Over at SB Nation NFL, some of the writers are conducting various offseason roundtables to discuss a variety of issues surrounding the league heading into the 2012 season. The first roundtable discussed which teams will stumble from their 2011 playoff perch, and which will rise into the playoffs in 2012. In looking at the teams they suggested, I'm a little surprised the Lions weren't mentioned by anybody. They have some serious talent, but they also have some serious head-cases. And with the Bears potentially on the rise, it could get tight for the Lions.
The most recent roundtable discussed which players needed to have big offseasons. While it is hard to make much of anything from offseason training activities and minicamps, there are certain things about the offseason that can bode well for the coming season.
Alfie Crow suggested Randy Moss as a candidate needing a big offseason. I would actually argue MIchael Crabtree is the more likely candidate, but also for different reasons. For Crabtree, this offseason is all about staying healthy and getting in his reps with Alex Smith. He has yet to have a full offseason due to his foot injury last year, the neck injury in 2010 and his rookie holdout in 2009. He has made progress in spite of these roadblocks, but I have to think he can take a significant step forward with a completely healthy offseason. I would argue that makes this offseason so important for him.
On the other hand, Moss has often been one to flash his skills in practice and look good in that context. I recall when he made a circus catch for the Patriots in one game, Bill Belichick spoke about how he did that every day in practice. In his two months with the 49ers, there have been nothing but positive comments about his performance in practice. The key for Moss is getting off to a strong start once the regular season hits and getting into stride over the 16-game schedule (and hopefully playoffs). He needs to get in his offseason work, but the start of the regular season will be key for him.