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  • Prince's 2010 Truths

    With the first training camp opening up tomorrow I felt this was an appropriate time to post my truths for this year. I tried to comment on one story from each division, and that seemed actually difficult because there seems to be good discussion going on in this forum throughout the off-season and I wanted to give perspective on items that haven't been touched too much.

    The Mess out West

    For several years now the San Diego Chargers have been the king of the AFC West, but I think their string of four straight divisions titles will come to end here in 2010. I want to start with the Chargers and what weaknesses I see in them to believe that the run will come to end. The biggest red flag(s) sit with the potential holdouts and absences of Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeil. When you take out the franchise left tackle and Pro Bowl caliber wide receiver off of any offense there’s going to problems, and I think you have to worry about it even more when you have an offense that is so dependent on the passing attack. I know people are jumping on the Ryan Mathews train and project him to be a big spark plug in their rushing attack. I believe he’ll be an upgrade over Tomlinson, but his effectiveness will be hurt because the team won’t necessarily have the passing attack in front of him to take the pressure off. The defense is solid but they need Shawne Merriman to resemble his former self and give them pass rush to help out a secondary, more specifically safety position, that has struggled. And let’s not forget that Norv Turner is still their head coach; he’s a good offensive mind but I pointed out the question marks there and this team has gone through some head scratching slumps during his lead.

    So who is going to emerge as the team to unseat the Chargers? The Chiefs are a developing team but they are still two or three years away from being a threat at all and the Broncos showed promise last season but I feel they have too many question marks throughout that defense to be a threat to the Chargers and Kyle Orton is still their quarterback. That leaves me with the Oakland Raiders (go ahead and laugh). After last season when they trotted out JaMarcus Russell, Charlie Frye, and Bruce Gradkowski, it was obvious that they needed to make an improvement there and Jason Campbell is a sizable upgrade compared to those other “players”. There are a handful of skill players around him with nice potential (McFadden, Bush, Schilens, Murphy, Heyward-Bey, Miller) and they have never played with a quarterback who is able to distribute the ball like Campbell (now let me clear up, I’m not saying Jason is this wonderful quarterback but he is much better than anything this franchise has seen in several years). The offensive line has question marks but they do have options and brought in some solid young guys through the draft, Veldheer and Campbell. Moving to the defensive side of the ball I like the players that they’ve managed to bring in at each level. Richard Seymour is the headliner along the front but they have options/names alongside him (Henderson, Houston, Wimbley, Groves, Shaughnessy, Kelly, Joseph). I know some of them haven’t proven much or are just rookies but they have more numbers and depth than we’ve seen from them in the past. At linebacker they’ll be led by rookie Rolando McClain, and he brings the smarts and winning mentality to be the leader of this unit and defense for the next decade. Thomas Howard is another player I like and between him and McClain they should provide long-term stability at the position. The secondary has one of the game’s best in Nnamdi Asomugha and across from him Chris Johnson has flashed real ability paired with his freakish athleticism. At safety Tyvon Branch could be working his way towards being a perennial Pro-Bowl player, but there are question marks at free safety that need to be ironed out. As a whole I think this defensive unit is legit and I am a big fan of their depth along the line and pair that with an offense that will be able to move the ball much better than years past, I think we’re looking at the new AFC West Champions in the Oakland Raiders.

    Texans’ Emerging Strength

    The Houston Texans have gone through the past two seasons as the “sleeper” team to finally find their way into the postseason, much like we heard with Arizona for so long. Their offense can put up points with any team out there as long as Matt Schaub stays healthy, but the defense has continually been a developing project. Mario Williams anchors the front four and they’ll need Okoye to take that next step forward if this unit wants to do so as well. It’s a solid unit and far from the Texans’ biggest concern, even though the depth and impact at tackle is still a work in progress. DeMeco Ryans is one of the game’s best middle linebackers and when you pair him with Brian Cushing, you have yourself a wonderful tandem there and Zac Diles is a quality player on the weakside. The biggest weakness and often the thing holding the Texans back from making that push to the postseason is the secondary; that is about to change. I believe by the end of this upcoming season the cornerback duo of rookie Kareem Jackson and second year man Glover Quin will be one of the league’s best starting cornerback duos. Jackson, who I felt was the best corner in this past draft, has been reportedly wowing the Texans’ coaching staff this off-season and Quin contributed very well but very quietly in his rookie season. At safety Bernard Pollard is a good football player and they will need more contributions from the free safety spot, but no longer will the guys on the outside be the most concerning part; rather they’ll be one of the strengths and one of the league’s best. This isn’t the final piece of the puzzle for the Texans but I think it’s the piece of the puzzle that will finally get them to the playoffs.

    Green Getting too much Gold

    The Packers are indeed overrated. Peter King has them as his NFC favorite in the Super Bowl!!! Aaron Rodgers is a very good quarterback and his weapons are plenty, so there's no need to discuss the positives of the team, which mainly lie on offense. The offensive line did improve last season, but coming into 2010 it's unrealistic to expect Clifton and Tauscher to both stay healthy because they're aging and have suffered from injuries in the past. Who will be there to replace them? Bulaga would be expected to and I don't see him doing too well from the left side if asked to do so (I see him as the right, not left, tackle of the future).

    Moving to the defensive side of the ball, there's a young bright spot at each level (Raji, Matthews, Collins) and of course there's Chuck. Along the defensive line, Pickett has been moved to end and I just do not see him playing as well at end compared to his play at nose last year. I know they want to see Raji in the middle, and so I question why they gave Pickett the extension they did if this was their plan (not that he didn’t deserve money but that much to an end longterm?). Cullen Jenkins at the other end is always solid, but after the starters there's not much depth, IMO. Johnny Jolly has his legal troubles and he’s been suspended for the year, 2nd round pick Mike Neal is a head scratcher and I don't see much of an impact from him, and Jarius Wynn is a nice player but I don't want to see him playing much. CJ Wilson is another possibility and I think he'll see most action on passing downs. The linebackers are led by second year man Clay Matthews and Barnett/Hawk are solid but not spectacular inside, and then by far the greatest weakness in Brad Jones. He's not that good of a pass rusher and coverage needs quite a bit of work, yet the team ignored the position entirely this off-season and I think it's going to come back and bite them in the ass. Jones will definitely be the target of many opponents. Then we move to the secondary. Chuck is as good as they come and Nick Collins is solid (but I feel not as good as some want to give him credit for). The second corner position looks like Tramon Williams spot to lose and I'm not sure how I feel about him starting all season for this team; another point of focus for opponents. Al Harris may come back but given his injuries I don't see him making much of a positive impact this season, Pat Lee will be lucky to stay healthy and anything from him will be welcomed, Underwood is still developing, and then it's even more unproven youngsters. I mentioned Collins at safety and then the team will have to rely on a rookie in Morgan Burnett, who I feel is full of potential but is a tough pair with Nick Collins because both are looking for the spectacular play in coverage and have a tendency to get burned. Bigby will try to provide competition but he's struggled with health and has never been quite as good as he played in the 2008 divisional round game against Seattle.

    Overall this team has some question marks throughout the defense and the offensive line's health is going to be vital. I know some people will and have brought up defensive statistics from last season and they're kidding themselves if they think there aren't question marks. Just watch the games against actual good teams and the defense's flaws are evident. It's tough to project a team's health and stuff like that this far out from the season, but taking a look at the team's schedule and the improvement throughout the division I think the Packers making the playoffs again will be a small victory. I could easily see this team losing seven or eight games and that surely doesn't scream a team that'll be in the Super Bowl. You can call me a bit pessimistic too, but I do feel that the Packers are getting too much love.

    Remember Steven Jackson?

    With the Rams’ troubles over the past couple of years Jackson has often become an after-thought when discussions of the league’s top running backs come up, but I feel this year will be a re-emergence of sorts on the national scale. He did put up some very solid stats with no passing attack whatsoever and as long as Sam Bradford gets his contract done and can into camp I think Jackson will be able to build on last year and put up the best numbers of his career. The offensive line is young and a continued work in progress but they are talented and I feel they’ll be able to do a good enough job to keep Bradford on his feet and open up holes for Jackson. From a fantasy standpoint there seems to be fewer and fewer teams who are strictly one back systems, but the Rams happen to be one of the few. That means plenty of opportunities for Jackson and given the improvement, overtime, along the line and the hopeful improvement at quarterback, I feel Jackson will be a top five fantasy back in 2010. The Rams, as a whole, will probably only improve by two or three games because of a weak defense but their offense is starting to form nicely and Jackson is the centerpiece of it.

    Poor John Fox

    I am a big fan of Coach John Fox and I think the Carolina Panthers are far better off with him as their head coach, but this year will probably be the conclusion to his run in Carolina. The offense is all about running the football and Williams/Stewart is a sick tandem back there. The offensive line is built appropriately and Matt Moore showed at the end of last year that he’s a good enough game manager to compliment the backs. The defensive front four will be the cause for his demise. They weren’t a strong unit to begin with in 2009 and now you take out Julius Peppers and throw in Everette Brown; not a good move! The back seven of this defense is definitely worthy of a contending team, but this front four will struggle, specifically in the pass rush, and the backers and secondary will pay the price for that as well because quarterbacks will be able to pick them apart. The run defense will struggle too because linemen will be able to get to the second level and neutralize the backers. Consequently the team will suffer, lose games, and cost John Fox his job, assuming he wants to stay there.

    Eagles Flying Low

    One of the worst moves of the entire off-season was the trade of McNabb to the Washington Redskins and leaving the keys of the Eagles’ organization to unproven Kevin Kolb. He did get limited time last year and while his fantasy numbers were impressive, the whole scope of his play wasn’t all that impressive. His first start game against the Saints and he was able to accumulate the majority of his stats while working from behind. His second start game against the Chiefs and their pass defense was ripped apart by any team that had any sort of passing attack. Of course someone and come back and say it would’ve been more troubling had he struggled in that game, and while I agree, I don’t think that game is the kind of evidence you want to support the fact that you traded the face of your franchise and decided to move forward. The Eagles will have their positive moments this season, no doubt, but the division is tough and Kolb’s struggles will be there, and this will lead to them potentially being the cellar dwellers of the East. The one thing that could keep them out of the cellar is their defense and their draft strategy this year shows that they put high priority on building a strong defense with Kolb under center. I see the Eagles winning between five to seven games this year and it’ll be another two or three years before they’re relevant in the NFC again.

    More Pain in Pennsylvania

    I just got done commenting how the Eagles will struggle this upcoming season with Kevin Kolb under center, and if the state of Pennsylvania is looking for a team to get into the playoffs, the Steelers won’t help that cause. The suspension of Roethlisberger is the biggest reason for this, and if he is in fact out for all six games then I just don’t see this team finding a way to win ten games throughout the year. The second cause for my concern is their offensive line and while they did add Pouncey that only fixes one spot and Colon was put on IR today, so they lose one starter from last year’s squad and any potential depth. The defense will have to be the saving grace and if Troy Polamalu goes down once again then you can eliminate any chances; most of us are aware of the discrepancies when he plays and when he sits. There just seems to be too much uncertainty and time is not on their side to form a cohesive unit with the changes at quarterback for them to compete and make run with such a tough division and league around them.

    On the Clock

    It’s a popular pick but I’m going to comment on it anyways. The Buffalo Bills made a head scratching decision with their new head coach and given their huge question marks along the offensive line and at quarterback they seem like the odds on favorite to be choosing first in next April’s draft. The Rams, Buccaneers, and Browns are the strongest contenders to threaten this title.

    Award/Playoff Predictions

    NFL MVP – Tony Romo
    Offensive Rookie of the Year – Jahvid Best
    Defensive Rookie of the Year – Eric Berry

    NFC Playoffs
    East – Dallas Cowboys
    North – Minnesota Vikings
    South – New Orleans Saints
    West – San Francisco 49ers
    Wildcard – New York Giants and Green Bay Packers
    NFC Champion – Dallas Cowboys

    AFC Playoffs
    East – New York Jets
    North – Baltimore Ravens
    South – Indianapolis Colts
    West – Oakland Raiders
    Wildcard – New England Patriots and Houston Texans
    AFC Champion – Baltimore Ravens

    Super Bowl Champion – Baltimore Ravens


    Follow me on Twitter! http://twitter.com/#!/aMo_Captain

  • #2
    - Last year you said the packers defense was their achilles heel
    - You said the cowboys would finish last in the division last year way off
    - You have had john fox getting fired since 2008
    - In '08 you were chugging the browns koolaid claiming they would win the AFC North

    About half of these predictions might come true. But i guess 50% is all you need to consider something truth anymore. If these are truths than i am the tooth fairy.
    Last edited by Bob Sanders Dreadlock; 07-22-2010, 03:26 PM.
    Sam Bradford will be a bust- 2/24/2010

    Colts Cardinals Bulls Hurricanes

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Bob Sanders Dreadlock View Post
      - Last year you said the packers defense was their achilles heel
      .
      In games that were against top end competition last season the defense was awful, specifically the secondary...did you see the Arizona playoff game???

      and you can call me out on my truths if you want, i don't really care (especially from you) but if you're not going to constructively breakdown my post or come out with your own then don't comment


      Follow me on Twitter! http://twitter.com/#!/aMo_Captain

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      • #4
        Originally posted by princefielder28 View Post
        In games that were against top end competition last season the defense was awful, specifically the secondary...did you see the Arizona playoff game???

        and you can call me out on my truths if you want, i don't really care (especially from you) but if you're not going to constructively breakdown my post or come out with your own then don't comment
        True but it was a fumble on the offense that cost them the game. What can constructively said about picking the browns to win the AFC North? Not exactly someone deserving of their own thread with such big misses.
        Sam Bradford will be a bust- 2/24/2010

        Colts Cardinals Bulls Hurricanes

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        • #5
          Even without McNeil and Jackson, San Diego still has enough firepower to move the football and put up some points. I expect them to try and pound the rock with Matthews and they should be able to do that in their division without a major problem.
          I also can't see the Texans in the playoffs because of the schedule. It's absolutely brutal. How long can you be a sleeper team? I worry about the Ravens too because of no Ed Reed for the first 6 weeks. He is the heart and soul of a secondary that already isn't exactly a strong point.
          Hi Mom. Send money!

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          • #6
            You were the one person to agree with my assessment on the Packers D, so I'll back up up here.

            Here are the stats I looked up for my truths thread a few months back:

            Originally posted by BeerBaron View Post

            They played:
            Bears (twice) - 23rd ranked overall offense
            Bengals - 24th
            Rams - 29th
            Vikings (twice) - 5th
            Lions (twice) - 26th
            Browns - 32nd
            Bucs - 28th
            Cowboys - 2nd
            49ers - 27th
            Ravens - 13th
            Steelers - 7th
            Seahawks - 21st
            Cardinals - 14th

            10 of your 16 opponents were 20th rated or worse in overall offense...

            3 of your losses came in games facing the teams better than 20th, and one your wins was the Cardinals in the final week after they had locked everything up, and then they went on to annihilate your defense a week later.

            And in all of your losses, including 2 to the Bucs and Steelers, your defense gave up 30+ points.

            I have concerns with this defense.

            I have concerns when a team with this defense is being touted as the top team in it's conference, and a Superbowl threat.
            Unless they show a marked improvement against legit offensive competition, they just don't have the makings of a Superbowl defense.

            Originally posted by Bob Sanders Dreadlock View Post
            True but it was a fumble on the offense that cost them the game. What can constructively said about picking the browns to win the AFC North? Not exactly someone deserving of their own thread with such big misses.
            Why yes, the Cardinals scored 51 points on that fumble....how foolish we all are for forgetting that...
            Last edited by BeerBaron; 07-22-2010, 03:35 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bob Sanders Dreadlock View Post
              True but it was a fumble on the offense that cost them the game. What can constructively said about picking the browns to win the AFC North? Not exactly someone deserving of their own thread with such big misses.
              Rodgers fumble in overtime obviously cost them the game at that point but the 531 yards and 45 points that the defense surrendered in regulation was the key reason they lost.

              And why are you bringing up a prediction/truth I made in 2008? I'll admit that I was wrong (sorry!) but I don't know what more you want me to say about it


              Follow me on Twitter! http://twitter.com/#!/aMo_Captain

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              • #8
                Originally posted by princefielder28 View Post
                In games that were against top end competition last season the defense was awful, specifically the secondary...did you see the Arizona playoff game???

                and you can call me out on my truths if you want, i don't really care (especially from you) but if you're not going to constructively breakdown my post or come out with your own then don't comment
                Don't worry about him, he keeps trying to find a way to win a arguement, its quite saddening.

                But you forgot to mention Mike Karney to Stephen Jacksons success!!!!

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                • #9
                  Jackson has a lot of competition to become a top 5 fantasy back. Ray Rice, CJ2K, Deangelo Williams, AD, and frank gore all have better situations to put up better stats. Jason Smith played only half the season and still has his health in question. I think he will be closer to 1200 yards this year. After 324 carries last year i wonder how his body will hold hes had the injury bug.
                  Sam Bradford will be a bust- 2/24/2010

                  Colts Cardinals Bulls Hurricanes

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bob Sanders Dreadlock View Post
                    Jackson has a lot of competition to become a top 5 fantasy back. Ray Rice, CJ2K, Deangelo Williams, AD, and frank gore all have better situations to put up better stats. Jason Smith played only half the season and still has his health in question. I think he will be closer to 1200 yards this year.After 324 carries last year i wonder how his body will hold hes had the injury bug.
                    And CJ2k, AD, and Mojo had as many carries, so your last point really doesn't have an validation. You could make the arguement CJ doesn't get hit as often, but you can't really say the same for AD and MoJo. Also through his career he has missed some games each year, but AD will soon have those as well as their styles are similar. Not to mention Ray has Willis and Leron taking the TD's, Deangelo has Stewart, AD has Gerhart now. Not to mention if Ravens, Titans, or Vikings clinch HFA they wouldn't see the field as much.

                    Also can't argue against Gore because he will be a Top 5 back as well.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by zachsaints52 View Post
                      And CJ2k, AD, and Mojo had as many carries, so your last point really doesn't have an validation. You could make the arguement CJ doesn't get hit as often, but you can't really say the same for AD and MoJo. Also through his career he has missed some games each year, but AD will soon have those as well as their styles are similar. Not to mention Ray has Willis and Leron taking the TD's, Deangelo has Stewart, AD has Gerhart now. Not to mention if Ravens, Titans, or Vikings clinch HFA they wouldn't see the field as much.

                      Also can't argue against Gore because he will be a Top 5 back as well.
                      Jackson will faced more stacked boxes than any of those other guys as well. Bradford, feely or whoever they throw out there will not intimidate any defenses.
                      Sam Bradford will be a bust- 2/24/2010

                      Colts Cardinals Bulls Hurricanes

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bob Sanders Dreadlock View Post
                        Jackson will faced more stacked boxes than any of those other guys as well. Bradford, feely or whoever they throw out there will not intimidate any defenses.
                        Because...you know....Marc Bulger, Keith Null, Kyle Boller, Brock Berlin....whoever else they had back there.....really did intimidate those defenses into letting Jackson run wild.

                        The wear and tear on his body may slow him down, but he's absolutely been getting it done with nothing else around him for years now.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bob Sanders Dreadlock View Post
                          Jackson will faced more stacked boxes than any of those other guys as well. Bradford, feely or whoever they throw out there will not intimidate any defenses.
                          While that could be the case, they stacked last year while SJax had a herniated disc, and he still managed to only miss one game and 2nd in rushing. Now with a better OL, Laurent Robinson coming back (he was having a decent year before leg injury), Avery and Mardy Gilyard, and a QB that noone doubts has very good accuracy, I can see him bettering his last year stats.

                          Also, Mojo will face alot of stacked boxes, and if Favre doesn't come back AD will too. I would expect Gore as well until Smith actually shows people he needs to be taking seriously on a full time basis.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by zachsaints52 View Post
                            While that could be the case, they stacked last year while SJax had a herniated disc, and he still managed to only miss one game and 2nd in rushing. Now with a better OL, Laurent Robinson coming back (he was having a decent year before leg injury), Avery and Mardy Gilyard, and a QB that noone doubts has very good accuracy, I can see him bettering his last year stats.

                            Also, Mojo will face alot of stacked boxes, and if Favre doesn't come back AD will too. I would expect Gore as well until Smith actually shows people he needs to be taking seriously on a full time basis.
                            The better O-line is pure speculation. An what i said still stands all those guys have better QB's than the rams do. Avery took a dip in production this past year, and bradford could end up being terrible.
                            Sam Bradford will be a bust- 2/24/2010

                            Colts Cardinals Bulls Hurricanes

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                            • #15
                              John Fox has gotten Carolina as far as he can take them and hasnt been able to put up back to back winning seasons yet and on top of that stuck with jake Delhomme for 3 or 4 seasons too long which is why he will hopefully be fired after this season or resigns not because of the D Line. That said i do agree the line will be a killer for the Panthers Defense and im just hoping at least one of those guys will flash because right now Tyler Brayton is probably our best D Lineman and although Brayton did fairly well the past few seasons alot of that is because of Peppers who as you stated is no longer there. All of this however was all brought on by John Foxes and Marty Hurneys refusal to really play anyone or even draft anyone worth a crap for the line followed by his sudden urge to start everyone who hasnt been playing and cut all of the veterans (Steve Smith is now the only player over 30 besides the Kicker and Punter). That urge was brought on because Fox was finally starting to feel pressure from the FO about not developing the younger talent on the team and the fact that he wasnt resigned because of his lackluster seasons and embarrassing playoff losses to the Seahawks and most recently jakes 5 turnover performance against the Cardinals so he decided to finally do a mass exodus of all the vets and is now hes hoping some of the youngers guys flash and he'll be able to save face put together a decent season and maybe get a HC job somewhere else...Fox did build this team from the ground up and took a 1-15 Team to a Superbowl 2 years later and lost barely and took them to the NFC championship game a few years later (the aforementioned embarrassing loss to the Seahawks) but as i said has been unable to even string together back to back winning seasons. I like John Fox and i appreciate what he has done for Carolina but its time to move on.


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