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Old 04-10-2009, 11:44 AM   #1
mikeauran
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Default ESPN-five smartest and dumbest moves of the offseason

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/column...fri&id=4058242

You have to admit this has been the most compelling NFL offseason in years.
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The Titans' Albert Haynesworth shows why he is one of the top defensive tackles in the NFL.

We've had stunning trades, surprising releases, the annual slew of coaching firings and the first defensive player in NFL history to receive a $100 million contract in free agency (Washington Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth). Talk about your nonstop news. The stories have been flying so fast and furiously it's been hard to take time to make sense of them.

We'll sort things out now. There have been so many interesting moves this offseason that it's worth sorting out the good and the bad before the draft begins in two weeks. And I'm not talking about no-brainers like the Oakland Raiders' making Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha the highest-paid defensive back in football, or the Detroit Lions' firing head coach Rod Marinelli after an 0-16 season. I'm more focused on the decisions that entail a lot more risk, mainly because they're the ones we'll likely be talking about in the fall.

So here are the five smartest and dumbest moves up to this point:

The Smartest

1. The New York Giants release Plaxico Burress: It was simply time for this to happen. Burress' legal problems haven't gone away quickly -- he's still trying to negotiate a plea agreement for carrying an unregistered handgun into a New York City nightclub last year -- and the Giants still didn't know how hard NFL commissioner Roger Goodell might hammer the star wide receiver. Granted, it will be hard for them to fill the void Burress' absence created when the wide receiver's off-field problems eventually led to a suspension. But the Giants also found a way to win consistently without him for most of the 2008 season. They can win without him in 2009.

2. The Kansas City Chiefs trade for New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel: I'm still not totally sold on Cassel. It will be harder for him to succeed without Randy Moss and Wes Welker running routes and Bill Belichick roaming the sidelines. That said, he's still the best option for a team that was desperate to stabilize the quarterback position. His presence allows the Chiefs to focus on other pressing needs in the draft, and it also lets us know that new general manager Scott Pioli already understands something that escaped the Carl Peterson/Herm Edwards regime: If you're going to rebuild, make sure you've a got a quarterback you believe in.



3. Kurt Warner re-signs with the Arizona Cardinals: It's hard to know how seriously Warner considered leaving the Cardinals when free agency arrived. What we do know is that he didn't need long to realize that Arizona was the best place for him to be. He's coming off a Pro Bowl season that nearly ended with the Cardinals upsetting the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl. For a man who maybe has two good seasons left in him, it was best for him to stay loyal to the franchise that allowed him to revitalize his playing career.

4. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers dump Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen: As shocking as this move seemed at the time -- it appeared to come out of nowhere -- it has made far more sense as more time has passed. The bottom line is that the players were tired of Gruden's cold-hearted personality, and the Bucs' ownership sensed it already had the next head-coaching star on staff (Raheem Morris). Throw in the fact that Allen was essentially useless as Gruden's right-hand man in the front office and you can see why the Bucs had to move so quickly. In the end, Gruden will be best remembered in Tampa as a man who won a Super Bowl with Tony Dungy's team.

5. Ray Lewis stays with the Baltimore Ravens: Sometimes you have to go out in the cold to see how harsh reality really can be. That's what happened to Lewis when his contract expired in February. Instead of finding a bunch of teams eager to pay big money for a soon-to-be 34-year-old middle linebacker coming off his 10th Pro Bowl season, he found a market in which nobody was willing to come close to Baltimore's three-year, $22 million offer. Lewis essentially learned the same lesson most people already knew: Aging middle linebackers are poor investments because their production usually goes downhill in a hurry (see Jeremiah Trotter and Zach Thomas). When that happens to Lewis, it's probably best that he's in a town where fans still can appreciate everything he did for their franchise.

The Dumbest

1. The Denver Broncos trade quarterback Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears: I realize the Bears gave up a ton to get their hands on Cutler. But let's not forget that he led the league's second-ranked offense despite operating with a running game that saw eight different backs land on injured reserve. The last time I checked, NFL teams have a hard time finding Pro Bowl quarterbacks. Even with Kyle Orton and some high draft picks now in the fold, new Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels is about to learn how tough it is to win without a big-time player at that position.

Winslow joins the Bucs
2. The Bucs make Kellen Winslow the highest-paid tight end ever: I like Winslow's talent. What I don't like is his track record. You're talking about a player who has had two productive years in five seasons (he caught 171 passes between 2006 and 2007). A high ankle sprain partly explains why he finished last season with only 428 receiving yards. Oh yeah, he can be a little high-maintenance at times, as well. The point here is that Tampa Bay already gave up a second-round pick in this year's draft and a fifth-rounder in 2010 for a player with two years left on his old deal. It could have at least waited to see if he could stay healthy and play nice with others before giving him $20.1 million in guaranteed cash.

3. The Detroit Lions don't clean house: Sure, they finally got rid of president/general manager Matt Millen after eight comical seasons, and they also dumped Marinelli after three years (replacing him with former Tennessee defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz). But what still defies explanation is why Millen was replaced with Martin Mayhew, who previously served as assistant general manager. Unless Mayhew is the second coming of Ron Wolf, the Lions missed a golden chance to inject some new perspective into an organization sorely in need of that. Note to Lions owner William Clay Ford Sr.: Whenever your team goes a full season without a victory, it's time to ship as many people out the door as possible.

4. The Dallas Cowboys keep Wade Phillips as head coach: There are only two reasons this makes sense to me: (a) Cowboys owner Jerry Jones really has a soft spot for Phillips, or (b) Jones couldn't find a way to find a better coach for his team next season. Regardless, it's a mistake to keep Phillips in charge of this bunch. He's undoubtedly a great guy, but he's also the man who lorded over a team that flamed out at the end of last season when most people had the Cowboys pegged as preseason Super Bowl favorites. Look at it this way: If Jones can swallow a $9 million salary-cap hit to release Terrell Owens, he can find the courage to fire a coach who's not going to lead his team to the promised land.
2008: Best of Marvin Harrison


5. Marvin Harrison asks for his release from the Indianapolis Colts: Hey, it would be hard for most people to take a pay cut when your contract calls for a $9 million salary and you've got 1,102 receptions to your name. But when Harrison balked and told the Colts he wanted out, he quickly found out just how chilly the open market can be for a 36-year-old wide receiver coming off the two worst seasons of his career. Oh, yeah: Let's not forget there are legal issues for Harrison in Philadelphia. In other words, he was better off finding a way to work things out in Indy.

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Old 04-10-2009, 11:49 AM   #2
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The Dumbest

1. The Denver Broncos trade quarterback Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears: I realize the Bears gave up a ton to get their hands on Cutler. But let's not forget that he led the league's second-ranked offense despite operating with a running game that saw eight different backs land on injured reserve. The last time I checked, NFL teams have a hard time finding Pro Bowl quarterbacks. Even with Kyle Orton and some high draft picks now in the fold, new Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels is about to learn how tough it is to win without a big-time player at that position.
didnt he JUST do that 1 year ago and go to 11 wins?
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:58 AM   #3
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1. The Denver Broncos trade quarterback Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears: I realize the Bears gave up a ton to get their hands on Cutler. But let's not forget that he led the league's second-ranked offense
16th in points. Those things that determine who won and lost the game.

Quote:
despite operating with a running game that saw eight different backs land on injured reserve.
Still 12th in total rushing yardage.

Quote:
The last time I checked, NFL teams have a hard time finding Pro Bowl quarterbacks.
Ask Vince Young and Derek Anderson how much those Pro Bowl nods have guaranteed them for future success.

Quote:
Even with Kyle Orton and some high draft picks now in the fold, new Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels is about to learn how tough it is to win without a big-time player at that position.
Like the Dolphins, Ravens, Vikings, Titans, and Panthers last year? Only about half the '09 playoff teams had what anyone would consider a "big-time player" at QB going into the season, and thats giving Warner.

Oh, or McDaniels' own 11-5 record with Matt Cassel behind center.

Massive fail.

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Old 04-10-2009, 12:00 PM   #4
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didnt he JUST do that 1 year ago and go to 11 wins?
HEY! Stop your damn naysaying! Cutler is teh bomb and Chicago made the best move evah!!!!!

Denver is doomed, Denveris stoopid, Denver won't win 5 gasmes this yeer wahhhhhhh!!
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:04 PM   #5
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didnt he JUST do that 1 year ago and go to 11 wins?
That guy shot himself in the foot with that quote. The jump between Brady and Cassel is much bigger then that between Cutler and Orton.
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:04 PM   #6
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The last time I checked, NFL teams have a hard time finding Pro Bowl quarterbacks.
Any team in the league could have a Pro Bowl QB if they want to. Just sign Brian Griese.
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:17 PM   #7
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16th in points. Those things that determine who won and lost the game.


Still 12th in total rushing yardage.


Like the Dolphins, Ravens, Vikings, Titans, and Panthers last year? Only about half the '09 playoff teams had what anyone would consider a "big-time player" at QB going into the season, and thats giving Warner.

Oh, or McDaniels' own 11-5 record with Matt Cassel behind center.

Massive fail.

Cutler did more for the run game than any of the runningbacks we had.

How about this sentence:

Mcdaniels is about to find out just how hard it is to win without a big time player at QB when you have one of the worst defenses in the league.
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:25 PM   #8
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Cutler did more for the run game than any of the runningbacks we had.

How about this sentence:

Mcdaniels is about to find out just how hard it is to win without a big time player at QB when you have one of the worst defenses in the league.
Miami had the first overall pick last year, so their D was expected to be pretty damn bad for '08 as of this time last year. Pennington was the QB, made the playoffs.

The Falcons started a rookie, were the 3rd worst team the year before, and they went on to make the playoffs.

Arizona had Leinart and Warner in full on QB battle up until nearly the beginning of the season last year, they were thought to have one of the worst defenses in the NFL as well. Warner emerged as a top tier starter and they won despite their defense, which then flipped the switch and kicked some ass in the playoffs prior to their SB loss.

The only thing more idiotic than assuming that Cutler is an irreplaceable commodity in a league that has shown no one to be irreplaceable is to assume that a unit from '08 that has a completely different coaching staff and 2/3rds of the starters already purged will somehow perform the same in '09.

As for Cutler somehow powering the running game, the team ran for over 100 yards in all but three games, two of those it ran for 90+. Cutler had 8 great games and 8 below average games last year. There is no describable correlation between them and total rushing yards though. You'd really think there would be if the rushing game was feeding off his success.

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Old 04-10-2009, 12:29 PM   #9
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didnt he JUST do that 1 year ago and go to 11 wins?
To be fair the team the year before that only went something like oh, 18-1. Also, Cassel had 3 years on the bench learning the difficult system before he was thrust into a starting roll. I'd also reckon the Pats defense was a 'bit' better than ours.
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:34 PM   #10
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To be fair the team the year before that only went something like oh, 18-1. Also, Cassel had 3 years on the bench learning the difficult system before he was thrust into a starting roll. I'd also reckon the Pats defense was a 'bit' better than ours.
so you are saying unless the QB was in that system for a while, there will be no impact. So jay or kyle both would have learnt the system this year. SO lets consider this to be the no impact year.

Second statement , there defense is much better. So lets make our defense better when our QB is learning the complex system. So the coach went and got some picks to get the defense better. So what is the problem
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:35 PM   #11
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To be fair the team the year before that only went something like oh, 18-1. Also, Cassel had 3 years on the bench learning the difficult system before he was thrust into a starting roll. I'd also reckon the Pats defense was a 'bit' better than ours.
And Kyle Orton learned to play QB in a very similar system, FYI.

Also, rule out the 11-5 record. The Pats were still 5th in yardage and 8th in points last year, with Matt Cassel at QB, about as many RB injuries as we had, and constant issues on their OL. Their QB didn't even get to take snaps with the first team through camp or pre-season and was damn near a final roster cut to get down to 53.
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:36 PM   #12
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Cutler did more for the run game than any of the runningbacks we had.

How about this sentence:

Mcdaniels is about to find out just how hard it is to win without a big time player at QB when you have one of the worst defenses in the league.
I was seeing the tape this morning, i saw cutler was running instead of hillis. Did you guys see that as well ? Infact cutler threw the ball ran 20 yards caught the ball and broke some tackles and went to end zone. U guys kept thinking it was bmarsh and royal
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:39 PM   #13
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I was seeing the tape this morning, i saw cutler was running instead of hillis. Did you guys see that as well ? Infact cutler threw the ball ran 20 yards caught the ball and broke some tackles and went to end zone. U guys kept thinking it was bmarsh and royal
No one else on the Broncos '08 offense even belongs in the NFL. Cutler carried their sorry asses just like he carried the sorry ass defense. If it wasn't for them and Shanahan had just let Cutler go out on his own both ways every down we'd be a 19-0 SB winner. He's a FRANCHISE QB!
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:39 PM   #14
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The last time I checked, NFL teams have a hard time finding Pro Bowl quarterbacks.
wasn't derek anderson a pro bowl QB.. Hmm the browns should be thinking twice. Why did they draft quinn with pro bowl QB.
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:40 PM   #15
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No one else on the Broncos '08 offense even belongs in the NFL. Cutler carried their sorry asses just like he carried the sorry ass defense. If it wasn't for them and Shanahan had just let Cutler go out on his own both ways every down we'd be a 19-0 SB winner. He's a FRANCHISE QB!
We shall see how much he carries in chicago, who has a better defense. If he has not SB by the end of next year.. then this will continue. Are you ready to take a 100 dollar bet on that
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:47 PM   #16
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OMG! An analyst thinks it was a dumb move to get rid of a pro bowl QB. What a ****ing moron! His opinion is wrong.

Flame him.
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:57 PM   #17
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16th in points. Those things that determine who won and lost the game.


Still 12th in total rushing yardage.


Ask Vince Young and Derek Anderson how much those Pro Bowl nods have guaranteed them for future success.


Like the Dolphins, Ravens, Vikings, Titans, and Panthers last year? Only about half the '09 playoff teams had what anyone would consider a "big-time player" at QB going into the season, and thats giving Warner.

Oh, or McDaniels' own 11-5 record with Matt Cassel behind center.

Massive fail.
The Broncos were certainly better than the 16th best offense. If I'm remembering right, they were near the bottom of the league in starting field position because their horrible defense couldn't stop any offense from moving the ball. If it wasn't a score the opponent would at least get a few first downs on nearly every drive. I will say that turnovers did hurt the offense. Too many ints and fumbles killed drives. So I'm not about to put all the blame on the D. But the offense was certainly better than the 16th offense in the league.

Being 12th in rushing offense is nothing to be happy about. That's slightly above average, and that wasn't typical for the Shanahan era. Being 12th means that sometimes they were good, but sometimes they couldn't run the ball at all.

As for having a Pro Bowl QB, I rather have one than not have one. Sure, teams make the playoffs without them. But how many of those teams win the Super Bowl? Over the years a few teams here and there have won it all without a really good QB, but that doesn't happen all that often. The goal isn't to just make the playoffs, it's to win the whole damn thing. Building a good team around Cutler could have produced a Super Bowl. Hell, simply fixing the defense and hoping to keep a RB healthy could have produced a Super Bowl in the very near future.
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:01 PM   #18
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wasn't derek anderson a pro bowl QB.. Hmm the browns should be thinking twice. Why did they draft quinn with pro bowl QB.
If I'm remembering right the Browns had drafted Quinn before Anderson made the Pro Bowl. Anderson got the job mostly because Quinn skipped training camp. And I don't think that Anderson was voted in, he made it as an alternate. His stats were good but not all that great that year. He's nowhere near as good as Culter.
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:11 PM   #19
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The Dumbest

1. The Denver Broncos trade quarterback Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears: I realize the Bears gave up a ton to get their hands on Cutler. But let's not forget that he led the league's second-ranked offense despite operating with a running game that saw eight different backs land on injured reserve. The last time I checked, NFL teams have a hard time finding Pro Bowl quarterbacks. Even with Kyle Orton and some high draft picks now in the fold, new Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels is about to learn how tough it is to win without a big-time player at that position.


undoubtedly the Dumbest
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:13 PM   #20
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If I'm remembering right the Browns had drafted Quinn before Anderson made the Pro Bowl. Anderson got the job mostly because Quinn skipped training camp. And I don't think that Anderson was voted in, he made it as an alternate. His stats were good but not all that great that year. He's nowhere near as good as Culter.
funny thing is Quinn couldn't beat Anderson out of the starting job
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:14 PM   #21
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Doesn't matter any way you spin it, losing Cutler sets us back. Not saying its the FO's fault, Cutler wanted out.

But the fact remains, the Denver Broncos without Cutler are an inferior team.
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:29 PM   #22
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But the fact remains, the Denver Broncos without Cutler are an inferior team.
Hardly a fact.

Inferior at one position and inferior at 52 positions are two completely different things.
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:30 PM   #23
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To be fair the team the year before that only went something like oh, 18-1. Also, Cassel had 3 years on the bench learning the difficult system before he was thrust into a starting roll. I'd also reckon the Pats defense was a 'bit' better than ours.
The key word is "1"
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:31 PM   #24
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16th in points. Those things that determine who won and lost the game.


Still 12th in total rushing yardage.


Ask Vince Young and Derek Anderson how much those Pro Bowl nods have guaranteed them for future success.


Like the Dolphins, Ravens, Vikings, Titans, and Panthers last year? Only about half the '09 playoff teams had what anyone would consider a "big-time player" at QB going into the season, and thats giving Warner.

Oh, or McDaniels' own 11-5 record with Matt Cassel behind center.

Massive fail.
Nice takedown!
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:32 PM   #25
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didnt he JUST do that 1 year ago and go to 11 wins?
Don't discout the fact that NE had a very good line, Cassel studied that system for YEARS before he was asked to perform.

Oh and I think Billlllacheat may have had a little to do it.

Fact is that all the coaches to leave belicheat have done a very poor job as head coach. Jury's still out on McD, Xanders.

Hopefully Pat has made another solid choice like he did with a young shanny. At this point I'm more worried about xanders falling on his face with all this draft ammo.

If we come out with busts on these first rounders this franchise will be devistated. I think people get all fired up about cutler cause you know you have a good player. The picks are potential and nothing more.

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