What We Learned This Week in the NFL Offseason:
- Colts add former Browns HC Rob Chudzinski to coaching staff
- Dolphins Mike Pouncey underpaid
- DE Michael Sam from Missouri comes out
- Steelers 1975 defense ranked #5 All-time
We all survived our first weekend without football since August and our first weekend without football till August. What a sad statement. Whether you spent your weekend watching the Winter Olympics or cleaning out your sock drawer, the NFL still goes on. Here are some things going on around the league this week.
Everyone felt bad for Rob Chudzinski when he got fired from Cleveland shortly after arriving back home from the Browns’ final game loss to the Steelers on December 29th. Chudzinski was a hometown Cleveland guy, actually proud to represent the city and team and had only been a head coach for just that one season. Seemed cold and premature, even for the Browns, to fire a coach that soon. The Indianapolis Colts took Trent Richardson from the Browns early in the season and didn’t get much production out of him in return but possibly that’s all about to change now that his former head coach has been named special assistant coach over the weekend. Kind of sounds like assistant to the regional manager or something like that, I’m sure it’s a real title and all.
Dolphin’s center Mike Pouncey is one of three players that ESPN’s James Walker thinks deserve a pay raise this offseason. Pouncey is entering the fourth year of his rookie contract and is due to make $1.638 million in 2014. The price range for top interior lineman around the league is around $5-$7 million per season so the Dolphins are getting him pretty cheap at this point. Pouncey made the Pro Bowl in 2013. Ryan Tannehill was sacked 58 times last season so I don’t know if the Dolphins go out of their way to rush to the bargaining table just yet, especially since they have a few spots on the line that need filled this offseason.
All-American defensive lineman and SEC’s DPOY Missouri’s Michael Sam admitted in an interview with ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” that he is gay. Sam is eligible for the NFL draft in May and could become the league’s first openly gay athlete if drafted by a team. At this point, Sam is projected to be a mid-round pick with some mocks listing him as high as the third round. ESPN lists him as the 12th best pass rusher in the draft. Sam states that he wanted to let this come out before it could be leaked and that he wanted to be in control of the story. In the NFL combine, teams are not allowed to discuss or question a players’ sexual orientation, just like any other interview. I’m sure Sam will be drafted somewhere but this is sure to be a media circus no matter what. I applaud Sam for being able to have the courage to come out and face this head on and to be who he is no matter what.
“I understand how big this is. It’s a big deal. No one has done this before. And it’s kind of a nervous process but I know what I want to be … I want to be a football player in the NFL.” – Michael Sam
Tim Ryan of Fox Sports took the time to rank the top defenses of all time in the NFL. He prefaced his list by saying that he only included teams to win the Super Bowl. He lists the 1975 Steelers as the fifth best defense of all time behind the 2013 Seahawks, the 2000 Ravens, 2002 Buccaneers and he ranked the 1985 Bears as the top NFL defense of all time. It’s silly, in my opinion, to compare teams from different era’s like this because so much changes from one decade to the next in this game but I can see how it makes for an entertaining segment, especially this close to the Seahawks dominating defensive performances in the Super Bowl. Truthfully, if you’re just looking at the teams by one season at a time, this list might have some merit but if you take into consideration that the only team on that list to win multiple Super Bowls over the course of several seasons with the same defense is the Pittsburgh Steelers, than you’ve just answered the question on what team really is the top defense of all time.