NFC Divisional Breakdown - By Nick Signorelli
Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial
|I would like to start out by thanking all of my friends in Cincinnati, for all of your kind remarks. I will have more to say about you all later, but now, on to the NFC.
Minnesota Vikings - If Red McCombs would have spent the kind of money in previous years that he spent of Ziggy Wilfs, the Minnesota Vikings may have won a Super Bowl by now. I think the Randy Moss trade was a good one, though I would have taken Mike Williams. Bringing in Darren Sharper, Fred Smoot and Corey Chavous will drastically improve the secondary. The only question is, can Mike Tice lead this ship? If he can, I expect the Minnesota Vikings to make it to challenge the Philadelphia Eagles for the Super Bowl.
Green Bay Packers - They start off by cutting the interior offensive line, the only good WR on the team wants more money, Brett Favre hasn't been to any of the mini-camps. This is not a good start to the season. OK, Favre knows the playbook like the back of his hand, but he still needs to bond with the new starters on the offensive line. Javon Walker is saying he is worth Randy Moss money, though he isn't as good as Santana Moss. If the rest of this division wasn't so weak, they would be at the bottom. The Green Bay Packers finish second because the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears are so bad, oh my!
Detroit Lions - The Detroit Lions have had 4 first round picks in the last 3 years. They have taken 3 WR's and a RB. They have a decent offensive line, and a defense that is getting better. Problem is, they still have no one that can throw the ball. Behind Joey Harrington is Jeff Garcia. I guess they expect the defense to put some points on the board if they want to be successful. Signing RW McQuarters is an improvement, but not enough.
Chicago Bears - Does anyone else remember the Super Bowl Shuffle? That seems like such a long time ago. Lovie Smith is a good coach, but reality is that Rex Grossman is the starting QB, and if you put in a bad QB with no weapons, you are asking for trouble. The fact that this team had Kordell Stewart on the team as the starter 2 years ago, shows how far this team is from being a contender. Looking like a top 5 pick this year guys.
Atlanta Falcons - They started this off season talking about releasing Peerless Price. Then I guess they got smart and realized that if you have a QB that likes to run the ball more than throw the ball, it might not be the WR fault. The fact is, this team is built around Michael Vick. If he goes down, and as often as he runs, he will again go down, this team is done. But, Atlanta Falcon fans, if you are looking for a backup QB that can run the football, you can always turn to old Slash.
New Orleans Saints - The prize signing of this off season is Az Hakim. If that is the best you can do, then your team is in trouble. The New Orleans Saints have a decent defense, but not great by a long shot. Aaron Brooks, the cousin of Michael Vick, has a lot of the same characteristics. Likes to run, doesn't throw the ball as well as Michael Vick, and is a car crash waiting to happen. SO, they draft Adrian McPherson. If everyone remembers, McPherson was kicked off the FSU football team for getting arrested. I read a story that he has played the last couple of seasons in the Arena League, and has matured. I hope he realizes that everyone he was playing against then, wasn't good enough to make it in the big leagues.
Carolina Panthers - Jake Delhomme had a good year when the Carolina Panthers went to the Super Bowl 2 years ago. Now that he has lost Muhsin Muhammad, Steve Smith is going to draw all of the double teams, and this is going to make the rest of the team step up. Dan Morgan is entering the final year of his contract, so I expect a big year from him, but that defense is going to need more than that. Julius Peppers is a great defensive end, but the rest of the defensive line, which was the best in the league during the Super Bowl year, has to step back up to that level if this team isn't going to be stuck with a top 10 pick this year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Is it just me, or did anyone else realize that as soon as the Glacier brothers won the Super Bowl, they stopped caring about football to focus on soccer. This team is in trouble. Simeon Rice has basically called Jon Gruden a bad coach, saying they won the Super Bowl based on what Tony Dungy did while he was in Tampa Bay. Derrick Brooks refused to restructure his contract earlier in the off season to help with salary cap room, due to what Gruden did to John Lynch and Warren Sapp. This team is in a downward spiral and if the Glaciers don't forget about soccer soon, they will be as bad as they were when they wore the orange uniforms.
Philadelphia Eagles - This team is still the cream of the crop in the NFC. They are the big dog until someone knocks them off. Losing Freddie Mitchell is going to help them. He is a walking migraine. They put the franchise tag on Corey Simon, which, to me, is a good move. The biggest question is Terrell Owens. If he plays, the Philadelphia Eagles will have the inside track to the NFC crown again. If he doesn't? This is going to be an interesting season.
N.Y. Giants - Plaxico Burress is going to be really good for Eli Manning. The offensive line has improved, though not greatly. Their defense is still weak. If this team steps up, they could make the playoffs. Coach Tom Coughlin is a good coach, and as long as he doesn't punish players for being 5 minutes early, this team could rally around him and have a good year. They might even pass up the Philadelphia Eagles, IF, T.O. is a no-show.
Washington Redskins - For the first time since Daniel Snyder has taken over, the Washington Redskins haven't signed anyone that has been drafted. They have a decent team, though I am not sure why they traded back into the first round for Jason Campbell. But if Mark Brunell was my back up, I probably would have done the same thing. The biggest question involving the Washington Redskins is, how bad is the legal system going to hurt their defense? Sean Taylor has a court date the day after the first game of the season on felony charges, and he has been excused from off season workouts. And LaVar Arrington is flirting with disaster from his party where a security guard got shot. This is not the Joe Gibbs that I remembered.
Dallas Cowboys - I think that this will be the year that we see a real life Celebrity Death Match between Jerry Jones and the Tuna. The two main players that the Dallas Cowboys brought in, Anthony Henry and Jason Ferguson, Henry was bad in Cleveland, and Ferguson had back surgery. Terrence Newman has yet to show he was worthy of a top 10 pick two years ago, and Drew Bledsoe is as still as the Statue of Liberty in the pocket. This is going to be a long year for Dallas Cowboys fans. But look at it this way, at least you still have the Cheerleaders.
Seattle Seahawks - I think that the Seattle Seahawks are going to win this division by default. They have made some good moves in getting rid of Jerry Rice (though I'll bet they wish they wouldn't have disrespected Steve Largent by letting Jerry Rice have his retired number) and Koren Robinson, but they still have a lot of work to do to fill the vacant LB positions. Peter Boulware is not the answer, but at least they had enough sense to not go after Kendrell Bell.
St. Louis Rams - I think that Mike Martz has completely lost his mind. By the 4th game of the season, he will completely abandon the run. The "Greatest show on Turf" is officially gone. Mark Bulger is a good QB, and Tory Holt is still an elite WR. Steven Jackson still has to prove himself, and signing Orlando Pace was a great decision. My question, is their anyone on that team that can play secondary? That is the weak link, and the link that will doom them. On the bright side, for Mike Martz, Dick Vermiel will be retiring and the Kansas City Chiefs will be looking for a coach next year.
Arizona Cardinals - I am not going to take anything away from Larry Fitzgerald, he is going to be a great WR, but I'd bet dollars to donuts that Dennis Green wishes daily that he would have drafted Ben Roethlisberger. This team is too weak in too many places to seriously challenge for even a playoff spot. They would probably be the worst team in the division, had the San Francisco 49ers not been in it.
San Francisco 49ers - Alex Smith may be a decent QB someday. From what I have read (and yes, I do read the national media) Smith is a very smart kid, which will help him. Something has to help him because there isn't anyone on that team that is going to. The York family had a reputation for being great at all businesses, but football. When that video leaked out, all I could think of is how could this happen. The San Francisco 49ers may be stuck in permanent rebuild mode for the next few years.