BASN Training Camp Questions: The NFC

By Lloyd Vance
Updated: July 27, 2007

PHILADELPHIA — For the second straight day, I wanted to take a divisional and team look at questions that need to be answered around the NFL going into the season. Today, we’ll peek at the NFC.

NFC North

Chicago Bears

  • How will the team survive the distractions related to the release of enigmatic DT Tank Johnson?
  • Can the Bears avoid the Super Bowl loser problems (Injuries, Karma, Defections, Infighting, etc)?
  • Is Cedric Benson ready to assume the role as the featured back?
  • How will the team handle the possible holdout of franchised player LB Lance Briggs and when will he report?
  • Will Rex Grossman find the consistency needed to be a championship level quarterback (23 TDs and 20 INTs) and will Lovie Smith stick Rex Grossman throughout the season?

Detroit Lions

  • Can second year Head Coach Rod Marinelli finally get this team back to the playoffs?
  • How is the rehab and recovery of franchise RB Kevin Jones (foot) going?
  • Are there enough balls for everyone including 2007 1st Rd pick Calvin Johnson?
  • Will QB Jon Kitna live up to his big expectations from playing O-Coordinator Mike Martz’s offense (Predicted he would throw 50 TDs)?
  • Will GM Matt Millen survive after this season (three coaches, no playoffs, and an overall 24-72 record)?

Green Bay Packers

  • Will this be the year that Brett Favre finally says goodbye to the NFL or will he stick around after the good feelings from a four-game winning streak at the end of 2006?
  • Will any of the WRs including 2006 2nd Rd Pick WR Greg Jennings step up and take some pressure off of QB Favre?
  • With RB Ahmad Green going to the Houston Texans, Who will be the featured RB for the Packers (Morency, Heron, or 2nd Rd Draftee Brandon Jackson)?
  • Will the defense be better with the maturing of AJ Hawk and the addition of 2007 1st Rd pick Justin Harrell (Allowed 27 ppg in 2007)?
  • Can the Packers young O-Line continue to protect the 38 year old Favre (237 Consecutive Starts)?

Minnesota Vikings

  • Can QB Tavaris Jackson live up to the expectations of being a full time starter in 2007or should the Vikings have a plan B?
  • Will RB Adrian Peterson live up to the hype of being the first RB selected in the 2007 Draft?
  • Will owner Zygi Wilff get the new stadium he is seeking or are the Vikings moving?
  • Will any of the WRs including 2005 1st Rd Pick WR Troy Williamson step up and take some pressure off of QB Jackson?
  • Will any of the high draft picks on defense step up (DE Udeze, DE James, MLB Henderson, OLB Greenway, DB Griffin and others)?

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

  • How will the Cowboys adjust to the loss of disciplinarian former Head Coach Bill Parcells and the addition of “player’s coach” Wade Phillips?
  • Can Tony Romo repeat his magic from 2006 in basically his 2nd season in the NFL?
  • Will Terrell Owens make through his second season in Dallas and will he continue to make “big plays”, but still drop some routine passes?
  • Are some of the Cowboys core too old (WR Owens, WR Glenn, LT Adams, OLB Ellis)?
  • Will the secondary improve on their coverage from 2006, especially the safeties?

New York Giants

  • Will Head Coach Tom Couglin survive another 8-8 season or is the handwriting on the wall?
  • How will the offense replace Tiki Barber and his over 2,000 yards of offense including 1,600 yards rushing?
  • Is Eli Manning ready to be the quarterback the Giants thought they traded for in 2004?
  • Will the secondary improve on their coverage from 2006, especially the CB’s?
  • Will there be harmony in the Giants locker room (Strahan, Burress, Shockey, Pierce)?

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Is Donovan McNabb healthy and what will happen if he is injured for the fourth time in six years and will they regret not bringing back Jeff Garcia?
  • Will Andy Reid let Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg continue to run the football?
  • Are core players FS Brian Dawkins, LT William Thomas, DE Jevon Kearse, MLB Jeremiah Trotter too old?
  • After letting WR Donte Stallworth leave, can 3rd year WR Reggie Brown take the next step up becoming the Eagles go-to guy?
  • Can 2nd year players DT Bunkely, OLB Gcong, WR/KR Bloom, and OT Justice make an impact, especially first round pick Bunkley (nine tackles)?

Washington Redskins

  • Does Joe Gibbs still have the fire in his belly for another NFL season?
  • Will Jason Campbell continue his maturation and become the leader of the Redskins?
  • Can 2006′s high priced pickups (WR Randle El, WR Lloyd, DE Carter and others) live up to their expectations?
  • Can the Defensive Line improve on a franchise low 19 sacks?
  • How will the ‘Skins share the rushing workload between 1,000 yard RBs Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts?

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

  • How will the team survive the distractions related to the on-going Michael Vick dog fighting investigation and case? If Vick can’t play who starts: Harrington, DJ Shockley, or a free agent.
  • Will new Head Coach Bobby Petrino establish his program and lead the Falcons back to the playoffs in spite of the Vick situation and being a college coach?
  • Can older Falcons Gandy, Milloy, Dunn, Horn, and Jackson still produce at a high level?
  • How will they replace DE Patrick Kerney’s sack production (Draftee Anderson or the often injured Abraham)?
  • Are they going to regret trading QB Matt Schaub to the Texans?

Carolina Panthers

  • Is Jake Delhomme ready to play and what will happen if he is ineffective (David Carr in wings)?
  • Are core players FS Mike Minter, DT Kris Jenkins, DE Mike Rucker, and MLB Dan Morgan too old?
  • After cutting WR Keyshawn Johnson, can 2007 2nd Rd pick WR Dwayne Jarrett, WR Keary Colbert, WR Drew Carter, or someone else step to help Pro Bowl WR Steve Smith?
  • Is this the last year for Head Coach John Fox and is Bill Cowher waiting in the wings?
  • Now that Colts DE Dwight Freeney (six years, $72 million, $30 million guaranteed) got a huge contract, will Panthers star DE Julius Peppers be looking for a similar deal?

New Orleans Saints

  • With a more difficult schedule in 2007 can the Saints repeat their 2006 success and can young Head Coach Sean Payton keep it up?
  • Can Drew Brees stay healthy and produce MVP type numbers for the 2nd year in a row?
  • Is Reggie Bush ready to have a breakout season in 2007 and will there be enough carries for Bush and McAllister?
  • Now that Joe Horn has moved on to Atlanta, will Marques Colston continue his impromptu rise and become the Saints number No. 1 WR?
  • Will the Saints overachieving “no-name” defense continue to excel in 2007 (Allowed 20 ppg in 2006)?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Will John Gruden be staying or going after the season (Win in SB XXXVII is a distant memory)?
  • How many QBs do the Buccaneers need (Garcia, Simms, Rattay, Plummer, Eugene, Gradkowski) and who is going to start?
  • Can Cadillac Williams (5-foot-11, 204 lbs) stay healthy enough to withstand the pounding of being an every down RB (798 yards, 3.5 ypc, and 1 TD in 2006)?
  • Which WR (Joey Galloway, Maurice Stovall, Michael Clayton, David Boston or others) will step up to assume the No. 1 position to help out the plethora of QBs?
  • Are core players DE Simeon Rice, CB Rhonde Barber, OLB Derrick Brooks, CB Brian Kelly, and others too old?

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

  • Can new Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt finally get this team back to the playoffs?
  • How much does Edgerrin James have left at age 30 (Struggled last year with a 3.4 ypc)?
  • Will draftee OT Levi Brown and acquisition C Al Johnson finally solidify the O-Line after disappointing Leonard Davis left for Dallas?
  • Are the Cardinals too “Fantasy Football” based? Sure they have all the offensive weapons in the world, but they are too inconsistent.
  • Will Matt Leinart live up to his great expectations in his 2nd Season?

San Francisco 49ers

  • Are the 49ers really the Cinderella team for 2007 (Expectations similar to 2006 Saints and Jets)
  • With all of the moves that the 49ers have made (CB Nate Clements, S Michael Lewis, WR Darrell Jackson, 1st Rd Pick LB Patrick Willis and others) are they as good as the Seahawks?
  • After a solid season as a 1st year starter, is Alex Smith (2890 yards, 16 TDs and 16 INTs) ready to become an upper tier quarterback?
  • Can the 49ers with their additions on defense improve an NFL worst 412 pts allowed (26 ppg)?
  • Can Frank Gore stay healthy and have another season like 2006 (1,695 yards, 5.4 ypc, 8 TDs)?

Seattle Seahawks

  • Was the Super Bowl appearance in 2005 the peak for this team and their Head Coach?
  • After eight seasons in Seattle and being stripped of the GM duties, Is Head Coach Mike Holmgren on the Hot Seat with Paul Allen?
  • At age 30 and with an injured foot how effective will former MVP RB Shaun Alexander be (896 yards, 3.6 ypc, and 7 TDs)?
  • With all of the moves that the Seahawks have made in the last few years (WR Deion Branch, DE Patrick Kerney, S Deon Grant, LB Julian Peterson, and others) can they hold off the 49ers and Rams for the division?
  • Will Matt Hasselbeck stay healthy and will Deion Branch become his No.1 WR living up to his trade value?

St. Louis Rams

  • Will Marc Bulger holdout and if he doesn’t play, what is Plan B (Gus Frerotte, Ryan Fitzpatrick)?
  • Are core players WR Isaac Bruce, OT Orlando Pace, WR Torry Holt, and DE Leonard Little still effective after playing on the Super Bowl team in 1999?
  • Can Steven Jackson stay healthy and have another season like 2006 (1,528 yards, 4.4 ypc, 13 TDs, and 90 catches)?
  • Can undersized 2007 1st Rd Draft pick DT Adam Carriker (290 pounds) make the switch to NT after playing DE in college?
  • Can the Rams with their additions on defense from the draft improve on their bottom 5 rated unit (Allowed an average of 24 ppg)?