Thursday, February 25, 2010

What's Next? AFC North

Cleveland Browns (Current Need: QB, Problem on the Horizon: WR)
Ok, so Cleveland actually has a lot to choose from here and depending on who is asked, QB is not a problem in Cleveland because they have Brady Quinn and WR is a need right now, the latter is true. But Brady Quinn reminds me of Kyle Boller, he has a game where he doesn’t do horrible, might even look a little decent but the following week he has a game that looks like the highlight reel for football follies. Quinn is not a good QB and he will never be a good QB, the damage has already been done. He’s already changed coaching staffs in his young career and he can’t get on the field consistently to get comfortable with the speed of the NFL, either due to injuries, his rookie holdout, or a lack of faith in him from the coaching staff. So, with that said, I choose WR as the problem on the horizon because once the Browns get a franchise QB, fans will start clamoring for a top flight wide receiver and the only way to avoid it is to pick up the top flight wide receiver first.

Pittsburgh Steelers (Current Need: DB, Problem on the Horizon: DL)
The Steel city is in need of depth at S and a serious upgrade at the starting CB spot. When Mark Clayton notches a season high 7 catches for 129 yards on your secondary, you are in trouble. Clayton is a guy who produced just 7 catches for 86 yards in 4 games versus the state of Ohio. So, it is understandable that Steelers fans would really like to see an upgrade at CB and some better depth at S. But considering Ziggy Hood is the only defensive lineman in their DL rotation, who will be under the age of 30 when the season starts. They might want to start clamoring for help there as well.

Cincinnati Bengals (Current Need: WR/TE, Problem on the Horizon: QB):
The media, Bengals fans, and players are clamoring for more receiving options in Cinci. Fans want a deep threat at WR and a playmaker at TE, Mr. 85 wants Terrell Owens, and the media just wants to see more fireworks, on or off the field. But I think the problems on the Bengals offense run deeper than just the weapons that Carson Palmer has to work with. I think Carson Palmer IS a part of the problem but he seems to get a pass from Bengal fans and the media just because he once looked to be an elite QB. The Bengals will go out and improve the supporting cast around Palmer this offseason, and the Bengals passing game will still be mediocre at best. Injuries, poor coaching, and overall poor team management has made a career that once looked so promising fall into the pit of mediocrity. Palmer turned 30 in December and even after 7 seasons in the NFL, he still has the “deer in headlights” look in big games. Even worse his production during the regular season has gotten progressively worse every year since 2005.

Baltimore Ravens (Current Need: WR, Problem on the Horizon: DL):
If you listen to some media experts and fans of the Baltimore Ravens, you’d be led to believe that the Ravens are a Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, or Anquan Boldin away from hoisting the Lombardi trophy next February. This Ravens fan begs to differ. Games are won and lost in the trenches. Although, the Ravens trenches on the defensive side of the ball are great at stuffing the run they are horrible at putting pressure on the QB. Baltimore finished the season with 32 sacks, good for a tie with the Bills and both NY teams ranked 18th overall. Since the 2006 season, where the Ravens defense posted 60 sacks, the team has failed to register 35 sacks or more in all 3 seasons since. From 2000 to 2006, they only failed to reach 35 sacks in a season once, 2002. If the proof isn’t in the sack numbers, then these numbers can’t be denied… Kelly Gregg just turned 33 in November, Trevor Pryce will be 35 in August, Justin Bannan (30) and Dwan Edwards (28) are both unrestricted free agents as of March 5. Leaving Haloti Ngata as the only veteran on the defensive line that hasn’t peaked. Ravens fans point to Paul Kruger as a guy with the potential to replace Pryce but you know what they say about potential, right? It is just a fancy word to describe something that hasn’t been done.

But this is just one fans opinion.

What's Next?

Don’t you just love the NFL offseason? What’s not to love? All the trade rumors, contract posturing, new players coming into the league and 32 teams scrambling to improve their rosters in hopes of taking home the Vince Lombardi trophy for the upcoming season. It is truly entertaining. But since you asked…

One thing I do hate about the NFL offseason is that team’s weaknesses are overanalyzed by the media and fans. For the past two years it has been the wide receiver position for the Ravens. For almost a decade prior to 08, it was the quarterback position. In the early days of the franchise it was defensive help that the fans and the media clamored for during the offseason. All of the doom and gloom surrounding how bad (insert team) will be if they fail to fix (insert position), gets old after a while. Let’s be honest, no matter what a front office does there will always be a position on their team that needs to be upgraded. So, in an effort to talk about something new I am going to attempt to predict which positions each team’s fans and the media will be clamoring for them to fix next season, that is assuming they fix the issue that fans and the media are in an uproar about now. I will release these predictions as follows: