If Tom Brady needed any reassurance that leaving New England for Tampa Bay was the right decision, Week 6 provided enough evidence.
Brady’s Buccaneers obliterated the previously unbeaten Green Bay Packers 38-10 with a dominant defensive performance while only needing 166 passing yards from the 43-year-old quarterback. That is an ideal setting for Brady at this point of his career. He is surrounded by elite weapons at wide receiver, an emerging running back and one of the most improved offensive lines in football. Even Rob Gronkowski is getting into the action.
Brady is no longer required to carry an entire team, as the Bucs have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL led by a defense that is extremely sound at all three levels. Tampa Bay is the second team in the last 20 years to have 20-plus sacks, 10-plus takeaways while allowing fewer than 70 yards rushing per game through their first six games. The other team to accomplish that, the 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers, won the Super Bowl.
Tampa Bay's defensive DVOA has now improved to -29.1%, 10 percentage points better than anyone else and ranked among the top 20 defenses we've ever measured through 6 games (since 1985). (3/3)
— Aaron Schatz 🏈 (@FO_ASchatz) October 19, 2020
As of Monday, the Bucs rank No. 1 in DVOA, a metric by Football Outsiders that measures overall quality of play and adjusts for opponents, while Brady’s former team in New England struggled on Sunday in an ugly 18-12 home loss to the Denver Broncos. The most telling thing for Brady had to be seeing how much New England’s passing game was held back due to an underwhelming group of receivers and tight ends, an area that privately frustrated the quarterback last season.
Brady has to be thrilled with his decision at this point.
Jets should hold onto Gase
The New York Jets should not fire head coach Adam Gase. As crazy as that sounds, given how poorly the Jets look every week, it is in the best long-term interest of the organization to keep Gase for the rest of the season. Having an inept coach paired with a terrible roster is the best way to ensure the Jets finish 0-16, which is the best possible scenario for the organization at this point.
The Jets are barren of talent and need to do everything they can to secure Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, the best draft prospect since Andrew Luck, which will ultimately serve as a recruiting tool in their search for a legitimate coach. As painful as the games are to watch in the short term, keeping Gase is undoubtedly the best possible route to land Lawrence. Is it really worth risking the chance to snag a franchise QB by firing your coach to win a few meaningless games down the stretch? Absolutely not.
Why did Viking extend Cousins?
The Vikings were entering the final year of one of the most overpriced contracts in the NFL, and rather than see how the season played out in a rebuilding year for the franchise, they decided to hand Kirk Cousins a two-year extension worth $66 million in March.
They have to be full of buyer’s remorse, as Cousins’ play has been close to disastrous in a 1-5 start to the season. He’s tossed 10 interceptions in six games (his career high is 13) and has only once thrown for more than 260 passing yards, most of which came in garbage time Sunday in an abysmal performance against the lowly Atlanta Falcons, pushing the Vikings even further out of the playoff race.
Cousins is the definition of QB purgatory, similar to Andy Dalton and Jared Goff: good enough to simply get you to the playoffs, but not good enough to win a championship without being hidden. The Vikings did a good job of hiding his deficiencies last season, using a ton of play action under offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, but his previous flaws as a passer have resurfaced this season. At this point they likely would have walked away, but now he’s on the books for two more years at over $30 million per. That’s the kind of decision that haunts a franchise in a salary cap sport. Extending Cousins didn’t fit with the timeline of the organization in March and it makes even less sense now. It remains one of the puzzling decisions of the offseason.
Kirk Cousins is the first player with 0 Pass TD & 3 interceptions in a half this season.
Entering today, the Falcons had allowed the highest Total QBR (81.8) in the NFL, 15 Pass TD to just 2 Int, and had not held an opponent scoreless in the first half.
The Falcons lead 20-0. pic.twitter.com/0kdTJlmaPQ
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 18, 2020
Tannehill has Titans in contention
At the opposite end of the spectrum of offseason quarterback decisions are the Tennessee Titans, who have been greatly rewarded by doubling down on Ryan Tannehill. The Titans QB has played like an MVP candidate this season and is statistically the most efficient quarterback in the league after an incredible performance against the Houston Texans in Week 6. Tannehill, who finished 30-of-41 for 360 yards and four touchdowns, drove the team down the field for a game-tying score with less than two minutes left to play before setting up the game-winning touchdown in overtime.
Tannehill is the latest of many to excel after leaving Gase’s coaching and the Titans were absolutely right to hand him a long-term contract in the offseason, something that was doubted by many after his breakout in a small sample last year. The Titans are seeing immediate dividends with a 5-0 start, and thanks to their excellent quarterback play along with star running back Derrick Henry, Tennessee is a legitimate contender in the AFC.
Ryan Tannehill has been the best QB in the NFL as the Titans starter.
Since Week 7, 2019:
117.3 pass rating 1st
35 pass TD T-2nd
8.95 yds/att 1st
69.8 comp% 3rd
12 Wins T-2nd pic.twitter.com/odozgBr9X5
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) October 19, 2020
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