Blue chips and red chips: Ranking all 32 teams

Before the opening of the season, it's natural for the media to rank teams based on the work organizations did in the offseason and how they looked in the preseason. I'd like to take a different tack.

Two weeks ago, I unveiled my annual blue-chip/red-chip ratings. Basically, I ranked the top 10 or so players at each position, as well as coaches. The end result is a comprehensive look at the best of the best in the NFL.

Today, I'm ranking the 32 teams based on the amount of blue chips and red chips each has. To do so, I assigned a point value to each position (see table, right). I then tallied up the points for each team and ranked them accordingly.

First, I made a few adjustments to my original list. I took receiver Saints wideout Marques Colston off the list and added Broncos receiver Brandon Lloyd. Also, I took ex-Cowboys and current Ravens center Andre Gurode off the list and elevated Bengals center Kyle Cook from red to blue. The reason for changing out Colston for Lloyd was that even though Colston has been a better player over his career, Lloyd had the better season in 2010. Lloyd had 1,448 yards and 11 TDs to Colston's 1,023 and seven. As for Gurode being dumped from the list, after watching more tape, I decided he was not playing to the same level.

Also, understand these rankings are based on how players performed last season. It does not account for a player who might have a great season in 2011, nor does it account for an older player who used to be a blue but no longer plays to that level.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Total points: 107
Blues: QB Ben Roethlisberger, C Maurkice Pouncey, ILB Lawrence Timmons, OLB James Harrison, OLB LaMarr Woodley, S Troy Polamalu, Coach Mike Tomlin
Reds: RB Rashard Mendenhall, WR Mike Wallace, TE Heath Miller, DT Casey Hampton
Talented team with blue-chip players at the most meaningful positions

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2. Green Bay Packers

Total points: 106
Blues: QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Greg Jennings, G Josh Sitton, DT B.J. Raji, OLB Clay Matthews, CB Charles Woodson
Reds: TE Jermichael Finley, T Chad Clifton, CB Tramon Williams, S Nick Collins, Coach Mike McCarthy.
Young team with the potential to add more blues (Finley, for one) to the list next year

3. San Diego Chargers

Total points: 85
Blues: QB Phillip Rivers, TE Antonio Gates, T Marcus McNeill, C Nick Hardwick
Reds: WR Vincent Jackson, G Kris Dielman, OLB, Shaun Phillips, CB Quentin Jammer, S Eric Weddle
If the Chargers can add one more blue in their defensive front seven, watch out

4. New York Jets

Total points: 76.5
Blues: T D'Brickashaw Ferguson, C Nick Mangold, CB Darrelle Revis, Coach Rex Ryan
Reds: WR Santonio Holmes, G Brandon Moore, ILB David Harris, CB Antonio Cromartie
Getting this many points without a blue/red QB or RB is amazing, but the offensive line and secondary are talented

5. New England Patriots

Total points: 73.5
Blues: QB Tom Brady, G Logan Mankins, DT Vince Wilfork, ILB Jerod Mayo, CB Devin McCourty, Coach Bill Belichick
Reds: WR Wes Welker
Young team with potential to add more blues/reds to the list based on their offseason work

6. Philadelphia Eagles

Total points: 71
Blues: DE Trent Cole, CB, Nnamdi Asomugha, Coach Andy Reid.
Reds: QB Michael Vick, WR DeSean Jackson, T Jason Peters, CB Asante Samuel.
LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin are close to becoming reds, but the Eagles will need to get another front seven player on the list to really make a difference

7. New Orleans Saints

Total points: 67
Blues: QB Drew Brees, G Jahri Evans, Coach Sean Payton
Reds: WR Marques Colston, G Carl Nicks, DE Will Smith, ILB Jonathan Vilma
Getting a running back (Darren Sproles or Mark Ingram) to blue/red level, along with a receiver, would propel them up the list

8. Atlanta Falcons

Total points: 66.5
Blues: RB Michael Turner, WR Roddy White, ILB Curtis Lofton
Reds: QB Matt Ryan, DE John Abraham, CB Brent Grimes, Coach Mike Smith
The Falcons must hope the 33-year-old Abraham continues to play at a red level and then find another defender to become a blue/red

9. Baltimore Ravens

Total points: 56
Blues: RB Ray Rice, DT Haloti Ngata, OLB Terrell Suggs, S Ed Reed
Reds: ILB Ray Lewis, Coach John Harbaugh
Ravens are in trouble if their older players don't continue to play at the same level

10. Indianapolis Colts

Total points: 53
Blues: QB Peyton Manning, WR Reggie Wayne, TE Dallas Clark, DE Dwight Freeney
Reds: DE Robert Mathis
This number might come way down if No. 18 is not able to play for an extended period of time, as it will affect all the other skill players on this list

11. Minnesota Vikings

Total points: 48.5
Blues: RB Adrian Peterson, G Steve Hutchinson, DE Jared Allen, DT Kevin Williams
Reds: TE Visanthe Shiancoe
Vikings must hope defensive end Brian Robison takes a huge step forward and that Donovan McNabb has at least a red season

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T-12. Houston Texans

Total points: 47
Blues: WR Andre Johnson, De Mario Williams
Reds: QB Matt Schaub, RB Arian Foster, CB Johnathan Joseph
Texans have the skill players, but they need an offensive lineman to step up and get Joseph to continue his red play

T-12. New York Giants

Total points: 47
Blues: G Chris Snee, S Antrel Rolle
Reds: QB Eli Manning, DE Justin Tuck, Coach Tom Coughlin
Giants must get some skill players on the blue/red list, and they have a few candidates (Hakeem Nicks, for one)

14. Chicago Bears

Total points: 45
Blues: DE Julius Peppers
Reds: ILB Brian Urlacher, OLB Lance Briggs, CB Charles Tillman, Coach Lovie Smith
Bears must improve their offensive line and hope quarterback Jay Cutler can take a step into the reds

15. Carolina Panthers

Total points: 44.5
Blues: C Ryan Kalil, ILB Jon Beason
Reds: RB DeAngelo Williams, WR Steve Smith, T Jordan Gross
Panthers have a few talented players but need to get more at critical positions, like Cam Newton at quarterback. Doubt the Panthers will go up in blues/reds this year

16. Kansas City Chiefs

Total points: 39
Blues: RB Jamaal Charles, S Eric Berry
Reds: OLB Tamba Hali, CB Brandon Flowers
Chiefs have looked bad this preseason and losing tight end Tony Moeaki hurts their chances of adding more players to the list

17. Miami Dolphins

Total points: 37.5
Blues: T Jake Long
Reds: WR Brandon Marshall, OLB Cameron Wake, CB Vontae Davis
Can Reggie Bush give the Dolphins the big plays they need? If he does, he'll become a red, but he might be the only one who can make the jump

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18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Total points: 37
Blues: T Donald Penn, CB Aqib Talib
Reds: TE Kellen Winslow, G Davin Joseph
Good, young team that stood pat in the offseason, and I'm not sure they have anyone, outside quarterback Josh Freeman, who could make the jump

19. San Francisco 49ers

Total points: 36.5
Blues: TE Vernon Davis, ILB Patrick Willis
Reds: T Joe Staley, DE Justin Smith
49ers have some talented players but have no chance of finding a blue/red quarterback this year

20. Dallas Cowboys

Total points: 36
Blues: TE Jason Witten, OLB DeMarcus Ware
Reds: WR Miles Austin, DT Jay Ratliff
If Tony Romo and corner Terence Newman can become reds like they should, this will help the 'Boys make a huge jump.

21. Arizona Cardinals

Total points: 27.5
Blues: WR Larry Fitzgerald, S Adrian Wilson
Reds: DT Darnell Docket
Cards need Kevin Kolb to become a red, but I am not sure that happens this year

22. Tennessee Titans

Total points: 27
Blues: RB Chris Johnson
Reds: T Michael Roos, ILB Barrett Ruud
Titans need to get red play from new QB Matt Hasselbeck to make the jump in the South. Watch for tight end Jared Cook to be on the list next year

23. Washington Redskins

Total points: 24.5
Blues: None
Reds: OLB Brian Orakpo, S O.J. Atogwe, S LaRon Landry
Added a few pieces on defense (like DT Barry Cofield) who have the potential to be reds, and a few of their offensive linemen are capable of making the jump, too

24. Seattle Seahawks

Total points: 22.5
Blues: None
Reds: TE Zach Miller, C Max Unger, S Earl Thomas
It is hard to find the next blue or red Seahawk on this roster

25. Cleveland Browns

Total points: 20
Blues: T Joe Thomas, C Alex Mack
Reds: None
Can quarterback Colt McCoy become a red? If he does, some of their other young players will make the jump as well

26. Cincinnati Bengals

Total points: 19.5
Blues: C Kyle Cook
Reds: CB Leon Hall
Bengals have a great defense, but they won't make a playoff run until they get red play from the quarterback position

T-27. Detroit Lions

Total points: 17.5
Blues: DT Ndamukong Suh
Reds: WR Calvin Johnson
Look for a giant leap this season for the Lions, who have many players ready to make the list, starting with quarterback Matthew Strafford

T-27. St. Louis Rams

Total points: 17.5
Blues: RB Steven Jackson
Reds: G Harvey Dahl
Rams are another team with potential to make a huge jump, based on the play of quarterback Sam Bradford. They have increased their talent base greatly in one year

T-27. Jacksonville Jaguars

Total points: 17.5
Blues: TE Marcedes Lewis
Reds: RB Maurice Jones-Drew
Losing a starting quarterback will make it hard for tight end Mercedes Lewis and running back Maurice Jones-Drew to keep their status

T-30. Denver Broncos

Total points: 7.5
Blues: None
Reds: WR Brandon Lloyd
Broncos fans were mad that Champ Bailey and Ryan Clady were not on the list, but both are capable of having better seasons to get back their one-time status.

T-30. Oakland Raiders

Total points: 7.5
Blues: None
Reds: DT Richard Seymour
Raiders are another team that could make a move if their young talent plays well

T-30. Buffalo Bills

Total points: 7.5
Blues: None
Reds: DT Kyle Williams
First-round pick Marcell Dareus is the best chance for the Bills to add to the list this season

Follow Michael Lombardi on Twitter @michaelombardi

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