Analysis of signings: Offense

Comments on major signings throughout the league

Tim Hasselbeck (NY Giants) –
Despite lacking ideal size and arm strength, Hasselbeck has displayed the ability to lead a team on a limited basis. Showing the tendency in brief appearances to throw the ball into coverage too often, Hasselbeck can be prone to interceptions. Has not had a legitimate opportunity to gain playing time and experience and will not in New York, backing-up Eli Manning.

Sage Rosenfels (Houston) – Career backup with limited opportunities displayed some flashes of quality play while with the Dolphins in 2005. Rosenfels is a strong-armed quarterback that needs to play to gain experience and consistency. Being stuck in the quarterback quandary of Miami, signing with the Texans could be a blessing. By signing Rosenfels, there is little hope that free agent quarterback Tony Banks returns to the team.

Chris Weinke (Carolina) – Weinke's professional career has been marred by bad decisions when given the opportunity to shine. Sporting good size and arm strength, Weinke has been erratic, inconsistent, and does not move well in the pocket. Familiar with the Carolina offensive system and this is a good match for depth purposes.

Running Back
Jamal Lewis (Baltimore) –
One of the bigger backs in the game, Lewis has returned from a couple serious knee injuries. Coming off a season in 2005 where he did not perform up to his standards, Lewis appears poised to have an off-season without distraction. Still a powerful and punishing runner, Lewis possesses a little "shake and bake" stutter in his style to throw the timing of a defender off when attempting to make the tackle. Runs hard with high leg lift, and remains a difficult player to bring down. The signing of Lewis should solidify the state of the Ravens' running game heading into the 2006 season.

Chad Morton (NY Giants) – Morton excels in the return game and has been steady in that role for the Giants. Due to his limited ability to be an asset in the running game due to his size, Morton can be of help coming out of the backfield, if called upon. Morton provides the team a viable weapon in the return game and should continue to succeed in this role.

Mike Anderson (Baltimore) – The Ravens were in need of a veteran running back and wasted no time in landing a better than average talent, Mike Anderson. Not the fleetest afoot, Anderson has proven to be a powerful inside, downhill type rusher, which could be a fit within the Baltimore offense, which is expected to take on a different look in the 2006 season. Basically a between the tackles runner, Anderson will be counted upon to carry the load for the Ravens until the team adds depth to the position. Anderson should keep the running game alive for Baltimore, but expect the Ravens to add another back in free agency or early in the draft.

Edgerrin James (Arizona) – Arizona claimed they would not be a player in the high-stakes, high-salary free agency wars, but the Cardinals gave James a $30 million deal. In James, the Cardinals now have a running back which will complement an already exciting passing game. James can run between the tackles, off-tackle, and is a superb receiver coming out of the backfield. For the Cardinals, it is Christmas Day! Questions surrounding the overall state of the Arizona offensive line now must be evaluated, as James is a talent, but needs help up-front to be successful.

Ron Dayne (Denver) – May have found himself in the rushing-machine known as the Denver Broncos offense. Some of his on-field success, though limited, may come from a diligent off-season workout program and the blocking emphasis of the Denver scheme. Dayne displayed much better burst and vision in 2005 while maintaining a powerful lower base. The Broncos appear committed to Dayne in some capacity, whether as a starter or backup. At this time, Dayne has the eye of the Broncos' organization and the belief is he could be the starter, if his dedication continues.

Chester Taylor (Minnesota) – Taylor is a versatile back which has been the jack-of-all trades, as a member of the Baltimore Ravens. Has not been a feature back at the professional level, but will get the opportunity with the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota head coach Brad Childress envisions the opportunity to focus on Taylor in the running game, much the Eagles (Childress' former team) does with Brian Westbrook, with Taylor being a better between the tackles rusher. In the West Coast offense, Taylor could blossom into one of the more productive backs in the league.

DeShaun Foster (Carolina) – The Panthers are in a precarious position at running back. Foster is everything the team wants in a back, but questions remaining regarding injury issues kept this deal from getting done sooner. Despite the issues, the Panthers are thin at the position and are hopeful Foster can be their workhorse back in the future.

Mike Alstott (Tampa Bay) – Due to his versatility and experience, Alstott appears poised to play one more season in Tampa Bay. Alstott fits nicely in the offensive scheme. The Bucs also like his leadership qualities (as well as a modest salary).

Jameel Cook (Houston) – Cook is an improving blocking back. Lacks the speed and quickness to carry the load for a team, but can be an asset coming out of the backfield on occasion, as well as on special teams.

Tight End
Christian Fauria (Washington) –
A true possession type receiver, Fauria has been effective in the red-zone and short yardage for the Seahawks. An above average receiver at this point in his career, Fauria will battle defenders for a reception, as well as fight to maintain a blocking assignment. At this time, Fauria is a well-rounded type tight-end that should not be expected to catch 50-balls a season, but rather a solid teammate and professional that knows how to play the game.

Matt Schobel (Philadelphia) – Simply stated, Matt Schobel is a pass receiving type tight-end. Schobel is not an average blocker and should not be counted upon to handle such tasks on a consistent basis. What Schobel does well is get open, often sitting down in the holes in a zone defense. Has the speed and quickness to split the seam downfield. With the questionable depth state of the tight-end position in Philadelphia, Schobel appears to be a nice fit for the Eagles.

Robert Royal (Buffalo) – The Bills are seeking a tight-end which possesses receiving skills to be a threat in the intermediate passing game. While his blocking skills are suspect, Royal came into his own during the 2005 season in Washington and fits the mode of receiver first, improving blocking type player the team targeted.

Wide Receiver
Eddie Drummond (Detroit) –
Drummond offers very little in the passing game because of his size and lack of strength to combat defenders at the point of attack. Possesses excellent speed and vision, which makes his role of a return specialist in Detroit fitting.

Brian Finneran (Atlanta) – Finneran is a solid possession-type receiver who understands his role. Not a deep threat, Finneran has displayed the uncanny ability to find soft spots in the defense, providing the quarterback an option. While not known as a blocker, he will sacrifice his body and will fight for yardage. The questionable state of the Falcons' receiving corps needs a stable, experienced influence such as Finneran.

Corey Bradford (Detroit) – The ex-Packers receiver has been a relatively inconsistent performer over the past few seasons. Despite better than average speed and quickness, Bradford struggles to gain separation against ordinary defensive backs. Bradford does not run routes fluidly, which is a basis for his average numbers in the Houston passing scheme. Will fight for the ball and is capable of making the spectacular play, though, he can be explosive in the open field. The Lions looking for additional talent on the offensive side of the ball, have added a depth player in Bradford. With a stable of receivers including Charles Rogers, Mike Williams, and Roy Williams, the signing of Bradford is rather interesting and could be a sign that a receiver could be on the move in Detroit.

Brandon Lloyd (Washington/trade w/SF) – Lloyd persevered through a long season in San Francisco to put up good numbers, with a terrible offensive team. The primary go-to receiver in San Francisco, Lloyd proved to be a solid receiver, with good speed and quickness. Lloyd's strength is his ability to create separation, catching almost everything thrown his way, and the yardage he collects after the reception. His route running has improved over the past year and should only get better working with the Redskins' staff. Trading a third and fourth round draft selection for Lloyd should prove to be a steal for the Redskins.

Antwaan Randle El (Washington) – This jack-of-all trades talent lands where he certainly can fill a need. Randle-El is an explosive talent in the return game and is not as well known for his skills as a receiver. In Washington, Randle-El will quickly team with wide receivers Santana Moss and Brandon Lloyd to provide the Redskins a deadly combination of speed and quickness, while giving a jump-start to the Washington return game. Randle-El creates separation with ease and gets into his routes quickly, while catching the ball well.

Andre Davis (Buffalo) – Great speed, below average route-running, and injury issues are the story regarding Davis. Effective in the return game, Davis has the tools to be a successful receiver, but is consistently hampered with nagging injuries, which cost him significant playing time. As Davis gains experience he may become a legitimate wide receiver, at this time he is a downfield threat due to his speed. If he ever buys into his routes, Davis could be a huge success.

Joe Jurevicius (Cleveland) – The Browns were seeking a bigger receiver to line-up opposite Braylon Edwards. In Jurevicius, the Browns have landed an experienced receiver who played very well in 2005. Jurevicius' quickness is deceiving. He can get open consistently and makes tough receptions. With a need at wide receiver, this signing is a solid choice for the Browns.

Koren Robinson (Minnesota) – Robinson took advantage of the opportunity the Vikings provided him upon his signing early in the 2005 season. Quickly becoming a factor in the kick return game, Robinson has become a fixture in Minnesota and is evolving in the Vikings' passing game. Under new head coach Brad Childress' offensive scheme, Robinson could play a major role. With his maturity on the rise, now may be the time Robinson begins to play to his potential.

Isaac Bruce (St. Louis) – Only due to salary-cap issues prior to the new CBA was Bruce released, and pulled back from the cut-list. Due to the CBA, the Rams had the additional funds under the salary cap to re-sign Bruce to a new contract. New head coach Scott Linehan wanted Bruce back and he got his wish. The reliable veteran has inked a three-year deal with the club. Bruce still plays the game at a high level. He may not be as explosive as he once was, but remains one of the better receivers in the game teaming with Torry Holt.

Justin Hartwig (Carolina) –
Hartwig is a solid center despite lacking overall size. Physically strong and willing, Hartwig will engage a defensive lineman and ride him. Showing the ability to consistently beat a lineman to the gap, Hartwig is a good run blocker and his pass blocking skills are improving. Looking for a center, Hartwig is a solid signing for the Panthers.

LeCharles Bentley (Cleveland) – Cleveland wanted to get physical this off-season along the offensive line, a major step was taken with the signing of LeCharles Bentley. The 315-pound Bentley moves well, can maul the opposition, can get to the second line of defense, and has displayed the agility to adjust on the fly. One of the top players available in free agency, Bentley can play center or guard at the highest level.

Greg Jerman (Buffalo) –
Jerman played reasonably well in a backup role in the 2005 season with Buffalo. While not being considered as a starting type lineman, Jerman is versatile, having the ability to play the guard and tackle positions. Displayed surprising agility when playing the tackle position and should be considered a solid backup for the Bills.

Milford Brown (Arizona) – Inconsistent is just one description of Brown. One play he can look like an All-Pro, the next Brown can appear to have no clue. Despite having great size (6'4" 330-lbs), Brown can struggle against a defensive lineman push, while showing sloppy footwork and slow reactions. Can maul in close, but can not be expected to reach the second level of the defense with any consistency. Though being a four-year veteran, Brown still appears to be a project and should be expected to provide depth to an offensive line. At this time, this signing is questionable if for anything other than depth purposes.

Jason Whittle (Minnesota) – Whittle will step in and provide the Vikings with much needed depth along the interior of the offensive line. Minnesota's offensive line struggled last season, some of which was due to injury, players not playing to potential, and an overall lack of talent in the scheme.

Offensive tackle
L.J. Shelton (Miami) –
Shelton is a large offensive tackle that reclaimed his place in the game with a solid 2005 season for the Cleveland Browns. Shelton was reasonably consistent throughout the season with the Browns, though he still has trouble with speed rushers coming off the corner. An adequate run-blocker, Shelton should be an improvement for Miami and help anchor the left-side of the Miami offense line for years to come.

Kyle Kosier (Dallas) – Kosier is an improving, versatile talent that can play the guard or tackle positions. Showing sufficient quickness to get to the second level of defense and shed off the corner, Kosier lacks overall strength to be physical, but is aggressive and follows through the play. While not as physical as you would like, Kosier is very agile and should be a solid fit with the Cowboys.

Kevin Shaffer (Cleveland) – Shaffer is a young and improving talent that will fit nicely into the Browns reshaped offensive line. Not overly big, Shaffer uses his hands and feet well to get into position. Has shown some minor inconsistency against quicker ends off the corner, but has worked diligently to improve his awareness. With a need at the left tackle position, the Browns have solidified the weakness with the signing of Shaffer.

Victor Rogers (Detroit) – Needing help along the offensive line, the Lions retained the services of tackle Victor Rogers. Rogers, a large lineman can engulf a defensive lineman, but is often beaten by quicker ends. In Rogers, the Lions keep an average lineman which should help with depth issues.

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