How the South was won...a sunshine story.
Since the inception of the 4 division realignment 2 seasons ago, the NFC South has been considered one of the top two divisions in the NFL. Some will even say the toughest from top to bottom. Each of the past two seasons, the South winner has represented the NFC in the Superbowl, winning once. Will this trend continue? No one will know until December, but after just one week, practically no one will even mention the NFC South as the strongest division.
Carolina looked pathetic tonight against the Packers. They couldnt run, and they couldnt pass. Delhomme was pressured all night and no holes ever opened for Davis. Delhomme constantly looked to the sidelines in rage with his hands up after being rushed in his passing or knocked to the dirt as his makeshift O-line looked like a subway turnstyle. Losing their entire offensive line from last year in itself is enough to count them out for a repeat bid, but losing Steve Smith for the season will all but ensure it. Broken fibula - out 3 months. Moving on to Tampa....
The Bucs looked even more anemic than the Saints offense, but with little expectation to begin with and the loss of their #1 reciever Galloway to a torn groin (ouch) for 6 weeks gives little hope for anything different all season. Sure Tampa has a good defense still, but it isnt close to the dynasty defense they enjoyed for most of the the past decade. You know the one whose number we already had the past two seasons where they walked away with a ring...
The Falcons are in shambles, but still managed to pull out the only win for the South....but against the depleted 49ers club. Vick looked out of place going 13-22 for 163 with a TD, a pick and two fumbles, rushed 6 times for 10 yds, and was sacked 4 times. Vick is Vick however, and you know he is only going to get better, but with the leagues worst defense from a year ago, and Deangelo Hall out for most of the season, Vick is going to have to do his best Charlton Heston imitation and play GOD to get this team back to the playoffs.
Which brings us to New Orleans, the perennial underachievers, who proved yet again that talent means nothing without strategy and execution..just ask the USA Olympic Basketball team. There are glimmers of hope however if you look deep enough into the game. The defense - our biggest concern - proved to be better than I expected, limiting a very explosive offense to respectable numbers through the first half, limiting the Seahawks to 14 points and forcing 2 turnovers. Bellamy and Watson shined, while our D-Line never got much pressure on the QB, but managed to keep the run game limited. Midway through the third, Watson and Young go out, and the run game takes off, giving Alexander 87 of his 135 yards including 60 in the 4th quarter. I have no doubts anymore that our defense has improved, and I have no doubts that our offense will get back on track.
Seeing our competition in action makes me feel that 9 wins could win this division. And if we get our sh*t together in time to make a stretch run through our division games late in the season...we have a much easier route to the South crown than in the past two years. Our offense is not even close to the dominating potential we have seen in the past, but at least we have dominating potential and a lot of time between now and our division run to get it right. 9-7 or 8-8 doesnt look so bad if you get into the playoffs as a division winner firing on all cylinders at the right time. Providing we can avoid the injury bug and our offense gets its act together (preferably by McCarthy falling out of his new coordinator booth up there) i think we have a better chance than ever to win this division.
Gotta go...hurricane is about to rip the roof off my house. Stay safe and see you after the 49er game.
[Edited on 14/9/2004 by Sarsippius]
How the South was won...a sunshine story.
...snipped info about other teams...
But to put the cloudy forecast up front: the Saints\' top coaches get outcoached it seems every week. McCarthy is too bullheaded to see that something isn\'t working and to try something different. Venturi\'s style is still too soft. He still doesn\'t realize that it\'s worth gambling to get to QB to keep him out of rhythm.
The offense simply has to cut down on the mental mistakes: penalties, drops, and turnovers. Even with McCarthy\'s pathetic playcalls and schemes, the talent is there to exploit most of the defenses in this league.
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