By HCR Staff | Sept. 23, 2019
Here are some observations of head coaches from around the NFL prior to HCR’s Week 3 rankings:
- The Buffalo Bills are learning how to win. It doesn’t matter what sport you play, learning how to win and close them out is an art. The Bills jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but like many young teams, lost concentration in the middle of the game, and eventually trailed. They fought back and the strength of their team, their defense, closed out the win with an interception. It’ll be ugly at times, but 3-0 looks pretty good right now as they grow and get better.
- Rookie of the Year candidate…Minnesota Vikings center Garrett Bradbury? Vikings RB Dalvin Cook is back fully healthy and terrorizing defenses, but we attribute the resurgence of the Vikings power run game to rookie center Garrett Bradbury. He looks to be a 10-year mainstay as he brings an explosive athleticism to the position that is rare.
- John Harbaugh and the 2-point tries. John Harbaugh is one of the best head coaches in the NFL but we aren’t buying his abdication of extra point tries to “analytics.” If he simply kicked all of the points, his team would have only trailed by a field goal down the stretch. That is a lot different psychologically than a touchdown.
- Freddie Kitchens is not a head coach…yet. We don’t have anything against Freddie, but he’s just raw as a head coach. Being a head coach AND a play caller at the same time simply is beyond his capabilities right now. The end-of-the-game sequence last night against the Rams confirmed that. Freddie would be better served right now if he gave up the playcalling duties, and that may help ease his transition into the head coach role.
- Denver Broncos also suffer from coaching inexperience. The Broncos gave a great effort at Green Bay yesterday, but they simply aren’t polished enough to win at the moment, and that reflects on the coaching staff. The Broncos are suffering concentration lapses in key moments and performance in those moments is taught and coached. Vic Fangio, everyone agrees, was a fantastic coordinator. Offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello was a solid quarterbacks coach, but he’s never called plays under pressure as a coordinator. All of this inexperience shows up with the Broncos – in every key moment this season thus far, they have failed to execute. Just look at Fangio’s body language – ever see Bill Walsh or Bill Belichick look like that? The answer is no, because they’re not hoping for execution since they’ve prepared for these situations. Fangio might get better, but we’ve also seen this movie before. Joe Bugel, Dick LeBeau, Dave McGinnis, Dave Wannstedt, and countless others were all highly regarded assistants. But leading as a head coach is a completely different role.
- The Detroit Lions are being reshaped. Lions GM Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia are following the Patriot formula, and we see it working. They want smart, tough players, irrespective of any perceived pedigree and it now is paying dividends. Yes, the Lions blew a first game lead at Arizona, but now they’ve had two gritty wins and we see the confidence growing. Patricia is a very bright guy, and he puts a lot of effort into game planning — every game has a specific theme. It may not work every time, but the game planning is reminiscent of his Patriots tenure.
- Athleticism matters. Giants QB Daniel Jones showed what can happen when some athleticism is injected into the situation. Yes, Eli Manning is smart, but could he do what Jones did? No. Can Jones become as football-smart as Eli? Absolutely.
- Prediction: Los Angeles Rams incorporate a fullback. Teams are catching up to the Rams’ offense, but Sean McVay is far too bright and innovative to stand pat. This is pure speculation, but we think McVay will begin introducing i-formation looks into his offense. This could be a giant whiff on our part, but we’ll see.
- Dak playing for Dak…and Brian Flores growth. It appeared Dak Prescott played selfishly yesterday. He knew he was playing an inferior opponent, and he was playing as if he wanted to show off his own skill set. By doing so, he actually kept the Miami Dolphins in the game far longer than necessary. As for the Dolphins, we liked what we saw – a team playing with fight and according to a game plan. We saw growth from QB Josh Rosen as well. If he can somehow ever get to a situation that is stable with experienced offensive coaches, we believe he can be a solid NFL starter.