Sports Round Table logo by Colby Gatz
Sports Round Table logo by Colby Gatz

Here at we have polled our NFL experts on the hot topics before the teams head to Training Camp. Here are their thoughts in the second installment of MFST’s Sports Round Table.

1. Heading into Training Camp, which head coach is on the hottest seat and most likely to be fired?

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Dan Schalk: Tom Coughlin. With three consecutive years missing the playoffs and the last two years combined the Giants have won 13 games, making Coughlin’s seat very hot in the Big Apple. He will not be able to live on his two Super Bowl victories in 2007 and 2011 for much longer, and the Giants have had talented teams that have drastically underperformed. This falls on Coughlin, and for a soon to be 69-year-old head coach another year of losing will be unacceptable.

Jeremy O’Neill: Joe Philbin. The Dolphins have been a very average team the past 3 seasons with Philbin as their coach with a record of 23-25. Philbin somehow stayed on the team despite the bullying scandal that took place in his locker room.  The Dolphins have went out to get Ndamukong Suh in free-agency to bolster their defensive line. On offensive they have added Greg Jennings, Kenny stills and drafted Devante Parker.  They have a great defense and they have put some weapons around Ryan Tannenhill that all result in a make or break season for Philbin.

Brandon Reid: My first guess is Joe Philbin in Miami. This team is built to succeed now. Adding Ndamukong Suh and the emergence of Ryan Tannehill last year, the Dolphins have a chance to build on an 8-8 record last year that found them just outside the playoff bubble. Philbin barely survived the end of last year, despite getting a courteous contract extension until 2016. That was only once they made the decision to go ahead and keep him so they he can have one more year with his head clear from contract negotiations. If things so south quickly, I could see them pulling the plug early on him. I would hope they have a solid backup plan ready though. He could make it the whole season and they could have a good year. But I would definitely consider Philbin to be on the hot seat.

Dustin Brown: I think that it is a toss-up between Tom Coughlin and Joe Philbin. Both the Giants and the Dolphins have under achieved the last few seasons, so either of these coaches could be gone by the end of the 2015-16 season. The only thing that Coughlin has going for him is that he has won two Super Bowls, but I think that a lot of the problem with the Giants has stemmed from the lack of a decent running game as well as the inconsistent play of QB Eli Manning. As far as the Dolphins are concerned, they can’t afford to continue their mediocre play in the AFC East. Yes, Tom Brady isn’t getting any younger for the Patriots, but the Jets and Bills have added enough pieces this offseason to turn the Dolphins into cellar dwellers in the AFC East.

Mark Mimms:  As much as I don’t like to admit it, but Gus Bradley is on the hot seat, and could be done if the Jaguars look bad in training camp and start the year like they have every other year of his tenure: uncompetitive. Much worse than just being bad, if the Jaguars match their past steaks of futility, going half a season losing by double digits or more every week, then no doubt Bradley is on the block. It’s year three, Caldwell has loaded the roster with promising talent, and now it’s time for the coach to deliver.

2. Who will be the Buffalo Bills starting QB week one?

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Dan Schalk: EJ Manuel will be under center week one. I stated the other day Matt Cassel is on the roster bubble with a terrible start to OTA’s and minicamps, leaving Manuel and former-Raven Tyrod Taylor battling for the number one gig. The Buffalo media has constantly talked up the play of Taylor during team activities, but I will wait to hold judgment until I see him play with pads on. The Bills are more financially committed to Manuel than any other QB on the roster, Cassel and Taylor have non-guaranteed deals, making management prefer to see Manuel win the job in camp. If you put Manuel in a system that suites his style (I think Roman’s west-coast influence fits EJ’s abilities) and be able to protect him on a consistent basis (I do not see a strong o-line unit) he can be successful in the NFL.

Jeremy O’Neill: EJ Manuel will win the starting job for the Buffalo Bills. Matt Cassel was just brought in for a veteran presence and to put pressure on Manuel to pick up his game. The Bills only traded a seventh-round pick next year, plus down a round (from five to six) this year to get Cassel so they didn’t give up much to get him.  I think the bills aren’t willing to give up on Manuel just yet and maybe an improved offensive line and the addition of LeSean McCoy will take some much-needed pressure off of Manuel.

Brandon Reid: This would be a tough choice for me. You’re really at a crossroads with this decision. You have the veteran Cassel and the third year E.J. Manuel. Cassel returns to the AFC East division where he played for four years in New England. However, he only played four games last season in Minnesota. Manuel is also in a make or break situation. His current deal could expire in two years so he needs to establish himself as a leader and earn that big payday now if he is going to. It sounds like E.J. is having a good off-season so far and he is the incumbent. I think Rex Ryan has been impressed, but playing it coy for now. I believe E.J. Manuel will be the week one starter. I also believe that in his first year at Buffalo, Rex Ryan will have a short leash with Manual before making the switch for Cassel the veteran.

Dustin Brown: With the amount of money that the Bills have invested in EJ Manuel, you would think that this would be the direction that Buffalo would go. But, I think that Tyrod Taylor is the man to lead the offense in Week One, based on his experience in the league, though it isn’t in the capacity of a starting QB. Both Manuel and Taylor could thrive under a Greg Roman offense, so it will be a tough call. Taylor seems to have a bigger arm though, and that is a plus for a team built on speed and defense.

Mark Mimms: EJ Manuel. As much as I would love to see Tyrod Taylor get a shot, (the most typical Rex Ryan move ever) however they need to see if EJ can handle it all under Rex’s system. This is a make or break year for Manuel, after all everybody knows what Cassel is, and this talented roster is going nowhere fast with him at the helm. If Manuel performs, Rex is a genius, if he doesn’t then the coach can cast aside the old regimes pick and start fresh with his own high draft pick next year.

3. How many games will Tom Brady miss due to Deflategate?


Dan Schalk: Zero. I believe in the power of top-notch lawyers, and Roger Goodell being un-fit to hear Brady’s appeal. Nonetheless, I believe the penalty to begin with was too much and until penalties are enforced to other quarterback’s who commit the same crime every week are punished, Brady should not be held out of any game action. Suspend him for the preseason games Goodell, or multiply the amount of games you originally gave Ray Rice for savagely beating his wife (2 games) by zero and suspend Brady for that amount. We wait as he grabs a calculator….

Jeremy O’Neill: Two games. There isn’t any precedent for a punishment for this infraction in the NFL. The infraction calls for a minimum fine of $25,000, but the league can levy a much stiffer penalty, if they deem it necessary. I think if Brady would have come clean about the incidence when he was first question, a suspension would be totally ruled out and he would just get a little slap on the wrist. However, he hasn’t seemed to cooperate to the fullest with the league’s investigation and I can’t see them fully revoke his initial suspension.

Brandon Reid: We are moments away from the appeals decision and I am guessing zero. Tom Brady has never missed an opening day start. He is the face of the league. He was never caught doing anything that involved tampering of footballs. This is an unspoken rule among QB’s in the league and has been since this rule was established. The Colts broke an unwritten rule and squealed. This was the most ridiculous “scandal” I have ever seen. Brady’s all-star team of lawyers will break down this case in a way that will have Roger Goodell saying “yes sir”. Zero games…next question.

Dustin Brown: My guess is that the suspension gets reduced to two games. Many of the other analysts think that it will drop to zero, but I think that the NFL is trying to save face and punish the Pats hard. Roger Goodell has made some questionable discipline decisions, but Deflategate isn’t the first time that New England has been caught cheating in the NFL. The only thing that might save Brady is the fact that, according to the CBA, a player won’t be held responsible in a scandal such as this (with limited concrete evidence), and the team punishment is only supposed to be a $25,000 fine. But, a culture of cheating is the biggest factor in this decision, in my opinion, and Goodell wants to tarnish Brady’s “Golden Boy” image to make a point.

Mark Mimms: All 4 of his original suspension. He didn’t cooperate and that fact alone leaves him in the cellar with Goodell, who would’ve loved to see a contrite Brady confess his sins. No confession = no reduction.

4.  Which rookie will have the largest impact on their team in year one?


Dan Schalk: David Johnson, RB-Cardinals. Johnson was my favorite running back in this draft class and I believe he compares a lot to Marshall Faulk. He has great receiving ability and should be utilized in unique ways under a Bruce Arians-guided offense. With Andre Ellington failing to prove he can stay healthy, I expect Johnson to see a lot of playing time en route to a possible NFC ROY.

Jeremy O’Neill: Kevin White, WR Chicago Bears. The Chicago Bears wasted no time replacing Brandon Marshall by getting the Kevin White out of West Virginia. The guy is 6-foot-3 and runs a 4.35 40. White will also have an advantage over the other rookie wide-receivers because he will not be getting double-teamed and be matched up against the opposing teams number 2 corner due to Alshon Jeffery. The Bears will likely have to be playing catch-up a lot which will mean lots of opportunities for White to get the ball.

Brandon Reid: I am going with Jameis Winston because I believe the answer to this question has to be Winston or Marcus Mariota. I’m choosing Winston because I think Tampa Bay has the talent advantage over Tennessee right now. A better corp of RB’s with Martin and Rainey and two of the best receivers in the league in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. Tampa Bay had moments last year losing 8 games by less than touchdown. Lovie Smith is in a position much like Joe Philbin, desperation. He is in his second year after only achieving one thing last year, Jamies Winston. I think Smith will let Jameis do his thing and play for both of them. This one is hard to predict, but I’m going with who I think will have the biggest chance to lead a team, and that’s Jameis Winston.

Dustin Brown: Kevin White, WR-Bears. White is a powerful receiver that can snag passes out of the air with ease, and then run away from the defense. His hands are the biggest advantage in the Bears’ offense because of QB Jay Cutler’s accuracy issues. Kevin White is a great replacement for Brandon Marshall, and should spread out defenses with Alshon Jeffery on the opposite side.

Mark Mimms: Melvin Gordon. Brandon Oliver is a scat back and won’t challenge Gordon for meaningful reps. He’s a stud through and through and will be playing with Phillip Rivers. Gordon is the most impactful rookie, he provides the offensive balance that San Diego needs for the short-term and the youth that will provide for the Chargers for the years to come in LA.

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5. Which offseason move is the most overrated/underrated?

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Dan Schalk: Overrated: Demarco Murray signing with the Eagles. History does not lie. Running backs that have 400+ touches in one season have never been able to duplicate past success, especially backs that are going from the best offensive line in the league to one of the worst. The other running back Philadelphia signed this offseason, Ryan Mathews will have a more successful Eagle career than Murray, and I am 100% confident saying that.

Underrated: Mike Iupati signing with the Arizona Cardinals. The Cards have dealt with a slew of offensive line injuries over the past few seasons and they were in need of upgrading their unit that struggled last season. Iupati instantly upgrades their line and is a leader in the locker room, an impactful addition that does not show on the field. With Carson Palmer coming back from an ACL injury and a re-energized running game with David Johnson, Iupati will have the greatest impact on his new team with little fan-fare.

Jeremy O’Neill: Overrated: Jeremy Maclin going to the Kansas City Chiefs. I think he does provide a boost to their wide-receiving corps that desperately needs one. However, I just don’t think he will be the answer as we have seen how much Dwayne Bowe’s production went down with Alex Smith at Quarterback. I just don’t think Smith has the arm strength to lead a high passing attack regardless if Maclin is on the team or not.

Underrated: Andre Johnson signing with the Indianapolis Colts. I think despite the fact that Johnson is 33 years old I think a change of scenery will prove to add some gas into his tank. Johnson has stated that the last two years in Houston were pretty miserable and I think having Andrew Luck tossing him the ball will be a lot more fun for him. Johnson has always been the man being double-teamed in Houston but with T.Y. Hilton he will be able to face some single coverage.

Brandon Reid: I think the most underrated move will be the trade that sent Jimmy Graham to Seattle. Not that I think this trade didn’t get press, but I think it will be the move of the off-season. I think this move will have the Seahawks holding the Lombardi Trophy next season. It will also help the Saints slide continue and help cause them to miss the playoffs again next year. Russell Wilson has never had a weapon like Graham and I cannot wait to see these two explosive players come together. Graham is exactly what Wilson needs to help get the ball downfield and get the ball to in roll out situations. This dynamic player is a game changer. He changes the way you have to defend an already explosive Seattle offense. The addition of Jimmy Graham helps solidify my confidence in saying that the Seahawks will three-peat as NFC champions and win their second Super Bowl in three years. My most overrated move is exactly what Dustin and Dan are talking about with Dallas. Losing DeMarco Murray is not going to push the Cowboys either way. It will not make them any better than their finish this past year, and most likely will not make them any worse. They have the best offensive line in football and I could get at least 400 yards this season running behind them. It might be a bad move for DeMarco though because he will find life a lot tougher in Philly. So I hope Eagles fans don’t think they got a savior with this deal. What’s not overrated about this deal is the two matchups they will have against each other this year. A lot to prove for both sides in those games.

Dustin Brown: Overrated: Like Dan said, DeMarco Murray to the Eagles has to be the most overrated offseason move. He was a workhorse for the Cowboys, but he also had a better offensive line in Dallas than he will with the Eagles, especially now that Evan Mathis is gone. There was a reason Lesean McCoy didn’t run very well for a big chunk of the 2014-15 season, and that was the Eagles’ offensive line.

Underrated: Nick Foles to the Rams has to be the most underrated. Not only did the Rams get rid of their always-in-a-cast QB, but they gained a starting QB in Foles that can produce on the field. He has a cannon arm and doesn’t throw many interceptions. Pair that with RB Todd Gurley and WR Tavon Austin, and I think that this might have been a move that can catapult the Rams and their young defense into the playoffs as early as this year.

Mark Mimms: Mark Sanchez resigning with the Eagles. He played well and that security blanket for chip Kelly is vital. He has shown that he can provide in that offense, and while Bradford might have MVP numbers in that system, if/when he goes down, Sanchez can pick up the pieces.

You can stay up-to-date with MyFantasySportsTalk on Twitter @MyFntsySprtsTlk

and the rest of our Sports Round Table:

Dan Schalk: @FFSportsTalk

Jeremy O’Neill: @MFSTJeremy

Brandon Reid: @New_Breid

Dustin Brown: @SprtsWritingMan

Mark Mimms: @TheRealMimms SchalkAFC EastAnalysisBuffalo BillsChicago BearsNew England PatriotsNFLRecent PostsArizona Cardinals,Buffalo Bills,Chicago Bears,Indianapolis Colts,Kansas City Chiefs,Miami Dolphins,New England Patriots,New York Giants,NFL,Sports Round TableHere at we have polled our NFL experts on the hot topics before the teams head to Training Camp. Here are their thoughts in the second installment of MFST's Sports Round Table. 1. Heading into Training Camp, which head coach is on the hottest seat and most likely to be fired? Get Great...