50 Storylines For The 2009 NFL Season
Total Pro Sports – The following 49 storylines are the nuances and wrinkles of the 2009 NFL season that contribute to our passion for the greatest sport on earth. This quasi-intro is a cheap way of making it a round 50
1 – DeSean Jackson and Eddie Royal were the only standout rookie receivers in 2008. What about the big guys? Devin Thomas and James Hardy, make yourselves known!
2 – Worst trade of the season: Matt Cassel, Kellen Winslow, Matt Cassel, Sage Rosenfels or Matt Cassel?
3 – How healthy can Brian Westbrook stay? Westbrook tore it up last year, but spent every other play on the sideline – if he stays fit, he is a top 3 back in the league. Fact!
4 – I’m also interested to see if any of the following make it through 16 games: Willie Parker, Bob Sanders and Matt Schaub
5 – Speaking of Willie Parker, he headlines a list of offensive players who will see their contracts expire at the end of this year along with Ronnie Brown, Braylon Edwards, Brandon Marshall, Owen Daniels, Marcus McNeill, Jahiri Evans and Tyson Clabo, as well as every receiver suiting up for Baltimore or San Diego this year
6 – Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, Casey Hampton, both Titan defensive ends, Nick Collins and Julius Peppers will dominate the defensive side of the 2010 free agent market
7 – D’Qwell Jackson, Thomas Howard, DeMeco Ryans, Shawne Merriman, DeMarcus Ware, Aaron Kampman, Barrett Ruud and Karlos Dansby: 8 of the top 12 linebackers in the league, ALL free agents at the end of this year
8 – Mark Sanchez looked hot in preseason, so can the unthinkable happen and there be a postseason rookie QB for consecutive years?
9 – Who is going to make their franchise regret the big new contract they handed out more: Jake Delhomme or Eli Manning?
10 – Matt Ryan faded down the stretch, so did the opposition figure him out or was it just the rookie wall?
11 – Michael Crabtree is refusing to play because Darrius Heyward-Bey was taken ahead of him. On the eve of the season is it wrong that I think Heyward-Bey has a better year?
12 – Marshall wants money. Money is given to those who play well. So does Brandon Marshall cap 1000 yards?
13 – In 2008 the NFL was robbed of seeing two of the best pass rushers around. Shawne Merriman and Osi Umenyiora are healthy, and fancy their chances in a league brimming with inexperienced and shaky signal callers
14 – Cameron Wake. Who? Are 3 sacks for the CFL prodigy too much to ask?
15 – The ‘can we get a refund’ move of the year: Albert Haynesworth, Terrell Owens or Brett Favre?
16 – Which Chad finishes as Miami’s starting QB: Pennington or Henne? It may not be as clear cut as you think
17 – An audible global sigh when people realise ‘the Wildcat’ is a 5 play-per-game gimmick, and not the future of football. People, a little sanity please
18 – If he plays 16 games, Matt Schaub will throw the 5th most yards in the NFL. Andre Johnson will lead the league in receiving. Mario Williams will have double digit sacks. Yes, the Texans are THAT good
19 – “Don’t hate Jason Campbell. He’s never had an offensive coordinator for two years in a row”. How long do I have to wait before I have permission to hate him Redskins fans?
20 – Fantasy owners have been given headaches by a cluster of running backs that are impossible to separate. Who finishes the year a top 10 back out of Ryan Grant, Pierre Thomas, Kevin Smith and Darren McFadden?
21 – Over/under on Josh McDaniels lasting 6 weeks. I’ll take the over, so sorry Denver fans, that means misery all year long
22 – Which franchise will regress the most; Baltimore, Denver or Tennessee?
23 – Conversely, which franchise will progress the most; Houston, Cincinnati or Chicago?
24 – Donovan McNabb drops back, scans the fields, tucks, takes a huge hit and is out for 4 weeks. Kevin Kolb steps in right? He is the backup after all. Or is he…
25 – Saints/Eagles, Texans/Cardinals and Jets/Falcons are just a small snippet of some of the awesome matchups you can expect from the 2009 schedule
26 – LaDainian Tomlinson: Hall of Famer. Productive running back in 2009? Less clear, but I have an inkling he proves a few haters wrong
27 – All draft it was Moreno, Wells, Moreno, Wells, Moreno, Wells, wherever you turned. Donald Brown will lead rookies in yardage, and Shonn Greene will manage more TDs than both
28 – The league MVP race. My pick: Drew Brees
29 – The Rookie of the Year race. My pick: Likely Mark Sanchez, but don’t rule out James Laurinaitis – you heard THAT here first
30 – Who wins Comeback Player of the Year (yes, some people do care about this dumb award). My pick: Cadillac Williams
31 – The NFC North and AFC South are the divisions to watch in 2009…
32 – … the AFC West and NFC West less so
33 – Canton bound wide receivers who are two years removed from 8 consecutive 1000+ yard seasons don’t end their careers on the waiver wire. Marvin Harrison catches a pass in 2009
34 – I can’t wait to see Denver, but for all the wrong reasons
35 – Breakout candidates for 2009: Lawrence Timmons (linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers) and Chris Henry (wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals)
36 – Will Chad Ochocinco Twitter during a game? No wait. This is a list of storylines I’m excited about for the upcoming season, not a list for totally inane news stories that I couldn’t care less about NFL Network
37 – If football is all about who wants it more, who wants it less? Josh McDaniels or Al Davis?
38 – With 6 new starters on defense I want to see whether the Detroit Lions are a well oiled cohesive unit… or still the crappy Detroit Lions
39 – When Jacksonville blackout multiple games because they can’t fill their stadium, a relocation to LA in an upswinging economy sure will look tempting
40 – What will make you puke harder in the 2010 offseason? Seeing ‘Tebow-ldly Go where No Spread Option Quarterback has Gone Before’ as a headline on a draft site, or being forced by ESPN to watch Brett Favre will he/won’t he with Tampa Bay?
41 – 1025, 24, 21, 24, 25, 23 and 23 again. The first number is the number of yards the Giants need to replace now Derrick Ward is gone. The rest are the ages of the first 6 wide receivers on New York’s depth chart. Hmm. Someone will step up… right?
42 – The Jets will finish with a top 8 defense, but the Baltimore Ravens will not…
43 – … the Carolina Panthers sans Maake Kemoeatu will finish with a bottom 8 defense, but the St. Louis Rams will not
44 – Here is the NFC North’s offseason in 6 words: Bears. Cutler. Vikings. Favre. Lions. Stafford. You know who I didn’t mention? The quarterback who will throw for more yards than Peyton Manning and the team that is going to top this division: Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers
45 – If New Orleans’ defense is for real – and I’m 50-50 whether it is – then you might be looking at your NFC champions
46 – If the Patriots front 7 galvanises around the threat of impending retirement and contract renewal, then you might be looking at your AFC champions
47 – With that being said, 6 teams can win the Super Bowl…
48 – … I’m not giving away that magic 6, but let’s just say I’m being really generous to you there Chargers fans
49 – This one is nailed on: 17 weeks of football, and we’ll love every single minute of it