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Optimism for Garcia, Winslow and the Browns...

Postby Warpigs » Mon Aug 16, 2004 9:54 am

Monday Morning QB today was talking up Garcia and Winslow and how the Browns are starting to look like a team on the rise. I'm a little skeptical of all this myself -- especially when he rates Garcia in the top 15 QBs, ahead of Hasselbeck. What do you think:


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Peter King, SI.com

BEREA, Ohio -- I know how you feel about the Browns. You're negative. You don't see them competing for a playoff spot, even in a suspect division like the AFC North, with no starry team. I thought that way too, until I saw them in camp here last week.

I'm not going to predict a win total, but I think they'll be over .500. I love the Jeff Garcia acquisition, and, as for Kellen Winslow, I think he'll be an 85-catch guy as a rookie and score more points than any tight end in football. Think of how much better they are on offense (except for the offensive line, which remains suspect), and I haven't even mentioned Lee Suggs pressing William Green hard for time at running back.

"I feel good that we've done some things in the last six months to get us significantly better,'' Butch Davis told me on the field after the morning workout. "I think it's been the best offseason we've had. For the first time, we've got some real positional battles with quality people fighting for jobs.''

Garcia has always been a favorite of mine, even when I advocated Tim Rattay should be the 49ers' quarterback of the future last year. My reasoning: With San Francisco cutting salaries to the quick to pay some defensive studs like Ahmed Plummer and (they hope) Julian Peterson, it was ridiculous to commit $5 million or more per year to a smallish and well-beaten Garcia, who I felt was showing signs of wear. His completion percentage was significantly down (lifetime entering 2003: 62.2 percent; 2003 season: 57.4). The time had come for San Francisco to play a promising, stronger-armed kid like Rattay, even if it meant sacrificing a better player today like Garcia to do it.

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Garcia looked impressive last week. Keep in mind this was around nine in the morning, a dog-day time of practice if there ever was one. One of his offensive linemen, Kelvin Garmon, jumped offside. Garcia jumped on him. "Don't be feeling sorry for yourself that you've got to be out here now!'' he barked. "We've all got to be here. Take this chance to get better.'' A few minutes later, he had a receiver streaking down the right sideline in man coverage. Garcia overthrew him by a yard. I looked back at Garcia, and he jumped in the air, pounding both fists on the side of his helmet, furious with himself that he missed a chance for a nice 23-yard gain. Later, twice, he hit a flying Andre' Davis up the left side, both times in single coverage, and Davis was off to the races. One pass was 37 yards in the air, the other maybe 33.

That's what I loved to see. I never thought Garcia had a great downfield arm. He doesn't, and any coach who's ever had him will tell you that. But having a great tight end will help. And Phil Simms says Winslow's the best college player he's seen come into the league in years -- high praise from a guy who doesn't grant praise like that to rookies very often.

(Let me say something about the words "great downfield arm.'' I remember maybe eight or nine years ago when I was doing a story on the relationship between New England coach Bill Parcells and quarterback Drew Bledsoe, and I asked Bledsoe about his big arm, and he told me he'd thrown more than 500 passes the previous years, and guess how many went longer than 40 yards downfield? I said I didn't know. "Six,'' he said. "So I've always thought it was pretty overrated when people talk about this great arm strength I've got.'')

Back to Garcia. The combination of his leadership, his love of the game, his anger at himself and anyone around him for screwing up and his intelligence in reading coverages make him one of the top 15 quarterbacks in the game, still. And he gives the Browns such a better chance to make the playoffs than the nice-guy-but-too-vanilla Tim Couch did for the past five years.

Now I know you're saying: There's no way Garcia's one of the top 15 quarterbacks in football. Yes he is. Here's my top 15, rated by who has the combination of resume and immediate bright future:

1. Peyton Manning.

2. Tom Brady.

3. Steve McNair.

4. Brett Favre.

5. Trent Green.

6. Jake Plummer.

7. Daunte Culpepper.

8. Chad Pennington.

9. Donovan McNabb.

10. Mike Vick.

11. Jeff Garcia.

12. Matt Hasselbeck.

13. Marc Bulger.

14. Brad Johnson.

15. Mark Brunell.

(Didn't mean to get off on that tangent. But I knew a few of you would write in and ask how I could put Garcia up high on that list, so I thought I'd just give you my list.)

I can tell you with certainty that one of the reasons Couch isn't back with Cleveland is that people in power were tired of his milquetoast, no-fire approach to football. They'll never say that about Garcia.

Sometimes, players need a new start. Garcia needed it desperately. There is still a sadness about him from his San Francisco experience. It's not just the constant trashing he took from Owens, who complained publicly about Garcia's arm strength. It's the idea that all he ever did was play as hard as he could. Sometimes it was enough, sometimes it wasn't. But he feels he left the Bay Area with this weak-armed, can't-stay-on-the-field rap, and it bugs him.

"I've been stereotyped as a guy who's not big enough, who's got an average arm,'' Garcia told me. "Well, I've gotten to three Pro Bowls in the last five years with that average arm. There's something about guts and determination that's pretty important to this position too. When I'm out on the field, I'm the harshest critic of myself. I expect perfection. I show my emotion. I'm not content or happy just to be out there playing. I'm only content doing everything I can to win. And I want everyone else out there striving to be the best they can be too.''

In Cleveland, too often receivers felt Couch didn't look at all his options. "I want everyone who goes out into the pattern to know they're alive,'' he said. "They could get it. When they know that, it's much easier for them to know on every play they've got to give everything they've got.''

Again, I could be wrong. I've been wrong before -- a lot. But Garcia is just the jolt of optimism this team needed.
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Postby cwhitty » Mon Aug 16, 2004 10:29 am

My lord what a terrible post. I can see why noone has replied. If your going to post rediculous posts such as this ever again be prepared for extremely limited responses. All i had to see was that jeff garcia was ahead of matt hasselbeck and that was enough for me.
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Postby Warpigs » Mon Aug 16, 2004 10:38 am

I agree that the MMQB piece needs to be taken with a grain of salt overall, but to be the best fantasy football manager in your league, you also have to be open-minded to off-the-wall possibilities.

As crazy at it may sound, Garcia very well could have a big season. While the Browns don't have one great WR, they do have a plethora of quality receiving options in ADavis, Northcutt and QMorgan. In a way, they're similar to the Patriots in that they have a number of good WR (no one true stud). If Garcia can spread it around and utilize the ability of Winslow early, then it's possible Garcia will have a good season.

Remember when looking at his rankings in the middle of the story that he's not ranking the top 15 FANTASY QBs, but overall QBs in the NFL with bright futures. If this was a true fantasy QB list, Brady would drop a ways, Plummer would plummet and Culpepper, Vick and McNabb would all rise considerably.

As crazy as acknowledging Garcia as a potential strong QB option this fantasy season may be -- it's also just as important not to totally overlook this possibility, either.
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Postby Buckychudd » Mon Aug 16, 2004 10:55 am

I've actually got high hopes for the Browns this year.....they have a big :-? with the O-line though.
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Postby Turnip » Mon Aug 16, 2004 10:57 am

Warpigs wrote:I agree that the MMQB piece needs to be taken with a grain of salt overall, but to be the best fantasy football manager in your league, you also have to be open-minded to off-the-wall possibilities.

As crazy at it may sound, Garcia very well could have a big season. While the Browns don't have one great WR, they do have a plethora of quality receiving options in ADavis, Northcutt and QMorgan. In a way, they're similar to the Patriots in that they have a number of good WR (no one true stud). If Garcia can spread it around and utilize the ability of Winslow early, then it's possible Garcia will have a good season.

Remember when looking at his rankings in the middle of the story that he's not ranking the top 15 FANTASY QBs, but overall QBs in the NFL with bright futures. If this was a true fantasy QB list, Brady would drop a ways, Plummer would plummet and Culpepper, Vick and McNabb would all rise considerably.

As crazy as acknowledging Garcia as a potential strong QB option this fantasy season may be -- it's also just as important not to totally overlook this possibility, either.


I agree, rarely are the consensus rankings ever correct. No one would draft Garcia before Hasselbeck, but those high on Garcia will pass up on Hasselbeck (or possibly grab him as trade bait if he's the best value), and wait until right before most would draft him and take him for optimal value. If you follow consensus fantasy rankings, nothing sets you apart from the other owners (assuming the league is composed of intelligent FF owners). Picking out players you think will perform better than most expect is very important. He mentions the reasons he thinks Garcia will perform well, but not Hasselbeck. He might think Hasselbeck, though he does well with DJax, Koren, and Shaun Alexander...he would not be as good as McNair in his offense. I'm not saying I agree or disagree with that, that just might be his feeling.

As a sidenote, I happen to agree with Peter on Garcia and the Browns. For one, Garcia is definitely the best QB the "new" Browns have ever had, and the best since Kosar if you count the other Browns. He has Davis, Morgan, Northcutt, Winslow at his disposal. At the worst he has Lee Suggs in the backfield, if Green is not back there some too. The O-line does hold this team back, Garcia's scrambling ability will be a blessing. PK didn't really mention the defense, but the Browns defense is not as bad (not talking fantasy here) as most think. They are weak up the middle mainly, at DT and safety (Davis the ILB looks promising) which can explain their run-defense woes last year, but they are solid on the outsides which is important.

I have had the Browns listed at #16 in my power rankings (posted in the Predictions forum) and my final-barring-injury standings projections ( http://www4.ncsu.edu/~raayers/records.htm ) have them in the wild-card hunt at 9-7. This team will surprise many this year, and it really pains me to say it because I have hated the Browns all my life.
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Postby KingNothing31685 » Mon Aug 16, 2004 11:34 am

"Now I know you're saying: There's no way Garcia's one of the top 15 quarterbacks in football. Yes he is. Here's my top 15, rated by who has the combination of resume and immediate bright future: "


i don't think these are his fantasy football rankings of qb's as in the article it says just top 15 qbs in football based on resume and immediate bright future. Just his opinion of the best qb's in football.

Just saying don't be so quick to make fun of posts...this was an interesting read and this is a football talk forum..settle down. Thanks for the read.
fantasy football is alot like sex. Everyone thinks they are the best, but most people really don't know what they are doing.
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Postby 34=Sweetness » Mon Aug 16, 2004 11:38 am

Hey Cwhitty you made yourself look like a real dumbass since they are talking real football, not fantasy. Though in real life I think Daunte and Penny are a hell of a lot better then Jake the Fake Plummer.
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Postby Cornbread Maxwell » Mon Aug 16, 2004 11:42 am

Turnip wrote:As a sidenote, I happen to agree with Peter on Garcia and the Browns. For one, Garcia is definitely the best QB the "new" Browns have ever had, and the best since Kosar if you count the other Browns. He has Davis, Morgan, Northcutt, Winslow at his disposal. At the worst he has Lee Suggs in the backfield, if Green is not back there some too. The O-line does hold this team back, Garcia's scrambling ability will be a blessing. PK didn't really mention the defense, but the Browns defense is not as bad (not talking fantasy here) as most think. They are weak up the middle mainly, at DT and safety (Davis the ILB looks promising) which can explain their run-defense woes last year, but they are solid on the outsides which is important.


I agree with Turnip on this. The Brownies could have a very suprising yr. They have as much chance to be the next team from nowhere to have a great season - and there will be one of those teams just like there is every yr. Do not be suprised to see the Browns fighting for a playoff spot come December. The addition of Garcia and what he brings to the table is enormous for this team - he is the absolute perfect fit.
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Postby moochman » Mon Aug 16, 2004 12:56 pm

At first glance and given how the 9ers didn't want Garcia anymore rating him in the top 15 does seem a reach. But Garcia certainly has the tools to be a top 15 QB. Just like so many QBs the fate of their production rests with the overall health and cohesiveness of the team. The soldier does give him more troops to pass to. I look for Garcia to be very undervalued in fantasy drafts boards this year.
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