Monday, March 17, 2008

Steve Smith doesn't have to feel so alone anymore

Steve Smith doesn't have to feel so alone anymore
Quick, tell me who led the Carolina Panthers in receptions last year.

That's right, Steve Smith. Nice work. I'm proud of you. Now, just as quickly, name the Panthers second-leading receiver last year.

Struggling a bit with that?

Hint: It was not second-round draft pick Dwayne Jarrett, who has only six more receptions than DUI arrests in the past calendar year.

Hint #2: It was not Drew Carter or Keary Colbert. They are not very good at being wide receivers (and are no longer with the Panthers).

Hint #3: It's a tight end.

I'm guessing that some of you still don't have it yet. And that's cool, I wouldn't have known if I wasn't a huge fantasy football dork. It was Jeff King, a second-year guy out of Virginia Tech.

But the Panthers have signed DJ Hackett (pictured to the right, doing his Dwayne Jarrett impression) to help rectify that situation, and hopefully allow Steve Smith a little bit of room to operate. Nothing against Jeff King, but when Jeff King's is second on your team in receptions, you're in trouble.

The Carolina people assured Hackett that he'd be the number two receiver for the Panthers, which seems odd to me, given that the team also signed Mushin Muhammad recently.

Regardless, it's a nice bargain pick-up for the Panthers, and it makes Hackett an interesting late-round fantasy option. He's had injury issues, but when he's played, he's put up numbers. At $3.5 million over two years, the Panthers got a steal here.

•�WR D.J. Hackett agrees to 2-year, $3.5 million deal with Panthers / Yahoo! Sports

Panthers, Hackett agree to 2-year, $3.5M deal
Free agent wideout D.J. Hackett agreed to two-year, $3.5 million deal with Carolina on Monday as the Panthers continued to upgrade their receiving corps. The former Seahawk chose Carolina over Seattle, Washington and Tampa Bay, according to his agent, Kevin Robinson. The Panthers have been busy trying to get star receiver Steve Smith help after he faced constant double-teams last season. The Panthers signed receiver Muhsin Muhammad last month after he was released by Chicago.

David Carr was too darn cool to be any good at his job
ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas recently talked to brand new New York Giant David Carr about his past failures, and his hopes for future success. During the course of the conversation, Yasinskas sacked Carr three times.

Okay, that's (probably) not true. But that doesn't mean the conversation wasn't interesting and/or confusing. Carr did offer an explanation or two for why his career hasn't gone exactly as planned: He was just way too cool.

Then, his trademark California cool --wearing the glove, dropping the word "dude'' often in conversation and that shoulder-length hair -- started rubbing people in the locker room and in NASCAR land the wrong way.
[...]
In hindsight, the 28-year-old Carr says he has it now: The California cool has to go.

"That's something guys from California have to work against,'' Carr said. "Sometimes, we make things look too easy. I thought I had the right attitude in Houston and Carolina, but I realize now that I didn't. I worked hard, but I didn't prepare myself well enough to give my teammates true confidence in me.''
[...]
"I always worked hard and studied film and all that stuff,'' Carr said. "But I didn't really let people know that I was doing that. I've realized you've got to show that to get respect and confidence. I'm going to go in with the attitude that I'm going to work harder than I ever have before and leave no stone unturned.''
First, I'm unclear on exactly what it was that David Carr ever made look easy. Every time I watched him play, I thought, "That looks like it really hurts," which is the reaction I think most people had, since Carr spent most of his time crawling out from underneath a pile of linebackers. Not much about that looked easy.

I'm also a little confused on how hard Carr worked. He says he worked hard, and then that he didn't prepare himself well enough. And again, he says he worked hard, he just failed to let other people know that he was working hard, which he should have done, because if he had, his teammates would know that he was working hard, just not quite hard enough to be well-prepared. Because that would have ... helped? I don't know.

What's clear, though, is that Carr has always been the epitome of cool. He wears a white glove, which makes him similar to Michael Jackson, and Michael Jackson is still cool, right? I bet Carr also is so cool that he wears a red leather jacket with studded shoulders and multiple useless zippers. For Carr's sake, I hope no sort of scandal hits Michael Jackson that would make him uncool.

I think it would be a terrible waste if Carr's cool was sacrificed just so he could be useful in any way in the NFL.

Carr determined to seize make-or-break opportunity with Giants / ESPN.com

Jets sign TE Franks to 1-year deal
The New York Jets signed three-time Pro Bowl tight end Bubba Franks to a one-year deal Monday. Franks, who spent the last eight seasons with Green Bay, will likely be the backup to Chris Baker. The 30-year-old Franks has battled injuries and his offensive production has slipped the last few years after Pro Bowl seasons from 2001-03. He was relegated to backup duty behind Donald Lee last season. The No.