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Burning Questions--Star Telegram


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Posted on Mon, Sep. 01, 2003


By Charean Williams

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

As the season prepares to kick off Thursday with the Jets visiting the Redskins, we have the hot topics, burning questions and key players covered with a full-on blitz of what you need to know.

Best off-season moves

1. Cowboys hiring coach Bill Parcells: Parcells, lured out of retirement with a four-year, $18 million contract, has a career record of 149-106-1 and has won two Super Bowls.

2. Bengals hiring coach Marvin Lewis: Cincinnati is a different team than it was last season when it went 2-14, the worst record in franchise history.

3. Falcons trading for receiver Peerless Price: Price, obtained from the Bills for a first-round pick, caught 38 more passes than any Falcons receiver last season.

4. Dolphins signing linebacker Junior Seau: Seau, 34, had 84 tackles last season for San Diego, but his locker-room presence will be a bigger plus for the Dolphins.

5. Seahawks hiring defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes: Seattle ranked 28th overall and last against the run last season.

6. Cardinals signing running back Emmitt Smith: Arizona ranked last in the league in attendance last season.

7. Redskins signing receiver Laveranues Coles: Washington might have overpaid, giving Coles a $13 million signing bonus, but he did have 89 catches last season.

8. Rams trading for offensive tackle Kyle Turley: The Rams allowed 46 sacks last season.

9. Patriots signing linebacker Rosevelt Colvin: Colvin, who left the Bears for a seven-year deal that included a $7 million signing bonus, could improve on his 1 01/2 sacks in the Patriots' 3-4 defense.

10. Bills signing Takeo Spikes: Spikes, a first-round pick of the Bengals in 1998, recorded more than 100 tackles in each of his five seasons and has 1 41/2 sacks and five interceptions in his career.

Best backup quarterbacks

1. Marc Bulger, Rams: St. Louis averaged 25.9 points in Bulger's seven starts last season, going 6-1.

2. Koy Detmer/A.J. Feeley, Eagles: The Eagles' backups went 5-1 last season after Donovan McNabb was injured.

3. Vinny Testaverde, Jets: Testaverde, 39, is a starter again -- at least until Chad Pennington returns.

4. Tim Couch, Browns: The first overall pick in 1999 lost his starting job to Kelly Holcomb.

5. Trent Dilfer, Seahawks: Dilfer quarterbacked the Ravens when they won Super Bowl XXXV.

6. Steve Beuerlein, Broncos: Beuerlein started three games last season and has won 46 games in his career.

7. Doug Flutie, Chargers: Flutie, 40, lost the starting job to Drew Brees in San Diego's 2002 training camp.

8. Charlie Batch, Steelers: Batch started four seasons in Detroit.

9. Shaun King, Bucs: King led Tampa Bay to the NFC Championship Game in 1999.

10. Todd Bouman, Saints: Bouman, who was traded from Minnesota this off-season, boasts a 98.6 rating and 2-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio for his career.

On the hot seat

1. Rams QB Kurt Warner: Warner, a two-time league MVP, was intercepted 11 times, threw three touchdowns and failed to win a game in six starts in an injury-plagued 2002 season. Yet, the Rams paid him a $6 million roster bonus during the off-season.

2. Colts K Mike Vanderjagt: Vanderjagt, who entered 2002 as the most accurate kicker in NFL history, was only 9-of-15 from beyond 39 yards. Then, during the off-season, he questioned Tony Dungy's coaching style and Peyton Manning's competitiveness on a Canadian television program. He since has apologized.

3. Cowboys RB Troy Hambrick: Hambrick, 26, campaigned for Emmitt Smith's job last season and now has it. Hambrick has 924 career rushing yards, or 16,238 fewer than Smith.

4. Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper: He signed a 10-year, $102 million contract in the off-season despite 32 turnovers, including 23 interceptions, last season.

5. Broncos QB Jake Plummer: Plummer signed a seven-year contract worth a little more than $40 million with Denver during the off-season. But Plummer is a 55.9 percent career passer with 114 interceptions and 90 touchdowns.

6. Chiefs RB Priest Holmes: Holmes rushed for 1,615 yards and 21 touchdowns before injuring a hip in December. It required arthroscopic surgery in March and prompted the Chiefs to draft Larry Johnson.

7. Chargers WR David Boston: Boston, who caught 98 passes for 1,598 yards and eight touchdowns in 2001, signed a seven-year, $47 million free-agent contract with San Diego. He is coming off patella tendon surgery on his right knee and was charged with driving under the influence last year.

8. Raiders C Barret Robbins: Robbins, who was AWOL the night before the Super Bowl, has completed rehab for alcoholism, sought treatment for bipolar disorder and asked for forgiveness from his teammates.

9. Miami coach Dave Wannstedt: The Dolphins lost six of their last 10 games in 2002 to miss the playoffs with a 9-7 record. Wannstedt is 71-73 in his coaching career.

10. Redskins coach Steve Spurrier: Spurrier went 7-9 after signing a five-year, $25 million contract with the Redskins. During the off-season, Washington added eight new players in the first three days of free agency and ended up with 13 new additions before the draft.

10 burning questions

1. Can the Bucs repeat? Since unfettered free agency began in 1993, the 1998 Broncos are the only repeat champions.

2. How quickly can Bill Parcells rebuild the Cowboys? The Giants were 3-12-1 in Parcells' first season; the Patriots were 5-11; and the Jets were 9-7. Since their 1995 Super Bowl season, the Cowboys are 49-63 overall and 1-3 in three playoff appearances.

3. Is this Brett Favre's last season? Favre, who turns 34 in October, began talking about retirement last season.

4. How are the Washington Jets going to do? The Redskins created bad blood with the Jets by signing four of their players this off-season, highlighted by a bitter dispute over returner Chad Morton. In all, Washington obtained 13 new players in signings that likely will force the Redskins into salary-cap hell after three seasons.

5. Will Michael Vick be the same player when he returns? Vick, who rushed for 777 yards and passed for 2,936 yards in becoming one of the most exciting players in the league, will miss at least the first month of the season because of a fractured fibula in his right leg.

6. Can Ricky Williams rush for 2,000 yards? Williams, who rushed for 1,853 yards last season -- his first with the Dolphins -- is seeking to become the fifth back to top the 2,000-yard mark in one season. Buffalo's O.J. Simpson had 2,003 in 1973, the Los Angeles Rams' Eric Dickerson had 2,105 in 1984, Detroit's Barry Sanders had 2,053 in 1997 and Denver's Terrell Davis had 2,008 in 1998.

7. Is Kurt Warner healthy? Warner broke the pinkie on his right (passing) hand against the Cowboys on Sept. 29, and after returning later in the season, he broke a bone in the same hand. Even before that, there were rumors that something was wrong with his arm.

8. Do the Raiders have another year in them? Oakland, with an average age of 28.5, is the third-oldest team in the NFL. It has nine projected starters in their 30s, including 37-year-old quarterback Rich Gannon; receivers Jerry Rice, 40, and Tim Brown, 37; and 38-year-old safety Rod Woodson.

9. Will the Lions ever again win a road game? Detroit has not won on the road since Dec. 17, 2000, against the Jets at the Meadowlands.

10. Can the Dolphins win down the stretch? In the past seven seasons, Miami is 14-17 in regular-season games in December and January.


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4. How are the Washington Jets going to do? The Redskins created bad blood with the Jets by signing four of their players this off-season, highlighted by a bitter dispute over returner Chad Morton. In all, Washington obtained 13 new players in signings that likely will force the Redskins into salary-cap hell after three seasons.
...........Blah Blah Blah...Consistent beating of the drum by the media.."Salary Cap Hell..Salary Cap Hell"....:rolleyes:
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I don't think the Skins created bad blood with the Jets by signing 4 of their players, (read: media hype), but the Jets created bad blood with the Jets for that reason. Just can't be happy up there losing those players all at once. As for S.S. being in the hotseat. Ummmmmmmmmm yea. Whatever.


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