My preseason pick to win it all is the New England Patriots. I personally feel like they had the best off season of any team. They picked up Fred Taylor, Joey Galloway, and Shawn Springs in free agency. Another guy they picked up, Tight End Chris Baker, will also open some eyes I believe. I also think losing Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs will also work out in their favor as it allows Adalius Thomas to be more of the pass rusher that he was back in Baltimore.
For some odd reason though, I don't hear a lot of people pushing the Patriots as potential champions and I really can't understand why. I guess there is the chance that Tom Brady doesn't come back to form but if he does you are talking about an offense that is probably better than the one that set all the records two years ago. With Taylor, Sammy Morris, Laurence Maroney, and Kevin Faulk on the roster, they have a stable of backs that could measure up to almost any other team in the league.
Adding a bonafide wide receiver who still is one of the fastest in the league in Galloway to the tandem of Randy Moss and Wes Welker should almost be illegal. Whether they are saying it or not there are D Coordinators scratching their head right now trying to figure out how they are going to double Moss without allowing Galloway to burn them deep every single time.
On defense the corners are upgraded from a year ago with Springs and another free agent pick up in Leigh Bodden. And with another year under his belt you can expect fellow Tennessee alumni, Jerod Mayo, to be even more of a beast in the middle this year. Look for Richard Seymour to step his game up too back to an All Pro level now that he has had over a year for his knee to heal.
Lets keep in mind that last year even with losing Brady this team won 11 games and barely missed the playoffs. If they get 11 wins in an injury riddled off year, how many do you think they will get if they are firing on all cylinders?
Im just sayin.
On another topic let me just say that people need to take a deep breath or two over Mike Vick's reinstatement. He will probably be signed by some team before the season begins but its his HIGHLY unlikely that he plays at all this year. For one he will probably push to stay at quarterback and getting into camp late if at all and trying to learn a playbook is going ot be a very difficult thing to accomplish.
For two he has been locked up and away from the game for basically two years now. Although I was a Vick fan back then, it is still true that his accuracy was a problem back when he was practicing everyday. The kind of rust he has accumulated over these past couple of years will be hard to knock off in one season.
And third and maybe most important is that Vick will probably be signed by a team that is established. I don't think a team that is searching for itself will take a chance on him. Its much more likely that a team like the Steelers or the Colts who have the luxury of having a player on their roster who isn't likely to play, will sign him in the hopes that he learns the playbook this year and is ready to compete for a job next season. It just doesn't make sense to bring him in to a team where he is expected to be the man after all he has been through.
On the Tampa Bay Buccaneers let me say that it will be ironic to say the least if Raheem Morris indeed takes the team back to the basics of running the ball and playing tough hard nosed defense and the team has success and the fans end up jumping all over his bandwagon. Its ironic because they ran Tony Dungy out of town for taking the team in that direction 8 years ago after he led the team to 5 none losing seasons in 6 years. Go figure.