Monday, August 02, 2010

Monday: Odds and Ends, NFL Exhibition

Unbelievable but the NFL preseason has started. The soon to be defunct 4 game exhibition season. The profit machine that is having kids watch grown men catch balls ejected at them by jugs machines. camp. So here are the 6 things I'm following for this training no particular order

1. The TO and Chad Ocho Cinco Show - Well partly I'm wondering if there massive ego's colliding will cause a fault line to open up but on the field production is where my eyes are. Everyone (including me) forgets that the Bengals were the division champ last year and an improved passing attack could turn the Bengals into a Super Bowl darkhorse.

2. Mark Dirty Sanchez Year 2 - Sanchez, who was putrid for most of the season, played his best ball in the playoffs. Will that continue? Will the dreaded sophomore slump hit Sanchez? Will the HBO Curse strike the Jets? Is there a HBO curse?

3. Cutler and Mad Martz - This appears to be an all in move by the Bears. I mean you have to be a little desperate to bring in the mercurial Martz as assistant. Cutler's strong arm seems to be a good fit for Martz but the Greatest Show on Turf is a long time gone. Will this experiment work?

4. Kolb v. Mcnabb - Actually this might be my most intriguing storyline of the season. Kolb and Andy Reid versus Mcnabb and Shannahan. Reid made the ballsy move to ship McNabb out to an in-division rival. Will both do well? Will one do demonstrably better than the other? Who?

5. The Jake Delhome Reclamation Project - For those unaware Jake is 35 and was dumped by the Panthers. He is in Cleveland to provide the veteran leadership and to be a tackling dummy for the next 2 years until the quarterback of the future. That said Holmgren/Heckert theoretically picked Delhomme over alternatives so Delhomme is expected to avoid 6 INTs a game. Will he?

6. New England Reunion - Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel have joined Scott Pioli to get the band back together. The Chiefs have only to go but up however Cassel with Weis need to show a lot more this year to justify his status as legitimate NFL starter.

What did I miss?


Gutsy Goldberg said...

1) TO is interesting because he's been either injured or irrelevant in the last year. If he's healthy, maybe he does have one last semi-productive year in him? I'm more worried about the Bengals QB staying healthy.
2) I will make a separate blog-post about the "Hard Knocks" curse, or whether there even is a curse.
3) I'm excited to see Martz back out there, though all of his latest experiments (San Fran, Detroit) have failed
4) I expect Kolb to be better than McNabb, but it will be fun to watch for sure. Can't think of the last time such a high-profile QB was shipped to the team's biggest rival (outside of Favre, but that was his 2nd team after the fact).
5) I'm keeping my fingers crossed about Delhomme, but not expecting it to work out. I want to see Seneca Wallace. Seriously.
6) The KC Patriots should be interesting. But I'm not expecting much outside of the inevitability of Romeo and Weiss putting on some weight during the season.

B. Hutchens said...

I would have to say that there is not a Hard Knocks curse because the Bungals were on Hard Knocks last year and they won their division. Perhaps it is the opposite.

MJ said...

1) I'll take the contrarian point of view on the Bengals in two respects:

First, I don't believe that two diva WR's will derail their season simply because T.O. is clearly now a year-by-year player whose contract status will be evaluated annually. As such, he can't afford to make the waves he made in San Francisco, Philadelphia or Dallas. That's not to say that he won't, merely to say that T.O. is an extremely intelligent individual and he knows that there aren't too many other teams out there in the NFL that will sign him if his production doesn't match his self-promotional tendencies.

Second, the Bengals won the division because they ran the ball and played good defense. I don't see a reason to believe that the defense can't be as good as last year but I certainly don't expect the running game to be as effective. As a result, I can't imagine that the Bengals will be as efficient on offense as they were last year, Hall of Fame duo of WR's notwithstanding.

2) The Jets are the NFL darlings right now and they boast two of the best homerun threat WR's in football (Santonio Holmes/Braylon Edwards). As long as those two guys and the Jets defense produces, Sanchez should be insulated from a sophomore slump. The offensive line improved its pass protection by cutting guard Alan Faneca. It remains to be seen if the Jets can run as well without Thomas Jones as the feature back but second year RB Shonn Greene had a tremendous rookie year.

3) The Bears will stink, but not because of Mike Martz or Jay Cutler. Their offensive line is awful, they haven't had enough draft picks to rebuild their depth and their defense is relying on the boom-or-bust signing of the famously undermotivated Julius Peppers.

4) Never count out Mike Shanahan. In a straight-up battle of wits, I'll take him over Reid every time. The Eagles are better on paper in 2010 but I'm not so sure the same will be true in 2012.

5) Jake only has to be below-average for the move to pay off. As long as he's not the colossaly awful QB he's been over the past two years, the signing was fine. It wasn't a move I'd necessarily make but I see the logic in it.

6) It's hard to totally blame Cassel for being a QB behind an awful pass-blocking line with no downfield threats to go to. The Chiefs should give Cassel at least two more years before they deem him a waste of space. In that time, they should go out and get him a WR or three.

MJ said...

As to items not covered, I'd add the following storylines:

A) The Dolphins turning the future over to Chad Henne. Sure he played last year but this will be his first full year as a starter and, on paper, it looks like the toughest division in football.

B) Which of those four horrible NFC West teams will win the division? The Cardinals got crushed in free agency, the Rams still seem like they're at least two years away from respectability, the 49ers have instability at the QB position and the Seahawks have a college coach and an old QB running the show with no talent at the offensive skill positions.

C) Was last year the miracle season for Brett Favre and the Vikings? Will he finally show his age and break down this year?

D) Will my prayers for Tim Tebow's untimely death on the football field finally be answered? I sure hope so because I can't think of a single NFL player I dislike more.

Mighty Mike said...

Good questions on the NFC West and if someone can win it with less than 8 wins (maybe?). I'd say the Cards Leinart experiment could be interesting if your into that car wreck watching thing.

Tim Tebow's wildcat offense might be the most used phrase in week 1. ughh. I think I just threw up a little...

Gutsy Goldberg said...

@MJ - 2) Whether Sanchez has a sophomore slump or not is tough to predict. Clearly, he has all the weapons in the world.
A) I forgot about Chad Henne. He also gets Brandon Marshall on his team, so that should be an interesting team to watch, especially when they play the Pats and the jets.
B) I have no idea who will win the NFC West. I guess the 49ers because Mike Singletary is captain intensity?
D) I also dislike Tim Tebow and hope he proves to be a colossal failure. However, I will not root for his death, because that seems drastic.