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Monday, August 16, 2010



New Orleans didn’t make much noise in the off season. Surprisingly, the talking heads at ESPN have all but forgotten the defending champs.  Sean Peyton runs a drama free team that doesn’t garner the hype of coverage that attracts Adam Schefter and his network of sources.  Charles Brown, OT from USC, fell to the Saints and allowed them to trade disgruntled veteran Tackle Jamal Brown to the Redskins.  The Saints also resigned the ageless Safety Darren Sharper for another season to anchor a vastly improved defense.  The defense needs to be strong again this season, they led the NFL in takeaways last season, because the Saints have eight games against teams that look to be playoff contenders this season. The last three games of the season, @Baltimore, @Atlanta, and home against Tampa Bay, will be crucial for the Saints this year.  The Saints are loaded on offense and will remain one of the most efficient offenses as they were last year.  Reggie Bush is an expensive decoy/kick returner but he plays an important role.  Pierre Thomas emerged as an essential to compliment Drew Brees’ prolific passing attack.  The Saints play 5 prime time games in 2010.  They wilted under the big lights with an undefeated season on the line against the reeling Cowboys in 2009.  Can they produce in the face of soaring expectations?  We shall see.


The Bucs had a very good draft adding Gerald McCoy DT, Brian Price DT, and Myron Lewis CB to a porous defense.  These three could lay the ground work for a resurgent defense in the years to come.  Josh Freeman showed signs of promise last year.  However, Tampa remains years away from threatening for a playoff run.   The front office has stocked the team with some solid young talent, the burden now falls upon Morris to effectively develop and deploy it.  Tampa is a team that could show signs of tremendous growth this season, but also signs of major setbacks with matchups against the AFC-North. 


Carolina’s Matt Moore is a nice backup quarterback.  Moore will begin the season as the team’s starter but he will not last.  Jimmy Clausen free-falled in the draft landing with the Panthers.  Anything will be an improvement over Jake Delhomme’s 2009 season.  The Panthers will continue in 2010 as a run first team. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart power this offense.  Steve Smith has been hurt throughout the off season and was just recently activated, and the Panthers lost Mushin Mohammad who was a great compliment to Smtih last season.  Without a viable 2nd receiver, opposing defenses are free to double up on Smith.  Ron Meeks was hired to reinvigorate the Panthers defense.   A defense now without veteran pro bowl end Julius Peppers.  It’s going to be a long year for the Panthers.   Coach Fox should go ahead and revise that resume. 


Atlanta disappointed many fans in 2009 season after an ’08 playoff run. However, to put 2009 in perspective, the club posted back-to-back winning season for the 1st time in franchise history.  You may not know this, but Atlanta actually has a lot offensive talent other than Matt Ryan. Ryan’s health and consistent play remains fundamental to their success but backs Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood, receivers Roddy White and Harry Douglas and timeless tight end Tony Gonzalez are all inherent to Atlanta’s success.  The Falcons also drafted a couple of lineman in the 3rd and 4th rounds to sure up protection.  Look for an offense only second to the Saints in the NFC South.  The defense remains Atlanta’s Achilles heel.  The pass defense ranked 28th last season and when you play the Saints twice a year, that is unacceptable.  The team made 2 key additions.  They acquired CB Duanta Robinson from the Texans and drafted LB Sean Weatherspoon out of Missouri.  Robinson immediately gives Atlanta the option of single coverage freeing up other resources.  Weatherspoon has a world of potential and gives the Falcons a legitimate pass rusher to compliment, and hopefully revive, John Abraham.  Abraham disappeared in 2009.  If the Falcons find a way to bring Abraham back to form, they’ll make a playoff appearance and possibly a playoff run.

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