Even though the NFL season is technically not over with Conference Championships and the Super Bowl on the horizon, it is never too early to think about next season. New coaches, the draft, free agency, all things that can be considered as the 2022 season will begin in several months.
Today, we look at five teams that had a bevy of issues this past season but are surprisingly optimistic heading into the new season and look to improve during the campaign. Without further ado, here are the five teams to look forward to in the NFL in 2022.
This past season felt like a horrible soap opera come to life for the Jaguars. From hiring Urban Meyer as their head coach, drafting Trevor Lawrence as their franchise quarterback, going through scandal after scandal, and the on-field product was below average.
Jacksonville finished this past season 3-14 and fired Urban Meyer after allegations of abuse to former kicker Josh Lambo. The morale of the team was at a point in which the fans dressed up like clowns during the regular-season finale in disgust about the general manager Trent Baalke.
Well, the Jaguars will have the #1 pick during the 2022 NFL Draft and there are rumors that the Jacksonville Jaguars have found their new head coach. With a young roster, a new head coach, and a sense of optimism, there is hope in Jacksonville. This will all be fulfilled if Trevor Lawrence improves on a subpar rookie season.
Usually, we are thinking that the Baltimore Ravens will be a playoff team, especially with the talent they have, it did not happen. Last season, the Ravens finished the season 8-9 and for the first time in the Lamar Jackson era, did not qualify for the playoffs.
Maybe it was due to losing their final six games, maybe it was due to the 19 players that were on the injured reserve list, or maybe it was the two options, plus QB Lamar Jackson missing the final four games of the season with an ankle injury. In a tough AFC North, the Ravens would have needed their franchise QB to help them throughout the end of the season.
John Harbaugh will sign an extension in the offseason, and this will be very interesting to see how the Ravens will overcome their first non-playoff season since 2017 in 2022. There were five Pro Bowlers for Baltimore this season, three players made it to the First Team AP All-Pro team.
Since this is the first season that Lamar Jackson did not go to the playoffs, it will be interesting to see how he tries to get better in year five.
When you think about the 2021-22 Dallas Cowboys, what comes to mind: 14 seconds. After a season that featured a comeback season from Dak Prescott, an amazing defensive showing from rookie Micah Parsons and cornerback Trevon Diggs, and an NFC East championship, the season ends with bad clock management.
In the NFC Wild Card game against the San Francisco 49ers, down by six, instead of going out of bounds, Prescott decided to slide with no timeouts and the clock running. Now, next season will be crazy in terms of intrigue and a possible coaching change.
With the news that Sean Payton has decided to step down as the New Orleans Saints’ head coach, there have been rumblings that he would take the Cowboys job in 2023. Mike McCarthy could have a better team than last season, have career seasons from Dak, Zeke Elliott, and Amari Cooper, bring back Dan Quinn and his defensive expertise, it still would not be enough.
Anything below a Super Bowl appearance means a coaching change is imminent and the first name that will pop up on their channel will be Sean Payton. Another thing to look forward to is the fans and their dramatic overreactions.
For the first time since 2004, a quarterback not named Ben Roethlisberger will be the starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Recently, Big Ben announced his retirement after 18 seasons in the NFL, which means the next guy up will have enormous shoes to fill.
Pittsburgh made the playoffs in a crazy last week of the regular season, with a solid running game and the defensive prowess of TJ Watt. Having a new quarterback to start 2022 will be challenging but if anyone could do it, it is Mike Tomlin.
Whether it is Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins, or the possible draft pick that Pittsburgh will make during the 2022 NFL Draft, the Steelers will need to make the decision to get the QB accustomed to the Pittsburgh style.
They will have a few stars to help them on their way including Najee Harris, Chase Claypool, Cam Heyward, and Minkah Fitzpatrick. Pittsburgh is at a state where if they do not hit a homerun at QB, they will be at a disadvantage against some of the top teams of the AFC with QBs already in place.
1) Green Bay Packers
The biggest story of the offseason will take us to Green Bay, Wisconsin, and to an extent, the Green Bay Packers. The story of Aaron Rodgers and where he will be playing next year will be the top story in the media rounds during the offseason. With that scenario, also you have to think about the free agency decisions looming with several players seeking bigger contracts.
Seeing guys like Davante Adams, Kevin King, and Rasul Douglas possibly on the market, will make things difficult for Green Bay. Especially with the announcement of Nathaniel Hackett accepting the head coach position with the Denver Broncos.
Maybe Rodgers goes to Denver with Hackett and the Packers start the Jordan Love era early or do whatever it takes to keep Aaron Rodgers as their QB. Only time will tell for Green Bay.
Please be sure to check out the OTH Football Podcast on Spotify and Youtube!