With his new show debuting on TalkSPORT2 over 2 weeks ago, we catch up with Nat Coombs to talk about the latest in NFL action including his thoughts on which teams have made the best moves this offseason, Johnny Manziel’s antics, and what he thinks on the NFL bringing a franchise to the UK.
1) We’ve seen some interesting movements so far during the off-season and we’re just a matter of weeks away from the Draft. Is there a team so far you feel is really standing out with their changes? Is there a team you feel should be concerned down to their lack of movements?
I love what the Raiders have done, and it’s great to see them as a viable destination for top drawer players. I think they’re going to really contend next season, despite the toughness of that division. The Giants have flashed the cash but sensibly I feel – that offense is so good that getting the D up to even half way decent means they’ll be in the mix for sure. Dolphins have gone for boom or bust. I have a bad feeling it’ll be the latter!
2) Some major stars of our game retired this off-season, Peyton Manning, Calvin Johnson, Marshawn Lynch. Do you think ‘now’ was the right time for them to hang up their boots? Do you think this will make an impact on their team’s performance this coming season?
Probably in each case, yes, though Johnson is perhaps the hardest one to understand of the 3. Manning definitely had to go when he did – it would have been painful next season if he’d soldiered on. Lynch – you can understand given his position, but better to quite whilst you’re ahead I guess, which is what they all essential have done. In each case it will make a difference – possibly the Seahawks least, though that depends on who starts for Denver Week 1.
3) Johnny Manziel was highly acclaimed but his off-field antics have become what he is known for, do you think another team is willing to give him a chance? Can he be tamed?
I doubt it – he’s clearly got so many issues – and its unlikely to take so much time off and come back as a starting QB when he’s never really had proper (NFL) schooling. Plus the kind of player he is – we’re still not sure if at his best, most concentrated – he’s an NFL style QB. So sadly, I reckon he’s another cautionary tale, but I hope he proves me wrong.
4) The spat between Odell Beckham Jnr and Josh Norman has continued off field on to Twitter. What are your thoughts on this?
The cynic in me smells a rat – social media is the new publicity playground and fuels traditional media. I spoke about it on my radio show, lots of people are writing about it. It’s rather like boxing hype I think – manufactured.
5) It’s a big moment for NFL in the UK, there is a lot of talk about a franchise moving here but there’s a lot of work needed to make it a success. What do you think they need to do here to make it work?
So many challenges – but that doesn’t make it impossible. The legal side of it is the most problematic – and of course will be affected if Britain leaves the EU. Also, will it be a relocation or an expansion franchise? If the latter, unlikely to be any good for a few years – will that affect the interest? Watching a 3-13 team? The idea of say 5-6 regular season games in London – and hopefully further afield than that – guaranteed for years is as appealing as a franchise to most I think.
6) How did you get in to NFL? Who is your team? Besides your own, is there another team you’re excited to see this coming season?
As a kid, like many of my generation, watching C4. I was the kid at school that had First Down while everyone else was reading shoot. I was such a geek – I used to arrange games at break, play QB and keep a record of my attempts & completion and number of TD’s! I’m a Dolphins fan – which means years of pain! My other sporting teams are West Ham and the Chicago Cubs so they’re in good company! Looking forward to all the games really – but be good to watch the Bengals up close. Love AJ Green.
You can tune in to the TalkSPORT2 All American Sports Show every Tuesday, 6-8pm. Listeners can get in touch with the show and interact live via @natcoombs and by using #TS2AllAmerican. The show will also be available each week as a podcast to download here. Check it out!