Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

13 May 2008

Four Downs: NFC East

Guest Column by Mike McGibbon

Dallas Cowboys

Draft Recap

After an offseason of much smoke and little fire, the Cowboys sprang into action on the weekend of the draft, making a total of eight trades. As a result, former starters Akin Ayodele (linebacker) and Anthony Fasano (tight end) are now Dolphins, Pacman Jones (cornerback) is now in Dallas, and the Cowboys now own extra picks in the third and fourth rounds of the 2009 draft. In fact, the Cowboys made so many trades that if you include the one they made in 2007 with the Cleveland Browns (which allowed the Browns to move up and select quarterback Brady Quinn, and gave the Cowboys the Browns' 2008 first round pick) every 2008 Cowboys draft pick was the result of a trade but one: Texas A&M tight end Martellus Bennett, picked in the second round, who fills the hole left by Fasano.

If the Cowboys didn't have such a strong roster, some of these trades would have been inspected more closely. Did the Cowboys really need to give the Titans a fourth-round pick for Jones when no one else was bidding for him and he still hadn't been reinstated? Could they have gotten more for Fasano, a second-round pick in 2006, and Ayodele, who would have challenged Zach Thomas for a starting spot? In these instances, Jerry Jones appeared to be more interested in getting the deals done than in getting the best deals.

On the other hand, the trade for cornerback Mike Jenkins (South Florida) was excellent. In return for moving up three spots in the first round, the Cowboys gladly surrendered their fifth- and seventh-round picks. (The Chargers and Texans were ahead of the Cowboys; one of them would have almost certainly drafted Jenkins.) Although the Cowboys had already traded for Pacman Jones, they can't rely on him to be reinstated (or to avoid further suspension). Jenkins will compensate for the offseason losses of Jacques Reeves and Nathan Jones, and will also give the Cowboys leverage next year, when Terence Newman will be in a position to demand a very expensive contract.

Perhaps the Cowboys' most controversial pick was their first, running back Felix Jones (Arkansas). Many wondered if the Cowboys would instead draft Rashard Mendenhall, the 5-foot-11, 210-pound running back from Illinois, whom some experts considered a better prospect than the fourth-overall pick, Jones' Arkansas teammate Darren McFadden. But the Cowboys saw Mendenhall as too similar to the bruising back they already have, Marion Barber, and thought that the more explosive Jones would be a better complement. While it is true that Felix Jones has excellent speed, and is used to playing the wingman role after sharing carries with Darren McFadden for three years, his undeveloped receiving skills make this pick less than ideal. The Cowboys need a running back who can catch the ball out of the backfield; Marion Barber ranked merely 51st in receiving DPAR among running backs last year. Yet in his three years at Arkansas, Felix Jones caught only 39 passes. East Carolina's Chris Johnson might have made more sense; he has superior receiving skills and recorded the fastest 40-yard dash at the combine. Many considered him a reach at the 22nd spot, but that didn't stop Tennessee from snatching him two spots later.

Remaining Needs

The Cowboys were expected to draft a wide receiver at some point in the draft, but didn't. However, with Terrell Owens and Patrick Crayton returning (ranked 2nd and 25th, respectively, in DPAR), and Terry Glenn hoping to return, not to mention young players like Sam Hurd and Miles Austin, the Cowboys thought that wide receiver was not a pressing need. Running back and cornerback were the main positions of need, and they were further bolstered when Dallas selected running back Tashard Choice of Georgia Tech and cornerback Orlando Scandrick of Boise State. Choice's stock was hurt by a knee injury during his senior year, but he left Georgia Tech with 18 100-yard games. Some reports had Scandrick outplaying Jenkins at the first minicamp.

Undrafted Free Agents

The Cowboys signed 14 rookie free agents, grabbing players at every position but quarterback and defensive tackle. Former Texas Tech wide receiver Danny Amendola has gotten a fair amount of media attention, due mostly to the success of his predecessor, Wes Welker. The 5-10, 180-pound receiver had 109 catches for 1,245 yards and six touchdowns for the Red Raiders in 2007. Daniel Polk (Midwestern State) was another interesting pickup; the former quarterback was the only player in the nation to pass for more than 2,000 yards and run for more than 1,000 yards. His speed is merely average, however (he ran a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash), which may hurt his chances to break into the lineup as a wide receiver.

New York Giants

Draft Recap

Few were surprised to see the New York Giants select Miami safety Kenny Phillips with the last pick of the first round. The Giants would like to see Phillips capture the starting spot vacated by Gibril Wilson's departure for the Raiders, but if he doesn't, the Giants still have James Butler, Michael Johnson, and free agent signingSammy Knight. The team only lost one other starter in free agency, linebacker Kawika Mitchell. (They may also lose defensive end Michael Strahan, who has not yet decided whether or not to retire.) However, given that the Giants signed linebacker Danny Clark in the offseason, and are still developing Gerris Wilkinson and Zak DeOssie, drafting a linebacker wasn't a definite need. Really, the Giants had no pressing needs other than safety, so they drafted players they liked and players who could compete at positions like linebacker and cornerback, where the starting lineup is somewhat unsettled. Linebackers Bryan Kehl and Jonathan Goff were drafted in the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively, to compete with Clark, Wilkinson and DeOssie. Florida State cornerback Terrell Thomas was drafted in the second round despite his poor speed (he ran a 4.51 in the 40-yard dash). The Giants then took defensive end Robert Henderson of Southern Mississippi with their last pick, perhaps preparing for Strahan's possible retirement.

The Giants' other two picks were purely for perceived value. Quarterback Andre' Woodson was drafted in the sixth round, even though the Giants already have two former first-overall picks on the roster (Eli Manning and David Carr), as well as two longtime backups (Jared Lorenzen and Anthony Wright). As recently as October, many analysts had Woodson as a potential first-round pick, but his inaccuracy on short throws and poor Combine performance caused his stock to drop drastically. The Giants also drafted Mario Manningham, the wide receiver from Michigan who alienated many teams by testing positive for marijuana and lying to everyone at the Combine. Peccadilloes aside, Manningham was excellent playmaker for the Wolverines, and may be the most interesting Giant to track from this draft.

Remaining Needs

Back in the fall of 2007, it seemed very likely that the New York Giants would need to draft an offensive lineman in the 2008 draft, perhaps even in the first round. Former starting left tackle Luke Petitgout had just left for Tampa Bay, and his backup, Bob Whitfield, had retired. These departures gave David Diehl, formerly a guard, and Rich Seubert, formerly a backup, the chance to start at left tackle and left guard, respectively. Fans hoped for the best, but it wouldn't have been too surprising to see Diehl move back to guard by now, forcing the Giants to draft a lineman high or dip into the free agency pool.

After the Giants won the Super Bowl, many incredulous pundits described them as an average regular-season team that somehow played out of its mind in the playoffs, but the statistics tell a different story about the offensive line. The Giants' line ranked second overall in Adjusted Line Yards, and ranked in the top ten in every other category except pass protection (in which they ranked 11th). Their strong performances won Seubert and Diehl new offseason contracts. Diehl's 6-year, $31-million contract was especially surprising and indicative of New York's appreciation, given that he still had three years remaining on an existing contract, and that teams are generally very reluctant to give players new contracts if they don't have to.

Diehl apparently signed the contract before the draft, but no one knew about it. So at the time of the draft, it still seemed possible that the Giants would choose to draft an elite offensive tackle prospect, or at least a young developmental player. But the Giants drafted no linemen this year, and have in fact drafted only two in the past four years.

Undrafted Free Agents

Given the lack of depth up front, it is no coincidence that four of the six rookie free agents signed by the Giants were offensive linemen. Dylan Thiry may have the best chance to make the team; the offensive tackle was a 34-game starter for Northwestern. He may not have gotten much attention due to the merely average performance of his team in 2007, but he helped block for 1,000-yard rushers in 2005 and 2006, and contributed to the pass protection that allowed his team to average more than 300 yards passing per game in 2007.

Philadelphia Eagles

Draft Recap

The Eagles may have made the best trade of the draft when they swapped their first-round pick for Carolina's second- and fourth-round picks and next year's first-rounder. The deal probably disappointed some fans who were hoping for an explosive wide receiver, but there weren't any that were worth taking with the 19th overall pick, and the Eagles managed to get a number of talented players later in the draft anyway. With their two second-round picks, they selected Notre Dame defensive tackle Trevor Laws and Cal wide receiver/kick returner DeSean Jackson. Some thought Laws was taken a bit high, but he will provide competition for Broderick Bunkley and Mike Patterson, two former first-round picks. Jackson is a small receiver, but he made play after play at Cal, and promises to help revive the Eagles' moribund punt return unit.

Later, the Eagles sent their fourth-round pick to Miami for Lorenzo Booker, whom the Eagles hope will be Brian Westbrook-lite. Like Westbrook, Booker excels at catching passes out of the backfield, and can occasionally line up as a wide receiver. His arrival may spell the end for Tony Hunt or Correll Buckhalter, who have failed to pick up the slack when Westbrook is on the sideline. The Eagles also added depth at vulnerable positions, drafting ballhawk Quintin Demps (Texas-El Paso) in the fourth round and three offensive linemen: Mike McGlynn (Pittsburgh), Mike Gibson (Cal), and the mammoth Auburn tackle King (yes, King) Dunlap. Fourth-round Wisconsin defensive back Jack Ikegwuonu was a surprise pick. He was accused of stealing an X-Box, and then tore up his ACL, but before all that he had been expected to go on the first day. Given his superior tackling ability and lack of speed, he may be moved to strong safety once he's healthy.

Many commentators expected the Eagles to have an extra first-round pick this year. Asante Samuel's 6-year, $57 million contract made Lito Sheppard's 10-year, $30 million contract look pretty meager, and most analysts assumed that the Eagles would trade Sheppard before he started making trouble. Of course, in the absence of some ugliness, there is really no reason for the Eagles to get rid of him. His $3 million per year average is nothing when you consider that the salary cap has ballooned to $116 million. And while Sheppard has struggled with injuries recently, he is worth well more than his salary cap number when healthy. That's why everyone expected a trade. But the draft came and went, and Sheppard is still an Eagle. In fact, he even showed up at a voluntary minicamp, and expressed a desire to work out a new contract with the club.

Remaining Needs

The Eagles have brought in players to compete at every position of weakness. Demps will fight with the other Quintin (Mikell) and Sean Considine for the starting safety spot next to Brian Dawkins. The three rookie tackles will vie for backup positions along the offensive line, and sixth-round pick Joe Mays of North Dakota State may help the Eagles in kick coverage. However, if DeSean Jackson doesn't pan out, many will wonder why the Eagles didn't draft any other offensive weapons.

Undrafted Free Agents

To be fair, the Eagles did acquire three rookie wide receivers -- after the draft was over. Penn State's Terrell Golden, Nebraska's Frantz Hardy, and Delaware State's Shaheer McBride were all snapped up in the free agency period following the draft. Of the three, McBride seems most promising. Golden and Hardy hail from big-name schools, but neither had more than five receptions in any game last year. By comparison, McBride tied John Taylor's touchdown record at Delaware State with 33, and is the school's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards.

Washington Redskins

Draft Recap

The Redskins began the draft by embracing conventional wisdom yet again this offseason, trading for more picks instead of reaching in the first round. The offensive and defensive lines were obvious positions of need for Washington, but both areas were picked over by the 21st spot. Six offensive linemen had already been taken, and defensive ends Chris Long, Vernon Gholston, and Derrick Harvey were all gone by the eighth pick. New head coach Jim Zorn had previously expressed his desire for a big wide receiver, but no player available seemed worthy of a first-round pick. So, very sensibly, they traded their first rounder to Atlanta for two of the Falcons' high second-rounders, leaving them with a total of ten draft picks.

Virtuous as his draft-day conduct may seem, Redskins' owner Daniel Snyder had been up to his old tricks again before the draft, attempting to trade this year's first-round pick and a 2009 conditional third-round pick to Cincinnati for the privilege of employing Chad Johnson. Had Johnson performed at a Pro Bowl level (and why would you trade a first-rounder for him if you didn't think he would?), that conditional 2009 pick would have become a first-round selection. Is a 30-year-old, disgruntled wide receiver worth two first-round picks? Snyder will never know, because the Bengals are incredibly stubborn, and have refused to trade Johnson at (seemingly) any price.

Having been rebuffed by the Bengals, the Redskins addressed their need for pass-catchers in the second round, drafting wide receivers Devin Thomas of Michigan State and Malcolm Kelly of Oklahoma, plus USC tight end Fred Davis. Each of the three would have been a questionable pick one round earlier: Thomas only had one standout year at Michigan State after transferring from a junior college, Kelly ran extremely poor 40-yard dash times (and then blamed one of them on his school for having a bad running surface), and Fred Davis is known more for his pass-catching than his blocking (now he's known for sleeping through his first minicamp). Nevertheless, they were all good value picks in the second round. Kelly and Thomas will provide much-needed depth at the wide receiver position, and Fred Davis will create mismatches when he and fellow tight end Chris Cooley are both on the field.

Flush with seven second-day picks, the Redskins added depth to many crucial positions, drafting Northern Iowa offensive tackle Chad Rinehart in the third round to backup all those 30-something linemen; Arizona State cornerback Justin Tryon to challenge for the nickel spot; and Nicholls State safety Kareem Moore to help with special teams. Moore is an interesting pick, an athlete who started football late in high school (where he was an all-state basketball player) and played well enough to earn his league's Defensive Player of the Year award. Unfortunately, he just had arthroscopic knee surgery, and may not be able to play until June.

Remaining Needs

Jason Campbell may be pleased at having so many new players to throw to, but he has to be a little nervous about his offensive line -- Chad Rinehart was the only offensive lineman selected, even though two of Washington's linemen were hurt for most of last year. The Redskins also didn't make any serious move to find an understudy for Phillip Daniels (35), waiting until the seventh round to select a defensive end (Rob Jackson, Kansas State). Drafting a linebacker would have been logical as well, given the injuries of Rocky McIntosh and Marcus Washington. Instead of addressing these needs, the Redskins chose to select Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan and punter Georgia Tech Durant Brooks with two of their sixth-round picks. Brennan put up great numbers, but he lasted so long because of his disappointing Sugar Bowl and Senior Bowl performances (and the fact that he just had hip surgery). Brooks lasted that long because he's a punter. Given that the Redskins have two solid quarterbacks in Jason Campbell and Todd Collins, and that they just re-signed their punter, Derrick Frost, both Brennan and Brooks seem like luxury picks.

Undrafted Free Agents

In all, the Redskins brought in 13 undrafted rookie free agents. Of those 13, four were offensive linemen. And of those four, Florida State's Shannon Boatman and New Mexico's Devin Clark may have the best chance to make the team, given that both started for most of their final two seasons. Dorian Smith, an All-Pac 10 first-team defensive end from Oregon State, will also challenge for a spot.

Mike McGibbon is a musician and private tutor in New York City; his mind turns to football when students make homework excuses and when horn players start their twentieth chorus of "Blue Bossa." FO thanks Mike for helping out with this edition of Four Downs.

Posted by: Guest on 13 May 2008

131 comments, Last at 23 May 2008, 9:40pm by Pat

Comments

1
by Harris (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 12:21pm

It appears one has to be outside of Philadelphia to appreciate the Eagles' draft. For all the sturm und drang around here about trading out of the first round instead of reaching on a receiver, one would think all they'd gotten in return was a sack of beans. I think they had a terrific draft and Laws, Jackson and Booker have a chance to contribute right away.

One quibble, Demps is more of a ballhawk and coverage guy than a hitter or solid tackler, so I believe he was drafted to study FS at Dawkins' feet and not to compete at SS with Mikell (the starter), Reed (the thumper) or Considine (the bust).

2
by matt (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 12:28pm

Terrell Thomas is from USC not Florida St.

3
by JoRo (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 12:41pm

[comment deleted - no advertising, kids]

4
by Independent George (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 1:05pm

I never understood the 'trade Sheppard' rumors; Philly has the cap room to extend him, and I can't see the problem with having two star corners to fill two starting spots (heck, one could plausibly argue the nickelback is now effectively a starting role). Where outside of talk radio would such a deal make any sense?

5
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 1:34pm

I personally loved Philly's draft. A lot of people are going to be upset about it because they didn't get a first rounder, but where they were at, they really didn't have a lot of solid picks that filled needs that wouldn't be reaches. They traded down, got a first rounder next year, and still managed to get a WR that a lot of mocks had them taking in the first.

They still have some holes, but I think criticism of Philly right now is short-sighted because it's not including that they picked up an extra first rounder. They'll be able to address those holes even better next year.
3

Are you on goalline blitz's payroll or something? I dont' think I've seen a single post you've made that hasn't tried to push that game on someone.

6
by witless chum (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 1:34pm

As a Spartan fan, I'll offer this in defense of Devin Thomas' 2006 campaign: the man deciding which wideouts played that year was named John L. Smith. Thomas' highlight that year was blocking a punt against Northwestern during the greatest comeback ever.

7
by Tom (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 1:37pm

Did you just call your boss an "incredulous pundit"? Who edited this piece?!

8
by Lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 1:39pm

The Giants also signed 2 guys who I hope make it: D.J. Hall and Wallace Gilberry from Alabama. Odds are against them, but who knows...

9
by Pete (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 1:49pm

Personally, I did not hate the Cowboy draft, although I think they could have gotten more from Miami. Perhaps a conditional 5th-7th round pick (at least one of them plays 75%, 60% or 50% of snaps next year). I think the second round would have been OK for a WR and they might have traded back a little (maybe for a 7th round pick or something) and still gotten a solid RB (Jones, Mendenhall, Chris Johnson). Mendenhall would make a great replacement for Barber as RB in their second contract demand big $. How tall is Daniel Polk? 4.5 is not a terrible speed for a sizable WR.

Mario seems like a big risk, big reward guy for New York. If any of the big ego receivers (including TE) consistently show up during the offseason to practice with Eli and Carr then they could have a good receiving corps. Playing basketball in Miami does not benefit the QB-WR-TE relationship, IMO.

I like the trade the Eagles made in the first round. However, I did not love their 2nd round picks. Maybe they could have traded back a few spots?

I was surprised Washington could draft. I thought they got good value from many of their picks, although there are issues with all of those picked in the second round. At least less money will be invested if they run into problems. I think they might have been better picking up at least one lineman of their choice in the last two rounds.

10
by Quentin (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 1:51pm

You forgot the t in Giants and Terence Newman only has one r in his name.

11
by mattman (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 2:09pm

I didn't see a draft in this division that I didn't like, which, as an Eagles fan, disappoints me. This is a rough division, which all arguably all four teams currently on the upswing.

12
by Reference Spam Is Bad (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 2:20pm

Crushinator/5:

The game is one of many that encourage players to spam links to it by providing a bonus to players for each sign-up using their link (note the "ref=" on the end of the link to identify JoRo). Most bulletin boards specifically ban this sort of thing, but FO apparently allows it.

13
by JasonK (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 3:00pm

I wouldn't call the "Gians" OL depth a weakness. Grey Reugamer is a respectable veteran backup at C/G (and he's useful to have around in case you need some livestock neutered). They also have Kevin Boothe at G (who was the best starter on the worst line in football in Oakland in '06). On the outside, Guy Whimper has performed adequately as the #3 tackle, while Adam Koets and NaShan Goddard are developmental projects. It'll be a tough haul for any UDFAs to make the team at an OL position. I wouldn't have minded grabbing a young C to develop (the only starter over 30 is Shaun O'Hara), but OL wasn't really a need in this draft.

The biggest remaining need on the Giants is another NFL-caliber DT. They have 3 right now (Robbins, Cofield, Alford), which is the number they usually activate on gameday. (This is fewer than most 4-3 teams because Tuck & Kiwanuka spell these guys on passing downs.) But 1 camp injury could leave them perilously thin at the position, unless an unheralded player emerges.

And I got a good laugh out of the "Blue Bossa" reference. Jamey Aebersold vol. 54 FTW!

14
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 4:20pm

Actually, "Gians" is the correct spelling. The team, the league, all its players, all the media and fans have been spelling it wrong for nearly a century.

15
by Kevin from Philly (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 4:29pm

The reason we Eagles fans didn't like the draft is that by the time they eventually picked, we were already passed out at the draft party. Seriously though, as dissapointed as I was not to see them pick up a tall WR, I can't complain about what they got. I mean, they didn't get the best guys on the draft guides' lists, but how often are they right? And since I was moaning all last year about how Jerry Jones stole a top ten pick from the Browns (thank God they didn't stink!), I'll accept the delayed gratification until next April - when they trade both of those picks.

16
by MJK (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 4:37pm

This is still a very, very strong division, and I'm glad my team doesn't have to face it this year. Which AFC team gets the NFCE this year?

And Vince, I thought the correct spelling was "Jaintz"...

17
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 4:47pm

16

The AFCN gets the NFCE this year, which is part of why they have such an insane SoS this year.

That's not good news for Wild Card chances in the AFCN.

18
by rexxalexx (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 5:36pm

Accusing Jack Ikegwuonu of lacking speed would seem a little inaccurate. Especially after his performance in the 2006 Capital One Bowl where he chased down Darren McFadden from behind. Although I suppose it remains to be seen if it survives the injury.

19
by PaulH (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 6:09pm

...His [Felix Jones] undeveloped receiving skills make this pick less than ideal. The Cowboys need a running back who can catch the ball out of the backfield; Marion Barber ranked merely 51st in receiving DPAR among running backs last year. Yet in his three years at Arkansas, Felix Jones caught only 39 passes.

I'm not sure that is the case.

I understand that Jones did not catch many passes in Fayetteville, but no one caught many passes in Fayetteville either. You have to keep in mind that the vaunted "Wild Hog" formation was really nothing more than a variant of the old Single Wing, so there was just no passing. And, even when they tried to throw the football out of more conventional formations, they did so with probably the worst quarterback in the conference (Casey Dick). In all honesty, Jones' receiving numbers are very comparable with what McFadden posted.

I understand that it all means he doesn't have much experience as a receiver, but I don't necessarily see where that will be a liability in the NFL. From all that I could tell of watching him several times the past couple of years, he had very soft hands and almost always did very well once he had the ball in his hands. The problem wasn't that he could not be an effective receiver, the problem was that he was playing in a heavy run-based offense, and he had the worst quarterback in the conference throwing it to him. I actually expect that he will do pretty well coming out of the backfield for Dallas.

20
by PaulH (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 6:16pm

I actually thought that Eagles had a pretty good draft. I know fans were clamoring for a big wide receiver in round one, but the name of the game is to get good football players, not please fans. The truth of the matter was that none of the top receivers should have legitimately gone when the Eagles went off the board, and when they went on the clock, Reid and company intelligently realized that basic fact.

Again, it's about getting good players, not making fans happy. It doesn't do a damn bit of good to have all of your fans and these so-called "experts" fired up over you drafting a big wide receiver when, effectively, you just took the next Troy Williamson or Matt Jones.

Like I said earlier, I think it's a pretty good draft. Very typical for the Eagles, IMO. It looks to be a solid, deep draft that will turn out several quality players in the coming years -- even if no true superstars -- and that is really the name of the game come draft day.

21
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 6:35pm

I didn’t see a draft in this division that I didn’t like, which, as an Eagles fan, disappoints me. This is a rough division, which all arguably all four teams currently on the upswing.

I still say the main problem with the NFC East is that all the teams are rich. The owners never really need to worry about public opinion of the team, so they don't have to knee-jerk fix things. They've always got the cash to handle signing free agents, so there's no issue there. The facilities are all top-notch, the executives are all paid well, and they can afford to spend large amounts of money on scouting, etc.

Sure, the salary cap means that the teams can't dominate, but just the sheer amount of money in those four teams means that none of them are going to suffer a serious downturn.

The NFC East teams rank 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 8th on Forbes's list. The only other division to have more than 1 in the top 10 only has two (the Patriots and Jets).

Eagles fans got way, way too used to the bizarre period in the early 2000s. I don't think that'll happen for a while.

22
by VS (not verified) :: Tue, 05/13/2008 - 7:07pm

Can someone explain to me the massive desire for a big WR in philly?
McNabb has never been one to toss up jumpballs, and he doesn't have the touch necessary to throw the flag pattern in the endzone. Anyone who has watched Eagles games knows that McNabb has trouble even completing screen passes where he has to loft it. At the same time, he can hit open guys in the 15-30yd range with a gun that is matched by few(none?) in the league and he can often hit guys with a long-ball over their shoulder perfectly in stride. These are his strengths, and a big guy doesn't really offer much of an advantage on throws like this. His low INT totals are a result of his risk-averse mentality where he won't throw to a guy unless he's open. His high sack total demonstrates this as well.
DeSean Jackson is the PERFECT fit and I can't wait to watch them tear it up.

23
by Zug Zug (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 2:02am

10, 14 and 16

Its spelled Gi-Aunts.

In 1925 a group of bridge players were unhappy doting on their nieces and nephews. These women promptly escaped their maximum security suburbs and escaped to the New York Polo Grounds. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as professional football players. If you have a stadium, if no one else can play, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire, the Gi-Aunts.

24
by Penrose 10,000 (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 2:48am

I certainly hope that Felix Jones is set to become the next LenDale White.

When I was watching the draft and the Redskins came on the clock at #21, the teevee cameras went to a shot of Devin Thomas at his house, all pimped out in a pimpin' suit and tons of bling. I said to my roommate, "goddamnit, just what the Redskins need, another blingin' wide reciever flash-in-the-pan. You know they're going to pick him." I was right, but at least we got Malcolm Kelly also so when Thomas busts, we still have our quality WR.

25
by Alex (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 3:22am

Can someone explain to me the massive desire for a big WR in philly?

Well, Terrell Owens played extremely well in Philly, until he got kicked out, so maybe that's part of it. And really, when all of your WRs are small, speedy guys (like DeSean Jackson), it can make your offense a little less consistent. Like, for instance, when they scored 56 points against the Lions (zone coverage) one week, and then only 3 points against the Giants (press coverage) the next. If their whole season had followed that pattern, they would have averaged 29.5 points, which is great, but they still wouldn't have had a good W-L record.

Obviously, it's not that simple, and having a healthy, productive TE should help a lot, but a big, talented WR would be a great complement to that offense.

26
by Martin Collinson (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 7:20am

Shannon Boatman failed his physical and did not make it even to the first mini camp. Meanwhile it looks like one of the other UDFA lineman we picked up Kerry Brown a guard from Appalachian State might just be a steal.

If he is and Reinbach our 3rd round pick works out we suddenly have some pretty good young depth on our O'line in Heyer, Brown and Reinbach.

Of the receivers I have my fingers crossed Devin Thomas is for real and at worst Kelly should be an excellent red zone threat. Davis should give us some really good match ups when we go with 2 TE's.

All in all interesting times

27
by Rocky the Philly Eagle (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 9:18am

I thought the Eagles had a great draft. Interior run-defense was as necessary as a WR or KR. And we got all the in the first 2 rounds without reaching, plus a first next year.

As for the big receiver, the Eagles will sign Matt Jones when the Jags cut him.

28
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 9:51am

"Can someone explain to me the massive desire for a big WR in philly?"

West Coast offense needs a larger receiver because they are not always able to get separation. Its not for the jump ball necessarily but for the short passing game. McNabb takes a three step drop and fires. Same reason Washington picked up some taller receivers in the draft.

29
by JasonK (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 9:53am

#21:

It's money and it's Quarterbacks. The worst starting QB in this division is either Jason Campbell or Eli Manning. That's not too shabby. During the period of the Eagles' dominance in the early 2000s you mentioned, the teams were all similarly rich, but the second-best QB in the division (Kerry Collins?) was probably worse than either of those guys. And Romo, Manning, and Campbell are all quite young and should be just getting into their prime years.

Nearly every other division in football has at least one team that is still searching for the answer to their question at QB. The only other division I can think of with four proven, competent starting QBs is the AFCS (better quality at the top with Peyton and Garrard, for sure, but I'd take Campbell and Eli ahead of Schaub and Young).

30
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 10:04am

"The Chargers and Texans were ahead of the Cowboys; one of them would have almost certainly drafted Jenkins."

I'm not totally sure about this. The Texans were wild about this left tackle class, believing it included five players who had the potential to be franchise LTs in the Shanahan-Kubiak-Gibbs system. When the four who were in some way NFL ready (Long, Clady, Williams and Albert) were gone by #18, they traded down specifically targeting Brown. I suspect they could probably have moved down further and got him later, and I have no reason beyond general faith in the current Texans front office's ability to evaluate players to think he'll be any good, but I do believe that was always their plan.

AJ Smith, meanwhile, has a clear history of rating players very differently to the pundits and to other teams (just look at Weddle and Davis). He may well have had Cason rated ahead of Jenkins.

Of course, Jerry Jones had no way of knowing any of this. Jenkins was an excellent value at #25, and it was a prudent trade to make.

31
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 10:12am

"The only other division I can think of with four proven, competent starting QBs is the AFCS (better quality at the top with Peyton and Garrard, for sure, but I’d take Campbell and Eli ahead of Schaub and Young)"

According to DVOA, Schaub was the best player of that second four last year, closely followed by Campbell. Young was slightly ahead of Eli, but both were well behind the first two. Given concerns about Schaub's possible fragility, I would rather have Campbell, but I think the evidence is that Schaub is clearly better than Eli. Rosenfels, of course, put up far better DVOA than any of them, but having watched most of the Texans' games last year, I'm inclined to think that's a bit of sample size theatre. I'd also take Romo and probably McNabb over Garrard. And Kerry Collins was a whole lot better than Eli Manning has been to date. Regardless, it's clear that these are the two best divisions in football at quarterback as well as overall.

32
by JasonK (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 10:58am

#31:

Yeah, I figured I'd get called on that. It's off-topic, but here goes: I'm not entirely sold on DVOA as the end-all individual evaluation stat for QBs until there's some kind of a weather variable in there. While I'm far from an Eli apologist, his lousy regular season stats are at least partially due to the fact that about 17% of his passes were thrown in truly terrible weather conditions (v. MIA in London, WAS at home, and @BUF). I don't have a solid basis to know how unusual this is, but 3 horrendous weather games in a season seems significantly higher than what the average QB faces to me. It doesn't account for all of his stinkers (hello, Minnesota!), but he's not as bad as the numbers make him look.

Also, if Rosenfels is a small sample size issue at 240 attempts, is Schaub's 289 attempts that much more reliable? (This isn't intended to denigrate his play-- honestly, I haven't watched enough Houston games to have a legitimate subjective impression of either Schaub or Rosenfels.)

33
by PaulH (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 11:32am

Yeah, I figured I’d get called on that. It’s off-topic, but here goes: I’m not entirely sold on DVOA as the end-all individual evaluation stat for QBs until there’s some kind of a weather variable in there. While I’m far from an Eli apologist, his lousy regular season stats are at least partially due to the fact that about 17% of his passes were thrown in truly terrible weather conditions (v. MIA in London, WAS at home, and @BUF). I don’t have a solid basis to know how unusual this is, but 3 horrendous weather games in a season seems significantly higher than what the average QB faces to me.

I don't necessarily disagree with your underlying premise, but I just don't think it would make that big of a difference regarding Eli. I figure, on average, the non-dome NFL quarterback has to go through a couple of games a year in bad weather conditions -- rain, snow, extreme wind, destroyed field, etc. -- so I don't think three games is enough to make that big of a difference in his DVOA. That's probably only slightly above what the "average" quarterback would have experienced.

Moreover, you should realize that in those three bad weather games that you mentioned, the opposing quarterbacks all posted a higher QB rating in those games than did Eli. In the UK, Eli posted a 44.9 passer rating, while Cleo Lemon posted an 81.1. Against Washington, Eli posted a 51.1, while Todd Collins posted a 56.4. Finally, against the Bills, Eli posted a 32.2 while rookie Trent Edwards posted a 42.8. It's not just that Eli had bad stats in the bad weather games, his stats in each game were worse than what his opposing quarterback put up, and it's not like those guys -- Cleo Lemon, Trent Edwards, and Todd Collins -- were anything particularly special.

I think a weather adjustment to DVOA may improve Eli's ranking slightly, but it's not going to make that big of a difference, and I don't think it would do enough to rationally change anyone's opinion on Eli.

34
by JasonK (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 11:47am

#33:

Yeah, you may be right about that. In any case, I really don't want this to take over the discussion of this fine article. We've had enough haranguing over Manning the Younger around here lately to last us well into next season.

So, in that vein, how 'bout that Colt Brennan?

35
by The original Sam (formerly sam and sam!) (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 12:18pm

Shush,

Garrard had a far better year than McNabb and is on the rise. He also bested Romo in DPAR and DVOA and playoff letdowns. He has also done more with less in terms of receiving threats. Romo may be the better QB, but it's far from a clearcut answer.

36
by James, London (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 12:26pm

One more ingredient to add to the AFCS/NFCE mix. Every team has above average (at least) coaching, with the possible exception of Washington. Combine that with wealth and good QB play, and you have two seriously tough divisions.

37
by PaulH (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 12:36pm

Also, if Rosenfels is a small sample size issue at 240 attempts, is Schaub’s 289 attempts that much more reliable? (This isn’t intended to denigrate his play– honestly, I haven’t watched enough Houston games to have a legitimate subjective impression of either Schaub or Rosenfels.)

Yeah, I'll agree with you on that one.

I'm not trying to poo 49 extra passing attempts, mind you, but in this sense I really do not see where it means anything. In both cases, we are talking about small sample sizes, and it's really hard to read anything definitive into an outcome that is based on a small sample size.

Now, this would make sense to me if Schaub were a proven starter who had a few years under his belt as a starter. However, that's far from the case. He was essentially a career back-up -- starring a couple of times in Sample Size Theater -- and in his only year as a full-time starter he could not stay healthy and it has led to this.

I'd argue that, given the small sample sizes of both players, you really cannot determine very much about either player. I live in NOLA, and thus see a fair amount of Texan games, but it's still hard to tell. Any time you are legitimately trying to figure out a player's quality by only looking at him in seven or eight games, it's really just a shot in the dark.

38
by PaulH (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 12:42pm

As I was mentioning earlier, the point of the draft is to get good players, not to please the talking head "experts." When I was reading PFT yesterday, I happened to notice that they had a post up regarding these "experts," and in particular Todd McShay. The following is a quote given to PFT from an unnamed scout...

“The problem with people like McShay is that they have no accountability. They can say what they want and when they are wrong no one cares, [except] the kid’s family. McShay could not get a job with any NFL team, even as an intern. He is a very poor evaluator. He proved it with his evaluation of Woodson.

Woodson’s problem, and most everyone in the league saw it, was he has a very slow release and he stares down his receivers. In our league, he would get a very high percentage of interceptions because of his flaws. His accuracy is very average at best, so you put a slow release, not good accuracy, and stares down receivers and you get a guy who can’t play quarterback in the NFL.

“The networks should hire real scouts not wannabes like McShay. The other kid at ESPN, Jeremy Green, was fired after a couple of years with a club because he couldn’t evaluate, yet he is an “expert” with ESPN. These guys make more than twice as much money as real scouts and they don’t have a clue. ESPN should grade what these guys say and fire them when they are wrong a lot more often than when they are right.”

I found that to be quite interesting insight from Florio. I know it sounds elementary, and it is, but sometimes I think it is so easy to get caught up in what talking heads and random fans say about a draft in its immediate aftermath. In both cases, even not considering the speculative nature that is inherent with the draft, neither of the two are honestly qualified to give a fair assessment one way or the other. Hence why many highly-touted drafts look terrible three years later, and while many drafts that are booed and derided turn out to be very good.

39
by Harris (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 1:15pm

#27 Matt Jones. That's funny.

or

You shut your filthy, lying mouth.

40
by Kevin from Philly (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 3:51pm

Perhaps, in my earlier post, I should have specified: tall WR, with talent. Matt Jones? Yikes!

41
by gmc (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 4:29pm

I do not understand why Philly didn't trade a couple of late picks for Chad Johnson. With a real #1 split end like Johnson, and a real #3 slot receiver like Curtis, Reggie Brown would be a perfectly competent flanker, because he'd be covered by, at best, the #2 corner. There's nothing wrong with Brown. He's just an NFL average receiver.

They could have shopped for Anquan Boldin, too.

42
by Tom D (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 4:41pm

Re 41:

"I do not understand why Philly didn’t trade a couple of late picks for Chad Johnson."

Maybe because it takes two teams to make a trade, and Cinci wasn't even taking 2 #1s for him?

43
by Joe Skolnik (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 4:56pm

The Eagles I think have had the best off-season of any team in the NFL. THey addressed all of their glaring weaknesses, and also some secondary ones.

The Eagles had the hardest schedule in the league last year and still won half their games. Had the Eagles not made any improvements this off-season, they would have been a ten win team next year. As it is, the Eagles are the favorites to win the NFC East. They have the best QB when McNabb is healthy, the best RB, the best O line. The Eagles Defense might also be the best in the division with the new additions.

44
by Gerry (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 6:33pm

#8-- by all accounts I read, DJ Hall was the most impressive player, not just receiver, in rookie camp (or whatever it is actually called). Manningham apparently acquitted himself well, but Hall supposedly did better.

FWIW

45
by Gerry (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 6:39pm

18-

"I understand that Jones did not catch many passes in Fayetteville, but no one caught many passes in Fayetteville either. You have to keep in mind that the vaunted “Wild Hog” formation was really nothing more than a variant of the old Single Wing, so there was just no passing. And, even when they tried to throw the football out of more conventional formations, they did so with probably the worst quarterback in the conference (Casey Dick). In all honesty, Jones’ receiving numbers are very comparable with what McFadden posted. "

This.

This. This. This. This. This.

All three of the Arkansas running backs (including Hillis) have really good hands. Really really good (and Hillis is a great sleeper fantasy pick for TD leagues). It is hard to overstate how bad the quarterback play on the Razorbacks was. The best quarterback on the field for them last year was McFadden, and he's only good in a LdT sort of way as far as throwing the ball.

I think Jones is going to be a super player in the NFL. And while I have become a Hogs fan since coming here, I don't think I have rose colored glasses here. I look at their current crop of players and I don't see the same caliber of running backs, at all. Smith is good, but there is nothing big after him, and his hands are not great.

You usually don't get to be on the return teams with bad hands (at least, I don't think). I don't recall Jones dropping many passes, in games or in the few practices I saw. I would rate his hands as quite good.

46
by Gerry (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 6:43pm

21-

"I still say the main problem with the NFC East is that all the teams are rich. The owners never really need to worry about public opinion of the team, so they don’t have to knee-jerk fix things. They’ve always got the cash to handle signing free agents, so there’s no issue there. The facilities are all top-notch, the executives are all paid well, and they can afford to spend large amounts of money on scouting, etc."

With the salary cap and with the amount of money the NFL makes, even the poorest of teams can invest in good facilities, good scouts, and in good executives while still making a comfy profit.

Some choose not to (hello, Bengals). But it is a choice, not a function of not being rich. Although, perhaps, when a team is so unbelievably rich they never avoid making those investments.

And there are rich teams that don't consistently do as well as the NFC East. And then there is the whole chicken and egg thing-- is one of the contributors to them being rich that they remain competitive often, or do they remain competitive often because they are rich?

47
by Gerry (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 6:58pm

#32-- "I don’t have a solid basis to know how unusual this is, but 3 horrendous weather games in a season seems significantly higher than what the average QB faces to me. It doesn’t account for all of his stinkers (hello, Minnesota!), but he’s not as bad as the numbers make him look."

I think a lot of this also has to do with Giants Stadium being tough regardless of if the weather is nice or not. Just looking at Eli's home/road splits last year, his QB rating (yeah, I know) was 68.7 in Giants stadium, 44.9 in Wembley, and 32.2 in Buffalo.

He had a 63.7 in FedEx and a 63 in Soldier field. And the rest of his games were above 80.

Very possible that it is that the games above 70 were the flukes. But it is also possible that his stats are held down by the fact his home stadium is a wind tunnel and he's played in some unusually bad weather.

I tried finding a good summary of his home/road splits for his career, but didn't have much luck. But looking at some of the NFL.com data by year of his splits at various stadiums, it looks to me like he consistently has better numbers (not by a ton, but noticeable) on the road.

I don't think it is a coinkydink that the best Giants QB in God only knows is Simms, who won't make the hall of fame. The Meadowlands is a tough place to throw the football. I think Pennington's high QB years (DVOA and QB rating) are extremely impressive.

Disclaimer-- I am not saying Eli is great. But to be an apostate and a homer, I would take him right now over Jason Campbell every day of the week and twice on Sundays (convenient, as most games are then). Campbell may be talented, but right now he's the clear weak link in NFC East QBs.

48
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 7:18pm

#44

Thanks for the info/update. Hall has always been talented, his work ethic, attitude, and off-the-field issues were always the problem. I was surprised he was not drafted.

49
by Gerry (not verified) :: Wed, 05/14/2008 - 7:32pm

48--

Here are some examples of what folks at camp were saying:

One

Two

50
by Tim R (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 12:57am

Thomas stop posting on FO when youre supposed to be working. You need to make money so you can buy me drinks. Yeah and your points about Eli (Mr Shush is to whom im refering to) whilst true my point is that while on a consistent basis Schaub may be better having watched a lot of Eli over the last years and Schaub last year and my genuine opinion is that, Schaub is a good starting QB but injury prone where as, Eli is extremely inconsistnet but has the abilty to win games (also to lose games) but in the long run is in my view a QB with the abilty to win superbowls even if the rest of his team is vaguely incompetent. Matt Schaub however I see as someone who can be a good QB a la Bulger/Hasselbach in a system suitable to his abilty but not good enough to single handily win his team games like Peytone can. Eli clearly can't do this on a consistant basis but shows the potential to do this regularly at some point in the future. (buy me booze its sunny so come to the parks and get drunk with us, and pay your phone bill you ass clown)

51
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 8:34am

Personally, I don't see Eli ever putting it together on a consistent basis. I doubt he'll have as good a career overall as Kerry Collins.

I should clarify my Schaub-Rosenfels comments.

I didn't mean to imply that the 49 extra pass attempts for Schaub made a huge difference in terms of the reliability of the sample, though I can see how it would give that impression.

What I meant was that having watched a lot of both guys play last season, it is my subjective belief that Schaub's DVOA reflects fairly well his performance, and that Rosenfels' does not. In particular, Rosenfels' advanced stats are considerably inflated by one statistically spectacular half against the #1 ranked Titans pass defense when it was in prevent mode and many starters were not on the field. Rosenfels also got to spend more time throwing to Andre Johnson than Schaub did. I hope PFP includes a breakdown of the Texans offensive DVOA with and without Johnson, because I'm betting that's a colossal swing. Rosenfels is a competent NFL starter, with excellent pocket presence, but he lacks first class accuracy, which Schaub has.

As for Garrard vs. Romo and McNabb, I am inclined to think Garrard's 2007 performance was something of a fluke. What would his DVOA be if he'd thrown, say, 8 more interceptions? (And yes, I know it depends when and against whom he threw them.) I'm still giving McNabb the benefit of the doubt in assuming that he is capable of a return to his previous level of performance. If 2007 is part of a decline process rather than a blip, then he is clearly worse than Garrard and I'd plausibly also rather have Campbell or Schaub.

And Tim, I'll buy you a pint around the end of the month when I have some money, you drunken bum.

52
by Jon (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 8:46am

Forget the whether excuses. Everyone piling up on Eli Manning is ignoring the more important context: terrible playcalling. The offense was the most complicated and QB-unfriendly for most of the year, after rapidly increasing the complexity during the past two years.

Toss out the ridiculous option routes, and voila! Eli performs like the QB we always expected him to be. He's been asked to do far more than all of the other young QBs in the league during the past few years. His playoff performance was absolutely for real, and he's going to prove it this year.

53
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 9:10am

29. No no no, It is not that the worst Qb in the east is Eli or Jason Campbell, the worst quarterback in the east IS Jason Campbell. Not the super bowl champion and MVP, but the guy that was wasn't allowed to come back from injury because his backup was playing better than he was and got into a rythem he never got into. Eli never had that problem with Jared Lorenzen.

The commenter who said Eli's DVOA isn't truly reflective of his ability was right. Not to mention the 3 horrible weather games, the " training wheels off", and the huge personalities of his WR corps, the most dropped balls...

I think the article was overall pretty good besides saying T.Thomas went to Florida state.

The author correctly points out that the Giants O-Line was better than most pundits thought ( with a guard playing tackle, and a backup guard next to him), but he failed to make the connectiont that a large part of that was not the lineman themselves, or the RB's but ELI.

WHEN WILL PEOPLE REALIZE THAT THE QB HAS AN EFFECT ON HIS LINE ( and obviously Vice Versa)? It is easy to see how a poor line effects a QB, but most people are ignorant of the effects that Tom Brady, Peyton Manning ( or even Eli) have on their line.

I was one of the main people defending Eli for years, not so much on what he has done, but what he CAN do. With Eli, you have to look past his conventional passing stats and realize that he has an effect on the run game ( much the same arguments that went for Mike Vick).

54
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 9:13am

52- You are correct on the complexity of the Giants offense and especially with all of the option routes.

Eli is dropping back and reading coverages. Jason Campbell either throw a WR screem, a RB screen, or the 5 yard crossing route to Chris Cooley. That is a lot different than dropping back, setting up your pass protection, reading the corners, Safeties, and OLB's.

55
by mrh (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 9:47am

QB A completes 67% of his passes for 7.3 YPA with 2 TDs and 6 INTs in 165 throws. QB B has a 66% completion rate for 8.4 YPA, 7 TDs, and 3 INTs on 124 attempts. QB A is not bad, especially for a young guy, but made too many mistakes and didn’t throw for enough TDs to really stand out. QB B is a potential star in the making although he has to prove it over a whole season. Not enough throws to be significant, but tantalizing nonetheless. Of course, they’re actually the same player. It’s just that Schaub Part B got to throw to Andre Johnson and Part A did not.

So there's the conventional stats, but I too would like to see the defense-adjusted breakdown of Schaub's numbers with and w/o AJ.

56
by Gerry (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 10:06am

51- "I don’t see Eli ever putting it together on a consistent basis. I doubt he’ll have as good a career overall as Kerry Collins."

Age 23 seasons: Manning QB rating 55.4, 13 sacks, 6 TD, 9 INT over 9 games. Collins 61.9 rating, 24 sacks, 14 TD, 19 INT over 15 games.

Age 24 seasons: Manning 75.9 rating, 24 TD, 17 Int, 28 sacks over 16 games. Collins 79.4 rating, 14 TD, 9 Int, 18 sacks over 13 games.

Through two seasons: Manning 70.5, 30 TD, 26 Int, 41 sacks over 25 games (4805 yards). Collins 69.9, 28 td, 28 int, 42 sacks, 5171 yards, 28 games. Very comparable.

Then the next two years happened.

Age 25 seasons: Manning 77.0, 24 TD, 18 int, 25 sacks over 16 games. Collins 55.7, 11 td, 21 int, 27 sacks over 13 games. Pretty substantial advantage for Manning.

Age 26 seasons: Manning 73.9, 23, 20, 27 in 16 games. Collins 62.0, 12, 15, 31 over 11 games. Pretty substantial advantage for Manning again.

Composite of 3rd/4th seasons: Manning 75.4, 47 TD, 38 Int, 52 sacks over 32 games (6580 yards). Collins 58.7, 23 td, 36 int, 58 sacks over 24 games (4337 yards).

First four years totals: Manning 73.4, 77 TD, 64 int, 93 sacks in 57 games (11385 yards). Collins 64.5, 51 TD, 64 int, 100 sacks in 52 games (9508 yards).

We know what happened next with Collins. He rebounded a bit, and performed a bit better for the next 7 years (more in line with his 2nd season than seasons 1,3 or 4). But through similar stages of their careers, the following was true-- they started out similarly, then Collins regressed while Manning was very stable. And Manning has been more durable, which is a valuable trait.

At this point, it looks likely to me that Manning will end up with a better career than Collins.

57
by Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabbadu (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 11:03am

#44, 48, 49:

So whom do the Giants keep at WR? I assume they'll keep 6, and those 6 will almost certainly include Burress, Manningham, and Smith. That leaves Hall, Hixon, Jennings, Moss, Toomer, and Tyree fighting for 3 spots, and I have no idea how that would come out.

58
by Yakuza Rich (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 11:28am

As a Cowboys fan I didn't have a problem with them taking Felix Jones over Mendenhall, but had more of a problem with them taking Felix over Jenkins with the first pick. They should have taken Jenkins at #22 and then they could've waited for Felix to fall to them at #28. Instead, they took Felix at #22 and had to trade up to get Jenkins. 2nd round pick Martellus Bennett should probably get a mention when it comes to their WR situation. They pretty much drafted him when they didn't see a WR they wanted in the second round (they only wanted Hardy who had already went to Buffalo). The plan is to use him in a lot of 2 TE sets. That being said, I have yet to see a team really use the 2 TE set as effectively as they envision using it.

59
by Gerry (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 12:00pm

57-- No clue, although I find it very odd to consider WR a position with significant depth for a Giants team. That never happens!

60
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 12:46pm

56 - I think it more likely that Toomer and Tyree claim a spot than Manningham. I can really see Manningham flunking out of preseason.

61
by Abysmal Horror (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 1:09pm

They can't cut Tyree! "Hey, Dave, thanks for winning us the Super Bowl with one of the most heroic plays ever made in NFL history. Now Moe from Security will wait right here while you clean out your locker."

That would be almost as bad as winning the Super Bowl and then cutting your quarterback, like Trent Dilfer or something. Oh, wait ...

62
by bravehoptoad (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 1:27pm

re: 53 WHEN WILL PEOPLE REALIZE THAT THE QB HAS AN EFFECT ON HIS LINE

Personally, I think it'll be when EVERYONE learns how to type in all caps.

63
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 2:07pm

62. For a site that is prided on unconventional stats, examining overlooked " facts", and digging deeper for knowledge, I am shocked with how everyone glosses over a QB's impact on his line/run game. It is really obvious with Peyton Manning, and more subtle but still there with Eli Manning.

I'd say Ammani Toomer and his higher salary, injury risk, and fall off in play last year make him a risk of being a vet cap casualty in camp this year.

Burress is a lock to stay. Smith is a lock to stay. I'd say Tyrees pro bowl caliber ST and SB catch keep him safe. Manningam and Moss are young high round picks with promise... If you keep Toomer then you are set.

However, if Smith, Moss, and or Manningham look good in camp then Toomer is expendable and could be a camp cut. Otherwise you might see Hall,Hixon, or Michael Jennings on the Giants practice squad. The Giants crowded WR corps. last year had to end up cutting a very good WR ( who I like), who ended up in Washington.

64
by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 2:41pm

#57- I think Toomer is the most likely cut. He's served us well, but he's old, injury-prone, and 5M against the cap.

Tyree stays because he's cheap, famous, and excellent in punt coverage.

Moss has been a disappointment, but he's also a high-round pick that management is probably loathe to cut ties to.

I don't know about the rest. Who besides Hixon has experience on kick/punt returns?

65
by goathead (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 3:05pm

57: Moss, Tyree, Hixon. They wouldn't have the heart to cut Tyree. Moss gets one last chance - but if he ever runs backwards 2 yard after catching an 11 yard pass on 3rd and 10 again he'll be cut on the spot. And I mean cut. By Coughlin. On the field. With a machete.

I suppose if Toomer plays well enough in training camp, they would have a hard time cutting him though, who else is gonna make those sideline catches dragging the little toes on both feet?

66
by Crash Override (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 3:07pm

58 - After the Cowboys selected at #22, the Steelers and Titans selected at #23 and #24 respectively, and both drafted running backs. It seems possible that Dallas anticipated this, and was afraid that Felix Jones would go to Tennessee at #24, whereas they thought the only team that would draft a corner would be San Diego at #27. Perhaps they concluded that neither Jones nor Jenkins would be available at #28, but Jones was more likely to be drafted before they could trade down.

67
by the original sam (formerly sam!) (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 4:37pm

Shush,

Garrard's 2006 campaign is remembered for his horrendous performances to end the season against Tennessee (a nightmarish game where the defense only really gave up 3 points... and those 3 points off of a turnover... and the Jags lost) and Kansas City (final game of the season, Dave pulled at halftime for being careless with the ball again). But over his career, even including those two turnover-fests, boasts a pretty low INT rate. Jerry Porter is at least as good as Dennis Northcutt or Ernest Wilford, so he'll have better receiving weapons. His stats may drop off a little, but I imagine he'll have a very nice season this year. Maybe it's my teal-colored-glasses talking, but I'd take Garrard over Romo or McNabb.

68
by JasonK (not verified) :: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 5:38pm

Re: Giants WRs

Burress, Toomer, Smith, Manningham, Tyree, and Moss. Hixon and Hall have a shot at unseating Moss, and there's a slight chance that they'll go with 7 WRs, considering that Tyree and Hixon are both excellent core ST guys in addition to their WR duties. If Hixon's gone, Derrick Ward will probably be the KR.

69
by Carlos (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 3:09am

I’m not trying to poo 49 extra passing attempts, mind you, but in this sense I really do not see where it means anything. (post 37)

Is it too early to award this the best sentence of the year?

Or maybe I'm just sleep deprived and incredibly juvenile.

Nah. That sentence is comic gold.

(of course, I respect and appreciate how reasoned the debate was in which that sentence appeared -- it really was in the best spirit of this site)

70
by t.d. (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 4:11am

The Giants have been pretty schizophrenic for a while now, predating even Eli's run with the team, but its ridiculous to suggest that it's a close call between Jason Campbell and Eli Manning right now. Sure Campbell might turn out to be good, but he's about as proven on the pro level as Chad Henne. Eli's taken a team to the playoffs three straight years in one of the toughest divisions in football. Also, Campbell seems just as injury-prone as Schaub, from what I can tell

71
by Michael (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 6:46am

Campbell injury prone? He has been injured once and thats a dislocation of the knee cap, if he could have played through it im sure he would have. My best friend dislocated his knee cap (it wasnt ontop of his knee anymore but on the side. It took him about 9 months to full recover from him including rehabilitation and it was from playing basketball) If we are seriously calling guys injury prone after 1 injury then we should definately be calling eli manning nothing more then average with his horrible statistics OVER FOUR YEARS.

The only reason they beat the patriots is because his brother had about 100 tips to give him having played them all these years.

Remember the pedigree, all the time this kid has had to prepare with his brother and dad as mentors, all the experience he has had from college and before and then please telling me after watching him play these past 4 seasons as well as looking at his statistics that he simply is not close to being what he should be? Before the post season this year he was not even thought of as good and giants fans themselves were getting ready to call bust on his ass.

"Forget the whether excuses. Everyone piling up on Eli Manning is ignoring the more important context: terrible playcalling. The offense was the most complicated and QB-unfriendly for most of the year, after rapidly increasing the complexity during the past two years.

Toss out the ridiculous option routes, and voila! Eli performs like the QB we always expected him to be. He’s been asked to do far more than all of the other young QBs in the league during the past few years. His playoff performance was absolutely for real, and he’s going to prove it this year."

Umm at least your QB hasnt had to learn a new offense 7 of the past 8 years?

Im still laughing at the redskins at giants game where Eli went 18 of 50 passing. Priceless.

72
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 9:06am

64. One of the only reasons why Sinorice Moss has been a dissapointment, is because he has had pulled hamstrings for much of his career. The 2 yard run back against Washington is one of those freak kind of plays where ELI is doing what he is supposed to be doing ( hitting a WR past the 1st down marker on 3rd down), but his teammates didn't do their part. Eli was far from perfect, but for having big name players like Burress and Shockey, his WR play was far from great ( dropped balls and all).

67. If you would rather have David Garrard than Tony Romo or Donovan Mcnabb, you must either be smoking some real good stuff or seeking attention.

70. A lot of the JC over Eli hype is the fact that a lot of peoples perception of Jason is based not on what he has done, but what he could do. On Eli's side, people don't watch all the Giants games but check out the box scores, or see his INT highlights and assume he is bad. As an NFC East buff, I don't think anyone that actually watches the division would take Campbell over Eli.

71. If Campbell could have played, then why didn't he? Was it because he was being outplayed by a 12 year career backup?

Jason Campbell did get hurt in the Preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he was hurt earlier in the Bears game before finally getting KO'D. The problem with Campbell is that he has holds onto the ball a half second longer than he should, and he has a longer than average windup that will mean he will take extra hits in his career ( Leftwhich-like although not as slow).

I just LOVE the argument that Jason Campbell hasn't been good because he has played in 7 offenses in 8 years. So we are supposed to ignore his failures because he changed offenses at Auburn in college? Should we factore in the fact that he had to learn a new offense from his senior year in HS to college too?

Hey don't blame Tavaras Jackson for sucking last year... he had to learn new offenses when he transfered from Arkansas to his DiAA school, and then AGAIN when he went to the pros.... just take it easy on the guy... he has had to keep learning new offenses. Redskins fans crack me up.

73
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 9:10am

Oh and one more thing. Jason Campbell having different coaches has nothing to do with him holding onto the ball too long and having a slower windup/delivery.

74
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 9:15am

I think this division is pretty clear cut as far as QB play goes. The Eagles have an inherent advantage by having the best QB in the division. Romo is #2, The Super Bowl MVP is #3, and Campbell is clearly the runt of the group.

71. You think having weak passing stats on a cold and windy day is funny? I think the Redskins payroll and February paper champions Marty/Spurrier/Gibbs every year is funny. I think the Greatest team ever losing the super bowl to the worst super bowl team ever is funny. But that's just me.

75
by Dales (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 11:32am

"Im still laughing at the redskins at giants game where Eli went 18 of 50 passing. Priceless."

One of the best things about your team winning the Super Bowl is you can laugh along with the fans of your foes' teams when they laugh at your players, knowing all the while that your team just won the freaking Super Bowl.

Of course, the Skins failing to punch it in from the one earlier in the season was priceless as well!

76
by royflip (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 11:49am

71. Remember the pedigree, all the time this kid has had to prepare with his brother and dad as mentors, all the experience he has had from college and before...
Am I missing something here or do they not have coaches at Auburn/Redskins Park? Jason Campbell didn't come from some rec league. I talk to a lot of Redskins fans who have bought the "He's so poised" line from Coach NASCAR. He may be brave, he may be tough, he may be smart; but "poised" looks the same as "frozen" when you stand back there and either don't know where or simply have nowhere to put the ball. I sincerely worry for Campbell fans who are hanging their hat on his potential. Hey, someone has to come in fourth. This isn't tee-ball; we're not all *winners*

77
by Jon (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 12:13pm

Toomer was really bad for most of last year, but he was better down the stretch. Knowing that this franchise is the New York Football Giants, they're not going to cut an icon like Toomer. Maybe he'll save them the trouble and go on IR.

They're kind of between a rock and a hard place. While Moss may be in trouble, I still have trouble believing they won't give him one more chance. I just wish he was willing to return kicks though - we had to cut a valuable player last year in Anthony Mix because Hixon had to return kicks.

I'd bet on Hixon getting cut at the moment, with some combination of Bradshaw/Moss/Manningham/whoever returning kicks.

78
by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (aka SJM) (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 2:42pm

Chris,

You've been claiming for a long time that Campbell was able to play after his injury but was benched in favor of Todd Collins. Now, I follow the team pretty closely, and I've never heard a whisper of this from anyone but you. This leads me to think that it's a total fabrication, unless you can provide evidence.

Now, assuming you have evidence, that still doesn't mean Campbell isn't good. Collins was playing out of his mind in those games, and Campbell would hardly be the first good QB to be temporarily replaced by a backup who was playing better (it happened to Steve Young I believe).

So can you please stop harping on that point?

79
by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 3:02pm

I think Sinorice Moss will definitely be cut unless Manningham screws up or Moss just flat out looks better than Hixon on special teams.

He just doesn't add anything to the team in terms of value. I don't think it will be the end of his career though, because this coaching staff really hasn't used him well.

The funniest thing about this comments section is the amount of people who think their team's QB is better than Eli despite the fact the other QB has yet to finish a 16 game season.

80
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 3:58pm

78- Do you listen to 980? Your Redskin fan Zcabe would tend to agree that coach Nascar was being overly cautious in keeping Campbell on the bench. People all over Washington were talking about the Dilemma of Collins vs a healthy Campbell... who do you go with. The "future" and JC, or the feel good 12 year backup who has stepped up (won) and outplayed him.

People in Washington were talking about how the Redskins ran different plays ( Saunders offense with Collins), and started running more timing routes and ran them better.

As harsh of a Critic of the Redskins as I am, I will admit they opened up the offense. Now did they open it up because they had nothing to lose, or did they open it up because the Redskins coaching staff felt that Collins was further along than Campbell and COULD open it up.

People talked about how Collins was Saunders guy, and Campbell was Gibbs guy. Collins was the vet who has been around for years and years and was more adpt to running Saunders offense, where as Campbell was a big strong guy suitable for Gibbs conservative offense. Gibbs has been known to play favorites since the get go. He strongly favored the old conservative vet Mark Brunell over that younger stronger armed Patrick Ramsey and benched him 1 game into his initial season.

79- Sinorice Moss can add something of value. His lack of height help him in the area of agility. If he would stay healthy and up to his potential ( Hurt 2/2 years so far) then he could be an ideal slot WR. Ideally you would have the big play guy in Burress, good hands/route running with Smith/Manningham, and a young agile slot guy to run crossing/option routes with Moss.

81
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 4:01pm

79 - Also, Moss would be able to return punts if needed. His agility/speed combo isn't ideal for KR, but he is ideal for PR.

You can't blame Jason Campbell for getting injured and not finishing the season as a starter... I mean, the guy did have different coaches in HS, college, and the Pros. Throw in the fact that he has a new head coach NOW and we already have excuses for his failures. Don't blame the player, blame everyone around him because Jason Campbell couldn't possibly be overrated.... He is "poised". Nevermind that stretch of 3-5 games he lost all in the final 2 minutues of the game.

82
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 4:06pm

A final jab to piss off Redskins fans, is that Campbell's skillset is far from ideal for a West Coast offense.

He holds onto the ball a little bit too long, and has the longer wind up. Actually him having the training wheels on last year will hurt too because now instead of dropping back and opting out of the passing game and throwing WR screens, RB screens, and 5 yard drags to his TE, he will actually have to read defenses and make snap judgements ( he didn't audible either).

Could Campbell put it all together under Jim Zorn? Sure... anything is possible, but I wouldn't bet money on it.

83
by Josh (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 5:10pm

76: I'm a big Redskins fan, a big Campbell fan, and am enamored with his potential. However, I fully admit that he's 4th out of 4 in the division. I share your concerns about his pocket presence. It is plain to see that he holds the ball too long and fumbles too often. That said, we've all read the Lewin forecasts, and I'm hoping against hope that they come true.

84
by Michael (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 5:50pm

Being a redskin fan Im far from being a campbell fanboy. I do believe he is the 4th best QB in the division. He has the least experience hes played 20 games in the NFL so far. And I watch alot of the nfc east games and see manning play. Hes far from spectacular he makes a play or too but screws up as well. On the other side campbell having fumbling problems was this year only. The offense we had campbell in was not anywhere near helpful for him. If anyone remembers Todd Collins had been playing in the offense for 6+ years well in his time in KC. He was brought over because the offense is all about timing and being in it for 6 years gives you a chance to get the timing down. Personally I give campbell this year to see how he plays but even then its not fair again because its a new offense with the west coast system and as every coach who uses the westcoast says it takes a good 3 years before the qb really understands and has a grasp of the system. So in all honesty I can give campbell 2 years before hes out if he doesnt play well. Im one of the few who thinks Colt Brennan could really pan out and he landed in the perfect place.

85
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 7:10pm

OK here is my question to you two Redskins fans about Jason Campbell who love his potential and think that he hasn't had a fair chance...

1. What do you like about his potential. I've heard Redskins fans say he has more potential than Vince Young... fill me in.

2. You incessently complain he hasn't had a fair chance... Did Patrick Ramsey have a fair chance?

3. Do you honestly see that much if a difference between Patrick Ramsey and Jason Campbell.

4. If you could actually do it over again, and either keep Ramsey and draft say Demarcus Ware with your Jason Campbell pick, or dump Ramsey and keep Campbell... does the dumping of Ramsey and pickup of Campbell justify itself?

My point is that I believe you redskins fans ( not specifically You), but Redskins fans in general are head over heels for Campbell and he isn't as good as you think, and he won't be as good as you think.

86
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 7:18pm

"The funniest thing about this comments section is the amount of people who think their team’s QB is better than Eli despite the fact the other QB has yet to finish a 16 game season."

Maybe it's because, according to the stats available on this site, half a season of Matt Schaub, most of it without his top receiver, and half a season of 2007 Brodie Croyle would actually be better than Eli's best season to date, which was now three years ago. Honestly, last year Campbell had a worse offensive line than Eli and worse receivers, yet posted vastly better advanced stats. Why would we think Eli's better?

As for Garrard, I'm not saying he's int-prone; I'm saying his "true" interception rate is almost certainly higher than last season's. He's clearly a good quarterback, but I don't think it's reasonable to expect a repeat of his 2007 performance in that respect at least. I don't think we should expect an int rate that low from anyone in 2008.

87
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 9:01pm

What do you like about his potential. I’ve heard Redskins fans say he has more potential than Vince Young… fill me in.

Solid pocket presence and mobility. He does not have an extremely slow release: he definitely didn't in college, and he frequently doesn't in the NFL either. Sometimes he does, but to me that says that he's having problems deciding, not problems with mechanics. Good size. Good vision. His biggest problem is that he hesitates.

Before they started in the NFL I wouldn't've said he has more potential than Young, but hey, now I'm not so sure, since Young's passing seems to be really questionable.

An important point is that right now, it looks like Campbell's going to be an average or above-average starting quarterback in the NFL. That's not a knock on him at all.

Did Patrick Ramsey have a fair chance?

Sure. The Redskins held onto him for 4 years. What do you think he was doing during practice those years? Playing a Game Boy? Just because you didn't see him play doesn't mean he wasn't. Ramsey got yanked because he couldn't stay upright worth a damn, and Brunell could.

Do you honestly see that much if a difference between Patrick Ramsey and Jason Campbell.

Dear God, yes! In 2003 and 2004, Ramsey was being sacked once every 6-7 dropbacks! That's ludicrous. Campbell's a tiny fraction of that.

Why are you even focusing on Campbell and Ramsey? Is it because of the NFL's passer rating crap, where they're similar? Passer rating doesn't take into account sacks at all, and Ramsey has proven over the years that if Campbell's a bit hesitant, Ramsey's a terrified little boy who calls for his mom every time he drops back.

88
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 9:51pm

Gibbs has been known to play favorites since the get go. He strongly favored the old conservative vet Mark Brunell over that younger stronger armed Patrick Ramsey and benched him 1 game into his initial season.

Wow, that's the worst description I've ever seen regarding what happened that year. Did you even bother to look up what happened that year or are you going off of memory regarding the behavior of a team you don't really follow from 4 years ago?

First off, let's correct the facts. Ramsey didn't play in the first game. Brunell did. Ramsey played the second game, when Brunell got injured in the third quarter. His brilliant, amazing play consisted of getting sacked 3 times, and intercepted 3 times on a total of 21 dropbacks. Yeah, Gibbs was sure playing favorites on that one. Anyone else would've kept Ramsey in. Star potential there!

Brunell never looked great, but given how bad Ramsey looked, it's not hard to believe that Brunell was kicking the crap out of him in practice. His next game after the Giants loss (where he was injured) was a close loss to the Cowboys where he put up a very, very strong performance.

By midseason, though, Brunell was really starting to look beat up, and not play all that well. He was struggling with a hamstring injury for most of the season, and as Brunell's a pretty mobile quarterback, that's a big limitation.

At that point, Gibbs benched Brunell for Ramsey, not the other way around.

Ramsey, however, didn't fare any better. His only strong performances came versus the 49ers and the Vikings, and in 2004, the 49ers and Vikings were boldly attempting the unproven "no-man defense."

Oh, and he ripped the crap out of the Giants the second time they played them that year, too. Who knows how that happened.

Against teams with actual defenses, though, Ramsey was pretty godawful, getting sacked about once every 10 dropbacks, throwing an interception about once every 25 passes, and well under 6 yards per attempt.

You're probably thinking about 2005, when Gibbs benched Ramsey after a game - but that's totally different. The shock was that Ramsey started at all. Brunell, healthy, was clearly better than Ramsey was. Deluded Redskins fans might've thought different, but, well, they would've been wrong.

There wasn't any favoritism there. Ramsey was never a good quarterback for the Redskins. He was sacked far too often and when he wasn't sacked didn't really do anything with the ball.

89
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 11:27pm

The offseason makes me crazy. It's not important. The draft doesn't matter until the players play. September couldn't come soon enough and it's mind-numbing re-hashing the same arguments over and over again. Redskins fans love Campbell because he represents hope, except everyone knows this year we'll see if he's fools hope or not and if he's not most likely they will be in position to get the next "QB of the future" or can sign him in the offseason.

Every fan loves their draft because the media always gives the players good ink... well except for Fred Davis, that was disappionting.

No matter which way you cut the argument, he's gonna play and we'll see if his advance stats have improved. I don't want to say "QB is fungible"... but their defense certainly made his job easier... at the same time he manned up when it counted, so you can't hate on that just because he doesn't have advance stats... advance stats don't win Super Bowls... Patriot fans might not want to admit it, but they didn't end up winning the Super Bowl... and the playoffs are where high stakes are really played for.

Anyway, its fun following the NFL, but I just don't see the point in obsessing over the offseason... guess I'm losing a bit of my fan-card... but I'm anticipating September, and didn't care too much about the draft, mini-camps, don't care too much about the preseason, although that is when we get the first look of who is going to be good (at least for rookies and scrubs who may have improved).

90
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 11:45pm

Pat's pretty much on regarding Ramsey-Brunell. Ramsey wasn't that much better than Campbell has shown himself to be. Brunell had a Pro-Bowl season in 2005... and indeed, Brunell did look better through preseason.

A lot of fans turned on Ramsey when he threw a really awful interception to Dawkins vs. Philly in 2004... there comes a time when you just have to admit that the QB isn't there. I suppose Campbell could have that moment in 2008... again, everyone loves their team so we want the players to succeed, beyond what maybe an unbiased person sees... but at some point fans turn on their players too...

91
by Michael (not verified) :: Sat, 05/17/2008 - 4:49am

I truly believe that if Campbell doesn't pan out that zorn thinks he has his "future qb" in Colt Brennan. He talked at length more about Brennan then practically any other draftee. He easily had the quickest release of any of the qbs in the draft and even though he has the 3 quarter release it shouldn't be a problem for zorn. In fact colt can throw the ball from many different positions and was the most accurate QB in NCAA history. He made quick decisions, he can move around in the pocket and has the speed to pick up first downs. Everything he brings are all the same things west coast offenses looks for in a QB.

92
by Chris (not verified) :: Sat, 05/17/2008 - 6:51am

86- You are quoting advanced stats? The DVOA bible? Didn't the DVOA bible say that the Giants didn't deserve to even make the PLAYOFFS? The Giants were the most likely team to get blown out in round 1, and on and on? If you honestly think a diaper quarterback, or a QB in Kubiaks system is better than Eli then so help you. I would love to see Brode or Schaub playing in Gilbrides offense last year and see how they fared.

Pat - Ramsey was playing in Spurriers offense with no protection and 5 wide. If Campbell and his slower reads/slower release played in that he would be sacked and injured even more.

I brought up Ramsey being benched after 1 game, and you tell me I am an idiot because YOU brought up 04... then you said maybe you were talking about 05' when he was benched after 1 game. Duh Mr. Strawman.

Brennan doesn't have ideal size, but his quicker release and the system he played in makes him more ideal for a WCO than say... Jason Campbell.

93
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Sat, 05/17/2008 - 11:24am

I'm sorry, we're comparing Campbell to Ramsey why? Campbell had more value in 2007 than Ramsey has done in his entire career to date cumulatively. Just because a team's last quarterback of the future sucked doesn't mean the current one does. It's as if a year ago people had been saying "Gee, I'm not convinced that Rivers guy is any good - just look at Ryan Leaf."

And to pre-empt any misinterpretations, I'm not saying that either Rivers or Campbell is an all-pro or necessarily ever will be. I'm just saying that both have already proved themselves to be competent NFL quarterbacks, something Ramsey never did.

94
by Chris (not verified) :: Sat, 05/17/2008 - 2:00pm

All of the things people said about Ramsey ( strong arm, big guy, yadda yadda yadda) are the same thing said about Campbell. It is just some people take his LAX attitude and call him "poised". Was he posed on the 1 yard line against the Giants? How about in the 4th Q of Dallas 1, the tampa game, or philly 2. The guy is only "poised" when he is throwing 1 yard screen passes to Randel El that turn into 37 yard YACs. When he is throwing picks and getting sacked, fumbeling, or getting picked and losing the game he isn't very poised.

If Jason Campbell were a closer in baseball, he'd be Jason Isringhousen with blown save after blown save in the middle of last year.

95
by Tom D (not verified) :: Sat, 05/17/2008 - 5:27pm

First of all, Ramsey didn't get benched in 2005, he was nearly decapitated by Briggs and was unable to finish the game. IIRC, he wasn't healthy until several games later, by then Brunell had shown he was playing at a probowl level.

96
by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (aka SJM) (not verified) :: Sat, 05/17/2008 - 10:01pm

Chris,

I have a lot to say about the Redskins.

Steve Czaban doesn't know anything, he's just an agitator. He likes to stir up controversy. But he has no inside info at all. If he says something, you can be confident that he made it up and there's a decent chance he doesn't even believe it.

It's true Ramsey did not get a fair shot. He was replaced by Brunell when Lance Briggs nearly decapitated him (no penalty on the play, I'm still angry about that. An interception in the red zone that should have been a penalty first down!). Anyway, Ramsey was healthy the next week but Brunell was Gibbs' boy (Brunell had a great year, so Gibbs was right). Then they drafted Campbell and Ramsey was finished.

That said, Campbell is a lot more promising than Ramsey. Campbell has a slowish release, but Ramsey was slower. Campbell is a little stiff in the pocket, but Ramsey was stiffer. Campbell's accuracy hasn't matched his college performance, but Ramsey was less accurate. Campbell doesn't audible, but Ramsey's audibles were always disastrous. About all Ramsey can do is hang tough in the pocket and take big hits. He's got a big arm, but without accuracy that's not so useful. Note that the Jets didn't think much of him either and let him go, even though they have QB problems.

As to the question of Campbell vs Eli, I greatly respect what Eli did in this year's playoffs, but I'm not convinced that he'll maintain that level. I'm also not convinced that Campbell will be great So I guess I rate the QB's in the two divisions thus

Peyton
McNabb
Romo
Garrard
{Eli, Schaub, Campbell, Young}

with Garrard barely above the 4-way tie.

97
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Sun, 05/18/2008 - 4:18am

The thing to be pissed about with Ramsey in 2005 is that his injury occurred after he had thrown a TD pass to Cooley. That play was called back for OPI... sure it was OPI on Cooley but rarely called... if the TD stands, Ramsey doesn't get clotheslined.

It also should be noted that he threw an interception on his first drive of the game.

Anyway, this happened 2 years ago. I don't think anyone is in disagreement over Ramsey vs. Campbell performance, both haven't been stellar and no one is thinking, "Hey, lets sign this guy to a long term contract!". Ramsey's highlight this year was getting destroyed by Shaun Rogers (opps wrong guy)... and Campbell's highlights this year happened to be when the Redskins shredded the Lions... he also played well at Eagles and Cowboys...

I think Redskin fans will agree this year is Campbell's make or break season with Washington. And besides, we've got Todd Collins on the team as a decent insurance policy...

Personally I think its academic to guess and predict how players will pan out but silly... okay sure the Lewin system seems allright, but there are a lot of nuances. At the same time these guys are real players working with professionals to improve their games beyond college... so let's wait and see how well they are able to do. I don't understand all the hate all the time towards people like Eli, Campbell, and TJax, but it gets annoying... its not for lack of effort, but we act like its the biggest sin in the world to fail at starting QB in the NFL as if everyone else is able to play at such a high level... not everyone can have the career of Manning, McNabb, Brady, or Farve... everyone wants their team to have one of those guys, but we have to be honest and look at history and say most likely he isn't one of those great ones... but that doesn't mean we can't hope... sheesh...

Again I hate the offseason... I think in general my passion for football is fading... other priorities, other things to love... starting to go back to the "its a game!" mentality that many casual fans have... if you love the game so much than contribute, intern in a front office, become a scout... etc... get involved... heck even write a book and contribute to the web-page... trade tapes over the Internet and write a blog on scouting college players... become involved in your local HS football team or even a semi-pro football team... I mean the readers here are pretty hard core, so if you're going to spend 3 hours a day on this site I think "football energy" could be better spent getting closer to the game...

(Not to piss on advance stats because, advance stats are probably very useful to scouts and front office type...)

98
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 05/18/2008 - 8:30am

96- You agree with a lot I had to say and were more reasonable but Czabe was handicapping games at a > 60% mark, and although he is a speculator he is right more often others on the radio.

Ramsey and Campbell had a VERY similar skillset. I won't go over every difference and similarity, but they were actually very similar. One of the main differences is that Ramsey spent much of his washington career under the old Ball coach.

Think about it. You have a rookie quarterback lining up with 5 wide receivers. The guy had to make snap quick judgements, and often took a pounding when he wasing getting ride of the ball right at 2.5 seconds after the snap. People thought it was ok because Ramsey was a "big guy". Brunell played well in 2005, and Ramsey fell out of flavor.

FF to Jason Campbell. He has a similar skillset, wasn't even active his rookie year, and the only reason he played in year 2 is because the Redskins season was over pretty quickly. Gibbs did have favorites ( Brunell), and he went with the hook VERY late.

You can't just blindly compare say Ramseys QB rating to Campbells. Ramsey was lining up in 5 WR sets under spurrier, while I can't even remember 1 single play where Jason Campbell lined up with 5 wide, and he wouldn't even line up with 4 wide very often.

Patrick Ramsey had to run spurriers offense that didn't even work in the pros, while Gibbs had Campbell running a watered down NFL offense. Campbell isn't even allowed to call audibles. He lines up, and throws his screen passes as called. When old man gibbs really wants to roll the dice, he calls a play action for Campbell, which is still a less risky big play. The Redskins staff has done everything they can to bring Campbell along slowly and try not to ruin him early ( as you could argue with Ramsey).

Redskins fans cry over and over that Campbell has played in 7 offenses in 8 years and hasn't had perfect talent around him blah blah blah. If anything, Campbell has BETTER talent around him than Ramsey had and an easier game plan. He should have a higher qb rating.

My entire point is that there really isn't THAT big of a difference between Ramsey and Campbell that has thus far justified a 1st round pick when the team obviously needs a pass rusher. If I am going to run Gibbs 1984 offense, you might as well build that defense up to go along with the run game and the ultra convservative passing game. It's not like this team upgraded QBs from Bledsoe to Brady.

99
by Dice (not verified) :: Sun, 05/18/2008 - 2:01pm

As a longtime 'Skins fan, I want to like Campbell. I want to excuse all those late drives where he throws picks in the end zone, I want to believe in his 'potential'. I don't see the poise that the announcers keep mentioning. About the only thing I really like is his mobility within the pocket, how his eyes stay downfield, I believe he is going thru his reads and he's not a run-first QB, altho he occasionally rips off a good one.

All that being said, he was either very poor at or did not believe in the timing routes of Saunders' offense, and I can't believe that Zorn's offense will be all that much different for him. But, it usually takes several years for a good, but not great, QB to get it. Eli is a great example. I never considered him a bust, he was and probably still is a QB who is going to win a lot of games, lose a few here and there, and once or twice a season, dazzle or disgust viewers.

I'm not ready to give up on Campbell just yet, because it still might click for him. He'll never be Sonny Jurgensen, but he could still be Joey T. That said, he's the worst QB of the NFC East currently.

100
by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (aka SJM) (not verified) :: Sun, 05/18/2008 - 3:17pm

Chris,

You don't think the Redskins should have drafted Campbell? So what you're saying is that Ramsey is a viable starting QB in the NFL, contrary to the front offices of both the Redskins and the Jets? Or you're saying that the Redskins should have known before the draft that Campbell was not much better?

If the former, I simply disagree. If the latter, that's an issue for the scouts. I never pretended to know if Campbell was a good pick at the time (Lewin's projection system wasn't even out yet). For what it's worth, I've wanted a pass rusher in the first round for years, but considering that Ramsey busted and Brunell fell apart (and Collins is old), drafting Campbell was a wise long-term move IF it turns out that he's decent. If he's no good, it was a bad pick, but isn't that true of every pick in the draft? So what's the point of all of this? To say the Redskins personnel guys are a mess? Yeah, they are, I admit it. Obviously the Redskins should hire you to be their GM and you could solve all their problems.

101
by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 05/18/2008 - 8:43pm

All of the things people said about Ramsey ( strong arm, big guy, yadda yadda yadda) are the same thing said about Campbell.

If you completely ignore the fact that the main limitation that people said about Ramsey was poor mobility and pocket presence, and one of Campbell's strengths was mobility and pocket presence, sure.

Considering the fact that Ramsey's biggest problem is his pocket presence and immobility, that just might be why Campbell succeeds and Ramsey failed.

I have no idea why people are comparing Ramsey to Campbell. Ramsey went down virtually whenever a defender breathed on him, and he looked like that from day one. Campbell doesn't.

102
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/19/2008 - 3:08am

#99:

Hell, it takes a few years for great QBs to become great.

Donovan McNabb was a pretty average QB from 1999-2001. Heck, Tom Brady was a pretty average QB until about 2004. Drew Brees was a mediocre-to-bad QB in his first two years. The list goes on and on. The fraction of QBs who can step right in and perform at a high level is tiny.

It takes time. And probably the worst thing that a Skins fan could do right now is listen to a guy like Chris and declare Campbell crap. He's not crap. Not at all. Right now he's an average starting NFL quarterback. Even if that's all he ever ended up being, that's worth keeping.

I'll definitely grant that he's probably the worst QB in the NFC East. Probably, in that he could easily have a better year than Eli Manning next year just based on past performance.

But that says more about the strength of the division rather than Campbell.

In fact, other than the NFC East, I can't think of another division in the NFL that Campbell would be the worst QB in the division.

103
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/19/2008 - 3:09am

Didn’t the DVOA bible say that the Giants didn’t deserve to even make the PLAYOFFS?

No.

104
by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Mon, 05/19/2008 - 9:44am

I don't really understand why there is such a vociferous debate abou the merits of Ramsey vs Campbell. I would have thought that the most interesting discussion would be about Tony Romo ie. is he actually any good?

Several people have said that he's better than Garrard without question but if you put Garrard in Dallas and vice versa, I have trouble seeing Romo do as well as Garrard but I expect that Garrard would have put up similar (or better) stats than Romo if he were in Dallas.

My basic opinion on Romo is that he is one of the most elusive quarterbacks I've ever seen but he's way below average on every other skill required to play qb. He's not got a strong arm, he's innaccurate and makes an absurd number of horrendous throws. Without Owens and Witten I think he'd be mediocre.

I know my opinion on Romo is very out of step with pretty much everyone else out there but I can't understand why people can't see it either. (If you are going to argue with me then please don['t quote a load of passer ratings and DVOAs at me, I'm not denying that he has been productive, just that Romo isn't the main cause of the good production)

105
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/19/2008 - 9:50am

100. You are right, I don't think the Redskins should have drafted Campbell. Why toss aside a medicore quarterback for another guy that most people thought was non-franchise that had the same skillset? OK, Campbell runs every now and then, but that is hardly the reason to spend a 1st round pick so that you can add 10 rushing yards per game to your QB output.

Also, the Lewin projection system isn't the bible. You don't HAVE to consult with it to form an opinion on whether or not a player will be any good.

Most people would agree that Ramsey wasn't given a fair chance. You discard a big, strong armed 1st round pick southern quarterback for the same version only he will pick up and run every now and then. Not smart IMO.

101. Ramsey was having 4 and 5 WR sets where he had no protection. He is also a big guy and would get blitzed to death and crushed. Campbell was playing in a lot of max protection sets, TE, FB, HB. Gibbs believes more in protecting the quarterback and protecting the YOUNG QB especially. If Campbell played under Spurrier you would be saying the same things about him ( he got sacked so much, he didn't understand the offense, etc. etc. etc.)

Just take a look at how Campbell played at the end of games when he was given a little more free reign. The pick in the endzone in the Tampa game. There is no WAY he is making that throw in the 2nd quarter. He would have taken a 3 step drop, turned to his left and thrown a quick WR screen to Santana Moss.

103. If the playoffs were set by DVOA ranking, the defending super bowl champions would not even make the NFC playoffs. You could cut it anyway you want, but based on seeding, they were watching the playoffs from home as the 8th best DVOA of an NFC team. The champs.

106
by bravehoptoad (not verified) :: Mon, 05/19/2008 - 3:22pm

re: 105

Do you have any proof that max protection schemes protect the quarterback better than spread sets?

Will is always making this argument, too, and he's never come up with any proof.

107
by RoyFlip (not verified) :: Mon, 05/19/2008 - 3:43pm

Back to the Odd Man Out of Giants receivers: Anyone remember Tim Carter? Blazing speed and the pulled hamsrings to go with it? He was always too hurt to play until...wait for it....Sinorice Moss got drafted. All of a sudden, he could run. I think it lasted for a year. I don't remember him getting behind anyone and it seemed like he played himself out of a job. Moss is just Carter 2.0. If the Giants are smart, they'll give the roster spot to someone who actually wants to play (Manningham?). Someone needs to study the correlation of the draft position (read: $$$) of speedburners and subsequent muscle pulls. (These guys didn't spend 2-3 years in the training room in college.) I'd bet it is pretty high.
104- I have to agree with you. Everyone is so enamored of "how much fun he has out there - did you know he is a scratch golfer - he is so good at everything he tries - he's just like Brett Favre - who's he dating now - look at that grin -he brings a lot of joy to the game" that no one ever stops to consider that he has had just one great year and still hasn't won a playoff game. I think we can wait befoe we start measuring him for the mustard blazer. Maybe he will be great, but not yet. (Makes you stop to think what a beast Owens is that he makes anyone throwing to him look good.)

108
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/19/2008 - 5:08pm

106. Good question. I believe if run in a simple form, that Max protection schemes can be the most protective formations out there. In Ben Rothlisburgers first year in Pittsburgh, not only was he often in Max protect, but he is physically large and hard to bring down, which negates the blitzer left uncovered ( we are in Max protect remember), but often was told to only look at a portion of the field.

Don't look at the entire zone the defense is, but just focus on running a high/low on a corner for example. This was a low risk was of giving a QB some real life game experience. Of course, not every team has the luxary of a strong run game/o-line, but the max protect can be very... protecting.

The 4WR, 5WR sets are simply raising the stakes. If the QB does not get rid of the ball VERY quickly, he will get clobbered. If he CAN consistantly get rid of the ball very quickly, he will be very difficult to sack, and as a result teams won't even TRY to blitz him.

This entails a strong understanding of the play/playbook and EXCELLENT pre-snap reads that only a handful of quarterbacks are even capeable of.

Ex. Tom Brady will run a lot of 4WR sets and will be fine, but if Tavaras Jackson lined up in the 4/5 WR sets over and over he would get killed. Patrick Ramsey in his early (spurrier) days was being asked to do something that only a select few could even have a chance at doing right. Not a rookie from Tulane with a strong arm and little experience.

109
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/19/2008 - 5:11pm

107. Tim Carter was often injured but also had problems catching the ball and doing some of the most basic things that a WR is asked to do.

A player can't control getting hurt ( it happens), but some people do tend to get hurt a lot more than others. Was the 5'9 Sinorce Moss just unlucky thus far in his career with weak hamstrings or does his little frame in a big leage lead to injury? I can't remember him being hurt at the U and he does deserve another chance. Most WR's don't even learn the NFL and produce until year 3 anyway. Should the Browns have given up on B Eazy Edwards last year?

110
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/19/2008 - 5:13pm

104- I think that Tony Romo is actually good, and I don't endorse quarterbacks very often or very happily.

111
by grandweepers (not verified) :: Mon, 05/19/2008 - 8:49pm

Re: #92

Not sure what you mean about Brennan not having ideal size? He's 6'3"....I guess that 6'4" is ideal?

112
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/19/2008 - 10:01pm

I'd consider 6'3 his height. Brennan is only 205 pounds putting him in the bottom 5% of starting QB size. In fact, the only starting quarterback that is smaller than him is Jeff Garcia and they are the exact same weight ( Brennan is an inch or 2 taller). Brennan is thin, but will probably grow into a bigger guy than Garcia once that metabolism slows down.

Just think, a guy like Brady Quinn has an extra 30 pounds of muscle over Brennan, is faster, stronger arm, played under a pro system, bigger college, better coaches, bigger games, etc. etc. etc. Offseason Jemarcus Russel outweights him by almost 100 pounds!

Most starting quarterbacks are usually a combination of at least 6'3+, 220+. A guy like Jason Campbell has ideal size. Peyton Manning has ideal size at 6'5 230. Colt Brennan will be tied for the smallest starting quarterback ( if he starts) in the league.

If you are looking for a late round pick that might end up being a steal, I'd bet more money on John David Booty than Colt Brennan.

113
by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (aka SJM) (not verified) :: Mon, 05/19/2008 - 10:02pm

Chris,

I didn't have an opinion on Campbell because I don't follow college football closely. I know Campbell was seen as an early 2nd, maybe late 1st guy. Nobody called it a reach. At the time, I was upset because as you said Ramsey wasn't given a fair chance, but it's not like Ramsey has done anything since then to make the Redskins think twice about letting him go.

As for DVOA and the Giants, no one has ever suggested that DVOA should determine the playoff entrants. DVOA merely measures the quality of teams and accurately assessed that the Giants in the regular season were a mediocre team, their performance not being as good as their record. As it happens, the Giants played a lot better in the playoffs than in the regular season and they won the Super Bowl. Congratulations. But enough with this straw man that DVOA didn't want the Giants in the playoffs, please. (Yes, DVOA predicted them to lose. DVOA isn't really a predictive tool, it's a descriptive tool. It described the Giants as "not so great." In the regular season, it was right.)

114
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/19/2008 - 11:06pm

If the playoffs were set by DVOA ranking, the defending super bowl champions would not even make the NFC playoffs.

So? The NFL playoffs aren't intended to put the best teams against each other. If they were, division champions wouldn't get an autoberth.

The only two NFC teams above them not in the playoffs (the Eagles and the Vikings) were both ridiculously more variable than they were. That's the reason they got in. They were still one of the better teams in the NFC. They had one of the lowest variances in the league during the season - while they weren't playing great, they were never playing godawful, and so they never really lost games they should've won. In the NFC, that's a recipe for a wildcard berth: in contrast, the Eagles, for instance, lost three games they shouldn't've: Chicago, both Giants games. "Shouldn't've" here could easily just mean they lost games to opponents who lost to opponents they beat. (Philly beat Minnesota, who beat the Giants. Philly split with Dallas, who beat the Giants twice, etc.). That inconsistency is what doomed Philly, and that consistency is what saved the Giants.

Once in the playoffs, it's only a 4-game season, so anything can happen. Rare things will happen, rarely, and the Giants winning the Super Bowl wasn't so rare that you would expect never to see it. It was rare enough that you would expect to never have seen it before, which you didn't. It's also rare enough that we most likely won't see it again for another 30-40 years. Unfortunately no one here will remember 30-40 years from now to see if that's true.

Gibbs believes more in protecting the quarterback and protecting the YOUNG QB especially.

Ramsey was getting sacked once in 6 attempts WITH GIBBS. With. Let me stress that. With Gibbs. So I have no idea what your arguments mean. Ramsey is not some persecuted QB. He's a backup QB who doesn't have enough pocket presence to stay upright in the NFL. That was shown in Washington, twice, under different coaches, and shown with the Jets as well.

115
by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Tue, 05/20/2008 - 9:06am

110: No, you don't tend to like to endorse any qbs. So how can you like Romo so much? Did you see the Bills game last year? That was every bit as bad as the Grossman vs Arizona game (you know, they are who we thought they were etc) but Romo seems to be excused all his errors. Actually the grossman comparison seems quite apt, look at Rex's play in the first alf of the Bears' NFC championship season and Rex looks a lot like Romo and he didn't have Owens.

116
by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 05/20/2008 - 9:25am

113. So the team with the 18th best DVOA deserves to be in the playoffs? It isn't so much the DVOA ranking, but think about what people were saying before the Tampa game.

The Eagles really should have beaten Chicago no doubt, they should have won Washington 1, but the Giants twice?

Osi sacked Donovan how many times? It was pathetic to watch Andy coach that one leaving his yount tackle on an island with a pro bowl DE who was whipping him. Osi put on a sack clinic and took over the game by himself but the Eagles deserved to win that one? Osi and Strah were shooting jumpers all day but the Eagles really should have won? If you are really looking to argue that one, it was argued tirelessly on this site over and over again. I am sure you can dig throught he files and find dig up that argument.

Ramsey was given a sick or swim mentality and the offense Brunell took the team to the 2nd round of the playoffs in was much different than was Jason Campbell was running last year. Can you at least agree on that?

You can't just look at 2 QB ratings and determine who is better. Can you agree that Peyton Mannings offense is more difficult to run than David Garrards or Trent Edwards?

117
by Dales (not verified) :: Tue, 05/20/2008 - 7:34pm

"they were never playing godawful"

Excepting a single game against the Vikings, natch.

118
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 05/20/2008 - 9:31pm

Osi sacked Donovan how many times? It was pathetic to watch Andy coach that one leaving his yount tackle on an island with a pro bowl DE who was whipping him.

So, wait. Let me get this straight. You're saying that it seemed amazingly out of character the way the Eagles played the first Giants game. You might say it was inconsistent with the way they normally play, in fact!

But in any case: read what I said again. I wasn't suggesting they should've won the game based on their ingame performance. I'm saying they should've won the games because based on who else they've beaten, if football were purely transitive and teams were perfectly consistent, they were a 'better team'. But teams aren't perfectly consistent, and while the Eagles were easily capable of playing like a better team than the Giants, they were also capable of playing like a far worse one, and that day, they did.

I wasn't suggesting that they should've won that game. Far from it. I was suggesting that the Eagles looked like crap that game, and their propensity for looking like crap one week and looking great the next is the reason they didn't end up in the playoffs and the Giants did.

It's funny, because a lot of people probably would've said the Giants during the regular season were inconsistent. But they really weren't. They beat the teams they were playing better than. They lost to the teams they were playing worse than.

113. So the team with the 18th best DVOA deserves to be in the playoffs?

What the hell is this "deserve" crap? If you had given me that list of teams at the beginning of the season, and said "Figure out which ones reached the postseason," I probably would've picked out all 6 playoff teams that actually happened.

There's no "deserve" to be in the playoffs. It's just a question of "can you anticipate the Giants going 10-6 with that DVOA?" And the answer is "yes, easily."

Realistically they probably had one win which would've been considered an upset by DVOA - winning 2 games vs Philly rather than just 1. You probably would've expected a team as variable as Philly to play one good game and one crap game against them. All of the other ones were completely foreseeable.

119
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 05/21/2008 - 12:20am

Brennan is only 205 pounds putting him in the bottom 5% of starting QB size.

Brennan's weight is on the low side mainly due to a constantly-interrupted season and offseason. His ideal weight is more along the lines of 220. He's been there before.

As for Brennan being "on the low side", I really, really also suggest you check your facts before you make assertions as if they were true. Garcia is far from the only QB shorter than Brennan.

If you take 6'3 as his height, a short list of starting QBs shorter than Brennan:

Jeff Garcia
Drew Brees
Tarvaris Jackson
Tony Romo
Aaron Rodgers
Rex Grossman
Jon Kitna
Jake Delhomme
David Garrard

Considering I've just listed 9 QBs, and there are 32 starting QBs in the league, "bottom 5%" is, well, wrong. By a lot.

120
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 05/21/2008 - 6:11am

Ramsey was given a sick or swim mentality and the offense Brunell took the team to the 2nd round of the playoffs in was much different than was Jason Campbell was running last year. Can you at least agree on that?

With regard to your second point: Of course it was. It was tailored to Campbell's strengths. Not suggesting that those will be his only strengths, just his current ones.

With regard to your first point: I have no idea what you're talking about. Let's assume you meant to say "sink or swim" mentality. That's true for Spurrier, who put Ramsey in early, and exchanged him seemingly at whim. It's certainly not true for Gibbs, who started Brunell for a long while before putting Ramsey in. Most fans were yelling at Gibbs to put Ramsey in, not suggesting he was thrown in too early.

It was only after they saw Ramsey's performance that most of them went "Oh. Never mind."

Again, I don't know how Patrick Ramsey became the poor little orphan quarterback boy who never got a proper chance. Believe it if you want, but there's no evidence for it: Ramsey never really showed potential once he stepped onto the field.

121
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 05/21/2008 - 3:53pm

Brennan is listed at 6'3 205, I never said he was in the bottom 5% in height, but size ( WEIGHT). If he were a starter, he would be tied for the lightest in the league and could potentially get punished and injured. That is far from ideal. Brady Quinn has 30 pounds of muscle on him, and Jemarcus has a small child in his belly compared to him.

122
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 05/21/2008 - 3:58pm

So since the Eagles beat a team the Giants beat, it means they should have beaten the Giants? So does that mean since the Giants beat the Patriots that they should have won all of their games too? The NFL isn't a WWE league where if you beat the champion you get the championship belt.

The Reason I bring up the Giants 18th best DVOA in 2007 is because SOME people going into the playoffs said that they shouldn't have even been there. That they were the most likely team to get blown out and not cover the spread in round 1 etc. etc. etc.

I just find the Ramsey situation funny because the Redskins fans that were running their mouths about Patrick and his potential, were saying the same things about Campbell.

123
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 05/21/2008 - 4:02pm

I compare Jeff Garcia at 205 to Colt Brennan at 205 and Pat swoops in and calls me an idiot because there are 9 QB's shorter than 6'3. Maybe you should read and understand what I wrote in the first place and take a chill pill ....

124
by Tim (not verified) :: Wed, 05/21/2008 - 4:49pm

Karl-

It's easy in football to downgrade a player for his "supporting cast"...you'll still hear that Emmitt Smith was just an average back behind a dominant line, and people who take that position cannot be reasoned with.

That said, you're missing some stuff about Romo.

1) Do you trust Ron Jaworski's opinion on coach's game tape? That's where you separate the individual's performance from his supporting casts'. Jaws says that Romo makes some stupid decisions, but thinks he's a Top 5 QB.

2) You way underrate Romo's athleticism. Last year the NFL network broke down the "release times" of Hall of Fame QB's. Unsurprisingly, Marino had the highest of current and past players they measured...except one. Romo's was faster than Marino's, and by a pretty jaw dropping margin. Romo probably has the fastest release of any big name QB in NFL history. That's a big physical skill.

3) Romo was runner up to Caron Butler for Mr. Basketball in Wisconsin and could probably play golf professionally with more dedication. He's not John Elway, but that's a mix of athleticism that, say, Peyton Manning doesn't have.

4) At 28, Romo has more experience than the average 3rd year starter. But he's only seen <2 seasons of NFL snaps. Recognition is a huge part of QB success, and Romo is only going to get better the more snaps he sees.

5) By all accounts, Romo is a hard worker and good teammate. He's a cool enough guy to have totally won over the notorious QB killer TO.

125
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 05/21/2008 - 7:14pm

124- I'd like to chime in and add that I believe a quarterbacks release may be (besides his reads) the most underrated aspect of their game. People love to talk about how far or fast they throw, but what about how fast they get rid of the ball? Part of that is mental and their progression, but part of that is physical and how fast they can pull the trigger. Tony Romo like a true cowboy pulls a quick trigger.

Cynics love to point out the horrible games Romo had ( like Buffao), but what if we judged Peyton Manning on his 5INT game in San Diego? I believe people are LOOKING for reasons to bash Romo ( the fact that he has hot girlfriends)?

His pocket awareness is matched by few, his release is lighting fast, and he makes good reads. Of course having Terrel Owens, a stout O-Line and a strong supporting cast helps, but Romo is good. Last year I had a more, "ok danielson, you did good, but let's see you do it again". Romo's encore was stronger than anticipated and he gets the benefit of doubt from here on out. In his second year as a starter, he led the best team in the NFC last year and was a main reason why.

126
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 05/21/2008 - 10:33pm

I compare Jeff Garcia at 205 to Colt Brennan at 205 and Pat swoops in and calls me an idiot because there are 9 QB’s shorter than 6′3. Maybe you should read and understand what I wrote in the first place and take a chill pill …

I did read it. In fact, I did note when I first read it that maybe you were doing some weird "half-height, half-weight" comparison, because you never used the word "lightest," instead saying "smallest," which doesn't usually imply weight.

In any case, there's not a lot of spread in quarterback weights other than that expected by height. You're quibbling about 5-10 pounds. You can gain that in two weeks. This is not a big deal in the tiniest bit. He won't be 205 by the end of training camp. He was 207 at the Combine, and he's stated that he'd prefer to be around 215-220.

So since the Eagles beat a team the Giants beat, it means they should have beaten the Giants?

No. The Eagles beat a team that beat the Giants. If football was logical, that would mean that the Eagles would beat the Giants. Of course, it isn't logical. Which is why a strict ordering of the teams based on average strength will not match up with actual records.

The NFL isn’t a WWE league where if you beat the champion you get the championship belt.

That's my entire point.

The Reason I bring up the Giants 18th best DVOA in 2007 is because SOME people going into the playoffs said that they shouldn’t have even been there.

So why are you bashing a descriptive ranking based on ill-informed comments of other people? Of course the Giants should've been there. They were one of the better teams in the NFC, and the only two teams who performed better were too inconsistent to make the playoffs.

In fact, as the Giants progressed through the playoffs, looking at their DVOA in week 17 and the subsequent playoff rounds, anyone looking at their actual DVOA performances in the games would've realized that they were playing at a level comparable to the Patriots.

This isn't hindsight. I made this exact comment in one of the threads during the playoffs.

I just find the Ramsey situation funny because the Redskins fans that were running their mouths about Patrick and his potential, were saying the same things about Campbell.

Who, exactly, was praising Patrick Ramsey for his pocket presence and mobility? Anyone doing that would be a complete idiot.

Yeah, Ramsey has a strong arm and good size. Campbell has a strong arm and good size. That's about where the comparisons stop, so there's no point in discussing it further. Campbell's already shown that at the worst, he's an average NFL quarterback. That's far more than Ramsey's ever done.

127
by grandweepers (not verified) :: Wed, 05/21/2008 - 10:41pm

#123

Drew Brees weighs 209. John David Booty (whom you brought up) is 215. Mark Brunell is 215. Marc Bulger is 212. David Carr is 212. Brodie Croyle is 206 without Hip Surgery. Delhomme is 215. Cleo Lemon is 215. Losman is 212. Josh McCown is 215. Alex Smith is 210.

I just can't believe that 10 pounds or less is going to make the difference between a good quarterback and a bad one. Alex Smith was the number one overall pick at 210.....and 205 is somehow a liability for Brennan? Is five pounds the difference between a first rounder and a sixth rounder? I guess it's one round for each pound, eh?

128
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 05/22/2008 - 8:55am

Brennan being the runt of all potential starting quarterbacks does make it a liability.

I understand that he WANTS to be 220, but there are a ton of 165 pound guys who read mens health that WANT to be a chiseled 210 pounds. I don't care if he WANTS to be Ronnie Coleman, he isn't.

I never said that there are starting quarterbacks under 220 pounds ( you pointed out that there are). I said that seems to be pretty prototypical ( 6'3, 6'4, 220, 225, 230).

Do you think that Drew Brees has prototypical size? I don't, and I still think he is good but he doesn't have ideal size. If Drew Brees did have ideal size he probably would have been drafted higher but that was a question mark for him going in.

I never said that 10 pounds is going to make or break Brennan, I just took issue with the comment that at 6'3, 205 a Deadskin fan was saying that he has prototypical size ( implying right now) because he doesn't.

127. I have a question for you. Do you believe that a couple or a few inches of height matter for quarterbacks?

129
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 05/22/2008 - 2:13pm

but there are a ton of 165 pound guys who read mens health that WANT to be a chiseled 210 pounds.

Sorry, that's a ridiculous straw-man argument. How many of them have access to world-class training facilities and are being paid to stay in shape?

Plus, Brennan has been 210 before. This isn't an issue.

Do you believe that a couple or a few inches of height matter for quarterbacks?

Yes, definitely, although it's more of a weak threshold - you can succeed in the NFL shorter than 6'2" or so, but it tends to be only athletes who can compensate for that limitation who can do so. Taller than 6'3" or so, it doesn't really matter.

But, again, it's a ridiculous strawman. A 6'3", 205 pound guy can put on 10 pounds of muscle in a few months. A 5'10" adult can't put on 5 inches in his lifetime.

130
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 05/22/2008 - 2:53pm

I am sure Jared Lorenzen with his quadruple chin would love to lose 50 pounds and then just simply be fat rather than obese, I mean he is PAID to be in shape and all.

The argument listing quarterbacks heights was strawman when I was comparing Brennans 205 pound listing to the fact that most quarterbacks are 220 and higher. You just love to jump in and tell somebody they are wrong, but you totally didn't pick up on what I was even talking about.

Being 6'3, 205 is not IDEAL size once and for all. If the guy gains 20 pounds of muscle then fine, but he isn't there now. I am talking about right NOW. I don't say that Jared Lorenzen has ideal size because he COULD quit eating donuts and drinking milkshakes because he gets paid to play football. Jemarcus Russel gained a 40 pound pot belly since he was drafted last year and he gets PAID to play football.

There is no proof that Brennan is 210 now.

131
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/23/2008 - 9:40pm

I am sure Jared Lorenzen with his quadruple chin would love to lose 50 pounds and then just simply be fat rather than obese, I mean he is PAID to be in shape and all.

Strawman. Losing 50 pounds is nowhere near the same as gaining 5-15.

Being 6′3, 205 is not IDEAL size once and for all.

And the point, again, is that weight just doesn't matter that much. Not to the degree you're talking about. Frame and height are far more important. Brennan's frame and height are pretty close to ideal.

There is no proof that Brennan is 210 now.

He was 207 at the Combine and has repeatedly stated he wants to be at 210-220. We're not talking about 20-30 pounds here. We're talking about 5-15. Hell, my weight fluctuates that much naturally over the course of a year.