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July 2010

Who Will Get The Lion’s Share Of The Carries?

Published on: 31st July, 2010

Who Will Get The Lion's Share Of The Carries?  | read this item

This off-season featured the Raiders releasing fan favorite and former 1000 yard rusher Justin Fargas. Fargas earned the job with hard nosed running despite a lack of size and breakaway speed. In the past three years Fargas has accumulated over 2300 yards on the ground despite the Raiders running back by committee approach.

Where will the nearly 800 additional rushing yards come from this season?

The logical answer is that Michael Bush and Darren McFadden will split those yards right down the middle. McFadden was the apple of Al Davis’ eye three years ago he certainly hoped to see the second coming of Adrian Peterson.

Despite his rumored character flaws, the Raiders gambled on the versatile McFadden to be their newest home run hitter. His character has been the least of their concerns. To his credit, by NFL standards McFadden has been a saint.

The only real comparison to Adrian Peterson has been in terms of ball control. Darren McFadden had three costly fumbles in a 23-3 loss to Denver in their first meeting. He fumbled five times last season on only 104 carries. His yards per carry dropped to 3.4 and he failed to display the ability to keep his feet after a hit. To make matters worse, McFadden has yet to show the top end speed and shiftiness to outrun and avoid the second tier of defenses.

Common sense should tell us Darren McFadden will not be the featured back in Oakland.

But does Al Davis base his decisions on common sense? He’s always been a sucker for physical freaks.  In this case, I don’t think Al calls the shot. Darren won’t be the featured back.

This assumption comes not only from McFadden’s shortcomings, but from his strengths as well.  McFadden is an outstanding receiver and has shown the ability to be the versatile athlete that is such a trend in the NFL the past two years.

He can throw and run out of the “razorback” formation and can become a dangerous 3third down change of pace to Michael Bush. He can move around pre-snap and be flanked out wide to force coverage with a linebacker. His size makes makes him a solid target for Jason Campbell.

My guess is we’ll see McFadden used as a decoy more often than not. Whether he’s earned it or not, he will be a marked man by defenses and will likely be used to keep defenses off balance.

In fact, training camp has only solidified this theory. He has more training camp grabs than most of the receivers to this point.

The real thunder in this years rushing attack should be Michael Bush. In two seasons in Oakland, Bush has never averaged less than 4.4 yards per carry and torched opponents for a 4.8 YPC last season.

While, McFadden’s longest rush last season was 28 yards and 48 the year before, Bush has taken a handoff 60 or more yards each of the past two years. In over 250 career touches, he has only 3 fumbles. He’s a bruiser and will soften defenses to make McFadden that much quicker when he touches the ball.

They both have a history of injuries–Michael Bush has played in 31 of 32 games since his rookie season and McFadden has seen action in only 25 of those games.

For fantasy owners its a tough pill to swallow, but for whatever reason neither of these two have been particularly lethal around the goal line. At times, McFadden has shown the ability to hit the hole a little quicker and get his nose into the endzone better than Bush. Tom Cable is still searching for his short yardage guy, but you can bet Michael Bush will have every opportunity to earn it.

For Raiders fans there is every reason to expect the offense to fun more smoothly this season. With no number two at the helm, there should be more respect given to the passing attack and open up more room for both running backs.

Assuming there are no injuries, look for a 1000 yard season out of Michael Bush with around 30 receptions while McFadden stays around 500 rushing yards and maybe 50 receptions. Look for McFadden to have more yards in the air than on the ground. After all, he averaged 11.7 yards per reception last season.

If you’re playing fantasy football my money is on Michael Bush. If you just like watching Raider football they should neither one disappoint.

Read more NFL news on BleacherReport.com

Strategic Dynasty Tight End Rankings

Published on: 31st July, 2010

Strategic Dynasty Tight End Rankings  | read this item

Finding a ranking system that suits their franchise’s current position as either a contender or a builder is one of the challenges any owner in a dynasty league has.

Fantasy football players who excel in dynasty leagues have a commitment to building excellence. That requires much more than a simple set of rankings in a “one size fits all” category.

With that in mind, here are our top 15 tight ends presented in two distinctly different categories.

Competing Team = Use these if you have a team competing to win a title in the next two to three years.

Rebuilding Team = Use these if you have a team rebuilding and not in contention in the near future.

COMPETING TEAM RANKINGS

1. Vernon Davis, SF

Any questions?

Davis annually teased fantasy owners with his freakish size, speed, and athleticism, combined with a lack of production. However, he finally put it all together in 2009 with 78 receptions, 965 yards, and a ridiculous 13 touchdown catches.

For years, his owners have been clamoring for Davis to give them a reason to argue his status as the No. 1 TE in dynasty leagues. Now it’s tough to make an argument against it.

2. Dallas Clark, IND

Clark led many fantasy leagues last season with 100 catches, 1,106 yards, and 10 touchdowns. This former Iowa Hawkeye is an absolute mismatch for defenses and he’s become one of Manning’s favorite targets.

From a dynasty perspective, there are a few other more desirable tight ends based on their age, like Vernon Davis and Jermichael Finley. However, it would be no surprise if Clark led all tight ends in scoring in each of the next two seasons.

3. Antonio Gates, SD

Gates has the ability to lead the tight end position in scoring every season. He returns as the top target in the potent San Diego passing attack after posting a ridiculous career high of 1,157 yards to go with eight touchdowns in 2009.

While still in his prime, there are some concerns with Gates, though. He’s 30 years old and seems to always be fighting some different ailments, most notably a significant toe injury.

If I’m not an owner of a competing team this season, I’d start kicking the tires to see if I could get a good return for him in trade. If I’m competitive, I’d bank on him giving me elite production as he’s had six straight seasons with at least eight touchdowns.

4. Jason Witten, DAL

Many owners in dynasty leagues are down on Witten, but there’s really no reason to be. His TD total last year of two is simply a fluke. I focus more on his ridiculous 94 catches and 1,030 yards as a TE.

He’s right on par with Vernon Davis, Antonio Gates, the rising Jermichael Finley, or any other TE you want to compare him against. I see Witten as a “buy low” candidate in dynasty circles right now.

5. Jermichael Finley, GB

Finley’s 55 catches, 676 yards, and five touchdowns in 2009 don’t get you too excited. His 34 catches, 496 yards, and four touchdowns in his last six games played do, though.

His combination of speed and size creates havoc for opposing defenses. His late emergence has some dynasty owners thinking he’s the No. 1 TE prospect in their respective leagues.

While we’re not quite ready to value him more than Vernon Davis and a few others, it’s hard to throw stones at those who do.

6. Brent Celek, PHI

Celek was one of our favorite sleepers last year and his performance justified that label. With 76 catches, 971 yards, and eight touchdowns, Celek established himself as one of the premier TEs in reality and fantasy.

There’s certainly no shame in having Celek as your No. 1 TE.

7. Vinsanthe Shiancoe, MIN

Most remember Shiancoe for his 11 touchdowns last year, tops for the TE position. Let’s not forget he also had 56 catches for 566 yards as well.

He’s a No. 1 TE right now and even if there’s a dropoff at quarterback soon, he’s entrenched as a solid fantasy option.

8. Tony Gonzalez, KC

Gonzo has been an absolute monster for a long, long, time. Last year was solid with 83/867/6, but he’s 34 and won’t play more than another season or two.

9. Owen Daniels, HOU

Daniels was well on his way to becoming a top five tight end in dynasty leagues until he blew out his knee last season. With three major surgeries under his belt now, durability is a serious question mark. He should be ready to go for week one, but he needs to make it through the year before his value can be resurrected in dynasty leagues.

10. Dustin Keller, NYJ

Many dynasty league owners expected more from Keller than the 522 yards and two touchdowns from a year ago. Don’t let those numbers fool you, though. Keller had 181 yards and three touchdowns in the playoffs, and emerged as a favorite target for the developing Mark Sanchez. Expect more of the same in the future.

11. Chris Cooley, WAS

Fred Davis seems to be in the plans more for the upcoming season, but the coaching staff should fall in love with Cooley’s natural ability. They already have him running the entire route tree and learning how to play in the slot. His value is stable as a lower end No. 1 TE.

12. Kellen Winslow, TB

It’s tough to put Winslow into a category.

One one hand, he led the Bucs with a line of 77/884/5 last year. On the other, he’s always a huge injury risk. In the end, Winslow is right in his window of opportunity for fantasy production.

Keep in mind his career is destined to be short, though. Those knees are just not going to hold up for five or six more seasons.

13. Greg Olsen, CHI

Mike Martz’s offense tends to do wonders for receivers and quarterbacks, but it absolutely kills the tight ends. Factor in the addition of Brandon Manumaleuna to the equation and there’s been a lot of speculation about Olsen being traded out of Chicago.

At this point, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. If you’re an Olsen owner, just hope his undeniable talent can rise above an offensive scheme notoriously unfriendly to his position.

From a dynasty perspective, you also can’t really expect Martz and Olsen to be joined at the hip for the long-term. In a league with non-guaranteed contracts, free agency and an active coaching carousel, something has to give eventually.

There’s been some recent chatter about Martz really warming up to Olsen and designing a lot of the offense around him. We’ll have to wait and see if the mad scientist can really buy into that long-term.

14. John Carlson, SEA

Carlson was a bright spot for Seattle last year when he posted 574 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 51 catches.

The sky’s the limit for Carlson and he’s already getting heaps of praise from the coaching staff. Matt Hasselbeck has labeled him the most likely breakout player for this season as well.

15. Heath Miller, PIT

He produced his finest statistical year in 2009 by recording 76 catches, 789 yards, and six touchdowns. Miller is a consistent red zone threat and has shown durability by playing in 78 of a possible 80 regular season games.

Miller is a low-end No. 1 or high-end No. 2 tight end in dynasty leagues for the foreseeable future.

REBUILDING TEAM RANKINGS

1. Vernon Davis, SF
2. Jermichael Finley, GB
3. Dallas Clark, IND
4. Jason Witten, DAL
5. Brent Celek TE PHI
6. Antonio Gates, SD
7. Vinsanthe Shiancoe, MIN
8. Owen Daniels, HOU

9. Jermaine Gresham, CIN

Gresham’s knee injury he suffered at Oklahoma dropped him all the way to the Bengals who selected #21 in the 2010 NFL Draft. From all indications after their recent camps, they’re thrilled to have him.

His college resume is outstanding. He produced 66 receptions, 950 yards, and 14 touchdowns in 2008, giving him 111 catches, 1,629 yards, and 26 touchdowns in his three years in Norman. Those are big time prospect numbers from a position the Bengals have been needing production from for a long time.

Gresham’s knees are a legitimate concern in dynasty league circles. However, his combination of size, speed, and power remind many of Jermichael Finley.

He’ll likely be eased into the offense, but Gresham is a solid late second-round choice in rookie only drafts this summer as a tight end who could become an elite weapon.

10. Dustin Keller, NYJ
11. Tony Gonzalez, KC
12. Chris Cooley, WAS

13. Zach Miller, OAK

Miller was one of the few bright spots coming from Oakland in dynasty leagues last year, as he led the team with 66 receptions and 805 yards. Jason Campbell certainly knows how to use his tight ends as both Chris Cooley and Fred Davis had value on an awful Washington team. Expect Miller to immediately become Campbell’s best friend in the passing game. He’s a sneaky bet for six to eight touchdowns, and it’s not inconceivable to think he could push for 1,000 yards next year.

14. Greg Olsen, CHI

15. Rob Gronkowski, NE

While Aaron Hernandez may get more opportunities early, Gronkowski may end up being the better player in the long run.

His durability is a concern, but he has first round NFL Draft talent. Alge Crumpler and Aaron Hernandez stand in his way of playing time, but he’s another good player to target in the fourth round of a rookie draft.

For further explanation on the difference between the two sets of rankings, click here.

For the complete rankings beyond the top 15, click below:

Strategic Quarterback Rankings
Strategic Running Back Rankings
Strategic Wide Receiver Rankings
Strategic Tight End Rankings
Strategic IDP Rankings

 

Article written by Ken Kelly
DynastyLeagueFootball.com

Join our fantasy football community at  
www.DynastyLeagueFootball.com/dlforum

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Five “Land Mine” Games on Alabama’s 2010 Football Schedule

Published on: 31st July, 2010

Five "Land Mine" Games on Alabama's 2010 Football Schedule  | read this item

Every championship season has its moments when the team’s fortunes could have gone another way—a mistake here, a dropped pass on that play, a blown coverage there—and the season is lost.

 Fortunately, the 2009 season for the University of Alabama had few of those moments, and, in each one, the ball bounced the Tide’s way due to preparation, skill, coaching, and athleticism.

But what about 2010?

There are some games on each team’s schedule that might be called “land mine” games; these are those games where your team might look like the better team on paper, but, due to other factors, those games “blow up” in your faces and hang an “L” on the schedule. 

This list is not intended to be a doomsday, oh-woe-is-we prediction, but it serves us to know the realistic chances of the possibility that ‘Bama’s regular season win streak may be snapped this year. 

Let’s take a look at five games where the Tide might face an opponent and find that things might not go the way they did in 2009.


Game No. 2:  Penn State.

The fear here is that PSU is largely an unknown for the Tide.  They return a great running back in Evan Royster, who is likely to become the all-time rushing leader in Happy Valley, but does he have a line that can open holes for him?  

Will the incredibly talented but largely untested ‘Bama defense have time to jell before the Nittany Lions come calling in Tuscaloosa? And will Penn State, known as “Linebacker U,” have enough of a defense to stop the ‘Bama offensive juggernaut?

Early season games against ranked opponents have proven successful for the Tide in previous years (Clemson in ’08, Va Tech in ’09); let’s hope it continues here.  But remember that each of those victories in the past two seasons were closer than the final scores indicated.


Game No. 4:  @ Arkansas.

It’s no surprise to anyone reading this that if the Tide can keep the Hog offense off the field and avoid defensive mistakes when they are on it, ‘Bama can win this game.  Notice that, again, it may come down to a defense that must, absolutely must, mature and learn exponentially in the first three games before Alabama goes to Fayetteville.  

Mallett and Co. have the horses to score and score quickly from anywhere on the field. The giant Razorback already holds over 15 school records.

Besides, the game’s at their house this year, and Mallett is exceptionally tough at home.


Game No. 5:  Florida.

No rest for the weary.  Florida comes to Tuscaloosa with a pretty big revenge motive after the thrashing the Tide gave the Gators last December.  

With so much focus on All-Everything Tim Tebow for so long, many fans across the nation forget that coach Urban Meyer’s team is as chock full of talent as Coach Sabans’s is.

Besides the usual cast of extraordinary athletes returning off a 13-1 team, the Gators also bring in what is arguably the best recruiting class in the nation.  Junior John Brantley, Tebow’s heir, can throw as well if not better than his predecessor (Brantley holds the school boy record for touchdowns in Florida by one over—guess who?—Tebow).

So, the Gators will be primed and loaded.


Game No. 9:  @ LSU

Do we have to go through this, this, this…Saban Hating thing every time we go to Red Stick?  Do we?  Apparently, yes; we do.

The Bengal Tigers will be up for this game, and it won’t be easy for the Tide to win (when is it against LSU?), but the good news here is that ‘Bama will be coming off its bye week.

And, like Florida, LSU always manages to grab enough good talent every year to keep up with ‘Bama’s speed and strength.

These guys are annoying.  And they might just be playing for coach Les Miles’s job at that point.  ’Bama needs to shellac them and let LSU go back to being coached by the likes of Curley Hallman.


Game Nos. 6 (@ S. Carolina), 7 (Ole Miss), 8 (@ Tenn), 10 (Miss. St), and 12 (Auburn).

See that big bulls-eye on the back of our team’s crimson jerseys this year?  It’s there because of who we are and what we did last season.  This is the SEC.  Every week, every game, is a potential upset.  The quality in the conference is that good. 

Remember 2008, when Ole Miss upset Florida?  Do you remember how that happened (besides Tebow having an “off” day)?  It was a special teams breakdown by Florida that allowed the Rebels to hand the Gators their last defeat before the Tide did it this past December in Atlanta.  

So, do we need reminding that the entire special teams skill people for the Tide must be replaced?  That special teams will be left largely in the hands of newcomers or those with little or no college experience?  Would the 2009 UT game have the same outcome if one Tide field goal snap was off, one kick was rushed, or one hold bobbled?

And don’t discount, no matter what you hear elsewhere, the off week many of our SEC opponents are getting the week before they play us.  That may make a difference in any one of these games.  Look at the advantage it gave Tennessee and Auburn—two of the closest Tide victories a season ago.

Besides, the South Carolina and Tennessee games are away.

Are we suggesting that Alabama will lose all these games?  Certainly not!  But all of these facts combined mean that the Tide cannot afford to overlook any one of these opponents; every week in conference is a challenge and a potential upset.

Think about this, too:  Knowing how incredibly talented this conference is makes one appreciate the herculean task the Tide’s accomplished by going undefeated in the conference the past two years.

Will we make it a third?

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Rumor: Ndamukong Suh Wants To Be NFL’s Highest Paid Rookie

Published on: 31st July, 2010

Rumor: Ndamukong Suh Wants To Be NFL's Highest Paid Rookie  | read this item

 

According to Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com, it is rumored that Ndamukong Suh is holding out because he wants more guaranteed money than Sam Bradford received from the St. Louis Rams.

If this is true, it will be the second year in a row that Eugene Parker has held out a rookie in hopes of getting him more money than players who were drafted earlier.

Last year, under Parker’s guidance, Michael Crabtree missed the first six weeks of the season.  He ended up signing for the same money that the 49ers were originally offering. I commend the 49ers for not caving in, and I hope that the Lions will act in the same responsible way.

There is absolutely no reason why Suh should expect to get paid more than Bradford.  This is so far off base that it serves as further proof that Eugene Parker is a buffoon.  If Suh was taken No. 1, and Bradford No. 2, Bradford should still get paid more than Suh because of position premium. 

This is what happened when quarterback Matt Ryan was drafted third overall by the Atlanta Falcons but received more money than the two players drafted ahead of him.

By all accounts, Suh is a bright person. This is why he needs to reel in Parker and agree to a contract that pays him less than Bradford but more than third overall pick Gerald McCoy.

The importance of getting a deal done quickly is magnified by the upcoming suspension of Tom Lewand.  Lewand is scheduled to start serving his suspension on August 27.  He serves as the lead contract negotiator for the Lions and needs to be present when such a big money contract is being negotiated.

My personal belief is that a deal will get done in the next few days.  Suh has stated all along that he want to get to camp on time.  He appears to be a man of his word and that will be put to the test in the next few days.

Read more NFL news on BleacherReport.com

NCAA Football Odds: Big East Predictions and Preseason Picks

Published on: 31st July, 2010

NCAA Football Odds: Big East Predictions and Preseason Picks  | read this item

The winds of change are blowing for NCAA football betting fans assessing futures for the Big East. With some big names leaving in the offseason (especially from one particular school) it looks like as many as five teams have a shot to win.

Let’s have a look at the NCAA football odds to win the Big East among the top contenders.

 

CINCINNATI (6 to 1)

The Bearcats were a special team in 2010 but it looks like all the pieces that made them special are gone. Quarterback Tony Pike is a Carolina Panther; Mardy Gilyard will now catch passes from Sam Bradford with the St. Louis Rams.

And Brian Kelly famously put a knife in Cincy’s heart late last year when he bolted for Notre Dame. Just too many important parts are gone for the Bearcats to remain at full strength.

 

CONNECTICUT (3 to 1)

Keep an eye on Jordan Todman at halfback. He could have a monster season running behind an outstanding line in Connecticut.

The Huskies haven’t officially settled on a starting quarterback as of press time, so it’s hard to fully endorse their sleeper potential until we get a better idea of how their passing game will work. They also aren’t good at stopping the pass.

 

PITTSBURGH (5 to 2)

Some sports betting fans will argue that Pittsburgh has the conference’s best player in Dion Lewis. The kid ran for 1,799 and scored 17 times as a freshman.

Dave Wannstedt is confident that Pat Bostik can handle the pro-style offense this season, but we’ll see. If he struggles, opponents won’t respect the aerial attack and could stack the box against Lewis.

 

RUTGERS (6 to 1)

Even if 2010 doesn’t become the breakthrough season for Rutgers, that moment isn’t far away. They have some exciting youngsters, particularly the Swiss Army knife known as Mohamed Sanu.

He’s a vertical threat but he was also used in the Wildcat formation last year. Rutgers’ “D” is high on speed and fairly deep, but it’s weak at linebacker.

That’s scary when you play in the same conference as Dion Lewis and Noel Devine.

 

SOUTH FLORIDA (6 to 1)

Is South Florida the most complete team in the Big East? Hardly. But it has a unique, dynamic player in B.J. Daniels.

He can do everything with the football from the quarterback position and will run behind a line that returns four of five starters.

So you never know what South Florida may do.

 

WEST VIRGINIA (5 to 2)

My college football expert pick : Lean West Virginia’s way this year.

We know they’ll run the ball like crazy with Noel Devine set for a banner senior season and four of five starters back on the O-line.

Geno Smith may be ho-hum, if Devine comes through, he can just play game manager like Greg McElroy at Alabama.

His arm accuracy is a nice fit for the offense. West Virginia may also have the Big East’s top defense, especially since 10 starters return.

The pick: Several different teams could threaten to win the Big East but I think West Virginia has the edge over Pittsburgh because it should be sturdier at quarterback.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Big East Football: Lack of Respect Shows Teams Freefall in Polls

Published on: 31st July, 2010

Big East Football: Lack of Respect Shows Teams Freefall in Polls  | read this item

Every preseason Top 25 college football poll has one trending topic.  The Big East Conference has received an extremely raw deal from the media.  In most cases, it isn’t until the late teens that a Big East team appears.

In the Sporting News Preseason Top 100 out today, the first Big East team is Pittsburgh at 19.  That is followed by West Virginia at 24.

Other than that, there are no Big East teams to be found in the Top 25.  This isn’t the only poll, either.  It should be interesting to see where the AP and ESPN Polls weigh in on the current situation.

Personally, ever since Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College moved to the ACC, the Big East football perception of contending as a power conference was shattered. 

It takes a long time to build a respectable conference and when those three teams bolted there was a power shift.  For whatever reason, the people who vote in these polls love to downgrade Big East teams.

Cincinnati, who didn’t lose a game last season until the Sugar Bowl is nowhere to be found in most preseason polls.  Yeah so they lost Tony Pike and Brian Kelly.  The Bearcats are going to be a talented team once again this season.

Rutgers continues to improve and Greg Schiano has done a fabulous job at getting top recruits in New Jersey who want to go to a state school and contribute right away.

Connecticut who Sporting-news has ranked 28 could very well compete for this year’s Big East title.  Randy Edsall has built UConn from nothing and continues to develop players year after year.

The job he has done at Storrs is one of best building jobs ever in college football.  Yet, the polls seem to see it otherwise.

Even Skip Holtz is now coaching at South Florida.  He is willing and ready to give it all he has to transcending this team into a football program that can compete with Miami, Florida, and Florida State.

Then there is Louisville and Syracuse.  Well both of those teams are probably not moving out of the cellar of the Big East anytime soon.  Unless there is a magnificent turnaround I don’t see it happening.

The Big East has two of the strongest running backs in the country in Dion Lewis and Noel Devine.  Jordan Todman is another tailback that has the explosion to run for over 1300 yards this season.

Big East football has had a hard time lately when it comes to competing with the SEC, Big Ten, or Big Twelve.

The bottom-line is viewers want to see the Big East win against tough non-conference opponents.

They want to see South Florida beat Miami.

They want to see UConn go into Michigan and beat the Wolverines.

How about Cincinnati who has a chance to play Oklahoma in Norman.

These center-stage games will give the Big East a chance to get back some of its respect.

Until then there is going to be little attention to a team such as UConn.  Once they go out there and win football games and prove they are for real, it is then a different story.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp: Marukice Pouncey Talk After Practice

Published on: 31st July, 2010

Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp: Marukice Pouncey Talk After Practice  | read this item

At the conclusion of the Pittsburgh first open practice of the 2010 NFL season, first round rookie Maurkice Pouncey spoke with reporters. Here are some of the things that Pouncey talked about.

Asked when he arrived at Saint Vincents for training camp:

Pouncey – “I got here around 10:00-10:30, I finally got to camp at 12:30, 1:00.”

How did you do at the run test?

Pouncey – “I passed it with flying colors. I’m in good shape. If I am gonna show up late, I gotta do something good.”

Was it really 6:00 am?

Pouncey – “Yeah.”

Did anyone come down to watch?

Pouncey – “Nah, those boys were still sleeping. We had practice early.”

Was there a lot of talking to your agent waiting for the deal to get done?

Pouncey – “Man, there were phone calls every five minutes, but if finally got done, and I was happy to hear it.”

What is your goal in camp?

Pouncey – “To come out here and perform, get better every day.”

There are obviously a lot of changes to the pro game, how does it feel?

Pouncey – “Practice is a lot shorter, it felt good.”

How are you coming along with the playbook?

Pouncey – “Oh, it’s going real good. I got that thing pretty much down pat, just the little things you got to learn.”

What is going on with the allegations that you took money from an agent?

Pouncey – “It’s not true. I mean, I don’t know who would ever write a letter like that, I mean, trying to destroy somebody’s name, it’s not fair. But, it’s not true, everybody knows. They went through the whole investigation and couldn’t find anything.”

What is the status of the investigation?

Pouncey – “It’s almost ended now, they couldn’t find anything. Everybody they talked to said it wasn’t true. A lot of stuff was said that didn’t happen, so I’m just glad that everybody can finally see it.”

How did you find out about it?

Pouncey – “I thought my brother was playing when he called me. When he first told me about it, I thought it was a joke. When I found out about it, I called the school, and told them. They said they were behind me if it was not true. They stood up for me.”

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Pete Carroll an NFL Failure? Not so Fast!

Published on: 31st July, 2010

Pete Carroll an NFL Failure? Not so Fast!   | read this item

Even before taking the head coaching job for the Seattle Seahawks, at a time when his name was being discussed, certain doubters referred to Pete Carroll as an NFL “failure.”

This criticism had a familiar twist.  The flip side of this contention surfaced after Carroll’s coaching stints with the New York Jets and New England Patriots respectively.

When USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett appeared interested in Carroll, doubters predicted that the former Heisman Trophy winner would soon be gone based on a three strikes rule.

Garrett had earlier selected John Robinson for a second tour of duty at Troy that proved less than successful as he dropped five games in a row to crosstown-rival UCLA.

After that things got even worse.  There was Paul Hackett, who had earlier failed as a head coach at Pittsburgh University.

In his final of three seasons at USC in 2000, Hackett accomplished something that Trojan watchers deemed beyond the realm of possibility.  That campaign Troy, with its rich Southern California recruiting base and national outreach, finished dead last in the Pac-10.

So Garrett was lampooned and critics claimed he would soon be gone for making his third unsuccessful football coaching hire in a row.  Carroll had, according to critics, failed in the NFL and there was no reason to present him with a whopping contract and one of the high visibility coaching jobs in the country.

A reason cited why Carroll had not succeeded at his previous coaching stop in New England was that he was too much of a “rah rah guy” for the NFL.  It was said that New England management did not like the idea of his close association with his players capped by basketball games.

So what happened after Carroll proved his critics wrong and established a dynasty at Troy that included two national championships?  It was then said that the same “rah rah” tactics that would not work in the NFL made him a good fit for a major collegiate program.

An analysis of Carroll’s pro coaching record does not reveal failure.  The definition of the word failure is lack of success or inability to meet expectations.

Carroll’s first NFL coaching stop at the age of 43 was the New York Jets in 1994.  He finished at 6-10.  The team finished fifth in the AFC East.

Was one year any kind of real test?  Lou Holtz had a brief NFL stop with the same Jets team at the age of 39 in 1976.  He resigned with a 3-10 mark.  The resignation was one of those management “Here’s your hat and what’s your hurry?” endings.

What did Holtz do?  He went to the college ranks beginning with Arkansas in 1977.  That team scored one of the biggest upsets in Orange Bowl history over Oklahoma, knocking the Sooners out of a national title.

In 1988 at Notre Dame, Holtz would lead the Irish to an undefeated season and a national championship.  Holtz would take six different collegiate teams to bowl games.

Pro grid experts theorize that Holtz was not given sufficient opportunity to mold the Jets into a winner.  His collegiate record was so remarkable, beginning at 31 as defensive coordinator under Woody Hayes in 1968 of a national championship team, that given the right opportunity the odds would have been strong that he could have achieved success in the NFL as well.

From 1997 to 1999, Carroll coached New England.  His first season, he guided the Patriots to a 10-6 mark and first place in the AFC East, splitting two playoff games.  The next two seasons, he achieved marks of 9-7 and 8-8, finishing fourth both seasons.

So Carroll’s overall pro record stood at 33-31 for a .516 win percentage.  His New England stats were 27-21 and .563.

Does that constitute failure?  If it does then scores of other coaches at around the .500 mark or below were failures.  Is it not unfair to plague coaches with that term when, while not securing championships, are far from cellar occupiers?  These are not people who have lived in the doldrums.

That being the case, would limbo not be a better term?  What if more patience had been exhibited by the New England ownership with Carroll.  What about other coaches such as Holtz with the Jets?  We have no idea what they might have accomplished.

History records that the Dallas Cowboy management was smart in displaying patience with Tom Landry, who assumed coaching reins in the expansion team’s initial season in 1960.

How was it for Landry at the outset?  Landry, one of the NFL’s all-time coaching greats, from 1960 to 1965 had seasonal records of 0-11-1, 4-9-1, 5-8-1, 4-10, 5-8-1 and 7-7.

In 1966, he scored a breakthrough and went 10-3-1 in the regular season, losing the NFL championship game to Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers, 34-27.  The team was finally rolling but it took until 1971 until Landry won his first Super Bowl with a 24-3 win over Don Shula’s Miami Dolphins.

How easy it would be to envision impatient management people of certain organizations, given Landry’s beginning years, saying “Get rid of this guy!  He’s had long enough.  He’s a failure!”

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Strategic Dynasty Wide Receiver Rankings

Published on: 31st July, 2010

Strategic Dynasty Wide Receiver Rankings  | read this item

Finding a ranking system that suits their franchise’s current position as either a contender or a builder is one of the challenges any owner in a dynasty league has.

Fantasy football players who excel in dynasty leagues have a commitment to building excellence.  That requires much more than a simple set of rankings in a “one size fits all” category.

With that in mind, here are our top 15 wide receivers presented in two distinctly different categories .

Competing Team = Use these if you have a team competing to win a title in the next 2-3 years.

Rebuilding Team = Use these if you have a team rebuilding and not in contention in the near future.

 

COMPETING TEAM RANKINGS

1. Andre Johnson, HOU

Stud. You really don’t have to go further when describing AJ. In his last two years combined, Johnson has 216 catches, 3,144 yards, and 17 touchdowns. Those numbers make him an elite receiver option in any league format.

From a dynasty league perspective, there are only two things to be concerned with at this point.

First, he just turned 29 years old. Second, he’s never had a season where he’s scored more than nine touchdowns. That’s really the definition of splitting hairs, though.

No matter how you slice it, Johnson is a dominant fantasy performer and should be a No. 1 wide receiver for the next five years at the very least.

 

2. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI

Any questions about Fitzgerald’s dynasty value begin and end with Matt Leinart. If the quarterbacking is solid, Fitzgerald is a top 10 dynasty commodity. If the quarterbacking is suspect, his numbers will suffer a little accordingly.

Don’t sell, though. He’s a dominant talent who would put up 1,000 yards and eight to ten touchdowns with just about anyone at the helm.

Dynasty owners will certainly take a repeat of his 1,092 yards, 92 catches, and 13 touchdowns each and every year.

 

3. Calvin Johnson, DET

Megatron may very well be the most physically gifted wide receiver in all of the NFL. With great size, speed, and route running ability, he’s no match for single coverage.

Unfortunately, that’s the problem for Calvin. He hasn’t seen single coverage since Y2K was on our minds.

The Lions have failed to find a second offensive weapon to take the heat off Johnson, so his numbers have suffered. His 2009 season yielded 984 yards and five touchdowns on just 67 receptions in 14 games.

Owners were certainly hoping for something closer to his 2008 season, when he posted 1,331 yards, and 12 touchdowns on 78 grabs.

Regardless, Johnson has an elite skill set and could very well establish himself as the premier receiver in all of fantasy in the near future. His owners just have to hope the numbers eventually match the talent.

With some added weapons in Detroit, this could finally be the year.

 

4 . Reggie Wayne, IND

It was just another boring season of 100 catches, 1,264 yards and 10 touchdowns for Wayne in 2009. He’s become solid as a rock in dynasty leagues. 

Wayne is squarely in his prime years, but the inevitable regression will come in the next few years.

Wayne is very similar in value to Manning. He’s extremely steady and consistent, but also beginning to get into his twilight years.

If I’m competing in the next few years, I hold on tightly to Wayne and enjoy the consistency he brings as a No. 1 receiver.

If I’m in a rebuilding mode, I’m starting to consider selling him while his value is extremely high.

 

5. Brandon Marshall, MIA

With Marshall, you take the good with the bad. On one hand, he’s had at least 100 catches in three consecutive seasons, featuring a record 21 in one game last season for the Broncos.

For the year, he finished with 101 catches, 1,120 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those numbers are more than worthy of a No. 1 wide receiver in fantasy or reality.

On the other hand, he’s constantly in the news for the wrong reasons. We’ve seen it all, including a freak accident involving a McDonald’s bag to the exaggeration of a hamstring injury. When he’s happy, he’s great. When he’s not, look out.

Combine his past with his ongoing hip issues, and he may just be the ultimate risk/reward player in dynasty leagues. He’s no doubt a top talent worthy of a second round pick in startups.

 

6. Vincent Jackson, SD

There’s simply no doubting his ability as a top-tier wideout. Last year, he led the Chargers with 1,167 yards and nine touchdowns. When you watch Jackson, you still feel like he’s just scratching the surface as well.

Unfortunately, his looming suspension, possible holdout to Week 10, and off-the-field behavior are major red flags.

While his value is certainly not tanking, it would be very difficult to feel comfortable with him as your long-term No. 1 wide receiver right about now.

Keep in mind the competing team rankings are created not just for 2010, but for the next 2-3 years as well. Otherwise, Jackson would be found much lower on this list.

 

7. DeSean Jackson, PHI

Most fantasy owners would have been pleased with a repeat of the 62 receptions, 912 yards, and 2 touchdowns Jackson provided in 2008.

Instead, Jackson exploded for 1,156 yards and nine receiving touchdowns in 2009. When you add another two touchdowns on the 441 return yards he provided, you have a No. 1 WR.

If you think the chemistry between Jackson and Kolb could be a problem, consider that Jackson had 250 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the two games Kolb started last season. There’s certainly no drop-off there. Jackson and his 16.7 yards per catch average look to be in the dynasty fold for the next decade.

 

8. Marques Colston, NO

Colston may be the biggest driving factor behind the sleeper-themed articles we see every year.

He’s certainly one of the greatest fantasy waiver wire pickups of all-time and we constantly talk about finding the next “Colston” as we attempt to uncover those sleepers.

As the premier WR in this explosive offense, he’s a good bet for 1,000 yards or more every season and should hover around 10 TDs every year for the foreseeable future.

There’s a lot to like in having him as your No. 1 WR, although I’d rather have him as an elite No. 2.

 

9. Miles Austin, DAL

I can’t recall a rocket-like rise like Austin’s since, well, Tony Romo’s. A sleeper candidate in dynasty circles last year, Austin erupted for 81 catches, 1,320 yards, and a ridiculous 11 TDs.

When you combine his precise route running with his incredible run after the catch ability, you have a No. 1 WR in reality and fantasy.

Dez Bryant is in the fold, but Austin is still Tony Romo’s biggest weapon for the foreseeable future.

If you wonder about Austin’s staying power, consider he’s rumored to be dating a Kardashian. Those girls don’t pick just anyone!

 

10. Greg Jennings, GB

Most owners would be thrilled with 68 catches, 1,113 yards and four touchdowns from their No. 2 WR. Believe it or not, every one of those numbers from Jennings was down in comparison to 2008.

You can blame that on a variety of reasons, but he’s still the best option in an offense that attempted 541 passes last season.

As the No. 1 option on a pass-oriented team, it would be a surprise if he didn’t improve on all those numbers in 2010 and beyond. He could easily flourish into being a future top tier No. 1 WR in fantasy.

 

11. Roddy White, ATL

They say WRs really break out in the third year.  There may be no greater case study to prove that than Roddy White.

He had 59 receptions for 952 yards and 3 TDs in his first two years combined.  In season three, he enjoyed 83 catches, 1,202 yards and 6 TDs. Now that’s improvement!

He’s followed that up with two very solid seasons and there’s really nothing wrong with having him as a lower tier No. 1 WR or a very solid No. 2 WR for your fantasy squad.

 

12. Randy Moss, NE

There simply aren’t too many things scarier than Randy Moss in a contract year. While he’s getting a little long in the tooth at 33, he’s shown no signs of slowing down.

After scoring 47 touchdowns in his first three years in New England, the sky’s the limit for 2010.

Keep close tabs on his contract status, though. If you’re not a contending team this season, Moss may be the ultimate mid-season trade chip.

You may not find a better window of opportunity to get value for him in dynasty leagues.

 

13. Sidney Rice, MIN

Rice showed some glimpses of his superb talent when he was playing collegiately at South Carolina, but few thought he could blossom into the player he is today.

Rice’s breakout year of 1,312 yards, and eight touchdowns on 83 catches moved him just under the top tier of fantasy wide receivers.

His long-term value hinges on the Vikings developing or finding a new signal caller eventually, but he’s established himself as a dominant fantasy force.

 

14. Steve Smith, CAR

The broken arm is just the latest setback for the dynasty stock of the aging Smith. 

When you consider his recent comments about not wanting to be the No. 1 WR as well, you have fantasy owners wanting to sell instead of buy.

There’s no doubting his ability to put up big numbers, but I’d steer far away from him unless I was in the thick of it this season.

 

15. Michael Crabtree, SF

His holdout was frustrating for dynasty owners, but he rewarded their patience with 625 yards and two touchdowns in just 11 games.

While those totals may not be eye popping, consider he posted those as a rookie with no training camp experience.

Crabtree’s natural ability translated well to the professional level and owners should expect his first of many 1,000-yard seasons in 2010.

 

REBUILDING TEAM RANKINGS

1. Andre Johnson, HOU
2. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
3. Calvin Johnson, DET
4. Brandon Marshall, MIA
5. Vincent Jackson, SD
6. DeSean Jackson, PHI
7. Marques Colston, NO
8. Miles Austin, DAL
9. Reggie Wayne, IND
10. Greg Jennings, GB
11. Roddy White, ATL
12. Sidney Rice, MIN
13. Michael Crabtree, SF

14. Dez Bryant, DAL

The hype machine was in full swing after some captivating Spring practices from the former Oklahoma State star. The injury he sustained this week does little for his value. Click here to learn more on that.

The history on Dez Bryant is well-documented, but he’s done nothing so far to make Dallas believe they didn’t get the steal of the NFL Draft this year.

He needs to get into football shape this summer and get his timing down with Tony Romo, but there’s no doubt Dallas wants to see him on the field sooner rather than later. Once he gets on it, I don’t think he’ll be off it for the next decade.

 

15. Hakeem Nicks, NYG

His rookie season was, well, entertaining.

It seemed that every time he took a step forward, he’d take a step back.

This was best illustrated in a Sunday night game against the Eagles where he dropped a sure touchdown pass, only to catch the next one for a 68-yard score. He ended the year with 47 catches for 790 yards and 6 touchdowns.

There’s really no doubting his ability. If he can shore up his route running and consistency, he can be a future No. 1 WR.

 

For further explanation on the difference between the two sets of rankings, click here .

Strategic Quarterback Rankings
Strategic Running Back Rankings
Strategic Wide Receiver Rankings
Strategic Tight End Rankings
Strategic IDP Rankings

 

Article written by Ken Kelly
DynastyLeagueFootball.com

Join our fantasy football community at 
www.DynastyLeagueFootball.com/dlforum

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10 Teams Who Should Be Kicked Out of BCS Conferences

Published on: 31st July, 2010

10 Teams Who Should Be Kicked Out of BCS Conferences  | read this item

The BCS conferences.

These leagues are supposed to be top tier, the best of the best. The big Kahuna’s.

Yet, let’s face it, some teams get into BCS conferences by just being at the right place at the right time.

Look at the Big East.

UConn has been impressive under Randy Edsell. But the fact of the matter is that when they were included as a football member of the Big East, they had just moved up from Division 1-AA and did not have much of a football legacy or fervent fan base built up.

But the Big East needed another football team and they already belonged as a basketball member, so they got the nod.

Same thing with Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida. All three were members of Conference USA.

South Florida was a new program to the top tier, Louisville… decent, but certainly no powerhouse, and Cincy, a team that never did much on the gridiron and can’t fill their stadium for home games.

But the Big East had just been raided by the ACC for Boston College, Virginia Tech, and Miami, so these three were elevated to BCS status.

Utah has just accepted an invitation to join the Pac-10.

Once again…right place, at the right time. The Pac-10 really wanted to raid the Big 12, but when that went by the skids, they grabbed the Utes.

So what of the BCS conferences? Are all their members deserving?

I say “no” and here is my list of ten current BCS schools that should make like a penny stock and get de-listed.

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