Posted on: February 5, 2010 11:43 am
Edited on: February 5, 2010 11:44 am

Bringing the NFL back to LA

It's been a long time, but Los Angeles has hosted many NFL franchises over the years, even sporting two teams at once a couple decades ago.  But the Pro scene in Los Angeles is all but forgotten to all but the NFL execs who see Los Angeles as one of the top TV markets in the country - and one they don't get a piece of.   There has been talk of expansion - although it seems crazy to add even more teams to the mix.  Relocating then is the only option.  This is how I see it.  Get ready in 2011 for your Los Angeles Jaguars
Jacksonville is the team to return the NFL to Los Angeles.  Why you ask?  I'm glad you asked...

Jacksonsville is among the worst teams - attendance-wise in the league.  They aren't packing the seats, and bringing in the green.  They would easily surpass their attendance figures in L.A. and a slightly new look and new home would really boost their merchandising revenue as well.  
Except when Mark Brunell led the team to the AFC championship early in their history, the team has been largely unsuccessful.  Of course, it's hard when you're playing against Peyton twice a year...  But they're a young team, with a limited history.  This will make it easier for the people of Los Angeles to embrace and assimilate the team as their own.  

And let's not forget that Los Angeles can easily support a team - it has stadium in place that would suffice for a number of years while the plans are made for a new stadium.  Of course, this might make people scratch their heads -- Los Angeles in the AFC South?  What?  It's not like the NFL hasn't been geographically challenged in the past.  Short of swapping the Rams and LA Jaguars through conference and division - there isn't an easy way to make the geography work a little better.  To be honest, might be a good idea...

Now - let's assume we're moving the Jags to LA in 2011.  Assuming there's no lockout - what should they do?  

Alter the uniforms - the subdued green sparkly helmet is terrible.  A slightly altered uniform will keep the Jags history, but make it LA's own.
Jack Del Rio has to go. I mean, he's the coach in 2010.  I understand, but barring a successful playoff run, he's gone and he knows it.  This is the chance to lure a ring-bearing coach to LA to head the franchise because, make no qualms about it, the NFL has to hit LA will all it's guns to show them they want to be there and get the people of LA to buy into their new team with their souls.  You can't do that with some no-name, never coached before question mark - or terrible never-successful retread.  I'm talking Cowher, Gruden, or Billick.  That's it.
You have the young superstars and rising stars the team can win with.  Garrard in 2010 - fine, but I think the 2011 draft - the first for the Jags in LA - has to focus on a QB that LA can embrace as their own.  But you can't miss with this one - you have to hit a home run here.  It might be too much pressure on a rookie QB...but maybe the rookie sits most or all of 2011...  If not,  I think there's a young QB out there already who can make this work:  Josh Johnson.  Go back to my coach ideas.  Gruden drafted Johnson as a project that he didn't get work on much.  But Johnson is young and exciting, and Gruden is an offensive genius who gets the best out of QBs.  He made a Gannon no one wanted into MVP.  Johnson is the kind of young, exciting player that could get the people excited.  There's a half dozen angles there too - Coach and his player getting second chances, Los Angeles getting this feel good story... etc.   In addition, imagine what Coach Gruden could do with MJD, Walker, Hilliard, Jennings, etc.  

NFL in 2011 with the Los Angeles Jaguars.  It can happen, and it can be great.
Category: NFL
Tags: NFL in LA
Posted on: February 5, 2010 11:01 am
Edited on: February 5, 2010 11:44 am

Vick in 2010: fad or future?

There's a lot of talk in many circles about Michael Vick.  Wildcat players, franchise saviour, starter, back-up, etc.  I think it's too easy to envision Michael as some legendary player, rising from the ashes - ready to hand the Lombardi to whichever owner gives him the reigns to their team.  In reality, Michael is no legend, no superstar.  He was merely a below-average passer who could run fast.  REAL fast.  This made it exciting to watch the Falcons, and in turn, put butts in the seats and made the Falcons owner a little richer.  
Fast forward to Vick today.  He is still among the fastest QBs in the league, though I think there are one or two faster.  He does have several years starting experience.  He does however, remain a below-average passer who has missed a couple seasons.  This doesn't help as the game continued to evolve around him while he couldn't experience it, plus he'll be 30 before the season starts - so the clock's ticking.
That being said, if there's a team that believes it's only a QB away, and is geared for a mobile QB - I think Vick could make a difference.  The team has to have a strong defense to help cover the mistakes he's inevitably going to make and the offensive skill players to be able to make it easier for Vick to be successful.  There are only a few teams that might make this work and a few that would be a disaster...
Initial report: DISASTER.  This team is switching to a 3-4, and switching usually leads to struggles as the team tries to get the right kinds of players to fit the new system.  It usually takes 2 offseasons and a draft to do this.  During this time, teams are going to score 23-25+ a week on the Bills, which will put too much pressure on the Bills to keep up - something Vick cannot do unless he gets a lot of help.  The offense has Lee Evans and Fred Jackson for sure, but both are getting older, and Evans won't be any help unless a good second and third receiver are found.  TO is still there, in theory, but at his age, he's not going to be able to keep the heat off Evans unless a dynamic third receiver is found.  Jackson is a good, versatile back, but he's getting older and they need a back to fill the spot Lynch had as his backfield mate last year.  The draft will have some good backs, but there will also be a couple in FA who could excel in a part time role too.  Add to that the Patriots, Jets, and the weather up north and I think it's a long-shot Buffalo improves at all with Vick at the helm.
St. Louis Rams:
Initial report: PLAYOFFS.  While the Rams have been down lately, they aren't out.  Bulger's injuries have robbed the team of their opportunities lately, however I believe Vick can lead them into the playoffs.  How far?  Depends on what the team does to support him.  I still have nightmares about how the Chiefs got Montana and Marcus Allen, yet the receivers were so bad, it was comical.  How Marino never had a good running back in his entire career.  It just goes on.  The Rams are close.  Real close.  They have the players on D to keep the team competitive - although I believe after they take Suh with the first pick, they must get a corner in in the second round, or trade back into the first somehow to get a corner.  Unless they feel they can get an all-star from another team (unlikely), the Rams are in trouble without drafting a corner.  And I don't mean some washed-up corner with a name - I mean a pro bowl corner.  Offensively, the Rams are in good shape.  Steven Jackson is still a premier back, and even Gado has shown some of the promise he had early in Green Bay.  They have some young receivers who are starting to "get it", and a good line.  If the Rams can just add a dependable receiver Vick can fall back on, and I think they've got it.  I would keep an eye on Deion Branch, should the Seahawks cut him.  Just don't add an oft-injured Vet like Boldin or a head case like Marshall. Add to that a division that's anyone's for the taking and a nice dome - and the Rams could be the surprise of 2010.
Denver Broncos:
Initial report: PLAYOFFS.  Denver?  What?  I think Denver is the dark horse here.  I know the deal was made for Orton, and he had his moments - but I think Denver really needs to look at Michael Vick in the next few weeks.  You might even be able to use Marshall to get him, and kill two birds with one stone.  In fact, they should get more than just Vick for Marshall.  While Kolb is the better QB, Philly isn't letting him go.  So get Vick.  And a pick or two.  Honestly, I'd try to get Vick and Avant, but multi player deals are hard to pull off.  However, Avant has been a clutch receiver for McNabb time and time again, and is still young enough to have an impact and can be the reliable receiver Vick needs.  I still recommend drafting a stud early to go with Royal regardless of whether Denver can trade for a receiver - but the overall offensive talent is there on this team.  More work needs to be done on the defensive side, but the mere fact Champ Bailey and Dawkins are there, added to a weak division, would indicate that Vick could lead this team to the AFC West crown easily.  

Quick hits

Cleveland:  The arrival of Big Mike to run the show, little talent, and expensive QBs already on the roster has me believing this team is in rebuilding mode, and it will take several years before they can compete with the talent in the AFC North -which is too long for Vick.  

Oakland:  Al Davis believes in Russell.  Enough said.  This place is a Black Hole in more ways than one.  

Jacksonville:  I don't believe anyone in this organization thinks that Garrard can take this team to the playoffs and win.  However, I don't think this is the place for Vick for two reasons: 1 - unless he is cut or traded, Garrard will still go into the season as the starter, which will rob Vick of the chance to spend the entire offseason as the Man - and reduce how much actual learning and practice with the 1s that he needs.  2 - the coaching staff is in serious limbo.  Should the Jags stumble and Del Rio is gone - the new coach will bring a new system, which will in turn make 2010 a wasted year for Vick - and starting the 2010 year at 30 means that Vick doesn't have a lot of years to waste.  

Minnesota:  No one knows with Favre, and T-Jackson is pretty close to Vick in many ways.  They aren't set up for Vick or Jackson to succeed here, so I'd look elsewhere Mike.

Kansas City: This could make sense, but I believe this team is much like Cleveland in the fact that by the time the talent level reaches where it should be, Vick will be 35.  
Seattle:   Seattle has Matt still, and Seneca Wallace does well when he gets the chance - but the killer here is Coach Carroll, who doesn't run a style that a mobile QB like Vick will flourish in.  Square peg, round hole.

Last, but not least, the YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME Dark Horse

Dallas.  Yup, I went there.  Romo just got a big paycheck, but things change.  One thing that remains constant is Romo's inability to take the game seriously and take his team to the promised land.  In my heart I believe the time is now to trade Romo and acquire Vick.  I don't think that Philly lets Vick go to the Cowboys, but the right offer and you'd be surprised.  Philly knows they're on borrowed time.  I'm just afraid the Cowboys are too full of characters to not be a distraction to Vick's development.  Add to that Wade's substitute teacher demeanor, and I think that Vick would really have to be focused and a vocal team leader to succeed here.  But I think that he can.  And even crazier, I think that Romo should be traded for Brandon Marshall - who is another headache - but maybe all this craziness just needs one anchor.  One person who got a second chance and has the opportunity to lay it all on the line and prove he is worthy.
I'd wager my money on the Rams and the NFC West crown in 2010.
Category: NFL
Posted on: January 26, 2010 10:30 am

Len Dawson is a top 10 QB

Maybe it's because half the people can't remember what happened 5, 10, 15 years ago...but I think what he accomplished and the records he still holds place Len Dawson in the top 5 or 6 QBs of all time. 

Wait, what? A Raiders fan calling a Chiefs qb an all-time great? Yes - just look: 

 ***Led the league 8 times in Completion Percentage, ***6 years consecutive. Both records.***

Won 4 AFL passing titles. 

In the 10 year existence of the AFL, he was the league's Highest Rated Passer. 

AFL/NFL 7 time Pro Bowler. 

1962 AFL MVP. 

1969 Super Bowl MVP.

Led the Chiefs to 2 Super Bowls (1-1) and 1 AFL Championship (1-0). 

 Hall of Fame. 

Len Dawson was a top 10 QB of all time. He's got the rings, the MVP, he's got records... I am not putting him above Montana, Unitas..even Favre...but when you couple rings and stats with NFL records and MVPs, he's got to be right there in that top 5 or 6... Even Marino's stats don't give him the records that Dawson has... Give the man his due... 

Category: NFL
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