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  1. #1
    Dominator Guest

    Worst to first: Ranking the NFL off-seasons

    Worst to first: Ranking the NFL off-seasons
    Peter Schrager /

    13. St. Louis Rams

    The Rams' biggest weakness in '06 was there defense. They addressed needs at linebacker in bringing in Chris Draft from Carolina, defensive line with James Hall and first round pick Adam Carriker, and the defensive backfield with Todd Johnson and Mike Rumph. Second round pick Brian Leonard will serve as the change of pace back needed to keep Steven Jackson fresh, while Drew Bennett is an upgrade from Kevin Curtis and quite possibly the heir apparent to Isaac Bruce at the WR2 spot if he opts to hang 'em up anytime soon. Travis Minor and Randy McMichael — old Linehan guys in Miami — are nice additions as well.

    Biggest gain: Drew Bennett, WR _Biggest loss: Kevin Curtis, WR

    Are they in better shape than they were in January? I'd say so. Over the last eight weeks of the season, Steven Jackson had become one of the top 5 running backs in the entire league, eclipsing 200 yards of total offense in multiple games. The Rams had needs on defense and addressed them, as well as brought in some playmakers on offense. Bulger, Holt, and Jackson were all hitting their stride when the season ended. They'll start '07 looking to do the same.

    But, bad news is...

    12. Arizona Cardinals

    There's a new boss in town in Arizona, and hopefully a new culture too. The joke of the draft was the fact that the Cardinals were on the clock before lunchtime for what felt like the twentieth year in a row. Ken Whisenhunt and Co. will try to reverse that trend. The defensive backfield improved in the off-season with the signings of Terrence Holt from Detroit and Roderick Hood from Philadelphia. On the offensive line, Mike Gandy and Al Johnson were signed as well. Then the Cardinals flat out cleaned up at the draft. My favorite draft class of all 32 NFL teams, Arizona had five picks and knocked each one out of the park. Levi Brown will be Russ Grimm's offensive line anchor for the next 10 years, Alan Branch was a top ten pick who slipped because of combine scores, and Buster Davis, Steve Breaston, and Ben Patrick could all be starting on opening day. Phenomenal job for Arizona.

    Biggest gain: Levi Brown, OL _Biggest loss: Leonard Davis, OL

    Are they in better shape than they were in January? Leinart and that offense were just hitting their stride as the season came to an end. Edgerrin James recorded his first big game of the season, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin were hauling in receptions, and the defense was playing tough. Insert Whisenhunt and Grimm — and you have the Super Bowl champion experience at the top that's necessary to get to the playoffs and beyond. Things are all good in Glendale. For the eighth season in a row, they'll be a sleeper pick by the experts in the season preview articles all over the Internet.

    6. Seattle Seahawks

    Seattle's flown a bit under the media radar this off-season, mostly because of their lack of a first round pick in April's draft. Mike Holmgren and Co. loaded up through free agency, though. Pro Bowl caliber defensive end Patrick Kerney comes from Atlanta, and solid safety Deon Grant arrive in the Pacific Northwest. The loss of Darrell Jackson could actually open up opportunities for Deion Branch, Nate Burleson and the rest of Seattle's bountiful crop of receivers as well.

    Biggest gain: Patrick Kerney, DE _Biggest loss: Ken Hamlin, S

    Are they in better shape now than they were in January? That's a difficult one. After all, the Seahawks were a few plays away from the NFC Championship Game last year. But the Deon Grant signing more than adequately addresses the loss of Hamlin. And Kerney is an upgrade from the aging Grant Wistrom. The key is: How healthy is Shaun Alexander?

    and horrors...

    2. San Francisco *****

    As Adam Schein would say, "We're rollin' with Nolan." And we really are. No NFC team upgraded their squad quite like San Fran did over the past three months. Though they came up just short on bringing in Adalius Thomas (he didn't want to leave the East Coast), the Niners brass locked up Nate Clements, Michael Lewis, and Tully Banta-Cain — three defensive players who should make an immediate impact. Most importantly, they re-signed Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore for five years. Then they flat-out cleaned up in April's draft. With nine picks in the first six rounds, San Francisco brought in the top rated linebacker in the draft (Patrick Willis) and a sure-handed receiver who can start right away (Jason Hill). On Day 2, they traded for receiver Darrell Jackson. Nice off-season all around. But the bandwagon is almost full — so get on it now.

    Biggest gain: Nate Clements, RB _Biggest loss: Antonio Bryant, WR

    Are they in better shape now than they were in January? Absolutely. Nolan's D was on the up and up towards the end of last year, and the squad picked up 4-5 solid contributors to add to the mix. If healthy, there's no reason Patrick Willis shouldn't be the Defensive Rookie of the Year next season.

  2. #2
    Keenum's Avatar
    Keenum is offline Registered User
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    Re: Worst to first: Ranking the NFL off-seasons

    I don't mind our opponents getting better, just as long as we get more better than they. I'm tired of hearing the crap about the "weak NFC West."

  3. #3
    tomahawk247's Avatar
    tomahawk247 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Worst to first: Ranking the NFL off-seasons

    i dont see how Seattle get rated that highly, and how Jackson wasnt their biggest loss

  4. #4
    RamsFan16 Guest

    Re: Worst to first: Ranking the NFL off-seasons

    How did Seattle make it that high up? They hadn't made any significant improvements to there team. Yea, Patrick Kerney was a nice signing but got overpaid and we don't even know if he'll play more than 12 games next season. And they had a bad draft too.

    Its alright though, let them be hyped up along with Arizona and San Fransisco, wait until the games begin

  5. #5
    bigtiger737 Guest

    Re: Worst to first: Ranking the NFL off-seasons

    wow who writes this stuff!! thats fine let the season bring our respect

  6. #6
    smizzhfx Guest

    Re: Worst to first: Ranking the NFL off-seasons

    The ***** the 2nd best team in the league? Is that some kind of joke? The team only managed to finish 8-8 last season and their off-season pick-ups weren't amazing. Overpaid for a decent corner in Nate Clements but he can't cover both recievers in duos a la Bruce/Holt & Boldin/Fitzgerald... they paid a ridiculous amount for a safety who got benched by the Eagles... I just can't seem to understand all the hype surrounding the Whiners.

  7. #7
    smizzhfx Guest

    Re: Worst to first: Ranking the NFL off-seasons

    Year after year teams sign "name" players to huge contracts and you don't see the kind of production you expect out of them. Look at Washington with all their big -name acquisitions and contracts. Look at Arizona picking up Edgerrin James. Randy moss to Oakland? Culpepper to Miami? I can go on and on and on. The media just likes to hype up teams who make big moves in the off-season, over-spending for under-whelming players. I guess we'll just have to wait for the teams to speak for themselves.

  8. #8
    Fortuninerhater's Avatar
    Fortuninerhater is offline Registered User
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    Re: Worst to first: Ranking the NFL off-seasons

    The rankings are for off-season moves only smizzhfx, not for best teams in the league.

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