As we prepare for the new 2019 NFL season, 8 teams have new head coaches, with 6 of them being first-time head coaches.: Cardinals, Bengals, Browns, Packers, Dolphins, Broncos.
The Jets and Bucs have hired coaches with previous head coaching experience.
As we prepare for mini camps, voluntary and mandatory, the media is in full force with its cycle of praise and criticism, almost seemly setting some up for instant success or in other cases instance failure.
This leaves many fans questioning how their favorite teams could make such a questionable hire.
This week I’ll be looking at the AFC and NFC South and how they did with their drafts. I’ll ask 3 questions about each team. Did they address their biggest need? Who will have the biggest impact? What could 2019 look like?
Let’s start with the Indianapolis Colts. After having a pretty strong offensive line, quarterback Andrew Luck, and Pro Bowl tight end Eric Ebron, the Colts focused on defense. 7 of their 10 picks were defensive.
Who could have the biggest impact? Former Michigan State safety Khari Willis. He worked hard and was an impact player. I think he’ll fit in nicely. 2019 for the Colts? If their defense lives up to its potential, it could be tough sledding for the rest of the AFC South.
This season an unprecedented eight NFL teams will have new head coaches. And for six of these coaches, it will be their first time running the whole show.
Bruce Arians has stepped out of the booth and back onto the field in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have floundered recently and Jameis Winston hasn’t grown or flourished the way we expected him to when he was drafted in 2015. Perhaps promoting former NFL QB turned offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich will be the first step in turning Winston around.
But the seven other coaches have their work cut out for them. Let’s take a look at these “rookies” and, maybe the biggest key to their success, who will be under center as they take the field.
On an OurTurf podcast earlier this year, I spoke with my fellow reporters about what coaching job I felt would be a good situation to get into. Dayna and I agreed: Tampa Bay.
There are no sky-high expectations because they finished last in their division. They have a decent group of players that they can work with. Players such as two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans, linebacker Lavonte David, and a pretty solid defensive corps with players such as defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul, Carl Nassib, and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy
There’s a lot of good groundwork that can be built upon, that new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles can take advantage of. Granted, McCoy could be leaving Tampa Bay, however, that would give them about $13 million in cap room, should they do that. That would also allow their 2018 1st round pick, DT Vita Vea a good chance to shine, even though last season he was hampered by injury.
Going into the 2019 NFL season many teams have needs. Some have different needs than others, but no need is more important than that of the quarterback. There are at least 5 teams that are going to need some help at that position.
The Denver Broncos addressed theirs by agreeing in principle for Baltimore Ravens benched QB Joe Flacco. While Flacco won’t be the answer long term for the Broncos, he will at least give them some time to find their franchise quarterback.
Many NFL analysts have ranted that this 2019 quarterback class, to say it nicely, is average. No one guy stands out at this moment. You’d have to assume Bronco’s GM John Elway agrees with that assessment since he pulled the trigger so quickly on Flacco. I’ve always felt that if you pick a player in the first round, that player has to start day one. I just don’t feel that there are day one starters in this draft, which in my mind is why Flacco is a Bronco.
So what does this signing mean for the other teams that are quarterback-starved? It means another free agent/ “Gap” quarterback is about to hit the market. If the Broncos can’t find a team to trade their one and done QB, Case Keenum to, then he is expected to be released.
Three years into his head coaching tenure, the Buccaneers have parted ways with head coach Dirk Koetter.
Their former offensive coordinator was promoted to Head Coach in 2016. The thought was that he and their draft pick, quarterback Jameis Winston would grow together and get this thing off the ground in Tampa.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Koetter’s tenure started off pretty well in 2016. The Buccaneers finished with a 9-7 record and 2nd in the division, Winston even made the Pro Bowl.
However, after that, things started not going so well.
Fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were pretty excited after the first few games of the season. Even with starting quarterback Jameis Winston suspended, they were winning games and back up QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was putting up great numbers.
Then the tide turned and the team began a slide that fans were hoping wouldn’t come.
I spoke with Chris Fisher, former Bucs podcaster, who can always be counted on for unflinching analysis. He gave me his impression of this team, where it’s headed, and what we can expect from this week’s game against the New York Giants.
Tampa Bay Buccanneers quarterback Jameis Winston was hoping that his past actions would somehow get lost in mini-camp news, but that was not the case. On Thursday, ESPN Insider Adam Schefter tweeted this:
NFL is planning to suspend Buccaneers’ QB Jameis Winston the first three games of the season for violating the personal conduct policy, league sources tell ESPN.
ESPN’s Tallahassee host Jeff Cameron initially reported Winston was bracing to be suspended – and he will be.
Free agency is pretty much on the quiet front with some players still trickling on to teams, such as quarterback Blaine Gabbert to the Tennessee Titans, and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to the Los Angeles Rams. But now it’s all about the draft and filling the holes that will make or break a team. So here is my attempt at Round 1 of the NFL Draft.