Every Wednesday or Thursday during the NFL season, Joe Caporoso will break down the upcoming week of NFL action. Unfasten the belts and prepare to gorge on another weekend of fandom, fantasy, gambling, tweeting, cheering, complaining…and complaining.
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In the aftermath of the season, particularly when there is a historic and entertaining Super Bowl, there is a scramble to make proclamations about what can be learned from successful teams. The Philadelphia Eagles delighted every person in America outside of New England by knocking off the favored Patriots in a game that resembled a Big 12 shootout and was celebrated like a third world country revolution.
RPO and aggressiveness were the primary buzzwords in the game’s aftermath. Yet, the RPO didn’t magically just drop out of the sky and on to Doug Pederson’s play sheet this past Sunday. It is increasingly used at the high school and collegiate level and we have seen elements of it integrated into NFL offenses more frequently in recent years. It is more complex to execute than just saying “RUN THAT RPO!” as it involves mixing route combinations, properly teaching spacing from the receivers and tight ends, along with finding a quarterback who can consistently make the proper read and then deliver an accurate throw.
As for aggressiveness, this is not new news. How many times do analytics and analysis of situational football need to show that you are better off regularly going for it on 4th down and staying in attack mode against a potent offense like New England? We are still constantly stuck with coaches punting from their opponents’s 44 yard line on 4th and 2 to net 20 yards for their defense, who then wonder why they are 6-10 every single year.
The NFL can be radically slow to adapt to things that should be common sense. It is not always a forward thinking league and many of the hires are based on nepotism and outdated thinking. The analysis of the league also frequently regresses to often repeated narratives that have been said forever so we might as well just keep saying them. Look out for how many times somebody calls Josh Allen a “PRO-STYLE QUARTERBACK” and likes him better than Baker Mayfield or Lamar Jackson because “THAT COLLEGE STYLE WON’T TRANSLATE TO THE NFL”…despite what we just saw in the Super Bowl. Look out for how many say things next season like “SMART TO PUNT IT AWAY HERE DOWN 10 WITH 3 MINUTES LEFT, YOU NEED TO COUNT ON YOUR DEFENSE FOR THIS ONE.” … Old habits die hard.
To win in this league, you need to depth on your roster. The Eagles lost countless critical players and were able to not miss a beat. You need steady quarterback play and a pass rush. The best way to get steady quarterback play if you don’t have an all-time great? Build a great offensive line and be creative with your play calling. Finally, the difference in close, big games is often not backing down from being aggressive in a moment where the result could swing either way. Does Philadelphia win that game without repeatedly going for it on fourth down? Absolutely not.
Overrated Fast Food Of The Week
Now hear me out. Chick-Fil-A is GOOD…VERY GOOD. It is thoroughly enjoyable to eat and I’ll happily whoof down three of these chicken sandwiches pictured below over the course of eight minutes in the right situation. However, too many people get way too excited about Chick-Fil-A. They talk about it like it is some transcendent dining experience. It is good fast food that people here in New York like too much because it is NEW TO THE CITY and harder to find than other fast food. The pizza here is better. Shake Shack is better. The Chinese food here is better. Chick-Fil-A is basically Wendy’s with more hype.
Random NFL GIF
Put in my veins!
What Do I Watch Now?
Crashing, HBO – Currently halfway through season 2, these 30 minute episodes are built around comedian Pete Holmes crashing with various stand up comedians (Artie Lang, Bill Burr, Sarah Silverman) as he tries to make it in NYC. The show is hysterical and easy to rip through.
The Disaster Artist – Nominated for a handful of Academy Awards, this was one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in theater over the past year. It is a remake of the cult classic “The Room,” widely considered the worst movie ever made and the story of how it came together.
The Two Bills, ESPN – A home run 30 for 30 that any football fan, particularly one of a team who was coached by either Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells will find insightful, interesting and at times infuriating. We need more footage of Parcells mic’d up on the sideline in the 80s and a deeper dive into what the hell exactly happened on the fateful “HC of NYJ” day.
Who Do I Read Now?
Mad Men: Carousel, The Complete Critical Companion – If you liked the show, this is a must read for deeper insight and commentary into each episode. If you still need to watch it (GO NOW!), this would be the perfect thing to read along with each episode.
No Country For Old Men – Even if you have seen the movie and even though it is old, this an engrossing read that you will rip through. You should also read as much Cormac McCarthy as possible.
Interesting Early Super Bowls Odds
- Houston 20/1 – Healthy DeShaun!
- Jacksonville 20/1 – Maybe an upgrade at quarterback?
- San Francisco 25/1 – Jimmy G doesn’t appear to ever lose.
- Tennessee 40/1 – Proper use of Mariota from the new staff?
QB Carousel Predictions (First Guess/Second Guess)
- Buffalo – Mason Rudolph/Case Keenum
- Jets – Baker Mayfield/Kirk Cousins
- Broncos – Kirk Cousins/Josh Rosen
- Vikings – Teddy Bridgewater/Sam Bradford
- Browns – Sam Darnold/Kirk Cousins
- Arizona – Nick Foles/Josh Allen
- Giants – Luke Falk (pass on QB at #2)/Josh Rosen
Photo Credit: NFL.com