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Several online power rankings. Steelers way too low on most

Postby Hi5Steeler » Thu May 22, 2008 5:32 pm

SPORT PROJECTIONS . COM
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RANK TEAM
1 New York Giants
2 San Diego Chargers
3 Indianapolis Colts
4 New England Patriots
The loss of CB's Samuel and Gay drops the Pats a few spots.
5 Dallas Cowboys
6 Jacksonville Jaguars
7 Seattle Seahawks
The signings of TJ Duckett and Julius Jones mark the end of the Alexander era in Seattle.
8 Pittsburgh Steelers
9 Tennessee Titans
10 Cleveland Browns
11 Philadelphia Eagles
A strong offseason has vaulted the Eagles back into the conversation in the NFC East. The addition of a true #1 receiver would make them an elite club.
12 Green Bay Packers
The lose of Brett Favre is a huge immediate hit to this team. They are still loaded with talent but we are not sure Aaron Rodgers can lead this team.
13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
14 Houston Texans
The Texans had a nice season in 2007 despite being hammered with injuries. If they avoid the injury bug in '08, they will be a team to be reckoned with.
15 New Orleans Saints
The Saints have made several good additions on defense. Now if they can get McCalister healthy they will be a force to be reckoned with.
16 Washington Redskins
We like the talent but are taking a wait-and-see approach with new coach Jim Zorn.
17 Buffalo Bills
18 Arizona Cardinals
19 New York Jets
The Jets are having one of the best offseasons in the league. They might just close the gap on the Pats.
20 Carolina Panthers
21 Denver Broncos
22 Minnesota Vikings
If the Vikings can get a pass rushing end and an experienced QB, they will jump up the list.
23 Cincinnati Bengals
24 St. Louis Rams
25 Chicago Bears
Another year of Grossman and Orton means another long year for Bear fans.
26 Kansas City Chiefs
27 Baltimore Ravens
28 Detroit Lions
29 San Francisco 49ers
30 Oakland Raiders
31 Miami Dolphins
We have more confidence in Bill Parcells to improve the Dolphins this year than we do in Arthur Blank and company in Atlanta.
32 Atlanta Falcons



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ESPN . COM

ESPN.com

The air is heavy with pollen. The American presidential campaign drags on, nearly six months away from the finish. Gas is $4 a gallon and it's not yet summer.

ESPN.com's Power Rankings
The rankings were determined by a poll of ESPN.com's NFL staff: writers John Clayton, Matt Mosley, Pat Yasinskas, Bill Williamson, James Walker and Mike Sando; and Scouts Inc. Insiders Jeremy Green and Keith Kidd.
• Watch: Sando: Pats better?
• Watch: Schlereth: Bolts low?


We know what you're thinking: What better time to debate the NFL hierarchy? Welcome to the May 2008 edition of our Power Rankings.

Has it been three months since the New York Giants, who finished ninth in the 2007 final edition of the Power Rankings, completed an unlikely run to the Super Bowl title by upsetting the New England Patriots? Wasn't it just yesterday when the Patriots, our 2007 Power Rankings titlists, were putting the wraps on an unprecedented 16-0 regular season by beating those same Giants?

Even as rookies and free agents acquaint themselves with their new teammates at minicamps around the league, we speculate. Are the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints really headed for rebound seasons after lackluster 2007 campaigns? Are the Green Bay Packers -- who, you might have heard, will have a new starting quarterback in 2008 -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans destined to take steps back?

And what do you make of the Washington Redskins, a surprise playoff team last season but one of several teams adjusting to a new head coach in 2008?

To take a look at teams during the offseason, we've called upon some of our voting members to provide the team-by-team commentary. Thus, for your reading pleasure, you'll have:

• Mike Sando on the AFC East and NFC West
• James Walker on the AFC North and NFC North
• Pat Yasinskas on the AFC South and NFC South
• Bill Williamson on the AFC West
• Matt Mosley on the NFC East


Our voters, who also include staff writer John Clayton and Scouts Inc. Insiders Jeremy Green and Keith Kidd, had diverse takes on what offseason moves mean to various teams. The Titans ranked as high as 10th in one voter's opinion, but rated only 22nd in another's. The defending champion Giants are the best team in the league, according to one selector; another ranks nine teams ahead of Big Blue.


BIGGEST RISE: N.Y. Jets from 30th (final finish in 2007) to 21st. BIGGEST DROP: Green Bay Packers from fifth to 10th; Tennessee Titans from 11th to 16th; Detroit Lions from 24th to 29th.

Click here to submit your ranking, SportsNation.

(Editor's note: LW indicates each team's ranking last week -- or in this case, at the end of the 2007 regular season.)

2008 Power Rankings: Offseason
RK (LW) TEAM REC COMMENT
1 (1) Patriots 16-0-0 A healthy Tom Brady and a happy Randy Moss make the Patriots championship contenders this season and for years to come. (MS)
2 (2) Colts 13-3-0 They haven't had a lot of offseason turnover and they already were very good. Continuity means a lot. (PY)
3 (6) Chargers 11-5-0 If the Chargers can get over their injury issues, they could be in the Super Bowl mix all the way to Tampa. (BW)
4 (3) Cowboys 13-3-0 Felix Jones should help the running game immediately. But who will emerge as the No. 2 receiver? Patrick Crayton wasn't up to the task in late '07. (MM)
5 (4) Jaguars 11-5-0 They sometimes get overshadowed by division rival Indianapolis, but the Jaguars have an elite roster and an elite coach in Jack Del Rio. (PY)
6 (9) Giants 10-6-0 Teams other than the Patriots aren't supposed to repeat as Super Bowl champions. Will Michael Strahan retire? Can they compensate for free-agent losses at LB? (MM)
7 (8) Steelers 10-6-0 A very strong draft catapults the Steelers into Super Bowl contenders. RBs Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall should be one of the best 1-2 punches. (JW) 8 (7) Seahawks 10-6-0 New O-line coach Mike Solari stands out as the Seahawks' top offseason acquisition, perhaps allowing them to keep their edge in the NFC West. (MS)
9 (13) Browns 10-6-0 The 2007 darlings face high expectations. The offense will score. Can the D, anchored by additions Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams, hold up its end? (JW)
10 (5) Packers 13-3-0 This is an unpredictable team in the wake of the retirement of Brett Favre. Who will step up and make the big plays this year? (JW)
11 (18) Saints 7-9-0 The offense already was very good. Defensive improvements will make the Saints one of this year's biggest turnarounds. (PY)
12 (15) Vikings 8-8-0 If they settle on a QB, the Vikes could become a playoff team. RB Adrian Peterson is at the top of the list for MVP candidates. (JW)
13 (14) Eagles 8-8-0 Last season, they hit their stride when it was too late. With a fully healed Donovan McNabb and an improved secondary, the Eagles could be dangerous. (MM)
14 (10) Redskins 9-7-0 Too many questions: a new coach, young QB and a pair of rookie WRs. Hard to get a good read. (MM)
15 (12) Buccaneers 9-7-0 They didn't make any splash offseason moves. But RB Warrick Dunn's return is going to help more than many recognize. (PY)
16 (11) Titans 10-6-0 They didn't get as much help from QB Vince Young as they should have. But he's going to become good enough to carry the offense. (PY)
17 (17) Cardinals 8-8-0 Ken Whisenhunt and staff changed the culture in Arizona. Kurt Warner provides top-notch insurance at QB. Depth along the O-line and on defense in general remain the question. (MS)
18 (23) Panthers 7-9-0 The return of QB Jake Delhomme might be enough to get them to the playoffs. But there are no guarantees with Tommy John surgery. (PY)
19 (19) Bills 7-9-0 Marcus Stroud turns 30 this summer and his starts have declined over three seasons. Will he be healthy enough to help the Bills in December? (MS)
20 (16) Texans 8-8-0 They reached respectability in 2007. Improving will be difficult because their division is so tough. (PY)
21 (30) Jets 4-12-0 An offseason spending spree upgraded the roster without answering the Jets' most pressing question: Do they have the right QB? (MS)
22 (25) Ravens 5-11-0 Are the 2008 Ravens more like the 13-3 team in 2006, or the 5-11 unit last season? This is certain: QB play is key. (JW)
23 (21) Broncos 7-9-0 This is the second-best team in the AFC West. That is an indictment of the division, not a pat on the back for this team, which has many holes. (BW)
24 (20) Bears 7-9-0 Seems like ages ago the Bears were NFC champs. For better or worse, fans will have to endure another season of good Rex Grossman and bad Rex Grossman. (JW)
25 (22) Bengals 7-9-0 If WR Chad Johnson sits out, the Bengals will suffer. If Johnson shows, he's a distraction. Neither situation is good. (JW)
26 (27) Raiders 4-12-0 The Raiders' offense won't make people sick anymore, but their defense might. (BW)
27 (26) 49ers 5-11-0 New offensive coordinator Mike Martz provides credibility on offense, but head coach Mike Nolan still must prove he can manage the team more smoothly. (MS)
28 (29) Rams 3-13-0 Quietly, Jim Haslett has turned the defense into a respectable unit. The Rams could contend for a playoff spot if their offensive line can keep Marc Bulger healthy. (MS)
29 (24) Lions 7-9-0 QB Jon Kitna says it will be a disappointment if the Lions don't win 10 games this season. Perhaps he doesn't realize Detroit hasn't won 10 games since 1995. (JW)
30 (28) Chiefs 4-12-0 The Chiefs' rebuilding project has begun, but it's unrealistic to believe they will become contenders anytime soon. (BW)
31 (32) Dolphins 1-15-0 A rookie head coach and an unsettled QB situation add up to growing pains, even though the Dolphins have upgraded their talent base. (MS)
32 (31) Falcons 4-12-0 New coach Mike Smith is the right guy to turn this team around, but it's going to take a few years. (PY)

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Last edited by Hi5Steeler on Thu May 22, 2008 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Several online power rankings. Steelers way too low on most

Postby Hi5Steeler » Thu May 22, 2008 5:32 pm

WALTERFOOTBALL.COM
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2008 NFL Power Rankings: Post Draft



I've compiled my Post-Draft 2008 NFL Power Rankings. I'll be using these rankings as my order for the next update of my 2009 NFL Mock Draft.

I've gone from WORST to FIRST, so if you don't see reverse numbering (via Javascript), don't worry; the Chiefs, Rams and Falcons aren't my top teams.


32. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) - Previously #30
5/4/08: Looking at the schedule, I don't see more than three or four wins for the Falcons. About a month ago on this page, I listed all of their holes (you can see this below). So, let's see how well they did with all of the draft picks they obtained for Matt Schaub and DeAngelo Hall: Matt Ryan - ugh. Even if he becomes a good pro, he won't do much as a rookie. Offensive tackle - yeesh. Tight end - nothing. Nose tackle - try again. Cornerback - whoops. Receiving depth - yeah, right. What in the world did Atlanta do with all of its selections?

4/16/08: The Falcons did a good job removing most of the malcontents from their roster. Alge Crumpler, DeAngelo Hall, Michael Vick and Bobby Petrino - odd that a coach is in that group - all have nothing to do with the team anymore. While Atlanta's effort will improve in 2008, the cupboard is still pretty bare; there isn't much at quarterback, offensive tackle, tight end, nose tackle or middle linebacker. Cornerback and receiving depth are also issues. With tons of needs, it'll be interesting to see what the Falcons do in the draft.


31. Miami Dolphins (1-15) - Previously #29
5/4/08: At least the Dolphins can't get worse this season. Or can they? John Beck sucks, Josh McCown's mediocre, while Chad Henne was inconsistent at Michigan. Ronnie Brown will get injured. Ricky Williams will get high. Ernest Wilford will drop balls. The offensive line won't block well. The defense will continue to be old. Miami resembles a college team that has just lost all of its seniors. If Jason Taylor gets traded, they'll have nine new starters.

4/16/08: The Dolphins have become that annoying guy in your fantasy league. Starting in Round 10, he starts drafting players no one has ever heard of. You want to make fun of him, but you're secretly scared when he announces his picks, all of which have you laughing nervously and flipping through all your fantasy mags just to find whom he just added to his squad. He found rare gems like Ladell Betts in 2006 and Wes Welker last year. You hate this guy with a passion, and you're always hoping his top players tear their ACL in preseason.

The Dolphins are this guy. No one has a clue as to whom they've signed, but because Bill Parcells is on board, everyone, except for the Patriots perhaps, is secretly cowering. Tab Perry? Nathan Jones? Boomer Grigsby? Justin Smiley? Sean Ryan? Charlie Anderson? Who are these guys? Parcells definitely has a trick up his sleeve. Too bad he still doesn't have a quarterback. Or maybe I should say "too good" for all of these other teams.


30. San Francisco 49ers (5-11) - Previously #25
5/4/08: See those dire needs listed two paragraphs below? Receiver, offensive tackle, guard and outside linebacker? Only one was addressed in the draft. Kentwan Balmer and Chilo Rachal will help this team, but the 49ers still have major holes, including the quarterback position. If Alex Smith keeps fumbling the ball away, it could be Matt Stafford, Sam Bradford or Tim Tebow in the 2009 Draft.

4/16/08: Other than the Justin Smith signing, I can't say that I'm a fan of any of San Francisco's acquisitions. Granted, Bryant Johnson was stuck behind Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald on Arizona's depth chart, but he really failed to produce when Boldin and/or Fitzgerald were out of the lineup. Isaac Bruce could work in Mike Martz's system, but he turns 36 in November. How much does he have left in the tank?

The 49ers have a lot of work to do in the draft. Dire needs include receiver, offensive tackle, guard and outside linebacker. The quarterback position will once again be an issue, but unlike last season, San Francisco won't be wasting its time with the talentless Trent Dilfer; in brief action, Shaun Hill looked like the best quarterback the 49ers have had on their roster since Jeff Garcia. This includes Alex Smith, who according to Emmitt Smith, is learning three different offenses every year. Tough learning curve.


29. Kansas City Chiefs (4-12) - Previously #32
5/4/08: I was a huge fan of the Chiefs' draft, and apparently so was Herm Edwards. Edwards has hinted that he plans on playing all of his young guys. Asking rookies to step in and win right away is a bit too much. Besides, I'm pretty confident that Herm will find a way to blow a couple of close games.

4/16/08: I can't say I like anything the Chiefs have done this offseason. Or to be more precise, I can't say I like what the Chiefs haven't done. Someone needs to send general manager Carl Peterson a memo that his offensive line stinks because he didn't do a single thing to upgrade it. The only thing he managed to do was overpay for defensive liability Demorrio Williams. Devard Darling, meanwhile, is far from the answer at wide out. Kansas City needs help everywhere, including quarterback. Brodie Croyle is winless as a starter and has yet to show much promise. And who knows if Larry Johnson can ever make it back to full strength after Herm Edwards ruined his career with all of those carries in 2006?


28. St. Louis Rams (3-13) - Previously #31
5/4/08: If you haven't heard the story behind the No. 2 pick yet, check this out: The front office had no idea whom to take between Glenn Dorsey and Chris Long, so they decided to vote. So, they went mini-golfing, and to the behest of vice president Bill Devaney, the majority of the votes came in on Dorsey. Rumor also has it that Devaney broke his putter when he shot the golf ball straight into the windmill, so things really weren't working out for him. Anyway, come Draft Day, Devaney decided to give everyone in the front office the finger by taking Chris Long, simply because he's friends with Howie Long. Now that's how you run a football team!

That said, I think Long was the right pick. The Rams should actually be able to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks now. As for protecting Marc Bulger from breaking 20 ribs this season? Well, that's another story.

4/16/08: St. Louis would actually be a good team if Marc Bulger and Orlando Pace could stay healthy. The problem is, Bulger's always playing with broken ribs, partly because Pace, like Tony Boselli circa 2000-2002, just can't get in the lineup. Bulger will have Jacob Bell at left guard, which should help protection a bit, but the Rams lack a pass rush, dominant linebackers (Brandon Chillar signed with Green Bay) and a second receiver. If Pace can't make it back into the lineup and Bulger once again misses significant time, this could be the worst team in the NFL.


27. Detroit Lions (7-9) - Previously #26
5/4/08: I love how the 225-pound Jordan Dizon is already penciled into Detroit's starting lineup. Hint: Play every single running back you have on your fantasy roster against the Lions! Also, why is Paris Lenon still starting? I thought we got rid of this problem.

It seems like the Lions are banking on a lot of rookies, which is never a good thing. Can Gosder Cherilus protect Jon Kitna? Will Kevin Smith take over for Tatum Bell? Can Cliff Avril pump some juice into a morbid pass rush? How well will Andre Fluellen fill Shaun Rogers' shoes?

4/16/08: The only thing the Lions have done this offseason that I'm in favor of is acquiring depth in their secondary with the additions of Leigh Bodden, Brian Kelly, Dwight Smith and Kalvin Pearson. Unfortunately, they traded away Shaun Rogers and haven't really found a replacement. They've also failed to secure a pass rusher, upgrades at linebacker and a stout running back. Those things can all be addressed via the draft, but you never know what you're going to get with rookies.






26. Oakland Raiders (4-12) - Previously #24
5/4/08: As of Sunday morning, May 4, the Oakland Raiders depth chart at Ourlads Scouting Services doesn't have the quarterback position. Apparently, Al Davis dismissed all the quarterbacks from the team because 1) They were good-looking and were drawing Al Davis' sacrificial young maidens away from him. 2) Their 40s weren't fast enough. 3) None of them were coming off ACL injuries. 4) Darren McFadden can play quarterback. 5) He gave them the year off - better than suffering 8,000 concussions behind Oakland's pitiful offensive line.

4/16/08: Oakland made a few upgrades in its secondary (DeAngelo Hall and Gibril Wilson) and JaMarcus Russell can't be any worse than Andrew Walter and Josh McCown, but one can only wonder what went on in Oakland's front office when Al Davis decided to sign every single free agent coming off an ACL tear. Perhaps the conversation went something like this:

Al Davis: Yawn... it's morning already? How long was I out for?

Assistant: Two years, sir. Do you want to look at the free agent list?

Al Davis: Sure! Whoa! Javon Walker's available!? Let's sign him!

Assistant: Umm... sir, I don't think that's a good idea... See, he's coming off an...

Al Davis: I'm calling up his agent right now! Let's make him such a huge deal that he won't even leave this city without signing! How's a $55 million contract sound?

Assistant: Not too good sir...

Al Davis: You're right! Let's make it $66 million!

Assistant: No sir! Don't do it!!! Noooo!!!!


25. Baltimore Ravens (5-11) - Previously #23
5/4/08: I found it hilarious that Steve McNair announced his retirement just two weeks after the Ravens stated that they were confident with McNair and Kyle Boller going into the 2008 season. Good to know the Ravens are on top of the situation. On the other side of a rapidly aging defense we'll have Troy Smith, Brian Billick's secret lover and a rookie quarterback with Drew Bledsoe-like mobility and no experience going against top-level talent. Sounds like good times.

4/16/08: What's going on at the quarterback position? Is Jonathan Ogden coming back? Can Derrick Mason, at the age of 34, hold up for another year? Will Todd Heap be healthy for a change? Will Baltimore's aging defense be slightly less effective than it was during a mediocre 2007 season? Will Ray Lewis and Ed Reed respect a young coach like John Harbaugh? There are way too many questions here.


24. Chicago Bears (7-9) - Previously #28
5/4/08: I was talking to my friend Fred, a Bears fan, on the phone the other day, and he asked me who Chicago's No. 1 receiver will be this year. We both came up with blanks. I said Earl Bennett. He came up with Devin Hester. Yeah, the Bears' offense is going to suck - especially if Rex Grossman keeps fumbling the ball away five times every week.

4/16/08: When teams finish below .500, they usually try to improve themselves via free agency. Not the Bears. All they did was sign two old/horrendous receivers (Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd) to replace two better ones (Bernard Berrian and Muhsin Muhammad). Chicago spent the rest of its offseason re-signing Lance Briggs, Rex Grossman... and that's about it. The team's offense has tons of holes, so the defense will once again have to carry a beleaguered scoring attack. On the bright side, with Brian Griese gone, there will be no quarterback controversy. Then again, you can't have a quarterback controversy if you have no quarterbacks.


23. Denver Broncos (7-9) - Previously #27
5/4/08: The Broncos are counting on Boss Bailey, Niko Koutouvides, 83-year-old John Lynch and Jarvis Moss on defense? Uh oh. At least their quarterback and top receiver are completely healthy, and they're not starting some Kansas City Chiefs reject at center. Oh, wait...

4/16/08: Some might be shocked to see the Broncos ranked so low. Well, they haven't done anything to improve on their 7-9 record. In fact, they've gotten a lot worse. How? Where do I begin?

Brandon Marshall's hurt. Javon Walker's gone. Matt Lepsis has retired. The offensive tackles are inexperienced. The center was horrendous with the Chiefs last year. There is still no pass rush. There is still no one who can stop the run. Boss Bailey sucks. Keary Colbert sucks even more. Jamie Winborn sucks more than both combined. D.J. Williams is still playing out of position. John Lynch is still starting at 36. Jason Elam is a Falcon. Chris Myers is a Texan. And Mike Shanahan's face will get more ruddy by the minute.

Phew... is that enough?


22. New York Jets (4-12) - Previously #22
5/4/08: I still think the Jets are set up to fail, but at least their fans didn't hate their first-round pick. Dustin Keller should also help out on offense, though I expect the team to continue having problems scoring as long as Brian Schottenheimer is calling the shots.

4/16/08: While the Jets should be better than they were in 2007 - remember, they're one year removed from battling the Patriots close in the postseason - it seems like they've set themselves up to fail. For example, if they think Damien Woody is the answer at right tackle, they're mistaken. And if they think Calvin Pace can be a great player at the pass-rushing linebacker position, I think they could be wrong. The team's other main acquisitions - Alan Faneca, Tony Richardson, Bubba Franks and Kris Jenkins - are either on the wrong side of 30 or are very injury-prone.

All in all, I have a feeling the Jets will be close to .500. It all depends on how Kellen Clemens plays. Clemens didn't impress many, but he caught my eye in some of his games. His poor performances, especially the Cowboys blowout, was a product of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's horrendous play-calling. Frankly, I'm shocked he's still employed.


21. Cincinnati Bengals (7-9) - Previously #21
5/4/08: I love how the Bengals are saying that Chad Johnson won't be going anywhere despite the fact that they drafted 600 receivers last weekend. Yeah, you're really fooling us. If Johnson isn't traded after the June 1 deadline and shows up to camp, it'll be interesting to see what Cincinnati does on offense. With Rudi Johnson royally sucking (how did they not find an upgrade at running back?) I'd love to see Marvin Lewis turn into Mike Holmgren and completely abandon the run.

4/16/08: I can't say the Bengals should fire Marvin Lewis because they were a mess before he got there, but they continue to underachieve. Cincinnati had the talent to make a playoff push, but lost some shady games to the Chiefs, Bills, Cardinals and 49ers. This team is often unfocused, and they haven't made any major personnel moves to offset this problem.





20. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) - Previously #20
5/4/08: Good to see Matt Leinart is working hard this offseason. In all seriousness though, who cares that Leinart had a party? It's his house, and he didn't do anything illegal. It's not like it was a Chris Henry party and there were 10-year-olds everywhere. And this will all blow (blowed... blown... uhh... blowed?) away if the Cardinals make the Doggone Playoff. If not, no one in Arizona will really care.

4/16/08: I mention this every year when I do my season previews. I refuse to pick the Cardinals to go to the playoffs because, well, they're the Cardinals. I like what Ken Whisenhunt is doing in terms of bringing over players who know how to win, like Clark Haggans and Jerame Tuman. But other than that and adding marginal pass-rusher Travis LaBoy, Arizona hasn't really done anything to improve itself. Looks like another year of mediocrity.


19. Carolina Panthers (7-9) - Previously #19
5/4/08: I understand giving up picks to move up, but a 2009 first-rounder? That's going to be a top-10 selection if Jake Delhomme gets hurt again. And Delhomme always spends time on the IR. I still don't understand why the Panthers didn't go Chris Williams/Branden Albert/Jeff Otah at No. 13 and then Ray Rice/Tashard Choice/Jamaal Charles in the second round, especially after using a No. 1 choice on a running back two years ago.

Carolina's success obviously depends on Delhomme's health. Remember, the Panthers started 4-2 with him last year. If he stays healthy, they have a shot at the postseason, but that's a huge if.

4/16/08: The Panthers finally have some potent targets at receiver to go along with Steve Smith (Muhsin Muhammad and D.J. Hackett) and their offensive line has more depth with the additions of Keydrick Vincent and Milf Brown. I wouldn't be blown away if they made the Doggone Playoff, but there are just too many questions. Can Jake Delhomme hold up for an entire year? How effective will DeAngelo Williams be as a featured back? How much of a liability will the overrated Landon Johnson be in Carolina's linebacking corps? And how well will their first-round rookie offensive tackle play? As I said, a postseason berth wouldn't surprise me; I just wouldn't bet on it.


18. Washington Redskins (9-7) - Previously #14
5/4/08: The Redskins did a great job of acquiring talented weapons for Jason Campbell (maybe Daniel Snyder should give advice to Tennessee's front office), but at what cost? The team's horrific defensive line wasn't addressed and the lack of depth at corner wasn't fixed until the fourth round. I guess the front office forgot that they managed only one sack against the Seahawks in the first round of the playoffs.

4/16/08: Daniel Snyder has been conspicuously quiet this offseason. His only free-agent acquisition was third-string defensive tackle Matthias Askew. The Redskins haven't lost anyone either, so they basically return the same team that nearly knocked off the Seahawks in the first round of the playoffs. The difference, however, is that they'll find it hard pressed to play with the same type of emotion that got them into the postseason.


17. Tennessee Titans (10-6) - Previously #17
5/4/08: This might be hard for Titans fans to hear, but their front office just isn't dedicated to winning. It looks like just being somewhat competitive and drawing fans into the seats is their top priority; otherwise, they would have found some weapons for Vince Young. As a Young defender, I'm not looking forward to another year of blaming his receivers for his horrible stats and inexplicable close games (or losses). Well, at least Young will have the pleasure of watching Williams Hayes while on the sideline after a three-and-out. Groan.

4/16/08: Vince Young might as well hold up a sign that says, "Will work for a competent front office." The Titans haven't done anything this offseason to improve themselves. Alge Crumpler may help if he's motivated, but he spent the final years in Atlanta dropping balls and gaining weight. Jevon Kearse is done. Justin McCareins can't catch a cold. Jake Scott, like many other Colts offensive linemen, may not work in another scheme.

I feel really sorry for Young. I've always stated that if Young were surrounded with solid receivers, he would prove all of his doubters wrong. Unfortunately, Tennessee's front office has absolutely no clue how to produce a winner. Or maybe they just aren't dedicated to winning. Nothing would surprise me at this point.






16. Houston Texans (8-8) - Previously #18
5/4/08: Houston followed my advice and traded down out of its No. 18 pick, but still managed to reach in some eyes. I don't think they did. I had Duane Brown 27th in my mock, and the Texans happened to choose him at 26. He's perfect for the team's zone-blocking scheme. Unfortunately, Houston had to wait until the third round to address the cornerback position. They're really going to be hurting against the pass this year, which definitely isn't a good thing with Peyton Manning and David Garrard on the schedule twice each.

4/16/08: The Texans are already behind the eight ball, given that their top corner, Dunta Robinson, may not be available until after Thanksgiving. That's really disappointing for a franchise that suffered a plethora of key injuries last year, particularly to their starting quarterback, Matt Schaub, and best receiver, Andre Johnson. If both stay healthy, Houston has an outside shot at the postseason, provided it drafts well. I'd recommend trading down to recoup the second-round choice it traded to Atlanta for Schaub.


15. Minnesota Vikings (8-8) - Previously #15
5/4/08: Minnesota's defense is going to be scary with Jared Allen on the defensive line. Unfortunately, the offense is going to be a joke. Some will point out that Tarvaris Jackson's quarterback rating (70.8) wasn't bad for a first-year starter, but I'll point to the final three games of the 2007 campaign, when the team's playoff hopes were on the line. Jackson tossed five picks and fumbled thrice. He was also sacked six times, and the right side of the offensive line wasn't addressed.

4/16/08: The Vikings remind me of a fancy car without an engine. They have very few holes on their roster - they're obviously great at running back; the receiver position is fine now with Bernard Berrian; the left side of the line is exceptional; the two Williams tackles stuff the run like no one else; and the linebackers aren't a problem.

A major issue, and one that looks like it won't be fixed this offseason, is at quarterback. Some Viking fans may disagree with me, but I think Tarvaris Jackson is one of the five worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL (in no particular order - Jackson, Alex Smith, Kyle Boller, John Beck and Brodie Croyle). It's a shame because if Minnesota had a reliable signal caller, it could conceivably make it as far as the Super Bowl.


14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7) - Previously #13
5/4/08: The Buccaneers had a great draft and should once again contend for the NFC South crown, but their potential is pretty limited by their offense. Jeff Garcia has never advanced past the second round of the playoffs, and I think his limited arm strength will prevent him from ever doing so. Also, Tampa Bay's really going to be hurting at the receiver position, especially if the soon-to-be 37-year-old Joey Galloway takes a step backward this season.

4/16/08: Looking at roster changes, there's no reason the Buccaneers should be any worse than they were in 2007. They added upgrades (center Jeff Faine and defensive lineman Marques Douglas) and depth (Eugene Wilson, Teddy Lehman and Ben Troupe). Tampa Bay didn't lose anyone to the free-agent market either. So, why are they behind the Eagles and Saints? I just question how much longer Jeff Garcia (38), Joey Galloway (37 in November), Ronde Barber (33) and Derrick Brooks (35) can hold up. If two of the four have a major dropoff, the Bucs can say goodbye to the NFC South crown.


13. Buffalo Bills (7-9) - Previously #16
5/4/08: The Bills continued their excellent offseason with a superb draft, somehow acquiring the top cornerback at No. 11, what could be the most talented receiver in the second round and a solid pass rusher in the third. Buffalo backers can thank all the inept general managers out there who screwed up the 2008 NFL Draft. I'm pretty confident in predicting that the Bills will qualify for the postseason this year.

4/16/08: I like what the Bills have done defensively this offseason, adding some much-needed muscle to the stop unit in terms of Marcus Stroud, Spencer Johnson and Kawika Mitchell. Buffalo struggled to stop the run and get to the quarterback last year, but remember, they suffered more injuries than any other team in the NFL. That said, Buffalo failed to make a single upgrade to its offense, which is troubling, considering it was ranked 30th in scoring in 2007. Improvements will need to come via the draft, and I'm not one who likes counting on rookies.


12. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8) - Previously #12
5/4/08: I gave the Eagles a B+ in my 2008 NFL Draft Grades because acquiring a 2009 first-round pick is huge, but I can't really say I understand what they're doing. There are two schools of thought. If they want to go all in this season, why trade for a 2009 first-round pick and fail to give Donovan McNabb a huge, No. 1 target that he desperately needs? If they want to rebuild, why even keep McNabb? Why not trade him while he still has value and allow Kevin Kolb to get some snaps? Of course, the offseason isn't over, and it's possible the Eagles could trade one of their first-rounders and Lito Sheppard for Chad Johnson or Anquan Boldin. But the clock is ticking...

4/16/08: Philadelphia seems to be going all in this season, which indicates that this is Donovan McNabb's final year in the City of Brotherly Love. The Eagles signed Asante Samuel and Chris Clemons, and even went after Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald. I don't think they're done; a deal for Anquan Boldin or Roy Williams could still be in the works. Even if the Eagles fail to acquire a proven wide out, look for them to make a playoff push; they finished hot in 2007, beating quality opponents (Dallas, New Orleans and Buffalo) the final three weeks of the season.






11. Seattle Seahawks (10-6) - Previously #10
5/4/08: Who is Matt Hasselbeck going to throw to? Deion Branch may not even see action this season; Nate Burleson is very mediocre; Bobby Engram just turned 35; D.J. Hackett is gone; John Carlson's just a rookie; while the likes of Courtney Taylor and Ben Obomanu have yet to prove themselves. I'm baffled as to why the Seahawks pulled a Titans maneuver and selected a defensive end over a receiver in the first round. Seattle didn't even add a wideout. Even Tennessee did that.

4/16/08: The Seahawks spent most of their offseason re-signing key free agents. One guy they failed to retain, however, is kicker Josh Brown, who signed with rival St. Louis. His replacement is the horrendous Olindo Mare, who has struggled kicking indoors the past two seasons. Mare could be the team's potential downfall.

That said, Seattle is primed for another NFC West title. If the team hits on its draft picks and addresses some of its needs (wide receiver, tight end, defensive tackle, guard), a Super Bowl appearance is not out of the question. The Seahawks' chances will greatly improve if Deion Branch can make it back from his torn ACL.


10. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) - Previously #9
5/4/08: The Steelers found a great complement for Willie Parker and a huge target for Ben Roethlisberger, but it still troubles me that they didn't fix their offensive line. Pittsburgh might as well issue the following press release: "Steelers fans, we're taking the 2008 season off. We weren't able to acquire any offensive linemen to block for Big Ben, so in his best interest, we're not going to play any games this year. We look forward to entertaining you in 2009 when we actually have blockers to keep our quarterback concussion-free. For now, please enjoy the Pittsburgh Pirates as a reminder of how much we'll suck if Big Ben gets hurt and misses a lot of action. Thank you, Pittsburgh Steelers management."

4/16/08: It really troubles me that the Steelers didn't bother upgrading their offensive line this offseason. Sure, they added Justin Hartwig, but Alan Faneca's gone, meaning a front that surrendered 47 sacks has actually gotten worse. Branden Albert at selection No. 23 may help, but I'm not one who likes trusting rookies, no matter how promising they look. Meanwhile, key players at other positions are starting to reach the age of regression, including Hines Ward (32), Aaron Smith (32), Casey Hampton (31) and Deshea Townsend (33).

I like the Steelers to contend for a playoff spot, but the fact remains that a divisional rival that finished with the same record as them has gotten much stronger this spring, while they've pretty much remained static.
9. Cleveland Browns (10-6) - Previously #8
5/4/08: One of the major reasons I thought the Browns would acquire a pass-rushing linebacker with their first pick in the 2008 Draft was to take full advantage of Pittsburgh's porous offensive line. They failed to obtain one, though Beau Bell isn't exactly a mediocre prospect. It's going to be hard to run on the Browns, however, with Corey Williams, Shaun Rogers, Shaun Smith, D'Qwell Jackson and Bell clogging the middle of the defense.

4/16/08: So much for building through the draft. The Browns no longer have any picks in the first three rounds after acquiring Brady Quinn, Corey Williams and Shaun Rogers. While some people scoff at Cleveland's strategy, I approve. The organization had needs, and it went out and filled them. Williams and Rogers shore up a defensive line that was 27th against the run last year. The Browns also signed Donte' Stallworth as a deep threat for Derek Anderson and Rex Hadnot for depth on the offensive front.

Speaking of Anderson, people are quick to criticize his pedestrian completion percentage (56.5). Well, I think the fact that he was a 24-year-old starting his initial season in the NFL should give him the benefit of the doubt. I expect Anderson to continue to improve.

The Browns have a few needs left, like cornerback and outside linebacker. Luckily, this draft is deep and they'll be able to land a quality prospect in Round 4.


8. New Orleans Saints (7-9) - Previously #11
5/4/08: I gave out two A+'s in my 2008 NFL Draft Grades, and the Saints earned one of them. They've completely rebuilt their defense, save for the free safety and outside linebacker positions, and promising offensive rookies like Carl Nicks and Adrian Arrington might be able to contribute right away. Looking at New Orleans' schedule, 11 or 12 wins is very possible.

4/16/08: Of all the teams that didn't make the playoffs, the Saints might have the best chance at winning their division. With Carolina declining and Atlanta rebuilding, the only obstacle in New Orleans' way is Tampa Bay. The Saints, who finished the year on a 7-5 run, bolstered their defense with the additions of end Bobby McCray, middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma and cornerback Randall Gay. If they can find a quality cornerback, nose tackle and outside linebacker in the draft, they'll be set to give the Buccaneers a run for their money.





7. Dallas Cowboys (13-3) - Previously #7
5/4/08: Felix Jones was a bit of a reach; Mike Jenkins was incredible value; Martellus Bennett wasn't really a need; while both Orlando Scandrick and Tashard Choice were steals. But where was the Busty Blonde Repellant for Tony Romo? The Cowboys have tons of talent, but they need to keep Romo focused on football throughout the entire season. Getting rid of the choking Wade Phillips wouldn't hurt either. If Dallas doesn't win a playoff game this year, he's as good as gone.

4/16/08: It's the same old song for the Cowboys. Start hot. Hear Super Bowl expectations. See quarterback date famous hot blonde. Begin fading. Lose instantly in the playoffs. Maybe Tony Romo won't get distracted this season.

In all seriousness, the Cowboys are a solid team. It wouldn't surprise me to see them win the ever-improving NFC East again. However, I can't pick them to win the Super Bowl as long as Wade Phillips is pacing up and down the sidelines. Phillips has yet to win a playoff game in his lengthy career, and I'm not sure that changes this time next year.


6. Green Bay Packers (13-3) - Previously #5
5/4/08: I understand that Brian Brohm was the best player available, but seriously... even if Aaron Rodgers stinks up the joint, Green Bay could have obtained a quarterback in a 2009 class that may feature Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, Cullen Harper, Curtis Painter, Hunter Cantwell and Matt Stafford. More depth at corner would have been better, even though they selected Patrick Lee with one of their other second-round picks.

4/16/08: It really amazes me that some people have the Packers drafting a quarterback relatively early. I have faith in Aaron Rodgers, based on his second-half performance against the Cowboys, and the fact that Green Bay's management thought enough of him to draft him with their No. 1 pick a few years ago. Others may not have the Packers up so high, but if Rodgers meets my expectations, Green Bay has the talent to go the distance. Also remember that the Packers have tons of draft picks relatively early. They can add even more depth to their loaded roster.


5. Indianapolis Colts (13-3) - Previously #4
5/4/08: It's tough not to pick the Colts to win the AFC South, but if there's ever a year they slip up in the Peyton Manning-Tony Dungy era, this is it. The Jaguars are going to be difficult to contain with their dominant defensive line, and I'm not sure what's going on with Marvin Harrison and his gun situation.

4/16/08: The Colts didn't add a single player to their roster this offseason. While some would argue that they didn't need to, the fact remains that their competition has inched closer to them. I also don't know how much longer Marvin Harrison (36) and Jeff Saturday (33) can hold up. Only two players, but both have a huge say in how deep the Colts will advance in the Doggone Playoff this year.

As long as Peyton Manning is the quarterback of the Colts, they'll have a shot at winning the Super Bowl. It's just that their chances have been reduced with an unproductive offseason. Besides, their meltdown against San Diego has left me with a bad taste in my mouth.


4. New England Patriots (16-0) - Previously #3
5/4/08: I wasn't a huge fan of New England's draft. Bill Belichick seemed to compensate for not drafting cornerbacks and linebackers all these years, and consequently reached early and often. The hole at right guard - Steve Neal is coming off two major injuries - wasn't fixed either. The Patriots had major problems in their back seven last year, and I'm not sure they've done enough to preventanother inexplicable postseason collapse. I'm also not sure how they're going to keep Derrick Harvey, Quentin Groves, Paul Spicer and Reggie Hayward out of the backfield.

4/16/08: I didn't have the Patriots ranked first at times last season, so why would I put them at the top now? The reason I didn't like their chances in 2007 was because I believed their old defense would wear down. That was extremely apparent when Eli Manning converted third down after third down against them. Now, Asante Samuel, Randall Gay, Eugene Wilson and Rosevelt Colvin are all gone, while Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison are all creeping toward the age of regression.

You can't count the Patriots out because of Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Bill Belichick. However, it wouldn't shock me to see the Super Bowl Loser Curse hex New England into an early playoff exit.





3. San Diego Chargers (11-5) - Previously #1
5/4/08: I'd love to know what the Chargers are planning to do at right tackle. They cut Shane Olivea. Jeromey Clary stinks. L.J. Shelton was cut by the 1-15 Dolphins. It's tough to question A.J. Smith; I'm just really puzzled. Still, San Diego nearly beat New England despite seeing Philip Rivers limping around and LaDainian Tomlinson sitting on the bench.

4/16/08: The Chargers have one glaring weakness they need to fix, which happens to be the right tackle position. If they take care of that via the draft, it wouldn't surprise me at all to seem in the Super Bowl. Remember, they kept the Patriots to a single-digit deficit for the majority of the AFC Championship with Philip Rivers limping around on one leg, and without the services of LaDainian Tomlinson. Norv Turner and A.J. Smith have to be thrilled at the emergence of Vincent Jackson and Antonio Cromartie late in the season.

I expect big things from the Chargers in 2008, and I'm not afraid to put them atop this chart. Norv Turner? Winning a Super Bowl? Remember, we would have said the same thing about Eli Manning this time last year.


2. Jacksonville Jaguars (11-5) - Previously #6
5/4/08: It's good to know at least one team was paying attention to the Giants' playoff run. With the additions of Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves, the Jaguars are going to put a scary amount of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. You've been warned, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

4/16/08: David Garrard was probably excited after hearing that his team acquired two new receivers. In the wake of finding out who they were, however, I'm sure Garrard spent endless nights crying in bed. Jerry Porter? Troy Williamson? All the Jaguars could do for Garrard is sign an underachiever and a draft bust? Are they taking lessons from Titans management?

Still, the Jaguars figure to be one of the top five or six teams in the NFL. Garrard should continue to improve and the running game will still be devastating. The defensive line, however, will be an issue if the Jaguars can't land any talented rookies. Bobby McCray and Marcus Stroud could be missed.


1. New York Giants (10-6) - Previously #2
5/4/08: When I tell people I have the Giants as one of the top teams in my power rankings, they look surprised. Why? They stormed through the playoffs, Eli Manning grew before our very eyes, and the defensive pressure they were able to put on Tom Brady and the other quarterbacks they beat was unlike anything we've ever seen. The only key player they lost this offseason was Gibril Wilson, and they replaced him with Kenny Phillips, who has much more potential. New York was one of two teams that earned an A+ in my 2008 NFL Draft Grades, so despite winning the Super Bowl last year, I expect them to get even better.

4/16/08: It seems like a lot of people are underrating what the Giants did in the playoffs, calling it shear luck and a burst of momentum. Well, New York had always started each season off hot but faded down the stretch. That changed in 2007, as Eli Manning didn't commit a turnover in the postseason until the Super Bowl. I couldn't have imagined myself saying this a year ago, but I trust Eli now.

New York lost Gibril Wilson, Kawika Mitchell and Reggie Torbor this offseason. The only one that really matters, however, is the former. The Giants could have a chance at landing Kenny Phillips with the final pick of the first round, so he could be a nice replacement, assuming he pans out. New York has a few other depth issues (cornerback, linebacker, defensive end if Michael Strahan retires), but they should be set for another Super Bowl run.
Last edited by Hi5Steeler on Thu May 22, 2008 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Several online power rankings. Steelers way too low on most

Postby Hi5Steeler » Thu May 22, 2008 5:37 pm

CBS SPORTSLINE
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Power Rankings: Giant blip aside, Patriots still the ones
By Pete Prisco
CBSSports.com Senior Writer
Tell Pete your opinion!



Updated May 20

I feel sorry for the New York Giants.

They are the defending Super Bowl champions. Their shiny new bling rings are coming this summer after capping off a magical playoff run with an upset victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, and yet they are getting little love heading into 2008.


Have Eli Manning and the Giants had their moment? (Getty Images)
You hear people actually say their victory was a fluke or lucky or not sustainable. Most so-called experts don't even list the Giants as the top NFC team right now when doing rankings, with that honor going to the Dallas Cowboys. Didn't the Giants go into Dallas and upset the Cowboys during their Super run? Did I miss something?

When I spoke to Cowboys coach Wade Phillips a few weeks ago, he pointed out that the Cowboys outgained the Giants and ran the ball for more yards, yet lost.

"We won almost everything except for the score," Phillips said. "You have games like that. The stats went our way, but they made the plays and won the game. We didn't play bad. We played a good game. We just didn't make the plays we had been making all season."

Phillips, by the way, was speaking to me at Tom Coughlin's charity golf tournament in Jacksonville, with Coughlin a short chip away.

No respect, none at all.

Coughlin still has a quality team and a quarterback who just might have punched his ticket to join the elite if that fourth-quarter performance in the Super Bowl is an indication of things to come.

Eli Manning, I think, arrived that day.

It's too bad he might be coming to a place already occupied by his brother, Peyton, and that model-loving quarterback he beat in the Super Bowl.

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are the two reasons why New England and Indianapolis are ranked 1-2 in my latest CBSSports.com Power Rankings. Yes, ahead of the Giants.

If the Giants and Patriots played 10 times last February, I think the Patriots would have won seven of them. That's not to take away from what the Giants did, but the Patriots were the better team.

Just not that day.

Don't buy for a minute, though, the talk that the Boston Herald story about a possible taping of the Rams' walk-through before Super Bowl XXXVI, which ran the Friday before this year's Super Bowl, had any impact on the game. The Patriots are claiming it might have. That's absurd -- and they know it.

With Spygate now buried by the league, which clearly wants it to go away, the smug Bill Belichick is back. Did you see how arrogant he was in that interview with Armen Keteyian on the CBS Evening News?

It was a far cry from the woe-is-me Belichick we saw at the league meetings in March when he was peppered with questions about Spygate with the uncertainty of what Matt Walsh knew still to be determined.

With Walsh providing no new information, Belichick blasted away. You can bet he will try to use all of that as motivation for his team.

He doesn't really need it. The Patriots are the best team right now. And the Colts are the second-best team.

But I'm not going to put the Cowboys ahead of the Giants just yet. At least New England lost to the Giants on a neutral field. The Cowboys lost on their home field.

I'm not ready to pick the Giants to repeat, but it's not a stretch to say they're the best team in the NFC right now.

Too bad few others think that.

Power Rankings
Current Team Previous
1 Patriots · Trends 2
Is there any reason to think they won't be sitting here for most of the season? The Super hangover won't bother this group.
2 Colts · Trends 3
I was tempted to put them in the top spot, but Dwight Freeney's health is still a concern. They aren't far behind the Patriots.
3 Giants · Trends 1
How can you not have them as the top NFC team? Too many people are forgetting the tough path they took to the Super Bowl.
4 Cowboys · Trends 4
They have almost the same team back that had the best record in the NFC last year. The one issue they must handle is having Phillips looking over his shoulder at Jason Garrett.
5 Jaguars · Trends 5
This is a deep, talented team that has filled some big holes through the draft and free agency. If David Garrard can prove he's not a one-year wonder, they could be an elite team.
6 Chargers · Trends 7
Here's another loaded team. The main concern is the health of both Philip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson. Phillips proved in the AFC Championship Game loss to the Patriots that he's a tough guy, playing on a bad knee.
7 Steelers · Trends 8
Too many experts are counting this team out. The offensive line is an issue, but if that gets sorted out, the Steelers will win the division again. Sorry, Browns fans.
8 Eagles · Trends 10
Andy Reid is too good a coach for the Eagles to be a non-playoff team for another season. They will be the bounce-back team in 2008.
9 Seahawks · Trends 9
This is a tough team to gauge. Are they good or were they a product of a bad division last season? They do have to run the ball better.
10 Packers · Trends 6
I think Aaron Rodgers will be better than most people, which is why I still have the Packers in the top 10. This is a young, talented team with a good head coach.
11 Browns · Trends 17
They are the preseason chosen ones. A lot of experts think they're ready to take the division from the Steelers. Let's hold off on that.
12 Saints · Trends 15
It's all about the defense for the Saints. If adding Sedrick Ellis and Jonathan Vilma and others can help that side improve some, they can be a deep playoff team like in 2006.
13 Cardinals · Trends 12
Is this the year they break through and win the division? The talent is there, so it's all on Matt Leinart.
14 Titans · Trends 13
If Vince Young can take major steps throwing the football, the Titans have a chance to supplant the Jaguars as the second team in the division. If not, they might fall behind the Texans.
15 Buccaneers · Trends 11
Jon Gruden has a bunch of quarterbacks. But does he have the one? Jeff Garcia played well last season. Can he do it again at age 38?
16 Redskins · Trends 14
I'm a big believer that Jason Campbell can be a quality passer. Now that he has more receiving help, that time has come. New coach Jim Zorn will be a good thing for Campbell.
17 Bengals · Trends 16
First things first: Chad Johnson will be catching passes from Carson Palmer. No way he sits out. But is that enough to compensate for defensive issues?
18 Bills · Trends 18
They are a trendy pick as the "sleeper" team in 2008. If Trent Edwards is the real thing at quarterback that might not be far off.
19 Broncos · Trends 21
Jay Cutler struggled with diabetes last year, but now seems to have it under control. He should be better, which will help the offense. But they still have issues at too many positions.
20 Bears · Trends 19
Haven't we already heard all this talk about how they can be a good team if they get decent quarterback play? Rex Grossman, Act II.
21 Panthers · Trends 26
Where is Jake Delhomme in his battle back from elbow surgery? The coaching staff, which is under fire, better hope he's all the way back.
22 Rams · Trends 20
It's all about health for the Rams. If they can stay healthy, which they didn't last season, they could be a significantly better team than in 2007.
23 Texans · Trends 22
They might be better than they were a year ago, but not show it in their record. That's because they play in a brutal division
24 Vikings · Trends 23
They have the makings of a deep playoff team with one exception: quarterback. Do you believe in Tarvaris Jackson?
25 Ravens · Trends 27
Can Joe Flacco step in as a rookie and turn the passing game around? Or is that too soon, which means it's more of Kyle Boller again?
26 49ers · Trends 28
Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback. It's all about that spot with the 49ers. Is it Alex Smith or Shaun Hill?
27 Lions · Trends 25
So Jon Kitna is saying the Lions will win 10 games again. Whatever he's taking, it must be pretty damn good.
28 Raiders · Trends 31
They're a year away from being a contender in the AFC West, provided JaMarcus Russell is the real deal. This will be his learning year, and then he makes big strides in 2009.
29 Jets · Trends 29
They're raving about all the moves they made in the offseason. But it won't matter if the quarterback play is as bad as it's been.
30 Chiefs · Trends 24
The Chiefs are clearly in rebuilding mode. That's could give Herm Edwards a reprieve. He has to hope Brodie Croyle shows big improvement.
31 Falcons · Trends 30
New coach Mike Smith will watch his team take its lumps for a couple of seasons. He faces a big rebuilding process.
32 Dolphins · Trends 32
Who's the quarterback? Whenever you have issues at that position, it's pretty hard to climb up from the bottom. But the Dolphins won't be as bad as last season. Will they?

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