Archive for September, 2013

Free agent/team matchups

Posted: September 24, 2013 in Uncategorized
Five logical free agent/NFL team signings

In which Dave trumpets his opinion about the importance of signing inexpensive free agents to replace under-performing starters.

Tim Tebow to Jacksonville

Jacksonville has offensive troubles. Woes, if you will. Former first round pick Blaine Gabbert is widely seen as a failure after two years and change in Jacksonville. Backup Chad Henne doesn’t inspire much confidence for the Jaguars either. Quarterback/running back hybrid Tim Tebow can yield more offensive production (yards, points) than any passer on the Jacksonville roster. And he happens to be well loved in the Florida area where Tebow won a Heisman trophy. Yes, Jacksonville will have to restructure their offense around Tebow, but having scored eleven points in two games, less than 1/8th of Denver’s point total so far (as of week two), Jacksonville’s offense desperately needs restructuring. Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon are very capable receivers and would be able to do more for the offense given the opportunity. Tebow’s ability to make plays with his feet and his arm strength makes sure the Jaguars have the opportunity to go toe to toe with every opponent they face. A dual threat qb and a runner as talented as MJD will force defenses to respect the run, allowing Shorts, Blackmon, and Marcedes Lewis opportunities to get open. You don’t need a quarterback that completes 65% of his passes to win games. You need a quarterback that puts points on the board. In the right offense, Tebow can do just that in Jacksonville.


Peyton Hillis to St. Louis

St. Louis’s starting running back is former seventh round pick Daryl Richardson. The younger brother to Bernard Scott has performed admirably considering the expectations placed on him coming out of college. Richardson beat out promising young tailback Isaiah Pead for the starting role. While Richardson has exceeded expectations thus far, the St. Louis offense is missing Steven Jackson as the former Oregon State product served as a terrific runner and receiver for St. Louis after the legendary Marshall Faulk stepped away from the game. St. Louis needs a strong power back, like Jackson who has experience catching the ball and can help out blocking when needed. Peyton Hillis, at 6’2” and 250 lbs, should be more than capable to fill in as both a blocker and target for Bradford. Hillis has made a name for himself as a power back in Cleveland, and helped to humiliate the New England secondary as a pass catcher. Hillis, still 27, has a few good years left in him and should help the Rams offense become more complete.


Austin Collie to New England

New England’s bread and butter is the passing game. They seem to always have an answer. Troy Brown, Deion Branch, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski. Belichick and the front office find talent for Brady to throw to. Early on in 2013, the Patriots receiving well seems to have run dry. Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski are out with injury. Young receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson have failed to “step up.” The once earth shaking offense needs receivers. Cue former Colts receiver Austin Collie. Collie, a former standout at BYU, burst onto the scene at Indianapolis fearlessly catching passes down the middle of the field, defended by players 30-50 pounds heavier than him. Collie’s career has been stained by concerns of injury as his time in Indianapolis was cut short by concussion issues. Route specialist Austin Collie should fit right in at New England where Brady needs most of all receivers who know how to be in the right place at the right time.


Jake Ballard to Tennessee/Arizona

I really believe Jake Ballard would improve any of these teams instantly. I originally had Ballard pegged for Tennessee alone because of the Titans’ love of running the ball with Johnson and Ballard’s ability as a blocker and size (6’6”, 260 lbs). Delanie Walker currently serves as the starting TE for Tennessee. Walker, an effective chess piece in Greg Romans’ passing attack last year for the 49ers probably doesn’t merit a starting position on his own. Ballard, who has proven himself as a talented receiver in the Giants offense in 2011, brings the skills of a complete tight end to any team that signs him. He’s also half a foot taller than Walker, meaning young passer Jake Locker will have an easier time getting Ballard the ball given Ballard’s massive wingspan.

I have elected to include Arizona with Tennessee because the starting tight end on their depth chart is Jim Dray. Dray is the type of player who earns a starting spot when you (the GM, owner, CEO) spent all of your salary cap money on other players (Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer, rookies, etc) and can’t afford a decent tight end. Still Palmer could use all the help he can get stuck on the wrong end of the NFC West. And considering Ballard’s situation being unemployed and all, I can’t imagine he would command much more than Dray does just to be on a team with a decent quarterback. Palmer’s main targets right now are the future HOFer Fitzgerald, and two lesser proven wideouts Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd. While talented, neither of them have demonstrated the ability to “tear it up” in the middle of the field like a Wes Welker or Jason Witten. Ballard would allow Palmer to look to all parts of the field, especially now that Andre Ellington is starting to show up in the passing game..


Richard Seymour to Philadelphia

The new look, Chip Kelly-led Philadelphia Eagles easily have the most exciting offense to watch. They also have a train wreck of a defense. A more tired defense is likely a natural result of having an offense whose specific job is to score and get off the field as quickly as possible. The Eagles defense ranks in the bottom seven for points allowed, total yards allowed, and passing yards allowed. Allowing several yards is an unavoidable consequence of having a high scoring offense. Allowing 28 points a game is a problem. The Eagles defensive problems cannot be solved by signing one player. The Eagles defensive line is easily the least recognizable of the players on D. Throughout his career has performed as an above average pass-rusher, and should draw double teams, allowing Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, and other defenders additional opportunities to hurry the quarterback. If Seymour and the Eagles could agree on a price, Seymour could bring a seasoned veterans’ talents to a defense in need and the Eagles could allow the 32 year old a chance to get to the playoffs again, something the surely missed during his time in Oakland.

It is now time for me to take responsibility for my horribly botched upset prediction. Oakland did not beat Denver in Mile High stadium. It was not a close game. I am a dweeb. To Oakland’s credit though, they have so far allowed the fewest points to Denver in the young season. And New York and Baltimore are routinely perceived as fielding championship caliber defenses, whose performances paled in comparison to Oakland’s. Wait for this coming weekend for me to blather on about such games as: Seattle at Houston, New England at Atlanta, and the surprisingly decent Detroit/Chicago match-up. Also, don’t miss out on whatever gosh-awful upset prediction I feel like talking myself into.

(I switched over from caffeine-free NO-Xplode to regular, caffeinated NO-Xplode this evening. I had a terrific workout. I also have no desire to sleep.)

Jacksonville goes to Seattle next week. Seattle scored more points in week one than Jacksonville has scored so far this season. Seattle just dismantled what was arguably thought to be the number one team in football 29 – 3 at home. And now they face the Jacksonville Jaguars being led by Chad Henne. Henne, bless his heart, has never had a season where he threw more touchdowns than interceptions. This match-up is like a grizzly bear hunting a squirrel. A squirrel with no legs. Or brain. If any team could improve their quarterback situation by enlisting the services of Timothy Richard Tebow, Shahid Kahn’s Jaguars could. At least Tebow could put points on the board and butts in the seats.

Patriots and Jets

New England defeated the New York Jets 13-10 at Gillette Stadium. This was the most painful close game to watch within recent memory. Future hall of famer Tom Brady completed 19/39 passes for 185 yards and one touchdown with zero interceptions. The Patriots totalled 54 whole yards of rushing on the day. Clearly Rex Ryan’s crew still knows how to play defense as the Patriots struggled to move the ball in the forward direction all evening. Inclement weather and inexperienced receivers were likely two significant factors in the equation that was the Patriots offense last Thursday evening.

In news that shocked no one, Danny Amendola received a notable injury and will be out for at least a few months. Former Kent State quarterback Julian Edelman has emerged as the Patriots leading receiver with the loss of Danny Amendola and the apparent shortage of Dobson and Thompkins in the offense so far. Edelman looks to be Brady’s top target for the foreseeable future until man-child superstar Rob Gronkowski returns from injury and Amendola waits to recover as well.

Trent Richardson, Indianapolis, and San Francisco

We’ll get to see Trent Richardson in a Colts uniform line up against the San Francisco 49ers defense after the 49ers suffered an embarrassing loss to division rivals Seattle Seahawks. Fans and pundits alike continue to heap praise on Indianapolis for making the trade happen. Richardson was a 1st round pick out an enormously talented Alabama team. Regardless, Richardson has a career average 3.5 yards per carry for Cleveland. This is an offensive line that starts Joe Thomas, one of the league’s most well respected left tackles. Rotoworlds’ Evan Silva ranks Cleveland’s O-line as sixth best in the league, pretty good considering how poor the talent around the line seems to operate. ranks Cleveland’s run blocking 10th overall in the league, suggesting Richardsons’ inability to break four yards per carry has more to do with his inexperience or inability to execute at a competitive level more so than his offensive line play. Indy’s pass-heavy offense could very well bring the best out in Richardson with the loosening up of defenses hesitant to give Luck to much room to work with, but the numbers suggest Irsay and the Colts likely gave up too much for the (arguably) overrated talent.

Getting back to San Francisco, the 49ers defense looks vulnerable with a new starting nose tackle after losing Ian Williams to injury in a controversial low cut made during the loss to Seattle last week. This coupled with a rash of injuries to starting rookie safety Eric Reid, starting DTs Justin Smith and Ray McDonald, the 49er’s mettle will be tested against a Colts offense that features one of the games’ young talents at quarterback and one of the league’s sturdiest power backs with Richardson weighing in at 5’9” and 227 lbs. That’s more weight per square inch than the immovable Maurice Jones Drew. Oh, and star outside linebacker Aldon Smith just got arrested for a DUI, though early reports state Smith is still expected to start this week for the 49ers’ game against the Colts. The matchup should be an intriguing one.

San Diego and Tennessee

You football geeks might want to pay attention to the not bad San Diego Chargers playing the not bad Tennessee Titans in Nashville. Tennessee has played above average defense with less than impressive offense. While San Diego is averaging exactly 30.5 points a game, on offense and allowed on defense. The ‘new’ Philip Rivers and the underrated Titans D ought to provide a compelling match up in week three.

Dave’s Upset prediction

Oakland over Denver. I realize my last prediction didn’t go as planned, and this one may not look too probable either, but let’s break down some details.

NFL powerhouses have a way of under-preparing in anticipation of facing scrappy, tired-of-losing teams who are likely ‘over-preparing.’ The unstoppable 2011 Green Bay Packers at 13-0 went to Arrowhead stadium against a struggling 5-8 Chiefs team that collected most of their wins in close games from other poor teams and lost in what became the biggest upset of the season. The 2011 Houston Texans, posting their first double-digit win season ever (10-6), still failed to defeat 1-13 Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium, good enough for dead last (Houston’s record remains 0-11 at Lucas Oil Field to this day). I could bore you to death with more examples but I won’t.’s produced a statistic claiming that Oakland is 1-8 on Monday Night Football since 2003. Not a particularly promising number for Oakland at first glance. However, when taking into account Oakland’s all time record against Denver is actually 60-45-2, this suggests Oakland is due for a win. Historically speaking, Oakland ‘usually’ beats Denver. And Oakland’s all time NFL record of 431-364-11 (according to suggests they are well overdue for a win if they’ve matched eight losses with only one win on Monday night football.

Let’s put away the numbers and look at the players. Oakland’s defense has actually performed admirably so far this season, allowing an average of fifteen points per game. Denver’s sky-high offense lost arguably their second most important offensive player in LT Ryan Clady to injury. Whether penciled in back up Chris Clark or recent signing Winston Justice steps in for Clady as Manning’s bodyguard, Oakland will have plenty of opportunity to take advantage of Clady’s absence having posted a (prior to Kansas City’s Thursday night abusing of Michael Vick) league-leading nine sacks in two games. Oakland’s dominance in running the ball between Terrelle Pryor and Darren McFadden could well provide them ample opportunity to work the clock and keep Manning and Co. off the field.

Denver hasn’t had to aggressively defend the run this season because, well, they’ve put up 90 points in two games, New York and Baltimore were throwing for their lives. If Oakland’s pass rush can disrupt the Broncos offense, the offense could take plenty of time to score and turn the tide at Sports Authority Field this Sunday.

Denver is heavily favored. They have the best offense in the league. They have home field advantage. What they don’t have is anything to prove to anyone. Surprise starting QB Terrelle Pryor, HC Dennis Allen, and that practically unknown defense do. For this reason I feel Oakland has as good a chance as anybody to put a check in the ‘W’ column after this Sunday is over.

In closing

This will be an exciting Sunday. Tom Brady faces off against Darrelle Revis again. Cleveland went from bad to worse by trading away Trent Richardson and will try to move the sticks with 31-year old Willis McGahee (that’s about 90 in regular human years) and will struggle to compete against a competent Minnesota team. The Arizona experiment continues with Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, and head coach Bruce Arians against the New Orleans Saints. Pittsburgh will struggle to prove they are still relevant against a sturdy Chicago defense. Football is exciting.

“There’s so much non pro football on Saturday. How will I fill the time?”

Go outside. Play with someone’s dog. Impersonate a Wal Mart employee until you are asked to “please leave.” Throw a dance party. In your car. At red lights. Put things in other people’s grocery carts at the grocery store. Take your parents through the drive-thru (My parents are hilarious at the drive-thru).

I am now going to lie down and pretend to sleep until I am asleep. Enjoy your weekend.


What happened last time

In last years’ contest, Texas A&M handed Alabama their first and last loss of the season in a 29-24 outcome. Texas A&M won the turnover battle as well as the time of possession battle. McCarron tossed two interceptions and failed to capitalize on their opportunities.

What’s changed

Texas A&M sent five players to the NFL draft this April, including first round pick OT Luke Joeckel, RB Christine Michael, and DE Damontre Moore. Texas A&M retains Heisman trophy winner QB Johnny Manziel.

University of Alabama sent a whopping nine players to the NFL draft, including three first round selections, offensive linemen Eric Fisher and Chance Warmack, and defensive back Dee Milliner. Another notable loss is running back Eddie Lacy now in Green Bay.

What I think will happen

I expect this to be a close, exciting contest just like the last. Johnny Manziel has only gotten better with time, and McCarron showed a very humble outing against Virginia Tech completing less than half of his passes and throwing for only 110 yards.  Alabama clearly leaned heavily on their running game and did not ask McCarron to stretch too much. Manziel is again leading a high scoring offense putting up 50 points or more in their first two contests. For me the tipping point is Texas A&M’s homefield advantage. This combined with the fact that both teams field competent defenses and AJ McCarron, while a smart passer, is no Johnny Manziel. I predict Alabama will again struggle to contain Manziel and the Aggie offense. (I now make my prediction which can later be used as evidence to show that I am the world’s stupidest football fan after Alabama wins in a blowout 62-0.)

Final prediction: Texas A&M over Alabama 31-27.

Three games to watch in week one

Posted: September 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

Cincinnati at Chicago

This contest might not draw the same attention as Baltimore vs. Denver or Green Bay vs. San Francisco, but it should be a competitive match of underrated defenses and deceptively talented quarterbacks. Additionally, the potential to see some phenomenal catches by A.J. Green or Brandon Marshall should provide for an exciting match as well.

Trestman’s welcoming party

This game also serves as the NFL head coaching debut of Chicago’s Marc Trestman, a surprise hire after the abrupt firing of former HC Lovie Smith. Smith actually guided the Bears to a very respectable 10-6 season. Unfortunately, Minnesota and Green Bay finished 10-6 or better as well, leaving Chicago out in the cold come playoff time. Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery emphasized the lack of offensive production under Smith’s tenure as one of the core reasons for his release. Emery also mentioned the importance of winning championships in Chicago. Chicago, believe it or not, actually is in 2nd place for most NFL championships, with 9. They are behind division rivals and the more well followed Green Bay Packers with 13. The decision to release Smith makes more sense as the perspective shifts from a 10-6 team trying to make the playoffs to a 9 championship team trying to get to 10, 11, etc. This is not the Jacksonville Jaguars looking to get over the hump. This is Chicago Pride trying to catch up with a divisional opponent in a rivalry older than your grandparents.

Rookies in action

Some young, potentially exciting NFL talent to watch for might include any of the following:

For the Bengals: First round pick TE Tyler Eifert, slightly undersized-yet-talented RB Giovani Bernard- also the first running back taken in the 2013 draft, and last but definitely not least 6’8” 26 year old Estonian native Margus Hunt. Hunt is a particularly curious talent totalling 8 sacks, 11.5 stops for a loss, 1 interception, 3 passes defended, as well as 2 forced fumbles in his senior season at SMU. He also has the wingspan of 12 bald eagles. Really? No. But the man is enormous and has the potential to become a household name like Clay Matthews if he can live up to expectations.

For the Bears: former gator Jon Bostic has been pegged as the backup to DJ Williams for the season opener against Cincinnati. The second round pick is said to have gone up in teams’ draft charts as coaches had more of a say in who to draft. Just watching tape on Bostic shows his aggressiveness, football instincts and awareness, and a tendency to hit runners like a mack truck.

Another rookie prospect, Kyle Long, won the starting job in the brilliant master plan to move Cutler down the list of most sacked qb’s from #5 closer to #25. Cutler was sacked thirty-eight times last season. That doesn’t mean he was actually hit thirty-eight times. That number is probably twice that high. More time in the pocket should alleviate many of Chicago’s offensive woes by giving Cutler more time to make good decisions and put that Vanderbilt “human and organizational development” bachelor’s degree to use.

Fortunately for Chicago, Long has shown much promise in his limited time during preseason. Despite only 4 starts at Oregon, Long has garnered high praise from Peter King, senior Sports Illustrated writer, Daniel Jeremiah, NFL network analyst and former nfl scout, and Chris Wesseling, writer. Long has drawn comparisons to current NFL starter Marshal Yanda.

Atlanta at New Orleans

High scoring affair

Two of the top offenses, two of the best quarterbacks start the season with NFC South divisional play. New Orleans took a major step back last season as HC Sean Payton was suspended from coaching and the defense was historically awful. The 2013 Saints defense gave up the most yardage in a single season ever, according to Sports Illustrated. Having (arguably) the worst defense ever makes a 7-9 record actually rather impressive. If you like touchdowns, this game should have plenty of that.

Teach an old dog new tricks

Atlanta airlifted former Rams RB Steven Jackson and placed him in the Falcons offense. Jackson’s proven himself as a capable pass catcher as the heir apparent to the legendary Marshall Faulk in St. Louis. What he has yet to prove is whether or not he can compete at an elite level at the cursed age of thirty. Jacksons’ complementary back appears to be Jacquizz Rodgers. Rodgers, while quick, hasn’t convinced any major decision makers in Atlanta that he’s capable of starting sixteen games as a complete running back.

Why Atlanta is relevant

If you’re unfamiliar with Atlanta, you might remember them as the team to finally stop the rampaging Seahawks as they began their late season Bruce Banner to Hulk transformation from a good team to a “holy-crikey-did-you-see-that” team that demoralized an Arizona Cardinals football club that they had actually lost to at the beginning of the season with a 58-0 obliteration. Fifty-eight to nothing. Seattle scored in the air, on the ground, by field goals, with a fumble returned for a touchdown and an interception returned for a touchdown. And they allowed zero points. The week following Seattle hosted Buffalo and decided to only humiliate them with a 50-17 win. Seattle is not a team built to throw for 300-400 yards and score tons of points. The Seahawks are modeled loosely after the 2010 Jets. Play suffocating defense and watch as the opponent loses hope with Marshawn Lynch and the ‘Hawks o-line drain the clock away on their way to another score. But I digress, the ‘Hawks wake of devastation wasn’t finished as they faced San Francisco, the eventual NFC representatives in the super bowl and won 42 – 13. We’re not talking about Buffalo or disheveled Arizona any more. These are the to-be NFC champion San Francisco 49ers. An elite defense, a surprisingly talented young quarterback and possibly the most fanatically competitive Head coach in recent memory. And they lost 13-42. This is not the 2010 Jets. This is the powerhouse, video game-like blowout Seattle Seahawks. Seattle didn’t lose again until they faced Atlanta in the playoffs. Atlanta brought a speeding train to a dead stop. That’s why Atlanta is relevant.

Green Bay at San Francisco

Green Bay and San Francisco have a well established rivalry, most especially in the ‘90s with Brett Favre and Steve Young playing respective roles of gunslinger for their team. Both teams won championships in the ‘90s as well. Green Bay has already accomplished that feat this decade with arguably the best quarterback in football with Aaron Rodgers. San Francisco made an appearance last season but failed to capitalize. What San Francisco does have is the quarterback and coaching talent to get them to the playoffs for the foreseeable future. Recently, San Francisco’s been on top of the rivalry with two wins over the past season.

Head coach Mike McCarthy should still put an A+ product on the field as Green Bay reloads with wide receivers Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones in the absence of former leading receiver Greg Jennings. And they have the best quarterback in the league. And they drafted two blue chip running back prospects this past April in Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin. Lacy is being talked about as X-factor for Green Bay’s offense, despite his puzzling 2.0 yards per carry in the preseason. Green Bay, barring a freak Aaron Rodgers injury should be great this year.

San Francisco has a host of new faces on the roster. Former ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin, former Eagles CB Nnamdi Asomugha, first round pick DB Eric Reid, 2nd round pick TE Vance McDonald and enigma 4th round selection RB Marcus Lattimore. San Francisco wasn’t exactly starving for running back depth, but Lattimore could really be something special if he can get healthy. Or he might flop. Either way, he’s worth the fourth round pick to find out.

This should be an exciting contest. Kaepernick’s athleticism gave Green Bay’s defense fits in the playoffs last year. The addition of first round pick DE Datone Jones should help Green Bay better contain mobile quarterbacks like Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III and Michael Vick, whom Green Bay will have the pleasure of defending against this 2013 season. Jones, in his senior season at UCLA, contributed one forced fumble, five and a half sacks, and nineteen tackles for a loss. Jones and the Green Bay D will have a tall order to fill against the 49ers offense this Sunday.

Take care, enjoy your weekend, and watch some football. It’s week one.