I’m going to say something that may upset some of my friends in and around business who have spent time coaching, but enough is enough. The NFL has an epidemic right now that is plaguing the end of games. Maybe this is recent bias from watching how the Los Angeles Rams and Atlanta Falcons lost their games last weekend, but one has to be brave enough to tell the truth – and the truth is that some of these defensive coordinators are becoming very soft at the end of Games.
I admit this is mostly an aesthetic preference. Very few teams give receivers big cushions throughout the game, but when it comes to the end of plays, when defenses simply have to get off the field to prevent a field goal or a touchdown, the strategy becomes soft . It makes sense to try to keep offensive linemen in front of you and the receivers trying to milk the clock, but NFL offenses are so accurate now that they allow them to play and take the field and hope to beat the clock is a more hard strategy to use.
Tom Brady may not be in his prime anymore, but he’s still good enough to get down the field when defenses give up seven or eight yards of cushion. and backend route coverage guarantee. Justin Herbert has one of the strongest arms in the league and was able to pick apart Atlanta’s zone with ease on two separate game-winning plays, thanks to the fumble that ended up not hurting them as the Falcons pulled off a comeback of their own. These quarterbacks are too good and the offenses are too well-coached to believe that the old ways of doing things will work.
Well, I have one edict that I think my defensive coaches need to hear: force the action a little more in those late-game situations. I’m not saying you should go full Gregg Williams and try to nuke the pocket from Cover 0, but we can start with a little more press coverage. Force the action, don’t let the bad guys win by just playing soft in the most critical part of the game. You don’t have to sit back with eight guys in coverage and pray you can stop world-class athletes without getting their hands on them — arm it own world class athletes!
I know this will get some pushback, but it would also make for a more fun final product. Let the defenders defend themselves. And if you disagree with that, you can meet me at the logo. I’ll rush six, you rush three. Let’s see who will win.