And for the radio call …
Patriots radio analyst Scott Zolak’s analysis after the Thompkins touchdown:
“BRADY’S BACK! That’s your quarterback! Who left the building? Unicorns, show ponies, where’s the beef!! Boy, when you thought you’ve seen it all, when it’s total despair, 14 years in the league, this situation after situation he’s been through, to elevate a rookie! My god!”
Could be the great non-sequitor radio call of all time.
The biggest reason Kansas City is 6-0: The D.
The only two unbeatens left are in the AFC West: Denver and Kansas City, both 6-0. The Broncos have gotten there with offense. But Kansas City’s biggest spur has been a rebuilt defense by this week’s coach of the week, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, who has taken most of the same talent Romeo Crennel coached last season and made it a lean, attacking machine. Just six weeks into the season, the Chiefs have passed last year’s sack total. The 10 sacks from Sunday’s win over the Raiders boosted the total for the year to 31—four more than Kansas City had in 16 games last year.
For a detailed view of the Chiefs, read Robert Klemko’s piece from the great Midwest on The MMQB. It’s good and detailed.
For the defensive view, I asked outside linebacker Tamba Hali, who had 3.5 of the sacks against the Raiders, for the difference between this year’s defense and last year’s. The simplest way to look at it is the Chiefs, because Sutton’s defense has some Rex Ryan tendencies (they worked together at the Jets), is a risk-embracing, odd-blitzing group. And it’s working.
“We don’t want to give the quarterback time to think,’’ Hali said from Kansas City after the game. “We bring a lot of confusion. Sometimes it looks like all the pressure is coming from one gap.’’
I told him Rex Ryan’s defense, dating back to Baltimore, often featured two or three rushers flooding one gap. “Your rush looks like that sometimes—like organized insanity,’’ I said.
“Insanity, yeah,’’ he said. “Insanity is the right word.”
But it must feel sane to Hali: By one measure, quarterback pressure and sacks, he too has surpassed his 2012 numbers. His combined sacks/pressures through six games is 46.5. Last year, he had 46 all season.
“As a pass rusher, I think the defense shows I can beat my man one on one, which is why I like it,’’ said Hali. “Coach knows how to use us all, so we’re all good in our roles.”
But will it work?
Now we see the NFL’s response to the month that set diversity back in the league. Last January, as you recall, NFL teams hired eight head coaches and seven general managers. All 15: white. (The Bills broke the schneid in May by hiring Doug Whaley, who is African-American, to be their general manager.] But in the months following, the league’s executive vice president of human resources, Robert Gulliver, and senior vice president of player engagement, Troy Vincent, have cobbled together a list of eight former coaches and GMs, and the group had its first meeting Thursday in New York City to begin the process of improving the diversity scorecard.
The NFL Head Coach and General Manager Advisory Panel includes former GMs Ernie Accorsi, Ron Wolf, Charlie Casserly and Bill Polian, former Chiefs president Carl Peterson, and ex-coaches Tony Dungy, Dennis Green and John Madden.
One way that could help advance minority hiring, particularly of coaches, is to give owners and club executives involved in the hiring process blind resumes—that is, resumes with the background and accomplishments of candidates, but not their names. That way, the theory goes, those hiring could look at an impressive nameless resume and commit to pursue the candidate before knowing who the candidate is. Would it help to be told about a college head coach of a top-10 team who has won 69 percent of his games and been a defensive coordinator at three major-college programs? No one knows if a team would say, “Whoever that is, let’s check him out.” It would, though, render the process color-blind, theoretically, without knowing the candidate is Charlie Strong, the African-American coach at Louisville.
But no metrics or plans are near final form yet. The committee hopes to have a plan to help the process by late November, and it won’t advance only the names of qualified African-American coaches, according to a league memo sent to the 32 teams.
The memo stated: “Through a series of facilitated panel meetings and individual discussions, the panel will assess potential head coach and general manager talent with the goal of identifying a viable short list of ‘ready now’ candidates. Panelists will consider both objective and subjective criteria. The panel is not intended to replace the work done by third parties such as search firms or advocacy groups like the Fritz Pollard Alliance, but rather, is intended to be a supplemental data point that can help owners and decision makers in the next hiring cycle. The panel will consider all talent, inclusive of diverse and non-diverse personnel.”
That’s some human-resource-speak right there. But the league knows it has a diversity problem on its hands after the January shutout, and something must be tried.