A look around the NFL while celebrating the Indians' charge through the AL Central and praying that the best team in the NBA is whichever one is playing the Heat ...
AFTERNOON FAVREIAN THOUGHT: Thought I'd insert a Favre-related guess before Miller time (Consider this my version of the TV crawler that screams BREAKING NEWS only to not really break any news) ... I just read where NFL.com's Pat Kirwan predicted Aug. 23 as Brett Favre's arrival date. I like his thinking. Favre skips the first two games, gets in about 15 or so tosses in the third preseason game at home on Aug. 28 and sits out the preseason finale with the rest of the league's frontline players. I'm going with Aug. 24 as Favre's arrival date. The Vikings play Aug. 22, a Sunday, meaning they won't practice Aug. 23. Favre takes another long weekend, shows up early Tuesday and joins his teammates midway through that day's practice, followed by a lengthy press conference in which he talks about being older than dust. If it does take that long for him to show up, who cares? As Brad Childress said, there's no blueprint for a 40-year-old Hall of Fame QB who's still at the top of his game. Favre proved last year that he nor the team needed him to trudge through all of training camp.
First down: In a league where teams often don't honor contracts after players have terrible seasons, it was good to see Chris Johnson get a nice and well-deserved pay bump after joining the elite class of runners to top 2,000 yards in a season. CJ was threatening to sit out rather than work for about 500 grand. I didn't blame him. That was his only piece of leverage. He'll now get about $2.5 million for 2010, according to profootballtalk.com, which first reported the deal. There won't be any seasons added to his contract and there is no huge signing bonus that CJ wanted, so basically both sides are happy. And that's important cuz CJ is the best back in the league right now.
Second down: Are the Chargers in danger of collapsing on top of themselves before they even reach Week 1? Um, yeah. Or it sure seems that way. Receiver Vincent Jackson and left tackle Marcus McNeill are looking at potential longterm holdouts. Jackson, at the very least, will miss the first three games because of a league suspension. And now rookie running back Ryan Matthews, a vital piece on a team that no longer has LT, is suggesting he also could be a contract holdout. Jackson and McNeill are two of the league's many disgruntled restricted free agents who are ticked off that they've missed out on unrestricted free agency. They were ticked off enough to skip the June 15 deadline for signing their one-year tenders. That cost them about $2.5 million apiece. So they're prepared to dig in. Also, I wonder what kind of effect it will have in the Chargers' locker room that QB Philip Rivers went on NFL Network and basically said the team is prepared to move on with whomever is in camp. "Again, we've found in past years, last year, we've had to overcome some adversity, overcome some injuries," he said. "In this case, if we were not to have those guys, we'll keep on moving." That's a tough spot for a QB and a leader to be in. On the one hand, he has to say that. But on the other hand, he's basically telling his top receiver and primary pass protector that they can be replaced. The good news: The Chargers have some wiggle room playing in the AFC West.
Time out: I will swear my undying love and loyalty to the next airline that builds seats in coach that DO NOT recline. Until the rest of mankind realizes it's obnoxious to recline one's head into my lap for a three-hour nap, I'd rather these people not have the option.
Third down: If Brad Childress is still in the market for advice on how to help Adrian Peterson hang on to the football, he should check out Sports Illustrated's guest "Monday Morning Quarterback" column this week. Steve Sabol -- the NFL Films guru, winner of 34 Emmys and overall league history buff -- wrote this week's guest column. In one of his observations, he mentions how Peterson's running style compares to Packers Hall of Famer Jim Taylor. Said Sabol: "Adrian should watch some film of Jim Taylor, the Packer Hall of Famer. Like Peterson, he perceived every play as an examination of his manhood. He spat, elbowed and battled his way to five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in the 1960s, and he fumbled less than any top back of his era." One could argue that defenders from Taylor's era didn't attack the football the way today's defenders do. Back in the day, they tackled guys. But, hey, watching some film of Jim Taylor sure couldn't hurt. ... Sabol also makes the argument that former Packers right guard Jerry Kramer is the league's best player not in the Hall of Fame. Just thought I'd throw that one out there cuz I know Vikings fans think their entire team from the 1970s should be in the Hall of Fame. Sabol makes a good argument for the man he calls the "lead boulder" in the Packer Power Sweep that won multiple championships.
Fourth down: One has to wonder if 49ers owner Jed York was serious or just humoring the Brits when he told reporters in London that it appears "likely" that London eventually will get a Super Bowl and an NFL franchise. York was in London to promote the 49ers' regular-season game against the Broncos. My first instinct told me he was just humoring the Brits. But he is the chair of the league's international committee, so I suppose his words should carry some meaning. I doubt it will happen anytime soon. Just like I also doubt York's claim that the 49ers will have homefield advantage over the Broncos in October. Just like American soccer fans don't know when to cheer (except for the 50-50 chance of that one goal per game), British football fans don't know when not to cheer.