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"Trades and Changes" Archive


Falcons Matt Ryan says he’s “excited” about working in Koetter’s system

Matt Ryan sat down with the Atlanta Falcons for a short Q&A. One of the questions was about the addition of Dirk Koetter from the Jags and his vertical passing system.

JA: Speaking of Koetter, he’s a coach with a history of relying on vertical passing, and he says he’s big on the screen game. What do you think of what you’ve heard of his system so far?

MR: I’m excited about it. I think you always learn different things from different coaches and I think all great competitors are always eager to learn more. I view it as that opportunity to learn more and try and add to my knowledge about the game and, ultimately, my productivity when I get on the field. I think he’s got some really good ideas and understands the personnel we have here, and certainly after free agency and the Draft, we’ll have a better idea of what we’re going to look like next year, but I’m excited about it. You mentioned the screen game and the vertical passing stuff, I think there’s some things we’ve done well in that category, but certainly those are two areas I think we can be better and his expertise in that area I think will help.

I fretted over the Koetter hiring here. But I’m staying positive that my Birds will get it right. Since then, they’ve hired Mike Nolan as Defensive Coordinator and that decision made me happy.

If nothing else, my coaches are a darned good looking group! That’s gotta count for…something.




Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins Fire Their Coaches - Quarterbacks Still An Issue

We all saw it coming…

If you want more details about Todd Haley’s situation you can’t find a better source than Charles Robinson of Yahoo.


This is just a snippet. If you want all the juice, you have to read his entire timeline. There’s A LOT there. But ultimately, it comes down to a major clash of egos AND the quarterback situation in Kansas. I think the consensus is that nobody really knows what to think about Cassel’s potential. And apparently the Chiefs organization is no exception.

As for the Dolphins…there was a part of me that thought the Dolphins might keep Sparano…well at least until the end of the season.  Miami has really pulled it together the 2nd half of the season and you have to give Sparano some credit for that given the fact that he motivated a team that really has nothing to play for THIS season. Funny that up until yesterday when the Eagles beat the Dolphins both teams had the same record. Did the Eagles fire anyone yet?

I do think it’s possible that both teams could draft a quarterback next year. The Dolphins definitely have to-although I have a feeling that Matt Moore has played well enough for some team to at least consider him as their starter. I just don’t think the Dolphins will be willing to risk it when everyone will be looking at them to make a play for a QB. My guess is that Andrew Luck and this year’s Heisman winner Robert Griffin (assuming Griffin declares) will be gone by the time Miami gets a turn though.

I’m interested to see what happens next with Sparano. He never looked completely incapable to me. Miami is short on talent at some key positions and plus the Dolphins are such a drag as an organization. I looked at Miami’s roster from the past several years and I just don’t know what to think.

You tell me…[keep in mind, the Dolphins were 11-5 Sparano’s first season.








It’s Official: 4 Quarterbacks Will Get Their First Starts Week 7

Raiders Quarterback Jason Campbell aka Young Lionel Richie has a career that is once again in the air. #PrayForYoungLionel

Lots of changes afoot at the quarterback position. Together, those changes mean that 4 new QBs will start on Sunday!

Who are they? What are the circumstances? I’m glad you asked.

1. Washington Redskins

Out = Rex Grossman

In = John Beck

Rex Grossman has been a below average QB for a long time, Super bowl appearance nonwithstanding. For some reason the Shanahan’s had it in their mind that they could turn him into something that he’s not-good. Great, even. After becoming a turnover machine the past couple games (including 4 interceptions in 3 quarters against the Eagles last week), Mike Shanahan realized what Bears fans knew a long time ago. There’s no country for Rex Grossman in football. John Beck, who I predicted would be the Redskins starter at the beginning of the season, is officially in (if you click on my link you can also see my totally wrong prediction regarding Tim Tebow). I just hope the Skins take my advice and never bench Beck for Grossman no matter how bad things get.

2. Oakland Raiders

Out = Jason Campbell

In = Carson Palmer

Raiders Coach Hue Jackson somehow convinced Dr. Evil, I mean, Mike Brown to give up Carson Palmer who he vowed to never trade. Palmer quit football (not retired) cause he was FED UP with Cincinnati’s bullshit. I think this could be a good move for the Raiders. I explained why in great detail here.

Can we just have a moment of silence for Jason Campbell? What a tumultuous career. This shows how shaky the NFL is. One minute you’re starting the next minute, you’re injured, replaced, and wondering if you’ll ever play again, much less start.

Let’s talk 6 degrees of separation. Campbell is a Redskins cast off. After going through 8 coaches in 6 years (exaggeration…but not by much), Campbell was shipped out to the Raiders in favor of Donovan McNabb, former Eagles QB who was benched for Rex Grossman. So you know where we’re going next…

3. Minnesota Vikings

Out = Donovan McNabb

In = Christian Ponder

McNabb is done but for some reason he still doesn’t know it. Now I thought he was mistreated in Washington, but due to the fact that he was benched over a year ago and hadn’t played football in a year, the likelihood of his skills deteriorating even more was high in the first place.McNabb is a curious case to me. I’m actually surprised he didn’t retire when the Eagles wanted to get rid of him. He’s made plenty of money and I don’t get any sort of “passionate about football” feelings from him. To hear him say he feels like he has a lot of football left…I’m just confused. Like…why? And why does he want to go from classy to ashy?

Don’t get me wrong, the Vikings aren’t good whether they have McNabb or not. They will probably be in about the same shape with Ponder as they were with McNabb unless he and Adrian Peterson can pull some sort of Cam Newton-Steve Smith/Andy Dalton-AJ Green thing. Still, now that their season is pretty much a wash, there’s no better time to go ahead and start a rookie. In fact, as I said before, if ever you DID have a rookie QB that couldn’t sit, this was the season to throw him out there. With no OTAs or mini-camps lots of guys are in the midst of a steep learning curve-not just rookies. Might as well give the young guys a season to start without massive consequences if they aren’t great the first year.

So you know where I’m going next right…

4. Denver Broncos

Out = Kyle Orton

In = Tim Tebow

Honeyyyyy what is going on? The Broncos are confusing to me. They ship out Brandon Lloyd (their best WR), and the reason (as speculated by many) is that they are clearing house to make room for guys that buy-in to Tebow. I get it, but I don’t understand it. Lloyd was headed toward Free Agency, I don’t think he would have handed in a poor performance knowing that he wanted to play somewhere else and this season would be an audition. Part of finding out whether a QB can be successful is putting him in a position to succeed. Getting rid of a strong route runner doesn’t seem geared toward that line of thinking. Also, I don’t get the sense from the Broncos leadership that they’re sure Tebow will be there past this season.

So I’m supposed to believe they’re building around an experiment. Anything is possible, but it sounds fishy to me. It feels like they are setting up Tebow to ensure he fails convincingly so that the fans can’t bitch when they get a new QB. He has to fail for leadership to get a trade/cut pass from the fans, he can’t just be “not good.” Not good may mean you’re stuck with him longer or risk “they never gave him a chance…” feelings. Either way, I support Tebow starting. There’s no better time to figure out what this young man has to offer-besides the personality of potted meat.









5 Reasons To Like The Raiders - Carson Palmer Deal

Hi Palmer, is that a one for "one last chance?"

Assuming that Jay Glazer is right in his report that Carson has been training and is football ready, I’m cool with this deal. I worry because it has been 9 months since Palmer played football or was involved in any sort of organized team activity. As we’ve seen thus far, with all the injuries to players, OTAs, camps and all that matter. You can work out until your heart’s content, but there’s something about preparing the muscles you use in practice and in play that apparently just can’t be totally replicated in singular workouts. To the Raiders credit, if Doug Farrar is correct, they’ve sourced their information regarding Palmer’s physical condition pretty well.

Besides those concerns, I like it for a few reasons.

1. It sends a sign to a team that hasn’t gone to the playoffs since…since…(aww hell somebody look it up)…that the team wants to win this year. And by win, I mean go to the playoffs. I’m not talking about Superbowl here. I think it’s clear that Terrell Pryor probably isn’t ready to play having been suspended for 5 games and having questionable mechanics and technique in the first place.Nobody on the Raiders wants to ‘start over’ with their season going this well. They want something proven, even if it is somewhat of a risk. I think this will be a morale boost for the guys.

Plus it’s hard to deny Palmer can get the ball in a receivers hands. Regardless of the 586 attempts he had to take last year to do it, he did pass for almost 4K yards and had a 61% completion rate. You can complain about short passes (he was under 7 yards an attempt) but guess what? Short screens are driving passing stats up this year, tis the world we live in. Jon Gruden doesn’t like it, I’m not necessarily a fan, but here we are.The game is evolving for better or worse.

Plus the Raiders have power house RB Darren McFadden. When all else fails direct snap or hand off. Just don’t give the appearance of starting over right now while the team is believing in itself.

2. Palmer wasn’t “terrible” last year, but certainly he wasn’t anything to write home about. 33 interceptions in his last 32 games leaves me thinking Rex Grossman caliber QB. On the other hand, Grossman may also still be starting in the league. And the Redskins are 3-2 which is further than a lot of people thought they’d be. Anyway, a not-good QBs can get you over the hump sometimes. I don’t see Palmer as an automatic suck…a possible one sure, but automatic? No. If Palmer has chemistry with his receivers and is low on turnovers the Raiders may have the last laugh.

3. Palmer has something to prove, and we might see a different guy given his new circumstances. Palmer spent the entire summer publicly arguing with Cincy owner Mike Brown and after getting nowhere with it decided to retire rather than play for the Bengals. This was a God send for them both. Cincy’s defense has improved tremendously this year, and rookie QB Andy Dalton and his primary receiver rookie AJ Green aren’t yet affected by how silly the organization has behaved the in the past. They’re simply happy to have an opportunity to play and things are running along better than expected.

Given the Bengals odd stats, which I blogged about before,  new offensive coordinator could also help Palmer give a better performance. There’s a reason Bob Bratowski doesn’t have a job right now. There’s also a reason Cedric Benson said he wouldn’t return to the Bengals if Bratowski did.

4. Palmer’s knee has likely gotten proper attention and rest. The popular theory is that Palmer hasn’t been great since his knee was injured. Probably true.  Athlete Performance, Palmer’s gym of choice, is pretty well known for the physical therapy aspect of their services. If his knee could be rehabilitated, there are not too many better places he could go to get it done. I haven’t forgotten that Palmer is getting up there in years but as I look at the QB landscape…so are a lot of people. Palmer is about 2 years older than backup Kyle Boller and has a year on Michael Vick.

5. Palmer and Coach Hue Jackson already know each other and are familiar with each other’s styles. Palmer shouldn’t have huge issues fitting into the offense right away. Again, the Raiders don’t need another shake up. An immediate good fit would be optimal for them.

On the issue of giving up first round picks for Palmer, I don’t care. I said this on twitter. I don’t think the Raiders have a lot of incentive to tie up guaranteed money in first round picks even if the new wage scale puts salaries at significantly less than what rookies made previously. If you go into the 2nd round you’re looking at even less money tied up and possibly similar impact.

The Raiders have given up a lot of picks in various deals however they also have mid-round picks coming their way due to the loss of Robert Gallery, Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller, and Thomas Howard. If Palmer pans out for them they will have made a smart choice. If he doesn’t, they will just have to fish well in the upcoming drafts as they should anyway. The Patriots seem to do that sort of thing pretty well, no reason the Raiders can’t reverse their tide.

Speaking of the Patriots, wouldn’t Ryan Mallet look awesome in a Raiders uni??? I’m just saying! I love that man and I’m ready to see him play so I plug it every chance I get.






Why I Said Ochocinco to New England Patriots Would Be A Mistake

New England Patriot Chad Ochocinco Catches a Basketball Game

Yeah, I know the feeling Chad. Trust me.

I hate making predictions. Why? Cause I hate being completely wrong. I predicted former Cincinnati Bengal Chad Ochocinco would sign with the Raiders and be reunited with his good friend Coach Hue Jackson. But that didn’t happen. Ocho publicly pleaded to play for New England. At the end of the lockout he got his wish.

I couldn’t understand his thinking. I tweeted about it then (before it ever happened, or looked like it would happen). But now I’ll give my full explanation with some added details now that the season is here.

The first reason I worried about Ocho to New England was because of his age (33) and the fact that if you’re not productive on the team you’re traded to, most older players don’t suddenly become “journeymen.” They just fade into existence. Terrell Owens and Randy Moss are exceptions to this rule, but also their level of talent is much greater. But for most players once you’ve spent 9 years on one team, your next stop is your last stop. Better make it a good one.

Actually, this reminds me of Ocho’s former teammate WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

Hous and Ocho played together in Cincy, and Hous put up numbers good enough to be considered a free agent prize when he left the team. Seattle was his eventual landing spot.  Seattle released him after one “okay” season (even though he came at a pretty high price). The Ravens picked him up for the veteran minimum and also released him after one season-though I suspect that his lack of production there had as much to do with the team as it did his own abilities. The Ravens could barely get Anquan Boldin involved in big games and he is undoubtedly a talent.

Point is, older players usually don’t get multiple seasons on new teams to prove themselves. It’s now or never. Hous is currently a man without a team.

Now here we find Chad Ochocinco barreling toward a similar circumstance of “well you didn’t have the impact I thought you would so therefore you must suck.” Low production for a season, advanced age, and the appearance that you did really badly on a very good team is an image killer.

And that is right where Ocho seems headed. He was never going to be “the man” in New England. Tom Brady spreads the ball as well as anybody but he does already have favorite targets like Wes Welker and also Rob Gronkowski.

The last cut the Pats made of a popular WR was Randy Moss whose ability to both run a route oddly to confuse defenders—typical of elite receivers— and still manage to get into place for the catch endeared him to Brady (who says he still talks to Moss on the phone). At this point, I don’t know what would be the endearing factor between Ocho and Brady but I hope Ocho finds one soon.

When Doug Farrar  of Yahoo’s Shut Down Corner blog looked at footage of the Pats versus the Bills he tweeted that Brady was often choosing to throw to one of the other receivers even if that receiver was covered and Ocho was open.

That will take time to fix, the question is will the Pats give him that time?

Beyond what low numbers do to a receiver’s future marketability, Ocho’s interest in being on the Pats team was odd to me from a marketing perspective.

When Ocho first started publicly saying he wanted to play for the patriots I suspected that he may have only said it as a way of sticking a finger in the eye of his dysfunctional team. Everyone has great respect for Belichick and Tom Brady and that mentioning wanting to play with them is a great way to highlight the fact that your team is nothing like them.

The Patriots are EVERYTHING that Cincy is not from a playing style, front office, management, coaching, and personnel perspective. But the Patriots also have not won a Super bowl in years, and have not been particularly successful in the playoffs recently.

In 2010, a public plea to play for the Pats is more of a thumbing of the nose rather than a genuine desire win a Super Bowl before your career is over—especially if you’re already 32.

For all the chatting that Chad Ochocinco likes to do, he is well-known through the league for his commitment to conditioning and his willingness to be a team player. I know that second part sounds strange given some of the dramatics that have occurred, but remember, this is Cincy we’re talking about.

But what Ochocinco is NOT known for is what matters the most to the Patriots—discipline on the football field. Heavy film study. Approaching the game from an intellectual standpoint FIRST and foremost. And sacrificing personal production in the interest of Tom Brady spreading the ball and keeping defenses guessing at which eligible receiver will be targeted next.

Why a player who likes to play as loose as Chad, and likes the spotlight as much as he does would want to sign with the Men-in-Black-Memory-Erasing Patriots organization is a mystery. Especially at a point in his career where his antics off field are actually very necessary.

If Ocho is going to remain relevant post-football he needs to keep up the momentum he had with his reality show work. Why would someone who is at the end of their career but wants to remain in the spotlight go to a team where the Coach says he doesn’t “myface or yearbook” and probably doesn’t think you should either?

It just felt like a bad match to me, and it still does.

The whole issue of not having OTAs and mini-camps has reared its ugly head in lots of ways-from the high number of ACL tears to obvious player discomfort with new playbooks and schemes.

Chad isn’t alone, but that doesn’t mean he will keep his job. I’m rooting for him to make yet another one of my predictions wrong. I hope his time with the Patriots is a success.


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