Archive for May, 2011

Picking apart the 100 best current NFL players (91-100)


I’m sure you have all heard of NFL Netowrk’s new top 100 players of 2011 show by now. The players vote for the best players of today, and I was inspired to make a list of my own. Here’s my reaction to the list.

100. Donovan McNabb, QB, Redskins (unranked on my list): There’s no way a player that gets benched in favor of Rex Grossman is one of the top one hundred current players. This isn’t a list of the best active players, it’s a list of the best current players.

99. Chad Clifton, OT, Packers (92nd on my list): A rock solid left tackle. He belongs towards the bottom of this list.

98. Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders (unranked on my list): A very talented player who just missed the cut on my list. If he had one more productive year under his belt, I would be more sold on him going forward.

97. Shaun Phillips, OLB, Chargers (unranked on my list): A solid player who just doesn’t stand out in a league filled with remarkable pass rushers. I have no complaints about his inclusion on the list.

96. Nick Collins, S, Packers (95th on my list): A very good young safety who’s right around where he should be.

95. John Beason, ILB, Panthers (unranked on my list): Beason is a bright spot on an awful Carolina team. He’s definitely on the top 150 list, but isn’t truly elite.

94. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers (80th on my list): An explosive but well-rounded back who certainly has earned his spot on the list as he has carried a perennially poor San Francisco squad.

93. Eric Berry, S, Chiefs (unranked on my list): I’ll be the first to admit that I only watched one or two Chiefs games this year, but I still think that other guys like Brandon Meriweather, Chris Harris, and Louis Delmas are more worthy of making the list.

92. Lance Briggs, OLB, Bears (unranked on my list): I just don’t think Briggs ever became an elite player. He’s very good, but I’d rather have Chad Greenway or David Harris on the list.

91. Terrell Owens, WR, Bengals (unranked on my list): Owens is still a very good player, and would have been the 102nd player on my list.

My list (91-100)

100. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs

99. Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns

98. Cameron Wake, OLB, Dolphins

97. Carl Nicks, G, Saints

96. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers

95. Nick Collins, S, Packers

94. Kellen Winslow Jr., TE, Buccaneers

93. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers

92. Chad Clifton, OT, Packers

91. Cullen Jenkins, DE, Packers

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5 Moves the Eagles should consider making


Overall, the Eagles have been one of the few consistently successful NFL teams over the past decade. They are joined by the Colts, Patriots, and Steelers, and I suppose you could throw the Ravens in there. However, there’s always room for improvement and it gets a lot tougher to continue success through two decades than one. Give the Eagles credit for turning over their roster. This is not a team dependent on one player, as we see the team continue to make the playoffs despite the absence of stars like Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Tra Thomas, Jon Runyan, Jeremiah Trotter, Brian Dawkins, and Sheldon Brown. I have come up with five good ways for the Eagles to plan for the future.

1. Trade Kevin Kolb: It has to be done. Although Kolb is a valuable backup, he’s worth much more to other teams than he is to the Eagles. Think of it this way; would you trade a first round pick (and possibly more) for a quality backup passer when you have Michael Vick? Of course not, so why would you hesitate when the deal is presented the other way around? If Kolb was under contract for a long time, I would feel differently, but since he’s out after this season anyway, the Eagles might as well cash in on him. Either Arizona or Seattle would be willing to give up a first and third round pick for him. So, heading into 2012, the Eagles will have seven picks in the first four rounds.

2. Hire a game manager: Andy Reid is an elite head coach in this league because of his ability to develop offensive talent and because he is great at finding players that fit his scheme. However, he has his weaknesses. The Eagles could have come away with some key wins if Andy Reid knew how to manage the clock in the two minute drill or when to throw the red hankie. Find somebody who can teach Michael Vick how to master the clock and be in the upstairs booth telling Big Red when to pull out the challenge flag. Having a key behind-the-scenes man could be the difference between a win and a loss in the playoffs.

3. Stockpile DBs: With a franchise quarterback, explosive receivers, talented pass rushers, and the two best positional coaches on each line, the Eagles are missing only one component required to become Super Bowl favorites. They need defensive backs. To go through teams like New Orleans, Atlanta, and Green Bay in the playoffs, the Eagles will need to be at least seven or eight deep in the secondary. Without a coaching genius like Howard Mudd or Jim Washburn back there, the Eagles will have to do it with talent. If Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins declares for the supplemental draft, I would be willing to spend a second round pick on him. If he doesn’t, I would go out and get Nnamdi Asomugha, Jonathan Joseph, Antonio Cromartie, or Ike Taylor and let Trevard Lindley and Curtis Marsh continue to develop behind them. My two first round picks in 2011 would ideally go towards Tennessee safety Janzen Jackson and South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Asante Samuel, Nnamdi Asomugha, Stephon Gilmore, Trevard Lindley, Janzen Jackson, Nate Allen, Jaiquawn Jarrett, and Kurt Coleman make up a secondary that will be capable of carrying the team.

4. Trade DeSean Jackson: Yes, I said it. Keep in mind that I would only consider a trade if a team were willing to give up the farm for him. The trade would have to fetch a lot more than the Broncos got for Brandon Marshall (two second rounders). I would demand two first rounders. If anybody bites, the Eagles will be in great shape for 2012, as they would have three first round picks and two more in 2013, which is 2000 Jets-esque (they took Shaun Ellis, John Abraham, Chad Pennington, and Anthony Becht in the first round). Jackson just disappears for too long and is afraid to run across the middle. He has his place in the league, but he is overrated.

5. Hire a top defensive coordinator: Juan Castillo might get the job done, but assuming he’s not Jim Jonhnson, which nobody expects him to be, the Eagles should try to get an upgrade. It’s easier said than done, but the Eagle defense won’t be what it once was without a Jim Johnson or Steve Spagnuolo at the helm.

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2011 Power Rankings


There’s not too much to write about any more as the lockout doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon. However, as there’s always more speculation to be done, I will present my first 2011 power rankings, keeping in mind that players like Kevin Kolb, Nnamdi Asomugha, and DeAngelo Williams still have no clue what team they will suit up for in 2011 if anybody suits up anywhere, that is.

32. Washington Redskins (4th in NFC East)

  • Passing offense: F
  • Rushing offense: D
  • Run defense: C
  • Pass defense: D
  • Coaching: C
  • Notes: Not nearly enough talent to get away with John Beck or Rex Grossman at quarterback
31. Cleveland Browns (4th in AFC North)
  • Passing offense: D
  • Rushing offense: B
  • Run defense: F
  • Pass defense: C
  • Coaching: D
  • Notes: I like Colt McCoy, but the Browns won’t start improving until all those extra picks in 2012 come in. If they draft well, they could be the second best team in the division in 2013.
30. Carolina Panthers (4th in NFC South)
  • Passing offense: D
  • Rushing offense: B
  • Run defense: D
  • Pass defense: C
  • Coaching: C
  • Notes: I’m not a big believer in Cam Newton, and there won’t be much around him besides Jon Beason and Jonathan Stewart.
29. Arizona Cardinals (4th in NFC West)
  • Passing offense: D
  • Rushing offense: D
  • Run defense: D
  • Pass defense: B
  • Coaching: D
  • Notes: Arizona has a few stars in Darnell Dockett, Larry Fitzgerald, and Adrian Wilson, but not nearly enough starting caliber players in behind them to be competitive, even if they do acquire Kevin Kolb.
28. Seattle Seahawks (3rd in NFC West)
  • Passing offense: D
  • Rushing offense: D
  • Run defense: D
  • Pass defense: C
  • Coaching: B
  • Notes: The Seahawks are still in rebuilding mode, and have a ton of work to do. Unfortunately, they won the division, which did not allow them to take advantage of a high draft pick like their rivals.
27. Buffalo Bills (4th in AFC East)
  • Passing offense: D
  • Rushing offense: C
  • Run defense: F
  • Pass defense: B
  • Coaching: D
  • Notes: The Bills have just enough talent to win six or seven games, but don’t have the key components needed to compete for a playoff spot yet.
26. Cincinnati Bengals (3rd in AFC North)
  • Passing offense: D
  • Rushing offense: C
  • Run defense: C
  • Pass defense: C
  • Coaching: D
  • Notes: The Bengals are starting from scratch in 2011, and while it may be ugly this year, starting fresh is the right decision in the long run. Don’t expect Marvin Lewis to retain his job though.
25. Minnesota Vikings (4th in NFC North)
  • Passing offense: D
  • Rushing offense: B
  • Run defense: B
  • Pass defense: D
  • Coaching: C
  • Notes: The Vikings are crumbling and keeping so many aging players on the roster will set this franchise back.
24. Oakland Raiders (4th in AFC West)
  • Passing offense: D
  • Rushing offense: C
  • Run defense: C
  • Pass defense: D
  • Coaching: B
  • Notes: I really like new coach Hue Jackson, but the Raiders will sorely miss Nnamdi Asomugha and Robert Gallery, assuming they leave in free agency.
23. Tennessee Titans (4th in AFC South)
  • Passing offense: D
  • Rushing offense: B
  • Run defense: C
  • Pass defense: C
  • Coaching: D
  • Notes: Tennessee needs a quarterback badly, and there’s no way Jake Locker is the savior in his rookie season.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars (3rd in AFC South)
  • Passing offense: D
  • Rushing offense: A
  • Run defense: C
  • Pass defense: D
  • Coaching: D
  • Notes: Jacksonville used to be known for its tough, nasty defense. Now all they have is Maurice Jones-Drew.
21. Denver Broncos (3rd in AFC West)
  • Passing offense: C
  • Rushing offense: C
  • Run defense: F
  • Pass defense: C
  • Coaching: C
  • Notes: The Broncos added a bunch of talented defenders in the draft, and appear headed in the right direction. They have two capable quarterbacks, and can certainly win up to seven or eight games.
20. St. Louis Rams (2nd in NFC West)
  • Passing offense: C
  • Rushing offense: C
  • Run defense: D
  • Pass defense: D
  • Coaching: B
  • Notes: The Rams have some talent, but they’re still a long ways away from being able to do damage in the playoffs.
19. Miami Dolphins (3rd in AFC East)
  • Passing offense: D
  • Rushing offense: C
  • Run defense: B
  • Pass defense: B
  • Coaching: C
  • Notes: A solid defensive team who will have trouble putting up points. Until they find a franchise quarterback, they will always be below the Patriots and Jets in the standings.
18. San Francisco 49ers (1st in NFC West)
  • Passing offense: D
  • Rushing offense: B
  • Run defense: B
  • Pass defense: D
  • Coaching: B
  • Notes: San Francisco is much more talented than people give them credit for, and I think they win the division with around nine wins. Their trenches are powerful and they have enough playmakers to make things happen.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3rd in NFC South)
  • Passing offense: C
  • Rushing offense: C
  • Run defense: D
  • Pass defense: C
  • Coaching: A
  • Notes: The Bucs are good enough in every area, but don’t have any areas where they are exceedingly good.
16. Dallas Cowboys (3rd in NFC East)
  • Passing offense: B
  • Rushing offense: C
  • Run defense: C
  • Pass defense: D
  • Coaching: B
  • Notes: A talented team with many holes. If they draft well, they can return to elite status in a few years.
15. Kansas City Chiefs (2nd in AFC West)
  • Passing offense: C
  • Rushing offense: A
  • Run defense: C
  • Pass defense: B
  • Coaching: C
  • Notes: This is a young team with a lot of talent. However, they need to beef up in the trenches to become a more complete football team.
14. Detroit Lions (3rd in NFC North)
  • Passing offense: B
  • Rushing offense: C
  • Run defense: B
  • Pass defense: D
  • Coaching: B
  • Notes: Detroit’s roster is filled with budding superstars, but they remain a few pieces away from being an elite team. The thought of Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh playing side by side is scary.
13. Houston Texans (2nd in AFC South)
  • Passing offense: A
  • Rushing offense: B
  • Run defense: D
  • Pass defense: D
  • Coaching: B
  • Notes: Again on the fringe of the playoffs, the Texans still need to bolster their defense. They lack a true nose tackle and playmakers on the back end.
12. Baltimore Ravens (2nd in AFC North)
  • Passing offense: C
  • Rushing offense: B
  • Run defense: A
  • Pass defense: C
  • Coaching: B
  • Notes: The Ravens’ window is closing quickly. If they can get a great year out of Joe Flacco, they can be contenders, but if he fails to stand out, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed will ride off into the sunset dissatisfied.
11. Indianapolis Colts (1st in AFC South)
  • Passing offense: A
  • Rushing offense: F
  • Run defense: D
  • Pass defense: C
  • Coaching: C
  • Notes: Once again, Peyton Manning will have to carry the team on his back. With his defense, there’s no way the Colts go very deep into the playoffs.
10. New York Jets (2nd in AFC East)
  • Passing offense: C
  • Rushing offense: B
  • Run defense: B
  • Pass defense: B
  • Coaching: B
  • Notes: The Jets are a good team, but they will really suffer in Braylon Edwards and Antonio Cromartie walk in free agency. I don’t think Mark Sanchez is a Super Bowl caliber quarterback either.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (1st in AFC North)
  • Passing offense: B
  • Rushing offense: B
  • Run defense: A
  • Pass defense: D
  • Coaching: A
  • Notes: The Steelers would be clear favorites to win it all in 2011 if they had cornerbacks. Assuming Ike Taylor walks, the Steelers will have no starting caliber cover men on the roster, and not enough money to go get Nnamdi Asomugha, Antonio Cromartie, or Jonathan Joseph.
8. Chicago Bears (2nd in NFC North)
  • Passing offense: C
  • Rushing offense: C
  • Run defense: B
  • Pass defense: B
  • Coaching: B
  • Notes: A tough, solid all-around football team that has a chance to win it all if they get a great year out of Jay Cutler. With so many aging defensive superstars, their window for success is closing rapidly though.
7. Atlanta Falcons (2nd in NFC South)
  • Passing offense: B
  • Rushing offense: B
  • Run defense: C
  • Pass defense: B
  • Coaching: B
  • Notes: A very talented team, but not as good as their 2010 record indicates. Matt Ryan is a good quarterback, not an elite one, and the defense needs energy and toughness up front.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (2nd in NFC East)
  • Passing offense: B
  • Rushing offense: B
  • Run defense: B
  • Pass defense: C
  • Coaching: B
  • Notes: The Eagles have a great shot at winning the Super Bowl if they acquire a top corner in free agency and make sure Michael Vick keeps evolving into a unique, more complete weapon.
5. New York Giants (1st in NFC East)
  • Passing offense: B
  • Rushing offense: B
  • Run defense: B
  • Pass defense: B
  • Coaching: B
  • Notes: No real weaknesses on this team, and they certainly have a great shot at taking home the NFC crown. They cannot turn the ball over as much as they did in 2010 though.
4. New Orleans Saints (1st in NFC South)
  • Passing offense: A
  • Rushing offense: B
  • Run defense: C
  • Pass defense: B
  • Coaching: B
  • Notes: Be sure that the Saints will be ready to rebound from an embarrassing exit from the playoffs last year. They are immensely talented and can go all the way.
3. San Diego Chargers (1st in AFC West)
  • Passing offense: A
  • Rushing offense: C
  • Run defense: B
  • Pass defense: B
  • Coaching: B
  • Notes: The Chargers have a rare combination of an elite quarterback paired with a rock solid defense. I’m thinking 2011 could be San Diego’s year.
2. New England Patriots (1st in AFC East)
  • Passing offense: A
  • Rushing offense: B
  • Run defense: B
  • Pass defense: B
  • Coaching: A
  • Notes: Bill Belichick has his team stacked once again, and it’s never a good idea to bet against Tom Brady. There’s no reason to believe another 14 win season is out of reach.
1. Green Bay Packers (1st in NFC North)
  • Passing offense: A
  • Rushing offense: C
  • Run defense: A
  • Pass defense: A
  • Coaching: B
  • Notes: Along with the Chargers, the Packers are the only team to have an elite quarterback playing with one of the top defensive units in the league. They were the best last year, and will only get Jermichael Finley, Ryan Grant, and Nick Barnett back healthy for 2011.

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