Salary Cap Roster Challenge
Breaking down a game between the Lombardies and the Brooksies
So I called Duke, who used to run the book for New York Post employees back in the days when I drew my paycheck there, and asked him what the number was on the Brooksies vs. the Lombardies, Dream Game 2008.
"Who do you like?" he said, and I mean I was born in Pennsylvania but I'm not a farmer, so I told him, "You first, Dookey," and he said, "I know you like the Lombardies and you're gonna have to lay 12˝."
Big number, and my trap formula says it's too big, ergo I must go against my own judgment and give the points, you dig? But there was just something about the way that Lombardi team was put together that didn't sit right. So before I could really think it through, I said, "I got the dog, five times" which means I'm down on the Brooksies plus 12 ˝ for the sum of ... ah, maybe I'd better not get into all this betting stuff, OK?
Mike Lombardi, unlike the days when he was juggling rosters of the Raiders, has all this unchallenged cash with which to build a dream team, so he gives his first look to the quarterback position and what does he do? Signs up Tom Brady for the big cap dollar, and backs him up with the Broncos' Jay Cutler. Right, and how about throwing in Park Place and Pennsylvania Avenue, too, and a few nifty Community Chest cards, because this is strictly piesville.
Mike Shanahan went to the wall for Cutler, when he was a rookie, and benched Jake Plummer for him, and last year the kid moved his ratings up to the top half of the league and threw 20 touchdowns to 14 picks. Pretty decent for a guy still learning, and now he's going to turn around and sit behind Brady, who is only 30, for the next six or seven years?
"Yes," Mike told me in confidence, not to be repeated. "He wants to learn from the master. Besides, I'm giving him a huge salary, way above the cap figure."
And he's got as his third QB, Troy Smith, who was projected as the starter in Baltimore this season. That's three guys with starting credentials sitting in one QB meeting. Who's going to be the first one to hire a hit man? OK, OK, I didn't set the rules. So be it.
To combat this onslaught of quarterbacking wizardry, Bucky Brooks offers the very modest twosome of Drew Brees, backed up by Damon Huard. Brees is fine ... threw for the second-most yards in football last year, after Brady. But Damon Huard?
"First you're moaning about three starters on the same roster," Brooks says, "so I give you a starter and an honest back-up and you're still ..." OK, OK, already. But you understand why I think your guys are a bit overmatched. And to coach this dynamic duo, we give you .... MARTYBALL! That's right, Marty Schottenheimer is Brooks' guy, but wait. The coordinator is Cam Cameron, and maybe things didn't break right for him in Miami last year, but this is a guy who knows how to coordinate an offense, which is what he did in San Diego, with Brees as the QB, and ... you know, I'm a little slow, but it's finally coming to me. With Marty as the head coach. It's old home week, the three of them back together, sending it all in for the SI.com Intramural Championships. Wow, what an angle!