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Old 06-11-2009, 12:50 PM   #1
Bronco Rob
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Default Rick Gosselin's NFL off-season rankings



1. NEW ENGLAND

With Tom Brady on the field, the Patriots have won 23 of their last 25 games. It's a credit to the coaching of Bill Belichick that New England won 11 games last season without Brady. New England simply has the best coach and best quarterback in the game. The Patriots also have the game's most prolific tandem of wideouts in Pro Bowlers Randy Moss and Wes Welker. New England has fielded a top-10 defense each of the last three years and has the deepest roster in the NFL.

Final 2008 ranking: 9



2. NEW YORK GIANTS

The Giants were dominant up front on defense last season in capturing the NFC's top seed. They finished ninth in the league in run defense and sixth in sacks. That was without their best lineman Osi Umenyiora, who missed the season with a knee injury. Now he's back. The Giants added veteran front-seven starters Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard and Michael Boley. If NY can replace WR Plaxico Burress with rookies Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden, they should be the team to beat in the NFC.

Final '08 ranking: 2



3. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

The Eagles have won an NFC-high 92 games this decade on the broad shoulders of Donovan McNabb, who went to his only Super Bowl with Terrell Owens. Other than that season, McNabb has been throwing to a cast of no-names this decade. We've all wondered how good McNabb could be if he had some legitimate weapons on the flank. Eagles coach Andy Reid has finally decided to find out, using premium draft choices on speedy WRs DeSean Jackson in '08 and Jeremy Maclin in '09.

Final '08 ranking: 12



4. PITTSBURGH STEELERS

The Steelers captured a record sixth Lombardi Trophy last season, but an inability to block led to the season-long pummeling of QB Ben Roethlisberger (sacked 46 timesand eight more times in the playoffs) and RB Willie Parker (missed five games with a sprained knee). Left tackle Marvel Smith departed in free agency, and the Steelers cut guard Kendell Simmons. Pittsburgh has some young blockers, including third-round draft pick Kraig Urbik of Wisconsin, who need to develop quickly.

Final '08 ranking: 1



5. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

The Chargers were another team that overachieved last season, overcoming a 4-8 start to win the AFC West. The Chargers played into January despite the season-long absence of their best defensive player, pass rusher Shawne Merriman. LaDainian Tomlinson (turns 30 this month) is starting to show signs of age, but QB Philip Rivers is maturing.

Final '08 ranking: 13



6. ATLANTA FALCONS

The Falcons will increase their playoff stock as their quarterback matures. Matt Ryan won 11 games last season on his way to NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Michael Turner protected Ryan last season with an NFL-runner-up 1,699 rushing yards. Ryan can return the favor, with Roddy White emerging on the flank, plus TE Tony Gonzalez.

Final '08 ranking: 10



7. BALTIMORE RAVENS

The Ravens lost Pro Bowl linebacker Bart Scott and safety Jim Leonhard in free agency from the NFL's No. 2-ranked defense. But the biggest loss may be defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, who became head coach of the Jets and took Scott and Leonhard with him. The Ravens reached the AFC title game despite a rookie quarterback (Joe Flacco).

Final '08 ranking: 7



8. TENNESSEE TITANS

How much faith do you have in Kerry Collins? After Collins steered the Titans to an AFC South crown last season, Tennessee rewarded him with a contract extension, all but writing off the once-upon-a-time face of the franchise, Vince Young. Tennessee is the fifth NFL team for whom Collins has started. He also turns 37 this season.

Final '08 ranking: 3



9. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

The Patriots may not be alone in breaking the NFL record for victories in a decade. The Colts have won 101 games this decade, one fewer than the Patriots, and would need 13 to break San Francisco's mark. The Colts have won at least 13 games in two of their last four seasons. Peyton Manning is back, but head coach Tony Dungy is not. That's a huge hit for Indy's think tank.

Final '08 ranking: 4



10. ARIZONA CARDINALS

Are we to believe the Cardinals are for real after participating in their first Super Bowl? I believed the Cardinals were for real in 1998 after ending a 15-year postseason drought and winning a playoff game. But that turned out to be a fluke the Cardinals reverted back to form with a 6-10 collapse in 1999. But Arizona has Kurt Warner. If the Cardinals can keep him healthy, they can contend.

Final '08 ranking: 5



11. CAROLINA PANTHERS

The age of QB Jake Delhomme (34) and the unsettled contract situation of DE Julius Peppers casts a shadow over what is an otherwise talented football team. The Panthers can run and block with the best. The Panthers have the running back tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, and Steve Smith ranks among the top 5 playmakers in the game today.

Final '08 ranking: 6



12. HOUSTON TEXANS

The Texans have been around since 2002 but have not managed a winning season. This should be their breakthrough year. Matt Schaub, Steve Slaton and Andre Johnson provide playmaking ability on offense, and Mario Williams is an elite pass rusher. He'll get help in 2009 from rookies Connor Barwin and Brian Cushing.

Final '08 ranking: 19



13. CHICAGO BEARS

What a difference a quarterback makes. By acquiring Pro Bowler Jay Cutler from the Denver Broncos, the Bears have the best quarterbacking in the NFC North for the first time since the Jim McMahon era in the 1980s. Matt Forte can complement Cutler with his legs and Devin Hester can with his hands. But the Bears need to regroup on defense.

Final '08 ranking: 17



14. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

The Saints have the best offense in the NFL. But great offense, plus no defense equals a noncontender. New Orleans allowed an NFC South-high 393 points in 2008. The Saints signed a couple of defensive backs in free agency (Jabari Greer and Pierson Prioleau), then drafted a couple more (CB Malcolm Jenkins and S Chip Vaughn).

Final '08 ranking: 18



15. MIAMI DOLPHINS

The Dolphins introduced the Wildcat formation to the NFL in 2008 and take the next step with it in 2009 with the selection of West Virginia QB Pat White in the draft. Chad Pennington's arm, Ronnie Brown's legs and the pass rush of Joey Porter and Jason Taylor will keep defending AFC East champion Miami competitive in the division.

Final '08 ranking: 8



16. GREEN BAY PACKERS

The Packers figured to struggle in 2008 without Brett Favre. And they did with Aaron Rodgers at the helm, finishing 6-10. But Rodgers played better than expected. It was a defensive collapse that sank Green Bay. It also cost coordinator Bob Sanders his job. Dom Capers arrives to implement a 3-4 scheme.

Final '08 ranking: 24



17. DALLAS COWBOYS

Terrell Owens' departure could and probably should trigger a philosophical shift on offense to the running game. In Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, the Cowboys have the ability to be a top-5 rushing attack. But Dallas needs Roy Williams to flourish on the flank and Anthony Spencer in the pass rush.

Final '08 ranking: 15



18. MINNESOTA VIKINGS

The emergence of Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, plus the arrivals of Jay Cutler in Chicago and Matthew Stafford in Detroit leave the Vikings with the worst quarterbacking in the division. But Minnesota has the best defense and best RB in Adrian Peterson. Can the Vikings overcome a lack of plays from the QB position?

Final '08 ranking: 11



19. WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Unhappy with their quarterbacking a year ago, the Redskins tried to draft Mark Sanchez in April. Having failed, the Redskins turned the job back over to Jason Campbell with a lack-of-confidence vote. The Redskins have slid to the bottom of the NFC East.

Final '08 ranking: 21



20. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

The Jaguars finally found a lead receiver for QB David Garrard in Torry Holt. Unfortunately, at 33, Holt's best years are behind him. The Jaguars drafted a pair of tackles (Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton) to upgrade the blocking front and signed veteran Pro Bowler Tra Thomas.

Final '08 ranking: 26



21. CINCINNATI BENGALS

The Bengals lost an NFL-high 84 games by starters because of injury in 2008, including 12 by QB Carson Palmer. Little wonder Cincinnati won only four games. If Palmer can stay healthy for 16 games, the Bengals should chase a wild card spot into December.

Final '08 ranking: 27



22. BUFFALO BILLS

Another Terrell Owens era begins, this time in Buffalo, where crueler weather conditions windier, wetter, colder will probably mean more dropped passes by the King of the Drops. But there's young talent in place for the Bills.

Final '08 ranking: 23



23. NEW YORK JETS

The Jets went the old-quarterback route in the quest for a playoff berth in 2008 with Brett Favre. They are going with rookie Mark Sanchez this season. New coach Rex Ryan needs to overhaul a defense that allowed a division-high 356 points last season.

Final '08 ranking: 14



24. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

The 49ers take four quarterbacks to camp: Alex Smith, Shaun Hill, Damon Huard and rookie Nate Davis. Can they win with any of them? San Francisco needs to keep RB Frank Gore healthy to compete. The defense has taken a hit, losing CB Walt Harris to an off-season knee injury.

Final '08 ranking: 22



25. CLEVELAND BROWNS

The Browns fired GM Phil Savage and coach Romeo Crennel but, surprisingly, kept QB Brady Quinn and WR Braylon Edwards. Trade winds swirled around both players all off-season. Eric Mangini is the new coach.

Final '08 ranking: 29



26. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Mike Holmgren is are gone, replaced by Jim Mora and his defensive mind. The Seahawks could use a little more defense after finishing 30th in the NFL. They led the NFC with 72 games lost by starters because of injury.

Final '08 ranking: 28



27. CHOKELAND RAIDERS

By drafting WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, S Mike Mitchell and DE Slade Norris, the Raiders will be a much faster team in 2009. The jury is still out on QB JaMarcus Russell, and the defense remains suspect.

Final '08 ranking: 25



28. DETROIT LIONS

Anything the 0-16 Lions achieve under new coach Jim Schwartz will be an improvement. Detroit drafted its QB of the future in Matthew Stafford, but veteran LBs Larry Foote and Julian Peterson can provide immediate help.

Final '08 ranking: 32



29. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

The faces of the Bucs defense for a decade coordinator Monte Kiffin and linebacker Derrick Brooks are gone. So is any hope of Tampa Bay competing for a playoff spot. New coach Raheem Morris is in for a long season.

Final '08 ranking: 16



30. DENVER BRONCOS

So much for the lifetime security in Denver that Mike Shanahan seemed to snare with those back-to-back Super Bowl victories in the late 1990s. A lack of defense cost him his job in 2008. Josh McDaniels replaces him.

Final '08 ranking: 20




31. ST. LOUIS RAMS

Having failed with offensive gurus Mike Martz and Scott Linehan this decade, the Rams hired defensive whiz Steve Spagnuolo away from the Giants as their new head coach.

Final '08 ranking: 30




32. KANSAS CITY CHEEFS

Scott Pioli is the new GM, Todd Haley the new coach and Matt Cassel the new quarterback. The face of the franchise and most reliable weapon, TE Tony Gonzalez, was traded to Atlanta. This will be a very steep climb.

Final '08 ranking: 31









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Old 06-11-2009, 12:53 PM   #2
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30! Ouch...
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Old 06-11-2009, 12:55 PM   #3
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Really can't argue with the Broncos ranking and why they are ranked so low.
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Old 06-11-2009, 12:58 PM   #4
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So they are saying that every new coach is going to fail pretty much...

Bucs
Rams
Broncs
Lions

Seems like an easy prediction
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:23 PM   #5
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No where to go but up!
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:26 PM   #6
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We sucked last season, I think we end up in the high teens by seasons end
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:26 PM   #7
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He'll just be a bigger idiot at the end of the year.
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
2. NEW YORK GIANTS

The Giants were dominant up front on defense last season in capturing the NFC's top seed. They finished ninth in the league in run defense and sixth in sacks. That was without their best lineman Osi Umenyiora, who missed the season with a knee injury. Now he's back. The Giants added veteran front-seven starters Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard and Michael Boley. If NY can replace WR Plaxico Burress with rookies Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden, they should be the team to beat in the NFC.
Yea NY made great moves this Off Season,The Chris Canty move might just put them back in the Super Bowl this year.There Front 4 with rotation is pretty good,but will see how they'll play without Spagz.
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:54 PM   #9
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it is going to be funny when these rankings that are putting us near dead last are brought back up at the end of the season when we are in the playoffs.
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Old 06-11-2009, 02:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoMan4ever View Post
it is going to be funny when these rankings that are putting us near dead last are brought back up at the end of the season when we are in the playoffs.
so are you going to jump off a cliff if they are right and McD is a failure?
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Old 06-11-2009, 02:56 PM   #11
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behind the lions? really? total bs.
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:11 PM   #12
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I hope we're ranked dead last in someone's rankings. Players play better with a chip on their shoulder.
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:53 PM   #13
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Let's take these SOB's out!!!!!!

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behind the lions? really? total bs.
The write offs continue, but this is the first I've seen that placed them behind the Lions.....The Lions WTF..that's taking the disrespect too gaddamn far.
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoMan4ever View Post
it is going to be funny when these rankings that are putting us near dead last are brought back up at the end of the season when we are in the playoffs.
Our only saving grace will be our pathetic division.
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Old 06-11-2009, 04:04 PM   #15
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How low was Denver ranked prior to the 2005 season when the Brownco signings were being beaten to a pulp in every publication under the sun?
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Old 06-11-2009, 04:08 PM   #16
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I don't remember trading away a franchise QB and a future probable top 10 pick for the Browncos.
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Old 06-11-2009, 04:10 PM   #17
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I don't remember trading away a franchise QB and a future probable top 10 pick for the Browncos.
They didn't but the press heat from those signings seems similar to me
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Old 06-11-2009, 04:27 PM   #18
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Gonsoulin's a very sharp writer, but I think 30's a little to low. Moreno should help out the ground game and assuming average production out of Orton/Simms, plus at least marginal improvement on the defense simply with the subraction of Slowick, that adds up to about 25 in my book. Then again, the schedule looks vicious enough to derail them for good if they don't win 2 of the first 3 at least.
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Old 06-11-2009, 04:37 PM   #19
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Sparkies at five?


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Old 06-11-2009, 04:37 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oubronco View Post
so are you going to jump off a cliff if they are right and McD is a failure?
nope, i sat through a 6-10 season with Griese, that last 3 years of suck with a defense a high school jv team could have dropped 35 on. i can sit through another failed season with a coach rebuilding. orange and blue to the core. i can deal with years of crap.

although, i think McDaniels has surrounded himself with a lot of really good football minds and it is going to be difficult for him to crash and burn like so many are predicting.

defense will be better, we are going to have a legit rushing attack, actual focus is being paid to the special teams, with us having a good rushing game we can expect open passing lanes which will help Orton even if he is a step down from Jay in terms of talent, and our offense will be capable of bettering the 16th ranked scoring offense of last season. i see us being a better team than last season, and with our weak division, it isn't hard to believe that we can be a playoff team this season.
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Old 06-11-2009, 04:46 PM   #21
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that ranking makes me feel bad for Brian Dawkins.
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Old 06-11-2009, 05:47 PM   #22
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What if Cutler had actually had a winning record with Denver or got them to the playoffs one time and didn't choke away december last year.....I bet we'd have dropped down...uh...two spots....to dead last. What an amazing player he was for us.....they think.
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:07 PM   #23
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Quote:
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I hope we're ranked dead last in someone's rankings. Players play better with a chip on their shoulder.
As lomg as it's not a bone chipped.
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:19 PM   #24
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No where to go but up!


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Old 06-11-2009, 09:01 PM   #25
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How low was Denver ranked prior to the 2005 season when the Brownco signings were being beaten to a pulp in every publication under the sun?
Iirc, most had us around 10th.
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