Archive for the ‘Offseason’ Category

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Many times, it takes a breakout performer to complete the turnaround every team dreams of. (Photo credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Back in August before the season kicked off, I took a look at one of the most interesting recent trends in the NFL. It’s a trend that certainly plays a part in making the NFL the most engaging sport year after year and it’s repetitive as hell:

In eight of the past nine seasons, at least one team with four wins or less made it to the playoffs the very next season.

In short, it’s the epic turnaround. A terrible team turned great in the span of one offseason. We love these comeback stories whenever they occur and the best part is, it happens all the time. Only one time in nine seasons did this remarkable trend fail to repeat itself and that happened to be last year (2014-15 season). That made this past season all the more interesting: will the trend get back on track?

You bet it did.

The “terrible” teams from 2014 were the Jets, Jaguars, Raiders, Titans, Buccaneers, and Redskins. In the preseason, it was seriously hard to imagine any of these teams playing past December. The Titans and Bucs were just starting to rebuild with rookie QBs, the Jets and Redskins seemed to lack legitimate “playoff talent,” and the Jags and Raiders were just so bad for so long that we were getting used to it. As you know by now, the team that extended the trend to nine out of ten years was the Washington Redskins.

Washington took advantage of an awful division to clinch a playoff spot as NFC East champs. They only went 9-7, but that’s a 5-win improvement from their 2014 campaign. Kirk Cousins will be the person most people credit for this jump and rightfully so. Cousins had a breakout year, throwing a touchdown in every single game this season (playoffs included) and ending the year with a top-5 passer rating (101.6). The defense should get a little credit, too, for allowing about 3.7 less points per game this season. That may not seem like much, but it can make the difference in a division where everyone is racing to finish 8-8.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Raiders, Bucs, or Jets coming pretty close to joining the Redskins. The Raiders and Bucs were in the thick of their conference’s respective wildcard races with about four weeks to go, but fell apart in the end. The Jets, on the other hand, were just a single win away. The cutthroat nature of the wildcard race didn’t let them get away with a loss in Week 17 and we saw the Steelers squeak in instead.

So, the trend lives! The Redskins were the chosen team. This, of course, now raises the question, “Who are our cellar dwellers in 2015?” Knowing how strong this trend is, can we pick a bad team to tab early and look smart when they miraculously make the playoffs? If we do, it’ll be one of only four teams that finished 4-12 or worse: Browns, Titans, Chargers, and Cowboys. Dallas is the obvious choice here, as they were playoff-hopefuls last year before Tony Romo was sidelined for the season with an injury. Unfortunately, this isn’t too exciting of a choice. The trend almost seems destined to repeat itself now. However, if you want to take a more ballsy approach, the Browns are a team nobody will be looking at. Could Cleveland be the team that shocks us all? According to the trend, they have a 25% shot right off the bat. For a city that hasn’t seen its football team make the playoffs since 2002, that’s hope.

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Andrew Luck look poised to take the Colts to the playoffs in 2015. Instead, they fell into an 0-2 hole and couldn’t find their way back. (Photo credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Waayyyy back in late September I took a look at a trend involving 0-2 teams and the playoffs. It’s probably the most repeated stat after two weeks of football, but in case you forgot, the rule is basically this: historically, around only 12% of teams that start 0-2 end up making the playoffs.

This year, we had a staggering nine teams drop their first two games. According to the rule, only one of these teams (1/9 = 11%) would end up making the playoffs. This was hard to believe at the time given some of the heavy-hitters in the group (Ravens, Colts, Seahawks, etc.). Now that the season has come to an end, we can take a look back and answer the golden question:

Did the rule hold up?

I’ll make this simple. Below are the teams that started 0-2 and then whether or not they later clinched a playoff spot:

Detroit Lions? No

New York Giants? No

Philadelphia Eagles? No

Indianapolis Colts? No

Chicago Bears? No

Baltimore Ravens? No

New Orleans Saints? No

Seattle Seahawks? Yes

Houston Texans? Yes

So did the rule hold up? No! Not exactly, anyways.

It held up in the sense that at least one of these teams would still make the playoffs, but if going to be strict with that 12% figure, then no, the rule did not hold up. Two teams (22%) managed to find their way into the postseason, showing us that an 0-2 start is not quite as deep a hole as we thought. Or maybe it tells us that the more 0-2 teams there are, the better chance there is of multiple teams making it out alive (duh). We hardly ever see nine teams start this poorly and it’ll be interesting to see how many of these teams we’re left with next season. If it’s around the number we’re used to seeing (5-7), then I don’t expect more than one team to get so lucky.

It’s worth noting that six of the remaining seven teams on that list finished with losing records, the lone exception being the Colts at 8-8. The dreaded 0-2 start may not be a death sentence, but it still remains an ominous indication of where your season is headed. Super Bowl hopefuls Baltimore and Indianapolis learned that the hard way this season. Who will fall victim to the 12% rule next? See you in eight months.

There’s seemingly nothing more polarizing than honesty. We respect it, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it. Cam Newton has shown us that first-hand.

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We all love honesty until it’s the wrong time to be honest. (Photo credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Newton seems to know himself really well and owns it. His smiles, first-down dabs, touchdown tradition of handing footballs to children, and sideline photoshoots have all been genuine. He’s living the life of a football star the way we wish we could, and boy do we love that (most of us, anyways).

What don’t we seem to love? A sullen press conference that not only provides three-word answers, but is also cut short because of frustration. If you’re going to celebrate during the wins, you better be gracious during the losses. Anything less than humility after a loss? We don’t take too kindly to that.

But even that can be forgiven and defended. Give the guy a break, he just lost the biggest game of his life. You’d act the same way. Regardless of whether that argument is fair, Cam was still being himself. Writhing on the ground, complaining to the refs, quiet during the press conference…that’s as honest as every dab he’s ever performed. And because it’s at least honest, we can respect it and defend it.

But you know what we absolutely hate? What is apparently inexcusable? Beyond even saying the unpopular, not-so-humble thing? When you’re honest but say the wrong thing:

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Yeah, we hate that.

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For once, it’s unanimous: Cam was wrong here. He should’ve swallowed his honesty for once and said the thing we all wanted to hear.

Seriously, now we’re all going to turn on Cam? After his most honest answer of all? I’m not going to say I love his explanation, but I actually don’t mind it. He evaluated the situation and decided his body couldn’t make the play without enduring serious pain. Are we really crushing him for following his instincts in a split-second decision? We all want honesty until it’s disrespectful and selfish. Don’t get me wrong, criticism is fine and more than fair. Just because Cam is honest doesn’t mean you have to agree with it. But don’t ask him to lie when the truth doesn’t fit your values.

Some of Cam’s antics rubbed me the wrong way (especially at the expense my Giants), but I wasn’t asking him to change then and I won’t now. I don’t want him to hire a PR team that specializes in canned answers. I want a potential face of the league to say what he means, even if it bothers people. We’re running out of Cam Newtons. Please don’t give me another Russell Wilson.

Cam’s wild ride of honesty will, hopefully, not end with this. These type of athletes are one of the best parts of professional and collegiate sports. They interest me beyond the game itself at times and because of that, I can’t get mad at Cam for these type of quotes. Give me the person, not the robot.

History tells us one of six very bad teams from last year will make it to the 2015-16 NFL Playoffs. But can we trust it?

When thinking about the playoffs, some teams just seem like a lock even before the season starts. Betting on the Patriots, Packers, Colts, or Seahawks won’t lose you any money this year. But I’ll be keeping a close eye on a small handful of teams that seem like a lock to miss the playoffs, because a recent trend suggests one (maybe even two) of them will shock the NFL.

The teams we’re talking about here are the Jets, Redskins, Jaguars, Raiders, Titans, and Buccaneers. Six teams with one thing in common: they’re bad. Or at least, they were bad in 2014-15. They all won four games or less. And if you watched them play, you don’t need me to tell how bad they actually looked.

Going back to the 2005-06 season, at least one very bad team (4-12 record or worse) made it to the playoffs the next year. Except for one time, which we’ll get to later. That leaves eight of the last nine seasons where a team or two made an incredible turnaround. In five of those eight seasons, two teams made it back, including 2010 through 2012.

In 2010-11, the Broncos and Bengals each won four games but clinched the playoffs in 2011-12 with records of 8-8 and 9-7, respectively. In 11-12, it was the Vikings (3-13) and Colts (2-14) who turned it around to finish with records of 10-6 and 11-5. And in 2012-13, the Eagles (4-12) and Chiefs (2-14) did the same, going 10-6 and 11-5 the very next season. The Eagles even won the NFC East.

So is this trend reliable? Eight out of nine years seems like a strong indicator. If we look back beyond the 2005-06 season, we see this turnaround only occur twice in six years (2003 and 1999). So are those eight years an interesting coincidence or indicative of a new “era” in the NFL, where the draft and free agency helps struggling teams right the ship? What makes this question even more intriguing this year than any other is when we consider that one time (remember from earlier?) out of the last nine where the trend didn’t occur. That was last year.

Will "Gang Green" be the next 4-12 team to make the following year's playoffs?

Will “Gang Green” be the next 4-12 team to make the following year’s playoffs? Photo credit: ESPN.com

The 2013-14 season saw a staggering seven teams go 4-12 or worse (most since 2005), and yet not one of them made it to the playoffs in 2014-15. The Texans (9-7) and Falcons (6-10) came closest. Even at 6-10, Atlanta was just one tiebreaker win away from actually clinching the abysmal NFC South, which Carolina won at 7-8-1. So again we have to ask, was last year a return to the difficulties that “bad” teams had from 1999-2004, or a blip in a new trend of eight straight years of miraculous turnarounds? On the surface, I’m inclined to believe last year was an anomaly in the last decade of the NFL where one-year turnarounds are becoming less and less surprising. Either way, let’s take a quick look at the four most recent teams to be a part of that trend to see if their turnaround came out of nowhere or was a result of some major personnel or system change.

2012-13 Philadelphia Eagles
2012-13 record: 4-12
2013-14 record: 10-6
Result: +6 wins, won division, lost in wildcard playoffs

If you’re having trouble remembering the Eagles around this time, “dream team” may help jog your memory. The hopeful “dream team” was formed in 2011 but instead lived a nightmare on their way to an 8-8 season, then 4-12 the next year. This 4-12 season was the first year we saw Nick Foles play as a rookie after Michael Vick got taken out mid-season due to a concussion. Andy Reid was fired after the season and replaced with now-former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. Vick remained the starting QB, but led Philly to a 1-3 start. In what was perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Eagles, Vick was injured again and replaced with Foles. In 11 games he started*, Foles went 9-2 and led the Eagles to a 10-6 record and the NFC East title. Philadelphia’s return to the top exceeded expectations, but wasn’t completely unprecedented given the offensive overhaul under new coach Chip Kelly. What we couldn’t have seen coming was the early switch to Foles, who thrived under Kelly’s fast-paced passing offense.

*Foles would have started 12, but was replaced by Matt Barkley due to an injury suffered the week prior

2012-13 Kansas City Chiefs
2012-13 record: 2-14
2013-14 record: 11-5
Result: +9 wins, second place in division, lost in wildcard playoffs

The Chiefs were the worst team in 2012, earning the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft (drafted OT Eric Fisher). Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn shared duties at QB, but neither could find success, each earning one win in their eight games. Kansas City fired head coach Todd Haley with three games remaining and was replaced with interim coach Romeo Crennel who finished out the season. Two major offseason additions are generally attributed with the sudden success KC found the very next season. Remember Andy Reid? After being fired from the Eagles (see above), Reid was hired by KC and given a brand new QB to work with in Alex Smith from the 49ers. The Reid-Smith duo clicked immediately, as the Chiefs jumped out to nine straight wins. With a much-improved defense to go with it*, the Chiefs finished with a solid 11-5 record. Much like Philly that year, KC found a solid new head coach and a QB that thrived in his system. The difference is we knew Smith was the guy in KC, so many predicted an improvement. Far less could have predicted they would win nine more games and compete in the playoffs. Nevertheless, there were some distinct changes (including defensive coordinator) from year to year that helped KC turn it around.

*The Kansas City defense shaved off 7.5 points allowed per game from 2012 to 2013 with new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton

2011-12 Minnesota Vikings
2011-12 record: 3-13
2012-13 record: 10-6
Result: +7 wins, second in division, lost in wildcard playoffs

The 2011 Vikings had QB and defensive issues in 2011. Despite Jared Allen setting a franchise record for sacks in a season (22), the Minnesota defense allowed the second most points of any team. The Vikings benched Donovan McNabb after an abysmal 1-5 start and handed the reigns over to rookie Christian Ponder. Ponder didn’t fare much better, winning only one game in eight starts. It didn’t help that 10 games in, Ponder’s 4th start, Adrian Peterson got injured and was virtually unavailable for the rest of the season. It was head coach Leslie Frazier’s first year as coach of the Vikings and kept the job in 2012. In that second try for Frazier, Ponder had a solid season (2935 yards/18 TDs on 62.1% passing) and the defense improved, finishing around the middle of the pack for both points and yardage allowed. But what explains the seven win improvement more than anything was Adrian Peterson’s astounding MVP season, picking up 2,097 yards on the ground, just nine yards away from the NFL record. To say Peterson carried this team would discredit solid contributions from the rest of the team, but it is fair to say he propelled the team to an incredible turnaround season as the heart and soul of the Vikings. Who could have seen such an incredible performance coming? And even if they did, who could have predicted it would launch the 3-win Vikings to seven more wins the following year? A running back can seemingly only do so much for a team, but Adrian Peterson raised the ceiling on just how much a team can improve with an MVP performance. If you were high on Peterson to start the season, you may have expected to see a jump for Minnesota as long as Peterson stayed healthy. But for the most part, this kind of turnaround came out of nowhere.

2011-12 Indianapolis Colts
2011-12 record: 2-14
2012-13 record: 11-5
Result: +9 wins, second in division, lost in wildcard round

I’m not gonna spend a lot of time on this one because we know the story: Andrew Luck. The 2011-12 season for the Colts was a “transition” year, with Peyton Manning sitting out after neck surgery. Pretty much everything fell apart in his absence and after their 2-14 record assured them the first pick in the NFL draft, Indianapolis released Manning and started a new era of Colts football with Andrew Luck. Head coach Jim Caldwell was also let go and replaced with Chuck Pagano. Luck turned out to be as good as advertised and led the Colts to a 11-5 record in his rookie season. With all the hype surrounding Luck around draft time, it wasn’t exactly surprising the Colts improved in a big way. But like many of these turnarounds, a nine-win improvement likely surpassed even the most hopeful of fans’ predictions.

Although this is a small sample, we can see that the turnarounds of these four teams were largely the result of major changes, or in the Vikings’ case a major breakthrough from an elite player. If we went back further, we’d see similar changes in some teams (ex. rookie Andy Dalton leading Bengals to playoffs in 2011, Crennel as DC of Chiefs in 2010, Chad Pennington as new QB for Dolphins in 2008, etc.).

That brings us back to today. Will we see the ninth year in a decade where a “4-wins-or-less” team make it to the playoffs? Seems hard to believe when you just look at the names. Raiders in the playoffs? Titans? Jaguars? My mind has trouble even processing that information.

Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston will try to lead their respective squads to improbable turnarounds.

Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston will try to lead their respective squads to improbable turnarounds. Photo credit: TBO.com

Let’s break it down here. Four of these teams have relatively new QBs, either in their rookie or sophomore season. Can rookies Jameis Winston (Bucs) and Marcus Mariota (Titans) have an Andrew Luck-esque breakthrough? They may turn out to be solid players at some point in their career, but I’d personally be shocked if either one could manage to bring their 2-win squads to the playoffs. Many expected the Bucs to be fairly good last season with improved personnel, so perhaps some of those improvements will come to fruition this year. Even so, Winston’s potential success as a rookie is one of the bigger question marks this year.

Sophomores Derek Carr (Raiders) and Blake Bortles (Jaguars) showed flashes of greatness throughout their rookie seasons, but weren’t nearly the caliber QB to carry their talent-deficient teams to a decent record. Jack Del Rio will be the new coach for Oakland, but based on his lackluster history (68-71, 3 playoff appearances), I doubt he can have an Andy Reid-type debut and put the Raiders in the postseason.

That leaves us with the Jets and Redskins, who each went 4-12 last year. Washington is sticking with new coach Jay Gruden and Robert Griffin III at QB, though Griffin’s leash seems to be getting shorter and shorter. Griffin hasn’t looked close to as good as he did in his rookie season–largely due to his ACL tear–and more injury issues have seem to set him back further. At the risk of sounding like an overly hopeful (delusional?) Redskins fan, I’ll say that if RGIII can play at a somewhat similar level as his rookie season, I could conceivably see the Redskins having a decent year. They have some good talent in Alfred Morris at running back and an improving defense with LOLB Ryan Kerrigan and sophomore ROLB Trent Murphy. But playoffs? They’d have to beat out a competitive NFC wildcard field that saw the 10-6 Eagles left out of the playoffs last year.

The Jets went through a major overhaul in the front office this offseason, firing GM John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan, and hiring a new DC and OC. Will new management in GM Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles usher in a successful era of Jets football? And if so, will it start this year with a playoff berth? Again, hard to imagine based on classic Jets luck (or lack thereof), but they did pick up fantastic WR Brandon Marshall from the Bears and reclaimed CB Darrelle Revis from the Pats.

Perhaps an egregious locker room scuffle, sending Geno Smith to the bench with a broken jaw for 6-10 weeks, was the last piece of a bizarre puzzle for the New York Jets. A blessing in disguise, much like when Vick went out to be replaced by Foles? Ryan Fitzpatrick will handle the QB duties for New York for likely the first three weeks of the season. Fitzpatrick is a seasoned veteran, with varying success on five different teams. His best run came in 2011-13, throwing for 3,000+ yards and 23+ TDs for the Bills. In 11 games for Tennessee and 12 for Houston, Fitzpatrick kept his completion percentage above a respectable 62% and his QBR above 50, the best of his career when playing more than four games. He’s not spectacular and he may not win you a Super Bowl ever, but he can play. And after 11 seasons, his football IQ is higher than most. The job is expected to be handed back to Geno when he’s able to return, but I could realistically see a scenario where Fitzpatrick is kept in after a 3-0 start, or even 2-1 if that loss comes in a close game at Indianapolis.

Geno Smith hasn't impressed in two seasons and will look to improve in his third, if given the chance.

Geno Smith hasn’t impressed in two seasons and will look to improve in his third, if given the chance. Photo credit: ESPN.com

It sounds crazy, but if I was forced to choose one of these six teams to make the playoffs this year, it may very well be the Jets. They’ve completely overhauled their coaching staff and management and will see a different QB start the first three weeks, not to mention a new star wide receiver and the return of an elite cornerback. It sounds like they would fit in perfectly with those turnaround teams from above. Big changes, surprising success.

If you are looking to win big money, you may want to place a risky wager on one of these teams you feel confident in. But I wouldn’t advise placing any Super Bowl bets on these teams. Of all 15 teams since 1999 that have completed this particular turnaround season, none have went on to appear in a Super Bowl.

Perhaps you may want to bet against recent history and say none of these six teams will make the playoffs. Let me know if you do, I may just join you.

A busy 2013 offseason is changing the look of a lot of NFL teams. It’s hard enough keeping up with all the new names in the draft. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the bigger changes and moves we’ve seen so far:

New Looks:

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Ryan Tannehill will lead the new-look Dolphins.

After four straight years with 7 wins or less, Miami decided it was time for a change. Their new dolphin has ditched the M-logo helmet and resorted back to its pre-90s light orange and teal color scheme. The jumping motion has been replaced by a sleeker swimming stride. Traditional Dolphins’ fans may see this as a drastic change, but the basic look of the sun behind a dolphin is the same. Overall, I like it and will probably like it even more by the end of the season. A dolphin is not an agressive, threatening animal. It’s fast, clever, and slick and this look captures that. I liked the old logo as well, but the angry look of the dolphin seemed a bit out of place. Along with the new logo will be new uniforms to display it. Both the colors and numbers return to a look similar to what they had in the 70s and 80s, the golden age of Miami football. I like this look a lot and I’m looking forward to seeing Miami in action.

 

Jaguars_2013_logoJacksonville also decided to go with a new logo and new threads for 2013-14. This is the young franchise’s first logo change and uses the same design principles as Miami’s: keep the basic look but change the details. This has seemed to be a recurring theme for logo changes in the 2000s.

Winning can make any team look good, no matter what they're wearing.

Winning can make any team look good, no matter what they’re wearing.

Last offseason, Carolina went with some subtle changes as did Detroit in 2009. There are plenty more examples (Atlanta, Arizona, San Diego, etc.) and the changes are slight tweaks compared to the overhaul of many teams’ looks in the 90s–the ridding of New England’s football-playing soldier, Tampa Bay’s sword-biting buccaneer, and Denver’s standing horse in the big D. Anyways, the Jaguars’ new look seems like an improvement on paper: it’s more realistic, the spots no longer look like macaroni, and the color is more vibrant. However, there is something about this logo I don’t like and I can’t put my finger on it. I think I like it more than the old logo (as many people do), but I just can’t tell. I’m sure it will grow on me but it will certainly take more time than Miami’s. The uniforms go for a newer, sharper look and the helmet color shifts halfway through (which you can’t really see in the straight-on pic). I don’t have a huge problem with the new unis, but I’ve never been a fan of the colors.

 

New Players (notables):

Wes Welker to Broncos: New England was unable to find a deal for Welker, who quickly found a new home in Denver. Going from one hall of fame QB to another is not a bad deal for Wes and he should get plenty of opportunities from Peyton Manning. Manning targeted each of his two primary receivers more than 100 times in 2012-13. This is a huge grab for the Denver offense.

Amendola has a lot of upsides, but none of that will matter if he's injured.

Amendola has a lot of upsides, but none of that will matter if he’s injured.

Danny Amendola to Patriots: New England didn’t have to look long for Welker’s replacement, Danny Amendola, who is coming off his most efficient season of his career. In 11 games, Amendola averaged nearly 11 yards a catch before going down with various injuries. Staying healthy is a major concern for the young receiver, who has only played one full season in his career. If he can play all 16 games, he will be a formidable replacement for Welker.

Percy Harvin to Seahawks: Seattle’s quick offense gets even faster with the golden addition of Percy Harvin. Harvin is one of the most versatile players in the league. He can rush from the backfield, return kicks, run routes in the slot, or go deep for the long ball. Seattle would be wise to spread him around the offense to keep the defense on its toes. This is arguably the best addition of the offseason for any team and establishes the Hawks as one of the heavier Super Bowl favorites.

Greg Jennings to Vikings: One of the Packers’ best receivers will be joining the arch enemy Vikings in 2013. This is a great pickup for Minnesota after losing Harvin. Jennings’ numbers have diminished since his best seasons in 08-10, but the veteran still has a few solid seasons left in him.

Ed Reed to Texans: No, I didn’t forget about defense. Ed Reed may be 34, but he’s still one of the best (if not, the best) safeties in the league. Houston’s secondary was only 16th in passing yards allowed and Reed can only help that ranking.

Steven Jackson can finally give Atlanta a running game.

Steven Jackson can finally give Atlanta a running game.

Steven Jackson to Falcons: Atlanta was one of the worst rushing teams in the NFL last season. Even in a pass-happy league, a good running game is vital and picking up Steven Jackson is a huge step in the right direction. Don’t sleep on the Falcons to make the NFC Championship. They have the pieces to return, or go even further.

 

New Coaches (notables):

Andy Reid to Chiefs: After 10+ years without a Super Bowl and a 4-win 2012, the Eagles made the right decision in moving on from Andy Reid. The past two years have been the opposite of what they expected after picking up huge names such as Cullen Jenkins and Nnamdi Asomugha, neither of which is on the team anymore. Ironically, Kansas City also made the right choice in picking up Reid, who’s veteran experience can help a team looking for a big turnaround.

Chip Kelly to Eagles: Philly made waves with a big name pickup in Chip Kelly, the former coach of an explosive Oregon team. Can Kelly bring that explosiveness to Vick and the Eagle’s offense? That’s the big question as Vick plays in a one-year contract. As we have seen in the NFC East, any team can win the division in any given year.

Bruce Arians to Cardinals: Arians did a fantastic job filling in for Chuck Pagano last year. The Cards snagged the interim coach to try to bring the magic the Arizona. This challenge is a bit more lofty than taking over for Indy in week 3. Zona won just five games last year with one of the worst offenses in the league. Oh and, no Andrew Luck. Arians scored the job for exceeding expectations. Can he keep the job by doing it again?