2022-2023 NFL Playoffs

I’ve only been watching highlights, but I wanted to make a comment on the upcoming 49ers-Eagles game. Given the 49ers talented roster and success with a third string QB, I’ve heard one or two commentators wonder if this is a better strategy than paying a lot for a QB. Here’s my comment:

I like the formula of a great defense/special teams and strong, physical run game, but the QB is still really critical–not in terms of putting up big numbers–but making several key plays in big moments, while also protecting the football. Jimmy G couldn’t do that against the Chiefs in 2019 Super Bowl, and I think that’s a big reason the 49ers lost. (And the 49er defense intercepted Mahomes twice.) In my view, Brock Purdy can’t just protect the football–I think he’s going to have to make a few big time throws and perform in high stakes situations. If I felt the 49er defense was in the all-time great conversation, I’d feel differently, but my impression is that they’re very good, not great.

Now, Hurts could turnover the ball multiple times, the 49er running game goes wild or the 49er special teams has one or two big plays. Barring that, Purdy is going to have to come through in a few big moments in my view.

6 thoughts on “2022-2023 NFL Playoffs

  1. This will sound flippant and I also didn’t hear one expert say it, but Purdy reminds me of Montana. Montana’s number one attribute is his coolness, and his ability to seemingly never get rattled. That is Purdy’s strength too. They also both got very good feet inside the pocket and good enough wheels outside. I’ve only saw Brock play a couple of times, and I heard that he can be careless with the ball (I never got that impression the times I saw him play, FWIW.). So, if that is true, he is not Montana, who really took care of the ball.

    So, I just Googled Purdy and Montana and I’m not alone. One unnamed ex NFL coach also compared the two. So maybe it’s not as crazy a thought after all.

    1. I haven’t seen enough of him play, so I can’t really comment on this remark.

      But I’m pretty sure he us if he’s more like Montana or Garappolo.

  2. 49ers at Eagles

    I stopped watching this game after a while, so I don’t know how valid my comments are. Some general thoughts:

    The Eagles kinda remind of the Ravens team a few years ago. The offenses aren’t the same, but Hurts is a key part of a devastating rushing attack. I would think the Chiefs have to slow down the run, even if it means leaving good opportunities in the passing game. Make Hurts beat you from the pocket. If not, the Eagles will just control the ball and probably put points on the board. That will only empower their defense. By the 4th quarter, the Chiefs defense could be broken.

    On the other hand, I think the Chiefs can also be a great ball control offense–especially if they show they’re willing to run the ball enough and can run effectively when they do. This should protect the Chiefs defense…I guess if the Chiefs offense is doing a good job of controlling the ball, the Chiefs don’t need to go to extreme measures to stop the Eagles rushing game.

  3. Not a playoff question, but I saw that the Cowboys hired Brian Schottenheimer for their OC. Don, how are you feeling about this hire, and what have you heard about the arrangement?

    I don’t think Schotty is a good OC, but if you wanted to have a solid running game, he would be a decent hire, as I can’t think of many OCs who are adept or committed to this. (Besides the Shanahan and Kubiak, the next best guy I like is Arthur Smith, based on what I’ve seen from the Falcons this year. McVay is also good, but my sense is that he’s more of a passing guy.)

    If McCarthy is calling plays (which I’ve heard is the case), then the arrangement makes sense. Schotty to installs a good, physical run game, but McCarthy will oversee the passing game and call plays.

    Schotty might also be be solid dealing with QBs.

    If the Cowboys want a more run-based offense–or at least more balance–and McCarthy will call plays with that in mind (with Rodgers they played too one-dimensionally in my view), I think this could be a good arrangement for the Cowboys.

    (On a side note, my impression of Shane Waldron, the Seahawks OC, is that he’s more of a pass-first guy–actually kinda closer to a Kellen Moore-type. That’s based on how I watch the Seahawks play. If that’s true, I feel like Carroll is going to nudge him to towards running more, and if that doesn’t happen, I feel like Carroll will move on.)

  4. I’m hearing Schotty may not be as run-oriented as some may think. His most successful stint, at least in terms of stats, was with Seattle, but some are saying Carroll pushed him into running more. I have no clue, though. I’m hoping he brings in a good running game.

    This is what I heard about the Kellen Moore offense: He’s creative. I thought at times he did creative stuff just to do creative stuff. There are not necessarily plays called prior to make the creative stuff more effective. For example, if an OC called a few toss sweeps and then threw in an end-around or a RB option. That being said, I thought Moore did some very good short yardage creative stuff that Dallas will miss. I also heard people think Moore calls a pretty balance offense. The criticisms of Moore though are his running attack and passing attack outside of the creative stuff is pretty vanilla. I thought Moore’s rushing schemes were improving, but it could just be the o-linemen were better. But I do see the issue with the route running. Moore loves the come back routes on the outside. It can be effective, but those are one of the riskier routes because if the corner jumps it, it’s an INT. I thought when Dak was struggling with the INTs this year, the come back routes should have been minimized to try and negate those negative plays.

    Reid, two Wilson’s questions that maybe should have been on the Wilson thread. One, Wilson is still a lock as a Hall-of-Famer you think? What if he gets benched and never really plays again or worse has two more years like he did this year? The second question is do you think Sean Payton will have a positive affect on Wilson? And will Wilson put up better stats than he ever has?

  5. I’m hearing Schotty may not be as run-oriented as some may think. His most successful stint, at least in terms of stats, was with Seattle,..

    …and I’m assuming a lot of this refers to the 2020 season. (In 2018, the offense was run-first, almost to a primitive degree. 2019 wasn’t so primitive, but still more run-oriented. In 2020, they came out playing in an aggressive way a la the Bills, Texans (with Watson) or the Chiefs (earlier in Mahomes’s career). The offense was potent and there was MVP talk for Wilson. My theory: defenses were totally caught off guard. I don’t think they ever expected Pete Carroll offense to play that way. To lend credence to this theory, the offense and Wilson cooled down and started to struggle. I think DCs and defenses caught up.

    I really don’t think Schotty is a very good play caller or very good in the passing game.

    But he did get the run game going in 2018, after the Seahawks had an awful ground game in 2017. (Wilson was the leading rusher.) By the way, I understand Mike Solari is the new offensive line coach in Dallas. That suggests a more robust, physical rushing attack in Dallas. The offense may not be run-first, but I’m guessing there will be a better mix and marriage of run and pass–or at least I think that would be an ideal scenario. (McCarthy has never really had a great balanced offense in my view. He strikes me more in the Andy Reid, Jon Gruden–i.e., I prefer passing a lot more–school of the West Coast offense.)

    With Kellen Moore, it comes down to one thing: He seems like an OC who only cares about scoring. And if you really only care about scoring, then you’re going to emphasize passing–to the point where you neglect the run and don’t successfully marry the run and pass very well. (Others like this: Ken Dorsey in Buffalo. I kind feel like Shane Waldron leans this way, too.) These type of coaches (fans) totally don’t value ball control and physical football in my view.

    With Moore getting fired, and Schotty and Solari coming in, this does create the impression that McCarthy wanted more balance, but Moore just couldn’t or didn’t want to do it. Hence, he got fired. It’s somewhat of a surprise, as prior to this year, he seemed like a hot commodity. I suspect Prescott’s shaky performance made Jerry Jones willing to move on.

    I’ll answer the Wilson questions in the Wilson thread.

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