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AFC North Preview

Dieses Thema im Forum "Small Talk" wurde erstellt von boxfan2015, 18. Juli 2006.

  1. boxfan2015

    boxfan2015 Guest

    :cool: AFC North Preview

    By Tim Sullivan
    Contributing Writer
    The AFC North has been a bastion of activity lately. In Pittsburgh, a fan favorite running back retired, a first-round draft pick was arrested twice and a franchise quarterback broke his jaw and nose in a motorcycle accident.
    In Baltimore, a Pro Bowl safety re-signed and a former Super Bowl quarterback was acquired.
    Who says there's nothing to talk about in the offseason?
    But with all these headlines, both good and bad, one team seems to have slipped through the cracks. Yes, the Bengals just can't get a break. After 14 straight seasons with eight or fewer wins, Cincinnati finally stormed to an 11-5 finish and won the North for the first time.
    Yet, everyone seems to have forgotten about them.
    We won't. And there's a good chance — given all the controversy and change elsewhere — that many bettors won't either, especially when it comes time to pick a North champion on WagerWeb.com.
    "Every team is different, but I think our team this year is a more confident team," Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis said. "They’re excited to play. They know their strengths and limitations."
    The latter of which are few. The Bengals have remained, for the most part, intact on offense. And remember, you're talking about a team that scored 421 points and went 6-2 at home. On defense, additions safety Dexter Jackson and tackle Sam Adams bring consistent coverage in the back and beef up front, respectively, and Super Bowl experience.
    "All the guys we’ve added have been to the playoffs, and they come in here with something to prove. And that’s good," Lewis said. "If we improve our tackling, we’ll be a better defensive team. If we don’t give up big plays, we’ll be a better defensive team."
    The Bengal’s' biggest question, however, will remain on offense, where quarterback Carson Palmer tries to overcome the torn ACL he suffered in the 31-17 playoff loss to Pittsburgh. The former Heisman Trophy winner has diligently rehabilitated. He has slowly worked his way back into the offense. And he appears as fit as ever.
    But you never know ...
    "The only thing that matters is what Carson feels. We’re not holding back Carson. When he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go," Lewis said. "Every day, they have a program ready for him based on how he feels. They’ve never had to back off one time. Every day, he answers the bell.
    "He was injured, he’s recovering and he’ll be fine."
    Pittsburgh fans — eager to pounce on their team to recapture the division title, not to mention defend their Super Bowl crown, and still likely a sportsbook favorite — hope the same for their quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger should be ready for Week 1, despite several hours of facial surgery after his motorcycle incident.
    But Big Ben's status is only one of many concerns for the champs. The Steelers need a wideout to start alongside Hines Ward. Rookie Santonio Holmes may be that guy, but as of now, he's averaging an arrest per month since he was drafted. The Steelers also need a goal-line, short-yardage back to replace the retired Jerome Bettis.
    Once those issues are solved, the Steelers have to go about the business of being the hunted — never an easy task.
    "I think you start to be driven by the fact of not so much the quest to win a championship, but you don't like losing," Steelers Coach Bill Cowher said. "I think you develop a distaste for failure. That drives you more than wanting to be recognized with success as opposed to just not wanting to fail."
    Which is exactly what the Ravens did last year. Baltimore, which tied Cleveland (6-10) for last place in the North, failed mainly because of its unstable quarterback situation.
    But Pro Bowler Steve McNair, who took the Titans to the Super Bowl in 1999, may prove to be the efficient elixir. Combine him with Baltimore's always intimidating defense, led by newly re-signed safety Ed Reed, and the Ravens, all of a sudden, have great value at the sportsbooks.
    "He is one of the elite quarterbacks in this game. His record speaks for itself," Ravens Coach Brian Billick said. "Clearly as our starter going in, Steve is going to add a dimension for us in this football team that we have not had since I've been here. I think he is going to be an asset on and off the field."
    The Browns -- who should bring up the division's rear -- could use some of those assets. But all may not be lost in Cleveland. After all, the Browns will welcome back oft-injured tight end Kellen Winslow II and 1,200-yard running back Reuben Droughns.
    But keep in mind, considering the talented clubs ahead of them, the Browns may be looking at six losses ... in the division alone.
    IS BUCK BACK? Philadelphia's disastrous 6-10 season following a Super Bowl appearance may have happened anyway, but it's hard not to think running back Correll Buckhalter could have helped things just a little.
    Buckhalter, one of the league's most injured players, has missed three of the past four seasons with knee problems and has had two surgeries. But, as training camp nears, word is he could be ready for Week 1.
    "It is his second surgery there, so we have to feel very comfortable with how he feels," Eagles Coach Andy Reid said. "It's one of those day-to-day situations. We need to see how much more progress he makes."
    Who knows just how good this former Nebraska Cornhusker can be. All we do know is that he has a 4.4-yard average, 1,128 yards and four touchdowns in 31 career games. And when you're talking about a team whose leading rusher -- Brian Westbrook -- had less than 700 yards last year, the Eagles are willing to wait and see.
    "He is further ahead than what he was before," Reid said. "He has made progress."
    He also hasn't played since 2003.
    HE BELONGS TO THE CITY: The Bills -- a franchise once plagued by a quarterback controversy between Doug Flutie and Rob Johnson of all people -- are back at it again. This year's participants are J.P. Losman and Kelly Holcomb, who split time last season.
    Losman, a former first-round pick out of Tulane who is taking up a ton of salary-cap space, appears to be the organization's favorite and may well be the fans' choice before too long. That's because he is the only player living in Buffalo's city limits. Everyone else is out in the suburbs, closer to the Bills' Orchard Park, N.Y., stadium.
    But not Losman, who apparently is trying to shed his laid-back Californian approach for a rough-and-tumble western New York flavor.
    "I just feel a lot more comfortable now than I did a year ago," he said.
    If Buffalo can surpass last year's measly win total of five, his neighbors may feel the same way before too long.
  2. schietbüddel

    schietbüddel Gold Member

    Registriert seit:
    16. Juni 2006
    Punkte für Erfolge:
    AW: AFC North Preview

    Donnerwetter, das ist ja mal ein Ding, unglaublich, ehrlich:D:confused:
  3. Vista

    Vista Guest

    AW: AFC North Preview

    Ich wünschte, ich hätte mehr Englisch in der Schule gebüffelt...:(
  4. Hausherr

    Hausherr Silber Member

    Registriert seit:
    30. Oktober 2005
    Punkte für Erfolge:
    AW: AFC North Preview

    Und ich wünschte, das in einem deutschen Forum auch deutsch geschrieben wird.:wüt:
  5. Vista

    Vista Guest

    AW: AFC North Preview

    Offenbar hast Du diesen Text verstanden - kannst Du uns helfen? :winken:

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