The Best of Web of Football 2020 Edition Jan 29, 2021 15:30:11 GMT -8
Post by spiderfan on Jan 29, 2021 15:30:11 GMT -8
The Pro Bowl is lame. This year it is going to be even lamer because there isn't even an actual game. But y'know what isn't lame? The Best of Web of Football for 2020. Because I was sick this time last year, I didn't get around to doing it, but this year it is full speed ahead! So join me Spiderfan, the official NFL Analyst of this great website as we look back on the season that was.
Eliminate the NFL Preseason (from Week 1)
Of the various things in the sports world that the Coronavirus affected, the NFL Preseason was one of the biggest, in that there was no NFL Preseason. After watching Week 1, I feel confident in saying that the NFL Preseason should not return. The quality of play and officiating was just as good as it always has been, and unlike in previous years where there is a month of poorly played and sometimes unwatchable football, instead we skip straight to the good stuff. I recognize that ultimately the NFL Preseason because coaches like the ability to get a full sense of who the backup center should be and owners like the extra 5 dollars that preseason games add to the billions of annual revenue that the real games make, but as far as I'm concerned those are the reasons it exists not "getting guys in shape" or "getting guys prepared" or "getting the refs ready". At least we'll get 17 regular season games and only 3 preseason games next year?
Justin Herbert makes his debut? (from Week 2)
In one of the more surprising things to happen on Sunday, the No. 6 overall pick and Rose Bowl MVP for the Oregon Ducks made his debut for the Los Angeles Chargers at quarterback. Apparently, incumbent quarterback of the Chargers, Tyrod Taylor had injured ribs and thus Herbert made the sudden start and he played well for the most part. 2 total TDs, over 300 yards passing and only 1 INT which we'll talk about later. Herbert looked poised throughout and absolutely looked like someone who was deserving of being that high of a draft choice. Also, in his favor was the fact that just like the week before, the Chargers defense was ferocious and determined to cause havoc for the offense. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes was clearly frustrated and was way out of sync. The Chargers were the better team throughout... that was until Justin Herbert thew his 1 INT. See, the Chargers had the ball up 8 late in the 3rd quarter with a chance to go up 2 scores and didn't after Herbert threw a deep pass into triple coverage that was intercepted by rookie Chiefs CB L'Jarius Sneed.
That interception gave the Chiefs the momentum they needed and after some incredible passes by the GORN himself (That is Greatest of Right Now) Patrick Mahomes the game was tied at 17. Now, to give the Chargers credit, they took an insane amount of time off the clock in the 4th quarter (over 10 minutes!) however to CBS lead color commentator Tony Romo's credit, he pointed out that the Chargers needed a TD if they wanted to win the game. They ended up with a FG. The Chiefs would then go down the field, tie the game at 20, force a 3 and out in overtime, and win on a 58 yard FG by Harrison Butker. It was Butker's second 58 yard FG of the game and technically his 3rd, because the Chargers iced him.
My biggest takeaway from this game is that the future duels between Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert are actually going to be really great and will be a treat for football fans for a long time.
Russell Wilson is better than Dak Prescott (from Week 3)
For all of Jason Garrett's and the previous coaching staff of the Cowboys faults, I can't say I remember the Cowboys looking this bad. You may say to yourself "but the final score was 38-31 Spiderfan, the Cowboys played a great team in the Seahawks competitively". My response? If it weren't for DK Metcalf not realizing a defender was right behind him, the score would be 45-31 and you wouldn't be saying it was competitive.
See, despite Cowboys OC Kellen Moore running his gimmicky wanna be Air Raid offense, the Seahawks have a guy by the name of Russell Wilson quarterbacking their team and the Cowboys have a guy named Dak Prescott quarterbacking theirs, and despite the DFW media complex and most of the Cowboys fanbase opinion stating otherwise, Prescott isn't that good and doesn't deserve the massive contract he desperately wants. And speaking of Kellen Moore, the offense has actually managed to take a step back from last year, because this year the Cowboys are turnover prone. Another layer to garbage sandwich? The defense which is so bad that new DC Mike Nolan makes previous DCs Kris Richard and Rod Marinelli look like they were defensive masterminds because apparently switching the defensive scheme that all the players were used to is not a problem, but keeping the failed Air Raid experiment on offense would have been. Yeah, Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy went out of his way to keep Kellen Moore and clean out the rest of the coaching staff which now looks like a terrible mistake because the final layer of the garbage sandwich has been the special teams which have been laughably bad until ST coach John Fassel.
With all of that said though, I again I have to mention Russell Wilson because he is playing on another level to start this season. The most TD passes to start a season by any QB ever? That is wild and with a soft schedule coming up, I would expect Wilson's high level of play to continue.
Bill O'Brien fired (from Week 4)
Long time readers will know that I've waited a long time for this moment to come. The firing of Bill O'Brien is something that I wanted to see years ago and something that should have happened years ago but for a variety of reasons it didn't happen... UNTIL NOW!
It has been long forgotten now (I'll talk about why that is in a minute) but there was actually talk of Bill O'Brien getting fired after the 2016 season. There were 2 dynamics. 1 was that O'Brien took over play calling duties during the '16 season and was utterly terrible and 2 was that O'Brien didn't get along with the then longtime GM of the Texans Rick Smith. It was a good ol' fashioned power struggle one that anyone who kept up with the Texans knew Rick Smith was going to win due to Rick Smith ties with the McNair family and (the fact that Texans fans at the time wanted to desperately ignore) the fact that Rick Smith had built a championship caliber roster.
While O'Brien was not fired after the 2016 season, the power struggle continued into 2017 even after the drafting of Deshaun Watson with O'Brien declaring Tom Savage the starting QB. After every player on the Texans anyone had ever heard of getting season ending injuries, the Texans bottomed out, looked terrible, and still needed a coaching change. There was going to be a meeting with ownership where the power struggle was sorted out but PLOT TWIST, Rick Smith's wife tragically was diagnosed with cancer and thus he left to take of her and his family. With the power struggle being settled by default, O'Brien actually got a 5 year extension. Yes, a 5 year extension and he got a yes-man GM in Brian Gaine.
The 2018 season was amazingly frustrating to watch in that a poorly coached team team that had no business winning games, won a bunch of games and then were destroyed in the playoffs because O'Brien's terrible coaching. People ignored his terrible coaching because DIVison titLES like that actually had any meaning whatsoever, and which was achieved due to the roster that Rick Smith built. 2019 is where people FINALLY started to notice O'Brien being terrible. Why? Because Brian Gaine ended up having a falling out with O'Brien because O'Brien had no desire to pay Jadeveon Clowney because... O'Brien is incompetent. This would then lead to Brian Gaine being ousted (after he was supposed to be the yes-man GM) and O'Brien getting all the power.
With this power O'Brien would trade Clowney for pesos on the dollar to the Seahawks, trade 2 1st round picks for Laremy Tunsil (who had not actually accomplished anything of note with the Dolphins), and trade DeAndre Hopkins for David Johnson (who the Cardinals were likely going to cut).
Now, the formerly #1 ranked defense is a shadow of it's former self with guys like JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus being past their primes and guys like Brian Cushing and Vince Wilfork being retired. The offense is now Deshaun Watson and a bunch of scrubs that O'Brien liked for some reason. Worse of all, Bob McNair the man who brought NFL football back to Houston did not live to see his team play in a Super Bowl or even an AFC title game like they should have.
I think back to when the Texans were 2-5 in 2015 and there were active rumors that University of Maryland wanted O'Brien to be their coach and wish he would have left. It would have been better for everyone involved. My final message to Bill O'Brien? Go back to Foxborough where you and all the other failed Belichick assistants belong. As Belichick assistants. Oh, and to the Texans fans who actively rooted for O'Brien to win his power struggle against Rick Smith? You got what you deserved.
Reducto Lives! (from Week 5)
Are ya ready for an abstract cartoon reference that you may or may not get? No? Well, I'm gonna do it anyway because the clip above accurately describes the Tinys performance on Sunday. You may think there is ice cream involved as in you may think that they will actually win a football game, a game in which they were 9.5 point underdogs (as someone who keeps up with betting odds seeing a NFL spread like that is insane) and were winning. But in reality? The pentagon has been shrunk, as in they lost in humiliating fashion. You may not think they lost in humiliating fashion, but I'll explain why it was a humiliating loss.
The Tinys were up 17-3 in the second quarter. The offense was having its way with the Cowboys horrendously bad defense, despite the fact that the Tinys offense is equally horrendous in terms of league rankings, proving that the Cowboys defense is completely worthless. The Tinys defense is giving the Cowboys fits, but then the Cowboys score a TD because wouldn't ya know it running the ball with Zeke is a good idea. The score is 17-10 and then the collapse happens. Daniel Jones immediately fumbles and it that becomes a scoop and score TD. 17-17 and then on the next series after driving, the Tinys run a brilliantly executed fake field goal for a TD... except there was illegal shift penalty calling back said fake field goal TD. The Tinys kicked a FG went up 20-17, but the Cowboys went right down the field and took a 24-20 halftime lead after the Cowboys decided to run the Philly Special. In a game where the Tinys should have been tied or leading at halftime they were were trailing and they would go on to lose the game on a last second FG so those 1st half plays made a huge difference in the outcome.
The Tinys are what they are. Tiny and miniature and worthy of Reducto being their mascot. I don't know what kind of negative energy was caused by OBJ and his wideout buddies hanging out on that boat before the Packers playoff game in 2017 but since that point the franchise has only won 12 games and with the Browns finally starting to win games? The Tinys are now the worst franchise in the NFL and unlike their AFC cousin Jets (who are also winless and terrible) they seem to be snakebit. I guess there really are snakes in New York and they bite bad.
The Buccaneers are legit (from Week 6)
The Tommy Bay Buccaneers have had some ups and downs so far this season, but I think they have finally reached a breakthrough. They completely destroyed the previously undefeated Packers 38-10, dominating on defense with the secondary making or setting up scoring plays, and the defensive line making Packers QB Aaron Rodgers look like a has been. The offense made plays too, the most notable of which was Rob Gronkowski's first TD catch as Buccaneer. During the game FOX color commentator Troy Aikman talked about how the Packers are likely to meet the Buccaneers again in the postseason and will hope for a different outcome.
Well, I've got news for the Packers: Y'all that had same optimism with the 49ers last year and both games went the same way. Humiliating losses. Be careful what ya wish for Cheeseheads.
Awesomeness in Arizona (from Week 7)
The old rule of thumb is that you play until the clock hits zero. The Arizona Cardinals followed that rule and then some in their win on Sunday Night Football. See, the Seattle Seahawks had control throughout the vast majority of the game having a double digit lead almost the entire game. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was tearing apart the talented defense of the Cardinals and the Seahawks defense contained what can be an explosive offense for the Cardinals. Notice how I used the word contained and not shut down? That is important because the Cardinals were never truly out of the game, despite the immediate desire to think they were.
The play of the game IMO was when late in the 4th quarter down by 10 the Cardinals were held to a FG attempt that would have cut the lead to 7... except the Seahawks committed a leverage penalty that gave the Cardinals a 1st down. This would then lead to a TD by the Cardinals to cut the game to a 3 point game, which when combined with the Cardinals defense holding the Seahawks to a 3 and out on the next series, made for an easier end of game situation for the Cardinals offense having to get into FG range as opposed to scoring a TD. The Cardinals would get that FG and the game would go into one of the more wild OT periods I have ever seen.
The Seahawks get the ball first, but don't manage to score any points and punt the ball away to the Cardinals giving them a chance to win with a FG. The Cardinals actually drive into FG range and set up K Zane Gonzalez with a 41 yard FG attempt, however to avoid a delay of game penalty, Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury calls a timeout which in an ironic twist ices his own kicker. The Seahawks get the ball back and Russell Wilson hits WR DK Metcalf in stride no one able to stop him and the Seahawks win on a walkoff TD.... except there was an offensive holding call and the on the next play Wilson would throw an interception. The Cardinals would then get into FG range yet again and this time win the game 37-34.
The Seahawks are no longer undefeated and the Cardinals and the Rams (who will be the subject of the next segment) are now 1 game back in the NFC West, but looking at the NFC I would be surprised that if under the new 7 team playoff format the NFC West doesn't produce at least one wild card team. Congrats to the Cardinals for their biggest win so far of the Kliff-Kyler era!
The Dynasty is Dead (from Week 8)
I said during Other Thoughts last week that the Buffalo Bills had a chance to kill the Patriots dynasty and on Sunday they did. Everyone knows that the Patriots have been highly successful since 2001 and their dynasty has managed to maintain itself for a VERY long time and despite various points where it looked like the Patriots were going to go the way of VHS, they managed to continue to win Super Bowls. Those days are over, which shocks me because earlier this season it appeared that they would make another run at things.
Heck, considering the game on Sunday against the Bills was a back and forth game that the Patriots had a good chance of winning, I actually expected to write about how the Bills missed their opportunity to take the AFC East from the Patriots. Instead, this happened (click Watch on YouTube to see clip)
The Patriots are now 2-5 and a distant 3rd place in the AFC East and 3 games behind a wild card spot. The Bills meanwhile are 6-2 and have a big lead in the AFC East and could end up with the #1 seed in the AFC when things are all said and done.
The destruction of the Tommy Bay Buccaneers (from Week 9)
Dat is the New Orleans Saints destroying the Tommy Bay Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football. The Buccaneers offense started out the game with 4 straight 3 and outs. The Saints took advantage of those 3 and outs by scoring a TD on 3 of their first 4 possessions (the only possession they didn't score was a fumble at the 1 yard line by Saints TE Jared Cook) with Saints QB Drew Brees completely chopping up the Buccaneers defense Fruit Ninja style. To make matters worse Buccaneers QB Tom Brady had a pinball type interception, which then led to yet another Saints TD drive. All of the Saints TD drives started with short fields too, thus putting the Buccaneers defense on edge the entire time. The Saints added a FG after a Buccaneers turnover on downs and it was 31-0 at halftime. The final score ended up being 38-3 after the Buccaneers decided they didn't want to get shut out in the 4th quarter.
The Saints have now swept the Buccaneers in their season series and now lead the NFC South after their second dominant win over Buccaneers. Despite being the preseason NFC favorites and then seemingly playing like the NFC favorites the last few weeks, the Buccaneers have hit a roadblock. With the Saints sweeping them, the Buccaneers are likely to be a wild card team and may or may not have to play the Saints again in the postseason which probably wouldn't end well.
Hail Murray! (from Week 10)
Hail Mary plays have a special place in football lore because while often attempted, they very rarely actually result in success. When Hail Mary's do work they result in what become iconic moments. Whether it be the Original Hail Mary, the Browns first win, The play that was a Hail Mary but is called the Fail Mary (I'm not one of those people), or Aaron Rodgers being Aaron Rodgers they are forever memorable and on Sunday another one was added to the list: The Hail Murray. I will set the stage:
The Buffalo Bills had a 23-9 lead in the 2nd half, a lead that had been maintained throughout the earlier parts of the game by the Bills, causing me to think "Well the Bills are going to be 8-2, with the bad game the Seahawks are having, I think Josh Allen is back in the MVP conversation". But the Cardinals wouldn't go away and just like in their match up against the Seahawks earlier in the season, they chipped away at the lead until they had the lead. The Bills went from hot to cold, and the Cardinals had a 26-23 lead going into the 4th quarter. That was until with less than 2 minutes left Bills QB Josh Allen led an excellent drive which ended with a TD pass to Bills WR Stefon Diggs for the go ahead 30-26 lead. At that point I actually thought (seriously I'm not lying about this) "I think the Bills might have left too much time on the clock for the Cardinals". See, the Cardinals had 34 seconds and 2 timeouts so it wasn't entirely unfeasible that the Cardinals could in fact score. Cardinals QB Kyler Murray had some very solid passes that got the Cardinals near midfield, however he chewed up an unnecessary amount of clock which resulted in a last second heave in triple coverage to Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins... and the rest is history
The cherry on top? The Seahawks lost to the Rams, meaning that the Cardinals have an opportunity to take the 1st place spot in the NFC West on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Bills are now one of 7 teams in the AFC playoff hunt with 3 losses including their AFC East division rival Dolphins, who they play in Week 17.
Congratulations to the Arizona Cardinals and their fans for their epic win! (Insert Bill O'Brien being incompetent joke)
The NFC Least (from Week 11)
All 4 teams in the NFC East have been below .500 this year. Everyone has talked about it, made jokes, and poked fun. But seriously, we are now past Week 11 and the Eagles lead the division with a 3-6-1 record and fans calling for the firing of Doug Pederson and/or the benching of Carson Wentz. On Thanksgiving, the Cowboys (who have been a complete disaster) and Artists formerly known as Redskins (who often are punching above their weight class) are going to play for first place in the division despite both having a 3-7 record. Oh, and the Tinys? Despite shrinking constantly and being the butt of jokes in this column, because of their sweep of The Artists formerly known as Redskins and the buttkicking of the Eagles, they are 3-7 and very much alive in the division race. The kicker? All 4 teams play a bunch of above .500 opponents which means that whoever wins the division is likely going to have a losing record. This is going to continue to get worse, and at this point I'm rooting for the chaos.
Super Bowl Preview? (from Week 12)
Chiefs-Buccaneers, the game that was circled on the schedule all the way back in April as a potential preview of Super Bowl 55. Patrick Mahomes-Tom Brady, the QB match up that will go down as potentially the best ever when all is said and done. There is a whole bunch to unpack with this game, so I'm going to start with this: Never single cover Tyreek Hill, seriously EVER. Apparently, Bucs DC Todd Bowles didn't know this and the Buccaneers ultimately lost because of it. Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill had over 200 receiving yards in the 1st quarter. Those aren't even video game numbers because I'm not actually sure that is possible in Madden. Those numbers are Greek Mythology numbers and the Bucs HC Bruce Arians is Hades.
The Chiefs had a 17-0 lead which would have been 21-0 had Chiefs TE Travis Kelce not botched the Chiefs' attempt at the Philly Special and would have been 24-0 had Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes not fumbled the ball in the redzone. In fact that fumble is what kept the game from being an outright blowout because that gave the Bucs enough positive spirit to not quit because although the outcome of the game was never really in doubt, the Buccaneers put up a fight. After the Chiefs started with a 17-0 lead, the Buccaneers outscored them 24-10 and that was with multiple Brady INTs that came off miscommunications with Bucs WRs because Brady still does not have chemistry with any receiving weapon on the Bucs expect Gronk.
Considering their relationship from New England with Tom Brady, Gronk and even Antonio Brown should be more involved in the offense than either have been because they actually have chemistry with Brady and other weapons don't. That would be better than Bruce Arians' philosophy of "Y'know how have ya thrown check downs in the flat for 20 years? Forget that throw it for 11 yards a play." The Buccaneers have been accused of having a 1 dimensional offense and I think that accusation is accurate because they go 3 and out WAY too easy and that puts them in holes that they aren't coming back from or will kill critical drives. The reason the Bucs outscored the Chiefs in the other 3 quarters is because the Chiefs really put on cruise control after that.
You wanna know why I think that is? At one point with a quarter and a half left, Tyreek Hill was 75 yards away from the all time single game receiving record. He didn't get the ball until the Chiefs last offensive play. Had the Chiefs actually tried, I think Hill would have at least gotten close to the record, heck Mahomes would have gotten more yards than he did, but Chiefs HC Andy Reid played conservative and unaggressive thus making the latter stages of the game uninteresting. Watching Brady and the Bucs score garbage time points so the local and national media doesn't have too many negative headlines about them isn't exactly great TV.
That is why I'm not sure if I'm more or less confident in the Bucs making a serious run at the Super Bowl. On one hand, you can say "the Bucs played bad and the Chiefs only won by 3" or on the other hand you can say "the Chiefs were playing with their inferior prey". Either way, the Chiefs won and are making a serious push at repeating as Super Bowl champs and good luck to the rest of the league trying to stop them.
Upset of the Year! (from Week 13)
I said last week after the Steelers mediocre performance against the Ravens that I did not think they would go undefeated. I also said last week that I thought The Artists formerly known as Redskins would win the NFC Least due to their quality coaching. Wouldn't ya know who won the pony? The Artists formerly known as Redskins defeated the previously undefeated Steelers for the biggest upset of the NFL season.
I'm going to start by giving credit to Artists formerly known as Redskins HC Ron Rivera and the coaching staff who rallied their troops to this victory. They were down 14-3 at halftime and even though the Steelers struggled in the 1st quarter, eventually Big Ben and the rest of the bunch managed to break through and make fools of the Washington offense and defense. Even with that being the case, that 3 ended up being important because Washington got a little bit of momentum from it before the half, and then after the half they were completely different going right down the field and scoring a TD. The Steelers were on the ropes the rest of the time and the scrappiness of Washington was clearly something the Steelers were not prepared for, again credit to the coaching staff.
The Steelers despite still having the lead into the 4th quarter were not able to put the game away and Washington would take advantage tying the game at 17 after a Steelers FG drive, and taking a 20-17 lead after the Steelers had a failed 4th down in Washington territory. At this point it is worth mentioning that Steelers QB Big Ben Roethlisberger had multiple passes swatted down throughout the game and FOX analyst Moose Johnston pointed out that at some point that would lead to an interception for Washington. Trailing 20-17 that INT would come and the Steelers would ultimately lose 23-17.
Full congratulations to the Washington Football Team players, coaches, and fans for the upset!
Carson Wentz is officially, no doubt, a bust (from Week 14)
Those will be some fighting words in some circles, but those circles are worse than those fake crop circles that people make to get attention from local news. I said a while back in Other Thoughts that "Carson Wentz is a bust" and that opinion wasn't premature. However, there was arguments about whether or not Eagles QB Carson Wentz poor play was a result of him being a bust or because of a bad roster. Considering, the Eagles beat the #1 seeded New Orleans Saints in convincing fashion I think the answer is clear, so I shall repeat it again. Carson Wentz is officially, no doubt, a bust.
Eagles QB Jalen Hurts had complete control of the game, his passes were excellent and his run ability gave the Eagles offense an extra dynamic that they have not had with Wentz. Hurts also didn't commit stupid turnovers or hold on to the ball too long. Heck, the Eagles defense even played better which considering they believe in their offense now, shouldn't be a surprise. Jalen Hurts has now done what Nick Foles did before him. Make the Eagles a better team.
The question now becomes what the Eagles do with Wentz, because his contract is rather large. Due to what now looks like a flash in the pan run in 2017 (I had him as OPOY that year) he got a morbidly obese contract which will create an Eagles salary cap that has more dead space than the Thriller music video. Despite that, I see Wentz getting traded. Where to? The Indianapolis Colts.
See, the architect of that 2017 flash in the pan run by Wentz was current Colts HC Frank Reich who was previously the Eagles OC. Not only that, but current Colts QB Phil Rivers is old and trying to make some money before coaching HS ball in Alabama. Even if Rivers decides not to retire, he is a free agent next year, thus leaving the door open for the Colts to replace him. Colts GM Chris Ballard has also shown a willingness to trade draft picks to get players (DeForest Buckner anyone?), so at this point I would be shocked if Wentz is not a member of the Colts next year. Now, will the joke be on the Colts for trading for someone that is considered a bust? Probably, but they won't realize that until later due to the never ending belief amongst offensive minded coaches that they can fix mediocre to bad QBs.
From Week 15
-Congratulations to the Buffalo Bills and their fan base on their first AFC East division title since 1995!
So the Jaguars got the #1 pick and the Jets got the #2 pick (from Week 16)
I didn't think they would do it, but ladies and gentlemen they got him. The Jacksonville Jaguars won the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes and with numerous draft picks and a load of cap space, they are now in the running for Urban Meyer as well. Congratulations to the Jaguars fan base and I hope y'all can get back to being a competitive franchise again! As for the Jets, they can pick between either Ohio State's Justin Fields or BYU's Zach Wilson... or they could always keep Sam Darnold which would be flat out hilarious.
Like sands through an hourglass, so do NFL coaches get fired (from Week 17)
We know about the firings of Bill O'Brien, Dan Quinn, and Matt Patricia and I have already talked about their firings earlier this season. But I will briefly go over who I think will take those jobs before we get into the coaches who were fired on Black Monday.
There were reports earlier in the season that Texans QB Deshaun Watson has a high view of Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy although as of writing this, they haven't scheduled an interview with him yet. Marvin Lewis already interviewed and he was someone that the Texans were high on a couple years ago in the event that former GM Rick Smith won his power struggle against Bill O'Brien and being that that didn't happen, maybe now that O'Brien is gone the Texans hire Marvin Lewis. The Texans is an attractive job, so they should have their pick of the litter, but at least right now I think they bring Marvin Lewis back into the NFL.
The Falcons and Lions both need total rebuilds although I think the latter is more likely to rebuild than the former. With that being said, I think both are going to look at offensive coaches and being that neither job is all that attractive, I think guys like Titans OC Arthur Smith and Bills OC Brian Daboll are fits.
Jets fire Adam Gase
My prediction of the Adam Gase, Sam Darnold, Le'Veon Bell Jets being a Hall of Fame of Disaster squad was accurate and now that the franchise is looking to move on from that failed experiment, I think a solid strategy for the Jets would be to hire Ravens OC Greg Roman and draft Ohio State's Justin Fields and become a NY version of the Ravens. But because the Jets are the Jets, they are probably going to bring Jim Harbaugh back to the NFL after his failed tenure at Michigan or hire Iowa State's Matt Campbell who just recently won the Fiesta Bowl.
Jaguars fire Doug Marrone
Marrone's surprisingly long tenure in Jacksonville is over and the guy most likely to replace him is former University of Florida and Ohio State HC Urban Meyer. I will save my thoughts on that hire for if/when it happens, as I don't want to spin my wheels and write a lengthy segment on something that didn't happen. If Urban doesn't get hired, Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy and Bills OC Brian Daboll are the guys I think the Jags would look at.
Chargers fire Anthony Lynn
Anthony Lynn did a solid job transitioning the Chargers from their soccer stadium to the shiny new stadium and going from Phil Rivers to Justin Herbert. Now that the transition is over, it is time for a more long term HC and I will be shocked if Bills OC Brian Daboll doesn't get the job, because it has been reported that Daboll and Chargers GM Tom Telesco have been buddies since high school. If for some reason Daboll doesn't go to LA, 49ers DC Robert Saleh is someone that I think would do a good job with the Chargers.
A look back at the Top 5 Storylines entering the NFL season
5. Mitchell Trubisky vs Nick Foles
Then: After a disappointing and surprisingly (at least to your's truly) lackluster tenure in Jacksonville, Super Bowl 52 MVP Nick Foles was traded to the Chicago Bears and is reunited with his one time OC and now current Bears HC Matt Nagy. While former No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky was declared starter coming out of training camp, due to his mediocre to poor play and all around unpopularity in Chicago it would not surprise me if at some point Foles usurps him. If nothing else, the heat is very much on Trubisky in a make or break year not just for him (he is in a contract year), but possibly for the current regime of the Chicago Bears.
Now: As it would turn out Trubisky would be usurped by Nick Foles during a Week 3 game against the Atlanta Falcons and Foles' tenure was highlighted by a win against the Tommy Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football. Things would off the rails after that. Foles' play would decline, then he would be injured and not play again for the rest of the season. As it would turnout Trubisky led the Bears to some late season wins against bad teams that (combined with Kyler Murray's injury for the Arizona Cardinals) would get them into the playoffs, thus saving GM Ryan Pace's and HC Matt Nagy's jobs at least until the start of next season. It will be interesting to see if the Bears find a new QB next season or if they go into another season with Trubisky vs Foles.
4. New New England Patriots QB Cam Newton
Then: After Tom Brady's exit and a regime change in Charlotte, 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton finds himself as the quarterback of the New England Patriots. After years of injuries and good but not great play can Cam finally become his former self? Can he lead a post-Brady Patriots team to success? Can Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels get the most out of Cam? These are all questions that will be answered as the season progresses and will be fascinating to watch.
Now: After some early season success it would turn out that the answer to all of these questions was no. Cam would end up being a hollow of his former self and Belichick looked like the biggest fool in football for letting Tom Brady go. Now the question is where do the Patriots go from here? Which is not something I was expecting to be asking at the beginning of the year.
3. A Chiefs Repeat?
Then: The Kansas City Chiefs are the reigning Super Bowl Champions and retain the vast majority of their lineup from their championship squad. Sometimes for team that has won a championship complacency can set in and the team is not what they were. Other times? Dynasties are born. It will be curious to see which one the Chiefs are.
Now: The Chiefs would go 14-1 with their starters playing, got the #1 seed, and are now playing in the Super Bowl again. The Chiefs are as good if not better than they were, and are certainly not complacent.
2. Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals
Then: This will come off as a homer pick, but hear me out. Despite decent success the LSU Tigers program was kinda stagnant and their was a general sense of dissatisfaction around the program. Joe Burrow's transfer from Ohio State to LSU led to a revival. A Fiesta Bowl win in his first year (ending UCF's famous win streak) and then a Heisman Trophy and a National Championship last year. The Cincinnati Bengals have talented players, guys like AJ Green, John Ross, and Joe Mixon. Can he help lead a revival of what was not long ago a decent successful kinda stagnant professional team that has a general sense of dissatisfaction around it? I think he can and that will make the Bengals surprisingly fun to watch this season.
Now: The Bengals would end up being surprisingly fun to watch, however Burrow would not play the full season because of a torn ACL. The bright side of that is that the Bengals ended up with the #5 pick in the draft which they can use to improve a bad team that with the right roster moves will be a very good team.
1. The Tommy Bay Buccaneers
Then: After finally ridding themselves of the bust known as Jameis Winston, the Buccaneers replaced him with living legend Tom Brady. Around Brady? Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at wideout. Rob Gronkowski fresh out of retirement and allegedly looking the healthiest he has been in years at TE. Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy at RB. Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre Paul, Ndamukong Suh, and Devin White on defense. Not to mention Bruce Arians who is now free of Winston's suckage and coach a competent and new outlook Tom Brady. This team is extremely talented and has sky high expectations and whether they realize is those expectations or not has to be the number one storyline of the 2020 NFL Season.
Now: There were some down moments for the Buccaneers this year, but they ended up living up to the hype. They are in the Super Bowl. Now let's see if they can go win it.
I'm going to post my votes for the NFL awards in a few days, then it will be on to Super Bowl 55! This is spiderfan out.