Once again, it's time to gear up for this week's slate of NFL games with analysis from the best in the business -- Greg Cosell of NFL Films and ESPN's "NFL Matchup." Greg gives you a sense of the week's upcoming games you won't get anywhere else, based on his conversations with players and coaches past and present, and his OCD-level evaluation of coach's tape. Since the podcast was recorded on Friday morning, we started by reviewing the Buffalo Bills' Thursday night win over the Miami Dolphins.
Here are the Sunday and Monday games, in order of discussion:
Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons
Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
New York Jets at St. Louis Rams
New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers
On Ryan Tannehill's recent struggles: "Let's be realistic. How many times have I talked to you and to others about the fact that playing quarterback in the NFL when you're young is a process? There are ups and downs. Usually, the downs occur for a young quarterback when the rest of the team starts to go down as well. It's easy to point to Ryan Tannehill, and he's not been as sharp as he has been since the Colts game -- a game they lost, but he played extremely well. His two next games, which were last night and last Sunday, he's not been as sharp. But all of a sudden, a team that was playing very good defense early in the season, and a team that was running the ball very effectively, is doing neither of those two things. That has made it a lot harder for a rookie quarterback to play. There are reasons for this that are not just about Ryan Tannehill."
On Tony Romo, and the "late-in-the-down" quarterback: "Romo has been up and down, both in his reading of defenses and his decision-making. I thought that last week, even though the Cowboys won, he played a little fast and was over-reactive in the pocket. And a lot of people say, 'Well, you would be too, behind that offensive line.' But that misses the point. Early-in-the-down quarterbacks get rid of the ball within the precise timing of the offense. That's Manning, Brady and Brees. They compensate for potentially poor offensive line play, because the ball comes out. Late-in-the-down quarterbacks -- and Romo fits more into that category -- make an offensive line look worse than it is, because the ball's not out often enough within the precise timing of the offense, and the design of a given play. The flipside of that is that Romo has the ability to be very effective late in the down and compensate for his o-line, because he's able to move and make plays. But then, you get into this improvisational, random element of quarterback play, and as we know, that leads to inconsistency."
On why Philadelphia's defense is even worse against the long pass under Todd Bowles than it was under Juan Castillo: "Let's talk about what the Eagles think they're going to be -- the overall philosophy. They believe they're going to score explosively, early in games through the first and second quarters, be ahead by a reasonable amount, force the other team to be one-dimensional in the second half, and then, rush the quarterback. That's their world view, OK? The Eagles have scored 14 first-quarter points all season. Therefore, they can't play the way they want to play. The defense is not the problem -- the offense is the problem. They expected to be ahead at halftime, and then the game changes for the other team. Their template was more like the old Colts approach, where Peyton Manning would get you ahead, and Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis would pin their ears back and rush the passer. Well, you can't play that way or you can't score."
As with everything involving Greg Cosell, this podcast is a must-listen for those fans of advanced tape analysis. Subscribe to the Shutdown Corner iTunes link (in iTunes, go to "Advanced/Subscribe to Podcast," and paste this link in: http://ysportspods.podbean.com/category/shutdown/feed/). You can also use the link below to either left-click and listen, or right-click to save to your computer.