Under the new ownership of Jimmy Haslam, the Cleveland Browns have made wholesale moves since the regular season came to an end a few weeks back. The last day of 2012 brought pink slips for both head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert. Haslam had the following to say after ousting both the
Overall Position Rank: 15 Projected Round: 4th/5th 2012 Season Review Dennis Johnson was actually able to stay healthy for the most part in 2012 after missing part of the 2011 season and being injury-plagued before. He averaged 5.5 yards per attempt and gained nearly 800 on the ground in a solid performance.
Overall Position Rank: 10 Projected Round: fourth or fifth round 2012 Season Review Thomas struggled a great deal for the Hokies after being considered a first-round pick by many experts at the start of the season. He threw 18 touchdowns compared to 16 interceptions and continually struggled making the right read down the
35 percent of the teams that didn’t make the playoffs in the NFL have already fired their head coach as of noon on the west coast Monday. Needless to say, franchises went the way of spring cleaning this winter. Here are the coaches that have been fired already Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers Romeo Crennel,
When Chris Culliver made less than flattering remarks targeted at the LGBT community in the lead up to Super Bowl XLVII, he was quickly, and rightfully, attacked by the mainstream media. His remarks were incendiary at a time when American society is attempting to move on from the ignorant stereotypes of the past. He was justifiably called a “bigot” by media folks on a continuing cycle of bad press for the San Francisco 49ers.
Now news has broke that Christian die-hard and the role model for what is “right” and “decent” about religion today, Tim Tebow of the New York Jets, is planning to speak at First Baptist Church in Dallas. That church is headed by a controversial figure, Robert Jeffress, who has made some hate-filled comments in the past. Tebow will get paid for his appearance in another battle for limelight by this disgusting representation of a human being, Jeffress that is.
The following are comments that Jeffress has made in the past…….
Islam, Mormonism and Judaism are heretical religions from the pit of hell.
President Obama is not the Antichrist. But what I am saying is this: the course he is choosing to lead our nation is paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist.
Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Even though he talks about Jesus as his Lord and savior, he is not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity. Mormonism is a cult.
The deep, dark, dirty secret of Islam: It is a religion that promotes pedophilia – sex with children. This so-called prophet Muhammad raped a 9-year-old girl – had sex with her.
There’s good reason for keeping the tradition of not having homosexuals serve in the military….70 percent of the gay population” has AIDS. “It’s a fact that it’s a gay disease so there’s a reasonable reason to exclude gays from the military.
I’m always, the retort to that is ‘oh! Are you pulling a Rick Santorum and saying that homosexuality is like bestiality, uh, incest, or pedophilia’? And I say ‘Yes.’. It is just as immoral as those practices. But then I’m quick to add, it’s also just as immoral as adultery, pre-marital sex, or unbiblical divorce. Any deviation from god’s plan is sin. It is a miserable lifestyle. And that is why we, as preachers of the gospel and Christians, we’ve got the message of hope, and we need to quit being ashamed to share it.
Some may ask why I am even giving Jeffress press here. Well, it is important to show his beliefs in context when drawing the following conclusion.
If Tebow does indeed speak at this church, he is guilty by association of supporting this hate-filled and archaic ideology. While what Tebow says when he gets on the podium will be under a microscope, it really doesn’t matter to this one writer if he comes in with a message of unity.
The impact of him supporting this mega church and its warn out dogma’s is as clear as Jeffress lack of compassion for those who don’t share his beliefs and sets of “values.” If you are different, Tebow is saying by making this appearance, God will not forgive your sins and you will not go to heaven. You are different, so you don’t deserve to live a happy life or exist as a “moral” human.
Yes, Tebow is saying the aforementioned things by his mere appearance in Dallas later this year. He will not be bringing a message of unity to a church whose rhetoric is as archaic as it is deliberate. Indicating that homosexuality is like bestiality represents one of the most ignorant comments this humble writer has ever come across. On another note, Islam, if practiced correctly with the teachings of both Muhammad and Rumi, is as peaceful as it gets. In addition, indicating that Muhammad was a pedophile is beyond disgraceful.
Yes, Tebow is supporting these beliefs by agreeing to speak at the church. He is guilty of hate by association. And for that we as media, should place him under the microscope, much like we did with Chris Culliver earlier in the month.
It’s that simple.
Under the new ownership of Jimmy Haslam, the Cleveland Browns have made wholesale moves since the regular season came to an end a few weeks back.
The last day of 2012 brought pink slips for both head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert.
Haslam had the following to say after ousting both the GM and head coach…
We felt that these moves were in the best interests of the Cleveland Browns and our future
It isn’t abnormal to have these types of changes once a new ownership group takes control. For Haslam, it was all about redefining an organization that has existed in mediocrity for a long time now.
Cleveland then went out and hired former Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski to be its new head coach. While this hiring wasn’t without turmoil, especially considering Chud’s lack of success with Carolina in 2012, it does bring some new blood to the organization. At the very least, Cleveland went against bringing in a retread head coach. A young team with a new owner needs to have a relatively young head coach to lead the way on the field.
Norv Turner was just recently announced as the Browns offensive coordinator on Thursday. That is one great hire for the organization. While Turner leaves a lot to be desired as it relates to being a head coach, he is a great offensive coordinator in the NFL. His presence will help whoever is under center in 2013.
It isn’t like the Browns are starting from ground zero. Instead, they have a solid nucleus upon which to build on both sides of the ball. Trent Richardson promises to be a Pro Bowl running back in the not so distant future. Meanwhile, rookie second-round pick (supplementary selection) Josh Gordon showed everyone why Cleveland made the then curious decision to exhaust a second-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft on him. Gordon tallied 805 yards on 50 receptions for a whopping 16.1 yards per reception. He will be a solid down field threat.
While Cleveland did finish 5-11, it lost five games by just one score and finished with a -4.4 average scoring differential. It’s important to note how competitive this team was all season with a anemic head coach.
Defensively, the Browns were pretty darn good. Joe Haden, Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard make up a pretty decent trio to build with on that side of the ball. While Cleveland will have to add more talent in the future to compete with offenses in Cincinnati and Baltimore, this is a good start.
Which leads me to my original point.
Cleveland needs to go out there and trade for quarterback Alex Smith of the San Francisco 49ers. He had a solid working relationship with Norv Turner and would be an immediate upgrade over Brandon Weeden under center.
Smith, who has been one of the most consistently good quarterbacks since the start of 2011, is going to be the odd-man out in San Francisco following the emergence of Colin Kaepernick.
The following are Smith’s stats over the course of his last 27 starts, postseason included:
63.8 completion percentage, 5,376 yards, 38 total touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 96.7 quarterback rating.
Those are better than average starting quarterback stats in the NFL. Equally as important, Smith was 20-6-1 during that span and threw one interception per 72.1 pass attempts. For comparison’s sake, Weeden threw one interception per 30.4 attempts as a rookie in 2012.
And Smith is younger than the current Browns’ starting quarterback.
Smith does need to have weapons on the offensive side of the ball and a solid offensive line to protect him. If he doesn’t have those things, we could be looking at Smith reverting back to pre-2011 form.
Fortunately, Cleveland does possess a solid offensive line. Weeden was sacked just 28 times in 15 starts during the regular season. Mitchell Schwartz and Joe Thomas are an awesome tandem at the offensive tackle position, while Alex Mack has been nothing short of consistent at center throughout his career.
Richardson would also provide Smith with that Pro Bowl caliber running back that he became accustomed to in the form of Frank Gore in San Francisco.
Give him the deep threat that is Gordon, a decent slot receiver in Greg Little and add one of the top wide receivers in the draft (Keenan Allen?) and you are looking at a really good offense moving forward.
That said, Cleveland won’t be getting Smith for free if it decides to actually court the veteran quarterback. San Francisco knows all too well that Smith’s $10 million salary in 2013 is a bargain. It also knows that both the free agent and draft classes at the quarterback positions are mighty thin. In reality, the 49ers are working from a position of strength here.
It would probably cost Cleveland either a third-round pick or a combination of a fourth rounder and future considerations to nab Smith. On that note, San Francisco promises to have the most draft picks of any team in the NFL this upcoming April. It probably wouldn’t be against taking picks in 2014 in order to send Smith to the right situation and receive decent value in return.
Look for this to be discussed as March and the new league year nears. I, for one, think Smith would be a great addition to the Browns.
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Overall Position Rank: 15
Projected Round: 4th/5th
2012 Season Review
Dennis Johnson was actually able to stay healthy for the most part in 2012 after missing part of the 2011 season and being injury-plagued before. He averaged 5.5 yards per attempt and gained nearly 800 on the ground in a solid performance.
During a two-game stretch against Mississippi and Tulsa, Johnson racked up over 300 yards and three scores.
As a five-year college player, there are going to be concerns about Johnson’s age and ability to stay healthy. All things equal, however, he is a legit second or third round option. Previous injury concerns will cause him to fall to the mid rounds.
* Receiving Ability
* Field Vision/Cutback Ability
* Injury Concerns
* Ball Security
I really don’t have anything negative to say about Johnson outside of his injury issues. He boasts a low center of gravity when running the ball, which makes him extremely difficult to bring down. He also possesses everything you look for in a featured back in the NFL. More often than not, he will be defenders to the outside and make them look silly with his cutback ability.
Teams do tend to value age and endurance when it comes to the running back position early in the draft. That being said, we have seen certain organizations take a shot in the dark when it comes to “reaching” for running backs who have that proverbial “red flag.”
Look for Johnson to shoot up the draft boards during the combine and postseason workouts. After all, he passes the eye test.
Overall Position Rank: 10
Projected Round: fourth or fifth round
2012 Season Review
Thomas struggled a great deal for the Hokies after being considered a first-round pick by many experts at the start of the season. He threw 18 touchdowns compared to 16 interceptions and continually struggled making the right read down the field. 12 of those interceptions came away from Blacksburg, which shows he struggles playing in hostile environments.
His best performances came in the first two games of the season against less than stellar competition in the form of Austin Peay and Georgia Tech. Thomas completed 60 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Following those two games, he was nothing more than an average signal caller for Tech. Thomas completed less than 50 percent of his passes and had two more interceptions than touchdowns in his final 11 games of the season.
* Intermediate Accuracy
* Decision Making
* Accuracy Down the Field
* Regressed in 2012
As I mentioned above, Thomas came into the 2012 season with first-round aspirations. Now it isn’t even 100 percent clear that he will declare for April’s draft. Experts have concluded that he might as well get paid because a return to Va. Tech guarantees nothing for the under-performing quarterback.
His ceiling is as a decent starting quarterback in the NFL, much like Jason Campbell. His bottom is someone that will never be more than a serviceable No. 2 quarterback.
Nothing more than a mid-round project at this point. He is going to need to prove himself at the combine and during individual workouts to get his draft stock back up again.
Two weeks ago I compiled my initial 2013 NFL Mock Draft. Now that the top 20 slots have been decided following the regular season, it made sense to take another look at it.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, Quarterback, West Virginia
The Chiefs desperately need to address the quarterback position. While there are better overall players in the draft than Smith, he would provide them that young franchise quarterback they must have moving forward.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jarvis Jones, Defensive End/Linebacker, Georgia
Jacksonville finished with the least amount of sacks in the NFL. Rookie Andre Branch did little to generate a consistent push from DE. In addition, Jeremy Mincey seemed to regress. Jones is a day one starter who could come in and rack up double-digit sacks as a rookie.
3. Oakland Raiders: Dee Milliner, Cornerback, Alabama
Shawntae Spencer, Ronald Bartell and Michael Huff seeing considerable time at cornerback is a recipe for disaster in the NFL. Expect general manager Reggie McKenzie to look to trade down and acquire picks. In the absence of that, he goes with the best corner on the board.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M
It remains to be seen whether Jason Peters will ever return to full health. Even with him in the fold, Philadelphia needs a franchise book end. Joeckel is one of the top five offensive tackle prospects in the last decade.
5. Detroit Lions: Manti Te’o, Linebacker, Notre Dame
No, this isn’t too high for the Heisman Trophy finalist. My NFL comparison to Te’o is a bulkier NaVorro Bowman, which is mighty high praise. He would immediately make Detroit’s front seven one of the best in the division.
6. Cleveland Browns: Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver, California
I am a huge fan of Josh Gordon, but he is going to need some help on the outside. Greg Little has been a bitter disappointment and is nothing better than a No. 3 on a good team. Allen is the consensus No. 1 wide receiver in the draft class.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Mike Glennon, Quarterback, North Carolina State
Arizona will need to address the offensive line in the draft and in free agency, but they cannot pass up on a quarterback with as high of an upside as Glennon. While he might have to sit for a year, I project big things from the NC State prospect.
8. Buffalo Bills: Tyler Wilson, Quarterback, Arkansas
Is this a reach? Probably. However, teams are going to reach for a quarterback in the draft considering that it is hard to succeed in the NFL without one. Wilson is your prototypical quarterback with a strong arm and decent accuracy. Besides, Ryan Fitzpatrick is nowhere near the long-term solution in Buffalo.
9. New York Jets: Justin Hunter, Wide Receiver, Tennessee
The more tape I watch on Hunter, the more I believe he will end up being a top 15 pick. Needless to say, New York needs as much help as it can get at wide receiver. This might not be a value pick, but expect Hunter’s stock to rise considerably in the coming months.
10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack, Guard, Alabama
Steve Hutchinson is done. Tennessee needs to find a youngster along the interior of its offensive line. Warmack is the consensus No. 1 player at this position in the draft. He will be a Pro Bowl caliber player out of the gate. Immediate upgrade here.
11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, Offensive Tackle, Central Michigan
One of the primary reasons Philip Rivers struggled so badly this season was the fact that he didn’t have any type of protection from his tackles. In fact, they were among the worst in the NFL. Fisher has a tremendous amount of talent and will see his stock skyrocket during postseason events.
12. Miami Dolphins: Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver, West Virginia
Much like Kendall Wright last season, Austin was the primary reason Geno Smith was so damn good in college. Austin is the type of receiver that Miami needs to stretch the field with strong-armed Ryan Tannehill at QB.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Johnthan Banks, Cornerback, Mississippi State
In order to counteract Julio Jones, Roddy White, Steve Smith and Marques Colston in the NFC South, Tampa is going to have to find itself a No. 1 corner. Banks has the size and on-ball ability to be that type of guy. Additionally, the Buccaneers finished dead last in the NFL against the pass. Needless to say, they’re looking for an upgrade here.
14. Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei, Defensive Tackle, Utah
The biggest drop from my initial mock, which had Star going No. 1 overall. The more I watch tape on him the more I am convinced he could be a workout warrior. Though I am impressed by Star’s ability to penetrate the line, he might not be as much of an impact player as originally thought. That being said, Carolina needs someone along the interior of its defensive line to improve an anemic front four.
15. New Orleans Saints: Johnathan Hankins, Defensive Tackle, Ohio State
New Orleans was a complete disaster against the run and didn’t provide a great pass rush without having to blitz a great deal. This will have to change if its defense is going to improve. Hankins can hold down the fort at DT, taking up double teams and helping edge rushers get to the QB.
16. St. Louis Rams: Jake Matthews, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M
St. Louis appears set with Rodger Saffold at one tackle position, but it really needs to find a franchise book end for Sam Bradford. Matthews would normally be a top OT prospect, but because of a deep class he falls to them here. Great value at a need position.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Giovani Bernard, Running Back, North Carolina
Pittsburgh needs to find a running game to help Ben Roethlisberger in the passing game. Bernard becomes the No. 1 overall prospect at this position due to the injury to Marcus Lattimore. He can come in and start immediately.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cooper, Guard, North Carolina
The interior of the Cowboys’ offensive line is an absolute joke. Blame Tony Romo all you want for his meltdown in Week 17, but he can’t do it all himself. Cooper has the size and physical ability to be a dominating guard out of the gate.
19. New York Giants: Barrett Jones, Center/Guard, Alabama
Jones can play either guard or center in the NFL. He reminds me a great deal of Peter Konz from the 2012 draft. Look for New York to implement him at center immediately with a thought of moving him to guard in the future. After all, David Baas leaves a lot to be desired.
20. Chicago Bears: Taylor Lewan, Offensive Tackle, Michigan
To take a term from the Clinton Administration and spin it to the professional sports world, “It’s the offensive line, stupid.” In short, Chicago needs multiple upgrades along this unit to be viable in the NFC North. Lewan is a top 10 prospect.
21. Minnesota Vikings: Robert Woods, Wide Receiver, USC
Woods isn’t my favorite wide receiver prospect, but he seems to fit a need for Minnesota heading into the 2013 NFL season. The talented youngster can act as a solid possession guy opposite Percy Harvin in the passing game. This would enable Jarius Wright to move into the slot and act as a solid down field threat for Christian Ponder.
22. Cincinnati Bengals: Eric Reid, Safety, LSU
Taylor Mays and Chris Crocker leave a lot to be desired at safety. Reid is the consensus No. 1 overall free safety in a deep draft class at that position. He would be a great fit next too Reggie Nelson in the secondary.
23. Baltimore Ravens: Alec Ogletree, Linebacker, Georgia
As you already know, Ray Lewis is retiring following the playoffs. I had indicated in the past that Baltimore needed to get a replacement for the future Hall of Fame backer. Now that issue becomes paramount. Ogletree, with his skill set, fits their 3-4 defensive scheme to a T.
24. St. Louis Rams: Terrance Williams, Wide Receiver, Baylor
I still believe that 2012 second-round pick Brian Quick can play an important role in the Rams passing attack. That being said, they are facing the possibility of losing Danny Amendola to free agency and need to get a starter-caliber wide receiver on the roster. Williams is a perfect fit here.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Sheldon Richardson, Defensive Tackle, Missouri
Strong, athletic and gifted; three words that come to mind when watching tape of Richardson at Mizzou. He really can anchor the interior of an NFL defensive line for the next decade. Even with Alan Branch and Brandon Mebane in the mix, Seattle could use depth along this unit. Why not go for value over need here?
26. Indianapolis Colts: Barkevious Mingo, Linebacker, Louisiana State
I really wanted to mock a cornerback to Indianapolis here, but couldn’t pass up on Mingo. He is, by far, the best overall player at this spot in the draft. In addition, the LSU product fits Indianapolis’ 3-4 defensive scheme perfectly as an edge-rusher from the outside linebacker position.
27. Green Bay Packers: Eddie Lacy, Running Back, Alabama
At some point Green Bay will have to bite the proverbial bullet and draft a running back high if it is going to get balance on the offensive side of the ball. Lacy is one of those running backs that can break it to the outside and run over linebackers between the hashes. He would be a perfect fit in Green Bay.
28. San Francisco 49ers: Sharrif Floyd, Defensive Tackle, Florida
One thing has become abundantly clear in San Francisco this season. It needs to find a replacement for Justin Smith along the defensive line. It’s defensive struggled a great deal with the All-Pro out of the lineup. Floyd would immediately come in and be a part of the rotation, while being groomed as Smith’s replacement. He is a gap filler that can take up double teams. Similar to what we have seen with Smith over the years.
29. Houston Texans: Stedman Bailey, Wide Receiver, West Virginia
Outside of Andre Johnson, Houston really doesn’t have much at wide receiver. Kevin Walter, Lester Jean, Keshawn Martin and DeVier Posey really aren’t going to scare defenses. In order to be legit in the passing game, Houston needs to get a starter caliber receiver. I am as big on Bailey as I am on any receiver not named Keenen Allen.
30. New England Patriots: Kenny Vaccaro, Safety, Texas
With the emergence of Alfonzo Dennard and play of Aqib Talib, New England might not have to address the cornerback position early in April’s draft. It will, however, have to find a safety to play alongside Devin McCourty. This is where Vaccaro comes into play. He has elite field vision and is solid in the box. A duel-threat safety if I have ever seen one.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, Tight End, Notre Dame
Whether Tony Gonzalez retires following the playoffs is irrelevant here. Atlanta will need to find a replacement for the future Hall of Fame tight end. I absolutely love Eifert to fill that role over the next decade. He has some great hands, already runs NFL-type routes in Brian Kelly’s system, and can be a mismatch between the hashes. This is really a perfect fit for Atlanta.
32. Denver Broncos: Sylvester Williams, Defensive Tackle, North Carolina
If Denver needs anything in terms of depth outside of cornerback it has to be the defensive line. Williams fits its scheme to a T and can be an immediate contributor for a Super Bowl-caliber team.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars: Matt Barkley, Quarterback, Southern California
34. Kansas City Chiefs: Jesse Williams, Defensive Tackle, Alabama
35. Philadelphia Eagles: Zach Ertz, Tight End, Stanford
36. Detroit Lions: Xavier Rhodes, Cornerback, Florida State
37. Cincinnati Bengals: Sam Montgomery, Defensive End, Louisiana State
38. Arizona Cardinals: Ricky Wagner, Offensive Tackle, Wisconsin
39. New York Jets: Cobi Hamilton, Wide Receiver, Arkansas
40. Tennessee Titans: Dion Jordan, Defensive End, Oregon
41. Buffalo Bills: Shayne Skov, Linebacker, Stanford
42. Miami Dolphins: Jordan Reed, Tight End, Florida
43. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: D.J. Fluker, Offensive Line, Alabama
44. Carolina Panthers: David Amerson, Cornerback, South Carolina
45. San Diego Chargers: Damontre Moore, Defensive End, Texas A&M
46. St. Louis Rams: Phillip Thomas, Safety, Fresno State
47. Dallas Cowboys: Aaron Murray, Quarterback, Georgia
48. Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J. McDonald, Safety, Southern California
49. New York Giants: Nico Johnson, Linebacker, Alabama
50. Chicago Bears: Kevin Minter, Linebacker, Louisiana State
51. Minnesota Vikings: Jordan Poyer, Cornerback, Oregon State
52. Cincinnati Bengals: Marcus Lattimore, Running Back, South Carolina
53. Baltimore Ravens: Bacarri Rambo, Safety, Georgia
54. Washington Redskins: John Jenkins, Defensive Tackle, Georgia
55. Seattle Seahawks: DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver, Clemson
56. Miami Dolphins: Desmond Trufant, Cornerback, Washington
57. Green Bay Packers: Ezekiel Ansah, Defensive End/LB, BYU
58. San Francisco 49ers: Chase Thomas, Linebacker, Stanford
59. Houston Texans: Dallas Thomas, Offensive Tackle, Tennessee
60. New England Patriots: Marquess Wilson, Wide Receiver, Washington State
61. Atlanta Falcons: Alex Okafor, Defensive End, Texas
62. Denver Broncos: Will Davis, Cornerback, Utah State
35 percent of the teams that didn’t make the playoffs in the NFL have already fired their head coach as of noon on the west coast Monday. Needless to say, franchises went the way of spring cleaning this winter.
Here are the coaches that have been fired already
Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers
Romeo Crennel, Kansas City Chiefs
Pat Shurmur, Cleveland Browns
Chan Gailey, Buffalo Bills
Ken Whisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals
Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears
Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles
Now let’s take a look at the candidates that I have come up with.
Greg Roman, Offensive Coordinator, San Francisco 49ers
Roman received a lot of play last season; mostly from the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL and Penn State in college. I would be incredibly surprised if he returned to San Francisco as its offensive coordinator in 2013. He seems to be a hot guy around league circles right now.
Personally, I believe a team like the San Diego Chargers would be the best fit. Coming on the heels of another disappointing season with a veteran head coach, San Diego should be looking for some new blood. Roman did wonders with Andrew Luck in college and has been damn good with both Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick with the 49ers. He could have a nice working relationship with Philip Rivers.
Another team that makes a ton of sense in the Kansas City Chiefs, who will be looking for an offensive-minded head coach and will be bringing in a young quarterback in April’s draft. Pretty much the same reasoning behind this idea as Roman going to San Diego.
Chip Kelly, Head Coach, Oregon
The most likely scenario here would be the Philadelphia Eagles, who just relieved Andy Reid of his duties. You can bet they’re going to make a splash in their head coach search and Kelly is probably going to be Harbaugh-esque in terms of interest he receives.
Kelly could redefine the offensive scheme in the NFL and would have the tools to be successful in Philadelphia. The idea that he could have Nick Foles, Bryce Brown, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin on offense has to make this an intriguing option for the current Oregon head man.
Don’t expect Kelly to take any job, either. He can easily go back to Eugene for another season or two until more attractive jobs open up in 2013 and 2014. Needless to say, he won’t be an option in Cleveland or Arizona.
Jon Gruden, Former Tampa Bay and Oakland Head Coach
Now that it appears Oakland will retain Dennis Allen for another season, we can put to sleep the idea of Gruden making a return trip to Northern California. He does, however, have roots in Philadelphia. If the Eagles fail to land, or don’t show interest in Kelly, this could be an intriguing option for them.
I am not entirely too sure if teams with young quarterbacks would show a lot of interest in Gruden at this point. He didn’t handle that position well with Tampa Bay, which could be cause for alarm. The Buffalo Bills seem like an intriguing option if they’re committed to Ryan Fitzpatrick for 2013.
Ken Whisenhunt, Former Head Coach Arizona Cardinals
One could easily come to the conclusion that Whisenhunt received a raw deal in the desert. Could any head coach be successful with four different starting quarterbacks in one season. Realistically, he was in a no-win situation this season. That being said, Whisenhunt was not successful with Arizona since Kurt Warner hung up his cleats.
This doesn’t mean that the great football mind won’t get another chance in 2013. The Chicago Bears, who lack any type of understanding of how to build an offensive line, could be an intriguing option here. More likely than not, Whisenhunt will have to wait until “sexier” names are called upon to get serious consideration.
Bill O’Brien, Head Coach, Penn State
What O’Brien did in Happy Valley was nothing short of amazing this season. Going into a horrible situation, he got the best out of a roster that had to be reeling from the whole Sandusky scandal. It is also important to note that he was a hot commodity around the NFL before taking the job with Penn State.
Filling numerous coaching roles in New England, including coordinator, O’Brien seems to be logical fit for a team with a young quarterback. Scott Pioli, who has ties with New England, has kept his job with the Kansas City Chiefs. He could look to go to the well one more time. A more likely scenario would be the Carolina Panthers if Ron Rivera ends up getting the boot.
Mike McCoy, Offensive Coordinator, Denver Broncos
To be able to make the transition from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning has to be one of the primary reasons McCoy will get a lot of play this offseason. You have to realize that his offensive philosophy took a complete 180 from 2011 to 2012. Adapting to a new offensive scheme without much too much of an issue is huge here.
Again, we might be looking at a team with a young quarterback here. It looks like Kansas City, who has the No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft, could be a solid route for McCoy.
Andy Reid, Former Head Coach, Philadelphia Eagles
As one of the most successful head coaches in modern NFL history, you can bet that Reid will be on the sideline coaching somewhere in 2013. His name has been mentioned in connection with both the San Diego Chargers and Arizona Cardinals. Interestingly enough, it seems that his people are the one’s putting feelers out there.
San Diego would seem like the best fit here for Reid. Though, I really do hope it goes in a younger direction with its head coaching search. Retreads just don’t seem to be getting it done in Southern California. Either way, expect Reid to go to a really good situation. After all, he isn’t at the stage in his career where going to a rebuilding franchise is too attractive.
Jay Gruden, Offensive Coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals
Gruden should have gotten more play following his stellar coaching performance for Cincinnati in 2011. You can expect him to receive a ton of interest this year. The one issue is that he cannot interview until/when Cincinnati is eliminated from postseason contention. That hurts his chances with teams looking to make a move in relatively short order.
All things equal, Gruden is one of the best offensive minds out there.
Gus Bradley, Defensive Coordinator, Seattle Seahawks: Leads one of the best overall units in the NFL with a solid young core. Should get some play, but can’t interview until Seahawks season is over.
Brian Kelly, Head Coach, Notre Dame: He would draw a tremendous amount of interest in the NFL, but I can’t see him leaving such a great spot in South Bend.
Kyle Shanahan, Offensive Coordinator, Washington Redskins: Teams need to be alarmed that he didn’t have much success in Washington until Robert Griffin III didn’t show up.
Perry Fewell, Defensive Coordinator, New York Giants: Fewell would probably have been hired as a head coach last season if the Giants had a first-round bye. That being said, his brand might not be as high this year.
It now appears that both head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Michael Vick will be making their final appearance with the Philadelphia Eagles this week against the New York Giants.
Reid, the longest-tenured head coach in the National Football League, needs a win to avoid his worst record since taking over as Philadelphia’s head coach in 1999. Meanwhile, Vick is set to earn $15 million, of which $14.1 million isn’t guaranteed, next season. Needless to say, he will most likely be getting his walking papers following the season.
Philadelphia came into each of the last two seasons with high expectations, but failed to live up to the talent level that we all pretty much knew they had. With a mixture of under-performing veterans and untested youngsters, the Eagles just couldn’t get the job done.
It is now time for Philadelphia to blow the whole thing up and start anew. The biggest question here is how they’ll go about doing that? Not whether it will be done.
Stick With The Youth Movement
There is absolutely no reason for Philadelphia to make an attempt at reloading in free agency. Its philosophy prior to the last few years was to build through the draft and supplement via free agency. General manager Howie Roseman, should he keep his job, needs to revert the Eagles philosophy back to that more successful point.
Philadelphia’s last couple few drafts have given it a solid young core on both sides of the ball.
1. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
2. LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh
1. Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
2. Nate Allen, S, South Florida
5. Riley Cooper, WR, Florida
7. Kurt Coleman, S, Ohio State
1. Danny Watkins, G, Baylor
4. Alex Henery, K, Nebraska
6. Jason Kelce, C, Cincinnati
7. Stanley Havili, FB, Southern California
1. Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
2. Mychal Kendricks, LB, California
2. Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
3. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
4. Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
7. Bryce Brown, RB, Kansas State
You are looking at about 16 players drafted in the last four seasons that promise to be contributors for the Eagles moving forward. That isn’t too shabby at all. Despite focusing a great deal of their money on free agency, the Eagles have done a decent job in the draft.
Again, this needs to be their focus moving forward.
They can rid themselves of a huge contract when they release Vick prior to the start of the new league year in March. Additionally, they can save $11 million more by releasing free-agent bust Nnamdi Asomugha. That will give the Eagles a good $24 million more in cap space to pick and choose who they might want to extend on their roster or add in free agency.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that Nick Foles cannot be the answer at quarterback. He has played extremely well as a rookie in 2012 and seems to possess all the necessary skills you look for in a young quarterback. Give him an entire offseason to work on some major flaws that most young quarterbacks have, including decision making.
LeSean McCoy, even after an injury-plagued 2012 season, is one of the top five running backs in the NFL. He also have electric youngster Bryce Brown to help shoulder the load in the backfield. That could be a dynamic 1-2 punch at running back.
Equally as important for Philadelphia, it has a solid starting wide receiver duo. When healthy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin can be dynamic on the outside.
Of course none of this matters if you don’t have an offensive line. Philadelphia was missing the best tackle in the entire NFL in the form of Jason Peters due to another Achilles injury suffered back in the spring. That was a huge loss right there. Second-year center Jason Kelce also missed all but two games this season.
Despite missing their best offensive lineman, a few different youngsters stepped up along this unit in 2012. Rookie Dennis Kelly has started nine games at two different o-line positions, while 2011 first-round pick Danny Watkins started six games. While Watkins is far from a sure bet and could still be considered a bust, it was important to get him some playing time.
Philadelphia now needs to focus on adding a few other youngsters along the offensive line in order to be able to keep Foles upright and open up more holes for the McCoy-Brown tandem. It can also be financially wise by adding a top tier free agent in what promises to be loaded offensive line market. That’s what I am talking about in regards to picking and choosing where you spend your money.
Defensively, Philadelphia might not be as set. Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie appear to be a solid core upon which to build with on defense.
DRC, who is set to be a free agent in March, hasn’t been terribly consistent in Philadelphia over the course of the his first two seasons with the team. He is an unlikely candidate for the franchise tag and hasn’t even been the Eagles best cornerback this season.
Instead of spending what promises to be a huge sum of money on DRC, Philadelphia could easily make the decision to allow 2012 draft pick Brandon Boykin step into a starting role while adding another youngster in the 2013 NFL draft. While that would create some growing pains on pass defense, it makes more sense than overpaying for someone that just hasn’t performed up to snuff.
Of course, Philadelphia’s main goal will be to find a new head coach for its franchise for the first team in nearly a decade and a half. That isn’t going to be an easy task.
Does it look for a veteran head coach to help lead what promises to be a young roster? Maybe it decides some new blood is needed from the college ranks to help inspire a young roster.
Either way, that is going to be the Eagles first goal when their season comes to an end this weekend.
At the very least, Philadelphia does have a lot more to work with than other bottom feeders such as the: Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs.
It should be an interesting offseason.
With one week remaining in the NFL season there isn’t a whole heck of a lot to be decided. 10 of the 12 teams that are going to make the postseason have already clinched with just the NFC East and the final wildcard spot in the NFC up for grabs.
This doesn’t mean that there won’t be a lot of intrigue come Week 17. We still have to decide who is going to be seeded where.
Today’s article is going to focus on the current seeds in each conference and what needs to happen in order for things to get settled next week.
1. Houston Texans (12-3)
2. Denver Broncos (12-3)
3. New England Patriots (11-4)
4. Baltimore Ravens (10-5)
5. Indianapolis Colts (10-5)
6. Cincinnati Bengals (9-6)
* Houston can clinch the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC with a win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. They hold the tie-breaker over both the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos, so they could acquire the first seed even if they lose to Indianapolis
* Denver needs to beat the Kansas City Chiefs and have Houston go down to Indianapolis to acquire the No. 1 seed. It wraps up a first-round bye with either a win against Kansas City or New England loss to the Miami Dolphins.
* New England needs to have Denver lose to Kansas City and beat Miami to acquire a first-round bye. Due to tie-breakers it is eliminated from the No. 1 overall seed.
* Indianapolis is guaranteed the No. 5 seed and Cincinnati can do no better than the No. 6 seed.
* Baltimore can get the No. 3 seed with a win over Cincinnati and a Patriots loss to the Dolphins.
Most Likely Wildcard Matchups
Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
1. Atlanta Falcons (13-2)
2. Green Bay Packers (11-4)
3. San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1)
4. Washington Redskins (9-6)
5. Seattle Seahawks (10-5)
6. Minnesota Vikings (9-6)
7. Chicago Bears (9-6)
8. Dallas Cowboys (8-7)
9. New York Giants (8-7)
* Atlanta has clinched the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC.
* Green Bay can clinch the second seed and a first-round bye with a win over Minnesota next Sunday.
* San Francisco can clinch the NFC West with a win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. It must beat Arizona and have Minnesota take out Green Bay in order to acquire the second seed and a first-round bye.
* Washington can win the NFC East with a win over Dallas on Sunday Night Football. If the Redskins lose, they can still grab a playoff spot with losses by both Chicago and Minnesota.
* Seattle can win the NFC West by defeating the St. Louis Rams and the 49ers losing to Arizona. It has wrapped up the No. 5 overall seed in the NFC.
* Minnesota can clinch a playoff berth with a win over Green Bay on Sunday. If the Vikings lose they need Dallas, New York and Chicago to all lose.
* Chicago needs to defeat the Detroit Lions and have Minnesota lose to Green Bay in order to clinch the No. 6 seed.
* Dallas must defeat Washington in order to get into the playoffs as the NFC East Champions. It has no other avenue to the postseason.
* New York must win and have Dallas/Chicago/Minnesota all lose to make the playoffs.
Most Likely Wildcard Matchups
Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins
One thing is for sure as the 2012 NFL regular season draws to a close. There is going to be a great deal of quarterback movement in the offseason as some teams move on from the past and others attempt to actually find someone of substance at this all-important position.
As you might already know the free agent and draft classes at quarterback leaves a lot to be desired. Outside of Geno Smith, there really isn’t a single franchise-caliber starting quarterback in the draft.
Meanwhile, Jason Campbell is the only soon-to-be free agent even worth looking at as a stop gap starting quarterback option. Even then, he leaves a lot to be desired.
Instead, we are going to see quarterbacks released and traded, which adds to what is already going to be an intriguing offseason. On that note, I thought it made some sense to take a look at a few quarterbacks that will be changing teams in that manner following the season.
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia can get out from under Vick’s contract at a cost of just $4.5 million if it releases him prior to the start of the new league year. While the Eagles are definitely going to look in trading their oft-injured quarterback, no team in their right mind will pick up $70 million (non-guaranteed) remaining on his contract.
Additionally, the Eagles seem to have a competent young replacement in the form of rookie Nick Foles, who has impressed in limited action in 2012. If the Eagles do end up releasing Vick, a strong likely hood, two teams have already been mention:
The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. Yes, the very same Jets who just recently indicated to a source that they are looking for “ball security” from the quarterback position. I guess Rex Ryan and company don’t have much tape on the 2011 and 2012 version of Vick.
Buffalo is a really intriguing option here. Ryan Fitzpatrick just isn’t getting the job done and seems to be regressing from a strong start to the season. While Buffalo just recently signed him to an extension, it can easily get out of the financial terms without having too much dead salary cap money. I see them as a solid possibility.
Pure conjecture, but the Arizona Cardinals also seem like a fit. Kevin Kolb is as good as gone, while Ryan Lindley and John Skelton have been nothing short of disastrous in 2012.
Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers
If San Francisco decides to trade or release Smith he will immediately become the most coveted quarterback on the market. It is becoming more and more like that will be the case due to the strong play of second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Smith is a really intriguing option. He was leading the NFL in completion percentage and second in the league in quarterback rating prior to being benched in lieu of Kaepernick. At 28, Smith also seems to be in the prime of his career and has never played better.
He is also set to earn just $19 million over the next two seasons, which is pennies on the dollar for a solid starting quarterback. Considering how weak the free agent and draft classes promise to be this offseason, San Francisco should be able to trade Smith for a decent bounty; most likely a mid-round pick and future considerations.
If the Jets are indeed serious about ball protection, Smith would seem like a great fit. After all, he has thrown one interception per 50 pass attempts over the course of the last three seasons. The Kansas City Chiefs, who are going to part ways with Matt Cassel, are another option.
Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
New York finally understands what the rest of us already knew about two years ago. Sanchez just isn’t a good NFL quarterback. In order for it to succeed moving forward it will have to part ways with the former top five pick.
Despite signing a three year, $40.5 million extension with New York back in March, I just don’t see a scenario where the franchise brings him back. It will, however, be on the hook for nearly $9 million should it be forced to release Sanchez.
Various reports indicate that the Jets are going to test the trade market for both Sanchez and Tim Tebow. That being said, there isn’t going to be much of a market for either of them as starters. Heck, there won’t be one.
A team like the Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars or Kansas City Chiefs could bring Sanchez in, under a restructured deal, to be a backup for a young quarterback.
Meanwhile, Tebow isn’t going to get any play at all. He is a collegiate-level quarterback who would need an entire offensive philosophy changed in order to succeed. That’s not happening in the NFL.
Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders
$11 million of the nearly $40 million remaining on Palmer’s contract is guaranteed. This makes it incredibly hard for Reggie McKenzie to part with the disappointing veteran quarterback. His choice is either take a $11 million cap hit in 2013 in order to look to the future (Terrelle Pryor?) or be stuck with Palmer for another season.
That being said, keeping Palmer on next season would be delaying the inevitable. He is guaranteed nearly $8 million in both 2014 and 2015. I can easily envision a scenario where McKenzie decides to bite the bullet.
Palmer still has the talent and arm to be a somewhat reliable starting quarterback. His problems in Oakland seem to be that he doesn’t fit the scheme all too well and struggles with decision making. A team like Arizona could easily make a play for him as a stop gap for a rookie.
1. Kansas City Chiefs Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
2. Jacksonville Jaguars Jarvis Jones, DE/LB, Georgia
3. Oakland Raiders Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
4. Philadelphia Eagles Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
5. Detroit Lions Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
6. Arizona Cardinals Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
7. Tennessee Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
8. Carolina Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
9. Buffalo Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
10. Cleveland Bjoern Werner, DE/LB, Florida State
11. San Diego Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
12. Tampa Bay Barkevious Mingo, DE/LB, Lousiana St.
13. New Orleans Keenan Allen, WR, California
14. Miami Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
15. New York (J) Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
16. St. Louis Sheldon Richardson, DL, Missouri
17. Pittsburgh Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
18. Minnesota Robert Woods, WR, Southern California