1 – Detroit - Talk about train wrecks, the Lions six games into the 2008 season have been thoroughly over matched in every contest and will line-up the final eight weeks minus their two most potent offensive threats over the last three seasons. Defensively, they can't stop anyone and overall have few players on their roster at any position with the skills to win with in the NFL. The organization is in total shambles, but in spite of all of their negatives, I believe they made the right decision when they named Rob Marinelli their head coach back in 2006. He's smart, is an excellent teacher and the former Viet Nam tunnel rat is as tough as a two dollar steak. This club is a very long way from winning, but that day may never come unless they finally chose the right individual to run this beleaguered franchise.
Outstanding people like Dave Razzano, Alonzo Highsmith, Phil Neri, Marty Barrett, Dick Daniels, Reggie McKenzie and Steve Verderosa, are out there Mr. Ford and if given the opportunity, all have the talents and vision to greatly improve the Lion's football fortunes. It's fourth down and long Mr. Ford and only you can decide weather to punt or throw the football down the field. The loyal fans in this great town deserve far more and are waiting for you to make the final call.
2 - Kansas City - Their December 28th season finale versus the Cincinnati Bengals looks on paper to be the only possible win left on the Chiefs schedule. It ought to be a barn burner! The Chiefs lost their fifth game in six outings and in the process lost quarterback Brodie Croyle to a knee injury early in the contest (what a surprise). In 2007 the Chiefs has three legitimate, championship level players; sack leader Jarad Allen, was dealt just prior to the draft to the Vikings and both tight end Tony Gonzalez and running back Larry Johnson who do not figure into the Chiefs future plans, will undoubtedly be moved at the end of this disastrous season. Look for those moves to be made by a whole new cast of characters as it appears likely that most of the front office staff will not return to continue with the rebuilding process. Head coach Herman Edwards has looked over-matched in the role of leader of this football club and by just entering the 2008 season with and unproven, injury prone, Croyle and journeyman Damon Huard as his quarterback, leads me to believe he just does not have a good feel or instincts in the area of personnel.
3 – Cincinnati – When the great Jim Finks took over the GM job of the Chicago Bears back in 1974, he gathered every person associated with the club into the team meeting room and simply stated; I want the trainers to train, the coaches to coach, the scouts to scout, the players to play and promptly left the meeting room. A few moments later, Ed McCaskey, the son-in-law of George Halas, entered Fink's office and inquired what was expected of him. Finks, easily the most talented and respected front office person in NFL history, looked up over his reading glasses and politely stated, "Ed, you're an owner, own."
No current executive in the NFL can come close to matching the intellectual prowess of Bengals President and majority shareholder Mike Brown. A Dartmouth graduate and son of football's greatest visionary Paul Brown, Mike, was figuratively born in a huddle, but after nearly three decades running the club, along with his son Paul, daughter Katie, brother Pete and son in law Troy, maybe the time has come to turn the day to day operation over to an experienced football executive and simply just own!
The Brown family and in particular Mike and Pete eye for talent has never been questioned, but over the years I would really have to question some of the decisions they have made regarding the character of many of the players.Marvin Lewis has a great reputation among his peers in the league, but has had just one winning season in this, his sixth season at the helm. In spite of his sub five hundred overall coaching record, look for him to be a fixture around the "Queen City" for many years to come.
4 - Miami – This is not a particularly talented club, but I believe they have a plan and are quickly moving in the right direction under the leadership of Bill Parcells, GM Jeff Ireland, and head coach Tony Sperano. With the exception of Ronnie Brown, the Dolphins really lack offensive playmakers and on the defensive side of the football, the front and back end are just very ordinary.
Interestingly enough, all of the Dolphins past football successes have come with a fellow by the name of Don Shula along the sidelines and other than Dan Marino, the club has had little success in developing people at the critical quarterback position. I like the tribunal's chances of reversing this tradition, but the fans will have to stay patient and maybe hope that a little lady luck might be coming their way.
5 – Seattle - This has been an absolutely disastrous first half of the season for the Seattle Seahawks. Most of it is due to a series of injuries, but let's make something very clear to their fans in the Pacific Northwest; the team's window of opportunity has all but closed.
The time has come for the Seahawks to begin the process of finding and developing a franchise quarterback. Matt Hasselbeck, has been a very solid player for this franchise, but time and injuries (most recent a hyper extended knee), have diminished much of his effectiveness. Based on my exposure, I wouldn't put much faith in the long term future of either Charlie Frye or Seneca Wallace.
Personnel wise, the Seahawks have some quality people, but aside from the previously discussed quarterback position, the offensive line, defensive safety and wide receiver positions will all require major overhauls.
The Seahawks have a few potential wins remaining on the schedule (SF, Miami and St. Louis), but Mike Holmgren's last season as coach of this franchise is not likely to be a memorable one for the veteran coach.
6 - San Francisco - See the new boss, same as the old boss.
7 – Cleveland - Playing better, but the offense doesn't own anything.
8 – Oakland - Club has some winnable game left on the schedule.
9 – Houston - Quarterback and O-line have to become more consistent
10 - St Louis - Two very big wins, but let's not start get too excited.¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬
HM - NY Jets - Favre and little else that gets me very excited on the offense.
HM - Baltimore - Defense is aging but still formidable. Rookie QB and overall offense has a lot of catching up to do.