Eddie Lacy: The Eye of the Storm

On the football field Eddie Darwin Lacy Jr. doesn’t do anything halfway. With his arms pumping, legs churning, and dreadlocks whipping through the air, he puts as much effort into a one yard run as most players put into an entire career. His aggressive style has already earned him  a couple of concussion’s in just two years in the NFL, but that doesn’t seem to stop him or even slow him down. 

The former Rookie of the Year already had such an impressive spin move in college that his teammates nicknamed him “Circle Button” after the move on the PlayStation controller. Then teammate, Trent Richardson, told reporters that its what separates Lacy from other backs. “Its the nastiest spin move ever.” He said.

Just like in college Lacy has found himself in the shadow of a bigger star in the NFL. In two seasons he has averaged over 1100 hundred yards on 4.4 yards per carry average, 10 rushing touchdowns while adding 684 yards receiving on 77 catches. Yet people still say he will never be the man in Green Bay while Aaron Rodgers is there. You’d think it would bother him, but it doesn’t seem to at all.

He just keeps blasting forward, smashing heads and putting up consistent numbers in an offense were he is viewed as second fiddle.

He has encountered almost every type of adversity possible in his short career, but just like with the most determined tackler it just bounces off his back like nothing.

“I can get through anything, any obstacle, after what I been through.” Lacy said about his family losing their house in the devastation of Katrina.

This coming from a guy who as a 9th grader had all of his possessions including his football trophies, buried and ruined by the flood. It didn’t stop him then and the resolve he gained from it has him pushing forward for more.

Ever since encountering the tragedy they say Lacy started to run angry. It’s scary to think about what would happen if they actually gave him the chance to do more. What kind of havoc could he wreak ifthey ever gave him a bigger chunk of the workload and let him unleash his full fury on the league?

After years of searching for a legitimate running back, it’s obvious the Packers have finally found the piece that adds balance to their already high-powered offense. 

What should be encouraging to his real life team and to his fantasy owners, is that the 5’11, 230 lbs back is becoming an even more integral part of the Packers passing game. Last season he added 7 catches, 170 yards, and four receiving TD’s to his totals from last year.

If those numbers increase again this season, his value will skyrocket. Either way, one things for certain. There is a storm brewing on the horizon.

Brett Farve: The Perfect Ending

The Green Bay Packers brass must have decided the exile had gone on for long enough and that their fans should be ready to forgive their once adored Quarterback. They announced a retirement ceremony on July 15th, and an unveiling ceremony during the Thanksgiving Game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field.

I’m glad that the Packers are finally retiring Brett Favre’s number, only because it means I will never again have to cheer for another play wearing it in Green and Gold.

As a lifelong Packer fan I was actually thrilled when I heard Brett Favre was going to sign with the Minnesota Vikings. I live relatively close to the Minnesota border, and for years have had to  listen to their fans say that if they could only have #4 on their team they would be guaranteed a Super Bowl.

I knew it wasn’t true. He had played on my team for years with great players surrounding him and had only brought us back one Lombardi Trophy. The rest of the time was a roller coaster ride.

To be perfectly honest, I wanted them to trade him when his value was at its highest peak right after they won the Title. I was hoping the Packer’s could talk the Vikings or some other team into making a Herschel Walker like trade, and build a dynasty for years to come.

Don’t get me wrong, Favre was probably the most exciting player of his era. You couldn’t help but cheer for him when he ran around like a boy on a playground after throwing a touchdown. Hell, in 2003 when Priest Holmes broke the rushing record for TD’s with 27, they asked him who should win the MVP. His response was something to the effect that Brett Favre deserved the honor every year.

He kept you on the edge of your seat when he was throwing a chop block on an unsuspecting linebacker, completing a shovel pass while being drug to the ground, getting in the face of a DT twice his size, threading the needle between two defenders on a deep pass or going head over tea kettle into the end zone for a rushing TD.  In those days when the Pack was actually losing, you hoped somebody would drill Favre in the face mask and bust open the scab on the bridge of his nose, because it seemed like whenever his face was covered in blood it immediately unleashed the beast and we started to win. He was the epitome of NFC football.

Then there were the painkillers, his wife’s battle with breast cancer, and his quote about how his hand fit perfectly between Frank Winter’s legs.  All things that brought him down from super-human status long enough for us to picture him just being one of us, and maybe even sitting down and having a beer with us for a few minutes.

The thing that turned me off to him, was that even  he though he was spectacular most of the time, he had one fault that just became to hard for me to overlook. Most of the time when the game was on the line, and he made you believe that he was going to drive all the way down the field and win the game. He would get the team into perfect position, and when your hopes were just about as high as they could get, he would make a stupid decision. I can’t even remember how many of my Sunday afternoons were ruined by a last minute interception. Most of the time during a close game I just wanted to shut off the TV and walk away, but he had a way of making you believe in him.

That’s where the story changes, and why it is so fitting that his first ever NFL completion was to himself. He wasn’t ever loyal to anyone including his wife who had battled cancer.  He betrayed the team who gave him a chance even when he was launching balls up in the air and right into the waiting arms of some lucky DB. He definitely wasn’t loyal to the fans who had cheered tirelessly for him through the ups and downs, and worst of all he wasn’t even loyal to his own legacy.

Yeah, it makes me wonder if he did it because he  thought he was that much better than every other QB, especially that young upstart Aaron Rodgers who the Packers drafted to replace him. Could it have possibly ever crossed his mind that this kid who he refused to mentor would be the very reason why he would be forgotten so easily by the Packer faithful, and that in just a matter of years he would go from being a god who was considered one of the best Quarterbacks of all time, to only the second best player on the team he brought back to greatness.

I tried to explain to Viking fans what they were in for when he finally decided to wear the horns. That the very excitement that was building up in their chest would be ripped out through their groin when they were knocking on the door of the Super Bowl. Of course they didn’t believe me.

Then there was the most beautiful day in NFL history, against the New Orleans Saints, when all he had to do was take a knee, or throw the ball away to send them to the promise land, but he gave me the most amazing gift a hero could give a fan. He wrapped the pass with a pretty ass bow and threw it up for grabs.

Yeah, the Green Bay front office, some of his fans that still cling to his tainted legacy, and Favre himself, want to put this all to rest. I for one don’t see the point. I think we’ve already had the perfect ending.

2015 Fantasy Football: Giving Yourself that Unfair Advantage

Most players seem to want to think that Fantasy Football is a popularity contest. They are the ones who follow the top 100 list right out of their favorite Draft Magazine and hope that if they stack a team with the biggest names or the best players from their favorite teams, they should automatically win. Those are usually the guys that talk the most shit on draft day, and are left licking their wounds when the playoffs begin. I’ve seen their strategy work on a rare occasion, and if you are lucky enough it will work for you. I’d much rather decide my own fate.

These few tips just might help swing the tide in your favor.

  • Draft the two best Tight Ends.  Only about half of the teams in your league will have a Tight End that is even worth playing from week to week. If you have one of the great ones you will have a very decent advantage. If you have the top two; not only will you dominate the TE slot most weeks, protect yourself during the bye week and have a solid flex option, but you will take away the two best options for everyone else in your league.  Imagine how much fun you would have busting out Gronk and Graham every week.
  • Don’t be ashamed to draft the player nobody else wants.  Every year there will be that player that everyone says is washed up. They will let him fall to the middle rounds and then laugh at you when you pick him. The reality is they want him in the worst way and are just pissed that you have the balls to get him on your squad. Halfway through the season your inbox will be full of trade offers for Andre Johnson.
  • Draft as many Running Backs as your league rules will allow. Its almost a guarantee that the stud backs you draft are going to get injured, suspended or they will just flat out suck. The players who drafted two back-up Quarterbacks, and three defenses will be be scrambling for the waiver wire while you don’t miss a beat. How many times do you think Justin Forsett will out rush AP and Ray Rice combined?
  • Don’t waste a first, second or third round draft pick on a receiver. There are 32 teams in the NFL. If each of them only had one viable receiving option, and every player drafted in the first 3 rounds was a receiver, you could burn your 4th and 5th round picks on a WR and still be okay. In the current league most teams have two prolific pass catchers, and a handful of squads even have three. Megatron will probably go in the first or second round of most drafts and according to last years stats he is only the 5th best option in the NFC Notth.
  • Pick up any star players that end up on the waiver wire in the first few weeks of the season. It may only be 16 games but in the NFL that makes for a long season. Some of the best players in the league are slow starters. Most fantasy players are very impatient. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of their panic. The greatest trick Tom Brady ever pulled was convincing the league he was washed up.
  • Only draft one Defense and one Kicker. In an offense dominated league, the fate of the K’s and the D’s have more to do with the teams they are playing, then their own skill. If you aren’t familiar with the term “streaming”, this would be a good time to learn. Unless you owned the Eagles Defense, or Stephen Gostkowski, your best option last season was whoever was playing against the Jags.

Some think managing a Fantasy Team is just a coin flip. Others think they have it all figured out. The ones who win do it for the love of the game.

Derek Carr: Armed and Dangerous!

We’ve all heard the saying that the Raiders are the cemetery of the NFL. That Oakland is the place where great players go to die. Fortunately it seems like someone forgot to tell that to Derek Carr, because he donned the Black and Silver with every intention to succeed.

The plan wasn’t for him to start right away, but after he fearlessly attacked Richard Sherman in the Raiders 41-31 preseason victory over the defending Super Bowl Champions, completing 11-13 for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns, it became very apparent that they were dealing with an extremely rare and special player.

“I’m not 6’6, I’m not gonna run a 4.3, but I’ll outwork and out prepare anybody.” Carr said, in a press conference before the Scouting Combine.

Not just anyone can say those words with such confidence and still have a humble look on their face, but Derek Carr can, and it was that combination of personality traits that helped the Rookie write his name all over the record books.

He became one of only four rookie Quarterbacks (Robert Griffin III, Dan Marino, Russell Wilson) in NFL history to throw over 20 TD’s with 12 or fewer INT’s. He did all of that while attempting the 2nd most passes (599), and also completing the 2nd most passes (348) by a rookie QB.

It’s usually a horrible idea to just throw a rookie to the wolves, especially on a team with a sub-par supporting cast around him. However, it didn’t faze Carr. If anything it seemed to drive him forward. Even while losing 10 games in a row to start his career, he somehow managed to keep a smile on his face.

“Number one thing my brother has taught me. Your gonna be praised a lot, your gonna be criticized a lot. Ignore both, cuz neither matter. Just continue to work hard, be yourself, trust the people around you who care about you and continue to work hard like you do.” Carr said, in reference to former NFL Quarterback David Carr.

Beside just putting in the work, a lot of his success comes from the fact that he has ice in his veins. As a rookie, Carr was only sacked 10.3% of the time he was being pressured, which is the lowest ever among NFL Quarterbacks who have taken at least half of their teams snaps. He also led all rookies with 8 TD’s thrown under pressure and 10 in the 4th Quarter.

The scary part is that in his 2nd year the Raiders have chosen to surround the young gunslinger with a plethora of shiny new targets including arguably the best Wide Receiver and Tight End from this year’s draft. A brilliant start to a young career should only get better.

Carr has a face made for the Raiders, and that along with Brett Favre like tenacity, and Peyton Manning like composure, has made him a welcome leader in the locker room, and on the field.

The Raiders are determined to build a top NFL offense and it seems they have the right man at the helm.  Now that they have given him some more weapons it could spell trouble for those who try to get in his way.