News: Prisco-Offseason rankings

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by chicago JK, May 19, 2004.

  1. chicago JK

    chicago JK Well-Known Member

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    I know these are pretty much useless, but I thought I would post anyway. I am surprised with number 2 in his rankings.
    Power Rankings: Let's keep things sunny, sonny

    By Pete Prisco Senior Writer

    The summer is nearly here, which means it's wind-down time in the NFL. Coaches, front-office personnel and even players will get a break in a month or so before convening for training camp in late July.

    It's a time to recharge the batteries, get away from the game for a bit and then come back wired for a long, arduous season.

    It's the same for many of us who cover the NFL, which means it's about to be a peaceful time, spent on the beach reading books and hitting that little round ball around the course.

    It is not a time for anger, grief or nasty e-mails that feature many who would like to put my 9-iron in a place where the sun doesn't shine.

    So why is it time for another Power Rankings?

    My bosses love them.

    They provoke reader response, and plenty of hate directed at me. Nothing written on SportsLine generates as much feedback as the NFL Power Rankings.

    Because we haven't put out the rankings since February, it's probably time. The offseason is nearly complete, save for June 1 cuts and signings, and the opening of camps is two months away.

    The hard part with this batch of rankings is how much to take into account the 2003 season, while also looking ahead to the 2004 season.

    We know there are going to be teams that come from nowhere to get deep into the playoffs. History tells us that. And there will be teams that make major falls.

    The Jacksonville Jaguars might be one of those teams set to make a big rise. They have made big improvements and they showed well in the second half of 2003. If quarterback Byron Leftwich can make significant improvement -- the guess here is he will -- the Jaguars will compete in the tough AFC South.

    But the tough part is ranking them now. Are they a top 15 team? Right now, they are just inside the top 15 at No. 15. Come September, that could change and they could be higher.

    In doing these rankings, we had similar troubles gauging some of the other teams on the way up, while also trying to find the teams on the way down.

    In a word, these Power Rankings were tricky.

    So before firing off the usual nasty e-mails, take into account two things: one is the speculative nature of some of the rankings in a look-ahead mode, while the other is the most important thing of all.

    It's nearly summertime. Leave me alone until at least late July or I'll never break 90 again.

    P.S.: I need my 9-iron.

    The rankings for May 18:


    Current Team Previous

    1 New England Patriots 1
    They add Corey Dillon and end up with one of the better defensive tackles in the draft in Vince Wilfork. They are the team to beat again, but they won't win it again.

    2 Denver Broncos 3
    The additions of Champ Bailey, Luther Elliss and John Lynch should upgrade the defense -- if the latter two have anything left -- and Jake Plummer will be improved in his second season with the Broncos.

    3 Indianapolis Colts 2
    The offense is set, but there are still some major worries on defense. Until those are addressed, the offense will be asked to do too much.

    4 Philadelphia Eagles 6
    The additions of Terrell Owens and Jevon Kearse make this a much-improved team and might allow it to finally get past the title-game curse.

    5 Seattle Seahawks 4
    Now is the time for Mike Holmgren to get this team deep into the playoffs. All the pieces appear to be there.

    6 Kansas City Chiefs 8
    If Gunther Cunningham can work his magic with this defense, this again will be a Super contender. That's a big if.

    7 Baltimore Ravens 9
    The quarterback question still hangs above this group, but we believe in Kyle Boller, especially now that Jim Fassel is on the coaching staff.

    8 Carolina Panthers 5
    We'll keep them in the top 10 for now, even though we don't think they'll be there when the season starts. They'll be good, but not as good.

    9 Tennessee Titans 15
    Plenty of questions surround the defense, especially up front, but with Steve McNair at quarterback they still will be a quality team.

    10 New Orleans Saints 10
    Does this seem high? Probably. But the talent is there to make a legitimate playoff push. Maybe they are this year's Panthers.

    11 Dallas Cowboys 11
    It all hinges on the growth of Quincy Carter at the quarterback position. Rookie Julius Jones also has to show something fast at running back.

    12 Atlanta Falcons 13
    By the time the ball kicks off, this might be a team ranked higher. Michael Vick is back, which makes them a playoff contender, but it's the defense that has to be fixed.

    13 St. Louis Rams 7
    Is this the end of the Mike Martz era? Marc Bulger better be ready to show his tail-off at the end of 2003 was an aberration, not the norm.

    14 Green Bay Packers 16
    As long as Brett Favre is tossing spirals, they will have a chance to be a Super team. The defense has to play better.

    15 Jacksonville Jaguars 23
    A rising team loaded with good, young players that could actually be a playoff team. The growth of Byron Leftwich will be the key for this team.

    16 Miami Dolphins 14
    Yet another team that has major quarterback questions. Plus, the offensive line is rebuilt, and not exactly with five Pro Bowlers.

    17 Minnesota Vikings 17
    The offense again will be explosive, but the defense has to make major strides to get this team into the playoffs.

    18 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 18
    They've had a lot of turnover, which will make training camp the real time to put a gauge on this team. One thing's certain: Jon Gruden will have them ready to play.

    19 Pittsburgh Steelers 20
    The major question is at the quarterback position. Does Tommy Maddox have enough to be a solid starter again or is it time for rookie Ben Roethlisberger?

    20 Washington Redskins 21
    They've spent a lot of money to turn over the roster, and coach Joe Gibbs is one of the best. But is it enough?

    21 Cincinnati Bengals 25
    They surprised some people last year, but now they might take a step back playing a first-time starter in Carson Palmer. But it is the right move to play him.

    22 Buffalo Bills 24
    The defense should again be good, so now it's up to the offense to come alive under new coach Mike Mularkey.

    23 Houston Texans 26
    They're a year away. Dom Capers and his staff have done a nice job building this thing. They will be in most games again, possibly winning eight.

    24 New York Jets 22
    The offense will be better with Chad Pennington around for the entire season, but there are a lot of questions on defense.

    25 Oakland Raiders 29
    Who will play quarterback? Who's the top runner? How will age affect this team? There are some quality young players, but not enough of them.

    26 New York Giants 12
    It's going to be a tough first year for rookie Eli Manning and first-year coach Tom Coughlin. At least he'll have them playing hard.

    27 Detroit Lions 30
    Love the direction the offense is taking with third-year passer Joey Harrington and his bevy of skill people. Next year will be their year.

    28 Chicago Bears 27
    Lovie Smith has a lot of work to do with this team. Is second-year quarterback Rex Grossman ready to assume the full-time starter's role?

    29 Cleveland Browns 31
    Even with Jeff Garcia in as quarterback, there are still offensive line issues to go with a so-so defense.

    30 Arizona Cardinals 32
    If Josh McCown is what Dennis Green says he is, this team is ranked too low. We beg to differ.

    31 San Francisco 49ers 19
    Ken Dorsey or Tim Rattay, whoever starts, has a lot of learning to do. This will be a growing year for the 49ers.

    32 San Diego Chargers 28
    Marty-ball is in for a long year. We really feel sorry for LaDainian Tomlinson.
  2. Chuck 54

    Chuck 54 Well-Known Member

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    I'm shocked to see us that high and Washington that know they haven't done anything despite spending big money for a few years, but they actually look like a very solid and dangerous team to me.
  3. LeonDixson

    LeonDixson Illegitimi non carborundum

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    Frankly, I think they have us ranked way too high. It would be nice to be that good though. :)
  4. blindzebra

    blindzebra Well-Known Member

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    Pete is still showing his man love for Plummer. ;)
  5. chicago JK

    chicago JK Well-Known Member

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    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica]Just for grins, here is Prisco's rankings last may
    Power Rankings: Champion Bucs start where they finished
    By Pete Prisco Senior Writer
    Tell Pete your opinion!

    The draft is two weeks past, most teams have completed at least one minicamp, and training camp is about two months away, which must mean it's time for another version of the Power Rankings.

    Call these the post-draft, pre-training camp, preseason Power Rankings.

    Mike Alstott and Warren Sapp are just two of the standouts who make the Bucs a solid post-draft No. 1. (AP)
    They reflect what teams have done since the conclusion of last season, as well as a peak ahead toward 2003. As Tampa Bay players preached during their recent minicamp, 2003 is now in the rearview mirror. Being caught looking back can result in quite a nasty wreck.

    That doesn't mean the Bucs, who won the Super Bowl last January, don't deserve to stay in the top spot. With a defense that returns all but two starters -- and most feel the replacements for those players actually might be upgrades -- why shouldn't the Bucs start the season in the top spot?

    They will again be dominant on defense, although age is starting to become a concern in some spots and Warren Sapp's contract status looms as a possible distraction.

    The real improvement for Tampa Bay, and the reason the Bucs again should be considered a Super Bowl contender, is expected on the offensive side. Getting a year of tutelage in coach Jon Gruden's system, the offensive players all insist they will be better in 2003.

    Gruden was frustrated at times last year when he was forced to win games with defense. If he has his way, his offense will do more this time around, and the players say they already notice a big difference.

    "We're going to score more," said wide receiver Keenan McCardell. "You can just see how much better we look now playing in this system."

    The Bucs and the Eagles, who Tampa Bay beat in the NFC Championship Game, were the two best teams last season, and they go into 2003 as the two best again. The Eagles have suffered some losses in the offseason, but they did a nice job of replacing those players. They will factor again in the NFC.

    Oakland is coming off that blowout loss to the Bucs in the Super Bowl, and age will certainly be something to watch for this team. The Raiders also have to play faster, which is something the Bucs exposed in the Super Bowl.

    The one thing that really stands out in doing the first Power Rankings looking toward the 2003 season is that aside from a six to eight teams at the top and six or so at the bottom, the rest of the league is interchangeable.

    It will make predictions difficult (go ahead, start the jokes about last season's).

    Take the Ravens. They are 20th in these Rankings, but if they can somehow get good quarterback play from Chris Redman or rookie Kyle Boller, it wouldn't be a shock to see them in the top 10 by the end of the season.

    By contrast, the Rams are ranked eighth (OK, so we're putting a lot of faith in the return of a healthy Kurt Warner), but if things don't work out right, they could end up near the mid 20s by season's end. Would that really shock anybody after what they went through in 2002?

    That's why these Power Rankings will be so tough to do week in and week out next season, and also why they will be so much fun. Teams will make big moves, falling and rising every week because there is more parity than ever.

    Tampa Bay is on top, where they should be since they will be collecting their rings in a month. Repeating will be a tough task because of what's in front of them, a schedule of 16 games where every team will be gunning for them.

    Sitting atop these Power Rankings in May matters little come kickoff in September. But this gives an idea of where teams stand right now. There will be another edition of the Power Rankings before the opening of training camps, factoring in late moves such as June 1 cuts and signings.

    Until then, these are the Power Rankings for May 12:

    Current Team Previous
    1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1
    This team will be better on offense, and the defense should play to the same level -- or even better. But does anybody really think they'll repeat except the Bucs themselves?

    2 Philadelphia Eagles 2
    They've suffered their share of losses, but getting a healthy Donovan McNabb back should overcome those. They also have done a nice job replacing those lost players.

    3 Oakland Raiders 3
    They do have to worry some about age at key positions and harmony, too, with the return of Barrett Robbins following his going AWOL at the Super Bowl. The bitter Super Bowl loss will be hard to shake.

    4 New York Jets 5
    Losing Laveranues Coles hurt, but getting Curtis Conway will help fill that role. The big help will come from first pick Dewayne Robertson and the improvement of end Bryan Thomas on the defense.

    5 Tennessee Titans 4
    As long as Steve McNair is on the field, the Titans can win it all. They do need to get some people to step up outside on offense and Jevon Kearse has to return to health on defense.

    6 New Orleans Saints 11
    This team was slow last season, but that's changed after some good offseason moves. The key will be how well Aaron Brooks plays at quarterback after shoulder surgery.

    7 Green Bay Packers 7
    Brett Favre still has the rifle, so this team is still a Super Bowl threat. There are some worries on defense, especially at linebacker.

    8 St. Louis Rams 25
    With Warner back healthy, this is a different team. You wait and see how good he'll be playing behind an improved offensive line, including right tackle Kyle Turley, who came over in a trade from the Saints.

    9 Miami Dolphins 8
    This might be a make-or-break year for coach Dave Wannstedt. The offense has to get more vertical if the Dolphins really want to get to the Super Bowl.

    10 Atlanta Falcons 13
    Adding Peerless Price will help the offense, but Michael Vick still must become better in the pocket for the Falcons to get to the Super Bowl.

    11 Pittsburgh Steelers 10
    They should again be in the playoff mix, but Tommy Maddox has to prove that he was for real. The pass defense has to be better in the secondary.

    12 New York Giants 6
    The offensive line needs to be rebuilt some, but the return of Ike Hilliard should help the passing game. The special teams have been overhauled, which is a good thing.

    13 San Francisco 49ers 9
    All that young talent on defense will come together this season, but now there are worries about the offense. What happened to Jeff Garcia last season?

    14 Indianapolis Colts 12
    The key in 2003 will be the return to form of running back Edgerrin James. If that happens, they will be a playoff team. The defense should be better based on the growth of young players.

    15 Denver Broncos 15
    The signing of Jake Plummer was a controversial move but one that will pay off. If the defense plays better, the Broncos will move up this chart come September.

    16 New England Patriots 16
    The offensive and defensive lines have to play better than they did in 2002. So does running back Antowain Smith.

    17 Buffalo Bills 17
    It's not often that a team that is so prolific on offense decides to change the style of the team and become more defensive-oriented. That's a major risk.

    18 Kansas City Chiefs 18
    The cloud hanging over this team is the uncertainty surrounding Priest Holmes' hip injury. But the new faces on defense should improve it a bunch.

    19 Seattle Seahawks 20
    Now that Matt Hasselbeck has a grasp of the offense, this team will score points. It just has to play better on defense.

    20 Baltimore Ravens 19
    The main concern now is the quarterback position, which is obviously a big issue. If Chris Redman can develop, this can be a playoff team. More likely they will contend for a Super Bowl in 2004.

    21 Washington Redskins 22
    They've made some nice moves this offseason and should be lauded for them. But they will matter little if quarterback Patrick Ramsey doesn't prove to be a solid starter.

    22 Cleveland Browns 14
    Of all the playoff teams from a year ago, this one has the most questions, the biggest being: Who will be the quarterback? The defense has some major holes to fill.

    23 San Diego Chargers 21
    When are the Chargers ever going to have the offense and defense both playing well? It used to be a defensive team, and then when the offense became productive the defense fell off in 2002.

    24 Jacksonville Jaguars 27
    They will be much better on defense with the addition of Hugh Douglas and Mike Peterson, and they still have playmakers on offense in Jimmy Smith, Mark Brunell and Fred Taylor. The offensive line has to play better.

    25 Minnesota Vikings 24
    They will score loads of points on offense with the improved offensive line. The key will be if the defense can take a major step from a year ago.

    26 Cincinnati Bengals 32
    Coach Marvin Lewis has instilled a new feeling around this team. The Bengals have talent, too, which could make them dangerous in 2003 if Jon Kitna can continue to advance.

    27 Chicago Bears 28
    If they think Kordell Stewart is the answer to their quarterback woes, they are wrong. Rex Grossman could be starting by Halloween.

    28 Dallas Cowboys 26
    Bill Parcells is a great coach, but even great coaches can't do much without a quarterback. If Chad Hutchinson isn't the answer, Parcells could have a 5-11 start to his Dallas career.

    29 Carolina Panthers 23
    Coach John Fox did a great job last season, but can we expect the same from Rodney Peete in 2003? And can the defense play like it did last season with those same starting corners?

    30 Houston Texans 29
    They will make strides on offense this season, but the defense overachieved in 2002. They'll be in games, but it might not translate to the win column.

    31 Detroit Lions 31
    They will be better than a year ago because Joey Harrington will be better. But where's the running threat to ease the pressure on him?

    32 Arizona Cardinals 30
    They let go Plummer and signed an average quarterback in Jeff Blake, and they have little outside at the receiver position. Poor Dave McGinnis.
  6. blindzebra

    blindzebra Well-Known Member

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    Kind of funny how as many teams from the bottom 15 made the playoffs as from his top ten, including a SB team at #29.

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