NFL Preseason Observations
The final roster cuts are out and that signals the end of the preseason. As a lifetime member of Generation X I feel compelled to pay homage to a certain 20 year anniversary that just passed, thus I present not quite Ten observations of the preseason:
Once...upon a time you could count on Indianapolis winning at least 10 games and gearing up for a Super Bowl run. With Peyton Manning questionable for the start of the regular season all of that is in doubt. However, it seemed to me that the Colts tried to showcase their defense and running game to send a message to the rest of the league: there's still talent here outside of Manning.
Even Flow I had to look twice but yes Atlanta's Matt Ryan did indeed throw 42 passes against Pittsburgh in Week 3. There's no question the Falcons can run but with Roddy White and Julio Jones the Falcons will be dangerous through the air as well. A balanced attack will be needed in the deep NFC South.
Alive After a rough 2010 the Cardinals are due for a bounce with the acquisition of quarterback Kevin Kolb. Yes, Steve Breaston is gone and Ryan Williams is out for the year but the Cards still have Larry Fitzgerald. Kolb appears to have settled in without the benefit of an offseason and that should help Fitzgerald get back to 2009 form.
Why Go What was Todd Haley trying to prove in the final preseason game? By keeping the Kansas City starters on the field into the fourth quarter Haley exposed KC's weaknesses. After all if the Chiefs starters struggled against the Packers reserves, what will happen when they face starters from the likes of San Diego, New England and Pittsburgh?
Black...and Honolulu blue. Is there a better preseason team than the Detroit Lions? The Lions are 14-2 over the last four preseasons but it hasn't yet translated into regular season success. However, it is clear the Lions are a better team and this could be one of those rare instances where the preseason record may indeed indicate improvement.
Drawing pictures, of mountain tops As if Denver wasn't in a big enough hole with a new coach now it's a game of musical chairs at quarterback. Tim Tebow held his own at the end of 2010 but new boss John Elway made it clear Tebow would have to earn the starting spot again. So Kyle Orton, who started 2010 at the top of the depth chart, is again the #1 quarterback. This is a bad sign. If Tebow isn't the guy why did the Broncos trade up to get him in 2010? Denver looks like a team without direction.
Take a good look, this could be the day It will take some time but the Bengals may have something with rookies Andy Dalton and AJ Green. Both looked good in preseason and the fantasy keeper buzz has been swirling around Green for some time. Defense still rules the day in the AFC North but once Dalton and Green get up to NFL speed that could be the best QB/WR combo in the division by 2012.
Deep Yes, the Packers are deep at the skills positions. So much so that the Packers kept five tight ends. The concern, though, is the depth of the offensive line. There's been a bit of personnel shuffling and the reserves are inexperienced. I've said along that if Aaron Rodgers has time he should pick apart any secondary so keeping the O-line healthy is a must.
Release No real big surprises among the Packers cuts with the exception of quarterback Graham Harrell. It's good to see that again a group of undrafted free agents (MD Jennings, Vic So'oto & Jamari Lattimore) made enough of an impact to survive the cuts. However looking at the rest of the league, two of the great all-time names, San Francisco's McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Houston's Mister Alexander were released.