Early Summer NFL Team Check-up

Now that the draft is done, coaches are hired and most player movement is done, how do you feel your team stands for the upcoming season?

Are you optimistic? Will they make the playoffs? Is this their year?

Or are they rebuilding? Is it another season where mediocrity is an achievement?
My team is the Redskins, and I’m optimistic. I think that they did well in the offseason in not tinkering too much with their successful defense, while shoring up their offensive depth and revamping their offensive scheme to better play to their strengths.

Depth to the O line has been added, which was definitely a weakness last year; some extra weight has been cast off (Arrington and Ramsey, among others); and they’ve signed a couple guys that should help take all the pressure off of Santana Moss.

I think their running game is still strong, and while Portis will probably never be a rushing champion (especially under the new offensive system under Saunders), I think he’s a solid back with better than average production capabilities and the ability to be dangerous on any given play.

Their one major, glowing weakness (in my biased mind), is at QB. I was sincerely impressed by Brunell last season, but I’m still unconvinced that it wasn’t just a fluky last-hurrah effort by a guy who’s on the downward slope of his career.

In the end, I think they make the playoffs. I think they have a good shot at winning the division. The fan in me says it’s their year, but the pragmatist in me says they need another year to develop Campbell at QB.

The Steelers?

They are busy providing their own distractions, from Big Ben’s wreck and face plant to the new #1 draft pick being accused of domestic violence.

On the field, the loss of Randle El will cause the offense to go with other options, and the famous trick play isn’t as likely- since two of the three "other"passers have left the team, Hines Ward will be covered more tightly.

If they forget about the Super Bowl, they should do just fine. Baltimore shows signs of improvement, and Cincy should be tough again this year, so the division games arean’t cakewalks, like the season opener could be. But Miami has the chance to build a new season on one game…

I’ll leave more details to be filled in by my fellow Stillerfans on the board.

My Dish bill just went up because I just had to have the NFL Network. Unless I wanted to miss a few televised games, I needed the more expensive programming package.

I’d really like SF to make a play for Ashley Lelie.

I’m hopeful for this season, but the NFC West looks strong all of a sudden.

You know, I should be really excited about this season and everyone expects the Bears to dominate the NFC Norris once again and make a run at the Super Bowl. I agree that they should certainly win the division, but I just don’t feel like they got that much better and they certainly didn’t help themselves much in the draft. Even if those questioned picks pan out they missed huge opportunities to improve need positions.

The most notable addition is probably Brian Greise. I’m not that high on him overall and I think he might be too expensive as a backup but as a backup it’s a nice security blanket. A healthy Grossman might just make this offense into something, I am on record as really digging his game.

Still, that leads me right into their biggest failure in the off-season, not addressing the WR corps effectively. These QBs and a superior running attack would benefit exponentially from some action at WR and TE. They’ve got a couple guys that have potential, but it’s as of yet unattained. Moose is a overpaid pig who’s not doing much to help anyone but himself. Not landing a top shelf WR or TE in the draft is utterly inexcusable. No matter how well Grossman, Bradley an Berrian develop this passing attack will still be mediocre at the very best. I’m willing to trade passing for running and defense, the Bears SOP, but in this case to address it wouldn’t have come at the expense of anything.

The running attack has some off-field drama with Jones making noise, largely just being pissy about the addition of Benson to the mix, and I suspect it’ll all settle down for this season. Everyone here knows my low opinion of Benson so I can’t say I blame him. Jones has been a rock since we acquired him, however if Benson does manage to be a effective change-of-pace back this attack could become utterly dominant behind that OL.

The defense added a bunch of DBs and some potential role players in the draft in addition to possible jailbird Ricky Manning. A blatant knee-jerk to the Steve Smith fiasco in the playoffs. Frankly, I’m unimpressed. Not a one is an impact guy in my estimation and depth was never a concern for us. Indeed we needed to add a replacement for Azumah but the attention paid to the position and the fact that pretty much each of those guys taken in the draft were reaches makes it look pretty dumb. I’ve learned to trust the front offices ability to evaluate defensive talent, these guys will probably be quality players, but they weren’t good values.

In short, they didn’t do enough to make me happy. They were very good last year and pretty much brought everyone back which is to be admired. They are young and as long as last year wasn’t a fluke they should be good for a nice long time. Still, this was a great opportunity to really seize the moment and become a complete team instead of a old-school, stubborn run/defend team that lacks the punch to win it all.

A couple wise moves, getting a actual backup QB was smart, adding depth on defense is fine. Adding three key players at QB, RB and WR who were hurt last season should have an impact. Still, were I looking at all that with a Chad Jackson/Santonio Holmes/Sinorice Moss and Leonard Pope getting lose at minicamp I’m be creaming my jeans and booking rooms for February.

My Saints should be able to move the ball and put points on the board. New QB, and two good running backs, + Joe Horn. Question is whether they can keep most teams from scoring at least 30 against a highly suspect defense. Still, in keeping with long standing tradition, for the record, I hereby predict the New Orleans Saints will win the Superbowl this year. Hopefully, before I die, I’ll be right at least once…

I am cautiously pessimistic about the Chargers. My instinct tells me that they made the exact wrong QB decision, but we’ll have to see. I think the timing of things might be getting screwed up; they have an RB and TE who are stars right now, but they’re going to have to wait for their QB to develop.

At least Drew Brees gives me a cover reason for jumping on the Saints bandwagon if Reggie starts going nuts. :slight_smile:

Gods, no. My Vikings are a shambles.

New coach - good, but unproven. Same quarterback - questionable. He’s low risk low reward. And aging. And we don’t have much of a backup. Runningbacks - we’ve lost all the depth we had (but lord, we didn’t need any more). Front line - ha! Defense - ha! Receivers - son of a bitch.

Luckily, the Norris division sucks. (No offense, Omniscient, but it does.) I’m anticipating a thoroughly mediocre season, maybe 8-8, maybe 7-9. Probably we’ll finish second, tho’ third is likely, depending on what the Pack does. I’d like to say we’re “rebuilding,” but Minnesota sucks so thoroughly at drafting that I doubt much of a case could be made there.

I love my team, but damn.

Since I still haven’t sworn allegiance to any particular team, I’ll just do this for the Bungles:

QB - Recovery appears to be going well, but who knows? Knees are a tricky thing.
RB - Rudi Johnson is still Rudi Johnson, Chris Perry’s doing a heck of a job of trying to get arrested again.
WR - Receiving corps is solid but not spectacular.
Defense - Added some big veterans, but it remains to be seen what impact they’ll have.

With the Bengals’ training camp being just up the road in Georgetown, I might try to get out there and take a look.

There are reasons to be cautiously optimistic, but it’s still a rebuilding process for the Niners. The return of Jeremy Newberry at center should improve a much patched OL. We might now actually get to see if Alex Smith can throw instead of just run for his life.

The most exciting thing for the Niners is the addition of Vernon Davis with the return of Eric Johnson. That could be a potent 1-2 combination at TE.

Our biggest questions are at CB, we haven’t had a steady player at that position in recent years. I’d ad WR to that to appease some people but that one’s a little harder to judge since Smith had remarkably few opportunities for downhill passing. I almost forgot to ad that picking up an experienced starter in Dilfer was a good idea for backup QB instead of the rookies three we had last year.

Unfortunately we play in NFC West, I think AZ is the most improved, but Seattle is still the team to beat. Predicted finish:7-9.

Ditto, but I don’t think they can make the playoffs in this division (plus we play the strong NFC East and AFC North this year). I think trading for Donnie Edwards could help our rushing defense a lot, but he’s going to be asking for more $/longer contract than a 33 year old should be getting. Despite the #3 ranking last season, I’m concerned about our passing defense as well. I really wanted them to draft Richard Marshall in the 2nd, but Payton opted to do something expected of the Saints and got a safety that may not even start this season.

I’m a fan of the NFL Free Agency Champions since 2000, otherwise known as the Washington Redskins.

Every year they pick up a bunch of free agents that are supposed to fix all our problems, and every year it’s a bust. However, I’m cautiously optimistic this year. The additions all seem to be good ones (I’m still a little hesitant about Brandon Lloyd, hoping he won’t be a locker room cancer a la Terrell Owens).

I also like the hiring of Al Saunders as Offensive Coordinator. Don’t let the job titles fool you. Sure, he’s the Associate Head Coach - Offense and Gregg Wiliams is Assistant Head Coach - Defense. They are the Offensive Coordinator and Defensive Coordinator respectively. The complicated job descriptions are just bollocks. That’s my only real complaint right now.

The NFC East is going to be a rough one this year. It’s possible that the Eagles will rebound back with McNabb back at full strength and the locker room cancer cured by slicing out that tumor T.O. and sending him off to Dallas. The Giants won the division last year, but just barely. As much as it pains me to say it, the Cowboys didn’t really suck either. My guess is that the winner of the division will be barely 10-6, since they will all beat each other up all year long.

Lloyd was an all around great guy in San Francisco. I hated to see him go, he made spectacular catches. Then Niners dropped him because he won’t/can’t go over the middle, not because of any attitude stuff.

The Cardinals.

It has been a great off season. Leinart will probably get some time as Warner will get hurt at least once.

The signing of James will add to the offense. We already have the best receiver duo in the NFL.

Defense is still a bit shaky.

Still, the Cards will make the playoffs this year.

Well, my Giants are in the toughest division, and are facing I believe the 1st or 2nd-hardest schedule in the league this season.

That said, I’m still looking for a repeat as NFC East champs. As of right now, I’m just looking for a Week 1 win.

Every American likes the underdog. So I can’t root against the Cards. But the same reason I loved Denny Green in Minnesota is the same I shout from the rooftop to Cards fans not to get too excited.

He’s the model of imroving a team’s defense by pumping up the offense. His MOD is not to keep consistant scoring while lowing points given up. It’s to allow the same amount of points while trying to outscore the other team.

He’s pretty damn good at coming up with offenses that are just unique enough to score big, but after a couple years when the team is ready to make a serious title, all the other teams have had time to catchup and defend against it when it counts.

Fans of the Giants and Falcons can provide more details if needed.

hehheh.

Hard to get a feel for what the OP is asking; seems to be a “state of the team” analysis, so here’s my thoughts on the New York Football Giants.

All 11 starters for the #3 ranked scoring offense in the league return to the same position they played last year, while the low-ranked defense got a major overhaul with 5 new starters. The only notable change to the offense was the addition of Sinorice Moss to replace Tim Carter as the speedy slot receiver, although Tim Carter is still currently on the team providing depth.

Foundation
This marks the first time in years without major changes on the offensive line. Notably, David Diehl – the 5th rounder who has started every game in his 3-season career – finally gets his second year in a row at a position. (Rookie year he was at RG, sophomore season he was at RT, and last year he played LG. He returns as LG this year.) Rich Seubert, once the best OL on the team, is now fully recovered and provides quality depth*, along with past-his-prime pro-bowler Bob Whitfield. Plus, he-of-the-funny-name Guy Whimper was drafted in the fourth round this year to finish off the unit. The OL is finally a strength of the team, which is critical to success.

The defensive line saw a rollercoaster ride in the offseason. Strahan and Umenyiora return as the best pass-rushing DE duo in the league. Behind them, Justin Tuck, who showed flashes of brilliance last year, returns to provide quality depth, while Eric Moore was demoted in favor of first round draft choice Mathias Kiwanuka. Accorsi drew much ire when he spent his first draft pick on a position deemed to be the team’s biggest strength, but regardless of how foolish it was, DE is now far and away the strongest position on the team.

The interior line, however, saw Kendrick Clancy (who was described by Football Outsiders as a “concrete wall”) jump ship for Arizona, which left a gaping hole at nose tackle, and Kenderick Allen (his backup) was waived. This left only the late-blooming William Joseph plus the training camp scrubs from last season on the team. One of which, Jonas Seawright, has become a bit of a celebrity figure on giants.com since Tom Coughlin praised him as being “unblockable” in practice. Adding fuel to the fire, David Diehl complained that he hated be matched up against him in practice because he was so hard to block. Topped by the fact that Jonas refers to himself in the third person during interviews, he has become the ultimate “Chuck Norris” superhero figure on the Giants messageboards. (“Tim Lewis is switching to the 1-6 defense; Jonas IS the line!”) Whether he’ll step up in pace of Clancy remains to be seen, but there is at least some reason to be optimistic.

Quickly, the 4-3 scheme employs a nose tackle (also refered to as “1-gap” or “1-technique”) and an under tackle (refered to as “3-technique”) as its two DTs. The nose tackle is responsible for occupying two blockers at the line, while the under tackle is responsible for penetrating the line and causing havoc in the backfield.

William Joseph is the Jints’ starting under tackle, backed up by Fred Robbins. Robbins looked great in 2004, but showed up to camp out of shape in 2005, quickly landing him in Tom Coughlin’s doghouse. All reports so far indicate he is much more in shape and motivated reporting to camp this year, so the under tackle position looks to be in fine shape with a good starter and quality depth for rotation. The nose tackle is a position battle between rookie 4th round draft pick Barry Cofield, the aforementioned Jonas Seawright, and another player from last year’s backup squad, Damane Duckett. Nose tackle will be a position to watch closely during the preseason. (They’re the biggest guys on the field, so they should be easy to spot.)

Because I believe the success of a team is almost exclusively determined by the strength of the lines, (teams are built inside out,) I think the G-Men are in excellent shape to repeat as division champs this year.

Linebackers
Acquiring Lavar Arrington was quite a feather in Accorsi’s cap. Coughlin and Lewis quickly designated him back to strong side linebacker, which is the position he played in Washington during his probowl years. He is reunited with two former teammates in Antonio Pierce, who he played with on the Redskins, and Brandon Short, who he played with in college. Short was a promising young player (who broke Pennington’s arm in a preseason game a few years back) who played for carolina last year, but was brought back both to provide depth and to make the Giants more enticing for Arrington.

Due to the rash of injuries at linebacker last year, the backups have had some starting time to grow, and showed flashes of ability during their chances. (Then the backups went down as well, and the Jints were reduced to street free-agents during the playoffs.) Particularly Chase Blackburn, MLB backup to Pierce, and Reggie Torbor, SLB backup to Arrington. While I wouldn’t be eager to see those two starting on opening day, I have every confidence in their ability to take over should a temporary injury sideline the starter. Brandon Short has been a starter for much of his career, while Carlos Emmons, the incumbent WLB, has been injury prone and fading a bit. So weakside linebacker could be another position battle to watch out for.

Secondary
Some have said that safety Will Demps (from the Ravens) is a great player who was underrated because he was overshadowed by the phemomenal Ed Reed. Time will tell on that. Gibril Wilson returns as the other starting safety, but behind those two the depth chart is quite thin. Sam Madison was brought in via free agency, although it ended up strongly resembling a trade with the Dolphins, as they filled the hole left by him with Will Allen. Madison is old, and has nowhere near the speed of Allen, but he has great hands, and could provide excellent growth support for second year Corey Webster, who should start opposite Madison. Behind those two is the overly aggressive risk-taking Frank Walker, and the shaky (but now more experienced) Curtis Deloatch, who was pressed into service when the now-retired Will Peterson broke his back in the same place early in the season for the second time in two years. The secondary was the achilles heel of the team last year, and with all the changes made, unity could be an issue.

Overall
Mathematically, the Giants have the hardest schedule in the league this year. However, those numbers are based on last season, which is a faulty premise to begin with. For example, going by that logic you had a soft spot in your schedule if you faced the 11-5 Giants in 2005. Clearly, strength of schedule offseason projections are pointless.

The entire NFC East is a force to reckon with; I can’t imagine any team in the league is looking forward to playing any of them. For the G-Men, the first 3 games in particular are pretty grueling, but the past few seasons have seen the Giants getting off to fast starts, even in 2003 when they finished 4-12. I would not be surprised at all to see Big Blue beat the Colts opening day, nor would I be surprised to see them win the division again. Injuries are always a worry, and can derail any team’s season, but by any objective measure the Giants should be considered a legitimate Superbowl contender. (Eli looked no worse against the Panthers than Big ben looked against the Jets and Patriots in his first playoff season, and he won the Superbowl the next year.)

  • When I say “quality depth,” I mean that a backup is good enough that I’d be comfortable with him starting for the rest of the season if the starter went on IR.

Shaky defense? You sir are nuts. Here is my take on the Cards this year.

Defense: Ranked in the top 10 last year. One hell of a feat considering no running game to grind the clock. Many of the playmakers are young and continue to get even better. Dockett, Dansby,Rolle,Blackstock,Green and lets not forget one of the top safetys in the game in Wilson. The weakest positions for the Defense are DE and CB. DE due to the age. That being said Berry and Okeafor still have the goods to get pressure on the QB. CB is a weakness due to the lack of experience Rolle is going into his second year after his rookie year was cut short due to injuries. Grenn is pretty good and needs experience as well.
The Cards will continue to have a top 10 Defense, with the young blood maturing and Pendergast calling the shots.

Offense: The passing attack is awesome, Fitzgerald and Boldin can be considered one of the best WR duo’s in the game. Johnson as a number 3 reciever is nice as well. The addition to Pope at TE will improve the red zone ability the passing game lacked. Warner is still throwing the ball quite well, he is accurate and if he can stay healthy could make it back to pro bowl form this year. If he does get hurt Leinart is going to be good enough to keep from losing any games and might even win a few. (I have never been big on rookie QBs). Leinart, does show lots of promise for many seasons to come.
The running game has a big boost with James coming out of the back field. Arrlington will learn and become productive behind James as will Shipp. Yet, this is “the edge” show now. James brings good running ability and pass catching skills. One thing over looked is he can pick up the blitz as well as any RB in the game. James will bring additional options to bring up that red zone efficiancy ratting.
The offensive line. Last year was pathetic in the run blocking area. Most do not realize injuries played a big part of the problem. This year they shall be much impoved and I predict they shall (as an offensive line) be ranked somewhere in the mid teens (15-17). There is youth on the inside of the line that will mature and improve, a good sign for the long term.
Special teams Here is where I think My cards need to improve. Kick returns and punt returns were below average and slipped under the radar for most of last year. Improvement if special teams can lead to some damn fine field position battles. If you pick Rackers as a FF kicker this year, be warned he will not boot 40 FG’s this year. With the improvement of the Offense which should translate to better scoring in the red zone. Rackers will end up wth more shots at the extra point than field goals this year.

The schedule
The Cards biggest threat in the division and rightly so is Seattle. AZ should at worse split the wins with Seattle this year. The Rams are changing coaching and not quite ready to compete, and poor San Fran has at least one more year before they can get going.
The rest of the schedule is not to bad.
Away games(non-divison) Atlanta, Oakland,Green Bay,Minnisota, and San Diego.
Home games(non-divison)Kansas City,Chicago,Dallas, Detroit, and Denver

The Cards can make it to 10-6 to either win the divison or Catch a wild card spot.(Seattle is still strong)
The Cards will make the play off this year.
The super bowl? Only if things fall just right.
Arizona is an up and coming team, Many positions are finally getting filled thru the draft. Dennis Green has had three excellent drafts and good free agency runs since coming to the Desert. While, the stars will have to align just right for the Birds to finally get to the Super Bowl this year. I believe they shall have a good chance for many years to come as the ship has finally been righted.

Osip

[QUOTE=duffer]
Every American likes the underdog. So I can’t root against the Cards. But the same reason I loved Denny Green in Minnesota is the same I shout from the rooftop to Cards fans not to get too excited.

He’s the model of imroving a team’s defense by pumping up the offense. His MOD is not to keep consistant scoring while lowing points given up. It’s to allow the same amount of points while trying to outscore the other team.

He’s pretty damn good at coming up with offenses that are just unique enough to score big, but after a couple years when the team is ready to make a serious title, all the other teams have had time to catchup and defend against it when it counts.

QUOTE]

Ah Duffer, my fiend, pardon me for this. Maybe… well could you think before opening your mouth? Yes Denny did exactly as you describe in Minnesota. I agree with you there. Your mistake is deciding Denny is a fool at best or an Idiot at worse.
Denny is a smart enough man to realize past mistakes.
His past three drafts have born fruit in Arizona for both the Offense and Defense.In fact, He has done more for the defence than he ever did while the Vikings coach. He has brought in talent both thru free agency and most importantly thru the draft. 2006 was the first time he drafted all Offense on day 1. He picked up some talent in the second day of the draft. in 2005 3 of the 4 first day picks were Defensive. and 2004 2 of the 3 first day picks.

Be not Jealous that Denny has learned his mistakes, has invested in the defense. Cry not for the draft picks have panned out (so far) for Denny.

I will agree with you Denny did many wrongs for Vikes fans when it came to the Defense of that team. I will also say Denny is by no means perfect. I do believe while he is not one of the greatest coaches in NFL football, he is getting better and is not to far from finally getting there.

Osip

I’m waiting to see some results that prove them to be a force outside the NFC West. I can’t find the part where I said he was a fool or an idiot. He’s a smarter football guy than all of us combined. (How many here are on staff as even the lowliest NFL coach?)

I was just bringing up the rock-solid facts of how he’s proven to lead in the past. Sure, not an idicator of the future, necessarily, but it’s all we have to go on.

Maybe you’d be kind enough to think before putting words in my mouth? Thanks for your consideration.

Yes I agree the Vikes under Green were every bit a Score more than the other guy type of team. I do not see that happening in Arizona. He has done a good job of getting the defence the playmakers to keep up with the offense.

As for putting words in your mouth I apologize, I read your post implying such things. I was wrong.