After two weeks, there are many teams around the NFL with some tough, hard questions at hand. For those teams that had high expectations entering the 2010 campaign, these questions better get answered quickly.
1. Minnesota Vikings. Are you willing to meet the demands of the San Diego Chargers for wide receiver Vincent Jackson? The Brett Favre Experiment concludes at the end of the 2010 regular season. The Vikings will not compete for a Super Bowl (and may miss the playoffs) without the addition of a high-quality pass catching option like Vincent Jackson. Sidney Rice, thinking optimistically, cannot be expected to be a force on the field until Week 8 or 9. While management debates the value of a 3rd round pick in a season that may or may not happen (2011), your offense will gear up to get beat down by and/or keep pace with the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots. It won’t be fun. By Week 8, Brad Childress could be looking for a job as a color analyst on the NFL Network — covering Viking’s games.
2. Buffalo Bills. Are you willing to trade Marshawn Lynch to ensure that you make one positive contribution to the 2010 NFL season? This team is going nowhere this season. As you prepare to face the New England Patriots and their confounding defense, you’ve decided to ditch the “smart quarterback from Stanford” (Trent Edwards) for the “smarter quarterback from Harvard” (Ryan Fitzpatrick). It won’t make a shred of difference. If C.J. Spiller is supposed to be the Bills Most Valuable Player on the roster, Marshawn Lynch in the Most Valuable Player in trade. The Bills can retain Coe College’s Fred Jackson and then focus on figuring out a way to get these guys the ball. The Packers could use a runner with Lynch’s power around the goal line. It’s time to pull the trigger.
3. Dallas Cowboys. Are you willing to reign in the Romo-Garrett Show and cede some time to the true triplets of Jones, Barber and Choice? If the Dallas Cowboys are to win and compete for a Super Bowl title in 2010, they need to run the ball more, pass the ball less, and figure out a creative way to dump Roy Williams.
4. Baltimore Ravens. Are you willing to start Marc Bulger ahead of Joe Flacco? The Ravens signal caller ranks 32nd in passer rating at 41.2 and has a completion percentage of 48%. At this rate, Flacco would have to throw something like 70 passes a game just to post mediocre numbers. He has thrown one touchdown and five interceptions. His receiving corps is as accomplished as any in the league. Will the first matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4 determine the long-term fate of this franchise?
5. Kansas City Chiefs. Are you ready to find out what is behind Door #1? Over the next four weeks, you will host the hungry, angry San Francisco 49ers; have a bye week; then travel in consecutive weeks to Indianapolis and Houston. Surely each of these opponents will take you lightly. You will retain the element of surprise. Are you ready? If the Chiefs can get through this portion of the schedule, they have some “winnable games” ahead with Jacksonville, Buffalo and Oakland beginning in Week 7.
6. New England Patriots. Are you leaning toward Julian Edelman or Aaron Hernandez to replace the injured Kevin Faulk? The Patriots are going to need another reliable go-to-guy on 3rd down. Edelman has the experience, but with Wes Welker healthy, are his services really just a duplication? Is Hernandez flexibility as an in-line tight end and an outside receiver or H-back better suited to replacing Kevin Faulk? After scoring a mere 14 points vs. the Jets, the Patriots need to come up with answers fast. Everyone is pouring over that video tape and looking to replicate what New York was able to do.