THUNDERING BLURB » Derrick Ward ANDREW GARDA'S ENDLESS TAKES ON NFL AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL Fri, 22 Oct 2010 12:30:31 +0000 en hourly 1 Running Back Blurb Breakdown: Derrick Ward Mon, 06 Jul 2009 02:05:05 +0000 admin Ward comes into a muddy Tamp Bay offense.

We’re not sure how much work he will share with Ernest Graham. We’re not sure who the quarterback will be and aside from Antonio Bryant, we’re not sure who will be catching the ball.

We are sure that Kellen Winslow will help keep the secondary honest and that Ward is going to be a big part of this run game.

The problem is, even though we are sure about all of the above things, we’re not totally sure what any of it means. Or that it will last past August.

Instead we can look back at what he did for the Giants over the past few years. While with New York – and as part of a trio of running backs – Ward cracked 1,000 yards and caught 41 passes for 384 yards. He played behind a better offensive line, with a much surer hand at quarterback even if the wide receiver group was almost as shaky depth-wise as Tampa’s.

Graham couldn’t secure the job last season, being pushed aside at times for Warrick Dunn and missing six games.  He can catch the ball as well as Ward, but unlike Ward, hasn’t hit 1,000 yard mark yet.

It’s very likely Ward will end up getting more carries and doing more with them at that. His 5.6 yards per carry is very encouraging. And while the confusion at quarterback will hurt a little, it means that there is a good chance that the Bucs will need to lean on a run game pretty heavily.

He was also brought in by new Head Coach Raheem Morris who certainly strikes me as the type of guy to fall in love with his own players and give them every chance to succeed. Of course that leads you to wonder what might happen to the offense if/when rookie quarterback Josh Freeman gets in there.

Also with Kellen Winslow there, there may be a ton of redzone looks which go elsewhere, assuming K2 comes to play and prove Cleveland foolish for letting him go.

But Ward has enough potential to make him a safe RB3, with some upside for more. If the team were more stable and we knew how the carries were going to be split, he could even creep up a little more.

This is a player who needs to be watched very carefully during camp and could emerge as a real value in your fantasy drafts.

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Derrick Ward a Buc Tue, 03 Mar 2009 04:52:00 +0000 admin So you may have caught that Derrick Ward has found a home in Tampa Bay where he and the team agreed to terms on a four-year, $17 million contract with $6 million guaranteed.

So what does this mean? Well, Ernest Graham is going to see less carries this season and Caddy might completely get cut. Even if he isn’t, he’s about to become odd man out anyway and thios cements his lack of value even in redraft.

Caddy has had a long road back and some horrific luck – I wish him well but if you are a fantasy footballer, he’s not worth keeping.

From a pure football standpoint, this should work out well. Ward can run in a zone-block scheme which is what Tampa will run. He has been productive in split carries and could carry more of the load. The oline for the Bucs is young but very good. If they can do the zone-block thing well, he’s apt to see a ton of work. Graham will get carries but they never completely bought into his bid to become a full time bell cow.

Now the biggest question will be, who is throwing the ball? and depending upon who, how much 8 man in a box will Ward see?

How effective he is – especially if he wants to repeat that excellent YPC average – may depend upon how honest the QB can keep the defense.

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MAYHEM IN THE NFL – Free Agency continues Sun, 01 Mar 2009 06:35:00 +0000 admin So I spent a chunk of the day away from the computer for family stuff and what happens? Trades. Misinformation. Chaos. Love it.

Let’s go over some of the bigger points.

  • Rumors abounded yesterday that there was more to the Mike Vrabel to Kansas City than appeared at first blush. Well, those were on target. Matt Cassel will be accompanying him west. Earlier this off-season, I franchised tagged Tony Gonzalez in a Dynasty league and man am I happy about that now. Cassel should make Tony G, Dwayne Bowe and the rest of the offense very happy. Now the Chiefs desperately need to shore the Oline up and you can bank on an OT going with their 1st round pick.
  • By the way, rumors are also swirling that Denver QB Jay Cutler is on the trading block due to three way trades that Detroit and Tampa Bay tried to swing to get Cutler and have Cassel go to Denver. When I want to know what is going on in Denver I check with Cecil Lammey over at Footballguys and Denver’s 104.1 the Fan. He texted me that the Broncos DID NOT try to trade Cutler. Lammey says the were not shopping Cutler at all. Now do I think they listened to the trade offers that came their way? Sure, why wouldn’t they? But I can’t imagine for a hot second they would replace Cutler – who is proven – with Cassel who is nowhere NEAR as proven. Cassel can play – but why trade for him when you have Cutler. It’s a mess but again – Cecil says Denver is NOT looking to shop Jay Cutler. I know ESPN is saying otherwise, but frankly it sounds like story creating to me. Between Lammey, Shefter and the Donkeys themselves, I will take their takes over an often inconsistent ESPN.
  • Where in the world is TJ Houshmandzedah? Heading into Sunday (aka day 3) Housh is still without a home, having visited Seattle and Minny and reportedly heading to Tampa Sunday. Certainly the market isn’t what he was hoping for. Ditto Derrick Ward who may end up in Denver, especially if the JJ Arrington signing there really does fall through.
  • Detroit and Dallas revisited their trading ways from the season, swapping Jon Kitna for Anthony Henry. With some questions about Romo’s inconsistencies and a few injuries, Kitna is good insurance. Henry can play well but isn’t fantastic. Still, a new place for him will probably be a good thing.

For a complete list of who has signed where thus far, check out

I’ll be back throughout the day tomorrow. Thanks again to Cecil Lammey for responding at a ridonkulously late hour so I could do this post.

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Giants Run Game = Fantasy Death? Wed, 23 Jul 2008 21:57:00 +0000 admin According to an interview by Michael Eisen with Giants OC Kevin Gilbride over at, if the various Giants running backs stay healthy (and in Bradshaw’s case, out of jail) he’d like to see everyone getting plenty of carries with whomever is being successful that game being the featured back.

In other words, one week Brandon Jacobs might be the bell-cow, next week Ahmad Bradshaw.

Or in Gilbride’s words -

Then depending on how certain defenses are playing us, which guy’s playing better that day, in other words, kind of who has the hot hand, who is playing the best, that is the guy that we would certainly feature that day.

So while from a Giants fan perspective, this might be good (keeping guys fresh and off the injured list are always a plus for defending Super Bowl champs), a Fantasy owner has to ask himself just how much this could drop Brandon Jacobs in their rankings.

As any owner of a Denver Broncos running back can tell you, week to week uncertainty at the running back position can be murder for a Fantasy Team.

This will bear a great deal of watching I think – the Giants have a solid roster of running backs and as Gilbride says, they compliment each other very well. It is entirely possible that if this does transition into a full Running Back by Committee, you may still get solid numbers out of whomever comprises it. But only if the committee stays relatively consistent.

If one week Jacobs is hot, then you start him the next and Ward gets smoking – well, you can see where that’s nothing but messy.

Right now, Footballguys has Jacobs ranked 31st overall for offensive players, 19th RB off the board (average staff ranking for a redraft non-PPR league). Antsports is a site that has tons of mock drafts – and if you rank serious mocks, they have Jacobs the 18th RB coming off the board on average in High Performance, flex/TE leagues. In both cases you are looking at Jacobs going before players like Ernest Graham, Willie Parker, Thomas Jones and then a host of rookies.

By the looks of it, Jacobs is also going in about the late 3rd round which is probably about right especially the backs around him like Graham and Parker who might have their share of questions as well.

However you might want to look another way if you’re feeliong gunshy. In the Mock Draft Forums over at Footballguys, I drafted Jacobs in a Pre-Draft Survivor League waaaaay back in March in the 3rd round (16 team, no trades, no waivers, Best Ball – or total points elimination – format). He backs up Marion Barber III and has Julius Jones, Ladell Betts and rookie Chris Johnson behind him. I feel ok with that still. But as with the ADP and Rankings I quote above, Thomas Jones is still sitting around at the time and given the questions Jacobs is now facing and the revamped Jets offensive line – he might have been (and still be) the better way to go.

Jones is a topic for another column, but for now, watch this situation closely. While Jacobs was not going to be your #1 FF back and will still giveyou some good points in a RBBC, if it becomes a situation where we never know who will get the majority of the carries in any week, it could be best to just stay away.

Food for thought.

Feel free to throw questions and comments to as well in the comments section.

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