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Pudge’s Power Rankings – May

May 23rd, 2006 Comments off

In light of the rankings published by Pete Prisco of CBS SportsLine, I’ve opted to try my hand at this thing people like to call “power rankings.” Mr. Prisco has the Falcons ranked something like 22nd in his rankings. They are so low because of his lack of confidence in Vick’s ability to lead a competent passing attack. Now I wouldn’t quite rate the Falcons as a Top 5 or 10 team, but a ranking of No. 22 basically indicates that in Mr. Prisco’s eyes, the Falcons would be lucky to make the playoffs this year. I sincerely disagree.

These do not rank teams from best to worst in the league in that strict a sense. It is rather a ranking system in order to illustrate which teams heading into the summer seemingly have the easiest paths to the Super Bowl. I believe that the Super Bowl reps this year will be two of the Top 6 teams. These ratings are determined by a teams’ offensive (OFF) and defensive (DEF) capabilities. The OVERALL is the most important determinant, and is a combination of offense, defensive, coaching, and special teams grades. But emphasis is placed on teams that run the football well and stop the run as well. Also these grades of these respective areas of the team are based on their performance in 2005, and reasonable improvements projected in 2006 based on the off-season changes. Also a team’s strength of schedule (SCHED) is a significant factor as well. The higher their schedule grade is the easier schedule they have. It’s not determined by last year’s wins and losses, but rather by the overall grades of this ranking system. The overall POWER RATING comes from factoring the Overall and Sched parts together. All these are based on a 10-point scale with 10 being the highest and 1 the lowest.

I’m hoping that until the season starts, I’ll be able to update this list about once a month. And then once the season begins, I could do it every week.

RNK TEAM OFF DEF OVERALL SCHED POWER
RATING
1 8.5 7.0 7.90 7.50 7.79
2 8.5 7.9 8.27 6.38 7.73
3 6.5 8.4 7.20 9.00 7.71
4 7.2 6.4 7.33 8.63 7.70
5 9.0 8.0 7.60 7.88 7.68
6 6.8 8.9 8.13 5.63 7.42
7 8.4 6.8 7.93 5.63 7.28
8 5.8 6.4 6.80 7.88 7.11
9 5.9 8.4 7.00 7.13 7.04
10 8.5 5.7 7.13 6.00 6.81
11 6.3 7.9 6.93 6.00 6.67
12 7.4 7.4 7.00 5.63 6.61
14 6.2 6.3 6.43 6.75 6.52
15 6.4 8.5 7.47 4.13 6.51
16 9.5 5.3 6.83 5.63 6.49
17 7.8 5.2 6.50 6.38 6.47
18 4.7 5.8 6.63 5.25 6.24
19 8.0 5.8 6.97 3.75 6.05
20 7.4 5.8 6.50 4.88 6.04
21 2.7 6.2 5.00 8.25 5.93
22 4.7 5.8 4.70 8.25 5.71
23 5.9 3.2 5.27 6.75 5.69
24 4.3 3.7 4.97 7.13 5.58
25 5.3 3.7 5.43 5.63 5.49
26 4.7 5.2 5.57 5.25 5.48
27 4.2 4.7 4.63 7.13 5.35
28 6.8 3.1 5.07 6.00 5.33
29 3.2 4.7 4.60 7.13 5.32
30 6.9 2.6 5.73 4.13 5.28
31 3.8 4.3 4.30 7.13 5.11
32 5.2 3.2 3.87 6.00 4.48
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A cold, harsh reality

May 3rd, 2006 Comments off

Well, it’s that time of year again. The draft is over, and we’ve spent the past 48 hours or so revelling in grading the picks, and seeing what undrafted guys we pick up. Now reality sets in and for the football fan, that reality is cold and harsh. For those unlucky few of us that aren’t in good travelling distance, we won’t be able to see the rookies first hand at May mini-camps and what not. We’ll listen unabatedly to what the sportswriter and other fans say about it, but frankly, what a player does in May and June matters little to what he can contribute in September. Two very good examples: Alvis Whitted and Roddy White. I recall many people being dazzled by Mr. Whitted a few years back by his speed and hands in the early summer mini-camps. But once the pads went on in August, he disappeared. Roddy also was a player that dazzled the coaching staff from his early work, but when it came to what he could contribute early in the year, it was nothing. Granted, Roddy had some other excuses namely an injury and contract holdout that slowed down his momentum. But my point is that August and September is a long way away from May and June in football terms, just like December and January is a whole different epoch compared to September as well. So I’m not going to get too psyched if Jimmy Williams dazzles in mini-camps, because it means basically squat when it comes to what he’s going to do against the Panthers on opening day.

My lone solace may be watching more NBA playoffs, but I’m not going to be happy about it.

On pseudo-Falcon related news, I’m hearing indications that many are expecting a holdout from new Saints running back Reggie Bush. This is stocked under pseudo-Falcon news, because like it or not Bush’s contract status greatly effects the Falcons. A holdout obviously means Reggie misses camp, and missing camp for a running back equates to a slow start to the season. And a pain in my stomach has been steadily increasing since the past Saturday on a fear of a “coming out” party for Mr. Bush come Week 3 on Monday Night. Then the Falcons will get a taste of facing the sort of deadly offensive presence that we’ve been serving up to opponents the past five years in the form of Michael Vick.

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Breaking down the Draft

May 1st, 2006 Comments off

I will have to say that I’m quite upset to see the Texans pass on Bush which allowed him to go to New Orleans. I’m also very concerned about the lack of concern that some of my fellow Falcon fans are showing about this development. Fact is, we’ve been lucky over the past 5 years in that we haven’t had to deal with an offensive weapon in the same caliber of Vick. Bush is just that, and now it puts a ton of pressure on Mora and our defense to play smart and ably. Now onto the Falcons…

2nd Round: Jimmy Williams, CB, Virginia Tech

What I Like: He will be joining an ex-teammate and close friend in DeAngelo Hall, so his chances of being able to produce quickly increases. His size and athleticism make him a potential Pro Bowler.

What I Don’t Like: Lack of experience and still has a ton of refining to do. Also I feel his upside is higher at safety where he can be a Sean Taylor-type player. I don’t see being a Chris McAlister-type corner in his future.

3rd Round: Jerious Norwood, RB, Mississippi State

What I Like: His speed and the fact that’s a quick cutting runner like Dunn. I think of him as a slightly younger version of Dunn.

What I Don’t Like: I didn’t like that he lacked RB thighs as he looks and runs more like a WR than a back. But my opinion changed once I discovered he could squat 500, basically the same as DeAngelo Williams and Laurence Maroney.

5th Round: Quinn Ojinnaka, OT, Syracuse

What I Like: His athleticism makes him a solid potential starter in our scheme.

What I Don’t Like: He’s a project because he needs time to add strength. Basically, just like the Omiyale and Michael Thompson picks before, we are unlikely to get much from him until his third or fourth year.

6th Round: Adam Jennings, WR, Fresno State

What I Like: He has YAC ability and it shows the Falcons are serious about getting the best player on returns.

What I Don’t Like: Has yet to score on a return in his career and has little to no upside on offense. A player I seriously doubt will make the team. Seems like DeAndra Cobb, but without Cobb’s potential on offense.

7th Round: D.J. Shockley, QB, Georgia

What I Like: High character guy that brings similar skills to the offense that Vick does and down the road can be a very good backup.

What I Don’t Like: A project that is probably four or five years away from contributing significantly. Can we afford to wait that long? He’s not in the same class as Seneca Wallace or David Garrard, two players that have developed into competent backups early in their careers.

Based on the draft picks alone, this is a B or B- draft. I really believe that come September, we may see only Williams and Norwood on the roster, with one or two of the other guys on the practice squad. But ask Etric Pruitt and Quincy Wilson and soon-to-be DeAndra Cobb, that being a draft pick on the practice squad is a kiss of death since Mora became coach. The problem is that besides Williams helping in the nickel, it’s doubtful short of injuries or an unexpected release, none of these rookies will see the field in notable playing time. Norwood would be lucky to get 50 touches this year being the No. 3 back. Ojinnaka will likely be deactivated for 17 weeks, as would Shockley.

But when you factor in Abraham and Crocker, this draft becomes an A or A-. That is if Abraham plays at a Pro Bowl level, and Crocker is a significant upgrade over last year’s starters.

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