Head Coach Hotseats

By Lawrence Vos (@NFLFanInEngland)

At this point in the season every head coach in the NFL is 0-0 for the 2019 season, full of optimism and jam-packed with motivational speeches, outstanding PowerPoint content and a team willing to run through a brick wall for you, unless your name is of course Jay Gruden.

Tim and I ranked our coaches in terms of sleeping in a luxury king size bed, on the sofa, on someone else’s sofa or sleeping in the car in a recent podcast, go and check it out. Here are some of our disagreements and my side of the argument…

Sean McDermott – Buffalo Bills

Coaching facts

The Bills 22nd head coach, McDermott boasts a 15-17 record in two seasons and a 0-1 playoff record. The team drafted QB Josh Allen early in 2018, but this failed to yield immediate results as the Bills slipped to 6-10 after a 2017 playoff berth. McDermott comes from the Andy Reid coaching tree, having worked his way up from secondary coach in Philly to defensive coordinator, also serving as the DC in Carolina.

Coached DBs for Eagles in 2004 when they reached and lost Super Bowl 39 to the Patriots, alongside Pat Shurmur (QB coach), Brian Dawkins and Michal Lewis both starting safeties were Pro Bowlers. Fired as defensive coordinator by Eagles Jan 15 2011. Reached second Super Bowl as defensive coordinator for the Panthers – losing to the Broncos.

In 2017 made the massive error of benching Tyrod Taylor Week 10 following a huge loss to the Saints, bringing in Nathan Peterman – yes that game where Peterman threw five first half interceptions before being benched himself. Somehow steered the Bills to 9-7 and their first playoff game in 18 years – the biggest drought in the NFL. Bills lost that game 10-3 to Jaguars.

FUN FACT: McDermott was a National prep champion wrestler in high school.

Opinion

Since 2000 The Bills have had 10 head coaches – roughly one every two years. The last one to get into their third season was Chan Gailey (2010-2012). McDermott is a defensive guru and takes great pride in developing his defensive players but this is 2019 and you need to maintain possession of the ball and keep your defense fresh. A second sub .500 season for McDermott, and not enough progress from Josh Allen will see McDermott watching his back from around Week 12. Maybe not an in-season sacking, but this is someone who could be a Black Monday casualty.

Prediction: 7-9 and the Bills ownership lose patience.


Pat Shurmur – New York Giants

Coaching facts

Shurmur has a career NFL head coaching record of 9-23, including two years with the not so good Browns, and a 5-11 record with the Giants in 2018. Another disciple from the Andy Reid coaching tree, Shurmur has spent most of his time as an offensive coordinator – most recently helping the Vikings get one game away from a Super Bowl in 2017-18. His son Kyle is a quarterback, and in 2019 he was an Undrafted free agent pickup by the Chiefs.

Was Associated Press Assistant coach of the year in 2017 when the Vikings went all the way to the NFC Championship behind Case Keenum. His uncle Fritz Shurmur was a coach in the 70s – 90s. Coached Eagles quarterbacks in 2004 helping Donovan McNabb to a Super Bowl – a loss to the Patriots – alongside Sean McDermott.

Opinion

Shurmur has won 15 of 49 contests and made a huge splash in the 2019 draft taking Duke’s Daniel Jones at pick 6. Pick 6 how ironic. 9 wins in two years in Cleveland, 1 win as interim Eagles coach and 5 wins in NY last year, Shurmur has finished bottom of his division in all three full seasons. The NY media will be scrutinising Shurmur’s every move and another basement finish, whist hardly a surprise could signal a premature end to this coach’s stint. This will be all about how Daniel Jones develops and when he starts. Eli is untouchable, apart from the day he was benched for Geno Smith, but this could be a messy final year. The Giants mess is at WR– Corey Coleman won’t play on 2019, Golden Tate is suspended four games, Sterling Shephard is injured, leaving tight end Evan Engram become a Pro Bowler, but that means little. Barclay will shine, but it’s the weak Giants defense that will again let down this offensive minded coach.

Prediction: 5-11 – Misery in the Big Apple as Shurmur is hounded out by the media in the Big Apple.


Matt LeFleur – Green Bay Packers

Coaching facts

LeFleur has spent most of his career serving Kyle Shanahan, at three different NFL team. This is his first head coaching gig. He played for the Omaha Beef in the Indoor Professional Football League in 2003 as a backup QB. In May 2019 LeFleur tore his Achilles playing basketball – an offseason injury for a coach.

Since 2003 has had 11 coaching jobs. This is his sixth coaching job in the NFL. Following on the youth movement he is 39 – 40 in November. He was Redskins QB coach in 2012 when they drafted RG3 and Cousins. In 2016 LeFleur was the Falcons quarterback coach (reporting to Kyle Shanahan) and helped Matt Ryan to become league MVP and the Falcons reached the Super Bowl, but they could not hold on to a 28-3 lead. He choked. In 2018 he was the Titans offensive coordinator but Titans finished 25th in offensive output. In addition, the Titans is a place where wide receivers go to die.

Opinion

Big pressure on LeFleur to get Aaron Rogers back to the promised land, he is an offensive guru. The Packers have plenty of talent and a bucket load of WR ready to break out and Aaron Jones has one of the best yards per carry in the NFL. The defense is where the Packers will need to step up and I’m not sure he is the man to help the Pack with that issue. Packers have brought in three new starters in FA – Preston Smith OLB from the Redskins, Zadarius Smith OLB from the Ravens and Adrian Amos S from the Bears. The Packers D is going to be the team’s downfall. LA Fleur is safe but his posterior is already warming up.

Prediction: 9-7 – winning record but no playoffs


Mike Tomlin – Pittsburgh Steelers

Coaching facts

Tomlin has a pretty decent records in Pittsburgh, 125-66-1 in the regular season, but a disappointing 8-7 in the playoffs and only one Super Bowl win, despite having arguably the most talented roster for al lot more than just one season. In the last six season he has finished first or second in his division.
Tomlin has never had a losing season in 12 years coaching the Steelers. Was Bucks DB coach when they won Super Bowl and had three defensive return touchdowns. Fined 100k for putting off Ravens Jacoby Jones on a kick return – look this up on You Tube.

Opinion

Steelers do not like making changes at head coach, and considering Tomlin got a winning season despite their star player not playing one down last year that is credit to his leadership. The NFL does not have many jobs for life but Tomlin has lasted a long time on just one Super Bowl win. With Helmet monster Brown gone this is going to be a different looking Steelers team, with T.J. Watt looking after the defence and Juju Smith-Schuster looking to go All-Pro. Tomlin and Big Ben are the next best thing to The Sith Lord Belichick and Tom Brady, and was it not for these two the Steelers would probably have had 2-3 Super Bowls in the last decade.

Prediction: 10-6 – Wild card winner but divisional playoff loser


Kliff Kingsbury – Arizona Cardinals

Coaching facts

Another NFL head coaching newbie, Kingsbury is the most fascinating of all the new coaches to join in 2019 due to his offensive style, his brand new QB and his college pedigree.

Kingsbury set a ton of passing records playing at Texas Tech. He was drafted by the Patriots in 2003 – 6th round but went on I/R. He did get a Super Bowl ring, but was waived in 2004.

Bumped around the NFL and CFL on practice squads. Threw only two passes in the NFL in 2005  – 1 of 2 for 17 yards for the Jets in a 27-0 loss. He played in NFL Europe for the Cologne Centurions.

Opinion

An offensive genius at Texas Tech – he tutored Patrick Mahomes. He has averaged 550 yards offense and 42 points a game in college in past 7 years. This explosive output did not however equate to wins as he went 35-40 in six season, winning just one bowl game – Holiday Bowl in 2013. This is pure curiosity as Kingsbury has spent lots of time in NFL locker rooms as a clipboard holder but never as a head coach. He has the number one overall pick to work with, having dispensed of 2018 first rounder Josh Rosen. He will be looking for big things from running back David Johnson, and the veteran savvy of Larry Fitzgerald. The Cards have new wide receivers in Isabella and Johnson, and Christian Kirk will be looking for a 1,000-yard season. It will be a wild ride ahead but again the defense will let down the progress of the team.

Prediction: 4-12 – Keeps job as it’s the start of the journey.


Zac Taylor – Cincinnati Bengals

Coaching facts

Another head coach cutting his teeth in the NFL in 2019. Taylor was a QB at three different colleges including the Butler Community College Grizzlies. Two winning seasons at Nebraska. Was not very mobile – ran for –MINUS 64 yards at Nebraska. Was signed by Buccaneers in 2007 as quarterback but cut and was then 4th string at the Winnipeg Blue bombers in the CFL. Taylor is married to the daughter of former Packer head-coach Mike Sherman.

Opinion

This move is relative to waiting for a lovely Christmas present and thinking it’s something you always wanted like a signed Sean Taylor shirt only to open it and its socks, but not even nice M&S socks, pound shop novelty ones you won’t want to be seen dead in after December 26th. He originally worked his way up to offensive coordinator with the Dolphins.

Taylor was the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bearcats in 2016, before becoming the Rams QB coach in 2018. He got Jared Goff to a Super Bowl and then got schooled by the Dark Sith Lord Belichick.

Prediction: 6-10 – Anonymous season anonymous coach anonymous team.


Bill O’Brien – Houston Texans

Coaching facts

O’Brien has steered the Texans to a 42-38 record in 5 years, including three division wins, but he only has one playoff win. This is a coach who always looks intense, but maybe a bit too intense for some.

Opinion

O’Brien has been coaching since 1993. Was offensive coordinator for Pats in Super Bowl 46 – a loss to the Giants. Became the replacement for Legendary Joe Paterno at Penn State and despite sanctions he became college coach of the year in 2012 – guiding Penn State to 8-4. Could have become the Jaguars coach that same year. He signed a four-year extension in 2018

Prediction: 11-5 another division win


Kyle Shanahan – San Francisco 49ers

Coaching facts

Shanahan is 10-22 in two full seasons and really needs a playoff run to keep his job. He is the son of Super Bowl winning head coach Mike Shannahan – who won two titles with John Elway and the Broncos. Coached under his dad at the Redskins 2010-13. Was fired alongside his father – debatable nepotism. He resigned from OC job with the Browns in 2015 disagreeing about Johnny Manziel starting. He served under Jon ‘Chucky’ Gruden in 2004-5

Was the offensive coordinator for the Falcons when they collapsed against the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Shanahan’s QB coach then, Zac Taylor, is now head coach at the Bengals.

Opinion

Shanahan’s head coaching tenure is in the hands of Jimmy Garropolo. Who was injured last season leaving the likes of Nick Mullens to take the helm for a team that has five Super Bowl wins. With new RB Tevin Coleman to be the feature back this is a team that many have as dark horses for a playoff push in 2019. I’m not as confident.

Prediction : I can see an 8-8 type performance.

Don’t forget to go and check out our in depth podcast from Tuesday 27th August where myself and Tim discuss all of these head coaches and their vulnerabilities ahead of the 2019 season.

NFC East Breakdown

by Lawrence Vos (@NFLFanInEngland)

Last Season 

Dallas 10-6

Philadelphia 9-7

Washington 7-9

NY Giants 5-11

Dallas Cowboys:

Draft selections1st Round traded last season for Amari Cooper WR (via LA Raiders), Trysten Hill DT (2.26), Connor McGovern G (3.26), Tony Pollard RB (4.26), Michael Jackson Sr CB (5.20), Joe Jackson DE (5.27), Donovan Wilson S (6.41). Mike Weber RB (7.4), Jalen Jelks DE (7.27)

Offseason key additions: Alfred Morris RB, Jason Witten TE (came out of retirement), George Iloka S, Randall Cobb WR/RET,

Offseason key departures
: Allen Hurns WR, Scott Linehan Offensive Co-ordinator, Geoff Swain HB, Cole Beasley WR

Super Bowl odds: 20-1

Analysis:

Offense
The Cowboys rose to the top of a murky NFC East bloodbath with a second-half surge, winning seven of their last eight regular season games by just 35 points in total. This was the Zeke Elliot show most of the season as he led the league in rushing. If Zeke can tear himself away from the fajitas and Margaritas in Mexico then he stands a decent chance to repeat this feat. If Zeke is still holding out in September then the Cowboys will lean on rookie Tony Pollard. Dallas’s greatest strength is the offensive line, stacked with Pro Bowlers and led by All Pro Tackle Tyron Smith. The biggest in-season trade last year saw Amari Cooper move to Dallas, and he immediately made an impression, leading the team in receiving yards five times in the second half of the season. With a full off-season in Texas under his belt Cooper is primed to have his best output ever as a pro. Elsewhere Jason Witten has un-retired and will continue his journey to Canton with another season at tight-end. His return will stunt the growth of Blake Jarwin who looked a potential breakout candidate. The Cowboys defense is jam-packed with studs and if the core group can stay healthy this is going to be the first time the Cowboys can legitimately return to the Super Bowl since the days of Aikman, Irvin and Emmitt Smith.

Look out for:  The unfolding situation regarding Zeke holding out. This is nothing to worry about now, but if this is still the case in two weeks then start praying to the fantasy gods. If the Cowboys start 3-1 they have the tools to go to the Big Dance. Rookie running back Tony Pollard, a fourth round pick, will be well worth monitoring in the pre-season. A dark-horse tip for fantasy success is Randall Cobb, who can suck up all the slot catches. Demarcus Lawrence is an unadulterated beast and will be pushing for an All Pro season.

Philadelphia Eagles:

Draft selectionsAndre Dillard OT (1.22), Miles Sanders RB (2.21), JJ Arcega-Whiteside WR (2.25), Shareef Miller DE (4.36), Clayton Thorson QB (5.29),

Offseason key additions:  Desean Jackson WR (returning back), Eli Harold DE, Jonathan Cyprien S, Zach Brown LB, Jordan Howard RB, Malik Jackson DT, Andrew Sendejo S,

Offseason key departuresGolden Tate III WR, Nick Foles QB, Jordan Hicks LB, Jay Ajayi RB.

Super Bowl odds: 14-1

Analysis: The talisman is gone, Nick Foles earned himself a monster monster FA deal in the sunnier climate of Jacksonville, leaving Carson Wentz atop the depth chart with no real challenge (backup Nate Sudfeld broke a bone in his hand in pre-season week 1). The Eagles went for a future replacement for stud T Jason Peters in round one, but the biggest impact rookie will be second-rounder Miles Sanders who will fight tooth and nail with FA signing Jordan Howard for starting snaps. The Eagles have quietly added to their defense with some solid but not headline grabbing signings. Malik Jackson will compliment All-World DT Fletcher Cox, and Zach Brown is a tackle magnet who the Redskins will sorely miss. Zach Ertz is arguably the best TE in the league as long as you are not a Chiefs or 49ers fan. Ertz will not match his 2018 output as Dallas Goedert will be looking to establish a bigger target share. The Eagles weakness is the secondary that will be a mixed bag in 2019, after suffering more injuries than a Saturday night at Holby City Hospital. Philly used 15 defensive backs last season and whilst Malcolm Jenkins and Ronald Darby return they are not a top 10 pairing.

Look out for: Desean Jackson will be tearing down the flanks and will be odds on to lead the NFL in yards per catch as well as being a YAC (yards after catch) madman. Providing the chemistry with Carson Wentz melds together early this could be enough to win a few games alone. The way that Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders work together will be key, and expect both on the field at the same time in certain situations. The season will rest on Wentz staying upright, and that is where the offensive line will determine their destiny. Lookout for a swansong from pocket rocket Darren Sproles, who has the biggest heart in the league.

New York Giants:

Draft selectionsDaniel Jones QB (1.6), Dexter Lawrence DT (1.17), Deandre Baker CB (1.30), Oshane Ximines DE (3.31), Julian Love CB (4.6), Ryan Connelly LB (5.5), Darius Slayton WR (5.29), Corey Ballentine CB (6.7), George Asafo-Adjei OT (7.18) Chris Slayton DL (7.31).

Offseason key additions: Golden Tate WR, Markus Golden LB, Jabrill Peppers S, Kevin Zeitler G, Antione Bethea S, Cody Latimer WR, Olsen Pierre DT, Rod Smith RB.

Offseason key departures: Odell Beckham Jr WR, Landon Collins S, Connor Barwin LB.

Super Bowl odds: 100-1

Analysis: Is it finally here? Is the Eli Manning era finally over when the Giants controversially selected Duke’s Daniel Jones at 6th overall in the 2019 NFL draft. Jones looked efficient in his pre-season debut against the Jets, but this is not real football. We all know RB Saquon Barkley will be over-worked like an Egyptian donkey but he simply cannot take defensive snaps and is powerless for half of every game. The Giants must have a curse over their pass catchers as Golden Tate is suspended four games (pending an appeal), Corey Coleman is lost for the season with injury and Sterling Shephard has a broken thumb. And some other no-name guy left to go and work in a dog pound. The best option Manning has is to find TE Evan Engram early and often (after all he is on my Full 10 yards staff fantasy roster). The Giants went heavy on defense in the draft with a DT and CB in round one. Both will likely move into early starting roles. This is not a dominant defense by any means, arguably one of the weakest in the NFL, with no big names and two new safeties in the form of Jabrill Peppers and Antoine Bethea. If you play the Giants go deep and do it often.

Look out for: The betting line is not going to be about wins in the Big Apple, it’s going to focus on the week that Daniel Jones gets the starting gig. The Giants and Redskins will compete for overall ineptitude in the entire NFC conference, so apart from Barclay I can’t see much to get excited over. After all who drafted Wayne Gallman, Rhett Ellison, Russell Shepherd or Bennie Fowler onto their fantasy rosters – nobody !

Washington Redskins:

Draft selections: Dwayne Haskins QB (1.15), Montez Sweat EDGE (1.26), Terry McLaurin WR (4.10), Bryce Love RB (4.10),  Wes Martin G (4.29), Ross Pierschbacher (5.15), Cole Holcomb LB (5.35), Kelvin Harmon WR (6.34). Jimmy Moreland (7.13), Jordan Brailford EDGE (7.39)

Offseason key additions: Landon Collins S, Case Keenum QB, Jon Bostic ILB, Dominic Rogers-Cromartie CB, Ereck Flowers OT, Donald Penn OT.

Offseason key departuresZach Brown LB, Preston Smith OLB, Jamison Crowder WR, Ty Nsekhe OT, Ha-Ha Clinton Dix S, Maurice Harris WR, Mason Foster LB.

Super Bowl odds: 100-1

Analysis: Remarkably just after the half-way point of the 2018 season the Redskins were 6-3, leading the NFC East, watching two grizzled veterans (Alex Smith QB and Adrian Peterson RB) having outstanding seasons, and then one missed assignment and one hit later and the whole season went to hell in a handcart. Once Alex Smith suffered a gruesome leg break the season went on a downward spiral that would have even been too much for Jamie and his magic torch (look him up on YouTube). Two new quarterbacks, Case Keenum and rookie Dwayne Haskins, will battle it out for starts during the season, but the bigger problem is who will be catching the ball. The Redskins probably have the weakest set of wide outs in the entire NFL, and will be hoping rookies Terry McLaurin or Kelvin Harmon can step up. The offensive line is currently without All Pro Trent Williams who wants to leave, and the running game is questionable with projected starter second-year back Derrius Guice yet to take a regular season handoff. Jordan Reed at tight end simply can’t stay on the field, but at least the supporting cast of Vernon Davis and Jeremy Sprinkle offer some hope. The mega-bucks signing of safety Landon Collins from the Giants will be under the spotlight. Collins grew up loving former Redskins superstar Sean Taylor, if he can be a quarter as good as #21 then this is a winning move. The Redskins traded back up to the end of the first round to grab Montez Sweat a DE/OLB hybrid, who will learn a lot about how to survive in the NFL from Ryan Kerrigan.

Look out for: This season should hold no expectations for Redskins fans as the likes of Dwayne Haskins, Derrius Guice, Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon will be playing their first games in the pros. Late round fantasy tip is Trey Quinn WR, one of my slot machines. CB Josh Norman is now Josh Normal at corner, and S Landon Collins is new and will need to make a big impression in his first month to garnish fan respect. The defensive line is the Redskins only real strength, with high profile draft picks Jonathan Allen and Darron Payne looking for end of season award recognition. Look out for the lesser known DT Matt Ioannidis, he is emerging as a star and has 10 sack potential.

2019 Season Prediction

With the offensive line intact, and the cornerback duo of Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie, along with Demarcus Lawrence wreaking havoc and Leighton Vander Esch tackling everything in sight I simply cannot look beyond the Cowboys, who I can realistically see representing the NFC in the Super Bowl this season. This only happens if Zeke Elliot is back, and if Dak Prescott keeps his focus. The Cowboys got off to an awful start last season and they cannot afford to do the same this time. The Eagles will be a quality team again, but Carson Wentz simply cannot stay fit for 16 games. Philly’s running game will be a nightmare for fantasy owners and the pocket rocket Darren Sproles will want to go out on a high. The Giants will wrestle between giving Eli a respectful farewell tour or giving Daniel Jones regular season game reps. I suspect Jones will be starting by Week 10 at the latest. The Redskins will simply be a hot mess. This is one of those years that you simply have to take on the chin if you are a Washington supporter. With no proven wide receivers, a brittle tight end and an offensive line whose best player (Trent Williams) may be gone before the end of pre-season don’t expect a 6-3 start like 2018.

Dallas 12-4* (* = with Zeke from Week 1)

Philadelphia 11-5 (Wild Card)

New York 4-12

Washington 3-13

Worst to First Candidates

By Andy Goddard (@godsy1985) – 16th June

The National Football League is meant to be one of parity (tell that to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots). In 2018 the Chicago Bears, Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts all reached the playoffs after having losing records in 2017. It is one of the great things about the NFL, the possibility of going from being the worst team to lifting the Lombardi trophy is real. So who are our candidates this year? Let’s look at four teams that finished at the bottom of their respective divisions.

New York Giants

The Giants had an awful 2018 season with a 5-11 record but the emergence of Saquon Barkley was a big plus with his 1307 rushing yards and 721 receiving yards. The play of Eli Manning was much maligned but when you look at the stats, he may not have been as poor as advertised. Eli’s QB rating was 92.4 which was the forth best of his career and his 66% completion ratio (for 4,299 yards) was the highest of his career. (http://www.nfl.com/player/elimanning/2505996/careerstats). There is no doubt that Manning has lost some mobility though. He was sacked 47 times in the 2018 season (a career high) and the offensive line needs some attention but it is fully expect that the Giants will be a run heavy team in 2019. Barkley is primed for another phenomenal season and with the addition of Golden Tate at wide receiver they still have weapons even without Beckham Jr. In 2018, the Giants lost eight games by 7 points or less and lost their final two games of the season by just a single point! When you look at their 2018 season in more detail, they weren’t far away from a 9-7 record which could have seen them reach the playoffs!

The Giants also have two big advantages in 2019. Their strength of schedule is ranked as the 27th most difficult and the NFC East is wide open. Whilst the Philadelphia Eagles should improve (as long as Wentz stays healthy), the Dallas Cowboys may go backwards and the Washington Redskins are potentially starting a rookie quarterback. If they can upgrade the pass rush (which ranked 30th in sacks) they should have a great shot at reaching the playoffs in 2019!

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have a talented roster that have been under-utilised for years but with new head coach Zac Taylor now at the helm, could the Bengals improve of their 6-10 record in what is normally a tough division? The AFC North has lost a huge amount of talent from the Pittsburgh Steelers, has gained a mass of talent in Cleveland and has a seemingly sketchy playbook and an ageing defence in Baltimore. There doesn’t appear to be a clear favourite in the division and this may open the field up for the Bengals to surprise a few people. For this to happen the Bengals will need to improve massively on what was one the weakest defences (yardage wise) in NFL history, ranking fifth all time in yards allowed (https://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/tiny.fcgi?id=xNW3M). Cincinnati will be hoping that the coaching change can address this situation. There is plenty of talent of the offensive side of the ball with the serviceable Andy Dalton throwing to A. J.  Green, Tyler Boyd and Tyler Eifert as well as having Joe Mixon in the backfield, they seem to have a balanced attack if it can be exploited to its full potential. 

With the AFC North in a stage of transition its very easy to see the Bengals finishing at the top of the pile, however, it is also very easy to see them finishing in last place once again!

New York Jets

The New England Patriots may have won the AFC East in 16 out of the last 18 seasons but they can’t win forever, can they? Coming off of a 4-12 season, Adam Gase is now the head coach (replacing Todd Bowles) and the team have made some great moves in both free agency and the draft. Le’Veon Bell is a stellar running back with his patient style but questions remain over whether sitting out the whole of last season will have impacted him in any way. Then there is second year QB Sam Darnold who, at times last season, looked very much like the franchise player that the Jets needed. Darnold did have his struggles (as most first year QB’s do) but if he does make the transition to the second year, similar to that of Mitch Trubisky at the Bears, the Jets are well primed to cause teams problems. With the drafting of Alabamas Quinnen Williams (defensive tackle) ‘Gang Green’ may have found a run blocker to play at nose tackle in a 3-4 defence that’s Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams is reportedly staying with.

The New York Jets also have one of the easiest schedules in 2019, tied at 27th. The only problem here is that they are tied with the New England Patriots (https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/2019-nfl-strength-of-schedule-patriots-and-redskins-have-it-easiest-raiders-face-roughest-ride/). Winning the AFC East maybe very difficult in 2019 but it wasn’t long ago that the Jets went into Foxboro for a divisional playoff game and came out victorious. The 2019 season may be slightly too early but the Jets are building a strong team for the future and it would not surprise me to see them in the playoffs in 2019.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jags plummeted after reaching the 2017 AFC Championship Game finishing last season with a 5-11 record. However, there is no last-place team that is better equipped to rebound. They still have a talented defence that finished fifth in the NFL in 2018 (http://www.nfl.com/stats/categorystats?tabSeq=2&defensiveStatisticCategory=GAME_STATS&conference=ALL&role=OPP&season=2018&seasonType=REG&d-447263-s=TOTAL_YARDS_GAME_AVG&d-447263-o=1&d-447263-n=1) and they have upgraded where they needed it most, quarterback! For the last two seasons many people have wondered what this team could be with more functionality at QB. Nick Foles has shown that he can produce on the biggest stage and the 2017 Super Bowl MVP can also call on running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette had a poor 2018 season that was hampered by injury, suspension, and by his own admission, being in ‘sub-optimal shape’. With a healthier o-line and improvement in fitness, the LSU man will need to produce with more consistency for the Jaguars to have a chance. 

Head coach, Doug Marrone has also had a big change up of his coaching staff with 8 coaches either joining the Jags or being promoted from within (https://www.jaguars.com/news/official-defilippo-named-oc-staff-finalized). One major problem for the Jaguars could be the strength of the AFC South. The Texans, Colts and Titans all had winning records in 2018 with two of the three making the playoffs. Whilst the division is relatively open, it’s up for grabs because all of the teams are good. However, if Foles can reproduce his performances from Philly and Fournette can get back to his 2017 form, the Jaguars should get back to the playoffs.

Best Chance?

For my money, the Giants and the Jaguars have the best chance but what do you think? Will any of these teams even make the playoffs or is there a better candidate out there? Let us know @Full10Yards

 

Pick It Apart; Dexter Lawrence

The Draft is in the books and the dust has settled. But how well did your team do in the first round?


We are taking a look back at every selection in the first round and giving you the lowdown on the pick; Was it a reach? Was it a steal? We’ll tell you and give you the impact for fantasy football….


Pick: 17


Player: Dexter Lawrence


Drafted By: New York Giants


Grade: B


Analysis: 

Lawrence was draft a few spots behind teammate Christian Wilkins (13); I wonder if they had a side bet on that. This was the pick in the trade deal with the Browns for OBJ.

Lawrence was ranked the no.2 recruit in his class when coming in to College in 2016 and was a highly sought after DT. That was backed up when being named the 2016 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year and recorded 4 tackles when winning the National Title vs Alabama for Clemson.

His whole college production was good, but you have to wonder the reasons as to why his production dropped in his Junior year (doesn’t help he missed the playoffs after testing positive for PEDs, a requisite for entering the NFL).

So what does Lawrence bring?

Size, length, power and versatility; his athleticism allows him to fit in a 4-3 or a 3-4 front. His strength will obviously be a run stuffer for the Giants as long as they can rekindle his production from his 1st year in College. He isn’t going to be a guy that feasts on the flesh of the QB that often judging by his pass rush abilities but he will certainly do a job for the New York Football Giants.

The jury is out as to whether he was worth the pick here and whether he is a 3 down guy in the NFL (and wont have the luxury of having the talent around him like he did in the Clemson D), but he is a guy that will warrant double teams, be a disruptive menace in the gut of the defensive line and is a Gettleman guy in terms of big and strong on the D line.

At the very worst, he is someone that can be built around in the next few years.


Fantasy Football Impact: 

Similar to most other teams in the top half of the draft, defences will not be taken for most of these teams in fantasy unless it’s a stream or a deep league.

Lawrence will probably not trouble the top end of scoring in IDP and screams a real life decent player, but not for the stat sheets.

Draft Recap 2, 100 up.

In podcast 100, Tim and Rob talk about the NFL Academy and what it means for the game over here before they recap picks 17-32 of the draft and the bigger picture for their respective team’s draft hauls. We also look at those teams that didn’t draft in the 1st round.
Lee from All32 attempts to go top of the leaderboard in the Full10Questions.
Enjoy!

Draft Recap

Tim, Lee and Rob take a look back at the draft and give their thought on who had a good draft and those not so good.
We recap picks 1-16 in the first round and for every team that picked, how their drafts as a whole went.
We catch up on the latest news away from the NFL and Rich King joins us for the quiz and we redraw the winner again for the April competition.
Enjoy!

Take or Trade Part 2, Best Bets

Part 2 of Take or Trade where we go through picks 17-32.
On second down, we swap Adam for Lee and we go through some markets for the NFL draft from a betting standpoint and bring back our £100 mythical challenge. Who’ll win ?
Send us your bets for the draft and we will RT the best ones over @full10yards.
We also draw a new winner of the MyTouchdownBox Gift Box as it wasn’t claimed!

Draft Week – Take or Trade part 1

On the first of 2 episodes this week, we break down picks 1-16 looking at every team’s needs and players they could target or if they may perhaps trade back or even trade up!
1st down covers a few interesting snippets from the schedule release including a team playing alternate home and away games for all 16 games this year!
On 2nd down, Charlie from IceTheKickerPodcast joins us and tries to beat Adam Walford’s score of 7 in the Full10Questions.
3rd down is the 1st part of Take or Trade.
Slight delay from intro to my voice. Apologies for that!