Sorry I have been in a bit of hibernation over the off-season. But I am back and ready to fire up with Training Camp approaching, I have been monitoring the site, just not posting much in the off-season and it is great to see all the new members populating the site, which goes to show what a great job Kevin and Ken are doing with the site and the impact their occasional media appearances are having with regards to driving up name recognition for Hogs Haven, so firstly let me thank them guys for the great work they are doing.
With the year to come, once again I will be relying on all the brilliant posters on this site to keep me up to date with the goings on at Auburn, as much as I follow the sport through the Internet, there is so much more information you guys are privy to, just by being in the city and surrounded by more information, any sites you could suggest to help me gain a deeper understanding of whats going on, would as always be appreciated.
Currently I mainly follow the NFL via
ESPN.com (particularly Bill Simmons)
so any additional options I would appreciate, I don't like the Skins official site cos it is too supporting of Snyder (understandably)
So what are the expectations for this year from my friends at HH.
For me I am making the boring and safe prediction of 8-8, with potential for 9-7 if things go right and we win more close games that we lose, but with the potential for 6-10 if injuries and bad luck strike.
Mainly though I see us being far more competitive and actually looking like a true NFL team for the first time in 2 years. personally I am not a fan of Shanahan and I really doubt he can take us to the ultimate promised land of a Superbowl or even an NFC championship game, but I do see him laying important groundwork in building a stable professional organization after the Zorn debacle.
However if any Shanahan takes us to an NFC championship game I see it being Kyle in 3 or 4 years time. This of course is ultra dependant on Snyder being patient enough to let the Shanaplan play out in full and not panicking after our first 3 game losing streak!!!
MY THOUGHTS AND QUESTIONS FOR THE COMING SEASON
Will Haynesworth get to play 3-4 end where he could really help us, or will Shannys stubbornness lead to him being wasted at NT.
Will the 3-4 see Orakpo exposed every time he has to drop into coverage, rather than dominating at 4-3 end which is clearly his best position
Will Jarmon be allowed to play 3-4 end or will he be another converted OLB that is open to be exposed in coverage.
Can London survive 16 games with Guards coming at him constantly as a 3-4 MLB
Will they at last let Landry play SS and get after the QB and show us all what we know he can be, or will be continually be exposed at FS again.
Look at all the above concerns and I think you can see my overall concern, we need big years from DHALL and CROGERS otherwise in the high passing % NFL we have holes that can be brutally exposed, and we need a lot of the 'what if's' to go our way to avoid some savage 30 or 40 point games being dropped on us, and personally I think that if Jim Haslett is the answer, then its a pretty stupid question.
Will Shanahan let McNabb throw the deep ball and stop trying to manufacture a West Coast intermediate passing QB out of him which had its moments in Philly but is not his strength.
Will Trent Williams play the whole year at LT, if he does its a good sign, as it means he is playing well, but its not all doom and gloom if he moves to Right, OHER did that last year in Baltimore and Brown gives us that option, for the first time in forever, we look OK at the bookends, depending on injuries of course.
Will Rabach play the whole year at Centre or will one of the late Round Draft Picks ( i forget his name now) make his mark, as much as I like Rabach, competition is always good.
Finally on the O-Line will they bring Levi back as insurance at Tackle and will Rhinehart play better with a coach who might just believe in him for once, unlike Zorn who never gave him a chance until he had too, and lo and behold, once Injurys forced his hand, Zorn found that the kid could play (only for injury to end his year before it really had a chance to begin)
Can Devin Thomas step up to be the big time receiver he has the potential to be, I can see him steamrolling CornerBacks this year, just as long as he improves his route running and actually gets open to make the catch, I can see DT being one of the better Yards after Contact RECEIVERS in the NFC East, if not the whole NFL
Can Malcolm Kelly become the Red Zone/3rd Down receiver that his physique suggests he should be.
Can we ring one more year out of Santana, and if the other two do well, could we see him in the Slot.
Will Fred Davis announce himself to the NFL, I for one think he will and see a Pro Bowl nod at the end of the year.
LASTLY SPECIAL TEAMS
With Antwan "FAIR CATCH" Randle El gone, can we at last see some big plays from Special Teams
Will Special teams needs, see us dropping Parker, Johnson or Portis from the Roster before the season starts as none of them play Special Teams and there are only 53 spots and 3 non special teams RB's could be an luxury we cant afford.
Will Hunter the Punter be back, and will Shanahan have the courage to use him on trick plays, or will he be so desperate to separate himself from the Zorn era that he will not use his potential on trick plays out of pig headedness.
As always this is the time of year we can dream, but for me, I am going to, in the Australian turn of phrase
"KEEP A LID ON IT"
which roughly translates to keep 'keep expectations low"
So are my concerns/questions valid, what have I missed, as always your input is the thing I most look forward too.