"...how about if we COMBINE the rosters of the Jets, Giants, and Bills... "create" the best possible team out of that mix."
This is not without historical precedent, since the Steelers and the Eagles combined teams back during World War II. Since I love speculative football arguments, who would start on the combined roster?
QUARTERBACKS: Eli Manning would have to be the starting QB. If Manning gets hurt, this team may be in trouble. Chad Pennington might be the best backup. Pennington's arm is still as strong as a wet noodle. J.P. Losman is just a little under-cooked.
RUNNING BACKS: The real strength of the team. Willis McGahee can start, with Tiki Barber as our third down back. We can use Barber to spell McGahee and keep him fresh. We can also bring in Brandon Jacobs in the short yardage situations. Jim Finn would make a good fullback for our team, although I would be tempted to go with a three wideout offense on most plays. With Kevan Barlow as our fourth back (which is where he really should be on any team), we have a corps of running backs with which any coach would be delighted.
WIDE RECEIVERS: No "great" receivers here, but a lot of good ones. Laveranues Coles is the best of the bunch with his hands and speed. Plaxico Burress makes a great number two receiver (sorry Giant fans). With Lee Evans at number three, this team will create some major matchup problems for a lot of secondaries. With Amani Toomer and Josh Reed as our fourth and fifth receivers, this could be the best overall receiving corps in the NFL. Eli Manning would salivate at the possibility of playing with this group. Heck, PEYTON Manning would!
TIGHT ENDS: Jeremy Shockey. That is where the excitement ends at this position. Robert Royal and Chris Baker are primarily blocking tight ends.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Offensive lines tend to work better as units, so let's take the Giants line, which is clearly the best of these three teams. Although we would bring in Jets rookie OLT D'Brickashaw Ferguson as a backup/potential starter (if he can do well enough).
DEFENSIVE LINE: Any defensive coordinator would give his left nut for our defensive ends: Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora at the ends, with Kimo von Oelhoffen to rotate in as a backup. We are a little soft at the tackle position, with Dewayne Robertson as the only tackle of note. We WILL be playing a 3-4 defense.
LINEBACKERS: So many choices for only four positions. We start with Jonathan Vilma at the LILB position. Vilma is clearly the best of a solid group. With London Fletcher at the RILB spot, not many teams will be running up the middle on us. With Takeo Spikes and Carlos Emmons as our outside linebackers, this is the best linebacking corps in the NFL since the old Giants teams. AND we can use LaVar Arrington as a third down pass-rushing LB. AND we can rotate Antonio Pierce with our other inside linebackers, keeping them all fresh. Offensive coordinators: Be afraid...be VERY afraid.
CORNERBACKS: Our secondary is not perfect, but it is close. With Nate Clements and Sam Madison as our starting corners, opposing receivers will have fits. I would put Terrence McGee in as the nickel corner, although Andre Dyson could easily play it too. If we are playing against a team that likes to run, I might use McGee as a starting corner because he plays the run from the corner spot better than most corners.
SAFETIES: This is a weak spot on this team. I would try rookie Donte Whitner at the strong safety first. If he falters, that leaves us with Gibril Wilson or Kerry Rhodes, who are both ok, but nothing special.
Our free safeties are a little better, with Troy Vincent, Erik Coleman, and Will Demps from which to choose. I would probably go with Coleman as the starter on running downs and replace him with Vincent on passing downs.
KICKER: Tough choice here, but I would lean towards Jay Feely for his kickoff depth. Otherwise, all three kickers are fairly even.
PUNTER: Another tough choice. Jeff Feagles is the pick due to his ability to pin teams down inside their 20. Brian Moorman and Ben Graham are both strong options though.
KICK/PUNT RETURNS: We have the best return man in the NFL in Terrence McGee. With Chad Morton backing him up, no problems here.
COACHING: Bill Barker suggested we bring back Bill Parcells, but I figured let's stick with who we have to be realistic to the speculation. Plus, we will probably want a coach who will be here longer than a year.
I would lean towards Eric Mangini as my head coach. His experience under Bill Belichick should serve him well.
Tom Coughlin would be my offensive coordinator with Dick Jauron handling the defense.
SUMMARY: Ok, so we would blow the salary cap out of the water, but this is for fun, right?
While I don't think this team would go undefeated, a 15-1 record would be a reasonable expectation, with a Super Bowl win guaranteed. Unfortunately, if Manning gets hurt, this team will still make the playoffs, but no Super Bowl.