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OZOC01

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  1. 2012 AFC Pre-Training Camp Preview Training camp 2012 is almost here and NFL teams are now engaged in the 10 OTAs that they are allotted per the most recent CBA, so I figured it would be a good time to start my annual rankings. I will rank the teams in each division by several positional categories. While reading this, keep in mind that I am going by the whole sum of players at each position that will likely still be on the roster at the end of the preseason, not simply the projected starter(s), because positional depth is important. Of course, some teams are close enough at certain positions to go either way and some of you may simply think higher of your team's players and/or coaches. BTW, I am NOT projecting how the entire division will finish the 2012 season; that will be done in my preseason preview. Just ranking according to respective positions. I will start with the AFC. AFC EAST TEAMS: New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Quarterbacks: 1. Patriots: Tom Brady puts up video game type stats with a slot receiver and two tightends. 2. Jets: Their starter is coming off 3rd straight sub-80 QB rating and the backup’s 2011 QB rating was even lower goes to show the drop-off of the rest of this division. Oddly enough, both QBs have career winning records. 3. Bills: The signing of Vince Young keeps the Bills from the bottom. Well, that and the drafting of… 4. Dolphins: …Ryan Tannehill 8th overall. Now he is reunited with his college coach that he didn’t play well for last season. Wonder how this will go… Running Backs: 1. Bills: Underrated RB (Fred Jackson), explosive RB (C.J. Spiller), and change-of-pace RB (Tashard Choice). Nice! 2. Dolphins: Doubt Reggie Bush will lead the league in rushing; he did well just to lead his team. Rookies Lamar Miller and Jonas Gray could become very good backups. 3. Jets: Shonn Greene did have 1,000 rushing…but only 186 of them came in the final three games. 4. Patriots: Do not put much stock in the Joseph Addai signing…his best rushing year was his first. Pass Catchers: 1. Patriots: TEs Gronkowski and Hernandez combined for over 2,000 receiving yards and 24TDs. And forget about the Super Bowl drop; Welker led the league with 122 catches. 2. Jets: Santonio Holmes is a proven clutch receiver and Dustin Keller is above-average. Time will tell regarding rookie Stephen Hill. 3. Bills: Stevie Johnson is a 1,000 yard receiver and David Nelson is decent. Not much else. 4. Dolphins: Somehow I do not see Legedu Naane coming close to departed Brandon Marshall’s production, no matter who’s at QB. Offensive Line: 1. Patriots: Despite losing someone of Matt Light’s caliber, this OL is still tops in the division. 2. Bills: No big names, but in 16 games the OL allowed Fitzpatrick to be sacked only 22 times and the Bills tied for the 4th best team rushing average (4.9). 3. Dolphins: Rookie Jonathan Martin should improve an OL that already has Jake Long and Mike Pouncey. 4. Jets: Despite having Nick Mangold anchoring the OL, the Jets were near the bottom (29th) in rushing average and Sanchez was sacked 39 times. Defensive Line: 1. Bills: The addition of Mario Williams (who returns to his natural 4-3 position) will improve the rest of the DL. 2. Dolphins: Nothing special individually, but had a big part of 3rd ranked run D and 3.7 yards per rush. 3. Patriots: DL has been hurting since the trade of Richard Seymour. 4. Jets: Usually when the run defense in a 3-4 is middle of the road, the big boys up front are not occupying the opposing OL. Linebackers: 1. Dolphins: Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett are solid in the middle. Cameron Wake is an emerging sack artist (8.5 in 2011). All played a big part in 3rd rank run defense in 2011. 2. Patriots: Adding rookie Dont’a Hightower to Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo will only help. 3. Jets: None dominate out of group, but all are solid. 4. Bills: Nick Burnett is good. Kelvin Sheppard and Kirk Morrison are so-so. Defensive Backs: 1. Jets: Darrelle Revis and Co. allowed 5th fewest passing yards and 4th fewest completion percentage in 2011. Then they added safety LeRon Landry. 2. Bills: The secondary either made big plays (20 INTs) or gave up big plays (30 passing TDs allowed). Here’s assuming 1st pick Stephon Gilmore helps reverse that trend. 3. Dolphins: Dolphins hoping 2006 2nd round pick (Richard Marshall) does better than the 2009 2nd round pick he’s replacing (Sean Smith). 4. Patriots: Only the Packers gave up more yards through the air. And nothing was done to improve secondary. Special Teams: 1. Patriots: Stephen Gostkowski among league scoring leaders. Zoltan Mesko much better in 2011 than 2010. 2. Bills: Rian Lindell and Brian Moorman one of better kicker/punter combo in NFL. C.J. Spiller is electric. 3. Dolphins: K Dan Carpenter and P Brandon Fields are consistent. Davone Bess one of leagues’ better punt returners. 4. Jets: Joe McKnight’s league leading 31.6 kick return average (in 34 attempts) is impressive. K Nick Folk’s 76% field goal accuracy is not. Head Coach: 1. Patriots: Five Super Bowl appearance (3 victories) since 2000. Even coached team to 11 victories without franchise QB in 2008 season. 2. Jets: Two AFC Championship appearances in first two seasons, but could very well slip. 3. Bills: A road victory every once in a while would help Chan Gailey’s cause. 4. Dolphins: At the bottom…where 1st time Head Coaches reside. AFC NORTH: Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Quarterbacks: 1. Steelers: Big Ben/Charlie Batch possibly best one-two QB combo. 2. Ravens: Basically here by default. 3. Bengals: Impressive rookie season, especially considering the lack of off-season preparation time. An improvement in 2012 will equate to improvement in ranking. 4. Browns: As the old saying goes, "if you have two QBs, you have none." Running Backs: 1. Ravens: 2nd leading rusher in 2011 (Ray Rice), one of league’s best lead blocking back (Vonta Leach) and now a nice rookie RB complement (Bernard Pierce). 2. Browns: You can contribute this rank to either how highly I think of rookie RB Trent Richardson, or how little I think of the other two teams’ RB situation. 3. Bengals: I’m not sold on BenJarvus Green-Ellis on a team that doesn’t have numerous other options for opposing defenses to consider. Luckily, they still have Bernard Scott. 4. Steelers: There’s a reason the original ‘smash mouth’ kings are throwing 500+ times now. Pass Catchers: 1. Steelers: Two 1,000 yard receivers that average over 16 yards per catch. 2. Bengals: A solid #2 receiver (Mohamed Sanu?) away from being #1. 3. Ravens: Is it the receivers, or inconsistent QB play? I say it’s a bit of both. 4. Browns: Looking at their off-season moves, maybe they think they should be #1 on this list??? Offensive Line: 1. Ravens: When wondering how a 5’8 212lb tailback gains 1,300+ yards and scores 12 times while playing in a division with two Top 10 run defenses, look no further than this OL. 2. Steelers: Adding rookies David DeCastro and Mike Adams to join Maukice Pouncey makes this OL respectable…finally. 3. Bengals: 3.9 yards per rush will not cut it, even though allowing 24 sacks on a rookie QB is not terrible. 4. Browns: Just LT Joe Thomas and a bunch of other guys. Defensive Line: 1. Ravens: Nearly 1,000 pounds of OL occupying ability. 2. Steelers: Just barely behind the Ravens. Barely. 3. Bengals: Not on the level of the Ravens and Steelers, starter-wise. But they are deeper than both teams. 4. Browns: 21.5 sacks in 2011 from 2012 projected front four was decent. Must help more against the run (30th), though. Linebackers: 1. Steelers: Not as productive as they were in 2010, but still pretty good. 2. Ravens: If not for T-Sizzle’s season-ending injury, they would be #1. 3. Bengals: There is no shame in being #3 in this category in this division. 4. Browns: D’Qwell Jackson is a tackling machine. Scott Fujita and Chris Gocong? Not so much. Defensive Backs: 1. Ravens: 53.8% completion and 11TDs allowed (vs 15INTs) in 2011. Enough said. 2. Steelers: The Steelers surrendered fewer passing yards than the Ravens, but I still cannot get rid of the image of the overtime touchdown catch and run that ended their post-season run. 3. Bengals: On paper this team has the best secondary in terms of potential and depth. Now awaiting production. 4. Browns: No disrespect to this group. In any other division they would not be at the bottom. Allowed the 2nd fewest passing yards in 2011, but that is deceiving because it was so easy to run against them (30th in rushing yards allowed). Also had the 2nd fewest passing attempts against them (29.3/game). Special Teams: 1. Browns: Josh Cribbs still one of the better returner and Phil Dawson one of the best deep ball kicker in 2011 (7 of 8 beyond 50 yards). 2. Bengals: Solid Kicker/Punter combo. Brandon Tate shows flashes of being a really good return specialist. 3. Steelers: Antonio Brown was a Pro Bowl returner last season. Shaun Suisham was barely average kicker. 4. Ravens: No consistent return threat. Billy Cundiff terrible beyond 50 yards (1 for 6). Head Coach: 1. Steelers: Two Super Bowl appearances (one victory) already in first five seasons as Head Coach. 2. Ravens: Four seasons (and playoff appearances) into impressive coaching career (44-20). One victory from Super Bowl appearance during two of those runs. 3. Bengals: Career record with Bengals not very impressive (69-77-1). Qualifying for postseason in 2011 with rookie QB was. 4. Browns: Yet to be seen. AFC SOUTH: Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars Quarterbacks: 1. Texans: When healthy, Schaub is a stat stuffer. 2nd year QB T.J. Yates is serviceable. 2. Titans: Hasselback is a solid stop-gap until Jake Locker is ready...which could be soon. 3. Colts: Rookie Andrew Luck has been compared to Manning and Elway. Colts’ fans will find out soon enough. 4. Jaguars: Easily the worse QB situation in the AFC. Running Backs: 1. Texans: Foster and Tate make up one of the league’s best one-two RB punch. 2. Jaguars: 2011 NFL rushing leader IS his team’s offense. 3. Titans: Can CJ0YDS revert back to CJ2K? The Titans’ money is on that he can. 4. Colts: Plenty of #2 RBs. No clear #1… Pass Catchers: 1. Texans: Andre Johnson still best receiver in AFC. TE Owen Daniels is solid. 2. Titans: Assuming Kenny Britt’s knee checks out, he and Nate Washington form a nice duo. 3. Colts: Outside of Wayne, lots of question marks here. Rookie tightends could surprise. 4. Jaguars: The Jags have made a legit effort to improve last season’s woeful group via free agency. Time will tell concerning rookie Blackmon. Offensive Line: 1. Texans: C Chris Myers anchored OL that nearly produced two 1,000 yard RBs. 2. Titans: Addition of Pro Bowler Steve Hutchinson strengthens this OL’s potential...assuming his tank isn’t empty yet. 3. Jaguars: This line isn’t the greatest, but having an extremely indecisive rookie QB didn’t help, either. 4. Colts: Oh man, where do I even begin... Defensive Line: 1. Texans: J.J. Watts is a mad-man and Antonio Smith was a Pro Bowl replacement. 2. Titans: Decent DL, but no pass-rushing threat. Perhaps FA signee Kamerion Wimbley will fill that void? 3. Jaguars: By cutting Aaron Kampman, they must feel comfortable about their other Ends. 4. Colts: Switch to 3-man front leaves a lot of uncertainity. Linebackers: 1. Texans: Conner Barwin (11.5 sacks in 2011) leads a solid group. 2. Colts: Will Freeney and Mathis moving to outside rush-linebackers equate to traditional double digit sacks? 3. Jaguars: Helped run defense rank Top 10 in rushing yards allowed (9th) and average per rush (4th). 4. Titans: Helped run defense rank 24th against the run and 23rd in yards per rush attempt. Defensive Backs: 1. Texans: Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph helped defense led league in lowest opposing completion percentage (51.9%). 2. Jaguars: Added veteran CB Aaron Ross (Giants) to 8th ranked pass defense. 3. Titans: 14th against the pass in 2011…then lost best CB in free agency. 4. Colts: Allowed opposing QBs to complete a ridiculously high 71.2% of their passes in 2011, most in the NFL. Special Teams: 1. Titans: Rob Bironas one of the top distance field goal kicker in NFL (13 of 16 from beyond 50+ since 2009). Marc Marini is underrated returner. 2. Jaguars: Josh Scobee near automatic in 2011 (23 of 25 FG). Montell Owens a Pro Bowl special teamer. 3. Colts: Vinatieri is Vinatieri. Rookie T.Y. Hilton will likely get first crack at return gig. 4. Texans: Jacoby Jones is a good punt returner. Drafted a kicker in the 5th round. Exactly… Head Coach: 1. Texans: From nearly losing his job to divisional champion. What a difference a season makes. 2. Titans: Nearly led team to Wild Card berth in first season. 3. Jaguars: Was 14-18 during previous Head Coaching stint (Bills 2004-2005). 4. Colts: As a first time Head Coach, this will be an uphill climb. But aren’t they all? AFC WEST: San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders Quarterbacks: 1. Broncos: Peyton is only QB that could make Bronco fans forget about Tebow. 2. Chargers: Rivers had a down year (by his standards). Expect a return to normal 100+ QB rating in 2012. 3. Raiders: With a full offseason, Carson’s on-field performance will improve. 4. Chiefs: Chiefs have too many offensive weapons for Cassel to possibly struggle…right??? Running Backs: 1. Chiefs: Speaking of offensive weapons, I introduce to you: Thunder (Peyton Hillis) and Lightning (Jamaal Charles). 2. Chargers: Ryan Matthews is coming along. Mike Tolbert is a good complement. 3. Raiders: McFadden was unstoppable, until injury stopped him mid-season. Losing Michael Bush will hurt. 4. Broncos: How does the #1 rushing offense the season prior end up here? When 70% of the rushing yards were gained by departed QB and a RB that is now in his 10th season. And also when the 2009 1st round RB is a bust. Pass Catchers: 1. Chargers: Losing Vincent Jackson hurts. FA signee Robert Meachem will try to sooth the pain. 2. Cheifs: Bowe/Breston/Moeaki…none of them household names. All are solid. 3. Broncos: With the change at QB, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker should easily double their reception totals. As for Jacob Tamme? See 2010 stats with fore-mentioned QB. 4. Raiders: Can Darrius Heyward-Bey shed his ‘bust’ label??? To Be Continued… Offensive Line: 1. Broncos: It’s been several seasons since Manning has had a Pro Bowler blocking his blind-side. 2. Raiders: Led way for 7th rank run offense in both yards per game and yards per run. 3. Chargers: Huge OL that should help improve last season’s 4.3 yards per rush. 4. Chiefs: Drafting OL with their 2nd AND 3rd picks should give an indication of the state of this unit. Defensive Line: 1. Raiders: The DTs are stellar. The DEs are not. 2. Broncos: Elvis Dumervil’s 2011 sack total dipped a bit (from 17 to 9.5). Some help from the other side wouldn’t hurt his cause. 3. Chargers: This is definitely not your older brother’s DL. 4. Chiefs: Another high 1st pick on a defensive lineman. Perhaps third time’s the charm? Linebackers: 1. Chiefs: Pro Bowlers Derrick Johnson is a tackling machine and Tamba Hali is a sack machine. 2. Broncos: Von Miller is the truth! D.J. Williams is not bad, either. 3. Chargers: Takeo Spikes is stout, but Antwan Barnes is only pass-rushing threat. Not good when running a 3-4 defense. 4. Raiders: Young Rolando McClain is progressing. Young Aaron Curry is not. Defensive Backs: 1. Broncos: Acquiring Tracy Porter was huge, but Brian Dawkins (retirement) will be missed. 2. Chiefs: Young talented unit was 6th in passing yardage allowed and 7th in opposing QB completion percentage. And that was WITHOUT Eric Berry, who is returning from injury. 3. Chargers: Chargers are hoping rookie Brandon Taylor, teaming with Pro Bowler Eric Weedle, will help reduce the 29TDs allowed through the air in 2011. 4. Raiders: Let’s see: Nnamdi Asomugha; gone. Stanford Routt; gone. Chris Johnson; gone… Special Teams: 1. Raiders: Pro Bowl Kicker, Punter AND Long Snapper…doesn’t get much better than that. 2. Chiefs: Ryan Succop and Dustin Colquitt are solid, if not spectacular. Arenas and McCluster are premier returners. 3. Chargers: Nate Kaeding has been one of the most consistent kickers over the last several years. He is coming off an ACL injury. 4. Broncos: Britton Colquitt had a good (but busy) 2011. Matt Prater did not. Head Coach: 1. Broncos: 73-71 regular season and 6-3 postseason, all without a franchise QB…until now. 2. Chargers: 107-113-1 regular season and 4-4 postseason, the last several seasons WITH a franchise QB. 3. Chiefs: After taking over late in 2011, team went 2-1. One of those wins was against previously unbeaten Packers. 4. Raiders: Youngest Head Coach currently in the NFL.
  2. In a different way to preview the NFL teams post-draft, I thought maybe I can apply a stock market concept into evaluating the NFL. Each team is listed, by division; in the order of roster strength with a short summary of the good, bad and my take of each team so far this offseason (post-draft). Then the ‘Analyst' (aka ME) rate each team based on how each team finished the 2011 regular season and what they have accomplished thus far this off-season in improving their team. Then I will advise you (the public) whether that team so far for the 2012 season is a ‘Hot Commodity’, a team you should ‘Stay Away’ from, or if the team seems to be no better nor worse than their 2011 season, they would receive a ‘Hold’ rating. Keep in mind that I am comparing each individual team now against their end of 2011 roster, NOT to other teams in the same division. In other words, a team with a poor record in 2011 that have made moves that on paper could result in them improving this upcoming season (like the Bucs) would receive a ‘Hot Commodity' rating. Likewise, a team that did well in 2011 but is likely to slide back a bit (like the 49ers) would receive a ‘Stay Away!!!' rating. But if a team has not done enough to improve or regress from their 2011 roster (like the Packers), they would receive a ‘Hold' rating. So if I give a 3-13 team a ‘Hot Commodity' rating, that DOES NOT mean I expect them to be in the playoffs. It simply implies that based on their offseason moves thus far they have done enough to reasonably believe they have improved their team since the end of the 2011 season. Obvious this is purely for fun and debate and is in no way an exact science. Got it? Good, then let’s get going, starting with the AFC. AFC EAST New England Patriots- 2011 record: 13-3 (AFC Champions) The Good: The passing combination of Brady to Gronkowski, Hernandez, Welker, etc… Three Top 50 draft picks used on defense. The Bad: They absolutely NEEDED those Top 50 picks to be on defense (15th in points allowed and 31st in yardage allowed). The Verdict: The Patriots won the AFC Championship in spite of their defense. They’ve also brought back offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel, even though they could really use (former defensive coordinator) Romeo Crennel… The Analyst says: Hold. Buffalo Bills- 2011 record: 6-10 (missed playoffs) The Good: Signed FA DE Mario Williams. Extended RB Fred Jackson’s contract. Drafted CB Stephon Gilmore and OG Cody Glenn. The Bad: Still no true #1 receiver or offensive threat outside of Jackson and RB C.J. Spiller. The Verdict: The acquisition of Williams and Gilmore for their 4-3 defense was huge considering the leftover talent they will be joining. It should be considered amazing that the offense was 14th in the NFL in scoring last season. But after a start to the 2012 season that includes facing the Jets, Chiefs, Browns, Patriots, and 49ers, expect their offensive production to be offensive. The Analyst says: Hold. New York Jets- 2011 record: 8-8 (missed playoffs) The Good: FA signee QB Tim Tebow’s presence should motivate Mark Sanchez (or diminish him). Drafting (if he’s motivated) Quinton Coples. The Bad: Drafting (if he’s unmotivated) Coples. Rookie WR Steven Hill to replace Plaxico Burress??? A bulk of unrestricted FAs yet to be resigned. The Verdict: If nothing else, this team will be ‘interesting’. Unfortunately for them, interesting usually does not translate into wins (just ask the Raiders). The Analyst says: Stay Away!!! Miami Dolphins- 2011 record: 6-10 (missed playoffs) The Good: Squeezed over 1,000 yards rushing out of Reggie Bush. Drafted OL Jonathan Martin as a bookend to Jake Long. End of the Chad Henne experiment. The Bad: Beginning of the Tannehill experiment. The likelihood of Bush having an encore 1,000 yard rushing season. Traded WR Brandon Marshall (OK, maybe that’s a draw). The Verdict: Let me put it this way. “With the first pick of the 2013 NFL Draft…” The Analyst says: Stay Away!!! AFC NORTH Pittsburgh Steelers- 2011 record: 12-4 (Lost in Wildcard Round) The Good: Drafting OLs David DeCastro and Mike Adams. Nice depth picks throughout rest of draft. Heck, most of their drafts are good. The Bad: Inconsistent health of RBs. Suspect CBs. In same division as Ravens and Bengals. The Verdict: At least one of their rookie OL, if not both, should start early. Receivers are under-sized, but very solid. If their safeties stay healthy and the linebackers (other than Lawrence Timmons) do not show their age, the corners’ liabilities will continue to be masked. The Analyst says: Hot Commodity. Baltimore Ravens- 2011 record: 12-4 (lost AFC championship game) The Good: RB Ray Rice. 3rd ranked defense in scoring and total yardage. Another solid draft (on paper). The Bad: Lost yet another defensive coordinator, this time to the Colts. QB Joe Flacco regressed statisticly (from 93.6 in 2010 to 80.9 in 2011). Ed Reed’s health. The Verdict: The defense will be injected with youth, with DT Terrence “Mount” Cody and rookie LB Courtney Upshaw likely to start in 2012. Rice has been durable thus far, but with 737 rushing and receiving touches the last two regular seasons at only 212 pounds, how long will that last??? The Analyst says: Stay Away!!! Cincinnati Bengals- 2011 record: 9-7 (Lost in Wildcard Round) The Good: Successfully replacing an older, disgruntled above-average QB (Carson Palmer) and WR (Chad Johnson) with a much younger and already above-average QB (Andy Dalton) and WR (A.J. Green). Top 10 scoring defense. The Bad: Possible sophomore slump for Dalton, which in turn would hurt Green. I know Cedric Benson is not an elite RB, but FA replacement BenJarvus Green-Ellis has only one 200+ carry season. The Verdict: The defense is set for the long haul, with the addition of rookies CB Dre Kirkpatrick and DT Devon Still. If the combination of Green-Ellis and RB Bernard Scott keep the chains moving, and Dalton continues to improve, they will be fine. But those are BIG ifs. The Analyst says: Hold. Cleveland Browns- 2011 record: 4-12 (missed playoffs) The Good: Drafting tough RB Trent Richardson to go with tough division. ‘Mature’ rookie QB challenger (Brandon Weeden). Lots of draft picks that, on paper, could immediately fill lots of holes. Top 5 scoring defense. The Bad: QB still a question mark and (unfortunately) Richardson will have to answer for it. WR is also a question mark, unless Greg Little has a breakout season. The Verdict: Being in arguably the toughest division in football, the Browns will likely have the 2nd overall pick next year. The Analyst says: Hold. AFC SOUTH Houston Texans- 2011 record 10-6 (Lost Divisional Round) The Good: QB Matt Schaub played very well when healthy; QB T.J. Yates played well when Schaub wasn’t. Defensive transition from base 4-3 to 3-4 was a huge success (4th in scoring) even without DE/OLB Mario Williams. The Bad: Lost several players in free agency, most notable the fore-mentioned Williams. The Verdict: Kubiak’s job was saved by finally winning the AFC South. With clearly the most talented roster in the division, he should lead the Texans to a second straight title and beyond. The Analyst says: Hot Commodity!!! Tennessee Titans- 2011 record: 9-7 (Missed the Playoffs) The Good: Narrowly missed playoff berth despite instability at QB and underachieving holdout RB. Healthy WR Kenny Britt and the addition of rookie WR Kendall Wright. Up and coming defense (10th in scoring). The Bad: Lost several key defensive players, including CB Courtland Finnegan (Rams) to free agency. Below-average defense in yardage allowed (19th). The Verdict: The Titans have a rough opening month against the Patriots, Chargers, Lions, and Texans. The Texans’ game will be telling, but do not expect a winning season in 2012. The Analyst says: Stay Away!!! Indianapolis Colts- 2011 record: 2-12 (Missed Playoffs) The Good: Entire new coaching staff coming from winning franchises. Replaced HOF QB (Peyton Manning) with a ‘once in a decade’ QB (Andrew Luck). Retained proven WR (Reggie Wayne). Totally new defensive philosophy. The Bad: Transitioning to aggressive 3-4 defense with passive 4-3 defense holdovers. Other than Wayne, mostly youth on offense. First time Head Coach (Chuck Pagano) and GM (Ryan Grigson). The Verdict: After more than a decade of winning Colts’ football, last season was painful for Indy fans to watch. This team has a lot of question marks, but being in one of the weaker divisions in football, the Colts should do better than most experts predict. It’s not like they could do worse. The Analyst says: Hot Commodity!!! Jacksonville Jaguars- 2011 record: 5-11 (missed playoffs) The Good: 2011 NFL rushing leader Maurice Jones-Drew. Drafted WR Justin Blackmon. Defense tied for 6th in forced fumbles (16). The Bad: QB Blaine Gabbert (50.8% completion, 12/11 TD: INT, 5 lost fumbles). Still no proven offensive weapons outside of MJD. DE Jeremy Mincey the closes thing to a healthy pass rusher (8 sacks). The Verdict: The type of season MJD had was amazing considering the complete lack of offensive talent around him. Blackmon and FA WR Laurent Robinson should help. The defense is underrated (11th in scoring, 6th in yards allowed) and should be better with a healthy Aaron Kampman. It’s all on Gabbert now. The Analyst: Hold. AFC WEST San Diego Chargers- 2011 record: 8-8 (Missed Playoffs) The Good: Elite offense (5th in scoring, 6th in yardage). Abundant of talent on both sides of the ball. Drafted heavy for… The Bad: …underachieving defense (22nd in scoring, 16th in yardage allowed). Lost Vincent Jackson to FA. Norv Turner as their head coach??? The Verdict: 8-8 isn’t even good enough to win in the NFC West anymore. This franchise has severely underachieved for so long they are becoming an afterthought outside of the West Coast. That might be a good thing for them. The Analyst says: Hold. Denver Broncos- 2011 record: 8-8 (Lost Divisional Round) The Good: Coming off divisional championship after poor start to 2011 season. Top ranked rushing attack by more than 11 yards per game. Signed some QB named Peyton Manning. The Bad: Retirement of Safety Brian Dawkins. Projected starting RB (Willis McGhee) on last legs. Projected star RB Knowshon Moreno is entering into NFL Bust territory (466 yards, 4.1 avg in three seasons). The Verdict: A lot has changed in the Mile High City the last few months, including the pending retirement of one of the NFL’s greats (Dawkins) and the FA signing of a first ballot HOFer (Manning). The running game and defense, not to mention his familiarity with the AFC West, should make life easy for Manning. The Analyst says: Hot Commodity. Kansas City Chiefs- 2011 record: 7-9 (missed playoffs) The Good: Parted ways with toxic Head Coach Todd Haley. Decent, if not spectacular receiving threats. A healthy RB Jamaal Charles teamed with FA signee Peyton Hillis. The Bad: 31st ranked scoring offense. QB situation. The Verdict: If Matt Cassel reverts back to his 2010 form, this team could be the dark horse in this division. A BIG ‘if’… The Analyst says: Hold. Oakland Raiders- 2011 record: 8-8 (missed playoffs) The Good: QB Carson Palmer, with a full offseason. A healthy Darren McFadden. The Bad: 29th ranked scoring defense that (on paper) does not appear any stronger. The QB situation if Palmer is injured, or finished… The Verdict: Going .500 was inspiring after the loss of their trailblazing owner. I just do not see an encore effort in 2012. The Analyst says: Stay Away!!!
  3. I agree with the others that Carter has a bright future with the Colts, but I believe Donald Brown will be the starter opening day. Right now he's the better all-around back at this point. But Carter will get his share of carries, especially if he controls the ball like he did in college, rather than like he did last season.
  4. Greetings once again, NFL fans! For the last entry of this ‘Fun Fact’ series, the focus of this blog will be of the NFL defensive players who have collectively contributed to their respective teams statically during the 2011 regular season. As with the previous three blogs, the groupings will be according to the collegiate conferences at the time the players left school to enter the NFL draft. Speaking of the draft, we are now entering the three week mark until the 2012 draft! Note: The fun facts will be based on various stats of the 2011 regular season’s 51 most productive defensive players of ALL positions and categorize according to the collegiate conference during the time they played. FUN FACT # 1: The NCAA Conference with the most former players in the Top 51 in total tackles during the 2011 NFL season was the ACC. There were a whopping ten former ACC players atop the Top 51 list in total tackles! As many would guess, the SEC was a close second with nine players and the Big 10 had eight former players. There were even four FCS players among the Top 51. The only conferences that were not on this list were the MAC conference and the Independents. FUN FACT # 2: The Big 10 had the most total tackles per player among the Top 51. The knock on the Big 10 Conference has always been their lack of speed. But no one can deny their propensity for hitting and tackling. The average total tackles for the former Big 10 players was 131.1 per player. It’s interesting to note that unlike most of the other conferences on this list, all 8 of the Big 10 players represented are all linebackers. This is significant because next on this list were the former FCS players, with an impressive 126.3 average among their four players. What’s more impressive is only one of those four was a linebacker; the other three were safeties! Nearly every conference with at least two former players represented averaged over 100 total tackles except two: the WAC (consisting of two safeties) and the SEC. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you heard that right! The big, bad SEC that has NINE players (including four linebackers) represented averaged only 97 tackles per player. FUN FACT # 3: Not only do Big 10 defenders know how to tackle, they also like to get to the quarterback. The Big 10 had the most former players in the Top 51 in terms of sacks. The Big 12 and SEC Conferences was a close second, tied with nine players apiece. The only conferences that did not have a single player among the Top 51 in sacks were the WAC and Independents, which seems to be a trend… FUN FACT # 4: The Conference whose former players averaged the most quarterback takedowns during the 2011 regular season was the Sun Belt. The three former Sun Belt players averaged 13.2 sacks per defender. The three former FCS players was next with a 12.5 sack average per player (though one of said players individual led the league in sacks with 22), while the two PAC-12 defensive players averaged 12 apiece. Even though it was mentioned earlier that the Big 10 had the most former players in the Top 51 in sacks, they collectively had the lowest sack average per player (8.2). FUN FACT # 5: When it comes to interceptions, former ACC players lead the pack. With eleven, the ACC had the most players in the Top 51. The SEC was a close second with ten former players, and the Big 10 had seven. The MAC Conference and the Independents were the only ones not represented. FUN FACT # 6: But when it comes to interceptions per player, the underdogs led the pack. Those pesky FCS players had the highest average interceptions per player among the four that qualified with 4.75. The PAC 12 and Mountain West Conferences (with six and three players, respectively) were next in line with 4.67 per player, while the ten SEC players had 4.5 interceptions apiece. Three conferences tied for the fewest interception average per player with a respectable 3.5 interceptions (ACC, Conference USA, and WAC). Even though there are perceptions concerning the vast difference in talent level among the various NCAA conferences and even divisions, every conference has produce players that has contributed to the NFL landscape. So as you are watching the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft in anticipation of the players your favorite selects to contribute, kind in mind that the draft is bigger than the first day picks. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed researching and presenting this information to you.
  5. Greetings my fellow NFL fans! You have now entered the third installment of NFL Fun Facts! So far I have picked apart the 2011 regular season production numbers for NFL quarterback and running backs and categorized the results by grouping the players by their former collegiate conferences. This blog will be much of the same, with a minor twist. Naturally after focusing the first two blogs of this series on quarterbacks and running backs, respectively, the next logical progression would be wide receivers. Well, I have decided to also include NFL tight ends among the Top 51 most productive pass-catchers during the 2011 regular season, and why not? There was a time not all that long ago where tight ends were basically functioned as smaller offensive tackles and whose main task was to block for the running game. But as passing became more popular, obviously rushing attempts had to decrease since there are only so many plays a team can run per game. That has opened up the tight ends more opportunity to run routes and catch passes more often. It has also given former collegiate basketball players another avenue to play sports professional… Note: The fun facts will be based on various stats of the 2011 regular season’s 51 most productive wide receivers/tight ends, yardage wise, and categorize according to the collegiate conference during the time they played. NO running backs were considered for compiling the stats to use for this analysis. FUN FACT # 1: Two of the Top 10 pass catchers during the 2011 regular season were tight ends. As I mentioned in the introduction, tight ends are more involved in the passing game than ever before. And we’re not just talking about the stereotypical dink and dunk, once in a blue moon option. The Top 2 pass catching tight ends totaled a combined 189 receptions for 2,637 yards and 28 touchdowns! If you do the math (and fortunately for you, I did) they averaged 13.95 yards per reception. In all, there were 14 tight ends among the Top 51 pass catchers, yardage wise. FUN FACT #2: The highest number of productive pass catchers among the Top 51 was former SEC players. Ten players, or nearly 20%, of the most productive pass catchers hail from the SEC. Three of those players were tight ends. The ACC had the second most former players with 8. The Sun Belt, WAC and Independent conferences were the only ones that did not have a player in the Top 51. Even FCS schools had a combined 6 players on the list. FUN FACT #3: Former Conference USA receivers averaged the most receptions per player during the 2011 regular season. Granted there were only two wide receivers from that conference, they still managed to average 90.5 pass receptions. The seven BIG 12 receivers was next with an average of 75 catches apiece and former ACC players averaged 73 receptions. The two Mountain West receivers on the Top 51 list averaged the fewest receptions with 58.8. FUN FACT #4: As far as the Conference who has produced the most 1,000 yards pass catchers in 2011, it was a tie between the SEC and… …the FCS schools! Yes, you have read that correctly. There were as many receivers from what is arguably the best conference (football wise) in the nation and the NON-FBS schools!!! Each was represented with four players. And one certain player, who recently signed a big free agent contract with the Washington Redskins, nearly reached the 1,000 yard mark despite having a rotating QB carousal to deal with. As far as former SEC receivers, only one (out of the ten on the list) had less than 900 receiving yards. FUN FACT #5: Not only were there 4 former FCS receivers that had over 1,000 yards receiving, but they (as a whole) had far and away the highest average yards per reception. With an average of 15.75 yards per reception, the six FCS receivers collectively topped EVERY division I conference by at least a full yard per catch! The next closes conference was the PAC 12, with 14.73 yard average and the ACC had a 14.45 yard average. The BIG 10 must specialize in possession receivers, because they came in last with a paltry 13.09 yards per catch between their three receivers. FUN FACT #6: And if you’re still not sold on FCS players yet, they averaged more touchdown receptions per player than ANY Division I Conference. That’s right boys and girls. The very players most had never heard of during their collegiate years averaged 8.3 touchdowns per player during the 2011 regular season. The next highest touchdown average goes to the BIG 12, with 7.7 per player. On the other end of the spectrum, the BIG 10 (with three players) and the Mountain West (with two players) shared the distinction of having the fewest touchdowns per player with 4 apiece. And there you have it. I personally learned more by doing this particular blog than I did while working on my first two concerning the background of players that contribute to the NFL. Of the six former FCS players whose stats were used for this blog, four of them were actually drafted (2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th round picks) and two were not draft at all. And that is, IMHO, what is so great about the offseason; the next future stars on any given team can be acquired right under most fans’ nose! The 1st round picks are always going to be the most coveted (as they should be) and it is natural (i.e. safe) to desire the college stars that you watch on Saturdays to play for your favorite team on Sundays. But often times it is the unknown, unconventional acquisitions that, more often than not, put a franchise over the top (just ask the Patriots). For my next and likely final blog in this series, I will research and put together a list of fun facts about the defensive players. Until then, thank you for reading this!
  6. To answer your question, 6 of the 7 former PAC-12 runningbacks were their team's opening day starter (Toby Gerhart was the only non-starter). The NCAA tournament has me sidetracked, but I will have the pass-catchers blog out shortly! Thank you for reading!!!
  7. Thank you for that practical (aka ADULT) post!! I agree 100%!!!!
  8. Welcome back, NFL fans! This is my second installment of my series of NFL fun facts. With the 2012 NFL draft fast approaching, I think it would be interesting to research trends among current NFL producer by position relative to the players’ NCAA conferences. As some of you may know, the first blog in the series was about NFL quarterbacks. This blog will consist of running backs that contributed to their teams during the 2011 season. Unlike the quarterbacks, which I decided to focus on those who had started/played significantly for at least 13 regular season games, I will base these fun facts on the Top 48 most productive NFL running backs during the 2011 regular season by their former Alma Maters. This will give us an idea of each conference’s impact on the NFL at the running back position. Enjoy! Note: The fun facts will be based on various stats of the 2011 season’s 48 most productive running backs and categorized according to the collegiate conference during the time they played (NO quarterbacks). FUN FACT # 1: The Big 12 and SEC tied for the most former running backs among the Top 48 league rushers. Both conferences led the way with eight rushers apiece. Ironically, each of those conferences only had one 1,000 yard rusher. The PAC-12 had the second most with 7 rushers among the Top 48. There were even four running backs on the list from non-FBS schools. The Mountain West and Sun Belt conferences were the only FBS schools that did not have a running back among the Top 48. FUN FACT #2: The PAC-12 had the most former running backs that rushed for at least 1,000 yards. They topped the list with four 1,000 yard rushers, and all seven former PAC-12 running backs ran for at least 500 yards for their respective NFL teams. The Big East had three rush for over 1,000 yards, and the Big 10 (2) was the only other conference that had more than one gain over 1,000 yards on the ground. FUN FACT #3: The most yards per carry were dominated by the PAC-12 conference alums. With seven running backs collectively averaging a whopping 4.62 yards per carry, NFL teams with PAC-12 running backs got the most bang from their running games, which is interesting considering that conference isn’t know for having stout run defenses. The former Big East running backs were not far behind, averaging 4.57 per carry, and the Conference USA running backs collectively averaged 4.52. The three former ACC running backs among the Top 48 rushers had the worst average with 4.15 per carry. FUN FACT #4: The PAC-12 also dominated with the most total number of rushing touchdowns in 2011… …but they only averaged 5.9 touchdowns per player, which was middle of the road compared to the other eight conferences that consisted of multiple runners, and a slightly worse average than the four former FCS backs. The BIG 10 actually had the best rushing touchdown average with 7.5 per player. The Big East and MAC running backs had the next best average with 7 touchdowns apiece. The seven former BIG 12 runners had the worse touchdown average per back with only 3.7. And there you have it. Productive NFL running backs can come from any college, but it is interesting to know which conferences have produced the most productive backs over the last decade or so. And with the 2012 NFL draft brings a new crop of potential ball-carriers looking to make their marks in the NFL. This is all for now until my next blog’s subject: Pass-catchers…
  9. @ WeSpy...Thanks for the love!
  10. Welcome to all NFL fans! We are a few days removed from the scouting combine held in Indianapolis and less than two months away from the 2012 NFL draft. Those of us who cared to watch saw our favorite (and not so favorite) college football players perform in various test of skill and athleticism that to those that actually follow the NFL does not mean squat once those players don shoulder pads and helmets. I thought it would be interesting to write a series of blogs with a focus on former college players that are actually contributing in the NFL. In this blog, I have noted a series of fun facts, statistically speaking, based on the 2011 regular season. And since many of us fans tend to hold allegiance to certain NCAA conferences, these below tidbits will categorize the quarterbacks’ stats by conference. Today will be quarterbacks. Just so everyone reading this is on the same page, below lists a couple of parameters: 1. In order for any quarterbacks’ stats to be used for this, they had to have started/played significantly in at least 13 regular season games. 2. The fun facts will be based on various stats of the 24 quarterbacks who have met criteria #1 and will be categorized in which ever collegiate conference during the time they played. FUN FACT # 1: The highest average of years in the NFL for quarterbacks are from the BIG 10. The average years of experience for the two starting former BIG 10 quarterbacks during the 2011 was 11.5 seasons. The ACC was next with 4 quarterbacks consisting of a total of 9 years of experience. The least experienced starting quarterbacks were from the BIG 12 conference, with an average of only 2 years. FUN FACT #2: The SEC had the most quarterbacks starting/playing significantly. The SEC had 5 quarterbacks starting significantly during the 2011 season and four of those five started for NFC teams, with Denver’s Tim Tebow the only AFC starter. The ACC, BIG 12, as well as non-FBS colleges boasted 4 starting quarters apiece. The Big East was the only BCS conference that did not have a quarterback playing significantly. FUN FACT #3: The BIG 10 was the only conference represented whose former quarterbacks’ average passing yardage was more than 4,000. Actually, former BIG 10 quarterbacks averaged more than 5,000 yards passing for the season. But when the quarterbacks out of the BIG 10 are Tom Brady and Drew Brees, that’s almost par for the course. ACC quarterbacks barely missed the 4,000 yard mark collectively with 3,919 and the SEC was next with 3,780 yards on average, which would have likely been significantly higher if a certain U of Tennessee quarterback was healthy enough to play. Ironically the former BIG 12 quarterbacks, a conference well-known for running spread passing offensives, did not even average 3,000 yards for the season (2,984). FUN FACT # 4: The best TD to INT ratio also belonged to former BIG 10 quarterbacks. I know this fact shocked a lot of you (jk). But seriously, the TD:INT ratio for the two former BIG 10 quarterbacks was a whopping 42.5:13 on average! Maybe not so coincidentally, said quarterbacks were also the most experienced of all the participating conferences (see: Fun Fact #1). I say this because the worse average ratio (15.5:14) also hails from the least experienced conference represented (BIG 12). FUN FACT #5: Of the 24 quarterbacks that started and/or played significantly in at least 13 regular season games during 2011, 15 were former 1st round picks. A lot of draft day hype tend to center around quarterbacks, particularly in the first round. Every fan desires their team to draft that ‘franchise quarterback’; the quarterback that will lead their team for the next decade and win multiple Super Bowls. So much hype goes into this that there’s strong reason to believe this obsession blinds people, fans and general managers alike, to the point that some quarterbacks are draft high for simple ‘looking the part’ or because they were ‘dynamic’ in college. Then there are the quarterbacks who are over looked for simply having the misfortunate of being the exact opposite; not looking the part or not dynamic enough. IMHO, for the most part a team has as much to do with a quarterback’s success as that quarterback has to do with the team’s success. That is way… FUN FACT #6: …of the fifteen former 1st round 2011 starters, only 3 has lead their respective teams to a total of 5 Super Bowl victory. I realize that several of the 1st round quarterbacks that started in 2011 have been in the league less than 5 years. And quarterbacks picked in the 1st round usually are picked high in that round, which usually consistent of teams that has more needs than simply a quarterback (even though free agency is also heavily involved in the team building process). If you’re a fan of a team that builds well and have a solid foundation in place, not getting a starting quarterback in the first round is not the end of the world because… FUN FACT #7: …of the nine 2011 starters that were not selected in the 1st round, two of them have won a total of 4 Super Bowls. And coincidently, both of those quarterbacks hail from the BIG 10. BTW, this is not a Kirk Cousins endorsement…or is it? Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you were at least mildly entertained. I am off to do the next section of this series: Running Backs. Stay tuned…
  11. On February 5 in my hometown, a new Super Bowl champion was crowned, which officially marked the end of the 2011 season. The New York Football Giants proved that a team does not have to be the best in the regular season to be the best team in the post season. But have you wondered which division is the best? Maybe I am the only one who thought about, so I went through each division and compiled a list of who I felt were the best players at each position in their respective divisions based mostly on their regular season performances in 2011. The source I used for this list is mainly from NFL.com and my best objective judgment. This blog contain the NFC conference. Based on each division's starter roster, which division do you feel is the best? ALL NFC DIVISIONAL TEAM 2011: -bold indicates 2012 Pro Bowl Player NFC EAST OFFENSE: QB: Eli Manning, NYG RB: LeSean McCoy, Phi FB: Owen Schmidt, Phi WR: Victor Cruz, NYG; Hakeem Nicks, NYG TE: Jason Witten, Dal OT: Jason Peters, Phi; Tyron Smith, Dal OG: Chris Snee, NYG; Danny Watkins, Phi C: David Baas, NYG DEFENSE: DE: Jason Babin, Phi; Jason Pierre-Paul, NYG DT: Jay Ratliff, Dal; Cullen Jenkins, Phi OLB: DeMarcus Ware, Dal; Michael Boley, NYG MLB: London Fletcher, Wash CB: DeAngelo Hall, Wash; Corey Webster, NYG FS: Antrel Rolle, NYG SS: Kenny Phillips, NYG K: Alex Henry, Phi P: Steve Weatherford, NYG KR: Brandon Banks, Wash NFC NORTH OFFENSE: QB: Aaron Rodgers, GB RB: Matt Forte, Chi FB: John Kuhn, GB WR: Jordy Nelson, GB; Calvin Johnson, Det TE: Brandon Pettigrew, Det OT: Jeff Backus, Det; Chad Clifton, GB OG: Anthony Herrera, Minn; Rob Sims, Det C: Scott Wells, GB DEFENSE: DE: Jared Allen, Minn; Julius Peppers, Chi DT: B.J. Raji, GB; Ndamukong Suh, Det OLB: Clay Matthews, GB; Lance Briggs, Chi MLB: Brian Urlacher, Chi CB: Charles Woodson, GB; Charles Tillman, Chi FS: Morgan Burnett, GB SS: Amari Spievey, Det K: Robbie Gould, Chi P: Chris Kluwe, Min KR: Devin Hester, Chi NFC WEST OFFENSE: QB: Alex Smith, SF RB: Frank Gore, SF FB: Michael Robinson, Sea WR: Larry Fitzgerald, Ari; Michael Crabtree, SF TE: Vernon Davis, SF OT: Joe Staley, SF; Levi Brown, Ari OG: Mike Iupati, SF; Adam Snyder, SF C: Max Unger, Sea DEFENSE: DE: Chris Clemons, Sea; Chris Long, STL DT: Justin Smith, SF; Brandon Mebane, Sea OLB: Aldon Smith, SF; Navorro Bowman, SF MLB: Patrick Willis, SF CB: Carlos Rogers, SF; Brandon Browner, Sea FS: Earl Thomas, Sea SS: Adrian Wilson, Ari K: David Akers, SF P: Andy Lee, SF KR: Patrick Peterson, Ari NFC SOUTH OFFENSE: QB: Drew Brees, N.O. RB: Michael Turner, ATL FB: Jed Collins, N.O. WR: Roddy White, Atl; Steve Smith, Caro TE: Jimmy Graham, N.O. OT: Jermon Bushrod, N.O.; Jeremy Trueblood, TB OG: Jahri Evans, N.O.; Carl Nicks, N.O. C: Ryan Kalil, Caro DEFENSE: DE: John Abraham, ATL; Charles Johnson, Caro DT: Corey Peters, ATL; Brain Price, TB OLB: James Anderson, Caro; Sean Weatherspoon, ATL MLB: Curtis Lofton, ATL CB: Jabari Greer, NO; Ronde Barber, TB FS: Thomas Decoud, ATL SS: Roman Harper, NO K: Connor Barth, TB P: Matt Bosher, ATL KR: Patrick Robinson, NO
  12. On February 5 in my hometown, a new Super Bowl champion was crowned, which officially marked the end of the 2011 season. The New York Football Giants proved that a team does not have to be the best in the regular season to be the best team in the post season. But have you wondered which division is the best? Maybe I am the only one who thought about, so I went through each division and compiled a list of who I felt were the best players at each position in their respective divisions based mostly on their regular season performances in 2011. The source I used for this list is mainly from NFL.com and my best objective judgment. This blog contain the AFC conference. Based on each division's starter roster, which division do you feel is the best? ALL AFC DIVISIONAL TEAM 2011: -bold indicates 2012 Pro Bowl Players AFC EAST OFFENSE: QB: Tom Brady, N.E. RB: Reggie Bush, Mia FB: John Conner, NYJ WR: Brandon Marshall, MIA; Wes Welker, N.E. TE: Rob Gronkowski, N.E. OT: D’Brickashaw Ferguson, NYJ; Jake Long, Mia OG: Logan Mankins, N.E.; Brian Waters, N.E. C: Nick Mangold, NYJ DEFENSE: DE: Andre Carter, N.E.; Muhammad Wilkerson, NYJ DT: Paul Soliai, Mia; Vince Wilfork, N.E. OLB: Cameron Wake, Mia; Calvin Pace, NYJ MLB: Karlos Dansby, Mia CB: Darrelle Revis, NYJ; Kyle Arrington, N.E. FS: Jairus Byrd, Buf SS: George Wilson, Buf K: Stephen Gostkowski, N.E. P: Brandon Fields, Mia KR: Joe McKnight, NYJ AFC NORTH OFFENSE: QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Pitt RB: Ray Rice, Bal FB: Vonta Leach, Bal WR: A.J. Green, Cin; Mike Wallace, Pitt TE: Jermaine Gresham, Cin OT: Joe Thomas, Cle; Michael Oher, Bal OG: Ben Grubbs, Bal; Marshal Yanda, Bal C: Maurkice Pouncey, Pitt DEFENSE: DE: Jabaal Sheard, Cle; Brett Keisel, Pitt DT: Haloti Ngata, Bal; Geno Atkins, Cin OLB: James Harrison, Pitt; Terrell Suggs; Bal MLB: Ray Lewis, Bal CB: Cary Williams, Bal; Lardarius Webb, Bal FS: Ed Reed, Bal SS: Troy Polamalu, Pitt K: Phil Dawson, Cle P: Sam Koch, Bal KR: Antonio Brown, Pitt AFC WEST OFFENSE: QB: Phillip Rivers, S.D. RB: Ryan Matthews, S.D. FB: Le’Ron McClain, K.C. WR: Vincent Jackson, S.D.; Dwayne Bowe, K.C. TE: Antonio Gates, S.D. OT: Ryan Clady, Den; Brendan Albert, K.C. OG: Ryan Lija, K.C.; Zane Beadles, Den C: Nick Hardwick, S.D. DEFENSE: DE: Elvis Dumervil, Den; Tyson Jackson, K.C. DT: Richard Seymour, Oak; Tommy Kelly, Oak OLB: Tamba Hali, K.C.; Von Miller, Den MLB: Derrick Johnson, K.C. CB: Champ Bailey, Den; Brandon Flowers, K.C. FS: Eric Weddle, S.D. SS: Brian Dawkins, Den K: Sebastian Janikowski, Oak P: Shane Lechler, Oak KR: Jacoby Ford, Oak AFC SOUTH OFFENSE: QB: Matt Schaub, Hou RB: Maurice Jones-Drew, Jax FB: Greg Jones, Jax WR: Reggie Wayne, Ind; Nate Washington, Ten TE: Jared Cook, Ten OT: Eric Winston, Hou; Michael Roos, Ten OG: Uche Nwaneri, Jax, Wade Smith, Hou C: Chris Myers, Hou DEFENSE: DE: Dwight Freeney, IND; J.J Watt, Hou DT: Tyson Alualu, Jax; Jurrell Casey, Ten OLB: Connor Barwin, Hou; Daryl Smith, Jax MLB: Pat Angerer, Ind CB: Johnathan Joseph, HOU; Jason McCourty, Ten FS: Antoine Bethea, Ind SS: Dawan Landry, Jax K: Rob Bironas, Ten P: Brett Kern, Ten KR: Marc Mariani
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