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A quick glimpse around the NFL:

Now I’m convinced that the Green Bay Packers are for real. It took eight games, but I’m a believer. I’m just not sure they can go far in the playoffs with that running game. Only a true fan can name one of their backs.
I’ll be more of a Vince Young fan when he throws for more than 110 yards. There’s still a lot of hype that isn’t backed up with substance. He finds ways to win. Bravo. But he’s still a work in progress.
Marvin Lewis is going to make somebody a heck of a defensive coordinator next year. Maybe the Ravens can rehire him once Rex Ryan gets a head coaching gig. Lewis’ time is almost up in Cincinnati. The Bengals can’t play defense and can’t follow the rules, on or off the field. They actually committed three penalties on one play yesterday – while punting. They’re the only team that could be off-sides during the anthem.
Just when I was about to blast the next person who declared Adrian Peterson the best running back on the planet…
Somebody must have told Peterson that the Vikings were playing Iowa State.
On the same day that Peterson was eclipsing former Raven Jamal Lewis’ single-game rushing record, Lewis was being held to 37 yards on 20 carries – and scoring a career-high four touchdowns.
Anyone notice that Lewis’ Browns are 5-3? What’s that all about? It’s going to be a lot harder to fire Romeo Crennel now. Or take the clipboard away from Brady Quinn.
New England can win every game by a 52-7 score, and I’ll be more impressed with yesterday’s victory. The Patriots showed tremendous character. You’re not going 16-0 without having to sweat out at least one game, and they rallied from a 10-point deficit against a very good football team.
If only they had covered the spread.
Take the Steelers tonight and give up the points. They should cover. And the Ravens should take a quarterback with their first pick in next year’s draft and let him watch and learn for a year while Kyle Boller plays out his contract.
Moving quickly to baseball, the GM meetings start today in Orlando. Andy MacPhail, executive vice president Mike Flanagan and director of baseball administration Scott Proefrock will represent the Orioles. There will be lots of trade talk because that’s how the Orioles will make the majority of changes to their roster. At least, they hope to use that method. They’ll need the other teams to cooperate.
Nobody should be surprised if Miguel Tejada is being fitted for a new uniform by the time the three executives return to Baltimore, though next month’s winter meetings will provide another opportunity to move the shortstop if a deal isn’t completed this week. But the odds of Tejada being with the Orioles on Opening Day are about the same as Barry Bonds getting an asterisk tattoo on his left bicep.
By reading Jeff Zrebiec’s Q&A with MacPhail in today’s Sun, or reading between the lines, it’s evident that the Orioles aren’t looking to sign a big-name free agent. So forget Torii Hunter. Forget Andruw Jones. Forget Mariano Rivera. And most definitely forget A-Rod. This team isn’t one player away from contending, no matter how good, and MacPhail is going to use the same methods that worked in Minnesota.
Remember, this is the same guy who traded Frank Viola to the Mets for a group that included Rick Aguilera, Kevin Tapani and David West. It wasn’t a popular move with fans, but that’s how he operates. And you can’t argue with the results, though West was supposed to be the jewel of the trade and didn’t meet expectations.
I’m glad to see that so many of you are willing to endure another “rebuilding” process, though, as a few of you pointed out, what’s the alternative? You root for the team that’s on the field. But it’s become more clear that the Orioles are headed in a specific direction, and isn’t that what most of us have wanted all along? Just to know the direction? The plan?
They’re not looking to contend in 2008. They’re trying to rid themselves of bad contracts, and move players who can bring prospects in return while waiting for their own to climb the organizational ladder and join Nick Markakis on the big league roster. If they can, they’ll plug in a mid-level free-agent as a stop-gap, most likely in the rotation. Nothing splashy. If it isn’t Steve Trachsel – and yes, he’s available – it’ll be his clone.
And we’ll be asked to remain patient and put our faith in a redesigned front office, coaching and developmental staff that have the right ideas in mind. Now it’s a matter of executing them.

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