Saturday, August 22, 2009

2009 NFC East Preview

The NFC East is undoubtedly one of the best divisions in the league this year, and this season promises to be an all out war. As good as the division is this year, it still may not field up to three Playoff teams because it is likely that the four teams will beat up on each other and even the eventual division champion will inevitably suffer some losses along the way. Starting from the bottom up with respect to last year's final standings, let's take a closer look at some of the changes that took place from free agency and the draft.

The Giants appear to have only made themselves better and focused on their defense line while doing so. Their offensive line suffered no losses and are all coming back, and we shall see a team that will not seem to miss much of a beat from the loss of Plexico Burress.

The Washington Redskins bolstered their defense in the offseason with the additions of free agent DT Albert Haynesworth and rookie LB Brian Orakpo (not to mention DE Renaldo Wynn from the Giants). The defense will only go forward as the new players develop and learn because they did see a few of their experienced defenders move on such as DE Demetric Evans, LB/End Jason Taylor, and LB Marcus Washington.

The offensive line is more of a question mark as the line will take time to gell from the loss of OG Pete Kendall and OT Jon Jansen.
Last year the team suffered from injuries and a lack of depth in the second half of the season and was not able to close the season strong as a result. Even with the addition of OG Derrick Dockery and ex-Carolina Lineman Jeremy Bridges, the Redskins still may suffer from a lack of depth and experience if they end up having to deal with the injury bug on their lines once again this season.

The Dallas Cowboys also may suffer from depth issues but on the defensive side of the ball as they lost some starters and reserves from their front. DE Greg Ellis, LB Kevin Burnett, LB Zach Thomas are all gone, but they did add ex-Charger DE Igor Olshansky and LB Keith Brooking from Atlanta. The Cowboys held steady in the offseason on the offensive line and should still have a strong offensive attack as a result including a good ground game. The Cowboys had the potential to go all the way to the Super Bowl last season but were eliminated by losses down the stretch---some by division rivals like the Eagles and Giants.

One team that benefited from Cowboy free agent losses in the offseason is the New York Giants who added DT Chris Canty from the Cowboys to bolster their already outstanding defensive front. They didn't stop there as they seemed to be now sold on a principle of building up one's defensive line as the path to success. The Giants added a whole bevy of Defensive Lineman to their front via free agency like ex-Seahawk DL Rocky Bernard and LB Michael Boley from Atlanta.

On top of all this, the Offensive Line returns in tact--and even added OL Tutan Reyes from Buffalo. Being the class of the NFC East makes the Giants also a leading contender in the conference to be battling to make it back to the Conference Championship.

The Philadelphia Eagles, on the other hand, may not start as strong as they finished in 2008, but they figure to be in the mix at the end---just as they did last year---barring any major hits by the injury bug. They have some issues to iron out on their offensive line--you don't normally lose both your offensive tackles and fire out of the gate at full speed. Both OT Tra Thomas, now a Titan, and OT Jon Runyan are gone---and both were outstanding at the position. The additions of ex-Bengal OT Stacy Andrews and OT Jason Peters from Buffalo will help sure up the losses, but it might take a few weeks for the full potential of the offensive line to kick into high gear.

Defensive depth is a concern as LB Stewart Bradley went down in the early days of training camp. Also SS Brian Dawkins is now a Bronco and was an important part of the defensive eight man front against the run. However, we saw the interior defensive front mature last year, and if the Eagles can withstand any further major issues, and if DTs Broderick Bunkley and Mike Patterson can play at the level they did last year, then the defense should sure up nicely down the stretch--despite the early injuries.

Even if the NFC East beats up on itself and only has one or two playoff teams in the hunt by the end of what appears to be a bloody battle, the teams that emerge will be in contention to ultimately go deep into the playoffs.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Smart Football: Michael Vick to

Smart Football: Michael Vick to

Thursday, August 13, 2009


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Friday, August 7, 2009

Super Bowl Calculations

As we prepare for an upcoming season once again, I want to comment briefly on why Pittsburgh scored ahead of Arizona in the Super Bowl Calculation despite the fact that the Cardinals kept the game close and entertaining.
Basically the Steelers earned more points for driving and grinding the ball whereas Arizona had more big plays that kept them in the game. While the results did not ignore the fact that the Cardinals drove the ball all the way down the field at the end of the first half, only to be devastated by James Harrison's amazing interception runback for a half-ending touchdown, the Steelers also had a drive that ended in an interception as well---effectively canceling things out. Arizona's first scoring drive was boosted by a big play by Anquan Bolden's run after catch. Also Larry Fitzgerald took a Kurt Warner pass to the house to make for a very exciting finish.
Santonio Holmes spectacular catch of Ben Rothelisberger's perfect pass was quite an ending to the 2008 Season which was full of surprises!