This season has been a series of performing beyond expectations against some very good teams and way underperforming against rather poor teams. It can be maddening at times. How can we beat the Patriots in New England and lose to the Giants?
We have some top talent at numerous positions, but it seems to be misused. We stopped doing what works and forgot about key players at times. We play conservative when we should be taking a chance or we take chances when the game is tight and we should be running high probability plays.
Starting the season 5-0 set an expectation that was pretty high. Then losing 4 of 5 brought questions about the coaching staff, players, and the team overall. Many people were calling for firing coaches and putting Patrick Mahomes in at QB. Those seem like knee jerk reactions and overly extreme.
I have been a proponent of making Andy Reid give up play calling and starting to be a head coach instead. I think it prevents him from keeping a higher level view of the game and making strategic decisions. He should be thinking about types of plays to run and defensive schemes at critical points in the game, but other than that he should be a head coach and not an offensive coordinator.
While I look forward to Mahomes playing QB in KC, I think he needs time to get acclimated to the league and Reid’s system. It is a complex offense and requires experience. I think we risk injury and loss of confidence putting him in too soon. That being said, if a game gets out of hand, it might be worth letting him play some to gain some experience when his performance isn’t at issue.
Looking at the last 5 games, we haven’t been playing as a team. Sometimes the offense has been OK and sometimes the defense, but this last game all three phases were awful. Based on this, I don’t think it has as much to do with the players as the coaches. Something seems different than the start of the season. Decisions on who is starting and plays being called fall on the coaches. Refusing to make in game adjustments falls on the coaches.
Looking at the game logs for the 10 games, most stats seem to be about the same when you compare the first 5 and last 5 games. There are a couple of exceptions to this though. In the passing game, we were sacked more and had a higher completion percentage in the first 5 than last 5 games. In the rushing game, we had more attempts per game in the first 5 than last 5 games, and most losses we rushed less than 25 times per game. On the defensive side of the ball, sacks were 14 in the first five games and 5 in the last 5.
I am not sure what to make of playing better offense when we are getting sacked more, but that is the correlation. However, the other 3 stats all make sense to me. A better completion percentage adds up to more yards, more first downs, better field position, and more points. More rushing attempts add up to clock control and higher percentage plays (mixing in other plays to keep the defense off balance, of course). And, more sacks on defense mean more pressure on the QB which leads to them making mistakes.
What has changed to affect completion percentage, rushing attempts, and QB pressures? I would say it has to do with coaching schemes more than anything else. We need to go back to the game plans we used against teams like New England and Philadelphia. Go into the game thinking we are going to lose, so we have nothing to lose. Come out firing away. Let’s start dictating the play and not being reactive.
I don’t see much difference in risking plays late in the game playing catch up from risking some plays early on to get ahead.
All that being said, I am not taking blame away from the players completely. I watched enough replays to know that many players made mistakes. They ranged from dropped balls, missing wide open receivers, missed tackles, and many more. Many of these are the same players that were making plays early in the season, so all I can conclude is the coaches are getting them ready and/or putting them in a position to achieve. Perhaps we call it 80/20, with the players needing to step up the 20.
We are 10 games into the season, sitting 6-4, with a 2 game lead in the AFC West. We have an easy schedule, with 3 of the 6 remaining games against the AFC West. We need to make the most of it and win. While no game is guaranteed (see NY Giants game), we could conceivably win out against these teams. We have 4 of 6 at home, with the 2 away games against the NY Jets and the Denver Broncos.
The coaching staff needs to figure out better prep and game plans. The players need to come in ready to execute. It would be a shame to waste the talent on this team another year.
What do you guys think is the problem? How do we get back on track?
That’s all for now. Until next week, that’s The Rub!
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