That escalated quickly: An insider's look at the 2022 NFL March Madness...
Podcast co-host and longtime NFL personnel man Jim Monos provides a fresh perspective on the Buccaneers, Aaron Rodgers, Carson Wentz, Von Miller and Tua Tagovailoa.
Former Eagles/Saints scout and Bills director of personnel Jim Monos continues his peek behind the curtain with a fresh perspective on all of the transactions from the month of March. Did Tom Brady win a power struggle? How much does Von Miller help Buffalo? Why are the Colts so vocal when it comes to Carson Wentz? Get Monos’ full thoughts below:
Every offseason is different and not predictable. It keeps the NFL relevant all year ‘round and leads us to make predictions without a down of football being played. The draft has not happened yet, but we have enough free agency news to make strong opinions on how the upcoming season is going to play out. I am not ready to make Super Bowl predictions, but we do have some stories that caught my attention that will make the upcoming NFL season another wild ride.
The NFL has always been a copycat type of league and it is becoming clear to me that the win-now, all-in mentality that the Los Angeles Rams showed us last year is making teams realize that the strike-now approach is real. Aaron Rodgers officially lacks a postseason resume that matches his regular-season records, yet the Packers do whatever they can to keep him happy financially acknowledging that Rodgers gives them their best opportunity to win a championship. Losing Rodgers is closing the window that has been open for Green Bay. I completely agree with general manager Brian Gutekunst. If Rodgers still wants to play football and has a desire to win a championship, then you do whatever you can to keep him as your starter. The NFC is not loaded. The Packers and Rodgers know they need each other. Taking over a new team has worked for Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford, but Rodgers’s situation is different. The Packers were the #1 seed in the NFC last season. Losing Davante Adams is confusing to me, but Rodgers had to know that was a possibility. If Aaron Rodgers is committed to his craft and still hungry to win a Super Bowl, then losing Adams should not hold Green Bay back from competing for a title.
What is really happening in Tampa? When Brady announced his retirement, I thought Bruce Arians would be announcing his retirement a couple days later. No way would Arians want to coach at this stage in his career with Blaine Gabbert as his starting quarterback. Then Brady announces he is not retiring, and it makes sense to me why Arians did not retire, except now Arians is retiring with Tom Brady coming back to Tampa? There must be more to this story. Happy to see Todd Bowles get another opportunity. Arians has always looked out for his assistant coaches. When we did our head coaching search in 2017 that led to the hiring of Sean McDermott, we interviewed Bucs assistant head coach Harold Goodwin. He was very impressive, and it shows Arians does a good job of surrounding himself with coordinators that have ability to become head coaches. Having said all of that, are we to believe this was the plan all along? Was Brady telling the Bucs front office he would come out of retirement if Arians would step down? Was Miami seriously making a run at Brady? It would make sense and would not be surprised. Bucs GM Jason Licht is the one who could answer all these questions. At the end of the day, Tom Brady is playing again. He showed us he can win without Belichick. Now he is going to try to prove he can win without Arians too.
Can anyone else remember an owner celebrating moving on from a player like Colts owner Jim Irsay is after moving on from Carson Wentz? Coming out of college I thought Wentz had the complete package. Not just his talent, but thought he had the leadership and toughness to be the face of the franchise. Where did it go wrong? My best guess is Wentz may not be as mentally strong as you need to be playing quarterback in the NFL. When Philly found a way to win the Super Bowl with Nick Foles after Wentz was injured, I think it broke Wentz’s confidence. He was playing at an MVP level before he suffered his season-ending knee injury but we have not seen him play at that level since he has come back. At this stage in his career, he has not shown he is the franchise guy that I thought he would be. The Commanders see enough in him to give him an opportunity, but they must have a plan to have the starting quarterback job be a competition. Seems like just yesterday Wentz was buying the Eagles offensive linemen Beretta shotguns as a rookie and now he is becoming a player not welcomed in the locker room. Things change fast in pro football.
Buffalo signing Von Miller made me think about when I worked for the Saints, and we signed Jonathan Vilma. Not talking about their talent, rather their leadership and instant credibility they bring to locker room. Vilma set an example to the defense on how much time he would spend watching film. Vilma treated middle linebacker just like Brees treated the quarterback position. Miller’s desire to want to play for the Bills combined with a nice payday from GM Brandon Beane will raise the level of play for the entire defensive line. The AFC is stocked with talented quarterbacks and the only way to make one of them uncomfortable is with a consistent pass rush. It is not what Miller will bring to position during the regular season. They’ll need him to make a game-deciding play in the playoffs.
Two AFC teams making intriguing moves are the Chargers and Dolphins. Los Angeles is loading up as best as they can to support Justin Herbert. The Kahlil Mack trade and signing of JC Jackson are the highlights, but an underrated signing the Chargers made was keeping backup quarterback Chase Daniel. Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi had Daniel when he was coaching quarterbacks for the Saints. Daniel was said to know the offense as well as if not better than Drew Brees. Obviously Daniel is not threatening Herbert for playing time. He is there to help in any way he can to help prepare Herbert mentally. Continuity in the QB room is always a good thing. Miami head coach Mike McDaniel had success with Jimmy Garoppolo so it makes sense he would think he can do the same thing for Tua Tagovailoa. Especially when you throw Tyreek Hill on the field with Jaylen Waddle — Miami has just become one of the biggest headaches for every defensive coordinator in the NFL. Now it’s up to Tagovailoa to clean up his decision making to elevate his game.