Sure it's july, but there are stories galore in the NFL this offseason. Among the stories in the News are Brett Favre's request for release, Travis Henry's quest to become the next Ricky Williams, FP's teams to watch for in the 2008-2009 season, plus some pats mini-camp notes...
A Monday Night to Remember?
Brett Favre has asked for an unconditional release, as expected. The Packers need to move on with the Aaron Rodgers era of their franchise, or else Aaron Rodgers will have yet to start a game in his career entering a contract year. Simply put, you're forcing a guy who was supposed to be the starter for the future to fight for his career.
Mark my words, if Rodgers doesn't start this season, if baring some huge performance in his contract year, Rodgers will not be a Packer in 2010. He'll want, and rightly so, a contract that resembles his rookie contract, and, rightly so, the Packers wont be willing to give it to him with one mediocre season.
On to the title. Imagine this: It's the first Monday Night Football game. It's Lambeau Field. It's Aaron Rodgers first start. It's the night that the Packers are to retire number 4, and out of the visitors' tunnel comes the Minnesota Vikings led by their new QB, Brett Favre. The ratings would be sky high, and there would be a loud boo from the fans. Needless to say, it'd be epic.
This is why the Packers will not give Favre an unconditional release. Letting him sign with an NFC North team (especially the Vikings) would be a huge mistake from both a PR standpoint, and from a fans standpoint.
Because I got highTravis Henry style:
I was gonna earn some cash until I got high I gonna catch up on all my bills but then I got high Now I'm borrowin Denver's money and I know why - cause I got high [repeat 3X] I was gonna go to practice before I got high I coulda [[Terrell Owens|faked it]] and it woulda passed but I got high Now I'm out of work and I know why - cause I got high [repeat 3X] I was gonna go to court before I got high I was gonna pay my child support but then I got high They took my whole paycheck and I know why - cause I got high [repeat 3X] I wasnt gonna run from Goodell but I was high I was gonna give him hair and blood but I was high Now I'm a free agent and I know why - because I got high [repeat 3X] I was gonna stop from lovin but then I got high I was gonna stay outside of you but then I got high now I've got my number 10 and I know why - cause I got high [repeat 3X] I messed up my entire life because I got high I lost my job and fame because I got high Now I'm sleeping on the sidewalk and I know why - cause I got high [repeat 3X] I'm gonna stop singing this song because I'm high I'm singing this whole thing wrong because I'm high and if I dont sell one copy I know why - cause I'm high [repeat 3X]
In case you're confused, Travis Henry, father of 9 children with 9 different women, none of which he's married to, tested positive for marijuana again. He's likely going to be facing a year long suspension, and has been cut from the Broncos.
FP's 2 teams to watch
|For some reason, I like the Bills to be something this year. They've got a good RB, a decent defense, and a decent oline. In my opinion, that's enough to be a team that will be in the post season discussion come December. Marshawn Lynch proved he is a legitimate threat, giving the Bills over 1,100 yards and 7 TDs. 1,000 yards is generally the benchmark for a good season, especially for a rookie. Yes, 7 TDs is a bit sub par, but it's so hard in today's NFL for a rookie to step right into the league and get 10 TDs. They're just not big enough or knowledgeable enough to get through a lot of goal line defenses.
Trent Edwards is looking like he will be their franchise QB. Yes, a 7-8 TD-INT ratio is awful, but if you look at his game by game break down, ,he threw an INT in his first 5 games with only 1 TD and in week 14 threw 4 TDs and 0 INTs against Miami, and then in week 16, threw 3 INT against the Giants. I expect him to improve on this as will their entire offense.
Their team is the basis for a team that could be something if it weren't for the fact that they're stuck in the AFC. Speaking of which, Here are all the teams that are competitive in the AFC:
That's 9 of the 16 teams that are serious playoff contenders (as in, deep playoff run). As far as teams you could say could beat any team in the league, you're looking at 5-7 (4 division winners, Jacksonville, plus maybe Cleveland and Tennessee) In the NFC:
Thats 8 teams, of which, you can count on New York, and Probably Dallas for teams that can go deep. Green Bay joins them if whoever is the QB performs decently, Washington might be able to join them, and maybe Seattle. Thats 3-5 teams that could go deep. You look at the teams that make up these lists, if you want a list of serious Super Bowl contenders, You're looking probably at the same 5 in the AFC, and the Giants plus maybe Green Bay in the NFC. Seattle hasn't proven anything yet, and Dallas needs to show they can win in the playoffs.
| Chances are you're now wondering if I've been hanging out with Travis Henry as of late. You forget that Mike Martz made John Kitna look like a decent QB. They've got a RB, and they should have a defense. Alex Smith has yet to have the same system for 2 years. No shit he hasn't succeeded. It's near impossible to learn and master a system in one year and turn it into success.
This is not true with the Air Martz offense. It's a West Coast Offense but it offers a lot more deep passes than a lot of WCO teams have. It gives QBs a simple way to go with what they feel, and allows for a lot of flexibility. It's not always a very smart offense, but QBs look good in it.
I like the Mike Martz hiring. You're bringing in a guy who can make any QB look good, in a system that is desperate for something to improve. In a division with a team that rarely gets challenged, taking advantage of the 4 free wins they'll likely get, plus competing against bottom tier teams will be important to ensuring the Seahawks games become more than just a spoiler alert for the Seattle fans.
So far, things are looking good offensively for the Pats. Maroney's looking healthy, Brady's looking healthy and comfortable. Randy's still performing, and Welker still looks good.
The stories to follow through training camp take place on defense, in all three sections. Richard Seymour has been hurt for a lot of these past two seasons. So far so good, according to Sporting News. Yes, the LBs will be a liability, but if he's going to perform at the level he's expected to, we're talking about a fearsome dline with Seymour, Warren, and Wilfork. What I don't get is why they don't simply switch to a 4-3 defense.
The 4-3 is based on solid defensive line performance. It's why the Giants were so successful in the Super Bowl. Their 4-3 defense had lineman that were outperforming the Pats lineman. They dominated at the line, and it showed. They didn't let Brady set up and make his reads. Rushed passes, poor throws, and sacks were all consequences of their ability. The pats have 3 solid DEs (Green, Warren, Seymour), and Vince Wilwork. Ty Warren played some DT in College, so you can move him in, and start Green on the outside. You start Thomas, Bruschi and Vrabel at LB, and Mayo comes in to relieve Bruschi every so often and on 3rd and long (youth=speed and stamina, both things Bruschi is lacking). Mayo gets to learn how to play MLB without having as much pressure, and Bruschi gets to rest more often.
On the subject of LBs, first round draftee Jerod Mayo is a great fit for the Pats. He's a smart, athletic LB. sound like any other Belichick Linebackers? Now, I promise you I'm not trying to compare Mayo to any of the great Giants LBs, but still. BB has a thing for tough, smart, athletic LBs. Mayo will do well in New England, especially with the coach he has. Beyond that, there is a gaping need for depth at LB. I'm concerned about this, but if nothing changes, I'm willing to just pray no one has to sit out very long. It's been the case before, and it's worked ok in the past.
Finally, going to the DBs. It's basically DB by committee right now. The current roster is as follows:
NO. Player (Pos., Year) 25 Fernando Bryant (CB, 10th year) 30 Mark Dillard (S, rookie) 37 Rodney Harrison (S, 15th year) 27 Ellis Hobbs (CB, 4th year) 31 Brandon Meriweather (DB, 2nd year) 35 Mike Richardson (CB, 2nd year) 29 Lewis Sanders (CB, 9th year) 36 James Sanders (S, 4th year) 28 Antwain Spann (CB, 3rd year) 41 Ray Ventrone* (S, third year) 21 Jason Webster (CB, 9th year) 22 Terrence Wheatley (CB, rookie) 24 Jonathan Wilhite (CB, rookie) 26 Tank Williams (S, 7th year)
as of now, the Starting DBs are:
There's really no starting CB on this roster. Either Rookie might step up and take that spot, or, potentially, Brandon Meriweather could end up in the spot. He's been working out at CB both this off season and last off season. There's certainly depth at CB, it's just not worth much. It'll certainly be interesting to see who ends up in the starting role.
There's not much news with the Chad Johnson issue, except he still doesn't want to play in Cincy.
Can you really blame him? He plays at an elite level every game, and the team isn't going anywhere. The Coaches and the Front Office are doing nothing to make sure that they get better. Odell Thurman's gone, and he was supposed to be the big defensive prospect. The question is where he'll playing this year. Teams like Tennessee, Indianapolis (the Moss to counter Randy Moss?), San Diego, Cleveland, San Francisco, or any team trying to juice up their offense has to be on the phone with Cincy daily. If they can pry him away from Cincy, I'd be willing to bet that his new team will go at least 8-8. There's just no way that adding a top WR is not worth a couple of wins for any team that could be competitive this year.
That's it for now, I've got another NFL project that will hopefully be done before august, if not, it will get done before the end of august. Expect another offseason update sometime before the end of preseason.
Thanks to patriots.com for the DB Roster, and lyricsondemand.com for the "Because I got High" lyrics