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  1. #1
    RamFan_Til_I_Die's Avatar
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    Who's the best of the worst?

    Peter Schrager is a frequent contributor for FOXSports.com
    Updated Aug 11, 2010 6:01 PM ET

    This August, like every August before, NFL fan bases around the country are brimming with optimism about their respective teams. Fans from Miami to Seattle spend summer days analyzing their teams’ upcoming schedules and convincing themselves, “You know what? 10-6 and a wild card berth is possible this year.”

    After a few minutes and more contemplation, that 10-6 wild card season turns to 12-4 and a division crown. After a final look, 13-3 and a Super Bowl is not just a mere possibility — it’s gonna happen!

    And no one can tell them otherwise. It’s the very beauty of the NFL.

    In every NFL season since 1999, at least five teams that failed to make the playoffs the year before qualified for the postseason. In 2009, the Saints, Bengals and Cowboys all won divisions despite missing the postseason altogether in 2008. The Dolphins went from 1-15 in 2007 to an AFC East division crown in ’08. The ’98 Colts were 3-13; the ’99 Colts were 13-3. It’s all about parity, and in today’s NFL any year could be your team’s year.

    That is, of course, unless you’re a fan of the Bills, Buccaneers or Rams and the year is 2010.

    I hate to be Debbie Downer, but if you’re a fan of one of those three franchises, I’m going to do what your loved ones should have done for you a few months ago. I’m ripping the Band-Aid off, because it ain’t happening this year, folks. Twenty-nine teams could end up being very good this year. Hell, even the Raiders, Browns and Lions could be playoff contenders in 2010. But, you guys? No, no and no.

    The draft is only nine months away. You might as well pack it up and look towards April.

    Hate, piss and moan all you want, but I’m a necessary evil. I’m that one friend who tells it to you like it is. I’m your buddy who pulls you aside and makes you change that terrible Facebook profile photo of you funneling a beer out of a hollowed-out wiffle ball bat. I’m the guy who lets you know it’s not the summer of 2006 and you shouldn’t still be doing that Borat imitation for the women at the bar. I’m the dude who saves you anguish of shattered August dreams by telling you the hard and ugly truth: Your team stinks and there’s a chance they could lose every game this season.

    The 2008 Lions are the only NFL franchise to go 0-16, but the Bills, Bucs and Rams could all very well do it in 2010 and will all battle for being the worst team in football. Here's why ...

    BUFFALO BILLS

    2009 Record: 6-10
    Current Las Vegas Over/Under Win Total: 5.5

    Why they’ll stink...
    Edwards, Fitzpatrick and Brohm sounds more like a law firm that advertises on city benches and subway cars than an NFL quarterback depth chart. The fact that not one of Buffalo’s three quarterbacks has done a thing in their pro careers scares me. The fact that not one has done a thing to distinguish himself from the other two in training camp is downright horrifying.

    Beyond the quarterback position, the offensive line was an utter disaster in 2009 and could be even worse in 2010. Arguably the youngest and most inexperienced line in the entire league, the unit also lacks any semblance of depth. The Bills had 11 different players start at least one game up front in 2009, mostly due to injuries. GM Buddy Nix did next to nothing to upgrade the woeful unit over the offseason. Brad Butler, the most accomplished of the Bills O-linemen, shocked the team by retiring at the age of 26 to pursue interests outside of football. Starting left tackle Demetrius Bell, meanwhile, still isn’t 100% from a season-ending injury he suffered in Week 8 last season.

    While the offense is a cause of concern in Buffalo (and no, I’m not convinced Steve Johnson is a bonafide NFL No. 2 wideout), the defense has its share of issues, too. The defensive backfield — if healthy — is one of the very best in the league. Can’t argue that.

    But, outside of those four spots, there are question marks all over the front seven. Making the trendy switch to a 3-4 scheme, one would think Buffalo would have gone out and acquired a space-eating 330-plus-pound nose tackle to anchor the D-line. Instead, Kyle Williams— at just 305 pounds and undersized to play that position, will be the starter. And there are no proven backups behind him. The linebackers, though adequate enough on paper, have already been hit with Buffalo's annual rash of summertime injuries. Paul Posluszny (groin), Chris Kelsay (shoulder), Keith Ellison (leg) and Kawika Mitchell (Achilles) have all missed time this training camp due to ailments. Aaron Schobel, the team’s one pass-rushing threat from last season, spent four months mulling retirement before being released last week. Meanwhile, second-year man Aaron Maybin — arguably the most disappointing rookie of the 2009 class— has a lot to prove in 2010.

    And then there’s the division. The Jets are going to boast a top-five defense and loaded up on offensive star power this offseason. The Dolphins only got better with the additions of rookie Koa Misi, Karlos Dansby and star WR Brandon Marshall. The Patriots aren’t going anywhere. Buffalo could easily go winless inside the division.

    The Bills are tied for the league’s longest postseason drought in the NFL (along with Detroit Lions), having not played in the playoffs since the Music City Miracle year of ‘99. Put it in ink — you can add another season to that drought.

    Who they might take with No. 1 overall pick in 2011 draft: Jake Locker, QB, Washington; Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford; Ryan Mallet, QB, Arkansas

    TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

    2009 Record: 3-13
    Current Las Vegas Over/Under Win Total: 5.5
    Why they’ll stink ...
    There are definitely some things to like about the 2010 Buccaneers. Their two rookie defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price are being tutored by one-time Tampa great Warren Sapp and learning the ropes. The second-year starting quarterback and a pair of exciting rookie wideouts are the buzz of camp. The offensive line is young and pretty good, there’s some Pro Bowl talent at defensive back and their middle linebacker is consistently one of the leading tacklers in the league. Plus, the Bucs will undoubtedly wear the creamsicle jerseys at some point during the season.

    There’s youth, energy, and excitement in Tampa. In 2013, the Bucs can potentially win the NFC South.

    In 2010? I’m sorry, but they’re just too damn young.

    Youth springs eternal in Tampa this season, as just three players in camp — cornerback Ronde Barber, defensive lineman Stylez G. White and guard Keydrick Vincent — are over the age of 30. The team is made up of wide-eyed rookies and second- and third-year veterans, mid-20s journeymen and a baby-faced coaching staff.

    While this certainly makes the Bucs a loveable squad to root for (think the Indians in “Major League”), it doesn’t mean they’ll be contenders. Though starting left tackle Donald Penn recently got the contract extension he’d been longing for and the rookies got theirs, it doesn’t look like Tampa ownership will be going into a spending mode anytime soon. Long criticized for being overly frugal, a months-long investigation in England recently indicated that the Glazer family had greater debts than previously known and further suggested their real estate holdings in U.S. shopping centers were on shaky ground. Ask New York Mets fans who watched the baseball trading deadline come and go last week without a single noteworthy transaction — an ownership group not looking to spend big bucks and pay for outside talent doesn’t do much for team or fan morale.

    After starting the 2009 season with a 1-12 record, the Buccaneers won two of their final three games, including an inspiring come-from-behind overtime victory over the eventual Super Bowl champion Saints. Expect a few similar fleeting moments of joy and excitement in 2010. Key words, fleeting moments.

    Who they might take with No. 1 overall pick in 2011 draft: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia, Julio Jones, WR, Alabama; Anthony Costanzo, OT, Boston College

    ST. LOUIS RAMS

    2009 Record: 1-15
    Current Las Vegas Over/Under Win Total: 5
    Why they’ll stink ...
    The Rams are a combined 6-42 over the last three NFL seasons, going from a dismal three wins in ’07 to two wins in ’08 to a league-worst one win in 2009. But there’s a new quarterback in town, the team seems to be rallying around coach Steve Spagnuolo in his second year and a new owner should (maybe? possibly?) be in place by August 25.

    Unfortunately, there’s not much of a chance for a playoff season in 2010. Sorry. Just telling it like it is.

    The Rams’ offense, now more than a decade removed from the “Greatest Show on Turf” squad of 1999, still appears to be Steven Jackson and a bunch of question marks.

    Sam Bradford’s been the feel-good story of August, using this past weekend to show off his arm and wow fans at training camp. But he’s still a rookie QB, still currently backing up A.J. Feeley and still a kid 11 months removed from any competitive football action. And oh yeah, preseason scrimmages against the second-team defense in August aren’t exactly Week 14 bouts vs. Gregg Williams’ unit under the roof in New Orleans.

    The wideout depth chart, made of several young unknowns, reveal a hodgepodge of unfamiliar names that could very well come together to form a serviceable unit. That said, there’s absolutely no No. 1 receiver in the bunch. Hell, there may not be a No. 2. Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, they are not. Az-Zahir Hakim and Ricky Proehl? There probably isn't one of them either.

    Some offseason moves were made to bolster the defense, including the acquisition of former Cowboys first-round bust Rob Carpenter, but no one’s expecting the young unit to finish in the top third of the NFL in 2010. “Spags” is a defensive coach at heart and there are some young talents poised for big years. There should be improvement from last year’s abysmal defensive showing, but any lofty expectations of a 2007 Giants-like defense should be tempered.

    There’s certainly some positive energy around this team. 2010 training camp attendance has tripled over last year’s numbers and there have been a reported 2,000 season tickets sold in recent weeks. There's genuine buzz and a few reasons to care about the Rams in 2010.

    But this is still a rebuilding year in St. Louis.

    Yet again.

    Who they might take with No. 1 overall pick in 2011 draft: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia; Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina; Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU


  2. #2
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    Re: Who's the best of the worst?

    You know, there's telling the truth and admitting that your team is bad. There's telling someone their team is bad (because apparently we all think we're going to make the playoffs?) and then there's being a jerk about it.

    I wonder which category this article falls into...

  3. #3
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    Re: Who's the best of the worst?

    Blah blah blah, season hasn't even started and we are already written off. We will see how much he knows at the end of the season.

  4. #4
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    Re: Who's the best of the worst?

    And that is precisely why they play the game. Then we'll know if Peter knows what he's talking about. Until then it's all conjecture, not unlike all of us on the other end of the spectrum.

    Although it is simply a preseason game, I look forward to some indications in tomorrow's game.

    Go Rams!

  5. #5
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    Re: Who's the best of the worst?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Schrager
    You might as well pack it up and look towards April.
    I know we're not going to the playoffs. Having said that.....

    Pete, you can go perform an act of self-fornication.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  6. #6
    Flippin' Ram's Avatar
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    Re: Who's the best of the worst?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenWing View Post
    You know, there's telling the truth and admitting that your team is bad. There's telling someone their team is bad (because apparently we all think we're going to make the playoffs?) and then there's being a jerk about it.

    I wonder which category this article falls into...
    That being said, I already hate this guy more than Adam Schefter. God I just hope we can go .350 or higher this season and see how many heart attacks we can give to these one-dimensional critics.

  7. #7
    AtlantaRamFan's Avatar
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    Re: Who's the best of the worst?

    Yeah I read this before anyone had commented on this, but the only adjectives I could think of would get deleted so I decided to leave it alone. Now I wish I'd thought of what Hub said lol

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    Re: Who's the best of the worst?

    Every fall hot-shot NFL commentators trip all over themselves trying to make bold predictions, but in 2010, just like so many seasons before, most will fall flat on their faces.

    Peter Schrager

    ESPN Dream Job: 0-1
    Current over-under on 2010 salary: 14k
    Why he'll stink...
    He was a loser before, so will be a loser again. He had fun trying for the Dream Job, but failed. He has tried to improve his technique, and even adopted a West-Coast style of journalism, but he cannot compete with the big boys. Piss, whine, moan, complain, vent, rage, loath, cry, and complain all you want, this is a rebuilding year for Schrager.

    Yet again.
    A defeated look of consternation, dissappointment, or even pain. The name derives from the look one often gets when challenged by a large BM.

  9. #9
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    Re: Who's the best of the worst?

    Ahhh, he didn't say anything we don't already know. What's the media supposed to say that we are going to go 8-8?

    Let's face it, we don't deserve to be ranked anywhere but the bottom and we have to take our lumps now so that when we do get talent at WR to help Bradford and Jackson we can appreciate it more

  10. #10
    macrammer's Avatar
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    Re: Who's the best of the worst?

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    Ahhh, he didn't say anything we don't already know. What's the media supposed to say that we are going to go 8-8?

    Let's face it, we don't deserve to be ranked anywhere but the bottom and we have to take our lumps now so that when we do get talent at WR to help Bradford and Jackson we can appreciate it more
    Exactly. We stunk last year, ranked last in the league. Really, what else can they say about us until we show something better on the field? Actions speak louder then words.

  11. #11
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    Re: Who's the best of the worst?

    I lost interest in anything this guy had to say as soon as he mentioned that the raiders had a chance to make the playoffs this year. IMO they will be battling the Bills for #1 pick next year, they have no QB and no WR's to throw too... sounds like a reason he used to say the Rams wouldn't be good.

    What a joke of a column.

  12. #12
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    Re: Who's the best of the worst?

    To all of you except TX and macrammer, I just have to say, the truth hurts, doesn't it. The fact is we have flat out sucked for 3 seasons, and very little happened that will change that for THIS year. Sure Bradford will most likely help long term, and some of these young WRs might eventually turn into something special, but for this year we'll be lucky to win 5 games. I personally wouldn't be upset with that because I understand how low we've sank. To expect more is just being delusional. I would be EXSTATIC if we went 8-8 or better, bt if you're an intelligent person making an un-emotional analysis of the Rams, I just don't see how you could logically come to that conclusion.

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    Re: Who's the best of the worst?

    I'm fine with the pessimistic predictions; as others have noted, actions speak louder than words, but I object to some of the ignorance upon which it is based in this blurb.

    A decade removed from the GSOT ? The Rams were still a top ten offensive team as late as '05 with a number of playoff appearances in the years that followed the explosion of '99 & another SB lost by the narrowest of margins against the dynastic Patsies. A decade is an exaggeration, to say the least.

    Genuinely knowledgeable insiders/fans know that the draft/FA rot had indeed set in during the first half of the 2000s but if you're going to define a team by results & the rep/performance of their individual players, be consistent about it.

    No, pre-season scrimmages are not a week 14 match-up with a Gregg Williams Saints D but a 298 yd passing/130 yd rushing performance against them in week 10 of last year is a fact. And that was from a unit already beat down by injury on the OL and at WR( inc probably the most likely candidate for #1 WR status, Laurent R.). Sure, The Saints were hurt as well & probably "played down" to The Rams level somewhat but it merits mentioning as an example of how small the difference between top dog and cellar dweller can be.

    I also doubt that The Rams will rebuild fast enough to be relevant this December but there's a chance that they will scare a lot more teams this year into playing their best if they want to beat them.
    Last edited by Azul e Oro; -08-13-2010 at 08:14 PM.

  14. #14
    RamFan_Til_I_Die's Avatar
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    Re: Who's the best of the worst?

    There's a difference between pessimistic and realistic IMO.

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    Re: Who's the best of the worst?

    Quote Originally Posted by BM_Face View Post

    Peter Schrager

    ESPN Dream Job: 0-1
    Current over-under on 2010 salary: 14k
    Why he'll stink...
    He was a loser before, so will be a loser again. He had fun trying for the Dream Job, but failed. He has tried to improve his technique, and even adopted a West-Coast style of journalism, but he cannot compete with the big boys. Piss, whine, moan, complain, vent, rage, loath, cry, and complain all you want, this is a rebuilding year for Schrager.

    Yet again.
    Hilarious.
    If a team won their division seven straight times, that would be a NFL record. Now add on that team did it with seven different QB's in seven straight years,that record is unbeatable. To do that feat, you must of had a great Defense. Jack Youngblood was the captain of that defense.

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