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So it come down to the Bolts, Pats, & Colts?

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Thumper, May 21, 2007.

  1. Thumper

    Thumper WHS

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    Line of Scrimmage: Pats, Colts, and Bolts - 2007's Elite Trio

    By Tony Moss, NFL Editor

    Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - May is "National Hyperbole Month" in the NFL, a time for prognosticators from coast to coast to scour over projected 2007 rosters and make breathless pronouncements about the imminent ascendance of whatever team has improved itself in the most tangible manner during the preceding months.

    In the spring of 2007, the object of our collective affection has been the New England Patriots. In fact, earmarking the Pats for greatness is so easy Sean Salisbury can do it.

    We all recall how New England was one defensive stop away from representing the AFC in Super Bowl XLI this past February. We all know about the Hawking- like genius of their head coach, and have considered the trio of titles engineered by the golden boy quarterback. None of us has to leaf through the Sporting News' Pro Football Register to understand what names like Randy Moss, Donte' Stallworth, Wes Welker, and Adalius Thomas could do to enhance the quality of the sitting "Team of the Decade."

    And so we gush, even though New England is but one of three potentially elite- level teams that will be wading through a contentious AFC in 2007.

    The reigning World Champion Indianapolis Colts still have that guy wearing No. 18, still have those two receivers that few can cover when it matters, and still have the coach for whom players would run into burning buildings.

    The San Diego Chargers are one season removed from an NFL-best 14-2 regular The San Diego Chargers are one season removed from an NFL-best 14-2 regular season, return basically everyone of import from the roster that forged that mark, and will enter the year spitting mad over the way their 2006 campaign ended, with a shocking home playoff loss to the Patriots.

    With apologies to other probable double-digit-win teams like the Bears, Ravens, Saints, and Bengals, it is New England, Indianapolis, and San Diego that will begin the upcoming season as those against which all others will be measured.

    Which of the three will actually match the hype, if any? That's where we come in.

    Below we take a "Tale of the Tape"-style look at the rosters of the Patriots, Colts, and Chargers, evaluating the strongest areas of all three teams entering the 2007 campaign and identifying the true favorite:

    Quarterbacks: 1. Colts, 2, Patriots, 3. Chargers

    You could make a real case for Tom Brady being the preferable quarterback to Peyton Manning just a few short months ago, but that sales pitch is a stretch at this point. Manning has won three straight against Brady head-to-head, including two in New England and one in the playoffs, now has a Super Bowl title in his hip pocket, and frankly, is the more consistent player. That said, there's no shame in being the second-best quarterback in the NFL, which Brady is. No one with a lucid sense of reality would place Philip Rivers anywhere other than third on this list, though he did a commendable job in his first year as a starter last season.

    Running Backs: 1. Chargers, 2. Patriots, 3. Colts

    LaDainian Tomlinson is arguably the finest running back of his generation, and now that Manning has won the big one, the "L.T. has never won a playoff game" storyline figures to get trotted out with more frequency beginning this season. The presence of backup Michael Turner and fullback Lorenzo Neal should give Norv Turner few backfield worries. New England's Laurence Maroney and Indianapolis' Joseph Addai are similar talents, but the Patriots get the edge here because they have some credible NFL players (Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk, Heath Evans) beneath him on the depth chart at running back. As it stands now, if Addai goes down, Indianapolis would be handing the football to someone named DeDe Dorsey.

    Wide Receivers: 1. Colts, 2. Patriots, 3. Chargers

    Based purely on potential, you would have to give the edge here to the Patriots. New England added Moss, Stallworth, and Welker to a group that already included capable players like Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney. But when analyzing the corps of receivers that will actually be more productive, the smart money is on Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and first-round draft choice Anthony Gonzalez. San Diego's group of receivers is a distant third, especially now that Keenan McCardell has been trimmed from the roster. Eric Parker and Vincent Jackson figure to be the Chargers' Week 1 starters at wideout, with first-round draft choice Craig Davis (LSU) looked to for a contribution as well.

    Tight Ends: 1. Chargers, 2. Patriots, 3. Colts

    The Patriots' Benjamin Watson and Colts' Dallas Clark inspire their fair share of worry among NFL defensive coordinators, but nothing close to the gnashing of teeth that goes on over the prospect of having to stop San Diego's Antonio Gates. Add in the presence of the underrated Brandon Manumaleuna and 6-7 rookie Scott Chandler (Iowa), and the Bolts have an especially scary rookie Scott Chandler (Iowa), and the Bolts have an especially scary contingent working the middle of the field. New England gets the number two spot thanks to backups David Thomas and Kyle Brady, who have a little more versatility than Indy's backup duo of Ben Utecht and Bryan Fletcher.

    Offensive Lines: 1. Chargers, 2. Patriots, 3. Colts

    These three offensive trench units are remarkably similar in their makeup, all being effective and reliable despite the lack of real star power in the mould of a Jonathan Ogden or Steve Hutchinson. You'd have to have to give a narrow nod to San Diego here, however, since the left side of tackle Marcus McNeill and guard Kris Dielman, center Nick Hardwick, and right tackle Shane Olivea are all regarded as being among the top tier at their positions. New England's left side of tackle Matt Light and guard Logan Mankins is solid, as is center Dan Koppen. There is a widespread belief around the league that Manning makes his line look good, and not vice-versa, though there is no doubt that players like left tackle Tarik Glenn and center Jeff Saturday stack up with the NFL's best.

    Defensive Lines: 1. Patriots, 2. Chargers, 3. Colts

    Comparing the three-man front of the Patriots and Chargers to the Colts' 4-3 unit is a little unfair, since responsibilities within those schemes are dissimilar. That said, since Indianapolis didn't stop the run or rush the passer very well during the 2006 regular season, it is an easy pick for last place on this list. If tackles Anthony McFarland and Raheem Brock can stop the run as well as they did in the 2006 postseason, and if ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis revert to their pre-'06 production, Indy will move up this chart. New England's trio of nose tackle Vince Wilfork and ends Richard Seymour and Ty Warren is spectacular when healthy, and San Diego's group of nose tackle Jamal Williams and ends Luis Castillo and Igor Olshansky is strong in its own right.

    Linebackers: 1. Patriots, 2. Chargers, 3. Colts

    Adding Adalius Thomas to a group of linebackers that already included Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, Roosevelt Colvin, and Junior Seau gave New England the most recognizable second line of defense in the league. San Diego's outside duo of Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips gives the Chargers' the pass-rushing edge, though New England receives the overall nod because less is known about the new San Diego inside duo of Stephen Cooper and Matt Wilhelm. Indy is a distant third here, due to the fact that problems at the linebacker position were a major reason for all those rushing yards the team surrendered a year ago. Gary Brackett and Rob Morris are penciled in at two of the linebacker slots a lot, but following Cato June's defection to Tampa Bay, who will end up on the weak side is anyone's guess.

    Defensive Backs: 1. Patriots, 2. Colts, 3. Chargers

    New England has had as many injury issues in the secondary as any other team in the league, but if the likes of cornerbacks Ellis Hobbs, Asante Samuel, and strong safety Rodney Harrison can remain healthy, the Pats will have the makings of a talented group. Offseason additions like veteran corner Tory James and first-round safety Brandon Meriweather figure to help as well. Indianapolis has a major (though oft-injured) talent in Bob Sanders at free Indianapolis has a major (though oft-injured) talent in Bob Sanders at free safety, and a blossoming one in Antoine Bethea at strong safety, but following

    g the offseason defections of Nick Harper and Jason David, the corner slots the offseason defections of Nick Harper and Jason David, the corner slots could be left to Marlin Jackson and the inexperienced Kelvin Hayden. San Diego's secondary has long been its Achilles heel, though the early selection of cornerback Antonio Cromartie and strong safety Eric Weddle in the last two drafts helps a bit.

    Returns: 1. Patriots, 2. Chargers, 3. Colts

    Ellis Hobbs gave the Patriots a big spark on kickoff returns a year ago, and if New England commits to allowing Wes Welker to handle punts (he is currently listed behind Kevin Faulk at that position), Belichick's squad could be lethal in that area. San Diego's Michael Turner was outstanding on kickoff returns last year, though the return of Darren Sproles after a 2006 season lost to injury could limit Turner exclusively to backup duties. Sproles is a candidate for punt returns as well. Indianapolis has not re-signed free agent Terrence Wilkins, who handled 73 of the team's 81 punt/kickoff returns in the '06 regular season, and their direction with respect to both positions is unclear.

    Click HERE to see the rest of the article including the overall rankings.
     
  2. stone86

    stone86 Well-Known Member

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    pfhhhh... New England's linebackers are overrated.:tdown:
     
  3. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    the only reason they gave the LB nod over us is because of Cooper and Wilhelm which if you've ever seen them in any action is crap

    NE's LBs are older slower and in many ways don't produce as well as they used to.

    Also I don't know if I'd put us behind the Colts in DBs, I know we've had weak DBs but considering the Colts loss Harper, Doss and David, you gotta imagine they're going to ahve some trouble.
     
  4. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    We have the best front seven in the league, period.
     
  5. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

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    yep
     
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  6. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Its twooo its twooo!
     
  7. TheLash

    TheLash Well-Known Member

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    Kicking: 1. Colts, 2. Chargers, 3. Patriots

    Indianapolis has a clear edge over most other NFL teams in the kicking game, with the ultra-reliable Adam Vinatieri still going strong at the age of 34 and Hunter Smith remaining a top-flight punter. Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding was consistent last season and boasts a big leg, but is better known for his huge misses in the team's last two playoff games. San Diego punter Mike Scifres is one of the best in the business. Gostkowski kicked well during the second half of last season, but is still somewhat erratic, and punter Josh Miller is coming off an injury-marred 2006.


    THat's right! I'm still Pimpin' Sci-Fi:abq1: they can have my Bolt when they pry him from my cold dead sig.:icon_toast: :icon_twisted: :bolt2:
     
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  8. stone86

    stone86 Well-Known Member

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    They give the Colts a lot of credit for Bobby Sanders. He is savage tho...
     
  9. mandude

    mandude BoltTalker

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    I actually thought it was a fair assement and a really good read. We still have a lot to prove, and let's face it the Pat's and the Colt's certianly have the rings, the records, and consistency over many years. We are getting there, but until we win a PLAYOFF game, I understand a #2 rating.

    Still thinking this is our year....:-D
     
  10. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    It is a very solid read and a solid article where alot of it I simply can't disagree with. That includes the kicking game where lets face it anyteam that has vinaterri is #1.

    I do get a kick that baltimore and denver and all those other "beat their chest we're the best in the AFC" teams aren't even considered :lol:
     
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  11. BoltsFanUK

    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

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    Suddenly they bring in Adelius Thomas and now they have the best LB Core...not gonna happen:tdown: :tdown: :tdown:
     
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  12. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    This is our year to show who's the class of the league (Bolts, natch) & who are the clowns (Pats). Indy? Eh, they had their run last year.
     
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  13. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Well-Known Member

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    Our D Line and linebackers are superior to the Pats'. I'll take Merriman over Adalius, Phillips over Colvin and our young up and comers over the pats Geritol snorting MLBs.

    As for rating our secondary behind the Colts, well that's just a joke. The Colts lost both starting CBs. Their starting CBs going into '07 are younger and more of an unknown than our MLBs, but somehow the author doesn't seem to have the same questions about the Colts CBs that he has about our MLBs.
     
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  14. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    Thomas is a great piece and they've got four LBs who've accomplished ALOT in their careers not including Thomas.

    Outside LB wise Merriman and Phillips > Thomas and Colvin (faster younger more sacks less injuries). No contest there.

    Inside LB Cooper and Wilhelm < Vrabel and Bruschi not just because of lack of starting experience but both are outstanding veteran lbs that though are slowing down still have quqite a bit in hte tank
     
  15. BoltsFanUK

    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

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    yeah but i think that once Cooper and Wilhelm have XP then we'll find out:)
     
  16. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    could very well be; vrabel and bruschi are two very good ILBs
    Cooper and Wilhelm have speed and a lack of injury trouble over them but experience counts for alot
     
  17. BoltsFanUK

    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

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    Experience counts for loads so once Cooper and Wilhelm have the XP then they could be better ILBs than both of them and what has Vrabel and Bruschi does since Mcghinist left

    Don't know how to spell his name:lol: :icon_shrug:
     
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  18. Electrogasm

    Electrogasm BoltTalker

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    It seems like an objective look at three of the AFC contenders, though not all. There's always one team that unexpectedly makes some noise. Ravens? Getting older with each passing second. Cincinnati? Play some D and then call us. Jacksonville? Great D and RBs but you need a QB. Denver? :icon_huh:

    I take umbrage at the Defensive Line rating. I would certainly give the nod to San Diego and the trio of Castillo, Williams and Igor 'Super Human Strength' Olshansky.
     
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  19. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

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    I like how people are just writing off Baltiwhore.
    Those bastards won 13 games last year and had the #1 D in the league (again) and for somereason they dont even seem like a factor.

    I hope we slaughter those punks.
     
  20. WonderSlug

    WonderSlug Well-Known Member

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    Baltimore's had a great D this 21st Century. It's their offense that stinks and is their Achilles heel.
     
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  21. Electric Chair

    Electric Chair Well-Known Member

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    Reading this just pisses me off all over again that we lost last year.
     
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  22. BoltsFanUK

    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

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    hopefully:tup: :tup:
     
  23. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    You mock me...
     
  24. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    I don't think so, its easier to mock you
     
  25. BoltsFanUK

    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

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    actually its easier to mock you:p
     

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