New Head Coaches: Time to Judge who’ll Rhule

By Sean Tyler (@SeanTylerUK)

After disappointing campaigns, three NFC East teams – the Redskins, Cowboys and Giants –as well as the Panthers and Browns decided it was time for a new Head Coach. A fortnight after the regular season finished, four of the five had filled their hot seats, and the Browns have since found their man too. Now that the game of musical chairs has stopped, let’s take a look at who’s landed where and how they might fare.


WASHINGTON REDSKINS


Fired: Jay Gruden
Hired: 
Ron Rivera 

The switch: Washington got a two-month head-start on the rest, setting the HC conveyor belt in motion in October. After going 0-5, they decided enough was enough and fired Jay Gruden, who made the postseason just once in his five years in the capital.

A day after they closed out their 3-13 season with a 47-16 humbling by divisional rivals Dallas, long-time team president Bruce Allen was given the order of the boot, not long after he’d told the world the team’s culture was “damn good” (no laughing at the back, please). They swiftly followed that by agreeing to make Ron Rivera, let go by the Carolina Panthers, their new HC.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The pros: Rivera is experienced, respected and no stranger to success, having led the Panthers to three consecutive NFC South titles from 2013. His hot streak culminated in a 15-1 regular season in 2015 and an appearance at Super Bowl L against the Denver Broncos. Having evolved from ultra-cautious to more progressive and forward-thinking, ‘Riverboat Ron’ could be the man to ensure Dwayne Haskins delivers on his early promise. The ‘Skins also need to sharpen up on the defensive side, but Rivera has form here too: he had five top-10 defences in Carolina. Bringing in former Raiders coach Jack Del Rio as his defensive coordinator can only help.

The cons: While his overall record stands up to scrutiny, it’s been tough going of late. Rivera’s last two seasons in Charlotte were both injury-affected and both went south after promising starts. Without Cam Newton, last year’s 5-11 saw them prop up the NFC South and the year before, they also finished with a losing record (7-9). That said, everyone to a man was complementary when he left.

The outlook: A fresh start was just what the doctor ordered and for Rivera’s sake, let’s hope the toxic Washington set-up is history. With the power to bring the crowds back to FedEx Field and reset the culture within the building, he’s already having a positive effect. Apparently, left tackle Trent Williams – who sat out last year because he lost trust in the medical staff and then the front office – has vowed to return to the fold because of the new HC and the organisational restructure.

The verdict: The pick of the bunch. He’ll have his hands full but with Allen out of the picture, there’s a distinct chance ‘Riverboat Ron’ will turn this ship around and steer the Redskins towards calmer waters.


DALLAS COWBOYS


Fired: Jason Garrett
Hired: 
Mike McCarthy

The switch: The Cowboys were the second team to make their move, eventually parting ways with Jason Garrett after nearly 10 years at the helm and an exit process that seemed to take just as long. Jerry Jones made it clear he wasn’t going to spend time bringing a college coach up to speed so they interviewed two experienced NFL guys: former Packers coach Mike McCarthy and long-time Bengals HC Marvin Lewis. Once Garrett was finally out the door, Dallas took less than 24 hours to announce McCarthy. 

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The pros: Of our five coaches, McCarthy has the best pedigree, having led the Packers to nine playoff appearances, six NFC North division titles and a Super Bowl win (ironically at Dallas’ AT&T Stadium) in his 13 seasons. Although his relationship with quarterback Aaron Rodgers deteriorated, it was effective for much of his tenure so McCarthy should be able to strike up a good rapport with Dak Prescott.

The cons: McCarthy was fired midway through Green Bay’s 2018 season and he didn’t work during 2019 so will having a year out of the game hinder him? He has allegedly spent the time studying the latest NFL trends but equally, he might have lost some momentum.

The outlook: McCarthy has also been developing a new playbook, which will hopefully compensate for Dallas’ failures over the last decade. McCarthy needs to hit the ground running and start securing the late-postseason appearances Garrett should’ve achieved with the talent at his disposal. His credibility and reputation are high, but so are the expectations on him to bring success pretty much straight away.

The verdict: The one with everything to prove. McCarthy is a fine choice but the control he might want or expect isn’t up for grabs. In Dallas, Jerry is King: he calls the shots and makes (and breaks) the rules. Where the lines are drawn will decide whether McCarthy leads Dallas back to the heights of old or if he’s just the next guy to be stifled by the Jones dynasty.

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CAROLINA PANTHERS


Fired: Ron Rivera
Hired: 
Matt Rhule

The switch: In early December, when the wheels were falling off another Panthers’ season, Ron Rivera was released. Owner David Tepper announced that he would be targeting an offensive-minded replacement, and did exactly that in hiring Baylor coach Matt Rhule. As it happens, Rhule was supposed to meet with the Giants (where he spent a year as an assistant O-line coach) after his trip to Carolina but never made it, having been made an offer he couldn’t refuse and the Giants couldn’t match. (For the record, I wouldn’t turn down $60 million over seven years, if anyone’s offering…)

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The pros: The size of his contract suggests Carolina are all in on their new man. Rhule is a leader and has a knack for turning struggling teams around in double-quick time. He took Baylor from 1-11 in 2017 to 11-3 just two years later and, before that, transformed Temple from a 2-11 outfit to a conference-winning one.

The cons: It’s important to remember that Rhule has no league experience at HC (a red flag to some). He will need to make the not-insignificant leap from college to the big league if he is to bring the franchise some stability and, eventually, success.

The outlook: Rhule won’t need to repeat the complete turnabouts he managed in his college programmes. He’ll have assets to work with – not least a solid defence and one of the league’s top stars in running back Christian McCaffrey – but there is also work to do, with linebacker Luke Kuechly retiring and tight end Greg Olsen joining the Seahawks. It will also be interesting to see whether he plumps for Cam Newton, Kyle Allen or someone else as his long-term QB. In the draft, he might grab a couple of guys with potential and the right character traits, and take the time to nurture them.

The verdict: The slow-burner. If Rhule can get on top of things in the pro world, the Panthers could be back in the mix again. However, I suspect, as we saw with some of last year’s rookie coaches, we shouldn’t expect results overnight. It took him a couple of years to get to grips with Temple and Baylor, and he’s been afforded ample time to set things up the right way so peg him for a successful rebuild from 2021 and beyond.


NEW YORK GIANTS


Fired: Pat Shurmur
Hired: 
Joe Judge

The switch: Despite a strong finish by Saquon Barkley and a decent showing by young QB Daniel Jones, the Giants had a disappointing 2019 under Pat Shurmur. They could ill-afford to let another season slip by with such talent in their ranks so, after Shurmur’s two underwhelming seasons ended with a 9-23 record, the Giants were next to step up to the plate (to mix my sporting metaphors).

Just minutes after the Panthers announced Rhule, the Giants revealed Joe Judge as their man. Interestingly, New York ran the rule over Rhule too, and were given the opportunity to match Carolina’s massive offer. The Giants declined.

Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

The pros: Judge was a special teams assistant for Nick Saban at Alabama for three seasons and then spent eight years with the Patriots as special teams and wide receivers coach. He won three Super Bowls in New England and has been plucked right off the Bill Belichick coaching tree. Being a special teams guy, he’s used to having close contact with most players on the roster, which will stand him in good stead.

The cons: Compared to the likes of Rivera and McCarthy, Judge is a relative unknown. He also hasn’t held a head coaching role at any level, which to some might make him the weakest candidate on paper.

The outlook: Judge may be a rookie but the 38-year-old is a good communicator, has high standards and a blue-collar work ethic. Judge’s initial press conference suggested that New York have a good fit. He told the media to expect an intense, aggressive, old-school team that will reflect the community in which they play.

The verdict: The left-field choice. I don’t want to judge too early but he comes across as hard-nosed and disciplined. He can certainly talk the talk, so let’s see if he can walk the walk.


CLEVELAND BROWNS


Fired: Freddie Kitchens
Hired: 
Kevin Stefanski

The switch: Armed with Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb and Myles Garrett to name but a few, the Browns were many people’s top tip for a playoff run or even a Super Bowl appearance in 2019. Even Sports Illustrated ran with “Bold prediction! Cleveland’s first division title in 30 years” on one cover. As it turned out, The Ill-Advised Freddie Kitchens Experiment was abandoned after a year, with a disappointing 6-10 season ending with a three-game losing streak. As they say, “If you can’t stand the heat, get Kitchens out” (or something) so they did, with GM John Dorsey also sent packing.

Cleveland interviewed a host of candidates – Patriots OC Josh McDaniels, Ravens OC Greg Roman, Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, 49ers DC Robert Saleh, Eagles DC Jim Schwartz, Uncle Tom Cobley and all – but in the end, they plumped for Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski.

Jason Miller/Getty Images

The pros: Part of the furniture in Minneapolis since 2006, Stefanski is a schemer, an analytical thinker and someone who can maximise offensive talent. The Vikes had a 10-6 season and a Wild Card win over the Saints, and their attack was largely effective under Kirk Cousins.

The cons: Initial reactions to the hire were mixed at best, not least because he wasn’t McDaniels – seemingly the fans’ preferred choice – and because of Minnesota’s poor offensive performance in their playoff loss to the 49ers. He’s untested as an HC, and was second choice when Kitchens was ultimately hired 12 months ago, which makes him feel like a consolation prize.

The outlook: Only time will tell whether this was the right move, but Cleveland seriously need an experienced, attack-minded guy to take their offence by the scruff of the neck and sort it out. But hiring an unproven Head Coach won’t give the long-suffering fans in Cleveland much confidence that they’ve got one right for a change.

The verdict: The jury’s out. How many times have the Browns been primed to turn things around at last, only to fail? They haven’t kept an HC for more than four seasons over the last 20 years. Stefanski may succeed where others before him have fallen by the wayside but he isn’t a safe bet. It’s a coin-flip for me but at least he shouldn’t be any worse than Freddie…

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.

Jacksonville: Good, Bad or Ugly?

By Tim Monk (@Tim_Monk85)- 23rd June 2019

Many people see Nick Foles as the answer to the question: “What will it take for Jacksonville to get the Super Bowl?”

I see it a different way. The signing of Nick Foles could be the first domino in the sequence that sends the Jaguars back a few years.

Despite being a Philadelphia hater, it isn’t Nick Foles’ fault nor do I have anything against him or the 4 year $88m deal he signed a few months back. You have to take what you can get in this game and fair play to Foles and his agent for securing that lucrative deal.

However, after the recent news about Jaguars pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue planning to skip mandatory minicamp and Jalen Ramsey seemingly starting to simmer after being told that his contract wont be looked at this offseason, there is a chance here that the Jaguars could implode from the inside out and all the foundations that had been built over the past few years could start to crumble.

Before we go forward, we need to go back; cast your minds back to last season…

This was supposed to be the season where Jacksonville were to have a home playoff game and make a run to the biggest game of them all after being mere minutes away from it the season before. It was supposed to be the season where after getting a taste for January football (something in which they had not tasted since 2008), that they would look to fully establish themselves and put it to notice that they will reserve a seat continuously at the top table of the AFC over the next few years.

Telvin Smith announced prior to the start of the season that he was not available for selection in the 2018 schedule and was to take time away for personal reasons.

Despite this news, the season started as they left off the season prior; going 3-1 and exorcising the demons of the Patriots in week 2. The Jaguars were picking up steam.

However, a thumping by the other hot team in the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs, took the train off the tracks and the Jags just did not recover. Losses to Dallas, Houston and Philadelphia followed and whilst they were all playoff teams last year, it was the manner of those defeats which were worrying and seemingly unexplainable. The season then spiralled which wasn’t helped by some more player shenanigans.

One main culprit was Leonard Fournette, who was in and out of the team with injury issues but also disciplinary issues involving team photos and general attitude leading to him losing his guarantees for this year’s portion of his contract. TJ Yeldon, the fellow perpetrator towards the end of the season has been assigned the NFL equivalent of the Night’s Watch in Buffalo.

On the defensive side, there were stories all over the mill relating to their late night in London and the bills that were racked up (and not paid for straight away by all accounts!) and the disruptive nature of the players out and about on the eve of the international series game which is never good news. They lost the game in London and then headed back across the pond.

After their bye, it was plain to see that the Jaguars players just weren’t up for it, on either side of the ball. The defence will get called out more so due to their usually exceptionally high standards and production levels. Watching Henry’s 99 yard touchdown run against the Jags pretty much epitomises what the Jaguars were al about towards the end of the season.

The rest is history for the season and the rumblings keep on churning.

Bringing it forward to this offseason, we mentioned on the podcast a few months ago that the Jaguars were at the point of no return and would have to choose between either Foles and then trying to perform a juggling act on the defence, OR draft a rookie QB in a prime position at pick 7 and still be able to pay the players to keep the stars in their galaxy. They chose option A and I fear for Jaguars fans that this was easily the worst option, despite understanding why they chose it.

The problem is that the front office feel they are not far away from a Super Bowl appearance; The defence is there (or is it?), they have a run game to match the ground and pound combination and they have 1 or 2 pieces on offence but they thought Blake Bortles was the one to put them over the top. That unfortunately wasted a few years and has knocked the Jaguars title bid all out of sync.

If the Jags miss the postseason once again in 2019, Doug Marrone will likely be out the door as it’s likely that the players will be running the asylum. Players will start to leave on that defence and you can start to see the Jaguars credentials will start to crumble.

What doesn’t help is that Tom Coughlin, a former HC himself in Duval from yesteryear, has been trying to rule with an Iron Fist which has been rebuffed by the NFL in terms of forcing players in to participating in minicamps and optional training sessions and it hasn’t been well received internally.

Let’s try and be positive for a second though, it’s only fair;

On the offensive side of the ball, Nick Foles is probably the best QB the franchise has ever had and should bring a great veteran’s presence and winning mentality to the team. He knows what it’s like to win it all and some of the guys on both sides of the ball can buy in to him as a leader.

At Wide Receiver, Dede Westbrook is by far the best pass catcher on the team couldbreak out in his 3rd year despite this team seemingly going to show a run heavy offence. That said, the Jaguars are going to need Keelan Cole, DJ Chark to step up, Marqise Lee to not have lost a step a year removed from his ACL tear and Chris Conley to do…well something. Could it even be possible that Donte Moncrief departing is a miss for this team?!

Leonard Fournette, when healthy and staying out of trouble is one of the better backs in the league and knows how to run through people and when he has the momentum is a tough guy to keep down. Again, maybe Foles can coarse some hard work and effort out of him and show him along the right lines of how to be a professional athlete and how to conduct himself as a former 1st round draft pick should do.

We don’t really need to go in to great detail about how good the Jacksonville defence can be, we’ve all seen it; 2nd ranked defence in 2017 in terms of Points allowed and yards allowed and turnovers created. As previously stated, they need to get back here to allow Nick and co to do what they need to do, the question is: do the players have the selfless desire to win as a team and can they play for each other rather than being 53 individuals and can they play for the guy in charge of them?

Talking of which, we come to current HC, Doug Marrone.

Hired week 15 in the 2016 season as interim manager after being the O Line coach and assistant to Gus Bradley (currently tearing it up in LA with the Charger on Defence btw), Marrone currently has a 16-18 record as the Jags HC. The former Bills HC and New Orleans Saints OC doesn’t strike anyone as a guy that is synonymous with winning and was touted as a coach who may have felt the wrath of Black Monday this year. He stays for now and surely this is a pivotal year for him, just like the many on the 53 man roster.

Doug Marrone must be able to answer the questions hanging over the character issues about the team and lead from the front with the help of Foles in order for the Jags to see January football, otherwise it could be a long goodnight for the Jacksonville Jaguars team as it currently stands.

The Jaguars bandwagon has just turned at the crossroads. Doug Marrone is the driver and Tom Coughlin is the Sat Nav (you also have to wonder if Shahid Khan sabotaged the Sat Nav so that they turned the way towards London….but that’s for another time).

Did they turn the right way and veer towards Super Bowl City or have they ventured back down towards doldrums avenue, where they have lived for the past 20 years?

For me, the Jaguars window in my opinion has shut and not even big d*** Nick can save them. The defence will have to play out of this world again to get them anywhere close but I fear that they are more interested in their own wallets rather than the success of the team. Telvin Smith was away from the team last year so we don’t know what shape and condition he will be in if he returns, Yannick Ngakoue is starting to throw toys out of the pram, seemingly taking a lead from Jalen Ramsey, who isn’t happy about his contract not being looked at (despite a few years still left to run) and who knows what Josh Allen will be like or whether he may pick up some bad habits straight off the bat. This defence at the moment is prestigious by name and past form from over a year ago. Could it be that the stellar season in 2017 was an outlier and in fact this team are just as good (well, bad) as they were a few years prior to that? Prior to 2017, their most recent season with a winning record was 2007 (with every season having a negative point differential) and hadn’t won the division this millennium. Obviously still nursing that hang over when they partied like it was 1999 (Tom Coughlin was the coach at the time).

Interesting season ahead for those in north eastern Florida. A wide range of outcomes and the headlines won’t take too much to write either way because we’ve seen the angel and the devil sides of the Jaguars over the tenure of Doug Marrone.

I’ll leave you with 3 words for the people on that Jacksonville bandwagon;

Tuck and Roll.

Where Do They Go From Here; NY Jets

After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…

Today we take a look at the New York Jets.

Don’t forget to check out the AFC East podcast where we talked to Ian Roach and got their thoughts on them!

How Did Last Season Go?

On the positive side, Sam Darnold’s rookie season arguably got stronger as he acclimatised to the NFL. On the negative side, there were more turnovers from the Jets than a bakery after a delivery. After their week 6 win vs the Colts, the Jets had a 3-3 record, unfortunately in the subsequent 10 gameweeks, they only mustered 1 more win vs Buffalo. The schedule wasn’t the kindest to be fair. The Jets were bottom 10 in both points for and against whilst most of their stats see them in the bottom half for pretty much everything…not good. Ultimately, this is why Todd Bowles lost his job.

Housekeeping

New York Jets once again have the 3rd pick in the 1st round of the draft. They don’t have a 2nd rounder after trading up in the 2018 draft. But have 2 3rd rounders and picks in round 4,5 and 7.

The Jets were one of the wealthiest teams heading in to Free Agency and despite being very active, still are top 10 in cap space available with $26m.

Outgoings

Apart from Bowles at HC, there was a lot of names heading out the exit door in New York. RBs Bilal Powell and Isiah Crowell,  WR Jermaine Kearse and QB Josh McCown.

Elsewhere Mo Claiborne & Buster Skrine (CB), James Carpenter (G) and kicker Jason Myers were other notable names that wont be in the Gang Green in 2019.

Incomings

Lots! Well you need to with all of the names going the other way.

Mr Taco Adam Gase is the new head coach and comes over from division rival Miami.

LeVeon Bell was the big splash at RB and he’ll run behind former Raider Osemele. Jamison Crowder comes in to the slot in a slightly surprising move considering they already had Enunwa. Another big name signing is linebacker CJ Mosley from the Ravens. Anthony Barr was supposed to be there too but apparently felt sick to his stomach at the thought of being away from Minnesota.

Outlook for Next Year

Some big questions for the Jets in 2019 include; How quickly can LeVeon Bell hit the ground running? Has Sam Darnold taken a step forward?  If both of these are positive storylines for the Jets in 2019, it’s not out of the question that the Jets make the playoffs. The weak AFC East is not as perhaps weak as 2018 (except for Miami) so opportunities are there. Their schedule is easier than last year with the Raiders, Jags, Bengals and Giants all on their slate.

Prediction

If Bell hits the ground running, and Darnold cuts out the picks, the Jets could be a sneaky playoff team in 2019. I think it may be one more year before they are considered regular playoff contenders but we all remember when Mark Sanchez entered the league. Could be a team that gets hot from nowhere and surprises a few people.

Fantasy Football

Sam Darnold – undrafted – low QB2

LeVeon Bell – late 1st/2nd Round pick – low RB1

Robby Anderson – 7th/8th Round pick – WR3

Jamison Crowder – double digit rounds – WR3/4

Chris Herndon – double digit rounds / undrafted – low TE1 – *Sleeper alert*

Exit Interviews – AFC North

AFC North time in our mammoth review series.
Ravens – @chibsRSR
Steelers – @DFF_JamesH
Browns – @UK_Browns , @all32Shaun
Bengals – @trequartbeasta (@bengalsUK)
As said in the pod, Ravens segment was recorded prior to Flacco and Crabtree stuff soooooo yeah.
Thanks to those that participated for the podcast!
Enjoy!

Head Coach Shuffle, New Alliances.

Tim and Lee are back to go through all the head coaching changes in depth. Which ones are good fits and which ones….not so much.
Before that, we go through what we’ve done over the last week and who we would take in the biscuit draft at #1 overall.
We bring you up to speed on all the latest NFL news including Kyler Murray’s decision to go Football over Baseball.
Adam Foxcroft reverses his usual role is setting quiz questions and puts his knowledge to the test in the quiz. Can we get a new leader atop of the mountain?
We round off with a bit off Alliance football chatter and whether it’s worth the time investment to watch. We give a Patton the back to some players who you may be familiar with from the NFL…
PS Dont forget to enter our giveaway in collaboration with @clairedabear85!

Podcast 57 – Week 10 Review

It’s Tuesday so Tim and Lee discuss all the previous gameweek’s action in the NFL along with regular segments The Full10Questions quiz with this week’s guest Rob Grimwood (@ffbritballer).

Stinkers and Stonker contenders for last week and look ahead to Week 11’s Thursday game between the Packers and the Seahawks along with some waiver wire targets for Fantasy Football.

Jason Garrett Corner pays homage to HCs currently under the hot seat and take a look at which ones are not likely to return in 2019.

Thanks for all your support and don’t forget to enter our November competition where you can win a Larry FItzgerald jersey! simply head over to our pinned tweet (@full10yards) for details on how to enter.