With football just around the corner here’s 10 questions that need answered when the 2015 NFL Preseason finally arrives.
Finally, the 2015 NFL Season is right around the corner. Because there were a lot of changes this off-season (like usual), the landscape of professional football couldn’t be more unpredictable.
Today we look at a few of the storylines to watch out for as we near the 2015 NFL Preseason.
10. What will the Eagles do at quarterback?
Chip Kelly is an offensive genius. He is also known as the “Quarterback Whisperer,” but can he work wonders with this roster? Not one of his QBs in camp has enjoyed long term success.
Mark Sanchez: 82 touchdown passes, 80 inteceptions and a 56.3 career completion percentage.
Sam Bradford: 59 touchdown passes, 38 interceptions and a 58.6 career completion percentage.
Tim Tebow: 17 touchdown passes, 9 inteceptions and a 47.9 career completion percentage.
9. Can Pittsburgh’s defense match their high powered offense?
Ben Roethlisberger finished the season tied for 1st in passing yards (4,592), Le’Veon Bell finished 2nd in rushing yards (1,361), and Antonio Brown led the NFL in receiving yards (1,698).
No disrespect to the Dallas Cowboys last year, but the Steelers had the best “Big 3” in football. The problem with Pittsburgh was defense.
They finished 18th in yards per game, 18th in points per game and 27th in passing yards allowed. For Pittsburgh to get back to elite status their defensive must improve.
8. Can Jimmy Graham make the Seahawks offense elite?
The Seattle Seahawks trading for Jimmy Graham was the best off-season move in the NFL. We already knew Seattle has an elite defense and running game, but now they have the best TE in the league.
During his five years with the New Orleans Saints, Graham caught 386 passes for 4,752 yards and 51 touchdowns. He is the best red-zone player in the NFL and Russell Wilson should thrive with Graham as his go-to guy. If Wilson and Graham establish a chemistry on the field, it could be lights out for the rest of the NFC.
7. Can Rex Ryan evolve as a coach?
The Buffalo Bills hired Ryan this off-season to be their boastful head coach.
He, of course, spent six years as the New York Jets coach and compiled a 46-50 record. Up until this point in his career Ryan has emulated his father Buddy. Rex still believes in “Ground and Pound” in a vertical passing league.
The Bills possessed an elite defense last year and should be just as good in 2015. Ryan has added LeSean McCoy from Philadelphia and has a young, talented wide reciever in Sammy Watkins.
For Rex to have any type of success he has to focus more on offense or this will be his last head coaching job in the NFL.
6. Will RGIII ever be an elite quarterback?
Remember when Robert Griffin III won Rookie of the year in 2012?
Since that time he’s gone through a slew of injuries and controversy. If there ever was a quarterback who needed a good preseason, it is Griffin.
This should be a make or break year for him. All eyes in Washington will be on him during these few games.
5. Where does Johnny Manziel go from here?
Manziel has had a rocky start to his pro-career. When he was drafted, I wrote an article titled Why Manziel will never be an elite quarterback in the NFL. I still believe that to this day.
Manziel is undersized, has average speed (Andrew Luck ran a faster 40 time) and has an average arm in a cold weather division. I would be very suprised if Manziel is on the Browns roster a few years from now.
4. Is this Tom Coughlin’s last preseason with the Giants?
Coughlin has won two Super Bowls as the head coach of the New York Giants (2007 and 2011 defeating the favored New England Patriots both times).
The Giants haven’t made the playoffs in five of the last six years and this is Coughlin’s last year under contract. Although the Giants struggled in 2014, the team never quit on him.
That, coupled with their new offensive coordinator, Ben McAdoo, having success, made it easy for the organization to keep Tom for another year. If the Giants struggle early, he will be on the very familiar hot-seat.
3. Can Peyton Manning lead the Broncos on one last Super Bowl run?
When an MLB pitcher starts to lose his fastball he can adjust and do other things. He can throw a curve, a slider, a changeup, etc.
What can Peyton Manning do to drastically improve his fading arm?
If you watched the playoff game last year against the Indianapolis Colts, the defense dared Manning to throw over the top and he simply couldn’t do it.
It will be interesting to see how many defenses crowd the line of scrimmage and force Manning to throw deep. I expect Manninng to be in the best shape of his career and try to establish a deep passing attack early on.
2. Are the Jets Geno Smith’s team?
The New York Jets had one of the best offseasons out of any team in the NFL.
They hired Todd Bowles as head coach, drafted beastly defensive lineman Leonard Williams and speedy wide-out Devon Smith. They signed Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Zac Stacy and Brandon Marshall.
All the pieces are in place for this team to make a run at the playoffs. If Geno Smith struggles early look for the Jets to insert Ryan Fitzpatrick or fourth-round pick Bryce Petty.
1. Which rookie quarterback will change his team’s future?
Last year’s AFC and NFC Championship games featured the likes of Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Andrew Luck.
Elite quarterbacks win in today’s NFL.
Jameis Winston was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the No. 1 overall pick and Marcus Mariota was drafted No. 2 by the Tennessee Titans.
Winston is set up to win now due to Tampa employing better skill players. Mike Evans put up 68 receptions and 12 touchdowns in his rookie year.
Long term, I like Mariota as a much better quarterback. He has tremendous upside and there has never been a quarterback with his size (6’4 225lbs), speed (4.4 40-yard dash) and accuracy (66.8 % at Oregon). Both are young and will make mistakes but Mariota has the tools to be an all time great.
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Photo by Jeffrey Beall