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Old 05-13-2008, 08:59 PM    (permalink
Vikes99ej
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Default Vikkes99ej's NFC North Offensive Positionial Grades

I got this idea in my head today, so I figured what the hell. I don't do many of these, so don't be too cruel. I'll do one for defense later.

Quarterback

Green Bay Packers: Whenever you lose a quarterback like Brett Favre, you are going to have a dropoff. Assuming he progresses well through training camp, Aaron Rodgers should at least be a good game manager, with the great recieving unit around him. There is no reason Rodgers can't throw 15+ TDs, especially with a running game with Grant and Wynn. The addition of Brian Brohm should light a fire under Rodgers, too, although it makes me wonder how much confidence the Packers coaching staff and FO has in Rodgers. The only thing that worries me about this unit is the experience, with no real veteran QB on the roster (I know Rodgers has been in the league for a while, but to me he's playing his first full season as a starter). I would have thought for sure the Pack would have gone after Gus Frerotte.

Grade: C+

Minnesota Vikings: Here's to hoping Tarvaris Jackson can finally put it together. His accuracy and pocket-presence SHOULD improve through training camp and workouts, and he SHOULD be able to work on his decision-making and chemistry with Rice and Wade, but no one really knows. The kid is an athlete in every since of the word, but he needs to work on the mental aspect of being a quarterback. Injuries have also been a problem for Tarvaris, missing 4 starts last year, mostly due to his decisions to run out of the pocket. Hopefully improving his awareness and presence can remedy that. I was lukewarm on the Gus Frerotte pickup. He's playing in a completely different system than in St. Louis, but he can also give Jackson a few tips. I don't foresee John David Booty doing anything for us this year, as much attention as he has gotten here. This unit, much like the Green Bay unit, hinges on a young quarterback.

Grade: C

Chicago Bears: I would be worried as a Bears fan. The only quarterback they have added this offseason is Caleb Hanie, an UDFA from Colorado State. So that leaves them Grossman, Orton, and Hanie. I thought for sure the Bears would draft a quarterback in the first four rounds, but I guess the FO believes this year will be different for Grossman and Orton. Grossman can truly leave you shaking your head, whether it be after leading a fourth quarter comeback, or throwing the football right into the hands of opposing defensive backs. To me, it seems like there is no middle-ground for him. He either makes really great plays, or he makes **** plays, and last year we saw more of the **** plays. The Orton situation is not that much different. He's been given his chances, and once again it looks like the Chicago Bears quarterback job is Rex Grossman's to lose.

Grade: D+

Detroit Lions: Well, at least their quarterback has confidence. Coming off of some solid seasons sharing time with Carson Palmer (and eventually giving it up), I really thought that Kitna could lead the Lions to some .500 or above seasons. But alas, that has not been the case. His over-aggressiveness has cost them in games, and he has struggled, even with Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson, and the under-rated Mike Furrey at his disposal. However, the hideous offensive line play can not be understated, as the Lions were third in the league in sacks allowed. I don't know how much the presence of a first rounder in Cherilus can help them, as he can't play all 5 positions, but it sure can't hurt. I don't see Marinelli giving up on Kitna and letting Stanton have the reins quite yet, but it could still happen. That was one pick I actually liked. It's a shame he had to get injured last year, though. Not much can be said about Dan Orlovsky, except that he's from Connecticut, and he doesn't play much.

Grade: C+

Runningbacks

Green Bay Packers: Ryan Grant was one of the surprises of 2007. Everyone was sure the Packers would be in the market for a running back come draft-time this year, but he took away all of those concerns. I'll admit I honestly thought he was another SamKon Gado, but he maintained his ability to make plays into the playoffs. He runs hard, and he runs angry, and he was one of the few runners who was able to make plays against the Minnesota defense, notching 119 yards and a touchdown. Grant looks like he can take Ahman Green's spot as feature back for years to come.Wynn is probably the second best runner on the team, but his season was cut short due to injury. Brandon Jackson did not impress me that much, but it was hard to get any attention when you had Ryan Grant ahead of you. The Packers run a fullback-by-committee group.

Grade: B+

Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson stole the show last year, notching offensive rookie of the year honors tearing up the Pro Bowl. Had it not been for him, we'd probably be coming off of a 5-11 or 6-10 season. He will again be the focal part of our offense this season, and assuming he can stay healthy (OMG), should put more superb numbers. I am of course assuming that Tarvaris can at least be a semi-decent quarterback this year, something he wasn't at the later part of the 2007 season, leading to 11 men in the box on every play. Adrian Peterson is a superstar, but his play and his season will depend on the quarterback position. Chester Taylor did a wonderful job filling in Peterson last year. It's hard having to take second fiddle, and Taylor played the role with no complaints. He's the definition of a blue-collar runningback. Maurice Hicks is the third string, basically there for kick returns.

Grade: A-

Chicago Bears: Nothing really stands out to me here. They had better hope that Forte is their best running back, because all they have otherwise is Cedric Benson (a head-case and a mediocre runningback), Garrett Wolfe (a dwarf), and some guy named Adrian Peterson. Benson should have been the featured back in Chicago, but things just haven't worked out for the top 5 pick. He has the size and speed, but there's just been something missing. Had I been the Bears, I would have gone after Mendenhall, and gotten Nicks or Cousins in later rounds, but I don't fault them for wanting to build up their line with Chris Williams. I just wonder how much pressure Forte and the others can take off of those buffoons at quarterback.

Grade: C

Detroit Lions: Had Kevin Jones been able to make it through a full season without ending on IR, we'd have a different story. I was a Kevin Jones fan, but it seemed like everyone was placing bets on which week he would suffer his season-injury. He was explosive, and he could make catches out of the backfield, but his fragility was his downfall. I think their situation is extremely similar to the Bears; they have several mediocre running-backs with a rookie who was extremely productive at the college level. I can't really see how Smith's game is going to the translate at this level, but seeing as the Lions coaches have said it's his job to lose, he must be a better runner than Tatum Bell, who didn't really accomplish much during the 2007 year. Behind Bell and Smith there is Artose Pinner and Brian Calhoun. I expect a bigger focus on the running game with the subtraction of Mike Martz.

Grade: C

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Green Bay Packers: This is a very young (except Driver) and talented group. Driver, Jenning, Jones, Lee, and eventually Nelson should all be able to help Rodgers in the passing game. Driver is one of the most under-rated receivers in the game, and has some great hands. Jennings is the playmaker of the group, and had a fantastic rookie season last year. Jones had his share of plays as well. Hell, even Ruvell Martin is a decent option. You really can't go wrong with this bunch. Donald Lee is a good pass-catching tight end, and Jermichael Finley will be developing behind him. One little question I have about this unit is how much better a perennial pro-bowler and future hall-of-famer made them look, but you have that question whenever you go to a team with a superb quarterback. This is the best receiving corps in the NFC North.

Grade: A-

Minnesota Vikings: This is a very young and inexperienced group, with the only receiver with any sort of resume being new-comer Bernard Berrian. The success of this unit depends on whether Berrian can transition from being a #2 wideout to a #1 wideout. I am pretty sure Berrian should be able to do it, and be everything that Troy Williamson was supposed to be. Sidney Rice should put together a solid season with his height and jumping ability making plays for him. There should be a battle for the slot receiver between Bobby Wade, Robert Ferguson and Aundrae Allison. Wade was out of position last year as the main target, but we didn't really have anyone better than him. Hopefully Wade can somewhat flourish as a slot target. I was surprised we resigned Robert Ferguson, and I don't think we'll be asking too much out of him. Allison had a kick return for a TD last year, and I expect to see him returning kicks this year. I really don't even want to talk about the Vikings' tight ends. You have Shaincoe, Jeff Dugan, and Garrett Mills. To say the least, it's a shaky unit. As with the whole team, the success of the receiving corps is going to depend on the progress of Tarvaris Jackson.

Grade: C

Chicago Bears: Having lost Bernard Berrian and Mushin Muhammed, this unit is going to have a different look with Brandon Lloyd, Marty Booker, and Earl Bennett as the new faces. I don't really know what to the think of this group. Berrian was great for them as a speed threat last year, and Muhammed, while declining with age, still had relatively consistent hands. No one scares in me out of the wide-outs, but I'm not going to say Earl Bennett can't surprise some people, as I wanted him on the Vikings. I can't predict who is going to the lead as the #1 receiver, but it probably won't matter unless Grossman or Orton can get their act together at quarterback. For how mediocre and bland their WRs, I really must say the Bears have a nice set of tightends. Greg Olsen is a freak of an athlete, someone who I foresee giving the Vikes problems for years. Desmond Clark isn't bad at all either.

Grade: C

Detroit Lions: On paper, this should be the best unit in the division, with Roy Williams, Mike Furrey, and Calvin Johnson. But things haven't really played out that way, due in part to the quarterback play and the offensive line. I can't say anything bad about Roy Williams, other than he is on the Lions. He can get away from the cornerbacks, and has a put up the numbers to solidify his spot as one of the receivers in the league. Furrey is also underrated, with a set of reliable hands. Calvin Johnson really had an inconsistent year, but he also dealt with the injury bug. I'm pretty sure he will come around though, with the physical attributes of a god. It might not be this year, but he is going to break through in a big way. The tight ends are serviceable at best, but have never really been a focal part of the offense. It will definitely be interesting to see how the passing game does with Mike Martz leaving.

Grade: B-

Offensive Line

Green Bay Packers: Probably the most-well balanced line in the division. Chad Clifton is still a very good offensive tackle at his age, and Scott Wells, Jason Spitz, and Mark Tauscher are all at the least above average. There is also some young potential there in Allen Barbre and Daryn Colledge. This unit is built for both passing and running the ball. Aaron Rodgers has the advantage of playing behind a good offensive line in his first year, something not all young quarterbacks have.

Grade: B+

Minnesota Vikings: This is a very talented, but aging offensive line. Hutchinson and Birk are both still very good at what they do, but they are also on the wrong side of 30. However, I can see Hutchinson playing for at least three more years for us, while this may be Matt Birk's last season in Minnesota. McKinnie is one of the biggest question marks on the line. He has had his bright spots, and is generally recognized as one of the better offensive tackles in the league, but his latest off-the-field problem may have an effect on his playing status, and we have nothing behind him if has to miss time. Anthony Herrera is making progress at right guard, something I hope Ryan Cook will do in the near future. If Bryant McKinnie can't be there for us, this may be a longer year for Tarvaris Jackson than it already could be.

Grade: B

Chicago Bears: This is the epitome of a veteran group, with Olin Kreutz probably the best player on the line. The line basically went through addition by subtraction by letting the ancient Fred Miller, creating a space for Vanderbilt offensive tackle Chris Williams, someone I was hoping the Vikes would draft, if we would have still had a first round pick. With Tait moving to the right side I'm assuming, I think Williams will do a fine job for the Bears at left tackle. While it wasn't the sexy pick, such as Rashard Mendenhall, it might end being the right pick for the Bears. However, the window may be closing for the offensive line, with the interior lineman at, or approaching the age of thirty. However, I still think this line can get the job done.

Grade: B-

Detroit Lions: As I stated in their quarterback section, the Lions were third to last in the sack department, so there is definitely room for improvement. The Lions were also 31st in the league in running the ball, too. They "lost" Damien Woody, leaving an opening at one of the guard positions. Like the Bears, the Lions decided to use their first round pick on offensive lineman, Gosder Cherilus, someone some thought would be taken a little later. I think he is better than George Foster, so there should be some better play on the edges. Dominic Raiola is one of the more underrated centers in the league. This unit still has a ways to go to being a respectable unit.

Grade: C-

Last edited by Vikes99ej : 05-14-2008 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:44 PM    (permalink
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Ive said it about a 100000000 times that Forte will be the real deal, i hope im wrong though. Hard to say Chicago can have a good running game with no proven runners and a pourous oline.

I guess Detroit got knocked off some points for having average-ish TE's.

Jackson did get better when he came back from injury later in the year and hopefully, him, Wynn, or Morency will become servicable backups. This will be the year we found out how much Favre ment to this team
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Old 05-13-2008, 10:45 PM    (permalink
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How can you give the Bears WRs a C when you gave the Vikes a C?
Bears to me would be an easy D, we lost 2 starters, and picked up 2 scrubs, and hope that our young playmakers (Bradley, Hester) end up being the real deal. Bennett is a nice addition, but how much impact will he make as a rookie? Probably not much.

The Vikes I would give a C+, they added a good reciever while they have a solid Bobby Wade, and a young Sidney Rice.
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:05 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by bearfan View Post
How can you give the Bears WRs a C when you gave the Vikes a C?
Bears to me would be an easy D, we lost 2 starters, and picked up 2 scrubs, and hope that our young playmakers (Bradley, Hester) end up being the real deal. Bennett is a nice addition, but how much impact will he make as a rookie? Probably not much.

The Vikes I would give a C+, they added a good reciever while they have a solid Bobby Wade, and a young Sidney Rice.
I didn't give the Bears a D because I really like their tight ends, and I included tight ends when I made the receiving units. As for Bennett, you can never underestimate the impact of a rookie wide receiver.
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:13 PM    (permalink
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Detroit Lions: As I stated in their quarterback section, the Lions were third to last in the sack department, so there is definitely room for improvement. The Lions were also 31st in the league in running the ball, too. They "Damien Woody" leaving an opening at one of the guard positions. Like the Bears, the Lions decided to use their first round pick on offensive lineman, Gosder Cherilus, someone some thought would be taken a little later. I think he is better than George Foster, so there should be some better play on the edges. Dominic Raiola is one of the more underrated centers in the league. This unit still has a ways to go to being a respectable unit.

Grade: C-

I agree with the grade but losing Woody didn't get rid of our starting right guard last year. Woody only started 3 games and was benched for Stephen Peterman who started 13 games. Our incumbent Right Guard is returning in Petermn and of course Right Tackle should be Cherilus, even though Jonathan Scott played well in our winning streak. Wow a little actual depth for once. Moving to a ZBS, I could see Foster sliding to guard to give Peterman some competition or Manny Ramirez who is incredibly strong 40 some reps at the combine. I agree that Raiola is a little underrated. He was a pro-bowl alternate and fits the ZBS as well. Mulitalo is decent and also fits the ZBS. Backus must improve and he struggled with a pulled rib cage muscles from Week 3 on. He really struggled from Week 3-Week 5 the most before the bye andwas pulled from the Philly game because of the injury which he hurt in warmups before the game. Later in the season, Backus played a little bit better. Hopefully he can improve with the new philsophy of not taking 7 step drops and passing a million times, a zone blocking scheme and actually having a blocking tight end to help out(we didn't have one last year after Campbell went down Week 1). Now we have Campbell and Michael Gaines who is a decent blocker.
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:36 AM    (permalink
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I would grade them as so:

QB
Packers: B
Vikings: C
Bears: D+
Lions: B

RB
Packers: B+
Vikings: A
Bears: B-
Lions: C-

WR
Packers: A-
Vikings: B-
Bears: D
Lions: B+

OL
Packers: A-
Vikings: A-
Bears: B-
Lions: C

Average
Packers: B+
Vikings: B
Bears: C
Lions: B-
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Old 05-17-2008, 09:06 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by thefridge15 View Post
I would grade them as so:

QB
Packers: B
Vikings: C
Bears: D+
Lions: B

I dont think Green Bay or Detroit should be higher than a B-
And I'd take Grossman and Orton over JAckson anyday


RB
Packers: B+
Vikings: A
Bears: B-
Lions: C-

Good

WR
Packers: A-
Vikings: B-
Bears: D
Lions: B+

I think Detroit and Green Bay are tied. I think Minny is still a C

OL
Packers: A-
Vikings: A-
Bears: B-
Lions: C

Average
Packers: B+
Vikings: B
Bears: C
Lions: B-
My disagreements above
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Old 05-18-2008, 05:18 AM    (permalink
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How does Chicago have a rookie starter and/or a bust at the running back position and get a B- and the lions have a rookie starter and a not-so-talented runner in the backfield and get a C-? I don't get it.
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Old 05-18-2008, 02:46 PM    (permalink
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well when you consider this:

forte>smith
benson>>>>>>>>bell
AP, Wofle>>>>>>Calhoun, Pinner, Cason
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Old 05-18-2008, 03:01 PM    (permalink
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I didn't give the Bears a D because I really like their tight ends, and I included tight ends when I made the receiving units. As for Bennett, you can never underestimate the impact of a rookie wide receiver.
Fair enough, I didnt see that you added tight ends. As for seeing Olsen on the field, thats questionable, last season when we had no weapons our idiot of a coordinator didnt put him on the field, hopefully it will be different this season, Im just saying that he may not get an extreme amout of PT again due to the lack of competance coming from the guy calling the plays.
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who retires first: brett favre or aaron rodgers?
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Old 05-19-2008, 09:40 AM    (permalink
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well when you consider this:

forte>smith
benson>>>>>>>>bell
AP, Wofle>>>>>>Calhoun, Pinner, Cason

Wait Cedric Benson is better than Bell? Bell has had a season of 921 yards and 1,025 yards(both splitting carrries). Benson has had 2 600 yard carries(splitting carries and then a season where Benson was the workhorse back). Bell was unused by Martz well because its Martz and will be splitting carries again with Kevin Smith who is just as good as Forte. They are completely different kinds of backs. Bell is a speed zone blocking guy who's had some fumble issues in the past and well Benson is a power guy but he's much slower than expected.

Bell>Benson until proven otherwise. Both are at best average with the potential to be above average with the right line/scheme but Bell is better than Benson and compliment Kevin Smith better.

Bell>Benson
Smith=Forte
Adrian Peterson>Calhoun/Cason=Wolfe
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Old 05-20-2008, 12:19 PM    (permalink
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I think Forté is a better back than Smith... way better potential.
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Old 05-25-2008, 11:56 PM    (permalink
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Why did the Vikes get an A- at RB? Doesn't a top 3 RB and one of the best backups in the league equal an A. I know it's not a big deal I'm just wondering.
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Old 05-26-2008, 12:08 AM    (permalink
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I think EJ downgraded our scores so as not to appear homerish, which is fine. I guess injury concerns give us the A- but no doubt I think we should get an A+ there.
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Old 05-26-2008, 12:33 AM    (permalink
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It's pretty much pick your poison between Grossman and TJax. Orton is not good at all they won in spite of him the year he started. If I had to choose I would pick Jackson based on potential.
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Old 05-26-2008, 08:41 AM    (permalink
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It's pretty much pick your poison between Grossman and TJax. Orton is not good at all they won in spite of him the year he started. If I had to choose I would pick Jackson based on potential.
I would ad Rodgers to that list. At least the other two have started a game.
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Old 05-26-2008, 04:07 PM    (permalink
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Wait Cedric Benson is better than Bell? Bell has had a season of 921 yards and 1,025 yards(both splitting carrries). Benson has had 2 600 yard carries(splitting carries and then a season where Benson was the workhorse back). Bell was unused by Martz well because its Martz and will be splitting carries again with Kevin Smith who is just as good as Forte. They are completely different kinds of backs. Bell is a speed zone blocking guy who's had some fumble issues in the past and well Benson is a power guy but he's much slower than expected.

Bell>Benson until proven otherwise. Both are at best average with the potential to be above average with the right line/scheme but Bell is better than Benson and compliment Kevin Smith better.

Bell>Benson
Smith=Forte
Adrian Peterson>Calhoun/Cason=Wolfe
You do know he's not in Denver right? That 150 yards he had last year was real impressive. They didnt run the ball cause they knew they didn't have capable running backs. Kevin Smith is a nice back but he's not as good as Forte or Benson. Benson is a bust for a top 5 pick but he can still be a suitable RB.
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:48 PM    (permalink
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Vikes you did a really nice job...can we expect a write up for the defense of the NFC North? Pleasseeeeeeeeee....... :D
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Old 05-27-2008, 09:09 AM    (permalink
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You do know he's not in Denver right? That 150 yards he had last year was real impressive. They didnt run the ball cause they knew they didn't have capable running backs. Kevin Smith is a nice back but he's not as good as Forte or Benson. Benson is a bust for a top 5 pick but he can still be a suitable RB.
1) Mike Martz had a lot to do with not running the ball. Plus the O-line, not the lack of running backs. Kevin Jones,Bell,Duckett are all capable backs.
2) Kevin Jones was better for our run game last year than Tatum Bell and Bell can't contribute on special teams so he was played sparingly once Jones got healthy.
3) we are moving to more of a zone blocking scheme(which was run in Denver) which better suits Tatum Bell. I don't know what style fits Benson.
4) There is no way to tell if Forte is better than Kevin Smith. I like the compliment of Smith as a workhorse with Bell for speed instead of Benson/Forte.

Both Bell and Benson are average backs. But Bell has had the better career. I guess we'll just wait and see. Thats the motto of the offseason, wait and see.
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Old 05-27-2008, 09:45 AM    (permalink
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Personally I believe that you over rated Greenbay at every one of your rankings save OLine and Under rated Detroit in all those catagories.
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oh please. as if canadians even know what beer is.
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Old 05-27-2008, 10:43 AM    (permalink
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Vikes you did a really nice job...can we expect a write up for the defense of the NFC North? Pleasseeeeeeeeee....... :D
We'll see. I might be able to do one here.
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Old 05-27-2008, 10:49 AM    (permalink
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How are the Lions WR corps have a worse grade than the Packers?
How does Aaron Rogers and Brian Brohm beat out Kitna and Stanton? (Yeah Brohm > Stanton but not nearly to the extent that Kitna > Rogers)
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oh please. as if canadians even know what beer is.
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Old 05-27-2008, 10:55 AM    (permalink
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How are the Lions WR corps have a worse grade than the Packers?
How does Aaron Rogers and Brian Brohm beat out Kitna and Stanton? (Yeah Brohm > Stanton but not nearly to the extent that Kitna > Rogers)
Driver + Jennings + Jones + Nelson + Martin is better than Williams + Johnson...Packers aren't quite as top heavy but they have quality depth 1 through 5
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Old 05-27-2008, 11:01 AM    (permalink
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Driver + Jennings + Jones + Nelson + Martin is better than Williams + Johnson...Packers aren't quite as top heavy but they have quality depth 1 through 5
Shaun McDonald was 11th highest in Receptions. I would take McDonald over Jones or Nelson. Same goes with Furry who did fend off Calvin to keep the #2 spot.
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oh please. as if canadians even know what beer is.
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Old 05-27-2008, 11:22 AM    (permalink
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How are the Lions WR corps have a worse grade than the Packers?
How does Aaron Rogers and Brian Brohm beat out Kitna and Stanton? (Yeah Brohm > Stanton but not nearly to the extent that Kitna > Rogers)
Are you going to complain about every Green Bay unit I have ranked higher than Detroit?

You don't know that Kitna will be better than Rodgers. No one has really seen him play more than that Dallas game.
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