NFL

NFL AM: ICYMI Over The Weekend, Top NFL Stories

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The NFL Playoffs dominate the news cycle, especially over the weekend.  In the first two weeks of the postseason there are games on both Saturday and Sunday, and it’s easy for news to sneak through largely going unnoticed.

We’re going to look at some of the stories that didn’t get as much attention over the weekend.

Interim Tag Removed From Mularkey

The Tennessee Titans have given up in their search for a new head coach and decided to give the gig to then interim, now regular head coach Mike Mularkey.

“The vision Mike presented for our football team during this search as well as the character, integrity, and leadership skills he displayed during the last two months of the season makes him the right coach for the Tennessee Titans,” said Titans Controlling Owner and Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors Amy Adams Strunk.  “Mike is a quality coach and an outstanding person who will help us build this team the right way. He has experience as a head coach and a track record for developing young quarterbacks and dynamic offenses, and he also brings continuity for our franchise quarterback. We understand this may take time as we rebuild the roster and bring in new coaches for Mike’s staff, but we believe he has the experience and expertise to build a consistent winner.”

Mularkey’s last stint as a full-time head coach lasted just one year in Jacksonville, where his team went 2-14.  It’s unclear how much blame should be placed on Mularkey and how much on former general manager Gene Smith, who failed miserably at his job.  The team played hard during that 2012 season and they haven’t been a whole lot better since.

Just as in each of the new head coaching hires, there was one position in mind and that was quarterback.  We’ve seen moves of continuity in New York with the Giants hiring offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo to be their head coach and the same in Tampa Bay, as they stuck with Dirk Koetter.  Tennessee is following suit to give second-overall pick Marcus Mariota the best room for growth.

“Our relationship has been great,’’ Mariota said of Mularkey. “He did an incredible job with what happened this year and handling everything. I am very excited to have him as a coach and I look forward to getting to work.

“I am sure guys are excited. He’s definitely a players’ coach, and we are very blessed to have him. We can’t wait to move forward.”

Mularkey may be the first coach in the modern era to get his third different head coaching job without making the postseason.

It’s an uninspiring hire for Titans fans, who saw the team play the same brand of bad football under Mularkey after Ken Whisenhunt, a head coach with some credentials, was relieved of his duties.

Jackson Believes Browns Need A Quarterback

In a quote that should surprise nobody that knows a thing about football, new Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson believes that his team, “needs a quarterback.”

Jackson made this statement on Bleacher Report Radio and said that the team would not hesitate to use their second-overall pick on a signal caller.

It’s been rumored that former first-round pick Johnny Manziel is on the outs with all of the circus that happened in 2015, including missing the Browns season finale as he was reportedly in Las Vegas.

Manziel is a borderline talent in the NFL and if he was a hard worker his upside would likely be as a good backup.  With his lack of work ethic, the former Heisman Trophy winner will likely find himself out of the league sooner rather than later.

Stop Complaining About Overtime

Seemingly minutes after Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald took a shovel pass into the end zone to help the Cards advance to the NFC Championship game, the internet was in an uproar about the NFL’s overtime rules.

The league changed their overtime system a few years ago to allow a team to get an offensive possession assuming they didn’t give up a touchdown on the opening drive in the extra session.

The Cardinals drove down the field 80 yards in three plays Saturday night, ending the Green Bay Packers season in a 26-20 loss.

Now, fans and pundits are exclaiming that “it’s not fair” that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers didn’t receive an offensive possession.

First of all, life isn’t fair, and secondly, all the Packers had to do was not allow a touchdown to have their opportunity to win the game.  Prior to the rule change, you could make a legitimate argument that two completions on one drive could end the game with as accurate as field goal kickers are these days.

There should be no complaints now.

All the Packers had to do was defend 80 yards of the football field, something they did successfully for most of the evening.  Assuming they only allowed a field goal or GASP….forced a punt, they would have had a chance to win the game on their own.

In fact, the team that plays defense first has somewhat of an advantage, assuming they only allow three points, they actually have four downs on offense to get the tying or winning score, not having to worry about punting.

The NFL’s overtime rule isn’t perfect, but it’s much better than the college system where everyone gets a possession from their opponents 25-yard line.

It’s not broke, don’t try to fix it.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.