Hey NFL fans! Welcome back to another addition of the Aerys Huddle. As last night’s moderator, I was interested to hear my fellow writer’s thoughts since this is our first Huddle post lockout. As expected there was multiple different topics for us to discuss, ranging from preseason records to Jim Tressel, we covering it all.
Welcome to the Huddle …
Question 1 – How important do you think preseason records & performances are? Are they good indicators for the regular season?
Brenda (Broncos): Preseason W-L records are absolutely meaningless, at least for many teams. We call those “contenders.” The true purpose of preseason is player evaluation: who makes the team and where on the depth chart; and who doesn’t.
Miranda (Aerys Offsides): The only reason why they are not good indicators is that mostly 2nd and 3rd string players are getting to play. These are not the same people that start opening day. We just aren’t getting a good grasp at what the team is capable of when these lower tier players go.
Brenda (Broncos): The preseason matters more for teams with new coaches – Denver, for one – where there’s an overhaul in progress, such trying out new schemes, implementing different sets, etc. The same goes for players who new teams, those recovering from a shattered ego, and rookies.
Corinna (Jaguars): I agree with Miranda, most of the starters are not on the field during preseason, which is not the case during the regular season.
Melissa (Lions): Not even a little. I’m not going to pretend like going 4-0 this preseason wasn’t encouraging, but we all have to understand that it’s really only a very small sample size of what it’s going to be like. Starters are only play for a quarter or half at most and kinks are still being worked out.
Brenda (Broncos): I personally don’t put much weight into preseason records. Mainly due to the fact different teams/coaches use the preseason for different things. Some use it as a gauge in selecting players for their rosters while some with more established teams use it to tweak things.
Brandyn (Eagles): I don’t think they are any indicator of regular seasons performance, particularly in light of the lockout. More than ever, preseason games were just another opportunity for teams to get some much needed practice in.
Patty (Rams): Preseason performances can be misleading as well. Ask any Detroit Lions fan what the team’s preseason record was just before the 1-15 season. I bet they didn’t see that regular season coming.
Melissa (Lions): Yes, Lions fans know all too well that preseason wins don’t indicate how the season will unfold. In 2008, Detroit went 4-0 in preseason and 0-16 in regular season. So, there’s that.
Brenda (Broncos): Not using this year as an example, but the Indianapolis Colts are traditionally – at least performance-wise – a very poor preseason team, despite deep playoff runs and even a Super Bowl victory.
Brandyn (Eagles): Even if the lockout hadn’t happened, though preseason games have never been an indicator of a team’s regular season record. The Colts haven’t paid attention to preseason game in years and have a losing record for the past several years and they always make it to the playoffs. Like others mentioned, not to pick on the Lions, but they went 4-0 in the preseason the year they went 0-16 in the regular season.
Kristine (Jets): We are always calling preseason “games just the preseason”, and often times are experimenting with things they would not during the season in real game situations. Not to mention they are trying to cut down the roster. That being said, I dont think we can completely discount what happens in the preseason. I think its a good preview of what to expect from a team (strength and weaknesses).
Corinna (Jaguars): Not to mention that the NFL always has that “all-star” that is holding out for one reason or another (usually money related), so we don’t see them during preseason… cough cough Chris Johnson.
Question 2 – Which games weeks 1-4 do you think is the most compelling?
Corinna (Jaguars): Week One: Titans @ Jags – Division rivals during opening weekend. It’s a great time to see who is prepared for the season & who is not. Also during week one: Colts @ Texans – Same as listed above. This year the AFC South is up for grabs & it’s anyone’s to claim.
Brandyn (Eagles): Week one: Colts v Texans matchup to see how Indy would fare without Peyton Manning. Hopefully they can put up a little more fight for the next several games.
Miranda (Aerys Offsides): Week One: Most compelling is Dallas at the Jets on the 10th anniversary of 9-11-01.
Melissa (Lions): Same here, Jets – Cowboys game was the most compelling. Aside from the fact that it was the first week of the season and two high-profile teams were playing. The fact that it was on the 10-year anniversary of Sept. 11 brought a lot of excitement and energy to the game. And it was game everyone wanted to watch, regardless of whom you were cheering for or whether you were a fan of either team.
Patty (Rams): Week 1 – PIT @ BAL. The epitome of smash mouth football.
Brenda (Broncos): Week 2: San Diego @ New England – for no other reason than this is usually the predicted AFC title game, or so the pundits usually say.
Brandyn (Eagles): I think the Eagles’ Week 2 game, at Atlanta, will be huge because of the storyline of this being Vick’s 1st return to Atlanta since being an Eagles starter…and signing the second $100 million contract of his career.
Corinna (Jaguars): Week Two: Eagles @ Falcons: I mean who isn’t excited to see Vick face his former team?
Kristine (Jets): Im really looking forward to the Eagles/Falcons game.
Patty (Rams): Week 2 – SD @ NE. It will be the Chargers first real test of the season to see where they measure up against the big boys of the AFC. Are they indeed ready to take that next step?
Brandyn (Eagles): Lastly, as I have learned from my time at Aerys, even in the Green Bay at Chicago game in Week 3 isn’t good, the smack talk between fans will be. Those two teams despise each other. That hatred, combined with the fact that the Packers seem to have lost absolutely no momentum since the Super Bowl and are going to Soldier Field, should be one fun game to watch.
Brenda (Broncos): Week 3: Packers @ Bears – no explanation needed
Patty (Rams): Week 3 – I have two games here. First, ATL @ TB. Matty Ice vs. my Josh Freeman. Second, GB @ CHI. The rematch of the 2010 NFC Championship game. Got to see how the Bears do this time around.
Kristine (Jets): Week 4 – Jets/Ravens
Question 3 – After watching the preseason games, which rookie do you think will have the most impact on their team?
Kristine (Jets): JJ Watt (Houston) looks fantastic. He will play a huge part if overhauling that defense that needs to improve. He is already making huge plays.
Patty (Rams): I’m obviously biased but the Rams rookie TE, second round draft pick Lance Kendricks will be the one to watch. McDaniels loves a good TE, in fact, he likes to double his fun in certain formations.
Miranda (Aerys Offsides): Cam Newton. Which he proved yesterday by throwing for 422 yards – the most ever by a rookie quarterback in his first career start.
Corinna (Jaguars): After yesterday’s performance by Cam Newton, whew, I mean how can you not mention him. Carolina’s offense finished last in the NFL in total offense, passing yards and scoring last season, then week one he throws for over 400 yards!
Brandyn (Eagles):I think there are a lot of amazing rookies this year and I expect many to have impressive 1st years in the NFL. But there is just no question that Cam Newton is going to blaze trails this year. His first game he already broke Peyton Manning’s rookie passing record. It’s Cam’ world–we just live in it.
Brenda (Broncos): The verdict is already in: Denver LOVES Von Miller. The Broncos were dead last in defense last season; now with Elvis Dumervil back from injury and Robert Ayers changing positions (where he should excel), I would be highly surprised – and that’s an understatement – if Denver repeats its defensive performance in 2011. Though I expected Denver to go DT with its No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft, Miller in hindsight was an ideal selection. He’s menacing, quick off the ball, and will give opposing backfields fits. I like him
Corinna (Jaguars): Long term I truly believe that Blaine Gabbert will have a significant impact on the Jaguars. Hopefully he can be the QB that finally leads us to the postseason & wins!
Patty (Rams): Another rookie I think will be a factor is Julio Jones of the Falcons. The kid looked like a legitimate threat. He seems to be handling the pressure of being their number one pick well so far. They gave up quite a bit to jump up in the draft to get him so he needs to produce sooner than later.
Kristine (Jets): Its hard not to point out Julio Jones, who could be a potential ROY candidate. I think that guy is a phenomenal athlete and he may not have the biggest impact of all rookies of his team but I think we will look back at his career and he will be one of the great wideouts in the league (like his teammate Roddy White).
Melissa (Lions): It’s hard to gauge this after watching preseason games, but I probably would have said Julio Jones. After week 1, my vote is with Mark Ingram. Probably not a popular choice, but it’s impossible not to be impressed with this kid. Despite being stuffed at the goal line on the final play of the game between the Saints and Packers Thursday, Ingram showed a tremendous amount of talent and toughness, something the Saints lacked in Reggie Bush last season. He might not get the most touches in the game, but when he does, he squeezes out every last bit of yardage he can. And that’s what an impact-player is all about.
Question 4 – Peyton Manning, such an iconic QB. Reports indicate he will miss week one & possibly more. Former Head coach, Tony Dungy said the team won’t make the playoffs without him. Are the Colts in trouble?
Brandyn (Eagles): If what we saw on Sunday is any indiication, then yes, the Colts are in a HELL of a lot of trouble.
Brenda (Broncos): As a central Indiana native and longtime Colts fan (when games were always blacked out and those who did attend wore paper bags over their heads to avoid public shame), Peyton’s slow recovery is worst-case scenario. No, it’s even worse than that. Peyton is 35-years-old, and it’s no secret he’s in the final years of his career, but Colts fans will never be ready for the end. What’s happening right now in Indianapolis is sadly a preview of coming attractions…whenever that might be (hopefully many, many years from now).
Patty (Rams): Yup, it sure looking that way. Honestly, I think they got themselves into this by putting all their eggs in the Manning basket. Their entire offense is predicated on and built around the strengths of Manning. Until now the easier job in the NFL was being Manning’s back-up. Manning’s been quite the ironman with just over 200 consecutive starts but it’s the Colts’ fault for not having a legitimate QB2. Sorry Curtis Painter, nothing personal… Unless Kerry Collins can pull a Kurt Warner, Indy could be looking at a really bleak 2011 and a good shot at getting Luck-y in the 2012 draft.
Brandyn (Eagles): Kerry Collins is no slouch, though. He has had to come in and learn the team’s offense in a hurry. I think he will improve over the next few games.
Brenda (Broncos): What I’m worried about is the fan base. I remember when no one cared about Indianapolis – even those in the region. Peyton Manning has not only made the Colts relevant in the NFL, but singlehandedly increased the fan base significantly. No one wore Colts t-shirts, jackets, or hats when I was growing up, but now I see merchandise and #18 jerseys everywhere, and I haven’t lived in Indiana since early 2003. I could go on and on and on about this subject, but its best I stop now. I get very riled up and passionate when discussing the hometown team…
Corinna (Jaguars): Let me start of by saying that I never want to see a player injured… But if someone has to be it is about time that player is Peyton Manning. I mean the guy is in 2nd place for most consecutive games started. The other AFC South teams would love to see the Colts dynasty suffer just a little bit; after all when was the last time the Colts didn’t win the division. With that being said I do love Peyton, when I’m not being a Jags fan, and hope that he can return & doesn’t have to go out like this.
Miranda (Aerys Offsides): Big trouble! I am hopeful that Kerry Collins gets better. But, they are getting a man that was set on being retired this year. I really think they need to try to trade for a really good backup quarterback. I saw something earlier about Carson Palmer… that would be good, but I worry about that cost! And more so, would it be possible!
Melissa (Lions): Uhhh, yeah. They might as well tank this season and enter the Andrew Luck lottery, because it’s not going to happen this year. The Colts looked horrible in their first game of the season and me thinks it’s not going to get any better. Absolutely breaks my heart that Peyton will miss the season and maybe more. He IS football. On and off the field he represents the NFL so well. This season won’t be the same without him.
Brandyn (Eagles): And with Sunday’s 34-7 loss, the issues very clearly aren’t only on offense. The defense needs to make a lot of improvements to not let a score get that out of hand so early on. Peyton Manning does a lot of things, but play defense is not one of them.
Kristine (Jets): I do think the Colts are in trouble. Unfortunately, I think that Peyton concealed so many of the Colts other issues. The need to improve the offensive line, special teams and some aspects of the defense, for that matter. We saw last year that they have next to no threat to run without Joseph Addai healthy. I am concerned and I think it would do them some good to focus on improving these aspects of the team while Peyton is away. Also, Kerry COllins had about a week to work with these guys. Let’s not destroy him and call Favre yet. Oops, I mean F****
Question 5 – Roger Goodell said recently he would suspend Jim Tressel if the Colts did not make him sit out games to start the 2011 season. Colts have stated he will miss first seven games. However, is this Goodell’s place to implement a suspension if they did not? Is it the NFL’s responsibility to enforce NCAA rules?
Brenda (Broncos): Jim Flippin’ Tressel. I have no comment. It’s best if my opinions are left unsaid.
Patty (Rams): Roger GODell needs to cool it. I’m sure the Colts had some “encouragement” from the league/GODell to carry out the sentence. The players already think Goodell has too much power and this only piles it on more.
Melissa (Lions): I feel the same way about the Tressel situation as I did about Pryor. I get that they want to punish those who use the NFL as a way to escape NCAA punishments, but I also think it’s important to keep college football and the NFL very separate. And this inhibits that. The NFL and Roger Goodell should not play traffic cop to the NCAA.
Miranda (Aerys Offsides): Tressel did wrong and needs to pay the price for his bad deed. Simply taking the forced resignation from Ohio State is not punishment enough. I think it is their responsibility to let their fans and let the players, personnel, know they won’t tolerate what shenanigans is done, no matter where it is done.
Brandyn (Eagles): I can’t answer whether it is Goodell’s place, as there are many things he has implemented as Commissioner that many think overstep the bounds of that role.
Corinna (Jaguars): I’m with Patty on this one. He clearly is on a power trip. However, I see where you are coming from Miranda. I definitely agree that he needs a harsher punishment for what he did. But that would be like your new boss punishing you for being fired from your previous job. Just doesn’t make sense to me.
Melissa (Lions): I don’t think it’s Goodell or the NFL’s responsibility. I’ve said this a million times, I dislike Ohio State with great intensity and I’d like to see them punished for what they did. But, it’s the NCAA’s problem, not the commissioner of the NFL’s. With that said, because Pryor was suspended it would have looked poorly on Goodell and the NFL if Tressel had not been. So for that reason, and that reason only, I agree with the suspension. Pryor and Tressel weren’t the first or last to suffer NCAA punishment. However, they are being made an example — and that’s unfair.
Brandyn (Eagles): However, I think that if a suspension was issued to Pryor, then one absolutely needed to be issued for Tressel. If anything, as Tressel oversaw the program that has violated so many NCAA policies and the NFL has chosen to enact a suspension on Pryor, Tressel should have a much heavier longer suspension than Pryor.
Kristine (Jets): The NFL has no place suspending players/ coaches to enforce suspensions from the NCAA. In a way, they are a “minor” league for the NFL, but officially they are not. I understand what Goodell was saying about setting a precident for behavior and placing an emphasis on ownership of one’s actions but it’s not his place. It was an NCAA issue not an NFL issue. That being said, Tressel should have been suspended by the NFL not by the COLTS in order for this to be fair. If they are going to do it to Pryor, it was to be done to Tressel. And every other player that ever committed an NCAA violation. Right? I know..its absurd.
That concludes this edition of the Aerys NFL Huddle. Make sure to check back monthly to read about the opinion of our Aerys writers on a wide variety of NFL subjects. Make sure to follow us on Twitter @Aerys_NFL or on Facebook.