August 31, 2006
The intro for Saturday's Prime Time "ESPN on ABC" event surfaced on the web. Brent Musberger leads us out of the gate, revving the hype machine one last time before the players back up the expectations on the field.
Lingering questions since walking out of Rula Bula's January 3rd with a clean slate, fresh outlook and a minor buzz:
Will the Offense According to Weis v.2 ascend to comical levels of effeciency and production?
Can a RB switch to starting LB without ever playing a college defensive down and have an impact, preferably positive?
How much has the secondary learned from their past indiscretions of biting on ball fakes and miscommunication?
How much will the forgotten one, Rhema, blow up in the mastermind's grand scheme? McKnight and the Shark will be option 1 and 1A for Brady as he rewrites every school record imaginable.
What will supplant "Same Old Jesus" in the parking lot T-shirt sweepstakes? I'm talking to you enterprising freshmen. Dazzle us.
Will Brady and the rest of this cast of characters etch their place in Irish legendary status with a championship season?
Game On. Let's Go Irish!
August 15, 2006
Am I the only one who mises the Sunday Night NFL ESPN guys? I'm as big a Tony Kornheiser fan as anyone, but I sort of miss the silliness of the Joe, Paul, and Mike team. Can we get at least one "HOLY COW, How good is Peyton Manning?!" this year in honor of those guys?
What on God's Earth are the Raiders doing as an organization? Art Shell? Aaron Brooks? You gotta be kidding me! How could the Raiders possibly think that Art Shell and Aaron Brooks are going to provide long term solutions at Head Coach and QB? I'm surprised Al Davis didn't just hire himself to complete the mess. Granny Davis has been clueless for about 15 years, but it's amazing that there isn't more outrage from the Raider Nation about the direction of that franchise. Instead of demanding change, Raider fans have just stopped going. Just more fuel to the fire for the argument that there isn't the same level of passion for sports on the West Coast as there is in the East.
Not that I'm all that surprised about it, but Reggie Bush is incredible. I really have no idea what to expect of Reggie Bush as far as stats go this year. Would love to see the Saints just get him 25-30 touches a game to see what kind of numbers he could put up. Sky is the limit. The league is THAT much more exciting with Reggie in the league.
Jay Cutler! How good did he look in the preseason opener?! Bronco fans have to be pretty excited about their future at QB. How long before Tennessee Titan fans start wondering why they drafted Vince Young (who has bust written all over him) over Jay Cutler?
I know the Arizona Cardinals are super cheap as an organzation, but I think Matt Leinart really blew it by holding out. How many times have we seen QBs come late to camp, lose credibility in the locker room, and have trouble adjusting to the league? It seems to happen every year. Leinart has no leg to stand on here by asking for top 5 money. Just take what you can get, get into camp, prove yourself on the field, and then load up on a huge contract extension in a few years.
Speaking of quarterbacks, if Alex Smith ends up becoming a good quarterback, I am personally writing an apology letter to that guy and ordering up an extra large bowl of crow. He is supposedly looking great in the preseason. I'll believe it when I see it, but I'm a little more nervous about the "Bust" label that I've gleefully pasted on him since the day he was drafted.
On the Bengals front, if Carson Palmer wasn't out with this injury, I'd be legitimately thinking about the Super Bowl this year. This is the most talented Bengal team I have seen, and there is depth everywhere. Very excited about some of the new young DBs and LBs. And if anyone is looking for a big time fantasy sleeper, keep an eye on Chris Henry. I know he's a thug and a menace to society and that I probably shouldn't like him, but the guy is an absolute STUD. As good as Chad Johnson was early in his career, I actually think Chris Henry is better. If the guy isn't suspended or in jail, he could become one of the top receivers in the league.
Not sure what to make of the Bengals this year, but I have a feeling that they'll dig themselves into a hole early in the year without Palmer. The toughest games of the year are in the beginning of the season, and I'm not ready to trust Anthony Wright for any extended period of time. With Palmer in limbo, I think this team is going to have trouble making the playoffs this year.
By the way, the story of the preseason so far is this Bill Cowher retirement scenario. If this season is really the last for The Chin in Pittsburgh, AFC North fans across America are quietly pumping their fists. I have as much respect for Cowher as a coach as I do for any coach in any sport. Remarkable consistency, phenomenal motivator, and one of the all-time great characters of the NFL. He will be missed (but not by me).
Is it me or is fantasy football almost getting TOO big? I feel like everyone and their grandma is signed up for fantasy football this year. Might be time for some sort of football IQ test that you have to pass to be eligible for a fantasy football team.
Great to see Maurice Stovall looking good in camp. If you watched the guy play at Notre Dame, you knew he would turn himself into a good pro. Great size, underrated hands, good blocker, great playmaking ability on the deep ball. I couldn't believe he fell all the way to the 3rd round, but the Bucs got a steal with MoSto. There are going to be some teams that regret not drafting him. Still think he will be missed more up in South Bend than we are willing to admit.
Overrated NFC team: Dallas. I don't really buy into the Dallas hype this year. Drew Bledsoe is still wildly inconsistent, T.O. is showing his true colors as a team cancer, and they weren't all that sound in the running game last year. That team has major questions on offense. Pretty good defensive team, but I am skeptical about them as a Super Bowl contender.
Underrated NFC team: Philadelphia. I thought about going with Tampa Bay, but I'll go with the Eagles in this category. The Eagles have been looking good in the preseason, and I think they have their mojo back. I could see the Eagles getting back to the playoffs this year and maybe even winning the NFC East.
Overrated AFC team: New England. Call me crazy, but I think New England is going to take a step back this year. There's only so many years that you can contend for a title before you start to lose pieces, and I feel like New England has lost a ton of talent in the last couple years. Their only playmaker at WR is Deion Branch, Corey Dillon is getting older, and they've lost a ton of players on defense in recent years. If it wasn't for Bellichick and Brady, I'd be predicting a 7-9 type season.
Underrated AFC team: Don't really know. Maybe Miami (although they might be in the "so underrated that they might be overrated" category), maybe San Diego. Seems like there are a lot of AFC teams that are weaker this year than they were last year. I have a feeling that the AFC is going to take a step back this year. I could see the balance of power shifting back to the NFC.