By HCR Staff | September 14, 2020
Sometimes the blind squirrel does, indeed, find the nut. And in this metaphor, we’re considering ourselves the squirrel.
This is what we wrote on August 27 about how the ‘experts’ forecast the season:
“At least that’s the conventional wisdom. And why not? The Chiefs appear loaded, they’ve gotten their best players under long term contracts, and they had another speed-laden draft. On the other hand, the Jaguars look like a mess. They’re unproven at the QB position, they’ve unloaded a lot of talent on defense, and their division opponents all appear on the rise.
But we’re not so sure how Vegas sees it today is how it’s going to play out. Our instinct is that COVID is the most formidable opponent all 32 NFL head coaches have ever seen, and we’re pretty sure that not all 32 are going to respond with poise and good Plan B’s and C’s.
If we’re right, every traditional metric you might be using to assess the upcoming season may be irrelevant, and worse, completely useless.”
At least for Week 1, our August 27 take has traction. We saw the plucky Jaguars take down a more talented and experienced Colts team. The Eagles had an epic collapse against the Football Team. The Arizona Cardinals are tied for first place in the NFC West, and the Bengals franchise may have a pulse with home state QB Joe Burrow. We’ve got volatility in our social life here in America, and now we’ve got volatility in America’s game. All of this adds up to great fun – which we sorely need.
So before getting to some of our coaching observations about yesterday’s games, let’s wish all the players, coaches and staffers well with their upcoming COVID tests. We hope the fun can continue to Week 2.
Head Coaches: If You’re Trailing In The First Half, Beware The 50+ Yard FG Attempt. Being the visiting team, obviously, is hard, and there’s no need for head coaches to make it even harder. However, we see far too often head coaches causing their own pain.
In Thursday’s opener, Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien’s team trailed only 14-7 near the end of the first half; basically, they were well into this game. With 30 seconds left, O’Brien faced a critical decision: attempt a 51- yard FG with kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn, punt from the Chiefs’ 33 yard line, or attempt a 4th and 10. A missed FG attempt would give the Chiefs and QB Patrick Mahomes a 1st and 10 at the KC 41, i.e, tremendous field position for a quick strike team with a good kicker. As we watched this play out, we considered 3 important variables: i) Fairbairn is a very average kicker; ii) Arrowhead is a tough environment for kickers; and iii) if the Texans run a play and pick up even 5 yards (a good probability especially since the Chiefs probably would have protected the sticks out 10 yards), some time would come off the clock, and the Chiefs would have a 1st and 10 on their own 28 – i.e., deeper into their own end. We concluded that running a 4th and 10 play was the wisest play – it gave the Texans a good