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Article:A Journey Through The NFL With Some Burning Questions - Part 1

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As we stand on the precipice of the NFL pre-season and with mock drafts occurring left and right, it’s official: It’s finally okay to talk about football without getting shit on by all of the baseball fanatics. With it still being a tad too early for say, playoff predictions, it’s definitely not too early to take a look at each of the NFL teams, ask ourselves what the biggest question going into the pre-season is about them, then answer it as if we had expert knowledge and should be taken seriously. Sound fun? Your damn right it sounds fun! So let’s disregard the quizzical title and get started!!

We’ll go alphabetically around the league because that is what would make our grade school teachers the happiest.


Arizona Cardinals

Question: Will Matt Leinart finally step up this year or will he turn out to be a complete and utter bust?

Answer: After some highly publicized R&R, Leinart will be under many different microscopes this coming season. Although he only played in five games last year before injury, his performance failed to impress anyone and even got him benched. Leinart has the weapons to succeed but will likely need to spend more time and effort in the film room where all young QB’s must put work in to improve. If he can do that, he has the talent and supporting cast to finally claim the Cardinals starting QB spot from the forever young Kurt Warner. If not, Warner doesn’t look to be going anywhere and has no problems utilizing all of the toys the Cardinals have on offense.


Atlanta Falcons

Question: How much have the Falcons regressed due to the Vick fiasco?

Answer: A lot. Barring a season for the ages the Falcons will likely be as good as Matt Ryan’s learning curve in 2008. Although Michael Turner will have trouble doing what he does with every defense focused primarily on him, the Falcons offense has lots of young talent that will grow and improve together with time. The defense on the other hand… well, you can’t blame Michael Vick for that mess. It might be hard to admit if you’re a Falcons fan, but 2008 will be a rebuilding year for the franchise -- but at least things are beginning to look up.


Baltimore Ravens

Question: Has the once feared and ferocious Ravens D finally passed it’s prime?

Answer: Don’t bring this up in front of Ray Lewis who is in a contract year and would likely kick the shit of you, but it’s actually looking like a reality. It would seem that after the 2007 performance (See: It was really bad) that the best-in-the-league showing in 2006 was the top of the mountain, with that mountain being a poorly imagined symbol of something’s prime. Barring one last hoorah or some rookies breaking out and carrying on the torch, the once vaunted Baltimore D has likely seen the last of it’s dominant years.


Buffalo Bills

Question: Will Trent Edwards finally give the Bills a competent QB to pair with it’s blossoming offense?

Answer: After repeatedly trying and failing with J.P. Losman, the Bills could have finally found their QB of the future in Trent Edwards. He’s young, he’s talented and he walked the walk last year when Losman went down with an injurt. Although he’s had some injury problems in the past, Edwards is plenty capable of utilizing all of the Bills’ young talent. But in the interests of being short and concise: Yes, Trent Edwards can be what the Bills wished J.P. Losman was but only if he can stave off the injury bug.


Carolina Panthers

Question: Are the Panthers a playoff contender with Jake Delhomme at the helm? Or with Matt Moore?

Answer: Yes, that’s technically two questions but no need to worry! If your really bothered by such a thing than just stop reading now and go sort your clothes out by color and weight -- you’ll like that better. No matter, the key to this question is whether or not it’s a healthy Jake Delhomme. In turn, the key to that key to the original question is that Delhomme is coming off Tommy John surgery. While he may be healthy in the general definition of the word, most front offices in the league would be going: Tommy John Surgery + 33 year old QB = Uh-oh, maybe it’s time for us to start looking at the future?! Despite being thrown into the fire as a rookie last year, Moore looked very impressive. If he becomes the starter and can limit his mistakes, a talented young running game and improved receiving corps (bolstered by Muhsin Muhammad’s return) could help him sneak the Panthers into playoff contention. In reality though, this isn’t going to happen.


Chicago Bears

Question: Are the Bears really banking on Rex Grossman or Kyle Orton as the QB of the future?

Answer: I would like to say no but the organizations failure to select a QB in a draft that was absolutely loaded with them makes one wonder. We’ve seen enough of Grossman to know what he brings to and then immediately takes off the table. Orton on the other hand brings the game management element to the table but then takes off the big play element of Rex and the fact that he doesn’t seem to know how to shave. Regardless, choosing between the two is like having to pick between peas or peanuts for dinner. They might taste good if you talk yourself into it, but in the end your going to be left wanting more. Let’s all hope the Bears have their eyes on some QB’s in the 2009 draft class.


Cincinnati Bengals

Question: Are Carson Palmer’s best years being wasted on an underachieving, passionless team?

Answer: While Palmer likely still has many more solid years under his belt, it’s a shame his talent and performances aren’t translating into wins. Despite being surrounded by drama and being the only Bengal that hasn’t been arrested (What? Has the Bengals criminal thing been killed yet?) Palmer has been putting up Pro Bowl candidate numbers year in and year out. If the Bengals don’t get their act together soon, they may find themselves ready to compete in a few years only to find that Carson Palmer has already thrown his best games.


Cleveland Browns

Question: How well will Derek Anderson have to play to quell all of the impending Brady Quinn talk?

Answer: Very well. Despite having an out-of-nowhere breakout season last year, Anderson trailed off at the end of the year, just when the Browns needed him most. It was also when opposing defensive coordinators finally had enough film to get a feel for him and then start game planning against it. If the Browns had made the playoffs last year, it may be a different story, but since they didn’t, Anderson will need to get back to his stellar play immediately. If not, you’ll be hearing a lot about Brady Quinn everywhere you turn. And by everywhere, I mean ESPN and every single football related site on the internet.


Dallas Cowboys

Question: Will the Cowboys season be a disappointment without a Super Bowl win?

Answer: Although it would be a positive if they won just one playoff game, losing in or before the Super Bowl would be a disappointment due to all of the talent they have on the roster. The Cowboys first concern though, is likely how to survive the juggernaut NFC East and will save the Super Bowl thoughts until after they make the playoffs. Well everyone but Terrell Owens, that is.


Denver Broncos

Question: Does Mike Shanahan not like fantasy football or something?

Answer: I’m torn between the beliefs that Mike Shanahan has so many running backs because all the rumors are true that he doesn’t like fantasy football or that maybe he just loves running backs. Do you think he’s like that in everyday life? “What do you want for breakfast darling?” “Uh, I’ll have Apple Jacks. No! No! Give me some Wheaties. Throw some sugar on top. Wait, wait, no! I’m in the mood for some cream of wheat! Ah, screw it just throw everything into one bowl and I’ll eat it all! You can never have too much of a good thing!”


Detroit Lions

Question: How many wins does Jon Kitna likely think the Lions will chalk up this year?

Answer: Many people scoffed at Kitna’s inflated win prediction last year at this time, only to pretend they believed him all along once the Lions started knocking off wins early in the season. It’s safe to assume that Kitna won’t go down on his prediction from a year ago but nine wins is about right for a nice, liberal prediction. Kitna will probably lock in on around the twelve win prediction mark, be off by about three to four wins and never again predict win totals before the season.


Green Bay Packers

Question: If Favre returns to the Packers, what exactly can we expect from poor Aaron Rodgers?

Answer: If Favre returns and returns to the Packers then Aaron Rodgers would do something immediately. The whole, ‘I don’t mind shadowing this Hall of Fame quarterback because I’m just so grateful to be here’ act was put to rest when Favre shed tears at his retirement ceremony. If Favre comes back to Green Bay (and I really hope he doesn’t because that would be a real dick thing to do) than Rodgers will either A.) Demand a trade or B.) Just give up on football altogether and spend the rest of his life forgetting about the whole thing in the Bahamas.


Houston Texans

Question: Can Matt Schaub really lead the Texans through the jungle that is the AFC South?

Answer: Not to try and take away anything from Matt Schaub’s 2007 season, it was very good and he proved himself a suitable starting quarterback and all. However, he was injured for five games in his first full season as a starter and broke even in his touchdown to interception ratio. Opinions have been going either way, with some people believing such a season was very promising for a first year starter, where others think that while he’s going to be good, he’ll need to be better to lead the Texans to an AFC South title. I subscribe to the belief that he needs to get a bit better and that it will only be a matter of time until he does so. But not this year.


Indianapolis Colts

Question: Is it too early to wonder when Peyton Manning’s play will begin to decline?

Answer: Yes? Okay then. My fault.


Jacksonville Jaguars

Question: Will Jerry Porter provide a much needed spark for the Jaguars receiving corps or will it remain as the teams Achilles Heel?

Answer: It certainly won’t hurt to have Porter lined up out wide. The thing with David Garrard is that he’s a game managing quarterback and doesn’t necessarily need big time wide receiver to succeed. While many point out that the wide receiver position has been the Jaguars weak point, the combination of a two-headed dragon of a running game and a game manager if there ever was one QB greatly negate such a weakness. Still, it can’t hurt to have a talented WR on the team. Expect Porter to become Garrard’s new favorite target -- how’s that for a prediction?


Kansas City Chiefs

Question: How badly will Jared Allen’s departure effect the K.C. defense and more importantly, the entire team?

Answer: When you lose one of the best defensive players in the league and you weren’t that good of a defense in the first place, it’s going to hurt. Allen’s departure takes away a lot of credibility from the Chiefs defensive line and it’s highly unlikely they’ll finish as the thirteenth ranked unit without him. Although plugging in Glenn Dorsey at defensive tackle will help and is definitely the best possible rookie they could have drafted to try and salvage the situation.

If you'd like to read Part 2 (and why wouldn't you?!) than click this phrase!!

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