Teams in the National Football League make mistakes all the time. Mistakes with draft picks, with free agent signings and with coaching moves. Hindsight is always 20/20 but foresight is invaluable. We are going to proactively look at some mistakes that NFL teams have made that occurred prior to the start of this season.
The New York Jets Retained Rex Ryan
There was no good reason for the New York Jets to keep head coach Rex Ryan. The team hired a new general manager in John Idzik and he’s going to want to get his own guy at head coach. All keeping Rex Ryan did was delay the Jets rebuilding process one year with a lame-duck president while giving Ryan impossible expectations to live up to while trying to keep his job. Those expectations will likely lead Ryan to make decisions in his own best interests and not the team’s best interests. At this point it will be surprising if Ryan lasts through Thanksgiving.
The Denver Broncos Letting Elvis Dumervil Walk
The Denver Broncos will win the AFC West this season primarily due to the lack of competition west of the Mississippi. The season for the Broncos will begin in January as they are in Super Bowl or bust mode. Contrary to popular belief, the Denver defense will need to win postseason games as they shouldn’t count on Peyton Manning, who is one of the best regular season signal callers, but leaves much to be desired in the playoffs. Manning will struggle to throw the ball in the cold weather of Denver and the Broncos may have to win games with their running game and defense and letting Elvis Dumervil leave to go to Baltimore may haunt them nearly as much as a Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones bomb.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Not Re-Signing Michael Bennett
The Bucs offseason has been lauded by their additions of Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson in the secondary but that secondary will still give up big yardage in 2013. Everything starts up front with the pass rush and there is no reason to believe that the Bucs will get much of a rush without their best pass rusher over the last couple of seasons. Michael Bennett signed a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks for $5 million, a number that Tampa Bay easily could have matched or exceeded. With Da’Quan Bowers running with the second team the Bucs opponents will have all day to pick apart a strengthened, but not super-human secondary.
The Oakland Raiders Traded For Matt Flynn
I’m not sure how many young quarterbacks will beat out Matt Flynn for starting jobs but it appears that this is becoming a trend. Flynn wasn’t a great prospect coming out of LSU and hasn’t proven much in the NFL, outside of a pair of spot starts against terrible defenses (Detroit and New England) with a loaded batch of Green Bay weapons. If Flynn or Terrell Pryor or Matt McGloin leads to Teddy Bridgewater then the trade will have been worth it, but right now the hapless Raiders are simply grasping at straws.
The Atlanta Falcons Letting Brent Grimes Walk
The window of opportunity for the Atlanta Falcons to make it to their second Super Bowl is now. They have future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez for one more year. They signed 30-year old running back Steven Jackson and they appear to be loaded up on offense for this run. Unfortunately, their defense continues to be a major concern as Osi Umenyiora isn’t necessarily an upgrade over John Abraham and they plan on starting a pair of rookies in the secondary. Brent Grimes was no sure thing after his injury but he would provide veteran leadership and a certain upgrade over what they currently have in the secondary.
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