Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by Zaxor, Apr 4, 2006.
Cowboys at #10...
I don't care what he thinks but it is a slow time of year
By now, if you are an avid reader of this site, you know how much I love quarterbacks. Good ones cure ills, making life a lot easier for a coach. Bad ones end coaching careers.
Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban is about to find out the good side. The acquisition of Daunte Culpepper makes his Dolphins a Super Bowl contender, which is why they are now in the top five of the CBS SportsLine.com Power Rankings.
In this batch -- the second of 2006 and one that takes into account the free-agency moves -- the Dolphins have made a strong move toward the top, going from No. 8 in our last Power Rankings to the fifth spot.
With Saban as coach, and a team coming off a 9-7 season, the thinking was the Dolphins would push for a playoff spot even if Gus Frerotte was back chucking passes all over the place, but a Super Bowl was too far-fetched.
Questions surround whether Culpepper can return to full strength. (Getty Images) That changed when they made the deal to acquire Culpepper, a strong-armed pocket passer who is two years removed from a 39-touchdown pass season. They're now as good as any team in their division, the New England Patriots included.
Culpepper comes with baggage. For starters, he had the off-field issues in Minnesota -- the much-publicized Love Boat incident tops among them. If you can get in trouble in Minneapolis, can you imagine what can happen in South Beach?
Culpepper also walked to his own beat in Minnesota, according to Vikings sources. There were the Culpepper Rules, which allowed him perks other players didn't get. That won't happen with Saban, which is why this will work.
Skeptics will also say Culpepper is a player who put up big numbers because of Randy Moss. Once Moss left last year, Culpepper struggled before tearing three ligaments in his right knee, throwing six touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He certainly didn't look like the player who put up MVP-type numbers the year before the injury.
Then there are questions as to when he can play. He has said he plans to be ready for the open of the season, but there are some who doubt that. Culpepper did some straight-line running last week, but Saban said last week at the NFL meetings that he wasn't sure if Culpepper would be ready for the opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 7.
The Dolphins must be somewhat concerned since they are talking with the Lions about a potential trade for Joey Harrington.
The fact that Saban willed the Dolphins to nine wins last year says a lot about him. There weren't many, if any, who thought that young team with Frerotte playing quarterback could finish over .500.
Coach-quarterback combinations usually win in this league.
The Pittsburgh Steelers used a Bill Cowher-Ben Roethlisberger ticket to win it last year. Before that, it was the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady duo. Saban-Culpepper can be that special.
Running back Ronnie Brown is a year older, and he will be better. The line has added a quality left tackle in L.J. Shelton and a good fullback in Fred Beasley to help him run. The defense has a nice mix of young talent and good veterans.
With the Steelers the opponent on the road for the first game, it won't take long to see if the Dolphins really are ready to take the next step.
The Steelers stay in the top spot of these rankings. They lost receiver Antwaan Randle El (Washington) and safety Chris Hope (Tennessee) in free agency. But those losses are by no means crippling.
The Steelers made a nice signing in Ryan Clark to replace Hope and Randle El only caught 35 passes last year, so the Steelers are confident they can replace him.
Carolina moves up into the fourth spot from the seventh spot based on their free-agency moves, including getting receiver Keyshawn Johnson. The Panthers are the highest-rated NFC team, with the defending NFC-champion Seattle Seahawks next in the eighth spot.
Dallas cracks the top 10 after signing receiver Terrell Owens and kicker Mike Vanderjagt and upgrading the offensive line. Dallas moves from No. 17 to the 10th spot.
The Cowboys are one behind the Giants in the rankings, one ahead of the Eagles in the 11th spot and three ahead of the Redskins in the 14th spot. There is no doubt the NFC East is going to be brutal, which might make it tough for any of those teams to get to a Super Bowl.
Three of the four teams have veteran quarterbacks in Mark Brunell (Redskins), Drew Bledsoe (Cowboys) and Donovan McNabb (Eagles). Only the Giants Eli Manning, now in his third year, is a younger quarterback, and the Giants expect a breakout year from him.
The teams who were at the bottom in our first rankings pretty much stayed there.
San Francisco stays at the bottom, and the Jets fall to 31st, a drop of four spots. They have issues, particularly at the quarterback spot. With Chad Pennington's shoulder still questionable, they will use their top pick in the April draft on a quarterback, which will help down the road, but will take time. So for now, with Pennington the likely starter, the thinking is they are a bottom feeder.
What they need is a quality quarterback who can cure their ills.
POWER RANKINGSCurrentTeamPrevious1Pittsburgh Steelers1They are still the class of the league. Ben Roethlisberger will continue to get better, which is why they might be even better next season2Indianapolis Colts2How do they fill Edgerrin James' shoes? They take a young back early in the draft, plug him into the offense, and move on. It won't be as big a loss as one might think. This is a pass-first team.3New England Patriots3They're up in arms in New England because the Patriots haven't spent any money and they have so much cap room. Guess what? The Patriots are being smart as hell again. Don't worry about this group, they'll be just fine.4Carolina Panthers7They had as good an offseason as any team. Adding Johnson and defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu were great moves. They don't have a lot of holes, and the ones they have are not prime positions.5Miami Dolphins8Even with Culpepper, this team needs to get better line play. If they do, watch out. Ronnie Brown could be ready for a 1,500-yard season.6Jacksonville Jaguars5They entered the offseason worried about their offense, but did little other than sign two former first-round offensive tackles who have struggled for most of their career. They must be assuming a lot of growth by some young offensive players.7Denver Broncos4They did a good job re-signing their own in Matt Lepsis and Gerard Warren, but they lost some good ones in Trevor Pryce and Mike Anderson. There hasn't been a lot added, either. But this remains a quality team.8Seattle Seahawks6Losing Steve Hutchinson at guard will hurt, but they did the right thing not matching the offer sheet. Julian Peterson will help the defense, but have they really improved?9New York Giants9Their success will hinge on how much Eli Manning grows. The feeling here is that he improves a bunch. This team also has to play better against the pass, which means a lot of pressure on free-agent corner Sam Madison.10Dallas Cowboys17This will likely be Bill Parcells' last year, and this team is ready to make a strong Super push. They've had a nice offseason. T.O. is a great addition.11Philadelphia Eagles10With Donovan McNabb back, they are a strong contender. But somebody has to emerge outside as a weapon, and I don't think that's Jabar Gaffney.12Tampa Bay Buccaneers11They were a playoff team a year ago with bad offensive line play. If that improves, it will help Chris Simms a bunch. Then who knows? But the line is a big issue now.13Chicago Bears13Somebody, whether it's Brian Griese, Rex Grossman or Kyle Orton (not likely), has to step up and become a factor at the quarterback position. They have to throw it better.14Washington Redskins16They spent and spent and spent some more. What else is new? So what did they get? A receiver (Randle-El) who had 35 catches last year, a tight end (Christian Fauria) who won't scare people down the field, a safety (Adam Archuleta) who is a liability in coverage, another receiver (Brandon Lloyd) from a team in need of them yet was willing to trade him and a defensive end (Andre Carter) who has yet to live up to the hype.15Cincinnati Bengals12If Carson Palmer can make it back in September, they will be higher. If not, they could be lower. That's how important he is to this team.15Kansas City Chiefs15New coach Herman Edwards has Larry Johnson to build around on offense, but it's the defense that will decide how far this team goes. At some point, don't they have to move closer to the level of play of the offense?16San Diego Chargers14I like the idea of Philip Rivers starting. But it might take one year to get him acclimated to being a starter. Then they'll take off next season.18Minnesota Vikings18The Vikings say they are happy to be rid of Culpepper. We'll see. Can they really count on Brad Johnson to lead them to the playoffs? Didn't he once wear a leather helmet?19St. Louis Rams19They feel they've improved the defense with Corey Chavous, La'Roi Glover and Fakhir Brown coming on board. It has to play better than it did last year. We know Scott Linehan will have the offense cranked up.20Baltimore Ravens20For now, it looks like Kyle Boller is still the man at quarterback. He showed better at the end of 2005, but that's risky for Brian Billick, who is on shaky ground.21Arizona Cardinals21James has to liven up the running game, which was last in the league. But it all depends on how well the offensive line improves. They have to be more dominant. This team has talent to move up.22Atlanta Falcons22The addition of John Abraham helps the defense. But this team's fate will be decided by the growth of Michael Vick. He has to throw it better.23Tennessee Titans26They've added some nice players to this young group. If Steve McNair can be effective for another year, they have a chance to get to .500 or maybe better.24Green Bay Packers24They're waiting to hear from Brett Favre. If he plays, they could go higher. If he doesn't, they fall. Will you please make a decision, Brett?25New Orleans Saints31The issue here is how Drew Brees' shoulder responds. If it does well, this team will take a step forward. If it doesn't, it will be a long season.26Oakland Raiders30New coach Art Shell is hoping to bring back the Raider mystique. Getting Aaron Brooks is risky, but it's certainly worth a look. He might flourish outside of New Orleans.27Cleveland Browns27They spent a lot of money in free agency, and some of the moves (LeCharles Bentley) were really good ones. But all they can really hope for is a .500 season. The 2007 season is when they will make a move.28Buffalo Bills23Do they really think Craig Nall is the future of this franchise? They must see things others don't. New coach Dick Jauron has to hope there's something special there that we don't see.29Detroit Lions29Rod Marinelli inherits a team with talent. Adding veteran quarterbacks Jon Kitna and Luke McCown will be an upgrade from Joey Harrington. But how much an upgrade is to be determined.30Houston Texans25With the first pick, they will add a heck of a player in Reggie Bush. But there are still a lot of holes and there is some uncertainty about David Carr, although the talent is there.31New York Jets28This is a team that might have to go back a few steps before being competitive again. Eric Mangini has his hands full.32San Francisco 49ers32This is a work in progress. With a second-year quarterback and coach, it's going to be tough going again. At least they play hard under Mike Nolan.
beat ya to it
Good job.....little slow on the buttons
Like the Skins review....seemed accurate!
I can hear Redskins fans crying from here.
"media hates us"
Prisco is jealous and Bias"
"we'll show them when we win a superbowl this year yeeeeaaaa"
Who's gonna go to ES and see how close I am
Finally... someone gets it. Good job Prisco
Honestly, though, is Randle El not an improvement over Brown, is Lloyd not an improvement over Jacobs? Archuleta is better than Clark(who was nothing special in coverage anyway). Carter doesn't have to get 10 sacks, just fairly consistent pressure would be a huge improvement on last year. The tight end needs only to block fairly competently and catch a pass here and there.
We didn't get any TO caliber players(although we paid them as such ), but they are better than what we had last year.
El is an improvment over their kick returner. Remember they already have Patten coming back and he is better than either new WR they brought in.
Archuletta is very minimal upgrade over Clark. They are basically the same player.
Carter has to be consistent in pressure which is something he has never done.
Nobody is saying the Skins havent improved, but other teams improved more, or stayed ahead of the Skins
"This will likely be Bill Parcells' last year, ......."
where do these clowns get this stuff?
Alot of people think it will be his final year, me included
I didn't think the Skins were that good last year. They got very lucky to start the season. I remember they started 3-0 in three miraculously blown games by their opponent (one was us). They would have started 0-5 then and finished 7-9 even with their streak at the end of the year. At no point last year watching them did I think, "Wow, with some halfway decent free agent acquisitions, they'll be poised for a Super Bowl run next year."
I also think it's good the writer didn't just basically do last year's final standings in reverse order like many do. Miami at 5 seems really high though, considering they're counting on a QB with a tangled hammock of ligaments in his knee right now.
And one of these years you will be right!
Sounds like Gibbs is a member at ES
I knew it was there somewhere lol
zaxor, appreciat the link and information.
i think prisco is off.
the addition of TO by itself does not elevate the cowboys to a super bowl contender. the OL is far too suspect/unproven for such an assumption. by contrast philly's OL when they added TO two years ago was much better than ours now. i'm fine w/the signing owens, but i'm not wearing rose-colored glasses over it...
This writer is a joke. I saw Miami at #5 and didn't bother reading the rest
you read the rest. You went right down to where Washington is ranked and decided not to comment.
WAY too early for a poll like this, who knows what will happen in the draft or the rest of free agency, what teams will loose starters in training camp, or the early games of the season...that being said if Dallas finishes 10th in the leauge I think it will be a huge disapointment.