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    Inside Pro Football | Rick Gosselin

    Paper picks Colts as NFL's top team

    The annual offseason rankings by the Dallas Morning News.

    1. INDIANAPOLIS: One by one, quarterback Peyton Manning has shed the layers of criticism that enveloped his NFL career. The Colts won 12 games last season with the second-youngest lineup in the NFL.

    2. NEW ENGLAND: On paper, the Patriots remain the best team in the NFL.

    3. PHILADELPHIA: The Eagles signed free-agent Pro Bowlers Terrell Owens and Jevon Kearse.

    4. KANSAS CITY: The Chiefs won 13 games a year ago and return 21 of their starters.

    5. SEATTLE: This is the best team Mike Holmgren has coached since the 1997 Packers.

    6. GREEN BAY: Roster is strong enough that Brett Favre no longer has to carry the Packers.

    7. NEW ORLEANS: In the past six years everyone in the NFC South except the Saints have been to the Super Bowl.

    8. CAROLINA: Jake Delhomme emerged as a big-game quarterback in the playoffs.

    9. ST. LOUIS: Kurt Warner is gone, leaving coach Mike Martz (and quarterback Marc Bulger) without a safety net.

    10. TENNESSEE: Having NFL co-most valuable player Steve McNair at quarterback is a huge edge on game day.

    11. ATLANTA: Mike Vick is back, and so is Super Bowl talk.

    12. PITTSBURGH: Even a top-10 defense couldn't prevent a losing season in 2003.

    13. DETROIT: The Lions have enjoyed the NFL's best offseason.

    14. JACKSONVILLE: Coach Jack Del Rio put his stamp on the defense in his first season.

    15. MIAMI: The defense has been Super Bowl-ready for years, but the offense...

    16. HOUSTON: An offense to contend is in place with QB David Carr, HB Domanick Davis and WR Andre Johnson.

    17. BALTIMORE: The Ravens return 21 starters from AFC North champions.

    18. DALLAS: The Cowboys might have greater uncertainty at running back and cornerback.

    19. DENVER: Broncos now rely on defense.

    20. MINNESOTA: How do you start a season 6-0 and miss the playoffs?

    21. BUFFALO: The Bills fielded the AFC's best defense in 2003, but had no offensive playmakers.

    22. CINCINNATI: Taking the ball away from veteran quarterback Jon Kitna and putting it in the hands of Carson Palmer could be a step back.

    23. TAMPA BAY: Let's see if Jon Gruden can win with his own players.

    24. NY JETS: Missing Chad Pennington for the first six games of 2003 doomed them.

    25. CLEVELAND: The Browns put quarterback controversy behind them by signing Jeff Garcia.

    26. WASHINGTON: Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs is back with the Redskins.

    27. OAKLAND: Norv Turner gets a chance to revive his head-coaching career.

    28. CHICAGO: The Bears also will be very young on defense.

    29. SAN FRANCISCO: Points will be harder to come by in 2004.

    30. SAN DIEGO: LaDainian Tomlinson is arguably the best player in football.

    31. NY GIANTS: A league-high nine starters are gone from that disappointing 2003 team.

    32. ARIZONA: The optimism rides with the arrival of Dennis Green as coach

  2. #2
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    Re: Inside Pro Football | Rick Gosselin

    Couple of issues with this...

    Seattle is number five? What exactly have the Seahawks done to be ranked this high? The Seahawks haven't won their division since '99 when they were a part of the AFC. In '99 and in '03, the Seahawks were knocked out in the wild card round. Those two games are the only playoff appearances the Seahawks have had since the 80's. I don't care if this is the best team Holgrem has coached since the '97 Packers. The Hawks are going to have to do something more than squeek into the playoffs for me to even consider them this high.

    New Orleans is number seven? Ahead of the Rams? Ahead of the reigning NFC champs? Maybe I missed something, but wasn't New Orleans 8-8 last season? Aren't they playing in a division with the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons, who return Michael Vick? I don't know what kind of offseason NO has had, but how in the world are they ranked this high?

    Detroit at number 13!? Yes, they've had a good offseason, but let's be realistic. This team hasn't played one down together. They were 5-11 last season. I wouldn't exactly rank them in the Top 15 just yet.

    Baltimore at 17. The Ravens return 21 starters from their AFC North winning team, yet they're ranked below the Steelers? How can the Ravens, the reigning division champion, not be favored if they're returning practically the same team? That's like saying the Rams aren't favored in the NFC West even though they're returning practically the same team (and I think the Rams should be favored).

    The Redskins add Clinton Portis, add Marcus Washington, replace Champ Bailey with Shawn Springs, draft Sean Taylor, add Walt Harris, add Michael Barrow, add Mark Brunell, and they're ranked 26th!? WHAT!?

  3. #3
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    Re: Inside Pro Football | Rick Gosselin

    yea, the other issue I have is

    "9. ST. LOUIS: Kurt Warner is gone, leaving coach Mike Martz (and quarterback Marc Bulger) without a safety net."

    What ??? safety net, well we never used him last year ??

  4. #4
    Bob L. Head Guest

    Re: Inside Pro Football | Rick Gosselin

    Quote Originally Posted by RamDez
    What ??? safety net, well we never used him last year ??
    Except for that one game. Which we lost. I want some of what this guy is smokin'.

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