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— I recorded and skimmed through NFL Networks all-day coverage of the various training camps on Friday. The NFL Network has really expanded their coverage of the preseason activity. I was excited to get various glimpses of the players at work. I have a recap of ot all, so you don’t have to wade through 8+ hours of coverage. Let me break it down for you…
Imagine, a camera trained on Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Russell Wilson walking around while they are doing nothing and/or light drills at a casual practice. Got that image? OK. Now, imagine the 30-60 seconds of boring footage of them doing little/nothing is played on a loop for eight hours. You’re now all caught up on the all-day NFL Network training camp coverage from Friday.
In-between the QB footage, we did have wasted chatter on the Tom Brady suspension for the nine millionth time, but then the ‘real’ topic of the day: The Russell Wilson contract extension.
I had to laugh (which I laughed a lot this day) because about 40% of the eight hours was intermittent discussion of the Russell Wilson deal from 32 different people. Here’s their consensus football analysis of his deal: It’s a lot of money for a mediocre QB, and now he has extra pressure to perform, and let’s all wonder whether he can ‘hold up’ to the pressure, and Seattle’s future is dead because of the big contract sucking up cap space. I think that about covers the vibe.
My take: Wilson should be the 3rd-highest paid QB in the league, behind Rodgers-Luck. I don’t recall the football media asking these same questions, and raising some of the same concerns about Cam Newton’s 2015 deal. They love Cam. They endorsed Cam comign out of college. They saw the deal as ‘Carolina securing its future’. BUT Wilson’s deal—they don’t really like it…because they don’t really ‘like’ Wilson. Russell Wilson wasn’t supposed to be this good. He’s seen as a weird ‘Christiany guy‘. He was also a Marshawn Lynch handoff away from having more Super Bowl titles than Peyton or Rodgers…and doing so in his first three NFL years.
Everyone in the football mainstream is missing it with’ what might be’ with Russell Wilson in the future. The scouting label many, including me, gave him coming into the NFL: “1st-round passing skills, but major concern on his height.” But then I saw him work in the NFL preseason—and realized the height issue should no longer be ‘a thing’ for anyone. We’ve all arrived there after watching Wilson for three years. If Drew Brees can be a top passer, then Wilson can be as well—because he has a lot of the same skill-sets…plus he has excellent feet.
Everyone concentrates on Wilson’s feet/rushing skills, but overlooks that he was a sensational passer in college. His freshman season: 17 TD/1 INT at N.C. State. His senior season at Wisconsin: 33 TD/4 INT. During his four years in college: 109 TD/30 INT…plus 23 rushing TDs. Do not rule out that Wilson is going to go to a whole other level of Fantasy when he evolves even more as a passer. He’s been near as good a passer in the pros as he was in college—the only NFL-knock any of us have on Wilson as a passer is: “Seattle doesn’t pass a lot.”
Well, what happens when Seattle does start passing a lot? What happens when they ditch Marshawn Lynch after this season?Jimmy Graham is the most dangerous TE weapon in NFL history. Tyler Lockett might be Antonio Brown 2.0. The pieces for a future run at ‘the best passing offense in the NFL’ is being formulated. Andrew Luck is a sure thing—great division, home/dome, mega-talent, etc. In the end, Russell Wilson may wind up as the better QB…NFL and Fantasy-wise.
‘Magic and Bird’…the football edition.
— My people are saying that Ronnie Hillman is more involved with the beginning training camp offense than people think (because everyone ignores Hillman). Not in a ‘sleeper’ sense—just in a ‘he’s not dead’ sense.
— Two different reports I got confirmed the following: Owen Daniels is running most 1st-team action at TE. Virgil Greenrunning lightly with the 1st-team, but more with the second team. Gary Kubiak will attempt to destroy Peyton’s last chance with his Owen Daniels affinity…I can feel it.
Virgil Green lovers, don’t despair. The proof will be in the preseason/live action. I think Green-Daniels will run 50-50 on snaps early…especially with the Denver O-Line in trouble. Green is a terrific blocker—and that sets him up to slip off blocks for quick passes, and then his athleticism after the catch is that of a WR.
Don’t listen to me for Fantasy here–I love what ‘might be’ with Virgil Green. I feel that this is going to be Antone Smith all over again. Another: It’s so obvious what player should be used, that the opposite will be true in NFL reality. I can only hope Peyton is really coaching the team, and makes the call for Green. He doesn’t need another Joel Dreessen.
— 2nd-year Denver LB/IDP Shaquil Barrett is drawing some praise, and working with the 1st-team some. He’s is one to watch—decent speed, and real nice agility coming out of Colorado State. He’s a 2014 UDFA who spent the year on the practice squad.
**Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics IDP Dynasty (three-year) projections now exist on the Fantasy Football Management technology: “The Machine.” See “The Machine” here (link unavailable): The Machine via FFM
— Reports from Patriots camp: Tyler Gaffney showing off his receiving skills just fine. You should hate all Patriots RBs for Fantasy, but if you had to tolerate one—Gaffney is the one. LeGarrette Blount is trying to get cut. James White is awful.Travaris Cadet is a nice backup kind of talent. Jonas Gray can be the power runner. Gaffney is the only one on the roster that can ‘do it all’.
Everyone is trying to guess the Shane Vereen replacement. Everyone in the football media is wrong on it. Two thoughts on why that is…
1) When Aaron Hernandez went down, there was no ‘next Hernandez’ (sorry those of you that FF-paid up for Tim Wright). The offense just evolved in another direction. Hernandez was a unique specimen (in more ways than one)–not replaceable. When Gronkwent down, Zach Sudfeld and Jake Ballard did not come to the rescue. Shane Vereen is a unique talent, and the Patriots have nothing like him on their roster today.
2) When did anyone care about Shane Vereen for Fantasy? He was the ultimate FF-tease, and only used in the passing game 99% of his career. He had more to give as a rusher, but the Pats didn’t use it. People barely used Vereen in PPR/12-team leagues. So a watered down ‘next Vereen’ means what in Fantasy? James White catches 4 passes for 22 yards one week, so you blow out your waiver allowance on picking him up, and then he doesn’t play but three snaps the next two weeks. FF-Exciting!!
Good luck FF-chasing something that likely doesn’t exist.
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