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    NFC Preseason Rankings by Yahoo Sports.....Ewwwwww

    Preseason rankings: NFC

    By Charles Robinson, Yahoo! Sports
    July 22, 2005




    More Charles Robinson: AFC preseason rankings

    Unlike last year, the status of Terrell Owens doesn't shape the top of the NFC's preseason rankings. With the conference so weak, and the Eagles so deep in talent and experience, even a protracted holdout or trade of Owens couldn't knock them from the top spot.

    That's a testament to the Eagles' front office, which has been at the forefront of player development and salary-cap management over the last few years. But it's also an indictment on the rest of the NFC, where poor drafts, age and free agency have robbed the strength from many teams. In fact, the conference has become so thin that a ranking of the NFL's top 15 teams would arguably include only four from the NFC Philadelphia, Atlanta, Minnesota and Carolina.

    While the conference does have some teams with impressive potential (Detroit, Arizona and Chicago), Philadelphia easily lords over the here-and-now in the NFC.

    NFC PRESEASON RANKINGS




    1. Philadelphia Eagles T.O. or no T.O., the Eagles are far and away the best team in the NFC. They have the best depth, best collection of starting talent and most experience. Granted, the corps of receivers isn't very imposing without Owens, but the Eagles gained an entirely new self-confidence when they reached the Super Bowl without him in the lineup. As long as the contract issues with Corey Simon don't lead to a training camp holdout and a replacement can be found for defensive end Derrick Burgess, the team should be dominant enough to earn another Super Bowl berth.

    2. Atlanta Falcons It's time Michael Vick developed a passing rapport with someone not name Alge Crumpler. Rookie Roddy White might give Atlanta a speedy deep option, but he's not going to change the fact that Vick has yet to become comfortable with any wide receiver since arriving in Atlanta. Vick is dangerous enough as it is, but forcing defenses to be honest against the pass would make him unstoppable (Didn't we say this last year?). The defense is going to be even better this season. It didn't gain speed with the signings of linebackers Ed Hartwell and Ike Reese, but it got sure tacklers. Also, in the secondary, a healthy DeAngelo Hall is going to work wonders against the pass.

    3. Minnesota Vikings Randy Moss is gone, and rookie Troy Williamson won't even come close to replacing him. Rather than relying on another receiver to fill the void Moss left, the Vikings need running back Michael Bennett to stay healthy for a full season. Bennett's presence will also be needed to help quarterback Daunte Culpepper get used to the loss of Moss. Don't expect the defense to click immediately. With five major additions, it's going to take time for Minnesota's talent to come together.

    4. Carolina Panthers Wide receiver Keary Colbert will have his first 1,000-yard season with the absence of Muhsin Muhammad, and the Panthers will rebound nicely from an injury-marred season. But someone has to step up at running back. If DeShaun Foster and Stephen Davis can't go, rookie Eric Shelton will be a big success when called upon. On defense, Ken Lucas and Chris Gamble will be a nice young tandem at the cornerback spots, but the difference-maker will be defensive end Julius Peppers, who will walk away with Defensive Player of the Year honors.

    5. Seattle Seahawks Wide receiver Koren Robinson's departure is going to be a good thing in the long run. He did far more harm than good to the Seahawks last season both on and off the field. But his departure is going to put pressure on Darrell Jackson to be more consistent. It will also force Bobby Engram or Jerome Pathon to become a solid second receiver. If running back Shaun Alexander doesn't report to training camp, Seattle will fall several spots in the rankings.

    6. Dallas Cowboys You can see the old-school Bill Parcells philosophy coming back to life. Running back Julius Jones is going to hover around 25 to 30 touches a game, and the retooled defense is going to be expected to be the team's backbone. It had better be, because quarterback Drew Bledsoe and receivers Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn are beyond their better days.

    7. Green Bay Packers The team is in a very tough spot with defensive tackle Grady Jackson and receiver Javon Walker. Green Bay needs both players, who are threatening to sit out because of contract issues. With quarterback Brett Favre making criticizing remarks, it's not going to make for a great locker room if (or when) the two players report. The Packers were already sliding because of aging stars and a thin defense, and the side issues aren't going to improve the much-needed chemistry.

    8. Detroit Lions Joey Harrington's tenure in Detroit is officially on the clock, and he's going to be under fire early. There are two road dates in the Lions' first four games, as well as home contests against Green Bay and Baltimore. The offense has plenty of young talent, but the key to the team (beyond Harrington) may be at linebacker, where the Lions have to find a spot for Teddy Lehman and hope Boss Bailey's knee holds up.

    9. St. Louis Rams Quarterback Marc Bulger had a superb final four games last season, but the coaches are still concerned about his decision making in the red zone where he threw 10 interceptions last season. Steven Jackson is going to be a good, powerful and most likely underused running back by coach Mike Martz. The team revamped the linebacking corps, but it remains to be seen whether Chris Claiborne can handle middle linebacker. He's been a vastly overrated player in stints with Detroit and Minnesota.

    10. Arizona Cardinals Only Detroit can rival the amount of young, exciting talent that coach Dennis Green has stockpiled over the last two offseasons. Now he has the final two pieces of his backfield figured out with quarterback Kurt Warner and running back J.J. Arrington. The defense will be strong, but unless the offensive line is consistent, Warner and Arrington will be doomed to struggle.

    11. New Orleans Saints It's stupefying for the Saints to have the talent they have and yet be so mediocre in a weak NFC. Rookie tackle Jammal Brown is going to show flashes of his Pro Bowl future, and Deuce McAllister is going to have a big, injury-free season. But Aaron Brooks will be the same inconsistent quarterback he has always been and the Saints will hover just below .500.

    12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers The defense is getting old and is only a shadow of the unit that dominated in Tampa Bay's Super Bowl title run three seasons ago. Rookie running back Carnell Williams looked good in minicamp and should be an exciting player to watch, but this is clearly still a team retooling for the 2006 season.

    13. Washington Redskins No matter what Joe Gibbs says about Patrick Ramsey, the quarterback spot is just a dramatic mess waiting to happen. Plus, Santana Moss isn't going to pan out as a bona fide No. 1 receiver. On the bright side, the defense could be just as good as last season if Sean Taylor's legal problems don't get any worse.

    14. New York Giants With Michael Strahan aging, the defense needs an infusion of young impact players. Adding linebacker Antonio Pierce was a good start, but the Giants need more. On offense, quarterback Eli Manning is on the right path. He's going to benefit from a reworked offensive line and the signing of receiver Plaxico Burress, but he'll need another year before he can consistently lead the Giants to victories.

    15. Chicago Bears Whether they overpaid or not, receiver Muhsin Muhammad is going to be a good leader and teacher (not to mention talent) for a needy Bears offense. But quarterback Rex Grossman will do what all quarterbacks do when they get their first long-term experience as a starter struggle.

    16. San Francisco ***** Even with the signing of Johnnie Morton, they have a thin group of wide receivers. That's bad news for Tim Rattay, who will start until the playoffs are out of the question and coach Mike Nolan turns to younger players. Linebacker Julian Peterson is talking a good game right now, but it will be a miracle if he returns to Pro Bowl form his first season back from a torn Achilles.




    Can someone please explain why, even though our Linebackers were almost non-existent last year, that Coakley and Claiborne are not being seen as an improvement?

    We are ranked behind Joey Harrington's Lions. This has got to be a joke, right?



    Hooah


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  2. #2
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    Re: NFC Preseason Rankings by Yahoo Sports.....Ewwwwww

    Yea, not to much respect for the Rams from anywhere it seems. Looks like we'll have to earn it back this year, which is exactly what we'll do IMO.

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    Re: NFC Preseason Rankings by Yahoo Sports.....Ewwwwww

    Well, it can't be very accurate if they have the Vikings #3, and you guys #9 and the Tards right behind you...if anything the Hawks and Rams should be more closely bunched. With us maybe taking the 4, y'all at the 5 or 6 and the Cards right where they are...

    If I were to do the rankings, they would go something like this...
    1. Eagles
    2. Panthers (if they stay Healthy)
    3. Falcons (but they never make the playoffs 2 years in a row)
    4. Seahawks
    5. Rams
    6. Packers (suspect D, is Walker gonna play?)
    7. Cowboys (still don't think Parcells has done enough)
    8. Vikings (lost Moss, RB situation unsettled)
    9. Lions (great WR corps, if Harrington can get them the ball)
    10. Cards (and I'm being generous)
    11. Bucs
    12. Saints (perenial underachievers)
    13. Giants (can baby Manning get it done)
    14. Skins (can Gibbs still coach)
    15. Bears (Grossman still unproven)
    16. ******* (need I say more)

    These are JMO, take them as you will

    To be fair, not all evil robots are killers.

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    Re: NFC Preseason Rankings by Yahoo Sports.....Ewwwwww

    I'd swap #4 & #5, of course, but looks better.


    Hooah


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    Re: NFC Preseason Rankings by Yahoo Sports.....Ewwwwww

    I knew you'd say that...but I put the Hawks first, not because I'm a Hawks fan...but because they won the division last year. I know your guys beat mine 3 times last year, but I also think that the Hawks have made better acquisitions on defense than y'all. I like Sharper and Dyson over Coakley and Claiborne. If Shaun doesn't show, I would switch the 4 and 5 also.

    To be fair, not all evil robots are killers.

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    Re: NFC Preseason Rankings by Yahoo Sports.....Ewwwwww

    More than the personnel, I'm hoping our attitude has improved. We played so weak and lazy last year. Although Coakley and Claiborne, along with a (hopefully) healthy Arch, could be the spark we lacked.

    Shaun's absence could be a real blow and continues to be a distraction, which is sometimes just as bad.


    Hooah


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    Re: NFC Preseason Rankings by Yahoo Sports.....Ewwwwww

    Both our teams have a lot of what-if's or "hopefully he can stay healthy" this year. It should be a fun division to watch stagger to the finish line and see how they all played out this year. I hope that it is better than last year, when we were routinely labeled the worst division in football. But what does the national media know anyway?

    My sleeper team in the NFC is the Lions...if Harrington can do what Brees did last year, then watch out. They won't go to the Super Bowl or nothing like that, but i bet they can make the playoffs and be very scary for other teams there.

    To be fair, not all evil robots are killers.

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    Re: NFC Preseason Rankings by Yahoo Sports.....Ewwwwww

    Quote Originally Posted by Scidog68
    More than the personnel, I'm hoping our attitude has improved. We played so weak and lazy last year. Although Coakley and Claiborne, along with a (hopefully) healthy Arch, could be the spark we lacked.

    Shaun's absence could be a real blow and continues to be a distraction, which is sometimes just as bad.
    Attitude was one of the Seahawks biggest problems last year IMO. They have cleaned out some of the bad elements, but still have a lot to prove with regard to pulling together as a team. Alexander is most likely a problem either way, although he claims finishing his career in Seattle is more important than money.

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    Re: NFC Preseason Rankings by Yahoo Sports.....Ewwwwww

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike
    Attitude was one of the Seahawks biggest problems last year IMO. They have cleaned out some of the bad elements, but still have a lot to prove with regard to pulling together as a team. Alexander is most likely a problem either way, although he claims finishing his career in Seattle is more important than money.
    I'll believe that when I see it. If finishing his career in Seattle was a priority, then why has he not signed the tender and publicly stated that he won't sign the tender. I agree that they have rid themselves of of a lot of locker room cancer's (read: Robinson, Simmons, Terry) but if he is really a team player, he would give up that me-first attitude and we would never hear any of those stupid "stabbed me in the back comments." Just my opinion, plus this is a Rams board, so I won't go any further into it.

    To be fair, not all evil robots are killers.

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    Re: NFC Preseason Rankings by Yahoo Sports.....Ewwwwww

    My list would probably look something like this...

    1. Philadelphia Eagles
    2. Minnesota Vikings
    3. Atlanta Falcons
    4. Carolina Panthers
    5. St. Louis Rams
    6. Dallas Cowboys
    7. Seattle Seahawks
    8. Detroit Lions
    9. Green Bay Packers
    10. Arizona Cardinals
    11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    12. Washington Redskins
    13. New York Giants
    14. New Orleans Saints
    15. Chicago Bears
    16. San Francisco *****
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    Re: NFC Preseason Rankings by Yahoo Sports.....Ewwwwww

    Quote Originally Posted by rawkhrdr
    I'll believe that when I see it. If finishing his career in Seattle was a priority, then why has he not signed the tender and publicly stated that he won't sign the tender. I agree that they have rid themselves of of a lot of locker room cancer's (read: Robinson, Simmons, Terry) but if he is really a team player, he would give up that me-first attitude and we would never hear any of those stupid "stabbed me in the back comments." Just my opinion, plus this is a Rams board, so I won't go any further into it.
    I agree with you rawk. We all know, almost without exception, if they say it's not about the money, it's definitely about the money. Alexander has got to be one unhappy camper after being openly shopped around too, and he probably still has animosity toward Holmgren for "denying" him the rushing title.

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    Re: NFC Preseason Rankings by Yahoo Sports.....Ewwwwww

    Maybe the Rams should evaluate the so-called 'experts' who don't know their butts from a hole in the ground. I'll even list a ratings guide:

    F. Reads nothing, knows nothing, thinks Az Hakim still plays for us.

    D. Reads bathroom graffitti. Usually spells own name correctly without help. Knows the Rams changed uniforms sometime this century.

    C. Reads sports magazines to form opinions. Likes to follow what others are saying, but still can't name half of our starters.

    B. Watched us play last year. Knows our weaknesses. Knows our aquisitions, but too much of a weenie to dispute the other 'experts'.

    A. Actually researched each player. Knows strengths and weaknesses. Is able to use brain enough to give an accurate report. Doesn't care about other 'experts'. Hands out praise and criticism fairly.

    Right now, I have yet to see anyone who ranks the NFL get above a C. Most are in the D- category. I know trying to stay current on 32 teams and 1696 players is tough, but that's what they get paid to do. I don't take these 'experts' seriously. They are about as accurate as a gypsy reading tea leaves....they can generalize, but never can get the details right.

    I can't wait to shut them all up when the season begins....but then they will all say "I knew the Rams would bust it wide open this year, I said it first..."

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    Re: NFC Preseason Rankings by Yahoo Sports.....Ewwwwww

    Quote Originally Posted by NickSeiler
    My list would probably look something like this...

    1. Philadelphia Eagles
    2. Minnesota Vikings
    3. Atlanta Falcons
    4. Carolina Panthers
    5. St. Louis Rams
    6. Dallas Cowboys
    7. Seattle Seahawks
    8. Detroit Lions
    9. Green Bay Packers
    10. Arizona Cardinals
    11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    12. Washington Redskins
    13. New York Giants
    14. New Orleans Saints
    15. Chicago Bears
    16. San Francisco *****

    How can you put the Vikings so high Nick. I know they still have Culpepper and their leading receiver is Burleson, but how do you think that's gonna play out without Moss there?

    And this may be the homer in me, but how are the Cowgirls ahead of the Hawks? I can see the rest of them, cause really 2-9 are anybodies guess. I just wanted to know your reason for why they are where they are.

    To be fair, not all evil robots are killers.

  14. #14
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    Re: NFC Preseason Rankings by Yahoo Sports.....Ewwwwww

    Quote Originally Posted by rawkhrdr
    How can you put the Vikings so high Nick. I know they still have Culpepper and their leading receiver is Burleson, but how do you think that's gonna play out without Moss there?
    I mentioned earlier in another thread that Culpepper performed well without Moss during the 2004 season, and I believe it was ZigZagRam who countered by saying that he wasn't facing very tough defenses during that span, so impressive numbers may not be that impressive. Well, it should be noted that two of Culpepper's Randy-less impressive performances were against Detroit and Green Bay, of whom he'll be facing twice in 2005 as a division rival, so that boasts well for Dante. The Packers have, from what I can tell, probably declined on defense, and I'm not sure that Detroit has really moved significantly either way.

    If Williamson can come around early, then I think they'll be fine offensively. Things won't be as easy as they were with Randy, but Williamson has elite speed and will replace Randy as the deep threat. Burleson and Robinson are at worst adequate targets, and Taylor adds good depth at the third or fourth receiver position (depending on where Williamson plays). Even without Onterrio Smith, the Vikings have a solid group of RBs in Bennett, Moore, and Williams. Their TEs are better than average, IMO, and I think they have one of the best O-lines in football. The line-up of McKinnie, Goldberg, Birk, Liwienski, and Rosenthal with rookie Marcus Johnson playing a role in there somewhere can't be overlooked as a strength.

    However, what really impresses me about the Vikings is their defensive additions. They drafted stud DE Erasmus James in the first round to play opposite of another young stud, Kenechi Udeze. They signed Pat Williams to add starting talent to their interior line, and acquired both Sam Cowart and Napoleon Harris via trade, both of whom look to start. They signed Fred Smoot to give them perhaps one of the deepest cornerback groups in the league, and added Darren Sharper at FS, whom I believe is on the decline but will benefit from all the talent around him.


    Quote Originally Posted by rawkhrdr
    And this may be the homer in me, but how are the Cowgirls ahead of the Hawks? I can see the rest of them, cause really 2-9 are anybodies guess. I just wanted to know your reason for why they are where they are.
    Honestly, I think you could make a case to reverse the two. Maybe it was the homer in me that lowered the Hawks. :mask:

    That said, I think the Hawks will have a stronger offense, as I'd rather put my money on Hasselbeck and Alexander than Bledsoe and Jones, despite Jones' good rookie campaign. I think the O-lines are a push, but still, I think Seattle boasts the better offense. Defensively, the Seahawks have made some upgrades, but so have the Cowboys. I like their move to the 3-4, especially with guys like Spears and Ware joining the team. Add talented players in the secondary such as Anthony Henry and Aaron Glenn as well as Izell Reese at free safety opposite of Roy Williams, and I think Dallas has a dangerous defense going into 2005. So with both units sort of cancelling each other out, I give the toss-up to the Cowboys because of Parcells over Holmgren, who I think has a good chance of losing his job after this year if he can't get the Hawks back to the playoffs.
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  15. #15
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    Re: NFC Preseason Rankings by Yahoo Sports.....Ewwwwww

    My sleeper pick this year for the NFC (don't know how much of a sleeper they really are) is.....the Bears. Of course there's no way that Mush will have the same #s as last year, but they have Benson/Jones also, and Grossman (laugh if you want, but he was playing well before the ACL tear). Not to mention their D is solid.

    Nice Jacket

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