The NFL season has come to an end. Now the NFL starts their second season: the offseason. Teams around the league have a lot of work to do in terms of adding talent to their rosters. Some NFL teams are looking for one more piece to bring them over the top.
A lot has changed for this team since the end of the season. Freddie Kitchens is out as head coach and Kevin Stefanski is in. The regular season was a mess for Baker Mayfield and the rest of the offense. They never got in sync as Odell Beckham Jr. had an off year. The expectations were high for Cleveland. They fell way short. So what is the solution?
The first move the team made was to switch coaches. They bring in an offensive-minded coach in Kevin Stefanski to fix the mistakes Kitchens made. He’s got plenty of offensives weapons to work with. Stefanski’s biggest concern this offseason is to develop Mayfield and cut down on the turnovers.
The chemistry of the team needs to be fixed as well. From the outside, there seemed to be some issues. A lot of talk from Mayfield to the media as he had trouble handling criticism. Reports came out that OBJ wanted to be traded. Not something the team wants to hear.
If the Browns want to take the leap to the playoffs, they’ll need to add some pieces to the defense. A playmaker or two on the defensive side of the ball could make the difference. Mayfield needs to focus on cutting on turnovers. If he plays more like his rookie season, the offense will hit their stride.
Jason Garrett’s last season as head coach was one to forget. Another average year that consisted in another 8-8 record. The team fell short of expectations as they had their sights on a Super Bowl. Dak Prescott was one of the NFL’s leading passers, but was flat in big games. The defense missed a lot of tackles from the linebacking position. The pass rush wasn’t as electric as they were in 2018. They lost the biggest game of the season to an Eagles team that was playing with mostly backups at the skill positions.
The Cowboys have already started making changes as they made several coaching changes that includes replacing Garrett with Mike McCarthy at head coach. Kellen Moore was brought back as offensive coordinator, but former 49ers head coach Mike Nolan was implemented as defensive coordinator.
Some decisions will have to be made in terms of who will be staying on the roster and who will be let go. Lingering questions surround Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper’s future with the team. Dak should be back, but most likely under the franchise tag as both sides negotiate a long term contract. Cooper is an interesting case where he might be too expensive to bring back if they have to pay Dak big this offseason.
Las Vegas Raiders
Jon Gruden and Mike Maylock have built a stronger than expected foundation for the future of the new look Las Vegas Raiders. Their 2019 NFL Draft is looking like one of the best we have seen in years with impact players like Josh Jacobs, Clelin Ferrell, Maxx Crosby, and Hunter Renfrow already making a huge impact.
While the draft went well and their 7-9 record looking good to build off of, the question for the team comes with Derek Carr. Carr was at one point going to be the future franchise quarterback of the team. The rumor mill now has it that he could be on his way out should the Raiders get Tom Brady. It may seem like a long shot, but there have been questions about Carr and Gruden’s relationship together.
The Raiders did enough to build a youth movement within the team for the next three to five years. The key will be to add more playmakers for whoever the quarterback will be. The development of the young players will be key as well. The teams needs to get off to a strong start in Vegas so that fans will buy into their team being the real deal.
Another successful playoff appearance for the team, but another playoff run cut short. Bill O’Brien stepped in as general manager after they fired their previous GM in the summer. He went on to trade for Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills, and Duke Johnson to help their offense. It helped, but the team still remain a piece or two away from a Super Bowl.
They will be getting most of their key players back onto the roster. The running back situation will need to be decided as they will need to pick between Carlos Hyde or Lamar Miller. They could bring both in, but it will cost them a price for both despite Hyde only having one 1,000 yard season and Miller fighting back from injury. The secondary will need some attention as Bradley Roby and Johnathan Joseph are free agents.
The team will need to focus on getting key sleepers in the draft to help the defense. Deshaun Watson has enough on offense to work with between DeAndre Hopkins, Kenny Stills, and Will Fuller. After allowing 51 points in their playoff loss to the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, the defense needs to find playmakers on that side of the ball.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers underachieved badly as they went 5-11 after subpar performances from their offense. Melvin Gordon sat out for all of training camp and never gained confidence or momentum during the regular season. Philip Rivers threw 20 interceptions as he took way too many chances with the ball. The defense wasn’t too bad as it was mostly their offense struggling.
Rivers and the Chargers are parting ways so the focus is on finding the future quarterback. Tyrod Taylor could be the starter heading into 2020 should they decide to draft a quarterback. They could look at Tom Brady as an option as it would be a way for Brady to return back to California. The free agent market for quarterbacks is deep this offseason.
The Melvin Gordon storyline will capture the attention of fans as he still didn’t get his new contract. Gordon has great ability, but the tarnished relationship between the two sides could make it hard to bring him back. Defensively, the talent is there and with another season under the belts of players like Joey Bosa and Derwin James, who is returning from injury, the team could be in much better shape for 2020.