How to have success in the NFL
By Joey Bats Fitzgerald
What I say now is probably going to make it seem simple to win on a consistent basis. Meaning 8 to 10 wins a year. Well it’s not, but if there are any owners, general managers, or head coaches out there looking for advice I’m here if you need me. Today I’m going to go over basics in winning in the NFL. I’m not going to get into complicated schemes and such just the basic. I also have a few thoughts to possibly new statistics that’s very similar to baseball’s sabermetrics. Maybe someone smarter than I can find a formula. Here we go.
The fact of the matter is you don’t need a star running back or star wide receivers. Of course you need talented enough players to make the right routes and catches, but that’s not the bulk of it. To win games you need a franchise quarterback and a solid offensive line. Don’t believe me? Look at the New England Patriots in the early 2000’s. Tom Brady had a solid offensive line and some pretty average receivers. Who was making Super Bowl catches for the Patriots? David Patten and David Boston, two average receivers. Add in Kevin Faulk at the running back position and this makes my case right.
This is where my statistic idea comes in. In baseball there is this stat called WAR. Which stands for Wins Above Replacement Level. It shows the value of a player to his ball club. Now a replacement players would be have a 0.00 WAR. In football I would like to see something similar. This would make it a lot easier to get a bunch of average wide receivers and running backs to add to your roster, and figure out their actual value to your team. Statistic majors get to it.
Think about my statement though. A franchise quarterback should be good enough to get the ball to your targets. A solid offensive line should be able to protect your quarterback and let your running back pick up yardage. Do you notice how these no name guys become good? Look at Arian Foster or Danny Amendola. These two guys were nobodies at their positions, but are considered fairly good now. Especially Arian Foster. Build through the line and find yourself a franchise quarterback. You’ll be winning lots of games for years to come.
Now actually trying to do it is a different story. There’s a lot of factors that go into it. One is timing. You could have your franchise QB, but your offensive line is young an inexperienced or even terrible. So you never get to see that QB’s full potential. It’s sad, but winning in the NFL is a puzzle. You need the right pieces to win games.
Like I said earlier. I’m not going to be throwing out advanced schemes like Rob Ryan’s blitzes. On the defensive end a lot of people wonder whether you rather have an effective pass rush or a great secondary. Many say it’s similar to the chicken or the egg conversation. I don’t think that at all. There’s a very easy way to determine this. You may have a terrible secondary, but your pass rush is so good that you get a lot of QB pressures and that forces bad throws. Resulting in turnovers and possession changes.
If you have a dominant secondary, but an average pass rush you may find yourself losing games. If you give any QB enough time in the pocket they’re going to complete passes. Even if you have Darrelle Revis and Deion Sanders on the same squad. Well maybe not in that case…
I was recently asked by a friend would I rather have Darrelle Revis or DeMarcus Ware? I responded that’s easy. DeMarcus Ware. DeMarcus Ware does three things while Revis only does one. Revis shuts down one side of the field. That’s huge I agree, but DeMarcus Ware can effect way more. He can stop the running game. Ware can sack, hit, and pressure the QB. That’s two things, but the second thing I mentioned actually accounts for two. When you pressure the QB it makes him speed up making him more prone to mistakes. This doesn’t go for just Ware and Revis though. It’s simply any elite pass rusher vs. an elite defensive back.
Build from the defensive line and the line backers on defense. Trust me.
Many say special teams wins games. I like to think playing solid all around football wins games. So I guess those people are 1/3 right. Having a punter that can flip the field is nice. Likewise with a kicker that can make 50 yard field goals and a solid kickoff unit. Special teams is more about coaching. You need to coach up good tackling, blocking, and agility. Things that coaches need from their players is speed. Getting down the field to let the opposing team gain as little as possible is key.
Finding a good kicker can be easy if your scouting is good, it’s finding the ones that can kick in the clutch that’s the difference between good and great ones. Same goes with punters.
On the offensive end of special teams it’s all about not committing turnovers. Turnovers kill your team, especially after not just having the ball. Also smart decisions about taking it out of the endzone can help your team. With the new kickoff rule this is more of an art than ever.
This game is about inches. Being able to own the field position game usually means you have a team that’s good at special teams.
That was everything is terms of building a team to win. Now is what actually has to be done on the field.
1. Don’t turn the ball over/Get turnovers –
The best defense is your offense. Holding onto the ball will help you win games. Sustaining long drives for touchdowns will win you more games than you lose. Turnovers are going to happen over a 16 game season. Limiting them is the key to success.
Having a good turnover differential means you had a lot of possessions than your opponent. Which usually means more points because you had more chances.
2. Don’t commit penalties –
I see it all the time late in games during big situations. A false start, holding, or offsides penalty is called setting your team up to lose. At the end of games when you need point 5-10 yards can mean a lot.
3. Convert 3rd Downs/Stop 3rd Down Conversions
Third downs keep drives alive. They are a killer to your defense and an uplifting for your offense.
4. Score in the Red Zone/ Stops in the Red Zone
Scoring in the Red Zone can be difficult if you make it to complicated. Usually a push upfront from your offensive line can get you in quickly. Other times a play action can freeze the secondary leaving your tight end wide open in the back of the endzone.
Ever hear bend don’t break? Giving up a field goal is a lot better than giving up a touchdown. A good run defense can usually shut down the opponents run game and a solid secondary can crowd the endzone. I believe redzone stops are a little bit more luck than skill.
You’re Welcome Miami Dolphins. With this plan you might be like Walsh’s 49ers.