Thursday, August 31, 2006

Contingent Week 1 Play

Yesterday I forgot to also point out that Buffalo only won 1 road game last year. That is a huge selling point for me andI really doubt they match last years win total on the road against the class of the division. New England is also 20-9-1 ATS in their last 30 as a favorite. So not only do the Pats win, I think they win by at least 8.

I am looking to play these games AFTER preaseason. I want to make sure there are no more injuries before I finally lay down on...

Dallas +2.5 @ Jacksonville
Philly -3.5 @ Houston
Buffalo @ New England -8 ( I might make a small ATS play as well)
I see these as the strongest plays, I want to figure out how I will work out the card

Right now Seattle -3.5 @ Detroit looks like the weekly sucker bet
When I say "sucker bet", I mean it is a game that everybody thinks is easy, but will lose. The average person gets destroyed by bets that look "easy", because they blindly bet big and lose big, without understanding why the line is there in the first place.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Week 1 Pick

I jumped on my first pick of the year. I don’t like to use the “L” word, but I feel confident in my first selection.

Buffalo at New England -355 ( ML)

Last years meetings:
In the first meeting last year, New England was going through their injuries and had a bad game on national TV. Buffalo’s 3 headed monster of Kelly Holcomb, Willis Mcghee, and Eric Moulds played about as good as they could have played and they still lost. This year Holcomb will be on the bench, Moulds will be in Houston, and Mcghee will be the sole remaining starter. In the second appearance last year, JP Losman got the start and played very poorly. Tom Brady and the offense ran like a smooth machine that couldn’t be stopped. Brady completed over 70% of his passes, and Dillion ran for over 100 yards.

12/11/05 at Buffalo (35-7 Pats win)
JP Losman 10/27, 181 yds, 1 TD 3 INT
Willis Mcghee 8 rushes for 3 yards
Buffalo defense had only 1 sack

Brady 29/38, 329 yards, 2 TD- 2 INT
17 yards rushing 1 Rush TD ( 3 total)
Dillon 22 rushes for 102 yards, 1 TD

10/30/05 @ New England (21-16 Pats win)
Kelly Holcomb didn’t have a bad game with 263 yards 1 TD 1 INT
Mcghee had a good game with 31 rushes for 136 yards
Moulds had a solid game with 9 catches, 125 yards and 1 TD

In this meeting, Holcomb will be on the bench, Moulds will be in Houston, and Mcgehee won’t be facing an injured LB core and defense. New England had a horrible game and still WON by 5.

New England has beat Buffalo 5 times in a row since the first game of the 03-04 season where Buffalo won 31-0. In that game Brady threw 4 picks, Kevin Faulk was New England’s starting runningback and Drew Bledsoe, Travis Henry and Eric Moulds led the Bills to Victory.

New England is 21-3 at home in the past 3 years, and was 19-0 at home before last year including the playoffs. In the past 3 years New England has gone 15-3 against divisional opponents.

In the past 3 years, Buffalo has gone 7-16 on the road, and 7-11 in the division.

I am not a fan of Losman in Buffalo. I know they want to start him to gain experience for the future, but at this point in time Holcomb gives them a better chance to win. Last year Losman had a dismal QB rating of 64.9, he completed less than half of his passes ( 49.6%), and threw 8TD to 8 Ints with a limited offense. I think Losman is nowhere near able to read NFL defenses, and is just another Quarterback who has been “hyped” because of his mobility. The guy couldn’t even complete 50% of his passes, but since he ran a 4.6 40 yard dash people label him as having “potential”. The reason he was named the starter was because of an “ok” preseason against those vanillas preseason defenses. I have to admit that when I heard Losman was starting that it confirmed this bet for me. He only completed 37% of his passes and threw 3 Interceptions against Bill Belichicks defense last year which gives his team no chance to win. Now that Moulds is in Houston, Losman won’t have any former pro bowlers on his offense. Against the injured New England defense, Mcghee played well rushing for 100+, but in the second appearance against a healthier Pats defense he didn’t show up ( 8 carries for 3 yards).

I think for Buffalo to win, they would have to run the ball, play defense, and win the turnover battle. Mcghee will be running against the 6th best defense against the run, and Losman is turnovers waiting to happen. On defense, I can’t see Buffalo having much success against Brady. The Buffalo defense ranked last in the NFL on 3rd down conversions, and were bad in the red zone as well. New England loves to throw to those quality tight ends in the red zone and should turn red zone appearances into touchdowns rather than field goals against the weak D. Brady has looked sharp in the preseason, and I expect that Pats to score first ( like they always do), and try and take Mcghee out of the game early. If the Bills are down early, it will force Losman to throw the ball against Belichicks defense which is a disaster waiting to happen.

When I heard Losman was starting I had to pull the trigger. The odds are still a little cheaper than they should be, due to one more preseason game of uncertainty but the final game shouldn’t see any significant injuries because the starters won’t really play at all.

I know some people don’t like to play heavy money lines, but a handicapper should look at the gap between PRICE and VALUE. Would you risk 355 dollars to win 100 dollars? Most people would say NO, but what if I told you that you had a 90% chance of getting that money?

I can’t see the Patriots scoring less than 20, and I can’t see the Bill scoring more than 17.
Predicted Final Score
Buffalo 10
New England 30

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

NFC East Predictions cont.

Philadelphia Eagles

Last year it was unheard of to pick anybody but the Eagles to win the NFC East. They had a top quarterback and receiver combo, the experience of 3 past NFC East championships, and a ferocious defense highlighted by their ability to blitz and get after a quarterback.

... The eagles finished in last place.

The core of the Eagles is still there, and they won't be bad this year. Last year was last year, and now they have something to prove. Mcnabb, Westbrook, and Owens were all injured, and will be a new season with new promise.

Two years ago I kept chirping that Seattle and Dallas were vastly undervalued. Seattle wasn't very good, but LAST year they pulled it together and were a few muffed calls away from winning the Super bowl. Seattle had a good FOUNDATION in place. When I say Foundation, I mean that you could have taken apart the car, and added and subtracted pieces, but the car would still function at a high degree. The CORE is what I liked.

The good thing about the CORE of the Eagles, is that they have had the same coaching staff and key players together for Years. While the Redskins are changing parts every year, the Eagles are building from within and building in the draft. Now it is real visible to sign an Andre Carter, but it isn't so visible to turn a Derrick Burgess into a threat on the end. It is real visible to bring in high paid, Brandon Lloyd and Antwain Randel El, but it isn't so visible to turn Reggie Brown into a Pro bowler right under your nose.

If you look at the Eagles like a business, what do you see? They have proven winners in management, with both coaching and drafting the team. They have one of the best CEO’s at Quarterback, and they have a solid defense as a backbone. They have everything they need to be successful. I have been a Mcnabb basher for years, but the guy finally changed. I rank him as the 4th best quarterback in the league, and having the 4th best quarterback and a solid defense, always gives you a chance to win. Instead of the one read and run, Mcnabb uses his feet to buy time. The Monday Night deep touchdown he threw against Dallas is a perfect example. He has been in this west coast offense for YEARS now, and has a great understanding ( like Hasselback). It takes time to understand that offense, and Mcnabb does. That offense, one giant game of hot potato and if you know where to throw the ball it is deadly. Somebody will be open, depending on how the coverage defends, and now Mcnabb is an expert at who to pass the potato to. He doesn't have to be THAT accurate, or THAT mobile, Mcnabb is good now because of what’s in his head. His mobility is a bonus, and his accuracy is improved.

The passing game, is one giant read and react game. It is a game those eagles have been playing for years, and I think they are prepared to do well in that game. Marty Morningwig seems to think LJ Smith will have a big year at tight end, and I would tend to agree with him. He is a great athlete coming into the prime of his career, running those option routes in that system. The NFC East has the best tight ends as a division ( Cooley, Smith, Shockey, and Witten), and Smith might have the best season of all of them. I wouldn't be shocked if he caught 80 balls ( he caught 61 last year).

The other main problem with the Eagles last year, was the poor play of the defensive line. It wasn't that Aggressive Jim Johnson defense we are used to seeing, but a overall poor defense last year. The key to stoping the run OR the pass, is a good rush up front... That was something the Eagles lacked last year. It was encouraging to see their management go after 2 good D-Lineman. Bunkley at Flordia state, could do to this line what Corey Simon did years ago. Darren Howard might not be as athletic as the freak, but he is a good technician at the other defensive end slot. I think they have a very solid line, and the Eagles defense will look more like the defense of 2 years ago, than last year.

Trotter is the best MLB in the divison ( over Antonio Pierce). They are similar in overall ability, but Trotter is just nasty. He completely took over the game against San Diego last year. Not only was he making good reads and slamming into LT at the line of scrimmage, but he was intimidating and going nuts too. That’s what I like to see out of your leader and middle linebacker on defense. The other linebackers are what I am not so sure about. I think Dhani Jones is decent, but the final linebacker spot is looking below average. Somebody needs to step up and give the eagles at least 3 good healthy

I have already talked about how I like the veteran presence of the proven winning coaching staff, Mcnabb, and a solid defense. I think the O-Line will run block better this year, Reggie Brown, Stallworth and LJ Smith will step up in the passing game. I have been talking about winning on the road, and I think the Eagles have the crew that can do that ( including their kicker David Akers). A good kicker doesn't just come in handy in a 3 point win... What about when a team is winning and already up 20-17. If they make that kick and extend to a 6 point lead, the force the other team into scoring a touchdown. Then after the opposing quarterback turns it over, they might lose by 13. Kickers are not just valuable when they make the winning kick in the closing seconds. Missed field goals = missed scoring opportunities.

The final leg is that the Eagles have a 4th place schedule. While the Giants will be playing Chicago and Seattle and the redskins and cowboys have the 2nd and 3rd place teams, the Eagles will have much more winnable games vs San Fran and Green Bay. Picking up cheap wins against San Fran and Green Bay pretty much give Philly a 2 game advantage over the rest of the division. Two cheap wins could be the difference between 8-8 and 10-6. I am not saying those wins will be easy, but it should be a lot easier than the Giants going to play in the great wilderness AT Seattle where they don't lose.

Check out the first games of the schedule
@ Houston
NY Giants ( in Philly)( key divisional game)
@ San Fran
Green Bay ( in Philly)
Dallas ( in philly)( key divisional and TO Pride game)
@ New Orleans

The Eagles could go 5-1, with 4-2 more likely than 3-3. It would be hard to pick a schedule more generous than that at the beginning. You'd have to call the Eagles early favorites at Houston ( -3.5), San Fran, GB at home, at New Orleans, and they have both divisional opponents at home!!!

While the Giants have Indy, @ Philly, @Seattle, Washington, @ Atlanta, and @ Dallas to start the year.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys were close last year. The Cowboys were 9-7 last year but let's examine their 7 losses...
Washington - Lost by 1 point in the closing seconds in a stunning MNF debacle
@ Oakland- Lost in the closing seconds by 6, with 1st and goal from the 3 yardline.
@ seattle 13-10 - Jose Cortez misses 1 FG, and Bledsoe threw that awful pick.
Denver on thanksgiving- Bill Cundiff misses a make-able field goal and they lose by 3
Lost by 7 to the Giants
Actually got stomped by the Redskins
and quit against the Rams in the final game, losing by 10

So 5 out of their 7 losses, were by 1 possesson or less. They add the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history who could have instantly turned a 9-7 team, into an 11-5 playoff team. The same exact team MINUS Jose "deport me" Cortez, and Bill "baby boy" Cuntiff would have been 2 wins better. You turn a liable kicking game from a weakness into a great strength. Arizona Cardinals head coach Denny Green always says that the quickest way to LOSE games, is have a bad kicker. Getting good play in the kicking game can instantly give you some extra wins.

The team had lost its starting tailback for much of the season, and was starting Rob Petiti at tackle. Petiti gave up the most sacks in the league last year as a rookie ( I believe it was 15). Petitie will be on the bench next year as a backup with newly signed Jason Fambini. That may not be a marquee signing, but it turns the weakest tackle in the league, into a strength. It is not MAYBE, they get better play, they will be getting better play because it really couldn't be any worse. I think Marco Rivera should play better this year as well. The game that really summed it up for me was the Denver game last year. Denver's D-Line was virtually moving the original line of scrimmage back two yards on every play. It amazed me how Dallas actually got rushing yards, and how they somehow got those passes off. I think if that defense played that offense 10 times, Dallas would be thankful for the results they got last year. Now that line shouldn't be pushed back every play next year. The problem at right tackle shouldn't be a problem this year.

Terrell Owens. I agree that Owens probably came straight from the top with Jerry Jones. Jones played football, and thinks he knows football, and the little kid inside him wanted Owens on his team. I don't think Parcells wanted him. Parcells didn't show up at the press conference, probably in case anything bad happens. He doesn't want those pictures of him smiling, on signing day next to Owens in his 81 jersey when Owens causes trouble. That doesn’t mean this relationship won't work. Owens maintains that he likes Parcells because they both want to win really badly. Parcells has already been calling him "she", and "the player". I am not saying this is a match made in heaven, but my forecast is for THIS year. I think we can expect decent behavior from Owens THIS year. Now the media is already jumping up and down about Owens being late for a meeting, but that stuff goes unreported all the time.

Owens turns a team that was IN a lot of games last year, into a favorite in those games. He pushes the Cowboys over the top. He is a receiving threat that you really can't ignore. Glenn is a solid handed deep threat, Crayton shows promise, and the cowboys may go after another threat. With Jason Witten at tight end, and the young Fasano, the cowboys could also pound away with 2 TE sets.

A lot of people don't like Bledsoe, but he is a VET, who has already been to the Super bowl with Parcells. He is on the leagues all-time passing list, and can win in the playoffs. He probably isn't being asked to be Peyton Manning next year, but I believe he can throw for 3500 plus yards if needed. Parcells LIKES to run the ball and play defense, but don't think that’s all he does. His quarterbacks have also had 400+ attempt passing seasons in the past. If he is facing a shaky Washington secondary with Shawn Springs out, don't be surprised to see Bledsoe and Owens testing the secondary. I think Owens, Bledsoe, and Parcells have a lot to prove. They are either perceived as too much trouble, too old, too slow, too immobile, and not cool.

The 3-4 defense brings in vet Akin Adolye and Bobby Carpenter to the mix. I think Carpenter could be a spark plug to this defense. Demarcus Ware quickly became and impact player, and I think they will have 4 play making linebackers running around. I think Newman is a stud corner, Aaron Glenn is above average. vs the pass, and Anthony Henry is also above average. They will always have Roy Williams patrolling the secondary as well.

I think the 34 could be an advantage, as they have all these bodies to throw at you. Marcus Spears looks like he could have been a steal in the draft, and Chris Canty will rotate in with the solid Greg Ellis. Ware and Carpenter could provide the spark on the outside, with Adoyle and James or Singleton in the middle.

I like the Cowboys early schedule as well as the Eagles

@ Jax ( they are +3 or +2.5), but it is a very win-able game
Washington ( at home)
Bye ( early bye)
@ Tennesse
@ Philly ( TO goes home)
Giants ( at home)

I wouldn't be shocked if TO and the new look cowboys were 6-0 going into the game against the Giants at home. They would have to catch some breaks and going 5-1 or 4-2 ,might be more likely, but I really wouldn't be shocked to see them undefeated. I just see them as a tougher team to BEAT with Vanderjack and Owens. Instead of the cowboys beating themselves with missed field goals, the opposing team will have to beat them instead of managing a game. I think they are going to upset Jacksonville in week 1, they have the Redskins at home week 2, Tennesse in week 4, and then the Philly Renunion. Althought the TO Bowl will be at Philly, I think it will be a crazy game that will be the battle for 1st place in the NFC East. I am not saying those games will be easy, but if the Cowboys are 3-0 or 2-1 going into the TO Bowl, they could go home 4-0 or 3-1.

The week 2 game against Washington is key, but it’s IN Dallas where they will be looking for revenge, Washington will be coming off a Monday night game as well and will have a short week to prepare and recover. You have to expect all of the home teams as favorites within the division until injures and players shape out.

I think the TO Bowl, will be crazy, and will be the battle for 1st place. I am NOT however looking forward to hearing about this game 24-7 all week long by the ESPN hype machine, and the coverage this game will get.

NFC East Predictions

I am a big fan of the NFC BEAST... Here you are

1. Dallas
2. Philly
3. New York
4. Washington

Anybody can finish 1st and anybody can finish last. Last year everybody had philly repeating as division champs, but after a year in last place nobody likes them anymore. In fact, I’ve seen a lot of people picking Washington to win the division, with the Eagles or Giants in last place.

Washington Redskins. ( 4th Place)
I live in washington and everybody and their mom already wants to buy Redskins Superbowl tickets. The Redskins are the pre-season paper champions once again. It is amazing how each year the Redskins sign some high profile guys and think all their problems will disappear. From Bringing in High profile coaches, Martyball and Daniel Snyder Literally flying in Steve Spurier to bringing in Deion, Mark Carrier, Stephen Davis, Bruce Smith, Mark Brunell, Randy Thomas, and the list goes on and on. Mo money = Mo problems.

Everybody is so high on the Skins because of what happened last year. Most people think the Redskins cured their offseason problems by bringing in some high priced free agents. Last year was last year, and each NFL season brings new problems and new fortunes.

Last year the Redskins went on a little "run" to close out their season. Now lets take a closer look at that 5 game win streak. They beat Harvard Rookie Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Rams, they beat an Arizona team that quit on their season, I'll admit they beat Dallas, they beat the giants in a poorly officiated game, and then they beat the Eagles scrubs on a Sean Taylor 39 yard fumble return in the final 2 minutes. Then, they won the 1st of many controversial officiated NFL playoff games. If you would have reversed the Lavar Arrington fumble recovery, the Sean Taylor phantom touchdown, or the Tampa Bay Receivers juggle rule touchdown, they lose. If the Redskins would have lost in Round one at Tampa Bay, they wouldn’t have these high expectations. Seattle lost the turnover battle, and Sean Alexander knocked himself out and the Redskins still couldn't make their game competitive. Now the Redskins did have that 5 game win streak, but beating the Mike McMahon led Eagles scrubs in the final 2 minutes doesn’t impress me. I just see the market overrating them here.

The Redskins have such high expectations that Mark Brunell has already been quoted saying "superbowl or bust". Those are some lofty expectations to live up to.

Some failures to look out for....
- 4 out of 5 offensive lineman had major surgury in the offseason, thats 80% of their offensive line that will be testing out their footing very carefully. Throw in the fact that the Redskins always trade away their draft picks, and they have a bunch of unproven players that will have to fill in.
- Al Saunders is new... While Philly has had that same coaching staff for 5+ years, and Dallas and New York should build upon what they have, the Redskins have to adjust to a new offensive “playcaller “who is being called an associate head coach. Al Saunders is known for his ariel passing attack in St. Louis, and his ground attack in Kansas City, but the chiefs offense didn't "get it" instantly.
- 2 years ago, everybody wanted Mark Brunell out of town as he looked horrible with that 63.9 QB rating . In fact, last year Patrick Ramsey opened up the year as the starting quarterback. Mark Brunell will be an aging 36 in a division with good pass rushers.
- Who knows which Brunell shows up this year. There is already a large movement that wants to see Jason Cambell play. I don't think Mark Brunell will take every snap this year, and depending on how Campbell fills in, there could be a QB controversy. There is nothing that tears a team apart more than a QB controversy. The backup quarterback, is the most popular guy on the team.
- The new "upgrades" might not be such upgrades after all. Everybody thinks the Redskins cured their pass rush because they brought in Andre Carter... Carter had 4.5 sacks last year, and can't do it all by himself. Phillip Daniels actually started to bring on a respectable pass rush last year, but he is already hurt in preseason. I've been saying for years that this team really lacks a pass rush, and Greg Williams can't keep pulling rabbits out of hats. Everybody is focused on their offense improving, but I think it is likely this defense might take a step back.
- Corner back. Who is going to play Nickel corner? If Kenny Wright is your nickel corner, your in trouble. Carlos Rodgers is still young and relatively unproven but I think he will be just fine. Shawn Springs is now a 10 year VET, and already out injured 4-6 weeks. He is the same Shawn Springs that was an injury concern back in Seattle. I do NOT like their corner situation at all, and when you combine that with a poor pass rush it could mean trouble. Greg Williams will have to scheme the heck out of teams, which could work, but it could also put his players out of position. The Redskins just traded for Mike Rumph, possibly the worst DB in the league. In a game of inches, the guy can routinely get beat by 5-10 yards. That is a panic move to me, and I think they are more likely to play Antwaun Edwards.
- Linebacker is also a concern. Marcus Washington is solid, but Lemar Marshall is a passing "C" at best, and Rocky McIntosh is only a rookie. They got rid of pass rush specialist Chris Clemens and brought in James Posey from Buffalo. So the redskins are thin at LB as well.
- The offense MAY improve, but Greg Williams has his hands full with this defense. If he provides the same results as last year, the guy deserves coach of the year consideration as an ASSISTANT.
- On offense, everybody loves the fact that the redskins brought in Brandon Lloyd and Antwain Randel El. Besides the fact that they grossly overpaid for both of them, neither of the receivers are listed above 6 feet tall. Lloyd is a skinny 6' receiver, and Randel el is listed at 5'10, but is probably closer to 5'8. They have 3 smurfs playing receiver. Moss and Randel El are the same player, and Lloyd is the misfit with good hands. There is a big difference between throwing to tall receivers with big wingspans, and little smurfs.
- The team has an overall lack of depth. I'd say they have a quality backup running back, and Campbell might be worthwhile at QB, they have a few receivers, but where is the O-Line depth? Where are the Linebackers and defensive backs? The fans always say " as long as we stay healthy, we will win the division". The only problem is that every team gets hurt, and every teams needs depth. The redskins have been giving away middle and later round draft picks for years, and it will bite them in the ass this year.

The Redskins raised the stakes with all those acquisitions, but once again we will see disappointment in Washington. That team has too many problems for me to pick them to win the division, which is why I put them in dead last place.

New York Giants

The NFC East is the best division in football. The way the schedule works out, everybody plays their own divisional opponents twice, plays everybody in 2 divisions, and then plays the corresponding place teams from their conference...

The Giants have the NFC EAST division rivals twice,
The whole NFC South ( 2nd best division in the NFC)
The AFC south ( a solid division)
1st place teams of the central, and west (Chicago and Seattle)
This means the Giants have the hardest schedule in the NFL.

I think the Giants have a solid team. In fact, they might have the best team in the division. Separating the NFC East is very difficult. Some say, there could be a lot of close games, and it could all come down to the kickers. If it all comes down to kickers, I'd say Dallas ( Vanderjack) is in the best shape, Philly ( Akers) is #2, New York Giants ( feely) are 3rd, and Redskins ( Hall) are in the most trouble ( he already went 1/3 in his first preseason game and had a kick blocked against New England).

I'd like to throw in another variable. Winning on the road. Eli Manning stepped up more than anybody dreamed in year 2 of his NFL career. Eli was 2nd in the NFC in passing yards, and tied for 1st in touchdowns. Eli did also throw 17 interceptions and not have a good completion percentage. I noticed that a lot of Eli's picks, were careless throws in the red zone towards Plax. I know Terrell Owens gets a lot of press for being a Pre-Madonna receiver, but Plax is pretty high maintenance as well. You can clearly see him crying for the ball during games. In the Dallas loss, Manning just threw those lazy jump balls up to Plax in the red zone against double coverage. Plax is big and tall with a frame that will allow him to beat some smaller cornerbacks, but sometimes he fails to make the routine catches and I'd venture to say that 75% of Mannings interceptions were passes intended for Plax. I'd also say that most of those picks were in or near the red zone. It‘s like the intelligent Eli Manning just blindly throws to Plax in the red zone. It seems like a very cure-able problem to cure for the Giants

Eli has shown some trouble winning on the road, which will be HUGE this year. The team with the best divisional record, might win the NFC east. To have the best record in the NFC East, a team will have to win on the road.

I think the Giants front 7 is actually pretty deep. They have 2 Probowl bookends, followed by young Justin Tuck and 1st round speedster Mathias Kiwanuka. When other teams pass rushes could be getting tired late in games, the giants have 4 horses to chase after you. In the playoff loss to Carolina last year, the Giants were picking up guys off the street to play linebacker, they now how some depth. They have 3rd round pick Gerris Wilkinson, Brandon Short, and Reggie Torbor all on the bench. Their current bench is better than their playoff starting linebackers last year. I think Arrington has a chip on his shoulder, and could help the Giants to continue producing turnovers on defense. An underrated aspect of their scoring offense last year, is the good field position they got on turnovers, and their ability to take low risk chances.

I think their secondary can't really be any worse than last year. I still believe Sam Madison is a top 5 corner, and he can't be any worse than Will "toast" Allen. I was reading an article from the Star Ledger that talked about how Madison was struggling in Miami because they tried to have him “react” to a receiver by playing 10 yards off the ball. Madison has been known to be a good physical corner and that’s how the aggressive Tim Lewis will use him this year. I think the switch back to more press coverage will help out Madisons game a lot. Corey Webster the left side starter was a 2nd round steal in the draft two years ago, and I like the underrated pickup of Rw Mcquarters. Curtis Deloach is a taller corner who was starting games last year, and now he's 4th on the depth chart. The Giants DC Tim Lewis, blitzed like hell last year when they had no secondary, I'd like to see what they do this year with a better secondary. Willie Demps was an "upgrade" brought in from Baltimore, but I think he's overrated. I think he was one of the weak links of the Ravens. I do like the backup Quenton Harris from Arizona for added depth.

I think Tiki Barber is irreplaceable at running back. He helps make that offense flow. Barber is both a rushing and receiving threat. Brandon Jacobs is a short yardage back, and I think the Giants have no answer if Barber gets hurt. Barber is a smaller back who is getting older, and if he misses more than 3 games, the giants are in serious trouble. I think Derrick Ward ( the current backup) is complete garbage. The Giants should look to pick up a camp cut off waivers. If Eli Manning is on the road, with Derrick Ward as his starting running back, he’s in trouble as teams will tee off against him..

I like the blend of receivers they have. Throw in the fact that Shock is a good pass catching TE, Barber is a good receiving threat, and you have 3 solid receivers. Plax is a tall deep ball guy in his prime. Toomer is a solid route running vet, and Moss is that speedy slot receiver you can throw screens to. Tim Carter is also a speedster on the bench but often injured.

I think the Giants have a very solid team, with good depth at their front 7 on defense, but without a quality backup quarterback or running back. The Giants could be a year or two away. I think their schedule is brutal this year, especially their first 6 games...
Indy, at philly, at seattle, (early bye), washington, at Atlanta, and at Dallas. The giants could theoretically start out 2-4, while Dallas and Philly could be off to much hotter starts.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Eagles Trade for Donte Stallworth

Philly makes their big move for a receiver. A lot of people are writing the Eagles off in the NFC East because “they don’t have a receiver”. Now Philly has a receiver.

The Eagles ship a 4th rounder ( it actually could turn into a 3rd rounder), and Linebacker Mark Simineou to the New Orleans Saints for Wide out Dante Stallworth.

Stallworth is a real speedster who will be playing in the final year of his contract. ( he has every incentive to perform).I think the eagles got excellent value for their money. They send away a marginal starter/backup linebacker and a 4th rounder for a potential game breaker wide receiver. Not only are they getting good value, but they are also filling a team need.

Last year Brian Westbrook and LJ Smith led the team with 61 receptions. Although it does show that the Eagles can spread the ball around, 1) you want your leading receiver to actually be a receiver, and 2) you want your leading pass catcher to ideally catch more than 61 balls ( or just under 4 catches per game).

Stallworth caught 70 balls last year for just under 1000 yards ( 945) and 7 touchdowns. Stallworth had Aaron Brooks as his quarterback in New Orleans and was actually more productive than former Pro Bowl teammate Joe Horn.

The important thing to remember is that playing receiver in "the league" takes time. Receivers don't just memorize the plays and walk up to the line of scrimmage like zombies and run their route. The NFL is a thinking mans league. In reality, receivers walk up to the line and have multiple "possible" routes to run depending on the coverage they are presented with. Since a pro receiver has to read pro defenses ( which is very difficult), it was almost unheard of for a rookie receiver to make an impact in the league.

That all changed with Randy Moss. A few other guys have had success early in their careers, and now instead of that being exceptional, people EXPECT that.

Nobody had loftier expectations than the young speedster Donte Stallworth. Rumors of Donte running a sub 4.2 40 yard dash in the NFL Combine raised the bar about as high as it could go. If only the NFL were like the popular video games where a receivers worth is based solely on his speed.

Stallworth spent some time in the west coast offense which is the hardest Offense in the game to learn. Instead of being happy that he has been slowly but surely improving, I guess the saints feel that he didn't improve fast enough so they traded him.

The Eagles now have a receiver who has been "trained" for a few years, and is ready to shine. The only potential problem I see is the fact that he has to learn a whole new offense in Philly. I think a VET like Stallworth can adjust quicker than a young rookie. He will have Donovan and an experienced coaching staff help him along which should speed up the process.

I think Philly got an absolute bargain for a 4th round pick and a marginal starting linebacker. They get a potential break out receiver with 1st round talent who has been "trained" for years, and now THEY can reap the rewards for a mere 4th rounder. Instead of signing some hyped up high priced free agent, they bring in 1st round talent for a cheap price tag.

Do they read the book "Moneyball" in Philadelphia?

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]