The 1990’s Defensive Philosophy, and How I’d Fix the NFL
This is The Chop
I found something really interesting earlier this week, and I had to share with you guys. If you head over to “footballxos.com,” you’ll find an amazing football site that really does a great job of putting out strong content. In additional to this great original content, you are also given access to a number of NFL playbooks from former and current NFL coaches and regimes. Very cool stuff.
Anyway, I was paging through different playbooks and was actually able to uncover the Chief’s 1990’s 3-4 playbook. The playbook looks very poor, was obviously written on a typewriter and actually reminds me very, very much of my high school football playbook. That aside, what caught my eye was the section titled, “Philosophy of Defense.” I’ll add the screenshot and a transcription below:
“Philosophy of Defense”
Our main objectives on defense are to keep our opponent from scoring and to gain possession of the football for our offense with good field position. The “Best” defensive unit in the National Football League is measured by the number of points scored against it. TEAM DEFENSE is the product of everyone’s “Best Effort.” Each player must know his assignment and carry out his assignment in order that the defense may function as a unit. The primary consideration is for our defense to take the ball away from our opponent in one of two was:
- Force them to give up the ball on downs.
- Hold our opponent to 3 yards or less on first down.
- Eliminate mental errors and resulting “Big Plays.”
- Play TEAM DEFENSE and eliminate “Big Plays.”
- Force a Turnover
- Knock the ball loose by gang tackling – force a fumble or strip the ball.
- Pressure the QB to throw early – INTERCEPTION.
- Cover receivers tight to make the QB hesitate — SACK — FUMBLE OR INTERCEPTION.
As we successfully achieve these two objectives our ultimate goal of limiting the number of points scored against us will take care of itself.”
As you can see, great insight into that 90’s team’s objectives. It’s really interesting to note that “yards” are only mentioned once, under the section “Force [the opponent] to give up the ball on downs.” All that is said, is, “Hold our opponent to 3 yards or less on first down.”
Today, when someone tells you that the “Top Defense in the NFL is X,” they are referring to rankings based on either yards against, or YPG. The philosophy outlined above, however, emphasizes takeaways and points against.
This philosophy sure does agree with this 2016 defense. If you take a look at the Chiefs from the perspective of the 1990’s philosophy, they look a hell of a lot better than when looking at yards. Here’s a quick look:
The 90’s defensive philosophy put stake in:
- Points Against
To the Chiefs, according to the 1990’s Defensive Philosophy are ranked:
- PPG against – 11th
- Takeaways – 2nd
Not bad. Here’s the rub, though. If you look at yards (not something emphasized at all by the 1990’s staff), the Chiefs look a lot worse:
- Passing Yards/GM – 18th
- Rushing Yards/GM – 20th
- Total Yards/GM – 23rd
I’m certainly not going to jump to any conclusions here. The point is that teams emphasize certain metrics more than others. I’m sure this changes team to team, and that there are teams out there that are hyper-focused on stopping the offense from moving the ball and accumulating yards. This particular defense, however, didn’t.
Does this mean that the 2016 Chiefs defense emphasizes points against and turnovers versus yardage? No, not at all. But they could. Just food for thought.
Alrighty then. That’s done. How’s about the Chop?
The Saints complaining about home cooking is laughable. Just goes to show how biased teams and fans can really be, right?
That said, I think we can all agree that the NFL has become a bad product. Just terrible. Here’s how I’d fix it:
- Allow no more than 3 weeks of Thursday Night Football. – Because of an overly saturated market, poor match-ups, and not enough time for a team to truly be prepared to play high-quality football.
- Eliminate games in London forever. – This morning game is bad for fans and bad for teams. It’s ONLY good for the league lining their pockets.
- Flex the best game of each week to Monday Night Football, starting Week 4. – Give it a month to see who is good, and then start making sure your biggest game is hyped, and shown weekly on MNF. MNF used to be an event. Now it’s just more bad football.
- Disband the Competition Committee – They’ve ruined the league.
- Have a third party review all rules, define them all, remove what’s not working, etc. – I’d suggest a panel from NCAA Football.
- Hire full-time officials and employ “bubble” players, and ex collegiate players to create a year-round training schedule using real-time, in-game scenarios. – Create an environment where rules are constantly thought through, applied, and tested prior to jumping into the big show.
What would you do?
Surprise Upset of the Week
I am so glad I was wrong last week, and I really appreciate none of you hanging me out to dry for my pick. In fact, it sounded like the Saints made most of you nervous. That’s why I’m convinced you’re all just as nervous this week as the Chiefs head to Indy to play those rascally Colts. Not picking the Chiefs to lose this week, however. Instead, I’m going to be much, much bolder:
The Viking’s deficiencies are about to catch up with them, and this week they get figured out by the Chicago Bears. Yep. Chicago beats Minnesota this week at home 24-17. Book it.
Sh*t My Dad Said
No unreasonable outbursts from Pops last week, other than the small tirade directed towards Demetrius Harris after his big drop. And, he wasn’t wrong to be upset. I really like Harris, he plays great on special teams, is tougher than I expected him to be as a former basketball player, and he has shown the ability to make a catch and turn upfield. That said, he’s got to make that catch. I have seen a trend with Harris and dropping important passes. Not every catch is equal, and good players make the catches that mean the most. Let’s hope DH can overcome these big-catch demons, as I think when he does we could have another solid player on our hands.
That’s it this week, guys. Until next week.
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