Friday, January 25, 2008

Postseason-less Blues…Revived: The NFC

By: Chris Clement

As many of you know, most fans of the non-playoff bound variety have turned their heads towards two of the most important stages of any NFL “off-season” (is there truly one?):
A) The NFL Draft
B) Free Agency

Let’s dissect a few issues surrounding the playoff-less.

NFC East
…Philadelphia Eagles...
-Without any contract issues and a rehabbing knee (2-year recovery, remember!), QB Donovan McNabb seemed to turn a few heads back to his side after winning their last three games in impressive fashion. Despite rumors that he was briefly put on the trade market, it seems highly unlikely the Kevin Kolb era is any closer to starting in Philadelphia.

NFC North
…Detroit Lions…
-Selecting outside of the top 10 for the first time in years, disappointment was still the resounding sentiment in Detroit following a second-half collapse. Finishing near dead-last in every meaningful defensive category, the Lions have invested a ton of cash in their interior defensive line. Whether isolating one of the Jenkins’ CBs in the draft or a free agent, look for the Lions to make a big play for a replacement (finally) for departed CB ‘Dre Bly. None better on the market than potential former-Pat CB Asante Samuel.

…Minnesota Vikings…
-Losing their final 2 games – and thus, missing the playoffs – may have left more than a few doubts in Brad Childress’s mind about current starting QB Tarvaris Jackson. While it seems likely they’ll miss out on one of the three big draft QBs (Matt Ryan, Brian Brohm, Andre’ Woodson), the Vikings have to start deciding who is or isn’t the quarterback of the future.

...Chicago Bears…
-Everyone is talking Rex Grossman and the QB position in Chicago. Yet, two of its biggest free agents are its starting wideouts [Bernard Berrian & Muhsin Muhammad]. Berrian appears ready to cash in big time as an emerging young wideout with big play ability on the market. With a mid-level First Round pick available to the Bears, offensive playmakers seems to be the idea. Quarterback? Receiver? Offensive Line???

NFC South
…Atlanta Falcons…
-Another team with a QB debacle, the Falcons have the aging Warrick Dunn and an underdeveloped Jerious Norwood in their backfield. With a name like Darren McFadden lingering among the likes of QBs Matt Ryan and Brian Brohm, the Falcons need an offensive stud, but who do they like the most?

...Carolina Panthers…
-Underachieving again and again, this has to be the last year John Fox is given to realize his team’s true potential. While playmakers are needed on both sides of the ball, the injury to QB Jake Delhomme further proves this team’s need for a young QB to build their franchise around. However, if a Brohm or Woodson is selected…what does that mean for an aging Delhomme?

…New Orleans Saints…
-With the honeymoon officially over for Sean Payton, Drew Brees and Reggie Bush, 2008 will display whether the Saints are an NFC contender or pretender. After the disastrous free-agent signing of CB Jason David and health issues for Mike “the Predator” McKenzie, the Saints are likely, with the 10th pick, to have top choice at a top-flight CB.

NFC West
…San Francisco 49ers...
-Without their 1st-round pick (#7, which now belongs to the 16-0 Pats of all teams), the 49ers will have to test both the free agent market and the later rounds in the draft to add new talent. While they don’t have a shot at a first-round QB, perhaps competition would be better suited in the 2nd or 3rd round (i.e. John David Booty) rather than overspending on a free-agent like Derek Anderson. With so much money invested in former overall #1 pick QB Alex Smith, the entire position is one of contention.

…St. Louis Rams…
-After spending a recent 1st-rounder on OT Alex Barron, is it too early, especially with the 2nd pick, to focus on Jake Long. Whether Glenn Dorsey is available after the 1st-pick has a lot to do with that. Nevertheless, protecting Marc Bulger and blocking for a healthy Steven Jackson is a top priority this off-season for the Rams. Whether via a veteran backup, depending on LT Orlando Pace staying healthy isn’t a wise option.

…Arizona Cardinals…
-After a 27-touchdown season – playing through multiple injuries mind you – QB Kurt Warner’s career seems far from dead. Yet, a ton of cash and promise is packaged into playboy QB Matt Leinart. The former Heisman winner has had trouble both staying on the field and performing at a consistent level. With a steady #3 QB Tim Rattay a solid backup, could Warner be on the blocks? Or might we have a real interesting training camp controversy brewing in the desert?

…The AFC will receive the treatment later today…

1 comment:

Paymon said...

Some quick on the NFC ...

I'm not terribly worried about the Eagles so long as we have a head coach this offseason. Our entire draft except for Bradley was a sham. Abiamiri also took a few snaps. I hope we cut our losses immediately with Jevon Kearse and Darren Howard. I knew they were both wastes when we got them.

Lions - Defense. Will Drew Stanton actually be healthy enough to compete with Kitna?

Vikes - They're the team with fortuitous coaches. The # of games this franchise has won via dumb luck since Denny Green is phenomenal.

Bears - All I heard from my brother, a devoted Bears fan, is that they need an offensive line. Even if they had a good RB, it wouldn't matter. The O-Line is old and bad except for Kreutz. For some reason, the team is galvanized behind Orton. It's odd.

Falcons - No hope if they play in almost any other division. They could become exciting. Blank was conscious about media scrutiny aimed at his propensity for the big splash when making the head coach hire.

Panthers - Fox is getting the sack, as they say in Britain. This team has lost their toughness. Expect moves to address the lines.

Saints - Defense. Gary Gibbs is overrated. They need a scheme that creates more pressure and takes slightly less chances. I know those styles of thought are diammetically opposed to one another. Right now, their best defense is Drew Brees dinking and dunking.

49ers - They need time and health. Everything seemed to fall apart when Manny Lawson was out for the year. Offense never meshed. Mike Martz the answer? He's better than nothing and the perfect litmus test for deciding on whether to extend Alex Smith or cut him loose.

Rams - Defense + replace at the tackle position. Thankfully, this draft is loaded with talent at the tackle position. Don't splurge in the costly free agent market when you can land a good one in the 3rd or 4th round who would've been a sure-fire 2nd-rounder in other drafts.

Cardinals - I can't believe I'm saying this, but I believe they're in good shape. They could be in line for a RB on Day 1. Of course, the lines can always use help. The Bidwells will find a way to ruin this, I'm sure.

Great work, Clement!