Sometimes in football, the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. An onside kick takes a weird hop, somebody catches a toe on the 20-yard line on the way to the end zone, a coach doesn’t challenge a play and you end up losing your bet – these things happen.
Those miscues on the field are there for everybody to see, but sometimes those off the gridiron get overlooked in the offseason.
And then there are offseason issues that tend to overshadow a lot of things - like this Bountygate stuff in New Orleans.
I’m not getting into it here because the plight of the Saints has been already beaten to death and I actually like some of their personnel moves in the offseason.
They brought in some beef at the linebacker position to replace Jonathan Vilma and Ben Grubbs will look good on the offensive line. Sure, they have some holes in the secondary, this Drew Brees contract mess has gone on way too long, and it’s hard to know what they’ll do without Sean Peyton.
But let’s chalk it all up to New Orleans making the best of a bad situation. The same can’t be said for these teams, who didn’t do themselves any favors in the offseason.
Here are six clubs that I think had the worst offseasons, in no particular order.
Oakland Raiders – Season win over/under: 7 (under -125)
New Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie didn’t have much to work with this offseason. The club had to unload a number of fat contracts and lacked draft picks after bringing Carson Palmer into the mix. But the list of guys who packed their bags is downright depressing for silver and black bettors. Kamerion Wimbly, Michael Bush, Stanford Routt, Kevin Boss and Jason Campbell all hit the bricks, while Dave Tollefson was probably their best acquisition. They had better hope Darren McFadden is good as new.
Houston Texans – Season win over/under: 10 (over -155)
The Texans are a major favorite (-625) to win the AFC South, but it’s more to do with what a crappy division it is than anything else. All Houston did this offseason is watch key members of its team skip town. Gone are notable names like Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Joel Dreessen, Jacoby Jones and Matt Leinart, among others. Plus they lost the whole right side of their offensive line. If they think the additions of Justin Forsett, Bradie James and draft pick Whitney Mercilus can make up for those defectors, they’re crazy – especially if Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub don’t stay healthy.
Miami Dolphins – Season win over/under: 7.5 (under -125)
It was fitting to see the Dolphins’ cheerleading team bounce around gleefully to the sweet tones of Call Me Baby considering how desperate the team is for attention. After striking out with Peyton Manning, they were basically the only team in the league that answered the phone when HBO’s Hard Knocks came calling. They lost Brandon Marshall to the Bears and appear to be attempting to replace him with Chad Ochocinco, which will be great TV and nothing else. They drafted Ryan Tannehill and the jury’s still out on him and nobody has any idea what they have in David Garrard.
Detroit Lions – Season win over/under: 9.5 (under -140)
Over bettors are going to love the Lions this year. After locking up Megatron to a huge deal, they didn’t do much to fix their secondary. Detroit lost cornerback Eric Wright to Tampa Bay and added Sean Jones and Jacob Lacey through free agency. If you think those are the two guys who are going to turn around this terrible pass defense, you’ve obviously been dipping into Nick Fairley’s sticky stash. The No. 13 pick of the 2011 draft was just one of six Lions that were locked up in the offseason.
Baltimore Ravens – Season win over/under: 10 (under-125)
Tons of questions for the Ravens. Ray Rice’s contract remains an issue, Terrell Suggs could miss the entire season with his knee injury, Ed Reed doesn’t even know if he’s coming back or retiring, and Ray Lewis is another year older. Plus, they have a new defensive coordinator again this year. The best move they made was to keep cornerback Ladarius Webb around, but he can’t do it all. A lot of things will need to bounce Baltimore’s way to crack this 10-win number.
Arizona Cardinals – Season win over/under: 7 (under -125)
Everything seemed to fall apart for the Cardinals after they went all-in on Peyton Manning only to be trumped by the Broncos. Grabbing Michael Floyd was a nice pick, but they needed to a lot more than that to help an offense that’s still trying to decide between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton at quarterback. They just didn’t do enough to keep pace in the NFC West. They’re pegged around +700 to win the division, but it’s still San Francisco’s to lose.