January: Luck-y decisions, ugly drafts and mad mamas
When I sat down to write my latest sports “Mad Ramblings” column, I found I had a lot of thoughts on the NFL. As a result, this post is football heavy.
So here is your answer to get you through a Friday — my mad ramblings about the NFL.
• This build-up to this year’s NFL Draft figures to be the best in years.
With Indianapolis “earning” the No. 1, and clearing out the front office staff in the process, it has a big decision ahead.
Do you keep Peyton Manning and trade the pick?
Do you trade Manning and draft Andrew Luck?
Or do you keep them both?
Personally, if Manning’s health checks out in the next month or two, I keep him and ransom off the pick.
Yes, Luck is a stud and probably will be for the next 10-12 years. That is tough to pass up.
However, Luck hasn’t played a down in the league. What if he turns out to be a bust? Then you have traded one of the best quarterbacks ever for someone that can’t return your team to glory.
If you pick Luck, you are looking at a rebuilding project for two years, at least. With Manning, you should still have a Super Bowl window for 3-4 years, especially if you get a big bounty for the top pick in a trade.
My decision if I am the Colts GM: Trade Luck for three firsts and a couple of seconds. Then draft Trent Richardson or Justin Blackmon in the first round. Re-sign Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, and the Colts are back to being playoff contenders.
• So glad the Bears used a late-season injury-caused collapse to finally axe GM Jerry Angelo. To say Angelo’s draft results have been bad would be an understatement.
Here are the first round picks by Chicago under Angelo.
2001: David Terrell, WR, Michigan
2002: Marc Colombo, OT, Boston College
2003: Michael Haynes, DE, Penn State and Rex Grossman, QB, Florida
2004: Tommie Harris, DT, Oklahoma
2005: Cedric Benson, RB, Texas
2006: Traded down
2007: Greg Olsen, TE, Miami
2008: Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt
2009: No pick, Cutler trade
2010: No pick, Cutler trade
2011: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Aside from Tommie Harris, and to an extend, Sexy Rexy, that is some ugliness. I do Carimi, but he needs to show he can stay healthy.
Add in Angelo’s penny-pinching ways (highlighted by refusing to pay Matt Forte this year), and it is easy to see why he had to go.
I will be curious to see who the new GM ends up being, and whether that spells the end of the Lovie Smith era soon.
• Speaking of Lovie, he threw another coordinator under the bus by firing Mike Martz.
Look, Martz wasn’t perfect, but the offense was rolling before Cutler and Forte got hurt. Plus, Martz has said for two years he didn’t like Caleb Hanie, and we saw why when he stepped in for Cutler.
The Bears announced Friday that Mike Tice is the new offensive coordinator. He will also have a passing coordinator, but it sounds like Tice will call the plays.
I’m not thrilled about Cutler having a third offensive coordinator with Chicago in four years. And I’m not thrilled about Tice, who hasn’t really been good at building an offense in the past.
I would say this guarantees Forte will be getting a contract extension real soon.
• If you would have told Houston Texans fans before the season they would go 10-6 and win the division, despite losing three of its four best players for extended periods, they would have been thrilled. After all, this is a franchise that has NEVER made the playoffs.
Yet as the Texans get ready to host their first playoff game ever Saturday, the majority of the fans in Houston want to bitch.
Seriously folks, you are on your third string quarterback and have been missing your best receiver for basically the year. And you are going to threaten to not go to the game because they have lost three games in a row? Give me a break.
• I actually think Houston wins this weekend. I still expect a good crowd (hopefully I’m not being naïve) and having Andre Johnson should help the offense.
Houston 23, Cincinnati 13
Around the league
• Landry Jones is staying at Oklahoma for a senior season, which is good news for Robert Griffin III.
I have always thought Jones was overrated. But considering Christian Ponder and Jake Locker were top 10 picks last year, Jones likely would have done the same. Surely Washington or Miami would have rolled the dice.
Now, with Jones staying in school, there are only two elite quarterbacks — Luck and RGIII.
Luck will for sure go No. 1. I think RGIII goes No. 2 now.
St. Louis has the No. 2 pick, but already has a franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford. With Luck off the board, teams will be trying to jump up and take RGIII next.
Assuming Indianapolis holds onto the top pick, RGIII will at worst go No. 4 to Cleveland. Washington, Miami, Buffalo and Kansas City would have to jump ahead of the Browns to secure the Baylor QB. Or the Browns could trade up two spots to assure themselves RGIII.
Told you the top of the draft is going to be intriguing this year!
• My early top 10, including trades:
1. Washington (from Indy): Luck
2. Cleveland (from STL): RGIII
3. Minnesota: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
4. St. Louis (from CLE): Justin Blackmon, WR, OKST
5. Tampa Bay: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
6. Indianapolis (from WAS): Trent Richardson, RB, Bama
7. Jacksonville: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
8. Carolina: Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
9. Miami: Luke Kuechly, LB, BC
10. Buffalo: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Bama
• Seems like there is mixed emotion of former Bama QB Greg McElroy calling out the New York Jets locker room. I think the main issue is McElroy hasn’t even played a snap for the Jets in the regular season.
Personally, I liked it. And I’m sure the NY media liked it. The team, probably not so much.
It won’t shock me if he gets cut in the offseason for throwing some teammates under the bus. However, if that happens, I bet another franchise picks him up right away.
• I’ve said for years Atlanta is a bad sports town, but Rob Parker took it to another level.
• If I am Jeff Fisher, there is no doubt I take the St. Louis job over Miami. Easier division and a franchise quarterback on the roster.
• Are the Lakers sure they want to trade Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard? I’m not a Bynum fan, his stats this year have been ridiculous thus far.
• The Bulls are pretty tough right now, even when the offense takes a night off. Rose is taking over down the stretch, and Rip Hamilton has given Chicago that dimension they haven’t had recently. I think a collision course with Miami is likely.
• If you are a referee and can’t count to six. If you are a coach and can’t count to six, you get fired. It’s a crazy story from Western Kentucky.
• Finally, the No. 1 safety recruit in the county verbal committed to Alabama on Thursday night. Landon Collins, a Louisiana native, could see a lot of playing time as a freshman for Bama.
However, mama wasn’t so thrilled with the decision.
Safe to say, his recruitment probably isn’t over with Signing Day less than a month away.
Also, how old was his mom when she had him? 8? 10? Yikes!
Bear Down and Keep the Faith!