3 Up, 3 Down

>> Friday

While a few notable moves may be on the horizon with the June 1st cuts, for the most part, NFL rosters for the 2006 season have been shaped. Of course, injuries will hit, and every year, a few teams come out of nowhere. Anyway, here are three team that will surprise, and three teams that will disappoint this upcoming season.

3 up:
Arizona-The Cardinals have shown flashes the last two seasons of being a playoff caliber team, but this will be the year they break through and return to the playoffs for the first time since 1998. A potent offense last season greatly improved with the offseason acquisitions of Edgerrin James in free agency and Matt Leinart, Leonard Pope, and maybe the most important, enormous guard Deuce Latui in the draft. Leinart provides insurance for the inevitable Kurt Warner injury, and James will bolster a running game that greatly disappointed last season. Also, look for last year's second round pick J.J. Arrington to make a much bigger impact this season, as the former Cal standout showed flashes of becoming a solid running back after being forced into the starting role prematurely last season. The defense should be much improved, and having Antrel Rolle healthy for a full season should help their otherwise porous pass coverage.

Cleveland-A bold prediction considering that the two of their most important offensive weapons, Braylon Edwards and the soldier, Kellen Winslow II, are coming back from season ending knee injuries. However, I believe that one of them will prove to be the playmaker thier offense needs. Also, the very underrated offseason acquisition of Joe Jurevicius should help second year quarterback Charlie Frye, who looked really solid in his late season audition. The Browns defense will be what catapults them into playoff contention. Ted Washington should plug the hole at nose tackle, and early round draft picks Kamerion Wimbley, a pass rush specialist likely to line up at OLB in 3-4 and ILB D'Qwell Jackson will give the defense some much needed athleticism and ability to rush the quarterback. While not the dominant force he was in his prime, OLB/DE Willie McGinest will also help improve what was an awful pass rush a season ago. An improved pass rush will make things easier for what may be the NFL's most underrated secondary with young safeties Sean Jones and Brodney Pool and ball hawk Brian Russell, and a strong pair of corner backs, Daylon McClutcheon and Gary Baxter.

Washington-While the Redskins won 10 games in the regular season and knocked off NFC South winner Tampa Bay in the Wild Card round, they should be much improved this season and will be one of favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. QB Mark Brunell had one of his best statistical seasons a year ago and looked to have found a second wind. Clinton Portis continues to be one of the NFL's best rushers, and Chris Cooley really stepped up in his second season. After having a career season in 2005, Santana Moss received some much needed help opposite him in the newly acquired Brandon Lloyd and the versatile Antwaan Randle El. Lloyd has showed a flair for the dramatic both on and off the field in San Francisco, but having a Hall Fame coach in his ear should help him realize his strong potential. Randle El will give the Redskins a deep threat in the slot, and a big play guy who will also give the return game a much needed boost. An already solid defense was bolstered with the acquistions of pass rushing DE/OLB Andre Carter and S Adam Archuleta. Second round pick OLB Rocky McIntosh should step right in and replace Lavar Arrington. With an owner willing to spend whatever it takes to win, and a great football mind in Joe Gibbs now directing that owner in the right direction, good times are coming to the nation's capital.

3 Down
Miami-While everyone thinks this will be a Super Bowl contender next season, there are way too many holes in that offense for them to compete with Pittsburgh, Denver, Indianapolis, New England and Jacksonville. Daunte Culpepper looked extremely mediocre without Randy Moss last season, and there is no guarantee he can return to Pro Bowl level form, especially after suffering that devastating knee injury. With Ricky Williams gone for the season yet again, the Dolphins do not have a proven every down runner. While Ronnie Brown looked good in split duty last season, he has never been the feature back at the college or pro level, playing behind NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year Cadillac Williams at Auburn. Even worse, there is no depth behind him. Chris Chambers looked like a Hall of Famer during the meaningless last part of the season, but has yet to prove he can be a consistent #1 receiver. Marty Booker is a solid #2 receiver, but at this point does not have the ability to stretch the field. Randy McMichael is one of the NFL's better tight ends, but cannot change games like an Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez. McMichael has also yet to become a consistent run blocker. Their defense continues to age, and at some point, guys like Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor will experience a drop off. First round draft pick Jason Allen may not be ready to contribute after missing most of his final season at Tennessee. While everyone else may want to jump on the Dolphins bandwagon, stay off.

Chicago-Remember the drop-off from 2001 to 2002. While it likely won't be as steep this time around, the fact remains that the Bears greatly overachieved a season ago, and did little in the offseason to make themselves better. While the passing offense should be vastly improved having Rex Grossman healthy for a full season and actually having a proven back-up in Brian Griese, it will still likely be in the bottom half of the NFL. The running game, which carried the offense a season ago may experience a steep drop off from a season ago if the Bears acquiesce to Thomas Jones's trade demands, as Cedric Benson is coming off a serious knee injury and never showed the ability to be the feature back a season ago. Their receiving situation is a big question mark, with Mushin Muhammad looking over the hill a season ago, and the emerging Mark Bradley missing most of the season with a torn ACL. Bernard Berrian looked awfully good at the end of the season, but will his thin frame ever be able to endure a 16 game season? The defense should be solid, but Carolina did a great job of showing the NFL how you can beat the Bears: throw at Charles Tillman. While attempts were made in free agency and the draft to bolster the secondary torched by Steve Smith, none of the players acquired or drafted have proven they could be the answer. Also, Mike Brown and Chris Harris, the projected starting safeties, are both coming off of serious injuries. After winning 11 games a season ago, 7-8 wins looks likely this season for the Monsters of the Midway.

San Diego-Letting Drew Brees go will be a move the Chargers will regret for years. Philip Rivers will struggle in his first season as a starter. Star running back Ladainian Tomlinson has taken a pounding in his five years, and did not rush for 100 yards in the last five games of the 2005 season as the Chargers furiously tried to overcome a slow start and make the playoffs. Keenan McCardell is not getting any younger, and last year may have been his last hurrah as a top-flight receiver. Antonio Gates will continue to be a dangerous weapon, but ask Tony Gonzalez has many playoff games he has won in his career. Also, they will really miss Donnie Edwards, and a weak secondary was not improved much in the offseason, with Antonio Cromartie likely a couple of years away from making a big impact. On the whole, this organization is not going in the right direction.


Nathan 5:41 PM  

"While the passing offense should be vastly improved having Rex Grossman healthy for a full season..."

What, is there some kind of supernatural limit to two season-ending injuries per player, guaranteeing that Grossman will play 16 games?

Post a Comment

NSAwins is a popular site for daily vegas sports odds including updated Vegas Super Bowl Odds and weekly NFL totals and odds during football season. Check out NSAwins during March Madness for FREE March Madness Brackets to Print and Expert Picks on the NCAA Tournament. NSAwins also offers HUGE 100% BetUs Bonus Code and BoDog Bonus Code sportsbook promos.
Online Casino Reports - Online Gambling Guide and Directory for casinos, poker and sports betting.

Get out of your yellow chairs and onto some treadmills to train like a pro.

Check out Casino Guide Canada for free NFL online betting picks and the best online casinos for Canadian and US players today!
USA Online Casino guides you not only to casino bonus, but odds of sportsbook for online sports betting. Try your luckiness today to enjoy gaming games on the internet.

Blog Archive

Try GP sports for luscious sports betting games in a stylish setting. Play to your heart's content and be in with the chance of winning big!

  © Blogger template Webnolia by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP