Coaches Overcoming Early-Season Woes

The 2017 NFL season got off to an ugly start with teams looking rusty and players making silly mistakes they usually don't make. After the first week of the season, the sloppiness of the games were attributed to different things. Some blamed the fact that coaches sat their starters for most of the preseason, there wasn't enough practice time during the offseason, fewer good offensive linemen coming out of college, and defenses catching up to offenses.

Despite the excuses and the sloppy play, betting odds for NFL games were not affected by the poor play.

Now that the first quarter of the season is over, the play has improved thanks to smart coaches being able to overcome the obstacles and actually coaching their teams.

It is obvious there is a lack of good quarterback play in the league this year if players like Scott Tolzien, Matt Glennon, and Tom Savage actually started the season as the starting quarterbacks of some teams. The fact that the top quarterbacks in the league are in their 30s also doesn't help.

The good news for NFL fans is the quarterback play in the league has been known to randomly dip sometimes, but usually always bounces back.

The offensive line play in the league is something that also has to pick up. Thanks to the spread offense in college, which relies on quick-strike play, more offensive linemen are entering the league without having to do many of the basic things required to play their position in the NFL.

Things have been getting worse with offensive linemen that this year was the first time in the history of the NFL that no offensive lineman was taken with the first 15 picks in the draft. The fact that the league limited padded practices also hasn't helped with the offensive linemen development.

Geoff Schwartz, a former offensive lineman, called the offensive line the position that needs the most practice time in pads. He also said the players are coming in less technically ready than they used to be thanks to the offenses being run in college and the lack of practice reps in pads.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick also shared the same sentiment as Schwartz. Belichick compared the inability to practice in pads with golf. He compared the offensive linemen being unable to practice in pads to a golfer allowed to hit driving shots, but not allowed to go on the putting green. He said the golfer's driving skills will obviously be better than their putting skills because they were able to practice their driving but not their putting.

League defenses are also catching up to the things that offenses are doing, like the shorter throws, extra tight ends, receivers, and running backs at the line of scrimmage, that act as both blockers and receivers depending on what the defenses give them.

Some teams have been able to find success this year by being more creative than their opponents. The Kansas City Chiefs, Patriots, Los Angeles Rams, Tennessee Titans, and Houston Texans have done a lot of things with their groupings and formations, while throwing in plays like the read option and play-action to throw defenses off.

Even though some coaches will continue using the lack of practice time or the fact that colleges run a lot of spread offenses as excuses why they aren't winning games, their excuses won't carry a lot of weight because other coaches are adapting and still winning games.

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