Countdown to Kickoff: 10 things to Look Forward to this NFL Season
#8 New Faces on the Sideline
In the NFL, you can only go as far as your head coach can lead you. It’s very seldom that you see a subpar coach leading a team to the Super Bowl. That’s why the turnover rate for coaches in the league is so high. Organizations are constantly looking for the answer to whom is the best fit to lead their teams. This past offseason several teams looked to answer that question by hiring new coaches. The Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers are all moving forward with first time coaches. From that list the standout names are Kyle Shanahan (49ers), Vance Joseph (Broncos) and Sean McVay (Rams). Each spent several years in the league as a highly respected coordinator and all of them are in situations that will allow for improvement from their team’s 2016-17 season. While you can expect a bit of a learning curve, we should all be watching very closely to see how this next wave of coaches preform.
#7 Rookies Take Center Stage
The NFL Draft is always a highlight of the off-season, watching your team fill needs and draft their next wave of stars is exhilarating. A few rookies to keep your eye on this season are:
Christian McCaffrey, the do it all running back from Stanford, now with the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers will do whatever it takes to get the most out of McCaffrey’s unique skillset, expect to see him on the field as a running back, slot receiver and return man.
Former Clemson Tiger and Houston Texans quarterback, Deshaun Watson. Few players bring the kind of electricity and dynamism to the field that Watson does. While currently listed as the backup for the Texans, it won’t be long before the former Heisman runner-up forces his way onto the field. Once he does there will be no looking back for the Texans.
Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Much like his former Stanford teammate Christian McCaffrey, Thomas is a jack of all trades. Expect to see him line up all over the line for the 49ers defense. Inside or outside, Thomas will be making a difference on Sundays.