Sunday, March 15, 2009

Initial Tournament Thoughts

These are my first impressions of the tournament. I'll post my bracket Wednesday Evening.
  • My final four: Louiville, Memphis (these are the two most athletic and best defensive teams), North Carolina (Most offensive talent, good enough defense), and Pittsburgh (Dejuan Blair = beast). I think Memphis will emerge from this group. They have amazing size, athleticism, length, they are well coached, and really commit to playing staunch defense. Tyreke Evans isn't as good a Derrick Rose, but he has just as much raw talent, as well as an extra four inches. He'll be an absolute matchup nightmare, and Memphis has a deep team with several complementary glue guys. But I could see any of these teams winning it all, as well as UConn and Oklahoma.
  • Jerome Dyson's injury might be the biggest determining factor in determining the national champion. UConn looked like the class of the Big East (and the country, for that matter) before Dyson went down for the year. Any team would take a swoon if it lost its best permieter defender, and UConn is no exception. Connecticut was my national championship pick at the beginning of the year, but now I don't see them winning their region.
  • All of the teams were hoping to be in Duke's regional, and Pitt was the lucky winner. Duke is overrated. Their defense isn't as good as advertised, they can't get dribble penetration for their lives, and in general Duke still lives and dies by the three. I can't wait to pick against them in the second round. This is way too easy.
  • Looks like the committee read my last post and tried to screw me over by pitting my two most underrated teams, LSU and Butler, against each other. Butler's more underrated.
  • Syracuse is an easy second round upset. They expended all their energy to improve themselves by two or three seeds, but it'll cost them when they have tired legs.
  • Every year there is at least one 5-12upset, and this year is no exception. Arizona has two lottery picks this year, whereas Utah probably won't produce any D-League players. Illinois looked horrible down the stretch, while Western Kentucky already beat Louiville and returns most of the players that went to the Sweet 16 last year. I expect UA and WKU to get to the Sweet 16, where they will both be very tough outs.
  • I think UNC got the easiest bracket. There doesn't appear to be a single team capable of beating Carolina. There are good teams in the region, like Butler, WKU, and Oklahoma, but no one that will pose a serious threat to Carolina.
  • Most exciting game: 3 Missouri vs. 2 Memphis. Both teams are athletic, can press effectively, and love to get up and down. The difference is that Memphis plays much better half court defense, which is why they will prevail.
  • Bold Prediction: 10 USC over 2 michigan State. Demar Derozan will show the nation why he is being listed in every 2009 NBA mock draft. This kid is an absolute physical freak. I'm talking Lebron James, Josh Smith type Athleticism, and he has a high level of basketball skill to complement his athletic ability. Tom Izzo won't have any answers because Demar is basically an NBA player playing in college.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tournament Thoughts

On the eve of Selection Sunday, here are my last minute observations before the greatest 3 weeks (14 if you include the NBA Playoffs) of basketball begin.
  • I'm going with the popular opinion in stating that the four number one seeds should be Pitt, UNC, Louiville, and UConn, in that order. Ever since UConn's Jerome Dyson went down for the season, Pitt and Carolina have been the two best teams in the country. Louiville gets the nod because it won the regular season and post season championship for the 2008-09 Big East, which this year was one of the toughest conferences in the history of College Basketball. UConn gets the fourth number one seed by default because honestly, who else deserves it? Oklahoma didn't play very well at the end of the season, even when Blake Griffin, and they didn't advance very far in the Big 12 tournament. I think Memphis is underrated and I expect them to make the final Four, but there's no reason they should be awarded a number one seed given how soft their schedule was. Michigan State doesn't have enough quality wins to put the Spartans ahead of UConn. But the funniest thing I heard all day was that Duke might sneak in for the final spot. in the immortal words of John McEnroe, "YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!!!!!!!!!!" This year's Duke team has been just like every other Duke team since 2004. They're being overrated because they peaked in December/Jamuary, they have no athleticism, they are suspect defensively, and other then Gerald Henderson (and maybe Nolan Smith) it doesn't appear that anyone on this roster will ever be part of an NBA rotation.
  • One underrated aspect of the Tournament is getting to watch a future NBA lottery pick put a traditionally moribund program on his shoulders and take that team way farther than it has any business going. Examples of this include Greg Oden with Ohio State, Deron Williams with Illinois, Dwayne Wade with Marquette, the Fab Five with Michigan, Magic Johnson with Michigan State, and Larry Bird with Indiana State. It will be fun to watch Oklahoma's Blake Griffin, ASU's James Harden, USC's Demar Derozan, and possibly others attempt to do the same.
  • I thought Kansas really hurt itself by losing to Baylor. The Jayhawks were in play for a two seed (and maybe even a one seed), but now they might slip all the way to a four seed. There's virtually no difference between a one and a two, but there's a significant difference between being a two and a four.
  • I definitely think North Carolina is an elite team and should probably get to the Final Four. But don't fall into the trap of overrating them simply because there are so many seniors. Senior leadership is important for Bracket busting mid majors, who need poised players that aren't intimidated by the prospect of playing against highly touted phenoms. But at a big program like Carolina that's not the case. All of these players came back simply because none of them would've been NBA 1st rounders except for Ty Lawson. I understand why people emphasize the importance of having seniors, but that maxim doesn't apply here.
  • I can already see it now: Butler will once again be disrespected by the Selection Comittee. Last year the 29-3 bulldogs were awarded a 7 seed even though they were probably better than a lot of 5 and 6 seeds. This year Butler will probably get an extremely low seed, and will make for a very tempting bracket buster.
  • Syracuse looks like an upset waiting to happen. They played four games in four nights in the Big East Tournament, and when you factor in the 7 overtimes they played (including 6 in the instant classic against UConn), they basically played 5 games in four nights. They will be exhausted by the time they have to play their 1st round game. Also,if you recall, in 2006 Gerry Macnamara had an incredible run in the Big East Tourney in which he willed his team to a win in the tournament. So what happened in the big dance? The Syracuse Macnamaras were so gassed that they couldn't win a single game.
  • One team that I see as a sleeper is LSU. The Tigers have terrific athleticism, and they really flown under the radar despite dominating the SEC.
  • People need to stop taking the issue of bubble teams so seriously. When was the last time any of those "last four in" teams won anything in the tournament? And does anybody really think that those "first four out" teams had any shot at the sweet 16, let alone the national title?

Friday, March 13, 2009

NFL Mock Draft 2.0

Post Free Agency, here's another mock. remember, this is what I think teams should do, not what they will do.

Detroit Lions - WR Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech)
If the lions did this, their fans would burn the stadium down. And although Matt Millen probably would've done this, Jim Schwartz, a former defensive coordinator, would never do this. But hear me out: The Cardinals had a horrible defense, a washed up quarterback and running back, and an average o-line, but they got to the super bowl because their two receivers are so beastly. Just plug any quarterback in, have him throw to Calvin Johnson and Crabtree, and Detroit would score 100 points a game (on second thought, this makes so much sense that Millen would never even consider this). If Detroit really wants a QB, taking Josh Freeman in the 2nd round, Pat White in the 3rd round, would be much more economical than splurging $100000000000000 on Matt Stafford. Better yet, why not sign Ron Mexico (a.k.a. Michael Vick)? The Lion's PR can't really go any lower. Mexico still has more raw talent/athleticism than most QB's in the league, and because Mexico will be willing to sign for virtually anything, he brings a better risk/reward ratio than any other available quarterback.

St. Louis Rams - OT Michael Oher (Ole Miss)
St. Louis needed a left tackle before releasing Orlando Pace. I think Andre Smith is the best left tackle, but it makes way more sense for him to go somewhere else (I'll explain later). Oher has the best fluidity and athleticism of the other top tackles, and he has a book written about him (for what its worth).

Kansas City Chiefs - OT Eugene Monroe (Virginia)
When Monroe played with KC's current left tackle Branden Albert the two were unstoppable. By drafting Monroe, the Chiefs will be set at o-line for the next 12 years. And they will need a good o-line once Todd Haley screws up all their quarterbacks the way he messed up Matt Leinart's game.

Seattle Seahawks - DE Everrette Brown (Florida State)
Seattle has needs at all levels of the defense, and they should start with defensive line, where they absolutely could not get pressure on the QB. Brown is a tad undersized, but anyone who saw an FSU game knows that he will dominate at the NFL with his speed, quickness, and intensity.

Cleveland Browns - LB Aaron Curry (Wake Forest)
The Browns sucked on defense, and they need better linebacker play. Curry is an absolute stud.

Cincinnatti Bengals - OT Jason Smith (Baylor)
The Bengals need better offensive line play, so they grab this athletic left tackle.

Oakland Raiders - OT Andre Smith (Alabama)
He's the best lineman in the draft, so why does Big Andre fall so far? Because he makes way more sense here than anywhere else. Al Davis intentionally creates an environment that is perfect for guys with checkered pasts. After being kicked off his college team for (allegedly) dealing with an agent and then ditching the combine, Andre is perfect for a franchise known for taking in castoffs. On a side note, why did Al Davis not sign Terell Owens? TO is a cancer anywhere else, but in Oakland Al Davis creates such a creepy, tense, uncomfortable environment that TO would fit right in.

Jacksonville Jaguars - DT Fili Moala (USC)
Jacksonville clearly missed Marcus Stroud, as teams dominated Jacksonville's defensive line on a weekly basis. Fili is the best DT on the board. B.J. Raji basically did nothing his senior year but rose up draft boards because he lit it up at the senior bowl. Who cares? Moala was a stud on one of the most dominant college football defenses in history.

Green Bay Packers - DE Tyson Jackson (LSU)
To implement a 3-4, Green Bay needs some new lineman. Jackson is the best 5-technique player in the draft. I don't understand why everyone is hating on Tyson? Never mess with a man with the same name as Iron Mike Tyson! But in all seriousness, he was one of the few bright spots on LSU's pathetic season.

San Francisco 49ers - DE Aaron Maybin (Penn State)
At this value a right tackle or offensive guard doesn't make much sense. The niners need an outside linebacker who can complement Patrick Willis by getting pressure on the quarterback. So what if Maybin didn't run well at the combine? He absolutely dominated the big 10 this season, and there have been plenty of defensive linemen whose 40 times weren't indicative of eventual success.

Buffalo Bills - DE Robert Ayers (Tennessee)
I've been saying for weeks that Ayers is way better than Brian Orakpo. Ayers ate up Andre Smith (who's only the best lineman in the draft). I think a lot of people ignored him because he played on such a bad team, but i think that other than Everrette Brown, Ayers is the best 4-3 pass rushing defensive end in the draft. I had Brandon Pettigrew here in the last draft, and I still think he's a top 15 talent, but a good defensive end is more valuable than a tight end, even if its a tight end as good as Pettigrew.

Denver Broncos - DE Larry English (Northern Illinois)
New Defensive Coordinator wants to implement a 3-4, and he'll need a linebacker who can rush the passer. Orakpo might have more upside, but I like English more because he plays the run better and shows more willingness to go all out all the time.

Washington Redskins - LB Rey Mauluga (USC)
After adding Albert Haynesworth, the redskins need to improve the linebackers. Mauluga is athletic and intense, but people are ripping him basically because he ran a bad 40 time on an injured hamstring. If the Redskins are smart, they won't care.

New Orleans Saints - CB Malcolm Jenkins
Malcolm has been the best corner in college football for two years, but now the "experts" think that he can't play corner because his 40 yard dash time is .1 seconds too slow. Meanwhile, i'm not very surprised that no NFL team has offered Mel Kiper and Todd McShay jobs. Jenkins will shore up the Saints pass defense, even if he does end up having to switch to safety. The only reason why I have Malcolm going lower than last time is because i finally remembered cornerbacks in general are a tad overrated. It doesn't matter how good your defensive backs are if you have no pass rush.

Houston Texans - LB Brian Cushing (USC)
Signing Antonio Smith means Houston can concentrate on other areas of its porous defense. I think safety is a bigger priority for the Texans, but Taylor Mays stayed in school, so I don't think any of thie year's safeties merit this high of a pick.

San Diego Chargers - OT Ebbon Britton (U of A)
Anyone who thinks that LT is done needs to watch more Chargers games. Their once dominant offensive line sucks now, and the Chargers could use a right tackle to block opposite current LT Marcus McNeil.

New York Jets - WR Percy Harvin (Florida)
The Jets need a more explosive receiving corps. I'm not sure how anyone can not have Harvin ranked as the second best reveiver. Didn't anyone see him carve up Oklahoma's D despite playing with a bad ankle on one of Tebow's bad days? (Then again, maybe no one notticed because they had to listen to Thom Brennamen and Charles Davis ejaculating every 5 minutes over Tebow).

Chicago Bears - DE Michael Johnson (Georgia Tech)
MJ and Brian Orakpo both follow Randy Moss's mantra of "I play when I want to Play." The difference is, Johnson was more productive his senior year, plays the run better, and has more upside due to his freakish wingspan and size/speed combination. So why do most internet mocks predict that Orakpo will be a top 10 pick while Johnson will be a second rounder? Makes no sense. In any case, either player will help Chicago's dismal pass rush.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - QB Matthew Stafford (Georgia)
Unless Tampa believes that Brian Griese, who's body is more fragile than Britney Spears's mind, is the answer, they better go find a quarterback of the future. Because Sam Bradford stayed in school, Stafford is the best passer available. But any team that picks him in the top 10 will be very disappointed by his lack of accuracy and his tendency to disappear in big games. At 19, this is about where is true value is.

Detroit Lions - OT William Beatty (UConn)
No matter who's playing at the skill positions, Detroit's offense won't function without a competent tackle. Beatty, an athletic freak, is the next best available prospect. The Lions can slide him in at left tackle, which would allow last year's 1st round pick, Gosder Cherilus, to move to right tackle, where he's a better fit because of his run blocking ability.

Philadelphia Eagles - DE Brian Orakpo (Texas)
Philadelphia could stand to add more depth at defensive line. Orakpo is overrated, but he's still valuable because of his pass rushing ability.

Minnesota Vikings - TE Brandon Pettigrew (Oklahoma State)
This would be a major steal. Pettigrew is the best, most complete tight end to come out since Jason Witten and Heath Miller. He fits seamless into the Vikings' run first offense and gives more receiving options to whoever ends up starting. It seams like many are downgrading Brandon for his 4.8 forty time, which makes no sense to me. He was ranked highly because of his combination of blocking, route running, and hands, not because he's some super athletic tight end who creates mismatches, a la Antonio Gates. Besides, Tony Gonzalez ran a 4.8 40 time, and he's become a hall of famer.

New England Patriots - LB James Laurinitis (Ohio State)
A smart, safe player who fits the Partiots system perfectly. He won't make a ton of plays that end up on sportscenter, but he'll be a steady, impactful player from day one.

Atlanta Falcons - DT B.J. Raji (Boston College)
I must admit, I'm not as enamored with Raji as it seems like everyone else is. He was decent during his college career, but he mostly rose up draft boards because he looked good at the senior bowl. I wouldn't say that he will be a bust, but I could see a team being very disappointed if they spend a top fifteen pick on him and end up getting the production of a late 1st rounder. But Atlanta needs help on the interior defensive line, so they might have to reach a bit.

Miami Dolphins - LB Clay Matthews (USC)
At first I wasn't sure why his stock has risen so quickly, but once I saw the Rose Bowl I was convinced that matthews can play. The fact that he worked his way from being a former walk on to a potential 1st round pick shows his work ethic and dedication.

Baltimore Ravens - CB Vontae Davis (Illinois)
The Ravens have a good front 7 even with the loss of Bart Scott, but the corners are a mess. Chris McCalister and Samari Rolle (both of whom will probably be cut anyway) are older than the city of Baltimore. There's a reason Dominique Foxworth has barely gotten any playing time in his first four years (except in the 2005 AFC championship, in which the steelers receivers made him look like a high school player), and unless Al Davis takes over the NFL and awards points for running a 4.3 40 time, Fabian Washington will be a useless player. It makes a lot of sense for the ravens to pick the hometown kid Davis, whose insane athletic ability make him a prospect with tons of upside.

Indianapolis Colts - QB Mark Sanchez (USC)
Peyton Manning is in his 30's, so it makes sense to start grooming a QB of the future. I like everything about Sanchez. He has an above average arm, good accuracy and footwork, and he succeeded in an offense similar to what most pro teams run. The biggest concern that most people have is his limited number of starts, but in this scenario he could sit behind Peyton Manning and gain experience. Also, consider that Matt cassel never started at USC, and he's become a starting caliber quarterback.

Philadelphia Eagles - RB Beanie Wells (Ohio State)
Philly's offense got pretty stale last season. If the Eagles don't add either another running back or a competent wideout, then Brian Westbrook should file a lawsuit against the Eagles. Most people have Knowshon Moreno ahead of Beanie, which I think is perfectly understandable. I just think that Beanie Wells is a special prospect because of his combination of size and speed, and because of the way he carried his team in big games. Both Beanie and Knowshon are top 15 talents, so you migh wonder why they're out of the top 25. It's because I believe that without an offensive line, a good running back is useless. The eagles, however, have a pretty good line, so this pick makes sense.

New York Giants - WR Darius Heyward-Bey
I've been saying all along that because New York is so stacked at every position except wide receiver, and because Anquan Boldin so desperately wants to leave the Cardinals, it makes sense for the Giants to trade some combination of its draft picks for Anquan Boldin. But assuming they keep this pick, they should select the best wideout remaining. In this case thats Darius Heyward-Bey.

Tennessee Titans - CB Sean Smith (Utah)
The Titans could use an upgrade or two in the secondary. Smith has size, speed, good production, and the versatility to play either corner or safety.

Arizona Cardinals - RB Knowshon Moreno (Georgia)
You could switch this pick with the Beanie Wells pick and it would still make sense for both teams. Edgerrin James is aging, and Tim Hightower looks like a career backup. This pick would ease some of the pressure on Boldin and Fitzgerald.

Pittsburgh Steelers - OG Duke Robinson (Oklahoma)
I would rather tear my acl than be forced to watch Chris Kemoeatu and Justin Hartwig sabotage my Steelers by blocking like a pair of JV football players. Duke Robinson, who was the most underrated player on Oklahoma's record breaking offense, is the second coming of Alan Faneca.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

NFL Draft musings

Enough with Free Agency. Let's talk about the draft.
  • The hottest topic is obviously the Andre Smith situation. I understand why teams might pass up on him because of character red flags. But to me its laughable that some analysts actually think he's not the most talented offensive line prospect. Did anybody watch him play? Other than Tennessee this year, no one was ever able to stop Alabama's running game or get pressure on John Parker Wilson. Andre Smith has dominated the SEC at left tackle for the past three years, and no one that covered college football during 2008 would've put Eugene Monroe or Jason Smith ahead of him (Andre didn't win the outland trophy by accident). And on the subject of his character issues, I think they have been way overblown. Most of the guys who flamed out at the combine like Andre did, players such as Ryan Leaf and Lendale White, had work ethic issues in college. That's not the case here, as Smith was able to survive two years under the Nictator (Nick Saban). As a final thought, remember when a lot of teams downgraded Warren Sapp when they found some red flags at the combine? 95 sacks and one super bowl win later, how did that work out for all the teams that passed him up?
  • Most overrated wideout: Jeremy Maclin. The only route he ever had to run at Missouri was an 8 yard hitch. He can't just catch dump offs and outrun all NFL defensive backs. Meanwhile, Darius Hayward-Bey is by far the most underrated receiver. Good size, amazing speed, good routes, terrific work ethic. I don't understand how anyone can rate him below Maclin.
  • In Andre Smith's entire career at Alabama, only one player ever dominated him: That was Tennessee's Robert Ayers in 2008. This guy is an absolute beast, and its a joke that he might fall out of the top 15. No one ever could block this guy at Tennessee.
  • Why isn't Keenan Lewis of Oregon State ranked higher? He has good measurables, and he was an absolute stud during his senior year. He always held his own against USC's receivers and played extremelywell against Darius Heyward-Bey when Oreson St. played Maryland in the Emerald Bowl.
  • I don't understand how Patrick Chung is anything more than a 4th round pick. He's just another Roy Williams (which is definitely not a good thing).
  • If San Jose State's Jarron Gilbert isn't drafted in the mid second round that will be a major steal. Has anybody seen what an athlete he is? He jumped out of 3 feet of water!!!!!!! He just jumped straight out!!!!!!! Never bet against a man that can jump out of that much water without pushing off any walls.
  • Finally, if teams really want a hidden gem, look no further than Patrick White and Ian Johnson. Most scouts have labeled White as a wildcat quarterback that can't run a pro style offense, but at WVU he was always able to make NFL caliber throws when he had to. Johnson is just amazing. He owned college football when he did play. The only reason his production slipped is because he was willing to take a lesser role in order to help the team.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

NFL Free Agency thoughts part 3

Now that all the good free agents are pretty much gone, so there's not much more to talk about. I'll get all my meaningless opinions out now
  • If Ray Lewis is getting $10 million a year, then doesn't Derrick Brooks deserve $9999999999999999999 trillion per year? Brooks can still play, and I don't see why some team (perhaps the Giants, Colts, or Falcons) won't bring him in to be an above average backup. At the very least, why should he make less than a guy who every play gets manhandled by an offensive lineman, jumps up and into the pile when the play is virtually over, and then starts dancing and screaming "Not in Our House!!!!!!" like he just won the super bowl? Let's stop overrating Ray Lewis now.
  • Great move by Buffalo signing T.O. for just one year. By year two he'd probably be complaining about his touches, calling Trent Edwards a necrophiliac, and popping off on vicodin. But the Bills can just squeeze a year out of T.O. and send the tumor elsewhere.
  • The Cowboys picking up Igor Olshansky was a very underrated move. He plays the run, occasionally rushes the pasher, and maybe he can bring the lights out dance to big D (on second thought, lets leave Shawn Merriman's stupid antics alone). Expect San Diego's already porous defense to have a dropoff in 09.
  • My hometown Cardinals signed Bryant McFadden. He's big, supremely athletic, but he always plays like a number two corner. Still, not a bad signing.
  • Miami needs to sign Jason Taylor. I know, I know, he sucks now, but how great is it watching the NFL's most metrosexual man feuding with a 400 pound man trying to act more badass than Rorschach in "Watchmen" (I'm talking about Bill Parcells)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

NFL Free Agency thoughts, part two

more transactions, more opinions
  • T.J. Houshmanzadeh will be a good fit in Seattle. But I don't understand his decision for this reason: it sounds like he could have gotten a similar deal with Minnesota or the New York Giants, two winning teams who needed a big receiver with good hands and route running. Also, this doesn't take Seattle out of the Michael Crabtree sweepstakes. T.J.'s not the same gamebreaker that Crabtree is.
  • Derrick Ward is a very nice addition for Tampa Bay. Personally I would've taken less money to stay with the Giants, but this is a good deal for Ward. The Giants will be fine because Ahmad Bradshaw can do all the things that Ward can do, and if necessary New York can use one of its later picks on a running back.
  • What was Denver Bronco management thinking? First of all, I don't understand their desire to trade Jay Cutler away. Once you have a franchise quarterback you don't ever trade him away unless your getting a ridiculously good package and you have a capable backup in waiting. But even if you like the trade, you have to be critical of the way the Broncos handled the affair. They came into the negotiations way too late and now they're not being honest with Cutler.
  • Would you offer 11 million a year to a 37 year old quarterback, especially when you have been grooming his replacement for three years? I wouldn't, and you probably wouldn't if you were being reasonable. But the Cardinals are seriously contemplating giveing this deal to Kurt Warner. I don't know why Kurt wants to San Fran. Who would rather throw to Darrell Jackson and Isaac Bruce instead of Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald? But the Cardinals should let Kurt sign whatever ridiculous deal he wants elsewhere rather than screwing up their own cap.
  • Tennessee's signing of Nate Washington was the most underrated move. I watched a lot of his games in Pittsburgh. Nate has amazing speed and athleticism and his hands are improving. He'll become a good deep threat for whoever plays quarterback for the Titans.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Free Agency Thoughts, Part one

3 days in, here are some of my opinions on the biggest headlines.
  • Obviously the biggest news is the decision by the Redskins to sign Albert Haynesworth. Is he an impact player? Absolutely. Does He fill a need? Definitely. But we've said that about a lot of big name acquisitions by Daniel Snyder in the past. I won't praise Snyder until I see Haynesworth continue his production that he's had the ;ast two years.
  • I might be the only one thinking this, but I'm not a huge fan of what Scott Pioli is doing in Kansas City. First off, Herm Edwards shouldn't have been fired. He took over a very old team, squeezed one good year out of it, then recognized the need to rebuild, which is why he piled up so many losses. Now that Herm found his franchise quarterback (Tyler Thigpen), he should have gotten one chance to show improvement. But now he's being replaced by Todd Haley, a.k.a. the guy who screwed up Matt Leinart's development. He basically got the job because gameplanned well for three games in his career (the three NFC playoff games) and because he got into a shouting match with his team's best player. Have fun, Kansas City.
  • As hiring Todd Haley wasn't enough, I now get word of his Cassel trade. Maybe I'm missing something, but what's the point of trading a valuable second round pick to a player at a position in which you already have a franchise player? Did anyone actually watch Tyler Thigpen last year? Dude's a total beast. He's got arm strength, accuracy, and incredible poise. Look, I think Matt Casasel's a franchise quarterback, but why waste a second round pick to waste what isn't broken? The only way this trade makes any sense is if the Chiefs trade Thigpen to a quarterback needy team in order to recoup some of that value. How does Thigpen for Detroit's second round pick not make perfect sense?
  • Did Ray Lewis just now realize that there's not a great market for a 34 year old linebacker who can't conver yet still wants 10 million per year?
  • Eagles fans need to quit crying over the loss of Brian Dawkins. Why do you want to pay 7 million a year to a 34 year old safety who sucks at pass defense? It's better to eschew Dawkins now than to be stuck with a cap casualty in 2 years.
  • T.J. Houshmanzadeh should sign with Minnesota. They need a possession receiver to complement Bernard Berrian and take some pressure off the running game. In Seattle T.J. will struggle when the Seahawks try (and fail) to make him the focal point of the offense.
  • The Texans really filled a need by getting Antonio Smith, but he comes at an awful hefty price tag. The devil, err I mean CBS and FOX, make us watch the cardinals every week, and I can tell you, 37 million is way too much for an inconsistent player who basically played four really good games in the playoffs after four really mediocre years.
  • Finally, the G-men look like real winners in free agency. Michael Boley was a very underrated player in Atlanta, and his speed and athleticism will let him thrive in the Giants system. New York also added two excellent young defensive linemen to an already deep defensive line that returns Osi Umenyora next year. Most importantly, they didn't overpay to get any of these players. Now their only huge need is at wideout, and I don't see why they don't look into a trade for Anquan Boldin. How does Anquan Boldin for the Giants' two second round draft picks not make sense for both teams?