We've "Bean" Waiting
PORTLAND, ME - Since their Super Bowl appearance in 2003, the Mexican Humping Beans have been a team searching for an identity. Seemingly masterfully constructed by owner Bobby Sansone, the Beans feature two stars at the running back position, a solid veteran quarterback, and an unsung collection of reliable receivers. Despite this mixture of talent, the Beans have mustered only 11 wins over the last two seasons and have to be in the conversation when discussing the most disappointing (and perplexing) teams in recent memory.
Biggest Question Facing Owner Bobby Sansone
Do the Beans depend on the Chiefs too much? Like their dependence on the Jaguars of the past, the Beans may be hampered by their reliance on too many players from one team. With three Chiefs routinely appearing in their lineup (and one of those isn't Larry Johnson), the Beans will be hoping for a resurgence in a Kansas City air attack that never seemed to get going last season.
Player to Watch
Trent Green, QB - With three straight 130+ point seasons entering last season, Trent Green was the model of consistency at a quarterback position that has shown tremendous upheavel over the past few years. However, a slow start that produced only 6 points in 3 games led to Green's worst season since 2001 and part-time duty as he split time with Mark Brunell. By drafting Jay Cutler, owner Bobby Sansone has shown that he's ready to move in a new direction. If the Beans want to challenge for the division in 2006, he'll have to regain his form.
Projected Starting Lineup
Green, Jordan, Portis, Burress, Driver, Gonzalez, Gostkowski, Kennison
While questions linger about the Beans' running attack (is Clinton Portis healthy? will defenses load up against LaMont Jordan?), there's no doubt that the Beans employ one of the better ground games in the YFFL on paper. At receiver, the Beans have been searching for a playmaker via the draft (Charles Rogers and Braylon Edwards) and blockbuster trades (Plaxico Burress), but Donald Driver and Eddie Kennison have been the two best receivers nobody has heard about over the last two seasons.
If the stars on the Beans play like stars, and the role players can continue to quietly chip in nice performances from week-to-week, this team could challenge the Chickens for the top spot in the NFC West. However, with early-season injury concerns and an unproven kicker heading into the start of the season, the Beans will have to settle for the wild card.
9-4; 609 points; 2nd NFC West