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  1. #1

    Looking at the team now, we really know what we have.

    They don't look bad, to be honest.

    We really know what we have in a majority of areas. Jimmy Smith's performance against Calvin Johnson is really being overblown. Smith had only begun practicing a week prior and Johnson is a top 3 WR in this league, one of the few WRs that could actually do that to Jimmy.

    On the defensive line, it seems like Pernell McPhee is ready to be a starter. What he might lack in run defense, compared to Cory Redding, he will make up for in pass rushing ability. Maake Kemoeatu seems ready to take on the role vacated by Brandon McKinney.

    At Linebacker, Paul Kruger seems ready to take over for Jarret Johnson. I suppose you could question whether or not Sergio Kindle is ready to take over the role that Kruger played last year. Courtney Upshaw will probably do fine as a run defender. Even the combination of he and McClellan will not make up for the pass rush that Suggs provided.

    Ray Lewis and Jameel McClain have returned for their roles and Ayanbadejo looks good for his coverage role.

    In the secondary, they have three starting caliber CBs and two nickel caliber CBs. The only difference is that Jimmy will likely start, while Cary will play the third guy who goes outside in the nickel. The starting safeties look fine as well.

    On the offensive line, as much shuffling as they've done, they seem able to run the ball effectively. The only issue that I see is that they are struggling to run the ball out of these lighter formations. So, they'll just have to be effective throwing the ball to set that up. Birk is in to make sure that the blitzes are picked up. Oher looks better at both tackle positions. McKinnie, for all the criticism that we have given him, is in better shape than last year. Osemele looks good for a rookie, wherever they put him and Williams gives them a vet option at G (Something they lacked last year, trying to make LeVoir and Gurode guards when one was a tackle and one was a center), if Williams doesn't start.

    Now that he is finally practicing, you can clearly see why the Ravens moved up to draft Benard Pierce. Whereas, they were probably going to have to sacrifice explosiveness if they used Allen as their short yardage back, they can now use Pierce in that role, with plenty of vets left on the market, in case of an emergency.

    Rainey looks like he has Sproles 'potential'. He has to make the team at this point.

    Joe is slinging darts out there. We've argued about whether or not Joe Flacco is a top ten QB. The way Joe is looking right now, I don't think that will be up for debate much longer.

    Torrey, I mean, it's like night and day, from this time last year, when it comes to him. He's even running some of Mason's old routes, to take advantage of the cushion that defenses are giving him. I suspect that Joe is going to favor him, the way he did Mason as well.

    Boldin just looks like he's going to have a quiet 80 catch season. He looks so much more comfortable in the slot, like he's back in Arizona. He isn't breaking tackles anymore, but he still looks good.

    If Pitta is ready for the opener, they should be fine at TE and Joe will definitely get him the ball.

    That would leave the only question mark, as the third WR, which really shows how far this offense has come. LaQuan Williams is a fit for the scheme, but Jones is probably a better fit. However, we know the story with him. We'll just have to ride this one out.

    All in all, I don't see why this team can't win the division again. I don't see anything that Cincinnati brings to the table that could take them down. I don't see that defense doing a better job of stopping Rice and I don't see them stopping Torrey. They'll have to pick one, but I don't see them stopping both. That was their problem last year.

    Pittsburgh?, it's hard to count them out, but it's just not looking good.

    Barring major injuries, the season will probably come down to week 3 versus New England. That will likely decide who has homefield throughout the playoffs. If the Ravens get it, I don't see anybody coming into M&T and beating them. The Texans game shouldn't have even been that close. Ed Reed dropped two picks in that game that would have stopped two scoring drives.

    The pass rush will be weaker. There's no way to deny that. They'll have to blitz more, but I think they have the CBs to handle it. The run defense should be the same. You can run on the Ravens with high quality zone blocking, but only if you have the back to hold up. Guys like Jamaal Charles and Chris Johnson won't last.

    No, Bobbie Williams is not an upgrade over Ben Grubbs, but Grubbs was hurt for a large portion of last season and at least they have a backup plan this time.

    The only other issue that I could see is if Gradkowski is not ready later in the season, in the case that Birk goes down.

    I could see the Ravens getting another twelve wins and, to be honest, it might take 13 to get the number one seed.
    "When questioned, the Elders explained that they were in search of magical powers. However, they're actually searching for the whereabouts of a certain ring. This ring is a legendary treasure that long ago was known to exist"

  2. #2

    Re: Looking at the team now, we really know what we have.

    There are lots of good teams in the NFL. We are going to have to fight for every game.....I agree with, there are players that are going to have to step up for us to dominate like we did last season, especially with Terrell.
    Last edited by HoustonRaven; 08-21-2012 at 04:39 PM.
    Way Down South in New Orleans

  3. #3

    Re: Looking at the team now, we really know what we have.

    No ONE player will replace what Suggs did but keep in mind in 2009 and 2010 when Suggs did not have the season like he had last year our pass rush was fine and our CBs were not as good. I think the Combo of McCellin/Upshaw will be fine as long as they keep both fresh.

    I see Kruger starting in Suggs spot thouguh and either Upshaw or McCiellin on the other side.

    I agree with everything you said.

  4. #4

    Re: Looking at the team now, we really know what we have.

    There are very few of the starting 22 that I'm certain about right now.
    Not how good or bad they are, but as in I'm not certain what to expect from them.

    Rice, Yanda and Webb are the only guys I'm certain about.

    Everyone else is dealing with a new position/new responsibilities, new scheme, new physique, newly starting, injury recovery or age.

  5. #5

    Re: Looking at the team now, we really know what we have.

    Hey if we generate a pass rush AND get Suggs back November/December, it will be a case of the rich getting richer.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    "Merry old England"
    Blog Entries

    Re: Looking at the team now, we really know what we have.

    All we have to do is win the division, I don't care if we end up going 9-7 but still win it. All of the AFCN teams have question marks this year, and a tough schedule. The Browns as always have the biggest questions, they will probably go 5-11.

    So lets look at who can realistically win the division.

    The Bengals have lost their starting left guard for the season (I think anyway). They have Clint Boling in, who really struggled last season when he replaced Bobbie Williams. They have some huge holes on their defense, they do have a solid defensive line, but their LB's are nothing to write home about, and their secondary was terrible at times last year, and it's essentially the same group. The only play makers on their defense is really Geno Atkins and Leon Hall.

    Nobody else stands out to me, they will play tough together as a unit, they will probably be a top 10 defensive unit again, but they don't have anything that will determine the outcome of the AFC North. Also will Dalton have anyone to throw to outside of Greshame and AJ Green? All teams are going to do is double team AJ Green, and blitz the shit out of Dalton. Cincy don't have a star power RB to change the direction of the game when shit gets bad in the passing game. They do have a good run blocking offensive line, but with Clint Boling now stating, I'm not so sure about that.

    I see Cincy anywhere between 7-9 to 9-7 this year, with an outside chance of hitting 10-6.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers are always going to be in contention, whether we like it or not, they still have Ben Roethlisberger, probably a top 5 QB in the league (that is painful to say, but it's true). They have Mike Wallace back for at least one more year, and Antonio Brown has been extended, and he's a really good slot receiver.

    The two questions about their offense, is their run game, and their offensive line. They are starting two rookies on their Oline, so it could put them through a fair amount of growing pains, it may take until next season until they really reap the benefits out of investing their first two picks on offensive linemen, because neither Decastro or Mike Adams in my eyes and from what I've seen so far, are ready to take on Haloti Ngata and Geno Atkins. Decastro is very good at getting to the second level and knocking LB's out of their path, he has shown that against the Eagles, and the Colts so far, but it could be a different story when has to do it against Ray Lewis and Dqwell Jackson. In pass protection and on simple one to one assignments in the run game, he has really struggled from what I've seen, and can get over powered.

    The Steelers have also moved Mike Adams to right tackle from what I seen of the Colts game, and Marcus Gilbert over to the left side. Gilbert had a great rookie year at RT, but can he play that well at LT? Only time will tell. Mike Adams has looked like anything but a capable tackle so far. They also have no RB that I even know of, apart from Chris Rainy, and at this point, he aint an every down back in the AFCN, far from it.

    On the defensive side of the ball, they look good as always. They have a few questions marks with their younger players stepping up, just like we do, but overall they look like a top 5 unit as usual. Their Dline wont be anything special, Ziggy Hood must step up. Their LB's are as usual their strength, but it looks like James Harrison could be missing a few games to begin the season. Lamar Woodley looks poised to be the DPOY, he is my early favourite to win it this year. Lawrence Timmons will take a big step forward this year, he is a great coverage LB and can blitz up the middle, he has been a great player so far in his career, but this is the year I really see him making a name for him self in the AFC North. Larry Foote is probably their worst player on defense, and is arguably the worst starting ILB in the AFC North right now, but that's not hard to be with the amount of decent ILB's in the division. Don't expect anything great from Foote. The Steelers secondary is their biggest question mark. Troy is a year older, but will still be a great safety, but terrible in coverage where the underrated Ryan Clark will be cleaning up a bunch of mistakes, but even Ryan Clark is old as shit now, I'm not sure if he's going to be anything more than a solid safety that you can exploit in the passing game this year. Ike Taylor is good, but the other corner, I don't even know him.

    So basically the Steelers will be a team with a tough defense, a great QB, with some great weapons to throw to. However they will also have a hard time protecting Ben as usual, and their run game is likely to be below par. Don't be surprised if Ben gets hurt again at some point in the season. I see the Steelers at anything between 9-7 to 12-4.

    I would say we are around the same as the Steelers, not all of our holes and weaknesses match each other, but we probably have the same amount of holes. We will be anywhere between 9-7 and 12-4. I don't care who we lose to in the regular season, as long as we make sure we get to a record that ensures us the division, hell even if it means going in as a wild card I don't care. I really think if we get to the play offs this time around, we have the experience, and the quality to go all the way this time. We probably wont look as strong as we did last year during the regular season, especially on defense. But I can see the offense improving.
    Last edited by leachisabeast; 08-21-2012 at 04:48 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Cockeysville, MD

    Re: Looking at the team now, we really know what we have.

    On the loss of Suggs, if the Texans can overcome the loss of Mario Williams, then we can overcome the loss of Suggs. TBH I don't know where the pressure is going to come from but I believe they'll figure it out.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    "Merry old England"
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    Re: Looking at the team now, we really know what we have.

    Quote Originally Posted by Terpsfan82 View Post
    On the loss of Suggs, if the Texans can overcome the loss of Mario Williams, then we can overcome the loss of Suggs. TBH I don't know where the pressure is going to come from but I believe they'll figure it out.
    Well to look like the Texans, we'd need Paul Kruger to be as good as what Connor Bawrin and Upshaw or McClellin need to be as good as what Brooks Reed was last season. I think it's perfectly possible. We probably have a better overall secondary than the Texans too, but man, I'd give anything to have Jonathon Joseph


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