It is that time of year again. New Year’s resolutions are being written by millions of Americans in order to better themselves in 2016.
Some will say they will finally dust off that brand new treadmill, while others plan to clean up the cluttered garage.
NFL teams are no different from you or I in that they write down resolutions on how they can become more equipped for the coming year.
Some teams like the Lions will be saying “New Year, New Team” as they fire their coach while others will simply be doing some fine tuning to their team.
These resolutions will turn losing records into playoff berths.
New Year’s Resolutions for non-Playoff Teams
Buffalo Bills – Beat the Patriots
Buffalo’s most bitter rival has beaten them 10 out of the last 12 meetings. For the past five years, the Patriots have been able to mark on their calendar two almost certain hard fought wins against the Bills. If the Bills ever want to return to their former greatness they have to find a way to beat the Patriots at least once a year. In this offseason, defensive guru Rex Ryan should draw up schemes specifically for New England. Their New Years resolution will be to stop Tom Brady.
Miami Dolphins – Find an offensive coordinator
Miami has one of the most talented offenses in the game yet they rank towards the bottom of the league statistically. A high powered offense including Ryan Tannehill, Rishard Matthews, Jarvis Landry, Davante Parker, and Lamar Miller average only 325 yards of total offense which is 26th in the league. The Dolphins fired the offensive coordinator, Bill Lazor, after a poor offensive outing against the Jets which included twelve total rushing yards. The interim play caller, Zac Taylor, has not fared much better because the Dolphins have only scored over 20 once since he has taken over. The Dolphins’ resolution will be to find an offensive coordinator that can harness all of their talent into a high octane offense.
Baltimore Ravens – A rejuvenated defense
The injury plague affected nearly every NFL team this season. It especially hit the Baltimore Ravens because Joe Flacco, Steve Smith, and Justin Forsett all had season ending injuries. Even when all three were healthy, the Ravens struggled mainly due to the fact that they allowed the 22nd most points in the league. That, combined with their injuries on offensive have led to their 5-10 record. The championship-winning Ravens teams were built around their defense. As years have passed, anchors on the defense such as Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Haloti Ngata are no longer with the Ravens. As the defense has slowly deteriorated so have the Ravens. For their New Year’s resolution, the Ravens will need to draft some young superstars that can revive their defense.
Cleveland Browns – Sign a quarterback
The Cleveland Browns have had nine different starting quarterbacks since 2005. In the last decade they have wasted three first round picks to find a signal caller. Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden, and Johnny Manziel were all taken with the 22nd overall pick and none of them have panned out. Cleveland’s New Year’s resolution is to find a starting quarterback and stick with them for 16 games. Part of the problem with the Cleveland organization is the lack of stability. Between the nine different quarterbacks and five different coaches in the last decade there is no consistency for this football team. Sam Bradford, Kirk Cousins, and Ryan Fitzpatrick will all be free agents at the end of the season and Cleveland needs to get their hands on one of them. Cleveland should NOT use another draft pick for a quarterback.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Win three games in the AFC South
The Jaguars have not made the playoffs since the 2007 season and the main reason for that is their inability to win divisional games. Their combined record against the Colts, Texans, and Titans the last two years is 3-8. Since the divisional games make a good portion of the season, the Jaguars must win at least three games to be in the playoff picture. Although they are out of playoff contention, Jacksonville has established their offensive presence this year with Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson. If they follow their resolution of winning three division games, then they should be in the playoff hunt next year.
Tennessee Titans – draft an offensive tackle
The Titans drafted Marcus Mariota with the number two overall pick in the 2015 draft and if they play their cards right, Roger Goodell will be announcing their draft pick first. Tennessee needs an offensive line to protect their franchise quarterback. This year the Titans have allowed 50 sacks which is 2nd most in the league. Mariota has missed several games this year due to injury because of his lack of protection. For New Years the Titans will resolve to draft an offensive tackle to help keep Marcus Mariota healthy.
Oakland Raiders – Be clutch in close games
In Derek Carr’s second year he led the Raiders against the toughest division in football and managed a 3-2 record in divisional games. With a 7-8 record, the Raiders last game will merely be a consolation prize if they manage to beat the red hot Chiefs. That being said, the Raiders were very close to being a playoff team this year. In four games this season they lost a game by only one possession. If they win two of those games, they are still playing for the playoffs this week. Oakland’s resolution will be to win close games.
San Diego Chargers – Get a true running back
Charger fans were ecstatic when they saw Melvin Gordon drafted, but through the first 15 games, he has been an utter disappointment. Gordon has zero touchdowns, four lost fumbles, while only averaging 3.5 yards a carry. On the other hand, Danny Woodhead has been a bright spot for San Diego, but he is more of a receiving back. This season, San Diego was dead last in total rushing yards. The Chargers will need to sign a running back that will make opponents respect their run game to be a competitor in the new year.
New York Giants – Establish a run game
The Giants have the most talented player in the game in Odell Beckham Jr. Unfortunately, they have become to reliant on OBJ and they cannot function as seen in their most recent game against the Vikings. Without OBJ, Eli Manning looked pedestrian at best. The Giants resolution for 2016 is to establish a run game in order to create a balanced offense and take the pressure off of OBJ. Additionally, the Giants needs to narrow their backfield to two backs (Shane Vereen and Rashad Jennings), and try to trade Andre Williams.
Philadelphia Eagles – Trade Demarco Murray
Chip Kelly sent one of the league’s best running backs packing when he traded Lesean McCoy to the Bills. To replace McCoy, Kelly brought in both Demarco Murray and Ryan Matthews. This led to a crowded backfield in Philly considering that they already had Darren Sproles. Three top tier running backs in the same locker room created some controversy. Murray was not getting the touches like he did in Dallas which caused frustration. However, Matthews and Sproles were used to splitting touches so they were relatively unaffected. Murray has complained about his lack of use because there are simply not enough footballs to go around. The change the Eagles’ should embrace in the new year should be to trade Murray in order to spend money at other lacking positions such as wide receiver.
Dallas Cowboys – Sign a capable backup
Dallas was placed in a quandary when Tony Romo broke his collarbone. Backup quarterback Brandon Weeden proved ineffective, so Dallas went with Matt Cassel. Cassel was equally inept and showed he was not an NFL caliber quarterback. The backup quarterbacks for Dallas combined for a 1-10 record which is completely unacceptable. A backup shouldn’t be expected to win every game, but they should be able to win more than one game. If the Cowboys are going to stick with Romo as their starter, then their first round pick needs to be a backup quarterback. California quarterback Jared Goff looks like a capable backup for Tony.
Detroit Lions – Kick Caldwell to the curb
The Detroit Lions has showed glimpses of hope this year but Jim Caldwell has inhibited any chance of winning. Caldwell blew a perfect season during his tenure in Indianapolis and his presence as a head coach ever since has been characterized by losing. For instance, that loss to the Packers this year on the last second Hail Mary was 100% coaching. He had two guys lined up 10 yards back and failed to put Calvin Johnson or Eric Ebron in the game. Simply put, Jim Caldwell is not fit to be a head coach in the NFL. Detroit needs a new coach to bring in the new year.
Chicago Bears – Trade Forte
Matt Forte has been the face of the franchise for a long time and he is still considered one of the best backs in the league. That is exactly why Chicago should trade him. The phrase buy low and sell high applies perfectly here. Next year, Forte will be going into his ninth season. He has averaged over 250 carries and 60 receptions a year. That is a lot of touches for any running back, especially an aging one. When Forte went down with an injury this year, rookie running back Jeremy Langford filled in and did great. He can replace Forte next season and the Bears offense will not skip a beat. Forte’s value is relatively high for his age and an injury next season could end his career, thus Chicago should sell while they still can.
Atlanta Falcons – Stay focused for 16 games
The Falcons came out strong this year with an offense that looked like it could not be stopped. With Devonta Freeman’s monster games and Julio Jones’ elite athleticism, the Falcons were a shoe-in for the playoffs. After getting off to a 6-1, the Falcons lost six straight. They lost two games (49ers and Bucs) that they should have easily won. Needless to say, the wheels fell off a well oiled machine. The Atlanta Falcons will be doing yoga in the new year so they will be able to focus for the entire season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Build a secondary
The Bucs showed potential this year with their number one draft pick Jameis Winston. Their offense with Winston, Mike Evans, and Doug Martin was not the problem. Their weakness lies in their defense, specifically the secondary. Opposing teams have been able to complete 70% of their passes against Tampa Bay this year which puts them last in that category. There are plenty of talented cornerbacks in this years’ draft and the Buccaneers should definitely take advantage of the high draft pick.
New Orleans Saints – A defensive coordinator
The Saints defense was awful this year; I mean it was painful to watch. Rob Ryan proved himself as the worst defensive coordinator in the history of football. The Saints allowed 31 points per game which is ridiculous for a professional defense. They allowed team to run and throw at will, and Brees simply couldn’t match the points that their defense was allowing. The Saints don’t need the best defensive, but instead, one that can stop the opposition enough where Brees is capable of outscoring the other team.
St. Louis Rams- get a number one wide receiver
Tavon Austin’s speed makes him perfect to play the slot and take jet sweeps but the Rams need a big target to throw it up to. The Rams were last in total passing yards this year with a little over 2,500 yards. Kenny Britt is simply not a top tier receiver, and neither is Brian Quick. T.Y. Hilton, Alshon Jeffrey, and Michael Crabtree will all be free agents at the end of the season. The Rams need to get their hands on one of these receivers to lead their receiving corps. The Rams already have their future hall-of-famer running back in Todd Gurley, but they need a passing game to make a playoff run.
San Francisco 49ers – Kaepernick is NOT the answer! Neither is Gabbert! Try again!
When Kaepernick inherited Alex Smith’s offense he looked like the best thing since sliced bread. Now three years later, Kaepernick sat the better part of the season on the bench. He was replaced by a washed up Jaguar quarterback, Blaine Gabbert. Jim Tomsula needs a real quarterback to run their offense. Even after Kaepernick has failed numerous times they still come back to him year after year. Their New Year’s resolution will be to release Kaepernick and draft a new quarterback.
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