These are the 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2016 in alphabetical order:
The selection rules and procedures to winnow down the finalists to the inductees are outlined here. The maximum number of inductees in a year is held to eight or less. If I had a vote – which I most assuredly do not – here are the six folks I would put in the hall of Fame:
Don Coryell: Of the two coaches in this list, I think Coryell was the innovator who more affected the game of football.
Terrell Davis: A knee injury before the days when surgery could rebuild a knee shortened his career; nonetheless his brief career was very good including one season (1998) where he gained 2008 yards rushing.
Brett Favre: Simply a no brainer…
Alan Faneca: He was an outstanding offensive guard.
Terrell Owens: He was hardly a role model or a wonderful teammate in the locker room, but one cannot deny his on-the-field talents.
Orlando Pace: He was the best left tackle in the league for about a 5 or 6 years.
Please note that I would not be offended by any of those 15 candidates making it into the Hall of Fame. They all bring legitimate credentials to the party.
When the Niners hired Chip Kelly, the reports said that Kelly’s contract was for 4 years and $24M; I assume those reports are accurate and for the moment, I will consider that he will make $6M in each year of that contract. The Niners will also be paying Jim Tomsula not to coach the Niners for a while; if reports are correct, the Niners owe Tomsula $10.2M over the next 3 years. That means the Niners are going to spend $28.2M on “head coaches” between now and the end of 2018. That is a whole lot of money to spend on “coaching” and a skeptic might say:
Tomsula was a dumb hire in the first place since he had never been even a coordinator before getting the head coaching job in SF.
Kelly comes in with big question marks given the ill-will he and more than a few of the Eagles’ present and former players have for one another.
Let me be clear; I am not a “Chip Kelly hater.” His offensive system worked at Oregon and it seemed to work in the first two years in Philly with QBs that were not “ideal” for his system. His skills as a GM/personnel maven and his interpersonal skills may be called into question, but the idea that he might now have Colin Kaepernick available and healthy to run his offense has to be allowed to play out. Kaepernick brings exactly the opposite set of skills to the table as did Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford.
Kaepernick is a QB who can make a defense play all phases of a read-option offense. He is a dangerous runner and he can throw the ball on the move.
Neither Foles, Sanchez nor Bradford fit that description well.
On the other hand, Foles, Sanchez and Bradford have a degree of “pocket presence” and the ability to make multiple reads quickly. Those two things are important in Kelly’s combination-route passing game.
Kaepernick has yet to demonstrate that he is better than average at “reading defenses”.
The Kelly/Kaepernick experiment will be interesting to observe – assuming that is that Kelly has not already decided and agreed with the Niners’ front office “braintrust” to ditch Kaepernick and draft a QB – like Paxton Lynch in the first round of this year’s draft…
The Niners’ success under Kelly is going to require an upgrade to more than just the offense. Kelly’s system when it is working at high efficiency still requires the defensive unit to be on the field for more than half the game. The Niners defense ranked 29th in the NFL last year in yards per game and 27th in the NFL in yards allowed per play by the opponent. If that defense is going to have to be on the field for lots of time every game, that defense needs an upgrade in talent and in depth.
Yesterday, I talked about Jerry Jones and his fascination with Johnny Manziel as a possible backup QB for the Cowboys. The Cowboys had another “problem” in 2015 that led to a 4-12 record. Dez Bryant sat out all of the team’s off-season workouts and OTAs while in contract negotiations; then he broke his foot in Game 1; he came back in time for a “playoff push” indicating that Jerry Jones was living in a fantasy world in November 2015. The problem was that Bryant was terrible. Yes, I agree; he had sub-standard QBs throwing him the ball. That does not negate the fact that he only caught 31 passes for the year.
I mention that because after the regular season was over, Bryant and the Cowboys announced that he would undergo another surgery on his foot and ankle; the consequence of that surgery is that he will not be able to do any “football stuff” until about the time training camp starts in July. That means a second consecutive year without time and effort to work with Tony Romo/Johnny Manziel/whomever the backup QB will be and – most likely – a gradual inclusion of Bryant into the passing game during the exhibition season.
Finally, some words of wisdom from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times:
“Former NFL running back John Riggins is out with his own line of beer, called the 4th & 1 Pilsner.
“Now comes the hard part: getting Sandra Day O’Connor to give it her two thumbs up.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…….