Archive for September, 2009

2009 Predictions – AFC West

September 8, 2009
  1. SD (13-3). Runaway winners of this division. The Merriman situation could affect their season/overall record, but this division is very weak so they should win regardless of Merriman’s latest crap. Still have a hard time believing in this team come playoff time though because I don’t think Norv Turner is that great. Turner may end up being remembered in San Diego for having the same finishing problem as his predecessor Marty “I’m too stubborn to buy contemporary glasses” Shottenheimer.
  2. KC (8-8). Nobody really knows what to expect from KC. They could totally suck – like 2-14 suck, or they could be 9-7. Something is telling me that with Scott Pioli on board as the new GM, the culture in KC is about to change for the better. But what makes them difficult to predict is the presence of Todd Haley. I’m not sure if he will end up being one of those brilliant coaches who gets it, is refreshingly creative, makes great, gutsy in-game decisions – or if he will end up being the hot-headed hard ass coach who just pisses off good players thinking he’s motivating them until nobody is inspired to play well for him anymore. I think this year, they’ll get some wins just from playing in a weak division, but I think they will also be a strong team at home. I have a hard time believing the following: that KC really wants to waste roster space by continuing to keep 4 QBs, that Brodie “way-too-weak-for-the-NFL-frat-guy” Croyle is the #2 QB over Tyler Thigpen and that some team weak at QB hasn’t come running to the Chiefs to trade for Tyler Thigpen – the guy can play.
  3. Den (5-11). Simply because Josh McDaniels has Bill Belichick tutoring, I can’t help but wonder if he has something sneaky up his sleeve. Maybe this whole nightmare beginning to his head coaching career is some kind of clever ruse. Maybe he and Brandon Marshall faked all this ridiculousness, Marshall will come back and start and score 6 TDs Sunday in Cincinnati. Ok maybe not. But it’s kind of funny to take a minute to think about Belichick and 3 of his main disciples: Charlie Weis, Eric Mangini and Josh McDaniels. All 4 seem to be petty about stuff (injuries, announcing starting QBs) and they all seem to relish controversy while generally surrounding themselves in a similar cloud of negative publicity. Interesting coaching tree.
  4. Oak (4-12). Oakland is not going to be good. Al Davis is a joke and he’s making the team he cared about so much into the joke of the NFL. It’s just really sad. It’s possible this year that someone like Darren McFadden might create some nice highlights, but overall, I’m expecting more frustration for Oakland fans. What’s really sad is that one of the biggest things Raider fans have to look forward to is the possibility of Shane Lechler punting a ball¬† into Jerry Jones’ new ridiculous scoreboard at Cowboy stadium – resulting in the official NFL ruling of, yes, a do-over. Lechler just got a ton of money to stay Oakland so I wouldn’t be surprised if he obliges and gives the fans something to cheer about.

2009 Predictions – AFC South

September 8, 2009
  1. Hou (11-5). With Slaton, Owen Daniels, Andre Johnson and the quietly good Kevin Walter, it won’t take miracles from Matt Schaub to score points this year. But the key could be a quality defense. Even though Dunta Robinson (who just ended his holdout) will no doubt suffer the holdout-hamstring-pull soon that will dog him all season, the Houston defense has some high quality players. Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Brian Cushing, (and a healthy Dunta) make for a solid young nucleus. This is Houston’s year in the AFC South.
  2. Indy (10-6). Funny I hadn’t read anything until yesterday about Bob Sanders being injured again. He’s apparently expected to miss several early games (through week 5 some say). This is significant. As much as Manning and the offense may do to put up points, the D could struggle to contain offenses like Houston.
  3. Tenn (8-8). I think this team overachieved last year. While I am rooting hard for new defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil (yes, the bridge of his nose is still bleeding), I think the loss of Jim Schwartz could spell some trouble for their D. I was going to put them below .500 but Jeff Fisher just seems to figure out how to win sometimes.
  4. Jax (5-11). This team is tough to predict. I believe I’ve been way off on them the last 3 years. This team seems to revolve around Maurice Jones-Drew in part, I think, because it does revolve around him. In fact, I’m having a hard time writing about anyone else. Sure, there’s Torry Holt, and Troy “he’s turned the corner, seriously…seriously” Williamson…ok, I’m just bored writing this…they’ll be weak.

2009 Predictions – AFC North

September 8, 2009
  1. Balt (11-5). Not sure why I’m putting them over Pitt, but I got to thinking about their defense the other day and realized that outside of Jim Leonhard and Bart Scott, they still have the same general defense, which of course, is very good. I’m not sure I buy this recent “rumor” that the Balt passing game is set to take off, but I will say this, when Joe Flacco throws a deep ball, I’m not sure I’ve seen a QB with such incredible throwing form in a long time. Last year, I remember thinking that it reminded me of Fred Couples’ golf swing – nice tempo, totally effortless.
  2. Pitt (10-6). I like Mike Tomlin…a lot. Last year I wrote a post about coaches who “just get it”. He gets it. My general argument was that some coaches are into the flow of the game and just get what’s happening as it’s happening (Mike Smith, Sean Payton, Ken Whisenhunt). Others, it seems, take a while to absorb what’s happening and therefore, they take a while to figure out how to adapt to what’s happening (like a deer in the headlights…Mike Sherman, Rod Marinelli, Brad Childress, Romeo Crennel). Mike Tomlin absolutely knows what’s happening – he’s very into the present tense during games and it shows. So, why would I put them behind Balt? I worry about Roethlisberger’s health and a possibly ineffective running game due to a weakish O-Line.
  3. Cincy (9-7). Could be a surprise team this year. While I’d throw Marvin Lewis in the camp of ‘deer in the headlights’ coaches, this team may finally take off here. Ochocinco didn’t necessarily complain about TJ Housh really taking over his spot as the #1 guy in Cincy, but I have a feeling, now that it will be clear he’s the #1 guy, he’ll perform again. Throw in there the huge surprise that WR Chris Henry will turn out to be and the receiving game could be difficult to defend (Coles probably won’t be bad either). This will also help Carson Palmer regain his old form. RB Cedric Benson, though pumped to finally be the undisputed starter, will need to show his stuff early because there is an explosive back in Bernard Scott waiting as #2. And the defense should continue to improve (last year they were in the top half of NFL teams for defense).
  4. Cleve (5-11). One thing I don’t understand about Eric Mangini is that he apparently loves watching the Family Guy and other goofy stuff – so he has a good sense of humor. Yet, his coaching approach is this authoritarian style that apparently borders on the ridiculous. He has gotten off to an ugly start in Cleveland and I will be fascinated to see how both he and Josh McDaniels end up doing this year – I predict poor things for both. Interesting though, that Cleveland is not without talent. They have Shaun Rogers on the d-line, some decent LBs, 2 young/promising RBs (one of whom should unseat the slow and ineffective Jamal Lewis in the first 4 games), Joe Thomas at left tackle, a WR 1 year removed from a statistically unbelievable season in Braylon Edwards and a QB many thought highly of coming out of college (Brady Quinn – who will be the starter by the way, even if Mangini simply decides to NEVER ANNOUNCE IT!). I know a team needs much more than just the above to be successful, but it’s not like this team has zero talent. Still the Cleve will suck until the second half of the season when they may finally get some impressive wins.

UPDATE: just checked the Browns website and they have the depth chart filled out/updated for every position except QB, where there are no names listed. Ah Mangini, up to his Belichickian ways (can’t find any depth chart info on the Pats website).

2009 Predictions – AFC East

September 8, 2009

Agree with Bedard re Anthony Smith cut

September 5, 2009

I like how Bedard puts it when he says in his article:

“The biggest surprise here isn’t that Martin was released, but rather that Anthony Smith was cut. There must have been a fierce internal debate about him because he played better than Aaron Rouse and was decent enough on special teams to keep. Coach Mike McCarthy indicated Rouse might be back this week after missing time with a hamstring, but getting rid of Smith is a bit of a risk. It’s possible no one will pick up Smith and he’ll be available if the Packers need him in the near future. But they go into the Chicago game with Nick Collins, Atari Bigby and Jarrett Bush as their top three safeties. Rouse is going to need time to get back in shape.”

I am not comfortable with Jarrett Bush and an oft-injured (and presently injured) Aaron Rouse as back-ups. Maybe they have the newly acquired Derrick Martin (CB/S) from Baltimore pegged to be a back-up safety. Even if that’s the case, it’s a bit surprising they’d take him over Anthony Smith who has had much of the offseason to adapt to Capers’ scheme. Could be more of a long-term thing though – maybe Martin is someone TT has had his eye on for a while now.

Here are the final cuts for the Packers

September 5, 2009

Read here. I’ve already reviewed my takes on a few cuts in previous posts. But I initially overlooked the cut of Anthony Smith.¬† Shocked by thie one. He knew the 3-4 defense apparently well and made some plays. I wonder if his concussion the other night was pretty serious. Or, could just be that TT remains in love with Aaron Rouse’s potential (despite Rouse’s inability to stay on the field).

Pack chooses Swain over Ruvell Martin

September 5, 2009

Wow – wasn’t expecting this. I didn’t see much, frankly, from Swain as a WR. Maybe he presents with some upside that I haven’t been privy to…interesting. In fact, I’d say I’ve seen more from Jake Allen as a WR than Swain. Maybe they like Swain for return kicks/punts considering our options there seem to be low at the moment.

Would the Pack pick up Jeff Garcia?

September 5, 2009

Jeff Garcia was just cut by Oakland. Could the timing of his cut coincide perhaps to some small degree, with our cut of Brian Brohm. I’ve never liked Garcia’s style or his personality for that matter, but I’m not sure I’d object to him being our #3 QB.

Sutton released, TT stoned?

September 5, 2009

What? Read here – Tyrell Sutton looked very good this preseason. I’m tired of the Packers being content with bigger body type runners. Sutton was exciting because he could make people miss better than any back we’ve had in a long time (probably back to DeMond Parker days…yes, Steve, DeMond Parker). I’m frustated by this move. Considering there was a major bidding war for Sutton after the draft to pick him up as a free agent, I’m pretty sure he won’t make it past waivers. It’s too bad. I think Sutton was probably cut to keep room for John Kuhn. I know Kuhn is known as a special teams guy, but he hasn’t been overly impressive to me on special teams and as I wrote before, he just isn’t a top notch FB either. If I hear arguments saying that Kuhn is more versatile and can be used as a halfback etc, I’ll be pissed. Sutton would be 10x more effective as a half back. Sorry, frustrated.

Harrell and Pat Lee both to IR. Too bad for both of them. Pat Lee does seem to possess some useful athleticism but he is injury-prone.

Brohm to be released?

September 5, 2009 is reporting Brohm will be cut today. I’m a little surprised by this, but I don’t think it’s a terrible decision. Last year, Brohm appeared to me to be a full step slower than Flynn and about 1-2 steps slower than Rodgers. I even argued last year that I would have been fine cutting him in favor of picking up a veteran QB (in part because he just looked so far from being NFL-ready). While he was a tad better this preseason, there may not be much sense in putting more time and effort into developing him. I also think if he were still considered to have potential by other teams, trades offers would have come forward by now (maybe they have…who knows). I know some may be frustrated with this cut because he was a second round pick. To me, I am less concerned with where someone is drafted than with how they perform. (AJ Hawk, are you reading this?).

I do wonder if this means that we’ll pick up a veteran QB or if we’ll stick with 2 QBs. If we stick with 2QBs that will open up another slot for some other position: 4RBs, 3FBs, another secondary spot, LB, ?