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New Faces Pressed to Produce.

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New Faces Pressed to Produce.

Postby Guttpuppy » Sat Jul 19, 2003 5:55 pm

SI.com's Don Banks tackles issues from around the league:

Which new faces in new places enter the season under the
We'll give you our top five, in no particular order:


Atlanta receiver Peerless Price: The Falcons paid handsomely for a guy who has never had to handle the No. 1 receiver role. This season there's no Eric Moulds opposite him to draw away the opponent's best cover corner. Price must lift a sizable chunk of the offensive burden from Michael Vick's shoulders if the Falcons hope to take that next step to playoff perennial.

Denver quarterback Jake Plummer: On paper, everything's in place. Plummer is blessed with a running game that will allow him to play-action teams to death, quality receivers who know how to take over a game and coaches in Gary Kubiak and Mike Shanahan who will put him in the position to succeed. Now all he has to do is prove Arizona was really the problem.

Detroit cornerback Dre' Bly: He got No. 1 cornerback money from the desperate Lions -- whose pass defense ranked 30th in 2002 -- but as Oakland's Larry Brown proved a few years ago, that doesn't necessarily make you a No. 1 cornerback. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound Bly has good instincts and plays aggressively, but he's going to be vertically challenged by those tall NFC North receivers.

San Diego receiver David Boston: Much like Price and Vick in Atlanta, the Chargers felt they had to land Boston in order to diversify on offense and take some of the load off LaDainian Tomlinson's back. But San Diego rolled the dice here because Boston's climb to superstar status took a sharp downward turn last season, thanks to health and maturity issues. What's it going to be, Dave, the Boston of 2001 or 2002?

San Francisco head coach Dennis Erickson: Only one winning team changed coaches this offseason and that was those fix-what-ain't-broke 49ers. After four years out of the league, Erickson inherits a team that has won 23 games and been to the playoffs two years running. Rebuilding, they aren't. Forget about those demanding 49ers fans. Erickson needs to win and win now to help owner John York live down that Steve Mariucci firing.
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