The inaugaral SMFL season should be very interesting. While some have said that the Optima Cowboys may be the early favorite to win it all, I have a hard time believing they can win their division. I think the early favorite to win this division (and maybe conference) has to be the CFL Rejects.
The Rejects feature the talents of all-world running back Marshall Faulk on offense along with veteran quarterback Chris Chandler. Chandler may have a hard time holding on to the job with talented rookie Donovan Mcnabb waiting in the wings. CFL looks decent at wide receiver. Moulds is a proven go to guy, but while James Jett has world class speed, he has yet to have a great season. I believe with Faulk and Moulds attracting the defenses' attention, Jett will come through with a 1,000 yard season. On defence, CFL features the best, if not oldest secondary in the league. Leroy Butler and Chris Dishman and company should make passing on the Rejects a headache for opposing qb's. The only weakness on this team may be their front 7, which looks young and lacking depth. But, with their high-powered offense and veteran secondary, I see the Rejects finishing first.
The Tempe Aztecz may give the Rejects a run for their money. Mark Brunell leads the offense. He will hand the ball off to Corey Dillon. Dillon is coming off a 1,200 yard season, and I wouldn't be surprised if he exceeds that number this year. Brian Schroeder will need help from Torrance Small and Charles Johnson at wide receiver. If the talented Johnson or Small don't step-up, expect many teams to double Schroeder, the team's only 1,000 yard receiver. The defense is anchored by all-pro defensive tackle Bryant Young and underrated defensive end Chuck Smith. Expect Smith to have at least ten sacks as opposing teams will choose to double Young early and often. Tempe's linebacking core is solid, led by Jesse Tuggle. One question mark is their secondary. In a division which features Favre, Gannon, and Chandler, can Jeff Burris and Donovan Darius lead this young secondary ?
Bret Favre will lead the Zaire Ebola Virus. He will be throwing to play makers Ike Hilliard and Darnay Scott. The achilles heel of this team is the running game. Zaire will go with a running back by committee. The problem is, the committee looks awful. Tony Richardson and Tiki Barber combined to rush for only 650 yards. Neither are considered play makers. Unless David Hauser gets a good running back, expect teams to play nickel defense and blitz Favre early and often. Still, I think this team could make the playoffs. Strahan is a monster on the defensive line. Armstead and Bruschi head a very athletic group at line backer. The secondary features the divisions best duo at cornerback Troy Vincent and Ronde Barber. Barber happens to be Tiki's twin brother.
The question mark at the Optima Cowboy's training camp is who will start at quarterback ? Fiedler or Jim Miller ? Are either of these guys good enough to lead this team ? If Sparky, the owner of the Cowboys, doesn't get a veteran at quarterback, this team may not do well. The team does feature electric running back Fred Taylor. Tim Dwight and Michael Irvin leads a solid receiving corp. John Runyan, Walter Jones, and Jeff Christy make up three-fifths of the best offensive line in the league. The defense is also solid. Keith Hamilton and Vonnie Holiday should give opposing qb's nightmares. Charles Woodson may be the best cornerback in the league other than Champ Bailey. Expect teams to pick-on DAylon McCutcheon, a 5'8" cornerback. I think that if Fiedler or Miller play well, and I expect them both to play, this team may be good enough to challenge the Rejects. Both have decent quarterback ratings, but neither has been a full-time starter. This team is loaded with talent, but may be missing it in the most important position. Can Fred Taylor carry this team to the top ?
The Loyalsock Lightning will probably feature a three wide receiver set. If they don't, they should. The team only has two running backs, Napoleon Kaufman and Eric Beinemy. Both Kaufman and Beinemy are smallish, scat-back type runners who may have trouble blocking against a blitz. This team does have a talented trio at wide receiver. Amani Toomer, Rocket Ismail, and Jermaine Lewis are all play makers. This team's defense may be the most solid in the division. Willi Mcginest and Lance Johnston will be tough up front. It will be interesting to see speedy linebacker Marc Fields (he once ran a 4.29 forty) try to cover Marshall Faulk when this team meets the Rejects. The secondary is led by Carnell Lake and the hard-hitting Jerome Woods. Though he is small, Aaron Glenn is an excellent cover corner. That being said, I don't know if this team has enough offense to win this tough division.