Reports about a possible contract extension for Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady recently led to a wave of arguments that the four-year pro’s performance has declined as of late. Those arguments aren’t flawed, but their main points of evidence are. In truth, Clady’s performance has declined. As a first-round rookie in 2008, he instantly proved to be football’s most athletic left tackle, if not football’s best left tackle. His 2009 season was equally impressive. In the spring of 2010, however, [...] Continue reading → | , , , ,
We’re in that weird down part of the NFL calendar. The draft hype and the knee-jerking of post-draft analysis have faded away. The Saints bounty scandal – which has been a gift from the heavens for offseason NFL writers – has run out of thunderous news breaks. Rookie minicamps recently got underway. But let’s face it: if you find yourself the least bit interested in those, it’s time to reevaluate your life; noteworthy developments – even those as miniscule as the debut of a team’s new scheme – come out of about one in every 3,200 rookie minicamps. This year’s biggest rookie minicamp news: Mike Shanahan says Robert Griffin III is Washington’s starting quarterback this season. Shanahan might as well have announced that the 2012 Redskins will also be punting on every [...] Continue reading → | , ,
The numbers, film and public sentiment all agree: the NFL has evolved into a passing league. Professional football as we know it is transforming before our very eyes. It’s not as simple as “more passes = greater importance of quarterback and receivers”. Each and every position is impacted multifariously. Here’s the rundown of how, and what all it means for the bigger picture.   Quarterback Virtually the entire league agrees: in order to compete for a Super Bowl, you have to have a superstar [...] Continue reading → | , , ,
Major League Baseball is underway and its Saturday afternoon ratings are down ever so slightly from last year. That’s nothing new. Last October, the sensational Cardinals-Rangers sensational seven-game World Series drew an average of 16.6 million viewers a night. Prior to that, the last time a Cardinals World Series went seven games was 1987; the average nightly audience was 35 million. Over the years, you’ve heard myriad explanations for baseball’s declining ratings: cable and satellite TV have give viewers a panoply of [...] Continue reading → | , , , ,
All of the NFL power players are in Florida for the owner’s meetings. Being discussed, among other things, are possible rule changes for 2012 and beyond. One proposal from the Buffalo Bills is for the replay process to be confined strictly to the booth. This no-brainer of an idea is long-overdue. It was actually written about in the Fifth Down Blog back in December after a replay procedure took over 10 minutes in a Raiders-Packers game. [...] Continue reading → | ,
A little after noon on Wednesday, the most polarizing player in the NFL was traded to the New York Jets. Hours later, there were reports that the Jets apparently were mistaken or unfamiliar with aspects of Tim Tebow’s contract. (Perhaps they had thought it only called for Tebow to be paid for 16 fourth quarters instead of 16 games.) Those reports eventually pinpointed the exact issue: who pays for a $5 million salary advance on Tebow’s contract? The Broncos and Jets eventually decided to split the costs, allowing the Jets to narrowly beat out Tebow’s hometown Jaguars for the services of the third-year pro. Plenty will continue to be written about how Tebow will fit in with what’s been the most decadent team in footbal [...] Continue reading → | , , , ,
Analyzing the 10 hottest stories in the NFL right now.   1. Manning slow decision: trickle down effect We expected the most decorated free agent in NFL history to have selected a new team by now. We’re still waiting, and the fate of three franchises – the Titans, Broncos and 49ers – hangs in the air. The longer the wait, the more devastating the failed Manning pursuit will be for two of those franchises – at least in terms of team morale. The Titans risk little by chasing Manning. Having made it clear after the season that they’re entering 2012 with a quarterback competition between Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker, the confidence and credibility of their next signal-caller had already been a bit compromised. Pursuing Manning makes [...] Continue reading → | , , , , , , , , , ,
If the first three days of free agency told us anything, it’s that the wide receiver position is considered more valuable than ever. Six of our Top 10 free agent receivers are already signed, while several others have been picked up or given new contracts. Traditional thinking has long been that a good offense needs a playmaking star at No. 1 receiver, a reliable possession target at No. 2 and a darting third down maestro in the slot at No. 3. But look closer at the transactions this week and you’ll see that these roles are becoming less relevant. [...] Continue reading → | , , , , , , , , ,
TOP 10 FREE AGENT DEFENSIVE LINEMEN Disclaimer: Remember, roughly 90 percent of free agents are only free agents because they’re last team did not want them. FIRST CLASS ELITE none   PRO BOWL CALIBER 1. Mario Williams, DE (last team HOU, 27 years old) Missed the final 11 games last season with a torn pec muscle, which is an injury that is prone to [...] Continue reading → | , , , , , ,
TOP 10 FREE AGENT QUARTERBACKS Disclaimer: Remember, roughly 90 percent of free agents are only free agents because their last team didn’t want them. FIRST CLASS ELITE 1. Peyton Manning (Last team IND, currently 35 years old) See “Weighing Risk and Reward on Peyton Manning” [...] Continue reading → | , , , , , ,
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