November 19, 2013
They Are Who We Thought They Were: Part II
A. Denver Broncos – The Broncos faced the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night and executed their game plan exactly as they practiced it. They put constant pressure on Alex Smith with Von Miller and the rest of the defensive line, the secondary covered well, and the running game was on showcase. Though the receivers were well covered by the Chief’s secondary, Peyton Manning found ways to isolate positive match ups and got the ball to Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, and Wes Welker. The Broncos dominated the game and beat the Chiefs by two scores, a touchdown and a field goal.
B. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs were the sole undefeated team in the National Football League before Sunday night. They left as one of the most talented, but flawed teams in the NFL. The Chiefs are sound in all facets of the game. They have a great kick and punt returner in McClusters, they have a talented offense with Jamal Charles and DeWayne Bowe, and a stout defense spearheaded by Dontari Poe, Derrick Johnson, and Eric Berry. Kansas City has talented players at every level of their offense and defense with a good quarterback in Alex Smith. But, they proved on Sunday what most commentators thought about them all year. They are not dynamic enough on offense to compete with the elite teams. They never challenged the Broncos despite only losing the game by 10 points. Right now, the Kansas City are a good, not great team.
C. New Orleans Saints – New Orleans is the most opportunistic team in the league. San Francisco had a chance to put them away, the referees gave them a questionable call, and Drew Brees made them pay for it. Brees recorded his 22nd fourth quarter comeback and his 33 game winning drive in a 23-20 win over the 49′ers. The Saints are not the best team in the league, however with Drew Brees in the backfield, they can beat any team in the NFL on any given night.
Kubiak Does Not Want His Job
Gary Kubiak is not as bad of a coach as the media would have you believe. After all, he made the world believe that Matt Schaub was a borderline elite quarterback with his play calling and his ability to protect the immobile quarterback with a stout running game and a good receiving core. However, despite the discovery of Case Keenum, a more athletic, more dynamic quarterback on his roster who has outplayed Schaub this year, Kubiak has been downright stubborn with his decision to stand behind Schaub. Schaub and the Texans broke an NFL record for poor play with 5 consecutive weeks with a interception returned for a touchdown. Schaub personally holds the NFL record for consecutive games with a pick returned for a score with 4. The most telling statistic for a NFL win or loss is turnovers, and teams that give up a pick six loses those games 76% of the time, and teams who score a defensive touchdown this season have won 86.4% of those games. Until Sunday afternoon, Keenum had not thrown his first interception, and despite the loss of Arian Foster (one of the best running backs in the league) for the season Keenum found away to elude tackles and get the ball to the best player on the field, Andre Johnson. Before Keenum took the starting role, Johnson had zero TD’s on the season. In two games with him, Johnson had five. Case Keenum added a vertical dimension to the Texans offense that had been missing for the first 6 games of the season. The same plays that were stopped with Schaub worked with the rookie QB. Yet, Kubiak played Schaub again once the Oakland Raiders jumped up against the Texans early in Week 11. The team has all but quit on Kubiak and Schaub, and Kubiak’s job is on the line after a wildly disappointing season. He ignoring one of the most simple pieces of coaching theory which is to get the ball in the hands of your best players in a place where they can make plays. Keenum can make plays anywhere on the field and he gets the ball to Houston’s best play maker, Andre Johnson. He should play.
Rex Ryan Does Not Get It
The Jets are doing better than anyone expected them to do this year. It was a forgone conclusion that Ryan would lose his job this season after the New York Jets played terribly, and he would be replaced by mid-season. Well, the Jets surprised everyone and played well this season. They are still in the playoff hunt, and have put together some great wins this season. But, their coach still does not understand how much perception affects his position. Ryan took his team out to Dave & Buster’s, a popular game restaurant, the night before his contest against the Buffalo Bills. Honestly, the game night probably did not affect his team’s play. They had a bye week, and the Jets were probably well-prepared. But, because the Jets lost the game against the Buffalo Bills, the public perception is that Ryan does take his job seriously enough. As the head coach of an NFL franchise, there are some things that you can not do, and unfortunately Rex Ryan does not know the list of things that are unacceptable.