Missed tackles are a big problem this year

Midweek Gameplan 11-16-11

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Something that I think has been overlooked this season is the effect of the new collective bargaining agreement on teams this year. A new provision in the agreement is likely having a very big effect on the Bucsthis year.

The new CBA allows a very limited number of contact practices this year, This is a big problem for the Bucs because one of their big issues this year has been tackling. If they can’t work on this in practice, it is hard to do improve it in a game. The coaches can preach technique and positioning all they want, but there is no substitute for actually tackling someone.  The team has reported that they are going to have a couple of “padded” practices this week, which should help, but it may be too little too late.

I understand that the limited number of contact practices was due to concern over the player’s overall health and their bodies braking down over the course of the season. I just think the new CBA went overboard in how few contact practices a team can have over the season. A good contact practice can go a long way towards righting the ship after a tough loss where a team lacked discipline and looked sloppy.  Hopefully that happens this week

The shear number of missed tackles this year is very concerning. A couple of games this year could have been very different if the defense was able to make a tackle initially at the point of attack.

Injuries and Commentary

Defensive end George Johnson injured his knee this week and was placed on injured reserve.  I haven’t heard any further details on this since the game, but it likely wouldn’t matter anyway as he was in danger of being demoted this week anyway.  The other major injury to the Bucs is to their confidence and their egos this week.  They have now lost three in a row, and that will start to get a team down.  They need some type of rebound in the next couple of weeks, otherwise, they may end up going the wrong way this year.  Don’t underestimate how much confidence and momentum go in football.

NFL Matters

It is amazing how every time the Colts are mentioned for being in line for Andrew Luck, there is something in the headline about what Peyton Manning’s feelings are towards it. I understand the loyalty to a franchise player who has almost single handedly made a franchise successful for over a decade, but it is a team decision which can effect the next fifteen years of the franchise. Manning may not play again, ever, and the team needs to move on.  Even if he does come back for a year or two, a rookie quarterback can sit behind him and learn from him similar to the way Aaron Rogers did in Green Bay.  This just seems to be a non-story to me, but it leads the headlines on a lot of sport sites.

Fantasy Focus

This has really been an odd year for quarterbacks in the fantasy world this year.  Sure Rogers, Brady, and Brees have been studs all year, but who predicted Manning wouldn’t play, Rivers would be mediocre, and Vick would not score much even though he has been relatively healthy until this week.  Cam Newton, Tim Tebow, and Matt Hasselbeck were all afterthoughts on draft day, but have exceeded expectations recently.  Now with Schaub, Cassel, and perhaps Vick out, people are scrambling for back-ups for the remainder of the season.

Usually, it is receivers that are cycled through the year and come out of nowhere.  I wrote at the beginning of the year that you should draft a stud quarterback early, and that was effective in previous years.  This year, plenty were there for the picking on the waiver wire in the early weeks, and people who ignored quarterbacks early in the draft are now dominating their leagues.  Funny how things can change so much from year to year.

At The End Of The Day

The whole situation is really sad at Penn State over the past week and a half.  I don’t know how all this was kept under wraps for so long and then all came out in the middle of the season, but it has completely decimated the area which is very passionate about football.  Unfortunately, it will only likely get much worse before it gets better and it will likely be many years before the program recovers.  This is very sad for the current players and recent signees, who had absolutely nothing to do with the program when all of this occurred.

Until next week, why is Marv Albert announcing football games?

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