Right now in the NFL there are contenders and pretenders. The contenders are teams that consistently play smart and aggressively. The Patriots, the Saints, the Eagles and the Vikings are teams that come to mind. You can always count on these teams on making the fewest mistakes, play smart and capitalizing on opportunities. They don’t play with smoke and mirrors and don’t need trickery to win games. Their play calling, both on offense and defense, is well designed and timely. They seem to make the right calls at the most opportunistic times. The contenders in the NFL today have balanced attacks on offense and aggressive style defenses. Smart teams and smart coaches understand the meaning of, “take what they give you”, from an offensive perspective and, “take away what they do best”, from a defensive perspective. There is one other thing that separates the contenders from the pretenders, when the contenders smell blood in the water they take on the mind set of a feeding shark, they continue to attack! That is the kind of mental make up a contender has.
Now for the pretenders, the Cowboys, Seahawks, Bills, Lions and the Chiefs! First, injuries happen and when you loose a key player or two it can have a significant effect on a games outcome. Second, those teams who are contenders also have injuries and manage find the next man up and keep things moving along. Contenders also seem to find ways to win, even with new players. You very seldom see drastic changes in their offensive or defensive production. Teams who are pretenders just don’t do a good job with personnel changes. Or sometimes it is just bad decisions on the coaches part. This past week the Bills made a change at quarterback. The Bills were sitting in the 6th wild card position and are contending for a playoff spot. If this change at quarterback was an experiment in a science lab, it would have blown up the entire department. That is how bad of a decision it was. Five interceptions in the first half by the newly inserted quarterback. Those five interceptions led to more than half the points scored by the Chargers and may have taken the Bills out of the playoff picture. What were you thinking? Not only was this a bad decision, but a really dumb decision! Now the Chiefs, who are at the top of the pretender list, started the season 5 and 0, lose to a Giants team that was 1-8 and the 31st ranked defense in the league. The Chiefs only scored 9 points and no touchdowns. How does that happen? By bad playing calling and poor execution on offense and really bad tackling on defense! The Chiefs right now lead the AFC West, not because they are playing well but because the rest of the division is playing badly. In the game against the Giants, the Chiefs used more trick plays than I have ever seen in an NFL game! Two of the Chiefs three turnovers were on trick plays. Those two turnovers led to Giants scores and a Chiefs loss. Not what contenders do. Andy, you are better than that!
If you want to become a contender, do it the right way and get rid of bad play calling and poor personnel decisions.
The Outdoor Quarterback