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Who improved most, least?(nfl.com)

Discussion in 'All Other Team Discussions' started by umair, Jun 28, 2007.

  1. umair

    umair Cheesehead

    Aug 12, 2006

    June 26, 2007) -- At one end of the offseason spectrum are the New England Patriots, who took the proverbial shop-'til-you-drop approach toward improving a team that seemingly didn't need a whole lot of improvement.

    At the other end are the Tennessee Titans, who waved goodbye to so many key players that brought them to within striking distance of the postseason but welcomed almost no significant replacements to finish the job.

    With only weeks to go before NFL training camps open, teams soon will begin to learn whether they have done enough to help make themselves stronger for the 2007 season.

    We're not even going to wait that long.

    Our choices for the five teams that did the most and five teams that did the least to improve follow:

    --New England: There isn't a more obvious choice. The Patriots signed arguably the best free agent at any position in former Baltimore linebacker Adalius Thomas, who brings off-the-charts athleticism to a well-coached scheme that surrounds him with other talented and smart players. Trading for former Raider malcontent Randy Moss was bold, but Bill Belichick should keep him in line well enough to provide at least a season's worth of big plays. Free agents Donte' Stallworth (Philadelphia) and Kelley Washington (Cincinnati) also look like nice additions to Tom Brady's growing arsenal. Wes Welker (trade, Miami) is a younger version of Troy Brown with game-changing returns and effective work as a slot receiver.

    -San Francisco: The 49ers took on the chore of upgrading their defense with zeal. They spent huge money to acquire free-agent cornerback Nate Clements (Buffalo), who provides tight coverage and is a high-impact playmaker. Other free-agent additions -- safety Michael Lewis (Philadelphia), outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain (New England), and nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin (Baltimore) -- should do plenty to help make for a smooth transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense. The 49ers also landed a highly talented and versatile linebacker, Patrick Willis (Mississippi), with their first-round pick.

    --Detroit: Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech), the second overall choice and the most talented player in the draft, is the crowning jewel of one of the most explosive receiving groups in the league. Trading with Denver for tackle George Foster and signing free-agent guard Edwin Mulitalo (Baltimore) should help tighten up pass protection and make the offensive line tougher. Free-agent defensive end Dewayne White (Tampa Bay) brings extensive knowledge of the scheme he learned when Lions coach Rod Marinelli was an assistant with the Bucs. Detroit added good depth at running back by trading with the Broncos for Tatum Bell and signing free agent T.J. Duckett (Washington).

    --Tampa Bay: It might be overkill, but the Buccaneers are determined not to encounter a repeat of the quarterback depth problems that did plenty to wreck their 2006 season. That's why they grabbed free agent Jeff Garcia (Philadelphia), who has a thorough understanding of Jon Gruden's offense and is the frontrunner to begin the season in the No. 1 spot, and traded with Denver for Jake Plummer, whom the Bucs are trying to pressure into changing his mind about retirement. Incumbent starter Chris Simms, who missed 11 games last season with a spleen injury, is still very much in the picture. If free-agent tackle Luke Petitgout (Giants) fully recovers from a broken leg he suffered last season, the offensive line will be instantly better. Free-agent outside linebacker Cato June (Indianapolis) has the necessary speed and knowledge to excel in Monte Kiffin's Cover Two scheme.

    --Cleveland: It's hard not to be impressed with the Browns' offseason work, even if they still appear a long way from contention. General manger Phil Savage rates high marks for the maneuvering that allowed the Browns to get immediate help at offensive tackle (Joe Thomas, Wisconsin) and their franchise quarterback of the future (Brady Quinn, Notre Dame) in the first round. Cleveland further helped its offensive line by signing free agent Eric Steinbach (Cincinnati) and, depending on how much gas is left in his tank, might have gained a one-year solution at running back in former Browns-killer Jamal Lewis (Baltimore).

    --Tennessee: The season-long suspension of Adam "Pacman" Jones might be the least of the Titans' worries. Free agent Nick Harper (Indianapolis) could prove helpful to fill Jones' cornerback void, although the Titans will be hard-pressed to find another game-breaking return man. Larger problems figure to loom within an offense that lost a highly explosive running back (Travis Henry, to Denver) and two good receivers (Drew Bennett, to St. Louis, and Bobby Wade, to Minnesota).

    Chicago: Although the Bears reached Super Bowl XLI, they still had plenty of work to do to maintain their perch atop the NFC. Making tight end Greg Olsen (Miami) their first-round draft pick doesn't look as if it will be nearly enough to get the job done. Nor does their trading with Washington for safety Adam Archuleta or signing free-agent defensive tackle Anthony Adams (San Francisco). Shipping running back Thomas Jones to the Jets for next to nothing could backfire, especially if Cedric Benson doesn't step up to the challenge of being the lone featured back. It just seems that too much of the news emanating from the Windy City this offseason has been negative, including linebacker Lance Briggs' rants over his franchise tag and the release of troubled defensive tackle Tank Johnson.

    --Green Bay: Brett Favre is sticking around for another season, but will the Packers be able to take advantage of whatever their iconic quarterback has left? He didn't get any help at receiver, despite his best efforts to convince management to sign Randy Moss. Tight end also remains a concern for a team that had the NFC's worst production in the red zone. Running back Ahman Green bolted for Houston in free agency, but the Packers used their first-round draft pick on defensive tackle Justin Harrell (Tennessee). Maybe second-rounder Brandon Jackson (Nebraska) will step up to fill Green's spot, along with Vernand Morency, but that remains to be seen.

    --Minnesota: The Vikings did add a dynamic playmaker in first-round draft pick Adrian Peterson (Oklahoma), but their offense could muddle along with second-year project Tarvaris Jackson or unproven Brooks Bollinger at quarterback. Second-rounder Sidney Rice (South Carolina) helps at wide receiver, but the Vikings still appear to be lacking at the position. They didn't do much of anything to upgrade an inconsistent pass rush.

    --Baltimore: As a 2006 playoff team returning most of its starters, the Ravens didn't have much to fix. But they did lose one of the NFL's best defensive players in Adalius Thomas. Their most notable acquisition, running back Willis McGahee (trade, Buffalo), has yet to consistently resemble the top-flight player that he has loudly boasted to be. First-rounder Ben Grubbs, an offensive guard from Auburn, was a solid pick. However, a revamped offensive line needs to show significant improvement, especially in the running game.
  2. 4thand26

    4thand26 Cheesehead

    Mar 14, 2006
    Looks like Detroit will be the cream of the crop in the NFCN.
  3. PackerLegend

    PackerLegend Cheesehead

    Mar 26, 2006
    HAHA ha right that as dumb as Jon Kitna and Mike Furrey saying the Lions are going to win 10 games minimum.
  4. Schmitty

    Schmitty Cheesehead

    Jun 18, 2005
    People say that every year and every year they continue to suck. As long at Millen is running that team they will continue to suck it up. And that is just fine with me. :twisted:
  5. nathaniel

    nathaniel Cheesehead

    Jan 22, 2007
    I think Detroit made some good moves, and moves that SHOULD make them better, but I don't see that happening. Not as long as Millen's there. He just kind of brings everything down.

    It's funny to say New England improved the most, because the were just in the AFC Championship game. But, they did stock up in the offseason. I think they're the team to beat.

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