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My NFC South MEGATHREAD

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  • My NFC South MEGATHREAD

    I'm not sure we have the volume to surpass the NFC East. But it's worth a try. I might as well be the one to make it, so onto it.

    Passing Game
    • 1. New Orleans
    • 2. Tampa Bay
    • 3. Carolina
    • 4. Atlanta

    Analysis: This wasn't to hard to figure it out. New Orleans has an MVP caliber QB, a bevy of talented receivers, and a solid O-Line. I think Reggie Bush will make the most improvement this year as a receiver. I think they will incorporate him, more so, in the down the field passing game. Rather than just using him as a safety valve. With another year under his belt, he should be able to create match-up problems down the field. Last year, with the hold out, he wasn't able to be much of a factor in that regard. This can be seen clearly, because his YPC was rather mediocre.

    After New Orleans it becomes muddled. Carolina really only has Steve Smith as a weapon. I understand saving money, and going on a 'youth movement' with Dwayne Jarrett. However, I don't think there is a chance he comes close to whatever production Keyshawn Johnson would have provided. I also think they missed out on a chance to add a dynamic TE, in Greg Olsen. The Panthers struggled mightily on obvious passing downs, specifically on 3rd down.

    Tampa Bay has the potential to be really solid. They have gradually turned the O-Line from a weakness, to strength, via the draft. The key here is how the Quarterback position unfolds, as well as Michael Clayton. If he reverts to his old level, they will be set. However, if he doesn't, and Joey Galloway's age catches up with him, they could be rather lousy. Then again, as I mentioned, every team after New Orleans could either be solid or terrible.

    Atlanta is the most interesting team to follow, when it comes to the passing attack for obvious reasons. Bobby Petrino has made it clear he wants Michael Vick to be more of a passer. He wants running to be the last resort, and for him to hit his check-downs rather than running for it. As I will detail, he will have the opportunity to become the player he should be. It will be up to him to cash in, however. I guarantee you that Atlanta won't have the 32nd ranked passing attack. For the main reason they won't be 32nd in attempts again. How good they will be, is the question. I think the 2-4 rankings in the NFC South are rather fluid. I have to put Atlanta here, at 4th, but here are some reasons for optimism.

    To facilitate that, Petrino's offense utilizes the H-Back. The team cut Eric Beverly, and is relying on the winner of a three man competition to provide Michael Vick another target. Since he already likes throwing to Crumpler, adding another TE/H-Back type will only help Petrino's transformation of Michael Vick into a more 'McNabb like' passer. The team also practically added three new Wide Receivers, as well. Joe Horn will provide veteran leadership and reliable hands. The coaching staff loved Laurent Robinson so much; they passed on Michael Bush for him. Hue Jackson compared him to another receiver he tutored, TJ Houshmandzadeh. Indications are he can win the #3 role, over Roddy White and Brian Finneran.

    On the O-Line, this is where the Falcons will benefit most from the coaching change. Veterans who played, successfully, under the Reeves regime hated Alex Gibbs' mandate that they should weight under 295-lbs. Kynan Forney, the team's best lineman and pro-bowl snub from '04-'05, credited that for late season breakdowns. The lineman wore down playing at an unnaturally low weight. Now they can all play at their normal weight, above 300-lbs. The team also added Justin Blalock, one of the preeminent Guard prospects in the draft. He will come in and start right away. It's unusual to get an O-Lineman who was that productive, for such a long time, out of college.

    Running Game
    • 1. Atlanta
    • 2. New Orleans
    • 3. Carolina
    • 4. Tampa Bay

    Analysis: This isn't exactly fair, because Michael Vick gives Atlanta an edge over any team not named Tennessee. Though, Petrino wants him to throw more and run less. Atlanta beefed up the O-Line, added 2nd team all-pro Ovie Mughelli to blow up Linebackers. They may very well notch a fourth consecutive #1 rushing attack. Jerious Norwood is expected to win the starting job over Warrick Dunn, by most experts. He showed tremendous potential last year, and was better as an interior runner than anticipated.

    As good as Atlanta's rushing attack is, New Orleans is close. Deuce McAllister, despite the hype of his teammate, is the best RB in the whole division. He runs with power and surprising burst. Reggie Bush may not lend a lot of production on the ground, however, he allows McAllister to be fresh on those interior runs. Bush's problem is he refuses to put his head down and pick up as many yards as possible. Far too many times he tried he 'reverse the field' move, and got clobbered for a loss of yards for no reason. I expect him to play like he did at the end of the year, decent, which was a massive upgrade over his 1st half of the season.

    Carolina's rushing attack struggled mightily last year, mostly because the O-Line was ravaged by injuries. However, they stubbornly relied on DeShaun Foster. That was a mistake, because DeAngelo Williams needs to be the team's feature back. I think he will be, with the team's transition into a ZBS. That schematic change will help out, because it fits their talent better. Especially with the athletic lineman they have, including new guy Ryan Kalil, who may have been the steal of the draft. They will improve; I just don't see exponential improvement.

    Tampa Bay really have tried to improve the O-Line. I think it will pay out, and it isn't there fault they are in a run heavy division. However, I have serious questions about Carnell Williams. He came out of the gates as a rookie, but he hasn't been able to revert to his first three games level. He has also shown that his durability is lacking. I think Jon Gruden will run him into the ground.

    Run Defense
    • 1. Carolina
    • 2. Tampa Bay
    • 3. Atlanta
    • 4. New Orleans

    Analysis: Atlanta, Tampa Bay, as well as Carolina did very well last year. They all graded out as top-10 in regards to YPC against, which is my foremost gauge for run defense. All of the teams probably improved, actually. Run defense won’t be a problem for any of them.

    Carolina added Jon Beason, which was a big addition. This allows them to no longer rely on Dan Morgan. (Of whom I would strongly suggest he quit before he ruins his life, with another concussion.) Julius Peppers is the premier DE in football, not only just for his pass rushing prowess, but because he is so good against the run. My concern is Kris Jenkins, who allegedly showed up at camp fifty pounds over his playing weight. His lack of work ethic may have been why Carolina tried to get value out of him, via a trade.

    Tampa Bay’s run defense was solid last year, and with the additions via the off-season I wouldn’t expect that to change. Kevin Carter, while not the dominant player he was at the turn of the decade, is a solid addition. In the draft I thought the Buccaneers did an excellent job of restocking Monte Kiffin’s defense. They took a bevy of players who are tremendous scheme fits. Greg Peterson was one of my favorite sleepers, and should eventually be refined into a perfect Tampa 2 style 3-Tech.

    Atlanta solidified their run defense last year, mostly because of the addition of Grady Jackson. He was named as a Pro Bowl snub by Pro Football Weekly. He was a disruptive force against the interior running attack. Depth behind Jackson is a concern though, as the team has to rely on Darrell Shropshire and Tommy Jackson to further refine their games. Lawyer Milloy is an excellent in the box SS. The Linebackers, especially Michael Boley, have unparallel athleticism, but will struggle if you can get an O-Lineman on them. If they can keep them clean, they are a force in space. The Falcons lost Patrick Kerney, but replaced him with Jamaal Anderson, who is bigger and stronger at the P.O.A.

    As for New Orleans, they were terrible last year, 30th actually. They didn’t really improve themselves that much, at least not enough to make a positive impact. They added some help at Linebacker, with Brian Simmons. However, he alone won’t turn around this unit. They will just have to use their offense as the best weapon against opposing running attacks.

    Pass Defense
    • 1. Atlanta
    • 2. Carolina
    • 3. Tampa Bay
    • 4. New Orleans

    Analysis: This isn’t the division’s strength, not even close. All of the teams have question marks here. Quite frankly, I don’t think any will be exceptional.

    Atlanta is relying heavily on the development of Jimmy Williams and Chris Houston. Relying on young players is always a risky proposition in the secondary. Both have tremendous talent; it will be up to Mike Zimmer to break them in. If John Abraham can stay healthy, which is a big if, that would help the young guys until they got their feet wet, so to speak. Mike Zimmer has a history of developing Defensive Backs. Lawyer Milloy will play his role, as a primary run support player. However, his biggest contribution will be to rein in the young guys as a leader.

    Carolina has the best corners in the division, but they have lousy safeties. That was their biggest problem last year, and they did nothing to remedy the situation. Richard Marshall was the steal of the draft last year, and I personally think he would be better than Chris Gamble. Ken Lucas, when healthy, is an excellent corner. However, their corners are much better when they get consistent pass rush. Julius Peppers is going to need help from his supporting cast, and I am not sure he will get that much.

    Tampa Bay has a strange juxtaposition of youth and age in the same unit. They added several nice rookie prospects, Tanard Jackson and Sabby Piscitelli. So it was obvious they had to address the secondary in the draft. How they play immediately will make or break this unit. Not too unlike Atlanta and New Orleans. What will help a lot is if they can get a consistent pass rush with Gaines Adams and Kevin Carter. The Buccaneers only registered 25 sacks last year. With the new additions and a, hopefully, healthier Simeon Rice, that will help the pass defense.

    New Orleans’ pass rush covers up some deficiencies. However their best CB, Mike McKenzie, is really showing his age lately. Once again, they didn’t do enough to fix the defense. Adding small school corners may pan out later on, but expecting them to produce immediately is rather optimistic.

    Special Teams

    Analysis: Looking at the stats on Football Outsiders, and NFL.com, all of these teams struggled last year on special teams. Since I don’t know much about this facet of the game, and because it fluctuates so much on a yearly basis, I wouldn’t feel right ‘ranking’ them. Safe to say, they all need to improve.

    Predictions
    • 1. New Orleans (11-5)
    • 2. Atlanta (9-7)
    • 3. Tampa Bay (8-8)
    • 4. Carolina (6-10)

    Analysis: New Orleans' offense will by dynamite. They are going to be the Colts of the NFC. However, with holes in the defensive units, it is going to be extremely difficult for any other team to stop the Saints’ run at a repeat division title. New Orleans will just have to expect to be in a lot of shootouts.

    Atlanta has to rely on a lot of rookies, but New Orleans did last year with positive results. The scheme change helps the team, out with the player friendly; losing is “fun adversity” approach of Jim Mora. In comes the stern leadership of Bobby Petrino, Hue Jackson, and Mike Zimmer, who have an old school approach of accountability. The scheme changes actually fit the talent better, as well. The Line change benefits Atlanta’s veteran right side, which was playing out of the comfort level in Gibbs’ system. The man coverage schemes Zimmer employs benefits DeAngelo Hall, and his preference in Linebackers is in line with the athletic group. The key is if Bobby Petrino can get Michael Vick to buy into his system. If so, the sky is the limit. If not, the franchise will have a big decision in ’08.

    Tampa Bay is still in a rebuilding phase. With a new batch of players coming in, to replace the old guard on the defensive side of the ball. On offense they have done an admirable job of adding talent to the O-Line. How the young players play, as a cohesive unit, will be important. Joey Galloway has miraculously stayed healthy as of late. His continued health and production, with a return to form for Michael Clayton, is crucial to the offense. The Quarterback competition will be something I will pay keen attention.

    Carolina is a team that I am not optimistic about. They haven't really improved this off-season. Jake Delhomme has significant question marks surrounding him. He is a loose cannon on the field, and he held them back last year. They didn't add a weapon to help on 3rd down, where they were pitiful last year. In fact they lost production, in cutting Keyshawn Johnson. He was a great run blocker, and a consistent receiver. Dwayne Jarrett won't be half the player Johnson is, right away in '07 that is. On defense they also have issues, specifically at Safety. However, I don't think their defense will be why they will finish in the bottom half of the league.
    Last edited by Shiver; 05-11-2007, 06:12 PM.


  • #2
    I think it is safe to say this is my biggest write up ever. I hope I got all the kinks out, but I'm not sure.

    Comment


    • #3
      My prediction: the NFC South will be the 2nd worst division in football next year.


      Nobody cares about your stupid fantasy team.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by bearsfan_51 View Post
        My prediction: the NFC South will be the 2nd worst division in football next year.
        Maybe on the field. But the records won't indicate that. The NFC South has the collectively easiest schedule, from a S.O.S standpoint. Not that '06 W-L prorated means all that much. I think New Orleans has a lousy defense, and the other three teams all have BOOM/BUST potential. They will either be lousy, or surprisingly good.
        Last edited by Shiver; 05-09-2007, 11:21 PM.

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        • #5
          beind the nfc north i agree that it will be the worst division, except i for see the panthers winning it

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          • #6
            Goddamnit, I can't give you anymore rep points, Shiver. Anyhow... fantastic, fantastic read. Once I finish watching these episodes of Frasier I'll respond with my analysis.
            The whole world loves neophyte athletic tight end Jimmy Graham from Miami with the 95th pick. "Best pick in the draft,'' one AFC coach told me. "Give him time, and in that offense, he'll be better than [Jeremy] Shockey by the start of next year.''

            “We know that no matter the adversity, be it the lockout, be it the suspension or be it a hurricane, our men will pull together and defend the honor of this city. We’ve shown we’ve been able to do that.” - Jabari Greer

            Comment


            • #7
              I wasn't going to click on it, but it is a MEGAthread.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Shiver View Post
                Maybe on the field. But the records won't indicate that. The NFC South has the collectively easiest schedule, from a S.O.S standpoint. Not that '06 W-L prorated means all that much. I think New Orleans has a lousy defense, and the other three teams all have BOOM/BUST potential. They will either be lousy, or surprisingly good.
                I actually think the NFC West is going to outplay the South next year. I dunno who the AFC division they play is, so if it's the East or the South that may help a little.


                Nobody cares about your stupid fantasy team.

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                • #9
                  Just so u guys no, for the past few years, the last place team has jumped up to first the following year. Going by that that Division winner would be :

                  Tampa YAY ( this is kind of pathetic isnt it)

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                  • #10
                    The NFC South will play the NFC West and AFC South. That's why the NFC South has such an easy S.O.S. Now I am not ready to agree with you that the West will outplay them. However, I think it could happen.
                    Last edited by Shiver; 05-10-2007, 12:03 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Chucky View Post
                      Just so u guys no, for the past few years, the last place team has jumped up to first the following year. Going by that that Division winner would be :

                      Tampa YAY ( this is kind of pathetic isnt it)
                      The problem with that theory is it seems that only New Orleans is set up to win now. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the other three teams seem to be in a rebuilding ebb. Of course things will change, and we all will be wrong. But as of this moment, I cannot say with any confidence that the Bucs, Falcons, or Panthers will be successful next year. At least we know New Orleans. We have tangible proof of what they are, as a football team. The other teams just have question marks that no one has the answers to.
                      Last edited by Shiver; 05-09-2007, 11:58 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Again, great review Shiver.

                        I really think that the NFC South is the Saints' to lose. With as many weapons we possess on offense (not to mention adding a few new playmakers) it really is going to be hard for teams in the division to keep up with us. I don't get the feeling that Sean Payton is trying to copy the Indianapolis Colts' blueprint for success, but it's hard to ignore that we're a highly offensive-orientated team. Anyhow, moving on to some points you made:

                        I'm not going to rag on you for giving the edge to Atlanta in the running game even if you cheated to do so (I think you basically just conceded that Vick = a runningback ;)). But, seriously, the Saints' running game should be even better than last season -- with the ACL injury that McAllister suffered it usually takes two seasons to fully recover from an injury of that magnitude and with that said, he still accounted over 1000 yards last season. I really think DeAngelo Williams is going to break out this season -- him and that ZBS is a match made in heaven and if stays healthy for a full season then watch out. Rather than the Panthers trying to force feed to Steve Smith constantly (no matter how great of a player he is), Williams is going to be key for them to succeed this year and attempt to make a playoff push. As for Tampa Bay, well this year should indicate whether or not Williams' rookie season was a fluke or not. Personally, I think he's a talented back and last season wasn't his fault at all but we'll see.

                        Just a note on the Saints' pass defense -- Jason David is an immediate upgrade over Fred Thomas. With Thomas' age and declining speed, he's much better suited for the nickel spot however he started last year and in the later part of the season he was basically a big play waiting to happen. The big worry of David is that coming from a Cover 2 will he be able to be effective in our man schemes that we rely on and I don't personally think it'll be an issue. He's there to line up against the likes of Steve Smith's & Joey Galloway's to try to prevent the big plays. And perhaps the biggest addition to our defense isn't really an addition at all, but if Roman Harper returns healthy then it would do wonders for our secondary and defense as a whole. Harper basically became the captain of our defense and made sure that everyone was lined up correctly. He's essential to our defense.

                        That definitely wasn't as in-depth as I wanted it, but I'm tired and it's late. I'll add more later.
                        The whole world loves neophyte athletic tight end Jimmy Graham from Miami with the 95th pick. "Best pick in the draft,'' one AFC coach told me. "Give him time, and in that offense, he'll be better than [Jeremy] Shockey by the start of next year.''

                        “We know that no matter the adversity, be it the lockout, be it the suspension or be it a hurricane, our men will pull together and defend the honor of this city. We’ve shown we’ve been able to do that.” - Jabari Greer

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Great post Shiver. A seemingly unbiased post which is truthful in most regards.

                          But I think you give Tampa's passing attack too much credit and it's run attack not enough.

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                          • #14
                            Yeah you're probably right. Although, I will say the passing game 2-4 slots are very hard to peg. So you know, I have Tampa Bay and Carolina very close when it comes to the ground attack.

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                            • #15
                              Personally I like Carolina. I expect that Jarrett is going to be good, quite possibly Colston good. If he is and the line stays healthy, they have the parts. Smith and Jarrett are both big play guys, DeAngelo can also hit a home run. Coaching may actually be their biggest problem.


                              Props to BK on the sig!

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