2005 Fantasy Football / Offensive Coordinator Preview - Tennessee Titans

Norm Chow
-entering first season with the Titans
    This is quite an opening statement:
    Arguably one of the finest offensive coordinators in college football history, Norm Chow enters his first season as the Titans offensive coordinator.
    Chow's college coaching career has certainly earned him the right to have his name in that discussion, but how will that translate to the pro game? As we saw in Washington during Steve Spurrier's reign there, collegiate football success does not always mean professional football success.

    So I went searching, and found this illuminating article from before the 2001 season, when Chow was beginning his career at USC. The whole thing is worth a read, but there are a couple of notes that indicate what kind of offense Chow likes to run:
    "The thing with the offense is once you've got it, you've got it," Palmer said. "It doesn't keep going like the old offense. It isn't so broad. The key is taking what the defense gives you. I've been greedy with the long ball when there's a guy 5 or 6 yards in front of me open. So he tells me to be more patient.?
    Palmer's reference here to 'the old offense' was one to Paul Hackett's complex, west coast style that USC ran before Chow. (Hackett went on to coordinate the Jets offense and he is now a coach in Tampa Bay.)

    Here's more about Chow's early days in Southern Cal:
    ...And that's just what he's done this summer at USC, installing his wide-open, pass-happy offense with a playbook about half as thick as the one used by former coach Paul Hackett. Instead of worrying about precise footwork and perfect mechanics, Chow is instructing junior quarterback Carson Palmer to merely relax and find the open man.

    It's worked before. In 27 years at BYU and last season at North Carolina State, Chow's series of short to mid-range passes, thrown to each and every eligible receiver, has produced some of the greatest offensive seasons in college football history.
    So this much is obvious: the Titans are going to call more timing-based, short to intermediate pass plays in order to keep Steve McNair clean and healthy for as long as they can. And to have any chance of making the playoffs, the Titans are going to need #9 starting every game they play.

    McNair has played ten seasons now, this being his eleventh, and he holds an impressive 59.3 career completion percentage. He's finished above 60% in each of the last five seasons. When you consider that McNair has been playing in an offense that in the past has been designed more around ball control and deep throws, his completion numbers are even more impressive. In a west coast style attack, McNair should approach a 70% completion rate this season.

    At running back, I've never been a big fan of Chris Brown, so I'm instinctively drawn to Travis Henry's value this year. I followed Brown a little in college, and he was injury-prone there too. But in addition to not being a reliable bet to start in the lineup, he's not the most reliable runner either. Brown is the kind of back who, a little like Ricky Williams was, will lose two yards, lose one yard, and then break off a 46 yarder before fumbling. He's got great size and speed, but that upright style is detrimental not just to his health, but also his ability to pick up at least three yards per carry or hold on to the football.

    As for Henry, the former Volunteer is a good fit for a west coast offense. He blocks well, and catches the ball out of the backfield easily. When you add that to his hard-nose, low to the ground running style and I think that Jeff Fisher will quickly fall in love with Henry's toughness and durability. Remember, Travis played much of 2003 with a cracked fibula.

    The Titans will be playing their first season in eight years without the dependable Derrick Mason at wideout. And while I really like Drew Bennett, there's just no way he catches 1247 yards again this year. Consider that 527 of those yards came in a stretch of three games (three monster games) against the Colts, the Chiefs, and the Raiders. Those were three of the worst pass defenses in the NFL last year. Bennett is still a very talented receiver, and he's in an offense that will probably give up enough looks in the red zone to haul in 8-10 touchdowns, so don't overlook him completely.

    There isn't much else to say about Tyrone Calico besides 'Is he healthy?', but the one guy who I like to catch some balls on this Titans team is TE Ben Troupe. Since depth is a problem at WR this season, the Titans should be able to use both their excellent blocking TE in Enron Kinney, and their excellent receiving TE in Troupe on the field at the same time. The former Gator is athletic enough to line up in the slot, and fast enough to play against opposing safeties. He's a solid second TE option in fantasy leagues. Just get someone else in case he goes flop.

    One thing is for certain, if Tennessee's offense struggles this year, it won't be because Chow's system doesn't work in the pros. He'll be successful, as long as he has the players to execute properly.

Matt Cassel - Quarterback - New England

I posted this over in the Sports Frog's forum, but it's worth a mention here too:

    Who is Matt Cassel?

    You may find a lot of people asking that, as I'm sure [Peter King] will put out a whole column on this guy on Monday.

    But did anyone catch the Pats - Bengals game last night?

    If you weren't watching, you missed a quarterback who looked an awful lot like, yes, I'm gonna say it:

    Tom Brady.

    First of all, at 6-4, 222, he's the exact same size as the 6'4 225 Brady.

    Second, Cassel wears number 16, and when he's dropping back in the pocket that 1-6 looks a lot like a 1-2. But that's just an illusion because the real similarity between the two is their footwork in the pocket. Cassel takes those same quick, long steps that Brady (and yes, Joe Montana) are acclaimed for.

    Third, Cassel is not a scrambler, but he's got good agility and awareness in and out of the pocket. Very Brady-like there too.

    Fourth, Cassel is a rookie this year after being selected in the 7th round by the Patriots. The reason he went so late is because Matt is from USC, and he sort of didn't get a chance to play a lot because of some lefty they got there. He also backed up Carson Palmer and played a little tight end during his USC days.

    I'm not at all saying that Matt Cassel is the next Tom Brady. Not at all. Cassel's performance last night was good, but he made some big mistakes too.

    But look at the pedigree here. This is not a coincidence. The Pats didn't know they were drafting a Hall of Famer when they picked Brady. But they saw a combination of 1) physical tools, 2) mental strength 3) good value and they rolled the dice on him. Do that seven times a draft, and you're doing well. It's gonna be interesting to see how this kid turns out.
Here's Matt's bio from USC.

NFC Preseason Standings - 2003-2004

Here's the last two years combined, for AFC teams playing in the preseason.

AFC Standings here.

National Football Conference
Dallas 5 3 0 165 122 4-0-0 1-3-0 5-3-0 20.6 15.2
Philadelphia 3 5 0 149 170 1-3-0 2-2-0 4-4-0 18.6 21.3
Washington 4 5 0 139 128 2-2-0 2-3-0 2-7-0 15.4 14.2
N.Y. Giants 2 6 0 141 180 1-3-0 1-3-0 4-4-0 17.6 22.5
NFC North W L T PF PA Home Away O/U PPG PAPG
Detroit 4 4 0 153 147 4-0-0 0-4-0 4-4-0 19.1 18.4
Green Bay 3 5 0 146 170 1-3-0 2-2-0 2-6-0 18.2 21.3
Minnesota 3 5 0 169 145 2-2-0 1-3-0 4-4-0 21.1 18.1
Chicago 3 5 0 126 162 2-2-0 1-3-0 3-5-0 15.8 20.3
NFC South W L T PF PA Home Away O/U PPG PAPG
Carolina 8 0 0 167 101 4-0-0 4-0-0 4-4-0 20.9 12.6
Tampa Bay 7 2 0 170 107 5-0-0 2-2-0 4-5-0 18.9 11.9
New Orleans 3 5 0 134 153 1-3-0 2-2-0 4-4-0 16.8 19.1
Atlanta 2 6 0 125 175 2-2-0 0-4-0 4-4-0 15.6 21.9
Arizona 5 3 0 155 153 2-2-0 3-1-0 4-4-0 19.4 19.1
San Francisco 3 5 0 129 159 2-2-0 1-3-0 2-6-0 16.1 19.9
Seattle 5 3 0 145 142 3-1-0 2-2-0 3-5-0 18.1 17.8
St. Louis 2 6 0 131 141 2-2-0 0-4-0 3-5-0 16.4 17.6

AFC Preseason Standings - 2003-2004

Here's the last two years combined, for AFC teams playing in the preseason.

This information will more likely be misleading than anything else. But it's interesting enough.

American Football Conference
N.Y. Jets 6 2 0 180 155 3-1-0 3-1-0 3-2-0 22.5 19.4
New England 5 3 0 152 142 3-1-0 2-2-0 2-6-0 19.0 17.8
Buffalo 4 4 0 159 168 3-1-0 1-3-0 5-3-0 19.9 21.0
Miami 4 4 0 142 136 2-2-0 2-2-0 4-4-0 17.8 17.0
AFC North W L T PF PA Home Away O/U PPG PAPG
Baltimore 4 4 0 144 133 2-2-0 2-2-0 4-4-0 18.0 16.6
Cleveland 4 4 0 139 158 3-1-0 1-3-0 2-6-0 17.4 19.8
Pittsburgh 3 5 0 157 149 2-2-0 1-3-0 5-3-0 19.6 18.6
Cincinnati 3 5 0 134 155 3-1-0 0-4-0 3-5-0 16.8 19.4
AFC South W L T PF PA Home Away O/U PPG PAPG
Tennessee 7 1 0 181 93 4-0-0 3-1-0 2-6-0 22.6 11.6
Jacksonville 6 2 0 125 91 4-0-0 2-2-0 1-7-0 15.6 11.4
Indianapolis 5 3 0 159 151 3-1-0 2-2-0 5-3-0 19.9 18.9
Houston 1 7 0 85 193 1-3-0 0-4-0 5-3-0 10.6 24.1
Denver 5 4 0 172 142 2-3-0 3-1-0 4-5-0 19.1 15.8
San Diego 4 4 0 166 131 1-3-0 3-1-0 5-3-0 20.8 16.4
Oakland 4 4 0 134 184 2-2-0 2-2-0 4-4-0 16.8 23.0
Kansas City 3 5 0 172 174 2-2-0 1-3-0 4-4-0 21.5 21.8
NFC coming later today.

NHL Head Coach/GM Tenure

As we settle further into the NHL offseason, with the turnover that is going on right now it's important to remember that consistency and stabilty remains more than ever an element conducive to winning teams.

In most instances, the below list was compiled with information each team's website. Information on the league's head coaches may also be found here:

Baseball Daily
  • The Cardinals will start top pitching prospect Anthony Reyes tonight.
    Reyes battled injury problems in college, as well as in 2003, but last season he exploded onto the prospect scene with a huge year at Class A Palm Beach and Double-A Tennessee. He impressed the Cardinals in Spring Training this year and has had a strong year for Memphis. In 19 starts, Reyes is 7-4 with a 3.44 ERA, 106 strikeouts and 28 walks allowed in 104 2/3 innings.
  • Corey Patterson is expected to return to the Cubs today.

  • The Blue Jays are aiming for next Monday now, as Roy Halladay's return.

  • Jorge Cantu, star in this league for many more years:
    "They are figuring me out, but now I am figuring them out," he said. "I'm proud of it, because now it's just a little bit of being aware that I can do some damage to the pitchers. I'm really proud of what they are pitching me around, and they are giving me props about it."
  • Reds at Cubs
  • Aaron Harang this season on the road:
    3-5, 68.1, 4.74, 1.42
    During the day this year:
    2-0, 30.1, 2.97, 1.19, .234
    Against CHC this year:
    1-0, 14.0, 4.50 , 1.21, .302
    And career at Wrigley:
    0-0, 17.0, 4.76, 1.53, .308
    Derrek Lee is 7/15 with 2HR off Harang.
  • Mark Prior at home this year:
    4-1, 59.2, 2.11, 0.94, .181
    During the day:
    4-4, 73.2, 3.91, 1.07, .200
    And against CIN this season:
    3-0, 19.2, 2.29, 1.17, .218
    He hasn't won any of his last three starts, although the Cubs are 2-1 in those games.
  • The Cubs have lost their last six games and three of their last home games.

  • Rangers at Red Sox
  • Joaquin Benoit on the road this year:
    2-0, 26.1, 0.34, 0.84, .135
    His appeared in eight away games, two of which were starts (both wins)
  • Matt Clement this year vs TEX:
    2-0, 14.2, 4.30, 1.16, .224
    At home this year:
    6-2, 69.0, 4.83, 1.28, 2.52
    Clement makes his second start since being hit in the head with a line drive.
    His last time out, Matt gave up six earned in five home innings against KC.

  • Angels at A's
  • John Lackey vs OAK this season:
    0-1, 10.2, 6.75, 1.69, .333
    Career at the Coliseum:
    0-1, 21.2, 5.82, 1.80, .330
  • Rich Harden's last three starts:
    2-0, 17.1, 4.67, 1.61
    Career vs ANA:
    4-2, 53.1, 2.87, 1.24, .231

2005 Fantasy Football / Offensive Coordinator Preview - Indianapolis Colts

Tom Moore
-entering eighth season with the Colts
    This one is easy.

    Tom Moore has been in charge of the Colts' offense since 1998. But it all started a year prior to that, in 1997. Indianapolis finished 3-13 under Lindy Infante that season and then went on to select Payton Manning with the first overall pick in the draft. Jim Mora was brought in to be the team's new head coach, and Moore came in with him. The Colts finished 3-13 again that season, but in year two of Mora, Moore, and Manning, Indianapolis went 13-3.

    In total, Moore's seven seasons with the Colts have seen the team finish no worse than 16th in total yards for any one season. On average, they've finished 6th in total yards and 7th in total points scored. And obviously, last season was a pinnacle season. But was it as good as it can get? Can they be better?
    Question: How do you assess the 2004 season from an offensive standpoint?

    Moore: We accomplished our main objectives. But whatever we accomplished, we can certainly do better this year. There's no reason that we can't be more productive. We've still got a long ways to go. That's what we shoot for. We're never satisfied.

    People always talk about wins and losses. I don't . . . All I talk about is getting better. If we don't get better, you aren't going to win. If you get better, the wins take care of themselves.
    By now, we all know how this offense works. Last year, they used more three WR sets as Brandon Stokely emerged as a threat down the middle of the field. The team even let TE Marcus Pollard go, perhaps figuring that they'd require even less of the two TE sets that Moore has been known to use.

    But now there's trouble. Brandon Stokely dislocated his shoulder in Tokyo, and because of the travel, the team hasn't even yet determined how bad the injury is. They're just hoping he'll be back in time to begin the season. But who knows?

    Stokley first made an appearance on the national stage during the Ravens' Super Bowl run of 2000. As a NFL sophomore that year, Stokely caught just 11 passes for 184 yards with Baltimore during the regular season. But in the playoffs, the 5'11" kid from Louisiana-Lafayette caught 7 passes for 91 yards and one huge Super Bowl touchdown.

    The next season, the Ravens' passing offense continued to struggle and Stokely's career didn't take off as expected. Then the injuries began to steal time from him. Stokely played in just eight games in 2002, and six in '03. Prior to last season, Stokley had just 82 career regular season catches, 1124 career regular season yards, and 10 career regular season touchdowns over his five year NFL career. In 2004, he caught 68 for 1077 for 10 TDs. And he's got the talent to do it again. In this system, he's the perfect fit, but he's got to stay healthy. With his history of injury problems and because of his size, I doubt he'll ever enjoy another season like 2004.

    Reggie Wayne will enter this season in a contact year, and after watching his receiving yards increase in each of his four seasons, anything short of an injury to him or Peyton Manning should ensure another 1200 yards, 10 TD year. And while we've seen the last of the days where Marvin Harrison catches 140 balls, his production has dropped over the last two seasons not because of diminished skills, but simply because the offense he plays in has become more diversified. Harrison is entering his tenth season, and he still has plenty left. If Stokley is forced to miss any significant time, I believe Marvin's numbers will benefit the most.

    At tight end, the loss of Marcus Pollard was made possible by the team's commitment to drafting tight ends over the last few seasons. Dallas Clark leads this deep group and while he too has been injury-prone, he is primarily a receiving TE. Clark doesn't have great height (6'3), but he's a tough Big Ten guy who runs well after the catch.
    The Colts opted to bring back Edgerrin James despite rumors indicating otherwise. It's likely that this will be his last season in Indy. James has called the franchise tag an insult, and if the Colts want to keep Wayne and all the players they've been drafting on defense- most notably Dwight Freeney- they're going to have to lose James.

    Over the past week, the NFL Network was showing some classic games in celebration of Dan Marino and Steve Young's introduction into the Hall of Fame. One of the games they showed featured the Dolphins versus the Colts in Manning's second year. That also happened to be James' rookie season. I've known that the runner James is now is a remarkably different runner than what he was then. But when I turned on the Tokyo Bowl Sunday morning I saw something very familiar. There was Edgerrin James, running with authority, making decisive cuts, and charging through the line of scrimmage. James finished with 2031 yards from scrimmage last year, the most since his 2001 knee injury. I bet he approaches 2200 this season.

    As this is looking like the final year these Colts will make a run at home field advantage and the Super Bowl, it's very hard not to think Payton Manning can duplicate his numbers from last season. Is he a top five fantasy pick? I don't think so. Top ten? Absolutely.

Baseball Daily
  • Jake Peavy will make today's scheduled start despite suffering an odd finger injury on Friday night.

  • Brian Cooper will start in place of Brett Tomko today as the Giants try to sweep the Astros. Cooper is 6-7 with a 4.67 ERA at Triple-A Fresno this season. Cooper's BB to K ratio there is 0.647 (44/68).

  • DBacks manager Bob Melvin indicated that Jose Valverde would have gotten the chance for the save last night had Arizona held on to their lead. Melvin also said that Brandon Lyon won't immediately reclaim the closer's role when he returns.

  • Felipe Alou said that Armando Benitez will be activated "during the early part of the Giants' upcoming" 13-game road trip.

  • Dontrelle Willis has struggled throughout his career during the second half:
    PRE ALL-STAR: 29-10, 2.84
    POST ALL-STAR: 9-14, 4.59
    But he's been solid when pitching during the day:
    10-5, 131.1, 2.88, 1.13, .238
    And career vs CIN:
    3-0, 29.0, 1.24, 0.93, .198

  • Red Sox at TWins
  • Tim Wakefield career indoors:
    14-6, 199.2, 3.65, 1.24, .218
    Career at Metrodome:
    5-2, 49.2, 4.71, 1.19, .215
    Career vs MIN:
    10-2, 106.0, 3.99, 1.24, .240
    Career at day:
    44-33, 679.0, 3.53, 1.25, .238
  • Joe Mays at home this year:
    3-3, 70.2, 3.57, 1.22, .254
    Damon- 4/22
    Kapler- 4/19
    Olerud- 1/11
    Ramirez- 3/15
    Renteria- 0/2
    Varitek- 2/11
    Mays has not faced Boston since 2002.
    Mays is 0-3 in his last 5 starts, all of which the Twins have lost.
  • The Red Sox are hitting a league best .298 in day games this year.
    The Twins are a third worst, at .240.
  • In daytime ERA, however, the Twins are a second best 3.32 while the Red Sox are near the end, at 5.01
  • The Red Sox are 23-9 in game three's this season, 10-2 when following a loss.
  • 24 of the Twins 34 (70.5%) day games this season have finished under the total.
    33 of the Twins 51 (64.7%) home games this season have finished under the total.
    15 of the Twins last 20 ((75.0%) home games this season have finished under the total.


Past Ten Posts
2006 NFL Combine
New Address
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Friday Football
Thursday Football (II)
Thursday Football
Wednesday Football (II)
Wednesday Football
Tuesday Football
Coin Flip Challenge - November

2005 NFL Season
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Offseason News
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- Offensive Coordinators

Coin Flip Challenge '05
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