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Audibles - Week 13

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Last week I told you that Bryce Brown was an exceptional one week fill-in. Well, folks, I am here to repent because I lied. The truth is he may just be a two week fill-in. LeSean McCoy is making extremely slow progress, and he may not play again this week. Honestly, the Philadelphia Eagles are out of the playoff hunt altogether. The team is in complete shambles. If coach Andy Reid hasn’t lost the clubhouse at this point, I wonder what the team looks like when he does. If you are a star like McCoy, I wonder what your incentive is to show up this week and play. I don’t see any point to risking your future on a collection of stiffs. It’s terrific to see every rookie that is on the Eagles roster playing together in what I see as a traveling carnival.

Brandon Boykin was stripped on a kick return and the Carolina Panthers recovered, and Brown lost two fumbles in Monday Night’s loss. If you think the Eagles will play it safe with Dion Lewis this week, you are crazy. They are a team with nothing to lose. Why not give Brown another 20 carries and see what he can do? That is exactly what they should do. Start Brown this week on the road in Dallas because it’s the one wow factor that they have left.

Nick Foles looked pedestrian except for his precision on a couple of out routes. Foles will be without DeSean Jackson, who was put on Injured Reserve after fracturing his ribs. Frankly, Jackson has been a disappointment the last few seasons. His touchdown production has sharply declined since his 2009 breakout year. I left him off my draft board entirely this year.

Foles has only thrown one touchdown in his last three games while throwing three interceptions. I hate to kick Philadelphia fans in the chops, but this is a rotting carcass that even the vultures are afraid to eat off of. And now Jason Babin was released in a movement to get the youth more playing time? At the end of the day, this business wanted to save some money on a player that wasn’t exactly with the program.

Coach Jim Harbaugh has been coy as to who the starting quarterback will be. I’ll help you out this week because it’s Colin Kaepernick. Alex Smith will look great under center in Kansas City next year. He has a short-term contract and will be a career backup or starter for a doormat team.

When Kendall Hunter went down last Sunday ending his season, it opened the door for one of three players. Brandon Jacobs, Anthony Dixon and LaMichael James will all be in line for carries. Jacobs has been patient and relatively quiet. He is an absolute load to bring down and will surprise you catching the ball out of the backfield. I would love to get a look at James, but believe Jacobs has the most value as he could vulture some goal line carries from Frank Gore. Pick up Jacobs because he will ultimately find himself in the end zone. If you are looking for volume of carries, you should probably look elsewhere. We are talking 8-10 carries at best.

When Willis McGahee went down with that knee injury, owners flocked to the wire for Ronnie Hillman. They were upset to find that he touched the ball only three times last week. The Denver Broncos didn’t think Hillman was up to snuff in the blocking department. With an aging superstar like Peyton Manning under center, they weren’t going to guess too much what would happen.

Truth be told that the Broncos would much rather throw the ball than run it anyway. They need the run to keep defenses guessing a bit for Manning. Expect that last week’s surprise starter Moreno is the starting back until he breaks again. He has a long history with injuries. I would steer clear of this situation because it’s too much of a guessing game anyhow.

This week there will be some temptation to start Julian Edelman. Aaron Hernandez was pretty shaky last week. Look for Tom Brady to look early and often in his direction. Regardless of the matchup, I believe that Hernandez will get back to the inside routes that made Rob Gronkowski so valuable. Edelman was taken out of the contest last week after a hard hit and could possibly miss some time. Check his status come game day.

Sometimes a player that you protect ends up losing his job, and the roster space that you could have used is suddenly available. Such is the case with Rashard Mendenhall. Coach Mike Tomlin has put Mendenhall third on the depth chart behind Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman. Dwyer has looked the part more and more in my opinion. I guess after the “fumble rumble” last week against Cleveland, it’s time that they had a clear starter. Finally, Dwyer emerges as the starter. Expect teams to stack the box and pray that Ben Roethlisberger returns. No one puts any stock in Charlie Batch beating you deep. This guy was behind Byron Leftwich for a reason. This week against Baltimore will be tough sledding.

Pierre Garcon has been in a number of my articles this year because of his talent level. There is no way that one would have guessed that he would miss extensive time due to a foot injury. I believe that he is still high-risk, but the matchup with the porous New York Giants secondary makes him a good play this week. The Giants made Green Bay look one-dimensional last week because that’s what the Packers are.
This week against a mobile quarterback, and a hard-nosed runner in Alfred Morris, they will have a contest on their hands. This game will be everything that you wanted for Christmas.

When Andre Brown went down with injury last week, we got a peek at David Wilson. I expect that experts will sing a different tune about Wilson after he gets loose. He is capable of taking it to the house on any play. That’s one hell of a 1-2 punch with Ahmad Bradshaw leading the way. Bradshaw will get some carries, but the Giants are weary of a full load due to Bradshaw’s long injury history. Expect Wilson to contribute immediately, and grab him if you can. Take a wait-and-see approach to see what his role is before plugging him in.

That’s all for this week. Thank you kindly for the read.

Questions/comments/concerns to michaelfsarmento@gmail.com

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