It's not the speed. I just wish I hadn't drunk all that cough syrup.
Skill position players are by nature the most soap operatic characters in football. They touch the ball, advance the ball, score the points. Real football fans can appreciate the grim stoicism of a left tackle, or the Taxi Driver glint in a linebacker's eye, but selling tickets is all about The Show. Quarterbacks call the shots, and sometimes they run out of ideas. Running backs are the well, and you're screwed when the well runs dry. Tight ends inspire a curious fascination, like some human-animal hybrid, fleet of feet but all P=MV at the point of contact. Receivers, they're like the wind, sometimes moving in a straight line, sometimes swirling back in your face.
Due to the vagaries of the passing game, receivers account for the largest proportion of skill positions. Therefore, they should be the most entertaining by volume. Just look at Keyshawn and TO. So far, this season has not disappointed.
Case in point: back on May 18, the Vikings traded an undrafted free agent, Hank Baskett, to the Eagles for 2003 3rd round pick Billy McMullen (Wahoowa!), a star at UVA in college, but a player that never caught on in Andy Reid's system in Philadelphia. On its face, this looked like a deal that worked for both teams, what with Reid getting rid of a guy he knew wasn't working out for a guy that might, and new Vikings coach Brad Childress, the former Eagles offensive coordinator, getting a guy that knows his system.
Then Koren Robinson made a bad call, going out to get drunk on a curfew night, then made a worse call, leaving the club too late to make curfew, then made a worser call, driving back to camp wasted, then made a double worser call, speeding to get there (the old adage goes: never break more than one law at a time), then made a double plus ungood worser call, fleeing from the po-lice. He was arrested and charged with a bunch of unfortunate stuff, then released by the Vikings. There are rumors the league will suspend him for the season.
All Baskett has been for the Eagles is a hard worker, making some spectacular plays, Dono has confidence in him, and he's cheap ($275 thou rookie minimum -- those thrifty Eagles). He was on the verge of cracking the starting lineup, when the Eagles traded veteran LB Mark Simoneau to the Saints for Donte Stallworth. I wrote about that soap opera here. Baskettcase will still be #3 in Philly, and good for him.
Now the Vikings are kind of standing around with their thing in their hand, wondering what the hell happened. Robinson made his money at KR, but was a crucial piece of the offense. Childress has got to be hoping McMullen (now at #4) and Todd Pinkston, recently signed after being released by the Eagles, will inject some knowledge of the system into a new offense.
Over at the Patriots, the Deion Branch Show has been a flop. He held out, hoping to leverage the team's supposedly declining fortunes into big money. You could make an argument, what with Branch being the 2005 Super Bowl MVP and a crucial part of the Pats 2004 Super Bowl win.
But the Pats never blinked and have had a great preseason without him. Goodbye Deion, and the Pats really should accept the Jets' offer of a 2nd round pick for him (that fact that Branch is on my fantasy football team has absolutely no bearing on my opinion in this matter).
In Tampa, David Boston, who was a superstar in Arizona, got the richest free agent contract ever at that time by San Diego, turned into an asshole, got hisself suspended and then traded from SD to Miami for a 6th round pick, then blew out his knee, then beat up an old man, then got suspended for steroids, is back. Let's see how long that lasts.
The last one I want to look at is the Falcons-Broncos-Redskins trade that landed Ashley Lelie in Atlanta. I've already written about this one here, and Master4Caster at Running Redskins calls it the Die Eagles Die plan to block Philly from getting Duckett. From the Falcons' perspective, they were in search of some help after leading receiver Brian Finneran blew out his ACL in camp. Lelie was upset and holding out after being demoted to #3 with the arrival of Javon Walker, a guy drafted one spot behind Lelie. He would up getting traded to a team where he will be the (nominal) #3 behind two guys with less experience than Lelie, so yeah, that should go well for the Falcons. Oh, and they have a rookie backing up 10-yr veteran Warrick Dunn. I would say expect the Falcons to be a spectacular flameout this season.