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Time To Be Blunt And Realistic


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This team isn’t going anywhere under this current coaching staff. We’ve been to the playoffs 3 times under this regime, and the result has been the same every time. In 2008 we failed to perform and were dominated by an inferior 9-7 opponent. Last year we suffered the biggest divisional round defeat of any #1 seed in History. Yesterday we failed to score on offense and were dominated by a mediocre 9-7 Giants team. We were barely even competitive in all 3 games (and you could make a good argument for saying that we weren’t competitive at all).

As tempting as it is to lump all of the blame on Mularkey, the whole soft, gutless, play not lose mentality emanates from the top. No amount of self-analysis (as we had after 2008, 2009 and 2010), is going to solve the problem, because this staff isn’t going to wake up tomorrow and realise that their schemes are fatally flawed. There are so many absolutely fundamental things that we simply don’t do, that are critical to success. Offensively, we don’t run screens, we don’t use double moves, we don’t use back shoulder throws, we underutilise HD and Quizz because we don’t know how to spread opponents out to create space (our personnel packages and pass route combinations are very poor) and we don’t know how to scheme to slow down the rush. Defensively, we don’t mix up our coverage’s, we don’t challenge opposing WRs at the LOS, and we don’t change things up and blitz enough. Plan A is predicable and when it fails, we lack a Plan B, Plan C or Plan D.

We are way too conservative on both sides of the ball, too scared to take chances and test defences for fear of making mistakes. Not testing the Giants suspect secondary at all yesterday was unforgivable – and there were plays where we had time. We’d rather take what the defense gives us, allowing them to dominate the tempo and style of the game, even if that means taking 3-4 yards per play. You can’t expect to drive 80 yards by moving the ball 4 yards at a time, living in 3rd down, because at some point the chances are that a penalty, or a mistake or a big play from the opponent is going to end the drive. Going for a few 4th downs here and doesn’t make us aggressive – especially when its our own ultra-conservative play calling that landed us in those 4th downs in the first place. We wouldn’t even take chances at the end of the 1st half yesterday, preferring to run out of time at our own 40 after dinking and dunking at 4 yards per play whilst leaving 2 TOs on the scoreboard. Our game and clock management was an absolute embarrassment. Where was the confidence, passion and urgency?

As for our personnel issues, we only have ourselves to blame. We’ve grossly overspent on WRs for a decade, and massively underspent on other areas: most notably the OL. Five of our 11 offensive starters are linemen, yet we’ve invested very few picks in the position for over a decade now – whilst using 5 1st rounder on WRs since 2001. The decision to trade 5 picks away to move up for Julio, was franchise suicide. I said it then and I’ll say it again – no player outside a top franchise QB is worth what we gave up. As much as I love JJ's talents, those 5 picks should have been used to address 5 areas of need – and we had bigger areas of need than WR. Losing those picks has set this team back 2 years, because of the positions that had to go unaddressed as a result (several of which will also have to go unaddressed in 2012), and that will hurt this team for years to come. This team isn’t going to sort all of its issues out this off-season, because we simply do not have the draft ammunition to do so as a result of the trade, and trying to fix issues via free agency is too expensive.

In the NFL, there is no quick fix. You can’t buy instant success and trying to do almost always results in failure (as the Skins, Raiders, Cowboys and 2010 Eagles have shown). TD needs to learn from the mistakes of 2010 and 2011 get back to basics:-

• Focus on value for money in free agency (rather than spending it all on 1 overpaid prospect like Dunta); and

• Hoard draft picks, rather than frittering them away to trade up.

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