Awaiting the Tribulation: 10 NFL Storylines That Are Yet to Unfold
As I'm sure most of you have been doing, the ultimate countdown toward August preseason football has begun.
With just over two months to go, it seems that the shocking headlines of the 2010 NFL offseason continue to pile in, as players and coaches alike create controversy.
However, before we can go ahead and prepare ourselves for yet another exciting season, there are still many headlines and questions that have been left unanswered.
Where will Terrell Owens go? Who will wind up ultimately starting at quarterback in Denver? And will Albert Haynesworth really leave Washington?
These are all questions that are awaiting an answer. Therefore, here's a look at The Top 10 NFL storylines that are yet to unfold, along with a little prediction as to what may happen in the future.
10. Will Jay Cutler Have a Consistent 2010 Season?
I think you'll agree that the Chicago Bears are a fairly confident team right now. They have ignored any negative thoughts portrayed by the media, and have gone out and bought Julius Peppers, who will add some versatility and dominance to the defense.
However, some serious questioning does come into play when it comes to the Bears' quarterback situation.
In 2009, it is no secret that Jay Cutler struggled. His constant ability to throw interceptions became almost laughable toward the end of the season, and it appeared that Jay simply wasn't comfortable behind center.
With this said though, in the final three games of the season, Jay Cutler left us all very hopeful for the future.
He seemed to have his head finally screwed on tight, and was calm and collected when passing.
In 2010, Jay Cutler hopes to start where he left off. Like the old saying goes "The quarterback is the most important position to a team," and even with a ton of talent, the Bears will still struggle most of the way if Cutler is inconsistent.
Realistically, this headline isn't going to be resolved anytime soon. It will most likely be this time next year that we are discussing either Jay's impressive ways, or his poor performance yet again.
Whichever way it goes, now is Jay's time to shine. Head coach Lovie Smith is on a bit of a hot seat right now, and if Cutler throws 26 touchdowns again this season, you can bet your life that their will be some serious turmoil in the Windy City.
9. Can LaDainian Tomlinson Return to His Dominant Ways?
I never thought I'd see the day when LaDainian Tomlinson would leave San Diego, but here we are in 2010 looking toward the future of L.T. in a New York Jets uniform.
For the most part, this move is set to work out well. On one hand, the Jets get a trustworthy and stable running back, on the other L.T. gets to be a part of a possible Super Bowl winning team, as he looks to settle down and let the remainder of his career play out.
So what can we expect from LaDainian Tomlinson in 2010?
Well quite frankly, this question is rather hard to answer. Seeing as though LaDainian Tomlinson has never been a part of another team other than San Diego, we have never been privileged to see just how he will adjust to a new system.
But if 2009 is anything to play off of, LaDainian Tomlinson should be in for a fairly solid year.
The only concern that does arise for the former Charger, though, is the Jets' competition at the running back spot.
It is likely that L.T. will have to share much of the field with newly established running back Shonn Greene this season, and ultimately that may stop Tomlinson from breaking the +1000 mark.
Still, if L.T. comes out with a bang and returns back to his old MVP style ways, then expect the bandwagon to grow again. This is of course a developing situation, but it would be great to see Tomlinson resort back to his speedy ways.
8. Can Kevin Kolb Develop Into a Solid Starter?
Like LaDainian Tomlinson leaving San Diego, I didn't think I would see the day when Donovan McNabb would leave Philadelphia.
Now, we enter a new Eagle era. It may seem funny at first not seeing ole' No. 5 behind center, but it is time for Kevin Kolb to step up to the plate and show us what he's got.
The unfortunate factor for us fans though, is that we don't exactly know what Kevin Kolb has.
Sure, we've seen him on the occasional basis where Donovan McNabb has been on the sideline, but for the most part Kevin Kolb has question marks written all over him in terms of his ability.
Therefore, the Eagles' 2010 campaign more or less rides on how Kevin Kolb plays.
If Kolb comes out firing and leaves any whispering thoughts of Donovan McNabb behind, then great, the Eagles are still a threat in the NFC East.
But if he does come out slow, shaky and inconsistent, well the Eagles may find themselves where the Chicago Bears were a season ago.
Personally, I think it will take a month or so for Kevin Kolb to really shine. Let's face it, he has some big shoes to fill, no matter what your opinion is of Donovan McNabb.
However, Kevin is in a great position. He has the potential, and we've all seen how impressive young quarterbacks are these days. Hopefully all things go Kevin's way.
7. The Denver Quarterback Situation
Since the Denver Broncos drafted Tim Tebow, fans have eagerly awaited the NFL season.
I guess when it comes to college stars, Tim Tebow is the cream of the crop. Therefore, it is only natural for all of us to want to find out just what No. 15 is really made of.
However, before we can go ahead and claim that Tim Tebow is the next best thing, a few factors stand in the way.
Right now for the Denver Broncos, Kyle Orton is the firm starter. Rightfully so, Kyle Orton has earned the starting role, and although inconsistent at times, does deserve a second chance opportunity this season.
But as if this wasn't enough, it also appears that Brady Quinn will indeed play a factor. His ability is questionable, however he does have a legit shot at taking over the No. 1 role, especially if Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow both fail.
The problem with Denver's quarterback trio, is it could become a potentially dangerous situation. Josh McDaniels is on a burning hot seat, and if somehow all three quarterbacks fail to live up to expectations, a serious cause for concern will arise in Mile High.
As of now, we'll have to wait and see how this story develops over time. But right now, all three quarterbacks need to be ready to play at a moment's notice. I have a feeling this storyline may go in a positive direction, or a negative one very fast.
6. Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers
Now that we know for sure that Ben Roethlisberger will serve some form of suspension, a question must be asked as to whether or not this will affect the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In recent years, Ben Roethlisberger has been the solid starter. He's led the team to two Super Bowls, and despite a few silly incidents here and there, has been a stable and consistent thrower.
So what happens to the Steelers if Ben Roethlisberger takes a small leave of absence?
Well it's simple, the team either survives, or goes south very fast. Sure, both Dennis Dixon and Byron Leftwich are fairly capable starters, but like every good team, the Steelers may lack the offensive spark that has been so useful to them in past seasons.
Fortunately for Pittsburgh fans, Ben Roethlisberger is set to only miss a month of action.
Whether or not Pittsburgh fails to return back to their explosive postseason ways is a question, but if Ben Roethlisberger comes back with a bang, then there is no reason for the Steelers to be out of contention.
5. Can Jason Campbell Revitalize the Oakland Raiders?
Since Jason Campbell became the latest addition to the Oakland Raiders, the speculation has been both high and low.
It seems that fans either believe Jason will fail, or ultimately change the Oakland Raiders' future for the better.
Personally, I believe Jason Campbell has a ton of guts. Give him credit, he's taken the bull by the horns, and is attempting a seemingly impossible task of becoming a consistent quarterback for the Oakland Raiders.
But just how will Jason Campbell fair in 2010?
Well, throughout Jason's career, he has always remained a question mark in the league. At times he has shown brilliance, at other times he has failed to even be a factor.
The problem facing Jason Campbell right now is talent. Oakland has a bunch of young and talented wide receivers in the likes of Darrius Heyward-Bey, but are still lacking a go-to guy for Campbell to throw to.
While this may not affect him totally, it may simple reduce his stats, and limit his opportunities.
Still, Jason Campbell is in a prime position to play the hero. If he does somehow manage to cancel out any old thoughts of Jamarcus Russell, he will have done his job correctly.
More importantly, if Jason Campbell does out-do Donovan McNabb, then he will go down as perhaps one of the most promising quarterbacks in the league.
As for the Raiders, they should count their lucky stars that they now have a potential quarterback. If Jason succeeds, so will the Raiders. But if Jason fails, well poor old Al Davis may look even worse than he has in the past.
4. Mike Shanahan vs. Pete Carroll
So far this offseason, the Mike Shanahan vs. Pete Carroll debate has been dismal.
Both coaches have overall experience in the NFL, and even though Mike Shanahan is perhaps the more respectable coach, Pete Carroll is also on the verge of turning the Seattle Seahawks around.
Fortunately for us fans, this is a war that will last just about the whole season. While both coaches respect each other, expect the media to constantly compare the two, as both franchises now appear to be edging toward a promising spot in their history.
Draft-wise, both coaches did exceptionally well. Pete Carroll has revitalized the Seahawks, and Mike Shanahan adds some true experience to the Washington Redskins, something that has lacked in recent years.
Who will have the better record at the end of 2010?
Your guess is as good as mine, but it should be extremely interesting to see both of these teams turn around their fortune this season.
3. Will Albert Haynesworth Really Leave Washington?
It's a question that has been stirring a lot recently, will unhappy Albert Haynesworth find a new team?
For the most part, everyone seems to think that big Al is indeed on his way out of Washington. However, funnily enough the Redskins management remains confident that Haynesworth will turn up for minicamp sometime or another.
The issue for Albert is interest. Only a handful of teams have speculated on signing him, so the options may not be as broad as Haynesworth had originally imagined.
The other problem for Albert is his overall reputation. He is most likely not on the same level as Terrell Owens, but he is known for his outlandish ways and ability to add some serious controversy to any team he touches.
Therefore, many teams will be cautious when considering Haynesworth.
I guess the only real positive Albert Haynesworth is his skill. He's fast, dominant and will always apply pressure to any opposing quarterback.
With a list of teams needing some serious defensive presence, Albert may find a team sooner or later. For now though, we'll have to wait and see, as we all know that this is Albert's world, and we are just witnesses.
2. Will Terrell Owens Really Remain Homeless?
I've debated Terrell Owens' case time and time again, and still we find ourselves looking at Terrell Owens as a free agent.
In Terrell's time with Buffalo, he was far from dominant. After finishing the season with 829 yards and five touchdowns, Terrell's 2009 performance has led many fans to believe that the explosive days of T.O are definitely over.
But still, are we really ready to write No. 81 into the history books?
Personally, I am far from ready to do such a thing. You see, although Terrell has underperformed, he is still a great wide receiver. Randy Moss hasn't fallen off the bandwagon, and quite frankly, neither should Terrell Owens.
Therefore, it is not only vital for Owens to find a team, it is also vital to the NFL for him to find a team.
A league without T.O, is like Major League Baseball without Alex Rodriguez. Sure the league is still great, but the star player that everyone goes to watch is simply gone.
So where will Terrell wind up?
It seems that just about every team has been speculated for. It it isn't Seattle, it's Washington, if it isn't Washington it's Cincinnati or Chicago. Now the time has come for T.O to find a team.
Don't be surprised to see Owens sign an overnight deal in the near future, as many teams could do with a trusty wide receiver. But for now, everything is up in the air, as we still have no lead way as to where T.O is heading in 2010.
1. To Retire Or Stay: The Brett Favre Saga
Surely you knew that Brett Favre would be No. 1, right?
As a fan of the NFL, merely thinking of a league without No. 4 seems almost unimaginable. Not only has Favre become the epitome of the quarterback position, he has also become the lifeblood for the Minnesota Vikings.
Right now, it seems all signs point to yes in regards to Favre returning to football. As we all know, Favre does love to take his time when deciding his fate, and even though Brad Childress has been lenient, surely sooner or later we will reach a verdict.
Unfortunately for us fans, this story is as unpredictable as winning the lottery. It seems just when we have Favre figured out, he pulls a fast one on us and leaves us guessing.
My solid opinion is that Favre will return for one more year. The Vikings may have lost in the playoffs, but this should act as a outright challenge for Favre to try and better not only himself, but the entire team.
In 2010, if Favre retires it will be a heartfelt loss to football. However if he returns, expect the old guy to be switched on. For once, this may be his final season in the NFL, and expect Brett to go out with a bang.