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Direckshun
07-03-2007, 10:54 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=clayton_john&id=2923078

Five who could turn a good season into a great one
By John Clayton
ESPN.com
(Archive)
Updated: July 2, 2007
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It's hard to find players who make a difference in the National Football League.

In free agency, they cost a lot of money. Or it requires a 13- or 14-loss season to get one. More than anything, though, it requires luck and smarts. There are plenty of good players available, it's just a matter of finding the right fit.

Last year, the Saints made the biggest gamble and won when they signed QB Drew Brees. Coming off shoulder surgery, Brees came to the Saints with no guarantees and ended up throwing for 4,418 yards and 26 TDs.

The Dolphins had first crack at Brees but decided to shy away. Instead, they traded for Daunte Culpepper, figuring a knee injury is less risky for a quarterback in the long run than a shoulder problem. You saw the results. The Dolphins finished 6-10, coach Nick Saban left for Alabama and Culpepper is trapped in Miami until a grievance resolves how he exits -- either by trade or waiver wire.

Another difference-making move was the Steve McNair trade of last year. The Ravens have been known for their great defense that asks for just a little bit from the offense. McNair did just that. He threw for 3,050 yards and 16 TDs and, more importantly, provided enough big plays on offense to help the Ravens win the AFC North with a 13-3 record.

Training camp is the first true test of how a new player fits in. Brees and McNair made their presences felt in camp. Now it's time to look at five players who could be impact players in 2007. It's not as though these five were the five most expensive free agents or cost the most in trades, but these five players are the ones who could turn around the personality or the strategy of a team.

1. Trent Green, quarterback, Miami -- Can he be this year's McNair? It's possible. Green comes to the Dolphins for what will probably end up being a fourth-round draft choice, and coach Cam Cameron is happy to pay that price if Green can complete somewhere between 62 percent and 65 percent of his passes and have a quarterback rating of 90 or better. Cameron's offense is based on efficiency and accuracy, and Green is an expert at both. No current quarterback has spent as much time in the Mike Martz-Norv Turner system as Green, who learned it back in his Redskins days when Cameron was the quarterbacks coach.

The question facing Green is his durability. Last year, he suffered a major concussion in the Chiefs' opening game and missed half of the season. Though the Dolphins still have questions along the offense line, Cameron's instructions to Green will be to get rid of the ball before getting hit. Despite the controversy of not taking Brady Quinn in the first round, the Dolphins tried to give Green some quick targets -- Ted Ginn Jr. at wide receiver and Lorenzo Booker out of the backfield. The goal for the Dolphins is to get scoring into the 20s. Despite Culpepper's strong arm, the Dolphins averaged only 16.3 points per game last year.

Trent Green
Quarterback
Miami Dolphins
Profile
2006 Season Stats Att Comp Yds TD Int Rat
198 121 1215 7 9 74.1

2. Adrian Peterson, halfback, Minnesota -- Peterson's showing in training camp could dictate the style of offense called by coach Brad Childress. If Peterson runs like a younger version of Larry Johnson, the Vikings could be a run-first team. They have a great one-two punch in Chester Taylor and Peterson. Taylor was among the rushing leaders during the first couple of months last year but wore down under the pounding. The combination of Peterson and Taylor could instead wear down defenses. Their effectiveness should be evident in training camp, and they'll be running behind a talented offensive line. Matt Birk is healthy again at center, and Bryant McKinnie and Steve Hutchinson will have better communication on the left side of the line.

A good running game could also make it easier for QB Tarvaris Jackson. The decision to start Jackson is one of the shakiest in the league. It's not that Jackson isn't talented -- he is. But he is also very raw. If the Vikings can come up with a running game that allows him to throw fewer than 30 passes a game, Jackson could be the surprise quarterback of the season.

3. Randy Moss, wide receiver, New England -- The only thing fans need to see at training camp and in the preseason is Tom Brady firing high, long, arching passes that Moss snatches in the back of the end zone. Moss doesn't have to catch 80 passes to be a success for the Patriots. He just has to score touchdowns, which is his specialty. Brady does a great job spreading the football to all of his receivers. Unlike Terrell Owens, Moss understands he doesn't have to catch every pass for a team to win. Sure, he got bored in Oakland. The Raiders didn't win and they didn't do a good job of getting the ball to him. Brady will have games in which he will throw only two or three times to Moss, but if those catches become two or three touchdowns, the trade -- which, for just a fourth-round pick, was a bargain -- will be one of the major success stories of the season and could result in a Super Bowl ring. Unlike T.O., who is all about himself, Moss made a sacrifice to become a Patriot. He took a $7 million pay cut. Try getting cab fare from T.O.

Randy Moss
Wide Receiver
New England Patriots
Profile
2006 Season Stats Rec Yds TD Avg Long YAC
42 553 3 13.2 51 127

4. Willis McGahee, halfback, Baltimore -- Jamal Lewis was the perfect back for years in Baltimore. He wore down opposing defenses with his big, fast body, helped the offense control the clock, score a few points and then let the Baltimore defense do the rest. But the organization wanted a different look, and McGahee will give Brian Billick the ability to spread the field. The transition begins in training camp. Even though McGahee caught only 18 passes last year, he is expected to be more of pass-receiving presence than Lewis. The change is perfect for McGahee. He's ideal in a one-back set. Lewis loved running behind fullbacks, but McGahee doesn't care. He's a physical, downhill runner. Without the fullback on the field, Billick can experiment with more three- and four-receiver sets. The Ravens have been drafting talented young receivers in the past couple of years, but they didn't see the field as much because the Ravens ran so many two- and three-tight end sets. Watch McGahee in camp to catch a glimpse of Billick's plan for the offense.

Willis McGahee
Running Back
Baltimore Ravens
Profile
2006 Season Stats Rush Yds TD Rec Yds TD
259 990 6 18 156 0

5. Jeff Garcia, quarterback, Tampa Bay -- Coach Jon Gruden has been looking for a new Rich Gannon for years. When Gannon went from Kansas City to Oakland (when Gruden coached there), the Raiders went from an average team to a Super Bowl contender. Gannon was a fiery leader and acted like an NBA point guard in distributing the football. Gruden wants something similar from Garcia. The Bucs have weapons but haven't gotten the most out of Cadillac Williams and Michael Clayton in the past two years, partially because of all the question marks at quarterback. Garcia's job is to make everyone perform better. Last year, Garcia stepped into an Eagles offense that needed more of a running presence for years and made enough handoffs to get the Eagles back on top of the NFC East. Garcia's can't be asked to carry a team, but he's smart enough to know he can use the talent around him to accomplish his mission.

Jeff Garcia
Quarterback
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Profile
2006 Season Stats Att Comp Yds TD Int Rat
188 116 1269 10 2 95.8

Guru
07-03-2007, 11:00 PM
They never gave Green a second thought while in KC. Now he gets exposure.

Mr. Kotter
07-03-2007, 11:05 PM
Decent take on the "top five" moves....at least the obvious ones.

However, what's the fascination with MID-30s QBs??? :shrug:

I just DON'T see Green, but especially Garcia, making much...if any....REAL difference in those teams. At least, insofaras we are talking about the Playoffs. Difference between a 6-10 and an 10-6 teams....maybe. But neither Miami or Baltimore will be in the BIG picture, at the end. Not that the Chiefs will be either, FWIW.

DJay23
07-03-2007, 11:17 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=clayton_john&id=2923078

Cam Cameron is happy to pay that price if Green can complete somewhere between 62 percent and 65 percent of his passes and have a quarterback rating of 90 or better.


Duh?

I think that's what most coaches HOPE for from their starting QB.

keg in kc
07-03-2007, 11:17 PM
I'd have to believe Green's performance in Miami will, at best, mirror his performance here in 2001. He may know the offense. The rest of his team doesn't. And while they have the edge at receiver, that line is nowhere near as good as the one we fielded, even without Roaf.

Valiant
07-03-2007, 11:18 PM
Decent take on the "top five" moves....at least the obvious ones.

However, what's the fascination with MID-30s QBs??? :shrug:

I just DON'T see Green, but especially Garcia, making much...if any....REAL difference in those teams. At least, insofaras we are talking about the Playoffs. Difference between a 6-10 and an 10-6 teams....maybe. But neither Miami or Baltimore will be in the BIG picture, at the end. Not that the Chiefs will be either, FWIW.



I think Miami will be better then most think this year.. They have a stud defense and two really good WR's for Trent to throw too; If Trent can keep his ints down they should win a lot of close games..

I am not sure if them losing their TE is good or bad for Trent yet, its bad because he normally threw that route for us but maybe this will force him to try and look at his WR's more...

Mr. Kotter
07-03-2007, 11:25 PM
I think Miami will be better then most think this year.. They have a stud defense and two really good WR's for Trent to throw too; If Trent can keep his ints down they should win a lot of close games..

I am not sure if them losing their TE is good or bad for Trent yet, its bad because he normally threw that route for us but maybe this will force him to try and look at his WR's more...

Year one, new HC, new starting QB....aging "D"???? :shrug:

Sound familiar? I'd argue....9-7, at best.....eeks into a road playoff loss. Whoopty-doo. Personally, I'd rather have the 16th pick in the draft, as oppossed to the 24th pick.

Maybe it's just me, though. :shrug:

sedated
07-03-2007, 11:28 PM
he won't last half the season behind that offensive line

kcchiefsus
07-03-2007, 11:35 PM
I think Miami will be better then most think this year.. They have a stud defense and two really good WR's for Trent to throw too; If Trent can keep his ints down they should win a lot of close games..

I am not sure if them losing their TE is good or bad for Trent yet, its bad because he normally threw that route for us but maybe this will force him to try and look at his WR's more...

They are in competition with Oakland and Houston for the worst offensive line in the NFL.

Logical
07-03-2007, 11:44 PM
Year one, new HC, new starting QB....aging "D"???? :shrug:

Sound familiar? I'd argue....9-7, at best.....eeks into a road playoff loss. Whoopty-doo. Personally, I'd rather have the 16th pick in the draft, as oppossed to the 24th pick.

Maybe it's just me, though. :shrug:

I am not sure what you are thinking, I think the Chiefs are a solid contender for a top 10 draft slot pick.

Mr. Kotter
07-03-2007, 11:48 PM
I am not sure what you are thinking, I think the Chiefs are a solid contender for a top 10 draft slot pick.

This year? Could be, I suppose. :shrug:

HOWEVER, we could also SHOCK the shit out of a lot of people; beginning with me and you...with this Defense (top 10 by end of year) and LJ. The only thing that would keep us from the playoffs is....an expected struggle from from Croyle and the OLine...which is possible, but not necessarily inevitable (contrary to your self-proclaimed omniscient insight.)

We WILL see. I'd rather be me, than you...in either instance. :p

BigMeatballDave
07-04-2007, 12:28 AM
I won't try to speculate on how Green will do this season. But, I will say he doesn't have a Gonzales to throw to, or a LJ to had off to...

htismaqe
07-04-2007, 06:39 AM
Cameron's instructions to Green will be to get rid of the ball before getting hit.

Um, Cam, got something to tell you...

Deberg_1990
07-04-2007, 06:40 AM
Im sorry, Trent Green isnt going to "transform" any team. Hes never been a guy to carry the team even in his prime.

rad
07-04-2007, 06:49 AM
They question his durability, but last year is the only time I remember Green missing significant time due to injury while in KC.

I'm going to go finish my breakfast now. I just can't get enough scrambled eggs some mornings.......

Mile High Mania
07-04-2007, 07:18 AM
I think the Garcia and Peterson selections are pretty weak... the other 3 are obvious.

milkman
07-04-2007, 10:07 AM
I think Miami will be better then most think this year.. They have a stud defense and two really good WR's for Trent to throw too; If Trent can keep his ints down they should win a lot of close games..

I am not sure if them losing their TE is good or bad for Trent yet, its bad because he normally threw that route for us but maybe this will force him to try and look at his WR's more...

That's funny considering that many people here bitched about the fact that Trent didn't throw to TG enough, and that Trent looked to his WRs far to much.

GoHuge
07-04-2007, 11:43 AM
Year one, new HC, new starting QB....aging "D"???? :shrug:

Sound familiar? I'd argue....9-7, at best.....eeks into a road playoff loss. Whoopty-doo.

Maybe it's just me, though. :shrug:Yeah the stars will have to be perfectly aligned for the Dolphins to be any kind of force this year. That dominant defense is getting really long in the tooth and just like our O-line, when it goes it goes in a hurry. I've heard people talk about their line and I don't know if it is better or worse than ours last year and now their starting left tackle plays for the Cheifs. With that said Trent didn't play well with a shaky line in front of him because he's just an average game manager type QB. If they don't have a good line I expect Trent to look very similar to what he did last year.

In my opinion Trent is a wonderful human being that is just a decent QB that was surrounded by some of the all time greatest offensive players to ever play the game. He had two first ballot Hall of Famer's and a perennial Pro Bowl guard lining up in front of him, the best or second best running back (Preist and LJ) at the time to hand off to, a head smashing full back, serviceable WR's, and the greatest TE to ever play the game. You would have to be horrible not to look good in that situation.

I don't care if he did have that horrible injury last year. We saw what kind of QB he is without the brick wall of a line in front of him. He looked lost and never had the time he as used to. He had what 8 TD's and 9 INT's? Huard was the better QB with the line we had. That and Trent was use to running the show and airing it out. Taking that chance to hit the big play. Herm is a ball control coach and under Vermiel Trent was encouraged to go for that homerun play. It drove Herm insane.

I know it sounds like I'm bagging on Trent, but I love the guy. I've met him in person several times and he was the most approachable gracious person you'll ever meet. Truthfully I wanted him to retire after that hit because I didn't want to see him get hurt again with some type of permanent brain trauma and be f**ked up for life. I hope he goes down to Miami, has a couple of solid years, and retires with his dignity and cranium intact. Thanks for the memories and I can't wait to see what he does on TV. Every time he's done somthing on TV he was great.

B_Ambuehl
07-04-2007, 02:32 PM
Their line is much worse than ours was last year. For the last 3 years Miami has had one of the worst lines in the NFL and it should only get worse this year. Trent will be lucky to last half a season.

I expect Moss and Jeff Garcia to be impact players.

chiefsfan1963
07-04-2007, 04:46 PM
it's pretty comical how some folks here thought getting a 4th for Green was a stretch, and wanted CP to dump him for 7th. I thought it was a no brainer that we would at least get a 4th and 2nd and 3rd was not out of the question.

carter08
07-04-2007, 07:36 PM
green is a good qb
but kc is better off now
brodie's starting now?
well roll tide roll
kid is gonna be good