NFL

Q&A With Jeff Carlson: NFL Preseason Recap/Season Preview

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Former NFL quarterback Jeff Carlson sat down with Football Insiders’ managing editor Charlie Bernstein and talked about some of the big story lines heading into the 2015 season.

Charlie Bernstein:  What do you make of the Philadelphia Eagles’ offseason?  Will it work?

Jeff Carlson:  I’m intrigued by the Eagles as the team to beat in the NFC East, and maybe the entire NFC.  If Sam Bradford can avoid major injury (a big feat, I know), Chip Kelly has the weapons to make his offense the envy of the league.

CB: What kind of quarterback is Kirk Cousins? Is he the best fit for that team?

JC: I think Kirk Cousins is the right choice by Jay Gruden to move forward for the Redskins, but he seems to me to fit into a large group of very average QB’s.  He is a stop-gap guy or maybe just a bit better than that.  They will be looking for someone else soon.

CB: Where would be the best landing spot for Robert Griffin, III?

JC: RGIII is from Texas and the Texans still need a guy to lead the franchise, so this may be his best option.

CB: Do you consider Russell Wilson an “elite quarterback”?

JC: This is a tough question to be sure.  Wilson doesn’t have the prototypical dimensions of what has always been considered an elite QB, but I do think he is.  He is a tremendous leader, something that cannot be measured, but I think his team rallies around his intangibles.  Because of his mobility, he allows the offensive coordinator to move the pocket and help his offensive line.  And thus, he gets to sit in the pocket and throw comfortably, even though his is short, so these abilities do make him elite, even if he loses his “Beast Mode” running back.

CB: Which individual player and team has impressed you the most in preseason?

JC: Kwon Alexander is a rookie linebacker out of LSU, who immediately took over the starting middle linebacker position for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, even though the Bucs had signed Bruce Carter from the Cowboys.  He showed up big-time all preseason!

The Philadelphia Eagles impressed me the most, even though we only saw glimpses for short periods, which is the preseason, but Sam Bradford finally has a chance to show why he was a former No. 1 pick and gives Chip Kelly an elite passer to run the show.

CB: Can the Packers overcome the loss of Jordy Nelson and still be a Super Bowl contender?

JC: Outside of certain QB’s, no one player changes that status for the team (yes, these are fighting words).  The Packers’ offense schemes make Jordy Nelson better than he would be on other teams, and while I respect him very much and think he is a great player, I do believe they will find enough of a replacement to keep chugging along.

CB: Are the Patriots still the team to beat in the NFL?

JC: Definitively YES!  And especially now that they can use the targeting of Roger Goodell to an emotional and competitive advantage.  Don’t piss off Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.  They may set records for scoring and TD passes again!


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.