Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pre Season Pitt/Buff + Minn/Bal


- Early on it looks like Big Ben was being rushed to throw the ball. It looked like good pressure from the edges and his tackles seemed suspect in pass blocking. With that being said, Big Ben is good at feeling and avoiding pressure.
- Trent Edwards looks promising as he threw 2 TD passes to Robert Royal. It isn't just so much about the results, but he is intelligent, poised and has good skills. If you want to look at all of the very young quarterbacks, Edwards is at least in the top half among his peers, J. Russell, B. Quinn, Alex Smith, Brodie Croyle, Tavaris Jackson, John Beck, Troy Smith and might be the best real young QB at this point.
Santonio Holmes looked real good and could have a real break out year. He is a deep threat, runs good short/intermediate routes, understands the passing game, is talented catching the ball, running after the catch.
- Byron Leftwhich was just recently signed and looked terrible on his first play action. Now I am not one to normally bring up a QB's play action fake, but Byrons was just lazy at carrying out his fake. Byron looked terrible with inaccurate throws, tipped balls, a throw into triple coverage, a fumble and the same shoddy mechanics. He was being chased by a Bills DE, and he tried to use the stiff arm and fumbled. If you haven't noticed, I am not a very big fan of Byron Leftwhich. It isn't even just about his play, but his work ethic and bad attitude make it worse. Byron was probably another guy who was just better than everybody else as he worked his way up Pop Warner, High school and college and didn't give it his all. He just looked frustrated at this point in his career, and I consider Charlie Batch a better and more reliable backup. Dennis Dixon got into the game and looked better than a 5th round rookie should. Don't get me wrong, he was very raw but he had a nice run and didn't have that deer in headlines look like many other young 3rd string QB's have.
- The Steelers ran a lot of basic stuff on defense but in the regular season they will run those exotic blitzes. Lawrence Timmons had two bone crushing hits and might not even start ( last week I highlighted the depth at LB the Steelers have).
- The Steelers kick and punt return coverage looked real good until Leotis McKelvin returned a kickoff for an electrifying TD.
- The Steelers have good quality on the RB depth chart. Parker, Mendenhall, Davenport, Moore might be the best 4 RB's up and down the chart. Parker is the speed guy, Mendenhall is speed/power, Davenport is an underrated big power guy, and M. Moore is a good shifty 3rd down guy.
- I like the Steelers talent overall. They have one of the best QB's, a great RB group, strong WR core and TE, their O-line might is what I question, but the defense is stacked with talent as well. I used to think SD might be the most talented team overall minus the QB, but Pitt is up there as well. Their depth is an added bonus that increases their chances of making it through the regular season into the playoffs.

- The Ravens gave up a TD on blown coverage from Fabian Washington and the safety up top. If you are ever going to have these communication gaps, you want to get them out in the pre season.
- Troy Smith called an audible early on that allowed Ray Rice to have a 32 yard run. Quarterbacks need to get more credit for successful rushing audibles like that. It won't show up in Troy Smith's stats, but it helped his team to win.
- After watching the Texans today, I can say that Ray Rice is better than Steve Slayton. I was very impressed with Ray Rice this game and he was averaging 10 yards per carry for much of the game against a strong Vikings run defense. Rice easily looked like he should be starting, and at the very least splitting carries with Willis.
- Tavaras Jackson gets hit and injured by Ray Lewis and another Raven on a 9 yard run. Taking big hits to pick up rushing yards isn't smart for a QB in the regular season, and is stupidity on stilts for a young guy in the preseason. The real interesting thing about the play was that one of the announcers pointed out his knee buckiling and saying that he suspects his MCL was damanged, and the other announcer had this " you can see that from here attitude"? He really did sprain his MCL and the call was spot on.
- Troy Smith plays with an attitude and pushed Jared Allen after a tackle by the sidelines/out of bounds. If I am a QB, I wouldn't be jawing at one of the leagues sack masters. Troy Smith didn't look very good at all. He had one throw where he almost got Yamon Figures killed by Darren Sharper.
- With 3:23 left in the 2nd quarter, Troy Smith only had 3 passing yards when you took away the sack yards. That is horrible and even worse when you consider he was playing against the leagues worst secondary in PRE SEASON! He did have two nice runs and about 40 rushing yards, but we are talking about the QB position here. Troy Smith threw an interception and then tried to take out Jared Allen's knees and was flagged for a 15 yard penalty. I really was hoping Allen would retaliate after the dirty play.
- The QB play in this game was awful. Jackson wasn't good, and Smith and Bollier were just terrible.
- Jared Johnson and Bart Scott had two bone crushing hits in a row. Johnson quietly had 94 tackles last year for Baltimore, and Bart Scott seems to be pretty underrated nationally as well.
- The Vikings backup offensive lineman Tim Mattran was highlighted by Mike Mayock. Mattran was the valedictorian of his High School and was a 4 year Academic All American at Stanford. I wonder if he is the smartest person in the NFL?
- John David Booty looked pretty weak as well. Going into this year, If I had to guess a later round QB that might be a sleeper, I liked JDB but I have not been impressed thus far. He threw a pick 6, looked rushed, and was getting sacked a lot.
- The Vikings have a lot of talent on this roster minus the QB position. They have good real lines. Honestly, their O-line is real good as Chester Taylor averaged 5.4 per carry and Peterson 5.6 last year.
- Darren Sharper looked real good for Minnesota. He was ball hawking like usual and he isn't just one of the smartest safeties, but he still looks pretty athletic to me. The QB play in this game was horrible, but the people that impressed me the most were Sharper and Ray Rice.

Pre Season Saints/Texans + Tampa/Patriots

- I like Gary Kubiak and I like the offense that he and Alex Gibbs run in Houston. Last year the Texans lost their starting QB, Stud WR, Starting RB, they didn't have a great line and the coaching staff still brought them to 8-8. The Texans were still a respectable 8-8 and consider they were in the very tough AFC South that had 3 other playoff teams in the division keeping them company.
- Last year Matt Schaub had an 87.2 QB rating his first year in the system before being injured and Sage Rosenfels was decent as a backup. Kubiak and Gibbs run a QB friendly offense that is designed to be efficient, run the ball, and work without needing an abundance of talent ( I like that formula).
- Matt Schaub starts the game off by going straight after Saints corner Jason David who was covering Kevin Walter. Schaub throws a TD pass to Walter ( it was the 3rd pass in a row on Jason David), and Schaub didn’t even go through his progressions, he had a 7 step drop, looked at Walter the entire time, and delivered a strike for the TD. It seems like teams have little to no respect for Jason David.
- Reggie "Ragina" Bush runs like a wimp. This guy was so over hyped by ESPN his entire career and it seems like he is always trying to kick his runs to the outside for the homerun. That works out great in college against PAC-10 defenses when you can simply outrun everyone, but in the NFL not so much.
- The Saints look to have a very strong offense and they addressed their defense this off season by bringing in Jonathan Vilma at LB, Randall Gay and Aaron Glenn at corner, and drafting Sedrick Ellis and Tracy Porter. The Saints were especially weak against the Pass and they brought in talent on each level of defense. They already have good ends with Will Smith and Charles Grant, but they bulked up the line with Sedrick Ellis, they improved at LB with Vilma, and they brought in 3 corners to improve against the pass. I like that approach to improve every level of that defense. The Saints still don't have a good defense, but they should be better.
- Both defenses looked weak in this game. I don't know if it was because of vanilla schemes, but I was not impressed.
- 3rd round draft pick Anquawan Molden looked pretty good for the Texans. He was beat on a few throws but had real tight coverage. Sometimes a perfect throw beats perfect coverage.
- Steve Slaton looked alright running the ball. If Ahman Green has to miss time again, I would much rather have Slaton running the ball than Ron Dayne. People were questioning Slaton out of college because of the gimmick offense he ran in, but he ran much tougher than Ragina Bush.
- The thing I want to point out about Reggie Bush, is that he never learned how to play RB in college. He relied too much on his athletic ability, and he just outran people on the edges. He needs to adapt his game. Bush is an awesome receiver, excellent return man, and he is real good on outside runs, but he will have to run tougher. ESPN already loves him for a TD where he hurdled the defender in this game, but he had a very weak game in my opinion. When Reggie was coming out of college, I always compared him to a poor man's Bryan Westbrook and he certainly isn't anywhere near as good as Westbrook now going into his 3rd year.
- During Halftime of this game, they showed footage from the Vikings practice. They were running live 7 on 7 drills and Tavaris Jackson threw an interception, and later on in scrimage he threw an interception for a TD.

Tampa Bay vs New England
- I also like Jon Gruden as a head coach. Last year he obviously had the good defense, but it was his job to get something out of the offense. The offense overall finished below league average with a slightly below avg. passing game, and an above leage average rushing attack. If it didn't work out, look at all the arguments against the Bucs "outcast" offense:
- People complain Jeff Garcia is too old ( and he was new to the team) and got hurt.
- Cadallac Williams was injured, Michael Pittman got injured, E. Grahmn was an unknown 3rd stringer.
- Joey Galloway is old and has grey hair and a grey beard.
- Ike Hillard is slow and getting older.
- The offensive line was bad the last few years.
- So if Tampa Bay's offense was terrible, Jon Gruden would have plenty of excuses. Now the Bucs were below average on offense, but for what he had, I think Gruden did a good job. I also think that the negative perceptions and discrimination allowed Tampa GM Bruce Allen to acquire those guys, but credit Gruden for following through with the dirty work because a lot of coaches in the league would fail with those guys.
- Tampa's starting offense led by backup Brian Greise had a nice 17 play, 80 yard drive to start the game. I thought Griese looked alright. Luke Mccown came in after Griese and looked better than I thought. I watched him play against the Saints last year, and in limited action and he hasn't been bad at all. Can he keep it up?
- Josh Johnson was in a series and ran on both of his pass plays ( 1 was a sack). People are excited about him because of his 43 TD-1 INT season in D3 and his mobility, but in the limited action he really didn't look ready.
- The biggest thing for Tampa was the addition of Antoinio Bryant. Bryant is a guy with big talent and a big attitude that has bounced around the league. If they can keep him under control, it will give them a solid 3rd option with Galloway and Hilliard that opponents will have to honor. He looked pretty good in this game and is a guy that can beat man coverage.
- Matt Cassell got the start for an injured Tom Brady looked terrible. The first ball he threw was intercepted " although the call was challenged and reversed". He later botched a snap which was picked up and run back for a TD. He just didn't run the offense very well.
- The Patriots later played rookie Kevin O'Connell and he looked bad too. His first play in was a roll out and he threw an interception on a pass that was totally inexcusable for throwing. He looked real young and inexperienced for throwing that ball. If Tom Brady has to miss time, the Patriots are in real trouble.
- Patriots WR Chad Jackson was finally healthy and playing, and physically he is a monster. I hope he was studying the playbook during that time he was injured. He could be a deep sleeper if he turns things around and I will be rooting for him.
- If Brady can't play for whatever reason, the Patriots are in trouble. I actually think all 3 of the Bucs backup quarterbacks are better than any the Pats have. It seems like Simms is available if a team wants him, and the Patriots might have the weakest backup situation out there. Bellicheck is familiar with Phill Simms from the Giants days, so maybe he would send a mid/late round pick to Tampa for a proven back up QB?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pre Season week 2, NYG vs Cle, Dal vs Den

New York Vs Cleveland
- The Browns wore their Brown pants for the first time. Not a big deal but I like the pants.
- Browns kicker Phil Dawson hit a nice 56 yard field goal.
- In the past 3 years, Eli Manning has completed 29 TD to Plaxico Burres for the #1 QB to WR combo.
- Last year when Tiki Barber retired, the media wondered where the Giants would get their yards from. Well, the 07' Giants had 7 less rushing yards than the 06' Giants!
- 23-3 score at the end of the 1st Q, the Giants starters are officially whipping the Browns starters. The only complaint I have with the Giants thus far is the kick off and punt return coverage giving up too many yards to Josh Cribs and his backup steptoe.
- Domenik Hixon had 3 Tds for the Giants, 2 receiving and 1 return TD.
- Giants starters leave the game 30-3 and dominated the Browns. The Giants O-Line and D-Lines looked real good with a "meet at the QB mentality".
- Derek Anderson didn't look good at all. In his defense he had no time to throw with Osi O, Justin Tuck and Fred Robbings giving him no time, but Anderson and Jamal Lewis botched a handoff that resulted in a James Butler Fumble recovery TD.
- Anthony Wright got hit on a throw which was tipped and returned for a TD. He needs to get rid of the ball quicker.
- One of the Giants less heralded ( not Moss, Manningham, Smith) receivers is going to work out and contribute. Whether it be Dom Hixon, Michael Jennings, Brandon London, or Craphonso Thorpe.
- Giants backup RB Kayay Harris might suffered an ugly injured. It looks like he broke his leg around the side of the shin.

Dallas vs Denver
- The Cowboys are stacked with talent up and down the roster.
- Dallas probably has the best O-line in the NFC
- Tony Romo is no worse than a top 3 QB in the NFC ( Mcnabb + Brees).
- Terrell Owens might be the best WR in the NFC.
- Jason Witten might be the best TE in the NFC
- Marion Barber is a solid cloud of dust RB.
Dallas was 9th in the NFC in yards given up on D, 13th in points against, and 6th in yards per play against. They added 2 pro bowlers on defense ( Zack Thomas and Pacman Jones) and a 1st rd cb in Mike Jenkins.
- Dallas was 13-3 and the best team in the NFC last year and they could be a better team this year ( although with a worse record). On paper they are probably the 3rd for 4th best team in the AFC, but they should be the best team in the NFC if they can stay healthy.
In the preseason game against Denver, Zack Thomas looked good which answered critics that said he was old and washed up.

- The biggest thing for me was that Jay Cutler looked good and was throwing bullets. His weight dropped from the 220s, 230s down to 202 because of diabetes, but he got his weight back, has taken control of diabetes. I am happy for him to be back strong.
- Selvin Young looked real fast and real good. If he can stay healthy and play at that level, he will be the next RB to graduate from Denver RB U.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pre season Sea/Minn + Titans/Rams + Pitt/Philly

Seattle vs Minnesota
- Tavaras Jackson did NOT impress me. Mike Mayock was somewhat talking him up, but I saw a different game. He was completing some passes, but these were dump offs, curls, screens, and many of them off of play action. Some of the completions were behind guys and way off target, and Jackson had one real critical mistake where he threw behind the receiver with inside coverage where the ball should have been intercepted. If he keeps making critical mistakes like that, he won't last very long. If I had to compare him to a QB, think about Jake Plumber with his roll outs, dump offs, some decent plays, and then a few bone headed plays that kill his team. With all that being said, Jackson isn't even CLOSE to as good as Jake " the trash man" Plummer. Think Lipstick on a pig.

- Gus Ferrotte, the 14 year Vet might not last much longer in the NFL, but he gives Minnesota a better chance to win now. The thing about Ferotte is that he looked like he was going through his reads and progressions faster, and making quicker choices. I do know that Jackson gets hurt in the Preseason game 2 trying to pick up 6 or 7 rushing yards when he got leveled by Ray Lewis. That is a bad regular season play and a horrible preseason play. Ferotte might play.
- Maurice Hicks looked alright as the Vikings 3rd RB.
- Mike Mayock highlighted the Vikings USC rookie surfer/snow boarder Drew Radovich. I wasn't watching him too much, but he looked good when I did watch him. He is a technician with good balance, skill, and he knows how to zone block. He won't bowl you over like Bryant Mcckinnie, but he is in the mold of a Patriots, Colts, Giants, or Denver offensive lineman.

- Does Seattle have the best LB core in the NFC with Peterson, Lofa and Leroy Hill? I think so. Julian Peterson could be the best OLB in the NFC, Lofa could be the best MLB in the NFC, and Leroy Hill could be the most underrated LB in the NFC.
- The LB that caught my eye this game though was the youngster "heater" Hawthrone. He forced 2 fumbles and they were NOT flukes. The first hit was a hard hit that you could hear in the stands, and the second one is a text book helmet to ball situation. Not only did he make those 2 huge plays, but he got his teammates fired up. He looks a little thin at the LB spot, but if he is going to roam the field like a cruise missle, he can afford to be smaller. The Hawks also have former Texans 1st round draft pick Jason Babin on that LB core. I really like what the Hawks put together.
- TJ Duckett was the goat of the game with 2 fumbles ( 1 called back). Mike Holmgren will NOT let him see the field if he can't hold onto the ball. Seattle could have a decent 3 headed moster at RB with the versitile Maurice Morris, the shifty Julious Jones, and the power back Duckett, but that doesn't work if Duckett can't hold onto the ball.

- Titans rookie Chris Johnson ( 4.2 40 at the combine) looked real good and real fast. He sort of reminded me of a cross between Willie Parker and Jereous Norwood. I don't know much about ECU football, but this kid can play.
- Alge Crumpler looked pretty good and could be a real asset to Vince Young. Young likes passing to his tight ends and now he actually has a real good one. I will consider he for fantasy teams.
- Miker Hermidinger is in at OC, and Norm Chao is out. The Titans have 3 RBs, an O-line that looked impressive, and Vince at QB. Vince looked just OK throwing the ball, but he had an outstanding 35 yard run. He really looked about as fast an elusive as a 6'5 guy his size could.
- If the Titans play good defense, run the ball, play good special teams, and have a good conservative passing game, they will be tough to beat at home. They won't beat themselves, but they will make you earn a win against them.
- Kerry Collins throws such a pretty ball. If you give that guy time, he will beat you with the throw and he has been to the Super Bowl. He could probably start for at least 5 teams, but he is helping Vince along.
- The Rams could have one of the best front 4's in the game with Lenard Little, La'roi Glover, Adam Carriker and Chris Long. They have pass rush on the outside, and meat in the inside. I like them but I don't think they played very well. The titans were running the ball on them and it probably impressed me more about the Titans run game, than the Rams front 4.
- Marc Bulger didn't look good at QB. The preseason is always full of pundits talking about quarterbacks ( and especially backups) and how great they looked against those vanilla defenses, but Bulger didn't look that good. With Stephen Jackson out, Issaic Bruce gone, and what looks to beat a weak defense, the Rams could have some problems. The offense has talent and should be good, I just would have liked to see Bulger play better, and Jackson suit up.

Steelers vs Eagles
- Donovan and Big Ben both looked good and I expect both of these teams to challenge for the Super Bowl with two of the best QBs in the game.
- Kolb still looks like he is learning the WCO and was throwing mainly check downs and short stuff.
- Charlie Batch got knocked out of the game when Sean Con knocked him out. A Steelers hand off broke down and Batch took off running. He took a helmet to helmet shot from SC and came out of the game. I wonder if there is a fine coming? Batch didn't slide and it wasn't as smart play for either player.
- The Steelers now have 4 QB's: Big Ben, Batch, Byron Fathead and rookie Dennis Dixon. Who is the odd man out? Big Ben is safe, and if they signed Byron you would think they are going to keep him. So do the Steelers cut the dependable Batch for Byron, or do they cut the draft pick Dixon? I am curious to see how this all works out. Charlie Batch or Dennis Dixon are probably getting cut before the Season.
- The Steelers drafted Reshard Mendonhall and he could be a good fantasy football player. Willie Parker had 1316 yards last year, but only 2 TDs. Davenport had 5, but I could see the power back Rashard getting goalline carries. Keep an eye on him to get pick up TD's like the bus did a couple of years ago but with more rushing yards. He could rush for 500 or so yards ( like Davenport last year) but with 10 tds.
- The Steelers LB depth. They have Timmons and Woodley coming off the bench and these guys could start for many teams. They have 6 solid guys for 4 spots and maybe the best D-coordinator in the game.

I would also like to highlight the NFL rule changes.
- The winner of the coin toss can no defer to the second half.
- No "force out" on the sidelines for defenders.
- No more 5 yard face mask, as any face mask infraction results in 15 yards.

Those are 3 pretty big changes if you ask me.

Pre season Indy/Car + Giants/Lions

- Panthers Kicker Reese Lloyd had a real boot of a leg. Having a kicker that can kick the ball into the end zone resulting into touch backs is a real weapon for your defense/special teams.
- Julious Peppers flipped sides to Mike Ruckers natural spot and was seeing single coverage on Tony Ugoh. Peppers dominated Ugoh on a consistent basis rushing the passer and Jim Sorgi had little time to throw. I highly doubt the Colts would have Ugoh 1 on 1 on Peppers in the regular season when he could get 3-4 sacks and possibly injure the Colts QB.
- Jim Sorgi and the Colts line in general looked really weak. It would be real easy to blame the problems on the line, but if Peyton Manning was playing QB this wouldn't be happening. Manning is much larger ( and smarter than Sorgi) and would have not only got rid of the ball quicker, but he would have called adequate pass protection with Jeff Saturday. This game is a perfect example of just how much value Manning has when you take him out of the line up and the offense looks like this.
- Panthers LB Thomas Davis had a nice play where he rode down the line and crushed the Colts RB.
- Jared Lorenzen actually looked alright. He certainly looked much better than Jim Sorgi, and he shocked us all with his mobility ( yes mobility). Lorenzen was moving around and actually ripped off a 24 yard run with multiple Panthers chasing him. The most impressive thing of all was the fact that Lorenzen was brought in only a few weeks ago and looked better than Sorgi. If the Colts keep 3 QBs, ( Manning, Sorgi, Lorenzen, Gray), I think as of right now Gray gets cut because Sorgi has been around longer.
- I liked the Panthers draft with Stewart to provide a change of pace from D. Williams. Stewart should average more than the 3.5 per carry that Deshaun Foster had in 07'. They address the O-line with the big Otah, and add a linebacker with Dan Connor.
The Panthers really have an opportunity to improve a lot this season. I had them winning the NFC South last year, only to watch Jake Delhomme get hurt and watch the Panthers run through 4 QB's. Delhomme had a QB rating of 111.8 before he got hurt, and was mainly replaced by Testaverde who had a rating of 65.8. The Panthers still finished 7-9 despite going through 4 QB's, they will probably be better at RB with Stewart in for Foster, and I like the addition of Muhammid opposite of Smith, not to mention Jarret will probably see the field more.
- Mike Hart might be the best possible 3rd or 4th string RB you could have. I am not thrilled with his talent, but if you are ever going to have a backup RB that never gets to play, you would want it to be Mike Hart.

- Giants backup DE Tollefson looked real good controlling his gap and playing the run. In fact, I thought the entire front 4 played their gaps very well. It was noticeable.
- Sinorice Moss had a nice deep catch from Anthony Wright. It was good to see the Giants getting him involved.
- Lawrence Tynes missing a FG is not a very good sign. I wish the Giants would try and upgrade the kicker position as Tynes can be erratic. He almost cost them a trip to the SB last year.
- All 3 of the Giants running backs dropped a pass. Jacobs, Ward and Bradshaw need to work on their hands, or the Giants need to bring in a back who can catch. Bradshaw is an ideal 3rd down guy and young, I hope he is catching lots of passes in practice.
- Kenny Phillips impressed me the most in this game for either team. He led the Giants in tackles and had some nice hits and wrap ups. The best play was in run support where the Lions RB Avian Cason was running straight ahead, and Phillips ran within 2-3 yards of him, chopped his feet and broke down, and then crushed the Lions back ( it was text book perfect play at safety). He looks like he can be a real good one. I didn't get to see much pass coverage, but he was mean against the run. If Phillips isn't starting by at least week 4 over James Butler, then something is wrong.
- The Lions lost Mike Martz and promoted their old O-line coach which leads me to believe they will try and run the ball more.
- First round pick Gosder Cherilous out of BC was playing RT and looked good and hungry despite 2 penalties.
- The Lions defense stunk real bad last year 27.75 Points against ( worst in the league), worst defense by yards, 2nd worst pass defense, and below average run defense. The Lions talent on D isn't THAT bad though. They bring in Leigh Bodden and Brian Kelly to form a good corner back duo to address that. Now they aren't going to be good this year, but they shouldn't be the worst defense.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Preseason notes

I don't like to get too into the preseason because you witness a lot of vanilla defenses and 90% of the time you hear about how Quarterback A looked great. I guarantee you these 3rd string quarterbacks stepping into games wouldn't move the ball the way they do in preseason. Anyway, here are some of my notes...

1. Redskins Head Coach Jim Zorn was calling the plays. This will differ from the Redskins last year where Joe Gibbs played CEO, while Al Saunders called the plays. Some coaches like to delegate powers ( Gibbs last year), while others like to be hands on with the play calling ( Jon Gruden). Not only has Jim Zorn never been a head coach, but he has also never been an offensive coordinator.

2. Jason Campbell called an audible in the first quarter. Many people might not think twice about Campbell standing up and calling an audible, but that is something he never did last year. Campbell must have seen single coverage on the outside and threw a fade along the sidelines intended for James Thrash. The ball went out of bounds and Campbell made the right call, he just didn't execute it.

The implications for Campbell are that there is a lot more risk/reward on the table. He could have his best season ever with more control of the offense, or he could have a much worse season than last year.

Last year Gibbs had Campbell more in the game manager role with very manageable WR screens, RB check downs, the occasional deep ball, and the timely play action. I really didn't see Campbell reading defenses and hitting WR's down field. I noted many times that he was in an "easier", low risk offense. That should change this year.

To Jasons credit, there were times last year where I would see him look at the strong side of the formation a little bit longer than usual, only to run a run play unsuccessfully to that side. It makes me think that he is almost visually complaining that he knows the play isn't going to work, but he had to go ahead and run it anyway.

Now in some of those running plays to the strong side of the defense, the outcome can be more obvious. The coaching staff last year felt that the risk of him making errors wasn't worth the positives that could be gained from the changed plays.

3. Browns TE Martin Rucker 5 catches for 70 yards. Besides just looking at his preseason stats, Mike Ruckers younger brother looked pretty natural and athletic. He was fast, had good hands, and delivered some punishment to the defenders after the catch. He looks like he could be a solid 2nd TE, or even take over if Winslidiot gets hurt.

4. Jets WR David Clowney in the same game had 4 catches for 163 yards and 2 TD. Granted the 70 yard TD was a play where the Browns were in a cookie cutter cover 2, and after DC got behind the corner, the safety took a horrible angle and the play resulted in the long TD. In the regular season the Browns aren't playing their 2nd string safety and it isn't a 70 yard TD, but I still liked how Clowney looked, and there are reports that he is lighting up the Jets camp.

5. Grady Jackson in the interview on the Falcons sideline didn't seem too happy when they brought up his release last year. The side line reporter asked him about why he was cut and Jackson got angry responded something to the effect that, " Petrino ain't even bring me into his office". We already knew the players didn't like Petrino, but this overt insult just reaffirms that from somebody not named Deangelo Hall. I just thought it was interesting to see a player insult a former coach in an interview.

Other News
Bobby Engram out 6-8 weeks for Seattle
Anthony Mix injured for Redskins
Giants rookie LB Goff injured
Adam Archuleta signs 1 year deal to try out for Raiders LB position

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Brett Favre

Brett Favre has dominated the headlines for weeks now. Initially I thought Tampa and Minnesota were the ideal destinations. Minnesota because that team seems to have everything in place except for their very weak quarterback Tavaras Jackson. Tampa has a contending team as well, a West Coast offense, Southern city, and the obvious connection with Jon Gruden. Minnesota was a hard place to go because you don't want to trade within division, so I would have guessed Tampa or bust for Favre. Favre went to the Jets.

I don't like Favre to the Jets at all as I would have much rather seen him a Buc.

The Jets team isn't nearly as talented as his GB team.
O-Line - I do like that they brought in Faneca ( a top notch guy) at guard, I like Nick Mangold and D'Brick to mature so his line should be better than what the Jets had last year.
RB- I actually like Thomas Jones and think he is an underrated player. If you put Jones and Leon Washington together behind a decent line, their rushing attack shouldn't be bad.
WR- Coles is a good receiver and I feel a lot of people outside the Fantasy football world don't appreciate J. Cotchery. The two starting receivers aren't bad, and now Fave could have a legit TE threat with his rookie keller out of Purdue. Bubba Franks was a decent player, but Keller is a speedy TE that can stretch the field. The Jets have also had a WR Clowney look real good in preseason. All in all, the offensive talent isn't that bad.

The run defense was terrible last year finishing 29th only to Denver, Miami and Oakland. The Jets have tried to bulk up the D by adding Gholston and Calvin Pace to David Harris' line backing core, and Kris Jenkins at NT.

The Jets certainly look better than a 4-12 team, but they figure to have an easy schedule this year. I still 100% do NOT think the Jets will make the playoffs and I wonder why Favre would come to this rebuilding team. Maybe he thinks they will clean up with that easier schedule?

The AFC could have division winners, NE, Pitt, Indy, and SD which would leave 2 remaining playoff spots left. That would mean that the Jets would have to finish 2nd out of the following to make the playoffs... Jax, Tenn, Hou, Den, Bal, Cincy, Cle, KC.

Now I know that there is a lot of fan interest in NY now for the Jets, but don't get carried away. Even with the easier schedule they still might not even finish 4th or 5th in that list.

Brett Favre has about 27 days to learn all of the Jets playbook and teammates, and that is a very difficult task to take on. I would love to place a bet in Las Vegas right now that says that the Jets will NOT make the playoffs as there are too many new pieces, too strong of a conference, and too many things to go wrong.

Brett Favre will have the entire NY media second guessing every interception he throws, and I hope for his sake there aren't a lot. My guess is that Favre plays this year, and next year and helps bring the Jets into the new stadium when Kellen Clemens could finally take over. If he wanted to play 3 or 4 more years, he has the physical tools to do so, but my guess is that he will give the Jets a shot for 2 years but with retirement talk after this year :)

Giants Trade Shockey

The Giants drafted Jeremy Shockey in the middle of the first round and enjoyed 6 productive seasons out of him. After 6 years they traded him away for a 2nd and 5th rounder. Sounds like a great deal to me.

02' = 15 games, 74 catches, 894 yards, 2 TD
03' = 9 games, 48 catches, 535 yards, 2 TD
04' = 15 games, 61 catches, 666 yards, 6 TD
05' = 15 games, 65 catches, 891 yards, 7 TD
06' = 15 games, 66 catches, 623 yards, 7 TD
07' = 14 games, 57 catches, 619 yards, 3 TD

A couple of points here...
- Shockey was not only a pass catcher who could stretch the field, he was also one of the top blocking tight ends in the league.
- I always felt like Shockey was a spark plug that helped, "turn things around" in 2002. His catches and reckless running style was fun to watch, but I could live without the childish penalties.
- Not only did the Giants use Shockey for 6 years, they got to use probably the BEST 6 years of his career because once he turns 30 you can expect some productivity decline.
- The Giants also had Shockey play on his cheaper rookie contract.

If you could draft a player, get 6 productive years and then trade him away for a decent package worth almost as much... that is good.

Now a lot of Giants fans are complaining, because Kevin Boss filled in ok, but he is a downgrade. I agree, however let's look at this a little differently.

What if the Giants aren't going to play a TE as much? What if we see more...
3 WR, 1FB, 1HB
4WR, 1 HB

The Giants have a number of playmakers at WR now, and Manning is effective in the Shotgun. He has looked very good in the "muddle huddle" and the Giants could run a higher pct of plays in the Shotgun to open up the offense.

Hedgecock is a good FB, so the Giants could at least run 3WR, 1 FB if they wanted to out of the I formation.

Sometimes I thought that having 2 loud pass catchers ( Shockey and Burress) along with a more mild Eli Manning was a very bad thing. If Shockey or Plax were open and didn't get the ball, they would whine incessantly to Manning on the way back to the huddle. In all reality Manning should have told them to just shut up and play. The huddle two years ago would have probably been even more crazy with the leader ( Tiki Barber) also being more mild while Shockey and Burress wanted the ball on every single play.

I also think that when you look at this trade, you have to look at WHO has the draft picks. We as fans view a Scott Pioli draft pick in New England different than a Matt Millen pick in Detroit. Gerry Reese has just taken over at GM and has already earned a lot of street credit with a fantastic draft last year. The Giants draft looked fantastic from top to bottom giving him a 2nd and 5th gives him an opportunity to stock the shelves with even more talent.

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