Which NFL Teams Have A Cause For Optimism?


By Graham Tuck

February 5, 2020

Multiple NFL teams failed to meet expectations this season, but the question now becomes whether it was a fluke or a sign of worse things to come.  In order to qualify for review in this article, teams must have finished in the bottom ten of the league standings. Here’s a look at the teams that should be looking up, and those that should think about tearing it down.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Rebuild

The Jaguars went all in on Nick Foles, and only one season in it looks like the deal may come back to bite them.  While Leonard Fournette is still one of the better backs in the league, the offense around him is subpar, and the stellar defense that guided them to an AFC Championship Game two seasons ago is long gone.  The offensive line needs an overhaul, and the defense has multiple holes. To make matters worse, the Jaguars are over the salary cap meaning they’ll have to build through the draft. The best option in Duval is for the Jaguars to tear down every position but signal-caller and running back, and build from the ground up.

Los Angeles Chargers: Be Optimistic

In a way, Philip Rivers’ poor play helped the Chargers this year.  It’s unlikely that the Chargers could’ve been in position to win a title with the way their division rival Chiefs played this year, shown by their recent win in Miami for Super Bowl LIV.  Rivers is one of the only reasons the Chargers under performed this year, as their defense has studs all over the place, and their offense is loaded with pro-bowl talent. Their high draft position allows them to either draft their quarterback at number six, or use their fifty-one million dollars in cap space to sign him in free agency.  With most of their players returning, the Chargers should be just fine if they can resign one member of their backfield and get a quarterback.

Carolina Panthers: Rebuild

Christian McCaffery is one of the top three backs in the league, but that’s about all the Panthers have going for them.  This is obviously a time of change in Charlotte, with Matt Rhule replacing Ron Rivera at the helm. The biggest question for the Panthers is obviously quarterback, with Kyle Allen and Will Grier proving they aren’t ready, and Cam Newton’s health being a complete mystery.  Even if they get the quarterback situation sorted out, their offensive line, receiving corps, and secondary still need help. Shedding cap and acquiring draft capital would be the best move for the Queen City’s team by far.

Cleveland Browns: Be Optimistic

Baker Mayfield hit a sophomore slump, but the Browns roster certainly doesn’t lack talent.  Nick Chubb showed what he’s capable of in the first half of the season, and their roster is filled with other household names.  The major problems for the Browns last season were offensive line and play-calling, one of which has been taken care of with the hire of Kevin Stefanski.  Offensive line is something the Browns can address through both free agency and the draft, and if the Browns can protect Mayfield they have a great chance of making their first playoff appearance since 2002.

PHOTO: Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY