As QC suspected, the Rams felt a little too go about themselves after thrashing
Indianapolis in the opener and it got them beat by Washington, 27-20. QB Jared
Goff was again in good form posting 9.615 QCYPA. But, even though superstar DT
Aaron Donald returned to the lineup and Redskins starting RB Fat Robert Kelly
left it midway through the game, the Redskins still ran for 229 yards (5.87 per
try). It is rare that an NFL team is simply run over by another and Washington
hardly looked like a steam-rolling juggernaut in Week 1 against Philadelphia.
Rather, QC suspects, Los Angeles was just not ready. It happens, particularly
with a young team that his learning to be consistent. There is still much to be
optmistic about with the Rams.
Before the season began, QC expected Atlanta to significantly regress. It
seemed impossible that the Falcons could match their 2016 numbers on offense.
But the attack numbers have not fallen. And the defense, particularly the pass
rush, has been vastly improved. HC Dan Quinn has the D playing like it did for
more than a half in the Super Bowl. Through 2 games, the Falcons pass pressure
has taken an average of .724 yards per pass attempt from opposing offenses.
That's outstanding. On Sunday night, the D suffocated Green Bay's Aaron Rogers
until the game was well in hand (31-7). The only negative is top pass rusher
Vic Beasley looks like he will miss a monthy with an injury. It bears watching
to see if the Falcons can keep the heat on opposing passers without Beasley or
restart the fire when he returns.
QC bet the Bears to win the NFC North at 40-1 and though Chicago is 0-2 and got
pasted in Tampa Bay, 29-7, it is far too early to give up John Fox and his
team. The Bucs had to travel less than 50 yards for their 3 TDs because Chicago
turnovers set up Jameis Winston and company in great field position. When Tampa
had to drive the field, all Winston could muster was field goals much as
Atlanta mostly could only muster field goals in Week 1. Chicago has only forced
one takeaway and the Bears cannot win without subisidies from their opponents
and turnover-free, efficient production on offense. But Chicago is only 1 game
behind division favorites Green Bay and Minnesota and still has all its
division games in front of it. It looks bad right now. But the last time QC bet
a long-shot, the 2013 Carolina Panthers started 0-2 (including an ugly Week 2
loss to Buffalo, which finished 6-10) before roaring back to win 11 of 12
behind a rugged defense. It probably will not happen again. But it is way to
early to give up on Chicago.
If it seems like NFL coaches are not very innovative, maybe it is because it
could be harder to innovate than it used to be. That is the theory several
renowned economic scholars have about a wide variety of industries. In a recent
Ideas Getting Harder to Find?, these scholars found "a wide
range of evidence from various industries, products, and firms showing that
research effort is rising substantially while research productivity is
declining sharply." A few years ago, Pat
Kirwan of NFL Network did a rudimentary
study that showed teams with the smallest coaching staffs (New
England, Pittsburgh, Green Bay) often performed way better than teams with the
largest coaching staffs (Buffalo, Jacksonville, Cleveland).
"Coaching staffs should be smaller," said Kirwan. "We're in the
age of technology. That fact alone should have made these staffs smaller, not
bigger. Computers and digitized film are much faster, more accessible, and
easier to manipulate than anything we used to do by hand back in the day."
It looks like these economists agree with Kirwan.