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.
Lets just all admit it. The minute we saw that John Gruden had been paid an insane amount of money to become the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, we knew we were in for a wild ride. While his first season didn’t live up to the hype, it has been nothing but Must See TV ever since the season ended.
Lets quickly recap.
First, the disaster that was the 2018 season. With a record of 4-12, Gruden’s first season as head coach was underwhelming to say the least. In a year where the AFC West was a stand out division, the Raiders were the bottom dwellers. The tone of the season was set very early with the trade of linebacker Khalil Mack to Chicago, then later in the season the trade of wide receiver Amari Cooper to Dallas. Gruden didn’t hide the fact he was completely overhauling the team and managed to get some great draft capital in the process. While fans weren’t happy, the value received was fantastic.
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.
To look at the NFL today it’s hard to imagine it without the diversity it displays, but there was a time when there wasn’t. In honor of Black History Month, we will look at the changes the NFL has gone through as it pertains to African American players.
African Americans have been a part of the American Football evolution as far back as the 1920s with players like Fitz Pollard and Bobby Marshall leading the way. The position of quarterback had not been a position that was openly offered to African Americans, but in 1968 that all changed with Marlin Briscoe.
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.
Guess who’s back. Back again. The Pats are back, tell a friend.
The New England Patriots are heading back to the Super Bowl. Quarterback Tom Brady ,and the rest of the Patriots, executed Brady’s 57th game-winning drive to get the victory over the Chiefs.
After going 3 for 3 on third down during the overtime drive, the Patriots handed the ball off to running back Rex Burkhead who ran it in for the game-winning touchdown.
The game played out the best way possible for the Patriots. It was obvious that the best way to keep Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and the great Kansas City offense under control was to simply keep them off the field. It was the same strategy that most teams have tried to use to beat the Patriots for years.
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.