Aug
06
2014
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Tis the season for optimism. From coast to coast, city to city, every NFL team currently feels like 2014 is going to be successful; as they grind their way through training camp, each is convinced that this is the year the franchise takes the next step.

Reports coming out of camps support these positive vibes. It’s nothing but stories about more efficient offenses, coupled with faster, stronger, tougher defenses; there’s nary a word about teams looking sluggish or subpar in any phase of the game.

Of course, not all of these stories are true; for every team that improves this season, there will be an equal number of teams that regress. While each NFL franchise has reason for optimism – in pro football more than any other sport, hope continually springs eternal – many of those good feelings will prove to be short-lived.

Why should each team worry about their chances in 2014? For each franchise, here is the reason why this season could be a “failure” – a measurement that is different from organization to organization:


AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills – In today’s NFL, it’s all about the quarterback. If a team has a good one, they can compete. If they don’t, they’re toast. The Bills invested a first-round pick in EJ Manuel, expecting him to fill that all-important role in Buffalo. But as his second season approaches, there’s mounting evidence that he’s simply not the guy. Case in point: The year after he left Florida State, a different quarterback led the Seminoles to the national title. In other words, Manuel wasn’t a difference maker in college, either.
Storyline: The Bills still haven’t found the heir apparent to Jim Kelly.

Miami Dolphins – There were plenty of people who took the fall for last year’s drama and late-season collapse. General manager Jeff Ireland got the boot. Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman was shown the door. And both Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito are no longer in Miami. But the two people who played the biggest part in both situations remain with the Dolphins, as head coach Joe Philbin and quarterback Ryan Tannehill are still in place. With that duo intact, how will anything improve?
Storyline: An inept head coach and non-clutch QB will prevent the Dolphins from taking the next step.

New England Patriots – Bill Belichick won three Super Bowls with rosters that featured a bunch of journeyman players (other than at quarterback) who were willing to do anything their maniacal coach asked them to do in pursuit of victory; in recent years, the Patriots have tried to repeat that formula, stripping the roster of marquee talent. But it’s not 2003 anymore. New England found out last year, when key injuries depleted them even more, that a star-studded team (Denver) is better in the playoffs.
Storyline: Tom Brady remains stripped of weapons, as the Patriots aren’t talented enough to compete with the Broncos.

New York Jets – Last year, the Jets missed the playoffs because their offense wasn’t consistent enough; New York’s defense could only carry them so far. As a result, they spent the offseason trying to improve that side of the ball. But they did it with the wrong guys. Michael Vick isn’t the quarterback he once was, while Chris Johnson is a running back that is clearly over the hill. And Eric Decker is an overrated wideout, evidenced by the fact that the Broncos didn’t even attempt to keep him.
Storyline: The Jets spent big money trying to improve their offense, but didn’t add any legitimate talent.


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Comments
  1. The Skipper Dude

    Nice work! But I disagree somewhat on the Broncos.

    The new guys they brought in, especially on defense (Ware, Ward and Talib) add talent, experience, work ethic and toughness. No worries there. Chemistry will be just fine.

    The problem for the Broncos is that they got phat on lousy and/or injured defenses during the regular season and AFC playoffs and were no match for Seattle in the Super Bowl. This year’s schedule is chock full of elite defenses. No guarantee that Peyton has anything resembling the year he had in 2013. O-Line is suspect and their receivers struggle getting off the LoS against physical DB’s.

  2. By following your logic concerning the Bflo Bills, the Colts must have been mistaken in taking Peyton Manning. Tee Martin led the Volunteers to a Nat’l Title the next season!!!

  3. Show this guy just looked up the stats and wrote out some bullcrap. never kept up with the Falcons or many of the other teams he is writing about. Roddy White Played in 13 of 16 game yes this is true but he was only 100% during the last 4 games of the season. High ankle spain look it up. Revamp oline and solid free agents on Defense and as far Wheatherspoon goes he has been injury prone every season he has played in and has never played a full season.. so no big deal!

    • I agree with the writer that Atlanta is still only halfway thru a minimum 2 year rebuilding . Fantasy Football Dimitroff (FFD) ignored the lines and made a mess of this team. I said it before last season and it has proven correct, the rebuilding of the lines will be a minimum 2 year project. Atlanta still needs a C and my hunch is they are going to need another T. The DL needs an DE that can rush the passer. The Falcon’s also need an OLB that can pressure the QB. The first 4 picks of the 2015 draft will need to be those positions.
      Atlanta is staring at an 7-9iish season if they don’t have significant injuries and if Baker can be functional at T. Those are big ifs based on FFD’s habit of drafting injury prone players.

  4. What a moronic post. There is nothing creative nor anything specific to football in this post. How in the hell does a player’s college affect the type of player he will be in the NFL? You should consider never writing anything about football ever again because after reading this, I wonder if you even watch the sport.

  5. Ask people in St. Louis in 2008 if they thought Kurt Warner had anything left in the tank, ask anyone in Oakland in 2006 if they thought Randy Moss was done in the NFL, ask the folks in Indy if they thought Peyton Manning’s career was over. Seriously, I hope you don’t get paid to write these articles.

  6. The Steelers have been replacing talent all decade. Woodley was a non-factor the last two seasons and Jason Worilds thoroughly outplayed him last year. His loss means nothing, as does Sanders’. Sanders is a #3 made to look good by Big Ben, there’s a host of young guys, namely Markus Wheaton, who can easily replace him. Not to mention Martavis Bryant, Lance Moore,and Justin Brown. Do some research. The 8-8 seasons were caused by a defense getting old, and rebuilding. That issue has been addressed.

  7. metalhead65

    a bears defense that needed to be improved drastically was not? seriously? did you see the moves they made in the off season? it is not the same defense at all and will be much improved to the defense that signed players on wed. and started them sun. last season.

  8. BILL PERRY

    This guy just wrote some vague garbage just to see how many comments he’s gonna get so he can show his boss “look how many people read me”….Bengals win AFC NORTH AGAIN….

  9. With the Jets you missed the point! Chris Johnson is part of the 3 headed monster in the backfield for the Jets, which will gain close to 2000 yards on thr ground with one going over 1000. Johnson doesn’t have to carry the load, was added to an already very good backfield! Mike Vick was brought in to push Geno not replace him and to be there if Geno goes down. Even the “great” Andrew Luck had 18 INTs and was 54.1% completion passer, with Reggie Wayne! So give Smith some slack, as long as he improves on a normal curve, with a better receiving corps Geno and the offense will be fine. The Defense is solid so it looks like a 10-6 year, at least. By the way the Bills and Dolphins should better better too and the Pats are the Pats.

  10. agree with all the other posts. it seems that everyone is unhappy with the ‘report’ given for their teams. being a Packer fan, I can say that the article is complete bs, obviously the writer of the article did no research on the teams and has very little overall football knowledge.

  11. Not surprising that the gutless writer didnt bother to put his name on this article. What a load of BS for each team.

  12. My Seahawks are far from having arrogance and cockiness…there’s a difference between CONFIDENCE and ARROGANCE…confidence we have. GO HAWKS!!