Is the NFC South ready for the 2020 season?

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North / NFC South

By  Kate  Arhar  //  @ClvlndK8  

Summer is here and we’d usually be talking about OTA’s and Mini-camps right now. Instead, we are trying to figure out if the NFL will even have a season this year and guessing as to what it might look like.

While fans and the media are all about speculating on what the future will bring, the teams in the NFC South have been busy trying to conduct business as usual. Or at least as well as they can during this pandemic.

Let’s take a look at how the draft and free agency has affected the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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A flashy draft, or a functional draft? Which proves more useful?

John Errico HeartNSkol Podcast Blitzed Football Blog

By John Errico // @MikeZimmersEars

(Editors note: A few times a year we have guest contributors add to our website. Please enjoy.) 

There have been many debates over the years. Waffles or pancakes? Chocolate or peanut butter? Tastes great or less filling? Allow me to add one more related to the NFL draft: Best available or fill needs?

I decided to dig into which strategy works better by researching ten years of drafts from 2009 through 2019. I chose the best team in each NFL division based on the overall record from that same period. I first looked at statistics for each season for these eight teams.

Items such as points scored and allowed, offensive and defensive rankings in each season, sacks allowed and recorded, and depth issues formed the baseline for what I saw as team needs for each draft. Any player chosen that would help improve the team in any of these areas was seen as a need pick, not a best available. Here are the teams and my analysis:

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Don’t worry Pats fans. I’m here for you!

Sonja Greenfield, Senior NFL Reporter NFC North, NFC East

By Sonja Greenfield //  @Mom23RN

Thanks to my pal Murph, my kids have been indoctrinated into Patriot Nation. Well… at least two of them. The third is just trying to get on to UCLA’s women’s gymnastics team.

But as we know, their quarterback Tom Brady moved on to warmer pastures and is taking his talents to Tampa Bay.  And with all that’s going on, Patriot Fan, I’m here for you.  In a socially distant type of way, of course.

See… while most NFL fans (especially the AFC East peeps) are doing happy dances and the like, I was starting to feel bad for you.  We all knew that the end would come at some point, but wasn’t expecting it right now.

Then it hit me this morning that the winner of the NFC will theoretically have to get through Brady.  If (hopefully) he’ll be able to reproduce a single season in Tampa like the ones he had in New England, look out.

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A change of colors for two veterans quarterbacks

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson //@LJ1303

As we begin the 2020 NFL season, a few questions have been answered in regards to several top quarterback spots that were up for grabs.

The first one being that of New England’s future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. For the first time in his entire NFL career, Brady was about to be a free agent. But as we all knew, that didn’t last too long.

AFC East fans rejoiced because Brady, as expected, signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians left no question that Tampa Bay would be a top contender in signing the six-time Super Bowl winner. This ended his two-decade stay with the Patriots.

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NFL Free Agency: The QB Frenzy

Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

The off-season is upon us and, for once in a couple of decades, my Cleveland Browns are NOT in the market for a new quarterback.

However, there are quite a few teams that definitely need an upgrade at this position and there are quite a few notable names up for grabs.

The top six names at this point are, in no particular order, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Dak Prescott, Ryan Tannehill, and Jameis Winston. Now, I don’t for a minute believe Brees, Prescott or Winston will be hitting the streets, doing the interview tour and trying to find a new team.

The Dallas Cowboys will be re-signing Prescott. It could take a while, but it will get done. Same with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Winston. While he wasn’t stellar last year, I think they’ll stick with him a little longer.

So that leaves Brees, Brady and Rivers looking for new homes. Hmmm.

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NFL and USAA Announce Finalists for the Salute to Service Award

The NFL and USAA, an Official NFL Salute to Service Partner, announced Atlanta Falcons CEO STEVE CANNON, Detroit Lions Head Coach MATT PATRICIA, and Los Angeles Chargers Legend DONNIE EDWARDS as finalists for the ninth annual Salute to Service Award presented by USAA.

Cannon, Patricia, and Edwards were selected for their exceptional efforts to honor and support members of the military community. The Salute to Service Award recipient will be recognized at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on Feb. 1, the eve of Super Bowl LIV, on FOX.

USAA will contribute $25,000 in the award recipient’s honor to the official aid societies representing all five military branches. The NFL will match USAA’s donation of $25,000, which will be donated to the award recipient’s military charity of choice. The award recipient will receive a specially designed military challenge coin, recognizing their commitment to the military. In what has become a long-standing tradition, challenge coins are presented to members of the military community to encourage excellence, boost morale or to recognize a fellow brother- or sister-in-arms.

“Each having different life experiences and connections to our military, all three finalists for the ‘Salute to Service Award presented by USAA’ are connected by a shared belief in honoring and showing appreciation to our nation’s service members and veterans,” said Vice Admiral (Ret.) JOHN BIRD, USAA Senior Vice President of Military Affairs. “Steve, Coach Patricia, and Donnie are all worthy finalists and we salute them for their continued commitment to America’s military community.”

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Vikings top Saints in NFL Wild Card upset!

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

I’m not gonna lie – this game completely shocked me! This year’s NFL Wild Card Weekend had some major upsets as well as THREE road teams being victorious!

I’ve been a huge fan of the New Orleans Saints all season long and wondered why they weren’t getting any love in the media when it came to talking about the playoffs and Super Bowl contenders. After their 26-20 loss in overtime to the Minnesota Vikings, I guess I can see why no one believed in them.

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NFL Wildcard Preview

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

This year’s NFC Wildcard Round of the NFL Playoffs will start on Sunday, January 5th.

The first matchup will feature the New Orleans Saints (13-3) hosting the Minnesota Vikings (10-6) at 1:05pm EST.

Then, we’ll have the Seattle Seahawks (11-5) heading to Philadelphia to face the Eagles (9-7) at 4:40pm EST. Frankly, I’m still not sure how the Eagles get home-field for this game but that’s how it worked out.

 

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Coaching Carousel 2020

Dayna O’Gorman
Senior NFL Reporter
NFC West / AFC West

By Dayna O’Gorman //@DaynaOG

As we head into January 2020, teams that didn’t make the playoffs need to look inward to see what went wrong. Every season there are changes that have to be made, changes that probably should be made then aren’t, and changes that feel like they change a franchise. Often those changes start with the head coaches.

Being a head coach in the NFL is a very hard job. Something only a large handful has been able to execute well. Teams are constantly on the lookout for “the guy”. The one that will be there for years, bringing success to the franchise. This year, we have 4 teams, possibly 5, that are once again on the hunt for a new head coach. Let’s take a look at who they may hiring.

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The NFC South Walter Payton Man of the Year nominees

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

This week, the nominees from each NFL team were announced for one of my favorite professional sports awards, the Walter Payton Man of the Year. This award recognizes players for their volunteer and charity work, not just their play on the field. These are men of character who give back to the communities that support their NFL careers.

It was originally called the NFL Man of the Year, but in 1999, after the death of Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, who won the award in 1977, it was renamed to honor his legacy as a humanitarian. There are currently six active layers who have won the award — Drew BreesJason WittenThomas DavisLarry FitzgeraldEli Manning and J.J. Watt.

Let’s take a look at the men who will be representing the NFC South teams as this year’s finalists…

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