Twelve Top NFL Story Lines for 2014................

Discussion in 'Front Page News' started by soulman, Jul 4, 2014.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    The top 12 storylines for the 2014 NFL season — and a Jay Cutler video

    BY CHRIS STRAUSS Gannett News Service July 3, 2014 6:39PM


    Audibles Podcast: Cutler or Stafford?
    Sports Illustrated

    Sports Illustrated's Doug Farrar and Chris Burke discuss if they would rather have Matthew Stafford or Jay Cutler start for their team.

    Link to video; http://www.sportsfanlive.com/web/ar...cleId=15610319&team=nfl-chicago_bears&tid=msp

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    Updated: July 3, 2014 6:42PM


    1. Messing with the PAT
    A proposal to move the extra point to the 25-yard-line didn’t get approved at offseason owners’ meetings, but the league did decide to try out point afters from the 20 during the first two preseason games. The kick, which is currently essentially a 20-yard field goal, will be the equivalent of a 38-yarder and potentially could entice teams to attempt more two-point conversions. The league seems to want to do something to make the point after touchdown attempts more exciting and while nothing new will take effect during the 2014 regular season, it’s something to keep an eye on moving forward.

    2. Washington Redskins name controversy
    Team owner Daniel Snyder continues to be defiant in his stance against changing the team’s name, forming the “Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation” in the offseason as a means to provide “action, not words” to disenfranchised Native American communities. Regardless of Snyder’s charitable actions and motives, there is a significant amount of the population that considers the name a racial slur, one that includes several former players. That vocal opposition doesn’t look to go away anytime soon, making this a storyline that will likely remain relevant through the 2014 season and beyond.

    3. The 49ers’ commitment to Aldon Smith
    The talented outside linebacker has 42 sacks in his first three seasons but has been a huge question mark off the field, going through treatment for substance abuse last fall after a DUI arrest and a disturbance at Los Angeles International Airport (for which he will not face charges) and weapons charges in a separate 2012 incident. The team picked up his 2015 option anyway, although he could still be released for non-injury reasons without consequence to the team. Other than the recovery of fellow linebacker NaVorro Bowman from a knee injury, Smith’s ability to play at a high level while staying out of trouble could be the determining factor in how successful the 49ers’ vaunted defense can be in 2014.

    4. The Seahawks’ quest to repeat
    Seattle was the fourth youngest team in the NFL when they won the Super Bowl last season, giving plenty of plausible reason to the theory that the Seahawks will be the first team to capture two titles in a row since the Patriots did it a decade ago. That cloud will be hanging over Pete Carroll’s group, which lost receivers Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin and defensive linemen Chris Clemons and Red Bryant in the offseason, but returns all of the other key components of their championship lineup.

    5. Peyton and Tom’s closing windows
    Peyton Manning is 38. Tom Brady will be 37 in August. While both quarterbacks are still playing at a Pro Bowl level, the window for each of them to add another Super Bowl ring is rapidly closing. Both players have the surrounding talent to win the AFC, especially Manning’s Broncos, who added Demarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward in the offseason to shore up their defense. Neither player seems ready to talk about retirement just yet, but with 38-year-old John Elway the oldest signal-caller to win a Super Bowl, both signal-callers are approaching new territory if they hope to hoist at least one more Lombardi Trophy.

    6. The New York Jets’ quarterback situation
    The team signed Michael Vick ostensibly to back up second-year quarterback Geno Smith. That’s the party line the team has been going with all offseason, with Vick himself echoing those sentiments in May, telling reporters the “goal is to try to help Geno become the best quarterback he can be.” If Smith makes a big jump in performance from the first day of training camp, that’ll be an easy objective to accomplish. Yet if the WVU product struggles off the bat, the pressure will quickly fall on head coach Rex Ryan to give the veteran his shot at leading the team. Ryan signed a contract extension in January so the QB decision won’t likely affect his status, although after two seasons of instability at the position, getting it right this year has to be a priority.

    7. The possibility of playoff expansion
    It seems inevitable that the league will eventually broaden the number of teams that make the postseason, with the first discussion happening at the spring owners meetings at the end of May. Whether that growth occurs in 2014 or in the years beyond, the massive popularity of the league’s playoffs (and attached television revenue) makes the prospect a possible financial windfall for the league. How it affects the play (does this mean an extra week of the postseason? Does the top seed get two bye weeks? A shortened preseason?) is unclear.

    8. The fate of the Buffalo Bills
    The death of owner Ralph Wilson leaves an uncertain future in the team’s destiny. The franchise is obligated to remain in Buffalo through the 2019 season, although they are not locked down beyond that. There is a strong presence in Western New York (including Gov. Andrew Cuomo) seeking to help the NFL find an owner who would commit to keeping the team local, but Wilson’s estate is currently hiring an investment banking firm that would oversee the sale of the team, most likely to the highest bidder. The NFL owners would have to approve the sale, which could happen as soon as this fall.

    9. Is Robert Griffin III still a franchise quarterback?
    The guy who starred as a rookie before blowing out his knee certainly had the looks of a budding superstar. The tentative second-year player who seemed uncertain in the pocket and ended the season on the bench at the whim of his lame-duck coach and offensive coordinator? Not so much. The Redskins have brought in an offensive-minded head coach in Jay Gruden and added the dynamic DeSean Jackson to a Washington offense that certainly gives Griffin a good opportunity to shine.

    10. The Dallas Cowboys try to avoid a fourth-consecutive 8-8 season
    It’s been a pretty mediocre run for America’s Team over the past three years, but Jerry Jones has remained loyal to head coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo during the course of that tenure. At some point, the Cowboys’ failure to make the playoffs since 2009 will have to make their owner clean house, unless they give him reason not to. The Cowboys’ early schedule doesn’t do them any favors. They’ll face the 49ers, Saints and Seahawks in three of their first six games.

    11. Are the Texans the next team to go from worst to the playoffs?
    In 2011, the Indianapolis Colts had the worst record in the NFL. They landed Andrew Luck in the 2012 draft and found themselves in the AFC playoffs the next two years. And then there was Kansas City. The league’s worst team in 2012 went and got themselves a new coach, quarterback and the top overall pick in the 2013 draft and found themselves in the postseason last year. That bodes well for the Texans and new coach Bill O’Brien, who add the top overall pick to a lineup that already includes J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson. If everyone stays healthy, the Texans should at least equal their 2013 win total by October

    12. No peace on Thanksgiving
    With no AFC teams required to play in the CBS game, the NFL decided to give the public three fierce NFC rivalry games on a day when the rest of the country will be giving thanks and celebrating peace. The action kicks off with the Bears at the Lions in the early game, followed by Philly at Dallas and then concluding with one of the most bitter current matchups, the Seahawks and 49ers. Usually there’s at least one stinker among the three holiday games. Doesn’t look that way this year.

    13. Is Eli Manning due for a bounceback year?
    After one of the worst seasons of his career, the New York Giants quarterback had offseason ankle surgery to fix some of the damage he suffered while on the receiving end of a career high 39 sacks. His league-leading 27 interceptions were also the worst mark of his ten seasons and while you can point to a limited supporting cast, could the 32-year-old actually be declining faster than his 38-year-old brother?

    14. Michael Sam
    After being selected by St. Louis, we know where the Missouri defensive end is going to be attending training camp. The question for the NFL’s first openly gay active player now remains what he can do on the field and just how much continued attention he’ll receive.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
  2. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Not an original piece but both the video on Stafford vs Cutler and a few of these other storylines give us some ammunition for discussion and debate. First let's look at the Stafford vs Cutler on my team thing.

    Both miss some key points about Cutler but at least Farrar hits a little closer to the mark. Cutler isn't just Cutler. He's now a composite of what Trestman has been able to do with is head, his decision making and his attitude and what Cavanaugh has been able to do with his poor mechanics and even last year we could see that all had improved greatly. If Cutler had played the entire year uninjured I believe there'd be less doubt right now but it is what it is. Stafford does not have the benefit of coaches like Trestman and Cavanaugh so the advantage here has to go to Cutler.

    Chris Burke completely flip flops the importance of the age thing. Maybe being younger will benefit Stafford in the long run provided he gets proper coaching and a team built to his strengths the way the Bears are doing with Cutler but it's the Lions so I wouldn't bank on it. But more importantly is that Cutler is at the age when many NFL QBs mature into championship level players so if you're looking to win NOW who do you go with, Mr. Ready and Able or Mr. Upside? That seems simple enough but Burke completely misses that point. How in the hell do these guys manage to get jobs offering opinions like this?

    Having lived in Denver for many moons now it's very easy for me to contrast Jay Cutler's career with that of John Elway who he compares quite closely with IMHO. In fact that was the primary reason the Donks drafted him. He was supposed to be the second coming of old horse face and if things had worked out differently he may well have been just that here in Denver. Cutler made the Pro Bowl his second year in the league and his arrow was pointing up. Then Pat Bowlen fired Mike Shanahan who was then the equivalent to what Marc Trestman is now and brought in baby faced Josh McDaniels whom Bowlen believed could work his magic with Cutler like he did with Tom Brady. Big mistake.

    McDaniel took the job with the understanding that he was there to build Cutler into a SB winning QB and he claimed Jay was his guy in public. But behind the scenes McDumb immediately alienated Cutler by trying to get Matt Cassel whom he obviously preferred but he lied to Cutler about his attempts to do it. When he found out it was true that ended any hope of those two ever working together. Cutler asked to be traded and the rest is history. Had he ended up in Washinton with Shanny his career up to this point might have gone far better and Washington may have been a much better team than they've been. Snyder had plenty of cash to get Cutler the players he needed and he's always been willing to spend it. But that's not the way the story goes so we move on.

    Footnote: For those not privy to all of the details of the trade and what the thinking out here was, what got the deal closed for the Bears was their willingness to include Kyle Orton in the trade. McDipshit saw Orton as a second choice to Cassel, whom as it turned out he could not get, so he set out to make Orton into his guy. It's kind of ironic that both Orton and Cassel while having some NFL success have never really risen above being decent second bananas. Cassel is holding on for dear life up in Minny hoping to keep Teddy Bridgewater on the bench for a year or two and Orton seems ready to quit the Dallas zoo and just retire. Maybe his old friends Jack Daniels and Jose Cuervo have him nearly convinced.

    The bottom line is that neither of these two have even half the talent of Jay Cutler yet McDaniel's gladly chose either of them over Cutler. McDumb is back with NE again working with Brady whose the only NFL QB he ever seems to have had any success with but then look at what he had to work with. The only way anyone will ever be convinced that Josh McDaniels knows a damn thing about QB talent is when one with top NFL is put in his lap the way Brady was. His batting average on the other ain't so good. Still, we do have him to thank for Jay Cutler so I'll give him that. But I digress.

    Jay Cutler is standing on the door step of where John Elway was at roughly the same age and with a very similar set of skills as a passer. All of the criticisms we hear about Cutlers' decision making and his mechanics are simply echoes of what we was also said about John Elway whose now the proud owner of a gold NFL HOF blazer. So don't give up hope or give up on Jay Cutler yet Bears fans. The best may be yet to come. Elway struggled too until Alex Gibbs was hired to build an OL to protect him, until he had a trio of WRs (the 3 Amigos) he had rapport with, a great pass catching TE (Shannon Sharpe), a Pro Bowl RB (Terrel Davis), and a backup QB who was his go between with Shanaha (Gary Kubiak). Then he went out and won two Super Bowls back to back.

    So let's look at how they compare right now. In 1995 Dan Reeves former QB coach and OC, Mike Shanahan, replaced Wade Phillips as the Broncos head coach. In 2013 a former NFL OC and QB guru of SB winning QBs is chosen to coach the Bears. Jay has an OL built to protect him coached by another accredited OL guru, Aaron Kromer. Hopefully Cutler now has his Tres Amigos intact in Marshall, Jeffery and Wilson and also his top pass catching TE in Bennett whose as big a character as Shannon Sharpe ever was. He also has his Pro Bowl RB and he had his Gary Kubiak last year in Josh McCown so we just need to recast that role probably with Palmer. The similarities between the 1995-96 Broncos and the current Chicago Bears is kind of uncanny. Both teams seemed/seem set up to win big now. All it took was for the Broncos to gel under Elway's leadership and IMHO that's all it's gonna take here as well. I really do feel the Bears are on the verge of a few championship runs again.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
  3. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    If your interested in seeing some of the parallels here's a summary of the John Elway era in Denver. It not gonna be exact obviously because Elway spent his entire career with Denver but the similarities to the Bears and Cutler career are there if you look.

    1) Although Elway insisted on a trade as soon as he was drafted by Baltimore (ala Eli Manning) it was Cutler who also asked to be traded after learning of McDaniels dishonesty with him. What was always amusing to me is how the Denver press treated Cutler as whiner and jerk for asking to be traded while forgetting all about how the Broncos came to secure the best QB in their history. They as much as anyone started all the Cutler "hating. And how about the QB carousel before Elway? Sound familiar?

    2) The Broncos actually made it to three SBs early in Elway's so obviously the Reeves/Elway combo was more successful than the Lovie/Cutler one but it was during this time that Elway was dissed as being unable to ever win the big games. Does that sound familiar too?

    3) Finally along comes Elway's old "QB Whisperer" and helps to build on offense around Elway by getting him the personnel he needed and they go one to win back to back SBs in 1997-98. Elway retired before the 1999 season as will Peyton Manning just as soon as the Broncos win another SB with him as the QB.

    So there are some similarities and Jay Cutler is still far younger than John Elway was when he got his first winning SB ring. These next three seasons should tell us all we need to know about whether Jay Cutler is the guy to do that same for the Bears as Elway did for the Broncos.

    1983–98: John Elway era[edit]

    Dan Reeves became the youngest head coach in the NFL when he joined the Denver Broncos in 1981 as Vice President and Head Coach. Quarterback John Elway, who played college football at Stanford, arrived in 1983 via a trade. Originally drafted by the Baltimore Colts as the first pick of the draft, Elway proclaimed that he would shun football in favor of baseball (he was drafted by the New York Yankees to play center field and was also a pitching prospect), unless he was traded to a selected list of other teams, which included Denver.[9] Prior to Elway, Denver had over 24 different starting quarterbacks in its 23 seasons to that point.[10]




    Reeves and Elway guided the Broncos to six post-season appearances, five divisional titles, three AFC championships and three Super Bowl appearances (Super Bowl XXI, XXII and XXIV) during that 12 year span together. The Broncos lost Super Bowl XXI to the New York Giants, 39–20; Super Bowl XXII to the Washington Redskins, 42–10; and Super Bowl XXIV to the San Francisco 49ers, 55–10; the latter score remains the most lopsided scoring differential in Super Bowl history.

    The last year of the Reeves-Elway era were marked by feuding, due to Reeves taking on play-calling duties after ousting Elway's favorite offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan after the 1991 season, as well as Reeves drafting quarterback Tommy Maddox out of UCLA instead of going with a wide receiver to help Elway. Reeves was fired after the 1992 season and replaced by his protégé and friend Wade Phillips, who had been serving as the Broncos defensive coordinator.[11][12][13] Phillips was fired after a mediocre 1994 season in which management felt he lost control of the team.

    In 1995, Mike Shanahan, who had formerly served under Reeves as the Broncos offensive coordinator, returned as head coach. Shanahan drafted rookie running back Terrell Davis. In 1996, the Broncos were the top seed in the AFC with a 13–3 record, dominating most of the teams that year. The fifth-seeded Jacksonville Jaguars, however, upset the Broncos 30–27 in the divisional round of the playoffs, ending the Broncos' 1996 run.[6]




    During the 1997 season, Elway and Davis helped guide the Broncos to their first Super Bowl victory, a 31–24 win over the defending champion Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII. Although Elway completed only 13 of 22 passes, throwing one interception and no touchdowns (he did, however, have a rushing touchdown), Davis rushed for 157 yards and a Super Bowl–record 3 touchdowns to earn the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award – this while overcoming a severe migraine that caused him blurred vision.[14] The Broncos repeated as Super Bowl champions the following season, defeating the Atlanta Falcons (led by Elway's longtime head coach Dan Reeves) in Super Bowl XXXIII, 34–19. Elway was named Super Bowl MVP, completing 18 of 29 passes for 421 yards, with an 80-yard touchdown to wide receiver Rod Smith and one interception.[13]
  4. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    2. Washington Redskins name controversy
    Team owner Daniel Snyder continues to be defiant in his stance against changing the team’s name, forming the “Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation” in the offseason as a means to provide “action, not words” to disenfranchised Native American communities. Regardless of Snyder’s charitable actions and motives, there is a significant amount of the population that considers the name a racial slur, one that includes several former players. That vocal opposition doesn’t look to go away anytime soon, making this a storyline that will likely remain relevant through the 2014 season and beyond.

    This has been kinds beaten to death elsewhere but just to move on to other storylines mentioned in the OP I thought I'd add one more comment on this bullshit. Once again this is a perfect example of how the media misleads readers into buying into a position.

    Let's take what I've highlighted in red. The adult population of the US is roughly 250 million so just how many of them give a rip what the Washington franchise of the NFL calls themselves. To me a significant portion of the population would be a clear majority, say 60%. Does anyone really believe that 150 million US adults opposed the name "Redskins"? Come one man!

    And what does "several players amount to in rough numbers"? If I take several swings at a golf ball it's probably 4 or 5. Several pieces of candy may be an even half dozen. Several movies I'd like to see is usually 3 or 4. If it's M&M's it's probably a handful. So as few as maybe 3 players oppose this name or as many as there are M&Ms in a handful. I don't know how many that is. Guess it depends on how big your hands are but it's surely less than 150 million too.

    So it reality we have a few self-important politicians who want to grab some press and maybe a few million whiny bastards with far too much time on their hands causing all this trouble. Dan Snyder paid good money for that team and he spends on it like he can print his own. If he likes "Redskins" then "Redskins" it is and the rest can just go buy their own God damn NFL team and call it whatever THEY want.
  5. Henry Burris

    Henry Burris Head Coach

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    I think the fact that we live in a society that at least tries to put professionalism to the forefront and to add that the overall mood is more politically correct than at any previous time in our nation's history, Redskins kinda has to go. There have been plenty of NA mascots removed already, so this Redskins case isn't really a stretch to have seen coming.
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  6. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Henry even though I don't agree with your position you state it well and I can see your point. Mine is only that it's been their nickname since the 1930's and only now have a few, and I do mean a damn few, chosen to make an issue of it.

    On the scale of important issues that should be concerning folks in general this one is like a grain of sand on a beach yet it gets attention and I believe that's attention that could be better spent elsewhere. :cheers:
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  7. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    +1
    And whether folks agree or disagree with the issue, the name is going to change. Snyder will end up having to change the name, and probably sooner rather than later. He's fighting a losing battle here, and it just makes the inevitable transition that much more painful - and when he finally loses the war here, he'll look like an idiot for not handling this better. Of course he's fumbled just about every other aspect of the franchise in recent years, so nothing new here.

    It reminds me of the Chief Illiniwek controversy at the U of I. The University fought the losing battle for years, but eventually they shuffled the Chief out the door. Life went on, on planet earth without the Chief. Hell didn't freeze over either. The same will happen with the 'Skins (Hell won't freeze over until the 'Skins actually get a decent owner.......they're a losing franchise since Snyder bought the club, the team has had a losing record of 104-136 since he bought the club).
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014
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  8. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    1. Messing with the PAT

    A proposal to move the extra point to the 25-yard-line didn’t get approved at offseason owners’ meetings, but the league did decide to try out point afters from the 20 during the first two preseason games. The kick, which is currently essentially a 20-yard field goal, will be the equivalent of a 38-yarder and potentially could entice teams to attempt more two-point conversions. The league seems to want to do something to make the point after touchdown attempts more exciting and while nothing new will take effect during the 2014 regular season, it’s something to keep an eye on moving forward.


    Not to change the subject, but to change the subject...........:rofl2:


    I hate the fucking idea with a passion! F.U. Roger Goodell.......:23 30 110v[1]:

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