On Friday, I spent my evening with Dave Kennedy of Bitchin Dave’s, rather than with my wife and 4 year old son watching season 10 of Friends on DVD. I am admittedly in dire need of “getting a life”. At the ripe age of 38 and a marriage that is well into its second decade, going out just doesn’t hold the allure it once did. So while my wife and son fell asleep watching Dragon Tails, I chatted it up with Dave for two hours on Bitchin Dave and the ShedDawg over on Finsradio.net while normal co-host Michael, the ShedDawg of the duo, found a life on Friday night.
It is always a pleasure to co-host with either one of them…even though I tend to talk a wee bit too long.
So while we discussed the Miami Dolphins and the off-season that is, I realized that what I am watching…to me…is a couple of renowned pastry chefs building what they hope to be a beautiful layered cake. So with that, I give you Cake Baking 101.
There are many a Phin fans out there gnawing at the bit over Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland‘s passing on names like Faneca, Hall, Samuels, and Briggs. Even now after the revelation of De’Angelo Halls imminent departure from Atlanta to Oakland for a measly 2nd round pick. These guys are masters, at least Parcells is, of building, molding, and allowing something to develop in front of him rather than caress the egos of a name.
For the Phins, the top chefs are simply BP and JI, Tony Sparano is going to serve the cake when it is done. Parcells is buying the groceries while Ireland is pushing the cart, they look here, too much sugar, they look there, not enough. The Phins hit the free agent market on a tear that this team has not witnessed in over 12 years.
Justin Smiley shortly after mid-night. Reggie Torbor, Ernest Wilford, a trade for Ferguson. 13 guys in a span of two days. None carrying that brand name. Make no mistakes though, brand names are not always the best way to buy…sometimes the lesser “organic” names have the most value.
As individuals, none of the names are worth being mentioned. In fact, if you view each signing as an individual you might as well write off any hopes you have for this team of “experts”. They are not individuals, something that this team is shaping up to be…a team.
Take these signings as a whole and what you see are the key ingredients to that cake. A base. This is not a yellow cake mix out of a box that you pulled out of cupboard number 2, this is handpicked, homemade. View them that way.
Torbor by himself? No big deal. Torbor playing alongside Crowder, behind a thick defensive line, you got something. Smiley signing at midnight…late night snack. Mix him with a little Carey and Satele and a draft pick or two, you have a solid offensive line that should all come together at the same time. These guys are the butter, the eggs, the sugar, the vanilla extract, they are the flavors. Without each other, they are taking up space on a shelf. Mix them together…well you see what I mean.
As the chefs raided the south west city of Dallas and then drove up to KC, they added a little spice to the mix. Nathan Jones? Big deal. Keith Davis? Who the hell is that? Boomer Grigsby? Did BP think he was Boomer Esiason? Put them all together and you have the signature special teams unit that Parcells and company loves. You have another foundation. Young hard hitting hard working individuals who together form a unit.
With most of the ingredients bought to form the bottom layer, the Phins are now turning their attention to layer 2. Always a smaller layer that sits nicely on the base. Guys like Rashied Davis of Chicago is talking, Tab Perry is signed, Olineman Justin Hartwig being talked to. These are the 3rd tier guys that make up that next layer of that cake.
In April the Phins will get a few more components for that bottom base. Then, they will begin the process of mixing those ingredients together, they will be turned, rolled, folded. The veterans are the baking pan and after all of the ingredients are well blended, they will be poured. The base will be formed, then the tiers.
Then, and only then, will the chefs see what rises in the oven. What part of which ingredient didn’t stand up to the heat. They will remix if necessary. It is a slow methodical approach that will take the better part of two years. When this “cake” is finally pulled from the oven, the Chefs will sit down and decide on what icing they want to apply to the top and how much that icing will help finish off the attempted masterpiece.
When all of that is completed, the chefs will make one final push to top that all off with a Lombardi sized cake topper. So as we sit in the restaurant paying for the dry prime-rib and drinking the wine, we really are just waiting on desert. We know what it should be, we know what we want it to be and we really want to taste that icing. If we tasted that icing now, there would be none left when that cake is ready for the frosting.
Like all things, it takes time and a lot of patience. We have all been sitting in the dining room for a very long time we eat entrées that are far less edible now than they were 12 years ago at this establishment, for some reason, this is no longer a Shula’s Steakhouse. The food may only be getting marginally better, but we all know, that the desert is why we came here in the first place.