Five fearless predictions
Holmgren's future; Bills' QB question; Bolts' bonanza
Posted: Thursday October 18, 2007 6:07PM; Updated: Friday October 19, 2007 1:30PM
Six weeks into the NFL's regular season isn't the time to start making a bevy of bold, definitive calls. But in some instances it's enough of a sampling to begin seeing the writing on the wall in a few situations around the league. So, with apologies to my colleague, Peter "Big Dog'' King, here are five things I think I think are going to take place before we're deep into the NFL's next offseason:
1. I think nine will wind up being enough for Mike Holmgren in Seattle. My gut tells me this will be the last year on the job for the Seahawks head coach, and that he and the team will negotiate an amicable parting of the ways soon after Seattle plays its final game of the 2007 season -- whenever that is. While Seahawks president of football operations Tim Ruskell and Holmgren get along well and have no major issues, Ruskell understandably will look for the opportunity to select his own hand-picked head coach, which would be the first of his three-year Seattle tenure.
Here's what I believe is the reality of the situation in Seattle: Though they're off to a modest 3-3 start, the Seahawks may still win the weak NFC West and make the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season. But it's apparent Seattle doesn't have what it takes to be one of the league's elite teams, and the Seahawks' Super Bowl window of opportunity has likely closed. Holmgren and Seattle took their best shot at a ring in 2005, making Super Bowl XL and giving Pittsburgh a game of it for three quarters. But that's going to be as close as the Seahawks get with the nucleus of their current roster.
Holmgren will come to realize that as this season unwinds, and he'll again start contemplating retirement, as he did two years ago, immediately after Seattle's Super Bowl run. He won't stick around just to go 9-7 or 10-6 for another year or two, surviving maybe into the first or second round of the playoffs. He's been there and done that, many times.
Holmgren and his wife, Kathy, have other more admirable interests in life besides football and I could see them deciding to pour their energies into their church or charitable work -- Kathy is a nurse who has taken medical missionary trips to Africa and elsewhere. It's not beyond the imagination that Holmgren would take another coaching job, but I think it would have to be a perfect fit, such as a homecoming to San Francisco, should the 49ers continue to disappoint and bring the Mike Nolan era to a close.
2. I think it'll be readily apparent by the end this season -- and possibly even by Thanksgiving -- that the Bills consider rookie quarterback Trent Edwards their guy going forward. And that will mean that former first-round pick J.P. Losman will get the same treatment that Drew Bledsoe received from Buffalo before Losman's second season: It'll be thanks for the memories time.
The Bills will shop Losman around the league and try to recoup in trade the third-round pick they spent to draft Edwards out of Stanford this year. That could be more than the market will bear for Losman, but the fourth-year veteran is still young enough that some quarterback-challenged team might find it a reasonable price.
The Bills coaching staff is very high on Edwards' combination of poise and intelligence, with some of its members believing that he was the best quarterback in the draft this year. Buffalo was ecstatic to find him still there in the third round, and the selection signaled that the Bills wanted another youthful option at the position because Losman had not yet erased doubts about his franchise quarterback status.
For whatever reason, it doesn't seem like Losman and the Bills are going to have a long-term marriage. He has made strides in some areas of maturation as a pocket quarterback. In the early days, Losman would take off and scramble at the drop of a hat after looking no further than his primary receiver.
But the Bills aren't convinced he's ever going to be as consistent and efficient as they'd like. At the end of year four, with Edwards showing promise, the odds of Buffalo cutting its losses with Losman are good. Losman will likely quickly sum up his situation this season and ask the team to help him seek a fresh start elsewhere in 2008.