2018-2018 NFL Week 7

Thu
Broncos-Cardinals

Sun
Titans-Chargers
Patriots-Bears
Vikings-Jets
Browns-Buccaneers
Bills-Colts
Texans-Jaguars
Panthers-Eagles
Lions-Dophins
Saints-Ravens
Cowboys-Redskins
Rams-Niners
Bengals-Chiefs

Mon
Giants-Falcons

34 thoughts on “2018-2018 NFL Week 7

  1. Broncos-Cardinals

    John Elway called his defense “soft.” Von Miller responded by saying that the Broncos were going to kick the Cardinals ass. They did. There were several sacks, two pick 6s, and a few more INTs.

    1. “Voicey?” You mean, opinionated in a critical way?

      (The writer sounds like s/he is echoing an analytics guy I know on twitter.)

    2. By voicey I usually mean with a writer’s voice and not an organization’s voice, something that makes it sound like a person and not just Yahoo. In this case the voice is especially critical, almost like the writer must have Johnson on his or her team. 🙂

      1. Ah OK. I agree the word seem apt for the excerpt, and I also agree about your last point. In fact, I thought either the person had Johnson on his/her team or this was a fantasy football piece.

  2. Watching for Consistency

    I’m really interested in seeing if any teams will start emerging–showing some consistency, in a positive sense, but not teams like the Chiefs, Rams, or the Saints. (They are a few teams that are consistent in a negative sense, but I’m not interested in them.) I’m thinking of teams like the Cowboys, Seahawks, Chargers, and Panthers (Edit: add Ravens); also, the Eagles, Vikings, Bears, Texans, Bengals, and the Lions.

    If they play well this week, including showing improvement, especially the first three (Seahawks are on a bye) then I feel like they might be showing that they’re substantively good.

    (The Steelers should be on the list as well, but boy do I not like the way they play, both in terms of style and the overall quality of play.)

  3. Panthers-Eagles

    Eagles dominated the LOS all day. I want to say the Eagles gashed the Panthers from the shotgun runs.

    But the Eagles defense fell a part and their offense stalled in the 4th.

    Panthers are really lucky. They were kinda disappointing to me, and they don’t make me think they’re good. (They’re defense doesn’t look very good.)

    On another note: Something is wrong with Newton’s arm. There isn’t the same velocity.

    Saints-Ravens

    Good game. I think the Ravens defense is good, not sure how much, but they might be the best defense in the league (which might not be saying much).

    The Saints defense actually played well, until the last drive.

    Tucker surprisingly missed the extra point to tie the game at the end. (I better not lose by one point!)

    Patriots-Bears

    Two uncharacteristic turnovers by Patriots, putting Bears into scoring position and the Bears capitalized by scoring two TDs.

    Patriots ST scored two TDs (kick return, blocked punt)

    Patriots OL is really good.

    Maybe Mack is hurt, but the Bears don’t look like a great defense.

    Redskins-Cowboys

    I mentioned watching for signs that the Cowboys would be consistently good. I didn’t see it. (Something is wrong with Tyron Smith.)

  4. Panthers, Eagles:

    Two not so great teams at this point. As Reid said the Eagles defensive line dominated the Panthers o-line. Khalil is hurt, but that isn’t a great o-line. Actually running the ball, the o-line seems competent, just the pass-pro was horrible. I didn’t think Newton looked bad other than the fact that the o-line couldn’t do much to protect him. On the Eagles side, I’m confused. Wentz played well and he was actually pretty proficient in this game, versus playing badly for a few plays and then making a big play to make up for it. The Eagles just couldn’t score. I’m on the side that Doug Pederson is not a great coach. I think I pretty much stand alone on that side. I think everything fell into place last year, but we will realize over time he isn’t great.

    Bears, Pats:

    The Bears is the most frustrating offense in the NFL. They try so many misdirection plays that consistently fail, that it nuts. They should be running the ball to help Trubisky, but instead they like to pass and run trick plays. The Bears defense did okay. The Pats struggled for good parts of the game, but those special teams plays were killers. But with the game on the line the Bears defense gave up another long drive and that really hurt their chances. The last play almost worked though.

    Cowboys, Redskins:

    The Cowboys out played the Redskins, but make way too many mistakes to win the game. I’m hoping the Cowboys continue this way the rest of the season and make coaching changes. They are really underperforming as a team, in my eyes. Not that they should be great, but their defense is ranked top five and yet they cannot win games consistently. AP looked damn good though.

    I’ll add that the late Cincy game was pretty unwatchable.

    1. Just saw these comments now.

      Actually running the ball, the o-line seems competent, just the pass-pro was horrible.

      Do you get a sense that they’re good at running the ball–particularly with their RBs? My understanding is that statistically they’re really good, but I get get that impression by my eye-test. If I did, I would like them a lot more.

      What’d you think of their defense? It’s kind of horrid to me, at least if you were expecting them to be a really good defense.

      The Eagles just couldn’t score. I’m on the side that Doug Pederson is not a great coach. I think I pretty much stand alone on that side. I think everything fell into place last year, but we will realize over time he isn’t great.

      I don’t have strong feelings about this, but before Wentz got hurt last year, I didn’t get the sense he was a great coach. However, he has to deserve a lot of credit for what he did with Foles. I don’t think Foles is very good, but Pederson adjusted the offense so that Foles could be effective. I suspect part of their success stemmed from defenses not having tape on the new offense and not knowing how to defend it, but I would think Pederson still deserves a lot of credit for making this work.

      (To some degree, I feel like if an NFL coach can incorporate a wrinkle that none of the DCs are familiar with, that can really be a huge advantage. But once defenses catch up, then the advantage would largely disappear, so it’s only a temporary thing.)

      The Bears is the most frustrating offense in the NFL. They try so many misdirection plays that consistently fail, that it nuts. They should be running the ball to help Trubisky, but instead they like to pass and run trick plays.

      What you’re implying here is something I never thought of–namely, the more conventional running would help Trubisky and the Bears would be better off. You could be right, but Michael Lombardi says that Trubisky needs a lot of help, including simplifying the game. What I see is that he looks really shaky throwing the ball in conventional situations–shaky in terms of ball security. Even if the Bears defense was dominant (and I don’t think they are), and they had a run game, I wouldn’t feel confident Trubisky wouldn’t single-handedly lose the game with a bad turnover(s).

      I’m guessing all the college stuff helps him out, and takes advantage of his mobility.

      The Cowboys out played the Redskins, but make way too many mistakes to win the game. I’m hoping the Cowboys continue this way the rest of the season and make coaching changes.

      Who would you want to see as coach? Or at least what style would you like to see, both offensively and defensively?

      They are really underperforming as a team, in my eyes. Not that they should be great, but their defense is ranked top five and yet they cannot win games consistently.

      Do you their defense is as good as a top five suggests? To me, the top five rankings don’t mean a lot just because I don’t think there’s really any great defenses. Part of this involves consistency. I thought the Vikings and Jaguars would be really good, potentially great, but they’ve had bad or mediocre games. It raises doubts about who good they are. (Same with Ravens in my opinion.) The Cowboys are sort of in this group, too. I was hoping to not only see a good offensive performance, lead by a strong run game, but a solid defensive performance. The thing that was disappointing about the latter was that the Redskins offense didn’t look that great. AP looked good, but that seemed as much about the blocking and play calling more than a display of his phenomenal ability. And Alex Smith looked basically like how Alex Smith always looked, which is not good. My point is that, the Cowboy defense didn’t look like a really good defense. Now, if the run game gets going, I would think that would help them, and the defense could look a lot better.

      I’ll add that the late Cincy game was pretty unwatchable.

      Yeah, I stopped watching this at some point.

      Oh, you mentioned under-performing teams. I’ve been thinking about that. Here are some teams that come to mind:

      Steelers.
      Maybe it’s just that I really dislike their offensive style, but I feel like they should be way better, even without LeVeon. Defensively, I’m not sure if their roster is not good, but they don’t seem that great.

      Jaguars, especially their defense.
      I’m starting to feel like their DC isn’t that good. (Even last year, I thought they didn’t play as well as the roster seemed to suggest.)

      Lions.
      At one point I think I said they are a few players away from being a really good team, maybe a Super Bowl contender. To me, the missing piece was a third WR and a better run game. Kenny Golladay is that third WR. (I feel like the Lions have three really good #2s in Tate, Jones, and Golladay.) Maybe he’s just being matched up against weaker defenders, but he’s a big target that has impressed me. Kerryon Johnson, the RB, has looked good in the last few games, too. They might have found their guy.

      Defensively, they just seem OK, but maybe they can be good enough (although they gave up at least two really big plays against the Dolphins yesterday that wasn’t pretty).

      It could be that they’re turning the corner. The next game against Seattle should say something about both teams.

      Buccaneers
      Not only would I consider them as having the best offensive weapons in the league (in terms of pass catchers), but they seem to have a really good OL (at least in terms of pass blocking.) They seem to like an aggressive passing attack (a la run and shoot). To be successful, you need 5 O-linemen that can pass protect. I think they have that there.

      I thought they had some good defensively players as well. They looked better against the Browns, but who knows what that means. (It’s possible that the explosive has a deleterious effect on the offense, as these type of offenses seem to.)

      By the way, on another note, the Saints defense looked much improved. If that’s something real, I’m moving them up to the top tier.

      1. Carolina Running Attack:
        McCaffrey is not a top ten RB in rushing and Carolina as a hold is not a top rushing team, so I’m going to say no they are not a particularly good rushing team. But it probably has more to do with their commitment to the run. I was just trying to point out that at least in this Eagle game their o-line blocking on running plays was okay especially compared to their pass-pro.

        Carolina’s Defense:
        I’m guessing you have a higher standard of good defense, but they must have done something right because Wentz put up numbers and still only scored 17 points. Hard to say that’s horrid.

        Dallas Coaching:
        Dallas’ offense is terrible. I’m wondering if like an Adam Gase would be good for the Cowboys. I’m not sure how good he’s doing with his talent in Miami, but it seems like a decent job. I don’t know enough coordinators to answer this fully, though. I also think the play calling on the defensive side isn’t great. One of Dallas’ moves is they like to occupy the center with a LB, I’m guessing so everyone is one-on-one with each of the D-linemen. But because Dallas’ strength is their LBs more so than their D-linemen, sometimes I feel like it’s not a super prudent move. They should drop those guys in coverage since they are so fast. I’m not sure why Dallas runs that play on defense.

        Dallas’ D:
        Dallas’ D gave up one TD all game against the Redskins. That should be good enough to win games, especially since they are not the Jags on offense or at least shouldn’t be. I don’t think the Redskins had 300 total yards either. Dallas led the league (not sure if they still do) in three and outs. They are many good players as individuals. I think Pro Football Focus had Byron Jones number one in terms of DB play. Teams rarely throw to his side. They have one of the top LB crew in the entire league (when healthy of course). They just are young and inexperienced at times, which you see in total breakdowns, and they are terrible in terms of turnovers. But all-in-all they have potential and I’m not sure they are playing up to their talent at this point, which I off-the-top-of-my-head attribute to coaching.

        1. Carolina rushing attack

          I recall that they were one or two in yards per game (but that also would include Cam’s running, too). I understand what you mean about mentioning their running game as a way to contrast run blocking with their pass blocking. I can’t recall if the former was significantly better. In any event, they don’t look like a really good running game–at least from the RB position.

          I’m guessing you have a higher standard of good defense, but they must have done something right because Wentz put up numbers and still only scored 17 points. Hard to say that’s horrid.

          How much of the point total was due to the (slow) tempo of the game, though? I can’t remember. I just did not get the impression that Carolina is a really good defense. Specifically, they’re not the type of defense that I would expect has a chance against the Rams or Chiefs.

          RE: Cowboy offense

          Like Seattle, I think all, or most, of their problems stem from the OL. If the OL plays well, the offense and the team overall do well. If they don’t, the offense struggles. Unless the coaching and play calling dramatically impacts the OL play, I tend to think that the coaching isn’t the main problem.The Cowboys offense did well against the Jaguars, right? (I didn’t watch the whole game.) Did the play calling get better or was it the OL?

          At this point, after watching a lot of times over a few years, I’ve concluded that so much can be explained by the OL play. This is especially true if the skill position players and entire offense plays well when the OL seems to play well, and the skill positions and offense seem to struggle when the OL struggles. In that case, the OC/HC seem like a secondary factor.

          I don’t think Garrett and Linehan are great coaches–the type that can really elevate their teams by their coaching and schemes. The offense in 2016 was really good. It’s unlikely they got bad in just two years. But they seem OK to good, like many coaches.

          But if there’s a coach out there that can really elevate a team, then yeah, it would make sense to get that guy. For example, I think Mike Shanahan (or his son) was that type of coach, especially for the offense. The older Shanahan may not be interested in coaching or may have lost his touch, but that would be the type of guy I’d like to see replace Carroll.

          Another guy I’d like is Jim Harbaugh–and part of this is that I think he build a physical team with a good run game.

          As for specifics of the Cowboys defense, I can’t really comment, as I don’t watch them carefully enough to notice the details you mentioned.

          Dallas’ D gave up one TD all game against the Redskins.

          What gives me pause is that the Redskins offense seems rather mediocre to me.

          But all-in-all they have potential and I’m not sure they are playing up to their talent at this point, which I off-the-top-of-my-head attribute to coaching.

          I think this is fair. At the same time, a lot defenses (and teams) aren’t very consistent. One week a defense can look good, and then another they look mediocre. Sometimes these good defenses will have lapses that lead to big plays. This can happen to really good defenses, but I get the sense it happens too often for the best defenses in the league. Dallas is just one of these teams.

          Among the remaining teams, the Ravens could be emerging as one of the more consistently good defenses. (Jags don’t look good, and I’m wondering if there’s something wrong. Part of the problem is that the Jags don’t seem to be running the ball well.)

        2. I’m starting to lean more toward OL as a first priority lately. What Dallas did in Dak’s first season and what Oakland did in Carr’s second season seem to point right at superior O lines, especially if Carr turns out not to be anything special.

  5. I’m hearing Amari Cooper to the Cowboys for a first rounder. Cowboys got ripped off, unless they think they’re a WR1 away from serious contention. It is a really bad division so maybe they’re right.

        1. Well since I wrote that I hoped Dallas failed the rest of the season and got all new coaches, yes I am not happy. Plus it doesn’t seem like Amari is a number 1, as you stated. Hard to say because Carr gets rid of the ball faster than anyone in the league by a lot. Maybe that is hurting Cooper, but as a Raider, Amari is definitely not a number 1.

          I’m in agreement with you in that I don’t think this o-line can carry this team anymore. I think they are an average group at this point and play calling is making them less than average. Dallas used to get away with running a lot on running downs and passing a lot on passing downs, but with this line being average, they have to mix it up a little more.

          1. I didn’t realize (or I forgot) you wanted the coaches to be fired. Who’d you say you wanted instead, or what type of coach/style would you prefer?

          2. I wrote that in the breakdown of the games I watched this week above Mitchell’s post about Amari.

    1. Cowboys got ripped off, unless they think they’re a WR1 away from serious contention…

      I disagree with this thinking, if they do think this. The problem, as I see it, is their OL. Maybe Tyron Smith is hurt and they think he’ll get healthy; or that Travis Frederick is soon to return. I don’t know, but unless they know something about their OL, the thinking here seems bad. The move would have made more sense after they played the Jaguars. After that game, against (supposedly) a really good front 4 (I’m having my doubts), one could argue that the OL is improving and actually pretty good. But playing the Redskins should have poured cold water on that idea or at least given the Cowboys pause.

      Even if the OL is fine/good, Cooper for a first rounder seems a little rich. Cooper is good, but I don’t think he’s a really great #1. He might even be just a really good #2. Plus, I think he drops way too many balls, especially relatively easy ones to catch. (He reminds me of Demaryius Thomas in that way).

      By the way, if I didn’t write it before, I will say now that while I wouldn’t have been surprised if Gruden messed up the team in terms of coaching, I did not expect him to mess up the team in terms of personnel (i.e,. him acting as GM and making bad decisions). That’s been my feeling, watching the personnel decisions.

      However, with this trade, the Raiders now have three first round picks next year and two the following year. That’s a a mini-treasure trove, especially since the Raiders’ pick will likely be in the top five. I still am appalled by the job Gruden has done so far, both by his coaching and his GM moves, but he could make up for it if he handles the next two drafts well. (In my opinion, what he’s shown so far does not inspire a lot of confidence.)

    2. There’s a rumor that the Raiders are shopping around another first rounder.

      Honestly, if this is about rebuilding, I think they should trade Carr too. The Jaguars should consider themselves (almost) desperate for a QB and I actually think the Bears could make a run if they pick up an adequate veteran QB. The AFC South and NFC North are vulnerable.

      With the Raiders’ high picks, they can build around Carr, or they can deal him for more picks and build around some cheap QB who’s still in school. The latter option might be perfect for the move to Las Vegas, if they team is at least considering what the Rams did moving to L.A.

      Which they should.

      1. Honestly, if this is about rebuilding, I think they should trade Carr too.

        Have you given up on the idea that he’s a franchise QB? I was on record that I thought he was, or at least the chances were low that he wasn’t. But I admit, I’ve been having my doubts.

        What’s making it harder to judge for me is that I think Gruden’s impact could be quite negative, to Carr, the team, and the organizaion as a whole.

        Let me ask this: If Del Rio were still coaching would the team be this bad? I’m not a fan of Del Rio, although I tend to think he’s competent. I tend to think the situation would be significantly better. If Del Rio just focused on coaching and let McKenzie be the GM, that alone would have made the situation.

        On that note, how much faith do you have in Gruden and the organization with regard to how they handle the upcoming drafts? You probably know what I think, so I won’t answer.

  6. Falcons-Giants

    I wasn’t really paying close attention in this game, but some general thoughts. The Giants OL is shaky. At times they look overwhelmed, but they also managed to be serviceable for some portions of the game. It’s unclear to me that they’re the main source of the problem. I tend to think Eli is not longer a good starting QB.

    Falcons OL looked overwhelmed at times, too, but then seemed to settle down.

    For some reason, I wasn’t enthusiastic about this game.

    On another note,

    I’m surprised the Cowboys, and not the Patriots, made this list. Patriots OL is up there for me.

    1. I think the Giants are a solid team, but maybe one of those up-down solid teams like Carolina tends to be. And if I were NY, I would be calling the Raiders to ask about Carr. They have a top-three WR and a top-three RB and average-at-worst units everywhere else.

      Oh, I just remembered Teddy Bridgewater. The Giants should call New Orleans too.

      1. It sounds like you think Eli is the problem. I think I agree, but I’m unsure how much the team would improve with a QBs like Carr or Bridgewater.

        1. The Giants’ Eli was traded, but not Manning. 🙂

          If I was the Giants, I would play for the future at this point and draft a QB in the next two drafts.

          1. I heard about the trade–Eli Apple to the Saints. I don’t know if the Ravens offense just isn’t that great (or they had an off day), or if the Saints defense has made real improvement, but the Saints defense looked pretty good. If the addition of Apple improves the defense even more, the Saints are legitimate contenders. (Against the Ravens, they looked like the team that I expected them to be this year.)

  7. Giants seems to be playing for the future. They trade away Snacks (great nickname) Harrison. The puzzling thing is they could only get a fifth rounder. Dang if Dallas wasn’t in their division, I would think Dallas would have given up a fifth as well to get him, although I’m guessing his salary is pretty high.

    1. Yeah, a 5th seems pretty low. I haven’t watched him carefully, but my impression is that he’s still pretty good, if not better than that.

      Harrison is now with the Lions, and the Seahawks play them this weekend. A part of me actually welcomes this because I want the Lions to be good team, just so that I can get a better idea of how good the Seahawks really are. Have they turned a corner, emerging as a possible long-shot contender, or have they just look pretty good because of weaker competition? (They did play the Rams well, but that was a divisional opponent at home, so that muddies the water a little.)

  8. Power Rankings

    The theme this year seems to be consistency–namely, which teams can show themselves to be consistently good. I’m choosing the teams based on this criterion, and there’s really not many of them that I could choose.

    1st Tier
    Rams
    Saints, Chiefs, Patriots

    I’m putting Rams slightly ahead of those other three teams. Why? Mainly because I sense their offense can not only score points, but can run and control some of the clock. I’m not sure about this last point, though.

    The Saints are up here because their defense looks a lot better. If that turns out to be false, they’ll probably drop out of this list.

    2nd Tier
    Ravens
    Chargers, Vikings

    The way the Ravens played against the Saints makes me think that good quality I see is something substantive. Their defense may not be dominant, but it seems very good, and possibly could get there. I kind wish they could or did run more.

    The Vikings are getting Eversen Griffin back, so that should help. The way they run the ball worries me, though.

    The Chargers defense against the Titans, which didn’t look too hot, makes me reluctant about them. They will be getting back Bosa, though, and that could catapult them into the top tier. I’m not sure how consistent they are or even will be with Bosa, though.

    3rd Tier

    I’m too lazy to sort through the rest of the teams, but I’ll choose two that come to mind here:

    Lions, Seahawks, Panthers

    I’m choosing them because they seem to be showing signs of consistency. With the Seahawks, if they’re run game and overall physicality is as good as it seems, and they get into the playoffs, they could be a very dangerous team.

    Steelers, Eagles
    Packers

    Ultimately, these two teams should be mentioned equal to or ahead of the two teams above, but I don’t care for their style of play. (The Lions need to show they can run the ball and I would like to see better defense from them. So maybe they should be dropped down.)

    I’m mentioning the Packers just because of Rodgers. Their defense looked horrid against the Niners, though.

    I could mention other teams, but I’ll stop.

  9. Re Rams/Goff:

    I’m really surprised that no one has figured the Rams out yet. The Ringer guys love to point out the amount of pre-snap motion the Rams do. As a side, they also love to point out the lack of motion by the Cowboys. I’ve only watch the Rams play a few times, but as I stated previously, I’m starting to become a Goff believer. I didn’t see him make plays on his own last year, but this year he seems to be capable. By the way, what’s the deal with McVey? His Washington team wasn’t all that great on offense from what I remember? The Ram’s defense is great against the run and that may be all the offense needs for this team to go all the way. The next few weeks the Rams will play Rodgers, Brees, Wilson, and Mahommes, it will be a good test for them.

    Re Ravens:

    Again, I’ve only watch them a few games or maybe a couple games, but I think the difference is that they have some receivers this year. Add to that is the receivers can beat guys deep, and that is Flacco’s specialty. Flacco has been good overall this year, and the Ravens can beat the Pats, which is another reason to pick them.

    Re Lions/Eagles:

    The Lions have some skilled position players. They add “Snacks” who can be extremely disruptive in the middle. But if I had to choose a team to win it all, I think the Eagles still have more talent in the trenches both offensively and defensively. The Eagles haven’t looked great thus far, but they don’t have any injuries (Unless they really miss Ajayi and Blount, who is with the Lions.) and Wentz is looking better. I think I would put them above the Lions, Seattle, and Carolina or at the very least in their category in terms of chances to win it all.

    Re Saints:

    They really haven’t beaten anybody but the Ravens. Their running game is nowhere close to what it was last year. They have Brees and a whole lot of weapons, but I think their team better start to look more like last year’s team in terms of dedication to the run to aid that defense. If not I don’t like their chances in the playoffs even with home field advantage. That being said I don’t have any problem with them being in tier one.

    1. I’m really surprised that no one has figured the Rams out yet.

      My sense is that they’ve reached the apex of a pro style offense where they force defenses to pick a poison. Think of when the Cowboys offense was at it’s best in the 90s. Is there something defenses can figure out that would make a big difference?

      I don’t know about the impact pre-snap motion is having, but here’s what I see (and it relates to my apex comment):

      1. They use formation and plays that they can run and pass well out of, and they’re willing to do both;
      2. They utilize out of play action and jet sweeps (modern update of the end around) to create conflict in defenders vertically and horizontally, respectively, keeping them off balance, which often fractures a defense.
      3. Good play calling puts this together.
      4. They have good personnel at OL, RB, QB, and WRs (in that order). When you watch the OL, their performance resembles the recent Cowboys OL in their prime. However, I don’t think they’re as talented–I tend to think #1-3 are enhancing how they’re performing and also another thing:
      5. The heavy use of no-huddle and varying the speed and tempo of when the snap the ball is enhancing the entire offense, maybe the OL the most. I don’t know if this is true, but I tend to think the OL is one of the biggest beneficiaries of no huddle/hurry up. DLs and pass rushes just don’t seem as effective when an offense does this. Maybe the front seven is more tired, the pass rushes are simpler, or a combination. I’m not sure, but I have a feeling the Rams OL wouldn’t perform like the Cowboys OL (2014-2016) if they didn’t use no huddle.

      I’m a little skeptical that there is a defensive scheme that would make a huge difference. I think you need to be good in your base defense and nickel, and you just better have really talented defenders, especially up front.

      There is another possibility that I’ve considered–namely, play remove LBs or a D-linemen and play with more DBs and dare the Rams to run–like what Belichick did against the Bills in the ’92 Super Bowl. This gambit is based on the premise that McVay prefers passing a lot more and wouldn’t run the ball 30-35 times. I get the sense that McVay and the Rams prefer passing–that while they’re a pro style offense, they’re the type that leans more towards using the pass to help the run.*

      (*On this note, the offense reminds me of the 3 WR/1 RB offense that I associate with Joe Gibbs. Another offense that seems part of that lineage is Denny Green’s Vikings, with Reed/Carter/Moss and Robert Smith at RB. Smith even seems like a similar runner to Gurley. Green’s Vikings seemed to shade more towards pass, and I want to say the same was true for that Redskins team, but I can’t remember. I don’t even remember the Redskins RB at the time.)

      RE: Goff

      As I said, he’s so confident and in a groove. How would he play if the OL and the rest of the offense wasn’t on a roll? How would he perform if he faced more pressure? Those are the big question marks. As I mentioned, I’ve noticed that Goff’s passes malfunction when he faces pressure, and I think that was his biggest flaw. If he’s over that, then I think he can be an elite QB.

      1. I think very few pundits or fans would compare this Ram’s offensive roster to the 90’s Cowboys or Randy Moss’s Vikings. I think McVay is getting more credit than his roster. Basically you seem to be giving credit more equally than most. What would happen if the Rams and Cowboys (current team) traded o-lines? Do you think the Rams offense would fall down a lot and do you think the Cowboy’s offense would go up a lot? I don’t know enough, but I’m guessing if I started a team today, I probably would take the Cowboy line over the Ram’s line. In fact comparing the two offensive rosters, I would only clearly take the Rams receivers over the Cowboy’s receivers, everything else it’s too close to call for me. And even then as you sort of alluded to, it’s not like the Ram’s receivers are a “special” bunch.

        1. Put aside the personnel, with regard to Green’s Vikings or Gibbs’s Redskins (3 WR/1 RB offense), I’m talking about the way the offense looks. When I watch them, the Rams look similar to an offense in the 90s, except with the no-huddle. Do you agree with that? (I’m pretty sure I’m not seeing more specific differences–e.g., routes, etc.)

          But going back to the roster. My main point is that when I watch them on the field, I don’t see any weaknesses. When you watched the 90’s Cowboys, it was the same thing. They had the WRs, RBs, TEs, OL, QB, FB. I’m not saying Rams personnel is as talented, but they’re executing in a way where you can’t see weaknesses–and they look like the apotheosis of what a pro style offense should look like (at least one that leans more toward the pass than the run).

          I’m sure McVay’s coaching, including his decision to use no-huddle and vary the speed of the offense, is helping to some degree, and maybe it’s helping a lot. I don’t know.

          What would happen if the Rams and Cowboys (current team) traded o-lines? Do you think the Rams offense would fall down a lot and do you think the Cowboy’s offense would go up a lot?

          With McVay using the no-huddle, I think the DAL OL might fare pretty decently, I’m not sure. But I do think that if both lines played with a huddle, the Rams OL would be better. The way they played last year was better than the way the Cowboys OL is playing now in my opinion (at least excluding the Jaguars game).

          A couple of other comments:

          I think Goff would not be doing significantly worse if he didn’t have the pass protection he’s getting. Similarly, I think Gurley depends on good blocking as well. He doesn’t strike me as someone who can create a lot of limited blocking.

          So a lot comes down to the OL play. The next question is, how much of the OL performance is due to the talent of the players or the coaching? I don’t know the answer to that. The OL was good last year, but maybe that was also due to coaching, although they added Whitworth and Sullivan, LT and C, respectively. It’s hard to say.

          The WR corps doesn’t seem particularly exceptional. Even without Kupp and Cooks, their offense didn’t seem to miss a beat against Seattle. So, with this group, I do think coaching is making a huge impact.

    2. Again, I’ve only watch them a few games or maybe a couple games, but I think the difference is that they have some receivers this year. Add to that is the receivers can beat guys deep, and that is Flacco’s specialty. Flacco has been good overall this year, and the Ravens can beat the Pats, which is another reason to pick them.

      The defense looks better than last year in my opinion (at least against the Steelers and Saints).

      They do have better WRs and that has to help, including helping Flacco look better. I’m still a little iffy on their offense overall, though.

      Re: the Eagles

      They’re one of those teams that could be really good or just OK. One of the things I think they have to turn around is their ability to extend drives. I believe they were really good at 3rd conversion and just extending drives. The defense hasn’t looked as good this year, and I think this a big reason for that. My guess is that if they can get better at ball control, and running the ball will have to be a part of this, they can turn this around. (At the same time, I felt like their 3rd down success was heavily due to Wentz working some Wilsonian magic, and I get the sense he’s not doing that as much this year.)

      Re: Saints

      I think the key is their defense. They looked awful early in the season, but they looked way better against the Ravens. As for the run game, I think the attempts and effectiveness will depend on the opponent. Were they really a good ball control team last year?

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