The Value of Things is driven by the idea of every player having his right value. Some are cornerstone players. Some are good role players. Some are cannon fodder. We are spending the last few weeks of the season striving to identify each one. Roses and Thorns is about finding the positives in the chaos and malaise of losing. There are always positives if you look hard enough.
Dameon Pierce is out. He may be out up to three weeks. Maybe they hold him out for the rest of the season. Maybe he is out just a couple of weeks. Either way it seemed like a perfect opportunity to see what you had in Eno Benjamin and Dare Ogunbowale. Except, they waived Benjamin yesterday. Why? Well, that would be a whole other hit piece after I was starting to feel better about this whole exercise.
The Top Five Performers
Ogbonnia Okoronkow— 89.5
Davis Mills— 86.4
Chris Moore— 85.8
Amari Rodgers— 82.6
Maliek Collins— 73.6
Okoronkwo is an impending free agent and he is putting some excellent tape together for the other 31 teams. If Nick Caserio is on the ball he would offer him a contract extension now. You could possibly have him, Jonathan Greenard, and a rookie in a three man rotation at the position next season. All five of the guys above could fill some role on the 2023 squad and that’s probably the best news you can get this time of year.
When you cut a player like Benjamin after just three carries in four weeks you usually would chalk it up to a player just not being a good fit or not smart enough to get the offense. Considering he was cut for character issues in Arizona you might assume that something came up behind the scenes here. The Houston Texans have earned an assumption of incompetence. After Baker Mayfield led the Rams to victory in less than 48 hours with the team it’s difficult to give the Texans the benefit of the doubt here. Either Benjamin failed to do the work or the Texans don’t know what they are doing. Seeing what happens with Benjamin will do with the Saints is the ultimate test. I think all of us know what is more likely and that is a sad state for your football team to be in.
Offensive Keeper— Chris Moore (66.2)
Beyond the cannon fodder on a given roster there are two kinds of players left. There are the foundational pieces every successful teams needs to win and then there are rotational guys that you don’t build around, but need for quality depth. Moore is one of those second guys. He is not a go-to receiver. He wouldn’t even be a starter on a good team. Yet, every good team needs a solid fourth or fifth receiver that can play when others can’t. Moore is that guy. His 37 catches are easily the most for his career. Maybe he gets to 50, The key for winning teams is to know when you have those good secondary pieces and to make sure you don’t overpay them or overvalue them. Moore is a keeper, but as a secondary receiver.
Offensive Chaff— Rex Burkhead (59.2)
There is no gulf bigger than what the organization sees and what everyone else sees when they look at Rex Burkhead. Every coach has players they love that others just don’t. Maybe they go the extra mile at practice. Maybe they know the plays more than everyone else. Maybe they are a good leader behind the scenes. So, I get it. I had those players. When you have a team of those guys you might enjoy coaching Monday through Saturday, but coaching on Sunday won’t be much fun. “Rudy” was an inspirational story and a nice sentiment that every sports fan loves. Field a team of Rudys and you end up losing 49-10 most weeks. I have no issue with a coach or general manager employing a Rex Burkhead. He doesn’t make enough to really upset the cap or really get much in the way. When a Burkhead is being featured in crunch time it is a significant issue. When a coaching staff routinely does this you need to rip off the band-aid and take away that crutch if only for those other 46 guys.
Defensive Keeper— Tavierre Thomas (59.9)
Two interceptions has a way of making you perk up a little. Thomas is a similar player on defense to Moore. He is not a starter, but could be a nice nickel or dime corner on a solid defense. This team needs as many solid football players as it can get its hands on. If Derek Stingley starts playing well under a new staff then you might have three or four good corners on this team. The way this team will get back is to fix one room at a time. The corner room is almost complete if a new coordinator actually figures out how to use Stingley. I don’t want Thomas as a starter, but as the fourth corner you could do a lot worse.
Defensive Chaff— Rasheem Green (59.5)
I have no issue with Green or Mario Addison and either one could go in this slot. They did a job and when the season is over it will be time to thank them for their service and move on. This team needs difference makers to take the next step and these guys aren’t it. Simply put, you don’t dedicate valuable resources to fourth and fifth defensive ends. There are others on the open market that can fulfill that role for next to nothing. Hopefully, you draft well enough not to need it anyway.