The Seahawks Hired Mike Macdonald To Be The New Head Coach

Did the Seahawks just hire the best head coaching candidate available?

It’s interesting to go through the list of current NFL head coaches – in order of year hired – and see the different head coaching classes. When the Commanders finally get their asses in gear, 19 of the 32 head coaches will have been hired in 2022 or later. WELL over half of all head coaches have been in their current jobs for 2 seasons or less.

There are currently only three from the 2021 class: Dan Campbell (whose stock is as high as can be, in spite of some questionable decisions in the NFC Championship Game), Robert Saleh (who feels like he needs a HUGE 2024 with a healthy Aaron Rodgers and probably a deep playoff run if he still wants to be with the Jets in 2025), and Nick Sirianni (who took the Eagles to the Super Bowl in year two, only to almost get fired in year three).

The 2020 class has just two members: Mike McCarthy (in desperate need of a deep playoff run to save his job) and Kevin Stefanski (who probably earned Coach of the Year with the job he did with the Browns in 2023). There’s two left from 2019: Zac Taylor & Matt LaFleur (not going anywhere). No one from 2018. Pretty big three from 2017: Sean McDermott, Sean McVay, and Kyle Shanahan. Then, you have to go back to the Old Guard: 2013 – Andy Reid, 2008 – John Harbaugh, 2007 – Mike Tomlin.

So, what does that tell us? Unless there’s a VERY big surprise looming, there are currently seven members of the 2024 class of new head coaches: Raheem Morris (Atlanta), Dave Canales (Carolina), Jim Harbaugh (Chargers), Jerod Mayo (New England), Brian Callahan (Tennessee), Mike Macdonald (Seahawks), and whoever the Commanders hire. What the above tells us is that in three years, over half of these guys aren’t going to hit.

How to predict where it’s going to work and where it isn’t is kind of a fool’s errand. Canales seems like a longshot to be good. He’s going to the least stable franchise of the bunch (with a crazy owner, a legitimately bad team, and no first round draft pick this year), he’s coming off of only a year as a coordinator, and he just has the feel of a guy who took a job nobody else wanted (I wonder if the same will be said for whoever Washington hires). I’m always leery of the Head Coach In Waiting, ever since it went so poorly with Jim Mora Jr. in Seattle. Seems like Mayo has a huge job ahead of him to right the ship in New England. And I’ll be honest, I had no idea the Titans hired Callahan – or even who Callahan was – until I looked him up and realized he was the OC for Cincinnati. Oh, you mean the offense with the best quarterback we’ve seen since Patrick Mahomes, with one of the most talented and elite wide receivers in the game? Seems hard to NOT have success in that job.

After Raheem Morris’ initial stint as one of the worst active head coaches in the NFL from 2009-2011, I’ll admit he wasn’t on my short list of favorite candidates. Didn’t Bill Simmons coin the phrase WARM (Wins Above Raheem Morris) as a play on baseball’s WAR stat? I’m sure he’s come a long way in the intervening years, but he joins a Falcons team with no quarterback, and no real great shot at drafting one of the top three. If we’re just going by which team – who hired a new coach this offseason – is set up the best from a personnel perspective, then I would say Jim Harbaugh has the best chance to succeed. If the Chargers can’t find a way to win with Justin Herbert and a competent head coach, then they’re more cursed than I realized.

So, unless one of these guys really surprises me, I think Mike Macdonald has a real chance to be great. He’s joining a really solid franchise in the Seahawks, with a lot of good, young, talented players. He’s got a strong GM who should continue to draft well and sign the right guys, now that he’s the head man in charge. And, just based on what I’ve heard about him, it really seems like he has a special aura about him. Very intelligent, very gifted (at least at running a defense), players love him, and he becomes the youngest head coach in the NFL at the moment (if you’re that young and rising through the ranks this fast, you must be doing something right).

Obviously, there are two ways to go with hiring an NFL head coach: bring in a retread, or find someone new from among the college or coordinator ranks. By my calculations, there are currently eight head coaches with previous head coaching experience. Admittedly, that’s sort of an educated guess; I didn’t go through every single bio. Best-case scenario of those guys? Andy Reid, and he obviously gets to enjoy the talents of Mahomes after a successful run in Philly. While there are occasional hits (Pete Carroll obviously being one of them), the retreads never seem to work out too well. For every Bill Belichick, there’s dozens of Mike McCarthys and Dennis Allens. Oddly enough, Bill Belichick was one of the guys available in this go-around, but clearly John Schneider wasn’t ready to hand over the keys to personnel after he just got them handed to himself.

If I had to go with a retread, I would’ve been happy with Mike Vrabel, but I’ll admit I’m pretty thrilled we’re going with someone new and young. I know there’s lots of new, young guys hired every year, but if you find that dynamic someone, it can really be a boost for your franchise for years to come. I find it incredibly heartening that Mike Macdonald is being described as the defensive version of Sean McVay. And not just as a play caller or a schemer, but as someone who can transition into the head coaching job, find the right coaches to put around him, and has the vision to make it all work. On top of which, you know he’s hungry and you know he’s going to give it everything he’s got. Can you say the same thing about Sean Payton or Doug Pederson?

In 2022, in his first year as the Ravens’ DC, they were 3rd in fewest points scored and rushing yards allowed (10th in total yards allowed), as well as tied for fifth in sacks. In 2023, the defense improved to 1st in points allowed, 1st in sacks, and 1st in lowest passer rating allowed, all the while improving to 6th in total yards allowed. And that’s with blitzing less than all but seven teams, according to this article. The more I read about him and hear about him, the more impressed I am!

But, you know, as with any head coach, there are so many variables at play. So many other decisions left to make. Who will be his assistant coaches? What are we doing with Geno Smith? What are we doing in the draft? How long until the team is sold? How solid is John Schneider’s job in the organization?

I’ll tell you what, though, this hire gives me a lot of hope! It’ll ultimately be decided on the football field, likely over the next 2-3 seasons. But, I think we’ve set ourselves up very well to succeed the greatest head coach in franchise history and a legitimate hall of fame candidate. I can’t wait to see what these new Seahawks look like. If nothing else, I’m expecting a rapid turnaround of the defense. And, as we all know, that’s when the Seahawks are always at their best.

The Seahawks Are Lucky To Be Rid Of Russell Wilson

I occasionally return to writing about Russell Wilson, because he’s a truly fascinating figure in Seattle sports history. “How the mighty have fallen” is something that comes immediately to mind.

There was an article released by The Athletic today outlining his miserable first year in Denver. It also touched on the impetus for him being traded to the Broncos in the first place: he allegedly went to Seahawks ownership and called for them to fire Pete Carroll and John Schneider. Wilson has since denied those claims on Twitter – an intriguing move, to be sure, since I don’t know him to be so reactionary when negative news about him is released – but the Seahawks have stuck to their usual stance of not commenting whatsoever.

I don’t think anyone is really inclined to believe anything that Russell Wilson says at this point. There was another bombshell recently released that got into Wilson’s charitable foundation, and how they may or may not be spending their money. Turns out extravagantly wealthy people aren’t always all that inclined to give away their money, and that they may inflate what they’ve purported to donate. The sad thing is that he’s just like any other multi-millionaire in the world.

While he might not have gone directly to Jody Allen (or whoever’s running the show with the Seahawks), I would venture to guess probably his agent passed along both of their wishes. It’s particularly believable given the additional nugget of information released by The Athletic: that Wilson’s preferred head coaching replacement for Pete Carroll was Sean Payton. We all know Wilson’s affinity for Drew Brees, and the fact that the Saints were on his previous list of teams he’d be willing to be traded to (back when Payton was still their coach).

There’s an alternate universe where Russell Wilson spends his entire career with the Seahawks. It’s fascinating to contemplate what would’ve happened if the organization sided with the player over the coach and general manager. What kind of dystopian hellscape would THAT look like?

For starters, we wouldn’t have had Denver’s draft picks last year. No Charles Cross at left tackle. Who takes that spot? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe we would’ve re-signed Duane Brown for one more year. We wouldn’t have had Boye Mafe either (he didn’t do a ton as a rookie), and there’s a legitimate question as to whether or not we would’ve used our other second round pick on Kenneth Walker. I mean, really, without John Schneider running the draft, it’s highly unlikely we’d have ANY of the guys we got. We’re talking an entirely different, unknown crop of rookies and free agent moves, all likely catering to Wilson’s whims.

Also, I would strongly doubt the Seahawks could’ve managed to hire Sean Payton in this kind of situation. Why would he want to come here? As we’ve seen the last two years, he clearly had his pick of the litter when it came to head coaching jobs. Why would he put himself into a situation where he’d have to be subservient to his quarterback? It’s also a situation that has him living in Seattle (probably not his ideal destination), working for an organization that might be going through an ownership change as soon as 2024. That sounds like a headache I’m sure he would’ve rather avoided.

But, if you believe Wilson had that kind of pull this time last year – that he could convince Payton to come here – then I suppose you can look at the 2023 Broncos as sort of a barometer or the kind of success we might’ve enjoyed in 2022. Except, the 2023 Broncos have a drastically superior roster of talent outside of the quarterback spot, compared to what the Seahawks had last season.

I’m trying to imagine what the Seahawks would’ve looked like this past year, with Wilson behind the center, running Payton’s offense with our guys (minus Kenneth Walker, of course), saddled with that defense (that surely would’ve performed worse than they actually did, thanks to the loss of Carroll’s guiding influence). It seems like it would’ve been an absolute nightmare, made all the worse by the fact that WE would be the ones overpaying for Wilson’s diminishing services for the next however many years.

Now, if you take Sean Payton out of that equation, and saddle us with a Nathaniel Hackett (or whoever we could’ve managed to convince to coach here), I think we’re talking about a team that’s even WORSE than what the 2022 Broncos actually were.

I believe that Russell Wilson believes that Pete Carroll and John Schneider were holding him back in his quest to win MVPs and Super Bowls. I also can’t entirely dismiss that line of thinking. It’s easy to sit here and dunk on Wilson. Age is catching up to him, his size limits his ability to throw over the intermediate middle, and hubris is preventing him from ceding control or reining in his preferred style of play (meaning he no longer runs with the football, and opts to take deep shots over checkdowns that might actually net more yards). So, I fully understand the instinct to call Wilson crazy. The only person holding Russell Wilson back is Russell Wilson.

But, I can’t just unsee what he did in the second half of 2015.

It’s the outlier to end all outliers. In the final seven games of the regular season, the Seahawks went 6-1. In those six victories, Wilson’s lowest passer rating was 123.7 (his average rating over that span was 132.8). He had a 71% completion percentage. He threw for 1,906 yards, with an absolutely RIDICULOUS 24:1 touchdown to interception ratio. It’s literally the best stretch of football I’ve ever seen by a quarterback, and it was unlike literally any other season he’s played in the NFL. He threw from the pocket, he threw with precision, on time, to all areas of the field (including the intermediate middle). I can’t even fathom how brilliant and efficient the Seahawks’ offense was, at a time when our rushing attack wasn’t there to prop us up. It was all on the arm of Russell Wilson. And, I’m afraid it’s warped everyone’s thinking – including his own – ever since.

The sad part is the fact that he reverted right back to his usual style of play when we hit the playoffs that season (the last of our L.O.B. Championship Window). It really seemed like we’d turned a page, and the offense was ready to ascend that year. Instead, we barely got by the Vikings in the wild card round, before taking a HUGE shit early deficit in the first half of the divisional round against Carolina, before our furious comeback fell seven points short in the end.

From then on, though, it felt like there was no limit to Wilson’s abilities. Sure, he had the running, and he had the play-action deep balls, but now he had this precision timing offense down. THAT was supposed to be the key to how he’d age gracefully in this league. And when we never saw him do it again, we all assumed it was because Pete Carroll was holding back the offense. And/or because John Schneider wasn’t giving Wilson the guys he needed around him to make it work.

Part of that is true. Carroll did rein in the offense. Except, it was only AFTER Wilson made too many horrendous throws and turned the ball over an uncharacteristic amount. And, of course, how can we forget all the times John Schneider did, in fact, sign free agents that were Wilson-approved? The Greg Olsen tenure here is a boil on my ass that will never go away.

This takes us back to Russell Wilson being the only person holding Russell Wilson back. But, he still did what he did in that 2015 season. And it’s fair to wonder what his career might’ve looked like if he’d had Sean Payton’s offense from the get go.

It’s also fair to wonder if it’s too little, too late. He’ll be 35 years old in November. And he’s clearly not aging the way Tom Brady aged into his 35th year.

I’m just glad he’s not our problem anymore.

Will Russell Wilson Be A Hall Of Famer?

It feels insane to even ask this. Even one year ago, I would’ve told you, “Absolutely, 100%!” But, after that 2022 season, it’s probably a fair question. I mean, shit, people are going to debate Eli Manning’s worthiness up until (and probably even after) he gets in, and the dude won two Super Bowls and is in the top ten of all time passing yardage leaders; you don’t think people are going to debate someone as polarizing as Russell Wilson?

If Russell Wilson was having this career 30 years ago, it’d be a no-brainer. He’d already be a lock to get into the Hall of Fame. But, times have clearly changed. Guys are passing for more and more yards; it’s easier than ever to be an NFL quarterback! I no longer think it’s a simple matter of hanging around for a long time and passing for a ton of yards. I think you need titles, plural. I think you need an MVP or two. I think you need to make a significant impact upon the NFL, ideally with playoff appearances and victories.

Let’s take Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan, for instance. Both have thrown for over 60,000 yards; only 8 players have ever done so (Aaron Rodgers will be the 9th, if he plays again next year). There’s even a legitimate question about those two guys, though! Ryan has one Super Bowl appearance (that he famously lost), and Rivers doesn’t even have that. Ryan probably has a little bit of an edge, given that he was the Rookie of the Year and later an MVP, but he’s also only cracked the Pro Bowl four times in his career, and has had plenty of infuriating and underwhelming seasons to his credit.

Wilson, right now, sits at 21 in total passing yards with 40,583. Even if he just repeats his abysmal 2022 season, he’ll get to around 18th in 2023. He’s only 34 years old and has every intention of playing until he’s 40 or beyond. Presumably, even it if means bouncing from team to team, taking whatever chances to start that he can get. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t get to at least 50,000 yards passing, and if he does find a way to start for another six years, that probably gets him over the hump of 60,000. But, again, will that – and one title – be enough?

We’ll have to take into consideration what the league looks like by the time Wilson hangs ’em up. Mahomes will be skyrocketing up the passing yardage rankings, as will Burrow, Allen, Herbert, and maybe even Lawrence. He almost certainly will have played an entire career without so much as an MVP vote, let alone an MVP award. And, with the way he’s playing as he ages, I’m finding it harder and harder to believe he’s got another ring in him. The longer that goes on, the more people are going to recognize that 2013 Seahawks team for what it was: the genius of Pete Carroll and John Schneider, and the dominance of Marshawn Lynch and the L.O.B. It’s already swinging back in that direction after years of trying to shoehorn Wilson in there as the catalyst (of which I bought in as much as anyone).

And then there’s the Popularity Contest part of the Hall of Fame voting. You need a media person to plead your case to the committee. Is he well liked by the media? Given his boring, robotic quotes in literally every single interview, I’m guessing not. Is he liked at all? If Kyle Brandt’s not-even-hot take is at all representative of the greater American football media, it wouldn’t shock me if Wilson doesn’t have someone champing at the bit to vouch for him. Jake Heaps isn’t even on the radio anymore, for crying out loud!

I’ll admit, I’m really torn. There’s part of me that wants to see Russell Wilson succeed again, but I think in general I’m going to have a hard time rooting for him in a Broncos uniform. I think a lot of that has to do with me just not liking that particular team. I also have very little love for the Walmart family just based on their business practices alone. But, there’s also that need for the Seahawks to be correct in their decision-making. If Russell Wilson bounces back and leads the Broncos to the Super Bowl, that makes them look better than us. But, if he bounces back with his next team, then we’re an organization removed from this trade, and I can start to see myself rooting for a Wilson comeback (unless he returns to the NFC West to play for one of our rivals, then fuck him).

If I just take the last couple years out of it and stick to the good ol’ days, there are a TON of fond memories. All I would have to do is search Russell Wilson Seahawks Highlights on YouTube and there’d be countless compilation videos of him doing amazing, wonderful, magical things. You look at the Seahawks’ records in those seasons, you look at his records on the stat sheet, it all boils down to the best quarterback this organization has ever had.

When Russell Wilson retires, I’m sure we’ll get right back there. But, you can’t disregard what’s gone down the last two years. His vocal discontent in the media. His talking about a trade demand, followed by the next offseason actually following through on that demand. The way he made things miserable for this organization in his final season here. The way every contract he signed hamstrung this team in ways Tom Brady’s never has. Our worst nightmare – once it became clear Wilson was a star in this league – was him turning into a Me First diva. That’s exactly what happened, and it made the Seahawks actively worse as a result.

It’s not totally unforgivable, but it’s going to take some time to get over. You learn a lot about what kind of guy someone is the longer he stays around with the same team. I think we wanted to desperately to believe Russell Wilson was infallible, that we couldn’t see he was actually the cancer in this organization all along.

But, getting back to the original question, I would say right now, he is not a hall of famer. If he doesn’t win another title, he probably needs another 10-15 thousand more yards. And, even if he does manage to win one more, I’m guessing it’ll be more about the team around him than what he’s able to do slinging the ball. If that’s the case, I think he’s Eli 2.0, and it might take him a while to get over the hump.

Then again, he got his ultimate wish of having Sean Payton becoming his head coach, so I definitely won’t rule out a crazy Russell Wilson Second Act!

Is This A Joke?

I wasn’t going to write about this when I first heard about it last night, because it’s pointless and stupid.  It’s a list, of the 32 NFL head coaches, ranked in order of best to worst.  I guess.  Anyway, it’s dumb.  Everyone makes lists all the time and they’re all retarded, except this guy KINDA takes the cake.

Remember the name Elliot Harrison, because this guy’s going places.  I mean, if he can generate this type of chatter in the middle of July, he must be pushing just the right buttons.

I’ll get to what’s really grinding my gears in a bit, but first, I’ll just say that for the most part, I don’t have a problem with this guy’s rankings.  The guys at the bottom are there for a reason – they lack NFL head coaching experience.  I might have ranked Gus Bradley a little higher, partly because I’m biased and partly because I like to look at someone’s potential when I do these types of things.  I think Gus Bradley has a chance to be great.  And, I think the Jags will be one of the most improved teams this year.  So, to get in on the ground floor, I probably would have put Gus around 20 or 19 or something.

I would have put Jason Garrett dead last.  He is, BY FAR, the worst head coach of them all.  I know he doesn’t get many favors from his GM (except further employment for some ungodly reason), but he has bungled more than his fair share of games and probably should’ve been fired a season or two ago.

I also think Joe Philbin is a ninny and should be placed closer to the bottom than he already is.

I’m a little higher on Ron Rivera and probably would’ve put him in the mid-teens.  I think Rex Ryan’s coasting on his AFC Championship games he had way back when and isn’t nearly as good as his ranking.  Mike Smith is probably a little too high, as is John Fox, but really, these are all minor quibbles.

Pete Carroll is ranked 7th.  In a vacuum, that doesn’t sound so bad.  If I looked at him, then shut my eyes, and tried to think of a good ranking for him, I feel like the number 7 would pop right into my mind.  But, that’s without any consideration for the other coaches listed above him.

Mike McCarthy is ranked 6th.  Say what?

Tom Coughlin is ranked 5th.  Ehh, that feels right.  Guy has been around a long time, has a couple championships to his name.  Yeah, he’s missed the playoffs a few times, but the guy has made a champion of Eli Manning twice over!

John Harbaugh is ranked 4th.  Again, I’d probably rank him ahead of Pete Carroll as well.  He’s had a lot of sustained success since he got the head coaching job with the Ravens.  They share the same number of championships; I’m okay with that.

Here’s where it gets me – and I’m sure it was intentional.  Jim Harbaugh is ranked 3rd.  You see, this is the genius of Elliot Harrison.  Ideally, if he wants to piss off any fanbase, it’s probably that of the Patriots.  They’re the loudest and most easily-peeved by any slight against them.  But, to do so would have meant ranking Harbaugh over Bill Belichick, and that’s just insanity.  Belichick might go down as one of the greatest head coaches of all time.  To rank anyone ahead of him would immediately render his list as invalid.

So, instead, Elliot Harrison decided to troll TWO fanbases – Seattle & Baltimore – by not only ranking our most hated rival FOUR SPOTS ahead of Pete Carroll, but also ranking the wrong Harbaugh brother ahead of the other.

Let me see if I get this straight:  the two Harbaugh boys coached against one another in the Super Bowl before last, and the LOSER of said Super Bowl ends up getting ranked ahead of the victor?  Just because he’s 3 for 3 in NFC Championship appearances, that gets him the nod?  Even though John Harbaugh had made the playoffs in five consecutive seasons, making three AFC Championship Games and the aforementioned Super Bowl victory over his brother … he gets docked a point for missing the playoffs one time?  Are you KIDDING ME?

I think I’m more upset about this whole John/Jim fiasco than I am with Harbaugh being ranked so far ahead of Pete Carroll.

You want my opinion?  Here’s my top ten (I’m not going all the way to 32, because what’s the point?):

  1. Bill Belichick
  2. Sean Payton
  3. John Harbaugh
  4. Tom Coughlin
  5. Pete Carroll
  6. Jim Harbaugh
  7. Andy Reid
  8. Jeff Fisher
  9. Lovie Smith
  10. Mike Tomlin

Now there’s a ranking that’s somewhat respectable.  But, it’s not a ranking that’s necessarily going to draw a bunch of fire from pissed off fanbases.  It’s just a ranking that makes SENSE.  Jim Harbaugh inherited a team that already had a ton of talent on it.  Pete Carroll, and some of these other coaches ahead of Harbaugh, took over teams that were pretty bad.  They’ve BUILT something.  They’re not living off of the success of previous regimes.  You know what’s going to happen when the talent on the 49ers gets too old?  You’re going to see Jim Harbaugh start missing the playoffs more and more.

However, the Seahawks – a team not afraid to play younger guys at key positions – should be able to regenerate on a yearly basis, thanks to Pete Carroll’s coaching style and philosophy.

I’ll say this:  this Elliot Harrison guy’s rankings will look a lot different next year, after the Seahawks are coming off their second of two championship seasons.

Seattle Sports Hell NFL Power Rankings

You’ve seen the best … now see the rest!

I don’t believe in any Power Rankings before the season, because I think they’re inane.  You can’t POSSIBLY know how good a team is going to be before you’ve actually seen them play.  And if you’re basing your rankings on last year’s finishes or this year’s pre-season games, then you’re a fucking retard and you deserve to have at least one family member shot in the face.

The first two weeks of the NFL season are a total crapshoot, plain and simple.  Who saw the Cardinals as a 2-0 team?  Who saw the Saints as 0-2?  Who could have figured there would be SO MANY 1-1 teams???

But now, two games in, you can kind of have an idea.  Last year, we had a weekly feature called the Suck For Luck Impotence Rankings.  Since I feel the Seahawks won’t suck (and since there is no Luck-equivalent in next year’s draft), I’ve decided to broaden my horizons and do what just about every other football blog does.  An NFL Power Rankings.  Besides, I need SOMETHING to write about on Tuesdays during the NFL season …

  1. San Francisco 49ers:  I plan on picking this team to win each and every week until they prove to me that they’re not as dominant as they really are.
  2. Atlanta Falcons:  I refuse to put Houston here until they play a team that’s NOT in the bottom five in all of the NFL.
  3. Houston Texans:  I mean, for the love of Christ, at least the Falcons played Denver and kind of bashed their brains in.
  4. Green Bay Packers:  I still like them.  They didn’t blow Chicago away, but then again that game was on a Thursday.  I don’t expect ANY team to dominate on a Thursday.  Thursday games are the fucking worst.
  5. New England Patriots:  I feel like an idiot putting the Pats this high, considering they lost to the Cards at home.  But, if you replay that game 100 times, New England is easily winning that game 85% of the time.
  6. Baltimore Ravens:  I don’t feel like an idiot putting the Ravens this low.  Yeah, they looked great against the Bengals, yeah, they’ll probably be a playoff team.  But, they’re still the Ravens and I think they still lose in any big game to the Patriots.
  7. Chicago Bears:  The Bears are going to have a couple stinkers every season as long as they employ Cutler.  That having been said, they’ve got a ton of weapons on offense, their defense is still stout, and they’ll rip off a bunch of wins this season making everyone wonder why they wrote the Bears off so early in the season.
  8. Arizona Cardinals:  That defense is no joke.  They certainly won’t stay this high in my rankings (then again, their early-season schedule is almost unfathomably easy).  But, by going into New England and beating the Pats (and killing many survivor pools in the process), they have earned this Top 10 ranking.
  9. Pittsburgh Steelers:  They’ve still got Ben.  He’s their wildcard.  If he stays healthy and doesn’t crap the bed, they will be winners.  Yeah, their defense is old and injury-prone, but when healthy they’re still good and able to handle the teams they should.
  10. San Diego Chargers:  Is this the year that Philip Rivers holds his turnovers in check?  My fantasy team sure as shit hopes so.
  11. Philadelphia Eagles:  I think this team has gotten a bad rap so far, mostly because they’ve stunk quite a bit.  That having been said, they have a lot of talent on this team.  When they gel and get into a groove, watch out.  Still, their performance against Cleveland keeps them out of the top 10 until they finally dominate a team they should.
  12. Seattle Seahawks:  Defense – check.  Special Teams – check.  This offense will only improve as the season goes on.  When it does, watch out NFL.
  13. Denver Broncos:  Not an ideal showing for Manning last night.  He will improve.  That team will improve.  By season’s end, I still think they make the playoffs.
  14. Detroit Lions:  We all know their defense is shitty, but maybe it’s not AS shitty as we think.  Either way, I say the Lions beat these next two teams in my rankings hands down.
  15. Dallas Cowboys:  They land here because they’re not terrible, and because their defense is WAY better than the next team’s.
  16. New York Giants:  What happened to the G-men?  That defense is abysmal!  They’re lucky they have Eli to pull their asses out of the fire.
  17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  I don’t know how they blew that Giants game (Eli being Eli, I guess), but I like these Bucs.  Call me crazy!
  18. New York Jets:  Remember when everyone was sucking their dicks after scoring 48 on the Bills in week 1?  Not so eager anymore, are you?
  19. Cincinnati Bengals:  Tough team to read.  You don’t know if they’re worthless, or if they’re top 10, but they seem to do just enough to get by in most games.  Let’s see if that defense can hold things down like they did last season.
  20. Carolina Panthers:  Still a top-notch offense.  Still a question-mark defense.
  21. St. Louis Rams:  Playing hard under their new coach.  Don’t sleep on their defense, the Redskins are pretty amazing on offense.  Nice to see them come back on Sunday.
  22. Washington Redskins:  A bad defense just got worse with injuries.  These definitely ARE the Carolina Panthers of last season.
  23. New Orleans:  They look kind of lost.  Gotta give Sean Payton his due, he really had a good handle on that team.  They’ll probably finish with a sub-.500 record this season, then bounce back into the playoffs next year.  At which point, give Payton his Coach of the Year award.
  24. Buffalo Bills:  I’m really rooting for this team to get better.  GET BETTER!  I’m sick and tired of the Pats & Jets!
  25. Minnesota Vikings:  Best running back in the game, top-notch pass-rushing defense … I could see this team surprising some teams this year.  It all rests on Ponder.
  26. Indianapolis Colts:  Interesting team so far.  Yeah, they got reamed by the Bears in Week 1, but the Bears are a top-notch team.  I thought they showed a lot in beating the Vikings at home in a close game.
  27. Miami Dolphins:  I anticipate this will be one of the worst teams in the NFL (unless they put Matt Moore back in), so it was a shock to say the least how they handled the Raiders this past week.  Reggie Bush had the game of a lifetime; if he keeps that up, maybe I’ll have to re-think my opinion of this team.
  28. Jacksonville Jaguars:  Yikes.  If the Jags are this high, the four teams below them must be AWFUL.
  29. Oakland Raiders:  Yep, awful.  Carson Palmer can still throw the ball around, but if he can’t complete more than 50% of his passes, then what’s the point?
  30. Kansas City Chiefs:  Their defense might be the worst in football.  It figures, that was the defense the Seahawks saw in the pre-season that essentially won Russell Wilson the job.  What luck!
  31. Cleveland Browns:  I don’t think their defense is that bad.  And Brandon Weeden had an okay game last week!  Who knew?
  32. Tennessee Titans:  I hate to put Jake Locker’s team so low, but I have to wonder how much longer he’ll be starting.  Either injuries or ineffectiveness is going to take him out and that’s a shame.  Their early-season schedule is BRUTAL.  They might not win until week 8!  At which point, it would really behoove their front office to can that head coach and bring someone in who knows what the fuck he’s doing.  Former offensive linemen were not meant to be head coaches!