Before the season started I gave some advice about who NOT to draft this season. I'm all about accountability in this column so I thought I'd fearlessly and with reckless abandon take a look back at my predictions.
Eddie George: ...... he's through. He already left it all on the field. Bill Parcells may be a miracle worker, but he isn't a holistic healer. Don't take a chance on him too high in the draft. I don't think it's going to get any prettier from this point on. Having lost his job to Julius Jones after a less than stellar stint as the starter, I have to say this was a correct assessment.
Kevan Barlow: ..... I'm just not as excited about his chances as I was when the San Francisco offense had actual talent. How long will we have to wait for this guy.....or could we have been wrong all along? I'm getting that sick feeling like I get when the finance guy at the car dealership starts throwing in document fees and processing fees. Losing carries to Maurice Hicks and has had a very uninspired season falling well below the lofty expectations of his draft position. This is exactly the scenario I could just feel coming. Gee, I had a feeling he would be a bust but I kept him on my keeper teams anyway. Brilliant.
Michael Vick: I have plenty of excitement in my life without holding my breath every time Vick starts motoring down the field. If you're a gambler though......... So far so good with Vick, kind of a slow start but coming on with no injury issues. Still has not performed up to par with where he was drafted in most leagues however.
Kurt Warner: .....Unfortunately Kurt ended up with the N.Y.Giants and if he steps under center in a real game this year, he and his wife may be recovering from a severe concussion until week 12. Kurt, Thanks for coming. That was amazing. You are an NFL legend. Just walk away. Eli's a comin'. Not much to say here except Warner was actually much better than expected.........for a while.
Keyshawn Johnson: Every year I see him drafted too high, and every year the owner that picked him wonders why they can't win a championship. Key has actually performed at a level equal to where he was drafted and maybe better. So I will have to count this one as wrong.
Thomas Jones: Okay, enough is enough. He couldn't be a star in Arizona because there were other running backs in his way. He couldn't be a star in Tampa for some reason or another. Now he's in Chicago and people are still crossing their fingers and drafting this guy way too high. I don't get it. I don't see it. I don't recommend it. He is one of those guys. Jones may have not lived up to the hype but he has been much more effective than I believed he would be and a relatively decent pick where he was drafted in the average league.
LaDainian Tomlinson: .....to me his situation makes him a less than rock solid top pick. I think I'd go Holmes with the #1 pick. And yes I realize Holmes is older and has a ton of touches the last few years as well but his offensive line doesn't let him take much abuse. I guess the jury is still out on this one. Tomlinson just caught Holmes in Performance league scoring after Holmes sat out his 3rd game in a row. Tomlinson as the number one pick this year will look better every week Holmes is out.
Edgerrin James: .....he has had some durability issues as well. How much more will he be willing to sacrifice of his body? I don't see him as a guy that loves the game he plays with as much intensity as a guy like Eddie George or Curtis Martin. A great and talented player to be sure. But he just makes me nervous. There was no need to be nervous here. Fully healed from his previous health issues has been a rock solid player at near the top of the RB rankings.
Jeff Garcia: The little guy has just been pummeled due to his playing style. I think whatever talent he had was beaten out of him in San Francisco, and it's not coming back. Bingo.
Hines Ward: I'm finally a believer in Hines Ward. It took awhile but I'm finally on the bandwagon. The guy is rock solid. I'll draft him this year if I get him at a fair price. And when I get on the bandwagon late you can bet the player will fall. ............ I know of what I speak. Once I believe, soon I will grieve. Don't follow me there. This one is amazing. No basis in any kind of logic, just my "players intuition" looking more correct every week. Surprisingly his lesser stats are the result of Roethlisberger spreading the wealth and the miraculous revival of Jerome Bettis when needed. (by the way, I did not end up drafting Ward so I avoided my own curse)
Well, there you have it. About half right, which proves that if you listen to about half the crap that comes out of my keyboard, I can be helpful. And to those of you who thought I was a total idiot this proves you were only half right about that. It's like when you are in Vegas and your wife asks you how you are doing. "About even".
While I am eating it, you can serve me an extra large heaping of crow for saying Jerome Bettis resurrection was a fluke. I was wrong. I was foolish. I was a record size Largemouth Ass. Bettis with a good cast around him can indeed still do what he needs to do to be a quality NFL back. I haven't been so wrong since I drafted Travis Henry in the 2nd round of this years draft. I think overall I still feel worse about that one.
People sometimes ask me, "don't you get tired of being wrong?" to which I reply ,"Let me get back to you on that."
Enough of this self loathing. It's time to loathe others.
10) DOLPHINS: Okay, maybe I'm getting carried away moving them down in the misery index so far. But it was a win. And it was a road win. It seems Ricky Williams is currently meditating, or getting pins stuck in him, or rubbing his hands in goat dung or something in a place called Grass Valley only a buds throw from the ballpark where the team he abandoned doubled their win total for the season. See, this team only has to be within a few miles of Ricky Williams and everything changes. Or maybe there's magic in that old goat dung he found. Meanwhile the league is not exactly convinced that Williams heart is in keeping his eyes on the white side. I'm pretty sure Ricky isn't convinced either.
9) COWBOYS: Finally something to say "Yee haw" about down in D-town. Jerry Jones says, "I like Henson." Parcells says, "I'll give him a half". Nope. Stinkin' it up against the Bears in front of every turkey huffer in North America. Yank. Win. Parcells isn't interested in "the future". Parcells sees how the NFC stinks like Ricky's goat dung and he knows he still has a punchers chance. J.J. needs to just zip it and keep his "youthful" appearance off the sideline and out of the papers. Michael Irvin, ever the loyal was filling the ESPN studios with his rancid balloon juice about how Henson should be the starter, shouting down everyone in the studio and surely giving his co-hosts an unscheduled shower. Embarrassing beyond belief. I think we may just see someone else sitting in that seat next year. ESPN, don't make us beg. The experiment is a failure.
8) CHIEFS: Vermeil and the Chiefs brass will have to pull off a miracle to yank this defense out of the dumpster. Is it possible to replace 11 starters in one offseason? Because they couldn't be any worse if they did. Priest Holmes owners now in playoff panic mode with the realization that with the Chiefs officially eliminated from playoff contention there is a strong possibility that the Priest may well spend the rest of the season watching from a skybox and on their fantasy benches.
7) GIANTS: The fall from grace continues for the men from Jersey. Eli elected not to go through warm ups out in the icky cold wet weather, so he warmed up in the comfy tunnel. Then he went out and had the ball slip out of his hands on an early drive deep in Eagles territory. The resulting loss of yardage took them out of scoring range, and Eli finished the day with 6 completions. These young 'uns.
6) BROWNS: Will the Browns and Bengals ever play a game at this point of the season that actually matters? If not, I guess the scoring clinic was a nice consolation prize for two teams gone wrong. Unfortunately for the Browns they came up on the short end of a 58 point beatdown due to the same kind of buffoonery that has plagued them all season long. Note to Browns: Find someone who can effectively evaluate NFL talent. Chances are that will not be a college coach. Got that?
5) SEAHAWKS: Never before has a team with a winning record spent so much time in the Misery Index. Quite an accomplishment for Mike Holmgren. I have been a Shaun Alexander owner since he broke into the league, and have watched a lot of Seahawks football in Holmgrens era. I can safely say this. There is no coach in the league that makes more stupefying game decisions. He and Mike Martz should both rent their heads out as anvils. The phrase "and it's dropped" is so prevalent during Seahawks telecasts that broadcasters just tape it before the game and hit the button every time it happens. Yet Holmgren keeps launching passes on 2nd and goal at the one foot line. While Alexander blocks. Despite Holmgrens failings, this team is an embarrassment to get jacked up by the Bills at home.
4) RAMS: If the Rams quest this season was to have the worst divisional champion record in NFL history, they'll have to fight the Seahawks hard for it. This team has lost whatever it had, and I don't think Martz can get it back. Anvils I say.
3) TITANS: It looks like McNair may have finally been beaten into submission. Can you blame him? Hey Mike Vick, look over here. This is what it comes to in the end. Here's your cane. Enjoy your money. Let us never forget, though we make fun of them and casually criticize them, and curse them like dogs when they let down our teams. These guys pay a heavy price for our entertainment, and McNair has spent more time on the Questionable list than any player I remember.
2) BEARS: If you had the Bears in the "first team desperate enough to give Jeff George another chance" pool, you are a winner! Unfortunately, the Bears are not.
1) 49ers: Well now look at the fine mess they've gotten themselves into. They have the first overall pick. No cap money to spend on that pick. And no clear cut number one player to pick in this toss-up draft anyway. Believe it or not this is going to get even uglier.