With the first week of Preseason done, we can put a wrap to the off-season. As we get closer to the season, we will have a ton of different preview items for what will be one of the most anticipated seasons in NFL history. The first part will be based on the offseason that had all of us fans waiting in anxiety. I will give you my top 5 teams in terms of offseason acquisitions. Feel free to comment!
1. Green Bay Packers - The Superbowl Champions aren't usually the team that is most improved from the season before, but with the amount of injuries the Packers suffered last season, this team is so much better than they were against the Steelers. 16 Packers were on the IR at the end of last season, headlined by Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant. With those two coming back, the Packers improve dramatically on offense. The Packers are a fairly young team, with budding superstars in Clay Matthews, B.J. Raji, and Greg Jennings. With Aaron Rodgers at the helm, the Pack is truly the "Team to Beat".
2. Philadelphia Eagles - No team has signed/acquired as much talent as the Eagles, all headlined by the signing of Nnamdi Asomugha. The addition of Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie from the Cardinals is a great pick up, as he is the best #3 CB in the league. The move that will prove to be the most beneficial is Cullen Jenkins, who they stole from Green Bay. He is an absolute beast. His size will allow the very skilled defensive ends opportunities to rush the QB with one-on-one coverage. Signing Vince Young, Steve Smith, and Jason Babin are all very good pick ups for a team that will certainly contend.
3. New England Patriots - Chad Ochocinco certainly brings in a lot of drama, but there really isn't a personality that this franchise can't handle. Ochocinco is one of the best route-runners in the NFL and that is bad news for everybody else in the NFL. Tom Brady will have three of the smartest WR's in the game with Ochocinco, Branch and Welker. The Patriots have also signed Albert Haynesworth, Andre Carter, Shaun Ellis, and Mark Anderson on defense, giving them a deadly DL. They were also able to lock up Logan Mankins to a long-term deal, who is arguable the best interior offensive lineman in the game.
4. Houston Texans - The signing of Jonathon Joseph is huge for the Texans, who were also in the Nnamdi race. Joseph is an elite cornerback and will help shore up one of the worst secondaries in the game. Danieal Manning was an important pickup as well, with the loss of Bernard Pollard and Eugene Wilson. The Texans have the offense to compete with the best in the NFL, but they needed to get better defensively. Hiring Wade Phillips, who struggled as the Dallas Cowboy Head Coach, as the defensive coordinator could be one of their most important acquisitions.
5. New Orleans Saints - This is not a popular pick, but hear me out on this one. Drew Brees and the Saints run a spread offense with a ton of skilled wide receivers. RBs also line up out there and are very involved in the passing game. The Saints' major addition this year was running back Darren Sproles. Sproles is best fit in this offense, as he has great hands and is one of the quickest players in the league. He will prove to be a 3rd down killer. The already solid OL got a little boost with the signings of Olin Kreutz and Alex Barron, giving Drew Brees the depth he needs with his line.
Overall I think it's fair to say that the Eagles are definitely the team that went out and did the most this offseason, but the Packers are better than they were when they won the Superbowl last year. Aaron Rodgers has put himself with the elite quarterbacks in the game and they are the favorites to win the title this year. However, football is like no other sport. Nothing is decided on paper, so it will be interesting to see how this season plays out.