10 NFL storylines to watch for in 2014
Newsday's Bob Glauber writes about 10 storylines that will shape fans' conversations about the NFL this season.
JOHNNY FOOTBALL WAITS(Credit: AP / Tony Dejak)
Johnny Manziel made plenty of news off the field, but not too much on it. At least not yet. Johnny Football was beaten out by Brian Hoyer, although it remains to be seen how long Browns coach Mike Pettine will wait before giving Manziel a shot.
YOUNG GUNS QUIET(Credit: AP / Ann Heisenfelt)
Johnny Manziel wasn’t the only first-round rookie not to get a shot right off the bat. But we suspect Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota and Blake Bortles in Jacksonville will see some action before long. Who knew Derek Carr would be first rookie starting QB this year?
CAN RAY RICE RECOVER?(Credit: AP)
Ravens RB Ray Ruce is suspended for two games for the altercation he had with his then-fiancee, who is now his wife. Rice has vowed to turn his life around. The Ravens are prepared to move on -- for now -- without him.
REMEMBER THE READ OPTION?(Credit: AP)
The gimmicky offense was all the rage heading into last season, but you barely hear a peep about it now. Looks like teams don’t want to risk their QBs’ health by letting them run. Smart move. QBs win championships from the pocket.
SUPER REMATCH?(Credit: AP / Julio Cortez)
We haven't had a Super Bowl rematch in consecutive years since Dallas faced Buffalo after the 1992-93 seasons, but Seattle-Denver looks like a real possibility. Then again, the NFL season has a way of tearing up what’s on paper, doesn’t it?
LET THOSE FLAGS FLY(Credit: AP / Nick Wass)
There were too many pass interference and defensive holding penalties in the preseason. Will the emphasis on disallowing contact of any kind continue in the regular season? The NFL says yes. If so, better budget in more time for games.
TOM TERRIFIC(Credit: Getty Images)
Tom Brady turned 37, but he still manages to defy time. Since Brady took over as Pats QB in 2001, the other three AFC East teams have had a combined 36 different starters. Some chatter about Brady no longer being elite, but it’s tough to find many better passers.
DOOMSDAY IN DALLAS(Credit: AP / Brandon Wade)
The Cowboys have finished 8-8 the last three seasons, which might look like the glory days in retrospect once this season is over. Plenty to like on offense, but if you can’t stop anyone on defense, it doesn’t mean a thing.
TAKING STEP BACK?(Credit: AP)
Kansas City went from 2-14 in 2012 to the playoffs in 2013, but history shows those kinds of dramatic improvements are often followed by a step back the following year. Could Arizona also be in a similar situation after narrowly missing the playoffs last season?
REPLAY CENTRAL(Credit: AP / Ed Zurga)
This will be the first year referees can communicate directly to the NFL office when deciding replay reviews. The idea makes sense, and we expect a generally more seamless operation on replay calls.