The end of the regular season in the NFL is quickly approaching, and there are several teams that have found themselves way outside of the playoff hunt. Chip Kelly’s first year as the 49ers coach was a rough one as his squad holds a 1-13 record. Heading up North in the NFC, the Chicago Bears are also at the bottom of the barrel in the wins column having a record of 3-10. In the AFC Jacksonville is 2-11, the New York Jets are 4-9, and oh yeah I forgot to mention, the Cleveland Browns have yet to pull out a win after 13 straight losses. For all five of these teams, the 2016 season has been nothing short of a huge disappointment. However, there is no need to worry loyal fans, because your team’s time might be coming sooner than you think. This is exactly what these franchises must do in order to make that dreamt about Super Bowl run, a reality.
San Francisco 49ers: Chip Kelly is known for his innovating mindset, and after the 49ers 2015 season, change was definitely needed. This season, the 49ers are the last ranked team in points allowed (393), and host a total point differential of negative 142. So, the 49ers focus has to be on improving their defense. Yes I know, the tandem of Kaepernick and Gabbert is not one that 49er fans should be excited about, but there isn’t enough talent in this year’s draft to waste a first round pick on a QB. There is a number of great defensive ends to choose from though that would ultimately help the 49ers slow down the rushing game. Chip Kelly will be able to turn this team around, improvements to the defense must come first, quarterback second.
Chicago Bears: Even though 3-10 is not a record anyone would like to be associated with, the Bears have been competitive throughout the entire season. In fact, half of their losses have been by single digits. The big change they must make in Chicago is to get rid of Cutler and find a new face of the franchise. Their defense held up strong this year, and they seem to be consistent year in and year out. If the Bears want to be competitive in the North again, they must find a new quarterback to lead the way. The Bears should target a young QB such as Jimmy Garoppolo, or Jacoby Brissett, both of these New England backups produced wins while filling in during Tom Brady’s suspension. They ranked third to last in points for, just two scores ahead of the 0-13 Browns. This all coming on a season in which their running back is on the brink of eclipsing the 1,000 yard mark, and also averaging five yards per carry. Chicago has to cut ties with Cutler, and they must do so quickly.
Jacksonville Jaguars: 2016 was supposed to be the year of the Jaguar! A combination of injuries and offensive production has lead to their 2-11 record. Blake Bortles had a pretty solid start to his career, causing Jacksonville faithful to have high hopes for this season. Instead, the young quarterback has been a turnover machine, leading the way for the Jaguars to rank second to last in turnover differential. Bortles has shown the potential to be a very talented quarterback, and the Jaguars need to give him time to work out all the kinks. The team’s skills positions are strong, and their defense got better as the year progressed. This offseason the Jaguars should focus on filling a few of the holes they may have on D, and also trying to improve their offensive line. A few extra seconds in the pocket may go a long way with Blake’s interception rate.
New York Jets: Inconsistent, would perfectly sum up this season for the Jets. After signing Ryan Fitzpatrick to a new contract in the offseason, the Jets were forced to start Fitz, Geno Smith, and Bryce Petty at quarterback in 2016. I hate to break it to the New Yorkers, but none of these three guys are the solution to your problem. With an offense featuring Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, and even the emergence of Quincy Enunwa, the Jets have to find a quarterback that can contribute to getting these studs the ball. The Jets could see if Tony Romo wanted to come up North, but Mike Glennon or even Paxton Lynch would be a potential upgrade. The Jets defense is always going to be tough. They put out a solid 11 to defend for them year in and year out. The key to success in New York is not going to occur until they find a consistent suitor to lead their offense.
Cleveland Browns: The winless Browns will need an act of god in order to try and compete in the upcoming years. Over the past few years the Browns have found themselves in this same position. Every draft pick comes another season of great underachievement. On the bright side, the Browns rank in the top ten in total punt yards. Maybe if they convert Pryor to punter they can climb to the top of that leaderboard. Cleveland’s football franchise needs an entire revamping. Period. There are too many problems to fix with a single draft, or just one offseason. Rebuilding has been going for far too long in Cleveland, and it is time the Dawg Pound finally starts seeing results.