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NFL Notebook: Philosophies for all 32 NFL teams in 2014

In a sentence or two, let's decide what each team's "philosophy" would be for the 2014 season...

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


Buffalo Bills - "Run The Rock, Stop The Rock. Move Sammy Around. The More Plays, The Better."

The Bills called the most run plays in the NFL last year, and although it's fair to expect some improvement from quarterback EJ Manuel, with running backs C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Bryce Brown, and Anthony Dixon and Cyrus Kouandjio at right tackle, Buffalo will run it frequently this season.

Sammy Watkins is a larger Percy Harvin, and offensive coordinator Nate Hackett is cut from the Chip Kelly cloth. He'll look to get Watkins, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, Mike Williams and a group of tight ends as many targets as humanly possible with a rapid no-huddle attack.

New England Patriots - "Dink, Dunk And Dominate On Defense, Especially In The Secondary"

Outside of the glorious Randy Moss days, Tom Brady has absolutely shredded defenses with the dink and dunk passing game. With Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola back, expect more of the same from the super-efficient Patriots. Don't forget about the return of GRONK.

On defense, with Chandler Jones moving into the prime of his career, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner at corner and Logan Ryan and Devin McCourty at safety, New England's defense is looking scary. Up-and-comer Jamie Collins will be one to watch at linebacker.

Miami Dolphins - "Feature Miller, Protect Tannehill and Hit The Occasional Shot Play"

Ryan Tannehill can't get sacked 58 times again in 2014 -- that total "led" the league, by the way -- if the Dolphins are to reach the postseason. Branden Albert and Ja'Wuan James were added at each tackle spot to hopefully keep Miami's franchise quarterback protected.

Lamar Miller is ready to break out - he's only 23 and has flashed in his two NFL seasons - and Mike Wallace needs to be found downfield more often than he was in 2013.

New York Jets - "Blitz Like Crazy, Ground And Pound And Open Up The Passing Game"

Defensive mastermind Rex Ryan will blitz, and when I write blitz, I mean all-out, send-the-house-with-no-regard-for-potential-repercussions blitz... on any down. His extreme aggressiveness is usually effective, too.

With Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell (a underrated favorite of mine) and Chris Johnson, the Jets will employ the usual ground-and-pound tactic on offense, but with Eric Decker and the handful of pass-catching acquisitions that arrived via the draft, don't be surprised if New York gives Geno Smith a bit more responsibility.


Indianapolis Colts - "We Have Luck, So Yeah, Let's Throw It Often"

On paper, reuniting Andrew Luck with his Stanford offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton, looked like a fabulous idea. It's not that the idea totally flopped in 2013 -- Luck's numbers improved and the Colts won a (wild) playoff game -- it's just that Indianapolis wasn't built like the Stanford Cardinal teams of 2009-to-2011, and therefore were probably utilizing the power running offense too often.

With receivers Hakeem Nicks, T.Y. Hilton, and Reggie Wayne and tight end Dwayne Allen back, the Colts should feature their premier player by throwing the football often. Don't complicate things.

Houston Texans - "Destroy Offensive Lines, And Get Hopkins And Johnson 100 Targets Each"

The quarterback competition in Houston isn't very appealing with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and Tom Savage taking center stage. However, DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson are fine perimeter wideouts. They need to each see 100 targets regardless of who's throwing them the football.

Oh yeah, the Texans have Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt on the same defensive front. Kind of unfair, right?

Jacksonville Jaguars - "Feature Gerhart, Teach Bortles And Try To Recreate Seattle"

All the early indications out of Jacksonville point to Chad Henne starting the 2014 season and Blake Bortles only playing if absolutely necessary. Toby Gerhart has been living in Adrian Peterson's enormous shadow for the past three years but has the body and low mileage to be a legitimate old-school feature back.

With former Seahawks like Red Bryant and Chris Clemons in the mix, head coach Gus Bradley would like to recreate the Seattle defense. Probably a pretty smart plan, wouldn't you say?

Tennessee Titans - "Save Locker, Make Sankey A Bellcow, Highlight Athleticism On Defense"

There aren't many flashy players on the Titans roster, but head coach Ken Whisenhunt was the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive coordinator at the beginning of Ben Roethlisberger's career, called in the shots in Arizona during Kurt Warner's resurgence and aided in Philip Rivers' revitalization in 2013 with the Chargers. Can he save Jake Locker?

Kendall Wright is here to help. Bishop Sankey is an ideal candidate to be a bellcow runner behind a hefty and talented offensive line.

The defensive personnel isn't the most perfect fit for Ray Horton's 3-4 (that mixes in some 4-3), but with Akeem Ayers, Derrick Morgan, Zaviar Gooden, Zach Brown and Jason McCourty, there's a nice collection of athletic specimens on that side of the ball.


Pittsburgh Steelers - "Young Learn From The Old, Run With Power"

Hey, Shamarko Thomas and Markus Wheaton, it's time to learn from Troy Polamalu and Antonio Brown and start contributing. The two 2013 draft picks are impressively skilled and are in very similar molds to their elder-counterparts.

Also, Ryan Shazier - a physical freak - would be smart to take notes from Lawrence Timmons, one of the more unheralded inside linebackers in the game.

With LeGarrette Blount and Le'Veon Bell, two big and authoritative backs, expect the Steelers to jam the football down the opposing defense's throat every Sunday.

Cincinnati Bengals - "Running Backs To Aid Dalton, Win The Trenches"

New offensive coordinator Hue Jackson has a history of highlighting his running game, and he has two talented runners in Gio Bernard and rookie Jeremy Hill. Veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis should be involved occasionally, too.

The Bengals tried to air to out for a few years to no avail, and maybe... just maybe... a more methodical, clock-eating approach will allow Andy Dalton to get over the proverbial hump.

Although Michael Johnson and Anthony Collins bolted in free agency, there's a still sound grouping of talent on both the offensive and defensive lines.

Cleveland Browns - "Get RG3's Rookie Year Out Of Manziel, Survive Without Gordon, Blitz City With Pettine"

Johnny Manziel will start Week 1. Has to, right? Head coach Mike Pettine is hoping the offensive coordinator he hired, Kyle Shanahan, will get a 2012 RG3 type year out of the most polarizing figure from the 2014 draft class. Does GM Ray Farmer have a secret plan at wide receiver without Josh Gordon? If not, Manziel (or Brian Hoyer) could struggle.

Remember, Pettine is a Rex Ryan protégé, and his novel blitz-packages have been successful in the past.

Baltimore Ravens - "Tight Ends, More Tight Ends, Smith And Hope Age Hasn't Hurt Us On Defense"

Gary Kubiak is the the Ravens' new offensive coordinator. What does that mean? TIGHT ENDS, BABY. The 2013 season was kind of a disaster in Houston for Kubiak, but in 2012, his Texans dispersed 124 receptions between tight ends Owen Daniels, James Casey and Garrett Graham. In 2011, Daniels led Houston with 54 grabs, and Joel Dreessen and Casey combined for 46 catches. Daniels was signed by Baltimore in free agency and Joe Flacco's favorite target, a tight end nonetheless, Dennis Pitta, returns from from a 2013 injury.

Steve Smith will bring some tenacity to the receiving corps, which is needed. There are some young pieces on the Ravens defense, but Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Haloti Ngata and Daryl Smith aren't young by NFL standards anymore and Arthur Jones is gone.


Denver Broncos - "Pass For 400 Per Game, Be Very Seahawks In The Secondary"

Peyton Manning's still calling the shots, I mean the audibles, behind center and the wide receiver contingent of Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Emmanuel Sanders and Cody Latimer is more than formidable. Add in tight end Julius Thomas, and the Broncos have a legitimate argument as the best pass-catching gang in the NFL.

With Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward and Bradley Roby in the secondary, it's obvious Denver learned an important lesson from the secondary beatdown the Seahawks put on them in the Super Bowl.

San Diego Chargers - "Slow Half Court West Coast Offense, Allen, Running Back Committee, Hope Youngsters Step Up On Defense"

Somewhat like the Titans, there isn't an abundance of big-name players in San Diego, especially on defense. But Philip Rivers morphed into a WCO-stud in 2013, and he should be an efficient signal-caller again this season. The depth chart of Ryan Mathews, Donald Brown, Danny Woodhead, Kerwynn Williams and 2014 draftee Marion Grice sounds very running-back-by-committee-ish.

On defense, will Manti Te'o and Jeremiah Attaochu make enough plays?

Kansas City Chiefs - "Count On Charles And Fisher, The Reid And Smith Dynamic, And Win The Turnover Margin By A Big Margin"

The Chiefs exploded to a 9-0 start in 2013 thanks to forcing turnovers on defense while not committing many on offense. Oh, and Justin Houston and Tamba Hali really victimized opposing quarterbacks.

Kansas City must trust in the Andy Reid and Alex Smith dynamic and hope No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher can man the left tackle spot without becoming a liability. Winning the turnover margin again would help, too. Honestly, this is still Jamaal Charles' team.

Oakland Raiders - "Believe In McKenzie, Start Schaub, Develop Carr And Unleash Mack Next To The Vets"

GM Reggie McKenzie took some heat at the start of free agency, but by the time the draft was completed, many realized he had assembled a fairly decent roster (although many of his acquisitions are players past their primes). It seems as though Matt Schaub will start the season, but Derek Carr has an NFL arm, and Khalil Mack could be the next great pass-rushing outside linebacker. Learning from Justin Tuck, and LaMarr Woodley should expedite his acclimation process.


Seattle Seahawks - "Feed Lynch And Michael, Lean On The Outrageously Talented Secondary, Another Step For Wilson"

Russell Wilson threw the football only 407 times in 2013, the fewest number of tosses among quarterbacks who started at least 13 games. Sure, much of that was due to the Seahawks leading many games, but Seattle's coaching staff made a concerted effort to not give Wilson too much and to keep him as efficient as humanly possible while featuring the running game. Well, it worked. Super Bowl Champs.

Marshawn Lynch is still Marshawn Lynch and second-year pro Christine Michael might be more physically gifted. That's frightening. Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner left, but the rest of finest secondary in the game is still intact. Good luck scoring points, especially in Seattle.

San Francisco 49ers - "New Toys For Kaepernick, Find A Way To Temporarily Replace Smith And Bowman, Groom Hyde Behind Gore"

The 49ers rewarded Colin Kaepernick with a monstrous contract extension this offseason, and with Stevie Johnson accompanying a healthy Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, Bruce Ellington and Anquan Boldin, the 49ers have given their handsomely paid quarterback plenty of pass-catching options.

San Francisco will continue to pound the football on the ground, but there could be a quasi passing-of-the-torch ritual from Frank Gore to Carlos Hyde this season. Keep in mind...Marcus Lattimore is on the roster, too.

With Aldon Smith likely looking at a lengthy suspension and NaVorro Bowman still nursing the gruesome knee injury he suffered in the NFC West Title Game, Jim Harbaugh's crew will look to new faces to fill their huge voids on defense.

St. Louis Rams - "Maul Offensive And Defensive Lines, Make Stacy And Mason Stars, GET AUSTIN IN SPACE"

Well, I don't think the Rams could have realistically invested more on their offensive and defensive lines. Robert Quinn, Chris Long, Michael Brockers and Aaron Donald formulate the most dangerous starting defensive front four in the league, and Greg Robinson next to Jake Long on the left side of the offensive line isn't too bad, either. Zac Stacy and Tre Mason are both compact runners with fluid agility who should find themselves in what's becoming a classic backfield timeshare. Lastly, Brian Schottenheimer, GET TAVON AUSTIN THE BALL IN SPACE. Really, though, it's not all his fault. Austin could have been better last year.

Arizona Cardinals - "Secondary To Create Many Turnovers, Feature Ellington, Keep Palmer's Interceptions Down"

Patrick Peterson. Tyrann Mathieu, Deone Bucannon, Antonio Cromartie. Yeah, that's a sturdy secondary quartet. Andre Ellington was the NFL's most efficient running back in 2013, and head coach Bruce Arians will try to maintain most of that efficiency while giving the second-year back more touches. If Carson Palmer doesn't throw close to 20 interceptions, the Cardinals will be a team no one wants to play.


Dallas Cowboys - "Score 30 Points Per Game. Shouldn't Be Hard. Give Murray His Touches. Pray To God On Defense"

To the common football fan, Tony Romo is amazingly misunderstood. When he chucks a late-game interception, the loss is all on him, and he's THE WURST QWARTERBAK EVR. In reality, he's one of the game's best, and Dez Bryant is a tenacious specimen who plays angry every snap. Throw in Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray, Terrance Williams, Gavin Escobar and a rock-solid offensive line, and it's easy to envision the Cowboys scoring...a lot.

On defense, well, the defense is an utter disaster. DeMarcus Ware plays for the Broncos. Sean Lee's out for the year. To the delight of the aforementioned football fan, this polarized offensive / defensive dynamic should lead to shootouts galore.

New York Giants - "The Cruz and Beckham Show. Some Williams Too. Keep Eli's Jersey Clean. JPP? You There?"

Back in 2011, Jason Pierre-Paul was the premier 4-3 defensive end in the game and many believed he had a handful of 15-to-20 sack seasons ahead of him due to his youth. After two disappointing and injury-plagued campaigns, the Giants need the JPP of old to return.

Hakeem Nicks is gone, but Odell Beckham Jr. should be fun with Victor Cruz, and rookie running back Andre Williams should be able replicate the thunderous running of Ahmad Bradshaw when New York was winning Super Bowls. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, Eli can't withstand another 39-sack season.

Washington Redskins - "Apply RG3's Shiny New Weapons. Score 35 Per Game. Cover Up Secondary Flaws With OLB Pass-Rush."

With DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Pierre Garcon, a healthy Jordan Reed and newcomer Ryan Grant, Robert Griffin III doesn't have pedestrian pass-catchers anymore, does he? Nope. Factor in established zone runner Alfred Morris and speedy complements Roy Helu Jr. and Lache Seastrunk, and the Redskins could actually field an explosive offense once again.

On defense, the outside linebackers are imposing, and Jason Hatcher should help in the middle, but there's some weakness in the secondary. Hopefully Tracy Porter re-emerges as a solid cover guy.

Philadelphia Eagles - "GOSUPERFASTONOFFENSE. Begin Jordan Matthews Era. SPROLES AND SHADY."

The Eagles will be lightning fast with Chip Kelly holding the play-call sheet, and the team has the dynamic talent to move rapidly while remaining efficient. With a cohesive and almost unfairly nimble offensive line, LeSean McCoy should easily eclipse 1,000 yards on the ground and Darren Sproles is the ideal screen running back.

Jordan Matthews was apparently a stud at minicamp, and with the departure of DeSean Jackson, he should be in line to step into No. 1 WR duties sooner than later. Does defense matter? Sure. But with Kelly at the helm, it's all about scoring points. And more points. And more points. And Philadelphia will.


Chicago Bears - "Twin Towers Out Wide. Fuller To Learn From Peanut. Prove We Revamped Both Lines. Protect Jay"

Jay Cutler was on pace to set career-highs in 2013 before going down with injury, and with all of the same, rather sizable pass-catching targets in place, he's in line for a huge 2014 if he's protected and can protect himself.

On defense, Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, the elder-statesmen of the secondary, will be tremendous mentors for the outrageously fluid and sticky Kyle Fuller, Chicago's first-round pick. The defensive line went through a much-needed overhaul this offseason, and hopefully it'll pay dividends after a catastrophic campaign a year ago.

Detroit Lions - "Efficiency Over Volume On Offense. Remarkably Skilled Collection For Stafford. Win The Line Of Scrimmage"

Matthew Stafford threw the football 663 times in 2011. Yikes. In 2012, that number jumped to a stunning 727. LAWD. In 2013, he chucked the football 634 times.

In short, the Lions were all about the high-volume passing offense, but with Jim Caldwell the head coach, the team will likely be more "traditional" with more two-tight end sets and a stronger emphasis on the run game. There's plenty of explosive talent in the backfield and outside for Stafford, that's for sure. The offensive and defensive lines have been well constructed, and they need to dominate in 2014.

Minnesota Vikings - "Bridgewater's Team. AP's still AP. Get Patterson The Ball. A lot. Jennings, Too. Zimmer Influence on Defense"

To some, the Vikings got the best quarterback in the 2014 class with the last pick in Round 1. Teddy Bridgewater was probably the most "clean" signal-caller prospect available, and he'll team up with Adrian Peterson, Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Rudolph to create what very well may be an sleeper offense in Minnesota. New head coach Mike Zimmer should have a majorly positive effect on youngsters along the defensive line and in the secondary.

Green Bay Packers - "STAY HEALTHY. Feed Lacy. Leave It To Aaron Rodgers"

Going through a season without sending like 15 guys to IR would be nice for Green Bay, wouldn't it? At the very least, keeping Aaron Rodgers off the sideline would dramatically help the Packers chances in the NFC North. Eddie Lacy may actually be good enough to take some pressure off Rodgers - not that he needs pressure to be alleviated - and make Mike McCarthy's team more balanced offensively. Apparently Rodgers is 15 / 2 to win the MVP. Yeah, go make that bet right now. (I do not advocate sports betting of any kind).


Tampa Bay Buccaneers - "Hope The New Pieces Mesh. Ride The Running Backs. Win The Red Zone With The Power Forwards"

Oftentimes, an plethora of free-agent signings don't mesh well in Year 1, but the Buccaneers must believe in their offseason acquisitions. The running back stable of Doug Martin, Mike James and Charles Sims has elite potential. Head coach Lovie Smith inherited a legitimate basketball team on offense. Vincent Jackson. Mike Evans. Austin Seferian-Jenkins. That's a starting front court which should work wonders in the red zone.

New Orleans Saints - "Stills And Especially Cooks. Keep Graham Happy. Believe In Rob Ryan In Year 2"

Kenny Stills and Brandin Cooks will be a blast in 'Nawlins. Have fun trying to catch either of those two in the open field. Jimmy Graham, if he doesn't hold out, must be fed and fed often. New Orleans shouldn't have any issue accumulating 400+ yards on offense every week.

On defense, Jairus Byrd will be Rob Ryan's favorite toy on the back end, and Saints fans need to trust in their fiery defensive coordinator.

Carolina Panthers - "Cross Fingers That Cam Can Mask Flaws And Benjamin Becomes a Jump-Ball Stud"

Will Cam Newton be protected? Eh, maybe. Probably not, though. The edges of Carolina's offensive line are shaky, but the former No. 1 overall selection exudes athleticism and scrambling ability. Without Steve Smith, Newton must find a new go-to target. The Panthers hope that'll be the gigantic Kelvin Benjamin. Even if it takes the 6'5" receiver a year or two to round into form as a complete pass-catcher, he should be able to win jump balls in the end zone with decent regularity.

Atlanta Falcons - "High Volume Passing Offense. Use Freeman To Balance It Out. Hope FA Adds and Hagemen Help The Defense. A Lot"

Julio Jones and Roddy White are fully recovered from 2013 injuries. Lovely. Jake Matthews was added to bolster the offensive line. Fantastic. The Falcons will field one of the better offenses in the NFL, as usual, but there are big craters on defense. Then again, there's plenty of beef up front with Paul Soliai, Tyson Jackson and Ra'Shede Hagemen, a big-time boom-or-bust prospect.


An introduction:

For those of you wondering who this new author is, I'm Chris Trapasso -- I was an NFL Beat Writer for Bleacher Report for the past three seasons, am a current staff writer at, and am member of the Pro Football Writers of America. I very much enjoy analyzing football, writing about football and especially theorizing about football. I consider myself not an expert, but a devoted NFL analyst. Predicting things is hard. But I will try to predict things football-related.

I'm looking forward to contributing some of my NFL thoughts and analysis at Field Gulls this season. You can hit me up on Twitter @ChrisTrapasso.