One of the things that I got to thinking about was the upcoming seasons of Darrell Jackson and Deion Branch. For those of you who spent the last football season under a rock, the Seahawks' acquisition of Branch from the Patriots made Jackson expendable. Immediately, speculation arose in blogdom as to who would be the #1 receiver of the future. Jackson, with his history of skipping OTA's, injury history (with seemingly non-compliant self-sponsored medical evaluation) and drive-killing drops, there was plenty of fuel to feed that speculation.
With Jackson's draft day departure to the 49ers, the specualtion was over. Branch moved up to take Jackson's role as flanker, and Jackson finally gave the 'Niners a true #1 receiver.
But questions still remain: Did Seattle overpay for Branch, handing over a first round pick and a $39 million? Would the Seahawks have been better off sticking with Jackson, and letting the 'Niners keep their measly fourth round pick?
To be honest, none of it truly matters to me. All I really care about is the scoreboard at the end of the game, and the division standings at the end of the regular season. The only true determination of a successful acquisition is if the team wins when the player plays. Sure, stat monkeys have always been the poo-flinging anathema to this logic, but as usual, I am right and they are wrong.
For the sake of argument, let's say a newly acquired receiver goes out one Sunday and racks up 11 catches for 130 yards in a losing effort against his former team. On the surface, you would think he carried his team, and hoo-boy, he showed them. Afterwards, Stat monkeys would fling that poo, saying we should have kept him, blah blah blah, we sure could use a gamer like that in the playoffs.
But what the airborne feces doesn't tell you:
- About that key drop in the first quarter that killed their opening drive.
- How that missed block that could have sprung the RB for a touchdown.
- To quote Madden, (aargh!) "he zigged when he should've zagged," resulting in an interception. (and he zigged because he didn't do his homework.)
- The fact that his team got behind, in part because he didn't do the little things, so they had to throw the running game out the window; AND he got the ball thrown to him a lot as a result, padding his stats.
I'll take the winning player any day. I'll take the player that quietly does the little things, and does what he needs to win. If he ends the game with three catches for 28 yards, so be it. They are probably all first downs.
Branch is that kind of player. Recall last year against the Cheifs when Alba gave Deion the DAA for stripping the ball in a critical situation. He's more than a receiver, he's a damn fine football player.
But you know what, poo-flinging stat monkeys? I'm going to concede this time. The comparison between Branch and Jackson does hold some intrigue. In the big picture, who cares, but sometimes little subplots make nice blog filler. So as a guesture of my goddamn effervescent kindness, I'm going to heep a rolling stat sheet in one of the columns comparing the two in common stats - receptions, yards, touchdowns, and more importantly -wins in games they actually played. Look for it in the right hand column, people.
No really, stop thanking me. It's the least I can do.