Monday, August 27, 2007

Hope or Hype???

Check out an NFL practice field and you’ll see dozens of guys sporting dozens of different attitudes.

"Training camp couldn’t be a bigger waste of time. When is practice over?”
“Just don’t get hurt.”
“I think I’ll pull a quad tomorrow and miss a week of practice.”
“When exactly are we going to revisit my pathetic contract?”
“I need this day to be perfect, or I’m gone.”
“I’ll be cut any moment now.”
“I hope I can at least make the practice squad this season.”
“Hello, new contract!”

You could go on. However, often we forget what talent evaluators - and no, I don’t mean what coaches, scouts, GMs, and player personnel directors are wondering.

I’ll step out of my lazy work polo shirt and into a variety of team gear and bad slacks.

Each team is targeting all sorts of players. However, each one is targeting only a handful of guys to turn it up, turn it around, or hopefully not turn it down as the season approaches.

Let’s take a gander…

Arizona Cardinals
Radar: Leonard Pope [Tight End]
Can we develop an underneath target for Leinart that will bolster an already studly wideout corps?

Atlanta Falcons
Radar: Jamaal Anderson [Defensive End]
Will we silently regret trading away Matt Schaub for the next ten years?

Baltimore Ravens
Radar: Bart Scott [Linebacker]
Was it a mistake not to throw money at Adalius Thomas and worry about the salary cap after a potential Super Bowl season?

Buffalo Bills
Radar: Entire defense
With so many defensive veterans gone, who will become the leader of this defense?

Carolina Panthers
Radar: Dan Morgan [Linebacker]
Can our defensive leader every stay healthy for an entire season?

Chicago Bears
Radar: Devin Hester [Punt Returner, Kick Returner & Wide Receiver]
Can he be that good again?

Cincinnati Bengals
Radar: Leon Hall [Cornerback]
Did we get an absolute steal of a shutdown corner in the middle of the 1st round of the draft?

Cleveland Browns
Radar: Romeo Crennel [Head Coach]
Is this the right man to lead our team into the future? Especially when he’s flipping coins to choose a starting quarterback!

Dallas Cowboys
Radar: Ken Hamlin [Safety]
Can we support a talented guy, named Roy, with him and Roy the consistent elite playmaker he has the potential to be?

Denver Broncos
Radar: The TE position
We’ve spent the time and the money, now when does a guy emerge from Shannon’s shadow?

Detroit Lions
Radar: John Kitna [Quarterback]
Can this guy help turn around a culture of losing? Can he hold onto the ball in the 4th quarter?

Green Bay Packers
Radar: Charles Woodson [Cornerback]
Can he remain one of the NFL’s best recently kept comeback secrets still?

Houston Texans
Radar: Owen Daniels [Tight End]
Where on Earth are we going to find a proper compliment to Andre Johnson on this roster? (Perhaps...Jacoby Jones?)

Indianapolis Colts
Radar: Bob Sanders [Safety]
Can our defensive MVP stay healthy when we need him the most?

Jacksonville Jaguars
Radar: Maurice Jones-Drew [Running Back]
Have we been harboring an absolute gem who’s on the verge of becoming one of the NFL’s best game-breaking backs?

Kansas City Chiefs
: Brodie Croyle [Quarterback]
How do we tell if this guy is our QB of the future?

Miami Dolphins
Radar: Ted Ginn [Wide Receiver]
Was this the guy who we were supposed to take with the 9th overall pick in an NFL Draft?

Minnesota Vikings
Radar: Pass-rushing DEs
Can a dominant defensive line make our defense entirely suffocating?

New England Patriots
Radar: Laurence Maroney [Running Back]
We’ve done it before without a stud back, but can we do it with this guy, stud or not?

New Orleans Saints
Radar: Deuce McAllister [Running Back]
Can we get a repeat performance out of Deuce in ’07 and further allow Reggie Bush time to develop and prosper?

New York Giants
Radar: Amani Toomer [Wide Receiver]
Can Eli’s security blanket remain healthy and potentially emerge as our veteran leader or will Steve Smith put him on the fringe?

New York Jets
Radar: Darrelle Revis [Cornerback]
After missing so much camp, can Revis turn into the shutdown corner our defense desperately needs?

Oakland Raiders
Radar: Jerry Porter [Wide Receiver]
Is this guy a malcontent or simply misunderstood? Or both? Should we even bother to find out much longer?

Philadelphia Eagles
Radar: Jevon Kearse [Defensive End]
When, if ever, will he attempt to justify that mega-contract from a few years back?

Pittsburgh Steelers
Radar: Santonio Holmes [Wide Receiver]
Is this his breakout season opposite of Hines Ward?

St. Louis Rams
Radar: Adam Carriker [Defensive End/Linebacker]
Can he rejuvenate our defensive front and aid our emerging secondary with a consistent run-stopping threat? (Then again, when was this defense “juvenated” to be rejuvenated?)

San Diego Chargers
Radar: Nate Kaeding [Kicker]
When the big kick arrives, will it even be close?

San Francisco 49ers
Radar: Darrell Jackson [Wide Receiver]
Is he the downfield threat Alex Smith needs to take it to the next level?

Seattle Seahawks
Radar: Nate Burleson [Wide Receiver]
Was he a complete waste of Steve Hutchinson’s potential contract?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Radar: Carnell Williams [Running Back]
Which year was a more telling tale for the Cadillac: ’05 or ’06?

Tennessee Titans
Radar: Nick Harper [Cornerback]
With the Pacman out for the season (at the very least in Tennessee); is Harper the true CB of our future?

Washington Redskins
Radar: Carlos Rogers [Cornerback]
Can this guy avoid becoming the NFL’s most picked-on CB by opposing WRs?

…and I’m spent.

That is unless you have a few guys on your collective radars, of whom you’ve like to comment a bit about.

Until next time…

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