Here we go again. Week two of the Pre-Season Power Ranking. Last week we covered 32-29, this week I’ll go over 28-25.
28. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are hard to figure out. The only player they have on offense that’s any good is running back David Johnson.
Johnson came into his own last year, rushing for 1,239 yards with 16 touchdowns averaging 4.2 yards per carry. He was the only bright spot on an otherwise lackluster offense.
Quarterback Carson Palmer had a pretty good season posting 4,233 yards with 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. However, the offensive line didn’t do him any favors allowing him to get sacked 40 times last year, tied for seventh worst in the league. Being sacked 40 times for any QB isn’t good, but when your QB is 37, it doesn’t bode well for anyone.
So, the offensive line was a problem the Cardinals knew they needed to address going into the draft. They waited until the fourth and fifth rounds to address their needs. Passing on plenty of top-of-the-line offensive lineman to draft linebacker Haason Reddick from Temple. While Reddick is a great talent, the Cardinals already have a great defense; they didn’t need to add to it.
Since they also didn’t draft a replacement for Palmer, it looks like they are comfortable going forward with him as their starter, strengthening the offensive line should have been their top priority.
I’m not sure David Johnson can carry the offense again this year. With Carson Palmer and star wide-receiver Larry Fitzgerald not getting any younger it would behoove the Cardinals to start to focus on the future and try to find their replacements in the coming years.
27. Washington Redskins
Being a Redskins fan must be annoying. Predicted yearly to make the playoffs, then failing to make it almost every year. This year it may be even harder for them to make it.
They let star receivers Pierre Garcon, and DeSean Jackson walk in free agency. In Jacksons three years in Washington he totaled 2,702 yards, with fourteen touchdowns, and he averaged 18.8 yards per catch. While Garcon tallied 1,041 yards and three touchdowns last year.
Even though problems between quarterback Kirk Cousins and management, seem to be getting better, they could pose more problems as well. Causing distractions in the locker room, and on the field.
However, they did draft pretty well this year. Washington addressed their defensive woes in the first round by selecting defensive end Jonathan Allen out of Alabama. They then took outside linebacker Ryan Anderson, also from Alabama, and cornerback Fabian Moreau out of UCLA, in the second and third round respectively.
They then focused on the running game in the fourth round by taking former Oklahoma Sooners powerhouse running back Samaje Perine to help give Cousins someone to lean on when he’s having an off day.
However, the Redskins did nothing to replace Jackson, or Garcon. Hopefully, though the defense can help cover for the offense, and rookie running back Samaje Perine can make up for the passing game.
26. Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are a mystery. They have a good defense, along with an above average receiving corps, and a quarterback that could be great.
The Rams could also have a good running game. However, third-year running back Todd Gurley, who in his first season rushed for 1,106 yards with ten touchdowns, saw a dip in his production in his sophomore season. Not exactly what you want in someone who is supposed to be your franchise back. Rushing for 885 yards with eight touchdowns, only averaging 3.2 yards per attempt down from 4.8 the year before. Gurley played in more games in his second year and got the ball 49 more times too. So, his lack of production is puzzling.
The Rams also have to wonder if second-year QB Jared Goff will step into his own this year. Goff played in seven games last year and didn’t impress. Throwing for 1,089 yards, on a 54.6% completion rate, also throwing five touchdowns with seven interceptions and five fumbles.
After last season the Rams also fired veteran Head Coach Jeff Fisher and brought in former Washington Redskins Offensive Coordinator Sean McVay. No doubt McVay turned the struggling Redskins offense around in the three years he was in Washington. The Rams just have to hope he can get a high level of production out of both Gurley and Goff. If he can, the Rams may be able to turn things around.
25. San Francisco 49ers
New GM John Lynch showed he knows what he’s doing when he somehow managed to trick the Chicago Bears into trading up one spot to take Mitchell Trubisky and give the 49ers a slew of draft picks in the process.
He would then go on to draft defensive end Soloman Thomas, out of Stanford, at third overall, and would trade back into the end of the first round, using some of the draft picks he got from Chicago, to take linebacker Reuben Foster, out of Alabama. Two players who will no doubt help the defense that tied nineteenth in the league in sacks. Getting more pressure on the opposing quarterback, means an opportunity for the defensive backfield to get more interceptions.
Unfortunately, however, the 49ers still don’t have a quarterback to run their offense. They didn’t retain either of their starters from last season in Colin Kaepernick, or Blaine Gabbert. Rightfully so, Gabbert has terrible accuracy, and Kaepernick seemed more interested in making a statement off the field rather than on it.
The only quarterbacks they have on the roster as of right now are, rookies C.J Beathard and Nick Mullens. (At least the 49ers addressed their quarterback needs, which is more than I can say for most teams who needed a QB going into the season.) Along with nine-year veteran Brian Hoyer, and five-year veteran Matt Barkley.
Out of the four, Hoyer is the only one who has any legitimate experience. Barkley played in seven games last year while playing for the Chicago Bears, losing six. Hoyer who also played for the Chicago Bears last season (maybe Lynch just has something for Chicago) played in six games only winning one. Hoyer, however, didn’t throw any interceptions, while Barkley threw fourteen. Hoyer’s season was also cut short due to injury, while Barkley was benched due to bad play.
The 49ers also brought in veteran wide receiver Pierre Garcon to help the offense, and be a viable option for whoever the coaching staff decides to start under center week one.
28-1 Coming Soon:
I will be doing the rest of the power rankings in coming weeks, every Friday, leading up to the weekend when football returns on August 6th. So be sure to come back every Friday to see where your team ranks.