Recent reports out of the Seattle Seahawks’ Organized Team Activities suggest Mike Hass is a Pro Bowler waiting to happen.
Tell that to T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
Tell that to Deion Branch and Nate Burleson.
Hell, send Logan Payne an e-mail.
The fact is, this isn’t news. In fact, to anyone who knows about Mike Hass and his under valued abilities, it’s getting fairly repetitive.
Let’s be honest. Receivers aren’t what they used to be.
No longer do they make rosters based on being able to actually catch the ball. No, instead, their ability to succeed in the NFL is based on their talent after they catch the ball.
Interesting, considering half the receivers in the league can’t do the first.
I won’t get into specifics. This isn’t a Mike Hass shrine.
If you want the stats, awards, and gaudy adjectives, go to Wikepedia.
Research Hass on ESPN.com. But don’t expect me to serenade you with quotes about his awesome catching ability, refined route-running, his leaping ability, body control, or extremely underrated elusiveness.
After all, this is an article. Serenading you would be quite difficult.
So too, though, is it for Mike Hass to latch onto an NFL team.
Pac-10 record books. Check.
NFL practice squads. You got it.
Game-day active list. You betcha.
But a single catch in the NFL-not so much.
All you hear about in the off-season about Hass every year, is how sensational he is with the ball, and how he has the best hands on every team he’s practicing with.
So, why then, is he constantly out of a job?
Is a 4.6 40 time really that slow?
Is Hass so ordinary when it comes to athletic ability, that the Chicago Beats preferred to throw caution to the wind and start Devin Hester as their true No. 1 receiver?
Are you seriously telling me that, in the past few years, “talent” such as Devery Henderson, Rashied Davis, and Brandon Lloyd were so good that they deserved a spot above this guy?
Realistically, the only edge these guys have on Hass (and we’re really only talking about Henderson), is their speed and/or athleticism.
And if we’re really going to talk about athleticism, I’ll stop you right there.
Just look at the film. Hass is a superb athlete.
He makes defenders miss, leaps for balls, makes acrobatic catches, and scores touchdowns at will.
He’s made the transition, speed be damned, and he’s catching everything coaches (and quarterbacks) can throw at him.
It’s about time someone tosses him an actual contract.
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tony Romo lost his most talented weapon (Terrell Owens) this off-season, and now only has Roy Williams as a reliable receiver target.
However, the word in Dallas is that Owens being gone will lift any distractions from the team, and will have the offense performing more fluidly and in turn, will be more effective.
Maybe, and maybe not.
Read on to see who wins the quarterback position battles, who is falling, and who is on the rise, in a team-by-team glance:
Eli Manning-New York Giants
Manning has been overrated ever since winning the Super Bowl, and now he doesn’t have an elite receiver to rely on anymore.
Still, the Giants drafted two fantastic receivers in Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden, and the other young talent they have looks to be better than advertised.
While many are down on the Giants offense, I’m making an early guarantee: This offense will soar.
Verdict: May end the season with the elite
Proj: 3,700 yards, 28 TD, 16 INT
Donovan McNabb-Philadelphia Eagles
Just the fact that McNabb stayed healthy last season gives me optimism for him and the Eagles in 2009.
If he can stay on the field, his new offensive weapons should aid him in getting back to prime form.
McNabb put up solid numbers last season, but with a healthy offense, he could approach his 2004 numbers.
Verdict: Three good receivers means only good things
Proj: 3,885 yards, 27 TD, 15 INT
Jason Campbell-Washington Redskins
Against my better judgment, I have to go into 2009 believing the Redskins are fully confident in Campbell.
If they’re not, they aren’t really preparing themselves with a trusted insurance policy.
Regardless, Campbell still has a good arm and shows poise in the pocket. If his young receivers can step up, there could be some modest progress.
Verdict: Still not a great FF option
Proj: 3,334 yards, 15 TD, 12 INT
Tony Romo-Dallas Cowboys
Romo won’t be able to throw it down the field as confidently, but he still has Jason Witten and a solid running back backing him.
The question isn’t if Roy Williams can show up. It’s more about the development of Miles Austin.
Verdict: A balanced offense keeps Romo in the top 10
Proj: 3,698 yards, 31 TD, 16 INT
Aaron Rodgers-Green Bay Packers
The problem in Green Bay is still their defense, and even if it gets better, it still won’t be great.
Rodgers stats will only increase, because he’ll have another season of having to keep Green Bay in high-scoring affairs.
Verdict: Top 10 pick
Proj: 3,966 yards, 27 TD, 14 INT
Jay Cutler-Chicago Bears
Cutler should be able to make something out of Hester, and will discover Greg Olsen to be a nice, speedy target at tight end.
The offensive weapons aren’t sexy, but with time, they definitely could be.
Matt Forte and the rest of the ground game will be Cutler’s new best friend.
Verdict: Cutler shocks some people and keeps 2008 form
Proj: 4,229 yards, 29 TD, 16 INT
Matthew Stafford-Detroit Lions
I speculated about it myself, and have now begun to hear rumors about Stafford starting “earlier than thought”.
I don’t have much faith in a severely regressed Culpepper, and also don’t feel the Lions have much to lose by throwing their rookie into the fire.
Verdict: That doesn’t mean he should be on your team, though.
Proj: 2,470 yards, 14 Td, 16 INT
Brett Favre-Minnesota Vikings
If Brett Favre does in fact stay retired, then I feel Brad Childress has had enough of Tarvaris Jackson, and we’ll see more of Sage Rosenfels, the “Human Helicopter”.
But after he finally spoke up, I believe Favre will be wearing purple come September.
Favre still has a gun (prodiving it doesn’t fall off), and he’s backed by the best running back in the league. He and the Vikings will be just fine.
Proj: 3,639 yards, 24 TD, 16 INT
Jake Delhomme-Carolina Panthers
Despite his five-interception game against the Cardinals in the playoffs, Delhomme is still Jon Fox’s guy, or at least until we’re told otherwise.
The Panthers still have one of the NFL’s best receivers, Steve Smith, at his disposal, along with a great running back tandem to ease the pressure.
Verdict: As usual, he’ll do just fine
Proj: 3,779 yards, 24 TD, 14 INT
Matt Ryan-Atlanta Falcons
Forget about the strides he made, or the excellent chemistry he established with his receivers.
He and the rest of that ridiculous offense are entering year two of being comfortable, and now they have an elite tight end in Tony Gonzalez.
Verdict: Grab Ryan when you can
Proj: 3,591 yards, 25 TD, 13 INT
Byron Leftwich-Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Leftwitch easily beats on Josh Johnson and rookie Josh Freeman, but will probably have to work fairly hard to fend off the pesky veteran, Luke McCown.
In the end, though, Leftwitch has the best amount of experience and the best talent to lead this team, and could form a special connections with Antonio Bryant and Kellen Winslow.
Verdict: You can get him late-at doing so is advised
Proj: 2,677 yards, 18 TD, 9 INT
Drew Brees-New Orleans Saints
Is it really possibly for this guy to throw for over 5,000 yards in back-to-back season? Possible—yes. But it won’t happen. That’s just too insane.
Still, Sean Payton has tons of tricks up his sleeves, and Brees has way too much talent around him to drop off too much.
Verdict: Top five quarterback
Proj: 4,791 yards, 32 TD, 16 INT
Kurt Warner-Arizona Cardinals
Knock him for being old all you want, but I see Warner finishing 2009 healthy, and relatively still on top of his game.
With or without Anquan Boldin, this is a scary-good offense, and the addition of Ohio State’s Chris Wells only makes it tougher and nastier.
Verdict: Like Brees, a top five guy
Proj: 4,211 yards, 31 TD, 15 INT
Shaun Hill-San Francisco 49ers
If Mike Singletary wants to win, he’ll go with Hill. After all, all Hill does is lead an efficient offense and win games.
Hill won’t deliver big numbers, even if the Niner’s are winning, but he will still be the guy slinging passes for them in 2009.
Proj: 3,246 yards, 17 Td, 12 INT
Marc Bulger-St.Louis Rams
As a lover of football and good offensive production, I pray that the rumors of St. Louis being interested in Michael Vick are true.
Bulger has a lot to prove to have me forget about his last two seasons. His offense has been crumbling around him since 2007, but he still hasn’t looked very sharp, even when they’ve won games.
Verdict: Stay away until things get better
Proj: 2,798 yards, 15 TD, 15 INT
Matt Hasselbeck-Seattle Seahawks
Two things went horribly wrong for Seattle and Hasselbeck last season.
First, their running game never took off, and then all their receivers landed on IR.
Oh, and then Hasselbeck broke his back.
With Hasselbeck and his receiving corps back to full healthy, things are already looking up. The only question is, what will they be getting from their rush attack?
Verdict: Hasselbeck returns to near 2007 form.
Proj: 3,476 yards, 22 TD, 15 INT
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Thursday, June 18, 2009
Categories: Fantasy Football
The top ten picks of a Fantasy Football draft is fairly self-explanatory, no matter the format or scoring settings.
It’s simply, really. If you have a league the has two quarterbacks starting, getting Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, or Tom Brady with your top pick isn’t a bad move.
If your league has three running backs starting, you would be doing yourself a favor to get the best three running backs available—and so on and so forth.
But what few people realize, is that many fantasy football championships are won in the later rounds, when owners take fliers on rookies, players with legal troubles, or guys without a team.
Here are 13 players, in no particular order, that deserve a shot to prove to you that they’re still fantasy relevant.
Plaxico Burress, WR, Free Agent
Rumors in New York (Jets) have cooled a bit, but don’t buy it. Burress will see his court issues simmer down for the 2009 season, likely allowing him to continue his playing career.
After all, how is a man to pay for all those lawyers if he can’t earn a paycheck?
Burress may still wind up with some sort of suspension, but either way, is worth taking in the later rounds of your draft, simply because he’s still a candidate for 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns if he plays.
You’re not really going to draft a demoted Isaac Bruce before Burress, are you?
Matt Jones, WR, Free Agent
Jones won’t be facing any suspensions from the league, and the serious part of his legal issues is pretty much over with.
All Jones really has to worry about now is finding a starting spot on a team.
There are plenty of team (Jets, Giants, Cowboys, and Bears, just to name a few) that could use a 6’6″ receiver with good hands and great speed.
Jones probably hasn’t signed yet for two reasons: He doesn’t want to go to the Organized Team Activities, and a few teams may be a bit cautious about his recent problems.
Don’t worry. He’ll find a team and he’ll continue his progression into the better half of the league’s receivers. If the guy could put up solid numbers in Jacksonville, just imagine what he can do if Jay Cutler is throwing him the ball.
Edgerrin James, RB, Free Agent
James may be getting up there in age, but he showed he can still grind it out in last year’s playoff run with Arizona.
He’s lost some speed, but he’s a tough runner who is useful out of the backfield as a receiver, and is solid at picking up blitzes.
While he’s unlikely to find a starting job, he could be very useful as a change of pace back, with several teams in the league lacking veteran experience or overall depth at the position.
Brett Favre, QB, Free Agent
After Favre appeared on HBO’s Joe Buck Live and answered the tough questions, it appears imminent that he will sign with the Vikings.
Still, nothing is certain until he’s signed and in camp, so you can probably still get him in the late rounds of your draft.
Maybe people either still don’t believe he’s coming back, or don’t feel he offers anything as a fantasy quarterback.
I’m here to tell you that it’s foolish to buy into that line of thinking. Favre has all the supporting cast in the world to put up his 2007 numbers again, although with less yards.
Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor will pick up the slack so Favre won’t wear out his arm again, while Bernard Berrian will give Favre the big-play threat he craves.
The Vike’s solid offensive line should be able to protect Favre while all this goes on, and numbers like 3,500 yards, 25 TD, and 15 INT are extremely possible in an offense he knows better than anybody.
Laurence Maroney, RB, New England Patriots
No, he’s not guaranteed the starting job, and yes, he was hurt for most of last season. In fact, even when he was playing, he was ineffective and didn’t look like he did in 2007.
However, regardless of what you may have heard, he’s definitely in Bill Belichick’s plans, and based on the success of the running back by committee in New England last season, he’s still a better pick-up than, say, Noah Herron.
It obviously depends on how many teams are in your league, but if Maroney ever does grab hold of the starting job again, he could be a fantastic steal by you.
Peyton Hillis, RB/FB, Denver Broncos
After putting up over 340 yards and five touchdowns as the Broncos’ interim starting running back lat least season, Hillis figures to get some kind of touches in Josh McDaniels new offense.
Hillis is a versatile offensive threat that can run, block, and catch at an extremely high level, and should be used in a variety of packages.
Despite the likelihood he will be deployed a good amount, he’s lasting on boards until the very end of drafts. Make sure that he doesn’t.
Chris Henry, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
With a healthy Carson Palmer back and a new gung-ho attitude from teammate Chad Ochocinco (I still hate saying that), Henry could emerge as the explosive third option he was just three seasons ago.
Injuries to himself and his quarterback, as well as the usual off-field issues have been holding Henry back, but he could be primed for a big season if everything in Cincy works out as well as Carson Palmer thinks it will.
When healthy and out of trouble, Henry is a threat for 6-9 scores, as well as 350-600 yards. He shouldn’t be without a fantasy owner when your draft is through.
Brian Leonard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Let’s keep things relative, and address the Bengals ground game, too.
We all know Cedric Benson had an impressive three-game stretch to end the season last year, but we’re fooling ourselves if we think three good games can erase the previous three seasons of horrid play.
Benson is no sure thing, which is why the Bengals brought in Leonard from St. Louis.
Leonard will be used as a blocker and a third-down/short yardage back initially, but if Benson struggles, we could see him taking on a more prominent role.
Leonard is a very useful weapon as a receiver out of the backfield, as well, and Marvin Lewis will look for several different ways to get him on the field.
Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets vs. Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
These guys are at a tie for now, simply because neither has been guaranteed the starting gig.
I like Stafford’s potential for this season better based on Calvin Johnson, while Sanchez has a better moxie to him, and probably has a better running game and overall team surrounding him.
Neither are Joe Flacco or Matt Ryan clones, and both are in worse situations than last year’s impressive rookies were. However, there is still some fantasy value there, and if they wind up starting, they could become useful in deeper leagues.
Jerome Harrison, RB, Cleveland Browns
Jamal Lewis is over 30 and clearly not as quick or fast as he used to be (was he ever?).
Harrison has been offering Cleveland a special change-of-pace style for a couple years now, and should finally get his chance to prove his worth.
He won’t take over the starting job before the season starts, but by the end of the season, I’d be shocked if they weren’t at least splitting carries.
The Wild Card
Joey Galloway, WR, New England Patriots
Galloway is definitely up there in age for a receiver, but he can still burn rubber and get behind the secondary.
Bill Belichick’s offense will allow him to have the field all to himself with most of the attention focused on containing Randy Moss and Wes Welker.
Think back when Donte Stallworth was the third option on the 2007 New England team. Galloway could easily put up numbers in the realm of 50 rec, 750 yards, and 6 TD.
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Categories: Fantasy Football
It’s the first day of June, which means all of those premature NFL power rankings and fantasy football rankings are no longer, well, quite as premature.
While everyone (including myself) is discussing LeBron James and his handshake phobia, the Magic and the Lakers, or Bruno’s fall into Eminem’s lap, I’ve decided to take that free fall dive into the loving arms of fantasy football.
And yes, the fantasy realm loves me back.
However, let’s pace ourselves. After all, it is in fact the first month of summer (first day, no less), and we don’t want to generate pre-football heart attacks.
I mean, Brett Favre hasn’t even made up his mind yet, so why should the rest of us be getting antsy?
Regardless, here is a team-by-team look at all 32 starting quarterbacks, their weapons, offenses, and how they may destroy or enhance your team.
Still worried about Favre’s final decision, camp battles, or injuries? I’ll do my best to fill you in, allowing you an early look at which quarterbacks may be the best bets, which could be potential sleepers, and which ones you should stay away from.
Tom Brady—New England Patriots
Matt Cassel is in Kansas City, and Brady is back in camp, meaning two things.
You have nothing to worry about, and you have nothing to worry about.
Brady has looked sharp in limited practice, and still has the same awesome weapons he had in 2007 during his 50-touchdown season. This list isn’t a ranking, but if it were, I’d have Brady at the top.
Verdict: If you can get him in the second round, you’re already winning.
Proj: 4,090 yards, 35 TD, 13 INT
Mark Sanchez—New York Jets
Don’t buy the Kellen Clemens hype (not that there actually is any).
For better or worse, Sanchez will begin the new Joe Namath era.
It won’t be as sexy or productive as either of Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco’s seasons last year, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the Jets reached the playoffs.
Verdict: Not yet an option for FF
Proj: 2,400 yards, 16 TD, 17 INT
Trent Edwards—Buffalo Bills
I like the addition of Owens, but not the loss of Marshawn Lynch to start the season.
Edwards isn’t as bad as people think, and now he has a sound offense around him. He’s a borderline top-15 quarterback, and depending on how he looks in pre-season, could crack that barrier quite easily.
Proj: 3,555 yards, 26 TD, 14 INT
Chad Pennington—Miami Dolphins
This is probably Pennington’s last hurrah with Miami, and something tells me the exciting juice that this offense had last season has all but dried up.
Pennington still doesn’t have enticing options, and he’s got two quarterbacks breathing down his neck.
He’ll be serviceable to start the season, but you won’t claim your league’s championship if he’s your starter.
Verdict: He’s a stop-gap
Proj: 3,100 yards, 17 TD, 14 INT
Ben Roethlisberger—Pittsburgh Steelers
If he endures a Super Bowl hang-over, we could see some bad numbers.
Because, as we’ve learned, the less Big Ben throws, the better he is.
He’s still a fantasy quarterback with solid weapons around him, so don’t be afraid to snatch him up.
Proj: 3,470 yards, 23 TD, 18 INT
Brady Quinn—Cleveland Browns
Personally, I think Derek Anderson has the better arm and size, but Braylon Edwards favors Quinn, and the organization is more likely to run with the young, more familiar face.
Quinn is actually a good, young quarterback, and I’m not sure why Eric Mangini isn’t higher on him.
Regardless, aside from Braylon “Mr. Drop” Edwards, Quinn has no weapons.
Verdict: Things could get ugly
Proj: 2,899 yards, 20 TD, 20 INT
Carson Palmer—Cincinnati Bengals
He was awful last season, going 0-4 before bowing out with an arm injury.
However, his weapons are still potentially elite, and if he can return to form, could easily put up numbers that will have you kicking yourself for passing him up in the fourth round.
Verdict: Possibly ends the season as a top-5 passer
Proj: 3,884 yards, 27 TD, 17 INT
Joe Flacco—Baltimore Ravens
Flacco proved to be a capable game-manager, and has reportedly looked good over the offseason.
However, the Ravens are likely to base their offense around the run, and Flacco doesn’t have superstar options surrounding him.
Verdict: See Chad Pennington
Proj: 3,335 yards, 18 TD, 16 INT
Vince Young—Tennessee Titans
Call me crazy, but I don’t see Kerry Collins finishing the first half of the season as the starter.
He’s up there in age, which makes a regression or an injury extremely likely, and if things aren’t going well, he’ll be benched rather quickly.
Young may not have a cloudless head on his shoulders, but he still can make things happen with his feet.
Verdict: Young might surprise some people
Proj: 2,467 yards, 15 TD, 13 INT, 430 r yards, 4 TD
Peyton Manning—Indianapolis Colts
Manning loses Marvin Harrison, Tony Dungy, and two other important assistant coaches.
That doesn’t mean he’ll suddenly lose his touch, but there’s only so much Anthony Gonzales and Austin Collie can make up for.
Verdict: Draft him below Tom Brady, for sure this time
Proj: 4,300 yards, 33 TD, 19 INT
David Garrard—Jacksonville Jaguars
He lost Matt Jones, but gained Torry Holt.
Something tells me Garrard won’t really notice.
Jacksonville’s offense is all about grinding it out, but they were forced to put the ball in the air more last year because of an atrocious offensive line.
Verdict: A better line means Garrard is good again
Proj: 3,090 yards, 20 TD, 12 INT, 260 r yards, 3 TD
Matt Schaub—Houston Texans
Schaub has too many weapons to fail. The only problem is, he needs to stay on the field.
If he can play even 13 games, he’ll put up huge numbers, while leaving everyone guessing, yet again, what he’d do if he played a full season.
Still, with Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter, Steve Slaton, and Owen Daniels, the future looks good for Schaub.
Verdict: He can lead your team to a title
Proj: 3,800 yards, 25 TD, 16 INT
Philip Rivers—San Diego Chargers
If Rivers’ defense can back him up, unlike in 2008, he could easily approach last year’s numbers, and possibly even surpass them.
With a healthy Antonio Gates and LT, Rivers is more confident than ever.
Verdict: Draft him like he’s Tom Brady
Proj: 4,270 yards, 30 TD, 16 INT
Jeff Garcia—Oakland Raiders
I just don’t see the JaMarcus Russell experiment lasting more than three or four losses in 2009, and wouldn’t be shocked to see him benched in the pre-season.
As long as Garcia wins a few games, Al Davis will let him start. After all, he brought him in for a reason.
Verdict: Nobody in Oakland is worth your while
Proj: 2,300 yards, 15 TD, 9 INT
Matt Cassel—Kansas City Chiefs
Cassel is in a new place with a huge drop-off as far as offensive weapons. He still has good experience from last season, combined with his solid arm and good athleticism.
However, we’ll all be left wondering what could have been, had Tony Gonzalez not been traded to Atlanta.
Verdict: Stay away in year one
Proj: 3,700 yards, 22 TD, 23 INT
Kyle Orton—Denver Broncos
Orton was putting together a solid season in Chicago before hurting his ankle. Once he came back, he played admirably through injury, and didn’t have the best options out there.
In Denver, he’ll have a friendlier offensive line and system, as well as excellent receiving options.
Verdict: Orton could make the leap to elite
Proj: 3,600 yards, 24 TD, 16 INT
The NFC Edition will be made available, depending on the reads/comments for this article. Thanks for reading, and for those basketball enthusiasts, check out my NBA blog: www.robertsroundballreport.com
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Monday, June 1, 2009
Categories: Fantasy Football
Tags: andre johnson, anthony gonzalez, antonio gates, austin collie, ben roethlisberger, brady quinn, braylon edwards, brett favre, bruno, buffalo bills, carson palmer, chad pennington, cincinnati bengals, cleveland browns, david garrard, denver broncos, derek anderson, eminem, eric mangini, houston texans, indianapolis colts, jacksonville jaguars, jamarcus russell, jeff garcia, joe flacco, kansas city chiefs, kellen clemens, kerry collins, kevin walter, kyle orton, l.a. lakers, lebron james, mark sanchez, marshawn lynch, marvin harrison, matt cassel, matt jones, matt ryan, matt schaub, miami dolphins, new england patriots, new york jets, oakland raiders, orlando magic, owen daniels, peyton manning, philip rivers, pittsburgh steelers, san diego chargers, steve slaton, tennessee titans, terrell owens, tom brady, tony dungy, tony gonzalez, torry holt, trent edwards, vince young
Apparently Donald Driver is 25, getting paid less than the veteran’s minimum, and just came off of a 1,400-yard and 12-touchdown season.
No? Then the dude is out of his ever-loving mind.
Reports have Driver, 34, staying away from Green Bay’s OTAs, as he is apparently unhappy with his current contract and wants a new deal.
Of course he does.
Driver is seeing the end of the road, folks. He knows there is young, fresh talent behind him in Jordy Nelson and James Jones, and he knows the end is near.
He has become aware of the fact that he’s half a poor season or one big injury away from never starting for Green Bay again, much less any team.
Whether you’re a Packers fan or not, it’s obvious Driver has been underrated, under appreciated, and undervalued for pretty much his entire career.
However, when the guy is due over $6 million this year, it’s time to put a stop to the pity parade.
If we look at this logically, Driver is making something out of nothing. He’s already getting the money he deserves. He just wants more.
For Ted Thompson, for the fans, and for the rest of the NFL, it’s obvious what the real reason is.
This isn’t a Latrell Sprewell moment. Driver can feed his kids just fine.
This is about insecurity, as well as the inside knowledge that his game has begun to slip. Driver was never the fastest receiver, and he’s clearly lost some speed over the past two years.
As reliable as he was over the years for Brett Favre, he actually developed a quiet reputation for his “triangle catch,” or timely dropped passes that killed drives and sometimes even games.
However, when he showed up to training camp with his shirt tied in a knot, revealing his abdomen, and flashing that “I’m paid more than I’m worth” smile, Packers fans still were in love with him.
But patience is wearing thin.
Is Driver still capable of performing at a high level and running at the No. 2 spot? Sure.
But wasn’t Brett Favre still capable of guiding his team effectively? Yes, and quite honestly, he was doing it at a higher level than Driver had ever done it at his own position.
So, after Green Bay moved on from the legendary Favre, why should Driver be any different?
The answer is, he won’t be.
This contract dispute isn’t really a dispute at all. It’s just a desperate plea from a man who can see his career in his beloved city coming to a crashing halt.
Nelson and Jones are likely to be filtered into the offense more, and the aging Driver is bound to be phased out, rendered to the slot, and eventually cut.
That’s why he wants more money. Not just for now, but for the future as well.
He wants to ensure he’ll be in Green Bay and starting for another three years.
Unfortunately, that won’t be happening. That wouldn’t be happening even if he never demanded a new contract.
Regardless, Driver went about this the wrong way, and the “end” that was closing in on his Green Bay career just got a little closer.
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Monday, June 1, 2009
There are more lists filtering through this site than pop-up ads. It’s getting to that “awesomely ridiculous” stage.
And I’m not complaining. God, no. I love it.
What’s better than the actual NFL season? The answer is nothing, but a close second is the constant coverage it gets, despite being almost four months away.
We have the Brett Favre Saga, fantasy football hype, trades, roster changes, and best of all, rankings that in no way matter right now.
Such is the life of an NFL fan-waiting and praying over their team, their decisions, and crossing their fingers that their top guy doesn’t go all “Tom Brady” on them in training camp.
Oh, and then there’s the Madden Curse. Will Troy Polomalu and Larry Fitzgerald put an end to the curse? Heck, will we be seeing them facing off again in 2010′s title game?
To all, I say maybe.
But as long as we’re all stuck on maybe’s, let’s add a few more to the fire. Here are 10 guys who, based on past history and current situations, have a real shot at claiming this upcoming season’s MVP award.
1. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
His chances greatly increase if Brett Favre strolls into town, but even if he’s backed by Sage Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson, Peterson is primed for another huge year.
If the Vikings are going to have another shot at the division, Peterson will have to be at his best. In fact, even if he can simply match last season’s totals of 1,700 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, he’s a shoe-in.
Regardless, just a healthy season and a trip to the playoffs could lock it up for him.
2. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
He’s up for Comeback Player of the Year in many people’s minds (and I’d agree), but how about two awards in one season?
If Brady doesn’t have any set-backs, it shouldn’t be too outlandish to expect at least 35 touchdowns and over 4,000 yards.
Oh, is that the definition of outlandish?
Sure, he tore his knee up and his been out of football for a year now, but his system, coaches, and offensive weapons are too good to slow him down for long.
Oh, and he’s Tom-friggin-Brady. Remember when Carson Palmer came back from his knee injury? Yeah, he was still pretty good.
Just imagine Brady.
3. Kurt Warner, QB, Arizona Cardinals
I know he’s old, but I’m tired of doubting Warner. He’s just too nice of a guy.
Still, I’m not picking him as a candidate because he gives thanks to God or bagged groceries with a smile on his face. He makes the list because with or without Anquan Boldin, he has a sick offense, and last time we saw him, he was still ungodly amazing.
Unless an unfortunate injury vaults Matt Leinart into the line-up, we can get ready to see another 3,700+ yard season, and close to 30 touchdowns.
There has to be a drop-off eventually, but something tells me 2009 isn’t the year it happens.
4. Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers
After coming out of nowhere to put up over 1,600 yards a few years ago, Gore has put together two average seasons for a starting running back.
However, it’s nowhere close to being his fault, and any kind of positive results from the quarterback position could pay huge dividends, both for Gore and the entire offense.
As that passing game begins to get more respected (a big if), Gore will be able to run more freely.
5. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
Can we expect another run at Dan Marino’s yardage record (5,084)? Sure.
Brees still has the same weapons and system, and last time I checked, is still Drew Brees.
As long as the Saints defense can hold up, and they can get consistency out of their running game, Brees keeping his 2008 form is very possible.
To snag the MVP, though, he may have to do more than just make the playoffs. The Saints may have to win the division.
6. Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Manning is the poster boy for consistency, and is constantly among the league leaders in every passing category.
He loses offensive coordinator Tom Moore, as well as Marvin Harrison, but still has the same offense (roughly), and a ton of weapons.
The deciding factor on Manning is if the Colts can stay among the elite, despite drastic loss, and whether or not Anthony Gonzalez and Austin Collie can step-up and produce behind Reggie Wayne.
7. Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
McNabb finally put in a full 16 games in 2008, and it paid off.
Despite his team’s early struggles, McNabb and his offense re-grouped, and ended the season with a hard-fought battle with the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship game.
McNabb now has three solid receivers at his disposal after the front office nabbed Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin, ensuring him the chance at another top-ten season if he can stay healthy.
As long as he’s healthy and doesn’t drop-off, McNabb now has the necessary tools to pick defenses apart, while having a one-two punch at running back to help finish the job.
8. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Too soon? I don’t think so.
In his first season, amidst all the controversy of the Brett Favre situation, Rodgers stepped up in a big way, throwing for over 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Rodgers proved to be an exceptional leader, and made enough big plays to suggest that he has a very bright future in Green Bay.
If the defense can get significantly better, Rodgers and his well-groomed offense could guide the Packers to a division crown.
9. Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons
I’m almost tempted to put Matt Ryan here, but it’s clear that the Falcons’ biggest offensive strength is their rush offense. That is, until we see what the addition of Tony Gonzalez does for Ryan and the rest of the passing game.
Regardless, Turner jumped out on day one with a huge 220-yard game, as well as three touchdowns. He brought in consistent production the rest of the way, as he ran for 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns.
He could have arguably been the MVP last season, but if he can repeat his 2008 success, he’d be a strong candidate.
10. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers
After piecing together a wonderful season as the lead back, Williams is looking forward to 2009 as his “2008 wasn’t a fluke” proof.
Williams is a great back with excellent speed and quickness, and also possesses fantastic vision in the open field.
He does share carries with Jonathan Stewart, another impressive back, so getting back to 1,500 yards and 18 scores.
(Philip Rivers, Tony Romo, LaDainian Tomlinson, Chris Johnson, and Clinton Portis were also considered for this list.)