Updating the Eagles cuts (and some others of note around the league)

As people were beginning to hope/predict, Mike Kafka has been cut and Trent Edwards is the third quarterback.

 

As I personally hoped, Joselio Hanson was cut, Brandon Boykin will be the slot cornerback.

 

In my last projection I kept Keenan Clayton as a special teams standout, the unforeseen move here was that Colt Anderson was activated, although he isn’t quite ready yet.  This made Clayton expendable on special teams.

 

Sad to see Mardy Gilyard go but it was just a numbers crunch at wide receiver.

 

 

Some notable names around the league that have been released this afternoon:

Deion Branch and Brian Hoyer in New England

Danny Coale in Dallas, I thought the rookie was talented enough to earn the #3 or 4 spot there

Case Keenum, a machine in the world of college football and solid fullback Moran Norris were released in Houston

Carson Palmer’s little brother Jordan couldn’t even make the Jags.

The Giants interesting have released backup running back DJ Ware.  They are going with all youth behind Bradshaw.

Ovie Mughelli, another solid fullback and uber-bust Vernon Gholston were released in St. Louis.

The Redskins follow up their release of Chris Cooley with the cut of Tim Hightower.

The Buccaneers, released safeties Larry Asante and Cody Grimm, I guess they are counting on Mark Barron.

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Eagles roster predictions Update

Just a quick run down of the changes to my last post about my predicted Eagles 53 man roster before the official cuts come in.  A few players have grown on me while I’m done with a few others.

 

QB – no real changes although I’ve never been a Kafka fan and wouldn’t mind seeing Trent Edwards stick around as the 3

RB – Last night Chris Polk showed a burst I hadn’t seen yet, I think he has earned a spot.  Rumors that the Eagles may trade one of their backups are surfacing so expect all 4 to make the initial roster in addition to Havili

WR – I was keeping McNutt before based on potential, but he is gone.  I love Mardy Gilyard and am more than happy to keep him instead as the 6th WR, at least while Cooper is out.

TE – I still think only the top 2 guys are in, Brackett needs another practice squad year and I just can’t see keeping Ford over a guy like Chris Polk.  Probably an area where Howie and company are watching the cuts list

OL – Demetress Bell is done, he has been terrible.  After the 5 starters its Dennis Kelly, Julian Vandervelde and I’ll say Dallas Reynolds over Steve Vallos.  Bell’s spot on my initial roster goes to Chris Polk.

 

DL – The ends are set, I just don’t see a way Tapp sticks around but they may keep him and deal him over the next week.  I’m also thinking Antonio Dixon is gone.  Frank Trotter has played his way into practice squad consideration.  I’m cutting Dixon and leaving Tapp off.

LB – Top 6 guys are the same with the change that, for now, Akeem Jordon is starting.  I cut Antonio Dixon so I can keep Keenan Clayton.  I hate the way the tackles but he is suck a good special teamer and athlete.  Teach him Strong Safety please.  Ryan Rau looks like a player and I hope he at least makes it to the practice squad.

CB – Nnamdi, DRC, Boykin and Marsh are all locked in.  I think Joselio stays and Brandon Hughes rounds out the group but Lindley made a good, late push.  No changes from my original here although I would still love if they were comfortable enough with Boykin to move Hanson.

S – Jaiquawn Jarrett has earned his spot back.  I think OJ Atogwe might be gone because of all of his injuries, he just can’t stay healthy.  In a last minute decision I am going to cut him and call back Chase Ford as the 3rd TE, provided I haven’t traded for another defensive tackle by now.

 

Big changes:  I cut Demetress Bell, Antonio Dixon and OJ Atogwe from my initial roster and chose to keep Chris Polk, Keenan Clayton and Chase Ford.  I fully expect at least one guy to get traded and at least one outsider to be brought in, something I have no way to accurately predict, but this is what I would personally do with the Eagles 53.

 

My 8 man practice squad:

Emil Igwenagu

Brett Brackett

Brandon Washington

Monte Taylor

Frank Trotter

Ryan Rau

Cliff Harris

Phillip Thomas

 

(other guys I wouldn’t mind keeping whether its practice squad or IR or something.  Jamal Hamler, DJ Jones, Ollie Ogbu)

First Guesses at Philadelphia Eagles Roster

I’m gonna take my first crack at figuring out what the final 53 man roster for the Eagles will look like by going down position by position and seeing who I think should make the team.

Quarterbacks (3)

Obviously Michael Vick is the top guy here when he is healthy.  Can he stay upright and able to play is the only issue right now.

Nick Foles has drawn insane amounts of praise and I have seen everything from Folesanity and that he is Foles-Real.  Nick is definitely on the team and is potentially the backup Quarterback and future of the position.

Mike Kafka has been hurt and unable to take control of the backup Quarterback role, but he is still a better option than Trent Edwards and should make the team no problem.  I have never liked Kafka’s arm strength and don’t think he will ever be a starter but he can be a quality backup and the only way he isn’t on the team this year is if the Eagles make a trade for a guy like Tarvaris Jackson.

Running Backs (4)

LeSean McCoy is one of the top players in the entire league.  No questions here.

Dion Lewis has done more than enough this summer to earn the backup running back spot and he possess many of the same qualities as McCoy so the offense wouldn’t skip a beat with him in there.  I just hope to never see him returning kicks again.

Bryce Brown was a major question mark as a 7th round pick with next to nothing for college playing time.  That said, his #1 high school ranked ability has carried over and he looks like the real deal.  I think he absolutely has to be on the team and should earn some carries based on the fact that he is a different type of back than McCoy and Lewis.  He can be the change-up you throw in there early and the bigger back you put in late.

While I would love to see Chris Polk make the team and I do think he could be successful in the NFL in the right situation, the talent ahead of him is too great.  Polk is a hard runner but lacks any special burst or speed, he is the kind of guy that starts a few games for an injured starter on a team like the Chiefs (see Jackie Battle last year).  I would love for him to make it to the practice squad but I don’t see it happening.  I think instead the 4th running back spot goes to Stanley Havili, a talented runner and good enough blocker to be the teams fullback.  Emil Igwenagu looks like a practice squad guy.

Wide Receiver (6)

DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are the unquestioned starters and DeSean looks night and day better than last year.  Jason Avant is mister reliable in the slot.  Riley Cooper is a guy I think has starter ability on the outside when he is healthy and was really hoping he could take a step up this year but he got hurt.  Damaris Johnson has shown enough to make the team as the do it all guy and possibly as the starting punt returner.  With Riley out I think we keep a 6th wide receiver and I think Marvin McNutt‘s potential, size and blocking ability earn him the role over Chad Hall and Mardy Gilyard.  I think Hall and Gilyard will sign with and contribute to other teams and I wish them the best if they aren’t in Philly, I’ve liked Gilyard since his days at Cincy.  Out of the rest of the guys, I like Jamel Hamler to be the top practice squad guy.

Tight End (2)

With the Cooper injury, depth across most positions and the inability for Brett Brackett or Chase Ford to stand out as the third tight end, I think this is a spot the Eagles go light on to start the season so that they can keep at other positions.  Brent Celek is their All-Pro caliber starter and Clay Harbor has the talent and strong preseason behind him to play a lot on offense as well.

O-Line (9)

With Jason Peters out the offensive line is a bit harder to predict.  Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins and Todd Herremans are unquestioned starters and King Dunlap should be the starter at Left Tackle.  Demetress Bell is the big question mark as he has lost his hold on the starter role may end up getting cut in favor of a younger talent.  For now I have him on the roster, paired with rookie Dennis Kelly as the backup tackles.  Julian Vandervelde is the backup Guard and Steve Vallos is the backup Center.  DJ Jones and Brandon Washington are strong practice squad canidates.  Mike Gibson and Dallas Reynold can still push for a roster spot.  I would love for Vandervelde, Kelly and Dunlap to impress enough that we can cut Bell and keep only 8 in order to keep more of the talent elsewhere.

That’s 24 players on offense…

Defensive End (5)

Trent Cole and Jason Babin are Pro-Bowlers and locks for the roster.  Phillip Hunt has been lights out this preseason and has forced his way in to significant playing time.  Brandon Graham is healthy and playing with a chip on his shoulder.  Vinny Curry is a rookie that could start or play on many teams and is the future at the position.  Darryl Tapp is the guy I am leaving out, partially because of the crazy talent around him, partially because I am mad at his for his 2 fouls last game, and mainly because age and contract wise, he is the most likely player on the roster to get traded.  Both Monte Taylor and Xavier Brown could stick around on the practice squad.

Defensive Tackle (5)

Mike Patterson’s situation makes this position a little murkier but there is still plenty of talent and many of the ends have the ability to slide in to tackle in pass rushing situations.  Cullen Jenkins is the top guy here and Derek Landri has earned the other starting spot.  Fletcher Cox has been called by some the best defensive prospect in his draft class and isn’t going anywhere.  Cedric Thornton really used his year on the practice squad to his advantage and has been dominating in the preseason so far.  Antonio Dixon, although talented, has looked lost in the Jim Washburn system and could be traded or even cut but with Patterson still out I think he makes the team for now.  Ollie Ogbu is the practice squad guy here.

Linebackers (6)

For once Linebacker is one of the most straight forward positions.  DeMeco Ryans is the veteran leader and Mychal Kendricks is the rookie with superstar potential.  Brian Rolle and Jamar Chaney will split the third starting spot and Casey Matthews and Akeem Jordon will round out the backups.  Keenan Clayton would have to be outstanding the rest of the way out to sneak onto the roster, which is frustrating because he has a lot of talent.  Adrian Moten, Ryan Rau and Monte Simmons all have enough ability to stick on the practice squad or even make the active roster in case of an injury.

Cornerbacks (6)

Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are the unquestioned starters and both have All-Pro talent.  Joselio Hanson has the slot spot locked down for now but Brandon Boykin will make the team as a return man and if he earns the nickleback role, Joselio will be on the outside looking in.  I love both Curtis Marsh and Brandon Hughes as big physical outside cornerbacks and hope that they both make the roster.  Cliff Harris has a lot of ability but will be one of the odd men out unless Hanson gets released or traded.  Trevard Lindley has played well lately but we have been down that road before and Kevin Thomas, after coming over in a trade this summer, probably won’t stick either.

Safeties (4)

Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman are the starters.  With Colt Anderson on the PUP list still there are two backup spots open.  I think OJ Atogwe will take the top backup spot.  With Tom Nelson getting hurt he will probably get stuck on IR to stick with the team and the last spot comes down to Jaiquawn Jarrett and Phillip Thomas.  Jarrett was the high draft pick and will probably get the nod for at least one more season.  Hopefully Thomas makes it to the practice squad.

That’s 26 defensive players, 50 total so far.

Special Teams (3)

Alex Henery is the teams kicker, Jon Dorenbos is the teams magician/long snapper.  The only battle is between Chas Henry and former All-Pro Mat McBriar.  I would love for the young talent Henry to earn the punting job but McBriar has a history of success when he is healthy so either way it is a win for the birds.
Based on my roster, my 8 man practice squad/guys potentially stuck on IR would include (italicized players are the 7 must keeps for me):

Jamal Hamler, Emil Igwenagu, Brett Brackett, DJ Jones, Brandon Washington, Monte Taylor, Xavier Brown, Ollie Ogbu, Ryan Rau, Adrian Moten, Cliff Harris and Phillip Thomas

That’s my 53 man roster as of now.  Punter is the only true position battle on the team but there are several veterans in danger of losing spots.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of the younger guys get ‘hurt’ over the next 2 weeks and end up on the injured reserve list.  For me the two places where someone could be cut is along the offensive line as I could see Bell end up not on the team with Dennis Kelly serving as the swing tackle.  Also potential ‘surprise’ cuts could be Joselio Hanson, Brandon Hughes, Antonio Dixon, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Marvin McNutt or Stanley Havili in order to keep an extra tight end, linebacker, cornerback or a guy like Chris Polk.

KC Joyner is retarded

While I had time to kill the other day at work, I gave in and picked up ESPN The Magazine’s Fantasy Football Issue and read it.  In their fantasy things to know section KC Joyner did a piece called Counterintelligence.  Now I already thought Joyner was full of shit from seeing some of his stuff previously, but having just read this it only furthered my case.  I am going to look at some of the dumb things he tried to pass of as wisdom this time.

 

 

In the tight end section Joyner brought up that Rob Gronkowski had a terrible yards per catch the further down-field he caught the ball, and I’m not even going to comment on that one.  For the wide receivers his case was that target numbers can be deceiving, and he proved this using 4 specific pairs of teammates in which the one with the higher number of targets actually scored fewer fantasy points.  His proof was this chart:

targets points
laurent robinson 81 145
dez bryant 103 139
jordy nelson 96 210
greg jennings 101 143
victor cruz 131 198
hakeem nicks 133 154
mike wallace 113 162
antonio brown 123 122

Ok, first of all, every single one of these wide receivers was a top 20 fantasy player and starter on any fantasy team in a standard 10 team league.  Secondly, in every single case, touchdowns were the main deciding factor between which top wide out scored more, as in every case the player with less targets had more touchdown catches (11 to 9, 15 to 9, 9 to 7 and 8 to 2 respectively).  In each case the player with more targets is also the guy whom the quarterback was probably more likely to go to on a third down play.  The other problem with the less targeted guys like Laurent Robinson and Jordy Nelson was that yardage-wise they were extremely hit or miss, so their fantasy production relied entirely on their touchdown production.  Jordy only had 5 100 yard games as opposed to 5 others where he had less than 55 receiving yards and 9 of his 15 touchdowns came in only 4 games.  Laurent only managed 3 100 yard games and had a whopping 7 games where he didn’t manage even 50 yards.  On the opposite end, Dez Bryant’s season high was only 90 receiving yards and he only had more than 80 yards on 2 occasions.

Looking at only the players KC uses, I am more inclined to draw the conclusion that touchdowns are impossible to predict and while a less targeted player may have a ‘boom’ season due to a large number of touchdowns, the more highly targeted players will tend to be more consistent and therefore less likely to ‘bust’.

 

 

In the running backs section,  Joyner used his infamously stupid statistic of Good Blocking Rate (GBR).  The good blocking rate, in case you aren’t familiar with made up statistics, is the % of running plays in which the offense doesn’t allow the defense to do anything to disrupt the rush attempt.  I don’t know about you but I have never seen a play in the NFL where the defense did nothing to disrupt a rush attempt, its their job, they make millions of dollars to do that but nevertheless, Joyner uses GBR to support Trent Richardson as a valuable fantasy back.  His argument this time is that while Cleveland was in the bottom 5 of the NFL in GBR, the other 4 teams in the bottom had valuable fantasy running backs on their teams and therefore it is possible for a running back to be successful despite a poor GBR.  The other 4 teams/players were the Niners Frank Gore, the Seahawks Marshawn Lynch, the Falcons Michael Turner and the Bears Matt Forte.

First of all, Joyner blows his own stat completely out of the water by proving that GBR has no bearing on the ability to run the ball.  All 4 of those backs were productive for their respective teams and both the Niners and the Bears finished in the top 10 in the league in total rushing yards.

The underlying point here is that for the most part, the teams in question were also solid to very good teams.  The Niners went to the NFC title game, the Falcons won their very strong division, before injuries to Cutler and Forte the Bears looked like one of the best teams in the NFC and the Seahawks played much better than a 7-9 record suggested in a season that included wins over Baltimore, Philadelphia and Chicago down the stretch.  The Browns on the other hand were in no way good last season, winning only 4 games with a 1-7 road record and 0-6 division record, and they won’t be that much better this season with a rookie quarterback and running back both starting.

 

The last ridiculous point Joyner made was in the quarterbacks section.  He argued that even though Michael Vick is one of the best rushing quarterbacks in the league, he shouldn’t be counted on as a top 5 fantasy quarterback because he lacks the number of passing attempts of the other elite quarterbacks.  This chart was provided:

qb pts pass att rush att
rodgers 385 502 60
brees 380 657 21
brady 352 611 43
newton 352 517 126
stafford 333 663 22
manning 273 589 35
vick(prorated) 273 521 94

So Vick projected to be the 7th best fantasy quarterback in a year where 3 quarterbacks had historical seasons…not to bad.  What really made this argument insane was that after advising against Vick as a top 5 quarterback because of his low number of pass attempts, he lists Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton as exceptions to this rule, Aaron due to his insanely high yards per pass attempt and Cam because of his rushing touchdowns that came off of called plays.  So if 2 of the top 4 are exceptions to the rule is there even really a rule?

 

 

Who is paying this guy, its counter-intelligent.