Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Prefer Fantasy Drafts after the Preseason

I prefer late fantasy drafts over early ones.

So many players get injured, lose their starting jobs, or get cut during the preseason, that it makes a first week in August draft, too much of a crap-shoot for me.

For instance, I liked Matt Flynn as a late-round back-up QB--depending on my starter (like if I draft Michael Vick, I'd will certainly grab a decent second QB).

But today, it was announced that rookie Russell Wilson earned the starting QB job for the Seahawks, and Flynn will be holding a clipboard (an expensive clipboard holder at that with his $10 million guranteed).

Also, I don't go after a kicker until the end of a draft. As such, I take whomever is left--as other owners have grabbed the top rated guys.

Going into camp, I liked Texans' rookie K Randy Bullock. He was a 4th round draft pick, was almost certain to win the job, and Houston is a high-scoring offense that would give him plenty of opportunities to score (the experts had him rated anywhere from the 10th to 15th best fantasy kicker).

But also today, the Texans placed Bullock on Injured Reserve for the season due to a groin injury.

Thus, an early draft of Bullock would have left me scrambling the waiver wire for an emergency replacement (if I stay Texans then Shayne Graham may be that kicker).

In any event, fantasy drafts that are held at the end of the preseason are the best in my opinion--at least you have a clear picture of players that will compete in Week 1.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back and Watch for Sliders

Back from the beach, and I am ready for football season to start.


I noticed a couple of players sliding some on the fantasy draft board.

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego (from #9 to #26)

I was watching the first Charger preseason game when Mathews took a handoff, gained a few yards, and looked like he fell awkwardly.

He went to the sideline, showed no sign of being in pain, but never reentered the game. I was surprised to learn that he had broken his clavicle and may miss a few regular season contests.

Fantasy seasons are not won in week one or two. Getting Mathews at a bargain price and having him available for the bulk of your games is a plus.

Health has always been a concern for him, but he runs, he catches, his primary backup is now in Carolina, and Coach Turner wants him to be a workhorse this year.

I say take Mathews and enjoy the value selection

Isaac Redman, RB Pittsburgh (from low #70s to #84)

Redman has a hip injury and missed the last preseason game. Regular starter Rashard Mendenhall was recently activated from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

What does this mean?

I say not too much.

Well, I am not high on Mendenhall this year--rehabbing his torn ACL is going to take time and I don't expect Steelers management to rush him. Redman's injury does not appear serious and he showed he has talent with the 142 total yards in last year's playoff loss (plus over 500 total yards and 3 TDs in limited regular season action).

Also, with new offensive coordinator Todd Haley, they will want to run the ball consistently and will pull the plug on QB Big Ben trying to throw for 400 yards per game--last season's predominant game plan.

I am expecting Redman to carry the ball plenty of times per contest.

So, don't get distracted with the Mendenhall or Redman news, taking him as a mid-round RB has plenty of upside.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Interested in Joining My Fantasy Football League?

Is anyone interested in joining my fantasy football league for the upcoming season?

I have one opening for a team.

The league is ten teams, we compete for free at, and new players are welcome (I think we currently have two first-time players).

If you are interested or have questions, just send me an email at .

Monday, July 30, 2012

Had a Bad Day

With a new fantasy football season on the horizon, I do enjoy the funny commercials like this one from

The "One Giant Step" part has older boy giggling every time he sees it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Arrests: How Does that Impact Your Draft?

Adrian Peterson.

Dez Bryant.

Marshawn Lynch.

Kenny Britt.

I liked the fantasy football prospects of each of these players, but after recent arrests, how will that impact my fantasy drafting?

Should I Participate in Fantasy Drafts Later Rather than Earlier?

Yes. Lots can happen between now and early September when the NFL regular season starts. Injuries, demotions, roster changes, and of course, arrests that can impact a promising fantasy football player. I prefer to wait until late August for fantasy drafts--it gives me more time to evaluate how players charged criminally will fair in court as well as if any team or league punishment will be a factor.

Was the Player Expected to be Critical in Their Team's Success?

Each of the four players mentioned above are stars, and their respective teams would love to have them on the field.  Peterson and Britt are coming off serious injuries and were not expected to be ready early in the season anyway. The Titans and the Vikings already have a Plan B in place. From a fantasy perspective--I'll need to evaluate if grabbing the "Plan B" players early and then selecting Peterson and/or Britt is better than alternative selections.

How will the arrest impact their draft value?

Of the four players, only Britt tumbled on ratings boards.  Combine the arrest with his past discipline problems and multiple surgeries, he fell from an under 60 to a now over 100 ranking on In Week 3 last year, Britt was a fantasy star WR--having 289 yards and three TDs in limited action. Insiders still rave about his abilities, and taking Britt with one of your last fantasy picks is much more appealing than risking a 5th or 6th round selection on him.

How much NFL news is enough?

Ha, I don't think I can put a ceiling on the amount of information that one can gain about the teams, coaches, and players. Figuring out what role each arrested player is expected to assume, what the commissioner or general manager is saying about him, and what non-criminal behaviors are being reported, can certainly give you a heads-up as to what players to avoid or take a risk on pre-draft.


In sum, when an NFL player is arrested, it is certainly something worth monitoring, but it can also allow you to draft a good player at an improved value--after the situation is resolved.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The First Round: Who am I Iffy on?

The first round of a fantasy draft can make or break your season.

Missing on what is supposed to be a star player can cause an owner to play a constant-game of catch-up throughout the season.

Last season, I chose Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall who underperformed.

Pittsburgh finally jettisoned their lackluster running strategy after the first few games, and emphasized an air attack--which had me benching Mendenhall some weeks.

Benching your #1 pick should not happen.

So, which top player am I squeamish on this year?

From's rankings, will Calvin Johnson (8) suffer the Madden Curse?

Can Drew Brees (6) overcome an offseason of turmoil?

Will Ryan Matthews (9) ever not be labeled a fantasy bust?

Can Maurice Jones-Drew's body last another season of pounding?

Ok, so I am a little concerned about those guys, but my biggest worry of the top five players is with RB Arian Foster (1).

Earlier this month, Foster announced that he was going vegan.

He will now forgo consuming animal products.

Now, I have nothing against anyone who chooses this path (I respect it), but it does concern me when an NFL running back announces this decision.

Such a change would require Foster to be "vegan fluent" to ensure that his body is getting enough nutrients.

Will he have time to properly monitor and adjust his diet during the busy season?

What impact will the new eating approach have on him by Week 6?

If he decides to change back to a regular diet mid-season, how long will his body need to adjust?

Foster's situation is certainly one that I'll be keeping tabs on up until draft time.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Adrian Peterson Arrested

When I saw that Adrian Peterson had been arrested in Houston for "resisting arrest," I immediately wanted to know several things.

Did he run from police and if so, how did his speed look?

How many officers did it take to place him under arrest?

Was he able to make sharp cuts on his rehabbing knee?

Did he get injured during the incident (besides reporting shortness of breath)?

Was his shortness of breath an indicator as to his current physical conditioning?

Yes, every news item does revolve around my potential fantasy football team.


One observation on the incident--the latest report says that an intoxicated Peterson pushed down an off-duty police officer working an extra job at a bar.

Numerous law enforcement agencies will not permit their personnel to work extra jobs at bars and clubs.

Too much trouble equates to too much liability for the agency.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What Was I Thinking: The Good and the Bad of 2011

Back from a long break and ready for the season to start...

I found some hand-written notes on drafting from prior to last year's NFL season, and some of my advice sure is humorous:

2011 Selected Fantasy Football Notes

1) Grab Knowshon Moreno--new Broncos offense is run-oriented

Fortunately, I did not have a chance to draft Moreno as he struggled once again with injuries and failed to live up to expectations.

2) Avoid Broncos receivers (same thought with the run-oriented offense)

I did much better with this projection, but who would have guessed that Tebow would take the helm for the majority of Denver's games and the team would emphasize a ground-game never seen before in the NFL.

3) If Jermichael Finley is healthy, take him as your TE

Well, Finley did not stay healthy and had a disappointing year.  As with Moreno, I lucked out and Finley was off the board when I was thinking TE, so I took a risk on that guy for the Saints...What is his name?  Oh yeah, Jimmy Graham--and wow, what a season did Jimmy have.

4) Look at the Rams offense as there may be value at the WR

My thought was that the Rams had a new offense that would emphasize the pass. Sam Bradford was returning after a productive rookie season. So, I concluded that one of St. Louis' receivers would be a hidden star and good selection as a late round draft flyer. Wrong. The Rams stunk, dealt with numerous injuries, and anyone who followed my advice would have wasted a late round pick.


Finding the 18 or so recommendations and evaluating them a year later was fun; I'll be sure to do it again for next season--I am always good for a laugh.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Trick Shot Quarterback

Why would a small college or university want to spend millions of dollars on stuffy traditional marketing plans when they could just assign some talented young people to make a fantastic football video and post it online?

I doubt Monmouth College is disappointed with all the attention garnered from Alex Tanney's YouTube video entitled "Trick Shot Quarterback."

Over 1.6 million views and I sure lots of people Googling Monmouth College.

Not bad at all.

And the guy helping by using his head at about the 3 minute mark deserves serious extra credit.

Not me though; I don't care how well Tanney throws.

No matter how many takes those stunts took, the Bills were evidently impressed as Tanney will be attending their rooking mini-camp in a few days.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Best Undrafted Free Agents

With the recent initial signing of undrafted free agents, I was interested in which prospects the experts think will be this year's hidden NFL gems.

Russ Lande of the Sporting News offered his Top 10 that included University of Washington RB Chris Polk (Eagles) and Alabama WR Marquis Maze (Steelers).

Lande's list was comprised of players strictly from recognizable colleges and universities: Southern Cal, Tennessee, VA Tech, etc.

He offers this caveat to his article:

Players often go undrafted due to medical concerns, character issues or size questions. Below is a breakdown of the 10 best undrafted prospects, available as free agents. 

I think Lande forgets another important reason that players do not get selected.

Lack of game tape.

Some talent slips past NFL scouts because they either play for small schools or had focused on another sport and only recently began playing football.

Scouts have seen every game of potential recruits from USC or Notre Dame.

They are familiar.

In contrast, how much video of players from Murray State (KY) or Bowie State (TX) have the experts evaluated?

It takes much more time to rate a player who competes against lower levels of competition--and is certainly more of a guessing game.

As such, I prefer to look for a list of best free agents that includes players from schools that I have barely heard about.

In that vein, I like the compilation by Rob Rang from The SportsXchange/CBSSports over Lande's best.

Rang included these players:

Dale Moss (WR) South Dakota State University (Packers)
A converted basketball player, Moss played football only one year, but led his team with 61 receptions and 6 touchdowns.  He is 6'3 and runs around 4.40 forty-yard dash.

James Brown (G) Troy State University (Bears)
Great blocker who played well at the Senior Bowl.

Chigbo Anunoby (DT) Morehouse College (Colts)
A 325 lbs. run stuffer--viewed as a NG.

In sum, talent evaluators can't be everywhere, and every year there are some excellent prospects from small colleges/universities flying below the radar.

This season will be no different.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Top 5 Draft Stinkers

With the changes in Blogger, I needed to simplify my blog layout with the new background as the other design had become unreadable.

Anyway and back to content...

After a weekend of absorbing a volcanic eruption of NFL draft news, I laughed the loudest or shook my head the most at the following five items.

Note: I organized this as a "David Letterman Top List"; well top 5 instead of to 10.


What happened to Rutgers prospect, Mohamed Sanu, during the draft was certainly a head-shaking moment.

With his family and friends gathered around him, some goofball pranked call him, pretending to be an official from the Bengals.

Sanu then believed that he had been drafted.

It took several minutes before the ruse was revealed--leaving Sanu and family wiping the egg off their faces.

Sanu was eventually drafted by the Bengals, so all is well that ends well.

But, who does that to someone else?

I think NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should grant a violence waiver for Sanu as he should be allowed to pummel the prankster that spread so much misery on the first day of the NFL draft.


It was reported by ESPN that Browns' officials had assured current starting QB Colt McCoy that they would not draft a QB in the first round.  Then they drafted QB Brandon Weeden in the first round.  So, who is not being honest here?  The source of the story?  The Browns?  Colt McCoy?

Who knows or cares.

No matter the profession, an organization's management should always be pursuing opportunities for improvement.  Colt McCoy may or may not be the signal-caller of the future in Cleveland.

They wanted to add competition, had targeted Weeden, then likely became concerned that he would not be available beyond the first round.  As such, they selected him.

Let two players compete and designate the top performer as the starter.

Save the promises (alleged promises) for your significant other.


I had projected LSU CB Morris Claiborne to go to the Buccaneers with the fifth pick.  He is considered the best cover corner in the draft, and has excellent size and speed. Well, the Bucs traded back, and the Rams lost out on the WR they wanted, so they traded the pick to the Cowboys who drafted Claiborne at six.

Prior to the draft, the media reported that Claiborne had bombed his Wonderlic test--the exam given to prospects to help NFL execs gauge intelligence.  In an interview, Claiborne stated that he "blew off the test"--arguing that is why he scored poorly.

Blew off the test?

How could you not take this test seriously?

I would much rather hear him say, "I did not feel well," or "I was having a bad day," or "I just did not perform that day."

Anything other than I blew it off as he had plenty of time and resources to prepare for it.

Makes me question what else Claiborne will blow off with his new freedoms as a highly paid professional.


The Redskins package a deal to move up and select franchise QB prospect Robert Griffin III.  They have a limited number of picks after round #1, and are considered well behind division rivals the Giants, Cowboys, and Eagles.

So what does a struggling team do with their 4th round pick?

Add an offensive or defensive lineman to better control the line of scrimmage?

Grab a receiver or running back?

Select a linebacker?

No, no, and no.

The Washington brain-trust chooses another QB: Kirk Cousins from Michigan St.

How many QBs are the Skins going to play at the same time this year?

I'll be interested to see it, if the answer is more than one.

Good grief.

Note: USA Today writer Nate Davis wrote a thoughtful defense of this selection, but adding another QB  this early with so many other immediate needs is highly questionable; especially considering the Skins released veteran QB John Beck, leaving them with no experienced passers. 


Yes, my Buccaneers were awful last year.

Yes, we had many holes on the roster to fill entering the draft.

Yes, the Bucs passed on some good players to select the guys they did.  But, the same can be said about the Jaguars, and their officials chose Cal punter Bryan Anger in the 3rd round.

A punter? In the 3rd round?

For such a lousy team?

I think this amusing selection will create a new football fan fad--keep a running list of the first 31 players that those Jaguars passed on to draft a non-scoring kicker.  It will be fun for years to come to count how many contributors, starters, all-pros, and maybe even a hall-a-famer that Jacksonville passed on to choose a punter.

So no matter how bad things are for us Tampa fans, it definitely is worse to be cheering for the Jacksonville Jags these days.

Or maybe, I should refer to them as the future "Los Angeles Jaguars."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Top 10 Mock Draft

Every year, I try to mock the Top 10 NFL draft picks accurately.

For the selections that I miss on, I pay older kid a quarter or something.

If a team makes a draft-day trade that I did not predict, then I am out of luck.

He looks at my efforts as "easy money," but in any event, here goes:

1) Colts: Andrew Luck, Stanford, QB
2) Redskins: Robert Griffin III, Baylor, QB

Freebies.  Then it gets tough.

3) Vikings: Matt Kalil, T, USC

The Vikings have done a fantastic job in convincing everyone that they are not sold on one player and want to trade down--and they may do that.  If not, they could go CB or WR here, but Minnesota needing OL help and since no CB or WR is the best non-QB in this draft, I say they go Kalil here.

Note: I see reports are that the Bills are interested in trading up for Kalil.

4) Browns: Trent Richardson, RB, Bama

The Browns have so many holes, they could could win with any of five players here.  I see Cleveland needing an immediate offensive playmaker and I think Richardson is the best non-QB in the draft.  They would have to consider a WR and QB, but Richardson trumps everyone.

5) Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

As a Bucs fan, I would love to see Richardson fall to them, but I don't expect it. Tampa signed a free agent CB to start, but with an aging CB Ronde Barber trying to give it one more try and CB Aqib Talib's felony trial later this summer, the best cornerback in the draft would be a tough pass.

Note: With Talib,  I laughed at the report a few weeks ago that Bucs management was interested in trading him. Trade? A guy who may be soon sentenced to a lengthy stay in prison?  If the Eagles can only get a 7th round pick for great cover CB Asante Samuel--well, that should speak volumes about Talib's current trade value. 

6) Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR, Okla. St.

Who will be sweating the most on draft day?  I say Rams' officials--I believe they traded down calculating that the best WR would still be available at pick 6. Yet, I would not be shocked if the Vikings or Browns grab Blackmon.  If that happens, the Rams would grab which player from above was still there--hoping then it would be Claiborne.  They would then pursue WRs later.

7) Jaguars: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

I think the Jags would love to get WR Blackmon here, but since he won't be available, they take the top pass rusher.  I think a more appealing pick for Jags fans would be WR Michael Floyd though.

8) Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

The Dolphins have not had much luck getting players on the free agent market, and failed to address their need for a long-term solution at QB.  I am not sure if Tannehill is the answer, but the public pressure will be too much to resist.  Miami takes the best QB on the board.

9) Panthers: Fletcher Cox, DT, Miss. State

The Panthers were bad on defense last year so obtaining the best DT in the draft at #9 would be a win.  I can see the Panthers taking a chance here and going with combine star DT Dontari Poe, but it appears that Cox is ready to play now--appealing to a team that expects to compete this season in the NFC South.

10) Bills: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

Offense line picks are valuable but never sexy for fans.  I think the Bills would consider S Mark Barron here--as he has been rocketing up draft boards--but their roster seems to be strong at safety and taking S Donte Whitmore in the top 10 a few years ago, did not pan out.  Also, Michael Floyd would be appealing for the Bills, but being boring and drafting an OL would make the most long-terms sense here.

Since my son is a Broncos fan, I also always give a try with Denver...

25) Broncos: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Bama

I think the Broncos would drool if WR Stephen Hill, RB David Martin, or G David Decastro was still available, but I don't see that happening. So, the Broncos would want to go DT or CB here. Many experts are saying DT Poe, but I see him as too much of a risk for a team that expects to win now.  Kirkpatrick is arguably the best corner in the draft, and certainly playing in the SEC, is used to seeing the best receivers every week.

Note: I think Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden may be a steal in this year's draft.  The former professional baseball pick is consistently down-graded for being "too old" at 28.  I just see the guy as mature--and who is 6'4, runs a 4.8 forty, and has a great throwing arm.    


Ok, there you have it.

Enjoy the first day of the draft tomorrow.

Despite my arguments, I am sure I'll be a little poorer afterward.  


AFTER DRAFT UPDATE: I was 5 for 11 so older son was happy.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Best Name

Which player has the best name in next weeks NFL draft?

I say it is a defensive end/outside linebacker from the University of Illinois named Whitney Mercilus.

Mercilus is leaving the NCAA after a successful junior year in which he was named the best defensive end in the country in winning the Ted Hendricks Award.

He led the nation with 16 sacks, and also had 9 forced fumbles.

Most scouts have him listed as either second or third best at his position.

But what about the great name for an NFL sack artist?

I can hear an announcer saying this:

"One word about the pass rush in today's game: Mercilus!"


"Another Mercilus pummeling!"

I think a great football name should count for at least bonus points; considering all the areas that teams evaluate potential draft picks.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Trent Goes to the Prom

It seems that I have been focusing on the negative in football lately, so to get out of my rut, I don't want to miss a chance to highlight Trent Richardson's good deed:

Alabama star Trent Richardson took his gridiron moves to the dance floor this weekend when he attended prom with a 17-year-old cancer survivor.

WBRC-TV reports that Richardson and Courtney Alvis arrived Saturday night at Boutwell Auditorium for Hueytown High School's prom.

He was sporting a white tuxedo while she was wearing a red dress. Richardson agreed to attend the dance with Alvis after her uncle contacted some of his friends at Alabama.

He didn't go to his own senior prom, but he said he wanted to attend Alvis' dance because his own mother is a cancer survivor...

Alvis was diagnosed with leukemia last year and is now undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

I blogged before about how I like Richardson the athlete and I am glad that the public is getting to know Richardson the person as well.

I'm not sure if my Buccaneers will draft him or not with the fifth pick, but it is difficult not to see him as an impact player in the NFL this coming season.

You can go here to see how Richardson was dressed for the big night.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I Told You So

This post is directed at my father a Razorback fan.


Dad, I told you so.

I know how you hate the sound of that from your goofy son, but it applies in this situation.

Do you remember our conversation after the news broke that Atlanta Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino fled in the dark of night during the middle of a season to take the University of Arkansas job?

I opined that Razorback Nation will regret that hiring.

To be the leader of an organization and bail on your people like that was unreal.

I felt that he was untrustworthy.

I have nothing against his coaching record, which is obviously very good, but one sleeps much better at night when you know that an honest individual is in charge.

And Coach Petrino's lies evidently caught up with him in Fayettville.

He was fired today.

I can't blame university officials for firing Petrino; despite the arguments being made that his excellent football abilities outweigh the problems in his personal life.

I don't think those defenders have a full understanding of the institution's liability that Coach Petrino has introduced with his alleged relationships and then (again allegedly) hiring someone to work for the school--based on qualities other than job skills and abilities.

As more information is released on the former coach and the employee in question, Jessica Dorrell, the story won't be going away anytime soon.

I hope the University of Arkansas finds an honest and talented replacement, and that Bobby Petrino gets his life straightened out--though I don't want to see him back in the NFL.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Down in the Dolphin Dumps

Several media reports have made been released regarding (including this one) how the Miami Dolphins are viewed as a team to eschew in free agency--despite the good tradition, fantastic weather, and willingness of ownership to spend money.

With all the assets there, becoming a destination to avoid almost always takes lots of managerial effort.

I feel sorry for Dolphin fans, and I have always liked the "Fins", but have no sympathy for their current leadership.

When General Manager Jeff Ireland asked then prospect Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute during an interview, I thought Bryant showed great restraint in not breaking the Miami leader's nose.

Instead, Bryant accepted Ireland's apology when it was offered by phone later.

In the general manager's apology, he even felt comfortable in stating that he "meant no disrespect" to Dez.


Talk about bad judgment followed-up by lousy judgment.

Yes, it requires steady arrogance and mismanagement to create a toxic environment that NFL free agents will want to avoid.

Sorry to see the Dolphins team is perceived as having that.

Best of luck with the draft Dolphins management, you'll need it to compete against the other NFL franchises who have signed experienced players that want to suit-up for their new team on game night.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Remember Mike Goodson when Drafting

When the Raiders lost a workhorse running back in Michael Bush to the Bears, I was watching if they would pursue anyone through free agency.  Bush is a good receiver, blocks well, and was the team's leading rusher last year--making most of his opportunity as a feature back while Darren McFadden was out injured.

Well, they did not sign anyone, but did make a notable trade with the Panthers today.

The Raiders acquired RB Mike Goodson for OL Bruce Campbell.

Goodson should fly under the radar going into training camp; as he only played in four games last year and rarely touched the ball.

But 2010 was a different story for Goodson, as he became the feature back, and gained over 700 total yards when the Panthers regular running backs all got hurt.

Like RB Bush, Goodson catches, blocks, and runs well--and is a good fit for a Raider coaching staff that will likely continue to emphasize their great running game.

Depending on the Raiders draft and McFadden's health, Goodson may be an excellent late round investment in a 2012 Fantasy Football Draft.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tebow to the Jets

Not sure I think this is a good fit (and Mark Sanchez will be hearing boos for every incomplete pass as soon as training camp starts), but I getting a 4th round pick for Tebow is great for the Broncos.

He is a QB that they never really wanted, and they are ecstatic about starting the season with Manning at the helm.

The Broncos were not going to redesign their offense and acquire the personnel necessary to compliment Tebow's style, and they knew he had value to other teams on the open market.

Signing Manning, the traditional QB, and trading Tebow for a draft pick?

Sounds like a good business decision.

But, not unlike all business decisions, there is still risk involved.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Where will Peyton Go?

RJ Bell over at recently posted odds as to what team Peyton Manning would play for next season (after rating retirement as a 1 in 5 chance).

Here are the leaders with additional commentary from me:

1) Dolphins 20%

A once proud franchise with a good fan following--it would make sense that ownership in South Florida would be interested in making a big splash with Manning.  The team played well toward the end of the season despite having a lame-duck head coach and a cast-off second-string QB in Matt Moore.  With Moore, the team would have options if Peyton is not immediately ready.

2) Redskins 17%

Similar to the Dolphins, the many proud Redskin fans are looking for someone to help end their suffering.  Big name players, coaches, and QBs (McNabb) have not helped, but with a free-spending owner, I see the Skins making a play for Peyton.  The defense played well early, but was inconsistent late, and Coach Shanahan has looked very average with no John Elway at QB.

3) Colts 14%

I don't see a scenario where this happens.  The Colts ownership and Peyton have been going back in forth in a less than positive way.  He is reportedly working out using Duke University's facility.  They will release Manning before the March deadline, and draft a QB at the #1 pick.  Welcome to rebuilding Colts fans.   

4) Jets 11%

The Jets are about as dysfunctional a team as one can imagine--a talented group, but wow lots of sideshows.  As such, I see them pitching Peyton, but can't believe they would be his favorite destination this late in his career.  As one gets older, drama becomes more and more a distraction to avoid at all costs.

5) (Tie) Cardinals and Broncos 3%

The Broncos are a "no." I expect them to draft a QB of the future (or the present if Tim Tebow falls into disfavor), and making Peyton an offer would make little sense since their roster will be geared to the running Tebow.  I think the Cardinals should be at a higher than 3%.  The Cardinals play in a warm place, have good offensive weapons, would allow Peyton to run the show, and may want to make changes without trading any of their remaining draft picks.  


My underdog destination would be Seattle. 

They have some receiving talent (youth and veteran), the running game is great with Marshawn Lynch (watching Lynch knock over, juke, and outrun potential tacklers is wildly entertaining), and a offer a solid defense.  If Peyton hit it off with energetic head coach Pete Carroll, they may have something special there.  

Pregame's full list is available here.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Congrats Giants

This is where I get to admit that my Patriots pick was wrong and give props to the New York Giants for winning the Super Bowl.

So now that I have admitted failure, I'll just change the subject.

Was it me or were the Super Bowl commercials really bad this year?


Friday, February 3, 2012

Super Bowl Pick

Well, after listening to all the arguments about who will win the Super Bowl, I am going contrarian, and picking the Patriots.  I say 24-20.

It feels weird saying "Pats will win" is contrarian, but I have not heard much love for those New Englanders.

Instead, lots of inflammatory comments have been the storyline from Giants players.

I like how the Pats coaching staff seems to always have a creative game plan.

I look for them to run against those Giant speed rushers early and often--thereby slowing them down when Brady is ready to pass.

I am concerned about Gronk's ankle, but a bad ankle does not make a 6'7'' guy any smaller.  I expect him to be at least a good decoy.

As a big Hakeem Nicks fan, I would be concerned about his injury.  Victor Cruz has had a fantastic season and was certainly able to sneak up on defenses as Nicks drew lots of double teams.

So, I'll be interested to see how Nicks is playing early.


Whatever the outcome, I hope you enjoy the game and are surrounded with lots of good food.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Now that is Fitting

What is fitting for your last day in not-so-balmy New Jersey before leaving for a new job in sunny Florida?

January cold foul weather, of course:

Weather delays Greg Schiano's press conference

Today’s press conference with new Bucs head coach Greg Schiano has been pushed back to 2 p.m. due to inclement weather in the Northeast.

I am thinking that it will take maybe a week of sand and surf in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, before the Bucs new head coach forgets that New Jersey is even a state.

Seventy-six degrees there tomorrow?

Congrats to Coach Schiano.

Monday, January 23, 2012

He Can Run?

Two weeks ago, I heard former Cowboys star and current NFL analyst Troy Aikman state that 49ers QB Alex Smith was as mobile as Packers star Aaron Rodgers.

I about fell out of my chair.

Alex Smith can run? 


I admit that I am a victim of East Coast bias--I don't see much of the teams on the West Coast and with the Niners not being very good until this year, I have not watched much of them.

Anyway, I visualized Alex Smith as a pocket passer and not a running threat.

Wow, was I wrong.  He is fast and moved around especially well in his two playoff games.

After watching those Niners a few times this year, I think the future looks bright in SF because they have:

--A fiery motivator as a coach.

--A mobile QB who can throw, and only runs when he has to.

--Two good running backs

--An offensive line that is comprised of top draft picks.

--And, a talented defense that was ranked #1 this year in the NFC for total yards.

Now, I can look forward to another team pounding my Bucs for years to come.

And yes, after being rejected by the Ducks top man (Chip Kelly), the Buccaneers are still searching for a head coach.   

Friday, January 20, 2012

Going to the Game

I am happy for those fans who enjoy attending NFL games, but don't expect me to join the club.

As a "television-only" game viewer, I:

--Don't worry about how much money I spent on tickets, gas, food, parking, etc.

--Stock my fridge with my choice of food and beverage;

--Don't have to stand in line to for concessions or to visit the bathroom;

--Always have a reserved parking place that is a stone's throw--my garage to the comfortable recliner or couch;

--Enjoy the game in a temperature-controlled climate--no sitting in an icy wind for me; and,

--The family can cheer for whatever team without the opportunity to learn any "new driving words" like was this family's experience (this is the text of a letter he wrote to the editor of the popular SF newspaper):

Ugly side of 49ers’ big game, Letters to the editor, Jan. 17

I’ve lived in the Bay Area for 25 years but have remained a staunch Saints fan with close ties to New Orleans. My family still lives in New Orleans and has held our season tickets since 1967.

I “get” the emotion of the game, the moment and the enthusiasm of the 49er fans.Despite the extraordinary setting at the ’Stick, we were shocked by the hostility, vulgarity and intimidation that rained down on me and my two teenage daughters from the moment we stepped into the parking lots.

Yes, we were proudly wearing our Saints colors; that’s what loyal fans do. And yes, we expected some good-natured jeering.

We had vulgarities screamed at us repeatedly in the parking lots and literally nonstop by the hooligans around us in the stands. While walking through the lots we had footballs thrown at us, guys screaming curses in our faces...

We finally took to shadowing two cops that were strolling through the lots until we dashed for what we thought would be the relative sanity of the stadium.

The stadium was no better. Every other word from dozens of fans around us was an f-bomb shouted at the top of their lungs. There were seven or eight large 30- to 35-year-old guys directly behind us who cursed and threatened us the entire game.

After one string of profanities I turned around to look at them and the most obnoxious and combative of the bunch yelled, “Do not turn around again! Do not ever turn around again” and punctuated it with a profanity.

They used gay slurs repeatedly at the husband of a middle-aged couple in front of us, the only other Saints fan in our area, and called his wife a bitch.

One of my daughters asked me, “Why don’t you do something, Daddy?”

Do what? Fight 10 guys, call/text security when all those guys behind me would know who would have fingered them?
Leave early? We almost did.

The hostility and threats of violence were a constant throughout our experience.

It appeared to be ingrained in the fans’ culture, similar to the hooliganism that destroyed the reputation of English soccer. The long wait for the playoffs, the excitement of a big game? No excuse.

I’ve been to big games in venues around the world and believe me, I’ve been a Saints fan my whole life so I certainly know about long playoff waits.

The Vikings fans in the tailgate parties before the NFC championship game were eating crayfish and dancing along with the Saints fans — they weren’t threatened, they were having a great time.

Every 49ers fan, the team and it’s owners should be ashamed and embarrassed to wear the red and gold today. They won the game but are losers in every other way.

But the best part is that if the game is a blowout, we can easily transition into another activity--our youngest can have Blues Clues going on the DVD player in 30 seconds or less.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Three Cheers for the Niners

No way I would have guessed that Alex Smith and Eli Manning would join Tom Brady as the best QBs this weekend.

Though I was for the Saints, I had to applaud the winning pass from Smith to TE Davis in the end zone.  He courageously zipped the ball in traffic before Davis broke--a play that could have easily been tipped and intercepted if the pass was not in that small completion window.

Congrats to the 49ers.

And, though I appreciate that Hakeem Nicks has supported my argument in that he has the potential to be a dominant fantasy receiver with his outstanding playoff performance (over 250 yards and 4 TDs receiving), I keep thinking: why could you not score like this consistently during the regular season? 

I mean being the #11 overall receiver is good, but my fantasy team sure could have used that production.

Oh well. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Early Mock

Andrew Perloff of Sports Illustrated just released his first version of the NFL's Mock Draft.

Yes, this is what all of us fans for loser teams (like my Bucs) do during the NFL Playoffs--think about how to get better players for next season.

Anyway, Andrew has the first five selections like this:

1) Colts: QB Andrew Luck, Stanford

2) Browns (trade w/Rams): QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor

3) Vikings: T Matt Kalil, USC

4) Rams (trade w/Browns): WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St.

5) Buccaneers: CB Morris Claiborne, LSU

The most intriguing pick this year appears to be the Rams and their #2.

They already have a QB they like in Sam Bradford, and will have a new head coach and staff.

A new regime that would likely love to trade that high pick for a package of other picks and starting players.

Griffin III is a hot item right now, and evidently the talent-level of the QB prospects drops considerably after Luck and RGIII are taken.

Combine this with the NFL rookie salary cap, and the Rams should get some very good offers.

I understand Perloff's argument, but am not sure if the lowly Browns will make that trade after the big money Redskins and Dolphins start bidding up the price.

I expect NFL owners to be more vocal than ever on drafting players after the Jags passed on Tim Tebow and he turned into a revenue generating machine in Denver.

I think after all the hype, RGIII could be marketed to a win-hungry fan base in one of those cities--putting bottoms in stadium seats.

One thing is certain, the Rams will enjoy all of the attention from this year's draft.


As for the Bucs, they have spent an abundance of high picks over the last few drafts on the defensive line and still can't stop anyone. 

Drafting a CB would make sense, but they have so many holes to fill, it will be interesting to see what direction they go.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Looking at the games for this week's Wildcard Weekend, I think that each underdog could reaonably pull the upset.

Remember how the heavily favored Saints bumbled and stumbled against the Seahawks last year in the playoffs?  The Lions have much better talent on offense (ok, outside of Marshawn Lynch), and I think their speed defense plays well in domes; especially their d-line.

This isn't so much about the Broncos, which is good since they are playing poorly, but more about the Steelers.  Pittsburgh is on the road in the thin air of Denver.  They will be without three important starters including their fantastic C Maurkice Pouncey.   QB Big Ben is banged up, not moving well, and the Steelers' running game has struggled all season--making them a throwing team.  All this could help the Broncos defense generate several much-needed turnovers.  Turnovers that have been missing during their losing streak.

I did not see the Packers lose to the Chiefs, but I did see the Falcons confuse and bother Aaron Rodgers for a half earlier this year.  They could do the same to Eli Manning.  The defense was good in 2010-2011, but has yet to live up to potential this season.  There is nothing wrong with the high-powered Falcons offense, and there is no snow in the New York forecast to slow the game down.  Will the Giants' defensive line continue to play well?  If they don't the Falcons could score 30.

Despite battling the flu this week, QB Andy Dalton will be well rested for this week's game.  They could have beaten a very good Ravens team last week, they just unraveled late in the game.  A.J. Green seems to always be open, and the presence of Cedric Benson gives the team a consistent running game.  And did you see who the Texans' QB is?  The team with a good defense but zero playoff experience will be starting former third-stringer and fifth round draft pick T.J Yates--and he'll be playing with a bad shoulder.


So pick all of these teams to win this weekend.

Just joking--don't.

Favorites are favorites for a reason.

If I had to pick one, contingent upon Dalton feeling better, I'd go with Cincinnati upsetting the Texans.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Whether you played football at the collegiate level or just on a little league team, one issue that you'll have with professional football players is that they don't have good fundamentals. 

The tackling in the NFL is, in general, lousy.  For some reason, defenders often forget they have arms and just bounce off ball carriers barely slowing them down.

Also, players don't apply basic skills properly like recovering a fumble.

Cowboys defensive back Alan Ball demonstrated my point on Sunday night. 

While covering a punt on special teams, the Giants return man fumbled, and Ball muffed a chance to easily recover the ball. 

Instead of slowing, grasping the loose ball with his hands and then lying down to cradle it with his body, he tries the full-speed scoop that quickly transforms into the oops "I overran the ball and now I am rolling with it". 

The correct technique is something that should have been second nature for a pro like Ball.  Supported by a drill that every coach from little league on up uses--tossing footballs on the ground and having players recover and protect the ball correctly.

Instead, Ball missed the chance, the Giants retained possession and went on to win easily.

Now, the Cowboys and their fans have a whole off-season to think about fundamentals and the "what-could have-beens."

And, as a lowly Buccaneer fan, I can relate. 

You can see Ball's missed fumble recovery, by going here (it starts around the 53 second mark of the video).