Friday, June 24, 2011

NFL Top 200: #50-26

Here are numbers 50-26.


50.) Ndamukong Suh, DT, DET

How good was Ndamukong Suh as a rookie? He led the NFL in sacks as a DT. He was the biggest contributor to one of the league's best defensive lines. Ndamukong Suh honestly had one of the best rookie seasons by a defensive players in decades, so much so that Devin McCourty could have had the year he had and not come close to receiving any support for Defensive Rookie of the Year. McCourty's an all-pro in the making. Suh is a hall-of-famer in the making.

49.) Cameron Wake, OLB, MIA

Bill Parcells' last move in Miami was to unearth Wake from the CFL. What a move it was. Wake was a terror off the edge, near the lead in hurries in the NFL. Wake still has room for improvement against the run, but he has quickly become one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. Hopefully success stories like him allow for more CFL prospects to get to the NFL.

48.) Darnell Dockett, DT, ARZ

Dockett was an all-pro caliber 3-4 DT in 2009, and his play in 2010 was nearly just as good. Dockett had 5 sacks and played great against the run. His pass rushing numbers dropped a little from 2009, but it is hard to keep up that pace when the rest of the team went to hell in 2010. Dockett is still a premier 3-4 DT/DE.

47.) Harvey Dahl, G, ATL

He's the best guard in the NFL. Period. Dahl excels at pass blocking and is absolutely nasty at run blocking. The Falcons have a good line overall, but Dahl is what makes them one of the better ones in the league. His ability to run block allows Michael Turner to run left so easily. How he has never been elected to the pro bowl is beyond me.

46.) Ray Rice, RB, BAL

Rice wasn't as great as he was in 2009 last year but that was a hard act to follow. What Rice did improve on was cutting down his fumbles as well as imrpoving his pass blocking. The latter is especially important given his small size. The Ravens o-line as a whole didn't have a stellar year, so that is partially to attribute to the drop-off in aggregate statistics.

45.) Trent Cole, DE, PHI

How many years is Trent Cole going to be a monster player before he finally gets the national exposure someone of his performance deserves. Trent Cole was incredible again. His total sacks went down, but his overall play went up. Cole did even better against the run and had enough pressures to merit more sacks. Cole is still just 29, and in pass rushing years that is square in his prime.

44.) Nick Collins, S, GB

His interception numbers dropped for the second straight season, but that just hides the fact that he gets better and better. Nick Collins now gets the partial Ed Reed treatment where people don't throw at him as much (of course this is easier said than done for a safety), but still he gets his hands on the ball. Nick Collins is the true MVP of the Packers secondary.

43.) LaRon Landry, S, WAS

I think he still suffers from his average up and down first two years because for the last two years LaRon Landry has been a pro-bowl caliber player, and he was one of the better SS in the NFL in 2010. Landry didn't get many interceptions, but only Troy Polamalu was better as a SS in run support, and Landry was able to cover well. Just imagine the safety pair he could have made with Sean Taylor.

42.) Jonathan Babineaux, DT, ATL

I criminally underranked Babineaux after 2009, so I'm giving him the bump for three straight great years as a 4-3 DT in Atlanta. Babineaux is close to what Albert Haynesworth was late in his Tennessee. He isn't as unblockable as Big Al was in his prime, but is probably more consistent. The reason the Falcons are so consistently good at run defense is Babineaux.

41.) Jordan Gross, T, CAR

I earlier said that the Panthers are about the best-set 2-14 team ever and Gross is the biggest player in that. He's still a premier LT in the NFL. Other than a fluke injury in 2009 he's barely missed a game. He's anchored an upper-tier o-line for years. Jordan Gross is about as consistent as they come and other than the man infront in Miami, is the best run blocking LT in the league.

40.) John Abraham, DE, ATL

John Abraham could be one of the most underrated players of the 2000s. He's been in the league 11 years now, and in six of those registered double digit sacks, with another year at 9.5. His past year was tied for his second most sacks. He plays the run about as well as any DE. Over and above this he's done it in two cities without slowing down. I doubt he gets there, but he's one of the quietest borderline hall-of-famers ever.

39.) LaMarr Woodley, OLB, PIT

What is really scary in Pittsburgh is that Woodley is so great, but he's unquestionably the 2nd best OLB on his team. What Woodley does better than Harrison is play the pass. Harrison has the one amazing highlight with his INT return in Super Bowl XLIII, but Woodley can stick to TEs and WRs like glue at times. Again, he's not the best at his position on his team.

38.) Richard Seymour, DT, OAK

While Brandon Moore was abusing any member of the motley crue of DEs Bill Belichick threw at him, Richard Seymour was probably laughing. Seymour was dominant in Oakland, every bit as unblockable as he was in New England. Seymour spearheaded one of the league's most maddeningly dominated d-lines. Other than the man yet to be named, he's performed the best after leaving the confines of Foxboro.

37.) Brian Urlacher, MLB, CHI

The future hall-of-famer had one of his best years of his of his career in 2010 coming off a wrist injury that sidelined him for all but one game in 2009. What was really noticeable was how good he was in the pass game. Urlacher has had good sack seasons before, but he's never been as good in coverage as he was in 2010. Urlacher was also still active in the run game.

36.) Greg Jennings, WR, GB

Here's what Greg Jennings has done over his past 4 seasons. With two different QBs, he's averaged 69 receptions for 1147.5 yards and 9.25 tds in an offense with an array of targets. Jennings has also in each of the past four years gotten at least 16.2 yards per reception. He's the best deep threat in the NFL, as well as one of the best in yards after catch. He's a monster.

35.) Mario Williams, DE, HOU

Talk about Monsters. He missed three games, so his sack numbers are about at career average. That said, he gets held more and more each year and double-teamed more and more each year and still is one of the most dominant DEs in the game. Williams will now move to a DeMarcus Ware type position so he could potentially put up scary numbers in 2011.

34.) Santonio Holmes, WR, NYJ

Greg Jennings has Aaron Rodgers throwing to him. Reggie Wayne has Peyton. Santonio has Mark Sanchez, and he still is dominant. Santonio is in my mind the new Steve Smith (Carolina). Factoring in his time missed due to suspension he had a 1000 yard season with Mark Sanchez throwing to him on a team that runs the ball a lot. Then, factor in his amazing plays in overtime over the year and that insane catch against New England and you get the best clutch WR.

33.) Terrell Suggs, OLB, BAL

The Ravens are sneakily an average pass rush team. They have this image of a crazy blitz team, but they really aren't like that. Terrell Suggs in many ways is their pass rush. The Ravens had 27 sacks and Suggs had 11 of them, and then add in 3 more in the playoff loss to the Steelers. Terrell Suggs is still just 29 despite playing 8 years and is perfectly placed to continue to dominate. Lewis and Reed are nearing the end, but Suggs is most certainly not.

32.) David Stewart, T, TEN

He's the best run blocking tackle in the NF, and although his pass blocking slipped a bit in 2010, he was still great on the right side. Chris Johnson's numbers running left weren't great, but when running around Stewart they were great. David Stewart has never made a pro bowl but has made a 2nd team all-pro. Odd, but at least he once got the recognition he deserves.

31.) Vince Wilfork, NT, NE

The biggest man in the NFL (I'm guessing) gets the nod for the best nose tackle. He's almost always double-teamed and still almost-always disruptive. He's been the centerpiece of the Patriots defense and really the only guy keeping their run defense going at this point. Wilfork is about as consistently good as they come and his importance shows by the Pats actaully paying him.

30.) Chris Johnson, RB, TEN

As much as a 1364 yard season can be called a disappointment, 2010 was a disappointment for CJ2K. The nicknamed one still made his way into the end zone and was about as consistent as he was in 2009 (just fewer huge runs). What is really odd is his awful 5.6 yards per reception. It was at 10.1 the year before, so we should see which one is closer to the real CJ in 2011.

29.) Julius Peppers, DE, CHI

He, Mario and the two DEs yet to be named have one thing in common. They all get held, a lot. It dampens their sack total, but has about as much importance as a sack. The amount of work Peppers does for the Bears d-line is incredible, making what seems like a random assortment of players perform quite well. If the Bears only could've had him and the 2005-06 Tommie Harris together the NFC Championship might have gone differently.

28.) Roddy White, WR, ATL

In many ways Roddy White had a Reggie Wayne-esque year, where his ridiculous amount of targets and catches makes the yards and TDs seem less impressive. The difference is that Matt Ryan has barely any other WR to throw to. White gets doubled all the time, and almost always that's with a safety over the top. As long as he can suck up all short throws, he's immensely valuable.

27.) Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, OAK

Nnamdi didn't have his greatest year in 2010; of course, for him that makes him just the 3rd best corner in the NFL. He still is about as valuable as the other two since he erases a half of the field as people rarely throw at him. However in 2010, when the QBs dared to throw at him, they were successfuly more than most years. That said, he's still a beast and about to be a very rich beast.

26.) James Harrison, OLB, PIT

How does someone who does nothing in the NFL for 4 years suddenly put together a 4-yr run with 45 sacks in it, along with 25 forced fumbles and a ridiculous 62 tackles a year average? James Harrison is downright dominant and shows no sign of slowing down, and in fact he's getting better as now he's improved in pass coverage. Scary things go on in Pittsburgh at the linebacker position.

Coming up next, the Top-25.

NFL Top 200: 100-51

We're now into the Top-100, with #'s 100-51. Let's go.


100.) LeSean McCoy, RB, PHI

The only reason I'm a bit skeptical of just how good a player LeSean McCoy is is that in his Falcon days, Michael Vick always had the ability to make the whole running operation around him better. That said, McCoy was so dangerous last year as a threat running and receiving, getting better in basically every category from 2010. Has a lot of Westbrook in him.

99.) Tramon Williams, CB, GB

Williams had a great year, no doubt, but he gets burned a little too much. He was matched up against the top receiver in most games, and both Johnny Knox and Hines Ward (who Williams primarily covered) had pretty big games. Tramon Williams also benefits from having great players around him and a great pass rush. He's a little overrated in my book.

98.) Lofa Tatupu, MLB, SEA

Lofa Tatupu was about the only Seahawk defensive player in the back-seven worth a damn in 2010. He's been a stable reliable and smart nervous center of the Seahawks 4-3 defense for years now. He seems to get lost a lot since he's playing in the great white North, but Tatupu has been one of the best MLBs in the NFL since he entered the league in 2005.

97.) Carl Nicks, G, NO

Carl Nicks makes up one of the Saints two dominant guards and he's probably the better run blocker of the two. Nicks was a little flag happy in 2010, but he's still the Saints most reliable blocker. With all the turmoil at the running back position for the Saints in 2010, he had a great year opening holes from everyone from Julius Jones and Chris Ivory to Pierre Thomas.

96.) Jon Beason, MLB, CAR

The reason why Beason has lost some of his luster is he played 2010 out of position at RLB and away from the MLB position he manned brilliantly from 2007-2009. I'm not sure if that is the future plan for Beason, but he did play pretty well in that position although he was less active in pass coverage which he was pretty good at in the past.

95.) Mike Wallace, WR, PIT

Mike Wallace had a quietly amazing season, with over 20 yards per reception and 10 tds. After Ben Roethlisberger came back from suspension, Mike Wallace's game rose higher and stayed crazily consistent with never having a really bad game. Wallace had a disappointing Super Bowl but there's a really bright future for the man tabbed to replace Santonio Holmes.

94.) Kevin Williams, DT, MIN

The Williams Wall is basically about to be torn down, but Kevin is still hanging on to the top 100. He had probably his worst season of his career, which is the main reason for his precipitous drop from #18 to #94. It's crazy to think that Kevin Williams is a man who had seasons of 11.5, 8.5 and 6 sacks at DT and last year he had 1. He still has the ability though, and is still in his prime.

93.) Justin Smith, DE, SF

I was initially skeptical of his ability to play in a 3-4 when he was signed by the 49ers in Free Agency, but he's arguably been better in San Francisco than he was in his pro bowl career in Cincinnati. I will say that he doesn't seem to be as interested in stopping the run as much as he did in the past, which led to a fall of the whole 49ers run defense on that side.

92.) Jonathan Vilma, MLB, NO

Vilma had a great year in 2009 and I definitely underranked him. He had an average year in 2010, and to make up, I'm probably overranking him. Despite having a 11-5 record and probably a better overall defense in 2010, the Saints had a lot of individual defensive players play worse. Vilma was one of those. He was better blitzing in 2010 but struggled at times in coverage.

91.) Jerraud Powers, CB, IND

Jerraud Powers had a great year in 2010. He's the Colts best corner at both man and zone, especially man, which is what the Colts run more and more often every year. He's extremely quick at reacting to routes, and although he has a tendency to drop interceptions, he really plays well on the ball. One problem is that he, like every Colt, has a problem staying healthy.

90.) Dan Koppen, C, NE

Dan Koppen was dominated by BJ Raji, but then also dominated Casey Hampton and whoever the Jets threw at him. He was one of the only o-lineman for the Pats to play well in the divisional round loss. Dan Koppen is getting a bit old, and he's more inconsistent now, but he's still one of the league's better centers.

89.) Terrence Knighton, DT, JAX

In his second year in the NFL, Terrance Knighton was a beast. He collapsed the pocket about as well as most of the premier NFL DTs. Knighton wasn't great in run support, but he's one of the more consistent interior pass rushers in the NFL. The Jaguars have a nice set of young defenders and Knighton is the best of the bunch.

88.) Joe Flacco, QB, BAL

Joe Flacco's year was strikingly similar to his 2009 year. How close were the two years? He threw just ten fewers times and gained nine more yards. His completion percentage went down by just .5%. His yards per attempt went up by .2. The big difference was the Joe Flacco got a lot better at throwing TDs and fewer INTs. Flacco is a QB on the rise. That said, my opinion of whether he or Matt Ryan is the better player changes just about every week.

87.) Dwayne Bowe, WR, KC

Dwayne Bowe overall had a monster season, one worthy of a spot much higher on the list, but like many players on KC, he had a tendency to beef up those numbers against the weaker teams. He had a three-game stretch against DEN-ARZ-SEA where he had 32 catches for 465 yards and 7 tds. His games against the better defenses were not near anything that good.

86.) Robert Gallery, G, OAK

Robert Gallery has publicly said he intends to leave Oakland. If he does, he's leaving out on top. Gallery has played each of the last four seasons at LG and in those seasons the Raiders have been among the better running teams in the league. He's always gotten a bad rap since he was supposed to be the next great LT, but he's been great since switching inside.

85.) Devin McCourty, CB, NE

What a rookie year. Devin McCourty was great in man coverage as a rookie, locking down some of the better receivers in the NFL. There were notable times where he was beaten, but that is to be expected from a rookie who will undoubtedly improve. Devin McCourty was a great find by the Patriots and has really shored up a transient position for them at corner.

84.) Arian Foster, RB, HOU

Arian Foster had, how should I say this, a big year in 2010. Foster was incredible, leading the league with 1616 yards and adding over 600 more receiving. Why I don't have him any higher is that I've been burned by trusting running backs coached by Gary Kubiak. Steve Slaton had a massive rookie season and now he's basically as NFL relevant as Mike Anderson or any Kubiak running back in Denver.

83.) Eric Winston, T, HOU

Winston's play is probably just a big a reason for the Texans great running game as Foster. He's one of the best RTs in the game, and he's the best blocker the Texans have. The Texans love running right, right over Winston. What makes him even better than his 2009 self is that Winston got better as a pass blocker in 2010.

82.) Eli Manning, QB, NYG

Eli Manning did have a ton of interceptions in 2010, but so many of them were due to passes that hit off the hands of his receivers. That was a legitimate concern for Eli. Apart from those plays, Eli had a great year, with 31 tds over 4000 yards and a career high completion percentage. Manning is making great music with Nicks, Smith and Manningham.

81.) Dallas Clark, TE, IND

In a year where the Colts pass blocking probably hit their all time low, Clark was even more important when he played. Dallas did a great job of being the perfect safety valve for Manning. His injury was extremely flukey so there shouldn't be any lingering effects in 2011. Dallas Clark was on pace for a huge year before he got hurt anyway.

80.) Jerod Mayo, MLB, NE

Jerod Mayo had a bit of a sophomore slump in 2009 but he returned to being an exceptional player for the Patriots in 2010. He was one of the surest tacklers in the NFL, missing just a couple of tackles when he got to the player. The problem was that he isn't the cerebral player that the Patriots linebackers of old were.

79.) Vincent Jackson, WR, SD

Vincent Jackson barely played because of a prolonged holdout, but when he came back, although he wasn't targeted like he was in years prior, Jackson was still one of the NFL's best deep threats. Unlike other players that played few games, since Jackson's wasn't due to injury, he should be fine to have another great year in 2011.

78.) Tamba Hali, OLB, KC

Hali had a monster year with 14.5 sacks, but hidden behind those glittering numbers was the fact that he was worse against the run and very Brian Orakpo-ey in that he played for sacks much more than he tried to hold his run responsibilities. For years Tamba Hali was the only pass rusher worth a damn in KC. That's changing a bit, but he's getting better than ever.

77.) Jay Ratliff, NT, DAL

Jay Ratliff was still a pass rushing force in 2010 but he became very inconsistent in games and took a step back at stopping the run. Ratliff made a pro bowl in 2010 but that's probably just because he wears the star on his helmet. The Cowboys really need Ratliff to return to his true form that he displayed often in 2009.

76.) Austin Collie, WR, IND

This is my second ranking that is probably Colts biased (this and Tryon at #200 - I have full confidence that Jerraud Powers is that good). Austin Collie was a machine in 2010 before his concussions. In nine games, Collie had 58 catches, 650 yards and 8 tds. My guess is the Colts don't want Manning throwing near 700 times in 2010 so his aggregate numbers may drop, but if he stays healthy, he will become the most explosive slot receiver in the NFL.

75.) Donald Penn, T, KC

In his 4th season, Donald Penn's play really took off as he was one of the most underratedly good pass blockers in the NFL. Josh Freeman's blind side was ably protected all year by Penn who if he has a weakness is that he doesn't have the quickest of feet of all the LTs. Donald Penn can also improve his run blocking. I'm sure he will since he's improved every year of his career.

74.) Adrian Wilson, S, ARZ

Wilson is firmly in the downside of his career but he's still one of the best SS in the NFL. Adrian Wilson played more in the box to help stop the continuous bleeding that was the Cardinals run defense, but he wasn't the same in coverage. He's not as active blitzing as he used to be either. His amount of diverse skills has probably lessened, but the one's he still has are top notch.

73.) Antoine Winfield, CB, MIN

Antoine Winfield led the NFL in fewest yards allowed per pass. He was second in the NFL in Football Outsiders' success rate for corner backs. Some of this is skewed (particularly the first stat) by the fact that he plays in a cover-2 scheme, but Winfield had an awesome year in 2010. The Vikings still have a really talented defense that should help Christian Ponder or whoever is the QB in 2011.

72.) Darren McFadden, RB, OAK

Darren McFadden is a bust no more, and he turned from a bust to a pro bowler in one year. McFadden was one of the best two-way RBs in the NFL in 2010 and now that Michael Bush is probably gone, he'll have the backfield to himself. His downhill running style was basically unstoppable and he's just 24. Scary times ahead for McFadden.

71.) DeSean Jackson, WR, PHI

Scary times ahead for DeSean Jackson as well. I didn't do the research, but I doubt there has been anyone with over 100 yards and fewer than 50 receptions in a long, long time. What DeSean Jackson did was special in 2010. He still can be erased if you keep him from beating you deep and his short routes are not great, but he's the best deep threat in the NFL.

70.) Michael Vick, QB, PHI

Late in the season, Vick became a bit like the old Vick but in my opinion that is primarily because the Eagles' pass blocking became a lot worse late in the season. He still was more composed and cerebral at QB than he has ever been. Vick was also a lot more protective of the ball. He reminds me a lot of a younger Donovan McNabb, and as Eagles fans' should know, that is pretty good.

69.) Jabari Greer, CB, NO

Jabari Greer was about as good in 2010 as he was in 2009. Greer held down some of the better WRs in the NFL in man coverage last year, like Roddy White in both Atlanta games and Mike Wallace against the Steelers. Greer was quite a bit healthier in 2010 than he was in 2009 also. Greer is the spearhead of a good young secondary.

68.) Ryan Clady, T, DEN

Clady was awesome again in Denver. His run blocking was a bit worse but he was a rock in pass blocking. I remember his game against Dwight Freeney where he got little help and controlled him well. Clady is one of the few offensive players in Denver that they can truly build around, but his value as a LT will be cut if they start Tebow.

67.) Reggie Wayne, WR, IND

Forget the aggregate numbers like 111 catches and 1355 yards, Wayne was not the same guy in 2010. He had some dominant games but against the premier corners he was pretty well matched play for play. Reggie Wayne still has some years left but the days of him being a dynamic deep threat are probably done.

66.) Chris Snee, G, NYG

His play isn't where it was a couple years ago when he was a surefire all-pro, but he's still the best OG for the Giants and a sturdy foundation for their offensive line, one that has opened holes for a top-5 running game going on four years now. Chris Snee is also one of the better pass blocking interior lineman in the league.

65.) Chad Greenway, OLB, MIN

Chad Greenway was a beast in 2010, with over 100 tackles playing on the outside and 28 "defeats" as FootballOutsiders tracked. Greenway has always quietly been a great blitzer. He's not used often in that defense, but the Vikings blitz more than most Tampa-2 teams, and Greenway's used more than most. He's still young enough to have many more good years.

64.) Lance Briggs, OLB, CHI

Briggs had the same amount of defeats as that linebacker in Minnesota. What made Briggs truly great was the fact that he was great in pass coverage in 2010. Lance Briggs also had a great year at run support with a stop rate of 85% as calculated by Football Outsiders. Briggs was a monster in 2010, and he's 31, so there should be a couple of good years left in him.

63.) Robert Mathis, DE, IND

Robert Mathis definitely benefits from Dwight Freeney being consistently double teamed, but he was great in 2010, with 11 sacks and countless more pressures. Mathis also was among the leaders at the DE position in tackles for loss. Mathis also has become really good at stopping the run.

62.) Jason Witten, TE, DAL

Witten was still elite at run blocking in 2010 and improved his red zone presence, but Witten, and this has been true since 2009, is nowhere near as explosive. His yards per reception has dropped for four straight years down to 10.7 in an offense where the total offenses number is a lot higher. Jason Witten is still relatively young so he could turn it around, but it looks like he's peaked.

61.) Jared Allen, DE, MIN

Jared Allen had three great seasons coming into 2010. That's why his 11 sack season didn't seem that impressive (that and the fact that many of those sacks came late in the season after the Vikings were essentially eliminated). Allen was still among the league leaders in hurries, but was just a half step slow early in the year. He got that half step back and looks good getting forward.

60.) Matt Schaub, QB, HOU

We don't here those stories about Matt Schaub being injury prone anymore, do we? Schaub played a full season again and had another huge year. Schaub's completion percentage went down, but he cut down his mistakes. Schaub was also great late in games. His problem was that his defense usually played worse, blowing the leads Schaub gave them.

59.) Ray Lewis, MLB, BAL

In terms of their importance to their team, Ray Lewis is a top-10 player. In terms of the greatest active players, he's probably either 2 or 3 (depending on how you feel about him vs. Brady). That said, he wasn't the same in 2010. The players around him played better (there are three more Ravens defenders higher on the list). His emotional leadership will never be questioned, but he is no longer an all-pro caliber player.

58.) Charles Woodson, CB, GB

He still is an all-pro caliber player. His coverage skills aren't where they used to, but he's become about the most versatile corner in the NFL. He plays almost exclusively over the slot in 3-WR situations. He's great in run support and a really effective blitzer. He's basically Troy Polamalu as a corner. Charles Woodson might be a hall of famer one day, and although some of his best seasons were in Green Bay, it would be just another Raider D-Back to make the hall.

57.) Hakeem Nicks, WR, NYG

Beast. That's all this guy is. He had 79 catches, 1050 yards and 11 tds; and he missed three games. Hakeem Nicks also rarely dropped passes and ran great routes. The best part is that he's only a second year player. The Giants searched for a Plaxico replacement. They got him, and he might be even better.

56.) Devin Hester, KR/WR, CHI

I really struggled about where to put him, but then I remembered. He's easily the greatest return man in the history of the league coming off one of his best years. Yes, he's just another guy at WR, but he just put up 17.1 yards per punt return. That is insane. He's now the all-time leader in return TDs. That merits a high, high spot. Plus, he maybe the greatest "X-Factor" in sports. He can change any game.

55.) Logan Mankins, G, NE

Here are the stats: Mankins played 8 games in the regular season. In those games, the Patriots went 8-0 and scored over 30 points in every game. Mankins made the Patriots o-line absolutely dominant late in the season. He didn't have a great game in the playoffs (which is becoming a trend with him) but that can't discount his amazing run blocking in the regular season.

54.) Casey Hampton, NT, PIT

Casey Hampton was the biggest snub on the 2010 list, and he responded by playing great. He was double teamed like every snap, and although his stats don't look great he was one of the best lineman at sucking up two blockers. Hampton was also one of the few noses who got the better of Nick Mangold all season.

53.) Jamaal Charles, RB, KC

He was amazing, I just want to see what he does when he's the feature back. Michael Turner is a different type of runner and he wasn't used as much, but he had around a 6 ypc in San Diego and although he is a very good player, those numbers went down when he was the every down back. Jamaal Charles is putting up numbers that no one has really put up in his short career. His 1467 yards on just 230 carries is insane. If he can do this consistently, he'll be one of the greatest running backs of all time, and that is why I'm skeptical.

52.) Vernon Davis, TE, SF

His 13 tds in 2009 was probably a fluke, but even his 2010, which is about what he really is, was damn good. He still was a great target in the red zone, and became much more explosive. When Vernon was drafted he was supposed to be a deep threat playing tight end. He finally became that, averaging 16.3 yards per catch from the tight end position.

51.) Jahri Evans, G, NO

He is simply the best pass blocking guard in the NFL. Jahri Evans is a rock at guard and allows Brees, who because of his height needs good interior line blocking, to step up into a clean pocket time after time. 2006 was notable for the Saints as Sean Payton, Drew Brees and Marques Colston's first year. It was also Jahri Evans first year, and his importance is close to the other three.

Next up, numbers 50-26.

NFL Top 200: 150-101

Let's get to the next installment of the NFL's Top 200, with #'s 150-101.


150.) Terell Thomas, CB, NYG

The Giants have a secondary with basically revolving doors all over the place. Corey Webster is the more known quantity, but Terell was the better player. Thomas was great on third down, and great in run support from the cornerback position. He got better as the year went on which is unlike most Giants. Terell Thomas has a bright future ahead.

149.) Chris Long, DE, STL

Howie's boy had done little since being drafted #2 in 2008. Well, that all changed in 2010. Long piled up 8.5 sacks, and was second in the league in hurries as per Football Outsiders numbers. Chris Long was always said to have had a relentless motor. That was his big thing coming out of college, that he'll be the next "Jared Allen" and in 2010, he mostly was.

148.) Sam Bradford, QB, STL

I don't like to put two players on the same team back-to-back. Not sure why, but anyway, Sam Bradford is probably ranked too low, but that's only because he secretly was way overhyped last year. Out of the recent good rookie QB's, only Mark Sanchez put up worse stats in his first year. I realize most of those guys (Roethlisberger, Flacco, Ryan) had better pieces around him, but Bradford was a bit overhyped. I think he's a future star, but that's quite a far bit away.

147.) Michael Griffin, S, TEN

Michael Griffin was a machine this year. He still has a tendency to get beat deep, but man was he great in 2010. He had the picks. He had an insane amount of tackles (which I should note for Griffin and everyone else, tackles should be taken with a grain of salt) for a safety. He had over 10 passes defended. The Titans pass defense fell off at the end of the year, but it wasn't Griffin's fault.

146.) Zach Miller, TE, OAK

I really underranked Zach Miller, who I should have realized was putting up pro bowl numbers with JaMarcus Russell and Bruce Gradkowski throwing to him, but he was more consistent in 2010 with Campbell throwing to him. Miller's drops went down, and he was a better target in the red zone. Also, his blocking has improved. For a team that has been so mediocre, Al Davis has drafted his fair share of really good players.

145.) Tony Romo, QB, DAL

Yeah, after further review, he belonged on the list. I couldn't justify putting Carson and Sam Bradford on this and not having Romo. I will say that he was quietly not great before he got hurt. He threw 7 picks in 6 games, and his yards per completion was under 11 (which is not good for a good QB). With Dez healthy now he should get better, but Romo's 31. He's peaked. Thankfully, that peak can be pretty high.

144.) Cliff Avril, DE, DET

Yes, he benfitted from Ndamukong Suh being next to him, but Avril was great in 2010. He had 8.5 sacks, but also had 23 more hurries and pressures. He was the Lions best DE, and really you could make the case that he made Suh's life easier. Avril has been a great rotational DE for a couple years, and he finally took his game to that next level.

143.) Anquan Boldin, WR, BAL

I'll admit that since Flacco likes to throw deep more he's not really in the best offense for his skill, but you can make the case that Anquan, in year one away from Fitz (year 1 of his overall career was also without Fitz), had his second worst year. It shows just how good he is that he can stay on the list, but his catches fell off, his yards fell off, and it wasn't like he was hurt. Strange year.

142.) DeAngelo Williams, RB, CAR

DeAngelo, much like Romo, didn't have a great year before he got hurt, but before the game that he eventually got hurt in he was averaging 4.7 ypc. DeAngelo suffered from his o-line dropping off a bit and nagging injuries. I expect him to rebound really well in 2011, especially if he leaves Carolina, which he probably will to major bank.

141.) Aubrayo Franklin, NT, SF

Aubrayo Franklin is a true NT. He doesn't get sacks and barely gets tackled, but other than Wilfork, there is no NT who is double teamed as much as Franklin. Also, most of the time that he does make plays they are for big losses and big plays. He's really unblockable. In my time writing about him right now, I realize I probably underranked him.

140.) Brent Grimes, CB, ATL

By football outsiders "stop rate" statistic, Brent Grimes was the 3rd best corner. By their yards per pass statistic, Grimes was the 4th best corner. As you can see, Grimes ranks well with the statheads. He was the Falcons only good player in their secondary, and that presence alone made them a top-half pass defense. Good, good player.

139.) Matt Forte, RB, CHI

He had a very similar year to Peyton Hillis, except for the fact that he was better to less fanfare. Matt Forte had a career best 4.5 ypc, and an insane for a running back 10.7 yards per catch receiving on 50 catches. Matt Forte did all of this behind an o-line that is average at best. Jay Cutler doesn't have great receivers, but he has a star at running back.

138.) Marcedes Lewis, TE, JAX

Marcedes Lewis was always a tease, a physically gifted tall tight end. He was a tease no more in 2010, dropping barely any passes and hauling in 10 tds. Marcedes Lewis was a true tight end. He was a great security blanket for Garrard and the best red zone presence of any tight end in the NFL.

137.) Brandon Albert, G, KC

KC has a long line of great lineman over the last 20 years, and Albert is probably the most unknown and underrated. Albert's bruising interior rush blocking really paved the way for Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, who produced the league's best rushing attack. Branden Albert was one of Carl Peterson last best draft picks.

136.) Brandon Marshall, WR, MIA

Much like Boldin, Marshall wasn't the same player in a new situation. Boldin went from Warner to Flacco. Marshall's drop in QB play wasn't as bad (Orton to Henne), but his drop off was more precipitous. His yards per game went down. His catches per game was down. His TDs went way down. Marshall also had four huge games and then a bunch of middling ones.

135.) Charles Johnson, DE, CAR

Through nine games, Charles Johnson was not anything special. The next seven, Charles Johnson made a great Julius Peppers impression, with 8 sacks and 15 pressures. Charles Johnson wasn't the guy who was supposed to replace Peppers (Everrette Brown was) but he's the guy who has done it.

134.) Curtis Lofton, MLB, ATL

Lofton didn't really get any better in 2010 which is why he took basically a 30 spot drop. That said, that level was already pretty high. Curtis Lofton was a prototyplical 4-3 MLB. He's a steady player who's become this generations Jeremiah Trotter. He'll make all the plays he should make, but probably never rise to that all-pro level.

133.) Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, NYG

Not sure how he usurped Jacobs' starting role (in a weird role reversal, Bradshaw had the heavier workload while Jacobs had the better ypc), but it worked really well in the 2010. Bradshaw carried the workload and quietly had a huge year, getting into the end zone 8 times and his receiving really improved. He has to work on his fumbles though.

132.) LaMarr Houston, OLB, OAK

Rolando McClain was supposed to be the star (and he wasn't bad), but LaMarr Houston became it. LaMarr Houston supplied great pressure rushing up the middle, but more than that was the best run stopper the Raiders have had in a long, long time. Almost all of his run stops were close to the line, showing that he was great at plugging up gaps. He's a true player.

131.) Jeff Saturday, C, IND

Jeff Saturday isn't the run blocker he once was, and his pass blocking has dropped off a bit, but Saturday is still one of the more cerebral and better centers in the NFL. The Indy line has had tremendous upheaval the past couple years and Saturday has been able to keep it in check.

130.) Barry Cofield, DT, NYG

Cofield had a monster year at DT. His 40 tackles as a defensive tackle are amazing, as he's mostly used to suck on blockers. Cofield was active in pass rush as well. He's due for a monster contract for 2011. It took him a while to really get going but Cofield has finally become the player he was supposed to after the Giants drafted him in 2006.

129.) Stanford Routt, CB, OAK

Stanford Routt is the reason why I'm not too scared that Nnamdi is gone from Oakland. Stanford Routt was rated the number three cornerback in the NFL in both success rate in Football Outsiders' rankings and yards per pass. Routt also covered a lot of the better receivers since the Raiders kept Nnamdi on one side. Routt has a bright future.

128.) Steven Jackson, RB, STL

In reality, Steven Jackson didn't have a great year by his standard. It was his lowest yards per game since his second season and the first time in his career his yards per carry was under 4. Either way, for just being a solid player year after year and finally having a good team again, he merits a spot. Steven Jackson faced more 8 man boxes than ever and still ran hard each week. I hope for his sake he's still playing great when Bradfor matures into a playoff QB.

127.) Jason Babin, DE, TEN

Jason Babin had a great 2010 for the Titans, racking up 12.5 sacks countless more pressures and led the NFL in QB hits. That said, he's really a one year wonder. I will say this, Jeff Fisher and Jim Washburn had a great ability to coach up d-lineman. Washburn is gone to Philly, but Munchak was one of his guys so Babin should continue to play really good in the future.

126.) Sebastian Vollmer, T, NE

One year is a fluke. Two years is a trend. Vollmer was a stud again in 2010 and is all set to take over the left side (I'm assuming - although they might give that to Nate Solder). He was a bit overhyped as a rookie as he was often given help, but he was left one on one a lot in 2010 and pass blocked great. One of Belichick's best finds in recent years in the draft.

125.) Josh Freeman, QB, TB

I couldn't have been more wrong about Josh Freeman when I intially saw him play. His first year was not very good, but then again, that was with a bad team with no targets and a new coaching staff. One year of continuity, and Freeman was great. His amazingly low interception rate probably isn't sustainable, but he's great at never putting the ball in risk.

124.) Tyson Clabo, T, ATL

Tyson Clabo again played all 16 games and again played them all well. I'm not sure why the Falcons don't play him on the left side and insist to play him on the right, but he's great at pass blocking anyway. Clabo graded the road which led to a nice resurgence for Michael Turner. Tyson Clabo is criminally underrated, and if he played LT, he would be top-100.

123.) Marques Colston, WR, NO

Colston had an odd year. In a lot of ways, he was worse than in 2009, as his yards per catch fell by nearly three yards and his TDs fell. Then again, he was better in that he had fewer drops and more yards per game. Marques Colston is still a great possession receiver and works well with Drew Brees. He's quietly putting up one of the better resumes of any WR in the NFL.

122.) Rashard Mendenhall, RB, PIT

Mendenhall's yards per carry fell, but every other part of his game got better. He got more durable as well as better in the red zone. Mendenhall also became better at blitz pickup, making him impossible to leave off of the field. Mendenhall also has the great distinction of being the most randomly placed player to keep his place, going from 123 in 2010 to 122.

121.) Antoine Cason, CB, SD

The Chargers defense was surprisingly really good in 2010 and Cason was a big part of that surprise. It took Cason three years to develop, but man did he develop in year three, with great coverage week after week. He was among the league leaders in pass defeats as well as yards allowed per pass. Cason also defended 17 passes and 57 tackles from the CB position. Great, great year.

120.) Sidney Rice, WR, MIN

Hard to really talk about his 2010 as he was injured for most of it and then had to deal with the corpse of Brett Favre and then Joe Webb. Rice didn't have a great year, obviously, but still was explosive when he got healthy, having a 16.5 yards per catch. Since this isn't a one year list, I still like Rice overall. He should become a Free Agent, and a rich one.

119.) Stephen Tulloch, MLB, TEN

Guess who quietly was among the top-5 in tackles in the NFL? Stephen Tulloch was long in the shadow of his similarly-sounding teammate Keith Bullock. It's safe to say he should be making a name for him self by now. Stephen Tolluch has been as consistent as any LB in the NFL during his career, and at 25, he's just starting to peak.

118.) Jay Cutler, QB, CHI

Jay Cutler has no offensive line early in 2010. He has no great receiver. He has an offensive coordinator who leaves his lineman on an island. Knowing all of this, Jay Cutler had a pretty good year. He was good in clutch situations. He was totally unfairly excoriated for his MCL injury in the 2010 NFC Championship game and I hope that that doesn't become a lasting adjective for him.

117.) Eric Weddle, S, SD

Just like his secondary-mate Antoine Cason, Weddle was a past first round pick yet to do anything of note. Well, that is over. Weddle was great in 2010, playing great run support from the safety position and even improving his coverage. Weddle is now the premier SS in free agency, and honestly, one of the better SS in the league. There is no player I want more to be a Colt.

116.) Kyle Williams, NT, BUF

Kyle Williams just gets better and better each year. This was also the first year that Williams was put at the nose (the Bills used to play a 4-3), and he was downright dominant at times, with 5.5 sacks and 54 tackles from the nose. Williams was a very deserving 2nd team all-pro in 2010 with Buffalo and is the anchor to Buffalo's defense.

115.) Osi Umenyiora, DE, NYG

I think there is this sentiment that Osi is past his prime and had a bad year in 2010. Totally wrong. Osi Umenyiora was more of a rotational pass rusher, but he put up 11.5 sacks. Two years off his ACL injury, Umenyiora seems fully healthy. I hope he solves his spat with the Giants, because its fun to see all those talented DEs that the Giants have run down QBs.

114.) Michael Turner, RB, ATL

After suffering the "Curse of 370" in 2009, Turner rebounded with a nice 2010. He was insanely durable, rarely missing series, and still was a force in the red zone. Turner really has to improve his pass catching abilities. I don't know what it is but his reception numbers are laughable. Maybe Matt Ryan just never wants to throw him the ball.

113.) DeMeco Ryans, MLB, HOU

I know he only played 6 games and wasn't at his peak when he did play, but there is no way I can drop him more than this. DeMeco Ryans has proved over his career that he is a tackling machine and his presence in the lineup usually improves the Texans run defense tremendously. Plus, without him, the Texans defense went to holy hell.

112.) Elvis Dumervil, OLB, DEN

I basically should get him off the list as well. Dumervil missed all of 2010 with an ACL, but it felt unfair to Wally Pipp him out of the Top 200. You can measure his ability in that without him rushing off the edge, Denver's pass defense was comically bad. He'll be moving to a new position in 2010 as a DE in John Fox's 4-3, so it will be interesting to see how he adjusts.

111.) D'Brickshaw Ferguson, T, NYJ

I think Brick gets a little overhyped by the media, but he did have a great 2010. D'Brickshaw's blocking on Mark Sanchez's blind side kept the Sanchize mostly upright, and the Jets were one of the best teams running around LT in the NFL. Other than Mangold, with the rest of the line really green or really old, it will be up to him to keep the continuity.

110.) Antoine Bethea, S, IND

Just like defensive mate Brackett, Bethea's play was down a little from 2009 (for nearly every member of the 2010 Colts this is true). However, it isn't age but mostly the fact that he had to play with 20 different SS and CBs through the year. Bethea was a rock, keeping the unit respectable. God Knows what the Colts defense would be if Bethea were to ever get hurt.

109.) Todd Harremens, G, PHI

For some reason he doesn't get the publicity, but while his higher profile LT fell apart in the WIdl Card game, Harremens played solidly then and all season. The Eagles had the best run game in the NFL in 2010, and that wasn't solely because of Michael Vick. Harremens continues to be one of the better nameless guards in the NFL.

108.) Daryl Smith, OLB, JAX

Daryl Smith led the league in "defeats" in 2010, as per Football Outsiders. Defeats are plays made on defense that result in negative yardage for the opposition, or a turnover or a failed third down conversion. Daryl Smith, again, was the best in the league at this in 2010, and he's been a good player for a couple of years now.

107.) Miles Austin, WR, DAL

Without Romo throwing him the ball, Austin took a bit of a step back. Pretty much all of Austin's numbers' dropped in 2010, which should be noted was partly due to the fact that more and more teams were learning how to defend him in his new #1 WR role in 2010. That said, he's still a top flight pass catcher, and his numbers when Romo was there were just as good as they were in 2009.

106.) Andrew Whitworth, T, CIN

Not much went right for Cincinnati in 2010, but Whitworth continues to be a surprisingly consistent, quality pass blocker for Palmer's blind side. The Bengals have a black hole of crap at interior line, but at least Palmer doesn't have to worry too much about the blind side OLB's killing him.

105.) Matt Ryan, QB, ATL

Matt Ryan definitely improved in Year 3, and his 4th quarter play was commendable. That said, I don't know where to really rank him. At times, I really see a lot of Peyton Manning in him, the way he commands the line of scrimmage, audibles and has a great feel for the position. However, he doesn't seem to have the tools that Manning has. His ypa and ypc are really low for a top flight QB. It might be a function of having just one legitimate WR target.

104.) Charles Godfrey, S, CAR

If you are surprised by the number of Carolina Panthers players on the list, all fresh off of a 2-14 campaign, then I should tell you this. The 2010 Panthers were one of the more talented 2-14 teams ever. Godfrey had a great year, picking off 5 passes and making 69 tackles in his first year of playing SS. He's played just three years, so he could get better.

103.) Shaun Phillips, OLB, SD

The man who used to be the 2nd best "Shau(w)n(e)" on his team, Phillips finally did great on his own registering 11.5 sacks (a career high) and playing better when dropping into coverage. Merriman could never really play coverage when he dropped, but Phillips is quite good at it. He's 29, so he's probably peaked, but I would say he's passed Merriman's career at this point.

102.) Charles Tillman, CB, CHI

It's absolutely stunning that Tillman has never made a pro bowl, as he's been a very good player for a number of years. 2010 was his best season since 2006. He was really active defending passes and played really good zone coverage. Tillman was also great at coming up and snuffing out run plays. The Bears defense is talented, but Tillman is still one of their best players.

101.) Ben Grubbs, G, BAL

Another nameless man at a nameless position, 4th year pro Ben Grubbs was awesome in 2010, playing great blocking against Casey Hampton, Vince Wilfork and many more in the AFC in 2010. He's actually been a really strong player for the Ravens for years, and it's time this man, just like the one at 102, makes a pro bowl. Someone's paving holes for Ray Rice, and he's the best lineman the Ravens have (yes, better than Blind Side himself, Oher).

Coming up next, 100-76.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Re-Review: Arrested Development 2-01 = The One Where Michael Leaves

"The One Where Michael Leaves". Just the title alone was a joke, jabbing Friends for having each episode titled "The One Where/With/When". The episode starts with Michael and son George Michael leaving for Arizona ("Pheonix, Arizona" as Michael immediately says cutting off Ron Howard's narration). Michael states that the best part of their intended move is not working with the family, but George Michael reminds him that Michael's family motto is "Family First." Michael, of course, says it was but that that wasn't a family. That they were "a bunch of greedy, selfish people who have our nose, and Aunt Lindsay" which gets George Michael excited that maybe Meabe isn't related to her, but Michael quashes that fear with a beautiful dead-pan of "[her nose] is not her real nose. I have a picture of her in a swimming cap that makes her look like a Falcon." And end scene. It was a really simple scene, a moment between father and son. But like any moment between father and son in Arrested Development, it contained incestuous thoughts and obliviousness. The perfect start to a perfect season.

We go back to the car where Michael drives proudly, thinking his family will weep for his loss, but George Michael chimes in with "Well, maybe they think we are headed home. Actually, that's what I thought we were doing until I heard about all that Phoenix stuff." Michael then calls home to ask for Michael to see if they know he's gone, but Lucille just shouts Michael and puts the phone down. Michael then drives back home, and in keeping with perfect detail, the second they enter the condo, the phone is loudly off the hook. After this relatively mundane start, AD begins then to turn up the heat. Michael attempts to give a dramatic speech about betrayal and that he and his son are leaving and cutting the cord, but it keeps getting interrupted. First Buster blows Lucille's rape horn (after Lucille gets defensive about needing her rape horn, Buster whispers "Yeah, like someone would want to "r" her". Then Lucille puts on the blender right as the speech is about the reach its climax, and gives a look only she is capable of giving. The acting in Arrested Development is really unbelievably good. In this case, it is not even the delivery of their lines. They all respond well and act well without speaking. These looks that Lucille gives are a perfect example.

We then cut over to another scene (with the sound of the blender constant in the background - again, no detail was ever forgotten), where Maebe tells George Michael if he feels bad that he's leaving his girlfriend 'Bland' (the first in a long, long line of mistaken names for Ann), a girl so nameless that "under her picture in the school yearbook it says not pictured." George Michael defends Blands honor by saying "they printed a retraction in the Spring Supplement." What show would ever have lines like this, think of something as absurd as a Spring Supplement to a high school yearbook. After George Michael tells Maebe that he's sad he can't go to the school "Get Out to Vote Assembly" (which of course, was postponed to after the election because a foreign exchange student parked to close to the gym), Annyong (in one of his few S2 appearances) claims that he'll play Uncle Sam, which is better than his current part of "ordering the strike against Pearl Harbor." That scene finally ends with Michael and Lucille leaving the kitchen with martini that she just blended in hand.

Michael then goes on another classic Michael Bluth rant about all the things he won't be giving to his family anymore, like someone to watch over Buster who won't kill him (to which Buster shouts "I'll kill them first"), or someone to give advice to GOB about how to get out of a mistake, and then to Lindsay marital advice about a husband who might be a (insert horn, as before Michael says "Gay", Tobias blows the rape horn). In this speech, George Michael was scolded for telling the family the location where they are moving. Remember this bit for later. On the way to Phoenix, Michael is stopped by the police who tell him that his father has been caught. Ron Howard interjects that "Michael knew if he went back, he would say something hurtful", and then it cuts to Michael saying "We're going back." I've never seen a show use the narrator as well as Arrested Development. The narrator was the source of just as many jokes (or in this case, the device used to begin the joke) as any of the other characters. The show cuts back to a scene where the police catch Oscar Bluth, George Bluth's hippy twin brother who had an affair with Lucille that he wants to rekindle. After Buster catches Oscar and Lucille kissing, he exclaims, "Oh, I thought my father was here." This then starts a long running gag of Oscar trying to hint to Buster that he is his father (which is true), as he replies "Did they?" in a tone that just spelled, "Your father is here." What makes the running bit work is this ridiculous music they pair Oscar's comment with, which follows the bit around throughout the seasons. The music was also used as a catalyst for many jokes. It happens two seconds later, where after Lucille says that Oscar can't stay with them, Buster says that "[Lucille] has always wanted me to have a father figure." Cut to Oscar, again with music, nodding "Yes, a father figure." These scenes never end, and never stop being funny.

Michael then meets Barry Zuckerkorn at the jail. Michael then tells Barry that they are leaving, and after George Michael tells Barry that he can't say where too, Michael says "No, we can tell Barry, we are going to Phoenix." To which Barry replies "Oh, I wish you hadn't said Phoenix." This little joke that played off of his earlier indignation of George Michael revealing their destination of Phoenix is a perfect scene to just explain how crazy Michael Bluth really is. Creator Mitch Hurwitz later said that Michael may have been the craziest character of all in that he can't see past the zaniness of everyone around him. Here is a perfect example. He doesn't realize his family won't give two shits about where he is going too, but he tries to hide it from them. Michael then returns to the Bluth home to post bail using the company checkbook (a nice callback to the original foundation of the show, that George Bluth was in prison for using company money). He walks into the living room where Lindsay is "excercising" by deep breathing while sitting on the couch. It cuts to a scene of Lindsay walking into the master bedroom to see Tobias sitting on the bed watching the exact same deep breathing excercising tape. After both Lindsay and Tobias realize they can't become sexually active again, they have a deep heart to heart, which contains a nice nugget where Tobias is seen laying on the bed swinging his legs behind him like a teenage girl. They then agree to an open marraige, to which Tobias cries out "We can hammer out the details later, but right now we have a daughter to tell.... Maebe, we're having a FAMILY MEETING!!". The scene ends with Lindsay telling Michael that GOB is now heading the company.

The scene cuts to the office where in Michael's old office GOB is playing pool and continually hitting the wall with his backswing of the pool cue. After each time, he tells his worker to smash the wall in that spot with a hammer, for no real apparent reason. GOB also tells Michael that his desk is now the massage table in the breakroom. When Michael tells GOB that he needs to be approved by the board, GOB replies that he already has which cuts to a scene where he in front of the board does a magic trick where he turns a one hundred dollar bill into one hundred pennies, and when the trick works, GOB is in his giddy look while the GOB magic music plays (another running soundtrack). Michael, in perfect Michael form, says "why wouldn't they trust you, you've already lost them 99 dollars." After Michael tells GOB that he thought GOB might need him, GOB gets indignant and says "I need you. I should call the guys in to hear this." and then proceeds to not be able to use the intercom, which ends in him, as it should be, needing Michael. Arrested Development did such a great job of juxtaposing a spoken line with an immediate action that relayed the rest of the joke. More than half of their jokes, I would say, were unspoken.

Tobias walks the boardwalk glumly after realizing that his wife will have more success in their open marriage (with a song of "When I'm down, so down; staring at the ground. I'm blue, so blue; Man, I'm blue), he sees a flier for "The Blue Man Group" which he mistakes to be a group for depressed men. This is the beginning of one of the most fruitful arcs in show history. Back in the condo, Lucille realizes that Michael came back out of need, that he was "The Boy who cried Phoenix" and assures him that the police won't be able to tie the homes in Iraq to George Bluth, and then reassures him with two ridiculous winks. Michael replies "Man, the jury's gonna love you," and before walking out, sees Annyong in full Uncle Sam regalia saying 'I Want You', and gives one last quip before leaving that "Man, the jury might actually like that." Going back to Lucille. This part was really evidence that she really was the most aware of everything. She was a bad person, but she also understood the dynamics of the group far more than Michael did, as she realized immediately why Michael came back home from Phoenix.

We cut back to the office where in attempt to nail a picture to the wall, GOB uses a sledgehammer (another callback to a season 1 gag where none of the Bluth family can successfully use a hammer - more on this next episode). After breaking the wall, GOB finds a briefcase with a signed agreement between George Bluth and "S. Hussein". Before we get back, we quickly cut to Tobias grinning with glee at the Blue Man Show's concert. Then it cuts to the penthouse, where Lucille watches the news where after the lead story that "You may be living in one of Saddam's mini-palaces", there is story that there was a seal attack, the first of many hidden foreshadowings to Buster losing his hand in a seal attack. On the way to the office, Lucille is stopped by Michael Moore. In the only true bit of referencing in this episode, Michael Moore asks Lucille if she was willing to sign Buster up for the ARMY , full Fahrenheit 911 style, to which Lucille says yes. The beginning of another great fountain of jokes for S2.

Michael is back at the house, trying to find the checkbook by, of course, breaking the walls with the sledgehammer, and he breaks a wall that reveals Tobias in the bathroom in full blue paint. "Are You Crazy!!" Tobias asks. "Are you Blue?" Michael retorts, to which Tobias says "only in color, Michael, only in color." Tobias then has a heart to heart with Michael, saying how he needs help, that "he's carrying a sledgehammer, and has blue paint on his......." He then realizes that he was the cause of the blue paint, not only on Michael's shirt but around the house. For the rest of the first half on S2 there will be blue paint all over the house in random places. On walls, on faucets, on plates; blue paint will become a running feature of the Bluth house. As Michael gets ready to leave to ask for money, Tobias says "I have to leave for an audition." Michael can't believe Tobias hasn't actually gotten the part, but Tobias replies sadly, "I just blew myself." The first of about 200 double entendre's in S2. We cut to Tobias walking to his audition at dusk, perfectly blending in with the blue sky (another thing that was so Arrested Development. What made the show is great is most shows wouldn't even think of half these things, be this creative. What show would have a member of the Blue Man Group?). He is then run over by, of all people, Barry Zuckerkorn.

Michael then meets the rest of the family in the hospital where he makes a speech about how people are too proud to ask for help, to say "I need you." To which each member of the family replies "I need you" one by one. Buster starts with "Mom volunteered me for the ARMY, just because the fat man said so." GOB continues with "I know too much. I've got the thingy. Half in Enlgish, half in squiggly". The doctor then arrives. The doctor is known to be a very literal man, as in he earlier said about George that "we lost him" when they lost him in that he escaped. Now, he's saying that Tobias "looks to be dead", to which GOB cries out, "The little guy. We lost the little guy. The tears just aren't coming" (the tear part was a callback to when George was reported to be 'lost' and he cried out for the loss of the 'Big Bear'). Michael wants reassurance, and the doctor replies "it just looks like he's dead. He's got like blue paint on him or something." which cues angry reactions from the whole family, the funniest being Lidnsay's "This Fucking Doctor" with the fucking bleeped out. The uses of curses in Arrested Development was always brilliant. In keeping with the realist setting of the show, they were always used like how any normal man would use the word, in times of agitation. Every bleep was expertly placed, always funny, always great.

The cops then come to take Michael, and GOB reassures him that they have the proof, they have George's signed contract with Saddam, "Hussein" as Buster slowly whispers. GOB then realizes that the briefcase is missing, which we would notice if we paid attention to the background that Oscar slowly takes the briefcase out of GOB's hands when hugging him. Annyong then blurts out that someone stole his Uncle Sam wig, which then we realize that Oscar was in fact George with the Uncle Sam wig, and that he's again on the lamb. Everything comes full circle, as Arrested Development is able to incorporate a seemingly irrelevant bit (the Uncle Sam part in the "Get Out to Vote" play) into the main arc. A nice way to wrap up a nice episode. The episode then finishes like all others, with fake "Next time on Arrested Development" scenes. The first uses the literal doctor who says to Lindsay "you are really looking hot" when she has a fever of 104. That leads to a scene where she's in the hospital, and hidden behind is Tobias, ears still Blue, in the cot next to her. The first episode was more just development and setting the season in place. It really gets going in the third episode. The second one is mostly a standalone, as far as any standalone can be in Arrested Development. When we get going though, it doesn't stop. From now on, I'll talk less about the summary, and more about my thoughts, but I wanted to let people get a good feel for what the show is. From now on, it gets tougher and more interesting. In the words of Bart Scott, Can't Wait.

Next Up: 2-02 - The One Where They Build a House

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

NFL Top 200: 200-151

Here we go, the Top 200 begins with players 200-151.


200.) Justin Tryon, CB, IND

Let's start with a shocker. Football Outsiders identified him as a Top-20 "prospect" before 2010, and then like clockwork, Bill Polian traded a 7th round pick for him. By the end of the year, his performance was better than both Jacob Lacey and Kelvin Hayden. Tryon excels in man coverage which helps the Colts as they start to transition to more and more man coverage than their zone. He's a smart, talented player who will just get better.

199.) James Farrior, MLB, PIT

From the young to the old. Farrior is the ageless warrior, the only link on the LB line from the Super Bowl XL champs to the Super Bowl XLV runner-ups. All four of the starting LB corp of Pittsburgh is on the list and Farrior is first. He's still as steady and smart as ever, and easily the better run defender between him and Timmons. Age will inevitably catch up to good old James though.

198.) Jonathan Goodwin, C, NO

The other really well represented unit is the interior of the Saints o-line, with all three being on the list. Goodwin was really good at times last year against some good nose tackles and defensive tackles. That said, he was a little penalty prone. Goodwin might not be the road grader that the man to his left and right on the line are, but he's great at staying on point with Drew Brees.

197.) Jason Peters, T, PHI

Jason Peters has really been up and down since he was traded from Buffalo in what was supposed to be an acquisition that made the Eagles' o-line a great unit. That hasn't exactly happened, but Peters was great late in 2010. Blocking for Michael Vick was hard, but Peters made it look easy going against the likes of Ray Edwards, Osi Umenyiora and DeMarcus Ware.

196.) Steve Hutchinson, G, MIN

The age is starting to make Hutchinson a little erattic and easier to beat, but he's still technically great. Adrian Peterson had a really nice year despite facing 8-in-the-box constantly which has a lot to do with the o-line, and Hutchinson is always a part of that. Hutchinson is a hall-of-famer in my mind, and his play of late is about where a hall-of-famer nearing the end should be at.

195.) Shaun Ellis, DT, NYJ

He had a monster game against the Patriots which was some sweet revenge for years of having the "Belichick for Ellis trade" jokes (the Jets used the 1st round pick they got for BB on Ellis), but until then, he had a solid, but not spectacular year. Shaun Ellis' run stopping was spotty, but the pass rush he provided was, as always, good.

194.) Sheldon Brown, S, CLE

One of the more obscure players to make it back to the list, Sheldon Brown had a nice year again in Cleveland giving great support to a team who was in the bottom half of giving up 20+ yard plays against the pass. He didn't pick off as many passes, but was an integral part to one of the good young pass defenses in the league. Philly probably wishes they had him back.

193.) Brandon Pettigrew, TE, DET

If the Matt Stafford to Brandon Pettigrew connection is better than the Shaun Hill to Brandon Pettigrew connection, than this guy could fly up the ladder of NFL TEs. Pettigrew had one of the quieter 70 catch, 700 yard seasons by a tight end in recent memory. Now, a lot of those were empty yards put up late in losses, but Pettigrew was essential the to Lions pass offense staying above average with Shaun Hill at the helm.

192.) DJ Williams, MLB, DEN

The Broncos defense had a horrendous year in 2010, but DJ Williams was definitely not to blame for that. His 99 tackle, 5.5 sack season also included 10 pass defenses. DJ Williams is an older player who is on the downside, but it is great to see one of the most consistently underrated MLBs in the mid-decade still relevant and playing at a high level.

191.) Rashean Mathis, CB, JAX

He was once a top-5 CB in the NFL, and although that player is gone, Mathis had a really nice year in 2010. He was a tackling machine as a CB and played and held down some of the better WRs in the league like Kenny Britt and Austin Collie (Andre Johnson killed him, although that isn't a huge surprise). The Jaguars are building a nice defense, and Mathis is the elder statesman in that up and coming unit.

190.) Michael Roos, T, TEN

Here's the first member of the Top 200 that stayed on the list but made a precipitous fall, from 86 to 190. Michael Roos' play fell off, and so did Chris Johnson and eventually the Titans. Roos was still great in pass blocking which is at times difficult with VY behind him, but his run blocking needs to get better. He's still a Top-200 player, but his hold is tenuous as best.

189.) Steve Johnson, WR, BUF

He had a great year. Just to jog your memories, Steve Johnson put up 82 catches for 1073 yards and 10 tds in Buffalo. He also had an infamous drop against Pittsbrugh in overtime, but let's hope that isn't what people remember him for. I would have him higher, but I would like to see him do it again, especially with coordinators having another year to scheme for him. Steve Johnson is a hell of an athlete though.

188.) Phil Loadholt, T, MIN

Here's another member of the Vikings o-line on the list, and the most maddening. His blocking definitely improved from his rookie 2009 season, but his penalties went up even more, as did his mental mistakes. He had some clear missed blocks where he looked lost, but mostly was great when he got people engaged. He just needs to clean up the mistakes and learn more.

187.) Mark Sanchez, QB, NYJ

This is probably my first controversial pick, but I really considered not putting him on the list. Mark Sanchez is a maddening player. He was great against New England in the divisional playoffs. He was wild against Indy. Sanchez was horrible in the first half against the Steelers and then was great in the second half. That inconsistently really defines him, a guy who still had just 17 tds and 13 ints, with a 75 rating and 55% completions, the statistics of a guy who could easily not be on the Top 200.

186.) Leonard Davis, G, DAL

Leonard Davis became again who we thought he was. He used to be a good to great player who had penalty problems, and then he became great for a couple years. In 2011, the old Leonard emerged even before Romo got injured. Davis run blocking really fell, but his pass blocking was great, which is odd for a guard. Overall, he can be one hundred spots higher, but can also be off the list.

185.) Carson Palmer, QB, CIN

Quietly had a nice year among amazing upheaval. The run game in Cincy fell back to earth and he had two squabbling, loud-mouth receivers the whole time. The real Palmer showed up in the games that they didn't play, when he put up back-to-back-to-back good games without Owens and Ocho. If the Bengals grant him his wish, he can do well in the right situation (Minnesota?).

184.) Nick Hardwick, C, SD

Hardwick was once the premier center in the AFC, and returned to close to that level in 2010 when he was one of the better pass-blocking centers, doing a great job against players like Glenn Dorsey, Vince Wilfork, and others. Hardwick doesn't have many more years left, but one of the last holdovers from the LT era still makes the Chargers line gel.

183.) Jason Jones, DT, TEN

Jason Jones still isn't Albert Haynesworth 2006-2008 and will never be, but he's doing his damnest to make a good impression. Jones' sack humbers dropped again, but his tackle numbers overall went way up. He was a much more active and driven lineman in 2010, and he's just 24 years old. Let's see how he does without Jeff Fisher and his never-ending motivational abilities.

182.) Owen Daniels, TE, HOU

Year one back from the ACL injury was a success. He stayed healthy, didn't drop balls (what made Welker fall off the list coming back from the same injury) and by the end of the year he was back to normal. His last four games projected out to a full season put him at a 88 catch, 1084 yard, 8 td pace which is about where he was pre-injury. Matt Schaub will love having his security blanket back.

181.) Matt Shaughnessy, DE, OAK

The Raiders d-line is really something special. When they are on, they are the best d-line in the NFL. They are on about 10 times a year, and hopefully that will go up. Shaughnessy put up 7 sacks, but was also a penetrating machine, racking up pressures and tackles from a DE spot. He'll probably get even more playing time in 2011 and probably come close to the 10 sack mark. Shaughnessy is the star from the oft-panned 2009 DHB draft.

180.) Ryan Kalil, C, CAR

The Panthers became the worst team in the league, but their o-line is still above average which will really help Cam Newton's development. Kalil was still a good center at both run and pass blocking and the Panthers were really good running around him. He's probably peaked at this point, but that still makes him in the top-10 of NFL centers.

179.) Levi Brown, T, ARZ

The Cardinals o-line sucks, but if Levi Brown wasn't there it would be absolutely awful and challenging for the league's worst. Levi Brown's pass blocking gets better each year. His run blocking took a step backward in 2010, but then again, so did his running back and QB, who's anemic play forced the Cards into many 8-in the box situations.

178.) Heath Miller, TE, PIT

Heath Miller's receiving numbers took a large step down, but if you look deeper, he was fine. Miller had a career-high ypc, and his blocking is still the best for any TE, and that even includes the man known as Jason Witten. Heath Miller was one-on-one blocking Clay Matthews in the Super Bowl and doing fine.

177.) Joe Haden, CB, CLE

The second member of the Browns secondary to be on the list is the rookie Mr. Haden. Joe Haden really came on at the end of his rookie season. The reason he's not ranked higher, something I legitimately considered doing, is rookie corners that have good seasons are notorious for dropping off in their sophomore seasons, like Antonio Cromartie. I don't think Haden's one of those, but you never know with those Florida players.

176.) Peyton Hillis, RB, CLE

Most people would have Hillis higher but his year was no way as good as his Madden-Cover-Winning publicity made it out to seem. Hillis had a nice 4.4 ypr, and cuaght 61 balls, but he has three good lineman in front of him. Hillis is a good player, a very good one, but he's not a pro-bowler, and I'm legitimately afraid of society that everyone is fine with him getting the cover of Madden.

175.) Eric Berry, S, KC

Rookie safeties are like rookie corners. I don't know if he'll stay as good as he was as a rookie, but Eric Berry was a stud in college and he's still just that. He has two good corners in front of him, so he'll always have opportunities to make plays. Berry really showed the same instinctiveness in his first year that he always showed in Tennessee. The guy is a future star.

174.) Brandon Lloyd, WR, DEN

Let's talk about arguably the greatest "Where the hell was this ability four years ago!!" year ever. Brandon Lloyd beat his old career high by 29 catches (77 vs 48), 715 yards (1448 vs 733) and 5 tds (11 vs 6). He did all of this at the age of 29, so let's just say that I am a little skeptical of Brandon Lloyd's ability to do this again, especially if Tim Tebow's the one throwing him the ball.

173.) Dustin Keller, TE, NYJ

Dustin Keller disappeared for a part of the 2009 season but then reappeared in the 2009 playoff run. He built off that production for 2010, and became a star player for Mark Sanchez. His 12.5 ypc was great for a TE with a previous career high of 11.6. He scored 5 tds which again was a career list. His blocking also seemed to improve in 2010. Big things are ahead.

172.) Antonio Garay, NT, SD

He was a bit player before 2010, and then he was a pro-bowl player in 2010. Antonio Garay was a force at the nose, with 5.5 sacks and 37 tackles. Garay was a force against the rest of the NFL, abusing centers like Jeff Saturday and Dan Koppen. Garay is already 31 so he probably has peaked, but this is a good reward for a player who was a journeyman until this year.

171.) Calvin Pace, OLB, NYJ

Calvin Pace finally put together the complete package in 2010. He was always a great pass rusher, but in 2010 he improved his coverage ass a drop back linebacker and got better against the run. Calvin Pace is the only real true pass rusher the Jets have and they count on him a little too much, but at least now he has the versatility to drop and play the run.

170.) Chris Clemons, DE, SEA

Chris Clemons was a rotational pass rusher for years. That was until he met the Seahawks and Pete Carroll. Clemons exploded with 11 sacks, scores more pressures and even four passes defended. Chris Clemons probably won't reach those heights again, but older players have gone to Seattle and found the fount of youth. It might happen with Clemons as well.

169.) Lawrence Timmons, MLB, PIT

Lawrence Timmons might have seen like a disappointment, but a lot of the plays he did make were huge. He was among the leaders in tackles for loss and his pass defense when dropping took another step up, racking up pass defenses. Timmons was also a tackling machine, leading the Steelers. Lawrence Timmons will probably never be the pass rushing force I thought he would end up being, but that doesn't make him an underachieving player.

168.) Ronde Barber, CB, TB

The ageless wonder at QB is still going on strong. His twin brother is thinking of a comeback and it might be because Ronde is probably the Barber with the better career now. Barber is going to be 36 this season, so his time is coming, but he is easily still a top flight Tampa-2 corner. He's four sacks away from joining the 30/30 club (30 sacks and 30 interceptions). It is doubtful he'll get those sacks in his career, but he'll have to rest with being a borderline hall of famer.

167.) Duane Brown, T, HOU

Duane Brown was suspended four games for PED use, but unlike other notable suspendee's including his own teammate (Brian Cushing), his play didn't come close to falling off after the suspension. Brown was just as good after it ended, holding his own against Ford, Freeney, Kampman, Cole and others. Duane Brown also improved as a run blocker. He wasn't someone built off of PED use.

166.) Brian Orakpo, OLB, WAS

Orakpo was no one year wonder in Washington. Sure, his numbers did fall off a bit but that is to be expected after a sensational rookie year. What did improve was the other areas of his game. Orakpo was a guy too in love with getting sacks and rushing at all costs in 2009, while he slowed down and played better against the run in 2010. Orakpo is the rare bright spot in Washington.

165.) Chris Harris, S, CHI

The Bears defense was really good in 2010, and part of that was Chris Harris returning. Harris left after 2006 to Carolina, and three playoff-less years later, Harris returned. He picked off five passes, was great in deep coverage, and was the back line for the league's best cover-2 defense. Chris Harris is still just 28 so will have to be key as the Bears inevitably have to replace Charles Tillman.

164.) Josh Sitton, G, GB

The Packers improvement in their o-line in 2010 was a big part of their run to a Super Bowl title, and Josh Sitton was the best player on that line. He started every game for the second straight season, and this time he did it with playing good each week. He held the Williams wall at bay. He was good against Suh. He was the steadiest member of the o-line all year long.

163.) Joselio Hanson, CB, PHI

The reason I don't think the Eagles need Nnamdi is because they have Joselio Hanson. He was great in coverage all year, being in the top-10 in fewest yards given up per pass play. Hanson has the cover skills that would make Asante jealous and Nnamdi proud. The Eagles need safety play. Their corner play, if Hanson keeps this up, will be fine.

162.) Rey Maualuga, OLB, CIN

Keith Rivers really regressed in 2010, but Maualuga stepped it up in his second season. The 23 year old was great dropping into zone coverage and played the run quickly and effectively. Maualuga played 2010 the way people envisioned him playing in the NFL, making sure that the third member of the USC Class of 2009 LB trio would make his mark as well.

161.) Paul Soliai, NT, MIA

Along with Garay, there was no better great nameless player at the NFL's top position for unknowns. His work at the dirty nose was great. He was amazing at stopping the run, clogging the middle of the Dolphins defense. His two men around him didn't do their job, but Soliai definitely played good enough to make that defense work. He should improve his rush penetration to take his game to the next level.

160.) Ron Bartell, CB, STL

On the league's most unknown team, Ron Bartell was the defensive star in the secondary. He didn't have an interception, but played lockdown corner all year long in Steve Spagnuolo's defense, up among the league leader's in fewest yards allowed per pass and highest success rate on pass defense (yup, this is the beginning of me breaking out the FO stats). Bartell took a while to get going but that sometimes happens with corners.

159.) Kenny Britt, WR, TEN

Kenny Britt seems like a doofus knucklehead as he's been arrested about 450 times since the lockout began, but his play is absolutely undeniable. He only played 12 games due to injury, but put up 9 touchdowns in those games while averaging 18.5 ypc. Kenny Britt was easily VY's most trusted target and it will be interesting to see how he plays with Jake Locker in the future.

158.) David Harris, MLB, NYJ

The Jets defense is really good. David Harris is another member of that unit in the top 200, and he's someone who's importance to the Jets is really underrated. His rank dropped from 2010 largely because he just wasn't as active as he was last year. He seemed to be a half step late to most plays. Some of it was probably by design, as he dropped more than in years past.

157.) Leon Hall, CB, CIN

He's next up in the list of people who took a big fall. Leon Hall's play regressed quite a bit in 2010, but some of that might have to do with the fact that the Bengals' pass rush was totally anemic and made guys like Hall and Joseph cover for longer. Leon Hall is still young and could easily rebound with a really good 2011.

156.) Kris Dielman, G, SD

Much like his interior linemmate Hardwick, Dielman had a really good year in 2010. Honestly, he was among my biggest snubs of 2010, so I had to include him on the 2011 list. Dielman was nasty on the interior and really the only member of the Chargers o-line not to be embarrassed by the Raiders d-line in their matchups.

155.) Oshiomogo Atogwe, S, STL

OJ Atogwe probably should have gone out on FA last year. He didn't have a bad year, but I think people are starting to realize that the reason he makes so many plays is that the rest of the Rams defense really isn't that good. He makes a lot of plays well down the field. That said, he is still a quality player and a leader of that defense.

154.) Gary Brackett, MLB, IND

I love Gary Brackett because he's a Colt, because he went to Rutgers and because he has been invaluable for the Colts for years. That said, I cannot deny the fact that Brackett just looked half a step slower in 2010. That doesn't make him a bad player, but one who isn't what he was before. Brackett is still very fast for a LB and an extremely smart player, but to think he will revert to one of the best 4-3 MLBs is probably a stretch now.

153.) Mike Patterson, DT, PHI

The Eagles have a gem in Mike Patterson, a player who is just absolutely solid all the time. He's never going to be Vince Wilfork or even Tommie Harris in his prime, but Mike Patterson rarely has bad games. He's rarely dominated by an o-line. He has missed just one game in his NFL career. Pat Burrell was for years a good player for the Phillies, but always a bit underappreciated with stars like Utley and Howard next to him. Patterson is that player for the Eagles.

152.) Geno Hayes, MLB, TB

Probably after Clemens and Tryon, Geno Hayes is the biggest 'What the Fuck?' in the first 50. Get used to him, as he's one of the best 4-3 OLBs in the game. He was a playmaking machine for the Bucs in 2011, making stops and almost all the available plays. Hayes was always around the ball, always active and could do everything. He's a star on the rise.

151.) Israel Idonije, DE, CHI

The second of 6 players on the Bears defense, Idonije exploded in 2010. He was always a good situational pass rusher for the last two years, which is why I trust him to keep this up more than Chris Clemons. He was a force in 2010, benefitting from Julius Peppers' presence opposite him, Idonije constantly caused pressure and forced four fumbles. Pass rushers can often play effectively well into their mid 30s, so the fact that he's already 30 won't stop him in the future.

Next up, 150-101.

About Me

I am a man who will go by the moniker dmstorm22, or StormyD, but not really StormyD. I'll talk about sports, mainly football, sometimes TV, sometimes other random things, sometimes even bring out some lists (a lot, lot, lot of lists). Enjoy.