Missouri 2015 Football Season Preview For The Most Popular College And NFL Teams In The State
The Show-Me State has a single college football team that grabs most of the attention with the University of Missouri Tigers, but must split the professional spotlight in two with the Chiefs and Rams. Which Missouri NFL team are you a fan of?
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Missouri Tigers 2015 Football
Coming off two consecutive SEC East titles might come as a surprise to some who seem to think the conference is made of approximately four teams. Yet head coach Gary Pickel and the Missouri Tigers are coming off an 11-3 season in 2014 where the offense struggled for much of the campaign.
Quarterback Matt Mauk will be at the controls after throwing for 25 touchdowns and over 2,600 yards. However, he lost his four best targets from 2014, so wide receiver Nate Brown, who caught only five passes last year appears to be the best option. There is running back Russell Hansborough, who broke the 1,000-yard barrier and scored 10 touchdowns, while also catching 11 passes. Unfortunately, there's not much talent after that, which could make it a tough year for the offense.
Still, the offensive line has four of five starters returning, led by center Evan Boehm and guard Connor McGovern. On defense, youth will have to be served as the duo of Josh Augusta and Terry Beckner, Jr. handle the tackle position, while the ends will likely see a pair of sophomores, Charles Harris and Marcus Loud.
The linebacking pair of Michael Scherer and Kentrell Brothers are back, which should provide some veteran leadership to this contingent. With three defensive backs also returning, Missouri will likely go to a ball-hawking style that's heavy on blitzing. The Tigers have defied critics before, but matching their 2014 record might be difficult, especially given the difficulty of their second half schedule.
Kansas City Chiefs 2015
Another late-season slide was costly enough to keep the Chiefs out of the postseason after Andy Reid's impressive first season. Part of the problem was that Alex Smith had little to work with when it came to the wide receiving unit. To address that, the team signed Jeremy Maclin, even though his health has been a question mark throughout his career. Right now, the only other throwing option among receivers for Smith is tight end Travis Kelce who caught five touchdown passes among his 67 grabs.
The running game will again be handled by workhorse Jamaal Charles, who not only reached 1,000 yards in rushing, but also caught 40 passes. That workload caught up to him later in the year, so getting him some help would be a major boost.
The Chief offensive line needs to step up, especially former top overall pick Eric Fisher at tackle. He's been a disappointment thus far, but the trade for Ben Grubbs and signing of Paul Fanaika should improve the guard slots. Kansas City won't wow anyone with the defensive linemen, but they can get the job done and there's enough depth to keep them consistent.
At linebacker, Justin Houston was a sack machine, and the team is hoping 2014 top pick Dee Ford has a breakthrough campaign.' The secondary will be young, with rookie Marcus Peters expected to start at one corner spot, while Sean Smith handles the other side after coming off a strong 2014 season.' The offseason upheaval in Denver might be enough for the Chiefs to take the top spot, but the team needs to start and finish strong to accomplish that task.
St. Louis Rams 2015
With the Sam Bradford era having ended, head coach Jeff Fisher looks to have Nick Foles go back to his 2013 performance, when he reached the Pro Bowl. Elsewhere, the running back role is supposed to be handled by Todd Gurley, but his health will likely delay the start of his season. Until he's ready, Tre Mason will handle his duties.
Foles will have some effective receivers, but no gamebreakers. This group is led by Kenny Britt and Brian Quick, with Tavon Austin on the verge of entering bust country. Second year guard Greg Robinson is likely one of the veterans on the offensive line, which gives you an idea of how raw this group is, which can't make Foles took comfortable. In contrast, the defensive line has standouts like Chris Long and Robert Quinn at defensive end. At tackle, Aaron Donald is coming off a strong rookie season.
The linebackers are equally impressive, with James Lauranitis and Alex Ogleltree leading the way. That strength also extends to the secondary, with Janoris Jenkins and either Trumaine Johnson or E.J. Gaines helping shut down opposing receivers. Given the presence of Seattle in this division and the uneasiness on the offensive side, the Rams might need to look forward a year or two to get a realistic hope of success.