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Old 10-02-2012, 11:37 AM    (permalink
bigbluedefense
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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

Sanchez.

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.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:43 AM    (permalink
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My first qtr thoughts? The decrease in the term "Bottom feeders". The league has become more competitive. There's not many teams that are awful. Only the raiders and chiefs maybe come to mind?
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:50 AM    (permalink
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My first qtr thoughts? The decrease in the term "Bottom feeders". The league has become more competitive. There's not many teams that are awful. Only the raiders and chiefs maybe come to mind?
The Jets are terrible. Flying under the radar as a terrible team, but they suck.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:53 AM    (permalink
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Browns suck to and the Jags aren't much better. There's enough god awful teams right now.
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Is Shaun Hill a top 10 QB? Definitely not. Is he a top 20 one? Almost certainly.
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Most misleading 10+ sack season EVER.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:54 AM    (permalink
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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.

.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:02 PM    (permalink
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People don't understand how much actually goes into a playcall. That's all I'll say about that.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:03 PM    (permalink
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I agree with most of what you say, especially the scapegoat stuff, but there is always exceptions to the rule. You could tell Sanchez didn't have "it" wherether it was Schotty or someone else coaching him. I honestly believe Mularkey was holding Matt Ryan back and am happy to see a guy like Dirk Koetter open things up. Finally having a screen game seems like no deal, but it's huge.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:04 PM    (permalink
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People don't understand how much actually goes into a playcall. That's all I'll say about that.
And when the play is called. Is it the script? Did they notice a trend? Did they save this play bc they've been setting it up throughout the game? Did they crunch the numbers and see this play call in this formation vs this defense has this % success rate?

There is a **** ton that goes into playcalling. Quite frankly, the scheme isn't nearly as important as the OC's ability to execute situational playcalling.

The game is a chess match, both the offense and defense are playing chess out there and often you do something just to see the reaction. It's like poker.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:06 PM    (permalink
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I agree with most of what you say, especially the scapegoat stuff, but there is always exceptions to the rule. You could tell Sanchez didn't have "it" wherether it was Schotty or someone else coaching him. I honestly believe Mularkey was holding Matt Ryan back and am happy to see a guy like Dirk Koetter open things up. Finally having a screen game seems like no deal, but it's huge.
I agree, but to be fair, Mularkey has done a great job in Jacksonville too. His style is different, but effective.

For him to make Blaine Gabbert look remotely competent is enough for him to win me over.

Speaking of which, I forgot to mention that. The growth of Blaine Gabbert this season can't be understated. And Mularkey is largely responsible for that.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:06 PM    (permalink
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And when the play is called. Is it the script? Did they notice a trend? Did they save this play bc they've been setting it up throughout the game? Did they crunch the numbers and see this play call in this formation vs this defense has this % success rate?

There is a **** ton that goes into playcalling. Quite frankly, the scheme isn't nearly as important as the OC's ability to execute situational playcalling.

The game is a chess match, both the offense and defense are playing chess out there and often you do something just to see the reaction. It's like poker.
From my experience only the first drive is run on a script. From there you're reading what the defense is doing and calling your plays accordingly.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:10 PM    (permalink
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From my experience only the first drive is run on a script. From there you're reading what the defense is doing and calling your plays accordingly.
Depends on the coach. Some teams go on script for 3 drives, some do it for the entire first half if it's successful.

It's not black and white.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:11 PM    (permalink
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I can't argue with what you said about RAC.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:18 PM    (permalink
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I agree with most of your points. I think it's more of a balance though. OC's can have a big impact on the game. Sure, they need good players, but we've seen great OC's do a lot with very little. Same with DC's.

Cromartie is a top 5 CB? I don't agree with that at all. He can be very inconsistent at times. I haven't seen him play this year, but just based off the past he's been very inconsistent.

One thing I've coming to learn is you can't teach motor for defensive linemen. A great motor and great work ethic for D-Linemen is extremely underrated. Clearly it's important to be athletic, but even guys with average athleticism and size can be good defensive linemen. JPP is so special because he has freakish athleticism and he NEVER stops going on a play.

Same with guys like Watt too.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:26 PM    (permalink
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Yea idk where Cro being top5 is coming from.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:28 PM    (permalink
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I agree with most of your points. I think it's more of a balance though. OC's can have a big impact on the game. Sure, they need good players, but we've seen great OC's do a lot with very little. Same with DC's.

Cromartie is a top 5 CB? I don't agree with that at all. He can be very inconsistent at times. I haven't seen him play this year, but just based off the past he's been very inconsistent.

One thing I've coming to learn is you can't teach motor for defensive linemen. A great motor and great work ethic for D-Linemen is extremely underrated. Clearly it's important to be athletic, but even guys with average athleticism and size can be good defensive linemen. JPP is so special because he has freakish athleticism and he NEVER stops going on a play.

Same with guys like Watt too.
Just like any profession, there are some OCs that are better than others and can do more with less. I'm not saying that doesn't happen.

But the bottomline with offense is this: If you don't have a good qb, it doesn't matter who your OC is. You'll be limited as an offense.

It really all comes down to the quarterback. It's a quarterback league, without one, even the best OCs in the world will look mediocre.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:33 PM    (permalink
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Name 5 better than Cro right here right now.

Revis
Haden
Joseph
Webb
Sherman

So 6 on my list. Dont tell me Flowers, Peterson, Rogers, or Carr is better. Bc that's ********.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:39 PM    (permalink
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I'd take Flowers and maybe even Rogers over Cro. You're really overrating him BBD.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:41 PM    (permalink
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Flowers has sucked this year based on 2-3 bad plays but other than that he has been lock down.

I would take Tim Jennings right now over Cro. Cro is in the 5-72 range. I am tempted to put Peterson ahead of him. Tempted.
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i mean, why wouldn't the broncos take cam newton? they can play him at quarterback WITH tebow!

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Old 10-02-2012, 12:43 PM    (permalink
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Flowers is one of the most overrated players on this forum. Wake me up when he's not getting beat every week.

Cro's perception is inaccurate bc we remember SD Cro, and we remember him more for being an idiot with a ton of kids than a good football player.

But the man can ball. Watch him play for the Jets the past 2 years. Watch the scheme and see what's asked of him routinely. The guy is a top tier CB.

And he doesn't have a SF front 7 in front of him.

It's too early to put Peterson ahead of him. He doesn't have enough warts yet. He'll get there, just not yet.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:44 PM    (permalink
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I don't know. I've seen Cro make a ton of mistakes and he's been fairly inconsistent. I'm just not a fan to be honest.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:46 PM    (permalink
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The 5 worst and best teams per Point Differential (Points scored-Points allowed) are...

Best

1- Texans, +70
2- Falcons, +48
3- Patriots, +42
4- Bears, +40
5- 49ers, +39

Worst

1- Titans, -70
2- Raiders, -58
3- Chiefs,-48
4- Jaguars, -35
5- Panthers , -29

Notice how 3 of the top 5 teams are in the NFC, while 4 of the 5 worst teams are in the AFC. Also note how 2 of the worst teams are in the AFC South, with the Colts not far behind (-22), yet the Texans are clearly the top team in the league.

And only 1 team with a winning record has a negative point differential...the Eagles, at -17.

Just thought i'd share, if anyone is interested. I like this stat a lot.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:49 PM    (permalink
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Flowers is one of the most overrated players on this forum. Wake me up when he's not getting beat every week.

Cro's perception is inaccurate bc we remember SD Cro, and we remember him more for being an idiot with a ton of kids than a good football player.

But the man can ball. Watch him play for the Jets the past 2 years. Watch the scheme and see what's asked of him routinely. The guy is a top tier CB.

And he doesn't have a SF front 7 in front of him.

It's too early to put Peterson ahead of him. He doesn't have enough warts yet. He'll get there, just not yet.
lol. The entire defense is playing like crap right now, but you're MASSIVELY overvaluing Cro. He is just not that good. Saying he's top 5 is laughable.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:51 PM    (permalink
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Cromartie got burned by Chad Ochojohnson last year. That's my arguement!

When he plays well he is a top 5 CB but he has way too many lapses in concentration and trusts his athleticism more than he should
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:55 PM    (permalink
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Flowers is one of the most overrated players on this forum. Wake me up when he's not getting beat every week.

Cro's perception is inaccurate bc we remember SD Cro, and we remember him more for being an idiot with a ton of kids than a good football player.

But the man can ball. Watch him play for the Jets the past 2 years. Watch the scheme and see what's asked of him routinely. The guy is a top tier CB.

And he doesn't have a SF front 7 in front of him.

It's too early to put Peterson ahead of him. He doesn't have enough warts yet. He'll get there, just not yet.
Wake me up when Cro plays with anything that resembles a bit of consistency.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:02 PM    (permalink
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And when the play is called. Is it the script? Did they notice a trend? Did they save this play bc they've been setting it up throughout the game? Did they crunch the numbers and see this play call in this formation vs this defense has this % success rate?

There is a **** ton that goes into playcalling. Quite frankly, the scheme isn't nearly as important as the OC's ability to execute situational playcalling.

The game is a chess match, both the offense and defense are playing chess out there and often you do something just to see the reaction. It's like poker.
I've actually read somewhere about the poker and chess comparisons, and this is how it was explained:

In chess, you still have total control of your pieces. You want to move your Queen, you put her in the spot you want. In football, coaches are in control of decisions, but not execution. You have no control over how tired your left guard is, which causes him to blow a block he'd normally make, or get called for holding. That's how it's more like poker - you can number crunch to put yourself in a situation to make the best possible MOVE, but you still really don't have control over what cards come out.

Not to say coaches should be absolved of all blame for everything. The focus on those criticisms should come focused around organization and ability to adjust than raw, on-the-field execution so to speak.

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