Line of scrimmage: All comebacks don't have happy endings in NFL

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It was bound to happen, Dave. The moment Andy Reid stuck his oversized foot in his mouth, recanting his fierce man-love for Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick was destined for injury. As we said on our show, Vick was in trouble facing a tougher defensive unit than he'd faced so far, so I'm like a soothsayer. Where are my robes and crystal ball?

In the same box in your garage labeled "Important Stuff" that also contains your 20-sided die and Comic-Con 1999 T-shirt. Yes, Jon, your words directly caused Vick's injury, so look into Witness Relocation for your dog, Fast Willie Barker.

But I do have alibis for Bears' QB Jay Cutler's concussion, Packers safety Morgan Burnett's torn ACL, and Eagles RB LeSean McCoy's cracked ribs.

But do you have one for Redskins RB Clinton Portis' popping groin? Incidentally, not a sound you should hear from down there unless you're a Chippendale. And c'mon, did you see the Jags stealing one from Indy?

I did. I just chose not to say it out loud. My Magic Eight Ball never fails.

After you shook and turned over your "crystal ball" it said, "Concentrate and ask again," which is not a definitive response to, "Will David Garrard be a Top-5 QB today?"

Signs point to yes!


Topic No. 1: With Michael Vick back on the shelf for the foreseeable future, is Kevin Kolb someone to grab, particularly in two QB leagues?

Block: Ever had your friends say you're the bomb, then not invite you to a party? If you have, they're learning QB handling skills from Andy Reid's relationship podcast, Say It from Your Belly. The Fox broadcasters then went after Kolb's conservative pass selection, as if the guy who lost his job because of average performance and a concussion would suddenly start a rapid-fire passing attack in a close game. Before I insert Kolb in my lineup, I'll check my crystal ball. It says, "Get away from me." Um, that means that Andy Reid has done nothing to instill confidence in this guy, and before he becomes my starter, I want to know how bad this situation with his head really is. In a two-QB league, you have to think the Philly offense has enough weapons to warrant him a position in your lineup as your second QB, but not much better.

Counter-block:Ironic that Fox announcers complained someone was too conservative, huh? Whom do you want under center in Philly, Steve Doocy? The convalescence for Vick has been estimated between a day and the rest of the season. Not helpful, guys. So "Boy, Interrupted" is handed the keys to the Eagles again. Note that he led the Iggles to their only TD against the Redskins (right after he recovered his own fumble on his first play, of course). Look, he's no Joe Montana, but he's also no Jay Cutler. He knows this offense and all they have to do is dig up the playbook from training camp. McCoy's injury might even raise Kolb's value as he'll have to go to the air more. That also means a nice rebound in value for TE Brent Celek, who received Kolb's TD pass. As long as Kolb remains un-concussed, expect decent in-the-air value from him.

Piling on: Kolb has QB2 value, which also means he's a decent fill-in when your QB1 has a bye. If he can drive this team like he did at the end of last year, there's also a chance he holds off Vick upon his return (but don't bet your season on it).

Topic No. 2: Has Ahmad Bradshaw's two fumbles in the red zone the past two weeks opened the door for Brandon Jacobs to win his job back, with or without his helmet?

Block:Watching the Giants-Bears game was like watching two old people trying to get up of off a couch for three hours. Any resemblance to the product the NFL wants to showcase on a Sunday night was purely coincidental. We had higher hopes for Eli Manning's Giants, as their backfield was an embarrassment of rushing riches with Jacobs and Bradshaw. But one thrown helmet (Jacobs) and one too-long lingering look on the Jumbotron (Bradshaw) later, the whole RBBC has now come to mean "Running Backs: Both Children." Head coach Tom "I'd like to keep my job" Coughlin will go with the cooler head in the short term -- especially with Bradshaw limping right now -- but this is just a hiccup. Bradshaw is the stronger runner, evidenced by his 4.8 YPC last season against Jacob's 3.7, and will be RB1 for most of the season.

Counter-block: When you have two judgment-impaired RBs, you wonder if either of guys can keep this job. Bradshaw's transgression, though hard to know if it was as egregious as some columnists have determined, is unforgivable if he was trying to watch himself score. Was he announcing his own way into the end zone?

"I ...Could ... Go ... All ... The ... W ... DANG!"

After his blunder, Bradshaw yielded to an already ticked-off Jacobs, who delivered three carries, 53 yards and a TD. While Jacobs takes a lot of hits Bradshaw won't because of his sheer size (6-4, 264 pounds), an angry Jacobs yearning to leave New York will look like a freight train cascading downhill on the wave of an avalanche to opposing defenses. Bradshaw has more upside in the long run if he can stop admiring himself, but this is easily a chance for Jacobs' owners to capitalize. This time Jacobs won't disappoint.

Piling on: In the short term, Jacobs might get a handful more carries, but when Bradshaw is healthy, Jacobs will see more goal line touches but little more (at worst, Jacobs will throw another helmet). Jacobs is not worth trading at an RB1 rate, and Bradshaw is definitely worth holding onto.

Topic No. 3: Does Clinton Portis have a firm grip on the RB1 job in Washington, or should he be worried about the bigger and younger Ryan Torain?

Block: Your problem is obvious: which back will break first? Both are injury-prone, and though Torain has muscled up to a stronger 218 pounds, I don't trust him. He's appeared in four games, including Sunday, and his 18 carries were a career high for him, surpassing his entire 2008 workload. In his first ever start in '08, he made it almost an entire half before tearing his knee up, so that he could neither finish the season nor play in '09. Meanwhile, before his injury Sunday, Portis averaged 5.0 YPC. Considering his past successes with Mike Shanahan, he should stay the starter. Don't get too cutesy with Torain. Yes, he's also got a fan in Shanahan, but Shannie hasn't given a runner 300 carries since Terrell Davis, and the one guy who came closest to that hallowed number with Shanahan coaching was -- you guessed it -- Portis with 290 in '04.

Counter-block:Portis, who alternates between eight and 16 games a season, should be worried about Torain, whom I call "ATV" (All-Torain Vehicle). Portis averages a steady 4.0 YPC, but at 29 he's having physical issues normally reserved for athletes in their forties (my groin didn't go snap, crackle or pop until I hit 40). Meanwhile, ATV (see how catchy that is?) was a Shanahan project in Denver before tearing his ACL, straining his knee ligaments and breaking his elbow, but for now, he appears hale and hearty. After launching the likes of Willie Parker, Keiland Williams and Larry Johnson, Shanahan will give him a shot to be a RB1, and ATV made a case with his 18 carries, 70 yards and a TD. Ride the ATV to victory!

Piling on: Shanahan acolytes Portis and Torain are injuries waiting to happen, but right now Portis is the one injured. Torain should be a handcuff for Portis owners, but could give high RB2 value when the matchup is right.

Jon Phillips is the 2008 Champion of the Columbus Dispatch National Fantasy Football Contest "Rate the Experts" and has written for Talented Mr. Roto, and He also hosted Rotoexperts flagship radio show "Xperts Edge" as well as "The Think Tank" with Scott Engel. Dave Young has written weekly fantasy sports columns for Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Talented Mr. Roto, and other sites he can't remember. Called the "Laverne and Shirley of Fantasy Football," catch them both on "Just A Bit Outside" on, Sundays, noon Eastern (9 a.m. PST), and read their column, "Line of Scrimmage" weekly on E-mail Jon at or Dave at for subjects you'd like to see debated on "Line of Scrimmage."