We made it through a pretty boring regular season and are now in the exciting, high-quality NFL playoffs.
So who’s ready for Connor Cook against whichever terrible Texans quarterback in the first round?!
Man, as bad as the regular season was quality-wise, you’d think the playoffs would be better. But this Wild Card round is uggggly.
So instead of breaking down these crappy playoff games way too early, I’m gonna write about something fun: Coaching moves!
It sucks to see people get fired, but the best part of the NFL coaching frenzy is that it gives you all the room in the world to declare how right you were from the beginning! Okay I’m getting sidetracked.
There are six jobs open: Buffalo, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Denver, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
I’m gonna rank these jobs in order of attractiveness, and justify the move.
1. Denver Broncos
Right move?: Gary Kubiak retired Sunday, so Denver had no control over his decision. This sucks for Denver, because Kubiak can really coach. He got Denver to the Super Bowl last year when a combination of Brock Osweiler and Peyton Manning were playing quarterback. They still have the quarterback issues, but have a great defense, which gets me into why this is the best job available.
Why its attractive: The Broncos still have an extremely talented defense and a very stable environment. Look at these other jobs! San Francisco is gonna be on their 3rd head coach in three years. Buffalo is a front office mess. San Diego could have a complete overhaul this offseason. In Denver, you have John Elway as a boss. What could possibly be better? This team isn’t that far away. The defense is still really good, and there’s good enough offensive weapons once the QB situation gets figured out. The Broncos need someone to develop Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch. I think Siemian can still be a franchise guy; he’s salvageable. If he isn’t, then Lynch is a clean slate. Josh McDaniels makes too much sense here, but I doubt given the history that a reunion is in store.
2. San Diego Chargers
Right move?: Yes. Mike McCoy seemed to have lost most of the team, and the fanbase too. McCoy was a great hire, but he and the team slowly got a lot worse. The Chargers were ravaged by injuries, but with a big offseason ahead, and the sketchiness of McCoy, it made too much sense to let him go. I think McCoy taking over an offense like Buffalo or Baltimore is likely.
Why its attractive: There’s secretly a good amount of talent here. Though I was critical of Phillip Rivers this season, I think he has more left. There were so many injuries he had to navigate, and they eventually caught up to him. Melvin Gordon is a beast; if Rivers is truly in decline you can rely on him offensively. The Chargers defense is improving too. Joey Bosa had a great rookie year, and Melvin Ingram broke out. There’s still things to work on, but there’s more to work with than say, San Francisco. There’s no need to develop a QB here, so a hot offensive coordinator (Jim Bob Cooter? Harold Goodwin?) makes sense here.
3. Los Angeles Rams
Right move?: Definitely. Jeff Fisher was just not the right man for the job. The offensive system was not fit for the current weapons, and the time management was not defensible anymore.
Why its attractive: Its Los Angeles. There’s an awesome defense on one side, and an offense thats really only lacking a good quarterback (The offensive line needs help too). Its a somewhat stable environment; not great but better than others. The Rams need someone who can develop Jared Goff. The perfect guy is Josh McDaniels, but getting him to leave New England might be a challenge. If I’m Stan Kroenke, I’m throwing all the money I have at McDaniels to get him to develop Jared Goff for me. Its gonna take a lot since Jacksonville will be in these sweepstakes too.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Right move?: Gus Bradley was not the guy to develop Blake Bortles, and seemed to have lost the locker room as well. Time ran out on Bradley, and its running out on Bortles too.
Why its attractive: Aside from Bortles, there is a lot of talent here. The Jaguars defense was frisky throughout year; playing really good when they had a good game and playing horrendously when they had a bad game. But there’s talent, and thats what a coach is gonna look for. The only question with this team is Blake Bortles. There were flashes this year, but there were also blemishes. I think, with the right coach, Bortles can be a competent, but not great, quarterback. He deserves another chance with the right guy. If I’m running Jacksonville, I’m engaging in a bidding war for Josh McDaniels, and settling for Kyle Shanahan if I lose out.
5. Buffalo Bills
Right move?: Already covered it.
Why its attractive: A good defense and LeSean McCoy are reasons why someone would take this job. But it sounds like Tyrod Taylor won’t be back. There’s clearly a lack of thought when it comes to your bosses. And you’re living in Buffalo. Buffalo is not a fun place to live. Anthony Lynn sounds likely to be promoted. Good luck Anthony!
6. San Francisco 49ers
Right move?: Speaking of good luck with coaches. If you’re going to San Francisco you might as well just sign a one year contract. I thought Chip Kelly got screwed. Trent Baalke definitely needed to go, and I understand that if you’re gonna get rid of the GM then the head coach usually goes too. But Chip only got one year. Are you trying to scare other head coaches? The 49ers’ problems start at the top with CEO Jed York, and Monday’s press conference only proves that further. He, and this franchise, is delusional. And no matter how bad Baalke and Kelly were, the problems within the 49ers start with York. And they will always be there as long as he is there.
Why its attractive: Um, its the Bay Area?
This MVP race is out of it’s mind. There’s no No.1, and you can make the case for eight guys. Lets run through each guy’s case.
Candidates (No particular order):
- Tom Brady
- Aaron Rodgers
- Matt Ryan
- Matthew Stafford
- Derek Carr
- Ezekiel Elliot
- Dak Prescott
- David Johnson
He missed four games, but only threw two picks in the 12 he played. The stats aren’t huge due to the suspension, and that hurts his case greatly. But with the injuries the Patriots dealt with this year, no other quarterback could get the Patriots to a 14-2 record like Brady did. Thats the affect he has.
Finished 4th in passing yards and 1st in touchdowns, but had a rough start to the year (even though it wasn’t his fault). He’s also playing like a mad man right now, making incredible throws during this four game win streak. However, Green Bay only finished 10-6, so that could hurt him. And, his receivers and defense has improved greatly over the four game win streak. If the past five weeks or so was the sample size for MVP, Rodgers would win it.
Probably the front-runner right now. He’s thrown for the 2nd most yards, 2nd most touchdowns, and has the highest passer rating. He’s just killing defenses, and I have no idea how any defense in the NFC is going to stop him this postseason. That alone is probably enough. However, Ryan has a ton weapons to help him out. If there’s one hole in his case, its that.
This is probably surprising to you. I think Stafford is being overlooked just a little. The stats aren’t great, but Stafford’s made some incredible throws this year, and has led eight game winning drives this season. He also has a good helping of weapons, weapons that offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter has used masterfully this season.
The current state of the Raiders should boost Derek Carr’s case greatly. Carr is the single reason the Raiders have been as good as they have this season. Oakland’s defense has been sketchy, and they’ve battled a nonexistent run game all year. Now, 3rd stringer Connor Cook is gonna be starting a playoff game, a week after stinking it up against Denver. Oakland has lost their star, hopes and confidence. That alone is the case for Carr, and its pretty strong.
Ezekiel Elliot/Dak Prescott
These two kinda go hand-in-hand. These two are electrifying rookies who have both contributed massively to their team. But who’s produced more value?
Take Zeke away from the Cowboys. They can use the duo of Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden, and Dak Prescott can still sling it around to Dez Byrant and Jason Witten. What you lose is that flash. That sudden explosiveness. That reliable running back in Zeke. He can give you practically everything you need, minus catching passes out of the backfield.
However, he does that all behind the best offensive line in the league. That leaves a big dent in his candidacy. Zeke’s awesome, but he’s not doing it alone.
Dak is a tough sell too. You can make the case that Tony Romo could do the same thing that Dak is. Based on what we saw in a brief stint Sunday, that appears to be the case. But Dak’s more reliable and is hot right now, so he gets the job. Remove Dak though, and the Cowboys are just as good, but more susceptible.
Johnson won’t beat out the quarterbacks, but he has the best non-quarterback case. He’s putting up practically the same numbers as Zeke, but is doing it behind a much worse offensive line, an offensive line that has struggled to protect Carson Palmer all year. Johnson also comes out of the backfield and catches passes, unlike Zeke. Johnson’s not as popular or flashy as Zeke, but he’s just as good, and more worthy.