In case you missed a list to see where some of your Philadelphia Eagles rank, here is your one-stop shopping guide to get you all caught up. Maybe we can call this the “LOL” — no, not “Laugh Out Loud”, but rather “List Of Lists.”
Without much to talk about at this time of year, numerous lists are being produced by various sources. These lists and rankings are mostly just opinion and give us something to debate during this down-time of NFL news.
They certainly are not meant to be taken as gospel.
Want to know where LeSean McCoy ranks as a running back? Who are the NFL’s biggest jerks? Who has the best or worst contract? Where does Andy Reid rank as a head coach?
If you want to know these answers and more, just keep scrolling.
Top-10 Running Backs
First, we’ll start with a couple of ESPN.com lists. Ashley Fox composed a list of the NFL’s top-10 running backs, and guess who was No. 1?
Ranked at No.1 is our pride and joy, LeSean McCoy (hey, that rhymed, maybe I’ll start a list of the top NFL names that can make good rhymes).
This is what Fox said about McCoy:
The running back position has evolved. The best backs are multi-faceted. McCoy is versatile, reliable, young and coming off a season in which he set a franchise record with 20 touchdowns. Best of all for the Eagles, he just signed a five-year extension.
Even though I’m a huge McCoy fan, I’m not sure I can say he’s the best in the NFL. He’s definitely in the conversation, but if I’m comparing him to a 100% healthy Adrian Peterson, I think I might lean towards AP.
And there’s also Arian Foster, who I might give the slightest of edges to over McCoy. After that, though, it’s McCoy all the way. The rest of Fox’s list goes like this:
2. Maurice Jones-Drew
3. Ray Rice
4. Arian Foster
5. Matt Forte
6. Adrian Peterson
7. Marshawn Lynch
8. Michael Turner
9. Steven Jackson
10. Chris Johnson
Top-10 Wide Receivers
Another ESPN list, this one by Jeff Chadiha, ranks the top-10 NFL wide receivers. He has DeSean Jackson coming in at No. 10.
The nine players he has above him are Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Wes Welker, A.J. Green, Mike Wallace, Greg Jennings, Steve Smith and Roddy White.
This is a tough one, I could argue that Welker shouldn’t be ahead of Jackson and maybe even Green (since he was just a rookie). But, I could also argue that Dwayne Bowe, Hakeem Nicks and maybe even Jordy Nelson are all better than DeSean and aren’t on the list.
Highest Paid NFL Players
A couple of notable things about this are that Panthers DE Charles Johnson and Jets QB Mark Sanchez make more than Vick — that just strikes me as odd. Especially Sanchez, because he is absolutely robbing the Jets (but they were dumb enough to pay him).
Speaking of Sanchez, he’s also deservedly on one of the next lists…
11 Best and 11 Worst NFL Contracts
This is a list comprised by Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. He didn’t rank them in any kind of order, but rather just listed 11 players who are getting over-paid this season and 11 players whose teams are getting a bargain price.
Here’s what La Canfora said in explaining how he made the lists:
But for the purposes of this exercise, I’m choosing to look at players with at least a few years in the league and who signed contracts under the old CBA. This list is by no means the end-all and be-all, but these are some of the contracts that caught my eye while perusing the breakdowns. And I tried to hit a good cross section of positions in this list as well, to spread things around.
Fortunately, no current Eagles made the “worst” list. But, one notable former Eagle did — Kevin Kolb — and I can’t say I disagree. Here’s the full list of players with the worst contracts and how much they’ll be paid in 2012:
Trent Williams – $12M
Mark Sanchez – $11.75M
Kevin Kolb – $8.5M
Santonio Holmes – $8M
Brandon Marshall – $9.5M
Mercedes Lewis – $7.35M
Bart SCott – $7M
Gerald McCoy – $6.85M
DeAngelo Hall – $6.5M
Zach Miller – $6M
Dunta Robinson – $5M
On the flip side of La Canfora’s list, he gives us 11 of the best bargains in the NFL for 2012. And, one Eagle made the cut — Jason Babin. Babin is slated to make $5.75 million this season, which seems like a good deal for a guy who just recorded 18 sacks in 2011.
Here’s the full list and how much they’ll make this season:
Aaron Rodgers – $8.5M
Justin Smith – $6.375M
Ryan Clady – $3.5M
Joe Flacco – $6.76M
Jason Babin – $5.75M
Alex Mack – $2M
Justin Tuck – $3.85M
Vince Wolfork – $5M
Brian Orakpo – $1.39M (a Redskin with a bargain contract? Shocking!)
Brian Waters – $1.5M
Victor Cruz – $540,000
The NFL’s 100 Most Average Players Ever
This is an interesting list, and not necessarily a good one to be on. But, I suppose there are worse lists to be on as well. This was generated by a site titled “Kissing Suzy Kolber“, which covers football, albeit in a more humorous way than anything else.
Their list, as they state, was “pulled from their ass” and generations of players were left out of the competition. They did, however, “briefly scan” the players’ stats to confirm that these players were, in fact, average.
I think their writers must be disgruntled Eagles fans because 10 former Eagles made the list, including the No. 1 overall. That also means a whopping 10% of the NFL’s most average players to ever grace the gridiron were in Philadelphia at one point or another.
You can click the link above to see the full list, but here are the former Eagles who made it with their ranking in parenthesis:
Todd Pinkston (99)
Torrance Small (67)
Ike Reese (64)
Otis Smith (47)
Kevin Curtis (38)
Carlos Emmons (29)
Rodney Peete (15)
Dhani Jones (12)
Bubby Brister (9)
James Thrash (1)
Just to be clear, they aren’t saying these players stunk, because most of them had relatively long careers and carved out at least a little niche for themselves.
However, as far as the Eagles players they have on the list, I would not describe Ike Reese or Carlos Emmons as “average.” Both of them were well above average in the role that they played in their time with the Eagles.
I can certainly agree with the rest, though. I remember all-to-well the total average-ness of the Stinkston and Trash era.
The NFL’s 10 Biggest Jerks
Here’s a list that caused a little bit of a stir amongst Philly fans. That’s because two of our more popular players were on it!
Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com ranked DeSean Jackson as the 6th biggest jerk and Michael Vick as the biggest jerk in the NFL. Here’s what Freeman wrote in regards to each player:
No. 6: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson: Benched in fourth quarter of a game last year. Benched for missing team meeting. Celebrates before scoring. More than once. Mad talented, crazy fast, super smart and a jerk.
This will be an interesting situation to watch. The Eagles just rewarded Jackson with a long-term deal. Historically, jerks don’t handle this kind of thing well. Jerks are to fat contracts what a Kardashian is to … oh, never mind.
Jackson also is now the CEO of a rap label called Jaccpot Records. Nothing wrong with that. The problem, as always with a situation like this, is money. Someone has to fund this venture and it will probably be Jackson. Athletes funding their own business ventures never go wrong, right?
So, Jackson is one of the NFL’s biggest jerks because he reacted immaturely to being screwed over by the Eagles last year? Sure, he could have handled it better, but the Eagles were just as much at fault in the situation.
And to be fair, Jackson was nothing but a class-act prior to his contract issues affecting him. It’s yet to be seen how he handles himself after his big pay-day, but so far so good.
No. 1: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick: This question was put to Twitter: does Vick deserve to be forgiven for what were atrocities against defenseless animals? Hundreds of responses came in and it was overwhelming there are still a great many people who haven’t forgiven Vick for actions of his own making.
But that is the question: When is Vick allowed to move on? When is that threshold from criminal to forgiven criminal crossed? To some, it already has. But to many, like me, though it’s clear that Vick has changed, the crime was so disgraceful, more time is still needed to make sure the change I’ve seen in him is not an act but permanent. There’s almost a simple formula here to follow. The worse the crime, the more time it takes for the re-evaluation.
This is an arrogant approach for me and others, particularly since everyone judging Vick has made their own errors. But there are mistakes and then there are mistakes. For Vick, it will still take more time.
So, Vick is the biggest jerk in the NFL right now? Based on something that happened five years ago? Come on man, get a grip and let it go.
Head Coach Rankings
In May, Sporting News put out their rankings of all 32 NFL head coaches. They have Andy Reid ranked as the 8th-best coach in the league. Now, I have my issues with coach Reid, but I can’t agree with some of the guys they have ranked ahead of him.
Their top-two are Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick, whom I certainly can’t argue. However, after those two, their list goes like this:
3. Mike McCarthy
4. Mike Tomlin
5. John Harbaugh
6. Jim Harbaugh
7. John Fox
8. Andy Reid
McCarthy and Tomlin both have a Lombardi trophy to their credit, so if you want to use that as the main reason why they’re a better coach, then so be it. However, to list the Harbaugh brothers and John Fox ahead of Reid is completely absurd.
Hell, I wouldn’t put McCarthy and Tomlin ahead of him either — their Super Bowls be damned. If I’m ranking head coaches who are still coaching today, I’d only put Belichick and Coughlin ahead of Reid.
None of the others have accomplished anything close to what Reid has in regards to their overall careers. Sean Payton wasn’t on the list, but I wouldn’t put him ahead of Reid either.
Reid has his faults, but if you look at things objectively, you’d realize that he’s done a pretty damn good job here in Philly for the past 13 years. A Super Bowl victory is the only thing he needs to start putting him in the discussion as a hall-of-fame caliber head coach.
This has probably been the most talked about list all offseason, especially Vick’s big ado about his No. 70 ranking. Here’s a quick list of where some Eagles players ranked according to their peers…
18. LeSean McCoy
42. Jason Peters
44. Jason Babin
57. Trent Cole
70. Michael Vick
71. DeSean Jackson
79. Nnamdi Asomugha
Ron Jaworski’s Top 30 QB Rankings
This list is still ongoing, but Ron Jaworski is rolling out a list of his top 30 quarterbacks. Just recently, he announced Michael Vick as being No. 12 on the list.
“The issue I have always had with Vick has been his willingness to run, to play the position outside of the pocket, outside of the structure of the offense,” Jaworski said. “There’s no question he’ll always make plays, but he also leaves throws on the field.
“Vick always reminds me of something my former coach Dick Vermeil says: The problem with quarterbacks who can run is they run,” he said
Vick has shown he is capable of throwing the ball exceptionally well from the pocket,” Jaworski said. “His overall throwing skill set can be top five in the league. His objective in 2012 must be to play that way more often. It becomes an availability issue. You can’t be an elite NFL quarterback if you can’t be counted on every single week.”
A more disciplined player will result in fewer turnovers,” he said. “I would not be surprised if we’re getting ready to see the best year of Vick’s 10-year career.”
Graziano also goes on to note:
Jaws professes his belief that there’s no other quarterback in the league with Vick’s combination of passing ability and running ability, which is true. His problem with Vick, as he puts it, is “his willingness to run — to play the position outside the pocket, outside the structure of the offense.”
He shows a play from the game in Buffalo in which Vick faced no pressure and never set his feet to throw, clearly indicating that he’d already decided, pre-snap, to run the ball. On the play in question, Vick fails to see a wide-open Jason Avant.
Interesting stuff from Jaws. I can’t say I disagree with his observations and ranking here. Vick can be a great player, but has also shown he’s merely average at times.
There’s one thing for sure regarding Vick this year: there will be absolutely no excuses for a down year this time around. The Eagles are a team primed to make some noise in 2012 and they have the talent to go far.
However, they will only go as far as Vick can take them. Just how far is that?