Postcards From Camp: UCornn Huskers

Bobby Sansone, Senior Writer

August 25, 2005

"My boxer shorts have my name and it says Kevin"
Priest Holmes
While trading for Peyton Manning made a big splash, the health of Priest Holmes will determine if the Huskers can get out of the shallow end of the pool

SHELTON, CT - Huskers owner Kevin Sansone is a fantasy football version of "Rain Man". Constantly churning and spitting out random statistics, some think he is actually an android sent from another planet to disrupt fantasy football leagues everywhere. While picking out wedding invitations with his fiancee last week, Sansone burst out, "5 minutes to NFL Tonight, 5 minutes to NFL Tonight". Sure enough, within five minutes a small TV was setup for him and he was happily listening to Mark Malone and the crew. "Reporting from Eagles camp in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Sal Paolantonio. Reporting from Eagles camp in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Sal Paolantonio. Reporting from Eagles camp in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Sal Paolantonio."

When the Dragons put Manning on the trade block, Kev Sansone's brain went into overload. "Peyton Manning, 26 points, Week 4, 2000. Won Player of the Week. Definitely won Player of the Week. Peyton Manning 32 points, Week 2, 2001. Won Player of the Week." Kev Sansone continued in idiot savant mode for two weeks until the trade was complete.

The Huskers might have the most dedicated owner but they also have the most volatile team. With 75% of the scoring expected to come from two players, an injury to either Manning or Holmes could cause the team to self-implode. "Of course Holmes missed 4 games due to injury in 2004. Definitely missed 4 games due to injury." Sansone reminds us. With that in mind, the Huskers may be the one team capable of going either 10-3 or 3-10.

Biggest Question Facing Owner Kevin Sansone

Is the franchise in a position to win the NFC West? The Huskers have the two greatest fantasy players of the century in Manning and Holmes but after that there are serious question marks. Holmes' knack for injuries makes the lack of depth at RB a major deterrent in their championship hopes and drafting 14th likely means that immediate help isn't likely coming in this year's draft. Booker, Bruce and Mason provide a solid trio of receivers but there is a huge drop-off after that. The second RB position belongs to Derrick Blaylock right now but he could be dealt before the season starts for a proven starter. Kev Sansone is one of the premier owners in the league and knows he has to add depth if the Huskers are going to compete with the Chickens and the Beans.

The Non-Draft Guru

Amazingly, the Huskers only have one 1st Round draft pick (Peyton Manning) on their roster and he wasn't even drafted by the Huskers. In fact, the Huskers have never landed a marquee player in the first round. Yet, year in and year out they are in contention to win a Super Bowl. While his bizarre expansion owner counterpart Steve Dugas prefers to build teams through the draft, Sansone has found away to assemble veterans through trades and free agency to build a competitive franchise.

Probable Starters

Manning, Holmes, Blaylock, Bruce, Booker, Williams, Kasay, Mason

Final Observations

The Huskers will win 5 or 6 games on Holmes' and Manning's back alone this year. If Holmes stays healthy they could win 8 games and reach the playoffs. Booker will have to step up to replace the departed Hines Ward, the emotional leader of the team for the past two seasons. John Kasay and Boo Williams need to play well too and contribute 10 to 12 points combined a week. If Kev can land another veteran or two the team could sneak into the playoffs but the NFC West is too tough for the two-headed Huskers.

Projected Record

7-6; 3rd NFC West