Dynasty News
By Jeff Tefertiller
July 7th, 2011

The unofficial player workouts are now in full swing, even without a formalized collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The news is beginning to ramp up in a big way. The series of articles will look to keep you in the loop on some of the recent news as it relates to dynasty leagues. We will identify some winners and losers. This is not an exhaustive list, but will include some of the bigger news. Keep a close eye on the Footballguys.com news page for the up to date news.

Kevin Kolb seems to be a hot topic of football news. Where will he play in 2011? What will the Eagles want in return for the young passer? Oh, what a year it has been for Kolb. He has gone from being the starter after the McNabb trade to watching Michael Vick relegate him to the bench, to now being the object of trade talks. Greg Cosell of NFL Films analyzed game film of the young Philadelphia backup quarterback. Cosell deemed Kolb as "very, very good" when his first read is there. This is a good thing, right? But, it implies there is a "but" coming. Cosell went back and broke down all of Kolb's starts over the past two years. He found that Kolb's footwork, pocket presence, and downfield focus crumble when he is "forced to reset and look elsewhere." This makes sense considering the collegiate offense for which he played. Houston had a spread offense with plenty of "hot" reads. Kolb is an intelligent quarterback who relies on being able to read the defense. These weaknesses can be improved with hard work and solid coaching. He still has yet to receive the starter's reps for an extended time in practice so improvement will come with experience. Here is the quote from Cosell, "I think that overall, you see the same strengths and the same flaws in each game, just in varying degrees depending on the nature of the game. Ultimately, what you see is a quarterback, that when he can play within the rhythm of the offense, and where he can plant and throw, he can be a very efficient player. When his first read is there, given the route combination and the defense, he's very, very good. But when that first read is not quite there and he's forced to reset and look elsewhere, I think he struggles and I think he starts to play a little too fast. He starts to lose his pocket composure. He starts to lose his footwork and I think he starts to lose his downfield focus. You can tell in these types of situations that he's not getting a clear picture when he has to reset. So, I think, overall, that's Kolb at this point (in his career)." The same can be said about almost every young quarterback with only 319 career pass attempts.

So, it is now a foregone conclusion that Kolb will be traded, but for what? There have been two different scenarios reported. Philadelphia wants more than a first round pick for the sought-after passer. Dave Mahler of 950 KJR Seattle reported that the Seahawks offered a first- and third-round pick for Kolb "sometime in the last four months." This is big news since most assumed that Arizona would offer the most in order to acquire their quarterback of the future. Even though Seattle offered 2010 starter Matt Hasselbeck a $7 million deal a few months ago, this offer for Kolb may speak volumes about the team's direction for the future. Secondly, it has been reported that the Eagles want impact players, not picks, in exchange for Kolb. This change in asking price is because of the lockout, and the team not able to acquire 2011 picks for the quarterback. Now, the team is looking to garner impact player(s) in return. There is a rumor floating out there that the Cardinals have offered a "surprise" player for Kolb. The three players mentioned most have been Beanie Wells, rookie Patrick Peterson, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Under either scenario, it looks as though Kolb will quickly be dealt (for either a cache of picks or players) once trading and free agency resumes.

So, who would back up Michael Vick once Kolb is traded? If Philadelphia does not sign a veteran, the role could go to Mike Kafka. He does have support within the organization. Eagle offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg suggested that Kafka "could be the best rookie that I've ever had in 15, 16, 17 years" as far as picking up the offense. While that may be hyperbole, the support is nice to see. There was another report that suggested Vince Young might be an option. But, it is doubtful he would be happy with the reserve role. Yet another report had Tarvaris Jackson getting the job. Really? The team would prefer the ex-Viking over the youngster? Sounds like a token veteran backup. Vick's aggressive nature while running outside of the pocket will open him up to getting hit. He is in the last year of his post-prison contract so the team will have choices to make. Kafka is a great dynasty player to stash and wait to see what happens.

Fans are fickle when it comes to the news and quotes from NFL players. We want to hear everything from a positive viewpoint, and yet be factual. So, when Maurice Jones-Drew appeared on Sirius NFL Radio a couple of weeks ago, he said that he expects his surgically-repaired knee to be 100 percent "within 3-4 weeks." Further, he went on to say that he currently only feels that his knee is at 80-85 percent strength. This is positive news, right? Well, not so fast. He was thought to have resumed running back in April. Was there a setback? Jones-Drew is a polarizing fantasy player. He is either way undervalued because of the overblown long-term knee concerns or a must sell because the knee will only get worse. ESPN's Matt Williamson stated this week his fear that the Jaguar rusher's recent knee issues could be "the very first stages of his inevitable demise." The journalist and ex-scout went on to stress that "running backs don't last long in this league." Come training camp and preseason, we will get a glimpse of which side is right. This is the same player who played admirably with a torn meniscus in 2010 that became bone-on-bone by season's end. His toughness cannot be questioned. The condition of his knee certainly can be.

Pro Football Weekly is the last in a long line of media outlets to suggest Darren Sproles is likely to sign with the St. Louis Rams once free agency begins. They have reportedly spoken with St. Louis' "team insiders". There are a lot of things to like about a Sproles-Rams marriage. The shifty runner would add another element to the running game. Having only the powerful Steven Jackson in the backfield, a quick, change-of-pace ball carrier and pass receiver will only help the Rams' offense. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels would be able to get the big-play Sproles in the open field. For a team void of play makers, this would be a welcome addition. Also, the team has no clear cut backup for Jackson. He has been durable carrying a huge workload. It might be time to lighten the load. Also, Sproles is a terrific returner. His speed on the home turf would be a great asset.

Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Williams had a great rookie season. He was the lone downfield option for quarterback Mike Freeman. As a rookie, Williams primarily played the Split End (X) position, but is learning the other two positions Flanker (Y) and the slot. Many may wonder about the differences in the positions and why would a receiver learn all three. In offensive coordinator Greg Olson's offense, Williams will be more effective if he is able to move around the formation in order to take advantage of weak spots in the coverage. The Split End position will run deeper routes as a downfield threat, matching up to Williams' many deep big plays last season. At Flanker, the receiver will run intermediate routes as more of a possession receiver. Lining up as a Flanker on key third down situations will help the athletically-gifted Williams get the right matchup. This move tells fantasy owners a couple of things. First of all, the team feels good enough about their budding star to find the right matchup on a per-play basis. Secondly, after having difficulty with the Syracuse coaching staff during college, Williams is showing maturity and dedication to improvement.

There is plenty of mystery surrounding the injury of San Francisco wideout Michael Crabtree. He has stated that the foot is "fine" but that does not seem to mirror reality. His teammate, tight end Vernon Davis, revealed that Crabtree's foot injury occurred during players-only workouts in early June. Davis indicated that the injury is to the same foot Crabtree had surgically repaired in 2009, AND is "far more" than typical soreness brought on by new cleats ... which Crabtree has implied. While it is far too early to know for sure, this is a situation to monitor. The young pass catcher has disappointed since enter the league.

The National Football Post has become a viable football news site. They reported last week that, "it's looking more and more" like the Cowboys will release Roy Williams. This writing was on the wall months ago. He is due a ton of money and the team wants Dez Bryant to get on the field more. Dallas will want to spend less at the WR3 position, and get more production, than the $5 million Williams is expected to receive (and $20 million over the next three years). Bryant has been playing basketball and his knee is holding up well. Williams may be able to land a WR2 in a lesser offense, but his consistency issues will follow.

With the offseason now in effect, please feel free to email me at tefertiller@footballguys.com with any suggestions or comments. Also, I am on Twitter, so feel free to ask me questions there. I will also be active in the "wannabee" thread in the assistant coach forum.

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