By HCR Staff | December 21, 2020
Only two more weeks to go in the NFL regular season, and as we always do this year, thank you to all the players, coaches and staffers who’ve given their all in providing us much needed entertainment.
Let’s get to it.
Andy Reid Has Always Had His Game Management Struggles, But He’s Unsurpassed As A Leader. The Kansas City Chiefs have moved to 13-1, and to our eyes, look like the NFL’s best team. Surprisingly, the Chiefs aren’t blowing people out – they’ve won their last six games by a combined 24 points. And from time to time, Reid still has his game management struggles.
But this is the difference with Reid – he’s the NFL’s best program builder and arguably it’s best leader. And because of that talent, he’s infused the Chiefs with supreme confidence and poise. That’s the mark of a great leader.
Reid’s created long term success at two different NFL franchises, and both times, while under the NFL’s modern salary cap and scheduling rules. No other current head coach has done that to a degree similar to Reid.
Reid also has a unique communication style that endears him to players and coaches. His talent at communication allows him to be tough and supportive at the same time.
On top of this, it’s well known that Reid is an incredibly bright person. He knows a lot about a lot – outside of football. This intellect also helps his communication.
The Chiefs had a tough fight against the Saints yesterday, and down the stretch, the victory was won with their poise. And that’s brought by their head coach – the best leader in the game at the moment.
Sean McVay And The Occasional Flat Game. We love watching Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay coach because we know he puts his all into it, and his ‘all’ consists of intellect, drive and discipline. But if there’s one blind spot with McVay, it’s that occasional – and weird – super flat game.
Yesterday, the Rams lost to the winless New York Jets in an uninspired performance. It was a stark departure from their inspired road win against Tampa Bay just a few weeks earlier.
So what’s the problem with McVay?
If there is one thing we’d nitpick, it’s that McVay can be a bit slow to make adjustments during a game. Now, this could be due to a variety of factors, but whatever it is, it keeps showing up from time to time.
McVay’s talent always will make the Rams a contender. However, something keeps holding the Rams back from being an elite squad, and we think it has to do with in-game adjustments. It just seems to us that when Rams opponents hit them with an unexpected twist early, McVay is just a tad slow with the counter.
Bruce Arians’ Bucs Have The Talent, But Not the Coaching. Bucs General Manager Jason Licht has put together enough talent to seriously contend for a Super Bowl. But what is holding back the Bucs is the coaching staff.
The Bucs have largely struggled on offense all season. Whatever output they’ve had, has largely been due to the veteran talent that’s been assembled.
The issue on offense is the scheme – it’s not what one that stresses defenses. There’s essentially no-motion, no bunch formations, no rub routes, and their pass protection schemes are questionable. In its simplest form, the scheme can be boiled down to “just go out and beat your man.”
If you really want to see how bad it is, sign up for NFL GamePass, put on the coaching tape, and watch the Bucs’ games against the Saints and Rams. Neither team did anything exotic; they simply let the Bucs do their vanilla thing, and ultimately force it.
Now can the Bucs go far in the playoffs? Provided they get in, yes. But it’s going to take supreme individual football efforts by the players. The scheme isn’t an advantage as it is in other places (e.g., 49ers).
Bill Belichick Is Out Of The Playoffs, But Bill The Head Coach Is As Good As Ever. There’s been a lot of criticism aimed at Belichick’s way regarding his General Manager skills, and we agree, much of it is deserved. It’s clear that he can’t draft wide receivers for example.
But don’t think for a second that just because Belichick is out of the playoffs now (after their loss yesterday against the Dolphins), he’s lost anything as a head coach.
He still is the best teacher. He’s nurtured and trained all-time greats, including quarterback Tom Brady.
And he still is the best in-game strategist; this season, any perceived missteps can be attributed to his knowledge that this squad doesn’t have enough talent to win by the book.
This year’s Patriots still can get to eight wins. That’d be remarkable; we had this team pegged for 4-5 wins. The six wins they have are directly attributable to Belichick’s in-game management – just go back and see how he managed the end-of-game scenario in their victory against the Jets, for example.
Belichick will re-load. It won’t be the same as before, but what he did before may never be achieved by anyone ever again. But he hasn’t lost it at all – he just needs better players.
Hey Joe Judge, Your Squad Isn’t Good Enough To Pass Up Easy Points. The Giants had a tough opponent last night in the Browns – any objective observer would conclude the Browns have the better roster at the moment.
When you’re outgunned like this on the talent, you can’t afford to pass up easy points in an effort to keep the game close. To us, this is a fundamental rule.
Last night, Judge broke this rule – twice. He single-handedly took his own team out of the game by bypassing two easy field goal attempts. Six extra points would have given this game a very different fourth quarter feel, but Judge hurt his own team, and that’s something a head coach should never do.
Judge will learn, but it was a costly lesson last night.