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Ten Thoughts on the NFL

Miami Dolphins v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

1) I’ve always thought that coaches learn a lot in their first head coaching gig and that they often find more success the 2nd time around. Bill Belichick only had one winning season during his 5 year run in Cleveland, going 36-44 from 1991 to 1995, and now he’s considered one of the all time greats.

Pete Carroll went 6-10 in his one and done season as head coach of the New York Jets in 1994, but didn’t have a losing season in his 2nd job with the New England Patriots from 1997 to 1999, going 27-21. Nine years at USC preceded his current run with the Seattle Seahawks where he has a .637 winning percentage.

Current Patriot offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is hoping to get another shot at his own team someday and I think he’s due. After his disastrous time in Denver, when he was fired after 12 games into his second season, he eventually found himself back with Belichick and the Pats. McDaniels no doubt learned form his time running the Broncos and he’s ready for another shot.

2) The Washington Redskins franchised tagged quarterback Kirk Cousins when the two sides couldn’t agree to a long term deal before this season. Cousins is following up a very good 2015, with an even better 2016 and judging with his comments to his GM, I think he still would like that long term deal.

I think Cousins will end up signing the biggest contract in the NFL this offseason, not because he’s the best player, but because that’s what the market will dictate he receives.

3) Wasn’t the NFC East supposed to be one of the worst divisions in the NFL?

Last year the Redskins took the title at 9-7 and the other three teams were a combined 17-31. This season none of the four teams have a losing record.

4) How good is Arizona Cardinals’ running back David Johnson?

He just racked up 166 yards from scrimmage in their loss to the Minnesota Vikings, and he’s only the 3rd player in the history of the NFL with at least 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his teams’ first 10 games.

5) The Oakland Raiders are a really fun team to watch. Quarterback Derek Carr has a really strong case for MVP with his knack for making the big play.

6) The Miami Dolphins started the season 1-4 with the team averaging 72.4 yards rushing per game. Since that time, the ‘Fins have averaged 163.8 yards on the ground while going 5-0. I’d say new head coach Adam Gase figured out his winning formula.

6a) Also during their 5 game winning streak, Miami QB Ryan Tannehill has 6 TDs to 1 interception and a passer rating of 99.3. During their 1-4 start, he had a passer rating of 83.6, with 6 TDs and 7 picks.

6b) If the 6-4 Dolphins can sneak into the playoffs, I think Gase has an outside shot at Coach of the Year.

7) I’m ok with so many kickers missing extra points. I wasn’t a fan of the rule change back then, but now, I like the excitement that comes with a play that had none before.

8) The Cleveland Browns may end up being the 1st winless team since the 2008 Detroit Lions, but how neat is it that their number one wide receiver was drafted to play quarterback in 2011.

Terrelle Pryor started 9 games at QB his last year in Oakland (2013) before being traded to the Seahawks the offseason before 2014. He was a late cut, then couldn’t find a job for all of 2014. In 2015 he went from the Chiefs to the Bengals (as a QB), before announcing a position switch to wide receiver after being cut by Cincinnati.

The Browns signed him in June of 2015, only to cut him a few months later. Cleveland brought him back in December and he actually played in 3 games, catching 1 pass for 42 yards.

So far this season Pryor has started all 11 games, making 56 catches for 724 yards, with 4 TDs. He has 8 runs for 21 yards and a TD on the ground, and he’s even played a little QB, completing 5 of 9 passes for 41 yards.

9) Do you guys like having three games on Thanksgiving?

I think it’s too much.

But with that being said, this slate of games should be really good on Thursday. All six teams that are playing have a .500 record or better. This is only the 2nd time since 1935 in which the Thanksgiving schedule featured three games and not a losing record among them.

10) My fellow Chicago Bears’ fans, with the season in the crapper, will you guys still watch?

I’ll still be tuning in for every second of every game, but watching while being resigned to the fact that they’ll probably lose is kind of refreshing. Sure it sucks to see my fav team lose, but knowing it going in, I’m able to check out some of the youngsters playing.

I think the one player I’m most excited to see is inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski. With Jerrell Freeman suspended the next 4 games, I hope it’s Kwiatkoski getting the nod next to Danny Trevathan and I hope the Bears play him just as much as they did Freeman.

What are you guys going to be looking for as the Bears play out the string?