Well it's been entertaining to see all the anger here since our sad loss to the lowly NY Jets. What I find most interesting is the fact that we lost by 10 points, ten points we gave away. A lot of folks seem to be ignoring that all important fact, being more concerned with what Gannon (who I've always believed was an overrated system QB, blasphemy I know) & Woodson had to say.
Well let's get down to brass tax:
Impact players - I've been saying it for weeks now - WE HAVE NOT ONE GREAT SKILL PLAYER. Sure we have some guys who have flashed some skills (Jennings, Reece, Streater, Rivera, Houston, S. Moore) but most are in the their 1st or 2nd year and none of them put the fear of G-O-D into opposing defenses or offenses. This will hopefully get addressed by the end of the season and in the off season or as these guys continue to develop.
QB - We have not one but 2 rookie starting QB's. TP's camp is now happy about how he lead us to a FG but I saw very little if any growth from him in his one series (DA had to call another TO to save a DOG penalty, he overthrew a simple throw badly on one of his 5 attempts, which only 2 were successful and he made the wrong option that resulted in a 8 yard sack on his last play. Bottom line - Nothing he did changes the fact he's thrown only 5 TD's in 8 starts vs 10 INT's. McGloin IMO was obviously affected by the QB switch and didn't get back into a rhythm until the second half. He did manage 2 more TD passes (making it 6 in only 4 starts) and still trails TP by 7 picks despite throwing his 3rd in this game. The argument that he's faced easier defenses? Well that's about to be erased by facing KC this week. I'm not nearly sold yet on McGloin but I believe he has a better game than Pyror did in week 6 this week. It will be very telling to see how he performs. If we see a repeat of Pryor's panicked performance from McGloin then it's most likely we'll be looking at finding a legit starting QB next off season.
Team depth - There's a lot of folks ignoring this huge problem. Football is all about rotation. When you have quality depth you can rotate with no drop off and when you don't, you get results like we've seen. The injuries on the OL have been a huge blow to the run game, pass protection and offensive output. The defense that started strong? Same thing. It started with losing Branch and it's tumbled down to endurance and other losses the last few weeks. The NFL season is a marathon and requires steady consistency and we're simply lacking the horses to pull this off. Sure we did better earlier in the season because we acquired better talent than last season, but we still don't have the true impact players to elevate the entire squad on either side or the quality depth to compensate the fact that we do not have those impact players. As such, we've seen an completely uneven performance that has gotten worse as the season has worn on.
#4 - Coaching -
There's been a lot of debate on this one lately. It's easier to put all the blame on the staff and mainly DA than facing the truths I stated previously and their direct effect on what the current staff can do. I think these truths are taken far too lightly by most fans. Now please - don't misunderstand, I still am not sure if DA can grow into the type of HC that we all dream of. I've seen some growth on his and the staff's part but I've also seen some of the same mistakes as last season. I give DA a check in the positive column for bringing in Olson & Sparano who've been forced to play musical OL's, QB's, RB's & WR's every single week and I think we can say that we're miles better than last season in terms of offense despite all that. But I also didn't see DA chew Pyror out for his lack of maturity when he blew his 2nd DOG in KC and that should have happened. Nor have I seen him rail Tarver when our D gives 3 and long for the umpteenth time in one game. Folks who are angry have some valid points IMO. But is it really him and his staff? Or is it all the reasons I mentioned previously? I think the latter has more to do with it than the coaching but if we don't see some fight in these last three games, I could see MD dropping the hammer. But honestly, there's only one reason to do that IMO (more on this in a bit.)
Fans are tired of waiting for us to field a team of note. Especially the younger crowd who hasn't seen us win it all. That's understandable but I'm sick to death of hearing Gruden's name every 5 seconds. Let's not forget that Gruden, for all his turning around of our franchise, never won a SB with us. He won one with someone else's ready-made roster against his own designed offense & hand picked players. Then when he did get what he wanted from Al in TB (complete roster control) he flamed out and lost the locker room. I loved Chucky and what he did while here, but it's not 2000 anymore and he's been in booth for long time now. I'm just not sure he'd be the best fit just cause he has history. Personally if DA goes there's only one other guy I'd rather turn to. Someone just as fiery as Chucky IMO and a guy who's won even more and walked away with a couple of SB trophies and legacy that's still competing- Bill fucking Cowher.
The only reason you fire DA is to hire someone like Cowher - a big, experienced name with more than one ring under his belt. Otherwise it's no different than Al's impatient game of the last decade. We'll have better players next season (Hopefully at least 2 real impact types) and be in the second year of Olson's scheme, we should also know who the starting QB is at that point too. So unless you giving the keys to a Big Time HC, leave DA in there to build HIS team. Now that's what KC just did and it worked for them thus far. That being said,continuity is a huge thing in a team's development and a part of me wants to see exactly what RM and DA envisioned when they met a few years ago. IMO it's better to be 100% sure, the last thing I want is to watch Shanarat Part 2.
The rest of staff hinges on the HC, so obviously if DA goes then a lot of others will too. And one last thing, RM brought a sense of stability with him and called out a clean slate approach. So if DA gets canned after 2 years, other top HC candidates might think we haven't changed at all and that could set us even further back or force us into hiring someone with even less experience.
I honestly don't know how it all going to end this off season but I do know we'll have more clarity after these last 3 games and then we'll see if there's an obvious way to go.
I just hope we shock everyone this week and beat that overrated KC team. I still have faith that we can pull out at least one more victory but it's going to take all pistons firing in the same direction and at the same time for that to happen, here's hoping.