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Around The Nfl: Team Reports (4000 Words)


Andy
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NFL Team Reports

It’s been 5 weeks, and there have been a lot of surprises and disappointments so far this year. I’ll breakdown every team, and talk about their pro’s and cons.

Arizona Cardinals

It seems like that Kevin Kolb trade has not paid off. The former Eagles backup has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns, and their defense has just been awful sometimes. They’ve have no rush defense and their pass defense has been mediocre at best. The thing with the Cardinals is that instead of being 1-4, they could easily be 3-2. Kevin Kolb has to look at his targets, like Larry Fitzgerald, Todd Heap and Early Doucet, and if there not there then just dump it to the running back. He needs to start stepping up or this team is going nowhere.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons are very inconsistent. They are either very good or very bad. Against the Bears, and the Bucs, they’re bad. Against the Seahawks and Eagles, they’re good. First half vs the Packers, they’re good, second half… bad. Matt Ryan is playing well, Michael Turner is playing well, the O-line has been okay, but they need to play better. Tyson Clabo seems to be the only good player on that line. On defense, their pass rush has been very good, especially against the Packers, and their pass defense has been good too. Brent Grimes is having another good year, and new addition Kelvin Hayden is doing well also. They just need to stay consistent throughout the game, and they’ll be back at the top of the standings.

Baltimore Ravens

Defense wins championships! The Ravens have won 2 of their games just off their defense. They beat the Jets by defensive scores, and they beat the Steelers by defensive scores. Their defense is definitely there, their running back is having another great year, and Joe Flacco seems to be coming around. He needs to stay consistent and he has the receivers around him to succeed. He has Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith and Ray Rice, if needed. This is a team that could make a run if they make the playoffs.

Buffalo Bills

Nobody circles the wagon like the Buffalo Bills! They’ve gone through a lot, but they’ve come around. Their defense is playing very well. Their D is playing so well, they intercepted Tom Brady and Michael Vick a total of 8 times this year (4 times each). Their run defense has been pretty good, but not great; that’s the part of their defense that has been the worse. Last year it was the 32nd ranked run defense (worst in the NFL), and 30th the year before. It’s somewhere they can improve. Their offense has been terrific. The Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick is using his intelligence and his skills to succeed. He has thrown 10 touchdowns to 4 interceptions, and he has the 7th best passer rating in the league. Their running back Fred Jackson is another big reason why their team is succeeding. He’s one of the best running backs in football right now. He’s averaging 5.3 yards a carry and has 5 touchdowns this game. He’s playing amazingly right now. This team is also tied for the division lead right now with the Patriots.

Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton has rejuvenated this offense. Steve Smith is producing career numbers, and Cam Newton has turned skeptics into believers. Although the defense is feeling the affects of losing their best defensive player Jon Beason, they have done a pretty good job in his absence. Their run defense is bad, as usual. Their run defense has not been good since 2005. Jon Beason’s injury won’t help that, and Thomas Davis’ torn ACL won’t help that either. That defense is filled with a bunch of good players like Charles Johnson, James Anderson, Jon Beason, Thomas Davis and Chris Gamble, but somehow they underachieve. Back to the offense, Deangelo Williams had a slow start to the year, but has turned the corner and had a big game against the Saints. Although the Panthers may not do anything with this season, their future is looking bright, and don’t be surprised if they make the playoffs next year.

Chicago Bears

If there’s a team that is not performing like they should, it’s the Bears. Jay Cutler is playing very badly, Matt Forte of one the most inconsistent running backs in football, and their defense is showing signs of aging. Their defense is not like it used to be. Brian Urlacher is still playing well, and the same with Lance Briggs, but Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings are playing pretty badly. Both players have played in the Bears type of defense for several years now. Charles Tillman has been there for years, and Tim Jennings used to play for the Colts who use Tampa 2, the exact same scheme as the Bears. Jay Cutler is one of the main problems. His completion percentage (54.3%) is horrible and he’s not making any plays, but it’s hard to make plays when your best receiver is Roy Williams or Johnny Knox. They lost to 2 good teams, nearly lost to a mediocre one, and beat a good team. Things need to stay consistent there, or someone’s going to go, whether it be Lovie Smith or Jay Cutler.

Cincinnati Bengals

Their future is bright… that’s all I can say. Their division is too tough and their remaining schedule is too tough for them to do any damage or gain any ground, but they have had some great wins against the Bills and the Jaguars. They came back to beat both. AJ Green is going to be a great receiver one day, and it looks like that second round pick on Andy Dalton was worth it. He’s producing. Cedric Benson is also having a good year. Their defense is playing very well. They rank number 1 in total yards, number 3 in pass defense, and number 7 in rush defense, but with guys like Carlos Dunlap, Domato Peko, Michael Johnson, Leon Hall (their best defensive player), and Dhani Jones, they should be very good. Their offense is too young to do anything big, and with teams like the Steelers (twice), the Ravens (twice), the Texans, and the Titans is going to be tough to do well.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns are not playing well. Colt McCoy was supposed to excel this year, but that clearly has not come true. Peyton Hillis is playing well, but not good enough to carry this offense. The defense is playing badly, and the only bright spot on this defense seems to be Joe Haden. Their only two wins are against teams that have a combined record of 0-9. They need to step up their play, and get some big wins under their belt, or it’s going to be another high draft pick for the Browns.

Dallas Cowboys

Wow the Cowboys are one crazy team! The thing with the Cowboys is that they could be 4-0, but they could also be 0-4, so they’re 2-2 right in the middle. Tony Romo is inconsistent, something that needs to stop. Their running game has been mediocre at best. Their defense is playing better than last year, much better. They’ve been great against the run, and they’re number 3 in total yards. Demarcus Ware is having another great year, and their defensive backs are playing better. Really, the only problem with the Cowboys is Tony Romo. He threw away 2 games, their only 2 losses. They’re a team that if they make the playoffs, could make a charge, but that’s only if Romo plays well. They give him good protection, it’s just Romo.

Denver Broncos

Ouch! This team needs help, and fast. Their offense is playing pretty well, but their defense… is playing horribly. Their opponents have scored an average of 28 points a game against them, and with this offense, they’re going to lose most of their games. Kyle Orton is playing pretty well, but he should be playing better. Their offensive line is underrated, they have Ryan Clady, Chris Kuper and Orlando Franklin, all solid players, especially Clady. Their defensive scheme needs to improve; they need to play more man-to-man, especially with man 2 man specialists in Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman. Champ Bailey was great in man-to-man coverage’s back in the early 2000s with Larry Coyer (the ex defensive coordinator). It’s safe to say that if this defense keeps playing like this, they’re going nowhere, but the top… of the draft.

Detroit Lions

The surprise team of the year; The Lions are 4-0, and expected to win against the Bears on Monday night. Calvin Johnson is having a phenomenal season, and Stafford is having a good season too. Calvin Johnson has 8 touchdown receptions, which is half of the Roddy White’s touchdowns last year (15), and it’s only been 4 weeks. Their defense is playing very well. Although their best cornerback is injured, Chris Houston has carried the load, and done a very good job. Their linebackers are playing well, and their D-line has been very good. Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams and Kyle Vanden Bosch have been solid. This team has a good chance at making the playoffs, something they haven’t done in over 10 years.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers are the best team in football right now. They have the MVP of the NFL right now in Aaron Rodgers, and their looking very good. Although they barely beat the Saints, and the Panthers, they pulled off dominate wins vs the Broncos and the Bears. Their defense is looking very good, even without Nick Collins, and Clay Matthews having a slow start. To make this simple: they’re destined to go back to the Super Bowl, and by the looks of it they will.

Houston Texans

This team is looking good. The addition of Wade Phillips has been amazing. They changed to a 3-4 defense, and they’ve become of one the best run stopping defenses in the league, and also they’ve become better at pass rushing. Mario Williams had a great start to the year, but may miss the rest after suffering a bad pectoral injury. Their offense is shining, and even without Arian Foster they shined with Ben Tate taking over the duties. When Foster returned, he returned to his old form. Matt Schaub is having another good year, and the Texans are using him just right; not too much or not too little. With the Jags and the Colts seemingly out of it, their only compition are the Titans, who are without their star receiver for the rest of the year.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are feeling the effects of the loss of Peyton Manning. There’s a reason why he’s won the MVP award a record setting 4 times. Although their running game has gotten better, they seemingly wasted 4 million dollars and 4 weeks of the season on Kerry Collins. Their offensive line has been plagued with injuries, starting with right guard Ryan Diem in Week 2, and Ben Ijalana and Anthony Castonzo in Week 4. The Colts signed Quinn Ojinaka, who did a great job vs the Chiefs, and he should start there, because Jeff Linkenbach is playing horribly. On defense, Pat Angerer and Kavell Conner are #1 and #2 in tackles in the NFL, but is that necessarily a good thing? Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis have 4 sacks each, and guys like Drake Nevis has provided great pressure. Antoine Bethea has been solid for the Colts, and Melvin Bullit had a great season opener vs the Texans, but he injured himself that game and his season is over, and his future is uncertain with the Colts. The Colts cornerbacks have done horribly. Jacob Lacey is not a capable starter, and Terrence Johnson is not a good replacement. They need to bring someone in from off the street, like former Colt Ray Fisher who shined in the earlier part of the 2010 Colts training camp. The Colts have a lot of things to fix, but the team is coming along.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars should have never released David Garrard. He knows that system better than Gabbert, and he’s more comfortable with guys like Marcedes Lewis, Mike Thomas, and MJD. Maurice Jones Drew is having another great year, and Blaine Gabbert is playing pretty well. The defense is really letting them down. Paul Posluzny is not giving them the leadership and tackles they wanted from him. The coaching has been horrific, and it’s a safe bet that Jack Del Rio is gone after this year. The Jags need to mix up the pass and the run better, because they’re really going run heavy right now. Their O-line is getting old, and they really have no real scary prospects, so things are not looking up for the Jags.

Kansas City Chiefs

As of week 5, things are looking up for the Chiefs. Matt Cassel got his mojo back, and the defense seems to be coming back after a 3 week absense. They seemed to have trouble facing the fact that one of their best defensive players, and their star running back are out for the year. Jackie Battle seems to be a good young prospect with a lot of talent. He’s putting Thomas Jones’ job in jeopardy. They need to keep pressuring the QB on defense. That’s what did they last year so well, and that’s why their pass defense was so good. Like I said, things are looking up, as they are on a 2 win streak, against a tough Colts team and AP and the Vikings.

Miami Dolphins

Andrew Luck could not come any faster. The Dolphins are destined for the number 1 overall pick as they do not have a very good QB, their running back is garbage, and their defense alone is not good enough to win games. Their defense is still pretty good, but since Dan Marino retired, their main problem has been the offense. They should have never let go of Ronnie Brown. He was a good running back with some good skills. He underperformed in his last year, but that’s because the Dolphins relied on Chad Henne too much. Another big problem in Miami is the coaching. Tony Sparano seems like a cheerleader out there. For an offensive minded coach, it’s funny how their offense stinks. He may be fired at the end of the year, but if they get Andrew Luck, watch out!

Minnesota Vikings

Well, Adrian Peterson is like Tom Brady, if he doesn’t have a perfect game their respected teams cannot win. Adrian Peterson had a huge game vs the Cardinals and the Vikings won that game. They need Donovan McNabb to wake up. He has Percy Harvin, Visanthe Shiancoe, and Bernard Berian. The playmakers are there, he isn’t. The defense has been pretty good, good enough for that if the offense is good they can win. The offensive line is another suspect. Since Charlie Johnson has come to town, the opposing teams have gotten a lot of pressure on McNabb. That doesn’t help. For Vikings fans, hope that Adrian Peterson can have a 4000 yard season, or it’s going to be another year of disappointment.

New England Patriots

After a somewhat quite year, Wes Welker is back. He’s on pace to get 2254 yards of receiving, which would shatter every record. Tom Brady is playing very well, but he’s already thrown 6 interceptions, so it’s not the ideal start, but nevertheless a very good one. On defense, they’re looking very weak. Not even the great Bill Belicheck can fix this defense. They lost their 2nd best defensive player in Jerod Mayo, and their line-backing core has been mediocre at best even with Mayo. Vince Wilfork, funny enough, has as many interceptions as Ed Reed (by Week 5). He’s just a monster. Bill Belicheck is holding that team together, and without him there going to have a tough time winning. Benjarvus Green-Ellis is running with authority and could be heading to another 1000-yard season. The Patriots O-line is superb, as they are the best offensive line in the league. They have some nice prospects in Steven Ridley and Nate Solder. It’s looking like another good season for the Patriots, but the playoffs are another story.

New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints have been good. Drew Brees is having another good year filled with a bunch of passing yards, and he has seemed to have found his new favorite target Jimmy Graham. I said that Jimmy Graham is the next Antonio Gates, and it seems that I could be correct, this kid is a beast. Darren Sproles has added a great spark to this team, a bigger one than Reggie Bush (plus he’s cheaper). Mark Ingram has done pretty well, but he’s only to flourish in a couple of years. On defense, they’ve been surprisingly average. They’ve missed Jonathan Vilma, as the opposing teams are running over them. Lucky for them they’ve faced pretty easy teams so far, but it looks like it’s going to be another NFC South win by the Saints.

New York Giants

Year after year I wonder if they’re the real deal, and it’s the same this year. They go out and beat the Cards and the Eagles, but then lose badly to the Seahawks. Tom Coughlin is an interesting fellow. Their offense has been good, Eli Manning is throwing many more touchdowns than interceptions, and the running game has been good with Ahmad Bradshaw. Their defense has been pretty good, especially their D-line. Their best defensive lineman so far has been Jason Pierre Paul who has recorded 4.5 sacks thus far. They need to stay consistent and that all leads back to the coaches.

New York Jets

Same deal as the Giants. They’re very inconsistent, and Mark Sanchez has not proven to anyone that he’s ready to join the elite QBs. He’s shown little progress as a starter in the big apple, and has relied on his defense to do well. Now the defense is not playing well, and the Jets are not performing. Rex Ryan needs to pump up his players. That’s what makes him so good, the last 2 years he made his players that they were the best, even though they weren’t and that took them to 2 AFC Championship games. They need to get motivated and when they do, watch out!

Oakland Raiders

RIP Al Davis, a man who was crucial in the development of football. Now as for the Raiders, they’ve been playing well. Darren McFadden is having another great year, and he’s arguably the best running back in football right now. Jason Campbell seems to like this system, a run heavy system. Their defense is playing well also. Tyvon Branch is blossoming into a really good hard-hitting safety, and his partner Matt Giordano is one of the hardest working players I’ve ever seen. When he was with the Colts he ran down Devin Hester and tackled him, but it was in the endzone. He’s fast and tough. Their defense is gritty, and the same with the offense. Their tough those Raiders, and their coaching is good. They’re motivated and dangerous.

Philadelphia Eagles

Well, things didn’t go as planned. They showed off all the players they got, but all they really got was a 1-4 record. Michael Vick is playing terribly. For a guy who played so well last year, he’s thrown almost as many interceptions as touchdowns. They have gotten good things from Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins, but they’re missing the most important thing on a defense, a linebacking core. When Moise Fokou is your best linebacker , you have a problem. Their safeties, the last line of defense, are garbage also. Jarrad Page has done nothing since his arrival and Kurt Coleman has no tackling skills. That’s the reason every running back has run over them. Frank Gore, Fred Jackson, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Michael Turner. Things need to turn around quick or Andy Reid will find himself sitting in his home without a job.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have been inconsistent and plagued with injuries. The O-line, the core of your offense has been plagued with injuries, and it’s the reason why they can’t run the ball, and Ben Roethlisberger is getting killed out there. Roethlisberger has since gotten better since his Week 1 blowup vs the Ravens. The defense is playing better as the weeks go on. Troy Polamalu is playing like he did last year, and Ike Taylor is getting the recognition he deserves. He’s one of the best coverage cornerbacks in the league, plus he’s a great tackler. The Steelers pass rush has been good, but James Harrison is injured and his return is uncertain. The Steelers are getting better, and I would like to see a rematch between them and the Ravens.

San Diego Chargers

The Chargers are looking really solid. Although they haven’t faced some easy teams, Philip Rivers is playing well, and they got their running game back. Ryan Matthews and Mike Tolbert are playing well. On defense, the loss of defensive coordinator Ron Rivera has not hurt them that much. They’ve been playing well on D, but not as good as last year. Eric Weddle is playing well, and his partner Bob Sanders is on the IR. At the end of the day they’re 4-1 and that’s what matters. The Chargers always start badly and end well. Now they’ve started well, let’s see how they finished. Norv Turner isn’t the greatest coach, but he’s making it work and that’s what matters.

San Fransisco 49ers

Jim Harbaugh has saved this organization. He was a great player with the Colts in the 90’s, he was a great coach at Stanford and now he’s a great coach here. Alex Smith seems to have finally found his stride, only 6 years later. Frank Gore is really living up to his contract. He’s having an outstanding year. Over the offseason, they acquired Carlos Rogers, and Donte Whitner who have been great for this team, making their weak pass defense into a good one. Justin Smith is playing well, like usual and the best linebacker in the game Patrick Willis is living up to his title. He’s just a tackling machine. This team is looking very good, especially with that weak division.

Seattle Seahawks

What a confusing team. They get killed by the Steelers, but beat the Giants. Their quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is questionable, by that I mean that he’s inconsistent. At least he has good feet. Overall, this team has the least amount of skill in the NFL, but somehow they’re 2-3. There’s one man who should take all the credit and it’s Pete Carroll. He’s an intelligent coach, who knows the game better than a lot of other coaches. He’s very good. With the 49ers in the division and tearing it up, they need to have a string of wins just to have a chance at the playoffs.

St Louis Rams

The biggest disappointment so far this year, and it’s too bad. Sam Bradford had an insanely good rookie season (for a rookie), and he was expected to become a great quarterback this year. That hasn’t happened. Steven Jackson has been injured. Their offense has been their biggest problem. Their defense has been pretty good, James Laurinitis keeps emerging, and keeps getting better. The coaching is not the problem, having your offense not score is the problem. If they can get the offense going, they can succeed, but is it too late for the Rams?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Their quarterback has thrown 3 touchdowns to 6 interceptions; it’s looking like his rookie season all over again. LaGarrette Blount is a monster and is turning into the African American Larry Csonka. Like many other teams, they’re inconsistent, they beat the Falcons one week, then lose by 45 to the 49ers another. They have a young team and what they need is maturity. Although I still think they have a good shot at the playoffs, I don’t think they will. They’re just too young. Their defense needs to improve, and they still have a hole left by Barrett Ruud who was signed by the Titans in the offseason. Their D-line is good, but their linebackers are quite weak and their safeties are pretty bad. Their coach is great, so let’s see where he goes after a 45 point loss to the

Tennessee Titans

I think the best sigining of the offseason was Matt Hasselback. He has turned this team into a great team. Something Kerry Collins and Vince Young had trouble doing. He’s won even though Chris Johnson failed to reach 100 total rushing yards through 3 games. They lost their best receiver, but who did Matt play with in Seattle. His best receiver for years was Bobby Engram. The defense has been playing solidly even after losing Babin and Tulloch. They’re playing with intensity, and Mike Mushak has done a great job replacing Jeff Fisher. The Titans and the Texans will have to battle it out for the AFC South title, and most probably a playoff spot. Matt Hasselback has experience and if at the top of their games, Chris Johnson is better than Arian Foster. The Titans are a good sleeper pick going forward.

Washington Redskins

I guess Rex Grossman was right. They really do have the best team in that divison. Mike Shannahan is molding this team, and all they did was get better than last year. Santana Moss is looking great again, plus Ryan Torain is running well. Their defense is great, surprisingly, as Laron Landry is leading this defense to injury. Their linebackers are great, London Fletcher seems to be like a fine wine, only better with age. Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo also add great pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. With the Eagles playing badly, the Cowboys and the Giants playing inconsistently, who knows maybe the Redskins will sneak into the playoffs.

If you have read all of this I congratulate you. That’s just the around the NFL team reports through Week 5.

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