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May 2010

Tennessee Titans 2010 Season Preview and Position Breakdown

Published on: 31st May, 2010

Tennessee Titans 2010 Season Preview and Position Breakdown  | read this item

The 2009 season for the Tennessee Titans did not go as really anyone expected. Fans went in to the season with Super Bowl expectations, and through the first 6 weeks of the season, what we got out of it was nothing but sheer disappointment. No one saw it coming, regardless of whether you expected this team to win the Super Bowl, or hell, even make the playoffs, no one can say they thought the Tennessee Titans would be 0-6 to start the season.

However, as it turned out, the 2009 season was not a complete waste. The Titans got something out of it that probably no one in the organization expected, and that was the emergence of Vince Young as the teams franchise QB. He came out and proved his doubters wrong, going 8-2 in the final 10 games of the season, and helped Tennessee from turning in to a complete joke.

Most importantly of this, though, is he didn’t do that simply with just his legs like he did in 2006. He did it with a combination of his arm AND legs. He posted the highest QB rating of his career, had a positive TD-INT ratio of 10-6 as a starter, and had a 58% completion percentage, to go along with his 281 yards rushing on a 5.1 average with 2 touchdowns.

Past Vince Young’s emergence(it’s hard to believe this got overshadowed by something else going on in the franchise, but that was partly the case), was Chris Johnson becoming the undisputed best back in football, and running for 2,000 yards along with breaking the yards from scrimmage record once held by the future hall-of-famer Marshall Faulk.

These 2 things were able to help Titans fans push the 0-6 start in to the back of their heads and focus on the good things going on in the franchise, and gave us hope for the next season. Which brings us to the main point of this article: a preview of the Tennessee Titans 2010 season.

I’m going to go from position to position, giving my personal thoughts on the starters and the depth of those positions, and how I feel they will fare this season, and I will follow that with a win/loss prediction on the season. We’ll start off the position previews with:

Quarterback:

Starter: Vince Young

Depth: Kerry Collins, Chris Simms, Rusty Smith

Titans fans finally got what they’ve wanted to see since Vince Young’s breakdown in 2008, and that is him establishing himself as the starting QB, and improving on his accuracy and decision making. All the talk so far in camp is that Vince Young has done nothing but give 100% to becoming better, and has improved not only on the practice field, but in the film room as well, where he was previously lacking. Vince Young should have a good season this year, and I’m predicting about 58/59% completion percentage, 18-20 TDS, 7-8 INTs along with 500 yards rushing and 5 or 6 rushing touchdowns.

In terms of the depth at the position, Kerry Collins and Chris Simms bring veteran help to the table, and Rusty Smith was brought in as a project to hopefully mold in to the #2 QB to stay behind Vince Young. We won’t go in to the season with 4 QBs on the roster, and I doubt we’ll even have more than 2 active in game, however, I foresee Simms getting cut, Collins sticking around as the backup for another season, and keeping Smith on the practice squad to mold in to the future #2.

READ MORE…

Titans4Vols is a Jabberhead and an SJ contributing author

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Why the Carolina Panthers Could be the Saints of 2010

Published on: 31st May, 2010

Why the Carolina Panthers Could be the Saints of 2010  | read this item

The Carolina Panthers enter the upcoming season with a very clear idea of who should win their division if you listen to the pundits.  

Last year, the Atlanta Falcons were the “team to beat” with the occasional spattering of Panther mentions, but the New Orleans Saints were really nowhere to be found.  

Now they were touted as a “potentially good team” before the season, but nobody saw them winning the Super Bowl and few saw them winning the division.  

The Carolina Panthers find themselves in a very similar position this year, although for different reasons.

Nobody thinks that the Panthers are going to air it out early and often.  This has always been a run first, second and mostly third team.  They will continue that game plan with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart for the near future.

And why not?  The Panthers are a loaded team with the running game, and an offensive line that could move pretty much anybody off the ball.  Add to that a healthy Jordan Gross and the Panthers are set to pretty much dominate the line of scrimmage most weeks.

What nobody seems to be noticing is that the Panthers have all the pieces to win it all.

The first argument against that statement is likely to be the quarterback position, but those that follow Panther football know exactly what is there with Matt Moore.  He will manage the game and make the plays through the air when needed.  He is a competitor that is fierce on the field, and has a far better arm than the majority of NFL experts seem to realize.  Jimmy Clausen is nice insurance and a great player for down the road, but this will be Moore’s team under center.  Mark it down.

The next roadblock is likely to be the defense, and it too is better than advertised. There will be some growing pains, but this defense has some game changers.  Jon Beason is as good as anyone at the middle linebacker slot and will likely be a breakout star this season according to the experts. He has been a breakout star here in Carolina for a couple of years now already.

Carolina needs some things to go their way, but they have both the talent and the schedule to do some serious damage.  

They are built to beat both the Falcons and the Saints with their running game.  Matt Ryan and Drew Brees cannot score if they do not have the ball.  

With all the talent swirling around, I expect Carolina to win the NFC South this season.

Yes, I said it.  

The Panthers will win the NFC South.  

I will be back at the end of the season to brag (or cowering in my corner if I am wrong)…

Trust me when I say, the Panthers should not be overlooked.  This is a dangerous team.

 

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Why Everette Brown Needs to Be the Carolina Panthers Best Player

Published on: 31st May, 2010

Why Everette Brown Needs to Be the Carolina Panthers Best Player  | read this item

In his first season, defensive end Everette Brown had 22 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. 

If this guy was in his fifth year in the league and he was a starter, those numbers would be absolutely terrible. But it was a rookie in his first year sitting behind another veteran. 

Before the 2009 NFL Draft, Brown was projected to be a first round pick. 

There was even some talk about him going number one, but his size was such a huge factor, that he dropped to the Carolina Panthers in the second round (sounds familiar).   

The Panthers did not run a 3-4 defense, so Brown was going to play defensive end. Unfortunately for Brown, the Panthers still had Julius Peppers on their roster. 

Brown would have to wait until Julius Peppers left the Panthers to become a free agent.

Now that Peppers has left, Brown will have the opportunity to prove to the Panthers that he can replace Peppers and lead the defense.  

Brown needs to be the Panthers best player, plain and simple.  There are a lot of questions about the safety position for the Panthers. That is a big weakness in the Panthers defense and if the Panthers want to disguise that weakness they must be able to pressure the quarterback, which was something that Julius Peppers could do. 

Sometimes Julius Peppers would slack off and not try his best because he could not get what he wanted. One thing you probably here about Everette Brown is his work ethic. 

With questions at QB, WR, and FS/SS, Brown needs to step up and not just be a good player for the Panthers; he must also be the best player.

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Rany Moss Seeking New Agent, Clarity After Firing Tim Dipero

Published on: 31st May, 2010

Rany Moss Seeking New Agent, Clarity After Firing Tim Dipero  | read this item

ESPN is reporting that New England Patriots’ wide receiver Randy Moss fired his recent agent, Tim DiPero.

Moss’ $27 million contract ends in 2010. Because he’s not the only player with contract issues In New England, Randy will have to wait. This wait will possibly last longer than he expects, which could lead to Moss leaving the Patriots.

He’s not retiring, though, and will suit up for his 13th NFL season in the fall.

The day after he fired DiPero, Moss contacted the Boston Herald to finalize his misconceptions of the events. He told the Herald, “I have no intentions of retiring. When firing my agent, I had just thought that time had run out. There were things that needed to be done that couldn’t be done.”

To all the agents out there, he is a free man. Moss never listed specific incidents, leaving the Herald to decipher what the receiver tried to say.

What could he have tried to say?

He was comforted at his home, with nine million bucks a year. He joined the Pats because he wanted to play for a winning team, which New England has done during Moss’ tenure. Was it personal issues or issues on the gridiron?

Even if there were some unaccomplished things, were they that important?

He was indeed a free man, as he said. Who wouldn’t want to have Moss as a client? Randy had a speech to address that he felt unworthy of being on the Patriots. He also said that it’s a business. If they didn’t consider him on the team, he understands.

On the one hand, there is the opinion of the team giving him the title of being unworthy, or at least that’s his conception. Then he wants to have the business feeling at the same time. That’s one of the misconceptions he was “possibly” configured as understanding. Then again, he felt worried if the Patriots knew at that point.

He needs to clear things up and discuss this decision with everyone else, or at least with Belichick. Although this is Moss’ decision, and if his own agent cleared that without an argument, it’s probably indeed something worthy.

If he continues to progress like this, let it be. But if he does this over and over again on another team, he will end up like Brett Favre. The thing is, it’s his 13th season. He’s almost ready for retirement, and it will be hard for him to find a good team. He might as well start to regret his decision, because soon that will happen.

It’s up to him, then. He can do it, but the fact that he isn’t listing his issues to the Boston Herald, or discussing this with his team, is stirring up news.

He is a good WR and I hope he does well on his next team. All well wishes to Randy and to his decisions on his NFL career.

He also had told the news that he would soon be hiring a new agent.

http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/nfl/news/story?id=5236563 Here’s an in depth video… Enjoy!

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Report: Ndamukong Suh Not Signing Rookie Deal Until Detroit Lions Training Camp

Published on: 31st May, 2010

Report: Ndamukong Suh Not Signing Rookie Deal Until Detroit Lions Training Camp  | read this item

If you’re a Detroit Lions fan, there is excitement about the organization going in a positive direction.

The past few drafts show there is a change in direction as the franchise looks to climb out from the bottom of the league.

In the 2010 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions took what seemed to be the likely selection in Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle out of Nebraska.

Suh showed his dominance in his senior season of college and was highly regarded as one of the better players in college football.

However, Suh isn’t expected to sign anytime soon.

According to the Grand Island Independent (a Nebraska newspaper), sources say Suh isn’t expected to sign until sometime during training camp.

However, Suh is not expected to hold out and has stated he plans on participating in all the upcoming workouts.

The biggest red flag is his agent, Eugene Parker, who is the agent for Michael Crabtree.

Last year, Crabtree held out until the middle of the season, where he then agreed to a deal.

 

Matt Miselis is an NFL Featured Columnist for BleacherReport.com.

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MattMiselis

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Oakland Raiders’ Sixpence Surprise: Fly Out of the Losing Pie!

Published on: 31st May, 2010

Oakland Raiders' Sixpence Surprise: Fly Out of the Losing Pie!  | read this item

A new version of “Sing a Song of Sixpence” would go like this:

Sing a song of sixpence

Pocket full of rye.

One and Ten Oakland Raiders,

Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened,

the players begin to win.

Wasn’t that a mighty dish

to set before the king, Al Davis.

Normally if you prepare a pie and put live birds in it, the birds would die and be cooked while alive in the pie.

Well, the Oakland Raiders’ pie has been baking for seven years. Here’s what we want, a surprise.

When the NFL opens the pie in 2010, we expect our team to be alive and well and to fly high.

Now, won’t that be a wonderful sight and event to set before the king of the Raiders’ franchise, Al Davis?

The Raider Nation has been “singing a song,” repeating ourselves and chanting that we want victories.

This is written for Memorial Day 2010. We remember the good times and the bad times, now it is time to expect victories in 2010. We want to win! Go Raiders!

Source and listen to the song

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Ready To Step Up? The NFC West Crown Is For the San Francisco 49ers To Lose

Published on: 31st May, 2010

Ready To Step Up? The NFC West Crown Is For the San Francisco 49ers To Lose  | read this item

The San Francisco 49ers have been one of the more underrated teams in the league. All the way out on the west coast, this young club is unknown to many NFL fans.

Call it surprising, but if I said Vernon Davis or Patrick Willis to some people, they would look at me with a blank stare.

Why? Because the 49ers haven’t made the playoffs for quite a few years, and the best way to get known is playing in the months of January and February.

In fact, 2010 is the year in which the 49ers turn the table and take over an NFC West division that is looking for a new leader.

Sorry Cardinals fans, but no playoffs for you. Sure, you still have Larry Fitzgerald, along with Steve Breaston and Early Doucet.

However, you lost both Antrel Rolle and Karlos Dansby, and didn’t make any improvements to a defense that couldn’t stop any offense in the playoffs. Add to that the departure of Kurt Warner, which leaves Matt Leinart to run your team.

The St. Louis Rams are in major rebuilding mode, while the Seattle Seahawks are about two years away from sniffing the playoffs.

San Francisco has the pieces within their division to emerge as the favorite. The offense upgraded the offensive line through the draft, selecting Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati.

Frank Gore wants to bounce back from the disappointing seasons, and Mike Singletary is going to want to pound the rock.

Vernon Davis continues to grow into the top 10 selection for which the the 49ers hoped, being the biggest target on the offense.

Second-year receiver Michael Crabtree played well enough having missing a good portion of the season—including training camp—due to the holdout. He should stand out as another weapon for Alex Smith.

Speaking of Alex Smith, he is going to play for a contract the next few years.

He will have confidence knowing that he is the starter, and it is up to him to redeem himself after being a big disappointment for a No. 1 overall pick.

Also remember the young, improving defense of the 49ers, which is becoming a physical one under Mike Singletary.

Patrick Willis may arguably be the best linebacker in the game and continues to prove it each and every season.

Right now, there are no controversies regarding contract, with many of their stars being locked up this offseason.

The 2010 season may be the beginning of San Francisco’s reign in the division. It is time for the 49ers to make another step towards being a contender in the NFC, and making the playoffs needs to be a guarantee this upcoming year.

 

Matt Miselis is an NFL Featured Columnist for BleacherReport.com.

Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/MattMiselis

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Denver Broncos Retrospective: The 2009 Roller Coaster Season

Published on: 31st May, 2010

Denver Broncos Retrospective: The 2009 Roller Coaster Season  | read this item

Last year was a wild ride for the Bronco faithful. It swung the fans up and down the football emotions spectrum. There was hope, disappointment, disdain, confusion, and excitement.

And that was just the offseason.

It all began with the ousting of incumbent head coach and football guru Mike Shanahan.

After successive seasons of mediocre play, the time had come to part ways with the man who had built the legend of John Elway. Shanahan departed with two Super Bowl rings and innumerable playoff appearances.

The issue was that those Super Bowls were now a decade past and the playoff appearances had stopped happening.

Then there was the controversial January hiring of new head coach Josh McDaniels.

Having spent his past years molding the New England Patriots offense, it seemed like a logical hire for a team that was looking to bring together its young offensive talent.

Then Mile High waved goodbye to part of that talent when quarterback Jay Cutler was sent to Chicago in a blockbuster deal.

It was followed by a draft in which the only exciting move was the first-round selection of running back Knowshon Moreno. There was some Bill Belichick-like movement up and down the board.

Finally, it was time for OTAs and minicamps.

The excitement of a new season was building.

Fans were still confused about how the team had once had the promising Jay Cutler at the helm of the offense and was now stuck with the seemingly banal Kyle Orton.

Everyone was worried.

There was tension everywhere amongst Denver fans.

Then game one happened—and it brought with it the play of the year.

A tipped pass wobbles seemingly forever in the air until it lands in the hands of wideout Brandon Stokley. He charges down the field for the winning touchdown, and what seemed destined to be a loss was now a win.

There was nervous applause and cautious enthusiasm.

The wins kept coming.

There were six in a row! The fans, who had been taking the success game by game, shakily waiting for the outcome, were now truly able to hope. The team’s defense was smothering the opposition. The offense was marching down the field with confidence.

There was plenty of jubilation to go around. Murmurs of playoff potential abounded.

Then the bye week happened.

What happened in that week off is beyond the understanding of the fans. All that is known is that the consequences were deadly for the last 10 weeks of the season.

Maybe it was stunting the momentum of a team on fire; maybe it was just a matter of coaching staffs catching up with the new strategies.

Whatever it was, it slowly crushed the confidence of the once hopeful squad.

The fans had to watch on as their team pulled out only two more victories down the stretch—and it was a terribly long stretch.

After all the hype and after all the hope, the season unraveled while fans clambered to hold on to the six-win streak in which they had once basked.

Then there was added tension between the head coach and a variety of players, including receiver Brandon Marshall and tight end Tony Scheffler. It was the breaking point for a team that had once luxuriated in the new genius of McDaniels and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. There was even reported stress in that relationship.

The season ended in a grotesque loss to their divisional rival, the Kansas City Chiefs.

After starting 6-0, the team had finished 8-8. The heartbreak amongst fans nationwide was palpable.

It hurt.

There were no playoffs, no consolation.

It was over.

The fans had known every potential feeling. They went from cautious to hopeful to confident to shaken to depressed to annoyed to frustrated to miserable.

Since then, plenty has happened. But that’s 2010. With it comes a whole new chapter in the Denver Broncos history.

Here’s to hope and hoping.

Good luck, Denver Broncos.

Please don’t put me through another heart-wrenching season. It’s actually bad for my health.

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Seahawks’ Top 10 Wide Receivers All-Time

Published on: 31st May, 2010

Seahawks' Top 10 Wide Receivers All-Time  | read this item

The Seahawks are not a franchise that has been known to be deep at the wide receiver position. They do have Steve Largent, who at one point was the NFL’s all-time leading receiver as their icon. There were some lesser recognized receivers however that made their input as top Seahawks stats leaders. Let’s take a look at the ten best receivers.

Begin Slideshow

Under Pressure! Eric Mangini’s Drive To Win a Super Bowl

Published on: 31st May, 2010

Under Pressure! Eric Mangini's Drive To Win a Super Bowl  | read this item

Head Coach Eric Mangini has had an interesting ride in Cleveland through his first year and now well into his second.

Mangini’s hiring came with a lot of skepticism over the process, but a no-nonsense attitude earned him a lot of fans through the off-season workouts and training camp.

A 1-11 start to the season coupled with a complete inability to communicate properly with or through the press then promptly got him in the Hot Seat with a good portion of the fanbase.

But fans are fickle and a four-game winning streak to end the season, including a victory over division rival and defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, swayed a lot people back into his camp.

New Team President Mike Holmgren decided to stick with Mangini, and the off-season workouts appear to be going a lot better than last year.

That’s as pure opinion as it gets, considering no one is wearing pads, but that seems to be the general consensus from the coaches and the media who have attended the practices.

In his press conference last week, Mangini was asked about former Cavaliers Head Coach Mike Brown and if there’s more pressure to win a championship in Cleveland because of the title drought.

Mangini’s response is something every Cleveland Browns fan should pay close attention to for all the right reasons.

“Tougher to coach in this town?” said Mangini. “It’s a passionate town, it’s a passionate town. You understand and you appreciate it. Believe me, you’re consumed with trying to achieve what we all want to achieve. It would be amazing, fantastic, and deserved.”

Mangini’s statement should tell everyone how committed this guy is to winning a Super Bowl. Even more important, especially to Cleveland fans, is that Mangini is the first coach this team has had since they returned to the league in 1999 who seems to “get it.”

He “gets it” in the sense that he knows beating the Steelers is the equivalent of the Ohio State/Michigan game for many Browns fans, 99 percent of whom probably also are Buckeye fans.

Romeo Crennell never “got” the rivalry, Butch Davis never “got” the rivalry, and Chris Palmer may have “gotten it,” but his tenure was too mired in other garbage to give him a fair assessment.

Mangini “gets it” in the way he won’t tolerate divas on the team any more than the fans will. This is not New York, and this is not California; divas have no place on this team.

Even more important, though, is that it appears Mangini finally “gets it” about how to speak to the fans, a trait he didn’t really possess last year, but let’s not waste any more time dwelling on that issue.

With the coaching staff in place for the second year in a row, the veteran players all are coming in knowing what’s expected of them. This in turn also will help the rookies acclimate to the situation as the veterans will be better able to tell them, “Do this, don’t do that.”

A stable front office, combined with a head coach who now has clear direction on how to achieve the goal of winning a Super Bowl, is a wonder in Cleveland because it really hasn’t been like that in this city since Bernie Kosar stood under center.

All Browns fans can do is hope is the lessons learned over the past few dismal years result in a winning season in 2010.

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