Ever since I first saw the Times Square ball drop on TV, I’ve seen the beginning of a new year as a time to reflect on the past and set resolutions for the future. Hopefully you get to them before the following year rolls around, because, by that time, you’ll probably have a load of new resolutions. It’s important to knock out this year’s as quickly as possible.
Obviously I’m not alone in all this. Players, coaches, general managers and owners in the NFL — or their fans, at least — often look at the new year the same way. And many in the NFL have plenty of things to improve on in 2015. Tailgate Fan knows, we’ve been watching.
But the end of the regular season is a busy time in football. So we’re taking that extra step and suggesting a few resolutions for some of our favorite NFL personalities. Happy new year, guys! Now get to work.
Josh Gordon: Cleveland Browns
Regarded as one of the more self-destructive talents in the NFL, Josh Gordon has to try to stay out of trouble. Try it for just one year, something he hasn’t accomplished since his rookie season. If that means locking himself up in a room for a year whenever he isn’t training or practicing or playing football, so be it.
J.J. Watt: Houston Texans
I know what you’re thinking: why should J.J. Watt have a new year’s resolution? He did absolutely everything he could this season to secure the NFL MVP award, and will probably come up short just because the Houston Texans didn’t make the playoffs. So this resolution is more for the Houston Texans as a whole: win more. Watt deserves more than us sports pundits screaming about how he should be considered the MVP.
Mark Davis: Oakland Raiders
This year, Oakland/Los Angeles/City TBD Raiders owner Mark Davis should make the resolution to focus on building his team, not relocating them. Sure, Al Davis did both, and even more, but Al built up to being owner/GM/coach/mascot over many years. Mark still needs to get his feet wet — possibly have some kind of success — before taking on more responsibilities as the NFL’s most tight-fisted owner.
Johnny Manziel: Cleveland Browns
Hopefully Johnny Manziel’s latest party night to get him in trouble with Cleveland Browns management was his last hurrah before getting serious about professional football. This year Johnny Football should make the resolution that many make to avoid a bigger problem: curb his partying, at least during the football season.
Tom Brady: New England Patriots
When it comes to playing football, Tom Brady doesn’t have anything to resolve. He’s a fantastic quarterback, and no team would complain if he were under center for their offense. Some stuff outside of football — like commercials — is another story. You’re just not going to top Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers as a pitchman, so please stop trying. And since you’re, presumably, taking our advice to heart, don’t take any more fashion pointers from your coach, Bill Belichick, either.
Odell Beckham Jr. : New York Giants
There is no argument that rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster New York Giants offense. His resolution for the new year has nothing to do with his game-play, rather how he reacts to his game-play. Celebrating is okay, but when your showboating creates as many visions of Terrell Owens as your talent does, it’s time to scale it back.
Jay Cutler: Chicago Bears
Jay Cutler making a new year’s resolution? Whatever. Which is exactly what his resolution should improve. You have some of the most passionate football fans in the world, Jay. Show them a fraction of that passion, and they’ll love you forever.
Woody Johnson: New York Jets
Being an NFL owner means knowing how to delegate. New York Jets owner Woody Johnson cleared out the desks of coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik, now he must now tone down his Jerry Jones-esque demeanor and do things right. That means hire a general manager, and let that GM hire the head coach, who will then hire his staff. It will put the entire organization on the same page, which may not fuel any sort of drama, but it will fuel success on the field.
Gus Bradley: Jacksonville Jaguars
You’d think Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, with a 3-13 team, would need to make a load of new year’s resolutions. I disagree. I think Bradley’s resolution should be to stay the course. Your rookie-based team has a load of talent. Don’t rock the boat and hurt their development. Firing offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch is not “staying the course,” but that happened last year. That was your mulligan, Gus.
Jeff Fisher: St. Louis Rams
Jeff Fisher’s new year’s resolution should be to key in on a featured running back. (And maybe having Zac Stacy on my fantasy football team is clouding my judgment.) Remember when you had Eddie George in Tennessee, Jeff? Remember how great it was to lean on the same running back year after year? Stop hopping around from Daryl Richardson to Zac Stacy to Tre Mason to next year’s first string of the halfback committee. Just commit, baby!
Patrick Emmel is a sports humorist who once punted a soccer ball fifty yards to his teammate, who then scored the only goal for his college intramural soccer team’s season. Seriously, that kick was placed PERFECTLY. He is also still a believer that Colt McCoy is going to break out as an NFL quarterback. You can read more of his obnoxious commentary at This Jeer In Sports and heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.