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    • michael89156

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      Post count: 3229

      NFL: Each Team's Biggest 2015 X-Factor by Joe Soriano      1h ago x_zpsnngggbi6.jpgThe 2015 NFL regular season will begin on Thursday when the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers battle it out on the field with Tom Brady available but Le’Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount, and Martavis Bryant out of action. In the past, most people would focus their attention on superstar players like the Bradys and Bells of the world before analyzing games, but in today’s smarter NFL climate, the focus has turned to individual matchups and X-Factors.While these X-Factors are talented players, many of them aren’t household names (at least, not yet). But even though they don’t carry the same cachet as a Ben Roethlisberger or Marshawn Lynch, these guys have a chance to impact their team’s fate this season.Let’s take a look at a player on every team who isn’t elite but can still have a season-changing impact for their franchise.NFC Southx1_zpsvxzmamhk.jpgCarolina Panthers WR Devin FunchessCarolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was one of the most impressive rookies in the 2014 draft class, as his size, explosiveness, and amazing body control allowed him to overcome his drop and route-running issues en route to becoming one of the team’s most important players. The first-round pick out of Florida State was an immediate success with a 73/1,008/9 line and 13.8 yards per reception.No preseason injury has been more impactful than Benjamin’s ACL tear, since there is, simply put, nobody on the Panthers who can replace him.The Panthers can only hope that their high draft pick at the wide receiver position in this class, Devin Funchess, can have similar success in his first season in the league, and I am indeed a believer in him. Although I doubt Funchess will be as successful as Benjamin and clearly don’t view him as an “X” due to his lack of speed, Funchess is a unique player capable of generating mis-matches with his size, ball skills, and ability to shield defenders with his body.At 6’4?, 225 pounds, the 21-year-old is definitely a valuable long-term prospect for the Panthers, so we’ll see just how good he is in his first season, especially now that he has to carry the torch with Benjamin out. I think people need to look at his tape at Michigan in 2013, because his situation last year was just unworkable (Devin Gardner could do extremely little correctly for the Wolverines offense).x2_zpsvdh8gmbx.jpgNew Orleans Saints WR Brandon ColemanSince I wanted to avoid using household names like Cameron Jordan and Jairus Byrd, I’ll settle on No. 3 wide receiver Brandon Coleman, who should have been more than just an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers in the 2014 draft class. Coleman wasn’t the most fluid receiver coming out of college, but he beat up on Big Ten opponents with his combination of size and speed, setting himself up nicely to be a possible playmaker down-the-road in the NFL.At 23, Coleman has plenty of room for improvement, but he’s already quickly latched on and made an impact on the Saints roster. Not only did he win the No. 3 gig over Nick Toon and others this offseason with his strong play, but he also capped off his summer by catching four passes for 82 yards in the team’s final preseason game.Marques Colston is still the No. 2 receiver in my book, but Coleman has so much upside that he could even overtake him. As we saw last season with Kenny Stills, Drew Brees has the ability to work wonders with explosive vertical threats.x3_zpscxeoo7tx.jpgAtlanta Falcons MLB Paul WorrilowAtlanta Falcons 25-year-old middle linebacker Paul Worrilow always has interesting stat sheets. In 2014, Worrilow was one of PFF’s leaders in Run Stop% among all inside linebackers, which isn’t surprising considering the fact that he’s put up 127 and 143 tackles in each of the past two seasons, respectively.The issue is that Worrilow also missed 21 tackles, which is just inexplicably poor. Perhaps worse yet, Worrilow proved to be a massive liability in coverage, as the former Delaware standout allowed a 130.0 QB Rating in coverage with six touchdowns surrendered compared to no picks and just three passes defended.Not only does Worrilow need to be more consistent as a run defender, but the Falcons simply cannot tolerate any more embarrassingly poor coverage play from the linebackers.To his credit, Worrilow has been excellent this offseason, and if his preseason play is to be believed, then he may have turned a corner in his first year under Dan Quinn. Heading into his third season in the league, Worrilow has the talent to right the ship, and if he can cut out enough of those negative plays, then the Falcons could have a star at the heart of their defense instead of a player who was overrated by some fans because of gaudy tackle counts.x4_zpsnk6uals3.jpgTampa Bay Buccaneers TE Austin Seferian-JenkinsBased on the conflicting reports we’ve heard so far during training camp (I’m more inclined to go with ESPN’s negative thoughts over positive thoughts from an official team writer, but that’s just me), it’s hard to tell exactly where Tampa Bay Buccaneers second-year tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is in his quest to have a breakout season.I like to bet on former basketball players at TE who can block and have excellent ball skills, so I like ASJ’s chances. The problem is that if he drops too many passes and can’t make things happen with the ball in his hands, then it’s going to be hard for him to find his footing with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson hoarding targets.I just sincerely hope he plays well enough to avoid being out-targeted by Louis Murphy and Brandon Myers, and it would be a huge loss for the Buccaneers offense to have Myers playing a bigger role than ASJ. The former Washington star could give Jameis Winston a huge boost if he plays up to his potential, and he could also be a nice blocker for prime bounce-back candidate Doug Martin.For every team....link

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    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 152

      I think the play of Kwon Alexander could be the BUCS X-Factor. I think that kid is going to be special!

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    • austin1211

      Participant
      Post count: 25

      Easily thats Doug Martin!…he has a big year then so do we.

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    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 5188

      Easily thats Doug Martin!...he has a big year then so do we.

      Actually, if the backs can be a successful committee, that works just as well, IMO. Keeps labor costs relatively low in an easily replaced position (unless you are replacing say…Marshawn or AD.)Good run game means good season, I agree. The defense would still be an issue, as they have no edge rushers.

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    • austin1211

      Participant
      Post count: 25

      Easily thats Doug Martin!...he has a big year then so do we.

      Actually, if the backs can be a successful committee, that works just as well, IMO. Keeps labor costs relatively low in an easily replaced position (unless you are replacing say...Marshawn or AD.)Good run game means good season, I agree. The defense would still be an issue, as they have no edge rushers.

      Do the Dallas model....run Martin into the ground and then let somebody else pay him next year....have you watched him this preseason?  he looks awesome!

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    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 4274

      I didn’t realize that ESPN was down on ASJ with their training camp reports.  That is interesting!  On PR they have pumping up ASJ as being dominating in practice.The reality is that ASJ has to be an impact guy not just another guy that catches 30-40 passes.  Meyers can do that. 

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    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 175

      Do the Dallas model? Lets wait and see how that works out for them before we do that.

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    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 2697

      The entire offensive line…

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    • ruodrik

      Participant
      Post count: 285

      It has to be Jameis due to the massive responsibility the position holds.  I think it will be Kwon that immediately shines as the biggest addition to complement Lavonte as Jameis comes into his own .

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    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 830

      ASJ seems like a good candidate. Doug looks to be back, Mike and Vince are going to get theirs regardless. If ASJ can play up to his potential than it’s going to be pick your poison in the passing game.

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    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 2445

      For us, I think a lot hinges on success or failure of Ali Marpet. Based on pre-season ups and downs and the production(or sometimes lack of) that came as a direct result of those ups and downs, ive got Marpet as the biggest X-facot for the Bucs this year.

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    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 1417

      I feel like everyone is just dancing around Winston. It all comes back to how he does with everything. Marpet will and won’t play well in games. ASJ will and won’t be a factor in games. Martin/running game will and won’t be effective. It all depends on how he handles everyone else having down games and good games.

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    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 1828

      for me it’s Jameis, and then everyone else

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    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 2445

      I feel like everyone is just dancing around Winston. It all comes back to how he does with everything. Marpet will and won't play well in games. ASJ will and won't be a factor in games. Martin/running game will and won't be effective. It all depends on how he handles everyone else having down games and good games.

      ASJ being good is a bonus. if he doesnt show up its not really crippling. I guess it depends on the definition of "X-factor" but he certainly isnt the key. the Oline being good means absolutely everything, and if they're bad it will completely crippling. I think its possible for a team to make the playoffs with only 8 wins the the NFC south, and with good Oline play, Winston can win 8 games even as a rookie who makes mistakes. So for me it actually comes back to the Oline again and the biggest X-factor on that Oline is Marpet in my opinion.

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    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 830

      I feel like everyone is just dancing around Winston. It all comes back to how he does with everything. Marpet will and won't play well in games. ASJ will and won't be a factor in games. Martin/running game will and won't be effective. It all depends on how he handles everyone else having down games and good games.

      ASJ being good is a bonus. if he doesnt show up its not really crippling. I guess it depends on the definition of "X-factor" but he certainly isnt the key. the Oline being good means absolutely everything, and if they're bad it will completely crippling. I think its possible for a team to make the playoffs with only 8 wins the the NFC south, and with good Oline play, Winston can win 8 games even as a rookie who makes mistakes. So for me it actually comes back to the Oline again and the biggest X-factor on that Oline is Marpet in my opinion.

      Yea I guess it's how you define xfactor. No doubt QB is the most important position so I'm not even looking at Jamies, it's a given he's got to play well.

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