NFL Wild Card weekend has come and gone. We were treated to 3 highly entertaining games and one not so entertaining (sorry KC-HOU). There are 4 teams now getting started with their off-season so I’m going to go ahead and say what I think these teams need to do this summer.
Houston Texans: My god were they bad on Saturday. The defense did it’s job to try and keep them in the game (13-0 score at halftime), but the offense did absolutely nothing. And all that came down to what might be the worst performance of Brian Hoyer’s career. I thought that Hoyer got a bad rap in Cleveland because of Johnny Football mania, but now I have seen the light. He is not a quarterback you can win with. So until they get a better quarterback, they’ll be nothing more than a first round exit.
Targets for this team? Just look at the two players just waiting to get cut from their respective franchises, Johnny Manziel and Robert Griffin III. The better fit here is easily Griffin because he has considerably less baggage, and he’s got a chip on his shoulder after the way his tenure in Washington ended. Another route they could go is the draft. If they go in that direction, I’d expect them to take Christian Hackenberg from Penn State in the 2nd or 3rd round. O’Brien recruited him there when he was the coach at Penn State, and I’m sure he’d like to get Hackenberg to reach his full potential under him in Houston. Of those two options, Griffin is the likelier route because it would take at least another 2-3 years with Hackenberg, and O’Brien just can’t sacrifice the time if he wants to keep his job.
Summary: Get a better quarterback. Either RGIII in free agency, or draft and develop Christian Hackenberg.
Cincinnati Bengals: When taking a look at this team, many will point to Marvin Lewis and his 0-7 playoff record. Many will say they’re a very talented team, but Andy Dalton isn’t a quarterback you can win a Super Bowl with. But what did this team in this year was undisciplined play by their “leaders” on defense Adam “Pacman” Jones and Vontaze Burfict. To get started in the off-season I would not resign Pacman in free agency. His contract is over, and although he is a good player, his actions were what ultimately caused this team to lose the football game. Time to let him be somebody else’s problem. As for Vontaze Burfict, he’s under contract for the next 2 seasons so unless they cut him, it looks like they’re stuck with him. There was a reason he went undrafted in 2012, issues off the field and undisciplined play on the field. Other than that the Bengals are pretty damn solid everywhere else.
Summary: Get rid of your undisciplined players, mainly Pacman Jones and Vontaze Burfict.
Minnesota Vikings: This team is pretty set for the future. Adrian Peterson was back and just as dominant, Stephon Diggs emerged as a potential #1 receiver, and franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater showed steady improvement throughout the year. Mike Zimmer also has this team playing great defense. Their defensive line is pretty good, and they’re secondary was much improved from a year ago thanks to the drafting of Trae Waynes in the first round and signing Terrance Newman. Only thing I think they should try to improve is to get another solid linebacker as insurance for Chad Greenway, and one more weapon on the offensive side of the ball to put opposite of Stephon Diggs. Mike Wallace is way too inconsistent to count on.
Summary: Depth at linebacker, one more weapon on offense.
Washington Redskins: Defense, defense, defense. This team during the regular season ranked 28th in total yards allowed and 17th in scoring defense. That’s not a good recipe for winning football, especially in the playoffs. Kirk Cousins looks to be a solid starter in the league (let’s see if he can continue his production next year), and they have the other weapons on offense to help them win games with Desean Jackson, Jordan Reed, and Pierre Garcon. So if they spend their off-season upgrading their roster on the defensive side of the ball, they should be the favorite to win the division once again next year.
Summary: Upgrade your defensive talent.
Article by Thomas Mooney