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Six Teams that could make the Playoffs in ’09

With the parity that exists in the NFL today every team has hope that they can make the playoffs at the start of the season.  Last year saw the Dolphins and the Falcons both finish 11-5 and made the playoffs after winning four games combined in 2007.  As for 2009 here are six teams that I think can make the playoffs after missing them in 2008.

New England Patriots– The Patriots are an easy pick to make it back to the playoffs.  They went 11-5 last season in doing so became the first team since 1985 to do.  They did all of that without star quarterback Tom Brady who is set to come back from injury after getting injured in Week 1 of last season.  The Pats threw in a seventh round quarterback who hadn’t started a game since high school and they went 11-5.  I’d expect better this year with a future hall of famer at quarterback.

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Michael Vick to be Released from Prison

Michael Vick is expected to be released from federal prison after serving a 18 month sentence and is set to start home confinement on Wednesday.  Vick will serve two months of home confinement before being released from federal custody in late July just in time for the start of NFL training camps.  He will live in his home in Hampton, Virginia where he is expected to be accompanied by his wife and children.  While in home confinement he will work for a local construction company working 40 hours a week and making $10 a hour.

The Falcons still have the rights to Vick but have stated that they will bring him back and tried to trade him this off season but found no takers.  Vick is still currently suspended by the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell has said Vick will need to show true remorsefulness in order to be reinstated.  Recently former Indianapolis Colts Tony Dungy met with Vick in prison but no details of the visit have been made public.

If Vick gets reinstated by Goodell the question then becomes where will he play this season.  The Raiders could certainly be a possibility and Al Davis has given a second chance to players in the past.  I don’t know if the Raiders would want to give up of JaMarcus Russell after selecting number one overall only two years ago.  The Broncos could be an interesting fit after trading Jay Cutler.  Kyle Orton is not a franchise quarterback and Josh McDaniels comes from New England where they gave Corey Dillon and Randy Moss a second chance.  If Brett Favre doesn’t work out for the Vikings perhaps they might take a look at Vick.  The Redskins tried to for Jay Cutler and trade up to select Mark Sanchez this off season they would seem to have some interest in Vick if he was available.

All of those teams do make some sense but if I had to guess what team Michael Vick would play for it would be the San Francisco 49ers.  Earlier in the off season coach Mike Singletary said that he was interested in Vick but then ownership quickly said after they were not interested.  Despite their denial I still believe they would be interested.  They don’t seem to be sold on Shaun Hill as the starter and former number one pick Alex Smith looks like a bust.  Also Singletary is looking to run the ball and there is no better quarterback at running than Vick.  It might be hard to sell for the fans but for a team that hasn’t won in awhile it might be worth the risk.

49ers Draft Review

San Francisco 49ers:
Picks: WR Michael Crabtree, RB Glen Coffee, LB Scott McKillop, QB Nate Davis, TE Bear Pascoe, S Curtis Taylor, DT Ricky Jean-Francois

The 49ers struggled early last season which led to the dismissal of coach Mike Nolan mid season.  With Mike Singletary as coach the 49ers played well down the stretch finishing with a 7-9 record.  With their first pick the 49ers were elated to see Michael Crabtree, superstar wide receiver from Texas Tech, fall to them.  Crabtree fell due to a foot injury he suffered and his inability to run a 40 time for NFL teams and also a rumored “diva” like attitude.  Crabtree was one of the top players in the draft and they couldn’t afford to pass on him even though they probably had bigger needs.  The 49ers then traded their second round pick for a 2010 first round pick with Panthers.  In the third round they selected running back Glenn Coffee from Alabama.  He should be a nice compliment to starter Frank Gore although running back wasn’t that big of a need.  Fifth round pick Scott McKillop should at worst be a solid special teams players with the potential to start at linebacker.  The 49ers also took a chance on Ball State QB Nate Davis in the fifth round.  Davis had an outstanding year at Ball State but slipped in the draft due to a learning disability.  If he can overcome that he could be a steal here in the fifth round.  Bear Pascoe, who they took in the sixth round, should a good blocking tight end.  In the seventh round they took a pair of LSU players in safety Curtis Taylor and defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois who never played up to his potential in college.  The 49ers got a stud in Crabtree but the rest of the draft class will determine how good this draft actually was.
Grade: B