To this point, which NFL team has had the best offseason as they prepare for their respective training camps?
The editors at Locker Room Update give their thoughts on the best offseasons from 2014. Check out the thoughts from Robert Melofchik and Alex Peterman.
Robert Melofchik’s pick: New York Jets
The New York Jets had absolutely terrific OTAs and mini-camp. QB Geno Smith looked confident in the spring practices by showing he got faster, stronger and showed growth in his progress with protections and reads. The Jets added some high octane players to the wide receiver position. They have speed now in Jacoby Ford, Jalen Saunders, and Saalim Hakim. Potential starting receivers are Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, and David Nelson. The Jets also drafted a tight end, Jace Amaro.
The team has young wide receivers Shaq Evans, Quincy Enunwa, and Stephen Hill. Yes, I said Hill – a young guy, he is only 23 years old. Even though Hill is entering his 3rd year, he became a project player that showed little growth. However, Hill is having a good offseason and could be a great target at 6-4, 215 pounds.
New York has a stacked running back unit with Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson, Bilal Powell, and Daryl Richardson. The Jets offense line should be solid.
The Jets also have one of the NFL’s top front seven groups. In supporting the teeth of the defense, my favorite battle in training camp is going be in the secondary: Dee Milliner, Darrin Walls, Ras-I Dowling, Dimitri Patterson and Dexter McDougle. My take is that Milliner starts, but I think Walls, Dowling and Patterson could all be starters as well. I think we might have solid depth at cornerback, and that Dowling can be a training camp surprise.
Alex Peterman’s pick: Baltimore Ravens
My pick of the Ravns has a lot of reasoning behind it. The draft was solid, as the team addressed the defensive holes that the team dealt with a defensive tackle, a free safety, and a defensive end in the first four picks they had. Otherwise, the free agency period of the offseason was nothing less than fantastic.
Re-signing Dennis Pitta was perhaps an underrated move, as he is one of the better tight ends in the NFL. It’s important that Flacco has him as a target. Former-Texan Owen Daniels was also brought in, which will give him another very nice weapon. Sealing Jacoby Jones up with a new deal was smart, and Steve Smith will add production and a veteran presence to the offense. Furthermore, Newsome also resigned Daryl Smith, who gave the Ravens a fantastic year in 2013. He stepped up in a time when injuries were derailing the defense, and his leadership as well as his talent is top-notch. If that wasn’t enough, they locked u Eugene Monroe to a new deal as well, making the Ravens’ future very promising.
But the offseason isn’t always about the player moves. Sometimes it’s about new coaching hires. With Gary Kubiak and members of his ex-Houston staff, I like the prospect of a play-action offense in Baltimore. I think that this scheme will fit Flacco’s abilities well, especially with a dangerous pair of tight ends that the Ravens have as weapons.
Overall, the Ravens did a phenomenal job with limited resources, and while they missed the 2013 playoffs, they made it very hard to discount them as strong contenders for 2014.
Jets? Ravens? Another team you think had a great offseason? Let us hear your pick in the comments below!