Five most unusual offseasons

Now that Brett Favre and Mike Vick are gainfully employed, I thought I’d reflect back on what has been another wild NFL offseason (and I’m including the events of training camp as part of the “offseason,” cause, heck, we’re not in the regular season yet).

We’ve seen quarterback controversies of all kinds, plenty of he-said/he-said scenarios and some huge decisions for commissioner Roger Goodell. It’s never boring in these parts, eh?

So, here’s my list, and as always feel free to let me know what you think (which generally equates to telling me how wrong I am) in the comments, on email (lacanforanfl@yahoo.com) or on twitter (jasonlacanfora).

1) Denver — Hard to top this (although the events in Oakland this month gave me pause). The firing of coach Mike Shanahan caught everyone by surprise (not saying it didn’t have merit, but the timing was stunning). A public spat with franchise QB Jay Cutler leads to trade. Wonderkind rookie coach Josh McDaniels thrown into the fire immediately. Star WR Brandon Marshall begs to be traded too, repeatedly, with the sides unable to agree about pretty much anything, including whether or not upper management instructed a PR staffer to coach players not to express excitement over Marshall’s not-guilty verdict in court … or if the PR employee simply took it upon himself.

2) Oakland — By Raiders’ standards they seemed to be humming along, with nothing to see here. Yes, the selection of WR Darrius Heyward-Bey at seventh overall in the 2009 NFL Draft was controversial (though not surprising since this is the Raiders, and thus speed trumps all), and some draft experts didn’t have second-round pick S Mike Mitchell on their boards at all. But still, this is tame stuff. Then coach Tom Cable gets involved with some sort of alleged confrontation with defensive assistant Randy Hanson (could be more news on that situation today). A trip to the ER ensues and then a police report surfaces. Okay, that’s the Raiders we’ve all come to expect.

3) Cleveland — The hiring of coach Eric Mangini wasn’t totally popular and Mangini didn’t help his rep by drawing the ire of star DT Shaun Rogers right away (not that it’s too difficult to accomplish that with Rogers) or busing his rookies all the way to Hartford to work at his summer camp (ultimately I think this got overblown some, but it’s definitely unusual). Return star Josh Cribbs may still may skip Week 1 if he doesn’t get a reworked contract after the prior regime promised him one. The spectre of potential blackouts in Cleveland is also out there, which for that football-mad city is highly unusual, too.

4) Minnesota — All’s well that ends well, I guess, but man, this year’s edition of Favre Watch was a humdinger. He was allegedly spotted all over the state, buying homes, golfing and breaking it down on dance floors all over the greater Twin Cities area (okay, I made that last one up). There were conflicting reports about Favre Vikings jerseys being already made, numerous predictions as to the day the inevtiable signing would be announced … and then Favre, unconvincingly, retired again, only to fly to Minnesota and sign a contract three weeks later. They’re gonna have to jettison a QB here in the next few weeks, and have had to juggle this Favre thing for months. It would seem like the distration and sideshow is over, but man, what a wacky offseason it was.

5) Washington — The Redskins went through their own QB saga, trying to trade for Cutler, shopping incumbent starter Jason Campbell to at least one team and then flirting with drafting Mark Sanchez to that point that Campbell would have demanded a trade had they done so. Campbell handled everything with class, and second-year coach Jim Zorn was caught in the middle of it all. The team made some potentially great moves to bolster its defense, but ignored a long-suffering O-line.  Then they signed Mike Williams as a potential starting right tackle, despite the fact he’d been out of football for years and balooned up to about 450 pounds. That’s unusual, if nothing else. And now Jessica Simpson has allegedly set her baby blues on Skins back-up QB Colt Brennan? That can’t be good. Listen to teammate Chris Cooley, Colt. For the sake of your team, do the right thing.

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