Hey folks. News is drying up, and we're already looking at next years mock drafts and last years bad players, that we still expect to have bad years. Last years great players that we expect to have good years. Nothing in life stands still, and neither does the NFL. These are just some thoughts, questions, and things I've been wondering about this year.
1. Has Braylon Edwards been black listed from the NFL? Did he sleep with some owners daughter? What happened? He's still floating on the free agent market and is a viable starting wide receiver. Who's the Browns, Rams, Broncos, Dolphins, Vikings, Texans, 2 starting wide receivers? I can think of one starter on any of those teams, but Edwards would be a great #2 on all of those teams. I'm astounded that no one would jump on a guy that had 17 yards a catch and 7 or 8 touchdowns the last time he was a starter. You might not be a Jet anymore, but we've still got love for ya Bray.
2. Who is the opening day... forget that. Who is the preseason starter at free safety for the Jets? Jim Leonhard (unsigned), Eric Smith, Josh Bush, Antonio Allen, who will it be? I haven't the slightest idea. There are still a couple solid guys out there. Not stars, but solid. Maybe we'll see what the preseason brings to us.
3. Who sucked last year that will be good this year? I'm going to go out on a limb and say Wayne Hunter. In what was a horrible year for him last year, backs running behind him averaged 4.5 yards a carry which I think was tops among the Jets O-lineman. I add to that he had a very good 2010 season before the AFC Championship game. We say he sucks because he stunk last year, we forget that he was good the year before that. I say he goes back to being pretty good in 2012. Bounce back player of the year.
4. Who was a great player last year that will stink this year? I've got a few, but I'm going to go with Drew Brees. He routinely has good years in New Orleans. This year he has a head coach suspended for a year. He has the coach replacing the head coach suspended for 8 games. Now he has the coach, replacing the new coach, that replaced the old coach calling the shots. He's in a contract battle. I think he gets his contract, but the Saints are going to be in disarray this year, and good guy Drew Brees is going to suffer mightily. In a close second place I think Alex Smith of the 49er's returns to his crappy form. The 49er's go back to being mediocre. Randy Moss gets pissed, the ship sinks in San Fran.
5. What is the order of talent in the AFC East? I've read a Patriots guy all pumped up that the Pats got Brandon Lloyd and Dante Stallworth at wide receiver. Really? I'm a fan of Don'ta Hightower but do the Pats 2 first round picks make them that much better defensively? Maybe, maybe not. My guess is The Jets, Patriots, and Bills will all finish within a game of each other. I don't know what the order will be, but I'm calling it a game. The reason I say the Bills is because they were 4-0 when pounding the rock with Fred Jackson. He was the MVP, but Fitzpatrick got the glory. Jackson is back this year, the defense is way better, and the offensive line might have gotten better for Jackson. That spells trouble to me. The Dolphins I don't see better than 4 or 5 wins. They are basically the Jaguars now of the AFC East. Good D, no offense.
6. Who is the paper super team right now? You could say the Giants are the best team, since they were the hottest team at the end of the season. There were a bunch of teams that had some great stretches of invincibility. The Packers, Patriots, Lions, and 49ers all seemed unstoppable at times last year. This year I don't think any of those teams are the best. Call me crazy but I see a Jets team that runs the ball a ton, with a fast and aggressive defense starting out with a 4-0 or 5-0 start and creating the buzz. I can see the Texans picking up where they left off before a slew of QB injuries, dominant offense, and dominant defense again. My sleeper for hot start and on paper monster team is the Cincinatti Bengals. I think they could tear through Baltimore and Pittsburgh the way they are building that team. This offseason they added Dre Kirkpatrick, Kevin Zeitler, Devon Still, Mohamed Sanu, George Illoka, and for good measure Vontaze Burflict to be a special teams and spot player. They have built through the draft better than any team the last 4 years, just my opinion. This is the year they show the AFC North.
7. Will Terrell Owens ever got a shot at the NFL again? T.O.'s teammate Jeff Garcia had a QB spot on the Houston Texans after all their injuries. He's at least 42. I think as soon as there is a major injury to a wide receiver, you will see TO suit up for the first team that gives him a call. Cleveland Browns, are my guess. They can use all the help they can get, and he can catch as many passes as Brandon Weedon, err Colt, um...Brandon can throw his way.
8. Will the passing is king trend continue? This league is ebb and flow. First passing, then rushing. Everyone says its a passing league, and it is. This year, I think could be an abberation. There's a lot more focus on pass rushers and corner backs, and there are at least a dozen teams with quarterbacks that will start that are not seasoned veterans. I think there might be lower scores (a little), teams looking to hold leads, and not get in shoot outs. The running back, and running back by committee to hold a lead, and to keep the time of possession could mean some monster years for running backs again. Off the top of my head I'd say the Ravens, Jets, 49ers, Dolphins, Bills, Giants, Jaguars, Titans, Texans, Bucs, Falcons, Panthers, Chiefs, Raiders, Seahawks, Browns, Vikings, and Bears run the ball more than they throw it. Some teams because of design, some teams because of bad QB play, and some teams because of star running back talent. I think passing takes a back seat to physical football most of the year.
9. Is there a worst to first this year? Its not really a stretch but the AFC West had three 8-8 teams and one 7-9 team. I don't think Payton Manning to the Broncos automatically makes them a 12 or 13 win team. Just don't see it. There's way too many variables to consider. My guess would be the best built team. To me the best built team is the Chiefs. They had a 7-9 season after losing 5 or 6 star players on their team including Eric Berry, Jamal Charles, a few others including a QB. This year everyone is healthy, and they added Peyton Hillis to go with Jamal Charles, not to mention Dwayne Bowe. They don't have a lot of turnover, new coaches, new schemes. I think they beat the Chargers and the Broncos in a tight division again. Raiders are back to being the Raiders. Find something that works and then dump it for something that loses.
10. Who made the right choice? The Seahawks who selected Bruce Irvin 15th, the Jets who took Quinton Coples 16th, the Chargers that were lucky enough to get Melvin Ingram, or the Steelers who let Decastro fall to them in the 20's? The easiest transition will be Decastro for the Steelers, because he doesn't have to be an impact player. If the Jets can get production and even play from Coples I'd say they won. If Bruce Irvin gets 15 meaningless sacks, and doesn't change the outcome of the game then the Seahawks still lose. If Coples is in on 70-80% of the plays he's the best of the 4. If the Chargers Melvin Ingram pans out, I'd be surprised. Not because he's a bad player, but because he did a lot of his damage in college playing at defensive tackle and not defensive end. I'm curious if they make a good stand up linebacker of him, or if he finishes the year trying and failing to be a rush linebacker in the Larry English mold.
11. Will Trent Richardson be the biggest thing in Cleveland since Jim Brown and Lebron James? Before he got draft a lot of people on this site said he was a surefire star and potential hall of fame type of talent. Well now is his chance to prove it. He's on a team with no deadly quarterback, no deadly receivers, and no super talented tight end. This is the chance to prove his worth. I think they do him like they did Peyton Hillis and ride him from the start and wear him out by week 12. Good luck buddy, your going to need it.