We warned about a difficult season in SPF land, but we didn't think the wheels would come off so fast for certain teams.
The good news is with a few of our top teams. The Colts and Saints sit at 3-0 and look like potential Super Bowl contenders. The Falcons, the Cowboys, and the Bengals are all at 2-1 and though they all have a few chinks in their armor, their fans have solid hope that they might make the playoffs.
There are some teams that were division winners last year that are winless this year, but it isn't out of the question that an attitude change for Tennessee and Miami and/or a bye week for Carolina could make the difference.
The Texans and the Rams are out there, but there isn't much driving these teams one way or another. The Rams are expected to be bad. They are admittedly rebuilding with a first year head coach. The Texans have all the talent on paper, but they still can't seem to win the games they're supposed to - just like last week against Jacksonville. There are calls by some in the Houston media for better defense. We shall see.
One thing's for sure - none of the teams above are in disarray. Even Carolina, the worst of all of them, will likely either turn it around or have a new head coach in 2010.
Unfortunately, we have to take the time to chronicle three teams that are disasters waiting to happen. Two of them lie in the Sunshine State.
Jacksonville Jaguars - The wheels have almost completely come off of this franchise. They remind us of the Saints of a few years back - looking for a home, hoping for a future. The difference is that the Saints were hit by a natural disaster known as Hurricane Katrina. The Jaguars have been hit by the man-madedisaster of Jack Del Rio and an owner, Wayne Weaver, who allowed him to wreck this team.
To make matters worse for Mr Weaver, his coach of choice ran his team into the ground during one of the worst economies in 50 years. Normally, a bad team with no support could threaten to move to make money, but the Jaguars have nowhere to move to. No city has the money to build them a stadium. They are instead left to talk about London or Orlando games while their local sportswriters poke holes in Orlando.
The strangest thing is how Del Rio keeps moving forward like nothing is wrong. He speaks like the 1-2 Jags are heading straight for the playoffs. Normally, this kind of focus might be commended. In Del Rio's case, it just seems insane.
Tampa Bay Bucs - How far have the Bucs fallen? They have fans blaming ownership for being cheap, they now are in rebuilding in full swing, but no one really cares. They made the same mistake that the Dolphins made pre-Parcells during the dark Cam Cameron era of pretending that their team was still a playoff-caliber squad despite preseason evidence otherwise. He they just admitted they were rebuilding then the fans might have supported new coach Raheem Morris. Unfortunately, he looks now to have been set up for failure.
It seems that the source of the Bucs' current woes might have started when they lost out on Brett Favre last year. Former coach Jon Gruden recently said Favre coming to Tampa almost happened and would have made the difference (ie playoffs in 2008 and Gruden doesn't get fired). Albert Haynesworth also said the Bucs came at him hard in this past off season only to lose him to the Redskins.
Either way the Bucs are $30 mil under the cap with a meager roster of possible talent. The coach lost the fans before he even started. They are 0-3 with a real possibility of finishing without a win.
Washington Redskins - However, that win that the Bucs seek could come as early as this weekend. The Redskins were kind enough to end the Detroit Lions's 19 game losing streak. Maybe they'll do the same for the needy Bucs.
In all seriousness, we've written the Redskins 2009 season as well as their QB Jason Campbell, a former first round pick. Jim Zorn is likely gone with the Redskins dipping back into the established coaching pool that will be populated with Super Bowl winners like Mike Holmgren, Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, and Mike Shanahan.
The problem is that the dysfunctional Redskins are looking less like their rival Cowboys - overzealous owner who can't stay out of the way) and more like the Oakland Raiders (crazy owner with a sycophantic staff who insulates him from reality).
Bright lights starting to shine on Snyder yet again. His marketing acumen might have made the Redskins valuable, but allowing marketing to dominate his front office behavior (focusing on off season free agents over real team building) has slowly killed this franchise. Re-hiring Joe Gibbs helped give Snyder cover for a while, but now he is back as the target of Redskins fans ire.