The Philadelphia Eagles Should Miss The Playoffs In 2017

Over the past five months, the Philadelphia Eagles have been heavily praised for getting a real number one wide receiver for Carson Wentz as they signed Alshon Jeffrey. In fact, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report said on twitter that “Carson to Alshon is football porn.” Although Jeffrey joining the team seems like a move that would help them reach the playoffs, that is not the case.

Throughout last season, the Philadelphia Eagles repeatedly noticed that Carson Wentz would leave the pocket at the immediate sign of pressure. This is because Wentz was extremely focused on getting a positive result on every play that he would scramble in hopes of finding an open window to throw into or an open running lane to gain a couple of yards. However, the team knew that this tendency would put him at risk of getting hit because he was in the open field by himself which means that the defense has a wide open path to hit him. Furthermore, if he decided to throw the ball, it would most likely be an inaccurate pass because his feet are not set. As a result, the team decided to implement an offensive system that was centered around the quick passing game. For instance, the team called a substantial amount of quick passing plays that focused on slants, screens, outs, and routes to the flat. These plays take a short time to develop which means that Wentz released the ball in a short amount of time thus the defense didn’t have a chance to apply pressure.

Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions – Oct 9, 2016

Philadelphia Eagles at Cincinnati Bengals – Dec 4, 2016

Therefore, Alshon Jeffrey will do more harm than good because he needs to take a few steps to build up to full speed. Due to this, I expect the team to have him run deep in, corner and streak/ fade routes to allow him to get to top speed. As a result of this, Wentz will have to hold the ball for a few extra seconds to give him the opportunity to reach full speed and complete his route. This gives the opposing team more time to apply pressure to Wentz which opens the door for him to scramble. The trickle down effect will once again put him at risk to receive additional hits or make ill-advised throws. Furthermore, the acquisition of Jeffrey will also affect the performance of the defense because if Wentz does everything mentioned above, it will result in shorter drives. As a result, the defense would have to go back on the field without the proper amount of rest which leads to the defense being more susceptible to giving up yards and points. Since they would be unable regain some energy between possessions to be able to stop the opposing offense.

Film Room: Alshon Jeffery’s fit with the Philadelphia Eagles (NFL Breakdowns Ep 77)

Although some people may think that the Eagles could avoid this problem by spreading the ball around. The front office and ownership will put pressure on the coaching staff to regularly throw him the ball because they want to give Jeffrey as many chances as possible to prove that signing him was a worthy investment. As a result of this, the demands from the front office and ownership should cost the team a playoff berth in 2017.

The Washington Redskins Should Part Ways With Kirk Cousins After 2017

Throughout the 2015 season, the Washington Redskins decided to implement an offensive system that was centered around the running game and the play-action passing game. For instance, during the first two downs of a series, Kirk Cousins would hand the ball off to Alfred Morris or Matt Jones in an attempt to force the opposing team to stack the box and set up a manageable third down. If the strategy was successful, the Redskins called a play action pass where Kirk would fake the handoff and go in the opposite direction to throw the ball to the flat or the crossing route fifteen yards down field. However, on occasion, Kirk would fake the handoff to freeze the defense momentarily that allowed the receivers to get some separation as they try to complete a slant, in or out route. As a result of this, the Redskins offense was able to stay on the field for a longer period, which means that the opposing team had less time to feast on their defense. In fact, according to teamrankings.com, the Redskins offense was on the field for an average of “31:29” thus the defense was only on the field for 28:31.

However, it was an entirely different story last season because the team made wholesale changes to the offensive system. This is because the organization wanted to see if he could lead the team to victory while being the focal point of the offense before giving him a big contract. As a result, the Redskins went from a run heavy offense to more of a passing offense to evaluate his decision making; and ability to make all the throws without having the running game to preoccupy the defense. For instance, the Redskins dialed back on the play action bootlegs where he would fake the handoff to the running backs and roll out in the opposite direction to hit the wide open receiver. In place of the conservative offense, they decided to call the traditional three to five step drop passing plays to gauge whether Cousins can make the right decision with the football when the defense is ready for a pass. For instance, Kirk would take a 3 to 5 step drop from under center and proceed to throw the ball to a receiver on a curl, crossing and corner routes as well as screens. While it is reasonable to expect a team to give their potential investment many opportunities to prove that he deserves a long term commitment at a certain point, it will affect the performance of the rest of the team. Since the team had Kirk Cousins throw the ball a lot, the offense spent less time on the field because of incompletions, interceptions, sacks or big plays that result in short drives. As a result, the defense went back on the field without the proper amount of rest which led the defense to be more susceptible to giving up yards and points. Since they would be unable regain some energy between possessions to be able to stop the opposing offense. In fact, according to teamrankings.com, the Redskins offense was on the field for an average of “29:32” thus the defense was on the field for 31:28.

In conclusion, a long term commitment to Kirk Cousins will elevate his individual statistics but will hurt overall team success.

The New England Patriots Should Be Concerned About Giving Jimmy Garoppolo A Contract Extension

Even though the New England Patriots decided to keep Jimmy Garoppolo on the roster for the upcoming season because they see him as the heir apparent to Tom Brady. The team must realize that Garoppolo is still too much of an unknown to offer him the franchise tag or a long-term extension at the end of the season. In fact, during the first two games of the regular season, the New England Patriots coaching staff knew that the opposing team would stack the box in an attempt to shut down the running game. This defensive strategy was implemented to see if Jimmy Garoppolo could put the offense on his shoulders and carry the team to victory. Unfortunately, the Patriots had a different plan in mind as they implemented a game plan where Garoppolo was in charge of handing the ball off and throwing quick passes. For instance, during the first half against the Cardinals, the Patriots called a bunch of passing plays centered around slant routes, out routes, routes to the flats and screens. These plays are quick to develop and allow the team to exploit a tiny window where the receivers have one or two steps on the defenders. This is because defenders aren’t used to back peddling for more than five to ten steps hence they have to take one or two steps to turn their body around.

Furthermore, these plays allowed the team to reduce the amount of pressure, hits, and sacks he received from the opposing team because the defense didn’t have enough time to get to the offensive line. Another benefit to running a conservative offense is that the Patriots gave their defense a chance to rest between possessions.  According to team rankings.com, over the first two games of the regular season, the offense was on the field for 35:22 which means that the defense was only on the field for 24:38. As a result, they were in a better position to make a defensive stop because the defense isn’t fatigued.

However, if the Patriots decide to apply the franchise tag or give Garoppolo a long term extension, he will immediately become the focal point of their offense.  This is because Bill Belichick wants to give Garoppolo as many opportunities as possible to prove that applying the franchise tag or giving him a long term extension was the right decision.  Due to this, the team would call a lot of passing plays to give him a chance to demonstrate that he isn’t just a game manager and is capable of making all the necessary throws to lead the team to victory. While it is reasonable to expect a team to give their new investment many opportunities to prove themselves at a certain point, it will affect the performance of the rest of the team. For instance, if Garoppolo gets the chance to throw a lot, the offense will spend less time on the field because of incompletions, interceptions, sacks or big plays that result in short drives. As a result, the defense would have to go back on the field without the proper amount of rest which leads to the defense being more susceptible to giving up yards and points. Since they would be unable regain some energy between possessions to be able to stop the opposing offense.

Blake Bortles Should Have A Career Year In 2017

Over the past three NFL seasons, the Jacksonville Jaguars have made Blake Bortles the focal point of their offense. This is because the organization wanted to give Bortles as many opportunities as possible to prove to the public that drafting him with the third pick in the 2014 draft was the right decision. Due to this, the team would design game plans that allow him the opportunity to demonstrate how he is capable of making all the throws necessary to win games. However, this strategy has backfired on the team because Bortles is very inaccurate on passes thrown over ten yards. According to ESPN, over the past two seasons, Bortles has a completion percentage of 35.5 and 46.9 on throws from 11-20 yards in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The inaccuracy on passes thrown over ten yards can be attributed to being under pressure in the pocket. For instance, against the Ravens, there were a couple plays where Bortles had to hold the ball for an extended period of time until his primary receiver got ten to fifteen yards down field usually running a dig route. By the time that the receiver reached his destination, Bortles was already feeling pressure from the opposing team as a defender was only a few feet away from him. Due to this, he was often forced to throw the ball off his back foot or in the process of sidestepping a defender which altered his passes. As a result of this, the offense was unable to keep the ball for extended periods of time during most games, which forces defense having to go back on the field without the proper amount of rest. In fact, according to team rankings, the offense was only on the field for 29 minutes and 9 seconds, which means that the defense is on the field for 30 minutes and 51 seconds. Eventually, the defense ran out of energy and couldn’t stop the other team from scoring.

Gifs of Bortles under pressure

However, their is a reason to believe that the Jaguars will no longer feature Bortles as the focal point of their offense because the team drafted Leonard Fournette with the fourth pick this year. As a result, the team will once again feature their first round pick as a focal point of their offense because they want to give him as many opportunities as possible to prove to the public that he was the right pick. Therefore i expect the Jaguars to implement an offensive system centered around the running game and the play-action passing game. For instance, during the first two downs of a series, Blake Bortles would hand the ball off to Leonard Fournette in an attempt to force the opposing team to stack the box and set up a manageable third down. If the strategy were successful, the Jaguars would call a play action pass where Bortles would fake the handoff and go in the opposite direction to throw the ball to the flat or the crossing route fifteen yards down field. This type of system would give Bortles a few extra seconds to throw the ball without pressure because most of the defense would be paying attention to Fournette. As a result of this, he should cut down on his interceptions and increase his touchdown passes along with yards thrown, which should lead to a career year for him.