Initial Reaction – New York Jets – 37 Jacksonville Jaguars – 13

Initial reaction to the New York Jets 37-13 pre-season win over the Jacksonville Jaguars

A handful of Sunday thoughts on the New York Jets second pre-season game, a 37-13 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars

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Turn On The Jets Roundtable – Jets vs. Bengals Preview

The Turn On The Jets roundtable previews the New York Jets pre-season opener versus the Cincinnati Bengals

Welcome to our first Turn On The Jets Roundtable of the 2012 season. We will be doing this throughout the year to get multiple opinions in a single article to both preview and predict upcoming New York Jets games. Today myself, Chris Gross and Mike Donnelly discuss what we are most looking forward to seeing tomorrow night –

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Joe Caporoso – It has to be Tony Sparano’s new offense. We have heard all off-season about the “Ground and Pound” so let’s see it in action. Last pre-season the Jets were awful running the football and it carried over into the regular season. Let’s see Shonn Greene churn out at least 4 yards a carry on his touches and Bilal Powell or Joe McKnight pop a run over 15-20 yards. The Jets are depleted at wide receiver but that is no reason to not give Mark Sanchez a chance to work with his new vertical threats, Stephen Hill and Chaz Schilens. And yes, it will be interesting to see Tim Tebow in action. I don’t think we will see much of The Wildcat but I’m sure he will break out of the pocket for a few runs with the second offense.

Can Austin Howard hold his own at right tackle and become a viable competitor to Wayne Hunter? Can one of the wide receivers make a big enough impression to prevent Mike Tannenbaum from swinging a trade? My money is on Patrick Turner or Jordan White having such a game.

Chris Gross – Command, control, and confidence out of Mark Sanchez. – The worst thing fans can do is expect Sanchez to come out tomorrow night and air it out early in his limited reps. The majority of his receiving corps (that he is most familiar with) will be sidelined, so don’t expect to see too many big plays out of number 6. Instead, look for him to, first, be confident in the new system. A very encouraging sign will be to see Sanchez exhibit early signs of the Tony Sparano “Know and know you know” philosophy. Look for Sanchez to show confidence in the new system, while displaying command, and most importantly the ability to protect the football. Improving his turnovers will be vital to his success this season, and Sanchez can take a step toward that tomorrow night.

Defensive Speed – The biggest area of need for the Jets following last season’s conclusion was team speed on the defensive side of the ball. New York is hoping that they improved on that with the additions of rookies Demario Davis and Quinton Coples, as well as veteran LaRon Landry, and a reborn Aaron Maybin, who finally has a full offseason under his belt with the Jets. It will be interesting to see these improvements in speed in live action tomorrow night. Expect Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine to come out swinging early with some aggressive blitz schemes

Mike Donnelly – Well I think my Stock Watch this week pretty much covered many of the things I’m looking forward to seeing in this game, but there are a few that bear repeating. Obviously I would love to see the Jets plan for Tim Tebow or see just how much Mark Sanchez has grown and improved this offseason, but this game won’t be a good barometer for either of those things in my opinion. The offense is going to come out very vanilla, work on a few basic things, and then get the starters the hell out of there before any more injuries can occur.

What we will get a good look at tomorrow night, however, is the second string on both sides of the ball. Players like Bilal Powell, Joe McKnight, Patrick Turner, Jordan White, Kenrick Ellis, and Ricky Sapp are guys I’m especially excited to see get extended playing time. I’d love to see a guy like Turner or White really step up and grab the bull by the horns and show that the Jets aren’t so thin at WR as everyone things. I’d love to see Bilal Powell justify the hype this preseason and show the Jets don’t need to go out and sign a veteran like Cedric Benson. And I’d really love to see Ricky Sapp continue his strong play this preseason and give the Jets a dynamic edge rusher to team up with Aaron Maybin. The thing I’d like to see the most though is everyone stay healthy, so let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that is the case Friday night around 10pm when the game ends.

The Final Days Of Pre-Season

We are less than two weeks away from Jets vs. Cowboys: week one, Sunday night football. Ryan vs. Ryan. The Jets blitz vs. Tony Romo. Miles Austin/Dez Bryant vs. Darrelle Revis/Antonio Cromartie. D’Brickashaw Ferguson vs. DeMarcus Ware….the list goes on.

Yet, we need to finish up the pre-season first, namely the Jets last game at home against the Philadelphia Eagles this Thursday. The final roster cuts still need to be made and I wouldn’t expect too many shockers. They have already decided their kicking options by keeping Nick Folk and TJ Conley over Nick Novak and Chris Bryan. Both battles were close throughout the pre-season, so why not go with the more experienced kicker in your building and a punter who has now spent three training camps with you?

The Jets also have to be concerned about starting fullback John Conner who is in walking boot now with a sprained ankle. He is expected to be start in week one but if he has any setbacks, the team is going to have to dust off Tony Richardson from retirement, which certainly isn’t a bad fallback option.

Around the rest of the roster, I would expect Patrick Turner to end up as the number five receiver now that Logan Payne has a dislocated wrist. Scotty McKnight belongs on the practice squad…if that. Payne probably would have claimed the number five spot but his injury will likely either put him on the IR or the practice squad for the time being.

Undrafted rookie linebackers Nick Bellore and Garret McIntyre both have a great shot of making the final 53 and could bump recently signed Aaron Maybin off the roster. Maybin would need a monster performance against Philadelphia on Thursday to give the coaching staff second thoughts.

Journeyman offensive lineman Robby Felix and Dennis Landolt will also likely make the final 53, as the Jets will risk it with questionable depth on that unit. It is sounding like Rob Turner will be kept on the roster in hopes that he is healthy by the end of October. On the other side of the ball, Ryan will probably keep 7 or 8 defensive lineman in a group that looks to have solid depth thanks to strong pre-seasons from Ropati Pitoitua, Martin Tevaseau, and Marcus Dixon.

At this point, it is hard to not just root for Thursday to be over with so the final roster can be locked in and the preparation/preview for Dallas can start.

Jets vs. Giants: Preliminary Trash Talk

Justin Tuck – “It will always be Giants Stadium.”

Santonio Holmes – “It’s the New Meadowlands, home of the New York Jets.”

I don’t expect the trash talk to escalate too much more this week for the Jets/Giants pre-season game, considering the two teams will meet in the regular season. Let’s not forget some of the shots Rex Ryan fired in the off-season –

It seems clear that right now we are the better team and we are going to remain the better team for the next 10 years. Whether you like it or not, those are the facts, and that’s what is going to happen…We are going to take over the town whether the Giants like it nor not, so those fans on the fence that like both teams are going to be Jets fans in the end. The truth is, if I am going to watch one game, I am going to see the Jets, without a doubt. We are better.”

He also remarked in a pre-season speech to employees that “the Giants like to talk about the past, while the Jets like to talk about the future.”

Giants fans tend to get excessively irritated by Ryan and his words, yet I think it just adds some fun to the rivalry. So yes, they will carry on about 1969, but the bottom line is that right now the Jets are a better team and that since Rex Ryan has taken over, the Jets have been a better, more entertaining, and relevant team.

It should be a fun week regardless, especially with Plaxico Burress now added to the mix. You have to think Eli Manning is now regretting acting so disinterested in a Burress to the Giants reunion, considering what his group of receivers looks like right now and how ready to make an impact Burress looked last week. The Jets and Burress will try to play down the hype of him going against the Giants, but there is no way he isn’t extra geared up to go against them and there is no way the Jets won’t make a concerted effort to get him in the end-zone.

NFL Pre-Season Week 2 Review

There are too many preseason games for any sane man to cover, so I cut my losses with week one and moved on. Week 2 was a beauty, with the first game of the week putting cutting power through the gaudy neon green DREAM TEAM sign in Philadelphia. Michael Vick threw 3 interceptions and was demoralized by the Steelers defense, who quickly made work of Vince Young as well. That is not good for Vick, considering Big Andy might have the wild idea to give Vince Young a shot at the starting job if all is not well in the regular season.

I will again reiterate my lack of faith in the new Eagles defensive scheme, which seems to have no real leader (Casey Matthews is a rookie) and will be beat by any quarterback with a few years under his belt. . Asante Samuel looked uncomfortable, Rodgers-Cromartie is now a cheap imitation of Charles Woodson. Nnamdi Asomugha made a mistake looking for a team that had no plan defensively. He will come to rue the day he didn’t go to either Houston (Wade Phillips), Dallas (Rob Ryan) or New York (Rex Ryan).

The Steelers are the team everyone in the NFC will be tested against this year. They are the most substantive and best coached run defense in the NFL. The Jets are a close second. Though the Steelers line and linebacking core seems to be on it’s last legs with guys like Harrison, Farrier and Smith all getting into the upper 30’s, there are a few bright spots like Ziggy Hood, Lawrence Timmons and Lamarr Woodley showing that the yellow and black will live on in good hands.

Rashard Mendenhall, at 24, has become one of the best running backs in the AFC. He has balance and agility that makes Chris Johnson look one dimensional. He has spun out of hundreds of tackles with the grace of a ballet dancer. As usual, the Steelers offense will be a strange mix of power running, go routes, and improvisational scrambles that usually results in touchdowns.

Game 2 (Week 1 Overrun) – Bengals Vs. Lions

Andy Dalton has a tough road ahead. He is in a division that is going to bruise him like Brett Favre at an early age. There will be no mercy for the Mike Brown Bengals. They are going right for the throat. Clint Boling and Andre Smith better play like Pro Bowlers, because Andy Dalton is going to need someone to stop the onslaught of defensive lineman coming to break him in half on 3rd down.

The frustrating thing for a guy like AJ Green is that he will be left standing halfway down the field for most of the game wondering where the ball went. Things are going to get especially frustrating if the Bengals lose Dalton to injury. Luckily there is a guy that is already in Green’s position, and that is Jermaine Gresham, who some team will pick up down the road and turn into a 3 time Pro Bowler.

Matthew Stafford has the set of weapons around him to win the division. Jahvid Best has some much needed experience, Calvin Johnson is a physical specimen with great hands, and Brandon Pettigrew can bail Stafford out of most double-teams to Johnson. If Stafford doesn’t lose his arm completely, he will be able to finally grab this team a wild card spot in the playoffs, which will be like a Super Bowl to Detroit fans.

Silver Crush. That’s the fun of being a Lions fan. Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh making 30 year old offensive lineman look slow and fat. Sadly, we have yet to see the Silver Crush at full force, which consists of Fairley, Jackson, Suh and Vanden Bosch as the front four. The Lions have little to no help between linebacker and secondary, so that front four will have to be the best in the league to keep opposing teams out of the end zone. Will it be a thug defense? Maybe, but most street fights put the WWE to shame.

Game 3 – Patriots vs. Buccaneers

Bill Belichick does not mean to embarrass. He has created a system by which to expose every weak facet of an opposing defense, and for the Buccaneers that is their youth. Trying to lineup and call the right plays against a team like the Patriots requires weeks of preparation and practice. (Gerald McCoy actually requested a gentleman’s timeout during the game). The Buccaneers did not have that sort of time. They had a week, and even then they were still trying to actually implement the defense while simultaneously getting ready for the league’s most productive offense.

The Buccaneers secondary is going to have to tighten up if they want to hang in the NFC South. Ronde Barber will have to coach up his two rookies in Ahmad Black and Anthony Gaitor if this team is going to successfully utilize that highly touted front three (Bowers, Clayborn, McCoy).

The Patriots are starting to look closer and closer to the thing most Jet fans fear. Stevan Ridley is a legitimate running back, Aaron Hernandez becomes larger and faster everyday, and Wes Welker will again find the holes you thought your defense didn’t have. The other terrifying about the Patriots? Give defensive lineman who are 1st round picks, with 7 Pro Bowls between three of them.

Oh yes, I completely forgot about the Jets week one game. There was a Jets game last week and it was eerily reminiscent to the Ravens game last year. What looked different? Jeremy Kerley, who makes DeSean Jackson look big. If Kerley is going to be a receiver in the NFL, he needs to fill out that frame, because 6’2 corners are going to do work on him. Kenrick Ellis looked good, and Vlad Ducasse looks like the Jets version of Joba Chamberlain. He has the physical traits, I just have my doubts about this experiment to switch him through all line positions without a second year of OTA’s under his belt.

Greg McElroy showed what he needed to for a 7th round rookie quarterback. He is physically disadvantaged, but with good receivers, a good running game, and one of the best offensive lines in the league, he can rest easy knowing all he has to do in the event of a Sanchez injury is make the right reads, let the run game go, and not turn the ball over.

To his credit, McElroy showed how incredibly smart he is , after being given some time to think about the opposing defense and huddle with Mark Sanchez, he was able to engineer a game winning drive that was halted only by a dropped ball in the endzone. For a quarterback who was only supposed to play a quarter or two, McElroy played three and looked good for two of them.

Sunday Night Is Powell’s Time To Shine

It wasn’t the nine carries for 25 yards against Houston last Monday night that has Jets fans both curious and excited about the potential of Bilal Powell. It was the athleticism and calm sensibility that he displayed from the carries. Powell cut back, broke out of packs, waited patiently for his blockers, showed a burst, and an energy. With Shonn Greene out Sunday night due to a skin infection and Joe McKnight dealing with the concussion received against the Texans, the bulk of the work against the Bengals will be handed to Ladainian Tomlinson, and Powell.

Powell had eleven touchdowns and a combined 5.6 yards average from the line of scrimmage as a senior at Louisville. Those numbers somewhat mirror the eight touchdown, 6.2 rushing yards per carry accomplishments that McKnight, also battling for the number three job, achieved during his senior year at USC.

At this time last year, McKnight was in the doghouse. A fumbling, vomiting rookie who was unsure of himself. This year, especially after his 158 yard performance against the Bills in the final week heading into camp, McKnight began camp as third on the depth chart. With the upside potential to receive more work provided that he could turn his speed and solid hands into chunks of yardage. McKnight still may be that weapon for Gang Green.

This Sunday night however, is Powell’s chance to show the Jets what he can be, as he gets work against the Bengals first team defense. A solid night from the Jets fourth round selection in this year’s NFL draft will create an interesting backfield drama as training camp heads into the latter stages.

Long Time Gone: 1 Week And It Is Already Love

I recently made the decision to go ahead and be a professional about my reporting, so I decided to drop $20 for the NFL preseason live season pass. Money well spent. All preseason games in HD streamed to your computer without commercials and halftime shows. The only problem is, you have to wait 24 hours after the game ends to watch it. Which means that in my attempt to cover all the preseason games I have successfully written about two. I have four more on the way. It is a start.

The first, and the funniest, was the Patriots vs. Jaguars game. It was a screamer. If you are a Patriots fan, you will undoubtedly get that warm tingly feeling you always do before you get smacked out of the playoffs. 2007 is a long time ago. Aaron Hernandez can, and probably will go to the Pro Bowl this year. He has the size and the good hands. He also has Tom Brady throwing him the ball, which is why Chad Johnson, that’s right, Chad Johnson, will go to the Pro Bowl too.

The backups for New England are like two mutant children of Tom Brady, with Brian Hoyer having the “don’t throw a pick” mentality and Bradyesque sense of timing in the pocket. Ryan Mallett however, has an arm that puts most Pro bowl quarterbacks to shame. If he can comprehend the Patriots system, he has the physical traits to even outsling Brady.

Steven Ridley. LSU. SEC running backs go through things every Saturday that would make grown men beg for mercy. If you can run in the SEC, you can run in the NFL. It helps that Ridley has good hands. The scary thing about adding a guy like Ridley is that the Patriots have finally acquired the power running game that teams like the Jets and the Steelers live on.

You begin to notice things about the Patriots when you watch their preseason game. You begin to notice how good the system is, how exact the routes are, how their quarterbacks rarely have pockets or plays that break down.

Turning to the Jaguars: if Gabbert is going to survive in the NFL, that offensive line is going to have to hold up. With a third round rookie from Lehigh (Editor Note, I graduated from Lehigh and don’t appreciate this comment) on the line, that may not be possible. There is not that much depth and Gabbert is going to have to live off checkdowns to Mercedes Lewis and Maurice Jones Drew breaking 10 yard runs.

Realistically the Jaguars can go 8-8. The Jaguars have two rookie DB’s, and a lack of superstar talent anywhere. This may be the year that Maurice Jones Drew doesn’t make the Pro Bowl. There seems also to be a lack of discipline and or superstar talent throughout the linebacking core, which is odd considering Jack Del Rio was a star linebacker at USC.

EAGLES vs. RAVENS.: YING YANG TWINS

The Eagles and Ravens are stacked. Each team has 10 Pro Bowlers spread out on both sides of the ball. The Eagles, however, are not quite as substantive as their on paper wealth. Watching these teams matchup is like watching two equally strong men arm wrestle for 60 minutes. The Eagles have the pass. The Ravens have the run. The Ravens have the blitz. The Eagles have the zone.

Philadelphia will run the ball this year. The Eagles will make absurdly long pass plays off the success of the run. The only thing that scares me about the Eagles is their strange move to put their offensive line coach in a new role as the defensive coordinator. Even the announcers were questioning the move. I understand he’s got passion, but it takes years to understand the intricacies of an NFL defense. It’s no surprise that Rex Ryan’s success with the Jets took 10 years of assistant coaching jobs to create a number one defense. Mixing zone corners and man corners, pass rushers and run blockers, is not something that can be done with great success in the first year.

Oh yeah, and Casey Matthews is going to run the defense on the field. That’s right, a rookie linebacker. I understand the Matthews family has some sort of strange Thorlike knowledge and success in football but rookies don’t have the experience to run an NFL defense. The Eagles have the best corner trio in the league, the best D line, but they also have 3 rookie linebackers.

The changing of the guard is finally occuring for the Ravens. The secondary has 1st and 5th round rookies working alongside Ed Reed, who is probably on his last year as a Pro Bowl safety. The linebackers are getting up there and the D line has to live off the big plays of Haloti Ngata. If all goes well, the Ravens will march into the playoffs at 11 and 5.

CARDINALS VS. RAIDERS: WITHOUT HOPE, THERE IS NOTHING

Watching this game was not easy. The Raiders are a shell of their former psychopathic selves, though they have a D line that is respectable (and aging) by Oakland standards. Luckily their linebackers are young enough to make up for the age of the big men up front. Jason Campbell has enough pieces around him to run a balanced attack between Darren McFadden, Darius Heyward Bey and two rookie tight ends.

Apparently Kevin Kolb went out and made a few Pro Bowls, because that’s how people like to treat him nowadays. Big Andy can’t be wrong. No way. That mustache is truth incarnate.

I have a feeling Andy Reid pulled a fast one on Arizona. Kolb will not make the Pro Bowl, and Larry Fitzgerald will be the most underutilized great receiver of the last 10 years. The Cardinals are going to attempt to run the ball but Beanie Wells is not a top 10 running back and he will be out catching passes in the flat more than he will be running off tackle.

If the Cardinals attempt to win the NFC West, they will need big plays from their defense. Sam Acho will have to step up in his rookie year and David Carter will have to give relief to Darnell Dockett and Dan Williams.

I am not a betting man, but if I was, I would say the Cardinals would be lucky if they stole a wildcard slot for the playoffs, because the NFC West has a few teams on the rise. I’m talking to you Sam Bradford. I will not yet speak of Tarvaris Jackson.

The game itself was somewhat balanced, though if they were to meet in the regular season, I would take the Raiders by 10. They are the cool new team to root for. Especially because I never had the opportunity to see Al Davis pre electroshock therapy. Raiders go 9 and 7 and the doldrums set in once again.

BRONCOS VS COWBOYS: REDNECKS, TYCOONS, SKIERS AND HIPPIES

I am an unabashed fan of the Ryan brothers. I will watch them coach peewee football. I will even watch them eat. So will the Ryan defense be successful in Dallas?

Rob Ryan, as could be expected with two weeks of practice, had very little to show in his first preseason game. A Ryan defense takes months to build, experiment with and run properly. It’s the football equivalent of SKUNKWORKS. Luckily, Jerry Jones did not get all hot and bothered by the highly ranked offensive weapons in this year’s draft and gave Ryan a 5th round DB and a 2nd round linebacker. The real trick to this Dallas defense will be the pressure created by Marcus Spears and Jay Ratliff. The Cowboys do not have the corner talent to leave Jenkins and Newman on an island at all times, so Ryan will occasionally have rush two, three or four to keep their corners out of trouble against big time receivers.

The Broncos have somehow become the soap opera of the NFL. People HATE Tim Tebow. Merril Hoge must have been snuffed by Tebow at some point because he is on a mission to destroy any Tebow momentum. Perhaps Orton sent him a check. I always say a quarterback needs two full years in the NFL to be judged, so let’s see where we stand at the end of the season. This was one of the few games that went down to the wire. It had the feel of a rivalry begun anew, but it probably wont be, as the Cowboys seem to have genuine rivalries with the Redskins, Eagles and Giants. There is only so much rivalry hand. The Broncos have no hand.

Are You Ready For Some Football? – Jets vs. Texans Preview

The New York Jets kick off their pre-season schedule tonight on the road against the Houston Texans. A few key starters won’t be suiting up including Nick Mangold, Brandon Moore, and Plaxico Burress. Backup quarterback Mark Brunell also won’t be playing because of a left finger injury. Beyond that, the starters are expected to play for about a quarter.

On offense, Rob Turner and Vladimir Ducasse will both get extended work in replacing Mangold and Moore. Obviously there is some concern with having two backups protecting your quarterback, especially with somebody like Mario Williams on the opposing defense. Yet, Turner has a decent amount of experience from the past couple of years and Ducasse needs an opportunity to grow, so he can hopefully reach the potential the Jets saw in him when they selected him in the second round.

Derrick Mason will start in place of Burress. Yet, most eyes will likely be on rookie Jeremy Kerely who raised a ton of eyebrows at camp with his playmaking ability. He will work in the slot as the number three receiver with the first unit and should also see plenty of work with the number twos. Don’t be surprised to see Mark Sanchez rely on Dustin Keller and Santonio Holmes early in the game, as he gets into a rhythm. I wouldn’t expect to see much of LaDainian Tomlinson or even Shonn Greene tonight, as Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell should get the lion’s share of the work in the backfield.

Without Brunell playing, rookie Greg McElroy will play the majority of the game at quarterback. The Jets are hoping he can develop into their long term backup, so it will be interesting to see how handles himself in extended action tonight.

On defense, I will be keeping an eye on Kyle Wilson to see if  he shows any progress from his difficult rookie season. He should see action both in the nickel package with the first unit and then on the outside with the number twos.The Jets are counting on him to replace Drew Coleman this year and provide depth to Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. Rookie first round pick Muhammad WIlkerson will also be getting the start and has impressed thus far in camp. Hopefully he can improve the push the Jets get out of their front line. Third round pick Kenrick Ellis will also see a good amount of action at nose tackle tonight.

Undrafted free agent Nick Bellore has been one of the biggest stories in camp and will get the chance to see a heavy amount of reps on both defense at linebacker and on special teams. Another linebacker to watch is Jamaal Westerman who Rex Ryan has hyped up this camp as being an individual who could provide an improvement to the Jets inconsistent pass rush.

On special teams, Jeremy Kerley will be the primary kick and punt returner, while Joe McKnight and Kyle Wilson should also both get opportunities.

Overall, it would be nice to see the first team offense move the ball with some consistency. Under Ryan, the offense has generally lagged a little behind the defense at this time of the year so with Sanchez now entering his third year, hopefully that will begin to change. On defense, an improved pass rush led by Wilkerson and Westerman would be the most encouraging thing to see.

Pre-Season Review: Two Franchises Trying To Make A Statement

After the shockingly well played game by the Seahawks against the always efficient Chargers , we as fans got spoiled, hoping for some sort of serious showdown between the Chiefs and Buccaneers. It was not to be. Five minutes into the game, you could see that Todd Haley had no concern about how many points his team put up against the youngest team in the NFL. It was a practice.

It was a beatdown, with the Buccaneers showing that age matters not when you’ve got two years of head coaching and quarterback experience in the second hardest division in the NFL. Playing Drew Brees, and Matt Ryan will age you rather quickly.

The Chiefs will live by their defense, with Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson getting a new line-mate in Allen Bailey (1st round), the front 4 will be their source of success, not to mention they have one of the best safeties in the league with Eric Berry, who will scoop up many a rushed throw.

Though I like Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles, I still don’t think they’ve got enough of a supporting cast to get the Chiefs into the playoffs this year. They are in a complete overhaul, with this year’s draft picks spreading all over the field (4 on defense/3 on offense).

Jonathan Baldwin, thankfully, was not picked in the first round by the Jets. He looked decent, but clearly not Julio Jones. Julio Jones, (see my draft article) will make defenses look slow and weak. Oh yes, and remember Mark Ingram? He had a touchdown. The NFC South will be the SEC this year. The NFC East and West will all have their mettle tested in the South.

There are things you don’t get to see in preseason, like the Buccaneers (eventual) starting D line. Gerald Mccoy, Adrian Clayborn, Michael Bennett and Daquan Bowers. That’s serious. That is not fun to run against. That is a nickel and dime package that smothers opposing offenses.

Josh Freeman may in fact become a Pro Bowler in his third year. He is the size of Roethlisberger, as patient as Ryan, and as athletic as Vick. Redskins beat the Steelers? Dolphins beat the Falcons? Ndamukong Suh beheadings? 49ers playing like a CFL team? Shocking, unexpected, and um…..expected.

Thanks Todd Haley for giving cynics ammunition.