Guest MMQB (cont.)
1. I think everyone loves lists, and recently The Sporting News put together an NFL under-25 all-pro team, which includes my teammate, defensive end Kroy Biermann. Kroy has improved steadily over the course of his first two seasons in the NFL and might be primed for a breakout season in Year 3. I see the guy every day in practice and can tell you he's got a non-stop motor and has demonstrated that he can get to the passer during critical times in games. His progress and continued development will go a long way toward helping us get back to the playoffs.
2. I think I won't pay any attention to the annoying chatter out there about the Saints fighting through a Super Bowl hangover. I've read that the Saints have had some off-season distractions and need to fill some holes on their roster. Every team in the NFL has distractions of some kind during the off-season, so I'm not buying it. I think the NFC South is the toughest division in football and there isn't a player or coach in our locker room who thinks the Saints won't be what they always are twice a year every year -- well-prepared, physical and ready to play.
3. I think I don't track all the off-season moves of most teams, but I like what the Jets have done acquiring WR Santonio Holmes, CB Antonio Cromartie, RB LaDainian Tomlinson and DE Jason Taylor. The Jets showcased the NFL's top rushing offense last season, beefed up their roster with a solid draft class and return Pro Bowl CB Darrelle Revis to an already tough, attacking defensive unit that plays the 3-4 defense as well as any team in the NFL.
4. I think Titans RB Chris Johnson has a good chance of eclipsing the NFL's single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards, provided that he and his offensive line remain injury free. He is going to get his hands on the ball a lot in the Titans offense and you combine that with his speed and elusiveness I think he has a great shot of reaching that mark. That record, by the way, was set by Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson, then a member of the Los Angeles Rams, in 1984. I, however, did not see it, as I wasn't born until a few months later, May 17, 1985.
5. I think the rapid development of my teammates, linebacker Curtis Lofton and safety Thomas DeCoud, has been solid. Both of those guys have demonstrated the desire, work ethic, and commitment it takes to be special players in this league, and they are both important parts of our defensive football team. DeCoud's story, in particular, is inspiring. He started all 16 games last season after not seeing any action on defense as a rookie in 2008, earned USA Today All-Joe team honors last season after recording 113 tackles, seven pass breakups, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, two sacks, and one fumble recovery. I think it really speaks to the amount of work that DeCoud put in last year to have such a productive year after not playing on defense as a rookie.
6. I think my alma mater -- the Eagles of Boston College -- are going to surprise a lot of people this season in college football. I think the defense should be really good this year and the inspirational return of linebacker Mark Herzlich from Ewing's sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, will help tremendously.
7. I think, and I realize I'm going out on a limb here, Tony Gonzalez will become the first tight end in NFL history to record 1,000 receptions. He enters 2010 with 999.
8. I think, having been a pitcher in high school and a baseball fan my entire life, it's amazing that we've already seen four no-hitters and two perfect games.
9. I think one of my favorite golf tournaments is the British Open, which begins Thursday. I'd normally root for a fellow Nike guy -- like, say, Tiger Woods, who has won The Open Championship twice at hallowed St. Andrews -- but I like the way Phil Mickelson is playing as of late at majors and I think he will walk away with the Claret Jug.
10. I think Peter King is a prince of man for allowing me the opportunity to share my thoughts in his work space. Thanks a million, Peter. I will see you later in the summer at camp.
More Special MMQB columns:
Boomer: When it comes to NFL free agents, buyer beware
Rising Stars: Doug McDermott, Creighton Bluejays