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Old 10-02-2012, 12:37 PM    (permalink
Tom Haverford
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Default Quarter Season Thoughts

As usual, bulletin format, random thoughts.

-We hear it all the time from fans. This past year we made a big deal about offensive coordinators. The offensive coordinator is always the first guy we blame. We're all guilty of it too, myself included. But we paint a terribly inaccurate picture of offensive coordinators on this website.

It's easy for us to second guess, not knowing half the information they have, not understanding the complexity of the playbook, or knowing what happens after the fact. It's really because we're the Madden generation, we're a bunch of armchair coordinators ourselves.

But the truth is, we really don't know what we're talking about half the time. Now don't get me wrong, you have every right to criticize a coordinator, they're not perfect, but I think we take it a little overboard here. Let's look at some examples:

Cam Cameron:

We heard it all. Cam doesn't run Rice enough? Cam doesn't run the ball enough? The truth? The Ravens ran more than 29 teams in the league, Ray Rice had 291 carries, and that doesn't even include passes, so Rice saw plenty of action.

Cam Cameron's offense is "archaic". So? Being complex doesn't necessarily make an offense better. In fact simplicity allows players to play faster (generally speaking) and you want your team to play as fast as possible.

Cam Cameron didn't have any WRs last year. He had 1 WR who just knew how to run streaks. What was he supposed to do? Bring the routes in? Ok sure, he can do that. It will work for 2 weeks. Then teams will play tighter and that's gone. So now what?

Players make plays. You'll hear me say that over and over and over again. That's what it comes down to. This year, Flacco has picked his game up, he has 2 WRs who can stretch the field, and look, just like magic the offense looks pretty darn good.

Still archaic. Still the same concepts. But magically better. Why? Because he has players now. Not as much as he'd like but still more than what he had last year.

The guy was considered a genius in SD. Then he goes to Baltimore and is a whipping boy. He didn't magically forget how to coordinate. He had Brees, Gates in his prime, and LT in his prime in SD. He had a developing Flacco, no WRs, and Rice in Baltimore. That's the difference.

Tampa Bay

I'll keep this one short. It's the OC, it's the OC, it's the OC. No. Freeman just sucks.

There are playmakers on that team. Freeman has a great OL. He just sucks.

Brian Schottenheimer


Steve Spagnuolo

Was a god for NY (come back Steve!) and sucks for NO. Why? He didn't forget how to dial up a blitz. It's just that having Strahan, Tuck in his prime, Osi in his prime, and a developing Kiwi is a lot better than Will Smith and a converted MIKE as your pass rushers.

See the trend? We want to always give our players the benefit of the doubt, we want to believe its something else. But really, it comes down to the players. No play was designed to NOT work. It's all about execution most of the time.

Now obviously that doesn't mean that OCs are completely free of blame. Adjustments, management of players and formations, situational playcalling etc all are not black and white, but let's not always blame the OC. I think that much should be clear by now.

-You know who else gets a bad rep around these parts? The offensive line. How many of you are satisfied with your OL? I bet maybe only 5 teams fanbases can say they like theirs. They're another scapegoat. When the qb does poorly, blame the OL, blame the OC. Those are the 2 easy targets.

We all have to remember that we're never going to see a stud OL like the 90s Cowboys anymore. It's just not gonna happen. We can't expect a picture perfect clean pocket the entire game, we can't expect running lanes to open up like the red sea every time. Some OLs are absolutely brutal, I won't sit here and say otherwise, but some are actually pretty decent and get ragged on too much.

And let's not forget, a great qb makes his OL look better. Pocket presence, mobility, ability to adjust protections, get the ball out faster etc, all helps the OL. If your qb sucks, typically the OL will look worse than it is too.

-Romeo Crennel. Remember when he tricked the Chiefs into thinking hes not a terrible HC? Good times.

-Nmandi Asomugha. Let's call it like it is. He's terribly overrated. The guy had so much buzz in Oakland that wasn't justified. He only played 1 side of the field, he only played press man. Many times teams just motioned their best WR away from him. He was not the 2nd best CB in the league. Never was.

Ever since he came to the NFC East he's been getting beat like a drum. On Sunday night, Dominique freaking Hixon beat him up and down the field. And in press coverage too. This guy isn't a top 10 CB let alone top 2.

And he isn't even young. He was a bad signing. I'm surprised Philly isn't killing him right now.

-Speaking of bad signings, it's time to call out Mario Williams. Ask yourself, what has Mario Williams really accomplished in his career? He had 1 pro bowl caliber year, that's it. He's never been a dominant sack machine. He's never been a game changer. So why pay this guy 90 million? Does Houston miss him? Does Buffalo look any better on defense with him? He got his contract bc of his potential. He's a genetic mutant, who quite frankly, if you pay close enough attention will notice he's an obvious roider, but I won't get into that. But after 5 years of mediocrity, teams should have been a little cautious. I'm not saying he won't pick it up and improve, but I don't think he's worth 90 million.

-You know who IS worth that much? DeMarcus Ware. We have the luxury of seeing one of the best pass rushers in NFL history in his prime. DeMarcus Ware will go down as a top 5 pass rusher in NFL history if he can stay healthy. He's that good. He's a complete player who is suffocating vs the run, great in coverage, and dominant as a pass rusher. He could very well take on Bruce Smith's sack total with how teams are passing nowadays. To me, the best pass rushers of all time were:

1. LT
2. Deacon Jones
3. Reggie White
4. Bruce Smith
5. Gino Marchetti

I think Ware will replace Gino on the list, and could potentially get as high as #3.

-I'm cautious about the Falcons. Yes, they are playing great ball right now, but they have some glaring issues that are hard to overlook. First and foremost, I understand they are on fire right now, but bear in mind, it was September. All the games are either warm, or in a dome. Dome teams are hard to predict in December and January.

Also, they lack pass rushers on the line. Come playoff time, it's very hard to beat your opposition who typically also has a top tier qb if you can't consistently get pressure with 4. You'll bump into a team eventually that will pick your defense apart.

And lastly, the run game. The Giants have proven last year that you don't need a run game anymore to win the SB, but it still can't hurt to have one. Those would be key issues I would look at moving forward with this team. They'll make the playoffs. Maybe even grab the 1 seed. But come playoff time, do they have enough to get it done? I don't know yet.

-Houston looks like the class of the AFC. They have it all. Their season will come down to Schaub. Can Schaub outclass the Bradys, Roethlisbergers, Mannings in the playoffs?

-Russell Wilson sucks. He's the Tim Tebow of the 2012/13 season. The blueprint to stop him was simple, have your DEs and blitzes burn the edges, and dare Wilson to step up in the pocket. He can't do it. Bc he's a midget.

He was a nice feel good story in the preseason, he has the right attitude and blah blah blah, but he has limitations, and I don't see him overcoming them.

Drew Brees's limitations aren't as noticeable bc of how the team is built. They emphasize stud interior OL play and 7 step drops so Brees can drop all the back, step up enough to have a lane, and make his throws. The Saints run basically 7 plays over and over again. They emphasize execution on those plays and that requires precision route running, precision accuracy, and great interior OL protection. The system was built around Brees.

Wilson doesn't have that. And he's just not good enough. Maybe he'll become a good quarterback one day, I don't know, but I'm not a believer. I hope he proves me wrong though.

-Tebow! Let's start him already! I want him to start soooo bad. Sorry Jets fans, I love ya, but you weren't going anywhere with Sanchez anyway, especially now that Revis is gone. Might as well enjoy the circus with the rest of us.

-Speaking of the Jets, Cromartie made a lot of headlines when he said he was the 2nd best CB in the league behind Revis. For the record, he's incorrect, but what's overlooked is the dude is still a stud. Top 5 CB in the league. He gets overlooked because of Revis, but he's an amazing press man CB. What Revis and Cro bring to the table for the Jets defense can't be overlooked. Now that Revis is gone Cro will get more attention, but I fully expect him to step up and be lights out. Not Revis good, but damn good in his own right.

During FA, the Jets pretty much "settled" for him after they couldn't get Nmandi. It turns out they made the right call. Both Cro and Joseph are better than Nmandi, and a lot cheaper too.

-I have a feeling that Luck/RGIII will play out similarly to Eli/Roethlisberger. One will start out hot while the other has growing pains, but eventually both will become studs. This isn't Manning/Leaf. Both of those guys are going to be special.

-So much was made in the offseason of the Saints being able to overcome not having a HC. It was all baloney. They're 0-4, and their season is done. Why?

Simple. When the boss is away, the workers will play. It's no different from you and me at work. When the boss is away, you get away with more. You do less. Ask yourself and be honest, which boss got the most out of you at work? Most of the time, it was the hardass you hated. Coaching is no different.

You think they give a **** about the interim coach? Would you bust your ass and try to get recognized by an interim boss that's not gonna do your midyear review and leave in a month?

Think about it. The dynamic is the same. They just happen to play football. You can't cut the head of an organization off and expect it to operate the same way. Just like how the corporate world has layers of management for a reason, teams have head coaches for a reason. Structure is needed for success.

This isn't madden. You don't just come into a game, call plays on offense, call plays on defense, and go home with the W.

-Brandon Merriweather sucks so bad he's hurting himself while in warmups. Maybe he's not a head hunter, maybe he's just blind.

That's all for now.

EDIT: Additional thoughts:

-I think the NFC West has 3 of the top 4 defenses in the NFL (Houston being the other team). SF has a killer front 7, Seattle has the best secondary in the NFL and easily the best safety duo in the league. They also have a unique front 7 that attacks gaps creatively. I love what Carrol does with that front. Arizona has a fast defense that can fly to the ball and a killer front. Acho is very underrated. This division is competitive and will be very good moving forward. They are no longer the doormat division of the NFC.

-Use Randy Moss more. The guy still has it. I know his route tree is limited at this age, but the guy can still ball. Just give him a chance to Moss some DBs.

-What Mularkey has done with Blaine Gabbert cannot be understated. And let's give some credit to Gabbert, he's not playing like a ***** anymore. And he's surprisingly, shown some late game moxy. Maybe he's salvageable after all. He's already exceeded my expectations from him.

-Watt. Beast.

-You can make a strong argument that AJ Green and Julio Jones are already the 2nd and 3rd best WRs in the league.

Last edited by bigbluedefense : 10-02-2012 at 01:17 PM.
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