The NFL has grown too popular to stop for anything, even when nothing is going on. The news cycle spins on through the slow months of May, June, and July, pulling fans in by making mountains out of molehills on the daily. Offseason tropes are recycled again and again. In all reality, the tidbits that come out during the dull period of OTA’s and Minicamps are a poor predictor of anything that will happen come the regular season. Remember how the Eagles and Colts were Super Bowl Contenders last August?
Here we’ll try to sort through the nonsense of the offseason and use the litmus test between fact and fallacy.
Sam Bradford will start for the Eagles at Quarterback
Rookie quarterbacks rarely have the luxury of sitting and learning behind an established starter anymore; they tend to be thrown into the fire right away from week one. Even when teams say they plan to redshirt their draft pick, like the Raiders and Jaguars in 2014, the collective pressure of the fanbase, ownership, and the poor play of whatever veteran they are rolling with usually put such good intentions to waist. However, the Eagles situation is a little different. Bradford isn’t a journeyman like Chad Henne or Matt Schaub; he’s a mid-level starter that’s being paid $18 million per year, and more importantly, the team is behind him. For as much as there is to say about the drama with the Eagles, the front office seems to have a common plan in mind.
Fitzpatrick will holdout from the Jets into Training Camp
Under the tutelage of old friend Chan Gailey, career stopgap Ryan Fitzpatrick experienced a career year, vaulting the Jets into the unfamiliar territory of a winning record and within a blown last game of the playoffs. Yet, the Jets are in a tricky situation with their quarterbacks new contract as his limited physical talents and shaky career history make it hard to justify paying him what can now be described as Ryan Tannehill level money. I’m no longer buying that this will last much longer. No side has anything to gain from this standoff going any longer outside of spite. The Jets are not going to jeopardize a win-now season by putting Geno Smith under center and Fitzpatrick doesn’t have any other options barring a training camp injury.
The improved Jaguars will make the playoffs
Lately, a few of the perennial doormats of the NFL, like the aforementioned Raiders and Jaguars, have finally shown signs of encouragement thanks to finally locating their franchise quarterbacks through the draft. The Jaguars in particular have received a lot of buzz after a slew of high profile offseason acquisitions. They doled out big money for Super Bowl Hero Malik Jackson, as well as adding new starters like Chris Ivory and Prince Amukamara. Then, they essentially added three first round talents on defense in Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, and last years pick, Dante Fowler. As exciting as this is, they will have to overcome a new look Texans offense and Andrew Luck’s Colts to win the division, or else win eleven plus games to secure a wild card berth. That’s as many games as this team has won in the past three seasons.
Brady will fight back to remove suspension
The Deflategate storyline somehow found a way to live on into the 2016 Offseason after dragging out through the summer months last year as well. After the Supreme Court ruled that Goodell had the authority to enforce such punishments in his own league, Brady’s four game suspension from last offseason was reinstated. Even though we’ll hear about the future Hall of Famer excausting all resources available, it’s highly unlikely that the NFL will budge as they need to keep this case as precedent. Patriots fans, prepare for a sneak peek at life after Brady when heir apparent Jimmy Garoppolo steps under center for Week One.
Raiders relocate to Las Vegas
After losing out in the Los Angeles sweepstakes earlier this offseason, the Raiders front office has been openly lobbying to get out of town, with the latest destination of Las Vegas. It makes sense for the team to look for a new home; they play on a literal remade baseball field. The issue of gambling, sin, and the like is blown wildly out of proportion regarding the city. The NFL is so popular that these things are going to be prevalent wherever a team is.
Broncos should be worried about Quarterback
It’s a rare thing for a defending Super Bowl Champion to go into the offseason with so many question marks at the most important position in sports. On the other hand, it’s just as rare of a thing for a team to make it to the Super Bowl with replacement level play from its quarterback. Peyton Manning was a competitive disadvantage last season due to his substandard arm strength and lesser accuracy. Brock Osweiler was completely inept at moving the football outside of short stretches. Even though the team drafted Paxton Lynch in the first round, he won’t be ready to start right away. Mark Sanchez is far better than he is portrayed in the media. He provided quality play in spot starts in his time under the Eagles. If we’re being honest, there isn’t much of a difference between him and their options last season.
Moneyball, Sashi Brown, and The Browns Revival
As much as people like to make jokes about the Browns new moneyball philosophy, it is based on sound principles and building through the draft. Essentially, the team will try to accumulate as many draft picks as possible based on the potentially accurate belief that teams aren’t as good at scouting as they believe and it is most beneficial to take as many shots as possible. Hue Jackson appears to be a promising coach, and the front office sounds like they are on the same page. Even when RGIII crashes and burns this season, there is good reason to believe that things are finally turning around in Believeland.