In years past, I have not been a member of Arrowhead Pride. Normally, I would make my predictions, save them, maybe share them with a few friends. Mid-season, I plan on re-visiting my predictions, and making adjustments for the final 8 games of the season. If we were to make the playoffs, I would then make a final prediction of the playoffs.
The joy this year, is I can post it ONLINE, with anybody who cares to read it. It'll be alot easier to find in the future, which is good for me. I actually posted predictions earlier this offseason, So I will be digging those up and making the necessary changes. We'll get into that later.
To start the post, I'm going to visit the positions for my thoughts for some positions.
Matt Cassel. Its hard to figure out how good the is considering how little we saw him in Preseason. I have a feeling its going to be a tough year for him because of many things that happened this offseason. Not having an OL to protect him is the biggest problem. The shit Todd Haley has pulled with the WR's and the depth chart has kept Cassel from working with his primary receivers for an extended time. Its important that they get reps in the offseason to help get timing down. I expect Cassel to see success, but it wont be without some failures as well. 3000+ yards, 20+TDs and under 15 INT's would be a good season for him, IMO. *Edit* He only threw 19 passes throughout preseason. Will this hurt him?*
More after the jump..
Larry Johnson and Jamaal Charles are the newest Smash and Dash tandem in the league. Last year, Charles was a bit smaller, but Haley asked him to put on a few pounds. He still has the speed, but I think he's more confident when going up the middle. With LJ grinding it out inside, and Charles bouncing outside, they will create holes for each other. We seen some of this in this STL preseason game and SEA game.
Dwayne Bowe made some amazing plays on the ball, though he came up short against STL. Brodie over threw him many times but the way Bowe adjusted on the ball, I was really impressed with. Theres nothing you can do if the pass is too high or too far, but the effort is what got my attention. He's going to be a force this season, though Cassel's struggles behind that OL may affect Bowe.
The Offensive Line has got to improve. I like that Brodie Croyle ran some bootlegs and rollouts against STL. Hopefully Cassel gets alot of those too when he comes back. We've got to move around and disguise this terrible OL. They have done pretty good blocking for the run, but someones going to get killed if we rely on them to protect the QB.
Defense. 3 topics I want to cover. Run D, Pass D, and Pass Rush.
The pass rush has looked GREAT. We had 7 sacks during preseason, which was good for 20th among the 32 NFL teams. Thats a 12 spot improvement in 1 offseason. Thats great progress. Preseason doesnt really gauge what will happen, but when our first team D plays a whole game, I think these guys can rack up some sacks. Any of our LB's can get into the backfield on any given play. Mike Vrabel, Derrick Johnson, Corey Mays, and Tamba Hali are each capable of getting penetration. Jackson has done a good job of getting penetration as well. Glenn Dorsey has been kinda quiet, but I've noticed hes taking up space and taking on blockers that LB's dont have to worry about. The front 7 looks much better rushing the QB.
Before preseason, I was adament on the fact that an improved pass rush will improve our pass coverage. Our secondary did a pretty good job in coverage last season, considering opposing QB's had ALL day to throw. But our corners have been playing soft coverage, often backing off the line and giving a big cushion. This has resulted in alot of open receivers over the middle. Our LB's are failing to cover the middle of the field, and since corners arent up on the line to jam the receiver, theyre getting open easily over the middle. This has GOT to improve.
Rush defense has looked both good and bad. I really dont know what to make of it.
Tamba Hali has looked amazing in his switch to OLB. He's not overpursuing, hes reading the run well, and most importantly, hes getting pressure on the QB. I'm very excited about him this year.
I expect to see a Top 20 defense, a Top 25 offense, and 2nd in the division to the Chargers. *Edit* But, IF preseason is any indication to how the season turns out (which it doesnt, but what fun would it be to NOT talk about it?) Then there are many areas that we will improve. I posted this as a comment on another FanPost and thought it was interesting so I wanted to post it here as well.
Last season – 393.2 yards given up per game. 31st in the league
Preseason – 324.5 yards given up per game. 21st in the league
Last Season – 234.2 passing yards allowed. 28th in the league
Preseason – 227.5 passing yards allowed. 27th in the league
Last Season – 0.625 sacks per game. 32nd in the league
Preseason – 1.75 sacks per game. 20th in the league
Last Season – 158.9 yards rushing allowed. 30th in the league
Preseason – 97 yards rushing allowed. 9th in the league.
Last Season – 308.7 yards gained per game. 24th in the league
Preseason – 317.8 yards gained per game. 15th in the league
Last Season – 113.1 yards rushing per game. 16th in the league
Preseason – 124.8 yards rushing per game. 10th in the league
10 spot overall defense improvement? 12 spot sack improvement? 21 spot improvement in run defense?!!? 9 spot improvement on Offense. Thats some pretty good ground covered in 1 offseason. Will it turn out that way? Probably not. Could it? Why not? Could we improve MORE than what that says? Sure! Only time will tell.
NOW..to revist. Heres some predictions I made back on June 28th http://www.arrowheadpride.com/2009/6/28/928486/my-thoughts-on-the-upcoming-season
By position, for the QB's, I believe Croyle is now the #2 over Tyler Thigpen. I was a Thigpen fan..until this preseason. Thigpen is clearly not good enough as a passer in the NFL at this point in his career. As a runner, hes great, he can improvise, hes a hard worker, but his inaccuracy is too big to disregard. As for the RB's, LJ and Charles still remain but K. Smith is out of the picture. I like what I've seen from Savage and hope he makes the team.
The starting OL is what I said it would be, though it COULD change at any time between now and the end of the season. Hopefully it does because it has not been pretty. WR's are fairly the same. Bowe, Mark Bradley and Bobby Engram with Charles and maybe even Quinten Lawrence gettin some catches. WR's are still a ? so it'll be interesting to see who gets cut and who starts on day 1. I think it'll be Bowe and Bradley.
I'm still a bit worried about the young DL but so far the D has looked fairly well so hopefully this will not be a problem area
Ryan Succop is the kicker. I like him. I didnt used to..I was a Connor Barth fan.
Ravens - L. This stays the same. Their D is going to crush our OL. It could be a nightmare. But their O isnt great either and if we can put some pressure on Joe Flacco, we may have a chance to win, but in the end, I think we lose.
Raiders - W. This stays the same.
Eagles - L. Same
Giants - L. Same.
Cowboys - L. Same.
Redskins - W. Different. We can win this game if we contain Clinton Portis.
Chargers - L. Different. I really want to say we can win here, but the Chargers have a good QB and large physical receivers. I'd like to see us get one from SD this year, but I dont know if it can happen.
Jaguars - L. different. With MoJo being the feature back, I'm not sure if we can stop the run here. David Garrard had a good season last year as well and is very mobile. This could spell trouble.
Raiders - W. Same.
Steelers - L. Same.
Chargers - L. Same.
Broncos - W. Same
Bills - W. Same
Browns - W. Same
Bengals - W. Same
Broncos - W. Same.
Final record, 8-8, no playoffs, 2nd in division.
The season is going to start out tough. We'll play several TOUGH games and we may surprise and keep some of them close and maybe even steal 1. Also, as with any team, theres going to be a game that we lose that we dont expect to. Maybe more than 1. But generally theres an upset also. Who knows where that will be? After the Jags, our schedule gets softer, and because we've played such stiff competition up to that point, our guys should be improving and the D should get better every week. The longer the season goes on, the more we'll improve and hopefully that will show on the scoreboard. Closing out the season with 5 wins will hopefully get the team juiced up for next year. The better we do this year, the higher expectations next year, and maybe we wont have to lose 700lbs next offseason.
Well guys..thats it. I'm setting it in stone. It'll be interesting to see what people think. It'll be even more interesting to revisit after we play the Jags.