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Old 06-08-2010, 06:38 PM   #1
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Default the hot seat

Yes, Ben is on this list

With organized team activities (OTA's) in full swing, this part of the NFL season is all about improving your craft. With every new season comes new drama and intrigue. With training camp on the horizon and the dog days of summer approaching quickly, here are the players and coaches squarely on the hot seat for the 2010 season.

Josh McDaniels, Denver Broncos, Head Coach

Like Rex Ryan's weight, my feelings for Josh McDaniels change daily. One day he's a bright young NFL mind, the other he is a brainwashed ex-New England Patriot assistant that has been inflicted with a Napoleon complex.

I was one of the number of NFL pundits that lined up to fire McDaniels before he even coached his first NFL game. Then, he coached the Broncos to a 6-0 start, and I apologized for prematurely pulling the plug on the Denver “Doogie Howser” series. My apology was greeted with the Broncos finishing the season 2-8, for a mediocre 8-8 record.

Mike Shanahan incumbents Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler are now gone. Some might suggest McDaniels has systematically stripped the Broncos of their marquee players. Leaving the Broncos with a void of stars, while preaching the Patriot way, which suggests that no one is bigger than the team. It is one thing to play like the New England Patriots and it's another to practice their philosophies unsuccessfully.

If Josh McDaniels is going to be the only successful branch off the Bill Belichick coaching tree, it has to start this season.

Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers, Quarterback

The Alex Smith apologists have had a long list of reasons why the former number one pick hasn't matured into a top NFL quarterback. The apologists have used everything from a bad offensive line to not having any offensive weapons. With the arrival of first round selections Anthony Davis OT and Mike Iupati OG, the 49ers should have the nucleus of a great offensive line. With all-pro tight end Vernon Davis, running back Frank Gore and last year's first round selection Michael Crabtree, the 49ers now have a war chest of offensive weapons and potentially boast one of the most formidable offenses in the NFL.

Smith's five seasons in San Francisco have been marred with inaccuracy, interceptions and ineptitude. Smith has struggled mightily at recognizing, processing information and dissecting NFL defenses. But, being in the same offensive system in consecutive years for the first time in his career should offer Smith some familiarity. This season in the Bay Area, Alex Smith is either going to swim and mature into a quality NFL quarterback or sink and be the next number one overall pick to drown right behind JaMarcus Russell.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, Quarterback

Ben Roethlisberger is batting two-for-two. Two off-seasons and two sexual assault charges. Instead of being known as a two-time Super Bowl champ, he's know as an alleged two-time accused “sexual assaulter”. Roethlisberger's atrocious off-field transgressions have clouded the fact that Roethlisberger is a top-five NFL quarterback. This season Roethlisberger has no choice but to concentrate on football. No motorcycle crashes or appendectomies, just football.

Rothlisberger's untamed swashbuckling approach to life serves him well on the football field, but not so much off it. This season it is extremely important for Roethlisberger to demonstrate professionalism and exhibit leadership to his teammates and the city of Pittsburgh. Roethlisberger will be suspended for at least the first four weeks, but Roethlisberger's behavior on and off the field will be under review for the duration of his career. Art Rooney II and the Pittsburgh Steelers take character and core character values extremely seriously, so he is on his final chance with the franchise.

Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears, Head Coach

Chicago winters can get cold, but Lovie Smith's seat will be searing hot all season. After being the head coach of the quintessential undisciplined 7-9 NFL team, some would suggest that Smith is already operating on borrowed time.

Last season, the Bears paid a king's ransom and mortgaged their future when they sent two first-round picks to the Denver Broncos for Jay Cutler. This offseason, the Bears broke the bank in free agency to acquire DE Julius Peppers and RB Chester Taylor, so now is the time for the Bears.

New offensive coordinator Mike Martz is in charge of getting the best out of Cutler. In many ways, Smith's future is tied to Cutler. If Cutler performs like the franchise quarterback the Bears were expecting last year, then the Bears should do well and make the playoffs. But Smith will be blown out of the windy city, if Cutler reverts to the interception throwing turnover machine that he was last season and the Bears miss the playoffs

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