First Power Ranking - in a series of power rankings for the rest of the season. Will do one now, one before the preseason, and one before the start of the regular season. REC if you like post.
Second part to be completed Tuesday.
Power ranking is based on the following:
Head-coach + coaching staff
Roster - specifically QB, LT, and defensive play makers
Ownership and franchise philosophy
Experience and last year's success - is the team weaker or stronger?
Significant Coaches: Jim Caldwell (HC) and Larry Coyer (DC)
QB: Peyton Manning
LT: Charlie Johnson
Defensive Play Makers: Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Bob Sanders
The Colts are the model franchise. They build through the draft, have the perfect franchise QB, and defensive play-makers. Their greatest need going into the off-season is left tackle, this need has yet to be filled. Either that, or the team is confident in Charlie Johnson coming off a year of experience. Peyton Manning is still their, and the defensive will continue to improve with Larry Coyer at defensive coordinator. This is not the same Colts team that we are used to seeing. The defensive schemes use more man coverage and various blitzes. The Colts strengthened their defensive pass rush depth by selecting Jerry Hughes and added depth to all other positions. The Colts continue to be the Superbowl Favorites
Significant Coaches: Dom Capers (DC)
QB: Aaron Rodgers
LT: Chad Clifton
Defensive Play Makers: Clay Matthews, Al Harris, Charles Woodson
Before the playoffs began - the Packers were favorites to go to the Superbowl. In the middle of the offseason the Packers are my favorites to win the NFC. The biggest weakness the Packers displayed against the Cardinals were LT, and defensive pressure. The Packers not only resigned both of their tackles, but also landed one of the elite tackles with Bryan Bulaga in the draft. Kapman's departure was filled with Mike Neal, and the aging secondary was aided by drafting Morgan Burnett. Aaron Rodgers will be the best QB this season and will help Packers fans quickly forget Brett Favre. Capers defensive scheme brings heavy pressure on opposing QBs.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Coaches: Sean Payton
QB: Drew Brees
LT: Jamaal Brown
Defensive Play Makers: Darren Sharper
Defending champs look solid. They get the majority of their roster back - and the most significant loss is Mike Bell. They also had a great draft. Charles Brown is a project but will eventually replace Jamaal Brown at LT. Jimmy Graham is an ultra athletic TE and if Shockey has health issues - he will be a great replacement next season. Patrick Robinson is a great cover corner to add depth to a strong secondary. The Saints did not bolster their defensive line to help stop the run
QB: Joe Flacco
LT: Michael Oher
Defensive Play Makers: Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata, Ed Reed
The Ravens - the team that the Jets try to emulate are still better than the Jets and had a fantastic off season. Joe Flacco will improve. The running game will improve. The young offensive line has experience. The defense has experience, and has gained an extensive youth influx. Drafting Terrence Cody will make the entire defense that much better - with Cody gobbling up offensive lineman - the defense will be free to wreck havok. I love Sergio Kindle - he adds talent and youth to an aging linebacker group. All the Ravens front office did was improve weapons for Flacco to pass to. They added Anquin Boldin and drafted Dickson, and Pitta in the draft - not to mention resigning all their current wide receivers. I love everything the Ravens do. They built their team on a suffocating defense, then drafted a franchise QB, then drafted a franchise LT to protect him.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
QB: Phillip Rivers
LT: Marcus McNeil
Defense: Shaun Phillips
The Chargers have moved pass the LT era by drafting Mr. Matthews. Ryan Matthews is a tough three down runner who brings much needed fresh legs to the chargers offense. Although the offense is transforming into more of a pass happy scheme - Matthews will immediately help take pressure off Rivers. The defense is my greatest issue as the Chargers played the run very poorly. I hope bringing in Cam Thomas helps - but he slipped for a reason. I do like the Darrell Stuckey pick and hope that Butler can help improve their run defense. Shawn Merriman has one last chance to prove his worth.
Coaches: Jason Garret
QB: Tony Romo
Defense: Demarcus Ware, Marcus Spears
TO leaves and Tony Romo improves. In fact the Cowboys offense is playing very well and balances the running game with the passing game - thank Jason Garret. The defense plays very well - shutting out the Eagles multiple times last season. However they looked weak against the Vikings. I love the Cowboys draft. I love Dez Bryant catching passes from Tony Romo and I love Sean Lee to anchor the middle of this defense. Owusu-Ansah is a fantastic prospect who can play both safety and corner. I don't know how I feel about Sam Young....
Biggest weakness lies in the offensive line. Second biggest weakness is how poorly they play against the pass - as seen by Favre's fun.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
QB: Tom Brady
LT: Matt Light
Defense: Vince Wilfork the great, Ty Warren
As long as Tom Brady is the QB and Bill is the coach - the Patriots are the best team in the AFC East - unless of course Bill has really lost his touch. Vince Wilfork is the best NT in the NFL and his presence changes the entire defensive attack of the team. Randy Moss and Welker will come back healthy and the emergence of some of the young offensive players make this a more dangerous offensive team. Defensively - they needed to improve their secondary. Offensively they need a better running game. Tom Brady's dedication to the team is questionable - but he is still Tom Brady.
QB: Brett Favre
LT: Bryan McKinne
Defense: Pat Williams, Kevin Williams, Jared Allen
Brett Favre electing to do surgery indicates that he will most probably return and that instantly makes the Vikings a superbowl contender. The Vikings were great last season and lets see if they can duplicate their success. They need to run the ball more often - they relied on Brett Favre too much at times. With Adrian Peterson on your team, how can you not want to run the ball. I love their off season. Although they lost Chester Taylor - I love drafting Toby Gerhart as a tough between the tackles runner. Will take the physical beating away from Peterson. I love Chris Cook - who will instantly improve the defensive secondary and add an important play maker. Griffen is a steal in the third round and he will instantly add pressure opposite Jared Allen.
NEW YORK JETS
Coaches: Rex Ryan, Bryan Schottenheimer
QB: Mark Sanchez
LT: D Ferguson
Defensive: Shaun Ellis, Jason Taylor, Bart Scott, Darrel Revis, Antonio Cromartie
The most celebrity, active, and "cool" team this off season - the Jets off season moves are over rated. The Jets have improved their receiving core - no doubt. They have improved an already fantastic secondary, and they have improved their defense. But there are a few question marks. Are the Jets the new Redskins. I think the running game went downhill. I love LT BUT does he have anything left in his legs? Shonne Green was a pleasant playoff surprise but other than that has not done anything special. Two other running backs were lost in favor of Joe McKnight. Mark Sanzhez has a whole year of tape for coaches to study. Faneca was released. Jason Taylor is also old. I'm sure the Jets have what it takes - but with question marks at QB and RB - in order to become elite - I still do not view the Jets as the favorites to win the AFC.
QB: Carson Palmer
LT: Andre Smith
Defense: Ray Maulaga
The Bengals played great last season but they were missing the swagger and the big play ability to move to the next level and become elite contenders. I think with one year of experience and an absolutely great NFL draft - the Bengals are poised to challenge the Ravens for the division (sorry Steelers). I love Jermain Gresham and I love taking Carlos Dunlap to bring pressure on the opposing QBs. I hope Carson Palmer can take the next step and become the elite QB he is supposed to be.
QB: Matt Schaub
LT: Duane Brown
Defensive: Mario Williams, Amobi Okeye
I don't think the Texans did enough to reach over the hump that is the Indi Colts. Their draft and off season is nothing special. They lost Dunta Robinson and made amends in the draft - but the big issues that remain consistent are RB, and a play making secondary player. I do like taking Kareem Jackson in the first round - this fills a need and adds depth. I love Dorin Dickerson pick - he is a very special player. I don't know Ben Tate well but I believe he should be a solid fit in the zone blocking system. Although the off season was not negative - I do not think the Texans have done enough to make them that much better on offense and defense to be able to overcome the domination by the Colts the past few years.
NEW YORK GIANTS
Coaching: Perry Fewel (DC)
QB: Eli Manning
LT: David Diehl
Defense: Justin Tuck, JPP, Antre Roll
I absolutely love Perry Fewel with the Giants. He has the players that will help thrive in his system. I love the Giants picking JPP. Although the Cowboys think they will run away with the division, and the Eagles have overcome the McNabb hump - I think the Giants have a shot at winning the division. The Giants first three picks are fantastic. JPP will bring the pressure, Joseph will stop the run, and Chad Jones is a young version of Rolle.
Coaching: Dick LeBeau (DC)
QB: Ben Rothlisberger
LT: Max Stark
Defensive: James Harrison, Troy Polamalou
Lets us not concentrate too heavily on the losses the Steelers have faced on offense. What defines the Pittsburgh Steeler franchise? Hard nose defense, and running the ball. Look for them to go back to that this season. None the less - Their wide receiver depth is very weak unless Sweed surprises. The defense is still strong. I Love the first round pick - Pouncey will be great. Even with Ben's issues the Steelers will succeed by going back to their roots. I love Dwyer in the 6th round.
QB: Vince Young
LT: Michael Roos
The Titans had a good draft - but not great. I love Derrick Morgan in the 1st and I love Myron Rolle in the later rounds. I especially love the addition of Blount and Johnson as undrafted free agents. Damian Williams is a solid fit in the second round. Are the Titans better than last year? Chris Johnson is whining about a new contract. Yes the Titans are better. Vince Young has matured significantly. Morgan will make an instant impact. But are they better than the Texans and the Colts? I don't think so.
Coaches: Sean McDermott (DC), Dick Jauron (DB), Bobby April (ST)
QB: Kevin Kolb
LT: Jason Peters
Defensive: Asante Samuel
I love what the Eagles did this off season. I love McNabb but it was about time to move on. I think Kevin Kolb is a better pocket quarterback, and may at the end of the day be the better QB. The biggest weakness is Andy Reids play calling in the playoffs. His decision to pass every other play really cost the Eagles dearly. I like the draft. Graham is going to be a star. I love Nate Allen at FS. I love Jauron as the defensive backs coach and i love Bobby April as their special teams coach. The offensive line needs to improve - but most importantly the Eagles running game needs to improve. How do you survive life after Westbrook?
QB: Matt Ryan
LT: Sam Baker
Defense: John Abraham
I love Matt Ryan. He does a great job of pretending to be Peyton Manning. He studies his tapes extensively. He is going to be a superstar. I love what Mike Smith has done with this team. They will be back to contend next year especially with a healthy Michael Turner back. I don't think the Falcons had a super draft. I love the Weatherspoon pick - who will instantly start. I also love the Dranks pick - late in the draft. Corey Peters was taken too early. Mike Johnson is also a great pick but they needed to address their DE needs. The other picks are also questionable. Signing Robinson was a great idea.
Coaching: Mike Nolan (DC)
QB: Chad Henne
LT: Jake Long
Defense: Karlos Dansby
The Dolphins made a very smart decision signing Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator which will significantly improve the defense. The Dolphins lost a lot of veterans but this does not necessarily mean that the team went down hill. Chad Henne is the future the franchise, and he has a fantastic LT to protect his blindside. I like the Karlos Dansby pick up. I think the Dolphins had an absolutely awesome drat. Jared Odrick will be a superstar.
Coaching: Mike Shanahan (HC)
QB: Donovan McNabb
LT: Trent Williams
Defense: London Fletcher, Hansworth
The Redskins did not have a coach to bring out all the talent potential on this team. I love Mike Shanahan as the coach and he will bring out the full potential of all the players (except a certain DT). I love McNabb as their QB - he will have a host of young weapons to throw to. Skins had an OK draft.
QB: Matt Moore, Jimmy Clausen
LT: Jordan Gross
Defense: John Beason
Love the Clausen pick. Love the overall draft. Panthers are a team i can't really figure out. They have potential - lets see if they ever live up to it. Clausen could start.
QB: David Garrard
LT: Eugene Monroe
Defense: Aaron Kapman
Worst draft. Um. Not really sure what Jacksonville is thinking. Still have a reasonable roster though....
QB: Kyle Ortan
LT: Ryan Clady
Defensive: Elvis Dummervil
I think the Broncos took too much to take Tebow - but i LOVE the pick. I can't wait to see what Josh McDaniels will do with Tebow in the offense - remember he coached Tom Brady when he broke the TD record. The Defense lost big time when it lost Nolan. McDaniel's shows the NFl what he has as an NFL coach this season.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
QB: Alex Smith
LT: Anthony Davis, Joe Staley
Defensive: Patrick Willis, TKO Spikes
The 49ers will not be at this spot four weeks into the season. I absolutely love what the niners did in the first round. In fact I love the entire draft. I love Singletary as the coach and I think Alex Smith will shed their stereotype as a draft bust. The 49ers will win the division and quickly move up this list.
QB: Matt Leinhart
LT: Levi Brown
Defensive: Dan Williams, Joey Porter, Cromartie
The Cardinals have taken a step back after the retirement of Kurt Warner. The tape that I have seen of Matt has not impressed me. Karlos Dansby was lost in free agency and Boldin in a trade. The first round pick was fantastic - Dan Williams is a stud NT and will help solidify the run support. LT is questionable. Matt's era is about to begin - lets see how he handles being a celebrity vs. being a football player.
Coaches: Mike Martz (OC)
QB: Jay Cutler
LT: Chris Williams
Defensive: Julius Pepper, Lance Briggs
I firmly believe the Bears will make significant improvements, and Jay Cutler will improve under the coaching of Mike Martz. I love the Pepper's signing - he is a perfect fit for the defense. I love the first two draft picks - but question why on earth the Bears would take a QB? Do they not believe in Cutler? They could have gotten him another wide receiver as the WR depth is questionable. The season rides on Cutler's development.
Coaches: Jim Schwartz
QB: Matt Stafford
LT: Jeff Backus
Defensive: Kyle Van Dan Bosch, Suh
I absolutely love what Jim Schwartz has done with this team. Regardless of opinion, I do believe Matthew Stafford is a franchise QB. He does not remind me of JP Losman. I like his toughness, arm strength, and swagger. He reminds me more of Jay Cutler. I love the rebuilding of the defense. The Lions are slowly but surely building their franchise. They will make significant strides this season. Suh was a fantastic pick and I am glad that the Lions took. Jim is very confident in Backus. I think the Lions had a great draft. I love Jahvid Best, and Jason Fox could be a 4th round sleeper.
QB: Jason Campbell
LT: Mario Henderson, Bruce Campbell, Jason Veldheer??
Defensive: Richard Seymour, Rolondo McClain, Asomugha
I love what the Raiders did this offseason. Quite frankly they might have had the best off season of any team because they changed their franchise philosophy. Thank God they got rid of Jamarcus Garbage. I like keeping Tom Gable as coach. I LOVE their draft. Not only did they pick up best available players - but Al Davis got his favorite prospect in the FOURTH ROUND - Bruce Campbell. The team already has a fantastic defense - and I believe the offense will improve significantly with change in QB. The running game will continue to flourish under McFadden and Bush.
TAMPA BAY BUCS
QB: Josh Freeman
LT: Donald Penn
Defensive: Gerald McCoy, Ronde Barber
Two defensive tackles in a row? What about other needs? I do love both players though. Tampa Bay Bay has a young team that will improve this season. I love Freeman. I don't like Penn.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Coaches: Charlie Weiss (OC) Romeo Crennell (DC)
QB: Matt Cassel
LT: Brandon Albert
Defensive: Eric Berry, Mike Vrabel
Ladies and Gentleman - Meet Patriots PT 2. I don't like their draft - I think they should have drafted a LT and or NT - but Mr Scott Pioli knows far more than I do, and I think he knows exactly what he is doing. I love hiring Weiss and Crenell. Another great example of how to rebuild a team. Chiefs will make strides this season.
Coaches: Pete Carrol
QB: Matt Hasselback
LT: Russel Okung
Defensive: Aaron Curry, Latufu,
Did anyone have a better draft than the Seahawks? I absolutely love what Pete Carrol has done with this team. It is very early but Carrol is on the right track. He had a great draft, great off season - he picked up his old buddy lendale white but when he realized he had issues - released him. The Seahawks are giving him total control of the organization - which is exactly what made him successful in USC. Lets see if he can duplicate his success in the NFL.
QB: Jake Delhomme
LT: Joe Thomas
Defensive: Joe Haden, Fujita
I like the fact that the Browns kept Mangini. I think Mangini is a good coach. I also like the Delhomme trade - although he is being paid more than he should but its good to have a veteran, once superbowl playing QB. I love the Joe Hadden pick, and I love Hardessy at running back. Eventually the Browns will find their franchise QB - next year perhaps. I love Joe Thomas at LT.
QB: Trent Edwards
Defensive: Jarius Byrd, Aaron Schobel, Poz
I love the Bills Draft. I love CJ Spiller as the first round pick. But at the same time I hate the draft because so much of the teams needs were completely ignored in the early rounds. Not only the early rounds but nothing special was done in the off season. The Bills are a team in the rebuilding process. This year's draft had such a strong pool of talent at offensive tackle and defensive tackle. As much as I love Trent Edwards - he is not the answer for the franchise. I love the running game of this team but who blocks? He protects Trent Edwards blind side? Who plays along side Lee Evans to take some pressure of him? What about the defense? We have many strong playmakers but Schobel is questioning retirement. Our nose tackle is Kyle Williams and Torrel Troup - Troup was taken of Joseph.......Even if Clausen is not better than Trent Edwards in the eyes of our front office.....he was available in the second round. McCoy was available going into the third round. I am so incredible confused. While all the teams in the AFC East are getting better - we are not holding up....... I love the way the Detroit Lions have quickly and in a high quality manner rebuilt their team. I am such a hardcore Bills fan - but when I made these rankings I wanted to be realistic. Not pessimistic, not optimistic - Realistic.
I have been thoroughly ripped apart for putting the Bills so low. So Let us analyze. The Buffalo Bills have completely turned around their philosophy from last year. Not only did they fire practically every coach at every significant position - they switched from a Tampa 2 4-3 defense to a two gap 3-4 defense. They are practically completely opposite defenses. One defense focuses on smaller faster players while the other defense focuses on large gap controlling defensive lineman. The offense is completely changing. Last season we saw a OC fire, a QB coach fired, a HC fired, and a DC take over offensive calling duties. Hurricane? Furthermore Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick circled the wagon at QB. TOI has left the team and so has Josh Reed. Who do the QB's throw to when Lee Evans is double covered? Who is the left tackle? Who will protect those QBs? The team is at step one. IT needs to first completely changed philosophy than find the appropriate players to fit those holes. I'm sorry to those who disagree. But the fact is the Bills are starting from STEP ONE - blue prints and have a long way to go. The team has a lot of maturing to do.
ST LOUIS RAMS
QB: Sam Bradford
LT: Jason Smith
Defensive: Chris Long, James Laurintus
I love Sam Bradford. I think he is a franchise QB and I think the Rams will not be the worst team in the NFL as the season begins. But Bradford has a long way to go and a lot of learning to do. Rams will still have a top 5 pick next year.