EFL Home 2007 Season
Wilmington Snooze-Terminal, June 3, 2007

Rivers Handed Keys to Cherries’ Offense

WR Isaac Bruce Acquired in Trade with Gulls

by Rip Snorter
At the EFL owners’ meeting yesterday, coach/GM Jon Brams, passed up experienced free agent quarterbacks like Chris Weinke and Charlie Batch and signed third year pro Aaron Rodgers who hasn’t taken a snap at this level. That means Philip Rivers, he of the six turnovers in his only professional start, will have the keys to the 2007 Delaware Cherries offense.

Brams confirmed what seems to be a risky gambit. “Philip will be the starter. We’ve worked extensively with him in the off-season and he’s ready. Rip, you and our fans will be surprised at how much progress he’s made. And Aaron is enormously talented and a fast learner. We think his being here will actually help Philip develop faster than if we brought in an experienced backup who reached his ceiling years ago.” I’m not convinced, but Brams has cast the die.

Rivers will have a new target in Isaac Bruce who comes to Delaware from Atlantic City in exchange for Travis Taylor. Last season the Gulls diminished the 13‑year veteran’s role to such an extent he caught only one pass. The gamble here is that Bruce’s career will be revitalized. Brams had little choice given the logjam caused by Lee Evans’ and Taylor’s insistence in moving out of the slot. Bruce became Brams’ best option when Washington’s price for Jerricho Cotchery went too high — Cotchery became a Connecticut Comet by trade minutes after the Bruce-Taylor deal went down.

Brams resolved the complicated situation on the offensive line by dealing offensive left tackle Bryant McKinnie to Providence for Jason Brown and backup Adam Goldberg and Delaware’s fourth round draft pick next season to New York for Anthony Clement. Second year pro Brown will start at left guard while the hulking veteran Clement — 6-8, 333 — moves in at right tackle.

The draft pick lost to New York in the Goldberg-Clement trade was mitigated by Brams’ final deal of the meeting. He sent inside linebacker Chris Draft to Connecticut in exchange for outside linebacker Carlos Polk and the Comets’ fourth round pick next season. Polk will compete for the left outside linebacker starting assignment with the incumbent — another Carlos — Carlos Emmons. Polk has to be the favorite in that battle because 12‑year veteran Emmons slowed down a good bit last season.

Brams mentioned in an aside that he may have backup running back Michael Turner return kickoffs this season, in addition to — or maybe instead of — Dante Hall. That seems odd because Hall led the EFL with four touchdowns on kickoff returns last season.

Delaware’s projected starting line-up is as follows:

Cherries Projected Starters
83Lee Evans *WR
60Chris Samuels *LT
61Jason Brown *LG
64Nick Mangold *C
73Shawn AndrewsRG
68Anthony Clement *RT
38Heath Miller *TE
80Isaac Bruce *WR
17Philip Rivers *QB
21LaDainian TomlinsonRB
49Tony RichardsonFB
90Julius PeppersLE
97Kelly GreggNT
55Terrell SuggsRE
93Carlos Polk *LOLB
52Ray Lewis *LILB
58London Fletcher-Baker *RILB
56Bart Scott *ROLB
26Lito SheppardLCB
34Fakhir Brown *RCB
40Donte WhitnerSS
20Brian DawkinsFS
7Ben GrahamP
4John KasayK
18Dante HallKR-PR-WR
33Michael Turner *KR-WR
88Eric ParkerPR-WR
* projected new starter or positiion change

The meeting was a relatively active one in terms of swaps and free agent signings. Among the major deals:

The EFL website has full detail of all of the transactions that took place at the meeting.