Neil's NFL Daily: July 12, 2013
This time next week, if I continue on my current two-a-day schedule, we’ll have only the Tennessee and Washington starting line-ups left to grade, so I think we’ll push ahead and do both the New York teams over this coming weekend. That will leave the following weekend free to make any changes required (remove any other Patriot players doing ridiculous things etc.) and consult with the rest of the PFF team to make sure we have everything in order.
Then, on Monday 22nd, I’ll publish a summary and we can have a bit of fun on Twitter by voting for the best line-up, worst snub etc. and give out a couple of free subscriptions as prizes. Don’t let that stop you buying one of these treasured possessions by the way, as we’ll simply extend what you have for another year if you are already a proud owner.
Anyway, having already insulted New England fans I face their wrath again by covering off their team, together with the Saints, in today’s edition.
For those new to the series and wanting to catch up, you can find the other teams covered to date with this handy set of links.
Charts by team:
Friday, July 12th
New England Patriots (Click to enlarge)
— Once you take his work as a receiver in to account, it’s possible to look at Ridley and say he’s only above average. That said, if you run only 206 pass routes and are targeted just 13 times maybe it’s not all you. As a pure runner he’s high quality, and that’s how I’ve gone.
— Jenkins is still running with the ones and that’s not good news for Tom Brady. One of the rookies needs to come through, because at the moment Amendola (who would be high quality but for constant injuries) is their only legitimate threat.
— Some may scoff at the McCourty grade, but this is a player who was legitimately All-Pro at two positions as he switched all year between corner and safety. His lowest grade last season on his way to a +22.7? A -0.1, in among 10 green games.
— I fully expect Chandler Jones and Donta Hightower to improve in 2013, but Jones ran out of steam last year (before his injury) and Hightower took a while to find his feet. Let’s not over-grade based on potential.
New Orleans Saints (Click to enlarge)
— No team has a bigger dichotomy between offense and defense, and Rob Ryan needs to work wonders to make his group competitive. The issue in New Orleans is that they have a history of staying loyal to players on the downside of their careers for too long. How long did Scott Shanle hang around before he was replaced? Will Smith was once a fine player, but with his pass rush skills in deep decline they want to make him a stand-up OLB. Vilma was run out of New York because he was bullied by linemen in the 3-4, but with Hawthorne available he’s still a starter. As for the two safeties, they combined to miss a higher percentage of tackles than every starting combination other than the Titans, and allowed over 1,000 yards into their coverage.
— The positive news is that both Lewis, at corner, and Jordan (who looks well suited to his new role) have the potential to improve significantly. Also, with Kenny Vaccaro, Junior Gallete and the aforementioned Hawthorne, the Saints do have players who could make immediate upgrades.
— On offense the biggest question mark is at left tackle. Brown has had opportunities to succeed in the past but this will be his last. Can he take it?
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