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  1. I disagree with ppl saying that the Falcons shouldn't win this division this year and those who say we should still tank. We're currently 4-4 halfway thru the season, first place in the division, with a chance to finally go over .500 for the first time since 2017 at home against the Chargers. We could also have our longest home game winning streak since 2012 if we win this season, I know, that's mind blowing isn't it? Not even in 2016 in our final year in the dome we had a home win streak that long. This is a scrappy, but exciting & well coached Falcons team with much less talent & a lot of injuries, compared to previous groups, who are finding ways to always stay in the game. I'll happily take 4-4 and first in the division. Marcus Mariota may have his ups & downs but he's proven that he deserves the starting job, he is who he's going to be and I've accepted that long time ago. Cordarrelle Patterson being out (who might be coming back soon) allowed us to see Caleb Huntley and Tyler Allgier surprise us, but big credit to the run blocking of the offensive line stepping it up huge this year. What's crazy to me, is that throughout Falcons history, some of the best teams or the better teams are the ones who weren't expected to be good at all, or who are way "ahead of schedule". Just look at the 1998 Falcons after being 3-13 and 7-9 previous seasons. The 2002 Falcons who made it in as a wildcard after missing the playoffs 3 consecutive seasons. The 2008 Falcons, first year of Mike Smith and that 2008 draft class after the disastrous 2007 campaign with Bobby Petrino. The 2016 Falcons, let's be honest, even tho we went from 4-12, to 6-10, to 8-8, for 3 consecutive years, with how difficult that 2016 looked like coming in, who thought we were gonna be that good coming in? That's usually how it's always gone for us, and now look at 2022 so far, in spite of the low talent we have, in spite of the injuries, our run game is helping us travel, and we could get better, you never know. After missing the playoffs 4 consecutive seasons, the 2022 Falcons are more similar to 2002 imo, both teams started 0-2, both teams played the AFC North, and right now, it looks like it's a possibility the 2022 Falcons might qualify for the playoffs with a 9-8 record whether they win this weak division or not. Wanna know what the 2002 Falcons final record was after starting 0-2? 9-6-1, also finished with 9 wins and made the playoffs in the same season they played the AFC North. Seems like this team is headed that way so far. Wanna remember the last time the NFC South was this weak & this bad? 2014, what AFC division did we all play back in 2014? The AFC North, but the Falcons were still in it all the way 'til week 17 against the Panthers, which ended up being Mike Smith's last game as head coach, but the Panthers took advantage with a 7-8-1 record, while we dropped to 6-10 and didn't qualify. Also, one more thing I must point out, here me out, since 1998, the Falcons have not gone more than 6 seasons without winning the division. Now keep in mind this was in our Georgia Dome years, so since we're in Mercedes Benz Stadium now, that might shift & change. But think about this, every 6 seasons since 1998, we've always won the division, that's right, 1998, 2004, 2010, 2016, maybe 2022 as well? Although we did win the division in 2012 too which wasn't in that 6 year cycle. That was the extra division title we had in that span. But with how the NFC South is so far, there's a good chance we might take it this year. The Falcons must take advantage this year, even if we're "not supposed to be here" or "way ahead of schedule" this year, even if we have a lot of cap space that opens up next year, I can say this right now, 2023 is not promised to us at all. If we can take advantage this year, this is the year to do it. Not saying this is a Super Bowl contending team cuz this clearly isn't one. But all we need to do is get in the playoffs with a 9-8 record or better. Which is doable with the way this season has gone for us so far.
  2. I know it's not the Falcons but considering it affects our season a lot I thought I should post it anyway. Sorry Mods if it's not the place. Kamara has held out the last 3 days with unexcused absences due to wanting a new contract - reported by Schefter
  3. The path to the playoff is still here folks. Playoffs!? Yes, playoffs. I know our team hasn't looked so hot so far but I still have faith. Dan Quinn is still our coach and I'll defend him and every player on this team. The Saints, Panthers, and Bucs don't scare me at all. I say bring it on Sean Payton; give us your best shot. We are coming for the NFC South title.
  4. I'm surprised no one has taken note of this. If we want to save our season against the Bengals this Sunday, we have to get over this ridiculous, aggravating, and frustrating stat that we couldn't overcome against the Bills and Dolphins last season. I understand that 2013 and 2014 were the ruff years with Matt Ryan when our O-line was bad and our defense was atrocious, but with the easy schedule we had in 2015 and the good teams we had in 2016 & 2017 considering the AFC teams we played at home, this has become unacceptable and I'm tired of it. Heck, we have a better point differential on the road against AFC opponents than being at home vs. AFC opponents since 2012, because even in 2012 our wins on the road in Kansas City and San Diego were blowouts but our home wins against the Broncos and Raiders were decided by 6 or less. 2015 vs. the Texans, the franchise whose home was the Super Bowl we ended up playing in the following year is our only AFC home win in that stretch. The Falcons must put to an end to this issue now! I'm sick and tired of losing to AFC teams on our HOME turf where the crowd should be showing up. We were doing this "winning the Super Bowl in Atlanta" talk all off season long (which seems unlikely now considering the injuries we have). Well, if you can't beat an AFC team on your home turf, then you don't deserve to go to the Super Bowl in your home stadium with a shot against the AFC championship winner. Why are the Falcons better on the road playing AFC teams lately? Why can't we win a home game against AFC teams? Why can't we ever win in our home red jerseys or black jerseys playing AFC teams? We let a Colts team without Andrew Luck beat us in 2015. We were the only NFC South team with a loss to the Chargers in 2016. We lost to the Chiefs on a pick 2. We couldn't beat a Bills team with Tyrod Taylor at QB. We were the only NFC South team with a loss to the Dolphins with Jay Cutler. Something must change now, and it starts by having success against AFC teams at home again by beating the Bengals this Sunday in a game which is a must win now. Edit: The trend continues.
  5. Of course in 2009, Matt Ryan was injured, which was the reason we probably went 1-3 vs. the NFC East, but in 2012 we had a complete 4-0 sweep over the NFC East in the year we went 13-3 and also played the AFC West, and all of our 3 losses came with splits against our divisional rivals that year. 2012 was Mike Smith's best team, and we played Andy Reid's worst team (4-12) in Philly for our first win down there since 1988, we beat the eventual NFC East champs the Redskins (10-6) in Washington with RGIII for a little bit until we knocked him out and Kirk Cousins played the rest of the way, we beat the Cowboys (8-8) in a grinder defensive battle for our best 8-0 start in franchise history, and finally we got sweet revenge over the Giants at home in an exciting shutout to complete our first sweep. Keep in mind, since we've been in the NFC South, 2012 is the only year we've made the playoffs with the NFC East on our schedule, which is weird considering we've had success over this division. Our second sweep over the NFC East came in 2015 when 4 of our first 5 games were against that entire division. The first game was Dan Quinn's first ever game as our head coach against the Eagles (7-9), and we won in a thrilling 2 point victory where everyone favored the Eagles prior to the game, and that was our previous win over the Eagles on our home turf when Chip Kelly was still the head coach. In week 2 we beat the Giants (6-10) in a come from behind victory that included a key Kroy Biermann fumble against the Giants in the redzone that helped us comeback and prevail. We took down the Cowboys (4-12) in Dallas again where Julio Jones had a really big day and it was a good preview of what Kyle Shanahan was going to do with the offense the following year, then finally, we beat the eventual division champs Redskins (9-7) again for another 5-0 start which was an ugly game all round but we were still able to escape in OT somehow someway. Unfortunately, the 2015 Falcons did not capitalize off their easy AFC South schedule and we struggled against our own division for a disappointing 8-8 finish. So let's look at our 2018 opponents in the NFC East this year. We are facing Doug Peterson and a much better Eagles team in Philly who are defending Super Bowl champs in 2 days, and it's going to be nationally televised on NBC. We are at home facing a rebuilding Giants team on Monday Night Football who should be improved from their terrible 3-13 season last year, but they still won't be world beaters or anything, still a year away. We shouldn't have any trouble beating the Giants, even if it's a 7 point game and not the 2012 shutout again. We face a Redskins team who just upgraded at QB with Alex Smith, however, we've won the previous 5 over the Redskins (even tho all previous 3 were close) and Jay Gruden can't be trusted in clutch moments with a mediocre organization. Washington is never an easy place to play by any means so still can't take them lightly. Then of course, we have the Cowboys, and we are 3-0 vs. Jason Garrett which is good, and the Cowboys still have a lot of question marks in Dak Prescott's 3rd year and Ezekiel Elliott having a bounce back year. Thankfully we have them in Atlanta again, but their O-line is going to make sure they come out a lot more physical against our D-line so don't expect as many sacks as last year. If Matt Ryan claims this is his best team ever, then with the tough NFC South we have to face, a very talented AFC North, and us drawing the Packers in Green Bay in December, I think it'd be very good if we swept the NFC East again and for the 3rd straight time just like 2012 and 2015, what do you think?
  6. In 2018 the Falcons are being heavily favored by the media to win the Super Bowl this year based off the way our seasons ended in 2016 and 2017, and we deserve that praise, however, that is VERY DANGEROUS at the professional level, most teams who win their first Super Bowls had a mediocre campaign the previous season and nobody believed in them coming into the season. The Falcons are getting way too much hype and it worries me. Throughout my time being a Falcons fan, our best seasons have always come when you didn't expect much from the team coming into the season, and they overachieved the expectations we had before the season went on. Look at the years we've won the division throughout our history and tell me what our records were the years before? What was the record of the 1997 Falcons and the 2015 Falcons before our Super Bowl appearances in 1998 and 2016? Why did the past 3 teams in the Super Bowl out of the NFC had a record of 8-8 or worse the previous year? Based off the preseason performances, the Panthers and Saints have shown better depth than the Falcons right now (2 teams who were 11-5 last season which were better than our Falcons). Here's all the teams 0-3 in the preseason so far. The Eagles, who just won the Super Bowl so that's understandable, and they were 6-10 in 2005 after their previous 13-3 campaign in 2004 losing the Super Bowl to the Patriots. The last time the Eagles started 0-3 in the preseason was 1999, and they were 5-11 that year. The Seahawks, who we all know have been on huge decline the last couple years and they might get worse as the Rams and 49ers become the class of the West the next few years. The Cowboys, because they are the Cowboys who are only good once in awhile. The Dolphins because that's who they usually are, always inconsistent. The Titans because they'll probably take a step back after miraculously making the playoffs as a wildcard last year at 9-7. Then of course, our Falcons. Notice how outside of the Falcons and Eagles, every other team who's 0-3 right now clearly has struggles. Bottom line, whether people want to deny this or not, teams in NFL history who have gone 2-2 or 3-1 in the preseason playing their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd stringers for even amounts of time have a better chance of making the playoffs, getting to the conference championship, or getting to the Super Bowl than teams who have gone 0-4 in the preseason. No team who's gone 0-4 in the preseason has won the Super Bowl in a full 16 game season, and only 2 have been to the Super Bowl. You have the 1982 Redskins I get that, but that was a strikeout year with 6 less regular season games so that made the season chaotic. Keep in mind, the 1998 Falcons were 2-2 in the preseason while the 2016 Falcons were 3-1. I hear a lot of people saying those teams were 0-4 when that wasn't true, do your research. The preseason reveals your depth across the roster and your coaching. The Redskins and Giants' depth had no trouble beating the Jets depth, but the Falcons got shutout in New Jersey not having a single 1st down until the end of the 1st half and getting shutout. The Falcons offense did well against the Chiefs, however, the Chiefs had the 28th ranked defense last year and we still gave them their only preseason win so far in the 2nd half. The Jaguars defense was a good test for our offense and while it wasn't all on Matt Ryan, he still could have done a little bit better, and our STARTING receivers were still dropping balls and making mental errors just like last year. Our O-line is still okay but very vulnerable, can't afford any injuries whatsoever. Our D-line however, has clearly taken a step back, I saw the Jets running on us easily and so did the Jaguars with solid running backs such as Leonard Fournette. Deion Jones, Desmond Trufant, and Ricardo Allen being out shouldn't have made our D-line struggle like that. I think we should have kept at least one of Poe or Clayborn. So here's the story of the Falcons upcoming season to me, if our offense is still inept making the same mistakes as last season and our D-line takes a step back, we miss the playoffs this year. We aren't going to be as lucky as last season. Our defense carried us to the playoffs last season more than our offense unlike 2016. Don't think year 2 for Sarkisian is going to go exactly like year 2 for Shanahan, a lot of people are totally mistaken by this assumption. Shanahan in year 1 with LESS talent still had better play calling than Sark in year 1 with MORE talent, and even on the defensive side of the ball the 2017 Falcons were way better than the 2015 Falcons. I think our defense is still a year or 2 away. Get better at the interior and then we'll have veterans across our defensive roster by 2019 or 2020. The best defenses in Falcons history are 1977 and 1998, which is in a 21 year span, and 2019 is almost here, so we're getting there. A lot of people including myself have said that the Falcons have always been an even numbered season team, and I get that, but not every even year has been good for the Falcons. 2006 and 2014 weren't good, but in 2002 we did make the playoffs but we were 9-6-1. Since we've been in the NFC South, the even years we played a western division (AFC West and/or NFC West) we had double digit win seasons, usually 11 wins or 13 wins in seasons such as 2004, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2016. However, in 2002, 2006, and 2014, we didn't play a western division and we either missed the playoffs or barely made it. The Falcons do not play a western division in 2018. The Falcons are 0-3 in the preseason so far still having execution problems on offense, D-line issues, and finishing out games. The Super Bowl is in our home stadium this year and no team has ever done that, the teams who have hosted Super Bowls have always come up short or done really bad. Matt Ryan is the highest paid QB in the league, which means he's in the top of the salary of all QB's across the league, and last time I checked, highest paid QB's tend to not play well historically (including Matt Ryan in 2013). I hope Julio Jones holding out of practice all that time doesn't affect his play throughout the season. People are saying that our window is now or never, but I disagree, I believe we will still have a shot with Matt Ryan in 2019 or 2020, even if the 2018 Falcons don't do well. If having a disappointing or absolute bust season motivates us to win a Super Bowl over the next couple of years with the media doubting us, I'd rather take that. I see a lot of holes in this current Falcons team so far. Hope they prove me wrong throughout this upcoming season. I'm just ready for Thursday Night in Philly to begin.
  7. https://imgur.com/a/zW8sILJ Click on the link up here and tell me what you think? I used the NFL Playoff Predictor on https://playoffpredictors.com I have the Falcons starting 2-3 and winning 10 straight to get to 12 wins, just like in 2002 and 2010 when we also had a long winning streak during the season playing the AFC North with the same home and away schedule as this upcoming season. As I've brought up before, our AFC North schedule matches 2010 and our NFC East schedule matches 2012. We also play the Eagles in Philly and the Cardinals at home again just like 2010, 2012, and 2016 when we won the division. I have the Saints starting 3-0 and losing 9 of their last 13 games to finish 7-9 again, because no NFC South team has ever repeated the division as champs with back to back winning records. I have the Panthers finishing 8-8 because they haven't had back to back winning seasons yet. The Buccaneers are in trouble without Jameis Winston the first 3 games. The NFC South will NOT put 3 teams in the playoffs again, it'll only be whoever wins the division again like most seasons. I have the Falcons losing in Philly and Pittsburgh again just like we did in 2010, but the Falcons still finish with a better record than both teams with the Eagles and Steelers winning their divisions at 11-5. With the Eagles winning the division again, I have all the other NFC East teams missing the playoffs again. The Giants will improve, but they won't be good enough. The Redskins are who they are, even with Alex Smith at QB I don't believe in them right now. I have the NFC West being the toughest and most exciting division in football this year with 3 teams making the playoffs. I believe the Seahawks prove doubters wrong and sneak in with Russell Wilson leading the offense with historical numbers, but they'll be a wildcard team though along with the Rams, and the 49ers are my dark horse NFC surprise of this season. Jimmy G made the 49ers legit late last season and he didn't lose a game backing up Tom Brady in 2016 either. I have the Packers starting 5-0 and missing the playoffs at 10-6 making Mike McCarthy fired from Green Bay, and the Vikings finish 10-6 too but win the head to head. The Raiders will be the surprise team of the AFC West with Jon Gruden as head coach again. The Chiefs still sneak in but have too many question marks with a young QB. The Chargers will still be the Chargers, and the Broncos despite having an upgrade at QB, won't be good enough to make the playoffs again. The AFC East still belongs to the Patriots, but their Super Bowl hangover will show when Deshaun Watson and the Texans go into New England and shock the world come playoff time. The Jaguars and Titans will get a hangover from last season, the Colts will improve with Andrew Luck healthy all year, but a fully healthy Texans team with Deshaun Watson starting will be too much for everyone in the AFC South to overcome. The Steelers are still the class of the AFC North as usual.
  8. Every Team in the NFC South has a speedy fast game breaker at Punt Returner and Kick Returner who puts their team in good field positions Saints - A. Kamara, T. Ginn Jr Panthers - C. McCaffery Buccaneers - D. Jackson WHO is a real-life practical Solution for the Falcons at these positions (KR, PR) since ours has obviously been neglected....?
  9. I'm a life long old time Falcons fan. And I can tell you all from experience in the past year after year after year. Anytime the Falcons get in an important game there always seems to be some screwy officiating calls. In the game vs. the Vikings the Falcons offensive line kept getting smashed with hands to the face over and over and over. Then there were the penalties in that game calling anything and everything on the Falcons while not calling it on the vikings. As for the sAints last game, hands to the face and holding that they got away with comes to mind where officiating goes, and also late hits. While I believe the Falcons can win against any team in the NFL, I am a lifelong old time Falcons fan and have seen this story played out over and over and over where the Falcons "ALMOST". The worst was the Superbowl last season where I almost stopped watching the game altogether because it must be fixed for marketing the league. Considering this game is in Taint's land I figure that the Falcons will be called multiple fouls that aren't called on the Taint's. My guess is the main foul that will be called against the Falcons will be some type of foul again the WR's, could be anything. What do you think? I have a feeling this BS league reactions in the past and all the HURRICANES that we have had this year that the sAint's will be gifted this game based on that alone like they were when they won the superbowl and the Vikings got flat out cheated in the NFC Championship. Ahumm.... Bounty Gate anyone? Whatever the case, make your prediction now how you may feel the Falcons might have a BAD CALL go against them to cost them the game. GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seasons Greetings Everyone!
  10. Not scared of any divisional opponent but I'm pretty sure we had the NFC South on notice when we drafted Beasely last year. I felt the same way when Carolina drafted Star and Short back to back in 2013. So who's that guy for the 2016 draft you don't want to see drafted by those other teams in our division? For me... Saints: Leonard Floyd - some may think he would be a reach but him and Kikaha would let them have some speed on the outside with cam jordan in the middle in 3-4 sets. Billings would bring some damage as well in the middle for them. Doctson in the second makes a good 1 and 2 WR core for them. Bucs: Easy choice but Myles Jack or A Shawn to pair with G. Mccoy on the inside. Nkemdiche falling to their second pick would be similar to Hags falling to us. I could see it. Panthers: I wouldn't want to see Ricardo allen trying to tackle D. Henry 30 times a game, heck our weak line backers for that matter. (Instant IR for Spoon the moment they draft Henry) or Miles Killebrew in the later rounds. Would be a nasty addition to the secondary for them. Passing the time here.
  11. I just watched a recent press conference with Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn, and at the start of the press conference one of the replies by Thomas D. he replied to Dan Quinn as "Q" around 2:29 or 2:30. What do you think about that? Is that a good thing? Bad thing? Who cares? I grew up a big Star Trek fan and "THE Q" was an all powerful being who could control everything. SO when someone says someone is the "Q" that's what it means to me. But it might have different meanings to others. Thoughts? http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/article-1/5-Things-Quinn--Dimitroff-Pre-Draft-Presser/2d965c3c-b163-41d0-9baa-ced30975c72c Personally, I hate it when people try and create new catch phrases and symbolize someone doing such manners and things. I have a name and don't like it when somebody thinks it's okay to call me otherwise, it's disrespectful, and demeaning in my opinion. BTW: This is all in good fun and not some SERIOUS so let's get riled up about it Falcons fan's post. LOL!!!! First, post your thoughts on this, and second post a one word or letter name you feel that you would be replying to TD if he addressed you as a ONE LETTER PERSON.
  12. My football insider Carl predicts the Saints and Panthers...along with referencing the NFC South. So I felt it appropriate to put here due to that. Plus his weekly vids are hilarious and I know there's a few on the board that like 'em
  13. At the moment, the NFCS is probably the worst division in the league, mainly due to the awful defenses. Last week, all four of our teams combined to give up 147 points(+3 because the Vikes missed a field goal). With two defenses(possibly three with how highly people talked of TB in the offseason) in NO and CAR that were projected as possible top tens this year, from your perspective, what is the problem? For the Falcons it's quite simple: Our front seven and scheme. First off, we don't have a legitimate pass edge rushing threat. The closest we have is Osi, and he's barely getting snaps. Our two offseason acquisitions there (Jackson and Solai) are big, run stoppers not meant to rush the passer. We have three sacks in four games, and all three came in one game. That simply isn't enough. Second, is our awful run defense. Jackson and Solai simply aren't doing a good enough job on the inside. But the absolute worst, is Kroy Biermann. He's been getting beat all year long and has completely embarrassed himself. Whether it was his run defense, or pass coverage. Speaking of Kroy in pass coverage, that brings me to our third problem: Nolan's scheme. We've been running a base 4-2-5 most of the year. We simply do not have the LB talent to execute that properly. At this point, I'm done over-rating Paul Worrilow. He's out there eating empty tackles and that's it. He isn't good in coverage and he can't rush the passer. Bartu on the other hand, has done nothing of note all year. He's out there taking up space. Nolan greatly over-estimated the skill-sets of these LBs. They are not fit to hold down the middle of the field in a 4-2-5. Combine that with our awful front four and that makes for our terrible run defense and coverage in the middle of the field. The secondary hasn't been too bad, Trufant, Alford, and Moore have played just fine. It's Lowery and McClain that have been getting beat all year. Now that Moore is out, it can only get worse. What about your team? What exactly is wrong with your defense?
  14. Each team has won the south three times. So this season whoever wins will have more division championships than any other South team and be crowned... Ultimate division kings of awesomeness and truth! Good luck nfc South!
  15. NFC South Division Champs: Contender or Pretender? The NFC South may be one of the most difficult divisions in the NFL to predict a winner for the 2014 season. It is also still early in the 2014 offseason, which is why I have not predicted a winner, but decided to choose who I believe are contenders or pretenders to win the NFC South. Tampa Bay Bucs Key Players Returning: LB Lavonte David, SS Mark Barron, FS Dashon Goldson, DT Gerald McCoy, RB Doug Martin, WR Vincent Jackson Notable Departures: HC Greg Schiano, CB Darrelle Revis (Patriots) Key FA Additions: DE Michael Johnson, CB Alterraun Verner, DT Clinton McDonald, TE Brandon Myers, OT Anthony Collins, LB Jonathan Casillas, QB Josh McCown Analysis: The Bucs are a team on the rise in 2014 after a dismal season under Head Coach Greg Schiano. With new GM Jason Licht and Head Coach Lovie Smith, Tampa Bay has been a popular landing spot for several of this year's top free agents. On offense, Lovie Smith has named Josh McCown the starter, for now, but did not dismiss the idea of drafting a QB in the 2014 draft. Defensively, the Bucs have been constantly adding explosive players. Coach Smith's Tampa 2 scheme is built around quick, instinctive players and requires above average athleticism from the linebacker position, which happens to be one of the team's strong points. Overall the team looks very similar to 2013 on offense, but may be borderline dominant on defense by adding to a defense that was proficient last season. Contender or Pretender: Pretender (but very competitive) Atlanta Falcons Key Players Returning: QB Matt Ryan, WR Roddy White, WR Julio Jones, RB Steven Jackson, SS William Moore, LB Sean Weatherspoon, LB Paul Worrilow, DT Jonathan Babineaux, CB Desmond Trufant Notable Departures: TE Tony Gonzalez, FS Thomas DeCoud, CB Asante Samuel Key FA Additions: NT Paul Soliai, DE/DT Tyson Jackson, G Jon Asamoah Analysis: The Falcons went from having one of the best records in the league and falling just short of the Super Bowl in 2012, to one of the worst records in the league at 4-12. However, injuries look to have played a significant factor in the poor season and a healthy Steven Jackson, Sam Baker, Kroy Biermann and all-pro receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones would suggest a turnaround in 2014. The team ranked 31st in rushing defense, last in rushing offense, and struggled to keep franchise QB Matt Ryan upright in 2013, but addressed all three areas by adding free agent NT Paul Soliai, G Jon Asamoah, and DE Tyson Jackson. Ultimately, the team has quickly addressed issues of the past few years and should return to their 2012 form, or better. Contender or Pretender: Contender New Orleans Saints Key Players Returning: QB Drew Brees, WR Marques Colston, TE Jimmy Graham, SS Kenny Vaccaro, DE Cameron Jordan, OLB Junior Galette, LB Curtis Lofton, DE Akiem Hicks Notable Departures: RB Darren Sproles (Eagles), FS Malcolm Jenkins (Eagles), WR Lance Moore Key FA Additions: Jairus Byrd Analysis: The New Orleans Saints were one of the better teams in the division last season. Head Coach Sean Payton's return and the addition of Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan led a Saints team back from a terrible 2012 season. In 2013, defenses around the league had trouble stopping QB Drew Brees and TE Jimmy Graham, but the defense resurged as well becoming the 4th ranked total defense in the league. In 2014, the team will likely return to their 2013 form, but will have to do so without offensive weapons Lance Moore and Darren Sproles. The defense, however may have gotten significantly better by pairing pro bowl safety Jairus Byrd with 2013 first round pick Kenny Vaccaro. The Saints offense may not look as good as 2013 now, but Head Coach Sean Payton undoubtedly has a plan to replace the production lost by both Darren Sproles and Lance Moore. Contender or Pretender: Contender Carolina Panthers Key Players Returning: QB Cam Newton, RB Mike Tolbert, RB DeAngelo Williams, LB Luke Kuechly, LB Thomas Davis, DE Greg Hardy, DE Charles Johnson, DT Star Lotulelei, DT Kawann Short Notable Departures: WR Steve Smith, FS Michael Mitchell (Steelers) Key FA Additions: Hakeem Nicks (TBD) Analysis: The Panthers, led by Quarterback Cam Newton and Linebacker Luke Kuechly, fell just short of reaching the NFC Championship last season by falling to the San Francisco 49ers. The team produced the second best defense in the league last season and look to keep most of the pieces together. However, on offense, the team lacked the balance necessary to go to the NFC Championship and possibly Super Bowl. If the team is able to add a couple of prolific receivers for QB Cam Newton such as, Hakeem Nicks and/or James Jones, the Panthers will be a very dangerous team in 2014. Contender or Pretender: Contender Final Say: In 2014, the NFC South is a conference that will once again be one of the most competitive in the league. Both the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints have managed to retain their loaded rosters, while the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Bucs have added a multitude of excellent players at key positions also. The conference doesn't seem to have a clear 'weak-link' per say, which is why I believe all four teams will be competitive and the division should be very tough to win in 2014. Thoughts/Comments? Who do you believe are contenders or pretenders next season?
  16. So I peruse the other teams boards from time to time, not as a member, but as a lurker and found the following: http://saintsreport.com/forums/f2/mike-smith-taken-off-plane-chest-pains-216641/ In the thread 95% of these guys state that while we are hated, bitter rivals, they still had nothing but well wishes for Coach Smith. Even though, we hate them, and they hate us...it was refreshing.
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