Archive for August, 2010

YOOOAdrian’s 2010 NFL Preview- St. Louis Rams

Instead of taking the monstrous defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh with the 1st overall pick, the Rams went with a franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford.  Instantly, one of worst offenses in the NFL becomes better.  The defense still sucks, but St. Louis has some young talent that the coaching staff is hoping will develop. 

Quarterbacks

Sam Bradford- ROOKIE

Bradford’s Pro Day awarded him the distinction of being the number 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.  He completed an astounding 49 of 50 passes.  He possesses a ultra quick release to go along with great accuracy.  He’s very intelligent and knows how to read a defense.

(Sam Bradford)

There are concerns with the surgically repaired AC joint of Bradford’s shoulder.  He injured it twice last season on routine tackles. 

Others- A.J. Feeley, Keith Null

Feeley may start the 1st few games of the season.  Feeley spent 6 seasons with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur in Philadelphia.

GRADE- 7

 Running Backs

Steven Jackson- 324 car  4.4 avg  1,416 yds  4 td  51 rec  322 yds

In the last 5 years, Jackson leads all running backs in total yards from scrimmage.  He led the NFC in rushing yards last season.

(Steven Jackson)

Jackson is a big, powerful back who can move a pile and make people miss.  He also has big play ability as he has the speed to turn the corner.  His hands are useful as he can take checkdowns to the house.

Kenneth Darby- 27 car  5.6 avg  152 yds  18 rec  96 yds

The only way Darby sees substantial playing time is if Jackson is hurt.  Darby is useful in pass protection.

Others- Mike Karney, Chris Ogbonnaya

Karney came over last year and was an effective lead blocker for Jackson.

GRADE- 8.5

Receivers

Donnie Avery-  47 rec  589 yds  12.5 avg  5 td

Avery is extremely fast and has big play ability.  He added some muscle during the offseason so he could handle press coverage better.

Laurent Robinson- 13 rec  167 yds  12.8 avg  1 td

Robinson has size, good ball skills and runs good routes.  He comes back after suffering a season ending leg injury in week 3.

(Laurent Robinson)

Brandon Gibson- 34 rec  348 yds  10.2 avg  1 td 

Gibson isn’t the fastest, but he’s a big, physical receiver who can outmuscle his defenders.

TE- Daniel Fells- 21 rec  273 yds  13.0 avg  3 td

Fells is a red zone target with size and good hands

Others- Keenan Burton, Mardy Gilyard, Michael Hoomanawanui

Burton led the team in receptions before tearing his knee in week 10.

Gilyard is a 4th round pick from Cincinnati.  He has elite speed.

Hoomanawanui has a fantastic last name, and he can play.

GRADE- 7

Offensive Line

LT- Jason Smith

Smith missed the final 8 games of the season with a concussion and knee injury.  The team is high on him as he’s flashed some ability, mostly as a run blocker.

LG- Jacob Bell

Bell is a better pass protector than run blocker.

C- Jason Brown

Brown is the most underrated center in the NFL.  Brown boasts outstanding power and strength to go along with knowledge and leadership.

(Jason Brown)

RG- John Greco

Veteran Hank Fraley will challenge John Greco for the starting job.

RT- Rodger Saffold

Saffold is a 2nd round pick from Indiana.  He possesses quick feet and can equally pass protect and run block.

GRADE- 7.5

Defensive Line

LDE- James Hall- 42 tck  4.5 sck  1 p def

Hall is a solid player who can rush and move inside in passing situations.

LDT- Fred Robbins- 25 tck  2 sck  5 p def

Robbins had 2 great years under Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnoulo as a Giant in 2007 and 2008.  He hopes to rekindle his play as a Ram.

RDT- Clifton Ryan- 42 tck  1 sck  1 p def

Ryan led the team with 9 tackles for loss.

RDE- Chris Long- 43 tck  5 sck  1 p def  1 ff

Long is a good run stuffer who plays with good range and a high motor.  He get better at rushing the quarterback as the season went along.

(Chris Long)

Others- Darrel Scott, Hall Davis, Eugene Sims, George Selvie

Scott will play a role in the defensive tackle rotation.  He’s quick for his size.

Defensive ends Davis, Sims and Selvie are all rookies.

GRADE- 7

Linebackers

LOLB- Nail Diggs- 38 tck  1 p def  1 ff

Diggs is an 11 year veteran who has always been known for being a run stuffer.

MLB- James Laurinaitis- 120 tck  2 sck  2 int  5 p def

Laurinaitis’ tackle total was the most ever by a Rams rookie.  He is extremely intelligent on the football field.  He did struggle a bit in pass coverage.

James Laurinaitis Ryan Moats #21 of the Houston Texans looks to get past James Laurinaitis #55 of the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on December 20, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri.

(James Laurinaitis)

ROLB- David Vobora- 47 tck  2 p def  1 ff

Vobora started 10 games at this position a year ago.  He will battle Larry Grant for the starting gig.

Others- Larry Grant, Chris Chamberlain

Grant has good size and burst as a blitzer.

GRADE- 7.25

Secondary

LCB- Ron Bartell- 66 tck  9 p def  3 ff

Bartell was mediocore last season, but he was hampered by a thigh injury for most of the season.  He should be able to rebound.

RCB- Bradley Fletcher- 23 tck  1 p def

Fletcher comes back after suffering a season ending knee injury in week 7.  He has solid press cover skills.

CB- Justin King- 36 tck  2 p def

King is a physical corner, but undisciplined.

FS- O.J. Atogwe- 74 tck  2 int  5 p def 

Since 2006, no player in the NFL has more combined interceptions and forced fumbles (32) than Atogwe.  He is simply a playmaker.  He’s very instinctive, has excellent range and is an adept tackler.

(O.J. Atogwe)

SS- James Butler- 69 tck  3 int  6 p def 

Butler played under Spagnuolo in New York.  He’s a consistent, smart, physical player.

Others- Jerome Murphy, Craig Dahl

Murphy is a 3rd round pick from South Florida.

Dahl did well filling in for Butler and Atogwe when they were hurt.

 GRADE- 7.25

Special Teams

PK- Josh Brown-  19/24  55 lg

Brown is one of the leagues best long distance kickers.

P- Donnie Jones- 90 punts  46.8 avg  34 in 20  63 lg

Jones led the NFC with a net punt average of 41.7.

KR- Danny Amendola- 66 ret  24.5 avg  58 lg

Amendola is a tough and reliable return specialist.

PR- Danny Amendola- 31 ret  11.6 avg  56 lg

See Above.

GRADE- 7.5

 2010 PREDICTION- 4-12

It used to be that the rookie quarterbacks would sit on the bench, start midway through the season and then struggle.  Recently, Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez have shown that rookie quarterbacks can step in right away and be successful.  I believe that Sam Bradford should start from week 1 because I think he has the character and moxy needed to be a great quarterback in this league.

Offensive MVP-  Steven Jackson

Defensive MVP- James Laurinaitis

Breakthrough-  Chris Long

Overrated-  Ron Bartell

Underrated-  Jason Brown

YOOOAdrian’s 2010 NFL Preview- Arizona Cardinals

Kurt Warner is gone, and it’s Matt Leinart’s time.  Maybe.  Unless Leinart falters, head coach Ken Wisenhunt won’t be shy to throw Derek Anderson in at quarterback.  While everyone in Arizona is worried about the quarterback position, no one is talking about one of the more underrated defenses in the NFL.  If Arizona’s going to earn a 3rd consecutive NFC West Title, the defense will have to do the job.

Quarterbacks

 Matt Leinart- 51/77  66.2%  435 yds  0 td  3 int  64.6 rat

It’s been a 5 year wait for Matt Leinart as he’s ridden the pine as Kurt Warner had a renaissance in Arizona leading the Cards to a Super Bowl appearance in 2008. 

(Matt Leinart)

Leinart has a lot of critics, and deservedly so.  He hasn’t shown much.  He airmail balls because of bad footwork, floats passes instead of in a line and fumbles too much.  To give Leinart some due, he looked pretty good in his only start last season against Tennessee.  It was in mop-up duty that he’s not looked so great.  Leinart is much more mobile than Warner, so there may be more bootlegs and movement of the pocket.

 Others- Derek Anderson, John Skelton

Derek Anderson has starter experience.  The former Pro-Bowler had his coming out party in 2007.  Since then, it’s been a struggle.  Anderson is humongous.  At 6’6, Anderson is a big man with a strong arm.  His accuracy needs to improve.

Skelton is a 5th round pick from Fordham.

 GRADE- 7

Running Backs

Beanie Wells- 176 car  793 yds  4.5 avg  7 td  12 rec  143 yds 

With Warner at the helm, Arizona wasn’t exactly adept at running the football.  Last season, the team finished the league 28th in rushing.  Now, with Warner gone, expect the Cardinals to run the ball more.  For all of you fantasy football players out there, this means that Beanie is a huge sleeper heading into the season.

Beanie Wells Beanie Wells #26 of the Arizona Cardinals runs against Hunter Hillenmeyer #92 of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 8, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cardinals defeated the Bears 41-21.

(Beanie Wells)

Wells is dynamic.  He has 4.5 speed with the power to run people over.  What may keep him off the field a bit is his pass protection and ball security.

Tim Hightower- 143 car  598 yds  4.2 avg  8 td  63 rec  428 yds 

Hightower sees time on the field because of his pass blocking and pass catching ability.  He ranked 2nd in the NFL in pass receptions as a running back.

Others- Jason Wright, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Nehemiah Broughton

Stephen-Howlings is a 5’7 waterbug who can scoot.

Wright is versatile.

GRADE- 7.25

 Receivers

Larry Fitzgerald- 97 rec  1,092 yds  11.3 avg  13 td

Fitzgerald became the 1st receiver in history to go for 1,000+ yards 3 consecutive years.  Fitzgerald is big, strong and the best “go-get it” guy in football.  His hands are exceptionally soft and strong.

(Larry Fitzgerald)

In 2009, many teams used more 2-deep zones to keep Fitzgerald in check from going deep.   This prompted Whisenhunt to use him more in motion and lining him up in different areas to cause mismatches.

Steven Breaston 55 rec  712 yds  12.9 avg  3 td

Breaston will replace Anquan Boldin as the number 2 receiver.  He’s a better deep threat than Boldin.  He’s quicker, faster and better at adjusting his routes. 

Early Doucet- 17 rec  214 yds  12.6 avg  1 td

Doucet plays like Boldin.  He catches passes over the middle and possesses o.k. speed. 

TE- Anthony Becht- 7 rec  61 yds  8.7 avg  1 td

Becht is a key to the team’s running game.

Others- Andre Roberts, Ben Patrick,

Roberts is a 3rd round pick from The Citadel. 

Patrick is an all-around tight end and a good red-zone target.

GRADE- 8.75

Offensive Line

LT- Levi Brown

Ken Whisenhunt is expecting Brown to become a star as he move from right tack to left tackle.  He struggles against “up the field” rushers.

LG- Alan Faneca 

Faneca reunites with Russ Grimm, his offensive line coach in Pittsburgh.  He’ll help in the run game with his physicality.

C- Lyle Sendelein

Sendelein is an undrafted up-and-coming center.  He’s limited athletically, but he doesn’t make many mistakes.

(Lyle Sendelein)

RG- Deuce Lutui

Lutui is a big boy coming off his best season.  The team is a bit concerned with his weight gain.

RT- Jeremy Bridges

Bridges moves from left tackle to right tackle.  He played well in place of Mike Gandy in a few contests.

GRADE- 7.75

 Defensive Line

LDE- Calais Campbell- 48 tck  7 sck  5 p def  1 ff

Campbell has rare size for a defensive lineman.  At 6’8, Campbell is physically gifted with long arms.  He maintains leverage very well.

NT- Dan Williams- ROOKIE

Williams fell to the 26th spot in the NFL Draft.  I don’t think he’ll start at first, but he’ll get the majority of the snaps.  As a player, Williams is wide bodied and capable of occupying two blockers.

RDE- Darnell Dockett- 51 tck  7 sck  1 int 2 p def 

Dockett is one of the more underrated players in football.  He simply causes havoc in the backfield.  Dockett is an athletic freak.  He’s strong enough to overwhelm offensive lineman with the bull rush, and quick enough to get past them with his 1st step.

(Darnell Dockett)

Others- Gabe Watson, Bryan Robinson, Alan Branch

Watson is entering his 5th season and has yet to be a sevicable starter. 

Branch moved from tackle to end.

GRADE- 8

Linebackers

LOLB- Clark Haggans- 74 tck  5 sck  1 p def  2 ff

Haggans is a veteran who was probably the most consistent linebacker for the Cardinals last season.

LILB- Gerald Hayes- 62 tck  1 ff

Hayes is a “blue collar” player.  He’s a hard hitter and solid run stuffer.

(Gerald Hayes)

RILB- Paris Lenon- 43 tck  1 p def

This spot is up for grabs with the departure of Karlos Dansby.  Lenon has been an off and on starter throughout his career.

ROLB- Joey Porter- 41 tck  9 sck  1 p def  1 ff 

Porter enters the season 2nd in active career sacks at 92.  Jason Taylor is 1st.  Porter doesn’t have the explosiveness he used to, but he can still win one on one matchups.

Others- Daryl Washington, Monty Beisel, Cody Brown

Washington is a 2nd round pick from TCU and looks to be the eventual replacement for Karlos Dansby.  I expect him to start before season’s end.

Beisel is veteran who could be plugged in anywhere at the 4 linebacking spots.

Brown is an 09 2nd round pick who will eventually replace Haggans or Porter at an outside linebacking spot.

GRADE- 7

Secondary

LCB- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie- 50 tck  6 int  25 p def  3 ff

You want to look at an athlete, look no further than Rodgers-Cromartie.  He has 4.3 speed and natural skills for an effective corner.  He has long arms and can take out most receiver.  There are downsides.  He takes a bit too many risks, and he isn’t the best tackler.

(Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie)

RCB- Greg Toler- 11 tck  1 int  2 p def

Bryant McFadden came in and didn’t replace Rod Hood like the team hoped.  Toler gets his opportunity.  He’s a more physical corner.

CB- Michael Adams- 40 tck  1 int  4 p def

Adams is undersized, but feisty.

FS- Kerry Rhodes- 63 tck  2 int  13 p def 

Rhodes comes over to Arizona to take over for Antrell Rolle after 5 solid seasons with the Jets.  He’s back with secondary coach Donnie Henderson who was Rhodes Defensive Coordinator in New York. 

SS- Adrian Wilson- 74 tck  5 int  13 p def  2 sck  1 ff

Wilson is one of 10 players in NFL history with 20 career sacks and interceptions.  He is one of the best “in the box” safeties in the game.  He is a sure tackler and a superb blitzer.

Others- Trumaine McBride, Jorrick Calvin, Rashad Johnson

McBride and rookie Calvin provide depth at corner.

Johnson had a disappointing rookie season at safety.

GRADE- 9

Special Teams

PK- Jay Feely-  30/36  55 lg

Feely replaces Rackers as the field goal kicker.

P- Ben Graham- 86 punts  47.0 avg  42 in 20  64 lg

Graham tied an NFL record with 42 punts inside the 20 yard line.

KR- Lerod Stephens-Howling-  52 ret  24.2 avg  1 td  99 lg

Stephens-Howling is small, quick and tough to find and tackle.

PR- Andre Roberts- ROOKIE

With Breaston now a starter, it looks like Roberts will be returning punts.

GRADE- 7.25

2010 PREDICTION- 9-7

San Francisco is the trendy pick of the offseason to win the division, but do not discount the Cardinals.  There may be no Kurt Warner, but this defense is extremely underrated and overlooked.  I believe Beanie Wells takes big strides as Arizona will focus more on running the football.  Even with Matt Leinart at quarterback, there is too much talent on this team to overlook them.

Offensive MVP- Larry Fitzgerald

Defensive MVP- Adrian Wilson

Breakthrough- Steve Breaston

Overrated- Joey Porter

Underrated- Darnell Dockett

YOOOAdrian’s 2010 NFL Preview- NFC South Predictions

Now that I’ve given you the previews of all 4 teams from the NFC South, this is how I think it will play out.

  1. Atlanta Falcons-                 11-5
  2. New Orleans Saints-           9-7
  3. Carolina Panthers-             6-10
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-  4-12

Offensive MVP- Drew Brees

Defensive MVP- Jon Beason

Best Rookie- Gerald McCoy

Breakthrough- Everette Brown

 

YOOOAdrian’s 2010 NFL Preview- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay has a huge rebuilding project ahead.  In the middle of the massive project is massive quarterback Josh Freeman.  The team is hoping that he takes huge successful strides this season in his 1st full season as a starter.  Freeman’s dilemma is his lack of talent at the playmaking positions.  On the defensive side of the ball, the team took defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.  There are comparisons already being made to Warren Sapp. 

 Quarterbacks

 Josh Freeman- 158/290  54.5%  1,855 yds  10 td  18 int

Freeman is 6’6 with a strong arm, shows poise in the pocket and shows excellent mobility for his size.  He has the attributes to improve his craft, but it’s going to take some time.  He still needs to get better with his mechanics and reading defenses.  There’s one surprising statistic I noticed.  As a rookie, his completion percentage was better than fellow rookie quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez.

Quarterback Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drops back to pass against the Miami Dolphins at Land Shark Stadium on November 15, 2009 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

(Josh Freeman)

 Others- Josh Johnson, Rudy Carpenter

Johnson is another young pup who struggled during his stint as a starter last season.

Carpenter is a 2nd year guy from Arizona State.

Grade- 7

 Running Backs

 Cadillac Williams- 211 car  823 yds  3.9 avg  4 td  28 rec  217 yds  3 td

The story of Cadillac just to get back on the football field is incredible.  He came back last season after suffering 2 separate knee injuries in 2007 and 2008.

(Cadillac Williams)

Williams doesn’t own many electrifying moves, but he’s aggressive and runs with a purpose.

Derrick Ward- 114 car  409 yds  3.6 avg  1 td  20 rec  150 yds  2 td

The Ward signing showed how dominant the Giants offensive line was when Ward played with them.  Ward is nothing but a one-cut runner with a good burst.

Others- Earnest Graham, Kareem Huggins

Graham is a powerful runner who was converted to fullback last year.  He had only 14 carries last season.

GRADE- 7 

Receivers

 Sammie Stroughter- 31 rec  334 yds  10.8 avg  1 td

Stroughter had a pleasant rookie season.  He doesn’t have great size or speed, but finds ways to get open.

 Reggie Brown- 9 rec  155 yds  17.2 avg 

The Bucs went and got Brown from Philadelphia.  Brown fell out of the wide receiver rotation in Philly.

Arrelious Benn- ROOKIE

Benn is a 2nd round pick from Illinois.  He’s strong with deceptive quickness.  He’s good after the catch.

TE- Kellen Winslow- 77 rec  884 yds  11.5 avg  5 td

Winslow will remain Freeman’s go to guy.  Winslow is a matchup nightmare at the tight end position.  He’s strong, quick and explosive after the catch.

(Kellen Winslow)

Others- Mike Williams, Maurice Stovall, Michael Clayton

Williams is an intriguing player taken in the 4th round from Syracuse.  He has major character flaws, but has immense talent.  He could become a fine possession receiver.

Clayton has never gotten back to his great rookie season in 2004.

GRADE- 7

 Offensive Line

 LT- Donald Penn

The team didn’t appreciate Penn’s weight gain, which seemed to hamper his play.  He lost 25 pounds in the offseason.

 LG- Jeremy Zuttah

Zuttah is a solid player with some power, but got pushed back often at the point of attack.

 C- Jeff Faine

Faine is a wise veteran and emotional leader of the offensive line. 

RG- Davin Joseph

Joseph is a huge roadgrader who’s agile and quick for a guard.  He seemed to struggle in some of the team’s zone blocking schemes last season.

(Davin Joseph)

 RT- Jeremy Trueblood

Trueblood needs to mature and cut down on his penalties.  A contract year can always motivate a player.

GRADE- 7.5

 Defensive Line

 LDE- Tim Crowder- 43 tck  3.5 sck  2 p def

Crowder is large and muscular, but doesn’t have an explosive burst.

 LDT- Brian Price- ROOKIE

The Bucs tried to solidify the future of the defensive tackle position by double-dipping in the draft.  Price is a 2nd round pick from UCLA.  He shoots gaps quickly and is very powerful.

 RDT- Gerald McCoy- ROOKIE

McCoy is a perfect fit as a 3-technique in the Tampa-2.  At Oklahoma, he spent most of his time in the opponents backfield.  He possesses power, a relentless motor and plays hard.  Some draft experts had McCoy ahead of Ndamukong Suh on their draft boards.

(Gerald McCoy)

 RDE- Stylez White- 43 tck  6.5 sck  1 p def

White led the team in sacks, but his play needs to be more consitent.  He’s better fit as a nickel rusher, but he will start due to a lack of depth and talent at the position.

Others- Ryan Sims, Kyle Moore, Roy Miller

Sims started all 16 games at defensive tackle. 

Moore is in his 2nd year.  He may move to defensive end due to the lack of depth at that position.

GRADE- 7

 Linebackers

 LOLB- Quincy Black- 84 tck  1.5 sck  1 int  4 p def

Black lacks size, but makes up for it with fantastic speed.  He flows to the football.

MLB- Barrett Ruud- 142 tck  1 int  7 p def  1 ff

Ruud is a solid middle linebacker who doesn’t miss many tackles.  He doesn’t have great speed, but makes up for it with instincts.  With McCoy and Price now anchoring the middle of the line, Ruud won’t have to occupy as many blockers.

ROLB- Geno Hayes- 98 tck  3 sck  2 int  6 p def  1 ff

Hayes played well in his 1st full season as a starter.  He covers a lot of ground with excellent speed.  He led the team with 14 tackles for loss.

(Geno Hayes)

Others- Angelo Crowell, Jon Alston

Crowell is a productive linebacker if he can stay healthy. 

GRADE- 7.25

 Secondary

 LCB- Aqib Talib- 64 tck  5 int  15 p def 

Talib is tall and has long arms.  He’s a shutdown corner, has great ball skills and can help out in run support.  He also fits the zone heavy scheme.

(Aqib Talib)

 RCB- Ronde Barber- 77 tck  6 p def  2 sck  2 ff

For the 1st time since his rookie season, Barber went through a season without picking off a pass.  At 35, this may be Barber’s last year as a Buc as this team continues to rebuild. 

CB- Myron Lewis- ROOKIE

At 6’2, Lewis possesses good size for a corner, and should be formidable in the slot against bigger receivers.

FS- Tanard Jackson- 71 tck  5 int  8 p def  3 ff

Jackson is a playmaker.  His instincts are superb as he diagnoses plays rather quickly.  He also has good ball skills.

SS- Sean Jones- 61 tck  2 int  5 p def  1 sck

Jones will most likely take over Sabby Piscitelli’s  starting spot at safety.  Jones is a hitter who struggles against the pass.

Others- Sabby Piscitelli, Elbert Mack, Derrick Roberson

Piscitelli has been a disappointment.  He’s not good in coverage, and misses a lot of tackles because he overpursues the ball.

GRADE- 7.5

 Special Teams

 PK- Connor Barth- 14/19  54 lg

In a game against Miami Barth set an NFL record with

P- Brent Bowden- ROOKIE

Bowden is a 6th round rookie from Virginia Tech.

KR- Clifton Smith- 31 ret  29.1 avg  83 lg

Smith led the NFC in kick return average.

PR- Clifton Smith- 23 ret  10.1 avg  21 lg

Smith has breakaway speed, but is prone to fumbling. 

 2010 PREDICTION- 4-12

As a team, Tampa Bay in my opinion, is the least talented in the NFC.  They have some favorable games, many of which are at home.  They have home confrontations against Cleveland, Detroit, Seattle and St. Louis, all winnable contests.  The key to the season will be the maturation of quarterback Josh Freeman.  Freeman showed some favorable signs last season.  Of course, the team also wants to get a glimpse of what defensive tackle Gerald McCoy could be in the future.

Offensive MVP- Josh Freeman

Defensive MVP- Aqib Talib

Breakthrough- Sammie Stroughter

Overrated- Donald Penn

Underrated- Aqib Talib

YOOOAdrian’s 2010 NFL Preview- New Orleans Saints

Most Saints fans are still hungover after an incredible 2009 season, which culminated into a Super Bowl Title.  We’ll find out this year if the football team is still hungover after the franchise’s 1st Super Bowl?  No team has reached back to back Super Bowls since the New England Patriots did it in 2004 and 2005.  Finally, quarterback Drew Brees is getting some much needed recognition as being one of the best quarterbacks in football.  Don’t forget about that offensive line, one of the best in football.

 Quarterbacks

 Drew Brees-  363/514  70.6%  4,388 yds  34 td  11 int  109.6 rat

Last season, Brees set an NFL single season completion percentage record.  He may only be 6 feet tall, but he has all the tools in an All-Pro quarterback.  He has the quickest release in the NFL and great pocket awareness.  He doesn’t have the strongest arm, but can still get the ball downfield to go along with a great touch. 

(Drew Brees)

Brees is the epitome of a locker room leader, on and off the field.  His work ethic is incredible as he has perfected Sean Payton’s complex offense.

Others- Chase Daniel, Sean Canfield

Mark Brunell is gone from being the backup so Daniel and the rookie Canfield will fight to backup Brees.

GRADE- 9.25

 Running Backs

Pierre Thomas- 147 car  5.4 avg  793 yds  6 td  39 rec  302 yds  2 td

Thomas doesn’t get the pub that Bush does, but it’s Thomas who gets the ball in crunch time.  Thomas isn’t strongest or fastest, but he has good vision and balance.  He also has good hands coming out of the backfield.

(Pierre Thomas)

Reggie Bush-  70 car  5.6 avg  390 yds  5 td  47 rec  335 yds  3 td

Bush had his best season of his career last season.  He isn’t your prototypical running back, but he can be a weapon in Sean Payton’s offense.  He is extremely dangerous in space with his elusive bevy of moves and speed.  He’s learned to become a better runner.

 Others- Lynell Hamilton, Heath Evans

Hamilton looks to become the short yardage back that Mike Bell was last year.

Evans returns as the fullback after tearing his ACL.

GRADE- 7.25

 Receivers

Marques Colston- 70 rec  1,074 yds  15.3 avg  9 td

Colston is tall and deceptively quick.  He plays with good body control and uses his size to box out defenders and make catches.  He has great hands and adjusts to back shoulder throws well.

Marques Colston Image

(Marques Colston)

Devery Henderson- 51 rec  804 yds  15.8 avg  2 td

Henderson is a deep threat who uses tremendous speed.  His hands aren’t the best.

Robert Meachem- 45 rec  722 yds  16.0 avg  9 td

Finally, Meachem is living up to some of the expectations after being drafted in the 1st round in 2007.  He’s a sure handed receiver who’s a nice target in the red zone.

TE- Jeremy Shockey- 48 rec  569 yds  11.9 avg  3 td

Shockey has accepted a smaller role than he had when he was a Giant.  He’s a reliable option for Brees when healthy.

Others- Lance Moore, David Thomas

Moore is a slot receiver who’s a nice option on 3rd downs.

Thomas is a tight end who works best as a lead blocker.

Graham is an intriguing player who’s only played one year of college football for Miami.  Like Antonio Gates, Graham was also a basketball player.

GRADE- 7.5

 Offensive Line

 LT- Jermon Bushrod

Bushrod takes over for Jamaal Brown.  Bushrod is a work in progress who has promise, but struggled against top tier pass rushers.

LG- Carl Nicks

Nicks is full of girth and power.  He’s athletic and agile for his size.

C- Jonathan Goodwin

Goodwin isn’t as athletic as his fellow lineman, but he’s strong and plays with good technique.

RG- Jahri Evans

Evans is currently the best guard in the game.  He is an absolute mammoth who is equally effective blocking in the run and pass.

(Jahri Evans)

RT- Jon Stinchcomb

Stinchcomb is more of a finesse player who can get beaten by rushers with speed.

GRADE- 8.5

Defensive Line

 LDE- Alex Brown- 48 tck  6 sck  1 p def

Brown is expected to bring more of a pass rush on the left side after the departure of Charles Grant.  Brown has at least 6 sacks in 5 of the past 6 years. 

LDT- Sedrick Ellis- 34 tck  2 sck  2 p def

Ellis is built like a monster truck, but his inability to stay healthy is starting to become a concern.  When healthy, Ellis is a great pass rusher from the tackle position.

RDT- Remi Ayodele- 30 tck  1.5 sck

Ayodele needs to work on his strength to become a better run stuffer.

RDE- Will Smith- 49 tck  13 sck  1 int  3 p def  1 ff

Smith is a pass rushing presence with an ability to dominate.  He plays with a non-stop motor and never quits on plays.

See full size image

(Will Smith)

Others- Bobby McCray, Anthony Hargrove

McCray has previous starting experience.  He’s best as a pass rusher.  He has a quick 1st step and uses his speed to beat offensive lineman.

Hargrove can play tackle or end

Wilkerson is coming off ACL surgery in January.

GRADE- 7.5

 Linebackers

LOLB- Jo-Lonn Dunbar- 20 tck

Dunbar lacks size and length, but is a hard worker.  He takes over for Scott Fujita.

MLB- Jonathan Vilma- 110 tck  2 sck  3 int  11 p def

Vilma is at his best dropping back and disrupting the passing game.  He plays with good insincts, speed and range and flows to the ball.  His tackling isn’t the best, but he makes plays.

(Jonathan Vilma)

ROLB- Scott Shanle- 69 tck  2 int  3 p def

Shanle is tough, but lacks athleticism.  He’s a sure tackler, but doesn’t get pressure on the quarterback when called upon to blitz.

Others- Jonathan Casillas, Stanley Arnoux, Troy Evans

Casillas, Arnoux and Evans will all compete with Dunbar for the starting spot vacated by Fujita.

GRADE- 7.25

 Secondary

LCB- Jabari Greer- 44 tck  2 int  13 p def 

Greer is speedy, athletic and great in man-to-man coverage.  He has good ball skills.

RCB- Tracy Porter- 57 tck  4 int  12 p def  2 ff

Porter put his name on the map, cementing a Super Bowl win for New Orleans with an interception late in the game against Peyton Manning.  Porter is not as physical as Greer, but like Greer, Porter is fast and athletic.

(Tracy Porter)

CB- Malcolm Jenkins- 55 tck  1 int  4 p def  2 ff

Jenkins has good instincts and playmaking ability.  He has good size to play to slot.

FS- Darren Sharper- 71 tck  9 int  15 p def  .5 sck

Sharper at 34 resurrected his career last season.  He had 9 picks, 3 of which were returned for touchdowns.  If Greer and Porter can shut down the outside receivers, that gives Sharper the freedom to roam the field and make plays.

SS- Roman Harper- 102 tck  5 p def  1.5 sck

Harper is one of the best hitters in the game.  He is a thumper against the run and an effective blitzer in Gregg Williams blitz packages.  He is a bit of a liability in pass coverage.

Others- Patrick Robinson, Randall Gay, Usama Young

Robinson was a 1st round pick in the NFL Draft from Florida State.  He is gifted athletically and has enormous potential.

Young looked to be the starting free safety until the team decided to bring Sharper back.

GRADE- 7.25 

 Special Teams

 PK- Garrett Hartley- 9/11 38 lg

Hartley earned free alcoholic beverages for life with his game winning kick to send New Orleans to the Super Bowl.

P- Thomas Morstead- 58 punts  43.6 avg  18 in 20  60 lg

Morstead is a good punter who gets good hangtime on his boots.

KR- Courtney Roby- 42 ret  27.5 avg  1 td  97 lg

Roby has good straight-line speed.  He has the ability to take kicks back for touchdowns.

PR- Reggie Bush- 27 ret  4.8 avg  23 lg

Bush didn’t possess a great return average, but he’s devastating with field to work with.

GRADE- 7

2010 PREDICTION- 9-7

What New Orleans did last season was remarkable.  They’re a team that’s very easy to root for, but last season felt kind of fluky to me.  They benefited from a rather easy schedule which got them home field advantage in the playoffs.  This year, the schedule isn’t so easy, so we’ll see what New Orleans is really made of.  Drew Brees is a phenominal talent, and the coaching staff is one of NFL’s best, but I still have trouble believing in this defense.  They’re rushing and passing defense isn’t great, but they forced so many turnovers last season that I think those aspects got a bit overlooked.  Maybe I’m just a moron, but a Super Bowl hangover may be looming this upcoming season.   

Offensive MVP- Drew Brees

Defensive MVP- Will Smith

Breakthrough- Sedrick Ellis

Overrated- Reggie Bush

Underrated- Pierre Thomas

YOOOAdrian’s 2010 NFL Preview- Carolina Panthers

Inconsistency is the moto of this squad since there 1st Super Bowl appearance in 2003.  They’ve been up and down over the years more than Jessica Simpson’s love life.  Except this season, there’s no Jake Delhomme.  That can be a great thing, or surprisingly a bad thing.  Believe it or not, Delhomme had some great years and some trainwrecks.  Oh, and there’s no Julius Peppers rushing the quarterback either.  Anyway, if you believe in trends, Carolina is destined to be over .500 this season.

 Quarterbacks

Matt Moore-  85/138  61.6%  1,053 yds  8 td  2 int  98.5 rat

Carolina holds the distinctions of the having the least amount of experience at the quarterback position.  They have a collection of 8 total starts, all by Matt Moore.  Moore has a career record of 6-2 and was 4-1 last year.  The vast difference between Moore and Delhomme are the turnovers.  Moore, like Delhomme went undrafted. 

Moore doesn’t have the attributes of an All-Pro quarterback, but for now that’s fine because he’s smart and a good decision maker.  He has enough arm strength to make throws, but can’t fire the ball into tight windows.  He has good sense in the pocket and can escape and avoid the pass rush.

Others- Jimmy Clausen, Tony Pike

Clausen surprisingly slid into the 2nd round and the 48th overall pick in the NFL Draft.  He could be the steal of the draft.  Clausen is familiar with Offensive Coordinator Jeff Davidson’s offense.  Davidson worked under Clausen’s former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis at New England.

PRESEASON_PANTHERS_JETS_24

(Jimmy Clausen)

Pike is a 6th round pick from Cincinnati.

 GRADE- 6.75

 Running Backs

DeAngelo Williams- 216 car  1,117 yds  5.2 avg  7 td  29 rec  252 yds 

Carolina splits the carries between the NFL’s best running back tandem of Williams and Jonathan Stewart.  Head Coach John Fox likes to keep both backs fresh.  Last season, Williams and Stewart became the 1st running back duo ever to amass over 1,100 rushing yards each.

(DeAngelo Williams)

Williams is the speedster.  He has great vision, short area quickness, the speed to turn the corner and a bevy of moves to make highlight-reel runs.

Jonathan Stewart- 221 car  1,133 yds  5.1 avg  18 rec  139 yds  1 td

Stewart is the bulldozer and complements Williams perfectly.  He runs people over and moves piles.  Stewart has enough burst for longer gains.

Others- Tyrell Sutton, Mike Goodson, Tony Fiammetta

Williams and Stewart aren’t the greatest pass catchers.  The team is hoping that Sutton can be that 3rd down back.

Goodson showed flashes as a 3rd round rookie, but he fumbles too much.

Fiammetta takes over for longtime Panther Brad Hoover at fullback.

GRADE- 9

 Receivers

 Steve Smith- 65 rec  982 yds  15.1 avg  7 td

Carolina has been looking for a complementary receiver for Smith, and a successor to Muhsin Muhammed for 6 seasons.  Smith was constantly double-teamed last year. 

(Steve Smith)

Smith is 31 now, but can still scoot.  Smith may be a short target, but he runs good, crisp routes and possesses the speed to get deep. 

Dwayne Jarrett- 17 rec  196 yds  11.5 avg  1 td

The number two spot is an open competition.  The team drafted 3 wide receivers and hoping someone can emerge. 

For now Jarrett possesses the starting spot opposite Smith.  Jarrett has been a disappointment since being drafted in the 2nd round in 2007.  He needs to show improvement.

Brandon LaFell- ROOKIE

LaFell is a 3rd round pick from LSU.  LaFell has the size and length to cause mismatches in the secondary.

TE- Jeff King- 25 rec  200 yds  8.0 avg  3 td

King is used primarily as a blocking tight end.

Others- Armanti Edwards, Kenny Moore, David Gettis, Dante Rosario.

Edwards is a converted quarterback drafted in the 3rd round from Appalachian State.

Moore has good hands and is a possession receiver.

Gettis is a speedy receiver drafted in the 6th round from Baylor.

Rosario is a pass catching tight end.

GRADE- 7.25

 Offensive Line

LT- Jordan Gross

Gross is coming off a broken right tibia and fibula suffered in November.  Gross is technically sound using his quick hands.  He doesn’t make many mistakes.

LG- Travelle Wharton

Wharton is versatile and packs a solid initial punch.

 C- Ryan Kalil

Coming off his 1st Pro-Bowl, Kalil has established himself as one of the better centers in the NFL.  He’s an outstanding run blocker.  He’s quick off the ball and is very athletic for an offensive lineman.

(Ryan Kalil)

 RG- Mackenzy Bernadeau

Bernadeau needs to improve his run blocking skills.

 RT- Jeff Otah

Otah plays on the right side because of his outstanding, mashing run blocking abilities.  He does need to improve his pass protection.

 GRADE- 9

 Defensive Line

 LDE- Tyler Brayton- 45 tck  5 sck  2 ff  1 p def

Brayton is a solid run stuffer who can move inside in passing situations.  He’s not the greatest athlete, but he’s tough and plays with a high motor.

LDT- Louis Leonard- 6 tck  1 sck

Leonard is back after breaking his ankle last season.  He’s a space eater.

RDT- Tank Tyler- 6 tck

Tank is a tank in the weight room, but not so much on the football field.

RDE- Everette Brown- 22 tck  2.5 sck  2 ff  2 p def

A lot of pressure is on Brown as he has to take over the greatest pass rusher in team history in Julius Peppers.  Carolina spent a 2010 1st round pick to go get Brown in the 2nd round in last year’s draft.

(Everette Brown)

Brown is a bit undersized, but he’s a natural pass rusher with a quick first step and a nice spin move.  His size will be a hinderance in the run game. 

Others- Charles Johnson, Ed Johnson, Eric Norwood

Charles Johnson is another undersized end.  He plays with a lot of energy.

Ed Johnson is a proven run stuffer.

Norwood is a 4th round pick from Mississippi State who can play end or outside linebacker.

GRADE- 7

 Linebackers

 LOLB- Dan Connor- 30 tck

Connor is a downhill player who’s best against the run.

MLB- Jon Beason- 141 tck  3 sck  3 int  7 p def  1 ff

Beason is one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL.  He’s quick and fast, plays with great range from sideline to sideline, and has great short area burst.  He is simply a tackle machine.  He’s o.k. vs the pass.

(Jon Beason)

ROLB- Thomas Davis- 61 tck  1.5 sck  2 int  5 p def 

Davis was on his way to a Pro-Bowl season until tearing his ACL in week 9.  He gets to the ball in a flash, plays aggressively and has good awareness.

Others- Jordan Senn, James Anderson, Jamar Williams

Anderson and Williams will compete with Connor for the starting job on the left side for the departed Nai’ll Diggs.

GRADE- 8

 Secondary

 LCB- Chris Gamble- 58 tck  4 int  12 p def 

Gamble challenges the receiver at the line of scrimmage and has the speed to recover.  He has good ball skills as well.

RCB- Richard Marshall- 88 tck  4 int  9 p def 

Marshall is quick out of his breaks and is an asset against the run.

Richard Marshall Jerramy Stevens #86 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is tackled by Richard Marshall #31 of the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 8, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

(Richard Marshall)

CB- Captain Munnerlyn- 44 tck  1 p def  1 ff

At only 5’8, Munnerlyn may be a bit small, but he plays tough.

FS- Charles Godfrey- 45 tck  1 int  5 p def  4 ff

Godfrey has yet to put it all together, but he has the potential to do so.  He has size and speed.

SS- Sherrod Martin- 23 tck  3 int  4 p def  1 ff

Martin moves over to strong safety after starting at free safety last season for a few games when Godfrey was injured.  Martin has range and is quick out of his break.  He needs to improve his tackling.

Others- Jordan Pugh, R.J. Stanford

Pugh and Stanford are corners who were late round picks in the NFL Draft.  Pugh was a 6th round pick from Texas A+M while Stanford was 7th round pick from Utah. 

GRADE- 7.25

 Special Teams

 PK- John Kasay- 22/27  50 lg

Kasay hasn’t missed more than 5 field goals in a season since 2005.

P- Jason Baker- 76 punts  44.1 avg  22 in 20  61 lg

Baker will handle kickoffs as Rhys Lloyd is departed.  Lloyd’s 51 touchbacks were the most in the NFL over the past 2 seasons.

KR- Mike Goodson- 17 ret  20.7 avg  33 lg

Goodson is a burner.

PR- Captain Munnerlyn- 31 ret  9.0 avg  33 lg

Munnerlyn is another burner.

GRADE- 7

 2010 PREDICTION- 6-10

The big question for Carolina is the quarterback position.  How will Matt Moore play, and will Jimmy Clausen see any playing time.  Here’s the thing with this team.  All Moore has to do is the opposite of what Jake Delhomme did last season.  Just don’t turn the ball over.  The Panthers have an extraordinary duo of Williams and Stewart at running back to go along an outstanding run blocking offensive line.  Opposing defenses should see a lot of them.  I think Everette Brown will be fine, but he’s no Julius Peppers.  The safety position may be a concern as well.  Overall, the Panthers have a favorable schedule but can they win those games.

Offensive MVP- DeAngelo Williams

Defensive MVP- Jon Beason

Breakthrough- Everette Brown

Overrated- Chris Gamble

Underrated- Jonathan Stewart

YOOOAdrian’s 2010 NFL Preview- Atlanta Falcons

Luck wasn’t on the Falcons side last season as they had some high expectations after an 11-5 campaign in 2008.  The two center-pieces of the Falcons offense dealt with injuries for most of the year.  Turner battled a high ankle sprain missing most of the 2nd half, while Matt Ryan dealt with the dreaded turf toe and missed a few starts.  On defense, the team went out and got cornerback Dunta Robinson.  He upgrades the secondary significantly. 

Quarterback

 Matt Ryan-  263/451 58.3%  2,916 yds  22 td  14 int  80.9 rat

Ryan is a younger version of Peyton Manning, at least preparation wise.  Ryan is a good pocket quarterback who gets rid of the ball quickly and can buy time when needed.  He has the arm strength to make all the throws.  Entering his 3rd season, we could see Ryan take major strides in his game as he continually grasps more and more of the offense.  

(Matt Ryan)

Others- Chris Redman, John Parker Wilson

Redman is a serviceable backup, who kept the Falcons in games when Ryan was hurt.

GRADE- 8

 Running Backs

Michael Turner-  178 car  871 yds  4.9 avg  10 td  5 rec  35 yds

Ryan may be the star of the future, but the focal point of the offense is Michael Turner.  Offensive Coordinator Mike Mularky likes to use the power running game and the play-action pass.  Turner is the perfect back for Mularky’s offense.  Turner has thighs the size of Earl Campbell’s.  He breaks multiple tackles and has a good enough burst to run in the open field.

(Michael Turner)

 Jerious Norwood-  76 car  252 yds  3.3 avg  19 rec  186 yds  1 td

Norwood is a change of pace who has great speed.  He needs to avoid the concussions as he suffered 3 last season.

 Others- Jason Snelling, Ovie Mughelli

Snelling did a good job starting a few games for the injured Turner and Norwood.  He’s a smaller version of Turner who runs with power.  He rushed for 613 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Mugheli is one of the top blocking fullbacks in the NFL.

 GRADE- 8.25

 Receivers

Roddy White- 85 rec  1,153 yds  13.6 avg  11 td

White has racked up three consecutive 1,100+ yard seasons.  The only other receiver to do that in team history is Andre Rison.  White is a quick strong, and physical player who likes to get deep.

Usama Young Roddy White #84 of the Atlanta Falcons makes a catch over Usama Young #28 of the New Orleans Saints on December 7, 2008 at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

(Roddy White)

 Michael Jenkins- 50 rec  635 yds  12.7 avg  1 td

Jenkins is a possession receiver.  At 6’4, Jenkins is taller than most cornerbacks.  He’s a reliable consistent target for Ryan.

Harry Douglas- DNP

Douglas missed the entire season with a torn ACL.  Douglas is a burner who can provide Ryan another deep threat.

TE- Tony Gonzalez- 83 rec  867 yds  10.4 avg  6 td

At 34, Gonzalez continues to be an elite tight end in the NFL.  Gonzalez is Ryan’s favorite target on third downs and in the red-zone.

Others- Kerry Meier, Justin Peele

Meier is a 5th round pick from Kansas.  He’s a converted quarterback who has size and good hands.

Peele is the blocking tight end.

GRADE- 8

 Offensive Line

 LT- Sam Baker

Injuries have derailed Baker a bit his 1st 2 seasons.  He’s a finesse player who’s a solid pass protector.

(Sam Baker)

LG- Justin Blalock

Blalock moves piles in the running game.  Using his size and strength, Blalock mashes people in the run game.

C- Todd McClure

McClure has played all 12 seasons in the NFL for the Falcons.  He has not missed a game in 8 years.  He’s a technically sound player who’s a leader on the offensive line.

RG- Harvey Dahl

Dahl is considered a dirty player.  He’s not athletic, but he’s a fighter.

RT- Tyson Clabo

Clabo isn’t quick, but he has size and long arms.

GRADE- 7.5

 Defensive Line

 LDE- Jamaal Anderson- 27 tck  .5 sck  2 p def

Anderson has been a bust thus far since being selected 8th overall in the 2007 draft.  He doesn’t seem to have the instincts to be a pass rusher.  This is Anderson’s final shot.  Atlanta did experiment with him at defensive tackle last season.

LDT- Peria Jerry- 1 tck

Jerry, a 2009 1st round pick, was lost for the season in week 2 with a knee injury.  Atlanta is hoping that Jerry can improve the pass rush. 

(Peria Jerry)

 RDT- Jonathan Babineaux- 47 tck  6 sck  2 p def  2 ff

Babineaux had a career year last season.  He’s quick off the ball and has playmaking ability.

 RDE- John Abraham- 35 tck  5.5 sck  1 p def  1 ff

Abraham saw a colossal dip in his sack total from 2008 when he got to the quarterback 16.5 times.  He is 32 and entering his 10th season.  When he’s at his best, he plays with power and athleticism.

 Others- Kroy Biermann, Corey Peters, Lawrence Sidbury

If Anderson falters, Biermann will step in and start.  He’s undersized, but he can move offensive linemen backwards.

Peters is strong, but not athletic.

GRADE- 7.25

 Linebackers

 LOLB- Stephen Nicholas- 80 tck  3 sck  3 p def  1 ff

 Nicholas is best pass rushing linebacker on the team.  He plays aggressively, but he doesn’t have great closing speed.

MLB- Curtis Lofton- 133 tck  2 p def  2 ff

Lofton is one of the best run defending middle linebackers in the NFL.  He’s a sure tackler who flies to the ball.  He’s starting to see the field more in passing situations as he’s improved in that aspect of his game.

(Curtis Lofton)

ROLB- Mike Peterson- 109 tck  1 sck  1 int  7 p def  2 ff

Peterson, like Lofton, is a sure tackler who isn’t the best against the pass.

Others- Sean Weatherspoon, Coy Wire

Weatherspoon is a 1st round pick from Missouri.  He will replace Peterson in passing situations.  Weatherspoon is agile with great lateral speed and of course good in pass coverage.

GRADE- 7.5

 Secondary

 LCB- Dunta Robinson- 64 tck  9 p def  1 ff

Robinson is the lock-down corner that Atlanta’s been searching for the last couple of seasons.  He’s fast, aggressive, tough and possesses good ball skills.

RCB- Brent Grimes- 66 tck  6 int  13 p def 

Grimes is only 5’10 180 pounds, but he’s fast and scrappy. 

CB- Brian Williams- 18 tck  1 int  3 p def 

Williams started as the opening day starter, but then he tore his ACL in week 6 and was done for the season. 

FS- Thomas DeCoud- 68 tck  3 int  7 p def  2 sck  2 p def

Atlanta players considered DeCoud the Defensive MVP last season.  DeCoud is athletic and quick.

(Thomas DeCoud)

SS- Erik Coleman- 116 tck  5 p def  2 ff

Coleman is a sure tackler and an asset in run support.

Others- Chris Owens, William Moore, Dominique Franks

Owens is a 2nd year player who started the last 6 games of the season. 

Franks is an intriguing 5th round pick who was inconsistent at Oklahoma, but he has upside.

GRADE- 7.5

Special Teams

PK- Matt Bryant- 7/10  51 lg

Bryant will battle with Steven Hauschka for the starting gig.

P- Michael Koenen- 61 punts  42.6 avg  18 in 20  70 lg

Koenen kicks off as well as punts.

KR- Eric Weems- 48 ret  25.3 avg  63 lg

Weems returned kicks and punts last season, but with Harry Douglas back from injury, Weems will stick to just kickoff return duty.

PR- Harry Douglas- DNP

Weems is still a possibility to return punts, but Douglas has the speed.

GRADE- 7

 2010 PREDICTION- 11-5

The sky’s the limit for this squad if they can stay healthy.  The offensive is explosive and Matt Ryan is only going to get better as he heads towards his prime.  The defense is underrated.  The addition of Dunta Robinson is a huge improvement to a 28th ranked pass defense.  All in all, this is a team on the rise and ready to prove that they can be a factor in the NFC. 

Offensive MVP- Michael Turner

Defensive MVP- Dunta Robinson

Breakthrough- Peria Jerry

Overrated- John Abraham

Underrated- Curtis Lofton