None of the names listed in this week’s edition of the To Chris Broussard The Forced roster is in the midst of its playing seasons.
Regardless, that doesn’t lessen the pressure they face as they prepare for the race ahead, and according to the First Things First host, each has a worthy case for inclusion in his periodic top five.
Let’s dive into the list.
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Watch to see which sports names are under duress this week, according to Chris Broussard.
5. Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy
The perspective: Last season, Mike McCarthy led Dallas to its first postseason appearance since 2018. But the final seconds of the team’s opener sent tension levels spiraling into the danger zone for McCarthy after his questionable QB draw decision with 14 seconds left led to a timeout and a snap in the “L” column for Dallas.
McCarthy is coaching much more than a buyout this season, and a failure to meet the Cowboys’ high expectations could lead to a call for his job.
Broussard’s thoughts: “We saw Jerry Jones, in what was supposed to be a press conference to dismiss all the rumors about Mike McCarthy’s job security, kind of go the other way. He said, “I have a choice.” The Cowboys open with Tampa and Cincinnati. If they start 0-2, the heat under Mike McCarthy’s seat goes up 1,000.”
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4. San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch
The perspective: This much is clear from 49ers management: Trey Lance will be the team’s starter in Week 1 of the season. It was only a matter of time before the team gave Lance the keys to the vehicle after unloading a load of assets in the 2021 draft to move up and grab him, but Lance is the only first-round QB in his class. who was not considered a starter in his first season.
Not to mention, the guy who now sits behind Lance on the depth chart (Jimmy Garoppolo) has a resume that includes a Super Bowl appearance and a trip to the NFC title game last season. Talk about trusting an unproven player.
Broussard’s thoughts: “Not only did they give up four picks, including three first-rounders for an FCS quarterback, now they jettisoned a quarterback who, in his two good seasons there, led them to two NFC title games and a Super Bowl. He is a man who is extremely popular in the dressing room. It better work because these players in this locker room have Super Bowl ambitions. And let’s not talk about Deebo Samuel sitting out training camp until he gets his deal.”
3. Boston Celtics executive director Brad Stevens
The perspective: Stevens bristled when news broke that he had offered star guard Jaylen Brown to the Brooklyn Nets in hopes of prying Kevin Durant away from the team. The move came as a huge shock to many who found it hard to fathom that the team would be willing to break the core that made the NBA Finals a few months ago.
Durant is undoubtedly a once-in-a-lifetime talent, but if Stevens & Co. failing to pull off a miracle with the Nets, they could have a disgruntled player on their hands for the foreseeable future.
Broussard’s thoughts: “It was leaked that he offered his second best player, Jaylen Brown, for Kevin Durant. You have to deal with the consequences that come from this leak. You have to decide whether or not to make the deal for KD. Are you rooting for Marcus Smart or Robert Williams? What if Kevin Durant remains injury prone? He played 90 games in the last three years. Now you look like the anti-Ainge we remember escaping those same nets nine years ago.”
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“He’s a great player, but it’s not my decision. I love our team. I just go out and play with my teammates. I don’t put that on [general manager] decision making hat.
2. San Francisco 49ers QB Trey Lance
The perspective: It’s almost impossible to glean much from Lance’s stats last season: 41-of-71 (57.7%), 603 yards, five TDs and two INTs. The intangibles are unmistakably abundant for the young man’s talent: arm strength, athleticism, pocket presence. But game experience hasn’t been the 22-year-old’s forte over the past few years, and while Shanahan and Lynch are both very expensive for their young prodigy, Lance has yet to prove himself when the lights are at their brightest.
Broussard’s thoughts: “It’s not quite Super Bowl or elimination, but it’s close. These guys want to win. Is it NFC title game or elimination, divisional round or elimination? That’s tough for a guy who started three games in the last two and a half years. I like Trey Lance’s potential, but let’s see if he lives up to it [the hype.]”
1. Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray
The perspective: Murray has the bag he so coveted, but what would have been a blazing bright spot in his career was tarnished when a specific “addendum” to his contract was revealed to the public. Per said addendum, Murray is required to complete at least four hours of film study before each game. If he fails to do so or is found to be multi-tasking during this study period, he will reportedly be deemed to have “defaulted” on his agreement.
If Murray thought a new contract would calm the hype surrounding his game, this already public addition was a blow to his peace of mind.
Broussard’s thoughts: “This should be a week of celebration for Kyler Murray. It just got $230 million and yet it turned into a week of shame. Now we all know that he doesn’t just not watch movies, he hates them so much that they had to write it into his contract. Now every bad pass, every over-read is going to come back to that.”
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