Thursday, August 11, 2011
The Inaugural Sportaholic NFL Roundtable Debate
Carlos: When you come to the New England Patriots, they don’t adjust to you, you adjust to them. I think that both players will be fine because if not, they will be shipped out on the first thing smoking in Boston. Ochocinco will have to tone down the antics to a certain degree but he will still bring something we haven’t witnessed from these Pats: personality. He is already at it as he said he will live with a fan to get acclimated to the area. He will get the most out of Belicheck and his iron fist and maybe its a good thing for the coach as he may get him to be a little more spontaneous. As for Fat Albert, he is the one I would be worried about. Ochocinco has been called a lot but never lazy. Haynesworth will have to change his entire mentality to fit the Pats way. He has to be motivated and it seems he has every reason to now. Both players have been given the opportunity to leave dismal teams and have a chance to win a ring, so I think both will show up and do what’s asked of them, at least in the short run.
Ashley: As long as Albert has his 4-3 defense and Chad gets the damn ball they should be fine. The NFL is full of egos and I'm certain they should be reprimanded accordingly by Belicheck. If he let a future Hall of Famer go mid-season I have no doubt he'll ditch the attitudes if need be. Go Belicheck!!
Michael: I don’t see the addition of Chad OchoCinco and bad at all. Sure he has some crazy antics on and off the field but it’s never been disruptive to his teammates. Most of his fun is just ill will toward the old school football fans. Albert Haynesworth is in my mind worthless. The guy is a walking talking cancer to any locker room he is a part of. There is nothing in my mind that tells me that Haynesworth will be successful. He’s a much lazier and out of shape version of the big guy in the middle already Vince Wilfork.
Taylor: It will depend on the players themselves Belicheck’s player’s know what it takes to win and to win DEEP into the players from the starters to the bench they are prepared (example when Brady went down in 09 first game in the season Cassel stepped up ) with that said the two better come in with the attitude to win, to contribute, and don’t be larger than the team, because sure Belicheck is a proven winner, he is known to take players who teams have given up on and turn them into Pro Bowlers ( Cory Dillon and Randy Moss), as long as you have the attitude to sacrifice to change you will be great if don’t you will be shown the door just ask Randy Moss.
4. Arian Foster went from undrafted rookie to leading the league in rushing this year with a total of 1,616 yards. Who will be the breakout player of the upcoming season?
Carlos: Jermichael Finley - My breakout player is one that I predicted last year but he was injured. Jermichael Finley the TE for the Green Bay Packers. He is 6’5 247 pounds and runs like a gazelle. He has all the physical attributes to become the next great tight end in the game. And when you have Aaron Rodgers as your QB you know you will get plenty of chances. He was on the cusp of having a great season last year but the injury of course derailed him. I see him catching 60 balls for over 1,000 yards easily in that pass happy offense because he is such a mismatch rather if you put him at the normal tight end spot or if you flank him out as an extra receiver. Finley will be a force to be reckoned with next year for the Pack Attack.
Ashley: Legarrete Blount - Although you went with a RB, I'm going with one too. I'd like to see Legarrett Blount continue with his success. He didn't really get to shine until after Cadillac Williams' injury but he proved to be a great back up in Tampa Bay. Ahem....and I like to see players who get cut from the Titans have a great career elsewhere
Michael: Emmanuel Sanders - I don’t know about a huge break out year but I believe Emmanuel Sanders from the Pittsburgh Steelers will have a huge year. Last year Sanders was 4th WR behind Antwaan Randle El. With the release of Randle El the Steelers are showing that they have faith in their young WR core aside from Hines Ward. Sanders last season totaled 28 catches for 376 yards and two touchdowns. During the last four games of the season however Sanders was the target of 15 receptions for nearly 200 yards. Look for Sanders to improve on his play greatly from last season. The only thing slowing Sanders right now is the surgery he had on his foot a week ago.
Taylor: Jermicheal Finley - Like the Pack don’t need any more weapons as it is to make a run for back to back super Bowls if it wasn’t for a season ending injury he might be a pro bowler he might be the spark to help them get over some key divisional games. If he can stay healthy the pack will definitely be in the NFC title game
5. A recent report on SI.com chronicled the possibilities of player being injured more frequently this year due to the lockout and players not being in the normal condition they would be because of it. How do you think the players will be affected by the lockout as far as conditioning and physical shape?
Carlos: As you can see with the rash of Achilles and Knee injuries, you can tell that players weren’t as prepared as they would have like to be. Most guys probably took it easy during the lockout, not knowing when it would end. Take a look at former Minnesota Viking Bryant McKinnie who showed up to camp 30 pounds overweight. The guys who are workout warriors are not the ones to be worried about it the McKinnie of the NFL that you have concerned about. I think there will be more injuries than usual but its football and every season players get hurt so it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Ashley: That's a toss up. It depends on the mental toughness of the player and what they did during the offseason. You'll see the one's who actually made the most of their time off from the lockout by working out and staying focused ready to take on this season in a short period of time. I hope everyone realizes that even on the professional level that there are some players who skip a workout or two or even decide to party more than getting ready. I say all of that to say it depends on who came to play and who wants to go home.
Michael: You would think that conditioning in the off season for a professional athlete is something that they would be accustomed too. The lock out on the other hand put some of the players whose work ethics have already been pulled into question in danger of being hurt. Teams led optional practices run by players however attendance could not be made mandatory. Look for a couple of notable players to go down in the first couple weeks of the regular season because they were too “good” for off-season conditioning.
Taylor: It depends on the player or teams, some teams had involuntary workouts (Saints and Jets) and players especially the great ones stayed in shape, plus the coaching staff knows how to keep players for getting hurt in the pre-season but the regular season anyone is accessible to an injury.
6. And of course for the final question, who will win the Super Bowl this year and why?
Carlos: - New York Jets. I think there about eight to nine teams in contention. Those teams are New England, NY Jets, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Green Bay, New Orleans and Atlanta. Those are the teams that clearly are a cut above the rest in the league. From this point on I think it’s just a crapshoot. You never know which team will sustain an injury to a key player or who will be in a slump this from year to year. If I had to pick a Super Bowl match-up I would go NY Jets vs. Philadelphia. I hate to jump on the Philly bandwagon but I just think their talent and depth at every position will be hard to beat. As for the Jets, they have been down this road the last couple of years and I think Mark Sanchez 3rd year will be the charm for the Jets. As for the winner of the game (Drum Roll please), I will go with NY Jets. It just seems that this team has been knocking on the door for so long that their due has to come right. They have the defense of course with Sexy Rexy leading them and their offense might finally have just enough with the addition of Plaxico Burress to put them over the top. I can’t believe I’m picking the Jets but you heard it hear first.
Ashley: - Philadelphia. Hmmmm.....who's going win the big one? If I'm dreaming "Inception" style I'd go with the Eagles because like I said above....I follow Vick and Co. On the other hand, if I'm awake throwing a few cold ones back then I'd say "Let the games begin!" The Lombardi trophy could be won by any team....
Michael: - Pittsburgh. I have to say this, I’m a homer and I’m going with the Steelers. It’s not like they aren’t talented enough because they surely are. Losing against the Packers in the Super Bowl last year crushed my morale. Well it was crushed for about three days until I started scouting the next season. The Steelers like history says don’t get better through free agency they just reload through the draft. Cameron Heyward was a great pick but I don’t think he’ll contribute the most to another super bowl run. Look for RB Baron Batch out of Texas Tech to have a large impact as a third down back and eventual successor to Mewelde Moore. Also Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown I believe have a shot at nickel and dime back coverage. I still don’t believe it was the Packers that beat the Steelers although I think that the Packers have a very well rounded team. I believe in the end of it all the Steelers shot themselves in the foot in trying to win number 7.
Taylor: - New England Hey Ill take this further I’ll pick the 6 teams from each Conference who will make the playoffs: AFC: Steelers, Texans, Jets, Patriots, Colts and Chiefs. In the NFC: Saints, Packers, Buccaneers, Eagles, Seahawks, and Rams. On paper of course the Eagles but my pick is the Patriots. They always have one or two players who fly under the radar on offense and their defense is steady improving