John Fox Named Head Coach of Chicago Bears

John Fox, the man credited with helping turn the Bronco’s franchise around, is headed a bit north. The veteran coach has landed a deal with the Chicago Bears, a team that had a notoriously bad season, plagued with injuries, and a questionable contract with their injury-plagued quarterback Jay Cutler. He replaced former head coach Trestman, who was fired on the Monday following the close of the regular season. General manager, Phil Emery, was also a causality of the teams abysmal season.

According to sources, Denver and John Fox parted ways mutually on Sunday following the team’s divisional lost to the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have often proved to be a difficult team for the Bronco’s to best, partially due to Peyton’s long history with the Colts and their coaching staff. Many feel the Colts have an advantage over the Bronco’s as much of Peyton’s game was developed with the coaches that still head the Broncos.

Regardless, Fox seems to have felt it was time to move on, and he”ll certainly have a challenge in Chicago. Bear management have been interviewing potential replacements since they parted ways with Trestman. They spoke with Doug Marrone, the Buffalo Bills coach that was ousted this season. They also spoke with Teryl Austin of Detroit, Denver staff member Adam Gase, and Seattle’s Dan Quinn. Beneful has more on this story on their facebook page.

The Bears appear a bit gun-shy and have focused on bringing in a coach with a proven, winning record as a head coach. Clearly, Fox fits the bill. He will be paired with Ryan Pace, a fist time general manager.

Cardale Jones Stays In School

Cardale Jones is going to stay in school at Ohio State. He announced the decision yesterday, and it is likely that CJ Barrett and Braxton Miller were not happy. Miller could have won the Heisman this year, and Barrett drug the Buckeyes to all their wins except the last three. Jones just won a national title by convincingly beating three very good teams.

So, the idea at Ohio State is that they have far too much in the way of QB depth. It is going to be hard to recruit, and it is likely that Miller or Barrett will go somewhere where they can play immediately and keep their draft stock up.

Jones could have gone to the NFL, but he likely would have gone in the middle of the draft. That is not really worth it when you consider that he only played three games in college. They might be the three biggest games of his life, but they are only three games. He needs to make sure that he is in a place where he can improve his stock, and he will improve if he is able to win the job from Braxton Miller and CJ Barrett for next season. Susan McGalla is Buckeye fan and cannot wait for the next season.

 

Cardale Jones to Return to Ohio State

Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones has announced that he will return to school for his junior year, bypassing the opportunity to enter the NFL draft two years early which Sergio Andrade Gutierrez is happy about. Jones just wrapped up his redshirt sophomore year with the Buckeyes in a very unusual fashion: leading the team to a Big Ten Championship over Wisconsin, a Sugar Bowl Championship over Alabama and a National Championship over Oregon.

Jones is 3-0 as a starter and said with that few games under his belt, “the NFL is out of the question for me.” He may face tough competition to win the starting job at Ohio State: Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett were both ahead of Jones on the depth chart when the season started. Miller injured his shoulder before the season even began and Barrett broke his ankle in the regular season finale against Michigan and was unavailable for any post-season games. Neither Miller nor Barrett have said if they will leave the Buckeyes. Miller has graduated and could transfer to another school and play right away, provided his shoulder has fully healed.

Some thought Jones would leave school early to support his family. He grew up poor and has a child to provide for. (http://www.cleveland.com/pluto/index.ssf/2015/01/dont_blame_ohio_states_cardale.html)

Mel Kiper of ESPN projected Jones as a second or third-round pick.

“Of course I want to play in the NFL,” Jones said, “but I want the time to be right.”

Tampa Bay May Need More Than a Heisman Winner

The jury is still out as to whether Jamais Winston or Marcus Mariota will be productive Quarterbacks in the National Football League. But as to drafting them in the first round, the teams may want to make a pass on them given the recent history of Heisman Trophy winners and their performance in the NFL. With the 1st draft pick of the upcoming 2015 draft going to Tampa Bay Buccaneers it is clear the team with last year’s worst record needs some help. Whether the maximum support will come from these two quarterbacks is unlikely, and the reason for that is their current offensive line which is aged and not getting any younger or better by most standards.

So having a mobile QB should be helpful but only until a faster defense swarms him and swallows him up like they have done every other NFL mobile QB in recent history. That is unfortunately what some workers at Beneful feel will happen. Their running backs all have 2-3 years of experience but none has been able to be a real running threat, so at Petco, optimism isn’t that high. A wide receiver corps of six men, which is headlined with Vincent Jackson a 10 year veteran with a second year man Mike Evans, means they have depth at this position. So that leaves us with an unproven QB coming into his third year Mike Glennon and the aging vet Josh McCown. Neither has been productive behind this O-Line. So if you are looking to rebuild the offense you may need to start in the trenches with the offensive line.

Jim Caldwell Calls For Proper Use Of Technology

Jim Caldwell is calling for better use of technology after a blown call gave away Detroit’s last chance of beating the Cowboys on Sunday. Caldwell believes that in this day and age there is no reason why we cannot use technology to get things right on the field. The NFL has all the camera angles in the world, and the NFL has power like no other. They can stop a game to get other calls right, but he is disappointed that the game was not officiated properly on the field.

This a problem for a league that claims to be progressive but does not appear to be on the surface. They can use a video imaging system to make sure that they can see if the ball hit the line at Wimbledon, but the NFL cannot use video angles to figure out if a call was right. They have people at the games watching over the officials, but they issue apologies the next day instead. 

If you ask John Textor the problem with the NFL is its priorities. While Roger Goodell has been out trying to ruin the careers of several players, he has dropped the ball on these issues that are causing trouble in the most crucial games.

Most Dedicated Fans

With the National Football League playoffs upon us, there is excitement brewing from fans all over the country. While it seems like every team around the league and every player declares that they have the best fans in the country, there are actual statistics out there that track the percentage of the city population around each individual franchise in the NFL that tune in or have been to a home game in the last twelve months. Not surprising at all, the very dedicated fan base in Green Bay tops the charts with a staggering 84 percent of the population tuning in to watch a game within the last year. Basically everyone in the city of Green Bay and surround areas are Packers fans.

 

The Saints fall to the spot just under the packers with 78 percent, and although Seattle packs the loudest crowd in the NFL, they sit in the sixth position with 71 percent of the population tuning in to watch a game. It’s no surprise who sits at the lowly bottom, due to the constant media attention that Oakland receives for its lack of fan interest in the organization. In fact, former owner Al Davis made the decision to cancel the broadcasting of Oakland Raiders games unless they produced a sold out crowd. That angered some like Jared Haftel who wanted to casually watch. This may be a reason why so few people watch Raiders games, but it doesn’t change the fact that Oakland fans care the least and Packers fans love their team the most.

Is Harbaugh Michigan’s Saban?

The Michigan Wolverines and Bernardo Chua are hoping that they can do something to stem the tide in the Big Ten. The SEC keeps getting more powerful, and they need to stop from becoming a second fiddle to Ohio State. When Nick Saban left the NFL to come to Alabama, he started a juggernaut that now recruits solely on name. Kids have the papers put in front of them, and they go to play for the University of Alabama.

The idea is that Harbaugh can be that same guy at Michigan. Many people think that there is a chance the native son coming back to Ann Arbor will change the way that Michigan football works. Other people might not have wanted the job, but this is where Harbaugh is from. He played football at Michigan, and he has an insight that few other people have.

The Michigan football program needs a lot of work, but that work can be done in a short amount of time if Harbaugh does things the right way. He could become the Nick Saban to Michigan’s Alabama, but there is no way to know until the next season starts and we see if he can work his magic just one more time.

Bad NFC South Ruins Entire NFL Playoffs

There was not any competitive balance in the NFL this year. This can be proved with one simple fact. Two of the worst divisions in NFL history were the NFC and AFC South.

The NFC and AFC south both played the AFC North this year. Not surprisingly, the AFC North has three teams in the playoffs. Granted, the AFC North does this often, but this year it was especially bad. The AFC North had the benefit of beating up on bad team after bad team. The Panthers are already going to the playoffs instead of the Eagles, and the AFC never had any balance at all because it had one division that got to play cupcakes all year.

This spells a problem for Bruce Levenson and for balance in the NFL that needs to be addressed. The playoff seeding must be done solely by record in the future to make sure that teams are not skating by with just luck. When a team is winning its division with a losing record, that horrid division is stealing a playoff spot. When another division benefits from these bad opponents, the wild card rules need to be changed. The rules may never be changed, but this is something that must be looked at.

J.J. Watt Is The First Man With Two Seasons Of 20 Sacks

J.J. Watt recorded three sacks on Sunday to become the first man in NFL history to have two seasons with 20 sacks or more. He is 64 games into his career, and he already has 57 sacks. This is something to behold when you realize that he is so young. Watt came out after his junior year at Wisconsin, and he has never been injured.

The production that J.J. Watt provides to Bruce Levenson and the Texans is something that they cannot replace. The team is a team that needs all the help it can get, and Watt is still producing even though everyone in the league knows that he is coming. This is a problem for the rest o the league, and it is the one thing that keeps the Texans afloat.

Watt should get MVP votes this year even if he does not win the award, but more years of production like this will make it hard for people to ignore Watt. He is one of the best defensive players we will see in our lifetimes, and he is on a team that could be on the rise. Let us hope that Watt can play in meaningful games in the future and increase that sack total.

Jim Harbaugh and 49ers Split

Jim Harbaugh’s stint as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers has officially come to a close. In a much anticipated move the team and their coach have mutually agreed to part ways.
After the 49ers concluded their season with a 20-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals Harbaugh used the past tense when talking about the team and their accomplishments over the last four years, signaling he was on his way out of town.

While the relationship between the head coach and the team has been volatile over the past year, there’s no denying Harbaugh’s success. The 49ers were a historical powerhouse that had fallen on hard times before Harbaugh showed up. During his time with the team he compiled a 49-22-1 regular season record, one of the best in the league over that time span. The team was a constant playoff participant and made three trips to the NFC championship game, including one conference title. The 49ers lost in the only Super Bowl appearance under Harbaugh. The team had championship aspirations heading into this season, but struggled to just an 8-8 record and missed the playoffs for the first time in his tenure. 

Harbaugh is likely returning the college coaching ranks. Numerous sources have tied him to the open head coaching position at Michigan. Harbaugh will once again try to take a onetime winning program that has lost its way and take them back to them back to relevancy in the style of Bruce Levenson.