15 Biggest Lessons We Learned From the 2013 NFL Season

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15 Biggest Lessons We Learned From the 2013 NFL Season

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately, the 2013 NFL regular season is over. It seemed like just yesterday that it was kickoff weekend. The good news is the 2014 NFL playoffs are set to begin, which is always very exciting. However, before everyone’s attention gets turned towards the Wild Card playoff round this weekend, it is important to reflect on the past season and acknowledge the biggest lessons we learned.

There was so much that happened through the course of the season. Several teams that made noise in the playoffs last year weren’t even a factor this time around. In fact, the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans finishing 4-12 and 2-14 respectively is certainly quite shocking. Nobody could have foreseen that coming, including the coaches and players on both teams.

"It's disappointing to have our team playing the way we've been playing," Falcons head coach Mike Smith said, according to "I really believe each year in the NFL, the dynamics change, and there's always a different feel to it than the previous year. But yeah, this has been (surprising). We've got to keep fighting through, just like any other season."

There were numerous occurrences throughout the season that will help executives, coaches and players improve next season. Hopefully, the people that made mistakes will be able to learn from them.

Make sure to click through the slideshow to see the 15 biggest lessons we learned from the 2013 NFL regular season. Also, make sure to comment below about any lessons you personally learned. Along with that, comment about what lesson you think was the most important.

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15. 49ers Could Regret Letting Alex Smith Go

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It’s certainly not a knock on Colin Kaepernick, but the San Francisco 49ers could regret trading quarterback Alex Smith. Smith is an incredibly efficient quarterback who rarely makes mistakes. Sure, he’s not going to light up the scoreboard, but he does enough to give his team a chance to win. Personally, I’m still not sold on Kaepernick and I wonder if the 49ers made the right choice to let Smith go.

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14. Michael Vick’s Time in Philadelphia is Over

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Vick is set to become a free agent when the season concludes, which means his time in Philadelphia is over thanks to the emergence of Nick Foles. Even though Vick would like to remain Foles’ back next season, I can’t imagine the Philadelphia Eagles would be willing to pay him a decent amount of money to do so.

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13. Offense Continues to Prevail

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It’s becoming more and more clear as the seasons go on that the NFL is a full-blown offensive league. The teams with the top ranked offenses also just so happen to have a defense that can’t compete at the same level. However, these teams also are able to win consistently, which proves having a far better offensive team is better than a solid defensive squad.

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12. Several Teams Must Win in 2014 or Face Major Consequences

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The Falcons, New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys are just a few examples of teams that must reach the postseason in 2014. If they don’t, there will be some major consequences in which the coaching staffs will be fired. Several coaches caught a break this time around, but owners will not be as lenient next season.

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11. Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers Will be Good for a Long Time

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The Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers have put together a roster that ensures success for a long time. More importantly, both teams have a top-notch quarterback who is really coming into to his own. Along with that, each team has talented playmakers at numerous positions, as well as, the two top ranked defenses in the league.

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10. It’s Incredibly Difficult to Transition Winning from Season to Season

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons and Texans are prime examples of how difficult it is to transition one winning season into another. One has to wonder which team that had success this season will be on the hot seat a year from now.

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9. Robert Griffin III May Not be the Real Deal

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

There was so much hype surrounding Robert Griffin III a year ago. The Offensive Rookie of the Year gave the people of Washington hope. Now, there are numerous questions surrounding his ability to stay healthy and if he has what it takes to lead the team to the promise land. On top of that, he threw his head coach and offensive coordinator under the bus in the media, which is never a good sign from a team leader. The reality just might be that RGIII is simply not the real deal.

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8. Andy Reid is a Far Better Coach Than Any of Us Anticipated

Stan Liu-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Reid had more than enough success with the Eagles for many years. However, nobody expected him to take a Kansas City Chiefs team with a 2-14 record and turn them into the talk of the town the very next season. The Chiefs have an outstanding running game, efficient quarterback and a terrifying defense. There’s no question Reid deserves a majority of the credit for the quick turnaround.

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7. Chicago Bears Must Re-Sign Both Jay Cutler and Josh McCown

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The Chicago Bears have a big issue facing them in the offseason in which they must decide what to do with Jay Cutler. I would be shocked if the Bears didn’t re-sign the signal caller. Along with that, I would be very surprised if they didn’t bring back Josh McCown as well. Cutler might be considered the better of the two quarterbacks, however, McCown proved that he might be the better option more times than not. Not to mention, Cutler is injury prone.

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6. Chip Kelly’s Offense is a Major Success

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

People went back and forth throughout the season on whether Chip Kelly's offense was the real deal. At this point, there’s no doubt in my mind it was a major success. Philadelphia’s offensive statistics increased in every facet of the game, which is a direct result of Kelly’s scheme. The Eagles average 27.6 points and 417.2 yards per game in 2013 compared to 17.5 points and 354.1 yards in 2012. Also, they had 32 touchdowns this season compared to just 18 last year.

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5. NFL Has Proven to be a What Have You Done for Me Lately League

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

With head coach Gary Kubiak getting fired one year after leading the Texans to their best season in franchise history, it’s clear that the NFL is most definitely a what have you done for me lately league. There are several coaches that will be on the hot seat heading into next season, which means owners will be looking solely at what the coaches accomplish in 2014 and nothing more.

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4. Russell Wilson is Best QB to Come Out of 2012 Draft Class

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Russell Wilson may have been taken in the third round but it is becoming perfectly clear that he’s the best quarterback to come out of the 2012 draft class. Wilson has lost just one game at home in his career, and he’s accomplishing things no other signal caller has in his first two years in the NFL. In fact, his 24 wins over the past two years is the most by a quarterback in his first two NFL seasons. The Seahawks are primed for a deep playoff run mostly because of his play at the quarterback position.

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3. Tom Brady Really is That Good

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The New England Patriots removed some of Tom Brady’s weapons, not to mention the injuries to Rob Gronkowski. However, Brady still has the Patriots in the second seed in the AFC after another successful season from the quarterback. He made players who were relatively unknown prior to the start of the season into household names in the New England area. Peyton Manning has had a lot of success because of the incredible amount of talent around him. Brady has done the same thing with far less talent.

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2. Aaron Rodgers is Worth Every Penny

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers became the richest player in NFL history when he signed a contract extension prior to the start of the season. No one thought twice about it as Rodgers is one of the best players in the league. However, it became perfectly clear that he is worth every penny after the Green Bay Packers almost saw their season go under with him sidelined for seven weeks with a fractured collarbone. In his return, he led the Packers to victory over the Bears in the NFC North title game.

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1. Peyton Manning Might be Best QB Ever

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Manning broke numerous NFL records in 2013, including single-season touchdowns and passing yards. Considering he’s accomplishing these amazing feats at the age of 37 years old, it’s not outside the realm of reality to state Manning just might be the best quarterback ever. If he can win another Super Bowl this season, the chatter will certainly increase.