I’m not exactly sure what has gone wrong with my fantasy football team. Aside from a crazy rash of WR injuries, I have no horror stories. Luck, and other things have ceased to go my way. But, I think everyone would agree it is getting harder to play fantasy football. Split backfields, guys coming out of nowhere and then disappearing. In your league there may be a rush to go pick up LeGarrette Blount, but don’t you just have the feeling he’ll go back to being a nobody next week? Kenny Britt style? Britt pulls a hammy, Blount goes back to averaging 2 yards a carry…what’s the difference? Couple that with it being as difficult as ever to play the waiver wire on defense, the inconsistent performances of stars like Brees, Rodgers, Fitzgerald, and Jones-Drew and I’m starting to wonder exactly how much playing fantasy football differs from buying a scratch ticket. The symbolic play of the day…Tim Tebow’s one yard run. Did the score go to Moreno? To Kyle Orton? To Lloyd who set up the TD with a long grab? Nope, good old Tim, who with his 6.1 points, vultured his way to a better day than 3 of my starters.
What popped into my mind while watching football today was that a couple of teams have been pushed to the point where they are going to have to make an unexpected decision. When it comes to the coach in Dallas and the quarterback in D.C., things aren’t exactly going according to plan.
Where do you start with Dallas? Their season has been a melting pot of disasters, some excusable and some not. They stumbled out of the gates in Washington, showed a glimpse of life against the Texans, but they haven’t won since. Tony Romo is out, but you have to wonder if his presence would make any difference. Whether you blame the offensive line, the porous pass defense or an inability to run the ball, it all eventually comes back to Wade Phillips. Phillips isn’t the kind of coach that inspires a lot of confidence in the fan base, and you get the feeling Cowboys fans have been sitting around every Monday waiting to hear that Phillips has been fired.
If he wasn’t the coach of the Cowboys, I might feel a bit sorry for Phillips. He’s been a place holder for Jason Garrett, he’s spent more recent years hearing rumors about Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahan, and any other big name coach that happened to be available. Despite that he got his team to the point of being a pre-season favorite in the NFC. In two short months, though, it looks like he’s lost the team or at the least it looks like some players have given up on the season. I think the odd twist is that if Phillips’ firing hadn’t been so talked about, it might actually be easier for Jerry Jones to get rid of him. Jones is fighting his own image as the micromanaging, reactionary owner. He’s stuck between trying to be rational and trying to save the season. It might be too late for either now, and Jerry Jones is left not thinking of a home Super Bowl, but of who is going to coach his team for the rest of this year and beyond.
In Washington they have their coach of the foreseeable future, but the quarterback position was thrown into limbo on Sunday. Donovan McNabb, who the Redskins got in a trade before the season, is on the last year of his contract, but Washington thought they had a reliable starter for this year and there was certainly a chance they could extend McNabb. Recently it sounded like McNabb might pursue a different place to play in 2011, and after what transpired on Sunday, I’d have to think Donovan’s time in D.C. is limited. McNabb was benched in the closing minutes with the ‘Skins down one score. He wasn’t hurt, Mike Shanahan simply benched Donovan for his inability to run the offense the way he wanted, especially as time ticked away. Sound familiar Eagles fans? Not only does Andy Reid not know how to manage a clock, it is a contagious disease he transmits to all around him. See Don and Brad Childress for prominent examples.
So, Donovan found himself benched in favor of Rex Grossman. Obviously Rex came in and immediately buckled, but that’s hardly the point. It had to be the new low-point of Donovan’s career, and McNabb was looking as dejected and put upon as ever on the sidelines. With Washington heading into a bye week, was this the precursor of a shake-up? I think teams are just trying whatever they can to win this year, convention has been thrown out the window.
I honestly think the wide-open nature of the NFC has confused a lot of teams this season. We saw it in Philly, and now possibly in Washington as well. Here we were supposed to be breaking in Kevin Kolb. In D.C. it was a whole new regime. But, you win a few games, look at how there aren’t any dominant teams in the NFC and suddenly a rebuilding year or whatever you want to call it seems like a waste of time. Try to sneak into the playoffs and see what happens. That’s why Kolb’s development, McNabb’s status and confidence get tossed aside in the moment when you are trying for the win.
I think Donovan will find his way back under center for the Redskins, but looks like it will just be a one year experiment. I’d expect Mike Shanahan to draft a quarterback of his choosing next year and Donovan to head to a non-contender to finish out his career. Not exactly the ending they had in mind in the off-season when Donovan and Shanahan were busy seeing who could be more complimentary of the other.
Unrelated Baseball Note:
Do we think next year we could see a shift in the “start your 4th starter even if you are down 2-1” theory? I may jinx the Giants (the horror), but as I type this they are beating Texas and their 4th starter, Tommy Hunter. A win would put the Giants in a seemingly insurmountable position. The same position they were in against the Phillies and the same the Rangers were in against New York. All of those teams started lesser pitchers on at least regular rest (Blanton, Burnett and Hunter), with not the best results. Moving guys up in the rotation is obviously a desperate move, but will teams realize next year they need to be a little more desperate?