NFL Teams That Will Regress in 2013
With only the Super Bowl left on the National Football League’s schedule, 30 teams have already begun their offseason agendas—some of which included coaching changes.
Surely 2013 will bring more excitement and drama than 2012. That seems to be the trend of the NFL each season, but a good trend nonetheless.
However, there will be a decent number of teams that go through a downward tailspin in 2013—one that will be both taxing and strenuous on players, coaches and upper management, not to mention the fans.
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It’s hard to imagine the Arizona Cardinals regressing in 2013, especially when you consider how awful they were in 2012. The Cardinals were 27th in total offense, averaging 285.2 yards per game, 29th in passing yards per game with an average of 171.3 and in points per game, averaging just over 16 per contest.
But with newly signed head coach Bruce Arians, who led the Colts to an unbelievable season in the absence of Chuck Pagano, the Cardinals will falter next season for one major reason: lack of talent on the offensive side of the football.
The Cardinals have a decent running game led by Beanie Wells and LaRod Stephens-Howling. They also boast one of the league’s best receivers in Larry Fitzgerald, who had 71 receptions for 798 yards and four touchdowns in 2012.
But beyond that, the Cardinals lack talent.
They don’t possess a competent quarterback or an offensive line. As a unit, the Cardinals offensive line allowed the most sacks in the league this season, 58. They also surrendered the fourth-most quarterback hits, with 97.
The Cardinals need as much help in the upcoming April draft and free agency as they can get.
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Another team that will regress in 2013 is the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are coming off of a subpar 8-8 mark, their second in as many seasons behind coach Jason Garrett.
Instead of changing course with a new coach, the Cowboys opted to go a different route by firing defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Sure, the Cowboys defense faltered in the second half of the season. But much of that was because of an assortment of injuries sustained by key players.
What about the offense? When will Tony Romo prove himself in this league? There’s no question Dez Bryant is an amazing receiver with a bundle of talent, but outside of him, where is the surrounding cast of talent?
Unless the Cowboys have the best draft class of all 32 teams in April and sign some major free agents in the offseason, it looks like 2013 will grow darker than 2012.
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Kelly’s fast-paced offensive scheme will be interesting to watch in 2013. It’s hard to say if it will work or not, especially considering how fast opposing defenses are. But we've seen stranger things. The Wildcat scheme worked and worked well for a short while. The read-option is another scheme that's proven to work in the NFL.
Unless Kelly finds some legitimate playmakers to fill the glaring holes in the offense—quarterback, wide receiver, etc.—then the Eagles should prepare their offensive attack based on what they have in place.
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The Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the best coaches in the NFL, but they are declining. It’s rare not to see quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sustain some type of injury each season, and the defense is aging as well.
Hopefully, the Steelers will find a solid running back via free agency or the draft in April—a feat they haven’t accomplished in quite some time.
San Diego Chargers
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Quarterback Philip Rivers appears to have more potential than what he’s showcased lately, and newly hired coach Mike McCoy will need to find a legitimate target or two for Rivers to throw to in 2013.
The Chargers ranked ninth in total defense in 2012, and nine-year veteran linebacker Shaun Phillips tallied 9.5 sacks.
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Jacksonville rounded out 2012 with an abysmal mark of 2-14, causing owner Shahid Khan to part ways with first-year coach Mike Mularkey.
The Jaguars ranked 29th in total offense and 30th in points per game, with 15.9. The offense gained just 269 total first downs, 30th in the league.
The defense wasn't much better, yielding the second-most combined first downs in the league, 364, and allowed 27.8 points per game, tied for 29th in the league.
The Jaguars don't have an established quarterback. Blaine Gabbert, who was selected as the 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft, has had a rocky start to his NFL career. Gabbert was placed on injured reserve late in the 2012 season and questions about his future with the club remain unanswered as there has been talk of Tim Tebow possibly landing in Jacksonville.