The New York Giants have Eli Manning. The Dallas Cowboys have Tony Romo (for now, at least), and even the long quarterback troubled Washington Redskins found the future of their franchise in Robert Griffin III. The NFC East should continue to be one of the more competitive divisions in the NFC with the rise of the Redskins last season coupled with the realization that the Giants won't stay down for very long as long as they continue to find talent the way that they do.
The Arizona Cardinals quarterback room is as strong as any in the NFL following the acquisition of veteran signal caller Carson Palmer, if head coach Bruce Arians is to be believed. But that hasn't stopped the team from scoping out numerous quarterbacks in advance of this years upcoming draft.
The quarterback position in Arizona has been one of the teams biggest sore points for fans in recent years, and many had speculated that the team would be forced to spend their first round pick on a passer in the upcoming draft. Though Arians was reportedly hot on former Colt's backup Drew Stanton, and expressed a confidence in his ability to perform if needed, his hesitance to name him starter throughout lead many to suggest that he remained open handing the reigns to a rookie QB, taken with the number seven overall pick in the upcoming draft.
The Baltimore Raven's move to cut reserve linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo comes as no surprise. Ayanbadejo, a three-time special teams Pro-Bowler, turns 37 this year and his defensive performance has been on the decline. When linebackers Dannell Ellerbe, Jameel McClain, and Ray Lewis missed time due to injuries, Ayanbejo saw limited time as the Ravens opted to insert Albert McClellan and Josh Bynes into the lineup at inside linebacker.
Ayanbadejo's release has only modest cap implications (the Ravens will save $800,000), and can be viewed as part of a movement to create a younger—and many have speculated, quieter—team. Reports have come out indicating that Bernard Pollard's release earlier in the offseason was related to his vocal presence in the locker room and his public criticism of NFL rules and rulings. Ayanbadejo, a veteran presence in the locker room and an outspoken proponent of gay and lesbian marriage, may simply not fit the mold cast by head coach John Harbaugh and Co. when it comes to this year's team.
16 carries for 181 yards, with two touchdown runs of 20 and 56 yards. The thing is, these numbers weren't made by Minnesota Vikings MVP running back Adrian Peterson. They were made by San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who made the game against Green Bay his coming out party in the playoffs by guiding the 49ers to a 45-31 win.
The biggest difference in the game: the Packers' inability to stop the zone read. The Packers' linebackers, Erik Walden in particular (who is now with the Indianapolis Colts), were unable to contain the 49ers' powerful running game and the dual-threat ability of Kaepernick, who beat them with his arm as well as his legs. And defensive coordinator Dom Capers was unable to adjust and get the 49ers potent offense off the field, and this game left his future with the Packers uncertain.
The San Francisco 49ers acquiring Nnamdi Asomugha is one of the more interesting moves of this NFL offseason. The question is are the 49ers getting the same cornerback who dominated for the Oakland Raiders? Or will Asomugha be a bust in San Francisco, like he was with the Philadelphia Eagles?
The answer lies in how the 49ers can use Asomugha and how much his struggles in Philadelphia were due to diminishing skills and not other factors.
The 49ers play a lot of 2-deep zone concepts. On the surface, that won't suit Asomugha, who struggled in zone defenses with the Eagles.
However, there are key differences in the coverage schemes used in San Francisco.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has tweaked things to give his corners more freedom to matchup one-on-one underneath.
So Fangio's scheme resembles man under with both safeties covering the deep zones behind it. The underneath man coverage part of that dynamic should appeal to Asomugha.
He came to prominence with the Raiders, thanks to his aggressive, man coverage. The phrase "press" was most often used to describe Asomugha's technique.