Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Dennis Dixon: 2012 Year in Review and 2013 Fantasy Football Outlook

Former Oregon Ducks QB Dennis Dixon Joins the Philadelphia Eagles

With the former Oregon Ducks Quarterback Dennis Dixon joining the Philadelphia Eagles, it would seem that Michael Vick has some competition.  After being behind Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch and with Michael Vick’s lackluster performances during this past season, it is Dennis Dixon who might just take the job away from him — as Michael Vick took the job away from Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb.  But is everything as bright as it seems or is Dennis Dixon merely motivation or a stepping stone for a future franchise quarterback?  Time to check the numbers and see…

2012 Year in Review

With the Pittsburgh Steelers 2009 and 2010 season being the two applicable NFL bearings for Dennis Dixon, he has made a total of 34 of 58 attempts those past two seasons for an average of 58.6 percent and 399 passing yards.  He had an average quarterback rating of 70 which is mediocre.  On the bright side, he had 8 attempts rushing for 59 yards and an average of 7.4 yards per attempt.

While Dixon was an Oregon Duck in his 2007 season, he performed much better with a 161 quarterback rating with 2,129 passing yards, but then again, he was facing much lesser competition and age was still in his favor.

2013 Fantasy Football Outlook

This might be the season Dennis Dixon finally takes over the reigns as starting quarterback if he performs and exceeds Michael Vick in the training camp.  But this is a big might

It’s too early to tell, but given a chance, he should be capable of performing below Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and definitely below San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick.  If Dennis Dixon does start, he should place with a ceiling of QB2 at best and bench — and maybe waiver wire fodder — at worst.

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Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles: The End of an Era

Former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid gets handed a gameball in his last press conference as a head coach

It’s officially the end of an era for former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid with a devastating record of 4-12 for the 2012 regular season.   Eagles owner Jeff Lurie stood by his word as he bid Andy Reid farewell after an 8-8 record for the 2011 season.  For those fans clamoring that we should not have let Andy Reid go since he was the Eagles franchise most successful coach to date, the Eagles organization is still a business.  And if Jeff Lurie kept Andy Reid for another season as a coach or otherwise, Lurie would be made to be nothing more than a paper tiger at best and a pushover at worst.  In as much as some of us criticize Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for being a pushover, Jeff Lurie would made to look much worse.

Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens and quarterback Donovan McNabb

Andy Reid became head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles on January 11, 1999.  It was not without criticism upon arrival in Philadelphia after he was lured from the Green Bay Packers. In 2000, the Philadelphia Eagles reached the playoffs with a 11-5 regular season record.  In 2001, the chain of playoff wins came.  With quarterback Donovan McNabb, running back Brian Westbrook and safety Brian Dawkins coming to maturity, the Philadelphia Eagles was the team to beat in the NFC East with conference championships in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.  In 2004, with the acquisition of wide receiver Terrell Owens, the Eagles were at this time the cream of the crop of the NFC East and decisively the NFL.  The Eagles made it to Super Bowl XXXIX but was ultimately defeated by Tom Brady and his New England Patriots 24-21.  Donovan McNabb simply cracked under pressure in this Super Bowl, and with the Eagles essentially without a functioning quarterback, the New England Patriots won.

Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jeff Garcia on the Sports Illustrated cover

After the stream of successes prior to 2004, the wheels of the truck began to fall off in 2005 as the disputes between Terrell Owens, Donovan McNabb and David Akers tore apart the team in the locker room. In 2005, the Eagles ended with a regular season record of 6-10.  In 2006, with the season-ending injury to Donovan McNabb in October, backup quarterback Jeff Garcia took over the reigns and nearly led the Eagles to another Super Bowl after defeating the Carolina Panthers, the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins. However, as Jeff Garcia led them closer and closer to the Super Bowl, Donovan McNabb came out of the woodwork and became disruptive from the sidelines in a sense.  This antagonism ultimately led to Jeff Garcia being released — and Donovan McNabb as well.

In 2008, the Eagles made their way to the NFC Championship game whereupon they lost to the Cardinals 32-25. The Eagles traded Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins in 2009, and after McNabb’s departure, then backup quarterback Michael Vick was named starting quarterback in 2010.  Vick’s most notable game as a Philadelphia Eagle was the decimation of Donovan McNabb and his  Washington Redskins on the night of November 15, 2010. On that night, Michael Vick was unleashed as he had four passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns with a passer rating of 150.7.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick after another loss

After Michael Vick’s spectacular run in 2010, the wheels began falling off the truck again.  Most teamis had developed a gameplan for Vick’s weaknesses and tendencies as the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys both built sufficient defense gameplan templates the season before.  The other teams in the NFL basically followed suit, adjusting their templates as needed.  And with Michael Vick not holding much better himself in the 2011 and 2012 regular seasons, the Philadelphia Eagles demise was gradual and climaxed in this regular season with compounding losses with ridiculous amount of turnovers.

Juan Castillo as Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator

With the loss of defensive coordinator Jim Johnson on July 28, 2009, the Philadelphia Eagles defense never was the same.  Sean McDermott took over, but he could never build the Eagles defense as Jim Johnson could.  Soon, even he was released to the Carolina Panthers on January 5, 2011.  And with the acquisition of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie in the 2011 season, it seemed like a recipe for success.  Perhaps under the traditional defense of Jim Johnson.  With Juan Castillo and his implementation of the Wide-Nine defense, the defense collapsed unto itself as there were no leaders, only highly-paid players.

Andy Reid should be remembered for the successes he bought to the Philadelphia Eagles organization.  With few notable candidates currently to fill the void, 2012 Maxwell Coach of the Year Penn State’s Bill O’Brien seems to be the leading candidate.  Quite possibly, in my opinion, the former Chicago Bears Lovie Smith would be a potential option as well.  In either case, the options are not particularly tempting.  Reid went over his head with the promotion of Juan Castillo as a defensive coordinator, the firing of Sean McDermott and the wholesale acquisition of free agents. These are perhaps what did him in as a head coach.  Most likely, he will be acquired by the Arizona Cardinals as Ken Whisenhunt was recently fired.  A change of scenery will do him good.  Will it bring him as much success with the Philadelphia Eagles?  Perhaps, but I remain skeptical.

The Philadelphia Eagles 2011-12 Season in Review: The Good, the Fads and the Ugly

With the Philadelphia Eagles impressive 34-10 win over the hapless Washington Redskins last Sunday, the game was essentially meaningless as the Eagles could not make the playoffs.  The Eagles end the regular season with 8-8 and third in the NFC East.  Meanwhile, the New York Giants won over their local AFC rival New York Jets 29-14 two weeks beforehand, and with the win, the Giants saved their head coach Tom Coughlin’s job once again.  The New York Giants upped one even further by winning the NFC East title over the Dallas Cowboys and securing the last coveted spot in the playoffs against the Atlanta Falcons. Sadly, the Philadelphia Eagles are left contemplating their 2011-12 regular season on their couches and chalkboards.

The Good

Running Back LeSean McCoy Goes to the Pro Bowl and One of the Leading Running Backs in the NFL. It was a matter of time before LeSean McCoy matures as a running back and dominates.  As said previously, he progressed faster than Brian Westbrook did with the Philadelphia Eagles as statistics showed from the last few seasons.  In this season, he surpassed former Philadelphia Eagles running back Steve Van Buren and the entire league this season with 20 total touchdowns.

Former Pro Bowl Kicker David Akers Leaves. When former Pro Bowler David Akers left for the San Francisco 49ers, there was a hole left in the Eagles special teams.  Coach Andy Reid resorted to rookie Alex Henery, and he has been a surprise as he ranks 5th in extra-points made.

The Fads

Quarterback Micheal Vick Matures But Doesn’t Improve. The Michael Vick mystique had all but disappeared within Philadelphia.  His mediocrity has shown like he was with the Atlanta Falcons.  However, this time, he lacked the brashness of his youth.  In fact, with his overall quarterback rating of 82.9, he’s only slightly better than he was with the Atlanta Falcons with 2004 at a 78.1 quarterback rating. His 2011 quarterback rating obviously fails in comparison to his 2010 rating of 100.2. The Donovan McNabb Experiment with Michael Vick has been less than successful.

Tight End Brent Celek Gel with Michael Vick. One of the better tight ends in the league finally gels with Michael Vick.  However, this is a double-edged sword. Michael Vick has been mediocre this season compared to last season, and despite the increase in the number of targets per game, Brent Celek’s numbers has actually been worse than the previous season. Compared to last season, he has 200+ more yards, but he has the same number of touchdowns as he did last season when he should have had more.

Implementation of the Wide 9 Defense. The wide 9 defense hasn’t been entirely bad for the Philadelphia Eagles.  It was distorted by the Eagles turnovers.  In fact, the Philadelphia Eagles have nearly 1,000 less total yards gained by opponents and gained four positions to 8th this season in total defense.  Compared against the run last season, they are about comparable, ranking surprisingly at about 15th. This defensive formation has been astonishingly effective despite how it looks on the field.  Numbers don’t lie.

The Ugly 

Head Coach Andy Reid and Office Politics. Head coach Andy Reid has been on the hot seat this season as the team continuously lost despite having the talent on the roster.  The inconsistent offense, undisciplined defense and the coach hirings and firings ultimately bit Reid this season.

Juan Castillo’s Promotion to Defensive Coordinator. Juan Castillo, the defensive coordinator this season, has been on the hot seat as well.  With St. Louis Rams Steve Spagnulo looming on the horizon, Castillo may not be the defensive coordinator no longer.

Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Goes Diva. DeSean Jackson still has been contending for a better contract all season.  However, this season, his numbers have not been that productive.  He has only 3 touchdowns to date compared to 6 last season, and he has less than 1,000 total receiving yards this season unlike the past two.  Whether he or the Philadelphia Eagles want to trade him in the off-season, that remains to be seen.  There’s no doubt he’s valuable to the Eagles franchise, but his attitude may sour the team.

Defense Lacks Discipline. Dealing with a new defensive coordinator in Juan Castillo was hard enough, but even harder, when the defensive coordinator doesn’t press discipline on the players.  Some of the Philadelphia Eagles defensive backs have been causing commotion on the field by hitting above the shoulder pads and after the tackle.  This is not the professional team that once was when Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and David Akers were here.

Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers. The Philadelphia Eagles offense has been lackadaisical as the Eagles are ranked first in turnovers in the entire NFL.  Having the first in turnovers won’t win games, particularly when compounded with a porous run defense.

Cornerback Asante Samuel Unhappy as the Safety Position Crowds. With the acquisition of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha, former New England Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel felt that it was three’s a crowd in the safety position. Compared to last season, he’s been a more effective tackler, but he hasn’t nearly had the number of interceptions.  And with the Eagles already considering selling him as trade bait, Samuel is definitely not happy here in Philadelphia.  It is anything but sunny.

Wait Until Next Season…

This season has not been one of the better seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles.  With Vince Young’s announcement the Philadelphia Eagles as the “Dream Team” to the media and general public, the hype fell flat, and it fell hard.  There has been some rumbling about changes in personnel position. Former St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnulo has been mentioned as the Philadelphia Eagles’ replacement as defensive coordinator, but nothing has been decided yet.   There will be more media chatter once a decision has been made or not. Until then, Eagles fans, we will have to wait until next season, and perhaps the Eagles will return to playoff contention once again.

The Quarterback Carousel, Part 1: Trades, Trades Everywhere…The Fantasy Football Perspective

Matt Hasselbeck: From the Seattle Seahawks to the Tennessee Titans

With Matt Hasselbeck on a new team, he should have a chance to begin anew, but whether he will become productive as he once was remains to be seen as in 2005.  Back in 2005, with Shaun Alexander as his running back, Matt Hasselbeck was nearly at his most prolific with 3,459 yards passing, 24 touchdowns and an overall 98.2 quarterback rating.

Pros

With Matt Hasselbeck as a starter, he should have a chance to tutor Jake Locker.  Whether that is beneficial in the long-term that remains to be seen.  Pessimistically, Jake Locker could become the next A.J. Feeley as a result.  At least for this upcoming season, he will a strong running back in the name of Chris Johnson.  If Chris Johnson could once again become a running threat this season, it should open lanes to his receivers.  With Kenny Britt lacking control of himself off the field, it seems like Nate Washington will be the first to benefit.

Cons

Matt Hasselbeck hasn’t been his elite self in quite a while.  Since 2005, with the exception of the 2007 season, his quarterback rating has been on the decline.  It has dropped from 98.2 in the 2005 season  to 73.2 in the 2010 season. His touchdown production has fallen to nearly half since 2005 from 24 to 12 touchdowns.  Unfortunately, the number of interceptions have nearly doubled since 2005 from 9 interceptions during the height of his career to 17 interceptions last season.

Fantasy Football Perspective

Matt Hasselbeck still isn’t worth the gamble in my opinion.  He’s at best a low-end QB2, and his age will catch with him much faster than Brett Favre.  His durability — and his consistency — has been in question the past couple of seasons as well.

Donovan McNabb: From the Washington Redskins to the Minnesota Vikings

This is a bit of a gamble, but there’s an upside for the Leslie Frazier and his Minnesota Vikings team.  With rookie Christian Ponder still in the works, Donovan McNabb will have resources remarkably similar to the Philadelphia Eagles albeit more durable overall.  If Leslie Frazier can keep Donovan McNabb happy, he should become a productive contributor to the team.  But if Donovan McNabb is replaced mid-season due to inconsistencies, like last season with the Washington Redskins, it could spell turbulence for the Minnesota Vikings with Donovan McNabb’s childish behavior resurfacing.

Pros

Donovan McNabb has a shotgun of the arm, but he was most prolific with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004.  He had 3,875 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and a 104.7 quarterback rating.  With dominant Adrian Peterson as his running back and his stable of potent wideouts, he and his teammates should have immediate benefits.  Wideouts Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian should benefit.  However, with Donovan McNabb, there is always a catch…

Cons

Donovan McNabb has been a slow decline since 2004.  His touchdown production has nearly fell in half from 31 touchdowns to 14 touchdowns.  The number of the interceptions have nearly doubled  from 8 interceptions to 15 last season.  With his inconsistencies and erratic behavior on the field, I remain skeptical of him grooming any upcoming quarterbacks on the Minnesota Vikings roster.  In other words, actions speak far louder than words ever will.

Fantasy Football Perspective

On the Minnesota Vikings team, he could potentially return to his former productive self.  However, it will heavily depend on the chemistry between the coach and his teammates.  For now, he’s worth a solid QB2 with an upside.  Donovan McNabb is worth a gamble.

Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver Jeremy Maclin: 2010 Year in Review and 2011 Outlook and Beyond

2010 Year in Review

Philadelphia Eagles Jeremy Maclin played second string to DeSean Jackson in 2009 during the tenure of Donovan McNabb.  He’s been more than an adequate wideout for the Eagles offensive machine but had a breakout season during the 2010 regular season, excelling past his teammate DeSean Jackson in terms of touchdowns and receptions.  Maclin absolutely dominated the Atlanta Falcons during the early part of the season with 159 yards on 7 receptions and 2 touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a victory of 31-17.  On top of that, he had 22.7 yards per carry of which his longest was an 83-yard reception.  In that complete obliteration of the Washington Redskins of the score of 59-28, Maclin contributed 90 all-purpose yards and a touchdown.  The following game against the New York Giants, he dominated with 120 receiving.  Then began his fall as the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Chicago Bears and the Houston Texans kept him under 75 yards a game and 11.2 yards per catch. On the bright side, he did manage to score three touchdowns in those four games. However, not all this was Maclin’s doing.  At that point, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was battered as defenses caught on to his tendencies.  Vick withdrew into his former shell as a rushing quarterback as defenses blitzed consistently.  Maclin did improve somewhat when the team faced the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card game.  He had 73 receiving yards on 3 receptions and 24.3 average yards per catch.  Unfortunately, he was kept out of the endzone when the Philadelphia Eagles lost 21-16.  In 2009, he was  a low WR2 at best, but in 2010, he improved to a solid to high-end WR2/low-end WR1.  In fact, his 10 touchdowns ranked seventh among wideouts, and his 964 accumulated total receiving yards during the regular season ranked him 19th among wideouts.

2011 Outlook and Beyond

Compared to his 2009 rookie season with the Philadelphia Eagles organization, Maclin had six more touchdowns and 191 more receiving yards. He improved his ranking as 54th among wideouts in touchdowns to seventh which is a great improvement.  His 773 yards during his rookie ranked him 43rd.  However, his receiving yards led him in the company of potent San Diego Chargers wideout Malcolm Floyd and Indianapolis Colts invaluable wideout Pierre Garcon during his rookie season. During his 2010 season, Maclin was in the company of breakout Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout Mike Williams. Maclin has begun maturing as a wideout, but his athleticism and speed won’t break his teammate DeSean Jackson.

Jeremy Maclin still has about three years on his contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.  However, he should still have productive seasons with Michael Vick at the helm as they have some sort of chemistry.  Jeremy Maclin’s productivity will have direct impact on others, most notably tight end Brent Celek and his teammate DeSean Jackson.  Maclin is the preferred target of Vick over Celek and Jackson during the 2010 regular season.  I expect the trend to continue into the 2011 season minimally as long as Michael Vick stays around.  Maclin will remain productive and effective wideout on the fantasy football roster.

2011 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Prospect

Jeremy Maclin has shown that he has become an effective cog in the Philadelphia Eagles offensive machine, but his productivity heavily remains on the health of Michael Vick, as do the other Eagles wideouts.  I wouldn’t draft a wideout too early during the 2011 fantasy football season however.  He should remain a solid WR2 to low-end WR1 throughout the 2011 season, but there may be surprise fantasy football wideouts that you can pick off the waiver wire that might more than adequately be as productive and serve as a substitute.  Remember Denver Broncos Brandon Lloyd, Buffalo Bills Steve Johnson and Kansas City Chiefs Dwayne Bowe among others.  Most of these wideouts were not chosen first and immediately on draft day.  This has been the trend for the past three or four seasons as free agency has leveled the playing field. The 2011 fantasy football draft should be no different.

Philadelphia Eagles Tight End Brent Celek: 2010 Year in Review and 2011 Outlook and Beyond

2010 Year in Review

The 2010 season was one of the better seasons for tight ends, especially for those who had Atlanta Falcons Tony Gonzalez or Oakland Raiders Zach Miller.  However, unlike past seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles with quarterback Donovan McNabb at the helm, the 2010 season was the season of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.  However, that included protecting him consistently to prevent Vick from suffering any major injury down the road.  Brent Celek who had a breakout season in 2009 fizzled in 2010 to the disappointment of many of his fantasy football owners.  With the competition between the quarterbacks and ultimately the selection of Michael Vick as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, his season was bound not to succeed as he did in 2009.  However, his plummet in statistics was the alteration of his role as tight end — primarily a blocker, like Indianapolis Colts Dallas Clark.  Unfortunately, unlike Dallas Clark for the Colts with Peyton Manning, Brent Celek was not targeted as a receiver frequently by Michael Vick during the 2010 season.

In 2010, Brent Celek was producing only half of what he did in 2009.  He had 42 receptions, 511 yards and 4 touchdowns the entire 2010 season.  Whereas in 2009, he had 76 receptions, 971 yards and 8 touchdowns during the 2009 regular season.  He was ranked 93rd during the regular season in receiving yards — behind his teammate and running back LeSean McCoy, ranked 69th, with 592 receiving yards.  On the bright side, he did tie in receiving yards with Pittsburgh Steelers Heath Miller and twice as many touchdowns as he did.  For comparison, from his 2009 regular season, Brent Celek was ranked 26th in total receiving yards, second among tight ends and only behind Indianapolis Colts tight end Dallas Clark.  Additionally, his 8 touchdowns at that time ranked him 16th, tied for fourth among tight ends and in the company of San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates.  Lastly, from Brent Celek’s 2009 to 2010 season, his average yardage per reception did not decrease much.  He dropped slightly from 12.8 to 12.2.  As you can see, Brent Celek’s numbers have fallen tremendously from what he did in 2009.  Will 2011 be any better?

2011 Outlook and Beyond

Even if Brent Celek recovers statistically a bit this upcoming season, I think he will be in for quite a few more slumping seasons like in 2010 until his contract expires in 2016.  Perhaps Michael Vick and Brent Celek will develop some sort of chemistry before then.  In the meantime, Celek will still play as a member of a team and root the team on, but he won’t be the same tight end of his stellar 2009 season.   If Michael Vick is still the quarterback by then, Celek might and quite possibly will consider a trade.  By that time, some quarterbacks, such as St. Louis Rams Sam Bradford or future draftee Stanford Cardinals Andrew Luck, should be reaching their full potential and would benefit from a veteran, physical tight end like Brent Celek on their team.

2011 Fantasy Football Tight End Prospect

Given the available talent for tight ends, I believe he will be worth no more than a low to solid TE2.  If there are better tight ends out there in the draft, get them first before Brent Celek because Celek will be nothing more than a consolation prize.  He is a solid tight end with his physical nature and dedication to the sport, even during the work stoppage.  However, his chemistry with Michael Vick, the soon-to-be-departure of Kevin Kolb and his evolved role as a blocker, he will be limited.  He should be capable of putting up solid TE2 numbers, primarily during the first half of the 2011 (full) season.  However, the Philadelphia Eagles schedule becomes much tougher during the second half, and he should be heavily relied on as a blocker.  By that time, he should be nothing more than reserve on the bench or a 2-for-1 trade at best.  Alone as a trade, he won’t be worth too much at that point.

NFL and the NLFPA Lockout Countdown: Lockout Day+104, or the Beginning of the Beginning

With the NFL-NFLPA lockout appearing to coming to a close, after Tuesday’s discussion in Boston, Massachusetts between the NFL team owners, Commissioner Roger Goodell, and the players trade association have finally negotiated a potential collective bargaining agreement.  This collective bargaining agreement has some stipulations like before.  Some of them are:

  • Players will get 48 percent of “all revenue” without the extra billion that was initially requested by the team owners.
  • The players’ share of the profits will never dip below 46.5 percent.
  • The NFL teams are required to spend a minimum of 90 to 93 percent of their respective salary caps.
  • New 16-game Thursday night television package beginning in 2012.
  • The owners will still get some expense credits for funding new stadiums.
  • NFL retirees will benefit from improved health care and pension benefits.
  • Lastly, the rookie wage scale is still pending.

Of course, no negotiation, particularly in the NFL, could be complete without resistance of some kind, and in this case, from a few owners.  These owners appear to be from the AFC teams, and they apparently are unsatisfied with the original issues not covered from 2006.

But what does this mean for the NFL, the players and their fanbase?  To start off, the NFL gets a deeper cut of the profits from the players, but the expected revenue is expected to increase to $18 billion by 2016.  So both sides will get about $9 billion with this new contract potentially.  That’s a lot of cash, more than most of us will ever see in a lifetime, and NFLPA executive DeMaurice Smith was complaining about the 53 percent earlier.  For the team owners, now they are expected to spend 90 to 93 percent of their salary cap.  This could potentially mean more employment of players, but it could be at the expense of profits for the owners, particularly if there is a collapse in the locker room like last season.  Remember the Titans…and in the worst case scenario, the implosion of the Washington Redskins last season.  On the other hand, the NFL players receive more of the revenue, and the NFL retirees now have some degree of optimism that their injuries during the season will at least be assuaged.  An increased pension should help most retirees but not the spendthrifts.  Lastly, for the fans, with a collective bargaining agreement perhaps coming to a close, it could mean a full season within a month or so.  With the new Thursday television package being implemented in the future, it could mean more packed games within the season.  It could also mean more of the NFL Network, which could be an added value for those who have it.  Intriguingly, it could mean that the NFL players will play with lesser rest between games.  This could mean more significant injuries than ever before which the players originally and ironically wanted to stop.

In NFL news around Philadelphia, former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb practiced with his former teammates in an informal workout.  Interestingly, McNabb hasn’t practiced with the Washington Redskins squad, but perhaps he has been shunned by the Redskins.  Then again, he is expected to be traded or released once this lockout has ended.  Where will he end up?  Anywhere Redskins coach Mike Shanahan is not.  The Arizona Cardinals seem like one of the more logical teams with him practicing there during previous off-seasons without this business melodrama.  However, even I am skeptical whether the Cardinals want Donovan McNabb to leave his legacy there with a younger and more easily groomed Kevin Kolb on the table.

We have heard some potentially good news already, but it should be tempered as the process will still be lengthy.  The National Labor Relations Board has yet to make their crucial decision that will cause a cascade of legal decisions down the road.

In the meantime, are you ready for even more NFL Network?

No?

Me either.

The Shortened 8: Top 10 Drafts for Fantasy Football Quarterbacks for 2011-12

Unlike drafting running backs, where even the best generally decline the following season, fantasy football quarterbacks are often more consistent, despite changing their wide receivers, tight ends and other aspects of the offense.  It’s a broad generalization but fairly accurate.  Two issues stand in the way though even with a potentially shortened eight-game regular season: injuries and rookies.  However, with this abbreviated upcoming season, untested NFL rookies in the foreseeable future, aside from a non-resolution of the collective bargaining agreement, are perhaps the hindrance of most quarterbacks for creating a boom or bust season.

Must-Haves

  • Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick.  Although he had a spectacular season for most of last season, Michael Vick did suffer injuries early in the season and pushed through injuries in the close of the season.  However, with a shortened season, this should benefit him tremendously.  He should be capable of putting up QB1 statistics early, but coming into the fantasy football playoffs, I would definitely recommend having a pretty good backup.
  • New England Patriots Tom Brady. Goes without saying…
  • Indianapolis Colts Peyton Manning. Same although he’s been in decline comparatively to Tom Brady.  However, he is still an elite quarterback.
  • New Orleans Saints Drew Brees.  Same.
  • Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers.  He’s a solid QB1 with lots of talent behind him.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger. He’s a low to solid QB1.
  • Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan.  With the talent behind him, it could be a matter of time before he’s about as good as Saints quarterback Drew Brees.  With the abbreviated season, he’s worth a high-end QB2.
  • Houston Texans Matt Schaub.
  • Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco.  He’s always seemingly a  solid QB2 and worth a reserve, with use against the appropriate opponents he can fleece.
  • Kansas City Chiefs Matt Cassel.  He’s like Tom Brady-lite.  He needs a few more seasons under his belt as he gains experience and skills to match.

Avoid

  • Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks.
  • Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks.
  • Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks.
  • Carolina Panthers quarterbacks.

Potential X-Factors

  • Philadelphia Eagles Kevin Kolb.  He does have potential, but he needs a team and a coach that will stand by him as he learns and adjusts to whatever system is thrown his way.
  • Washington Redskins Donovan McNabb.  This former Pro Bowler could have signs of life.  Or not.  He’s worth a flier at least. Or not.
  • Washington Redskins Rex Grossman.  Even though he had admirable statistics when he took over during the last three games of last season, I don’t think he’s quite proven himself quite yet.  He could return to the erratic Rex Grossman of old, which he demonstrated against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers Josh Freeman.  Although his team improved significantly with him at the helm, he should be a QB2 going forward.
  • Buffalo Bills Ryan Fitzpatrick.  He did show moments of brilliance last season, but he requires more consistency going forward.  He’s worth a flier.
  • St. Louis Rams Sam Bradford.  He’s been quite a spark to the team.  Now he needs to develop good and consistent quarterbacking skills…

This is a very early list of fantasy football quarterbacks to draft when there is no upcoming season in view quite yet.  However, this list should help some plan ahead although this list is very speculative.  This list, as well as the upcoming lists of running backs, wide receivers and defenses will undergo revision (perhaps) as a resolution of the work stoppage comes into view.  With the third secret meeting to date between the NFL and the players trade association, it does bring some optimism, but it should be tempered as the cogs of the legal system still have to resolve themselves.

NFL and the NFLPA Lockout Countdown: Lockout Day+62, or The Age of Television

With a week of legal clockwork grinding in the background, there hasn’t been significant progress of the NFL-NFLPA lockout.  The NFL said that U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ignored the potential harm to the league and to the contract discussions by lifting the injunction in a briefing sent to the 8th District Court of Appeals in St. Louis.  The 8th District Court, in light of this, has put on temporary hold on the order, meaning that the NFL and the NFL players trade association are currently in a state of limbo.  That means no more contract negotiations during free agency or participate in sanctioned workouts.  However, many players have taken their own initiative to hold workouts, including Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo and New Orleans Saints Drew Brees.

Splitting attention with the NFL’s appeal, U.S. District Judge David Doty held a two-hour hearing on the splitting of the $4 billion in television revenues, which the NFL players want $707 million in damages due to renegotiated television contracts by the NFL that would permit the league to still get paid despite the lockout. Doty ruled in favor of the NFL players on March 1 declaring that the renegotiated contracts failed to “maximize revenues” for the players.

As these legal proceedings has gone on, the NFL players have made significant moves on their own.  Former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre had declared that he has officially retired and “done with football.”  We have heard this same song and dance twice before, and I wouldn’t hold my breath quite yet.  Even despite his lackluster performance in 2010, with 2,509 yards passing, 11 touchdowns and a below-average 69.9 quarterback rating, he might still make a comeback again.  Not entirely out of the picture since the NFL has yet to formally declare this upcoming season open.  However, the disastrous sagas of Jenn Sterger and the other women last season would certainly hinder him.

One intriguing note came from the Seattle Seahawks as Matt Hasselbeck and Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell held discussions about his return to the team once the work stoppage ends. With him potentially returning, the flip-flop duo of Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst of last season’s Cinderella team would return on the roster.  This veteran didn’t have his best season last year until honestly the final game of the regular season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Wild Card game against the New Orleans Saints and their NFC title game against the Chicago Bears.  In their last game, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler exploded with 4 touchdowns and a 111.3 quarterback rating.  However, Seattle Seahawks Matt Hasselbeck himself did pretty well, too.  He had 3 touchdowns and a 94.3 quarterback rating against one of the tougher defenses in the league last season.

There were some other player news locally.  Boxer Bernard Hopkins ripped into former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb saying that McNabb was essentially born pampered and made some off-handed racial remarks as well.  But this is nothing more than what some boxers do best, stir the pot to cause some commotion.  Other boxers have done the same in the past, similar to Muhammad Ali had done to his competitors Joe Frazier and George Foreman.

After all this legal limbo this week, the NFL and the NFL players trade association are still in quite a legal stalemate.  These courts have to wait until the final decision has been made by the National Labor Relations Board as the Board’s mandate will directly impact their own.

Philadelphia’s Donovan McNabb and Jayson Werth in Washington: Something Borrowed, Something Failed

Washington, D.C. The Nation’s Capital but with sports teams, it seems to begin with a capital “F” for Failure.  Last year, it began with the acquisition of Donovan McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles to become the Washington Redskins starting quarterback for the 2010 season.  This ultimately led to Donovan McNabb’s final departure after the Redskins collapse at FedEx Field in November 15 as Eagles quarterback Michael Vick dominated the entire Redskins team throughout the game.  Ultimately, his erratic gameplay from this game and the rest throughout the season finally forced coach Mike Shanahan‘s hand, and he was released.  While Donovan McNabb was with the Philadelphia Eagles for 11 seasons, he maintained an average 85.7 quarterback rating.  Yet in a single season with the Redskins, his rating plummeted to a 77.1 quarterback rating, significantly below his career average with the Philadelphia Eagles and his last season with them at 92.9.

Now another Washington team has bought another Philadelphia sports player, Jayson Werth.  But Werth has not been the acquisition that Washington Nationals has hoped.  Presently, he has a .226 batting average and a .322 on-base percentage.  This is only his second worst season batting average and on-base percentage so far, with his worst being .208 and .262 respectively in 2003 with the Toronto Blue Jays.  Compared to his four seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, he had a .284 batting average and .382 on-base percentage overall.  On the Washington Nationals roster, Jayson Werth has the 10th best batting average, but he does lead the team in home runs presently with 4. Admittedly, Jayson Werth is contributing to the Washington Nationals and has been getting significantly better batting third in Washington’s lineup.  However, his seven-year, $126 million contract may be too much for his less than stellar contributions previously. Unlike with Donovan McNabb and the Washington Redskins, Werth has not been a complete bust with the Washington Nationals although his production early this baseball season did raise eyebrows.

With free agency, Philadelphia sports fans have to wonder if another Washington team might acquire another sports player, and that player turn into a bust or close to one.   Maybe someone on the Philadelphia Flyers join the Washington Capitals.  Maybe someone from the Philadelphia Union join DC United. Perhaps for Washington’s sake, it would be better if nothing occurs at all.