Archive for the ‘Position Battles’ Category

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Whenever any insight emerges regarding the Broncos’ backfield and who will get carries and when, something pretty predictable happens: panic. Pure, almost joy-filled panic.

As fake footballers, panicking about something — anything at all, really — is our default mode. Usually, it looks something like this…

Today a guy who frequently talks to Broncos players and coaches because it’s his job dropped a knowledge nugget about the Broncos backfield, and it’s handful of moving parts which include two young, highly drafted running backs (Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman), and an old rusty anchor (Knowshon Moreno).

The result was a confirmation of what we were told a few weeks ago from another guy who actually works for the Broncos and he’s pretty important (the offensive coordinator). Oh, and more panic.

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The Packers’ running game will improve this season, mostly because the laws of NFL growth dictate that not achieving at least a moderate improvement is impossible. They spent two draft picks on running backs, first selecting Eddie Lacy in the second round, and then two rounds later grabbing Johnathan Franklin. Investing that heavily and that early in one position means the low bar set by just 3.9 yards per carry has to rise a little. Right? Sure.

When that happens a Packers offense which is still led by passing dynamo Aaron Rodgers and Pervy Harvin clone Randall Cobb will induce much more fright, because then opposing defenses will actually have to worry about defending a ball carrier. That’s been only a minor concern during the Packers’ 43 straight regular-season games without a 100-yard rusher.

And you know, all of that will be just dandy for Packers fans, who will notice only if their limbs aren’t completely numb because they didn’t wear the proper Lambeau attire. But for our fantasy purposes, this could be a steaming mess.

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Being the starting running back in Arizona just makes far too much sense for Rashard Mendenhall, which is probably why there was some doubt as to whether or not he’ll rise to that plateau with little challenge. It’s in our nature to doubt things which seem simple, because caution is the way of the football mind, especially as it applies to fantasy footballing pursuits.

Oh, and especially when we’re discussing a running back who tore his ACL at the end of the 2011 season, and then he took the anti Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles route in his comeback. Mendenhall missed 10 games this past season due to various setbacks (most notably, Achilles tendinitis), which restricted him to only 51 carries and 60 touches overall.

Wise men claim that time heals wounds, and Mendenhall has had plenty of that tonic now. But despite Peterson’s heroics, we’ve seen plenty of circumstances over the years in which a running back isn’t quite the same again after an ACL tear. So yes, there was reason for doubt when the Cardinals signed Mendenhall to a classic one-year “prove it” deal, and it grew when they invested two draft picks in the running back position (a fifth-round pick on Stefan Taylor, and a sixth rounder on Andre Ellington).

And now, Bruce Arians would like to kill that doubt, and send the demon back to hell.

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Mike Kafka: Really?

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Dedicated readers — yes, all nine of you — will recognize that headline. As if it’s some sort of sign from the gods, it was used exactly a month ago, just with a different name. That time, the name in question was Tyler Wilson when we learned that he has/had(?) a real chance to win the starting quarterback gig for the Raiders, even though they just traded for Matt Flynn, and even though they gave up a second-round pick for Terrelle Pryor.

But after some sober reflection, that made some sense, though even the possibility of Wilson’s abrupt rise was more of a reflection on the inexperience and ineffectiveness of Flynn and Pryor, who have combined for three career starts. Now we may be seeing sort of the same thing in Jacksonville with Mike Kafka, except inexperience isn’t a problem for Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne.

No, they just might suck.

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desean jackson smile2

Hold on to your butts, guys, because I’m about to throw out a wild and crazy notion. Sometimes NFL head coaches — men in a line of work where holding the same position for five years is reason to party down — have a grand plan, and they go ahead and execute that plan regardless of what you and I, or any other Johnny football fan thinks.

But it gets better. If they have enough conviction in their vision, they soldier on with little regard for what their players think. Oh sure, they have an open mind and open ears, but they’re thinking long term, and far beyond the immediacy of a situation.

So in short then, they’re being head coaches, a job in which there’s a goal behind every action. There are reasons why Chip Kelly, the Eagles rookie head coach, hasn’t named a quarterback yet. Most of them are simple, while a few are deeper, and all of them are apparently making a lot of people who wear green jerseys uneasy.

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Oddly, it seems an older, slowing football player isn’t willing to admit that he’s creeping close to his expiry date. I know, it’s strange that Willis McGahee won’t just fade into his football tomb, at least for our benefit. What a selfish man.

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weeden-ball2

As you’re aware by now through the use of that handy category tag above, we’re tracking any and all fantasy-relevant position battles throughout the offseason. It’s hard work which requires much clicking, but thankfully, you have me for that heavy lifting.

This will be our last update on the Browns’ quarterback kerfuffle, mostly because — just as we widely expected — there isn’t much to update. Brandon Weeden is your 2013 Cleveland Browns quarterback.

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