Friday, July 28, 2006

Things to Keep an Eye On...
By Imtiaz Mussa

From September till the end of January, my Sundays will once again be dominated by the National Football League. I am at a loss of words when it comes to describing the thrill of watching the game. Anyway, as training camps are opening up this weekend, there are a few storylines that I am keeping an eye on.

Mike Martz: Detroit Lions Offensive Coordinator
People hated him as a head coach and many were happy to see him go. Now he returns to being an offensive mastermind as he tries to figure out how to get production out of the three high first round choices at wide receiver. Roy Williams has been okay but Charles Rogers and Mike Williams have been awful. Also throw into the mix running back Kevin Jones who took a step back last season. Martz also needs to find a quarterback from the likes of Josh McCown and Jon Kitna.

Ron Mexico and the West Coast Offense
They typically say that a quarterback really gets comfortable in his third year in the west coast offense. Well, this is year number three for Michael Vick so will he show that he is really is a quarterback who happens to be really athletic or a freakish athlete who plays quarterback? We will also get an idea if Michael Jenkins and Roddy White are actually good.

Can The New Skins Gel?
No team made as many impact moves as the Washington Redskins. But Daniel Snyder has tried this before and it blew up in his face. Will Lloyd, Randle El, Moss, and Portis all be satisfied with how many times they touch the ball? We’ll see. How much does Brunell have left in the tank or are we finally going to see Jason Campbell?

Time for Woodson to Prove His Worth
After years of pouting, Charles Woodson is finally out of Oakland and finally has his contract with the Packers. Let’s see if he’s actually worth the money or if injuries are going to kick in again.

The NFL’s Version of the Portland Jail Blazers
Which got more coverage? Carson Palmer’s rehab or the run-ins with the law? I’m thinking more of the later as players like Odell Thurman, Frostee Rucker, and especially Chris Henry all getting into trouble. I wonder if Marvin Lewis can get these guys to channel that onto the football field instead of off.

Reggie Bush
The contract talks are dominating the headlines in New Orleans and with Vince Young signing a deal that could potentially pay him more money that top pick Mario Williams, it just adds another twist into the story. But I’m more interested in seeing how new head coach Sean Payton gets the ball in his hands. You can count on seeing him in the slot and split out but in order for him to get comfortable with the sets, he needs to get in.

Farewell Jimmy
Jimmy Smith has retired and the Jaguars need to figure out who is going to be their top wideout. They can choose from such giants as Matt Jones, Reggie Williams, and Ernest Wilford. Keep an eye on rookie tight end Marcedes Lewis too.

And Finally…
Terrell Owens in Dallas
The Eagles Search for a Wide Receiver
Daunte Culpepper’s rehab
LaVar Arrington wearing Big Blue
Steve McNair in Baltimore
What does Brett have left in the tank?
The Browns search for LeCharles Bentley’s replacement
Can the Niners move on without Cody Pickett?
Will Sam Madison avoid hitting anymore deer?

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