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Friday, April 23, 2010

Team Needs-NFC Style

The Commish's part Deux look at the NFC team needs from a fantasy perspective. Seeing that round 1 happened last night I did some updating...

New York Giants

Is Brandon Jacobs in trouble?

Big backs don't last long in the NFL. They take poundings and simply wear down. This is Jacobs' 6th season in the NFL, but his 3rd or 4th of relevant playing time. The question is whether Ahmad Bradshaw is seeing more time or if Jacobs still continues to get his action. Coughlin likes to use 2 backs -- remember James Stewart and Stacey Mack? Then remember Fred Taylor and James Stewart?

Which WR will step up opposite Steve Smith?

You pick Mario Manningham or Hakeem Nicks. At the end of the year, Nicks was coming on strong as Manningham was dropping easy balls. Look for Nicks to get first crack.


How badly will the Eagles miss McNabb?

In previous injury stints, the Eagles managed to make the playoffs with Jeff Garcia and AJ Feely going 5-1 during the regular season. Andy Reid has a strong system in place and that isn't changing. Although, Philly is as tough a town as there is when it comes to fans. And the Philly offense does not have any strong veteran leadership to guide them through bumpy waters -- Kolb, Lesean McCoy, Desean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin -- If Kolb starts slow, this will be interesting to watch

Do you root for Desean Jackson?

Do you really root for this a**hole? Or is he someone you'd like to see go across the middle with Polamalu dropping his shoulder?

Would it surprise you if Jason Avant became bigger than Jeremy Maclin?

Keep your eye on Avant -- that's all I'm going to say.


Can Shanahan make them contenders right away?

Well -- McNabb isn't just a good start, but a great start. The 4th pick is another good place to get going. It's a very difficult division to leap frog, but I think we'll all be surprised if Washington doesn't give them a run for their money.

Who is the starting RB in Washington?

I suppose it's Clinton Portis -- but with Willie Parker and Larry Johnson signing there -- what gives? Also -- is the market THAT bad that both Parker and LJ decide to go somewhere that already has an established quality RB?

Who starts opposite Santana Moss this year?

Last year it was Randle El who re-signed in Pitt. So it leaves Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly or plenty of other questions surrounding that spot. Kevin Curtis is a free agent and Donovan McNabb has publicly endorsed him.


Is Roy Williams all done?(I will answer this question in hindsight, yes!)

Is he simply a WR in a TE body these days? After getting a chance to shine, Williams failed to take the reigns. This is a big year for him and he'll need to re-establish himself as a player

Is Mile Austin for real?

We've seen other WRs blast out like this before and then disappear just as quickly. Dallas is making him earn his next contract -- so he'll be motivated to deliver.

Marion Barber or Felix Jones?

I can't believe people are actually comparing them. Until Jones does anything really significant, Barber is my guy.


Does it really bother you that Favre takes his time deciding?

It doesn't bother me at all really. I'm not sick of him and he's a live by the sword die by the sword player who has died many times. Otherwise, I think people would applaud him more. Minnesota doesn't get to the NFC championship game without him. Although, this time, Childress should have spoken up and given Reid what he wanted for McNabb -- that was a very good fit.

Who backs-up Adrian Peterson this year?

Rumor had it they were interested in Ladanian but that plan fell through. At the RB spot, back-ups are huge. The question is how does Minnesota intend to address that. It clearly can not be who is currently on the roster, can it?

Green Bay

Is Aaron Rodgers really that good?

He has been since Favre left. And if anything, it should be an indication of the right way to breed a QB. Draft him and make him learn for 3-4 years. It seems to work well. Cassell is another example. Rodgers has made people easily forget Favre in Green Bay. That shouldn't change in 2010.

How long does Donald Driver have left?

Driver hits 35 this year and while there are guys still kicking it out at 35, it's still old for a WR. No reason to think Driver won't continue. And it's not like Jordy Nelson or James Jones' are major threats to unseat him.

How long does Ryan Grant continue to be the featured back in Green Bay?

For someone who came out of nowhere, he's going on a few years of solid play. The question is whether or not he keeps it up. Grant is still 28 yrs old but he is the big back mold.


When do things start looking up in Detroit?

The question Lions fans have been asking since Wayne Fontes was coaching. Unfortunately, they are last in their division, but they're not as hapless as they once were. Still though 6 maybe 7 wins.

Is Calvin Johnson over-rated?

I've heard him called Megatron. I've heard all the virtues of him. Yet, the Lions still stink. I guess the bigger thing is how un-important is the WR position to the overall offense? If he were playing with Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, then Calvin Johnson would probably be on the road to Canton. But stuck in Detroit, he's good, but that's it for now -- good.

Will Matthew Stafford do anything special?

Do you know how many JR QBs come out of the draft and do very well? Hardly any of them. And when you look at NFL QBs... good ones... most of them were played college their Senior year. This is the one mark that concerns me of Stafford. He's going against the grain. Vince Young, Jamarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, Alex Smith -- only Big Ben Roethlesberger has succeeded quickly.... and look at that boob.


Does Jay Cutler go bersek with Mike Martz as the O-Coordinator?

Yes. Yup. No question -- maybe a bunch of picks -- but a whole bunch of yards and TDs to boot.

Who turns into the next Mike Furrey in Chicago?

You remember Mike Furrey? Martz turned him into an 80+ reception guy in Detroit. You pick -- Earl Bennett, Deven Hester, Johnny Knox, Juaquin Iglesias, Rashied Davis...

New Orleans

Will Reggie Bush ever be anything more than a super-powered 3rd down RB?

For someone who was sooooo regarded coming out of college, it;s obvious that Pierre Thomas was as important as Reggie Bush last year. Bush is a nice asset for any NFL team, but it seems obvious he is not the next Marshall Faulk -- leading the team in rushing and receiving. Instead he's a solid RB who is capable of making big plays on special teams and playing an Eric Metcalf role.

Can Lance Moore find his way back in the fold?

This past year we saw Devery Henderson and Robert Meacham soak up plenty of receiving yards, along with Marques Colston. The year earlier Lance Moore was doing his best Wes Welker chewing up numbers. But injuries sidelined him and now it's a new season. Moore is currently behind Henderson and Meacham who they want to see establish himself as a clear-cut #2.


Who is the #2 WR in Atlanta?

Is it really Mike Jenkins? Am I missing someone else? Seems odd to go with him -- but keep your eye on Harry Douglas -- he was making noise before injuries and was still a 3rd round NFL pick.

Is this the year Michael Turner breaks down?

What? Is it unfair to say that? He missed 5 out of his last 7 games and he plays with a physical style that is not forgiving. When you're 5'10" 235 lbs, you pack a load -- but it wouldn't surprise me if they went RB early in Atlanta.


Is Matt Moore really the starting QB?

Really? John Fox is going to rest his fate on Matt Moore? If Carolina doesn't make the playoffs in 2010, Fox could see the door. So it's a little surprising that they've made minimal efforts to sign some relevant veteran QB. But hey, at least Hunter Cantwell is on the roster.

Will Dwayne Jarrett finally get his chance?

I suppose this is his chance, but does anyone really think he's going to do anything -- come on already. This is the place where Jarrett goes in with the edge and then out of nowhere some young buck steals his time.

Tampa Bay

Is this is the worst WR corp in the NFL?

Who the hell is on this team? Maurice Stovall? Sammie Stroughter? Reggie Brown and Michael Clayton, Mark Bradley? Jesus

Was Derrick Ward a big time waste of money?

Well -- he was last year for Tampa. And Cadillac is another year removed from his injury. Cadillac returned to solid form and now Derrick Ward is 30 years old. It begs to wonder if Ward is going to be looking for work pretty soon if his contract doesn't have some reasonable terms.

Remember Earnest Graham?

Nobody else does.


Is this this the worst team in the NFC in 2010?

Me think Pete Carroll purposely wanted to take over a team that really couldn't get much worse. And he successed pretty well in Seattle. Tell me this -- who excites you in Seattle? Julius Jones? Houshmanzedah? a 35 yr old Matt Hassleback? The team has some football players on it -- it's not a complete disaster. But when you look at Washington, Detroit, Tampa - or the other dregs of the conference, is Seattle worst of all of them. Probably not. I believe that honor is bestowed on Tampa. At least Tampa has veterans who know how to prepare for a season. And a coach who has been around the track before.St Louis -- how could I forget about St Louis --

Do they end up with Dez Bryant?(No!)

Seattle was rumored to be hot on the Brandon Marshall trail, but opted not to pay the price. So do they make a run at Dez Bryant instead? Given that Seattle just has so many needs that I think a core player is more critical. Walter Jones just retired and this is a strong O-Line draft. So expect that void to be filled

So who's running the ball in Seattle this year?

Would it shock you if Lendale White landed there? Pete could be eyeballing former USC guys like Lendale who are mired in unfavorable situations. And given the way Reggie Bush has played in the pros, I think Carroll knows as much as anyone how important Lendale was to their offense back during the National Championship run. Another USC to watch for is Dwayne Jarrett.


Matt Leinart -- Star or Failure?

This is it for him right? Leinart has carte blanche to succeed with a strong supporting cast of players like Fitz, Breaston, Wells, Hightower, etc. You wonder if he learned anything these past 2.5 years watching Kurt Warner return to glory or did he sulk and pout for not being handed the football. When guys have time to learn under a very good veteran and not get thrown into the fire -- they seem to have a better chance of becoming a quality Matt QB -- Aaron Rodgers, Matt Cassell, and Matt Hassleback are some of the names that come to mind. But there were others -- guys who were behind proven vets -- Steve Young, Rich Gannon, Brad Johnson all paid their dues at given times.

Is Steve Breaston going to be better than Anquan Boldin?

That may seem like a very tall order -- but Boldin lacked one big thing -- durability. So if Breaston can stay healthy -- there is a reasonable opportunity for him to produce as much as Boldin did -- as we've clearly seen the QB drives the WRs productivity. Not the other way around. I'll put it this way -- I don't think they'll miss Boldin as much as they'll miss Warner.

Does Beanie Wells turn into the primary RB in Arizona?

This is his year to turn into that -- although the way Hightower caught the ball last year -- it'll be tough to ignore him entirely. For now though, the money is on Wells getting first crack at 15-18 carries a game.

Will Fitz, Breaston, et al suffer with Leinart at QB?

Leinart was supposed to be the guy who would come in -- throw 3500 yds, 30 TDs, 10 INTs. If he does that -- plenty of people will get their share of attention. But if he ends up being a 19TD, and 17INT guy and Arizona shifts the offense to more ball control -- the supporting cast will be effected.

St Louis

Is AJ Feely going to start for St Louis all year long?(No!)

When you look at their roster, all signs point to St Louis drafting Sam Bradford. The reason I say that is because only AJ Feely is a viable QB option on their roster today. At given that Feely is 33, it's a ripe time for St Louis to draft a QB of the future. That said, do they throw him to wolves right away tossing up 10 TDs and 65 INTs? Or do they groom him and let Feely get tossed around for 8-10 games, then bring Bradford in for the final 5 or 6 games. Something to watch at least.

Will Steven Jackson run the ball 400 times this year?

Don't be surprised by that especially if Bradford starts. It's worth watching who St Louis brings in to back-up Jackson, because right now it's Kenneth Darby and Sam Gado. It just seems thin at the RB spot and with Bradford likely going there, they will be more reliant on Jackson and the running game throughout the season. So get ready for it.

Do the Rams have any compelling WRs?

Donnie Avery came out gangbusters in 2008, but then sunk into anonymity in 2009, along with the rest of the WR corp. Will any of that change this year? The player to watch is Laurent Robinson who was acquired last year and then got injured thereby going on IR. He could return to readily contribute .

San Francisco

Will Alex Smith ever be able to perform under center.

When Alex Smith lines up in shotgun, he is a strong QB. However, when he's under center and drops back -- he's a different QB, and it's the wrong kind of different. The 49ers brought in David Carr to be a clear cut back-up and have told Shaun Hill he can seek a trade, which means Smith will have every opportunity to play under center.

Will Michael Crabtree be all he's advertised?

When he finally joined the team, Crabtree produced very well for a rookie. The question is whether he takes it to another level in his sophomore season. Me thinks he will make a difference for Smith and help take some burden off of Vernon Davis and Frank Gore.

Is Vernon Davis the best TE in the league?

You tell me -- Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark, Kellen Winslow Jr, -- for the next 3 years -- who would you rather have?

The Commish is a contributor to the Bingo Bar Blog and aspiring journalist. He's made his bones covering the MVFFL as a beat writer and now enjoys a freelance career.

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