Things Around the NFL worth considering:
CHARGERS…Is the worst of the Covid behind them? Could be. Had 18-on the list a week ago, just 1-now. But it begs the question about specific players who still have not had the vaccination. But if a positive test meant you were touched by Covid, maybe you are now immune. The Chargers offense looks about to get back in gear. The defense, prove to me you can stop the run and defend the pass on the same Sunday.
RAMS…They had 24-on their Covid list at one time, now virtually healthy. Equally as important, Sean McVay has found a way to infuse Odell Beckham into the LA offense at a much quicker pace than the Cleveland Browns did, and he has become a strong option for Matthew Stafford and his 138-catch partner Cooper Kupp.
RAIDERS…The never ending problem of knuckleheads-bad citizens on the roster, never goes away. The latest, starting CB-Nate Hobbs, arrested 4am passed out drunk on the exit ramp of a Las Vegas hotel parking garage. Learned nothing from Henry Rugg or Damon Arnett. Thank goodness for Derek Carr and Hunter Renfrow and Maxx Crosby for their contributions
COWBOYS…Very dangerous offensive team but we have hardly seen all the bullets in the gun on the field at the same time. Amari Cooper was sick. Michael Gallup was hurt early, now hurt again. Tony Pollard gone. No 100-yard Ezekiel Elliott games. Dak Prescott and his offensive line are dangerous, but can they go deep in the postseason with missing pieces?
JAGUARS…Fans in clown suits about to show up for Sunday’s final game of the season, to show their disdain for all the bad decisions made by well-intentioned owner Shad Khan. And you thought the Urban Meyer mess was the end of it, now the spotlight is on Trent Baalke, the GM-architect of this mess. When word leaks out hot candidates like Byron Leftwich don’t want to interview there, not a good sign. Pity QB-Trevor Lawrence, with just 2-TD passes in last 8-games, lots of sacks and turnovers.
BENGALS..Some second season for Joe Burrow guiding the Baby Bengals to the AFC-North crown with a 34-TD season, with 3-quality wideouts, a big tight end and a tough guy running back. But the playoffs are a different dance card, so the kids might be exposed.
GIANTS..Ever seen anything so horrific as last Sunday’s Mike Glennon outing, (4-11)..24-yards passing..2-picks…4-fumbles..2-fumbles lost then a broken wrist. What a disaster, then followed by Coach Joe Judge’s explosive 11-minute press conference answer ‘this is not a clown show organization’.
LIONS..Record won’t show it, but some job by Dan Campbell as head coach. Yes (2-13-1) but so many close games with so many new people, and he solved the Jared Goff turnover problems and made him a competitive QB.
RAVENS..Nightmare end to the Baltimore season, losing all their RBs, then Marlon Humphrey, then Lamar Jackson to a nagging ankle injury. John Harbaugh can’t will bad backup players to win games.
SAINTS..No Michael Thomas, a retired Drew Brees, a banged up Alvin Kamara, an oft-injured Terrell Armstead at left tackle, it surely took a toll. And then Sean Payton got covid twice. By last week, they were on their 4th starting QB of the season.
BRONCOS…You see Vic Fangio’s finger prints on the team. A very strong defense. But you see an anemic offense. An unsettling QB situation where they still don’t know if Drew Lock is the future.
CARDINALS..We have arrived at the point with QB-Kyler Murray, that he cannot stay in the pocket and throw the ball, that running the ball is very much part of what makes him great. Now he’s banged up with this ankle, and just does not seem the same QB anymore
TITANS..If Derek Henry comes back from this broken foot by playoff time, it helps, but can he be heavy duty as he was in the past. Bigger issues are the injuries-illness issues to LT-Taylor Lewan and LG-Roger Saffold and the iffy hamstring to Julio Jones.
WASHINGTON..Poor Ron Rivera, working for Daniel Snyder, working with very little QB help, working with a team deficient in offense, hurt on defense, and disliked by a once proud fan base.
CAROLINA…Matt Rhule looks like he is in over his head running all the things for the Panthers, and he still has 5-years left on his contract with a team that really does not have a QB. Owner David Tepper should compare notes about mistakes with Shad Khan.
BUFFALO…Two years in, and Devin Singletary, who was supposed to be a heavy duty running back, has just 1-100-yard game to his credit. Josh Allen is the offense and just don’t think he can do it by himself in the playoffs.
VIKINGS..Kirk Cousins puts up great stats yearly, but does he get this team to post season? Now he may get his coach fired. Not much of a resume for a 34M a year quarterback.
PACKERS..You cannot get to the Super Bowl without stopping off at Lambeau Field in January. Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, the Jones-Dillon combo at running back. That and cold weather is something to watch in the playoffs.
JETS…You can have a great scheme, a high draft pick quarterback, but you need lots of other players. Not there yet for NY coach Robert Saleh.
BEARS..Sure like what I see from rookie QB-Justin Fields, but lots of hits and nagging injuries. They still seem so far away talent wise on offense.
EAGLES..Maybe the surprise of the season, the Nick Sirianni-Jalen Hurts marriage, first year head coach and young QB.
COLTS..Jonathon Taylor is everything in Indianapolis that he was at Wisconsin. A Barry Sanders type clone. Now to keep him healthy. At least Carson Wentz has stopped turning the ball over
BROWNS..What a disappointing season, the injuries, covid, Kevin Stefanski’s play calls. It’s an insult to say they underachieved because of all the problems. Big offseason, what to do with the 18M left on Baker Mayfield’s contract and the 16M owed Jarvis Landry. Big cap issues at other positions on the team. Maybe next year.
STEELERS…Some farewell at home for Ben Roethlisberger, and why not with a (91-32) record at Heinz Field. Some heavy duty running back Najee Harris of Alabama. Some stat, Mike Tomlin has not had a losing season in 15-years and thru a couple of rebuilds. But it gets tougher next year.
CHIEFS..They got healthy, fixed the offensive line, found a tough guy running back, got Frank Clark back at defensive end and look scary going to the playoffs. Just when you think you have figured out how to slow down Travis Kelce-Tyreek Hill, they get the ball to other speed people, and off they go.
BUCS…Antonio Brown quits on them mid-game. One of a bunch of body blows Tampa Bay has taken in 3-weeks. Losing Chris Godwin is devastating. Leonard Fournette is hurt as is Ron Jones, and now Tom Brady looks to be standing alone in the huddle. Can a tight end only offense get back to the Super Bowl. Stay tuned.
PATRIOTS..Big picture good season for Mac Jones, and they will be in the playoffs, but does New England have enough firepower on offense to pull this off?
MIAMI…Seven wins in a row impressive, but season crashes at end because of Tua Tagovailoa sacks, picks, fumbles. You tell me, game-winner or game manager? Right guy?
49ers..Most important time of season, and unanswered is who is the real QB of the Niners, Trey Lance or Jim Garoppolo? What happens if they miss the playoffs again with Kyle Shanahan?
SEATTLE…Wonder who leaves in off season, Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll, Rashad Penny, DK Metcalf. Alot of decisions coming off this disappointing season.
ATLANTA..Matt Ryan must be going nuts seeing the end of his career end up this way with little talent around him.
HOUSTON..Deshaun Watson paid but held hostage all season, wasting a year of athletic ability sitting out while these sexual assault lawsuits linger out there. Don’t understand any of it. Team even worse off now that they were when they fired Bill O’Brien last season. What a mess
Enjoy the final weekend of the regular season.