NFL Questions As The 2017 Season Nears
Well, we’re back. Finally.
People like to make a big deal out of the return of football. They prattle on and on about tailgating, fantasy, 3-4 vs. 4-3, QB battles, Tom Brady’s legacy, the Cowboys, watching games with the family. They wax poetic and spin yarns that portray the men who play between the numbers and patrol the sidelines as gods.
And you know what? It’s all true. God, I wish it was Week 1.
But until then, I’ve got some questions on my mind. Burning questions, actually. So, let’s address them.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
HOW BAD WILL THE JETS QB SITUATION GET?
Josh McCown, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. Those are your three options, Jets fans. Need a tissue? It won’t be long before you burst into tears.
McCown had one nice stretch with the Bears back in 2013 when Jay Cutler went down with an injury. And he’s stolen money since. I’m not hating on him for it. Hell, my most sincere wish is to make money that I don’t deserve.
Bryce Petty’s last stretch of good football was in college.
And then we get to Mr. Hackenberg. First of all, he didn’t even play well at Penn State. And somehow he became a second-round pick, most likely because he has the type of body that NFL scouts drool over.
And since arriving with Gang Green, he was inactive for all but one game of the 2016 season and never threw a pass. So, coming into Year 2, one would hope Hackenberg took copious notes, watched film and worked on his game to at least appear game-ready. But, when asked recently, Jets offensive coordinator John Morton said this of the young QB:
“Basically, he’s a rookie.”
Lovely. Again, Jets fans, I have a spare shoulder to cry on.
WHEN WILL LEONARD FOURNETTE LEARN HIS LESSON?
Now it’s time for 41-year-old me to bloviate about these young whippersnappers. When will they show respect? And dammit, they need to get off my lawn!
Leonard Fournette came out of college riding first class on a well-deserved hype train. And he earned that seat. I watched him truck fools for 3 years at LSU and I couldn’t wait for him to reach the NFL.
And then he screwed it all up, when asked how the NFL compares to college.
“It’s a lot slower than I really thought,” Fournette said via NOLA.com after his first preseason game. “That’s how I’ve been since I first got into the NFL. A lot of people were like, ‘It’s going to be real fast.’ But by me playing in the SEC, that kind of helped me out.”
Oh, REALLY, young man? This is just a cakewalk for you, eh? Of all the arrogance!
Of course, Fournette’s teammates rushed to his defense, as did Titans RB Derrick Henry, who won the Heisman Trophy at Alabama (also, the SEC, in case you’re living under a rock).
I’m not impressed. As far as I’m concerned, Fournette’s blatant disrespect has made him persona non grata, as far as I’m concerned.
Calm down. I’m kidding. Fournette is a beast and judging by his college highlight tape, I can easily imagine him having an Adrian Peterson-type impact on the NFL. I wish the regular season would hurry up and get here.
HOW FAR BACK WILL THE FALCONS FALL?
Atlanta looked unbeatable during its playoff run last season. And for three quarters of the Super Bowl, I was ready to crown them.
We all know what happened next. I’m not going to revisit it.
I once struck out with the game on the line and the bases loaded back in Little League. I was 10 years old when that happened. And I still remember it.
The Falcons will never get over that Super Bowl loss. It’s impossible. And plus, we’ve seen this movie before. A team falls short in the big game, and just can’t get it together the following season. Whether it’s injuries, a tougher schedule, the loss of players to free agency, etc., teams tend to get snakebit.
I’m not going to go so far as to say the Falcons will miss the playoffs. There’s still a ton of talent under head coach Dan Quinn and the NFC South isn’t that good. But they’ll definitely be a loss or two worse than 2016.
And that will be the difference that could force them into a road playoff game, rather than in their comfy new dome.
AT WHAT POINT WILL BILL BELICHICK BLOW HIS TOP AT A PRESS CONFERENCE?
I really feel for the guy, which is unbelievable, because I shouldn’t feel sympathy for anyone who has enjoyed so much NFL success.
However, there’s a limit.
The Patriots are already coming off a Super Bowl win. And they had the kind of offseason that would make Jimmy Johnson weep. As a result, they’re my pick to win the Super Bowl.
In fact, they’re everyone’s pick to win it all. But it doesn’t end there. Some people are predicting a 19-0 season. And because of that, poor Bill has to put up with 19-0 questions on a regular basis. It must be exhausting.
Do you think you’ll go 19-0? What will it take to go 19-0? Does Tom Brady think you’ll go 19-0? Did you make those offseason acquisitions with 19-0 in mind? If you go 19-0, will you retire? Do you have Eli Manning nightmares?
And this is during a training camp practice. He’s still trying to get his 53-man roster together. How about you let the man make it through the regular season without a loss before asking your dumb questions, eh?
SO, IS EVERYTHING GOOD NOW WITH TAMBA HALI AND THE CHIEFS?
Full disclosure: I can’t stand Twitter. The harm it does to society far outweighs its benefits. It’s pretty much a place where media members push and shove each other to be the most virtuous online soul, while at the same time bullying anyone who disagrees with their opinion.
That being said, Tamba Hali’s twitter rant in late July was epic. He complained about his lack of playing time in the postseason. He expressed disgust that the Chiefs didn’t have 100 percent attendance during voluntary offseason workouts.
He even talked about Joe Paterno. Patriots owner Robert Kraft couldn’t escape his 140-character wrath.
And since? Ummm, nothing. Chiefs coach Andy Reid made a few comments at the time, but nothing that seemed to express displeasure.
Training camp has started and the closest thing we’ve had to a public resolution is Hali tweeting “Coach Reid has been great to me.”
Come on, man! Where are the fireworks? Where’s the drama? Don’t tell me the Chiefs handled this like grownups! What is the world coming to?
AT WHAT POINT WILL JOHN ELWAY WISH HE BROUGHT IN COLIN KAEPERNICK?
We’re getting close to the regular season and the Broncos have two options at QB: Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. And nobody seems to want to step up and take ownership of the job.
Siemian is just a guy. Lynch is still unproven and may never pan out. Now, I know what’s going to happen. The Broncos will lean on their defense and pray that whomever wins the job doesn’t turn the ball over and beat themselves.
However, I would have liked to see Colin Kaepernick get a chance to compete for that job. Not saying he would have won it, but it wouldn’t have hurt anyone to give him a chance in camp.
WILL THE TITANS TAKE THE NEXT STEP?
The Titans are like the Texans. They’ve got a ton of talent, but they haven’t been able to really put it all together.
Tennessee looks really good on paper. Anything short of the playoffs would be a disappointment.
WILL CARSON WENTZ TAKE THE TITLE OF BEING THE BEST WENTZ?
No. Not yet, at least. Pete Wentz > Carson Wentz.
AT WHAT POINT DOES MITCHELL TRUBISKY START?
He should start immediately. The Bears aren’t going anywhere and it’s ridiculous they’re going through this Mike Glennon farce.
And don’t take this as a slight against Glennon. He’s fine, but the franchise traded up to draft Trubisky, for whatever reason. It would be asinine to sit him for any length of time.
You don’t learn anything by holding a clipboard. Let the kid get out there and run around a bit. He’s going to be bad, we all know that. But if you’re destined to be at home in January, what do you have to lose?
HOW GOOD WILL CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY BE?
The dynamic running back out of Stanford has drawn comparisons to Reggie Bush. That’s not a compliment, in my opinion.
He landed in a good place in Carolina. Unlike Bush, McCaffrey can run strong between the tackles and he’ll be given the opportunity to do so. But I’m hoping we’ll get to see him split wide as a receiver as well as catching passes out of the backfield. The Panthers need to do whatever they can to get him the ball in open space.
He has the ability to far outstrip what Bush accomplished.
WILL ODELL BEKCHAM JR. CATCH A BALL WITH 2 HANDS?
Anyone else think OBJ is showing off a little too much? We get it, dude. You have big hands. Too bad they didn’t help much in the playoffs last season.
WILL THE SEAHAWKS RETURN TO THEIR FORMER GLORY?
The Seahawks are what the Falcons will be in a few years: a franchise still struggling to erase the memory of a traumatic defeat.
Since that fateful Malcolm Butler interception, there have been moments that threatened to tear the team apart. From Marshawn Lynch’s retirement, to Richard Sherman blowing up on offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, to anonymous teammates bashing Russell Wilson, a lesser team would have collapsed under that weight.
But the Seahawks haven’t. They’re still standing. And the old cliché and a Kelly Clarkson song says what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And I believe Seattle has that magic.
And thankfully, the schedule-makers did them a few favors. Other than a Week 1 game against the Packers on the road, they get tough matchups vs. the Redskins, Eagles, Texans and Falcons at home.
And of course, it all depends on getting playoff games at CenturyLink Field. If they do, the Super Bowl is within reach. If not, count on another bad exit.
WILL THE RAMS SUCK AGAIN?
Yes. Yes, they will.
Currently a Mobile Editor at Yahoo, Saraf spent 5.5 years (Oct. 2010 - Feb. 2016) working for FOX Sports as an NFL Editor and Writer. Prior to that, Saraf worked for CBS Interactive for 4.5 years (May 2006 - Oct. 2010) as a Staff Editor.