Guest Previews 2015 – Champions of the Sun by Pete Conaghan

2014 Record: 6-7, missed playoffs.

Offseason Review

Wily old fox Max Cubberly went in a contrarian direction in the draft, going for defense early and often. You’re not going to win championships by doing the same thing as everyone else, so the Champions took Leonard Williams with the second pick of the third round to get a jump on building their ever-expanding stable of defensive ends. This was followed by another pick in the same round taking the injured Dante Fowler. As eyes narrowed in GM offices around the league, Cubberly told his secretary to immediately instigate a campaign to introduce the generic defensive lineman position, rather than have tackle and end. The work continues.

Marcel Dareus was added in Free Agency, which had DeSean Jackson going the other way, and this was offset by a long brewing trade with Tamworth in which the Champions acquired John Brown, who they hope will be a rising star.

LeGarrette Blount was signed on the eve of the new season, and with the release of Jonas Gray, should provide some semblance of reliable production in New England. A tactical signing, he should be good enough to single handedly win the Gameweek 6 matchup for the Champions, when NE play the Colts.

Where they will improve:  Most position groups did not get significantly better, with the exception of Quarterback. Ben Rothlisberger was scooped up in free agency, and signed to a team-friendly deal.  If he can produce at 2014 levels, and John Brown fulfils expectations,  the team will improve on offense. CJ Spiller’s move to New Orleans has improved the running back group immeasurably, and if he can stay healthy and Latavius Murray produce some measure of success on Oakland’s baseball dirt, then the team can kick on from 2014.

Khalil Mack is expected to make up for lost time, sack wise, and the addition of Dareus gives the Champions a rising number of star names on defense.

Where they will regress:  Will Mike Evans survive a sophomore slump? Will DeAndre Hopkins survive Brian Hoyer? Both receivers have shown they can overcome impossible quarterback odds and be successful, so we should expect that to continue this year.  But if they don’t, then we could see the notably more mercurial Percy Harvin and Allen Robinson coming into play. Which should also be fine, really.

2015 Prediction: 7-6, and missing the playoffs.  If everything goes right for the Champions, they should be a playoff team. However I am arbitrarily deciding that not everything will go right.



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