Miami Dolphins trade C Ryan Cook to the Dallas Cowboys

Trade for Cowboys: The Cowboys are clearly desperate for interior offensive line help. After losing both of their starting guards this offseason, the Cowboys replaced them with Nate Livings, an inferior player who really struggled in Cincinnati last year, and Mackenzy Bernadeau, a career backup who has yet to nail down a starting job thanks to injuries. 2011 4th round pick David Arkin is believed to be the favorite to start week 1 at right guard, with Bernadeau remaining a backup despite already getting paid a 3.25 million dollar signing bonus. Meanwhile, at center, Phil Costa, who really struggled last year, missed time this preseason and is questionable for week 1 with back problems.

Ryan Cook is a versatile offensive lineman who can provide depth inside for them. He only played 21 snaps as the Dolphins’ backup center last year, but he used to be a starter both at right tackle and right guard for the Vikings a few years ago, though he was pretty mediocre. The Cowboys will be in trouble on the interior offensive line if he has to get significant playing time, especially at center where he isn’t as experienced, but they might be in trouble anyway. This deal makes some sense and the Cowboys are only giving him a 7th round pick for someone owed about a million this season. I just don’t know is Cook is any better than someone they could have snatched up after final cuts.

Grade: B

Trade for Dolphins: Cook might have been a final cut and, even if he wasn’t, he doesn’t play a big role for them. He played just 21 snaps last season and the Dolphins like undrafted rookie Josh Samuda to be their primary backup for Mike Pouncey. I think they got the better end of this deal, cutting a million from their payroll and picking up a late round pick.

Grade: A

If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (standard league, draft day Sunday at 3 PM ET, 2 spots left). http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/football/commissioner/Registration/Private.aspx?league=55086&password=FanSpot2

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Steelers’ Jonathan Dwyer has strong preseason finale, fantasy sleeper?

Jonathan Dwyer officially launched himself onto the fantasy radar with a strong performance in the Steelers’ final preseason game, rushing for 63 yards on 13 carries. This gives him 147 rushing yards on 28 carries this preseason. Dwyer has always had talent and rushed for 2790 yards and 26 touchdowns on 435 carries in his final 2 seasons at Georgia Tech, but work ethic concerns dropped him to the 6th round and he was in less than great shape to start his career. As a result, he had just 151 career rushing yards on just career 25 carries.

However, now he finally seems to be in shape and is having a strong preseason. There’s definitely a wide opening in Pittsburgh’s backfield because Rashard Mendenhall will miss at least the first 3 games of the season coming off a torn ACL and Isaac Redman, still an unproven player remember, is nursing groin and hip problems that he says could bother him all season. Redman is probably the most talented of the bunch, but injuries could really hurt him. The Pittsburgh Post-Tribune says of Dwyer that they “probably won’t hesitate to give him considerable playing time. “Respected beat writer Dale Lolley of the Washington Observer-Reporter even goes as far as to say “don’t be surprised” if Dwyer gets the week 1 start.

I don’t know if I’d go that far, but new offensive coordinator Todd Haley has always been a proponent of a multi-back system. Jamaal Charles owners in 2010 know this well as Haley insisted on giving Thomas Jones equal carries with Charles even though Charles was on a record pace for YPC and Jones was a washed up back averaging 3.7 YPC. Haley has to know he can trust Dwyer now as much, if not more than Redman and will use both of his backs pretty equally early in the season.

Dwyer’s biggest flaw right now is probably pass catching and pass protecting. He was very raw as a pass protector and pass catcher coming out of Georgia Tech’s triple option offense. He caught just 20 passes in his collegiate career and only has one 6-yard reception in his NFL career so far. However, he does have 4 catches for 46 yards this preseason so maybe he’s developing that part of his game. Either way, Redman’s specialty is pass catching and pass protection so he’ll see the bulk of the 3rd downs like he did last year even when Mendenhall was healthy, but Dwyer could get the majority of the 1st and 2nd downs, at least until Mendenhall returns.

When Mendenhall returns, expect Haley to utilize all 3 of his backs, possibly splitting running down snaps between Mendenhall and Dwyer and using Redman as a pure 3rd down back. All in all, it looks like a less than ideal situation for fantasy football, to say the least. However, Redman is currently going in the 7th round on average, Mendenhall in the 9th, while Dwyer is going undrafted in the average league. I’d much rather have Dwyer in the late rounds than Redman or Mendenhall at their current ADPs. He’s a nice late fantasy sleeper.

If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (standard league, draft day Sunday at 3 PM ET, 2 spots left). http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/football/commissioner/Registration/Private.aspx?league=55086&password=FanSpot2

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Eagles to trade Darryl Tapp before week 1?

Darryl Tapp is one of the more underrated players in the league and was a part of the Eagles’ talented and deep defensive end rotation last year. He had 3 sacks, 6 quarterback hits, and 13 quarterback pressures on 172 pass rush snaps, a rate of 12.8%. He was equally good against the run. He didn’t qualify for ProFootballFocus’ rankings because he didn’t play enough snaps (306 in all), but among all 4-3 defensive end (including non-qualified) he ranked 19th.

However, with 2010 1st round pick Brandon Graham expected to play a role this season coming off a knee surgery and rookie 2nd round pick Vinny Curry coming in, Tapp has become expendable. According to the Wilmington News Journal, the Eagles are expected to trade Tapp before week 1. This makes a lot of sense because their other option would probably be just outright cutting him and his 2.575 million dollar salary.

Because of his talent, he might be able to land them a late round pick in a trade. Teams seeking defensive end depth like the Cleveland Browns, the New Orleans Saints, the Tennessee Titans, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be interested. If the Eagles are unable to trade him and have to cut him, those aforementioned teams, as well as possibly several others, make sense as a destination for him. He won’t last long on the open market.

If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (no draft date set yet, currently standard, with the option to become PPR with group vote). http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/football/commissioner/Registration/Private.aspx?league=55086&password=FanSpot2

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2012 NFL Power Rankings- Late August

Schedules taken into account. Not a parrot back of what happened last season. Predictions for the 2012 season based strongly on the fact that an average team’s record changes by 3 wins per season in either direction. This might be my final update before week 1 (barring injuries and whatnot).

32. Jacksonville Jaguars

31. Oakland Raiders

30. Arizona Cardinals

29. Cleveland Browns

28. Cincinnati Bengals

27. Miami Dolphins

26. Minnesota Vikings

25. Seattle Seahawks

24. Kansas City Chiefs

23. New York Jets

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

21. Carolina Panthers

20. Detroit Lions

19. San Francisco 49ers

18. Indianapolis Colts

17. Dallas Cowboys

16. Washington Redskins

15. Baltimore Ravens

14. New York Giants

13. Denver Broncos

12. St. Louis Rams

11. Buffalo Bills

10. San Diego Chargers

9. Atlanta Falcons

8. Tennessee Titans

7. Pittsburgh Steelers

6. New Orleans Saints

5. Chicago Bears

4. Philadelphia Eagles

3. New England Patriots

2. Houston Texans

1. Green Bay Packers

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Redskins’ Jammal Brown has hip surgery

Robert Griffin is obviously a talented rookie quarterback, but he might not reach his potential as a rookie because of how bad the Redskins’ offensive line is. Anyone who has watched their preseason games can see it. The Redskins were given more bad news when they found out that right tackle Jammal Brown would need surgery to repair a torn ligament in his hip. Brown has been dealing with hip problems dating back to 2009. They cost him all of the 2009 season and caused him to really struggle in both 2010 and 2011.

For some reason, the Redskins gave the injury prone tackle a lucrative 5 year, 27.5 million dollar deal to be their right tackle after he struggled in 2010 and it has not paid off. Last season, he allowed 9 sacks, 5 quarterback hits, and 29 quarterback pressures, while committing 4 penalties and struggling as a run blocker in essentially 11 ½ games. For his efforts, he was ProFootballFocus’ 59th ranked offensive tackle out of 73.

The timetable on Brown’s surgery is about 4-6 weeks, so he’ll start the season on the PUP, but, given his history, it’s fair to wonder if we’ll see him at all this season. Owed a non-guaranteed 3.5 million in 2013, his age 32 season, Brown might not be back after the season if he can’t get healthy. In his absence, Tyler Polumbus has been practicing as the first team right tackle. He will continue in that role once the games count, but he’s struggled. The veteran journeyman was also horrific in just 4 starts last year (1 at left guard, 3 at right tackle), allowing 1 sack, 4 quarterback hits, and 11 quarterback pressures, while failing miserably as a run blocker.

The Redskins have plenty of problems up front. Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger is still no sure thing for week 1 after tearing his ACL and MCL last season. In his absence, Maurice Hurt was horrific last season and has continued to be so this preseason. Right tackle Chris Chester wasn’t much better last year, especially as a run blocker where he graded out as ProFootballFocus’ worst at his position. Unfortunately for them, he’s not hurt. Meanwhile, center Will Montgomery is a mediocre player. The lone bright spot is talented young left tackle Trent Williams. They’ll have to address this area in the offseason. Robert Griffin is mobile, but, like any young quarterback, you still need to protect him.

If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (no draft date set yet, currently standard, with the option to become PPR with group vote). http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/football/commissioner/Registration/Private.aspx?league=55086&password=FanSpot2

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Dolphins’ Jake Long should be fine for week 1

The Dolphins got a scare when left tackle Jake Long left practice with an apparent knee injury on Monday. With an already poor offense, they couldn’t afford to lose their left tackle and best offensive player for any period of time. However, according to the Palm Beach Post, what was originally believed to be an MCL sprain was just a good “tweak” and he’s more likely than not to suit up for the opener, which is still 12 days away. This is obviously very good news because Long’s absence would have left rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill a sitting duck week 1 against the Texans and their fierce pass rush.

If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (no draft date set yet, currently standard, with the option to become PPR with group vote). http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/football/commissioner/Registration/Private.aspx?league=55086&password=FanSpot2

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Derek Newton wins Texans’ right tackle job

The Texans have had one of the best offensive lines in the league over the past few years, both in run blocking and pass protection, thanks, in large part, to their scheme and continuity. The scheme is still there, the famous Gary Kubiak zone blocking scheme brought over from Mike Shanahan and the Denver Broncos, where Kubiak was an offensive coordinator from 1995-2005, helping Shanahan win two Super Bowls. However, the continuity is gone as financial reasons forced the Texans to give up starting right tackle Eric Winston and starting right guard Mike Brisiel this offseason.

The Texans have named their replacement for Winston, hoping that their scheme can make yet another unheralded draft pick look better than he is. Besides left tackle Duane Brown, no one on their offensive line last season was anything higher than a 3rd round pick, including two players who went in the 6th round or later. Derek Newton, who has won the job over Rashad Butler, was a mere 7th round pick in 2011. He figures to be a downgrade from Winston, but it might not end up being a position of weakness. I trust Kubiak and the Texans when it comes to offensive linemen.

If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (no draft date set yet, currently standard, with the option to become PPR with group vote). http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/football/commissioner/Registration/Private.aspx?league=55086&password=FanSpot2

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