Freshman Gets First Shot

August 28, 2009

barkleyIt was the worst-kept secret and a regular prodiction of this blogger that USC freshman Matt Barkley would take the top spot for this season for the #4 ranked Trojans. The injury to Aaron Corp gave Barkley, the highly touted recruit from Mater Hei HS, the opportunity for max reps with the #1s and he seized the opportunity to impress Head Coach Pete Carroll and Offensive Coordinator Jeremy Bates.

Barkley becomes the first true freshman to start for the Trojans. His first start is against San Jose State of the WAC.

Sophomore Aaron Corp, still not 100% recovered from injury, will be the top caddy for Barkley, with once-was-a-top prospect Mitch Mustain surely rueing his decision to transfer from Arkansas to USC. Mustain must be seriously contemplating a move to a DivII school for his senior year next season with the freshman ahead of him.

Read ESPN’s full coverage here.

Vick Makes Eagles Debut

August 28, 2009

vickThere wasn’t much to get too excited stats-wise, but the Eagles faithful cheered mightily for the first game action of Michael Vick’s NFL reincarnation.

6 plays including 4 for 4 passing (19 yards) and plenty of fanfare was Vick’s contribution to the Eagles win over the Jags. Vick did show his arm strength remains top shelf on one throw to hank Baskett, the ball zipping into the hands of the the WR.

On the day Vick was only one of the explosive weapons the Eagles have, but Donovan McNabb remains the guy for the Eagles now and for the immediate future.

Rams QB Update

August 22, 2009

Kyle Boller got his chance to show his wares in the pre-season game against the Atlanta Falcons on Friday and he did little to convince anyone he is a viable long term solution. Although completing some passes, there were numerous floaters, wobblers and inaccurately thrown balls. Looks like the Rams need to go back to the drawing board. This blogger thinks maybe they will get a top 10 shot at a QB of the future in next year’s draft.

Favre Plucks for Purple

August 19, 2009

nfl_g_favre02_203Brett Favre looked for all money to be coming back to the NFL as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. THen he decided to stay retired. Now, he is back, finally headed to the Twin Cities. Coach Brad Childress was able to convince Favre, who received unexpected good news about his shoulder, which gave the NFL Hall of Fame – bound QB newfound confidence that he could still compete at a level he was used to.

Favre, if he duplicates even close to some of his better form, will make the Vikings strong contenders this year, with the ground game making Favre even more dangerous. With a familiar west coast offense and cavalcade of stars around him, Favre has the tools to end his career on a high. As long as his body and mind are up for it.

What now for Rosenfels and Jackson? Rosenfels will be wishing he stayed in Houston where at least Matt Schaub’s injury plagued career would offer him some hope of gametime. As for Jackson, surely he will be seeking to depart at the end of the season to a team with a starting chance.

Favre is an NFL legend. Lets hope his legacy remains.

Chad Pennington was the NFL comeback player of the year last season, but don’t expect his heroics to continue. In fact, expect Chad Henne to be starting by mid-season. It was only the pre-season, but Henne outplayed all QBs on the field on a poor night for passing. His accuracy, pocket presence and arm strength all showing up bigtime. Pennington looked as though his arm was waterlogged even when it was dry. It was a great feel good story for Pennington last year, but for the Dolphins to be serious contenders this year, they need Henne on the field. Will Sparano look his way? We will see.

Bulger Injuries Resurface

August 18, 2009

Injuries to former pro-bowl Quarterback Mark Bulger have impacted on the success of the St Louis Rams over recent seasons, but the Rams have done little to setup a viable long-term alternative. Bulger now is expecting a few weeks on the sidelines with a broken finger, the Rams to use former Ravens First-Round QB Kyle Boller as his replacement. Boller wasn’t a big success in Baltimore, but he is young enough to offer a chance for the Rams and if he can take the chance well, he could have a chance for a future under center as the starter. I do believe the Rams erred when passing on drafting a QB the past two seasons, and their second round ignorance of Chad Henne last year is something that I think they might regret down the track. For now, I hold out some hope that Boller could be  better long term option for the Rams than the aging and injury-prone Bulger.

Denver Broncos fans were horrified by the trading of Jay Cutler to the Bears. They were equally horrified by the display that new starter Kyle Orton put up in their preseason opener against the 49ers. The fans were already underwhelmed that new HC Josh McDaniels decided that Orton was a capable replacement for fan-favourite Cutler, and that feeling has only built following a disappointing camp and pre-season by the former Bears starter. Broncos backup Chris Simms, a favourite of this blog, performed admirably in his time, although he was working against the second and thirdstring niners defense.  Another poor outing by Orton could see the Broncos faithful clamoring for more Simms, less Orton, and possibly even less McDaniels!

edelmanWhen the New England Patriots drafted little known QB Julian Edelman in the 7th round, not many people new what the hoodie had planned for him. A prolific rusher in college at Kent State, many saw him as the Wildcat answer for the Patriots. Following the first pre-season game, we have found a clearer definition of the former QBs role. Edelman had an outstanding game returning punts vs the Eagles, returning one for a TD. Edelman also got plenty of reps as Wes Welker-lite, running the slot will and using his game sense as an ex-QB nicely. It is early days, but again, it seems Bill Bellichick has his finger on the pulse.

Vick-timized in Philly

August 14, 2009

vickThey are among the toughest fans in the NFL, and now the Philadelphia Eagles faithful are sure to have a new target, newly acquired Michael Vick. All the speculation about where Vick would end up following his jail time have ended with the Eagles the new home for the former #1 overall QB.

Vick signed a 2 year deal at about $1.2million for the first year with second year escalators. All reports from Liberty City suggest that Vick isn’t going to be part of a gimmick Wildcat (or Wild-dog as has been joked), but given the chance to show his wares as a future starter. How truthful that is is yet to be seen. If it is true, what does that say about Kevin Kolb.

How is Donovan McNabb going to react to the news? He tends to wet his knickers about being publicly challenged and the risk is there for the real boo-birds to come out and seek Vick. With his new deal, McNabb should feel secure, but that is not his MO.

Time will tell in Philly, but I can’t see it ending too well.

rosenfelsEntering training camp without Brett Favre, it looked likely that an open competition between Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels (pictured) would take place in Minnesota. But now, with Jackson injured, it seems Rosenfels has the chance to assert himself on the #1 job. All reports have Rosenfels doing a solid job under center in the twin cities, and with their strong run game and some good weapons out wide (Berrian, Harvin, Rice, Shiancoe), the Vikings remain a legit contender.

In Cleveland, nobody is saying it publicly, but this job is going to Brady Quinn barring any extreme circumstances. Quinn is demonstrating improved consistency and accuracy and outplayed Anderson in their training camp scrimmage. The Browns should definitely consider shopping Anderson to see what they could collect on the trade market.

Mark Sanchez will start in New York. No matter what headstart Clemens had entering camp, Sanchez has taken to the system like all had hoped and in a close battle, the highly-paid rookie is sure to get the gig. Sanchez will open as QB for the Jets, hoping that he has both Thomas Jones and Leon Washington with him.

The Niners job is a lose-lose proposition for the team. Neither Shaun Hill or Alex Smith is the long-term answer in the Bay, but as the team didn’t actively pursue alternative options, expect them to be among the suitors for someone like Derek Anderson if he is available. In a two-horse race, Alex Smith is the leader. Somewhat surprising, but all reports out of 49ers camp have Smith ahead.

In Detroit, it was expected that Daunte Culpepper would get first shot. He has performed well in camp so should stay atop the depth for the start of the season, but the Lions are pleased with Stafford so far, so expect him to have a shot down the road this year. Lions fans will certainly be itching to start the boo-birds on Culpepper to see the rookie.

Down in Tampa, Byron Leftwich may well have snatched back the opening day gig for tbe Bucs. Rookie Josh Freeman probably starts the season as #3, but if Leftwich is servicable, figure Freeman to get some mid-late season reps.

In Green Bay there was no battle for the top job, but #2 behind Aaron Rodgers was a good contest between Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn. Both were rookie backups last year and Flynn (the 7th Rounder) had the edge over Brohm (the second rounder). Both have apparently developed and grown in the system, particularly Brohm who battled last year, but expect Flynn to remain as #2 for now.