The Evster's Guide to the NFL's Old Faces in New Places

The Evster's Guide to the NFL's Old Faces in New Places

Last week during my fantasy football draft, I was shocked to find out how many important players switched teams this summer. As the clock ticked down and my blood pressure rose, I scrambled through cheat sheets and depth charts in an effort to figure out which players would elevate their games in their new surroundings. Turns out, Priest Holmes is not one of them, which pretty much killed my draft strategy of taking him with each of my first 11 picks. But you shouldn't have to go through what I went through. So to make it easier on you, I've compiled a list of this year's BIG BOARD CLIMBERS along with my expert, HARD-HITTING analysis of each player who pulled a SUPER DUPER SWITCHAROO this past offseason.


Steven Jackson -- St. Louis to Atlanta

According to NFL dot com, S-Jax (no one calls him that) rushed for over 10,000 career yards in St. Louis with an average of 4.2 yards per carry. THIS IS A BOLD FACED LIE. I've had this guy on my fantasy team like eight different times and he has never, EVER, done anything besides look totally awesome while running toward the sidelines for a 3-yard loss. Despite his amazing dreads, he is currently banned from my fantasy squad, so I fully expect him to lead the NFC in rushing and probably win the Super Bowl.

Reggie Bush -- Miami to Detroit

Poor Reggie Bush. He went from rebuilding New Orleans to lounging in Miami to now renting a dumpy apartment in America's dumpiest city. Luckily for Reg, he'll have the opportunity to reignite his career in Detroit, joining forces with Lions Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz, whose high-octane offense revolves around pass-catching backs. Unfortunately for Reg, Mike Martz is not really the Lions Offensive Coordinator, I just made that up because it seemed like a good transition from the previous sentence. Either way, I expect Reggie to literally jump over around eight or nine guys this year, because he is still the closest thing to a kangaroo that this game has ever seen.

Rashard Mendenhall -- Pittsburgh to Arizona

Wasn't Mendenhall supposed to be the next Jerome Bettis? I'm pretty sure I once saw a guy's chest cavity explode when he tried to tackle him. Now Mendenhall has been shipped off to Arizona (RIP Beanie Wells) to compete with a person named Ryan Williams and another dude named Stepfan Taylor. Yes, that is the man's name, Stepfan. He's a real person and his name is Stepfan. Unbelievable. What an unbelievable world we live in. I cannot say for certain, but I am 99% confident Stepfan's name is pronounced "Stuh-floggin".

Neymar -- Santos to Barcelona

Very excited for Neymar's move to European football. He could score up to 30 goals this year playing in Spain while also contracting roughly 147 new sexually transmitted diseases.

Danny Woodhead -- New England to San Diego

Whatever happened to the days of bruising Chargers backs like Marion Butts, Rod Bernstein and Bob the Bruiser Brosenberg? (I created Brosenberg in Madden last year and he scored over a hundred touchdowns and was definitely on steroids.) Ugh, now they've brought in Little Danny Woodhead? The idea is to have Woodhead be San Diego's third-down back while also spelling Ryan Mathews from time to time. But I think it's pretty clear that Woodhead will end up the starter considering Mathews will most likely shatter his femur by the time you're finished this blogpost.

Chris Ivory -- New Orleans to NY Jets

I'm not kidding I actually think Chris Ivory is kinda good.

Other running backs who don't deserve to have entire paragraphs written about them:

Felix Jones (Dallas to Philadelphia): Super Bowl bound, baby! Peyton Hillis (Kansas City to Tampa Bay): Peyton Hillis was on the Chiefs? Ahmad Bradshaw (NY Giants to Indianapolis): Starting off the season on the PUP list, which means absolutely nothing to everyone in the world besides his backup, Vick Ballard. LaGarrette Blount  (Tennessee to New England): It doesn't matter, Blount will always be remembered as the guy who blasted that dude in the face while he was at Oregon. Frankly I thought the dude deserved it. Shonn Greene (NY Jets to Tennessee): The former Rex Ryan favorite could take goal line carries away from Chris Johnson and omg seriously who cares.


Tim Tebow -- NY Jets to New England

It's honestly really sad what's going on with Tim Teebs. Two years ago, he was leading the Broncos to a playoff victory and now he has been relegated to Tom Brady's backup's backup. I mean, I understand that the guy can't throw a football anywhere near where it's supposed to go, but he is REALLY FUN to watch. I'd never wish a player to get injured, but I really, really, really wish Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett would get injured so I guess I would wish a player to get injured -- actually two players -- so c'mon God let's make this happen!

Also, I made a bet with my brother around three years ago that one day Tim Tebow would lead a team to the Super Bowl. The loser has to spend 10 whole minutes talking to an employee in Macy's perfume department. Please, Lord, please give Tebow a shot. I'm begging you.

Carson Palmer -- Oakland to Arizona

I know, I know, I know, as Mr. Funny Football Joke Man I'm supposed to say something snarky here about Carson Palmer and then zing it on home with a joke. But there is nothing, nothing, nuttthhh-innngggg that I can write that would be as funny as the simple fact that the Arizona Cardinals signed Carson Palmer to be their starting quarterback.

Have you seen Carson Palmer play football in the last four or five years? Have you SEEN this guy play football?!?! OF COURSE YOU HAVEN'T, because he suckkkkssssss. No human being in their right mind would want to watch Carson Palmer play football!!! I don't know why I'm using all these exclamation points!!!

Alex Smith -- San Francisco to Kansas City

I think I've figured out what Andy Reid is doing this season (and what he did during his first year with the Eagles). By choosing Alex Smith as his starter (and Doug Pederson in '99), Reid is hoping to start off his tenure in Kansas City by being THE WORST FOOTBALL TEAM ON THE PLANET. Then, at around week six, he'll replace Alex Smith, take over the play calling duties from his offensive coordinator WHO JUST SO HAPPENS TO BE DOUG "THE DING DONG" PEDERSON and lead the Chiefs out of the cesspool he got them into. Chiefs fans will be inspired by the team's turnaround, Reid will restore pride in the city and ultimately be remembered as a coach who really, really, really liked to laminate his play charts.

Other quarterbacks who will have little to no effect on this season:

Matt Cassell (Kansas City to I Have No Idea): but I'm sure you could easily google it. Kevin Knob (Arizona to Buffalo): Knob is competing for the starting job with scintillating rookie, EJ Manuel. The stud from Florida State recently injured his knee during a preseason game and is questionable for week one. According to, the Bills have hired EVERY SINGLE DOCTOR IN THE WORLD in order to get Manuel healthy for opening day. Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buffalo to Tennessee): With the arrival of Knob and Manuel, Fitz moved onto the Titans where he'll back up Jake Locker and be featured in the most boring sentence that has ever been written on this entire website.

Evster's note: I originally intended to include a section for defensive players in this post (Darrelle Revis to TB, James Harrison to Cincy, Charles Woodson to Oakland, and more), but it's currently 11:30pm and my wife is yelling at me to come to bed. I would like to add however that former Eagle and 49er, David Akers, is now kicking for Detroit, replacing 64-year-old Jason Hanson (aka the only player in my fantasy team's history to have his jersey retired).


Mike Wallace -- Pittsburgh to Miami

The 27-year-old speedster cashed in this offseason by signing a $60 million contract with the Dolphins despite the fact that he can only catch a football when the other guys promise not to hurt him. Regardless, Wallace is a major upgrade over Miami's 2012 starting receiving corps which consisted of Brian Hartline and do you really have to hear the other guy I mean Brain Hartline on his own should be enough to hammer this point home.

Percy Harvin -- Minnesota to Seattle

THERE SURE ARE A LOT OF GUYS WHO SWITCHED TEAMS THIS YEAR. I'm honestly amazed that Harvin's still alive. The oft-injured playmaker had offseason hip surgery, and while Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is hopeful he'll be back on the field at some point this season, there is no timetable for Harvin's return. "Percy has been working really hard on his rehab," said Carroll earlier this week. "Luckily we've got a bunch of guys on this team who can step right in and fill that void though." When it was later explained to Coach Carroll that the "bunch of guys" he was referring to were Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin, Carroll took off his shoe and started repeatedly slugging himself in the tits.

Wes Welker -- New England to Denver

Absolutely nothing will change about Wes Welker.

Danny Amendola -- St. Louis to New England

[Joke about how Danny Amendola and Wes Welker are the same person.] Actually, did you know that both Amendola and Welker went to Texas Tech? That's kinda interesting. Even more interesting though is the fact that Amendola is the first receiver in NFL history who was born without feet.

Greg Jennings -- Green Bay to Minnesota

This summer, Jennings traded in Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback for Christian Ponder. Feel free to read that last sentence 85 more times until it really sinks in. There are some people out there who feel like Minnesota will offer a fresh start for Jennings, allowing him to play alongside Adrian Peterson while giving him an opportunity to be the Vikings' go-to guy. Those people can generally be found hanging around 10th and Market street wearing milk cartons on their feet. It's CHRISTIAN PONDER. I expect Jennings to be out of the league by week 6 and Ponder to be featured in The Evster's 2014 NFL Guide to Old Faces in New Places.

Anquan Boldin -- Baltimore to San Francisco

One of these days Anquan Boldin is going to die on a football field.

Other wide receivers who would probably be shocked to see that they were mentioned in this article:

Ted Ginn, Jr. (San Francisco to Carolina): This is Ginny's year! Darrius Heyward-Bey (Oakland to Indianapolis): Pull your 81 jerseys out, one clap. Devery Henderson (New Orleans to Washington): It actually must be very exciting for Henderson to get out of the shadow of the 15 other wide receivers on the standard Saints roster. Kevin Walter (Houston to Tennessee): Have fun with Jake Locker, dude. Have. Fun.

Follow The Evster @TVMWW.

Aaron Rodgers tosses 3 TDs to help Packers pull away from Bears

Aaron Rodgers tosses 3 TDs to help Packers pull away from Bears


GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers set a record. The Chicago Bears lost another quarterback.

After a slow start in the red zone, the Green Bay Packers picked up the pace in the second half to overpower their offensively-challenged NFC North rivals.

Rodgers threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns, Davante Adams and Ty Montgomery emerged as playmakers in the second half and Packers beat the Bears 26-10 on Thursday night.

Rodgers was 39 of 56, setting a franchise mark for completions in a game. It was the Packers' first contest without injured running back Eddie Lacy .

"A lot of moving parts, a very satisfying victory at home," coach Mike McCarthy said.

The Packers (4-2) moved effectively on short gains most of the night, but couldn't break into the end zone until Adams caught the first of his two touchdown receptions with 9:11 left in the third quarter for a 13-10 lead.

Rodgers and Adams combined again for a 4-yard score on the first play of fourth quarter for a 10-point lead.

The Bears (1-6) lost quarterback Brian Hoyer to a broken left arm in the second quarter. With Jay Cutler already out with a right thumb injury, Chicago turned to third-stringer Matt Barkley.

An offense that was already 31st in the league in scoring got worse. Barkley was 6 of 15 for 81 yards and two interceptions.

"Well, when you lose your starting quarterback it can be disruptive," Bears coach John Fox said. "It's not an excuse, it's just a reality,"

He tried to lean on the rush against the NFL's third-best run defense. It didn't work either.

Kadeem Carey had 48 yards on 10 carries, including a 24-yarder. Receiver Alshon Jeffery was held to three catches for 33 yards against a Packers secondary without its top three cornerbacks because of injuries.

It got so bad for the Bears that Rodgers had more completions (37) than the Bears had offensive plays (36) by 5:31 of the fourth quarter.

That 37th completion for Rodgers was a 2-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb for a 16-point lead.

Adams, Montgomery and Cobb each finished with at least 10 receptions.

Hoyer hurt
Hoyer left early in the second quarter after getting hit by Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews on an incompletion on third-and-6 from midfield. The right-handed Hoyer looked as if he landed on his left arm . He was attended to by trainers on the field for a couple minutes before going to the locker room. Hoyer was 4 of 11 for 49 yards.

Triple threat
Adams had 13 catches for a career-high 132 yards, making Jordy Nelson-like moves to spin out of tackles for extra yards. Adams had just been cleared earlier Thursday from the NFL's concussion protocol after leaving the loss Sunday to Dallas.

Cobb finished with 11 catches for 95 yards.

Montgomery, who got the start in the backfield with running backs Lacy (ankle) and James Starks (knee) out, finished with 10 catches for 66 yards, and nine carries for 60 yards.

"You do what you have to do, you play the way you have to play," McCarthy said.

Big Floyd
The Bears' only touchdown came from rookie pass-rushing linebacker Leonard Floyd, who forced Rodgers to fumble on third-and-10 from the 15 on a sack. Floyd recovered the ball in the end zone for a 10-6 lead, 30 seconds into the third quarter.

Floyd had been limited in practice this week with a calf injury.

"He's got those kind of abilities. It's been problematic a little bit having him out there, but it was good to have him back out there tonight," Fox said.

The Packers scored touchdowns on their next three drives.

Slow start
The Packers moved effectively with short passes in the first half but stalled on three drives inside the 22. Mason Crosby salvaged two series with field goals, but the Packers went scoreless on another drive when Montgomery was stopped on a fourth-and-goal run from the 1.

Green Bay, which led 6-3 at the half, exploited the Bears' underneath coverage. They also threw short passes as a substitute for the running game.

"It means we threw it a lot. But a lot of times records like these are achieved in losses when you're way behind," Rodgers about his completions record.

Injury report
Bears: Besides Hoyer, RG Kyle Long left in the second quarter with an arm injury.

Packers: RB Don Jackson, who was just activated from the practice squad Thursday to replace Lacy, left in the first quarter with a hand injury.

MLB Playoffs: Cubs beat Dodgers, move one win away from World Series

MLB Playoffs: Cubs beat Dodgers, move one win away from World Series


LOS ANGELES -- One win away. Two chances at home. Seven decades of waiting.

The Chicago Cubs closed in on their first World Series trip since 1945 by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 on Thursday in Game 5 of their National League playoff.

Jon Lester pitched seven sharp innings, Addison Russell hit a tiebreaking homer and the Cubs grabbed a 3-2 lead in the NL Championship Series.

On deck, a pair of opportunities to wrap up that elusive pennant at Wrigley Field.

"The city of Chicago has got to be buzzing pretty much right now," manager Joe Maddon said. "We're not going to run away from anything. It's within our reach right now."

The Cubs' first opportunity to clinch comes Saturday night in Game 6, when Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw faces major league ERA leader Kyle Hendricks.

"That's a game we expect to win," Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said.

Of course, the Cubs were in the same favorable position 13 years ago -- heading home to Wrigley with a 3-2 lead in the NLCS.

But even with ace pitchers Mark Prior and Kerry Wood starting the final two games, Chicago collapsed against the Marlins in one of its most excruciating failures.

More than a decade later, the franchise is still chasing its first World Series championship since 1908.

"We've heard the history," center fielder Dexter Fowler said, "but at the same time we're trying to make history."

Budding star Javier Baez was in the middle of everything for the Cubs, a common theme this October. The second baseman made a sensational defensive play when the game was still close in the seventh, and his three-run double capped a five-run eighth that made it 8-1.

After busting out of his postseason slump Wednesday, Russell hit a two-run homer for the second straight game. This one was a sixth-inning drive off losing pitcher Joe Blanton that gave Chicago a 3-1 lead.

"Just rounding the bases, it was pretty exciting," Russell said. "Pumped up, not only for myself but for the team and that little cushion that Jonny had to go forward from that."

Baez had three of Chicago's 13 hits, matching the team's total in Game 4, when the Cubs snapped a 21-inning scoreless streak and won 10-2.

Lester allowed one run and five hits, improving to 2-0 in three playoff starts this year. He has given up two runs in 21 innings.

The left-hander struck out six and walked one in a slow-paced game that lasted 4 hours, 16 minutes.

"These guys won the game for us," Lester said, nodding toward Russell and Baez. "I was just kind of along for the ride."

Anthony Rizzo's run-scoring double gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the first.

Los Angeles tied it in the fourth on Adrian Gonzalez's RBI groundout.

Russell homered on an 0-1 pitch from Blanton, who gave up a single to Baez leading off the sixth. Baez stole second before Russell's shot to left-center put the Cubs ahead on another unusually hot night at Dodger Stadium.

Blanton took his second loss of the series. The veteran right-hander gave up consecutive homers in the eighth inning of Game 1, including a tiebreaking grand slam by pinch-hitter Miguel Montero.

"Our confidence hasn't wavered," Roberts said. "This series certainly isn't over."

With the Dodgers trailing 3-1 in the seventh, Gonzalez found himself on the wrong end of a replay review for the second consecutive night.

With Baez playing way out on the outfield grass in shallow right, the slow-footed Gonzalez tried to take advantage with a drag bunt leading off the inning. Baez rushed in for a barehanded scoop and off-balance throw, but Gonzalez initially was called safe by first base umpire Ted Barrett. The Cubs challenged and the ruling was overturned.

In Game 4, Gonzalez was tagged out at home to end the second after diving with his left hand stretched toward the plate while catcher Willson Contreras applied a tag. The Dodgers challenged, but the video review upheld umpire Angel Hernandez's out call.

Chicago jumped on struggling Dodgers rookie Kenta Maeda from the start. Fowler singled leading off the game and scored on Rizzo's double to right two batters later.

Maeda gave up one run and three hits over 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander has allowed eight earned runs in 10 2/3 innings this postseason.

The Dodgers' defense fell apart in the eighth.

Gonzalez tried flipping Russell's slow roller to reliever Pedro Baez, who came over to cover first and bobbled the ball for an error.

Contreras followed with a pinch-hit single, and the runners moved up on pinch-hitter Albert Almora Jr.'s sacrifice bunt. Fowler reached on an infield single to first, with Gonzalez losing a foot race when Fowler slid into the bag as Russell scored.

Kris Bryant reached on an infield single to third, with the Dodgers unsuccessfully challenging the call that he was safe.

The Dodgers thought they'd finally escaped the inning when Rizzo lined out to second baseman Kike Hernandez, who nearly doubled up Fowler at second. But the Cubs challenged the call and it was reversed, prolonging the inning.

Baez got yanked after walking Ben Zobrist to load the bases. Ross Stripling came on to face Baez, who doubled to deep right, driving in three more runs.

"We can grab that momentum by one name: Kershaw," Gonzalez said. "We don't want to put it all on him, but if we score a couple of runs, we'll feel real good."

Scully returns
Vin Scully was back at Dodger Stadium for the first time since ending his 67-year career behind the microphone earlier this month.

The 88-year-old Hall of Fame announcer attended as a spectator and proclaimed, "It's time for Dodger baseball!" from an upstairs suite.

Cubs outfielder Matt Szczur isn't on the NLCS roster, but he's contributing. A day after his bat was borrowed by Rizzo to hit a home run, Szczur revealed during an in-game TV interview that Russell wore a pair of his underwear leggings Wednesday after leaving his own at home.

Up next
Dodgers: Kershaw takes the mound in Chicago on an extra day of rest. The left-hander is 2-0 with a 3.72 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance this postseason. Overall, the three-time Cy Young Award winner is 4-6 with a 4.39 ERA in 17 career playoff appearances.

Cubs: Hendricks' 2.13 ERA was tops in the majors this season. The right-hander allowed a solo homer in 5 1/3 innings of Game 2, his longest career postseason start. The Cubs lost 1-0 to Kershaw.