Sean Payton Brought In to Fix Russell Wilson

Back in the 1970’s Bum Phillips was being interviewed when he was asked to describe Hall of Fame Coach Don Shula. Bum in that southern drawl he had looked up and said “Don Shula can take his’n and beat your’n and then take your’n and beat his’n.” Meaning he could formulate a game plan and tailor it to the strength of the players he has no matter the opponent. A trait also shared with Bronco new Head Coach Sean Payton.

His reputation turning around quarterbacks and building a winning culture is why he came at such a hefty sum. Denver giving up another 1st and 2nd round draft pick to New Orleans to trade for his services. Many pundits are looking at what he did to turn Drew Brees career around and using this as a barometer. The Chancellor of Football has another subject in mind, mirroring what he has to do with Russ.

Kerry Collins was the 1st draft choice of the Carolina Panthers who never fulfilled his potential. The Panthers did make the NFC Championship his 2nd season in 1996, but that was a team fueled by NFL Defensive player of the year Kevin Greene, a suffocating defense and a balanced attack. Collins eventually flamed out throwing more interceptions (36) than touchdowns (23) the following 2 seasons.

After a drunk driving incident and the NFL sending him to rehab for alcohol abuse, he also had a racial incident with teammate Mushin Muhammad. Things internally went from bad to worse when he requested a trade and was released by Coach Dom Capers. Citing he had quit on the team. He was even let go after signing on and finishing the season with Mike Ditka’s Saints. These guys were desperate for a QB having traded their entire draft class for RB Ricky Williams.

This was the 1st ever draft choice of the Carolina Panther franchise who hit rock bottom. Five years after being selected he had two losing teams that didn’t want him and his reputation publicly and in NFL locker rooms couldn’t be worse.

Enter Sean Payton.

The Giants sign him in 99 to back up Kent Graham and he did see some action. He conquered his alcohol demons and began to play quarterback at a level greater than he had at any point in his career. He became the starter in 2000 and led the Giants to a 12-4 record and home field advantage for the best record in the conference. Collins was the NFL’s comeback player of the year. How much had he improved going into those playoffs?

  • Collins 1997: 200 of 381 (52.5%) 2,124 yds 11TDs 21 ints
  • Collins 2000: 311 of 529 (58.8%) 3,610 yds 22TDs 13 ints

All of this was happening under the watchful eye of a young Offensive Coordinator in Sean Payton. Through his tutelage Collins had grown from what many considered a game manager to one who could win shootouts if the Giants needed him to. He had never shown this type of promise at his prior stops. So this reclamation project at quarterback and young Offensive Coordinator headed into the 2000 playoffs. Experts were calling them the worst team to ever garner home field advantage. There were sexier choices like The Greatest Show on Turf Rams or the high flying Minnesota Vikings.

After a solid but unspectacular win in a playoff win against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sean Payton called his greatest game of his career in the next where he and Kerry Collins stunned the football world in the NFC Championship Game. A game where they were underdogs at home.

Collins went 23 of 34 for 338 yds and 4TDs in the 1st half alone. All of these were NFC/NFL championship records Joe Montana, Kurt Warner nor any could touch. His 4 1st half TDs broke the record of Sid Luckman. Yes, he broke a 57 year old record that had stood since 1943. He finished with 381 yards and didnt play from the midway point of the 3rd quarter up 41-0. His record of 381 yards stood until Matt Ryan broke it in the 2012 NFC Title Tilt.

Did I say the greatest game of Sean Payton’s career? In this historian’s eyes yes absolutely. Even with his Super Bowl XLIV win in tow because no one saw that type of performance coming. It put Sean Payton and Kerry Collins on the map for good. Payton through this experience where he led the Giants offense for 3 years making the postseason twice and his subsequent stop in Dallas primed him for his Saints tenure.

He then went on to directing Drew Brees to a Hall of Fame career, guiding Jameis Winston to a 5-2 record before injury and still winning with Tedy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill.

He has the pedigree and ability to formulate game plans and bring the best out of Russell Wilson. Especially coming from a position where Russ needs to rehab his reputation after an atrocious season. His lows aren’t to the degree that Kerry Collins were but now it should be football, X’s and O’s and all that fringe off the field nonsense takes a huge backseat. He’s got the quarterback whisperer now and the Denver Broncos should be off and running.

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2022 AFC Championship Preview: Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs

Is it Arrowhead or Burrowhead? The battle lines have been drawn and the bulletin board material came out of the Queen City right after dusting off Buffalo. This has irked the Kansas City squad along with the national media reminding them Burrow’s Bengals are 3-0 against Mahomes and company. This includes the 2021 AFC Championship Game when they pulled off a shocker. What about this time??

The season began pundits along with The Chancellor of Football swearing the Chiefs were coming back to the pack losing Tyreek Hill. It hasn’t had the affect we anticipated but may today with Travis Kelce banged up and Patrick Mahomes nursing a bum ankle. Hill was used as a deep burner but often would come in motion and catch a “sprint right option” 5 yarder for key 1st downs.

The game will turn with the Chiefs young CBs L’Jarius Sneed & rookie Jaylen Watson trying to take on the likes of Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. The trio has combined for 217 rec. 2,837 yards 21TDs and each are able to take over a game. Chase caught 7 for 97 in the last matchup and had 6 rec. for 54 yards and 1TD.

We have to see if Mahomes ankle is ready to go. If he still feels the affects of the high ankle sprain and we assume he will, has to rely on the physical running of Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon on sweeps and screens.

One of the issues is Patrick Mahomes does most of his damage when he is moving out of the pocket. Most of his playoff touchdowns have come when he has bought time and adlibbed beyond the designed play. Removing that from his game really brings the running game into focus.

Once we look at the running game the Bengals have shows of late and its hard to imagine Joe Mixon (1,205 yds / 13TDs) and Samaje Perine to be outdone in that department.

While Mahomes has had a great season in 2022 this seems a bit much and we have the Bengals making it 4 in a row tonight 34-21.

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you at the Super Bowl!

2022 NFC Championship Preview: Philadelphie Eagles v San Francisco 49ers

We have entered the home stretch to find out who will represent the NFC in Super Bowl LVII. On one hand you have the 49ers riding an underdog wave of the next “Rudy” in 3rd string QB Brock Purdy. On the other, the final steps of validation for Jalen Hurts who leads a talented Eagle roster at home in this contest. However here at Taylor Blitz Times the excitement generates from the two best offensive lines and the NFL’s #1 & #2 ranked defenses taking the stage.

Did you know the difference between the NFL’s #1 and #2 ranked defense is less than a yard this season? San Francisco 300.59 ypg to Philadelphia 301.47?? Yet a tell tale sign is how those defenses fared coming down the stretch. In the last 7 games the edge goes to the Eagles (286.2 ypg) to (331 ypg).

The Eagles rushing attack led by Miles Sanders (1269 yds 11TD) and Hurts (760 yds rush/ 13TDs) is the 5th best in the NFL. With design runs whether they come from RPOs, sweeps or scrambles should be able to maintain their 147.5 yards per game average. The graphic below shows the 49ers are 1-3 when allowing just 100 yards.

Christian McCaffrey has to have a career game to keep the 49ers in it. Yes the Niners have other backs and Deebo Samuel but they will need their best play makers to win on bubble screens and jet sweeps. McCaffrey will need to make Eagle defenders miss and silence a raucous Philly crowd.

Otherwise this game lands in the hands of a 3rd string QB whose Cinderella story is coming to an end. Not only will the hostile crowd be at full throat but the Eagles vicious pass rush will be loose. The Eagles have a historic pass rush which has recorded 70 sacks. Just 2 shy of the record set by the 1984 Chicago Bears. We haven’t seen this many since the 1989 Minnesota Vikings (71) and its a sack by committee defense. Hassan Reddick (16 sacks) Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat and Jay Hargrave each finished with 11! Where are you sliding the line to?

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) and center Jason Kelce (62) during the NFL divisional round playoff football game against the New York Giants, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The line of scrimmage is where this game will be won or lost and the edge has to go to Philadelphia. Once T Lane Johnson made it back last week and showed he can gut it out the Eagles looked like the team that was 14-1 with Jalen Hurts in the lineup. This game looks to be close for a quarter and a half with the Eagles pulling away 38-16.

As we clearly stated in our 2020 NFL draft preview, Jalen Hurts deserved to be the 2nd quarterback drafted after Joe Burrow. In the next 10 hours we will find out if they can rematch their 2019 college football playoff.

The Eagles are going to be headed to Super Bowl LVII.

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Uh Oh NFC East… Daniel Jones May Have Passed Dak Prescott In the Division

Uh oh NFC East… Dak HAS to win tonight to show he hasnt been passed by. Yes several Cowboy fans have been upset with my alternative media coverage of Dak but tonight is where he has to show he has grown… after 7 years.

Well??

Daniel Ara Kelegian, you sent me this and now Daniel Jones went out and had total command in the Giants 31-24 upset win over Minnesota. Jones has grown in leaps and bounds this year resulting in yesterday’s performance.

While The Chancellor of Football has drawn the ire of Cowboys fans, you have to show me where Dak has grown when it comes to taking on superior opponents & getting the best of elite quarterbacks head to head. Truth is he hasn’t and this is his 7th season as a starter. He had the chance to bury the 3-6 Packers in the midst of a 5 game losing streak. Could vanquish long time antagonist Aaron Rodgers and what happened?? A knock kneed 2 intercption performance and was shut out in the 2nd half of a 31-28 loss. After forging a 28-14 lead.

In contrast Daniel Jones, while being questioned about the legitimacy of being a franchise QB, has made the turn this year. Yes Head Coach Brian Daboll deserves a tremendous amount of credit, but Jones had to perform with the jaundiced eye of the New York press watching every move. In all honesty, Taylor Blitz Times didnt believe he was their franchise quarterback either. Yet his performance all year long, while not spectacular was consistent.

One of the measures we have here is how you perform against superior opponents? Well yesterday’s 31-24 wildcard win qualifies. Others will say “he had a dress rehearsal 3 weeks ago when they lost 27-24 to the same Viking team.” True but in the regular season loss he threw a pick and showed jitters in the 4th quarter when the game was tight. One drive they needed a 55 yard field goal in the 4th quarter just to stay close.

Yesterday’s performance he was in complete control from the outset. He answered the Vikings scoring first with a TD drive of his own. He didnt relinquish the lead once he had it at 14-7. He ran for 74 yards v. the 34 he ran for in the first game. He kept drives alive and the only reason the Vikings had a chance in the end was the huge drop of Darius Slayton which would have been the 1st down to put the game away.

Slayton was almost Patrick Crayton.

Yet Jones hit him in stride in between the 8 and 6. A complete drop. His 4th quarter runs helped the Giants keep the time of possession and demoralized the Vikings. He became the 3rd QB in NFL playoff history throwing for 300 yards while rushing for 75. Oh…and this was his 1st playoff appearance.

Thats growth especially when his team was 9-7-1 upsetting a 13-4 team on the road. Before this game Kirk Cousins and the Vikings were a perceived superior quarterback amd team. Not now… Jones is closing in on a franchise QB contract. He will definitely earn it if he knocks off the #1 seed Philadelphia Eagles.

Speaking of a franchise QB contract, Dak signed one under heavy scrutiny here and other mainstream media outlets. He hasnt performed in the big games and it keeps showing. But the respect he and all Cowboys fans seek for him have to be earned on the field. Quit telling me he is great when I outlined his performance and psychology played out multiple times in the last 5 years.

He is the man in the arena and he has to earn it starting tonight. The 12 win Cowboys are traveling to an 8-9 Tampa Bay team and should win. Will Dak do it?? Well one thing to remember… this is the playoffs where srange things happen. The 1st time a losing team made the playoffs?? The Seattle Seahawks at 7-9 knocked off the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints 41-36. Made famous by Marshawn Lynch’s “Beast Quake” run.

 

The Chancellor of Football’s prediction is this is Dak’s final season as the starting QB in Dallas. He has to decide with tonight’s Wildcard performance in Tampa. He is the “man in the arena” and to do it he has to beat the QB whose documentary was titles tht in Tom Brady.

Dak, your mission, should you choose to accept it…

Until tonight… you are looking up to Daniel Jones in the division. Thanks for reading and please share the article.

2023 NFC Wildcard: San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks

Ahhhhh yes!! The NFL playoffs are upon us and the first matchup has two divisional foes that can’t stand one another. The 49ers are coming in hot having won 10 straight including a 21-13 win in Seattle just a month ago. The 49ers bring the NFL’s #1 ranked defense which plays at a blinding pace. Everywhere you look there is speed and Seattle has to establish Kenneth Walker early in this game and match the 49ers intensity & emotion in the first quarter.

However when you think back to the 1st game between these two, Walker and Rashad Penny combined for 25 yards on 10 carries. Which puts the ball sqarely on Taylor Blitz Times comeback player of the year Geno Smith. However a closer look shows how much the team has slowed after a torrid start.

In the 1st 10 games, Seattle scored over 27 points 5 times while only twice in the last 7. They haven’t scored 27 in any of the last 5.

Smith went 399 of 572 for 4,282 yards 30TDs and 11 ints. Do you realize 7 of the picks thrown were in the last 7 games as well? Two came in the finale against the Rams to even make it into the postseason.

Geno isn’t the most fleet of foot for an NFL QB and he will be hounded all day by a DE who is in Nick Bosa. Yes Mr 18 1/2 sacks coming out of his sprinter’s stance could be a step slower with today’s rain but will be a serious factor in determining today’s outcome.

Nick will chase Geno Smith all day today.

Seattle can’t overload to stop Bosa as fellow All Pros Fred Warner and Talanoa Hufanga will come on timely blitzes. Hufanga sacked Smith and forced a fumble the last time these teams played. He will be near the line of scrimmage to stop Walker and the running game and will be there to shut the door if Smith tries to scramble.

Offensively the 49ers need to stay aggressive in the running game and run “Power” and get away from bubble screens which can backfire with a wet football. These are needed to keep Seattle away from rookie QB Brock Purdy and dictate tempo and play with a lead.

With McCaffrey playing his first playoff game, he will be featured heavily today. A long time Taylor Blitz Times favorite should have 100 yards and 2 TDs today. With Kittle and Deebo Samuel as quick pass options and available for jet sweeps.

Misdirection plays will have a chance to break open today. Especially toward the end of a long drive. We know Coach Shanahan will stay patient and continue even with moderate success early. Its 3, 5, 5, 4 and boom 25 yards and a TD.

Seattle could get knocked out of this game early. They have to steal possessions with early turnovers to neutralize the crowd and gain strategic control of this football game.

Geno Smith can make plays to keep you in a football game but not the great play needed to win an important game.

San Francisco should roll today on a wet field 34-20. This is with Seattle scoring late to make it look closer.

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Ken Riley Belongs In The Pro Football Hall of Fame

Ken Riley has made it to the finalist stage for enshrinement. For those who want to know who he was and why he deserves enshrinement, I offer you this.

Taylor Blitz Times

There are several teams that have their best talents go unrecognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  The prevailing theme that has emerged are the lack of members from franchises that haven’t won a Super Bowl or an NFL championship in their existence. Even those that compiled impressive numbers during their careers. Enter Ken Riley of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Riley was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the last year of the American Football League in 1969. He teamed with fellow CB Lemar Parrish and FS Tommy Casanova to form one of the best secondaries of the 1970’s. Over a 15 year career ending in 1983, Riley intercepted 65 enemy passes. Good enough for 4th all time at the time of his retirement, and still ranks 5th just behind Rod Woodson.

A quiet player drafted out of Florida A & M, his career was overshadowed by other teammates and…

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