By HCR Staff | September 28, 2020
Here’s our take on Week 3 results.
The Bills Are Coming On, But They Definitely Got Overconfident In their Win Over The Rams. One of the biggest challenges for any head coach is to maintain humility within his squad, especially if it’s a young one that knows it’s a contender – like the Bills. On Sunday, the Bills thoroughly dominated the Rams en route to a 28-3 lead. Bills players acted as if the Rams were dead and gone in this game, and quit paying attention. Well, the Rams had played badly early in the game – but it was a 1p ET start for a West Coast team on a 3,000-mile road trip. In short, it was 10a for the Rams at game time. So yes, there was some sleepwalking going on. When the Rams’ bodies were finally awake, they came roaring back and actually overtook the Bills at 32-28. If not for a questionable 4th down pass interference call against them, they win this game. We’re sure Bills head coach Sean McDermott is going to learn something about managing a game after watching his team’s collapse. Yes, the Bills are good, but they’re still maturing, which is a far cry from being dominant. And the Bills aren’t dominant – yet.
Dan Quinn Is A Good Coach, But He Clearly Needs Re-Training On How To Manage A Game. Dan Quinn’s Falcons don’t have a problem being a cohesive unit that plays with passion. We saw all of this on display yesterday as they thoroughly dominated the Bears through 3 quarters, even despite missing 4 defensive starters. So it’s pretty clear that Quinn can get a team ready to play. The problem is that Quinn doesn’t know how to get a team to close out a game. Eye test, analytics, use whatever you want – it’s a major problem, and owner Arthur Blank we’re sure is mindful of this. If there are simulators for quarterbacks to use when training, there should be simulators for head coaches to use to improve their judgment. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is not blame-less either; he simply has no feel for how to milk a clock and call effective plays at the same time. Luckily, for Quinn, no one is running away with the NFC South this year as it appears every team has its issues, so the season isn’t lost. But the Falcons’ next game (if Quinn makes it that far) will test his survival instincts.
Browns Rookie Head Coach Kevin Stefanski Has A Winning Record Thus Far, But He’s Still Very Green. The Browns won against the Football Team in a home game yesterday, and to our eyes, it was a function of their talent-edge instead of their coaching edge. Yesterday, that belonged to the Football Team’s Ron Rivera, who despite QB Dwayne Haskins’ struggles, managed to maintain the Football Team’s poise. This was a back and forth affair, which never should have been, but Stefanski thus far has shown us he doesn’t know how to manage two-score leads. Stefanski manages the game as if his Browns team is a poised and disciplined veteran unit; it isn’t. He has veterans, he has talent, but they’re far from poised, especially QB Baker Mayfield, who acts as if every opponent is a Division III school. The bottom line with the Browns is that they have perhaps the best 1-2 running duo in football in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Anytime the Browns have a two-score lead, we’d expect to see a lot of these two. But Stefanski always is tempted to see more of Mayfield. We get it – he needs to see if Mayfield can play at a consistently high level, but this interest in a single player is risking the rest of his team’s ability to win games. Stefanski unnecessarily put yesterday’s game at risk; if not for Haskins’ struggles, the Browns could still be looking at a losing record.
This Is Why Bill Belichick Is The Best – He Consistently Shows More Common Sense Than His Peers. Belichick knows the 2020 Patriots aren’t going to throw the ball well. QB Cam Newton just joined the team, so he’s had no time to learn his WRs, and in any event, the WR group isn’t of the highest quality. What Belichick does have is a great offensive line, a deep running back group, and a couple of battleship size TEs. So Belichick smartly says to himself, we’ll run the ball, and we’ll do it more effectively than any other team in the league. Belichick also knows that an effective running game punishes opponents psychologically…which he loves. Trickery isn’t an indicator of a good head coach for us, common sense is, and Belichick has more of it than any other head coach in the league.
Zac Taylor’s Bengals Earned A Tie Against The Eagles, But He’s Got To Learn To Protect Joe Burrow From Himself. The 2020 Bengals will not go far this year. They can play hard, but they will not go far. They simply don’t have enough talent or experience yet, from the head coach on down. But what they do have is a rookie QB who is incredibly promising…for the future. But that future will never arrive if he keeps taking a beating like he did yesterday. Joe Burrow is going to play hard, and he’s going to think he can make every play. This is what young QBs do – they play for that particular play, damn the future. Zac Taylor has to keep this in mind, and he’s got to help Burrow preserve his health. The Bengals’ play calling reflects a veteran team, with 3 Pro Bowlers on the offensive line…which isn’t the Bengals’ reality.
Panthers Head Coach Matt Rhule Is The Most Promising First Year Head Coach – By Far. We said last week in this space that we really like what we see from Rhule. Heads turned when rookie Panthers owner David Tepper gave Rhule a long term, $8-million-dollar annual salary, but turns out he knew what he was doing. Rhule’s prior head coaching experience shows; his team plays a very disciplined game and he manages it that way too. He’s far more ‘by the book’ than the new breed of 30-year-old ‘offensive geniuses’ – he’s much more traditional in his approach. He wants to be good at the fundamentals, and he’s not going to ask his players to do something they can’t do. We like what we see from Rhule.