Welcome Ladies and Gents! Welcome to my first blog post about the NFL.
It’s been one week since the opening of free agency, and already it feels like it’s been a month. Not because it’s been boring, but because so much has been done. Free agency pickups and trades have been happening left and right. Already new team building strategies are emerging with multiple teams, and people are predicting the success of those teams. Would you believe it that some commentators are already picking their favorite team to win the Superbowl? It’s a bit ridiculous.
That being said, I’d just like to mention that I’m not going to go over EVERY trade or free agent, I’m only going to cover the biggest names, and those players that I personally pay closest attention to (e.g. all Green Bay players; past, present, and future)
I’m going to save the marquee QB talk for last, if I opened with it, what would drive you all to read the rest of the blog? So I’m going to go over five talking points from 5 down to 1 (and yes, Peyton Manning / Tim Tebow) will be number 1).
5) First I’d like to go over the somewhat conspicuous lack of action from certain teams. There have been some teams that haven’t uttered a single peep since the opening of free agency. Most of these teams share the reason that they are right on the edge of maxing out their salary caps. Hell, some teams had to cut a bunch of players because they were way over the salary cap thanks to last year’s CBA negotiations (Lookin’ at you Raider’s). Still, there are some teams, that have room in the salary cap, maybe not a ton, but they have room nonetheless.
The premier example of course would be the Packers. As a Packers fan, let me just say, that even though I get wrapped up in the excitement of certain free agent prospects (Mario Williams and Michael Bush in green and yellow? Yes please!) I’m actually rather proud of the Packers and GM Ted Thompson’s tendency to stay out of the melee.
The Packers and the other teams like them that have stayed oddly quiet this week, tend to depend on the draft to fill their rosters and to find diamonds in the rough that they can train up. Ted Thompson is the most famous for this, other than a few notable instances, he tends to trade draft picks down, in order to pick up a bunch of late round picks. Then the team and coaches sift through those picks and find people that you never expected to do well (James Starks, Matt Flynn, Mason Crosby, Desmond Bishop)
So what I’m trying to say is, to those fans of teams who are being awfully quiet and passing up all these fantastic players, don’t fret. Our time will come.
4) The next conspicuously missing aspect in this past week has been the signing of free agent running backs. As that amazing running back, Tim Tebow, proved last year, a good back can make a team. The Ravens and Bears realized this and used their franchise tags to lock up Ray Rice and Matt Forte before they slipped into uncharted waters. But, there is still a decent number of big name RB’s out there, looking for a job.
The only two big names that have been picked up by new teams are Mike Tolbert (Panthers) and Peyton Hillis (Chiefs). And let’s face it, Hillis is cursed. That leaves; LaDanian Tomlinson, Ryan Grant, Cedric Benson, Michael Bush, Brandon Jacobs, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Most of them have made visits to teams, and been actively looking for a job, but not finding one.
There are teams that are looking for running backs too; though ironically most of them are the same teams that the aforementioned RB’s are leaving. So why? Come on, I’m dying to see where most of these guys go!
I’ll list my ideal teams for the back I mentioned above:
LaDanian Tomlinson: I’d love to see him stay with the Jets, but if that just won’t work, then the Vikings just may be looking for a veteran to fill Adrian Peterson’s shoes for a while, or at the very least to share the work load with him.
Ryan Grant: Anywhere other than Green Bay. I’ve never been a fan, and I think he’d look great in a Miami jersey with new coach Joe Philbin.
Cedric Benson: While he’s not Arian Foster or Ray Rice, he’s one hell of an improvement on Grant, so I’d be thrilled to see him in Green Bay.
Michael Bush: Seeing him in a Bengals uniform just seems right doesn’t it? They need a strong, power back, and he’s the best on the market. He wants a starting job, and they’ve got one to offer. It’s perfect.
Brandon Jacobs: Somewhere with nice weather, and cushy turf so his knees don’t hurt so much. San Diego, to replace Tolbert? Why not.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis: I think he’s still worthy a starting gig and despite some success at the end of last season, I think it’s possible for Denver to upgrade from Willis McGahee. The Law Firm fits perfectly as a mid-sized, speedy back. Though he also may look good on either New York team.
3) This is a short one; I simply have to mention it. Matt Flynn to the Seahawks. Does this mean that Sidney Rice is finally going to have a decent QB throwing to him? I must say, that the Seahawks have impressed me with this pick up as well as with a few others that they’ve made in order to give Flynn some help. Seattle has a remarkably young team overall, and this MIGHT be their year to shine, and Flynn just might be the catalyst they need. I’m looking forward to seeing them play; it should be an interesting year in Seattle.
2) San Francisco. Why couldn’t you have let Alex Smith go? Encourage him to join the Dolphins, get him out of the bay area! I know that the 49ers were one play away from the Superbowl last year, but close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and public bathrooms. Alex Smith can’t score in the redzone. Sure, he doesn’t turn the ball over, and he can put together a decent drive; but when he hits the 20 yard line, just send out Akers, because Smith WILL NOT get the touchdown nine times out of ten. And, his accuracy is laughable. The only reason we didn’t hear more about how inaccurate he is, is because everyone was in awe of Tebow’s ability to throw the ball nowhere near his receivers and still win the game.
Harbaugh says that Kaepernick is their QB of the future. I’m all for letting a QB learn on the bench for a year or two, but if you don’t give him at least a little more love, he’s going to leave the first chance he gets.
The upside to all of this is that the jaw dropping defense of last season is almost entirely intact, and that there have been some HUGE upgrades on the offensive side at receiver and OL. With the upgrades they’ve already made, and the draft still coming, even with Smith under center the 49er’s may have a real good shot at going all the way this year.
1) Peyton Manning > Tim Tebow. It’s math. If you say that Tebow is a legit starting QB and point to his wins last season as proof, then you don’t understand football at all. He’s a legit starter, just not as a QB. He’d be a great full back or even tight end. Still, if the fans insist on seeing him under center next season, then I can really only see three teams as being interested. Jacksonville and Miami both for the same reason, they don’t have any other options and Tebow would be at/close to home. Ticket sales would skyrocket. The third (and my preference for him) would be Cleveland. The majority of their receivers aren’t fast enough to be deep threats, so they go for the short pass and a punishing run game; with a very occasional deep bomb to Greg Little in the end zone. The playbook was practically written for Tebow, it is the only place that I think he could shine as a QB.
As for Denver, will Peyton Manning save them? No. I’m sorry, he MAY take them to the playoffs; they won’t get to the Superbowl. Peyton Manning can’t carry the entire team that far. Yes, he’s amazing, and yes, he’s won ONE Superbowl. But look at more than just last year. Look at the year before that one… Injuries to the wide receiving corps, and his top receiver was Austin Collie, who’s just another version of Eric Decker, and the Colt’s went 10-6 and lost in the first round of the playoffs.
I’m sorry Denver fans, but unless you get lucky in the draft… be ready to lose in the first or second round of the playoffs, if you make it that far.
And that’s it for my first NFL blog; the next one will be after the draft. In the meantime I’ll blog about other shit. Enjoy!