31 August 2007

Byron and Rodney

Two big pieces of news came out of the NFL today. The big story, of course, is the Jaguars announcing that they will part ways with Byron Leftwich. This will have a serious impact on the real NFL, and a smaller one on fantasy football.

In the real league, the Jaguars' offense will be a bit more consistent, both within games and throughout the season. David Garrard, who played reasonably well over the past couple of seasons, will give the Jaguars a more accurate, more consistent quarterback, albeit one without Leftwich's cannon of an arm. He's also less injury-prone than Leftwich, who has not been healthy for a full season since the year before he left Marshall.

In fantasy football, the Jaguars' running backs are slightly downgraded by the move. While Garrard is a more consistent quarterback than Leftwich, he doesn't throw as pretty of a deep ball, so defenses will be a little more free to pull players into the box.

The Jaguars wide receivers and quarterback are still only low-level plays, although Garrard is mildly intriguing because of his running capability.

In other news, Rodney Harrison has admitted to using human growth hormone during the offseason in order to recover from various injuries sustained over the past two years, and has been suspended for the first four games of the season.

This is another blow to the Patriots' status as the "good guys" of the NFL - following on the heels of their extravagant, occasionally questionable spending in the offseason (especially the acquisition of stand-up guy Randy Moss).

On the field, it's a blow to their defense. Brandon Meriwether, the team's first-round draft pick, will probably step into the starting lineup in Harrison's place - which means that the Patriots will be starting a rookie strong-safety against Chad Pennington and the Jets, LDT and the Chargers, and Carson Palmer & Co in Cincinnati. In his zeal to return to the field, Harrison could well have cost the Patriots at least one, and possibly as many as three, wins.

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