Here’s a backlog of reader questions. Unfortunately, they were trapped for over a month in a dimension where Art Schlichter is a Super Bowl winning quarterback and Tom Brady is a destitute street urchin with a bad haircut. So, I guess he was a lot like Tom Brady in this dimension but with less money.

For LenDale White, this is Heaven.

For LenDale White, this is Heaven.

Did the injuries in the Denver backfield cause the knee jerk reaction of signing LenDale White to Denver? Or was there a rocky mountain surplus of tequila and tacos?

The LenDale White signing was due to injuries. Unfortunately, LenDale tore his achilles tendon while chasing a truck full of tequila.

“Maybe you’re just sitting around your house with your buddies. Maybe you go bowling and you have a couple of drinks. … I like Patron Platinum. It’s like some people like strawberry soda. It’s good.” -LenDale White

If water covers 2/3′s the earth, is the other 1/3 covered by Revis’s new but deserved ego? I can’t remember someone still in a rookie contract demanding top $ of the position. He deserves it but is he going the wrong way about it? Say have the extension signed and put in or just play out the contract. A distraction to a team with too much pressure on it already I think.

Revis is going the wrong way about it, but he shares the same agent Chris Baker and Pete Kendall, two players “wronged” by the Jets, did. I think they’re settling a score with Tannenbaum. Revis gave up so much guaranteed money I feel that they weren’t even acting in his best interest. It’s a shame this is happening in a Super Bowl run year.

T.O and Ocho. …. yeah, I don’t know about that one. T.O. is the SHAQ of the NFL now in my opinion, a part time option but not a starter who can demand attention but not give you the minutes.

Terrell Owens has been more of a liability than a matchup problem since his final year with the Cowboys. If you watch their offense that year they scheme with their other receivers to try to help Owens get open. T.O. is old and I wonder if Randy Moss is going to finally have age catch up with him too.

Mike Martz Jr. stealthily prepares to install his offense inside an Alpaca.

Mike Martz Jr. stealthily prepares to install his offense inside an Alpaca.

Mike “Mad Man” Martz claims as for as Jay Cutler, “nothing to work on” as far as his QB play of mechanics. …. is this an endorsement of condemnation for the cut-man?

Martz doesn’t demand much from a quarterback besides accuracy, quick decision making and a fast release. Cutler has all of those, so he should be fine. That said, don’t be surprised if he throws 20+ interceptions again behind that offensive line, with those receivers and in that scheme.

Is it wrong to use Albert Haynesworth as bait for next years Shark Week if he can’t pass a conditioning test? Cause if he can’t tread water for a few minutes in shark infested areas I don’t see how he can at least occupy the attention of a center and demand a guard for double teaming.

I hope the sharks like processed meat and sweets.

The Charger fallout of LT leaving and the statements of entitlement. Are some players jealous they were not the face of the franchise like say … I dunno, Manning and Big Ben Rapist?

L.T. is a good guy and still a good player, but he’s no longer a superstar and was upset he wasn’t being treated like one in San Diego anymore. He’ll be great for the Jets playing with that chip on his shoulder.

Like reports of the demise of the fooseball wizard is Jeff Garcia’s retirement by default premature? Some system needs a solid #2 who just thrives or at least is more competent than the incumbent starting QB?

Jeff Garcia can probably still be a backup somewhere but he’s a bit of a prickly character and a lot of teams don’t want to bother dealing with him now that he is older. Even the Oakland Raiders couldn’t handle him refusing to play backup last year. I have to admit, I’d consider suicide if I was regulated to a backup role behind JaMarcus “Purple Drank” Russell.

Giselle Bundchen is also a crack addicted prostitute in this universe.

Giselle Bundchen is also a crack addicted prostitute in this universe.

Andre Johnson, much like Revis does he deserve the #1 salary for his position?

Yes. The best receiver in the NFL. A bit of an injury risk though.

Of all the relocations in the off season between veteran players as well as coaches, general managers, etc. Who has the most to prove
in the new surroundings and why?

If Mike Shanahan really wants to be known as a “genius” he better make something of the Redskins. He rode in to the Super Bowl with a partially inherited team with John Elway at quarterback and a killer running game and he hasn’t really succeeded since. I don’t think there’s anyone out there who has more to prove than Shanahan.

 
Rasta Alpaca says "Praise be to Ricky Williams, mon!"

Rasta Alpaca says "Praise be to Ricky Williams, mon!"

Dear Foosball Wizard,

Any hack can claim to be a wizard and rely on their pseudo-science! I AM THE REAL THING! I AM THE WIZARD YOU WILL DEAL WITH!

Any hack can claim to be a wizard and rely on their pseudo-science! I AM THE REAL THING! I AM THE WIZARD YOU WILL DEAL WITH!

Some of your readers (read: at least one) would really know what your take on this young new Philadelphia team is. The other day, we traded away aging defensive cornerstone Dawkins and this year we’ve got an offense barely out of diapers. I have all the faith in the world in in McCoy, in particular, but what do you see Kolb and the boys doing this year? In the more distant future?

Devotedly Yours,
Jeff (Marlton, NJ)

Jeff, you have asked the right wizard about your problems. The wrong wizard has been sought in the past. Fortunately, you have contacted a real wizard not some fraud punk without the credentials (or alpacas.) I’m not a huge Kolb fan, but I am a big fan of the Eagles organization – they’ve had a well run organization in Philadelphia for quite a while now. Kolb put up statistically impressive performances in his few starts, but they were against soft defenses – New Orleans and Kansas City. Also notable was the fact that Kolb threw three interceptions against the Saints, which isn’t terribly damning since the Saints run an aggressive scheme that forces turnovers, but it is still a warning sign. Hopefully the Eagles have seen enough of Kolb off the field that they are confident he will be, at the very least, a solid starter. Moreso than missing Dawkins, who was a talented safety (albeit a bit slow and long in the tooth these days) the Eagles will miss Jim Johnson who passed away last year. He was a true defensive genius and one of the greatest coordinators of the modern era. Sean McDermott has big shoes to fill and it showed some last year. The Eagles youth movement will have some growing pains, but one facet the Eagles now shine in is one that has been their Achilles heel for years – wide receiver! DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin will help the Eagles forget the nightmare that was Freddie Mitchell, Todd Pinkston, Hank “Hell in a Hand” Baskett and their ilk. I wonder if the Eagles will still be as pass wacky without McNabb? We will find out! Don’t worry about Baskett, Eagles fans. His playmate ex-wife is apparently shopping her sex tape with an ex for cash!

Aside from speculation that someone switched the brain and nerve tonic in Al Davis’s morning coffee to common sense, is it possible that the release of JaMungus Russell will also be seen as 1: -=THE=- Draft Bust of our times and 2: ammunition for the Owners to regulate a rookie salary cap and lower it considering the financial investment and crippling effect one player can have on a team as well as the league. Jason, NJ

If anyone encounters this on the streets of Brooklyn, immediately return it to the Foosball Wizard Bodega in Bed-Stuy. It is very dangerous and your puny mortal minds cannot comprehend the horrors it contains.

If anyone encounters this on the streets of Brooklyn, immediately return it to the Foosball Wizard Bodega in Bed-Stuy. It is very dangerous and your puny mortal minds cannot comprehend the horrors it contains.

That’s actually two questions, Jason. However, I have no readers and your extra question is a delicious bonus to the Foosball Wizard! I am in the process of completing a catering order for a coven of witches currently convening at a Holiday Inn in upstate New York. They just arrived this Sunday and are staying all week, but they have already devoured the arctic seal pup pirogies that I prepared for them! I had to fly up to the polar region myself and club five hundred pounds of them personally! It is not easy running the Foosball Wizard grocery store in Bed-Stuy. Some thugs broke in and stole some rare (and dangerous) magical artifacts that I had stowed in the deep fryer. There is a slight chance it could cause a global catastrophe, but more likely they will just have their souls sucked into a hell dimension.

Anyway, back to football, my greatest passion besides bludgeoning animals for food! I think JaMarcus Russell is probably the second biggest bust in past twenty years of the NFL behind Ryan Leaf. Ryan Leaf cost the Chargers so much more in draft picks and destroyed Bobby Beathard’s career, so I just have to hand him the crown. As for the rookie salary cap? I’m sure the owners would love to lower it. A lot of the veterans would like to see those big rookie bucks going to more deserving veteran players, too. Or perhaps re-routed to a fund that cares for aging football players? The Foosball Wizard agrees – it is foolish to give young, unproven players the biggest bucks in the game. Save that for the players who deserve it! The NFL has it all backwards!

 
MEANWHILE.... IN THE BUFFALO BILLS DRAFT ROOM....

MEANWHILE.... IN THE BUFFALO BILLS DRAFT ROOM....

The Foosball Wizard is very popular with users aged 26-35 named Jason who live in New Jersey and are closely related to the Foosball Wizard. This is the type of useful demographic information that new blogs should exploit with targeted advertising!

Nothing wrong a player who has a chip on the shoulder for teams that did not take them, but is Taylor Mays going a little overboard with his newfound hatred of Pete Carroll?

How is it in one breath he says he understands that Pete took the better safety cause he fell but still holds it against him that he fell in the draft cause he was convinced to come back for a senior season? Should this even be considered a plot in the opening game of 49ers and Seahawks? From Jason, Denville, NJ

Laveranues Coles' loss is their gain.

Laveranues Coles' loss is their gain.

Pete Carroll is a player’s coach and he tends to make his players and everyone around him feel like they’re his best buddy, although he obviously can’t be everyone’s best buddy. When your (presumed) best buddy drafts another safety higher than you, you feel like you’re not Pete’s best buddy anymore. Maybe you go cry in the corner and tear your Pete Carroll shrine apart, extinguishing all the candles and removing the goat you sacrificed to him before you’ve even finished burning it. I don’t know if Taylor Mays did this with his shrine, but that goat was off of my Laveranues Coles shrine and being fed to my pet Tasmanian tiger in no time when he jumped ship to the Redskins!

Of course, maybe Mays should say to himself “Maybe if I wasn’t overaggressive and a more fundamentally sound tackler and cover man Pete would have drafted me and we could have continued to be best buddies. Maybe I should just try to make Pete proud wherever I play.

That would be very mature. Personally? I’d try to destroy Carroll and the Seahawks every time I played them. I would feed their remains to my Tasmanian Tigers, which I keep in a cage in the Foosball Wizard bodega in Bed-Stuy. I pray that the next time I am robbed they unhinge their jaws and devour my attackers.

The arguments can be made that the Chargers set themselves WAY back by moving from #3 to #2 to get Leaf, but the $$ value on Russell as #1 plus the shockwaves of Davis admitting fault on where Lane Kiffen said, “Don’t take that guy!” must be devestating.

As it stands now based on career totals and the $40 million he has pocketed he breaks down as follows (Russell). That means more than $5 million per win, more than $2 million per touchdown pass and more than $100,000 per completion. Jason from Denville, NJ

The price tag for Russell is indeed steep, but what about after we adjust for inflation?!? In the Foosball Wizard’s homeland we have very little inflation because we have very little money. We also don’t have crime, because there are no laws.

A Special Ryan Leaf Edition of Courage Wolf

A Special Ryan Leaf Edition of Courage Wolf

It is truly an astounding amount of money that was paid to Russell for the honor of having him balloon to 300 pounds and set the franchise back years, but simply due to the absolutely silly package that Bobby Beathard (who was a fairly well respected personnel man until this disaster) sent to the Cardinals for the privilege of moving up one pick to guarantee they would get Leaf, the Leaf disaster wins. Two 1st round picks, a 2nd round pick, Patrick Sapp and Eric Metcalf! Fair value for Ryan Leaf, according to the draft pick value chart, would have been two flyswatters and a roll of toilet paper. This kind of disaster isn’t just money, but sacrificed players and draft picks… not to mention that fact that Ryan Leaf ruined Bobby Beathard’s career. Beathard was the Director of Player Personnel for the 1972 and 1973 Dolphins and General Manager of the Washington Redskins from 1978 to 1989, during the Joe Gibbs glory days. He was responsible for drafting players such as Art Monk, Gary Clark, Russ Grim, Joe Jacoby and Darrell Green. Sic transit gloria!

Of course, if you’re judging damage to Al Davis’ ego….definitely go with Russell!

 
Ben Roethlisberger and Three Women Enjoying Tasty Rohypnol Beverages

Ben Roethlisberger and Three Women Enjoying Tasty Rohypnol Beverages

Since I probably have some pre-draft related questions that may be irrelevant by the time the draft is over, I’m going to answer some reader questions today!

For all of the people wondering if the Steelers now listening to offers on the eve of Draft Day are not going to materialize, do you think it is possible? Steelers are a class organization and the
Rooney’s are not big on Raiders of the 70′s kind of player conduct. Do you think one team in the top 10 or mid rounds will let the pick go, ride the suspension and get what is really a friendly remaining contract on Big Ben? -Jason

Knowing the Rooneys I don’t doubt in the least that they are shopping Roethlisberger. A football team is a product and Roethlisberger is damaging the brand with his conduct. After the police report was released – which pretty much indicated a case of forcible rape even though they could not prosecute Roethlisberger – a lot of fans will find it hard to cheer at all for him. I think I could more easily welcome Bill Belichick to the Jets as head coach than I could welcome Roethlisberger as a QB right now. I would also more easily cheer for famous canine sports enthusiast, Michael Vick, than I would for Roethlisberger. He has a lot of work to do to rehabilitate his image and the only thing saving him right now is his talent. I could only see a maverick like Al Davis trading for Roethlisberger at this point – everyone else will not want to deal with the baggage.

I wish I’d thought of this, but I haven’t really been paying attention since we’ve been chopping veterans and salary and sniffing with indifference at most free agents, but … Pat Kirwin on Sirius NFL just wondered aloud about Kevin Mawae signing with the Eagles.  Seems like a win-win, as Jackson will be out and we have no centers. Even if we get Marukice Pouncey draft day (and I would be fine with that), what could it hurt to have Mawae around? -Mike West

One certainly could do worse than Kevin Mawae at center. He is an intelligent and talented center who is a great locker room influence. However, I do get a little nervous due to his age and the fact that he is small for a center – does that mean there’s more wear and tear on his body? Mike Munchak, the Titans offensive line coach, swears Mawae is in great shape for his age. If that’s true Mawae would be a great filler for the gap in the Eagles’ offensive line. If the Eagles aren’t interested in Mawae they better have a backup plan because there are several other teams, including the Jets, who could swipe Pouncey from them. (The Jets would play him at guard.)

“If the League leading rushing Jets go into the 2010 season with a three headed backfield, will any of the running backs have any fantasy value and if so, who do you project to be the leading fantasy rusher?” G. Slade, Dover, NJ

Shonn Greene is a very talented running back who should only get better in 2010. However, Leon Washington and LaDainian Tomlinson will take a bite out of his fantasy production. Greene will definitely be the most fantasy relevant New York Jets running back, but he will probably be no better than a 2nd tier running back due to Washington and Tomlinson cutting into his touches.

“Are the new complex offenses like the wildcat, running quarterbacks and throwing running backs a fad or are they the wave of the future?” -Rich L., Denville, NJ

The “Wildcat” has been around for a long time in the college ranks although it has never been especially popular in the pros. However, the only team that really ran a unique “Wildcat” offense in the NFL were the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins ran interesting, different plays with imbalanced and unique formations whereas most other teams’ “Wildcats” consisted of putting an athletic runner in at QB and running standard plays.

Part of the reason the Wildcat is not so popular in the pros is due to the fact that it exploits marked athletic superiority in the backfield. For instance, if you have a blue chip running back and an athletic quarterback when you run crazy option plays the defensive players will not be fast enough to handle Vince Young running the ball with the option to pitch it even further to the outside.  This works in a college environment where elite players have a huge edge in athleticism over the average player. However, in the NFL everyone belongs to that elite class from college and it no longer is as effective a tactic. The Wildcat was markedly less effective last season after other teams had an opportunity to properly prepare for it and it will most likely diminish in popularity in the 2010 season.

 

The biggest college football bust of the 68,000,000 B.C. draft, and of any draft in the past 72 million years: T.J. Raptor. He played Quarterback for George Tech's triple option offense.

Questions Answered from the Late Cretaceous Period through Early April, 2010 A.D.

Q: Thoughts on how the best players get passed on in the draft? I can’t help but agree with many Berry is the best player in the draft. Flawless character, played in pro defense, 3 year starter. But teams will pass on him cause he is a safety, damn the man.
People just don’t want to invest tons of money in a safety. It’s also a market and teams will pay premiums for positions that have a bigger effect on the offense or defense as a whole: hence more 3-4 nose tackles and quarterbacks drafted higher than they should be and less safeties and TE’s drafted with the top picks!

Q: As we are making final maneuvers towards the NFL draft. Which team is really in the worst shape after these trades and Free Agency? Who needs a great draft more? Rams, Lions, Browns, etc. Who is really the bottom of the Fooseball power rankings?
I think St. Louis and Cleveland really need the most help. Outside of Atogwe, Steven Jackson, Donnie Avery, and James Laurinitis what do the Rams have going for them? The Browns have Mohammad Massaquoi, James Harrison and little else. Notably, both of these teams have a gigantic void at QB.
It’s a long way to respectability for both of these clubs.

Q: With Warner’s retirement, Mcnabb’s move, Ben Roethlisberger’s legal issues, the additions of a receiving Tomlinson and now Santonio Holmes, does Sanchez become a top 10 fantasy QB?
Sanchez should post a modest boost in stats this season, but he will not be a top ten fantasy QB. Assuming the production of QBs remains about the same as it did last season, where the #9 and #10 slots were filled by Rivers and Manning respectively, Sanchez will need to throw for 4,000 yards and around 25 TDs to qualify as a top ten QB. I don’t see that happening.
I could see him posting stats that would put him in the top 15, but I believe that Sanchez is a fringe fantasy starter or backup QB at best this year.

Q: Who would win in a competition for World Domination – “Da Bearss” or “Da Bullss”?
Da Bearss…….DITKA!

Q: With all the talk of Gerald McCoy as the next Warren Sapp and ironically falling to Tampa, McCoy being a Drew Brees, are we forgetting Dez Bryant could be a Randy Moss?
Dez Bryant COULD be a Randy Moss, but I’d be surprised if he was. Randy Moss is the most physically talented WR that has come out of the draft in at least the past 30 years or so!
Dez Bryant is higher risk than reward, IMO. Screwball receivers who missed some time of college play include famous busts like Mike Williams.

Q:With the recent release of Bulger, trade of McNabb, Whitehurst etc. Do you now see Jimmy Clausen free falling in the draft to possible Aaron Rodgers or greater like proportions? And if so, will some teams prefer grabbing say another late rd QB?

If Claussen slides past Jacksonville & Denver at 10 and respectively, he could potentially fall even all the way to 24th or further! That being said, I doubt it will happen. The dearth of talent at QB is evident in the hefty price the Seahawks paid for Charlie Whitehurst – an unproven, inexperienced QB who has a spotty record in preseason. His fall won’t be as precipitous as Rodgers’ – especially due to the fact that Rodgers was more seriously considered for the #1 overall pick.

Don’t be surprised if Dan LeFevour even sneaks into the first round!

Q:What is your opinion on man with boy head (AKA: Colt McCoy). Is he viewed the same as Drew Brees coming out of school (lots of good numbers, intangibles, but lack or arm strength) and will he pan out on NFL level? If so, who drafts him and where?
First order of business, let’s apply the Lewin Career Forecast to Colt McCoy!

50 starts is an excellent sign for his Lewin Career Forecast, IF he has a good completion percentage… and his completion percentage is better than either Bradford or Claussen at 70.3%! WOW! Drew Brees had a completion percentage of 61% and only had about 26 starts in college. According to the Lewin Career Forecast, McCoy will have a better career! McCoy is similar to Brees as a quarterback, although he is notably taller. He doesn’t have a rifle arm but he is accurate. Honestly, I might rate McCoy higher than Claussen on my own personal draft board. I would expect McCoy to be taken in the late first or early second round. St. Louis (if they don’t take Bradford), Cleveland, Washington or Buffalo would all be likely landing spots for McCoy in Round 2.

Don’t be overly surprised if someone reaches for him in Round 1! McCoy should be a good pro quarterback although I don’t think he will be as good as Drew Brees.

Q: The Sam Bradford workout, essentially a lock now at No 1? While the Lions and Buc’s do the dance of joy at either of the top DT prospects, does this mean perhaps Jimmy Clausen’s value is going up to high as next best QB?
It’s look like Bradford is a lock at #1. It’s a huge gamble by the Rams as Bradford is a “system” quarterback with a frail build who may be injury prone. Bradford’s bust potential goes up further when you consider the Lewin Career Forecast, which stipulates that the best way to predict success of a quarterback is by looking at completion percentage and games started. Generally you want to see a completion percentage above 60% and games started above 35. Bradford has a 67.6% completion percentage, but we must take into account that he operates in a wacky college offense that can inflate his stats. He only has (I believe) 28 starts under his belt, which is a danger indicator. Good luck, Rams. This is -ev, as we say in poker!

Jimmy Claussen also has 27 games played, although I’m unsure how many of those he started. His completion percentage is lower than Bradford’s, only 62.6%, but acceptable as a good indicator in the Lewin Career Forecast. Claussen also operated in a pro offense and doesn’t have the same level of injury concerns as Bradford. I would prefer Claussen, but I wouldn’t take EITHER of these guys with a top ten pick. They are mid to late first round QB’s, if you ask me. Late in the first round I’d consider them a bit of a bargain or fairly valued.

The two top DT prospects are possibly the best prospects in the draft. I prefer Suh over McCoy. However, as far as “boom or bust” potential goes, DTs are right up there with WRs and QBs. They are both high risk, high reward picks. I hope the teams with the top picks are gamblers, because they’re going to be doing some gambling this year!

Q:I think it is obvious that with all the Philly roster reshaping that McNabb is out sadly. And yes, Kolb chance to shine, but McNabb can still play. Wouldn’t it be wise for Vikings to trade for McNabb now and end the Farve drama before Arizona grabs him?
Despite Andy Reid (Correctly, IMO) trying to hold on to McNabb, it looks like the Eagles front office is successfully pressuring him to accept a McNabb trade. Favre is coming back and the Vikings top brass probably knows as much. He just doesn’t want to go through training camp anymore. Otherwise they’d be gobbling up McNabb by now! I’ll believe Kolb is a good NFL quarterback after he puts in a solid season. I was not impressed by his play despite the gaudy stat lines he put up in his appearances.
Q:It’s becoming more and more clear that we are headed for a lockout; contracts are being shredded daily. This bodes poorly for the union; we’re looking at $500,000/yr superstars. The owners are going to choke the life out of this union. Your thoughts? by MXWest
The players have had it pretty good. The owners gave them a little too sweetheart of a deal in the previous CBA because they didn’t see the economic hardship coming. Now, it’s here, and a lot of franchises are struggling on the business end of things. Some are total disasters – like Jacksonville. Someone’s going to have to budge and it’s probably going to be the players. Players have much fewer earning years than owners – especially in the NFL. Every unplayed game means a lot more to a football player than an owner, who is far richer than the players and is in this for the long haul.  To sum it up, it’s a huge opportunity cost for the players and a lesser one for the owners. I don’t see how the players can win this one.

Q:Charlie Whitehurst to the Seahawks for the 40th overall pick, and then they sign to a deal worth 8 million with a 2 million bonus in incentives for a guy who hasn’t thrown a pass? Carroll mad genius, or just mad?
It’s a lot of money and a lot to trade for a guy who’s never thrown a pass. I would argue that the Cardinals paid for Derek Anderson was too much too! Whitehurst has some nice physical skills, but he has been unimpressive in his preseason performances. The Seahawks probably could have gotten him for less. The good news for the Seahawks are that his physical skills will translate well to Jeremy Bates’ offensive system. The bad news is he just might not be very good.

Q:The Eagles have slashed vets: Andrews, Curtis, Howard, Witherspoon, Brown, Westbrook. Youngsters are flooding in. I just can’t believe they’re keeping McNabb. I suspect they’ve completely bollixed the QB situation and haven’t a clue what to do. Thoughts? by MXWest
I’m sure everyone knows that I’m not a big Kolb fan, but I’ll say it again here. Maybe Reid isn’t either and that’s why he’s holding on to McNabb so tightly? McNabb may not be the greatest QB ever to grace the field, but he still probably has some time left and if the Eagles want to win now they probably don’t want to jettison him. There’s plenty of teams that would gladly replace their starter with McNabb, even at this juncture of his career.
Curtis, Westbrook and Andrews are done; the first two because of age and injury and the latter because he’s a headcase who doesn’t have a passion for the game. Westbrook really shouldn’t be on the field anymore – he’s going to turn into a vegetable from those concussions.

The Eagles used to be an offense completely based around Brian Westbrook – when they lost Westbrook their offense was a shell of itself. However, they now have talented young receivers in budding superstar DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Perennial underachiever Reggie Brown would be useful for depth, but they’ll get along without him.

I’m not sure who the Eagles will be replacing Howard and Witherspoon with, but I tend to trust their organization. They are one of the best run organizations in football and they usually have a good plan for the future.

Q:“It was pretty tough, but when it comes down to it, you’ve got to go with your gut feeling, no matter what,” Tomlinson said. “You’ve just got to go with a feel, and that’s what I did.” … so in short Farve couldn’t commit to returning?
I think Favre’s already committed. Listen to what good ole Joe Montana has to say! http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcnorth/post/_/id/10885/favrewatch-montana-makes-some-sense

Q:Teams getting all fantasy roster-like. Larry Johnson and Clinton Portis in the backfield for the Skins. Possibility of Tomlinson and Peterson in the purple north. Ocho-Owens remote but possible. Good god man what’s next!?!

I guess we don’t need to worry about Tomlinson in the north anymore! The Jets signed him for the same money Jones received from K.C., so let’s hope the contract is backloaded and actually cheaper than it seems. Both of those running backs have reached the end of their non-supplementary role lives! Owens has more of a liability than a game changer the past two seasons. In his last season with the Cowboys, they spent time scheming to protect Owens with other receivers – a far cry from the Owens of old who created mismatches for defenses. There’s a reason besides his attitude that he ended up in Buffalo last year. No one else would have him. It wasn’t just because of his attitude – it was more about his eroding skills.

Q:With free agency, will the Jets become football’s “evil empire” like the Yankees purchasing a team with a bottomless checkbook and the Steelers become the Pirates, no money for free agents?
Not this year, the Jets won’t. They are heavily restricted in the number and type of free agency signings they make under the void deal for the current CBA. The Jets, and all of the “final 8″ teams can only sign a free agent when they lose one. I believe there are also monetary restraints based on how much the “lost” free agent was paid. Look for more crazy Tannenbaum trades! The Steelers are actually in the bottom half of the NFL in $ value for their “business” according to Forbes, albeit just barely. Although they may be a little poorer than the average football team, I don’t think they will become the Pirates. The Steelers have always been more about building through the draft than signing free agents. This is a much cheaper (and effective) business model than the Dan Snyder method of signing every overpriced name in the business!

Q:Rex Ryan is awesome? When asked about his weight loss surgery he responded, “”I’m watching ESPN and I’m like, ‘Whoa, that’s not a real good shot,”‘ Ryan said during the NFL combine. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I get hit on all the time by women.”

Confirmed. Rex Ryan, son of famous pugilist and inventor of the 46 defense, Buddy Ryan, is awesome.

Also, I hear he swallowed John Madden whole.

Q:How awesome a football name is Golden Tate?? by manoffeeling

Golden Tate is pretty awesome, but check out THIS GUY!

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/player/profile?playerId=148900

Q:How would you rank the now available in trade Brady Quinn compared to the QB’s in the draft and those left in free agency?

I don’t think anyone is getting a potential starter if they deal for Brady Quinn. If you can’t keep Derek Anderson off the field, something is very wrong. I haven’t watched Quinn play much, but I would assume it’s poor pocket presence and a tendency to telegraph passes – problems which Quinn came into the league with. All other things being equal, I’d rather have any quarterbacks projected to be drafted in the early rounds than Quinn. They still have potential that Quinn seems to lack. I’m not a huge Sam Bradford fan at all, but I’d even take him.

Troy Smith, Kyle Orton or Jason Campbell would be RFA quarterbacks I would take over Brady Quinn at this point in time.

In order of boom or bust potential on those QBs, from boom-bustiest to most solid I would obviously go Smith -> Campbell -> Orton.

Q:Is this the year we really see lots of shuffling in the draft positions via trades?
Mike Tannenbaum is running out of picks to barter to trade up, so we’ll see less from the Jets! I think we’ll see a lot more teams wanting to trade down than trade up. There’s talk that a future CBA will bring rookie salaries more in line than they have been, thus making this year’s rookies expensive. I think a lot of teams are going to try and avoid putting on any large contracts if possible. Of course people wanting to trade down rather than trade up will make for less trading action. I doubt we’ll see an increase in trades, but we could see a decrease.

Q:Now that Chicago has signed Julius Peppers. Do you feel that they have cured their woes for the amount of money they paid for him. Or will the Bears fans be cheering another name like Cutler all summer only to be disappointed yet again come this fall?
The Bears fans will be wondering why they couldn’t find an offensive line to keep their QB from getting murdered. Cutler was harried all of last year behind a joke of an offensive line that could neither pass block or run block. This year, Mike Martz will be installing his system – which translates to a quarterback taking even more hits. Jerry Angelo hasn’t heard of “protecting your investment,” I suppose. Of course, Jerry Angelo is one of the worse GMs in football. All of that said, Peppers’ skill set translates well to the Bears defense. He would’ve been horribly misplaced in the Patriots defense. Unfortunately, this move won’t save the Bears and does nothing to address their most glaring needs.
Q:Heading into an uncapped year most people anticipate the Dan Snyder buys a fantasy team again. But with no cap, is it more wise to acknowledge there is no minimum without a bargaining agreement in place? Teams just getting out of debt?
I think that in general teams are going to use the uncapped year to save money by going under the cap. Even lunatics like Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones, due to the state of the economy, will have to be more prudent with spending than they normally would be. I think Dan Snyder is also discovering that paying lots of money to big names (including ones that TOTALLY don’t fit the system the team is running – like the Adam Archuleta signing) and fading stars doesn’t work out. Mr. Snyder, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result!

Q:Rumors are circulating that Greg Olsen is going to be traded cause the TE does not fit in the Martz system (and can’t block). Are the Bears doing this out of sheer stupidity or do you think they are looking for a 1st rd pick to use as a tender 4 Marshall
Olsen will be moved if they’re really dedicated to Martz. TE’s just don’t figure into Martz’s offense. Olsen’s got some talent even though his production has been a bit uneven and another team might be getting a great deal from one of the worst GM’s in the league – Jerry Angelo. I seriously doubt they will get a 1st round pick though.

Q: I think it was mean of the Jets cut Thomas Jones!! I mean, do I think it was mean of the Jets cut Thomas Jones?? by manoffeeling

There are no emotions in football.

Well, maybe except for emotions in the locker room. Y’know, those emotions that effect how a team plays and their faith in the organization to treat them well. Which helps determine who wants to come to play for your team and who doesn’t.

Sometimes it’s an organization that has done lots of unpopular things with the players.  Sometimes that organization is called the Jets.

Of course, winning fixes any problems with unpopular moves, such as cutting a beloved veteran from your team who works hard. Remember when the Patriots cut Lawyer Milloy who went to the Bills, who thrashed the Patriots something like 31-0 in game one that season?

Of course, the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl and everyone forgot about the unpopular locker room move that was supposed to doom Belichick.

Q:With the NFL draft upon us, let’s forget the players and focus on positions. The team with the #1 pick, if the best player on the board is a DT, or a Safety, do you justify #1 money or do you build a franchise with a QB,RB, Tackle etc?

I’d be absolutely terrified to spend the #1 pick on any of the top quarterbacks in this draft. As a matter of fact, I’d be terrified to have the #1 pick in this draft. It’s a huge amount of money that your team is on the hook for cap wise if you blow your pick, and not many positions have a failure rate as high as QB or DT. All other things being equal, assuming I am unable to trade down (which is usually the case nowadays), I might surprise everyone and take the #1 offensive line prospect in the draft. However, this isn’t really an option for the poor Rams who drafted an OL that didn’t do much to impress in his rookie season. It’s also hard to justify spending #1 money on a safety, even one as talented as Berry. None of the running backs in the draft are truly worth a high #1 pick either.

It’s a tough place to be in for the Rams. They just have to bite the bullet and gamble on a DT due to the extreme talent of Suh and McCoy, with Suh being the more talented one. They just have to hope that whichever one they draft doesn’t join the likes of John Sullivan, DeWayne Robertson, Damione Lewis, Ryan Sims and countless others.

Q:It’s become difficult for me to take ESPN with idiot headlines like “Mike Holmgren’s presence in Cleveland has raised the level of competition” here in Philadelphia we have Ray Didinger. Who is read-able nationally? by MXWest

There’s a lot of people who have no idea what they are talking about in sports media, especially on the internet. I won’t mention Pete Prisco’s name, but some people just seem to have no clue about the topic they spend their life covering. I think the best football coverage you can find is at www.footballoutsiders.com. A lot of their content is only available with a paid subscription to ESPN whereas it used to all be free, but their coverage is both insightful and humorous. The only negative about Football Outsiders is that it can sometimes be dense and statistical – so if you’re not as insane about football as I am, you might not want to plod through some of it. I’d say that Football Outsiders is alone on the “first tier” of football reporting. Check out their Pro Football Prospectus! They have done more to make me a knowledgeable football fan than anyone or anything.

In the “second tier” I find Len Pasquarelli, John Clayton, and KC Joyner from ESPN tend to have something interesting to say. Ron Jaworski, THE POLISH CANNON, puts a lot of effort into his reporting even if I sometimes disagree with what he has to say. Gary Myers is someone I would put in a similar category. Gregg Easterbrook is very entertaining and humorous, and but he sometimes skews statistics and situations to fit his viewpoints. I love his coverage of the off-the-field aspect of football, which is excellent.

Good coverage is hard to find nowadays. A lot of the time if you want to learn about football it necessitates sifting through information that is misinterpreted or misused by bad journalists!

Q:Thomas Jones to be released, does this mean more pass happy for the Sanchez sophomore campaign? Perhaps a Shonn Greene / Leon Washington split is fun to watch, but doesn’t work between the tackles
I love Thomas Jones. He runs hard, works hard and both of his parents were poor coal miners. That said, he’s reaching the end of the line and it’s time to move on with Shonn Greene. Shonn Greene is a hell of a powerful runner and is deceptively fast. The Jets got a steal when they traded up for him.

All that said, the ground and pound is obsolete. As I noted in a previous response, the only two non pass happy teams without upper tier quarterbacks who made the playoffs were the Jets and Bengals, both of who had insanely effective ground attacks. The fact is that due to rules changes over the past decade or so it is a passing league. Sid Gillman and Don Coryell would love it! Not only should Sanchez pass more this season, but he MUST if the Jets are to take a step up. The way one wins nowadays is to run multiple wide receiver sets (and maybe throw in a WR/TE hybrid like Dustin Keller or Dallas Clark) and pressure the defense. It’s much harder to deal with than an effective running game. Bill Walsh’s original purist West Coast offense would be much more effective nowadays than it was in the past, and God only knows how good the Mike Martz coached Rams would be in today’s climate.

The days of Bill Parcells’ ground & pound is over, much to the delight of TV networks looking for ratings… and much to the chagrin of football purists! I just hope the Jets can improve their depth at Wide Receiver. Clowney is pretty awful at everything a receiver does besides running fast. Hopefully Danny Woodhead becomes the next Wes Welker, as the Jets are hamstrung by the “final 8″ free agency of the uncapped season.
/end long rant.

Q: Westbrook to Vikings? Tomlinson to Steelers? Seems like the right size pegs for the holes

Westbrook is a great fit for the Vikings – he can replace Chester Taylor if the Vikings can’t retain Taylor. At this junction of their careers, Chester Taylor is the superior RB. Westbrook really should be retiring after those two concussions suffered in 2009. Tomlinson to the Steelers? I don’t know if he’s really a good fit there. It seems like Mendenhall does almost everything Tomlinson does – except better. I also wonder how willing Tomlinson is to play second banana…

Q:RB’s just are not the same over 30, the wear and tear take hold. Which RB’s in the modern era really kept producing after 30? All I can think of is Marcus Allen with his years on the Chiefs, Otis Anderson his year with the Giants in 91 as well
Whenever I think of Marcus Allen, I think of a quote of his which I will paraphrase here:

A reporter asked him how he had managed to be so productive for such a long time is and he said that the secret was “Knowing when to go down and when to keep running.”

I don’t think Adrian Peterson will be producing nearly as much as Allen at age 30!

Q:Sad to say the likes of tomlinson and westbrook not be able to close out their careers in one jersey, nothing makes me cringe like Unitas in a Chargers uniform. Will these guys land with another team? Will westbrook retire cause of the concussions?

Westbrook should retire. If the Eagles don’t have a spot for him, I doubt anyone does. Hopefully, no one else will sign him because it’s time for him to hang it up due to concussions. He has his long term health to think about.
Tomlinson, on the other hand, WILL land with another team. He’s still useful near the goal line, but his days as a skilled feature back are over.

Q: Should NFL teams be concerned over all the QB’s not wanting to throw at the combine? Can Tebow show his new delivery convincing enough at his pro day? … Should the NBA increase the “1 and done” mandatory years out of high school?

Draftees who are already way up the charts and don’t really need to try to move up tend to not work out, since it is more likely to hurt them than help them. Claasen and Bradford, due to injury recovery issues, both can’t even perform!

One of the few top QBs who is throwing at the combine is Colt McCoy – a borderline first rounder who needs to show he has the arm strength to make NFL throws. He has more to gain than he has to lose.
Tebow has been busting his little pro-life behind with the likes of Zeke Bratkowski and Marc Trestman to teach him the skills (specifically footwork) he needs to be an NFL QB. Tebow is also modifying his funky throwing mechanics. If he really is as smart and hard working and talented as they say he is, maybe he can make the transition. The combine will have a lot to do with where Tebow ends up getting drafted.

Given the poor state of basketball play nowadays, they might as well just let the kids come out of high school and get their paycheck. It’s not like they need to become any more polished in college anymore!

Q:30 years ago today was the Miracle on Ice. Last night the US defeated Canada 5-3 in a stunning upset that netted them their first win in Olympic play against those kooky canucks since 1960. My question to you is… who should care? Lovingly, Madman

Certainly not me, because I haven’t seriously followed hockey in over a decade!

What fun is the olympics if we’re not competing against our nation’s arch enemy? Al Qaeda need to form a team!

Q:Campbell’s chunky soup endorses both LaDanian Tomlinson and Donovan McNabb; both are on the trade block with contracts still in place, coincidence?!?!? Can this be the new Madden Cover curse?

Unfortunately for LaDainian Tomlinson, no amount of hearty soup will make him young again.

There is some documentation on already existing chunky soup curse. Check it out: http://www.chunkysoupcurse.com/

“Peyton Manning, SHAVE THOSE SIDEBURNS!!!!!” -Mr. Burns

Q:Clausen v Bradford. Does a team in need of a QB go with the polished NFL system coached player with limited upside but high intangibles that is Clausen or the Heisman winning tremendous upside pin point accurate bad shoulder of Bradford?

There’s a lot about Bradford that scares me, although he is definitely the more physically talented QB. Frail build, shoulder injury, gimmicky shotgun-spread offense. Claussen is more NFL ready. He played in a pro offense and has put up some decent numbers. His intangibles are good, although his arm may be a little weak. I wouldn’t invest a high pick on Bradford. He’s too much of a crap shoot. Claussen is my man if I need a QB in this draft.

Q:Heading into what could be an uncapped year, should the Panthers just bite the bullet and franchise Peppers for near 20 mil for this season and try to trade him for something before losing him for nothing? Or overpaying based on CBA?

Franchising Peppers is such an astronomical fee this year that the Panthers probably flat out cannot afford to do so. It would be nice to get something for him, but other teams will have so much leverage due to the franchising price tag that they wouldn’t be able to get much for him. It would not justify the risk of tagging him. Peppers won’t accept a contract from the Panthers any longer – there’s too much acrimony and too much money for him to be had from other teams.

I’d also like to go on record as saying Peppers is a terrible fit for the Patriots in a 3-4 system, and that the Peppers to NE rumors are silly. Why would the Patriots jettison Richard Seymour and then pick up someone only a year younger?

Q:With the overall increase in QB productivity over the past few years (more passing yds, td’s, etc) do you see more teams looking for the franchise QB gunslinger or the game manager with strong def (IE: NY J-E-T-S def def def!)
There used to be a time when you could compete with a game manager quarterback. THAT TIME HAS PASSED! The shotgun spread is en vogue and rules changes over the last few years have only made things easier for the passing game. You simply NEED to be able to throw to truly compete in today’s NFL. As an example, look at the QBs we saw in this year’s playoff teams. Only two teams (The Jets and the Bengals) made the playoffs without a QB who was BETTER than a game manager. They both had ridiculously strong running attacks to compensate. They’re also only two out of twelve teams in the playoffs!

Apologies to Carson Palmer, he used to be a heck of a QB but his physical skills have diminished since that elbow injury, which he elected to not have surgery on.

Q:who is the worse tv commentator – michael irvin or deion sanders?

They are both pretty terrible. I’ll give Michael Irvin the tiebreaker for worse TV Commentator since Deion Sanders at least makes me laugh.

Q:Who will win the next matchup? The Cincinatti Bengals or the Guards?

Bengals, by far. Pacman will be armed with a makeshift knife smuggled onto the field rectally.

Q:Who will anchor the NYG defense in the currently-vacated MLB position? Free agency?
Karlos Dansby is the only upper echelon LB the Giants can sign. Since they already cut Pierce I guess they think the Dansby signing is in the bag.

If not, one of the following restricted free agents could fit with the Giants: Barrett Ruud, Thomas Davis, and Kirk Morrison would make nice additions, but they will probably be retained by their teams.

After that the Giants can pick up one of these fellas off the scrap heap: Pisa Tinoisamoa, Keith Bulluck, Angelo Crowell or possibly Scott Fujita.

Q:Lombardi’s wobbly grammar notwithstanding, he envisages a Kolb-to-Cleveland deal. I’m not buying. I know you think the Eagles will move Kolb, but I don’t see Cleveland as realistic. Your thoughts?

Kolb to Cleveland could happen. Tom Heckert (formerly of Philly, now with Cleveland) was the force in the Eagles lobbying the hardest for Kolb in the draft, and if Cleveland doesn’t like what it has in Anderson and Quinn he would be an obvious target.
Quinn and Anderson have shown nothing yet to show they could be the long term answer. Anderson was downright awful this past season. The deciding factors will be how much the Eagles want for Kolb and if Heckert can convince Holmgren that Kolb is the QB of the future.

Q:With all of the Drew Brees being elevated in QB rankings for winning a Super Bowl, who is the greatest to never win one? SB era of course. Marino? Tarkenton, McNabb, Kelly? Some like Fouts, Moon, Testeverde? never even got there and history forgot them.

I’d rank the ones you mentioned like this: 1) Marino 2) Tarkenton 3)Fouts 4)Kelly 5)Moon 6)Testaverde
I’d also throw out some names from the ancient past: What about Otto Graham or Sid Luckman? Should we throw Steve McNair in there? It gets really complicated when you start considering people from other eras!

Q:Rumor mill has Reggie Bush leaving the champion Saints to go to the Seattle Blue Man Group. Think he will go for the wampum Seattle has / be with coach Carroll, or to avoid marrying LA socialites cause they don’t like rain. Leaving Nawlins is bad imho
Bush should take whoever overpays him – and someone will. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the Seahawks given the USC connection or the fact that the Seahawks’ management is less than competent. They did hire Carroll, after all. Bush is more hype than production, and he has been since he entered the league. Charley Casserly looks like a GENIUS for taking Mario Williams nowadays.

Borrowing from a trick I saw in a column once, would you like Running Back A or Running Back B?
Their stats from last season:
Running Back A: 725 Total Yards, 117 Touches
6.19 avg per touch
Running Back B: 636 Total Yards, 99 Touches
6.42 avg per touch

Running Back A and Running Back B are Reggie Bush & Kevin Faulk, respectively.

How much is a name worth, anyway?

Q:Dear Sir, How will society fare in the next zombie apocalypse? Warmest regards, Madman

Unfortunately, due to recent budget cuts and our increasing national debt along with the paralysis of our governmental system it will be up to each citizen to defend him or herself. America will weather the storm best since our citizens own a great deal of firearms and are more well versed in zombie lore than some of our better armed neighbors.

Q:Dear Pappagiorgio, Heading into a possible labor dispute, how does this effect the upcoming free agent class with talents such as Julius Peppers more than likely getting nothing but a 1 year offer. And what of the poor rookie contracts ending, no payday?

All those poor players who would have been free agents but are now just restricted free agents really lose out, as do players like Peppers who are nearing the end of their most productive years. I also wonder how the lack of a salary floor will effect the NFL – perhaps even more so than the lack of a cap. Will suffering small market franchises like Jacksonville and Buffalo dump salary and try to operate in the black this season? The NFL should have settled this with the players already – complacency and greed will kill the goose that lays the golden egg! The NFL is enjoyed by so many partially because of parity – anyone can win every season. We could be witnessing the beginning of the NFL’s decline if they don’t do anything to resolve this situation – a situation that is really just created by greed on the part of both the owners and the players.

Q:Mr. Pappagiorgio, what is to become of the Philadelphia Quarterback troika of McNabb, Kolb, Vick et al. I’d like to see Kid Kolb get the reins next year, ship Vick for a Pick, McNabb for (whatever), sign a veteran backup and … start anew. Regards, M by MXWest

I’ve never been very impressed by Kevin Kolb, and despite the numbers he put up in a couple games this past season, I am still not. Kolb’s numbers had more to do with luck and game situations than virtuosity. Vick will be elsewhere (perhaps the Rams.) I secretly think the Eagles might not be that enamored with Kolb and will keep McNabb and draft another QB while TRADING Kolb! It all depends how much the other team is willing to give up for Kolb or McNabb….

How many yards did Ken O’Brien throw for in 1985?

3,888. You’re lobbing me softballs, here!

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