NFL Teams Rebuilding Towards a Bigger Picture
If you ask a franchise owner, they will tell you that there isn't a dirtier word in sports. Rebuilding means ticket prices have to be slashed. Rebuilding means fans have to be patient and can't boo losses. It also means you have a plan, you know what you're doing and you have some of the pieces in places to pull off such an ambitious project.
Rebuilding is a pact made with everyone who backs your team, that within a few years this team will be winning games and will continue to win games.
Unfortunately for some fans, some teams have been rebuilding for decades. Every bad top draft pick, every free agent that turns into a bust, every awful coach that you have to fire means starting the rebuilding plan all over again.
All that being said the future is always bright or we wouldn't be sports fans. So here's a list of NFL teams who HOPE their rebuilding plans are on schedule.
The Oakland Raiders have changed philosophies since the death of long time owner, Al Davis. They are no longer trying to build explosive, high-scoring offensive teams and picking the fastest player in the draft.
Second-year Head Coach Dennis Allen and new Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson are going to run the ball and concentrate on defense.
They hope that running back Darren McFadden can have the same type of year Steven Jackson had under Olson when he coached in St. Louis in 2006 and Jackson put up his career high in rushing (1,528 yards).
With very few household names on the roster, Raider Nation hopes GM Reggie McKenzie knows what he is doing. If not, another 4-12 season might be on the horizon.
Gone are the days of winning four consecutive AFC Championships. But better days might not be that far off for the Bills. Drafting EJ Manuel means that they might have their QB of the present and the future (unfortunately Kevin Kolb doesn't seem like he'll be able to compete due to a careers worth of concussions).
If Manuel is the man, he has some talent to work with on the offensive side of the ball (CJ Spiller, Stevie Johnson, rookie Robert Woods).
If Mario Williams can regain the Pro-Bowl form he had in Houston, the Bills might be thinking playoffs in another season or two.
Combine that with the New England Patriots combo of Brady and Belichick getting up there in years and the Bills' glory days might be back in no time.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have only had five coaches in their history. Gus Bradley who the Jags hired in January, is number five and he has a lot of holes to fill and questions to answer about his roster.
First question is whether Blaine Gabbert is a franchise quarterback or not. Bradley should know the answer to that by the end of the season.
Next question is whether or not longtime Jags superstar Maurice Jones-Drew should be traded soon or be allowed to retire with the team. Being that he's taken a lot more hits than he's seen wins, maybe the right thing for both sides would be to trade him to a contender.
They drafted a huge building block in Luke Joekel, so that's a great start to the rebuilding. Unfortunately other than Joekel and MJD, there's not much more in the cupboard.
You wouldn't think that a team with a second-year quarterback that turns 30 in a few weeks would be considered set for the future, but the Browns are slowly building a playoff team.
If Weeden is the answer, they are set both at quarterback and running back (Trent Richardson is what the kids would call "a beast").
Head Coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner have a plan and they seem to think they have most of the pieces needed to pull it off. (Word around the league is that Jordan Cameron might be this year's breakout tight end to come out of nowhere.)
Look for the Browns to improve on last year's 5-11 record.
New York Jets
The J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets! Where to begin? Well if you are buying the rebuilding talk, you don't begin with any thing that happened last year.
If you are part of "Gang Green" nation you begin with Geno Smith, the high draft pick who has been handed the reins as the starting quarterback for your New York Jets. Of course, the decision was made easier because incumbent starter Mark Sanchez hasn't recovered from his preseason injury.
Coach Rex Ryan is a great interviewee, but the jury is still out as to whether he is a great coach. Most think this is a make or break year for Ryan. His supporters point out that the Jets might not have enough talent at the skill positions to compete with the Patriots, up-and-coming Dolphins or even the Bills.
The front office is hopeful that their three high picks, (Smith, defensive back Dee Milliner and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson) will all pan out. All three will be in the starting lineups on opening day.
Whether the Jets win with Smith under center remains to be seen, but one thing for sure the Jets will always keep it interesting.