An OTT preview-AFC North

By on August 13, 2012

Here is a little tour of the NFL, starting with the AFC NORTH, my thoughts on the teams, players and the rosters. I am trying to be as unbiased as possible here, I really think my time as a Browns fan is winding down and it’s time to invest my time following a different team. Who will it be? Who will win me as their fan? The Browns can keep me but it will take one hell of a season. I don’t’ need a winning team, I just a team that gives you a reason to believe in them. SPOIL ALERT!!!… IT WILL NOT BE ANOTHER AFC NORTH TEAM.

With a new Owner in Jimmy Haslam III, I would hope to see a turn around in the organization; Holmgren and Heckert have had some very solid draft picks but the hiring of Pat Shurmur still has me scratching my head. I think Holmgren will be relieved of duties sooner than later and Shurmur will fall out shortly after. Luckily for the Browns Brad Childress is in waiting if that does in fact happen. New owners typically mean new staff, and Haslam is coming from being a minority owner of the Steelers and has brought close friend Joe Banner the former president of the Eagles along with him. So I just find it hard to believe that these guys are all in on Shurmur and Holmgren for the long haul.

Things have not started out well, 1st round pick Trent Richardson has already been sent to go under the knife and Cornerback and fan favorite has allegedly failed a drug test from the offseason for Adderall. Rookie QB, Brandon Weeden didn’t have a great 1st showing but he had a few tosses downfield that looked like they could potentially turn into game changers.

This is the last season I will support this team unless they show a major change. I have given them about 30 seasons of my time and it’s now or never for them and me. On a really high end I see them winning 6 games, and that is just not enough for me. Some have said the Browns will be lucky to win a game, I have a lot of faith in Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden, so I have them surprising a few teams. For me to stick around I need at least an 8-8 season.

The Red Haired Rifle (Dalton) should have another solid season as far as his stats are concerned. The Bengals did have a pretty good draft, they picked up a defensive back in Dre Kirkpatrick and added very good Offensive linemen in Zeitler, a defensive lineman in Devon Still and one of my sleeper picks in Running Back Dan Herron. They really improved on both sides but I just have a feeling they fail to really improve the overall team play this season, they are still in rebuilding mode and they are still a year away from really dominating the AFC North. There will be some big plays and exciting highlights watching Dalton hit Green over and over and I think the core of Running Backs will keep the opposing defensives teams on their heals.

Don’t expect a Super Bowl and don’t expect an AFC title, understand they are young and in the end Marvin Lewis is nice guy but I wouldn’t want him coaching my team. As long as the few remaining Bengals fans understand this it should be a decent season.

Sorry Ravens fans, Joe Flacco is not the answer, time to start looking elsewhere. Decent arm but in my opinion he cracks under pressure. I think his teammates feel the same way, and after another mediocre season I think the staff will all look for a replacement. Terrell Suggs is done for the season, before the season even started and Ray Lewis not a young guy anymore. Ray will still bring it but he is just not the same as he has been over the past 82 seasons. What the Ravens do have is Ray Rice and having him alone will help them win a few games. Ozzie Newsome always drafts great, but this last draft is proof that they are in need of a youth movement. Courtney Upshaw and Asa Jackson will help immediately on defense and Tommy Streeter could find some playing time at wide receiver.  The Ravens will be in the hunt for the AFC North but past that I don’t see much happening, another year of playoffs without a Super Bowl should press Ozzie to make some moves, but not until next season.

The Rooney’s had another fantastic draft, possibly the best draft they have had in years. Last season the Steelers Offensive line showed its age and was hit with injuries, Big Ben was under a ton of pressure so what do you do? You draft some bodyguards, and boy oh boy did they land two guys that will protect their QB. David Decastro is absolute animal at Guard and The Ohio States University’s own Mike Adams at Tackle will keep the big guy safe and cozy in the backfield. Along with Maurkice Pouncey they have one hell of an offensive line.

But the Steelers didn’t stop there, with the Browns drafting Trent Richardson, and the Ravens having Ray Rice they needed to bolster their Run Defensive unit. Sean Spence and Alameda Ta’amu will add depth and possibly even start by seasons end. Omar Epps has his team ready to attack at all ends, that nasty style will fit right in with both of these guys, very smart draft picks that fit the defensive style they coach.

With Mike Wallace they will be a top 4 team in the NFL without Mike Wallace they still win the North in the AFC but I can’t see them going deep into the playoffs. You could say this season is a make it or break it season. Guys like Troy Palamalu, Larry Foote, Casey Hampton and James Harrison are getting older and they really don’t have much time left, they could still be used for trade bait if things go sour real fast. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few trades for the Steelers this season if that ends up being the case.

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