Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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20 Aug 2007

Preseason Audibles: Week 2

compiled by Doug Farrar

Miami Dolphins 11 at Kansas City Chiefs 10

Ryan Wilson: I wonder if either the Dolphins or Chiefs have pass plays that are designed to go for more than four yards. Of course, both offensive lines look dreadful, so that might have something to do with it. Also, I wonder if we should somehow adjust the 370 rule to account for "hits a running back takes per run," because a typical Ronnie Brown run tonight "costs" about three or four average runs. That said, he looks pretty good. I just hope he can make it out of the preseason healthy.

Doug Farrar: Based on preseason quotes I've seen from Brown himself regarding his workload, I have him as my 370 Curse Favorite for 2007. The Dolphins threw the ball almost 200 more times than they ran it in 2006. No way that happens again. Brown will bring it back to Miami for the first time since 2003, when Ricky Williams ran 392 times for 3.5 yards per carry. Curtis Martin, Shaun Alexander, Larry Johnson, Ronnie Brown ... yep, sounds about right.

Vince Verhei: Can someone please explain to me why Ronnie Brown was running back kicks for the Dolphins? Especially in a preseason game? Isn't that why they drafted Ted Ginn?

Mike Tanier: Jaws just diagrammed an overloaded offensive line -- two tackles to one side, Miami TE Justin Peelle playing tackle on the other -- and I got all tingly. Actual information from the Monday Night crew. Amazing.

Herm, throw the f***ing ball. You have to evaluate your quarterbacks. Throw the f***ing ball. I am guessing they can hand off just fine. Delays on second-and-15? C'mon. It's the preseason. You can clamp the lid back on the pass offense in September when L.J. is back. For now, you have to learn if Huard or Croyle can throw the f***ing ball. The only way to find out is to make them throw the f***ing ball.

Screw it. I am taping this and playing Madden 08.

Bill Moore: Have you seen HBO's Hard Knocks? I'm not sure any of them can throw. They may set a record for fewest passes of all time, behind even the 1950s Giants.

Doug Farrar: Well, Brodie Croyle finally threw the f***ing ball in the second quarter -- and one of the guys he threw it to was Michael Allan, the tight end from tiny Division III Whitworth College in Spokane, the alma mater of ESPN reporter (and friend to FO) Mike Sando. Allan lit it up against less than stellar competition in college, but he really came into focus as a combine star. Gaines Adams probably helped himself there more than any first-day player, but Allan went from off the map to seventh-round draft pick in Indianapolis. Not a bad little journey. He did well in all the measurables, and Mike Mayock mentioned him by name during his press conference as a player who really raised his stock.

Ben Riley: Resolved: Sean Salisbury is an idiot, Exhibit no. 6,822 ...

I'm watching Salisbury and Booyah Scott analyze the Chiefs' quarterback battle based on their performance tonight's game. He just criticized Huard for throwing an incomplete dump-off to Michael Bennett, calling it "something a veteran can't do." Uh, Sean, perhaps you missed the unblocked, blitzing defensive end with his arms raised in the air who was about to paste Huard unless he got rid of the ball? Huard actually made exactly the right play: He tossed the ball over the blitzing defensive end's head toward a wide-open Bennett; if the pass is caught, Bennett goes for a big gain, and if dropped, it's a harmless incomplete pass.

What makes Salisbury's stupidity all the more egregious is that just prior to offering this "analysis" he criticized Huard for taking an unnecessary hit in the preseason.

It's interesting to watch the Chiefs after seeing the Hard Knocks documentary. It's clear the coaching staff is bending over backwards to give Croyle the job -- Herm Edwards was effusive in his praise tonight on SportsCenter, and the fact that Huard got fewer reps passing suggests that he'll get to reprise his role as career backup sooner rather than later.

Doug Farrar: If FO ever decides to give out the football equivalent to the Clint Hartung Award, naming it after Salisbury would be a good move.

It's funny how certain quarterbacks make the doghouse for whatever reason, isn't it? Last year, the Seahawks had NFLE hero Gibran Hamdan (who got some garbage-time reps in this game for Miami) and David Greene competing for the third-string quarterback spot. Though Hamdan looked far better in training camp, Greene got most of the preseason reps, especially in the finale against Oakland. Hamdan never had a chance because the Seahawks were enamored with Greene's "upside."

A year later, Mike Holmgren's saying that there isn't much Greene can do to slide up the depth chart so that Seneca Wallace can get some time at receiver or returner. I wouldn't generally be inclined to argue with Holmgren about quarterbacks, but I never understood the Hamdan thing, just as I never understood why the Chiefs didn't get Huard in there when Trent Green was basically throwing up all over himself in the wild card playoff loss to the Colts.

Atlanta Falcons 13 at Buffalo Bills 10

Doug Farrar: Mike Tanier had some good things to say about Bills rookie middle linebacker Paul Posluszny last week, and I'll add a few here. He was all over the place on Atlanta's opening drive. When the Falcons got down to the Buffalo one-yard line, Posluszny was right in the middle of the successful stops on third and fourth down. While I like his ability to play side-to-side, it's his instinct for the correct angle, and his ability to wrap up and stop the play, that really impresses me. It's a bit early to say that I'm reminded of the rookie version of Lofa Tatupu, but there's definitely something to watch here.

Carolina Panthers 10 at Philadelphia Eagles 27

Mike Tanier: The Eagles were refreshingly competent on Friday. Donovan McNabb played a couple of series and threw the ball very well. He didn't exactly look bouncy and spry on those knees, and they were wrapped in ice in the second half. He probably won't be all that mobile this year, but he looked good.

The surprise rookie around here is tight end Brent Celek, who has now had two very fine games. He has soft hands and knows how to get open against zones. With L.J. Smith hurt, he could play a role this year. Also, fantasy types should note that Tony Hunt was in the goal-line package with the first-team offense last night.

Jake Delhomme won't be the Panthers starter by Halloween. He will either hold the ball too long and take a hit that injures him, or Fox will get tired of him "Bledsoe-ing" around the pocket waiting for a bomb to develop, then fumbling or throwing a pick. David Carr didn't look that great, but Delhomme seems to be regressing.

Aaron Schatz: Everyone was upgrading their projections for McNabb based on this game, but we were already so high on him, I actually went into KUBIAK and downgraded the projection -- just for his rushing numbers. It's tough to figure these things out, because we're still in the middle of this transition period in the history of ACL recovery, where it's very hard to say just how mobile a guy will be after he returns from that surgery.

Minnesota Vikings 37 at New York Jets 20

Ben Riley: I'm a big fan of Chad Pennington, despite the fact that I'm pretty sure I could beat him in arm wrestling. But if you're going to play the "cerebral quarterback who does all the little things right" role in the NFL, you shouldn't be forcing throws to a clearly covered Jerricho Cotchery over the middle -- particularly when Darren Sharper is standing directly in front of him.

Vince Verhei: I found myself focusing on D'Brickashaw Ferguson during the Vikings-Jets game. He had a rough night. On Darren Sharper's interception return for a touchdown, Ferguson was leveled by a block by Kevin Williams. Shortly thereafter, Ferguson was beaten badly by Ray Edwards, who pressured Chad Pennington, who threw an INT to Chad Greenway, who ran that ball back for a touchdown. Ferguson also whiffed badly on a few running plays, though when he did get his hands on a guy, he often drove them deep off the line.

Michael David Smith: I concur on Ferguson. I wouldn't call him a bad player, but when he was in the draft last year he looked like a sure thing future Pro Bowler, and now he looks like a sure thing future average player.

Sean McCormick: I always had trouble envisioning how Adrian Peterson's game would translate to the NFL, but if tonight is any indication, the answer is very well. He ran with tremendous speed and power, and he actively sought out contact. On his 57-yard run, Peterson had the choice of going out of bounds untouched, but instead he turned in and absolutely walloped David Barrett. Yes, it was a bad run defense he was up against, but the Eric Dickerson comparisons seemed spot-on. Minnesota looks like they might get a real boost from their draft class, especially if you throw Chad Greenway into the mix, as Greenway was borderline dominant when he was out on the field.

Michael David Smith: Yeah, I thought Peterson was pretty awesome, and what I liked best was he really looked like a physical runner, not just a guy with breakaway speed. Of course, maybe a guy with injury issues shouldn't be too physical a runner.

Sean McCormick: When the starters were on the field, the Jets passing game was almost exclusively directed at Cedric Griffin. Laveranues Coles, Jerricho Cotchery, Brad Smith and Justin McCareins all took turns lining up against Griffin and all had throws go their way, and both Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens looked almost exclusively left when they threw the ball. It was blatant enough that Troy Aikman suggested the Jets might have been game-planning, which is very unusual for a preseason game. Griffin struggled early, rebounded to stop a fade pass to Smith in the end zone and force a field goal, and then finally broke when he missed a tackle on McCareins that resulted in a 35-yard touchdown.

Pete Kendall might finally have landed the technical knockout in his fight to get released from the Jets. In response to the Jets playing him as a second-string center, he mangled not one but two shotgun snaps, sending the first one flying over Clemens' head and the second one dribbling past Brad Smith's feet. I'm not normally one for reading into player body language, but watching him, I couldn't help but think that those were deliberate. You have to be pretty confident of your ability to pick up another job when you start tanking like that.

Tennessee Titans 27 at New England Patriots 24

Patrick Laverty: Glad to see the cameramen in preseason form. Tough time following the ball, missing catches and sacks.

Doug Farrar: The guys in charge of the Raiders-49ers game were in rare form as well. First time I've ever seen a slo-mo replay of a clock-killing quarterback spike.

Aaron Schatz: The TD interception that Tom Brady threw to Cortland Finnegan had nothing to do with Brady, it was a breakdown in communication on the offensive line. Kyle Vanden Bosch stunted and came in to hit Brady in motion untouched while left tackle Matt Light and left guard Logan Mankins both took on Albert Haynesworth.

The Titans offense looks really sloppy, especially rookie running back Chris Henry.

Among the stupid things that announcers say in the preseason: "Wes Welker gets his first touchdown as a Patriot." Of course, what will they say when Welker gets his first regular-season touchdown? They'll say "Wes Welker gets his first touchdown as a Patriot." Preseason DOES NOT COUNT, people. Either stop pretending that it counts, or stop pretending during the regular season that the preseason did not count. Pick a side, we're at war.

Houston Texans 33 at Arizona Cardinals 20

Doug Farrar: Remember last week, when we said that it was a bad year for commercials? Coors Light has a new spot -- one of their mock press conference things, like they did with Dick Vermeil and so on -- with Dennis Green. And there is not one second of the "crown their ass" press conference. The single greatest NFL coach's press conference of all time (non-Mora division), and it's unusable? The only thing I can think is that Green didn't want it used ... and in that case, why cut a deal with him at all? He was horrid in Arizona, he isn't even coaching now, and it's not like there are millions of people who specifically and fondly recall his tenure in Minnesota. He'll be remembered more for "crown their asses" than anything else.

Ryan Wilson: Holy crap. Good to see Ken Whisenhunt is going deep into the playbook on the very first play of the second preseason game. Leinart toss-sweeps to Edge, Edge hands off to Boldin on the reverse, and Boldin throws a 50-yarder downfield to Fitzgerald. Unsurprisingly, the Texans were called for pass interference on the play, but I'm not sure why the Cards are showcasing this play now.

Detroit Lions 23 at Cleveland Browns 20

Stuart Fraser: Does Brady Quinn hit a single receiver in stride? He looks pretty poised (not that there's much of a pass rush in evidence) and sets himself well before most throws, but the accuracy isn't great. Fortunately Detroit's third-string secondary is rarely on the same screen as any of Cleveland's receivers at this point. That said, the same was true of the Lions secondary when they intercepted Charlie Frye, so I suppose it's an improvement.

New Orleans Saints 27 at Cincinnati Bengals 19

Doug Farrar: Sean Payton is not happy about his team's ability to pass protect. The Bengals sacked Saints quarterbacks five times, Jamie Martin lost three fumbles, and Marvin Lewis' staff was sending all-out blitzes late in the game, daring someone to make them stop. After Matt Baker was sacked twice in a three-and-out series with about 11 minutes left in the game, Payton absolutely laid into rookie running back Antonio Pittman on the sidelines, and I'd bet that blitz pickup was the subject.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19 at Jacksonville Jaguars 31

Russell Levine: After watching the second week of the Jeff Garcia Experience in Tampa Bay, I'm at least happy that he can move out of the pocket and make some plays on the run. He does seem like an excellent fit for Tampa's offense, where the quarterback is often running for his life and most of the pass patterns are 10 yards or less.

Tampa's first team defense looked pretty good -- or maybe Jacksonville's first-team offense is just really bad. Byron Leftwich may be in the best shape of his life, but he still has the slowest release in the history of football. To quote Mr. T: "My prediction? Pain."

Denver Broncos 20 at Dallas Cowboys 31

Doug Farrar: The Broncos and Cowboys practiced against each other four times this week. Makes a lot of sense, and this is something I think every team should do every year. You get different looks than your own coaches would draw up, maybe something a little closer to game speed, break up the monotony of training camp, and the intensity ramps up a bit. Mike Shanahan said that he liked having his team face Dallas in practice because the Broncos will go up against 3-4 defenses in each of their first three preseason games (San Francisco, Dallas, Cleveland), and there's always San Diego to deal with twice a year. As much as you adjust your blocking to whatever version of the 3-4 your 4-3 defense can put together in practice -- or vice versa for Dallas' benefit -- certainly it's better to get the real thing. The coaches and players definitely seem to appreciate the difference. Hey, maybe if the Seahawks had practiced against the Packers, Mike Holmgren could have put Tom Ashworth on a plane right away.

I'm still wrapping my head around the idea that Leonard Davis signed one of those $49 million specials that so many offensive linemen received in the off-season. He's not a tackle anymore, he put up horrific blown block and penalty numbers when he was, he's not protecting anyone's blind side, but there he is -- making what was left tackle money two years ago. The general managers for the Ravens, Rams and Seahawks must be very grateful that Jonathan Ogden, Orlando Pace and Walter Jones have already signed their once-in-a-career contracts. One can only imagine what THOSE guys would be worth if they were now in their prime. At this rate, Marcus McNeill is a financial time bomb.

Davis looked good in this game, getting solid push on Sam Adams, but ... gaaah! More than $18 million guaranteed for a right guard! It's like giving Nate Clements' contract to a nickel back. On Marion Barber's first-quarter touchdown, Davis just ran into the end zone unimpeded because there was nobody for him to block. Looked like he was breaking tape at the end of a race. On Julius Jones' first-quarter touchdown, Davis fell on his man a yard or so ahead of the line of scrimmage, which seemed to be effective. Now that he's moved inside, you can definitely see that he was miscast as a tackle in Arizona.

Seattle Seahawks 13 at Green Bay Packers 48

Doug Farrar: Note to Tom Ashworth: When you replaced Walter Jones at left tackle for this game, the Seahawks were asking you to replace the 2005 Walter as best you could, not the 2006 Walter who played all year on a sprained ankle and had nine blown blocks. Ashworth gave up two sacks in the first half -- one to Cullen Jenkins, and one to KGB. The second sack caused a Seneca Wallace fumble, which Nick Barnett returned for a touchdown.

Ashworth's pass pro is bad enough, but he kept getting blown up on run plays as well. I have to assume that Dante Scarnecchia somehow coached this guy up something fierce in New England, because he'd have to improve to reach Arena League level right now.

D.J. Hackett got hit with a delay of game penalty in the second quarter based on the new rule which states that any post-play spike is considered unsportsmanlike and a speed bump in the flow of the game, which is something that Roger Goodell seems very concerned about. All Hackett did was drop the ball to the ground after a short catch. Maybe there was a bit of frustration showing -- the Seahawks were getting clowned 31-10 at the time -- but this is the sort of ticky-tack call that will take three years and the same number of competition committee meetings to get right.

As I was typing the Hackett thing, safety Atari Bigby sacked Wallace unimpeded, Wallace fumbled again, and former Seahawks linebacker Tracy White ran it in for the TD. Bigby blew right by running back Marquis Weeks, who was heading out for a pass. Could have been a blown blitz read on Wallace's part. Ashworth had a bead on Bigby after the fumble, but he was more concerned with tackling Bigby than noticing that the ball was loose. I think it's time to get third-stringer David Greene in there before Wallace gets killed. Green Bay 38, Seattle 10.

On the subsequent Josh Wilson kick return, THREE DIFFERENT SEAHAWKS were called for holding. There's three minutes left in the first half, and I might not make it that far.

Addendum #1: The Seahawks brought Greene in early, and he immediately threw an interception. I'm getting a vision of me watching the second half of the Chargers-Rams game.

Addendum #2: Phil Simms is calling the Chargers-Rams game. I'd rather watch the Seahawks lay a brontosaurus egg. I'd also like to apologize to Packers fans who are reading this and thinking that because we didn't write a word about your team, we don't think they played well. It's not that; it's just that Seattle's suckitude was the far more remarkable factor. We liked your defense last season, we liked it in the book, and we like it now.

Vince Verhei: I echo everything Doug said. Ashworth was horrible tonight. Coincidentally, I just got to the Green Bay Chapter in PFP 2K7, so I understand that Green Bay's linemen are very good. But every single play, even when Ashworth avoided disaster, he looked like a guy literally out of his league.

Also, last week I noted how well Leonard Weaver played. Well, never mind. Twice tonight, he was in the backfield for pass plays, identified blitzers and got into perfect blocking position -- and just got run over. A.J. Hawk and Atari Bigby (the new greatest name in the NFL) both barreled through Weaver for sacks. This wasn't a guy who reacted late or was out of position. This looked like a guy who simply can't block.

Ben Riley: This just in: Tom Ashworth is bad. He looked horrible last year, and he looks horrible tonight. From everything I've read, he keeps his roster spot because of his "versatility," but I'm not sure what value there is in keeping a lineman who gets beaten at every position he plays.

Rumors of Bubba Franks' death (or impending release) may have been greatly exaggerated. He seems to be getting open consistently and I just watched him seal off Lofa Tatupu to clear a hole in the red zone.

A.J. Hawk just destroyed Ray Willis and sacked Seneca Wallace for a big loss. There were rumors that Willis would replace Chris Gray at right guard this year. They, too, may have been greatly exaggerated.

San Diego Chargers 30 at St. Louis Rams 13

Russell Levine: I normally don't mind Phil Simms, but in discussing Marc Bulger's contract situation during the Chargers-Rams game, he went off on a tangent about how Bulger's off-season was ruined by waiting on his contract extension. OK, no problem there. Then Simms said something about sometimes in this league you have to have some personal success, then you have to get paid, THEN you can think about Super Bowls and such. Umm, really? You have to get paid before you can think about winning a championship? Why exactly is that?

I'm all for players getting paid and I understand it could weigh on a guy's mind, but are we honestly supposed to believe that the lack of a big money contract was what separated Bulger from the Super Bowl in years past?

Michael David Smith: Looking at Adam Carriker early in the game, I wasn't nearly as impressed with him as I expected to be.

Pittsburgh Steelers 12 at Washington Redskins 10

Doug Farrar: I've got Mike Patrick and Joe Theismann on the Redskins Broadcast Network. Is that going to be the weekly crew? If so, my heart goes out the other Washington. Jason Campbell bruised his left knee in the first quarter (or so the initial reports say), which led to the following Theismann-ism: "It's a good sign that he's walking around." That, of course, was followed by the inevitable, "When I was visiting yesterday with Joe Gibbs, and we talked about Todd Collins ..."

Sean McCormick: I'm glad to see it wasn't a serious injury, as Campbell was throwing the ball with real authority. He looks poised to take a big step this year.

Oakland Raiders 21 at San Francisco 49ers 26

Doug Farrar: Daunte Culpepper is sharing goat horns in a game that (literally) slipped through Oakland's grasp, but his two fumbled snaps should be taken in context -- Andrew Walter bobbled a horrible shotgun snap on the Raiders' first drive, and had two fumbles himself. What's that we say about turnovers and their recoveries being random, while the ability to cause turnovers is the real skill? The Raiders fumbled four times and recovered every one.

It should be noted that longtime FO whipping boy Alvis Whitted -- I have noticed that Aaron has a particular predilection for dropping his name into conversations with a severely sarcastic tone! -- dropped the late touchdown catch that would have given the Raiders the game. Looks like there might have been some uncalled contact from defensive back Sammy Joseph before the play, though I had an inconclusive camera angle and only saw the end of the contact, but the ball was right in Whitted's hands in the end zone. Oakland's officiating conspiracy theorists will have fun this week.

One thing I'm definitely noticing from San Francisco's revamped defense is an inability to stop the run. LaMont Jordan gained 67 yards on only eight carries, and he did it predominantly against the first team. This a week after the 49ers gave up 182 yards and a 5.2 yards per carry average to the Broncos. They'll have to work that out if they're going to compete in the NFC West -- which, for all its foibles, does have some fairly solid running backs.

Hey, speaking of running backs -- does near-Super Bowl MVP Dominic Rhodes win the 2007 "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it" award? After Edgerrin James left the safety of the Colts' offensive line and wound up on milk cartons all over the greater Phoenix area, Rhodes signs with the Raiders ... who ranked 29th in Adjusted Line Yards last year. So far, Rhodes has carried the ball 13 times for 28 yards as a Raider. His longest run is 13 yards. That's a lot of stuffs, people.

New York Giants 13 at Baltimore Ravens 12

Aaron Schatz: I realize this is preseason, and even the best offensive lines have trouble with the Ravens' defense, but this David Diehl thing is not going to work. Terrell Suggs just abused him on play after play. Pass, rush, it didn't matter. Honestly, is Diehl going over to clean Suggs' house when the game is over? Maybe polish his cars, bathe his feet or something? Suggs just owned the guy tonight.

Mike Anderson looked like the Mike Anderson from Denver, not that guy from last year in Baltimore. Very nice block by Mike Flynn on Antonio Pierce on Anderson's second big run.

John Madden has definitely gotten his fastball back the last couple years, but he said some things tonight that just made me shake my head. He was talking about the Ravens' defense, saying that they can run all those complicated schemes because of two excellent corners who you can just leave on an island. Did he watch the Ravens last year? Regular commentators had to notice how much Samari Rolle has lost it, right? It isn't just us and K.C. Joyner, right?

Bill Barnwell: The Giants' second-string offensive line looked pretty good, actually. There was one play where the Ravens had three defensive linemen and then brought two defensive backs up on Jared Lorenzen's weak side as the play clock was winding down, and while Lorenzen called them out (in a way where, honestly, I think he tried to scare them off with a sneer), halfback Ryan Grant blew his pickup responsibility, which left the inside defensive back double-teamed (as the right guard picked him up) and the outside rusher running free to hit Lorenzen.

Later on, the line sprung Ahmad Bradshaw for 43 yards when great pulls by right guard Matt Lentz and right tackle Jon Dunn created mass hysteria in the second level of the Ravens defense. Unfortunately, on the next play, Bradshaw got totally lost on a blitz pickup and Tim Hasselbeck nearly got killed. Madden said that after watching backup left tackle Guy Whimper on film, Whimper looked ready to start immediately. The Giants coaches think otherwise, but they also have David Diehl at left tackle.

The Giants second string overpursues even worse than the first string. Oh, will there be yardage to be had on counters this year. I'm pretty sure we can already credit Brian Westbrook with 160 yards on counter plays alone.

I don't know why William Joseph is playing with the second defensive team. He sure looked fine to me. Adrian Awasom, a 52nd/53rd guy at defensive end, looked really good as a pass rusher and while he's not exactly Michael Strahan, he'll make the team as a depth guy and should see more snaps in their defensive line rotation. He pulled off a really nice rip move to blow up a play.

Jared Lorenzen is not an NFL quarterback. I want him to be, desperately, but he's not. He's basically 85 percent of the athlete Michael Vick is -- he can improvise and he's got a great arm, but there's no touch on his throws and I'm pretty sure the overhead camera flushed him out of the pocket at some point.

Anthony Nix also looked good as a poor man's Plaxico Burress -- tall, lanky dude who has good speed and is an excellent blocker. He helped clear a nice hole on a sweep along with tight end Michael Matthews, who got underneath a Ravens defensive lineman and pushed him for several yards horizontally to clear the hole behind him.

The Giants brought in Ohio State kicker Josh Huston to compete with Lawrence Tynes, who hasn't looked particularly impressive, and at least for tonight, Huston looked like the real deal to me. He made two absolutely flawless kicks, including one from 50 with room to spare, and had a decent leg on kickoffs. But, hey, they didn't trade a draft pick for him, so he won't make the team.

Northeastern sighting! Ravens tight end Kendrick Ballantyne caught a swing pass and immediately ran out of bounds. Speaking of our favorite universities, there was a detailed feature on Zak DeOssie, with Madden complimenting him for being a long snapper as well as the first guy down the field as a gunner.

As we returned from commercial, Madden and Michaels were talking about "cankles" in a way that sounded like one of them was explaining the term to the other. That is a conversation we, the listeners, did not need to hear.

Posted by: admin on 20 Aug 2007

53 comments, Last at 25 Aug 2007, 3:26pm by Parker W.


by Lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 12:13pm

Poz is going to be the DeMeco Ryans of this year....a good Lber that slipped to the 2nd round because he did not have some insane 40 time or some other combine number. But much like Ryans-Poz was always around the ball in college and made plays...I am not sure how that cannot translate into the NFL.

by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 12:20pm

I really liked Poz and was disappointed to see him go to one of my team's a division rivals. I knew Willis was never really an option for the Patriots, but Poz would have been really cool. Brandon Merriweather better be worth it...

by Oswlek (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 12:20pm

I don't think this article gets across just how lousy NE's pass blocking was. I don't recall a single play in the first half where Brady was given a nice pocket. Run blocking was good, though.

Despite the blocking, it is clear that NE's passing offense still needs quite a bit of work.

As bad as the OL played, the DL played that well, and that was without Warren, Wright and Seymour. The secondary looked very good and Rodney was very good. Frankly, the D looks like it could be back at 2003 levels.

I don't know if TN is just really good at punt coverage, but they typically had 2-3 guys converge on the PR almost immediately after the catch.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 12:33pm

and I’m pretty sure the overhead camera flushed him out of the pocket at some point.

Maybe the best line of the season so far. Keep up the good work fellas.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 12:42pm

Dennis Green is a good example of how important a head coach's staff hiring duties are. What success he had was dependent (beside having Randy Moss available later in the first round) on hiring or retaining people like Tony Dungy, Brian Billick, Monte Kiffin, Tyrone Willingham, Mike Tice (an outstanding offensive line coach), Tom Moore, and John Michels (Bud Grant's offensive line coach), among others. After Billick left following the '98 season, however, all the way through his time with the Cardinals, Green's assistant coaching staffs really began to slide, and were marked by guys whose major accomplishments were that Green had extreme loyalty to them. Green is really hard to evaluate as a head coach; was his winning percentage in Minnesota mostly luck? As he gained more personnel power with the Vikings, the drafting and free agent decisions steadily declined, although certainly Green was handicapped, as all Vikings coaches were, from the team's inception until last year, by cheapskate ownership.

by Israel (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 12:43pm

Also, I wonder if we should somehow adjust the 370 rule to account for “hits a running back takes per run,�

I have been wondering why you don't count play action. Doesn't the running back get hit nearly like on a running play, much of the time?

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 12:51pm

Regarding the Bucs / Jags game:

I thought the Bucs D was a case of the Jags O looking bad over their D looking good.

One of the big Gaines Adams stories has been how much he looked up to Simeon before entering the league, and it really showed in this game. There was one play that went for a TD where Gaines Adams is supposed to run outside and contain, but just flies right out of the play. I know he's young and it's preseason, but I have big time reservations about him (and did before the draft).

Garcia made a play where he slipped the tackle of I think it was Stroud, but I think people are going to be reading into that in the wrong way. Watching the play, it was clear Garcia was dead to rights, and it looked like the DT just let him go because it was pre-season and they were't looking to murder another teams starting QB. He made like, a 5 yard scramble out of the play but in a real game, Garcia probably gets floored at concussion levels.

The Bucs O-line looked really, really awful. The Jags have a great D, but there was someone back there nearly every play and I can't blame Garcia for his happy feet. I think we'll see him playing at Cleveland levels rather than with the stacked Philly O.

I know the PFP numbers suggest the Bucs will return to a fringe playoff team, but I just don't see it. Does an easy schedule with the NFCW really matter when you look like you'd be the third or fourth best team in that division? The Bucs just look lost on offense and on defense they have this fun habit of not wrapping up.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 1:00pm

Posluszny played two different linebacker positions in college and was outstanding at both. I was advocating the Packers draft him in the first round as I am of the personal opinion that Brady Poppinga is a worthless piece of sh*t who couldn't cover a sofa with a slipcover much less an opposing tight end.

Alas, GB went another route.

PP will be a fine player in the NFL. At least he didn't end up in the NFC North.

One positive from this year's preseason is that it looks like Bigby is the leading frontrunner for the strong safety position. Anything that gets Marquand "Hey, there goes another receiver that I can't cover" Manuel off the field is fine with me. Poppinga and Manuel were the two weak links in the Packer's pass defense. Getting one of them on the bench is a big step in the right direction.

That and Al Harris and Charles Woodson not getting old overnight. That would help.......

by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 1:15pm

The first half of the Giants/Ravens game (which is all that I watched) was a spectacularly sloppy affair. But both teams were very aggressive and playing fast. It had the intensity of a regular season rivalry game. Lots of chippiness. Is there bad blood between those teams?

I thought Eli looked pretty good. The TD pass was an accurate and well timed bullet.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 1:15pm

It's been said many times before, but 'Guy Whimper' has got to be the worst football name ever.

On the other hand, they do have somebody named 'Awesome' on the team.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 1:20pm

Hey, Badger, I've had little confidence in the Vikings getting much out of Chad Greenway, simply because you can't evaluate a guy who is injured, but I'm starting to think that Hawk and Sims may not be the only good 2nd year linebackers in the NFC North this year.

What's your win projection for the Packers this year? Ya' might remember that prior to the draft I was picking Green Bay to win the division, but then your comments about Favre, and Thompson's draft scared me off. PFP 2007 has the Pack with the highest win projection in the division, however, so maybe I should stick with my original take.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 1:28pm

While I agree that recovering fumbles is generally random, I think with the Raiders it might actually be a skill. For most offenses, time spent practicing fumble recoveries can best be used in other areas, but with the Raiders, that's not the case.
Also, I don't know if "getting clowned" is a typo or intentional, but I intend to use it to describe blowouts from now on.

by Chuck Norris (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 1:28pm

10: Agree, Guy Whimper should lose 10 points off his Madden rating just from the name alone.

by db (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 1:31pm

One could speculate all day on why Herm does what he does. My theory is that he thinks that he is smarter than he is. By playing Green last season he accomplished two things. Firstly, he discredited Green so that getting rid of him got easier. Secondly, he kept Huard on the bench so that handing the job to Croyle would be easier this season. If Huard had continued to play at the level he was at last season, there would have been no way that Croyle could have been inserted this year without a fan revolt.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 1:33pm


Green Bay has a number of positives. The defensive line looks to have both front-line talent AND depth. Johnny Jolly has really impressed in camp. Harrell has been "just a guy" but the team is convinced he just needs to learn to use his hands better. Woodson and Harris look great. Hawk seems to be handling pass coverage better. The depth in the secondary is improved with Will Blackmon taking a BIG step forward. There is a deadly serious kicking compeition between Rayner and a rookie from Colorado who might just pull it out even with the vet doing just fine. The offensive line is in good shape. Some of the young receivers like Ruvell Martin have done some really hard work in the offseason to improve and it shows.

But running back is a HUGE question mark as after Brandon Jackson the talent dropoff is dramatic. Morency has been hurt and even so he's just a guy. With the Packers 15 million under the cap it's pretty odd that the team couldn't dig up one legit option at such a key position. If the rookie goes down Favre will throw the d*mn ball 750 times. Except not to the tight end. I laughed when the writer above complimented Bubba Franks.

Franks is a joke. A J-O-K-E. He hasn't been able to beat a 90 year old amputee down the field since 2004. His hands have vanished the last two seasons. His blocking last season was horrid. It's inexcusable he's still on the roster. Since McCarthy has rightly dumped most of the cr*p he inherited from Sherman it's baffling that Franks, of all players, still has a roster spot. I really have to wonder what folks are watching if they look at Bubba Franks and think "NFL caliber Tight End".

Overall, Thompson has greatly improved the talent level on the team. But with such significant gaps at key positions the effort may require another season to address fully.

Regarding number 4 I anticipate Rodgers playing by midseason either due to injury or Favre finally driving off the cliff. His arm is fine. Anyone who states otherwise is wrong. But everything ELSE is clearly regressing. His legs won't hold up to a full season. Even if the offensive line reprises the glory of the Wahle, Clifton, Tauscher, Flanagan, Rivera days.

by JasonK (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 1:34pm


Deihl was indeed awful blocking Suggs for the first few series. But I thought he settled in and did okay after that. Still, it's not a promising sign. Hopefully more gameplanning will help. (I don't think the Giants ran any playaction at all last night.)

Jared Lorenzen has a ridiculously slow wind-up. If I knew more about baseball, I'd pick a paunchy left-handed relief pitcher to compare him to.

FYI, Bill, the Giants WR you mentioned is named "Anthony Mix," not "Nix." With Jennings' achilles injury, he's now the odds-on favorite to be the #6 WR on the roster.

As for the kickers, the trade for Tynes was said to be "conditional." I don't think it was ever revealed what the conditions were, specifically, but it wouldn't suprise me if the Giants conditioned giving up any picks at all on Tynes making the final 53-man roster. Hopefully, management has read their PFP and know that better KO distance should make Huston the favorite at this point.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 1:38pm


My theory is that he's a bad coach that's followed up two good coaches in New York and then in Kansas City and lived through the teams they built, and that his personal friendship with Dick Vermeil got him on the in with the Kansas City job.

Herm just seems like he doesn't understand head coaching responsibilities. He doesn't do what smart teams do (Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Philly, New England, etc) and evaluate how players are going to be, rather than what they did in years past. He focuses on the minor things (penalties) and ignores the major issues (Trent Green, running Curtis Martin into the ground, running Larry Johnson into the ground)

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 1:55pm

Badger, I was shocked that the Packers didn't trade down to pick Greg Olson, and pick up depth at running back as well. I thought they were a good te performance away from locking up the division, and even with Franks I give them a decent chance.

I continue to be surprised at Woodson's return from unannounced retirement. He must be off the bottle, and the Pack should consider themselves lucky that Koren Robinson is unlikely to be reinstated this year; you don't need a near-hopeless bottlehead like Kegger Koren to be hanging around a guy in recovery like Woodson.

by Xian (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 2:02pm

Although I have the whole GB-SEA game on the Tivo, I had to stop after the first half too. Because I didn't want to get any more overly excited about Green Bay's season.
I know the first team D was going up against not Hasselbeck and not the full first team OL. But man, the Packers D sure looked impressive.
Aaron Rodgers seemed to not suck, and the rookie WR Jones sure looked good to my eyes. Now that Ferguson's gone, I'd expect him to move into the 3rd WR position, unless Ruvell Martin really does something amazing soon.
And technically, Atari Bigby isn't a new name in the NFL, he's a 3rd-year player, originally a UFA signed by Miami.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 2:04pm

If you're a glutton for PBP breakdowns and a masochistic Titans fan, like I am, you might appreciate my review of the Titans' first half offensive performance. See link in name.

This was the second straight game the Titans looked like they had an actual pass rush, or two more games than such was true during the 2006 season (maybe only one-I missed the GB preseason game). In particular, were I a Redskins or Patriots fan, I'd be a little worried at how much difficulty my team had picking up a basic stunt play.

Once again, the Titan back who started the second half, running behind the second team offensive line playing against the second team defense, looked better. Last week that was Chris Henry. This week it was Chris Brown. Let's just say that the early indications are the Titan offensive line won't be a strength like most Titan fans were hoping for this year.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 2:10pm


It's pretty clear that Thompson is a big believer in defense. Which is why if he was going to target defense why grab the D-linemen when you have a bevy of options? Linebacker, in the name of Brady Poppinga, was a concern.

I don't recall off the top of my pointy head what options existed in free agency but I can't help but think one of the two skill positions could have received a bit of assistance by picking up someone. That is the part I don't understand. If you are willing to throw 10 million at a doof like Manuel you can't bring yourself to hire another short-term option until the draft provides an alternative?

Woodson is insistent the "turn around" has everything to do with the Packers scheme and playing with Al Harris. The two really seem to like one another. Of course, they drive the coaching staff batty by free-lancing all the time but so far it has worked out for everyone.

On a totally unrelated note if I were Ahman Carroll with time on my hands I would be watching 1000 hours of Al Harris game tapes. Harris holds more than any other DB in the league and gets called just every so often. I always am astonished that Al is so blatant in the practice yet is penalized very little relative to his infractions committed.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 2:11pm

I think judging first string offensive performance (it goes without saying that judging deeper than the top of the depth chart is pretty useless) in the pre-season is harder than judging first string defensive performance. Most defenses really aren't gameplanning, and without facing a defense which has gameplanned for an offense, any offense has a chance to look a lot better than it is. If a first string defense looks really good, however, against a good first string offense, there is reason to think that it reflects defensive quality.

I think Green Bay and the Vikings are going to be pretty darned good on defense, with the Vikings a little better on that side of the ball. Of course, if the Vikings don't put together a passing attack, the numbers may not fully reflect the Vikings defensive performance.

by senser81 (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 2:13pm

re: #8 & #15

Nice Packer analysis. Marquand Manuel was horrendous. He reminded me of one of my least favorite players from the Bart Starr regime, Estus Hood. Poppinga is like a guy who fills-in for the regular OLB when he needs a breather. I don't understand why his position wasn't a huge upgrade priority in the offseason.

Franks' pass-catching has really declined, but he was probably the best blocker among the Packer TEs last year, which isn't saying much. I wasn't impressed with David Martin at all, yet (I think) Miami snatched him up.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 2:23pm

Of course, the biggest unknown about the NFC North is whether Grossman will show any improvement against good defenses. I think the Bears are likely to backslide a little on defense, simply because they have strung together several consecutive good defensive performances, and defense is typically more variable. If Grossman just manages to avoid sucking like a tornado against good defenses, however, it may not be noticed. I have no idea of the chances of this happening, however.

by John (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 2:33pm

Re 21: I think linebacker is my biggest concern. They have precious little depth; if either Hawk or Barnett get hurt, they're in huge trouble.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 2:39pm

Post 23/Will:

Post 23: Thanks. Franks was terrible blocking last season as he stalled drives multiple times with penalties. And he was a turnstile on several plays that caused Favre to be sacked which in turn generated a fumble. From memory Franks gave up 3 sacks and something like nine "hurries". He also fumbled twice. Bubba Franks was a cipher in 2006. You couldn't script a worse starting TE in the league. And this was the logical step in the regression in his game which began around 2004. To think he will improve defies everthing this site is about. To BELIEVE he will improve is fantasy.

Will, I have my doubts about the Minny pass defense with respect to actual coverage. What has been so that the efforts of the front seven don't get wasted? And no, I don't take Darren Sharper that seriously. He mades the occasional big play because he's a smart guy. But he's lost a step which means if forced to cover he can only use the angles for so long.

If Favre regresses slowly while Jackson PROgresses even slower than GB has a chance to beat out the Vikes.

As for Grossman, I have always liked his game. He just needs those "live fire" drills to better recognize situations. Chicago has good receivers. If the o-line gives him time expect good things back there.

Though I do think the Packer d-line this season will really surprise people. With Jenkins in the lineup from game 1, some of the young guys getting better, and the defensive secondary hopefully improving I think the Packers could really ring a few qb's bells in 2007.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 3:11pm

Badger, the Packers will beat out the Vikings this year, but it'll be due to the fact that Minnesota has no credibility in the passing game. Unless Jackson and Co. are a complete surprise, it'll be eight and nine guys in the box against them. The Vikings have plenty of depth at safety, so if Sharper underperforms, somebody is likely to step up. Cedric Griffin is a concern at one corner, but there are some guys on the depth chart to push him as well, so I think they'll be adequate at that spot, especially since it looks like they'll have an outside pass rush for the first time in fifteen years. The linebackers look good and deep, and of course the Williams non-brothers are about the best dt tandem in the league.

It'll be mostly a waste if they team can't throw the ball, or course, since the NFL these days really is in large part about the passing game, but they should be very good on defense.

by Boesy (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 3:27pm

To all FO observers, but especially Will:

What in the world is Childress doing? With a defence that should be top-10 (please let there be an effective pass rush), a good offensive line and running game, would you not think that developing Jackson would be priority 1? How can you not play this kid every down the starters are in? 4 passes is lunacy, unless his only job in the regular season will be to hand off the Taylor and Peterson. There is no true QB competition in Minnesota. Giving Bollinger time with the first team is an absurd misuse of the preseason, especially given the way the Jets game unfolded with limited possession for the Vikings in the first half.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 3:28pm

Also, Badger, the one thing that would concern me if I were a Bears fan, beyond whether Grossman can avoid killing his team when facing a good defense, is how the o-line holds up. They have been very good, but some guys are a little older, and when older guys start to decline, the curve can sometimes be pretty steep.

All right, I've talked myself into it; I'm going to go back to my original prediction, and agree with PFP 2007. The Packers win the division, and we all get exposed to idiot announcers' Favreophilia at least one more year.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 3:38pm

Ya' got me Boesy, unless Childress plans on playing the first string offense for three quarters in the next game, and a fair amount in the last pre-season contest.

I've been kind of neutral on Childress overall, but his handling of the qb position has been pretty enigmatic to me. Maybe Childress will prove himself to be a top-flight qb guru with Jackson, and alleviate all my doubts.

I certainly hope so, but I'll be surprised. I will give Chilly credit for this much: da' boy has da' courage of his convictions! He's willing to bet his NFL head coaching career on Tavaris Jackson, so ya' gotta say he has some onions. Whether he has judgement to match the onions will be discovered.

by dbt (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 3:43pm

the bears defense last year without tommie harris was average at best. He should be, if anything, better this year.

If Tommie, Mike Brown and Brian Urlacher are all healthy this year the defense should be as good as it was in the first 6-7 games last season. Go back and watch the secondary in the entire last half and playoff run last year if you don't believe me.

Grossman... I don't know. If he brain farts this year, though, he's going to get launched out of a cannon by the 4th or 5th game. Orton is a 3rd year guy and might be ready to play (they're talking about him being the #2 guy this year).

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 3:53pm

Of course, so much depends on injuries that predicting gets problematic.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 4:12pm

I said this in the discussion thread, but Campbell didn't impress me that much - not until I see him actually have a quicker release during games. That's going to kill him in the regular season - in the preseason, not so much, because teams aren't practicing a whole week for their opponent.

But he's definitely got the tools to do it, since he's got a much quicker release in practice (weird). Still might be a transition year for him, but he could easily turn into the second-best QB in the NFC East.

Also, what the heck was going on with the Ravens - especially the defense? It was like someone had told them that the Giants had just stolen their beer or something. Constant penalties for overaggressiveness (encroachment, offsides, defensive holding, pass interference) and I'm amazed there weren't a few personal fouls called. It wasn't helping them play better, either.

by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 4:20pm

David Diehl played a very poor game against Suggs, but it's one game and a preseason one at that. Literally NO ONE said after the Giants-Eagles playoff game last season David Diehl is horrible and isn't going to work at LT.

I think playing the Ravens was just the kick in the ass the Giants needed to wake up from their slumber. As the game wore on (1st half), the Giants showed actual fight and execution on both sides of the ball.

by methdeez (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 5:55pm

re: 34
"I think playing the Ravens was just the kick in the ass the Giants needed to wake up from their slumber. "

So, getting your ass kicked means that you will be less likely to get your ass kicked in the future?
You are a homer...

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 6:15pm

what woke them from their slumber was the ravens putting in the 3rd string.

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 6:20pm

For reference, a Giants beat writer put it out a few weeks ago that the Tynes trade was for a 7th rounder if he makes the roster, and nothing if he doesn't. The way the front office talked about Huston, I think he's the strong favorite. Before free agency even started, they said they weren't going to even negotiate to re-sign Feely because they were confident in Huston. Tynes just seems like insurance in case Huston is horrific.

by are-tee (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 9:22pm

If Huston makes the team, there's no doubt the single-season record for most field goals in the Meadowlands by Ohio State alumni will be smashed in 2007.

by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 10:12pm

#35... Wow, you've somehow managed to make the most nonsensical statement I've ever seen on this website. How were the Giants getting their ass kicked? They weren't. However, they were sleepwalking in their first game and were sleepwalking early in their second game. That's ALL the statement referred to... not whether the Giants were going to be a better or worse team or if that was somehow connected to playing the Ravens.

#36... I guess you didn't watch the game. Baltimore's first team secondary and LBs played the nearly the entire first half.

by Noah of Arkadia (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 10:29pm

Badger, I agree with you about Favre. QBs that old just don't bounce back, even when they apparently did badly for circumstantial reasons. One way or the other, Favre is going to do badly again, and injury is certainly a possibility. The fact that he's been so durable isn't a protective charm; Marino, for instance, had a long streak of consecutive starts when he ruptured his Achilles tendon without contact way back when (sorry about the really old reference).

by podpeople (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 11:54pm

I just got done rewatching the carolina/philly game and also reading the panther's section in PFP07. It specifically said steve smith will probably be asked to catch mid level passes since meshawn retired. He looked bad creating no seperation and he was late coming back to balls. He wound up watching a lot of delhomme passes sail 3-5 yards away from him. These are mostly timing throws, which means Carolina has a chance to improve correct? Also...I'm kinda wondering which Eagles will show up sept 9th...hopefully fridays and not mondays eagles.

by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 12:27am

If Huston makes the team, there’s no doubt the single-season record for most field goals in the Meadowlands by Ohio State alumni will be smashed in 2007.

Actually, there's a reason Huston was the backup when Nugent won the Groza award as the best collegiate kicker. It's because Nugent was better. Obviously he wasn't worth a 2nd round pick, but that's just because no kicker other than ROBOKICKER would be. Nugent was 7th in the NFL in field goal percentage last year, so he's already doing quite well. Huston's good, too, but not quite as good.

by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 12:30am

Oh, sorry, you said alumni, plural. Ok, now I get it. Yes, indeed, the two of them will certainly combine for quite a total. Sorry about that mix up.

by TheDudeAbides (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 2:37am

While I agree with Ben that Sean Salisbury is an idiot and without having seen it I'm pretty sure his analysis of the KC QB situation was incoherent, I've got to disagree about the throw Huard made. It was a wide open throw that could have gone for a big gain. Sure, there was a guy in his face. This is the NFL and when you're 34, you're not being compared against the Tarvaris Jacksons or Brodie Croyle's of the world.
It still amazes me that people want to give Huard so much credit for his season in KC last year. Last year he led the Chiefs to three road losses where the team scored 10 points or fewer. He also had the best 9 game streak in history in terms of throwing interceptions. Which would have been great if he hadn't also been on a fumbling streak even Dave Krieg would have admired.
It doesn't surprise me normal commentators criticize Green's performance in the playoffs a season ago. It surprises me more when FO does it since in the salient half (first) the Chiefs passed only on third and long, and even then they would have been able to sustain drives had Gonzalez, Kennison, and Hall not dropped passes right on the numbers.
Green had a terrible season in K.C. last year, but Huard was the epitome of a backup. For anyone who thinks the Chiefs would be better off with Huard (even in the short term) while the Redskins would be crippled if Campbell got hurt, well, I doubt that's the evaluation you'd get from Dick Vermeil, Al Saunders, or even Carl Peterson. If Saunders was calling the shots, Collins would have started both last year and this year in Washington. People quickly forget Todd Collins was considered an elite backup QB by the coaches in KC while Huard was considered a marginal emergency guy. (Collins was 10-13 for 74 yards and a TD the other day, but, of course that was just preseason.)
Regardless, it seems there's a good chance Clark Hunt will have a different GM and different HC making the calls in KC this offseason as the team prepares for its top 5 selection in the 2008 draft.

by Jimmy (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 8:55am

#33, Pat

Is it just me or does anyone else see a bit of the 'Rob Johnsons' in Campbell. He sometimes makes great throws but then the next play holds the ball far too long and kills the drive. He throws a really pretty ball that makes you think he is about to rip a team to pieces, but then screws it up. I can imagine how playing in college with Marcus McNeil protecting his blindside could make him look really good - especially if the talent evaluator in question is Dan Snyder.

by Jimmy (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 9:15am

#24, Will Allen

I started a thread on the open discussion boards about the projection for the Bears defence. My query is basically does a defence still decline when the personel is the same, and not at the point where age-related decline can become an issue; where some of the better players on defense are probably on the upward curve of their careers in terms of their overall talent; and where scheme and the majority of coaching staff have remained the same. I would have thought that continuity in these cases is a good thing (and in the modern era very rare). It isn't as though the Bears put up the -20% DVOA without getting anyone hurt, most teams performance would decline if they lost two Pro-Bowlers and loads of depth in the secondary. Is the Bears defense for the upcoming season a test case for this kind of thing.

The same argument applies to special teams, Bobby April's special teams unit for the Bills have ranked 1st, 1st and 2nd the last three years. Next season they will return most of the players and the same coaches, are they still expected to regress to the mean?

I guess what I am aiming at is the following - is the higher variability of defense and special teams performance due to higher turnover on the roster and coaching staff on these groups than for offense? Especially the QB position where teams try to get their roster set in stone.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 9:39am

As a follow up, Bigby was named the nominal starter at strong safety ahead of the stiff also known as Marquand Manuel. In fact, there is speculation that Manuel may not even keep his roster spot.

Anyone who recalls my "rants" of the 2006 season will know that over half were directed at the Packers adamant refusal to replace Manuel when it was obvious the guy couldn't play pass defense. Eventually this caused Charles Woodson and Al Harris to coordinate their actions with free safety Nick Collins so that the three players tried to compensate for their ineffective co-worker.

Once Bigby demonstrated even minimal ability in training camp both Woodson and Harris lobbied with the coaching staff to have him replace Manuel. That's a pretty d*mning indictment of Manuel. Most times players will support a teammate, particularly a veteran, til the bitter end. When asked publicly about Manuel both cornerbacks are tight-lipped. But according to just about everyone with clubhouse access the two vets have been highly critical of Manuel since mid-season of last year.

To compound his lack of speed Manuel also became soft on run defense and then surly when confronted about his lack of of toughness. So along with having physical shortcomings he's also something of a jerk.

Ted Thompson has done a pretty solid job of bringing talent into Green Bay. But he blew it on this guy. A complete disaster.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 12:15pm

#36… I guess you didn’t watch the game. Baltimore’s first team secondary and LBs played the nearly the entire first half."

no, but they did replace the line, which is VASTLY more important.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 12:36pm

Ya' got me, jimmy. It would be an interesting angle to look into.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 08/22/2007 - 1:33am

#45: No, I definitely wouldn't agree there. He never held onto the ball too long during the game that I saw him - it's just his delivery which is slow. It's not slow enough that it'll get him sacked/killed, etc. It's just slow enough that the entire secondary will be bearing down on the WR.

by croxall (not verified) :: Wed, 08/22/2007 - 9:11am

BadgerT1000!? How on earth can you advocate the Packers drafting Pozluzny? They have Hawk, #5 overall, and Barnett, another first rounder who they just gave the 2nd big contract to. Drafting another linebacker in the 1st? One of those 3 guys is only going to be on the field 50% of snaps!? For one thing Poppinga isn’t that bad, for another it’s way too wasteful of resources to put so much into one non-premium position.

Poppinga isn’t great in coverage, I will grant you that, but he came on loads over the course of last season – he’s a project that played as a down lineman in college, it’s to be expected that there’ll be a learning curve. He has prototype size, can run and has some pass rush skills, and he’s not going to be on the field very often in obvious passing situations anyway. I think you have to be prepared to give up some of the coverage ability for the other things he brings to the table. He’s a 3rd linebacker, you just don’t use a 1st round pick on a 3rd linebacker. Sure, depth at linebacker is an issue, but they picked some guys up late in the draft and in free agency (Desmond Bishop, Rory Johnson, Juwan Simpson), which is where you should find depth at a position like linebacker.

Bubba Franks was awful down the stretch last year, he really looked like he had no confidence at all and his blocking (which the first half of the year was OK) really regressed. Of course his receiving was poor all last year and 2005 too. Nevertheless I think he’ll contribute more this year; Badger, surely if Franks was the worst possible starting tight end, then surely regression to the mean might suggest that he will be better in 2007, no? I realise that I’m being a little facetious here, but so much for “think(ing) he will improve defies everthing this site is about�? He isn’t going to be starting anyway. As for Olsen, from what little I’ve seen he looks like he can’t block to save his life, and I’m pleased he’s not a Packer.

The Vikings run defense is likely to regress this year to some degree. The questions for me are (a) to what degree, and (b) will the pass defense in general, and the pass rush in particular improve to compensate? I think they could be better on offense this year (surely they have to get better play from the line this year) but be no better as a team overall, that is where my money is right now. I personally am expecting the Packers to be better on defence than the Vikings this year. I think Cullen Jenkins is ready to take the league by storm, and there are several other players who are on an upward trend. Barring injuries at corner I like the Packers D a lot. I am pleased Bigby is getting a shot, and equally pleased that Patrick Dendy has been surpassed at nickel back by Jarrett Bush. I thought people were way too easy on Dendy last year just because he replaced Carroll, but I think he is slow and was a liability at times.

What concerns me is the offense. I just don’t see who is going to score touchdowns for this team. Maybe the rookie Jones is going to make a difference, maybe Bubba or Lee will be decent red zone performers… but I don’t much like the chances of those things panning out. Neither Jackson or Morency is the big physical presence that you would covet in a red zone RB either. Still so long as the offence can avoid a high rate of mistakes and lots of turnovers I think the Packers have a good shot at the division this year.

The concern for the Bears has to be o-line, specifically depth at tackle. The starters are good but old, the backups are poor. Also I thought Kreutz was a big disappointment for much of last year, although he did come on down the stretch. I think the performance of the line will have a massive bearing on Rex Grossman and to what degree he improves or otherwise. The Bears will be good again on defense I’m sure, but I feel they may need the offense to step up more this year in a potentially improving division. My prediction for the NFC North is Packers, Bears, Vikings, Lions in that order.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Wed, 08/22/2007 - 12:15pm

Post 51:

Poppinga is not a young guy. He will turn 29 this year as his career was delayed due to Mormon missionary work. His future is right NOW. And he cannot cover a TE to save his life. Between him and Marquand Manuel the Packers were two guys short in pass coverage. Or perhaps you missed the Jets game. Or the Saints game. Or any time the team faced a competent passing team. Regarding Paul P. I thought it was a no-brainer that he wsa a first round quality player. He is certainly making a better show early on with the Bills than Harrell is with Green Bay where the newest Packer is getting manhandled by the backup offensive linemen. And I have no issue with stockpiling talent at a position. You need playmakers in the NFL. I think PP is one such playmaker.

As for Franks, he has consistently, and I STRESS consistently, regressed since 2003. First whatever speed he had left. Then his hands. And now he can't block. I specifically mentioned the sacks he surrendered in 2006 along with the quarterback hurries. He was a TURNSTILE by season's end. And no, I DO NOT AGREE that he will rebound. He has LOST whatever physical skills he had that made him an NFL player. He is done. Finished. It's pure wishcasting to think a guy who has steadily gone hill is suddenly going to revert back to form. And even if he DID the BEST the Packers can expect is mediocre to subpar. THAT'S the goal? To have merely a POOR performer at TE versus one who is AWFUL? I expect more from my management team.

The Packers issues in 2006 were obvious. That the team abjectly REFUSED to address one of if not THE most obvious issues in Franks does not give me a positive feeling. Clearly things other than performance are being used in the evaluation process.

And I do not agree with that approach.

At ALL..................

by Parker W. (not verified) :: Sat, 08/25/2007 - 3:26pm

The Buffalo chapter in PFP 07 discussed Buffalo's undersized D-Line and its inability to even get in the way of RBs. I wonder if this will help or hurt Poz's tackle numbers. He could rack up numbers cleaning up for everyone else in the front seven. On the other hand, no protection from his D-Line could make him pretty ineffective. It'll be interesting to see which is the case.