2017 NFL: General Thread

Thoughts on Mike Vrabel as New Titans Coach

I know little about Vrabel, but the fact that he’s a former DC makes it harder for me to get excited–namely because I’m fixated on developing Mariota. My hope is that Vrabel is good leader, organizer, excels with communicating and working with people, and will hire a good OC. Really, I think a lot comes down to who he hires and the system they’ll put in place. I was leaning toward an a really good west coast OC, because I think Mariota needs to work on throwing with his feet (and I suspect this will help with accuracy, especially on the deep passes). But I don’t care what system he plays in, as long as he improves his footwork. Having said that, I could see Mariota thriving in a spread-based system, which might not really help his footwork. I have mixed feelings about that. My preference is he plays in a system/for a coach that works on his footwork.

Another reason I’m lukewarm on Vrabel is that he doesn’t strike me as a great DC. But as I alluded to earlier, I don’t think he needs to be a great coordinator to be a really good head coach, assuming he brings in the right people.

This Should be a Major Goal for the NFL

Here’s the goal: The NFL should work to ensure that the highest number of teams have a good OL (or something similar like insuring that most teams have a competent OL at least). This thought occurred to me while listening to Mark Schlereth’s comments, regarding the declining NFL viewers. If I recall correctly, he mentioned that the quality of play has diminished, and he pointed to the OL play, mentioning you don’t notice the OL when they don’t play well, but you do, when they perform badly. While I think this is true, for me, I’m actually noticing good OL play because it seems more like the exception rather than the rule. (Well, maybe the bigger reason is that good OL play stands out in contrast to the Seahawk OL.) This is really bad for the league, and it’s believable that this has lead to declining interest. For me, bad OL play makes football almost unwatchable. On the flip side, good OL–even dominant OL play–makes for better offense, and I assume fans like that. I would much prefer more offense due to good OL play rather than adjusting rules to help the offense.

If I’m right, how exactly would the NFL go about trying to achieve this? Here are some ideas:

  1. Change the CBA to allow for more practice time. This seems especially crucial since colleges supposedly aren’t doing a good job of developing linemen;
  2. Increase the talent pool for linemen. One way to do this is to create a developmental league, with special emphasis on developing the OL. Another idea is to send NFL OL coaches to provide workshops to college and pop warner leagues. These coaches can not only train players, but help develop line coaches.

I spoke about not wanting to change rules to give more of an advantage to the offense, but if nothing else works, I’d considered changing rules to help the offensive linemen.


2017 NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship

I can’t remember a time when I was more annoyed at the results of a game when the games didn’t involve my favorite teams.  I wasn’t just annoyed, but I was angry. Right now, I’m seriously thinking of not watching the Super Bowl. What’s different is that, in one case, I was annoyed because a team (Pats) won, more than the team (Jags) I rooted for lost, and in the other, the team I rooted for (Vikings) seemed to self-destruct. (I say “seems” because I stopped watching the game after Keenum’s INT, and I just fast-forwarded the game and saw the blowout score.)

Putting aside these bad feelings, let me say a provide, more rational comments:

  1. What can you say? Belichick is  the a great coach–maybe the best coach of all time, in any sport. I don’t think the Jaguars have a great defense, but they’re very good, and the Patriots dismantled them without Gronk for most of the game. (What the heck was with the Jaguar penalties? By the way, for a good defense, they sure seem to have trouble defending deep passes–either giving up completions or getting penalties. Also, as good as the four four is, both the Patriots and Steelers were able to stymie them and consistently give their QBs good pass protection–especially from the interior. The contrast with the Seahawks OL is quite stark for me.)
  2. I’m giving credit to Doug Pederson. Mike Lombardi mocked and ridiculed him (He recently admitted he was wrong), and I sort of bought into this. I think Pederson, for the way he’s using Foles, is unbelievable. Foles looked utterly terrible against the Raiders–I thought the Eagles had zero chance. But RPO plays and whatever else seems to have totally transformed Foles. Give credit to Foles as well.