- San Francisco 49ers: From leading in last year’s Superbowl before some Mahomes heroics, to an injury riddled, hard-luck 4 and 5 start. Jimmy G. looked like he was the just-good-enough game manager to lead Kyle Shanahan’s offense to the promised land, but now it appears that he was just a one hit wonder. This year, Garoppolo has officially proven he is not physically capable of regularly withstanding the beating required of an NFL starter with yet another major injury, this one to his ankle. The rest of the team has proven equally injury-prone this year with major injuries on both sides of the ball (Raheem Mostert, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel,and Ahkello Witherspoon among others are still missing time). This team is a shell of last year’s Superbowl squad, and I would expect some major changes in the offseason, namely the addition of a new quarterback either through the draft or free agency.
- Dallas Cowboys: The Dak Prescott/Zeke Elliot led era of the Dallas Cowboys may be over as we know it. Jason Garrett was proven not to be the only thing holding this team back from playoff success, as the now Mike McCarthy-led squad stumbled to a 1 and 3 start before losing their starting quarterback to a brutal ankle injury. The game in which Prescott sustained the injury, against the NY Giants, was their last victory, as they are 0 and 4 since. Zeke Elliot seems to be a shell of himself, with zero 100-yard performances so far this season and just 3.8 yards per carry. Mike Nolan’s defense is one of the worst in the league, and suddenly the Cowboys have found themselves tanking for Trevor. Jerry Jones seems to be going the way of Al Davis (RIP) and is more and more out of touch with the modern NFL. Unbelievably, at 2 and 7, they are still in the thick of the playoff hunt in the abysmal NFC East. Which brings us to….
- The rest of the NFC East: We knew the Giants and Redskins wouldn’t be world beaters, but with young quarterbacks with a full season now under their belts, some improvement and growth was expected. The Eagles entered the year with a healthy Carson Wentz with some improved weapons and a solid defensive line-up. The Cowboys used Jason Garrett as their scapegoat, and with a new Superbowl-winning head coach, were going to put up or shut up this year. This should have been a competitive division, but instead we have four teams in which the wheels have completely fallen off. That said, disappointment may not be the right word, as I can’t ignore how entertaining it is to watch 4 dumpster fires battle it out for a completely undeserved playoff spot.
- Houston Texans: Disappointing but not entirely surprising. Most of us had the inkling that the writing was on the wall when Bill O’Brien went full fascist in the offseason and gave away Deandre Hopkins for next to nothing. Bill was a mediocre coach and subpar GM, who set himself and the team up for failure. Most unfortunate for Deshaun Watson, who has potential for greatness if this franchise can get it together. But with a 2 and 7 start, this will certainly not be the year. Now, they have a lawsuit on their hands after randomly dismissing their head of PR. Romeo Crennel has a track record of being an actual functional adult and a leader, so here’s hoping he gets the team moving in the right direction.
- New England Patriots: The Patriots are really only disappointing because of the lack of a Brady vs. Belichick storyline. TB12 and Bucs are headed for the playoffs, while ol’ Bill and his replacements in New England are aiming for a bad season, and not even quite bad enough for a shot at Trevor Lawrence. Exactly where Belichick and company do not want to be. Cam Newton’s Superman days are gone, and the team is pretty much devoid of talent and assets. No Bucs/Pats playoffs showdown this year, or in the foreseeable future. The only real drama remaining is to wait and see if Belichick sticks around for the rebuild.
- Nick Foles: As an Eagles fan since the early McNabb days, I have followed Nick Foles’ career closely. From his success under Chip Kelly to his Superbowl MVP, to his horrible play in St. Louis and Jacksonville, I was really hoping that he had found his team in Chicago. They have a great defense and some weapons on offense, and Foles seemed destined to have a shot at earning himself a second ring, this time without a head start from Carson Wentz. Instead, he has officially proven that Eagles Nick Foles and Nick Foles in any other jersey are two completely different players, and Foles has instead put the Bears in the extremely awkward position of potentially having to turn back to their previously undefeated but still deposed starter, Mitch Trubisky. Hopefully, Foles gets some of that BD Energy that made him a legend in Philly and can find away to stick in Chicago, but history does not look encouraging.
- TV Pundits and their repetitive talking points: Quick rundown of the top conversations that have been driving me crazy all year:
- Baker Mayfield sucks. Meanwhile, the Browns are 6 and 3 and right in the thick of it in possibly the most competitive division in football, and Baker is on pace for 30 touchdowns, 14 picks, and 3,300 yards through the air. Not Mahomes numbers, but that shouldn’t be what we expect. He is a decent starting quarterback with a big-time personality who will lead this team to the playoffs.
- The back and forth on the Buccaneers: Tom Brady has a good game, and the headlines read “Tom Brady for MVP,” or “Tom Brady: the Real Driver of the Dynasty.” Tom Brady has a bad game, and the headlines are “The Buccaneers are Overrated” and “Tom Brady Has Finally Hit the Wall!” Tom Brady is still great and is still adjusting to his new team and new system. They are contenders this year, who will have some growing pains along the way, but let’s stop using them for dramatic click-bait.
- Lamar Jackson has regressed, and the Ravens are done: He isn’t going to repeat as MVP, fine, but the Ravens are 6 and 2 even with a non-existent passing game. Lamar, Harbaugh, and Roman will figure it out, and even a slight improvement keeps this team in the conversation. Lamar is 25 and 5 as a starter and has thrown 13 interceptions in his entire career. He is outstanding. They just need to stop over-thinking it, focus on what Lamar does well, and the Ravens will be fine.
Honorable Mention: Adam Gase and Matt Patricia still have jobs.
Seriously, Matt Patricia took Jim Caldwell’s Lions team, a good team that never quite got over the hump, and brought them right back to the classic pathetic Lions that wasted the best years of Barry Sanders and Megatron. Patricia is now an abysmal 13-27-1 as coach, after replacing Caldwell who had a 62 and 50 regular season record as coach (which, if we grade on a Lion’s curve, is pretty much undefeated considering the atrocious history of the franchise). That is the kind of s*** that really makes you really take a step back and realize there are legitimate examples of differences in the way black and white coaches are treated and regarded. Get this dude and his sketchy beard and matching beer gut out of Detroit, please.
And as far as crazy eyes Adam Gase, what is there left to be said. He held back Ryan Tannehill’s career in Miami and has fun Sam Darnold’s career into the ground. The Jets went from reasonably pathetic NFL Franchise to epic laughingstock of historic proportions. Their best assistant, Gregg Williams, can’t stand him. The players can’t stand him. The fans can’t stand him. Are the team’s executives just totally asleep at the wheel?
There are too many talented, up-and-coming coaches out there for these guys to hang on to these coveted gigs any longer. Plus, both of them actually had success as coordinators, which is clearly where they belong. Please, Jets and Lions brass, make it happen.
Phew. Sorry, that got bitter. Thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Couldn’t care less? Let me know! And as always, thanks for reading!