(Very Early) Monday Morning Thoughts

-This week this will be a tad shorter as Trick-or-Treating hours in my town were 5-8 PM, EST, so I missed a lot of afternoon action.

-I’ve never seen a bigger drama queen as a professional athlete than Brett Favre.  I thought his jaw was shattered the way he was acting leaving the game against the Pats after being carted off, eyes closed.  First it was his elbow, then his ankle and now his jaw.  Yet, he fully expects to play next week.  There isn’t a more annoying athlete in sports than him in my book.

-What the hell was Notre Dame thinking throwing to the end zone when all they had to do was kick a field goal to win the game Saturday?

-Goofy day for the Redskins.  After Ryan Torain left the game with a hamstring injury, Mike Shanahan benched Donovan McNabb for Rex Grossman.  Yes, that Rex Grossman.  What will you bid on Keiland Williams this week, keeping in mind the Redskins have a bye next week?  I took the over during the preseason on five wins for the Lions and still like that prediction.  I’m also thinking the Raiders and Rams are decent teams.

-I don’t know where to start with the Bills/Chiefs game.  I don’t care what success Thomas Jones has had this year, Jamaal Charles needs to be the featured back going forward with at least a 2:1 ratio of carries between the two.  Charles came into the game with the most YPC in the NFL and why Jones had 20 more carries for the season at one point during the game is beyond me.  Did you catch the two runs of 10 plus yards in a row during overtime Charles had followed by him rolling his eyes on camera when Jones subbed in for him?  Timeouts to ice the kicker are silly but after it “working” for the Bills earlier in OT (which was at least done before the kicker kicked it), why not call another on the game’s last play?  After listening to too much Gus Johnson, I’m guessing he has high blood pressure given the way he calls a game.

-I wasn’t a fan of the pregame kickoff festivities forced on us from England but did I notice a Hendricks’ rift at the end of Jeff Beck’s “God Save the Queen” performance?

-I don’t get how the Jets at home and coming off a bye couldn’t score any points.  Better defensive player you’d want on your team, Ndamukong Suh or Clay Matthews?

-Grab a coin and mark Lance Moore on one side and Robert Meachem on the other.  Flip it each week to see who will be the #2 WR in New Orleans.

-Chris Ivory and Marshawn Lynch had great fantasy days, no?

-Something has to happen in Dallas along the lines of coaching changes, no?  Who will be the first head coach fired?  Maybe Childress instead of Phillips?  Marvin Lewis is also in jeopardy in Cincy but I’d guess they let him ride out the season before any decision is made.

-American Clint Dempsey scored twice for Fulham giving them a 2-0 victory on Saturday.  Maurice Edu’s goal was even sweeter for the Glasgow Rangers. 

-I’ve said it before but if the Cardinals are playing for this year, Derek Anderson gives them the best chance to win.  R.I.P. Tim Hightower’s fantasy value, little that it was.

-Don’t be fooled by Carson Palmer’s numbers from the last two weeks.  He could easily have six-plus interceptions over the last two games.

-I thought David Garrard was supposed to be bad on the road?  Is it me or I have a seen a lot of Mike Jenkins highlights with him getting beat or called for PI this year?

-Brandon Tate has emerged as Brady’s deep threat in New England.  Brady just missed him on another pass that could have been a long touchdown.  A few weeks back I called for a Brady downgrade and still see no reason to consider him a top-10 QB going forward.  Kyle Orton now has five 300-yard passing games while Brady has none.

-It looks like Antonio Gates is feeling better.  Teams really need to double him and make Patrick Crayton beat them.  Ryan Mathews finally got in the end zone but it was from seven yards out.  Had he taken it to the one, Tolbert would have been in the game on the next play.  This is the same scenario with the Giants.  Outside the five there’s Bradshaw, inside the five it’s Jacobs’ turn.

-Danny Amendola scored on the exact same play two weeks in a row now.  Not only is this bad scouting by the Panthers (he is the go-to guy for Sam Bradford) but they should change this to a double move if faced with the same situation near the goal line next game.

-Where do you rank Chad Ochocinco among wide receivers going forward?  Outside of the top-30?  How about Randy Moss, who now has 14 total fantasy points over the last three weeks?

-Next year will be season three for Josh Freeman and he’ll have top-10 upside for QBs with Kellen Winslow, Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn to throw to.

-The “Big Three” for the Miami Heat are all going to underachieve in the fantasy world.  They’ll be part of a lot of blowouts (such as Sunday’s) which will see them play reduced minutes.  With all three on the court and only one basketball, there’s no way all three can finish in the top-15 as many have predicted.

-I’m starting to think Pierre Thomas isn’t going to have a huge fantasy impact going forward.  I’d strongly consider dropping him if there’s a better option sitting on your waiver wire.


By: Kevin Payne
On: 10/31/2010 9:06:00 PM
Here are the three goals by the Americans abroad.
By: Chris Liss
On: 10/31/2010 10:27:00 PM
Not only would I take Ndamukong Suh over Clay Matthews, I'd take him over Sam Bradford. And Bradford looks like he's going to be good.
By: Scott Pianowski
On: 11/1/2010 10:37:00 AM
I'd argue emphatically that you still have to take Bradford - the shelf life of a quarterback is a lot longer than the shelf life of a DT, and quarterback is far and away the most important position to fill. That said, I'd take Suh today over any other linemen (offensive or defensive) if the entire league redrafted from scratch, and that's even with the idea that a stud OL will last a lot longer.

(I discussed the latter theme with Mike Salfino yesterday, in email. He thought I was crazy, in part because DTs burn out quickly.)
By: Kevin Payne
On: 11/1/2010 11:02:00 AM
SP - It's a good discussion we actually just had on the satellite show. I was leaning towards Bradford, Liss went with Suh. Chris' argument is that Suh is there now and we don't know what's going to happen to Bradford, he says there's less than 50 percent chance he develops into even a second tier QB (he quoted Eli of course). I said even if it's 30-40 percent (he was a #1 pick, the pedigree is there) that Bradford become a good QB it's worth it in my book. I argued the same thing you said about Bradford - he plays the most important position on the field. We also don't have a true indicator of what he can do with a "real" set of receivers. Without looking, I'd guess STL has the least YAC among WRs in the NFL; they go down as soon as they catch the ball.
By: Scott Pianowski
On: 11/1/2010 11:07:00 AM
Bradford's having a fantastic season. It's *very* difficult for any rookie quarterback to be competent (or better) right out of the box, and it's especially notable that Bradford is doing it with perhaps the worst receiving group in the league. I'm a gigantic fan of Suh, but I'd take Bradford 100 times out of 100.
By: Chris Liss
On: 11/1/2010 11:23:00 AM
There have been some DTs that lasted a good deal. Richard Seymour, Kevin Williams, Pat Williams, Vince Wilfork, etc. Bradford does look promising, but I think people forget how high everyone was on Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco. Both are good, but they're just somewhere in the 10-20 range. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bruce Gradkowski, Kyle Orton are all arguably as good as Flacco/Ryan right now. Whereas Suh might be the NFL's best defensive player right now. It's possible Bradford is the next RIvers/Manning, but probably about a 5 percent chance. And less than 50 to even be Eli Manning. Ceiling for Bradford is high no doubt, but I don't think you can take him over one of the league's top defensive players already.
By: Scott Pianowski
On: 11/1/2010 11:48:00 AM
Comparing Gradkowski to guys like Ryan and Flacco is a gigantic stretch (and I say that as someone who admires Gradkowski, and I also think Ryan is a little overrated).

Keep in mind everything a quarterback does. He communicates with the sideline, recites the play, sets the protection, surveys the defense pre-snap, calls an audible as needed, then makes a series of critical split-second decisions after the snap that will largely determine if a play succeeds or not. If your QB has a crummy game, you're almost assured a loss. Comparing the value of a QB to a DT is comparing apples to lawnmowers.
By: msalfino
On: 11/1/2010 11:49:00 AM
You guys are out of your minds with your valuing of a defensive tackle. Do you think the Falcons would trade Ryan for Suh? That would be certifiably insane. You all should know better. There's no surplus value at all in having the game's best DT and paying him franchise QB money -- worst pick/contract ever and I don't care if Suh goes to the HOF.
By: Chris Liss
On: 11/1/2010 12:13:00 PM
When I compare Gradkowski/Fitzpatrick to Flacco/Ryan, I mean only for this year, of course. But an average QB is not worth more than a All Pro DT, let alone one that'll be in the running for DPOY. You guys are from the Vince Lombardi school of QBs: "Quarterbacks aren't everything, they're the *only* thing." If you're not a top-10 QB, you're not worth more than one of the league's best defensive players.
By: Chris Liss
On: 11/1/2010 12:16:00 PM
Question - you're starting a team, and both these guys are rookies: Ray Lewis and Tony Romo - which do you take? How about Ray Lewis and Eli Manning? Lewis and Matt Schaub? I would take Lewis hands down. I'd take LT hands down, too. Yes, I'd take Brady or Peyton over any defensive player. But Suh is a LOT closer to being a great defensive player than Bradford is to being a great QB.
By: Scott Pianowski
On: 11/1/2010 12:26:00 PM
If you come in and play like Bradford has for his first two months as a rookie, the odds are very good that you'll eventually be a star QB. And even if guys like Flacco, Ryan and Bradford eventually plateau as better-than-average (and Flacco and Ryan are definitely there now), that sets up your franchise very well for an extended period of time.

Gradkowski has a 71.1 rating (not the only QB stat but a good quick-and-dirty evaluation). What's so special about his 2010 season? I see the credible 7.0 YPA but he's also got an even ratio of TD passes to picks.
By: Chris Liss
On: 11/1/2010 12:28:00 PM
That's a pretty small sample with bad receivers, and he was solid last year, too. But don't dwell on Gradkowski - I used him, Orton and Fitzpatrick because they're three competent guys that were had for nothing. It's not like you have to trot out JaMarcus Russell and Alex Smith for years if you don't have Bradford.
By: NoWayOut
On: 11/1/2010 1:41:00 PM
Rant mode engaged...

Phillips has to go now, too bad Jerry Jones won't be joining him. What I did watch of the game Phillips alternated between a look of utter bewilderment, one of what the hell's gonna happen next, and a look that says will you please put me out of my misery. He's had that for some time now, but yesterday it seemed worse to be worse than ever. He acts like he already has his bags packed and he's just waiting for taxi to pick him up and take to the airport.

As a Cowboy's fan I'm absolutely fuming at what I see from him and the team. At the same time I'm inwardly cringing at the thought of who Jerry Jones will get to replace Wade, who's Jerry gonna find that will be as much of a spineless yes man than Wade.

Jason Garrett? To me that would be a parallel move. I'd love to see Cowher, but there's no way Cowher would take it with Jerry constantly up his ass meddling, and Jerry won't stay out of the way, he didn't do that with Parcells and won't do that with anybody period, and I don't think Cowher would want to deal with that.

I would not be surprised in the least to one day learn that Jerry was in Wade's ear all game long, through the headset, coaching the team with Wade just standing there on the sideline going through the motions. I've said for years every decision he makes, head coaches, player personnel moves, everything is being done to prove that Jerry was the brains behind those Super Bowl teams from the 90's.

Jerry absolutely bristled at the slightest praise Jimmy Johnson got for those teams. That's why I got Barry Switzer, to prove anybody could coach that team to a Championship. Point proved, except that anybody with at least two functioning brain cells knew that was Jimmy's team Barry was coaching. When people acknowledged as much and didn't credit Jerry, his ego just wouldn't let him let it go. Things have just gone downhill since.

Rant mode off
By: NoWayOut
On: 11/1/2010 1:44:00 PM
My grammar and spelling seems to have been incinerated during that rant.
By: Kevin Payne
On: 11/1/2010 3:00:00 PM
NWO - If I'm the Cowboys I'd fire Phillips and let Garrett runs things from here on out. You can guage (somewhat) if he can handle the head coaching job. If you bring any high profile coach, it's likely (but not certain) that he'd want his pick of coordinators so Garrett could be out anyway. Might as well see what he can do, he has nowhere to go but up.
By: schwang2u
On: 11/1/2010 3:40:00 PM
Suh over Bradford? Stupid. You can find beasts on the D-line easier than you can a young stud QB. If you put Suh on the Rams do they have the same record? Not even close.
By: NoWayOut
On: 11/1/2010 5:20:00 PM
My thought about Garrett being a carbon copy of Wade is based on Jerry hand picking Garrett to be the OC even before he had a head coach. I can't recall that ever happening before, that is always in the incoming coaches job. The general consensus then was Jerry had tabbed him as the head coach-in-waiting and that Wade was a warm body to hold down the job until Jerry was ready to promote Garrett.

I just think Jerry isn't going to let anybody come in as coach unless that guy is going to be a good soldier and not question Jerry in any way, just like Wade has so far. As a life long fan, I hate to say it, but I don't see any real substantive change happening until Jerry Jones steps down. Then you have to think he'll turn the team over to one of his kids and there you hope they take a page out of the Clark Hunt book and bring in good knowledgeable football people to run the whole show without interference from above.

I agree though at this point it can't get much worse. Think about this too, at this point they appear headed towards a top 10 or even top 5 draft pick. With the talent already there, if they get the right coach, plus can manage not to bungle that high draft pick, this could be an even more dangerous team.
By: msalfino
On: 11/1/2010 5:47:00 PM
I can't believe Liss would take man-myth Ray Lewis over those QBs. Any of them. Dumb, dumb, dumb (as Herman Munster would say). Liss is on the Matt Millen path if he ever were to become an NFL GM. You take a top 10 QB over a top anything everything. My lord, how many games must we watch to master the obvious. Or is the obvious just not worth mastering because it's more fun to be a contrarian. There's a fine line, boys, between clever and stupid.
By: msalfino
On: 11/1/2010 5:49:00 PM
And it's Hendrix, I must say. Out of respect. Though I hate being a proofreading cop (lord knows I always need one).
By: Kevin Payne
On: 11/1/2010 5:59:00 PM
I'll accept the grammar police on that one, a *bad* oversight on my part although this was written late last night after a long day (had to work today since most schools are closed tomorrow).

I'm still looking verification that Beck played that rift at the end.
By: Chris Liss
On: 11/1/2010 6:23:00 PM
Mike, what combination of pharmaceuticals must one ingest to believe that taking Ray Lewis' career over Romo's is "contrarian"? I'd really like to know. In your universe, the qb is the only player that matters to the point where the 10th best of his particular era is more valuable than the greatest defensive players of all time.
By: tumanic
On: 11/2/2010 11:45:00 AM
Liss likes beating a dead horse like no other....Suh vs Mathews is a good debate. Suh vs Bradford is a bit comical though. Bradford has an average o line and one of the worst receiving corps in the league...big time points for doing well with that, no? Using Ray Lewis and Romo for your analogy is a bit frivolous though...come on man! Lewis doesn't play NT and he is one of the best if not the best middle linebacker of all time. While Romo is what? Average? Slightly above average? How about Warren Sapp vs Jim Kelly maybe? Lot better analogy at least....Suh is great! I would take Mathews over him by a hair, on the basis of longevity and pedigree in contrast to where both are now too. Will Suh have a better career than Sapp? Maybe, but he is at a position where the injury factor is very high and shelf life is very low while the Mathews clan have some fountain of youth gene apparently.
By: Chris Liss
On: 11/2/2010 12:03:00 PM
Obviously Ray Lewis' career is more valuable than Romo's. I made that point simply to refute that defensive players cannot be more valuable than merely good QBs. And there's a very good chance Bradford falls short of Romo even. So if Suh is already in the running for DPOY as a rookie, and there's a good chance Bradford never amounts even to Romo, why is it comical to say Suh is the better choice? Suh is a star already. Bradford is merely a prospect. While QB play affect the team more than anyone else, it's like fantasy - QBs score the most points, but that doesn't mean you draft one first. It's value over replacement that matters, and when Ryan Fitzpatrick and Kyle Orton are replacement value, you have to be a really elite QB to be worth more than the best defensive lineman in the NFL. Bradford probably won't get there, not because there's anything wrong with what he's done, but because MOST players don't get there. Suh is already there - it's just a matter of maintaining it.
By: msalfino
On: 11/2/2010 12:09:00 PM
Sorry for being too east coast in trashing Liss's point. But Romo over Lewis. Middle linebackers are fungible. The best one ever never even played in one playoff game. Lewis was very lucky to win his one Super Bowl (look at those boxes for the Ravens playoff wins that year, especially Tennessee). What's Romo's record as a starting QB? The Dallas OL is very overrated, always has been (during the Romo years), which brings us back to our original point.
By: Chris Liss
On: 11/2/2010 12:30:00 PM
Dan Marino only went to one SB, and didn't win it. So you can always find the counterexample. Meanwhile, Ray Lewis won a SB and made the playoffs almost every year with abysmal to mediocre quarterbacking. I'd be shocked if any NFL GM would take Tony Romo over Ray Lewis if both were rookies in next year's draft. You can't compare having Romo to a zero at QB vs. Lewis to a zero at MLB. Compare them to average QBs like Orton or Fitzpatrick, and average MLB, and I'd way rather have the Lewis/Orton combo (in Lewis' prime) to Romo (average MLB) one. But either way, what gets me is how anyone could argue that my position is absurd. You may disagree, and I don't think it's absurd to prefer Bradford, just incorrect.
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