NFL Roundtable: Gruden is gone, will Meyer be next?
Each week we sit down with TwinSpires columnists Ashley Anderson, James Scully, and Scott Shapiro to discuss the latest news from around the NFL. Today they weigh in on the Chiefs' lackluster defense, Urban Meyer's job security, and the league's best QB/WR tandem.
What worries you most about the Chiefs after their lopsided loss to the Bills on Sunday Night Football?
Ashley: The defense is an obvious problem, but the Chiefs have overcompensated for weaknesses on that side of the ball in the past, and won the Super Bowl in 2019 with a bottom-10 rush defense. The issue that worries me most are the turnovers. Through five games, Patrick Mahomes has thrown as many interceptions (six) as he did last season, and he added a lost fumble in Sunday night’s two-interception outing, which included his first career pick-six. The Chiefs are tied with the winless Jaguars for most giveaways (11), and with an abysmal defense to match, this once perennial Super Bowl contender may be hard-pressed to earn a playoff bid at the end of the season.
Patrick Mahomes threw 2 Int in the 3rd vs the Bills. It was just the 3rd time in his career that he has thrown 2 interceptions in a quarter.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 11, 2021
It's also the 2nd game this season he's thrown multiple Int. He had 1 such game last season pic.twitter.com/6WhSVYn6lO
James: Defense. Kansas City is allowing a whopping 7.1 yards per play on defense, and their deficiencies were highlighted Sunday night in a convincing home loss to Buffalo. With no margin for error, the offense is pressing, which doesn’t allow them to establish a rhythm. Defensive woes are threatening to derail Kansas City’s season.
Scott: The defense in its entirety is what worries me most about the Chiefs. They have been historically poor through the first five weeks, including a non-existent effort on Sunday night at home against Josh Allen and the Bills. The offense has made more mistakes than we are accustomed to thus far in 2021, but they are still an elite group. However, it will not matter if Kansas City does not fix things on the other side of the ball.
The Raiders and Jon Gruden have parted ways. Who will be the next head coach to resign or be fired this season?
Ashley: I believe the Jaguars coach is the most likely candidate for the chopping block. It was a bad enough look that Meyer chose not to return with his winless team after Jacksonville endured a tough loss on Thursday Night Football in Week 4. The social media scandal that followed only drove the divide further in his locker room. An anonymous player condemned Meyer for his lack of credibility, and a handful of players allegedly laughed at the coach when he approached the team to apologize for his off-field behavior. This Jacksonville team is a disaster and likely destined for another one- or two-win season. Meyer clearly won’t be able to turn around the culture, so it’s better to cut ties quickly and try again with a new regime.
James: Mike Zimmer. After Minnesota edged past winless Detroit in Week 5, a physical altercation nearly broke out between quarterback Kirk Cousins and Zimmer. They’re clearly not on the same page, and the Vikings have little hope for this season. Entering a brutal stage of their schedule, management may decide to part ways when the losses start piling up.
Scott: Jacksonville’s Urban Meyer is the head coach that will be fired or resign next in 2021. The three-time Division I FBS National Champion was amazing at the collegiate level, but does not appear to have what it takes at this point in his career to be successful in the NFL. Perhaps the 57-year-old is not as committed as he used to be, but his talent evaluation has been poor and he has been sidetracked with off the field issues. He is unlikely to make it through the season.
We saw monster games on Sunday from Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams as well as Tom Brady and Antonio Brown. What’s the best QB/WR tandem in the NFL?
Ashley: Defenses know exactly who Aaron Rodgers’ No. 1 target is, and yet they can’t stop Davante Adams from wreaking havoc on the field. Last year’s touchdown receptions leader currently ranks first in the league in targets (61), receptions (42), and receiving yards (579), and continues to come up with big plays when the Packers need it most. Adams recorded a career-high 206 receiving yards in Week 5 and his third game with 100 or more receiving yards this season. Ja’Marr Chase and Cooper Kupp have been phenomenal through the first five weeks as well, but no QB/WR tandem has a more special connection than Rodgers and Adams.
James: Aaron Rogers and Davante Adams. Adams was the catalyst to Rogers winning the 2020 MVP award, leading the league with 18 touchdowns and 98.1 receiving yards per game, and he ranked as the No. 1 receiver (and sixth overall) in the NFL Top 100 Players rankings. The QB/WR tandem enabled Green Bay to win 26 regular season games from 2019-20.
Scott: There are a number of great QB/WR tandems in the NFL, but Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are at the top of the heap. The long-time Packers not only are physically gifted, but they have a connection that comes with years and years of hard work. This was on display in Cincinnati on Sunday when Adams hauled in 11 passes for 206 yards in the Green Bay overtime victory. When they are at their best, they cannot be stopped.