The rookies in the NFL are posing a ton of questions themselves after the 4-game preseason. The most talked about is Johnny Manziel and how much playing time, if any, he will receive this season for Cleveland. As of now Brian Hoyer is the starter, but the Steelers say they expect to see "Johnny Football" this Sunday. Blake Bortles was suppose to sit as the backup for his rookie season, but his impressive preseason may change that. Chad Henne is expected to start, but Bortles proved that he may be able to change the minds of the Jaguars' coaches. Will he do so this season? Jadeveon Clowney is now paired up with $100 million man J.J Watt, and is cleared to compete following a concussion from practice. Will the Texans defense look as good as they do on paper?
Injuries and discipline to key players keeping them out of action is another big headline heading in to the season. Cam Newton is a game-time decision for the Panthers' season opener with injured ribs. Carolina lost most of their receiving core in the offseason, so losing their star QB just makes matters worse. Wes Welker is now suspended for the first 4 games, although many believe Peyton Manning has enough weapons to survive those 4 weeks. Josh Gordon of the Browns is suspended for the year, and is now a car salesman, so whoever ends up under center for Cleveland won't have their top receiver. How many of those teams will be able to find replacements for their stars?
Head coaching change was common for teams that may be surprise favorites in the NFL this season. The Lions brought in Jim Caldwell to Mo-Town, hoping they can contend with the NFC North. The Bears and Packers are expected to be good, but the Lions may have the upper-hand. Caldwell has coached a Peyton Manning team to the Super Bowl, and they have Drew Brees' old QB coach. Maybe they can have the same type of success with Matthew Stafford. Lovie Smith has taken over in Tampa Bay, who is filled with good young players. Smith is also a former Super Bowl coach (with Chicago), and hopes to help the young players, and a struggling franchise, to some much-needed success.
This season promises to be filled with surprises, and interesting turnabouts. Who will be at the top of the league at the end of the season, and playing in January, is nearly unpredictable. How rookies will fare with their team could go either way. But Mondays, Thursdays, and Sundays for the next 3+ months will help iron out all of the confusion in the most entertaining way.
- NFC North- Lions, Bears, Packers, Vikings
- NFC East- Eagles, Giants, Redskins, Cowboys
- NFC South- Saints, Panthers, Buccaneers, Falcons
- NFC West- Seahawks, 49ers, Cardinals, Rams
- AFC East- Patriots, Dolphins, Jets, Bills
- AFC North- Steelers, Bengals, Ravens, Browns
- AFC South- Colts, Texans, Titans, Jaguars
- AFC West- Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders