Patrick Daugherty

Football Daily Dose

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Beck's Bolero

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In sports, like in life, one has to make bold decisions to reach the top. If you’re only willing to do the same old thing, someone else with a newer and better idea will pass you by before you can so much as say “slow and steady wins the race.”

But there’s an extremely fine line between genius and madness

This is something it took Mike Shanahan all of five games to find out this season. Long one of the smartest men in the room, Shanny decided to go rogue upon arriving in Washington, freezing out a six time Pro Bowler in favor of a quarterback more famous for his turnovers than touchdowns.

So the fact that the Rex Grossman “era” in Washington has ended in abject failure should not be a surprise to anyone who can still remember back to 2006. Shanahan’s gamble, bold as it may have been, was doomed to fail. There’s no other way to describe installing a 31-year-old with just 18 appearances since the end of the 2006 season and a career 1/1 touchdown to interception ratio as your Week 1 starter.

So the focus now shifts to John Beck. Already 25 years old upon entering the league out of BYU in 2007, Beck is now a 30-year-old with four career starts.

In parts of six career games, he’s completed 68-of-122 passes for 676 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. He’s dropped back just 15 times since 2007. So should we trust Shanny’s second gamble any more than his first? No.

The main thing Beck has going for him is that he’s an open book. He doesn’t have the history of failure Grossman did entering 2011. The problem, of course, is that he has no history at all. All we can go on is a poor preseason and the fact that no team was willing to give him a regular season snap between 2007 and 2011.

If you’re looking for hope on the waiver wire, turn to Carson Palmer. If you’re looking for hope in Washington, turn to Ryan Torain.
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The NFL trade deadline is traditionally quieter than the Jets locker room after the AFC Championship Game, but this year was different. Not one, but two deals were completed on Tuesday, likely shattering the total from the previous 10 years combined.

But things grew retroactively less active on Wednesday with the Eagles and Lions’ swap of Ronnie Brown and Jerome Harrison being voided due to “health issues” with Harrison.

Aside from the awkwardness it may create in the locker room, the collapsed deal is of little consequence for the Eagles. It doesn’t really matter who gets three carries per game behind LeSean McCoy.

For the Lions, however, it’s a major headache. With Jahvid Best dealing with his second concussion of the year, Detroit was hoping to add a big and experienced back to a backfield down to Harrison, Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams.

Now, they’re left with just Morris and Williams assuming a health issue that was serious enough to derail a trade is serious enough to hold Harrison out in Week 7.

The Lions’ running game will be a situation to avoid this weekend, but early indications are Morris will be in line for the most carries. That could change in a hurry depending on Harrison’s health, however.

Julio Jones (hamstring) missed Falcons practice Wednesday, a sign he’ll probably be forced to sit out again in Week 7.

That would likely mean another weekend of ground-and-pound for the Falcons, who overpowered Carolina’s hapless run defense in Week 6. Limited to just two catches for 57 yards in Jones’ absence last weekend, slot-man Harry Douglas won’t be worth gambling on for the second straight week.

Jones should be ready to return following the Falcons’ Week 8 bye.
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Despite increasing doubt from other corners about Sam Bradford’s (high-ankle sprain) Week 7 status, the NFL’s top reporter Adam Schefter held firm on Wednesday that the Rams’ sophomore signal caller should be under center against the Cowboys this weekend.

Bradford will sit out his second straight practice this afternoon before hopefully turning in at least a limited session on Friday.

Almost always, what Schefter says goes, so if you’re counting on Bradford in a two-quarterback league or as a bye week fill-in, he’ll likely be at your service on Sunday. Just don’t expect him to build on a promising Week 6 performance playing on one leg.

According to his always effervescent agent Drew Rosenhaus, free agent Terrell Owens (ACL surgery) has been medically cleared to resume playing football. 

It’s hard to believe since T.O. went under the knife less than seven months ago, but this is the same player who was able to return from a badly broken leg in just six weeks to play in the 2005 Super Bowl.

The real issue for Owens won’t be proving his health, but proving he won’t be a cancer. Considering he has been in five consecutive stops, the odds are low he’ll be able to convince anybody to take a chance on his 37-year-old ego.

Like Randy Moss before him, Owens’ attitude might force him out of the league before his body does.   

Although Kyle Boller took the first-team reps at Raiders practice Wednesday, Carson Palmer is fully expected to get the start under center this weekend just five days after his shocking trade.

He’s worth a flier if you’re thin at quarterback, but coming off a 20-interception season and playing in a run-first offense, the odds are exceedingly low he’ll be anything other than a QB2 down the stretch.

Mike Wallace (hamstring) was absent from Steelers practice Wednesday. If he’s not at least limited this afternoon, his Week 7 status will be in grave doubt. … Greg Olsen sat out of practice Wednesday after being diagnosed with a case of turf toe. With turf toe being one of the more lingering injuries in all of sports, Olsen is looking very iffy for Sunday against the Redskins. … Antonio Gates (foot) returned to Chargers practice Wednesday, and “looked as good as he always does” according to Philip Rivers. He should be active for the first time since Week 2 this weekend. … His teammate Ryan Mathews (calf) was absent from the Bolts’ injury report, and will be a borderline RB1 against the Jets’ suddenly soft run defense. … Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral) was limited in Seahawks practice Wednesday. He could end up a game-time decision against the Browns. … Brandon Marshall was held out of Dolphins practice with a quad injury, but there has been no word that the ailment is major. Look for him to return to the practice field this afternoon.

Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
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