NFL Quarterbacks on the hot seat

Tony Romo (en) at a Dallas Cowboys (en) preseason.

Tony Romo (en) at a Dallas Cowboys (en) preseason. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well the football season is almost upon us and I think it’s time to judge a book by its cover and put out theories of what quarterbacks are on the hot seat, in my opinion, and need to step it up without seeing anything yet.

Dallas CowboysTony Romo
He has been surrounded with some talented players but has yet to lead them to the Super Bowl. At first, it was blamed on the lack of experience, then it was the locker room, and now it is that he cannot play well when it counts. Romo is running out of excuses and while he is a better quarterback option than what other teams put on the field. So now, they still have Jason Witten, Miles Austin, the emerging Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray who came out of nowhere last season. Romo has to earn his paycheck and get them a ring. You can blame whatever, players, locker room, the division he is in, lack of a 3rd WR, golf, Jessica Simpson, Satan but truth is that has not stopped Eli Manning and the New York Giants. Maybe the Cowboys brought in Kyle Orton to compete with Romo but he is just an upgrade from Kitna but with Orton on the roster, it could give the Cowboys confidence to bench Romo if he has a few bad games in a row. Even with a weird voice telling me to predict that, Tony will be benched at some point this season I predict he will be the starter for the Cowboys.

Houston Texans- Matt Schaub
Matt has played well for the Texans but T.J. Yates did play well and the Texans could have a decision to make if they go back to playing sub .500 football. Yates would benefit from sitting back and learning for the next year or so because who knows what he can bring in a full season and how high his ceiling is. Matt Schaub is the clear starter next season I do believe but like I said, I do not see the coach or GM or Owner accepting a .500 or less season because winning is everything. I predict that Matt Schaub will be the starter until an injury forces the Texans to play Yates. Predicting this seems unfair because it is like predicting the ending to a movie after seeing it for the fourth time.

Kansas City Chiefs- Matt Cassel
Matt Cassel has to prove that he is not just a back up who benefited from a good system in 2008 when Tom Brady went down back when he was in New England. He has some talent around him now and only he is in his way. They do not have many other options at quarterback but if Cassel does not play well they will have to see what someone else can do. With Todd Haley gone Matt has to prove himself to the new coach and earn back his starting quarterback status. I predict that Cassel will finish the season as the starter because the Chiefs do not have many other better options.

Buffalo Bills– Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan has played well at the beginning of last season but really trailed off. Some could be blamed on the injuries, especially to Fred Jackson but with the losing record that the Bills have had I do not see them waiting for Ryan to straighten things out. I will be honest though the only reason he made my list is because one. They are the Bills and the coach has immense pressure on him since they have such a losing history lately and two. The Bills signed former first round pick quarterback Vince Young. The Bills were so happy he played well last season that they paid him as if he is the second coming of Jim Kelly. So tells me that they are desperate and should be but I do not think Ryan is the answer, neither is Young but Vince will benefit from a team that is still searching for an answer. I predict that Vince Young will see some time as the starter for the Bills this season.

New York Jets- Mark Sanchez
This just seems like a “duh” to me, like me asking out Jessica Biel, we all know what is going to happen. However, it is still worth mentioning because Mark did this to himself. The locker room is divided and the leaders need to step in but Mark does not seem to be the one. Already Tim Tebow, whom the Jets acquired via trade with the Denver Broncos, made an impact as a leader and even played better than Mark in the games they faced each other. Rex Ryan is a good coach and he is on the hot seat I believe so he will not let Mark continue to not develop. If he does not see Sanchez getting better, he will give Tim Tebow a chance because he is not with the Jets to make friends, he is there to win and give his team the best chance to do so. Sanchez needs to starting developing and showing that he can be better than he was. I predict that Mark Sanchez will remain the starter for the whole season, unless injured. Although, a debate could start when the Jets go on a cold streak.

Worth mentioning? Cleveland Browns- Colt McCoy. He does not have much talent around him so is it his fault? However, Brandon Weeden is already taking first team snaps so McCoy might not be on the hot seat after all, because he is not the starter anymore.

Why no Alex Smith? Well because I do believe that if he does well the 49ers will be happy but they will not be surprised if he does not. Alex was the best option they had since he did so well in Harbaugh’s new system and if he continues to develop it is a bonus, if not is anyone surprised? I, for one, am hoping that he does well again this season.

Overall- Tony Romo has the most to prove out of all of these quarterbacks, with Mark Sanchez in second. The Dallas Cowboys have a storied history and Jerry Jones wants to win so with those combined make Tony the one with the most pressure on him.

New England Patriots: Wide Receiver- Who makes the team?

New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker ...

New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker on the field prior to an away game against the Oakland Raiders. The Patriots won 49-26. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wes Welker This is a given that he will make the team, it is just about when he arrives. His contract dispute will no doubt hold things up and draw some attention that the Patriots do not want.

Brandon Lloyd Although I am not a fan of this signing just because everyone is treating it like this guy is Randy Moss V.2 but he’s not people, and neither was Chad “Ocho” Johnson and we shouldn’t expect those kind of results. Lloyd has talent, and he knows McDaniels’ offense so for those reasons I see him landing a spot.

Deion Branch He will make it but his role will be heavily reduced but he will be competing for time playing the second WR. Even if he does not make the team, I do not see Branch going to another team but might pull a Tedy Bruschi and retire.

Jabar Gaffney Still has some in the tank and will beat out Stallworth for a spot on the team. Gaffney seems to have Stallworth’s number because he beat him out back in 2007 here with the Patriots and again with the Redskins last season.

Chad Ochocinco This might be an unpopular decision to say that Chad will make the team over Donte. Why? Well, because if Chad actually gets the playbook and plays well then he has more talent left than Donte ever had to begin with. I think that we put too much into knowing the playbook and sometimes forget talent. Chad may have diminished skills compared to two years ago but that is still more than Donte ever had.

On the outside looking in

Donte Stallworth Donte was beat out for time by Gaffney so we know that will most likely happen again so it will come down to Chad versus Donte and like I mentioned Chad I believe will win. Donte, while he does know the playbook, never had as much talent or was a top talent like Chad was. Now, of course, Chad has to get the playbook down but I am going on a limb to say that he will. Maybe I am basing too much of my decision on the past but that is okay with me.

Anthony Gonzalez While Gonzalez was a decent signing because of the talent he does actually have, he has some injury issues and I believe he will somehow end up being injured and either be cut just like Torry Holt a few years ago. Most likely he’ll get hurt stepping out of his car or mowing the lawn. (joking on the last part) If he does make it and doesn’t get injured then he could help this team, I’m just not holding my breath.

Julian Edelman I don’t think he will make the team as a Wide Receiver but will definitely make it in some other form. Whether that be on special teams or defense or trick plays, he will find his place. That’s not to say that he does not have some sort of future as a Wide Receiver but as of right now the depth chart changes his position.

Jeremy Ebert– He will most likely be a practice squad guy for the first year or so and will have to prove himself in order to stay on this team. He has a good chance to make the team in the future as an Edelman or Slater kind of player but with the failures of Taylor Price, Chad Jackson, Brandon Tate and the millions (and millions) of the other players I am being cautious.

Overall Chad will have to prove himself to make this team but that is obvious. You can call it a “mark” move of me to choose him over Donte but I just have a feeling that Chad will have it together and if he does not then we’ll be just fine. We are loaded at Wide Receiver and if Chad does not have it again then he will not make it and someone else will step up. This is a win-win situation for Bill and the Patriots.

So what is my quick analysis of the running back and fullback positions? Well I believe that Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead and Tony Fiammetta will make the team. Spencer Larsen and Eric Kettani I think will make the team in some other position whether it be special teams or practice squad member. As for Joseph Addai I am not sure what kind of role he will play on this team. I just hope that it doesn’t hinder the development of Ridley and Vereen because honestly they can’t progress and get better if they aren’t playing on the field during games that matter. With that being said I thought the signing was decent because they need someone who can come in and help Ridley, Vereen and even Woodhead develop but hopefully not hurt them. I think that Ridley and Vereen are talented and have the potential to be great running backs but not as practice squad guys.

New England Patriots 2012 draft

National Football League Draft

National Football League Draft (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chandler Jones DE/OLB from Syracuse University An athletic guy who has a big wingspan. He needs to work on his pass rushing moves but could develop into a great player. He could step in right away as the starter or play some significant time on sub packages so either way they have some options. He is a versatile player who can play in either defensive set but I do not see him being a “making waves” kind of production in his first year. His kind of size and athleticism does not come around all of the time so I love that the Patriots saw him still on the board and grabbed him then traded back up to get the guy they really wanted. GRADE- A

Dont’a Hightower ILB from Alabama– I do not see him being used as just an ILB but I can see him playing in different positions. I am a little surprised that he was still on the board but I am glad that Bill traded up to grab him because Baltimore would have otherwise. He is a guy who can play in the middle with Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes, but I also see him playing some time at OLB or even in coverage. He is good at blitzing up the middle but I do not think he is a pass rusher, he might contribute to that but will not be the main guy. The only thing that might hurt him is the development of Brandon Spikes, which could cut down his playing time, unless Bill has a plan to move either Mayo, Spikes or even Hightower to another LB position. GRADE- A

Tavon Wilson CB/S from Illinois- Officially labeled by NFL.com as a free safety but spent the first two seasons in college as a cornerback then converted over to a safety before the 2010 season. I do not know where he fits in the Patriots defense, whether it is as a cornerback or a safety but I do think that this pick was a head scratch especially since so many other defense backs were still on the board at the time. Defensive backs that are more known, most likely higher potential, and will most likely be in the league later. I do not get this pick and I just do not know if Tavon will be an impact player. I will trust Bill on this one I guess but the fact that they did take a DE later on in the draft kind of gets to me. They could have picked up a better, more productive DE at this pick and still picked up Wilson at 90. GRADE- D

Information on Tavon Wilson

Patriots trade 62nd pick for the 90th pick and the 163rd pick. SHOCKING. Did you really think that Bill was not going to disappoint us all and avoid drafting some players who can actually start and instead end up with a new class of practice squad members. Maybe I am being a little harsh on this move but I am just a little taken back by the second round moves that they made, especially after such a great start. First they pick up someone who MIGHT sniff the practice squad and then they trade out of the second round. Okay, so let us see where this goes and be optimistic about this. Belichick is the coach with the rings and we are the fans who are just anxious and want the Patriots to pick up everyone with a name we know but that is not going to happen. GRADE- F

Jake Bequette DE from Arkansas– This was taken from NFL.com on Bequette.

“Bequette was a strong player for Arkansas, though his productivity could be attributed more to competitiveness and intelligence than great athleticism. He stood out as a leader and high-energy player for the Razorbacks. He had the strength to rush, set the edge and hold his ground in the run game, able to battle bigger linemen and go hard until the end of the play. He is a solid tackler around the ball and consistently pursues plays from the backside. His versatility across the line makes him a good value for NFL teams, especially those running a 3-4 defense. He will likely be taken in one of the later rounds.”

His weaknesses summarized that he gets lost on double teams, not too athletic, not a factor in the passing game, does not play as fast as he could. Jake seems like a decent pick and will contribute in his own way but not sure, how often or how big that impact will be. He could compete with Jermaine Cunningham for playing time and who knows who will win that battle but either way the Patriots will get a good player out of it. GRADE- C

Something to worry about Patriots fans is that the Patriots have the fewest draft picks left with just one pick, which is 163, a 5th round pick. We always hear the same thing, the word value is thrown around, and it just gets annoying. Yeah you can trade all kinds of picks for later picks in the draft because you can get some value players… wow… great… how about players who can start and make an impact on a game that can say… I do not know… help you actually win the Super Bowl versus not being able to stop the other teams offense. Would it have been so bad if you did not have any picks after 62? Does that spell a bad draft if you only have four picks? Well it is quality not quantity, and while Hightower and Jones are quality picks the rest of the picks are not. However, let us be positive here and say that for whatever place they do not hit they can always plug-in another free agent because you still have some talented names available on the market.

I’ll update this again when they make their final selection but most likely the player won’t be any good so does it matter, I think not. Who will the pick be? A new practice squad member or bench guy.

*UPDATE*  4/29

Nate Ebner DB from Ohio State- A kid who will come in and contribute on special teams right away. Not a bad pick at all, a nice depth move for the Patriots and considering the injury problems they have had in the past at both CB and S this is a good pick up. Bad part about the pick is not sure he will be anything more than a special teams guy. GRADE- C

Alfonzo Dennard CB from Nebraska- This was a high risk-high reward pick for the Patriots. Dennard could have gone a lot earlier in the draft. He was once considered an early round pick until performance and bad decisions pushed him down the board. At that point in the draft, in the seventh round, if you miss it’s not a huge deal but if you hit you’re a genius and Dennard could be a hidden gem if he can get his act together. If anyone can do it it’s Bill Belichick and that core group that they have and leaders like Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork and Tom Brady to show him. I have to say that I did really like this pick from the Patriots. He is shorter and can get blocked by more physical receivers but will also try to be involved in the play which is good, and according to the breakdown at NFL.com, is NFL-ready which is good for a seventh rounder. Now it is just up to Dennard to get his act together or he’ll be a newcomer with WWE or the CFL. GRADE- B

Jeremy Ebert WR from Northwestern- Could eventually be the replacement/competition for Julian Edelman as a slot receiever and special teams player. The fact that he came on strong his last two seasons at Northwestern tells me that he will get better with time and will learn the system eventually. He’ll most likely be a practice squad guy since they have a lot of receivers on the roster but still a decent pick for that late in the draft. GRADE- C

Overall- A very good draft for the New England Patriots as they were primarily defensive oriented which is an area that needed to be addressed. Not that I put a lot of stock into the grades on NFL.com, because it is based on others opinions at the combine and pro days and if you don’t go then you have a low-grade but aren’t neccessarily a bad player. However, the player with the highest grade according to NFL.com is actually seventh round pick Alfonzo Dennard at 85.7 then Dont’a Hightower at 85 and the lowest being both Nate Ebner and Jeremy Ebert who didn’t have grades at all. Again, doesn’t really mean much but I thought it was a little interesting. Why didn’t I like the Tavon Wilson pick? Well because I see him as a blend in kind of player which means that he won’t do anything great but most likely won’t do anything bad either but I don’t think you use a second round pick on that kind of player. Hey, if I’m wrong, that’s awesome and I’m more than happy to be wrong on this one but I see him as a guy who you can forget is even playing just because he won’t stand out positively or negatively. He had a private workout with Bill and the Patriots however and seven other teams worked him out so teams had a different grade on him then the scouts and analysts did so I do trust Bill but I’m not going to be surprised if he is not on the team in a few years.

 

Extreme Reunion: revival of ECW or just using its blueprints?

The Franchise Shane Douglas as BTW Champion, C...

The Franchise Shane Douglas as BTW Champion, Chicopee MA, March 26, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I know this is my first post in a while and sorry for that but I have been busy lately. So, Extreme Reunion is set to place in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory and with the event just under two weeks away I figure that I would enter my opinion on this latest attempt to revive the extreme style of wrestling, or as Shane once called it the SPORT of wrestling. If this is an attempt at another ECW reunion and is just something to top what WWE and Impact Wrestling did then I’m not sure this is a good idea. I would see it as just an attempt to rekindle what the ex-ECW wrestlers all once had but don’t have anymore. However, if this is not just a reminiscing event and is an attempt to start a new wrestling promotion then I applaud this.

Some fans out there have cried to keep ECW dead and honor the memory of it because past revivals have failed miserably but am I the only one who does not see this as a revival of ECW? ECW is dead, Shane knows that, everyone at the event know that and to think otherwise is just being blind or stupid BUT the idea behind it is alive and well. The principles that ECW stood for, the wrestling it brought you, the new and old names it gave chances to, and the extreme style it revolutionized did not die with it. I know that in the movie industry, typically, remakes do not work out but this is not a movie, this is something different. This would be no different from someone who came up with a revolutionary invention and it failed… but someone else took it over and pushed it in a new direction while using the same core plans as a foundation. It does not make that remake a bad idea; you just hope that it does not completely mirror the old one.

Where wrestling is now we do need a new ECW-type of promotion to make a splash and shake things up. WWE is back to the PG-era and gimmicks that look as if they were regurgitated from the early 90’s. I mean come on, Brodus Clay is Flash Funk and Tenishi is Kwang, what is next Man Mountain Rock or Bastion Booger? Need I say more? Impact Wrestling is not much different from WWE except with a weaker product so until they get themselves out of that shadow they will not get better in the ratings and I do not know if Hogan and Bischoff can take them, there… you would think so. So in steps Shane Douglas and his idea at reviving not ECW but what its foundation was, the core style that stood behind ECW and I think… good timing. Now it cannot fully rely on old ECW wrestlers to guide them to being a new promotion but it can slowly make that transition if it can attract some young, talented wrestlers to them. In addition, what is your name going to be? Extreme Reunion I think is a good name for the show but not the promotion so where do you take it, or do you waits to see if you can get a new promotion rolling before naming it?

I don’t know how many wrestling fans are still out there waiting for a promotion to come along and pull their attention back but I think it’s still a good amount, plus you have some current viewers who were trying to color in the lines back when ECW perished who could watch WWE and be bored with it. No doubt, the opportunity is there to grasp and capitalize on and you could make it work if you have the right vision, financial backer, and mastermind controlling it. I do not see this as an attempt of Shane Douglas’ to try and keep ECW alive at all, or him trying to hold onto his spotlight that ECW gave him but him trying to bring back what he loved in the business and something that has been missing from it since the attitude-era ended and ECW died. I myself watched all of the promotions but especially ECW and when it died I didn’t watch as much and I don’t know if I ever will get into it completely like I was since I’m older now but the idea of a new promotion with the core fundamentals behind the old ECW does intrigue me.

So, to ECW fans who don’t want this to happen: We all know this is not ECW but try it and buy your ticket. If you go to the event and go in thinking, it will be like ECW then there is a good chance you will be disappointed but if you go in thinking that this will be a good WRESTLING show then I think you will come out having been thoroughly entertained.

Be honest, the fact that the most interesting thing that happened on WWE Raw lately was that Brock Lesnar was slapped by John Cena and then forgot how to throw a “fake” punch and it landed for real… is sad. I like them bringing back Lesnar and I like that he is feuding with Cena but I am just sick of watching John Cena wrestle. I am happy that he’s from Massachusetts because so am I and like watching him cut a promo but he wrestles like Hulk Hogan trained him and it’s annoying. WWE has some good things with CM Punk, Miz, Daniel Bryan and Zack Ryder… hey maybe there are others but I do not know really, I only watch certain segments and skip the rest.

Bottomline is if this does end up being a new promotion it can work out but it might have to alter ECW’s blueprints in order to achieve the goal that ECW could not and that is long term operation. What needs to change in this plan? Well, you have to draw in a network and create a television show that is true to who you are but so extreme that nothing you tape can be on TV. What helps you in this? UFC being on Fox, because well nothing can be as bad as UFC because it’s real but you have some control of your product. You can entertain, be true to the “blueprints” and also draw in some good ratings. Yes, you might have to bend a little but in the end you will get a lot back if you’re willing to be patient and the product will still be miles ahead of the tragedy that was the WWE’s version of ECW.

If you want to check out what the event is all about go here: Extreme Reunion

Patriots off-season part three

Tom Brady throws the ball during Super Bowl XX...

Tom Brady throws the ball during Super Bowl XXXIX. Brady connected with game Most Valuable Player Deion Branch 11 times to tie a Super Bowl record. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Restructuring of Chad Johnson’s contract- I think that this was a great move by Ocho because it proved that he is not about the money, at least at this point in his career, and that he is determined to show that he can make it in this offense. It was a positive move and for those who think that they should just cut ties with him all together I just have to say that I do not agree. What would they lose by bringing him into training camp and having him compete with Deion Branch, Anthony Gonzalez, Donte Stallworth and Brandon Lloyd? So why not see what he can do with a full, real off-season and time to study. Last season it wasn’t just Chad “Ocho” Johnson who had trouble with his new team it was also Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, Lee Evans, Steve Smith, Donovan McNabb, Zach Miller, Albert Haynesworth, and Shaun Ellis just to name a few. He can work in this system, he can be a contributor and an impact player but it is all on Chad to learn this system and Brady. Honesty, learning this system is not just about the playbook but it is also about learning Tom Brady and HIS playbook because they are different. Chad is smart and I think he will make the team. My prediction is that Gonzalez will get hurt and Stallworth will be underwhelming.

CB- Will Allen- He did not do much last season but this is a decent signing. They need some depth so that they do not have to rely on offensive players to jump in and play some important and major snaps. He will not be an impact player because he has lost a step or two but he can still make some plays. It is nice to be able to have a seasoned veteran to step in at nickel back or into the starting role if need be. Grade: B

FB/LB- Spencer Larsen– I am not so sure that Larsen will make the roster honestly. With that being said, it is not a bad signing. I have said, before this blog was created, that one of the biggest holes that they had was at FB. You remember what Heath Evans brought to the team when he was on our roster and what we were missing when he was gone and so that’s why I believe getting a half-way decent fullback is on the list for this season. I do not think that Larsen is a bad fullback but when you compare him to Lousaka Polite, who was just released, and the recent signing of Tony Fiammetta (see below) I think that either Polite or Fiammetta are better options. (Polite lost though sadly) Maybe he can contribute more as a defensive player and special teams player. In addition, Josh McDaniels being here now might help him make the roster in some position but maybe not FB.  Grade: C

WR- Deion Branch– A good signing because you do not know what Stallworth, Lloyd, Gonzalez and Ocho will bring you and so you need some insurance. In addition, Deion wants to be here and is a great locker room guy, which is a key with the new draft picks that will be coming in after the draft. I originally said that signing Branch would bring about the end to the Ocho experiment but it appears I am wrong, shocking, but training camp could weed out one or two of these guys so I can see why they signed all of these guys. This move will also assure them that Slater can concentrate on special teams and maybe even defense, which he is better at. Grade: A

FB- Tony Fiammetta– Bringing him in to compete with Larsen is a good move by the Patriots. Bringing in a FB will allow them to go back to a more traditional running game and help Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen next season. It will also open up the playbook more and give Brady more options if coverage down the field is good and needs to dump it off. To add an element like that just makes it harder for defenses to successfully stop the offense on a consistent basis. Even though the offense has been great, I think it was also a little too transparent and after a while, defenses knew how to stop them. All you did, really, was make Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski a non-factor by a double team or putting one of your best guys on them and force the Patriots to win with the rest of the guys. Also not having a real FB on the roster made them be creative with one and often-used DL, Aaron Hernandez or an OL but that did not really work. Grade: B

Mark Anderson signs with the Buffalo Bills- His goal I think was accomplished, which was to resurrect his career here in New England and he did. I say good for him but Bills have to know that he is not an every down guy and if they use him on every down, he loses his effectiveness. Just like when they had Aaron Maybin, he was not an every down player but they tried to use him like one and it didn’t work out… then Maybin found his calling with the Jets as a part time player in pass rushing situations. If they use him to his strengths, it will work out for them and he could make Brady’s life harder twice a year, especially with a lot of attention going to Mario Williams.

Patriots release FB Lousaka Polite- Well you knew something had to give when they signed both Larsen and Fiammetta and Polite lost. Polite is a good player but was not going to make the roster most likely so he now has a chance to land with another team and I hope he does honestly. He is a good fullback and some teams in the league have some bad ones so he could step in and contribute.

The Patriots have still yet to make a move and get an impact player or two for defense. They need a pass rusher and a safety and the more they ignore that need the more other teams will take advantage of that. I would think that the strategy would be to go defense heavy in the draft or at least target some real potential talent in the first few rounds. After all, he did build a defensive line before that was one of the best and he did it through the draft, with Richard Seymour, Ty Warren and Vince Wilfork. The question is can he land an OLB/DE, a safety and a DL all in one draft? Maybe that is why Bill has been trading down all of these years, to fill positions with high-potential players a lot, sooner than he did before. The math makes sense; the odds go up with more picks but the odds of landing a dud also goes up so basically you’re in Las Vegas. Well the house always wins, or so I hear and that makes it difficult for the Patriots to land premium guys in a short pan obviously, because they have missed. The combination of trying to land great talent in one or two years means you might have to go after players who might have a lower ceiling but can still play at a higher level, to make them fit under the cap. Of course, this is just a theory, a theory of a shut in writer who thinks and analyzes things a little too much. I must say that this is a solid strategy if it is indeed true and one that if it worked would have kept the rotation of talent going and replacing Seymour, Warren, Bruschi, Law and others wouldn’t have been plaguing them still. I doubt that this theory of mine is true because well it is mine and I have not read it anywhere else, unless of course it is just blatantly obvious that any team would do that if they wanted to refill the talent pool faster.

My overall impression so far is that they have made some good moves to try to ensure that they do not have undrafted rookies as starters but have not really done much else. They went heavy on offense so far and bid farewell to some good players but also committed to some other young ones they believe in. I see the departure of BenJarvus Green-Ellis as a commitment to Ridley, Vereen and Woodhead and that is not a bad thing. Ridley and Vereen have both shown that they have the potential to fill the role left behind by Law Firm, also in my opinion they will surpass it. I did not mention Matt Light and whether or not he is going to retire because it is not confirmed yet and as a side note, I would like to see the Patriots bring in Kevin Faulk as a coach.

Can Tim Tebow fix the New York Jets’ locker room?

Tim Tebow, a player on the Denver Broncos Amer...

Tim Tebow, a player on the Denver Broncos American football team. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All of last season it was one of the constant things that you heard. Back and forth from the Jets’ players and them talking trash about opponents and even other teammates. Whether it was Holmes quitting on the team, Sanchez calling his team gutless, Holmes calling out Sanchez and the OL and it was just an NFL soap opera. I mean if Mark Sanchez ended up being related to Rex Ryan it would have been soap opera gold, goodbye HBO hello CBS. Therefore, you have to wonder what the Jets’ angle with Tebow was. Competition for Sanchez? Converting to a hybrid type of player? An attempt to fix and weed out the poison in the locker room? I am leaning towards all of the above because by nature, we humans are creatures of habit and we often mimic each other. Good deeds, good people, habits, personalities and other things can leak out on each other and with the Jets; it was in the negative side of the tracks the last few years. Trading for Tim Tebow will help alter that path, change that state in the locker room and I think provide a real role model and potential true leader of the locker room.

Antonio Cromartie and other Jets can say whatever they want on this subject but the fact is they brought this upon themselves by not being a team. The negative attitudes and egos in that locker room have also changed the path of Mark Sanchez and the path he was once on. From here on out who knows what he will turn into but it will be a product of that locker room and atmosphere. Ladainian Tomlinson walked away from the Jets saying it was the worst locker room he had been in, and I think LT did attempt to change the ways of the room but the dark “aura” that surrounds the team is overwhelming.

Whatever flaws Tebow has as a QB I think the biggest impact he will have on this team is off the field. However, LT had the same heart of gold and he could not change a thing. I think maybe it is time for Rex Ryan to step in and change this culture just as Belichick did with Adalius Thomas, Shawn Springs and the other negative influences they had. I give Rex Ryan credit in that situation as well, believe it or not, because he did not sign “AD” after the Patriots released him, even though he had a past with him. Rex I think identified that even though Thomas might have had some talent at one point, his negative influence on the locker room would not be worth it.

Bringing in Tebow will also be a football move, obviously, and Tony Sporano new Jets Offensive Coordinator, will figure out how to use Tebow whether it be as a QB, HB, FB, TE or WR or all of them. It will put some pressure on both Sanchez and Tebow, which could make them play better. As of right now I believe Mark Sanchez is the starter and it would take a lot for Tebow to take over but the fact that the Jets could has the potential to push Mark to play up to his potential and be a better QB. Mark Brunell did a good job as a back up QB but I do not think that Sanchez ever thought that Brunell was ever going to be a threat to take over his job so never felt the need to improve. His ego simply told him that he was the best QB on the team, which he was, but he owed it to the team to improve and be the guy and compete with the other young QB’s for the title of the next elite QB and he did not. Will this signing make the Jets a super bowl contender? No, I do not think it does but it could make them better then last year but they need more positive influences in that locker room to help guide Sanchez and other young players in the right direction.

It would benefit Tebow if he played some other positions and shows that he can be a team player and not so stubborn. He has said in the past that he wanted to be a QB but he would really benefit from changing that stance. He can still come out and say, “I still see myself as a QB but right now I’m doing what is best for the team and winning games.” If he can somehow master the hybrid position, I think he could really change the league in the future. Players like him, Brad Smith, Aaron Hernandez and some others will not be limited to just one position but could move around and not be seen as odd or a trick play but a smart play by a versatile athlete and a smart coach. Is Tim Tebow ever going to be an NFL QB? I don’t think so, at least not the level of Peyton Manning or Tom Brady but maybe he could be a game manager and end up leading a team to the super bowl but he REALLY needs to work on reading defenses, accuracy and playing from the pocket. If he does not then he will end up just a bust, which I think he is not. He would be a better HB/FB or TE then a QB and if a team wants to throw in a wildcat play or an option play with him then that would be smart. The Jets could also benefit from picking up a real speedy running back to play behind Shonn Greene in those situations.

I am a Patriots fan all the way and I love that the Jets did not win the division last season but I also like a competitive division. I think Rex Ryan is a good coach and the players are doing an injustice to him by being so egotistical and selfish. The Trail Blazers players got a good coach fired and it was their own fault and the Jets can make a stand to be better players, better people and be more positive. With that being said, I hope they do not ever win a Super Bowl, ha, just kidding. If they do then good for them and hopefully, it means that all of the heads in the locker room are on straight. Bottomline is I do not think that Tim Tebow will fix the New York Jets‘ locker room on his own but the TRUE leaders of the team need to STEP UP and make the others listen and start a positive culture on this team because Rex Ryan is a good coach and deserves better.

**cough** Go Pats!! **cough**

One statement spelling out past and future draft strategies by Belichick

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England P...

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots watches the preseason game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on August 28, 2009 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was going through ESPN and saw the Patriots Mailbag with Mike Reiss and something caught my attention with one of his answers. The question was about Belichick and trading up for an impact player.

“It sort of ties in to Belichick’s thoughts as relayed in Michael Holley’s “War Room” book about the Falcons trading up to No. 6 to draft receiver Julio Jones in 2011. Belichick didn’t endorse the move because he felt the difference between Jones and Jonathan Baldwin (a later first-round pick) wasn’t worth all it would take to move up.”

Now I can see what Belichick was talking about and sort of agree no doubt about it but I might also see where some of the Patriots drafts woes have stemmed from. Now both Julio Jones and Jonathan Baldwin were first round picks and both saw some significant time on the field but there were some clear differences in performance.

Jonathan Baldwin played 11 games, had 21 receptions for 254 yards and one touchdown. A decent season for a rookie wide receiver I must say.

Julio Jones played in 13 games, had 54 receptions for 959 yards and eight touchdowns. That is a great season for a rookie wide receiver.

While the Falcons did give up a lot to get Jones, I think it paid off in the end. As of right now I think the difference between the two is upside and other little things. Julio Jones, I believe, has a higher ceiling and has more upside than Baldwin has. Baldwin is no doubt talented, maybe as talented as Jones but I don’t think he has as high a ceiling as Jones honestly. Now the argument can be made that there were two completely different quarterbacks throwing to them. One is Matt Cassel, who is a slightly above average quarterback who benefited from backing up the great Tom Brady. Matt Ryan however is a first round pick who came to the Atlanta Falcons after they fell from grace because of the whole Michael Vick situation. Therefore, you would be right to make that connection and bring that up but either man could have ended up on the other team and I will argue that the results could be the same. Jones would still out perform Baldwin, even with Cassel as his quarterback.

Therefore, Belichick is right, sort of, and that giving up all of that might not have been worth it but comparing the two, right now it seems that the Falcons won. Would the Falcons, if they kept all the picks they had, and chose Baldwin and filled some other spots they really needed like defensive line, secondary and getting someone to eventually replace John Abraham, have made it to the playoffs? Maybe, maybe not but drafting Julio Jones did not hinder that at all, they still made it… granted they lost but they made it.

So is that why Brandon Tate, Taylor Price, Darius Butler, Terrence Wheatley, Jonathan Wilhite, Shawn Crable, Chad Jackson, Laurence Maroney, Tyrone McKenzie and some others haven’t worked out and why Jermaine Cunningham and Ron Brace are currently not working out? Did he see that they had just as much talent as someone else in the draft but that they had a little less of an upside? While a good strategy by the mastermind Bill Belichick sometimes you have to take that “higher upside” talent to be surrounded by the others. Therefore, you have some adequate young talent surrounding one or two superstars and now you have a team.

However, hey, who am I? Just a fan, someone who watches the games and has an opinion on things. I am obviously not a part of the NFL or any station that follows them, but this is just my opinion and what I see.

I will say that in the last few drafts he has made some key hits with Brandon Spikes, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Patrick Chung, Devin McCourt (well, judge is still out with his horrible season last season but for now I’ll count him), and Zoltan Mesko. Judge is still out on the 2011 NFL draft class but so far some hits seem to be Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon and who knows how Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley and Ryan Mallett turn out but right now, they seem to be a part of the Patriots’ future. Ras-I Dowling is a question mark for me because of his past with injuries and the fact that he ended up on Injured Reserve last season. Before going on IR, he was doing okay but you were, well I was, just waiting for him to end up on that list and he did.

Although, some key misses at least from 2011 was Brooks Reed who went to the Houston Texans and when Mario Williams went down him, Conner Barwin and J.J. Watt made it not so bad that they lost Williams to the Buffalo Bills this past off-season. Another I think was Torrey Smith WR who went to the Baltimore Ravens. I am not going to rehash all of the other misses from the other years because quite honestly, they have been talked about repeatedly and we all need to forget about them. I think it just seems that the Patriots miss more because Belichick piles up so many picks. I still think Brooks Reed and Torrey Smith were misses in time they’ll be in the same category as the others… under a file that just says, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

In my opinion in this 2012 NFL draft that is a little over a month away Bill has to be aggressive, or at least stand pat with his picks and not trade down. Bill, Nick and the powers that be will have the master plan and do what is best for the team but with Tom Brady getting older and his seasons numbered, I think it’s more important than ever to snag a playmaker or two sooner rather than later. However, with what he said I see him continuing to trade down unless he sees an incredible talent on the board that is a once in a lifetime type of talent.

With whatever criticism we all have of coach and General Manager Bill Belichick it comes with an understanding that he is one of the best in the game. He has made questionable moves but we’re lucky to have someone who can win constantly and run the office side of things for as long as he has and like I said still have an “elite” team. At least we don’t have a revolving door at coach and G.M. like some other teams in the NFL. Of course, you could say that Tom Brady is the person who makes sure the Patriots keep winning but Belichick is the one who brings the talent in. Brady can’t do it by himself… don’t believe me? Well 2006 seems to point that way and if they had better talent at that time, they would have won it all instead of the Colts.

It was an interesting mailbag check it out:

ESPN Patriots Mailbag with Mike Reiss

Patriots off-season grades and thoughts part two

NEW ENGLAND Patriots Wallpaper

NEW ENGLAND Patriots Wallpaper (Photo credit: Axel.Foley)

TE- Daniel Fells A good move for the Patriots because it adds some depth behind Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. It will also allow Hernandez to play in the WR position more, as he did last season and still have the option to have a 2 other TE’s on the field to help block or run a pattern or both. Grade: B

WR- Donte Stallworth It’s been about 4 seasons since Stallworth has played in a Patriots uniform and while he was good while he was here back in 2007, what does he have left? This gives the Patriots some insurance if and when Gonzalez gets hurt and could be the nail in the Ocho experiment. Although since leaving, the Patriots Stallworth has not exactly been lighting up the stat sheet. His best season since leaving was last season with 11 games played, 22 receptions, 309 yards and 2 touchdowns, that’s not much of an upgrade over what Chad Johnson but I still like the move. You know that Donte knows the system, so adjusting will not be a problem for him. The only thing I don’t like about this move is that it most likely pushes Deion Branch out of the picture, even if they did trade or release Chad. Grade: B

DB- Marquice Cole- Who? This is a depth move and a player who will play on special teams mainly. Not the move I wanted to see but at least they are improving the depth, something that they needed to do. Hopefully they don’t forget that they need playmakers not just roster fillers. Grade: D

OL- Robert Gallery- Robert, who played for Seattle last season and was a first round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders back in 2004, is a good depth signing. He was pretty healthy for both Oakland and Seattle, except towards the end of last season where he missed 4 games because of injury. Belichick apparently had some interest in him during that 2004 draft and claimed if he had the first overall pick he would have taken Gallery (he was selected 2nd overall) He could jump in and start depending on what happens with Brian Waters and Matt Light who have been toying with the idea of retirement and also could step in if someone gets injured. Definitely like this signing. Grade: A

Visit of DL Luis Castillo- This tells me that Bill is not done on defense and has a plan in mind and is just playing his game of chess. He is just 28 years old but is coming off an injury. He, however, is not a pass rushing type of player either with just 2.5 sacks in 2010 and 2 in 2009. Therefore, I can see why they put him in and tried to see what he had, he can add to the depth of the DL but is not a game changer in my opinion. Some names are still available: Mark Anderson, Andre Carter, Shaun Rogers, Matt Roth, Aaron Smith, and Gerard Warren to name a few.

Jets sign LaRon Landry This is a blessing in disguise because Landry has a history with injuries for some reason (look up his recent photo and you’ll see why this is actually sarcasm). If he does well for the Jets, hey cool, but I’d rather give a chance and time to someone who can stay on it. Some interesting names still available on the market: OJ Atogwe, Melvin Bullitt, Bob Sanders, Jim Leonhard, Brian Dawkins, and Jarrad Page just to name a few.

Trade Rumors of Tim Tebow to the Patriots- While the Patriots were interested in Tim Tebow during the 2010 NFL Draft a lot has happened since then. Mainly, Brian Hoyer has got better and we drafted Ryan Mallett so I don’t know where he would fit. The idea though is intriguing and Josh McDaniels, who did draft him, is on the team and can share the ideas he had for using Tebow with Belichick. However if he came here he would have to change positions, to something like TE/RB/FB hybrid who can occasionally take a direct snap, or run a wild cat type offense. You can do many things with Tebow on this team but he would have to agree to be something other than a QB, even if you have to sell it to him that it’s just for now. You can have Tebow in the backfield with Brady and Woodhead, in the shotgun formation and Tebow can take the direct snap, Brady does his typical fake and then the Pats can run some form of the option-offense. Tebow can either throw it, run it, or hand it off to Danny but of course that’d be only one play but Tebow I think can fit as that TE/RB/FB type of hybrid. So many options, but I honestly don’t see him on this team because I don’t know if he’s ready to put his “dream” of being a QB aside, especially since Tom Brady is the main man and you don’t want to take the ball out of his hands. Message to Tim Tebow- don’t be stubborn, if Bill Belichick a Hall of Fame bound head coach wants you and asks you if you want to change positions… you change positions man. Also, just a fun fact, the Broncos need some WR help and the Patriots have an abundance of them and one in particular could be odd man out… sooo maybe you offer Chad Johnson and a pick to Denver for Tebow. I think that Chad has plenty left in him even though he is 34 and if he can’t prove it to New England fans on the Patriots then we will on another team… they I could be wrong but I just don’t see it that way. Do I see Tebow in a Patriots uniform? No.

The Patriots could also look at the draft to upgrade the pass rusher position but I am not going to hold my breath. Free Agency is not over so we’ll see what the Patriots do with the time they put into it but safety is not deep in this drafting according to some analysts so the only key I think would be getting some sort of impact DB. Belichick has done a good job this off-season focusing in on needs but getting mid-range players who aren’t horrible options. We’ll see what happens, so far it’s been pretty decent.

UPDATE: Dolphins continue to go in the opposite direction by planning to cut starting Safety Yeremiah Bell. Um, sure, Ireland is nuts I think… this is like Timberwolves and Kahn… entertaining. I mean they went from maybe one, two or three pieces away to rebuilding… already.

New England Patriots off-season grades thus far.

New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker ...

Image via Wikipedia

WRWes Welker This was a must move for the Patriots. People can try to say or claim that Wes could be just a result of the system and if put into a different system wouldn’t be as good but why test that argument? He’s a good fit and it’s smart to sign him to a 2 or 3 year deal and get him off of that franchise tender contract that is tying up 9 million. Grade: A

WR/Special Teams- Matthew Slater This was a good signing and was a top priority for a good reason. Slater has really paved a place for himself with this team and if he keeps performing well then he could in the same class as a Troy Brown or a Kevin Faulk. Grade: A

DL- Jonathan Fanene– He is not an impact player and will not make the same impact as Anderson or Carter had, most likely but this was a good signing. He is a versatile veteran who can play DE or DT and will play in sub-packages mostly. He is a veteran presence and one that will only help the locker room. Grade: B

WR- Anthony Gonzalez I am not sold so much on this idea because while Gonzalez had some decent upside at one point, at this point I think he is too injury prone. Who knows, maybe he can turn his career around and give us some good production, but I think if I had to choose between Gonzalez or Branch I’d choose Deion but apparently the Patriots chose Gonzalez. Prediction for catches next season- 20. Grade: C

DE/OLB- Trevor Scott- This has the potential to be a great signing. Before his injury Trevor Scott was on his way to being a decent pass rusher. He was a better fit as a OLB than a DE but he wasn’t horrible at DE either. He’ll get his chance to play both positions in this system and has a chance to resurrect his career.Grade: A

OL- Dan Connolly- A good signing for sure since it doesn’t seem that they will bring back Dan Koppen, although I think that it wouldn’t be a bad idea. Connolly played very well after Koppen went down and really made it easier for the Patriots to even contemplate letting Koppen walk away. A nice surprise honestly, he was a solid back up but seems to be making a name of himself. Grade: A

S- Steve Gregory- He will play some sub-packages and shouldn’t be a starter honestly. He could be just a special teams player however depending on what the Patriots do with the rest of free agency and the draft. This was a depth signing for me, just because you can’t have Matthew Slater and Julian Edelman playing significant time on defense. It’s awesome that those two are versatile and willing to do whatever it takes but we need some true defensive guys. Grade: C

DL- Marcus Harrison- Probably just a depth/try out sort of deal just to see what he can bring to the table. I honestly don’t hate this signing but I don’t really like it either, if he makes the team then great… it means that Bill believes he can make an impact but I am just not sure he will make it to the final roster but if he does good for him because that will mean he worked hard for it. Grade: D

WR- Brandon Lloyd As I said before, Lloyd will not be the savior at WR that some Patriots fans want him to be. He had one good year in the Josh McDaniels system but it is overlooked that he did not play at that level in any of his previous seasons. I think anyone can have a good year, and that’s all I believe that his “productive” season was. Not saying he’ll be a complete bust but I just don’t see him being in the conversation of Deion Branch, Jabar Gaffney or some others who have come in here and performed well. I think of Lloyd and I think of Reche Caldwell. Patriots fans can call me completely nuts for what I’m about to say but if I had to choose between him or Chad “Ocho” Johnson I’d take Johnson. Why you may ask? Well just because  Chad has a better record of consistency over the years. Just like someone can have a good season, they can also have a bad one. Chad needs to show what he can still do and bring to this team and win playing time over Gonzalez and Lloyd. Just as an add on I think it’s funny that I read some posts on ESPN saying that he is a beast, he will be good at getting behind the coverage and despite his past was always known for great catches. So why did other teams let him go? He was a part of 5 other teams and you mean to tell me that those coaches missed this “diamond in the rough”. I think the posts were a little over exaggerated, but that’s okay. He’s not a beast, but he’s not on the lowest rung either. Lloyd is a slightly above average WR and if he can stay consistent will be decent, but in the end whatever his production is, it’s replaceable. Prediction for catches next season- 50. Grade: C

Free Agent scouting report: Brandon Lloyd

So we’ll see what the next move is for the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick. LaRon Landry visited over the weekend but will do his due diligence before signing to a team. I think this is a 50/50 shot for them, in terms of him being healthy. If we can get him cheap then let’s go but otherwise I’d work out OJ Atogwe instead. With the signing of Gonzalez and Lloyd however I can see that Chad Johnson’s time with the Patriots could be numbered, of course it depends on whether the Patriots will pursue Deion Branch, which they most likely will.

What is wrong with the New York Knicks?

New York Knicks logo

Image via Wikipedia

In one word: Melo.

A player who the New York Knicks traded for at the trade deadline last season even though Donnie Walsh, former president of basketball operations, was against it. Mike D’Antoni preferred the players that he had before the trade. The carnage left behind because of this trade is continuing to grow, it all started with Donnie Walsh leaving and could lead to Mike D’Antoni losing his job but will that be the end of it? If Mike does lose his job as the Head Coach then whom do they bring in? Does he keep the system in tact or go in a different direction? What happens to Jeremy Lin, who blossomed in D’Antoni’s offensive system?

You hear all of the grumbling that Carmelo Anthony is a team player but want the ball, often not playing the D’Antoni system and standing whatever he wants and also Baron Davis wants more minutes because he plays Melo’s offensive system and everyone agrees that Carmelo Anthony is a problem. It has become Mike D’Antoni versus Carmelo Anthony and only one will survive the season on the team, who will it be? Well, considering one or two of the members of management still believe in Melo I see Mike being let go.

However, I think both shouldn’t be back next season just because it was both of them that poisoned this situation. Mike didn’t stand up for HIS system, which Melo doesn’t follow or act out completely. He doesn’t quiet down Melo’s frustrations with Lin when Lin doesn’t pass the ball to him because Melo abandoned the play. Carmelo thinks that this shouldn’t be D’Antoni’s offensive system but should be HIS offensive system. Anyone ever see that Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode where Will Smith ends up playing on the Bel-Air basketball team and pretty much takes every shot, never passes, takes all the glory and his teammates end up turning on him? Yeah, sounds like the Knicks situation and it’s sad because I agree that the Knicks were better off with the other players that they had but I would rather have Jeremy Lin than Raymond Felton. Carmelo needed to fit into the system and work within the system and check his ego at the door but he didn’t. You cannot claim to be a team player but want the ball it’s somewhat weird. You can’t throw a temper tantrum when a player doesn’t pass you the ball.

I see Jeremy Lin being another casualty of a new coach coming in because he could give in to Baron Davis’ demands of more time just because he’ll give the ball to Melo and get out of the way. That would be too bad because right now I still think that Lin is the better player between the two of them. What do the New York Knicks need to do in order to improve? Trade Toney Douglas, Mike Bibby and/or some other pieces and try to get a back up power forward/center. Honestly if I was running the team I would trade Carmelo Anthony and try to get some pieces back in return that will fit with the team better.

I also just read a rumor on ESPN.com that the Orlando Magic would be interested in a trade package of Carmelo Antony and Tyson Chandler for Dwight Howard, if the Knicks offered. DO IT! You know Hedo Turkoglu would be added to the deal as well and it works in the ESPN Trade Machine.

Just an update, as I was writing this, hoopshype.com reports that Mike D’Antoni has resigned as the Head Coach of the New York Knicks.

Melo wins the battle but for the Knicks sake, I hope that they win the war and trade Melo. Mike Woodson is not going to be a good replacement because I don’t think he’ll please all parties and if he wants to “please” Melo then that might mean benching Lin and playing Davis who will pass him the ball no matter what, even if he’s quadruple teamed. With Woodson running it Amare and some others might lose out just because he’ll run everything through Carmelo Anthony and I see this failing. For those who don’t remember or know Mike Woodson is the former head coach of the Atlanta Hawks and brough them to the Finals… wait… he didn’t? You mean to tell me that they were just an average team despite the talent they had? Get out, next you’ll tell me that Paul Pierce was offered to the Portland Trail Blazers today… wait he was? What universe is this?

Update: Reports I’ve read say that Mike D’Antoni threw out the idea of trading Carmelo Anthony for Deron Williams in the meeting where he resigned. I don’t think that this helped his situation and I don’t know how he thought it would improve his standings with Knicks Management. So you trade a SF for a PG but keep in mind that Knicks already have a log jam at PG with Jeremy Lin, Baron Davis, Toney Douglas, Mike Bibby, Iman Shumpert and he wanted to add Deron Williams. Okay so did he have a plan to get a SF? You have 6 players at the PG position, 3 or 4 of which are useless and water boys, so mentioning that to management probably didn’t help him much… just sayin’. I am 100% in favor of trading Carmelo but for something that makes sense really.