Posted on: December 15, 2009 10:35 am
This is a friendly reminder to set your league's playoff tiebreakers now, in case you haven't already.
This morning we had a tie in one of our expert's leagues between Fantasy Baseball genius Eric Mack and our beloved boss, Editorial Director Peter Madden.
Without tiebreakers firmly established, each owner had a claim to winning the game. But as our league commissioner, Jamey Eisenberg, dutifully ruled, the team who scored the most points overall in the game -- that means starters and bench players combined -- got the nod. By a smidge, Peter took home the victory.
The other tiebreaker we considered was the highest seed, which for my money is the most fair and understandable tiebreaker around. Why else have seeding in the playoffs (other than, you know, figuring out who plays who)? Jamey overruled that one citing that the bench points scored was more fair. I disagree with him on this one, but he's the Commish.
One other idea we had was to let both teams advance and have a three-way game between Eric and Peter and the top seed (Scott White). But that penalizes the higher-seeded team because he has to play two teams instead of one. So that got shot down pretty quickly.
The bottom line is that a swift decision was made and both teams accepted the results. Learn a lesson from this: Establish your league's playoff tiebreakers now so there's no drama later on in the unlikely event of a tie.
Posted on: December 9, 2009 5:16 pm
For those of you who are 100 percent sure that Robert Meachem's touchdown should have been ruled an offensive fumble return, I have one more piece of evidence for your consideration.
In the NFL's log of stats that encompass the season, they include every kind of touchdown that a player scores. You can sort by rushing touchdowns, receiving touchdowns, etc.
And you can sort by defensive touchdowns.
And when you do, you'll see that Robert Meachem is receiving credit for eight receiving touchdowns and one defensive touchdown.
Because many of you felt that our argument used faulty logic, you went to NFL.com to get an official word. I don't have a problem with this because the NFL is considered THE source for issues like this. Thus, I don't see how the Meachem Play isn't more official than this:
(Sorry for not posting a direct link, I'm no HTML genius. Please copy and paste into your browser.)
Once more, when Meachem stripped the ball from Kareem Moore, he did so as a defender. Stripping the ball is a defensive play. It cannot possibly be an offensive play -- have you ever seen a player steal the ball from a teammate? The result of stripping the ball was a touchdown, and like we'd do for any time a defender scores a touchdown, it counts for the DST, not Meachem. I promise that if you get over that Meachem is listed as a receiver and therefore assume everything he does MUST be done as an offensive player, the rule makes sense.
Thanks for reading.
Posted on: December 8, 2009 4:23 pm
It's become such an issue that it has its own title: The Meachem Play.
We've all seen it by now, and you guys probably read my explanation for how CBSSports.com decided to rule the play in Fantasy leagues. However, there is still a lot of questions and concerns brought to light as the result of our ruling, and it deserves more attention and more conversation.
Since Sunday afternoon we've received hundreds of emails, Tweets and message board posts (mostly from Meachem owners) surrounding this issue. We owe it to you guys to address the most common responses and arguments to our decision because this play has caused so much controversy. I'd also like to mention that while I'm the one who has responded to the issue, I am just part of the team that brings you the Fantasy content and product at CBSSports.com. As a team, we made the decision to reward the points as we saw fit.
Mike W. in Minnesota: While I do not disagree with your conclusion, your argument is fallacious. When Meachem recovered the fumble of Washington's offense (technically speaking), then the Saints defense gets two points as Meachem is technically a defensive player. But once Meachem gets the ball, Washington's defense is back on the field, and after change of possession Meachem becomes an offensive player once again, technically speaking of course. Thus, Meachem as an offensive player should get the points as he does in our league (but so does the defense).
Let's start here: How did Meachem obtain the football? Obviously it's a fumble recovery, but was it as an offensive player or a defensive player? If you read any explanation we've given, we established that Meachem recovered the fumble as a defensive player. Yes, this is even though he's a wide receiver by trade and he started the play as an offensive player. This is simply taking the NFL's rules at their word.
And so maybe here's where the confusion is: CBSSports.com has never rewarded points for a defender doing something on offense or vice versa. This has been our stance since the 1990s when we began running Fantasy games. This means that when the likes of Mike Vrabel score a touchdown, they did so as defensive players on offense and did not receive credit for it unless commissioners in leagues granted such credit. That's the crux of why Meachem isn't getting the touchdown -- he scored on a defensive play , not an offensive play. Technically speaking.
Now we're also aware that in the NFL's Gamebook from the Saints-Redskins matchup Meachem's score was ruled as an offensive touchdown. This is inconsistent with what we confirmed with the NFL on Monday. Furthermore, the Elias Sports Bureau, which as we've mentioned before is the official statistician of the NFL, has nothing to do with the NFL's Gamebooks. We have and always will rely on Elias as far as statistical issues are concerned.
Boz in Philly: You stated in your Monday podcast that once that Brees threw the INT, the Saints became the defensive unit and once Meachem forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and returned it for a TD, he did so as a defensive player. That's all fine and good. But you failed to explain what happened to the Redskins. Now that the Saints are on defense after the INT, the Redskins would have to be on offense, since they now have the ball and are trying to score, correct? If the Redskins had returned the original interception for a touchdown, would they have done so as an offensive unit or defensive unit? Conventional wisdom says that the Redskins DST would have gotten credit for the touchdown despite being on offense (by your logic). That doesn't make a lot of sense and is where your logic breaks down.
Let's pretend Meachem didn't make the strip and Moore returned the interception for a touchdown. In a standard league, the touchdown goes to the Redskins DST. In an Individual Defensive Player (IDP) league, the touchdown goes to Moore. So even though the NFL is classifying that the Redskins are on offense once they maintain possession of the football, it's commonly accepted in Fantasy Football that the defense gets the points. We should all be on the same page here.
That said, the exact same logic takes place in the case of Meachem's strip because he was considered on defense following the interception and when he got the ball back. Just like Moore was considered on defense at the time of the interception. And because we in Fantasy are treating it as a defensive fumble recovery, the entire play gets credited as a touchdown for the defense.
Marc J., Knoxville, TN: I own Meachem in an IDP league. If he made a play as a defender, how come I'm not getting credit for it?
For the purposes of scoring in Fantasy Football, Meachem only receives credit for plays he makes as an offensive player. Again using the Mike Vrabel example, the linebacker never received credit for touchdowns he scored on offense. Thus, Meachem shouldn't get credit for his score. However, in IDP leagues that do reward touchdowns to defensive players when they play on offense, Meachem should get credit.
Jonathan S.: In your article you say that post-interception, the Saints offense became the Saints defense. If that's the case, wouldn't the Redskins defense then become the Redskins offense? If so, why is it that CBS still shows the points against for the Redskins to be 33. The Saints defense scoring on the Redskins offense shouldn't count and therefore the points against for the Redskins defense should be 27.
This essentially depends on how you score your Points Against category. In our free and premium leagues, and as a default in our commissioner leagues, the standard Points Against category is used. This takes into account all points scored against the team of the DST. We do offer a Defense Points Against category for our commissioner leagues (as well as a DST Points Against category). In leagues that use those specific types of scoring, the points resulting from the Meachem Play do not count.
R. Russell Last, Golden Valley, MN: Our league says that the team that is on offense when the ball is snapped is considered the offensive team throughout the entire play. Ditto defenses. Excepted are punts and kickoffs, since changes of possession on those plays are intentional. Very simple and logical. So how are we wrong?
You're not -- they're your rules for your league, and frankly it's a rule that every league should adopt if not simply consider. For those owners who pay to play at CBSSports.com with their friends and co-workers, we realize that you guys put up a lot of money for the service of running your league. And as such, it's your league . We only govern our free leagues and premium leagues. You should be taking advantage of what you pay for and running your league your way.
If you're in a customized league and have a problem with our ruling on the Meachem Play, at the very least you should request a league-wide vote from your commissioner on how the play should be scored in your league.
Jim. C., Elizabeth, NJ: I'm disappointed in your ruling and am considering changing Fantasy league providers. What assurances can you give me and my league mates that this kind of ruling will never happen again?
This is a little beyond my place -- I'm a writer and just a part of the team that determines how CBSSports.com'sleagues function -- so unfortunately I can't give any assurances.
But what I can tell you is that we do meet after every season to go over events like the Meachem Play and consider offering more customization options for our commissioner leagues and even our standard free and premium leagues if deemed necessary.
A few years back when Kevin Curtis recovered an offensive fumble for a touchdown, his owners were outraged that he didn't get credit for the Fantasy points. This was because most leagues did not know they could score offensive fumble recoveries for touchdowns. Since then, we made the category a default of all leagues, so even if they don't know if they can score it, it counts unless they opt out.
We'll definitely review the play and we'll also take into consideration the emails we received from people who didn't fully understand our logic. We make plenty of enhancements to our product year after year, and it would be completely ignorant of us to not at the very least consider making an enhancement here.
Wait! I have more Meachem Play points to make!
The message board underneath this post is for future comments involving this play. By participating, I expect respectful and intelligent discussion. No cursing out me and CBSSports.com because we cost you a playoff seed. This doesn't mean you have to agree with me -- by all means if you're passionate about your point of view, here's your chance to discuss it.
Thank you for reading.
Posted on: October 9, 2009 11:22 am
After Braylon Edwards was acquired by the Jets from the Browns, many of us had questions about when he'd be a regular part of the New York offense. While a receiver traded at mid-season typically does not produce big numbers right away, Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer believes that his new offensive weapon will be a factor sooner than later.
As provided to the media by the Jets, here is a transcript of Schottenheimer's media session following the Edwards trade.
On what Braylon Edwards will be able to do in Monday Night's game ...
It is interesting because he has a pretty good grasp of what we're doing. It's probably a unique situation. The coordinator two years ago in Cleveland, Rob Chudzinski, comes from San Diego. We were in San Diego together. A lot of the terminology, some of it is identical; a lot of it is close. With (Cleveland offensive coordinator) Brian Daboll leaving here and going to Cleveland, he kept some of the things. It is amazing, even in the walk-thru, going through some things with Braylon (Edwards) and Mark (Sanchez), little code words and tags like, 'Hey, you want to me to poster this?' It was like, wow, he knows that. Really sharp guy. He's ahead just because when we call things, he's heard it called before. It's not 100 percent, but there is quite a bit of carryover.
On if it will be a limited package for Edwards on Monday ...
No. As of today, we still need to add a few more plays for the red zone stuff tomorrow. Where he is at today, there is nothing that we have to worry about. There will be some things, I'm sure, during the course of games and that is where the other guys will help him.
On if Edwards makes his job easier ...
Anytime you have a receiver of his quality, a guy with the type of size and agility he has, it's another weapon. Even when he (looks) covered, it doesn't mean he is covered. They were doing some one-on-ones today. I looked down there and there were some deep balls and the guy kind of draped all over him and he was able to elevate and make the play. He's a guy that has instant credibility because he has produced in the league, with the (16) touchdowns he had two years ago. A number of 80-plus catch years. It's somebody else that they have to be mindful of when they're scouting us.
On if Edwards gives the Jets a chance to throw more fade routes ...
I think so. There are a lot of things that we can do with him, but that is something that I think he has a great ability to do, just elevate above people. That shows up on the film when you look at it.
On how this changes how defenses will defend against the team ...
They will take Braylon into account. He's earned that. I do think people look at the Jets offense and say, 'Ok, we want to stop the running game and get after Mark.' I think people will take it into consideration but if everybody changes the way they play, I think that remains to be seen. He's a guy that they'll be aware of where he is at. 'Ok, he's in the game, he's not in the game.' That helps you.
On Edwards' dropped passes ...
I looked at his catches from last year, I believe. As far as the dropped passes, I have no idea. I haven't studied or looked at it.
On how Edwards looked [Wednesday] and if he dropped any passes ...
He did really good. I think there was one (dropped pass) but it was a little high. If you ask Braylon, he'll say he should have caught it. If you ask Mark, he'd probably say he should have thrown it a little lower. He did a really have good day. We're excited about it.
On how rare it is for someone like Edwards to be traded in Week 4 ...
Nothing surprises me anymore in this business. We were in a situation in San Diego where we acquired Keenan McCardell, a very established receiver, around week four or five. We were playing Carolina. It was a similar thing. I don't know if we had an injury or not, but we brought him in and he went out and had five or six catches in the first game. In this business, nothing surprises you. There have been situations similar to this, not identical, that had great results.
Posted on: August 10, 2009 5:11 pm
Not many notes from the Hall of Fame game, as it should be since the game is pretty much meaningless. But here's what stood out to me.
- The Bills' O-line. Awful. Deserves the rating I gave it. Andy Levitre might be highlighted as the weak link but he's far from their only problem. The Haynesworth-less Titans pushed around their line all game long, including when the first-team was in there.
- Trent Edwards would be better behind a better O-line. Same for Marshawn Lynch. Remember, last year's line included LT Jason Peters and LG Derrick Dockery.
- T.O. is still slow. Not the same guy from two years before. Still has solid hands obviously, but it still looks more and more like he took a pay day from the Bills this year instead of going for a Super Bowl ring.
- I like how Nate Washington was used in the short area. He never had that much work in Pittsburgh because he was buried on the depth chart. But he's solid and could be a real surprise this year. I'll watch him in the Titans' next preseason game.
- Kerry Collins was OK. Not great, not awful. Vince Young? Not great, quite awful. Patrick Ramsey is clearly gunning for the backup job.
- That fake punt play was cool!
Posted on: July 3, 2009 4:48 pm
Here are the results of the mock draft I did with 11 equally enthusiastic Fantasy Football owners earlier today. My picks are listed first below -- I picked 12th and took on the WR-WR draft strategy with my first two picks.
Dave Richard - Dave
Player Position Round Drafted
Matt Cassel QB 7
Kevin Smith RB 4
Jonathan Stewart RB 5
Larry Fitzgerald WR 1
Andre Johnson WR 2
Kevin Boss TE 12
Wes Welker RB-WR 3
Garrett Hartley K 14
Dolphins DST 13
Kyle Orton QB 9
Donald Brown RB 6
Jerious Norwood RB 10
Darren Sproles RB 8
Maurice Morris RB-WR 11
shockers - josh
Player Position Round Drafted
Tom Brady QB 2
Brandon Jacobs RB 3
Adrian Peterson RB 1
Laveranues Coles WR 6
Chad Ochocinco WR 5
Jason Witten TE 4
Cedric Benson RB-WR 7
Shayne Graham K 14
Ravens DST 10
Ben Roethlisberger QB 8
LeRon McClain RB 13
Willis McGahee RB 9
Plaxico Burress RB-WR 12
Michael Crabtree RB-WR 11
Team Kimmy - Kim
Player Position Round Drafted
Donovan McNabb QB 6
Chris Johnson RB 1
Darren McFadden RB 4
Calvin Johnson WR 2
Brandon Marshall WR 3
Visanthe Shiancoe TE 12
Knowshon Moreno RB-WR 5
Neil Rackers K 14
Cowboys DST 13
Ahmad Bradshaw RB 10
Jerome Harrison RB 11
Fred Jackson RB 7
Devin Hester RB-WR 8
Kevin Walter RB-WR 9
banged up - John
Player Position Round Drafted
Tony Romo QB 3
Frank Gore RB 1
Derrick Ward RB 5
Dwayne Bowe WR 4
Randy Moss WR 2
Owen Daniels TE 9
Lee Evans RB-WR 6
Ryan Longwell K 13
Eagles DST 10
Trent Edwards QB 12
Michael Bush RB 11
Ray Rice RB 7
Anthony Gonzalez RB-WR 8
Jeremy Maclin RB-WR 14
ADONIS PIMP - Brian
Player Position Round Drafted
Jay Cutler QB 6
Reggie Bush RB 4
Michael Turner RB 1
Marques Colston WR 3
Steve Smith WR 2
Antonio Gates TE 5
Julius Jones RB-WR 8
David Akers K 14
Jets DST 13
Matt Ryan QB 7
Shonn Greene RB 9
Fred Taylor RB 12
Donnie Avery RB-WR 10
Torry Holt RB-WR 11
hitman - arthur
Player Position Round Drafted
Peyton Manning QB 2
Larry Johnson RB 4
Steve Slaton RB 1
Bernard Berrian WR 6
Anquan Boldin WR 3
Greg Olsen TE 7
Thomas Jones RB-WR 5
Stephen Gostkowski K 9
Vikings DST 8
Chester Taylor RB 11
Nate Burleson RB-WR 12
Patrick Crayton RB-WR 13
Derrick Mason RB-WR 10
Brian Robiskie RB-WR 14
Gryphons - Tony
Player Position Round Drafted
Aaron Rodgers QB 3
Matt Forte RB 1
Pierre Thomas RB 2
Eddie Royal WR 6
Hines Ward WR 7
Dallas Clark TE 5
Marshawn Lynch RB-WR 4
Mason Crosby K 9
Giants DST 8
T.J. Duckett RB 14
Sammy Morris RB 12
Ricky Williams RB 13
Ted Ginn Jr. RB-WR 11
Santana Moss RB-WR 10
JBs All Whites - John
Player Position Round Drafted
Matt Schaub QB 4
Maurice Jones-Drew RB 1
Clinton Portis RB 2
Santonio Holmes WR 5
Roddy White WR 3
Zach Miller TE 11
DeSean Jackson RB-WR 6
Nick Folk K 14
Panthers DST 13
Matt Hasselbeck QB 9
Ladell Betts RB 12
Felix Jones RB 7
Rashard Mendenhall RB 10
Jerricho Cotchery RB-WR 8
Bush 25 - Sead
Player Position Round Drafted
Philip Rivers QB 3
Brian Westbrook RB 2
DeAngelo Williams RB 1
Steve Breaston WR 7
Roy E. Williams WR 4
Tony Gonzalez TE 6
Joseph Addai RB-WR 5
Rob Bironas K 9
Steelers DST 8
Jamaal Charles RB 13
Chris Chambers RB-WR 14
Lance Moore RB-WR 10
Steve Smith RB-WR 12
Nate Washington RB-WR 11
Tay's Team - mark
Player Position Round Drafted
Drew Brees QB 1
Ryan Grant RB 3
Willie Parker RB 5
Terrell Owens WR 4
Reggie Wayne WR 2
Chris Cooley TE 9
Braylon Edwards RB-WR 6
Matt Bryant K 14
Patriots DST 12
Eli Manning QB 11
Earnest Graham RB 7
Tim Hightower RB 10
Jeremy Shockey TE 13
Donald Driver RB-WR 8
Norris Commandos - Bob
Player Position Round Drafted
Carson Palmer QB 6
Ronnie Brown RB 3
Steven Jackson RB 1
T.J. Houshmandzadeh WR 4
Greg Jennings WR 2
John Carlson TE 7
Beanie Wells RB-WR 5
Nate Kaeding K 14
Chargers DST 13
Shaun Hill QB 10
LeSean McCoy RB 8
Leon Washington RB 9
Davone Bess RB-WR 12
Percy Harvin RB-WR 11
Browns '08 - Eric
Player Position Round Drafted
Kurt Warner QB 3
Marion Barber RB 2
LaDainian Tomlinson RB 1
Antonio Bryant WR 6
Vincent Jackson WR 4
Dustin Keller TE 7
LenDale White RB-WR 5
Jason Elam K 11
Titans DST 10
Joe Flacco QB 13
Jamal Lewis RB 8
Kellen Winslow TE 9
Isaac Bruce RB-WR 12
Muhsin Muhammad RB-WR 14
Who do you think has the best team? Respond below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on: June 3, 2009 4:49 pm
I held my first mock draft of the summer (summer being used loosely) with Fantasy fans using our Mock Draft tool.
Here are the results: http://mockdraft.1.football.cbsspor
And here's the rationale behind my picks
Round 1: Frank Gore No brainer.
Round 2: Andre Johnson See Frank Gore.
Round 3: Marshawn Lynch I like Lynch as a value pick in late Round 3. The only problem is saving a pick for Fred Jackson later on. He went to the top of my queue just to remind myself that I needed to pick him later.
Round 4: Marques Colston The knee injury kind of bothers me, but he should be fine. Best receiver in the Saints' pass-happy offense.
Round 5: Donovan McNabb I wanted to have a quality quarterback and didn't want McNabb to slip past me here in late Round 5.
Round 6: Eddie Royal One of my favorite sleepers for this season. 100-catch potential.
Round 7: Felix Jones
Round 8: Ray Rice
Round 9: Leon Washington
I liked nabbing all three of these "upside" running backs. They will all start the year splitting time, but at least one of them should pan out into being a quality Fantasy back. I really like this approach and might try it again in future drafts.
Round 10: Fred Jackson I had to get him
Round 11: Michael Bush Another "upside" running back.
Round 12: Tony Scheffler Needed a tight end.
Round 13: Titans DST Needed a DST.
Round 14: Garrett Hartley Needed a kicker. Someone in the mock draft actually typed that he was angry I took his guy here. That's always a good feeling.
Feedback? Criticisms? Complaints that I took your kicker in Round 14? Email me: email@example.com
Posted on: May 28, 2009 5:12 pm
Tom Brady has been the focus of many Fantasy owners since ... well, really, since 2001. But more recently, since Week 1 of last season when he tore his ACL and MCL and missed all but the first quarter or so of the NFL season. Since then, he's had multiple surgeries (one to clean a staph infection) and rumored to be behind in his schedule, only to actually be ahead of schedule.
The Patriots held a late-May minicamp, and Brady was not only in attendance but working with the first-team offense. Though he admits to being a little rusty, he's optimistic that he'll be ready for the start of the 2009 season. He met with a huge throng of reporters, and the club was gracious enough to send out a full transcript. We went ahead and edited out the questions regarding his model wife and bicycling hobby and give you the meat and potatoes of what he had to say about his knee, his teammates, and his outlook on this upcoming year.
How are you feeling? Do you want to give us an update on the progress of your knee from the last two months or so?
Yeah. I've been feeling really positive. You know, getting back into the football stuff - it's a little different than the training you do - working out normally in the offseason, so it's good to come out on the field. There is obviously a lot of rust by all of us being off for four months. We're working hard to make the improvements we need to make. Thank God the season is a few months away, but we need the work and I need the work. I think everybody realizes when you come out after four months off there is a lot of work for us to do.
Do you have to learn how to throw again with the knee the way it is?
The throwing is not the problem at all. At this point it's just about getting back to the football activity. I am doing the football activities not for my leg, but for the rest of me - my everything. My body feels really good. My arm feels good. I'm not completing as many passes as I want, but we haven't been out here very long. I think it's just about getting better every day. If you can do that, and you can make continuous improvements over the course of weeks and months, you'll be a better player.
There's no adjustment with having to wear a brace on your leg and getting used to that?
No. You don't even really notice it. I would rather not wear, but [Head Athletic Trainer] Jim [Whalen] is forcing me to wear it, so I have to listen to him.
You said last year was the halftime of your career. What did you mean by that?
Well, I think we all have goals that we set for ourselves and how long you want to play. Fortunately for a quarterback, you can play for a long time because you don't get hit very often. I hope I have the opportunity to play for a long time. I think when you sit on the sidelines for an entire year you realize how much you love it. Not that you need that to happen to be grateful to play, but you experience things in a much different way and a way that I never experienced as an athlete. I love being out here. I love participating and being around these guys. We're working for some big goals we set, so we just have to, like Coach Belichick says, come out here and work hard every day and do our job.
You used the word rust. Getting back out here does it feel like a long time? What are your emotions?
I've been playing football for a long time so you don't have to relearn how to do anything, you just have to go out and try to be sharp. I don't think I've been very sharp the last three days in practice. It takes a lot of reps and a lot of throwing. You see the defense and you make the throws and there are adjustments you have to make on the field. The football part and understanding our offense - I mean, obviously, I have a good understanding of that - it's just a matter of putting it together at a different speed than you can go out and practice in the bubble in March and April. It's nice when team activities are on the field and there's blitzes and you can signal guys and something happens and a guy slips on a route and now you have to throw to a different player. Those are the things that you've got to sharpen up. There's a lot of training camp practices. There's probably 50 training camp practices that we'll have and I think each one of those will be valuable for all of us. I'm looking forward to those because I haven't had the opportunity to do that in quite awhile.
I would imagine your rehab is probably 75 percent done and I would think you probably still have some limitations. You don't feel like you are 100 percent yet, do you?
I feel as good as I could possibly feel. I don't think about it. It doesn't bother me doing anything. It's feeling really good and it's about as good as I can say. I'm real happy with where I'm at and I come out to these workouts happy to participate in them. That was something that was a big goal for me to be able to do.
If the opening game would be two months away do you think you'd be ready or do you think you need four months?
I will take every day that I have. Believe me, I'll take every day. We have a lot of work [to do] and there are a lot of new faces and new coaches. There's been a lot of change for us this year and we have to use it to our advantage.
Well, we have guys that are experienced players. Obviously, Randy [Moss] and Wes [Welker] at receiver and we've added some tight ends and Joey and Greg are here as well. There's a lot of work that we need to do to get on the same page. I know the kind of effort we put in in 2007 and we need to match that, and in 2008 as well - we worked hard that offseason. It didn't work out for us in the end, but I think this year is another bit of excitement, it's a new challenge and that's why we are out here practicing. I don't think you overlook anything out here. Every rep we are trying to complete is for a reason. There are signals [to learn]. We're walking through the two-minute drill today. We're trying to all get on the same page and that's going to carry over into training camp and training camp carries over to the season. We have a lot of tough opponents this year. We have a challenging schedule and we are going to need the work that we have. I think the new guys - they are a bit overwhelmed with the offense and the terminology and the speed of how I'm spitting things out in the huddle and how I'm changing things at the line. We are all trying to get used to that.
What's been the biggest surprise for you over the last two days?
This is a hard game and it's one of those things that if you're not doing it every day and you're competing at this level, you always think it's going to get easier as you get older and you are going to complete more balls. That's not the way it works. You've got to come out every day and put the work in. You can't take anything for granted and you can't think that because you completed it last year a certain way that that's the way it's going to be this year. We've got a group of hard working guys and I'm very appreciative of that as a member of the team because I don't have to motivate those guys. They are really self-motivating and they're willing to work and we are willing to put the time in together. I think we're going to need all that hard work and commitment from everybody to make it a successful season.
Aside from the knee, how rusty do you feel?
I feel like it's springtime - 50 degrees and rainy in Boston. It's the start of a new year. I wish we'd come out and throw 90 percent completions out here every day and [have] everyone on the same page and [have] no mental errors, but because we are so new to this there are a lot of mistakes we are making. We have to try to make those improvements every day. We go in, watch our film and listen to Coach and hopefully we can build on each day. So like I said, we can look back two months from now and know that we're prepared for training camp.
At this point what could stop you from being ready for the season opener?
I said anything that could stop anybody. There're a lot of things that could happen in two months. I have to drive home this afternoon in Boston traffic, you never know what could happen. Knock on wood please. We're out here preparing and I don't anticipate anything. I hope there's not. We'll deal with something if something does… lighting striking, I don't know.
Those two work extremely hard. They were pretty good two years ago when they got here and they were great last year. I expect them to be great this year and there isn't any reason why they shouldn't be. They work hard. They know the offense. They're accountable and they're great leaders. They need to play well. If they don't play well then obviously we're not going to have a very good football team. When your best players are guys that are the hardest workers - I know Coach Belichick loves that. I think all the players look up to those guys and their leadership ability.
What's the adjustment without Josh McDaniels out here?
You know Josh and I had a great relationship. As a part of the NFL, things change every year. There're 13 new head coaches and he's one of them. I really hope that we find ways to move on without him, and we've already started that process. It doesn't stop for anybody around here. You leave and someone else fills your spot and they're anxious for the opportunity. We have to work hard to get up to speed on everything and the coaches that are in that role are doing that.
Was there ever a point in your recovery that you thought you might not be ready?
No, I think part of surgery and rehab is that you have setbacks and you just deal with them. It doesn't always go as you plan it. Life doesn't go how you plan it. It's a matter of dealing with it [and] understanding, what do I have to do to get back on the right track. It didn't really set me back for very long, probably just long enough from keeping me from really hurting myself.
Have you lost weight? Are you at your playing weight?
I think I'm a little more than my playing weight. I try to work on my strength a lot. There're different things you try to find [to make] improvements on. I'll be right back to where I need to be in a few months. I need some warm weather.
Are there things you would like to do but you are holding back a little bit?
I always try to do as much as I can do. I'm never a person that does not enough because I'd regret not doing enough and think I probably could have done more. I probably go too far and have to reel myself back in, which works in some things and other things it doesn't work. I think as far as I'm concerned now, coming out here, I'm trying to do everything I can do and I'm trying to do everything in the offseason program since it started. It's been good because now I come out here and there's nothing I'm worried about. I just try to play better, which I didn't do very well today.
What do you think about Joey Galloway and Fred Taylor and the new weapons on offense?
I think it's great. I love having veteran players come onto this team because they have the experience. They know football and they know the language and terminology and the learning curve is so much accelerated for them. It's challenging in our offense for a young player because there's a lot that we do. It changes every week. Especially as a receiver, you might be in one spot one day and the next spot the other [day] and the route we are calling – there are three different variations to the route based on the coverage. It's tough, so when you have a veteran player, he's – ok yeah, I get that, I did that. When you get a rookie, he's trying to make sure he gets out to practice on time. When you have Fred who's excited to run the plays and now he has to learn our terminology versus the terminology he's known… He's excited, he feels excited to be here. That youth comes out in him, so I think hopefully we are going to get the best out of both he and Joey and Greg Lewis. I don't know if you saw that catch he [Greg] made today, but that was ridiculous. I told him that was the one he caught in the Super Bowl – that weasel.
How confident are you that you can be the same player that you were before the injury?
We'll see. Like I said, talk is cheap. I could sit here and tell you guys that I'm going to play until I'm 80, but that doesn't matter. I'm going to do the best that I can do and I'm going to try to be the best leader and the best teammate and supporter of the guys on my team – it's something I've always enjoyed doing. Like I said, I'm grateful to have that chance and to be out here today. I can't wait to get out and start playing games.