I had decided to retire GSEZ, but I guess I’m just a girl who can’t say no. Couldn’t end on a Brees elegy.
And apologies for posting right before kickoff, so most of you won’t have read it until after the game, but I just wanted to get this on the record.
Today we start on the path to yet another NFC South title and a new dawn in the Payton Era.
The Bucs just won the Super Bowl by being hot and lucky at the right time, and despite Thursday night’s win there will be the inevitiable Lombardi hangover.
The Panthers continue to rebuild and Sam Darnold is their QB.
The Falcons are in the middle of an organizational change and are going to suck in general — Ryan is showing a little tread wear, and somehow in the offseason they parlayed Julio Jones and the fourth pick in the draft into a rookie TE and the 21st pick in next year’s draft, which I am sure gives the vets a lot of enthusiasm as to the plan t to win now…..
And that leaves us, and we are going to be very, very good again. Lucy, lemme ‘splain.
Let’s tot up the assets:
Offense: a great coach between second and fifth in the league on a given day, a terrific young OL, the best offensive weapon in football in Kamara, best wild card in the league in Taysom Hill and the upside of Jameis Winston.
Defense: tremendous pass rush, suddenly deep and talented LB corps, and enough players in the secondary ranging from very good to passable that we can hold something together, especially if the pass rush comes on as I expect.
ST: better punter, overall strong coverage units, and we’ll have Harris back before too long.
Intangibles: ABSOLUTELY NO PRESSURE FROM EXPECTATIONS. I always got the feeling that the last couple of years the team felt pressure to win one more Super Bowl for Brees, while at the same time Brees kept showing more and more decline over the course of a season. That’s all gone now, and these guys can play with complete freedom and vastly lowered expectations from the media, fans and everyone in between. There in nothing in sports like the “we get no respect” card.
But we had some losses, right? Brees, Janoris Jenkins, Hendrickson and his 16 sacks, Sheldon Rankins, Malcom Brown, Jared Cook, Emanuel Sanders, and a few others.
And I ask — so what?
Let’s take a look at this roster by age, shall we? Starters in bold (I have ST too) and key depth/see the field a lot in italics:
Ruiz, Turner, Adebo, Werner — 22
Callaway, McCoy, L’il Jordan, Tony Jones, Harris, CJGJ, Roach, Gilliken — 23
Marcus Williams, Clapp, Juwan Johnson, Davenport, Dowell, Trautmann, Granderson, Baun — 24
JT Gray, Marshon, TreQuan, Tuttle – 25
Kamara — 26
Kwon, Ramczyk, Peat, Washington, Jameis, Lutz — 27
Onyemata, PJ Williams, Crawley, Thomas — 28
Roby, Hurst — 29
Armstead — 30
Hill, Trufant— 31
Davis, Jordan — 32
Jenkins — 33
That’s 17 out of 22 starters 28 and under. These guys aren’t getting worse any time soon.
And the guys we lost? Waiting in the wings:
Brown — Roach
Brees — Winston
Jared Cook and Josh Hill — Adam Trautmand and Juwan Johnson
Rankins — didn’t see much of him the last two years, and although we will miss Malcom Brown, we have young DTs on the roster
Janoris Jenkins — Paulson Adebo, and toss in Bradley Roby.
And there’s more young guys in the wings, particularly at DE and LB.
We always lose guys, but every year a young guy steps up out of the shadows like Trey Hendrickson did last year.
Guys like Baun, Granderson, Davenport, Juwan Johnson — it’s just going to be their turn pretty soon, and I bet this year.
Guys like Payton Turner and Pete Werner aren’t even on the list of expected contributors. But they could step up as well, at any time.
Which is why I think we’re going to win the NFC South.
Now let’s go beat the Packers and suprise all the haters and get rolling.