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Players Who Sucked This Week

Football

No man or team really sucked this past week. Actually, both games were blowouts so, yes, I supposed I could nominate the Steelers’ and Packers’ defenses.

The stage is set for Super Bowl LI

The stage is set for Super Bowl LI

Hockey

The St. Louis Blues were so bad this week, all three of their goalies made the list: Jake Allen, Carter Hutton, and Pheonix Copley. Allen allowed four goals on 10 shots, Hutton gave up eight, and Copley had a rough first career start.

This happened a lot last week.

This happened a lot last week.

Cam Ward might’ve had the worst week of his career. He gave up 17 goals in two and a half games, with a horrendous .800 SV%.

Semyon Varlamov gave up five goals to the Blackhawks at home, then injured his groin. He will be out til the All-Star break, so I won’t be writing about him again for another month.

Chad Johnson and Brian Elliott. Johnson was pulled six minutes into  Saturday’s game after allowing three goals on only four shots; Elliot came in and allowed four, then he gave up another four to the Maple Leafs last night. And this is why Calgary won’t go anywhere this year.

Ben Bishop was terrible against the Coyotes – five goals on 17 shots in two periods – and the Lightning shooters didn’t help either, making three goals on 48 attempts.

 

Basketball

Dario Saric was by far the worst shooter of the week – in his last four games, he has shot .147 from the field and .200 from beyond the arc. Woof.

"Why won't you cooperate!!"

“Why won’t you cooperate!!”

DeMarre Carroll was almost as bad as Saric, shooting .167 from the field and .143 from long range. Mirza Teletovic was just as bad as Carroll from the field (.167 FG%) and even worse from long range, missing all nine attempts.

DJ Augustin didn’t help the Magic much in his last three games, going 7-25 from the court and .214 from three-point land. Same can be said for Trey Lyles of the Jazz.

 

Players Who Sucked Again

Just wanna give Jake Allen of the St. Louis Blues his appropriate shout out here. Way to do it again. In back to back weeks and in the same article.

 

Dishonorable Mentions

Two pairs of goalies gave up 7-6 scores this past week: Antti Niemi and Henrik Lundqvist started the trend last Tuesday. Then Mike Condon and Joonas Korpisalo copied them Sunday night. Better thank each other for ending up here.

 

Got anyone to add? Write ’em in that comment box.

 

Stats week of 1/17-23

 

Photo credits:
http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x97/soxanddawgs/patriots%20road%20game%20helmet%20logos/patriotsfalcons.jpg
http://cdn.missourinet.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/11-13-Blues-1.jpg
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/cPZ3MUwlG_A/maxresdefault.jpg

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Joel Embiid: The Potential Superstar the NBA Needs

Joel Embiid is the talk of the NBA. After being drafted third overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2014 NBA Draft, he has sat out his first two seasons due to a fractured navicular bone. Yao Ming experienced the same injury, which led to recurring foot issues that ultimately cut his career short.

Sixers fans were hanging on the hope of Embiid finally getting healthy and that he would be worth the wait created by the massive rebuild the franchise began back in 2013. Whenever a sports team enters rebuild mode, it tests the fans’ patience considering the early stages involve very lean years. Most fans were receptive to it, but the angst was exacerbated by the mystery of when Joel Embiid would ever be able to make his NBA debut.

On October 26th, 2015, Joel Embiid made his long-awaited debut against the Oklahoma City Thunder. In just 22 minutes, Embiid led the Sixers with 20 points as he set the tone for the long-awaited feeling of hope and excitement for fans. Embiid has not slowed down yet. Despite averaging 25.4 minutes a game due to the team-imposed restriction, he is averaging 19.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Statistics are courtesy of basketball-reference.com. 

Embiid’s  “Per 36 minutes” numbers are historic for a rookie: 28.8 points, 15.1 rebounds and 4.7 blocks per game. Think he is a typical big man who cannot shoot? Think again. He has a .461 field goal percentage, a free throw percentage of 79% and is shooting .348 beyond the three-point line. Those are pretty remarkable statistics for a volleyball player who didn’t start playing basketball until he was fifteen years old. 

joel-embiid-africa-His impact on the basketball court is at a level that even the biggest optimist could not have imagined. Embiid has brought energy to a Sixers team that is coming off a 10-72 record a season ago. They enter Friday’s game against Portland with a 14-26 record. If Embiid was not on a minute restriction and being held out of the second game of every “Back to Back”, it’s easy to imagine how much better Philadelphia would be. With Embiid in the lineup, the Sixers are 12-17 and have won each of their last seven. For the season, they are 2-9 when Embiid has not played.

In addition to the tangible results, Joel Embiid has completely changed the mood of the franchise and has injected a confidence that was lacking over the past few seasons. He has shown every sign of being a terrific, supportive teammate. This Instagram post following a last-second win over the Knicks, thanks to a buzzer beater by T.J. McConnell says it all.

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The NBA is a star-driven need, more so than any of the other professional sports. In terms of building a championship contender, having a star player is a prerequisite. But looking at the sport as a whole, the league’s popularity, and image and directly tied to its star players. Going back to the 1970s, the NBA was at a very low point. Most of it was attributed to the widespread drug use, low attendance numbers and a decade devoid of star players. Fortunately, the introduction of players like Julius Erving who was later joined by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson helped propel the NBA back into a positive light.

As we know, that torch was eventually passed onto and carried by Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and now Lebron James. Sure, the present-day NBA has its share of stars who take turns sharing the spotlight. However, almost every big star has a semblance of a dark cloud over their head.

zzzlebronLebron James, for as great as he may be, is still trying to repair his image which took a disastrous hit for “The Decision”, the superfluous television announcement that he was signing with the Miami Heat in 2010. Yes, he has made nice with Cleveland by returning home four years later and put the cherry on top by delivering a championship last June. Despite the Cavs reunion, there is still a large section of the population that take issue with James. The detractors will frequently accuse him of being passive-aggressive or get frustrated with his frequent “flopping”.

The recently retired Kobe Bryant certainly wasn’t the most likable player, same for Russell Westbrook and even Michael Jordan in the past generation. In the present day, Kevin Durant did major damage to his reputation when he abandoned the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the conference rival and historically good, Golden State Warriors last summer.

The NBA could greatly benefit from a new, young and likable superstar. Joel Embiid has knocked and has already started to make his way through that door. His size, skill, and ability have already drawn comparisons to Hakeem Olajuwon and Wilt Chamberlain. No one is getting ahead of themselves by saying he will have a career that mirrors those aforementioned all-time greats. But after watching Joel Embiid through 29 games into his NBA career, it’s easy to imagine he will be a very special player.

Embiid’s play on the court is enough to believe he will become one of the most popular basketball players over the next decade. But it’s his presence, personality and even social media game that could turn him into the ultimate fan favorite.

Immediately following the 2014 Draft, Embiid let his fun-loving personality show through his Twitter account. Just weeks after being drafted by the Sixers, he began trying to recruit Lebron James to Philly.

unnamed (1) unnamed (2) unnamed (3)

When his recruitment efforts fell short, Embiid turned his attention to Rihanna. In addition to his attempts to court the music star, he showed off some of his photoshop skills.

unnamed (5) unnamed (4) unnamed (6)

For those of you are not already following Joel Embiid on Twitter and Instagram, promise that you will when you finish reading this article. But in the meantime, enjoy a few more of his classics over the past couple of years. 

unnamed (7) unnamed (8)

Now, pay special attention to the locations.

 

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The NBA as a league could greatly use a new young star for the public to fall in love with, and Joel Embiid has the ability, personality, and charisma to be that guy. Basketball fans around the world are watching with excitement, and are hoping we get to watch him blossom into the next NBA superstar.

 

Photo Credits:

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/sports/sixers/Raptors-coach-compares-Joel-Embiid-to-a-young-Shaq.html

https://www.reddit.com

http://www.chicagotypewriter.net/

https://www.instagram.com/joelembiid/?hl=en

 

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Players Who Sucked This Week

Some questions you may be having this Tuesday evening: Football is almost over, so who will blow the playoffs for his team? Which goalies should I drop from my fantasy team? Why didn’t you do this last week? How many shots did that guy miss? Well, I will answer three of those. Kinda.

 

Football

Brock Osweiler played as you’d expect his overpaid self to play on the road against the Pats. Really not much else to say about him at this point.

osweiler coming

Hopefully ending*

Hockey

Steve Mason started three games and lost two. He gave up a total of 12 goals in them, which makes him the worst goalie of the week. 

flyers goalie

Matt Murray gave up 11 goals in just two games, but lucked out winning the second in last night’s wild shootout against Washington. Jake Allen lost both of his starts, letting three pucks go by him in each game, in only 45 minutes of playing time.

Connor Hellebuyck played 24 atrocious minutes, allowing 6 goals on 13 shots. He might even be worse than Mason. Marc-Andre Fleury is regarded as a top goalie, but allowed 10 goals in his last two starts. That’s also pretty bad.

Henrik Lundqvist gave up 3 goals a piece in back to back games, losing both. He hasn’t been great in the month of January either.

 

Basketball

Donatas Notiejunas made just one out of 11 shots. Lance Thomas also sucked shooting, going 2-13 in three games.

"I totally don't got this"

“I totally don’t got this”

Darrun Hilliard went 2-12 from the field, and must have been too scared to even attempt another in his next game.

Mike Muscala missed his last 8 shots, then didn’t play the following game. Coincidence?

Jamal Crawford is getting too old and being on my list too often. He should consider retirement. Channing Frye is also old and terrible this week, but he might not need to retire just yet.

Spencer Dinwiddie was really inconsistent this week – he failed to make a basket in two of his four games – and nearly fouled on Sunday night. And what a last name.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist couldn’t shoot too well (5-23) unless it was a free throw (8-8).

 

Players Who Sucked Again

I decided not to crown anyone this time since I slacked off last week. Lucky for you suckboys.

 

Dishonorable Mentions

Tom Brady won yet another playoff game, but played terrible by his standards – two interceptions and a 47% completion rate, at home. Ben Roethlisberger also had a lackluster performance, but rode his team to victory. The AFC Championship game better not be that bad.

maxresdefault

Antti Niemi played well in his first two games of the week, but let all three shots go by him against the Wild on Saturday. Tuuka Rask wasn’t worthy of two wins in 4 games. Carey Price got better as the week went on, giving up 7 then 4 then 1.

 

Got anyone to add? Write ’em in that comment box.

*Stats week of 1/10-16

 

Photo credits:
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/2d/83/e9/2d83e9f5d0a19ac3ae476057be454fbf.jpg
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/615313/5693600408_312f2dd673_b.jpg
https://nbcprobasketballtalk.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwy0mwzhmmu3mwq3zthinzdiyzzjngi4yzbknmi4nwe31-e1423057266261.jpeg
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/XjIe6DIwFR8/maxresdefault.jpg

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NFL Playoffs Preview

Playoff Power Rankings

1. New England Patriots
Regular Season Record: 14-2
Strengths: Elite Head Coach and Quarterback with plenty of playoffs experience; secondary
Weaknesses: Pass Protection, inconsistent pass rush
Teams they want to avoid: New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks
Teams who they match up well against: Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers
Will win the Super Bowl if: The Pats will bring home their fifth Lombardi Trophy if they can get a consistent pass rush in each game. As previously noted, the pass rush has been inconsistent. But when they are getting pressure on the QB, the entire defense excels. (CG)

2. Kansas City Chiefs
Regular Season Record: 12-4
Strengths: Balanced offense; stingy defense led league in takeaways with 33; top team in turnover differential (+16); excellent special teams unit led by Tyreek Hill
Weaknesses: Non-explosive offense, which makes it difficult to come from behind
Teams they want to avoid: New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers
Teams who they match up well against: Oakland Raiders, Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins
Will win the Super Bowl if: Defense forces takeaways and they don’t fall behind (CH)

3. Dallas Cowboys
Regular Season Record: 13-3
Strengths: Best offensive line in the NFL; equally good rush offense and defense
Weaknesses: Pass defense; as well as Dak Prescott has played, he is still a rookie without any playoffs experience
Teams they want to avoid: New York Giants and Green Bay Packers
Teams who they match up well against: Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs
Will win the Super Bowl if: The offensive line keeps up its stellar play, allowing for a consistent run game and limiting the pressure on Dak Prescott. If the offense gets rolling early and puts up quick points, it will allow for their average defense to pin their ears back while the opponent plays catch-up. (CG)

4. Green Bay Packers
Regular Season Record:
10-6
Strengths:
QB as Aaron Rodgers is playing at an elite level; wide receivers; pass rush
Weaknesses:
Secondary
Teams they want to avoid:
Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots
Teams they match up well against:
Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions
Can win the Super Bowl if:
Aaron Rodgers can keep up his level of play and the defensive front can get enough pressure on their opponents to mask their vulnerabilities in the secondary. (CG)

5. Pittsburgh Steelers   
Regular Season Record: 11-5
Strengths: Great Quarterback who has won two Super Bowls and played in another; elite skill position players on offense; pass protection
Weaknesses: Pass defense
Teams they want to avoid: New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons
Teams who they match up well against: Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins
Will win the Super Bowl if: Ben Roethlisberger is in sync with his wide receivers and the defense can limit their opponent’s passing attack. (CG)

6. Atlanta Falcons
Regular Season Record: 11-5
Strengths: High-powered offense (#1 points scored) led by Matt Ryan; two great running backs, and Julio Jones; defense has improved towards the end of the season
Weaknesses: Playoff inexperience; defense gives up too many yards (25th) and points (27th)
Teams they want to avoid: Dallas Cowboys
Teams they match up well against: Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers
Will win the Super Bowl if: Their offense can keep up and outscore opponents, that is if their defense performs as experts expect. (CH)

7. Seattle Seahawks
Regular Season Record: 10-5-1
Strengths:
Defense, QB and Experience; Even without Earl Thomas, Seattle still has one of the best defensive units that always shows up when stakes are the highest.Russell Wilson’s ability to make plays outside the pocket conceals the struggles of the offensive line
Weaknesses: Offensive Line, Injuries and inconsistency on the road (3-4-1 on the road while 7-1 at home).
Team they want to avoid:
Atlanta Falcons
Team who they match up well against: 
Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants
Can win the Super Bowl if:
They have a high turnover margin and can establish a run game.  (DH)

8.  New York Giants
Regular Season Record: 11-5
Strengths: Two-time Super Bowl-winning QB in Eli Manning; great defense led by the best secondary of any of the teams in the postseason
Weaknesses: Offensive line and running game
Teams they want to avoid: Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs
Teams who they match up well against: Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions
Can win the the Super Bowl if: Eli Manning can rediscover the postseason magic from 2007 and 2011 along with the defense continuing its dominant performance. (CG)

9. Miami Dolphins
Regular Season Record: 10-6
Strengths: Offensive skill position players; pass rush
Weaknesses: Secondary and Quarterback as long as Matt Moore is under center
Teams they want to avoid: New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs
Teams who they match up well against: Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks
Can win the Super Bowl if: They can somehow repeat what they did to the Steelers, get Ryan Tannehill healty and rely on their defensive line to play at a whole different level. (CG)

10. Detroit Lions 
Regular Season Record: 9-7
Strengths: Passing attack and Offensive Line
Weaknesses: Pass rush
Teams they want to avoid: Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons
Teams who they match up well against: Seattle Seahawks
Can win the Super Bowl if: Matt Stafford can lead a miraculous and unexpected playoff run that mirrors what Joe Flacco did following the 2012 season. (CG)

11. Houston Texans 
Regular Season Record: 9-7
Strengths: Great defense, anchored by Jadeveon Clowney who is finally starting to live up to his status as a #1 overall pick
Weaknesses: QB and Offensive Line
Teams they want to avoid: New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers
Teams who they match up well against: Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders
Can win the Super Bowl if: Brock Osweiler can miraculously play like the QB the Texans were hoping for when they signed him to a $72 million contract and the defense plays lights out. (CG)

12. Oakland Raiders:
Regular Season Record: 12-4
Strengths: Offensive line and Khalil Mack
Weaknesses: Connor Cook. The Quarterback position is so crucial for success especially during the playoffs. The Raider’s chance at a Super Bowl hopped on the same cart that escorted Derek Carr off the field and it will not return until next season.
Teams they want to avoid: Everyone except the Texans and Dolphins
Teams who they match up well against:  Miami Dolphins
Can win the Super Bowl if: A magically cure for broken bones is discovered before Saturday at 4:30. (DH)

Staff Predictions

Casey Gillespie
AFC Championship Game: Patriots over Steelers
NFC Championship Game: Falcons over Giants
Super Bowl: Patriots over Falcons
Tom Brady and the Patriots are on a mission, have been the best team in football for most of the season and I expect them to finish the job. As good as Brady and the offense has been, the defense has been just as excellent as of late. Great QB play plus great defense generally equals a Super Bowl. I like the Falcons to come out of the NFC. Their offense is clicking on all cylinders and the pass rush is good enough to mask vulnerabilities in the secondary.

Zack Wishnov
AFC Championship: Patriots over Chiefs
NFC Championship: Cowboys over Giants
Super Bowl: Patriots over Cowboys
“Pats pass all over the Cowboys in Super Bowl and find a way to rattle Prescott.”

Derek Hirsch
AFC Championship: Patriots over Chiefs
NFC Championship: Packers over Cowboys
Super Bowl: Packers over Patriots
“The packers are the hottest team in the NFL finishing the regular season with a six game winning streak. I am hopping on the Aaron Rodgers train and they are going to ‘run the table’ all the way to the Super Bowl. Ty Montgomery at RB has brought balance to the already dangerous offense. A hot team going into the playoffs cannot be underestimated…Ask the 2011 NY Giants.”

Chris Himes
AFC Championship: Patriots over Steelers
NFC Championsip: Cowboys over Falcons
Super Bowl: Patriots over Cowboys
“After a surprising playoff run by Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, the Patriots’ playoff experience led, by Tom Brady, wins the franchise a fifth Super Bowl. It will be a close win by the Pats, and the Cowboys won’t be able to keep pace. Matt Patricia dials up great defensive schemes which forces Prescott to make two turnovers which ultimately cost them the game.”

Photo Credit: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2683779-nfl-playoff-picture-2017-updated-afc-nfc-standings-super-bowl-odds-and-more

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Players Who Sucked This Week

Happy New Year yall! A bunch of goalies make this week’s article, Rinne makes another return, and we got our first woman and MMA fighter on the list. Let’s start off the new year with the worst of the week.

 

Ronda Rousey is probably done fighting after losing her last two in embarrassing fashion. She got (literally) kicked out of UFC last year by Holly Holm, then got clobbered by Amanda Nunes. What else is there say about her fall from grace? That might be the last we see of her in the Octagon.

This is what the face of defeat looks like.

This is what the face of defeat looks like.

Football

Mark Sanchez was back in action doing his thing. Less than 100 yards and 2 interceptions, what else would you expect?

"I have no idea what I'm doing."

“I have no idea what I’m doing.”

The Rams offense is ridiculously awful, 123 yards has to be the lowest of the 2016 season. Great way to start off 2017.

Cam Newton threw three interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, and rushed for less than 10 yards. It was a fitting end to the Panthers’ season.

DeMarco Murray averaged less than 2 yards per carry, by far his worst performance of the year. The Texans’ running backs weren’t much better.

EJ Manuel further proved why the Bills wasted a top pick on him in 2013. He completed less than 50% of his passes for only 86 yards against the Jets. Even worse for the Bills was allowing the Jets tgotoiowa2o recover a kickoff in the endzone for a score at the end of the game.

CJ Beathard threw as many picks as Iowa scored points. He also co ported just 30% of his passes. And he only managed to throw for 55 yards. Yeesh!

The Buckeyes were shut out for the first time since 1993 and Urban Meyer’s first as a coach. Check out these great memes that sum up the loss.

 

Hockey

Calvin Pickard started all four games for the Avalanche this past week, and lost ‘em all. 24 goals were given up in the span, but he didn’t get much help from his team either. No wonder Colorado is 12-24-1.

"Little do they know I'm going to ruin their season..."

“Little do they know I’m going to ruin their season…”

Louis Domingue started just one game and lost it. Antti Niemi gave up four goals against 25 shots, those are not good stats. Michael Hutchinson was bad when he was on the ice, allowing 7 goals over his last two games. Mike Condon lost all three starts this week, giving up 9 goals in that span.

Carey Price has been a top goaltender for the last couple years, but lost two overtime games this past week.

Steve Mason had one solid period against the Sharks on Friday night, but was terrible in his other two starts giving up 8 goals between the two. He’s now lost four in a row.

 

Basketball

Kelly Oubre Jr. has a last name I wouldn’t dare pronounce, and a weekly performance I do dare denounce. Now that’s poetry in motion.

CJ Watson’s shooting was as tragic as the Magic, going 3-16 from the field and 2-10 from long range.

tragic

Ty Lawson and Goran Dragic both went 2-11 shooting FG’s. Dragic was tragic and should play on the Magic. Okay I’m done rhyming.

Kyle Anderson and Patrick Patterson also had matching stats, going 2-12 from the field.

Kawhi Leonard and Dirk Nowitzki are guys I never thought would make my list, but here they are. Both shot .250 from the floor and combined to shoot 1-9 from three-point range.

Ish Smith played like ish, with a FG% of .211 and 7 fouls in three games. Andre Roberson was way off the mark this week, making 4 of his 19 shot attempts.

Justise Winslow played well against the Celtics, but was 2-19 in his other two games this past week. But he is on the Heat, so maybe that’s appropriate.

heat

Players Who Sucked Again

Pekka Rinne returns for a fourth straight week! Man how far this guy has fallepekka-rinne-nashville-predatorsn off since the start of December.

Petr Mrazek started only one game but ended up just like last week – losing and on my list.

Mike Smith has lost six straight, and continues to be a regular on my weekly list. His most recent game was a five goal loss to the Rangers.

 

Dishonorable Mentions

Cam Ward wasn’t his best all week, losing two of his three starts. Antti Raanta allowed three goals in both games, in almost equal time too, but came out the victor both times.

John Gibson had an up-and-down week, losing two of his four starts in overtime. Keith Kincaid was great in his first start against the Capitals this past week, but then let up six goals on New Year’s Eve. Talk about a turnaround.

Devan Dubnyk leads the league in GAA, but averaged 3.3 against over his last three games.

Cory Schneider avoided being totally terrible with a shutout last night over the Bruins.

Robert Covington totally redeemed himself Friday night after missing all 11 shots on Thursday.

Al-Farouq Aminu just shot worse and worse as the week went on, in his three games his FG% dropped from .500 to .222 to .143. Maybe next week he’ll go back up?

 

Got anyone to add? Write ’em in that comment box.

 

Stats week of 12/27/16-1/2/17

Photo Credits:
http://static.dnaindia.com/sites/default/files/styles/half/public/2016/12/31/534042-ronda-rousey-twitter-youucantseemee-edited.jpg?itok=M1Rywos5
http://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/65aa7fe1f01bf3869dc67dbd7b006910126741b6/c=0-88-3666-2845&r=x404&c=534×401/local/-/media/USATODAY/test/2013/09/12/1378987074000-XXX-c02-sanchez-26.jpg
http://s124.photobucket.com/user/docsdaname2000/media/GOTOIOWA2.jpg.html
http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/calvin-pickard-of-the-colorado-avalanche-poses-for-his-official-for-picture-id490869794?s=594×594
http://www.basketaki.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/orlando-150×150.png
http://www.kappit.com/img/pics/201407_1744_efcif_sm.jpg
http://manonthelam.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Pekka-Rinne-Nashville-Predators.jpg

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Ranking the NFL Head Coach Openings

As twelve teams begin preparing for the NFL Playoffs, six franchises have commenced their search for a new head coach on what is referred to as Black Monday. Of the six openings, only one of the teams was a playoff team a year ago, last year’s Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos. Naturally, the Broncos opening is a good one with a strong roster still intact. While the other five teams had a combined 2016 record of 21-59, not all jobs will be a complete reclamation project. Each situation has its specific degree of attractiveness, and should be ranked accordingly.

1. Denver Broncos

The Broncos still have the core of their Super Bowl defense intact along with some weapons on offense. There is a little bit of uncertainty at quarterback with Trevor Siemian’s inconsistent performance as the starter and also spending a first round pick on Paxton Lynch a year ago. Aside from that, it is a stable front office led by John Elway who has put together a very talented roster. In terms of flexibility to upgrade the roster, Denver enters the 2017 season with $38,410,833 in cap space, ranking 19th in the NFL. Bottom line is that it is a very stable situation with a good roster and front office.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jags were expected by many to make a significant jump in 2016. That jump didn’t happen, thus why Gus Bradley was fired and this job is open. Despite finishing 3-13, there are a lot of encouraging things in Jacksonville. Thanks to drafting very high over the past few years, there is a lot of young talent on both offense and defense. The play of Blake Bortles certainly regressed this season, but there is still enough ability to believe he can become a franchise quarterback. The Jaguars will have another high pick this coming April, as they currently hold the fourth overall selection. In addition to the draft, Jacksonville will have another opportunity to be aggressive in free agency as they will have the seventh most cap space in 2017 at $67,237,896. With the right hire, the Jaguars could be competing for a playoff appearance within the next two years.

3. San Diego Chargers

The Chargers were quite a disappointment in 2016, primarily due to the way they failed to finish games late. As competitive as they were in just about every game, the end result is what mattered and a 5-11 finish was not good enough to save Mike McCoy’s job. San Diego still has Phillip Rivers playing at a very high level and they have hit on recent high draft picks on defense in Joey Bosa, Melvin Gordon and Jason Verrett. Despite playing in a very competitive AFC West, the Chargers have the potential to get back into contention quickly. They’ll primarily have to keep drafting well to make that work, being that they rank 25th in salary cap room entering 2017 with $26,674,977.

4. San Francisco 49ers

Whoever takes over this job will need to have some patience. That patience will be even more critical for Owner, Jed York who only gave Chip Kelly one season before showing him the door. The roster is fairly young, being the ninth youngest team with a team average of 25.43 years old. As young as the roster is, it is severely devoid of talent on both sides of the ball. Speaking of the roster, there is grave uncertainty at the most important position, quarterback. As it stands today, its basically a coin flip to decide if Colin Kaepernick will be back with the team. Fortunately, San Francisco is in a good position to make roster improvements, but a lot of that will depend on who takes over as the new General Manager. The 49ers own the second overall pick in the upcoming draft and also have the second most cap space going into 2017 at $87,635,939. With time, the right coach could bring this franchise back into contention in a few years.

5. Buffalo Bills

The Bills are another team that has its share of problems but also some positives. As for the problems, they are at the point where they have to make a decision with Tyrod Taylor, who has been very inconsistent and feels very uncertain about his future with the team. This was exacerbated by his surprise benching this past Sunday. The cap situation is not great, and it will not be any better if they decide to ink Taylor to a long-term deal. Buffalo currently ranks at 24th in cap space going into 2017 with $31,653,105. The Bills certainly have their share of young talent on offense and defense, therefore the cupboard is not completely bare. An offensive head coach would probably be ideal. But the Bills are not that far away if they can get the right guy.

6. Los Angeles Rams

Things look rather bleak for the immediate future of the Rams. There has to be some level of regret for the price they paid to trade up draft Jared Goff. They traded away several picks to get to the #1 spot last year which means their upcoming fifth overall pick in is in the hands of the Titans. Most franchises would be okay with that price if they feel like they have found their next franchise quarterback. But after his rookie season, Goff has not showed any signs of being a successful NFL QB and unfortunately they will be stuck with him for at least the next few years. It will serve the Rams well to hire an offensive-minded head coach who can develop Goff. But that could be a very tall order, making this job a major uphill battle.

 

Sources & Photo Credits:

www.spotrac.com/nfl/cap/2017/

articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-11-05/sports/chi-health-scares-put-stress-levels-of-nfl-coaches-in-spotlight-20131105_1_nfl-coaches-stress-levels-golf-course