The 2012 NFL Breakdown – Part 1
The 2012 NFL Breakdown – Part 1 (The NFC)
By: Josue “Josh” Alvarez Mapp (a.k.a. DJ Mappquest)
So NFL Network has been focused on how a team’s schedule may make or break coaches careers. I do not necessarily agree that a schedule is enough to make or break a coach. His schedule will dictate a bit, but all teams know six of their 16 matches for the season. In general though, there are many coaches, regardless of strength of schedule and who they face, who are currently on the hot seat and need to produce with their team if they like where they are at.
The Chicago Bears and Lovie Smith is where I start with coaches who are on the hot seat. Coach Smith has this one year to produce for Chicago’s new GM. It may already be written that the new GM will bring in his own coach, but maybe Lovie can win the seat? Hard to say. To show a true test of strength and wit, Smith needs to take the Bears to the playoffs. Last year, the Bears had just a few games left to win to make it into the playoffs. The loss of Jay Cutler however had them watching long-time irrelevant rivals Detroit Lions play. If the Bears like Lovie Smith (which they should since he seems like a swell guy), they need to produce. They don’t need to go Green Bay-style 15-1, but they have to make the playoffs to show they are real to management and the fans. Overall, Chicago has made bold moves and now has to produce.
Another Smith, of no relations, should also be worried. The Atlanta Falcons has made the playoffs two years consecutively, and that is commendable. However, their playoff record in the last two seasons is 0-2. Restlessness may be stirring in whether or not Matty Ice can get the Falcons at least to the NFC Championship, let alone the Super Bowl. Coach Mike Smith has to figure something out. Last year he was aggressive in play calling on 4th down (and I don’t blame him. I would have gone for it too). But with boldness, you have to succeed. Lack of success in bold times, and lack of playoff wins may make Mike Smith worry a bit. Overall though, I think he is safe. Still, you can only see your team suffer so many times in the playoffs – especially when the Defense scores your only points.
Andy Reid has enjoyed a great comfortability in Philadelphia, that many coaches would love in their respective teams and club house. With the keys to the car, the “Dream Team” was suppose to make it big last year. Instead, they watched Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants battle for the playoffs. We know how well that went. Last year was a rough year on all times thanks to the lockout. But this upcoming season, there will be no exceptions. Teams will either have to shape up or ship out. And if the Eagles aren’t careful enough, that could be Andy Reid, who had fans clamoring for his head last season. They don’t need to make it to the playoffs, but a 9-7 or better record would be nice.
The last NFC Team who should be worried this season is the team committing the most Shanahanigans, I mean shenanigans. Mike Shanahan (and Dan Snyder) has given Redskin fans something they haven’t had in quite some time – hope. There is strong talks that RGIII may be leading the Skin-squad this upcoming season. Plus, there has been quite a few big name additions going on such as Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, plus having Santana Moss and Jabar Gaffney, means a QB with decent skill should produce this upcoming season. Without a doubt, if Cam Newton came into a team like the Redskins this upcoming season, we would have seen Cam make a playoff appearance. It’s easy to say the Redskins have to produce or else they will find themselves short on Shanahanigans.
Remember this is just the NFC teams and coaches that should be concerned this upcoming season. Check out my AFC listing for teams and coaches who should be worried. There are a lot of teams the experts mention that I don’t and vice versa. Clearly it is all clearly out of opinion. Just remember though, if things get crazy in any of these teams, DJ Mappquest told you what is up.