Replay: Season Thoughts

Turkey week is finally over, but heart burn remains for many.&nbsp;<br><br> Watching the Bengals - Browns game replays, compare it to watching a High School Game. How much is a coach worth just to get rid of ? Appraisal begins, results coming soon ? Other replays to watch out for, watching Seattle's offense can be best compared to the feeling from eating leftovers 3 days straight, will it ever end.

Watching New England methodically takedown the Baltimore Ravens should remind all of us why the Patriots are a consistent presence under head coach Bill Belichick. Belichick simply implores a system of checks and balances within his roster. The mixing of veteran players (leaders) that buys into the "team" system leaves for unselfishness among the ranks of highly compensated athletes. Year in and year out, the Belichick teams are one of the most well-coached and prepared teams in not only the game today, but as solid as any in the past twenty-years.

The truly unexpected rise of the Jacksonville Jaguars can be attributed to the direct belief and direction of Head Coach Jack Del Rio. Much maligned in his rookie campaign in Jacksonville due to his handling of some popular veteran players and off-the-cuff dealings with the media, Del Rio is proving he deserves to be the man-in-charge in Jacksonville. Coming off a 5-11 record in the 2003 season, the Jaguars were competitive (6 losses by 7 points or less), Del Rio formulated his defensive scheme from what he learned and accomplished in Baltimore and Carolina (both defenses were near the top of the league rankings under Del Rio) and quickly has transformed Jacksonville into a formidable defensive unit. Adding another playmaker on the defensive side of the ball and gaining further experience within this relatively young roster should provide the avenue for the Jaguars to be a contender heading into the 2005 season.

One of the biggest surprises in the 2004 season has to be the Pittsburgh Steelers. While the focus of the Steelers rebirth has been directed at rookie sensation Ben Roethesberger, the heroes in Pittsburgh may very well be the defense, led by Dick LeBeau. Once again, Pittsburgh is a physical, attacking defense that makes plays. Combining this defense with the throwback philosophy of playing Steelers football, of which relies on a power running game and minimal mistakes, Pittsburgh again is a major player in the American Football Conference.

It's almost amazing how ill-prepared the Chicago Bears were heading into the season at the quarterback position. Basically, the front-man for the organization, Jerry Angelo and Head Coach Lovie Smith placed all their eggs into one basket. When second-year quarterback Rex Grossman was lost for the season with a knee injury, the Bears already questionable offense went into hibernation. From Jonathan Quinn to Craig Krenzel to potentially Jeff George, the Bears need to improve the depth of this team and focus on obtaining speed and quickness on the offensive side of the ball.

Not even a season removed from the playoffs and high hopes in Dallas, the Cowboys are again under the microscope. Team owner Jerry Jones and Head Coach Bill Parcells are in the middle of having a minor disagreement about the future of this team, with Parcells doing what he needs to do to win football games…………this is the objective. Parcells doesn't appear ready to run away from this latest challenge in his storied coaching career, but if Jones becomes too involved with the day-to-day operations of the team on the field, we see a large battle brewing…………which Jones has been getting closer to in recent weeks.

In Cleveland, Head Coach Butch Davis is truly in a lame-duck situation. All indications we are getting out of Cleveland are the organization is seeking to revamp the front office and structure of the organization. Starting with a Head of Football Operations to a General Manager, through to putting a new management process in place, Cleveland will take on a much different look heading into the 2005 season. For Davis, he seeks a buyout from the team and with the recent events in and around the Browns, this one could come as soon as Monday afternoon, but will certainly not last past the end of the season. In all, Davis is coaching his last games in Cleveland.

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