Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

02 Sep 2009

ESPN INSIDER: AFC, NFC South Players to Watch

Just catching up on our "Ones to Watch" feature for ESPN Insider; the AFC and NFC South versions have been posted.

The players listed for each team are one expected to rise, one expected to fall, and one to look out for, respectively.

Atlanta: Jerious Norwood, Matt Ryan, Stephen Nicholas
Carolina: Jeff Otah, DeAngelo Williams, Charles Johnson
New Orleans: Pierre Thomas, Jeremy Shockey, Tracy Porter
Tampa Bay: Kellen Winslow, Ronde Barber, Roy Miller

Houston: Matt Schaub, Jacques Reeves, Xavier Adibi
Indianapolis: Anthony Gonzalez, Jeff Saturday, Ed Johnson
Jacksonville: David Garrard, Rob Meier, Torry Holt
Tennessee: LenDale White, Cortland Finnegan, Jason Jones

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 02 Sep 2009

7 comments, Last at 03 Sep 2009, 6:51pm by Mr Shush


by bubqr :: Wed, 09/02/2009 - 6:59pm

How can Shockey decline, considering his play last year ?

Adibi seems to have lost his battle to Diles.

L.White : He is in his contract year, and the Titans shouldn't run the ball as much this year, which will probably make them lose a few more games (wink wink). So why is C.Johnson drafted so high in FF ?

by Dan :: Wed, 09/02/2009 - 7:35pm

Johnson was one of the most consistent RBs in terms of touches/game last year. He got about the same number of touches each game regardless of the score. It was LenDale who had way more carries in their blowout wins than their close games or losses. More here.

by socctty :: Wed, 09/02/2009 - 7:43pm

Zac Diles is rumored to have been selected over Xavier Adibi (225 lbs) for the WLB spot. Stupid deadlines, eh?

by Ned Macey :: Wed, 09/02/2009 - 9:17pm

I've moved onto my teams for next year, so I'm not really following HOU through the pre-season. Did Diles outplay Adibi? I thought Adibi was clearly the better player last year, particularly for the WLB position.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 09/03/2009 - 6:51pm

Adibi had a lousy game against the Vikings, by all accounts. At least one dumb penalty, and a mistake that was substantially responsible for the 75 yard Peterson touchdown run, I believe. He's clearly a more talented player than Diles, but Diles does a better job of getting himself in the right place at the right time, and is a more reliable tackler. Not as dangerous a blitzer, though, and probably not as good in coverage. It was always going to be a close call, and there's no guarantee it won't go the other way in-season at some point. Also worth remembering that it's quite likely Diles would move across should either Ryans or Cushing go down, with Adibi taking his place on the weak side. Prior to the Vikings game, I think the expectation was that Adibi would start, with Diles as the primary back-up at all three positions.

I take it the "Reeves to fall" prediction means that he'll be worse than he actually was last year, not that he'll be worse than Texans fans thought he was. I'm not even sure the latter would be possible.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 09/02/2009 - 7:59pm

You know, I keep seeing these Insider articles, and I can't read them. I'm not complaining, I just want to know what "one to watch" means. Does it mean the player is about to breakout? That they could be all over the map? That they are exciting? Can someone please tell me?

by Tom Gower :: Wed, 09/02/2009 - 8:07pm

There's not a lot of definition given in each article, but it's basically somebody important but who doesn't have a demonstrated record of playing at a high level.