Posted on: August 2, 2011 7:56 pm

All up to Vick?

It took till July 25 until football was on for the 2011 season.  Part of the new collective bargaining agreement meant the salary cap was reinstated, along with a salary cap floor.  But with the way the Philadelphia Eagles keep signing players one would think we were still in the uncapped year.


The Eagles continued their free agency dominance on Tuesday with the addition of former Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown.  Brown has had much of his success in a running back tandem with Ricky Williams in Miami, so he should have no problem sharing a backfield with LeSean McCoy in Philadelphia.  For some teams, having signed Brown would have been the highlight of their offseason thus far.  But Philadelphia has traded for DB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, signed DB Nnmandi Asomugha, and signed defensive ends Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins.  It is as if GM Howie Roseman and head coach Andy Reid are putting together a fantasy squad here.  Actually some people do not even have fantasy squads with all of these names on one roster.  It as if they are finding ways  to work within the cap like Madden players do in the game’s Franchise mode.  Without question they will be the team most used by Madden players when the game drops on August 30, and this time not just because they have Michael Vick at QB.


But perhaps that last part is the most telling, Michael Vick will enter the year for the Philadelphia Eagles as the starting QB, a title he has not held entering a season since 2006 with the Atlanta Falcons.  And the pressure is on Vick to stay healthy, and perform at a high level as he did in 2010 inheriting the starting job in Philly.  The knock against Vick has always been that his style of play will not win a Super Bowl.  And if the Eagles fail to make it to at least the NFC Championship in 2011, look for Vick to shoulder much of the blame.  But Vick has won in the playoffs before, most notably when he took the Falcons into Lambeau Field on New Year’s day 2003 to defeat the Packers in what was the first time they ever lost a postseason game at Lambeau.  Vick has more talent around him in 2011 then he ever has before, can the kid that once knocked off the legendary Brett Favre and Green Bay Packers lead a team to a Super Bowl?  Only time will tell.

Category: NFL
Posted on: April 13, 2010 5:18 pm

Hearts of Steel or Smart Business?

When I turned on SportsCenter Sunday night after the baseball game, I was in a state of shock with the opening story.  The New York Jets had acquired WR Santonio Holmes from the Steelers for a draft pick, which pick was unkown at the time.  I frantically searched the internet to confirm the report, and make sure it wasn't a dream.

Holmes was awarded the Super Bowl MVP award in a Super Bowl XLIII victory for the Steelers against the Arizona Cardinals thanks to his 9 catches for 131 yards and one of the most iconic TD catches in Super Bowl history.  Following that performance, Holmes took a step forward in 2009 with 79 catches for 1248 yards, both career highs, and added 5 TD catches to that line.  Holmes has improved his catches each season since his rookie year of 2006, as well as his yardage in all but one season.  He arguably had become the Steelers number one receiver, so why did that trade him?  The Rooney family are one of the most respected owners in the NFL, so what drove them to trade away one of their top young talents?  With Holmes recently in the media for abuse charges, as well as a now reported four-game suspension to start the 2010 season, perhaps the Rooney family had finally had enough of Holmes.  After all, they have also had their starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, in the news facing potential charges, until Monday when it was announced no charges would be filed.  With all the negativity facing two of the team's most recognizable figures, and perhaps the two top talents on the offense, it is easy to see that the Rooney family wanted to get rid of some of that bad publicity.  But only obtaining a fifth round pick for Holmes, was that really a smart move?

It has been reported since the trade that the Steelers would have dropped Holmes had they not found an offer for him.  But, could it be possible that absolutely no other team offered Pittsburgh a more lucrative offer than the Jets, especially with so many needing talent at the WR position?  And the talent they gave up in Holmes, they will most certainly not replace with the fifth round pick they acquired from the Jets.  Perhaps the Steelers feel confident in Mike Wallace, who showed flashes of brilliancy last season, but as the third WR for the Steelers.  Regardless, the Jets may have wound up with another steal this off season, if Holmes can get on the field and produce like he did in the 2009 season.  The Jets ownership is showing that they will open up their hearts for any player, regardless of past personal issues, in hopes of topping the Patriots in the AFC East this season.  If everything works on the field, they could make a run at another AFC Championship game, and who knows where else they may go.  There is no denying Holmes' talent, and what he could bring to the Jets, now it's just up to him to prove it, and Roger Goodell not to suspend him.
Posted on: April 4, 2010 8:54 pm

2010 MLB Predictions

It’s opening night, and that smell of spring is in the air.  For the baseball fans in New England and New York it’s not Happy Easter messages being exchanged, but rather Happy Opening Day.  With all the moves this offseason, one that was said to have one of the worse free agent classes in sometime, there are still many intriguing new faces in new places.  And injuries will always play a factor, but it doesn’t stop fans from making their preseason predictions.  Here’s how I see the 2010 season playing out:

1. Yankees – The lineup may not be as strong as last season, but Granderson should return to form playing in Yankee Stadium.  The addition of Javier Vasquez, and having Joba Chamberlain return to the back end of the bullpen should help strengthen the pitching staff.
2. Red Sox – The addition of Lackey should prove as their best one of the offseason.  He is finally healthy out of spring training, and a return to 30+ starts should be possible.  Their lineup is not as bad as many may lead you to believe.  If their starters stay healthy, they do not need a 900+ run offense.
3. Rays – Longoria continues to be the staple of the lineup, and Upton should have a bounce back year, after an injury-plagued 2009.  The addition of Soriano may be their best move of the offseason.  They may be a division winner elsewhere in the AL, if not having to play with the Yankees and the Sox.
4. Orioles – Wieters and Adam Jones should continue to improve and play significant roles in this lineup.  The return of Miguel Tejeda is a great move.  The consistency of the pitching will determine if this team can approach 75-80 wins.
5. Blue Jays – Losing Roy Halladay takes away some losses.  Adam Lind, newly signed to a four-year extension, is the key piece in this lineup.  But the staff is not what it has been in past seasons.

1. White Sox – A full season of a healthy Jake Peavy could result in close to twenty wins in the AL Central.  Juan Pierre at the top of the lineup as a full time starter could prove to be a great move.  Gordon Beckham could blossom into an all-star as soon as this season.  If Quentin returns to all-star form, this may be one of the most over-looked teams in the majors.
2. Twins – Perhaps one of the most over-looked lineups, they have one of the deepest lineups, in terms of consistency, in the majors.  A new ballpark brings outdoor baseball back to Minnesota, but it remains to be seen if that is a benefit to this team.
3. Tigers – If the White Sox are one of the most over-looked teams in the league, the Tigers may be the most over-hyped team in the league.  It remains to be seen how Austin Jackson will fair in the majors, but the Tigers staff love the kid.  Johnny Damon will be the more consistent player at the top of the lineup, but the real concern is the back end of the rotation.
4. Royals – They have remained at the bottom of the division for a while, but they still have many young players, such as Alberto Callaspo and Billy Butler who are still improving, and reigning Cy Young Award Winner Zach Greinke. 
5. Indians – There are so many questions both in the lineup and the rotation that it’s hard to picture this team finishing any higher than last in the division.  Even if players such as Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner have bounce back seasons, will it be enough to combat the runs this rotation is sure to give up?

1. Mariners – The addition of Cliff Lee will prove to be a great move, and gives them one of the best 1-2 combinations with Felix Hernandez.  But perhaps the bigger move will be the signing of Chone Figgins.  Figgins gives the lineup more speed, and is a guy who can put up a .400 OBP as well.  They have the ability to surprise many.
2. Rangers – A healthy Josh Hamilton will be key, but so will a healthy Vlad Guerrero, who can still hit, and will be better served staying at DH then ever playing the field this season.  They key will be the continued improvement of their pitching staff, which made great strides in 2009 from 2008.
3. Angels – For the team that has long reigned at the top of the division, it is quite possible that they fall hard in 2010.  The losses of Jon Lackey and Chone Figgins will hurt.  And the questions in the rotation are too evident to be overlooked. 
4. Athletics – Much of their offseason moves result in hoping that Ben Sheets can return to 2008 form, after a year off, and anchor a young pitching staff.  The back end of their bullpen is also young, but also one of the best.  Even if their pitching goes as Billy Beane hopes, it remains to be seen if the offense can produce enough runs to win consistently.

1. Phillies – The team everyone is picking to win this division and it’s no secret why.  They are perhaps the most well-rounded team in baseball, and Roy Halladay could have a career year pitching in the NL. 
2. Braves – Twenty-year old OF Jason Heyward has the ability to come in and find his way into the three or four spot in this order by season’s end.  If Billy Wagner can pitch as well as he did for the Red Sox at the end of last season, it may be one of the best pickups by any team this offseason.
3. Mets – Offensively, the Jason Bay move makes a lot of sense, and will help this team.  But with the way Citi Field played out in its first season, his power numbers may take a dip.  David Wright will have to have a better 2010 then he had in 2009 if this team is to make any sort of a run at the Wild Card, there is no way they catch the Phillies.
4. Marlins – The team that always seems to find themselves at around .500 or better, no matter who they lose.  If Ricky Nolasco can overcome a poor 2009, it will only strengthen this rotation.  The offense will score enough runs to help this team win some close games.
5. Nationals – The future is bright for this team, it just might not be the immediate future.  It is hard not to imagine Stephen Strausburg finding his way into this rotation by June with the way he pitched in the spring.

1. Cardinals – Much like the Phillies in the East, they are the consensus pick by many to take their division.  Felipe Lopez had one of the better seasons nobody knew about in 2009, and could find his way into the starting lineup quickly if David Freese or Skip Schumaker struggle or go down with injury.  A full season of Matt Holiday batting behind him should only help Albert Pujols.
2. RedsJoey Votto is another one of those emerging youngsters that not enough people know about.  The addition of Orlando Cabrera should also help the top of this rotation.  They may only go as far their rotation takes them, but the potential is there for them to have a crack at the NL Wild Card.
3. Cubs – Injuries and curses continue to plague this team on a yearly basis.  If they can stay healthy and play to their potential, they have the ability to possibly make a run at the Cardinals for the division.  But that’s a big if.  A big part of their success will be determined by if they get the 2008 or 2009 version of Geovany Soto.
4. Brewers – They just don’t have the pitching to make a run at a playoff spot.  Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder will continue to anchor the lineup, but Alcides Escobar will provide the excitement in this lineup.  Escobar gets his chance with the trade of J.J. Hardy and has the ability to run with it.
5. Pirates – It’s a bold prediction to put the Pirates anywhere but last in the Central, but Andrew McCutchen is a young star.  Jeff Clement was such a promising hitter when in the Mariners farm system, and finished strong in the spring, he could be one to watch for in this lineup.  They have enough pitching to get them out of the cellar in the Central.
6. AstrosWandy Rodriguez was healthy last season, and took the next step, and was the team’s best pitcher.  But the main pieces in this lineup, Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee, continue to age, as does opening day starter Roy Oswalt

1. Dodgers – Outside of the Phillies, they may have the best staff in the NL, and if Chad Billingsley can bounce back from a down year in 2009, him and Clayton Kershaw could prove to be one of the better 1-2 combos in the league.  Russell Martin needs to bounce back from a disappointing 2009 campaign, but watch out for Manny Ramirez.  Yes, Ramirez will be 38 by June, but he can still hit, and may be playing for one last contract.  He has the ability to put up stellar numbers, still.
2. Giants – The resigning of Bengie Molina allows them more time to groom catching prospect Buster Posey in the minors, who could make an appearance by mid-season.  If they stay in contention, ownership has show the willingness to spend, and they may go out and trade for that big bat they have been desperately seeking, allowing them to possibly make the playoffs this season. 
3. Rockies – Their lineup will still score runs, and youngsters Chris Iannetta and Ian Stewart still have the ability to improve and become better players that can help further round out this lineup.  Their rotation is still always a question from year to year however, and the injury to Huston Street to start the year could hurt in the long run.
4. Diamondbacks – The lineup is still young, but can Mark Reynolds repeat a 44 HR season he had in 2009?  The star is Justin Upton, and with a new long-term contract in hand, it will be interesting to see if he can take it a step further in 2010.  The rotation should not be overlooked; a healthy Brandon Webb and the addition of Edwin Jackson could help this team surprise.
5. Padres – When the biggest question of your team’s preseason is when Adrian Gonzalez will be traded, the hopes for a successful season cannot be too high.  If Gonzalez is traded this season, how good, or bad, this team finishes will most likely depend on the amount of major league ready talent they receive in return.

AL WILDCARD – Red Sox - as they prove defense can win at the major league level
NL WILDCARD – Giants - if they stay in contention and get a big bat (maybe Adam Dunn?), they could do some damage in the playoffs
AL MVP – Mark Teixeira – Great year in 2009, his first in pinstripes, and he may build on it
NL MVP – Albert Pujols – Full season with the protection of Matt Holiday behind him, and always a candidate for the Triple Crown.
AL CY YOUNG – Felix Hernandez – Has Cliff Lee to lighten some of the burden in the rotation with him, allows him to go out and dominate.
NL CY YOUNG – Roy Halladay – Halladay dominated in the AL East, the thought of what he may do in the NL presents endless possibilities
AL ROY – Austin Jackson – Getting the chance to start in Detroit, that ballpark allows him some endless possibilities to present his stuff
NL ROY – Jason Heyward – Starting the year in the lineup helps his chances over a potential dominant second half from Stephen Strasburg

BOLD PREDICTION – Albert Pujols becomes the first player to hit for the Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, and first NL player since Joe Medwick in 1937

Right or wrong, it should be a fun year to watch this season.

Posted on: April 1, 2010 12:58 pm

Trading for McNabb Would Regain Creditability

Since a return to Oakland in 1995, a span of fifteen seasons, the Oakland Raiders seemed to have gone astray from their slogan of “A Commitment to Excellence.”  There has just been three winning seasons in Oakland since 1995, although one of those seasons did include a trip to Super Bowl XXXVII (a 48-21 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers).  But since that trip to the Super Bowl, the Raiders have failed to win more than five games in a season.  A failed string of coaches and player acquisitions have been at the forefront of the blame of owner Al Davis.

Coaches during the time period after the Super Bowl include Bill Callahan (whom lead the Raiders to the Super Bowl in his first year as a head coach, following the departure of Jon Gruden, who lead the Bucs to the victory over the Raiders), Norv Turner, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin, and current coach Tom Cable.  Cable was also in the conversation last season of being fired.  Despite being criticized as Kiffin’s replacement midway through the 2008 season, Cable does seem to have the respect of many of his players, despite stories of problems with other members of his coaching staff.  The Raiders are 9-19 under Cable, which is actually a step in the right direction for this dormant franchise.

But coaching changes have not been the only criticism in Oakland, a string of bad personnel moves by Davis has also drawn criticism.  WR Randy Moss was acquired for LB Napoleon Harris, the Raiders 2004 first round pick (7th overall – Troy Williamson) and their seventh round pick.  Moss was a bust in two seasons in Oakland, and was then traded for a fourth round pick to the Patriots in 2007, where Moss has gone on to shine with a record breaking season.  There was also the acquisition of DB DeAngelo Hall for a second and fifth round pick in the 2008 draft.  Hall was then signed to a seven-year $70 million deal prior to the 2008 season.  Hall was then released after eight games into the season, for “failing to adapt to the Raiders system”.  Also prior to the 2008 season, safety Gibril Wilson signed a six-year $39 million contract with the Raiders, only to be released after one season.  And also prior to that 2008 season, Davis signed WR Javon Walker to a six-year $55million deal.  Walker played a total of eleven games for the Raiders, starting seven, compiling fifteen catches for 196 yards and a touchdown.  But the criticism is not just on veteran acquisitions, high first round picks have failed to live up to the hype including QB JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden, and Darrius Heyward-Bey

Acquiring Donovan McNabb could help silence the critics of Davis for the time being.  McNabb would give the Raiders the elite quarterback they have lacked since the retirement of Rich Gannon prior to the 2005 season.  McNabb has the arm to run the deep passing game that Davis is infamous for promoting with his team.  Although none of those failed veteran acquisitions are still around, McNabb could help those first round picks live up to their potential.  McFadden, who will enter the 2010 season at twenty-three years of age, arguably has more athletic ability than Brian Westbrook (McNabb’s main counterpart at RB in Philly) had in the prime of his career.  McFadden has the ability to be a dual threat out of the backfield, like Westbrook, and proved in college that he has the ability to make some big plays.  Heyward-Bey, perhaps the most criticized picks at the time of the selection, has the speed Davis desires from his WRs.  McNabb just had a successful season with another fast WR in DeSean Jackson.  Perhaps the numbers that Jackson put up are far too lofty of expectations, but similar output is possible as Heyward-Bey does have the talent to find success in the NFL.  Finally, there is Russell, who would find himself back on the bench with the acquisition of McNabb.  But McNabb is not the most durable QB, so Russell may find himself some playing time.  But with a similar build to Donovan, albeit a bit heavier, perhaps McNabb could provide the tutelage, and light a fire under the young QB, so that he can make strides towards living up to his pre-draft potential.  Another player who should prosper with the possible acquisition of McNabb would be TE Zach Miller.  Miller has shown the ability to excel in the NFL in the past, and McNabb has shown the ability to find his TEs.  With McNabb under huddle, Miller could become one of the top TEs in the NFL in 2010. 

A trade for McNabb would finally bring some stability to the QB position in Oakland, and could help diminish, for a time, talks of a string of bad acquisitions in Oakland.  McNabb has the ability to make the players around him better, as he has done for eleven years in Philadelphia.  And in the weak AFC West, making a play for a wildcard spot in 2010 is possible.  If owner Al Davis wants to continue to promote “A Commitment to Excellence,” a trade for McNabb is a must.

Posted on: March 25, 2010 12:57 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2010 12:57 pm

Will Second Weekend Provide Bracket Stability?

After a first weekend, I do not know anyone that still has a perfect bracket.  In four days which personified the moniker "March Madness," there were more upsets then there have been seen in quite some time.  Perhaps one of the biggest upsets being Northern Iowa's defeat of tournament top-seed Kansas in the second round on Saturday.  Many of the "experts" said Kansas had the most difficult road to the Final Four, and it proved true, despite many still picking them to move on to the Final Four.  That same Midwest Region saw Georgetown fall to #14 seed Ohio in the first round, and #5 Michigan State once again getting some magic come tourney time, beating #4 Maryland on a last-second shot.  But perhaps the biggest surprises are coming out of the East Region where #12 Cornell has advanced to the Sweet 16, after defeating #5 Temple, and then #4 Wisconsin, handling both teams with ease.  And also in the region, #11 Washington is in the Sweet 16 after beating #6 Marquette, and then handling #3 New Mexico. 

This weekend's Sweet 16 features three double-digit seeds (Washington, Cornell, and St. Mary's) and a #9 seed in Northern Iowa.  And there was the potential for one more, as Butler was barely able to hold off #13 Murray St., winning by two.  But how far will these low seeds advance, and will any of them still be around come Friday night?  Perhaps the greatest chance is for Northern Iowa to advance to the Elite 8, they did the unthinkable by defeating Kansas in the second round.  They get Michigan State, a five seed who have had some struggles in their first two games, winning both by only a combined five points.  But the Spartans have coach Tom Izzo, and can never be counted out no matter who the opponent. 

The toughest road might be for Cornell, the Ivy League Champion, who dominated in the first weekend of the tournament.  But so has their opponent, as Kentucky won by 29 in the first round over #16 East Tennessee State, and by 30 over #9 Wake Forest.  Averaging 95 points in the first two games, and holding their opposition to 65.5 points, Kentucky may be the favorite now that Kansas is out of the tournament. 
Also in the East region, Washington will take on #2 West Virginia, who won the Big East Tournament, and have won their first two games by a combined thirty-six points.  As one of two teams left from the Big East, the so-called best conference in Men's College Basketball, West Virginia may have something to prove this weekend.  The clock may tick midnight for Washington.

And the other double-digit seed left, St. Mary's, a team that flew across country to Providence, RI, and took down #7 Richmond in the first round, and were able to hold off a Villanova team that had struggled two days earlier against #15 Robert Morris.  After watching St. Mary's last week, they have the ability to move on to the Elite 8, but have a tough task in #3 Baylor, who has played well early on.

With all the upsets last week, it would only seem right to even out this year's bracket, and bring some sanity back to the office pools this weekend, with more of the top seeds moving on.  But as the first weekend proved, nothing is for certain, except that it should be an exciting slate of games.

Posted on: March 16, 2010 3:32 pm

Was There Ever Really a Doubt?

As we all found out today, Tiger Woods will officially be making his return at the Masters on April 8, but should we have expected anything less?  Twenty-five days after a statement at PGA Headquarters when Tiger said he was unsure about his return to golf, it is official that he will return in another twenty-three days, almost seven weeks after that initial statement.

In a statement released by Tiger today, he said, "The Masters is where I won my first major and I view this tournament with great respect. After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I'm ready to start my season at Augusta.  The major championships have always been a special focus in my career and, as a professional, I think Augusta is where I need to be, even though it's been a while since I last played."   

As Tiger stated, and is well known to the sporting world, Tiger plays to win the majors.  Sitting at fourteen, four away from Jack Nicklaus, and the 2010 layout also presents what has been called Tiger's best chance to achieve the Grand Slam in one calendar year.  A four-time winner at Augusta, Tiger is familiar with the course, one great reason to return at Augusta.  Second, tight security is a given at Augusta.  Woods has the most security around him on any given weekend on the PGA Tour, but one can see it being taken up an extra measure at Augusta.  And third, the crowds should not be as bad at Augusta, as they might have been at Bay Hill, where many had thought Tiger might return.  For a club, in Augusta, that still does not allow women members, and where tickets to the event are multi-hundreds of dollars for a day, the rowdy hecklers may not be as numerous at the Masters, especially in this economy. 

The return at Augusta just makes too much sense, personally and professionally.  Look for Eldrick to come out firing on April 8.  He has always been one that looks to silence his critics with his play.  What better way then to come back at a Major Tournament and do just that?  And in a bit of foresight, what if Tiger were to complete the Grand Slam this year?  It would put him in a tie with Nicklaus at 18 major championships, and more than likely would leave the talk of his personal life far away in the rearview mirror of the media.

Posted on: March 9, 2010 2:58 pm

Where's the Love for Greedy?

In a conference as deep as the Big East, there are sure to be some snubs when it comes to selecting the All-Big East teams.  Perhaps none was as big as Jamine “Greedy” Peterson only walking away with a Big East Honorable Mention. 


Peterson finished the 2009-2010 regular season fourth in the Big East in scoring, with 19.0 PPG, and second in the conference in rebounding with 10.0 RPG.  On top of that, Peterson was first in the league averaging 4.17 offensive rebounds per game.  Peterson led the Big East with 15 double-doubles on the year, and Peterson was one of three players in the entire country to have two 20-rebound games for the year.  So how did Peterson seem to fly so under the radar?


For one, playing at Providence, a young team that went 4-12 in Big East play, and finished the season losing 10 straight, and 12 of 13 could not have helped out his cause.  Providence’s big win this season was their 81-66 victory over a Connecticut team then ranked #19 in the country.  That win was their last.  But Providence has remained competitive throughout the season against some of the best in the Big East, nearly beating #17 Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh last Thursday night, if it was not for a last second, buzzer-beater by Pittsburgh G Ashton Brooks. 


Perhaps making All-Big East First Team is still a stretch for Peterson, who still has some holes in his game, such as a .539 free throw percentage on the season.  But taking a look at the second team, and even the third team, it is hard to see how Peterson was not able to find a spot.  Of the ten spots between the All-Big East Second Team and All-Big East Third Team, seven of the players selected were guards.  It is that type of unevenness between positions that disallowed Peterson a spot on one of the teams. 


If the NBA can put two guards, two forwards, and a center on each the All-NBA First, Second, and Third Teams, why do All-Conference Teams in the NCAA follow the same criteria?  Yes, the depth at each position may not be the same in conferences, even in one as deep as the Big East.  The biggest problem may come at center, where truly defined centers in the NCAA are often times few and far between, as more often teams will list their lineups as including two guards and three forwards.  But following some sort of structure, maybe requiring a minimum of two guards and two forwards would not be a horrible idea for structure, would it? It might be a start, and although more snubs are almost a certainty in the future no matter what type of guidelines are followed for selection criteria, Peterson only making Big East Honorable Mention is perhaps one of the biggest snubs in the country this season.  However, Peterson is young, talented, and showed much improvement this season.  Barring injury, it would be shocking not to see him one of the All-Big East teams next season.
Posted on: February 27, 2010 1:11 pm

Tebow Should Weigh Other Options

As the NFL Draft Combine continues on, one notable draft prospect is not competing in any drills.  Rather than showing off to scouts at the Combine, the most celebrated college football athlete of the decade is waiting till his Pro Day at Florida.  Tim Tebow is determined not to change positions, and prove that he can be an effective quarterback at the pro level.  Perhaps if that is indeed Tebow’s goal, he should heavily consider other options besides the NFL, in order to refine his skills as a pro quarterback. 


Tebow’s heart is set on proving that he can be an effective quarterback at the next level.  Despite all his critics, the kid has the determination to make it happen.  Does Tebow not remind some of QB Shane Falco from the movie The Replacements?  Left handed quarterback, college star, didn’t make it to the pros, but as coach Jimmy McGinity says about Falco in the movie, Tebow has lots and lots of heart, love him or hate him.  Tebow may not have the luxury of coming in as a replacement player like Falco was scripted in the movie, but Tebow does have other options to improve, get playing time, and perhaps one day star in the NFL besides entering this year’s draft.  Perhaps Tebow should seriously consider either playing in Canada in the CFL, or staying here in the states and playing with the UFL in their second season of play.  Playing elsewhere out of college is not an uncommon occurrence, and many have done so and then gone on to have effective to great careers in the NFL. 


Some of the greatest quarterbacks to find NFL success after starting their careers outside of the NFL include Warren Moon, Kurt Warner, and Doug Flutie.  Moon is perhaps the greatest example out of the three, having achieved great success in the CFL with the Edmonton Eskimos taking them to an unprecedented five straight Grey Cup Championships.  Moon was a Hall of Fame quarterback in his six seasons up north, and then came back to the states to achieve similar success, despite failing to ever win a Super Bowl.  Moon is second on the all-time career passing yardage leaders list when accounting statistics from the NFL, CFL, and USFL with 49,325 passing yards, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006 in large part to his success throughout his entire professional career.  An argument can also be made for recently retired Kurt Warner as the greatest quarterback to find NFL success after he achieved success with the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League.  Warner exploded onto the NFL scene in 1999 after taking over for an injured Trent Green, leading the St. Louis Rams to their first Super Bowl.  Warner is a two time NFL MVP, a Super Bowl MVP, and Super Bowl winner in Super Bowl XXIV, and owns the Super Bowl record for the three highest passing yardage performances.  With 32,344 passing yards in the NFL, Warner is open to the debate as a Hall of Fame quarterback when his time comes in five more years.  And then there is Doug Flutie, who owns one of the most memorable plays in college football history with a last minute Hail Mary at Boston College in 1984.  Out of college Flutie played in the USFL for the New Jersey Generals, but ultimately achieved success in the CFL as one of the league’s most celebrated players of all-time with six CFL Most Outstanding Player Awards, 3 Grey Cup Championships, and 3 Grey Cup MVP’s.  Upon returning to the NFL as a starter in 1998 Flutie became the Comeback Player of the Year.  Flutie did not achieve the NFL success of Moon or Warner, in large part because of his age upon returning to the NFL.  But Flutie ranks fifth on the aforementioned all-time passing yardage list, and is also a CFL Hall of Fame quarterback.


But perhaps comparing Tebow to some of these all-time greats is a bit premature.  Others that have done the same include Tebow critic Joe Theisman, Jeff Garcia, and to an even lesser extent Tommy Maddox.  Out of college Theisman chose to go to Canada where he was a two-time CFL All-Star with the Toronto Argonauts, before coming to the NFL to play twelve seasons with the Washington Redskins.  Theisman led the Redskins to two Super Bowl appearances, winning Super Bowl XVII, was the NFL MVP in 1983, and holds several Redskins passing records including passing attempts, completions, and yardage.  After going undrafted out of college, Jeff Garcia went to the CFL where he played five seasons with the Calgary Stampeders.  Garcia was a four-time CFL All-Star, and Grey Cup MVP in a Grey Cup victory in 1998.  Garcia then went on to achieve success in the NFL, playing for multiple teams over a ten-year span, most famously the San Francisco 49ers where Garcia was a three-time Pro Bowl selection.  Tommy Maddox achieved his success outside of the NFL in his one season with the XFL with the Los Angeles Xtreme.  For what it’s worth, Maddox was the XFL MVP and lead his team to the XFL Championship in the league’s only year of existence.  From there Maddox went on to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers where he was the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2002, and enjoyed moderate success as a starter for the better part of two seasons.  Perhaps when setting up a standard for Tebow, Maddox may be the best standard to start with.


The decision is ultimately up to Tebow.  Go straight to the NFL to presumably become a backup at best, perhaps even a third string quarterback or change positions if he wants to try and crack a starting lineup.  Rookie Julian Edelman of the New England Patriots is the most recent example of a college quarterback finding success in the NFL after changing positions, playing wide receiver for the Pats in 2009.  Tebow could still be drafted, as Heisman was a fourth round draft pick before deciding to first play in the CFL.  But if Tebow truly wants to be a starter, he should consider improving on his mechanics and trying to achieve success elsewhere first, where the opportunities may be more plentiful.  With the UFL's plans to continue on and expand in 2010, and a team in Orlando, a short drive from where Tebow is a hero in Gainsville, Tebow could become a star and the face of the league if he found success there.  And with the NFLPA urging players cut and unable to find employment in the NFL to go to the UFL, Tebow may be urged by some to go there first.  Who knows, with his determination he could very well do so, and in a few years hush all the critics who knock him for his lack of mechanics and the label of a “just a college quarterback.”
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