The NFL officially returns on Thursday, and Shutdown Corner is rolling out the red carpet, previewing everything to come for the 2013 season. We’ll finish it off by picking our individual awards and the Super Bowl winner on Thursday before the Ravens and Broncos kick off the season.
There is nothing like a good ol’ NFL controversy to get a fan base riled up, media members excited, and turn a normal occurrence into an after-school fight with everyone watching. All you need is Jim Harbaugh to slap Jim Schwartz on the back after a win, and the chaos will ensue.
[Slideshow: Top 10 NFL controversies entering the 2013 season]
Schwartz and Harbaugh might be old news, but there are plenty of controversies brewing as the season approaches. Here are the top 10 storms to keep an eye on in 2013:
1. Pete Carroll vs. Jim Harbaugh
Carroll and Harbaugh have been going back-and-forth since both were college coaches. After the sixth Seahawks player since 2010 was suspended because of Adderall, Harbaugh tweaked Carroll this offseason, and the Seahawks coach probably has not forgotten.
2. Mark Sanchez vs. Geno Smith
This is the battle to determine who will be Rex Ryan's last quarterback in New York before he is axed. New York’s next coach will sort out this mess in 2014.
3. NFL defensive players vs. Roger Goodell
Defensive players believe they are getting picked on by the league office for doing their jobs. The definition of a "legal hit" will incur more scrutiny if a superstar goes down this year.
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Two years ago, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh stomped Green Bay’s Evan Dietrich-Smith on Thanksgiving. He was fined $30,000 by the NFL for kicking Houston quarterback Matt Schaub last Turkey Day. Who will he attack this year?
5. The RG3 knee
There was a lot made of Redskins coach Mike Shanahan’s decision to let Robert Griffin III play while hurt last year. There might be another controversy if Griffin injures that knee again this season.
6. Michael Vick vs. Nick Foles
Vick was named the starting quarterback, but that does not mean he should should not be looking over his shoulder, especially if his annual injury occurs again.
7. Freeman’s sinking ship
Josh Freeman predicted he would be better than Stafford and Sanchez after the 2009 draft, but rookie Mike Glennon is only a few interceptions away from being under center. It is do-or-die for Freeman.
8. Calling the shots in Dallas
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett had his play calling duties ripped from him and handed to Bill Callahan by Jerry Jones this offseason. What else will Callahan receive if Garrett struggles?
9. Kicking it in Green Bay
The Packers had three kickers on their roster heading into the preseason finale. Mason Crosby won the competition, but might be one missed kick away from being unemployed.
10. Not so Schaub
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub has been solid, but his team is Super Bowl ready. Schaub must perform better in the playoffs before Houston regrets that four-year contract extension.
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