Around the NFL  

 

Mailbag: Which team is best set up for big rebound?

Print

It's that time again. We asked for questions for a new mailbag and you, the people, delivered. Let's get to it.

So you're basically asking me if I'd rather be a fan of the Bucs or the Eagles. The 2002 Bucs blew out the Raiders in a dreadful Super Bowl XXXVII (even the roman numerals were bad!) and have been mostly terrible since. Eight sub-.500 seasons, no playoff wins and a 6-26 core meltdown since 2013. The 2000-14 Eagles, meanwhile, have 10 seasons of double-digit wins, 10 playoff appearances, 10 playoff wins and one narrow, vomitus Super Bowl defeat.

Just a guess, but I'm almost certain Eagles fans would give up all those competitive seasons for the team's first Lombardi Trophy. And I highly doubt the Bucs would punt their only title for a bushel of 10-6 finishes.

As for me, I'm a Jets fan. I was born the year Ronald Reagan was elected president and I've never seen my team play in a Super Bowl. I'd give Rich Kotite a 15-year guaranteed deal in a heartbeat if it meant I could finally see the Jets win it all. Isn't that the whole point of being a fan?

I wish nothing but the best for Cleveland Springsteen. Sincerely. He seems like a great dude. You know who would help you move on a Saturday morning? Brian f---in' Hoyer, that's who. I just don't think he's a great starting quarterback option. And if you look at the contracts Hoyer and Ryan Mallett signed, Hoyer is going to have a shot to start Week 1. If he gets the gig, good for him. The Texans should just keep in mind their Arian Foster-led offense should remain born to run. (SHOEHORNED SPRINGSTEEN REFERENCE ALERT!)

I'll look at it another way: Which one of last year's playoff teams would instantly fall off a cliff if their star quarterback up and decided to join Jake Locker in the cornfields. My first thought was Andrew Luck, but that Matt Hasselbeck has some dad pluck. They'd probably go 7-9. There's Tom Brady and the Patriots, of course, but knowing that team Jimmy Garoppolo would somehow make them better. The answer has to be the Cowboys, who are still voluntarily compensating Brandon Weeden. 12-4 to 4-12 would be in play.

I added this question solely to prove that there is an international Tennessee Titans fan.

I'm making the Jets (4-12 in '14) my early favorite. There are a lot good vibes around Florham Park right now, with the additions of Darrelle Revis, Brandon Marshall, Antonio Cromartie and more. New coach Todd Bowles has a real secondary to work with -- something Rex Ryan couldn't claim last year  -- and I can easily see the Jets making a four-to-six win jump with better quarterback play, whether that be from Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick or, yep, Marcus Mariota.

Also look out for the Buccaneers (2-14), who will get better in a hurry if they hit on Jameis Winston.

Almost went with the Jets here, too, but let's go with the Rams, who will undoubtedly benefit from the 49ers' offseason from hell. Nick Foles is an upgrade over anybody they had behind center last season, and the addition of Nick Fairley makes one of the game's best defensive lines even scarier. The Jeff Fisher/Les Snead Rams always seem to be offseason darlings who fall flat when the lights go on. This could be the year the franchise finally makes the leap.

This query was sent hours before Chris Borland shocked the NFL with his retirement. Can you even imagine what must have been running through Jim Tomsula's head when he got the news? Kenny's right though, the Around The NFL team is down on the Niners in 2015 and that was before Borland walked away. It's just hard to imagine San Francisco making an immediate return to contender status after everything that's transpired. On the flip side, this is the first season in years that will be devoid of real expectations. Sometimes it's better to play the underdog.

Smoothies. Snark. Remote control cars.

He'd probably have a better carry average than Darren McFadden. Run DMC, ya burnt!

Definitely punter. No brainer. Kickers are like refs, you usually only hear about them when they mess up. Who needs the pressure combined with overall lack of respect?

Who knows, punters could get less respect in the locker room for all I know, but the gig isn't nearly as nerve-racking. If your offense is particularly proficient, you can go an entire game without stepping on the field! Stuff only gets real for punters when they have to do that move where they take the snap in the end zone and have to take the intentional safety. Making a panicked sprint toward the back pylon seems unpleasant and emasculating. Then again, Titans punter Brett Kern just signed a deal reportedly worth $15 million over five years. Sign me up for the shame!

I totally get this frustration, Richard. Your AFC East rival Jets have received the same dunderheaded criticism in the wake of their free-agent spending spree. It's no fun not to have an elite quarterback. Not all teams have the insane fortuity of the Colts, who have been gifted with a 30-year stretch of Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. The less fortunate must wait for that franchise passer to emerge from the ether.

All you can do is try to get better elsewhere, then seize the QB opportunity if it comes. It's the No. 1 reason I think the Jets should take a shot on Mariota or a team like the Bills should make a phone call down to New Orleans to see just how randy Mickey Loomis is feeling right now.

Untitled

Give it up to the Jaguars, who landed three high-priority free agents in tight end Julius Thomas, defensive end Jared Odrick, and right tackle Jermey Parnell. Thomas is the biggest name, and he'll give Blake Bortles a legit chance to make strides in Year 2. On the Bucs side, they will suck significantly less if Jameis Winston -- their likely No. 1 overall pick -- can pick up the pro game quickly (we've been told he's a sharp dude, so we'll see). My choice is the Bucs, but both teams stand a good chance of letting hope back in the room in 2015.

That's the Browns' thing. It'd be pretty messed up to take that from them, too. Think of Phil. The best description for the Raiders at this point is probably, um, the black hole. Kind of ironic.

Just so you know, I mostly picked your question because I momentarily believed you were the former Double Dare host. Tim Tebow reportedly has an 80-percent chance to sign with Eagles if they can trade Matt Barkley, so let's go with him.

Speaking of Tebow (grrrr) ...

Because Tim Tebow can't throw a football. That reason enough? Chip Kelly should be tarred and feathered for bringing Tebowmania back into my professional life.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast makes some bold free agency predictions and discusses Adrian Peterson's future. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

Print

Fan Discussion