NFL week 4 preview: lack of real stakes in Brady-Belichick game
1a. The game in which the Patriots face the Buccaneers will be fun! How will Bill Belichick defend a quarterback who, unlike ex-Patriot QB, who has also raced in previous games, who he worked with for 20 seasons? Will Brady feel the urge to play hero ball in what may be his only chance to beat Belichick one-on-one? During the post-match handshake, will it be a cold, half-hearted exchange of jokes? Or, whatever the outcome, will they come closer, forehead to forehead, and whisper to each other, “Eat fresh.”
But what about the importance of this game? It’s interconference, so the chances of it affecting a tiebreaker are slim. And with Game 17 added to the schedule, every regular season game this season is 0.37% less important than the game played in the 16-game era. Mathematically, it’s one of the least important games of every man’s career in the NFL.
But, inheritance. The legacy is through the roof right now. It’s going to be a positively inherited affair in Foxboro. Now you know the rules: the winner can seize all property and is granted a power of attorney over the other. The loser, meanwhile, will have to scale Mount Nyiragongo and drop his six Patriots Super Bowl rings into the molten lava below, then be airlifted to the surface of Mars where he will live an existence similar to that. of Dr. Manhattan meditating on the intricacies and consequences of human conflict, but instead will perish immediately because you need a spacesuit, at least, on Mars. And that’s the kind of thing the competition committee is talking about when it talks about “unintended consequences”.
1b. The point is this: Before this game Brady is the greatest player in football history and Belichick is the greatest coach in football history. It’s pretty obvious that Brady wouldn’t be Brady without Belichick and Belichick wouldn’t be Belichick without Brady. All of these things will be true when we wake up on Monday morning. The narrative of the “most important regular season game of all time” is just so that a bunch of morons have something to shout on Monday morning. So subscribe to our podcast and I’ll tell you which one of these NFL legends is a fraud from the comfort of my finished basement.
1 C. In the midweek episode of The MMQB Podcast, we already scoured the multiverse to explain, without a doubt, how things would have turned out if Tom Brady had signed with the Patriots again in the winter of 2020. But, in light of people shouting at me through various mediums who – to borrow a term my dad used during his days as a Little League coach – Belichick pulled a real erection when he let Brady walk, let’s roll some other quasi-possibilities that did not quite materialize. (We won’t get bogged down in semantics, but Belichick only wanted Brady back on his terms, which is a close relative of “let him walk”.)
The Patriots would undoubtedly be better off right now with Brady as a quarterback, but if you go back and look at what happened in the second half of 2019, you would have seen a limited quarterback run. a broken offense. Josh McDaniels had resorted to gadget games frequently, always revealing that he didn’t trust his attack to execute. Had Brady returned last year, New England (considering all the strikeouts on the defensive side of the ball) were a playoff-bordering team at best and certainly wouldn’t have been able to hold back the Bills. for the division crown. If Brady were still around in 2021, they likely would have built differently last winter, and an optimist could say they would be 1A to 1 for Buffalo in the AFC East.
Brady runs away is only part of the story. It only looks like a huge mistake because it turned out there was a perfect landing spot in Tampa, a team that: (a) already had elite talent in place offensively, both in terms of weapons and offensive line, as much as play the charters stacked demerits on Donovan Smith during the Jameis years, largely because he was tasked with protecting passes for five seconds with every snap in. because of this wacky offense they committed; (b) needed a schematic upgrade that Brady would be able to provide; and (c) had an elite defensive spirit to lead the other side of the ball and ensure Brady didn’t have to carry the team on his back.
Forget New England. Imagine if Brady had chosen one of his other contenders, either by his choice or because Jameis Winston had actually improved under the current Bucs coaching staff. If Brady is in Chicago right now, playing behind that offensive line with his limited mobility and growing reluctance when under pressure, the Bears would still be looking for 20-17 wins to keep pace with the Packers. Had he signed with the Raiders he would have had the same issue he had with the New England roster – limited outside weapons – and last season would have been tasked with beating opponents in the face of a defense who couldn’t get out of the field. If he had signed with the 49ers, they would be contenders this season but would not have won 10 games with their streak of injuries on both sides of the ball a year ago. Tampa was the only place that offered any kind of upgrade for Brady, and if they were already talked about in regards to a quarterback, screaming people would have a lot less to scream.
2. We can all agree that the Chiefs are the best team in football. And we can all agree that’s true despite having some issues with reactionary positions (O line and defensive backfield) – still particularly problematic. But often these things work out on their own as the season progresses and the continuity improves.
What’s not going to change is the way opponents try to beat the Chiefs: keep two safeties back and limit big plays, do all you can to shorten the play, steal it late. The last two weeks, it worked!
But the problem with shortening a game against the Chiefs is that in all likelihood you will be left behind in the second half and then, naturally, the prospect of shortening the game becomes a lot less appetizing. They only lost in Baltimore due to a Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumble. They lost the 4-0 turnover battle to the Chargers last week – three of those turnovers coming on snaps that took place inside the Chargers’ 40 – and still had a chance to win this game. (Oddly enough, their only win came in the one game they shouldn’t have won, Game 1 against Cleveland.) The point remains: If the Chiefs lead a game in the fourth quarter, they’re likely going to win. That’s why they’ll likely be sitting atop AFC West in January.
3a. At the start of the season, I thought that in the end, Dan Quinn might just be a band-aid in the Cowboys defense. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from his time in Seattle and Atlanta, he needs elite talent and he needs that talent to stay healthy. Because if you reach a point where you can no longer beat your opponents with your talent, things fall apart.
But the turnaround for this three-game defense in 2021 is noticeable. Part of that is because Micah Parsons made a difference, especially since switching to playing full-time (although, in reality, he’s only providing what they lost to DeMarcus Lawrence). And part of it is a natural progression for some of the younger ones on this unit. But it’s easy to see how much faster this unit is playing in Quinn’s scheme, and although sometimes takeout is the product of luck (for example, only one team in the league is going to be able to give Leonard Fournette the opportunity to define Jordyn Poulter and turn a screen pass into an easy interception). But for now, the Cowboys have eight takeaways, a number they only hit on the Sunday before Thanksgiving last season. They are leaving the field, which they struggled to do a year ago, Dallas’ expansive rushing offense keeps the offensive on the field and complements Dak Prescott beautifully, and the gap between the Cowboys and the rest of the NFC East is currently considerable.
3b. Micah Parsons is especially fascinating because of the struggles we saw from another preteen who rose in the first round, Isaiah Simmons. Two is not a trend, but as football becomes increasingly positionless, it will be interesting to consider whether LB / stack edge tweens have a better chance than LB / safety tweens in the future. Either way, it’s something to ponder in a nonspecific way another time.
3c. I know what you are thinking: Jordyn Poulter gets the shout out as an elite passer when it’s Startseva Evgeniya who has a decade of almost flawless playing on the volleyball court? How very chauvinistic you are! And to you, I say this: Right now, based on what she did in Tokyo (and on a bum’s ankle!) Jordyn Poulter the world’s best passer, and I’m going to go on basic cable. and shout it in a barely intelligible way anytime, anywhere. So if anyone is to be compared to Leonard Fournette for his ability to always put both hands on a ball but not catch it, it’s Poulter.
4. I thought the Joe Judge thing would work in the long run – and it still does – but he walks a terribly thin line when cosplaying Belichick. This week, in response to a question about the analysis of the fourth try, the judge said, in part, “You can look at a stat sheet as much as you want, but I promise you that if Excel were to win any football matches. , Bill Gates would kill him now.
The judge’s response was a cousin of the “tech is for nerds” schtick, like when a coach is asked about something on social media and fights back, I don’t do social media my tweet name is [email protected]. And the real legends will work in a “waka waka waka!” and maybe sprinkle the communications manager with one of those flowers with the little spray of water in it. (You know, the little water nozzle?)
The judge’s overall response is correct. A fourth decision is based in part on the analysis, but it is also based in part on, Do we have a part that will work here? Have we built something into our play appeal that we can pop right now? Of course, the Giants use analytics to inform their fourth-down decisions, and the judge is right that there is more to the decision than what goes into the decision. And I think he can answer the question without sounding a bit like a butt, and open up to the 7 million Bill Gates has as many wins this year as Joe Judge tweets that flooded my timeline in the aftermath.
5. We’re about 10 months into the Urban Meyer era in Jacksonville, which is too early to make any definitive statements, except it’s truly remarkable that a coach can go this long in his tenure without a single positive development at report. Just mistakes and mismanagement with a bit of embarrassment on top of it, and a 0-4 record to show it.
6. Ladies and gentlemen . . . Radiohead!
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