Monthly Archives: January 2013

Driver Leaning To Retirement

In possibly the most unsurprising move of the offseason, Donald Driver is seriously contemplating retirement, according to sources close to Donald, per USA Today.

Donald Driver celebrating his last ever TD on October, 28, 2012. Photo: USA Today Sports

Donald Driver celebrating his last ever TD on October, 28, 2012.
Photo: USA Today Sports

It’s the only logical step for the 14 year veteran. Driver was inactive for 4 games this season. In the 14 games he did play, he only registered 8 catches for  77 yards. When he was in, he struggled to get separation and was frequently matched up on a linebacker.

By the playoffs, it was bad enough he was inactive so Terrell Manning could shore up the special teams coverage in the Wild Card round. Driver was unhappy being in street clothes and volunteered for special teams. In the Divisional round, Driver possibly ended his career playing solely on the punt block team.

Now Driver has always been a fan favorite in Green Bay. His annual charity softball game was a big success. Since the early 2000’s he’s been the positive, public face of the Packers franchise.

On top of that, Driver has enjoyed a very productive career in Green Bay. He has caught 743 passes for 10,137 yards; both make him the franchise leader in each category. His prowess in the slot has given both Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers a reliable chains mover.  He has also helped develop other  receivers in Green Bay since.

In the past two seasons, however, age has caught up to Donald. His role in the offense has diminished with the emergence of Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson. His speed has diminished and now struggles to get open.

It may pain many fans to hear this, but it’s time for Driver to retire. An NFL team can only carry 53 players at any time. Carrying a 37 year old wide receiver for PR purposes is a waste of resources. When Donald is not on the team, it means they can carry an extra man for special teams, or dress another backup offensive lineman.

It won’t be long before Driver’s no. 80 is retired and he is inducted into the Packers Hall Of Fame. Similarly to Hines Ward, Driver is no where near a candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he will always be remembered by Green Bay Fans for ages.

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Saints Moving to 3-4 Defense.

During a outright nightmarish year for the New Orleans Saints, the main open wound on the team was the defense, which surrendered 7,042 yards of offense. On most teams this would lead to an 0-16 season and a number one overall draft pick. When a team has Drew Brees and the finely tuned offensive machine the Saints have, they can squeak out 7 wins.

On Thursday, the Saints announced that defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and Secondary Coach Ken Flajole were relieved of their duties. Flajole was an obvious casualty with nearly 300 yards given up per game through the air.

At the same time, the Saints announced they would be moving to a 3-4 defense. This is meant to increase their effectiveness against the run, and revamp a pass rush that was tied for 25th in the league with 30 sacks.

While they dont have a coordinator in place yet, the Saints do have the personal. Cam Jordan, their 2011 first round pick played DE in a 3-4 in his college career at Cal. Akiem Hicks, a draft pick from last year, has the size and ability to play DE in a 3-4 as well. Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne could become tackle machines in a 3-4.

The only trouble spots come at NT and OLB. Brodrick Bunkley is a bit undersized than most teams like in a classic nose tackle, but he is a menace in the run game. Junior Galette and Martez Wilson, backup DEs a year ago make the most sense to be OLBs due to their speed and ability.

Unfortunatly as Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune points out, this opens the door for the Saints to shed some unnecessary cap money on players that haven’t produced lately. Stalwarts Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma are likely cap casualties. Smith has no real position in a 3-4 since he is no longer a menacing pass rusher and isn’t to play a 5- technique. Vilma has never been good against the run, and injuries have diminished his coverage abilities. Another veteran likely to be let go is under tackle Sedrick Ellis, who is only somewhat productive as a 3-tech in a 4-3.

Luckily for Saints fans this years free agency is a gold mine for a 3-4. Pro Bowl OLB Anthony Spencer is free unless Dallas franchises him again. (Unlikely given their probable move to a 4-3.) Connor Barwin and Paul Kruger are somewhat cheaper options that bring plenty of pass rush, which is what the Saints desperately need. In the nose tackle department, star NT of the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers, Issac Sopoaga, is headed toward free agency. Also Aubrayo Franklin, a member of the Saints in 2011, as well as former Pro-Bowler Casey Hampton are scheduled for free agency, making this year ripe for the pickings.

As for their draft options, stay tuned for an upcoming Saints Draft Preview.

No one can say a new defense can fix the Saints, but it is a step in the right direction for the leagues worse defense. And these free agency ideas are just speculation from a blogger. However, watching what Mickey Loomis does starting in March could be exciting

Dennis Dixon Rising Back To Relevance

As ProFootballTalk speculated earlier tonight, Dennis Dixon might become a hot item this offseason for a team such as the Philadelphia Eagles.

For those of you that may not remember, Dixon is most famous for being thrusted into the starting lineup in 2009 when Ben Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch were injured. Dixon threw for 145 yards with one score and one pick. also adding 3 carries for 27 yards and another score. Since then, outside of a few spot starts in early 2010, hes been pushed back into 3rd string and practice squad spots.

However earlier this season Dixon performed well in practice for the Ravens simulating RGIII for their upcoming game. In addition, he has recently been working in practice simulating Colin Kaepernick for the Super Bowl.

Enter the Eagles, who will run a more fast paced type of offense that rookie head coach Chip Kelly brings from Oregon. Incumbent starter Nick Foles isn’t as athletic as Chip Kelly is used to in his QBs. And Michael Vick isnt as refined as a passer.

Contrary to popular belief, Kelly does not have his QBs on many designed runs. Last season his quarterback, Marcus Mariota, only rushed about 8 times per game, most of which were scrambles. The year before, Darron Thomas averaged only about 6 rushes per game, scrambles as well. Kelly prefers athletic quarterbacks that are precise passers.

Dixon comes into mind because not only was he one of the most productive QBs from Oregon (4200 career passing yards, 32 touchdowns, and a Heisman finalist in 2007.), but he has kept working hard in the NFL. Even as a scout team QB, he gave his defense a good look every practice. Being in the NFL for 5 seasons has also helped him refine his passing style into a more pro-style.

If Kelly can get ahold of Dixon this offseason, then he might have the proper quarterback to run his system. If it works out, the Eagles could rise back to the top of a very weak NFC East.