NFL 2010 August Musings

I am on a plane today from Los Angeles to Greensboro, North Carolina.

Here are some of my opinions entering the 2010 NFL preseason. Many of you may disagree, but that is why I refer to them as opinions.

The Denver Broncos are in big trouble. They were already shaky after falling from 6-0 to 8-8 and missing the playoffs last year. Josh McDaniels either becomes a hero this year or Pat Bowlen blows everything up. He still may regret losing Shanahan, and I would not be surprised to see Shanahan come back at some point in the future, perhaps as a team president ala Holmgren or Parcells. For now, losing Elvis Dumervil for the season with a torn pectoral muscle is a blow. Dumervil is an emotional leader.

The Oakland Raiders have been pathetic for 7 straight years, and many commentators are saying this is the year they will at least become respectable. I am not so convinced. I am simply not sold on Jason Campbell, and hope that Bruce Gradkowski gets plenty of playing time. I know that the team paid money for Campbell, but this logic is why Steve Beuerlein was benched in favor of Jay Schroeder. I will absolutely give Al Davis credit for the pickup of Rolando McClain. An improved run defense gives us hope, especially if Darren McFadden stays healthy and Michael Bush continues battering teams on the ground.

The San Diego Chargers will not win anything with Norvelous Norv Turner. Bank it.

The Philadelphia Eagles are about to get a reality check of the worst kind. Donovan McNabb was thrown under the bus for an untested backup. Kevin Kolb may turn out to be great, but McNabb was never given his due for 5 NFC Title Games. The Eagles may finish last in the division.

The Washington Redskins gained what Philly lost. McNabb is too classy to publicly talk about revenge, but he is playing for a coach who thrives on it. Shanahan likes to urn the football, which will extend McNabb’s career. Yes Albert Haynesworth is a distraction, but Shanahan is going to win that battle. With or without Haynesworth, the Redskins will be improved.

The Dallas Cowboys are loaded, and Jerry Jones in channeling the ghost of George Steinbrenner in terms of bloodlust for winning. If the Cowboys go 14-2 and don’t reach the Sup[er Bowl, Wade Phillips may face a worse fate than General Custer.

The New York Jets are a trendy Super Bowl pick but too many people are losing perspective. Yes they reached the AFC Title Game last year, but they were only 9-7. I am less concerned about the volatile mix of talented but troubled players they added. Rex Ryan will handle the egos fine. I am more concerned with what the Jets lost. We will find out how important guard Alan Faneca and running back Thomas Jones were at the end of this year. Jone was not sexy, but he picked up the hard yards, none harder than the 4th and 1 he banged through in the playoff shocker at San Diego last year.

I think the Colts have everything they need to get back to the Super Bowl. A healthy Bob Sanders is now a bonus rather than a necessity. I also think the Saints are one and done. The Dolphins are overrated in terms of talent, while New England may win another division by default, especially if the Jets implode.

The Bengals will not get back to the playoffs. Forget the clash of egos and all the arrest records. The fact is that the Bengals have not put together consecutive winning seasons in a long time. Even if T.O. and Ocho don’t blow everything up for Marvin Lewis, they play in a tough division.

The Steelers are done for this year, especially if Big Ben sits out 6 games instead of 4. The Browns will be improved, but not enough this year. Jake Delhomme will be a good edition. The Baltimore Ravens are talking Super Bowl. They may not be just all talk. It will be interesting to see if Ed Reed can get healthy again.

The Buccaneers should rehire Jon Gruden, and the Lions are blessed to have Ndomakung Suh in camp. The Rams can say the same about Sam Bradford. The Cardinals will most likely flop under Matt Leinart, but perhaps he will redeem himself. The Titans will be fascinating because they are one team I cannot get any kind of handle on.

The Packers are being talked about as a Super Bowl contender. I don’t buy it. The Bears might be fun, especially if Mike Martz can work his mad scientist magic with Jay Cutler. I hope Lovie Smith lets Devon Hester go back to returning punts and kicks. Brian Urlacher should lead a defense that has suffered recently but is ready to rebound.

Lastly, the Minnesota Vikings…I love Favre-watch!

I hope # 4 comes back. His detractors simply have no appreciation for how tough the game of football is, and how tough it is to walk away. I retired a 2 time champion from my coed touch football league, and if # 4 comes back I will contemplate unretiring again. For now, even though I am 2 years younger than Brett, I am the same age as Kurt Warner. I am retired.

If Favre looks in the mirror in Kiln, Mississippi, and sees his (5 o’clock) shadow, that means 4 more months of winter football. So far the tractor loving version of the groundhog has not failed to see his shadow in February or August.

Prepare the sounds of Eric Clapton singing “4-Ever Man” and get ready to see if a certain fuzzy creature pops out of the hole. I love Favre, and the only thing better than Favre-Watch in the Summer is watching Favre in the winter. I will say it again. I’ll trade my starting 45 for their # 4.

If he returns, Minnesota is an elite contender, despite the loss of Chester Taylor. The key to that team (besides Favre) is Percy Harvin. He is a game breaker.

Preseason is upon us, with September 9th kicking off the regular season.

Are you ready for some football!?!?!

Let’s get it on!


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