There are two ways NFL head coaches and general managers build professional football franchises capable of winning Super Bowls, and patience seems to be the only variable between them. Teams can build for the future to win consistently or mortgage the future to win now. Some teams, such as the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots refuse to make large sweeping personnel moves; rather they continuously find value in each free agent signing and draft pick. The Colts or Patriots will never package a heap of draft picks to move up in round one to get that "need to have player" necessary to win a Super Bowl.
On the other hand, some teams cling to hopes of winning a Super Bowl this year and choose to mortgage their future to achieve that end. For example, the Jaguars traded away their first round pick, two thirds, and a fourth-round draft pick to acquire
Although the Giants are the reigning Super Bowl champs, they are not a franchise built for the future. They will not be a dynasty. Teams that are consistently successful (as measured by their ability to compete for Super Bowls) always have two things in common: an elite QB and a consistent top 5 ranking on offense or defense. The two dominant professional football franchises of the new millennium have been the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots. The Colts have an elite quarterback in Peyton Manning and have been consistently ranked in the top 5 in total offense for the past several years. The Patriots also have a superstar quarterback in Tom Brady, and last year (in their bid for perfection) were ranked tops in the league in total offense – prior to that, for the past several years, it was their defense that was ranked among the best in the NFL. The dynasties of the 1990’s, the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys, boasted the same. Denver had their elite quarterback in Elway and a top 5 offense (and in 1997, a top 5 defense, too).
So if the formula for consistent success is a team with an elite quarterback and a top five ranking on one side of the ball, where do the Saints stack up right now? While Drew Brees may not be in the same category as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, few would argue that he has not been an elite NFL quarterback the past two seasons. Last year he finished behind only Brett Favre and Tom Brady (but ahead of Peyton Manning) in passing yards; and in 2006, he led the entire league. While the Saints no longer boast the Dome Patrol defense, the team has had no issues finding offensive success over the past two seasons. They finished first in the league in total offense in 2006 and fifth in 2005. In common with past NFL dynasties, the Saints have an elite QB and a consistent top-five offense. With Sean Payton calling the plays for a team whose offensive starters average 27 years of age (25 for their three big playmakers, Brees, Colston, and Bush), it's safe to assume that there will be little if any drop-off in total offense over the next several years. The Saints window of opportunity is just beginning to open.
So far, however, even with those pieces, the Saints have failed to make it to the big game, which is less than every one of our division rivals can say.
Teams that have the necessary ingredients do not have to make rash personnel decisions in order to remain competitive. They can be more patient. Recently, in negotiating with the New York Giants for tight-end Jeremy Shockey, the Saints proved they are not willing to mortgage their future; rather they exhibited the patience necessary to build a dynasty. The team made a fair offer for the tight end during the draft, but was rebuked.
In the last two cases, teams have made personnel decisions that will put them behind the eight ball for the future all in hopes of competing for the playoffs this season. Why?
I understand that many Saints fans would rather just make the big game like
As the 2008 season approaches, Saints fans should know that they cheer for a team that is very close to exploding through the weak NFC ranks. They follow an organization that is finally doing it the right way. The men running the show (Loomis and Payton) are building this team for the long haul, not the short. The Saints have their elite quarterback, Drew Brees, and one of the NFL’s top five offenses – and neither appears to be going away any time soon. Those are the two things dynasties are built upon. Rather than selling out for now, our front office is putting in for later. Fans should enjoy the ride – the next five years will be the best Saints history may have to offer.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Ki-Jana Carter, Ron Dayne, Curtis Enis, Maurice Clarett, and T.J. Ducket -- all successful Big-Ten running backs turn busts in the NFL. Perhaps Beanie Wells will be different -- more like Eddie George. But why would we want to gamble on it?
In Payton's offense, we average just over 20 carries per game. In 2009, I think PT gets 12, Bush gets 8, and newly acquired Heath Evans gets 3-4. If we draft Beanie, how many carries are there for him? Does he move PT down to 5 carries a game and Bush down to 5? So he gets at most 10? (Probably not). How much better off are we then on offense? Do we REMAIN the #1 offense in the NFL, but separate from whichever team is 2nd best? Or, are you Beanie lovers just envisioning us controlling the clock late in games (and in that way help the defense)?
It is horribly irresponsible to think that Beanie is the direction we should go at pick # 14. Any indirect (positive) effect that drafting Wells would have on our defense pales in comparison to a direct effect that drafting a defensive player would have. Beanie will not get us over the hump. A better defense will. There will be a good defensive player available at pick #14. It's not my job to know who that guy is -- it's Loomis, Payton, and Williams. Whoever they think that is -- they better pick him.
Sure, some will state that although we had the best STATISTICAL offense last year, it did not look like that on many occasions. At times, we struggled to move the ball consistently and failed to convert several key third downs. Again, this is true -- but don't get lost in those details. The struggles on offense (in particular the running game) was the smallest of many reasons we digressed in 2008.
Again, the benefit to drafting Beanie -- a more effective inside running game, allowing Reggie to be more of a "factor back" by contributing in the passing game and on special teams, yada yada -- pales in comparison to the benefits earned by taking an impact player at a position of core need (not situational need -- defined by the fact that Beanie Wells would be one of 3 contributing RB's). Ask yourself who deserves to be on the bench more; Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush... or Scott "the ghost" Shanle? Wouldn't you rather that the Saints put themselves in a position to win games in multiple ways (offense, defense, and special teams). Right now, all of their eggs are in one basket (offense). If they draft Beanie, they are just buying more of the same stock. They need to address more fundamental weaknesses prior to further strengthening that which is already strong. They have been adding strong building blocks in the front of their defense (Ellis, Vilma, etc.) It's time the Saints complete the defensive puzzle.
So who should they draft? Brian Cushing? Malcolm Jenkins? Vontae Davis? Peria Jerry? I don't know -- pick the one you like. Just don't take Chris "Beanie" Wells.
Monday, March 30, 2009
I know there has been a lot of talk the last few weeks about drafting a RB, but I really don't see that happening. I think that's option C or D for the Saints. I think they have 2 defensive players that they are comfortable taking at 14. If those are gone, I think we try to trade down. If we can't and Beanie is there, I think we take him -- but that scenario is unlikely and I just don't see it happening. In general, I feel that Loomis and Payton will give Greg Williams the keys to the car in the first round (this season), because I think that they think they just can't get the defense wrong AGAIN. Williams' success should be very important to them -- more important than drafting "Deuce's replacement." If that's true, take a look at the following:
From 1997 - 2008, Greg Williams has had 11 first-round picks (out of 12 drafts). 8 of the 11 first-round picks have been spent on defense:
1997 -- Kenny Holmes (DE, Miami) 18th pick, average career - no longer playing.
1999 -- Javon Kearse (DE, Florida) 16th pick, we know him -- was pretty good
2000 -- Kieth Bulluck (LB, Syracuse) 30th pick, know him too -- ditto
2001 -- Nate Clements (CB, Ohio State) 21st pick, I know, I know...
2004 -- Sean Taylor (S, Miami) 5th pick, May he rest in peace
2005 -- Carlos Rodgers (CB, Auburn) 9th pick, Aweseome 2nd year, got hurt in 2007
2007 -- Laron Landry (S, LSU) 6th pick, Is he any good?
2008 -- Derrick Harvey (DE, Florida) 8th pick, Mediocre / poor start last year. Will start in '09.
A total of 3 DE's, 2 CB's, 2 S's, and 1 LB were drafted be Williams-led defenses.
He really had some good defensive picks from 1999 - 2001 (and many of them were late first rounders). Recently, he's had success too, but admittedly, it's hard not to when you've picked in the top 10 four of the last five years.
Based on the above info, it looks like he drafts defensive personnel to do two things:
1.) Pressure the passer (3 DE's drafted), and 2.) Cover a lot of ground (i.e. speed) in the secondary (4 S/CB drafted). That could rule Jenkins out, since he's a bit slower and Williams seems to have drafted true safeties and true corners in the past -- I could also be reading too much into it that. The sample size is admittedly small. Secondly, there is a possibility that we go after a tweener OLB/DE that can rush the passer like Aaron Maybin or Brian Orakpo -- especially when you consider that both of our starting DE's are staring 4 game suspensions in the face. But then again, we just signed Paul Spicer to pair with McCray and Savage, so that route also seems unlikely. Williams' draft history suggest players like cornerback Vontae Davis and safeties Louis Delmas and William Moore are more likely picks. They all have speed and play true safety/corner positions. However, the moves we have made suggest that we have already filled needs at those 2 positions (Greer and Sharper) and should target an OLB in the draft.
I think I return to my original assumption that an OLB seems most probable (i.e Cushing). Although, based on Williams draft history, Davis and Delmas won't go away -- and I am not so sure they should.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
a lot of this is hype from a times pic writer, but you can't help but get excited about gregg williams:
Yea, it sounds like it, and we definitely need one, but who? If we make a FA acquisition, who do we let go? If we draft a young safety, can we really start him from the get-go? And who would we take at 14 now anyway?
I have no idea how this is going to play out
You still take a hit when you cut someone though, so even though we are cutting some guys, we are still going to be on the hook for some of that. Plus, we have a lot of backloaded contracts that are going to count more against the cap than they did last year. Even though we have some FA's who likely won't be re-signed, I still don't see how we get any big name guys. Jeff Duncan said it as well - we are not going to make any big acquisitions unless we give some guys up.
All of this = Saints F.I.T.B.
I meant, We have backloaded contracts on guys we are not cutting, which is part of the reason we are in so much trouble.
about the draft (i.e. William Moore, S Mizzou) and Reggie...
sounds like Bullocks. THat's exactly what the report on him was
yep. combine that with his play on an overrated team/conference, and i'm not a big fan.
"while he is fairly reliable as an open-field tackler, he does not play with a mean streak and he lacks power as a hitter. He will get erased too easily when teams run at him and he rarely supports with reckless abandon."
yeah this guy is worthless
yeah under coach payton we play such a tough brand of football that i can't imagine drafting a guy whose description sounds very much like the guy that sean payton has tried to make centerpiece of our offense the last three years (maybe he will finally figure it out that reggie isn't like the LT of two years ago .....but rather like gil fenerty without the heart)
Your hatred for all things Reggie has completely blinded you to what the guy can do. From now on, any time I see the word "Reggie" in something you write, I'm just going to skip that paragraph and assume it says "waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa reggie booooooooosh, waaaaaaaaaaa. I thought you were going to be marshall Faulk, LT and Brandon Jacobs all in one. waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. why didnt you win us the superbowl reggie? waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa"
now that's what i am talking about!!! a little heat into the board....of course, you misinterpreted what the dowg said....i didn't criticize reggie; i criticized his head coach for how he used reggie. i think you'll agree with me, counselor, that reggie's best year was his first when he was used as a complement to a different style running back....or the lightning part of a "thunder and lightning" package...or the "change of pace"....or the "left-jab after the big right hook" or whatever the hell you, fine counselor, would want to say
but now he is somehow expected to be those guys that you mentioned "all in one"...and all saints fans, even ones who sit closely and comfortably to the field in the club section, would readily admit that mr. bush cannot possibly be expected to thunder, lightning, and driving rainfall all in one..it is simply not a part of his makeup and it is counterproductive to what makes him special. after all, who on this fine email list would dare to say that mr. bush has been "special" the past 2 years like he was his first....any takers gentleman?
in fact, dude, if you ask the father of 2 among us, he will tell you that i am in fact a reggie apologist.
I really don't think Payton is asking Reggie to be an all-in-one type of back. BUT, I think Payton has to run him up the middle from time to time to keep defenses honest. And it was starting to work. He had a huge carry right up the gut against Carolina just before getting hurt.
It's easy to bash Payton's play-calling. It's actually fashionable lately. But repeat this to yourself 3 times - We have the best offense in football.
Now, even I will acknowledge that some of those stats are skewed because of games where we threw up points in garbage time like it was going out of style. But, we are easily top 5 in the league, and whether you like it or not, Payton's play calling plays a role in it.
And here is the thing about his play calling - He can't win. Either he runs it on 3rd and 1 and we can't pick it up and everyone throws a fit because he ran the play everyone just knew he would run, or he tries something tricky and everyone gets pissed because he's "overthinking" it, or he gets the ball to Reggie in the flat and everyone gets mad because "we always go to Reggie" and everyone amazingly knew that would happen too.
Newsflash - Sean P is a good coach and a good play caller and the Saints offense will again be dominant next year. The season is in the hands of the Front Office (and whoever they can bring in via free agency and the draft) and Greg Williams.
As for Moore... I have never seen the dude play - all I'm saying is, that was the scouting report on Bullocks. Bullocks was labeled a ball-hawk, not extremely fast, and not a big hitter, a guy who just made plays. Well, we have all see the plays Josh Bullocks makes for the Saints, and they typically involve him making the good ole college try at tackling a wide receiver who beat him deep.
I agree with this:
"We may have gone 8-8 last year, but it wasn't because Payton couldn't call a play to pick up one yard on third down; it wasn't because Payton talked Loomis into trading for Shockey; it wasn't because Jason David and Usama Young couldn't cover a nine-route; and it wasn't because Gary Gibbs was a bad D-Coordinator. It was because Deuce didn't return as the same RB he was in '06, and it was because Colston missed half the year, and it was because Shockey played with a sac on his ass, and it was because Porter and McKenzie were not there to do their job, and it was because to many people were injured for Gary Gibbs to effectively do his."
On the other hand, we keep Hester from getting behind us and Smith from catching that prayer Delhomme threw into triple coverage, and we should be 10-6.
So while I agree with everything you said, Scott, I also think sometimes it just boils down to the fact that winning teams win, and losing teams lose. At no point was this more obvious than when the Pats went 11-5 without the best qb in the league.
So maybe we just need a little, or maybe we need an entirely new attitude, culture, scheme, personnel, etc... After seeing what the Cardinals have done this year, I just don't know anymore.
i think atogwe would be nice b/c he's the best player available at the most obvious position of need, and the draft that is relatively weak at that position. but i don't want to dismantle our team to get him. we need to re-sign vilma, stinchcomb, evans, and moore. we don't need patten, devery, or deuce. if we can do all of that and make enough cap room to get atogwe, i'd be thrilled. if not, we need to figure out how to address that position in another way.
i'm not part of this loser's lament. i like our team, our coach, and our qb; and i think we are close. i do think that we will only be close for as long as brees is in his prime, which is probably 3-4 more years. i'm prepared for some dark years after that; but if we can get 1 superbowl, just one, i'd embrace those dark years like big bird embraces tickle me elmo (inside joke -- Section123SaintsFan is referred to as Big Bird... long story).
gentleman with all of this talk i know there is certainly one man smiling.....his name is tom benson cuz he knows that the bumper stickers with the fresh company slogans are being put on the cars for next year. for a team that has been horribly disappointing the past two seasons, i would think yall are talking about the patriots here. notice that no matter how you spin it.....we are still holding onto the same nonsense that we have been saying since the ditka years..."we are really really close"
hey, at least it's not the haslett days when we'd beat the super bowl champion rams and lose to the 1-15 bengals in the same year!
Great stat dude, but let me get this straight - we beat more bad teams than good teams, and we lost to more good teams than bad teams? And taking that a step further, if I dare, we were better than bad teams and worse than good teams?
In other news, the sun came up this morning, taxes are due on April 15, and there is still no cure for cancer.
Now look, I'm not trying to be a dick (it just happens....), but I don't care that we mostly beat the teams we were supposed to beat and lost to the ones we were supposed to lose to. Every season for every single NFL team that is even close to a contender comes down to a few plays. You just have to put the right guys in the right spots and hope it works out. Every team is always a year away (see: the Dolphins, Falcons, and Cardinals this season). Don't try to crush our hope because we have been close before and not gotten it. We're close again, and the difference this time, is that I believe in this staff and this team, and you wanna know why??
Because We aint talkin Aaron Brooks and Jeff Blake - we talkin Drew Brees.
And that's enough for me.
Friday, July 18, 2008
There’s no denying that the Saints sucked ass in 2007. They were terrible. 2006 was a fluke resulting from nobody taking them seriously. 2007 exposed the Saints for what they are, a slightly-below-average team with a great QB, exactly one legit wideout, no running game and no defense whatsoever.
So why is it that I’m about to deny all of that?
Could it be because it’s bullshit?
Or is it because I’m a homer? Actually, it’s plenty of both. But let’s focus on the former. Read it all...
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. For the Tampa Bay Bucs, last year was one of those times.
Oh, they were good too. They were about as good defensively as the Saints were offensively. That in and of itself qualifies as pretty "lucky", given that half their defense remembers the Taft administration and the other half doesn’t remember the Reagan administration.
But even more than that, Zeus must really have a boner for Fabulous Jeff, a guy who was spanked by Grover Cleveland on two non-consecutive occasions. Either that or Hera was really trying to stick it to Ganymede. Read it all...
Friday, July 11, 2008
Last year at QB, the Pants started Jake Delhomme, David Carr, Matt Moore, Vinny Testaverde, Rodney Peete, Dameyune Craig, Jack Trudeau, Frank Reich, Steve Beuerlein, and Steve Bono. It got so bad, they were pretty close to calling Chris Weinke. Yikes.
But this year? Jake’s back, bitches! With one of those stringy, impossible-to-chew parts from a Bojangles™ Brand drumstick grafted onto his throwing elbow. And Jeff Otah! And Jonathan Stewart! And the Pants are going to RESTORE THE ROAR this fall! Or something. Right? Read it all...
This just in: The Falcons still blow.
But hey, five to eight years from now? Watch out, bitches! Atlanta’s got themselves a brand spankin’ new "face of the franchise" in the form of… another overrated ACC quarterback with two first names.
There have been rumors that the selection of Matt Ryan was a big misunderstanding in the first place. Evidently the Falcons’ rep actually told Herr Goodell that they wanted to select Glenn Dorsey, but Goodell thought he said "The Next Ken Dorsey." ...Read it all.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Some people I love/hate will be taken in the first round, some people will be taken much later. This is not a ranking, but merely my suggestion if a certain player is being overvalued or undervalued relative to his early suggested draft position by other major publications. And as always, I will try not to present the obvious -- that will be left to everyone else.
So here it goes:
Wide Receivers I Love (i.e. think are undervalued):
1.) Braylon Edwards (BROWNS) -- Last year, he made the jump in to elite status, and this year, nothing is changing. Cleveland has stuck with Derrick Anderson over Brady Quinn, and Edwards should continue to flourish and build upon his 1,289 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns in '07. And that's not even why I like him. Edwards finished as the #3 fantasy wideout last season in ESPN's standard scoring format, behind only Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. However, early projections aren't treating him as such. Many are grouping Edwards in an early-middle tier that includes Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Smith, etc. That said, Edwards should be available a round (possibly two) after guys like Moss, Owens, and Wayne get picked; and, he has a very good chance of posting numbers equal to or better than the numbers the "big three" put up. Cleveland's offensive line is one of the better lines in the NFL and, even if Jamal Lewis isn't great again, Anderson will have all the time he needs to find Edwards early and often. Also, Stallworth's presence as a deep threat should only serve to occupy opposing secondaries so they cannot consistently double-team Edwards -- they will be forced to respect Stallworth's speed by keeping a safety over the top. While others waste a first rounder on one of the "big three," you can afford to wait until the 2nd or 3rd to get a guy who has a realistic shot at ending 2008 as the best wide-receiver in fantasy football. Besides, who are you people that take wide receivers in the first round? It's bad form.
2.) Chad Johnson (BENGALS) -- Do I like Chad? No. Would I want him on the Saints roster? Never. Do I think he needs to grow up? You know it. But will he be on any of my fantasy teams this year? Absolutely. Chad Johnson's value has never been lower... and never will be. I was reading several listings of various WR rankings, and nearly all of them had Johnson's teammate, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, ranked ahead of the disgruntled wide receiver. I actually have T.J. in my keeper league, but couldn't help laughing at the fact that other "experts" projected him ahead of Johnson for 2008. We all know that Johnson had an off-year last year; yet he still managed to finish as the 6th-best wide reciever in ESPN's standard scoring format (one spot ahead of Houshyourmama). Last year, Johnson was tabbed by nearly every publication as a top 5 wideout, now he's not even breaking the top ten. It's happened before with Owens and Moss -- there fantasy stock has dropped because of their on-field antics -- and now it's happening with Chad Johnson. Johnson is still one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL, he still has one of the best QB's throwing the ball to him, and he still has the benefit of playing with a very good offense line. Now you tell me that I can get him for half the price? Thanks... I'll take him.
3.) David Patten (SAINTS) -- Ok, how many people's eyebrows are raised right now? If you're confused, let me explain. I think David Patten has a good chance of being the 2008 "light" version of Wes Welker. The Saints were the only team to throw more than the New England Patriots did last season -- Brees attempted a mind-boggling 652 passes in '07. Even if running back Deuce McAlister returns to health, past experience says Sean Payton will continue to call passes and Drew Bress will continue to chunk it. So why not like the #2 option for a team that is likely to lead the league in pass attempts? Last year, despite only landing a starting job midway through the season, Patten managed to finish ahead of Amani Toomer and Donte Stallworth (and just behind receivers such as Donald Driver, Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson, and Laveranues Coles). Now, Patten will start alongside Marques Colston from day one. We all know how good a potent offense's #2 receiver can be (see Wes Welker, T.J. Housh, and Reggie Wayne -- although he's now the Colts #1.) Admittedly, at 33 years-old, Patten will never be as good as the aforementioned wide receivers, but that doesn't mean he can't help your fantasy team. After settling in to the starting role last season, Patten finished with 54 catches, 792 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Assuming he keeps the #2 role all season (which I think he will), it's not hard to envision a campaign with 70 catches, 1000 yards, and 6 touchdowns (that's just 16 more catches, 208 more yards, and 3 more touchdowns from last year). Don't be scared off by the rumors saying that Robert Meachem will take the #2 role this year -- it's very unlikely he will do so. He did not play one down last year. In 2008, which is basically his rookie season, Meachem may pass up Devery Henderson as Drew Brees' third option, but he shouldn't threaten Patten's hold on the starting spot opposite Colston. Down the stretch, Brees developed a trust in the veteran receiver which figures only to be enhanced with a second off-season of work together. And get the real reason I love Patten: he's getting no respect in fantasy rankings. ESPN.com has Patten ranked #56 in it's WR rankings for 2008. If you buy what I'm selling, that's way too low. I think he's going to finish in the top 30 and wouldn't be shocked if he rose higher than that. That's starter material as a borderline #2 fantasy wideout, and if you're in a league that starts 3 WR's, he's a no brainer as your #3 WR. While others start taking mid to late-round flyers on Bernard Berrian, Donte Stallworth, and Patrick Crayton, you sit tight and wait for Patten. You will be glad you did.
Wide Receivers I hate (i.e. think are overvalued):
1.) Greg Jennings (PACKERS) -- In hoping to land the next Braylon Edwards, many fantasy football experts will undoubtedly tab a pool of young wide-receivers that have the potential to take a huge leap into "elite" status in 2008. Among them, you're certain to hear names including Greg Jennings, Santonio Holmes, and Brandon Marshall. Unfortunately, for Jennings, he is the least likely too emerge a stud in 2008. In fact, I think he will digress significantly this season. Last year, you may be surprised to know that Jennings didn't lead his team in receptions (he only had 53 catches to Donald Driver's 82), nor did he eclipse 1,000 yards receiving (he only had 920 yards to Driver's 1,048). Amazingly, he was able to finish last year as the #11 overall WR in standard soring formats (I would bet he didn't fare as well in PPR leagues). So how did he do it? One reason -- touchdowns. In 2007, Jennings caught a ton of them. In fact, out of Favre's 28 touchdown passes last year, 12 went to Jennings. Unfortunately for Jennings, Favre retired this off-season and Green Bay has moved on to Aaron Rodgers (...recently, reports indicate that Favre may return, which could send this entire analysis down the pipe, but for now let's assume that Favre remains retired or plays somewhere besides Green Bay in 2008). Rodgers will be hard pressed to throw for 20 touchdowns, much less 28, and Jennings will likely not see the same percentage of them. If you follow, that puts him around 6-7 touchdowns at best. Even if he gets the same amount of catches and yards, his numbers would read 53, 920, and 7. Hardly numbers worthy of the draft pick you will need to forfeit to acquire him. After Jennings goes, wait another 2 rounds and take Driver. He's a better route-runner, will probably finish with better numbers than Jennings, and most importantly, you're getting a better value.
2.) Larry Fitzgerald (CARDINALS) -- This one is a little tougher to call because I believe that Fitz is one of the most talented (perhaps the most talented) young receiver in the NFL. Out of all the young studs scattered around NFL rosters, Fitzgerald reminds me most of Jerry Rice. He's not the fastest or tallest, but he's got the best hands and is, perhaps, the smartest (call it receiving I.Q.). I don't want this to look like a "man crush," so let me tell you why I don't like him. Part of what made Jerry Rice great was the fact that he had the luxury of working with two of the finest QB's in NFL history in Joe Montana and Steve Young. Unfortunately for Fitzgerald, he will be expected to catch passes from Matt Leinart in 2008. Early rumblings out of Arizona are that Leinart, not Kurt Warner, will start and get every opportunity to succeed (he was, afterall, a top 10 pick, and top 10 picks are not easily cast aside). However, this won't be Leinart's first crack at the starting job. Last year, he started the first 4 games of the season. Fitzgerald's numbers in those games? 312 yards and NO touchdowns. Meanwhile, Anquan Boldin, Arizona's other stud WR, found the endzone 3 times during that span. Even if Warner replaces Leinart again (which is a favorable possibility to many), there's no guarantee that he will remain healthy enough to complete the entire season -- at 37-years-old, Warner is more brittle than ever. The other issue Fitzgerald must deal with is losing touches to Boldin. If the Cardinals had a QB like Manning, Brees, Brady, Romo, or Palmer, I would not worry about the ball being spread around; but when two great WR's are fighting for touches from a below average QB (which, at this stage of his development, Leinart is), there could be a problem. Don't believe me that the quarterback doesn't make the receiver? Just ask Roy Williams and Randy Moss. Neither Williams nor Calvin Johnson finished in the top 30 in fantasy points last year. Moss, on the other hand, flourished with Tom Brady, after a two year hiatus in Oakland when he was catching passes from Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter. The bottom line is that Fitzgerald has too many issues working against him for me to justify the early pick needed to put him on my fantasy roster. There are just safer options out there.
3.) Marvin Harrison (COLTS) -- From a not-so-obvious receiver I hate (Fitzgerald), to a bit more reasonable assumption: stay away from Marvin Harrison. Surely, someone in your draft will see Harrison sitting there in the third or fourth round, and say to himself, "Didn't someone draft that guy in the first or second round last year? I know he got hurt, but I'm going to take a shot on him. If he returns to form, I'm getting a steal!" Then, whoever that loser is will draft him. Don't be that guy. Hearing the selection, some other guy sitting quietly in the corner is sure to draw a line through ESPN.com's 24-ranked WR, smile, and say, "Man, that's risky." Please... be that guy. When older WR's fall from grace, they do so in a hurry. Harrison's 13 years in the league were a thing of beauty, but he'll be 36 by the time the 2008 season rolls around, and more likely than not, his run is over. If you don't believe me, then believe Harrison's own team... They didn't draft Anthony Gonzales in the first round (two years ago) to be a life-time "slot" receiver. At the end of last season, in Week 14, Gonzales had 6 catches for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns at Baltimore. In Week 15, Gonzales followed that up with 7 catches for 86 yards and 1 touchdown. Consider the torch passed. Matthew Berry (ESPN's senior director of fantasy) said it best when referring to Harrison's 2008 outlook: "I think he's done. And I'm not willing to waste a reasonably high draft pick to find out if I'm wrong."
Friday, July 4, 2008
With Saints FS Josh Bullocks out for OTAs while on the mend from knee surgery, Kevin Kaesviharn has moved ahead in the race to become the team’s starting free safety, the way we hear it. Bullocks is the incumbent at the position and has started 43 of the 46 games he has played in during his three seasons in the league, but his performance has been inconsistent, particularly in coverage. Missing a large chunk of time that could have been spent working on eliminating mistakes that plagued him in the past didn’t help his cause as he enters his contract year. Kaesviharn started three games last season, his first with New Orleans, but sources say he looks like the more dependable option at this point and is penciled in as the starter next to SS Roman Harper, who also has encountered consistency issues. Competition throughout the Saints’ secondary should last through training camp and the preseason as defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs tries to improve his unit’s pass defense, which ranked 30th in the league last season.
WhoDatSay: The issue I have with this report is that (as usual) ProFootballTalk doesn't cite its source. Was it a ball boy at minicamp who saw Kaesviharn running with the ones and came to an extreme conclusion? Or was it an insider in the Saints' personnel department who actually knows head coach Sean Payton's and defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs' intentions?
I know, I know, they are just looking out for the integrity of their source so they continue to be "looped in" to valuable news. I'm just bitter that they get more hits than us.
As far as the Saints' starting free safety position, here's what I think....
Bullocks is in the final year of his rookie contract. He has all the incentive in the world to be on the field this season and perform. Problem is, Bullocks had knee surgery early in the offseason and hasn't recovered yet. So, OBVIOUSLY, Kaesviharn is getting first team reps until Bullocks is healthy -- and when Bullocks is healthy, it's his job again... or is it?
When the Saints brought it Kaesviharn last season, the expectation was that he challenge Josh Bullocks for the starting free-safety job. However, much like Brian Simmons in his competition with Mark Simoneau at middle linebacker, Kaesviharn could never unseat Bullocks until the end of the season (and only then because Bullocks was forced out with a quad injury). The question is, why? Was Bullocks' play that good? I think not. Was Kaesviharn slow to pick up the defense? Possibly. Did it even matter who was starting, because our RCB (Jason David) was THAT bad? Probably so.
However, unlike Simmons at middle linebacker (all hail Vilma!), Kaesviharn is still around. Right now, the reality is that HE is getting all the reps at free safety, not Bullocks. In the meantime, Bullocks is doing nothing to dispell the public notion that he is inconsistent and unreliable in the secondary (ok -- that's being nice -- public perception is that he sucks). In this case, perception is reality.
Frustrating for Saints fans is that Mickey Loomis and the Saints front office is sending us mixed messages. They made no attempt this offseason (in the draft or in free agency) to upgrade the FS position. Then, after the draft, Loomis commented that the team liked what they had in Bullocks and went as far as to say that "Josh has been a good player for us."
Come on boss, are you serious?
Loomis is not serious. He was just being smart in addressing the media. Imagine the stir it would have caused if when asked about Bullocks Loomis said, "Josh is really not that good a player. It's a shame, he has all the tangibles needed to be a successful free safety in this league, but he just sucks. I don't know what else to say. He's like a fast chicken with his head cut off. Next year, he will not be with us."
If Loomis were serious with his above-mentioned claim, it would be Josh Bullocks' contract (and not Will Smith's, Jahri Evans', or Marques Colston's contract) that the team would be trying to get re-worked. But there has been no such mention of any contract extension for the free safety who has started 43 of the last 46 games after being selected as a second-round pick in 2005 -- and there will be no mention of one.
Because the Saints are not sure Kaesviharn is the better option (and because Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis are just good men), they will not publicly say it; but trust me, Bullocks will not be on the team unless he takes a pay cut next year. Maybe Kaesviharn will not either, as someone from the outside (via free agency or the draft) should and probably will be brought in to upgrade that position.
In 2008, the better player will start the season at free safety. And right now, while Josh Bullocks does his best Cam Cleeland and Donte Stallworth imitation from the sideline, that player is Kevin Kaesviharn.