Tuesday, August 30, 2011
A peek at The Mag's previews
By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN The Magazine’s team-by-team previews are an Insider file. But I can give our gen-pop a glimpse. Here’s the order they expect the division to finish in, with one of their elements on each.
Rush Offense: The way the Colts spread the field should open up the run, but that hasn't happened recently. They've struggled with their staples -- draws and stretch plays -- especially as they rebuild the O-line.
Rush Defense: [Wade] Phillips likes his front to be a little lighter and quicker than most 3-4 defenses, but that can lead to getting bullied by power offenses. Brian Cushing's move inside could help them against the run.
Pass Defense: New defensive coordinator Jerry Gray will be much more aggressive than Chuck Cecil was. Gray will call more blitzes and use more man D. That's a necessary risk because [Jason] Babin took his 12.5 sacks to Philly; it also puts pressure on [Cortland] Finnegan, who's been a physical route disrupter.
Pass Offense: The Jags adjust their scheme to fit their personnel, using [David] Garrard's skills with short passes, quick releases and rollouts. But the shortage of vertical elements makes the passing game too predictable. [Marcedes] Lewis and [Mike] Thomas are the only consistent receiving threats.