Setting up our newspaper's weekly online sports poll question. We decided to go NFL this week. The question is: Which team will be the most improved in the NFL this season? We can have four options, and so far, the frontrunners are:
A. Patriots B. Cardinals C. Dolphins D. Browns
Can you think of any other team that -- looking at the offseason -- has made enough moves to be considered a better MI candidate than any of these? If so, who and why?
I can think of at least 16 teams, and I'm being generous at only 16 that are more improved than the Dolphins. If anything they took a clear step back this off-season. Browns, Cardinals, and NE are all worthy of contention. I'd say SF has to be up there, having made a ton of moves to just bring in more talent and fill their numerous holes.
Right now, NE has done the most to give themselves potential to improve. Given how good they were to begin with though, I think SF or ARI will have a more noticeable improvement.
Cardinals and Browns are good candidates. New England improved, but like maddog said, they were already good, so their improvement will probably be less noticable. The Dolphins definitely shouldn't be included.
I'd look at teams like the Broncos, Steelers, 49ers, Packers, and possibly Raiders, just off the top of my head.
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How 'bout Houston - new QB & RB, drafted Amobi Okoye who'll help Mario Williams on the line, last year's def RoY DeMeco Ryans will only get better with added help at LB this year, and if that O-line can stay healthy this year, they had already started to show promise last year plus they picked up FA LT Jordan Black. Nowhere to go but up!
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Given those four to chose from I think the Cards will show the most improvement, though I think the changes the Pats made will lead them to the AFC championship game at the very least. The Cards have a new coach, three studs in the skill positions, a young QB who is hellbent on proving me wrong (I didn't think he had enough arm strength and judgement) and a D that is good enough for them to outscore enough teams to be a .500 team.
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NE: A lot of those players are boom or bust, and I havent heard whether Samuels will don his uniform again. He's a huge ? right now, plus given they already were one of at least the top 6 teams, they're improved, but not by as much as these other guys.
CLE: With Joe Thomas and Brady Quinn, not to mention Eric Steinbach, Lecharles Bentley getting cleared for practice when he was assumed out for the year I think they made huge strides. However, I dont think the rookies will show it too much this year, but watch out for a big improvement due to this year in 2008.
SF: They spared no expense to improve, and Darrell Jackson, Nate Celments, Michael Lewis, and Patrick Willis should all make this team quite a bit better. However, I think they will feel the loss of Norv Turner, and they were already a team that was still in the hunt near the end of last year.
ARI: I love how they get Whizenhunt and the Pitt o-line coach. I dont think this team could've prayed for a better turnover in the coaching staff. And with their 1st draft pick, they go out and get a future franchise Left Tackle to make all of their young building blocks (Leinart, Boldin, Fitzgerald) that much better. I also like the Buster Davis draft pick, but mainly I like others see the coaching changes as making the biggest difference. SF probably make the biggest leap in terms of talent, but the Cards will finally be able to use their talent to effectiveness.