First off, I should be back more on a semi-regular basis. Football season is here... which also means school is here... which means I'm at my computer more. Skin Patrol should be around more as well.. so hopefully, there will be more content. So tell all your friends. And have them tell their friends. And so on. Then we might have double digit readers.
Secondly, I only saw bits and pieces of the game last night. I was in the midst of travelling (2 hours in the air, 4 on the ground) so it was hard to sit and watch the game for long periods of time. But I did see enough to come up with 5 burning questions for the now-underway season. So, here we go:
1. Can Jason Taylor (the one big addition) help the pass rush and, therefore, the defense improve in 2008?
Short answer: I don't think so. And I say that because last season's defense was 8th in overall defense, 11th in scoring defense and 6th in the league in 3rd down percentage. But they were near the bottom in the league with only 24 takeaways and only 33 sacks, 2 areas where even an aging Jason Taylor should help. I don't see them jumping into the elite 2 or 3 defenses in the league, which is why I say I can't see the addition of a proven pass rusher improving the 2008 defense.
2. The offense... wtf?
3. Is Jason Campbell the real deal?
After last night, there is no other way of putting it. Yes, it is a new offensive system. Yes, JC is still a (relatively) young starting NFL QB. And yes, the offense looked just as bad as it did in 2006 and for large chunks of 2007.
Realize, it will take a while for the West Coast Offense to get settled in. Most so-called "experts" say 2 to 3 years. But with the running game remaining almost entirely intact from a season ago, it should lessen the time it takes for the offense to take hold. And despite the offense system, there should be a moment where the light comes on for JC. Something that even the most casual fan can recognize... which, as Jules said, is "what alcoholics refer to as a 'moment of clarity.'"
4. What can we expect from Jim Zorn the head coach?
This is a real wild card question... mostly because no one (including Jim Zorn himself) has any idea. He has never been a head coach... on any level. The things that head coaches live and die by are the suttle in game decisions: Punt or go for it? When to use the timeouts? To challenge a call or not? This is a learning process for Zorn... and for us as we watch to see if he makes the right decisions in the right spots or not. I have no answer... and anyone says they have one is a liar or crazy.
5. Jim Zorn, the offensive play-caller?
Again, another unknown. This is the logical step for any offensive assistant: position to offensive coordinator to head coach. Zorn is taking on the last 2 steps all at once. A lot of what I said above applies here. The most interesting part of this for me is that his play calling as offensive coordinator will determine a lot of the decisions he has to make as head coach. I think this will be a much easier transition for the former NFL QB. That an learning under Holmgren has a pretty good track record.
Feel free to weigh in. What's your question? Or which one of these intrigues you most?
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And, as part of an ongoing tradition around these parts, I bring you my official picks for the Second Annual Blogger Deathsport. Expect Skin Patrol's soon and, as always, lines courtesy of Yahoo!:
WAS @ NYG (-3.5)
ARZ (2.5) @ SF
SEA @ BUF (-1)
CIN (-1) @ BAL
DAL (-5.5) @ CLE
DET (-3) @ ATL
CHI @ IND (-9.5)
JAX (-3) @ TEN
KC @ NE (NL)
TB @ NO (-3)
NYJ (-3) @ MIA
STL @ PHI (-7.5)
HOU @ PIT (-6.5)
CAR @ SD (-9)
DEN (-3) @ OAK
MIN @ GB (-2.5) MIN 20 - GB 17
My fingers hurt. I need to get back into football (blogging) shape.