<
>

New Year's resolutions for every NFL team

play
Patriots' 2016 resolution? Stay healthy (1:26)

ESPN Patriots reporter Mike Reiss says the Patriots need a year of better health after putting 18 players on injured reserve since the start of the 2015 league year, while also managing a myriad of injuries during the season. (1:26)

In the spirit of the new year, our NFL Nation reporters made a resolution for all 32 teams.

AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills: The Bills need to make a commitment to do less talking in 2016. Rex Ryan got a head start Wednesday when he said his prediction last January that the Bills would make the playoffs was "stupid" and that he has learned to be less boastful. Ryan needs to stick to his resolution, and his players need to follow suit, focusing on playing football and not making headlines with their words. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins: The key word for the Dolphins in 2016 should be "direction." This team completely lost its way this year, and turning that around starts with finding the right head coach to lead the way. -- James Walker

New England Patriots: The Patriots will hope for better health in 2016. They've put 18 players on injured reserve since the start of the 2015 league year, and have been managing myriad injuries during the season. No doubt, the team's medical staff has earned its collective paycheck in 2015. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets: The Jets' resolution should be to secure two of their key players with long-term contracts -- QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and DE Muhammad Wilkerson, both of whom will be free agents. Wilkerson, only 26, is a building-block player. Chances are, he will end up with the franchise tag. Fitzpatrick, 33, is no spring chicken, but he has played well, and he's their only viable option at quarterback. -- Rich Cimini

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens: Draft an impact player in the first round in 2016. Baltimore's drafts have produced only one Pro Bowl player in the last seven years. Of course, some of that has to do with the Ravens picking near the bottom of the first round most of the time. But Baltimore should be in the top 10 in 2016, and the Ravens have to make the most of their pick, whether it's a cornerback, offensive tackle or wide receiver. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals: Change appears on the horizon for the Bengals, who have nearly a dozen starters and key contributors who will be up for free agency once the season ends. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson also could be on his way out, as head-coaching openings pop up around the league. So when it comes to resolutions, the Bengals would be best served to follow the process that helped turn the franchise around following a 4-12 season in 2010. That was the last time massive changes swept throughout the team, and five consecutive playoff berths have followed. -- Coley Harvey

Cleveland Browns: It's pretty simple in Cleveland: that the Browns will close the so-called Factory of Sadness and provide their long-suffering fans a winning, competitive team sometime before the start of the 22nd Century. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers: Improve the secondary. It's a cover league, and the Steelers don't have the proverbial shutdown corner that teams covet. The Steelers improved slightly from a year ago to now, but they've still resided in the bottom third in pass defense for much of the year. Giving up 300 passing yards is no longer a surprise. A better secondary can lift the Steelers from a fringe playoff team to a true Super Bowl threat in 2016. -- Jeremy Fowler

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans: This new year, the Texans should invest heavily in a young quarterback who can grow into becoming a long-time starter. For the past two seasons, the Texans have lacked faith in the available quarterbacks -- at least enough that they weren't willing to make that investment. It's time to pull the trigger. -- Tania Ganguli

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts didn't get an improved offensive line under the tree for Christmas, which was evident by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's being knocked out of last weekend's game at Miami with an injury. So the Colts could really use improved play from the guys up front. The team's top three quarterbacks -- Andrew Luck, Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst -- have taken pounding this season from blitzing defenses. Luck is about to miss his ninth game of the season because of injuries -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars have a lot of work to do to fix one of the league's worst defenses, but their No. 1 commitment in 2016 should be to do whatever it takes to generate a pass rush. Dante Fowler Jr. missed his rookie season because of a torn ACL, but counting on him alone to fill the void would be irresponsible. The Jaguars need to make adding a pass rusher a priority in free agency (which admittedly will be hard) or in the draft. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans: Become more likable. The Titans have a couple of embraceable players and a whole lot of people tied to a miserable two-year stretch. Sure winning cures all, but if Ken Whisenhunt was more likable, I bet he would have been the coach through the season. The Titans need to have more people on all levels that fans relate to, believe in and want to back. -- Paul Kuharsky

AFC WEST

Denver Broncos: This is a two-parter. First, the Broncos need the wisdom on all fronts to make it through the hoopla of the playoffs with the will-he-play or won't-he-play questions around Peyton Manning. And secondly, they want to be better in the biggest moments, which was the main reason they parted ways with John Fox and hired Gary Kubiak to open 2015 after Fox led the team to four division titles and one Super Bowl appearance.-- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs: Win one playoff game -- if not more. The Chiefs haven't had a postseason victory since January 1994. That win was so long ago, it happened against a team no longer in existence, the Houston Oilers. The Chiefs have lost eight straight playoffs games since. It's time to end the streak. -- Adam Teicher

Oakland Raiders: Continue to draft well. Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie has put together two strong drafts in a row. If he can hit make it three straight, with concentration on the defensive side of the ball, the Raiders' future should continue to be bright. -- Bill Williamson

San Diego Chargers: Whether they are in San Diego or Los Angeles, the Chargers should vow to not waste another year with a franchise quarterback like Philip Rivers by building a team capable of getting this organization back to the Super Bowl for the first time in over 20 years. -- Eric D. Williams

NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys: The easy resolution for the Cowboys is to find a better QB to back up Tony Romo -- be it in the draft, free agency or both. But they really need to make changes in the passing game. Poor backup quarterback play isn't completely to blame for a listless passing attack. The Cowboys make it far too easy for defenses to take away Dez Bryant or Jason Witten. They need the scheme to help players get open instead of asking players to win one-on-one -- or even two-on-one battles -- all the time. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants: Make the playoffs for the first time since 2011. A lot will go into that, including the strong possibility a new head coach will be the one charged with pulling it off. But they will need to rebuild their defense with a strong showing in free agency and the draft, and they'll need to make sure quarterback Eli Manning has the right system and the right group around him to continue playing as well as he played in 2015. -- Dan Graziano

Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles should get back to NFL business as usual in 2016. The Chip Kelly experiment is over. Now it's time to practice on a normal schedule, huddle up and run a traditional NFL offense. The sooner they get started, the sooner the team has a chance to contend. -- Phil Sheridan

Washington Redskins: The Redskins should resolve to operate in the same manner they did last offseason so they can add to what they've accomplished this season. The Redskins didn't just add the most talented players, they added players who fit what they wanted. They should also sign quarterback Kirk Cousins to a new deal, but that's a no-brainer at this point. -- John Keim

NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears: Chicago should set its sights on making the playoffs in 2016. The Bears' postseason drought is absurd, as they've missed out five straight years and eight of the last nine. Since the Bears fired Mike Ditka in 1992 -- 23 years ago -- the club has been to the playoffs only five times. That's ridiculous. Even the Chicago Cubs have five playoff appearances over that same span. The difference is the Cubs are now among the favorites to win next year's World Series. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions: We'll keep the Lions' goals simple: find a combination of people within front office and coaching staff who understand each other, fit well together and won't try to do anything other than what is best for the franchise. The Lions have, throughout the Ford family's ownership, been one of the most inept franchises in all of sports. This is a chance to completely reset the expectations and the course of the franchise if Detroit nails its search for a new general manager and a potential new head coach. Make the hires. Trust the people you've put in charge. And stay out of the way. That's the resolution for the Lions because otherwise, whomever is hired will be doomed to fail like every coach and GM before. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers: What's the most popular New Year's resolution in America? Getting in better shape, of course. Packers running back Eddie Lacy should follow the masses on this one. It would not only serve the team well -- and Lacy himself -- if the RB got his weight down closer to the 234 where he is listed. Remember, Lacy will be going into a contract year, coming off a sub-1,000-yard season, so he'll need a bounce-back year in 2016 for his own sake -- and losing some weight will only help his cause. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings: If the Vikings' New Year's resolution wasn't obvious by now, it could be by the time they play their first two (or more) games of 2016: Fix their offensive line. What was one of the team's strongest points as recently as three years ago has been eroded by injuries, and the Vikings will have decisions to make at a couple of spots next year. Rookie T.J. Clemmings has struggled at right tackle, and veteran Phil Loadholt could be a candidate for release or a restructured contract after his second season-ending injury in as many years. The Vikings will also cross their fingers that valuable center John Sullivan can return from two back surgeries at age 31. -- Ben Goessling

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons: Pressure the quarterback more consistently. Despite the addition of rookie pass-rusher Vic Beasley, the first-round draft pick from Clemson, the Falcons are last in the league with 19 sacks. Oakland's Khalil Mack, the NFL's leading sack man, has 15 sacks by himself this season. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers: Dab on. The Panthers seemingly lost some of their swagger, particularly in the secondary, in suffering their first loss of the season at Atlanta on Sunday. They got to 14-0 by being themselves despite the outside noise that sometimes seemed offended by the dabbin' and dancing and picture-taking on the sideline before the game was over. They'll need that swagger in the playoffs if they hope to reach their ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints: The Saints need to start hitting on their free-agent signings and draft choices again. They've had a bad run lately, which is a big reason why they're about to wrap up their second straight losing season. This year's two big free-agent signings -- CB Brandon Browner and RB C.J. Spiller -- haven't panned out. And last year's major splash, S Jairus Byrd, hasn't lived up to the lofty expectations yet, largely because of injury. Their 2015 draft class looks somewhat promising, but they have only one remaining active player from their entire 2014 class (Brandin Cooks). The Saints, especially, can't afford misses like that since they're slammed up so close to the salary cap. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Search far and wide to find a pass-rushing defensive end who can get 10 sacks in a season. That has been one of the Bucs' missing pieces for a while -- they haven't had one of those players since Simeon Rice put up 14 sacks back in 2005. -- Rick Brown

NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals: Keep on keepin' on in the pass game. As long as the Cardinals continue to reflect coach Bruce Arians' pass-happy mentality, they'll be in the hunt for a Super Bowl title. Arizona has thrown the third-most passes of 20 yards or longer and completed the second-most this season. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? -- Josh Weinfuss

St. Louis Rams: No matter where the Rams play their home games next year, their resolution should be to bolster their offense to something closer to league average, while maintaining enough of their key defensive free agents to keep that unit productive. The Rams haven't been the postseason since after the 2004 season or had a winning record since 2003. And fielding a more productive offense would certainly help make both of those things happen. -- Nick Wagoner

San Francisco 49ers: The Niners' New Year's resolution should be to take CEO Jed York's advice from last January and really hold themselves accountable. Because, yes, Jim Tomsula has looked in over his head at times as a first-year NFL head coach. But he was hired to be a mentor and leader, not an X's and O's guy. The dearth of talent on this roster lies at the feet of GM Trent Baalke -- and, by proxy, York. It's all about accountability and results. -- Paul Gutierrez

Seattle Seahawks: This team is set up to compete again in 2016, but firming up the offensive line should be the No. 1 priority in the offseason. This group has shown a lot of improvement since the beginning of the year, but adding talent and depth needs to be a focus, especially given how well Russell Wilson has played when he's had a clean pocket. -- Sheil Kapadia