Posted on: April 21, 2011 11:40 pm

2011 Mock Draft

Well, it's that time of the year.  I haven't been on a whole lot lately, but tradition is tradition.  This took way too much effort, but here we go.

  1. Cam Newton – I'm not really happy with this pick, but they seem in love with him. Plus, he's better than Clausen

  2. Marcell Dareus – The Broncos kept Champ Bailey, so that solves one problem (for now). Fox needs a big man in the middle, and Dareus is arguably the best player in the draft.

  3. Von Miller – This pick gives them somebody who will actually bring down the quarterback, and in addition, it might let teams allow Aaron Maybin to rush freely. Probably should be a quarterback, but hey, what do I know?

  4. A.J. Green – It wasn't that long ago that the receivers on the Bengals might have been the best group of receivers in the league. Owens is gone, Ocho is probably on his way out, and Jordan Shipley will probably never be a #1. They take the best prospect since Calvin Johnson, and they can address the QB situation later.

  5. Patrick Peterson – He's too good to let pass. Peterson could potentially be the first corner taken #1 overall, so if the Cardinals can land him, I think they pull the trigger.

  6. Robert Quinn – If Green was available, I think they'd take him, but this is probably too high for Julio Jones. They'll take the amazing pass rusher.

  7. Prince Amukamara – The 49ers had a terrible pass defense last year, and they need to address it unless they want to pick 7<sup>th</sup> next year. I had considered a QB, but they said they'd welcome back Alex Smith, and if Harbaugh is going to draft a QB he'll probably want a shot at the Andrew Luck lottery.

  8. Nick Fairley – The Titans lost Albert Haynesworth a few years ago, and KVB now plays in Detroit. Fairley might have had some issues, but he can deliver.

  9. J.J. Watt – He has good size, and the Cowboys could bolster their 3-4 end spot.

  10. Blaine Gabbert – McNabb is old. Grossman isn't the answer. Shanahan needs a QB.

  11. Aldon Smith – At 6'4” at 265, he can be the OLB for the new 3-4 in Houston. Ask Wade Phillips how much an elite pass rusher helps.

  12. Da'Quan Bowers – Ray Edwards is set to be a free agent, Jared Allen is starting to get up there, and for a team that's been built around defense for a few years, you can never have too many pass rushers.

  13. Tyron Smith – Jeff Backus should have been moved to the right side years ago, and they need somebody reliable to protect Stafford's blind side.

  14. Julio Jones – I'm not really sure that he'll be here, but if he is, I don't see how the Rams can pass him up. Sam Bradford did great as a rookie, and that was with his best receiver as Danny Amendola.

  15. Mike Pouncey – Not so much of a need, but the Dolphins can get a great offensive lineman here and address QB and RB later if they feel they need to.

  16. Ryan Kerrigan – The Jaguars seem to have busted with Derrick Harvey, and Aaron Kampman is coming back from an injury. Kerrigan's stock is increasing, and they can nail a home run here.

  17. Cameron Jordan – As a Patriots fan, this pick is probably more of a want than what I expect. In all likeliness, they'll trade down to the early 20's and pick up a second rounder. If not, they can get the heir to Richard Seymour's RE spot with the pick they received for him. He played 3-4 End for Cal, so he already knows the position.

  18. Anthony Castonzo – With the top guys for their defensive end spot gone, they can look to upgrade an offensive line that's not necessarily bad, but could stand improement.

  19. Akeem Ayers – There aren't a whole lot of top linebacker prospects available, but they've lost Antonio Pierce prior to last season and Keith Bullock can't have much left.

  20. Adrian Clayborn – The Bucs took two defensive tackles last year, and they get an edge rusher right now. Sorry Stylez G. White, which is obviously the best name in the NFL.

  21. Gabe Camiri – He's the consensus pick between a lot of the experts, and if Matt Cassel and Jamaal Charles want to pick up where they left off, fixing the line is a good place to start.

  22. Derek Sherrod – this pick ought to be the best OT available. The run game needs to improve, and the offensive line was a big part of the problem. Peyton Manning cannot continue to get hit, and when the Colts put somebody else there, he'll need a protector.

  23. Corey Liuget – The Eagles might want an offensive lineman, but they can get the DT to improve their trenches here.

  24. Muhammed Wilkerson – Shaun Rogers is 32 and one McDonald's value meal away from a heart attack. Plus, the Saints don't have an overwhelming number of needs. A lot of people think Bowers is available here, but I just don't see it.

  25. Jake Locker – Matt Hasselbeck is long past his prime, and I don't believe in Jes...I mean, Charlie Whitehurst. Carroll can get a hometown talent.

  26. Jimmy Smith – The Ravens need a cornerback who can stay on the field and not get lit up. He has character issues? Pretty confident Grandpa Ray will take care of that.

  27. Kyle Rudolph – Tony Gonzalez is going to hang it up in the case of a lockout, which means he probably only has one year left if he plays. Roddy White is a stud at WR, but Matty Ice needs another target.

  28. Mark Ingram – I've been the biggest fan of Mark Ingram coming out of college for a while (although I'm secretly hoping Belichick man's up and trades 17 and a first next year for a high enough spot to get AJ) , and Saban and Belichick know each other well. Plus, Ingram is currently visiting NE, who hasn't had a consistent RB since Dillon.

  29. Nate Solder – I really expect this pick to be the best Tackle available. Just a hunch.

  30. Cameron Hayward – The Vernon Gholston thing doesn't seem to be working out, and the Jets don't have too many positions of need.

  31. Aaron Williams – Jordy Nelson, 9 catches for 140. Greg Jennings, 4 catches 2 Tds. Tell me they don't need a shut down corner.

  32. Brooks Reed – I really had no idea for this one, but the Packers don't have too many areas of concern. The run game was nonexistent for much of the year, but between Jennings, Nelson, and the returning Donald Lee, the passing game can carry this team. And they get Ryan Grant back. I had considered a CB to fill in when Woodson retires, but Sam Shields and Tramon Williams looked good last year.

Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: March 17, 2009 2:32 pm

My mock draft

Well, it's about that time of year.  I could be working on a March Madness Bracket, but I've never really gotten into basketball so it's kind of pointless.  That said, I'm not necessarily making picks based solely on what I think the teams will do, but what I think they'll do combined with what I think they SHOULD do.  I know, for example, a lot of people have Detroit taking Matt Stafford first.  I'm not doing that, because I think they should go elsewhere, and I think there's a very realistic chance that they will.


That being said, let's begin.


1. Detroit- Jason Smith, T, Baylor

The game is won or lost in the trenches.  Calvin Johnson is going to make any quarterback look better.  Kevin Smith seemed to be a steal last year.  But the team won't do anything if he can't run and the quarterback is getting killed.

2. St. Louis- Eugene Monroe, T, Virginia

Orlando Pace is gone.  They took Chris Long and Adam Carriker the past two years, and they were 31st in points scored this year.  They need to let Jackson run.

3. Kansas City- Aaron Curry, LB Wake Forest

They had no pass rush last year.  Mike Vrabel will help, but he's 34 years old and he can't do it alone.  They'll take the best defensive player in the draft, who will help with pass coverage, run stuffing, and pass rush.

4. Seattle- Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

T.J. Houshmanzadeh is 31 years old, and he averages about 11 yards a catch.  Who else does Seattle have?  Deion Branch and Bobby Engram?  They need to upgrade now, and with two of the elite tackles gone, they'll be happy to settle for Crabtree.

5. Cleveland- Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas

The Browns, picking high?  What's new?  They have a lot of holes, but I've said it before, and I'll say it again - the game is won in the trenches.  They have that monster in Shaun Rogers.  Let's get him some help, huh?

6. Cincinnati - Andre Smith, T, Alabama

Their defense was decent last year, amazingly.  Their offense was DEAD last (and that includes a team that failed to win a game).  A healthy Carson Palmer will help.  Andre Smith is a monster, and honestly, do the Bengals care about issues?

7. Oakland- Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri

If Crabtree was here, he'd be gone.  With the top receiver off the board, they take the next best guy to give JaMarcus Russell and Darren McFadden some help.

8. Jacksonville- B.J. Raji, DT Boston College

They lost Marcus Stroud in the middle to free agency a couple years back, and it appeared the defense had fallen apart.  Raji and Derrick Harvey should make a great tandem for years.

9. Green Bay- Everette Brown, DE, Florida State

Going to a 3 - 4 means you need quick linebackers to rush.  Brown's being heralded as a perfect fit.

10. San Francisco- Rey Maualuga, ILB, Southern California

Mike Singletary probably knows a thing or two about inside linebackers.  They already have a monster in Patrick Willis, but Takeo Spikes is 32 years old, and they need somebody to put next to Willis in their 3-4.  Maualuga can be the huge guy in the middle, freeing Willis to go sideline to sideline.

11. Buffalo- Brian Cushing, OLB, Southern California

I'm not sure there's really too many positions of need for the Bills.  I think they're solid on offense (Edwards, Lynch, Evans, Owens), and with most of the top guys for the D-Line gone, they take the best linebacker available.

12. Denver- Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia

Josh McDaniels and Jay Cutler are having a huge fight and Cutler is demanding to be traded.  They tanked it on the Matt Cassel three-way trade, but I'm thinking they get rid of him.  Stafford is shocked to see himself drop this far, but he'll take it.

13. Washington- Michael Oher, T, Ole Miss

Their defense was highly ranked last year.  Their offense was 28th in points scored.  They have a very good running back.  They have a lot of talented receivers.  Jason Campbell can be a productive starter.  Build the line, Zorn.

14. New Orleans- Malcom Jenkins, CB/Safety, Ohio State

Drew Brees and the offense were outstanding in 2008.  They were last in their division.  Why?  Because scoring 30 points is no good when you allow 35.  Jenkins gives them a versatile guy who can play either position in the secondary, which should help out a lot.

15. Houston- Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois

They would have liked Jenkins had he been available, but they can definitely use Davis.  Their offense should remain solid with Johnson and Slaton, and they've been building a quality defense for years.  With young studs Mario Williams, Amobi Okoye, DeMeco Ryans, and Xavier Adibi on the front seven, they'll take a guy for the secondary.

16. San Diego- Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU

They've got LaDainian Tomlinson back, so they'll pass on a running back.  They've got playmakers for Philip Rivers.  With Igor Olshansky gone, and the three top linebackers gone, they'll take a guy for the line.

17. New York Jets - Mark Sanchez, QB Southern California

So, I heard you need a quarterback to play football.

18. Chicago- Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State

The Bears are a team built around defense, so they pass on a playmaker for Orton for now.  The linebackers are okay, and there's nobody in the secondary worth taking here.

19. Tampa Bay- Chris 'Beanie' Wells, RB, Ohio State

It never hurts to have insurance, and there's nobody I think they need.

20. Denver (from Detroit for QB Jay Cutler) -Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss

They're going to a 3-4, so they need a monster in the middle, especially with the top pass rushers gone.

21. Philadelphia- Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma

It's a reach, I know, but they've got to get playmakers for McNabb to take the pressure off of Brian Westbrook.

22. Minnesota- Josh Freeman, QB,Kansas State

I thought they'd end up with Matt Cassel.  I was wrong.  They don't have any glaring holes, except for Tavaris Jackson and Gus Frerotte.  They would love Sanchez or Stafford, but they'll take the next best thing.

23. New England- James Laurinaitis, ILB, Ohio State

They got arguably the best defensive player in the draft last year, but that doesn't change the fact Tedy Bruschi is 35 and Adalius Thomas is 32. 

For the record, this is going on the belief that Carolina trades Julius Peppers to New England for the 34th, which is what the latest rumor is.  If not, they give special consideration to Clay Matthews and Larry English.

24. Atlanta- Clay Matthews, OLB, USC

Sure, they got Mike Peterson, but they still could use some youth.  They'd love Pettigrew if he was still here, to give Matt Ryan, future Super Bowl MVP, a security blanket underneath.

25. Miami- Darrius Heywood-Bey, WR, Maryland

They used a first rounder on Ted Ginn a few years ago.  Wasted, if you ask me, but this pick helps teams avoid double teaming Ginn.

26. Baltimore- Percy Harvin, WR, Florida

Joe Flacco proved a lot of doubters wrong last year.  Get him some help.

27. Indianapolis- Evander Hood, DT Missouri

Their rush defense was terrible, and they have enough weapons for Peyton Manning to not draft a receiver yet to replace Harrison.


28. Philadelphia- Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia

Brian Westbrook is getting older, and he could use some help.  They'll take the big back.

29. New York Giants - Eben Britton, T, Arizona

When you don't have any glaring weaknesses, just add depth.  They'll help out a solid offensive line.

30. Tennessee- Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers

Vince YoungKerry Collins?  Somebody else?  It doesn't matter who's throwing if nobody can catch.

31. Arizona- Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech

I'm borrowing this from another mock draft.  I think Johnson has terrific upside, and they've had some losses in Free Agency.  Somebody with his talent here is a steal.

32. Pittsburgh- Max Unger, C, Oregon

They'll take the best interior lineman.  I believe that's Unger.

Category: NFL
Tags: draft, mock, nfl
Posted on: February 17, 2009 2:16 pm

Season in recap + waiting for the blog

Wow, this thing still exists?  I thought if you didn't use it enough, it disappeared.  What?  That's Clovdyx's biceps?  Why didn't somebody tell me sooner?   I can't believe I dropped the ball on this, though.  I wanted to do a week-by-week (or at least, every two or three week) update on the NFL and my evaluation of it.  I guess I can just do it now, but man, September was such a long time ago.  Oh well, let's look back and reflect on some things from the 2008 season.


-League MVP goes down 15 minutes into the season.  Ouch.  Terrible for the NFL.  Terrible for their team.  Terrible for me, because it's our best player.  Hate it.

-Two rookie quarterbacks win for the first time on opening day since Archie Manning and Jim Plunkett.  Does this mean the future is set for more rookies to come in and make immediate impact?  Maybe, maybe not.  But for now, we've got two guys to keep our eyes on.  Like it.

-More gimicks on offense.  Miami started the thing with it's "Wildcat" formation.  Mixed feelings, really.  It's nice to see innovation, but at the same time, I hate the copy cats.  Tyler Thigpen catching a touchdown pass?  DeSean Jackson taking a direct snap and running it in for a touchdown?  The Jets playing Brett Favre as a wide receiver?  REALLY? 

-Emerging stars.  Matt Cassel made a name for himself.  Instead of Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Marvin Harrison dominating, guys like Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson were the top receivers this year.  Michael Turner was simply impressive down in Atlanta.  Jerod Mayo was Defensive Rookie of the Year.  Jay Cutler and Philip Rivers stepped up and led their teams well.  LaMar Woodley was a beast across from James Harrison.  Like it.

-Cinderella teams.  Because, really, the Arizona Cardinals were in the Super Bowl.  Like it.

-Great divisions and terrible divisions.  The NFC South and NFC East were monsters.  The AFC West was a joke.  Did anybody win the NFC North this year?  I'd rather have everybody pretty equal - not one or two dominant divisions and one or two pathetic divisions (see: AFC East, 2007).  Hate it.

-Midseason coach firings.  RaidersRams49ers.  Those kinds of things need to be done, but don't do it right after a game.  Hate it.

-Dumb arguments.  I realize the Patriots have "no running game" and their backs are "scrubs", but they finished 6th in rushing, so maybe they know what they're doing.

-Sudden death overtime.  Like it (and my Patriots were victims to the cointoss...)


All of that being said, it was certainly an interesting year.  No matter which of the two teams won the Super Bowl, we were guaranteed to make history - either Arizona won their first, or Pittsburgh won their 6th.  Wow.  Six trophies.  I'm confident New England has a team capable of getting there, but it'll be no easy task.  After all, it took Pittsburgh about forty years to make the playoffs.  Their six trophy was won about 35 years after their first.  It's impressive how consistent they can be (although, I still say the Dallas Cowboys are the best NFL franchise, but I digress).  We had teams come out of nowhere to contend, like the Dolphins and the Falcons.  How about those turnarounds?  We had teams drop (how about those unbeatable Giants?).  A team not named the Seattle Seahawks won the NFC Worst, er, West.  Really.  We had a team not named the New England Patriots win the AFC East, and the Titans won the AFC South. And I could finally get time away from battling Bong Show (anybody seen him around lately?) in the Brady vs Manning debate.  Now it's Kurt Warner vs Ben Roethlisberger (which I don't think is the same argument, despite people relating Roethlisberger to Brady in that he just wins while not necessarily doing much...)

Yes, it was certainly a roller coaster year, and I'm really looking forwards to seeing how 2009 pans out.  Unfortunately, I actually will not be able to watch most of the games, as I will be shipping out to San Diego in September for basic training (I guess that's what happens when you join the Marines these days - who knew?).  I fully expect some things to continue, such as Miami's trick formations, and I expect we'll probably see something we're not used to.  Maybe two running backs lining up in the back field as split backs, with another lined up under center for a strange option based run, pass, or pitch formation?  Ah, who knows.




Moving onto the draft, I'm REALLY excited to see how that plays out.  I don't think I've seen as many mock drafts this year or people predicting what their team's will do, but the combine hasn't even happened yet.  That should be starting any day now, though.  Me?  I'm looking forwards to watching only the linebackers and maybe the defensive backs.  I don't think the quarterback class is all that strong last year, and other than two or three guys, I can't see too many running backs having an immediate impact.  There should be a few tight ends and receivers that make their marks, though.  I'm looking at you, Crabtree (I hope you enjoy coffee, because you'll be drinking a lot up there in Seattle).


I have a few guys that interest me.  First of all, I'm really looking forwards to seeing how Rey Muauluga does.  From what I've seen, the guy is an absolute monster.  Originally, many expected him to be one of the first few picks in the draft, but lately, he seems to have dropped a bit.  I'm not sure why.  Another guy everybody is big on is Aaron Curry from Wake Forest.  Where is Wake Forest, and do they have deer in Wake Forest?  More importantly, who is Aaron Curry?  Ever since the regular season ended, I've been hearing his name left and right but I don't recall hearing much about him while college football was being played.  My main interests are in James Laurinaitis and Brian Cushing.  I think either one is capable of falling to #23, where New England picks.  I would prefer Cushing, because Jerod Mayo was very solid in the middle, and Gary Guyton proved to be capable of playing (and Tedy Bruschi is still there, too).  While I couldn't see him starting right away, I think he'd be able to learn a lot from Mike Vrabel and Adalius Thomas, and depending on how it goes, he might be able to replace Vrabel as the starter by the time the season ends (maybe throwing Mike back into the middle rotation?). 

I'm not as concerned with their secondary, right now.  Both Terrence Wheatley and Jon Wilhite impresse me when they were playing last year, and I'm sure Bill Belichick is putting them through hell this offseason to get them ready for next year.  Ellis Hobbs remains a starter, and that seems fair - I just think they need a bigger athlete to take care of the bigger receivers they face (no matter how good Hobbs is with coverage skills, he simply cannot match up with Terrell Owens or Larry Fitzgerald).  Is there a guy like that available this year?  Well, I think we can agree that Malcom Jenkins is out of the picture.  Vontae Davis probably won't be there.  Alphonso Smith is only 5'9" - if we wanted 5'9" corners, we'd play Ellis Hobbs (wait a minute...), Asante Samuel, Terrence Wheatley, or Jon Wilhite.  Hm.  I've always thought Victor Harris might be an option.  He played with Brandon Flowers at Virginia Tech.  If I recall correctly, he was a solid tackler.  Also, he's 6', so that's definitely an upgrade.  He runs about a middle 4.5, so he might be a step slow, but if he's covering the bigger guys, that shouldn't be much of an issue.  Free agent wise, the Ravens just released Chris McAllister because he was supposed to make $8 million this year.  If he would be willing to sign for maybe $3 or $4 million (what a horror!  how can he survive on that?), maybe he's make a nice solution for the year.

Oh well.  Nobody knows what goes on in any coach's head, and we all know that's especially true for Bill Belichick.  I guess only time will tell how it all unfolds. 


What about you guys?  Who are you hoping to see in your team's uniform next year, and who are you expecting (they're rarely the same, after all).


Category: NFL
Posted on: December 4, 2008 2:38 pm

Overlooked facts from the NFL draft

We've all debated who makes who better - quarterbacks making their receivers elite or receivers making their quarterbacks elite.  I'm not going to name who this argument generally comes from (at least, when I'm debating) but I'm sure Bong Show knows it's him..oops.  Now, I know he's going to post about 100 examples of skill players becoming great after a decent college career and moderate draft pick based on who their quarterback is to argue with me, but I only want to say a few things that people might not consider, in regards to things like:
  • The best player doesn't always go first
  • The best skill players don't always succeed on the teams they're drafted by
  • Lots of people have a lot to do with numbers and stats; it's not just who's throwing the ball and who's catching it.

For the record, I'm not saying the receiver or backs are entirely responsible for the play of their quarterbacks.  That's not close to true.  However, the fact of the matter is an elite quarterback makes a good receiver great, and an elite receiver makes a good quarterback great.  Now, onto the facts.

-Kurt Warner was not drafted and won two MVP's while in St. Louis (he had Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt, and Isaac Bruce).  Marc Bulger, picked only a few selections higher than Tom Brady, inherited that team in 2002 and had ratings above 90 in four of his first five seasons (2002, 2004 - 2006).  Tom Brady came onto a team with Antowain Smith, Troy Brown, and David Givens and didn't put up incredibly gaudy numbers until his 2007 offensive overhaul.  Anyone think Bulger and Warner made Bruce and Holt?
-Kevin Dyson was selected five spots before Randy Moss in 1998.  He spent five years in Tennessee with Steve McNair, who I would consider a better quarterback than Daunte Culpepper.  As of right now, Dyson has 178 career catches (Moss had 92 last year alone), 2,325 yards (Moss had 1,500 last year alone), and 18 career touchdowns (Moss had 23 career touchdowns alone).  And if you remember, the Titans went to the Super Bowl in 1999 so it's not exactly like he was on a bad team.
-There were five running backs taken in the first round of the 1957 draft (13 teams).  The first was Hall of Famer Paul Hornung (first overall) followed by Jon Arnett.  The next back came as the #6 pick - a guy named Jim Brown.  Not trying to downplay the other two, but does anyone really consider either one better than Jim Brown?

Now, with that in mind, can we PLEASE drop this whole "Such and such went HIGHER in the draft than this other guy?" or "Such and such can't do anything with good players, so he sucks" nonsense?
Category: NFL
Posted on: September 17, 2008 2:53 am

Weeks one and two in review.

Well, we've completed two weeks in the NFL's regular season already.  It seems hard to believe we're 1/8th of the way through the season, but we are.  It's already been a VERY strange season, and it only seems like it will get stranger.  Let's look at some things I said in the previous entry and see what's unfolded.

First of all, Colts fans and fellow Pats fans have nothing to worry about.  Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are the two best quarterbacks in the league.  Minor injuries that kept them out of preseason will not change that.  They will both start Week One.  Brady should have a field day with the Chiefs, including Brandon Flowers, the only rookie cornerback starting to begin the season.  Peyton Manning figures to have a slightly tougher game, playing the Bears, who generally offer a tough defense.  Thankfully for fans of both teams, both quarterbacks will be playing on their home fields (Manning makes his first start in the new dome...how will that come into play?).

Well, in case you haven't heard it, neither one of those games went very well.  Peyton Manning looked lost and confused against the Bears, and he also struggled against the Vikings.  They began the season with a loss for the first time in...well, a while.  Brady was unable to lead his team to a score.  Both of the Patriots first two drives ended with a wide receiver fumbling the catch away.  Oh, and if you didn't hear it, my buddy tore his ACL and MCL.  I don't think he'll be coming back for a few weeks.  A speedy recovery, Brady.  In the mean time, we turn to Matt Cassel.

So um, I guess I was dead wrong there.

Next question.  It's Brett Favre.  Look up every career passing record in existence.  Brett Favre owns it.  He'll make it work.
He nearly lost to the Dolphins, who managed exactly ONE win last year.  He lost his home opener as a Jet to the Patriots, with a rookie quarterback.  Isn't Brett Favre supposed to be the rookie killer?  He still has a while to make it work, but so far, I'm not impressed (throwing a floater up on fourth and a million, only to have a wideout make a leaping catch for a touchdown is NOT skill; it's luck).

Eli Manning has progressed as a quarterback, but don't expect him to be able to be called elite just yet.  He still has a lot of work to be on that top tier of quarterbacks (I put four guys there currently....Romo being the fourth, behind Brady, Big Manning, and Favre, of course).  I don't expect the Giants to return to the playoffs this year, but they do have the potential to do so.  Don't blame Eli though - blame the fact their two best defensive players are gone (and if there is any doubt how important those two guys were to the championship, you clearly didn't watch the Super Bowl).  For the second year in a row, the Giants open up with a loss.
I still do not think the Giants will return to the playoffs.  However, they certainly have proved my theory about the potential to do so was correct - they opened with a solid win over the Redskins (so much for THAT call) and then beat up the Rams (so did a middle school, I heard).  Eli has looked pretty good, but I'm still not ready to call him elite.  The Rams defense looks horrible, and honestly, I'm not convinced the Redskins have that great of a defense since their tragic lost to Sean Taylor.  I will say, he has certainly progressed and if he continues to play like he has against some tougher teams (such as Dallas, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, or Denver) I'll say he's getting really damned close to that elite category.

Shawne Merriman will not be the dominant pass rusher he's used to being.  After totaling nearly 40 sacks in only three years in the league, I expect him to fail to reach double digit sacks for the first time in his career.

If I'm not mistaken, he's getting season-ending surgery.  At least I managed to get that right.

Chad Eight Five will be a solid receiver; however, he will not be the tops in any statistical category and his production should drop a bit.
He's on my fantasy team.  He's been downright disappointing (but he still has a lot of football to go...if he can get two or three outstanding games, and play solid the rest of the year, he can make All-Pro) so far.  I guess I've been right to this point, but I'd rather win my fantasy league than be right about a mediocre performance in a meaningless blog.

I expect Jason Taylor to return to his 2006 Defensive Player of the Year form, or at least close to it.
I doubt it.

McGahee should be able to rebound, but look for Ray Rice to make a big debut with Willis trying to heal some.
Ray Rice had a solid game in Week One.  Remember, their quarterback is a rookie.  Rice is a rookie.  Their head coach is a rookie.  The list goes on.  So while the win they got to open the season might not have been incredibly awe inspiring or a dominant performance, they'll gladly take the win.

I've already stated many times that Matt Ryan will get the Ravens to 6 - 10.  Not outstanding, but a big jump from where they were last year (when you take into consideration he's only played in four NFL games).
1 - 1.  He had an outstanding debut, throwing a 62 yard touchdown on his first pass.  That's a hell of a lot better than Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and Peyton Manning did when they made their first start.  Granted, they played a defense that also allowed a Falcons-record 220 rushing yards to Michael Turner (making his first start).  He then got picked apart and beat down by a tough Tampa defense.  Still, 1 - 1 is not a bad place for him to be.

Jonathan Stewart will haul in Rookie of the Year honors. So far, so good.  DeSean Jackson opened up with back to back 100 yard performances.  If I recall correctly, it was said he's the first guy to do that since 1940.  If Jackson can find the endzone (and not celebrate reaching the 1 yard line...) he should be able to push Stewart for the position.  As stated, Darren McFadden can make it interesting (he had a hell of a game against the Chiefs).  However, I'll take the guy who helped beat the Chargers and the Bears over getting blown out by the Broncos and beating the Chiefs....of course, there's 14 games left.  You never know who'll explode.

On a side note, how about Jerod Mayo?  He's quietly sitting in the middle of the Patriots defense, making solid tackles play after play.  He hasn't made any huge plays for the defense yet, but he's certainly adding speed, youth, and big play capability to the middle of a defense that many people had labeled as suspect.

As far as last year's guys, expect Peterson to challenge Tomlinson for the best back title - "All Day" has already stated his goal for every year, not just this year, is 2,000 yards and there's little reason to think it's not a realistic possibility to at least come close. Through two games, Peterson has around 250 rushing yards.  If he averages 125 yards per game the rest of the season, he should come literally within yards of the 2,000 barrier.  Meanwhile, LaDainian Tomlinson has a toe injury and didn't have much of a game at all against the Broncos last week.  Strangely, both running backs saw their teams open up 0 - 2....for two teams that were being talked about as Super Bowl candidates, that's not a strong first impression.  Of course, we didn't expect the Giants to make the playoffs after opening 0 - 2 last year and look how that turned out for them.

Oh, and that Patrick Willis kid should do well in San Francisco again.  Not enough to be Defensive Player of the Year (I actually am giving that to Champ Bailey), but someone might give him consideration.Patrick Willis ran back an interception for a touchdown last week.  Champ Bailey picked off Philip Rivers.  Last year's interception leader got destroyed for about 15 completions against Brandon Marshall last week...I'm inclined to think his 10 picks last year were more of a result from being incredibly athletic and being not so well known.  Now the secret's out, and he's forced to rely on pure coverage skills - something apparently lacking.  The current sack leader is John Abraham - who?!  In his ninth year (second with the Falcons, after a solid career with the Jets) he has four sacks.  Justin Tuck is a possible candidate, with three sacks and a pick six.

Some opinions on different things around the league.
  • Sorry about the call, Chargers.  It's part of the game though.  You have plenty of opportunities, so don't blame the refs for the loss.  Instead, blame the fact you allowed 39 points.
  • The Seahawks should NOT win their division this year.  How do you lose a game 33 - 30 after holding a team to 13 in the first half (while scoring 20), notching eight sacks, recovering a fumble for a touchdown, holding the other team's star running back to three yards per carry, and holding them to field goals on four drives...while being at home (with your twelfth man?!).  Simple - throw two interceptions, including a pick six, get a terrible PI call, and refuse to make tackles the last half of the game.
  • Yes, they lost.  Yes, they allowed a lot of points.  Yes, they got some big sacks at the end of the game when they needed to march down the field for a touchdown.  Even still, I am more impressed with the Philadelphia Eagles following their Monday Night Game than the Cowboys.  Don't get me wrong - the Cowboys were clearly the better team.  However, many said Dallas would have little competition on their way to the Super Bowl.  They said they would dominate teams like the Patriots of last year.  The Eagles were expected to roll over, like last year's 6 - 10 squad.  Instead, the Eagles came out swinging, netting almost nearly the same yardage as Dallas.  Donovan McNabb threw for 281 yards, while Brian Westbrook manged to find the end zone twice (including a dive over the entire offensive and defensive lines).  They held Terrell Owens to three catches (although two were for scores).  Despite a game featuring Owens, Jason Witten, and Patrick Crayton I actually think the rookie Jackson looked like the best receiver out there (catching six passes for 110 yards).  Former Patriot, turned Super Bowl sealing-interception dropper, Asante Samuel came up with his first pick as an Eagle.  If I was an Eagles fan, my only concern would be the last drive, where the Eagles were dominated when needing a score.
  • Why can't a team close a damned game?  Vikings.  Seahawks.  Saints.  Broncos.  Chargers.   Bears.  You're never going to win if you can't prevent big plays and long drives near the end of the game when you're nursing slight leads.
  • These Patriots might be a better unit than the 2007 squad.  Before you think I'm insane, calm down.  I said they're a better unit.  I didn't say they're going to win more games, because they won't.   I didn't say they're going to score more points, because that's pretty much out of the picture after netting 36 the first two weeks combined (last year, they opened up with three straight games scoring 38).  However, the defense is only allowing 10 points a game.  They beat the Jets, in New York, when many people thought the Jets would pound the Patriots on their way to a division title.  Brett Favre looked lost, getting tied up with Nate Washington for a twenty yard sack.  They've got a lot of young guys on the field to make plays, complimenting the veterans in the middle.  The defensive line remains one of the best in football.  Some call out the offensive line - they had a solid day on the ground, and while Cassel took a beating, it was his first start.  Let him figure out how to move around that pocket and get some downfield throws and he won't have that issue.
To be continued.
Category: NFL
Tags: 2007, colts, NFL, pats, recap
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com