Phillips and Childress aren’t the only head coach in trouble. Pretty easy statement to say, but Mike Singletary, John Fox, Marvin Lewis, Gary Kubiak and Josh McDaniels are candidates to say goodbye before the season is up. I know McDaniels might surprise some to see on this list, but think about this: Since week 8 of 2009, the Broncos are 5-15 and they don’t seem to be getting better. The more McDaniels puts an imprint on the team, the WORSE they get.
Coaching matters. It’s probably obvious, but some tried to deny it with Phillips and Childress. And it isn’t just play calling, but team attitude, team unity, team leadership. It all starts at the top. Yes, there are obvious coaching mistakes this year such as botched time management on offense and seriously botched play calling (i.e. Houston’s late defensive schemes…), but there is a lot that goes on outside of that. Fundamentals aren’t even the topic here, but they matter too. It’s about being prepared correctly. It’s about teaching these young athletes maturity.
There’s a lot of football left to play. Six out of sixteen games left doesn’t sound like much, but Nov and Dec is a lifetime in an NFL season. Teams riding high will fall, teams in the middle of the pack will rise. There are four teams that “if the playoffs started today” wouldn’t make it in, but just this coming week could take the lead in their divisions, and two of them could jump from out to the third out of six seeds. And that’s just ONE week of play. There is the potential that the AFC West division lead could change hands between three teams in the next three weeks and only one team is probably coming out of that division. The AFC South could potentially change hands the same way in three weeks as well.
Things I think I know.
Ben Roethlisberger is quietly having a great year. Because of everyone’s focus on yardage, Big Ben isn’t getting noticed a lot. He’s only played 6 games so far, but has 101.9 QB rating, has an 8.4 yds/att average and is averaging 263 yds/game with 12 TDs and 4 INTs. He had a little slump in a two game stretch, but I think he’s getting hotter and hotter and might just well surprise some people. Watch out for this offense that no one is really talking about.
Either Vince Young or Jeff Fisher appears to be leaving Tenn. It appears that the Titans ownership is forcing the issue with Young for next year. If that’s the case, I think that Fisher may be gone. If this indeed is the case, Young should be gone before Fisher. Fisher knows football and is an excellent coach. If ownership decides to force Fisher out for Young, I think it will be a mistake that will haunt Tenn for a long time. What a shame considering how much Fisher has given to that organization.
Coach Frazier should sit or cut Favre. Why would they play Favre? He’s not the future. Heck, he’s not the present. He’s playing awful; he’s making game killing mistakes. Why not try Jackson and see if he learned anything in the last season and half watching Favre? Heck there are a few practice squad QBs on other teams that might be worth trying out if you cut Favre. If only Childress hadn’t traded Sage Rosenfelds to NY Giants. What a debacle Childress left.
Things I know I don’t know.
Will there be any NFL football in 2011? It’s not looking good for even a scrub season. The players union is positioning for decertification. If that happens then the teams couldn’t have a draft or any sort of order to signing scrubs or line crossers. The owners are pretty serious about their demands to lower player costs and up the season to 18 games. The players union is not happy about either. There doesn’t appear to be any fire under either side to get something done. If there is no contract by the combine, it doesn’t look good to even have a draft.
Will we see an 8-8 division winner this year? And will we see an 11-5 team miss again? Those two likelihoods are probably related. It’s looking like the NFC West could produce an 8-8 division winner. The AFC West will all come down to San Diego. If they remain hot, they will likely win the division with a decent record. Otherwise, it’s very possible that division also produces another 8-8 division winner. We also have a potential 11-5 team missing in the NFC. And does that mean anything if it does happen?
Can the Colts recover from all the injuries? It may not be obvious to most, but the Colts are in trouble. Yes, they are tied for the division lead, but lose in tie breakers. And in the ever famous “if the playoffs started today” scenario, the Colts would be sitting at home out of the playoffs. They’ve lost two of their last four and are really banged up. Already thin at the WR, RB and DB spots, they need to get healthy and hot quick or they will be sitting at home. The other question is how does Jim Caldwell handle this adversity? This is the first real rough patch that he’s faced as a head coach. The Colts still have enough talent to pull this off, but it’s not going to be as easy as one might think.