As we saw last season around the NFL, there are multiple teams stuck between complete irrelevance and attempting to rebuild on the fly. This led to some rather pedestrian performances from about half the league.
Some of the teams that struggled — the San Francisco 49ers as an example — were ravaged by injuries. Others simply think their talent is much better than what was displayed on the field.
Whatever the reason, here is a look at seven NFL teams that must simply end the charade and start anew with a rebuild.
If it wasn’t going to happen with Matt Ryan playing at an MVP level and Kyle Shanahan acting the part of the best offensive coordinator in the NFL, it’s not going to happen now. Things have simply spiraled for these Falcons since they blew a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI against the Patriots.
The team fired offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian following a disappointing seven-win 2018 campaign. Ryan is still playing well, but his supporting cast took a hit last season. Meanwhile, Dan Quinn’s defense is a shell of its former self. Closer to the NFC South cellar than first place, it might be time for Atlanta to blow it all up.
Even before Alex Smith suffered a potentially career-ending injury late November, it was pretty ridiculous for the Redskins’ brass to believe they could contend. Rookie running back Derrius Guice went down to a torn ACL during camp. Meanwhile, the team’s defense — led by overpaid cornerback Josh Norman — was not ready to contend.
What followed was a disastrous seven-win season in the nation’s capital. Head coach Jay Gruden and Co. are now set to rely on a combination of Case Keenum and Colt McCoy at quarterback next season. It’s time to stop the charade in D.C.
How often can a team say it lost two future Hall of Fame players in the prime of their careers within two weeks of one another? That’s what we saw in Pittsburgh after the team traded seven-time Pro Bowl receiver Antonio Brown and saw All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell depart in free agency.
Given the drama surrounding franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the lack of any real impact moves in free agency, Pittsburgh has fallen behind both Cleveland and Baltimore in the AFC North. It’s now time to start anew. That could include moving on from Big Ben and longtime head coach Mike Tomlin at some point soon.
Moving on from longtime head coach Marvin Lewis was the first step. Cincinnati simply wasn’t going to move forward with him on the sideline. Hiring a young, but inexperienced head coach in Zac Taylor was the next step. We’re also impressed that Cincinnati finally decided to release linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
At issue here is the pitcher-catcher battery mate of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. Both have hit their ceilings with Dalton’s being nothing more than a bottom-12 starting quarterback in the NFL. Meanwhile, the 30-year-old Green doesn’t fit into Cincinnati’s long-term plans. It’s time this team trash everything and start anew.
Is Matthew Stafford a bad quarterback? No. Is he the type of player that could act as a top-end option for a contending team? The answer to that question is also a resounding no. With the defensive-minded Matt Patricia at the helm, we’re suggesting that Detroit find value in a trade for Stafford before it’s too late.
After all, the roster make up in Detroit is not indicative of competing against the likes of Green Bay, Minnesota and Chicago in a loaded NFC North. Why continue to waste the latter years of Stafford’s career in complete irrelevance? It’s time to get what they can for him and move on to a complete rebuild.
In a way, Buffalo decided to rebuild on the fly last year when it traded Pro Bowl quarterback Tyrod Taylor — replacing him with project rookie Josh Allen. In the mean time, the Bills still relied on a whole host of veterans. That included running back LeSean McCoy. This all came after Buffalo ended one of the longest playoff droughts in professional sports.
As currently formed, this team is not going to be in contention any time soon. Unfortunately, general manager Brandon Beane decided to sign aging veterans such as Frank Gore, John Brown and Cole Beasley in free agency. As much as we think Buffalo should be in full-scale rebuild mode, the powers to be in Western New York disagree wholeheartedly.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Hiring the 66-year-old Bruce Arians to be their new head coach seems to suggest that the Buccaneers are looking to contend immediately. What a foolish approach from a team that’s still running out an immature and mistake-prone Jameis Winston at quarterback. Heck, the dude was benched in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick last season.
Even when we look beyond the quarterback position, things are amiss in Tampa Bay. There’s no true three-down back to speak of. The Bucs traded receiver DeSean Jackson and saw fellow pass-catcher Adam Humphries depart in free agency. What’s the plan in Tampa Bay following a five-win season? That’s a darn good question. It’s also one we don’t think the Bucs’ brass has an answer for.