As I did a month ago, it’s time to look at the NFL offseason again! This time I’ll go through team-by-team and give a preliminary preseason rank in each division.
New York Jets – The Jets may be the best team in the AFC talent-wise at this juncture. LaDanian Tomlinson isn’t a superstar anymore, but he’s just going to be a complimentary back in New Jersey. Adding Antonio Cromartie and drafting Kyle Wilson to Darrelle Revis will lock down the other teams and enable Rex Ryan to blitz a million times this year.
New England Patriots – The Patriots didn’t make any splashes this offseason, but they have the talent coming back from last year. The Devin McCourty pick will help their shoddy secondary. Drafting Ron Gronkowski and the pothead Gator will add a couple of solid TE talent to the team.
Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins big addition has to be considered Brandon Marshall. If he can keep his head on straight, the offense could be very strong. Adding Karlos Dansby along with their draft that was all (but one pick) defense will keep the D solid as well.
Buffalo Bills – The Bills had a ton of holes throughout the roster. They need a QB, WRs and offensive linemen desperately. They didn’t get anyone in free agency or the draft that I feel will really help them this year at those positions. I do think C.J. Spiller will be a very good pro, but the Bills might be an early contender for the first pick in the 2011 Draft.
Baltimore Ravens – Can’t get past how much help Anquan Boldin joining the Ravens will help that offense get even better this year. The Ravens were my choice to lose the Super Bowl before the season last year – they may get that honor again.
Cincinnati Bengals – Don’t see much of a downswing from this team that was in the Playoffs last season. Adding Antonio Bryant didn’t mean too much to me. But I feel the Bengals had a pretty solid Draft too. They’re looking like a fringe Playoff team to me right now.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Hard to figure what to expect from the Steelers this year thanks to the (alleged) rapist at QB. I was impressed with Dennis Dixon in his start last season against the Ravens, but not sure if they’ll even give him a shot at the starting gig over Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich. Pittsburgh also lost their biggest playmaker in Santonio Holmes. Could be a rough year in Pittsburgh.
Cleveland Browns – The Browns finished last year playing some motivated football. Very intrigued to see how things develop in Cleveland. This team has a good amount of potential. Got to love the idea of Mike Holmgren running the show if you’re a Browns fan.
Indianapolis Colts – Can’t ever bet against Peyton Manning. Remember how many games this team lost with the starters playing the whole game? That’s right, only the Super Bowl.
Houston Texans – I think this year may be the year the Texans make the leap into the postseason. They have the talent to do it. Not sure that they did quite enough to make a serious run at the AFC title however.
Tennessee Titans – Remember how strong the Titans finished the season last year? They could be back strong this year if they decide to win before they’re already out of the Playoffs.
Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jaguars are in a rough position. And I’ve never heard of a team in such an unfortunate Draft position. They had to get Tim Tebow even though they knew that would just make them lose more games and eventually get even worse attendance. Rough catch-22 they faced, and they made it worse by reaching for a Guard that could’ve most likely been picked 15-20 slots later.
San Diego Chargers – The Chargers don’t seem to be near as good of a team as the past few years to me. But it just seems like they can walk through the West again given the competition.
Oakland Raiders – The Raiders could be one big surprise this season. Jason Campbell may not be a superstar – but he is compared to JaMarcus Russell. The Raiders also put together a very solid draft. Watch out for this team in a week division.
Denver Broncos – Brady Quinn and Tim Tebow? Not the answers to the problems in Denver. Tebow is not going to be a successful pro QB. I would put a large bet down on that.
Kansas City Chiefs –
Dallas Cowboys – Very talented team. And the one place that made sense for Dez Bryant in the Draft. Also didn’t have a big shakeup like it seems the other divisional teams did.
New York Giants – I can’t get the way the Saints rolled through the Giants secondary last year out of my head. They didn’t do enough to address that in my mind. Although picking Jason Pierre-Paul could help the pass rush, and therefore greatly help the secondary.
Philadelphia Eagles – I think Kevin Kolb is going to be successful. But there is going to be a bit of a downturn after losing McNabb and Westbrook. But Kolb and LeSean McCoy could be the same sort of successful duo in Philly.
Washington Redskins – Adding Donovan McNabb is a good move. Also adding Trent Williams to solidify the O-Line will help keep McNabb alive.
And if it makes any difference to anyone – this division from 2-to-4 could go any order you want. I can’t decided.
Minnesota Vikings – This is assuming Brett Favre will play QB in 2010. Of course the Favre drama continues as now he has to have surgery on his ankle. It might be enough to keep Minnesota out of the Playoffs altogether if Favre actually retired or just missed enough time.
Green Bay Packers – The Packers were a Playoff team last year, and are mostly young
Chicago Bears – I mentioned them as having a great offseason last month. But losing Alex Brown almost seems like it weakens bringing in Julius Peppers. And not having a draft pick in the first two rounds is going to hurt as well.
Detroit Lions – I do feel like the Lions are going on the right path. But unfortunately it’s going to take a little longer before that path leads to the postseason. Suh and Jahvid Best both should be great pros.
New Orleans Saints – The Super Bowl Champs have gotten stronger at DE, losing Charles Grant but gaining Alex Brown and Jimmy Wilkerson. The Saints did lose Scott Fujita to the Browns, and likely won’t re-sign Darren Sharper. The Saints drafting Patrick Robinson speaks volumes though – as the plan must be to move last year’s first rounder Malcolm Jenkins to free safety to replace Sharper.
Atlanta Falcons – Dunta Robinson and draft pick Sean Weatherspoon will help a defense that needs some work. Could be a third straight winning season in Atlanta, and the Falcons could be the biggest hurdle to the Saints repeating as NFC Champs.
Carolina Panthers – The Panthers season will likely depend highly on Matt Moore’s success. But this team would seem more at risk of slipping to the cellar than rising to the top.
Tampa Bay Bucs – The Bucs had a solid draft, but have A LOT of work to do over the next few years to become a contender. Gerald McCoy and Mike Williams were great picks. Brian Price would be too, but I’m unclear what they’re going to do at DT to fit both McCoy and Price on the field.
San Francisco 49ers – The Niners are a tough team, and that is characterized by their coach. They should be able to make the jump to the top of the West this year.
Arizona Cardinals – Kurt Warner’s retirement really defined their offseason. Then they traded away Boldin. The Cardinals need Matt Leinart to be real good to have a chance this year.
St. Louis Rams – Like the Lions, I think they’re putting things together in St. Louis. But it’s going to take awhile. I didn’t like Sam Bradford as the number one pick talent-wise over Suh, but he is going to be a good QB, and that’s what the Rams can build around.
Seattle Seahawks – Definitely interested in seeing what Pete Carroll is putting together in Seattle. The draft day trades for Leon Washington and LenDale White were good moves. And I can’t be the only one wondering whether former USC stud WR Mike Williams can make an impact in the NFL.