- Coaches can improve. Zach Taylor and Lou Anarumo were widely pilloried in the early part of their careers and rightly so, but they’ve improved dramatically over the past few years, culminating in the master class against Buffalo.
- Evaluation matters. The Bills spent a lot of draft capital on their DL and none of them are impactful. Greg Rousseau (1st), Boogie Basham (2nd) and A.J. Epenesa (2nd) all failed to show up against yesterday and Cincy’s makeshift OL made them pay. Now they produced more when Von Miller was around to take the focus of the opponents’ OL (which is probably why Buffalo brought him in to begin with), but as soon as he went down they were cooked. Also Ed Oliver, while a force as a pass-rusher, is too easily moved aside in the run game (Calijah Kancey concerns?).
- Running game matters. The Bills have thrown plenty of resources at RB, a 2nd rounder (James Cook) and two 3rds (Devin Singletary, Zach Moss). But for all of that they’re one of the worst rushing teams in the league. Part of it is commitment, but the bigger part is their OL, who just don’t create much push in the run game.
- A passing attack that relies on explosive plays can be schemed away. At times a QB has to take what the defense gives them, but can anyone imagine Allen doing it? Nickel-and-diming his team down the field? Brady does it, Burrow does it, even Mahomes does it when he needs to. Allen is danger of falling into the Russ Wilson, Aaron Rodgers pre-LaFleur hero ball approach, and teams know how to beat that in the playoffs.
- A running game can be cobbled together from spare parts. Isaiah Pacheco is a 7th round rookie and Jerick McKinnon was picked up off the scrap heap, and yet they’re one of the most successful duos in the league. Sure having Mahomes helps immensely, but our awesome OL and pass offense should help our RBs immensely too.
- A monster in the middle of the defense is a force multiplier. There’s not a lot of Chris Jones’s out there, but man could we use one. He affects everything the opposing offense wants to do and the rest of their D benefits. Maybe a trade up for Carter isn’t an awful idea.
- It’s better to be lucky than good. Seriously, same record as us, easier schedule, plus we absolutely crushed them like a month ago, and yet they’re still playing? If only we’d been in the NFC South, we could have beat Dallas.
- If you believe in your evaluation, it’s never wrong to draft a QB. Everyone forgets how silly everyone thought the Eagles were when they drafted Hurts. Wentz was a year removed from an MVP season, had come back strong and looked like the future. Now maybe they knew something we didn’t, but it was still a bold move with a valuable pick. And it’s paid off in spades.
- The value of depth on the DL. No one rotates up front as much as the Eagles and it keeps them fresh through the game and allows them to weather an injury better than most (as they did recently with Josh Sweat).
- Passing game matters. Sort of the inverse of Buffalo, a team who can’t throw the ball with any consistency is doomed. Our staff knows this, but it’s a reminder to everyone who wants to recreate the Titans (not as much of an issue now as it was last offseason). Without a passing game you become one-dimensional, and one-dimensionality is the bane of any offense.
- The importance of continuity. When Shanahan lost Rich Scangarello, he promoted Mike McDaniel. When he lost McDaniel, he promoted Bobby Slowik. When he lost Robert Saleh, he promoted DeMeco Ryans. And I suspect when he loses Ryans this offseason, he’ll promote from within as well. In an ideal world, that’s the way a team should operate. Reward your own coaches. Keep your players comfortable with guys they already know.
- Have contingencies for your best laid plans. The 49ers wanted to get away from Garropolo so much they traded 3 first rounders for Trey Lance. Things haven’t worked out. But they wisely brought Jimmy G back just in case, then they drafted another QB. We all know who that is. If Brad decides to take a punt on QB this year or next, he would be wise to do the same.
- Clutch kickers win games in the playoffs. I can’t believe the Bears let Gould get away.
- Paying RBs is stupid. I was really hoping they’d make the same mistake with Pollard, but they may have dodged a bullet with his injury.
- McCarthy sucks. I guess most of us already knew that.