Postcards From Camp: Fightin' Mallards

Bobby Sansone, Senior Writer

September 06, 2005

Lame Ducks?
Willis McGahee
Willis McGahee is ready to stiff-arm the competition this season but will Kyle Orton hold him and the Mallards back another year?

YARMOUTH, ME - The Mallards and Steve Dugas are now in year 3 of 10 of the rebuilding project. Even the Tampa Bay Devil Rays have a shorter time period in which they hope to be competitive by. With only 6 wins in their brief franchise history, the Mallards are now tying to avoid history as the worst franchise over a 3-year span (the Market Thugs went 12-29 from 1996-1998). Earning this distinction would certainly cast a large shadow on Steve Dugas' legacy as a YFFL Owner. Perhaps more astonishing than the 6-19 record the Mallards have compiled in their first two years is Dugas' inability in three years to land a franchise QB. After all, it took Dugas just one draft to land the Merry Men's franchise QB Daunte Culpepper. Numerous sources from around the league have indicated that several owners are fed up with Dugas' "lose first" mentality and are even pushing to have YFFL wannabe Nick Wood take over the Mallards if Dugas can't win 5 games this year. Commissioner Kinsman wouldn't comment on the situation but has expressed discomfort in how the franchise has been handled.

Biggest Question Facing Owner Steve Dugas

Can Kyle Orton win me 5 games this year? Willis McGahee is primed to start all 13 games this season. Stephen Jackson is now the full-time starting RB for the Rams. Deion Branch is healthy and ready for his break-out season. Brandon Stokley is back as a coveted WR of Peyton Manning. Jason Elam is a 4-time Pro Bowl kicker and steady as a rock. Cedric Benson is signed and is ready to be the Bears starting RB by Week 2. All these things add up to a Division Title in the watered down NFC East.

But wait! The Mallards franchise is resting on the shoulders of... (drum roll please)...QB Kyle Orton! Dugas was unsuccessful in landing a veteran QB before the draft. In somewhat of a surprise move, he passed on Alex Smith and drafted Bears rookie QB Kyle Orton early in the second round. If Orton is successful he will make Bears fans forget about Rex Grossman and Mallards fans forget about Drew Henson. If he is not successful, Orton could be out of a job when Grossman returns and Nick Wood could be joining us at the 2006 YFFL draft.

Probable Starters

Orton, McGahee, Jackson, Branch, Stokley, Stevens, Elam, Benson

Final Observations

The Mallards are the only team in the league that could win their division or finish dead last and no one would be surprised. McGahee, Jackson, Branch, Elam and Stokley are going to score a lot of points. Questions remain about Orton and if he can contribute. The bench is thin so the Mallards must stay injury-free. Jerramy Stevens is still raw at TE and probably won't contribute much. A young roster with a rookie QB will have the Mallards struggling to reach .500.

Projected Record

5-8; 4th NFC East