Cutler wasn’t biting.
“I could say something clever and smart,” he replied, “but I’ll just pass.”
This isn’t the most popular sentiment, but Jay Cutler gets a bad rap. OK, so he kind of has a punchable face, but he seems pretty chill on his wife’s Instagram and he’s far from the worst quarterback in football. Let’s channel all this undue hatred toward ISIS.
Brock Osweiler, Houston Texans
Yes, Osweiler did technically win a Super Bowl with the Broncos, but because he didn’t actually play in the game, he counts here. In his first professional season as the presumptive starter for an NFL team entering Week 1, Osweiler cannot be worse than what the Texans trotted out at quarterback last season, when four different starters combined for a truly dismal showing — and, in fact, he could be much better. He’s a risk with good measurables, the kind of guy who will either make you look incredibly smart or incredibly dumb as a GM. In limited action with the Broncos last season, Osweiler put up passable — if unspectacular — numbers, but he showed flashes. (The kind of flashes that obviously helped land him the contract he signed with Houston this offseason.) As in Denver, Osweiler’s defense should be outstanding, provided J.J. Watt recovers from back surgery without incident. If Osweiler really turns into something, I could see him putting the Texans over the threshold.
Starting this season, the ball will be placed at the 25-yard line after touchbacks.
Of all the rules changes adopted this offseason — even if it’s just a one-year experiment — the touchback tweak might wind up having the most impact on the game. Redskins coach Jay Gruden is trying to get out in front of it.
“Yeah, it’s going to change a little bit. We’re going to experiment,” Gruden explained. “You know, we’ll see what (kicker) Dustin (Hopkins) is good at. You know, we’re going to try some of the pooch stuff and try to pin them back. You know, we don’t want to just succumb to the 25-yard line.”
Said Gruden: “He’s got a powerful leg and one of the reasons he’s here is because of his leg strength and kicking the ball off through the end zone. But he can get the height and pin people back to the one if we get them tackled inside the 20. That can be another great option for us.”
As NFL Media’s Judy Battista noted in March, teams in 2010 returned 80.1 percent of all kickoffs before they were moved from the 30- to the 35-yard line in 2011. The number dropped to 53.5 percent in 2011 and has declined ever since. Last season, just 41.1 percent of kickoffs were returned. Still, that means four out of 10 kickoffs are still being returned — and the league still sees that as an opportunity for injuries.
Like many others, Gruden believes the NFL is giving “some thought” to phasing out kickoffs altogether.