Tuesday, March 4, 2008

TiT Offseason News and Notes

(God, please get me out of Miami.)
Jacksonville Jaguars:
In addition to picking up Cleo Lemon (guarantee he was on every single AFL draft board before that shocker), the Jags added wide receivers Troy Williamson and Jerry Porter, which means their receiving corps includes Williamson, Porter, Matt Jones, Reggie Williams, Dennis Northcutt, and Marcedes Lewis. Save a little mediocrity for the rest of us, fellas. That is like the O-Town of wide receiving units.

Green Bay:
Yeah, your whole damn world is ending. It's like that. More later.

Oakland Raiders:
They spent almost $90 million on Tommy Kelly and Gibril Wilson. How do you THINK the offseason is going for them? When Josh McCown feels like his talents are being wasted, it says something about your organization.

Cleveland Browns:
In the League, most executives cling to first day draft picks as though they were children, a throwback to a time before free agency and a testament to the league’s reluctance to become a marketplace of talents. All of this makes Cleveland’s decision to jettison all three of their first day draft picks this year seem strange, particularly for an organization with so much “old school” history. It also might make Phil Savage a mad genius. In picking up Brady Quinn last year, he gave the quarterback position greater stability and gave Derek Anderson the competition needed to go from manchild to Frankenquarterback. This year, they started by wheeling a talented corner and two draft picks into two proven commodities on the defensive line in Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams, a position that comes at a high premium after this year’s Super Bowl and one that they would have likely tried to fill in the draft anyway. Then, to add icing to the cake (Romeo Crenel insists that only bakery metaphors be used in describing the Browns), they picked up Donte’ Stallworth in free agency, easily giving them the number one or two receiving corps in the AFC. Also, in adding perennial injury-prone mercenary Stallworth to Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards (the Mario and Luigi of abrasive, unlovable receivers), the Browns have successfully compiled the least likable receiving corps in the League.

New England Patriots:
Speaking of unlikable receivers, let’s get this out of the way: It was ridiculous to think that the Patriots or Randy Moss could quit each other. From the Pats perspective, Moss gave them the elite wide receiver that a quarterback like Tom Brady deserves; All season long Brady’s face showed the kind of relief that only comes from realizing you finally don’t have to carry all of the responsibility anymore. For Moss, the Patriots were the home he’d imagined that Minnesota would be before Daunte’s knee gave out, a place that he could run free and unleash his freakish athleticism to its full potential. He wasn’t trading that away for something as paltry as an extra million on top of the $27 million that the Pats were offering. The truth is that both sides needed each other desperately, which made the free agency period very interesting to the outside observer and probably much more of a foregone conclusion than either would like to admit. More importantly, we needed them to stick with each other; splitting up what might be the greatest tandem in sports history, one that many believe formed the best “sports villain” ever as well, would have made the League a much more ordinary place. Oh, and Moss wanted to stick around New England because no other organization is quite as tolerant of mistreating significant others. My point is that you shouldn’t believe the hype that the Pats are on the rocks because they lost two good corners who could get beat by elite players every time. Moss being around means that team will contend next year just like they did this year; last I checked the team with the most points still wins the game.

Chicago Bears:
Ok, here’s the thing: Rex Grossman is nowhere near as bad as people say, the defense is no longer anywhere near as good as people say, and the team that I was once certain I’d dislike because they’d be boring and well executed will be what they turned out to be last year: Just plain old boring.

Minnesota Vikings:
People say that the Vikings overpaid for Bernard Berrian, but can you put a price on the kind of frustration that comes from catching passes on a team with Kelly Holcomb, Brooks Bollinger, and Tavaris Jackson duking it out for the starting quarterback job?

New York Jets:
Now everyone knows I’m harder on my boys than I am on any other team, but they got out after it this offseason, as Tannenbaum and the Mangina (you will get your nickname back when you earn it back!) picked up one great (Alan Faneca) and one good (Damien Woody) offensive lineman, a pass rushing 3-4 linebacker (Calvin Pace), and the big body our defensive line has sorely lacked (Kris Jenkins). And all we had to do was pay them ninety billion dollars. Oh, and we released Justin McCareins, which means that Leon Washington could have been caught fighting orphans in a pit in his basement and I would still have said this was a FANTASTIC offseason.

That’s all for this week’s news and notes. Until next week, I’ll be heavily drinking my way through the offseason, as usual.

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