I think about football a lot:
- Great business idea: A DVD sold on late night infomercials that teach random men to read defenses. I think people want to geek out more when they watch football. The prevalence of “man-caves” speaks to how men want to focus and concentrate when they watch football. Reading defenses and offenses better plays right into this interest. If you know a famous ex-football player (preferably a Hall of Fame Quarterback), please contact me.
- I have proposed a Baltimore Ignite presentation several times on reading defenses in Madden and running the spread offense.
Let me pay tribute to Tuesday Morning Quarterback. Many of my theories regarding football are formed as I learn from the pied piper of actually thinking about what is happening, Gregg Easterbrook. Best football weekly update you will read.
Anyway, a couple of formative concepts that I want to pass along:
- Great assistant coaches are worth their weight in gold. Kansas City was terrible last year. The only significant thing they changed this year was that the head coach (on the chopping block last year, coach of the year candidate this year) fired his offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator and brought in Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel. Who are those guys? The guys that were the offensive and defensive coordinators for the Patriots during their first few Super Bowl runs with Tom Brady. Instantly, the offense and defense are more disciplined and better prepared and winning games left and right.
- Josh McDaniels just got canned for being a terrible head coach. The guy that hires him as an offensive coordinator will do well. Prior to being head coach for the Bronco’s, he was the Offensive Coordinator for the Patriots during their 16-0 regular season and I loved his play-calling and schemes. He will bring success to a lucky team that snags him quickly.
- The most important thing you can do as a head coach is get your Coordinator’s right and solve your QB problem. More coaches get fired for not being able to solve the QB problem than any other reason.
- People do not go for it on 4th down nearly enough. This is something that Easterbrook goes after all the time. Let me quote:
- More hurry up football. Defenses hate this. They love rotating people. Spread the field and snap the ball quickly.
- You need to run two trick plays per game. Ken Whisenhunt was great at this when he coached the Steelers. You need to try two trick plays every game. Even if the other team knows you are going to run two trick plays in the game, it is incredibly mentally taxing on the defense when you do it. Flea flickers, reverses, reverse passes, fake field goals, designed roll-outs and bootlegs, option plays, weird direct snaps, all that stuff. I like reverse passes a lot, because I think if you are going to run a trick play, it has to be a shot. Flea flickers rarely seem to work, but the reverse pass seems to be consistently effective – I think that is because the defense on that side feels the need to come up to stop the run, allowing people to get behind them. Flea flickers pull up the safety, but cornerbacks on the edge of the play will typically simply stay with the receivers, making it a hard play to work.
- You need to throw deep and throw on first downs. Unimaginative offenses run the ball on first down consistently. This is incredibly predictable. You need to get the defense out of situations they are used to and into situations that you are used to. Similarly, you need to push the safeties back and that means show them that you are unafraid to throw over the top.
Carolina, at 2-12 the league’s worst team, reached the Steelers’ 32 on its first possession — and punted. Who cares if it was fourth-and-5? Who cares if it was fourth-and-32? A 2-12 team punts from the opposition’s 32? The Panthers might as well have run up the white flag right there and left to get blueberry-almond martinis. The punt boomed into the end zone for a net of 12 yards in field position, and I don’t even need to tell you who won the game.
Basically, if it is 4th and less than 3 and you are past your 40 yard line, I think if you can’t kick a field goal you have to go for it. Show faith in your offense. Show faith in your defense. If you don’t think you can get 2 yards when you need it, do you think you can beat this team?
Also, if you know on 3rd down that you are going for it on 4th, that opens up your playbook. You are in four down territory all the time.