The NFL is about to start, however many subjects are still up for debate throughout the league. Below are the answers to several of these questions.
Who will be the Browns’ starters at key positions?
Running back and quarterback are large questions in Cleveland currently. It is Josh McCown vs Johnny Manziel at quarterback, and at running back there is a three way race between Terrence West, Isaiah Crowell, and rookie Duke Johnson.
As of right now Mike Pettine has stayed strong, proclaiming McCown the starter over Manziel, despite Manziel’s preseason play. Although McCown may seem to be the starter at the moment, it won’t take long for the Dawg Pound to demand to see Manziel in action. Manziel will be the starter by at least week six; despite a solid season in Chicago two years ago, McCown greatly disappointed in Tampa Bay last season, after being thought to be a quarterback who could lead them to the playoffs.
Running back is another question for the Browns. Last season they had duo of backs between rookies Terrence West and Isaiah Crowell, and this offseason they added yet another back in Duke Johnson out of Miami (Fl.). Crowell should get the starting role, however there is still a lot to expect from the other two young running backs.
Duke Johnson was the sole reason for Miami’s success in his time with the Hurricanes, and will be the only back out of the three to come from a division one college. Johnson is a speedy back, however can also take a hit, making him a large threat for yards after contact. Johnson will most likely be used as a receiving back, as he is the most talented receiver of the three, but also not as proven as a runner.
Terrence West showed flashes of greatness last season, but failed to compete at a high level on a weekly basis. Crowell suffered from this same consistency issue, however ended the season with better numbers and showed more progression throughout the season.
Look for Crowell as the lead back to start, however also look for West as a large contributor as well, and Johnson being a threat catching out of the backfield.
Will another receiver emerge in Green Bay?
Jordy Nelson is out for the season, Randall Cobb is injury prone, and we haven’t seen the full potential of Davante Adams yet, so what is to come in Green Bay this season?
Cobb and Adams is still a very good receiving duo for the Packers, and even though there were some questions surrounding the resigning of Cobb, I am sure that everyone in Green Bay is happy they spent the money for him now.
One player to watch however is rookie Ty Montgomery out of Stanford. Montgomery plays very similarly to Cobb; both are speedy receivers and tremendous play makers. Montgomery made some jaw-dropping plays in his time at Stanford, and with Aaron Rodgers liking to spread the love among his receivers, it is possible for Montgomery to have a break out game or two.
How will the Patriots fare without Brady for the start of the season?
The reigning Super Bowl Champions are not in good shape going into the 2015-16 season.
Tom Brady is suspended for four games, Vince Wilfork is in Houston, and Darrelle Revis is in New York again. Many key components to last season’s Super Bowl run are either out of New England or suspended for the first several games of the season.
All in all, New England will not be a playoff team this season. With the Dolphins really stepping up their game in the offseason and the Jets and Bills improving, New England needs every win they can get to contend for the playoffs with the Dolphins, and with Brady out four games I just think that it is too many games to give up so early on.
Can San Francisco bounce back?
Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith, Chris Borland, Justin Smith, Frank Gore, and Mike Iupati are all key pieces that the 49ers have had for years now (except Chris Borland, although he showed a lot of promise) that have retired, gotten in trouble, or left for a new team. Every single player above (except Borland) has been to a Pro Bowl during their time in San Francisco, and helped them get to the Super Bowl.
So can San Francisco bounce back?
This team has lost too many key pieces to be able to compete in the toughest division in football, and I really don’t see them standing a chance this year.
However, this is a team with many youngsters that all have bright futures ahead. Carlos Hyde, Eric Reid, Eli Harold, and Colin Kaepernick are all key pieces to the future of this organization, with a rebuilding season or two ahead, the 49ers should be fine in the future.
Who is hurt more by the ACL, Carolina or Green Bay?
Kelvin Benjamin is not as talented as Jordy Nelson, nor has he come close to the stats put up by Nelson. However now Carolina is left with their best receiver being Corey Brown, a very good player as a 3rd string receiver however definitely not talented enough to be the number one guy.
Over on the Green Bay side stand Randall Cobb and Davante Adams, a receiving core that is one of the best in the league even without Jordy Nelson.
The Panthers are completely depleted at wide receiver now, and at this point with the offseason ending it is too late to sign one of the good receivers that would have been available at the end of the summer. Devin Funchess and Corey Brown will need to really step up to fill the gap left by Benjamin this season, if they can’t then they stand little chance of repeating as NFC South Champs.