Diner morning news: A time for white lies

QUOTE: “There are seasons, in human affairs, of inward and outward revolution, when new depths seem to be broken up in the soul, when new wants are unfolded in multitudes, and a new and undefined good is thirsted for. There are periods when...to dare is the highest wisdom.” -- William Ellery Channing

What the McNabb trade taught us

At Tuesday’s press conference in Washington, the Redskins made it very clear this move was intended to help them win right away and they plan on talking contract extension with Donovan McNabb. At the same conference, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said he still might choose a quarterback with the fourth pick in the draft. Citing examples of the Chargers’ Philip Rivers and the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, both of whom waited three years before they took over their starting roles, Shanahan implied that the ‘Skins are still contemplating drafting a quarterback.

I love this time of the year because no one tells the whole truth. White lies are at an all-time high in the NFL now as we approach the draft. If the ‘Skins sign McNabb to an extension and draft a quarterback with the fourth pick, they’ll have more money invested at quarterback than any team in the NFL — so if the salary cap returns in 2011, they’ll be forced to trade a quarterback. I don’t think Shanahan wants to lie, but I also don’t think he wants to show his hand in the draft, so he’s leaving every door open publicly. But as is always the case in Washington, if you follow the money, you learn the real truth.

Later in the day, the Rams announced they were “not locked” into drafting Sam Bradford, insisting they haven’t made a final decision on whom they’ll pick. Now, as a fan, you have to wonder, what have they been doing the last four months? How come it takes so long to make a decision? Once again, most of the talk at this time of the year falls into the white-lie category. The Rams know what they want to do, they just don’t want to share their plan with the rest of the NFL, the media or the agents of the players. Of course, releasing Marc Bulger doesn’t mean they won’t draft a quarterback in the first. I’m buying that, are you?

What McNabb leaving Philadelphia taught us

All the talk has been about McNabb getting an extension from the ‘Skins, but knowing how the Eagles operate, I suspect they’ll be handing out an extension to Kolb very soon. The Eagles love to operate well ahead of the contract curve for young players, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Kolb had a new deal in place before the draft. A deal structured to use this uncapped year to their full advantage, thus keeping them flexible if the cap comes back next year and in position to sign players in a very fertile free-agent market in 2011.

What Butler taught us

I hope Chiefs coach Todd Haley loves to watch college basketball, and I really hope he watched the NCAA finals game featuring Duke against Butler. What I hope he noticed was how Butler’s young coach, Brad Stevens, never lost control at any moment in the game, never screamed at the officials, never let a bad play affect his focus or concentration. Stevens might be young in term of years, but he appeared very experienced at handling pressure of the biggest game of the year.

For any coach or executive in a pressure situation, the lesson learned watching Stevens is to focus on what you can control and your behavior becomes your team’s behavior. Butler behaved and played like a team raised on being competitive, being tough, being resilient and being focused on the task at hand. All of these qualities are what allowed Stevens to become a head college coach in seven short years, transitioning from marketing to coaching.

Stevens was fun to watch. I hope Haley tuned in.

Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi

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