Posts tagged ‘New England Patriots’
There was no one quite like Broadway Joe. The Jets passed through a bundle of quarterbacks but never found the guy that would give the franchise another run like Namath. Well don’t look now, but Mark Sanchez is showing serious promise.
Going up against the Patriots today, all eyes were on Sanchez. Rookie quarterbacks were just 1-5 against Bill Belichick going into this game with 12 interceptions. Sanchez wasn’t rattled. Although not spectacular, Sanchez did what he had to do to manage the game and get the WIN. He completed 63% of his passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. But the most important stat was his interception count – zero.
Just two games into the season, Sanchez is looking like he might be able to fill the “Broadway” shoes. He’s got the look, he’s got the talent, and the wins should begin to stack up. Although difficult most of the time, Sanchez doesn’t seem to mind the spotlight.
According to Michael Vick, he is “close” to signing with a team. As Vick left a courtroom today, because that’s his second home as of late, a reporter asked about his future in the NFL. Vick responded simply, “We’re close”. What Vick forgot to mention was that the team he is “close” to signing with is located in Orlando and is part of the United Football League.
But in all seriousness; who are the potential suitors for Vick? Realistic suitors that is, and ones that exist in the NFL.
- San Francisco – Mike Singletary is the head coach and we all know he doesn’t play. The 49er’s aren’t as bad as they may appear (that’s a bias statement) and having Vick wouldn’t downgrade the team. The problem falls within the city itself – San Fran has a lot of PETA support. Expect protests every home game.
- Pittsburgh – They have won Super Bowls, they have role model players, they have the reputation, and they have earned the respect of being an intelligent ball club. Some teams may sign Vick and experts would bash them for being “stupid”. If Pittsburgh or New England signs Vick, it’s considered a wise move and they’ve suddenly taken a risky diamond in the rough.
- New England – As stated above, New England has the reputation for being an intelligent team. If Vick goes to New England, they’ll keep him straight. Plus, New England has a record of taking other team’s trash and turning them into treasure.
- Washington – I don’t even like to talk about this because I really don’t want it to happen. However, you can’t deny the fact that Dan Snyder is the owner and he runs the Redskins like he’s in ‘Franchise Mode’ of the Madden 2009 football game.
The question isn’t whether Michael Vick will behave himself. He made some stupid decisions in his life but I don’t think he’s a stupid person. He’s not Pacman. He won’t go out and fund another dog-fighting ring. The main question when discussing Michael Vick is the risk of your organization’s reputation. As a team owner – are you willing to sit through the home game protests for Vick’s first season (because they have to stop eventually)? Your team may lose support from fans that also happen to support PETA, but die-hard fans are die-hard fans and they’ll stay that way with or without Michael Vick.
Closing argument – Michael Vick signs with San Francisco
Well it didn’t take long for the free agent signings to take off. After just three days on the open market players have me questioning about loyalty, intelligence, and character. Here’s a quick rundown on the recent signings…
- Patriots Trade Cassel and Vrabel to Chiefs for 2nd Rounder – The Cassel trade is receiving a ton of buzz, as it should. Cassel comes in from a high school football field, fills in for All-Pro Tom Brady, and leads a team to an 11-5 record…not too bad. I would have preferred the Chiefs to stick with Tyler Thigpen under new head coach Todd Haley but Cassel should work out fine. Vrabel is an aging linebacker that was on a team trying to get younger at the position. He’ll be a solid contributor to the Chiefs. I think the Chiefs really make out well here and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them have a good season next year. Grade for the Chiefs : A-
- Eagles Trade Lito Sheppard to Jets for 5th Rounder – Lito Sheppard can play. He wanted out of Philly and the front office knew that. He’s going to come into New York and start immediately. With a new defensive-minded coach in New York (Rex Ryan), Sheppard should do very well in the new system. Not to mention, the Jets gave up nothing! Grade for the Jets : A+
- Brian Dawkins Signs with the Denver Broncos – This was a ‘shocker’ to me. I love Brian Dawkins but, after 13 seasons with Philly, I’m head-scratching about his move to the Rockies. The Broncos are a good team, Denver is beautiful, but are they closer to a Super Bowl than Philly? It seems like he can play forever, but what is Brain Dawkins really bringing to the table for the Broncos? I’m not completely sold on the move that brings in a guy who is older than the head coach for multiple years. Grade for the Broncos : C+
- Keith Brooking Signs with Dallas – The Cowgirls needed a linebacker and they got a good one in Keith Brooking. I think this takes Dallas off the list as a potential home for Ray Lewis, but you never really know with Jerry Jones. The only thing I worry about with Dallas is the direction in terms of front office. Wade Phillips is useless, Jerry is a nut, Jason Garrett seems to have lost his touch, and the defensive coordinator is up in the air. All the while, it’s a solid pickup for Dallas. Grade for Dallas : B
- Fred Taylor Signs with New England – This is probably my favorite signing thus far. It’s almost as if everyone is a “Fred Taylor Hater” and that’s why he is continuously snubbed for being…great. Now he gets to go to a solid team with great coaches and a good shot at a Super Bowl next season. The Pats have shown what they can do with aging running backs, Fred will be no different. This move may actually get me rooting for New England…shhh. Grade for New England : A
- Redskins Sign Derrick Dockery – The Redskins needed help on the offensive line…a lot of it. Dockery returns to D.C. and adds some decent experience but it’s not going to completely fix the problem. But however you look at it, the Redskins needed this. Unlike the Albert Haynesworth signing, the Skins will get what they pay for with Dockery. Grade for the Skins : B-
- Denver Signs Correll Buckhalter and J.J. Arrington – Let’s all remember that Shanahan is no longer the coach in Denver (it still doesn’t sound right) and that may effect a WHOLE LOT. Denver is known for getting the absolute most out of their running backs, but that may all change with McDaniels at the reigns. If the running style stays the same, Buckhalter will shine. He can do it all, somewhat like Brian Westbrook, and he’ll be the main guy for the first time in his career. Arrington never broke through in Arizona but, again, Denver can pull 1,000 yards out of anybody. Grade for Denver : A-
- Cleveland Trades Kellen Winslow to Tampa Bay for picks – Other than character issues, Winslow is a great player. He wasn’t happy and he had some injury issues, all of which hampered him throughout the years. An attitude adjustment, a change of scenery, and a new coach could be exactly what Winslow needs. Grade for Tampa Bay : B-
- Detroit Trades Jon Kitna to Dallas for Anthony Henry – Once again, the Detroit Lions get the better end of Dallas. After taking a ton of draft picks from the Cowboys last season, Detroit goes and dumps an aging and overpaid quarterback on them. The move will save the Lions somewhere around $4 million in cap space and they get a decent player in return. I think that the departure of both Kitna and Dan Orlovsky frees up some space for Matt Stafford in April, unless they’re really comfortable with Culpepper. Grade for Detroit : B+
- Houston Signs Antonio Smith – He played on a Super Bowl team last year and he can obviously draw some attention on the line. He’ll line up opposite Mario Williams and he should be able to DO WORK in that position. This is a smart move by the Houston front office. Smith is a versatile guy that can play in any defensive scheme. Grade for Houston : B+
And that’s just the first few days of free agency. Big names are still up in the air as to where they’ll end up. Does Derrick Brooks retire or go contribute somewhere else? Does Ray Lewis stay put in Baltimore? Can the Cardinals come to terms with Kurt Warner and his “fair market value”? Why is Kurt Warner visiting the 49er’s? Is anyone in the market for Jeff Garcia? Where does Houshmandzadeh end up? Will Marvin Harrison hang it up? And this, folks, is why I enjoy watching athletes sign contracts for millions of dollars while I scrape up my change to try and buy a game ticket.
Note: I did not include signings or trades that I wrote about prior to this post (i.e. Culpepper, Haynesworth, Asomugha, Rosenfels) but you can find those articles by typing ‘NFL’ in the search bar near the top of the site.
The New England Patriots have finally decided to place the franchise tag on quarterback Matt Cassel.
Although Cassel had a great year in 2008, it wasn’t good enough to take the starting role from All-Pro Tom Brady.
When Brady went down last year, Cassel stepped in and stepped up immediately. He impressed a lot of people and drew a lot of interest from GM’s across the league. In fact, I was about to upload my 2009 NFL Mock Draft with the Chiefs taking someone other than Sanchez or Stafford because I thought Cassel would pack his bags and follow Scott Pioli to Kansas City. Not so much anymore…I suppose.
The Patriots will have to pay Cassel $14.65 million, the same salary as Tom Brady. Is that too much for a back-up?
New England will still have the option of trading Cassel before paying him the big bucks, but the team has to have full confidence in Tom Brady and his knee.
Instead of waiting to upload my Mock Draft because I want to wait and see where Cassel goes, I’ll post it with a possible trade in effect. Either way, Matt Cassel should get a pretty hefty paycheck from someone, whether it be Kansas City or New England.
I’ll first start out by saying that I have absolutely no experience in any kind of management field, especially that of a professional NFL franchise. I also understand that millions of people across the country log onto a computer each day and voice their opinion about their favorite teams and act like they would be the best candidate for the team’s general manager job. Consider this another one of “those”. My General Manager 2.0 theory is most comparable to those books entitled “Such-and-Such for Dummies” and it only consists of two easy rules. The General Manager 2.0 theory of building an NFL contending team is very simple, very basic, and very much to the point. If you have a couple minutes to waste, please hear me out.
The model can be used for any NFL franchise. I, however, will try my best to use the Washington Deadskins as my example of what NOT to do. Out of all the teams in the NFL, the Skins’ generate the most revenue and are second only to the Dallas Cowboys (due to new stadium) in franchise estimated value. Many people ask the same question; how in the hell are the two highest-valued teams repeat playoff absentees? The answer…money hungry owners who think they can do EVERYTHING. Because Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones and Skins’ owner Dan Snyder think that running an NFL franchise is as easy as running a fantasy football team on Yahoo.. But let’s not get carried away, here’s my take…
Rule #1 – This may not really constitute as a rule technically, but an aspiring GM has to find the job.
Owners should always hire a General Manager. Why? GM’s are an essential part of any football team that is looking to succeed. Whether a team employs a GM/Coach like Mike Shanahan or a one-job GM such as Scott Pioli, a team MUST have a GM. The GM is in-charge of the personnel, not the owner. Sure the owner signs the checks, but the GM is what essentially keeps the team oiled up and working…hence the job title GENERAL MANAGER. Owners must also be aware that they are there for the sole purpose of providing dollars and having a passion for winning. With that said, owners must also understand that their football knowledge is either minimal or not anywhere close to the football knowledge of their GM (assuming the owner hired a GM with some proven skills). Therefore, owners should not be assuming the role of general manager. Take Skins’ owner Dan Snyder for example, he thinks he’s the greatest GM in the country. Is he? Absolutely not. In fact, he is the proof in the pudding that some owners believe running an NFL franchise (the highest grossing) is as easy as a Madden video game. Look at Jerry Jones. Is his input on signing Pacman Jones necessary? No. Any GM in their right mind wouldn’t have signed that idiot. BUT, Jerry thinks he knows more than any GM and he signed Pacman anyway. And, how did that turn out? Now look at owners like Robert Kraft, the Rooney Family, and Steve Bisciotti. Those teams have had great success over the years and their players have come from effective GM’s and their expertise in the world of football. Kraft’s former GM, Scott Pioli, assembled a dynasty of the modern day. You can love or hate the Patriots, but you have to admit that the team was a damn good football team. Pioli drafted guys that no one had heard of and they turned out to be solid players in the league, if not Super Bowl MVP’s. The Rooney Family’s GM Kevin Colbert, has helped build a very solid team in Pittsburgh – a team that has had its fair share of playoff appearances and a Super Bowl win in recent years. And finally, Bisciotti understands that he doesn’t have all the knowledge necessary to build a football team, so he hires a guy like Ozzie Newsome. Newsome’s work with the Baltimore Ravens has made them into one of the most-feared defenses in the league. He has also done an outstanding job with the offensive line, bringing in players that no one thought of and turning them into Pro-Bowlers. Newsome, like Pioli and Colbert, understand that their reputation is built from the players they draft after the 1st round.
Rule # 2 – Build your team through the draft, not through free agency.
Sure, I understand that free agency is an asset to the league and a decent way to fill a void. However, drafting your players and developing them is the most effective way to build a successful team. Referring back to Dan Snyder’s fantasy football style, he came into D.C. and brought in 800-year-old gargoyles like Mark Carrier, Jessie Armstead, and Jeff George. To put it nicely, it never worked out. Now we take a look at teams like the Patriots, Steelers, and Ravens. The Patriots made something out of nothing, seeing different things in players that no other general managers did (see: Tom Brady). The Steelers are probably the greatest drafting team in the league. Of their 22 starting players, 18 of them were drafted by the franchise. Now, take a look at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ history and success. The Baltimore Ravens have created a defense by drafting players like Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, and Jonathan Ogden. Free agency is often the most entertaining talent pool to look at during the off-season because of the immediate impact a veteran can have. But one must also remember that veterans are usually late 20’s at best, they have established themselves and have developed their own attitude or play-style, and they have been accustomed to the tradition of their former team rather than yours. If every free agent could come to a new team and play with the exact same style and attitude as their new team, then possibly free agency would be more beneficial. But I believe a kid drafted out of Ohio State to play in New England would be better off in the long run than signing a 29-year-old veteran who has played in Dallas for his first six years (especially under Wade Phillips).
So what I have to say may not really matter to anyone, but that’s why it’s an opinion. The General Manager 2.0 model is short, simple, and easy so that boneheads like Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder can understand it. And the next time you’re researching a successful team, look into their general manager as well.
Sorry Minnesota, San Francisco, and any other team that may have had a slight bit of interest in Matt Cassel. Cassel was expected to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2008 season and he looked like fresh meat for some quarterback-desperate teams. However, sources have stated that the New England Patriots plan on applying the franchise tag to Cassel, which will pay him just over $14 million. With Tom Brady’s not-so-good rehabilitation and the stellar play of the young quarterback, the Patriots decided to play it safe.
Matt Cassel can’t be too upset with his $14 million in guaranteed cash, especially when Tom Brady is making just $15 million. So Cassel gets the big money but he may not receive the big shot. If Tom Brady comes back okay, then Cassel will likely be riding the bench like he was just one year ago. But if Brady continues to rehabilitate at the rate at which it’s reported, then Cassel may take the reigns for another year in New England.
What can a dynasty like the Patriots learn from an underachieving team like the Browns? Does anyone remember Derek Anderson? How about his 2007 season and the Browns’ decision to stick with him as their starter instead of rookie stud Brady Quinn? Well, I am not saying that there is an open quarterback competition in New England between Tom Brady and Matt Cassel, but with Cassel about to become a free-agent I would advise ALL teams to beware. Don’t fall into the “Cinderella-Derek Anderson” trap!
Derek Anderson came out of no where in 2007 and led his team to a playoff-like record, but the Browns just didn’t get in. His Pro-Bowl stats inspired the Browns’ front office (now fired) to sign him back and make him their starter. They made Anderson the starter over hometown rookie Brady Quinn – at which time fans probably didn’t mind too much. Then, after a horrible start in 2008, fans realized how bad he was. They realized how bad the front office was and so did the owners, which is why Phil Savage is now unemployed. But look at the stats:
Derek Anderson (2007) (15 G) 3,787 yds 56.5% 29 TDs 19 INTs 82.5 RTG
And in 2008 we saw Tom Brady go down in the first game and watch a guy named Matt Cassel come in and fill the HUGE shoes. Cassel’s background was short – very short. In fact, Cassel hadn’t started a game since high school, which lead to no type of confidence amongst fans or analysts. However, Cassel got better week after week, he started putting up huge numbers, and before you know it…Matt Cassel has Pro Bowl stats and in the final year of his contract. Sound familiar? Look at Cassel’s stats:
Matt Cassel (2008) (15G) 3,693 yds 63.4% 21 TDs 11 INTs 89.4 RTG
Both guys’ stats are extremely appealing, especially to people like Minnesota, Detroit, New York Jets (longer term), and maybe even San Francisco. But can Cassel really be trusted or is he another one-hit-wonder? Many people will tell you that any quarterback could succeed in New England’s system offense and that’s why they don’t buy into Cassel. Some people will say to look at Derek Anderson last year. But I would say to wait out for the playoffs. Matt Cassel may get an opportunity that Derek Anderson didn’t have and that’s to show what he can do in a must-win playoff situation. We must remember that even when a team loses an All-Pro quarterback, there is still 52 men that were a huge part of an undefeated season just months ago. Cassel, if lucky enough, will have a great opportunity to demonstrate some leadership and skill, all while having a strong supporting cast behind him. This is the one-time deal for Cassel to make the big dollars, no excuses.
You can make your own arguments and create your own “what-if” scenarios, but the “Cinderella-Derek Anderson” effect has to be in the minds of numerous GM’s in the league. And now with Tom Brady reportedly slow in his recovery, maybe the Pats resign Cassel and he ends up just fine. Or will he crumble? If he stays, starts, and succeeds – is it the system or is he really a good quarterback? No one will know until it happens, but Cassel should come with a ‘BUYER BEWARE’ label.