NFL Nation: Len Pasquarelli
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
First of all, let's hear a round of applause for ESPN.com's Sheldon Spencer and Mike Sando for taming the monster that is NFL Power Rankings: May 2009 edition. Each week during the season, Sando and blog editor Brett Longdin put together colorful charts to explain how we came up with the power rankings. Sando's efforts have brought a lot more transparency to the process. And it makes it much easier for you guys to channel your anger to the appropriate e-mail addresses.
Here is Sando's exclusive "How the voters voted" blog entry. You'll discover that NFC East teams ranked 10th on average in the rankings, which was best for any division. The AFC East was second with a 13.9 ranking and the AFC West came in dead last with a 22.6.
Hall of Famer Len Pasquarelli joined me (non-HOF) in ranking the Giants No. 2 overall in the rankings. We were the only panelists who had them that high. AFC East blogger Tim Graham and John Clayton were the only voters who had them out of the top five (sixth place).
I had the Eagles fourth overall, but ESPN.com columnist and E60 contributor Jeff Chadiha has them at No. 2. Sando and Pasquarelli had the Eagles at No. 8.
As always, the Cowboys were one of the most polarizing teams in the field. I had them at No. 11, but Pat Yasinskas had them at No. 3. Seriously. John Clayton has the Cowboys ranked at No. 22. And yes, that's the biggest gap (19 spots) in the voting. If anyone's interested, I'm happy to call up Clayton and ask for an explanation. The Cowboys ended up in the No. 13 spot.
The Redskins were also a team that voters disagreed on in a big way. Clayton checked in with the highest ranking at No. 12. But Clayton's Seattle neighbor Sando had the Redskins 24th. I'm happy to help you guys get in touch with Sando. Do you need his office or cell? Anyway, I had the Redskins 17th. I think they could be much better than that, but I don't trust them after last season's collapse. I'm dropping by Ashburn, Va., soon to see them, so maybe I'll change my mind.
Overall, a pretty strong showing top to bottom by the NFC East. OK, I have to go watch the Cowboys practice now. I'll check back with you guys in a few hours.
This link from Sando has a lot of bells and whistles. Perfect for the post-Memorial Day blues.
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
The starting left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first week of 2008 will be wearing another uniform in 2009.
The Steelers did not pursue Smith, 30, in part because of his history with back problems. Former backup Max Starks also filled in well for Smith at left tackle for the final 11 games last season and was re-signed by the Steelers, which sealed Smith's departure.
Smith, an Oakland native, played in Pittsburgh for nine seasons and made it to the Pro Bowl in 2004.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
You had to know Terrell Owens was going to land somewhere in 2009, but most of us didn't think it would happen this quickly. I was actually pulling for Oakland to sign him because the Raiders play at Dallas this season.
But T.O. will be in a Buffalo Bills uniform in '09. I can't get used to writing that sentence. The fact that he signed with Buffalo tells us what we already figured: There wasn't much of a market for him. AFC East blogger Tim Graham on ESPNEWS called it a "marriage of desperation," which sounds pretty accurate to me.
ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli said on ESPNEWS that Bills owner Ralph Wilson was the impetus for this improbable marriage. Pasquarelli said he talked to a Bills coach who expressed shock over the move. Honestly, it just goes against this organization's nature. But, in this economy, maybe the Bills are feeling more pressure than ever to add some juice.
Here's what T.O.'s agent Drew Rosenhaus said on ESPNEWS:
"[T.O.'s] a good fit from a standpoint of trying to make a statement, trying to make a move. ... They want to add a superstar to the mix and he's a great fit."
Rosenhaus praised Bills quarterback Trent Edwards and Buffalo's receiving corps. He also said that T.O. was "very impressed" with the coaching staff. And in a classic Rosenhaus moment, he took a parting shot at the Dallas Cowboys by pointing out that his client would make $800,000 more than he would have made with his former team.
"[Owens] thanks the Cowboys organization for releasing him and adding to his bank account," said Rosenhaus.
Way to stay classy, Drew. The agent also pointed out that "three or four" other teams were vying for T.O.'s services, and said that's why the Bills made such a competitive offer. As you might expect, Rosenhaus declined to name the "three or four" teams.