Taylor Blitz Times Coach of the Year: Andy Reid

The late Bum Phillips when discussing Don Shula’s coaching abilities once said “Shula can take his’n and beat your’n then take your’n and beat his’n.” In layman terms he could beat any opponent no matter the personnel he had or was given. This fits the 2013 season for several National Football League coaches but the one who’s coaching style best illustrates this is Chief’s coach Andy Reid.

Coach of the Year is Andy  Re....wait that's not Reid.

Coach of the Year is Andy Re….wait that’s not Reid.

Consider the fact Kansas City was coming off of the worst season in NFL history. Not only was the coaching staff headed by Romeo Crennel escorted out the door. The players left behind endured a 2-14 season, along with the suicide of former teammate Jovan Belcher. At the practice facility no less. In 2012 this team had lost 13 of it’s last 14 and scored just 211 points all year. Good for dead last in the NFL.

All Reid did was breathe life into an organization with a forgotten quarterback in Alex Smith. Whom San Francisco discarded when Colin Kaepernick stepped to the fore midway through last season. Consequently he provided Smith with his 6th offensive coordinator in 8 years.

2013 TBT Coach of The Year: Andy Reid

2013 TBT Coach of The Year: Andy Reid

Just as he had with Donovan McNabb, Jeff Garcia, Brett Favre, and a resurrected Michael Vick, he got the most out of his quarterback and made the playoffs. Smith finished with career highs in yardage (3,313), touchdowns (23) and nearly eclipsed his career low in interception percentage (1.4% in 2013 v 1.1% in 2011). By the way that led the league

It took awhile for the offense to get into a groove as the defense led the Chiefs to a 9-0 start. They finished 11-5 while scoring 430 points, good enough for 6th in the league, while allowing 305 points good enough for 6th defensively.

Aside from Smith, he performed this with players that had been with the Chiefs the previous year. His career was at a crossroads after being dismissed in Philadelphia. His message had grown stale as his Eagle’s free-fell from playoff contention losing 11 of 12.  Reid has his team heading to Indianapolis for a wild card tilt with the Colts this Saturday. However that game turns out this has been a successful season for both he and the Chiefs.

By the way… Taylor Blitz saw this coming: https://taylorblitztimes.com/2013/05/13/2013-kansas-city-chiefs-preview-tools-for-a-resurgence/

Honorable Mention:

2. Bill Belichick – What else needs to be said about Belichick’s coaching abilities?? In 2013 he began the season without the top 5 receivers from the year before. He endured the awful controversy that is the Aaron Hernandez murder case and steered his team onward. Then he loses two of his leaders in perennial Pro Bowler Vince Wilfork and leading tackler Jerrod Mayo for the season. Yet here they are 12-4 entering the playoffs as the #2 seed having already beaten #1 seed Denver in the regular season. He’s two wins away from coaching a record 6th Super Bowl and participating in his 9th.

Kiss the rings.

Kiss the rings.

He’s the greatest National Football League coach since Vince Lombardi without a doubt. Under normal circumstances he would be runaway coach of the year. He’ll have to settle for second on my list because he did have Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady to help guide the ship. The Patriots have played in the last two AFC Championship games and we had them predicted to make it to this one as well. Their missing key contributors and roll into the playoffs having won 5 of their last 6. One of those is over the Denver Broncos. Please don’t underscore that for it’s importance if they play again.

3. Chip Kelly – “Man he’s not going to win with that gimmicky college offense in the pros.” You can remember hearing that before the season and it died somewhere around week 7. I had my reservations as well but no one counted on Nick Foles becoming one of the National Football League’s best quarterbacks. Yet they have the NFL rushing champion in LeSean McCoy and the defense is making timely plays. He infused a new atmosphere in a place Andy Reid used to call home but he is using Reid’s old players. How he does in the NFL playoffs will dictate how he’ll take command of the NFC East next year.

Congratulations to Andy Reid…Taylor Blitz Times Coach of the Year

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Taylor Blitz 2013 in review: Thank You Readers

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 41,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 15 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Week 17: Bears v. Packers Becomes Jay Cutler’s Albatross

Once the Green Bay Packers announced Aaron Rodgers would start this week v. Chicago, the importance of winning this football game went up two fold for Jay Cutler. After the 54-11 debacle against the Philadelphia Eagles, thoughts were out there concerning his future as quarterback of the Bears. Head Coach Marc Trestman had made the difficult decision to sit effective backup Josh McCown for his starter. The offense had gelled with his play and was coming off a 45-28 drubbing of the Dallas Cowboys.

Jay Cutler is playing for his future this Sunday.

Jay Cutler is playing for his future this Sunday.

The Bears had been 3-3 with McCown as the starter and the offense had averaged 29.2 points per game with him at the helm. Actually higher than the 28 point average the team experienced with Cutler. The offense had been more diverse but more importantly they didn’t have the streaky play as they usually did with Jay.

Now  in a winner take all battle for the NFC North, here comes the nemesis he has failed to beat dating back to the 2010 NFC Championship. How important was that game?? It was the defining moment that sent Aaron Rodgers career into the stratosphere and left Cutler’s mired in the twilight between average and elite. He’s still haunted by that defeat. Perception is reality and everything about him has been in question from his demeanor to his play.

As they were establishing themselves in the NFC North, what gets lost is Cutler swept Rodgers and the Packers in 2009. They split in 2010 before that fateful meeting in the 2010 NFC Championship. From that point on he hasn’t beaten their most hated rival once. Now on the cusp of a contract year, the Bears have to decide if Cutler is worth $100 million to be the face of the franchise for the next 6 years. A hard decision when your chief rival has you in their hip pocket and believes you can’t beat them.

The Bears have done everything as a franchise to put him in place to be a winning quarterback. They brought in a Pro Bowl Tackle in Jermon Bushrod, drafted Kyle Long and Jordan Mills to solidify the offensive line. Now boast arguably the best set of receivers and running back with the development of Alshon Jeffrey. To watch Josh McCown outperform Cutler this year has the Bears wondering which free agent QB to bring back. Consider this:

  • McCown – 149 of 224 (66.5%) 1,829 yards  13 TDs  1 interception in 5 games
  • Cutler – 209 of 331 (63.1%) 2,395 yards  17 TDs 11 interceptions in 10 games

Do you sink $100 million into a Jay Cutler who hasn’t been able to win any big games against the Green Bay Packers?? Or do you sign a Josh McCown to a more cap friendly $30-40 million, keep the nucleus of the offense then draft and develop his heir apparent??

With a loss today, Cutler’s fate is sealed as they go the latter route.  Even with a win Cutler won’t be able to save his job with a one and done playoff scenario. He has to win convincingly today against Aaron Rodgers and win at least one playoff game to remain the Bears future. Chicago has transitioned to an offensive team under Marc Trestman and now he needs to decide on his quarterback. The Chancellor of Football believes Cutler’s fate is already sealed. We’ve watched this before. Consider this:

In 2010 going into the last game of the season, the Bears could knock the Packers out of the playoffs with a win in Lambeau on the last Sunday of the season. We watched Cutler muster only 3 points in a 10-3 loss then the Packers went on to win Super Bowl XLV. Fast forward to last week when they took the field after learning of Pittsburgh’s winning 38-31 over the Packers. With a chance to put their stamp on the division they get blown out 54-11 in Philadelphia?? This shows the mentality of a Jay Culter who disappears when he has the chance to  beat the bully and never does. It would be best for Bear fans today to invest less emotionally in this game. Josh McCown should still be starting. Cutler will lose this game today because it’s his make-up. The Cutler era should end today in Chicago with another loss to Green Bay.

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Week 15: Will A Dominant Team Please Stand Up?!??

The late great NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle used to speak all the time about parody in the National Football League. Yet what we have seen over the last four days may have been tantamount to what his wishes were but it leaves a lot to be desired.

127888192_crop_650x440First on Thursday night the 11-3 Denver Broncos, who had the inside pole position for home field advantage, lose to the 7-7 San Diego Chargers 27-20. All of a sudden the Patriots can have home field if they win out. Oops they slipped on a banana peel against the 8-6 Miami Dolphins 24-20 and dropped to 10-4. Sure the Patriots had won 5 of 6 before that but they needed last second wins in 3 of those. The Broncos had won 6 of 7, yet lost at Invesco Field. Not the message to send to the league when securing home field.

Greg Jennings and the Vikings stunned the Eagles.

Greg Jennings and the Vikings stunned the Eagles.

Then we move to the NFC East leading Philadelphia Eagles who were on a five game winning streak. All they had to do was keep their #2 ranked offense on track against a 31st ranked defense in Minnesota. Nevermind the Vikings were 3-7-1 in their last 11 games. They fell 48-30 and the chance for the Dallas Cowboys to tie them in the division.

The Cowboys knew that when they took the field agianst the Green Bay Packers led by back-up quarterback Matt Flynn. They stormed out to a 26-3 halftime lead, then did their best Run & Shoot impression and refused to run the football and use the clock. The Packers roared back and won 37-36 scoring on all five second half possessions and Tony Romo… sigh…pulled a Tony Romo. The 8-6 Eagles accidentally still lead the 7-7 Cowboys in the NFC East.

Did we say something about accidentally leading their division?? Take the Cincinnati Bengals. They took the field after the Patriots lost and now can take the #2 seed if they won their game with the Pittsburgh Steelers and won their next two games. Then they hit their heads on the goalposts in Pittsburgh and was down 21-0 at the end of the first quarter en route to a 30-20 loss to their division rival. Viola!! Back to the #3 spot that would have them playing on wildcard weekend.

The Bengals gave up 21 points to the Steelers before they got out of the 1st quarter.

The Bengals gave up 21 points to the Steelers before they got out of the 1st quarter.

Even the Arizona Cardinals almost pulled a fast one on themsleves. In the hunt for the final NFC playoff spot with an 8-5 record, and winners of 6 out of 7 contests traveled to Tennessee. They were up 34-17 in the fourth over a Titan team that had lost their starting quarterback for the season and losers of 4 of their last 5 contests. Wouldn’t you know they played down to their competition and allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick to look like Joe Montana in roaring back to tie the game at 34. Just before the Cardinals could botch their season they squeezed out a 37-34 win.

Que the video short of Vince Lombardi screaming “What the hell is going on out here?!?”

Next to screw things up are the Baltimore Ravens. Thanks to the Bengals gaffe last night, they control their own destiny and can win the AFC North. No way can they in this weekend of parody not screw this up and lose to the Detroit Lions tonight. Stay tuned.

As for the teams that are making a case for being dominant, the Seattle Seahawks just finished their 2013 road stanza with a gaudy 6-2 record. Their next away game will be Super Bowl XLIII in the Meadowlands with just one more win. Considering they haven’t lost at home in nearly two years, this is a case for dominance. Counting their  6-0 home record, Seattle’s average margin of victory at home is by 3 touchdowns at 18.6.

Cold beer thrown on him from Oakland fans couldn't cool down Jamaal Charles near record day.

Cold beer thrown on him from Oakland fans couldn’t cool down Jamaal Charles near record day.

The Chiefs aren’t quite making a case for dominance but Jamaal Charles is. Andy Reid and the coaches should be ashamed they didn’t pay attention to the fact that Charles was 1 touchdown short of tying Gale Sayers, Dub Jones, and Ernie Nevers all time record of 6 touchdowns. With 5 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter you’d think someone would get that information to the sideline. Hell George Halas had pulled Gale Sayers with 5 touchdowns until the crowd called for Sayers to go for another.  Well he’ll have to settle for the Chiefs record book with his 215 yards from scrimmage 5 TDs including 4 receiving.

Lost in the shuffle is the fact that a defensive first team the first part of the season has transformed into an offensive team. Going into yesterday’s battle with Oakland, the Chiefs had averaged 37 points per game over the last four weeks. After yesterday’s 56-31 win, that averaged moved up to 41.75 over five games. Slightly better than AFC West rival Denver’s 32.5 points per game. Yet Denver swept the Chiefs and both have 11-3 records. The Chiefs are forced to see if the Broncos will blink in their final contests @ Houston then @ Oakland.  As you’ve just read with all these teams, stranger things just happened.

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Protecting The Quarterback: A Knee Jerk Reaction

Remember when Jack Lambert was quoted “Quarterbacks should wear skirts.” back in 1975?? Well with another rule change or two they may actually be doing that. What happened yesterday was a complete travesty that could wind up derailing the season for the San Franciso 49ers.

Drew Brees is about to be sacked by Ahmad Brooks of the 49ers.

Drew Brees is about to be sacked by Ahmad Brooks of the 49ers.

Toward the end of yesterday’s game between the Niners battle with the New Orleans Saints, the game had boiled down to a critical third down. San Francisco had played a brilliant game on the road and were about to put on the finishing touches on what would have been a 20-17 win. Up until the moment of the hit, the Niners had held Drew Brees to just 200 yards passing the entire game.

It was 3rd and 2 from the San Francisco 35. Brees takes a Pistol snap and takes the equivalent of a seven step drop when Ahmad Brooks levels him. The ball comes out and Patrick Willis recovered back at the 48 with 3:17 to go. The first substantial drive of the fourth quarter by the Saints had been squashed and the Niners could run out the clock in a quiet Superdome….right?? Well there was a flag on the prescription turf.

Brooks was flagged for hitting Brees in the head.  Replay clearly showed that he hit him across the chest causing a fumble.

Brooks was flagged for hitting Brees in the head. Replay clearly showed that he hit him across the chest causing a fumble.

Unecessary roughness was called on Brooks indicating he had hit Brees in the head. During the call we heard the ref describe “attacking the neck of the quarterback”. The Saints retained possession and thanks to the 15 yard penalty were in position to tie the game with a field goal, changing the momentum.

The turn of events led to the Saints, thanks to the penalty were in field goal range to tie the game. Then the subsequent change of momentum stymied San Francisco’s last drive and  New Orleans last second kick to win it 23-20. A travesty had occurred with the Niners losing that game. You didn’t go away feeling the best team won, you felt something else. The Niners hadn’t been cheated like that since the 1983 NFC Championship Game.

The over-protection of quarterbacks is at an all time high and it’s ruining the game of football. On the play in question Ahmad Brooks came storming around the strong side and hit Drew Brees high but with his arm and shoulder across the chest. Because Brees wasn’t ready for it and didn’t brace himself causing a whiplash effect doesn’t make it a penalty. Brooks didn’t hit him in the head nor did he use his in making the tackle. Now thanks to a terrible call, the defending NFC Champions may not make the playoffs with a 6-4 record. They now have 3 conference losses and tie breaker advantages to several teams.

If this is a roughing the passer penalty, I'm from Mars.

If this is a roughing the passer penalty, I’m from Mars.

Quarterbacks are playing the game of football too. Personally, I like seeing quarterbacks knocked about, it’s one of the reasons you’re reading the Taylor BLITZ Times and not the Taylor Long Pass Times. We here understand the necessary measures but this is getting ridiculous. Thanks to the knee injury suffered by Tom Brady in week 1 of 2008, a falling lineman can’t do so into the legs of a quarterback. The league always had a rule where if the defender was reaching to knock down a pass and hit the helmet, it’s a penalty. Now the referee is worried that Brooks hit Brees in the neck when replay showed clearly he didn’t. Never knew a quarterback’s neck was off limits. By the time we put in quarterback hook slides and such….Jack Lambert was 100% right. Not only should they wear skirts, they should take off their shoulder pads and helmets also.

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Styles Make Great Fights: Kansas City Chiefs v. Denver Broncos Week 11

Now the rest of the sporting press has come to recognize what Taylor Blitz Times readers already knew. The Kansas City Chiefs were going to be a force in the 2013 campaign as we predicted they would win the AFC West. Well, not so fast. Their mission, should they choose to accept it, is to go into Invesco Field and stop Peyton Manning’s 8-1 Denver Broncos. However the Chiefs come in as the NFL’s last unbeaten team and a perfect 9-0 record.

Tamba Hali has 9 sacks in the Chiefs 9 games. Did you know that is only good enough for second on the team??

Tamba Hali has 9 sacks in the Chiefs 9 games. Did you know that is only good enough for second on the team??

The obvious match-up pits the #1 offense of the Broncos with the Chiefs 9th ranked defense. In all 9 games Kansas City hasn’t given up more than 17 points in any game this season. They lead the league with 36 sacks, twenty between Justin Houston (11) and Tamba Hali (9) alone. The Chiefs are also 6th against the pass having intercepted 12 passes and giving up the 3rd fewest passing touchdowns with 9.

Hosting this big time match-up is the NFL’s “point a minute” offense. Peyton Manning has 33 touchdowns in only nine games. Thirty three?? Yikes… The Broncos have scored 371 points so far this season. How significant is that? Last year’s Super Bowl champion Ravens scored 398 the entire season. You were staring at one of history’s finest scoring teams. With five of their last seven being played outside in colder weather, their scoring should slow some.

Moreno has had a big 2013 and may need to be a bigger factor down the stretch.

Moreno has had a big 2013 and may need to be a bigger factor down the stretch.

The real question comes when the Broncos two backup tackles have to line up and take on Hali and Justin Houston. Will they decide to run the ball with Knowshon Moreno (521 yds / 8TDs) to keep the defense honest?? The Chiefs are only 19th against the run and Nose Tackle Dontari Poe (36 tackles /4.5 sack /3 passes defensed) is on the short list of defensive linemen up for Taylor Blitz Times Defensive Player of the Year. Will Denver stay committed enough to the run??

They have to get the ball out of Manning’s hands quick with the Chiefs rush coming at them. Kansas City needs to press the Denver receivers and forcing Manning (nursing a high ankle sprain) to hold onto the football for close to 2 seconds before the ball can be thrown. If they do all of these things, the Chiefs have a big chance to win this game.

To win this game, the Chiefs have to rope them into a defensive slugfest and possess the football. Right now the best the Chiefs can do is a low scoring affair won 20-17 or 17-14. If manning can get to 20 first, the game is over and Kansas City will have to wait for the rubber match in two weeks. Alex Smith can’t turn the football over and the line needs to open holes for Jamaal Charles (726 yards / 6 TDs) and a big play is needed from Dexter McCluster.

Funny how folks shape their arguments huh?? Last year when The Chancellor of Football said the Denver Broncos ran out to a 13-3 record and won the AFC West, they hadn’t played anybody. The rest of the AFC West was mired in a 17 game losing streak. Now Bronco supporters are saying the same thing about Kansas City and they might be right. Yet did you know Denver hasn’t beat a team with a winning record in 2013?? That’s right they were beaten in Indianapolis and are 0-1 against a team with a winning record. They were 1-3 last year against playoff teams.

Let’s face facts…. Peyton Manning and the Denver offense could be off for 50 minutes, then poof score 28 and are well ahead in a rout. The Chiefs coming out party is one where they have to play a grind it out game for all 60 minutes. Possess the football and run it at Denver and keep Manning off the field.

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