When the confetti fell from the rafters at the University of Phoenix Stadium late Sunday night, celebrating the New York Giants' upset of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, it also meant it was time to turn the clock.
|JaMarcus Russell: Just go with with him. (US Presswire)|
Since it's on to the offseason, it's a good time to take a look at the pressing issue facing each of the league's 32 teams.
They all have them, even the good ones:
Now that coach Ken Whisenhunt has settled on Matt Leinart, is it a full commitment? Or does he have to share time with Kurt Warner, the aging relief pitcher who played so well last season? Leinart needs to play without looking over his shoulder.
Who will play quarterback? New coach Mike Smith has to find his guy. Is he on the roster or will he be coming in the draft? That position has to be settled. Smith has to be comfortable with the choice.
What should they do at quarterback? New coach John Harbaugh has to decide if Steve McNair can give him another year or if they need to go out and get another veteran. Whoever it is has to be more productive.
|If Trent Edwards has settled one key question, the Bills can focus on D. (Getty Images)|
They need to find a way to amp up their passing game. They are way too run-centric. So how to they fix it? Getting back Jake Delhomme will help, but they need to change to a more aggressive style.
They need to find a quarterback and settle on him. Does Rex Grossman get another chance and re-sign? Is Kyle Orton the answer? Or maybe they use a first-round pick to get one. One thing's certain, that position has to be better.
What to do with Chad Johnson? He wants out. Do you let a player of his ability leave? If you get the right deal -- and I'm not sure exactly what that is, but at least a second-round pick -- then maybe you move on. They can't have him bitching every day.
What should they do with Derek Anderson? Sign him to a long-term deal and then play him. He's their guy. If he plays well, then you have a decision to make the next year. If he doesn't, you made a mistake. But he's the guy.
Will the shadow of coach-in-waiting Jason Garrett have an impact on what Wade Phillips does? The dynamics of this situation are worth watching. How can Phillips feel secure at all with the way the Cowboys kept Garrett from leaving? One has to wonder if it will affect Phillips in the locker room.
They must fix the defense. They have to quit giving money to players who under-perform and quit changing defensive coordinators like you change underwear. Mike Shanahan has pressure to make that side of the ball work. They need to get one or two bodies to help up front and hope like heck young players like Jarvis Moss, Tim Crowder and Marcus Thomas step up their games.
They have to decide if it's time to go to Drew Stanton as their starting quarterback. Jon Kitna has been a nice stopgap, but Stanton might be the future. With a new offensive coordinator, it might be time to make the move.
Will he or won't he? That's the question everybody wants to know about Brett Favre possibly playing another season. He will take time to consider his options, but I think he will come back for one more try at a Super Bowl.
Despite having some good, young talent, the defense struggled last season. They need better play in the secondary. Getting Dunta Robinson back at corner will help.
What's the status of Dwight Freeney? It was obvious in the loss to the Chargers that he was sorely missed. His return as the same speed rusher is imperative to the success of the Colts defense.
They must improve their pass rush. New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is a big proponent of playing aggressive defense, yet there are no pure speed rushers. Do they get one in free agency? Do they draft one or even two? They have to get edge rushers.
The offensive line was bad last season. It has to be better. That unit fell off quickly after being dominant for a long time. The right tackle spot is particularly troubling.
|Will the new Dolphins regime bet on John Beck at QB? (Getty Images)|
This is a team being held back by the passing game. The Vikings have a good defense and a great runner in Adrian Peterson, but they don't throw it well enough. Tarvaris Jackson needs to get better, but they need to find him a true weapon outside.
It's all about Spygate. What will happen? Will more tapes surface? Will Bill Belichick be suspended if there are more tapes? They can't be happy about more nosing around into this, especially by the government.
Fixing the defense is a must. They have to get faster at linebacker, stouter at defensive tackle and better in the secondary. The offense will continue to score a lot of points, but they were in too many shootouts last season.
This is a young team, but they have some age in key spots. Mike Strahan is up in the years and might retire. Sam Madison is about done. And they have a key free agent in safety Gibril Wilson. The defense has some fixing up to do, even if it played a great game against the Patriots.
The Jets are like a lot of teams: They have to improve their quarterback play. Is Kellen Clemens the answer? Or is Chad Pennington the guy? One of them has to show they can get the passing game cranked up.
Their biggest issue is trying to figure out what's happening with Lane Kiffin. Is he the coach or not? Al Davis needs to back away. Then let Kiffin play JaMarcus Russell. He needs to develop.
Is Donovan McNabb still the guy? He should be. But does he have the backing of the staff and the front office? Or are they ready to move to Kevin Kolb? The Eagles also need to improve the run defense.
|Alan Faneca's departure would leave a huge void in the Steelers OL. (US Presswire)|
Like the Steelers, they have to fix the offensive line. That could mean drafting Jake Long with the second overall pick. They struggled on offense last season in large part because the offensive line couldn't protect. That has to be better.
They have to improve the run defense. For a team with Pro Bowl nose tackle Jamal Williams, they didn't play well enough against the run. Williams was bothered some by injuries and Luis Castillo missed time as well, but the run defense was not the Chargers run defense we expected to see.
|The Niners' biggest question: Alex Smith. (Getty Images)|
Will the real Shaun Alexander reappear? Or is this it? Alexander hasn't been the same since he got that fat contract. He took the money and hasn't run. Seattle needs to decide if he's the guy. The running game wasn't good enough in 2006.
Who's the running back? There is some speculation that Cadillac Williams is fighting a real battle in his rehab. Does that mean Earnest Graham, who played well last season, is the guy? There is a chance they draft one early. They also need help opposite Joey Galloway at receiver.
Can Vince Young become a legitimate NFL passer? Despite all the hype, he hasn't been in his first two seasons. Now Norm Chow is gone as offensive coordinator, replaced by a sterner Mike Heimerdinger. Young has the tools, but he has to be more patient in the pocket. A top receiver would help.
The coaching situation is worth watching. Whoever is named the head coach inherits offensive and defensive coordinators picked by the owner. That's never good. The dynamics of that, especially with Dan Snyder watching down, will be fun to watch.