In less than 100 days, football will be back, which means that 95 percent of football fans are more confident about their respective teams today than they'll be by Week 5 of the 2016 season.
Between now and August, it's very likely a superstar or two will sustain a major injury, a handful of players could be dealing with off-field issues and Ryan Fitzpatrick will sign a contract, whether with the Jets or another team. Issues and events like these have the potential to alter a team's entire season. Last season, Jordy Nelson's ACL tear caused the Packers offense to take a huge step back; Aaron Rodgers had his worst statistical season since 2008 as a result.
While fans are optimistic, let's take a quick look at some offseason overreactions for every team in the AFC from the players themselves, coaches, journalists and fans. Just a quick disclaimer: these are obviously opinions of individuals. None of these opinions are representative of an entire team or fanbase. Every team has its idealistic fans, and nearly every team has its fans who want to trash every player and coach employed by the club. This exercise is purely for fun, and should by no means be taken seriously.
Why it's funny: Per ESPN, Watkins has sustained 15 injuries since entering the NFL and will need surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot. Though he may have only missed three games in his career, he still has yet to play through a season injury-free and has very rarely played at 100 percent.
Why it's funny: Parker may well be a very talented receiver, but he has a ways to go before being considered elite. He's still not the top wide receiver on his own team, he only had 494 yards and four touchdowns in his rookie season and with Lamar Miller in Houston, Miami's wide receivers will surely command more attention from opposing secondaries. That the author of this story insinuates the Patriots' selection of a corner in the second round of the 2016 Draft was a move to counter Parker's emergence is just icing on the cake.
"Parker shredded the New England secondary on that overcast January afternoon in South Florida, to the tune of 106 yards and a touchdown, on just five receptions. Unsurprisingly, the Patriots chose a cornerback with their first selection in the 2016 draft. That's what great players do; they cause opposing teams, particularly within their own divisions, to try and counter their potential for producing game changing plays."
New York Jets: Geno Smith looks good in OTAs.
Why it's funny: The Jets may well be the most difficult team to cover at this point of the season. New York's brass hasn't budged in negotiations with Ryan Fitzpatrick, which means that the New York media now needs to convince itself that Geno Smith isn't all that bad. Easier said than done. Geno may well be a solid quarterback--he never had a chance to prove himself last season--but until Smith shows he's improved, people will rightfully be skeptical.
Why it's funny: Any mention of "jedi mind tricks" from a writer who is attempting to objectively cover a team warrants a laugh or two. Statements like these show the disillusionment of many NFL fans, who oftentimes forget that NFL coaches and general managers are some of the brightest people on earth. That someone is willing to believe that a bright mind can be swayed by a brighter mind, just because one man has more wins on his resume, is laughable, regardless of the subject matter.
Why it's funny: As mentioned in the original article on Brown, the former soccer player was likely playing for a position on the Bengals' call list, not the roster and he barely even had a shot at the practice squad. Despite this, plenty of Bengal fans couldn't help but get eager about the prospect of a guy who has hit a 70-yard field goal challenging Mike Nugent. Cincinnati may eventually need an upgrade at kicker, and Jon Brown could potentially be the guy, but, he's actually now on the Bengals' Injured/Reserve list as he had a foot injury and was waived by the team last week. As no one claimed him off waivers, he's now on IR.
Cleveland Browns: No overreaction
Believe it or not, Browns fans may be done with optimism. But just for fun, here's a humorous Dr. Seuss-esque FanPost written by a Browns fan. For what it's worth, this is about as optimistic Browns fans may feel at this point in the year. Here's a small excerpt:
"A Quarterback in the third round? Almost all of them have drowned."
I hear your words and do not discredit, but trust me this Kessler can thread it. He started as a high recruit, A+ character to boot. He had four coaches in college, so he's got a-lot of pro-style knowledge. But these are all just anecdotals-
"Show me some of the numbers with sums and totals!"
Why it's funny: More than half the Ravens fans polled in the article believe Pitta's determination alone can land him a roster spot. There's no doubting Pitta's talent and determination, but the fact that he has played seven games in the past three seasons gives fans serious reason to doubt Pitta's durability. Additionally, the Ravens seem fairly set at tight end, so Pitta might just be a roster casualty even if he plays well.
Why it's funny: Plenty of Steeler fans are knowledgeable enough to understand that Tomlin didn't throw smokescreens at the Bengals and influence their draft decision, but plenty of fans still think this is the case. Contrary to popular belief in Pittsburgh, NFL clubs don't make their selections based on the players other teams visit.
Why it's funny: The Colts notoriously had a terrible offensive line in 2015. Though the team added former Alabama center Ryan Kelly in the first round of the 2016 Draft, the addition likely won't immediately elevate the entire line's performance. This Stampede Blue article discusses offensive line RAS scores, citing the Eagles and Colts as having the two most athletic offensive lines in football. The Cowboys came in with the ninth-best line, while the Bengals ranked 19th. Clearly having an athletic offensive line doesn't necessarily correlate with having a good offensive line.
Why it's funny: The Jaguars offense is poised to become a top-tier unit, but the defense will only retain five starters from 2015. Adding six new players who will likely step in and start on defense is good for the team's future, but it would be unreasonable to think the unit won't have some growing pains at the start of the season. Additionally, there isn't any proof that any of these players will be able to thrive in Jacksonville's defensive scheme. The Jags have the potential to be good next season, but until the team backs up the offseason hype with results, this is an overreaction.
Why it's funny: Commenters went as far as suggesting PFF changed its grading system only to knock Watt off the top ranking, which he held for the previous three seasons. Watt is an undeniably awesome player, but his strange personality coupled with Texans fans' unending love for the guy have started to make Watt a far less likable player. The comment section on this post is pretty funny, though.
Why it's funny: Fans of every team look for players to latch onto. For fans of the Titans, aside from Marcus Mariota, Delanie Walker may well be the only player on the roster who can inspire hope. Walker might be the best tight end in Titans history, which says a lot considering he's been in Tennessee for all of three years, so fans naturally want to call him one of the best in football. But while Walker may be one of the most balanced players at his position, there's no arguing Rob Gronkowski is the best tight end in football and that guys like Greg Olsen, Tyler Eifert and Jordan Reed are better than Walker when healthy. Walker just happens to be one of few tight ends in football who is the primary pass-catching target on his team, and he benefits from that when it comes to statistics.
Why it's funny: In 2016 alone, the Broncos barely squeaked by the Chargers, held on for dear life against a Steelers team completely depleted of its weapons and lost several key players in free agency. Even if the Broncos have a quarterback-proof roster, which isn't necessarily true, the defense lost two key starters in Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan and one of its best rotational defensive backs in David Bruton. The Broncos' offensive line is still a mess, and the team's special teams could take a hit with Bruton out of the mix. Gary Kubiak has done wonders for quarterbacks throughout his career, but the Broncos' roster isn't loaded enough to suggest that the team can beat anyone and everyone when healthy. Last year alone, Denver lost four games, and the Broncos had the healthiest roster in football by a longshot.
Why it's funny: The offseason hype machine at its finest. On paper, the Chargers have a defense that should be one of the best in football. However, many players haven't played up to their draft pedigree, causing the defense to play like one of the league's worst. And though San Diego's defense will likely improve in 2016, there's no arguing that Seattle has one of the most talented rosters in football.
Why it's funny: Too many reasons. First of all, Kam Chancellor isn't the most important player on the Seahawks defense. If anything, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman are the first two in line. Next, Bobby Wagner, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril have strong cases to make. Irvin is a great player, but there's no arguing that he wasn't more than the fifth or sixth most valuable player on his former team. Irvin could potentially be a solid linebacker in Oakland, but saying his addition "will go down as one of the best FA signings of all time" is a bit much.