Saturday, July 16, 2005

Rating the Offseason

For me to grade an offseason, I try to look at what the team needed, and what is realisitc for a team to acomplish. Going into this offseason, I thought we needed to bring in starters at these positions:
SS - Walker had to go
OG - Loverne should be a backup
TE - One who could catch
DE - Redding should be a backup
I wanted to add depth at a few other positions:
FS - In case Holt doesn't suceed
WR - In case the injury bug hit again
QB - In case Joey doesn't work out

Filling all of those positions would be a tall order for any GM, but it is necessary to get this team to the next level. So how did we do?

SS - Kennedy - I'm OK with this signing as I was kinda hoping that we would wrangle Donovin Darius from Jacksonville. Their asking price was too high, so this was the next best option.

OG - DeMulling - Nice pickup at the right price.

TE - Pollard - IF he still has a good year or two left, this was a great pickup. If not, we're still looking at one of two undrafted FA's to be our starting TE. I tend to think Pollard has 2 more good seasons left.

DE - Cody - Hmmmm... The kid was great in college, and probably is a bit of a tweener DT / DE. I haven't seen him line up against the big boys yet. I'm actually more excited about Swancutt as I'm impressed with his drive. Throw these guys in with Redding, and they may suffice. Something tells me our #1 need next year will be DE though.

FS - McQuarters - Hmmmm... This guy has never impressed me much, but as a backup CB, FS and KR, he's about as versatile as you can get. Problem is we really needed a better backup FS as we really didn't need a backup CB - his natural position. I'm not overly excited here, but I think Holt will be fine, so I'm hoping that McQ never sees the field at FS.

WR - Johnson and Williams - wow. I mean WOW!!!! I guess Millen doesn't want to see Joey throwing to NFL-E type players for half the season ever again. I wanted KJ2 from the opening bell of free agency as I thought he was the perfect possession receiver for this team. He's kinda the anti-Az, as he runs great routes, has flypaper for hands, but he's not the quickest or fastest guy. I woulda been completely happy with just him, but then we pulled the coup of the draft and got BMW. I woulda taken BMW as the top pick in the draft last year - that's how much I like him. I don't want to get into too much hyperbole here, but his pick may have vaulted our O to near the top of the league. Teams just can't match up against all of our receivers. I'm still amazed that we got BMW...

QB - Garcia - Going into free agency, I think everyone in the football world knew that this was a no-brainer. What suprised me more was how we took serious looks at Brad Johnson and Kurt Warner, then how Garcia got serious talking to Denver and Seattle. This was the perfect fit for both Jeff and the Lions as he knows the system, he's been to 3 probowls running it, he's a perfect safety blanket should Joey falter, and he should push Joey hard for the starting spot in camp, likely making both players better.

So, when I add it all up, I'd give Millen a B+ for filling every spot I thought we needed to fill, a B for the actual players he brought in to fill them, and an A+ for his drafting of a true difference maker. That puts him in with an A- in my book. Damn good offseason. Honestly, I wouldn't rate any other teams off-season better than this one. Now it's up to Mooch to translate this treasure-trove of personnel upgrades into victories. My gut is telling me we're going to see success similar to his 2001 SF team (Of course SF went 4-12, 6-10 in the two preceeding years, then went 12-4 in 2001)... I just have a feeling about this...

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