This week, we are focusing on the positives of the AFC, its teams, its players and its communities making ‘good happen’. #GiveBack
But before I get to that, some news on the retirement front. Yesterday, it was announced that New England tight end Rob Gronkowski is officially retiring from the NFL, effective immediately. He will be missed. This week, there was another memorable retirement announcement from Philadelphia defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. He put new meaning into ‘going out on top’.
The Haloti Ngata Family Foundation‘s motto is: Improving the lives of others through love and strength. We wish him all the best in his future! Ngata definitely belongs on the #NFLGoodGuy list here at Our Turf Football.
Happy New NFL Year! It is the March Madness of the NFL. Legal tampering and free agency is well over a week old and it started off with quite a bang for some teams, including former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders and his former teammate, running back Le’Veon Bell to the New York Jets, and not to mention the huge trade that sent WR Odell Beckham, Jr. to the Cleveland Browns.
And although these big name signings and teams were bringing the month of March “in like a lion”, the Indianapolis Colts were, and still are, very quiet in the trade talks.
The Colts, who currently hold the most salary cap space for the 2019 season, have little movement going forward. Listening to many of his pressers and interviews, it should not be a shock that Colts’ GM Chris Ballard didn’t have any plans to sign any huge names or make big splashes. And there is nothing wrong with that, in my humble and honest opinion.
This week, I thought I’d write about the Houston Texans.
But, I’m going to be honest with you. As I started to think about what I was going to write about, I realized that I don’t really know too much about the inner workings of the Texans. I don’t know their draft needs, who their free agents are. You know, the good stuff.
But I remembered someone who would. One of our old friends Claire. Claire used to be our Texans reporter and co-hosted our podcast. So of course, it was a no brainer to ask her! Here we go!
On Friday, Feb. 15th, the NFLPA released a statement saying that the NFL has reached a settlement with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and current Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid in their collusion case against the NFL.
The almost 3-year saga has, for all intents and purposes, has come to a sort of anti-climactic close.
Regardless of if you support Kaepernick and Reid or not, it opened up dialog. Or at least attempted to. I had a hard time finding people who could civilly discuss this online, but hopefully more civil discussions were had in “real life”.
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.
Even after being named MVP of a Super Bowl LII, even after saving the Eagles 2018 season and taking them to the playoffs, Philadelphia continued to tell quarterback Nick Foles he just wasn’t good enough. QB Carson Wentz, who has been injured the last two seasons, will be their starter. Foles decided that it was time to move on, and he paid $2 million to do it.
The Eagles had picked up Foles $20 million option, but that would mean he would continue to carry a clipboard for Wentz. Foles paid the fee to be released from that option, but Philadelphia still has the ability to franchise tag him. This would give the team the ability to trade him. It has been reported that multiple teams are interested in bringing Foles on board. This isn’t surprising considering the state of the quarterback situation in the NFL.
What started out as a rainy, windy day in Orlando, ended with perfect temperatures, hot dance moves, and a whole lot of fun.
The NFC practice had to be moved indoors due to the weather. With that change, it allowed the NFC practice and the AFC practice to be held at different times, which allowed fans to be able to watch both conferences. Today I attended the AFC practice.
Quarterbacks Andrew Luck (Indianapolis), DeShaun Watson (Houston), and Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City) took turns running plays with the team while head coach Anthony Lynn watched from a distance, letting coaches Gus Bradley and others take over.
The QBs ran a few running plays, but when they switched to passing plays, it seemed to turn into a game of keep away. The defense made their presence known by grabbing interceptions and blocking passes. Let’s just say, it was a good thing there weren’t any officials on the field. It was all in good fun and the players loved it.
The Tennessee Titans have promoted Arthur Smith to the role of offensive coordinator. Last year’s offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur left the team after one year as he was hired as the new head coach for the Green Bay Packers.
Today the team announced that they have promoted Mr. Smith from the position of tight ends coach to offensive coordinator. Arthur Smith has been with the team through four head coaches, Mike Munchak, Ken Whisenhunt, Mike Mularkey, and Mike Vrabel.
The fact that all of these head coaches have kept Arthur Smith on staff speaks volumes about how well he has been respected by the other members of the coaching staff.
Despite a tough loss last weekend against the number one seed in the AFC, the Indianapolis Colts are looking forward to bigger and brighter days in the 2019 season.
And although this team ended their season sooner than later, I believe they will be great contenders in the seasons to come.
But as for now, there are a few things to look out for in the offseason.
Who will stay and who will go?
Free agency will quickly be upon us. And just as soon as the clock strikes 4 pm EST, some big trades will be happening. Names like kicker Adam Vinatieri, wide receiver Chester Rogers, safety Mike Mitchell and guard Mark Glowinski are just a few on the list of free agents. Names like these were definitely considered playmakers this season, and lots of decision making will have to happen.
It was the second largest comeback in NFL history.
Back in January 2014, the Indianapolis Colts recorded a major AFC Divisional win in Indianapolis against the Chiefs. A team that was trailing by 28 points early in the third quarter, with a little “Luck”, the Colts claimed victory by a final score of 45-44 and a ticket to the AFC Championship in New England.
This season, these two teams are completely different. Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes is leading the AFC’s number one seed to the divisional round after a well-deserved bye week. This has been their first number one finish since 1995. Andy Reid’s team finished the season 12-4 and 7-1 at home. The Chiefs also have the best offense in the league. With that being said, they also have one of the worse defensive lines.