Grading the Winners and Losers in NFL Free agency and Trades

In This piece Rob will grade each NFL Team and take a look at Key additions and Departures in free agency as well as trades.
The teams will be listed in alphabetic Order

Arizona Cardinals- Grade A
Key additions: WR DeAndre Hopkins (trade), DT Jordan Phillips, OLB Devon Kennard, LB De’Vondre Campbell
Key losses: RB David Johnson (traded), DE Rodney Gunter
Notable re-signings/tags: RB Kenyan Drake (transition tag), WR Larry Fitzgerald
The Big trade netting DeAndre Hopkins headlines the off season and gives 2nd Year Qb Murray a big time target. Arizona made some solid moves on the defensive side of the ball while also dumping some bad contracts. Solid off season thus far.
Atlanta Falcons- Grade C-

Key additions: DE Dante Fowler Jr., RB Todd Gurley III, TE Hayden Hurst (trade)
Key losses: TE Austin Hooper, RB Devonta Freeman (released), CB Desmond Trufant, DE Vic Beasley, LB De’Vondre Campbell
Notable re-signings/tags: None
The Falcons made some nice upgrades and did so efficiently  Fowler is better at his point than Beasley and taking a chance on Todd Gurley at a nice price while saying good bye to D. Freeman. Atlanta over paid  to obtain  Hurst while letting go ofHooper, they also lost Campbell and Trufant and now are without a round 2 draft pick. Atlanta could struggle this season

Baltimore Ravens- Grade B-

Key additions: DE Calais Campbell (trade), DT Michael Brockers
Key losses: DT Michael Pierce, S Tony Jefferson (released), G Marshal Yanda (retired)
Notable re-signings/tags: OLB Matt Judon (franchise tag), CB Jimmy Smith.

Baltimore can move ahead by bringing back more of their own guys.They should be a handful after getting Brockers and Cambell, good luck running the ball on this team. They did lose Guard Yanda to retirement and that could hurt as they like to run the ball. However we may see the offense open up a bit this season anyway as Baltimore wont want to become too predictable.

Buffalo Bills- Grade A

Key additions: WR Stefon Diggs (trade), OLB Mario Addison, LB A.J. Klein, DT Vernon Butler, DT Quinton Jefferson, CB Josh Norman
Key losses: DT Jordan Phillips, DE Shaq Lawson
Notable re-signings/tags: G Quinton Spain
The Bills made a statement here picking up Diggs which is the game breaking Wiedout that has been missing for them. They did give up a lot to get him but they are looking to seize control of the AFC East and upgraded what is already a top 3 defense.

Carolina Panthers- Grade C+

Key additions: QB Teddy Bridgewater, DE Steven Weatherly, WR Robby Anderson
Key losses: LB Luke Kuechly (retired), CB James Bradberry, OLB Mario Addison, DT Gerald McCoy, DT Vernon Butler, S Eric Reid (released), TE Greg Olsen (released)
Notable re-signings/tags: S Tre Boston
Carolina gets the C+ grade just for Getting Bridgewater who should make the fan base quickly for get about Cam Newton.They also big up big play threat Robby Anderson. However losing Kuechly who is retiring and a pair of defensive tackles will hurt. They need to draft well this year.

Chicago Bears- Grade D-
Key additions: DE Robert Quinn, TE Jimmy Graham, QB Nick Foles (trade)
Key losses: LB Nick Kwiatkoski, OLB Leonard Floyd, S Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, QB Chase Daniel, WR Taylor Gabriel (released), CB Prince Amukamara (released)
Notable re-signings/tags: LB Danny Trevathan
Chicago is taking a big chance on Quinn here who was solid last year but not so much in years past. Jimmy Graham and Nick Foles may not have much left. The Bears lost a lot of depth on defense and look to be headed in the wrong direction.

Cincinnati Bengals- Grade A
Key additions: DT D.J. Reader, CB Trae Waynes
Key losses: OT Cordy Glenn (released)
Notable re-signings/tags: WR A.J. Green (franchise tag)
The Bengals Went balls to the wall this off season obtaining Waynes and Reader to upgrade the defense. They tagged Green and are likely to take Heisman winner J. Burrows number 1 overall later this month. This would make for a solid off season.

Cleveland Browns- Grade B+

Key additions: TE Austin Hooper, OT Jack Conklin, QB Case Keenum, CB
Kevin Johnson, S Karl Joseph
Key losses: LB Joe Schobert, LB Christian Kirksey, S Eric Murray
Notable re-signings/tags: None
Cleveland did well here landing two of the top free agents in Hooper who is the best tight end available and Top offensive lineman Conklin, both will support an offense which is likely to improve as Mayfield enters his 3rd year at the helm. Cleveland did lose sone quality on the defense. If they upgrade their line backers this grade can easily go to an A.

Dallas Cowboys- Grade D-

Key additions: DT Gerald McCoy, S Ha-Ha Clinton Dix
Key losses: CB Byron Jones, DE Robert Quinn, WR Randall Cobb, S Jeff Heath, DT Maliek Collins, TE Jason Witten, C Travis Frederick (retirement)
Notable re-signings/tags: WR Amari Cooper, QB Dak Prescott (franchise tag), TE Blake Jarwin
Dallas decided to bring back Cooper which they almost had to do and after that tagged Dak Prescott. However they did lose Jones and Quinn and that will be a severe blow to the defense.Another big loss on the offensive line is Center Travis Fredrick as he decides to call it quits. Also departing is Cobb and Witten. This was a rough off season.

Denver Broncos- Grade B+

Key additions: G/C Graham Glasgow, RB Melvin Gordon, CB A.J. Bouye (trade), DT Jurrell Casey (trade)
Key losses: C Connor McGovern, CB Chris Harris, QB Joe Flacco (released)
Notable re-signings/tags: S Justin Simmons (franchise tag)
Denver brings in Melvin Gordon to change the pace with Lindsay in the back field to take the pressure off Drew Lock. They scored getting Casey for a 7th round pick to upgrade the D-line. The Broncos also tagged safety Simmons and did not lose too much other than Bouye. A very Productive off season so far be Denver who looked good late last year.

Detroit Lions- Grade D-
Key additions: OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, LB Jamie Collins, DT Danny Shelton, QB Chase Daniel, S Duron Harmon (trade)
Key losses: CB Darius Slay (trade), G/C Graham Glasgow, LB Devon Kennard, OT Rick Wagner
Notable re-signings/tags: None
The Lions have not done much and lost Darius Slay. They panicked and over paid Vaitai who hasnt been a full time starter. This looks like a long year for Detroit and probably spells the end for coach Patricia who looks in over his head with this roster in the tough NFC North.

Green Bay Packers- Grade C-
Key additions: LB Christian Kirksey, OT Rick Wagner
Key losses: LB Blake Martinez, OT Bryan Bulaga, TE Jimmy Graham, OLB Kyler Fackrell
Notable re-signings/tags: None
The Packers have not done much and wont be as good as last season. They have Kirksey replacing Martinez. Other than that Rick Wagner takes over for Bulage and that will hurt them. The Packers really need to make a splash and we havent seen it yet.

Houston Texans- Grade F
Key additions: RB David Johnson (trade), WR Randall Cobb, S Eric Murray
Key losses: WR DeAndre Hopkins (traded), DT D.J. Reader
Notable re-signings/tags: K Ka’imi Fairbairn, CB Bradley Roby
When the best move you make is bringing back your kicker that shows what a poor job of upgrading your team. David Johnson is no longer the back he was a few years ago and he makes a ton of money, they also  lost one of the best wide outs in the game in Hopkins. They made things worse by over paying Cobb to replace him. This could be one of the worst off seasons for any team in recent history. Yikes.

Indianapolis Colts- Grade B+
Key additions: DL DeForest Buckner (trade), QB Philip Rivers
Key losses: TE Eric Ebron, CB Pierre Desir
Notable re-signings/tags: OT Anthony Castonzo
The Colts bring in Philip Rivers here and this will be a significant upgrade. They also made a big slash trading for one of the best Defensive Lineman in Buckner who will bolster the line and cause havoc. They should be able to replace Ebron without much difficulty. We like their chances in this division and they have had a nice off season.
Jacksonville Jaguars- Grade D
Key additions: LB Joe Schobert, DE Rodney Gunter, CB Darqueze Dennard
Key losses: QB Nick Foles (trade), CB A.J. Bouye (trade), DE Calais Campbell (trade)
Notable re-signings/tags: DE Yannick Ngakoue (franchise tag)
The Jaguars will need a big draft to better this grade as they have not done much to upgrade this team. Their trades have given them some back end draft picks and defensive end Ngakoue isn’t happy with the tag. Schobert is a nice player, but a five-year, $53.75 million deal was simply not worth it and would have been allocated better somewhere else. Be a long year in the AFC South for the Jags.
Kansas City Chiefs- Grade C+
Key additions: OT. Remmers, CB Hamilton, QB Henne, TE Seals- Jones
Key losses: CB Kendall Fuller, DE Emmanuel Ogbah
Notable re-signings/tags: DE Chris Jones (franchise tag) WR Robinson
The Chiefs have been mostly dormant this off season and as seen above have just made some marginal moves. Offensive lineman Remmers may wind up starting but this looks like a team that knows it has to pay Mahomes and wont do too much this off season.
Los Angeles Chargers- Grade C- Perhaps a B
Key additions: G Trai Turner (trade), OT Bryan Bulaga, DT Linval Joseph, CB Chris Harris
Key losses: QB Philip Rivers, RB Melvin Gordon, OT Russell Okung (traded), FB Derek Watt, OLB Thomas Davis, LB Jatavis Brown, S Adrian Phillip
Notable re-signings/tags: RB Austin Ekeler, TE Hunter Henry (franchise tag)
The Chargers have been very busy this off season. They bring back  Ekeler and Henry as they start life without Rivers. The offensive line should be solid with the Turner and Bulaga as upgrades. The Chargers will have to make a move as Tyrod Taylor is not the answer.  Cam Newton or even Jameis Winston might wind up here. Should they obtain either one of these two the grade would go up to a B.
Los Angeles Rams- Grade D
Key additions: DT A’Shawn Robinson, OLB Leonard Floyd
Key losses: OLB/DE Dante Fowler Jr., LB Cory Littleton, DT Michael Brockers, RB Todd Gurley III (released), CB Nickell Robey-Coleman (released), OLB Clay Matthews (released), S Eric Weddle (retired)
Notable re-signings/tags: OT Andrew Whitworth
The Rams have had the second worst off season with only Houston ahead of them. Should they move Brandin Cooks the grading will be even worse.T he losses of Weddle to retirement and releasing of Mathews, Gurley and Coleman will hurt they pick up 2 decent defenders but this team is a shell of what is was just 2 years ago
Miami Dolphins- Grade A
Key additions: CB Byron Jones, LB Kyle Van Noy, DE Shaq Lawson, G Ereck Flowers, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, RB Jordan Howard, LB Kamu Grugier-Hill
Key losses: None
Notable re-signings/tags: None
The Dolphins spent a ton of money adding 6 potential starters and were one of the busiest teams in the off season, They did not lose anyone note worthy and have improved their team in what suddenly looks like a wide open AFC East. The feeling is they will do even more. Right now they are having a solid off season.
Minnesota Vikings- Grade C+
Key additions: DT Michael Pierce
Key losses: WR Stefon Diggs (trade), CB Xavier Rhodes (released), DE Everson Griffen, CB Trae Waynes, DT Linval Joseph, DE Steven Weatherly
Notable re-signings/tags: S Anthony Harris (franchise tag), K Dan Bailey
Minnesota loses one of the top wide outs in the game in Diggs and really the move was predicated on a bad cap situation as they did release some quality players particularly on the defensive side of the ball. They did get an above average return for Diggs but the feeling is that the team lost a lot of depth.
New England Patriots- Grade D
Key additions: DT Beau Allen, S Adrian Phillips, QB Brian Hoyer
Key losses: QB Tom Brady, LB Kyle Van Noy, LB Jamie Collins, DT Danny Shelton, K Stephen Gostkowski (released)
Notable re-signings/tags: S Devin McCourty, G Joe Thuney (franchise tag)
The Patriots start life without Brady and Brian Hoyer is clearly not the answer. There is a newton and or Winston out there but this team looks like it may wait a year and draft a new franchise guy. They still have sone talent mostly on defense and will always be better than we think. But this was a dismal off season unless they get a better QB.
New Orleans Saints- Grade B+
Key additions: S Malcolm Jenkins, WR Emmanuel Sanders
Key losses: QB Teddy Bridgewater, CB Eli Apple
Notable re-signings/tags: QB Drew Brees, G Andrus Peat, DT David Onyemata
The Saints look like they want to take one more big shot at things as they Bring back Brees. The loss of Bridgewater only hurts if Brees goes down. We should see nice production from Sanders and the Jenkins move at Safety will help as well. Quality over quantity in what should be a solid season for New Orleans.
New York Giants- Grade C+
Key additions: CB James Bradberry, LB Blake Martinez, OLB Kyler Fackrell
Key losses: LB Alec Ogletree (released), QB Eli Manning (retired)
Notable re-signings/tags: DE Leonard Williams (franchise tag)
The Giants may have over paid a bit but they did need to defensive help and bringing in Martinez and Bradberry will surely help. They had no choice but to tag Williams after giving the Jets a third rounder for him. If the Giants draft well and can get a solid offensive lineman this C+ goes to a B.
New York Jets- Grade A
Key additions: WR Perriman OT George Fant, C Connor McGovern, CB Pierre Desir, OT Lewis, G Van Roten, CB Poole, CB Maulet
Key losses: CB Trumaine Johnson (released) WR Anderson
Notable re-signings/tags: LB Jenkins, LB Burgess
The Jets swooped in and had one of the best albeit quietest off seasons of any teams. GM Douglas retooled the offensive line led by Fant and saved money replacing WR Anderson with Perriman from Tampa. The Jets bring back two solid line backers and a slew of much needed defensive back help. New York gets a solid A Grading no matter what they do in the draft.
Oakland Raiders- Grade B
Key additions: LB Cory Littleton, DE Carl Nassib, LB Nick Kwiatkoski, CB Eli Apple, S Jeff Heath, DT Maliek Collins, TE Jason Witten, WR Nelson Agholor, QB Marcus Mariota
Key losses: LB Tahir Whitehead
The Raiders did well here getting Mariota and Nassib as well as picking up Agholor who we think can flourish here. Witten comes over to add depth and experience from Dallas and Eli Apple will be a big help in the defensive back field. The Raiders have been very busy thus far and will be much improved this year especially on defense.
Philadelphia Eagles- Grade B
Key additions: CB Darius Slay (trade), DT Javon Hargrave, LB Jatavis Brown
Key losses: OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, S Malcolm Jenkins (released), RB Jordan Howard, LB Kamu Grugier-Hill, WR Nelson Agholor, OT Jason Peters
Notable re-signings/tags: S Rodney McLeod
The Eagles plucked Darius Slay and Hargrave both of whom are expected to start as the Eagles retool on defense.  Philly lost some key pieces as they did not want to over pay. Most of what they lost is replaceable. Philadelphia spent wisely and did well this off season.
Pittsburgh Steelers- Grade C+
Key additions: TE Eric Ebron, FB Derek Watt, OL Stefen Wisniewski
Key losses: DT Javon Hargrave,G Ramon Foster (retired)
Notable re-signings/tags: LB Bud Dupree (franchise tag)
The Steelers did not do a whole lot to really improve. They get some tight end help with Ebron and shore up the offensive line. The loss of  Hargrave who was coming off a big year will hurt. However tagging Dupree was the right move. All in all though this off season was average at best.
San Francisco 49ers- Grade C+
Key additions: Gurard Compton, DE Hyder, WR Benjamin
Key losses: DL DeForest Buckner, WR Emmanuel Sanders
Notable re-signings/tags: DL Arik Armstead, S Jimmie Ward
San Francisco gets a C Grade as they were mostly looking to resign their own players and they did a decent job of it. However the loss of Buckner on the defensive line will hurt as they decided to stick with Armstead. Most of the players they are bringing in are depth deals on 1 year contracts. Nothing exciting thats for sure.
Seattle Seahawks- Grade C
Key additions: OT Brandon Shell, TE Greg Olsen, CB Quinton Dunbar (trade)
Key losses: OT George Fant, DT Quinton Jefferson
Notable re-signings/tags: DT Jarran Reed- Clowney ?
The Seattle off season is basically going to be graded on their ability to bring back Clowney. Bringing back Reed back was a nice move. They lost Fant to the Jets but were able to get Shell and Carolina long time tight end Greg Olsen which gives them a C. Should they get Clowney We will grade them as an A. Yes he is that important.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Grade A+
Key additions: QB Tom Brady, OT Haeg, LB Pieree Paul, DT Suh
Key losses: QB Jameis Winston, DE Carl Nassib, WR Perriman
Notable re-signings/tags: DE Shaquil Barrett (franchise tag), DE Jason Pierre-Paul
The biggest free agent splash this year is Brady to the Bucs. Winston and his picks will be a mere after thought. The Bucs bring in OT Haeg from Indy to protect him and Pierre Paul on defense as well as Suh. The Bucs have had a sensational off season and get our highest grade A+
Tennessee Titans- Grade B
Key additions: DE Vic Beasley, OT Kelly
Key losses: OT Jack Conklin, QB Marcus Mariota
Notable re-signings/tags: QB Ryan Tannehill, RB Derrick Henry (franchise tag), OL Dennis Kelly
The Titans Bring back Tanneyhill and wave good bye to Mariota. The key loss in Conklin on the offensive line though. On defense Beasley is a solid pass rushing pick up and they saved some nice change with offensive linemen Kelly who will replace Conklin. The rest of their moves were one year deals on guys who can add some depth.
Washington Redskins- Grade C-
Key additions: CB Kendall Fuller, S Sean Davis, OLB Thomas Davis, RB Barber, TE Rodgers
Key losses: G Ereck Flowers, QB Case Keenum, CB Josh Norman
(released), TE Vernon Davis (retirement), CB Quinton Dunbar (traded)
Washington has had an average off season thus far as they bargain shopped with Running back Barber and tight end Rodgers. They were smart to tag Guard Scherf and decided to bring back Fuller on defense. they did lose Flowers on the defensive line and he will be hard to replace. They did have a lot of cap space and the feeling is that they would make a bigger splash.
In closing we hope you enjoyed our NFL off season free agency and team activity report. Please stay safe and hopefully we will be able to overcome this pandemic and be able to at some point enjoy one of our favorite sports.

Can LeSean McCoy still lead the BIlls as a RB1

The 5-foot-11, 210-pound LeSean McCoy, who’s in his 10th season, and his 4th in Buffalo, after starring for 6 seasons in Philly, has been a great playmaker as both a runner and a receiver. He has loaded up 724 carries over the last 3 seasons along with 141 receptions – but he’s now the magical and dreaded 30 – so it’s a legit question if he can put together another 1000 YD season in NFL action this year..
McCoy just came off a season where he rumbled around the gridiron for 1138 yards and 6 TDs, which would give the majority of teams a confident feeling as to what they were packing in their backfield. Then there is also that shadowing feeling that LeSean was still a disappointment for the Bills in 2017 with what he put out on the field.
After running off with the NFL’s rushing title in 2013 and racking up 2146 yards from scrimmage for the Eagles with 11 total TDs – he had some problems in Buffalo busting out behind a subpar Bills offensive line. Sometimes finding himself trying to do too much. With games of just 3.9 avg/carry in 9 of 16 games in 2017 he did have his share of issues. Although a season average of 4.0 yards a carry is ok – it is also the lowest of his career – as far well below his career avg of 4.6 YPC. Yet, McCoy is still viewed at as the veteran RB for Buffalo who fits the modern day RB model with his feet and skilled hands.
The versatile RB has held up pretty well throughout his excellent and lengthy career when looking at how many yards he has put up. Having dealt with really no significant injuries besides the MCL issue back in 2015 – he has been pretty healthy.  LeSean didn’t break down last year with his Buffalo career high of 287 carries – but can he actually handle 260+ carries more? And he is now 30 years old – he knows the history when playing as a 30 year old RB are never great.
He is not the quick jump step runner who blew to the outside zone as much as he used to do back in years past, but he still had managed some really good runs in 2017 – but it did seem that his best runs were more out of desperation more than evasive ones. McCoy found ways to break tackles consistently enough and find a way to eat up some tough yards, and he was still actually one of the lone offensive bright spots in 2017 for the Bills. And as we know – Buffalo has some serious offense needs – as they were just 22nd in ppg the NFL and scored 24 or more in just 5 of 16 games. But if they could try to combine a veteran runner like McCoy with an improved O-line, and gear up a talented young QB with Josh Allen and 6-5 WR Kelvin Benjamin opening up DBs – they can try to become a far better offense than they through on the field in 2017.
But, if we are being truthful, he just doesn’t seem to have the East / West quickness and enough of the long speed to make enough big plays when he breaks into the open that he used to have. But, with that being said, as long as LeSean can stay on the field, and stay out of trouble off the field – he can still be helpful to his team – even if he doesn’t have the decisive, explosive plays as much as he did when he was 25 years old.

2016 UNDERACHIEVING NFL TEAMS

Buccaneers Panthers Football

Personnel, including coaching changes made in the offseason.

· The results from last season compared to previous years.

· The season-ending momentum of the team, good or bad, and how it may impact this year’s team and making some smart wagers in the NFL this year.

 

With the above as a background, I present a thumbnail sketch of 5 teams, who I believe will outperform expectations in 2015.

 

Atlanta Falcons – HC Dan Quinn (2nd year)

Following a 14-4 SU, 11-7 ATS 2012 season, the Falcons nosedived under former HC Smith. The last 2 seasons Atlanta was a combined 10-22 SU, 14-18 ATS. When they lost the embarrassing finale to rival Carolina (34-3), it was the final straw for the Atlanta coaching career of HC Smith. Main culprit could be considered a defense that in the last 2 seasons allowed 27 PPG and 389 YPG. Enter former Seattle DC Dan Quinn to reverse the carnage. It helps that the Falcons will face one of the easiest schedules in the NFL this season and that the hire of new OC Kyle Shanahan will blend with returning QB Ryan to maintain the offensive excellence. Never easy to back a 1st year HC for improvement, but the work done by Quinn in Seattle speaks for itself. Fade the Falcon at your own risk!

 

Buffalo Bills – HC Rex Ryan

Now 1-2 on the season look for them to catch a nice run as they seem to have the offense and defense clicking.
New ownership in the form of Terry Pegula vows to return the Bills to the promised playoff land. With that comes the hire of former NY Jets HC, Rex Ryan. After 6 seasons with the Fly Boys (the 1st 2 of which resulted in conference championship appearances), Ryan’s Jets failed to crack the .500 mark in his final 4 seasons, culminating with a 4-12 SU, 6-10 ATS log last season. But, we all know that Ryan has a strong defensive pedigree (Jets never allowed more than 335 YPG L4Y) and that he brings intensity, passion and experience to the fray. That leaves the offensive side of the ball, where the Bills had stagnated with 21 PPG and no more than 343 YPG each of the last 3 years. Expect that to change with the addition in the off-season of skilled position players, such as QB Cassel, WR Harvin and RB McCoy. With the rest of the team buoyed by a December finish that included 2-1 SU, 3-0 ATS against the likes of Denver, Green Bay and New England, there is plenty to like about the Buffalo Bills this season, including the opportunity for a September home victory over perennial leader New England (without QB Brady).

 

Carolina Panthers – HC Ron Rivera (6th year)

It is not often that a sub .500 team makes it to the NFL playoffs. But now sitting at 1-2 after 3 weeks of action the Panthers need to wake up, the NFC South was so weak last year that the Panthers got their invitation to the post-season party by default and went to the Super Bowl behind Cam Newton.
HC Rivera has fielded solid defenses in the last 3 seasons with his Panthers never allowing more than 333 YPG. But what I really like about this group is their dominance at the point of attack, which has seen them out-rush their opposition 124-89 (2 years ago) and 131-107 (LY). With QB Newton maturing as an NFL signal caller, I see continued upside for the Panthers, who face a very manageable schedule to right the ship.

 

New Orleans Saints – HC Sean Payton (10th year)

The peripatetic New Orleans Saints have records of 14-4 SU, 7-9 SU, 12-6 SU, and 7-9 SU in each of the last 4 seasons. Time for the bounce in 2015! Issues from last season revolved around a defense that went from allowing 19/301 in 2013 to one allowing 26/384 last season. Other issues were the sudden demise of the once strong New Orleans’ Super Dome home. When the Saints trounced Green Bay (44-23) on October 26th, it ended a run of 19-0 SU, 17-2 ATS since the beginning of 2011 with current HC Payton at the helm (excluding 2012 with interim HC Vitt). When the Saints finished their home season on a 0-5 SU ATS slide, it certainly had to be the biggest turnaround in NFL history. Priority number 1 will be returning that home field dominance, when New Orleans plays a very manageable home schedule beginning with Tampa Bay, September 20th. A big reason for last year’s decline was multiple injuries on the defensive side of the ball. With many of those players returning and a draft day that focused on that side of the ball, look for DC Ryan to return this group to its dominance of 2013. The offensive pieces have changed a bit with the loss of receivers, Graham and Stills. But, there is still the offensive mastermind that is HC Payton and the excellence and experience that QB Brees brings to the table. Look for the bounce back by New Orleans this season, fueled by a far healthier defense and a return of their home field dominance.

 

NY Jets – HC Todd Bowles (2nd year)

This is a risky call, considering the Jets went 8-8 SU, 6-10 ATS last season and let go of respected HC Ryan at its conclusion. Enter 1st year HC Todd Bowles and an entirely new coaching staff. That includes OC Chan Gailey, who must work with QBs, Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick, to improve an offense that has averaged 18 PPG 3 consecutive seasons. But, any offense who out-rushes their opponents 142/4.5 to 93/3.8 deserves far better than 4-12 SU. Along with defensive improvement that is anticipated with big name off-season acquisitions and a solid defensive draft, these NY Jets will not surprise if they are one of the biggest turnaround teams in the NFL this season.
Written by Joe Gavazzi for VegasTopDogs.com

Is the Buffalo Bills Head Coaching position, really that bad

BuffaloBills
 
I was definitely a bit taken aback by the unusual situation that occurred with the Buffalo Bills recently. Especially when the Bills seemed to to be rising from the depths. The team that was clearly on the verge of becoming a legit team to be dealing with, for years to come. Seemingly just a very few pieces away, a team that had promise on their side. The whole thing, to me, felt weird. Buffalo was on the upswing of turning their organization around, into the right direction, after not having a winning season since 2004. It made me really question, could it be due to the unstable QB situation?
 
Having no reliable QB makes some sense, I suppose, when you figure you’re in a division with Tom Brady and Ryan Tannehill, yes I am stating him, because he’s a pretty decent QB. And obviously the Jets are not a competitive spot at that position. And the whole time winning with Kyle Orton as his main man, for that matter. Orton put up acceptable numbers this year, with 18 tds and 252 ypg.
 
What doesn’t make sense though, is that the Bills were very relevant and were absolutely competing again. It just seems so quickly, after their past success, that the Bills could be on their way to becoming a joke in the NFL yet again.
 
Marrone seemed to have instilled a winning mentality, while coaching with the Bills. In the same aspect, I guess I am not surprised just the same. 32 year old Orton retires, leaving you with no QB. Marrone lands a hefty $4M in 2015 salary for free.
EJ Manuel has sure enough shown he is not going to be anything worth much, in my opinion. He has shown he was a QB that should have went in the 5th round, the Bills, potentially could have drafted Eddie Lacy, Le’Veon Bell or even QB Mike Glennon instead. Makes me wonder what difference that would have made?
He seems to have a strong mindset and knows what he wanted and what he expected, and when the Bills drafted EJ Manuel it didn’t take long for him to realize, this might not be the answer, and benched him. With Coach Marrone and Orton both history, I question how long before Manuel is released from his contract, as well.
 
A move I think would be the best option for Marrone would be the Atlanta Falcons. He gets a top ended QB in Matt Ryan, a very good offense, that should be consistently dropping 29+ a game. He would have a great core team to work around, and an easy conference to play in, as the other teams are not anything too daunting any longer. Some have complained, saying he was too conservative and he really didn’t do a good job using CJ Spiller. Saying he used a bunch of vanilla play calling. And also didn’t use Sammy Watkins properly either. But certainly having EJ Manuel as his QB didn’t help his situation any, as for any future outlook.
 
It seems that when they grabbed Sammy Watkins, without having a QB, was kind of putting the cart before the horse. While Watkins was a great grab and will surely have a great career. Drafting a WR without a strong QB to throw the ball to him doesn’t make sense to me.
 
He ended up giving away a 1st and a 4th round pick for WR who ended up with 128 targets but just 6 tds. I think in hindsight, after giving up next years first round pick, I think that Marrone knew he’d be better to jump ship now before he becomes unemployable in the league.
 
Constantly changing coaches and systems is always going to play a huge role in keeping a franchise down. It is never a good thing, teams need stability, ask the Raiders how constant changes have worked for them over the last 20 years.
 
I believe he opted out simply because he had nothing to look forward to in Buffalo over the next several years.
Written by TonyK of VegasTopDogs.com