With training camps mere weeks away, it’s time to ask some questions that have fan bases abuzz. I’m not sure we’ll get all the answers at camp. Heck, we might not even know until the regular season is in full swing, but still, it’s fun to ask. It’s even more fun to answer without any real idea what will happen. Coin-flip predictions aren’t always right, but about half the time…
Is Kyler Murray a one-man rebuild in Arizona?
I’m fairly certain that the answer here is no. Let’s say, hypothetically, that he is as good, or better than the hype coming out of Oklahoma. Assume the Cardinals get everything they expect from this kid. Is the improvement at quarterback enough to get Arizona a division title? Can they get to 8-8? I doubt it. In a brutal division with the Rams, Seahawks and a very buzzy 49ers team, there’s a solid chance that Murray performs well, but still goes 1-5 or 0-6 in the division. We can watch and see if he has the type of magic we’ve seen from other “undersized” quarterbacks, but my guess is that if he does, it won’t result in more than a few wins with this Cardinals roster. There are simply too many deficiencies all over the depth chart to expect Kyler to fix it all.
Will Daniel Jones be the man in New York?
Probably, but it’s a bad idea. The Giants took Jones early. Probably earlier than they needed to. If I’m Eli Manning, I know that my job is in the cross hairs. It shouldn’t be. Hear me now, believe me later. The Giants will not be good either way, so let the second-best Manning take a lap, and bow out gracefully. They don’t have the roster to compete with the Cowboys or Eagles. They might even get beat twice by Washington. Let Jones, who was solid at Duke, but can’t possibly be considered NFL-ready, sit, carry a clipboard and learn. We’ve seen time and again that quarterbacks that are given time to adjust to the pro game have an easier go of it when they do eventually start staring down pro defenses. If Jones is thrown to the wolves in week 2-3, nobody wins. Least of all fans of Big Blue.
Did the league “mess up” on Dwayne Haskins?
I think so. He wasn’t shy about it either. He’s pissed that he slipped to fifteenth overall, behind the undersized slinger from Oklahoma who threw eight fewer touchdowns and the “prototypical” guy who played for Duke, so can’t really be analyzed properly just yet. Haskins threw for fifty touchdowns and only eight interceptions at Ohio State. That’s transcendent. Against some of the best competition the NCAA has to offer. The only knock on him is that he was a one-year starter…like Kyler Murray. Weird, huh? I don’t get it either, Dwayne. He’s got my vote for rookie QB of the year.
Is Oakland on to something?
A strange mix of draft secrecy and oddly ordered picks in the first round. A former coach, brought back for an astronomical sum and for an entire decade, guaranteed. A move to Las Vegas, where nothing ever goes wrong for elite athletes. Parting ways with one of the league’s top three defensive players for no reason. Are the Oakland Raiders going to make big moves and contend? Nope. Next.
What about the Browns…they’re going to win it all, right?
I love the idea of the Browns being relevant again. I really do. I like the assembly of talent, especially on offense. But there’s talent harvesting, and there’s team building. Over the past few decades, the Browns have had an endless string of top picks, misused elite players and “give them time” moments. But this is the Browns. Their last playoff appearance was in 2002.
They lost. If you want to find their last playoff win, you need to scroll all the way back to the Wild Card round in 1994. Guess who was their coach back then? Bill Belichick. Yes, that Bill Belichick. Who did they beat? The Patriots. Crazy, right? Moving on from that weird and wonderful trivia question. Since then, they’ve had ten, count them, ten head coaches and only two winning seasons. So, you’ll forgive me when I tell you to pump the brakes before we hand them the AFC North and/or the Lombardi Trophy. On the plus side, they could improve greatly and still be third in the division at 9-7. Baby steps, boys and girls of Cleveland, Ohio. Baby steps.
Will the Bears find a kicker?
Call me captain positive. I’m going to say yes. Why? Because I think that kicker is the only thing keeping them from contending for an NFC title. No team is going to allow their season to go down the drain because they didn’t find a guy who could put it through the uprights, right? Matt Nagy’s nightmare fuel aside, the Bears are contenders, they will fix this. Even if it involves luring someone out of retirement or contracting Megan Rapinoe for the season. She’s got a boot.
Is Green Bay ready to step back into the light?
Not sure about this one. Aaron Rodgers is still one of the best quarterbacks in the game, but without targets, what can he do. Davante Adams is all that’s left from a once-terrifying assemblage of reliable receivers. He’ll get tons of targets this season (that’s a fantasy tip, there girls and boys), but if he gets injured, the cupboard starts looking mighty bare for A-Rod at the twilight of his career. On the plus side, that defense should be much improved, with the addition of Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage in the first round of the draft. I was really high on both of these cats, and they could be the core of a much more solid defensive unit for years to come in Green Bay.
Image Source: AP Images/Julio Cortez