The Team Who Has Had The Best NFL Offseason So Far

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by: Damon Turbitt

I could be wrong, but I feel as though this has been one of the more active, if not the most active, NFL offseasons in recent years. There have been many big names either staying at home or changing area codes, including, but not limited to: Wes Welker heading to Denver, Steven Jackson going to Atlanta, Reggie Bush taking his talents to Detroit and Mike Wallace leaving Pittsburgh for Miami. Nobody has matched the offseason of the Kansas City Chiefs though. From the offense to the defense to the coaching staff, the Chiefs had been very busy early in 2013.

Let’s start with the offense. The Chiefs had two big offensive weapons that everybody knew last year, being wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and running back Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs still had Charles under contract, but had the task of keeping Bowe in Kansas City, and they did just that, signing him to a five-year deal. On the topic of keeping players, they also were able franchise-tagged their left tackle Brandon Albert.

But they were 2-14 with these players…

Kansas City did much more than just re-sign their offensive weapons; they just turned into a potential top-10 offense with the trade for former San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. Say what you want about Colin Kaepernick, I still think that the Niners would have made it to the Super Bowl with Alex Smith under center. But anyway. They just added a solid passer, which is not something that they have had in their offense. Now that they have both a solid pass and run game, defenses will have a much harder time preparing for the Chiefs. Kansas City also brought in a couple more targets for Smith. Dwayne Bowe is the number one receiver without a doubt, but they were able to sign Donnie Avery, and he will most likely be the number-two receiver next season. At tight end, the Chiefs were able to bring aboard Anthony Fasano, who played in Miami last season. He is a big target at 6’4″ and he caught five touchdown passes last season. I feel as though he has been under-utilized being in Miami, so it will be interesting to see how he performs next season. A passing game is what Kansas City needed, so these additions will turn their offense around completely.

The run defense struggled last season, but the Chiefs have begun to address that issue also. They already have Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson, who are two solid linebackers that are capable of stopping the run, but they also went out and got Mike DeVito from the Jets, a 300-pound defensive lineman that will clog up the middle. As far as the secondary goes, they did not really need to make any moves – they already had Eric Berry and Brandon Flowers back there – but they made a couple of big acquisitions. First, they signed Dunta Robinson, who has played in 15 or more games in seven of his first nine seasons and also has 17 career interceptions to go along with almost 600 tackles. Is he the best corner in the league? No, but he is fast and will be playing with one of the most talented secondaries in the NFL. Also, they were able to sign Sean Smith, the former Miami Dolphin whose name has been getting some attention this offseason. In addition to the other three guys, this will be a scary secondary that will be able to cover the options that Peyton Manning and the division-rival Denver Broncos will be looking for in the upcoming year.

Now to the coaching. There really was not a better guy out there than Andy Reid. This is a coach who was the head of one of the most successful teams of the last decade in the Philadelphia Eagles. Although they never won a Super Bowl, the Eagles did manage to make one appearance while playing in five NFC Championship games. He had gotten a lot of criticism for the failures in Philadelphia over the last two seasons, but every coaching tenure runs its course. He has a great defense to work with already in Kansas City and, after all of the offseason moves, he has a great offense to work with too. The players have said that they liked Reid, so it looks like Reid is a good fit.

Call me crazy, but I think that the Chiefs are a playoff team with the roster that they have now. They have addressed their offensive needs, they have only bettered their defense and they added a coaching stud in Andy Reid. And keep this in mind: they still have the number-one draft pick this April.

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Is Andrew Luck the best rookie quarterback ever?

After a fairly crazy NFL week thirteen, I decided to take a look at what the new power rankings looked like on ESPN. Some teams shuffled around in a couple of places in the top ten, but one team has steadily improved and has crept into the ninth position; the Indianapolis Colts. I like to read the notes that coincide with the ranking, but I found this blurb to be startling; to paraphrase the note, it said, ‘Andrew Luck may be the greatest rookie quarterback in NFL history.’ This threw me off. It is crazy for an assumption like that to be made, especially when Robert Griffin is putting up ridiculous numbers. Andrew Luck is  having a phenomenal rookie season, but he is not the best rookie quarterback ever; in fact, he is not even the best rookie quarterback this season.

To Luck’s credit, he has had an outstanding rookie campaign. In his first season in the NFL, he is currently ranked fourth among quarterbacks in both passing yards (3,596) and passing yards per game (300). If these numbers stay true, then he will shatter the record for most passing yards in a season by a rookie, which was set by Cam Newton last season. It may be a reach, but there is a slight chance that Luck could eclipse the 5,000 yard mark. If he does do this, he would become just the sixth quarterback in history to reach 5,000 yards.

The other fact that we have learned about Luck in his first season is that he wins games. In football, numbers are important, but at the end of the day, winning is most important. Last season, the Colts were a dismal 2-14, which was the worst record in the league. Luck, the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, has quadrupled the team’s win total from last season with four games left to play. Right now, Indianapolis controls their own destiny; they are 8-4 currently and hold the fifth seed in the AFC playoff race. There is no doubt that this turnaround is due to Andrew Luck.

With all that he has done well this season, he also has some areas that need work. Luck already has seventeen touchdown tosses this year, but he also has sixteen interceptions; this ties him with Drew Brees for the most interceptions thrown this year. Also, out of quarterbacks with 200+ passing attempts, he ranks second to last in completion percentage. He is great. He does have a lot of areas for improvement though.

Enter: Robert Griffin III.

Robert Griffin has put himself among the league’s best quarterbacks in just twelve games. Don’t agree? The numbers do. This season, he currently ranks third in the NFL in quarterback rating, just .6 points behind the leader, Aaron Rodgers. If he sustains his rating, he will have the highest rookie quarterback rating in NFL history. Luck fails in accuracy and turnovers, but this is where Griffin is at his best; he is currently tied for the least amount of interceptions in the league with just four. Also, he ranks sixth in the league in completion percentage. Efficiency like this has never been seen from a rookie quarterback.

He also is just as much of a threat with his feet as he is with his arm. It only took him twelve games to beat Cam Newton’s rookie rushing record of 706 yards. If his pace increases slightly, he could reach the 1,000-yard mark, which has only been done once in history (Michael Vick ran for 1,039). He also ran for a 76-yard touchdown earlier this season, which was the longest run in the NFL since 1996. 

His record may not match that of Andrew Luck, but RGIII is still keeping his team alive. After beating the defending-champion Giants on Monday night, he pulled his team within one game of New York in the NFC East with a 6-6 record. With their remaining strength of schedule ranking in the twenties, there is no reason not to believe that Griffin cannot continue his magical season and carry his team to the playoffs.

Andrew Luck deserves a lot of respect; he is putting up some of the best rookie numbers that the league has ever seen. He just got into the league at a bad time. Robert Griffin is taking the league by storm and shows no signs of slowing down. To make a long story short; Andrew Luck is not the best rookie quarterback ever. Robert Griffin III is the best rookie quarterback ever.