Scott Engle of RotoExperts.com has apparently (today was the first time I heard it) been claiming all off-season that Marvin Harrison is done. "Moises Alou in a football helmet." On the footballguys.com podcast Engle continues this claim despite Marvin practicing and all reports indicating he is fully recovered.
Engle is asked whether the stances that he took over the offseason are changing as new news comes in. He's specifically asked about Marvin Harrison and whether there "is any chance he's not done?" The positive reports on Marvin from camp are brought up.
Engle starts off by dismissing the reports saying everyone looks good in camp, ignoring that a guy who was too hurt to practice or play most of last season is now practicing. That definitely means something. He goes on to say:
Harrison's been great, ...uhh... he's been an ageless marvel nearly for .. uh... a few years now. Uh... but I really believe the game has taken it's toll on him by this point. I think we saw some of that last year. Uh... You know you talk about the why and I appreciate that, but it's sometimes not always the why it's just the obvious, that even though he still runs good routes, Harrison can't explode ..an... and ..uh... gain separation like he use to. You know. He can't find... He can see those soft spots in the defenses, but I don't think he can get to those as quickly. Uh.. and that's going to affect the timing between himself and Peyton Manning. I really don't think Marvin Harrison becomes a value at any point. I don't draft him at all.
Not even drafting Marvin Harrison would mean he is not even one of the top 40-50 WRs (24 to start, 2x12, plus 1-2 per team on the bench).
So Marvin's skills have diminished? Because of the injury? Because he's 36? When did Scott Engle see this shell of his former self, Marvin?
It sure as hell wasn't 2006 when Harrison ranked second in DPAR and fifth in DVOA, catching 95 passes for 1366 yards and 12 TDs on 148 targets.
Did he drop off a cliff after that?
In the first 3 games of the 2007 season Marvin went 4 for 83, 6 for 87 and 6 for 53. Those are top WR numbers. Marvin still put up Marvin Harrison caliber numbers in the first 3 games of 2007. Marvin was injured in the fourth game of the season and only played in one more regular season game. Marvin was fine before the injury. There was no evidence of any decline in his skills before then.
The injury was a freak accident. Addai was tackled and rolled up on Marvin's legs from behind while Marvin was blocking. Age played no factor in Marvin getting hurt.
If Scott Engel wants to be nervous about Marvin returning full strength from the injury that's fine and what he should say. Refusing to even say there is a chance Marvin could be back to his pre-injury self and that Marvin's skills have declined is just stubbornness and not supported by the facts at all.
If Marvin is healthy and reports are he is, there is no reason to believe he will not be the reciever that he was for the start of last season.