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These players and coaches need to produce
John Czarnecki / FOXSports.com
Posted: 5 minutes ago
The competitive beauty of the NFL is that there are 31 losers entering this season and only one winner, the New England Patriots. Granted, the goal of reaching the Super Bowl is unrealistic in most NFL cities, but being a playoff team should be within every franchise's grasp.
This is where the Hot Seat comes into play.
So, how hot is it in Washington, D.C. for owner Daniel Snyder and Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs? Snyder's fourth experiment seems to be failing. Some wonder if the Redskins can even be a .500 club this season.
In Green Bay, Mike Sherman's job security got a boost this week with a two-year extension, something that hasn't happened to Jim Haslett and Mike Tice. Everyone assumes that if **** Vermeil doesn't have a winning season in Kansas City, he'll retire to be with his grandchildren in eastern Pennsylvania.
How about some quarterbacks? Joey Harrington better play well because the Detroit Lions are too good not to win. Jake Plummer needs to deliver in Denver, considering his offense is designed by Mike Shanahan, one of the game's best minds. And the game's two best receivers, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens, have something to prove. Moss got dumped on the Raiders while Owens needs to show he's a team player and can duplicate his heroics of last season.
When I saw Ted Cottrell, Minnesota's defensive coordinator earlier this month, we talked about pressure in the NFL. "There's no pressure when you have a lot of good players like I do now," Cottrell said, smiling. "Pressure was last year when we didn't have enough talent in order to compete." And the Vikings won a playoff game.
(He's kidding, right - Confidence factor waaay too high this point in the Season... IPBprez)
Coaches on the hot seat
Mike Tice: With a new owner checking out many of his moves and decisions, Tice knows he needs to impress his new boss, Ziggy Wilf. Tice had a miserable off-season, paying a $100,000 fine for admitting to scalping Super Bowl tickets and also losing his creative offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan. But there's hope for Tice. He got rid of a locker-room negative in Randy Moss and truly believes that quarterback Daunte Culpepper will flourish now that he doesn't have to worry about making Moss his first look. On paper, Cottrell should have a top 10 defense, especially with two excellent cornerbacks. The trouble is, Wilf is a new owner and they generally like to go and hire their own employees, not inherit them.
Jim Haslett: Like Tice, Haslett never got the extension he expected after winning the final four games of last season. However, the Saints haven't reached the playoffs since Haslett's first year in New Orleans, four years ago. Haslett wants to take the ball out of his quarterback's hands and give it to Deuce McAllister as many times as possible. He wants to play Pittsburgh Steeler-like football, but the huge question is whether or not he has the linebackers who can play like Ham and Lambert.
Joe Gibbs: Honestly, Snyder would never fire him, but the Hall of Famer could resign if he doesn't find a way to get the Redskins out of the NFC East cellar. On paper, they look like a cast very capable of losing 10 or more games this season. Gibbs returned to coaching to help Snyder and restore the Redskins to greatness. He also wanted to get his son, Coy, into the coaching ranks. He didn't need the money; his NASCAR team is doing quite well if you've checked the standings lately.
Dom Capers: After losing 32 games in his first three seasons, the word is that Houston owner Robert McNair would like to have a winning season this year. It's been tough for Capers in a division with the Colts, Titans and Jaguars. But the Titans are slipping and the schedule isn't too tough compared to others. Are the expectations too high? Not really. The Texans were 7-9 last season and swept the Jags and Titans. Going 10-6 makes sense to the front office.
Norv Turner: This is only Turner's second season with the Raiders, but with Al Davis spending millions on Moss, running back Lamont Jordan (formerly of the Jets), quarterback Kerry Collins (Giants) and a new $20 million deal for holdover Joey Porter