• The release of problematic receiver
Though the Bengals parlayed those character gambles into a division title two seasons ago, the fractured chemistry within the team can be at least partially blamed for their 15-17 record since that title. With legal troubles continuing to pile up and disgruntled star receiver
The move to safety will require some work, but Rolle's experience last season should ease the transition. As the Cardinals' nickel corner, he had the chance to play as a deep middle player in some of their exotic sub-packages and the results were impressive. Rolle finished the season with five interceptions, including four made while playing as the nickel or safety in the sub-defense.
"He showed us last season that he could be a playmaker in the middle of the field, so we think moving him to safety full-time will greatly improve our secondary." said Cardinals' secondary coach
The Cardinals used Wilson extensively as a box defender two seasons ago, and the eight-year vet registered eight sacks and four interceptions. But Wilson rarely spent time near the line of scrimmage last season, as the coaches lacked confidence in free safety
• The league's adoption of the defensive communication device will have a significant impact on the game according to several defensive coaches. By allowing one defensive player on the field to have constant communication with the sideline, there is no longer a need for defensive coordinators to send in their plays with hand signals. "The passing of the rule takes away the technological advantage that offenses have had for years." said Chiefs' defensive coordinator
Under the previous rules, offensive coordinators were able to communicate with quarterbacks through the radio device until 15 seconds were left on the play clock. With a 40-second play clock, offensive coordinators had ample time to provide the play call and alerts on potential blitzes or coverage on the next down.
Many defensive coaches felt that this advantage led to more offenses using a version of the no-huddle offense. The no-huddle used by today's offenses differs greatly from the "K-Gun" offense used by the Buffalo Bills in the 1990's, which relied on tempo to dictate to the defense. Offenses like the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals operate primarily out of the no-huddle to process information at the line and make the appropriate calls based on the anticipated defensive look.
"Offenses were using the no-huddle to gain information," said a former NFL defensive coach. "They use the threat of a quickened tempo to force defensive coordinators to quickly signal in their defenses, and clever offenses were able to steal those signs and relay that information back to the quarterback." Though defenses tried to avoid those situations by using various methods, including a mixture of hand signals and wristbands to limit the viewable information, the defensive game plan typically had to be simpler and more generic when facing a team that utilized the no-huddle extensively.
But that will change with the passing of the defensive communication device. "Offensive coordinators and quarterbacks no longer hold all of the cards ... they will have to play straight because the guessing game is on both sides now." said the former NFL defensive coach.
• The Jets' decision to guarantee the final two years of
However, the move to satisfy Coles' contract demands had less to do with his production, and more to do with his status as the Jets' leader in the locker room. The Jets endured a nasty contract squabble recently with former Jet
• Falcons' general manager
Conventional wisdom would suggest that Dimitroff simply stand pat and fill the Falcons' many draft needs (offensive line, defensive tackle, cornerback and quarterback). "With so many picks in the early rounds, they have a luxury of sitting there and plucking guys off the board, or they can package multiple picks to get a guy that they really like," said an NFC executive. "They have a lot of holes to fill, but with so many picks early in the draft they have the ammunition to pull it off. If they hit on their picks, they could make a quick return to playoff contention."