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Monday, August 5, 2013

Dolphins vs. Cowboys Observations

Since football season has officially started after the Hall of Fame Game, I would like to start a new series discussing the good, bad, and ugly of what I observed from different teams. Although many say preseason is pointless, I always like to argue that the problems you see in preseason are usually the problems you will have in the regular season. With that being said, here are somethings that I observed:

1. A lot of starters were out- Tony Romo, Mike Wallace, Jason Witten just to name a few. In this case this appears to be normal because you do not want to play someone unless you have to. Since the Cowboys have 5 preseason games, I think it is smart that they did not play their starters very much. Same for Miami.

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2. Both teams looked rusty- This also is normal, but it appears like the Cowboys had it much more together than the Dolphins did. Even so, the red zone offense for the Cowboys needs some work for sure. The Dolphins had a pretty awful start to the preseason though as Miller fumbled around the their own 10. The offense looked disorganized and the only bright spot on the defense was the defensive line. With more time, I think there are things both teams can do to get better as training camp goes on.

3. Dolphins are going to have left tackle problems- Ware did not even play much at all, yet it seemed the QB position for the Dolphins was constantly under distress. It did not take long at all for pressure to form and Matt Moore had a tough night because of it. Perhaps they should have put the money on Jake Long or drafted Lane Johnson...

4. Dolphins Receivers are awful- Sure, they have Mike Wallace, but who else? Everyone seemed to be dropping all the passes and it just looked awful. Would not be surprised if the Dolphins start to look at other teams WR groups to determine if there is talent somewhere else. 

20130804_mjm_aw3_306.0_standard_352.0.jpg (352×234)5. Cowboys love tight ends- It seemed like the Cowboys were using a lot of blocking tight ends for the run game. I am a little surprised by the ground and pound game as well, but it seemed to work. It will be interesting how they use all their tight ends. 

6. Cowboys can run the ball- Boy did they. They embarrassed a lot of Miami defenders by simply knocking them down and getting more yards. No wonder the Cowboys are turning more to ground and pound.

7. Dion Jordan and Cameron Wake are going to be deadly- I loved the speed the Jordan brought to the pass rush and I think he and Wake are going to do some damage. However, I question the secondary in this defense because they caused a lot of headaches for this defensive unit as a whole.

8. Dolphins will miss Reggie Bush-
You know, this team spent a lot of money on getting different players from the league, but maybe they should have invested more in their own players. Reggie Bush was a play maker, the other running backs...

cowinsider_0805spo001.JPG (620×358)9. Cowboys did a great job on coaching changes- I really like the additions they made at the coaching areas and the fact that Garret will not be calling the plays next year. A lot of head coaches that call the plays on offense/defense typically do not do very well. Meanwhile, Joe Philbin did not look very satisfied with this team and rightfully so. There is plenty of work to be done in Miami.

Overall the Cowboys looked much more organized and better. However, they went against a team that is going to need time to bond and all. I think that both teams are around average overall though, with the Cowboys being slightly above average and the Dolphins being below average. Will look at future games though to determine if any of these changes.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Best Secondaries in the NFL

In todays pass attack style offenses, having a good secondary might be the difference between winning or losing games. However, since there have been a lot of off season moves for many NFL teams in the secondary, we are going to take a look at seeing which teams will most likely be dominating in the secondary.

120925-chancellor-480.jpg (480×300)1. Seattle Seahawks- This is by far the most intimidating  group in the NFL that knows how to shut down opposing offenses in the pass attack. Richard Sherman emerged as one of the greats in the group and Brandon Brower is a threat as well. Kam Chancellor does well in pass or run attack and the depth in this group is incredible. The best part? They are young and next year will have a better pass rush. Watch out NFL.

2. Kansas City Chiefs- You might be surprised that they are so high up there, but they made some very solid off season moves that will surely help this group next year. Brandon Flowers does a very good job of covering opposing players and Sean smith was a big free agent addition that puts this group over the edge. Dunta Robinson is a great insurance policy for this group and as long as Quentin Demps keeps being a solid player then this group will continue to be very good.

Carlos+Rogers+New+York+Giants+v+San+Francisco+KmVTnxEpKgGl.jpg (594×411)3. San Francisco 49'ers- I would have placed these guys higher, but age is starting to hit this group and last years playoff/super bowl woes hurt this team. Even so, it is a very good group that makes offenses quiver. Chris Cullivers injury will hurt this team, but the addition of Nnamdi Asomugha will be huge for depth reasons. Carlos Rogers maybe getting older, but I still think he will be effective and the drafting of Eric Reid I think was a great investment. As long as the injury bug does not keep going around, then I think this group will do wonders this season.

4. Denver Broncos- Same pretty much goes for Denver as it does for San Francisco, would have placed them higher, but they have the same issues San Francisco currently has. Champ Bailey is awesome, but he looked slow late in the season and in the playoffs. They added Rodgers-Cromartie as well, but it looks like he is down with injury, so that will hurt. The addition of Quentin Jammer will help with depth and overall it is a solid group. However, like most of the Broncos, they are getting old so they will need to preform this year or else...

Asante+Samuel+Dallas+Cowboys+v+Atlanta+Falcons+DhveWa9-m0yl.jpg (594×392)5. Atlanta Falcons- I have to admit, it was hard to decide if this group deserved to be this high, but its an impressive group nevertheless. Asante Samuel might be getting old, but he proved last season that he can still be a very good player. I really loved that they drafted Desmond Trufant because the guy can play. William Moore needs to step up a little more, but is still a good player to have on your team. It is a boom or bust group, but I think for next year it will be a boom. After that age will start to kick in for this group in my opinion.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Best Linebacker Groups in the NFL

Today I will continue with the series I am having about which teams I believe have the best linebacker corp in the NFL. I will account not only for starting players, but also backups as well. Let us see where the top teams rank:

San+Francisco+49ers+v+Green+Bay+Packers+vht5wdFexgWl.jpg (594×396)1. San Francisco 49'ers- This one was by far one of the easiest teams to decide upon. They have so much talent in their linebacker unit that it has to make other teams jealous. First, they have Navarro Bowman, who is extremely overlooked and is an excellent player maker. Then you have Patrick Willis, who is really good at forcing opponents to plan around him. Finally you have Aldon Smith, who struggled heavily when Justin Smith went down with an injury, but still is able to cause chaos. There is a lot of amazing depth in this group so I would never overlook this defense.

2. San Diego Chargers- Last year overall this unit was honestly average. Then Tom Telesco came into town and dumped all of the mediocre players and replaced them with better ones. Dwight Freeney is a big help to this young unit and Donald Butler is a star in the making. Jarret Johnson continues to dominate in preventing anyone from running anywhere (he was not on the field when 4th and 29 happened) and Manti Te'o I think is going to be good enough. They also signed D.J. Smith as a perfect man to backup the inside linebackers and Larry English will have one last year to prove if he has anything. Keep an eye on these guys though and do not be surprised if they impress you next year.

Brian+Cushing+Rashard+Mendenhall+Pittsburgh+VAgBTwj7fIvl.jpg (594×422)3. Houston Texans- I would have put them above the San Diego Chargers, but it seems like every year someone gets a major injury and is out. Even so, Brian Cushing will be great if he returns back to his normal self and the recent addition of Joe Mays will help with depth for sure. What really excites me about this group is the emergence of Whitney Mercilus because the guy helped to rush the passer a lot last season. If they can stay healthy, this is a great group.

4. Baltimore Ravens- I have to admit, losing a leader like Ray Lewis will hurt this team next year, which is why I do not think they will win the Super Bowl next year. However, the addition of Elvis Dumervil will help with the pass rush a lot and Courtney Upshaw is looking like a great player in the making. Daryl Smith will keep being the perfect depth man for this team and there are some young guys that I think can grow into good players this year. Of course they also have Suggs, so I imagine opposing quarterbacks will not want to face this team on Sunday.

Kyle+Orton+Denver+Broncos+v+Kansas+City+Chiefs+41NHq5a7SLJl.jpg (594×410)5. Kansas City Chiefs- This was honestly between the Cowboys and the Chiefs, but I gave the Chiefs the edge because Tamba Hali is amazing and Justin Houston is quietly coming out as an animal in the pass rush. I love the addition of Nico Johnson in this years draft and I also like the depth this team has. It is a formidable group that I think will impress next year. I would not be surprised if under Andy Reid the Chiefs make the wild card spot because Andy Reid is a winner.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Best Defensive Line Groups in the NFL

A strong defensive line will likely lead to a strong defense as a whole. As complicated as pro football can be, the basic concept of getting into the backfield quickly will always remain. Let us take a look at some of the current top defensive lines in the league as of now.

2016849590.jpg (296×290)1. Seattle Seahawks- Last year this unit proved to be an extremely outstanding group, which helped make the secondary look all the better (Richard Sherman would probably say he could do just as well with a horrible defensive line, but then again that is just how he is). Then they added pass rushing specialist Cliff Avril alongside underrated Red Bryant ,that will cause problems. Bruce Irvin  ended up being a good gamble to take after all and had a good rookie season. After that there is a lot of experience on this line and tons of depth. They help make the Seahawks a threat.

2. Miami Dolphins- It was hard for anyone to really take this team seriously last year with the kinds of receivers they were working with on offense, but the defense for Miami has been there. Cameron Wake is a monster that will have a strong season next year barring injury. Incoming freshman Dion Jordan is an interesting prospect that could make this group elite. Tons of depth on the roster that will surely help in the upcoming season.

156945742.0_standard_352.0.jpg (352×234)3. San Francisco 49´ers- This unit is all formed mostly around Justin Smith because he is a monster. The reality though is that he is only getting older, which will hurt their defense a little. The addition of Glenn Dorsey will help, but he didn´t do anything impressive in Kansas City. It is a strong group though that is getting old, but I think as a whole this group will be able to do enough to compete easily in the playoffs next year. They will need to address defensive line in the draft next year though to keep that trend going.

4. Detroit Lions- The loss of Avril may hurt, but this is still a very tough unit. Detroit has invested many draft picks over the years on defensive linemen and so far it has been a good investment. Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh will cause chaos in the interior of opponents offenses. The addition of Ezekiel Ansah was meant to help the run defense after it struggled last year. In order for Detroit to win though this unit has to step up every Sunday. 

12038217-mmmain.jpg (620×400)5. San Diego Chargers- It is really sad just how much this group gets overlooked by how bad the offensive line was last year. However, this unit boast some upcoming stars that will dominate. Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes are going to shine next year and do damage. Cam Thomas is going to be interesting to watch because he is either a boom or bust player. Dwight Freeney may be getting older, but his veteran presence on this young line will do wonders in my opinion. This is a unit to keep a watch on. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Best Offensive Line Groups in the NFL

The most important position groups in the NFL in my opinion are the Defensive and Offensive lines. If you can dominate in the trenches, then your odds of winning increase dramatically. Do not be surprised if the teams I list today are teams that went deep into the playoffs last year.

staley-block.jpg (610×407)1. San Francisco 49´ers- This is a very nasty group as a whole and begins with Iron man left tackle Joe Staley. I say that because even though he suffered an injury in the playoffs he continued to play at a high level. They also have a very talented guard in Mike Iupati, who does a very good job in moving defensive tackles. Johnathon Goodwin is a solid center who anchors the line as a whole. These guys do very well in pushing defenses back and will continue that trend in 2013. It is no wonder Frank Gore is still able to play at such a high level. After all, he does have one of the best offensive line units in the NFL.

2. Denver Broncos- I would have placed the Broncos at number three, but there addition of Louis Vasquez is both underrated and extremely good for the run game. They have an awesome left tackle in Ryan Clady and are extremely talented as a whole. Peyton Manning is going to have all the time in the world to do whatever he wants to do. It is no wonder at 36 last year he chose to go with the Broncos simply because he will not get as many hits as other NFL quarterbacks.

michael-oher-2.jpg (642×435)3. Baltimore Ravens- Although they did win the super bowl last year, I think this group got a little worse than last year due to having to rely on Bryant Mckinnie, who is known for being lazy. They still have Micheal Oher and guard Antione McCain and both of those guys play extremely well. This group can do some damage to opposing defenses and I would not complain about having them on my team at all. Ray Rice is going to have another fun year running the ball and Flacco will have plenty of time. It is also important to protect Flacco after he signed that mega deal as well.

4. New England Patriots- The Patriots have dominated the NFL for the past decade and one of the main reasons is because their offensive line is just that good. When you have Logan Mankins at left guard and Nate Solder at left tackle, your blindside will be fully protected. Sebastian Vollmer is also a wonderful tackle and is overlooked by fellow lineman Mankins. The only reason nobody talks a lot about this group is because Tom Brady and Bill Belichek take up most of the spotlight. Expect them to be the main reason why the Patriots will contend in 2013.

20120926_kkt_sh2_232.0_standard_352.0.jpg (352×234)5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- This group is a solid group that has an issue with injuries. There is a lot of depth though and that will surely help them a lot this year. The signing of Carl Nicks last year was huge for improving the run game and they have a good center in Jeremey Zuttah. The late trade for tackle Gabe Carimi is strictly for purposes of depth because he did not have a good season with the Bears last year. Even so, its a good group in my opinion. Both of their tackles will not wow anyone, but they do a good enough job to keep Doug Martin running and Josh Freeman passing, which is all you need.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Best TE groups in the NFL

And so the series continues with today discussing which teams have the best tight end groups in the NFL. A special note to be made before I go on is that the New England Patriots would have been number one, but Rob Gronkowski decided wreck his arm by partying and Aaron Hernandez decided to go back to his dark past. Anyways, lets look into the best tight end groups in the NFL.

jason-witten.jpg (512×368)1. Dallas Cowboys- Jerry Jones may have very little football brains help this team win, but he did create one of the best tight end groups in the NFL. To start off with, they have a very overlooked Jason Witten who is great at keeping defenses eyes away from other players. One surprising pick up that I think will help for sure is Dante Rosario. He will not wow anyone, but he is a solid player that can make the highlight reel. Add in the new kid in Gavin Escobar and you have a very solid group. If Romo can be healthy, he can have a lot of fun with this group of guys. That is a big IF though.

2. New Orleans Saints- I have to say I really am impressed with young Jimmy Graham. When he is not on the field this offense is just not the same. The guy I think is better than most top tight ends in my opinion. He is still a rising star. They also boost experience in Benjamin Watson. Both of these guys can start for many other teams easily. They are just lucky to have both of them.

antonio-gates.jpg (600×448)3. San Diego Chargers- Many people that work for the NFL claim that Antonio Gates is very overrated. I could not disagree more. The guy has dominated the league for years (and remember Eric ¨where is Gates¨ Berry ? He got destroyed by Gates and he made the pro bowl last year), so I am not too worried about him. Then they added a solid player in John Phillips, whom the Chargers need badly for blocking reasons. A surprise player that I think will have a bigger impact next season is Landarious Green. The guy is very tall and will make plays next year.

4. San Francisco 49´ers- Last season Micheal Crabtree took a lot of balls away from Vernan Davis. This year however, San Francisco needs Vernan Davis more than ever. It will hurt that these guys have lost a lot of weapons to injury in the WR position, but Davis will help for sure. After that, nobody really impresses me too much honestly. Maybe one of them will prove me wrong, but its a drop off after Davis

gonzalez.jpg (359×442)5. Atlanta Falcons- I did a lot of reading into for Tony Gonzalez. They guy can wreck the field for defenses and will be a hall of fame player for sure, but work ethic I think will be his downfall this season. Part of his contract insists that he not have to go to training camp. People who do not work hard in the offseason take a dive (Jared Gaither for the Chargers last year). Just like San Francisco though, this group takes a dive after Gonzalez. However, do not be surprised if the Falcons end up in the Super Bowl next year...or if heads start rolling in the coaching department if they do not.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Top Wide Out groups in the NFL

In this weeks posting, I will discuss the top 5 best wide receiver groups in the NFL. This one will be a little more difficult since there are many different types of receiver roles and so many on each team. Here we go:

Roddy+White+San+Francisco+49ers+v+Atlanta+gmtwqxhhInxl.jpg (472×594)1. Atlanta Falcons- I really am wondering if this team should consider changing their offensive coordinator or if Matt Ryan is not really that great because this group is outstanding. When Julio Jones was drafted it seemed like a reach for this team, but ended up being almost a steal. Roddy White continues to be overshadowed by Jones, but he is an amazing player. Add in Douglas and you have an incredible group (Gonzalez does not count for this group, but he is a huge factor as well).

2. Denver Broncos- Does your team have a 1000 plus yard wide out? How about having 3 of them on your team? That is exactly what the Broncos have and the addition of Wes Welker was a big plus for this offense. Eric Decker is overlooked by Demitrius Thomas, but both guys help each other by causing problems for opposing defenses. Somehow though, it seems that Brandon Stokley never ages. Good luck defenses in the NFL.

jordy-nelson-reebok-cleats.jpg (640×440)
3. Green Bay Packers-  Looking back, it is hard to believe the Packers did not make my rankings sooner, but the wide outs are looking great. This is a team that gets high up there though due to depth. They have Jordy Nelson, who excels are moving the chains, James Jones, who keeps defense occupied, and Randall Cobb, who I believe is going to make a major impact next year. Sure they lost some weapons in the offseason, but did you see how much depth they had in this group already?

4. Arizona Cardinals- Ok so Larry Fitzgerald is probably the only major reason why they were able to get this high on the list, but that guy is simply that good. He just does not have a real QB...for now. I liked watching young Micheal Floyd though and I think he can have a real impact on this team for awhile. They also have a good enough player in Andre Roberts that may make a bigger impact next year.

tumblr_m55ufnQU4c1r6lxeqo1_500.jpg (401×320)5. New Orleans Saints- I think with coach Peyton  back where he should be, this team will be back to competition in 2013. They have a very good player in Lance Moore and Marques Colston knows how to play football to the next level. I think Kenny Stills will be the new guy to watch as well, but health in this group is the biggest issue. Even so, it is hard not to be impressed with this group. I think Mr. Brees should be smiling this year because last years distractions will be gone.