at the finish? Lindsey Vonn.</p><p>To be sure, sports doesn’t deserve the ugliness of our most vile political wrangling. Back to this: Vonn was asked a question and answered it. That’s what professional athletes are supposed to do. Vonn has been a ski racer since she was a teenager. She is, above all things, <em>likeable. </em>She couldn’t be more Minnesotan if she were cast in the next season of <em>Fargo. </em>But also, she went through a public divorce and dated Tiger Woods—<em>Live, on TMZ!</em> She’s not weak, and while she’s happy to accept our support against the haters, she really doesn’t need it. She’s a big girl.</p><p>On Wednesday morning, Vonn will race her last Olympic downhill. “I’m trying not to think of that,’’ she said Monday. There’s a good chance she will finish first or win a medal. And always a chance she will not, because snow and ice are slippery and skis are long and thin. That’s why we keep score.</p><p>Either way, the trolls will come for her. And she will take it. And she will laugh. Because she is one of the greatest skiers in history—successful and famous and happy. And they are nothing.</p>
Lindsey Vonn is Successful and Famous and Happy. And Laughing at Her Trolls.

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea—Just past noon Monday (Sunday night in the U.S.), Lindsey Vonn was laughing. Not just laughing, but cackling. A little while earlier she had completed the second of three official training runs in advance of Wednesday’s downhill, finishing third despite largely experimenting with her potential racing line and only occasionally punching the gas pedal. She is 33 years old, the best women’s ski racer in history and a major threat to win a medal—possibly gold—in the downhill. She would become the second woman to win the Olympic downhill twice (Vonn took gold in 2010 in Vancouver, and Katja Seizinger of Germany won in 1994 and ’98).

But that’s only part of the story of the moment because well, because: 2018. On Dec. 7, Vonn did an interview with CNN.

CNN: “You’ve previously competed at three Olympic Games, under two presidents. How would it feel competing at an Olympic Games for a United States whose president is Donald Trump?”

Vonn: “Well, I hope to represent the people of the United States, not the president.... I take the Olympics very seriously, and what they mean and what they represent. What walking under our flag means at the opening ceremony. I want to represent our country well. I don’t think that there are a lot of people currently in our government that do that.”

Vonn was later asked if she would visit the White House with other Olympians and said, “Absolutely not. No.”

Okay, you know where this is going. Vonn was pummeled by Trump supporters on social media and harangued by Trump-leaning media. As a wealthy, successful and attractive professional athlete, she made a convenient villain. When I visited her at her home in Vail on Dec. 21, for a feature story in Sports Illustrated, Vonn said, “People were calling me un-American or some crazy liberal, which I’m actually not,” says Vonn. “I was taken aback by the negativity. I love my country. I’m proud of the flag and our troops. Just because I disagree with some things doesn’t make me less American.” Okay, we know this makes perfect sense, but we also know it leads nowhere good because the political digital underbelly doesn’t traffic in subtlety of any kind.

On Saturday morning in South Korea, Vonn raced in the super-G, a high-speed hybrid of downhill and giant slalom. Through the arcane rules of the sport, she drew racing bib No. 1, which meant that she would get the fastest, hardest surface on which to ski, but also she would not benefit from seeing how the course was playing by watching other skiers. In fact, there are no training runs before the super-G, only a course inspection. After the race Vonn would say, “I thought, it’s either going to be really good, or really bad.’’

In fact, it was both. Vonn skied the top of the course brilliantly, but made a whopper of a mistake 15 seconds from the finish, hanging on her left ski too long before transitioning to the next gate. It was at least a 0.50-second mistake, and maybe a one-second mistake. She finished tied for sixth and missed the gold medal by 0.38 seconds and the bronze by 0.27 seconds. Later, she would say, “I’m, proud of my performance, I left it all out on the hill.’’ She gets no sympathy: You have to ski all the way to the bottom to win. Vonn knows that.

The story of the day became the remarkable performance by 22-year-old Czech racer Ester Ledecka, a world champion in parallel giant slalom snowboarding, who took the gold medal from the distant outpost of the No. 26 starting spot. She was such an unlikely winner that NBC had cut away from its live telecast before her run. Ledecka was so shocked by seeing the green No. 1 next to her name on the scoreboard that she just stood, mouth agape, beyond the finish line, waiting for officials to correct her time.

But there was another story. Here is how it unfolded from my perspective. After Vonn’s mistake late in her run, like any sportswriter with a smartphone, I Tweeted about it: “Obviously a massive mistake by Lindsey Vonn. She was fast on top, but lost a ton of time. Hard to imagine a good outcome here.’’

Responses came quickly. I’m not naming the accounts, because why do that?

HA HA HA GOOD

She deserves to lose. She made a point of being political

Her biggest mistake was the WH comment. Karma is a bitch.

It was all very obvious and predictable, and frankly, boring. But let’s step back and state two truths: 1) Vonn finished tied for sixth in the Olympic super-G not because of anything she said in her life, but because she hung on her left ski too long and barely made a gate. Simple. 2) On Dec. 7, Vonn was asked a question. She answered it honestly. Hold that thought.

Again, you know what’s next. Vonn’s own social media feeds were flooded with sulphurous variations of the little responses that I got. Dozens of them. People defended her afterward, and Vonn thanked some of those people. Vonn was back on skis the next morning, in the first of the three downhill training runs. Afterward, she stopped to answer questions from the media about the trolling. Monday she raced again and afterward, wearing aviators and a blue U.S. ski team hat, she talked to the U.S. media. She knows most of those who were waiting for her. So she was laughing. Somebody asked what was so funny. “I’m always funny,’’ she said. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.’’ She was loose, unbothered.

Two questions in she was asked about getting trolled by Trump supporters. (Okay, I asked the question, but somebody was going to ask.) She said, “There’s of course going to be people that hate me and hope I ski off a cliff and die. [One of the December trolls said exactly that.] But you know, that’s fine. I’m not going to do that. It’s people sitting behind a computer and they will say anything. You take it for what it’s worth and at some point, you just laugh because it’s ridiculous.’’

Vonn is very active on social media. She posts inspirational sayings, she posts about her three dogs, she tags celebrities. In South Korea, while waiting for her races to begin, she posted—cheekily—about seeking a date for Valentine’s Day. It’s all pretty harmless. She says the trolling will not drive her away from Twitter or Instagram. “That’s what bullies want you to do,’’ she says. “They want to defeat you. And I’m not defeated. I’m the same. I stand by my values. I’m not going to back down. I may not be as vocal right now with my opinions”— she is in the middle of her last Olympic Games—“but that doesn’t mean they’ve won. I haven’t changed my mind.’’

This is where I am supposed to express outrage at the decay of our society and the absence of polite discourse in the age of Trump. F--- that. Yes, it’s outrageous. And it’s pathetic that humans with double-digit numbers of followers and bots from some troll factory in St. Peterburg are staining human existence. But at some point it becomes white noise. And Vonn is right: You have to just laugh because laughter castrates the rabble.

At the same time, some say it’s outrageous that the trolls who are stalking Vonn are encouraging athletes from other countries to defeat a red, white and blue American. I’m all for supporting U.S. athletes, but as a sportswriter who has covered 14 Olympics and hundreds of non-American athletes, that attitude corrupts the purity of sports. You don’t think a lot of Americans rooted for the ebullient Usain Bolt, a Jamaican? Even when he was racing against Americans? I’m enthralled by watching Austrian skier Marcel Hirscher in PyeongChang; he’s an artist on Atomics. Vonn is the co-favorite in the downhill here. I’ve made lifelong friendships with foreign athletes I’ve profiled, wonderful people from wonderful places. The other co-favorite is Sofia Goggia, a delightful Italian skier. If Goggia wins, you know who will be the first person to embrace her at the finish? Lindsey Vonn.

To be sure, sports doesn’t deserve the ugliness of our most vile political wrangling. Back to this: Vonn was asked a question and answered it. That’s what professional athletes are supposed to do. Vonn has been a ski racer since she was a teenager. She is, above all things, likeable. She couldn’t be more Minnesotan if she were cast in the next season of Fargo. But also, she went through a public divorce and dated Tiger Woods—Live, on TMZ! She’s not weak, and while she’s happy to accept our support against the haters, she really doesn’t need it. She’s a big girl.

On Wednesday morning, Vonn will race her last Olympic downhill. “I’m trying not to think of that,’’ she said Monday. There’s a good chance she will finish first or win a medal. And always a chance she will not, because snow and ice are slippery and skis are long and thin. That’s why we keep score.

Either way, the trolls will come for her. And she will take it. And she will laugh. Because she is one of the greatest skiers in history—successful and famous and happy. And they are nothing.

<p>Free agency is 24 years old. Since the dawn of it, I don’t remember a year (because there hasn’t been one) with the same combined level of depth at quarterback in the free market and in the draft.</p><p>It’s amazing, really. We could see four quarterbacks (Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield) picked in the top 10 in the April draft. By the end of April, six of the NFL’s 12 top-rated quarterbacks from 2017 could either move on or begin to be moved out by their teams.</p><p><strong>Alex Smith (first, with a 104.7 rating) </strong>will be traded from Kansas City to Washington, and will sign a four-year contract extension when the new league year begins March 14 … <strong>Drew Brees (second, 103.9) </strong>will likely re-sign with the Saints, but he’s free to sign anywhere come the start of free agency on March 14 … <strong>Case Keenum (seventh, 98.3) </strong>hopes to parlay a career year into a starting job and multiyear contract … <strong>Philip Rivers (ninth, 96.0) </strong>turns 37 this year, and could see the Chargers draft his heir, even coming off a very good year … <strong>Josh McCown (11th, 94.5) </strong>will be 39 in July, but coming off a career year, he could keep the seat warm for the Jets or another team drafting a quarterback of the future … <strong>Kirk Cousins (12th, 93.9) </strong>will be the most attractive vet on the street—assuming Washington doesn’t try to franchise him and trade him, which is possible but not likely.</p><p>So, in my first column this winter looking ahead to the offseason, I’m going to do the impossible: guess where each available quarterback will land. On May 1, after free agency and the draft, we’ll all have a good laugh over this column. Because I’ll be wrong on the vast majority, and maybe all. But we’ll go in order, and we’ll go by need.</p><p>Again, what follows are my team-by-team best guesses. Send me your pros and cons and best counter-arguments, and I’ll use my mailbag this week to give you your say on who’s going where.</p><h3>Desperate Need</h3><p><strong>Denver: Kirk Cousins. </strong>GM John Elway has made one mega-signing in his tenure: Peyton Manning, in 2012, when Elway was in desperate quarterback straits. To solve this problem again, I say Elway goes big. Cousins isn’t flawless, but he’s got seven or eight prime years left (he’s 29), and has put a premium on going somewhere he can win, somewhere with a good defense, and somewhere he can walk into the building every day excited about going to work. The Broncos, coming off a 5-11 year, haven’t had back-to-back losing seasons since 1971 and 1972, and my bet is on Elway, even at the ridiculous sum of something like $30 million a year, going hard after Cousins to make sure he doesn’t have to keep worrying about the position. In the last two years, Denver has employed the 23rd- and 29th-rated quarterback, Trevor Siemian. Elway’s had enough of mediocrity. One other thing that will play a role: Elway’s willingness to whack a couple of big-ticket defenders, Aqib Talib and Derek Wolfe, from a tight cap situation. It could play a role in clearing enough cap room to fit Cousins onto the roster.</p><p><strong>Arizona: A.J. McCarron. </strong>This would, of course, break Hue Jackson’s heart. But I just think the alternatives for McCarron are these: Go to Cleveland, and risk the Browns drafting a quarterback high in the first round, and risk being in the same place he was in Cincinnati, behind Andy Dalton, for the next three or four years … or go to Arizona (or another spot that won’t draft a passer high) and be handed the starting job on a team with a playoff defense. Not a very tough choice in my mind. Of course, when you’re guessing, no choice is very hard. Also: I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arizona focus on Sam Bradford and pick a rookie in the first or second round to supplement him.</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl-free-agents-rankings-by-position-2018" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:• BENOIT: A 2018 free agency guide and tracker, with rankings of players at each position" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><strong>• BENOIT: A 2018 free agency guide and tracker, with rankings of players at each position</strong></a> </p><p><strong>Cleveland: Sam Darnold and Sam Bradford. </strong>The reason Browns GM John Dorsey wanted Alex Smith, or even McCarron or another veteran, is because he wants to be competitive from the start this season. You sign Bradford because you know as long as he stays healthy (Ten days? Ten games?), he’s a top-12-caliber quarterback. But he’s played more than seven games in just two of the last five seasons, and so the Browns won’t be guaranteed anything except some sleepless nights if they sign Bradford. But no matter which veteran Cleveland gets (and McCarron is certainly a strong prospect here), Dorsey will backstop with a rookie, and Darnold, who needs a large dose of development, would be fine with a year or more of clipboard-holding.</p><p><strong>New York Jets: Baker Mayfield and Josh McCown. </strong>To say that McCown made a positive impact on the Jets in his gap year would be a major understatement. He’s a selfless coach on the field, and he would love to spend 2018 doing what he tried to do in 2014 in Cleveland, when he was there to usher Johnny Manziel into the ranks of respectable NFL starter. We know what happened then, and it wasn’t McCown’s fault. <a href="https://www.si.com/column/Baker+Mayfield:+The+Scouting+Report" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mayfield is a marvelous talent, if a bit of a wild colt." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Mayfield is a marvelous talent, if a bit of a wild colt.</a> He’d be a great fit with McCown and new and imaginative offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates. And McCown can play (combined 90.8 rating over his last three seasons) until Mayfield’s ready. Now, here’s the other thing about the Jets. Everyone in the league knows they love Cousins, will hotly pursue Cousins, and could get Cousins. It would not surprise me at all. Bates would be a perfect teacher for him, because he has so much in common with his mentors in Washington, particularly Kyle Shanahan. So if I did this exercise two weeks from now, who knows? I could give Keenum to Denver and Cousins to the Jets.</p><h3>Significant Need</h3><p><strong>New Orleans: Drew Brees and Luke Falk. </strong>I can’t see Brees, 39, going elsewhere. I see him playing out his last two or three years (or more) with Sean Payton, particularly with the Saints being on the cusp of another competitive run. Falk? Precision passer (69, 70, 67 percent accurate in his last three years at Washington State) who could use some development. You know who wouldn’t surprise me here? Tyrod Taylor. I think Payton could do very good things with him. By the way, I hear Payton loves Mayfield too. Hard to imagine, though, that Payton and GM Mickey Loomis could move up high enough from their first-round slot (27th overall) to get in position to get Mayfield.</p><p><strong>New York Giants: Josh Allen. </strong>It could be Darnold or Josh Rosen too, obviously. Much smarter NFLers than me told me in the last few days that they think GM Dave Gettleman will pass on a quarterback to fill another major need at number two overall, and I don’t doubt it. But the Giants have a 37-year-old quarterback who has been average at best for the past six years, and I don’t see New York passing on a good quarterback crop when the chance to get the next long-termer is there. Allen’s the kind of big, strong, developmental player (though his accuracy could be a big issue) who would be a good pupil under Eli Manning and Pat Shurmur for the next couple of years. Or less.</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/13/nfl-draft-top-prospects-big-board" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:• THE MMQB BIG BOARD: A non-quarterback tops our list of the top 50 NFL draft prospects right now" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><strong>• THE MMQB BIG BOARD: A non-quarterback tops our list of the top 50 NFL draft prospects right now</strong></a></p><p><strong>Minnesota: Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater. </strong>This is too safe. I sort of hate it. Keenum will likely be more inclined to go somewhere with no summer competition for the starting job (Buffalo?), but he also knows his team intimately here, and he knows (or should know) how he’d flourish under new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. Bridgewater … I have no idea. What do you make of a guy who hasn’t played for two years, and who was not a sure long-term thing the last time he played? Seems the comfort-level play for him would be to stay for an incentive-laden deal.</p><p><strong>Buffalo: Josh Rosen. </strong>The musical chairs are getting scarce. This could be a McCarron, Keenum or Bradford spot too. If Denver gets Cousins, I could see Elway dealing his one (fifth overall) for Buffalo’s two first-round picks (21, 22) and another high pick this year or next—I could see Tampa Bay, Chicago, Oakland and San Francisco at seven through 10 in round one doing the same—to allow Buffalo to jump up and get a good quarterback prospect.</p><h3>Need</h3><p><strong>New England: Kyle Lauletta. </strong>I write about the Pats and Lauletta later in the column. But this is a year New England has to do what it did in 2014: find the heir to Tom Brady, who turns 41 in August. I can see the future now. In February 2022, I’m writing this column, and I’m writing new Patriots head coach Josh McDaniels saying, “Well, we know Tom just won the MVP, and he looks great even though he’s 45, but we’ve got to look out for the future too.”</p><p><strong>Jacksonville: Mason Rudolph. </strong>The Jags will say all the right things about Blake Bortles, and actually mean a few of them. But they’ve got to backstop the position. Rudolph should still be there late in round one.</p><h3>Keeping Their Eyes Open</h3><p><strong>Baltimore: Lamar Jackson. </strong>Joe Flacco’s last three years: 20-22, 52 touchdowns, 40 picks. Meh. Time to look around, and the versatile Jackson could be a weapon even when he’s not an every-down quarterback.</p><p><strong>Miami: Tyrod Taylor. </strong>Never know about Ryan Tannehill, from either an injury or a talent perspective. Taylor will fare well under mechanics specialist Adam Gase.</p><p><strong>LA Chargers: Mike White. </strong>Wild guess. Good arm. The Chargers might find a third-rounder this year they believe is a good student of the game who could learn well from Philip Rivers for the next two or three years.</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/15/baker-mayfield-freshman-year-texas-tech-kliff-kingsbury" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:• KLEMKO: The last time Baker Mayfield was a rookie—Looking back at the quarterback’s stint at Texas Tech" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><strong>• KLEMKO: The last time Baker Mayfield was a rookie—Looking back at the quarterback’s stint at Texas Tech</strong></a></p><p>So Nick Foles stays in Philadelphia, Jacoby Brissett stays in Indianapolis. I think I’ve answered all your questions now. Also, if you’d like, I could advise you on some really great Lotto numbers I’ve got for tonight.</p><h3>I get the Saquon Barkley hype. I don’t get picking a back that high</h3><p>The recent history of rookie running backs suggests to me that picking Barkley, the Penn State star and very highly rated running back, in the top five would be … well, I won’t call it a mistake. Because a great player is a great player. But I am saying the history of this position shows a team might be much better off solving its needs at another position and getting the back later in the draft. </p><p><strong>2017: </strong>Offensive rookie of the year Alvin Kamara was the 67th overall pick, the fifth back selected. NFL rushing champion Kareem Hunt was the 86th overall pick, the sixth back taken.</p><p><strong>2016:</strong> Jordan Howard, the 10th back chosen and 150th overall pick, finished second in rushing as a rookie. The 13th back picked, Alex Collins, has developed into the Ravens’ number one and a stalwart back.</p><p><strong>2015: </strong>Seventh running back picked: David Johnson (86th overall), who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage in 2016 with 2,118 … Thirteenth running back picked: Jay Ajayi, 149th overall.</p><p><strong>2014: </strong>Devonta Freeman (ninth back picked, 103rd overall) is the Falcons’ franchise back.</p><p>And so on.</p><p>ESPN’s Todd McShay has Barkley as his highest-rated player in the draft. “Adrian Peterson is the last back I gave a higher grade to,” McShay told me. “But I hear you. The question I would ask is, say I needed a pass-rusher—really needed one. Would I pass on [North Carolina State’s] Bradley Chubb to take Barkley in the top five, then try to get a rusher near the top of the second round? If you’re picking 33, 35, 38 [overall], I can tell you that you’ll have a chance to get a running back with a first-round grade who will be very productive for you. But the pass-rushers may be gone by then.”</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/16/harry-carson-giants-concussions-cte" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:• ROHAN: If Giants legend Harry Carson had to do it all over again, he wouldn&#39;t play football" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><strong>• ROHAN: If Giants legend Harry Carson had to do it all over again, he wouldn&#39;t play football</strong></a></p><p>I’m not ignoring the greatness of Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette and Todd Gurley, all of whom were top-10 picks and have played great. But the average overall pick for Kamara, Hunt and David Johnson—each of whom are either franchise backs or verging on that title—was number 80. I just think smart teams can solve franchise-player needs high in the first round elsewhere, and get a very good back down the line. History backs it up.</p><h3>Any clues about the next Garoppolo for New England?</h3><p>New England picks 31st, 41st or 42nd (it will be San Francisco’s pick, and a coin flip will determine which of these slots the Patriots will own) and 63rd. You’ve got to think sometime between 31 and 63, New England gets its new Garoppolo, the long-term replacement for Father Time, aka Tom Brady.</p><p>Todd McShay of ESPN thinks either Luke Falk of Washington State or Kyle Lauletta of Richmond could fit the bill for New England somewhere after the top 30 picks. McShay says: “Highly driven, very intelligent, accurate passers who both lived in the pocket, very good at going through their progressions. Lauletta has a slightly bigger arm, and he was impressive in how he carried himself at the Senior Bowl.”</p><p>The Senior Bowl is where each man got noticed. In 2014, A.J. McCarron dropped out of the Senior Bowl, and the first alternate at quarterback was Garoppolo, who hustled to Mobile after playing in the East-West game the previous Saturday. By week’s end, writing about the 10 most impressive in Senior Bowl practices, former NFL safety Matt Bowen listed Garoppolo as his most impressive player of the week. In 2018, Lauletta was an unheralded FCS player behind the more storied Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield. But Lauletta was the Senior Bowl’s biggest star, completing eight of 12 passes for 198 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Eric Edholm of Pro Football Weeklywrote about Lauletta at the Senior Bowl, and Lauletta told Edholm he’s been compared to Garoppolo a lot, and thinks he’d fit with the Patriots because he “processes information well.”</p><p>Comparing the numbers between the two:</p><p> <strong>Jimmy Garoppolo 2014</strong> <strong>Kyle Lauletta 2018</strong> <strong>School</strong> Eastern Illinois Richmond <strong>Level of play</strong> FCS (I-AA) FCS (I-AA) <strong>Height</strong> 6&#39;2 ¼&quot; 6&#39;2 ½&quot; <strong>Weight</strong> 226 217 <strong>Arm length</strong> 31.00 30.75 <strong>Hand size</strong> 9.25 inches 9.62 inches <strong>40 time</strong> 4.97 seconds 4.85 (estimated) <strong>Accuracy</strong> 62.8% career 63.5% career <strong>Draft pick</strong> 63rd overall TBD </p><p>Whomever the Patriots pick—assuming it’s a draft choice they use to take their long-term development quarterback and heir to Brady—you can bet Josh McDaniels will have a lot to say about the process. It’s McDaniels whose head-coaching prospects could be tied most closely to the quarterback who succeeds Brady.</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/15/nfl-franchise-tag-2018-primer-leveon-bell-sammy-watkins" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:• ORR: NFL franchise tag watch for Le’Veon Bell, Sammy Watkins and many more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><strong>• ORR: NFL franchise tag watch for Le’Veon Bell, Sammy Watkins and many more</strong></a></p><h3>Good Job, Dolphins</h3><p>After the murderous rampage that left 17 dead in Parkland, Fla., about 20 minutes from the Dolphins&#39; training facility and offices in Davie, Fla., the Miami owner, Stephen Ross, authorized the donation of $100,000 to a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/stonemandouglasvictimsfund" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:GoFundMe page" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">GoFundMe page</a> for the survivors of the mass shooting, pushing the charitable donations past $1 million. But that wasn&#39;t all the organization did.</p><p>The morning after the shootings, Miami&#39;s assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi felt he had to act. Rizzi, a former college assistant at Rutgers, used to recruit south Florida. He became friendly with a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High coach, Elliott Bonner, and another Douglas assistant, Aaron Feis. Rizzi stayed close to Bonner, and when he visited campus recently, Feis gave him a ride on a golf cart out out to see Bonner elsewhere on the expansive campus.</p><p>On the day of the shooting, Rizzi heard Feis’s name as one of the victims. He heard Feis might have been killed shielding a student or students. Rizzi felt sick about it. So at a staff meeting the morning after, he told the coaches he was taking up a collection for Feis’s widow, and anything they could do would be appreciated. As the day went on, others in the building heard about the collection, and Dolphins employees stopped by Rizzi&#39;s office. What blew him away was a couple of <em>interns</em> in the building handing him $10 and $20 toward the cause.</p><p>By the end of the day, Rizzi collected $17,500, and he drove to Parkland to give the money to Aaron Feis’s brother, Ray Feis. From some coaches to the family of another, it was a terrific gesture.</p><h3>Quotes of the Week</h3><p><strong>I</strong></p><p>“I think he will play in the major leagues.”</p><p><em>—Mets GM Sandy Alderson on Tim Tebow, who is in the team’s camp this spring, via Mike Puma of the New York Post. Tebow, 30, hit .226 in <a href="https://www.si.com/mmqb/2017/04/18/tim-tebow-baseball" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Single-A ball for the Mets in 2017" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Single-A ball for the Mets in 2017</a>.</em></p><p><strong>II</strong></p><p>“It starts off as a normal conversation and then it turns into tears. And I simply just say, ‘I understand. Trust me, I’ve been in Philly. I get it.’”</p><p><em>—Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” talking about meeting long-time fans of the Eagles who can’t quite muster the ability to have a normal conversation with the man who has delivered a dream, </em></p><p><strong>III</strong></p><p>“I think we’ve got a great young quarterback. I think that’s enough to be excited about. I think a lot of our center (Rodney Hudson). I think the quarterback-center battery is as good as I’ve ever had in football. I’m really excited about the two guards (Kelechi Osemele, Gabe Jackson), obviously. That’s the strength of this team.”</p><p><em>—Raiders coach Jon Gruden, to Jerry McDonald of Bay Area News Group.</em></p><p><strong>IV</strong></p><p>“There’s a sameness to the reaction of politicians to mass shootings. Especially if you are a politician who has received donations from the National Rifle Association.”</p><p><em>—CNN’s Anderson Cooper, after the slaughter of 17 people at a Florida high school last week.</em></p><p><strong>V</strong></p><p>“I calculated once how many times I fell during my skating career—41,600 times. But here’s the funny thing: I got up 41,600 times. That’s the muscle you have to build in your psyche: the one that reminds you to just get up.”</p><p><em>—Scott Hamilton <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/18/sports/olympics/figure-skating-nbc-scott-hamilton-.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:to Juliet Macur of the New York Times" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">to Juliet Macur of the New York Times</a>, on how he reacted to being demoted from NBC’s number one skating analyst team at the Olympics, with the rise of Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski.</em></p><p>Scott, you’re the man.</p><h3>Stat of the Week</h3><p>Have I mentioned I love how the Steelers do business? Club chairman Art Rooney II shut down any talk of replacing coach Mike Tomlin soon after the season, despite the disappointing loss to the Jaguars in the playoffs—Pittsburgh’s second home defeat to Jacksonville in the 2017 season. Losses like that one are dispiriting, to be sure, but the Steelers are the Steelers. The 2018 season will complete a stunning half century of football. In those 50 seasons, Pittsburgh will have had three head coaches.</p><p>Now for the stat: Since the turn of the century, among active coaches who have coached at least five years, only three coaches have averaged more than 11 wins per season, including playoffs. And only two coaches have won 25 games or more in the last two seasons—Bill Belichick and Tomlin. The records of the three coaches with an average of 11 wins or more per season since 2000:</p><p><strong>Coach</strong> <strong>Years</strong> <strong>W-L</strong> <strong>Wins Per Year</strong> <strong>Last 2 Years</strong> <strong>Wins Per year</strong> Bill Belichick 23 278-129 12.1 32-6 16.0 Mike Tomlin 11 124-67 11.3 26-10 13.0 Pete Carroll 8 88-53-1 11.0 20-12-1 10.0 </p><p>Since you asked: In this century, among active coaches, Mike McCarthy has averaged 10.9 wins per season this century, Andy Reid 10.5, John Harbaugh 10.4, Sean Payton 10.2, Ron Rivera 9.6, Jon Gruden 9.3.</p><h3>Factoids That May Interest Only Me</h3><p><strong>I</strong></p><p>First two choices in the coaching search for the 1996 Bucs: Jimmy Johnson, Steve Spurrier.</p><p>First two choices in the coaching search for the 2018 Colts: Josh McDaniels, Mike Vrabel.</p><p>The Bucs, spurned, picked Tony Dungy. Seven seasons later, they won the Super Bowl.</p><p>The Colts, spurned, picked Frank Reich.</p><p><strong>II</strong></p><p>This is how long Sebastian Janikowski—whose 18-year tenure with the Raiders ended last week—has been playing pro football:</p><p>• The Raiders have had 21 head coaches in their 58-year history. Janikowski played for almost half—10—of them.</p><p>• In his rookie year, 2000, Janikowski was ninth in the NFL in scoring. Number 10 that year, Gary Anderson, is now 58 years old.</p><p>• Tom Brady was a third-string rookie (behind Drew Bledsoe and John Friesz) when Janikowski made his debut for Oakland on Labor Day Weekend 2000.</p><p>• In Janikowski’s first game in the NFL, the Raiders picked off Ryan Leaf three times and, despite sacks from Rodney Harrison and Junior Seau, Oakland beat San Diego 9-3.</p><p>• Playing in snow for the first time in his career in the Tuck Rule game in Foxboro on Jan. 19, 2002, Janikowski kicked field goals of 38 and 45 yards in the third quarter, giving the Raiders leads of 10-3 and 13-3 … before Adam Vinatieri’s significantly more famous 45-yard field goal on that snow-squalling evening.</p><p><strong>III</strong></p><p>Larry Fitzgerald, who has played 14 NFL seasons, had his best regular seasons in years 12, 13 and 14, with 109, 107 and 109 catches. He’ll play a 15th year in 2018.</p><h3>Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note</h3><p>Call this week’s entry “Turd of the Week.”</p><p>For Valentine’s Day dinner, my wife and I went to a restaurant in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, The Red Cat. We had a reservation for 6:15 and arrived about 6:10. In front of us when we entered the place: two men, 40ish, one of whom was asking if a table was available. We’re full, the fellow at the front said. One of the guys saw six or eight table in the restaurant that were unoccupied and asked if they could take any one of those. “Sir,” The Red Cat guy said, “it’s Valentine’s Day. We’re totally booked.” On and on the 40ish guy went. He would not take no for an answer. Couples gathered in the doorway. Finally, The Red Cat relented. “We’ll seat you,” he said.</p><p>To which the Turd of the Week turned to his acquaintance and said so that anyone within 20 feet could hear, “Can you believe that? I had to f---ing beg for a f---ing table!”</p><p>The idiot was seated, and then it was our turn. The poor Red Cat guy. Totally embarrassed, as he turned to us and was all professional and polite. But shaken. I thought, <em>I’m glad I’m not on the front line of the restaurant business in New York City.</em></p><h3>Tweets of the Week</h3><p><strong>I</strong></p><p>The former NFL scout and current NFL and draft analyst, on the rumors flying about trades and free-agent signings and other NFL folderol 10 weeks before the draft. He followed with a tweet saying: “I think this year I’m going to keep a running scorecard on all ‘rumors’ on twitter (including mine). I think we’ll find out it’s about 90 percent fabricated nonsense.”</p><p><strong>II</strong></p><p><strong>III</strong></p><p><strong>IV</strong></p><p><strong>V</strong></p><h3>Pod People</h3><p><em>From “<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mmqb-podcast-peter-king/id1150960126?mt=2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The MMQB Podcast With Peter King" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The MMQB Podcast With Peter King</a>,” available where you download podcasts.</em></p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/13/themmqb-brandon-graham-strip-sack-philadelphia-eagles-super-bowl-52-bob-angelo-nfl-films" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:This week’s conversations" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">This week’s conversations</a>: Eagles defensive lineman Brandon Graham and NFL Films cameraman Bob Angelo, who is retiring after 43 years of shooting NFL games.</p><p><strong>• Angelo, integral with NFL Films czar Steve Sabol to the invention of “Hard Knocks” in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens featured in the first season, on why it worked: </strong>“It worked because it was raw. After the first show, with all of that profanity out there, Steve was very concerned about the league office’s response to it. The second week, Steve told the editors to eliminate as much profanity as possible, because he was concerned about the league’s response. I would screen the show before it aired with the Ravens hierarchy, and after the first week—no issues at all … They couldn’t have cared less about the profanity. After the second show, [coach] Brian Billick looked at this watered-down show and he said, ‘Great show, Bob. But we need a few more gratuitous F-words in there.’ So I called Steve and said, ‘There’s no problem here with the profanity. Let it go. It’s raw, it’s real, this is what a pro football team sounds like in the summer.’ … From that point on, we could go anywhere we wanted, do anything we wanted to do.</p><p>“My wife, Barbara, and I had our niece living with us [in 2001], and she asked us one day, ‘What do you think is the best reality show on television?’ And I thought about it for a minute and said, ‘Mine. Because you don’t get voted off the island, you lose your job.’”</p><h3>Ten Things I Think I Think</h3><p>1. I think if you want to know why Larry Fitzgerald, who will return for a 15th season with a new coach and quarterback in 2018 in Arizona, should be judged as one of the best receivers ever—say, certainly in the top five—consider these nuggets:</p><p>• If he has a normal season in 2018 based on recent history, he’ll finish next year with about 200 more receptions than any wideout who ever played other than Rice, and with 500 or so more receiving yards than anyone who ever played, save Rice.</p><p>• Rice had Steve Young or Joe Montana as his quarterback in 85 percent of his career starts. Fitzgerald had Kurt Warner and Carson Palmer for 51 percent of his career starts.</p><p>• In the five seasons he’s played since turning 30, Fitzgerald has missed three games due to injury (all in 2014).</p><p>2. I think—and have for a year now—that 2017 was not going to be Fitzgerald’s last year. Too many footprints he wants to leave in the sand. When the NFL elects its 100th anniversary team in three years, my bet is that Fitzgerald, who has significant respect for history and loves to be a major part of it, would want badly to be one of the four wide receivers on that team. Who would they be? Just a guess: Don Hutson, Jerry Rice, Larry Fitzgerald, and either Steve Largent or Randy Moss. Could be different, of course, because the candidate list at that position will be very strong. </p><p>3. I think it appears interim Panthers general manager Marty Hurney is the favorite to take over the full-time Carolina GM job after being cleared by the NFL of harassment claims by his ex-wife. Which is the best decision the team could make. With Hurney free of the claims now, and judged innocent, his role as the favorite for the permanent job should not be affected.</p><p>4. I think the best news of the week was Ryan Shazier sitting in on scouting meetings with the Steelers. What happened to him was awful. What he could do with his life is powerful, whether in football or something else. Good for the Steelers, paving the way for him to transition to an off-field football life if that’s what Shazier chooses.</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/15/steelers-ryan-shazier-injury-high-school-football-coaches-tackling-technique" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:• AFTER SHAZIER, A FOCUS ON TACKLING: Kalyn Kahler talked to four high school coaches about their approach to teaching the game in aftermath of Shazier’s injury" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><strong>• AFTER SHAZIER, A FOCUS ON TACKLING:</strong> Kalyn Kahler talked to four high school coaches about their approach to teaching the game in aftermath of Shazier’s injury</a></p><p>5. I think the best TV fit for Peyton Manning might be FOX—and as <a href="https://nypost.com/2018/02/16/inside-the-high-stakes-two-network-pursuit-of-peyton-manning/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the New York Post’sAndrew Marchand reported" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the New York Post’sAndrew Marchand reported</a>, FOX and ESPN both want him for weeknight prime-time games this year—for three reasons.</p><p>• The FOX deal is for 11 games a year, and it’s on Thursday nights, which means Manning could dip his toe in the water of TV without being married to it for a long season. Manning could be home every week in Denver by 3 a.m. Mountain Time Friday, and not leave again until Tuesday evening, if he chooses. And his work would be 11 weeks long, not 19 or 20 including playoffs.</p><p>• Manning, I believe, eventually wants to be an Elway or a Jeter, a guy who runs his own team. This would allow him to fact-find with good coaches and GMs for free, and allow him to see the teams that do it the right way and the teams that do it wrong. Jon Gruden can tell him how much you can learn by sitting in on productions meetings with the coaches and players you’ll either be trying to beat in a couple of years—or trying to hire.</p><p>• Though I don’t think Manning wants to be a TV guy, this is a low-commitment way that will allow him to find that out for sure.</p><p>6. I think it’s very hard for me to imagine Washington giving Kirk Cousins the franchise tag for one simple reason: When you put a franchise tag on a player, you intend to employ him at that rate of pay for the season. Washington intends to employ Alex Smith as it quarterback for 2018 and beyond. So if the team does tag Cousins, he would immediately file a grievance to block it, <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/15/indianapolis-colts-chris-ballard-frank-reich-coach-gm-mmqb" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:as our Albert Breer reported Thursday" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">as our Albert Breer reported Thursday</a>. And Cousins would win easily.</p><p>7. I think I read the rant of former WFAN talk-show host Mike Francesa about the Jason Kelce expletive-peppered speech during the Eagles’ Super Bowl celebration. The Francesa take (he was angry that Kelce cursed) is one of the most get-off-my-lawn things I’ve heard in a while. Said Francesa on WOR in New York: “You ever heard about winning like a champion? Somebody should have taken a hook and pulled him off … I was in the car when I heard it and people were replaying it like it was the greatest thing in the world. How dumb are you to replay that? I wouldn’t give that one second airtime … If I were the owner of the team, I’d cut him.” I do agree with Francesa that the cursing was over the top, and at time slightly cringe-inducing. But the rest—seriously?</p><p>8. I think, not that Francesa would know this, but Jason Kelce was the NFL’s first-team All-Pro center in 2017. He’s an unquestioned team leader. He’s got the 10th-highest salary-cap number for centers in 2018, which means he’s a player of great value. If Jeff Lurie cut Jason Kelce, players on that team would be beyond furious—as would coach Doug Pederson. Would the Eagles have been better with Kelce not f-bombing the speech? Of course. Cutting him? Knee-jerk to the max. But hey, it’s a hot take.</p><p>9. I think, not that it’s burrowing into the souls of every NFL or NBA fan, that it’s entirely fair for NBA commissioner Adam Silver to barter for the league to get 1 percent of the proceeds of all money legally wagered on the NBA. The NBA is providing the vehicle for the gambling to take place. Why shouldn’t it get a small cut? Same thing with the NFL, if that gambling is legalized in other states outside of Nevada.</p><p>10. I think these are my other thoughts of the week:</p><p>a. <a href="http://www.wfaa.com/news/extra-point-dale-hansen-on-school-shootings/519191312?utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&#38;utm_content=5a86203204d3013bb955cd88&#38;utm_medium=trueAnthem&#38;utm_source=twitter" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Commentary of the Week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Commentary of the Week</a>: From Dale Hansen of WFAA-TV in Dallas, on the Parkland school shooting. So much of what Hansen says, sensible Americans want to say—and hear.</p><p>b. <a href="http://www.nj.com/sports/index.ssf/2018/02/florida_shooting_new_jersey_high_school_coaches_co.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Column of the Week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Column of the Week</a>: from Steve Politi of the Newark Star Ledger<em>, </em>localizing the Parkland tragedy with an apt column about high school coaches in the wake of the tragedy. Politi’s right: We’ve left it to untrained civilians to try to save our kids in schools from a horrible fate. “This is life now in this country,” he writes.</p><p>c. It’s so wonderful to see the classmates of the dead in Florida <em>not </em>just sitting home and crying—even though that would be the human thing to do. Instead, they’re coming together and demanding that our elected officials, particularly our president, stand up and do something, something real, to effect change about the gun violence in this country. They’re not waiting for Washington do something, because without being poked with a cattle prod, our leaders will hide and hide and hide and do nothing, and wait until the funerals for more students are over, then pretend it never happened. Listen to a classmate of the dead, Emma Gonzalez, on Saturday, at a rally with her friends, to protest the violence: “We are up here, standing together, because if all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it’s time for victims to be the change that we need to see.”</p><p>d. More Emma, who was wiping tears away as she spoke: “If us students have learned anything, it’s that if you don’t study, you will fail, and in this case, if you actively do nothing, people continually end up DEAD, SO IT’S TIME TO START DOING SOMETHING!”</p><p>e. From Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post<em>, </em>reporting from Parkland, Fla.: “The mood here isn’t solemn. It’s seething.”</p><p>f. How incredibly disheartening, but incredibly consistent, to see our elected officials serving the NRA with more loyalty than they serve their constituents. The only way to effect change is to never vote for an elected official who takes NRA money.</p><p>g. Nothing else feels important this week. But I will go on.</p><p>h. We wanted Michael Jordan to speak up about injustice, and we wanted Tiger Woods and Derek Jeter to do so too. They didn’t. Now LeBron James does, and Laura Ingraham of FOX tells him to shut up and stick to dribbling a basketball. That’s what I like about talking heads: They raise the level of dialogue in the country to something above kindergarten playground. But not much.</p><p>i. Kudos, WEEI, for trying to clean the place up.</p><p>j. Thanks, Ohio University, for the invitation to talk to a hall full of sports and non-sports journalism hopefuls Friday night. Always great to be back on the campus where I spent four happy and profitable and educational years—and met the woman of my dreams.</p><p>k. Walking up one side of Court Street, walking down the other side. Walking on College Green. What a time warp. Other than the Bagel Buggy being gone from the heart of town late on a Friday night, not much has changed in the last 40 years, since winter quarter of my junior year.</p><p>l. Coffeenerdness: How I knew I was in a college town early Saturday: I had to leave Athens about 7:15 a.m. for the 65-mile drive to Columbus to catch my plane home, and I wanted to get a coffee before driving 70 miles to the airport. The three coffee shops downtown weren’t open yet. Two of them opened at 8.</p><p>m. Beernerdness: Very cool brew pub in uptown Athens that wasn’t there the last time I was: Jackie O’s, right next to my old bar, the Union. Great to see it crowded with townies and students alike Friday afternoon and evening, and great to be able to share a beer with some of the students from The Post<em>, </em>our venerable student paper, and then a drink with some of the organizers of the journalism weekend. It’s been a long time since I saw one of my old buddies from the Cincinnati Enquirer<em>, </em>Justice B. Hill, who’s on the front lines at Ohio U., teaching writing and reporting the way it has to be taught. Really enjoyed the whole scene.</p><p>n. Something redemptive and rewarding about Nathan Chen skating wonderfully in the long program Friday night. Loved seeing that.</p><p>o. Hey Lindsay Vonn: Don’t listen to anyone dogging you about your skiing. You’ve been a heck of a champion.</p><p>p. I sat for two hours late Saturday afternoon, vegging out and watching curling. It’s a hypnotic sport. After a while, you get the strategy, and you’re into it.</p><h3>The Adieu Haiku</h3><p>Once upon a time<br>in America, we cared<br>about mass murder.</p>
The Offseason of Quarterback Movement: Early Guesses on Who Goes Where in Free Agency, Draft

Free agency is 24 years old. Since the dawn of it, I don’t remember a year (because there hasn’t been one) with the same combined level of depth at quarterback in the free market and in the draft.

It’s amazing, really. We could see four quarterbacks (Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield) picked in the top 10 in the April draft. By the end of April, six of the NFL’s 12 top-rated quarterbacks from 2017 could either move on or begin to be moved out by their teams.

Alex Smith (first, with a 104.7 rating) will be traded from Kansas City to Washington, and will sign a four-year contract extension when the new league year begins March 14 … Drew Brees (second, 103.9) will likely re-sign with the Saints, but he’s free to sign anywhere come the start of free agency on March 14 … Case Keenum (seventh, 98.3) hopes to parlay a career year into a starting job and multiyear contract … Philip Rivers (ninth, 96.0) turns 37 this year, and could see the Chargers draft his heir, even coming off a very good year … Josh McCown (11th, 94.5) will be 39 in July, but coming off a career year, he could keep the seat warm for the Jets or another team drafting a quarterback of the future … Kirk Cousins (12th, 93.9) will be the most attractive vet on the street—assuming Washington doesn’t try to franchise him and trade him, which is possible but not likely.

So, in my first column this winter looking ahead to the offseason, I’m going to do the impossible: guess where each available quarterback will land. On May 1, after free agency and the draft, we’ll all have a good laugh over this column. Because I’ll be wrong on the vast majority, and maybe all. But we’ll go in order, and we’ll go by need.

Again, what follows are my team-by-team best guesses. Send me your pros and cons and best counter-arguments, and I’ll use my mailbag this week to give you your say on who’s going where.

Desperate Need

Denver: Kirk Cousins. GM John Elway has made one mega-signing in his tenure: Peyton Manning, in 2012, when Elway was in desperate quarterback straits. To solve this problem again, I say Elway goes big. Cousins isn’t flawless, but he’s got seven or eight prime years left (he’s 29), and has put a premium on going somewhere he can win, somewhere with a good defense, and somewhere he can walk into the building every day excited about going to work. The Broncos, coming off a 5-11 year, haven’t had back-to-back losing seasons since 1971 and 1972, and my bet is on Elway, even at the ridiculous sum of something like $30 million a year, going hard after Cousins to make sure he doesn’t have to keep worrying about the position. In the last two years, Denver has employed the 23rd- and 29th-rated quarterback, Trevor Siemian. Elway’s had enough of mediocrity. One other thing that will play a role: Elway’s willingness to whack a couple of big-ticket defenders, Aqib Talib and Derek Wolfe, from a tight cap situation. It could play a role in clearing enough cap room to fit Cousins onto the roster.

Arizona: A.J. McCarron. This would, of course, break Hue Jackson’s heart. But I just think the alternatives for McCarron are these: Go to Cleveland, and risk the Browns drafting a quarterback high in the first round, and risk being in the same place he was in Cincinnati, behind Andy Dalton, for the next three or four years … or go to Arizona (or another spot that won’t draft a passer high) and be handed the starting job on a team with a playoff defense. Not a very tough choice in my mind. Of course, when you’re guessing, no choice is very hard. Also: I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arizona focus on Sam Bradford and pick a rookie in the first or second round to supplement him.

• BENOIT: A 2018 free agency guide and tracker, with rankings of players at each position

Cleveland: Sam Darnold and Sam Bradford. The reason Browns GM John Dorsey wanted Alex Smith, or even McCarron or another veteran, is because he wants to be competitive from the start this season. You sign Bradford because you know as long as he stays healthy (Ten days? Ten games?), he’s a top-12-caliber quarterback. But he’s played more than seven games in just two of the last five seasons, and so the Browns won’t be guaranteed anything except some sleepless nights if they sign Bradford. But no matter which veteran Cleveland gets (and McCarron is certainly a strong prospect here), Dorsey will backstop with a rookie, and Darnold, who needs a large dose of development, would be fine with a year or more of clipboard-holding.

New York Jets: Baker Mayfield and Josh McCown. To say that McCown made a positive impact on the Jets in his gap year would be a major understatement. He’s a selfless coach on the field, and he would love to spend 2018 doing what he tried to do in 2014 in Cleveland, when he was there to usher Johnny Manziel into the ranks of respectable NFL starter. We know what happened then, and it wasn’t McCown’s fault. Mayfield is a marvelous talent, if a bit of a wild colt. He’d be a great fit with McCown and new and imaginative offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates. And McCown can play (combined 90.8 rating over his last three seasons) until Mayfield’s ready. Now, here’s the other thing about the Jets. Everyone in the league knows they love Cousins, will hotly pursue Cousins, and could get Cousins. It would not surprise me at all. Bates would be a perfect teacher for him, because he has so much in common with his mentors in Washington, particularly Kyle Shanahan. So if I did this exercise two weeks from now, who knows? I could give Keenum to Denver and Cousins to the Jets.

Significant Need

New Orleans: Drew Brees and Luke Falk. I can’t see Brees, 39, going elsewhere. I see him playing out his last two or three years (or more) with Sean Payton, particularly with the Saints being on the cusp of another competitive run. Falk? Precision passer (69, 70, 67 percent accurate in his last three years at Washington State) who could use some development. You know who wouldn’t surprise me here? Tyrod Taylor. I think Payton could do very good things with him. By the way, I hear Payton loves Mayfield too. Hard to imagine, though, that Payton and GM Mickey Loomis could move up high enough from their first-round slot (27th overall) to get in position to get Mayfield.

New York Giants: Josh Allen. It could be Darnold or Josh Rosen too, obviously. Much smarter NFLers than me told me in the last few days that they think GM Dave Gettleman will pass on a quarterback to fill another major need at number two overall, and I don’t doubt it. But the Giants have a 37-year-old quarterback who has been average at best for the past six years, and I don’t see New York passing on a good quarterback crop when the chance to get the next long-termer is there. Allen’s the kind of big, strong, developmental player (though his accuracy could be a big issue) who would be a good pupil under Eli Manning and Pat Shurmur for the next couple of years. Or less.

• THE MMQB BIG BOARD: A non-quarterback tops our list of the top 50 NFL draft prospects right now

Minnesota: Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater. This is too safe. I sort of hate it. Keenum will likely be more inclined to go somewhere with no summer competition for the starting job (Buffalo?), but he also knows his team intimately here, and he knows (or should know) how he’d flourish under new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. Bridgewater … I have no idea. What do you make of a guy who hasn’t played for two years, and who was not a sure long-term thing the last time he played? Seems the comfort-level play for him would be to stay for an incentive-laden deal.

Buffalo: Josh Rosen. The musical chairs are getting scarce. This could be a McCarron, Keenum or Bradford spot too. If Denver gets Cousins, I could see Elway dealing his one (fifth overall) for Buffalo’s two first-round picks (21, 22) and another high pick this year or next—I could see Tampa Bay, Chicago, Oakland and San Francisco at seven through 10 in round one doing the same—to allow Buffalo to jump up and get a good quarterback prospect.

Need

New England: Kyle Lauletta. I write about the Pats and Lauletta later in the column. But this is a year New England has to do what it did in 2014: find the heir to Tom Brady, who turns 41 in August. I can see the future now. In February 2022, I’m writing this column, and I’m writing new Patriots head coach Josh McDaniels saying, “Well, we know Tom just won the MVP, and he looks great even though he’s 45, but we’ve got to look out for the future too.”

Jacksonville: Mason Rudolph. The Jags will say all the right things about Blake Bortles, and actually mean a few of them. But they’ve got to backstop the position. Rudolph should still be there late in round one.

Keeping Their Eyes Open

Baltimore: Lamar Jackson. Joe Flacco’s last three years: 20-22, 52 touchdowns, 40 picks. Meh. Time to look around, and the versatile Jackson could be a weapon even when he’s not an every-down quarterback.

Miami: Tyrod Taylor. Never know about Ryan Tannehill, from either an injury or a talent perspective. Taylor will fare well under mechanics specialist Adam Gase.

LA Chargers: Mike White. Wild guess. Good arm. The Chargers might find a third-rounder this year they believe is a good student of the game who could learn well from Philip Rivers for the next two or three years.

• KLEMKO: The last time Baker Mayfield was a rookie—Looking back at the quarterback’s stint at Texas Tech

So Nick Foles stays in Philadelphia, Jacoby Brissett stays in Indianapolis. I think I’ve answered all your questions now. Also, if you’d like, I could advise you on some really great Lotto numbers I’ve got for tonight.

I get the Saquon Barkley hype. I don’t get picking a back that high

The recent history of rookie running backs suggests to me that picking Barkley, the Penn State star and very highly rated running back, in the top five would be … well, I won’t call it a mistake. Because a great player is a great player. But I am saying the history of this position shows a team might be much better off solving its needs at another position and getting the back later in the draft.

2017: Offensive rookie of the year Alvin Kamara was the 67th overall pick, the fifth back selected. NFL rushing champion Kareem Hunt was the 86th overall pick, the sixth back taken.

2016: Jordan Howard, the 10th back chosen and 150th overall pick, finished second in rushing as a rookie. The 13th back picked, Alex Collins, has developed into the Ravens’ number one and a stalwart back.

2015: Seventh running back picked: David Johnson (86th overall), who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage in 2016 with 2,118 … Thirteenth running back picked: Jay Ajayi, 149th overall.

2014: Devonta Freeman (ninth back picked, 103rd overall) is the Falcons’ franchise back.

And so on.

ESPN’s Todd McShay has Barkley as his highest-rated player in the draft. “Adrian Peterson is the last back I gave a higher grade to,” McShay told me. “But I hear you. The question I would ask is, say I needed a pass-rusher—really needed one. Would I pass on [North Carolina State’s] Bradley Chubb to take Barkley in the top five, then try to get a rusher near the top of the second round? If you’re picking 33, 35, 38 [overall], I can tell you that you’ll have a chance to get a running back with a first-round grade who will be very productive for you. But the pass-rushers may be gone by then.”

• ROHAN: If Giants legend Harry Carson had to do it all over again, he wouldn't play football

I’m not ignoring the greatness of Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette and Todd Gurley, all of whom were top-10 picks and have played great. But the average overall pick for Kamara, Hunt and David Johnson—each of whom are either franchise backs or verging on that title—was number 80. I just think smart teams can solve franchise-player needs high in the first round elsewhere, and get a very good back down the line. History backs it up.

Any clues about the next Garoppolo for New England?

New England picks 31st, 41st or 42nd (it will be San Francisco’s pick, and a coin flip will determine which of these slots the Patriots will own) and 63rd. You’ve got to think sometime between 31 and 63, New England gets its new Garoppolo, the long-term replacement for Father Time, aka Tom Brady.

Todd McShay of ESPN thinks either Luke Falk of Washington State or Kyle Lauletta of Richmond could fit the bill for New England somewhere after the top 30 picks. McShay says: “Highly driven, very intelligent, accurate passers who both lived in the pocket, very good at going through their progressions. Lauletta has a slightly bigger arm, and he was impressive in how he carried himself at the Senior Bowl.”

The Senior Bowl is where each man got noticed. In 2014, A.J. McCarron dropped out of the Senior Bowl, and the first alternate at quarterback was Garoppolo, who hustled to Mobile after playing in the East-West game the previous Saturday. By week’s end, writing about the 10 most impressive in Senior Bowl practices, former NFL safety Matt Bowen listed Garoppolo as his most impressive player of the week. In 2018, Lauletta was an unheralded FCS player behind the more storied Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield. But Lauletta was the Senior Bowl’s biggest star, completing eight of 12 passes for 198 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Eric Edholm of Pro Football Weeklywrote about Lauletta at the Senior Bowl, and Lauletta told Edholm he’s been compared to Garoppolo a lot, and thinks he’d fit with the Patriots because he “processes information well.”

Comparing the numbers between the two:

Jimmy Garoppolo 2014 Kyle Lauletta 2018 School Eastern Illinois Richmond Level of play FCS (I-AA) FCS (I-AA) Height 6'2 ¼" 6'2 ½" Weight 226 217 Arm length 31.00 30.75 Hand size 9.25 inches 9.62 inches 40 time 4.97 seconds 4.85 (estimated) Accuracy 62.8% career 63.5% career Draft pick 63rd overall TBD

Whomever the Patriots pick—assuming it’s a draft choice they use to take their long-term development quarterback and heir to Brady—you can bet Josh McDaniels will have a lot to say about the process. It’s McDaniels whose head-coaching prospects could be tied most closely to the quarterback who succeeds Brady.

• ORR: NFL franchise tag watch for Le’Veon Bell, Sammy Watkins and many more

Good Job, Dolphins

After the murderous rampage that left 17 dead in Parkland, Fla., about 20 minutes from the Dolphins' training facility and offices in Davie, Fla., the Miami owner, Stephen Ross, authorized the donation of $100,000 to a GoFundMe page for the survivors of the mass shooting, pushing the charitable donations past $1 million. But that wasn't all the organization did.

The morning after the shootings, Miami's assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi felt he had to act. Rizzi, a former college assistant at Rutgers, used to recruit south Florida. He became friendly with a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High coach, Elliott Bonner, and another Douglas assistant, Aaron Feis. Rizzi stayed close to Bonner, and when he visited campus recently, Feis gave him a ride on a golf cart out out to see Bonner elsewhere on the expansive campus.

On the day of the shooting, Rizzi heard Feis’s name as one of the victims. He heard Feis might have been killed shielding a student or students. Rizzi felt sick about it. So at a staff meeting the morning after, he told the coaches he was taking up a collection for Feis’s widow, and anything they could do would be appreciated. As the day went on, others in the building heard about the collection, and Dolphins employees stopped by Rizzi's office. What blew him away was a couple of interns in the building handing him $10 and $20 toward the cause.

By the end of the day, Rizzi collected $17,500, and he drove to Parkland to give the money to Aaron Feis’s brother, Ray Feis. From some coaches to the family of another, it was a terrific gesture.

Quotes of the Week

I

“I think he will play in the major leagues.”

—Mets GM Sandy Alderson on Tim Tebow, who is in the team’s camp this spring, via Mike Puma of the New York Post. Tebow, 30, hit .226 in Single-A ball for the Mets in 2017.

II

“It starts off as a normal conversation and then it turns into tears. And I simply just say, ‘I understand. Trust me, I’ve been in Philly. I get it.’”

—Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” talking about meeting long-time fans of the Eagles who can’t quite muster the ability to have a normal conversation with the man who has delivered a dream,

III

“I think we’ve got a great young quarterback. I think that’s enough to be excited about. I think a lot of our center (Rodney Hudson). I think the quarterback-center battery is as good as I’ve ever had in football. I’m really excited about the two guards (Kelechi Osemele, Gabe Jackson), obviously. That’s the strength of this team.”

—Raiders coach Jon Gruden, to Jerry McDonald of Bay Area News Group.

IV

“There’s a sameness to the reaction of politicians to mass shootings. Especially if you are a politician who has received donations from the National Rifle Association.”

—CNN’s Anderson Cooper, after the slaughter of 17 people at a Florida high school last week.

V

“I calculated once how many times I fell during my skating career—41,600 times. But here’s the funny thing: I got up 41,600 times. That’s the muscle you have to build in your psyche: the one that reminds you to just get up.”

—Scott Hamilton to Juliet Macur of the New York Times, on how he reacted to being demoted from NBC’s number one skating analyst team at the Olympics, with the rise of Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski.

Scott, you’re the man.

Stat of the Week

Have I mentioned I love how the Steelers do business? Club chairman Art Rooney II shut down any talk of replacing coach Mike Tomlin soon after the season, despite the disappointing loss to the Jaguars in the playoffs—Pittsburgh’s second home defeat to Jacksonville in the 2017 season. Losses like that one are dispiriting, to be sure, but the Steelers are the Steelers. The 2018 season will complete a stunning half century of football. In those 50 seasons, Pittsburgh will have had three head coaches.

Now for the stat: Since the turn of the century, among active coaches who have coached at least five years, only three coaches have averaged more than 11 wins per season, including playoffs. And only two coaches have won 25 games or more in the last two seasons—Bill Belichick and Tomlin. The records of the three coaches with an average of 11 wins or more per season since 2000:

Coach Years W-L Wins Per Year Last 2 Years Wins Per year Bill Belichick 23 278-129 12.1 32-6 16.0 Mike Tomlin 11 124-67 11.3 26-10 13.0 Pete Carroll 8 88-53-1 11.0 20-12-1 10.0

Since you asked: In this century, among active coaches, Mike McCarthy has averaged 10.9 wins per season this century, Andy Reid 10.5, John Harbaugh 10.4, Sean Payton 10.2, Ron Rivera 9.6, Jon Gruden 9.3.

Factoids That May Interest Only Me

I

First two choices in the coaching search for the 1996 Bucs: Jimmy Johnson, Steve Spurrier.

First two choices in the coaching search for the 2018 Colts: Josh McDaniels, Mike Vrabel.

The Bucs, spurned, picked Tony Dungy. Seven seasons later, they won the Super Bowl.

The Colts, spurned, picked Frank Reich.

II

This is how long Sebastian Janikowski—whose 18-year tenure with the Raiders ended last week—has been playing pro football:

• The Raiders have had 21 head coaches in their 58-year history. Janikowski played for almost half—10—of them.

• In his rookie year, 2000, Janikowski was ninth in the NFL in scoring. Number 10 that year, Gary Anderson, is now 58 years old.

• Tom Brady was a third-string rookie (behind Drew Bledsoe and John Friesz) when Janikowski made his debut for Oakland on Labor Day Weekend 2000.

• In Janikowski’s first game in the NFL, the Raiders picked off Ryan Leaf three times and, despite sacks from Rodney Harrison and Junior Seau, Oakland beat San Diego 9-3.

• Playing in snow for the first time in his career in the Tuck Rule game in Foxboro on Jan. 19, 2002, Janikowski kicked field goals of 38 and 45 yards in the third quarter, giving the Raiders leads of 10-3 and 13-3 … before Adam Vinatieri’s significantly more famous 45-yard field goal on that snow-squalling evening.

III

Larry Fitzgerald, who has played 14 NFL seasons, had his best regular seasons in years 12, 13 and 14, with 109, 107 and 109 catches. He’ll play a 15th year in 2018.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note

Call this week’s entry “Turd of the Week.”

For Valentine’s Day dinner, my wife and I went to a restaurant in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, The Red Cat. We had a reservation for 6:15 and arrived about 6:10. In front of us when we entered the place: two men, 40ish, one of whom was asking if a table was available. We’re full, the fellow at the front said. One of the guys saw six or eight table in the restaurant that were unoccupied and asked if they could take any one of those. “Sir,” The Red Cat guy said, “it’s Valentine’s Day. We’re totally booked.” On and on the 40ish guy went. He would not take no for an answer. Couples gathered in the doorway. Finally, The Red Cat relented. “We’ll seat you,” he said.

To which the Turd of the Week turned to his acquaintance and said so that anyone within 20 feet could hear, “Can you believe that? I had to f---ing beg for a f---ing table!”

The idiot was seated, and then it was our turn. The poor Red Cat guy. Totally embarrassed, as he turned to us and was all professional and polite. But shaken. I thought, I’m glad I’m not on the front line of the restaurant business in New York City.

Tweets of the Week

I

The former NFL scout and current NFL and draft analyst, on the rumors flying about trades and free-agent signings and other NFL folderol 10 weeks before the draft. He followed with a tweet saying: “I think this year I’m going to keep a running scorecard on all ‘rumors’ on twitter (including mine). I think we’ll find out it’s about 90 percent fabricated nonsense.”

II

III

IV

V

Pod People

From “The MMQB Podcast With Peter King,” available where you download podcasts.

This week’s conversations: Eagles defensive lineman Brandon Graham and NFL Films cameraman Bob Angelo, who is retiring after 43 years of shooting NFL games.

• Angelo, integral with NFL Films czar Steve Sabol to the invention of “Hard Knocks” in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens featured in the first season, on why it worked: “It worked because it was raw. After the first show, with all of that profanity out there, Steve was very concerned about the league office’s response to it. The second week, Steve told the editors to eliminate as much profanity as possible, because he was concerned about the league’s response. I would screen the show before it aired with the Ravens hierarchy, and after the first week—no issues at all … They couldn’t have cared less about the profanity. After the second show, [coach] Brian Billick looked at this watered-down show and he said, ‘Great show, Bob. But we need a few more gratuitous F-words in there.’ So I called Steve and said, ‘There’s no problem here with the profanity. Let it go. It’s raw, it’s real, this is what a pro football team sounds like in the summer.’ … From that point on, we could go anywhere we wanted, do anything we wanted to do.

“My wife, Barbara, and I had our niece living with us [in 2001], and she asked us one day, ‘What do you think is the best reality show on television?’ And I thought about it for a minute and said, ‘Mine. Because you don’t get voted off the island, you lose your job.’”

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think if you want to know why Larry Fitzgerald, who will return for a 15th season with a new coach and quarterback in 2018 in Arizona, should be judged as one of the best receivers ever—say, certainly in the top five—consider these nuggets:

• If he has a normal season in 2018 based on recent history, he’ll finish next year with about 200 more receptions than any wideout who ever played other than Rice, and with 500 or so more receiving yards than anyone who ever played, save Rice.

• Rice had Steve Young or Joe Montana as his quarterback in 85 percent of his career starts. Fitzgerald had Kurt Warner and Carson Palmer for 51 percent of his career starts.

• In the five seasons he’s played since turning 30, Fitzgerald has missed three games due to injury (all in 2014).

2. I think—and have for a year now—that 2017 was not going to be Fitzgerald’s last year. Too many footprints he wants to leave in the sand. When the NFL elects its 100th anniversary team in three years, my bet is that Fitzgerald, who has significant respect for history and loves to be a major part of it, would want badly to be one of the four wide receivers on that team. Who would they be? Just a guess: Don Hutson, Jerry Rice, Larry Fitzgerald, and either Steve Largent or Randy Moss. Could be different, of course, because the candidate list at that position will be very strong.

3. I think it appears interim Panthers general manager Marty Hurney is the favorite to take over the full-time Carolina GM job after being cleared by the NFL of harassment claims by his ex-wife. Which is the best decision the team could make. With Hurney free of the claims now, and judged innocent, his role as the favorite for the permanent job should not be affected.

4. I think the best news of the week was Ryan Shazier sitting in on scouting meetings with the Steelers. What happened to him was awful. What he could do with his life is powerful, whether in football or something else. Good for the Steelers, paving the way for him to transition to an off-field football life if that’s what Shazier chooses.

• AFTER SHAZIER, A FOCUS ON TACKLING: Kalyn Kahler talked to four high school coaches about their approach to teaching the game in aftermath of Shazier’s injury

5. I think the best TV fit for Peyton Manning might be FOX—and as the New York Post’sAndrew Marchand reported, FOX and ESPN both want him for weeknight prime-time games this year—for three reasons.

• The FOX deal is for 11 games a year, and it’s on Thursday nights, which means Manning could dip his toe in the water of TV without being married to it for a long season. Manning could be home every week in Denver by 3 a.m. Mountain Time Friday, and not leave again until Tuesday evening, if he chooses. And his work would be 11 weeks long, not 19 or 20 including playoffs.

• Manning, I believe, eventually wants to be an Elway or a Jeter, a guy who runs his own team. This would allow him to fact-find with good coaches and GMs for free, and allow him to see the teams that do it the right way and the teams that do it wrong. Jon Gruden can tell him how much you can learn by sitting in on productions meetings with the coaches and players you’ll either be trying to beat in a couple of years—or trying to hire.

• Though I don’t think Manning wants to be a TV guy, this is a low-commitment way that will allow him to find that out for sure.

6. I think it’s very hard for me to imagine Washington giving Kirk Cousins the franchise tag for one simple reason: When you put a franchise tag on a player, you intend to employ him at that rate of pay for the season. Washington intends to employ Alex Smith as it quarterback for 2018 and beyond. So if the team does tag Cousins, he would immediately file a grievance to block it, as our Albert Breer reported Thursday. And Cousins would win easily.

7. I think I read the rant of former WFAN talk-show host Mike Francesa about the Jason Kelce expletive-peppered speech during the Eagles’ Super Bowl celebration. The Francesa take (he was angry that Kelce cursed) is one of the most get-off-my-lawn things I’ve heard in a while. Said Francesa on WOR in New York: “You ever heard about winning like a champion? Somebody should have taken a hook and pulled him off … I was in the car when I heard it and people were replaying it like it was the greatest thing in the world. How dumb are you to replay that? I wouldn’t give that one second airtime … If I were the owner of the team, I’d cut him.” I do agree with Francesa that the cursing was over the top, and at time slightly cringe-inducing. But the rest—seriously?

8. I think, not that Francesa would know this, but Jason Kelce was the NFL’s first-team All-Pro center in 2017. He’s an unquestioned team leader. He’s got the 10th-highest salary-cap number for centers in 2018, which means he’s a player of great value. If Jeff Lurie cut Jason Kelce, players on that team would be beyond furious—as would coach Doug Pederson. Would the Eagles have been better with Kelce not f-bombing the speech? Of course. Cutting him? Knee-jerk to the max. But hey, it’s a hot take.

9. I think, not that it’s burrowing into the souls of every NFL or NBA fan, that it’s entirely fair for NBA commissioner Adam Silver to barter for the league to get 1 percent of the proceeds of all money legally wagered on the NBA. The NBA is providing the vehicle for the gambling to take place. Why shouldn’t it get a small cut? Same thing with the NFL, if that gambling is legalized in other states outside of Nevada.

10. I think these are my other thoughts of the week:

a. Commentary of the Week: From Dale Hansen of WFAA-TV in Dallas, on the Parkland school shooting. So much of what Hansen says, sensible Americans want to say—and hear.

b. Column of the Week: from Steve Politi of the Newark Star Ledger, localizing the Parkland tragedy with an apt column about high school coaches in the wake of the tragedy. Politi’s right: We’ve left it to untrained civilians to try to save our kids in schools from a horrible fate. “This is life now in this country,” he writes.

c. It’s so wonderful to see the classmates of the dead in Florida not just sitting home and crying—even though that would be the human thing to do. Instead, they’re coming together and demanding that our elected officials, particularly our president, stand up and do something, something real, to effect change about the gun violence in this country. They’re not waiting for Washington do something, because without being poked with a cattle prod, our leaders will hide and hide and hide and do nothing, and wait until the funerals for more students are over, then pretend it never happened. Listen to a classmate of the dead, Emma Gonzalez, on Saturday, at a rally with her friends, to protest the violence: “We are up here, standing together, because if all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it’s time for victims to be the change that we need to see.”

d. More Emma, who was wiping tears away as she spoke: “If us students have learned anything, it’s that if you don’t study, you will fail, and in this case, if you actively do nothing, people continually end up DEAD, SO IT’S TIME TO START DOING SOMETHING!”

e. From Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post, reporting from Parkland, Fla.: “The mood here isn’t solemn. It’s seething.”

f. How incredibly disheartening, but incredibly consistent, to see our elected officials serving the NRA with more loyalty than they serve their constituents. The only way to effect change is to never vote for an elected official who takes NRA money.

g. Nothing else feels important this week. But I will go on.

h. We wanted Michael Jordan to speak up about injustice, and we wanted Tiger Woods and Derek Jeter to do so too. They didn’t. Now LeBron James does, and Laura Ingraham of FOX tells him to shut up and stick to dribbling a basketball. That’s what I like about talking heads: They raise the level of dialogue in the country to something above kindergarten playground. But not much.

i. Kudos, WEEI, for trying to clean the place up.

j. Thanks, Ohio University, for the invitation to talk to a hall full of sports and non-sports journalism hopefuls Friday night. Always great to be back on the campus where I spent four happy and profitable and educational years—and met the woman of my dreams.

k. Walking up one side of Court Street, walking down the other side. Walking on College Green. What a time warp. Other than the Bagel Buggy being gone from the heart of town late on a Friday night, not much has changed in the last 40 years, since winter quarter of my junior year.

l. Coffeenerdness: How I knew I was in a college town early Saturday: I had to leave Athens about 7:15 a.m. for the 65-mile drive to Columbus to catch my plane home, and I wanted to get a coffee before driving 70 miles to the airport. The three coffee shops downtown weren’t open yet. Two of them opened at 8.

m. Beernerdness: Very cool brew pub in uptown Athens that wasn’t there the last time I was: Jackie O’s, right next to my old bar, the Union. Great to see it crowded with townies and students alike Friday afternoon and evening, and great to be able to share a beer with some of the students from The Post, our venerable student paper, and then a drink with some of the organizers of the journalism weekend. It’s been a long time since I saw one of my old buddies from the Cincinnati Enquirer, Justice B. Hill, who’s on the front lines at Ohio U., teaching writing and reporting the way it has to be taught. Really enjoyed the whole scene.

n. Something redemptive and rewarding about Nathan Chen skating wonderfully in the long program Friday night. Loved seeing that.

o. Hey Lindsay Vonn: Don’t listen to anyone dogging you about your skiing. You’ve been a heck of a champion.

p. I sat for two hours late Saturday afternoon, vegging out and watching curling. It’s a hypnotic sport. After a while, you get the strategy, and you’re into it.

The Adieu Haiku

Once upon a time
in America, we cared
about mass murder.

<p>Free agency is 24 years old. Since the dawn of it, I don’t remember a year (because there hasn’t been one) with the same combined level of depth at quarterback in the free market and in the draft.</p><p>It’s amazing, really. We could see four quarterbacks (Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield) picked in the top 10 in the April draft. By the end of April, six of the NFL’s 12 top-rated quarterbacks from 2017 could either move on or begin to be moved out by their teams.</p><p><strong>Alex Smith (first, with a 104.7 rating) </strong>will be traded from Kansas City to Washington, and will sign a four-year contract extension when the new league year begins March 14 … <strong>Drew Brees (second, 103.9) </strong>will likely re-sign with the Saints, but he’s free to sign anywhere come the start of free agency on March 14 … <strong>Case Keenum (seventh, 98.3) </strong>hopes to parlay a career year into a starting job and multiyear contract … <strong>Philip Rivers (ninth, 96.0) </strong>turns 37 this year, and could see the Chargers draft his heir, even coming off a very good year … <strong>Josh McCown (11th, 94.5) </strong>will be 39 in July, but coming off a career year, he could keep the seat warm for the Jets or another team drafting a quarterback of the future … <strong>Kirk Cousins (12th, 93.9) </strong>will be the most attractive vet on the street—assuming Washington doesn’t try to franchise him and trade him, which is possible but not likely.</p><p>So, in my first column this winter looking ahead to the offseason, I’m going to do the impossible: guess where each available quarterback will land. On May 1, after free agency and the draft, we’ll all have a good laugh over this column. Because I’ll be wrong on the vast majority, and maybe all. But we’ll go in order, and we’ll go by need.</p><p>Again, what follows are my team-by-team best guesses. Send me your pros and cons and best counter-arguments, and I’ll use my mailbag this week to give you your say on who’s going where.</p><h3>Desperate Need</h3><p><strong>Denver: Kirk Cousins. </strong>GM John Elway has made one mega-signing in his tenure: Peyton Manning, in 2012, when Elway was in desperate quarterback straits. To solve this problem again, I say Elway goes big. Cousins isn’t flawless, but he’s got seven or eight prime years left (he’s 29), and has put a premium on going somewhere he can win, somewhere with a good defense, and somewhere he can walk into the building every day excited about going to work. The Broncos, coming off a 5-11 year, haven’t had back-to-back losing seasons since 1971 and 1972, and my bet is on Elway, even at the ridiculous sum of something like $30 million a year, going hard after Cousins to make sure he doesn’t have to keep worrying about the position. In the last two years, Denver has employed the 23rd- and 29th-rated quarterback, Trevor Siemian. Elway’s had enough of mediocrity. One other thing that will play a role: Elway’s willingness to whack a couple of big-ticket defenders, Aqib Talib and Derek Wolfe, from a tight cap situation. It could play a role in clearing enough cap room to fit Cousins onto the roster.</p><p><strong>Arizona: A.J. McCarron. </strong>This would, of course, break Hue Jackson’s heart. But I just think the alternatives for McCarron are these: Go to Cleveland, and risk the Browns drafting a quarterback high in the first round, and risk being in the same place he was in Cincinnati, behind Andy Dalton, for the next three or four years … or go to Arizona (or another spot that won’t draft a passer high) and be handed the starting job on a team with a playoff defense. Not a very tough choice in my mind. Of course, when you’re guessing, no choice is very hard. Also: I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arizona focus on Sam Bradford and pick a rookie in the first or second round to supplement him.</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl-free-agents-rankings-by-position-2018" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:• BENOIT: A 2018 free agency guide and tracker, with rankings of players at each position" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><strong>• BENOIT: A 2018 free agency guide and tracker, with rankings of players at each position</strong></a> </p><p><strong>Cleveland: Sam Darnold and Sam Bradford. </strong>The reason Browns GM John Dorsey wanted Alex Smith, or even McCarron or another veteran, is because he wants to be competitive from the start this season. You sign Bradford because you know as long as he stays healthy (Ten days? Ten games?), he’s a top-12-caliber quarterback. But he’s played more than seven games in just two of the last five seasons, and so the Browns won’t be guaranteed anything except some sleepless nights if they sign Bradford. But no matter which veteran Cleveland gets (and McCarron is certainly a strong prospect here), Dorsey will backstop with a rookie, and Darnold, who needs a large dose of development, would be fine with a year or more of clipboard-holding.</p><p><strong>New York Jets: Baker Mayfield and Josh McCown. </strong>To say that McCown made a positive impact on the Jets in his gap year would be a major understatement. He’s a selfless coach on the field, and he would love to spend 2018 doing what he tried to do in 2014 in Cleveland, when he was there to usher Johnny Manziel into the ranks of respectable NFL starter. We know what happened then, and it wasn’t McCown’s fault. <a href="https://www.si.com/column/Baker+Mayfield:+The+Scouting+Report" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mayfield is a marvelous talent, if a bit of a wild colt." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Mayfield is a marvelous talent, if a bit of a wild colt.</a> He’d be a great fit with McCown and new and imaginative offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates. And McCown can play (combined 90.8 rating over his last three seasons) until Mayfield’s ready. Now, here’s the other thing about the Jets. Everyone in the league knows they love Cousins, will hotly pursue Cousins, and could get Cousins. It would not surprise me at all. Bates would be a perfect teacher for him, because he has so much in common with his mentors in Washington, particularly Kyle Shanahan. So if I did this exercise two weeks from now, who knows? I could give Keenum to Denver and Cousins to the Jets.</p><h3>Significant Need</h3><p><strong>New Orleans: Drew Brees and Luke Falk. </strong>I can’t see Brees, 39, going elsewhere. I see him playing out his last two or three years (or more) with Sean Payton, particularly with the Saints being on the cusp of another competitive run. Falk? Precision passer (69, 70, 67 percent accurate in his last three years at Washington State) who could use some development. You know who wouldn’t surprise me here? Tyrod Taylor. I think Payton could do very good things with him. By the way, I hear Payton loves Mayfield too. Hard to imagine, though, that Payton and GM Mickey Loomis could move up high enough from their first-round slot (27th overall) to get in position to get Mayfield.</p><p><strong>New York Giants: Josh Allen. </strong>It could be Darnold or Josh Rosen too, obviously. Much smarter NFLers than me told me in the last few days that they think GM Dave Gettleman will pass on a quarterback to fill another major need at number two overall, and I don’t doubt it. But the Giants have a 37-year-old quarterback who has been average at best for the past six years, and I don’t see New York passing on a good quarterback crop when the chance to get the next long-termer is there. Allen’s the kind of big, strong, developmental player (though his accuracy could be a big issue) who would be a good pupil under Eli Manning and Pat Shurmur for the next couple of years. Or less.</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/13/nfl-draft-top-prospects-big-board" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:• THE MMQB BIG BOARD: A non-quarterback tops our list of the top 50 NFL draft prospects right now" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><strong>• THE MMQB BIG BOARD: A non-quarterback tops our list of the top 50 NFL draft prospects right now</strong></a></p><p><strong>Minnesota: Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater. </strong>This is too safe. I sort of hate it. Keenum will likely be more inclined to go somewhere with no summer competition for the starting job (Buffalo?), but he also knows his team intimately here, and he knows (or should know) how he’d flourish under new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. Bridgewater … I have no idea. What do you make of a guy who hasn’t played for two years, and who was not a sure long-term thing the last time he played? Seems the comfort-level play for him would be to stay for an incentive-laden deal.</p><p><strong>Buffalo: Josh Rosen. </strong>The musical chairs are getting scarce. This could be a McCarron, Keenum or Bradford spot too. If Denver gets Cousins, I could see Elway dealing his one (fifth overall) for Buffalo’s two first-round picks (21, 22) and another high pick this year or next—I could see Tampa Bay, Chicago, Oakland and San Francisco at seven through 10 in round one doing the same—to allow Buffalo to jump up and get a good quarterback prospect.</p><h3>Need</h3><p><strong>New England: Kyle Lauletta. </strong>I write about the Pats and Lauletta later in the column. But this is a year New England has to do what it did in 2014: find the heir to Tom Brady, who turns 41 in August. I can see the future now. In February 2022, I’m writing this column, and I’m writing new Patriots head coach Josh McDaniels saying, “Well, we know Tom just won the MVP, and he looks great even though he’s 45, but we’ve got to look out for the future too.”</p><p><strong>Jacksonville: Mason Rudolph. </strong>The Jags will say all the right things about Blake Bortles, and actually mean a few of them. But they’ve got to backstop the position. Rudolph should still be there late in round one.</p><h3>Keeping Their Eyes Open</h3><p><strong>Baltimore: Lamar Jackson. </strong>Joe Flacco’s last three years: 20-22, 52 touchdowns, 40 picks. Meh. Time to look around, and the versatile Jackson could be a weapon even when he’s not an every-down quarterback.</p><p><strong>Miami: Tyrod Taylor. </strong>Never know about Ryan Tannehill, from either an injury or a talent perspective. Taylor will fare well under mechanics specialist Adam Gase.</p><p><strong>LA Chargers: Mike White. </strong>Wild guess. Good arm. The Chargers might find a third-rounder this year they believe is a good student of the game who could learn well from Philip Rivers for the next two or three years.</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/15/baker-mayfield-freshman-year-texas-tech-kliff-kingsbury" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:• KLEMKO: The last time Baker Mayfield was a rookie—Looking back at the quarterback’s stint at Texas Tech" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><strong>• KLEMKO: The last time Baker Mayfield was a rookie—Looking back at the quarterback’s stint at Texas Tech</strong></a></p><p>So Nick Foles stays in Philadelphia, Jacoby Brissett stays in Indianapolis. I think I’ve answered all your questions now. Also, if you’d like, I could advise you on some really great Lotto numbers I’ve got for tonight.</p><h3>I get the Saquon Barkley hype. I don’t get picking a back that high</h3><p>The recent history of rookie running backs suggests to me that picking Barkley, the Penn State star and very highly rated running back, in the top five would be … well, I won’t call it a mistake. Because a great player is a great player. But I am saying the history of this position shows a team might be much better off solving its needs at another position and getting the back later in the draft. </p><p><strong>2017: </strong>Offensive rookie of the year Alvin Kamara was the 67th overall pick, the fifth back selected. NFL rushing champion Kareem Hunt was the 86th overall pick, the sixth back taken.</p><p><strong>2016:</strong> Jordan Howard, the 10th back chosen and 150th overall pick, finished second in rushing as a rookie. The 13th back picked, Alex Collins, has developed into the Ravens’ number one and a stalwart back.</p><p><strong>2015: </strong>Seventh running back picked: David Johnson (86th overall), who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage in 2016 with 2,118 … Thirteenth running back picked: Jay Ajayi, 149th overall.</p><p><strong>2014: </strong>Devonta Freeman (ninth back picked, 103rd overall) is the Falcons’ franchise back.</p><p>And so on.</p><p>ESPN’s Todd McShay has Barkley as his highest-rated player in the draft. “Adrian Peterson is the last back I gave a higher grade to,” McShay told me. “But I hear you. The question I would ask is, say I needed a pass-rusher—really needed one. Would I pass on [North Carolina State’s] Bradley Chubb to take Barkley in the top five, then try to get a rusher near the top of the second round? If you’re picking 33, 35, 38 [overall], I can tell you that you’ll have a chance to get a running back with a first-round grade who will be very productive for you. But the pass-rushers may be gone by then.”</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/16/harry-carson-giants-concussions-cte" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:• ROHAN: If Giants legend Harry Carson had to do it all over again, he wouldn&#39;t play football" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><strong>• ROHAN: If Giants legend Harry Carson had to do it all over again, he wouldn&#39;t play football</strong></a></p><p>I’m not ignoring the greatness of Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette and Todd Gurley, all of whom were top-10 picks and have played great. But the average overall pick for Kamara, Hunt and David Johnson—each of whom are either franchise backs or verging on that title—was number 80. I just think smart teams can solve franchise-player needs high in the first round elsewhere, and get a very good back down the line. History backs it up.</p><h3>Any clues about the next Garoppolo for New England?</h3><p>New England picks 31st, 41st or 42nd (it will be San Francisco’s pick, and a coin flip will determine which of these slots the Patriots will own) and 63rd. You’ve got to think sometime between 31 and 63, New England gets its new Garoppolo, the long-term replacement for Father Time, aka Tom Brady.</p><p>Todd McShay of ESPN thinks either Luke Falk of Washington State or Kyle Lauletta of Richmond could fit the bill for New England somewhere after the top 30 picks. McShay says: “Highly driven, very intelligent, accurate passers who both lived in the pocket, very good at going through their progressions. Lauletta has a slightly bigger arm, and he was impressive in how he carried himself at the Senior Bowl.”</p><p>The Senior Bowl is where each man got noticed. In 2014, A.J. McCarron dropped out of the Senior Bowl, and the first alternate at quarterback was Garoppolo, who hustled to Mobile after playing in the East-West game the previous Saturday. By week’s end, writing about the 10 most impressive in Senior Bowl practices, former NFL safety Matt Bowen listed Garoppolo as his most impressive player of the week. In 2018, Lauletta was an unheralded FCS player behind the more storied Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield. But Lauletta was the Senior Bowl’s biggest star, completing eight of 12 passes for 198 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Eric Edholm of Pro Football Weeklywrote about Lauletta at the Senior Bowl, and Lauletta told Edholm he’s been compared to Garoppolo a lot, and thinks he’d fit with the Patriots because he “processes information well.”</p><p>Comparing the numbers between the two:</p><p> <strong>Jimmy Garoppolo 2014</strong> <strong>Kyle Lauletta 2018</strong> <strong>School</strong> Eastern Illinois Richmond <strong>Level of play</strong> FCS (I-AA) FCS (I-AA) <strong>Height</strong> 6&#39;2 ¼&quot; 6&#39;2 ½&quot; <strong>Weight</strong> 226 217 <strong>Arm length</strong> 31.00 30.75 <strong>Hand size</strong> 9.25 inches 9.62 inches <strong>40 time</strong> 4.97 seconds 4.85 (estimated) <strong>Accuracy</strong> 62.8% career 63.5% career <strong>Draft pick</strong> 63rd overall TBD </p><p>Whomever the Patriots pick—assuming it’s a draft choice they use to take their long-term development quarterback and heir to Brady—you can bet Josh McDaniels will have a lot to say about the process. It’s McDaniels whose head-coaching prospects could be tied most closely to the quarterback who succeeds Brady.</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/15/nfl-franchise-tag-2018-primer-leveon-bell-sammy-watkins" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:• ORR: NFL franchise tag watch for Le’Veon Bell, Sammy Watkins and many more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><strong>• ORR: NFL franchise tag watch for Le’Veon Bell, Sammy Watkins and many more</strong></a></p><h3>Good Job, Dolphins</h3><p>After the murderous rampage that left 17 dead in Parkland, Fla., about 20 minutes from the Dolphins&#39; training facility and offices in Davie, Fla., the Miami owner, Stephen Ross, authorized the donation of $100,000 to a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/stonemandouglasvictimsfund" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:GoFundMe page" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">GoFundMe page</a> for the survivors of the mass shooting, pushing the charitable donations past $1 million. But that wasn&#39;t all the organization did.</p><p>The morning after the shootings, Miami&#39;s assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi felt he had to act. Rizzi, a former college assistant at Rutgers, used to recruit south Florida. He became friendly with a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High coach, Elliott Bonner, and another Douglas assistant, Aaron Feis. Rizzi stayed close to Bonner, and when he visited campus recently, Feis gave him a ride on a golf cart out out to see Bonner elsewhere on the expansive campus.</p><p>On the day of the shooting, Rizzi heard Feis’s name as one of the victims. He heard Feis might have been killed shielding a student or students. Rizzi felt sick about it. So at a staff meeting the morning after, he told the coaches he was taking up a collection for Feis’s widow, and anything they could do would be appreciated. As the day went on, others in the building heard about the collection, and Dolphins employees stopped by Rizzi&#39;s office. What blew him away was a couple of <em>interns</em> in the building handing him $10 and $20 toward the cause.</p><p>By the end of the day, Rizzi collected $17,500, and he drove to Parkland to give the money to Aaron Feis’s brother, Ray Feis. From some coaches to the family of another, it was a terrific gesture.</p><h3>Quotes of the Week</h3><p><strong>I</strong></p><p>“I think he will play in the major leagues.”</p><p><em>—Mets GM Sandy Alderson on Tim Tebow, who is in the team’s camp this spring, via Mike Puma of the New York Post. Tebow, 30, hit .226 in <a href="https://www.si.com/mmqb/2017/04/18/tim-tebow-baseball" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Single-A ball for the Mets in 2017" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Single-A ball for the Mets in 2017</a>.</em></p><p><strong>II</strong></p><p>“It starts off as a normal conversation and then it turns into tears. And I simply just say, ‘I understand. Trust me, I’ve been in Philly. I get it.’”</p><p><em>—Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” talking about meeting long-time fans of the Eagles who can’t quite muster the ability to have a normal conversation with the man who has delivered a dream, </em></p><p><strong>III</strong></p><p>“I think we’ve got a great young quarterback. I think that’s enough to be excited about. I think a lot of our center (Rodney Hudson). I think the quarterback-center battery is as good as I’ve ever had in football. I’m really excited about the two guards (Kelechi Osemele, Gabe Jackson), obviously. That’s the strength of this team.”</p><p><em>—Raiders coach Jon Gruden, to Jerry McDonald of Bay Area News Group.</em></p><p><strong>IV</strong></p><p>“There’s a sameness to the reaction of politicians to mass shootings. Especially if you are a politician who has received donations from the National Rifle Association.”</p><p><em>—CNN’s Anderson Cooper, after the slaughter of 17 people at a Florida high school last week.</em></p><p><strong>V</strong></p><p>“I calculated once how many times I fell during my skating career—41,600 times. But here’s the funny thing: I got up 41,600 times. That’s the muscle you have to build in your psyche: the one that reminds you to just get up.”</p><p><em>—Scott Hamilton <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/18/sports/olympics/figure-skating-nbc-scott-hamilton-.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:to Juliet Macur of the New York Times" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">to Juliet Macur of the New York Times</a>, on how he reacted to being demoted from NBC’s number one skating analyst team at the Olympics, with the rise of Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski.</em></p><p>Scott, you’re the man.</p><h3>Stat of the Week</h3><p>Have I mentioned I love how the Steelers do business? Club chairman Art Rooney II shut down any talk of replacing coach Mike Tomlin soon after the season, despite the disappointing loss to the Jaguars in the playoffs—Pittsburgh’s second home defeat to Jacksonville in the 2017 season. Losses like that one are dispiriting, to be sure, but the Steelers are the Steelers. The 2018 season will complete a stunning half century of football. In those 50 seasons, Pittsburgh will have had three head coaches.</p><p>Now for the stat: Since the turn of the century, among active coaches who have coached at least five years, only three coaches have averaged more than 11 wins per season, including playoffs. And only two coaches have won 25 games or more in the last two seasons—Bill Belichick and Tomlin. The records of the three coaches with an average of 11 wins or more per season since 2000:</p><p><strong>Coach</strong> <strong>Years</strong> <strong>W-L</strong> <strong>Wins Per Year</strong> <strong>Last 2 Years</strong> <strong>Wins Per year</strong> Bill Belichick 23 278-129 12.1 32-6 16.0 Mike Tomlin 11 124-67 11.3 26-10 13.0 Pete Carroll 8 88-53-1 11.0 20-12-1 10.0 </p><p>Since you asked: In this century, among active coaches, Mike McCarthy has averaged 10.9 wins per season this century, Andy Reid 10.5, John Harbaugh 10.4, Sean Payton 10.2, Ron Rivera 9.6, Jon Gruden 9.3.</p><h3>Factoids That May Interest Only Me</h3><p><strong>I</strong></p><p>First two choices in the coaching search for the 1996 Bucs: Jimmy Johnson, Steve Spurrier.</p><p>First two choices in the coaching search for the 2018 Colts: Josh McDaniels, Mike Vrabel.</p><p>The Bucs, spurned, picked Tony Dungy. Seven seasons later, they won the Super Bowl.</p><p>The Colts, spurned, picked Frank Reich.</p><p><strong>II</strong></p><p>This is how long Sebastian Janikowski—whose 18-year tenure with the Raiders ended last week—has been playing pro football:</p><p>• The Raiders have had 21 head coaches in their 58-year history. Janikowski played for almost half—10—of them.</p><p>• In his rookie year, 2000, Janikowski was ninth in the NFL in scoring. Number 10 that year, Gary Anderson, is now 58 years old.</p><p>• Tom Brady was a third-string rookie (behind Drew Bledsoe and John Friesz) when Janikowski made his debut for Oakland on Labor Day Weekend 2000.</p><p>• In Janikowski’s first game in the NFL, the Raiders picked off Ryan Leaf three times and, despite sacks from Rodney Harrison and Junior Seau, Oakland beat San Diego 9-3.</p><p>• Playing in snow for the first time in his career in the Tuck Rule game in Foxboro on Jan. 19, 2002, Janikowski kicked field goals of 38 and 45 yards in the third quarter, giving the Raiders leads of 10-3 and 13-3 … before Adam Vinatieri’s significantly more famous 45-yard field goal on that snow-squalling evening.</p><p><strong>III</strong></p><p>Larry Fitzgerald, who has played 14 NFL seasons, had his best regular seasons in years 12, 13 and 14, with 109, 107 and 109 catches. He’ll play a 15th year in 2018.</p><h3>Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note</h3><p>Call this week’s entry “Turd of the Week.”</p><p>For Valentine’s Day dinner, my wife and I went to a restaurant in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, The Red Cat. We had a reservation for 6:15 and arrived about 6:10. In front of us when we entered the place: two men, 40ish, one of whom was asking if a table was available. We’re full, the fellow at the front said. One of the guys saw six or eight table in the restaurant that were unoccupied and asked if they could take any one of those. “Sir,” The Red Cat guy said, “it’s Valentine’s Day. We’re totally booked.” On and on the 40ish guy went. He would not take no for an answer. Couples gathered in the doorway. Finally, The Red Cat relented. “We’ll seat you,” he said.</p><p>To which the Turd of the Week turned to his acquaintance and said so that anyone within 20 feet could hear, “Can you believe that? I had to f---ing beg for a f---ing table!”</p><p>The idiot was seated, and then it was our turn. The poor Red Cat guy. Totally embarrassed, as he turned to us and was all professional and polite. But shaken. I thought, <em>I’m glad I’m not on the front line of the restaurant business in New York City.</em></p><h3>Tweets of the Week</h3><p><strong>I</strong></p><p>The former NFL scout and current NFL and draft analyst, on the rumors flying about trades and free-agent signings and other NFL folderol 10 weeks before the draft. He followed with a tweet saying: “I think this year I’m going to keep a running scorecard on all ‘rumors’ on twitter (including mine). I think we’ll find out it’s about 90 percent fabricated nonsense.”</p><p><strong>II</strong></p><p><strong>III</strong></p><p><strong>IV</strong></p><p><strong>V</strong></p><h3>Pod People</h3><p><em>From “<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mmqb-podcast-peter-king/id1150960126?mt=2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The MMQB Podcast With Peter King" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The MMQB Podcast With Peter King</a>,” available where you download podcasts.</em></p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/13/themmqb-brandon-graham-strip-sack-philadelphia-eagles-super-bowl-52-bob-angelo-nfl-films" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:This week’s conversations" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">This week’s conversations</a>: Eagles defensive lineman Brandon Graham and NFL Films cameraman Bob Angelo, who is retiring after 43 years of shooting NFL games.</p><p><strong>• Angelo, integral with NFL Films czar Steve Sabol to the invention of “Hard Knocks” in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens featured in the first season, on why it worked: </strong>“It worked because it was raw. After the first show, with all of that profanity out there, Steve was very concerned about the league office’s response to it. The second week, Steve told the editors to eliminate as much profanity as possible, because he was concerned about the league’s response. I would screen the show before it aired with the Ravens hierarchy, and after the first week—no issues at all … They couldn’t have cared less about the profanity. After the second show, [coach] Brian Billick looked at this watered-down show and he said, ‘Great show, Bob. But we need a few more gratuitous F-words in there.’ So I called Steve and said, ‘There’s no problem here with the profanity. Let it go. It’s raw, it’s real, this is what a pro football team sounds like in the summer.’ … From that point on, we could go anywhere we wanted, do anything we wanted to do.</p><p>“My wife, Barbara, and I had our niece living with us [in 2001], and she asked us one day, ‘What do you think is the best reality show on television?’ And I thought about it for a minute and said, ‘Mine. Because you don’t get voted off the island, you lose your job.’”</p><h3>Ten Things I Think I Think</h3><p>1. I think if you want to know why Larry Fitzgerald, who will return for a 15th season with a new coach and quarterback in 2018 in Arizona, should be judged as one of the best receivers ever—say, certainly in the top five—consider these nuggets:</p><p>• If he has a normal season in 2018 based on recent history, he’ll finish next year with about 200 more receptions than any wideout who ever played other than Rice, and with 500 or so more receiving yards than anyone who ever played, save Rice.</p><p>• Rice had Steve Young or Joe Montana as his quarterback in 85 percent of his career starts. Fitzgerald had Kurt Warner and Carson Palmer for 51 percent of his career starts.</p><p>• In the five seasons he’s played since turning 30, Fitzgerald has missed three games due to injury (all in 2014).</p><p>2. I think—and have for a year now—that 2017 was not going to be Fitzgerald’s last year. Too many footprints he wants to leave in the sand. When the NFL elects its 100th anniversary team in three years, my bet is that Fitzgerald, who has significant respect for history and loves to be a major part of it, would want badly to be one of the four wide receivers on that team. Who would they be? Just a guess: Don Hutson, Jerry Rice, Larry Fitzgerald, and either Steve Largent or Randy Moss. Could be different, of course, because the candidate list at that position will be very strong. </p><p>3. I think it appears interim Panthers general manager Marty Hurney is the favorite to take over the full-time Carolina GM job after being cleared by the NFL of harassment claims by his ex-wife. Which is the best decision the team could make. With Hurney free of the claims now, and judged innocent, his role as the favorite for the permanent job should not be affected.</p><p>4. I think the best news of the week was Ryan Shazier sitting in on scouting meetings with the Steelers. What happened to him was awful. What he could do with his life is powerful, whether in football or something else. Good for the Steelers, paving the way for him to transition to an off-field football life if that’s what Shazier chooses.</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/15/steelers-ryan-shazier-injury-high-school-football-coaches-tackling-technique" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:• AFTER SHAZIER, A FOCUS ON TACKLING: Kalyn Kahler talked to four high school coaches about their approach to teaching the game in aftermath of Shazier’s injury" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><strong>• AFTER SHAZIER, A FOCUS ON TACKLING:</strong> Kalyn Kahler talked to four high school coaches about their approach to teaching the game in aftermath of Shazier’s injury</a></p><p>5. I think the best TV fit for Peyton Manning might be FOX—and as <a href="https://nypost.com/2018/02/16/inside-the-high-stakes-two-network-pursuit-of-peyton-manning/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the New York Post’sAndrew Marchand reported" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the New York Post’sAndrew Marchand reported</a>, FOX and ESPN both want him for weeknight prime-time games this year—for three reasons.</p><p>• The FOX deal is for 11 games a year, and it’s on Thursday nights, which means Manning could dip his toe in the water of TV without being married to it for a long season. Manning could be home every week in Denver by 3 a.m. Mountain Time Friday, and not leave again until Tuesday evening, if he chooses. And his work would be 11 weeks long, not 19 or 20 including playoffs.</p><p>• Manning, I believe, eventually wants to be an Elway or a Jeter, a guy who runs his own team. This would allow him to fact-find with good coaches and GMs for free, and allow him to see the teams that do it the right way and the teams that do it wrong. Jon Gruden can tell him how much you can learn by sitting in on productions meetings with the coaches and players you’ll either be trying to beat in a couple of years—or trying to hire.</p><p>• Though I don’t think Manning wants to be a TV guy, this is a low-commitment way that will allow him to find that out for sure.</p><p>6. I think it’s very hard for me to imagine Washington giving Kirk Cousins the franchise tag for one simple reason: When you put a franchise tag on a player, you intend to employ him at that rate of pay for the season. Washington intends to employ Alex Smith as it quarterback for 2018 and beyond. So if the team does tag Cousins, he would immediately file a grievance to block it, <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/15/indianapolis-colts-chris-ballard-frank-reich-coach-gm-mmqb" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:as our Albert Breer reported Thursday" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">as our Albert Breer reported Thursday</a>. And Cousins would win easily.</p><p>7. I think I read the rant of former WFAN talk-show host Mike Francesa about the Jason Kelce expletive-peppered speech during the Eagles’ Super Bowl celebration. The Francesa take (he was angry that Kelce cursed) is one of the most get-off-my-lawn things I’ve heard in a while. Said Francesa on WOR in New York: “You ever heard about winning like a champion? Somebody should have taken a hook and pulled him off … I was in the car when I heard it and people were replaying it like it was the greatest thing in the world. How dumb are you to replay that? I wouldn’t give that one second airtime … If I were the owner of the team, I’d cut him.” I do agree with Francesa that the cursing was over the top, and at time slightly cringe-inducing. But the rest—seriously?</p><p>8. I think, not that Francesa would know this, but Jason Kelce was the NFL’s first-team All-Pro center in 2017. He’s an unquestioned team leader. He’s got the 10th-highest salary-cap number for centers in 2018, which means he’s a player of great value. If Jeff Lurie cut Jason Kelce, players on that team would be beyond furious—as would coach Doug Pederson. Would the Eagles have been better with Kelce not f-bombing the speech? Of course. Cutting him? Knee-jerk to the max. But hey, it’s a hot take.</p><p>9. I think, not that it’s burrowing into the souls of every NFL or NBA fan, that it’s entirely fair for NBA commissioner Adam Silver to barter for the league to get 1 percent of the proceeds of all money legally wagered on the NBA. The NBA is providing the vehicle for the gambling to take place. Why shouldn’t it get a small cut? Same thing with the NFL, if that gambling is legalized in other states outside of Nevada.</p><p>10. I think these are my other thoughts of the week:</p><p>a. <a href="http://www.wfaa.com/news/extra-point-dale-hansen-on-school-shootings/519191312?utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&#38;utm_content=5a86203204d3013bb955cd88&#38;utm_medium=trueAnthem&#38;utm_source=twitter" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Commentary of the Week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Commentary of the Week</a>: From Dale Hansen of WFAA-TV in Dallas, on the Parkland school shooting. So much of what Hansen says, sensible Americans want to say—and hear.</p><p>b. <a href="http://www.nj.com/sports/index.ssf/2018/02/florida_shooting_new_jersey_high_school_coaches_co.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Column of the Week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Column of the Week</a>: from Steve Politi of the Newark Star Ledger<em>, </em>localizing the Parkland tragedy with an apt column about high school coaches in the wake of the tragedy. Politi’s right: We’ve left it to untrained civilians to try to save our kids in schools from a horrible fate. “This is life now in this country,” he writes.</p><p>c. It’s so wonderful to see the classmates of the dead in Florida <em>not </em>just sitting home and crying—even though that would be the human thing to do. Instead, they’re coming together and demanding that our elected officials, particularly our president, stand up and do something, something real, to effect change about the gun violence in this country. They’re not waiting for Washington do something, because without being poked with a cattle prod, our leaders will hide and hide and hide and do nothing, and wait until the funerals for more students are over, then pretend it never happened. Listen to a classmate of the dead, Emma Gonzalez, on Saturday, at a rally with her friends, to protest the violence: “We are up here, standing together, because if all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it’s time for victims to be the change that we need to see.”</p><p>d. More Emma, who was wiping tears away as she spoke: “If us students have learned anything, it’s that if you don’t study, you will fail, and in this case, if you actively do nothing, people continually end up DEAD, SO IT’S TIME TO START DOING SOMETHING!”</p><p>e. From Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post<em>, </em>reporting from Parkland, Fla.: “The mood here isn’t solemn. It’s seething.”</p><p>f. How incredibly disheartening, but incredibly consistent, to see our elected officials serving the NRA with more loyalty than they serve their constituents. The only way to effect change is to never vote for an elected official who takes NRA money.</p><p>g. Nothing else feels important this week. But I will go on.</p><p>h. We wanted Michael Jordan to speak up about injustice, and we wanted Tiger Woods and Derek Jeter to do so too. They didn’t. Now LeBron James does, and Laura Ingraham of FOX tells him to shut up and stick to dribbling a basketball. That’s what I like about talking heads: They raise the level of dialogue in the country to something above kindergarten playground. But not much.</p><p>i. Kudos, WEEI, for trying to clean the place up.</p><p>j. Thanks, Ohio University, for the invitation to talk to a hall full of sports and non-sports journalism hopefuls Friday night. Always great to be back on the campus where I spent four happy and profitable and educational years—and met the woman of my dreams.</p><p>k. Walking up one side of Court Street, walking down the other side. Walking on College Green. What a time warp. Other than the Bagel Buggy being gone from the heart of town late on a Friday night, not much has changed in the last 40 years, since winter quarter of my junior year.</p><p>l. Coffeenerdness: How I knew I was in a college town early Saturday: I had to leave Athens about 7:15 a.m. for the 65-mile drive to Columbus to catch my plane home, and I wanted to get a coffee before driving 70 miles to the airport. The three coffee shops downtown weren’t open yet. Two of them opened at 8.</p><p>m. Beernerdness: Very cool brew pub in uptown Athens that wasn’t there the last time I was: Jackie O’s, right next to my old bar, the Union. Great to see it crowded with townies and students alike Friday afternoon and evening, and great to be able to share a beer with some of the students from The Post<em>, </em>our venerable student paper, and then a drink with some of the organizers of the journalism weekend. It’s been a long time since I saw one of my old buddies from the Cincinnati Enquirer<em>, </em>Justice B. Hill, who’s on the front lines at Ohio U., teaching writing and reporting the way it has to be taught. Really enjoyed the whole scene.</p><p>n. Something redemptive and rewarding about Nathan Chen skating wonderfully in the long program Friday night. Loved seeing that.</p><p>o. Hey Lindsay Vonn: Don’t listen to anyone dogging you about your skiing. You’ve been a heck of a champion.</p><p>p. I sat for two hours late Saturday afternoon, vegging out and watching curling. It’s a hypnotic sport. After a while, you get the strategy, and you’re into it.</p><h3>The Adieu Haiku</h3><p>Once upon a time<br>in America, we cared<br>about mass murder.</p>
The Offseason of Quarterback Movement: Early Guesses on Who Goes Where in Free Agency, Draft

Free agency is 24 years old. Since the dawn of it, I don’t remember a year (because there hasn’t been one) with the same combined level of depth at quarterback in the free market and in the draft.

It’s amazing, really. We could see four quarterbacks (Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield) picked in the top 10 in the April draft. By the end of April, six of the NFL’s 12 top-rated quarterbacks from 2017 could either move on or begin to be moved out by their teams.

Alex Smith (first, with a 104.7 rating) will be traded from Kansas City to Washington, and will sign a four-year contract extension when the new league year begins March 14 … Drew Brees (second, 103.9) will likely re-sign with the Saints, but he’s free to sign anywhere come the start of free agency on March 14 … Case Keenum (seventh, 98.3) hopes to parlay a career year into a starting job and multiyear contract … Philip Rivers (ninth, 96.0) turns 37 this year, and could see the Chargers draft his heir, even coming off a very good year … Josh McCown (11th, 94.5) will be 39 in July, but coming off a career year, he could keep the seat warm for the Jets or another team drafting a quarterback of the future … Kirk Cousins (12th, 93.9) will be the most attractive vet on the street—assuming Washington doesn’t try to franchise him and trade him, which is possible but not likely.

So, in my first column this winter looking ahead to the offseason, I’m going to do the impossible: guess where each available quarterback will land. On May 1, after free agency and the draft, we’ll all have a good laugh over this column. Because I’ll be wrong on the vast majority, and maybe all. But we’ll go in order, and we’ll go by need.

Again, what follows are my team-by-team best guesses. Send me your pros and cons and best counter-arguments, and I’ll use my mailbag this week to give you your say on who’s going where.

Desperate Need

Denver: Kirk Cousins. GM John Elway has made one mega-signing in his tenure: Peyton Manning, in 2012, when Elway was in desperate quarterback straits. To solve this problem again, I say Elway goes big. Cousins isn’t flawless, but he’s got seven or eight prime years left (he’s 29), and has put a premium on going somewhere he can win, somewhere with a good defense, and somewhere he can walk into the building every day excited about going to work. The Broncos, coming off a 5-11 year, haven’t had back-to-back losing seasons since 1971 and 1972, and my bet is on Elway, even at the ridiculous sum of something like $30 million a year, going hard after Cousins to make sure he doesn’t have to keep worrying about the position. In the last two years, Denver has employed the 23rd- and 29th-rated quarterback, Trevor Siemian. Elway’s had enough of mediocrity. One other thing that will play a role: Elway’s willingness to whack a couple of big-ticket defenders, Aqib Talib and Derek Wolfe, from a tight cap situation. It could play a role in clearing enough cap room to fit Cousins onto the roster.

Arizona: A.J. McCarron. This would, of course, break Hue Jackson’s heart. But I just think the alternatives for McCarron are these: Go to Cleveland, and risk the Browns drafting a quarterback high in the first round, and risk being in the same place he was in Cincinnati, behind Andy Dalton, for the next three or four years … or go to Arizona (or another spot that won’t draft a passer high) and be handed the starting job on a team with a playoff defense. Not a very tough choice in my mind. Of course, when you’re guessing, no choice is very hard. Also: I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arizona focus on Sam Bradford and pick a rookie in the first or second round to supplement him.

• BENOIT: A 2018 free agency guide and tracker, with rankings of players at each position

Cleveland: Sam Darnold and Sam Bradford. The reason Browns GM John Dorsey wanted Alex Smith, or even McCarron or another veteran, is because he wants to be competitive from the start this season. You sign Bradford because you know as long as he stays healthy (Ten days? Ten games?), he’s a top-12-caliber quarterback. But he’s played more than seven games in just two of the last five seasons, and so the Browns won’t be guaranteed anything except some sleepless nights if they sign Bradford. But no matter which veteran Cleveland gets (and McCarron is certainly a strong prospect here), Dorsey will backstop with a rookie, and Darnold, who needs a large dose of development, would be fine with a year or more of clipboard-holding.

New York Jets: Baker Mayfield and Josh McCown. To say that McCown made a positive impact on the Jets in his gap year would be a major understatement. He’s a selfless coach on the field, and he would love to spend 2018 doing what he tried to do in 2014 in Cleveland, when he was there to usher Johnny Manziel into the ranks of respectable NFL starter. We know what happened then, and it wasn’t McCown’s fault. Mayfield is a marvelous talent, if a bit of a wild colt. He’d be a great fit with McCown and new and imaginative offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates. And McCown can play (combined 90.8 rating over his last three seasons) until Mayfield’s ready. Now, here’s the other thing about the Jets. Everyone in the league knows they love Cousins, will hotly pursue Cousins, and could get Cousins. It would not surprise me at all. Bates would be a perfect teacher for him, because he has so much in common with his mentors in Washington, particularly Kyle Shanahan. So if I did this exercise two weeks from now, who knows? I could give Keenum to Denver and Cousins to the Jets.

Significant Need

New Orleans: Drew Brees and Luke Falk. I can’t see Brees, 39, going elsewhere. I see him playing out his last two or three years (or more) with Sean Payton, particularly with the Saints being on the cusp of another competitive run. Falk? Precision passer (69, 70, 67 percent accurate in his last three years at Washington State) who could use some development. You know who wouldn’t surprise me here? Tyrod Taylor. I think Payton could do very good things with him. By the way, I hear Payton loves Mayfield too. Hard to imagine, though, that Payton and GM Mickey Loomis could move up high enough from their first-round slot (27th overall) to get in position to get Mayfield.

New York Giants: Josh Allen. It could be Darnold or Josh Rosen too, obviously. Much smarter NFLers than me told me in the last few days that they think GM Dave Gettleman will pass on a quarterback to fill another major need at number two overall, and I don’t doubt it. But the Giants have a 37-year-old quarterback who has been average at best for the past six years, and I don’t see New York passing on a good quarterback crop when the chance to get the next long-termer is there. Allen’s the kind of big, strong, developmental player (though his accuracy could be a big issue) who would be a good pupil under Eli Manning and Pat Shurmur for the next couple of years. Or less.

• THE MMQB BIG BOARD: A non-quarterback tops our list of the top 50 NFL draft prospects right now

Minnesota: Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater. This is too safe. I sort of hate it. Keenum will likely be more inclined to go somewhere with no summer competition for the starting job (Buffalo?), but he also knows his team intimately here, and he knows (or should know) how he’d flourish under new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. Bridgewater … I have no idea. What do you make of a guy who hasn’t played for two years, and who was not a sure long-term thing the last time he played? Seems the comfort-level play for him would be to stay for an incentive-laden deal.

Buffalo: Josh Rosen. The musical chairs are getting scarce. This could be a McCarron, Keenum or Bradford spot too. If Denver gets Cousins, I could see Elway dealing his one (fifth overall) for Buffalo’s two first-round picks (21, 22) and another high pick this year or next—I could see Tampa Bay, Chicago, Oakland and San Francisco at seven through 10 in round one doing the same—to allow Buffalo to jump up and get a good quarterback prospect.

Need

New England: Kyle Lauletta. I write about the Pats and Lauletta later in the column. But this is a year New England has to do what it did in 2014: find the heir to Tom Brady, who turns 41 in August. I can see the future now. In February 2022, I’m writing this column, and I’m writing new Patriots head coach Josh McDaniels saying, “Well, we know Tom just won the MVP, and he looks great even though he’s 45, but we’ve got to look out for the future too.”

Jacksonville: Mason Rudolph. The Jags will say all the right things about Blake Bortles, and actually mean a few of them. But they’ve got to backstop the position. Rudolph should still be there late in round one.

Keeping Their Eyes Open

Baltimore: Lamar Jackson. Joe Flacco’s last three years: 20-22, 52 touchdowns, 40 picks. Meh. Time to look around, and the versatile Jackson could be a weapon even when he’s not an every-down quarterback.

Miami: Tyrod Taylor. Never know about Ryan Tannehill, from either an injury or a talent perspective. Taylor will fare well under mechanics specialist Adam Gase.

LA Chargers: Mike White. Wild guess. Good arm. The Chargers might find a third-rounder this year they believe is a good student of the game who could learn well from Philip Rivers for the next two or three years.

• KLEMKO: The last time Baker Mayfield was a rookie—Looking back at the quarterback’s stint at Texas Tech

So Nick Foles stays in Philadelphia, Jacoby Brissett stays in Indianapolis. I think I’ve answered all your questions now. Also, if you’d like, I could advise you on some really great Lotto numbers I’ve got for tonight.

I get the Saquon Barkley hype. I don’t get picking a back that high

The recent history of rookie running backs suggests to me that picking Barkley, the Penn State star and very highly rated running back, in the top five would be … well, I won’t call it a mistake. Because a great player is a great player. But I am saying the history of this position shows a team might be much better off solving its needs at another position and getting the back later in the draft.

2017: Offensive rookie of the year Alvin Kamara was the 67th overall pick, the fifth back selected. NFL rushing champion Kareem Hunt was the 86th overall pick, the sixth back taken.

2016: Jordan Howard, the 10th back chosen and 150th overall pick, finished second in rushing as a rookie. The 13th back picked, Alex Collins, has developed into the Ravens’ number one and a stalwart back.

2015: Seventh running back picked: David Johnson (86th overall), who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage in 2016 with 2,118 … Thirteenth running back picked: Jay Ajayi, 149th overall.

2014: Devonta Freeman (ninth back picked, 103rd overall) is the Falcons’ franchise back.

And so on.

ESPN’s Todd McShay has Barkley as his highest-rated player in the draft. “Adrian Peterson is the last back I gave a higher grade to,” McShay told me. “But I hear you. The question I would ask is, say I needed a pass-rusher—really needed one. Would I pass on [North Carolina State’s] Bradley Chubb to take Barkley in the top five, then try to get a rusher near the top of the second round? If you’re picking 33, 35, 38 [overall], I can tell you that you’ll have a chance to get a running back with a first-round grade who will be very productive for you. But the pass-rushers may be gone by then.”

• ROHAN: If Giants legend Harry Carson had to do it all over again, he wouldn't play football

I’m not ignoring the greatness of Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette and Todd Gurley, all of whom were top-10 picks and have played great. But the average overall pick for Kamara, Hunt and David Johnson—each of whom are either franchise backs or verging on that title—was number 80. I just think smart teams can solve franchise-player needs high in the first round elsewhere, and get a very good back down the line. History backs it up.

Any clues about the next Garoppolo for New England?

New England picks 31st, 41st or 42nd (it will be San Francisco’s pick, and a coin flip will determine which of these slots the Patriots will own) and 63rd. You’ve got to think sometime between 31 and 63, New England gets its new Garoppolo, the long-term replacement for Father Time, aka Tom Brady.

Todd McShay of ESPN thinks either Luke Falk of Washington State or Kyle Lauletta of Richmond could fit the bill for New England somewhere after the top 30 picks. McShay says: “Highly driven, very intelligent, accurate passers who both lived in the pocket, very good at going through their progressions. Lauletta has a slightly bigger arm, and he was impressive in how he carried himself at the Senior Bowl.”

The Senior Bowl is where each man got noticed. In 2014, A.J. McCarron dropped out of the Senior Bowl, and the first alternate at quarterback was Garoppolo, who hustled to Mobile after playing in the East-West game the previous Saturday. By week’s end, writing about the 10 most impressive in Senior Bowl practices, former NFL safety Matt Bowen listed Garoppolo as his most impressive player of the week. In 2018, Lauletta was an unheralded FCS player behind the more storied Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield. But Lauletta was the Senior Bowl’s biggest star, completing eight of 12 passes for 198 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Eric Edholm of Pro Football Weeklywrote about Lauletta at the Senior Bowl, and Lauletta told Edholm he’s been compared to Garoppolo a lot, and thinks he’d fit with the Patriots because he “processes information well.”

Comparing the numbers between the two:

Jimmy Garoppolo 2014 Kyle Lauletta 2018 School Eastern Illinois Richmond Level of play FCS (I-AA) FCS (I-AA) Height 6'2 ¼" 6'2 ½" Weight 226 217 Arm length 31.00 30.75 Hand size 9.25 inches 9.62 inches 40 time 4.97 seconds 4.85 (estimated) Accuracy 62.8% career 63.5% career Draft pick 63rd overall TBD

Whomever the Patriots pick—assuming it’s a draft choice they use to take their long-term development quarterback and heir to Brady—you can bet Josh McDaniels will have a lot to say about the process. It’s McDaniels whose head-coaching prospects could be tied most closely to the quarterback who succeeds Brady.

• ORR: NFL franchise tag watch for Le’Veon Bell, Sammy Watkins and many more

Good Job, Dolphins

After the murderous rampage that left 17 dead in Parkland, Fla., about 20 minutes from the Dolphins' training facility and offices in Davie, Fla., the Miami owner, Stephen Ross, authorized the donation of $100,000 to a GoFundMe page for the survivors of the mass shooting, pushing the charitable donations past $1 million. But that wasn't all the organization did.

The morning after the shootings, Miami's assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi felt he had to act. Rizzi, a former college assistant at Rutgers, used to recruit south Florida. He became friendly with a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High coach, Elliott Bonner, and another Douglas assistant, Aaron Feis. Rizzi stayed close to Bonner, and when he visited campus recently, Feis gave him a ride on a golf cart out out to see Bonner elsewhere on the expansive campus.

On the day of the shooting, Rizzi heard Feis’s name as one of the victims. He heard Feis might have been killed shielding a student or students. Rizzi felt sick about it. So at a staff meeting the morning after, he told the coaches he was taking up a collection for Feis’s widow, and anything they could do would be appreciated. As the day went on, others in the building heard about the collection, and Dolphins employees stopped by Rizzi's office. What blew him away was a couple of interns in the building handing him $10 and $20 toward the cause.

By the end of the day, Rizzi collected $17,500, and he drove to Parkland to give the money to Aaron Feis’s brother, Ray Feis. From some coaches to the family of another, it was a terrific gesture.

Quotes of the Week

I

“I think he will play in the major leagues.”

—Mets GM Sandy Alderson on Tim Tebow, who is in the team’s camp this spring, via Mike Puma of the New York Post. Tebow, 30, hit .226 in Single-A ball for the Mets in 2017.

II

“It starts off as a normal conversation and then it turns into tears. And I simply just say, ‘I understand. Trust me, I’ve been in Philly. I get it.’”

—Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” talking about meeting long-time fans of the Eagles who can’t quite muster the ability to have a normal conversation with the man who has delivered a dream,

III

“I think we’ve got a great young quarterback. I think that’s enough to be excited about. I think a lot of our center (Rodney Hudson). I think the quarterback-center battery is as good as I’ve ever had in football. I’m really excited about the two guards (Kelechi Osemele, Gabe Jackson), obviously. That’s the strength of this team.”

—Raiders coach Jon Gruden, to Jerry McDonald of Bay Area News Group.

IV

“There’s a sameness to the reaction of politicians to mass shootings. Especially if you are a politician who has received donations from the National Rifle Association.”

—CNN’s Anderson Cooper, after the slaughter of 17 people at a Florida high school last week.

V

“I calculated once how many times I fell during my skating career—41,600 times. But here’s the funny thing: I got up 41,600 times. That’s the muscle you have to build in your psyche: the one that reminds you to just get up.”

—Scott Hamilton to Juliet Macur of the New York Times, on how he reacted to being demoted from NBC’s number one skating analyst team at the Olympics, with the rise of Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski.

Scott, you’re the man.

Stat of the Week

Have I mentioned I love how the Steelers do business? Club chairman Art Rooney II shut down any talk of replacing coach Mike Tomlin soon after the season, despite the disappointing loss to the Jaguars in the playoffs—Pittsburgh’s second home defeat to Jacksonville in the 2017 season. Losses like that one are dispiriting, to be sure, but the Steelers are the Steelers. The 2018 season will complete a stunning half century of football. In those 50 seasons, Pittsburgh will have had three head coaches.

Now for the stat: Since the turn of the century, among active coaches who have coached at least five years, only three coaches have averaged more than 11 wins per season, including playoffs. And only two coaches have won 25 games or more in the last two seasons—Bill Belichick and Tomlin. The records of the three coaches with an average of 11 wins or more per season since 2000:

Coach Years W-L Wins Per Year Last 2 Years Wins Per year Bill Belichick 23 278-129 12.1 32-6 16.0 Mike Tomlin 11 124-67 11.3 26-10 13.0 Pete Carroll 8 88-53-1 11.0 20-12-1 10.0

Since you asked: In this century, among active coaches, Mike McCarthy has averaged 10.9 wins per season this century, Andy Reid 10.5, John Harbaugh 10.4, Sean Payton 10.2, Ron Rivera 9.6, Jon Gruden 9.3.

Factoids That May Interest Only Me

I

First two choices in the coaching search for the 1996 Bucs: Jimmy Johnson, Steve Spurrier.

First two choices in the coaching search for the 2018 Colts: Josh McDaniels, Mike Vrabel.

The Bucs, spurned, picked Tony Dungy. Seven seasons later, they won the Super Bowl.

The Colts, spurned, picked Frank Reich.

II

This is how long Sebastian Janikowski—whose 18-year tenure with the Raiders ended last week—has been playing pro football:

• The Raiders have had 21 head coaches in their 58-year history. Janikowski played for almost half—10—of them.

• In his rookie year, 2000, Janikowski was ninth in the NFL in scoring. Number 10 that year, Gary Anderson, is now 58 years old.

• Tom Brady was a third-string rookie (behind Drew Bledsoe and John Friesz) when Janikowski made his debut for Oakland on Labor Day Weekend 2000.

• In Janikowski’s first game in the NFL, the Raiders picked off Ryan Leaf three times and, despite sacks from Rodney Harrison and Junior Seau, Oakland beat San Diego 9-3.

• Playing in snow for the first time in his career in the Tuck Rule game in Foxboro on Jan. 19, 2002, Janikowski kicked field goals of 38 and 45 yards in the third quarter, giving the Raiders leads of 10-3 and 13-3 … before Adam Vinatieri’s significantly more famous 45-yard field goal on that snow-squalling evening.

III

Larry Fitzgerald, who has played 14 NFL seasons, had his best regular seasons in years 12, 13 and 14, with 109, 107 and 109 catches. He’ll play a 15th year in 2018.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note

Call this week’s entry “Turd of the Week.”

For Valentine’s Day dinner, my wife and I went to a restaurant in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, The Red Cat. We had a reservation for 6:15 and arrived about 6:10. In front of us when we entered the place: two men, 40ish, one of whom was asking if a table was available. We’re full, the fellow at the front said. One of the guys saw six or eight table in the restaurant that were unoccupied and asked if they could take any one of those. “Sir,” The Red Cat guy said, “it’s Valentine’s Day. We’re totally booked.” On and on the 40ish guy went. He would not take no for an answer. Couples gathered in the doorway. Finally, The Red Cat relented. “We’ll seat you,” he said.

To which the Turd of the Week turned to his acquaintance and said so that anyone within 20 feet could hear, “Can you believe that? I had to f---ing beg for a f---ing table!”

The idiot was seated, and then it was our turn. The poor Red Cat guy. Totally embarrassed, as he turned to us and was all professional and polite. But shaken. I thought, I’m glad I’m not on the front line of the restaurant business in New York City.

Tweets of the Week

I

The former NFL scout and current NFL and draft analyst, on the rumors flying about trades and free-agent signings and other NFL folderol 10 weeks before the draft. He followed with a tweet saying: “I think this year I’m going to keep a running scorecard on all ‘rumors’ on twitter (including mine). I think we’ll find out it’s about 90 percent fabricated nonsense.”

II

III

IV

V

Pod People

From “The MMQB Podcast With Peter King,” available where you download podcasts.

This week’s conversations: Eagles defensive lineman Brandon Graham and NFL Films cameraman Bob Angelo, who is retiring after 43 years of shooting NFL games.

• Angelo, integral with NFL Films czar Steve Sabol to the invention of “Hard Knocks” in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens featured in the first season, on why it worked: “It worked because it was raw. After the first show, with all of that profanity out there, Steve was very concerned about the league office’s response to it. The second week, Steve told the editors to eliminate as much profanity as possible, because he was concerned about the league’s response. I would screen the show before it aired with the Ravens hierarchy, and after the first week—no issues at all … They couldn’t have cared less about the profanity. After the second show, [coach] Brian Billick looked at this watered-down show and he said, ‘Great show, Bob. But we need a few more gratuitous F-words in there.’ So I called Steve and said, ‘There’s no problem here with the profanity. Let it go. It’s raw, it’s real, this is what a pro football team sounds like in the summer.’ … From that point on, we could go anywhere we wanted, do anything we wanted to do.

“My wife, Barbara, and I had our niece living with us [in 2001], and she asked us one day, ‘What do you think is the best reality show on television?’ And I thought about it for a minute and said, ‘Mine. Because you don’t get voted off the island, you lose your job.’”

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think if you want to know why Larry Fitzgerald, who will return for a 15th season with a new coach and quarterback in 2018 in Arizona, should be judged as one of the best receivers ever—say, certainly in the top five—consider these nuggets:

• If he has a normal season in 2018 based on recent history, he’ll finish next year with about 200 more receptions than any wideout who ever played other than Rice, and with 500 or so more receiving yards than anyone who ever played, save Rice.

• Rice had Steve Young or Joe Montana as his quarterback in 85 percent of his career starts. Fitzgerald had Kurt Warner and Carson Palmer for 51 percent of his career starts.

• In the five seasons he’s played since turning 30, Fitzgerald has missed three games due to injury (all in 2014).

2. I think—and have for a year now—that 2017 was not going to be Fitzgerald’s last year. Too many footprints he wants to leave in the sand. When the NFL elects its 100th anniversary team in three years, my bet is that Fitzgerald, who has significant respect for history and loves to be a major part of it, would want badly to be one of the four wide receivers on that team. Who would they be? Just a guess: Don Hutson, Jerry Rice, Larry Fitzgerald, and either Steve Largent or Randy Moss. Could be different, of course, because the candidate list at that position will be very strong.

3. I think it appears interim Panthers general manager Marty Hurney is the favorite to take over the full-time Carolina GM job after being cleared by the NFL of harassment claims by his ex-wife. Which is the best decision the team could make. With Hurney free of the claims now, and judged innocent, his role as the favorite for the permanent job should not be affected.

4. I think the best news of the week was Ryan Shazier sitting in on scouting meetings with the Steelers. What happened to him was awful. What he could do with his life is powerful, whether in football or something else. Good for the Steelers, paving the way for him to transition to an off-field football life if that’s what Shazier chooses.

• AFTER SHAZIER, A FOCUS ON TACKLING: Kalyn Kahler talked to four high school coaches about their approach to teaching the game in aftermath of Shazier’s injury

5. I think the best TV fit for Peyton Manning might be FOX—and as the New York Post’sAndrew Marchand reported, FOX and ESPN both want him for weeknight prime-time games this year—for three reasons.

• The FOX deal is for 11 games a year, and it’s on Thursday nights, which means Manning could dip his toe in the water of TV without being married to it for a long season. Manning could be home every week in Denver by 3 a.m. Mountain Time Friday, and not leave again until Tuesday evening, if he chooses. And his work would be 11 weeks long, not 19 or 20 including playoffs.

• Manning, I believe, eventually wants to be an Elway or a Jeter, a guy who runs his own team. This would allow him to fact-find with good coaches and GMs for free, and allow him to see the teams that do it the right way and the teams that do it wrong. Jon Gruden can tell him how much you can learn by sitting in on productions meetings with the coaches and players you’ll either be trying to beat in a couple of years—or trying to hire.

• Though I don’t think Manning wants to be a TV guy, this is a low-commitment way that will allow him to find that out for sure.

6. I think it’s very hard for me to imagine Washington giving Kirk Cousins the franchise tag for one simple reason: When you put a franchise tag on a player, you intend to employ him at that rate of pay for the season. Washington intends to employ Alex Smith as it quarterback for 2018 and beyond. So if the team does tag Cousins, he would immediately file a grievance to block it, as our Albert Breer reported Thursday. And Cousins would win easily.

7. I think I read the rant of former WFAN talk-show host Mike Francesa about the Jason Kelce expletive-peppered speech during the Eagles’ Super Bowl celebration. The Francesa take (he was angry that Kelce cursed) is one of the most get-off-my-lawn things I’ve heard in a while. Said Francesa on WOR in New York: “You ever heard about winning like a champion? Somebody should have taken a hook and pulled him off … I was in the car when I heard it and people were replaying it like it was the greatest thing in the world. How dumb are you to replay that? I wouldn’t give that one second airtime … If I were the owner of the team, I’d cut him.” I do agree with Francesa that the cursing was over the top, and at time slightly cringe-inducing. But the rest—seriously?

8. I think, not that Francesa would know this, but Jason Kelce was the NFL’s first-team All-Pro center in 2017. He’s an unquestioned team leader. He’s got the 10th-highest salary-cap number for centers in 2018, which means he’s a player of great value. If Jeff Lurie cut Jason Kelce, players on that team would be beyond furious—as would coach Doug Pederson. Would the Eagles have been better with Kelce not f-bombing the speech? Of course. Cutting him? Knee-jerk to the max. But hey, it’s a hot take.

9. I think, not that it’s burrowing into the souls of every NFL or NBA fan, that it’s entirely fair for NBA commissioner Adam Silver to barter for the league to get 1 percent of the proceeds of all money legally wagered on the NBA. The NBA is providing the vehicle for the gambling to take place. Why shouldn’t it get a small cut? Same thing with the NFL, if that gambling is legalized in other states outside of Nevada.

10. I think these are my other thoughts of the week:

a. Commentary of the Week: From Dale Hansen of WFAA-TV in Dallas, on the Parkland school shooting. So much of what Hansen says, sensible Americans want to say—and hear.

b. Column of the Week: from Steve Politi of the Newark Star Ledger, localizing the Parkland tragedy with an apt column about high school coaches in the wake of the tragedy. Politi’s right: We’ve left it to untrained civilians to try to save our kids in schools from a horrible fate. “This is life now in this country,” he writes.

c. It’s so wonderful to see the classmates of the dead in Florida not just sitting home and crying—even though that would be the human thing to do. Instead, they’re coming together and demanding that our elected officials, particularly our president, stand up and do something, something real, to effect change about the gun violence in this country. They’re not waiting for Washington do something, because without being poked with a cattle prod, our leaders will hide and hide and hide and do nothing, and wait until the funerals for more students are over, then pretend it never happened. Listen to a classmate of the dead, Emma Gonzalez, on Saturday, at a rally with her friends, to protest the violence: “We are up here, standing together, because if all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it’s time for victims to be the change that we need to see.”

d. More Emma, who was wiping tears away as she spoke: “If us students have learned anything, it’s that if you don’t study, you will fail, and in this case, if you actively do nothing, people continually end up DEAD, SO IT’S TIME TO START DOING SOMETHING!”

e. From Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post, reporting from Parkland, Fla.: “The mood here isn’t solemn. It’s seething.”

f. How incredibly disheartening, but incredibly consistent, to see our elected officials serving the NRA with more loyalty than they serve their constituents. The only way to effect change is to never vote for an elected official who takes NRA money.

g. Nothing else feels important this week. But I will go on.

h. We wanted Michael Jordan to speak up about injustice, and we wanted Tiger Woods and Derek Jeter to do so too. They didn’t. Now LeBron James does, and Laura Ingraham of FOX tells him to shut up and stick to dribbling a basketball. That’s what I like about talking heads: They raise the level of dialogue in the country to something above kindergarten playground. But not much.

i. Kudos, WEEI, for trying to clean the place up.

j. Thanks, Ohio University, for the invitation to talk to a hall full of sports and non-sports journalism hopefuls Friday night. Always great to be back on the campus where I spent four happy and profitable and educational years—and met the woman of my dreams.

k. Walking up one side of Court Street, walking down the other side. Walking on College Green. What a time warp. Other than the Bagel Buggy being gone from the heart of town late on a Friday night, not much has changed in the last 40 years, since winter quarter of my junior year.

l. Coffeenerdness: How I knew I was in a college town early Saturday: I had to leave Athens about 7:15 a.m. for the 65-mile drive to Columbus to catch my plane home, and I wanted to get a coffee before driving 70 miles to the airport. The three coffee shops downtown weren’t open yet. Two of them opened at 8.

m. Beernerdness: Very cool brew pub in uptown Athens that wasn’t there the last time I was: Jackie O’s, right next to my old bar, the Union. Great to see it crowded with townies and students alike Friday afternoon and evening, and great to be able to share a beer with some of the students from The Post, our venerable student paper, and then a drink with some of the organizers of the journalism weekend. It’s been a long time since I saw one of my old buddies from the Cincinnati Enquirer, Justice B. Hill, who’s on the front lines at Ohio U., teaching writing and reporting the way it has to be taught. Really enjoyed the whole scene.

n. Something redemptive and rewarding about Nathan Chen skating wonderfully in the long program Friday night. Loved seeing that.

o. Hey Lindsay Vonn: Don’t listen to anyone dogging you about your skiing. You’ve been a heck of a champion.

p. I sat for two hours late Saturday afternoon, vegging out and watching curling. It’s a hypnotic sport. After a while, you get the strategy, and you’re into it.

The Adieu Haiku

Once upon a time
in America, we cared
about mass murder.

Tiger Woods loses two shots per tournament to shouts from over-exuberant fans, says Rory McIlroy
Tiger Woods loses two shots per tournament to shouts from over-exuberant fans, says Rory McIlroy
Tiger Woods loses two shots per tournament to shouts from over-exuberant fans, says Rory McIlroy
Tiger Woods loses two shots per tournament to shouts from over-exuberant fans, says Rory McIlroy
Tiger Woods loses two shots per tournament to shouts from over-exuberant fans, says Rory McIlroy
Tiger Woods loses two shots per tournament to shouts from over-exuberant fans, says Rory McIlroy
Tiger Woods loses two shots per tournament to shouts from over-exuberant fans, says Rory McIlroy
Tiger Woods loses two shots per tournament to shouts from over-exuberant fans, says Rory McIlroy
Tiger Woods loses two shots per tournament to shouts from over-exuberant fans, says Rory McIlroy
After spending the first two rounds of the Genesis Open in a group with Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas spoke out against &#39;completely unacceptable&#39; crowd behavior.
Thomas: Raucus crowds becoming 'completely unacceptable'
After spending the first two rounds of the Genesis Open in a group with Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas spoke out against 'completely unacceptable' crowd behavior.
Rory McIlroy has rounded on the overly enthusiastic golf fans and claimed Tiger Woods is operating at a “two-shot disadvantage” to the rest of the field because of the “circus” which surrounds his competitive appearances. McIlroy played with Woods as the 42-year-old missed the cut here at the Genesis Open and expressed his sympathy. The Ulsterman hopes that the distracting clamour is a“novelty” because this was only Woods’ second performance in more than a year after back surgery. “It might always have been like this like the whole Tiger mania and these dudes, but I swear, playing in front of all that, he gives up half a shot a day on the field,” McIlroy said. “Like it&#39;s two shots a tournament he has to give because of all that that goes on around. So whether that calms down the more he plays and it doesn&#39;t become such a novelty that he&#39;s back out playing again I don’t know. But it&#39;s tiring. I need a couple Advil. I&#39;ve got a headache after all that.” When asked to elaborate, McIlroy said: “You&#39;ve got a six-foot putt and they’ll shout &quot;It doesn&#39;t break as much as you think,&quot; just stuff like that - stuff they don&#39;t have to say. Whoever is teeing off at 8:30 in the morning doesn&#39;t get that and can just go about his business and do his thing. That&#39;s tough. Tiger has to deal with that every single time he goes out to play.” Woods (R) agreed with McIlroy&#39;s assessment Credit: Getty Images Woods concurred with McIlroy, claiming that he would have even more than his 106 professional wins otherwise. “It&#39;s cost me a lot of shots over the years,” he said. “And it&#39;s been a lot because all it takes is one shot on a Thursday and you lose the tournament by a shot on Sunday. What people don&#39;t realise, it&#39;s not just something that happens on Sunday afternoon - this is cumulative and it&#39;s par for the course. But I&#39;ve dealt with it for a very long time.” Woods was not despondent with his 72-76 performance for a six-over total and insisted he has lowered his expectations after his spinal fusion operation last year. At the 11th hour, he has entered the Honda Classic, which starts near to his home in West Palm beach on Thursday. “I haven&#39;t played golf in years, but I&#39;m starting to come back and it&#39;s going to take a little time,” he said. “I’m progressing and starting to get a feel for tournament golf again. I just need to clean up my rounds.” McIlroy will also be in that Florida field and after a disappointing two-over 73 in the third round here, he will almost certainly still be looking for his first win in 17 months. There were three birdies , but three bogeys and a double-bogey on the 12th as he fell back to level par. England’s Tommy Fleetwood shot his own 73 and is on one-over in his first official event as a PGA Tour member.
Rory McIlroy turns on fans and says 'circus' around Tiger Woods puts American at 'two-shot disadvantage'
Rory McIlroy has rounded on the overly enthusiastic golf fans and claimed Tiger Woods is operating at a “two-shot disadvantage” to the rest of the field because of the “circus” which surrounds his competitive appearances. McIlroy played with Woods as the 42-year-old missed the cut here at the Genesis Open and expressed his sympathy. The Ulsterman hopes that the distracting clamour is a“novelty” because this was only Woods’ second performance in more than a year after back surgery. “It might always have been like this like the whole Tiger mania and these dudes, but I swear, playing in front of all that, he gives up half a shot a day on the field,” McIlroy said. “Like it's two shots a tournament he has to give because of all that that goes on around. So whether that calms down the more he plays and it doesn't become such a novelty that he's back out playing again I don’t know. But it's tiring. I need a couple Advil. I've got a headache after all that.” When asked to elaborate, McIlroy said: “You've got a six-foot putt and they’ll shout "It doesn't break as much as you think," just stuff like that - stuff they don't have to say. Whoever is teeing off at 8:30 in the morning doesn't get that and can just go about his business and do his thing. That's tough. Tiger has to deal with that every single time he goes out to play.” Woods (R) agreed with McIlroy's assessment Credit: Getty Images Woods concurred with McIlroy, claiming that he would have even more than his 106 professional wins otherwise. “It's cost me a lot of shots over the years,” he said. “And it's been a lot because all it takes is one shot on a Thursday and you lose the tournament by a shot on Sunday. What people don't realise, it's not just something that happens on Sunday afternoon - this is cumulative and it's par for the course. But I've dealt with it for a very long time.” Woods was not despondent with his 72-76 performance for a six-over total and insisted he has lowered his expectations after his spinal fusion operation last year. At the 11th hour, he has entered the Honda Classic, which starts near to his home in West Palm beach on Thursday. “I haven't played golf in years, but I'm starting to come back and it's going to take a little time,” he said. “I’m progressing and starting to get a feel for tournament golf again. I just need to clean up my rounds.” McIlroy will also be in that Florida field and after a disappointing two-over 73 in the third round here, he will almost certainly still be looking for his first win in 17 months. There were three birdies , but three bogeys and a double-bogey on the 12th as he fell back to level par. England’s Tommy Fleetwood shot his own 73 and is on one-over in his first official event as a PGA Tour member.
Rory McIlroy has rounded on the overly enthusiastic golf fans and claimed Tiger Woods is operating at a “two-shot disadvantage” to the rest of the field because of the “circus” which surrounds his competitive appearances. McIlroy played with Woods as the 42-year-old missed the cut here at the Genesis Open and expressed his sympathy. The Ulsterman hopes that the distracting clamour is a“novelty” because this was only Woods’ second performance in more than a year after back surgery. “It might always have been like this like the whole Tiger mania and these dudes, but I swear, playing in front of all that, he gives up half a shot a day on the field,” McIlroy said. “Like it&#39;s two shots a tournament he has to give because of all that that goes on around. So whether that calms down the more he plays and it doesn&#39;t become such a novelty that he&#39;s back out playing again I don’t know. But it&#39;s tiring. I need a couple Advil. I&#39;ve got a headache after all that.” When asked to elaborate, McIlroy said: “You&#39;ve got a six-foot putt and they’ll shout &quot;It doesn&#39;t break as much as you think,&quot; just stuff like that - stuff they don&#39;t have to say. Whoever is teeing off at 8:30 in the morning doesn&#39;t get that and can just go about his business and do his thing. That&#39;s tough. Tiger has to deal with that every single time he goes out to play.” Woods (R) agreed with McIlroy&#39;s assessment Credit: Getty Images Woods concurred with McIlroy, claiming that he would have even more than his 106 professional wins otherwise. “It&#39;s cost me a lot of shots over the years,” he said. “And it&#39;s been a lot because all it takes is one shot on a Thursday and you lose the tournament by a shot on Sunday. What people don&#39;t realise, it&#39;s not just something that happens on Sunday afternoon - this is cumulative and it&#39;s par for the course. But I&#39;ve dealt with it for a very long time.” Woods was not despondent with his 72-76 performance for a six-over total and insisted he has lowered his expectations after his spinal fusion operation last year. At the 11th hour, he has entered the Honda Classic, which starts near to his home in West Palm beach on Thursday. “I haven&#39;t played golf in years, but I&#39;m starting to come back and it&#39;s going to take a little time,” he said. “I’m progressing and starting to get a feel for tournament golf again. I just need to clean up my rounds.” McIlroy will also be in that Florida field and after a disappointing two-over 73 in the third round here, he will almost certainly still be looking for his first win in 17 months. There were three birdies , but three bogeys and a double-bogey on the 12th as he fell back to level par. England’s Tommy Fleetwood shot his own 73 and is on one-over in his first official event as a PGA Tour member.
Rory McIlroy turns on fans and says 'circus' around Tiger Woods puts American at 'two-shot disadvantage'
Rory McIlroy has rounded on the overly enthusiastic golf fans and claimed Tiger Woods is operating at a “two-shot disadvantage” to the rest of the field because of the “circus” which surrounds his competitive appearances. McIlroy played with Woods as the 42-year-old missed the cut here at the Genesis Open and expressed his sympathy. The Ulsterman hopes that the distracting clamour is a“novelty” because this was only Woods’ second performance in more than a year after back surgery. “It might always have been like this like the whole Tiger mania and these dudes, but I swear, playing in front of all that, he gives up half a shot a day on the field,” McIlroy said. “Like it's two shots a tournament he has to give because of all that that goes on around. So whether that calms down the more he plays and it doesn't become such a novelty that he's back out playing again I don’t know. But it's tiring. I need a couple Advil. I've got a headache after all that.” When asked to elaborate, McIlroy said: “You've got a six-foot putt and they’ll shout "It doesn't break as much as you think," just stuff like that - stuff they don't have to say. Whoever is teeing off at 8:30 in the morning doesn't get that and can just go about his business and do his thing. That's tough. Tiger has to deal with that every single time he goes out to play.” Woods (R) agreed with McIlroy's assessment Credit: Getty Images Woods concurred with McIlroy, claiming that he would have even more than his 106 professional wins otherwise. “It's cost me a lot of shots over the years,” he said. “And it's been a lot because all it takes is one shot on a Thursday and you lose the tournament by a shot on Sunday. What people don't realise, it's not just something that happens on Sunday afternoon - this is cumulative and it's par for the course. But I've dealt with it for a very long time.” Woods was not despondent with his 72-76 performance for a six-over total and insisted he has lowered his expectations after his spinal fusion operation last year. At the 11th hour, he has entered the Honda Classic, which starts near to his home in West Palm beach on Thursday. “I haven't played golf in years, but I'm starting to come back and it's going to take a little time,” he said. “I’m progressing and starting to get a feel for tournament golf again. I just need to clean up my rounds.” McIlroy will also be in that Florida field and after a disappointing two-over 73 in the third round here, he will almost certainly still be looking for his first win in 17 months. There were three birdies , but three bogeys and a double-bogey on the 12th as he fell back to level par. England’s Tommy Fleetwood shot his own 73 and is on one-over in his first official event as a PGA Tour member.
Luke Donald has been back here at Riviera Country Club these last few days, trying to recreate the good memories, attempting to start the climb his way back up the mountain, towards the summit which he once conquered. And, at least in one respect, Donald succeeded, as he made his first cut of 2018. Except he needs rather more than scraping into the weekend if he is arrest a downfall which is starting to look inexorable. Consider that it was only a little more than five years ago that Donald was world No 1. And then consider that he came into this Genesis Open after three missed cuts to begin the campaign, ranked 177th, the lowest he has been since his first season as a professional 15 years ago and without a win in more than four years. Donald turned 40 two months ago, but never can a golfing life have felt less like it was at a beginning. Yet still he claims the fire is lit and that the hunger exists to dine once more at the exclusive tables. Three years ago, he told Telegraph Sport that he had wondered whether he “wanted to continue doing this”. But sessions with Dr Michael Gervais – the sports psychologist famous for working with Felix Baumgartner as he became the first human to break the sound barrier without mechanical help in that 24-mile skydive – rekindled the Donald desire and although his career has mercilessly carried on its freefall, quitting is no longer in his mind. Regardless of the fact that with on-course earnings of nigh on £40 million, and off-course at least the same again, he hardly requires the weekly pay cheque. Donald was world No 1 back in 2011 Credit: AP “My competitiveness is just as strong as it was,” Donald said. “Yeah, it’s been a struggle so far this year, but it’s funny, sometimes you miss cuts and you feel kind of hopeless – and I’ve been missing cuts and feeling kind of hopeful. Good stuff will come, and it doesn’t feel far away. I’m feeling positive. “True, I don’t beat myself up anywhere nearly like I used to. But with my family, my view of what is most important has, of course, shifted. And that’s the hardest thing, I suppose. Putting in all this effort and not coming away with anything tangible to show for it, when I could have been home watching my three girls grow up every day at an important stage of their lives. No, I don’t have to do this. But I do enjoy it. I’ll give it a few more years.” When located in the iconic Riviera clubhouse, Donald is anything but downcast. Indeed, the deadpan humour is as sharp as ever in this quiet Englishman who has always belied his persona. He laughs when asked about the heart scare he endured at the RSM Classic in Georgia in November when he was taken to hospital with chest pains. “It was worrying, but after a day of tests it was all fine,” he said. “But if it had turned out to be heart-related I would have been seriously annoyed. I would have drank much more beer and ate anything I wanted and not been as healthy as I’ve been for 40 years. But there’s life left in me yet.’ Neither does his legacy show any signs of keeling over any time soon. In the age of the bombers, he was the arch plotter who somehow found the pathway through all those controlled explosions to the hottest seat of all and the experts are becoming increasingly appreciative. No less an authority than the Golf Channel recently hailed Donald as “the last of his kind”, as “the short hitter who consistently found a way to beat the best” and although the 5ft 8-incher weighing 11-stone sees himself as a “medium-hitter”, he recognises the compliment. “That does give me a lot of pride,” Donald said. “To have got to No 1 and stayed there for a significant amount of time in 56 weeks, during an era when not a lot of people thought that was possible. Donald wants to work his way back to the top Credit: USA TODAY Sports “Most of the top players of these times have been long hitters and I’m glad I was able to do it my way. It wasn’t easy but I found a way to get around it.” In truth, there was only one way he could compensate. What Donald lost off the tee, he simply had to make up on and around the greens. The rise of the “strokes gained” stats in the last few years has put his feat in even starker terms. In conversation with Mark Broadie, the university professor who has been dubbed “The Godfather of Golf Analytics” for his work in developing this revolutionary method of measuring and compartmentalising performance, he claimed Donald’s ascent to be “freakish”, an “anomaly” and only half jokingly said “he is a statistical miracle man”. Donald worked with Broadie when he was still formulating his system, so understands the numbers as well as anyone. “The magic formula is you have to gain two strokes on the field per round,” Donald said. “I’m losing 1½ [strokes] off the tee if I’m not hitting it 300 yards all the time, so I have to find 3½ strokes in the rest of my game, which is almost impossible. That’s what it was when I was No 1.” Imagine being aware of that. Is it a boon to know the exact formula to recover your superiority, but that it demands you are ludicrously superior in a few aspects of the game while remaining inferior in the most crucial aspect and so achieve something “almost impossible”? In Donald’s eyes it is understandably a case of “I’ve done it before, I can do it again”, but so much has changed in the brief spell since his reign. The five golfers to have won a career grand slam - and the 12 three-major winners, including Jordan Spieth The youngsters are coming out longer and straighter, the technology is making everyone longer and straighter and, on a misguided mission to ensure the scores remain comparable with the tournaments of yore, the Tours revert ever more to their eye-straining solution. Take Riviera, this George C Thomas masterpiece created in 1923. When Tiger Woods made his first start in a professional event here in 1992, it was 400 yards shorter. A full par four. “That’s the trend in golf, to make courses longer to combat how far the guys are hitting it,” Donald said. “It’s a shame that some of these classic courses are becoming too short to host the top events and, because of that, it would be nice to roll the ball back.” That is supposedly in the pipeline with the R&A and USGA, the two governing bodies, seemingly ready at last to act. Apart from the inevitable legal threat from the ball-makers, the biggest obstacle seems to be the reluctance to break tradition by having two differing sets of rules for the amateurs and pros. “There are concerns about that, but I’m a supporter of bifurcation,” Donald said. “It should be different rules for us and them. The amateurs should be able do whatever they want. It doesn’t matter if they anchor the putter or whatever. The game to them should just be fun. For us it’s a different story.’ Dare we say, for Donald at the moment, that last comment seems depressingly apt. His smile and hearty farewell suggested otherwise.
Luke Donald the 'miracle man' plans to reach golf's summit again
Luke Donald has been back here at Riviera Country Club these last few days, trying to recreate the good memories, attempting to start the climb his way back up the mountain, towards the summit which he once conquered. And, at least in one respect, Donald succeeded, as he made his first cut of 2018. Except he needs rather more than scraping into the weekend if he is arrest a downfall which is starting to look inexorable. Consider that it was only a little more than five years ago that Donald was world No 1. And then consider that he came into this Genesis Open after three missed cuts to begin the campaign, ranked 177th, the lowest he has been since his first season as a professional 15 years ago and without a win in more than four years. Donald turned 40 two months ago, but never can a golfing life have felt less like it was at a beginning. Yet still he claims the fire is lit and that the hunger exists to dine once more at the exclusive tables. Three years ago, he told Telegraph Sport that he had wondered whether he “wanted to continue doing this”. But sessions with Dr Michael Gervais – the sports psychologist famous for working with Felix Baumgartner as he became the first human to break the sound barrier without mechanical help in that 24-mile skydive – rekindled the Donald desire and although his career has mercilessly carried on its freefall, quitting is no longer in his mind. Regardless of the fact that with on-course earnings of nigh on £40 million, and off-course at least the same again, he hardly requires the weekly pay cheque. Donald was world No 1 back in 2011 Credit: AP “My competitiveness is just as strong as it was,” Donald said. “Yeah, it’s been a struggle so far this year, but it’s funny, sometimes you miss cuts and you feel kind of hopeless – and I’ve been missing cuts and feeling kind of hopeful. Good stuff will come, and it doesn’t feel far away. I’m feeling positive. “True, I don’t beat myself up anywhere nearly like I used to. But with my family, my view of what is most important has, of course, shifted. And that’s the hardest thing, I suppose. Putting in all this effort and not coming away with anything tangible to show for it, when I could have been home watching my three girls grow up every day at an important stage of their lives. No, I don’t have to do this. But I do enjoy it. I’ll give it a few more years.” When located in the iconic Riviera clubhouse, Donald is anything but downcast. Indeed, the deadpan humour is as sharp as ever in this quiet Englishman who has always belied his persona. He laughs when asked about the heart scare he endured at the RSM Classic in Georgia in November when he was taken to hospital with chest pains. “It was worrying, but after a day of tests it was all fine,” he said. “But if it had turned out to be heart-related I would have been seriously annoyed. I would have drank much more beer and ate anything I wanted and not been as healthy as I’ve been for 40 years. But there’s life left in me yet.’ Neither does his legacy show any signs of keeling over any time soon. In the age of the bombers, he was the arch plotter who somehow found the pathway through all those controlled explosions to the hottest seat of all and the experts are becoming increasingly appreciative. No less an authority than the Golf Channel recently hailed Donald as “the last of his kind”, as “the short hitter who consistently found a way to beat the best” and although the 5ft 8-incher weighing 11-stone sees himself as a “medium-hitter”, he recognises the compliment. “That does give me a lot of pride,” Donald said. “To have got to No 1 and stayed there for a significant amount of time in 56 weeks, during an era when not a lot of people thought that was possible. Donald wants to work his way back to the top Credit: USA TODAY Sports “Most of the top players of these times have been long hitters and I’m glad I was able to do it my way. It wasn’t easy but I found a way to get around it.” In truth, there was only one way he could compensate. What Donald lost off the tee, he simply had to make up on and around the greens. The rise of the “strokes gained” stats in the last few years has put his feat in even starker terms. In conversation with Mark Broadie, the university professor who has been dubbed “The Godfather of Golf Analytics” for his work in developing this revolutionary method of measuring and compartmentalising performance, he claimed Donald’s ascent to be “freakish”, an “anomaly” and only half jokingly said “he is a statistical miracle man”. Donald worked with Broadie when he was still formulating his system, so understands the numbers as well as anyone. “The magic formula is you have to gain two strokes on the field per round,” Donald said. “I’m losing 1½ [strokes] off the tee if I’m not hitting it 300 yards all the time, so I have to find 3½ strokes in the rest of my game, which is almost impossible. That’s what it was when I was No 1.” Imagine being aware of that. Is it a boon to know the exact formula to recover your superiority, but that it demands you are ludicrously superior in a few aspects of the game while remaining inferior in the most crucial aspect and so achieve something “almost impossible”? In Donald’s eyes it is understandably a case of “I’ve done it before, I can do it again”, but so much has changed in the brief spell since his reign. The five golfers to have won a career grand slam - and the 12 three-major winners, including Jordan Spieth The youngsters are coming out longer and straighter, the technology is making everyone longer and straighter and, on a misguided mission to ensure the scores remain comparable with the tournaments of yore, the Tours revert ever more to their eye-straining solution. Take Riviera, this George C Thomas masterpiece created in 1923. When Tiger Woods made his first start in a professional event here in 1992, it was 400 yards shorter. A full par four. “That’s the trend in golf, to make courses longer to combat how far the guys are hitting it,” Donald said. “It’s a shame that some of these classic courses are becoming too short to host the top events and, because of that, it would be nice to roll the ball back.” That is supposedly in the pipeline with the R&A and USGA, the two governing bodies, seemingly ready at last to act. Apart from the inevitable legal threat from the ball-makers, the biggest obstacle seems to be the reluctance to break tradition by having two differing sets of rules for the amateurs and pros. “There are concerns about that, but I’m a supporter of bifurcation,” Donald said. “It should be different rules for us and them. The amateurs should be able do whatever they want. It doesn’t matter if they anchor the putter or whatever. The game to them should just be fun. For us it’s a different story.’ Dare we say, for Donald at the moment, that last comment seems depressingly apt. His smile and hearty farewell suggested otherwise.
Luke Donald has been back here at Riviera Country Club these last few days, trying to recreate the good memories, attempting to start the climb his way back up the mountain, towards the summit which he once conquered. And, at least in one respect, Donald succeeded, as he made his first cut of 2018. Except he needs rather more than scraping into the weekend if he is arrest a downfall which is starting to look inexorable. Consider that it was only a little more than five years ago that Donald was world No 1. And then consider that he came into this Genesis Open after three missed cuts to begin the campaign, ranked 177th, the lowest he has been since his first season as a professional 15 years ago and without a win in more than four years. Donald turned 40 two months ago, but never can a golfing life have felt less like it was at a beginning. Yet still he claims the fire is lit and that the hunger exists to dine once more at the exclusive tables. Three years ago, he told Telegraph Sport that he had wondered whether he “wanted to continue doing this”. But sessions with Dr Michael Gervais – the sports psychologist famous for working with Felix Baumgartner as he became the first human to break the sound barrier without mechanical help in that 24-mile skydive – rekindled the Donald desire and although his career has mercilessly carried on its freefall, quitting is no longer in his mind. Regardless of the fact that with on-course earnings of nigh on £40 million, and off-course at least the same again, he hardly requires the weekly pay cheque. Donald was world No 1 back in 2011 Credit: AP “My competitiveness is just as strong as it was,” Donald said. “Yeah, it’s been a struggle so far this year, but it’s funny, sometimes you miss cuts and you feel kind of hopeless – and I’ve been missing cuts and feeling kind of hopeful. Good stuff will come, and it doesn’t feel far away. I’m feeling positive. “True, I don’t beat myself up anywhere nearly like I used to. But with my family, my view of what is most important has, of course, shifted. And that’s the hardest thing, I suppose. Putting in all this effort and not coming away with anything tangible to show for it, when I could have been home watching my three girls grow up every day at an important stage of their lives. No, I don’t have to do this. But I do enjoy it. I’ll give it a few more years.” When located in the iconic Riviera clubhouse, Donald is anything but downcast. Indeed, the deadpan humour is as sharp as ever in this quiet Englishman who has always belied his persona. He laughs when asked about the heart scare he endured at the RSM Classic in Georgia in November when he was taken to hospital with chest pains. “It was worrying, but after a day of tests it was all fine,” he said. “But if it had turned out to be heart-related I would have been seriously annoyed. I would have drank much more beer and ate anything I wanted and not been as healthy as I’ve been for 40 years. But there’s life left in me yet.’ Neither does his legacy show any signs of keeling over any time soon. In the age of the bombers, he was the arch plotter who somehow found the pathway through all those controlled explosions to the hottest seat of all and the experts are becoming increasingly appreciative. No less an authority than the Golf Channel recently hailed Donald as “the last of his kind”, as “the short hitter who consistently found a way to beat the best” and although the 5ft 8-incher weighing 11-stone sees himself as a “medium-hitter”, he recognises the compliment. “That does give me a lot of pride,” Donald said. “To have got to No 1 and stayed there for a significant amount of time in 56 weeks, during an era when not a lot of people thought that was possible. Donald wants to work his way back to the top Credit: USA TODAY Sports “Most of the top players of these times have been long hitters and I’m glad I was able to do it my way. It wasn’t easy but I found a way to get around it.” In truth, there was only one way he could compensate. What Donald lost off the tee, he simply had to make up on and around the greens. The rise of the “strokes gained” stats in the last few years has put his feat in even starker terms. In conversation with Mark Broadie, the university professor who has been dubbed “The Godfather of Golf Analytics” for his work in developing this revolutionary method of measuring and compartmentalising performance, he claimed Donald’s ascent to be “freakish”, an “anomaly” and only half jokingly said “he is a statistical miracle man”. Donald worked with Broadie when he was still formulating his system, so understands the numbers as well as anyone. “The magic formula is you have to gain two strokes on the field per round,” Donald said. “I’m losing 1½ [strokes] off the tee if I’m not hitting it 300 yards all the time, so I have to find 3½ strokes in the rest of my game, which is almost impossible. That’s what it was when I was No 1.” Imagine being aware of that. Is it a boon to know the exact formula to recover your superiority, but that it demands you are ludicrously superior in a few aspects of the game while remaining inferior in the most crucial aspect and so achieve something “almost impossible”? In Donald’s eyes it is understandably a case of “I’ve done it before, I can do it again”, but so much has changed in the brief spell since his reign. The five golfers to have won a career grand slam - and the 12 three-major winners, including Jordan Spieth The youngsters are coming out longer and straighter, the technology is making everyone longer and straighter and, on a misguided mission to ensure the scores remain comparable with the tournaments of yore, the Tours revert ever more to their eye-straining solution. Take Riviera, this George C Thomas masterpiece created in 1923. When Tiger Woods made his first start in a professional event here in 1992, it was 400 yards shorter. A full par four. “That’s the trend in golf, to make courses longer to combat how far the guys are hitting it,” Donald said. “It’s a shame that some of these classic courses are becoming too short to host the top events and, because of that, it would be nice to roll the ball back.” That is supposedly in the pipeline with the R&A and USGA, the two governing bodies, seemingly ready at last to act. Apart from the inevitable legal threat from the ball-makers, the biggest obstacle seems to be the reluctance to break tradition by having two differing sets of rules for the amateurs and pros. “There are concerns about that, but I’m a supporter of bifurcation,” Donald said. “It should be different rules for us and them. The amateurs should be able do whatever they want. It doesn’t matter if they anchor the putter or whatever. The game to them should just be fun. For us it’s a different story.’ Dare we say, for Donald at the moment, that last comment seems depressingly apt. His smile and hearty farewell suggested otherwise.
Luke Donald the 'miracle man' plans to reach golf's summit again
Luke Donald has been back here at Riviera Country Club these last few days, trying to recreate the good memories, attempting to start the climb his way back up the mountain, towards the summit which he once conquered. And, at least in one respect, Donald succeeded, as he made his first cut of 2018. Except he needs rather more than scraping into the weekend if he is arrest a downfall which is starting to look inexorable. Consider that it was only a little more than five years ago that Donald was world No 1. And then consider that he came into this Genesis Open after three missed cuts to begin the campaign, ranked 177th, the lowest he has been since his first season as a professional 15 years ago and without a win in more than four years. Donald turned 40 two months ago, but never can a golfing life have felt less like it was at a beginning. Yet still he claims the fire is lit and that the hunger exists to dine once more at the exclusive tables. Three years ago, he told Telegraph Sport that he had wondered whether he “wanted to continue doing this”. But sessions with Dr Michael Gervais – the sports psychologist famous for working with Felix Baumgartner as he became the first human to break the sound barrier without mechanical help in that 24-mile skydive – rekindled the Donald desire and although his career has mercilessly carried on its freefall, quitting is no longer in his mind. Regardless of the fact that with on-course earnings of nigh on £40 million, and off-course at least the same again, he hardly requires the weekly pay cheque. Donald was world No 1 back in 2011 Credit: AP “My competitiveness is just as strong as it was,” Donald said. “Yeah, it’s been a struggle so far this year, but it’s funny, sometimes you miss cuts and you feel kind of hopeless – and I’ve been missing cuts and feeling kind of hopeful. Good stuff will come, and it doesn’t feel far away. I’m feeling positive. “True, I don’t beat myself up anywhere nearly like I used to. But with my family, my view of what is most important has, of course, shifted. And that’s the hardest thing, I suppose. Putting in all this effort and not coming away with anything tangible to show for it, when I could have been home watching my three girls grow up every day at an important stage of their lives. No, I don’t have to do this. But I do enjoy it. I’ll give it a few more years.” When located in the iconic Riviera clubhouse, Donald is anything but downcast. Indeed, the deadpan humour is as sharp as ever in this quiet Englishman who has always belied his persona. He laughs when asked about the heart scare he endured at the RSM Classic in Georgia in November when he was taken to hospital with chest pains. “It was worrying, but after a day of tests it was all fine,” he said. “But if it had turned out to be heart-related I would have been seriously annoyed. I would have drank much more beer and ate anything I wanted and not been as healthy as I’ve been for 40 years. But there’s life left in me yet.’ Neither does his legacy show any signs of keeling over any time soon. In the age of the bombers, he was the arch plotter who somehow found the pathway through all those controlled explosions to the hottest seat of all and the experts are becoming increasingly appreciative. No less an authority than the Golf Channel recently hailed Donald as “the last of his kind”, as “the short hitter who consistently found a way to beat the best” and although the 5ft 8-incher weighing 11-stone sees himself as a “medium-hitter”, he recognises the compliment. “That does give me a lot of pride,” Donald said. “To have got to No 1 and stayed there for a significant amount of time in 56 weeks, during an era when not a lot of people thought that was possible. Donald wants to work his way back to the top Credit: USA TODAY Sports “Most of the top players of these times have been long hitters and I’m glad I was able to do it my way. It wasn’t easy but I found a way to get around it.” In truth, there was only one way he could compensate. What Donald lost off the tee, he simply had to make up on and around the greens. The rise of the “strokes gained” stats in the last few years has put his feat in even starker terms. In conversation with Mark Broadie, the university professor who has been dubbed “The Godfather of Golf Analytics” for his work in developing this revolutionary method of measuring and compartmentalising performance, he claimed Donald’s ascent to be “freakish”, an “anomaly” and only half jokingly said “he is a statistical miracle man”. Donald worked with Broadie when he was still formulating his system, so understands the numbers as well as anyone. “The magic formula is you have to gain two strokes on the field per round,” Donald said. “I’m losing 1½ [strokes] off the tee if I’m not hitting it 300 yards all the time, so I have to find 3½ strokes in the rest of my game, which is almost impossible. That’s what it was when I was No 1.” Imagine being aware of that. Is it a boon to know the exact formula to recover your superiority, but that it demands you are ludicrously superior in a few aspects of the game while remaining inferior in the most crucial aspect and so achieve something “almost impossible”? In Donald’s eyes it is understandably a case of “I’ve done it before, I can do it again”, but so much has changed in the brief spell since his reign. The five golfers to have won a career grand slam - and the 12 three-major winners, including Jordan Spieth The youngsters are coming out longer and straighter, the technology is making everyone longer and straighter and, on a misguided mission to ensure the scores remain comparable with the tournaments of yore, the Tours revert ever more to their eye-straining solution. Take Riviera, this George C Thomas masterpiece created in 1923. When Tiger Woods made his first start in a professional event here in 1992, it was 400 yards shorter. A full par four. “That’s the trend in golf, to make courses longer to combat how far the guys are hitting it,” Donald said. “It’s a shame that some of these classic courses are becoming too short to host the top events and, because of that, it would be nice to roll the ball back.” That is supposedly in the pipeline with the R&A and USGA, the two governing bodies, seemingly ready at last to act. Apart from the inevitable legal threat from the ball-makers, the biggest obstacle seems to be the reluctance to break tradition by having two differing sets of rules for the amateurs and pros. “There are concerns about that, but I’m a supporter of bifurcation,” Donald said. “It should be different rules for us and them. The amateurs should be able do whatever they want. It doesn’t matter if they anchor the putter or whatever. The game to them should just be fun. For us it’s a different story.’ Dare we say, for Donald at the moment, that last comment seems depressingly apt. His smile and hearty farewell suggested otherwise.
Luke Donald has been back here at Riviera Country Club these last few days, trying to recreate the good memories, attempting to start the climb his way back up the mountain, towards the summit which he once conquered. And, at least in one respect, Donald succeeded, as he made his first cut of 2018. Except he needs rather more than scraping into the weekend if he is arrest a downfall which is starting to look inexorable. Consider that it was only a little more than five years ago that Donald was world No 1. And then consider that he came into this Genesis Open after three missed cuts to begin the campaign, ranked 177th, the lowest he has been since his first season as a professional 15 years ago and without a win in more than four years. Donald turned 40 two months ago, but never can a golfing life have felt less like it was at a beginning. Yet still he claims the fire is lit and that the hunger exists to dine once more at the exclusive tables. Three years ago, he told Telegraph Sport that he had wondered whether he “wanted to continue doing this”. But sessions with Dr Michael Gervais – the sports psychologist famous for working with Felix Baumgartner as he became the first human to break the sound barrier without mechanical help in that 24-mile skydive – rekindled the Donald desire and although his career has mercilessly carried on its freefall, quitting is no longer in his mind. Regardless of the fact that with on-course earnings of nigh on £40 million, and off-course at least the same again, he hardly requires the weekly pay cheque. Donald was world No 1 back in 2011 Credit: AP “My competitiveness is just as strong as it was,” Donald said. “Yeah, it’s been a struggle so far this year, but it’s funny, sometimes you miss cuts and you feel kind of hopeless – and I’ve been missing cuts and feeling kind of hopeful. Good stuff will come, and it doesn’t feel far away. I’m feeling positive. “True, I don’t beat myself up anywhere nearly like I used to. But with my family, my view of what is most important has, of course, shifted. And that’s the hardest thing, I suppose. Putting in all this effort and not coming away with anything tangible to show for it, when I could have been home watching my three girls grow up every day at an important stage of their lives. No, I don’t have to do this. But I do enjoy it. I’ll give it a few more years.” When located in the iconic Riviera clubhouse, Donald is anything but downcast. Indeed, the deadpan humour is as sharp as ever in this quiet Englishman who has always belied his persona. He laughs when asked about the heart scare he endured at the RSM Classic in Georgia in November when he was taken to hospital with chest pains. “It was worrying, but after a day of tests it was all fine,” he said. “But if it had turned out to be heart-related I would have been seriously annoyed. I would have drank much more beer and ate anything I wanted and not been as healthy as I’ve been for 40 years. But there’s life left in me yet.’ Neither does his legacy show any signs of keeling over any time soon. In the age of the bombers, he was the arch plotter who somehow found the pathway through all those controlled explosions to the hottest seat of all and the experts are becoming increasingly appreciative. No less an authority than the Golf Channel recently hailed Donald as “the last of his kind”, as “the short hitter who consistently found a way to beat the best” and although the 5ft 8-incher weighing 11-stone sees himself as a “medium-hitter”, he recognises the compliment. “That does give me a lot of pride,” Donald said. “To have got to No 1 and stayed there for a significant amount of time in 56 weeks, during an era when not a lot of people thought that was possible. Donald wants to work his way back to the top Credit: USA TODAY Sports “Most of the top players of these times have been long hitters and I’m glad I was able to do it my way. It wasn’t easy but I found a way to get around it.” In truth, there was only one way he could compensate. What Donald lost off the tee, he simply had to make up on and around the greens. The rise of the “strokes gained” stats in the last few years has put his feat in even starker terms. In conversation with Mark Broadie, the university professor who has been dubbed “The Godfather of Golf Analytics” for his work in developing this revolutionary method of measuring and compartmentalising performance, he claimed Donald’s ascent to be “freakish”, an “anomaly” and only half jokingly said “he is a statistical miracle man”. Donald worked with Broadie when he was still formulating his system, so understands the numbers as well as anyone. “The magic formula is you have to gain two strokes on the field per round,” Donald said. “I’m losing 1½ [strokes] off the tee if I’m not hitting it 300 yards all the time, so I have to find 3½ strokes in the rest of my game, which is almost impossible. That’s what it was when I was No 1.” Imagine being aware of that. Is it a boon to know the exact formula to recover your superiority, but that it demands you are ludicrously superior in a few aspects of the game while remaining inferior in the most crucial aspect and so achieve something “almost impossible”? In Donald’s eyes it is understandably a case of “I’ve done it before, I can do it again”, but so much has changed in the brief spell since his reign. The five golfers to have won a career grand slam - and the 12 three-major winners, including Jordan Spieth The youngsters are coming out longer and straighter, the technology is making everyone longer and straighter and, on a misguided mission to ensure the scores remain comparable with the tournaments of yore, the Tours revert ever more to their eye-straining solution. Take Riviera, this George C Thomas masterpiece created in 1923. When Tiger Woods made his first start in a professional event here in 1992, it was 400 yards shorter. A full par four. “That’s the trend in golf, to make courses longer to combat how far the guys are hitting it,” Donald said. “It’s a shame that some of these classic courses are becoming too short to host the top events and, because of that, it would be nice to roll the ball back.” That is supposedly in the pipeline with the R&A and USGA, the two governing bodies, seemingly ready at last to act. Apart from the inevitable legal threat from the ball-makers, the biggest obstacle seems to be the reluctance to break tradition by having two differing sets of rules for the amateurs and pros. “There are concerns about that, but I’m a supporter of bifurcation,” Donald said. “It should be different rules for us and them. The amateurs should be able do whatever they want. It doesn’t matter if they anchor the putter or whatever. The game to them should just be fun. For us it’s a different story.’ Dare we say, for Donald at the moment, that last comment seems depressingly apt. His smile and hearty farewell suggested otherwise.
Luke Donald the 'miracle man' plans to reach golf's summit again
Luke Donald has been back here at Riviera Country Club these last few days, trying to recreate the good memories, attempting to start the climb his way back up the mountain, towards the summit which he once conquered. And, at least in one respect, Donald succeeded, as he made his first cut of 2018. Except he needs rather more than scraping into the weekend if he is arrest a downfall which is starting to look inexorable. Consider that it was only a little more than five years ago that Donald was world No 1. And then consider that he came into this Genesis Open after three missed cuts to begin the campaign, ranked 177th, the lowest he has been since his first season as a professional 15 years ago and without a win in more than four years. Donald turned 40 two months ago, but never can a golfing life have felt less like it was at a beginning. Yet still he claims the fire is lit and that the hunger exists to dine once more at the exclusive tables. Three years ago, he told Telegraph Sport that he had wondered whether he “wanted to continue doing this”. But sessions with Dr Michael Gervais – the sports psychologist famous for working with Felix Baumgartner as he became the first human to break the sound barrier without mechanical help in that 24-mile skydive – rekindled the Donald desire and although his career has mercilessly carried on its freefall, quitting is no longer in his mind. Regardless of the fact that with on-course earnings of nigh on £40 million, and off-course at least the same again, he hardly requires the weekly pay cheque. Donald was world No 1 back in 2011 Credit: AP “My competitiveness is just as strong as it was,” Donald said. “Yeah, it’s been a struggle so far this year, but it’s funny, sometimes you miss cuts and you feel kind of hopeless – and I’ve been missing cuts and feeling kind of hopeful. Good stuff will come, and it doesn’t feel far away. I’m feeling positive. “True, I don’t beat myself up anywhere nearly like I used to. But with my family, my view of what is most important has, of course, shifted. And that’s the hardest thing, I suppose. Putting in all this effort and not coming away with anything tangible to show for it, when I could have been home watching my three girls grow up every day at an important stage of their lives. No, I don’t have to do this. But I do enjoy it. I’ll give it a few more years.” When located in the iconic Riviera clubhouse, Donald is anything but downcast. Indeed, the deadpan humour is as sharp as ever in this quiet Englishman who has always belied his persona. He laughs when asked about the heart scare he endured at the RSM Classic in Georgia in November when he was taken to hospital with chest pains. “It was worrying, but after a day of tests it was all fine,” he said. “But if it had turned out to be heart-related I would have been seriously annoyed. I would have drank much more beer and ate anything I wanted and not been as healthy as I’ve been for 40 years. But there’s life left in me yet.’ Neither does his legacy show any signs of keeling over any time soon. In the age of the bombers, he was the arch plotter who somehow found the pathway through all those controlled explosions to the hottest seat of all and the experts are becoming increasingly appreciative. No less an authority than the Golf Channel recently hailed Donald as “the last of his kind”, as “the short hitter who consistently found a way to beat the best” and although the 5ft 8-incher weighing 11-stone sees himself as a “medium-hitter”, he recognises the compliment. “That does give me a lot of pride,” Donald said. “To have got to No 1 and stayed there for a significant amount of time in 56 weeks, during an era when not a lot of people thought that was possible. Donald wants to work his way back to the top Credit: USA TODAY Sports “Most of the top players of these times have been long hitters and I’m glad I was able to do it my way. It wasn’t easy but I found a way to get around it.” In truth, there was only one way he could compensate. What Donald lost off the tee, he simply had to make up on and around the greens. The rise of the “strokes gained” stats in the last few years has put his feat in even starker terms. In conversation with Mark Broadie, the university professor who has been dubbed “The Godfather of Golf Analytics” for his work in developing this revolutionary method of measuring and compartmentalising performance, he claimed Donald’s ascent to be “freakish”, an “anomaly” and only half jokingly said “he is a statistical miracle man”. Donald worked with Broadie when he was still formulating his system, so understands the numbers as well as anyone. “The magic formula is you have to gain two strokes on the field per round,” Donald said. “I’m losing 1½ [strokes] off the tee if I’m not hitting it 300 yards all the time, so I have to find 3½ strokes in the rest of my game, which is almost impossible. That’s what it was when I was No 1.” Imagine being aware of that. Is it a boon to know the exact formula to recover your superiority, but that it demands you are ludicrously superior in a few aspects of the game while remaining inferior in the most crucial aspect and so achieve something “almost impossible”? In Donald’s eyes it is understandably a case of “I’ve done it before, I can do it again”, but so much has changed in the brief spell since his reign. The five golfers to have won a career grand slam - and the 12 three-major winners, including Jordan Spieth The youngsters are coming out longer and straighter, the technology is making everyone longer and straighter and, on a misguided mission to ensure the scores remain comparable with the tournaments of yore, the Tours revert ever more to their eye-straining solution. Take Riviera, this George C Thomas masterpiece created in 1923. When Tiger Woods made his first start in a professional event here in 1992, it was 400 yards shorter. A full par four. “That’s the trend in golf, to make courses longer to combat how far the guys are hitting it,” Donald said. “It’s a shame that some of these classic courses are becoming too short to host the top events and, because of that, it would be nice to roll the ball back.” That is supposedly in the pipeline with the R&A and USGA, the two governing bodies, seemingly ready at last to act. Apart from the inevitable legal threat from the ball-makers, the biggest obstacle seems to be the reluctance to break tradition by having two differing sets of rules for the amateurs and pros. “There are concerns about that, but I’m a supporter of bifurcation,” Donald said. “It should be different rules for us and them. The amateurs should be able do whatever they want. It doesn’t matter if they anchor the putter or whatever. The game to them should just be fun. For us it’s a different story.’ Dare we say, for Donald at the moment, that last comment seems depressingly apt. His smile and hearty farewell suggested otherwise.
Tiger Woods missed the cut in his second PGA Tour outing of 2018 and Rory McIlroy believes his treatment by fans may be partly to blame.
Rory McIlroy frustrated by added scrutiny of playing with Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods missed the cut in his second PGA Tour outing of 2018 and Rory McIlroy believes his treatment by fans may be partly to blame.
Tiger Woods missed the cut in his second PGA Tour outing of 2018 and Rory McIlroy believes his treatment by fans may be partly to blame.
McIlroy frustrated by added scrutiny of playing with Woods
Tiger Woods missed the cut in his second PGA Tour outing of 2018 and Rory McIlroy believes his treatment by fans may be partly to blame.
McIlroy (pictured), owner of four major titles himself, played alongside Tiger Woods in the first two rounds of the Genesis Open (AFP Photo/Giuseppe CACACE)
McIlroy (pictured), owner of four major titles himself, played alongside Tiger Woods in the first two rounds of the Genesis Open
McIlroy (pictured), owner of four major titles himself, played alongside Tiger Woods in the first two rounds of the Genesis Open (AFP Photo/Giuseppe CACACE)
McIlroy said there were enough glimpses of Tiger Woods&#39; old short-game magic to warrant optimism (AFP Photo/Mike Ehrmann)
McIlroy said there were enough glimpses of Tiger Woods' old short-game magic to warrant optimism
McIlroy said there were enough glimpses of Tiger Woods' old short-game magic to warrant optimism (AFP Photo/Mike Ehrmann)
Tiger Woods tips his cap to the spectators on the 18th green after finishing the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Woods misses cut at Riviera and moves forward to Florida
Tiger Woods tips his cap to the spectators on the 18th green after finishing the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the 15th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Woods misses cut at Riviera and moves forward to Florida
Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the 15th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Tiger Woods walks off the first green during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Woods misses cut at Riviera and moves forward to Florida
Tiger Woods walks off the first green during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Tiger Woods reacts to a putt that failed to drop on the eighth green during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles, Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Woods misses cut at Riviera and moves forward to Florida
Tiger Woods reacts to a putt that failed to drop on the eighth green during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles, Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Woods misses cut at Riviera and moves forward to Florida
Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Tiger Woods hits out of a fairway bunker on the 17th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Woods misses cut at Riviera and moves forward to Florida
Tiger Woods hits out of a fairway bunker on the 17th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Tiger Woods reacts after missing a putt for par on the 11th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. Woods carded a bogey. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Woods misses cut at Riviera and moves forward to Florida
Tiger Woods reacts after missing a putt for par on the 11th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. Woods carded a bogey. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Tiger Woods is healthy enough to play next week, but as a Genesis Open missed cut showed, his game isn&#39;t quite ready to win.
Plenty of good – and bad – in Tiger's missed cut
Tiger Woods is healthy enough to play next week, but as a Genesis Open missed cut showed, his game isn't quite ready to win.
Tiger Woods’ short game was a point of strength last month at the Farmers Insurance Open, but his second round at Riviera fell apart on the greens.
Woods had premonition about putting struggles
Tiger Woods’ short game was a point of strength last month at the Farmers Insurance Open, but his second round at Riviera fell apart on the greens.

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