Fantasy Football News

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Top Eight Transactions with the Most Impact on 2011 season

The past three days have been arguably the most exciting couple of days this league (the NFL) has seen in its history.

Because of the lockout, it was obvious that teams needed to make moves, and make moves fast, as we have already seen teams open up its training facilities for camp. The end result? Players signing on with teams faster than you can say 'free agent.'

Ten may seem like a lot of transactions–signings, trades, releases etc.–to list, but trust me I am doing you all a favor by only listing these 10 (plus a few honorable mentions).

Note: these are not in order of importance, they are simply the 10 I believe will play out with the most impact on 2011, and future seasons.

Vikings land former Eagle and Redskin Donovan McNabb for a sixth round draft pick

This deal shows me that McNabb understands he's nearing the end of his career, and Minnesota needs someone who can mentor the rookie Christian Ponder. There's no doubt McNabb will start week one for the Vikes, but he will need to hand over the team to Ponder at some point.

What I think will be interesting to see is whether coach Frazier will let Ponder see the field this season, or wait and start him week one of 2012. We'll see what happens, but either way this has huge ramifications in the NFC North.
Hasselbeck leaves Seattle for Tennessee; 'Hawks agree to sign former Vikings Jackson and Rice to deals

Yesterday morning's big news came when 35-year old veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck signed a three-year deal to join the Tennessee Titans. Just last month Tennessee's hefty vet, Kerry Collins, announced his retirement, therefore leaving rookie Jake Locker to fend for himself.

Hasselbeck quickly came to the rescue, and prompted Tennessee to make a decision on Vince Young's future–he will no longer be a Tennessee Titan.

This chain of events was set off when Seattle had agreed to sign former Minnesota Vikings backup signal caller Tarvaris Jackson to a deal. This had reportedly forced Hasselbeck to look elsewhere, and quickly found a new home with the Titans.

Late last night it was reported that Seattle will add Jackson's Minnesota teammate, WR Sidney Rice, to a five-year deal. Why Rice decided to leave the Vikings, who had a great setup with the addition of McNabb, AP running the ball and a stingy defense led by the ferocious Jared Allen, no one will ever know. Seems to me it was all about the money.

Surprise? I think not.

Cardinals acquire backup QB Kevin Kolb from Eagles for CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second round pick (ARZ to sign Kolb to five-year extension worth $63 million, $22 million guaranteed)

This has been one of the biggest headliner rumors all off-season long, but Arizona clearly couldn't pull the trigger on the deal until the lockout ended. With subpar play from the quarterbacking position in 2010, following Kurt Warner's retirement, there wasn't any doubt that quarterback was the team's biggest priority.

What made this move even more inevitable was when Arizona used its fifth overall selection in this year's draft on CB Patrick Peterson, rather than selecting a signal caller. Arizona's success–or lack of success–this season will depend on the play of Kolb. If they want to compete with Seattle and St. Louis out west, Kolb needs to prove his worth.
Redskins dispose of Haynesworth, Patriots land "perfect fit"

The Washington Redskins finally managed to unload Haynesworth and dump him on to the New England Patriots.

Funny thing is, it was actually a huge boost for the Pats.

While the Skins were finally able to rid themselves of this overpaid, defensive tackle-diva (didn't know D-tackles could be considered as divas), the Patriots have found themselves a another Richard Seymour-type player.

In just 20 games over two seasons in Washington, Haynesworth recorded only 43 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 0 forced fumbles. But if Phat Albert can return to his Pro Bowl form from his Tennessee days, he could be a huge asset to the Patriots' defense. Not to mention coach Belichick's no-nonsense approach is sure to keep the troublemaker inline.

Surprising move for New England, but I like it.

Reggie Bush takes his talents to South Beach

Yes, exactly like NBA superstar LeBron James, former New Orleans Saints running back, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 draft, Bush will take his talents to Miami.

A new two-year deal worth approximately $10 million has been negotiated as Bush was entering the final year in his current contract.

To me, I think this trade is more interesting than anything else. Of course Bush is a dual threat as a running back, catching passes out of the backfield and even in the return game. In five seasons with the Saints, Bush has yet to produce anything more than 581 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns in a given season. So it appears as though Miami was after him for his versatility, rather than his ability as a running back alone.

It's time for Bush to save his career and turn it around for the better in Miami.
DeAngelo Williams, Steve Smith to stay in Carolina

This is huge, especially for rookie quarterback Cam Newton and newly hired head coach Ron Rivera.

It was announced yesterday that the 28-year old running back would be re-signed and stay with the team. It sounds like good news, at first. But then you see that they signed him to a huge five-year deal with $21 million guaranteed. He'll be 30 in just two years, meaning he is likely to hit that "wall" that running backs often suffer from at that age.

Definitely a good move for 2011 at least, seeing as they will have both Williams and Jonathan Stewart back and healthy.

More good news? All Pro wideout Steve Smith has backed off from his trade demands and wants to stay, reportedly. I feel as though it may be as a result of the Williams re-signing. Who knows.

Either way, Carolina has no where to go but up after a 2-14 campaign in 2010.

Kansas City gets in on action, agrees to sign former Cardinal Steve Breaston to five-year deal

After a shortened playoff run last year due to lack of offensive production, this was a great move picking up Breaston, who is a top tier threat from the slot position. Tight end Tony Moeaki is an emerging star catching passes from Matt Cassel, but Pro Bowl wideout Dwayne Bowe sure could use some more help.

The running game, led by the duo of the speedy Jamaal Charles and hefty vet Thomas Jones, is set for more domination in 2011, but the passing game (30th overall) could surely use a boost. This is one step in the right direction, Kansas City.
Baltimore cuts veterans Derrick Mason, Todd Heap, Willis McGahee and Kelly Gregg

It is rumored that the Ravens could end up bringing back Mason and Heap for a cheaper price, but for now they are stuck testing out the FA market.

I doubt they would make a move for McGahee or Gregg, but if I was Baltimore's General Manager, I wouldn't hesitate to snag Mason and Heap back up. I'm sure they'd love to stay, meaning they would likely be willing to sign a smaller contract.

But with quarterback Joe Flacco still looking to break on to the next level, I think it'd be unfair to cut ties with two of his better targets. Especially if they are looking to make a Super Bowl run and make it out of the AFC alive.

Whether the two return or not, this decision on Baltimore's part will surely play a huge role in how the Conference plays out in the end

Honorable Mentions:

**Panthers re-sign D-end Charles Johnson to large, multi-year deal
**Jags sign former Buffalo Posluszny to six-year deal
**'Boys cut former Pro Bowlers Williams, Barber, Davis
**Holmes returns to Sanchez-led Jets, who are poised for another run to the Super Bowl
**Veteran Takeo Spikes to leave San Fran for San Diego

~~Photos found on Google.com, no copyright infringement intended~~

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Comeback Player of the Year: Who Will be Competing for Award in 2011

Now, of course, the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award isn't exactly the most coveted honor you can receive in this league–that title belongs to the Most Valuable Player, of course.

But it is, however, a positive feat to accomplish.

Whether a player suffers a devastating season-ending injury, or just straight up has a down year, the previous season, being honored as the league's "comeback" player for a particular season may aid in that player gaining his confidence back.

Last season there was no doubt that Philadelphia Eagles' signal caller Michael Vick would receive the award for his MVP-worthy performance (3,018 yards, 21 TD passes, 676 rushing yards, 9 TDs) just one year removed from spending his days in prison.

After fully recovering from a serious knee injury, Tom Brady put the Pats on his back and was awarded the CPY trophy in 2009. Chad Pennington–one of two players to be named CPY on two separate occasions–won the year before Brady, in 2008, two seasons removed from his first CPY-worthy season.

This year, I don't believe we will see another two-time winner (Garrison Hearst won in both 1995 and 2001), because Pennington and Brady do not have anything to come back from and obviously Vick can't win it in consecutive seasons.
                                              Carolina made the decision to keep Williams for another five years.

But we could almost certainly have another instance in which there are two winners. On three different occasions there have been co-winners: Joe Montana and Tommy Kramer in 1986, Jim Harbaugh and Garrison Hearst in 1995 and Steve Smith and Tedy Bruschi in 2005.

With two or more strong candidates heading in to training camp, I think we are bound to see quite the race for the CPY crown in 2011. DeAngelo Williams, running back of the Carolina Panthers, just re-signed with his respective team and is poised to break back out this season as the No. 1 back in Cam Newton's offense.

Williams played just six games in 2010 after suffering a foot sprain in late October. He was then placed on the Injured Reserve in mid-November, ending his season with just 361 rushing yards and one touchdown.

In his previous two seasons, Williams totaled 2,632 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground for Carolina. There's no way Williams doesn't break back out for 1,000+ yards and double-digit touchdown totals in '11 as long as he stays healthy.

DeAngelo's teammate, RB Jonathan Stewart, also suffered a concussion and ultimately started just seven games, running for 770 yards and two touchdowns throughout the season. For Stewart, that's most certainly a down-season, considering he ran for 20 touchdowns in his first two pro seasons alongside Williams.

Williams and Stewart are two guys who could compete, but then quarterback Tony Romo comes in to the picture.
                                           Romo made just six starts in 2010 before breaking his left clavicle

Dallas disappointed its fans with a 6-10 third place finish in the NFC East last season, with Tony Romo going 1-5 in his six starts before suffering a broken left clavicle and being placed on the IR in December. Romo has been known to put up great numbers in the regular season, and then go on to falter in the postseason.

Fortunately, this award is given out for what these guys do in the regular season, so his gaudy fantasy-type numbers (4,000 yards, 30 TDs, 90-plus QB rating) would be more than enough to win him this distinction.

Other possible players who could compete for CPY include, but are not limited to:

*Donovan McNabb––possible reincarnation in Minnesota? It's certainly possible with Adrian Peterson carrying the ball and Minn.'s defense crushing opposing offenses.
*Marshawn Lynch––after impressing many with his eye-popping touchdown run in Seattle's postseason win over New Orleans, it appears the troubled running back may have something left in the tank.
*Steve Smith (Car.)––I still believe Smith will find a new home for 2011 before the season starts, and if he does, one could expect he'd turn some heads with a refreshed approach to his game in a new atmosphere.
*Elvis Dumervil––Dumervil led the NFL in sacks two seasons ago, with 17. But before 2010 even got underway Dumervil's season was over after suffering a torn pectoral muscle on August 4. Just one month after signing a six-year deal.

My Prediction: DeAngelo Williams––freshly re-signed, Williams will break 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns, taking the pressure off rookie Cam Newton under center.

~~Photos borrowed from Google, no copyright infringement intended~~

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Let the Frenzy Begin: Tuesday's Moves and Rumors

The team-by-team moves started with Baltimore announcing the release of four players, and continued with numerous transactions this afternoon.

Among the Tuesday news were a couple of key quarterbacks for would-be contenders in the 2011 playoffs.

It was announced that 35-year old Matt Hasselbeck would not return to the 2010 NFC West champion Seahawks. Moments later they announced the signing of ex-Vikings backup signal-caller Tarvaris Jackson, who backed up Brett Favre and Gus Frerotte for a couple of seasons.

Jackson will compete with the rest of the quarterback depth chart, including Charlie Whitehurst, in Seattle's training camp. Looks like, with Whitehurst being the biggest competitor, that Jackson has already won the starting job just by signing his name on the contract. Ouch.
Other quarterbacks making headlines? San Francisco's Alex Smith signed a deal to stay in San Fran, while Cincinnati Bengals' owner/GM/President Mike Brown made the announcement that he will not grant Carson Palmer's wish of a trade, meaning it will be likely that Palmer will sit out 2011 and possibly make a comeback with a different team in 2012.

Donovan McNabb continues to be the talk of D.C., except it looks like he could head to Minnesota in the next few days. Minnesota seems to be the biggest negotiator for the veteran QB so far, and they are likely one of the few teams that would be in the proper situation to take advantage of a veteran such as McNabb.

Suitors for Hasselbeck? As of right now Minnesota also seems to fit that bill, along with the Titans–and surprisingly the 49ers, despite the recent Smith signing.

Kevin Kolb trade rumors are wide-spread, as expected, and I would think they would continue to be the talk of the town in Arizona.

Among other news around the League (7/26):

*Cowboys cut former Pro Bowlers Marion Barber (RB), Roy Williams (WR) and Leonard Davis (G).
*Broncos to entertain trade offers for QB Kyle Orton–shows they have confidence in Tebow as offensive general.
*Tennessee's Chris Johnson thinks a holdout is still possible.
*Panthers plan to sign rookie quarterback Cam Newton quickly.
*Jaguars land former Buffalo LB Paul Posluszny with six-year deal
*Redskins re-sign wideout Santana Moss with three-year, $15 million deal.
*New England's Mankins to sign franchise tender.
*NYJ: Sanchez wants both Holmes and Edwards back for 2011.
*Panthers sign D-end Charles Johnson to six-year, $72 million contract.
*Giants sign undrafted FA linebacker Mark Herzlich out of Boston College.
*Former Colts, Cardinals running back Edgerrin James–four Pro Bowl appearances; 11th on all-time rushing list–officially announces his retirement (late last night).
To cap it off, I think I'll leave you with a quote from Bengals' owner Mike Brown (on Palmer) to think about while you get your football fix (source: USA Today):

"I honestly like Carson Palmer. He was a splendid player for us. He is a good person. I wish him well, and he has retired. That is his choice. I'm not expecting him to be back. Carson signed a contract, he made a commitment. He gave us his word. We relied on his word and his commitment. We expected him to perform here. If he is going to walk away from his commitment, we aren't going to reward him for doing it."

Oh, no he didn't! (^^^)

Photo credit
Tarvaris Jackson image found on thesportsbank.net
Marion Barber image found on rumorsandrants.com

Baltimore Moving Forward, set to Release Four Big-time Players

Today's the day the players can report to team facilities and team's may start signing rookies and undrafted free agents, as well as talking (but not signing, yet) to free agents.

Although teams cannot release players until Thursday, numerous teams have already made announcements on who they plan to cut. Baltimore, for example, will be releasing four well-known players according to sources close with ESPN.

Thanks to a little depth on the offensive side of things, Baltimore can afford to cut some veterans to leave room for some youth. Among the players to be released are 31-year old tight end Todd Heap, 37-year old two-time Pro Bowl wideout Derrick Mason and 29-year old running back Willis McGahee.
All four of the cuts will combine for a net saving of $18.6 million, clearly clearing room under the salary cap. However, according to another report says the team could bring Heap and Mason back at a lower price once the free agency period begins.

Either way, Heap and Mason will no doubt be on an NFL roster come September. It's just a question as to whether or not Baltimore would bring them back, and whether or not the two would be willing to return at a cheaper price.

The fourth to reportedly be cut by Baltimore is 34-year old nose tackle Kelly Gregg, and although this position isn't currently in as dire a need as wideout and tight end for Baltimore, Gregg's presence on the D-line will surely be missed. Gregg has been a Raven ever since Baltimore's record-setting Super Bowl run in 2000.

If, in fact, Baltimore does not bring Heap or Mason back for 2011, I really think Joe Flacco and his passing game would be at a loss. Here Baltimore is trying to make a deep playoff run with a more matured Flacco and they lose two of its bigger offensive weapons.

The 2010 season was a down year for Heap (13 starts), Mason (first season under 1,000 yards since '06) and McGahee (3.8 YPC, 5 TDs), but having Mason's yards after catch ability, Heap's blocking ability and presence on the line, and McGahee's body-type in short-yardage situations will surely make a huge impact come playoff time in Baltimore.

Photo credit: found on otrsportsonline.com

Monday, July 25, 2011

THE END IS FINALLY HERE

That's right, the agonizing, four-month-long NFL lockout has finally come to a close as of earlier this morning.

Last week the owners and league reps came up with a new bargaining deal–31 out of the 32 owners voted for it to be ratified–but just this morning the NFLPA executive board and the 32 team reps unanimously voted to approve all of the terms to the proposed CBA.

The official end to the lockout, however, was not announced until Commissioner Roger Goodell and the head of the NFLPA–DeMaurice Smith–gathered for a special joint press conference to make the announcement earlier today.
Either way, we, as fans and followers of the league and respective teams, are the most thankful that the egos of owners and players alike did not prevent us from losing the entire season due to this prolonged work stoppage. Just one game, the Hall of Fame game which was set to be played August 7 during HOF enshrinement weekend, was cancelled as a result.

With Twitter being blown up with "football is back" tweets and "who will go where" speculation, it's clear that this will be one wild week for the National Football League. Especially when you consider the fact that there have already been talks of a Brett Favre return (big surprise, huh?). This time, the Eagles are the center of attention in Favre talks? Oh, my.

Well, there you have it, a full off-season filled with labor negotiations and speculation on where free agents will land once it has been lifted.

Now, what will happen next?

At this point, anything can happen. Hang in there, it's going to be a roller coast-esque August filled with non-stop football action.

Photo credit: found on pageonebook.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

James Harrison does it again

Another day, another James Harrison headliner.

Pittsburgh's 33-year old outside linebacker has spouted off once again. This time not only did he continue his bagging of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, but he also called out two of his Steeler teammates—quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and running back Rashard Mendenhall.

In an interview with Men's Journal, the eight-year pro took numerous shots at Goodell, saying:

“My rep is James Harrison, mean son of a bitch who loves hitting the hell out of people. But up until last year, there was no word of me being dirty—until Roger Goodell, who’s a crook and a puppet, said I was the dirtiest player in the league. If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it. I hate him and will never respect him.”

Roethlisberger:

“Hey, at least throw a pick on their side of the field instead of asking the D to bail you out again. Or hand the ball off and stop trying to act like Peyton Manning. You ain’t that and you know it, man; you just get paid like he does.”

...And even referred to Mendenhall as a "fumble machine."
_________________
Now I know I really don't have much say in the matter, but if I was running the organization I would put Harrison on the trade block as soon as possible. It wouldn't really surprise me if the Rooney's did once the lockout is lifted.

Harrison will only be able to produce so many more solid seasons anyways (he's 33 already), and at this point, despite his bad rep, there are plenty of teams that would be willing to pay the right price. Why not take this opportunity to dispose of Harrison and add youth to this aging defense?

Harrison has continued to dig himself a deeper hole with both the league and the fans, as well as fellow players I'm sure. For a guy who has had just four superb seasons in the league, I really don't think he has earned the right to call out Roethlisberger—especially considering the two are teammates. And why didn't he just say this to Ben's face?

Yet another fine and possible suspension will surely be coming his way once Goodell rids the league of the lockout and agrees to a new deal with the players.

(Note: you can read the full article and interview here).

Photo credit: ngngsports.com

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rants, Rants, and More Rants--Monday, July 11

I have completely lost track of what day we are in the lockout, but the number of days really doesn't matter to me at this point. What does matter, however, is that we are now quickly approaching the halfway point in July and we still have yet to see much progress in the Labor talks between owners and players.

We are less than two weeks away from what would have been the start of training camps, and the 2011 rookies have still haven't gotten to meet with their respective coaches, and haven't been able to get in to team facilities because of this looming lockout.

Luckily talks have resumed today, with one of the hot topics being the rookie wage scale. But we have lost so much meaningful time without the summer mini-camps, and the entire preseason is now in jeopardy to add on to that.

I am not going to go on and on ranting about the lockout, because it's rather obvious to us fans in the sporting world--the owners and players are simply trying to figure out how to split billions of dollars and can't seem to come to an agreement on how much the other side would be willing to take.

The rookie wage scale also factors in to how long these talks will go on, but with July 15 (this Friday) approaching, I'm not so sure we will get to see a complete 2011 preseason.

The negotiation talks have irked me to no end, so I am not here to continuously vent about it on here. Rather, I would like to talk about a few other things that went down over this rather eventful weekend. Both in the NFL world, and in the professional sporting world in general.

First thing's first, the NFL talk:

*There were a couple of different arrests of current players this past weekend, one being a first-timer and the other a repeat offender. Actually, both just so happened to be AFC North players.

Super Bowl XL MVP and 2011 Dancing with the Stars winner Hines Ward was arrested by officers in Georgia for suspicion of DUI. This came as a shock to me, and as well as every other NFL fan I'm sure. Ward also seemed to me to be a role model-type, coming from a respectful family and playing for an organization in Pittsburgh that prides itself on staying out of trouble.

Perhaps Ward and his quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was accused of sexual assault last off-season while on a night out in Georgia, should just stay out of that state. It would do us all some good in the end.
As for the other arrest? I really have nothing to say about Adam "Pacman" Jones, who was reportedly arrested at a Ohio bar for disorderly conduct on Saturday. Other reports have come out since then, stating Jones was not drinking and he was simply caught up in a confrontation between his wife and another woman.

Jones later said he doesn't drink (I take it he means anymore), and that he was not under the influence. Deion "Primetime" Sanders backed up Pacman on Twitter.

Since we don't know the whole story, we really can't judge Jones in this situation--especially since he's in a neck brace in the mug shot, for crying out loud. All I know is that he can't afford another slip-up like this. In fact, I don't even know if he can afford this one. We'll see what Cincy does once this lockout is lifted.

*It's official: Former Pittsburgh, New England and Kansas City linebacker Mike Vrabel has retired from the game. He already has another job lined up as he was just hired by his alma mater, Ohio State, as the team's linebackers coach.

In his 14-year career, the 35-year old Vrabel recorded 505 tackles, 57 sacks and 11 interceptions, winning three Super Bowls with New England and making the Pro Bowl and All-Pro roster in 2007.

I don't think the league's 103rd-leading career sacker will get a call from the Hall, but he certainly left his mark on the New England Patriots' team history. In his eight-year reign as the Pats' outside linebacker, Vrabel made top 10 in career tackles (404; 10th), sacks (48; fourth), passes defensed (34; fifth) and forced fumbles (13; fourth). Solid career indeed, for Mr. Vrabel.
*Thank goodness for this next bit: Brett Favre's mother and brother are pretty confident Favre will stay retired, according to an article on NFL.com. That's all I have to say about that.

Non-NFL talk (the rest of the sporting world):

*Congratulations to future Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter, who, on Saturday, reached one of the top milestones possible for baseball players: 3,000 career hits.

Jeter, the career New York Yankee, became the first player in team history to reach this feat, and just the 28th player to ever do it. Only Jeter and Wade Boggs managed to hit their 3,000 hit with a home-run. Congratulations to one of the more consistent shortstops in the game today.

*America has more to be proud of after yesterday's Women's World Cup quarterfinal victory over Brazil. Abby Wombach tied the game in the dwindling seconds of extra-time with a thrilling header. With some help from the hot goalie babe Hope Solo, Team USA defeated the Brazilians in a shootout, 5-3, to move on to the semifinals on Wednesday.

*Tonight is Major League Baseball's annual Home run Derby, featuring eight of the league's hottest power-hitters. The American League consists of David "Big Papi" Ortiz (captain), Boston teammate Adrian Gonzalez, Toronto's Jose Bautista and New York's Robinson Cano, while the National League features Prince Fielder (captain), Milwaukee teammate Rickie Weeks, St. Louis' Matt Holliday and LA's Matt Kemp. Who ya got taking the '11 crown? I think it will be Bautista taking out Kemp in the Finals...you heard it here first!
_____________________________________

Breaking News: NFL Players desperate for face-time

It's true, imagine that. Players are getting antsy and would like access to team facilities, doctors, physicians, coaches, even fellow teammates!

Don't worry, guys. I think the fans are even more antsy for the lockout to end. Without us, there would be no you! Let's pray it ends as soon as humanly possible.

(Note: I just looked it up, and yes, we are on day 122 of this frustrating lockout. Will it ever end??).

Photo credit
Jones' mug shot: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office
Mike Vrabel: borrowed off helmet2helmet.net

Sunday, July 10, 2011

HOF Snub: Why Curtis Martin is the Most Underrated Running Back in NFL History

Whether the lockout is lifted in time or not, we will see seven more players inducted in to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in August.

Three-time Super Bowl champion tight end Shannon Sharpe, Deion "Prime-time" Sanders and the running back on The Greatest Show on Turf, Marshall Faulk, are among those seven. But, in my opinion, there was one huge snub in this year's class.

Don't get me wrong, there were plenty that deserved to get in this year, and obviously they can't all get in at once. But I didn't think there was any doubt that former New England Patriot and New York Jet Curtis Martin would be voted in this year. It was his first year of eligibility, so he'll obviously be one of the first in come 2012. But Curtis is first-year talent, no questions asked.
Why did voters leave him out of the final group? Easy. He was underrated.

Curtis' Pats and Jets weren't winners.

Okay, so maybe I went a little far with that bold statement, because he did in fact make it to the Super Bowl while in New England. He even ran for 42 yards and a score against Brett Favre's Packers in the 1996 matchup. But the truth is, in Martin's 11 professional seasons he was on a measly five playoff teams--10 games in total--and put up a 5-5 record in those games.

Marshall Faulk, also in his first year of eligibility for the Hall, was, like I stated above, a member of The Greatest Show on Turf in St. Louis, which featured three other future Hall of Famers: quarterback Kurt Warner and wideouts Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt.

Martin played with some great players over his years as well, including quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who showed flashes of brilliance in his early years with the Pats. But he was never surrounding with that kind of talent in his offenses.

Did I mention that in his 11-year career Curtis racked up over 14,000 yards and hung up his cleats as the league's fourth all-time rusher, behind only Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders. All three of those backs, obviously, have been in the Hall for quite some time.

Martin's five Pro Bowls and just one First-Team All Pro selection could be what has kept him from grabbing more attention from fans. But the truth of the matter is that Martin hasn't quite gotten as much respected as he deserves over his brilliant career.

Missing just 10 starts, consistency was the name of the game when it came to his production.

Rushing for 1,000-plus yards 10 times with just 29 career fumbles over his 166 starts seems like a pretty great accomplishment for an NFL running back.
I know it's tough and sometimes unproductive to compare different playing eras, but he had five less fumbles than Chicago Bears' great Gale Sayers, who played in 68 games over seven seasons as the Bears' primary running back and returner. Barry Sanders played just 10 seasons and fumbled the football 41 career times, and most consider Barry the NFL's best running back of all-time.

Tough to argue those numbers, which certainly favor Martin.

He also led the league in carries just one time, which just so happened to also be the same season he led the league in rushing yards (just one more than Seattle's Shaun Alexander) with 1,697 yards in 2004, a career-best. Two years later, he was out of the game.

Not only is Profootballreference.com great for researching and looking up research for the National Football League, but it also has a very useful feature: the "similar players" section, in which they compare a player's career to other current or former NFL players.

The list 10 players (it's the careers of the players that are being compared) that PFR listed as similar to Martin includes four Hall of Fame running backs--Tony Dorsett, Franco Harris, Jim Brown and Lenny Moore.

Curtis Martin put up very respectable numbers throughout his career, and was the model athlete both on and off the field. The fourth-leading rusher in NFL history was, without question, the biggest snub in the 2011 HOF class. I would be shocked if he was not the first voted in once 2012 rolls around.

(Note: this article was written based on opinion, using research and career statistics from Profootballreference.com. No, I am not a Jets fan. I'm just a guy who would like for Curtis Martin to receive a little more credit and attention for his accomplishments and approach to the game. There aren't enough guys like him in this league, he was a pleasure to watch every time he touched the football).

Photo credit
1. borrowed from thejetsblog.com
2. borrowed from greenpinstripes.com

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Kerry Collins Hangs up Cleats after 16 Seasons

Throughout his NFL career, Collins, 38, the long-time journeyman quarterback, battled both injury and controversy.

His career isn't what one would call consistent, either. One season he may post an 83.1 QB rating and lead his team to the Super Bowl (in 2000 while quarterbacking the New York Giants), and the next he could lead the league in interceptions (21) and put up a 3-10 record as the team's starter (2004 while in Oakland).

The fifth overall selection of the Carolina Panthers in the 1995 draft, Collins so-called "quit" the team as then-head coach Dom Capers put it. After starting 0-4 as Carolina's starter in 1998, Collins asked the team to be traded, but was instead placed on waivers. New Orleans picked him up during the season, but was gone by the end after going 2-5 as the starter.
His most impressive tenure, perhaps, was with the Giants. In five seasons, Collins put up a 35-33 record and led the G-Men to two playoff appearances, included a remarkable Super Bowl run that ended in an embarrassing 34-7 defeat to perhaps the stingiest defense in league history.

Two unsuccessful seasons with the Oakland Raiders in 2004 and 2005 led to Collins being cut for the second time in his career. He managed to revive his rocky career in Tennessee, however, signing a one-year contract in August of 2006.

Collins was brought in primarily as a mentor for the rookie Vince Young as the Titans went 1-3 in Collins' four starts in '06 and '07.

A Young injury early in the 2008 campaign led to Collins' rebirth as a starting quarterback, leading Tennessee to a 13-3 record and a playoff berth. Thanks to a strong ground attack and stingy No. 2 overall defense, Tennessee captured a first-round bye, but faltered in a round two matchup with Baltimore.

That season Collins, in what was his fourth-most productive season in terms of QB Rating (80.2), made his second and final trip to Honolulu, Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.

In regards to the 2011 season, what sort of impact does Collins retirement have on the Tennessee Titans organization? Well, that one's easy. It opens up an opportunity for rookie Jake Locker to take over the reins.
The idea of Locker starting for Tennessee come week one is a pretty scary thought, especially considering he wasn't the most accurate quarterback in his glory college days at Washington. Personally, I don't agree with the Titans selecting Locker with the No. 8 overall pick, especially when Blaine Gabbert was still on the board.

It's risky enough as it is starting a rookie quarterback right off the bat, let alone a questionable talent such as Locker (at best).

But, with a Vince Young release highly likely once the lockout is lifted, it's appearing more and more as though Locker will be Tennessee's guy in 2011. Nevertheless, this is a good time to pay tribute to Collins' career.

His 40,000 career passing yards (11th-most in league history) unfortunately will not be enough for him to get a call from Canton, but he will surely be remembered by New York fans as the guy who almost got them a Championship.

Photo credit
1. profootballhof.com
2. nydailynews.com