|Mark Sanchez Era comes to a close with Jets as AFC quarterback shuffle continues||03.21.14 at 9:04 pm ET|
The Jets decision to release Mark Sanchez and add Mike Vick brings this week’s quarterback carousel to an end.
Sanchez, who was a first-round pick of the Jets in 2009, was cut loose four days before a $2 million roster bonus was due to the USC product. He spent five years with New York, leading the Jets to back-to-back trips to the AFC title game in his first two seasons with the Jets. However, he was never able to hit the same heights, and sat out all of 2013 with a shoulder injury.
“I’d like to thank Mark for everything he’s done for this team and me personally,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said in a statement released by the team. “We were rookies together and had some early success, becoming the first rookie head coach and quarterback to go to back-to-back championship games. We experienced a lot together, and I really appreciate Mark. He’s a great player, a great teammate, and I wish him nothing but the best.”
The Jets later announced they had signed Vick, a veteran who lost his starting job with the Eagles midway through the 2013 campaign to youngster Nick Foles. Vick, 33, inked a one-year deal to (presumably) serve as the backup to Geno Smith.
“It means a lot to have the chance to come in and play for a great organization that had a lot of success last year and being on the brink of doing some good things,” Vick told the Jets’ website Friday. “Maybe I can come here and be an asset whenever my number’s called. I’m excited, I’m elated, and I feel like this is a great opportunity for me and my family.”
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|Peter King on M&M: Matt Schaub to blame for collapse of Texans that cost Gary Kubiak his job||12.06.13 at 1:01 pm ET|
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King made his weekly Friday appearance on Mut & Merloni, minutes after the story broke that the Texans had fired coach Gary Kubiak.
“I think the Texans were seriously considering firing Kubiak after the first Jacksonville loss, but the problem was the schedule that was coming up — they’ve got the Patriots and then the Jaguars in a short week,” King said, adding: “I’ve felt strongly he was going to get fired for the last two weeks. Obviously he had an opportunity to save himself, but clearly he couldn’t save himself. And that’s what today is all about. You can’t lose to the Jaguars twice in 11 days and lose 11 games in a row and keep your job. It’s ridiculous. I don’t care what injuries they had. The fact is, this is a team that vastly underachieved this year.”
Added King: “The ownership felt like it’s time, we’ve given this guy more than enough time. And they have.”
King placed the majority of the blame for Houston’s collapse on quarterback Matt Schaub.
“You saw in Houston this year how much one single player can influence your franchise. And that one single player — throwing pick-sixes three weeks in a row — was Matt Schaub,” King said. “Matt Schaub imploded. And as nice a guy he is and as much as he’s done for that franchise, he is the guy that got this team on their death spiral.”
The Texans are loaded with talent, making this an appealing job, especially with them in line for a very high draft pick.
“If you have J.J. Watt coming back, you’ve got Brian Cushing coming back from injury ‘¦ you’ve got the basis of a very good defense,” King said. “And you’ve got Andre Johnson. It looks like they’ll probably lose Ben Tate, whose a good running back, but they’ve got plenty — plenty — of talent on that team to contend in 2014. If you add [Louisville quarterback Teddy] Bridgewater to that team, they’re going to be very, very good.”
|Fantasy Football: Week 6 starts, sits||10.11.13 at 9:08 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 6 starts and sits. I’ve tried to vary the level of options to give people in all league sizes something to chew on. If you are looking for more comprehensive rankings, go to Rotobahn.com, where we rank them all every week and update the rankings every weekend. Jim Hackett and I will be doing our weekly podcast later Friday and we’ll cover these starts and sits in depth. Check it out. You can find it in our audio on demand area. I’ll also be back Sunday, as usual, to answer all of your lineup questions in our Sunday morning chat sponsored by our friends at Mohegan Sun.
Andy Dalton, Bengals at Bills
There are better options out there, obviously, but Dalton should do well this week against a Bills squad that is beat up on the back end. He’s got weapons all around him and a solid ground game to work off of.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Jets
The Steelers are looking better than they did a few weeks back and they get a Jets team that may be down a few cornerbacks. This bodes well for Big Ben and his receivers. He’s a good play in most formats.
Alex Smith, Chiefs vs. Raiders
If you are looking for help this week, Smith can step in for you. A big game may not be in the cards, but a solid effort seems to be something you can count on from Smith and Andy Reid‘s offense.
Joe Flacco, Ravens vs. Packers
There will be plenty of points in this game, and Flacco will need to attack the Pack downfield. Ray Rice‘s major contributions likely will be in the passing game, and that helps Flacco. He’s a decent play if you are in need.
Matt Schaub, Texans vs. Rams
He’s risky, as he could have a short leash this week in a home game in front of potentially hostile fans. He’s playable if you are stuck with him, but this is definitely a week to consider other options. Schaub may not get a chance to finish if he starts poorly.
It’s a bad matchup, and Palmer has really been struggling lately. He may post some garbage-time numbers, but the 49ers usually are pretty good at playing hard for 60 minutes. I’d avoid Palmer this week. This offense has a lot of upside, but this is not the week to roll the dice with it.
|Fantasy Football: Week 5 waiver wire||10.01.13 at 11:11 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 5 waiver wire. A lot of last week’s hot names have been snatched up, so the inventory of targets is not what it was as we hit the second week of byes. Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Washington will be resting this week. As always, I will be doing my expanded waiver wire over at Rotobahn.com. If you play in a league with 12 or more teams, we’ve got you covered. The players listed here represent the best available talent based on percentages derived from Yahoo’s database and should meet your needs if you play in leagues with 10 teams or less.
Jay Cutler, Bears
He played a poor game in Week 4, but he was still a fantasy asset. That’s the benefit of having improved weapons and protection, not to mention an improved scheme. Cutler should be owned everywhere, yet he is available in 42 percent of leagues.
Matt Schaub, Texans
He’s available in 45 percent of leagues and he’s a fantasy asset. He held up against Seattle better than most quarterbacks have and his schedule gets better from here on out. Schaub can help you if you lack a second option at quarterback.
Terrelle Pryor, Raiders
He’s available in 78 percent of leagues and he has a lot of weekly upside. I like him a lot as a matchup play due to his high-end athleticism and his penchant for picking up extra fantasy points with his feet. He should be over his concussion for Week 5.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
He’s a available in 78 percent of leagues. The coaching staff is letting him throw it a ton. He can help you if you need a QB. He’s a matchup play, so check his schedule against your QB1’s bye week.
|Catching up with … the Texans||07.29.13 at 10:18 am ET|
As we count down to the start of training camp, we’ll take a look at all 13 opponents on the Patriots’ regular-season schedule and break down each one of them. We’ve already featured the Bills, Jets and Dolphins, as well as the Buccaneers, Falcons, Bengals, Saints, Steelers, Panther and Broncos. Now, it’s the Texans.
Specifics: In the first of five games in the final month of the regular season, the Patriots will visit the Texans at Reliant Stadium in Houston at 4:25 p.m. on Dec. 1.
Say goodbye to ‘¦ running back Justin Forsett, safety Glover Quin, safety Quintin Demps, safety Alan Ball, defensive end Connor Barwin, tight end James Casey, kicker Shayne Graham, wide receiver Kevin Walter.
Recent history: The teams have not matched up a ton the last few years, but the Patriots have emerged victorious in two out of the last three games, with both of those wins coming last season. First, Tom Brady threw for four touchdowns as the Pats cruised to a 42-14 win on Dec. 10. The score was closer but result the same during a rematch in the AFC divisional round in January, when Houston scored 15 fourth-quarter points but ultimately saw the Patriots end its season, 41-28.
The Texans last came out on top in 2009, a 34-27 win in Week 17.
The Patriots should be worried because ‘¦ after injuries shortened his 2011 season, Matt Schaub was really, really good again in 2012. He threw for 4,008 yards ‘ the third time he reached that mark in nine NFL seasons ‘ to go with his 64.3 completion percentage, good for sixth amongst regulars. He also finished with a 90.7 passer rating, better than Joe Flacco, Eli Manning and Cam Newton, among others.
The Patriots shouldn’t be worried because ‘¦ Houston is replacing the trio of Quin, Demps and Ball ‘ who, granted, weren’t all necessarily big-time playmakers ‘ at safety with the 34-year-old Reed after signing the 11-year NFL veteran to a three-year, $15 million contract in March. The previous threesome, all aged 28 or less, were led by Quin’s team-high 84 tackles. Reed had 58 in 2012.
Houston had one of the best defenses around last year, allowing 20.7 points and 323.2 yards per game.
The skinny: The game already has an, um, odd tone to it. After wearing letterman jackets to Gillette Stadium last December, the Texans, who assigned themes to each of its 2013 home games, labeled their date with the Patriots simply as ‘Homecoming‘ without offering detail. But if 2012 is any indication, the night won’t include a slow dance for anyone ‘ the Pats didn’t waste any time against the Texans in the two wins, netting a combined 38 first-half points. The Texans are generally expected to be one of the top teams in the league again this season, so this ranks among the more significant non-division games for New England, particularly given the time of year.
|Fantasy Football: Week 15 starts, sits||12.14.12 at 9:25 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 15 starts and sits. It’s semifinals week in most fantasy football leagues, so all decisions have major consequences. As always, I have done my best to list players that are on the edge of lineups in 12-team leagues. I’m sure I didn’t get to every player you have questions about. And, toward that end, feel free to consult our full lineup rankings at Rotobahn.com. I’ll also be here on Sunday morning for another chat and hopefully it will be as active as it was last week.
Freeman has come back to earth from a fantasy perspective. Though he’s hasn’t fallen apart, he’s only had one-plus game in the last five weeks for fantasy purposes. The Saints defense was playing with urgency and adrenaline in recent weeks, but now that New Orleans effectively is finished, I expect that enthusiasm to wane. Freeman has a good chance to succeed and is a solid start in 12-team leagues.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Cowboys
He showed last week that he is capable of posting solid numbers, and we think the Cowboys secondary can be had right now. If you need him, Big Ben is a quality option in 12-team leagues and a viable one in smaller leagues, too.
Matt Schaub, Texans vs. Colts
After last week’s debacle at Foxboro, we expect Schaub to bounce back. We also expect the Texans to do what they can to avoid overusing Arian Foster, who is racking up immense carry and touch totals in 2012. Schaub should do well in Week 15 and he can start for you in 12-team leagues as a QB1 if you need him.
Jay Cutler, Bears vs. Packers
If all you want is some upside, then Cutler might be an answer, but if you want to avoid risk, then you should stay away from Chicago’s quarterback in Week 15. He struggled against the Packers in Week 2, but the bigger reason is that the guy is just too banged up to count on. In 2012 Cutler has battled concussion symptoms, knee issues and a neck injury. The two latter problems are fresh and could affect him this week. Based on Rotobahn’s current rankings, you have 18 more palatable options. Consider using one if you can.
Jake Locker, Titans vs. Jets
As with Cutler, if all you want is a guy who might post a good number, you could go with Locker, but we’re worried about his downside. Rex Ryan defenses cause confusion, and the young quarterback already has serious issues with accuracy. We’d avoid Locker this week.
The stakes simply are too high.
|Texans feel things could be different if they meet Patriots again||12.11.12 at 2:31 am ET|
FOXBORO — Leading up to this match-up during the week, many were calling this game possibly the biggest in Texans history. Houston has never taken one loss this far into a season, and traveling to face a Patriots team with a 9-3 record on Monday Night Football only upped the ante.
But it was clear who the superior team was on Monday night in Foxboro.
There’s probably a lot to be said about experience; the Patriots have it in December, January and February. The Texans, not as much.
Since the Texans and Patriots now account for two of the top three teams in the AFC, the likelihood of them meeting again down the playoff road is a high one. Whether this game takes place in Houston or Foxboro is yet to be seen, if it happens at all. And if it does, several members of the Texans said they now know what to look for from this veteran New England team, and themselves as well.
‘It’s a teaching moment,’ defensive end Whitney Mercilus said after the game. ‘This is a good team and we can’t slack off. Too many penalties and things like that; beating ourselves. We’ve got to be able to move the ball offensively and defensively. We’ve got to get to the passer and help out our secondary. We can’t get gashed in the run. We’ve got to get better.’
When asked why he thought the outcome might be different should the they meet again, defensive end Antonio Smith paused for a few seconds thinking about the question, and then said, ‘We know what to expect.’
‘Now you know what you’re dealing with,’ he said. ‘There aren’t any surprises. This team hadn’t faced a Patriots team in their house this late in the year when it’s playoffs coming since I’ve been here. I think the last time we beat them was in our house. And hopefully we can get our stuff together and win the rest of these games so that they’ve got to come in our house. It’s just another battle; we’ll see how it is then.’ Read the rest of this entry »