A Look at all 32: Part 1, The “uh-ohs”.
I actually started this a while ago, but never got round to finishing it (the original ending included the words “Merry Christmas”). Anyway now seems as good as any to go through teams in groups depending on how much work each team needs to do in the Off-Season. So this isn’t really a power rankings, the worst team last year isn’t the one that needs the most work this year in my opinion, these are just the teams that have some serious work ahead of them. Let’s start with the 3 teams in crisis mode, or as I call them, the “uh-ohs”.
Needs: Offensive guard, center, right tackle, wide receiver, defensive end, nose tackle, all line-backer positions, slot corner, strong safety.
Mediocrity was probably the best they could hope for last Season, but with serious injuries to the offensive line and the quarterback, as well as disappointing play at running back, wide receiver and in the secondary, leaving the Titans narrowly avoided the the No.1 pick thanks to some uncharacteristic wins. The fact is the Titans are one of a few teams that are long overdue for a serious rebuild, thanks to faith in a QB that simply can’t stay healthy. Now they need to look in a new direction, but that itself has been made confusing by the play of Rookie QB Zach Mettenberger who like Locker, came in, impressed, then promptly got injured, leaving them with a potential situation where it’s in their best interest to give Mettenberger a go. Everywhere you look on this Titans team it feels like there is a player that showed promise, but has failed to deliver. Bishop Sankey was supposed to be the shining light of this rookie running back class, but he’s failed to do anything impressive. Blidh Wrey-Wilson, has been something of a punching bag for me on the podcast, but at the same time has shown legitimate potential at times. The Titans have been a mess for a while & unless there is a sudden change in ethos, they’re staring down the barrel of another dreadful Season. It feels that fully fit they are just good enough to go 7-9, which seems to be enough to keep them from making a big splash in free agency. The fact is though, they are never fully fit. The Off-Season awaits Tennessee & we’re all hoping you make a splash.
Potential Fixes: No. 2 pick in the draft could see the Titans pick up a Leonard Williams or one of the outstanding outside line-backers that will undoubtedly go in the top half of the draft. Mariota could be an outside pick, but it definitely feels like Tennessee want to see what they’ve got in Mettenberger. In free agency the Titans have a fair bit of cash to spend, however talented offensive linemen are somewhat a rarity in this year’s crop, an area they desperately need to improve in
Needs: Right tackle, guard, center, wide receiver, nose tackle, defensive end, right outside line-backer, corner, strong/ free safety.
We saw flashes of the old RG3 last Season, but he struggled to stay healthy, which seems like an all too familiar script. Now with 1 year left on his contract he’s been given the full confidence of his head coach who seemed only too happy to throw him under the bus last year. But the problems don’t solely lie in the hands of Griffin. The fact is the play of RG3 in his rookie Season masked bigger problems for the controversially named Washington team. RG3 was so good at doing something that Defences simply couldn’t deal with, it hid that Washington had massive issues all over the field, on both sides of the board. With all hope of RG3 recovering to his former self seemingly dashed, it feels that this would be the perfect year to rebuild. The team desperately need to focus on depth in the trenches & improving a woeful Secondary. There is easily more than a year’s work in Washington. But it looks like their faith in RG3 might mean we are kept from a true rebuild for another year.
Potential Fixes: Nose tackle is a huge need, which could see Danny Shelton being picked up at no. 5. However Washington should explore the idea of moving down. If rumours are to be believed they could have a highly sought after spot, with the Jets potentially looking at picking up Mariota. If Washington can move down they can address several spots, avoiding over paying for expensive defensive & offensive line players in free agency that they just can’t afford.
New York Jets
Needs: Quarterback, wide receiver, right tackle, running back, nose tackle, inside line-backer, outside line-backer, free/ strong safety, cornerback.
It feels a complete rebuild has been on the cards since Rex Ryan resigned himself to searching the NFL job pages about half way through last Season. John Idzik might have felt safe right up till Woody Johnson favourited a tweet featuring the hash tag “FIREIDZIK”. Really though this is long overdue. Rex Ryan is a good Head Coach, who’s done a good job of turning terrible players into useful ones, but really he’s run his course in New York. John Idzik has done a less good job, providing Rex with a woeful group of players to work with. Now, New York is the time to have a full on rebuild. A young new head coach in Todd Bowles and a new GM in Mike Maccagnan is a good start, but the Jets like the above teams have far bigger problems than simply changing the Coaching staff. If anything has been exposed this year with Gang-green, it’s a serious lack of depth. The Jets will need to almost entirely rebuild their Secondary which was decimated & looked the worst it’s looked since before Darrelle Revis wore Green & White. The addition of Percy Harvin makes the Receiver group look half decent, but really that’s the lone bright spark on an Offence that’s lacked any real bite, plus with a giant payday heading to him & to Eric Decker, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them part ways. Whilst it would be easy to blame Geno Smith, who in any other year would be looking for a backup job, it’s not really entirely his fault. The run game has at times been decent, but at other times been non-existent, with Chris Ivory being the only player that they should consider keeping next year. The Offensive Line has been poor, with Mangold being the only player that’s made a difference. Personally though I look at Mangold as perfect trade bait, someone who has performed exceptionally for the Jets but is beginning to get up in age. The Jets like the other 2 teams on this list have more than a year’s work ahead of them. But it does at least look like they might be starting to move in the right direction.
Potential Fixes: The Jets will be tempted to pick up Mariota. This in my opinion would be a mistake. Mariota needs work, which would see him sitting out at least a chunk of the Season. Instead the Jets should focus on some areas they can fix immediately or if Washington don’t, trade down to pick up more starters at receiver or running back, with depth at these 2 positions being, well… “deep”. That being said, if Washington doesn’t pick him up, Danny Shelton would be a great addition. The Jets can also make moves in free agency with what looks like $50m dollars to spend, maybe picking up some of the top end players that other teams can’t afford.
Anyway that’s part 1. Part 2 will be up tomorrow.