Week 14: Life is Good for the Leaders of the Pack

As the rest of the league battles through inconsistencies and injuries, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers sail right along without any problems. There is nothing like a being a big fish in a small pond heading into Week 14.

PITTSBURGH -14 over Cleveland

The Browns have no skill players and cannot stop the run on defense. This should be a cakewalk for the Steelers who always take care of business against bad teams.

BALTIMORE -16.5 over Indianapolis

Regardless of how well the Colts play in garbage time (as evident by last week’s performance) it is impossible to pick them under any circumstance, they are just that awful.

Houston +3 over CINCINNATI

The Bengals have struggled stopping the run against good teams like the Steelers and Ravens this year, and now have to welcome the best RB in the game in Arian Foster. Despite all the other weapons going down, expect Foster to carry the load, and the team, to a big win.

GREEN BAY -11.5 over Oakland

The Packers overcame their toughest remaining obstacle on the road to perfection last week in dramatic fashion. And the Raiders looked flat last week against the Dolphins. This should be another easy win for the Packers.

Kansas City +9 over NY JETS

For some unexplainable reason the Chiefs have been very frisky the past two weeks. There is nothing about the Jets’ offense (or team in general) that makes me think they are as good as they looked in the second half against the Skins last week. The Chiefs will keep it close enough to cover.

DETROIT -7.5 over Minnesota

The Lions need this game, and after the way Tebow threw all over the Vikings, Stafford should have an absolute field day. Lions, big.

New Orleans -3.5 over Tennessee

The Saints offense is rolling after convincing wins over the Lions and Giants in back to back weeks. They should be able to score at will, which will neutralize a suddenly good Chris Johnson. Barring a major let down expect the Saints to run up the score on the road.

MIAMI -3 over Philadelphia

This is a stunningly low spread. I mean the Eagles have not played well in months and with or without Vick the Eagles simply have packed in the season. The Dolphins on the other hand are playing great of late and should run through the horrendous Eagles’ run defense.

New England -8 over WASHINGTON

The Redskins are terrible, and even though the Pats pulled the foot off the gas last week, I do not expect the same this week. Against the Colts last week the Pats could have lost had it not been for a failed onside kick, they should push the throttle all game against the hapless Skins.

CAROLINA +2.5 over Atlanta

The Panthers offense is rolling while the Falcons offense struggled against the Texans. Expect the Panthers to come out strong and hold on late at home.

JACKSONVILLE +1 over Tampa Bay

Just an awful game. MJD is the best player on the field and should run wild. That is more than enough about this disaster.

San Francisco -3.5 over ARIZONA

The 49ers defense is relentless and even though the Cardinals have been playing well, they will be just overmatched in this one. The 49ers will win handily.

DENVER -3.5 over Chicago

Tebow. Tebow. TEBOW. He is enough to make me pick the Broncos regardless, but the fact the Bears offense is crumbling left and right seals the deal.

SAN DIEGO -6.5 over Buffalo

Last Monday Night Football was a flashback to 2010 for Rivers and the Chargers’ offense and was a site for the very, very sore eyes of all Rivers fantasy owners. Though I do not think they will play that well on offense, they should still play well enough to cover against a crumbling Bills team.

NY Giants +3.5 over DALLAS 

Both of these teams are struggling and desperate for this win. They always play each other tight, this one will come down to a field goal either way, so I’ll take the 3.5 points.

SEATTLE -6.5 over St. Louis

A Monday nighter for the ages… Actually this is one of the worst nationally televised games in ages, but the fact that the Rams failed to get the ball past the 49ers’ 35 yard line last week should say enough about where this team is offensively. Lynch is playing like an absolute monster and the Seahawks should roll at home.

Good luck with your picks, and as always, gamble responsibly.

Last Week: 10-6

Season: 44-31-1

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NBA Preseason Reverse Power Rankings (11-15)

15. Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers may be the hardest team in the league to predict this coming season, and that’s without them being rumored to be chasing any big name free-agents, as is the case with the rest of the unpredictable NBA teams. Their starting five should look very similar to last year’s, with early rumors pointing to last year’s second overall pick Evan Turner moving in alongside Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala and former all-star, Elton Brand. It will be interesting to see how this team plays for Doug Collins, who was the runner-up for NBA’s coach of the year last season, when he was largely credited for the Sixers overachieving after a slow start. However, with a lockout shortened season, if these young Sixers come out of the gates slowly again, it will be very tough to bounce back.

Note: Now matter how well the Sixers play this season, nothing can make up for the atrocity of any of these three potential team mascots: http://www.nba.com/sixers/mascotfanvote.html

14. Houston Rockets

I’m expecting big things from the Rockets this year, mostly because the excuses for missing the playoffs last year are all gone, and it is now time to perform. Despite having to adjust to new coach Kevin McHale, the core of this team remains largely the same and roles should be more firmly established from day 1. While the Rockets were bogged down with the false hope of a Yao Ming return last year, and Aaron Brooks had to battle off Kyle Lowry for the starting point guard spot, the team got off to a slow start. Now, with Lowry as the unquestioned starter, the team will be able to jell from the very beginning. Kevin Martin and Luis Scola are also above average players at their position, and the Rockets boast one of the strongest benches in the league. They will have to make the center and small forward positions a priority in this shortened offseason, but this is definitely a team on the rise in the post-Yao era.

Note: This is a big off-season for backup guard Courtney Lee, who has been traded in every prior offseason of his young career. If he remains with the team, it will be his first time on the same team for two consecutive seasons.

13. Los Angeles Clippers

A lazier sports writer would just write two things for the Clippers and be satisfied with that. 1) Blake Griffin and 2) Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 lottery pick. So, essentially, no matter what the Clippers do, they win. Expect restricted free-agent center DeAndre Jordan to be back and huge as ever, and Eric Gordon should continue to be an explosive scorer as he quietly grows into one of the top young shooting guards in the league. But at the end of the day, this is all about Blake Griffin. He may be able to jump over cars and intern for comedy websites, but he needs to keep on growing as a leader of this Clippers team. He had one of the most impressive seasons of any rookie we’ve seen in the last 20 years and it doesn’t look like there is any chance of being bogged down by the sophomore slump.

12. Atlanta Hawks

Despite Larry Drew’s promotion to head coach last year, the script has been the same for Hawks for years, and until some changes occur, that will remain the case. Every year they just get by in the season, look impressive in the first round before bowing out in the second. Most teams would kill for that second round glory, but the Hawks should look to improve upon past success, and I think they need to make a move to do that. But, assuming they stand pat, Joe Johnson is still a top-tier shooting guard, despite his contract, Josh Smith is one of the league’s most talented players, and Al Horford is a top center. If they can put it all together, they could be a top team. It will probably take some more strong role players off the bench first however, and as currently constructed, the second round appears to be this team’s ceiling.

11. Orlando Magic

Like the Hornets, the Magic are impossible to predict. However, they are so much higher on the rankings, because they are a far better team assuming Dwight Howard is there for at least part of the season. Not only is Howard the league’s top center, but unless he is getting technical fouls, he simply will not miss games for injury. He has missed 7 games his entire career, and will average around 20 points to go with his 13 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. He is obviously an exceptional player, but with questions about how he will play and drama that will surround the team, the other players must step up. Jameer Nelson will continue to overachieve and hopefully veterans Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas can contribute something this year after being brought in mid-season last year. Expect for this team to be very busy one way or another during the off-season, and if Howard is not gone by then, this is another team that will only be caught up in trade talk until a move is actually made.

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NBA Preseason Reverse Power Rankings (16-20)

20. Golden State Warriors

New Warriors coach Mark Jackson has spent a lot of time talking about how improved his team will be, and, despite that confidence, I find it hard to believe that we’re looking at a playoff team here. Rumors about Monta Ellis being traded will continue to bog down this team until he is actually traded and Stephen Curry is handed the full reigns. 2/3 of the new frontcourt of David Lee and Dorell Wright were a step in the right direction, but Andris Biedrins must become the player he once appeared to be. The Warriors quietly saw a big improvement in their record last year in finishing with 36 wins and the lockout should benefit this young team, but until they make adjustments to their lilliputian backcourt, they don’t stand a chance. Mark Jackson will just be preaching defense to a team that has no interest.

19. Indiana Pacers

I don’t know how this team got into the playoffs last year, but I fully expect them to rejoin the lottery where they belong next year. Danny Granger just has to carry too much of the offensive load, as he averaged 7 more points than the next two leading scorers, Darren Collison and Roy Hibbert. This team has a collection of nice role players, such as new backup point guard and Indiana native George Hill, UNC star Tyler Hansbrough, and Paul George who proved to be a shutdown defender in the playoffs last year against the Bulls. However, while many think that series is an indication of success to come, I would attribute that more to a Bulls team just not taking the Pacers seriously. Barring some big help in free agency, I don’t think most teams will need to be too worried about the Pacers.

18. Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks followed up their “Fear the Deer” playoff campaign two years ago with a dud of a season last year, winning only 35 games. This year, their success or failure will be dependent on the health of Andrew Bogut, the maturity of Jennings, and the ability of the team to integrate newcomer Stephen Jackson into the team. The Bucks traded their top-ten pick from last year in order to improve the team now, so look for a refreshed energy and desire to win this year. Jennings must learn to play with more discipline at the point guard position after averaging as many 3 point attempts per game as he did assists (4.8). With the addition of more offensive players, such as Jackson and Beno Udrih, Jennings will not have to shoulder as much of the scoring load, and we should see an improvement in both team demeanor and wins this year.

Note: When I say wins, I mean win percentage. Obviously with only 66 games this year, they will not have the same chances to win as many. That goes without saying, but I said it anyway.

17. New Orleans Hornets

After looking like a legitimate playoff team last season in the first round against the Lakers, this looks like the year the Hornets will finally start putting it together again and become a consistent threat in the West. That is what I’d be saying if they had more than five players under contract to start training camp on Friday, but they don’t. The Hornets will be impossible to predict this year, simply because there are so many unknowns about them. Obviously the most important factor here is Chris Paul and where he ends up, but don’t expect to hear about anything other than him being traded or where he’ll sign. David West will probably be gone, and depending on free-agency and trades, the only sure players right now appear to be Trevor Ariza, Emeka Okafor, and Jarrett Jack. Stay tuned for more on the Hornets as the Chris Paul rumors continue to trickle in, and it should only be a matter of time until he is traded.

16. Denver Nuggets

Like the Hornets, the Nuggets are clouded by uncertainty, and their roster as currently constructed should in no way resemble what we see on opening day. In this professional’s opinion, we have seen Nene play his last game in powder blue, and with Kenyon Martin, Wilson Chandler, and JR Smith playing in China, this team’s core has been decimated. Andre Miller is back after being traded away years ago and he will play mentor to young point guard Ty Lawson. We should also expect big contributions from Danilo Gallinari, as he continues to pose like an Italian fashion model every time he flops while driving to the basket. Tenacious rookie Kenneth Faried may have to take on a bigger role than expected this year and the Birdman, Chris Andersen, should enter training camp with his body entirely covered with tattoos. While I try to remain optimistic about the Nuggets chances, like the Hornets, there are simply too many questions as to who will even be on the team by the time the season starts to predict anything about the team.

Note: The Nuggets have a Nigerian rookie named Chukwudiebere Maduabum. Here is the way to pronounce that name: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTMTd4LW8J4

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NBA Preseason Reverse Power Rankings (21-25)

25. Sacramento Kings

The Kings roster, as currently constructed, will either make management look brilliant or brainless, but definitely not somewhere in between. Health and maturity permitting, the Kings have a solid young duo of the future in Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins, but questions still abound on this roster. Is Evans a point guard? How will he play with the enigmatic Jimmer Fredette? And where does now restricted free-agent guard Marcus Thornton fit in with all this, after averaging 21 points with the Kings last season in 27 games? As soon as they solve those simple questions, they should be well on the way to success. It’s just a matter of how long that takes.

Notes: Don’t forget that the Kings traded down in the draft to pick Fredette 10th instead of 7th while also picking up the terrible contract of the past-his-prime veteran John Salmons. So far the Kings are looking pretty stupid.

24. Washington Wizards

I just want to preface this low ranking by saying that I really do like the Wizards and hope that they do well this season. I’m probably only saying that because John Wall should be the most exciting young point guard in the NBA since the last most exciting young point guard in the NBA and because their new retro inspired jerseys are a work of art. Based on inflated summer basketball stats that mean less than nothing, Wall should emerge as a dynamic leader for this group of youngsters. With a tandem of two very big men who really need to develop in JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche, the Wiz already have their most important pieces in place to be competitive on both ends of the floor. With a little maturity and a focus on winning (two road wins all last season), the Wizards are definitely a team on the rise and one that will be entertaining every night for years to come. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll win any time soon.

Note: If you don’t believe me that JaVale McGee is a very big man, then watch this informative video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ice7VG-L57Q

23. Utah Jazz

With the clear NBA bottom dwellers out of the way, this is where the rankings get tougher, and the Jazz fall to this spot by default. They are still recovering from the sudden resignation of their long, long time head coach Jerry Sloan in the middle of last season, and the departure of superstar point guard Deron Williams shortly after. The team now lacks an identity. What they do not lack however, is big men. They currently have veterans Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson, Mehmet Okur along with unproven young players Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. Don’t be surprised if we see one of those older players traded soon for some severely needed help in the backcourt. Devin Harris will look to regain his former all-star form we saw in New Jersey while trying to lead this eclectic group.

Note: For those of you who followed college basketball at all, you’ll notice that Jimmer Fredette did not get drafted by the Utah Jazz like everyone wanted. They got Alec Burks instead, but I hear great things about him too, despite his name not being Jimmer.

22. New Jersey Nets

Hey, speaking of the Nets, here they are! People all across the Garden State are all asking could this finally be the Nets’ year? And by that I mean the year they get Dwight Howard. The move to get Deron Williams at last year’s trade deadline was a great step in the right direction (only if he re-signs!) for this Brooklyn bound team. The task now is to keep Williams happy. Unfortunately, the Nets will be the subject of trade rumors all year to the point that you won’t notice how they’re playing anyway. But, if you are planning on paying any attention to the team itself, obviously look out for a strong showing from Deron Williams in his quest for more help. Despite only playing in 12 games for the Nets last year, he averaged just under 13 assists to go with his 15 points. The other big question is whether or not Brook Lopez will be able to grab a rebound this year after averaging a dismal 6 all last season. With numbers like that, it’s easy to understand why the Nets so desperately crave three time Defensive Player of the Year, Dwight Howard.

21. Phoenix Suns

Just two years removed from the Western Conference Finals, the Suns are a team that looks to be in rapid decline. The Suns employ roughly the same style that made them so successful in this decade, but they just don’t have the pieces they need to generate wins. Former two time MVP Steve Nash will be 38 in February (regardless of whether or not he is traded) and while Marcin Gortat should surprise as one of the top centers in the league, the roster is too thin beyond that. Players who should be no more than role players on good teams will be forced to step up into bigger roles. With the potential of three games in three nights looming, Nash may struggle to keep up his pace, which is unfortunate because their backup point guard Aaron Brooks will be playing in China. Short of Nash winning his third MVP award (anything is possible with him), the playoffs look like a long shot in Phoenix.

Note: Phoenix finished with a 40-42 record last season and were in tenth place in the West. The Indiana Pacers finished with a 37-45 record, got the eighth seed, and beat the Bulls once in the first round. I just thought I’d point out how unfair the West is.

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Tim Tebow: Does He Just Know How to Win?

For a number of reasons, the NFL universe is obsessed with Tim Tebow. He is one of the most polarizing athletes of the last few years. This post is mostly going to focus on how Tebow performs on the field. However, there is one off field point I feel I need to make.

Tim Tebow is very open about his beliefs in Christianity. That’s fine. Honestly, I don’t mind it. For reasons I guess I don’t understand, it really rubs a lot of people the wrong way. Other athletes are pretty upfront about their religion, so I don’t see why the fact that Tebow does it is a problem. Does the following Thanksgiving tweet really bother you: “Happy thanksgiving to every family in the world be thankful for your lord, family, and friends”. If it does, well then you better find a different Twins outfield to enjoy, because that was Ben Revere. Other athletes are up front about their religion, it doesn’t affect you. Move on. The real issue is how the media blows the whole situation up. Honestly, do we really need Tebow headlines with savior, resurrected, etc.? Drop the religious wordplay, you’re just making things worse.

Tebow warming up against the Vikings

Now to discuss what really matters: Tebow on the field. There are two sides to this argument. The first is that Tebow “just knows how to win” and the second is that Tebow is a quarterback who doesn’t belong in the NFL. Both sides are wrong.

First, I want to address the idea that Tebow “just knows how to win”. For all you Tebow fans out there, I’m sorry, but he doesn’t. For the past 5+ weeks, the Denver Broncos just know how to win. Look at the box scores of the last few wins the Broncos have. In most of those games, the Broncos defense has held their opponents to under 20 points. With the game against the Oakland Raiders as an exception, the defense has kept Tebow and the Denver offense in the game. The Broncos were the benefactors of a missed field goal against San Diego. Tebow had nothing to do with that. They beat the Vikings because of three costly Christian Ponder turnovers. Tebow had nothing to do with that. Tebow doesn’t “just know how to win”. I’ll explain soon what he does know how to do.

As for the anti-Tebow camp, I do say that at the end of day, wins are the only thing that matters in the NFL. He’s 6-1 as a starter this season. Clearly, he’s able to serve as a competent NFL quarterback. Does it seem laughable that he went 2-8 against the Kansas City Chiefs? Yes. It really does. But, the Broncos won. That’s all that matters. Results matter.

So here’s my real take on Tebow. He doesn’t suck. You cannot say he doesn’t belong in the NFL. That would be a wrong thing to say. Does he “just know how to win”? No. That’s a ridiculous statement. Here’s what Tebow can do as good as anyone else right now: manage a football game. Tebow manages the offense and helps put the Broncos in situations in which they can succeed. The Broncos are a run first team. Willis McGahee has the second most 100 yard games this season and is an excellent runner. Backups Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball are also solid options. Throw in Tebow’s ability to run if a pass play breaks down and his ability to gain yardage in designed quarterback runs, and you have a powerful running attack. This running attack runs time off the clock and gives the Broncos tough defense the opportunity to rest up.

As he showed against KC, Tebow doesn’t need to throw the ball for the Broncos offense to put points on the board. When he throw though, it is quite the adventure. He’s not a great passer. A lot of his passes are in places where his receivers cannot get to the ball. That’s bad. But when he makes bad throws, it’s to places where even defenders can’t get to them either. Simply put, he’s not going to be a guy that tosses a lot of interceptions. That’s incredibly important. If the Broncos defense isn’t playing against a short field, they have a better shot at keeping the other team out of the end zone, making it easier for the Broncos offense. When a receiver is wide open, like they were against the Vikings today, he can get the ball to them. Sometimes he catches them in stride. Sometimes not.

In the end, Tebow doesn’t turn the ball over, and he helps facilitate the running game. He’s not the worst quarterback ever and he’s not the greatest quarterback ever. He’s the kind of quarterback that the Broncos need. To be honest, that is the only thing that matters. He helps them win, and that’s exactly what they’ve been doing.

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NBA Preseason Reverse Power Rankings (26-30)

The lockout is finally over and it’s just about time for free agency and the regular season to begin. So, before we get there, I’m releasing my reverse power rankings with 5 teams each day, and ending just in time for Friday’s December 9th free agent frenzy. Obviously, by the time any of these rankings are released, free agency rumors could leak and everything I wrote could be rendered meaningless, so I’m mentioning all that here rather than placing asterisks and explanations in every individual ranking. Now, without further adieu, here are your bottom five:

30. Charlotte Bobcats

Ladies (do we have any of those reading this blog?) and gentlemen, I present the 2011-2012 worst team in the league. After losing Raymond Felton, Gerald Wallace, Jason Richardson, Stephen Jackson, Emeka Okafor, and Tyson Chandler over the last 4 seasons with absolutely nothing to show for it, the Bobcats are now entering full rebuilding mode. Corey Maggette has been brought in to replace Stephen Jackson as their new ballhog and leading scorer, DJ Augustin is still undersized and will now have competition for minutes, and, somehow, Tyrus Thomas has become a top player on an NBA team.  If nothing else Bismack Biyombo and Kemba Walker will make for intriguing rookies, but don’t be surprised when they’re joined by a high draft pick next year.

Notes: The Bobcats launched this embarrassingly bad rookie introduction campaign after the draft that’s really too funny not to point out: http://www.nba.com/bobcats/110623_release_draft.html

29. Toronto Raptors

The Raptors, a 22 win team last year, opted to improve their future prospects in the last draft. By drafting Jonas Valanciunas, who we almost certainly won’t see until next year, they sacrificed any chance of success this season. Despite the addition of new head coach Dwayne Casey, their roster should not look too different than it did last year when Andrea Bargnani reinforced his lack of ability to lead a team. Jose Calderon will battle to be the best Spanish born point guard in the league (See: Timberwolves) and Ed Davis could surprise after a quietly effective rookie season. Look for improvements in DeMar DeRozan’s game and he alone should be good for frequent appearances for Canada’s team on Sports Centre (not to be confused with the American Sports Center).

28. Detroit Pistons

If last year was any indication of the direction the Pistons are headed, look out for another disastrous season for this recently proud franchise. Detroit must decide on a direction to go right now with a core of both players from the glory days (Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Ben Wallace) and the gory days (Rodney Stuckey, Charlie Villanueva) who still have to figure out how to mesh with the young guys. If they can somehow manage to greatly improve under the guidance of new head coach Lawrence Frank, they will only be hurting themselves. This season should be all about developing second year center Greg Monroe and rookie point guard Brandon Knight and hoping those ping pong balls bounce their way for the strong upcoming 2012 draft.

27. Cleveland Cavaliers

Ranking the Cavs this high is essentially a courtesy to the team and to Kyrie Irving after drafting him number 1 overall last June. While I don’t agree with the pick by any means (See: Timberwolves, again), I remain intrigued, and Cleveland obviously saw something in Irving that I still do not. However, even more befuddling is why Cleveland would draft Tristan Thompson at number 4. Again, these are not players I have seen play yet, and they could easily prove me wrong, but I think there were much better options on the table for them at both picks (or in a trade package involving both?). Having said all that, it will be interesting to see how Baron Davis and Antawn Jamison handle babysitting duties for the younger players, and look out for newcomer Omri Casspi to become an instant fan favorite for this losing team.

Note: See, you can talk about the Cavs without mentioning LeBron. Whoops. Never mind.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves

Make no mistake, this will be Minnesota’s most entertaining season in Garnett knows how many years, but that will not necessarily translate into wins. Rick Adelman should prove to be a huge step up in the coaching department and Ricky Rubio will certainly be the most interesting Spanish point guard prodigy drafted in 2009 who then disappointed in Europe instead of coming straight to the NBA. Leaving the unproven Rubio aside, look for Kevin Love to grow after his first all-star appearance and winning the most improved player award, Derrick Williams should prove to be the star of this draft and is my pick for Rookie of the Year, and Michael Beasley will do his best not to screw things up. Also, look for quietly solid contribution from second year player Wesley Johnson, and if I could predict what to look out for from Anthony Randolph this season, this is the spot I would do it. Unfortunately, he’s as much a mystery as the rest of these young wolf pups.

Note: The Minnesota Lynx, the Timberwolves’ WNBA counterpart, won the championship last year. I just wanted to point that out.  Don’t expect the same from the Timberwolves.

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UPDATED: Donovan McNabb’s Future (Or lack thereof…)

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about Donovan McNabb’s future. Yesterday, the Vikings placed him on waivers, ending his career in purple and gold. There has been a lot of speculation about where he will go from here. I’m feeling very confident about where he ends up: retiring as a free agent.

There are two main teams that people have been talking about Donovan going to. The first is the Houston Texans. Had this move been made a week ago, maybe they would have taken a chance on McNabb to replace the injured Matt Schaub AND Matt Leinert. However, they signed Jake Delhomme this week, so they already have the terrible QB roster spot filled (Delhomme is just awful. I’m sure Garret would agree).

So that leaves the Chicago Bears. McNabb is from Chicago, so it would be sort of like a homecoming for him. If the Bears put in a waiver claim for McNabb and get him, they would likely be starting McNabb over Caleb Hanie. What does that get them? Nothing. McNabb has nothing left in the tank. He has shown that the past two seasons. No reason for a team to spend over a million dollars on a QB who cannot get the ball into his receivers’ hands.

So what is everyone’s favorite Donovan McNabb moment? I have two from his time as a Viking. The first was when the Vikings were up 28-0 on the Cardinals in the first quarter. McNabb had a wide open receiver on a quick route. I don’t remember who it was, but they were standing still at the line of scrimmage (I think it was a WR quick screen). Donovan turns to his right, winds up…and throws it at the receivers feet. The entire Metrodome booed him. I joined in. We didn’t care that we were up 28-0. NFL quarterbacks need to make that throw. He couldn’t. He needed to be done. He just doesn’t have the arm left for this anymore.

My first memory has to do with his skill. My second memory has to do with his heart. On a Sunday night nationally televised game against the Bears, the Vikings were backed up in their own territory. McNabb dropped back into the end zone and was facing some serious pressure from Julius Peppers and the Bears’ D-line. Instead of fighting to get back to the line of scrimmage to avoid the safety, Donovan laid down. No contact was made. Safety. Any NFL contending team that saw this would not want that on their roster. I fully expect that to be McNabb’s last game.

As I said exactly a month ago, I think we’ve seen the last of Donovan McNabb. I added my post from then below if you care to read on.

Donovan McNabb. 5 time NFC champion, 6 time Pro Bowler, and now he’s sitting on the bench behind Viking’s rookie Christian Ponder.

McNabb always seemed successful in Philadelphia, but there was always something about him that drove fans there crazy (I’m sure Joey can attest to this further). He’d been on Minnesota’s radar ever since Brad Childress became the coach for the Vikings in 2006. To a degree, it seemed like his arrival in purple was inevitable.

Instead, McNabb gets traded within the division (which should say something about how much the Eagle valued him) to the Redskins. And when push comes to shove he is benched. FOR REX GROSSMAN! Nothing against Rex here, but come on. Next thing you know, McNabb is traded to the Vikings.

Donovan was worthless for the Vikes. They simply could not move the ball with him. He lost the ability to throw the long ball with any accuracy and teams were loading the box to stop Adrian Peterson. The effect? An ineffectual Vikings offense.

I went to the Vikings game against the Arizona Cardinals, and thanks to some great field position, they shot out to an early 28-0 lead. And guess what? McNabb was still booed. And you know what? I booed too. It doesn’t matter whether you are up by 28 or down by 28, as an NFL quarterback you cannot under throw the ball every time. Receivers catch with their hands, not their feet.

Leslie Frazier made the right move by benching McNabb. He stagnated the Vikings offense, and rookie Christian Ponder seems to be effective at moving the ball and managing a capable offense. His success seems to mean that McNabb will be riding the pine pony for the rest of the season.

So what’s next for McNabb? He’s 34, which makes it unlikely that he can be the centerpiece of any NFL team’s offense. As Donovan has shown this season, he cannot serve as a veteran stopgap for a team looking to buy some time for a young QB to develop. Barring any injuries to Ponder, I think we’ve seen the last of Donovan McNabb.

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