As America’s new national pastime, the NFL has evolved into a year-round reported entity. Unfortunately, because of the infatuation with the sport, feckless information is treated with the gravitas of a ground-breaking narrative. Imagine any story regarding Tim Tebow from the past three months and I think you get the picture.
Yet, despite this endless coverage, valuable tidbits occasionally fall through the cracks. I’m sure you’re aware that Percy Harvin now calls Seattle home, or the debacle that was Elvis Dumervil’s restructuring blunder, but do you know Shonn Greene’s new residence for 2013?…EXACTLY. With the NFL Draft days away, here are some news and notes that have flown under the radar:
Carson Palmer and Rashard Mendenhall land in the desert
As one who lives in the Queen City, I’m contractually obligated to remind you that Palmer was once a top-five arm before hitman Kimo Von Oelhoffen took a cheap shot at the Heisman winner’s knee. Granted, given that said swipe transpired eight years ago, you would think it’s time to move on. Alas, as Cincy fans are stuck with Andy Dalton’s wobbling underthrows, it’s all we have. NEVER FORGET.
Anyway, Palmer quietly submitted a solid fantasy campaign, racking up over 4,000 yards and 22 touchdowns in 15 games with Oakland, and his 85.3 QB rating was his best figure since 2007. An abundance of viable quarterbacks impedes Palmer from starting status in most standard formats, though he should serve as a decent bye-week or backup arm. Moreover, the real significance of Arizona’s acquisition of Palmer is the revitalization of Larry Fitzgerald. Poor Fitzgerald looked to be on the verge of tears last season after experiencing the quarterback quartet from hell of John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer. Turning 30 at the end of August, Palmer’s presence puts Fitzgerald back into the elite performers at wideout.
As for Mendenhall, the name is bigger than the rotisserie implication. The Cardinals offensive line was abysmal last season, evidenced in a league-worst 75.3 rush yards per game. Mendenhall should see first-team snaps over Ryan Williams, but unless the protection vastly improves, Mendenhall will struggle to regain his 2010 form.
Shonn Greene sets up shop in Nashville
So ends a three-year run of disappointment of Greene as the focal point of the Jets running attack. In his defense, the Iowa product did surpass the 1,000-yard plateau the past two years, but averaged just 66.2 yards per game in that span. Now in Tennessee, anticipate Greene to be Chris Johnson’s complement, not comrade, in terms of workload.
Greene’s departure from the Jets means…
Mike Goodson to Gang Green
Wait, really? That’s how you’re going to replace Greene, with a combination of Mike Goodson, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight? Don’t worry, Jets fans. At least Darrelle Revis is healthy aga…oh. Um, hey, it looks like David Garrard might be under center, so…sorry, it’s not 2007 anymore? Hmmm…
Philadelphia obtains Arrelious Benn
This move may seem extraneous, as Benn hauled in just 59 receptions in three years with Tampa. However, while the second-round pick’s talent never came to fruition for the Buccaneers, Benn’s addition gives Philly much-needed depth in the receiving ranks, a vital element for Chip Kelly’s spread offense. Though he’ll likely start the season as a third or fourth receiver, the vulnerability of Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson could thrust Benn into a starting role. At worst, Michael Vick has another weapon at his disposal in hopes of erasing last year’s unmemorable foray.
Matt Flynn and Rashad Jennings to don Silver and Black
Understand he was hurt last season, and I think we can all agree that Russell Wilson will lead the Seahawks to five consecutive Super Bowls and save humanity’s collective soul in the process. Still, the fact that Flynn couldn’t beat out a rookie signal caller in Seattle, coupled with his abbreviated appearances in Green Bay, don’t convey a breakout for a soon-to-be 28-year-old. Throw in the fact that Oakland’s receiving corps is a destitute bunch and I’m staying away from Flynn in nearly all formats.
After his no-show in substitution of Maurice-Jones Drew last season, most owners will overlook Oakland’s pick-up of Jennings. But, factoring in that Darren McFadden just twisted his ankle reading this paragraph, expect Jennings to get a fair share of carries in the Black Hole this fall.
The nomadic ways of second-tier tight ends
Jared Cook, Dustin Keller, Brandon Myers, Martellus Bennett, and Anthony Fasano. At some juncture last season, you gave one of these tight ends a whirl, may have even been the recipient of a sound performance to two. Sadly, their tenure was inevitability brief, as all have lacked the consistency to contribute as dependable assets.
That sentiment may change with new destinations in 2013. Myers projects to be the biggest beneficiary of new digs, as his role as security blanket for Eli Manning vaults him into a top-10 ranking at the position. Keller has displayed the tools to be an upper-end player, yet the, ahem, “stylings” of Mark Sanchez have always encumbered his potential. Although Ryan Tannehill would not be viewed as an upgrade in many circles, he should provide a tad more stability than the Sanchize. Andy Reid’s offense should correlate to an uptick in Fasano’s value, and Cook could help alleviate the loss of Danny Amendola in St. Louis.
In reference to Bennett…well, Bennett, whose erraticism earned him a ticket out of Dallas and New York, goes to a team with one of the more capricious QBs in the game. This should end well.
St. Louis signs Jake Long
Though Long is a former No. 1 overall pick, this move didn’t garner a ton of traction since 1) Long is an offensive lineman and 2) it’s the Rams. Nevertheless, while Long has lost a step the past two years, he remains a good blocker and is a blessing to one of the worst lines in football last season. If the Rams can build some semblance of resistance up front, Sam Bradford could be an intriguing sleeper pick at field general.
Texans add road plow Greg Jones
Jones has been one of the more underrated fullbacks in the AFC since joining the league in 2004. Houston already boasts one of the best lines in the conference, commissions seen in the offensive outburst of the Texans the past three seasons. This is especially good news for owners of Arian Foster as, despite leading the NFL in rushing touchdowns, there’s a general worry that the All-Pro is beginning to wear down, with Foster failing to reach 50 rushing yards in three of his final five games verifying this claim. With Jones paving the way, Foster is a good bet to endure as a paramount fantasy pick.
Bills sign Kevin Kolb
Move along, nothing to see here…
Indianapolis horseshoes Darrius Heyward-Bey
See what I did with that headline there? That’s why they pay me the big bucks.
From an individual standpoint, hard to see DHB making enough of an impact on a weekly basis to justify implantation on standard league rosters next season. Conversely, his signing does give another target to an already-loaded arsenal for Andrew Luck.
As good as the Golden Child was in Year One in Indy, he was a fringe starter in most formats thanks to an elevated interception total, a fallacy which was partly associated with his tendency to lock into Reggie Wayne. With the assimilation of T.Y Hilton, LaVon Brazill and Coby Fleener, Luck will be able to spread the rock around at a higher rate this upcoming campaign, throwing defenders off his trail. Though the addition of Heyward-Bey isn’t the lone impetus for hope, it gives proprietors another reason to expect big things for Luck in 2013.