Despite the Kabuki Theater regarding the continued “pay-me-or-to-hell-with-the-2011-season” BS by Vince Jackson and Logan Mankins–who continues to put the kibosh on the notion that playing for BB is good enough–there probably will be a 2011 NFL season.
Not that the following teams wouldn’t mind that NOT happening!
Surely I jest! But don’t call me Shirley…can I be sued for writing that? Even with Leslie Nielson resting in peace?
1. Washington Redskins: this team tops the list of teams that will continue to suck, and, in fact, the Skins may be the ONLY team that truly sucks this year! On a list of teams that could go, say, 1-15 this year, the Skins come to mind. In fact, if 1,000 random NFL fans had to choose which team would go 1-15, it would inexorably be Shannahan’s crew that would get most of the votes. I mean, look at the state of the Redskins: John “deer in the headlights” Beck starting at QB…as anyone who followed the Fins in their 1-15 season in 2007 might say, “Are you freaking kidding me?” Fat Albert. I know this guy was once a force, but cut the guy, already! DeAngelo Hall. Yeah I know…he always plays Dallas well–in fact the one win I am sure the Skins will get (they’re not bad enough to go winless) should be against the ‘Boys. And just who the heck is Ryan Torraine? Anthony Armstrong? Rex Grossman? Like I have said before–following the 2007 Dolphins makes me think that the Skins, who have even less talent than that ill-fated Miami team, really ought to go 1-15 this year. And don’t let that Shanny talk about NOT wanting to blow the season just to get Andrew Luck next year fool you. Because getting a guy like Luck is the ONLY hope for the Redskins!
2. Carolina Panthers. Sorry, but I DO NOT trust Cam Newton! The Panthers have a fairly good team around him, however. But (as with so many relatively decent teams who keep getting stuck in 3rd or last place) the Panthers are in perhaps the toughest division in the NFL. The Saints and Falcons are possible Super Bowl teams. The Bucs were good enough last year to almost make the playoffs. They will likely make last place by default no matter how much they improve. I think they are better than a 3-13 team but that most likely will be their record, or maybe as high as 5-11.
3. Arizona Cardinals. After a couple of really overachieving seasons, thanks maily to Kurt Warner, the Cards are reverting (and have reverted to normal, which is bad-to-mediocre). Again, the Cards, like the Panthers, have some definite talent around a QB situation that will not get much better if Kevin Kolb is had from the Eagles. This guy has proven NOTHING! For the Eagles to extort a first-rounder from the Cards or anyone other team is highway robbery at its most blatant! Heck, as a South Florida writer said the other day, Tyler Thigpen has more worthiness than Kolb does over the last couple of seasons. (Thigpen, BTW, is an unrestricted FA and I can think of one AFC West team and also an AFC East team that could land him for virtually nothing.) However, if the Cards do trade for Kolb by exchanging Dominic Rogers-Cromartie for him, it could be straight up even: DRC has done little since a sensational rookie year, and the Eagles could definitely use the guy.
4. Cinncinati Bungles. I told you that until this team starts doing some right things and stop yo-yo-ing in the standings every year, I am calling them the Bungles. I lambasted Fins owner Stephen Ross here a while back for being incompetent (actually, for trying to hire Harbaugh for HC when he hadn’t even fired Sparano yet), but Ross (and a couple of other lousy owners) has nothing on Mike Brown. He is NOT his father’s child! (Or is it grandchild?) Paul Brown would be ashamed (maybe) at what the Bungles have become. If he actually did the right thing and let Carson Palmer go I might have a higher opinion of him. And, except for Palmer, who QBs this team? His kid brother? Finally, the fact that the AFC North is as brutal as the NFC South, and the Browns are almost light years ahead of the Bungles in team-worthiness in this division. At a time when the Steelers and Ravens are beginning to see the end of their good fortune (the retirement of Ray-Ray and Dick LeBeau, for instance, should ensure the demises of both defenses, which both teams are more dependent on than most teams are for success…along with the Jets of course), the Bungles are blowing an opportunity to move up for a while. I actually see a lot of hope on the Browns, but Cincy? It ain’t happening!
5. Tennessee Titans. Kenny Britt. No viable QB…unless Vince Young makes it very clear very soon that he is the guy for new coach Mike Munchak. CJ simply will not be able to keep it up all by himself. Plus there are some valuable guys on defense such as Steve Tullock who are probably leaving. And in a year when it will be very hard for a new coach to install whatever he wants to, and again, the AFC South is looking for a team to overtake the Colts…and the Titans just aren’t ready. I do not see this team winning any of its division games. 5-11 at best.
6. Denver Broncos. I like John Fox. Elvis Dumerville is coming back. But (in a still somewhat weak AFC West) the decision to start Tim Tebow (les’s face it–I do not trust this guy!) over Kyle Orton still looks like a bad decision, but I would be surprised if the Broncos traded Orton because I am not convinced of Tebow’s ability to start and win. On the other hand, I can’t see them trading Orton unless it was to a team that had no QB, period (which leaves Miami out…if the Fins signed Orton they would have to start him over Chad Henne, and I don’t think the Fins want to go that route. For one thing, Henne has pretty much taken control of teaching the offense Brian Daboll’s playbook). Arizona or (more likely, either Minnesota or Seattle) would definitely benefit from having Orton, though. The other thing is all the Dolphin castoffs on their defense: Andre Goodman, Renaldo Hill, Nathan Jones, and (formerly) Vonnie Holliday…there is a good reason the Fins let these folks go–Vontae Davis, Sean Smith, Chris Clemons/Reshad Jones and Randy Starks/Tony McDaniel/Jared Odrick, most of whom are better and a lot younger than those that Denver got. Blame Josh McDaniels–who coached a division rival offense–for those moves though. It’ll be interesting to see if the Broncos pick up, say, Philip Merling (who is a bust, on the field and especially off it!) or Benny Sapp or Quentin Moses or any other possible castoff from that team. Anyway, I see the Broncos going no higher than 6-10 (but is that really bad?)
Honorable (or is it dishonorable?) mention: Seattle, San Fransisco, Minnesota. All three have possibly deep QB issues. But the remaining talent plus likely good coaching keeps these teams off the list. Other teams, like Buffalo, Cleveland, Jacksonville and Oakland don’t make the list because (it must be me, but) I see all four of these teams making strides this year even though most of them are in tough divisions. All four have stable QB positions, even if the QBs themselves are lightly regarded (Fitzpatrick, Garrard, Gradkowski, McCoy).