News: PFW: 15 Players Under the Microscope

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by Hostile, Jun 25, 2004.

  1. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    A look at 15 veterans under scrutiny for the 2004 season
    By Mike Wilkening (
    June 25, 2004

    If you happen to take a vacation in the next few weeks, well, congratulations, you lucky dog, for it’s high time for you to get rid of that farmer’s tan. And if you’re an NFL devotee, double congrats, because this is the best shot you’ll have all year at having a random running back, placekicker or long snapper show up at your clambake.

    See, the league is pretty much on vacation at the moment. Training camps don’t kick off until late July, so it’s now-or-next-June for players, coaches and scouts to get that summer trip in.

    Me? Well, I don’t have any excursions planned. I don’t know, maybe I’ll get out to an outlet mall or something. But for now, I’m here, thinking about the upcoming season — and some of the players that have something to prove:

    Redskins QB Mark Brunell — I have mixed feelings about having him on this list; he doesn’t make many mistakes, and he was effective in limited action with Jacksonville in 2003. But he’s 34 to start the season, and he’s playing behind a suspect offensive line. That said, he will always be one of my all-time favorites because of his professionalism and his unique style of play,

    Raiders CB Phillip Buchanon — In his third season, expectations are high for Buchanon. “He needs to push himself to consistently get better because he does have all the talent in the world,” Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan recently told PFW. “We tell him 'Use your skills, challenge yourself and get the best out of you.' He's a hard worker who wants to be the best. He gives up some routes that athletically Phillip can shut down. That’s what we’re going to get him to, and he’s young. The thing with him is that he cares. We expect a lot out of him, and we’re going to demand him to be as good as he can be.”

    Patriots RB Corey Dillon — Has he lost a step? Or was his final season with the Bengals an aberration? The Patriots need Dillon to be a 1,200-yard rusher and a good soldier. At the end of his run in Cincinnati, he was neither. The early word from a Cincinnati source is the Bengals are a more pleasant team to be around since Dillon left.

    Chargers WR Kevin Dyson — He very well could end up being San Diego’s No. 1 wide receiver. Physically, will he be up to the task?

    Buccaneers PK Martin Gramatica — Is coming off a season when he hit only 7-of-17 kicks from 30 yards and beyond. His histrionics may always be his legacy, but he needs to regain his form — and quick — if anyone is ever to remember him as a pretty good kicker, too.

    Ravens WR Kevin Johnson — Johnson’s reputation took a big hit last season. The Browns cut him in November, and players and coaches took turns ripping him in his wake. After a stint in Jacksonville, Johnson was traded to the Ravens, who hope Johnson can be the trusty possession receiver that young QB Kyle Boller needs. If Johnson runs routes by the book and is motivated, he could catch 65 passes. If he struggles, he may never again be a starter in the league.

    Rams DTs Jimmy Kennedy, Damione Lewis, and Ryan Pickett — The Rams haven’t gotten what they expected out of each of these first-round picks, though Kennedy reportedly looked better in the offseason.

    Broncos WR Ashley Lelie — Will he be able to eventually succeed Rod Smith as Denver’s No. 1 wideout? This is a pivotal season for Lelie, who is among the league’s most physically talented wide receivers.

    Browns WR Quincy Morgan — Morgan has weighed in with veiled criticism of both Kevin Johnson and QB Tim Couch after the Browns jettisoned both players. If Morgan doesn’t pick up his play, he could be looking for work elsewhere. Morgan, who is a free agent after this season, should be better than he has been.

    Bengals CB Deltha O’Neal — O’Neal’s athleticism and footwork has impressed team observers early on. He has the ability to be very good; now it’s just a matter of avoiding mental lapses and not losing his confidence.

    Eagles WR Todd Pinkston — The Eagles gave him a contract extension before last season but didn’t get much of a return on their investment, as Pinkston caught only 36 passes. With Terrell Owens certain to get double-teamed, Pinkston needs to step up.

    Steelers SS Troy Polamalu — Wasn’t instinctive enough as a rookie, according to Steelers DB coach Darren Perry, but did play better in the second half of the season. Polamalu is one of the AFC’s fastest safeties; if the light comes on, a Pro Bowl trip — and a Pittsburgh run at the AFC North title — is not out of the question.

    Texans OLB Kailee Wong — Can Wong give the Texans a consistent pass rush now that he will be playing on the right side? If Wong and rookie LOLB Jason Babin take to their roles, the Houston defense will be interesting to watch.
  2. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Add Key to that list!
  3. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    For me add Hunter, AB, Julius, and whomever the QB is.
  4. dmq

    dmq If I'm so pretty, why am I available?

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    Remember all the people around here that wanted to move down from the Roy pick to get and extra draft pick and Phillip Buchanon ? Looks like we did well to stay where we were!
  5. kidcrook

    kidcrook Active Member

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  6. AJM1613

    AJM1613 New Member

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    I REALLY hope he doesn't go back to the way he was, no offense to him. Hopefully with him being 29.690 years old, he really has lost a step.
    If he could have gotten 1 more foot he wouldn't have been on this list.
  7. NOVA 22

    NOVA 22 Member

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    great point. not to mention quentin jammer hasn't done all that much in sd.
  8. NOVA 22

    NOVA 22 Member

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    For the Cowboys, I'd have to say that Marcellus is the one guy who could really be our big swing player (no pun intended). If he delivers even 3/4 of what he used to as a pass rusher, the long chain reaction we've all been waiting for could finally happen - increased turnovers - leading to better field position - leading to more scoring and ball control - with leads allowing the defense to be even more aggressive.......
  9. NOVA 22

    NOVA 22 Member

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    Todd Pinkston is one of the 10 worst starting players in the NFL. you should watch some game tape of how michael irvin used to get doubled in his last few years when we didn't have someone to take the heat off him. owens is going to get doubled and there's going to be 8 guys in the box every play. all because your #2 wr will suck no matter who it is.
  10. AJM1613

    AJM1613 New Member

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    Last year Pinkston got doubled and we managed with Thrash opposite him. Thrash isn't as good as Pinkston and Owens is a lot better than him so I think we will do okay. Really Pinkston isn't much worse than Tai Streets and that is who Owens has had since Rice left.
  11. jay cee

    jay cee Active Member

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    if those idiots had drafted Randy Moss instead of Dyson, they probably would have had that extra foot.

    People may complain about the Cowboys passing on Moss, but at least they had enough sense not to pass over him for another receiver.
  12. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    Those would be my big 2 as well.

    Hunter has something to prove but nothing like the two above.
    KJ and others could prove things to various teams or coaches from their past but Gurode and LA need to step up big time to remain on the team for next season.
  13. MichaelWinicki

    MichaelWinicki "You want some?" Staff Member

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    Al Johnson.

    Our offensive line will be no better than the play at the center position.
  14. Skeptic

    Skeptic New Member

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    Making 49ers comparisons now?

    All I have to say is that your QB and WR better get along or you guys are headed down the toilet quick, both from a chemistry and a cap standpoint.

    And you better hope and pray that Kearse pans out like most Philly fans just assume he will.

    I'll take Key/Glenn/AB over Owens/Pinkston/Thrash any day of the week.
  15. Lord Sun

    Lord Sun New Member

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    Veterans, they said?
  16. Tio

    Tio Armchair QB

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    Why have you started this trend of doing a players age all the way into the thousandths??? :confused:
  17. AJM1613

    AJM1613 New Member

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    It is easier to do that than type how many days old they are. Someone who just turned 29 yesterday is almost a year younger than someone who is turning 30 tomorrow. I give all my numbers in the's just more accurate...
  18. AJM1613

    AJM1613 New Member

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    Because that is all I have to go by talking about Owens.
    Last time I checked we still have more cap room than 29 teams in the NFL ;) .

    Have you seen any of the McNabb-Owens interviews???? I think that they are getting along okay.

    He will, why wouldn't he???

    Than you are a homer :D .

    Edit: Thrash is a Redskin, by the way. Mitchell, McMullen, Lewis and Jenkins are our other WRs. Mitchell is our third WR right now.
  19. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    Jesus, get a life.
  20. AJM1613

    AJM1613 New Member

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    Got one... ;)

    That did sound pretty "loseresque" when I said it though...It's just a matter of adding another digit.

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