FanDuel - WFBC

March 13, 2013

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 48 comments

Newspaper defends story on Qatar 'dream league' after hoax claim:

The spoof French website report said players, who would earn three to four times what they currently earn, would live on artificial peninsulas where "laws and morals of the continent" would not exist.

It also said that the games would be visible by hologram in the "local stadiums" in Europe, adding that the roars of fans sitting at Old Trafford would be heard in the Gulf stadium where a United game would be played - this being possible as of 2016 thanks to the "Qatar Technologies Institute".

posted by billsaysthis at 02:00 PM on March 13

I like the second bit. Holographic football games. I hope that tech exists one day. Being able to sit in my local stadium here in Canada and watch the the World Cup played out in front of me!

posted by Drood at 02:17 PM on March 13

Welker to Broncos.

posted by insomnyuk at 05:34 PM on March 13

Yeah. For $6 million a year for 2 years. Patriots offered $5 million per for 2, which seems ridiculously low. I'm sure they have a plan and it'll probably work out, but this is depressing. And letting him go to Denver seems dangerous.

posted by yerfatma at 05:55 PM on March 13

Belichick is just fucking with us now, right? $6 million per year for two years seems about as affordable as possible for Welker.

posted by tron7 at 06:14 PM on March 13

Maybe they'll let Welker kick a FG or two for distance up in the thin air. He was a badass PK back in the day.

posted by beaverboard at 07:13 PM on March 13

Yeah, I do not get this move at all. For all the money Brady left on the table, putting an extra $1 million towards keeping Welker seems like a total no-brainer, especially given he's going to play with Peyton effing Manning. They essentially were asking for him to take a 50% pay cut from last year despite the fact he was one of the top receivers in the league.

Even if you plug Amendola and/or Edelman in, at best their upside is Welker's constant, plus there's a good chance they get hurt and/or don't live up to that. I'm slowly becoming less and less of a "Bellichek knows best" because now they have the cap room to load up on D and bring back their best OT and WR and so far...nothing. Most of the top players that aren't Patriots are off the board.

The Broncos are better. 49ers are better. Seahawks are better. These are teams you're going to have to face to win it all and right now, the Pats are looking like a team regressing, which I am sure makes their QB happy he left $10 million a year on the table.

posted by dfleming at 07:16 PM on March 13

How to get ejected in the NBA.

posted by tron7 at 10:38 PM on March 13

That Amendola deal is great for the Pats. He's not Welker but I think he can fill much of that same role, provided he can stay on the field.

posted by tron7 at 10:41 PM on March 13

He's not Welker but I think he can fill much of that same role, provided he can stay on the field.

That's the thing. He's a more expensive, health-riskier non-Welker. I have trouble calling that a great deal.

posted by dfleming at 10:38 AM on March 14

Welker is at the tail end of his career but it still comes across as nothing but extreme arrogance by Belicheat and the Patriots management to make him feel he wasn't an important part of the Patriots success. Only other reason I can think of is they have developed a young budding star ready to step in for Welker, but I certainly didn't notice anyone in the few Pats games I followed last season.

posted by cixelsyd at 12:41 PM on March 14

He's a non-Welker! I don't know what that means but it seems to be the chief complaint. You left out younger, by the way. I think they should have signed Welker but they saw something they didn't like. If I can't have Welker for whatever reason (and again, I don't agree with this) I would probably give Amendola 10 million guaranteed to take over Welker's old roll.

posted by tron7 at 12:49 PM on March 14

Welker is, in part, a product of the system he played in (as are many skill-position players). I would imagine the thinking is that Amendola is a younger version that can just be plugged into the Pats' offensive system and put up comparable numbers. The health thing is massive, however.

I would not be surprised if, assuming even number of games played, Amendola puts up superior statistics to Welker this coming season (although part of that is due to the fact that the Pats have little else to work with in the receiving corps and Manning has Thomas and Decker to feed, in addition to Welker).

posted by holden at 12:58 PM on March 14

He's a more expensive, health-riskier non-Welker. I have trouble calling that a great deal.

Well, technically, he's less expensive in terms of guaranteed money and he's five years younger. I'm sorry to see such a great player go, but I don't think it's as cut-and-dried as you make it out to be. There's always an argument to be made for paying for future production instead of past, like Bill Barnwell does here. The question for me is whether Amendola's injury history is all freak accidents. On the other hand, is he more risk-prone than a smaller guy who's 5 years older?

nothing but extreme arrogance by Belicheat and the Patriots

Yahoo! Sports and ESPN provide plenty of threads for that kind of thing if you're looking for it.

posted by yerfatma at 01:20 PM on March 14

I don't get the "tail end" talk about Welker - he's 32, coming off his 3rd highest reception total and 2nd highest yardage of his career, not to mention his 2nd highest YPC. Is it really that inconceivable to think he has another contract in him, especially considering the guy he's replacing in Denver is 36 year old Brandon Stokley?

His game isn't predicated on flat out speed - it's quickness, smarts and the ability to absorb hits. Tim Brown caught 81 balls at 36. Cris Carter caught 95 at 35. Jerry Rice was 40 when he caught 92 balls. It would not be out of this world to suggest in New England he'd catch 100 balls each of the next 2 years. He'll see his numbers drop in part due to the glut of options Manning has, and his style of spreading it around readily.

His numbers, though, suggest he hasn't slowed yet.

I certainly didn't notice anyone in the few Pats games I followed last season.

Everyone uses Edelman as the natural successor and he's been effective when used.

posted by dfleming at 01:27 PM on March 14

There's always an argument to be made for paying for future production instead of past, like Bill Barnwell does here.

I don't doubt that - and I do think that historical production for Amendola is much lower in part because it's Sam Bradford and not Tom Brady feeding him the ball. Further, I think Welker's numbers are going to drop because he's going to a much more spread out offence.

The skill-sets are similar and ultimately, Brady can make David Givens look like a star, so I'm not hugely worried, except for the fact that Gronk & Amendola have been hurt a lot the last two years and there's almost no depth on the squad at the position. There's also the question of playoff experience.

This is a Pats team with cap room that has essentially subbed one guy for another so far - I am not sure what they're waiting for, but they're down 2 corners (Dennard may spend a couple of years behind bars) from an already questionable secondary and haven't upgraded anywhere. The elite teams, minus Baltimore, have all gotten better the last few days and the Pats are, at best, the same.

posted by dfleming at 01:40 PM on March 14

except for the fact that Gronk & Amendola have been hurt a lot the last two years

Hey, don't forget Hernandez! He's been hurt a lot too. Some of the saner voices, notably Greg Bedard of The Globe who's one of the best on the beat, argue this isn't a repudiation of Welker so much as the next step in evolving the offense. The idea is that Welker and Amendola aren't the same player and bringing in Amendola clears out the middle of the field for Gronk and Hernandez. Obviously the risk is the health of that group.

The elite teams, minus Baltimore, have all gotten better the last few days and the Pats are, at best, the same.

They're waiting for the market to settle rather than paying stupid dollars on "The Dumbest Day of the NFL Year"

posted by yerfatma at 02:09 PM on March 14

The idea is that Welker and Amendola aren't the same player

I don't disagree - his perspective is very good. I think there's something to be said about how critical the option route is to this offence - and Brady's had challenges in the past creating the kind of chemistry with receivers that you need to excel at those. And they still need someone to stretch the field - maybe that's a Tavon Austin in the draft, but an undersized deep threat from the slot isn't really opening up a ton for Gronk and Hernandez, or Jake Ballard (who'll be back this year.) Maybe they kick the tires on Greg Jennings, but what they really needed wasn't available at a sensible price.

Still, with Welker in Denver, they need three starter-quality cornerbacks to cover this team now. They don't have any, and Denver got a nice bargain picking up Rodgers-Cromartie on a one-year reclamation deal. He was horrible in Philly, but that was as much a bad system as anything else, and if someone can teach him how to tackle he'll be set. The Pats' problems aren't really solved, though a number of DB's are still on the board and Ed Reed is hanging out there still and would look super in Pats blue.

posted by dfleming at 03:17 PM on March 14

Yahoo! Sports and ESPN provide plenty of threads for that kind of thing if you're looking for it.

Don't get your message.

My point - $2 Million over 2 years could have kept a productive part of your offense and an extremely popular player under contract versus gambling on a player who has been less productive and injury prone ... something real funky there.

posted by cixelsyd at 03:49 PM on March 14

The "Belicheat" comment, call me a homer, but I think this place is better without that sort of thing.

posted by yerfatma at 04:31 PM on March 14

Brady's had challenges in the past creating the kind of chemistry with receivers

This is what scares me. The worst of the pundits around here are all screaming "2006!" when the team's best receiver was ol' Popeye, Reche Caldwell.

posted by yerfatma at 04:32 PM on March 14

As a Rams fan, I hate to see Amendola go. His injury history is poor, but when healthy and on the field, I feel he'll be a better player for the Pats than Welker. Amendola showed signs of being dominant on a Rams team with Sam Bradford and an array of either young, or poor options. A player like Amendola could thrive with a quarterback like Brady, with weapons around him like they have in that offense.

None of this matters, though, if Amendola can't have an injury-free year. Welker, on the other hand, lands in one of the only situations (with Manning and two other top receivers) where he could possibly not miss a beat.

The Patriots obviously continue to believe it's Tom Brady who makes receivers like Welker, Deion Branch, etc. thrive, not the other way around.

posted by dyams at 04:50 PM on March 14

And now the Rams say good bye to Steven Jackson.

All I can do is wish him the best of luck. Loved the guy as a player, and the way he toiled as hard as he did, for years, with a struggling Rams team means he deserves to be on a contender to finish out his career. Part of me will be rooting for the Falcons to help him achieve that. He still has some great football left in him.

posted by dyams at 05:04 PM on March 14

The Patriots obviously continue to believe it's Tom Brady who makes receivers

And I think it's probably true, but it's clear after more than a decade that you can't just run anybody out there. The system's complicated and some times it feels like Josh McDaniels complicates things just for the sake of feeling smarter than other people (like when the Pats are killing someone on offense and then the next series he comes out and does something totally different and they 3 & out a few times). Thankfully Amendola has some history with McDaniels, so that may ease the transition, but I'm nervous about their receivers, especially if they let Lloyd go (which I'm totally ok with— I've never seen an NFL player succeed in spite of no legs below the knee. His whole season was like an homage to Eddie Murphy at the start of Trading Places).

posted by yerfatma at 05:32 PM on March 14

The Patriots obviously continue to believe it's Tom Brady who makes receivers like Welker, Deion Branch, etc. thrive, not the other way around

I'd like to point out the Patriots won back to back Superbowls with Branch then let him walk away also. They haven't won since.

posted by cixelsyd at 06:01 PM on March 14

The correct and best one-for-one replacement for Welker would be Davone Bess.

The fact that the Pats would have to steal him from the Dolphins just seals the similarities.

And even as a Dolphins fan, I'd be glad to leave the Belicheat stuff to Yahoo! commenters.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 06:43 PM on March 14

They haven't won without Vinatieri either. Part of their first SB loss to the NYG could be chalked up to Belichick's lack of confidence in his new PK.

I think they've considered too many guys on the defensive side of the ball to be expendable or replaceable. Plus they don't seem to factor personal attributes and intangibles into the roster reloading equation near as much as they should.

Which means that, yeah, I still feel bad about Milloy.

posted by beaverboard at 07:10 PM on March 14

They haven't won since.

Cedric Cobbs, Rohan Davey, Rabih Abdullah, David Patten, Jed Weaver, Dan Klecko, Earthwind Moreland, Dexter Reid. They're also part of the of the 2004 team and not part of the 2005 team at a quick glance. Want to tell me which of them is the vital cog the team has been missing? The team's been in the playoffs every year since other than one 11-5 season where they lost their starting QB in the first half of the first game. They've been to two Super Bowls since and a couple of AFC Championships.

But I suppose it's easier to talk in absolutes.

posted by yerfatma at 07:48 PM on March 14

OK, just to take this a few bullet points at a time:

Did Brady make Welker? Other than some monster games vs NE when he was with Miami, Welker's numbers didn't exactly hit you over the head. It wasn't that Brady made him, but more like an offense that was built for someone like him and a QB that could run it.

Is Amendola another Welker? Only in the narrow sense that both are considered slot receivers. Amendola is slightly taller, is supposedly better outside the numbers, and is a shiftier runner. A comment I read today (I thnk it was Greg Bedard in the Boston Globe) claims that on any given reception Welker will get what is blocked, but Amendola is able to get past would-be tacklers for something extra.

Is Amendola more expensive? The cap hit for Welker is 6 Million per for 2 years. Amendola's 10 Million is prorated over 5 years, or 2 Million per. The salary portion is structured so that the cap hits increase sharply after year 3. Guess what happens then if Amendola doesn't work out. Even if he is successful, it is likely his contract would be renegotiated after 2 or 3 years in order to keep the cap hit down.

Is Amendola the real piece on offense that NE needs? Hardly! Look for Patriots to try to pick up a good wide receiver in free agency or the draft (Buffalo's Donald Jones was in town, and there is a fair number of wides available in the draft).

Fans in NE do indeed care far too much about what goes on with their teams. Of course no one wants to back a loser, but hanging on to players who might be approaching a decline and then being unable to replace them in the short term is a formula for long-term failure. (What's going on with the Celtics seems to violate this idea, but they are really too much fun to watch, so breaking them up would not be smart.) the old baseball axiom was that it was better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late. While this is not a trade in the traditional sense, it amounts to the same thing.

I fully expect Welker to have an outstanding year or 2 in Denver. More power to him, and most NE fans wish him well. If Amendola stays healthy and performs up to his potential, we are not likely to forget Welker, but we will certainly be happy to have Amendola.

To this marginally qualified observer, the real reason NE hasn't won another Super Bowl is not because of the loss of some offensive players. Rather, it is that the defense was unable to make a play when the opportunity arose. Just watch the tapes of the last 2 SBs against NY.

posted by Howard_T at 11:35 PM on March 14

Want to tell me which of them is the vital cog the team has been missing?

My point is that the Patriots were rolling with Branch. Yes, he benefited from the offensive system the same way Welker, Brady, and the others do. Branch delivered in big games and he deserved to be rewarded. Vinateri also deserved to be rewarded, as does Welker.

It's wasn't as if the Patriots were looking to upgrade at their positions or had other good options. It wasn't that the Patriots used the money saved to upgrade at other positions. Yes, management proved a point by not having any give during negotiations - they won the deals. But the organization as a whole lost.

Feel very lucky that Brady makes a boat load of money outside of his reported football salary and felt charitable towards the Patriots or he too would have been gone this year. It's been reported Brady made concessions with the thought the ownership would use the money to keep Welker around.

Drives home the message loud and clear: Nobody is as important as management and Bill.

posted by cixelsyd at 01:02 AM on March 15

Rather, it is that the defense was unable to make a play when the opportunity arose. Just watch the tapes of the last 2 SBs against NY.

The Giants held them under 300 yards of total offence and to an average of 15.5 points in those two games after averaging 34.4 points per game over those two seasons. The defence were not the only ones who missed opportunities.

posted by dfleming at 07:32 AM on March 15

Branch delivered in big games and he deserved to be rewarded. Vinateri also deserved to be rewarded, as does Welker.

It wasn't that the Patriots used the money saved to upgrade at other positions.

You either don't understand how a salary cap works or you are letting your bias blind you to the fact the Patriots have done a pretty good job of managing the roster over the past decade. If you win three Super Bowls, chances are you are going to have a team with more players who "deserve to be rewarded" than you can afford to reward. That means making hard decisions. Otherwise you wind up with a hard landing like Indy. The fact Lady Luck delivered Lord Luck to them the next year doesn't change the fact they painted themselves into a corner.

posted by yerfatma at 09:25 AM on March 15

Thinking about Amendola, I haven't seen/heard anything about Edelman's status lately. The Pats are going to re-sign him I trust?

One little thing I will miss about Wes: my kids blew out the settings on our cable box, so that now we only get network broadcasts of NFL games with Spanish language announcers voicing over the game call.

I can have the connection reset and get Jim and Phil back anytime I want, but I've grown rather fond of our new TV friends, plus my Spanish comprehension skills have been improving.

What I will miss with Pats games en Espanol are the frequent Brady passes to "Wes Walker".

posted by beaverboard at 09:26 AM on March 15

The Pats are going to re-sign him I trust?

Not sure. He's at least visited with Cleveland, I don't know about any other teams.

posted by yerfatma at 09:29 AM on March 15

One person the Pats have signed is Leon Washington.

Steven Jackson has signed with the Falcons, while released Chief Matt Cassel has gone to the Vikings.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 09:38 AM on March 15

One person the Pats have signed is Leon Washington.

Leon replaces Welker in the return game and provides a neat little running back to perhaps design custom plays for, a la Shane Vereen.

The Pats also picked up Donald Jones, who in Buffalo occasionally looked like an outside-the-numbers receiver. Low risk, not getting my hopes up too high there, as he was a poor route runner and seemed lazy, something that will get him in Brady's bad books in a hurry.

The Pats are also meeting with John Abraham and Dwight Freeney. Abraham at the right price would be a nice fit - a guy who can play multiple positions, provides pass rush and might take some heat off the DBs by getting QB pressures.

posted by dfleming at 11:55 AM on March 15

I think Freeney would work too - he's undersized for a 3-4 end, but Belichick does weird two-gap/one-gap combinations on his front, meaning it's not a traditional gap assignment line.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:59 AM on March 15

According to Yahoo Sports, the Vikes didn't just sign Cassel. They "landed" him.

Sounds like it must be a coup.

posted by beaverboard at 12:37 PM on March 15

Apparently "Little" Danny Woodhead signed with the Chargers, so Washington also provides some coverage there. Washington's signing is still a bit curious because the Pats picked up Jeff Demps last year for much the same role, but now Demps is thinking about trying to do football and track, so maybe they're protecting themselves. Pats have also put an offer sheet on Emmanuel Sanders of the Steelers. Local radio (Felger & Mazz) is killing them for being cheap instead of buying all the players, as if cap space = unlimited cap space.

posted by yerfatma at 02:44 PM on March 15

"Little" Danny Woodhead signed with the Chargers

Woodhead's role will be performed by Shane Vereen, with some help from Leon Washington. Vereen's emergence late last season meant that Woodhead could be spared. Still, it's tough for this Patriots' fan to admit he can not have a "Woody" any more.

Local radio (Felger & Mazz) is killing them

The louder these 2 idiots talk, the more I know that the Patriots are doing things right. The only sport Felger knows anything about is hockey, and he knows damn little about that. Mazzerotti knows even less, and is not afraid to exhibit his ignorance on a daily basis. Of course, I avoid listening to them like I would avoid a case of bubonic plague. The problem is that the more outrageously ignorant these 2 act, the more people react to them, thus boosting their ratings. I give the same advice to their listeners as I would to the parents of a child behaving badly: "Ignore it and maybe it'll just stop."

posted by Howard_T at 04:53 PM on March 15

John Abraham and Adrian Wilson have signed with the Patriots, who are also apparently on the verge of re-signing Kyle Arrington.

It's like they had defensive issues last year or something.

Dustin Keller has signed with the Dolphins.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 07:56 PM on March 15

Meanwhile, some sort of clusterfuck between the Broncos and Elvis Dumerville has led to Denver failing to place contract paperwork with the league in time and so the Defensive End has officially been released.

The Denver Front Office and Dumervil's camp are, of course, blaming each other - Denver says Dumervil took too long to agree the new deal, while Dumervil's agent says he had about 12 minutes to review the deal and get it signed and returned.

Apparently the dead money cap hit Denver take as a result of the release means they will find it difficult to resign him.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 08:12 PM on March 15

Then I see a headline "Flacco traded to New England" and had a heart attack.

Turns out it's the Orioles' Mike Flacco, going to the Red Sox.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 08:20 PM on March 15

Apparently the dead money cap hit Denver take as a result of the release means they will find it difficult to resign him.

Tim Tebow works in mysterious ways.

posted by rcade at 08:45 PM on March 15

the Orioles' Mike Flacco

He is indeed Joe Flacco's brother. Now, can the Sox and the Pats cook something up to cut a deal with Joe so he'll throw a game vs NE in return for a good contract for his brother. Either that or hold Mike Flacco in a dark room with "The Worst of Don and Jerry" playing over and over until he pleads for his brother to throw a game or 2.

verge of re-signing Kyle Arrington

Word is that Arrington is aboard for 4 years at $16 Mil.

Adrian Wilson will give them some solid veteran presence at safety. He's known as a hard hitter, which is something they've not consistently had for a couple of years. John Abraham will give them a good 3rd down pass rusher to be used in a rotation between Chandler Jones, Abraham, and Rob Ninkovich. He also provides depth at the position, which NE did not have when Jones went down last season.

offer sheet on Emmanuel Sanders

Had not heard this. He will cost them a 3rd round pick, but considering that they probably would have used a high pick on a receiver, this might be a better way of going about the draft. It will free up a higher pick to use on a defensive back or offensive line. Pittsburgh apparently has some cap problems, so Patriots might steal one here.

posted by Howard_T at 10:38 PM on March 15

The Pats have apparently released Brandon Lloyd. I am not sure what Bill B is thinking here, as Lloyd when he hits the market will be the best receiver available by a mile. I don't see how a combination of Amendola/Jones/Sanders (if they even get him) is going to do a lot to empty out the field for their TE's.

posted by dfleming at 05:09 PM on March 16

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