The NFL Owners Meetings have kicked off, and with that some actual league news as it relates to the NFL Draft next month and the 2007 season. It is also one of the few times that Mike Shanahan addresses the media during the off-season. We'll get to that in a second.
First, some news and notes --
The NFL awarded Compensatory Picks for the NFL draft. The Broncos have exactly zero picks, awarded based on free agents a team loses. Our good friends in San Diego picked up a couple, however, adding picks in the 3rd and 5th rounds. Oakland also picked up a couple(3rd, 7th). As for Mr. Irrelevent, that pick goes to Matt Millen and the Detroit Lions, though based on their draft history you could say every pick the Lions make is irrelevent! Overall, a total of 32 picks were awarded.
Contrary to reports throughout MMS, the NFL will not unveil it's new "Conduct Policy" today. Some of the framework will be discussed, with the general perception being the League, and it's Commissioner, Roger Goddell, are going to come down hard on low-life's like Pac-Man Jones and Chris Henry, guys that get into trouble over and over again.
He's the new sheriff in town," said Atlanta cornerback DeAngelo Hall, one of the players who, disgusted by off-field player conduct over the past year, huddled with Goodell at last month's combine workouts in Indianapolis to address the issue. "I think, no matter what he decides, it's going to be a no-nonsense, no excuses, no [expletive] approach. And I think most of us realize that's what we need."
It sure is refreshing for a sports league, and it's players, take responsibility for it's actions, instead of making excuses.
On a lighter note, ESPN has replaced one big mouoth with another in the Monday Night Football booth. Out is Joe Theismann, who at one time was a great color guy, but over time became a self-absorbed a-hole. In is another self-absorbed a-hole, Ron Jaworski, though Jaws is one of teh ebst at breaking down tape. The rest of the team, Mike Tirico and Tony Kornheiser, remain the same. I still don't know how Tirico will find the time to actually call the action on the field with Tony K. and Jaws in the booth fighting for air-time, but I give credit to ESPN for not sitting on it's laurels and accepting sub-standard performance from it's broadcast team.
Speaking of Monday Night Football, the NFL released it's Opening Weekend primetime schedule as well as it's Thanksgiving Day tripleheader. Thankfully, the Broncos aren't scheduled to appear in either case, a deserving result for a team that missed the playoffs. Here are the deets --
Week 1 -
Thursday Night: Saints at Colts (NBC)
Sunday Night: Giants at Cowboys (NBC)
Monday Night: Ravens at Bengals and Cardinals at 49ers (ESPN doubleheader)
Packers at Lions (FOX)
Jets at Cowboys (CBS)
Colts at Falcons (NFL Network)
The rest of the schedule will be released later in April, and I for one am hoping the Broncos avoid the prime-time barrage they experienced last season when they appeared in 6 such contests, going 3-3.
Lastly, the Al Wilson saga appears no closer to conclusion after a proposed trade between the Broncos and Giants was crushed by the Giants failing the 4 time Pro Bowler in a physical last week. Shanny, in one of his few off-season media appearances, stated that it is definitely a possibility the defensive captain could return the Denver. There is no doubt the Giants have cornered the Broncos a bit in their quest to move Wilson. Shanny is a shrewed business man, no doubt, but it will be difficult for the Broncos to get value for Wilson with the aura of physical risk now associated with Wilson. No doubt the Giants are hoping that the Broncos simply cut Wilson, at which time the physical results will be much different. Knowing Shanny, however, there is no way he'll give the Giants, or any other team that satisfaction.