Just Heather

Happy Birthday, Spencer!

Well, it came as no surprise to hear that Edgerrin James had signed a deal with another team. The surprise—dare I say shock—came when I heard which team. When I first heard he was in talks with the Cardinals I honestly thought it was a joke. When I realized he was actually in Arizona, I figured he just wanted everyone in the NFL to know he was shopping. When I heard he signed a deal with them, my jaw nearly hit the floor.

The Cardinals? Is he freaking kidding me?! They are the absolute epitome of a non-competitor. What, exactly, does he think he will gain there? Does he really expect to put up big numbers on a team that was dead last in rushing this year? He can’t go it alone. Maybe, as my dad said, it’s all a matter of “show me the money,” but I can’t imagine being happy raking in the big bucks on a bad team. Especially when most of your salary will be eaten up in personal travel expenses so you can get out of Arizona. It’s called the Desert Southwest for a reason. I’m thinking the big fish/small pond scenario has some allure to it.

We have no shortage of talent around here, though holding onto them with the current salary cap has proven to be a challenge. I’m starting to think the loss of Larry Tripplett and David Thornton will be more detrimental than losing the Edge. Just when we were really building a defense—showing some actual talent in that area—the team is dismantling. We’ve built these guys into marketable players, but now we can’t afford them. It would appear as if we’re protecting a bit of our salary room to renegotiate with Dwight Freeney, who will be a free agent next off-season.

We’ve struggled with defense for years. To come so far only to have it ripped apart isn’t good for the level of play or team morale. On the other hand, losing Edgerrin changes our game. We don’t just rely on the yards. We rely on his run game to setup the play action Peyton does so well. I’m just not sure anyone else can pull that off quite the same. Dominic Rhodes showed a lot of promise when James was out in 2001 so we shall see. We’ll have to pick someone up in the draft to help him out, seeing as James Mungro is also a free agent this year. Though what caliber player we could draft as low as we’ll be placed remains to be seen.

It all sucks, though not as much as rumors of our special teams’ loss. That one will devastate me. Mike Vanderjagt is hands down the single hottest player in the NFL, possibly in all of professional sports—and he’s Canadian to boot! He is NFL’s most accurate kicker, the Colts’ leading scorer, and an all around great guy. He would be a fantastic loss to not only the team, but our entire community. It may very well split my loyalties.

I’ve always been a hometown fan. Not in a fair-weather fan, they’re-undefeated-don’t-I-own-something-blue kind of way. Rain or shine, I’ll watch week after week—football and basketball. When the chips are down, I’ll still cheer them on, but as the team gets shipped all across the country a la Pacers Y2K I just may have to follow some of my boys. I can only console myself with the knowledge that they weren’t purposefully dismantled like the Eastern Conference champion Pacers. We just don’t have the cap room to keep it together.