The more things change the more they stay the same, the 2021 season was a rollercoaster of emotions for many teams in the NFL including the Miami Dolphins. But one thing this season taught me is that the formula for playoff contenders has always been the same.
Run the ball, play defense, have your QB make clutch throws to keep you in the game. It feels like over the last few years the game was getting away from that, spectacular QB talents all over the league were redefining how football is played.
Or were they?
Backyard football started to become the norm, and it seemed like those teams who have spectacular QB’s were the ones that were set to dominate for the foreseeable future. But many of us forgot that at the end of the day this is a team sport.
“Everybody can play pretty until they get punched in the mouth.”
Stepping back and looking at the picture painted the last few years leaves me with one takeaway, teams are going head and heels overboard trying to build around their young Uber-talented QB. And that’s what they should do there’s nothing wrong with that, except when that strategy makes you neglect other needs of your team.
Justin Herbert is an unbelievable talent, in a division shared with Patrick Mahomes many believe he might even end up being better in the long run. But what’s that worth if your team is ranked 31st in rushing defense? and can get gashed by even the most average of RB’s.
Other teams know if they can run the ball and keep Herbert sidelined he won’t be able to do that much damage, sometimes this frustrates QB’s, leading them to performing poorly. And not to mention how that mixes with a coach that likes to go for it on 4th down in your own 20.
Brandon Staley will tell you “who wouldn’t? We have Justin Herbert.
Aaron Rodgers is seen as one of the greatest QB’s in NFL History and deals with a similar problem, his defenses were the reasons for many of his big losses in the past. Now when the Packers were finally getting that right, they end up with an abysmal special teams unit, so bad it can cost you games. But Green Bay refuses to go big in the market because… they have Aaron Rodgers
Lamar Jackson is seen as the next Michael Vick if not better, but his talents have made the Ravens not have any urgency towards getting him big time weapons. Now their athletic QB is dealing with more injuries than expected in a short period of time, and the team is left at a cross road.
But the Ravens don’t think too much of it, they have Lamar Jackson.
Josh Allen’s Bills have no respectable RB’s available so he has to often step up, Patrick Mahomes has a poverty run game and inconsistent defense, Russell Wilson is given food scraps for an offensive line and defense, the Bengals OL is responsible for almost killing Joe Burrow.
See the pattern?
I just gave you a list of players who will possibly argue HOF talent, only 3 superbowls in 12 years between them.
(All of them accomplished by pulling off some of the greatest QB playoff runs ever seen.)
And after that? well teams have relied on their QB’s talent to recreate something similar but up until now, none of them have been able to do it. Mahomes might be able to, but he already defies all odds and logic. No comparing to him.
Where does that lead us? it leads us to realizing that the teams who have won the Super Bowl the most in the past years, are the teams who are the most complete, not necessarily the teams who had the best QB in the league.
If that was the case Rodgers and Manning would have a couple more of Brady’s rings.
There’s many ways to build a winner. You don’t have to be great at every position group, but you can NOT be horrible in any of them.
So what are the 3 biggest factors?