Every year there is a player or two who surprise, exceed expectations. Last year it was Derek Anderson. There are also disappointments, players who regress from their expected norm. Last year it was Larry Johnson. Who will it be this year? Let’s take a look
1. Jason Campbell, QB, Redskins
Campbell started to play really well until he got hurt late in the year. Todd Collins then took them to the playoffs. But I expect huge numbers from Campbell. QB Guru, Jim Zorn is now head coach. He had
done wonders for Matt Hasselback in Seattle. Campbell also has a ton of weapons to chose from. Santana Moss, Antwaaan Randle El, Chris Cooley are the veterans, with Rookies Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly expected to play big roles down the stretch. Combine that with a strong running game of Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts, and that adds up to a big year for Mr. Campbell.
2. Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers
Davis has been a relative disappointment in his short time in the NFL. He’s dealt with injuries, multiple QB’s and lack of production. I think that will change this year. Although JT O’Sullivan is an unknown at QB, Davis should benefit from new coordinator Mike Martz’s system. They should put Davis in the slot, so he can create mismatches against smaller DB’s. He may be faster than most of them, too, as he ran a 4.38 at the Combine. They should use him as a receiver mostly, tight end second, to get the most out of his athletic ability. If they do, expect Davis to be one of the lone bright spots on this team.
3. Michael Bush, RB, Raiders
Bush, once a highly sought-after player at Louisville before he got injured, is primed for a big season. Why? He has all the makings of a stud running back. Size, speed, he’s got it all. Problem is, he’s stuck behind Darren McFadden and Justin Fargas. No worries. I believe that Bush will overtake Fargas, and at least challenge McFadden. He could have 500+ yards in a backup role. Then look for him to be traded in the offseason.
1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
This is mostly based on pressure, and expectations, rather than talent. Rodgers has the talent. But he’s in a no-win position. They make the NFC Championship game last year. Then the Brett Favre saga occurs. Unless he wins a Super Bowl, he won’t ever fill Brett’s shoes. It’s a shame, because he has a very similar supporting cast as Favre did. It’s a very similar team. He just can’t replace a legend.
2. Michael Turner, RB, Falcons
Turner signed a big deal in the offseason, basically for playing well in relief of LT. But there’s a big difference between being ‘the guy’ and ‘the guy’s’ replacement. Turner has talent, but he’s stuck behind a pitiful offensive line. He also won’t carry they ball 71 times, like he did last year. His career 5.5 yards per carry average his impressive, but that was in relief of LT and behind a great O-Line.
Expect Turner to be a huge bust, and the Falcons to turn to Jerious Norwood.
3. Vince Young, QB, Titans
I’m not saying that Young won’t have a good year. I think he will. But after making the playoffs a year ago, and they didn’t do anything to improve their receiving core, VY will regress. He can’t be Superman, and will his team to victory. He needs to improve his decision making, accuracy, and throwing, to reach his limitless potential. It just won’t happen this year.