The big talk this week is a few coaching decisions. It is important to judge the decision without considering the outcome. For the Patriots going for it was the right call, even though it turned out badly. For the Jags it was a bad call, even though it wound up working. I don't mean MJD shouldn't have taken that knee. Great football decision, but what happened after was just dumb. Del Rio wasted all the time off the clock and took a field goal with 2 seconds left. A botched snap or blocked kick ends the game needlessly in this situation. Now, the Jags aren't running Slaton or Peterson or anyone as fumble friendly. Take the 40 seconds after the kneel and try to punch it in. If you fail you still have the same field goal situation and a potential second try if you don't get the kick off. How hard is that?
I know Bill Simmons has talked about a VP of common sense, but I agree with him fully here. NFL coaches need an assistant of common sense. Someone to just watch from the sideline and tell him when something is colossally stupid. Hey, don't call a timeout at 2:02, hey, don't run your lightning back right into the line on 4th and 2.
The problem, is that NFL coach is a job that requires many different skills, and the process of qualifying for the position does not necessitate all of them. NFL head coaches are selected primarily on the basis of being a good coordinator. I've talked previously about some of the faults a good coordinator might not have that prevent him(martz) or hinder him(reid) from being a good head coach, but I haven't touched on this. Coordinators do not often have to make decisions, they call plays, but don't decide. They get told what to do in the big situations and are responsible for details more often than the big picture stuff. So coaches who are bad at that type of thing don't get weeded out. What's more, the jib of and NFL coach takes upwards of 20 hours a day and is filled with uncountable tasks to which we do not witness. Gameplans, motivation, organization, personnel. This leaves even the best of them open to completely obvious bonehead moves. There is no way to know beforehand, which qualified assistants are common sense lackwits, and it is such a small part of their 100 hour week, but it often determinate in a game. Guys like Belichick clearly get it. Guys like Del Rio and Reid do not. Understanding how demanding and complicated the position is, doesn't it make even more sense that NFL coaches have an assistant on their bench who just sits there and says nothing until his boss is about to make an incredibly obvious error. "hey coach, this might be a good time to hustle to the line, they might challenge"
Moving on to this week's games:
Denver's defense is falling apart. Far from a fluke, the Washington loss looks like part of a general slide. Start away against the Broncos. Aside from a pair of early plays, where they forgot to cover Marshall, this was a slaughter. I don't think Betts is a reliable play going forward. As strange as this would have been a few weeks ago, he doesn't play Denver every week.
Ease up on Bud he is, in the words of Don't Ask, an old fat grandpa man. Without Adams and Lamar Hunt, there would have been no AFL, and no 60s expansion for the NFL either. His boy, Vince Young is playing like we always hoped he would. Titans will contend next year, led by the best back who didn't fumble twice this week.
My Superbowl pick is currently 16-0, but the Saints really haven't looked good for a few weeks now. You can run on them now, due to some defensive injuries and some offensive ineptitude(mostly due to the use of Mike Bell, get a clue Payton). Anytime they've gotten Thomas his carries, he has been a beast. Any time they they spread them around, they struggle.
If Benson misses any time, do not plug in his backup. It's not that kind of offense. An injured Benson probably means more points for Palmer. On the other side, you can most likely throw in a Falcons back and do ok.
Mendenhall had a tough game, but this is the toughest matchup on his schedule. Keep the faith.