QUOTE: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” -- Martin Luther King Jr.
Sunday was a very busy day in the NFL. As we all suspected, trades have become more prevalent in the league based on the new uncapped rules as teams are more willing to dump salary without any concerns about the cap. Here’s a breakdown of what transpired:
LT and the Jets
Let me start by saying I’m not a Jets hater. In fact, I loved their draft last year and wrote glowingly about their decision to not only draft a legitimate quarterback in Mark Sanchez but a very talented running back in Shonn Greene. And I have nothing against LaDainian Tomlinson; in fact, had he signed with any other team, I would feel the same way about signing an older back. I just do not see an explosive player any longer, and the fact the Jets cashed in a 1,400-yard back to sign LT makes this move strange.
Here’s the reason for my reluctance to believe that older running backs can return to their once-great form: When I was with the Browns, we signed Joe Morris, the former Giant who was on the downside of his career. Morris came to Cleveland and looked amazing. He was explosive, fast and powerful -- in the offseason. But once the contact started, he was not the same back who had been great with the Giants. He no longer had the ability to break tackles with his lower body. He no longer had bounce in his step or explosive movement. As the season went along, the worse he became.
I learned a valuable lesson — never trust an older back in the offseason. The evaluation in the offseason is the not the same that will happen during the season. They may look great (or is it that they just look fresh?) when the season starts, but once the pounding begins, there’s very little ability to recover. And it always goes from bad to worse to unplayable.
This is what makes me worry about LT, who is no longer the same player he was for the Chargers years ago. Tomlinson’s decision to come to the Big Apple makes sense from his standpoint since he doesn’t have to learn a new offense. He’ll have the same runs that he’s had his whole career and will not have to adjust his game. Yet the Jets’ decision to base their trust in LT regaining his old form has me skeptical. They better hope Greene can stay healthy or that they know more about LT regaining his old form than the Chargers.
Brady Quinn and the Broncos
I’m not a Brady Quinn fan and have been writing for weeks that the Browns would dump him. Yesterday’s trade with the Broncos for fullback Peyton Hillis was basically a dump. Yes, I know some fans might think Hillis is a valuable commodity, but his lack of blocking and production without the ball makes him very iffy to even make the Browns roster next season. Hillis might look good occasionally with the ball in his hands, but his lack of overall toughness without it has to be in question.
No, I’m not a Brady Quinn fan, but I’m a huge Josh McDaniels fan, and if anyone can bring out the best in Quinn, it’s McDaniels. If McDaniels can make Matt Cassell successful, there has to be hope for Quinn. The Broncos gain a player at a position of need without any significant cost. Now McDaniels can keep the pressure on Kyle Orton and decide if Quinn has the skills to fit into his system. This shouldn’t change the Broncos’ approach in the draft, nor will it change the Browns’. They still need their quarterback of the future since Jake Delhomme was signed for the present and helps them change the culture in Cleveland.
The Browns under Mike Holmgren are changing their approach to everything, and these changes will keep happening. Holmgren is in charge and is making his presence felt, so much that I often ask myself, “Where is Eric Mangini?” Mangini has gone from being in control of everything, from the décor of the office to just being in the office. His fate now is tied to Delhomme and Seneca Wallace.
Once the signing of Delhomme was announced, I wondered how much longer until the Browns announce the hiring of John Fox as head coach? Fox has less than a year left on his deal in Carolina, so the “Fox Watch” in Brownstown has officially begun. More on that later.
Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi
For more on the Brady Quinn move to Denver, check out this article from Bleacher Report.
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