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rcsodak
09-03-2007, 12:30 AM
By Frank Masiewicz
PA SportsTicker Staff Writer


SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

Biggest changes: Despite an NFL-best 14-2 regular season record, San Diego fired coach Marty Schottenheimer and hired former San Francisco offensive coordinator Norv Turner after losing to the New England Patriots in the AFC playoffs. San Diego resigned guard Kevin Dielman to a six-year contract. Tailback Michael Turner re-signed for a one-year contract and block-monster Lorenzo Neal was awarded with a three-year contract. Wide receiver Keenan McCardell was cut and replaced with first-round pick Craig Davis.

Positives: San Diego lost few starters to free agency and added depth to wide receiver and tight end through the draft. RB LaDainian Tomlinson returns after an MVP season which involved setting the NFL record with 28 rushing and 31 total touchdowns. Quarterback Philip Rivers threw 22 touchdowns and had a completion percentage of 62 percent in his first full season as starter after replacing Drew Brees. Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates remains the best in the game at his position.

Negatives: Most of the coaching was replaced as a results of a clash between Schottenheimer and management. Turner brings a dismal 58-82-1 - including 1-1 in the postseason - record as a head coach. Questions abound over the mental state of the players after a tough playoff loss and an offseason filled with chaos between coaches and management. Anything short of a Super Bowl title will be recognized as a letdown for a team coming off a 14-2 season and returning starters at nearly every position. Rivers must continue in his development and make the jump from a good to elite quarterback. With only one game of playoff experience, Rivers must prove last season wasn't a fluke and learn to take over games in order to ease the burden on Tomlinson.

On the Spot: Turner comes to the Chargers with little success in previous coaching stints with Oakland and Washington and faces high expectations for a team thought to be a favorite for the Super Bowl. Turner, who is known as an offensive guru, is expected to open the offense and play less conservatively when holding onto late-game leads. In his most recent coaching stint, Turner won only nine of 32 games with the Oakland Raiders.

Prediction: A repeat as division champions and 13 wins, but the history of playoff woes haunts the Chargers. Expect San Diego to make it pass the division playoffs, but don't expect any Super Bowl trips if they run into the New England Patriots or Indianapolis Colts.

Tidbit: Last season, San Diego was the only team to average more than 30 points per game.

DENVER BRONCOS

Biggest changes: The trade of Tatum Bell and George Foster to Detroit for cornerback Dre' Bly stands out among all other offseason moves for Denver. The Broncos signed defensive tackle Sam Adams and brought in Patrick Ramsey as an insurance card in case Jay Cutler struggles in his first full season as starting quarterback. Running back Travis Henry steps in as starter in place of Bell after rushing for 1,211 yards and seven touchdowns with the Tennessee Titans. Tight end Daniel Graham left New England as an unrestricted free agent to sign a five-year contract.

Positives: The Broncos' defense featured arguably the best secondary in football. Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey, who is coming off a 10-interception season, and newly acquired Bly make up an incredible tandem. Hard-hitting safety John Lynch returns for his 15th season. The draft-day additions of defensive linemen Jarvis Moss, Tim Crowder and Marcus Thames give Denver much-needed depth and youth on the line and a bright future. Nose tackle Sam Adams will help clog up holes on the front four and open up space for inside linebacker D.J. Williams to make more plays. WR Javon Walker caught 69 passes for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns. As a rookie, Cutler played adequately, throwing for 1,001 yards and nine touchdowns in posting a 2-3 record as a starter.

Negatives: Cutler is expected to lead the Broncos despite starting only five games as a rookie. Cutler will need to improve upon his 59-percent completion rate in order to take Denver to the post season. Veteran WR Rod Smith was placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list digging into an already depleted receiving corps. The offensive line took a hit when tackle Foster sent to Detroit as part of the Bly deal. Rookie Ryan Harris out of Notre Dame will be give every opportunity to take over the position.

On the spot: Cutler will decide if Denver advances to the playoffs. The Broncos made key offseason moves so Cutler needs to focus on the basics and try not to force the ball. The patience of Denver fans will be tested because inconsistency is the biggest problem facing young quarterbacks.

Prediction: It will be a roller-coaster season, but expect the Broncos to walk away with a winning record. Denver won't make it to the playoffs or win 10 games, since a young quarterback with a weak receiving corps and offensive line makes it tough to succeed. Expect a 9-7 record with a possibility of a strong finish if Cutler can develop fast enough.

Tidbit: The last losing season for the Denver Broncos was in 1999 (6-10).

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Biggest changes: Quarterback Trent Green was released and signed with the Miami Dolphins. A quarterback battle between Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard ensued, with Huard being named the starting for Week One. Guard Will Shields retired, leaving a gaping hole on the interior offensive line. Linebacker Donnie Edwards left San Diego to sign a three-year contract and linebacker Napolean Harris signed a six-year contract after spending the last two seasons in Minnesota. The Chiefs drafted wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (No. 23 overall) and DTs Turk McBride and Tank Tyler to bulk up the receiving corps and interior defensive line.

Positives: Running back is the strong point with Larry Johnson, who led the NFL in carries (416). Priest Holmes is attempting to make a comeback and win a backup job. Last season, Johnson had career highs with 416 carries and 1,789 yards. At cornerback, Ty Law and Patrick Surtain continue to play at a high level. Despite Surtain's skill level dropping off, he's remains a solid contributor. McBride and Tyler will provide much needed run-stopping ability and pass rushing to help open the field for linebackers Edwards, Harris and Kendrell Bell. Last season, Huard threw for 1,878 yards and 11 touchdowns in 10 games. Tony Gonzalez remains one of the best tight ends in the league and the main target for Huard.

Negatives: Huard isn't the future and Croyle needs more improvement. Croyle will need to perform tremendously well in order to remain the future of the Chiefs' organization. The retirement of Shields forces the Chiefs to rely on sixth-round draft pick Herbert Taylor and James Welbourn to hold up the interior guard positions. The lack of a strong pass rush will put increased pressure on the secondary. The Chiefs hope Edwards will bring an extra six or seven sacks from the outside.

On the spot: Croyle is the man Chiefs fans will be watching and waiting for. Huard was named the starter, but if he stumbles once, Croyle will get the call. Croyle rid himself of first-year jitters, but this year he'll need to establish himself as a legit quarterback and show he can lead a team.

Predictions: You can expect 8-8 record with the possibility of several quarterback changes. The best chance for Kansas City to make a run toward the playoffs is for Bowe to step up and provide Croyle or Huard with a legitimate downfield threat.

Tidbit: Tony Gonzalez has recorded over 70 receptions in seven of his last eight seasons.

OAKLAND RAIDERS

Biggest changes: The Oakland Raiders drafted JaMarcus Russell No. 1 overall but he has yet to sign. Oakland acquired wide receiver Mike Williams and quarterback Josh McCown from the Detroit Lions for a fourth-round pick. Running back Dominic Rhodes left the Indianapolis Colts to sign a two-year contract. Donovin Darius signed with the Raiders and takes over the starting free safety position. WR Randy Moss was traded to the New England Patriots on draft day for a fourth-round pick.

Positives: Last season, defensive linemen Warren Sapp and Derrick Burgess combined for 21 sacks. Nnamdi Asomugha had a breakout season with eight interceptions and 19 pass deflections and Fabian Washington came up with four picks and 15 pass deflections to lock down on opposing passing games. Second-year linebacker Kirk Morrison led the team with 128 tackles, including 11 for losses. Second-round draft pick Zach Miller from Arizona State has strong pass-catching ability and solid blocking technique. Rhodes and LaMont Jordan are both solid tailbacks and, with the addition of fourth-round draft pick Michael Bush for breakaway speed, the Raiders will have a three-headed monster at running back.

Negatives: The quarterback position is the biggest weakness since Daunte Culpepper is still recovering from knee surgery and Russell is a very raw talent who will need more time to learn the system when he does sign. Last season, Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter were too inconsistent, combining for a mere six touchdown passes and 21 interceptions. The offensive line struggled against the pass rush and surrendered 72 sacks. Robert Gallery hasn't lived up to expectations after being selected with the second overall pick in 2004.

On the Spot: Russell is going to have all the attention on him. Oakland fans will want to see the first overall pick play and play soon. Russell will need time to learn the offense before he can take over the starter's role.

Predictions: Oakland will remain in the AFC West Division cellar for at least one more year, but with the selection of Russell, the team has taken a step in the right direction. The offensive line will have its problems limiting Russell's development, but expect the rookie to see action around Week Eight. The Raiders will walk out of the 2007 season at 4-12 and a lot to play for in the future.
Ok, is it just me, or did this dude just come in on the turnip truck?
I guess it's pretty easy to write columns based on 'hearing' things throughout the year, instead of actually investigating!
This article is written TODAY! AFTER the cuts!
Firstly, the Oline "took a hit" with the trading of Foster? REALLY? I'd say it's just the opposite.
And without explaining his rationale on WHY denver would miss the playoffs/10 wins, only to say it's all on Cutler? So teams don't play on both sides of the ball?

And is it only me, or is this dude a raider homer or what? He doesn't mention the suspension of their rb....nor the cutting of darius....and even though Russell STILL hasn't signed, he's going to be starting in week 8?

And I almost choked, when he stipulated that just by adding Bowe, that the chefs could make the playoffs...

WOW.:rolleyes:

Devilspawn
09-03-2007, 12:45 AM
By Frank Masiewicz
PA SportsTicker Staff Writer

Ok, is it just me, or did this dude just come in on the turnip truck?
I guess it's pretty easy to write columns based on 'hearing' things throughout the year, instead of actually investigating!
This article is written TODAY! AFTER the cuts!
Firstly, the Oline "took a hit" with the trading of Foster? REALLY? I'd say it's just the opposite.
And without explaining his rationale on WHY denver would miss the playoffs/10 wins, only to say it's all on Cutler? So teams don't play on both sides of the ball?

And is it only me, or is this dude a raider homer or what? He doesn't mention the suspension of their rb....nor the cutting of darius....and even though Russell STILL hasn't signed, he's going to be starting in week 8?

And I almost choked, when he stipulated that just by adding Bowe, that the chefs could make the playoffs...

WOW.:rolleyes:

If he were indeed a Raiders homer, he would not have given the Chiefs a playoff chance in hell.

Watchthemiddle
09-03-2007, 12:58 AM
The offensive line took a hit when tackle Foster sent to Detroit as part of the Bly deal. Rookie Ryan Harris out of Notre Dame will be give every opportunity to take over the position.

:confused:

Also...



Denver won't make it to the playoffs or win 10 games, since a young quarterback with a weak receiving corps

I think we could have one of the best set of triplets at WR with Walker, Marshall, and Stokley.

rcsodak
09-03-2007, 03:16 AM
:confused:

Also...




I think we could have one of the best set of triplets at WR with Walker, Marshall, and Stokley.
As long as they all stay healthy, wtm, I agree.

There aren't too many wr's out there that are better at route running, than Stokely is.
Walker will go ANYWHERE.
And marshall, if he plays as big as he is, could be a monster.

Plus, let's not forget the TE's!

I just hope cutler has the time to find them.....;)

topscribe
09-03-2007, 05:18 AM
Hmmm . . .

The Chiefs need one player to step up to give them a chance at the playoffs, but the Broncos aren't going to make it . . .

The Broncos are worse for the departure of Foster . . .

The receiving corps is weak . . .

Cutler is going to have to improve his completion percentage, which is a shade off 60%, to be good . . .

Rookie Ryan Harris will start at tackle . . .

Marcus Thames? :confused:

Someone ought to tell this guy to go sober up, then come back and write his article. :tsk:

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