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This week: Josh Shaw lies, Steve Smith intimidates, Le'Veon Bell relaxes, Matt Simms dances, and Clint Trickett kisses and tells.

21 Dec 2005

Scramble for the Ball: Skins Going Hog Wild

by Al Bogdan and Vivek Ramgopal

Vivek: One more item that I want to add to last week's Holiday Wish List is a nice 50-inch plasma HDTV for the Cowboys. With that the Cowboys can watch the playoffs from a warm place inside their homes, as their post season chances took a severe hit this weekend.

With their 35-7 drubbing of the Cowboys, the Redskins put to rest the notion that their 14-13 win at Dallas in Week 2 was a fluke. Washington controls its own destiny because of a strong conference record and a tough AFC West. Despite its 8-6 record, Washington is 8-2 against NFC opponents with four losses coming courtesy of the AFC West. The other three NFC teams at 8-6 all have worse conference records (Dallas 6-4, Atlanta 5-5, Minnesota 7-4), so the formula is simple for Washington. Win and you're in. The playoffs are still within reach even if the Redskins fall to the Giants this weekend. Pretty good for a team that we all left for dead three weeks ago.

The Redskins were firing on all cylinders on Sunday, with their offensive line pushing Dallas' front four around all day. On the other side of the ball, Drew Bledsoe looked like, well, the Drew Bledsoe we have all grown to love. Washington's defense, led by defensive end Philip Daniels, took down Bledsoe seven times on Sunday and forced him to throw three interceptions. It was no coincidence that this sack attack occurred as Daniels, Joe Salave'a, and Cornelius Griffin played at full strength together for the first time since midseason. Daniels, who has battled groin and wrist injuries for the better part of the past two seasons, was rewarded with NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts.

I am still going to pick on the Redskins for two things though. First, they need to use Rock Cartwright in short-yardage situations, but that was and still can be another column. The Redskins faced three third-and-short situations and opted to throw on two of them. It may have worked out for them this time, but I'd rather give the ball to Rock.

Second, the team needs to get Santana Moss going again. Corners have been physical with Moss at the line, preventing him from beating them off the starting blocks. Moss has gotten into the end zone only once since Week 7 and has not topped the 80-yard mark in that period.

Al: As Michael David Smith pointed out, teams have also done a good job at putting a safety deep in case Moss is able to get by the cornerback locked on to him. Of course, Dallas of all teams forgot to do that on Sunday, allowing Moss to have one long gain.

I'd be very worried about the injury to Randy Thomas if I were a Redskins fan. His replacement, Ray Brown -- formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals, certainly is experienced enough, but you have to worry how he'll hold up over a full game next week battling the great New York defensive line.

I'm with you Viv, though, that a loss to New York shouldn't really hurt Washington's playoff chances all that much. Each of the other three teams they're tied with has at least one more tough game on its schedule -- Dallas at Carolina, Minnesota vs. Chicago (who will likely need a win for a first round bye), and Atlanta at Carolina and at Tampa. Most likely all three of those teams finish at 9-7 or worse; Washington might get to play the Giants again in the first round of the playoffs.

Speaking of the Falcons, wow did they look awful on Sunday night. Yes, Chicago has a great defense, but the Atlanta offense's failure to do anything wasn't completely Chicago's doing. Michael Vick looked a step slower out there because of his injured ribs. Maybe that's why Jim Mora inexplicably went to T.J. Duckett on that fourth-and-1 instead of having Vick roll out and try to gain the yard on his own.

Chicago is going to be a very tough out in the playoffs if Rex Grossman can keep throwing the ball like he did against Atlanta. It's not like he was Peyton Manning out there or anything, but he was able to throw the ball with some zip directly to his receivers, something Kyle Orton had shown no ability to do in the first half.

Vivek: Everyone knew that it was a different team from Grossman's first pass attempt -- a 22-yard bullet to Muhsin Muhammad. Muhammad had played the good teammate role all season, but his frustrations clearly came to a boil earlier in the game. After Orton did not see him open in the end zone, Muhammad unleashed a verbal tirade on the rookie. The return of Grossman gives the Bears offense a dimension it did not have with Orton.

Chicago's third down conversion percentage should improve dramatically now as well. During one recent stretch, the Bears were 3-for-34 on third down conversions. Without any respect for the pass, defenses could stuff the box and neutralize Thomas Jones and the other running backs. Those Thomas Jones owners in their fantasy football finals this week should be happy.

While we're on the topic of quarterback shuffles, let's put an end to one speculation right now. Brett Favre will not play for anyone other than Green Bay next season. Favre will not pull a Jerry Rice or Emmitt Smith and move away from the uniform with which he is most recognized. Favre will not taint his legacy. (Yes, he tossed a few passes when he was with the Falcons, but does anyone have that image in his memory?)

Chalk up a good number of this year's losses and to injuries. 2006 could see the return of Ahman Green and Javon Walker, so the offense won't look as bad as its 2005 version. The arm strength is still there for Favre. The difference this year is that Favre is taking even more risks to make plays, because if he does not, nothing will happen. Before, he could rely on his receivers or ground game, but now it's a one man show. Sure, age is getting to him a bit, but he's not 24-interception bad. How bad is Favre's supporting cast? The team just signed Rod Gardner to give the offense a boost.

Al: It's tough to tell what, if anything, Favre has left. Maybe if he had a competent offensive line in front of him, a running back behind him that didn't graduate from Middle Earth University, and receivers that could both get open and catch a ball thrown to them, Favre would be right back among the game's elite. What we have learned, though, is that Favre isn't going to do you any good if you're rebuilding, which the Packers will likely still be doing next year. When Favre is throwing the ball all over the place, seemingly not caring about how many defenders are surrounding the nearest receiver, he makes it much more difficult to win.

It might be blasphemous to say this, but Green Bay would be better off saying good bye to Favre and giving Aaron Rodgers a shot behind center next year. A team that just needs a new quarterback to put them over the top next year -- Miami jumps to mind -- would likely give up a first round pick to see what Favre has left in the tank. Favre isn't winning another Super Bowl in Green Bay. If the Packers realize this and are willing to trade their legend, they'll move toward that goal a year or two more quickly.

Speaking of winning another Super Bowl, that sound you heard after Indianapolis lost to San Diego was the Patriots bandwagon getting fired up again. How did San Diego stop the Colts? With a strong front seven putting pressure on Peyton Manning and containing Edgerrin James. Well, lookie here. New England's front seven is finally healthy, shutting down opposing running backs and causing havoc to quarterbacks. The one difference, however, between the San Diego team that upset the Colts in Indianapolis and the New England one that will likely be looking to do the same in a month or so is the secondary. As good as Ellis Hobbs has looked recently at cornerback, it's one thing to handle Tampa's receivers in Foxboro and another to cover Indianapolis' receivers indoors at the RCA Dome.

Vivek: Before I start fearing the Pats again in a moment, I want to go back to your Favre-to-Miami comment. Favre to Miami? For starters, Peter King, Brett Favre and South Beach just don't go together. Do you really see a team (especially one like the Dolphins) giving up a first-round pick for a potential one-year wonder? I use the term “wonder� loosely given that you have to factor in Favre's age. For a contender, Favre could be the difference maker, but not for the Dolphins. Again, it's a moot point because he will not be in another uniform next year.

Miami could instead use that top 10-15 pick to grab a solid possession receiver or a linebacker if Zack Thomas is let go in the offseason.

The Dolphins need a lot more than Favre to make a run at the Patriots for the AFC East crown. Before it's all said and done this winter, we might have to change that sentence to include AFC crown or Super Bowl Championship. Yep, Belichick's boys are right back where they want to be, and guess what? They're getting healthy.

So after all the jokes about the much maligned defense, take a look at that group that is on the mend: Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, Richard Seymor, Willie McGinnest, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Roosevelt Colvin. That group forms one of the most experienced and talented front sevens in the league. Moving Vrabel to the inside next to Bruschi has sparked life into him and further improved the team by pushing Monty Beisel and Chad Brown to the bench.

That 40-21 loss to the Colts in November is a distant memory, so Colts fans, be afraid. Be very afraid.

Al: We are, of course, putting the cart before the horse a bit here since New England will have to beat someone in the first round of the playoffs before they can get to take on Indianapolis. It will likely be Jacksonville that gets the honor of being a touchdown underdog to New England, but there's a scenario that isn't as unlikely as it seems that puts the Jaguars in the six seed and at Cincinnati. Even though Jacksonville has two cakewalk games ahead of them, if they win this week they'll likely rest their starters in Week 17. If Jacksonville loses that one and San Diego and Pittsburgh both win out, that three-way tie knocks the Steelers out of the playoff picture because of their terrible AFC record and moves the Chargers into the five spot because they would have one less conference loss than the Jaguars.

It's not like the Jaguars can't lose one of these last two on their own anyway, after they almost lost to the 49ers at home. San Francisco had the second worst pass defense in the NFL according to DVOA going into the game, yet David Garrard only managed 216 yards through the air on 21-of-40 passing. I'm not saying that Jacksonville is going to lose to Houston this week, but stranger things have happened.

Vivek: I am still not sold on David Garrard leading the Jaguars to a win in the playoffs, so the Jaguars' hopes rely on the recovery of Byron Leftwich's ankle. The Jags have beaten Cleveland, Arizona, Tennessee, and San Francisco by a grand total of 17 points recently. Last Sunday's ugly 10-9 win was exactly that: ugly. Garrard cannot rely on the ground game, as neither Fred Taylor nor Greg Jones has stepped it up.

But like you said, we may be jumping the gun, given that 13 teams are still alive for the final seven playoff spots.

Al: You're just begging for us to do yet another playoff prediction column, but in the interest of not getting an embarrassing number of these wrong with only two game to play, we'll save that for another week.

Lessons Learned From Week 15

Lesson 1 -- If You Value Your Safety, Don't Give a Shout Out to the Redskins in Dallas

Vivek: I don't really know what Darrell Armstrong was thinking, but maybe his head hit the ground as many times as Drew Bledsoe's before he shouted, "How 'bout them Redskins?" at American Airlines Arena in Dallas.

Al: Hilarious. The Mavericks fined him $1000 for his actions. Nothing like getting the crowd to boo you on your home court.

Lesson 2 -- Kyle Boller Might Have Just Saved His Job For 2006

Vivek: With time to throw, Boller finally had a performance worthy of his high draft selection. Take out two bad plays the week before against Denver, and you would be hearing more about Boller's turning the corner. As much as we praise Jonathan Ogden, the Ravens have had poor pass protection for the past few seasons. With either Jamal Lewis or Chester Taylor (or both) in the backfield plus Baltimore's talented receiving options, adding some veteran offensive linemen this winter might be enough to put the Ravens back into division title contention.

Al: Along the same lines, we also have Joey Harrington's stellar performance in the fourth quarter of Detroit's loss to Cincinnati. Harrington had been all but left for dead by the Lions and their fans. If you're Matt Millen, what do you do if Harrington finishes up the year with another two strong performances? That's right, you use your first round pick to draft him more weapons to work with.

Keep Choppin' Wood Award

Al: We'll give this award to a unit -- the grasp-less wonders that were the Kansas City Chiefs defense. You too can let Tiki Barber drag you five yards into the end zone. Or allow him to escape your clutches as he races 40 yards to the end zone on a play that shouldn't have gained more than five.

I also want to give a shout out to Reggie Wayne. Peyton Manning has gotten a lot of grief for his one man audible from a running play into a naked bootleg on fourth-and-1. What hasn't been talked about enough, however, was Wayne's total failure to do anything on that play. Thinking it was a running play to the other side of the field, Wayne stood motionless, neither blocking the cornerback across from him nor running a pattern to draw the defender away from the line. Had Wayne done either, Manning would have had a puncher's chance of getting into the end zone. By standing motionless, Wayne allowed Manning to be easily taken down short of the goal line.

Scramble for the Ball Mailbag

Vivek: Send your fantasy football questions each week to scramble@footballoutsiders.com, or fill out our contact form.

As the season wraps up, we've been hearing about some nightmare drafts and trades that have completely backfired. Send them along, and we'll print some of the worst next week. I'll get the ball rolling with one of my yahoo drafts. My top picks (in order): Dante Culpepper, Clinton Portis, Javon Walker, Darrell Jackson, Michael Bennett, Isaac Bruce. Do I really need to explain why that team missed the playoffs?

Now onto the Mailbag and Richard:

Ok, so it's playoff final time, and I have a couple of difficult decisions.

WR (pick 2): Boldin, Wayne, Moss and Porter. TE: Gonzalez or Cooley. I'm a bit stuck, because I'm not sure if Wayne will play or if Boldin will be any good without Warner, and Moss and Porter have been frustrating me with their inconsistency all season. In terms of TEs, do you think Cooley is a viable choice over Gonzo after that three TD performance? Cheers.

Al: Cooley had a great game, and has had a very solid season, but he did it against a team that's just terrible against tight ends. He'll be going against a Giants defense that has been great at stopping tight ends this season. Gibril Wilson did a nice job against Tony Gonzalez on Saturday and I'd expect him to be matched up against Cooley on Christmas Eve. Stay with Gonzo.

At WR, I'm assuming that's Randy Moss you're talking about. I wouldn't worry about Indianapolis resting its starters against Seattle, so start Wayne. I'd be worried about Boldin, but you have to start him over the Oakland receivers. Anquan was lucky to top 100 yards after he caught a worthless 43 yard pass to end the game against Houston. Take that catch out of the equation and Boldin only caught 2 passes for 15 yards from non-Warner Arizona quarterbacks. Moss and Porter, however, have been way too inconsistent for you to play either of them in a championship game, especially against Denver on the road.

Our own Tim from Texas writes:

Am I plum crazy to be considering benching LT against KC in favor of Cadillac against Atlanta in my Super Bowl? Was the Giants game an aberration for the Chiefs run defense? LT hasn't been very good the last several weeks since he's been hurt, but I'm afraid of benching him and then killing myself when he goes off for 40 points.

While I have your attention, since I always start the wrong receivers, which two of Holt, Burress, Santana Moss, and Rod Smith?

Vivek: It's not like you're benching LT in favor of Heath Evans here, so it's a good problem to have. Williams had 116 yards on 19 carries the first time around against Atlanta, and there is no reason to believe that he won't duplicate those numbers against the worst rush defense in the league.

Al: I always recommend sticking with your studs, so I'd start LT no matter what. But then again, I lost pretty much every one of my playoff games last week, so what do I know? Cadillac over LT would be a pretty ballsy play, but it looks like it might be the right one.

At wide receiver, I'd play Rod Smith and Holt. Now that it looks like the Ryan Fitzpatrick era may be over in St. Louis, Holt has a better chance at regaining his form as a #1 fantasy WR. Smith's numbers for the season are slightly worse than Burress' and Moss'. However, he has the best matchup and has been much more valuable recently with 280 yards and a touchdown over his last three games versus 187 and 0 touchdowns for Moss and 118 and 0 for Burress.

David is up next:

Hey, thanks for the tips last week. Worked out great. I was wondering if you had a last bit of advice on this topic: which defense do you prefer for this week? MIA at home vs. Tenn. or STL at home vs. SF? Let's just say that I got to the waiver wire first today.

Vivek: Tough call.

Reasons to play St. Louis: San Francisco has scored 22 points total in its past three games, the Niners offensive line ranks at the bottom of the league in pass protection, and Miami has given up 20 or more points in four straight games.

Reasons to play Miami: Miami is second in the NFL with 44 sacks, and Miami's defense is one of the tops in the league while St. Louis ranks in the bottom third.

My pick is St. Louis, with the hope that the San Francisco offensive line does its best Swiss cheese imitation.

Al: Yeah, I'd go with St. Louis as well, especially if points allowed count in the scoring system. You're pretty much guaranteed at least one interception and a couple of sacks combined with a single digit points total.

Mitch writes in with a wide receiver question for his finals:

It's gut check time. I need to choose between Burress and S. Moss for their game this week. They both sucked in the last Giants-Redskins matchup. What do you think?

Vivek: Moss because of the Eli factor. The Eli factor being errant passes, lobs up in the air and general inconsistency.

Al: I agree. Neither is a great play, but Moss has the better shot at getting a random big play at some point during the game.

Loser League Update

Al: Your Week 15 Loser League All Stars:

QB: Kyle Orton, CHI: 0 points (10 passes, 12 yards)
RB: T.J. Duckett, ATL: 0 points (8 carries, -2 yards)
RB: Jerome Bettis, PIT: 1 point (9 carries, 16 yards)
WR: Lee Evans, BUF: 0 points (2 catches, 5 yards)
WR: Eddie Kennison, KC: 0 points (3 catches, 23 yards; 1 fumble)
K: Sebastian Janikowski, OAK: -3 points (1/1 XP, 0/2 FG)

Loser League owners may have been the only people across America unhappy when Rex Grossman replaced Kyle Orton as Chicago's quarterback against Atlanta on Sunday night. Although he helped the Fred Smoot Pleasure Cruises tie with Like Giant, Radioactive, Rubber Pants! for first place in Week 15, Orton's benching is going to hurt many contenders' chances of catching our second half contest leader, The Shiznits. Both second place Very Superman Team and third place Ready to Crumble have been relying on Orton to get them to the top of the standings. With Orton likely racking up 15 point penalties on the bench for the next two weeks, someone else will need to step it down a notch to knock our first place team off its pedestal.

Best Bets

Al: (1-2 last week, 21-19-1 overall)

I'm barely hanging on to the season lead. Can I finish the year with a winning record and hold you off? Doubtful.

CAROLINA -5.5 over Dallas

I love the Panthers in this game so much that I know Dallas is going to end up winning by two touchdowns. Bledsoe has been awful since Flozell Adams went down, and things won't get much better for him if Marco Rivera can't go on Saturday. The NFL record for most sacks by a team in one game -- 12 -- is in serious danger of falling.

TAMPA BAY -3.0 over Atlanta

Tampa has never done a great job containing a healthy Michael Vick. An unhealthy Michael Vick, however, they can handle.

Philadelphia +1.0 over ARIZONA

This has to be some sort of joke, right?

Vivek: (2-1 last week, 24-25-1 overall)

To quote Dennis Leary for Al, “I think you hear me knockin'….�

SEATTLE +3 over Indianapolis

Edge will get no more than 17 carries and Manning will attempt no more than 20 passes before Tony Dungy puts in Jim Sorgi & Friends. Seattle, on the other hand, has home field advantage at stake and a heck of a lot to play for. Do you think the Seahawks want to play in five degree weather at Chicago in January?

HOUSTON +6.0 over Jacksonville

Reggie Bush, welcome to San Francisco. As I mentioned above, the Jags have been barely beating the bad teams lately.

New England - 6.0 over JETS

First the team loses Chad Pennington. Then Curtis Martin. Now the ability for the fans to drown their sorrows in a beer. The only brewski in the Meadowlands will be the one bringing down anybody in green.

Posted by: scramble on 21 Dec 2005

39 comments, Last at 23 Dec 2005, 11:25pm by Beige Tangerine

Comments

1
by Richard (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 3:13pm

"The one difference, however, between the San Diego team that upset the Colts in Indianapolis and the New England one that will likely be looking to do the same in a month or so is the secondary. As good as Ellis Hobbs has looked recently at cornerback, it’s one thing to handle Tampa’s receivers in Foxboro and another to cover Indianapolis’ receivers indoors at the RCA Dome.

I will take Hobbs and Samuel over Jammer (I'm required to throw something yellow everytime I mention or type his name) and Florence.

2
by ABW (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 3:27pm

Pick 2 of TJ Houshmanzadeh, Anquan Boldin, and Darrell Jackson(who's been on my bench since I traded for him in week 2..doh). I've been going with Boldin and Houshmanzadeh for several weeks now and it's been working really well but now Boldin has a McCown throwing to him so I'm tempted to go with Jackson and Housh. Any thoughts?

3
by djt (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 3:38pm

I'm somehow in the finals, and the only decision I have is at QB: Hasselbeck vs. IND or Plummer vs. OAK. Do I continue with Hasselbeck's hot hand (8 TD/1 INT last 3 weeks), given that he has home-field to play for and Indy's defense might take the weekend off? Or do I switch to the Snake, who seems to have reverted to form recently (4 TD/2 INT), but is also chasing a high playoff seed and gets to tee off on the Raiders' awful pass D?

I dunno. Right now I'm going with Plummer, but ask me in fifteen minutes and I'll probably have changed my mind again.

4
by Daniel (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 3:38pm

"The only brewski in the Meadowlands will be the one bringing down anybody in green."

Nice!

Quick fantasy question: Mike Anderson vs. Oakland or Ryan Moats @ Arizona?

5
by kleph (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 3:41pm

Middle Earth University - home of the fighting Numenorians.

6
by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 4:03pm

Nothing like getting the crowd to boo you on your home court.

I am strongly in favor of letting athletes address the crowd before games. In fact, let's make it a rule.

What hasn’t been talked about enough, however, was Wayne’s total failure to do anything on that play.

Not to toot my own horn, as it were, but I've mentioned this every time the play is discussed. Manning was far enough away from the defenders that he could have lofted the ball to a wide open Wayne in the end zone.

7
by mactbone (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 4:14pm

Invader's blood marches through my veins

You just have to wonder at that Seattle/Indy matchup. Elite AFC teams have been spanking elite NFC teams lately, maybe all year so it wouldn't surprise me if the Colts blow up when the starters are in, the question then is how quickly Seattle can come back. It's actually a little odd that they left that game on the board with such uncertainty on who will play and for how long.

8
by cjfarls (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 4:16pm

OKay, Pick 2 of 4 for flex positions: D.Mason, C.Cooley, R.Moats, or K.Curtis...

9
by David S. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 4:19pm

As the season draws closer to it's end I'd like to give a big swollen shout out to Hasslebeck, J-Shock, Rueben and The Housh for carrying my fantasy football team to my league's championship round. It's not everyday you see someone who uses his first three picks on Priest Holmes, TO and LaMont Jordan make it to his league's championship round, and I couldn't have done without these guys. A big "you suck" goes out to Roy and Moe Williams, Lee Evans for having his only good game when I sat him and Mike Anderson for doing well after I cut him. Parts Unknown Fornicate is going to win this baby!

As a sidenote, if St. Louis or Jacksonville do anything to ruin my Reggie Bush Bowl Party, so help me higher order, I will be immensely distressed.

10
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 4:19pm

Thanks to Al and Vivek for pointing out the truly lamentable state of pass blocking in Baltimore the past few years. It's hard to throw downfield with any consistency without better protection than the likes of Pashos, etc.

That being said, they did a great job Monday night. Too bad the game wasn't worthy of an EPC.

11
by Tim Gerheim :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 4:37pm

I'm not sure that I buy that Wayne did anything wrong. If I remember correctly, he was blocking halfheartedly, although he wasn't trying to drive his guy off the line or anything. But that's to be expected when the play he's running is an inside run. He didn't see Manning scrambling over to his side for a long time, and I can certainly understand how he would be indecisive. His first instinct was probably to try to get open, but I would think that any pass would be illegal because of offensive lineman having surged their way into the end zone, ie downfield. (I'm not sure how far they have to be to be considered downfield.) Then by the time he changed him mind and decided to block really hard, it was too late. So I have a hard time blaming Wayne for doing what he was supposed to do on a crazy play that he didn't know was crazy.

12
by Shylo (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 4:51pm

First the team loses Chad Pennington. Then Curtis Martin. Now the ability for the fans to drown their sorrows in a beer. The only brewski in the Meadowlands will be the one bringing down anybody in green.

Classic.

13
by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 4:54pm

This has been a plain weird year for Favre. First, he gets embroiled in Javon Walker's holdout which TOTALLY contradicts his previous behavior. Favre, like almost all other NFL players, had stayed away from commenting when teammates were looking for more money. This year he wasn't only vocal he seemed to seek out the chance to opine on the topic.

Two, his risk analysis skills over the past several years have been lacking but this year he has completely gone over the edge. I honestly question whether he is losing his eyesight, his sanity, or has some bizarro jihad against the Packers winning. Earlier in the year he was sometimes forcing the ball but nothing out of the ordinary for him. The last 3-4 games it has been a totally different story. Five or more times a game he has made ABSURD throws.

Three, he has told the organization that if Mike Sherman goes, he goes because he doesn't believe he can learn a new system.

Favre has put Ted Thompson in a pickle. Favre does have the physical skills to play the position fairly well. But there is no way on Gado's green Earth this team is going to be anything next year or the year after. Favre says its Sherman or bust. Sherman is a solid coach but his stay in Green Bay needs to be ended. A change of scenery is in everyone's best interests.

If I am Thompson I call Favre, tell him a change is going to be made, and if he fusses tell him thanks for the memories.

If I were Favre I would show up on Sunday, take the first snap of the game, kneel down, hand the ball to the ref, and walk off the field.

End his career against the Bears with his dignity in tact before the Bears defense decapitates him.

Won't happen. But the actual ending is going to be far more ugly.

And that saddens me.........

14
by Jaws (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 5:40pm

Why recommend sending Vick out to get killed on 4th and 1 when you have TJ Duckett?

15
by Ray (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 5:43pm

Because Vick is a much better runner than TJ Duckett, and probably has a much better chance to score? And classic Vick would probably be able to elude the tacklers and get down without having to take a vicious hit anyway.

BTW, Jaws, love ya on Monday Night Countdown. ;^)

16
by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 6:19pm

My fantasy football question, for a weird league where I'm just in the semifinals. For my second running back spot, I have to choose from L.Jordan at DEN, M.Anderson vs. OAK and S.Gado vs. CHI. All of them face good run defenses, and Jordan and gado are injured, while Anderson, being a Bronco, just might not tickle Shanahan's fancy this week. Any idea what I can do?

17
by stereochemistry (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 6:31pm

"Tampa has never done a great job containing a healthy Michael Vick. An unhealthy Michael Vick, however, they can handle."

Really? It seems that for years that's one of the things always brought up: That Tampa's defense was fast enough to contain Vick, at least compared to the rest of the league. Though the rest of the league seems to be catching up.

Just last year, the 5-11 Bucs beat the Falcons in Tampa 27-0

Vick's line:
13/27 115 yrds, 5 sacks, 2 INT; 8 rushes, 81 yards, 2 fumbles lost.

18
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 6:46pm

17: Yes, but at the time, Vick had herpes, so he falls under the category of an "unhealthy Michael Vick."

19
by Nick (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 6:54pm

Deciding between Drew Bennett, Bobby Engram, and Joe Jurevicius for my third receiver spot. Any suggestions? Thanks.

20
by andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 7:45pm

Middle Earth University - home of the fighting Numenorians.

Its all about the rings...

21
by Al (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 8:26pm

If Wayne had been half-heartedly blocking I wouldn't have noticed him. From what I saw, he was doing absolutely nothing, literally just standing there. If anything, it looked like the corner was blocking Wayne.

Had he been doing anything moderately resembling blocking, which I'm assuming was his assignment and not "stand there doing nothing," Peyton waltzes into the end zone.

22
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 8:28pm

My big decision: Edge or Cadillac? Right now I'm leaning towards Cadillac because the Falcons run defense is bad, and because I think Edge might get a light workload. Can anyone tell me if I'm crazy?

23
by zerlesen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 9:08pm

re: 20

Nice one.

The whole Middle Earth U, Fighting Numenorian, looked-impressive-saving-Frodo-from-a-giant-spider-but-untested-at-this-level bit makes me almost as happy as the name "Rusher McFumbles" did earlier this year. (Dammit, though, I only needed 90 yards or a TD out of him on Monday night to avoid elimination...)

24
by Terry (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 11:19pm

I'm in the Super Bowl of my league, and couldn't have done it without FO. So here I am again.

Pick three:

Cedric Houston, Frank Gore, Zack Crockett, Chester Taylor, Julius Jones, Marion Barber, Derrick Mason, Jerry Porter, Koren Robinson.

25
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 11:34pm

Re #15: Because Vick is a much better runner than TJ Duckett, and probably has a much better chance to score? And classic Vick would probably be able to elude the tacklers and get down without having to take a vicious hit anyway.

You might want to check the DVOA page, where Duckett is 9th in DVOA and 12th in success rate. If I have to choose between Vick and Duckett to convert a 3rd and 30 rushing, I'm picking Vick. If I have to choose between Vick and Duckett to convert a 3rd and 1 rushing, I'm choosing Duckett.

26
by Dave (not verified) :: Thu, 12/22/2005 - 10:54am

Your anti-Dallas feelings are on display. Washington-give us a break!! The fact that 3 of their "drives" last week began inside the Dallas 40 may have something to do with the final score. Dallas has had protection problems since Adams went down but before you Cantonize Phillip Daniels-please look at his career stats. Not exactly Reggie White. The Giants will reveal the Skins for what they are this week- a good defensive team with very little offensive punch in other words pretenders, not contenders.

27
by Ron (not verified) :: Thu, 12/22/2005 - 11:26am

I was surprised to see you say that "Tampa has never done a great job containing a healthy Michael Vick." In fact, until the NFC Championship Game last year, few teams other than Tampa had Michael Vick's number. They are 4-2 against Michael Vick, and his bad games against them outnumber his good ones.

28
by bethehouse (not verified) :: Thu, 12/22/2005 - 12:20pm

Seattle at plus 3? Where are you getting these lines? They are currently 9 point favorites on betonsports. If Seattle wins by 6 or 7, you pick should be void.

29
by JonL (not verified) :: Thu, 12/22/2005 - 12:53pm

Dallas is clearly ranked too low because bill parcell will be in the halloffame and art munk never will. you will be in the hall of [redacted]. my cousin jeff has a way better system this. dallas has won way more soper bowls than the reskins and besides they are Americas' team. ill bet you like to [redacted] in the [redacted] with joe gibs and marc bruenell every nite. these rankings were probabbly ritten by the little girl that you are. dont mes with texas!

30
by FastEddy (not verified) :: Thu, 12/22/2005 - 4:33pm

29: Still laughing. Coffee all over my screen. What an insanely [redacted] [redacted] piece of [redacted] thing to [redacted] say!

31
by Knuckles (not verified) :: Thu, 12/22/2005 - 8:58pm

I need help! I'm in my league championship and I can't decide between Roethlisberger or Hasselbeck for QB and I need to pick between Mike Anderson and DeShaun Foster for my 2nd RB. Anyone got some opinions?

32
by JonL (not verified) :: Thu, 12/22/2005 - 9:31pm

I'd go with Anderson and Roethlisberger. Then again, I scored a whopping one win all season.

33
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Fri, 12/23/2005 - 12:27am

Here's a hint at RB: Mike Anderson is the #8 fantasy RB in the entire league in most scoring systems. The only RBs in the game that score more points per touch than Anderson are Tomlinson and Alexander. The only RBs in the NFL who have scored more TDs since week 2 (when Anderson got healthy) have been Tomlinson and Alexander. And Shanahan loves running up the score on Oakland.

34
by tmgdi (not verified) :: Fri, 12/23/2005 - 3:11am

The giants have only won two road games this year. The 49ers and the eagles, the eagles by the way took them to overtime and their backup running back exploded for 2 tds and 100 yards. The giants are also the team with 13 false starts on the road in seattle. I seriously doubt that the giants offense will be functioning at full capacity with a raucous fed ex crowd this saturday. Not to mention the redskins run the toss now instead of the stupid counter trey which has led them to have a decent nfl offense for the past month.

35
by tmgdi (not verified) :: Fri, 12/23/2005 - 3:14am

Also can the 6'5 230 pound manning feel free to bowl over a cornerback who is standing a yard outside the end zone for a touchdown. I saw a game where jeff garcia bowled over brian dawkins for god's sake for a td. But if it makes you feel better to blame wayne instead of manning then go right ahead.

36
by JonL (not verified) :: Fri, 12/23/2005 - 11:02am

That could have worked if Wayne had blocked one of the defensive backs, leaving one for Manning, but as it was, Manning had to take on two tacklers. He's also not quite as mobile as Garcia was.

37
by calig23 (not verified) :: Fri, 12/23/2005 - 11:58am

Okay, several fantasy questions. This one's for all the marbles...

1. For my second QB (Carson Palmer is my first), Eli Manning or Jake Delhomme?

2. For my WRs: 3 out of Santana Moss, Bobby Engram, Chris Chambers, Joe Horn, or Roy Williams.

3. For my team defense: Carolina (against Dallas) or Detroit (against New Orleans)?

38
by calig23 (not verified) :: Fri, 12/23/2005 - 12:24pm

Oh yeah, one other question.

Currently my kicker is Josh Scobee. Would I be better of sticking with him, or picking up a different kicker? Some potentials include Jay Feely, Josh Brown, and Jeff Wilkins.

39
by Beige Tangerine (not verified) :: Fri, 12/23/2005 - 11:25pm

RE: #38 and Scobee

I have the same kind of decision in my league, and I think I'm picking up Jeff Wilkins. Scobee's averaging a little over 6 points/game, including a mere 4 points against San Francisco at home last week, when kickers had been averaging over 11 points/games against 49ers road teams. Wilkins, on the other hand, is averaging over 7 points/game, and he's just about maintained that average in games started by Jamie Martin. Since he's up against the aforementioned terrible 49ers road team, I figure his chances are pretty good.

RE: 22 and Edge/Cadillac

I'd tend to say Cadillac, as well, for the same reasons as you. The Colts took a beating in the San Diego game, so they'll probably be a little less inclined to keep their starters in very long this time. Someone suggested in a comment to one of these stories that Dungy may have been interested in knocking the Chargers out of the playoffs, which would explain why they played starters for so long last week. (I understand there was also something about an undefeated season....) Anyway, Marvin Harrison and Cato June are out, and several other Colts were downgraded, so I wouldn't expect too many carries for Edge, either.