Purdue Boilermakers 2010-2011 Season Preview

2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 53
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 69

There is hope at Purdue University in 2010…head coach Danny Hope that is. The second year coach will try to lead the Purdue Boilermakers to more than five wins this year. Graduation and injuries have reshaped this Purdue team, and it will be interesting to see how Coach Hope and his staff will respond.

Quarterback Joe Elliott has moved on after throwing for over 3,000 yards in 2009. His most likely replacement is Robert Marve, the Miami (Fl.) transfer who sat out last season because of NCAA rules. He didn’t exactly light it up in Miami, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns, but the coaching staff has a lot of faith in him.

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He is blessed with one of the best targets in the nation in Keith Smith. Smith led the Big Ten in 2009 with 91 receptions for 1,100 yards. Behind him though, there is very little depth at wide receiver.

The Boilermakers suffered a huge setback this spring when last year’s starting running back, Ralph Bolden, tore his ACL. It is likely he will miss most, if not all, of 2010. The few remaining running backs are very inexperienced. Projected starter sophomore Al-Terek McBurse (ATM) rushed only four times in 2009. He was a highly regarded recruit and has big play ability, but we’ll see if he can become a feature back behind a shaky offensive line.

Purdue’s defense lost all four starters from the secondary and is hoping some young players can step in. All the projected starters have never started before and all the backups have never seen college game action. The front seven will be a source of continuity though, returning five starters. Star defensive end Ryan Kerrigan is back after recording 13 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss in 2009. Also, all three starting linebackers return, including Jason Werner and his 14.5 tackles for loss.

The loss of Bolden puts a damper on the Boilermakers’ enthusiasm for 2010. The team has a relatively easy first month of games though, so they could have a strong start and gain some momentum. The quarterback, running back and secondary questions linger, but there is always Hope to rely on.

Purdue’s odds to win the Big Ten: +2000

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Can the Jets Grab Adalius Thomas Too?

Adlius Thomas has been released by the New England Patriots with most pundits agreeing that he will likely end up with the New York Jets.

Thomas played with Jets head coach Rex Ryan when he was the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, but there are several obstacles to Thomas becoming a Jet.

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First, the Jets already have a bunch of linebackers having recently added Jason Taylor.

However, the Jets were hoping Vernon Gholston could become a hybrid linebacker-defensive end. They have just given up on that after two disappointing seasons at outside linebacker and now have Gholston playing strictly his natural defensive end position.

Thomas has already played as a hybrid outside linebacker and defensive end for Rex Ryan, so the Jets could have a place for Thomas in defensive packages that need a hybrid player even with a bunch of veteran outside linebackers already on the roster.

The other problem is that they can’t sign him unless they lose a free agent. Because it is an uncapped year, the top eight teams in the league can only sign a free agent after they have lost a free agent to another team.

The Jets don’t currently have any un-alloted free agents, however other teams might grab unrestricted free-agents DE Marques Douglas or LB Ryan Fowler.

Of the two, Douglas is the more likely candidate. He is an older veteran who can provide depth on a contender or be a stop-gap for a year or two on a team that needs to buy time to develop depth at defensive end.

Fowler hasn’t contributed much to the Jets and it is unlikely other teams would expect him to contribute more in a different situation.

The New York Jets odds to win the Super Bowl currently sit at +1100. Expect them to become an even trendier pick if they add Thomas to their roster.

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McNabb and Owens Together? Not Likely

ESPN is reporting that Donovan McNabb is open to the idea of playing with Terrell Owens despite their feud when they were on the Philadelphia Eagles.

But lets hold up here for a second.

The Washington Redskins may need some more talent at receiver, but this smells of a reporter making something out of nothing.

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“A source close to McNabb said the quarterback and Owens recently talked about the possibility of reuniting while shooting an episode for the television show “Pros vs. Joes” in Los Angeles.”

What exactly is a source close to McNabb? How did the subject come up?

The story makes it sound like McNabb is actively recruiting TO, but the truth is probably more like the subject happened to come up in conversation and McNabb was being polite and accommodating by not calling the prospect complete bunk.

I’m not calling the idea a complete impossibility, but from my experience with reporting, it sounds like an innocuous comment being blown out of proportion on a slow news day.

Marshall is Now Florida’s Mistake

With the Miami Dolphins‘ acquisition of Brandon Marshall they get the elite receiver that they need. He instantly improves the offense and gives quarterback Chad Henne a number one target who can make plays.
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Marshall will be good for a short while in Florida, but he’s not going to be a long-term help for this franchise.

The biggest problem for the Dolphins is that Miami is just too damn fun.

Look at all of the trouble Marshall got in to in Denver and then multiply that by ten. He is going to be out all of the time surrounded by people stroking his ego and it’s going to make him harder to deal with.

I’d love to be in Marshall’s shoes cause he is going to have a great time and he is set with his new contract. I’m sure he’ll put together a few good seasons, but he won’t be worth it for Florida.

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The Seattle Seahawks need a play-making receiver so badly that they have to overlook some serious attitude problems.

The Seahawks are showing interest in Brandon Marshall and Reggie Williams both of whom have some serious off-field problems.

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Brandon Marshall is one of the best receivers in the NFL, but the Denver Broncos put a first-round tender on him and are asking a steep price for a player that they don’t want.

Marshall had 101 receptions for 1,120 yards and would instantly become the go-to receiver in the Seahawks offense.

Seattle had talks with Denver about him, but they likely balked at the price. A month has passed since the Marshall flew to Seattle for evaluation without a trade and the free-agency period comes to an end on Wednesday.

Now ESPN is reporting that the Seahawks are talking with former Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Reggie Williams.

Williams doesn’t have nearly the talent of Marshall and didn’t play last year after being released for drug use, but he is good enough to be an upgrade and won’t cost the Seahawks anything.

Another possibility is that the Seattle Seahawks are using Williams as a negotiating ploy to get the Broncos to lower their price for Marshall. A draft day trade is a possibility with either the Seahawks caving and offering a first rounder or the Broncos caving and taking a second.

With Donovan McNabb being traded from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Washington Redskins, Kevin Kolb inherits the starting role much like Aaron Rodgers did two years ago for the Green Bay Packers.

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Kolb, like Rodgers in 2008, joins a team that was in the mix for the playoffs with their veteran quarterback.

The comparison looks pretty good as Kolb has solid numbers except for a throwing too many interceptions while Rodgers struggled his first season as a starter because he threw too many interceptions (13).

The Packers fell to 6-10 in the first year under Rodgers after going 13-3 while the Eagles went 11-5.

If anything, Kevin Kolb is ahead of where Rodgers was when he took over his team. His four touchdowns against three interceptions last season doesn’t look very good, but all three interceptions came against a ball-hawking New Orleans defense. Kolb bounced back against the Kansas City Chiefs with two passing touchdowns and a 120.6 passer rating.

Kolb needs experience to handle the more sophisticated defenses in the NFL, but with a solid supporting class around him he shouldn’t have too much trouble against more typical defenses which should translate in to a 9-7 season falling just short of a playoff spot.

The general consensus is that the St Louis Rams will pick Sam Bradford with their number one pick in the draft. All of the denials coming out of St Louis were generally regarded as predictable smoke coming from their management.

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Now news comes that the Rams are scheduling a private workout with Colt McCoy after McCoy’s pro-day improving the odds of the Rams picking Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy with the first pick.

Currently you can some pretty good money betting on Suh (+170) if he does end up as the first pick.

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NFL Slowly Acting on Headshots

NFL representative answers questions on protecting players from head injuries.

NFL representative answers questions on protecting players from head injuries.

The NFL is slowly beginning to move out of their Neanderthal stance on head injuries and implementing positive policies that will help players.

The move to take a more progressive stance towards concussions started to gain momentum after the publication of a University of Michigan completed a study that found a higher then normal rate of Alzheimer’s disease in retired players.

While there is still plenty of debate going on within the NFL over helmet design, rule changes and forcing players with head injuries to stay off the pitch, the NFL’s latest move is to give all players at the NFL scouting combine a brain activity exam that will serve as a baseline when evaluating any future injury.

Currently each team administers the these tests individually, so they may not know what the baseline was before the player joined the team which could lead to a mis-diagnosis and they’ll also be able to get a better idea of the cumulative effect of all of the smaller impacts over a players career.

 

 

 

 
 
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