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(USA Today)   13 burning questions for the NFL season. Just missing the cut at #14: WHAR TEBOW, WHAR?   (usatoday.com) divider line 97
    More: Interesting, nfl seasons, WHAR TEBOW, NFL, Tim Tebow, Charlie Whitehurst, Nick Foles, Elvis Dumervil, Danny Woodhead  
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2682 clicks; posted to Sports » on 17 Jul 2013 at 12:58 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-07-17 12:12:24 PM  
On Sunday? Church.
 
2013-07-17 12:13:14 PM  
Things are calmer in Houston, with the Texans coming off another AFC South title. They've been outclassed in the division round two straight years, though, and both coach Gary Kubiak and QB Matt Schaub could find themselves in the crosshairs if it happens again.

IMO, Kubiak is a lot better than he was when he started. He can still make some dumbshiat calls, but he's far from the worst coach out there.

Shaub needs to get his shiat together though. Pretty much every team figured out by the second half of last season that they could scare him out of the pocket and he would just fall apart. He's definitely one of the slowest QBs out there. It's good he's got another possible deep threat besides Johnson (DeAndre Hopkins), but I'm worried about him.

/And as always GO TEXANS!!
 
2013-07-17 12:23:43 PM  
14) Can the Raiders win more than four games?

/it's hard to be a Raiders fan
 
2013-07-17 12:40:45 PM  
Really, subby?

Question No. 1 includes a video of Tebow, asking if he'll fit in with the Patriots.
 
2013-07-17 01:01:03 PM  
15) Will the Bucs air a single home game locally?
 
2013-07-17 01:03:54 PM  
Patriots will make the playoffs as usual, but if they make it to the second round they'll probably lose and it will be one of the most embarrassing playoff loses they've ever had. Remember, the Pats had a 11-5 season with Matt Cassel at QB.
 
2013-07-17 01:04:04 PM  
I can't wait until Tebow goes 3-7 for 76 yds with a rushing TD in mop-up duty against the Giants during the last pre-season game, and ESPN the next morning runs with the "QB Controversy?" angle.
 
2013-07-17 01:05:49 PM  
16) Will NFL fans ever care about the rampant steroid and crime problem in the NFL if it doesn't effect their fantasy football teams?
 
2013-07-17 01:09:57 PM  

WTF Indeed: 16) Will NFL fans ever care about the rampant steroid and crime problem in the NFL if it doesn't effect their fantasy football teams?


What makes you think we don't care?
 
2013-07-17 01:13:26 PM  

skinink: Patriots will make the playoffs as usual, but if they make it to the second round they'll probably lose and it will be one of the most embarrassing playoff loses they've ever had. Remember, the Pats had a 11-5 season with Matt Cassel at QB.


The Pats are going to blow this year.  4 wins.
 
2013-07-17 01:15:36 PM  

WTF Indeed: 16) Will NFL fans ever care about the rampant steroid and crime problem in the NFL if it doesn't effect their fantasy football teams?


Not this one.  I need something to keep me entertained during the black hole of interesting sports after Basketball and Honkey end.
 
2013-07-17 01:15:45 PM  

WTF Indeed: 16) Will NFL fans ever care about the rampant steroid and crime problem in the NFL if it doesn't effect their fantasy football teams?


I care. It's nice knowing my team (Texans) has the fewest arrests since 2002 and hasn't had a player arrested since 2008. It's one of the reasons I will stand behind them through victories and defeats, as they represent themselves very well.
 
2013-07-17 01:16:21 PM  

WTF Indeed: 16) Will NFL fans ever care about the rampant steroid and crime problem in the NFL if it doesn't effect their fantasy football teams?


Depends how you play.

My fantasy team has Hernandez, Donte' Stallworth, Rae Carruth...

// but not Ray Lewis, because he was never implicated as The Guy responsible
 
2013-07-17 01:16:46 PM  

elguerodiablo: The Pats are going to blow this year. 4 wins.


Bold prediction.

I should fire up the ol' FARK NFL survey machine & have a question for basic season predictions. I'd love to keep track of these & come back at the end of the season to see who's right.

FTR, I hope you're right, but I don't think you will be. Brady is still Brady.
 
2013-07-17 01:21:19 PM  
1. No, they'll still win their division. Yes, if you think "trouble" means no Super Bowl.

2. Seattle, though they probably both finish with 11 wins.

3. No. Defensive coordinators get paid too, they'll all slide a bit.

4. Haha no. Even if you don't think they got worse, they didnt get better. And they weren't "great" to begin with, just hot at the right time.

5. Meh who cares? But I'd say no, though I think the Jets will be better, maybe 7 or 8 wins.

6. Yes, he fits Kelly's system but really who else does he have?

7. IDK but I'm sure it's going to be inconsistently and unfairly enforced (AP helmets someone, no flag, 3rd stringer does it fines).

8. No.

9. Ugh...uh out of the new coaches I think Trestman in Chicago probably has the best record. Cleveland's new coach probably wins 5-8 games this year. Reid probably does ok, at least compared to last year in KC. Jacksonville and Buffalo are where coaching careers go to die.

10. Maybe, the NFC is loaded and the Saints didnt significantly improve the stiffs on D. They'll be in the mix, but if I was going to bet I'd say no...too many good teams in the NFC West and East and Atlanta in their division means playoff spots are hard to get.

11. Jury's still out. Either way they don't make the playoffs this year so he's looking at another year of questions about whether he really is the guy.

12. Garrett obviously. It's Dallas, they'll be asking whether he should be fired before training camp starts.

13. Jacksonville is my bet. Two playoff teams in their own division and they are just awful. Buffalo only has one legit team in the East.

/I can haz football soon? Real dead period in sports right now.
 
2013-07-17 01:24:34 PM  

IAmRight: Really, subby?

Question No. 1 includes a video of Tebow, asking if he'll fit in with the Patriots.


That and he's mentioned at the end of item 1.
 
2013-07-17 01:26:56 PM  

Di Atribe: WTF Indeed: 16) Will NFL fans ever care about the rampant steroid and crime problem in the NFL if it doesn't effect their fantasy football teams?

What makes you think we don't care?


Don't care. Just like I don't care about the rampant drug and crime problem among the people who make my pizzas or serve me food in a restaurant. Or among the people that appear in movies or TV shows.
 
2013-07-17 01:31:50 PM  
Um...Did they call Carson Palmer "competent"?  Sorry, Cards fans, but you have no hope in that division this year.
 
2013-07-17 01:42:27 PM  

elguerodiablo: WTF Indeed: 16) Will NFL fans ever care about the rampant steroid and crime problem in the NFL if it doesn't effect their fantasy football teams?

Not this one.  I need something to keep me entertained during the black hole of interesting sports after Basketball and Honkey end.


I think I see what you didn't mean to do there.
 
2013-07-17 01:43:28 PM  

js34603: 4. Haha no. Even if you don't think they got worse, they didnt get better.


They got a whole lot better (and deeper) on defense.  The only real question at this point is who starts opposite Torrey Smith at WR.
 
2013-07-17 01:44:19 PM  

js34603: Don't care. Just like I don't care about the rampant drug and crime problem among the people who make my pizzas or serve me food in a restaurant. Or among the people that appear in movies or TV shows.


Is this the same thing where people stop going to watch Tom Cruise movies because he's a Scientologist?
 
2013-07-17 01:45:19 PM  

Di Atribe: elguerodiablo: The Pats are going to blow this year. 4 wins.

Bold prediction.

I should fire up the ol' FARK NFL survey machine & have a question for basic season predictions. I'd love to keep track of these & come back at the end of the season to see who's right.

FTR, I hope you're right, but I don't think you will be. Brady is still Brady.


Hell to the YEA, Di!

Sign me up.
 
2013-07-17 01:51:42 PM  

skinink: Patriots will make the playoffs as usual, but if they make it to the second round they'll probably lose and it will be one of the most embarrassing playoff loses they've ever had. Remember, the Pats had a 11-5 season with Matt Cassel at QB.


That was how many years ago? 2007? They actually had a defense then. And receivers.
 
2013-07-17 01:52:05 PM  

Di Atribe: Is this the same thing where people stop going to watch Tom Cruise movies because he's a Scientologist?


I can't speak for the masses, but I stopped going to watch Tom Cruise movies because he sucks.
 
2013-07-17 01:52:21 PM  
Actually, Tebow was addressed in the very first point.
 
2013-07-17 01:52:39 PM  

Di Atribe: Brady is still Brady.


When was the last time Brady won a big game with a last-minute drive? Can anyone remember? He couldn't do it against the Cardinals last year for crying out loud.
 
2013-07-17 01:53:30 PM  

cameroncrazy1984: When was the last time Brady won a big game with a last-minute drive? Can anyone remember? He couldn't do it against the Cardinals last year for crying out loud.


He's no Joe Flacco, that's for sure.
 
2013-07-17 01:56:21 PM  

Harv72b: cameroncrazy1984: When was the last time Brady won a big game with a last-minute drive? Can anyone remember? He couldn't do it against the Cardinals last year for crying out loud.

He's no Joe Flacco, that's for sure.


cbssports.com

// although I think I'm reading some sarcasm, too
// well done
 
2013-07-17 01:59:02 PM  

cameroncrazy1984: Di Atribe: Brady is still Brady.

When was the last time Brady won a big game with a last-minute drive? Can anyone remember? He couldn't do it against the Cardinals last year for crying out loud.


Brady isn't still Brady, but he's still pretty Brady-ish. The season will be an interesting challenge for the offense but the Patriots have consistently done more with less better than most teams.

And they still play in a division against E.J., Geno, and Tannehill. That's 6-2 right there.
 
2013-07-17 01:59:35 PM  

Di Atribe: Is this the same thing where people stop going to watch Tom Cruise movies because he's a Scientologist?


I stopped going because he's a midget and I can't help but remember that I could easily kick his ass every time I watch him doing his ridiculous hero-ey things.

cameroncrazy1984: skinink: Patriots will make the playoffs as usual, but if they make it to the second round they'll probably lose and it will be one of the most embarrassing playoff loses they've ever had. Remember, the Pats had a 11-5 season with Matt Cassel at QB.

That was how many years ago? 2007? They actually had a defense then. And receivers.


They also played an incredibly easy schedule.
 
2013-07-17 01:59:41 PM  

Dr Dreidel: // although I think I'm reading some sarcasm, too
// well done


Flacco was severely underrated for a long time (as in his entire career). I'm glad he got his ring so he can tell everyone to kindly fark off now. I mean, he wouldn't do that, though. He seems pretty nice.


xaks: Hell to the YEA, Di!

Sign me up.


We should wait until this thread dies down a bit & then hijack it for our silly plans. :D
 
2013-07-17 02:02:45 PM  

elguerodiablo: skinink: Patriots will make the playoffs as usual, but if they make it to the second round they'll probably lose and it will be one of the most embarrassing playoff loses they've ever had. Remember, the Pats had a 11-5 season with Matt Cassel at QB.

The Pats are going to blow this year.  4 wins.



Not to feed the troll, but Brady and Bellichick combine for 9 wins as a minimum.  They have an ability to destroy certain (not all) defensive schemes.  The "game plan" offense isn't always on, but about half the time it is devastating. Look at the Titans or the Texans games last year.

I predict 10-6 or 11-5, with the receiving corps developing at least into Deon Branch or Reche Caldwell level of impact by the playoffs, which is good enough.  Then it becomes the game of inches: David Tyree's catch?  Gronk catches the hail mary?  On any given sunday, any team can win or lose, or possibly sign Willie Beamen.
 
2013-07-17 02:04:03 PM  

IAmRight: I stopped going because he's a midget and I can't help but remember that I could easily kick his ass every time I watch him doing his ridiculous hero-ey things


I bet you could slam dunk him. In fact, I'd pay to watch you try.
 
2013-07-17 02:05:45 PM  

PunchDrunkPanda: cameroncrazy1984: Di Atribe: Brady is still Brady.

When was the last time Brady won a big game with a last-minute drive? Can anyone remember? He couldn't do it against the Cardinals last year for crying out loud.

Brady isn't still Brady, but he's still pretty Brady-ish. The season will be an interesting challenge for the offense but the Patriots have consistently done more with less better than most teams.

And they still play in a division against E.J., Geno, and Tannehill. That's 6-2 right there.


my thoughts exactly. the pats will easily exceed 4 wins, not because Brady is Brady, but because the AFC east is the AFC east.
 
2013-07-17 02:06:12 PM  
21) Will the Browns actually take advantage of a decent young roster, a competent coaching staff and a soft schedule to make a push for .500 this year or will they Cleveland the sh*t out of it like always?
 
2013-07-17 02:14:26 PM  
In the meantime, my answers to the burning questions:

1. Are the Patriots in trouble?

This depends on your definition of trouble. Brady is still one of the best in the business with Belicheat and that system. He's not as good as he once was, but still better than most, and will make up for a LOT of the offensive backslides this off-season. That said, their grasp of the AFC East is as shaky as it has ever been. They don't rule the division any more, they just happen to suck a bit less than the other 3.

2. Who's the top dog in the loaded NFC West?
I'm going to say it is a coin-flip between San Fran and Seadderall. Both have excellent coaches that also make most people want to start slapping babies by sheer force of personality. Both field excellent defenses with good olines and solid running games, and dual-threat QBs with short memories and balls of steel. Russ Wilson over Kaopectatenick any day of the week though.

3. Can last year's rookie QB class avoid a sophomore slump?
Nope. D-coords in this league spend an absolutely silly amount of time in the off-season studying tape 47 ways from Sunday for good reason....once you have a year of tape to watch, ANYone is easier to defend against. Regardless of how good they were (and that was pretty off-the-charts good!), there will be regression this year, the only question is exactly how much.

4. Do the remodeled Baltimore Ravens have a shot at defending their title?
I don't think so. There's a LOT of talent on that team, but I think they lost too much in the off-season: Too much experience, too much cohesion, too much leadership. Will they still be a tough team to play late? Surely. Serious contenders for a back-to-back Lombardi? Doubtful.

5. Can anything save Rex Ryan?
I'm getting pretty tired of hearing about the back to back AFC title games. That was basically someone elses' roster and the longer he's been in charge, the exponentially crapper his team has gotten. Ditto for Buttfumble. Notice how what was once the best oline in football and a team no-one wanted to go against now is a shadow of itself and a joke. THAT is Rex Ryan, Marky Mark Sanchize and What Woody Hath Wrought. I don't think he deserves to be 'saved' unless they win 14 games and walk though to the Super Bowl.

6. Will Michael Vick be an Eagle in Week 1?
Yes. Enough cash for this years salary is guaranteed that, unless he snaps and kills/rapes/eats a pit bull in the locker room, he's on the roster at least as an emergency backup/warm body. The real question here should be, is he the starter?

7. Will the NFL's latest major safety measure mean fines for its big stars?
Yes. At least once. Someone will be made an example of, with a silly huge fine...and then as time goes on, enforcement will get more and more lax every week.

8. Can Peterson take another run at Eric Dickerson's record?
Yes. He is a beast and, as long as they have a weak passing game but a decent oline, he'll be given ample opportunity to run over my Packers two or three times a season as usual. To see him top 2000 again would not surprise me one iota. To be honest, I was a little sad to see him come up 8 yards shy, even though it was a game against my team. If ANYone deserved to crack that record, it was him last year. I would have been OK with with a 10-yard hands off defense just to let him get it at the end of that game.

9. Which new coach has the best chance for an instant turnaround?
I would be tempted to pick Reid here as well, as the Chefs have a lot more talent than last years win-loss would indicate. I would also point to Trestman in Chicago, but turning around from where they were would mean losing, so I'm not sure that is what they had in mind. (Remember, Lovie won 10 games last year and was canned. NFC is silly top-heavy right now)

10. Will Sean Payton's return put the New Orleans Saints back in the postseason?
No. Drew Brees and Ryan the Lesser will put them back in the post-season.

11. Will Cam Newton grow up?
I highly doubt it. Although as much improved as their defense looks to be on paper at this point, he might not have to. We'll see how the offense clicks.

12. Which Texas quarterback and/or coach comes under fire first?
This is a joke, right?

13. Who is playing for next year's No. 1 pick?
I'd go with Oakland or Jacksonville.
 
2013-07-17 02:15:00 PM  

CavalierEternal: 21) Will the Browns actually take advantage of a decent young roster, a competent coaching staff and a soft schedule to make a push for .500 this year or will they Cleveland the sh*t out of it like always?


This your year...to win 7 games.
 
2013-07-17 02:16:08 PM  

Di Atribe: Dr Dreidel: // although I think I'm reading some sarcasm, too
// well done

Flacco was severely underrated for a long time (as in his entire career). I'm glad he got his ring so he can tell everyone to kindly fark off now. I mean, he wouldn't do that, though. He seems pretty nice.


xaks: Hell to the YEA, Di!

Sign me up.

We should wait until this thread dies down a bit & then hijack it for our silly plans. :D


Why wait? Lets do it NOW, while we have momentum!
 
2013-07-17 02:18:51 PM  

xaks: In the meantime, my answers to the burning questions:


I think they make a cream for that, dear.


xaks: Why wait? Lets do it NOW, while we have momentum!


Because this is actually a good article! It warrants discussion & debate! It's nice to have a football thread again, huh? Get the gang back together. I'll dig up the ol' survey this afternoon maybe.
 
2013-07-17 02:20:01 PM  

Di Atribe: Dr Dreidel: // although I think I'm reading some sarcasm, too
// well done

Flacco was severely underrated for a long time (as in his entire career). I'm glad he got his ring so he can tell everyone to kindly fark off now. I mean, he wouldn't do that, though. He seems pretty nice.


I actually want him to start the season with a blog post that reads: "Fark you, haters. We won, biatches, and we did it with a too-small RB, a too-old D, and a too-slow O-line. We beat the Stillers, the Bratriots, and Peyton-goddamned-Manning. I threw 0 interceptions in the playoffs, and my WRs played out of their minds for 6 straight weeks. For my next trick, I'mma play some goddamn football."

In my head, Flacco sounds a lot like Jesse Pinkman.
 
2013-07-17 02:20:21 PM  

Harv72b: js34603: 4. Haha no. Even if you don't think they got worse, they didnt get better.

They got a whole lot better (and deeper) on defense.  The only real question at this point is who starts opposite Torrey Smith at WR.


Lose Lewis and Reed, get better on defense? I'll take a wait and see approach on that.

Both were past their prime last year, and the D wasn't really that good, that is true. But I put some stock in those guys being important leadership and chemistry guys and the younger guys playing harder because of those two. Who leads the D now? T-sizzle? Hope he doesnt play any bball this offseason. I wouldn't feel good about that if I were a Ravens fan.
 
2013-07-17 02:21:33 PM  

xaks: In the meantime, my answers to the burning questions:

3. Can last year's rookie QB class avoid a sophomore slump?
Nope. D-coords in this league spend an absolutely silly amount of time in the off-season studying tape 47 ways from Sunday for good reason....once you have a year of tape to watch, ANYone is easier to defend against. Regardless of how good they were (and that was pretty off-the-charts good!), there will be regression this year, the only question is exactly how much.



This is certainly true, but I'll submit that the Seahawks adding Harvin along with Wilson's insane work etthic could negate it. FFS, Wilson was unavailable to the media on locker-cleanout day after the loss to Atlanta because he was in the film room all day. The kid is insane. I think that the same could have been said about the Niners and the addition of Boldin if Crabtree hadn't gone down, just in case anyone wants to accuse me of homerism.

As far as Luck and Griffin go, if Luck progresses the way a guy should between his 1st and 2nd season, he'll be one hell of a handful. He showed a lot last year, even with the turnover issues. If the rest of the team got better, he'll be set up for one hell of a season. I have less confidence in Griffin simply because of the injury issues.
 
2013-07-17 02:29:03 PM  
And the Arizona Cardinals acquired Carson Palmer, giving Larry Fitzgerald a chance to play with a competent QB for the first time since Kurt Warner's retirement.

--

Oh man... haha, yeah...
 
2013-07-17 02:37:07 PM  

Shame Us: xaks: In the meantime, my answers to the burning questions:

3. Can last year's rookie QB class avoid a sophomore slump?
Nope. D-coords in this league spend an absolutely silly amount of time in the off-season studying tape 47 ways from Sunday for good reason....once you have a year of tape to watch, ANYone is easier to defend against. Regardless of how good they were (and that was pretty off-the-charts good!), there will be regression this year, the only question is exactly how much.


This is certainly true, but I'll submit that the Seahawks adding Harvin along with Wilson's insane work etthic could negate it. FFS, Wilson was unavailable to the media on locker-cleanout day after the loss to Atlanta because he was in the film room all day. The kid is insane. I think that the same could have been said about the Niners and the addition of Boldin if Crabtree hadn't gone down, just in case anyone wants to accuse me of homerism.

As far as Luck and Griffin go, if Luck progresses the way a guy should between his 1st and 2nd season, he'll be one hell of a handful. He showed a lot last year, even with the turnover issues. If the rest of the team got better, he'll be set up for one hell of a season. I have less confidence in Griffin simply because of the injury issues.


I think only Peyton has more insane, intense prep off the field than Wilson does. To abuse the old adage, if he can stay healthy...the reasonable ceiling for wilson is, essentially, the upper ionosphere. Perhaps more.
 
2013-07-17 02:47:31 PM  

js34603: Lose Lewis and Reed, get better on defense? I'll take a wait and see approach on that.


Okay, you're right about the leadership aspect.  It remains to be seen if the returning veterans, coaching staff, and just the foundation that Lewis & Reed left in the locker room can maintain the level of professionalism that they brought to the clubhouse.  But it does bear noting that the Ravens drafted four (!) players this year who were team captains in college, and you've got other capable vets like Suggs and Ngata, newcomers like Dumerville, Canty, and Huff, and other young players who can help to fill the void like Webb.

That being said, when it comes to on-field production, Lewis & Reed had both lost more than just a step over the past few years.  It bears noting that the Ravens defense was actually better when Lewis missed a chunk of games back in the 2011 season.  There will be some growing pains when it comes to the basics of being in the right place at the right time & reading the offense, but for sheer athleticism I think we got much better this off-season, particularly in the secondary, but also on the defensive line.  A healthy Suggs coupled with Dumerville gives the Ravens possibly their best 1-2 blitzing combo ever (and they've had some good ones in the past), Lardarius Webb is a huge upgrade over the revolving set of corners we had to make due with last year, Huff might not have the pure playmaking abilities that Reed did in his prime but Ed Reed doesn't have those anymore, either, Matt Elam probably won't hurt as many Patriots as Bernard Pollard did but he'll likely draw fewer flags/fines as well, Canty & Spears provide a much-needed boost in the run-stopping department...any way you slice it, this looks to be a vastly improved defense with much more depth.  The fact that they saved a ton of money vs. keeping all of last year's starters is just icing on the cake.

Offensively there are still questions.  At wide receiver most notably, but also whether or not Flacco is for real, if Gradkowski can fill Matt Birk's shoes at center, if Alphabet can be even half as good a lead blocker as Vonta Leach is, and whether Dennis Pitta and/or Ed Dickson can take the next step at tight end.  But you do still have Ray Rice in the backfield, you've still got Torrey Smith stretching defenses and hauling in bombs, Jacoby Jones keeping opposing safeties honest, and a solid if not spectacular line.

End result: the offense might struggle to do as much as it did last year (although Flacco showing some consistency and/or the aforementioned line taking a few less penalties would more than offset the losses of Boldin, Birk, and Leach), the special teams should be at least as good as last season, and the defense should be worlds better.  With neither the Steelers nor Bengals making any moves which look to vault them ahead of Baltimore, and the Browns still being the Browns, I think you have to call the Ravens favorites to repeat in the AFC North, and from there it's just a question of winning 3-4 more postseason games.
 
2013-07-17 02:52:34 PM  

Dr Dreidel: although I think I'm reading some sarcasm, too


wac.9ebf.edgecastcdn.net

Maybe just a tad.
 
2013-07-17 03:02:23 PM  

Harv72b: Dr Dreidel: although I think I'm reading some sarcasm, too

[wac.9ebf.edgecastcdn.net image 416x339]

Maybe just a tad.


Don't mess with Flacco, he's reckless...

blacksportsonline.com
 
2013-07-17 03:06:07 PM  
Do that many people really think that all the upper echelon 2nd year QBs are going to regress? Has the NFL seen a QB class like that since the early 80s? Look at the elite QBs now (Manning, Brady, Rodgers, Brees, et al). The only one that didn't come out with a (usually significantly)  better sophomore season was Brees.

Wilson will probably see a little regression on his INT totals. He'll throw the ball more this season. The Seahawks kept him on a fairly short leash to start the season IIRC.

Luck's first half of the season was brutal TO wise but he turned that around at the end of the year. He also has a new OC but the scheme is a lot more friendly to him, and the addition of some non barrel scrapers on the offensive line isn't going to hut either.

RG III is going to have the toughest road, but that's mostly because of his injury AND the hopeful thought that Shanahan might try to keep him from getting destroyed on the field this year. He's definitely going to see some regression on his INT totals as well since the Skins will probably throw it more next year.

The rookies that had good years in the recent past (Stafford, Bradford, Newton, Young, Flacco) had rookies year I found to be pretty overrated.  Bradford had a lot of yards, but he also had a ton of attempts and a horrible completion %. Newton started off with ridiculous yardage totals but was completely hit or miss after that. Young and Flacco were on teams that won games, but their contribution wasn't really very big (or good).
 
2013-07-17 03:08:13 PM  

Harv72b: js34603: Lose Lewis and Reed, get better on defense? I'll take a wait and see approach on that.

Okay, you're right about the leadership aspect.  It remains to be seen if the returning veterans, coaching staff, and just the foundation that Lewis & Reed left in the locker room can maintain the level of professionalism that they brought to the clubhouse.  But it does bear noting that the Ravens drafted four (!) players this year who were team captains in college, and you've got other capable vets like Suggs and Ngata, newcomers like Dumerville, Canty, and Huff, and other young players who can help to fill the void like Webb.

That being said, when it comes to on-field production, Lewis & Reed had both lost more than just a step over the past few years.  It bears noting that the Ravens defense was actually better when Lewis missed a chunk of games back in the 2011 season.  There will be some growing pains when it comes to the basics of being in the right place at the right time & reading the offense, but for sheer athleticism I think we got much better this off-season, particularly in the secondary, but also on the defensive line.  A healthy Suggs coupled with Dumerville gives the Ravens possibly their best 1-2 blitzing combo ever (and they've had some good ones in the past), Lardarius Webb is a huge upgrade over the revolving set of corners we had to make due with last year, Huff might not have the pure playmaking abilities that Reed did in his prime but Ed Reed doesn't have those anymore, either, Matt Elam probably won't hurt as many Patriots as Bernard Pollard did but he'll likely draw fewer flags/fines as well, Canty & Spears provide a much-needed boost in the run-stopping department...any way you slice it, this looks to be a vastly improved defense with much more depth.  The fact that they saved a ton of money vs. keeping all of last year's starters is just icing on the cake.

Offensively there are still questions.  At wide receiver most notably, but also whether ...


You make good points, yes. But, to be honest, I'd be more concerned with replacing Birk on the oline. I may disagree vehemently and steadfastly on his moral judgments, but that man was one DAMNED fine center, smart and capable and an excellent leader for the whole unit. Replacing him is most important, and will be the most immediately noticed if they do not, as Flacco will get shmeared.
 
2013-07-17 03:09:18 PM  

Harv72b: Dr Dreidel: although I think I'm reading some sarcasm, too



Maybe just a tad.


They are the favorites in the North I will agree there. The Steelers are slowly headed down to a rebuild, the Browns are slowly headed up to mediocre. The question is the Bengals who appear capable but struggle with inconsistency probably due to being pretty young. Do they make a leap this year? If they do and the Ravens struggle, I can see the Ravens missing the playoffs entirely. If the Bengals are, well the Bengals, the Ravens can win the division with 9 wins.

However, I don't think winning "3-4 postseason" games is going to be as easy as you seem to think. They'll probably be on the road again just because the Broncos and Patriots play in divisions without another legit playoff team and the Ravens have 1.5 in the Bengals and Steelers. I just don't see them pulling off miracles again on the road with that team, with basically the same level offense and an unknown defense.

Of course, I do see them stomping the Steelers twice, so that's pretty depressing.

/unless Batch comes out of retirement!
//responding to previous post, used this one for size
 
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