Division champ: Broncos. With Rodgers missing half the year, Rivers was far and away the best QB in the division. I'm not crazy about the rest of the offense, but it's not terrible, and they have playmakers at every level of the defense - Hatcher, Casey, David, and Peterson is a great core. I think they probably have both the best offense and the best defense in the West, which makes this a pretty easy call.
The pits: I think the Chiefs take this, with Freeman's disaster season and key contributors JPP and White having down years due to injury. The Chargers make a late run at the basement after injuries take down Locker, Martin, Wayne, Atkins (to add to Louis, Smith, and Brown, who started the year on IR), but I think they're good enough early to have a better record.
Awesome CBs in this division, with Revis, Peterson, Haden, and Talib true #1s and solid complementary guys in Rogers, Hall, and Brown. I've been wondering where all the secondary talent is.
The RBs were a train wreck, with injuries claiming basically everyone except Chris Johnson and Lamar Miller. Yikes.
I should have some more time in the next couple days for a more extensive write-up, but I'll start it off right now.
I'm pretty happy with how my Broncos turned out, aside from a few injuries. I feel like a healthy Jared Veldheer could have given us the best OL in the division, but his injury and the lack of a good replacement would have caused some problems. Also, a healthy Ahmad Bradshaw would have been a perfect fit for my offense, giving Rivers an option out of the backfield that he sorely needs in the mold of Sproles or Woodhead.
On the brighter side, Rivers had his return to form, and Heath Miller and Cumberland would have been a good tight end combo, pass-catching wise (were they heavily penalized for their blocking?). I would have liked one more WR option for the slot, but Tate and Streater each led their team in receptions this season. Overall, my offense probably would have been a lot like the real-life Chargers, which according to DVOA would have at least put them in the top half of the league.
But the defense is where the Broncos would really shine, with a productive defensive line (27.5 sacks), plus 14.5 more sacks coming from my linebackers. Throw in Peterson who can shut down a side of the field, and DeAngelo Hall who may have some glaring flaws but also makes some huge game-breaking plays, and I think the Broncos would take this division.
I'll just quickly add in some thoughts about how the division would shake out. I see the Broncos going 6-2 in the division, losing once to a Rodgers-led Raiders team early on, and maybe a close loss to the Chargers. I'll put them down at 12-4 overall, good for first place in the division. I think the Chargers have a good enough defense to keep them in some close games, and Locker played pretty well through the first half of the season, so I think they would have started 4-4, then gone 3-5 in the second half to finish 7-9. I could see the Raiders starting out 4-3 with Rodgers, then going 2-7 without him, finishing at 6-10 for third place. The Chiefs have some good pieces in place for the future, but without a solid QB option I would put them at 3-13 on the year. Giving us...
1. Broncos 12-4
2. Chargers 7-9
3. Raiders 6-10
4. Chiefs 3-13
Thanks SN! Was Just coming over to try to piece it together from the chart in the other thread.
That done now onto the Chiefs....
QB- We went into the Year Hoping that Freeman could recover some of his magic of 3 years ago. He failed miserably. 2 Teams and QB rating that could not even reach 60 helps to explain a -12.5 PFF rating. Worst in the division. When your ass is kicked by Jake Locker there is an issue. Freeman was also only "capable" enough for me to depend on 271 snaps....which might have been a good thing had I a more talented Backup. As it was BJ Coleman was out of the league last year. In our fictitious league however he may well have gotten some starts for my Chiefs.
RB- This was one position of Strength for the Chiefs. Johnson had another 1000 yard season (though barely at 1077). All at about League average performance (PFF -3.1) He also continues to be a catch passing threat with 42 out of the backfield. At 5'11 and 195 and a heavy workload I am concerned that 2013 is a harbinger of him declining. Luckily we have 3 young backs in Hillman (219 Rushing and 12 Catches), a Big back (6' 220) in Robinson (224 Yards, 0 Catches) and Mike James (295, 10) who all have talent and fit roles. Overall I would say my stable of running backs was the best in the division.
TE-Scheffler was actually the class of the division TEs by PFF numbers. However at 5 games, 87 snaps, 7 receptions and 82 yards his real life impact was negligible. At 6'5 255 I also am willing to bet his contribution was also not blocking. Scheff has been and never will be a average TE. He is at best a 2nd option in a 2 TE set. Unfortunatly he is the only TE we had this year.
WR- We had counted on "1 more year" from Roddy White. We did not get it. At 32 Injuries took their toll and that may be what we have to look forward too. Games 9-13 (6 games) he had 45 for 526. He then missed the last 3 of the season. Overall we are hoping for "1 more year of being a second option to" Julian Edelman. Edelman needs no description here.105 receptions and over 1000 yards he was basically the focal point of my offense all year (whether Freeman would have used him as effectively as TB is another story...). Andre Roberts took a step backwards last year after 2 straight seasons as a starter. Last year he only started 2 games but appeared in all 16. His Catches dropped from 50-60 to 40 while his yardage fell to 471. His avg has been rock steady at 11-12YPC every year in the league. We feel that as a "#3" and potential #2 WR he is perfectly adaquate. Brown and Smith rounded out the stable, Smith mostly as a STer while Brown showed some possiblity that he may develop.
OL-At first glance it appears our line was a possible strength. LT is manned by one of the best in Long. and Hardwick is above average. The problem came at both Guards and RT. Incognito was fairly decent...but unfortunately was suspended by the Chiefs at midseason when rumors then proof of him Bullying both Dan Connolly and Micheal Oher came to light. Both of whom where affected so badly they where absolutely brutal. My management and coaching staff also failed to have on hand any kind of suitable backups with which to replace these players. After the Incognito affair we evidently played with 4 lineman the remainder of the season. In 2014 we feel that both guard positions may need an upgrade while Oher, Long and Hardwick can form the nucleus of a solid line. As owner I continue to receive threatening texts regarding my sister and mother from Incognito that are very inappropriate.
This was a very bad offensive team lacking stars or even core contributors in many areas. With really only 1 bright spot (Edelman) and 1 possibly above average group (RBs) the entire offense needs to improve. PFF numbers, as bad as they are actually paint a dishonestly optimistic picture of this offense. Most noticeably at the top where are QBs could well be league worst.
DL- With names Liks Pierre-Paul, Alualu, Edwards and Griffen we felt this would be a strength. While for our team it probably was....when compared to the league it was disappointing. PP was particularly disappointing in that he was supposed to supply the Pass rush. 2 Sacks was not our expectations. Granted he was hurt and only had 583 snaps in 11 games. Griffen was pretty good and met our expectations. He may develop into a "star". Edwards also held up. He provided some pass rush up the middle to what was supposed to compliment PP and Griff. I feel Alualu actually wasnt as bad as the PFF numbers indicate. At 6'3 and 300 he had 1.5 sacks (about expectations) and 34 tackles (10 ast) which is quite good. Last year Geno Atkins for comparison had 39 and 15. I am chalking this units under performance to PPs injury and Alualu getting screwed by PFF. I would roll the dice with these 4 for 1 more year.
LB- Ugh....Dunbar at -9.5 PFF was supposed to be my WLB that covered TEs and made plays all over the field. Injuries took their toll and he played 12 games with 10 starts. He was pretty useless in those 10 with 33 tackles, no sacks, no PDs and no INTs. Age caught up to Barnett who could not crack the starting lineup of real life. He played 14 games with no starts (in what I have to assume was ST duty) and recorded 7 tackles. His -1.7PFF looks almost good until you consider how little he actually played. Robertson actually seemed ok. Not sure why his PFF was such a miserable -18.1. He had 3 sacks 1 INT and 57 Tackles (with 28 ast). He was also my only LB who actually started for their real life counterpart team (14 starts). I dare say despite the PFF number that without Robertson our LB would have been even more badly exposed. Foote As our veteran leader we might have been better off if he had a clipboard. Foote played 1 game this year racking up 3 tackles. I think its fair to note that our LBs are 29,32,26 and 33. Thats not good.
Secondary-Joe Haden is a star. 4 Ints and 43 tackles. Even PFF gives him a nice 8.4 grade. A bit undersized at 5'11 and 190 he is very good CB. I supplement Haden with Talib. We all know that when healthy Talib can shuit down 80% of the ELITE WRs in the league. The problem is he is rarely completely health...and NEVER stays that way. Still most teams would be really excited about a CB duo of Haden and Talib and we are. Skrine is my nickel back. He is probably Arringtons long lost twin brother. Both Rush the QB a little and defend the slot....almost adequately. Jenkins is my bigger Nickel compliment to Skrine. He too has many of the same strengths, ability to rush the passer gets a couple INTs and not afraid to tackle. Out of the players on my roster he is probably my best option for a SS. Kurt Coleman is so bad...he didnt make a start last year. Regardless he is our FS. The .2 PFF rating is ....generous.
ST- When special teams is something you gloat about...things are bad.....or your Belichick. Succop and Huber for a good kicking Corp. While Coleman (a much better fit on STs) Slater and Brad Smith all are very good ST guys.
Overall, lets call it for what it is. The Chiefs are very likely a bottom 3 team. Not in the division, but the league. To say we have been looking forward to Bridgewater/Manziel/whomever is an understatement. This team needs talant everywhere. Ownership will not stand for another season like this of Old under performers. We are also realistic enough to realize that we are not 1 or even 2 years away from credibility. We need a complete overhaul. To compare to a real life team we are Cleveland and Jax level of suckage currently.
I would say that the season worked out basically exactly as one would have expected given the strategy of WWADD. The offensive line was a juggernaut, but falling in love with past their prime skill position players was disastrous. If Rodgers had stayed healthy all year, I would be in here screaming like a banshee that Rodgers + a monster offensive line would make all of those skill position players better, and arguing that we'd have gone 10-6, maybe 11-5 if we caught a few breaks. (BTW: Really? Russell Okung is a 0.9? Okaaaayyyy...) Even the much-maligned Doug Free had a very good year.
But that is not what happened. Rodgers played nine games and then we had to turn it over to Tim Tebow. Without the kind of defense he had in Denver - or for that matter, any semblance of an ability to throw a football in a reasonably straight line - there's no way that Tebow Time comes to the East Bay and Skip Bayless' head explodes.
The defense was not QUITE as terrible as I would have expected given my complete and total neglect of it, but it's a bottom ten unit, and potentially a bottom five unit. We crushed it on our only rookie (Kawann Short) but other than that there's not a lot to like. We got good years out of Tuck and Babineux, but how many years do they have left between them?
If I had to guess, I'd say that we went into Rodgers' last game of the year somewhere between 3-5 and 5-3... and then the wheels fell off. You could talk me into the idea that the Tebow Raiders lose out from there. I think a best case scenario is 7-9, but 3-13 is a possibility. I'll split the difference and say 5-11.
One of the few good takeaways is that from a team-building perspective, we have very few tough decisions. Our black holes (get it?) are easily identifiable; we have a bunch of average to very good players and then just a series of total disaster, double-digit negative players. (Look at that Linebacking corps! The real Al Davis would have them taken out and shot!)
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