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Spilled Milk and Skinned Knees

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Michael Vick. Photo courtesy NFL photo wire Michael Vick. Photo courtesy NFL photo wire

This year's football season, it's all about the quarterback

Michael Vick returns to the NFL and lands in Philadelphia. What does this mean for the 2009 Eagles? QB battles surrounded the league this preseason, are teams focusing on QB’s as that ‘it’ factor that will earn them a trip to the Superbowl? The NFL season is just around the corner, my fantasy football roster will be laid out on the table as well as these questions in this issue of... The River Journal. Buh nah nuh, buh nah nuh. (That’s the sounds from Sportscenter in my imaginary newscasting room that surrounds my laptop and I as I write this story.)

Okay first things first. Obviously the biggest news this past month has been the Eagles and the risk they took when they signed former Pro Bowl quarterback Michael Vick. Let’s get one thing straight, Philadelphia is Donovan’s team, it has been for the past decade and it will be for a while to come. However, McNabb has had a little history with injuries and has missed several games because of them. Vick still has the talent, that will never go away and even if he only has half of what he used to, it’s still more than half of most of the starting quarterbacks in this league.

The thing that shocked me about Vick going to the Eagles wasn’t what he could do for that team, or how he could hurt that team, it was the fact that nine of the league’s 32 teams could be starting a new quarterback this year, with three of them potentially being rookies. How did those nine teams all pass on Vick? I understand that the risk is high, but the reward could be greater. Oh, and did I mention he was cheap? $1.6 million for this first year with the Eagles which none of that is guaranteed. That’s merely a percentage of what he made with the Falcons. The biggest concern for me is his chance of being injured. When you miss this much time away from the game you miss what it’s like to play in a full length NFL season, the wear and tear that it puts on your body and the strength and stamina needed to survive for 16 long weeks. That is the only thing that I think will affect his ability to perform like he used to.

Like I said before, there are nine teams that could possibly be starting a new quarterback this year. Three of them could possibly be rookies. It’s easy to say that defense really does win championships, but quarterbacks win championship games. Every team in the NFL is looking for that franchise quarterback who can be the last peice of the puzzle. Which is why Minnesota coach Brad Childress couldn’t say no to Brett Favre. He is an established franchise quarterback who is more reliable than the two that Minnesota was juggling back and forth last year.

The Jets forked out the big bucks for Mark Sanchez who hasn’t even had a chance to prove himself in the league and is still my number one pick for biggest bust of the season.

Once a team finds their franchise quarterback, it’s just about keeping him there. Contract extensions like you’ve seen to Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger over the last two years were to ensure that they get to keep their franchise quarterbacks. Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was by far the most expensive free agent transaction this offseason but will he be the one who can get theRedskins over the edge? Don’t coun’t on it. They are going to need a reliable quarterback in order to succeed in this league.

Fantasy football is a little different story when it comes to your franchise player. I believe that running backs are the ‘it’ factor when choosing your first round pick for your fantasy team. My draft day isn’t for another week but I’m going to try and lock up players like Adrian Peterson,  Matt Forte and Michael Turner before I go for Ben Roethlisberger or Peyton Manning. Wide receivers come next and you can’t overlook players like Randy Moss, Santonio Holmes and Roddy White. I’d look to avoid players like Terrell Owens and T.J. Houshmandzadeh because they can’t catch passes with quarterbacks who can’t throw them. Defenses you gotta look at the top, and you can’t say the top without following it with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Afterwards I’ll look for tight ends and kickers. Heath Miller is still my favorite tight end, but that’s just because he wears the black and gold.

Next month we’ll discuss the first couple weeks of the regular season and how upset the Jets are for spending so much money on a quarterback that they’re going to sit after he throws 14 consecutive interceptions. Tune in next time to, Sportscenter. Buh nah nuh, buh nah nuh.

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Dustin Gannon Dustin Gannon says he's a writer because his mama owns a newspaper. At all other times, he's a sportsman, writing both the Sno Biz column, when he's working at Schweitzer Mountain Resort in the wintertime, and Fore! Play, when he's working at the Coeur d'Alene Resort golf course during the summer.

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