It has been a while since I have been here. For that, I apologize, but it is out of my hands. However, not much has changed. I am rocking out to the newly released Deluxe Edition's of Zeppelin I, II & III...Turning 41 on Friday and I also the new ESPN Dynasty Fantasy expert and tis the season for Dynasty! Let's roll!
Did the Vikings "hit a home run" with Barr and Bridgewater? What do you see them doing this year in a tough NFCN?
Barr is very much a project to me and I only expect him to be effective as a situational pass rusher in year one as he learns to play in space, cover, etc. But he is a good scheme fit for Zim, who likes one of those DE/OLB Hybrids in his scheme. I think Teddy is the most NFL-Ready QB in this draft, but still a rook. Be patient Nash!
Based on what you saw late last year which young bengals should I expect to break out this year.
I am not sure the Bengals got better in any area of their team this offseason, but even with Hill around, I expect Gio to break out in a huge way. I think Jones will emerge as a very solid #2 WR and that Eifert will step up big as well.
What are your thoughts about DeMarcus Lawrence (cowboys) talent? I know its hard to tell until the pads come on but intial thoughts....
I like him quite a bit. He will be a Wide 9 DE for them, but even in that role I worry a little about how well he will initially hold up in the run game.
Ha Ha has a reputation as a solid, assignment-sure safety. Does he struggle like a typical rookie safety, or does he hit the ground running? P.S. I want to defend my super fan title!
Maia, you rock! I would expect some struggles for sure. Like you mentioned, very difficult position to just step in and excel as during your rookie season. Still could be a S upgrade if that is the case though.
Would the Colts be better with Donald Brown instead of Trent Richardson?
Obviously Brown was far more effective last year, but I still think the answer is No. I think, and this is just a hunch, that Richardson looks like a different RB this year than last after knowing what to do with his new team finally.
Which 49er gets a new contract after Kaep?
I really can't see them letting Crabtree walk. Since CK has taken over, he has clearly been his favorite target. I also expect a pretty big year from Crabtree as well in 2014.
Is Tom Brady still a top 5 QB?
For much of the season, I really thought TB went backwards. His weapons and supporting cast should be more secure as he enters the season, but I think he has declined for sure with his deep passing and handling pressure. Don't forget though: The Pats were relying HEAVILY on A Hernandez and then poof, he was gone!
I asked you to rank the NFC North defenses before the draft and you said they were all about the same. Still feel the same way post-draft? Anyone stand out now?
Wow, not really! Sorry...not avoiding that question, but I guess I would go with Green Bay. I do like Ha Ha. Clay comes back. Peppers has something left. The Bears went heavy on D in the draft, which I thought was smart-but immediate impact? I do like the addition of Van Noy in DET too.
Do you like Devonta Freeman as an early multi-purpose back and then an eventual every down back?
In the Dynasty community, I think everyone is a bit too high on Freeman. I very much like the player and think he has some Bradshaw/MJD to him to handle the early workload as well as receiving. But my hunch is this is S-Jax's last year in ATL and they use an early pick or UFA $ on a RB with size. Would shock me if Freeman ever became "The Guy"
Will Courtney Upshaw have more of a impact for the Ravens? From all I read, his team mates realize all the dirty work he does to help the "D", yet aren't expectations higher?
Remember Jarrett Johnson with the Ravens? That semi-versatile, tough, run stuffing OLB/DE type. I think that is who Upshaw is. Nothing wrong with that at all, but just not super flashy...kinda like a 3rd line Right Wing on a Cup team
What was your opinion of the Rams draft? Do you think that the improvements in the OL and DL can make the Rams a contender for the NFC West title this year?
No, but that is only because SF and SEA are in the division. Loved their draft. They understand who they are and who they need to be to compete in a BRUTAL division. Got tougher and are built up front. I very much approved.
I will take your Freeman take to the bank since you are usually very optimistic about most players.
I like Freeman a lot though. Put it this way: I am more optimistic about Freeman as an NFL contributor than as a Dynasty asset
Have read that Johnny Football has never had a traditional playbook,is this something will make it harder for him to adjust and learn the NFL game or is it a positive because he has been limited to such a small game plan type structure in the past and this will allow him to develop parts of his game we haven't seen yet?
Not sure how to answer that, but I do think he is with the right guy in Shanny, who helped build that Skins O around RG3 just two years ago. I do like that quite a bit...but don't like who Johnny Boy is throwing to
Pat Angerer fit in either Dallas or Arizona now that they both have holes MLB?
Sorta. Yeah, he fits, but I think his stats make him look like a better player than he really is on the field. Can he pass a physical?
Think Griffin will be able to take advantage of his new weapons? Djax, Garcon, Reed, make for a pretty imposing receiving corps.
I don't dislike Gruden at all, but thought he was a bit of an overrated coordinator in Cincy. I think there will be some transition from Shanny's O, esp the run game, to Gruden's as well. But wow, they have a lot of weapons and I am believer in RG3. So overall, the answer is yes. Reed's concussions worry me, but I love his game.
Help me out - what the hell is a "dynasty asset"?
Sorry, since I have been gone, I have become much more involved with Dynasty for Fantasy Football for ESPN in addition to my usual NFL duties. Dynasty is when you keep your team from year to year and the only draft you have is of rookie players. You build your own "Dynasty" and I thought that was where he was going with the Freeman question.
Who finishes second in AFC West?
Not the Raiders
Got it...Where are you on Ka'Deem Carey?
Almost the same. Forte is a stud and Carey fits that system well, but when Forte moves on, I highly doubt they just hand the job to Carey.
Who finishes second in the AFC East?
Expecting a noticeably improvement from the Dolphins' O this year btw
Just saw Skynyrd live. Wasn't a huge fan of them going in, but they put on a decent show. You like anything by them in particular?
For the most part, Southern Rock isn't really my bag, but I like it here and there and have listened to them now for close to 30 years. One More From The Road is a great live album when they were in their prime and like everyone, I certainly dig their hits. Freebird is strong!
If Flacco has another down year do you see the Ravens looking to the draft and letting him walk? (P.s this is a serious question).
Flacco did not play well in 2013...not at all, but he had zero running game and little protection, which sorta nullified his deep ball-obviously that is a worst of both worlds for someone with Flacco's skill set. I like his weapons much better now, but why is the run game going to be improved? And to answer your question, I would overall say No
Always been a huge fan od ILB Dansby... after stellar play last year. What is reasonable now he his in Cleveland? There is a lot of great young talent in the front 7
As you mentioned, he played great for Zona last year and I don't see him dropping off. He is up and age and that day will come sooner than later, but he was great last year. They need Mingo to step up, but overall, I like this D a lot. Two press Man Coverage CBs will help that pass rush too.
Is Andre Johnson a Texan when the season starts?
I am going to go with Yes. If you are Houston, what do you need to move him? A 3rd rounder? Is that really worth it?
Whether they state it publicly or not, is NE counting on anything from Gronk this year?
Tic Tac, the Pats are two different teams with and without Gronk...they better be counting on him
I presume the run game will improve with the additions on the offensive line (Zuttah, Osemele) and Rice will be desperate to perform well after his forgetful last year. Bernard Pierce should be finally healthy.
I like the addition of Zuttah and Osemele coming back is huge, but does he fit the new Kubiak system? I do think Pierce does well and coaching should help the running game, but I am not at all sold on Rice.
For some reason, when I post one of your questions, I can't see it. I hope y'all can....sorry about that
Barring and injury by Manning, do you see any way the Bolts can win the AFCW this year?
No I really don't think SD has any chance of beating out the Broncos in the west with a healthy Manning. SD is another team that I struggle to see where they are noticeably improved from last year.
Welcome back MDub. Which receivers do you expect to break out this year? I like Wheaton (PGH), Hopkins (HOU) and Austin (STL) to name a few.
Good choices Sam...of those three I esp like Hopkins. He may have already, but Floyd for sure. Hunter is one of my fav's as well. BTW, I will start my Dynasty WR ranks tonight...RBs and QBs have already been turned in. Those young pup WRs will be quite high.
Have you heard of any rookies standing out particularly in OTAs?
Yeah, you hear of OTA standouts, but almost like Draft Chat, I take that info with a grain of salt this time of year.
Was the Hyde pick "Lattimore insurance," or do you think he is ahead of Lattimore on the depth chart to start the season. If both are healthy two years from now when Gore is gone, Lattimore/Hyde is a pretty good 1-2 punch.
Counting on Gore and Hunter (both UFAs to be) to be gone after 2014. Not hearing great things about Lattimore's recovery, so I think Hyde actually landed in a very good spot and might even end the 2014 season as SF's lead RB
Where do the Titans finish in the AFC South?
AFC South is a terrible division and I actually think the Colts are a bit overrated too. For right now and my predictions are not yet in stone: 1. Indy 2. Hous 3. Ten 4. Jax...But I think Locker breaks out
Colts o-line better than last year but still under manned at this point and does D.Allen at TE/HB make that group a little better run blocking unit than they showed last year?
Allen will help a little and will help the O quite a bit overall...I am super high on Allen. As Luck matures, he too can make up for some OL issues. That D is what worries me most though. Will Mathis be close to the player he was last year after his suspension? Who is left to be a difference maker?
Over/under for wins for Cleveland? 7.5?
UNDER 7.5 on Brownies wins this year...Don't trust the passing game one bit
Do you see the Broncos defense being a top 10 D this year?
Denver is loaded now on both sides of the ball but I don't love their true 2nd level defenders. Top 10 D? Fringe
Texans better than the Titans even with Fitzpatrick as the starting QB?
Houston's D is gonna be good Bro!
Who are your waaaay to early super bowl picks?
SF over DEN
What about D-lineman Matt, what 2nd year players could you see making a jump? Dion Jordan? Datone Jones? Sylvester Williams? What about Tank Carradine after his "redshirt" season?
Good question. Of that group, I like Tank a lot, but he will be the 3rd DE behind McDonald and J Smith. Richardson and Star already broke out. Give me some other names.
You going to watch the World Cup MDub? Who is your favourite to win?
Nope...not one minute. Sorry. I do very much respect it, but World Cup or Game of Thrones? GoT!
Dont forget about Ansah!!!he will be a beast this year...just wait
Great call on Ansah...yes, I agree...BTW, he better be or that DL isn't nearly as frightening as many might think, at DE obviously. Young was a substantial loss to a divisional rival.
Angels and Airways....you guys like?
Wolfe playing between Ware and Miller.
I like Wolfe as a base DE..they want size in their true DLinemen...and he will bump inside to DT on throwing downs. I forecast a good player, but not a difference maker.
On the subject of GoT, how harrowing was that image at the end of the last episode? You think they go too far in that show? I mean, that stuff aint right!
It is just so good though!
Thoughts on WR Marquess WIlson?
Big fan of Wilson. If you are asking for Dynasty reasons, I prob like him more as a player than for fantasy, as signing Marshall blocks him a bit. Marshall could be that big slot guy when they go with 3 WRs, but how often will that happen? Really like the Bears' O btw...Cutler going to have a giant year
Which new OC/DC will improve his unit the most?
Not exactly what you asked, but Zimmer
Better year? Justin Hunter or Kendall Wright?
More big plays for Hunter...more catches/consistency for Wright...Walker is an underrated TE as well. TEN has weapons
You do realize that GOT will only be on for one hour during the entire month of the World Cup?
I hear ya...was just making the point. Mad Men, etc as well. Will prob watch the Pirates (actually, I def will) over the World Cup. I might actually watch the NBA finals. Dunno, I might put it on
DO you think the Bears D has enough to prevent them from missing the playoffs?
Could certainly see CHI in playoffs as a Wild Card and prob will pick them to make it, but NFC is brutal and I think they are behind the big boys-because of their D. Big Boys: GB, NO, SEA, SF
How big of a deal is it that the Bears' O is essentially the same unit, in the 2nd year of Trestman's system vs the first year?
Sure can't hurt!
Any thoughts on adding Gregg Williams to the Rams D? What is their ceiling? Any predictions for that DL?
My prediction for the Rams DL: Pain...credit Kevin Siefert with that one. Anyways, they won't need to blitz, but Williams loves blitzing. Wonder how that will work out, but I really like him as a coordinator.
Are you buying that with a better coaching staff in place, Locker healthy, and CJ gone the Titans can get to 9 wins?
Maybe, but while I like Locker, I am not betting my mortgage on him. And I don't like them switching to a 3-4 at all. I really like Casey, but he is a 4-3 DT to me all day. Who else do we like on that D?
Thanks for the response . . . and the Rocky/Mr. T reference. My prediction? Pain.
I must break you...btw, stumbled into Rocky I about a month ago late night...damn, so great
How does Foles follow up his amazing year? And over/under on the Eagles at 9.5 wins?!?
I like the Eagles O/U at 9.5 and I think Foles gets away with less than he did last year. His numbers will be there, but his INT total will rise-no question in my mind.
How big is the loss of Will Hill for NYG defense?
Hill is a really good player and for some reason, didn't get the credit he deserved in that regard, but apparently is also really a knuckle head. Shame
Does the Panther's defense keep them in contention in the South or poised for a huge step back?
CAR needs to win games 10-9. Can they? I suppose, but that is just such a tough formula to live by in this league. Their WRs, OL and DBs are just still so weak. You can argue that they were last year too, but wow, I see them going backwards.
Sabbath "Sweet Leaf"...classic
Massive NFL fan from across the pond, with Mallett seemingly staying in NE what was the point of drafting Garrapolo? Could have stabilised their secondary or grabbed another wideout for Brady.
Well Mallett's contract is up after this year and I am also not totally sold that the Pats don't get a pick for him (Houston) before the season.
Tenn.Buffalo and Tampa have all recently lost their owners,of the three which teams front office is least effected by it?
Good point by you and I will say that TBay's front office is affected least...they were a pretty hands off ownership
Re Eagles: a) Foles's TD:INT ratio is unsustainable and b) they ended up with only one (!!!) guy on IR. Neither of those things is happening again in 2014. Wouldn't be shocked at all to see Eagles win less than 8 games.
Excellent points, but this is their 2nd season in a new system on both sides of the ball....9-7
Does Robert Quinn break the sack record this year?
Nah...wow, that is a pretty high bar you are setting!
Final two WC teams in AFC and NFC?
I will prob predict three playoff teams from the AFC North and very likely two from the NFC North and West
Not much of a KISS fan here, but hard not to like "Beth"
Jerry Jones is never gonna give up his GM duties,but what area do you think he should bring a traditional GM type to assist him,daily ops scouting general advisor type..?
To me, Jones and company haven't drafted all that poorly, but their salaries and cap management is dreadful
What do you expect out of Sammy Watkins this year. Did Buff give up too much?
BUFF Coaches and Front Office are living for today to keep their jobs, so in that regard, they didn't give up too much for Watkins, but that aside, I think they did. Not a believer in Manuel here at all.
If Detroit dont resign Fairley, where do you see him next season? Would look good for NYG!
Fairley is supposedly lean and mean...which means he is hungry. Could have a monster season if that is the case. Then he could sign a nice fat UFA contract and get nice and fat again.
Who is the best deep threat WR in the game?
NFL's best deep threat? D Jax? Wallace? The do it all guys like Calvin, Julio, Dez, etc are great for certain too.
Most underrated player in the league? I will go with Jordy Nelson
J Nelson is certainly a great player...no question...and highly underrated
Tenn 3-4 does not make sense with their personal,how long do you see it taking to flip the roster to get players that fit the system?
Doesn't make any sense to me, although Horton is a very good coordinator and will mix things up. But to answer your question: Too long
Josh Freeman, what happened to him? Doubt he ever starts another game...
Gotta wonder if Freeman's career now is total over...sad really
MattDo you think the niners can finally end their drought in Seattle this year?
Dunno about that, but I am picking your Niners to win it all most likely. I think they are very much improved on O
Folks, I missed chatting like this, but I gotta run. Take care and drop me a line on Twitter @WilliamsonNFL