15 March 2006

Real Sports News

What is this NCAA tournament you speak of? I'm hearing folks throwing out phrases like "Sweet 16" and "Elite 8." That's the kind of thing 12 year old girls write about in their diaries, not the kind of thing grown men should be discussing. I'm also hearing about how many #2's will fall. I centainly hope all of my #2's fall. I just hope they don't splash me when they land. Here's some NFL news for those of us who only use brackets to hang shelves:

Daunte Cullpepper went to Miami: Miami got a pretty sweet deal for Cullpepper. I think they gave Minnesota a pack of playing cards. No word on whether the cards have pictures of semi-naked girls on them or not. This leaves Brad Johnson as the starting quarterback. Wasn't Brad Johnson the QB who was benched so that Minnesota could start the 89 year old Randall Cunningham back in 98? If Randall's a better QB than Johnson and Cullpepper is a better QB than Randall, doesn't that make Culpepper a better QB than Johnson?

Drew Brees went to New Orleans: Drew Brees is obviously a decent quarterback. I'd take him over Aaron Brooks right now. However, Aaron Brooks isn't too shabby a QB himself. I've often thought that all he needs is a change of venue to be a good QB again. I hope he gets it instead of sitting the bench behind Brees. The most interesting aspect of this deal is what will happen to the #2 draft spot. With Tennessee and NYJ both coveting that spot and Houston really wanting their #1 spot from what we can tell, New Orleans could come out like a bandit dealing it to the highest bidder.

Edgerrin James went to Arizona:
Q: Who was the only team in the NFL to finish in the top 10 on offense and defense last year?
A: Arizona.
I still have to wonder though about the wisdom of picking up an older running back instead of trying for someone young. It's not like they have a Cedric Benson waiting in the wings until he's ready to play NFL ball (EDIT: Oops, except for JJ Arrington that is. I even mention him later. My bad). Maybe they could bring Emmitt Smith back out of retirement to be his backup? But still, if they could run, they could make the playoffs. Maybe James could help them out with that but with excellent o-linemen like Witherspoon and that fella from KC who KC already resigned on the block this year, I think their efforts would've been better served going after o-line talent and sticking with Shipp and Arrington, who aren't that bad when they can find holes.


At 4:55 PM, Blogger Laddi said...

He's opened the floodgates.... Get ready.

It's undeniable. With the recent signing of LB Willie McGinest, the Browns have far and away blown everyone out of the water in terms of Free Agency overall quality and quantity (though Dan Snyder may have something to say by the time it's over). Arguably the #1 FA in any position Center LeCharles Brantley (SupahBrown) and former Falcons LT Kevin Shaffer fill two immediate needs and upgrade the Browns o-line, who first the first time in 20 years has produced a 1000-yard rusher. WR Joe Jurevicus brings the needed go-to man for those 3rd&9 3rd&5 situations. A man who has been to three Super Bowls with three different teams and an excellent number two opposite the young Braylon Edwards. (Injuries suck. Everyone has them.)

On defense, DT Ted Washington can occupy two gaps, instead of the no-gap ability of Jason Fisk. Sure he's old but he'll help the re-signed Andra Davis, and now signing OLB Willie McGinnest will provide a good core to the LB position. The Browns are finally in a position to draft for the future instead of the now. Still look for them to go for a LB or DE, but everything now is for depth, not immediate starters. That's the first in a looong time a Browns fan can say that. And for those naysayers who think the Browns are overpaying for has-beens or just-better-than-mediocre players , it's the new CBA; you can't compare past averages with a new market! Those teams with serious needs who don't fork over more in FA now will be the ones scrambling in the draft or pulling their hairs out later.

This FA season, from a Browns fan perspective, is much better than the wait-n-wait approach taken by previous coaches and other organizations (Detroit, New Orleans, Buffalo).

PS - I promise my next post will not be on the Browns FA but other signings around the league. However, you have to admit the Browns have made the largest moves, though not necessarily the ones with the most talking points.

At 5:39 PM, Blogger Laddi said...

Quick Hits. I would put a link on each one, but that's time consuming.

1) Seattle did good re-signing Shaun Alexander and Rocky Benard. No reason they couldn't do it. But now they have a big decision as:

2) Minnesota is making some serious movement. Seattle could have their Guard-Tackle tandem split if they don't match Minny's 7 year, $49 million offer to guard Steve Hutchinson. If Minny gets their man, look of Chester Taylor, signed out of Baltimore, to make a big splash.

Not that Minny needed another RB. And briefly back to Seattle, possession receivers may be a dime-a-dozen (maybe) but not three-time SB receivers.

3) Trading Culpepper away was just the right thing. Malcontents never help a team, and a QB who's unhappy must get the boot. Miami got their franchise QB for a cheap price (2nd round pick).

4) Back to Baltimore, re-signing Jamal Lewis was the craziest thing they could have done, but they made up for it by grabbing big boy Mike Anderson.

Picking up Trevor Pryce was a nice steal, too for the Ratbirds.

5) But they couldn't keep their defensive anchor, Maake Kemoeatu who went to Carolina. Carolina may be scary good on defense... again.

6) Denver is inexplicable. Re-signing Warren over Pryce and keeping Dayne over Mike Anderson. Shanny's drunk. Can't say too much though, because last year everyone thought the Donkeys would be the defensive laughing stock after acquiring the Browns' d-line en masse. Oh, contraire.

Re-signing tackle Lepsis was a good move, though.

7) What will the Super Bowl champions Stoolers do now that they've lost veteran Jerome Bettis to retirement and are losing DE von Oelhoffen and safety Chris Hope. I don't think the loss of Hope is as bad the loss of von Oelhoffen. Hope didn't really produce that well and missed tackles, but you can't replaced a Kimo very easily, especially this late in FA.

9) But when teams like the Jets are offering a 3-year, $9 million deal, what can you do?

10) And Chris Hope's departure was filled by the signing of Ryan Clark. Not that that signing is significant, but it brings me to the Redskins.

I was upset at the signing of Safety Archuleta, who made Clark expendible. I was hoping he'd be donning the orange-n-brown. That's about the beginning and end of the good moves the Redskins have made.

Signing former Steeler Randle El does nothing for them, given that they just gave a first day pick for this year and a 4th rounder in next year's draft for.... Brandon Lloyd?! Don't they already have Patten and Moss? Aren't all these guys like 5'11'' and sub-200?? This isn't Madden, Snyder.

11) Lions did good. Kitna will make a good QB once he learns that system. They also signed journey man Shaun King...yawn. Oh, and they acquired another... receiver... didn't they just spend two first-round picks on receivers??? But they did re-sign Kalimba Edwards. Okay, they'll still suck. I said it.

12) Finally, bugles please, if you will, Taps.

Drew Brees has killed his career accepting an offer to play with New Orleans for the next SIX YEARS. Wow. What a botched job he did. The man had Miami in his sights, outpriced himself, and then watches the man in Minny wheel a trade, in essence the football version of cock-blocking. When you play cat-n-mouse, sometimes you get bitten. Let hope this means good things for Horn though for us fantasy football geeks.

13) The Giants may finally stop someone's passing game this season, as they FINALLY secure, not one but, TWO good servicable Cornerbacks. Good for them.

No notes on TO, Keyshawn, Aaron Brooks, that stupid liquored kicker, or the James deal this time. I'm not a "10-minute" man. Gotta pace myself.

At 5:45 PM, Blogger Laddi said...

"However, Aaron Brooks isn't too shabby a QB himself. I've often thought that all he needs is a change of venue to be a good QB again."

That's what they said about Tim Couch, Akili Smith, Kordell, Trent Dilfer, and will be saying about Joey Harrington, Carr, and possibly Charlie Frye. And while it's worked okay with Jake Plummer, Trent Green, and Delhomme, I'm not holding my breath on Brooks. But who knows.

At 8:35 AM, Blogger Dante said...

That might've been what they said about those QBs but I've never uttered such nonsense about those QBs. I've been saying Kordell is WAY over-hyped ever since he first donned a Steelers uniform. I've never though much of the rest of your list. The only positive point I've ever made is that as good as Baltimore's D was, they really didn't need to get rid of Dilfer.

I really think Cleveland messed up pickin up Shaffer. I've been watching him for a while and outside of a chop-block scheme, he is near worthless. Not Bob Whitfields worthless, but pretty close.

At 11:22 AM, Blogger S.A.W.B. said...

"That's what they said about Tim Couch, Akili Smith, Kordell, Trent Dilfer, and will be saying about Joey Harrington, Carr, and possibly Charlie Frye. And while it's worked okay with Jake Plummer, Trent Green, and Delhomme, I'm not holding my breath on Brooks. But who knows."

Frye hasn't had time enough as a starter to make that call yet. Harrington has been saddled with completely inept personnel decisions so far, and Carr hasn't been able to stay upright long enough. Brooks has the double whammy going against him right now - Happy feet and a horrific case of the yips. He needs a year sitting behind someone to get his head together.

If I had to rank those three guys who have actually had enough chances to start, as to who might still make it as a pro-QB, I'd go Carr, Harrington, Brooks.

As far as drafting goes, I still say Houston needs to shop that pick to the Jets, move down to 4, and take D'Brickshaw Fergson to watch David Carr's backside. That'll do more for their offense than an army of Reggie Bushes

At 1:25 PM, Blogger Laddi said...

I think they should take DaBrick at #1, I don't care how much the #1 pick should be paid...

Oh, and I agree that Frye hasn't played enough to be shipped out yet. However, I don't see how Mr. Small Hands will fare once his legs get older or injured. His mobility makes him a very servicable QB at this time.

Shaffer had nothing good to say about Atlanta. Sure, that's expected, but there has to be a little truth in there.

Lastly, Miami not only gave Minny a pack of playing cards for Culpepper, but they already opened it, took out the bubble gum and THEN gave it to Minny.

I'm saying this with all honesty, I'm surprised Baltimore hasn't called Aaron Brooks agent. Maybe they have and could say anything until he was formally released (yesterday). I'm not saying he'd improve their team to playoff status, but he's better than Boller.

By the way, what's Atlanta waiting for in replacing Shaffer? Are they looking at the draft for help? What's up?

At 6:33 PM, Blogger Dante said...

I wouldn't be surprised if Atlanta will be looking at the draft for help. Atlanta has for about the past 10 years run one of the smallest offensive lines in football. It's one of the few teams an NFL rookie could conceivably start while only bulking up what he can over the summer. I can't recall a situation where that has happened though.

Another big factor is that Atlanta (like Denver before them) believes their O-line is a product of their system rather than the individual talent on the line. They may think they can pull someone off the bench and have them perform similarly (thoughI don't know who).

I completely glossed over Carr on that list. Yeah, I think Carr could be decent if we weren't getting sacked 45 times out of 40 snaps. I swear sometimes I though the play was over and there he goes getting sacked again on his way to the huddle.

If I were a team choosing between Brooks, Harrington, and Carr, I'd probably go Brooks, Carr, Harrington. I think that some decent QB coaching can lick most of Brooks' bad habits. Carr may actually be a better QB but I haven't seen enough to really know. I do know that if I do make Carr my QB, he's calling his own plays. The idea might seem a bit outdated but he has about a 101 QB rating when calling his own plays. He's done it twice in the NFL and both were wins. Harrington is and always will be worthless (and here I do mean in the Bob Whitfield kind of way). That's his pennance for rushing, passing, and receiving a TD during his last bowl game in college.

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Laddi said...

What are the Falcons' biggest needs? I think a deep-ball WR has been one for a while, but where else do the men in black need help? DT? DE (right side)? OLB? What are you looking for from the Falcons come draft time?

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Dante said...

They certainly need help at WR. I like Brian Finneran but there's no way he should be the team's #1 receiver. He's incredibly clutch but not incredibly dependable on a play-by-play basis, hence his hopping on and off the bench. I hope Roddy White can make an impact this year but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Everything behind the line of scrimmage on defense could use some depth. The Falcons had a lot of defensive injuries last year that really highlighted how shallow they are on D. I don't see any defenseive acquisitions being a bad thing. I also didn't see some of their defensive cuts as being a bad thing.

An oft-overlooked need in Atlanta is a good 3rd string QB. Schaub will be gone as soon as he can. He's played too good (even in games he's lost) against high profile teams to stick around on the bench for Atlanta, even though he will get a lot of playing time due to the nature of Vick's QB style. (A nice way of saying he gets hurt too much.)

Is Duckett still on the roster? The rumor was that he would be getting a pink slip but I don't know how grounded that rumor was. Personally, I think Justin Griffith has more potential to be a short yardage back if they can get a decent backup FB to work with him. I've never been too impressed by McCrary.

I'd like to see Atlanta acquire players in this order:

1. Secondary of any kind
2. WR
3. LB
4. QB #3
5. O-Linemen (never can have too many of those laying around.)
6. Young RB
7. Somebody from UGA on the team. It'd sure be nice to not have to constantly look as far away as Pittsburg, Cinci, and NE to see what's up with former UGA players.

Now that I've said all of this, it is and has always been my personal opinion that NFL teams should take the best athlete available at their draft spot, despite positional needs. Then again, I've always been a big believer in molding your system around your players. Modern NFL coaches don't like this approach because they don't look smart that way and can't tout the power of their "system" (and therefore themselves).

At 3:49 PM, Blogger S.A.W.B. said...

I'll slot the Birds' draft like this -

1 - LB/CB - depending on who's the best available at the time. Laywer Milloy signing with the Birds today lightens the load in the backfield some. We need another MLB to provide depth, if nothing else.

2 - DE - Edge rusher has to be a priority here, assuming the John Abraham deal stalls.

3 - OL - Should be good depth available here still

4 - RB/WR/Ret - this is where they go get Warrick Dunn's backup. It wouldn't hurt if the guy was able to do kickoff/punt returns as well.

5 - QB - Grab one of the big arm, mobile projects here.

6 - LB - This was the biggest injury area last year. Needs more depth.

7 - whatever flavor of special teamer they can find.

At 12:27 PM, Blogger Laddi said...

Dante, you asked for any secondary help and you got it. Word now is the Falcons have dealt their 4th round pick to the Browns for FS Chris Crocker. I've watched Crocker and, while he has youth being a 4th year pro from Marshall, experience and enthusiasm, he's still needs serious development. Three INTs in 44 games? At least they didn't spend too much on him, though. He's servicable, but I don't see how it's an upgrade.

Other news:
1) I refuse to talk about TO. He's a Cowboy now. WR isn't their only issue.

2) John Abraham. The Falcons will get him. The issue is what will they have to give as compensation. After round 1, the Falcons draft will be quite boring...

3) Aaron Brooks to the Raiders? I'm sure Moss is licking his chops at the thought... Just a rumor though. Maybe Atlanta trades Schaub and then gets Brooks to back up his cousin in the ATL.

4) I like Ramsey to the Jets. I think it's a good place to restart for him.

5) The Saints are building an offense! Too bad they have to battle it out in the toughest division right now: the NFC South. Bar none, the NFC South is most BRUTAL division, with the AFC West being a close second (Oakland is their only drag).

6) Denver, stop taking the Browns' ex-defense. I know you got our d-line coach after Botch Dufus left, but seriously...

At 3:39 PM, Blogger Dante said...

You're barking up the wrong tree talking to me about INTs. Have you seen Atlanta's secondary over the past 5 years? Ever since Wade Philips took over offense (even now that he's gone), the Falcons have been playing a very high stakes game. They get the INT or they give up a TD. They make the sack or they give up the bomb. I don't know anything about Crocker but if he's worth it enough for Atlanta to deal for, that 4 INTs over 44 games looks like a good thing. I've also seen that the Falcons are jockeying for Lawyer Milloy but I'm a little hesitant to see Atlanta pick up another Buffalo player.

Trade Schaub? If so, I hope it's because they know they won't be able to afford keeping him. I'd hate to see him leave the roster just to make room for Brooks.

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Laddi said...

More FA items:
1) Brooks IS a Raider. There goes their season.

2) Vinatieri as a Colt. What's that they saying? If you can't beat 'em, steal their MVP? (Shaddup, Pat fans. Without Vini, you wouldn't have 2 of your three rings, Brady be damned.)

3) Seattle loses Hutchinson (bush decision by the arbitor), but gain Julian Peterson at a hefty price tag. However, the Postons say he's "As good as New!"


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