Welcome to The 3-4, a website dedicated to NFL analysis, predictions and recent events. We wrote 32 extensive team previews and will be writing about all things football throughout the year. We will be scouting players off game tape, evaluating them, predicting NFL and NCAA games, and much more! If you would like us to write about something in particular, let us know!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

New York Giants 2010 Analysis and Preview

Last Years Record 8-8
Wins: Redskins (2x), Cowboys (2x), Buccaneers, Chiefs, Raiders, Falcons
Losses: Saints, Cardinals, Eagles (2x), Chargers, Broncos, Panthers, Vikings
Biggest Playmakers Defensive Ends
The biggest playmakers on the Giants team are their defensive ends. With the addition of rookie Jason-Pierre Paul they now have four guys that can really get after the quarterback. Last year Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and Mathias Kiwanuka did not put up the same numbers sack-wise as they had in previous year, but still were able to force 11 fumbles. If their defensive ends produce like they are cable of, the Giants should be a very scary team for QB’s to go up against this year.
Impact Player Steve Smith
WR, USC, Drafted #51, 4th year
He may not be the flashiest receiver but Smith knows how to get open. In his first full year as a starter, Smith had 107 receptions and 1,220 yards receiving.
Biggest Off-season Addition Antrel Rolle
FS, U of Miami, Drafted #8, 6th year
Adding Rolle is a huge addition for the Giants. Rolle was considered one of the best free agents available and should help stabilize the Giants shaky secondary that let up 31 touchdowns through the air and 26.7 points per game.
Biggest Offseason Loss Antonio Pierce
MLB, Arizona, Undrafted, 9th year
The Giants surprisingly released Pierce this off-season after he was plagued with injuries. Pierce had been a mainstay at middle linebacker for the Giants for the last 5 years. The Giants will miss Pierce’s leadership on the defensive side of the ball.
Biggest Draft Steal Jason Pierre-Paul
DE, South Florida, Drafted #15, Rookie
The Giants biggest need going into the draft had to be the linebacker position, but when Pierre-Paul fell to them at 15 they had to select him. Pierre-Paul is a 6’5” 270 lbs freak who has all sorts of potential. He is going to be able to learn from some of the best defensive ends in the game so I cannot imagine him not succeeding.
Biggest Draft Mistake Passing On LB’s
Other than Michael Boley, the Giants depth at linebacker is very thin. They will be going into the season relying on guys that have little to no experience starting in the NFL. In a draft that was heavy with linebacker talent, the Giants waited until the 4th round to select their first linebacker.
Offseason Grade C+
Adding Antrel Rolle and Jason Pierre-Paul were both big additions. But releasing Antonio Pierce and not bringing in some linebacker help seems to be a huge mistake. If I am an opposing team I would be running the ball all day against the Giants.
X-Factor Running Game
The Giants offense relies heavily on their ability to run the ball effectively. Last year they just never seemed to be able to get the running game going. They only had 2 games where one of their backs rushed for over 100 yards. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmed Bradshaw are going to have to have good seasons for the Giants to be successful.
Name You Should Know Kevin Boss
TE, Western Oregon, Drafted #152, 4th year
Boss does not have the same speed or athleticism as former Giant tight end Jeremy Shockey, but he is a very good, fundamental player. At 6’6” 253 lbs. he gives Eli Manning a big target to throw to. He may never be a star in the league but he is a great fit for the Giants offense.
Rising Star Hakeem Nicks
WR, UNC, Drafted 29th, 2nd year
Even though he was bothered with hamstring and foot injuries in 2009, Nicks had a very impressive rookie season with 47 receptions and 16.8 YPC, 6th best in the NFL. Nicks is a guy that could have a break out year for the Giants.
Offensive Outlook B
They have some good young receivers and QB Eli Manning has proved he can very good at times. Their offensive success really depends on their ability to run the ball. If they can consistently run the ball like in years past they will have an impressive offense.
Defensive Outlook C+
Their defensive line and secondary should be very good but if I am a fan of the Giants I would be very worried about the linebacker core.
Special Teams Outlook B-
Domenik Hixon is a solid return man and Lawrence Tynes is an excellent kicker. The punting situation is up in the air after Jeff Feagles retired. 7th round pick Matt Dodge may be the answer.
Projected 2010 Record 7-9
The NFC East should be a very competitive division this year and I would not be surprised if the division winner only ends up having 9 or 10 wins. There are still a few questions on this Giant team, but I think they are still capable of playing like the 2008 super bowl team. They still have the pieces in place to have an amazing pass rush and a good running/play action offense. With all that being said I still don’t trust Eli Manning to be consistent throughout the season and carry this team to the playoffs. He is just too streaky.

Lions President Tom Lewand Fined, Suspended

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has suspended Tom Lewand 30 days for violating the personal conduct policy of the NFL.  He is also being fined $100,000 for a DWI.  Lewand was pulled over and his BAC was .21 percent.

The 3-4 Take:  It is nice to see that not only the players are held responsible for their actions.  The management positions of a team are for leaders and they should be held accountable not only by the league but within the organization.  It is disappointing to see the team PRESIDENT doing careless things, especially when he is preaching off the field behavior to the players.  Lewand needs to show a better example...turning around an NFL organization takes strong leadership at the top.  I imagine he will stay out of trouble in the future, but if he doesn't, look for the Lions to move on without him.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sam Bradford - Richest Player in the History of the NFL (Guaranteed $)

Sam Bradford just signed a deal for six years, $78 million, a max of $86 million and $50 million guaranteed.

How can the Rams, let alone any team, afford to guarantee someone $50 MILLION!!!!????  If any player were to suffer a career ending injury, the team would take a serious cap hit for the next six years.  There seriously needs to be a rookie cap on contracts, and I hope it happens in the next collective bargaining agreement.

Anyways, to Bradford's 2010 season.  Coming off shoulder surgery that ended Bradford's 2009 season and led many to doubt his career, Sam was picked #1 overall by the Rams.  I don't think Bradford is a #1 worthy quarterback, let alone a $50 million guaranteed quarterback.  Adjusting from a spread offense to under center is not as easy as you would think (I did it from high school to college), and with a #1 pick you must be ABSOLUTELY sure with what you're getting.  That's not to say I don't think Sam can transition.

Bradford looks incredibly calm in the pocket and has no fear of taking hits.  The only thing is, he didn't take many with an incredible offensive line at Oklahoma.  Sam very well could be the answer for the Rams franchise, but he is going to need major help around him.  Sure, the Rams upgraded their offensive line by drafting Roger Saffold and moving Jason Smith to LT.  But their offensive line has been very poor recently.  And Bradford is one who is prone to injury (remember him hoisting the Heisman trophy with a cast on his hand?).  It will be interesting to see how Sam's health holds up.

Honestly, I think the Rams went with the "safe" pick.  Everyone said they should pick Bradford, that they needed a QB, because every struggling franchise needs a #1 overall QB, right?  Sorry.  Marc Bulger was a pro bowler.  Sure, he might be getting old and on the decline, but don't you think he could be successful with a little help around him?  Could they have traded down and gotten two quality starters to fill bigger needs?

Prediction:  Bradford will be thrown into the mix by week 4 after short term fix AJ Feely does not prove to be a fix at all.  Can't wait to see the Rams - Raiders showdown in week 2!!
If Sam were to start all 16 games:
15 Touchdowns
18 Interceptions
2,900 Yards
One Serious Beating

Dez Bryant Hurt

Cowboys WR Dez Bryant hurt his ankle on the second to last play of practice Chris Mortensen said on his twitter. More in a bit

UPDATE:  Dez Bryant to miss 4-6 weeks (probably more towards six) with a high ankle sprain.  Best of luck to Dez recovering

Eric Berry - Richest Safety in NFL History

Chiefs S Eric Berry becomes highest paid safety in NFL History today after signing a 6 year, $60 million contract with $34 million in guarantees.

Rookie Cap!!!!  There must, and I think there will be, a cap on rookie contracts when the next collective bargaining agreement is agreed upon.  The fact that Eric Berry is now guaranteed to make $34 million dollars over the next six years of his life no matter what he does is crazy, especially because HE HASN'T PLAYED A DOWN IN THE NFL!  Not even in a preseason game!  Sure, he had a great career at Tennessee and looks to translate well in the NFL, but come on!

Sorry for the rookie contract rambling tonight...

Eric Berry will be a starter from day 1.  The Chiefs made a great pick selecting Berry who will be an impact player right from the get-go.  He is a very aggressive player who moved up and played more in the box his junior season.  During his first two seasons he amassed 12 interceptions playing free safety, returning 3 for touchdowns.

Prediction:  Chiefs needed to seriously upgrade their defense (29th in scoring defense, 30th in yards allowed in 2009) and did so by adding the best available defensive player.
90 Tackles
3 Interceptions
1.5 Sacks
1 Fumble Forced

And Rodney Harrison said Eric Berry will pass his 30.5 career sacks


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Ravens Starting CB Out for the Season

The Baltimore Ravens have lost their starting cornerback, Domonique Foxworth, for the 2010 season with a torn ACL.  Foxworth suffered the injury in practice on Thursday.  The Ravens are now looking to backups Chris Carr, Lardarius Webb (rehabbing a knee surgery) and Cary Williams.  Their opposite starting corner, Fabian Washington, is also rehabbing from knee surgery.

Analysis:  Huge blow for the Ravens defense that will already be without safety Ed Reed for at least the first six games.  Chris Carr started four games in 2009, appearing in all 16, with 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and a career-high 38 tackles.  The Ravens simply cannot afford another injury, especially in their secondary.

I think the Ravens will go out and sign a free agent cornerback, potentially a veteran to a one or two year deal... Ty Law? Shawn Springs? Fred Smoot? DeShea Townsend?

Update:  The Ravens traded a conditional 2011 draft pick to the Seahawks for CB Josh Wilson.  They had to make a move.

Haynesworth Fails Conditioning Test...Again

This seems to be the preseason of failed conditioning tests...first rookie Terrance "Mount" Cody with the Ravens twice and now previously disgruntled Albert Haynesworth of the Washington Redskins.  Haynesworth was not happy about the switch to the 3-4 defense as he will be moving to nose tackle.  Albert is off to a shaky start with the new coaching staff, but in the end everything will work out.  Haynesworth's contract is worth over $100 million, and the coaching staff and management will not sit a player that is taking up that much cap space.  Sure, he will probably begin training camp (when he passed the conditioning test) with the 2nd or 3rd teams, but expect Haynesworth to quickly move back into the starting role.  The nose tackle is crucially important to a 3-4 defense, and having a guy like Haynesworth in that spot is huge (literally).  However, Haynesworth will see some time at the 3-4 defenseive end when him and Maake Kemoeatu are both playing.  Kemoeatu is recovering from a 2009 achilles injury.

Prediction:  Haynesworth will see time both at DE and NT this season.  Expect him to be involved in some trade rumors at some point in the next year if he continues to create off-the-field issues.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tim Tebow Signs with Broncos

Tim Tebow just signed a five year, $11.25 million contract with the Denver Broncos. The contract is worth a maximum of $33 million.

Prediction: Tebow gets on the field this year whether it be in wildcat formations, Florida-esque formations or goaline situations, but he will not be a starter this year or the next.

I like Tim Tebow I just do not think he will end up being the player the Broncos want him to be.

My Pre-draft analysis sums it up:

#6 rated QB- Tim Tebow, Florida
Biggest Strength: All the intangibles, a winner.
Biggest Question: Does his game translate in to the NFL?
Where he will go: 1st-2nd round. Tim Tebow is probably the most talked about player in this draft… and he is not even a solid first round pick. Because he is so talked about and hyped some team is going to take the risk on him. It happens every year that some player has a big name or does really well at the combine and goes a lot earlier then they should.
Where he should go/ prediction: 4th round. If he had the exact same skill set and played for a small division one team, he would not even be considered in the first round. I would much rather have a player like QB Pat White from last year, a player with a lot more talent and upside. I like the way Tebow plays; I just think he is over valued. I would draft him as an H-back and not as a QB.
NFL Comparison: Byron Leftwich

Sean Weatherspoon Will Start for the Falcons

LB Sean Weatherspoon, the 19th overall pick from Missouri, signed today with the Atlanta Falcons.  In his four years with Mizzou Weatherspoon racked up 12.5 sacks, four interceptions, five forced fumbles, 17 passes defended, 413 tackles (third most in school history) and two touchdowns.  His incredible versatility is apparent through his statistics.  He is considered a great leader with a high motor, on and off the field, which is vital for a starting linebacker.  He is very instinctive attacking the line of scrimmage, and has average size and strength, but he loves to play football, and does so passionately.

Prediction: Joining the Falcons 4-3 defensive scheme Sean Weatherspoon will earn a starting role by week 3 at the latest.  He has been working out at both OLB positions, which obviously will help his versatility.  (The two spots are interchangeable in the Falcons' defense.)  It's tough to say if he will end up starting over Stephen Nichols or Mike Peterson, both incumbent starters, but it will be one of them.

80 Tackles
3 Sacks
2 Forced Fumbles
2 Interceptions

Rolando McClain - 2010 Defensive ROY?

Raiders LB Rolando McClain, the 8th overall pick in this year's draft, becomes the first top 10 pick to sign, getting five years and $40 million. McClain won the Butkus award in 2009 as the nation's top linebacker and should make an immediate impact with the Raiders.

Prediction: Rolando McClain has the tools to be an immediate starter and a franchise MLB...and he will be.  He makes plays from sideline to sideline, and will be a force in the league a la Patrick Willis.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
120 Tackles
3 Sacks
1 Forced Fumble
2 Interceptions

Agree? Disagree? Tell us what you think in the comments section!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jimmy Clausen Signs

Jimmy Clausen signed a deal for four years and a max of $6.3 million.

It must have been really tough for Jimmy Clausen to go from being a possible first overall pick and surefire top 10 to being drafted 48th overall.

I think, however, that this is a blessing in disguise. Yes, he ends up losing millions of dollars, but there are many positives that come from being drafted in the second round.

The biggest thing is the pressure to perform is significantly less. Imagine being an Alex Smith, JaMarcus Russell, or David Carr, all first overall picks that have been labeled "busts" for the rest of their careers. When you are a first round pick you are expected to come in be the savior, the next Peyton Manning. Clausen will join a huge class of second rounder quarterbacks that have never had a lot of expectations.

Brian Brohm, Chad Henne, Kevin Kolb, John Beck and Drew Stanton were the last 5 quarterbacks taken in the second round. The latter 3 were all drafted higher then Clausen. You could say that Henne and Kolb have had some success, but the other three that have not panned out yet. Fans are not that disappointed that these guys have not been really successful because not a lot was expected of them.

Clausen was also lucky enough to go to the Panthers, and have a chance to start right away and not sit behind some aging veteran (ask Aaron Rodgers how he liked that.)

Prediction: Clausen will start first game of the season. I would be shocked if he is not.

Clausen Pre-draft Scouting report:

#1 rated QB - Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame
Biggest Strength: Great production in a pro style offense.
Biggest Question: Cockiness/character concerns.
Where he will go: Top 10. Clausen has the chance of slipping into the late first round like QB’s Aaron Rodgers and Brady Quinn before him. But with so many teams with the need for a quarterback this year it would be surprising to see that happen.
Where he should go/ prediction: 1st overall. He is a top notch quarterback that, and unlike most of the quarterbacks this year, he has experience under center. I don’t know about his character, but based simply on what I have seen from him I think he is going to be a great QB and it would be a huge mistake for a team that needs a quarterback to pass on him.
NFL Comparison: Aaron Rodgers

Washington Redskins 2010 Analysis and Preview

Last Years Record            4-12
Wins: Rams, Bucs, Broncos, Raiders
Losses: Giants (x2), Lions, Panthers, Chiefs, Eagles (x2), Falcons, Cowboys (x2), Saints, Chargers
Biggest Playmaker            Donovan McNabb
QB, Syracuse, Drafted #2, 12th Year
McNabb joined the Redskins and immediately surfaced as a leader.  He has been one of the most effective playmakers at the position during his career, evolving from a QB who tended to leave the pocket too soon to a very accurate pocket passer.  McNabb led the Eagles to five NFC Championship games in the last eight years, and people knock him for not winning the big games.  Just like people knocked John Elway when Mike Shanahan was coaching him…
Impact Player            London Fletcher
MLB, John Carroll, Undrafted, 13th Year
London Fletcher may be one of the most underrated players of the last decade.   Consider that he has made only one Pro Bowl in his career (2009).  Now consider that he has made over 115 tackles every year for the past ten seasons.  Not to mention his 15 interceptions, 12 forced fumbles, 30 sacks and 60 passes defended…all impressive numbers for an inside backer, a guy who is supposed to stuff the run.
Biggest Offseason Addition            Donovan McNabb
QB, Syracuse, Drafted #2, 12th Year
Acquiring Donovan McNabb was definitely the best move the Redskins made with a draft pick.  Coming off a season in which he threw for 3,500 yards, 22 touchdowns and just ten interceptions, McNabb is poised to help lead the Redskins to an improved record.
Biggest Offseason Loss            Antwaan Randle El
WR, Indiana, Drafted #63, 8th Year
Normally, losing your starting QB would be the biggest offseason loss, but they upgraded at the position.  They also lost OT Chris Samuels (the 3rd overall pick in 2000) to retirement due to injury, but there was nothing they could do to help that.  Losing Antwaan Randle El was their biggest loss because of their lack of depth at the WR position in 2010.  Devin Thomas is a third year veteran from Michigan State who will need to step up to make the Redskins not regret releasing Randle El.
Biggest Draft Steal            Selvish Capers
OT, West Virginia, Drafted #231, Rookie
Selvish Capers is a guy who is a project, but has a lot of potential.  Drafting a guy who is relatively new to his position (Capers switched from TE to OT two years ago) is risky business, but Capers was picked to be drafted much higher.  The Redskins were looking to add depth at tackle in this draft, and Capers has big upside.
Biggest Draft Reach            None
The Redskins drafted OT Trent Williams with the 4th overall pick, and many questioned this, simply because he was not Russell Okung.  Trent Williams is physically gifted and will likely start as a rookie and for years to come, but that is what you should expect from a top 5 pick.  The Redskins did not pick again until the fourth and none were worthy of being considered a reach.
Offseason Grade            A-
The biggest move of the offseason was the addition of Mike Shanahan as their head coach.  Success of a team really comes from the top, and Shanahan is a proven leader and a winner.  Adding Donovan McNabb has a similar effect.  However, the Redskins also got a starter in OT Jammal Brown and added depth with QB Rex Grossman, RBs Larry Johnson and Willie Parker, DE Adam Karriker, DT Ma’ake Kemoeatu, CB Phillip Buchanon as well as starting punter Josh Bidwell. 
X-Factor            3-4 Transition
Switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 is never easy, especially when your $100 million defensive tackle is deadest against it.  Albert Haynesworth has since retracted his stance, but it will be interesting to see how now OLB’s Brian Orakpo (2009 Pro Bowler) and Andre Carter, both who had 11 sacks as a DE in 2009, adjust to the switch. 
Name You Should Know            London Fletcher
MLB, John Carroll, Undrafted, 13th Year
Still not sure how he is so underrated, and how he has always been so.  Because he’s undersized?  Get over it.  10 straight 115+ tackle seasons.  Fletcher was undrafted out of Division III John Carroll University, and is still not getting the respect he deserves!
Rising Star            Brian Orakpo
OLB, Texas, Drafted #13, 2nd Year
Brian Orakpo is an absolute animal.  I remember watching a game of his from Texas and seeing the special at halftime of him in the weight room.  He is huge, and just throws around weight in the weight room.  If the 2009 rookie pro bowler is not considered a star after his 11 sack rookie campaign, he will be in the next two years.
Offensive Outlook            B-
The addition of a leader like Donovan McNabb and two probable starting tackles helps their outlook, but the Redskins are still looking at three potentially washed up running backs to carry their rushing attack.  Larry Johnson was impressive in limited time last year with the Bengals, and Clinton Portis and Willie Parker hope to return to their 1,000 yard forms, but who knows if any of them can carry the load this season.  The running back position is a wild-card, and the ‘Skins need to establish a consistent number two receiving threat.  Having a healthy Chris Cooley is also vital to the offense.
Defensive Outlook            B-
The defense appears to be relatively strong, but they are currently faced with the uncertainty of switching to the 3-4.  A big sigh of relief is that Albert Haynesworth will report to camp.  Orakpo and Carter are proven pass rushers, but it will be interesting to see how they do out of a two point stance and in pass coverage.  The secondary is just decent, with DeAngelo Hall and Carlos Rogers both needing to play well early, or they could see Phillip Buchanan take over.  LaRon landry is likely moving to strong safety where he should be more effective. 
Special Teams Outlook            C-
2nd year kicker Graham Gano is slated as the ‘Skins number one kicker after appearing in just one game in 2009.   Josh Bidwell missed all of 2009 with a hip injury so it will be interesting to see how he fares.  The kickoff and punt return games were poor for the Redskins in ’09, ranking 24th and 30th, respectively.
Projected 2010 Record            7-9
Yes, the Redskins were 4-12 last year.  And yes, they could have been much better.  The Redskins suffered from the inability to win the close games in 2009, losing five games by three points or less.  (If they had managed to win those five there are looking at a 9-7 finish!)  The Redskins improved drastically since last year, but are playing in a tough division in the NFC East, and I don’t see them going better than 2-4 against the Cowboys, Giants and Eagles.

Golden Tate Signs with Seahawks

Former Notre Dame standout WR Golden Tate has signed a four year deal with the Seattle Seahawks worth $3.26 million.  Golden Tate saw his draft stock skyrocket after a great performance at the combine and was considered by many to be a first round talent.  Picked #60 overall, the Seahawks have high expectations for him and could have him starting alongside T.J. Houshmandzadeh early this season.

Prediction:  Golden Tate will be starting over Deion Branch by week 3.  Branch has had injury problems throughout his career.  However, he will be pushed and competing with newly signed Mike Williams.  Tate could also be a factor in the return games.
55 Catches
800 Yards
5 Touchdowns

Devin McCourty 2010 Patriots Preview

Devin McCourty, cornerback, special teams extraordinaire and the 27th overall pick in this years' draft has become just the second first round pick to sign a contract.  The deal is reportedly worth a maximum of $13.2 million over five years.  This is about $2 million more than last year's 24th overall pick, RB Donald Brown from Connecticut.

Prediction:  It's never easy to predict statistics for a secondary player, especially one who is competing for a starting job, but McCourty will be seeing the field from day 1.  Head Coach Bill Belichick recently called him a "four-down player," meaning that he can contribute on defense as well as in special teams.  I think you will see Devin making a huge splash in special teams as a returner as well in other areas such as the gunner on the punt team and blocking kicks (seven career blocks in college).

McCourty will see time on defense, whether he starts or is a situational player remains to be seen
2 interceptions
MAJOR impact in special teams, similar to Kelley Washington during his time with the Pats.

Update:  With Leigh Bodden on IR McCourty will likely start.  He will definitely suffer some growing pains but hopefully can learn quickly

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Eagles 2010 Analysis and Preview

Last Years Record 11-5
Wins: Panthers, Chiefs, Buccaneers, Redskins (2x), Giants (2x), Bears, Falcons, 49ers, Broncos
Losses: Saints, Raiders, Cowboys (2x), Chargers,
Biggest Playmaker DeSean Jackson
WR, California, Drafted #49, 3rd year
Jackson is the definition of a playmaker. Last year he put it all together. He had 1,156 yards receiving, an outstanding 18.6 YPC and 9 TD’s. He is unbelievably quick and agile, and a home run threat every time he touches the ball.
Impact Player Brent Celek
TE, Cinncinati, Drafted #162, 4th year
Celek quietly had a great year for the Eagles. He was 4th, behind Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark, and Jason Witten with 971 yards for a tight end. He led the Eagles in receptions and had 8 touchdowns, yet was left off the pro-bowl roster. Look for Celek to have another stellar season and maybe get some well deserved national exposure.
Biggest Offseason Addition Ernie Sims
OLB, Florida St., Drafted #9, 5th year
The Eagles acquired Sims, a former 9th overall pick in the 2006 draft, for just a 5th rounder this offseason. You would think that Sims must be a bust for the Eagles to get him at such a low value, yet he put up 100+ tackles in his first 3 years, and his production only dropped off last year because he was bothered with injuries. Sims is a guy that can make plays from sideline to sideline and he should come in and help out right away. The Eagles biggest problem last year was finding consistent starters at linebacker, so picking up Sims for only a 5th rounder was a huge pick up.
Biggest Offseason Loss Donovan McNabb; Briann Westbrook
QB, Syracuse, Drafted #2, 12th season; RB, Villanova, Drafted #91, 8th season
With the loss of these two guys it seems like the Eagles are losing their whole identity. McNabb and Westbrook have been the face of the franchise for a long time now and it will be just weird to see the Eagles play against Donovan and the Redskins this year. I am sure Eagles fans are excited to see some new, younger guys, but one day they will appreciate how much McNabb and Westbrook did for their team.
Most Interesting Loss Kevin Curtis; Shawn Andrews
WR, Utah St., Drafted 74th, 8th year; OG, Arkansas, Drafted 16th, 7th year
Neither of these players have made an impact in the last two years, but both are interesting losses. Both have been plagued by injuries for the last two years, were released by the team this year, and had pro-bowl caliber ability. In his first year with the Eagles Curtis amassed 1,110 yards receiving and 77 receptions. Unfortunately he got injured the next two seasons. Having him in the slot last year would have made a pretty amazing receiving core. It is the same story for Andrews, except at one point he was considered one of the best guards in football. In the 2008 season he suffered from depression and then went on the IR for the next two years with back injuries. Both guys are great cases of ‘what if’s’ for the Eagles.
Biggest Draft Steal Ricky Sapp
DE/OLB, Clemson, Drafted #134, Rookie
Sapp was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school and had all the talent to become a great pass rushing threat. He never produced like anyone thought he would but still ended up having 17 sacks in his college career. He has so much talent that he could be a guy that puts it all together at the NFL level and could be a huge steal for the Eagles.
Biggest Draft Reach Brandon Graham
DE, Michigan, Drafted #13, Rookie
Graham was a guy I really liked, and after seeing him dominate the Senior Bowl I was convinced he should be a first rounder. Before that point he was a guy that was considered a second round pick, but then the hype started building and a snowball effect took place a little too much. Graham was worth picking up in the 20-32 range, but I think because he became a little too over hyped and the Eagles ended up trading up and drafting Graham with the 13th pick. It was not a great value pick especially with Jason Pierre-Paul and Derrick Morgan, two better prospects still available.
Offseason Grade B
The Eagles brought in 13 new draft picks, some more guys that can rush the passer and Ernie Sims to help out at linebacker. They had a very solid offseason but did not really make any huge splashes and let their starting QB and RB go.
X-Factor Kevin Kolb
QB, Houston, Drafted #36, 4th season
It is surprising to see that the Eagles have so much confidence in a guy that has only started 2 games in his NFL career. The whole city is putting a lot of pressure on Kolb to come in and perform better than McNabb did right away so it will be interesting to see how he handles it.
Name You Should Know Trent Cole
DE, Cincinnati, Drafted #146, 6th season
This is a name everyone should absolutely know. He is one of the best defensive ends in the NFL and has 42 sacks in the last 4 years, yet he is never been in the conversation for best defensive ends with guys like Dwight Freeney, Julius Peppers or Jared Allen.
Rising Star LeSean McCoy
RB, Pittsburg, Drafted #53, 2nd year
McCoy had a great rookie season averaging 4.1 YPC and racking in 40 receptions. He should be a guy that can end up replacing Brian Westbrook.
Offensive Outlook B-
The biggest question mark is how Kevin Kolb will perform in his first year as a starter. The Eagles have done a good job of surrounding him with a lot of young talent. Jermey Maclin and DeSean Jackson can only get better, the offensive line is led by one of the best left tackles in the game in Jason Peters, and don’t forget that they have Michael Vick and his ability to run the Wildcat.
Defensive Outlook B-
Defensively the Eagles look very strong on the defensive line and with Asante Samuel at cornerback. The biggest question still has to be the linebackers. Ernie Sims was a big addition but Stewart Bradley and Moise Fokou only have 21 games starting experience between them. The same can be said about their secondary, as they have some young talented guys without a lot of experience.
Special Teams Outlook A-
With Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson as possible punt and kick returners you have to be pretty happy about your chances of a good return every time. P Sav Rocca and K David Akers both have some pretty good legs.
Projected 2010 Record 8-8
From what I have seen from Kevin Kolb, he looks like a great QB. But I am not going to go ahead and equate a couple of good starts to a guy being able to put it together and have a great year. The Eagles should at least be a very fun team to watch this year.

Terrell Owens: Bengals Preview

For real this time.  One year, $2 million deal with another $2 million in incentives.  Will TO earn these incentives?  Who knows, but it bodes well that he has been working out with Carson Palmer all summer, and who knows how his friendship with Chad Ochocinco will be a factor.

Can we get the TV Show Hard Knocks back in Cincinnati, please!?

Check out an ESPN Blog on why this move will be good for the Bengals

Prediction: As long as the Bengals continue their success of last year, this "experiment" should work out.  I have to imagine both Owens and Ochocinco know that they will be splitting catches and the limelight and will do their best to make it work, especially considering they are good friends.  Expect to see Terrell Owens' production improve from last year with Carson Palmer throwing to him, but not quite back to his prime.

70 Catches
1100 Yards
8 Touchdowns

Wes Welker Placed on Active PUP List

What does this mean?  Not a whole lot.  Welker is very close to returning to football.  He could be taken off the physically unable to perform list anytime, even tomorrow.  If he were to be on the PUP list when the Patriots cut down to a 53-man roster, he would have to miss the first six games (like Ed Reed will).  The Patriots are simply taking it slowly with Welker, a knee injury is nothing to mess around with especially for a shifty player like Welker, and they want to be sure he is ready for week one.

Dallas Cowboys 2010 Analysis and Preview

Last Years Record            11-5
Wins: Bucs, Panthers, Chiefs, Falcons, Seahawks, Eagles (x2), Redskins (x2), Raiders, Saints
Losses: Giants (x2), Broncos, Packers, Chargers
Biggest Playmaker            DeMarcus Ware
OLB, Troy, Drafted #11, 6th Year
DeMarcus Ware is considered one of the best 3-4 OLB’s in the business and rightfully so.  He has never missed a game in his five years, and has recorded more than 11 sacks the last four years (20 in 2008).  Tag along five forced fumbles in 2009 with that and expect DeMarcus to make his fifth straight Pro Bowl this season.
Impact Player            Miles Austin
WR, Monmouth, Undrafted, 5th Year
Miles Austin had a breakout year, becoming a started in week five and dominating from then on.  He had 81 catches on the year (he had 18 the previous three years) and 11 touchdowns.  However, Austin will have to prove critics that he is not a one-hit wonder, but will certainly benefit from the addition of rookie WR Dez Bryant.
Biggest Offseason Addition            Alex Barron
OT, Florida State, Drafted #19, 6th Year
Pretty much the only offseason addition for the Cowboys, Alex Barron has been an average starter for the Rams the last five years.  Look for Barron to serve as the backup to both tackles, and the Cowboys can consider themselves lucky to have a backup with as much experience as he does (74 starts in five years).  However, he was still traded from the 1-15 Rams… 
Biggest Offseason Loss            Flozell Adams
OT, Michigan State, Drafted #38, 13th Year  
Replacing a franchise left tackle is never easy, especially when he has been your starter for 12 years.  Sure, Adams is getting old (35), but is only two years removed from a Pro Bowl.  Now, the Cowboys are looking at Doug Free to likely start at LT, a guy who appeared in only one game in his first two seasons in the NFL.   
Biggest Draft Steal            Dez Bryant
WR, Oklahoma State, Drafted #24, Rookie
This spot very easily could have gone to ILB Sean Lee from Penn State, considered by many to be a mid-first round talent taken at #55 overall, but Dez Bryant is going to have a big impact and soon.  Watching Bryant play is really something special as he makes countless spectacular catches.  I think he will take over Roy Williams starting spot sooner rather than later.  (Roy Williams – signed a six year, $54 million contract in 08 – caught 38, yes, 38 balls last year and led the team with eight drops.)
Biggest Draft Reach            OT/Safety?
The Cowboys had a very solid draft overall as they definitely employed the “best player available” approach.  Any team that picked up Dez Bryant at #24 and Sean Lee at #55 is looking at a very solid draft.  However, the Cowboys two most pressing needs are at offensive tackle and safety.  The Cowboys 2009 starters at LT and FS (Flozell Adams and Ken Hamlin) are both gone and Jerry Jones and co. have yet to address these positions.                     
Offseason Grade            B
Coming off an 11-5 regular season the Cowboys did not need to make a ton of moves.  Looking up and down their roster, there are playmakers at almost every position, except LT and FS, as mentioned above.  The Cowboys added some real talent in the draft, but have yet to address their two biggest needs.  There are some very solid free agent talent still on the market at these positions (T – Marcus McNeill (Rams), Jared Gaither (Ravens) and FS – OJ Atogwe (Rams), Antoine Bethea (Colts), all restricted free agents).  If the Cowboys could make a move on one of these players their offseason grade could skyrocket
X-Factor            Miles Austin
WR, Monmouth, Undrafted, 5th Year
Miles Austin suddenly has a huge role in the Cowboys’ offense, and time will tell whether he is a consistent pro bowl player or whether Dallas will need another WR to step up and be the go-to guy.
Name You Should Know            Jay Ratliff
NT, Auburn, Drafted #224, 6th Year
Coming off two straight pro bowl seasons Jay Ratliff is the anchor of the Cowboys 3-4 defense, as any dominant NT can be.   The Cowboys were the 4th best run defense a year ago (in terms of total yards), and a lot of that credit goes to Jay Ratliff stuffing the middle.  When you watch a Cowboys game next, look for the big man to be taking up two blockers and opening holes for the inside backers.
Rising Star            Felix Jones
RB, Arkansas, Drafted #22, 3rd Year
Felix Jones very likely will be the starting running back for the Cowboys at some point this season.  Filling in for Marion Barber in Jones’ rookie year he averaged 8.9 yards per carry on 30 carries.  8.9.  8.9.  Wow.  Jones injured his hamstring and missed most of his rookie year, but returned in 2009 to rush for 685 yards on 116 attempts in 14 games, a measly 5.9 yards per carry (ha!).  Jones has big play potential both as a running back and in the return game, and look for a breakout year from him if he can stay healthy.
Offensive Outlook            A-
Tony Romo.  Marion Barber.  Felix Jones.  Jason Witten.  Miles Austin.  Dez Bryant.  Just a few weapons the Cowboys have to work with this year…most of them in their prime.  Not to mention the two pro bowl interior offensive linemen returning (RG Leonard Davis and C Andre Gurode).  The Cowboys are hoping LT Doug Free can fill in for Flozell Adams and that RT Marc Colombo can recover from multiple injuries in 2009.  If Miles Austin can repeat a pro bowl caliber season and the Cowboys can play as well late in the season as at the beginning, look for them to challenge for a super bowl in 2010.
Defensive Outlook            B+
The Cowboys had the second best scoring defense in the NFL last year, allowing just 250 points.  The Boys’ question mark is at FS where they released starter Ken Hamlin, but Alan Ball played well in his four starts last year and the coaches have confidence in him.  If the Cowboys could sign a FS like OJ Atogwe this grade could very easily be in the “A” range.  The Cowboys are looking for CB Mike Jenkins to continue to grow and expect consistent performances from the likes of DeMarcus Ware, Terence Newman and Jay Ratliff.
Special Teams Outlook            C+
The Cowboys have a very untested special teams unit beginning with kicker David Buehler.  Handling only kickoff duties last year (6th longest average kickoff length), he will likely be handling the field goals last year.  Punter Mat McBriar was average a year ago, and the Cowboys have a lot of potential in the return game with Felix Jones, Miles Austin and Dez Bryant.
Projected 2010 Record            11-5
The Cowboys have incredibly high expectations this year and rightfully so.  They have a star-studded lineup and lost only two starters (who they chose to release).  The Cowboys believe Doug Free can take over at LT and succeed.   Look for Felix Jones to have a breakout year and start for the Cowboys (while still sharing carries with Barber and Tashard Choice), and for the already strong passing game to be bolstered by the addition of rookie Dez Bryant.  Hopefully for the Cowboys the whole “I won’t carry other players’ pads” saga blows by quickly!