The Jaguars can learn valuable lessons from the teams that played in the NFL Championship Games this past Sunday.
No doubt it’s true that the Jaguars were part of the “in crowd” in 2017. The precipitous fall in 2018 left the team with many questions. Many reasons and excuses have been discussed including, injuries, lack of team unity, lack of team discipline, the regression of Blake Bortles, and poor draft choices in the first two rounds.
There are many excuses. When looking at the championship games the teams in the playoffs have many factors in common. Let’s take a look.
1.) The top teams all have good to great quarterbacks. Tom Brady and Drew Brees are future Hall of Famers. Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff are impressive newbies. All four teams had more passing yards by far than rushing yards.
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The Los Angeles Rams had 301 passing and 77 rushing, the New Orleans Saints had 242 passing to 48 rushing, the New England Patriots had 348 passing to 176 rushing, and the Kansas City Chiefs had 249 passing to 41 rushing.
To add the teams scored 26, 23, 37, and 31 points. The old adage “defense wins championships” may be true but the offense doesn’t hurt.
2.) Each team with the exception of the Chiefs had at least two productive running backs. The Rams had Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson, the Saints had Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, and the Patriots had Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead.
It’s easy to see that if one of your running backs has an off day another can be plugged in. Also, each back takes less pounding and is less likely to be injured.
3.) There were fewer penalties and less undisciplined play which makes the game more enjoyable. The Rams had 7 penalties for 64 yards, the Saints had 3 for 20 yards, the Pats had 6 for 61 yards and the Chiefs had 4 for 28.
I observed no taunting or blatant roughness penalties and no one was ejected from the games.
4.) The Patriots, Saints, and Chiefs each placed 11 players on injured reserve in 2018. The Rams placed 8 on IR. (The Jaguars placed 21 players on IR)
A healthy team is a winning team. It’s important to look at training methods to get the most production with the least injuries. It’s a common theme we have discussed here on Black and Teal.
5.) Most games have at least one bad call. There was the mysterious non-call of pass interference in the Saints/Rams game and the so-called roughing the passer in the Patriots/Chiefs game. Also, we will never forget #mylesjackwasntdown.
No doubt it’s easy to blame the refs for the loss of a game but games last 60 minutes and there are many opportunities to win.
6.) Great coaching makes a difference. The coaches with teams in the Championship Sunday games were: Bill Belichick, Andy Reid, Sean Payton, and Sean McVay. Three of the four are highly respected long term coaches and the other is a young highly innovative coach.
Great coaches have solid game plans but are not afraid to make adjustments during the game if needed. In addition, their teams are motivated and rarely make stupid mistakes.
It is obvious why these teams played on Championship Sunday.
They had good quarterbacks, two or more running backs, avoided silly penalties, placed a minimal number of players on IR, and had very good coaching. It’s called simple goals.