2011 NFC: New Faces in New Places

Derek CrouseContributor IIIOctober 25, 2011

The Eagles made the right decision keeping Vick it seems.
The Eagles made the right decision keeping Vick it seems.Doug Benc/Getty Images

An NFL team has more players on their roster than any other of the major three sports. While a basketball franchise can get one or two players and change the whole dynamic of their respected team, it is harder for that concept to correlate to the NFL. Some free agents have found new life, but the hype machine of the quick hitting signing period gives some players overrated status.

Kevin Kolb was under the tutelage of a great offensive mind in Andy Reid in Philadelphia. Many thought that the few snaps Kolb had taken were enough to gamble on an inexperienced field general. The Arizona Cardinals acquired Kolb, and management figured having Larry Fitzgerald would only bolster his production.

Having one of the top three receivers in the NFL should put a talented quarterback on the map, especially in the NFC West, but not having a consistent running game will keep defenses from having to alter their game plan. In his last four games, Kolb has been sacked 13 times, so you could put some of the blame on the offensive line. That goes out the door, however, when you throw six interceptions and three touchdowns.

Fantasy owners have to be scratching their heads wondering why their “sleeper” pick hasn’t woke up yet.

Meanwhile, Darren Sproles has been a perfect fit the Saints. He is a quick back who can seemingly always find holes and explodes out of the backfield. When the New Orleans Saints lost Reggie Bush to the Miami Dolphins, they needed a speedy back that could catch the ball out of the backfield. Sproles has made Saints’ fans totally forget about the USC standout. He has been leaps and bounds above what Bush ever was in New Orleans. His stat sheet might not blow up off the page, but he is in the right scheme that uses his skills effectively. In this new era where offense is king, Sproles is the type of back that every team wants.

While Jim Harbaugh isn’t a player on the field, his presence has changed the culture of the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners have been the face of futility since Steve Young left the franchise. Nobody thought that Alex Smith would improve while having a defensive minded Mike Singletary as the shot caller. He is finally completing over 60 percent of his passes and has eight touchdowns to just two interceptions. Harbaugh brings that feeling of a new beginning, with his college coach “rah rah” attitude. If Frank Gore can stay healthy and a defense, lead by underrated linebacker Patrick Willis, can keep playing the way they are, the division crown should be theirs for the taking.

49ers' fans are definitely loving having a fiery coach that doesn't care about the critics.

Free Agents are commodities. With any investment, there are risks and rewards that are bound to occur. You never really know what you have until they step on the field.