Organized Team Activities(OTAs) have never been popular in the Vikings organization
Whats to like- Adrian Peterson is the fucking man. You might have heard of him, as he probably went either #1 or #2 in your fantasy draft. This kid has been a rockstar ever since the day he donned shoulder pads. Even at Oklahoma, we all knew he was going to be something special. And he has lived up to every expectation. I really don't see any reason this kid wont be smashing records this year, as his O-line is top tier, if not elite. Hes gonna put up better numbers than LT, because LT has an offense around him and a decent QB who will distribute the ball. Speaking of the rest of the offense, Bernard Berrian made his way up the Great Plains to Minny from Chicago this offseason. I personally like this guy, hes got the potential to be a decent #1, great #2 WR down the road, even if he hasn't had a 1,000 yard season yet. As for this year, hes gonna be the first option in a passing attack that will have the luxury of light coverage due to the AP threat in the run game. On D, no line strikes fear into the heart of offensive coordinators as much as this one. With three potential Pro Bowlers on the line, its going to be damn near impossible to run and its going to be hard to protect a pocket against these guys. Jared Allen is obviously getting a lot of press, but I have to be honest, I didn't even know who he was until he signed with the Vikings. That's what happens when you play in Kansas City. I doubt hes going to put up similar numbers to last year; expect the glory to be distributed relatively evenly along the line.
Whats not to like- I don't like that their QB sucks. I mean, the kids got a chance to prove something to people, but from the games I watched last year, hes got a long way to go. Its possible for him to get his shit together, and if he does, watch out, they will be a Super Bowl contender. I guess I could mention the defensive secondary here, but having an outstanding line will make an average secondary look great. Having Darren Sharper and Antoine Winfield back there helps too.
Prediction/When do they lose to the Cowboys- Assuming Tarvaris Jackson doesn't shit the bed and has a decent year, and taking into account their tough schedule, I say the Vikings win the division at 10-6 and lose to the Cowboys in the second round.
Green Bay Favre-less Packers
Why they wont miss Favre- Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy rolled the dice big time this offseason. Everyone had an opinion about the Favre saga, but they pretty much stuck to their guns, even if they wavered for a hot grip. It shows that they have confidence that Aaron Rodgers can keep the team competitive this year. And its not an unreasonable bet, with a good O-line and guys like Ryan Grant, Greg Jennings and Donald Driver there to help the youngster along. Its probably one of the better situations a quasi-rookie QB has found himself in in the NFL in the past few years. The Packer's D will be good, better than last year at least, with a serviceable pass rush, a solid group of LBs and a secondary with a guy named Atari.
Why they are crying in their Schlitz's over losing Favre- To put it simply, Brett Favre was the only reason this team got as far as it did last year. Sure, they have talent and will do reasonably well this year, but if you lose your franchise QB and are handing the keys to a guy who has started a total of zero(0) games and hasn't even thrown 60 passes in his career, expect a let down. Favre kept this team going for large stretches of the season such as when the running game sputtered to a start, only getting its first 100 yard team effort in October. I just don't know if Rodgers is ready to put the team on his back when opposing D's load the box against Ryan Grant the first few weeks and dare him to beat them.
Projection/When do they lose to the Cowboys- Some may call me a flip-flopper, but after questioning Rodgers above, I think hes going to muddle through. There is a quality offense around him which will give him a few crutches. I think he gets his shit together and they compete for a wild card. 9-7, prob wont play Cowboys, but if they do, they lose in the first round.
The usual postion for Bears QBs
Reasons to think they don't need a real QB-
Devin Hester, I'm not afraid to admit, is the best return guy Ive ever seen whether in college(1:50 and 2:40 are nuts) or in the pros. I know I'm going way out on a limb there, but hey, that's what we at SUS are about, bold statements that may or may not be backed up by fact. Im excited to see what Hester can do if utilized as a complete offensive weapon. I doubt there is a corner in the league who can keep up with him on streak routes, maybe DeAngelo Hall or Champ Bailey(I know, maybe not anymore). The mofo is just explosive and is going to put the hurt on opposing defenses if given a proper supporting cast. Speaking of that, rookie Matt Forte looks to solve the 2nd biggest problem the Bears have had over the past few years, after letting the one decent back they had, Thomas Jones, go and keeping the shitty one, Cedric Benson. Defensively, things look a little better. The linebackers in Chicago are predictably great, one of the best units in the league, and they will have to be to make up for a declining D-line. The secondary is quality as well, and will do their share to give the LBs and linemen some time to get to opposing QBs.
The cold hard reality that you need a good QB in the NFL- My basic feeling is this, if you have laughably bad QBs for more than 2 years and fail to try and correct the situation, you need to turn the keys of the franchise over to someone WHO HAS A BRAIN. QB is the most important position in all of sports, and cannot be neglected. You have a good year with a shitty QB? Fine, draft a potentially good one in that years draft, but you cannot fool yourself into thinking that shitty QB will magically turn into Terry Bradshaw. Bears fans have been treated to a revolving door at QB for the last three years, except like a group of 10 year-olds, none of the guys in the revolving door ever actually leaves or enters the building. This franchise has shown a defiant unwillingness to do anything about their teams major deficit. They have refused to go after free agents, refused to draft a "future of the franchise" star and refused to make the major move that might put their team into an elite category for at least the past three years. This team rode a wave of luck and great defense to the Super Bowl a few years ago, and it seems like they are expecting it to happen again. Now, the team that made that run is slowly being nicked apart. If they don't get a quarterback with some potential soon, 2006 is likely to be the only shot at a ring they will get for awhile.
Prediction- Sorry Bears fans, Kyle Orton is not the answer(see 2005). This team is one or two players away from being great again, but sadly, one of them needs to be the QB. A reasonably tough schedule will keep this team from threatening the Vikings and Packers: 7-9
The Lions may suck, but they look good doing it
The Good News- These guys actually have the best QB in the division right now. Even better, they have two budding superstars at receiver with some capable backups. Rookie Kevin Smith will look to add some stability at RB over a luggage-less Rudi Johnson. The defense boasts three quality cornerbacks and a great linebacker in Ernie Sims.
The Bad News- Where to begin.... This defense is seriously going to miss Shaun Rogers. Every 4-3, especially those with sub-par ends, needs a skilled fat guy to take up two blockers so the other guys on the line can get a chance to beat their men and get to the QB/RB. Rogers was that guy for the Lions and he wasn't replaced. This line will get little, if any, pressure on opposing QBs, which will test the secondary in new and maddening ways. Without pressure, that's a battle QBs win 75% of the time. Ive always believed that every game is won in the trenches, and this Lions team just cant compete there.
The Worse News/Prediction- Well it makes sense that if you have a decent(relative term, I know) QB and two big, fast young WRs that you would fire your offensive coordinator, who made his name in pass happy attacks. I'm no big Mike Martz fan, but this guy improved the team in the two years he was there. I think Detroit is gonna miss him. 5-11