NFL Round-Up–Playoffs & Coaching Changes

Steve O Speak

Well the regular season is over and there wasn’t much drama in yesterday’s playoff picture. The Ravens and Jets are in and the Texans, Steelers, and Broncos came up just short. Now 12 teams will go forward towards the goal of winning it all, and 20 teams will go home and wonder what went wrong. I’ll talk about the playoffs more later in the week, but I wanted to make a few quick points.

First, how odd is it that three of the four first round match-ups just played each other yesterday? And as a follow-up, how hard did the Bengals, Cardinals and Eagles try yesterday, because all those losses were pretty bad (especially Cincinnati ouch). I realize the Cards and Bengals played a lot of back-ups especially in the 2nd half, but those games weren’t even close. I’m sure they ran pretty watered down offenses, but you have got to do better than that. My final thought is how far can the Jets go on defense and their running attack? Sanchez right now is in over his head and can’t get into any kind of rhythm. I find it hard to believe that the Jets can go forward without some semblance of a passing attack (note to the Bengals, try 11 guys in the box next week, make Sanchez beat you). If you are a team sitting at home this playoff season, take a look at the Jets and realize that, you can win with mediocrity (or just awful play) from your quarterback, but you need to run the ball and you need to dominate on defense. On top of that, your defense needs to cause turnovers and give your one dimensional offense a short field to play with.

So for 20 teams, they now begin their offseason in hopes of emulating the the Bengals and Packers, and their impressive turnarounds. Today also marks a new direction for a number of franchises, as they begin to make coaching decisions. Last season we saw some surprises with Shannahan and Gruden being let go, and Dungy retiring. This season I don’t think we will see any surprises (unless the Cowboys fire Wade Phillips) on the coaching market, Jim Zorn has already been fired in Washington, and the Bills are looking for their next full-time coach. The Raiders and Browns seem likely to make coaching moves, but neither will be a big name given the situations (Gruden could still be a possibility under Holmgren, but he’s not going back to the Raiders). A few other teams seem to be on the fence, but all have given some vote of confidence to their current coaches. So who do you think will be looking for a new coach when it’s all said and done?

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