Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Footballguys, The Audible: Drive Block is done and up

Great show tonight - if you didn't get a chance to stream it, take a look to the right OR download it at ITunes or at Footballguys.com (or just click on the link under Sites that keep you from getting pancaked)


Favre talk (although Cec and Sig would rather not), and a ton of news from around the league. We talk Atlanta running backs, Houston running backs, Cecil as Max Headroom and MORE!


FAVREWATCH 2008 Continues

Getting ready for the Drive Block (@7 minutes off) but wanted to hit this -

From the Green Bay Press-Gazette: The Packers are in 'serious negotiations' with the Jets for a trade. Win Win - Bus Cooke has spoken with Gang Green so Favre might be ok with the trade.

We'll talk about this on The Block, but I think this could be the reason Favre didn't fly to Green Bay today. He might have known he needed to go East.

Stay tuned - more later. But I think the Jets would benefit, Clemens would get 2 more years (maybe?) to learn from a Pro Bowler (as would 3rd string Ainge, BTW) and ultimately the Jets would get a good QB who could make a huge difference NOW - which with the money they spent, is what they want. Win now.

And as I said, Favre wins too - he gets a chance to start which is what he wanted.

Win-win.

we'll see.

Tune into the Drive Block - or call (347) 826-7620 and join in!

Suspension news

Good news/Bad news situation -

Good News:
Ahmad Bradshaw has been cleared by the league to play for the NY Football Giants and will not face suspension, per Rich Eisen on NFLN Total Access. Does that cloud the RB situation in NY more? No, it's still as cloudy as ever. But keep in mind that Bradshaw shone brightly during the end of last year - he will get his carries. The 'Hot Hand' RBBC theory might hurt every back on the Giants.

Bad News:
Well, Chris Henry isn't still suspended indefinitely -something he feared. But he is suspended for four games. Someone will sign him and he might be a sneaky late pick in a league.

Push:
Brandon Marshall still hasn't heard. Next to Favre (almost made it through a post without typing his name) one of the most watched players in the off-season, Marshall is a huge cog in the Bronco offense. If he's gone, it takes a large hit. Keary Colbert and Darrell Jackson are ok receivers, but Marshall is a special talent. Who also has a special talent for bad decisions.

Millions of Fantasy Owners are holding their breaths (and rankings!) in anticipation of his suspension, which I feel will probably hang between 4-6 games, reduced after he protests it.

He might not get suspended at all, but the above is my best guess.

Don't forget - Drive Block in a few of hours!

Camp Stampede - Midday report

Howdy folks!

Thanks for all the great feedback I am getting on the Thundering Blurb show! We'll be there every week until season's end - and possibly beyond!

Let's get to the news --

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It appears that Jeff Garcia's injury does NOT appear serious. Still, it got the mind racing - and maybe will kick something forward if they start to worry about Garcia's durability. The snag I didn't touch on earlier? Maybe favre doesn't want to play there. That's always a problem as the bucs are aware*coughJakePlummercough*.

Green Bay Packers
Favre has chartered a plane to Green Bay. I expect he will be at the practice facility tomorrow. I expect NFL Total Access to have nothing but conjecture about it. I expect to enjoy it all.... In Non-Favre news (yes the Packers have that) and lost in the Favre debacle is the hold-out of Ryan Grant. Well, Grant may want to get into camp as reports are that his back-up - second year man Brandon Jackson - is doing very, very well in camp. So well, in fact, that the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is saying they will probably split carries when Grant ends his hold-out. Now I don't know about THAT but RB pairing has become more common so it's not impossible. But the real message here might be that the Packers might find themselves having leverage in this situation, unlike the Favre one. If Jackson is doing well, Grant - while not replaceable - certainly can find himself in less of a sure position and more likely to settle for less, or even status quo, in terms of his contract money.

Houston Texans
I love the Texans and I can't tell you why. They intrigue me. And they signed a guy who has also caught my attention in the past - former Denver RB Mike Bell. The Denver-to-Houston pipeline set up by Mike Kubiak continues. With Chris Brown already banged up, Ahman Green not looking phenomenal in camp and the rest of the running backs not locking the job up, Bell could have a shot at a starting job. Or at worst, lock up the short yardage back role.

New York Jets
As of this morning, we finally have a positive Kellen Clemens report where he actually out-performed Pennington and threw no INTs. That's big for his backers, as Clemens has thrown some ugly picks the first practices. A lot of the picks it seems (reading Erik Boland's excellent blog at Newsday.com and Rich Cimini's good work at the Daily News) have come in the 2minute drill practices and that's not good. But Clemens looked good today. All along, people have said it's not that Pennington looked better bu that Clemens looked worse. Looks like Clemens finally played to his potential. Can he keep it up?

Apparently the hit of the day according to both bloggers was during a non-contact drill (isn't it always?). Safety Kerry Rhodes absolutely decimated WR Chansi Stuckey as Stuckey went across the middle. Just laid him on his tail. During a practice where Mangini was angry because many people were lagging, Rhodes sent the message that he was here to play and everyone had better keep up.

Cimini said it and I'll echo it - the Jets need more guys liek that if they want to top their pathetic win total for last season.

That's all for now - more later -- and don't forget - The Drive Block goes live at 10pm EST/ 7pm PST! Catch me, Cecil and Sigmund Bloom as we give you the latest on the events of the day!

Jeff Garcia Hurt

Just saw this item at TampaBay.com.

Looks like self-proclaimed 'I am the starting quarterback' Jeff Garcia is pranged up.

We don't know how serious - if at all - it is right now but if he's even kinda hurt.....

How bad would the Bucs want Favre?

I think Gruden would do everything he could to get the soon-to-be-ex-Packer. Something will happen and it looks liek the Pack is talking or considering talking to the Bears or Vikings. If the Bucs made a strong offer, the Packers would probably try to move him there to avoid the nightmare of a trade within the division...

I'll report back on more as I hear it.....

Morning Favrewatch 2008 report

Hey folks -

We stand upon the edge of the the Favre/Green Bay/Training Camp Hurricane and the news out of Green Bay just gets weirder.

Now I have been largely on the Pack's side - I think frankly both sides have behaved poorly but I really felt that the way Favre has handled it has been worse. And that may still hold true, really. I still feel like he has been acting like a prima dona.

All that said, if this report by the Green Bay Press Gazette is true, then they may be more insane than I gave them credit for.

I get they don't want Favre back. But they also held a lot - maybe not all but MOST - of the cards in this thing, especially from a PR standpoint. But to send Mark Murphy to buy Favre off? You're that desperate? Jeez guys.

Go and talk him into working a trade to a team both of you can be happy with. Go and talk to him about being #2 quarterback in camp (which allegedly they did). Explain to him why he is crazy to think you'll release him to play for a Division rival (something he darn well knows, but just doesn't care about). get that list of teams he wants to go to. Show him yours. Compromise. Buy him lunch and repair that dent I saw in his pickup.

But bribe him? Wow. No wonder Murphy looked so flustered. The moment he said it he knew 1) they had him and 2) Favre or Cooke would leak it to the press.

Assuming this is true, well - game, set and match to Favre. You just blinked Packers.

Friday should be fun. Heck, TODAY could be a real riot.

We'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thundering Blurb Podcast

To your right you will find a link (a pair, actually) - the top one is the first episode of the Official Thundering Blurb podcast - we had a surprise guest in Cecil Lammey with some breaking John Lynch news, a great guest in Matt Waldman of FFToday and the 2008 Rookie Scouting Portfolio and a secret guest in - and I may misspell this - Jinku who ended up chatting with us beyond the limits of the show.

So if you download the show or listen to the link on the right, you will find BONUS NOSTREAMING CONTENT - cause that's what I am about!

Enjoy - ITunes link and I am setting a generic rss feed as well, both to be posted when I get approval.

Favre and the rest of the guys....

Is there any other news?

Favre and his agent Bus Cooke met with Pack President Mark Murphy met today - Cooke and Murphy for 9 hours.

Amazing. Murphy didn't look pleased leaving. Brett did - though he only logged two hours. Cooke looked a little smug, but who knows? what were they talking about? Trades? Retirement? Whether Heath Ledger should get an Oscar nod?

I don't know. Friday will be very interesting indeed. I would love to know - for real - what Favre wants. I am not 100% sure he's only after a release. But I'd be curious to know what is really in his head.

Carolina Panthers
DeAngelo Williams has been running with the first team so far - HC John Fox doesn't give starting gigs away without earning it. I still think Jonathan Stewart will get most of the carries, but you shouldn;t be looking at him as anything beyond a 3rd RB with tremendous upside. But anything sooner and you are facing some real risk - as with all rookie RBs.

Cincinatti Bengals
Rudi Johnson is looking very strong in camp - he may end up being a value at the end of the 2nd rounds (and farther back) where he is going now. But don't read too much into the hype yet - he has to hold up over the season and that offensive line still has some large question marks.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Rashard Mendenhall and Willie Parker are still looking like they will split carries. And here's the thing - they seem very happy with that. Parker was ok during the time he split with Bettis - productive overall. You can count on good yardage for him and an uptick of touchdowns, but anything would be better than last year. Mendenhall will probably do all right and vulture some TDs but like Stewart, he won't be reliable enough to warrant more than a #3 spot on your team. But I think he will grow to be a tremendous compliment to Parker as years progress.

That's all for now - remember - in less than an hour and a half - The Thundering Blurb podcast goes LIVE at BlogtalkRadio.com! 9pmEST/6pmPST!

Call in at (718) 506-1722 - or tune in here and chat it up!

Best Favre exchange EVER

Rich Eisen vs Adam Shefter on NFLN yesterday -- watch Jamie Dukes sweat!

Check it out!

Camp News :crickets:

Real, real quiet this morning. So here are a few notes to start the day off. I'm sure it will pick up a little later.

Also, remember to join me for The Thundering Blurb live podcast at 9pmEST/6pmPST - I will be joined by Matt Waldman of FFToday and the excellent 2008 Rookie Scouting Portfolio.

We'll chat about rookie impact, college players and I'm sure a certain quarterback from Mississippi....

Here are the few worthy notes so far this morning --

New York Giants
Several weeks ago, news broke that second year running back Ahmad Bradshaw was doing a 30-day stint in jail due to a violation of parole stemming from an incident back in college. That itself was enough of a worry, but now (as you would expect) the NFL is investigating whether Bradshaw has violated the League's Personal Conduct policy. The Giants and Bradshaw are contending it does not (due to the initial incident taking place prior to his entry to the NFL). Given that the Giants are saying they will go with the 'hot hand' in games this year, this could be a good news/bad news situation.

Bad news is, Bradshaw - an electrifying runner who looked to be a big factor this year - may find himself hanging with Denver receiver Brandon Marshall on the sidelines for a few games. Good news? Well, it would narrow the competition down to Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward, increasing the value of both.

Honestly I think he won't get suspended. But we'll keep a watch on it.

Tennessee Titans
Rookie Chris Johnson continues to impress in camp - most notably today his blitz pick-up ability, which Vince Young is praising. What keeps a rookie RB on the bench most often? Correct - blocking. If Johnson keeps this up, not only will you see him a lot on 3rd downs, not only will you see him get more carries - but those carries might start eating into LenDale White's numbers. Did I say LenDale White and eat in the same sentence? (that was for Cecil) Now word on Chris Henry at all, which bodes ill for the second year running back.

Also, Brandon Jones is working the slot as #3 receiver in camp. I am dubious how much value that will have for you Fantasy folks, but it might be worth watching. The folks ahead of him (a pair of Justins: Gage and McCariens) are not world beaters. While Jones needs to stay healthy in order to make ground up - and be more consistent - he could move up the ranks and have some value.

That's all for now kids - more later as things pick up....

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

FavreWatch 2008

Well, I thought I was done tonight but I guess not.

ProFootballTalk is reporting that New Packers president Mark Murphy is heading to Mississippi to ask Favre NOT to come to camp when he is reinstated - this according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

The article is a bit of conjecture in certain instances - and frankly has a severe editorial slant. I would say the Press-Gazette is on the 'Bring Brett Back' bandwagon. So I'm not sure I totally trust their take on things.

As the article states, Favre won't be reinstated until tomorrow at best (Wednesday), the team is not practicing Thursday so Friday is the earliest the Favrenator can show up - I think there could be a few more explanations.

Now I don't have an unnamed source, but I do have my brain here, so let's use it.

Murphy could:
  1. Try to talk Brett into staying retired - it wouldn't work but everyone on both sides is so delusional, I can believe anything....
  2. Try to talk Brett into a trade - be it Jets, Bucs or any other place. Maybe even just to talk a list out of him, something Favre won't provide....
  3. Talk to him about how the Qb battle could go if he shows up....
  4. Tell him he is, without doubt, the backup. And he'd better be ok with it....
Now why not call with these things? Because one thing Favre has complained about is a lack of being wanted on the packers part. A lack of that 'hands on' I guess Brett used to get at some point long ago. Now, when Ted Thompson was going to fly out and welcome him back in March, that must have been a mirage, so we can discount that.

Fact is, any team official SHOULD fly down and talk to Favre. First off, he needs it, clearly. Guys like him need some soft handling sometimes -no right or wrong in it - just a fact. Second, he deserves it. Listen - this text messaging/voice mail crap is teenaged BS - on both sides. Someone needs to go down and work this out with Brett or pull him into an office when he returns. These are adults, not pimply faced teens breaking up with each other over email.

Regardless, I can think of multiple reasons why Murphy is flying down there. Maybe he's going exactly for the reason the Gazette claims. If he is, Brett will tell us about it for sure.

But let's not assume it's the only thing he can achieve down there in Mississippi.

Tuesday Wrap Up

A few notes to end the Tuesday Camps - and remember - The Thundering Blurb goes live at 6pmPST/9pm EST tomorrow!

Jacksonville Jaguars
Reggie Williams hurt himself again today, re-injuring his knee (recently sprained) and being carted off the field. Did I mention enough lately that I dislike Williams and think Mike Walker, John Broussard and almost anyone else in the core. Again, Marcedes Lewis looks good to me as well.

New Orleans Saints
Sedrick Ellis has finally signed and should be in camp. If he can catch up, he can still make an impact off and on during the season and might work as a bye week filler guy on your IDP squad.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Cowboys are still interested in Chris Simms but the Bucs are still asking for too much. Would that change if they acquired Favre. we may soon find out. The Cowboys certainly would be happy to upgrade the #2 slot from Brad Johnson.

Buffalo Bills
JP Losman jammed his right thumb - for those of you who thought he might sneak in and be a fantasy force.... all two of you in the Buffalo/Canada area....

Thats all for now - see you tomorrow!

FAVRWATCH 2008 Continues

Chris Mortensen of ESPN is reporting that Brett Favre has faxed his reinstatement request to the league office.

Here we go kids - this is going to be very interesting.

Also interesting is this thread in the Footballguys.com Shark Pool where I have been chatting a lot of today.

As I just posted, I am overjoyed I have material for this blog, The Drive Block on Thursday and my new show - The Thundering Blurb - every Wednesday at 6pm PST/9PM EST!

/shameless plug

See you with more later!

Morning Stampede

A few early notes -

Jacksonville Jaguars
I've said a few times that tight end Marcedes Lewis will probably get more looks this year than the last few. That was before wideouts started dropping like flies with Porter, Williams and Northcutt hampered by injury. Northcutt is back but now Garrard is giving me cause to continue my Lewis hopes:
"Tight ends are usually my favorite targets," Garrard said. "They are reliable and always around the middle. I definitely want to get (Lewis') receptions up and get his play to where he's one of the elite tight ends in the league."
(Florida Times Union)
He's not on my list of possible #1 Fantasy tight ends, but he could be on his way to becoming a rock solid #2, which hasn't been the case since he entered the league.

Green Bay Packers
Ryan Grant is still holding out and with the Favre-flap (darn, I thought I would get through one of these without that name popping up) who knows when he'll get what he wants if ever. In the meantime, Brandon Jackson is getting a lot of reps and he's been looking good. If Grant keeps holding out and Jackson performs well in the preseason, it will cloud the running back position and make it very hard to recommend one of the two in Fantasy drafts. The Packer running back position will have value, no doubt - but choosing one right now could be tough.

By the way, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel the Packers are looking for a 3rd rounder and a body (preferebly a defensive tackle), not the 1st and 4th or 6th that was bandied about last week. This will get done - if Brett will talk to the teams interested.

St Loius Rams
With Steven Jackson holding out, Antonio Pittman and Brian Leonard are splitting reps, which is about what you'd expect if Jackson was out for an extended amount of time. Like with Jackson/Grant in Green Bay, it is unclear if either back will be a significant Fantasy value long term unless one stood out.

More later

Jake Long Video

Another in the series of video profiles and news updates I have done for NFLDraftBible.com.

Check out Jake Long, Miami Dolphin Rookie Left Tackle.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Thundering Blurb Stampede part 2

So consider this an early Tuesday post -

And now the rest of the teams --

Atlanta Falcons
Joe Horn is showing up though unhappy to be remaining in the ATL..... The Qb competition is open between Chris Redman, Matt Ryan, DJ Shockley and Joey Harrington. Hard to say who will win - I am a proponent of shelving a high draft pick rookie QB unless you are desperate to save him a pounding.... But Atlanta is desperate for a new face of the franchise, although they also have a shaky O-line.....

New York Giants
David Carr is medically cleared to practice. Take that for what it's worth which - based on last season is nothing... Plaxico Burress had his ankle looked at and should be practicing soon. Given his playing through injury last season, worry not. Worry about his contract concerns maybe...

Jacksonville Jaguars
Wide receivers are dropping like flies - first Reggie Williams (sprained knee) and Jerry Porter (hamstring surgery), now Dennis Northcutt is out with a strained back. Looks like Mike Walker, Troy Williamson and John Broussard will get some good looks this Training Camp... Now it makes sense that Matt Jones is still around.... One of these guys could turn out to be a good vertical threat, though how busy he will be is unknown....

New York Jets
Laveranues Coles has looked healthy so far this Camp and will likely be productive not matter the QB - look at his TD stats the last few years, you might be surprised.... Chad Pennington looks better than Kellen Clemens so far though apparently it is more that Clemens looks bad than Pennington looks good. So you still probably want to stay away....

Detroit Lions
Shaun McDonald will likely be out until near the end of preseason. Shouldn't matter - his ability to yeild Fantasy points should be marginal behind Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams and without Martz there to throw every down...

Carolina Panthers
DJ Hackett and Muhsin Muhammad are splitting first team time in camp. This is going to remain an issue as they might end up both doing just enough to be tempting yet worthless for Fantasy purposes. Hackett is more explosive but Muhs has been here before and was getting more early OTA reps... Pick your poison and one might pay off, but damned if I know who today.....

New England Patriots
Looks like Jordan will be more Sammy Morris/Kevin Faulk than replacing Laurence Maroney who still needs to be consistent all season to be a reliable Fantasy running back...

Oakland Raiders
Ronald Curry continues to impress in Training Camp. I dislike Javon Walker, I think if there is a Raider receiver to own, Curry is it....

St Loius Rams
Steven Jackson is still holding out - according to ESPN and NFLN (I guess via the AP wire) HC Scott Linehan is keeping in touch via texts but isn't sure wher his star RB is. Maybe the reports they might want McFadden were less smoke and mirrors than I thought. I'm not worried yet, but if you have a draft now, depending on the board, you may take a hard look at other backs. I won't jump the gun and say avoid as a few missed weeks won't hurt Jackson - a vet. He'll be just a little fresher come December. Still, how serious is he and how long will this go on?....

Baltimore Ravens
Mark Clayton is running as the #1 and is looking to bounce back from a bad 2007. Of course, if you are drafting ask yourself - who is throwing?..... Willis McGahee is back to practice with his knee taped (probably a precaution). Ray Rice might be a good handcuff, depending on how McGahee looks over the next few weeks.....

Washington Redskins
Battle of the Rookie WRs: Right now, Malcolm Kelly is hurt as is fellow rookie Devin Thomas. Likely, neither will play in Sunday Nights Hall of Fame Game.... Jason Campbell is looking very good and very accurate in practices. Consider him a part of your QBBC....

New Orleans Saints
The offense is looking good, but the defense is missing some weapons. First rounder Sedrick Ellis remains unsigned and top DB Mike McKenzie is being eased into the practices due to ACL surgery.... Neither was a sure thing IDP hit, but people were looking at them for soem bench depth.....

Seattle Seahawks
TJ Duckett is moving to the fullback position. Good news for Maurice Morris and Julius Jones owners as they will at least split carries. Bad news for those who believe that THIS TIME, Duckett would break out..... Nate Burleson is still the only wideout of the Big Three (Nate, Branch and Engram). Engram is engram and should catch up quick IF and WHEN he reports. Branch is an injury problem and they have no clue when he'll be back. Avoid Branch like the plague.....

Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben Roethlisberger will get more no-huddles this year, which he wants and should keep D's hopping.... Rookie RB Rashard Mendenhall looks to be stepping into the expected short yardage/receiver role we expected after the draft....

Houston Texans
Is it the end of July already? Must be because Chris Brown is already beat up.... Rookie linebacker Xavier Adibi is looking impressive in camp so far. If you haven't had your start-up Dynasty Draft, keep an eye on him..... Andre Johnson is looking healthy and ready to go as well - draft away. He remains (if healthy) a top flight Fantasy receiver...

Tennessee Titans
Justin Gage and Justin McCariens are the starting wideouts going into camp. That's all that needs to be said for the pass game..... Rookie Chris Johnson is signed and will likely be Vince Young's big hope for yardage through the air. I've liked the pick, despite the fact they needed a receiver and didn't draft one. Johnson will be that guy and LenDale White will be the pounder....

Minnesota Vikings
No Brett Favre yet and won't be... Jackson is looking ok - so far, so good.... Chester Taylor remains a guy who could get some good carries but draft him only as an ADP handcuff or in the hopes Peterson gets banged up and his owner needs your help....

That's all for now - more tomorrow - shorter bursts I swear...

The First THUNDERING BLURB Training Camp Stampede

Sorry for the lateness of this post - there has been a little illness in the house that I needed to deal with.

As such, let's do a quick Adam Shefter-like 'Around the NFL' - a Stampede of opinions as it were? (See what I did there? Herd? Blurb? Stampede? Is this thing on?)

Let's get this quick hits started with the news that just won't go away -

Green Bay Packers
Favre still clings (allegedly) to the illusion he can force an outright release. It's foolish for him to think the Pack will let him go and potentially end up with Minnesota or Chicago. He's not foolish. He really doesn't seem to want to play in Tampa or New York. But he needs to get his head together and decide if he really wants to play. But this is classic Favre. He can't figure out what his priorities together (play, not play) and deal with the fact he is NOT in charge. Which he is not.

Jamie Dukes just compared him to Brooks in Shawshank Redemption - the guy who couldn't make it outside prison and hung himself. Uncomfortable......

San Francisco
Vernon Davis is still being touted as an important option for the 49rs offense and he could see the targets and points volume that normally go to the #3 reciever in a Martz offense... Michael Robinson sprained his right knee this weekend and a MRI revealed he might need it scoped.... Ashlie Lelie is still waiting for his MRI results on his knee, and the longer, the worse his odds to make the team...

Chicago Bears
New contract in hand, Devin Hester is in camp and starting at reciever..... Kevin Jones hasn't started practicing yet but the club wants him to drop some wieght during camp. I still think he gets brought along slowly, primarily in spot duty and 3rd down work for a while, unless rookie Matt Forte stumbles badly....

Cincinnati Bengals
Chad Johnson has come to an agreement with the team that they will review his contract after the season, but he's out with an ankle sprain right now.... Defensive Lineman Antwan Odom is sprained his foot this weekend and there is no set time for him to return - just what the Bengals need this season - more defensive injuries.....

Buffalo Bills
Running Back Marshawn Lynch will not face a suspension for his hit and run earlier this year, good news for late first round picking fantasy teams everywhere..... Fred Jackson has been splitting carries with him - there's your handcuff.... Roscoe Parrish is working the slot for what that's worth - the points will be to Lee Evans and James Hardy and let me again pimp Steve Johnson as a late season surprise (or sooner)......

Denver Broncos
The Broncos are still awaiting any news of Brandon Marshall and any upcoming suspensions... In case of suspension, break glass: Darrell Jackson and Keary Colbert would be your starting wideouts.... Jackson is practicing ahead of Colbert right now.... Selvin Young still looks like the starting RB, Anthony Alridge is working hard to catch on as a Special teamer - check out what Frank Schwab of the Colorado Springs Gazette said about Alridge back in June (cecil says the transcription is comign for reading)...

Cleveland Browns
Donte Stallworth is back from his hammy injury, but still has questionable Fantasy value behind Edwards and Kellen Winslow....

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jeff Garcia came into camp, despite his issues with his contract and said if Favre shows up a competition is 'nothing new' and he'll fight for a job as he always has.... Joey Galloway is still sidelined by a bad groin pull though the team might also be letting the vet catch a few extra days of rest as well... Carnell Williams says he is targeting being back the first part of a season as 'a good goal'. Stay away on draft day......

Arizona Cardinals
JJ Arrington is runnign with the 4th squad... sorry I lost interest, what was I saying? ...Tight End Leonard Pope practiced for the first time since he dislocated his ankle last season but may have lost his starting job....

San Diego Chargers
Philip Rivers has looked to have a stronger arm post-surgery in camp so far.... It's hard to say whom to use as a handcuff for Tomlinson and both Darren Sproles and rookie Jacob Hester are playing well in camp....

Kansas City Chiefs
William Franklin, chosen in the 2008 Draft at spot 105, has looked good enough to pass Jeff Webb and might get Devard Darling before the camp is done.... After signing a pretty good sized contract, Linebacker Demorrio Williams isn't getting alot of quality reps, stuck behind Napoleon Harris and Donnie Edwards - this is an important IDP camp battle...

Indianapolis Colts
Still no Manning, but they have Jared 'Pillsbury Throw Boy' Lorenzon so it's OK...

Dallas Cowboys
Sam Hurd and Miles Austin are fighting for the #3 spot - Isiah Stanback is falling behind. My money is on Austin. With Crayton in the slot, the #3 spot could be productive...

Miami Dolphins
Ronnie Brown is practicing twice a day - good news for his knee recovery and hopefully he survives contact... David Martin has been workign as starting TE in camp so far, of course, we expected him to do well last year and he didn't....

Philadelphia Eagles
Brian Westbrook joins the chorus of folks openly desiring a new contract - so he says in a press conference Monday... Left Defensive End Victor Abiamiri is out with a wrist fracture for the forseeable future - competition for his spot comes down to Juqua Parker and maybe Chris Clemons.

I'll be back with more later or tomorrow morning and we'll his the rest of the camps...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

PS - Goodbye Danny Woodhead

Both the Daily News and Newsday have reported in their Training Camp blogs (both of which I recommend highly) that Danny Woodhead, the former running back from Div III Chadron State suffered a severe knee injury in yesterday’s practice and was waived/injured. “It’s not looking good for him,” Mangini said two hours before Woodhead was waived. “He’s not going to be back anytime soon.”

Given the Jets follow the Pats 'Tell them NOTHINK' form of injury responses, that is a really telling blurb from Mangini. I loved Woodhead and pulled hard for him to land somewhere during - and then after - the NFL Draft. I was very happy my beloved Jets landed him and figured he could take some work off Leon Washington's shoulders for kick returning. He could stick on Special Teams, then get his shot as a change of pace or scatback a few years from now and it would be a great story.

A knee injury - and mind you we have few details -to a guy like this could be devestating. Maybe he can come back and it isn't that serious. Either way, I hope Woodhead gets another shot either with the Jets or elsewhere. Kid has a ton of heart.

More Training Camp Notes - now with 50% less Favre

Let's get this out of the way:
  • Favre to Jets looks dead (rumor is Favre no likey Gang Green)
  • Favre to Bucs looks possible
  • No Favre at Packers Camp today
Now on to more stuff not Favretastic -

MRIs Around the NFL

Asante Samuel had one - the injury to his hammy looks 'Mild'. (Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News) Good news for Philly - a 'push' for Lito Sheppard. Again, Samuel means better numbers (or more opportunity for Sheppard) but no Samuel means leverage in contract talks.

Deuce McAllister's was negative - but like I said yesterday, it's bad that he needs one already. Once again, I invite you to hop on board the Pierre Thomas Train before it leaves the Station!

I think that's it for MRIs today - maybe we can do another turn tomorrow?

Bears Lock Hester Up
According to the Chicago Sun Times Da Bears have signed kick return monster and unproven wide receiver Devin Hester to a 4 year 30 Million dollar extension, $15 mill of which is guarenteed. Now, as I said the other day, they HAD to make him happy - right now he's the whole offense. BUT - and this is critical - he has yet to prove that he's worth the money they just gave him. I mean, on the one hand, he is, as he's the most dynamic kick returner maybe ever. But on the other, what if he sucks out loud at receiver? Like the last phenomenal kick returner who was mediocre as a pass catcher - Dante Hall?

They had to pay him - but I don't know this was money well spent. Hester has to put it together as a pass catcher now.

Of course if he does - will he back with his hand out again?

BTW - for Fantasy purposes, let me reiterate that no Bear WR is worth more than a flier, unless you get good points for kick returns in which case, Hester is your man.

Ashlie Lelie Does What he Does Best - Gets Hurt
For those of you hoping Lelie would be the #3 guy in SF and end up with some Sleeper value - the Santa Rosa Press Democrat is reporting that Lelie is Day-to-Day with a left calf sprain. The guy has never been sturdy and with Battle looking to be the guy behind Isaac Bruce and Bryant Johnson, Lelie had a huge hill to climb. Looks like he fell off it.

Every day is a day he loses ground. You want a sleeper, try looking at Jason Hill, who has done some damage in Camps. Of course, rumor has it the 49rs will not be using a lot of 3 WR sets (utilizing Frank Gore and Vernon Davis as targets instead) so looking for a productive #3 wide reciever in San Fran might be a little like spitting in the wind.

That's all for now - -

Comment below or email at ThunderingBlurb@gmail.com

Saturday, July 26, 2008

More Training Camp News and More Favrewatch 2008

The Brett Favre saga continues. It looked for a time as if the NY Jets were close to making something happen but according to the Newark Star-Ledger chances now seem remote that the Cheese State Gunslinger will play in the Meadowlands this season for Gang Green. How remote - well if you click on the linked article and read the web address in your menu bar the link ends with:
favre_to_jets_is_absolutely_de.html

I assume the 'de' starts the word DEAD. While I won't go that far (and the title says 'very remote') it isn't looking pretty. Now is that a Favre thing or will the Pack not budge off the request for a 1st round pick (a price way too high for the Jets in my opinion)? We may never know. But as a wise man once said - it ain't over until it's over.

Favre didn't file his paperwork for reinstatement with the league yet - though he could fax it in at any time - so we won't see him Sunday and maybe Monday.

Stay tuned!

Asante Samuel Strains Hammy, set for MRI

Samuel strained his right hamstring this mornign at practice - according to NFL.com, he'll have an MRI tomorrow to see the extent of the injury. I was just saying the other day how Lito Sheppard might benefit from setting up across from Samuel this year - but given Lito wants some new money, he might benefit in different ways if Samuel is out for any amount of time.

In other MRI News -
Saints Running Back Deuce McAllister Already Had One
McAllister missed Saturday's practice after his knee swelled up post practice on Friday. The New Orleans Times-Picayune says the MRI was negative and revealed no structural damage but you can't be very happy that after a handful of practices, he already had some doubts. I've been touting Pierre Thomas for a while now and I think he'll compliment Bush very well at some point - whether that point is imminent could be debated but McAllister has now had both knees rebuilt and the Saints were looking at LaMont Jordan (I'll get to him in a second) so they can't be all that sure about Deuce either. Thomas played well in limited action and I think is a sneaky play in Fantasy Leagues this year - it ain't just me and if you don't want to take my word for it, listen to Brian Baldinger back in May. All I'm saying is, Baldy knows his stuff (even if I think he's way overstating his case regarding Darren McFadden), so think on it.

Speaking of LaMont Jordan -
The Pats Swooped in and Signed Him
Almost as soon as Jordan was released, Adam Shefter was saying to watch out for the Pats. And he was right. I don't know if I am that worried about Maroney now that this has happened - frankly Jordan is turning 30 and wasn't as effective as everyone thought he would be when he left the Jets a few years ago, though much of that wasn't his fault. He's more likely a security deposit on Kevin Faulk than Maroney. I don't expect huge things from him and he shouldn't be drafted in a Fantasy League as anything but a deep back up. But I also am not worried about Maroney and he should remain a #2 or 3 back for you.

All that said, from a practical NFL standpoint, good signing. Jordan will fit in well there I think, the Pats can turn careers around and revitalize them (see: Dillon, Corey and Moss, Randy) and frankly they won't expect him to carry the team so there will be less pressure than he's had in the past.

Finally - for this edition -
The Arizona Cardinals Might Use Kurt Warner in a Specialist Position Again
This would just kill the value of either QB in a Fantasy League - and I have said this before, but it's a terrible idea for the developement of Leinart. HC Whisenhunt has called Leinart the starter, but 'won't rule out' using Warner like they did prior to Party Time Matt's collarbone breaking last season - as the 'no-huddle' guy.

Listen, either Leinart is your Qb or he isn't. Enough is enough. A quarterback needs to be in a rhythm during a game - throwing one in on special sequences is ridiculous. This soudns worse than when Romeo Crennel figured out his starting Qb last year by flipping a quarter. And I think HE was joking at least.

I'm not saying Leinart should win the job - I have no idea, and frankly I lean towards him beign a bust as he seems to spend more time beer bonging with nubile young co-eds than practicing or working on his game in the off-season. But he could be working when I don't see him. Or he could be that gifted. But whatever - slapping Warner in during certain (and might I add pressure packed) moments of a game smells of a lack of confidence. Ify our franchise Qb can't hack it when you need him most.... well, you need to question if he should be your franchise QB. Pulling him can't be doing his confidence any favors and I am adamantly opposed to it. Either go with Matty L or with Warner. enough waffling.

Warner has been told it's an open competition though Whisenhunt says it's Leinart's job. Further messy communication or motivation ploy? I can't tell, you guys can let me know.

That's it for now. More later and regularly M-Fri as we swing into Training Camp full force.
-----------------

Leave a comment below or email me at ThunderingBlurb@gmail.com

NFL Draft Bible Rookie Report #1

Hey guys,

Did a bunch of voice over work and analysis for the NFL Draftbible and All Access Football site.

Check out the first installment HERE.

Friday, July 25, 2008

LaMont Jordan released

Adam Shefter just said on NFLN that Jordan has finally been released.

A team he mentioned as being a possible target is New England, saying they have signed ex-raiders before and that he wouldn't be shocked in Jordan landed there quickly.

I don't know how that affects Maroney yet - but it certainly could put his long term status there into a little doubt.

Back with more later, but wanted to get that out there as it just was announced.

FavreWatch 2008

I feel like I need to be standing in a downpour with no umbrella, no hat and no jacket discussing flooding - which is a reference only my fellow SoCal folks might get.

With Packers camp a day away, the Packers are allegedly trying to finish the Favre saga (or part 1, as you and I both know this story will never completely go away).

ProFootballTalk is reporting that Jay Glazer at FoxSports is saying that the Tampa Bay Bucs have been given permission to talk to his Favreness to work out a trade. This comes on the heels of an earlier ESPN report that my beloved Jets were given permission to talk to him.

It seems like the Packers are trying their best to work this out prior to tomorrow and it comes down to this - does Brett want to play or play for the Packers? If he wants to play and (aside from contending) doesn't care where, we'll see a trade I think sometime in the next week or so. If he wants to remain a Packer though - and he might - all he needs to do is show up in camp and play like he did in 2007.

Of course, that's a mess for the Pack, no doubt, but that's kinda where it stands. If Favre really is the complete prima donna he has appeared to be at many moments in this ridiculous mess, then he could go to camp, sulk and try to make them release him or make a stupid trade to somewhere like the Vikes. I'm hoping that isn't the case and the last few weeks are merely a bunch of bad moves by someone who has let his passion run away with him.

As for the Bucs vs the Jets -

Favre would certainly pick up the Tampa offense a little quicker, though the West Coast the Jets run wouldn't be a stretch. HC Mangini says he's happy with the QBs on their roster yada yada but 1) that's coachspeak and is worth less than the current value of the US Dollar and 2) he's on the hotseat, the Jets spent LOADs of cash to win now so 3) they would LOVE to have Favre. As much as it would screw with the Clemens/Pennington Debate - I think they would care. They can sort that out next year in a way I think the packers don't feel they can.

Tampa Bay would be good as well, and not just for the aforementioned ability for Favre to get the offense quick. While the recievers aren't as good (aside from Galloway - I'll put Coles/Cotchery against any Bucs combo) Gruden works magic with older QBs. He could be very successful there if the Oline holds together (you could say that last part abotu the Jets as well). He could mentor Josh Johnson as I think he's a few years away from playing, although we've seen how that worked out in Green Bay.

I think either of these would be a very good fit and I think if Brett wants to play - and wants to gracefully exit the mess he has created most of - he should work things out with one of those teams.

And soon.

Join us again later for BRETTWATCH!
-------
Comments, queries, confusion may be posted below or sent to ThunderingBlurb@gmail.com.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Camp Notes - 7/24

Here's a few pieces of news from various camps around the NFL - as of this weekend, everyone will have opened camp and we'll be off and running!

Westbrook and Sheppard Both Show to Camp
Well, the worries of Westy not showing up and possibly causing a ruckus are not coming to fruition - Westbrook is too much of a leader in the clubhouse for that to happen. The Eagles will probably try to make something happen for him this season, but for now, he'll play ball. Any worry you had for his fantasy value should vaporize. Lito Sheppard is also unhappy with his contract but he showed for two very different reasons - 1) Asante Samuel doesn't make him expendible but does enable the Iggles to tow a hard line with him and 2) Starting opposite Samuel could make his numbers improve quite a bit, allowing him to make even more bank down the road. I think a lot of IDP owners are looking at Samuel - don't forget Sheppard. He might be a sneaky guy to target late in your draft or auction. Not huge numbers to come, by any means - but he could get targeted more than Samuel.

LaMont Jordan Countdown Starts..... NOW
Jordan and his agent have been waiting for Davis and Kiffin to dump the once highly touted RB on the roadside for months now, even farther back than the Draft and the arrival of Darren McFadden. Why it's taken so long for us to see it happen is anyone's guess - but when it comes to Davis, just be thankful they haven't hired a guy who runs a bed and breakfast to run the defense. Cause that would be madness. Anyway, Jordan and his agent were threatening to appear at Training Camp and force the team's hand (if he shows up the Raiders have to allow him to play - or escort him off the field and pretty much release him quickly thereafter). Rumor has it the Saints and Lions could be interested - I like ProFootballTalk's idea better and it would make for some entertaining TV. Regardless, as PFT points out, Jordan will join a ton of unemployed running backs out there and his fantasy value is only as a long shot hail mary at the end of your draft.

More Raider Problems
As if that isn't enough, both Javon Walker and Ronald Curry (two fairly important weapons for sophomore QB JaMarcus Russell) are gimpy in camp. Jason Jones' Sacramento Bee Blog is saying that Walker and Curry will be held to once a day practices as they nurse themselves back to health. I've said many times how much I dislike Walker thsi year and everything about him right now. His Vegas troubles, his fatness in the OTAs. As much as I dislike him, I like Curry. I think Walker falls flat and Curry gets a lot of looks. That's my thought. Apparently, Jones says that Walker has dropped a whole 8 lbs between the OTAs and now. WOW - somebody call Jenny Craig, I have the next big weight loss program!

Both guys are banged up and hopefully the once a day practices will help heal them, but if you have to draft a Raider reciever - and I will be clear here that NOBODY SAYS YOU HAVE TO - I urge you to look at Curry (who looked good in OTAs) and not Walker (who looked fat and bad in OTAs).

This Just In: Anquan Boldin still Disgruntled
The disgruntling is no real news - we've been tracking this for weeks. But the fact that - according to The East Valley Tribune - Boldin feels 'betrayed' and he's been lied to. Let's play He Says/She Says (or Team Says): Boldin says they promised him a new contract. They say - well nothing. Wisely the Cards haven't really entered into a war of words they can't win, merely reiterating several times how valuable he is to the offense. As was pointed out by Rotoworld, he's already on his second contract since he was drafted - he's already had it altered and extended. They'll try to make him happy, but at some point, enough is enough. How many tiems do you restructure the same contract only to have more asked for? I know we were aware this would happen when Fitzgerald got his dollars, but you have to wonder what is going through the midns of the Cards and the fans at this point. I don't think we'll see a drop off in his play if he is unhappy - he'll still have good fantasy value and is too much of a pro to sulk ala Moss in Oakland.

Jets Sign Gholston, Discover Yet Another Reason Why Pennington Sucked in '07
The Jets have signed Vernon Gholston to what Daily News Blogger Rich Cimini calls a staggering amount for a rookie. I don't know if Cimini is aware but the guys ahead of Gholston have signed for far more guarenteed. I'm not saying 9 mill is dirt cheap - but compared to $30? It's dirt cheap. The escalation of rookie guarenteed money is a subject for another day but he does have one point - Gholston had better be good. Mangini is running out of NY of the normally endless patience of the NY fan faithful. Do I have to write /sarcasm or is it obvious?

As for Pennington a blog at the NY Post is saying Pennington played with two torn ligaments in his right ankle last season. Apparently it happened against the Pats during the first game they played. Maybe the Jets can get some video from the Pats to confirm it? No?

As the commentary under the blog post put it - this explains the red zone INTs last season? Well, maybe not. I'll give Chad this - he's a tough SOB. But I don't know he's the future for this franchise. Unfortunately I don't know he's a short term answer either - and the Jets put a lot of money out there in a way that looks like they want to win now. Is Clemens the answer? By the looks of last season, no.

Whatever the answer is the Jets had best figure it out - time is running short for the staff and another horrific season with this team will bring out the sharp knives.

I would say - like the Raiders - nobody is FORCING you to draft a Jets QB. And as much as I love the team, I can't direct you towards either one. Thomas Jones, behind that revamped Oline might be a nice play but if nobody can get a throw off, 8 men in a box could make for an ugly season there too. Hopefully camp will give us some idea of how bad off this offense is. For now, even Coles and Cotchery are shakier options than they were just a couple of short years ago. They should still get lots of targets - whether it is from Dink'n'Dunk Chad or Clemens with the big arm.

More to come later on.....
-----------------------

If you have a mind, you can email me at ThunderingBlurb@gmail.com or just post in the comments below....

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Extensions and NON-extensions

Today one fellow got signed like I said he would a while back while another is threatening to boycott Training Camp if he doesn't get shown the money very soon.

According to Brad Biggs at the Chicago Sun Times, Kick Return Phenom turned wide receiver Devin Hester is unhappy with his contract and may skip training camp in a huff.

Now, what that means is, he'll have to work hard to overcome Brandon Lloyd and self-proclaimed #1 WR Marty Booker later on.

Considering the two names I just typed, Hester's threat is a real one. While I am dubious as to his value as a wide receiver Hester is the most dynamic thing in a Bears uni, so they need to get him into camp. I don't think he should be asking for giant boatloads of cash, but making sure the only highlight you have had the last several years is happy, secure and a BEAR, is pretty vital. I think the Bears may need to blink here, though once the penalties for missed camp hit, Hester may have to get a job at Der Weinerschnitzel or White Castle to get by.

Maybe a team the Bears should look at would be the New Orleans Saints, who signed wide receiver Marques Colston to an extension which has locked him up through 2011. Adam Shefter reported on the NFL Network that the Saints were only too happy to keep Colston smiling. While he has been dinged up on occasion, he is a great target for Brees and with the addition of Shockey and the (hopeful) return to health of Reggie Bush, Colston could find a few less double teams coming his way. We haven't heard the terms yet but whatever it was was worth it - you can't put a price on your best target (well, clearly you CAN but you can't always be cheap about it).

Colston has the potential to be a top 5 Fantasy reciever this year and if he's healthy could challenge for the top spot.

Getting back to Hester - while the guy isn't worth Colston money (again, whatever that is), he's the best thing the Bears have offensively. If he blows town or really holds out, they could be in trouble.

I wouldn't pay him like a top offensive weapon but I would make sure he leaves the table as happy as I could make him.

--

send thoughts, questions and complaints to thunderingblurb@gmail.com or post in the comments below as you see fit.

Giants Run Game = Fantasy Death?

According to an interview by Michael Eisen with Giants OC Kevin Gilbride over at Giants.com, if the various Giants running backs stay healthy (and in Bradshaw's case, out of jail) he'd like to see everyone getting plenty of carries with whomever is being successful that game being the featured back.

In other words, one week Brandon Jacobs might be the bell-cow, next week Ahmad Bradshaw.

Or in Gilbride's words -
Then depending on how certain defenses are playing us, which guy's playing better that day, in other words, kind of who has the hot hand, who is playing the best, that is the guy that we would certainly feature that day.
So while from a Giants fan perspective, this might be good (keeping guys fresh and off the injured list are always a plus for defending Super Bowl champs), a Fantasy owner has to ask himself just how much this could drop Brandon Jacobs in their rankings.

As any owner of a Denver Broncos running back can tell you, week to week uncertainty at the running back position can be murder for a Fantasy Team.

This will bear a great deal of watching I think - the Giants have a solid roster of running backs and as Gilbride says, they compliment each other very well. It is entirely possible that if this does transition into a full Running Back by Committee, you may still get solid numbers out of whomever comprises it. But only if the committee stays relatively consistent.

If one week Jacobs is hot, then you start him the next and Ward gets smoking - well, you can see where that's nothing but messy.

Right now, Footballguys has Jacobs ranked 31st overall for offensive players, 19th RB off the board (average staff ranking for a redraft non-PPR league). Antsports is a site that has tons of mock drafts - and if you rank serious mocks, they have Jacobs the 18th RB coming off the board on average in High Performance, flex/TE leagues. In both cases you are looking at Jacobs going before players like Ernest Graham, Willie Parker, Thomas Jones and then a host of rookies.

By the looks of it, Jacobs is also going in about the late 3rd round which is probably about right especially the backs around him like Graham and Parker who might have their share of questions as well.

However you might want to look another way if you're feeliong gunshy. In the Mock Draft Forums over at Footballguys, I drafted Jacobs in a Pre-Draft Survivor League waaaaay back in March in the 3rd round (16 team, no trades, no waivers, Best Ball - or total points elimination - format). He backs up Marion Barber III and has Julius Jones, Ladell Betts and rookie Chris Johnson behind him. I feel ok with that still. But as with the ADP and Rankings I quote above, Thomas Jones is still sitting around at the time and given the questions Jacobs is now facing and the revamped Jets offensive line - he might have been (and still be) the better way to go.

Jones is a topic for another column, but for now, watch this situation closely. While Jacobs was not going to be your #1 FF back and will still giveyou some good points in a RBBC, if it becomes a situation where we never know who will get the majority of the carries in any week, it could be best to just stay away.

Food for thought.

Feel free to throw questions and comments to thunderingblurb@gmail.com as well in the comments section.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Taylor and Shockey

So while I was in flight yesterday, two (long expected, in my mind) trades have come to fruition. One was an abandoned Draft Day deal that was revisited and one was the final goodbye for a player who hasn't gotten along with the new regime since... well ever since they showed up.

Of course, I am referring to the trade of Jeremy Shockey to the New Orleans Saints and the trade of Jason Taylor to the Washington Redskins.

Shockey was supposed to be in black and gold back in April - it was such a done deal that I have it on good authority that at least one Saints player called Shockey to welcome him to the fold. But something went wrong and the deal died and we all assumed it would stay dead. Until yesterday. Assuming Shockey passes a physical on wednesday, he'll be the #1 TE on the team, with Billy Miller, Eric Johnson and Mark Campbell fighting for the last couple of roster slots.

MY TAKE: If Shockey stays healthy, he could have a huge season. we all know how much Brees loved to throw to Antonio Gates in San Diego. We also know there is no solid #2 option in the passing game after Marques Colston (ok, Reggie Bush, but in terms of a pure receiver?). Shockey won't have to stay in and block as much as he did for the G-men. It should be a match made in heaven. From a fantasy standpoint, Shockey might crawl back into top 5 status. As for the rest - I think Eric Johnson is on his way out. He can't stay healthy, he was signed after Billy Miller this off season and the Saints were already looking to make Billy Miller a big part of the offense. I think maybe Johnson hangs on, but I wouldn't bet my house on it. I think Miller will still do a bunch for the Saints, but clearly a lot less than he might have without Shockey.

As for the Giants - some might say Kevin Boss isn't a lock to start - and maybe he ain't. But I think he will get every shot and he played so well late last year that he made this trade possible. The Giants didn't suddenly have so much faith in Darcy Johnson and Mike Matthews that they could ship Shockey off. While Boss still has to work on blocking - and both other guys will get plenty of snaps pre-season - Boss was the one who made this move possible, in my mind. He won't be a top 10 TE in Fantasy, but he should do very well otherwise and I expect a good season from him.

Meanwhile, Jason Taylor wasn't winning friends in Miami with his Dancing with the Stars appearances. Bill Parcells made it clear he wasn't in love with Taylor's absence and this move - while not to a place I was expecting prior to this weekend - was bound to happen. Once Washington lost two Defensive Linemen to injury in the space of a couple of days, Taylor made sense.

MY TAKE: I have said all off-season that Taylor has more in the tank. I don't think the Skins overpayed - a 2nd next year and a 6th the year after. Taylor may only play another year - but even so, Washington needed help now. Rumors are they may use him as a Linebacker as well as a Defensive End and that should give him some opportunity to make some open field plays. He should head over to the left side, which means Andre Carter will stay at the right. It should make Carter's numbers jump up a little as teams might avoid Taylor.

From an IDP perspective (that would be Individual Defensive Player for you non-fantasy geeks) Taylor just went back up in cost. If you had an auction already and had the chance I hope you grabbed him cheap. He could be a good addition to your squad, though how much impact will depend on how he jells in camp. For Miami, this works as well. As much as they could use Taylor, Parcells has set the team up to live on without him. The writing has been on the wall for weeks. The only thing this does for them is get more draft picks - something Big Tuna loves.

Back with more later - remember an all new DRIVE BLOCK starts at 7pm PST/10EST tonight. Stop on by! You can also catch it on the Footballguys podcast Itunes feed (The Audible) or come here and listen to it.

I'm back! (and show notice for tonight)

Hey folks -

Am back from Alaska and ready to rock. Many things have happened JUST YESTERDAY and I will be posting on them later.

For now a notice -
Normally, Sigmund, Cecil and I will be hosting The Drive Block on Thursdays - but this week, we're shifting to tonight - 7pm PST/10 EST. Scheduling is crazy, so hence the shift.

We'll be back on Thursdays NEXT WEEK, but today, tune in tonight for the latest show, with Guest Doug Drinen, Footballguys.com's own human database.

The call in number is (347) 826-7620 - you can also chat live.

Back with more later.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Get ready to get hit by THE DRIVE BLOCK

Hey guys

Still up in Alaska, but wanted to let you guys know that Cecil Lammey, Sigmund Bloom and I have been sitting on a little announcement and here it is:

We have put together a live show called The Drive Block - it's an offshoot of Footballguys' show the Audible and we'll be doing it every Thursday from here on out. And the best part? It's live - that means you follow the link and you can chat with us or even call in and get on the air. And if you miss it, you can download it and listen at your leisure.

There are plenty of bugs to work out, but that's what preseason is for, right?

Follow the link to the Drive Block!

There will be plenty more announcements for me like this one - this is only the first.

Also, the feed is posted to the right of the column - in theory you should be able to use that to listen as well.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Favre Article Link

Special thanks to my old buddy Jay Charles Johnson of Fantasy Football Journal.com for the heads up on this article at SI.com by Dr. Z.

Certainly sums up some of my thinking re: Favre and retiring. I don't know if I agree with all of it - I need to digest it more before I say one way or the other. But there is certainly something to what Z is saying.

Enjoy - History Lesson: Favre Could Learn From Namath, Unitas


One thing I totally agree with is that, like Namath, Unitas and Montana, Favre will look weird if he ends up in another uniform.

THE SKY IS FALLING and other Manning News


Hey from overcast and chilly - but beautiful - Alaska! To the left, feel free to gaze at the lovely Alaskan Mountain range off the coast of Homer where I went deep sea fishing for Halibut yesterday - caught two in fact. My nephew caught one bigger than he was - he's about 4ft tall so maybe that isn't as impressive as it sounds. But it outweighed him too. Gorgeous scenery though, huh?

We were out on the boat when I actually heard QB news that wasn't about Brett Favre.

After I picked myself up off the floor from that, I stopped to analyze what is now the biggest off-season story of the moment - Peyton Manning's surgery on his knee to remove an infected bursa sac. I think that's what started Marvin Harrison's knee woes last year, and if that's the case I can see the panic. (Especially for the owner in one auction league of mine who just bought Manning for $120. YIPES)

However, my Fantasy Football thought is this - there is every indication he'll be ready for week one. I wouldn't panic. Further, I would not waste my time drafting Jim Sorgi. Far better to make sure your #2 QB is a safe and secure choice - someone like Garrard or Rivers, who can stand up over the course of a season. It's not that Sorgi is useless - it's more that we can't count on him to put up Manning numbers if Manning goes down. And I would rather grab a solid long shot 3rd QB (take a flier on JaMarcus Russell for example) than reach to get Sorgi because I am feeling worried about Manning.

If you grab Manning, just be sure to grab a solid #2. If you can get Sorgi, great, but I wouldn't pull him early.

The fact is, Manning will probably play. You want to cover yourself, sure, but I'm not torching the town in a panic right now, and neither should you.

If anything, this may drop him in drafts, which could make it the only time he's been a value in a long time.

I may be back with more news this week - assuming Halibut fishing doesn't call again before the wedding I'm here for.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Brief News and Vacation notes

Hey folks,

I am heading to Alaska today and will in part be interwebs free off and on throughout the week. So for now, I might direct you to any of the fine sights on the right of this post for your listening/news/football fix pleasure.

I am working on putting this thing on an RSS feed soon so you'll know every time I post - you can subscribe with the button to the right, but it's not the same thing, as far as I can tell.

Will be back next Monday - and back here by Tuesday Morning. With an announcement if certain folks *coughLammycough* don't beat me to it.

Here's the quick hits -

Chris Henry May Be Reinstated
Former Bengal and consistent law-breaker Chris Henry had some assault charges dropped today - and as such the NFL will re-examine his suspension. Will someone give him a shot in Training Camp? Probably. Figure the list could start with the WR challenged Titans and go until you hit the bad decision plagued Raiders. Will he contribute? That's the big question. He has the ability - but it comes with a huge amount of baggage.

WR Engram Still Hoping for Contract
Bobby Engram has been threatening a hold out all off-season and the Seahawks are calling his bluff. Engram was huge last year, but is old enough to where the Hawks don't want to renegotiate. My take is, engram WILL NOT HOLD OUT - and will end up being the solid center of the offense again, potentially topping 70-80 catches again. People always overlook him - I'll be drafting him often.

And finally from the This is what the NFC Norris Wanted to hear - NOT file -
Adrian Peterson Has Learned Pass Protection
According to the
Minneapolis Star-Tribune ADP has improved his pass protecting and you have to assume that means more 3rd downs for All-Day. Chester Taylor will still get lots of carries, but this cuts his value down, assuming it pans out.

I'm sure that makes Detroit, Chicago and Green Bay ecstatic.

As a Peteron owner in one dynasty, it sure makes me giddy.

OK folks - maybe I'll see you this week - maybe I will get stomped by a moose. Of course in five trips to family up north I have yet to see one, so I think they may be a media trick.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Audible News and Notes for 7/11

In This Episode: Cecil Lammey, Marc Faletti, and Andrew Garda break down the top stories from around the NFL. Topics include: Brett Favre tells the Packers that he wants to play again, Matt Jones' legal trouble, could now be the time to get rid of Carson Palmer in dynasty leagues, can Chris Simms save his career with a move to Dallas, who wins the SF QB competition, plus more!

Click the link - YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO!

Non-Favre news (and some Favre news)

I think I've vented my spleen here and on The Audible enough to keep the Favre stuff brief and move on.

So here is the Thundering Blurb Favre Take for the Day (patent pending)

He's NOT getting an unconditional release. Not a chance. I posted in the Footballguys.com Shark Pool that the only thing worse (PR-wise) that the Packers could do in this situation is to allow him to go within the division. To not only allow him to play elsewhere, but see him TWICE next season. Heck no.

He'll be activated, he'll be traded. I am leaning towards Baltimore as it's out of the division and conference, but Tampa makes sense too. Would love to see him as a Jet, but that's not likely.

But no way in Football Hell he is being released to go where he pleases. If GB does that, then GM Ted Thompson is insane.

/Favre rant

FORMER BRONCOS RB TRAVIS HENRY REPORTEDLY TESTED POSITIVE FOR DRUG USE
Well, now we know why he was released. According to a report by the Denver Sports Insider (producer/reporter Josina Anderson from Fox31) Henry tested positive again for the dope just prior to his release from the Broncos. Shanny said 'lack of committment' in terms of the why when Henry was let go - but I disagree. Sounds like TOO MUCH committment to me. It's a real shame, frankly, as Henry seems to have tremendous talent but can't keep his head straight.

Starts to make you worry a little when Shanny is now defending Brandon Marshall, huh? Hopefully BMarshall can get HIS head on straight before he gets further into trouble.

Speaking of Drugs -

MATT JONES BUSTED FOR COCAINE POSSESSION
I won't be shocked if Jones - who insiders have said already was on the bubble - is released by the end of the weekend. He was already a bust as a wide reciever, wasn't playing consistently well and was just taking up space in Jacksonville. But according to the Orlando Sentinel now he compounded it by being pulled over while in possession of cocaine which, by the way, he reportedly tried to hide from the cops IN HIS HANDS. Nice.

KEVIN JONES DEPORTED TO TAMPA BAY - SAYS HE'S NOT FROM THERE
Apologies for the old Johnny Dangerously quote. But while Kevin Jones was reported to have a visit scheduled with the Tampa Bay Bucs earlier this week, Jones has now come out and said despite what was posted on the ESPN Blog Hashmarks that no, he is not going to Tampa yet. He says in an article with the Tampa Tribune that they haven't called him, though he is still interested in playing there.

Remember a week or so ago how I said it was interesting that reports were focused on how much Jones wanted to play in Tampa but how telling it might be that Tampa wasn't commenting? I'm not saying he won't go to Tampa (he went to Pittsburgh earlier this week) but the fact that they haven't responded yet. Tough market for the Free Agent running backs this off-season, no? Jones will find a home - I'm just dubious it will be Tampa.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Finally, I wanted to send you guys over to an article my fellow Draftnick and friend Josh Buchanan wrote - an interview with Ramses Barden, WR from Cal Poly. It's posted on NFLDraftbible.com and they do some excellent work there. They are very high on Barden, so take a look. I'll have my own interview with him in another week or so, but Josh is a great source. He knows his stuff. Check it out.

More later or tomorrow.

Quick warning - I will be traveling to Alaska on Monday - either I will have some guest posting or thes posts will be few and far between next week. But I will be back in full force on the 22nd and it'll be postapalooza from there on out including some stuff from Cowboys Camp in Oxnard, California, which I will be covering for Denver radio station FM 104.3 The Fan. Or at least that's my story and I am sticking to it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Brett Favre Soapbox Time II

Hey folks.

So when we left my last rant, I was talking about how (in my opinion of course) it seemed that people felt the need to tear Aaron Rodgers down while proposing that Favre should be allowed to play again. And how unnecessary it is because all you really need to do to make your case is point to Favre's stats.

Now, as easy as that case to make may be, Green Bay isn't seeing it that way. And as promised, here is my take on why.

How many times have we been through this retiring/not retiring dance with Favre now? Three times or four, I've lost count.

Well, I can guarantee you the Packers management hasn't. In fact, there was a nearly audible sigh of relief when he finally called it a day this winter. Not so much because he was leaving, but more so that he had not only made a decision, but done it in a timely manner.

In other words, the Pack knew early for once whether Favre was returning. They were left with options. Sign a vet. Draft a top stud. Trade for one of the above. Roll with Rodgers.

WHAT they did wasn't as important as the very fact that for once they had choice. For the last few years, they couldn't move on because Favre couldn't make up his mind.

Now, I'm fine with Favre's misgivings. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to sit at home hearing about OTAs from friends still playing, catching reports on NFLN. Maybe even harder could have been the news that not only was Green Bay not in shambles after his departure but they were confident. That must have felt weird to him.

Meanwhile, Green Bay was indeed moving on and confidently. Right or wrong, they embraced the Rodgers era, backing him up for the most part with a rookie draft pick. They were moving on.

It had to feel weird for all involved.

But here we are, just short of Training Camp and BANG - we're back where we are every Green Bay off-season.

The Brett Favre waffle. Again, I don't blame the man. Not a bit. And as I have said before, I am positive he can still bring it . And that the Packers - in my opinion though I am not alone - have a better shot at winning a Super Bowl with Favre at the helm. That's the facts - Rodgers could be a great QB. Favre we already know is a great QB.

But the Packers have to be wondering: If we take him back, if we replace Rodgers (thereby pretty much assuring Rodgers leaves as a Free Agent in two years) and say we don't win a Super Bowl - will we just keep doing this dance?

When is enough, enough? For the Packers, now enough is enough. They want to know if Rodgers is the guy or if they need to rely on Brohm. Or if they need to do something else to solidify the future.

Pundits like to rail about how the team shouldn't care about the future - the future is NOW dammit and Favre will win now! But I think the team disagrees. Green Bay is very young at a few positions - the team likely feels it has a responsibility to the future to know whether the QBs they have will cut it.

I bet if Favre hadn't spent the last three years waffling, we'd see a much different reaction from the franchise. I bet if Favre had been stalwart in his decisions prior and come back and played each year with no real drama, this would be a much different situation. I am willing to be that if he hadn't done this act for the past several years, the Packers would have said 'Aw, Favre's always been straight with us. Never left us twisting in the wind. He made a mistake. Let's help him out.' But he hasn't been that guy, leaving the team hanging well into the off-season more than once. And there are no guarantees he won't go through this again and again, finally leaving the team in a lurch if he drags it on into OTAs and past all the best free agents and draft picks, only to call it quits.

I don't think it's a fair reaction (though understandable). I think Favre has earned some leeway. But I look at the situation and think that the Packers are well within their rights to choose to move on. Now, they may have to activate him and then it gets ugly. But let's save that for another day when/if it happens.

Back to the here and now: Yes, Favre likely gives the Green Bay Packers the best chance to win short term. But he has been inconsistent and contradicting every off-season for the last three years or so. The franchise doesn't seem to ever know where they stand. At the end of the day, the team seems to feel like if Favre can't make a decision on this, they'll do it for him.

Right or wrong, I really can't blame them.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

As Promised:The Lorenzo Booker interview

Here it is - hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed doing it.

Booker is a pretty awesome cat and I think he'll really blow up in Philly.

Lorenzo Booker interview to come

One of the guys I've been watching work out at Elite Athletics the last few weeks has been Philadelphia Eagles backup RB Lorenzo Booker. Cecil Lammey and I just finished an interview with him a little while ago and he knocked it out of the park.

I'll post it as soon as Cecil edits it and posts it up at footballguys.

It's good stuff.

Elite Athletics on NFLN Total Access Tomorrow

Hey folks,

So the last few months I have been heading to Elite Athletics, a training center for athletes run by Saints Tight End Billy Miller. Travelle Gaines, a fantastic guy who I met working on Draftguys.TV, is the trainer there for the Pro and College Football players and I've had the privilege to watch him and talk to many of the players there. (my article will appear shortly on Draftguys - stay tuned)

People in the field have slowly been discovering Elite - and tomorrow it looks like they 'arrive' as the crew from NFLN Total Access show up.

So check your local listings for the afternoon show. I believe that's where the Elite segment will be.

If it gets pushed back or rescheduled I'll let you know.

Sadly I will not be there tomorrow, so no, I don't get my close up. But I'm happy the guys at Elite get theirs.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Brett Favre Soapbox Time

So I just need to get this off my chest and, well, that's part of what this blog is for.

Let me start off by declaring several things -
  1. Brett Favre is a great quarterback who can still bring it every weekend.
  2. The Packers are closer to winning a Super Bowl with him at the helm.
  3. I'm sick of all the beating on Aaron Rodgers.
Listen, I get how much the media wants Favre back. And I agree that Aaron Rodgers is unproven. But enough is enough.

Cheer for the Pack to take Brett Back all you want, but lay off Rodgers.

It's not his fault Favre has played so well that Rodgers has sniffed all of three games. It is also not his fault that Favre is usually so healthy that again, he's seen significant action only a handful of times.

Yes, he's had two freaky injuries. Yes, he doesn't have Favre's arm.

Yes, Rodgers is monumentally unproven and the momentum he has is hinging on one excellent half of football against Dallas last season.

But enough is enough.

The fact is - as has been pointed out - we don't know enough about what kind of QB Rodgers is. But again, it's not his fault that's the case. Heck, even Steve Young saw some time before he took over for Joe Montana. Rodgers hasn't had that chance.

And don't throw Brian Brohm at me as a case for 'Rodgers clearly doesn't have the confidence of the organization'. They drafted Brohm becuase they had NO BACKUP. They did not address the back-up quarterback situation with a vet and they needed someone.

Could Brohm also step in long term? Sure. He could take over if Rodgers continues to be consistently inconsistent. But I don't think that Brohm being drafted means Rodgers is out. I don't believe it damns Rodgers as expendible.

Again, I think in a vacuum, Favre at quarterback is the best hope for the Pack to win a Championship. And if he wants back they really need to talk to him.

But some writers out there are making it seem like Rodgers is twirling his moustache and laughing while saying 'You're finished Brett Favre - this is MY TEAM NOW!' I'm pretty sure at this point he would just like to know if he has his job or not and if Favre will ever make a permanant decision.

You don't need to make your case for Favre's return by trashing Rodgers at every turn. All you really need to do is point at Favre's career.

That makes the case all by itself.

I'll be back to tell you why I think the Packers are having such a hard time with this another time.

DON'T SLEEP ON THIS SLEEPER

As I have said on The Audible, the FFReport and wrote here, I am high on Buffalo Bills rookie WR Steve Johnson.

He's gotten mostly good press in Buffalo for the OTAs (save for allegedly being in Marshawn Lynch's car during the now infamous hit and run) and the team seems high on him. According to Rotoworld.com, the Bills have already signed him to a multi-year contract. Not bad for a 7th rounder who has many people wondering why he dropped so far.

I'm glad I'm not out on an island anymore on this guy. And I'm telling you Dynasty owners and Bills fans not to sleep on him just because of the 7th round tag. He's much, much better than that.

Rotoworld posits he might even push presumptive starter and fellwo rookie James Hardy for snaps. Another thing I have said more than once.

Along with the other Draftguys, I was able to attend some private workouts for players like Steve who were prepping for Drafts and Pro Days and like them, I came away impressed.

Great balance, ball control, leaping and clutch ability don't even tell the whole story. His timed speed is meh but he plays much quicker than he times.

I also think back to last winter, when Johnson's teammate, Kentucky quarterback Andre Johnson, was starting his Draft freefall. As the Senior Bowl was taking place, a few murmurs surfaced that maybe Woodson was benefiting from phenomenal wide reciever play, rather than visa versa.

Now, there are a ton of reasons Andre Woodson collapsed. I think Martz's offense was too much for him (Mike Martz was the QB coach on Woodson's side during Senior Bowl week). It certainly put that big, slow delivery into perspective. But I think there is some validity to the notion that a good reciever core might have made him look better than he was.

If that's the case - and I'm not saying it toally is, but I think there is something to it - you can't overlook what Johnson is capable of.

I'm not saying he's a surefire starter this season. But I think in the next few years, you might get a glimpse of something better than a 7th round pick.

Keep an eye on him - I know I will.

Questions, comments and concerns can also be sent to ThunderingBlurb@gmail.com....

Monday, July 7, 2008

Tony Gonzalez - Stud TE & SUPERHERO

And here I just thought Tom Cruise had the corner on saving random people.

Just goes to show those First Aid and CPR courses I took at my last non-sports gig won't go to waste.

You can never tell when someone will bite off more than they can chew.

More FOOTBALL news tomorrow, I promise.

A few notes of the Day

Just got back in from watching several pro players training with Travelle Gaines at Elite Athletics in Westlake Village, CA. I know I'm not in great shape, but watching these guys work made me think I have to hit the gym again, soon. It was also great to see veterans like Lorenzo Booker, Billy Miller (who owns the joint) as well as rookies like Bruce Davis, working their tails off. Lots of effort goes into the off-season, believe you me.

More from those guys in the next week or so.

A few notes -

SF WR SITUATION STILL CLOUDY
The thought has been - and this is most discussed in Fantasy Football Circles - that with Mad Mike Martz on the job is San Fran, every WR in the area might get some good numbers. The debate has been who will get more catches - venerable Isaac Bruce or upstart Bryant Johnson. Arnaz Battle has been a whisper as someone who might have a Shaun McDonald/Mike Furrey-esque explosion under Martz. Well, now Matt Barrows has reported on his Sacremento Bee blog that the team might not be featuring a 3rd WR, as Marrtz has in the past. This could significantly alter Battle's possible value and as someone in the middle of a Fantasy Football auction right now, has knocked down on my list of values. Keep watching, and I'll keep you informed.

IS IT THAT TIME OF THE YEAR AGAIN? AKA THE GUARENTEE GAME
Every year someone has to make some kind of guarentee regarding how good their team will be and as we near training camps, we'll see more of it - this week's entry is from Donte Whitner, DB for the Buffalo Bills. I hate guarentees, they always come back to bite you in the rear end. But look at the Bills - they added not 1 but 2 good WRs in James Hardy and Steve Johnson (I'm telling you, Johnson will be a 7th round success story) to pull pressure off of Lee Evans. Added Leodis McKelvin to work with Whitner. Are saying they will involve Marshawn Lynch in the pass game more. The AFC East is open for business - the Jets are struggling, Miami is a disaster - the only sure thing is the Pats and if everything clicks, I'll go on record as saying the Bills might give them two very hard games.

A wild card birth is not out of the question at all.

SAINTS AND COLSTON TALKING AHEAD OF TIME
With all the drama at the WR position this off-season - Ocho Cinco, Terry Glenn, Houshmandzedah, Engram - it's nice to see a franchise and a player do something ahead of time. The New Orleans Times-Picayune (what is a Picayune?) reports that the Saints and top WR Marques Colston are talking about an extension. Colston (as well as Guard Jahri Evans) are already talking about extensions with the club. Of course, after they sign extensions, he might up and complain about them a year later when WR X gets paid 3x as much. But I think actually it's as much about appreciating these guys and what they do as the money. And it's smart to lock up your team's dominant WR and a solid guard while you can. Make them feel appreciated. Keep them happy.

Always good policy.

I'll be back later to keep YOU happy (see what I did there?) with another update tonight.

Please feel free to email questions or comments to thunderingblurb@gmail.com. I have a few emails already - if I get enough I'll add them in a post for all to see.