Thursday, August 9, 2007

The top 5 storylines for this coming NFL season

5. The new Mr. Excitement. Vince Young led the Titans to a promising second half last year, winning 8 out of the last 11 and 6 out of the last 7. Now they've lost CB Pacman Jones and WR Drew Bennett and haven't added much besides another layer of fat around Lendale White's ample midsection. Will Vince Young carry this team again, or will a tough schedule lengthen their rebuilding process in Nashville another year?

4. Can you sign this lettuce for me? Peyton Manning and the Colts were the bug while Tom Brady and the Patriots were the windshield until last year, when Reche Caldwell, with eyes halfway out of his head, dropped a series of potentially huge passes, possibly brought on by the postseason return of Colts hard hitting safety Bob Sanders. Now the Colts look to repeat with their starting defensive tackles, corners, left tackle, and leading tackler gone with no replacements except for mid-round draft picks. At least they have the two highest paid players in the NFL in the form of Manning and Dwight Freeney.

3. Just how valuable was Vick? Even before he was linked to dog fighting, Michael Vick was an easy target despite turning around the Falcons and leading them to the NFC Championship game in his first full season and setting the quarterback rushing record last year. If Atlanta goes 2-14 with Joey Harrington at QB as Vick stares down the barrel of a three year bid, will we look back at the wasted potential of Vick as the most spectacular of cautionary tales.

2. Norv gets the keys to the Ferrari. By any measuring stick imaginable Norv Turner as had an inauspicious coaching career, with one playoff appearance in nine seasons. But that was with teams assembled by Dan Snyder and Al Davis. Now he takes the reigns of the talented Chargers where he will actually be expected to win in the regular season and the playoffs, where predecessor Marty Schottenheimer averaged 12 wins over the last three seasons but failed to win a playoff game in five seasons in San Diego.

1. The Odd Couple. When your dapper QB who took less money to stay in New England bemoans the team's lack of a deep threat, and the more dangerous deep threat ever is available for pennies on the dollar, it's normally a match made in heaven. But Randy Moss likes to take plays, games, and in the case of last year, entire seasons off, while the Patriots are as blue collar as they come.

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