tebow2

Because nostalgia is fun and so is the pain of horribly failed decisions, over the next month we’re going to fire up the ol’ time machine and revisit drafts. Unofficially this great journey started Monday with a not-so distant trip to 2011, the year of the pass rusher.

At each stop we’ll remember the major storylines, the busts, the bargains, the trends, and some other things that start with “the”. Today, 2010 is under the microscope, and conveniently that’s a notorious draft year due to the presence of a righteous quarterback.

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brady hat2

“Old” can be a moving target in football, but it’s one we still generally have pinned down. Running backs are considered old at the age of 30, which is why, if they’ve been handling a steady workload throughout their career (hi there, Chris Johnson), we begin to talk about decay at the depressingly early age of 28.

Wide receivers last a little longer, but as we’ve seen with the likes of Randy Moss and Chad Ochocinco/Johnson in recent years, their abilities decline steeply at around age 35.

Then there are the quarterbacks, those weird, timeless beings. The most talented among them can stay effective well into their late 30′s. If there’s an average offensive line in front of him, a good quarterback won’t get laid out too often and add a few years, too. But arm strength still fades, as does the mobility or foot speed required to avoid a rush.

So, every year, the few teams riding a true generational talent at QB wrestle with a key question as the draft nears, and selecting an heir to the throne with a high pick is an attractive option:

When is your really great old quarterback too damn old?

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chris johnson again2

As a fan of the National Football League you have the right to be selfish. Most commonly that right is exercised when you wish for the best outcome for your team, and you hope rivals find only the deepest pits of hell.

But I prefer an even simpler existence: I want to be entertained.

Chris Johnson is an entertainer. His services in the entertainment field are now up for grabs. As a selfish fan, let’s indulge our wildest football fantasies with one question: which team gives Johnson the best opportunity to deliver football smiles?

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jj watt2

During this driest of NFL dry seasons, the draft is torn down, reassembled, and deconstructed again (rinse and repeat), we’re reminded that each draft takes on its own unique characteristics and reflects the current league climate.

In 2005 three running backs were selected in the top five: Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson, and Cadillac Williams. Nearly a decade later we recall that draft as a crushing failure and the beginning of the running back draft spiral. In the nine years since only three other backs were selected in the top five overall.

This year’s draft will almost certainly be driven by the passing game, just as it was three years ago but in a very different, and very defensive way. Let’s look back on 2011, and what’s already known as one of the great pass rusher drafts of all-time.

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Desean shhh2

When DeSean Jackson was released by the Philadelphia Eagles and then later signed by the Washington Redskins, he became the latest of a special breed: players who are tolerated only for a short time by their current head coach, or just not tolerated at all.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, today there were more reports that Jackson was petulant in the Eagles locker room and not liked by his teammates. The dislike became so strong that despite still contributing at a high level, his disruptive attitude was too much to bear.

It’s an act we’ve seen before, and we’ll see it again. Stud player does stud stuff, then says or does stupid things, and bye. Here are four more examples of players best served in small doses. Note the position of choice for all but one.

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mike williams2

Buying low on a player works best when said player later becomes a sell high candidate. That doesn’t mean he has to be sold and traded again, but rather it simply means his value has risen high above expectations after your purchase at a bargain price.

When the Bills acquired Mike Williams for a mere sixth-round pick today, that became the goal. In a sense the move mirrors the sort of trade or signing often pulled off by the New England Patriots, Buffalo’s division rival. Bill Belichick has frequented the scrap heap for players who are either fading veterans (Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco) or discarded due to their numerous red flags (Aqib Talib). This Williams acquisition is the latter, and this fall we’ll learn if he’ll continue his flameout path, or if the Bills will receive high-end production after they essentially made him their sixth-round pick in this draft.

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pete carroll laugh2

Everything about Pete Carroll in Seattle feels right. The fanbase that quite literally shakes the Earth with its gameday roar has the league’s most energetic head coach, a man who’s seemingly on a constant caffeine drip as he defies all laws of human behavior at his quite elderly age. If you weren’t reminded nearly every game, it would be a very funny joke when someone told you that at 62 years young Carroll is behind only Tom Coughlin in age among NFL head coaches.

Now he’ll age a few more years in Seattle, though you’ll never know it. Late last night the Seahawks announced a press conference for later this afternoon, and the dot connecting didn’t take long.

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