Isaac Bruce Misses the Pro Football Hall of Fame Again-Why?

While baseball has been criticized and ridiculed by how their Hall of Fame process is (though I like the veterans committee selecting players who were wrongfully not voted in) and how writers and media people who vote them in have personal agendas, football has done it right. Well, for the most part.

For another year Rams great wide receiver Isaac Bruce is on the outside looking in. How? How is it possible that when Bruce retired after the 2008 season he was top 5 all-time in most receiving stats? I don’t understand it myself (13th all-time in receptions, 5th all time in receiving yards-the other 4 are in the Hall or will be in the Hall, 12th all-time in receiving TD’s-the other 11 are in or will be in).

One argument I’ve heard has been that Bruce was in a league that started to evolve the passing game where receivers could end up with well over 1,000 yards and 8 TD’s while not even seeing the Pro Bowl. Passing games spiked up when Bruce was in the NFL, I agree. However, in 1995-1996 when the league wasn’t that, Bruce kicked some butt when his quarterbacks were Chris Miller, Tony Banks, and Steve Walsh (combined 3,119 yards, 20 TD, and 203 receptions). Nothing against those three who had prolonged careers, but they weren’t passing gods. The next 6 seasons, Bruce had over 1,000 yards receiving (the one year he didn’t had he played all 16 he would as he was short 19 yards in 2003) and was a prominent threat for the Rams. Yes, the numbers weren’t like his early runs, but the Rams were a far better team and a balanced group when they had Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt, and early on Az-Zahir Hakim as they were the Greatest Show on Turf. So needless to say, Bruce held his own.

Well, maybe he wasn’t healthy enough. He could have netted 1,000 yards in the years he was dinged up. He only had 5 seasons where he missed any time. 5 seasons out of 16. So to put that in perspective, Bruce had ten 1,000+ receiving yard seasons in 11 healthy seasons (the last one was when he was with the 49ers and Alex Smith was still not Alex Smith yet and gained 800 yards). So to me, Bruce was pretty darn healthy.

Well, maybe he wasn’t flashy enough like Rice, Owens, Moss, Irvin, or like today’s guys like Brown, Jones, or OBJ where the position itself is flashy. I hate that statement. Yes, Bruce really went about his business and in a relatively quiet manner. But you don’t need to demand the spotlight to be a wide receiver in the NFL. We see it now with Beckham and Brown now with the media circus approach they have as Owens had before them. You can still be a great receiver even today without having to do all the drama and the flashiness. It’s how football was prior anyways and even many think Julio isn’t flashy either.

Maybe the Rams Greatest Show on Turf players kept him back a bit. Before the Rams had Warner, Holt, and Faulk, Bruce was probably the lone offensive weapon they had in 1995 (Jerome Bettis WAS there, yes, but was wanting out and he wasn’t the Bus like we remembered him in Pittsburgh). Yes, the burden of the workload was taken off Bruce when 1999 started, but still put up Pro Bowl caliber numbers. And also, Michael Irvin went into the Hall of Fame who didn’t have as many healthy seasons and was trumped by Bruce in nearly all receiving numbers. And he too had guys to take the burden off of him (Emmitt, Novacek, Harper). And Irvin too especially later in his career created a media circus. And no, I’m not saying Irvin doesn’t belong (he most definitely does though I couldn’t stand him when he played-speaking of flashy), but if Irvin got in, so should Bruce.

Well, maybe he rubbed voters off the wrong way. This one I thought as well as we saw Marvin Harrison and Terrell Owens not be first ballot Hall of Famers which both of them should. Harrison was very standoff-ish with the media as I remembered and was very quiet as well and had a very bad off-the-field incident late in his career. Owens was constantly a media circus and rubbed a lot the wrong way. But I don’t remember Bruce aside from being relatively quiet as “controversial.” If anything I remember he came off as a approachable guy in interviews and was a model player for the NFL community and a class act (and would have probably won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award had it been what it is today at some point of his career). So I don’t get how Bruce would be a guy who bothered voters.

To me, this is somewhat of an injustice in regards to the Hall of Fame. Bruce could do it all. He could make the deep catch. He could be a possession receiver. He could catch and make a big run off of it as well. He could also block downfield. To me he was one of the best in the era when the passing game was starting to evolve as it is today. And he was that guy who would do whatever it took for the Rams to win games without complaining. There was nothing more you could ask out of him. Well maybe one that needs to be asked and hopefully soon: “can we measure you for your yellow jacket?”

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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The Obstructed Super Bowl Preview

It is almost here. Just a few days left and Super Bowl LIII kicks off in Atlanta.

Everything looks like it is coming full circle. The Patriots dynasty began somewhat in a Cinderella mode back 17 years ago when they brought down the heavily favored Rams with Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, and Torry Holt doing the Greatest Show on Turf scheme having a young quarterback that many felt was in over his head by the name of Tom Brady. Now we are seeing the Rams and the Patriots once again. This time the roles have changed. The Patriots have been the dynasty, winning five Super Bowls and Brady is considered the greatest of all time (no argument here) as his career is winding down. The Rams are the team looking to be that next dynasty as it is a young group with a young quarterback in Jared Goff paired up with a young head coach in Sean McVay. So, who takes home the bacon? Do the Patriots hoist trophy #6 cementing their legacy as the greatest franchise in the modern NFL era? Or do the Rams win one in their third year back in Los Angeles?

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS. LOS ANGELES RAMS, 6:30, CBS

PATRIOTS WIN IF:

Brady was nowhere near under pressure against the Chiefs

THEY KEEP PROTECTING BRADY: Kansas City had the top pass rushing group in the NFL in 2018. But if you were able to get the ball out quickly, you didn’t have too many problems. Well, the Patriots really hashed out and protected Brady to the point he was rarely touched by any Chiefs pass rusher. To me that was the most impressive thing I saw out of their win in the AFC Championship. The Rams have beasts on the line notably in the middle with Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh while having great edge rushers. To add on, the Rams secondary is one of the best when they are zeroed in and focused. So for Brady to be successful, he can’t be rushed or the Rams will make them pay, even if it is Brady.

THEY ESTABLISH A RUNNING GAME TO KEEP THE RAMS HONEST: The Rams made New Orleans one-dimensional (which when the Saints lose, is the reason why) and forced Brees to pass a bit and he looked worn out. They kept Ingram and Kamara from doing anything running the ball. James White and Sony Michel both will be key in whether New England has success on offense or whether the Rams can frustrate them and give the ball to Goff & Co.

THEY WIN THE TIME OF POSSESSION BATTLE: We think of the Patriots as a team with this high powered offense. And their offense can be that way. However, this team feels different in the sense of they are making long drives, wearing teams down, and making play after play on third down. It is what is breaking teams backs in the playoffs the last few seasons (Atlanta, Jacksonville, and Kansas City). The Patriots will do anything and everything to keep the Rams offense on the sidelines. And they will certainly try.

RAMS WIN IF:

THEY GET GURLEY AND CJ ANDERSON GOING: The biggest mystery in New Orleans before the “no-call” was why Todd Gurley wasn’t in the game. It sounded like he was fine, but CJ Anderson was the go-to guy evidently. It worked on the Saints who missed Sheldon Rankins in that game for CJ Anderson. But the Rams will have to put a steady dose of Gurley here in order for them to come out on top, which means also win the time of possession battle in the game.

SEAN MCVAY IS SEAN MCVAY: The guy is 33 years old and is already known as a genius of the game. He’s that one guy that I think at times can get overly aggressive, but I can see why at the same point. But he is also a guy who knows what buttons to press at what time. I thought he out-coached Sean Payton and it was a key reason why the Rams beat the Saints. People got mad at him for not going for it on 4th and 1, but I thought it was the correct idea and trust his defense. But he needs to be aggressive at the right time, use trickery at the right time, and such. It worked for Doug Pederson last year.

THE DEFENSE IS COMPOSED: McVay did a momentum-swinging fake punt against the Saints. It was perfect because while the Rams stopped New Orleans from getting up 21-0 to 13-0, New Orleans had no trouble moving the ball on them. And you started to sense the Rams were losing their cool and patience. The minute that fake happened and the Rams scored, it got the defense back on track. They can’t let Brady get into their heads otherwise if he is on a roll. They have to play their game with that composure or Brady will tear them apart.

PREDICTION: Honestly, I will probably change this 25 times before Sunday evening. The Rams to me are the better all-around team. But should you EVER doubt Tom Brady? I get it, he has lost 3 games in the Super Bowl, but he is still clutch when he needs to be. IF the Rams get stops on defense and keep moving the chains, then advantage Los Angeles. It will also be dependent if Goff continues to play mistake-free football as well. Can he handle that pressure? He won in a loudhouse 2 weeks ago in New Orleans but it wasn’t easy. He’ll be in Atlanta where it seems like the majority of the fans will be Patriots fans that will pack the stadium. So we will see. My take is he is not yet there. But I think McVay will have a few tricks up his sleeve Sunday to make this a game that will be decided VERY late. But I like the Patriots here because of that experience and ability to play big in key situations. PATRIOTS 35, RAMS 31

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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The Obstructed NFC Championship Preview

Like the AFC Championship game, the NFC Championship games featured two teams who held serve at home. The Saints got off to a sluggish start against the Eagles and then shook off a late Philadelphia comeback to take down the defending champions. The Rams, while not looking like an offensive juggernaut, won their game as it really felt like the team dictated the tempo against the Cowboys.

Both the Saints and Rams really dominated their schedules from beginning to end and are probably the two most balanced teams left (and my pick to win the Super Bowl over whoever they face in the AFC). The Rams have stars on both sides of the ball and have won in many different ways in 2018. The Saints offense carried them for the first half of the season, but as the offense has been relatively “figured out,” the defense has stepped up, creating key turnovers, making big stops and really put them in an amazing spot.

This game could be high-scoring as well, but it could be one that you look at the scoreboard in the 4th and see it is only 17-17 given how the defenses can play. So who will come out on top?

LOS ANGELES RAMS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS, 3:05, FOX

RAMS WIN IF

NEW ORLEANS, LA – NOVEMBER 04: Quarterback Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams passes from the pocket during the fourth quarter of the game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 4, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

JARED GOFF PLAYS A FLAWLESS GAME: I feel with Goff is that when he is on his game he can be an elite quarterback. But I also feel with Goff is that when he is not on his game, he looks like Jared Goff pre-2017 and you want to run the other way. And he hasn’t been playing as sharp as he was to start out the year. But what Goff needs to do is be smart with the ball, make accurate passes, and not give the ball away. I’m not saying he needs to play shoot-out with Drew Brees as that is asking for bad news, but New Orleans will be focused on Gurley. Goff HAS to be on his A+ game Sunday.

THE DEFENSE KEEPS THEIR COOL: It felt like in the regular season match-up between the Rams and Saints, Los Angeles lost their edge a bit and got visibly frustrated. That can’t happen again and somebody needs to make sure that Ndamukong Suh is not trying to do underhand tactics because for some reason I feel like if he tries it Sunday, the refs will nail him for it and it could continue a Saints drive. If they let the emotions get the best of them, this will be the fourth straight NFC Championship game that may end in a blowout.

THEY PLAY PHYSICAL ON BOTH SIDES: The Rams defense is solid. And th thing about the Saints down the stretch was the passing game wasn’t as productive as the first half of the regular season (I had Drew Brees as my fantasy QB and needless to say, he wasn’t getting me the same points as the season got later). But when Dallas beat New Orleans in late November, teams took the Cowboys blueprint and used it. The Rams have to get to Brees and have to play tough on the likes of Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, etc. It isn’t the Saints don’t like it, but they aren’t accustomed to it. Similar on the other side. Have Gurley punish the Saints on the ground.

SAINTS WIN IF

NEW ORLEANS, LA – NOVEMBER 4: Aaron Donald #99 of the Los Angeles Rams gets a hand on Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 4, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Rams 45-35. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

THEY START OFF FAST ON OFFENSE: It nearly went to a nightmare with Philadelphia last week to begin the game. I don’t see the Eagles having the same depth as the Rams though. They also need to make sure Brees is protected. He’s been sacked 12 times in the last 6 games, but he’s been pressured a lot as well, unable to make those same passes he had earlier in the season. An early quick start is what New Orleans needs to really frustrate the Rams.

THEY ARE AGGRESSIVE, BUT NOT OVERLY AGGRESSIVE: Sean Payton against Sean McVay is one of the more intriguing storylines as they both love to get aggressive on offense and love to gamble. That said, at times you wonder if Payton in the past gets overly aggressive. Last week he made some great calls to really change the momentum for the Saints against Philadelphia. But in the past he has been burned as well when they have leads and try to do too much with it. Plus, the Rams are a team that will make you pay for mistakes.

THEY DON’T LET GOFF TAKE OVER: Goff nearly got the Rams back in that first game in New Orleans. That means the Saints defense will have to get after him (which is hurt a bit with Sheldon Rankins not playing) and pressure him as much as possible. Gurley will still be a focus, but he will still do his thing and the Saints will have to be ready for that, but Goff is the one they really have to zero in on.

OUTLOOK: I don’t think the Rams are as strong of a team away from Southern California than they are. I know that most fans who pack the Coliseum pull for the other team (Dallas, Philadelphia, Green Bay, etc.) but they do have their trip-ups against some of the stronger teams regardless. And they are going into a madhouse that is the Superdome. The more I think of it, the more I think the Saints will jump on the Rams early, get the Rams defense flustered and frustrated, and keep the pressure on Goff. People are thinking this is a close tilt, and I can see it. But I don’t think it will happen here. Too many things will have to happen for the Rams to win this, or even making this a close game. SAINTS 38, RAMS 16

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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Sunday Night Football Preview: Rams @ Bears

Week 14 brings NFL fans a very interesting Sunday Night Football game.  The Los Angeles Rams head into to Soldier field with a record of 11-1 to square off with the NFC North-leading Chicago Bears at 8-4.

The Bears are coming off a tough overtime loss to the Giants.  The Bears were without starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, and it really showed.  Backup quarterback Chase Daniel threw 2 interceptions and had difficulties handling some snaps which really hurt the Bears offense in a tight game.  Trubisky should be back Sunday night against the Rams.  Head Coach Matt Nagy seemed optimistic about Trubisky playing this weekend, especially after being a full participant in Wednesday’s practice.  If Trubisky plays and is 100%, this Bears offense has potential to put up some points against a Rams defense that has given up over 30 points on 4 occasions this year.  I would expect the Bears to try to run early on the Rams with Jordan Howard and mixing in some touches for Tarik Cohen.  Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel have given the Bears a much more reliable receiving group this season, and they will need them to be at their best on Sunday night if they are to pull off this upset.  If the Bears go down early, I expect a lot of passing, which opens the door for Aaron Donald who is having a career year on the defensive line for the Rams.

On the other side of the ball, we will see if a good offense can beat good defense.  The Rams are easily one of the best offenses in the league this year.  Third-year quarterback Jared Goff is having his best year as a pro, and running back Todd Gurley is in the MVP race.  Throw in some very talented receivers like Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, and you get a team that is averaging 34.9 points per game.  Lining up across from the Rams is a top 5 Bears defense gives up 317 yards per game and only 20.1 points per game.  This unit is led by Khalil Mack who has been worth every penny for the Bears since trading for him before the season.  His presence on the outside has allowed for Akiem Hicks to become more dominant on the inside.  The Bear’s secondary is led by Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller who respectively have four and five interceptions on the season.  Although they can look shaky at times, the secondary is certainly capable of taking a receiver off of his groove.

Rams Keys to victory: For the Rams, it is simple.  Keep doing what they have been all year. Let Gurley get settled in and run him often.  If the Bears can’t stop the run continue to do it all night.  If the run game isn’t there, Jared Goff is more than capable than slinging the ball around the field and throwing for a couple hundred yards.  The only thing to worry about is the Chicago pass rush.  With Mack lurking every pass play can be a bit nerve-wracking for an offense.  I think Sean McVay is a smart enough coach to realize this and will give Goff quick and easy throws to combat the pass rush.  If the Rams take care of the ball against this pesky defense they should be fine.  The defense just has to be good enough and make the plays they should. The Rams can simply outscore the Bears and win without much of a worry.

Bears Keys to victory:  To keep it simple, the Bears pass rush needs to be firing on all cylinders.  If they can make Goff uncomfortable, the Rams become one-dimensional with Gurley and stopping him becomes that much easier when you can stack the box.  On offense, Trubisky needs to be solid and take care of the ball.  I think the X-Factor for the Bears is Tarik Cohen, who has fit in very well in Chicago’s new offensive scheme this year.  If the Bears can win the turnover battle and make some timely catches on offense I think they can pull it off.

Overall, this is the biggest matchup of the year for the Bears.  This is the best team they will face all year and they will get to do it on national television in primetime.  The weather could play a factor, and the home crowd will only help the Bears chances.  I look for them to come out with some intensity as they did against the Vikings last month on Sunday night.  In the end, the Rams are too talented offensively and will pull out a 33-26 victory on the road.  If the Bears hang tough they should gain a lot of respect around the league.  If they can upset the Rams, they are a team to be feared come January.

The Obstructed NFC West Preview

Much like the PAC-12 Conference in college football, the NFC West somewhat has that “forgotten” feel to the NFL.  When the division isn’t entirely great, people really tune out as the 4:00 games are somewhat of a “no mas” type for the typical football fan as they watched a large portion of the 1:00 NFL games on Sundays.  And then we get Arizona vs. Seattle or something to that.  While a few years back that was entertainment between the Cardinals and Seahawks, it doesn’t have that same vibe now.

A debate can be made as the NFC West could be the weakest of the NFC Divisions.  Seattle looks to be trending down (and yes I think they will trend down big time), Arizona is somewhat in a rebuild phase.  But then the Rams and 49ers look to make some noise.  Los Angeles re-tooled in getting star players in the off-season while San Francisco hopes to build off their run at the end of the year where they beat three playoff teams down the stretch (in a row).  So if the NFC West is weak, at least the top half may provide some must-see TV in 2018.  Onto the preview.

49ers.jpg

(1) SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

LAST SEASON: 6-10, 4TH PLACE

KEY ADDITIONS: RB-Jerick McKinnon (FA-Minnesota), RB-Alfred Morris (FA-Dallas), G-Jonathan Cooper (FA-Dallas), C-Weston Richburg (FA-New York Giants), DT-Cedric Thornton (FA-Buffalo), CB-Richard Sherman (FA-Seattle), P-Jeff Locke (FA-Detroit), T-Mike McGlinchey (Draft-Notre Dame), WR-Dante Pettis (Draft-Washington), LB-Fred Warner (Draft-BYU), S-Tavarius Moore (Draft-Southern Mississippi)

KEY LOSSES: C-Daniel Kilgore (Trade-Miami) T-Trent Brown (Trade-New England), RB-Carlos Hyde (FA-Cleveland), TE-Logan Paulsen (FA-Atlanta), G-Brandon Fusco (FA-Atlanta), DE-Tank Carradine (FA-Chicago), LB-Elvis Dumervil (FA), S-Eric Reid (FA), CB-Dontae Johnson (FA-Seattle)

I admit, I’m buying into the 49ers Bandwagon with Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo.  Sue me.  But also, while seeing Carlos Hyde leave was a shocker, I think Jerick McKinnon was more suited in what Shanahan wants to run in San Francisco.  Garoppolo’s winning streak in San Francisco, say what you want, was no joke.  While the Niners look to have the quarterback and the running back in place, questions will be if Garoppolo has a receiver to throw at and yes, he has Marquise Goodwin.  I kinda think the days of Pierre Garcon as a #2 receiver are over so there are questions on that side but they have an underrated tight end in George Kittle. He will be missing the remainder of the pre-season but he should be healthy enough to start week 1.  So I think the Niners have a quality offense, though may not be tops, but strong enough.  The key issue for San Francisco will be on defense and to see if they make strides.  They weren’t terrible last year, but they weren’t the teams we saw Jim Harbaugh have with having the likes of Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith, and others.  But there are pieces such as Solomon Thomas and others like DeForest Buckner.  The 49ers added former nemesis Richard Sherman from Seattle in the off-season, so it brings hope that San Francisco will improve.  However, at this point, Sherman may be better off as a safety given his skills have gone backwards over the last few years in Seattle.  But still, the 49ers defense should improve.  KEY QUESTION:  Was Garoppolo’s run a fluke last year?  I don’t think so.  I don’t know if he will put up the big numbers, but he will find ways to win games.  MY PREDICTION: 12-4  I think the 49ers just have a favorable schedule and they will take advantage of it to be in the mix of a first round bye.  

LA.jpg

(2) LOS ANGELES RAMS

LAST SEASON: 11-5, 1ST PLACE (LOST TO ATLANTA IN WILD CARD ROUND)

KEY ADDITIONS: WR-Brandin Cooks (Trade-New England), DT-Ndamukong Suh (FA-Miami), DE-Ryan Davis (FA-Buffalo), CB-Marcus Peters (Trade-Kansas City), CB-Aquib Talib (Trade-Denver), CB-Sam Shields (FA-Green Bay), T-Joseph Noteboom (Draft-TCU)

KEY LOSSES: WR-Tavon Austin (Trade-Dallas), WR-Sammy Watkins (FA-Kansas City), TE-Derek Carrier (FA-Oakland), LB-Connor Barwin (FA-New York Giants), CB-Trumaine Johnson (FA-New York Jets), DE-Robert Quinn (Trade-Miami), LB-Alec Ogletree (Trade-New York Giants) DT-Tyrunn Walker (FA-Buffalo)

“Those who do not learn from history…”  The Rams came off a great season last year thanks in part to an MVP caliber year from running back Todd Gurley and then defensive player of the year Aaron Donald while Jared Goff made huge strides and won the NFC West.  They lost in the Wild Card so they went out and got Marcus Peters from Kansas City, Brandin Cooks from New England, and Ndamukong Suh from Miami.  Everything went great until Aaron Donald held out.  And currently he is still holding out.  But what was talked about was the Rams created something close to a “SuperTeam” with these guys.  Ehh…we saw that the Eagles tried to do it back in 2011 and that completely backfired on them.  Now with or without Donald, the Rams defense under Wade Phillips should be near the top of the league given his schemes and plays so to think Los Angeles will be completely reeling from Donald’s holdout is pretty silly.  Yes, they will take a hit assuming he doesn’t suit up by Week 1, but it’s still a good defense.  I’m more concerned i on the Rams offense and if Jared Goff can play his game like he did last year.  In the Falcons game he didn’t look all that great and struggled agianst a good defense.  However, if he builds off the season he had last year, he will be considered as an MVP candidate as the Rams SHOULD be in the mix of a first round bye.  But I don’t think he will make as many strides, but he should still be at the very least solid.  The Rams however will have their fates decided if Todd Gurley keeps his running at a top notch level and at an MVP level.  If he can, this team is the Super Bowl sleeper in the NFC.  KEY QUESTION: Will Aaron Donald play in Week 1?  Honestly I believe so.  I think the Rams will give him his money.  And it’s rightfully deserved if you ask me.  MY PREDICTION: 10-6.  Rams will have a good balanced attack, but I’m not 100% sold on Goff being that guy.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Indianapolis Colts

(3) ARIZONA CARDINALS

LAST SEASON: 8-8, 3RD PLACE

KEY ADDITIONS: QB-Sam Bradford (FA-Minnesota), QB-Mike Glennon (FA-Chicago), FB-Derrick Coleman (FA-Atlanta), WR-Brice Butler (FA-Dallas), G-Justin Pugh (FA-New York Giants), T-Andre Smith (FA-Cincinnati), DE-Benson Mayowa (FA-Dallas), CB-Budda Baker (Trade-Cleveland) CB-Bene Benwikere (FA-Dallas), QB-Josh Rosen (Draft-UCLA), WR-Christian Kirk (Draft-Texas A&M), C-Mason Cole (Draft-Michigan),

KEY LOSSES: QB-Carson Palmer (Retired), T-Jared Veldheer (Trade-Denver), QB-Blaine Gabbert (FA-Tennessee), QB-Drew Stanton (FA-Cleveland), QB-Matt Barkley (FA-Cincinnati), RB-Adrian Peterson (FA), RB-Kerwynn Williams (FA-Kansas City), WR-John Brown (FA-Baltimore), WR-Jaron Brown (FA-Seattle), DE-Frostee Rucker (FA-Oakland), LB-Karlos Dansby (FA), CB-Tyrann Mathieu (FA-Houston), CB-Tramon Williams (FA-Green Bay), CB-Justin Bethel (FA-Atlanta)

To be fair, the Cardinals probably overachieved last season as the team was somewhat patchwork especially after David Johnson was lost early on in the season.  He’s a great back, but it just has that rebuilding vibe in Arizona with Carson Palmer out (as well as Drew Stanton) and Josh Rosen in (as well as Sam Bradford).  Whether or not Rosen is the starter in Week 1 remains to be seen but there isn’t a feel that Rosen will just take the league by storm.  He is an emotional quarterback.  When he plays great, he is zeroed in and focused.  But when he isn’t, he’s somewhat of a combustible guy and that to me is a big problem for a rookie.  Adding on, the roster has a lot of turnover from last year and when you have that much turnover on a team in the NFL it does create problems.  Which stinks because the Cardinals have one of the best running backs in the game and probably the best corner in the game in Patrick Peterson.  But there will be some hiccups along the way for Arizona as I really don’t see them being a major threat in the NFC West.  KEY QUESTION:  Is Josh Rosen ready?  Absolutely not.  People call him arrogant a la Baker Mayfield, but Mayfield found ways to win games.  Rosen last year didn’t and you do have to wonder if there is a durability issue.  I just think he is more of a guy that would alienate his teammates more than rally them.  Just my humble opinion.  MY PREDICTION: 5-11.  Arizona has far too many questions on both sides to even be considered a threat.  

Seahawks

(4) SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

LAST SEASON: 9-7, 2ND PLACE

KEY ADDITIONS: WR-Jaron Brown (FA-Arizona), WR-Brandon Marshall (FA-New York Giants), TE-Ed Dickson (FA-Carolina), G-DJ Fluker (FA-New York Giants), K-Sebastian Janikowski (FA-Oakland), P-Jason Myers (FA-Jacksonville), LB-Barkevious Mingo (FA-Indianapolis), CB-Dontae Johnson (FA-San Francisco), RB-Rashad Penny (Draft-San Diego State), DE-Rasheem Green (Draft-USC),

KEY LOSSES: DE-Michael Bennett (Trade-Philadelphia), RB-Eddie Lacy (FA), RB-Thomas Rawls (FA-New York Jets), WR-Paul Richardson (FA-Washington), TE-Jimmy Graham (FA-Green Bay), TE-Luke Wilson (FA-Detroit), T-Luke Joeckel (FA), T-Oday Aboushi (FA-Oakland), T-Matt Tobin (FA-New England), K-Blair Walsh (FA), DE-Sheldon Richardson (FA-Minnesota), CB-Richard Sherman (FA-San Francisco), S-Kam Chancellor (retired)

Don’t.  Just don’t.  I don’t want to hear the outcry if you’re a Seahawks fan of why I have Seattle dead last and having one of the worst records in football.  The draft for Seattle the last few years has been a disaster (Malik McDowell?) and so far not many are getting pumped on the idea of Rashaad Penny in the first round.  The offensive line is still a mess which means Russell Wilson will run for his life and try to do too much like he did at times last year.  While most of the unhappy campers are gone, Seattle still has an unhappy Earl Thomas and from what it sounds like there are still others who are unhappy and have “tuned out” coach Pete Carroll.  The running game is a major question mark and has been since the Super Bowl.  So if you think Penny, Chris Carson and others will help out and then bringing in the talented but controversial Brandon Marshall at receiver will solve all ills, then you have far too much faith in the offense, delusional, or just back in time to the 2012-2015 seasons.  I don’t see Seattle being much and if Russell Wilson gets hurt at any point, that’s the season right there and he will take more hits again this year.  So it may be a long year in the Emerald City.  KEY QUESTION:  IF Seattle has a porous record, would the Seahawks consider firing Carroll?  Yes.  I get he won a Super Bowl, but if the Seahawks crash and burn this year, it will be because the players have partly tuned him out with all the rah-rah bit.  It worked with a young Legion of Boom squad and yes they are a young group, but you have players who are there that are key players that will just blow it off like whatever.  MY PREDICTION: 3-13.  I don’t see Wilson making it through a full season either.  

That’s it for the NFC West.  One more to go!

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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Winners and Losers of Week 10

WINNERS

Los Angeles Rams

How bout’ them Rams? Yes, you heard that correctly, the Rams are 7-2 for the first time since starting 7-3 in 2003 after week 10. They ended up finishing that season 12-4 (losing in the divisional round of the playoffs). On Sunday, Jared Goff looked like an elite QB throwing for 355 yards and 3 TD’s, two of those touchdowns were thrown to Robert Woods who has had the best two weeks of the season. He also caught 8 for 171 yards. Look for the Rams to extend their streak to 5 as they head to Minny to take on the 7-2 Vikings.

New Orleans Saints

Instagram-Ingram pounded the defenseless Bills for 131 yards and tallied 3 touchdowns. Alvin Kamara also had a 3 yard touchdown, as the Saints scored five times in their first six possessions. The saints defense limited the Bills offense 198 yards and only 10 first downs which is phenomenal and the ideal type of defense you want week to week. The saints also set a franchise record by recording 6 rushing touchdowns. The saints will fly back to the dome to take on the Redskins. Look for the Saints run game to continue its dominance against a lousy Washington defense.

LOSERS

New York Jets

“The Goddamn Jets” yes folks, the goddamn jets is back because this week, they lost to their 2016 starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown could not beat his former team that he started for in 2016 as well. I guess you can say it was the battle of aging quarterbacks but that is an understatement because this game was in favor of the Jets to run over the Bucs because 10 days ago the Jets dominated the Bills which pointed to this game being an easy win. The jets ended up punting the ball seven times resulting in having more punts, then points for the first 59 minutes. Jets head to the bye with no playoffs in site.

Dallas Cowboys

No Zeke, and no Tyron Smith it had to be painful for those two watch this game as the Cowboys lose to the Falcons 27-7. The whole next man up mentality did not really take affect at all throughout this game. People were saying that the Cowboys would be fine without Elliot for the next 6 games but it seems that, that is not the case. It is a level of concern that should be brought up with at the team meeting. Dallas has the weapons to win without him and Dak needs step up and use his arms and legs to fire this team up to win at least 3 of the next 5 games to keep the playoffs in reach but the high flying 8-1 Eagles come to town looking to improve to 9-1.