Monday, August 30, 2010

2010 College Football Preseason Top 25.....BUT

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Making a National Championship pick this year is a struggle. Go ahead and try, it's not easy. Last year you chose between Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, or maybe Alabama if you were crazy like a fox (like this guy--will post my 2009 predictions for everybody to marvel at--just ignore my NFL picks). All the same teams are back, but with major questions to answer. I can think of at least one clear cut reason not to pick each and every team to win it all (and I'll prove it here in a bit), which leads me to believe we could be looking at the 2010 National Champion in possession of a loss (never fun-because too much is decided by preseason polls). Alabama is considered the favorite (although I've heard few people actually pick them to win it--Ohio St and Oklahoma are the two teams I've been hearing the most) almost by default. The College Gameday preview had 3 analysts pick six different teams to reach the National Championship game. This is precisely what you want going into a season.

This Top 25 list is not reflective of my final predictions (coming soon!). With each team I will give the main reason (BUT...) I am hesitant to place the preseason crown atop their head. Every team is flawed, which means the difference could arise from a source we're completely unaware of, which is always fun. On to the rankings....

1. Ohio St- Could be Terrell Pryor's breakout year, BUT...can he be trusted? Also two tough road games at Wisconsin and Iowa stand in the way.

2. Alabama- Return near everybody on offense, BUT...return only 1 starter from their dominating defense of 2009.

3. Boise St- 49-4 under head coach Chris Peterson, BUT...the odds aren't in their favor. It's difficult to go undefeated, you need breaks along the way, and sometimes the ball just doesn't bounce your way. How motivated did everybody stay coming off last year's success?

4. Oregon- Was my National Champion pick, BUT...returning Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli got booted from the team (now at Ole Miss) amidst team-wide discipline issues.

5. Oklahoma- The chic pick to fulfill the Big 12's annual losing position in the National Championship, BUT...common sense stands in their way. They lost three Top-5 picks to the NFL Draft off a team that lost five games.

6. Virginia Tech- 12th year senior Tyrod Taylor returns along with 1,655 yard rusher Ryan Williams, BUT...lose 8 starters on defense. First week matchup against Boise St should be a doozy. Mark your calendars-Sept. 7th.

7. Iowa- Should have the best defensive line in the country, BUT...high expectations have derailed the Hawkeyes before.

8. Florida- Urban Meyer got over his Post-Tebowum Depression, BUT...losing Tebow was probably worth getting depressed.

9. Nebraska- Mucho preseason love from pundits and friends (somewhat scary to me), BUT...do they have a Quarterback worthy of the praise? Are we all underestimating the impact of losing Ndominant Suh.

10. Wisconsin- Return 10 starters on offense, BUT...only 5 on defense. Maybe overachieved a little bit last year, which could leave them vulnerable to underachievement.

11. Miami- Super recruiting class is all entering their junior years, BUT...Jacory Harris (my annual "athletic" QB that I've fallen for) faded down the stretch last year and threw 17 interceptions.

12. TCU- Bring back most from the offense from last year's near-undefeated team, BUT...lose their two best players from defense. Also, tough to go undefeated (see Boise St).

13. Georgia Tech- Add Al Groh as Defensive Coordinator and join the biggest fad in College Football this year by moving to the 3-4 defense (copyright: Alabama), BUT...lost two top draft picks on each side of the ball. Annually underrated because the national media hates the option.

14. Texas- Probably lower than anybody else has them this preseason, BUT...Garrett Gilbert hasn't shown me enough to think he'll be ready this season. They lost a lot from last year.

15. Arkansas- My favorite pro-prospect Quarterback, Ryan Mallett, leads them, BUT...is the rest of the team up to speed with the SEC?

16. Oregon St- Love the lil' squirtster, Jacquizz Rodgers, BUT...have zero experience at Quarterback.

17. Auburn- Return 8 starters on offense and defense, BUT...have zero experience at Quarterback.

18. Clemson- Nasty defensive line (easy way to raise my expectations), BUT...must replace all-everything C.J. Spiller.

19. Houston- Return 8 starters on offense along with QB Case Keenum (who only threw 44 TD's last year), BUT...their defense will most likely be terrible.

20. Florida St- Return all five offensive linemen along with QB Christian Ponder, BUT...it's been a while since the Seminoles were any good.

21. Georgia- Joining the 3-4 party, BUT...might not be enough talent to pull off the move. Also, looking at starting a freshman at QB.

22. Stanford- Return 8 starters on offense including a McGillicuddy, BUT...I'm not sold on Andrew Luck (the near-consensus belief to be the first pick of the 2011 NFL Draft) yet.

23. North Carolina- Was all set to make them my surprise team this year, BUT...two different scandals being investigated means eligibility issues are anybody's guess.

24. Pittsburgh- Running Back Dion Lewis is the real deal, BUT...(say it with me) have zero experience at Quarterback. And they're still coached by Wannnnnnnnnnnnny.

25. Nevada- Slipped them in there because of Colin Kaepernick's game, BUT...probably have little business making the list.

Final Thoughts on Nebraska as well as 2010 College Football predictions coming this week!!!

His Dirkness

Sunday, August 29, 2010

2010 College Football Preview: Big 12 South Edition

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Baylor~~12 Returning Starters
This year could be their best chance to break a 16 year streak with no bowl games. It's impossible not to cheer for Lil' Baylor.

Quarterback: Robert Griffin- Back after missing all of last year with a torn ACL. He excelled as a freshman in 2008, accounting for 28 touchdowns. He is as exciting as anybody in the conference.

Player to Watch: Derek Epperson, P- Must be something in the water in Waco, because Baylor always has awesome punters.


Oklahoma~~11 Returning Starters
Hard to believe a team could be ranked so high after losing 3 Top-5 draft picks last year, especially when that team lost five games. Common sense alert! However, the Sooners reload each and every year, and their questions might not be any louder than the other top teams in the conference.

Quarterback: Landry Jones- Thrusted into the lineup as a freshman last year when Samuel Bradford went down with injuries. Fared well against the bad teams, but shaky against the good teams. Lee Corso picked him to win the heisman (lowercase).

Player to Watch: Travis Lewis, LB- The junior led the Sooner defense in tackles as a freshman and a sophomore.


Oklahoma St~~5 Returning Starters
We should find out just how much of a man head coach Mike Gundy is this year, as an exodus of starters leave the program. Yoda says...Get the program back to the level it was, and a good coach they may have.

Quarterback: Brandon Weeden- A 26 year old former baseball player. Yet to be determined how much Weinke he has in him.

Player to Watch: Kendall Hunter, RB- The senior Running Back was hurt throughout much of last year, but ran for 1,555 yards as a sophomore in 2008.


Texas~~10 Returning Starters
Word has it the Longhorns are abandoning the spread offense for a more prototypical running offense, with an emphasis on setting up the playaction pass. One of the teams with a lot to replace, including Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley on offense and Sergio Kindle and Earl Thomas on defense.

Quarterback: The man, the myth, the legend: Garret Gilbert- You remember him from last year's National Championship. He has won his last 30 starts at QB, winning Texas state high school titles in 2007 and 2008.

Player to Watch: Curtis Brown, CB- Senior leader of what should be a dominating secondary.


Texas A&M~~16 Returning Starters
Seems like everybody is anointing the Aggies as the surprise team of the league this year. The same question is raised as with Colorado, with ten starters back from a terrible defense: Is that a good thing?

Quarterback: Jerrod Johnson- Most people's selection for all-conference QB. He's big, strong, and fast, and put up good numbers last year with most of his weapons back in tact this season.

Player to Watch: Von Miller, OLB- Switches from Defensive End to Outside Linebacker in the new 3-4 defense. He had 17 sacks last year. Will be a top draft pick next year in a coveted position (hear that Chiefs?).


Texas Tech~~13 Returning Starters
So ol' Mikey Leach got fired. Word is they're talking about running the ball and actually playing defense this year. I dunno how the fans are gonna feel about that down in Lubbock. Or how this guy is gonna feel….


Or this guy…


How do I sign up to become the Texas Tech bell ringer?

Quarterback: Taylor Potts- The moustached man won the job over girly man, Steven Sheffield. Is any position in the country going to be less predictable than the new Texas Tech Quarterback? I say no.

Player to Watch: Adam James- New coach, Tommy Tuberville, better make sure to tuck James in every night and read him a bedtime story, or else his daddy might get him fired too. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

2010 College Football Preview: Big 12 North Edition

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The College Football Preview Extravaganza is underway. I had been getting a bit crazy with the NFL, but what can I say, I love everything about it. That being said, I might be more excited for College Football this year, especially in my main rooting interest, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Expectations are high in Big Red Country in what could be a wide open 2010 season. 

The Big 12 has gone through something of an era change, losing the likes of Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Mike Leach, Todd Reesing, Mark Mangino, and the man-beast himself, Ndamukong Suh. This is only the first step in the preview process that will rock your world before things get kicked off on Thursday. Seriously, College Football starts Thursday!!

I'm gonna get you up to date on all things Big 12 with a brief overview of each team, starting with the North, including a look at their Quarterback (lot of new faces) as well as another player to keep your eye on throughout the season. Predictions coming later this week. Lets do this…


Colorado~~15 Returning Starters
Return all 5 Offensive Line starters from a team that gave up a Big 12 high, 44 sacks, which raises the common College Football question: Is it a good thing to bring back a bunch of starters that underperformed? I know my boy, Lil' Bert Ladd thinks so, he's really confident that Colorado is the surprise team of the conference this year.

Quarterback: Tyler Hansen- Beat out the coach's son, Cody Hawkins, for the starting gig. This raises another interesting question: How hard is it for Dan Hawkins to tell his son just how bad he is?

Player to Watch: Nate Solder, LT- CBSSportsline.com has him ranked as the 2nd best Offensive Tackle prospect (11th best overall) for the 2011 NFL Draft.


Iowa St~~12 Returning Starters
Paul Rhoads did a great coaching job last year, taking a rather pedestrian squad to a bowl game victory and a winning record, including a win in Lincoln over Nebraska. That's about the gold standard for this program, unlikely to ever have a shot at conference supremacy.

Quarterback: Austen Arnaud- Decent QB, who can run a little bit, will provide Senior leadership.

Player to Watch: Alexander Robinson, RB- Sparkplug Senior that ran for 1,195 yards last year.


Kansas~~11 Returning Starters
Nebraska great, Turner Gill, takes over the reigns in Lawrence, and immediately has to deal with a bugaboo of injuries in the preseason (as well as me hitting on his daughter constantly in effort to join the family). Season has to be considered a success with a trip to a bowl game with all the transition occurring at 11th and Maine.

Quarterback: Kale Pick 6- Remember him? The man that Mangino inexplicably replaced Reesing with last year, leading to his eventual firing. He better not throw many INT's or else that nickname might just stick around.

Player to Watch: Olaitan Oguntodu, S, #44- I see you O'Lightning! I see you Double O! I see you boy. My former neighbor (The Tiburon 3!) in Lawrence finds himself atop the depth chart at Safety this year. He is one of the nicest gents I've ever come across, and deserves everybody's support this year. Keep your eye on him.


Kansas St~~10 Returning Starters
A theory that I support throughout all forms of football is the overachieving team gaining higher expectations and underachieving the next year. Lets call it the 90's Chiefs Theory. I'm not sure if it's fully applicable in this situation, but I'm going to apply it. Another team where reaching a bowl game would equal a successful season.

Quarterback: Carson Coffman- Not sure if Chase's little brother's name is set in stone just yet, but he most likely gets the job first.

Player to Watch: Daniel Thomas, RB- The team, the whole team, and nothing but the team. Honestly haven't heard of another player on the team.


Missouri~~15 Returning Starters
The biggest competitors with the Huskers for the Big 12 North crown, should be improved from last year. Returning Running Back, Derrick Washington, has been suspended indefinitely for digital penetration. Yea, go ahead and urban dictionary that one.

Quarterback: Blaine Gabbert- You think Gabbert remembers the Blackshirts from last year?



I wish the same curse on him that I did on fellow Nebraska spurner, Josh Freeman. And yes, by that I mean becoming a future millionaire 1st round draft pick.

Player to Watch: Aldon Smith, DE- Was unanimous Big 12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 with 11.5 sacks.


Nebraska~~15 Returning Starters
Much more to come on an All Nebraska preview later this week…

Quarterback: 'The Wildman' Zac Lee- There is lots of talk of a Quarterback competition, but as long as the Huskers are winning, Lee will be the QB. Supposedly played all last year with a bum shoulder, and thrived in the bowl game once finally receiving rest.

Player to Watch: Dejon 'Bones' Gomes/Eric Hagg- Much sexier names but I wanted to rep the unheralded. The Blackshirts killed the spread offense last year due to these hybrid nickleback/safety types that could cover the slot receiver as well as stop the run.

Friday, August 27, 2010

5 Players to Watch: Chiefs~Eagles

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The third preseason game is the best barometer of where your team is at heading into the regular season. The Chiefs face a pretty good team with playoff aspirations that will provide a pretty good challenge. If our sights are set on the playoffs this year, we should be aware of it after tonight. With little else to say, I present two opportunities I'd take advantage of in the preseason.

1. Go for two point conversions. Once you have a few extra point opportunities completed, I would switch it up and go for two after most (not all) touchdowns. This is especially true with a veteran special teams unit. If you're working with the same snapper/holder/kicker, the extra point is albeit a foregone conclusion, so why not take an extra opportunity on goalline offense, plays that oftentimes decide games?

2. Insert the backup Quarterback with the first unit without warning. Try and simulate a situation where your starting QB gets injured, and the backup is forced into the lineup. Keep him in for a drive or two, and then go back to the starter. Prepare your team for how it might happen during the season.

5 Players:

1. Brandon Flowers, CB, #24- Goes up against the speedster that is DeSean Jackson tonight. B-Flow made a terrible play last week, going for the ball way too late, and allowing a touchdown. We aren't accustomed to seeing that from him, but if we are to make a playoff push this year, we need our good players to play to their full ability and not rely on reputation. He isn't to the point where we can assume that won't happen regularly, he needs to continue to prove himself, and tonight is a good place to start.

2. Dexter McCluster, Slash, #22- Very involved in game number one, not so much in number two. I'd aim to get him as much work as possible, with his transition to a new position still fresh. He adds a whole new dimension to our offense, as long as he is comfortable. Use these last two games to get the Ole Missile as affluent as possible.

3. Branden Albert, LT, #76- Gets his best test of the preseason against Trent Cole, coming off a 12.5 sack season, tonight. The holes on the line have reared their head mostly on the right side to this point. We badly need Albert to breakout this year, with little consistency found from the rest of the line.

4. Demorrio Williams, ILB, #53- Lost his starting job for the time being to Derrick Johnson. While I was in favor of this, Williams showed me a lot more last week than D.J. He looked anything but satisfied with his demotion. Or maybe the backup LB's just always look better going up against second units. Tough to say. This may be the best position battle on the team going on right now.

5. Kevin Kolb, Eagles QB, #4- I want to see how uncomfortable we can make him. The easiest way to win football games in the NFL is to make the opposing Quarterback uncomfortable. It used to be the Chiefs forte, with a ferocious pass rush combining with the Arrowhead Stadium crowd, and led to one of the best home field advantages in the league. We need to get back to that, especially before Monday Night Football, September 13th, against the San Diego Chargers.

His Dirkness

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2010 NFL Preview: NFC West

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Arizona Cardinals- Lost a bevy of talent (Boldin, Dansby, Rolle) from a team that depended on one player (Kurt Warner-also gone) to give them any hope in the playoffs (worked four times) after coasting to easy division titles. So, tell Matt Leinart to hop out of the hot tub, put down the bong and the Cheetos (puffs of course), and email his ball dancing teacher, cause he actually gets to play this year. It's been hard for Art Leinmatt to stay motivated since his pay was cut in half going from USC to the Cards. In actuality, I theorize that he became complacent during that senior year at USC, living a celebrity's life in L.A. while taking only one class. No matter who drafted him, he was downgrading in lifestyle. I thought he was such a can't-miss prospect that I jumped up and cheered when the Raiders passed on him back in 2006.

St. Louis Rams- Way too many questions surrounding Samuel Jacob Bradford for me to believe in him. Is his shoulder all the way repaired? Is he injury prone? Can he adjust from the spread to a conventional offense? Why does he seem Indian with his helmet off and Asian with it on? What happens on Sam Bradford Day (seriously-January 13th) in Oklahoma City? I want to see Bradford fail because Suh should've been the unquestioned pick at numero uno. Keep a sliver of sight on 7th round draft pick, George Selvie, who I love coming out of South Florida.

San Francisco 49ers- Love everything about the 49ers this season except for Baby Hands, Alex Smith. They can always turn to the Revolving Door, David Carr, though. Keep your oculars planted on Patrick Willis, my pick for 2010 Defensive Player of the Year, as well as Ahmad Brooks, who had 5 sacks in the final five games last season. Throw in Michael Crabtree (could emerge hardcore), Frank Gore (love in fantasy), the suddenly realized potential of Vernon Davis, the young stable of first round offensive linemen, and even the late signing of Brian Westbrook, and the Niners are really heading places if they can just find a Quarterback. I put Mike Singletary in the top five head coaches in the NFL already.

Seattle Seahawks- The incredibly unwatchable Seabags grew interesting with the addition of Pete Carroll, who is still paying players, just doing it legally now. They curiously targeted former Charger backup Quarterback, Charlie Whitehurst (who I can only imagine looks like Charlie from Always Sunny in Philadelphia--nope, way creepier), giving up quite a bit in a trade to acquire him. Whitehurt's career stats are as follows: 2 rushes, 13 yards, 1 TD. That's it, that's the list. Zero career pass attempts. The price must've been too high on John David's Booty. 


This concludes the NFL Preview Extravaganza, having previewed 31 of the 32 teams, with obviously much more coming on the Chiefs before the season starts. Next week will be devoted solely to the Dirkness College Football Preview Extravaganza. I will be giving an individual preview of Nebraska, a Big 12 overview, and a Top 25 before giving my final predictions for the NCAA and NFL seasons. Continue to check back for everything you want to know before football gets under way this year.

His Panthaness

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2010 NFL Preview: NFC South

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Atlanta Falcons- The Dirty Birds would appear on my short list of possible surprise teams for the upcoming season. Matt Ryan could be looking at a breakout year, after a somewhat mediocre sophomore season. The third year is a popular time for good quarterbacks to breakout. Peyton Manning led the league in yards and touchdowns his third year. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Donovan McNabb all had things figured out by season number three. I predict they overtake the Saints for supremacy of the ever-changing NFC South division.

Carolina Panthers- A possible candidate for the first draft pick come next April (although last time I said that about the Panthas, Rodney Peete led them to a 3-0 start). But the laundry list reads like this: Breaking in a new Quarterback (Matt Moore), no more Julius Peppers, Steve Smith breaking his arm playing flag football (he told me he didn't play…jerk), and Jonathan Stewart has been hurt most of training camp. At least they drafted Dirkness favorite, Eric Norwood, in the 4th round. John Fox has done a lot with a little before, so not all hope is lost in Panthaland.


New Orleans Saints- Just don't seem good enough to repeat. Will have to deal with the more, more, more syndrome (coined by Evil Empire's Sports Guy) after winning the championship (more money, more touches, more competition). Drew Brees, who quietly set an NFL record for completion percentage last season, can cement his name atop the best quarterbacks by proving consistent this year. Repetitive success is a major factor. Peyton and Brady are both on the decline (or should be atleast), and the title is up for grabs this year. For whatever reason I wasn't that into the Super Bowl last year, leading me to completely overlook the significance of a surprise onside kick to start the second half. That may be the ballsiest move in NFL history.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- All of my credibility for projecting Quarterback success in the NFL is on the line with Josh Freeman (thought he'd be terrible), so here's one towards him falling flat on his fro. People said he had a semi-successful freshman season, but dude still had 18 INT's on top of 9 fumbles in 10 games. It's hard to imagine the Bucs making any noise this year, but they could be setting themselves up for the future with a nice foundation of young talent.

2010 NFL Preview: NFC North

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Chicago Bears- People have finally cooled off on Jay Cutler and his emo haircut. Maybe it's the 24-29 career record as a starter. Or maybe it was the 26 interceptions he threw last year. 26! Or maybe it's the fact that his QB rating has gone down every year he's been in the league. Or maybe it was the fact that I tried to hit on his little sister's former best friend in Colorado this summer, while she informed me that it was in fact Josh McDaniels' infatuation with Matt Cassel that ultimately sent him packing from Denver (I think that's something to be proud of). Anyhow, Mike Martz joins him this year, which most assume to be a good thing. But, Martz's offense relies on route development, which is dependent on good protection from the line, which is not a strength of the Bears. They did bring in Julius Peppers who even agreed to terms on trying his hardest for three games this year.

Detroit Lions- Should still be some growing pains for Matthew Stafford (is he living in biblical times? who still goes by Matthew?). But, the man I'm interested in seeing, or beast I should say, is the undisputed Heisman winner, Ndamukong Suh. Combined with fellow Husker, Kyle Vanden Bosch (making them my second favorite team for the year), there is at least somewhat of a chance that he is ndominant right from the get go (currently the Vegas favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year!). Pretty good nucleus of skill positions in Calvin Johnson, Jahvid Best, Kevin Smith, Tony Scheffler, and Brandon Pettigrew might finally lead them out of the cellar of the NFC.

Green Bay Packers- Finally, Aaron Rodgers can live Favre-free up in Green Bay. Oh, he's still there. I think it'll prove significant if they can win one of their brawls with the Vikings this year, with so much weight was placed on those games, it seemed to take the wind out of their sails last year. Rodgers can join the elite company of quarterbacks in the league by leading the Packers to the playoffs once again, and do so with similar stats to the tune of last year's 30-7 TD/Int ratio. Rodgers is the key, and the key to Rodgers might be the improvement of the line, as everything else stays the same up in Cheese Country.

Minnesota Vikings- Brett Favre returns but will the magic? There was definitely something going on last year. In the midst of all the hoopla, it's easy to forget just how good Favre was last year. Funny how that can be easy to forget, yet I've learned Favre's pooping schedule in its entirety from watching ESPN (he's a morning guy). Expectations should be big enough this year to satisfy even Visanthe Shiancoe's (pictured eloquently) lady friends. I say there is still a small chance of a team-wide backlash against Favre if they start slow, which is very possible with six of the first seven against the likes of NO, Mia, NYJ, Dal, GB, and NE (all to be played without number one wideout, Sidney Dean Rice--who gets the reference there??).

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Kansas City Chiefs-Buccaneers: 5 Players to Watch

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The Buccaneer Bruces provide a challenge more to the Chiefs level than the Falcons did. The Chiefs should be able to get some things done tonight, and would find myself quite disappointed if we lose the first half battle (bonus points if we hurt Josh Freeman). We should be further along than the Bucs right now. Without much else to preview, here are 5 players that I'll be keeping a close eye on tonight...

1. Jovan Belcher, MLB, #59- Along with everybody else, I've been ranting and raving about Derrick Johnson, who, along with Belcher, has been thrust into the starting lineup for tonight's game. We already know what DJ can and can't do for the most part (will make plays, inconsistent focus and concentration, should be starting), but I'm more curious about Belcher. With emphasis on strong-side and weak-side linebacker, Belcher is competing with Mays for a starting spot, someone he is both younger and quicker than and could easily beat out this season.

2. Thomas Jones, RB, #20- Very unimpressed by him in our first game (I know, only 2 carries). But, it still reminded me of Larry slamming into no holes for 2 yard gains. Is it possible our offensive line has good chemistry with JamaAL Charles, but struggles with slower, more prototypical backs? There's no way Jones should be starting over Charles, but I'll be watching to gauge just how much of the share he deserves.

3. Barry Richardson, OT, #67- With Ryan O'Callaghan's major o'struggles last week, the competition may be on if Richardson can show any promise. I took zero notice of him last week, which is usually a good thing as an offensive lineman. It would definitely be a chance to get younger, and if O'Cally shows anything like he did last week, he's in a gotsta go situation.

4. Mike Vrabel, OLB, #50- Was impressive in his last outing putting pressure on Matt Ryan. I was very critical of Vrabel this offseason, so of course I want to see more. Nothing would make me happier than the realization that he took off last year after the first 4 or 5 games. Our defense has a chance to be something if he is as effective as he looked in short work last week. If he's not, he will continue to be pushed by Andy Studebaker for playing time.

5. Jeremy Horne, WR, #8- A little somethin, somethin for all you diehards sticking around til the 4th quarter. Horne popped open on two deep routes last week (one was way overthrown, the other was near him and Horne didn't play it too well- hard to say if he could've caught it or not). He made a splash this week with a one-handed catch and drew raves from The Daily Haley reports. Receivers have a tendency to pop up out of nowhere, and he'll get noticed more if he gets behind the defense again tonight (lets just hope he can catch one).

His Dirkness

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

2010 NFL Preview: NFC East

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chiefs Preseason Game #1 Analysis

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~There are two backups that need to be starting right now, and I will quickly sour on Haley if they are not promoted. I am speaking of Jamaal Charles and Derrick Johnson. Thomas Jones could be a good addition and all, but this is Charles' team. Our offense doesn't move without him, as proven last night. With Johnson, I believe Haley continues to play mind games with him, aiming to right his mind into that of a fierce, determined Linebacker. I suspect both of these players to be starting by week 1, and will be vocal in my displeasure with Haley if they are not.

~Dexter McCluster was unreal, literally. Clearly, he's a Madden creation. His two plays consisted of the best working plays on Madden (at least a few years back, anyway) with the sweep around the end and the quick out from the slot position. He was unstoppable, just faster than anybody else on the field. I was a step slow to hop on the McDexter bandwagon, but now I'm sitting shotgun. Our offense has some serious weapons right now, led by Charles and Dex.

~My biggest concerns with the team after one game is stopping the run on defense. We were pushed off the line in the first drive, giving up at least five yards a pop. We will constantly need an 8th player in the box, making us vulnerable to playaction passes over the top.

~My biggest concern with the offense is teams stacking the box due to a lack of a downfield threat. The blame for this goes all the way around the offense. The line struggles to hold blocks to give Cassel enough time to look down field, neither Bowe or Chambers are speedsters, and Cassel tends to overthrow deep balls. This will allow teams to bring 8 or 9 players up, forcing us to find ways to throw over the top.

~My biggest surprise of the game was the effectiveness of Mike Vrabel. My main mane, LBR, made the astute statement that Vrabel will be good as long as we are good, which got me to thinking. I remember being very confident in him at the beginning of last season (and preseason), but was semi-embarrassed by his performance the latter half of the season. This makes sense. He just shut it down, with no real reason to continue pushing. Save it for next year, which is now this year. Our defense has a shot to be mediocre at the least if Vrabel plays like he did last night.

Impressive List:
~Kendrick Lewis- QB pressure, helped blow up a sweep, and blanketed Tony G.
~Javier Arenas- Delivered a stiff arm that would make the Viagra CEO proud.
~Maurice Leggett- A few big hits, including a throw down of Rowdy Roddy White.
~Andy Studebaker- Solid across the board, could provide much needed depth.
~Derek Lokey- Should make this team after a few unsuccessful tries.

Disappointment List:
~Ryan O'Callaghan- Got beat a few times around the edge, we seemingly have nobody better to replace him though.
~Jon Asamoah- Got absolutely roasted on back-to-back plays in the 3rd quarter.
~Leonard Pope- Missed a block on 3rd and short, dropped a pass, and dove for a catch that a normal sized man could've caught and ran with.
~Ryan Succop- Missed two field goals, albeit they were long.
~Tyson Jackson- Have yet to see him fight off a block or do anything.
~Corey Mays- Too slow in the middle. A one-on-one matchup with a Tight End is a guaranteed catch.
~DaJuan Morgan- Was actually afraid of the ball when John Parker Croyle floated a pass right to him.
~Zebras- Nice call on the offensive penalty converting a 3rd and Goal into a 1st and 10. I wish Haley would have just sat on the field in protest and drawn multiple unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

His Dirkness

Friday, August 13, 2010

Kansas City Chiefs vs Atlanta Falcons Preview

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Dirkness don't got too much to say on the game (except that RaCheese Wallace is rockin a Derrick Thomas jersey in the ATL right now!), because it's kinda pointless to preview a preseason game, but what I will give you is 5 players that I'll be keeping a close eye on tonight: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Atlanta Falcons, 7 P.M.

1. Cory Greenwood, LB, #93- Caught my eye a few different times in 1-on-1 pass rush drills at camp on Tuesday. We desperately need a pass rusher opposite of Tamba Hali, and Greenwood provides maybe the most intriguing option.

2. Tyson Jackson, DE, #94- I've recently sold myself on Brother Bear, Glenn Dorsey, but the same cannot be said for Jackson. Reports from camp aren't good to this point, with a possible position battle under way with the full-of-nasty Shaun Smith. I want to see some nastiness from this wildebeest.

3. Kendrick Lewis, S, #49- There's talk of him being the opening day starter at safety opposite of Error Bearer. I'm not in favor of that because of the inevitable growing pains. Unless I see a lot to like from this Lewis kid in the preseason (I'm a huge Kendrick fan already).

4. Dwayne Bowe, WR, #82- The reports from camp almost unanimously suggest that D-Bowe has turned the corner. I want to see it before I believe it. I want to see him eye the ball all the way into his hands. I want to see him go up and get some jumpballs. I want to see an improvement out of Bowe that we haven't seen since his rookie year.

5. Dexter McCluster, RB/WR/KR/PR, #22- I'm downright giddy to see exactly how we're gonna use this kid. I'm envisioning atleast five swing passes coming his way tonight. Plus, I just imagined an awesome nickname for him: Slash. That's creative and has yet to be used.

In conclusion, I feel confident enough in the Chiefs this year that I'm putting $100 down on the Chiefs to beat the Falcons tonight. They are getting 3 points!!! And nothing beats betting on NFL Preseason football. While all you fools are napping off your turkey dinners through the 4th quarter, I will be sitting on the edge of my seat, chewing on my LeBrons, cheering on the CHIEFS!!!

Dirkness

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Celebrity Guest Writing~~Brock Goetz~~NL Central Race

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Since the Dirkness has been ruled completely incapable of writing on the happenings of baseball, he went on a worldwide search only to find his main man, his number 1 fan-ness, coming to us all the way from the streets of Compton, via St. Louis, via Kingman, Kansas, I present to you the passionate writings of one Brock Goetz....

THE DOGFIGHT IN THE NL CENTRAL

With 1.5 months of glorious, heat-swamped, tug-boating Major League Baseball left, I requested a stately article from His Dirkness on this fantastic sport, but he seems to be shrouded in a permanent veil of pre-season NFL (the Cheeves). So for that angry mob of readers that are salivating for some WHIP, OPS, and BIPS stats, well I’m not going to get that far into it but at least this may cure part of that hunger.

“They’re all little bitches. Let me repeat: I hate the Cardinals.” These faux-gangsta phrases uttered by Cincinnati Reds’ second baseman Brandon Phillips before the definitive Cardinals-Reds series for 1st place in the NL Central must have been conceived to fire up his own team. Unfortunately for him, his team comprised of ex-Cards, and the city of Cincinnati, it led to a magnificent sweep at the hands of St. Louis with a combined 21-8 score over three games, in addition to a brawl that showed the Reds were the true punks (cleat kicking). The Reds came into the series with a two-game lead in the NL Central, homefield advantage, and a thirst for the postseason that they have not seen in over a decade. The Cardinals came in with an erratic, inconsistent offense, poor relief pitching, and possibly only the hopes of salvaging the third game of the series under Ace Adam Wainwright. But those words made public by Phillips sparked a canine-fury from the Cards that completely dissected and destroyed all of the “wholesome” chemistry the Reds have thrived on offensively with their starting rotation.

In Game 1, Cards Co-Ace Chris Carpenter (13-3, 2.89 ERA) brought a wild-bore mentality, even goring his own teammate Brendan Ryan twice for mistakes and miscommunications, going 7 innings strong and only allowing two late earned runs. Opposing him was rookie sensation Mike Leake (7-3), who has never played in the minors… yeah one of those guys. They both took a scoreless pitching-duel into the fourth until the Cards opened it up with a 12 pitch, 6 hit, 6 run streak in the inning. Spurred by five straight hits by the likes of Jon Jay, Pujols, Holliday, Rasmus, and Molina, the unlikely hero Skip Schumaker (the quintessential utility-player name) stepped up and nailed a Grand Slam (a theme that would reoccur triumphantly in Game 3). This left Leake totally bewildered, leading him to attempt to trot off the field after only two outs, which got him yanked before he could even finish the inning. The Cards went on to win 7-3.

Game 2 aka “The Brawlgame” solidified the intensity of this rivalry since the news of Phillips derogatory comments had reached every ear in the clubhouses, general management offices, and the streets of St. Louis and Cincinnati. Immediately to start the bottom of the first, lead-off hitter and trash-talker Phillips tapped the shin guards of catcher Yadier Molina as a “good game dawg” sort of purpose. After Yadi kicked the bat away, Phillips proceeded to do it again before turning his back and acting cocky. When he came back into the box, the helmets came off and some jiving was enacted, leading to a bench clearing commencement. Everything may have went off without a hitch until opposing veteran managers Tony LaRussa and Dusty Baker mouthed off to each other, proceeding the aforementioned wild-bore Chris Carpenter to get gritty with softy ex-Cardinal Scott Rolen trying to hold him back. The crowd surged towards the backdrop where Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto found himself sitting on the wall, kicking with his metal cleats, at the back of Carpenter, lacerating his back, and giving bench catcher Jason LaRue a concussion. Well in addition to looking like Easy E, Cueto proved that, in fact, he’s the one that fights like a bitch because he quote-unquote “feared for his life.” Things cooled off after that and Phillips quietly grounded out on the ensuing at-bat. You may be asking, “What did Cardinal catcher Yadier Molina do when he got up to the plate in the subsequent inning?” Well young one, he hit a blasting HOME RUN. Molina (2 hits, 2 RBI) and Matt “Every Day Should Be A” Holliday (4 hits, 4 RBI) powered the offense to a 8-4 victory behind the outing of rookie Jaime Garcia (10-5, 2.71 ERA) and gave Cueto (11-3) the loss.

In Game 3, Cardinal Ace and a co-leader of the Cy Young candidacy, Adam Wainwright (17-6, 1.99 ERA), once again put on a stellar performance, taking a 2-hit Shutout through the 7th until a rain delay took him out of the game. Once again, opposer Bronson Arroyo (12-7) took a scoreless pitching duel into the 5th until birthday-kid Colby Rasmus patiently executed an 8 pitch, full count, 2 out bases loaded at bat and nailed a subsequent dagger-like Grand Slam into center. Combined with the additional heroics of Jon Jay (the rookie that always starts the rally), Molina, and Schumaker, the Cards rolled to a 6-1 victory, which acted as the broom to sweep the Reds under the bench with all the sunflower seed shells and big-league chew.

In conclusion, ghetto-fighter Brandon Phillips finished the series going 2-14 and rarely hit it out of the infield… good one kid. The St. Louis starters allowed only 9 hits and 6 ER in 19 1/3 innings, while the Reds starters got punctured for 22 hits and 14 ER in only 14 innings. Oh the satisfaction involved there with both teams putting up their Top 3. Albert Pujols was quiet with 3 hits, 4 walks, and 2 RBI but many other heroes emerged to put the Cards up one game on the Reds in the NL Central. The dogfight will continue with one more series between these teams later on in St. Louis, hopefully finally getting credit for being the best rivalry during this 2010 season.

Brock Goetz - “Rickaay The Lead Off Man”

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Observations at Camp 8-10-10

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~We are so used to only seeing our team compete once a week, and judging everything by their long term results, that it's easy to forget that its a day-to-day molding that shapes a team. It's 53 men trying to come together as one, all under a few higher-ups' watch (makes you wander just how tough it is to be an NFL head coach). It makes viewing the team in a strictly short term basis very interesting. These guys are out there every day practicing, while we're left to reserve judgment until we see them play a game. This has to be absolutely maddening for a player that thrives in practice, but cannot get it done in game situations. They are seeing them do well every day of the week but one.

~On the same subject, I find it fascinating observing Haley walk around the players while they stretch. Do they like seeing him? Does he say different motivating things to individual players? Do they push harder only while in his sights? It's weird watching them stretch, because you give one direction, but they're doing it in all different kinds of ways. Some want to show off how dedicated they are, while others are clearly exercising characteristics of laziness.

~I think we may have created a monster in Derrick Johnson simply by benching him the entirety of last season. It seems to have ignited his boosters today. He had a sack on Croyle, a pick of Croyle, and two big hits (one of which was a beautiful catch by Jake O'Connell). I can't imagine any possible way that D.J. isn't starting Week 1.

~The first play that we ran (and continued to run throughout practice) was a play designed to draw the defense offsides. Starts in goalline formation, the players shift out to 5 wide, then Pope in motion, finishing with Cassel giving a hard snap count. There was also a QB sneak option after shifting out to 5 wide.

~Another play to be seen was a fake field goal play that saw Dustin Colquitt roll out and throw right handed. He looked as confident as he does punting the ball.

~I'm starting to wander if Tamba Hali could be a true leader of this defense. I noticed him leading the team in sprints down the field a few times, and then turning back to slap hands with his arriving teammates. If his play improves, the way that I think it might this year, we could be looking at a true takeover player. I have a hunch.

~It's hilarious how the crowd just doesn't understand that the defense isn't tackling the offensive players. There were two or three times that big cheers were heard after Dexter McCluster "broke free" after realistically being tackled.

~Standout players (keep an eye on them this Friday): Derrick Johnson, Corey Greenwood (outside LB from Canada), Dion Gales (NT posted a sack), and Shaun Smith (playing both NT & DE, seems nasty).

~Disappointing players: Brodie Croyle (sacked twice, INT, hair out of place), Rudy Niswanger (bad shotgun snap), Javier Arenas (muffed a punt, good defensive play though).

~Quick Hittas:
>Error Bearer got in a bit of a scuffle. Couldn't quite make it out, but I heard it was with Jake O'Connell. It was underneath a large pile, but Berry got up feelin feisty.
>Jamaal Charles was running with the third team offense
>Dexter McCluster lined up at straight running back quite a bit
>Mike Vrabel lined up at Inside Linebacker in the nickel defense
>Brian Waters took a few snaps at Center with no other linemen present
>Leonard Pope is tall. He seemed to stick up a good three to four inches above everybody else.
>Nick Wright's post up at Uncle D's in St. Joseph was completely empty. People should go visit him.

He-Dirkness

Monday, August 9, 2010

What's New Around the AFC?

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The NFL Preview Extravaganza continues, putting the Chiefs to the side momentarily, and putting the spotlight on their competitors for the coveted Lamar Hunt Trophy. Every team is about a week in to training camp by this point, and we were even got to sit through treated to some awful football last night for the first time this season (the highlight was the Cowboys play to down a punt at the 1 yard line, a play that is oftentimes faltered). So look back to this post when your making your preseason prognostications, as some in-depth analysis is sure to follow...

AFC WEST

Denver Broncos- The Donkeys lost their best two players from last year in Brandon Marshall and Elvis Dumervil, along with a host of others (like rookie receiver Demaryius Thomas, who was one of my early favorites for Rookie of the Year before getting hurt). I think McDaniels is a good coach, but not that good. The Broncos are gonna be terrible, unless they drafted Jesus H. Christ or something…

Oakland Raiders- Jason Campbell is their guy now. He's adjusting to a 9th learned system in his quarterbacking career. Or as Ferris Bueller's principal puts it, 'niiiine times'. Seriously though, nine different systems! This leads me to believe he could make for an intriguing option in the future after he's allowed to truly learn one.

San Diego Chargers- They have some serious issues right now with the holdouts of Vincent Jackson, Marcus McNeill and Entourage star Shawne Merriman (nice cameo, chump. Just because I wanted you in the offseason does not change the fact that I despise you.) All three players are threatening to sit out until Week 10, which is commonly said but rarely followed through upon. However, the bigwigs say it's a bigger possibility this year due to the looming holdout that could be on the way come 2011. On a side note, there was one hilarious admission out of Chargers camp, about how things got awkward when the team had to lessen the role of the self-anointed "Classiest player in the League," LaDainianson. Stay classy, sally. Have fun carrying Shonn Greene's shoulder pads.

AFC EAST

Biffalo Buffs- They hired Thigbone architect, Chan Gailey, as head coach. Although not a sexy name, he will make a good coach down the road. Not this year. The Bills should be one of the worst teams in the league. Too much transition with not enough talent. With their bevy of running backs (Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson, and C.J. Spiller) they should run the wishbone.

Miami Dolphins- Love the Dolphins. I believe they were the team that went through some tough times last year, lost some close games, and was truly better than their record. Then they added Karlos Dansby and Brandon Marshall. Chad Henne is on his way to becoming a good quarterback, he might still be a year away. I'll have the Dolphins in the playoffs this year.

New England Patriots- Interesting how the expectation levels have dropped for the Patriots, Tom Brady, and Tom Brady's hair. Rumor has it they have to eat a roster spot with his ever-growing locks. Good to see I'm not the only one listening to White Flight these days, with all the Boston ladies singing: "I wanna rub my fingers through your mane." These seem to be the conditions the Patriots thrive in. Although, I won't hop on the bandwagon until my boy Dave, the biggest in-the-closet Patriots fan of all time, breaks his streak of nine straight Patriot championship predictions. Nine times. One of the least talked about dynasties of this age. This is the year we find out if the stake has truly been planted in their Beliheart.

New York Jets- The biggest secret in the NFL is that the Jets are gonna suck. Every year there is a majority thinking on the surprise team of the NFL. More often than not, this team gets dragged down by overinflated expectations. The Jets seem to be the consensus this year. Need me remind you that the Jets were 7-7 last year before the Colts and Bengals, teams already in the playoffs, laid down for them, allowing them to sneak in the playoffs where they put together a nice little run? They're still reliant on Mark Sanchez, who threw 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions last year. I understand the defense, but mark my words, the Jets won't finish over .500. And if you're still slobbin' the Jets knob, check out this noteworthy anecdote, courtesy of the Evil Empire:

***Revis is leaning heavily on his uncle and role model Sean Gilbert, who sat out the entire 1997 season before being traded from the Washington Redskins to the Carolina Panthers, where he landed the seven-year, $46.5 million deal he wanted.***

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans- The team everybody wants to break out every season since their inception. Wait, was that thought mine? Or somebody else's? Damn you, Leo-Di! Not much has changed which could mean more of the same. In other news, I will be attending my first Chiefs road game in Week 6 at Houston. I'm still not sure if I'm more excited for that or the Monday Night home opener. Turns out there are some cool things about adulthood!

Indianapolis Colts- When is that pesky injury bug going to bite Peyton Manning? Doesn't it seem like it might be time for it? Tom Brady's came after a Super Bowl defeat. Just saying. Nothing is new with the Colts. They'll slumber though the near-meaningless regular season, with all judgment reserved for postseason success. I did love their Jerry Hughes pick, one of my favorites for Defensive Rookie of the Year, and somebody I'd at least consider trading Eric Berry straight up for.

Jacksonville Jaguars- Hard to say much about the Jaguars, so I'll leave it to an awesome offseason site I just discovered at www.walterfootball.com, who has this to say:

***The Jaguars are the laziest team in the NFL. They try hard in only two scenarios: If they're playing a divisional opponent or if they're a big underdog. Here's last year's proof:

Divisional Games (6): 3-3 (4-2 against the spread), 24.5 ppg, +1.5 point differential.
Non-Divisional Games (10): 4-6 (1-9 against the spread), 14.3 ppg, -9.9 point differential.***

Tennessee Titans- I hear Chris Johnson (who I love) yapping about rushing for 2,500 yards this year, which sounds like the mating call of the infirmary report. Warning to fantasy freaks and geeks, he was overworked last year and has higher aspirations this year. Oh well, he still led Bob Loblaw's Law Blog to a fantasy championship last year. The Titans lost a lot on defense, but don't count on Jeff Fisherstache leading back to back disappointing teams.

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens- Definitely love the Anquan Boldin acquisition and the Ray Rice emergence. One of my favorites for the Super Bowl, as of right now, although Joe Flacco remains a question mark. Win or lose, Ray Lewis ranks as the best football player in totality of my lifetime. The Ravens have cycled through so much defensively, whether it be coordinators (Marvin, Singletary, Ryan) or players, but have always remained feared throughout his entire career. And he was the main cog in the most dominating unit I have laid eyes on, the Baltimore Ravens defense from 2000. Most people would automatically choose a quarterback, which I believe to be a flawed way of thinking.

Cincinnati Bengals- Hard to believe, but the Bengals transformed into a hard-nosed defensive/pounding the rock team. They won in spite of the pretty boys that remained from their aerial attack. In comes Terrell Owens (along with strip club buddies Pacman Jones and the Coke Zero version of Matt Jones), who I've always quietly been a fan of. He's no more of a diva than any other star receiver, and there's never been a doubt that he's bringing it on Sundays. Dude just wants to win. And maybe a little bit of attention. Now his teammate, his quarterback (cue the water works), Carson Palmer, must step up to give the Bungles a chance against a first place schedule this year (Hello SD, NE, and Indy!).

Cleveland Browns- Is this the year my boy, Seneca Wallace, finally gets his shot? I'm throwing down money on them to win it all if it is. They don't have much else on offense, besides some guy named Jerome Harrison, but surely any decent defense could shut him down. Oh, wait, he had how many yards? 286? That can't be right…Don't' worry Cleveland, there's always basketball season. Oh, wait…Maybe they can just get Delonte West to sleep with Mangini's wife or something…

Pittsburgh Steelers- Playing at least the first four games of the year without Big Ben. I'm pretty sure Lil' Ben has been suspended for the entire year. No telling when we might see the lil' guy again, but keep an eye out if the Steelers visit your hometown. At least he's not sending pictures of it over his phone. Or even worse, a hanging sack in the photo roll. Few people remember the Steelers dropped off last year way before Big Ben's JNCO's. They couldn't even limp into the playoffs. However, the schedule doesn't stiffen until after the refractory period, but expectations could go from six to midnight if the Pocket Rocket, Byron Leftwich, doesn't wilt to premature expectations. No homo.


NFC Preview coming soon!!!!!!

H'Dirkness

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Kansas City Chiefs Thought Conglomeration 8-4-10

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***EDIT: Click on the Post title for a deeper look***

With the Chiefs a few days into training camp, thoughts have been percolating and circulating throughout my dome. I have yet to make it up to St. Joseph, but plan on doing so very soon, and will let everybody know of my observations while up there, as long as Pioli and Haley's Third Reich team allows it.

~I'll start off with my overall goal of the year for this Chiefs team: I want a realistic shot at the playoffs going into the last quarter of the season. I want to play games that matter come December of this year. We don't even have to win those games, I just want them to exist. I almost can't even remember what it's like to watch meaningful games, and that's not a good thing. This goal is brought upon by the lack of meaningful football played the last two seasons (both seasons lost meaning after Week 2 home losses to the Raiders). Defiant numbers on this goal would depend on the conference's well being, but if I must declare, I'd say 6-6.

~I think this goal is very attainable due to how easy our schedule is. I spy only three games that it's hard to imagine us winning (@Indy, @SD, @Hous). And my Houston pick should prove my objectivity in that process. Our matchup with the NFC West brings very little to the table, and we get the best two teams at home (SF, Ariz). This easy path might lead to us sneaking into the playoffs. It might also lead to us getting slobberknockered in the playoffs. I'll take it!

~As far as individual players go, I'm predicting that Tamba Hali makes the Pro Bowl this year. Last year was his first year at a new position, and while 8.5 sacks isn't too shabby, a handful of others slipped out of his hands, and he drew numerous holding penalties that were leading to obvious sacks. Comfort in the position, the addition of Romeo Crennel, and capitalizing on last year's missed opportunities will lead to 13 sacks and the Pro Bowl this year.

~We have amazing youth in the secondary right now. Flowers and Carr are the staples (and both are only in their 3rd years!), with an incoming rookie class of Error Bearer, Kendrick Lewis, and Javier Arenas. These could be our top five players making up the secondary this year. There will be some growing pains in the immediate future, but if they reach their full potential, we could be looking at one of the league's best in a few years.

~I don't understand Jarrad Page's holdout. He's not good enough to hold out, nor is he good enough to be traded. A continued hold out from him will be a career ender. Could he possibly be thinking baseball?

~The idea of Glenn Dorsey not being good was greatly over-reported. People were so down on Dorsey for a couple of reasons. First, the lingering memories of past defensive line busts like Ryan Sims, Eddie Freeman, and Junior Siavii are too fresh in the mind. It felt as if everybody was just waiting for Dorsey to flop. Secondly, all the talking heads saying how NFL-ready he was coming out of college made his rookie struggles shine brighter. Then he had to endure a position change. He was vastly improved last year, and I look for the same improvement this year.

~I feel like our defense is one player away from becoming potentially dominant. Unfortunately, it is a huge hole that needs filling, and the difference between having it and not having it could be average and dominant. I am talking, of course, of the rush linebacker position opposite of Hali. I believe the other aspects of our defense are filled with the necessary components to begin striking fear in the minds of opposing offenses. Our biggest hope on our current roster to fill that position is Andy Studebaker, making him a very important player going into this year.

Boom, this concludes the conglomeration of thought attained through the first week or so of training camp. More thoughts are sure to come over the next few weeks, and cannot wait to see our team take the field for the first preseason game on August 14th at Atlanta.

Ze Dirkness
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