37 thoughts on “2020-2021 NFL: Week 2

  1. Sun
    Giants-Bears
    Rams-Eagles
    Falcons-Cowboys
    Panthers-Buccaneers
    49ers-Jets
    Broncos-Steelers
    Jaguars-Titans
    Lions-Packers
    Bills-Dolphins
    Vikings-Colts
    Washington-Cardinals
    Ravens-Texans
    Chiefs-Chargers
    Patriots-Seahawks

    Mon
    Saints-Raiders

  2. Before making some random observations, I will mention one important caveat, something Mitchell alluded to–namely, that knowing whether a team is good or an opponent was just bad is almost impossible to answer with an confidence after week 1. With that, here are some thoughts:

    Any great defenses?

    Not really, although I felt like the closest was the Steelers–they at times looked like the aggressive, physical Steelers defenses of old. I would also mention the Ravens, particularly their secondary. (Off the top of my head, I’d say the Ravens and Patriots secondary looked like the two best.)

    There’s a bunch of defenses that are candidates in the very good range.

    Best DLs
    Washington comes to mind. They might the Niner DL of the east. Probably 49ers. Maybe: Eagles, Chargers.

    Worst DLs
    Lions, Seahawks, Patriots, Raiders. Maybe: Falcons, Panthers, Jets.

    Best OLs
    Patriots, Rams. Probably: Ravens, Saints, Chiefs. Maybe: Packers (Steelers OL usually has been among the best, but they looked less stout against the Giants.)

    Worst OLs
    There are some weak ones, but what’s cool is I can’t think of any that struck me as completely inept–to the point where the offense is unwatchable. Not fitting this description doesn’t mean an OL is OK, but in previous years there were OLs that did fit the description.

    QBs
    This year (and maybe last year) might be the best group of starting QBs, collectively, that we’ve ever had. And I define this by looking at the weakest starters. Specifically, the number of bad starters are relatively low, and the weakest among them are actually not bad–compared to any year previous (especially going back to the 2000s, 1990s, etc.). Or do you guys disagree with this?

    The weakest starting QBs right now: Bridgewater, maybe Carr; young QBs: Darnold, Trubisky, Lock (who looks decent), Haskins. Maybe: Mayfield, Jones.

    These guys are in the similar ballpark, and some may end up being good this year.

    The return of the 1990s

    Counting 2019, and the games you’ve seen this year, does it seem like more offenses look like offenses form the late 90s, early 2000s (e.g., Jon Gruden’s offenses)? It does to me. I think McVay is a big reason for this–with his tight bunch formations and QB under center. The coaches under him (e.g., LaFleur, Taylor) have used a similar style. Add the 49ers, Vikings, Raiders, Buccaneers, Titans, and Patriots (with the last two being even more run-based).

    The ones that seem different, more shot-gun, spread-based: Chiefs, Colts, Eagles, Saints, Bills, Texans, Steelers–I think the Jets and Bears as well. Cowboys seemed to be more like these teams now, too.

    1. For the QBs, I’m going to guess you missed Minshew or you actually think he’s better than some of the guys you listed? You also didn’t mention Tyrod or Fitzmagic. I’m slightly more confident in Lock than I was at the end of last year (sort of what you alluded to). I would have had him in the Trubisky, Haskins tier, but after watching him in the Titans game, I think he is probably better than those guys.

      Speaking of Trubisky, he was typical Trusbisky for 2 1/2 to 3 quarters, and then he turned it all around in the fourth. I didn’t watch the game, but going by what I heard, highlights, and stats. Could he be a more capable QB in a spread offense (rather than the Nagy offense), as I’m guessing the Bears had to go to a more passing offense as they were behind?

    2. I think I’d put MInshew slightly above those guys, although I’m not sure. Fitzmagic is somewhere around here, too, and I think I’d put Tyrod below with the other group. Tyrod is an OK back-up in my view. (I will say this: He has a really nice deep ball–at least I saw this when he was with Buffalo.)

      I would have had him in the Trubisky, Haskins tier, but after watching him in the Titans game, I think he is probably better than those guys.

      This is my impression as well, with regard to Lock.

      Could he be a more capable QB in a spread offense (rather than the Nagy offense), as I’m guessing the Bears had to go to a more passing offense as they were behind?

      My sense is that Nagy is more of a spread guy–Trubisky had and does have a lot of chances in shot-gun, spread formations. In a way, he’s like Fitzmagic in that he can be hot and cold–although not as hot or consistently hot as Fitz, I think.

      One other thing to keep in mind. The Lions could be one of the worst defenses. Actually, the way they played, they, and Stafford, looked like the old Lions–aka the Browns of the NFC.

  3. Do you guys know when COVID testing results from this past weekend will show up? I haven’t seen anyone talk about this–and I feel like there should be a lot of interest and urgency in this. If very few players/personnel test positive after this weekend, that is a really, really good sign. On the other hand, if enough test to cancel games this weekend, that would be a big deal and not bode well for the prospects of this season.

  4. Random thoughts on the Patriots-Seahawks game:

    This game involves one of the best OLs going against one of the worst DLs (based on what I’ve seen so far)–and the latter includes the run defense. Under Carroll the Seahawks have almost always had a solid, run-stopping DT. Poona Ford is promising young player, but I’m less sure he fits that bill. In short, the Patriots could run all over the Seahawks, one of the worst things for me to see.

    On the positive side, the Patriots might have one of the weakest pass-catching units, and the Seahawks secondary is more a strength, although more in terms of being able to punish pass catchers, more than blanketing them in coverage. (With regard to the latter, I think they’re a little below average.)

    Another positive, for the Seahawks is that they have the type of offense, that I think gives Belichick the most problems–namely, a run-first offense with a deep passing game. Additionally, the Seahawk OL seems solid so far, and the Patriot DL is not one with terrific talent.

    Having said that I do have one big concern: The Seahawk OL has three new players, two on the ride side, and one is a rookie. What I’m concerned about are cray blitzes and stunts, particularly on the right side–testing this OL’s communication and understanding.

    One other thought that’s in the back of my mind is the possibility that the Patriots would change things up by going with a lot of spread formations. The Patriots OL is a really good, and the Seahawk pass rush is not. Therefore, Newton should have a lot of time to throw. Could Belichick and McDaniels get their pass catchers open vis schemes? It could happen.

    Still, if the Seahawk OL plays well, and the Seahawks DL is pretty good, I like the Seahawks’ chances.

    Edit

    I wanted to add one more thing. I’m not sure if this is true, but I saw that in 2019 the Seahawks were last in passing on first downs. Last. Even as a run-first guy, I don’t think should be last. They don’t have a really dominant run game, and they have Russ and arguably the best weapons he’s had. Unless the OL is a mess, by the end of the 2020, they should not be last in passing on first down. They should at somewhere in the middle, at least. Here’s an example of where I think the stats were helpful.

    Also, while watching a few games, I noticed that in long yardage situations with an offense deep on their own side of the field, a lot teams, didn’t just give up on the play and try to gain a few yards to punt. A lot of them went for a more aggressive approach. Actually, my sense is that most teams do this. The teams that run a draw on 3rd and long deep on their own side is probably in the minority. Carroll has been one of those coaches–for a long time. If the OL is solid, I think he should forgo that conservative method. There’s greater risk, but with Russ he’ll keep that risk to a minimum–and the reward will outweigh this in my view.

  5. Bengals-Browns

    If the Browns lost–or more specifically, if they played poorly–man, things could have been in a mess in Cleveland. But they won and played well, especially in terms of running the ball. (The Seahawks blew it on drafting Penny over Nick Chubb.) Their defense is OK, but a disappointment to me.

    The Bengals are not a really good team, but they’re not the worst. Two difference makers on defense, and one receiving weapon, and they could really good (as in a playoff team).

    Joe Burrow looks good.

    1. Joe Burrow is one of the best rookie QBs that I’ve seen after one game (only saw highlights of his first game). Murray, Mayfield, and the like when I saw them play, I would say they look good for a rookie. Burrow just looks good. He looks really poised and he can make the throws. I don’t think he threw an interception yet, but he had a couple that could have been in this game.

      I didn’t see much of the first half of the game and I didn’t catch the very end of the game, but I thought both defenses stunk. There are times the game reminded me of a college game where teams are just marching. I would have thought Cleveland would have been better on defense.

    2. There are times the game reminded me of a college game where teams are just marching. I would have thought Cleveland would have been better on defense.

      I think this may be a reason I’m not more enthusiastic. Sometimes it looked too easy, and I’m not sure about how good the defenses are.

      And yeah, I thought the Browns would be better on D, too. (They did have some key injuries, though. Olivier Vernon, and the guy that backed him got hurt in the game, too, I think.)

  6. Falcons-Cowboys

    I liked how the Cowboys started the game, with trying to establish the run, but their ball security, what the heck? Also, they had a great call on the fake punt, but the punter makes a horrid throw, but the gunner probably should have caught it. This the type of miscues that plagued the Cowboys in the past.

    Cowboys are fortunate to win this one.

    Rams-Eagles

    The Eagles passed too much in my view. I don’t know if the Rams had injuries on the DL, but they were getting blown off the ball on run plays. (They often just dropped people into coverage, rushing four or three–daring the Eagles to run.)

    Wentz was kinda horrid. His accuracy was shaky and he throw that lead to an INT was a big mistake.

    The Rams offense is a machine. If you don’t put them in longer yardage/obvious passing downs, their offense is virtually unstoppable. Ugh.

    Vikings-Colts

    Basically, the Colts offense pounded the Vikings on the ground (and they made a bunch of FGs), and the Vikings desperately need another WR.

    1. Cousins started last year with similar numbers, which wasn’t great. He was able to turn the season around at some point especially during the middle of the year. Do you think he will do the same this year or the lost of Stefon may mean this is what the Vikings may be like.

      Niners, Jets:
      The Niners dominated this game despite all the injuries. This is the team I expected to see this year. My guess though, this probably speaks more about the Jets than it does the Niners. The Jets may be the worse team in the league or at least the worst coach team in the league.

    2. Do you think he will do the same this year or the lost of Stefon may mean this is what the Vikings may be like.

      My sense is that the Vikings pass-catchers are struggling to get open. Last year, I remember the early criticisms or concerns about Cousins, but if I remember correctly, I believe it was because they were having a lot of success in the run game. The situation seems very, very different now.

      Maybe its not the pass-catchers, but not having a preseason. Whatever the case, they look like they’re struggling. Putting aside their losses, and just looking at how they played–they do not look like a playoff team.

      The Jets may be the worse team in the league or at least the worst coach team in the league.

      Yep. Their roster is horrid, too. Sam Darnold going the way of Jake Plummer.

      1. I think last year it wasn’t the Vikings’ running game as much as their defense winning them games. Their entire offense was average to bad and Cousins wasn’t great. At some point the Vikings QB and offense seem to turn a corner. I can see that happening again.

    3. Was the offense really OK-to-bad early in the season last year? I don’t recall that. If people said that, I thought it was specifically because Cousins’s numbers were lackluster early on. My sense was that as long as the run game was strong, they’d be good.

      I don’t get that sense this year. The impression I get is that the WRs/TEs are struggling to get open. I don’t think Cousins has a lot of easier throws/receptions.

  7. Washington-Cardinals

    Washington’s turnovers were killers.

    Ravens-Texans

    The decisive play to me was the Texans going for it on their own 35 (or thereabouts). They failed, and the Ravens scored a TD–basically giving them about a two TD lead, which the Texans couldn’t overcome.

    The Texans defense actually did a solid job.

    Chiefs-Chargers

    Chiefs defense came out sluggish–looking like they were not looking past the Chargers.

    The Chargers defense, on the other hand, put pressure on Mahomes, hitting him a bit, too. He looked a little rattled, to be honest. I feel like the Chiefs should have ran more. Their run game looked pretty good early on.

    Herbert INT in the 3rd was huge, might have cost them the game.

    1. Herbert looked pretty good or really good for a rookie. He still didn’t look as good as Burrow. The Chiefs looked flat for the most part. I know it’s not true, but it’s almost like they seem disinterested if they are not making big plays.

      Herbert’s INT was bigger than huge and it definitely cost them the game. The weird thing is not as much that he ran left and threw right to the middle of the field, which is the big no-no in the NFL. It was he did that and the guy he was throwing to was surrounded by Chiefs and Herbert could have run the first down. All those things made it, “bigger than huge” and almost strange.

    2. …but it’s almost like they seem disinterested if they are not making big plays.

      I totally agree. This is what I meant by “looking past the Chargers.” It’s like they thought this was an easy win. Their tackling was horrid, and the Chargers created good run lanes. This was totally a different defense from the one that played the Texans in week 1.

      As for Herbert’s INT, the only reason I didn’t say it cost the game was that there was still time, or am I remembering that wrong?

      Do you agree that the Chiefs should have ran more? They were putting a lot of pressure on Mahomes at one point. If the Chiefs go their run game going, that could have cooled the Charger pass rush, and the Chiefs passing game could have got going.

  8. Patriots-Seahawks

    I don’t know if I’ve been less enthusiastic about a win–especially Russ played well. The big thing that makes me feel uneasy is that the offense seems to be moving towards becoming pass-centric. At several point, I thought they became predictable. A lot of times I felt I knew they were going to pass, and they seemed to do this again and again. They ran just enough make their attack not totally one-dimensional in my view–and I understand they ran for 150 yards. Still, they seem to be in the mold of the Chiefs–pass centric and OK-to-bad defense.

    And that’s the second part: their defense continues to be horrid, in spite of good performance from Adams. I don’t know how much I’m going to enjoy this season if this is the type of team they’re going to be.

    At least if they could run the ball, they could protect their defense, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen.

    They’re lucky to win this.

    By the way, Don or Mitchell, I’m interested if you guys agree with my impression–that the Hawks are more pass-centric–a team that will have to outscore opponents to win.

    1. I actually thought the Seahawks run game was better than New England’s last week. It seems like Seattle’s o-line was getting a lot of push as they continue to run off-tackle.

      I like how you compared Seattle to the reigning Super Bowl champs and think that’s a bad thing.

      Seattle did great at controlling the ball for the most part. If Seattle lost it would be because of the lack of pass-rush with four. Seattle’s defense did great at stopping New England’s rushing attack. However, they couldn’t control the passing game because they couldn’t rush Cam. But to say they were horrid is completely off. I thought Seattle controlled the game for the most part, but yeah they were just giving Cam too much time.

      You are right Seattle is lucky to win this, but New England is a good team with Cam playing well. It’s not like they almost loss to the Jags or Jets. The pass play Seattle called to try and seal the game was crazy on third and one. If Seattle loss, that play would have been like the infamous interception in the end zone. Seattle was running the ball great and they overthought it and went for that pass.

      I think the style of play is Seattle best chance to win. My guess is that without the sort of increase in passing the run game wouldn’t be as effective.

    2. I’m not saying the Seahawk run game was bad–I’m saying the offense looks pass-centric.

      I like how you compared Seattle to the reigning Super Bowl champs and think that’s a bad thing.

      I’m talking about style–not actual team. You like teams that are built on a high-scoring, pass-centric offense, with an OK defense at best? I thought you didn’t. I hate that type of team. I don’t think Carroll will be happy with that type of team, either, but if this is the way he’ll roll, he better make sure there isn’t a team with a really good defense, run game, and a QB that can make the handful of plays.

      But to say they were horrid is completely off. I thought Seattle controlled the game for the most part, but yeah they were just giving Cam too much time.

      And Cam kept completing passes–too easily, to one of the worst receiving units in the league. You didn’t think they completed passes too easily? That’s the thing. It was like that in last week’s game, and many games last year, too. They made Matt Schaub look great last year. And again, it’s not just the yards, but how easily the completions were. They have one of the worst DLs, and they do not have lockdown corners.

      The pass play Seattle called to try and seal the game was crazy on third and one.I think the style of play is Seattle best chance to win. My guess is that without the sort of increase in passing the run game wouldn’t be as effective.

      You think the passing game sets up the running game? I don’t think that was the case last year.

      The thing about their style now is that it could expose their defense even more. Still, even if it’s the best chance, I really dislike this style.

      To me, if they’re serious about winning the Super Bowl this year, they would make a move to upgrade their DL, and pass rush.

      Addendum (9/29/2020)

      I wanted to add something else. One way of identifying a run vs. pass based offense is by watching for the flow of either. In terms of the sequence of play, the offense will get into a groove–for running for a run-based offense and passing for a pass-based one. This is what coaches might mean, at least partly, by establishing the run or even establishing the pass. And when this dimension is in a groove, it poses a serious threat to the defense.

      When the offense is close to perfectly balanced, you can sense a flow of both passing and running.

      1. On a side note, if the Patriots turn out to be one of the best teams in the league, this will be another incredible coaching performance. I think 6 Patriot opted out due to COVID–Hightower, Chung, and Cannon are three key names that I’m aware of. And again, their WRs/TEs group is not very good. Even with a good QB like Cam and one of the best OLs, I think it’s really hard to have offensive success with weak pass catchers. So what Belichick is doing is unreal.

    3. I still kinda think Collier and Hill deserve credit, too. The Patriots were almost stoppable near the goal line, and if they ran 10 plays in the same spot, they’d probably score on 8 or 9 of them. But the Seahawks executed perfectly here, and it wasn’t a bad call by Belichick.

    4. Not utilizing PA so much, and only once from Wilson under center. These are other indicators of the type of shift that to an offense I don’t like (e.g., Houston, KC, etc.) .

      Another difference is that they’ve gone away from 6 OL sets, which they did quite a bit in the last two years. To be fair, I think some of this was by necessity, specifically when they lost Wil Dissly. The other TEs weren’t really great blockers, too. But that was a more run-oriented formation. I don’t think they’ve used 6 OL yet. (To be fair, they’re kinda thin on backup tackles.)

      But it’s early. It’ll be interesting to see if these trends continue.

  9. The injuries are ridiculous.

    I suspect that when the Seahawks play the 49ers a part of me might, if they’re missing some of their good players. (Just being honest.) But every time I saw or read of Nick Bosa’s injury and some of their other injuries, I genuinely felt disgusted. Of course, I had the same feeling for all the season-ending or serious injuries to key players. This is an exaggeration, but I almost want to say: “Hey, this is like an NFL strike with replacement players.” I really hate all these injuries.

  10. Raiders, Saints:

    I think the story of the game is the lack of running by the Saints. I thought the Saints were running well, but there were times that they wouldn’t run at all. I believe the Saints ran less than 20 times all game. That’s silly with the success they had on the ground. Add to that was that most of Brees’ passes were going at least 15 yards in the air. The Saints were way too aggressive on offense. And I didn’t think they were playing like that in the last couple years nor did they play like that against San Fran this year.

    The Raiders on the other hand, couldn’t really run the ball, but they stuck to it. And they broke enough runs to control the clock. That and the fact that the Saints couldn’t stop the passing game of the Raiders. The Saints’ defensive backs didn’t look great in this one, because their pass rush was decent.

    I picked the Raiders as a dark horse, and they showed they can beat anyone. I didn’t like some of the sacks Carr took and that would give me pause. Carr has decent feet (He can get outside better than Brady.), but he seems terrible in the pocket.

    1. I think the story of the game is the lack of running by the Saints.

      Hmm, that’s not something that stood out for me, but you could be right. But I sort of gave up on the Raiders defense after the first quarter, so I might not have been paying attention. The Saints moved the ball fast and so easily in the first quarter. I almost turned off the game. It’s not like it was the worst defense every, perhaps, but I kept thinking about how long the Raiders defense has been bad. It’s BS, man.

      Anyway, what stood out for me: The Saints front seven seemed to dominate the Raiders OL, in terms of the run game and pass game. But at for several possessions, the Raiders offense got into a groove, especially the passing game. Darren Waller looked like Todd Christensen. I’m kinda surprised at how well they did.

      I really like watching Josh Jacobs run, even though he’s not a really a hammer.

      Raiders defense did enough to stop them. And maybe the Saints did get too one-dimensional.

      Oh, Brees’s INT seemed like a game-changer as well.

      By the way, I don’t really see the Raiders as a serious dark horse. They have a kind of Lions and Browns vibe to them. They’re going to do something boneheaded. Also, their defense is not good enough.

  11. I read Don’s darkhorse comment to be about this week, not the season.

    I watched more football this week than I have in a long time and it was goooooood. Mostly.

    Man, I’d really like to know what the missing word here is. Puke? Explode? Turn off the game? Disavow your fandom for Seattle? This last one would explain the just being honest part.

    I suspect that when the Seahawks play the 49ers a part of me might, if they’re missing some of their good players. (Just being honest.)

    I only saw the end of the Falcons-Cowboys game when the network switched over. What a comeback. And that was the weirdest onside kick I ever saw. It looked like the Falcons were mesmerized by the weird behavior of the ball.

    The Giants-Bears game was about as unmemorable a game as I’ve seen in some time. I feel like the Bears are just a few good coaching weeks away from turning it on. That team has some pieces; they just don’t look like they’re gelling at all.

    Chiefs-Chargers game was fun. A rookie QB learns he has the start, moments before kickoff. He looks almost as much like Sunshine from Remember the Titans as Trevor Lawrence does. He runs for a TD. He throws for a TD. He throws a ridiculous interception.

    I wouldn’t come down on Sunshine for the INT. That’s a rookie mistake almost every QB makes in his first season. He couldn’t help it — he got away with that throw all his life, from PeeWee to college.

    The Chargers have nothing to hang their heads about. They played a good game against the defending Super Bowl champs. And their pass coverage looked pretty good.

    Patriots-Seahawks was a good game. I didn’t think the New England receivers, especially Edelman, looked that bad; I think the Seahawks just didn’t let them separate. But maybe that’s on the receivers — it’s what Brady complained about last season from the very beginning.

    That long Wilson throw to Metcalf was unbelievable. Wilson made some amazing passes.

    I didn’t watch this game as closely as the others; I had some house chores I had to get done before Sunday evening, so it was on while I did other things, but I enjoyed what I saw, except the result.

    One thing I’ve never seen before: when they recited the starting lineups, the Patriots only had one linebacker and five DBs. Have teams been doing this, defaulting to the nickel D? I wish I’d noticed what they called the positions the linemen were playing. Was it like the old-school five-man line with a nose guard, two tackles, and two ends?

    I don’t have ESPN, so I listened to the Raiders-Saints game on the radio while I did more house cleaning. What a fun game. Kevin Harlan still does the Westwood One MNF play-by-play, but this year it’s Kurt Warner doing the color. I don’t know how long he’s been on it, but he’s pretty good. Used to be Boomer Esiason on color, I think. Anyway, Harlan and Warner had me cracking up at times.

    1. I read Don’s darkhorse comment to be about this week, not the season.

      Is that what you meant, Don? In any event, the idea that the Raiders are a dark horse for the season is not crazy. But I’m skeptical based on what I’ve seen since Gruden’s been here. The defense hasn’t really improved, even though they seem to have better players. The offense, has talent, but they seem to be playing below the talent–and I would include last year in this. You know how seem teams have talent but play below it, sometimes doing boneheaded things? That’s what the Raiders are like, and it was before Gruden came on. If in the next several games, I don’t see that, I might change my tune.

      Man, I’d really like to know what the missing word here is. Puke? Explode? Turn off the game? Disavow your fandom for Seattle? This last one would explain the just being honest part.

      I meant to say that a part of me would be perfectly fine, maybe happy (although that seems like the wrong word), that the NIners didn’t have their good players. I think I felt bad writing this, so I just left it out.

      And that was the weirdest onside kick I ever saw. It looked like the Falcons were mesmerized by the weird behavior of the ball.

      I thought it was a cool idea. The Falcons could have gone for the ball before it went 10 yards, right? But once they touched it, the Cowboys could then go for the ball, even if the ball didn’t travel 10 yards, right? If so, that’s a cool play. It kinda puts the Falcons players in a tough position. It’s kinda like deciding whether to field a squibber on the 3rd base line.

      That team has some pieces; they just don’t look like they’re gelling at all.

      I think it’s been that way for several years now with the Bears.

      He looks almost as much like Sunshine from Remember the Titans as Trevor Lawrence does.

      That’s a good comparison. By the way, I’m interested in knowing if you thought the Chiefs defense looked flat, and if you thought Mahomes looked rattled, and that Andy Reid should have ran a bit more.

      One thing I’ve never seen before: when they recited the starting lineups, the Patriots only had one linebacker and five DBs.

      I can’t answer the questions you asked, but I didn’t realize the Pats went with 5 D-lineman? That’s interesting way to counter an 11 personnel team that likes to run from that formation. I wonder if Belichick would have stuck with this had the Seahawks used 12 personnel.

      1. I almost always think a team should run more, but I didn’t especially feel this way about the Chiefs Sunday; nor did I think the KC defense looked flat. Honestly, though, since I’ve seen not that much football so far, I don’t have a lot to compare defenses against. And Mahomes didn’t look rattled at all to me. The L.A. D just looked really good, especially its pass rush.

        1. I almost always think a team should run more…

          Is this more a matter of taste, or because you think it would increase the chances of success/winning?

          nor did I think the KC defense looked flat. Honestly, though, since I’ve seen not that much football so far, I don’t have a lot to compare defenses against.

          Ah OK.

          And Mahomes didn’t look rattled at all to me.

          Did you think the KC passing game was doing well, or struggling a little?

  12. Is this more a matter of taste, or because you think it would increase the chances of success/winning?

    Equal amounts of each, but I definitely haven’t turned it into a religion the way you have.

    Did you think the KC passing game was doing well, or struggling a little?

    It struggled through most of four quarters, but I attributed that to the LA defense.

    1. Equal amounts of each, but I definitely haven’t turned it into a religion the way you have.

      OK, thanks. I wasn’t sure about your attitude towards the run game. For example, based on what you said, I would assume you like the fact that some NFL teams have made running a more prominent part of their offense. Before you’re recent answer, I would know where you stood.

      It struggled through most of four quarters, but I attributed that to the LA defense.

      OK, basically, you’re impression is generally similar to mine. I just think Mahomes looked a bit rattled, too.

      1. My second-favorite football player of all time is a Raiders running back, and I grew up watching John Madden teams, which is probably where it comes from.

        Madden wasn’t one of those guys who scripted his plays before game time, but he wrote that he always liked to start with a run, because he wanted his O-linemen (his favorite guys on the team) pushing guys backward, not holding rushers off, to get them going.

        Makese sense, given who his O-linemen were. As Kevin Harlan says, “If you have a hammer, you gotta use it!”

    2. I frequently think of that Madden story, which I’m pretty sure I heard from you, at the start of games. I think he also said that getting players jacked before the game and then starting with a pass didn’t seem so congruent. That seemed like a good argument to me. Having said that, there are some teams that like to run so much that defenses are geared up to stop it. The latter is especially true if the offense is a great running team. To come out slinging the ball can catch the defense off guard, I think. Teams like the Jimmy Johnson’s Cowboys could do this, an I remember being surprised. (Today, I could see the Ravens and maybe the Titans starting this way.)

      In event, I don’t really recall hearing you express a lot of enthusiasm for running the ball. Actually I don’t think Don does either, but his comments have suggested he thinks it’s important, and wouldn’t want a team to throw a lot and neglect the run.

      1. I think if I had Upshaw, Shell, and Dalby in front of me, I’d feel confident running the ball on the first play even if the opponents knew I was going to.

        I can’t speak for Don, but I think there are a lot of ways to win a football game and a lot of ways to enjoy one, as I think I’ve said. Plus, since my favorite team has been a loser for so long, maybe I’m beyond caring how they lose. I just try to enjoy whatever game is in front of me, and I think I still learn something new with every football game I watch. It’s a fun, interesting game.

    3. I think if I had Upshaw, Shell, and Dalby in front of me, I’d feel confident running the ball on the first play even if the opponents knew I was going to.

      I wouldn’t argue that. On a side note, I believe Upshaw, Shell, and Otto made the top 100 team–the one Bill Belichick and Cris Collinsworth were involved in. That is crazy to think that the Raiders had those three guys–an I believe they all played together for a bit. I would think that OL has to be a candidate for being an all-time great.

      In any event, I think if you have a dominant run game–one where the offense, and maybe even the opposing defense, knows the offense will be able to effectively run the ball, if the offense starts passing well, the game is over–or at least that’s the type of demoralizing feeling the offense could impose on an opponent.

      I can’t speak for Don, but I think there are a lot of ways to win a football game and a lot of ways to enjoy one, as I think I’ve said.

      What makes a game enjoyable is a matter of taste, and while there’s a lot of ways to win a game, generally speaking, there seems to be less types of ways to win a Super Bowl. That is, some teams, based on their style/way of playing, having a general advantage over other styles. I can’t remember how you feel about this, but I’m assuming you either disagree or really don’t care about this as much.

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