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In today’s Cover 3:
The impact of coordinators over head coaches
The casualties of the portal and NIL world
How ‘bout Jared Goff, huh!?
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Coordinators Over Head Coach
The gridiron glory of the Philadelphia Eagles last year was a sight to behold. They surged through the NFC playoffs, an unstoppable force, even as Brock Purdy's injury in the title game sparked endless 'what-ifs.'
Yet, the Eagles soared to the Super Bowl, where Jalen Hurts shone brightly, and the team stood toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in a clash for the ages.
Off To A Hot Start
Fast forward, and after an offseason of savvy moves by Howie Roseman, the Eagles started this season with a scorching 10-1 record. But then, an unforeseen plummet. A 1-5 finish that left everyone scratching their heads – myself included.
I had my doubts in the spring, questioning the impact of losing both coordinators post-Super Bowl. Jonathan Gannon took his strategic mind to the Arizona Cardinals, while Shane Steichen brought his offensive wizardry to the Indianapolis Colts.
As Philly fans scrutinize every move of Nick Sirianni, let's take a moment to reflect. This downturn might not just be about the head coach's decisions.
It shines a light on a truth often overshadowed: great coordinators can elevate a good head coach to greatness. But without top-notch coordinators, even the best head coach can struggle.
A Perfect Match For Philly
Sirianni is a dynamo, a perfect match for Philly's spirit. His leadership, his way of inspiring and holding the team together, has won over the locker room. This isn't about his capabilities; it's about the undeniable void left by Steichen and Gannon.
Steichen, in particular, demonstrated his prowess by nearly pushing the Colts to the playoffs, even with Gardner Minshew stepping in for an injured Anthony Richardson.
Can’t Forget Gannon
And let's not forget Gannon. He took an underdog Cardinals team, with win predictions scraping the bottom of the barrel, and turned them into a squad that rattled cages across the league.
They played with heart, pulling off stunning upsets and showcasing a resilience that often reflects the strategic acumen of the coaching staff.
A Lesson Learned
This season has taught us a lesson: a team can thrive under a good head coach, but it's the coordinators who often hold the keys to unlocking the true potential of a team.
They are the architects of victory, often operating behind the scenes, crafting game plans that turn players into champions and moments into memories.
In Philadelphia, the departure of two such architects revealed the structural integrity of a team isn't solely reliant on the head coach, no matter how great they may be. It's a symbiotic relationship, a trifecta of leadership where each role is crucial.
The Eagles' tale is a testament to the power of great coordinators and a reminder to the football world: the best head coach can only fly as high as their coordinators will elevate them.
As the offseason looms and fans across Philadelphia reflect on what could have been, it's crucial to recognize the collective effort that propels a team to greatness. As the Eagles regroup and rebuild, the search for strategic minds to fill the void left by Steichen and Gannon will be pivotal.
The right coordinators could be the catalysts for a revival, leading to the soaring heights the Eagles and their fans so dearly aspire to reach once again.
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Mississippi State Athletics
Friendly Fire and Casualties in the World of NIL College Football
In the ever-evolving landscape of NIL college football, the past week has been a whirlwind of changes. Coaches have been on the move - some fired, some promoted, others opting for retirement.
The transfer portal has been abuzz with big names making pivotal decisions, either returning to school or taking the plunge into the NFL, their journeys often chronicled through those glossy Instagram posts we all follow.
Amidst this flux, there's a narrative that stands out, a tale of sheer misfortune. It's the story of Will Rogers, the former Mississippi State Bulldog quarterback.
Just a few weeks ago, Rogers, having made a name for himself at Mississippi State, decided to leverage the transfer portal for his final year. He made the move to Washington, stepping in for Michael Penix Jr.
On paper, it seemed like a masterstroke. Why would Washington's coach, fresh off leading the team to a national title, think of leaving? The program was financially robust, about to enter a new conference, and brimming with momentum.
Barring an unforeseen event like Nick Saban's retirement and a vacancy at Alabama, there seemed no reason for a change.
Nick Saban Retired
But then the unforeseeable happened. Nick Saban retired, and Kalen DeBoer, Washington's celebrated coach, seized the opportunity to helm Alabama. Suddenly, Rogers found himself in a quagmire.
DeBoer's departure to a program with no quarterback vacancy, thanks to Jalen Mills' return, was just the beginning. The subsequent arrival of Jed Fish at Washington, with rumors of him bringing his quarterback Noah Fifita from Arizona, left Rogers in an uncertain position.
As the transfer portal’s quarterback vacancies dwindled and prime spots were swiftly claimed, Rogers faced an unexpected predicament. He had found a home only to see it slip away, a casualty of the chaotic dance of college football's NIL era.
The Larger Dynamic
This situation isn't just about Rogers; it's a reflection of the larger dynamic in NIL college football. Players, like Rogers, often become unintended victims of the system's rapid and ruthless changes. As teams and coaches maneuver to position themselves advantageously, it's the players who bear the brunt of these strategic shifts.
Consider DeBoer's move to Alabama. It's a career-defining opportunity, one that any coach would leap at. His decision wasn't out of malice but professional ambition. Similarly, Saban's retirement, though it stirred controversy over its timing, is a personal choice devoid of perfect timing.
Every major decision, however, has its fallout, and in this case, it's players like Rogers who find themselves in tough spots.
Uncertainty & Upheaval
The tale of Will Rogers underscores a crucial aspect of today's college football landscape. For every celebrated signing and triumphant transfer, there's a story of uncertainty and upheaval. These athletes, in pursuit of their dreams, often navigate a path riddled with unpredictability and abrupt changes.
NIL college football, for all its excitement and opportunity, is also a world where friendly fire isn't just possible; it's almost expected. Players, in making decisions for their future, must contend with variables beyond their control, often resulting in scenarios that no one could have anticipated.
As we cheer for our favorite teams acquiring top talents, it's important to remember the other side of the coin - the Will Rogers of the world, talented athletes caught in the crossfire of a system characterized by its relentless pace and unforgiving nature.
This episode with Rogers is a reminder of the volatile nature of NIL college football, a system where today's certainty can quickly become tomorrow's casualty.
How Bout Jared Goff?
How cool was Saturday for Jared Goff? Everyone heard the storylines about the Detroit Lions trading Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for Jared Goff and a bunch of picks.
Remember Stafford's fairy-tale first year with the Rams, culminating in a Super Bowl win? A narrative almost too perfect. I recall talking to Jared shortly after that Super Bowl, and his genuine happiness for Stafford was palpable.
But let's not gloss over Stafford's journey – a consummate professional, an admirable family man facing his share of life's hurdles, including his wife's serious health issues. His resilience, both on and off the field, has won him respect and affection league-wide.
Well-Liked Amongst Everybody
I had Jared on our podcast, the QB room, earlier this season. I shared a truth often overlooked by fans but well-known in NFL circles: Jared Goff is one of the most universally liked quarterbacks out there. His understated demeanor has earned him immense respect among peers and insiders.
Fast forward to this past weekend. The narrative had the Rams, who had once banked heavily on Jared, facing him in a defining moment. It reminded me of the LA Clippers' saga with Blake Griffin – a star traded to Detroit, who then seemingly vanished from the limelight.
But here's where Jared's story diverges. Unlike Griffin's fading stardom, Jared has been thriving, showcasing some of his best football in Detroit, statistically ranking among the top quarterbacks.
Detroit Found A Gem
Jared’s adaptation in Detroit, surrounded by young talents like Amon-ra Saint Brown and a host of rising stars, mirrors Stafford's success with the Rams. Both found their perfect fits, validating the blockbuster trade from both ends.
The Detroit Lions, in their quest for rejuvenation, found a gem in Jared Goff. Simultaneously, the Rams achieved their goal with Stafford, even clinching a Super Bowl.
This was a 'shotgun deal' if there ever was one - both teams getting precisely what they needed, a rare win-win in the ruthless world of NFL trades.
The First Playoff Win In Three Decades
But let's focus on Jared’s triumph. Winning Detroit's first playoff game in three decades, and against the very team that traded him, speaks volumes. It wasn't just a victory on the field; it was a personal vindication. It's a story of resilience, of proving one's worth against the odds.
From the sunny climes of LA to the gritty determination of Detroit, Jared has not just adapted; he has excelled.
I'm beyond excited for Jared Goff. His journey, marked by professionalism and an unyielding spirit, is far from over.
This weekend's game won’t be his last playoff appearance this year. In a league where narratives are written and rewritten every game, Jared's story stands out, a testament to perseverance and the unrelenting pursuit of excellence.
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