Popular Post JDaveG Posted October 31, 2022 Popular Post Share Posted October 31, 2022 So yesterday has me thinking, and obviously most of us have posted about this stuff already, but I'm seeing a very clear, very real difference in this team. The last several seasons have obviously been tough. In 2019, we were 7-9, after starting 1-7 as I recall. We went on a tear to end the season, and I attribute a lot of that to coaching changes -- Quinn gave Morris the keys to the defense and they adopted better offensive strategies that had the team competitive. Then in 2020, we had a similarly bad start, and not much better a finish. If you look at how we lost, it wasn't physical errors like pulling up on a deep shot to DJ Moore. It was mental errors. Gurley falling into the end zone. Literally nobody covering an onside kick that, had we recovered it, would have won the game. Worse, we did it with a much more talented roster. The defense was hand picked by Quinn and TD. In 2019 we had Beasley and Takk. In 2020 we cut Beasley and cut Takk mid-season, but we still had the core of the defense they put in place. The offense was a far cry from what Shanahan put together, especially on the o-line, but again, it's their guys that they selected. More to the point, we had Julio and Ridley and Ryan. We had weapons on both sides of the ball. I think most of us by 2020 were thinking the personnel was an issue, but I don't think any of us think that improved with Ridley and Julio and Ryan off the board, cutting both starting safeties, etc. I think most of us agree that this is a less talented roster, especially at the top. What we do have is a string of competent backups (some of them are starting), and thus I would argue better depth. So when we lose a starter or two, we can still compete for the most part. We've lost London, Pitts and Patterson for one game and almost won it. We've had Patterson out for weeks now. We've lost the entire starting CB corps and are running practice squad guys out to play CB and not only competing, but playing .500 ball since that happened. So as I see it, there are two main differences between this regime and the last one. One pertains to personnel -- we value a complete team instead of a top-heavy roster with a huge drop off if someone goes out. That has resulted in a team that plays well above its talent level. The second pertains to coaching -- we have coaches who put these guys in a position to succeed, and because of that, they believe they can and they go out and perform. They're inconsistent for sure. A more talented QB probably doesn't throw that pick in OT. A more talented defensive secondary doesn't allow that catch to send it to OT. A more talented set of skill players probably has us pressuring Carolina the whole game. And a more talented roster certainly makes the Bengals game closer. But what they do not lack is confidence and fight. They fight you to the last snap of the ball. And because of that, they win against teams that either can't or won't do that. Both of those things are credit to this front office and staff. I don't know what the future holds, but I know we have the right guys in the building. And I can't wait to see what they put together next season. If they can go 7-10 last season and .500 so far this season, it's going to be amazing when we're not spending $78 million of our allotted cap space on guys who aren't here anymore. For reference, these are guys who don't play for us, but take up a cap allotment in 2022 (including guys who are still on the roster, but who were cut and re-signed, and thus what we're paying them includes some dead cap): Dead Money Name Cap Number Matt Ryan $40,525,000 Julio Jones $15,500,000 Deion Jones $11,357,451 Dante Fowler Jr. $4,666,668 Tyeler Davison $1,213,334 Marlon Davidson $1,128,394 Mike Davis $750,000 Anthony Rush $473,056 Anthony Firkser $300,000 Dean Marlowe $300,000 John Raine $191,111 Kendall Sheffield $189,922 MyCole Pruitt $179,044 Mike Ford $152,500 John Cominsky $122,098 Caleb Huntley $101,334 TOTAL $78,649,868 The guys still on the team are Firkser, Marlowe, Pruitt, Ford and Huntley. They total $1,032,878.00. So they aren't the problem. The problem is we have the top two cap hits on our team as Julio Jones and Matt Ryan, and Deion Jones is number 5. Next season, we'll be paying that money to guys who are on the roster and do play for us, for the most part. There will still be some dead cap from Deion Jones and a handful of others, but nothing like this. In the NFL, for the most part you get the quality of player you can afford to pay. If this front office keeps building those $1-5 million cap players and upgrading every position, finds a QB (whether Ridder or someone else), and gets a couple of top quality studs especially on defense? I trust the coaching staff to get the best out of them, because they have this bunch overproducing right now. Put simply, the philosophy is different. And for a change, it results in us playing above our level instead of well below it. Upstate NY Falcon, kschreck, gazoo and 29 others 27 5 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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