Now that my television viewing options have become ever so limited with the NFL season ending, what will I have to entertain me during the long offseason? Baseball? Yawnfest. NBA basketball? Only the end of their playoffs and to do daily fantasy sports. I will catch the NCAA basketball tournament when it rolls around, but that’s only about three weeks worth of sports entertainment. It will be on the UFC and a few quality TV shows to give me something to enjoy this NFL offseason.
There may not be any live football games to view, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a number of NFL story lines to follow until the preseason in August. Here are ten things to watch during the NFL’s downtime this spring and summer.
- The dumpster fire that is the Cleveland Browns could get completely out of control while there are no games going on. Their players had a hard enough time keeping in line while the season was in play. Johnny Manziel will get plenty of attention again next year, but if he does nothing on the field we will move on to someone who can actually play.
- Pete Carroll won’t have to deal with “The Call” much longer during the offseason. The Super Bowl is over and done and no amount of explaining can change the outcome. But if things don’t go well early on in 2015 I can see the coach getting doubted by his team and even the local media. Funny how one mistake can derail an entire future, but that’s not a far fetched scenario.
- Depending on how long Roger Goodell wants to delay the findings of the DeflateGate investigation, this may be a big story. But even if the Pats are found to have done something shady with the footballs versus the Colts, what does it matter? They moved on and won the freaking Super Bowl. No findings are going to erase that fact. I doubt the investigation will show any wrongdoing by anyone of importance anyway.
- New England reportedly will try to keep Darrelle Revis another year even though it was generally thought that he would be one and done with the cheapskate Patriots. The guy did his job even though he didn’t have crazy numbers like he has had in the past. And the Patriots may even be able to add some more defensive help if they want to spend the cash. There is no way they will bother spending an extra nickel on receivers with Brady making his wideouts look like world beaters in the postseason. And I have admitted that those no name wide receivers earned their keep when it mattered most. No more will I refer to Julian Edelman as Welker-lite.
- Watching where Ndamukong Suh ends up for 2015 is a big defensive story. It will be hard for Detroit to afford the D-line monster and fine magnet, but a player like Suh comes along so rarely how can they let him leave? Paying him what he’s worth could wreck their salary cap for more than just a couple of years though.
- Will Peyton Manning return for more regular season mastery? It’s looking like old number 18 is going to come back next year as long as the Broncos want him back. But clearly Denver has to have a plan going forward. Manning may have another run in him, but he is certainly not going to be there much more than another farewell season. John Elway best have a good option locked and loaded.
- It’s going to be interesting to see what team rolls the dice on one of the biggest dummies college football has ever produced. Jameis Winston finally got his degree from Florida State and is now a practicing Doctor of Knuckleheadery. No amount of smiles, robotic clichés, or apologies can erase all the dumb things this guy did while at FSU. No way I make him the face of my franchise….but someone will.
- San Francisco will try to move forward without Jim Harbaugh, who is settling into the more friendly confines of Ann Arbor, Michigan. We’ll see how good Colin Kaepernick is without Harbaugh’s Jedi-like QB wisdom. I have a feeling it’s going to be a long year for the 49ers. Their fans better watch a few episodes of ‘Doomsday Preppers’ to get mentally ready for their team’s decline from where Harbaugh had the franchise.
- The Cowboys have their bean counters working overtime and I don’t mean their 2014 taxes. They need to find a way to hold onto both Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray. Both free agents are not headed out of Texas, but the running back is more likely to wear different colors next year than is the wide out. Running backs’ value has dropped with the passing game all but taking over the NFL, so look for Dallas to try their luck with a rookie or running back by committee. With that monster O-line, they should have little trouble finding a decent rushing game without Murray.
- Will Beast Mode be playing for Seattle again in 2015 or will he be elsewhere wrecking safeties that try to hit Marshawn Lynch above the knees? Hell, Lynch may not even play at all. It wouldn’t be the first time a premier running back decided to pack his locker and leave the NFL behind. Running backs have the toughest job physically in all of sports and it should be no surprise that guys fall off so drastically late in their careers. If Lynch does hang it up don’t be shocked. If he comes back with Seattle, which I hope happens, please enjoy every run. There hasn’t been a guy like Lynch in quite a while and he is a dying breed.