2012-13 NFL Season Preview for Fantasy Football: Chaos in Motion

With most of the fantasy football leagues already in tow with their drafts and the preseason games closed, it’s time to see how this season will fold.  Now onto my predictions for the NFL 2012-13 regular season:

  • Rookie Quarterbacks.  After the Wildcat, rookie quarterbacks are the new sensation in football.  With Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford and Cincinnati Bengals’ Andy Dalton both performing well, given their short tenure in the league, now it’s time for others to shine — and collapse under the burden of the NFL.  Washington RedskinsRobert Griffin III is a hot commodity to be sure, but you better count your eggs before your chickens in his case.  Otherwise, he might leave your basket half-empty.
  • Chaos, Chaos Everywhere.  With veterans already injured, like Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, fantasy football players will be scrounging early and often.  Waiver wire will be the godsend and disaster for many, many people.  Whereas in earlier seasons, the waiver wire was fundamentally for backups and gamblers.  EVERYONE will be scrounging.
  • Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck vs. The World.  Andrew Luck has high expectations on his shoulder in the Indianapolis Colts locker room.  He has almost the same quality weapons that now Denver BroncosPeyton Manning has, but will he live up to expectations?  He should get close and surpass Robert Griffin III.  Anything beyond that, I won’t risk.
  • Denver Broncos‘ Peyton Manning vs. New York Giants’ Eli Manning.  The Mannings have already done their commercial work.  I don’t think Peyton Manning won’t be driving his Buicks through any goal posts this season.  He should do a better-than-average job as quarterback for the Broncos.  He should be capped as a low-end QB1/high-end QB2.  Eli Manning should be capped as a high-end QB2.  Both will average each other out.
  • Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick and Nick Foles: The Jeff Garcia Effect.  You know how history repeats itself.  The Eagles will repeat history again.  Vick will get injured, and Foles will indeed take the Eagles at or near the playoffs with his leadership and ability.  Once the Eagles get into the playoffs (or near it), Vick will miraculously return and take the reins.  However, the wheels will fall of the Eagles truck — once again.
  • New York Jets’ Tebow Wildcats and His Jesus-Voltron.  Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan created a combustible quarterback situation.  How long do you think Tim Tebow will take a backseat in the Wildcat formation?  Hmmm, not too long, I think.  Once Mark Sanchez fails even slightly, Sanchez will be pulled.  If Ryan doesn’t pull him, the angry New York fans will.  The clock is ticking…

This is a short taste of what’s to come during the NFL 2012-13 regular season of fantasy football in my honest and blunt opinion.

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AFC Divisional Playoffs: Top 10 Things We Learned

With the New England Patriots squashing the Tim Tebow miracle out of the Denver Broncos with their 45-10 rout, Tom Brady and his Patriots accomplished in destroying the Broncos morale in the postseason. Denver Broncos coach John Fox was simply out-coached. The Houston Texans and the Baltimore Ravens fought each other tooth-and-nail, but the Baltimore Ravens defense stepped up when it counted to win 20-13. Now the Patriots will host the Ravens in the AFC Championship game, and this Ravens defense will be put to their ultimate test against the offensive firepower of Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium nonetheless. It doesn’t look pretty for the Baltimore Ravens, but there’s a glimmer a hope.  If the 49ers can topple the offensive powerhouse of the New Orleans Saints, anything can happen.

Now to the top 10 list of the things we learned in the AFC Divisional playoffs:

  1. New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady is a Beast.  With six touchdowns against the Denver Broncos, he broke a previous postseason record, and he came out a 136.1 quarterback rating on that game.
  2. Denver Broncos Tim Tebow Was Out of His Element.  With the Denver Broncos going to the Patriots home, Gillette Stadium, you knew from the outset that it was going to be bad. How bad…how about 136 yards, no touchdowns and a pitiful 55.7 quarterback rating bad.
  3. Denver Broncos Head Coach John Fox Was Outfoxed. Continuing from the previous, facing Patriots head coach Bill Belichick alongside  the offensive coordinator-in-training Josh McDaniels, Denver Broncos head coach John Fox had too many chess pieces to contend with, no matter how prepared he was or how much he thought of Tim Tebow.
  4. Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens Are Fumble-Prone. Given that the Houston Texans and the Baltimore Ravens both had three fumbles each, I would say ball security should be a focus in the postseason.
  5. Houston Texans Quarterback T.J. Yates Needs Some Work…A Lot of Work.  Replacing Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart was difficult enough, but dealing with the Ravens defense was beyond this rookie quarterback.  Ending the day with 184 yards, 3 interceptions and a pitiful 28.8 quarterback rating won’t earn him a bonus this next season.
  6. Houston Texans Running Back Arian Foster is a Beast. Considering he dealt with the third-ranked defense overall during the regular season, he produced well with 132 yards rushing and a touchdown.
  7. Baltimore Ravens Quarterback Joe Flacco Will Never Be Elite. Although he’s been at the helm of the playoff-driven Baltimore Ravens over the past four seasons, he has never developed into an elite quarterback.  Considering he had 176 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, he’ll never reach the elite status of either Tom Brady or Drew Brees.
  8. New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez is Versatile.  Considering he produced 61 yards on the ground and 55 yards and a touchdown through the air, Aaron Hernandez is definitely the iron-man of the New England Patriots.  His 61 yards surpassed both BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead with their 28 and 25 rushing yards in their game against the Denver Broncos.
  9.  New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski is a Beast.  With his 145 receiving yards, he has shown he is one of the better tight ends in the league, if not one of the best.
  10. Defense Wins Games.  Again, like with the NFC Divisional playoffs, it’s the defense that ultimately wins games.  The Ravens capitalized on turnovers when it counted.

Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots: AFC Divisional Playoff Post-Game Analysis

The miracle of Denver Broncos Tim Tebow will be put to the test against the New England Patriots third-ranked quarterback Tom Brady in terms of quarterback rating.  On top of that, the Denver Broncos defense will have to contend with two of the best in terms of passing yardage during the regular season with Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker ranked second with 1,569 receiving yards and tight end Rob Gronkowski ranked sixth with 1,327 receiving yards.  Playing at Gillette Stadium won’t do Tim Tebow any favors  as the fans of Foxboro will do anything to unsettle the young Tim Tebow.  The miracle of Tim Tebow will have to overcome these odds and tip the scales.  Can it happen? Yes.  Will it happen? Not if coach Bill Belichick will have anything to say about it.

Now to the post-game analysis:

  • The New England Patriots veteran quarterback Tom Brady struck fast as he threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to his wideout Wes Welker with 13:14 into the first quarter.
  • With the fumble by Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow on Denver’s 17-yard line, Patriots Tom Brady immediately capitalized on the turnover with a 10-yard touchdown reception by his tight end Rob Gronkowski.  The Patriots lead 14-0 over the Denver Broncos with 7:17 in the first quarter.
  • Capitalizing on the interception on Tom Brady by safety Quinton Carter, the Denver Broncos running back Willis McGahee pounded the ball from 5-yard touchdown run and bring the game to 14-7 at the beginning of the second quarter.
  • Methodically moving down the field with the rushes of tight end Aaron Hernandez, running backs Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Tom Brady threw a touchdown reception to Rob Gronkowski again with 7:49 in the second quarter to bring the score to 21-7.
  • With 2:06 in the second quarter, Patriots Deion Branch scored on a 61-yard reception to up the lead 28-7.
  • Yet another touchdown reception by Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski from 19 yards out with 10 seconds left until halftime.  Tom Brady tied an NFL record with his five touchdowns in a half of a postseason game.
  • With a half-field to play, Patriots Tom Brady threw a 17-yard touchdown reception to his tight end Aaron Hernandez to bring the score to 42-7 with 11:53 in the third quarter.  Brady broke a postseason record with his six touchdowns and the Patriots 42 points in a postseason game. This is beyond amazing.
  • With 2:19 in the third quarter, Broncos kicker Matt Prater kicked a 41-yard field goal to bring the score to 42-10.
  • On the Denver’s 2-yard line, Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski boot an easy 2o-yard field goal with 12:44 in the fourth quarter.
  • After a 41-yard pass to Broncos wideout Dimaryius Thomas, the Patriots defense locked down and locked on Tim Tebow, and the Broncos failed to score.  Kind of sad. Really.
  • After a 3rd and 10 punt by Tom Brady, a hardy scuffle between the Patriots and the Broncos occurred with 3:10 left in the game.  The frustration of the Denver Broncos defense ignited the scuffle, and it didn’t look pretty.

The New England Patriots defense contained Broncos Tim Tebow and forced him to be a pocket quarterback in the first half.  However, this is not Tebow’s element as he was forced to rely on his running back Willis McGahee to release pressure again. Willis McGahee produced sufficiently with 68 yards and a touchdown, but the Patriots had a ringer in their tight end Aaron Hernandez.  Hernandez nearly produced as much yardage on the ground with 58 yards — and he also had 29 receiving yards in the first half.

The second half continued with the dominance of the New England Patriots over the hapless Tim Tebow and his Denver Broncos.  Broncos coach John Fox could not stop the bleeding with quarterback Tim Tebow forced to throw deep.  Tim Tebow never developed as a pocket passer either with the Denver Broncos or the Florida Gators, and in this kind of situation, it was difficult to come back from.  The constant pressure of the Patriots defense didn’t help much either. The game ended finally with a 45-10 Patriots win.

Tom Brady and his New England Patriots will have to face either the Houston Texans or the Baltimore Ravens.  Either team have elite running backs in Texans Arian Foster or the Ravens Ray Rice who were ranked fifth and second respectively in terms of rushing yardage during the regular season.  Lastly and more critically, the Patriots will face the second or third-ranked overall defense during the regular season which should be intriguing either way.

Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton: 2011 Year in Review and 2012 Fantasy Football Outlook

2011 Year in Review

2011 was one heck of a season for this rookie quarterback Andy Dalton for the Cincinnati Bengals.  With former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer gone, the Bengals got more than an adequate replacement, and Dalton provided the necessary intelligence and composure in his rookie season.  Although he faltered during the 31-10 AFC Wildcard playoff loss to the Houston Texans, he has given the once soft Cincinnati Bengals team hope for the future.

In his 2011 regular season as a rookie, Dalton had 3,398 passing yards, 2o touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 3 fumbles and a solid 80.4 quarterback rating.  He started off fairly strong in his first full start against the Denver Broncos with a quarterback rating of 107.0 with 332 passing yards and 2 touchdowns.  Against the tough defense of the San Francisco 49ers in the following game, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton had his worst game of the regular season.  He had 157 yards passing, 2 interceptions and a dismal 40.8 quarterback rating. He got steadily better until week 6 against the Indianapolis Colts.  Facing the porous defense of the Colts, he performed well with a 111.5 quarterback rating on 264 yards passing and a touchdown.  Again, with the tougher defenses of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens in week 10 and 11, he didn’t perform quite as well with a 61.8 and 60.7 quarterback rating in those respective regular season games. In week 12 against the Cleveland Browns, he performed above-average with a quarterback rating of 105.6 on 270 passing yards and a touchdown. After that game, he faced tough defenses of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Houston Texans, and the Baltimore Ravens.  With these defenses, his quarterback rating declined gradually, culminating in a 65.7 quarterback rating on 232 yards passing and no touchdowns. In the AFC Wildcard playoff against the Houston Texans, Dalton fell to a dismal 51.4 quarterback rating on 257 passing yards and 3 interceptions.

2012 Fantasy Football Outlook

Given this is his rookie season, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton still has a lot of growing pains ahead.  Given his statistics during the regular season, he has performed QB3 to low-end QB2 numbers.  With the Bengals getting into the playoffs, the schedule should be about the same next year with Andy Dalton facing some difficult defenses ahead.  Although he has 12th-ranked running back Cedric Benson, he can’t continuously lean on him as Cleveland Browns Colt McCoy learned with their running back Peyton Hillis.  Dalton should be able to produce low to mid-QB2 numbers next season and worth a seat on your bench.  He’s worth a gamble as he does have an upside.  However, he needs a couple of seasons more to mature, and in the 2012 regular season, he should be only played with favorable matchups or a bye-week replacement.

AFC Wild Card Playoffs: Top 10 Things We Learned

What an exciting AFC Wild Card weekend! Quarterback T.J. Yates and running back Arian Foster of the Houston Texans thumped the Cincinnati Bengals 31-10.  And the thriller with the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers…Steelers coach Mike Tomlin could have never predicted the Denver Broncos would have posed a problem as Tim Tebow was almost considered bench material.  Tebow struck, when it counted, in overtime with the 80-yard bomb to his wideout Dimaryius Thomas and won the game 29-23.

And to sum it up, the 10 things we learned from the AFC Wild Card playoffs:

  1. Don’t Underestimate Denver Broncos coach John Fox. He spotted the weakness of the Steelers, their thinned secondary, and exploited it.  He let Tim Tebow go after rushing wasn’t successful with either Tim Tebow or their running back Willis McGahee.
  2. Don’t Underestimate Tim Tebow’s Magic. Tim Tebow’s magic came back when it counted — in the playoffs.  Dimaryius Thomas helped him greatly. (The New England Patriots won’t make it that easy even with their porous defense.)
  3. Houston Texans Running Back Arian Foster is Still The Man. No doubt Arian Foster helped the Texans win as he had 153 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns in the game.  His presence was felt, and he will be in their next game against the Baltimore Ravens.  A tale of two running backs in this divisional game, you bet.
  4. A Hobbled Ben Roethlisberger Didn’t Help the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Not just his mobility was off, but his accuracy was off as he had throw over the linebackers of the Denver Broncos even without the help of Brian Dawkins.
  5. Steelers Running Back Isaac Redman May Be in Line for the Starting Job.  Although not quite as strong as Rashard Mendenhall, he has the agility to break tackles.  Mendenhall may be looking in the mirror pretty soon.
  6. Broncos Wideout Dimaryius Thomas is Dangerous.  He was the savior for Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos.  Tebow would have benched for Brady Quinn if it wasn’t for Thomas’ awesome performance of 204 yards and a touchdown in his game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers Number One Defense Counted for Nothing. Having the best defense in the league counts for little if they can get burned for long yardage.
  8. Texans Quarterback T.J. Yates Did Satisfactory in the Playoff Environment. He’s no Matt Schaub, but he has a future with the Houston Texans as their future quarterback.  If not there, then definitely somewhere else.
  9. Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton Has Some Growing Pains. Dalton still needs some more experience in the NFL.  He has the talent and composure to succeed in the league, but he needs time.  He needs to learn that frustration does not breed success.  Ask Peyton Manning in his difficult games.
  10. Charles Barkley Shouldn’t Do NFL Halftime Shows. Ever. Seriously.  He shouldn’t.

Now Tom Brady and his New England Patriots will face the revived Tim Tebow and his Denver Broncos.  Can Tebow bring the magic or will he fall to the tactics of Bill Belichick?  Two potent running backs, Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice and Houston Texans Arian Foster, will face each other to decide who is the better running back.  Don’t underestimate the underdog in this match; as it won’t be the size of the dog in this fight as much as the sheer will.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos: AFC Wild Card Playoff Post-Game Analysis

With the first-ranked Pittsburgh Steelers facing the declining cult Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, this game doesn’t look pretty for the Broncos. Eighth-ranked Denver Broncos Willis McGahee might be able to change the face of the game, but he shouldn’t be a significant factor against a dominating defense. However, a hurt Ben Roethlisberger could be a factor for the Pittsburgh Steelers offense and for that matter, the Denver Broncos defense.

Now the post-game analysis:

  • With the Pittsburgh Steelers first drive, they stalled, and kicker Shaun Suisham made the field-goal from 45-yards out at 11:19 in the first quarter to give them the 3-0 lead.
  • With the Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger leaning on his running back Isaac Redman in this series, Shaun Suisham kicked another field goal from 38-yards out at with 27 seconds left in the first quarter to bring the Steelers to a 6-0 lead.
  • Denver Broncos Tim Tebow threw two successive bombs to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and Eddie Royal.  With a 30-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Royal, the Denver Broncos take the lead 7-6 at 13:31 in the second quarter.
  • After a 58-yard bomb to Broncos wideout Demaryius Thomas, the Broncos score again with a 8-yard rushing touchdown by Tim Tebow at 10:41 in the second quarter.  The Broncos upped their score 14-6.
  • At 9:54 in the second quarter, Broncos defensive end Robert Ayers sacked Ben Roethlisberger and aggravated the quarterback’s ankle.  After that incident, Roethlisberger threw an interception to Broncos safety Quinton Carter at the Steelers 27-yard line.
  • After the interception, the Broncos drive stalled at the Pittsburgh 2-yard line.  Broncos kicker Matt Prater kicked an easy 20-yard field to bring the score 17-6.
  • After a 40-yard strike to his tight end Daniel Fells,the drive stalled again at the Pittsburgh’s 10-yard line.  Matt Prater kicked another field goal to bring the score 20-6 at 1:08 until halftime.
  • With a 32-yard pass to Steelers running back Isaac Redman, wideout Mike Wallace rushed in for a 1-yard touchdown at 4:33 in the third quarter.  The Steelers closed the score 20-13.
  • Continuing their drive from the third quarter, Broncos kicker Matt Prater kicked another field goal to bring the score to 23-13 at 13:14 in the fourth quarter.
  • After running back Isaac Redman’s 28-yard rush, Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham kicked for a field goal to bring the score to 23-16 at 10:03 left in the last quarter.
  • At 7:43 in the fourth quarter, Broncos running back Willis McGahee fumbled the ball on Pittsburgh’s 45-yard line. Capitalizing on McGahee’s turnover, Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Jerricho Cotchery 31-yard touchdown reception tied the score 23-23 with 3:56 left in the fourth quarter.

The first half was the battle of defenses as Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers brought pressure relatively easily on Ben Roethlisberger and Tim Tebow in the first few series in the first quarter.  However, Tim Tebow relaxed the Steelers defense by throwing bombs to his wideout Demaryius Thomas and other receivers.  Simply put, Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow shredded the thin secondary of the Steelers in the first half.  With the aggravated ankle injury to Steelers Ben Roethlisberger, the Denver Broncos defense sensed it and feasted on the damaged quarterback.  The Steelers burned secondary, the driven Broncos defense and Roethlisberger’s ankle injury culminated in 20-6 Broncos lead into the half.

The second half began with the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers surging at times. The Pittsburgh Steelers  defense performed well at stopping Tim Tebow’s drives in the redzone, and through sheer will and accurate passing, Ben Roethlisberger willed his Steelers to tie the game with the Denver Broncos.  Steelers running back Isaac Redman did his fair share in this game with 121 rushing yards during regulation.

This playoff game was the first playoff game with non-sudden death regulations established during the tumultuous off-season.  However, in an instant, Denver Broncos scored a 80-yard touchdown from Dimaryius Thomas to win the game 29-23.

Overall, Broncos Tim Tebow performed better than injured Steelers Ben Roethlisberger with his 125.6 quarterback rating on 356 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. Broncos wide receiver Dimaryius Thomas was exceptional as he had 204 receiving yards and a touchdown in this game.

With some Tim Tebow magic in overtime, the Denver Broncos win the Wild Card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now Tebow will face New England Patriots Tom Brady with his third-ranked quarterback rating at 105.6 and second-ranked quarterback in terms of passing yards with 5,235. At Brady’s side is his wideout Wes Welker who had 1,569 receiving yards during the regular season and ranked second in terms of receiving yardage.  However, Wes Welker is recovering from an injury, and that may hinder Tom Brady slightly in their game against their game against the Denver Broncos.  Tim Tebow better bring some of his magic in the next game as he will face the New England offensive juggernaut.  On the bright side, both the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos defenses are average at best.

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Madden 12: The Video Game Without a Season and Peyton Hillis Without the Curse

Peyton Hillis on Madden 12 Cover

With Cleveland Browns power running back Peyton Hillis as the cover athlete of Madden 12, this football video game published by Electronic Arts is scheduled to be released August 30th despite the work stoppage of the NFL.  Although it is some three months away, it may bring some football fans some entertainment in the meantime.  Admittedly, this has been a lackluster although somewhat entertaining video game for some time now, but without competition from other video games (like the NFL 2K series) and the exodus of the development team, it might be about time for this series to either hit rock bottom or evolve into something more original.  I know what I say goes against the grain of many Madden fans out there.

Cleveland Browns Peyton Hillis won as the cover athlete of Madden 12 in a national poll over the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Peyton Hillis had a breakout season in 2010 after leaving the Denver Broncos.  During the regular season, he had 1,177 rushing yards (ranked 11th overall in the league), 4.4 yards per rush (ranked 18th overall in the league) and 11 touchdowns (tied for 6th overall in the league).  As a receiver, he also had 477 yards, 7.8 yards per reception and 2 touchdowns to his name.  Hillis additionally set a some records in the NFL and for the Cleveland Browns organization. He won the AFC Offensive Player of the Week in week 12 against the New England Patriots with 163 rushing yards, a stellar 6.3 yards per rush, and 2 rushing touchdowns, and he was the first Browns running back since Eric Metcalf in 1992.  In week 12 against the Carolina Panthers, he as well as Marshall Faulk as the only players to have 130 yards rushing, 3 touchdowns and 60 yards receiving in a single game. He accomplished all this despite the nagging injuries he had from week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons and later on in the season.  He also had to deal with the turmoil of the former head coach Eric Mangini and the trials and tribulations of the Browns young quarterback Colt McCoy.

The Madden Curse afflicts running backs and quarterbacks most harshly, and despite pushing through his injuries from the previous season, Cleveland Browns prized running back Peyton Hillis may not be one to overcome it.  In 2001, Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George did make it to the playoffs, but he and his team ultimately lost.  With it, his statistics plummeted as he never averaged above 3.3 yards per carry for the rest of his career.  In 2003, Marshall Faulk was the cover athlete, and his running back statistics plummeted as he had to contend with knee injuries during from the 2002-2003 season.  This powerful St. Louis Rams running back lost his head of steam as he never registered another 1,000 yard season afterward.  With Peyton Hillis joining Marshall Faulk’s company statistically in the 2010 regular season, the Madden Curse may lead him to the same fate. Most recently, in 2007, Seattle Seahawks Shaun Alexander, coming off as the previous season’s MVP Player, sustained a foot injury, and like the other running backs that fell before him, his statistics plummeted the following seasons.

This Madden Curse has not been kind to running backs in the past.  With the lockout still in effect, Cleveland Browns Peyton Hillis would be best to wish it that way, or otherwise, he may sustain a career-afflicting injury despite his durability and the NFL fans.

Sean McDermott Joins Ron Rivera With the Carolina Panthers: Birds of a Feather Defend Together

The Carolina Panthers released John Fox a while back, and he has joined the Denver Broncos as their head coach.  But it is even more impressive who they replaced in return.  First, they replaced John Fox with Ron Rivera, former defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers.  Then, they took on Sean McDermott, recently fired from the Philadelphia Eagles, as their defensive coordinator. With these two together nonetheless, the Carolina Panthers could be a defensive monster, rivaling the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Jets in their defenses.

Ron Rivera is the second Latino head coach in NFL history, and he brings to the Panthers an aggressive defensive mindset.  In 1999, he was linebacker coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, and his potent defense led the Eagles to three consecutive NFC Championships.  Additionally, he was formerly a defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears in 2006, and the Bears won the NFC Championship that year as well as competed in the Super Bowl. Recently, since 2008, he was the defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers, taking them from 25th-ranked total defense to recently 1st in total defense in the entire league.  That is simply remarkable. He had learned his system under the likes of Buddy Ryan, Lovie Smith and the late Jim Johnson, and can adapt to change from a 4-3 system to a 3-4 system.

With Sean McDermott now, they both share similar backgrounds.  They both were with the Philadelphia Eagles, both were defensive coordinators (or still are), and most importantly, both learned their system of defense and its complexities under the late Jim Johnson.  Sean McDermott, although criticized within the locker room by the players for some of his moves during the regular season,  attempted  to innovate the Eagles defense.  However, the results produced were less than successful.  Now that he has been given a second chance and a clean slate essentially under the guidance of Ron Rivera, the Panthers defense could potentially become one of the most formidable in the league in the next few years.

Both can lend creativity on their complex and blitz-heavy defensive schemes that could be troublesome for most teams. These birds of a feather who have legacies in the Philadelphia Eagles and the late Jim Johnson can now defend it together.

The Fox in Elway’s House: John Fox Comes to Head the Denver Broncos

Now this is a particular arrangement and a beneficial one for the veteran head coach, as former Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox will be in reigns of the better and more balanced offenses in the league.  He has both quarterbacks Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton, steady and versatile running back Knowshon Moreno and the stellar wide receiver Brandon Lloyd. Fox had already stated that he thinks Tim Tebow may be the future of the Broncos, but his hiring manager and new chief of football operations John Elway may feel a bit differently.

Unfortunately, former coach Josh McDaniels came in too early to coach the Broncos, and it ultimately stifled the team.  With the management of the personnel, the trade of Peyton Hillis to the Cleveland Browns and the filming of the San Francisco 49ers in London, Josh McDaniels ended his tenure as head coach for the Broncos.

With the current weapons at their disposal and under head coach John Fox, this team could potentially develop into a playoff contender, resembling more of a Baltimore Ravens-lite, if you will.  Although Knowshon Moreno is not the caliber of Ray Rice currently, he does have more consistency in scoring, although he is prone to injury.  The trade of Peyton Hillis to the Browns hurt this running corps tremendously.  Correll Buckhalter never had the talent to become a spectacular runner for the Denver Broncos, whereas Peyton Hillis did and he took advantage of displaying his running ability of the Browns early this season.  And Brandon Lloyd has more consistency than the Ravens Anquan Boldin and just as physical, if not more.

Coach John Fox has great potential for the Denver Broncos, although he did have tremendous swings while he was coaching the Carolina Panthers. In 2003, 2005 and 2008, he had at least a 11-5 record and got into the playoffs for those respective seasons.  However, since 2002, he’s had six losing seasons with the Panthers and a record of .507 as head coach.

This Fox may be in the Broncos stable for now, but he has to start out strong or otherwise he will be on a short leash in 2011 (or 2012, should the labor agreement fail). His conservative nature may not bode well for this offense in particular, as he would focus on the run more than the pass.  This team simply doesn’t have the speed of Jonathan Stewart, and Fox would love to run the heck out of Knowshon Moreno.  Moreno simply doesn’t have the durability to do that. The best option for the Denver Broncos would be to hire an offensive coordinator to direct the offense, much like the Chicago Bears do.  In light of all this, John Fox as  a Denver Broncos head coach is a good hire, but Fox will not bring fireworks for this offense.

Wade Phillips Hired as Defensive Coordinator for the Texans: Building a Better Defense

Since Wade Phillips has been hired as defensive coordinator and his firing as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, it would be interesting to see his impact on the Texans defense.  On the bright side, he won’t be making decisions on the offensive side of the ball, and he won’t have to deal with Tony Romo and his off-field issues at times.

Given Wade Phillips track record, he originally began as the defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints and the Philadelphia Eagles early on his career from 1981 to 1988.   Until 1993, he replaced the Denver Broncos head coach Dan Reeves, but he was fired after a 7-9 record for the Broncos in 1994 in which management felt that he had lost control of the team, much like he did with the Dallas Cowboys in the beginning of the 2010 season.

But life got better when he began coaching for the Buffalo Bills.  He maintained a record of 10-6 and 11-5 in 1998 and 1999 respectively.  Unfortunately, he lost to the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs with Jeff Fisher at the helm of the Titans — otherwise known as the epic Music City Miracle.  Through the “Home Run Throwback,” a series of laterals from the Titans Lorenzo, Frank Wycheck and finally Kevin Dyson, Dyson ran for a 75-yard touchdown down the sidelines.  The Titans won by a score of 22-16.  But that was then, and this is now.

When he inherited the Dallas Cowboys team, the team already had a top-ranked defense and a solid offense with Tony Romo. From a 13-3 record in 2007 to a startling 1-7 record start for the Dallas Cowboys in 2010, the mismanagement of the team caused him to be fired again.

Now he begins anew for the Houston Texans as a defensive coordinator in the AFC South who ended 6-10.  Considering his track record in the AFC, he had generally built a solid, aggressive defense with generally more than 30-plus takeways on their defenses.  He should be able to work with head coach Gary Kubiak and make the adjustments to the 3-4 defensive corps.  Phillips always gives the team’s defenses the necessary boost for a couple of years, but then it always seems to fall after the second season.  The Buffalo Bills and the Dallas Cowboys are such examples. Given the inconsistencies this season, hopefully, the Texans offense will be better next season offensively with elite running back Arian Foster and quarterback Matt Schaub to coincide with the Phillips-made defense and defensive schemes.