NFC Team Questions
August 19, 2013 in NFL
Who else would this question be about? I guess I can combine it all into one question. Can Robert Griffin III come back from the knee injury, stay healthy and work well with Mike Shanahan? It looks like he will be ready for week one barring a setback but the big question is can he work with Shanny? I hope they can because last season was fun to watch for all football fans when RG3 ran the Shanahan's offense. Can he stay healthy? That will depend on both Shanny's and Griffin because they need him when there are still major questions on the defense.
New York Giants
Just like the Steelers, the Giants seem to rise up every few years and Tom Coughlin gets them into the Super Bowl. But can the defense play well enough to make that happen like years past? JPP and Justin Tuck are already battling injuries as many would still consider the defensive line their strong spot. Because both the linebackers and secondary have questions still. All in all, the NFC East is not sporting strong defense anywhere. Good news is everyone considers it now an offensive league.
Could we see a repeat of 2010? It has the makings and potential I feel even with the talent they possess. Semi-lame duck coach in Jason Garrett, small-game Tony Romo under center and most important Jerry Jones still is in charge. Second question may have a huge effect on the main one, can Monte Kiffin improve the Cowboys defense and not force Tony Romo to not have to out gun opponents? Is Kiffin past he successful days in Tampa and now what USC got season? And can he take the talent Dallas has and mold it into a true contender?
Pretty easy. It is the question the whole NFL is asking, will Chip Kelly's system work in the NFL? Can the past style that worked magic at Oregon be successful on Sundays? A lot will depend on if he has the quarterback to help him do this. Maybe that guy is not in Philly yet but Mike Vick or Nick Foles look to have first crack. Like we said with the others can the Eagles defense even stop anyone and help out the Kelly offense. It should be an interesting and much examined season in Philadelphia.
The Falcons have put together back to back great regular seasons but the playoffs have been a complete bust. Can Mike Smith and Matt Ryan win in the playoffs? Simple question that needs to be answered quickly. Atlanta added Steven Jackson and talked Tony Gonzalez back into the league, Gonzalez still has a step but Jackson I am not so sure. The NFC is tough so each game is important to win to make sure you get home playoff games. Sad part is being home hasn't made a difference in the past for Atlanta.
New Orleans Saints
I am pretty confident that the Saints could have Sean Payton, Drew Brees and 10 drunks off Bourbon Street and still score 30 points a game. The question is can their defense finally do something? When they won the Super Bowl they really weren't that good they just knew how to cause turnovers. Since then the turnovers have vanished and the defense has been a disaster. In comes Rob Ryan looking to prove Dallas wrong and switch the Saints to the 3-4. It is always a challenge in year one and the Saints may not be a team that has a year to work the kinks out.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I could go and question the situation at quarterback but I have more confidence in Josh Freeman than Greg Schiano seems to. I think the biggest question with Tampa is the impact that Darrelle Revis makes right away. Is he going to be healthy enough to be dominant corner he was pre-ACL or will he not be able to help maybe the NFL's worst pass defense in 2012? Revis is a difference maker but he needs to be 100% to warrant the huge money Tampa risked on him.
The Panthers were picked by many last year to take that leap into the playoffs and be a surprise. It didn't happen because Cam Newton got off to a shaky start and looked like a clown portraying Superman down 30 at home. Carolina turned it around and played much better as Cam went off down the stretch. Once again is this the year the Panthers take the next step? I am not so sure but mainly because I think the NFC is very strong and so is the NFC South. Ron Rivera is probably again on the hot seat, so is Bill Cowher still looking around?
Another team that faces the same question has not change. Aaron Rodgers is a beast no matter what Greg Jennings says. The offense will be fine but can they defense stop anyone and give Rodgers a chance? Dom Capers probably still sees Colin Kaepernick dicing through his defense every time he sees a football field. Maybe the defense won't improve so the offense may have to help by running the ball a few times to give Caper's fellas a rest. Green Bay went out and grabbed two guys in the draft but will they use them?
Last season it was will AP come back? He did and ran for like 4000 yards I think. We overlooked Christian Ponder because not many considered the Vikes as a playoff team. They made it to the wild card round so now the pressure is on Ponder to improve his play. Percy is gone and many in Minny are not shedding a tear that he is already hurt. The Vikings even brought Matt Cassel in for insurance so you have to think that have some doubts on Ponder. At least Ponder has a fan 10am Saturdays on ESPN.
Life after Urlacher? Not my question. Jay Cutler performing in a contract year? Not my question. How can you fire a 10 win coach? Kinda my question. It is all about how will Marc Trestman do as a NFL head coach? From the CFL to the NFL. Is that like going from being Globetrotter head coach to being Lakers head coach? Can Trestman get the best out of Jay Cutler because the Bears have a huge decision to make on him in the coming months? Week 16, Eagles vs. Bears. Kelly vs. Trestman should have every offensive nerd salivating.
Are the Lions the team we saw in 2011 or the one we got in 2012? Jim Schwartz better hope for 2011 or he will be gone after 2013. Like the Saints, the Lions are still looking to find how they can improve on defense. If once again they can't find it, Matthew Stafford has to improve from last season. He still has Megatron but he can't win it all by himself and that was proven last season. The Lions are a team that is going to be hard to predict for the upcoming season unless that defense shows something.
San Francisco 49ers
Niners have the talent, the coach and the playoff experience, but not the big one. Well, not since the mid-nineties. Just like the Broncos is it Super Bowl or bust? Probably not as much since the Niners have a QB who can play ten more years although he might prefer the Dolphins. Since the Niners seem to have it all the big question is can Colin Kaepernick be a Super Bowl winning quarterback? He came close last season but couldn't make the final toss. If they don't win, Jim Harbaugh may combust into the Pacific Ocean.
Are they the team we saw at the end of the season or the one earlier that couldn't win on the road? Russell Wilson shouldn't have any kind of sophomore slump but they did take a hit with Harvin's injury. Watch their very talkative and active corners this season, Sherman and Browner. They have placed a lot of attention on themselves and let's see if they can back it up.
St. Louis Rams
Jeff Fisher can coach and he seems to have the Rams going in the right direction. I think the real question still comes down to Sam Bradford. Is Bradford a franchise quarterback? He was drafted #1 and has shown good stuff at times but #1's need to be All-Pros. Good news for Bradford is he now has Tavon Austin to help jump start the offense and it should be interesting to watch what he can bring. They played the NFC West tough and will need to what most likely will be the NFL's toughest division.
Arizona was a disaster at two spots last season, quarterback and offensive line. And it obvious you can't win anything when that is the case. So they started by bringing in Bruce Arians to coach, followed by trading for Carson Palmer and then added offensive line help in the draft. Is this going to be enough for them to compete in the NFC West? Carson Palmer is going to have to be the Cincinnati Palmer and not the Oakland one for any chance. He should be an upgrade and a lift for Larry Fitzgerald but I expect the Cards to still finish fourth.