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pennington bear?

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[It seems] The saga is over. Brett Favre is a now a New York Football Jet; with that, Chad Pennington has been handed his walking papers. Tell you the truth, this is probably best for Pennington. Props to the Jets for just giving Pennington an unencumbered release and letting him dictate the course of the rest of career…I’m not taking a shot Green Bay, I’m just saying; The Jets had decided what direction they were going in and within 24 hours, had everything straightened out. Favre goes to the Jets for a 4th round pick which can escalate rounds all the way into a 1st round pick if Favre plays 80% of the offensive snaps and the Jets make the Super Bowl. That’s all well and good, but what I think is key to note is the poison pill the Packers put into the agreement which would make the Jets forfeit three first round picks if they trade Favre to the Vikings…pretty smart if you ask me.

Now the question moves to where does Chad Pennington go? Now, if you’ve heard me rip the Bears for not making a move for Chris Simms or Byron Leftwich, and for passing on Flacco, Henne, Brohm and Booty, it would only seem to stand to reason that I would be in favor of Pennington signing with the Bears; not so much. It would be the Bears luck that the one “marquis” QB who becomes available is not at all suited to play for your team. Now, understand, that when I say that, I’m not saying that the Bears wouldn’t be a better team with Chad Pennington, because I believe they would. I’m just saying that it wouldn’t be an ideal situation for Chad, making it unlikely that a deal gets worked out there. Chicago is too cold and windy for Pennington’s surgically-reconstructed, mediocre-at-best arm; not to mention the absolute dearth of quality receivers and an unproven running game. Pennington to the Bears just doesn’t make any sense right now from his perspective, but from the Bears’, ANYTHING is better than the lower tier firm of Grossman & Orton MLP (Maximum Liability Partnership)

A really intriguing option from both player and franchise perspective would be the Vikings. The Vikings don’t have the most elite receiving corps in the league, but the absolute strength of the running game and offensive line more than makes up for it. The issues of Pennington’s lack of desirable arm strength are mitigated by the fact that Minnesota will play at least 9 games in a dome. Minnesota is also stacked on the defensive side of the ball and just smothers the run. Minnesota is a team just poised to strike in the NFC and they are one productive QB away from doing so. And all this talk about Pennington being a backup, I don’t understand, what about last season makes us think that Tarvaris Jackson is ready right now?

Obviously, there are the connections to Miami (drafted by Parcells) and Kansas City (played to win the game for Herm), but I really can’t call the probability of either of those. Personally, I think Kansas City makes a lot of sense. Brodie Croyle is not a lock to be a productive starter, and I think having Chad back there as a guy to push Croyle (that’s assuming Pennington doesn’t beat him out) would be great. If I was Chiefs management I would see about bringing Chad into the fold. Again, you have Larry Johnson and Jamaal Charles carrying the ball, and Tony Gonzales and Dwayne Bowe to catch it. Last I checked, the AFC West is pretty much “The Chargers and ‘em,” this would be a great move for the Kansas City to try to make a push in the AFC and try perhaps take one of the wildcard spots from either Jacksonville or Tennessee. The Dolphins make less sense. Even though their offensive line will be much better in run blocking, Jake Long is not quiiite there yet when it comes to pass protection. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams cannot necessarily be counted on to play a full season and if the Terry Glenn thing works out, that makes the Dolphins’ best receiver nothing more than a vertical threat so it doesn’t really bode well.

Teams I think should consider it, but won’t because it’s “too risky” in terms of fan and media perception are; the Arizona Cardinals and the Baltimore Ravens. The Cardinals are not ready to admit that they’re wrong with Matt Leinart (I’m not sold on him, if you can’t tell) , but I just feel as though you’re not going to have Boldin and Fitzgerald for that much longer and the NFC West is really not that good. Matter of fact, they wouldn’t even have to cut Leinart (they would have to let Warner go, but he’s 37 years old). I think if you cut Warner, and either Morelli or St. Pierre, and bring in Pennington, there’s a great chance he ends up starting, and with his accuracy, he could be a great stabilizing force under center for the Cardinals in a completely winnable division.

I thing the Ravens should make the move because any time you’re assessing your team’s situation, and it has you starting Kyle Boller, you’ve got a problem. I’m sure he’s a very nice young man, but as far as being a starter in the NFL, I’m fairly certain Boller has proven he can’t do that. I think with the sound fundamental approach and good decision making that Pennington brings to the QB position, he would put the Ravens in a great place as far as the QB position goes. Remember, the Ravens still have a great defense and playing Pennington until either Joe Flacco or Troy Smith are ready to take the reins is a far better situation than just leaving Smith and Flacco to their own devices, with nobody to learn from.

The Jets have been awful as of late, and I think Pennington has taken too much of the blame; he does play quarterback though, and that’s just the way it goes. I think this release from the Jets should be an opportunity for Chad to really be deliberate about where he signs. Pennington could be just enough of a game manager to put a decent just over the “contender hump.”

good looks

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+Props are in order to the Chicago Bears for getting a deal done with former Lions running back, Kevin Jones. The Bears get Kevin Jones for a steal on a one year $605,000 contract. I believe that if Jones is in fact completely healed, he could really assert himself as a quality ball carrier in the NFL next season. The Bears really rectified what I felt was a HUGE mistake, by not moving up to snag Jonathan Stewart, and passing on Rashard Mendenhall. It has been clear for quite some time that Cedric Benson was not the answer for Chicago, and I think with Jones, they get a tough, blue collar type runner who really knows how to gain yards and finish runs.

+The Dallas Cowboys got a deal worked out with safety Ken Hamlin. The deal is worth 6 years and $39M, with $15M guaranteed. This is a great move for the Cowboys, whose secondary has held the team back for quite some time. With Hamlin resigned, and (hopefully) an Adam Jones re-instatement, the Cowboys will be free to put all their talented secondary players on the field during third downs. The possibility of putting Newman, Jones, Henry, Jenkins and Hamlin all out there at the same time bodes extremely well for Dallas’ nickel package. It pains me to say but the more good solid secondary players we can get active and back on field, the fewer snaps Roy Williams will see in coverage.

+Both Dallas and Chicago are inquiring about the possibility of acquiring Chris Simms from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Personally, I don’t know why John Gruden is doing holding on to the kid. Gruden obviously isn’t going to play Simms, as Garcia, McCown and Griese are listed ahead of Simms on the depth chart, and they drafted project Josh Johnson. To me, if Gruden is holding on to Simms just for shits & giggles (pardon my French), that’s terrible. Simms is a young player who looked like he was just starting to turn the corner, until that game against Carolina where they estimate his spleen had ruptured somewhere between the middle of the first quarter and beginning of the second. Especially for that game, Gruden should release Simms and let him go sign somewhere else. Obviously, the selfish side of me wants Simms in Dallas, because I think he would be a good back up, but the best thing for him would be to seek out a starting job in Chicago.

+With all this drama unfolding between the Packers and Brett Favre, I just wanted to give Aaron Rodgers some dap for handling this situation with some class. If he was just like Favre, he’d probably be crying about how unfair this whole thing was for him. Lord knows, he would probably ask for his unconditional release. I also want to take this opportunity to say that if Aaron Rodgers starts for the Green Bay Packers, they will win at least 10 games. People are sleeping on how good that Packer team is. Remember, that team should have been in the Super Bowl, but it was just one of those pesky back-breaking Favre post-season interceptions. Between Driver, Jennings, Donald Lee and the emergence of Ryan Grant, a game manager can take that team to a division title.

+Props to Bodymore, they signed their first round pick Joe Flacco to, believe it or not, a contract commensurate with his NFL experience. The Ravens got Joe Flacco for a 5 year deal worth a maximum of $30M, with $8.75M guaranteed. As far as I’m concerned Joe Flacco has a wide open chance to be the day one starter (obviously, only if he can learn the terminology and playbook fast enough). I will say though, if Flacco doesn’t win the job, it is more likely than not that Troy Smith is the starter. I saw the way he played at the end of last season, and I’m not saying he looked amazing, but compared to Boller, Smith looked like a seasoned vet.