10 things we learned from the NFL’s 2021 offseason:
- Kansas City Chiefs seek to become the fourth team to reach three consecutive Super Bowls –. Remember when Andy Reid didn’t win enough games in Philadelphia?
- Takes a while to get used to skill players wearing single-digit jersey numbers – and I’ll say it now, equipment managers need to be more discerning about who gets them. Good to see Leonard Fournette back in No. 7 and Jaylon Smith in No. 9 on Thursday night
- Are the Cleveland Browns, one of four NFL teams to never reach the Super Bowl, finally going to play on Super Sunday next February in LA? No team got more votes among AFC teams from our panel of experts.
- Never miss a press conference from new Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell, an admitted (bleep) with an appetite for opponents’ kneecaps.
- No, Mac Jones won’t be the first rookie quarterback to start for Bill Belichick in New England. How quickly we forget Jacoby Brissett …
- Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson may have to become the first quarterback to rush for 1,500 yards in a season to offset the output lost by the Ravens’ ransacked running back room, which lost its top three rushers to season-ending injuries over a two-week period.
- The Ravens have a league-high dozen games this season against opponents who finished .500 or better in 2020, so they’ve got quite the deck stacked against them.
- Will this season be the first when Seahawks QB Russell Wilson earns an MVP vote … or merely be his final year in Seattle?
- If quarterbacking musical chairs, which seem to shift increasingly often year over year, really get out of control in 2022, let’s hope former Wisconsin Badger Wilson winds up in Green Bay with West Coast native Aaron Rodgers in Seattle. That should tell us a lot about both star QBs.
- NFL teams are estimated to travel a collective 558,287 miles during the regular season. The 49ers will collect the most frequent-flyer miles (28,260) – the earth’s circumference is roughly 25,000 miles – and the Bengals will earn the fewest (9,462).
COVID-19. The NFL had a 93.5% vaccination rate at last count. But expect the virus to continue to wreak havoc – especially with the league drawing brighter lines about what kind of circumstances will lead to the schedule tinkering that became commonplace last year … and those, like an outbreak caused by unvaccinated players, that could lead to forfeits and missed game checks. And given simply the number of QB1s who have avoided vaccination – Kirk Cousins, Lamar Jackson and Carson Wentz among them – significant disruptions seem inevitable.