Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
If you know any NFL head coaches, this is definitely the day you’re going to want to forward the newsletter to them and that’s because we’re releasing our annual coaching rankings today, and I have a big spoiler for you: Bill Belichick is not at the top.
We’re releasing the list right before the Fourth of July holiday so that you can memorize it and then fight with your friends about it over the weekend. At least, that’s what I’m going to do.
Not only are we ranking coaches today, but we’re also ranking the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL and we’ll be talking about the top safeties on today’s episode of the podcast.
As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share the link. Let’s get to the rundown.
1. Today’s show: Ranking the top 10 safeties heading into the 2022 season
If you like hearing people talk about defensive backs, then you’re going to love today’s episode of the Pick Six Podcast because Will Brinson and Tyler Sullivan spent nearly one hour breaking down all the best safeties in the NFL.
Sullivan recently ranked the top 10 safeties in the league and during the show, he explained how he came up with his ranking.
Here’s a look at the list he came up with:
Top 10 safeties for 2022
1. Kevin Byard, Titans
2. Derwin James Jr., Chargers
3. Jessie Bates II, Bengals
4. Justin Simmons, Broncos
5. Marcus Williams, Ravens
6. Budda Baker, Cardinals
7. Antoine Winfield Jr., Buccaneers
8. Tyrann Mathieu, Saints
9. Jordan Poyer, Bills
10. Adrian Amos, Packers
Although I usually get to listen to the podcast before it’s released each day, that didn’t happen today because it won’t be dropping until noon. The good news for you is that it means today’s episode will be available by the time you read this newsletter.
If you want to hear Sullivan explain his entire rankings, then be sure to click here so you can listen to today’s show. On the other hand, if you want to see how today’s podcast played out on video, you can watch today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here.
If you don’t feel like listening or watching the podcast today, you can also read Sullivan’s entire story on the subject by clicking here.
2. NFL head coach rankings for 2022
For most of the past 20 years, Bill Belichick has been the undisputed top coach in the NFL, but that’s not the case this year, at least according to Cody Benjamin, who ranked all 32 NFL coaches heading into the 2022 season.
If this ranking was a career award, Belichick would definitely be at the top, but it’s not, it’s a ranking of who the best coach is heading into 2022 and Cody has Andy Reid at the top. You can certainly make the argument that Reid belongs ahead of Belichick this year. Under Reid’s guide, the Chiefs have been to four straight AFC title games and two of the past three Super Bowls (Also, since taking over the Chiefs job in 2013, Reid actually has a 4-3 record against Belichick).
With that in mind, let’s get to the rankings:
Top 16 coaches
1. Andy Reid, Chiefs
2. Sean McVay, Rams
3. Bill Belichick, Patriots
4. Mike Tomlin, Steelers
5. John Harbaugh, Ravens
6. Sean McDermott, Bills
7. Matt LaFleur, Packers
8. Pete Carroll, Seahawks
9. Kyle Shanahan, 49ers
10. Mike Vrabel, Titans
11. Doug Pederson, Jaguars
12. Frank Reich, Colts
13. Kevin Stefanski, Browns
14. Kliff Kingsbury, Cardinals
15. Zac Taylor, Bengals
16. Nick Sirianni, Eagles
This is just the top half of the rankings. If you want to see the rest, be sure to click here so you can check out Cody’s story. If you’re a Patriots fan who wants to argue with Cody about the fact that Belichick isn’t ranked in the top two, you can do that on Twitter by clicking here, but please be nice because he writes the newsletter every Wednesday and we can’t have a sad Cody writing the newsletter on Wednesdays.
3. Ranking the 10 best backup quarterbacks heading into the 2022 season
As you may or may not have noticed, we’ve been ranking every position group in the NFL over the past two weeks and I think we’re finally going to be wrapping that up this week. Actually, just kidding, it turns out we have three position groups left (backup quarterbacks, kickers and punters) and only two days left in the week, so we’ll be taking this thing into next week.
After ranking the NFL’s top 10 defensive linemen on Wednesday, we’re going a completely different route and ranking the top backup quarterbacks today. The top 10 list below was put together by Cody Benjamin, and if you’d like to tell him how perfect it is, you can do that by clicking here. That link will take you to his Twitter profile, where you can also argue with him if you don’t like his list.
Top 10 backup quarterbacks for 2022
1. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers
2. Baker Mayfield, Browns
3. Teddy Bridgewater, Dolphins
4. Nick Foles, Colts
5. Gardner Minshew, Eagles
6. Taylor Heinicke, Commanders
7. Case Keenum, Bills
8. Jacoby Brissett, Browns
9. Andy Dalton, Saints
10. Tyrod Taylor, Giants
It’s almost a certainty that both Mayfield and Garoppolo will be traded before the start of the season, but as of right now, they haven’t been dealt yet, which is why they’re on the list. Also, we did not include any quarterbacks on the list who have entered the NFL since 2020. We actually made a separate ranking for the young backups that you can see by clicking here (Basically, the thought here is that it’s impossible to rank a rookie backup like Kenny Pickett or Desmond Ridder since they haven’t played a game yet and we have no idea if they’ll be any good).
If you want a detailed explanation of Cody’s rankings, then be sure to click here so you can check out his entire story.
4. Deshaun Watson hearing heads into third day: Here’s what you need to know
When the Deshaun Watson disciplinary hearing started on Tuesday, there was some hope that a decision about a potential punishment might be made by the end of the week. However, with the hearing now headed into its third day, it seems highly unlikely that we’ll see former federal judge Sue Robinson make a ruling on the case before the end of the day tomorrow.
Through the first 48 hours of the case, there haven’t been many leaks about what’s gone down so far, but here’s what we do know:
- Robinson won’t be making an instant ruling. Even if the the hearing ends today, Robinson won’t be instantly issuing a ruling. As noted by CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson, after the hearings finish, there will “likely be post-hearing submissions and then a decision,” which means the decision will likely come a day or two after the hearing concludes.
- When will the hearing conclude? When the hearing started on Tuesday, it was expected to last more than one day, so it’s not a total surprise to see it still going on. A league source told Anderson that the hearing is not expected to last past this week, which means it will either wrap up today or tomorrow.
- Robinson apparently isn’t happy with the leaks. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, the former federal judge wasn’t thrilled with all the leaks the came out in the lead up to the hearing. “One thing I heard definitively over the weekend, Sue L. Robinson wasn’t happy how public some things have become,” Breer told 92.3 the Fan in Cleveland on Wednesday.
- The NFL is now apparently worried that Robinson might let Watson off the hook. “(I think) there is some concern with the league this thing could go the other way (in favor of Deshaun Watson),” Breer told 92.3 the Fan in Cleveland on Wednesday. Of course, if the decision goes in Watson’s favor, that doesn’t mean he’ll get off the hook completely. Even if he got just an eight-game suspension, that would be huge for the QB given that the NFL is trying to hit him with an indefinite suspension.
- Kareem Hunt admits that the situation has been stressful for the Browns. “It’s definitely stressful for them,” Hunt said this week, via Cleveland.com. “It’s tough because they’re trying to figure out what pieces they’ve got for the season and what plays they want to put it. You know, there’s different plays for Deshaun and Jacoby, different playbook, different things we can do at quarterback.” We haven’t really heard a Browns player talk about the difficulties of the situation from a team perspective, so it’s definitely interesting to hear Hunt say that.
Since the hearing is still going on, it’s impossible to say when a decision might come, but based on the reports, it seems reasonable to expect that a decision will be made by next Friday (July 8) at the latest and by tomorrow (July 1) at the absolute earliest.
5. Eagles RB Miles Sanders talks to CBSSports.com
One of the most surprising teams in the NFL last season was the Philadelphia Eagles, who made the playoffs with a quarterback who was in his first full-year as a starter.
The Eagles’ leading rusher last season was Miles Sanders and he thinks the team can be even better in 2022. How do we know that? Because he sat down with us for an interview. Sanders talked to Cody Benjamin this week and here’s a quick look at some of the biggest things the two guys touched on in their conversation:
- Sanders says the Eagles offense is loaded with the addition of A.J. Brown. “We all feel like we’re on an all-star team, so we feel great,” Sanders said. “We feel unstoppable, I’m not gonna lie. The vibes are great, always have been. Nick Sirianni is doing a great job just keeping the vibes right, the chemistry good. We compete a lot in practice. But we’ve gotta see. It’s gonna come down to camp, taking it day by day, putting everything together.”
- Sanders didn’t promise that he’ll be returning to Philadelphia 2023. The running back’s contract expires after the 2022 season and he made no guarantees that he’ll be back next year, whatever happens, happens,” Sanders said. “I love Philadelphia as a city. I love the Eagles as a program. I love the fans. I hope the fans love me back. I would love to stay in Philadelphia, and that’s all I got to say.”
- Sanders is still extremely close with his mom. Apparently, Sanders’ mom has been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work for the Eagles running. “She’s been involved with everything since I started with this football stuff,” Sanders said. “She was there when I was going into high school learning that I have to do well in school to get into college, no matter how talented I am, no matter how many stars (I had). She was there when I was going to Penn State and had to have a certain GPA. When I finally got to college, she was educating herself on the agents, all that stuff, and before going to college, she’s the one with me doing interviews. She’s actually interviewing the coaches.” How can you not be a fan of a guy who’s still close with his mom?
If you want to read the full interview with Sanders, then be sure to click here.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: NFL hires someone to oversee gambling
It’s been a wild 24 hours in the NFL, and since it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you.
- NFL hires someone to oversee gambling. Five years ago, the NFL was totally against gambling, but that’s definitely not the case anymore. The league has now fully embraced gambling and if you need proof, just consider this: The NFL has created a new position with the title of “vice president, general manager of sports betting.” According to ESPN.com, the NFL hired David Highhill this week to fill the newly created role.
- Bruce Arians explains exactly what he’s doing in his new role with the Buccaneers. When Arians stepped down as coach, he announced he would be staying with the team in a different capacity, but no one seemed to know exactly what he would be doing. Arians explained his new role this week and you can check out what he had to say by clicking here. “It’s a ‘what do you think?’ job,” Arians told the Eye Test For Two podcast, via Joe Bucs Fan. “Everybody asks me what do I think and they know they’re getting a brutally honest answer.”
- Golden Tate explains why he feels bad for Daniel Jones. The former Giants receiver thinks the Giants QB got stuck in a bad situation. “I honestly feel bad for Daniel,” Tate told NJ.com this week. “He was drafted into a rebuilding organization for one, had Pat Shurmur for a year and then got Joe Judge for two years, now another head coach and another rebuild going into his fourth season. He hasn’t had Saquon [Barkley], myself, [Kenny] Golladay, Sterling [Shepard]. No one is ever on the field at the same time. And then on top of that, he had [Jason] Garrett [as his offensive coordinator] and that probably didn’t help much. So you kind of feel bad for him because a ton of talent. He has a lot of talent, but he just hasn’t had much help due to injuries and how they set it up.”
- Bengals running back to serve as adjunct professor at Texas A&M. NFL players go back to school all the time, but when they do, it’s usually to get their degree as a student. Trayveon Williams will be doing things differently this year: He’ll be going back to school and serving as an adjunct professor at Texas A&M. For more details on that story, be sure to click here.
- You can now track Daniel Snyder’s yacht. The Commanders owner hasn’t been able to testify in front of Congress because he’s been too busy hanging out on his yacht in France. If you want to know exactly where his yacht is, you can now track its location on Twitter.