Saturday, March 27, 2004 

Out Like a Lion?

The Patriots certainly haven't made much news this offseason so far (except for Ty Law's recent tirades):

Veteran Free Agents

DE Rodney Bailey (Pitt.)
P Josh Miller (Pitt.)

S Je'Rod Cherry
LB Don Davis
RB Kevin Faulk
FB Patrick Pass

S Chris Akins (to Miami)
OL Mike Compton (to Jack.)
NT Ted Washington (to Oakland)
OL Damien Woody (to Detroit)

Miller should be an upgrade over Ken Walter, but the jury's out on whether Bailey could replace Bobby Hamilton. The recent courtship of Keith Traylor is likely a fishing expedition for a cheap lineman in light of his age and recent injury history.

Re-signing Faulk seems like a better move than overpaying for an older player like Charlie Garner. It also makes you think that the Patriots goal in the first round of the draft is to get a true number one type running back, since they didn't trust Faulk with the ball on an every down basis late in the season. On the other hand, Antowain Smith hasn't been signed by anyone yet...

Sunday, March 21, 2004 

Quarterback Scramble

As teams decide where to take Eli Manning and the other top rookie QBs in this year's draft, they'll be debating how important the QB position is in today's NFL. The traditional wisdom is that a team needs a great QB to win the whole thing. Others point to Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson as recent examples of QBs who do "just enough" while the rest of their team carries most of the load.

But have things really changed? Here's a look at the 10 QBs who won the Super Bowl in their only appearance as a starter:

Joe Namath 1968
Ken Stabler 1976
Jim McMahon 1985
Phil Simms 1986
Doug Williams 1987
Jeff Hostetler 1990
Mark Rypien 1991
Steve Young 1994
Trent Dilfer 2000
Brad Johnson 2002

Some Notes:
1. I'm not counting Johnny Unitas and Earl Morrall on this list. Unitas was hurt in 1968 and replaced Morrall in Super Bowl III, while Morrall came in for Unitas 2 years later.
2. Simms/Hostetler is a slightly misleading case, since Simms started most of the 1990 season, but Hostetler ran the team in the playoffs.

A few trends can be seen when you take a closer look at these players. First, many of them had career years when they won it all:

Namath - 1968 was the second (and last) time he threw more TDs than INTs.
Stabler - Career highs for Completion %, Yards per Att, TD, and QB rating.
McMahon - Career high TDs
Rypien - Career highs for Yards per Att, TD, and QB rating
Young - Career highs for Completion %, TD, QB rating

Second, Namath is in the Hall of Fame, and Phil Simms and Steve Young have a realistic shot of joining him. It's also hard to knock Stabler, since he played in 5 consecutive AFC title games (1973-1977), winning once in 1976. You can't classify any of these players as "bargain" QBs.

So over time, the "bargain" QB approach seldom works unless a team has an extraordinary defense or running game (think Miami in the 1970s or Baltimore in 2000). You can hope for a career year from an average QB, but you normally need a great QB to remain competitive and put your team in position for multiple championships. The team who takes Eli Manning in a few weeks is hoping to do just that.


Sapp walks the plank

Does anyone else find it ironic that Warren Sapp has left the Buccaneers for the Raiders?

Saturday, March 20, 2004 

I'm Back

After a week of late-season snowstorms and other unexpected interruptions, I'm back. I've been working on some template changes (which should debut tomorrow). It's been a slow week on the free agent front, with two trades of disgruntled WRs leading the news. I can't wait to see how Andy Reid deals with Terrell Owens in Philadelphia, while the Tuna will have his hands full with Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn together in Dallas.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004 

Boston to Miami

The Dolphins are definitely reloading on offense. They've relied on Ricky Williams too much. David Boston and Chris Chambers should really stretch the field, while Randy McMichael gets a lot of tough yards. That's a lot of targets for A.J. Feely and Jay Fiedler, not to mention Sammy Morris coming out of the backfield on 3rd down. If Feely develops (and Boston behaves), they could be a tough team to defend against.

Sunday, March 14, 2004 

A Better Drew?

Acquiring QB Drew Henson from the Texans for a 3rd round pick in 2005 looks to be a pretty good deal for the Cowboys. Bill Parcells normally makes his teams much stronger in his second season, so that pick could be fairly low. Plus, Henson figures to be hungry after spending three seasons languishing in the Yankees minor league system - just the kind of player Parcells likes.



Hi. This an experimental pro football blog, inspired by David Pinto's excellent Baseball Musings blog (and the lack of a football equivalent). This is my first blog, so please be patient as I figure things out. I'm mostly a New England Patriots fan, but I follow the entire NFL and will try to make things interesting through a combination of commentary, statistics, and a little history.

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