Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
I’ll be honest, the only reason I got out of bed today is because I thought the Bengals were going to be unveiling a new helmet with white tiger stripes. Now, I don’t even know why I got out of bed because they didn’t unveil a new helmet.
In the weirdest helmet announcement ever, they announced that they would be wearing an alternate helmet in 2022, BUT THEY DIDN’T SHARE ANY PICTURES OF THE HELMET. The goods news for you guys is that I found a nice mock-up of what the helmet will probably look like, and you’ll be able to check that out later on in the newsletter. We also have some Sean Payton news, plus we’ll be taking a look at the best defensive players under the age of 25.
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 NFL head coaches from one to 32 entering the 2022 season
If you want to know where your favorite coach ranks in the NFL, then you’re definitely going to want to listen to today’s episode of the Pick Six Podcast because Will Brinson and Cody Benjamin decided to rank every single coach in the league. It took nearly an hour, but the two guys eventually made it through their ranking of all 32 coaches.
We won’t list every coach here, but here’s a look at their top 10:
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
The first thing you’ll probably notice is that the coach with the most Super Bowl wins in NFL history (Bill Belichick) isn’t at the top of the list. According to Cody, that’s because this ranking isn’t a lifetime achievement award; it’s based on who you’d want to coach your team in 2022.
“We’re not debating if he’s ranked at the top based on all-time achievements,” Benjamin said. “As much as I respect Bill Belichick and what he’s done all-time, I don’t think he’s the best guy to draft as your coach in 2022.”
The coach at the top of the list is Andy Reid, who’s taken his team to four straight AFC title games and two of the past four Super Bowls.
“You kind of have the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick effect here,” Cody said. “As long as [Reid] and Patrick Mahomes are in Kansas City, it just feels foolish to count them out from a 12 or 13-win season and getting a home playoff game. If you’re getting that every year, you can’t ask for much more than that.”
It’s also worth noting that Reid has had plenty of success without Mahomes. The Chiefs coach has been to the postseason during eight of his nine years in Kansas City.
“You have the longevity combined with the consistency,” Cody said.
If you want to listen to how the rest of the rankings break down, you can do that by clicking here. You can also watch today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Sean Payton appears to be eyeing three teams for a potential 2023 return
Although Sean Payton is currently taking a year off from coaching football, speculation has already started that he plans on returning to an NFL sideline in 2023. The Miami Herald had an interesting story about Payton on Wednesday that revealed several new details about his situation.
- Payton would apparently prefer to coach one of three teams. A source close to Payton told the Herald that the former Saints coach would definitely have an interest in the Dolphins job and that he would likely also be intrigued by the idea of coaching either the Cowboys or Chargers. The Herald did note that Payton won’t go lobbying for a job that’s not open, but it’s not crazy to think that one of those teams would be willing to move on from their coach if they found out Payton was interested, and it would become much more likely that they’d be willing to move on if they have a bad season in 2022.
- Payton has a few preferences and at least one demand. Any team that wants to hire Payton will have to give him full control over personnel decisions. That could get dicey for a few teams since that’s a power most general managers won’t want to give up. Payton also wants to coach in a warm-weather city, and he’ll want his new roster to be competitive, so that basically means he won’t end up in the AFC North or NFC North.
- It won’t be easy to get Payton. Even if a team wants to hire Payton next season, it won’t be easy. Even though he’s out of football right now, he’s still under contract with the Saints, which means any team that wants to pursue him will have to first work out a potential trade with New Orleans.
With this Payton news out in the open, don’t be surprised if we start hearing his name every time the Cowboys, Chargers or Dolphins lose a game this season. Although Payton won’t be coaching football in 2022, he will be covering it. It was reported in May that the former Saints coach accepted a job with Fox for the upcoming season.
3. Ranking the best defensive players under the age of 25
Earlier this week, we unveiled our list of the best offensive players under the age of 25, so in the name of fairness, we thought we should do the same thing for defensive players.
CBSSports.com’s Tyler Sullivan was in charge of putting this team together, and he only had two rules for this list: Rookies don’t qualify, and a player can’t turn 25 before the start of the 2022 season.
Top defensive players under the age of 25
EDGE: Brian Burns, Panthers
EDGE: Nick Bosa, 49ers
IDL: Quinnen Williams, Jets
IDL: Jeffery Simmons, Titans
LB: Micah Parsons, Cowboys
LB: Devin White, Buccaneers
LB: Patrick Queen, Ravens
CB: A.J. Terrell, Falcons
CB: Trevon Diggs, Cowboys
S: Antoine Winfield Jr., Buccaneers
S: Jevon Holland, Dolphins
The Buccaneers and the Cowboys were the only two teams that had multiple players on the list. (The only team with multiple players on last year’s list was the 49ers, and they made it all the way to the NFC title game last season.) Sullivan also made a second team, which featured two players from both the Browns and GIANTS, and you can check out the entire list for both teams by clicking here.
4. One underappreciated player on each NFC team
Every NFL team definitely has some unsung heroes on the roster, and since they rarely get recognized, we decided to make a list of the most underappreciated players in the league. Today, we’re going to take a look at the NFC side of things.
CBSSports.com’s Patrik Walker went through every roster in the NFC to find each team’s most underappreciated player. Here’s what he came up with for five of the teams:
- Giants: QB Daniel Jones
- Rams: DT A’Shawn Robinson
- Packers: LB Rashan Gary
- Bears: LB Robert Quinn
- Vikings: OT Brian O’Neill
If you want to check out the full list, which includes all 16 NFC teams, then be sure to click here.
5. Bengals getting a new alternate helmet for 2022: White tiger stripes are coming to Cincinnati
The Bengals have worn the same striped helmet in every game they’ve played for the past 40 years, but that will be changing this year because they’re getting an ALTERNATE helmet.
Fans had been hoping all offseason that the team would unveil a new helmet and their wishes came true, but with a small catch. The team didn’t actually unveil the white tiger helmet Thursday. Instead, they confirmed that they would definitely be wearing the helmet at some point this season without actually sharing an image of it.
I promised you a mock-up and I always deliver on my promises. The guys over at PFF made a mock-up of what the new helmet might end up looking like and you can check it out by clicking here.
Based on that mock-up, I’m fully expecting the helmet to be awesome.
- The white tiger helmet will mark the first non-orange helmet in franchise history. The team has been wearing its current helmet since 1981. Before that, Cincinnati donned an orange helmet that simply said “Bengals” on the side, which they wore from their expansion year in 1968 to 1980. That means the new white helmet will mark the first time in the 54-year history of the franchise that a non-orange helmet will be worn.
- The Bengals are the fifth team to announce an alternate helmet. Now that the NFL is allowing teams to wear an alternate helmet, everyone seems to be taking advantage of it. Besides the Bengals, the other four teams with a new helmet are the Texans (red helmet), Patriots (white helmet), Saints (black helmet) and Falcons (red helmet).
According to UniWatch, there could be as many as 15 teams that end up wearing an alternate helmet for at least one game in 2022, so don’t be surprised if we hear a few more announcements over the next few weeks.
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Browns eyeing Ndamukong Suh
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.
- Browns interested in Ndamukong Suh. The Browns already have a pretty solid defensive line, but it could get even better. According to USA Today, Cleveland is interested in adding Suh, who spent his past three seasons with the Buccaneers. Suh has only played for two teams over the past four years (Rams and Bucs), and both teams made the Super Bowl while he was with them. According to USA Today, the Vikings and Raiders have also shown interest in the free agent defensive tackle.
- Rob Gronkowski explains why he left the Patriots off his retirement announcement. When Gronk announced his retirement in June, he failed to mention the Patriots a single time in his retirement announcement. Although it seemed like a snub, there’s a perfectly good explanation. Gronk said he mentioned the Patriots in his first retirement announcement and this time around, the announcement was more for his retirement from the Buccaneers. You can check out his full explanation here.
- Dan Snyder’s attorney says Commanders owner won’t testify under subpoena. The never-ending drama between Dan Snyder and the House Oversight committee continued Wednesday. Snyder has agreed to testify, but his lawyer said he won’t testify under a subpoena, which has thrown a wrench into things, because the committee wants him to testify under a subpoena. (If he’s under a subpoena, he basically can’t duck any questions, which he would be able to do if he’s there voluntarily.) With Congress going on a break at the end of July, Snyder’s ultimate plan here is apparently to stall until that break starts.
- Bengals and Jessie Bates III seem to be at a standstill. With just 24 hours to go until the franchise tag deadline, it’s starting to look like Bates and the Bengals aren’t going to be able to reach an agreement on a long-term deal. If no deal is reached, that could make things interesting since it was reported earlier this year that Bates wouldn’t be willing to play on the one-year franchise tag.
- Apple most likely to win ‘Sunday Ticket’ rights. With ‘Sunday Ticket’ rights expected to be finalized this fall, it looks like Apple is the frontrunner. According to Puck News, Apple currently has the edge over Disney and Amazon. DirecTV holds the rights through the 2022 season, and whoever wins the bidding will take over the package starting in 2023.
- Kyler Murray could have a new deal by training camp. Five months ago, it seemed like Murray wanted out of Arizona, but apparently there are no hard feelings between the two sides. According to ESPN, negotiations on a long-term contract are going smoothly and the QB could have a new deal in place by the time training camp starts July 27.