It’s Not All Bad, Fans
OK, so your favorite team is dealing with injuries (hello, Green Bay), or controversies (you too, Miami), or the dissolution of once-promising seasons (sorry, Atlanta and Houston), or just the same old sadness (sorry, Jacksonville). There's still always something to be thankful for ....
Eagles: That management thought outside the box and doggedly pursued Chip Kelly, a refreshing change agent in a league too often stuck in the past.
Giants: That Victor Cruz, one of the better receivers in the NFL, signed a team-friendly extension, giving the Giants future flexibility while retaining a star player.
Cowboys: That when Tony Romo was there for the taking by any team after going undrafted in 2003, the Cowboys took a flyer.
Washington: That the debate over the team name has steered conversation away from a truly forgettable season.
Bears: That the new leadership tandem of Phil Emery and Marc Trestman—while not the most dynamic—present as smart, sensible and focused on sustained success.
Packers: That—as frustrating as it is for fans—an empowered medical staff prioritizes long-term player health over immediate football needs, even if the player is named Aaron Rodgers.
Lions: That the Packers have that philosophy this week.
Vikings: That Adrian Peterson never grumbles about the carousel of unsuccessful quarterbacks standing in front of him, with next year’s signal-caller a mystery as well.
Saints: That, when deciding on a quarterback in 2006, Nick Saban and the Dolphins’ doctors considered Daunte Culpepper’s knee a less risky option than Drew Brees’ shoulder.
Falcons: That Jadeveon Clowney and/or Anthony Barr will be available where they are going to pick in the 2014 draft.
Panthers: That Clete Blakeman and his crew were working the Patriots game.
Buccaneers: That the season has a second half; they’re clearly on the uptick.
49ers: That Michael Crabtree is returning in time for the playoff push in a crowded NFC field.
Cardinals: That Patrick Peterson is not only an elite player, but also a valuable mentor to the talented yet troubled Tyrann Mathieu.
Seahawks: That the architects of CenturyLink Field created added value, decibel-wise, for a talented team that hardly needed further advantage.
Rams: That the gift of draft picks received for RG3 keeps on giving, with another first-rounder coming next year.
Patriots: That with a roster weakened by injury, free agent attrition and a murder charge, the quarterback is still healthy and thriving.
Dolphins: That there will someday be other things to talk about than the Incognito-Martin saga (we think).
Jets: That relative calm has been restored: no more Revis, no more Tebow, no more Sanchez soon and a (somewhat) muted Rex Ryan.
Bills: That EJ Manuel provides hope for future performance and stability at the most important position.
Bengals: That a perfect storm of age, injury, cap issues and attrition have dramatically weakened the AFC North, with the Bengals taking full advantage.
Browns: That the Colts gave up a 2014 first rounder for a player not in the Browns’ future plans.
Steelers: That, when offered “first one to take it” deals last year, Antonio Brown said “yes” and now-Dolphin Mike Wallace said “no.”
Ravens: That the title of “reigning Super Bowl Champion” lasts through Feb. 2, even if they are no longer playing after Dec. 29.
Titans: That Kenny Britt’s contract expires Dec. 29.
Texans: That the guaranteed portion of Matt Schaub’s contract expires Dec. 29.
Jaguars: That, after beating the Texans Sunday, they are not in last place in their own division.
Colts: That the Colts bottomed out with the league’s worst record in the year Andrew Luck was the prize for doing so.
Chiefs: That Andy Reid, urged by friends to take the year off, continued coaching.
Broncos: That the Patriots free agent contract offer for Wes Welker was underwhelming.
Chargers: That Phillip Rivers is getting better as he accumulates more years (31) and children (6).
Raiders: That the $50 million in dead money will soon be in the rearview mirror, finally giving Reggie McKenzie a clean cap to build with.