The New England Patriots have reigned supreme over the AFC for much of the last two decades, but could the 2019 NFL season finally see a changing of the guard?
In the second part of the special offseason edition of RADIO.COM’s “Football Insiders” podcast, hosts Eliot Shorr-Parks and Brian Baldinger go around the AFC to see which teams can take the next step in 2019.
One of the most intriguing teams to watch will be the Cleveland Browns. Led by second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Browns have added stud wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to their offense, which has placed sky-high expectations on first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens.
“All eyes are on him,” Baldinger said. “If things don’t go well, it’s all gonna go to him. Or if there is an inability to handle a roster full of a lot of big-named players, it’s gonna fall on him.”
One of the other threats in the AFC are the Kansas City Chiefs, who took the Patriots to overtime in the AFC Championship game. The Chiefs, however, are at risk of losing elite wide receiver Tyreek Hill due to a domestic violence incident. They have also revamped their defense, but questions still surround Kansas City heading into the summer.
“[Defensive coordinator> Steve Spagnuolo won a Super Bowl with one of the best defensive lines we’ve ever seen in New York,” Baldinger said. “He needs true defensive ends. Frank Clark is probably better than Dee Ford or Justin Houston. … To bring in Tyrann Mathieu, who hasn’t been the same since he tore his ACL against the Eagles three years ago. … It looks like a patchwork job to me right now. This offense is an elite offense. I don’t know if it is an elite offense if Tyreek Hill can’t play.”
Baldinger and Shorr-Parks close the podcast with Radio.com’s NFL insider Armando Salguero to discuss the state of the Miami Dolphins and their new quarterback Josh Rosen.
“Rosen has a year to prove who he is and what he is,” Salguero said. “That year goes by fast. He needs games. He needs starts. He’s gonna be the Week 1 starter. … The good of the franchise is at stake.”