Around the League

Posted: July 1st, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Around the League

Bill Belichick is the best coach in the NFL. After him, things are much more up for debate.

Andy Reid has had an amazing career, but his lack of a Super Bowl title and recent postseason struggles don’t help his argument. Pete Carroll can certainly make an interesting case. John Harbaugh only has one postseason win since the Super Bowl.

What about Sean McVay?

He is the hot name in coaching and he’s done great things in two years with the Rams. However, I think last year’s Super Bowl has to hurt him. The Rams needed luck to get past the Saints and then came up woefully short in the big game. They scored three points and only gained 260 yards.

We know Belichick is a defensive genius, but the Pats were allowing 29.5 points per game in the playoffs going into the Super Bowl. This wasn’t the ’85 Bears just shutting everyone down. The Chargers and Chiefs put up plenty of yards and points.

McVay had no answers for Belichick’s gameplan.

The previous year Doug Pederson’s Eagles put up 41 points on the Patriots, and that was while starting a backup QB and backup LT. The Eagles gained 538 yards (374 in the air and 164 on the ground). Pederson and his staff prepared a masterful gameplan for the Pats and the players executed it brilliantly. Pederson was also aggressive, going for it twice on fourth downs. Both attempts were successful and those drives resulted in touchdowns.

Pederson came up with almost as many good fourth down plays as McVay did points.

Now McVay faces some challenges. The Bears and Pats put out some tape of how to shut down his offense. You can bet other teams will study those games thoroughly. QBs coach Zac Taylor is gone to the Bengals to be a head coach. There are questions about Todd Gurley, short and long term. There is also the fact that losing the Super Bowl can affect the following season. You have less recovery time. There are lots of nagging questions. It isn’t easy to move on from a loss like that.

McVay was 11-5 in 2017 and 13-3 last year. It will be interesting to see if he can get the Rams to stay at that level. They still have plenty of talent, but it won’t be easy.


What about Pederson for the second best NFL coach?

Pederson was brilliant in 2017. Last year he had to deal with a short offseason, coaching changes and unbelievable injuries. Pederson still got the Eagles to the playoffs and they came close to getting back to the NFC title game.

Some doubters think the loss of Frank Reich will still be felt this year and that his loss has greatly affected Pederson. I think looking back on 2018 you can see there were a lot of issues to deal with and Pederson did a better job than many people understood.

There is no question that he’s a good coach. I think 2019 will give us a better idea of just how good he is.


It is easy to forget about the Jags. They had an awful year, going 5-11, but the defense still finished in the Top 5 in both fewest points and yards allowed. That defense should be outstanding once again.

I’m curious about Dallas. They have arguably the best trio of LBs in the league. They have an elite pass rusher in Demarcus Lawrence. They have good corners.

The Cowboys don’t have a difference-maker at safety. Most Top 5 defense have someone in the deep middle that offenses have to account for. Jeff Heath isn’t that guy. Could Xavier Woods develop into a stud? He’s an ascending player, but that might be a bit much.

I’m fascinated by the DL. David Irving is gone. Randy Gregory is suspended (shocking!). I like the addition of Robert Quinn more than most people. I think he can be a solid DE. Taco Charlton needs to take a big step forward this year to help the DL.

The DTs could be a lot better than people think. Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods and Tyronne Crawford are solid players and good scheme fits. Christian Covington was an under the radar free agent signing. Rookie Trysten Hill has huge potential. He could thrive in that system. I also like UDFA Daniel Wise. Dallas has really good DT depth all of a sudden.

Dallas was sixth in points allowed and seventh in yards allowed last year. I don’t know if they’ll be Top 5 this year, but they should be good.


Watching the Raiders on Hard Knocks is going to be fun.

It will drive me a bit crazy. Part of me wants that team to be a disaster, but another part of me loves Mike Mayock and wants to see him do great as the GM.

One thing we know. They won’t be boring.


My favorite NFL QB?

I loved Elway. Killed me that he lost SBs to the Giants and Skins. I just knew he was going to beat them and make me feel good about hating those teams.

Elway carried Denver on his back for years. That wasn’t enough to win it all, but he gave us some amazing memories.

When Mike Shanahan took over as head coach in 1995, things changed. Elway suddenly played in a creative offense. Things opened up for him in a big way. He no longer had to carry the offense, but could just run it.

Elway eventually got his two Super Bowls.

That wasn’t as much fun as watching him in the 80’s, but he was still a special player and a joy to watch.


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