The NFL vs the Marklars

A few weeks back, Eli Manning led a game-winning drive (two of them actually) against the Patriots.  Media types and fans far and wide (or at least in the greater NYC metro area) overreacted massively to Eli’s performance, and the phrase “You can’t spell elite without ELI” was born.  At the time, I countered that Eli was far from “elite,” with the following reasoning:

Let’s pretend that in a galaxy far, far away, there’s planet called Marklar.  Marklar is inhabited by beings that resemble humans in many ways, with similar athletic abilities.  As luck would have it, they too play football, and amazingly, all their rules are exactly the same.  However, they have superior military capabilities, and they’re kinda a bunch of jerks.  They have informed Earth that they are annexing it, and plan to use all of Earth’s resources for their own home planet… that is, unless, Earth can beat them in a game of football.  So I’ll pose this question:  Are you taking Eli Manning with you to battle the Marklars?

Anyway, that’s not the point of this post.  I started thinking of who I would take to Marklar with me, in this “Space Jam” type scenario.

I put together a 46-man roster (you only have 46 active players on Sundays).  I also added 7 inactives, just in case we get to Marklar and they start changing the rules and make it a best of 7 after we smoke them.  Let’s get right to it, starters in red, reserves in blue.

Tom Brady narrowly edges out Drew Brees as my 2.

OFFENSE

QBAaron Rodgers is the best player in the NFL these days.  I think that’s fairly obvious.  He starts.  The backup is where it gets a little tricky.  My preference is Tom Brady over Drew Brees, personally, although I certainly won’t argue too hard if anyone disagrees.  Then there’s a fairly large gap between those three guys and the 4th best QB in the NFL.  I’m only activating 2 QBs.  Brees makes the squad, but is inactive.

RBAdrian Peterson is my workhorse.  He’s quietly having a spectacular season for a terrible team that has no passing attack.  LeSean McCoy is my backup.  That’s a pretty nasty 1-2 combo.  I’m also bringing Darren Sproles with me to be my kick returner and occasional weapon on offense.

FBVonta Leach makes the trip with us, but he’s inactive.

Aaron Rodgers' familiarity with Greg Jennings earns Jennings a trip to Marklar.

WR – OK, here’s where the fun begins.  I’m listing 3 WRs as my starters.  They would be Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Andre Johnson.  Megatron is 6’5, 236.  Fitzy is 6’3, 218 and can jump through the roof.  Andre Johnson is 6’3, 226.  Add in TE Jimmy Graham, 6’6, 260, and I’m not sure exactly how the Marklars are matching up against that size in the passing game.  I strongly considered adding a true burner to the mix as my 4.  That would have been Mike Wallace, but he stays home.  Instead, I chose to value Greg Jennings‘ repore with his Packer teammate Aaron Rodgers.  Wes Welker makes the cut working the underneath stuff and moving the chains.  I’m also bringing Devin Hester with me as the punt returner.  That’s kind of a no-brainer, in my opinion.  I may even try to draw up a creative screen or two to Hester that gets Jason Peters out in front of him.

TE – The aforementioned Jimmy Graham is an absolute star and a matchup nightmare.  I’m not really sure NFL defenses have anything close to an answer on how to stop him yet.  I’m only bringing two TEs with me – Jason Witten is my #2.

OL – I have it like this: LT Joe Thomas – LG Logan Mankins – C Nick Mangold – RG Jahri Evans – RT Jason PetersD’Brickashaw Ferguson is my swing tackle, and Jake Long is my extra beef in short yardage and goal line packages.  Chris Snee is having a down year, but I like that he has the versatility to play center as well as his normal position at guard, so he makes the cut by a thread.  I’m a little nervous about my interior OL, which is a weak spot in today’s NFL.

The defensive side of the ball gets a little murky.  Do we run a 3-4?  A 4-3?  I think I want my defense to be somewhat of a hybrid, where we show all sorts of looks and utilize the skills of the best players in the NFL, but for the purpose of “naming starters,” we’ll go with a base 3-4, since it seems like that’s what majority of the best defenses in the NFL are running this year.

DEFENSE

A couple of my defensive starters.

Front 7Justin Smith starts at DE.  He’s the best 3-4 DE in the league, bar none.  Even though Julius Peppers has spent his entire career in a 4-3 scheme, I like him as a nice fit as my other 3-4 DE.  Don’t worry guys – I’m aware there are probably better DEs in the league than Peppers.  They’ll likely get more snaps.  But Peppers is my “starter” in the 3-4 base D, so his name gets highlighted in red.  My NT is a no-brainer.  Haloti Ngata gets the nod there.  DeMarcus Ware starts on the outside. Opposite him is my team’s only rookie, Von Miller.  And the kid gets the start as well.  In the middle, Patrick Willis gets the radio helmet as my every down guy, with Ray Lewis alongside him.  There are probably more athletic and guys than the aging Lewis, but I simply can’t leave him off the squad.  Jared Allen will sub in on passing downs.  Vince Wilfork will see some snaps in short yardage situations.  Ndamukong Suh stays home.  We’ll also find some ways to mix in James Harrison and Clay Matthews London Fletcher is my first ILB off the bench should something happen to Lewis or Willis.  I love the thought of Fletcher, Matthews, and Harrison running down field full steam on kickoffs.  In somewhat of a surprise, I’m bringing NaVorro Bowman with me.  Bowman had 26 tackles on special teams as a rookie last year, and has made himself into a great ILB in his 2nd year.  I also really like Calais Campbell.  Campbell is 6’8, 300, and has 3 blocked FGs this season.  Love the thought of pairing him next to the 6’7 Peppers on the FG block team.  Campbell would double as one of my interior rushers on obvious passing downs – I’m envisioning a 4 down lineman set of Allen-Peppers-Campbell-Ware.

CB – Obviously Darrelle Revis is going.  I really struggled with picking the other starting corner, as Revis is the only one true elite corner in the league.  In Philly, Nnamdi Asomugha is being asked to do things he’s never done at the NFL level.  On this elite defense, he’s not going to be asked to cover up other deficiencies.  I’m letting him do what he did in Oakland.  I’m going to camp him out at RCB and let him play man press all day.  Nobody better at that in the game than Nnamdi.  Charles Woodson is my nickle.  The Packers use him almost like a linebacker in nickle sets.  That’s how he’ll be used on this team as well.  My 4th corner is the best tackling corner in the game, Antoine Winfield.  It’d be fun drawing up blitzes for Woodson and Winfield.  I’m also bringing Charles Tillman.  Over the last 4+ seasons, Tillman has forced 20 fumbles.  That’s insane for a corner.  He my gunner on punt coverage, among other STs responsibilities.  Maybe he makes a play.

S – It’s kind of crazy how few really good safeties there are in the NFL.  Obviously, there’s Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed.  But then who?  I guess I’ll bring Eric Weddle with me.  Good range, sure tackler.  He’s the most well-rounded safety of the guys after Troy and Reed.  I’m only keeping 3 active safeties.

KSebastian Janikowski.  2 misses this season, none from shorter than 40.  6 makes from 50+, including a 63 yarder.

PShane Lechler.  No-brainer.

LSJon Dorenbos.  I’ll just let this guy speak for Jon Dorenbos:

InactivesDrew Brees, Jason Pierre-Paul, Trent Cole, Ryan Clady, Carl Nicks, Adrian Wilson, Vonta Davis.

Recap (*starter):

 

Team Marklar
QB
Aaron Rodgers * Packers
Tom Brady Patriots
RB
Adrian Peterson * Vikings
LeSean McCoy Eagles
Darren Sproles (KR) Saints
WR
Calvin Johnson * Lions
Larry Fitzgerald * Cardinals
Andre Johnson * Texans
Greg Jennings Packers
Wes Welker Patriots
Devin Hester (PR) Bears
TE
Jimmy Graham * Saints
Jason Witten Cowboys
OL
Joe Thomas * – LT Browns
Logan Mankins * – LG Patriots
Nick Mangold * – C Jets
Jahri Evans * – RG Saints
Jason Peters * – RT Eagles
D’Brickashaw Ferguson Jets
Jake Long Dolphins
Chris Snee Giants
DL
Julius Peppers * Bears
Justin Smith* 49ers
Haloti Ngata * Ravens
Calais Campbell Cardinals
Jared Allen Vikings
Vince Wilfork Patriots
OLB
DeMarcus Ware * Cowboys
Von Miller * Broncos
James Harrison Steelers
Clay Matthews Packers
MLB
Patrick Willis * 49ers
Ray Lewis * Ravens
London Fletcher Redskins
NaVorro Bowman 49ers
CB
Darrelle Revis * Jets
Nnamdi Asomugha * Eagles
Charles Woodson Packers
Antoine Winfiled Vikings
Charles Tillman Bears
S
Troy Polamalu * Steelers
Ed Reed * Ravens
Eric Weddle Chargers
K
Sebastian Janikowski Raiders
P
Shane Lechler Raiders
LS
Jon Dorenbos Eagles
Inactives
Drew Brees Saints
Jason Pierre-Paul Giants
Trent Cole Eagles
Ryan Clady Broncos
Carl Nicks Saints
Adrian Wilson Cardinals
Vonta Davis Ravens

35 Comments

  1. Mojoness says:

    Party On Dudes!

    Well done

  2. norman says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed the post, Jimmah.

    Couple things:

    QB I couldn’t agree more. If the NFL were to go Madden Draft, AR goes 1. I don’t think anyone argues with that without sounding like a homer.

    I like the use of Sproles- but I’m confused as to why he wouldn’t make a great punt returner. I know you take tougher guys for kickoffs, but he has the speed and shift to return punts, too. This would save you from taking Hester, and allow you to take a true speedy receiver- if that’s what you’re looking for. Or, Shady fitting into a #2 role behind a workhorse like AP means he’d be available for said Return duties- opening you to take a #3 goalline back, like Mr. Stephen Jackson or the like.

    Which Reciever goes into the slot?

    I think even better than Hester, i’d drop Tillman (man, hating on the bears) and bring in P Peterson for kick duties as someone said. Save another roster spot with Hester and add in a legit 3rd TE. Which I completely agree with your 2 picks. I think i’d go with a good flex option, like a Finley in that spot.

    I won’t argue with OLine, though I love the idea of Peters on the right side. Dude is clearly a beast in the run-game too.

    Can’t argue with ends, Peppers is an interesting pick. Say you slide Ngata to LE- would you start Wilfork at DT? I think i’d bring in Mr. Sux personally- attitude and all.

    Von Miller at OLB? Gutsy considering the fate of our race hangs on a rook? I think i’d go with Matthews.

    Pattycakes and Rayray in the middle are good- love that you continue to give props to Fletcher who is truly underrated. I think there are way too many good MLB candidates, but I think i’d grab Urlacher and bring him in on running downs, and sub him out in nickle.

    Speaking of.. woodson as nickle corner huh? Yeah, pretty incredible, can’t say i’d disagree. Revis and Nnamdi are no-brainers imo. Still don’t like the Tillman pick. He’s under-rated, but not EndOfTheUniverse pick good.

    And, safety: I can’t believe you didn’t carry 4 and at least have Dawk riding the bench. Disappointed in you.

    Staff: HC BB, OC Peyton, DC LeBeau.

    Waterboy: Tebow. I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’. When it comes to keeping the human race from Universal Slavery, I’ll take any help I can get.

    1. ameer says:

      Waterboy: Tebow. Classic

      Tim Tebow THE greatest Waterboy in the history of the NFL.

  3. Jay Walker (GIB) says:

    Why does Marklar get the home game?

      1. Jay Walker (GIB) says:

        ….and teams complain going from Coast to Coast within the US. Sheeesh.

        Responding too quickly tonight. Someones on the train.

  4. Joe says:

    Very nice list, cant think of much i would change, maybe hester replaced with Pat Peterson, and have 6 corners instead of 6 WR, but is only nit picking

    Cool post

  5. andy says:

    So im on my phone and too lazy, but what team has the most representatives? Pack? I started to try to count but a migrane insued.

    Great stuff jimmy. I enjoy the site, its a great read. Added to the check daily site list.

    1. If you count the inactives, the Saints have 5. Ravens, Pats, Eagles (not counting Dorenbos), and Packers all have 4.

  6. Mr.Electric10 says:

    Very cool. Always love seeing stuff like this done.

    Love the Navarro Bowman love guy has been a stud this year. Cant really argue about any the selections expect not having any true speedster (Hester cant catch and really is only a PR/KR guy) so I would have went Wallace or at least go with Harvin over Hester since you already have sproles. But thats just personal preference. Great post and keep up the good stuff each day.

  7. Andrew says:

    No Peyton? Is it cause he is hurt?

      1. AndrewM says:

        So if he is healthy how does this change the line up? or does it change at all?

        1. I’d probably take “healthy Peyton” over Brady as the 2. We already knew how good the guy was when he was on the field. Now we appreciate his worth ever since he’s been off it.

          Still like AR as my starter though. He’s unconscious.

  8. Joe D says:

    How about a NFC E team, with just NFC E players

    By the way I think you could’ve done better at Cb3 and cb4. Two years ago, yes, but those guys are geting a bit old and showing their age–especially Woodson. You might as well DeAngelo Hall in there if you just want a DB who makes the proverbial big play.

    1. Woodson isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I think the guy is great, but that’s just one opinion. I’m not even sure he plays corner, frankly. He really is a lot like a roaming 3rd safety. CB is a very crappy position in the league right now. Slim pickings. Curious who you’d prefer.

      1. Joe D says:

        I won’t disagree there but you know who has impressed me so far this season is Chris Gamble. He has generally limited top WRs to small #s. I would rather have him than Woodson as the #3 CB, heck, even Jonathan Joseph at this point. Corey Webster could even fit the bill, he’s had a nice little resurgence this year. Probably the only Giants DB that can cover halfway decent.

        And I DO like Woodson, but I think he has lost a step (finally).

        1. slandog says:

          No I still go Woodson all the way. Isn’t he up there in leading the league in INTs? And that is when he blitzes a lot more then other CB. He is all over the field and he’s a CB that isn’t afraid to actually tackle.

          He’s a jack of all trades, INT, fumble, good tackler, creates fumbles and is just always around the ball. Good locker room guy too.

  9. Pogiemans says:

    Here’s an idea. I’d love to see you do another team similar to this with all the players you mentioned (including the excluded players)not included. Basically a runner up team. I pretty much guessed 90% of the team.

    1. Yeah, I hear ya. There’s this route, where you’re being honest about who you’d take with you, and then there’s what I’d call “the Peter King route,” where you take like 20 guys that are off the radar to look smart.

      Calais Campbell kinda fits that bill. NaVorro Bowman. Charles Tillman. But those are truly players I believe belong.

      I like the idea. The next 53 would be interesting. Perhaps we’d call it the practice squad?

      1. Pogiemans says:

        Yeah that would be great. Love your site by the way. I’m a cowboys fan so although I probably wouldn’t agree with everything you write, I do respect and love reading your work.

        1. slandog says:

          Tillman is a beast. I hate the Bears, but the guys is a turnover maching!!!! He’s an everyday player, consistent and gets INT’s and fumbles regularly. Personally, I think he’s underated.

  10. sv1031 says:

    What about C.C Brown!?!?!

  11. Jason-E says:

    That video was awesome.

  12. SomeLurker says:

    No Tebow?

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha… cough… sputter…

  13. Vince says:

    Who coaches this team?

    1. Thought about doing that too, but would have been another 500 words. Short answer – Belichick.

      1. soso says:

        I choose fat Andy

  14. Kevin M. says:

    Your prediction for Earth vs. Marklar?

    1. Seriously? Did you not see Independence Day? Earth.

      1. Tracer Bullet says:

        I think you mean “Earff.”

        1. Ha, awesome. That’s 2 for you lately.

          1. Tracer Bullet says:

            / does touchdown dance

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