Welcome back to the NFL Roundtable!
1. Who is the best QB in the NFL right now?
EJ: Excellent question. I’m going with Aaron Rodgers. Aaron is coming off a 4,295 yard season where he threw for 39 touchdowns with 8 interceptions. The Packers may have lost Greg Jennings to the rival Vikings but he’s made Jones, Cobb, Crabtree, Nelson, and JerMichael Finley into quality receiving threats.
Bill: That’s a tough one and it’s hard to argue with EJ’s pick. However, I’m going to go with a division rival to my beloved Chargers and go with Peyton Manning. Watching him come back after a long neck injury and seemingly pick right up where he left off in IND is astounding. He also gave a big middle finger to all the doubters who thought he didn’t have it in him. Armed with another year of learning the plays and an additional threat in Wes Welker to throw to? the AFC West better look out as should the rest of the league.
2. Are Fullbacks irrelevant right now?
EJ: Yes, fullbacks are irrelevant right now due to the growth of the spread offense in college. There are still big running backs out there, but now those backs are lined up next to the QB in the shotgun, or the pistol, instead of lined up behind the QB in the I-formation. The fullback position isn’t extinct but as the spread offense grows, it is going to be difficult to find a traditional fullback.
Bill: For the most part, yes. I can’t think of any dominant fullback beyond Mike Alstott while in Tampa Bay, and he left the game 7 years ago. Leach in BAL is a pretty solid lead blocker, but that’s about it. The further the NFL drifts to a spread offense that focuses on speed and flexibility, the FB seems to becoming more scarce year by year. It’s all in the system that’s in play with any given team, to be honest. I like the fullback, but putting the ball in the air is still the way most yardage is gained.
3. Would you rather have a top 3 TE or a top 7-10 RB right now?
EJ: A top 3 TE. Why? Running back is a committee job now. More teams out there are splitting carries by two or even three running backs per game. However, a TE in the mold of Gronkowski or Hernandez is valuable. A TE that can block on running plays as well as be a nightmare matchup for a LB or S is extremely useful. A top TE can also be a decoy, drawing coverage away from a WR on the outside. The NFL is becoming a passing league and I’d rather have a top TE than a RB.
Bill: Definitely a top-3 TE. Given how versatile the position is, it’s hard not to go this route. Why would you choose a relatively small ball carrier that may get some yardage if he gets a good block over one that has size, speed, hands, and can create his own holes or lay a hard lick on a defender and keep going? Running backs are a dime a dozen, but a solid tight end can make all the difference in an offense. Look no further than Antonio Gates in SD or Vernon Davis in SF as examples of what a solid TE can do to break open a game.
4. Its 2013. You are down 5, there are 2 minutes on the clock. 1 timeout. Your WRs are Larry Fitz, Megatron and Percy Harvin, your TE is the Gronk (at 100%) your best running back is Darren Jacks, who is currently limping back to the huddle.
What QB do you want?
EJ: To honor my fellow “J” brother in DJ a.k.a. Darren Jacks, I would have Matt Flynn of the Oakland Raiders be my quarterback. Why? So he can hand the ball off to DJ every play on that 2 minute drive. What? You didn’t know that DJ once scored 4 touchdowns in a single game? He’s a boss! I’d just tell all that star power to block and then once he’s past your man, get the hell out of his way!
Bill: Only in Madden has DJ scored four touchdowns in a game, EJ. I’ve got love for the man as well, but I’m going to use him for my short yardage guy or a decoy. With those game breakers out in the flat, how do you NOT air it out? If we’re in the red zone and have the chance to punch it in, I’ll give ol’ DJ the chance to dive over the pile and bask in glory… but only if we’re close. 😉
5. Is Charles Woodson a Hall of Famer?
EJ: I’m biased as a Michigan fan. I’m biased as someone who still has great memories of Woodson in that Maize and Blue #2 so of course I’m going to say he’s a Hall of Fame player. 206 games to date, 921 combined tackles, 765 of them solo, 17 sacks, and 55 interceptions all coming from the cornerback and safety position to me screams Hall of Famer. He has a championship ring from his time with the Packers and he’s a generally well liked player from across the League. I might not put him in with the 1st ballot but I definitely believe that Woodson belongs in Canton.
Bill: Hard to argue against him, to be honest. His stats (as so thankfully presented by EJ) speak for themselves. His impact on the field, even at an advancing age, is still strong. I’m interested to see just how much of that defensive fire he has left in the tank seeing as he just re-signed in OAK. Can he make enough of a difference on the defensive end to help bring them out of mediocrity or is this just a token signing so that he can retire where he started? Either way, he’ll see his bust in the hall soon enough.
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