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CBS: Ten players likely to take a step back


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#1 Mr. Scot

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 10:56 AM

No, Cam Newton is not on the list, but two other NFC South guys are, as well as another QB who's been the topic of some debate in this forum.

7. Curtis Lofton, LB, Saints*

The Falcons didn't think enough of Lofton to bring him back to Atlanta, but the Saints* were quite happy (relieved?) to sign him to a five-year deal since starter Jonathan Vilma, one of the New Orleans players implicated in the bounty scandal, was eventually suspended for the season by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (though the league has yet to rule on the bounty appeals).

Assuming that Vilma doesn't play in 2012, will Lofton be an adequate replacement? He had a career-high 147 tackles in Atlanta last season, but the Falcon reportedly let him walk because they considered him a two-down player who struggled in pass coverage. Turns out, he's an ineffective pass rusher, too, ranking in the bottom 10 among all middle linebackers in ProFootballFocus.com's "pass-rushing productivity" metric. It doesn't help that Lofton is in a new system and playing for a unit that will begin the season without two of its best players: Vilma and defensive end Will Smith.


9. Michael Turner, RB, Falcons

In his annual top 100 players list, CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco ranked Turner 95th noting that while "He continues to be a workhorse in the Atlanta backfield … is he starting to slow down because of all the carries?" To answer Pete's question: Yes, yes he is. In fact, you could've said that a year ago. Turner combined for 635 carries in 2010 and 2011 and even though he managed 4.5 yards per carry last season, 433 of his 1,340 total rushing yards came against the Panthers, Lions and Bucs, three of the worst run defenses in the league. Against that trio, Turner averaged 6.1 yards per carry. Against the other 13 teams, his YPC fell to 3.9. More perspective: he ranked 39th in Football Outsiders' total RB value metric behind Jackie Battle, Michael Bush and Ryan Grant. This might help explain the speculation about the Falcons' new pass-heavy offense


10. Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals

If not for Cam Newton, Andy Dalton would've been the unanimous choice for Offensive Rookie of the Year. He was that good. And unlike Newton, no one expected anything from Dalton, a second-round pick out of TCU. All he did was replace Carson Palmer and help lead the Bengals to the playoffs after a four-win effort the season before. Much of the credit has to go to offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, who did a masterful job of putting the quarterback we affectionately call Ginger Power in positions to succeed. But now that opponents have a season's worth of tape on Dalton, they will try to take away what he does well (anticipation and accuracy, to quote NFL Films' Greg Cosell) and exploit his weaknesses (which Cosell identifies as "his inability to drive the ball with velocity"). Then the question becomes: is Dalton good enough to overcome schemes designed to make him uncomfortable? He wouldn't be the first NFL quarterback to experience growing pains in Year 2 after a stellar start to his career.


CBS Sports: Eye on Football

#2 jarhead

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 11:04 AM

I certainly see Turner as being on the backside of his career.

#3 The Huddler

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 11:06 AM

Honestly my biggest fear is Cam taking a step back this year. I want to win now but the wins will come. All i really want for this year is Cam becoming Elite, and with out a doubt top 5 QB

#4 Mr. Scot

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 11:09 AM

I think it's very possible that Cam will take a step back as far as stats.

That said, I think even though the stats may be lesser, the overall quarterback performance may be greater.

#5 jarhead

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 11:18 AM

Honestly my biggest fear is Cam taking a step back this year. I want to win now but the wins will come. All i really want for this year is Cam becoming Elite, and with out a doubt top 5 QB

No doubt he has some areas to improve.Number 1 is he needs to get rid of the ball where a sack is imminent (much easier said than done with his athletic ability)Number 2 he has some balls float when he is not properly planted.The guy has a rocket for an arm and is much more accurate than I ever imagined.My biggest concern is I feel teams will double team Smitty like the Titans did so we need LaFell to get better separation and somehow replace Shockey.

#6 panthers34

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 11:24 AM

turner

#7 Harris Aballah

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 11:25 AM

No doubt he has some areas to improve.Number 1 is he needs to get rid of the ball where a sack is imminent (much easier said than done with his athletic ability)Number 2 he has some balls float when he is not properly planted.The guy has a rocket for an arm and is much more accurate than I ever imagined.My biggest concern is I feel teams will double team Smitty like the Titans did so we need LaFell to get better separation and somehow replace Shockey.

Olsen and the addition of tolbert should create some interesting offensive packages.

#8 LinvilleGorge

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 11:25 AM

I think it's very possible that Cam will take a step back as far as stats.

That said, I think even though the stats may be lesser, the overall quarterback performance may be greater.


This.

When Cam put up ridiculous numbers last season, we lost. When Cam put up less stats, but we had more balance and less turnovers, we won a decent amount of those games.

I think it was just Chud reacting to what the opponent was doing. Early on, teams were playing Cam like a running QB and he absolutely lit them up through the air. When they had to adapt to that, that's when we became more balanced as an offense.

I don't care if Cam doesn't get to 4k passing yards. I want more WINS!

#9 Harris Aballah

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 11:28 AM

Matt ryan shouldn't have an opportunity to lose a playoff game this year, and brees has no choice but to take a step back. I do not believe john fox will luck his way into playoffs this year either. T.O. might duplicate his success in the arena league tho.

#10 The Huddler

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 11:30 AM

To me Wins are important but Cam's progression is more important