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12 Jan 2006

Scramble for the Ball: 2005 All-Keep Choppin' Wood Team

by Al Bogdan and Vivek Ramgopal

Al: Vivek, another season of football has passed us by and it's time to recognize those players who made noteworthy contributions on and off the field of play in the 2005 season. But we're not going to bore our readers with yet another column discussing who the best players on the season were. No, we'll bore our readers with the Third Annual All-Keep Choppin' Wood Team, honoring those players who did the most to hurt their teams this past season.

For those of you just joining us, we started giving out the Keep Choppin' Wood Award in Week 9 of 2003 in honor of Jaguars punter Chris Hanson's ending his season by slicing his foot open with an axe. Coach Jack Del Rio had placed a tree stump and axe in the Jaguars locker room as a motivational tool. The stump and axe were a symbol of the team's motto, "Keep Choppin' Wood."

The All-KCW Team honors those players who are not necessarily the worst at their position, but contributed the most to the detriment to their teams. If they are truly awful at their job, all the better. Did you commit five false start penalties in a game? Did you get arrested outside of a nightclub before training camp? Did you get offered the lead in Love Boat: The Movie? Then you might just be a member of the All-Keep Choppin' Wood Team. (If you are curious, you'll find last year's team here.)

Quarterback

Kerry Collins, Oakland

Al: This was the most difficult position to decide, with the FO staff offering a record number of nominees. In the end, Collins' league leading nine delay of game penalties pushed him over the top. Collins was given all of the weapons to put his strong arm to use in a high powered offense, but instead was benched three quarters of the way into the season in favor of Marques Tuiasosopo.

Other players considered: Michael Vick, Alex Smith, Kyle Orton, Daunte Culpepper, Drew Bledsoe, Joey Harrington, J.P. Losman.

Running Back

Jamal Lewis, Baltimore; Willis McGahee, Buffalo

Vivek: Something wasn't right with Jamal Lewis this year. It is hard for me to believe that a 26-year old runner with his abilities suddenly is on the downside of his career. With Derrick Mason on board for 2005, many (including yours truly) expected a big year from Lewis, not one which saw him average more than a yard per carry less than his career average. I was probably too optimistic about seeing some sort of development by Kyle Boller, which would have prevented teams from stacking up against the run.
Lewis never was comfortable running through tacklers or to the outside this season, and as a result only topped the 20 carry mark in five games. He finished as the second-worst back in terms of DPAR, sandwiched between Michael Bennett and Marcel Shipp.

Al: I guess a federal penitentiary isn't the best place to conduct four months of your off-season training program. In just two seasons, Lewis has gone from rushing for the second most yards ever in a season to being the second best back on his own team.

In late October, Willis McGahee declared himself to be the best back in the NFL. After making that bold statement, McGahee topped 100 yards just once, and averaged only 64.3 yards per game and 3.4 yards per carry. The Bills went 2-8 over that span, cementing their spot in the top half of their draft where they could potentially draft McGahee's replacement.

Vivek: And taking a runner-up spot without playing a single down this year is Onterrio Smith. Say it with me one last time, everyone: Whizzinator.

Other players considered: Kevin Jones.

Wide Receiver

Terrell Owens, Philadelphia; Charles Rogers, Detroit

Al: If you need us to justify TO's selection on this squad, then maybe you haven't watched enough ESPN this season. Kudos to you for that.

We couldn't have an All-KCW Team without Michael David Smith's favorite player, Charles Rogers. It would be impossible to compile all the negative things MDS has written about Rogers this season in one place. Rogers set a career high in games played this season with nine. During those rare occasions when he wasn't injured or suspended for violating the league's substance abuse program, Rogers was making his case for being the biggest draft bust this side of Ryan Leaf. The former #2 overall pick, on whom the Lions have spent $20 million in salary cap space, found himself below the immortal Scottie Vines and Glenn Martinez at different points this year.

Other players considered: Eric Moulds, Reggie Williams, David Patten.

Tight End

Doug Jolley, New York Jets

Vivek: First Terry Bradway traded last year's first round pick for Jolley, and then he used the second-round pick he acquired from the Raiders on kicker Mike Nugent. And we have a nominee for KCW GM. Jolley could not even beat out Chris Baker for the starting tight end spot, and could not even effectively pass block in a reduced role. While Jolley's final numbers looked respectable, you have to take into consideration his nine-catch, 102-yard game against the Dolphins. Now how do his numbers look?

Al: As more than one person noted at the time, instead of dealing a first round pick for Jolley, the Jets could have just drafted Heath Miller out of Virginia. Miller finished the year with 459 receiving yards and six touchdown receptions, finishing tied for second in offensive rookie of the year voting. Jolley finished the year with one touchdown catch and 324 yards receiving, almost a third of which came in the New York's loss to Miami in Week 15. Jolley had six games this season where he gained zero yards or less.

Offensive Tackle

Luke Petitgout, New York Giants; Leonard Davis, Arizona

Al: Petitgout combined poor blocking with a great ability to pick up penalties. He was second in the league with 15 penalties, costing the Giants 101 yards in field position on the season. Ten of those penalties were false starts, with five of those coming in New York's near upset of Seattle. Had Petitgout merely waited until the ball was snapped to get into his two-point stance, the Giants would have had to wait until at least the second round of the playoffs to get blown out at home.

Vivek: The Cardinals desperately need to revamp the worst offensive line from 2005, and they started by hiring former Minnesota offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Loney as its O-line chief. His first job should be to better discipline Davis, who was the "human false start" with 12 on the season. Honorable mention goes to Buffalo's Mike Gandy, the "human offensive hold."

Other players considered: Torrin Tucker, Rob Petitti, Scott Gragg, Oliver Ross, Victor Riley.

Offensive Guard

William Whitticker, Green Bay; Sean Mahan, Tampa Bay

Al: In the damning with faint praise department, William Whitticker was ranked as the second best rookie guard in football by Mike Tanier, in a year where only two rookie guards saw any serious playing time. Whitticker had a tough job replacing a Pro Bowler who departed for greener pastures, and did a pretty poor job at it. The Green Bay running game had been built successfully on the pulls of Mike Wahle. With Whitticker at right guard, those pulls weren't nearly as effective, as the rotating cast of Green Bay running backs all struggled to get into the second level of opposing defenses.

Sean Mahan earns his spot on this list by leading all guards in penalties this season. Yeah, it's tough to pick out really bad guard play. Let us know if you have any better suggestions.

Other players considered: Reggie Wells.

Center

Cory Withrow, Minnesota

Al: The loss of Matt Birk left big shoes for Withrow to fill. It was opposing defensive tackles that proved to be too big, as Withrow was too small to handle the 300+ pound behemoths lining across from him. Minnesota went from one of the best teams in football at running up the middle to the worst.

Defensive End

Chauncey Davis and Jonathan Babineaux, Atlanta;

Al: As part of our in-development defensive stats here at Football Outsiders, we track the plays that defenders are involved in. DeMorrio Williams was third in plays among outside linebackers, in large part because of the poor play of Jonathan Babineaux and Chauncey Davis in front of him. The two rookies filled in for Brady Smith on the right side of Atlanta's defensive line with poor results. Babineaux had the lowest stop rate -- percentage of plays where a defender stops the offensive player from achieving success -- among all defensive linemen. Babineaux also allowed more yards per play -- 4.1 -- than any other defensive lineman in the NFL. The two combined to rack up a whopping 1.5 sacks on the season while allowing one of the highest yards per carry in the league on runs to the left side of the offensive line.

Other players considered: James Hall, Kalimba Edwards.

Defensive Tackle

Jason Fisk, Cleveland; Lance Legree, New York Jets

Al: Fisk ranks first in the league among starting defensive tackles in yards per play allowed. Teams ran up the middle on nearly 60 percent of runs against Cleveland, in large part because of Fisk's ineffectiveness anchoring the middle of the Browns' 3-4 defense. This isn't the first year of ineffectiveness for Fisk, who lost his starting job in San Diego last year right before the San Diego run defense miraculously improved.

Lance Legree was brought in by the Jets to provide depth at a defensive tackle position that lost it's mainstay, Jason Ferguson, to Dallas. Legree was one of the main reasons New York's run defense declined from one of the ten best in the league to one of the ten worst when it comes to stopping runs up the middle . If Legree was involved in a play, odds are the back was moving the football. Legree allowed more yards per carry on the ground – 4.0 – than any other defensive lineman in the NFL. The Giants saw marked improvement when they replaced Legree with free agent to be Kendrick Clancy at defensive tackle this year. The Jets should consider doing the same.

Other players considered: Ted Washington, Seth Payne, Jason Ferguson.

Linebacker

Keith Brooking, Atlanta; Monty Beisel, New England; Morlon Greenwood, Houston

Vivek: All-Pro Brooking will probably be a surprise pick, but his performance at middle linebacker was not at the level that he was accustomed to on the outside. (He actually made the Pro Bowl as an outside linebacker.) Brooking was forced to the inside after Ed Hartwell went down early in the season. Offenses in fact had a high success rate on rushing plays up the middle, right at Brooking and the other inside linebackers. This is an unfair recognition for Brooking, but he did get by this year on his past accolades.

Al: Look here, another Atlanta defensive player. It's admirable that Brooking played most of the season out of position at inside linebacker after Hartwell's injury, but how he made the Pro Bowl, we'll never know. Only two other linebackers involved in over 100 plays had a lower success rate than Brooking's 49 percent.

Vivek: It was no coincidence that the Patriots went 7-3 with Tedy Bruschi this year, and part of the reason was that his return (coupled with the move of Mike Vrabel to the inside) pushed Monty Beisel to the bench. Beisel lacks Bruschi's ability to read the offense and anticipate plays, which made him a liability. He was also using the matador tackling technique at the start of the season, not exactly what Belichick and company look for. As we wrote in the Kansas City chapter of PFP 2005: "Beisel is now in New England, and Patriots fans are still trying to figure out why."

Al: Monty Beisel didn't endear himself to New England fans with his poor play as one of the team's starting inside linebackers early in the season. He endeared himself even less when he allegedly took a swing at a Boston beat writer who wrote an unflattering article about Beisel, and then berated a New England public relations worker for allowing the reporter near his locker. I'm guessing Beisel won't see the second year of the two year contract he signed this past off-season.

Morlon Greenwood may have led the Texans in tackles, but those tackles only came after opponents had already gained a good amount of yardage. Greenwood led all starting linebackers in most yards allowed per run, and finished in the top 10 in yards per pass allowed. Greenwood was one of only three linebackers to be involved in over 100 plays that allowed the opponent to be successful in more than half of them.

Other players considered: Jason Babin.

Cornerback

Adam "Pac-Man" Jones, Tennessee; Fred Smoot, Minnesota

Vivek: The Vikings who were on the Love Boat organized by last offseason's free agent signee might disagree with this selection. Smoot signed a six-year, $34 million deal, but finished the season with five missed games because of a shoulder injury and his lowest interception and tackle totals since his rookie year. In the first half of the season before getting hurt, Smoot did nothing to help a defense that yielded on average 224 passing yards and 352 total yards per game. The KCW clincher was in Carolina, when Smoot proceeded to run his mouth in front of Steve Smith. Smith exacted revenge by torching Smoot for 201 yards.

Smoot's KCW teammate came into the season with a tremendous amount of promise and ability, but a summer arrest and a contract holdout tempered those expectations. Jones' season was marred by inconsistency, a lack of interceptions, a failure to grasp the pro game and immaturity evidenced by a tantrum directed towards the team's equipment manager. Head coach Jeff Fisher, who defended Jones all season, finally benched the rookie in the season finale against Jacksonville after he committed two personal fouls in three plays. His only redemption this year was his play as a punt returner. Hopefully for the Titans, his success as a returner will carry over to his defense.

Other players considered: Dre "It's Joey Harrington's Fault I Can't Cover Anyone One on One" Bly; Duane "Makes Aaron Schatz Want to Shove Hot Pokers in His Eyes" Starks, Philip Buchanon.

Safety

Greg Wesley, Kansas City; Derrick Gibson, Oakland

Al: Did you see Tiki Barber set the New York Giants record for most rushing yards in a single game against Kansas City? Then you saw quite a bit of Greg Wesley. Rather, you saw quite a bit of Barber running past Wesley after he missed tackle after tackle. 21 percent of the rushing yards allowed by Kansas City came on runs of ten yards or more, sixth worst in the league, in no small part because of the poor tackling of Wesley.

As fellow Outsider Mike Tanier put it to us, "Derrick Gibson has to be the worst safety ever to start about three full seasons."

Other players considered: Troy Vincent, Eugene Wilson.

Kicker

Kris Brown, Houston

Vivek: Kris Brown might be Houston's MVP, if you consider the fact that Brown single-handedly gift wrapped Reggie Bush for the Texans. Brown missed two field goal attempts at Tennessee, including a complete shank of potential game-tying field try as time expired, then failed on a 31-yard attempt late in a 20-17 overtime loss to San Francisco. Brown's conversion percentage was better than last year, but his penchant for missing key kicks this year just added to the debate about whether the Texans were throwing in the towel.

I'll give an honorable mention to Jose Cortez. It is amazing that he is playing for a Super Bowl favorite, even though it is his fourth team of the season. Cortez started 2005 with Dallas and faced the wrath of Bill Parcells after missing one field goal during a one-point loss to the Redskins. Bill Parcells finally made a change after Cortez missed three kicks in a two-game span, both of which the Cowboys lost by a field goal. He lasted with the Eagles for a month before heading to San Francisco, and then the Colts signed him to be the team's kickoff specialist. Needless to say, Cortez has not attempted one field goal since his Dallas tenure.

Al: We should just give an honorable mention to all of Dallas' kickers this year. In addition to Cortez, Billy Cundiff and Steve Suisham both missed big kicks for the Cowboys this season.

Punter

B.J. Sander, Green Bay

Al: At Football Outsiders, we've made more than one snide remark in the direction of the New York Jets for their decision to draft Mike Nugent in the second round of this past year's draft. At least, however, the Jets didn't trade up to grab Nugent, as the Packers did two years ago when they moved up in the third round to draft another kicker out of Ohio State, punter B.J. Sander.

Vivek: We're all numbers guys here, and the numbers don't lie with Sander. He averaged 39.2 yards per punt and a league worst 34.5 net yards on each kick. He was also near the bottom of the league in kicks inside the 20-yard line, only ahead of punters from San Francisco and Baltimore. Neither of those two teams could move the ball, so of course it would be hard for their punters to reach the opponents' 20. Green Bay at least had Favre slinging the ball.

Playoff Fantasy League Update

Al: My team is done. Tim is in the lead thanks to Steve Smith, Tom Brady, and Jerome Bettis. We'll begin to update the "Best of the Rest" teams next week when we know which first-round teams actually made it through two games.


JASON VIVEK NED
QB Manning, NYG -3 Plummer, Den 0 Manning, IND 0
RB Alexander, SEA 0 James, IND 0 Johnson, CIN 12
RB Anderson, DEN 0 Foster, CAR 15 Dillon, NE 5
WR Smith, DEN 0 Galloway, TB 6 Moss, WAS 2
WR Ward, PIT 7 Branch, NE 3 Engram, SEA 0
WR Jurevicius, SEA 0 Houshmandzadeh, CIN 8 Smith, JAC 3
TE Stevens, SEA 0 Clark, IND 0 Miller, PIT 1
K Brown, SEA 0 Vinatieri, NE 4 Elam, DEN 0
DEF New England 16 Chicago 0 New York Giants 1
20 36 24
AARON AL TIM
QB Hasselbeck, SEA 0 Palmer, CIN 3 Brady, NE 22
RB Barber, NYG 6 Jones, CHI 0 Williams, TB 3
RB Bell, DEN 0 Portis, WAS 11 Bettis, PIT 11
WR Wayne, IND 0 Harrison, IND 0 Smith, CAR 21
WR Jackson, SEA 0 Johnson, CIN 5 Muhammad, CHI 0
WR Toomer, NYG 3 Burress, NYG 0 Lelie, DEN 0
TE Watson, NE 15 Shockey, NYG 5 Cooley, WAS 1
K Vanderjagt, IND 0 Feely, NYG 0 Gould, CHI 0
DEF Seattle 0 Indianapolis 0 Denver 0
24 24 58

Best Bets

Vivek: (2-2 last week; 2-2 playoffs)

I'm still protesting the incomplete pass call on Edell Shepherd. I still see that he had possession before he hit the ground. With the way Chris Simms was running Tampa Bay's offense, I might have been ahead in the win column if that call was overturned.

SEATTLE -9.5 over Washington

Say all you want about a weak schedule, but 8-0 at home is undefeated no matter how you analyze it. The Redskins are playing on borrowed time, and the question is how are they going to score enough points to keep up with Shaun Alexander and friends. Mark Brunell has not been effective since hurting his leg against the Giants, completing only 16-of-40 pass attempts for 182 yards in two games. It looks like Santana Moss will be returning punts this week, so the Redskins had better hope that he breaks free on one.

New England +3.5 over DENVER

This is a different New England team than the one that lost 28-20 in Denver earlier this season. The New England defense, for starters, will not be giving up the big plays like it did in the first game – a 68-yard run by Tatum Bell, a 55-yard reception by Ashley Lelie and a 72-yard touchdown strike from Jake Plummer to Rod Smith. Key players who were absent during New England's first trip to Denver: Tedy Bruschi, Corey Dillon and Richard Seymour. Like I said, this is a different team. You know that the Colts are pulling for the Broncos.

Carolina +3.0 over CHICAGO

I just noticed that every playoff game this week is a rematch of a regular season game. Like my first two picks, I'm going with the loser to come out on top this week. The Carolina defense shouldn't yield more than one touchdown, and Deshaun Foster, while not as good as he appeared last week, will still get his yards. Carolina 17-7.

INDIANAPOLIS -9.5 over Pittsburgh

The Colts, like the Patriots, are healthy now. Cato June, Corey Simon, Bob Sanders, Robert Mathis, and Montae Reagor should be at or near top shape for this weekend's game. The Steelers, who averaged nearly 180 yards on the ground in the past six games, were held in check (86 yards) during their previous meeting. The Indianapolis defensive line can win the battle on the line, and the end game result will be the same.

Al: (1-3 last week; 1-3 playoffs)

What a great start to the postseason.

SEATTLE -9.5 over Washington

Washington's defense has been firing on all cylinders lately, but the Redskins haven't gone up against an offensive line as good as Seattle's during their end of the season run. With Renaldo Wynn out for the season and Phillip Daniels lined up against Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson, Washington's defensive line will not be able to put the same pressure on Matt Hasselbeck that they have been recently putting on opposing quarterbacks. Given time, Hasselbeck should be able to exploit the injuries in Washington's secondary and put points up on the board.

DENVER -3.5 over New England

The Patriots had a nice run, but it will end on Saturday. The Patriots won't be able to run the ball against Denver's great front seven with a hobbled Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk. Darrent Williams expects to be back in the lineup for Denver, returning one of the league's best pass defenses to full strength.

INDIANAPOLIS -9.5 over Pittsburgh

There's always the risk that Peyton Manning blows out his ACL on the first play from scrimmage, but I wouldn't bet on it. The Colts are going to roll through the post season, starting with a big win over the Steelers.

CHICAGO -3.0 over Carolina

This line should be at least twice what it is. The Bears actually have linebackers that can tackle, which means the Panthers shouldn't have the same success running the ball that they had last week against the Giants. I'm not expecting the Bears to light up the scoreboard against the Panthers, but they should get enough field goals to outscore an inevitable Steve Smith touchdown.

Posted by: scramble on 12 Jan 2006

79 comments, Last at 16 Jan 2006, 12:23am by CaffeineMan

Comments

1
by underthebus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 3:30pm

For WR how could you leave out Michael Clayton?

2
by underthebus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 3:31pm

...and TE Kellen Winslow.

3
by TheWedge (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 3:32pm

Regarding Dallas's Kicking Troubles:
I wonder if the fact that Parcells fires his kickers the second they miss a kick is the reason for Dallas's problems rather than the players themselves. Not to say that Cortez doesn't suck but the "miss and you're fired policy" can't help.

4
by Israel (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 3:35pm

No Tommy Maddox for KCW? Even as a nominee?

5
by andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 3:43pm

This seems more like an all-dissapointing team in many places, not so much in the spirit of the KCW. For example, Jamal Lewis was dissapointing. But its not like he made any specific bad decisions that lead to him being dissapointing. Onterrio Smith, that seems more in the spirit of thw award...

6
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 3:50pm

Wow,
All of the above suggestions are pretty solid.

I think Viv's three returning Pats are not all that recovered... will Bruschi play? How effective will Dillon be? Seymour? Probably at 90%, which is better than most guys' 100%....

My only other comment is that we need more middle "as in humorous or ironic" names in there.

I especially like the Duane Starks middle name. Did his folks really name him that? How prescient.

7
by GaryS (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 3:55pm

#3
No, the reason the Dallas kickers aren't any good is because (a) they lack the skills necessary to be an NFL kicker, (b) Parcells/Jones, in their wisdom, decided to cut their deep snapper, Jeff Robinson, just before the season started, and had to go with an unknown rookie, and (c)Parcells and Jones axed their kicking coach, Steve Hoffman, two years ago and failed to hire a replacement.

I also noted that no less than 5 Cowboys were "honorable mention" on the KCW team. Its a miracle that team won 9 games last year.

8
by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 4:01pm

#5 - Maybe the decision that put him in jail was not the best he'd ever made?

9
by Brandon (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 4:03pm

At guard, Whitticker wasn't even the worst guard on his team. Whitticker was bad, but not as bad as New England's favorite punching bag Adrian Klemm. Klemm was also the Packers biggest free agent signing last offseason. The Packers couldn't pull on running plays because Klemm took over for Wahle. Klemm might be the slowest player in the NFL. The Packers running game improved mid-season in part because of Gado, but mostly because Scott Wells took over for Klemm.

9
by melford (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 4:03pm

How does Drew Bledsoe earn consideration for the KCW QB? The fact that Dallas tackles Tucker and Petiti and all of the Dallas kickers were honourable mentions to the KCW team maybe is a clue that Bledsoe was not a player who contributed the most to the detriment of his team.

11
by Shelley (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 4:06pm

Vivek, Denver is 8-0 at home, just like Seattle, and with a much tougher schedule (including a previous at-home win against the Pats).

Wait, what am I saying? I'm a Pats homer. Go Magic Beans! Great call, Vivek.

12
by ZH (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 4:07pm

For Petitgout, admittedly he was the weak link in pass protection, but in the running game, the Giants are #7 in adj. line yds off left tackle. I still remeber how 4 seasons ago he was being touted as the next great right tackle. A potential pro bowler. Then he was moved to the left side, and its been downhill since.

13
by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 4:09pm

Aren't you forgetting something ZH?

14
by VCB (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 4:10pm

I know he's a rookie and all, but how could Alex Smith not QB this team? It took the Texans to finally give up a passing TD to him and they were in the process of throwing the game (See Brown, Kris).

And no Randy Moss? I would love to see a KCW WR tandem of Moss on one side and TO on the other - think Titanic and add an iceberg.

15
by JonL (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 4:15pm

I'm surprised Casey Rabach didn't get any consideration. He's had a bunch of penalties this year.

16
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 4:24pm

God, Pacman Jones must have been terrible to relagate Duane Starks into an also-ran.

Beisel didn't take a swing at Tom Curran, he just got into a verbal altercation. Considering he also threw the secondary under the bus earlier in the season, he was lucky the team didn't dump him right then and there. I'm of the opinion that they would have had there been even one other viable option at ILB.

I think Kevin Jones will always have a KCW spot in the hearts of his fantasy owners, myself included.

17
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 4:28pm

VCB #14,

I totally agree with you on Smith. I think what pushed Collins over him is that Collins' situation was actually quite promising. Decent OL, strong WRs, good RB yet he still was quite underwhelming.

San Fran, however, would have been terrible with or without Smith.

18
by Fnor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 4:43pm

9.5 OVER? You have got to be kidding me. I can almost see WAS/SEA with that, but PIT at least has a big-kid offence. These both sound like sucker bets to me.

19
by mactbone (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 4:48pm

I'm waiting for Martz to be hired in Oakland and T.O. to sign with them. Not only is Martz the only guy I can think that would get those guys the ball enough, I can actually imagine that after the fight with Turley, Martz thinks of himself as a badass for not being crushed.

20
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 4:55pm

Wow, you guys do seriously just have it in for Michael Vick on this site. Atlanta ranks 28th in defense, 22nd in special teams and 10th in offense on DVOA, suggesting that their problems were generally when the other teams had the ball. Even so, Vick is one of the nominees for QBs who "contributed the most to the detriment to their teams". I guess Atlanta must have amazing running backs, O-line and receivers to rank 10th with such an awful QB?

21
by Kal (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 4:56pm

Indy could be 9.5 over. It could also be a close game. I think it'll be closer than the last game, but I don't think it's a safe bet to take the points.

SEA-WSH though - I totally do. I do think SEA will win, but this is a team that beat the Titans by 4 and the 49ers by 3. It wins games that it would have lost last year, but it doesn't win games big unless it's playing against second stringers or on prime time.

22
by Kwame (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 5:19pm

Will Allen from the Giants should have been nominated. We've all heard the joke about "if he could catch he would be on offense" but Allen takes it to another level. Despite being thrown at all season he ended up with zero interceptions and is always just good enough to get beat. The worst moment probably was when the Giants played at Dallas early in the season, Allen let a ball go right through his hands for a 20 yard completion to Keyshawn Johnson. Johnson said to him "if you had my hands you would be in the pro bowl".

23
by admin :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 5:21pm

For the record, we don't all have it in for Michael Vick. In the discussion, I said that Vick was actually better this year but the defense collapsed, and I'm writing an article for the NYT for Pro Bowl weekend on "How to Save Michael Vick."

24
by CA (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 5:34pm

All of the candidates for QB are fine nominees, but where is Brett Favre? I know that Aaron says he wasn't as bad as his stats, but there wasn't another QB in the league who made as many ridiculous, moronic passes with disastrous results. I know that Bledsoe is not the most popular player among the Outsiders, and he definitely made his fair share of stupid plays, but you can't tell me that Favre didn't make more. As for the winner, personally I would have given Orton the title, on the "worst player on the best team" grounds.

25
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 6:06pm

I'm curious what prompted Eugene Wilson's nomination for KCW. His play has been uneven for sure, but I didn't figure it was down at KCW level.

26
by Reinhard (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 6:09pm

Denver weighted DVOA: 43
Patriot weighted DVOA: 5

Denver is at home and the altitude wont hurt. Home teams rule the divisional round. 13-2 in the AFC WEST vs 10-5 in the AFC EAST! If you discount both their losses to Miami. All that, and the Patriots only get is 3 points?

Not that its a sure bet... this Patriots team has not been in defeated in the playoffs yet, in 10 tries. But its a smart bet.

27
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 6:12pm

Also, I agree with Oswlek. I didn't get to see them play much, but Jones and Smoot must have been bad indeed to be worse than The Man Who Would Be Toast.

28
by JonL (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 6:24pm

RE: #27

KCW isn't just about on-field performance, though. Remember, Smootsie was the one who called Al and Alma's.

29
by Dman (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 6:25pm

It's also a miracle they didn't win 11.

30
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 6:33pm

27 & 28,

That was why I only mentioned Jones. Smoot was given a free pass into the KCW Hall of Fame.

But I just need to metion this again. Starks' play was the worst I have seen in my time watching football (about 10 years closely). He was the king of the "get smoked twice on deep balls and then play 10-15 yards off of the receiver at all times, even on 3rd and 4" coverage. If Jones was worse than that then I will add Titans fans into my kids' nightly prayers.

31
by Ned Macey :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 6:44pm

As President of the Pacman Jones fan club but also a person who nominated him for All-KCW status, I can safely say that he is better than Starks as a player. If I remember correctly, however, Starks was not arrested, did not get into a fight with Tedy Bruschi (Keith Bulluck), or get pulled from any games for anything other than general suckiness.

32
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 6:47pm

30: Pacman hasn't exactly been a model citizen since he was drafted.

33
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 6:48pm

Hmmm, Ned beat me to the punch.

34
by Tootie (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 6:53pm

re: #30

Yeah, Smoot gets a free pass for the love boat thing. However, trash talking Steve Smith and then allowing him to rack up 200 yards should be a free pass as well. Any question on who the better DB pickup was for the Vikes?

35
by goathead (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 7:18pm

I can't believe that Feely didn't get the nod for all-KCW kicker...!!!??? Houston was beyond hurting, and it really took a team effort between Luke "Prior-to-the-Snap" Petigout & Feely to get the Giants a loss in Seattle.

36
by Playit (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 7:30pm

Not sure why Drew Bledsoe even gets an honorable mention?

Drew was 4-2 until his LT went to IR for the year. That left starting a 6th round pick rookie one one side and a backup on the other side. That was so far down the barrel for Dallas that they actually didn't have another Tackle on the team at that point besides what became the two starters. Drew was sacked more than any other QB not behind the Texan's Line.

Add to that the fact that Dallas didn't have a 100 yard rusher till week 8 and only two games with a 100 yard rusher all year.

Drew still finished middle of the pack with a 83.7 QB raiting and led his team from 6-10 the year before to 9-7.

37
by Kal (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 7:31pm

Pacman deserves it just because he is responsible for Tom Jackson making that inane 'wokwokwok' noise on PrimeTime. I had thought that Prime Time couldn't be any more obnoxious. Clearly, I was mistaken.

38
by sublime33 (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 8:11pm

At safety, Bear fans proudly offer Mike Green as a worthy nominee

39
by Just Another Falcons Fan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 8:14pm

Wow, how did Bryan Scott miss consideration for safety?

BTW, many of us Falcon fans have noticed that Brooking is overrated, even as an outside linebacker. Given a clear shot, he'll usually make the tackle, but he sheds blocks the way a sponge sheds water.

40
by Thok (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 8:25pm

While I understand the reasoning for choosing Kris Brown, Janikowski would have been a better KCW choice, especially if you include kickoffs. Akers should have been considered also (even if he was injured for much of the year).

Re 35: Feely receives too much blame for the Seattle game, especially when he helped the Giants beat Denver 24-23 by kicking a 50 yarder and helped them beat Philadelphia by going 4 for 4 on field goals.

41
by Smeghead (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 8:25pm

It's not enough that we're coming up on a quarter-century without a playoff win, but BOTH you guys have to pick Seattle to not only win but cover that huge number?

You're driving me to an early grave, you know.

Seriously, though ... these two teams are basically even by DVOA (slight advantage Seattle), by beatpaths (slight advantage Washington), by Aikman's ratings (pretty much tossup). Washington has won an NCAA tournament's worth of elimination games; plays a tight defensive style that's only yielded one loss by more than one score (that Giants game); and historically plays well against Seattle, including this very season. Seattle hasn't beaten a game opponent in nearly a month; has won double-digit walkovers only against the league's weak sisters (Arizona, Houston, San Francisco, St. Louis) and some imposters posing as the Eagles and Colts; and historically -- well, everyone knows. WAS +9, 9.5, whatever they're getting, seems like an unbelievable value.

42
by ABW (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 8:47pm

Re: 25

Well, he did get beat deep a few times early in the year(not all of those deep balls were Duane Starks' fault, as terrible as Starks was). But KCW seems a harsh penalty for a crime which many other safeties commit(Roy Williams anyone? Every safety that played for Atlanta?). And Wilson makes up for some of that by hitting really, really hard(and not just Pearman, he's been doing that all year long).

43
by Playit (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 8:52pm

In case anyone was counting... Total players (including dishonorable mentions) add up to some interesting results.

Only three teams had 5 or more players mentioned.

Detroit - 6
Houston - 6
Dallas - 5+ (only counting the kicker once)

Of the teams with winning records only 3 teams had more than one mentioned player

Dallas - 5+
Minnesota - 3
New England - 3

If you guys were just a bunch of pats fans putting up players for the games you got to see I wouldn't give you as much grief for this... but as you are now the stat outlet for a major new source I have to wonder how is was that Dallas is so seemingly over represented?

How many other guys up there are the backup? (Tucker)
Or 6th Round Pick Rookies? (Petitti)
I've already posted my surprise at the Bledsoe pick (even though I know you guys just really don't seem to like the guy).

I don't know if it's that you guys were only able to see a limited number of games favoring some teams, or that you have some other reason to really focus in on the Cowboys, but this is still a team that finished 9-7 and 3-3 in the division. They also had to play 7 playoff teams this year.

Just seems odd to throw both of their tackles on there when the Houston Texas (The worse O-Line in the history of the game) only managed one member.

44
by Subrata Sircar (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 8:52pm

Re #26:
Remember that bookies get a percentage of each bet, so they guarantee a profit when equal amounts are wagered on both sides. The odds are set to generate that condition; in other words, they set the odds to split the betting public.
Given that, I'm surprised the Patriots aren't favored; I would have thought the betting public would watch the magic-beans media coverage and take the Patriots straight up, much less with points.

45
by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 8:53pm

Ahmad Carroll of the Packers was a penalty waiting to happen. Despite Al Harris having a Pro Bowl type season (for 3/4 of the season-he collapsed down the stretch) Green Bay had all kinds of problems on defense simply because Carroll

A. couldn't cover anyone without grabbing

B. wouldn't force halfway decent against the run.

Don't forget that BJ Sander spent the entire 2004 season taking up a roster spot because Sherman refused to admit he blew it with the pick. Green bay carried TWO punters ALL YEAR just because Sherman didn't want to be publicly embarrassed. GB should have fired him then.

Not that I minded them holding onto the schmoe for another season. :)

As for Favre, he was playing pretty darn well until mid-November. But from the Monday NIght Game against MN until literally the last game of the season is where he simply lost it. As in comletely. He either had a lobotamy mid-season or decided to get Sherman fired. I have no idea which.

46
by Paul (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 9:05pm

#1 pick in the 2006 NFL/KCW draft... it's gotta be Marcus Vick

47
by Björn (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 9:28pm

RE: 44

If the house is confident in a game, they could leave the spread where it is and try to draw in money for the team they feel is going to lose.

48
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 9:39pm

Wow, no Maurice Clarett mention. I suppose he wouldn't count, never having touched foot in the regular season...but still, someone mentioned Marcus Vick so I have to bring Clarett up. Just because.

49
by Tim Gerheim :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 9:41pm

Re 47: I think the cardinal rule of running a gaming house is never to take sides. That's precisely what you're suggesting, and it's a great way to actually lose money as such an establishment - a hard thing to do.

50
by Björn (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 10:18pm

Tim, I used to feel the same way, but I've seen it happen this year. There is a certain website where some guys report the percentage of money going on games, and you can see the spread not moving.

But you are right; you'd better be a freakin good handicapper before you try that stuff.

51
by BillWallace (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 10:23pm

re: 49

Tim, the bookmakers for the NFL do take sides. Not by a whole lot, but they do. If the 'correct' line is 4 points away from the public line, their best expected value would be somewhere in the middle of the two. They aren't going to get absurdly lopsided bet amounts, and they're willing to take small risks to increase expected value. Why make just the vig when they can easily make more?

52
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 10:32pm

Re: Starks

OK, if KCW includes off-field activities as well, I have no problem with Starks not making it. He wasn't a problem teammate as far as I could tell.

53
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Thu, 01/12/2006 - 11:58pm

I think the thing about Tucker and Pettiti was that while they were okay in some games, they were spectacularly bad in others, e.g., Tucker against Daniels in an all-important game and Pettiti against Little in an unimportant but nationally televised game.

Bledsoe didn't deserve to be in consideration this year, but seeing him on an FO list like this isn't really a surprise.

54
by Stevie (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 1:36am

Could anyone comment on the Ted Washingston nomination? I didnt get to see a lot of Raider games but it seemed their run defence was about the only thing going for them on that side of the ball

55
by Ruben (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 1:39am

No mention of the Pacman Jones ole, peel-off, non-tackle vs. Oakland? That bout of laziness turned a stuffed 3rd down screen into 6 points, thankyouverymuch. If ever there were a post-Ryan-Leaf justification for rookie contract slotting, Jones made it with that play.

And why has no one taken to task Tennessee management for a.) giving first round money to a PUNT RETURNER!!! and b.) not recognizing that Antrell Rolle is about 3x better at the same position, and was taken much later in the round?

56
by jju (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 2:03am

Bobby Wade (a runner-up at WR last year) deserves a spot on this team somewhere. 33 punt returns, 9 fumbles! He was mercifully cut by the Bears after appearing in 12 games only to be inexplicably picked up off waivers by the Titans.

57
by the K (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 4:29am

Drafting McGahee's replacement? Are you serious? Yes, he probably shouldn't have called himself the best RB in the game and yes, his numbers dropped off. But I wouldn't be surprised to find his carries dropped off as well. Plus, do you really think it was McGahee's fault more than that offensive line? When your WR questions the game plan and says you need to run the ball more, that is probably a sign to try running the ball more. Your WR!

58
by the K (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 4:40am

Oh, and no disrespect to the Patriots, of course. Plus, I will (Genuflect) for ZH above at #12 (Genuflect)

59
by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 5:28am

I think people are underestimating (or possibly misunderestimating) the amount of fans that absolutely hate the Pats now. I figure between the Pats BJs in the media and the Pats haters, the line is probably about right.

60
by OrtonFan (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 5:30am

'The All-KCW Team honors those players who are not necessarily the worst at their position, but contributed the most to the detriment to their teams.'

Considering this statement, how did Orton receive consideration at QB? He played well enough not to lose for most of the season, and handled the QB switch with class. If you want to look at Bears players that contributed far more to the detriment of the team, wouldn't it be Wade, Kreutz and Miller?

I understand that Orton wasn't a good quarterback, but he didn't lose many games for the Bears. Maybe I'm missing something.

-transplanted chicagoan at purdue

61
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 11:31am

BTW, I'm having trouble listening live to 680 The Fan. Nothing happens when I click the button. It goes to a page, and then just returns to the main page.

62
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 11:40am

I found a way:

Click my name. It doesn't seem Aaron is on, though.

63
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 11:58am

%#^@^$%!~ It seems Aaron came on early.

64
by Rex (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 1:04pm

Where is Warren Sapp? I watched in person two of his games and he is really, really bad. Yes he got hurt by the end of the year, but with his mouth and image, he needs to be on this list.

65
by Bencoder (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 1:53pm

#64 - Exactly. I had forgotten about Sapp. Literally.

66
by footballlover (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 1:59pm

RE 7

In defence of Parcells the Steelers did the same thing with Mike Schneck and Greg Warren. Schneck was the NFLPA rep for the Steelers and known as one of the top 5 long snappers. That did not stop him from being cut for Greg Warren a rookie out of North Carolina. The reason long snappers are cut is for cap reasons. The minimum salary for a rookie is much lower than a 5 year vet. The Steelers saved $200,000 in cap space and more in real money. There isnt much difference between the best and worst long snappers.

RE 55 Antrel Rolle went only 3 picks later. I agree though that Marcus Vick has a better attitude.

67
by Rick "32_Footsteps" Healey (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 2:23pm

On Broncos lines...

My theory is this: Broncos lines have to be higher simply because of proximity of Las Vegas and Denver. I believe that Denver is the NFL city closest to Vegas - which would mean that it's easier for Broncos fans to go and bet on their team than it is for any other base of fans. As such, in order to attract equal number of bets for the opposing team, they have to inflate the lines towards the Broncos to attract people to bet on the other team.

It's not so much that Vegas loves the Broncos, I believe, as Vegas wants to compensate for the gambling patterns of Broncos fans.

68
by CA (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 3:32pm

Re: 60

I understand that Orton wasn’t a good quarterback, but he didn’t lose many games for the Bears.

But not for lack of trying. Keep in mind, individuals do not win or lose games in team sports. Rather, they raise or lower their teams' chances of winning. Orton's incompetence greatly reduced the Bears' chances of winning, and therefore he contributed very much to the detriment of his team. It is a testament to the quality of play of the rest of the Bears that Orton's awful performances rarely actually cost them victories.

69
by Björn (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 3:36pm

That may be, but Denver went 11-4 (and a push) against the spread this year.

Meanwhile, the Patriots were 8-8 ATS.

70
by Rick "32_Footsteps" Healey (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 6:49pm

Great - how about the Broncos lifetime against the spread? Just because they beat the spread 11 times in a year they won the #2 seed doesn't mean that they always do it.

71
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 6:55pm

I believe that Denver is the NFL city closest to Vegas

East Coast Media Bias! :D (kidding, man, although you are from Philly if I recall)

Denver is 750 miles from Vegas. Phoenix is a little under 300 miles from Vegas.

That said, you don't have to go to Vegas, you can just cross the Nevada border. But to do that from Denver, it'd still be at least 600 miles. The closest NFL teams to the Nevada Border are the Niners and the Raiders, a little over 200 miles from Reno. Living in Reno, I've always suspected there was a "Raider slant" to the early season Super Bowl odds, but I could never take advantage of it because I couldn't find anyone that had a prop bet of "The Raiders won't win the Super Bowl." :D

One question: Does Atlantic City allow sports betting?

72
by emcee fleshy (atl) (not verified) :: Fri, 01/13/2006 - 7:44pm

Bryan Scott! ! ! ! ! ! !

ANTI-FALCONS BIAS! ! ! !

I have nothing else to say but need another sentence to use up all of these exclamation points! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

73
by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 01/14/2006 - 5:13am

I was in Reno the weekend the Ravens beat the Raiders for the AFC Championship back in erly 2001. The line on Oakland was swayed by a few points IIRC, and I'd guess it's the same way now in the Reno books (though maybe less so with Oakland being a bad team of late). It was a fun weekend back in 2001 - my posse and I had NYG, too.

Unfortunately I played the wrong team in the Super Bowl, but the positive damage had already been done by then.

74
by Johnny Cash (not verified) :: Sat, 01/14/2006 - 12:22pm

I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.

75
by Rick "32_Footsteps" Healey (not verified) :: Sat, 01/14/2006 - 1:06pm

Heh... I'm not even football media, and I get hit with that tag. Awesome.

I'm originally from South Jersey (the part that identifies with Philly), but I live in Boston now. Still faithful to da Iggles, though, which is what you're remembering, CaffeineMan.

And unless things have changed since the last time I was in AC, only Nevada has legal sports books in the United States.

Also, considering I think the residents of Arizona are more likely to bet against the Cardinals than for, I wouldn't count them for these purposes.

Still... the Raiders and the 49ers are both teams that tend to get favored in sports books. They might get the proximity effect too.

Given how religiously people publish ATS records for teams, we have to be able to get numbers for franchises ATS over several years (or their entire existence, maybe). That would be pretty interesting to look at.

76
by Björn (not verified) :: Sat, 01/14/2006 - 3:27pm

Why the anger Rick? I only brought up the Denver ATS record in reference to Denver's supposedly inflated lines. And I only threw in the Patriots ATS record because I wanted to disrespect the Patriots! Except for Tom Brady. (Genuflect)

77
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Sat, 01/14/2006 - 7:51pm

Rick, yeah, it was the Eagle fan thing I was remembering. Again, I hope you know I was just joking. My parents are from Detroit, I was born in Ohio, and having lived on both coasts, I'm just having a little fun with the geographical misunderstandings of long-time residents of one coast about the other coast. Life long westerners don't understand about eastern geography either. :D

78
by Biffy (not verified) :: Sun, 01/15/2006 - 11:36am

What, no Texan offensive linemen? That was a group that truly gave new meaning to "offensive" when it comes to O-line. I'm glad to see the great Jason Babin get his due, though - he's a threat to make the team for years to come.

Also, isn't San Diego is the closest NFL city to Las Vegas at 260 miles...

79
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/16/2006 - 12:23am

Actually, SD is 330 miles away from Vegas... Now if they put a team in LA, it's 270, about 20 miles less than Phoenix, so they will win the prize.