What a difference a year makes… Don’t (always) believe the experts

What a difference a year makes… Don’t (always) believe the experts
Reading Time: 4 minutes.

What a difference a year makes! Remember the off season? The Ravens had been figured out, the Raiders were doing all they could to screw up their draft and the Browns ? They were the best thing to hit North America since the Big Mac!

If things are looking drab for your team or if you’re ready to hitch your wagon to someone’s hype train, be careful, all may not be as it seems… Ninety-Nine Yards takes a look back at some of the biggest headlines of last year and how they totally failed to materialise.

Raiders Draft Drama

Mike Mayock, as in the guy off the TV? As a GM?

Back on New Years Eve 2018 John Gruden, 10% of the way through his 10 year contract, finally persuaded the team to dismiss GM Reggie McKenzie and the Silver and Black brought in NFL draft analysis Mike Mayock. Few would doubt that Mayock was great on TV, and clearly had decent scouting ability, but a General Manager of an NFL team; the personnel, coaching, contracts etc. would all be new for the one time real estate guru.

Mayock and Gruden needed a productive draft: trading away stars Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack lead to the Raiders having three first round draft picks, no pressure boys! To add to the controversy the Raiders sent their entire scouting staff home the week before the draft, leaving questions as to who was doing what and with what information in the Raiders draft room.

Despite the drama Raiders 2019 draft class was one of the best in the league. 24th overall pick, Rookie Player of the Year nominee Josh Jacobs finished 8th in the League with 1150 Yards and lead the rookie runners in yards and touchdowns,7, all despite missing 3 games with injury. 4th round pick Maxx Crosby finished 2nd for Rookies with 10 sacks, only 0.5 behind 7th overall Jag’s pick Josh Allen. The Raiders Rookie’s grabbed 107 catches, 2nd to only the Redskins who’s rookies had 130, accounting for 29.6% of Derek Carr’s completions and 26.6% of his yardage.

Raiders will be looking for another successful draft this spring, when Gruden and co. will be joined by the rest of the league in Vegas for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Ravens Rocked

Following more mediocrity from Joe Flaco the Ravens decided week 10 to move on to Lamar Jackson to have one last shot at making the 2019 post season. It worked, the Ravens won 6 of their last 7 and ran into the playoffs with a 10-6 record, their offense altered to fit Jackson’s pace and movement – something Joe Flaco seriously lacked.

Then came the playoffs, a visit from the Chargers in wildcard weekend.

The Chargers adapted their defense, playing the majority of the game with 7 defensive backs and stifling the Ravens in the process; they’d averaged 384 yards in Jackson’s 7 game tenure, they managed only 229 against the Charges new defense. Jackson and co. Didn’t score the whole of the first half and managed only 3 points going into the 4th Quarter, going down 23-17. It was all over for the Ravens, the sky was falling, they’d been figured out…

Unless you don’t follow the NFL, or have been living under a rock the past 4 months, the Ravens have been almost unstoppable; averaging 33.2 points a game (1st), 407 yards a game (2nd in the league), 206 rushing yards a game (1st) and 24.1 1st downs a game (1st) and only scored less than 23 once – in their 20-17 defeat of the 49ers. They hadn’t been figured out, and best of luck to anyone who tries to.

NB: Aware that the Ravens lost their divisional round game 12-28 but I don’t think this is the end of the Ravens, far from it, with cap room to play with and a good draft the Ravens should be just as competitive next year, if not more.

The Super Browns

Following going 1-31 over the 2016-17 seasons the Browns surprising 8-8 2018 season got people very excited  for them to make a serious push into the Play-Offs come 2019. The shining light in 2018 was first overall pick Baker Mayfield’s impressive season: especially the latter half where the team went 5-3 in with Baker averaging over 281 yards, over 2 TDs a game and completing over 68% of his passes. The Browns shifted from temporary head coach Gregg Williams (who’d overseen the 5-3 run) and promoted offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens-in an aim to get the best out of new star Mayfield. The Browns 2019 hype train had started its journey at quite some pace…

Cleveland had a very productive off-season, adding former Rookie of the Year and 3 time Pro-Bowler Odelle Beckham Jr. and  troubled former Pro-Bowler Kareem Hunt to already stacked offense which included 1000+ yard rookie Nick Chubb, 5 time Pro-Bowler Jarvis Landry and former 1st round pick David Njoku. Cleveland bolstered their defense which included Pro-Bowl Corner Denzel Ward and former 2nd team All-Pro, now infamous helmet swinger, Myles Garrett with the addition of 7 year vet Oliver Vernon up front.

Hype train to off the Rails

The Browns hype train only sped up, they were 8th favorite to win it all according to the bookies with odds of winning it all at 14/1.

It wasn’t long before the wheels started to come off, a disappointing 13-43 loss in their first game of the season was somewhat of a sign of things to come, by the time their week 7 bye came around they were 2-4 and cracks began appearing with missed assignments on the field and tantrums on the sidelines. The Browns finished 6-10: no Superbowl, no playoffs, another new head coach and little sign of the hype train picking much momentum into 2020.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top
%d bloggers like this: