Notes From The North
It's June and the likelihood of a free agent being signed now seems remote. So barring a major trade (Jamir Miller) and keeping in mind the final fast furious flurry of activity the week before the season opens which, like last year will at best provide a few extra draft picks in exchange for players who will not make the team anyway, it is likely that the final roster will be made up of the players who are already on the roster. With that in mind let's take a look at who is likely to break out, standout or just plain dominate this year.
The defensive line
If we're going to talk about possible domination then we must first look at an entire unit rather than just one player and that unit is the defensive line. The addition of Kenard Lang is simply huge. He is a disruptive force who plays in the backfield and he won't be overpowered in the running game, as was the case last year with Keith McKenzie at the left defensive end spot. Remember, both Davis and Fazio have worked with Lang before so you had better believe that they both have plans and expectations of what he can do for their defense.
As we have seen glimpses of the past two seasons this guy is a game changer and with good health and a good defensive scheme not to mention being moved to his natural right defensive end position, this is the year Courtney Brown needs to prove that he can do everything that everybody thought he could do when he was the No. 1 overall selection in the draft.
T. C. doesn't fall into the domination category because as a quarterback there is not a whole lot of dominating that you can do without some supporting cast and he has had three seasons of very little supporting cast and while showing a glimmer of what could be, there was still nothing that anyone can point to as dominating. Having said that, T. C. also doesn't drop into the breakout category because, despite what his detractors may say, after passing for over 3000 yards in a season, especially when you consider the "talent" that surrounded him on last year's offense, you've already broken out. So then this becomes the year that Tim Couch must prove that he is the quarterback who is going to run this offense on his football team.
Earl Holmes is a middle linebacker, now calm down I know that many of you are saying "a middle what now" but trust me, middle linebacker is an actual position on many football teams. I feel bad for being so harsh on Wali Rainier, I mean he was a tough kid and really gave his all, but starting middle linebacker material, nope… sorry. So even if it seems as though Earl will stand out by default, I believe that he is an upper tier linebacker if not pro bowl caliber and by the end of the season will certainly stand out on his own merits.
Phil Dawson & Chris Gardocki
Why? Well Gardocki has stood out since he's been here and in this season it will be for the quality of his punts not quantity. As for Dawson, the coaching staff had confidence in him last year and he responded, now he should be able to take that confidence in himself and run with it, or more accurately, kick with it.
Of course we would all like to see William Green breakout in his rookie season but as I said this is his rookie season so as for him, hope for the best but rely on the veteran's.
Two summers ago when I saw this kid in training camp he caught the ball. Good throw, poor throw… didn't matter he got to the ball and made the play. Now with his injuries behind him and having been in the system for a year he is ready for a season. Like K. J., not the biggest, not the fastest but the most important thing about being a receiver is catching the ball and making the play. Unlike some of his taller, faster competition I'm looking for JaJaun to take a step or two away from the pack and have himself a breakout season.
This kid impresses me as someone who wants to get the job done, someone who wants to contrib