The bulk of the off-season is finished for the NFL. What are some key questions that need answering for?
Will Johnny Manziel or another rookie quarterback debut first?
Last season E.J. Manuel was the first of the rookie quarterbacks to see the field for Buffalo. It seemed fitting since he was the only first round pick. As for 2014, it’s a bit more clouded. Four teams have legitimate circumstances that may result in a rookie starter. Jacksonville took Blake Bortles 3rd overall. Cleveland of course kickstarted the Johnny Manziel mania and the Minnesota Vikings jumped back into the first round to grab Teddy Bridgewater. One must also not forget Derek Carr lurking in the background in Oakland. Any one of those four names could suddenly leap into the starter chair. The question is who will have bragging rights for doing so first?
Can the Denver Broncos beat the Super Bowl hangover?
Considering the beating they took back in February, it’s hard not to see the Denver Broncos taking a step back in 2014. Their Super Bowl loss was certainly demoralizing and could create that dreaded hangover the losers so often suffer, many to the point of not even making the playoffs the next year. Denver might be took talented of a team to endure that fate, but to dismiss it completely would be shortsighted. Every team since 1999 that has lost a Super Bowl game has had a worse record the following year. It will take serious focus and effort to overcome that trend.
What will J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney do?
Everyone was secretly hoping the Houston Texans did the smart thing in the NFL draft this past May and took uber-talented South Carolina pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney with the #1 pick. The idea of pairing him and all his Pro Bowl potential with superstar J.J. Watt was too good to ignore. Now it has happened. Quite possibly the most talented pass rushing tandem of the past decade is in place. Fans are ever so anxious to see just how much they can dominate because based on pure skill, quarterbacks should be afraid, be very afraid.
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Is Marc Trestman close to solving the Jay Cutler puzzle?
There hasn’t been a more confounding enigma in the NFL over the past few years than quarterback Jay Cutler. On the one hand he has elite-level abilities , acclaimed intelligence and amazing toughness, all of which he has exhibited numerous times. His problem has been a mixture of inconsistency, bad decision-making and simple bad luck Hopes were high that new Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman, a respected quarterback guru, could finally get Cutler to the level expected of him. For time last season things appeared on the right track. Then Jay got hurt, missing five games and largely derailing his progress. As the two progress into the second season of the offense, will more results be yielded?
Who will be the big turnaround team?
Last season the Kansas City Chiefs were the talk of the NFL world when they went from 2-14 the year before to 11-5 and a wild card playoff birth. It has led to speculation about which team will follow their lead in 2014 and go from the doldrums to playoff contention. Will it be the Houston Texans and their scary defense? Will it be the long-suffering Buffalo Bills and their young, talented roster? There are an abundance of interesting choices, all with merit. Whether any of them make the leap will depend on timing and luck.