NFC North preview: are the Vikings doomed without Teddy Bridgewater?

NFC North Preview: Are The Vikings Doomed Without Teddy Bridgewater?

Plus: Are the Bears going to show any improvement? What is Eddie Lacys current shape? Is Jim Caldwell still hired as a head coach-and-four?

NFC North Preview: Are The Vikings Doomed Without Teddy Bridgewater?

Will a knee wrecking Minnesotas season?

Pretty doomed, if the thoughts of Mike Zimmer are any indication. In the hours after the squads young QB blew out of his knee, the reference he went to was the death of his wife six years ago. That is depressing on several levels.

The Vikings entered training camp as the defending division champs and with an eye on getting to the Super Bowl. Those kind of goals are a big ask for the average 23 -year old quarterback, but Bridgewater had shown signs he could become one of the NFLs best at the position.

Perhaps because he was the final pick of the first-round in 2014, long after Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel were taken, and just before Derek Carr was selected by the higher-profile Raiders, Bridgewaters first two years with the Vikings were largely overlooked. But hes clearly been the best of those taken in the first-round Manziel is famously out of football and out on the town while Bortles has yet to recognise himself and Bridgewaters numbers compare favorably to Carrs so far, too. Hes also the only regular starting quarterback drafted into the NFL since 2013 to have built the playoffs and he would have a playoff game-winning, fourth quarter drive under his belt if not for a shanked chip-shot field goal last January. At least Blair Walsh can now say his miss is not the worst thing to happen to the Vikings in 2016.

Bridgewaters breakthrough into the mainstream was supposed to come this year, but not with the news of his knee breaking. Perhaps because the Vikings felt so set with a true franchise QB, there is no good option behind him. Shaun Hill is a 36 -year old journeyman who has only had one season with a significant number of snaps since 2011 and is someone who most definitely cant do this.

The free agent options are equally grim, including never-weres and punchlines like Tarvaris Jackson, Rex Grossman, Matt Flynn and Charlie Whitehurst: the list goes on and on until the remaining names are all smudged from Viking fan tears. Another alternative is swaying a trade. It would definitely be memorable for the team to open its new stadium with Colin Kaepernick sitting for the national anthem.

Are the Bears going to start showing any improvement?

Preseason football supposedly means nothing. If true, that is fortunate for the Bears because they were absolutely dreadful in August, failing to score more than seven phases in two of their first three games all losses and ensure several leading player get hurt. For a squad like the Patriots or Seahawks or Steelers, preseason conflicts arent a huge cause for concern. But the Bears are not the Patriots, Seahawks or Steelers. They are not a consistent competitor, unless theyre looking to contend for the No1 overall pick. The Bears won simply 11 games over the last two years, finishing dead-last in a division that has sent a team to the Super Bowl just four times in 30 years. So the preseason is alarming because its looked precisely like most every Bears full season.

The 2016 season is likely to be John Foxs second at the helm in Chicago. Year Two is when fans might expect tangible improvement over the Marc Trestman Era Bears on the way to becoming legit challengers in the second half of Foxs four-year bargain. Yet its hard to see where the Bears will be significantly better than last years 6-10 team.

Jay Cutler remains the starting quarterback, for good or ill. The good is that Cutler had perhaps the best season of his career in 2015 under offensive coordinator Adam Gase. The ill is that hes still Jay Cutler, his 2015 season wasnt all that amazing, and Gase is now the head coach-and-four of the Dolphins. The offense should be aided by the addition of a healthy Kevin White, the 2015 first-round receiver who missed all of his rookie year due to trauma. The defense always the backbone of Foxs best squads will look to improve with this years No1 pick, linebacker Leonard Floyd, and free agent Danny Trevathan. Nice additions, but no one is yet comparing this defense to any Fox had in Carolina or Denver.

Chicagos best offseason acquisition likely went the day the team got its schedule. The NFC North is gifted with games against the AFC South and NFC East, with Chicago also get Tampa Bay and the 49 ers. Perhaps those match-ups alone will see them exceed six wins, but any meaningful improvement may not arrived until 2017. If it comes at all.

What is Eddie Lacys current shape?

The latest reports are good news for Green Bay: he is in shape and not a circular shape. When the Packers drafted Lacy in 2013 out of Alabama, they no doubt hoped he would generate more headlines for chewing up yardage than delicious tarts. But Lacys three solid but unspectacular seasons thus far as Green Bays feature back have been clouded by constant questions about his weight and fitness. So this offseason he made the P90-X hard yes, the workout your co-worker did to try to look good for his beach vacation and is down 15 lbs to 20 lbs and has added muscle.

In Lacys defense and defense is a thing consistently lacking in Green Bay in recent years the running back may have looked at the struggles the Packers offensive line had last year in protecting Aaron Rodgers and think: Maybe I should become a guard so I can help block for Aaron. The newly-svelte back is in the final year of his rookie contract and will be looking to produce a breakout season to earn a big, new deal( so he can continue to afford that expensive P90-X subscription , without doubt ). If the Packers can get a career year from Lacy to go along with a healthy Jordy Nelson and a return to the usual excellence by Rodgers, their offense alone should be sufficient to win a division in which the defending champion is facing a season with Shaun Hill.

Is Jim Caldwell still utilized as a head coach of a football team?

He sure is, entailing one of the most improbable tales in the athletic rolls along. Or it rolls along at least for the first few weeks of a season in which the Lions will be underdogs in two of their first three games.

Caldwell, “the mens” with a 26 -6 3 record as a college head coach and a 20 -2 8 career mark in the NFL with squads not quarterbacked by Peyton Manning, has had success as an deputy. Remember when Joe Flacco reached peak eliteness in 2012 -2 013? Caldwell was his position coach then and the offensive coordinator in the playoffs. But he has yet to carry that kind of success over to a head chore. The Lions astonishingly earned a wildcard place his first season in Detroit in 2014, but slipped to 7-9 last year, following the pattern of Caldwell squads always seeming to get worse the longer hes around. Not actually a great resume slug.

The task of improving is even harder with Detroit facing its latest era in which the franchise must deal with the early retirement of a superstar. As Calvin Johnson dances with the stars this autumn, Matthew Stafford will hope Golden Tate and Marvin Jones can bring down the same passes Johnson used to. If they cant, and if the losses pile up, Caldwell could be replaced by talented defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. If not Austin, offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter is another contender. Just try to build the instance that the NFL is the No Fun League when a human named Jim Bob Cooter is a head coach-and-four. You will fail.

How loud is the Vikings new stadium?

So loud youre likely never going to stop hearing about it. The Vikings open their new 66,143 -seat stadium this year and early reviews say it could be louder than the Metrodome and possibly the loudest stadium in the entire NFL. In fact, the Vikings plan to offer ear plugs to their fans at Guest Services. Considering the team is now facing at the least an entire season without their quarterback, perhaps they should hand out blindfolds, as well. But as hopeless as Vikings fans feel now, Bridgewater will return healthy one day and there will be plenty of opportunities for the home fans to severely injury their ears. Thats a sacrifice most Vikings fans would blithely induce to see if not hear their squad win its first Super Bowl.

Predicted standings

Packers: 11 -5

Vikings: 9-7

Lions: 7-9

Bears: 6-10

Read more:

NFC North Preview: Are The Vikings Doomed Without Teddy Bridgewater?
NFC North Preview: Are The Vikings Doomed Without Teddy Bridgewater?
NFC North Preview: Are The Vikings Doomed Without Teddy Bridgewater?
NFC North Preview: Are The Vikings Doomed Without Teddy Bridgewater?
NFC North Preview: Are The Vikings Doomed Without Teddy Bridgewater?

NFC North Preview: Are The Vikings Doomed Without Teddy Bridgewater?

NFC North Preview: Are The Vikings Doomed Without Teddy Bridgewater?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *