NFL Pre-Season Review: Last Of The Week 2 Memories

It is becoming a blur after watching week 2 of preseason football. One half of good football, strange final scores that have little to no relation to how the game went. How is one to judge a preseason football game? Do we just make the most of the first half and try and hash together some sort of highlight reel for rookies? I have found myself up at 6am watching Reggie Bush look like he did in fact deserve that Heisman trophy. I watch Cam Newton grin and smile after almost having his head torn off. I watch the Redskins look…good? No sleep can do strange things to the human mind. People can start to believe things like the Redskins winning the NFC East. Shanahan got a haircut. Anything is possible in Washington.

Game 1: Jaguars vs. Falcons

The Falcons have a serious receiving core. Matt Ryan will probably go over 4,000 yards this year. Julio Jones will run block, catch deep balls, and go over the middle without issue. The Falcons are going to need to outscore teams if they want to win in that division. They score fast. The issue with fast scoring is that if the opposing team has a good run game and can eat up clock, then that Falcons offense is going to be stuck on the sideline.

Defense is not the focal point of the Falcons, which is why they used their 1st,5th and 7th round pick on offense. The biggest star on the Falcons defense is John Abraham. Abraham is 33 years old and may not have enough left in the tank to be the dominant pass rusher of years past. Sean Weatherspoon is a solid linebacker but might not have enough of an impact to pick up the rest of the defense.

For the Jaguars, things looked better in week 2 for Blaine Gabbert, who has a serious gun and seems to look more comfortable in the pocket with every snap. This preseason will be good for Gabbert, who is going to need to feel out the offense against defenses that are trying to make him uncomfortable and rush his throws. He will learn to find his tight end, namely Mercedes Lewis when the play breaks down. 6’6 275. Just throw it to him.

Game 2:  Colts vs. Redskins

Are the Colts on the edge of missing the playoffs? Yes. Peyton Manning might miss the season opener. He did not have his usual receiver camp or practice in full pads yet, not a good thing when it is already week 2 of preseason. There will be interceptions and missed throws, possibly more than last year. It will not be pretty until week 6. That said, the Colts have enough defensive lineman to stop the run, though that linebacking core leaves much to be desired. Drake Nevis will fit right in with guys like Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis showing him the ropes.

The Colts knew last year that they needed some help at offensive line, because if Peyton goes down, the season goes down. They grabbed Anthony Castonzo in the 1st round and Ben Ijana in the 2nd round. Manning sleeps well.

The Redskins. Let me tell you a little about my relationship with the Redskins. I’m 23, so the Redskins have never been good in my lifetime. My dad is a Redskins fan. A sad, bitter, almost guilty Redskins fan. I like to occasionally call him and let him know the latest Redskins news, like when they signed Haynesworth last year and gave him a $20,000,000 check.

For some reason, he did not think this was going to end well. It did not end well, and he could only watch as his team was manhandled by Michael Vick. He actually told me that after the first touchdown, he had to turn on The Biggest Loser to stop the vein in his neck from throbbing. So recently I gave him a call, notifying him that Donovan Mcnabb had been traded to the Vikings, and that John Beck was the new starting quarterback. Not former 1st round pick Rex Grossman, but John Beck. The John Beck 99% of NFL fans have never heard of.

I thought it would be a beating. A sad event much like watching Holyfield still boxing, Jorge Posada swinging for the fences, or AJ Burnett trying not to have a nervous breakdown with bases loaded in the first inning. And then the game started.
The Redskins had holes to run through. If the Redskins get production out of Maurice Hurt, they will be able to use Roy Helu like they did at Nebraska. They have enough of a mix of veteran (Stallworth, Moss) and rookie (Paul, Robinson, Hankerson) wide receiver talent to spread the field. And the defense…a Redskins defense?

Mike Shanahan may actually crack a smile watching his defense play. They’ve got a serious linebacking core. London Fletcher is on his last legs, but Brian Orakpo is like having a corner and a D lineman on the field, while Ryan Kerrigan will get moved between defensive end and outside linebacker. If a team decides to throw the ball, they get to sort between Laron Landry, Philip Buchanon and Deangelo Hall. Big hits will be made.

As per the yearly lack of trying, the Colts scored 3 points. Curtis Painter grew his hair to surfer bro lengths, and the Colts look like they will ned another QB to replace Painter if Manning’s neck surgery takes longer than expected to heal.

Game 3: Dolphins vs. Panthers

This was the game I turned on after a night of good old fashioned debauchery, so it was more to see Sporano scream and Reggie Bush run. I wanted to see Cam sling it a bit and see how he handles blitzes, but conclusions are not always what you expect them to be. The Dolphins will rely on four players on offense. Chad Henne. Davone Bess. Reggie Bush. Brandon Marshall. That will be the magic formula. Run with Bush, pass it over the middle to Marshall, and catch Devon Bess on the sidelines.

Cam Newton will run. He will have to if he wants to demoralize safeties and cornerbacks that attempt to tackle him. He is a new breed of quarterback, whose physical attributes would put him as anything between linebacker, defensive end, and the world’s largest safety. Yet he is a quarterback, and that should make anyone under 6 feet tall nervous when he takes off to run. People will look weak and small.

Towards week 3, where the strange will get stranger, and upsets will be glorious.

AFC Power Rankings: Where Do the Jets Fit?

First a few updates:

1. It’s officially training camp week, with the Jets opening up this Friday in Cortland, New York. Later in the day, I will be posting an extended, comprehensive (two big time adjectives there) training camp preview. Also, I will finish up my positional analysis this week, with a look at the team’s linebackers and special teams. You can look back through the archives for my breakdown of all the other positions on the roster.

2. I will be appearing on a podcast on our site tomorrow around 11:30 to discuss the Jets, the link is http://ownersedge.fanball.com/fantasy_buffet.php

3. By the end of the week, I plan on making additions to both the TOJ Hall of Fame and TOJ Hall of Shame…thrilling stuff for everybody, I know. Also, I am stuck with the 5th pick in upcoming fantasy football draft and I am open to suggestions on who I should pick…Brees, Fitzgerald, Jones-Drew, Westbrook, Brad Smith, Wallace Wright?

AFC Power Rankings: Where Do the Jets Fit?

I don’t like to rank teams from 1-16, but instead separate them into different levels. With training camps starting up this week, here is how I see the AFC breaking down:

The Favorites

Pittsburgh Steelers – The defending champions are returning all of their major parts and should be right back at the top of the AFC North. Their defense should be one of the league’s best and if they can get something out of Rashad Mendenhall and Limas Sweed this year, their offense could be even more dynamic.

New England Patriots – They have the best coach in the NFL, a good defense, and potentially the best offense in football if Tom Brady is back at 100 percent. If the Jets want to win the AFC East, the road goes through New England (sorry Dolphins fans).

Indianapolis Colts – They were playing as well as anyone in football last year before getting bounced in the wild-card round to the Chargers. Even without Tony Dungy, they still have a quality defense and tons of weapons on offense, including first round pick Donald Brown, who should flourish in their system.

San Diego Chargers – They have as much talent as anyone in football, but can they put it together? Fortunately for them, the AFC West is a weak division and they shouldn’t have any trouble repeating as champs.

The Contenders

Baltimore Ravens – A great defense, a young quarterback who is only going to get better, and a dominant running game should equal another double-digit win total for the Ravens.

Tennessee Titans – I think they will take a big step down from last year’s win total. They sure didn’t feel like a 13-3 team last year, but maybe that’s just because I watched the Jets embarrass them in their home building. They got a shot for revenge in the Meadowlands in week 3, though.

Question Marks

Miami Dolphins – They have 6-10 written all over them this season and I’m not saying that as a biased Jets fan. The Wildcat won’t fool anybody this year and Chad Pennington has never put together two healthy, productive seasons in a row. Yet, they have a good defense and running game which will keep them competitive.

Buffalo Bills – There is a ton of talent at the skill positions but can Trent Edwards stay healthy and take his game to the next level? Can Dick Jauron get out of his own way?

New York Jets – I expect a great defense and a great running game but there is still question marks at quarterback, receiver, tight end, and depth on both lines.

Houston Texans – Every year everybody picks them to make a big jump but it never seems to happen. If Matt Schaub can stay healthy, their offense will be scary good with Steve Slaton and Andre Johnson making plays but they still have question marks on defense, as usual. The Texans will be a good test for the Jets in week one.

Bigger Question Marks

Denver Broncos – You don’t improve from 8-8 by going from Jay Cutler to Kyle Orton at quarterback.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Torry Holt will help them on offense, but unless David Garrard goes back to his 2007 form, the Jaguars aren’t going to be any better than they were last season.

The Basement Dwellers

Oakland Raiders – There is obviously talent on offense and some pieces on defense, but hasn’t that been the case on Oakland for the past few years? I’m sure they will go 5-11 but still find a way to beat the Jets.

Kansas City Chiefs – Matt Cassell isn’t going to look so good without Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and one of the best offensive lines in football.

Cincinnatti Bengals – If Carson Palmer can play a full 16 games, they could improve a few games from last season but that would only put them in the 6-7 win range.

Cleveland Browns – Have fun Eric Mangini, but hey they said the same thing about your Jets in 2006 and look what happened.

Jets Highlight of the Day: After spending another weekend of arguing with my friend’s about Leon Washington’s talent level, I decided to throw up some of his highlights, Give 29 a new contract: