ATLANTA—Noting how important it is to make a good first impression, Pittsburgh Pirates rookie first baseman Josh Bell told reporters before Tuesday’s game against the Atlanta Braves that he’s still nervous about chatting with opposing baserunners.
- Strength: Reports from coach's office indicate Pete Carroll is a complete football genius
- Weakness: Team is in their 10th year of humoring quarterback and Make-A-Wish cancer patient Matt Hasselbeck
- Player To Watch: Tackle Russell Okung is injured and may miss the season opener, so watching him will spare you from seeing the Seahawks play
- Intangibles: Billionaire owner Paul Allen is concentrating less on his team and more on hollowing out the earth so he can live inside it with the dinosaurs there
San Francisco 49ers
- Strength: He may not be a Joe Montana, but Alex Smith is proving to be a better QB than Jim Druckenmiller, Gio Carmazzi, or Steve Stenstrom ever were
- Weakness: Whatever head coach Mike Singletary is thinking at any given moment
- Player To Watch: Veteran Brian Westbrook is always a threat to explode into a cloud of ligaments and bone
- Biggest Question: If the 49ers are willing to let Glen Coffee go to follow Christ, what's to stop the entire team from following suit?
St. Louis Rams
- Strength: Going into 2010, the Rams are almost perfectly positioned to receive another high draft pick in 2011
- Weakness: Battle for the quarterback position seems to be heating up, as neither starter A.J. Feely nor first overall draft pick Sam Bradford wants to be blamed for the upcoming 2-14 season
- Intangibles: Scuttlebutt around the league says the Rams have a pretty good track record when it comes to playing decent music on the locker-room boom box
- Biggest Question: What sick fuck thought it would be a good idea for the Rams to face the defending Super Bowl champion Saints on the road Dec. 12?
- Strength: Superstar Larry Fitzgerald runs crisp routes, gets good separation, and watches helplessly as poorly thrown passes wobble to the turf
- Weakness: Kurt Warner is getting slower and less accurate because he has retired and is never, ever coming back
- Player To Watch: None, although team is well-stocked with players to turn away from while cringing because you can't bear to watch
- Intangibles: Matt Leinart, who may be the least tangible quarterback in the NFL