“I still think (Josh) McDaniels and Lincoln Riley will be vetted by the Browns too.”
“As I wrote last week, I’m not sure John Harbaugh will sign an extension; he might, but it’s no sure thing.”
“Football Morning in America” Runs Every Monday Exclusively on NBCSports.com
STAMFORD, Conn. – December 31, 2018 – Peter King’s Week 17 edition of “Football Morning in America,” available now exclusively on NBCSports.com, is highlighted by an-depth look at the NFL coaching carousel on “Black Monday,” and King’s annual regular-season awards.
Additionally, “Football Morning in America” features this week’s “What I Learned” with Matt Millen; three questions with Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams; awards, quotes, travel notes and more.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of “Football Morning in America”:
- King on the final twenty minutes of the regular season: “A lot happened that dictated so much about the NFL playoffs and the fate of the defending champs and the draft and the record book and the feelings of two rivals who hate each other’s guts. Stars were born and replays dawdled and nerves—particularly in Baltimore—were jangled to the point that Ravens backup quarterback Robert Griffin III walked up and down the sidelines saying like a mantra, over and over: “You gotta believe, you gotta believe, you gotta believe.”
- King on Cleveland’s vacancy: “Given the success of Freddie Kitchens as offensive coordinator—Baker Mayfield loves him and responds to him—my sense is the Browns feel they don’t have to get the next great offensive brain to work with Mayfield and develop an offensive identity. They might have that guy now. So that could put a defensive presence like Vic Fangio of Chicago in play, or even a special-teams guru like Dave Toub—well known to GM John Dorsey from their days in Kansas City.”
- King on Green Bay’s vacancy: “I’ll be surprised if the Packers don’t interview Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who I believe will be interested only in the best jobs on the market because he knows he has a bright future in New England. If I were McDaniels, those jobs this year would be Cleveland and Green Bay.”
- King on the New York Jets’ vacancy: “I’m told it’s likely GM Mike Maccagnan will get one more coach to hire. If I were him, I’d try to convince Mike McCarthy to be interested. Not sure McCarthy would come—he is widely reported to be considering taking 2019 off—but control over the roster and the specter of coaching Sam Darnold should tempt him.”
THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE
- MVP: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City: “The late Paul Zimmerman left me with one indelible lesson: “USE YOUR EYES! What did you see!” What I saw watching the game this season was Mahomes, a 23-year-old kid, an electric kid, taking over a division champion when incumbent Alex Smith was traded, playing like he belonged from the first series of the season, outplaying Philip Rivers on the road in Week 1, outplaying Ben Roethlisberger on the road in Week 2, throwing a left-handed desperation pass completion on third-and-five at Denver on the winning late drive in Week 4, going toe-to-toe with Tom Brady and surviving a bad first half in a 43-40 loss in Week 6, hiccupping at the Rams in the bizarre 54-51 November loss, and then willing his team to beat the formidable Ravens in Week 14.”
- Coach: Matt Nagy, Chicago: “The Bears in the four years pre-Nagy: 5-11, 6-10, 3-13, 5-11. GM Ryan Pace hired Nagy in January from Kansas City, and he won more games than any first-year coach ever in franchise history (including George Halas with the pre-Bear 10-1-2 Decatur Staleys in 1920). Nagy did a smart thing in hiring a smart coach he didn’t know and empowering him—offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich—to help Mitchell Trubisky grow. We don’t know if Trubisky’s going to be really good, but Nagy did an excellent job of managing Trubisky and hiding his weaknesses.”
- Defensive Player: Aaron Donald, L.A. Rams: “Hard to imagine a player—without a training camp, with a slew of new defensive mates to get accustomed—having a better year on the fly than Donald. Once he got used to his surroundings, Donald had 16.5 sacks in his last 10 games, and threatened Michael Strahan’s NFL sack record of 22.5. Donald finished with 20.5.”
“WHAT I LEARNED” WITH MILLEN
Millen on his heart transplant: “My heart came from a male, 6-2, 26 years old. Drug overdose. Think of the thought he had to put into this, to be a donor. He took the time to let it be known he wanted his heart to go to someone if he died, so they could live. What a gift. I’m going to figure out what to do about it.”
Read the rest of the column here.
A new “Football Morning in America” will post every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com. It was announced in May that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.