2007 Pro Football Thrills and Chills
By Glenn Guzzo
Here’s a brief summary of the highlights and lowlights of Strat-O-Matic’s new football ratings:
Oh Yeah! 100-catch man Larry Fitzgerald is a deep threat, too … Three 7-rated pass blockers in the middle of the offensive line
Oh No! Lackluster run game: HB Edgerrin James ain’t what he used to be, there’s no change-of-pace back and no OL run blockers better than 4
Oh Yeah! LT Darnell Dockett is a 6 and his 9 on the pass rush is tied for best of any starting DT
Oh No! The Poor pass D is a headache both Short and Long. The Cardinals force very few turnovers.
Oh Yeah! Steve Breaston’s punt return TD
Oh No! +18, +15, long gain on punt coverage … penalties galore
Oh Yeah! WR Roddy White looks like a future All-Pro
Oh No! RB Warrick Dunn looks like he’s done. Backup Jerious Norwood has explosive gains Wrong, but explosive losses Right
Oh Yeah! 6s at MLB (Michael Boley) and LCB (DeAngelo Hall)
Oh No! The Linebuck and Off Tackle defense is porous, both on the team card and with the 0 and 4 at DT
Oh Yeah! Excellent punting yardage except for the block; decent punt coverage, too.
Oh No! -4 penalty differential, a blocked punt, Morten Anderson is reliable on FGs only inside the 30, and the Falcons yield a long gain on kickoff coverage
Oh Yeah! Willis McGahee can run, Kyle Boller can throw, Derrick Mason can catch
Oh No! Automatic run fumbles on #11, plus hefty chances on #5
Oh Yeah! Excellent vs. run depends on front seven’s individual ratings (two 6s, four 5s) … Perennial 6 FS Ed Reed is in familiar form
Oh No! 0s at RCB, SS weaken defense significantly
Oh Yeah! Both punt returners (Yamon Figurs on #3, Ed Reed on #11) have a pair of TD chances. Figurs takes kickoffs back all the way on #2, also
Oh No! A blocked punt and a -4 penalty differential
Oh Yeah! The left side of the line with T Jason Peters (6,7) and G Derrick Dockery (5,7) … WR Lee Evans will make most of the Bills’ big plays.
Oh No! Rookie QB Trent Edwards obviously is still learning to aim for the men on his own team.
Oh No! Two 0s a LB and two more in the secondary … RE Aaron Schobel (7) is the top pass rusher … The Bills give up gobs of yards on the ground, too.
Oh Yeah! PR Roscoe Parrish (TD on roll #2, big yards on rolls 3-6) … Superb punt coverage … PK Rian Lindell is very reliable … KOR Terrence McGee has a TD on #2 (but little else)
Oh No! long gain on KOR
Oh Yeah! Though he lacks a Long Gain, WR Steve Smith has 9 chances for +57 or better on Long Pass Wrong
Oh No! Having four QB cards can’t be good. It’s not.
Oh Yeah! 6-rated RT Kris Jenkins and three 5s up front, but rookie MLB Jon Beason is the only 5 or better in the back seven
Oh No! Run D depends on fumbles and individual ratings. Otherwise, watch out.
Oh Yeah! Strong kicking from P Jason Baker and PK John Kasay
Oh No! Ryan Robinson is no threat on either KOR or PR … long gain on punt coverage
Oh Yeah! WR Bernard Berrian is a lonely threat, though both TEs can go deep
Oh No! The Bears are well below average at both QB and RB … The OL has lost all the glamour from its 2006-season Super Bowl team
Oh Yeah! DT Tommie Harris and MLB Brian Urlacher are 6s …Good pass-D card
Oh No! Both safeties are 0, both corners are 4
Oh Yeah! Record-setting return man Devin Hester’s PR TD on roll #4 and KOR TD on #2 … Superb punt coverage … Robbie Gould: 2-9,12 from 23-32 yd lines
Oh No! long gain on KOR coverage … -4 penalty differential
Oh Yeah! QB Carson Palmer’s interceptions are higher, but otherwise he’s terrific … Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmanzadeh (each more than 100 catches) are the best
1-2 WR corps in the game and trouble-maker Chris Henry is a dangerous 3rd wideout who will make it risky to double-team
Oh No! In a realistic-use replay, RB Rudi Johnson’s card (170 carries / 2.9 avg) will kill the offense (otherwise Kenny Watson picks up the slack).
Oh Yeah! Look hard. LE Robert Geathers is the best vs. run (5) and pass (4 rush)
Oh No! Very Poor vs. Pass = Long Gain on #4 in Short Pass 3 Men and a historically bad pass rush (top rating is 4)
Oh Yeah! Glenn Holt’s KOR TD … Shayne Graham is 2-9,12 on FGs from 23-32 yd lines
Oh No! Poor punt returns and a long gain on punt coverage
Oh Yeah! QB Derek Anderson, WR Braylon Edwards and RB Jamal Lewis all will make big plays. TE Kellen Winslow Jr.’s card looks like his dad’s – he’s a
horse … LG Eric Steinbach (6,7) is one of three OL with 7 pass blocking.
Oh Yeah! The team is defenseless, except for RE Robaire Smith (5,4)
Oh No! Poor vs. run = Short Gains at #7 with 0 Men in Linebuck, Off Tackle and End Run vs. a 3-4 … Very Poor vs. pass = Long Gain at #4 in
Short Pass 3 Men … few turnovers, few sacks, no 6s and one 5. Ouch!
Oh Yeah! Dynamite returner Josh Cribbs has a KOR TD at roll #3 and a PR TD at #2, plus good secondary yardage … solid punter Dave Zastudil
Oh No! long gain on punt coverage … -4 penalty differential
Oh Yeah! No RB fumbles, no QB/WR fumbles … QB Tony Romo, WR Terrell Owens and TE Jason Whitten – each All-Pro caliber – can do so much damage
in the air that RB Marion Barber III ought to make great use of his explosive Wrong columns. He has help: Four 6-rated run blockers.
Oh No! Romo’s higher-than-average interceptions are the only downside
Oh Yeah! Two 6s (LCB Terence Newman and FS Ken Hamlin) and two 5s in the secondary … Two asterisk sackers in LOLB Greg Ellis and
ROLB DeMarcus Ware … Ware: 6 vs. run, 12*6 pass rush
Oh No! too many completions allowed, not enough turnovers created
Oh Yeah! PK Nick Folk is 2-10 at all ranges through 32 yd lines.
Oh No! long gains on both KOR and PR coverage
Oh Yeah! QB Jay Cutler passes with confidence and WRs Brandon Marshall and Brandan Stokely turn catches into big yards.
Oh No! For a change, no marquee running back or 6-rated blockers in
Oh Yeah! A 6 (LCB Champ Bailey) and two 5s in the secondary … RE Elvis Dumervil’s asterisk pass rushing
Oh No! Poor team cards and no 5s or 6s in the front seven mean the Broncos cannot stop the run
Oh Yeah! PR Glenn Martinez’ TD at roll #3 (but only minus yards and fair catches otherwise) … See the effects of altitude in P Todd Sauerbrun’s yardage
Oh No! blocked punt and long gains on both KOR and PR coverage
Oh Yeah! Four-deep WR corps led by dangerous Roy Williams
Oh No! QB/WR fumble rating: 1-6 … Poor pass blocking and all 4s up front for run blocking
Oh Yeah! Twin 5s at DT
Oh No! “Very Poor” is a generous way of describing what could be the worst
should consider a “Supine” label for a pass D this bad … Four 0s in the back seven and five overall, and a lackluster pass rush, to boot.
Oh Yeah! KOR Casey Fitzsimmons’ TD and P Nick Harris’ strong yardage
Oh No! Very poor kick coverage (+36, +33, long gain on KOR). Other than Fitzsimmons’ TD, awful kick-return yardage
Oh Yeah! Brett Favre’s stylish passing card doesn’t look like a QB ready to retire. He’s supported by strong pass blocking and RB Ryan Grant, who
can get the tough yards and the long ones …WR Greg Jennings is a constant big-yardage threat.
Oh No! 0 run blockers at both guards
Oh Yeah! Studs LE Aaron Kampman (6,12), MLB Nick Barnett (6,6), RCB Al Harris (6) … There are four 5s, too.
Oh No! Very few turnovers … Very vulnerable to the bomb – long gains everywhere with 0 men and 0-rated FS Nick Collins. So there’s little help
Oh Yeah! No. 2 PR Will Blackmon’s TD on roll #5 (plus other good returns) … Superb punt coverage … PK Mason Crosby is 2-10 at short range, 2-6
long range, perfect at XPs and strong on kickoffs
Oh No! a blocked punt
Oh Yeah! Matt Schaub is the best QB in the Texans’ young history … WRs Andre Johnson and Andre Davis don’t catch everything, but when they hold on, they fly.
Oh No! Poor cards and poor blockers give the running game slim chance guessed right
Oh Yeah! RE Mario Williams breaks through: Run D-6, rush-12*1 … MLB DeMeco Ryans is a 6
Oh No! Other than a mere 2-3 interception chance on roll #9, there is no number with a sure incompletion on Short Pass 3 Men
Oh Yeah! Andre Davis’ KOR TD on roll #4 and companion KOR Jerome Mathis’ TD on roll #2 … Kris Brown: FG 2-6,11,12 from 33-40 yd lines (that’s a 50 percent chance up to 57 yards out)
Oh No! Mediocrity elsewhere, but nothing to scream about
Oh Yeah! QB Peyton Manning still elite, especially on
So does C Jeff Saturday (6,7), who leads an OL with three 7-rated pass blockers … No QB/WR fumbles and no RB fumbles …
Oh No! RB Joseph Addai is ho-hum, behind a ho-hum run-blocking OL
Oh Yeah! Good vs. the pass, both short and long
Oh No! Former sack star Dwight Freeney is pass rush 5 … SS Bob Sanders the only 6 in a lineup with seven 4s and a 0.
Oh Yeah! T.J. Rushing’s punt-return TD.
Oh No! The worst
Oh Yeah! RB Fred Taylor’s monster card: Short Gain Right and Wrong at #7 across the card, plus 12-13 chances for Short Gain or better in all running
categories. The “better” includes +80, +76, +62, +50 … Backup RB Maurice Jones-Drew would start for most teams as runner, receiving back and KOR man
Oh No! The four WRs drop more than they catch
Oh Yeah! 6-rated LCB Rashean Mathis, four 5s and decent run/pass team cards
Oh No! Only 9-rated RE Paul Spicer rushes the passer well
Oh Yeah! Maurice Jones-Drew’s KOR TD … Josh Scobee’s seven chances for touchbacks, plus all the standard deep kickoffs
Oh No! Scobee can hit a 50-yard FG only on roll #2
Oh Yeah! Veteran TE Tony Gonzalez and rookie WR Dwayne Bowe make the catches and the TDs
Oh No! RB Larry Johnson’s injuries show in a lackluster card … A rebuilt OL has taken the once-mighty Chiefs to three run-blocking 0s and no 6s,
with pass blocking topping out at 4 … QB/WR fumbles: 1-5
Oh Yeah! Re Jared Allen dominates: 6 vs. run and 12*5 pass rush
Oh No! Poor vs. run and vast long gains in
Oh Yeah! Despite a +81 on roll #2, P Dustin Colquitt kicks for huge yardage — +41 all the way to #10. He has a block on 12, though.
Oh No! PK John Carney is shaky on FG and very short kickoffs … Return man Eddie Drummond also is at his career worst … long gain on punt coverage
Miami through Washington coming in Part II