If NFL season starts on time, get ready for a drop in quality
Let’s assume for a second that the coronavirus pandemic is solved by Week 1 of the NFL season. Getting football back would be excellent as we attempt to heal from the damage that coronavirus has inflicted upon the world, but it wouldn’t be the football that we’re used to.The quality would be much, much worse.Football is a sport that takes an incredible amount of organization and synchronization to make the most simple plays work. Even after months of preparation in a normal year, preseason football is usually a mess and it takes the starters weeks to reach the peak of their play.We’re already ...
New York Daily News
Miami Dolphins announce plans for scaled-down (and socially distant) draft party
The original plan was for a Las Vegas blowout, a Sin City draft party with an exclusive VIP area for season-ticket holders with food and drink included.And then coronavirus happened, and the Miami Dolphins had to downsize considerably.On Monday, they announced Plan B (or perhaps C or even D):A virtual draft party, providing fans access to interviews with draft picks, Q&As with current players and live video analysis from Dolphins analysts. The event will be available on the team’s Facebook group.“While we remain vigilant of the ongoing situation that continues to impact so many, we hope the Fa...
Dave Hyde: Grier, Flores sidestep mistakes of Dolphins' free-agent past, as ex-Patriots show
Among the messy souvenirs left by former coach Adam Gase’s Miami Dolphins regime, there’s this two-point study of lessons learned in signing free agents:1. Use caution signing former players you coached.2. Double that caution if they’re old, and scratch them altogether if hurt.That’s background to the Dolphins’ completed signings in free agency and, specifically, in gathering some of Brian Flores’ former New England Patriots. Familiarity matters to coaches, because systems matter in football. How a player fits. What a coach expects.Gase’s failed, free-agent signings speak to a coach wanting to...
FAU's Willie Taggart can't 'grasp' country without football season
The thought of football not being played in the fall is one that FAU coach Willie Taggart said had never crossed his mind until recently.Even as the coronavirus outbreak jeopardizes sports seasons around the world, Taggart admitted during a conference call with reporters on Monday that he still struggles to envision what the country would look like without football in the fall.“I still can’t get a grasp of what this country would look like without football,” Taggart said. “That’s America’s sport. Everybody gets excited when football season comes around. It’s like Christmas. The whole country c...
A look inside the Bears' virtual offseason program, Matt Nagy's 4 computer screens to a player's wood squat rack and bench-press rack
In a typical NFL year, Matt Nagy would be gearing up to meet his Bears team in a couple of weeks for the offseason workout program at Halas Hall.Instead, he’s likely to be greeting them through a webcam.That’s the reality for NFL teams as concerns about the coronavirus require people to stay at home. Offseason programs for returning head coaches were set to begin April 20, and the NFL draft is still on schedule for April 23-25. But Illinois has extended its stay-at-home order through at least April 30.So Nagy, Bears general manager Ryan Pace and their staffs have been working to ensure players...
Better chance of reaching NFL postseason will play into Vikings' hands
The NFL made its postseason 6.3% easier to reach when owners expanded the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams last month.How big a boost is 6.3%?Ask Jim Caldwell. Or Lovie Smith. Or Jon Gruden. Or Marty Schottenheimer. Or Mike Tice.Especially Mike Tice.From 2001 to ‘17, these five men were fired after seasons in which they would have made the playoffs as the seventh seed in the NFC.From 2003 to ‘05, Tice’s Vikings finished the regular season seventh, sixth and seventh in the NFC. But instead of three straight playoff appearances, Tice got sucker-punched out of the postseason by Nate Poole on the...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
No football? Michigan college coaches bracing for the unthinkable.
There is a silver lining somewhere, and Paul Winters has found it.The Wayne State football coach may have lost spring practice, but he has already tackled the work he usually reserves for June and July.In some ways, he said, “I will be better prepared for a season than I ever have.”That is if there is one.As the novel coronavirus has rocked the country and shut down the sports world, there is growing anxiety within college athletics about the prospect of football not being played in 2020. ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit sounded the alarm late last month during an appearance on the network’s radio...
Detroit Free Press
The best returning Gamecock? Analytics point to name that might surprise.
The challenge of using any sort of analytics is splitting the difference when something surprises. Is there something wrong with the system, or is it showing something in a different light?South Carolina’s football team has a few of candidates for best returning player. Shi Smith is a four-year starter. Aaron Sterling did some damage on the defensive line last year. The offensive line has several returning starters, Jaycee Horn showed well for two seasons, and some of the younger players have the potential to take the mantle soon.The analytics outfit Pro Football Focus named the top returning ...
The State (Columbia, S.C.)
Former New Orleans Saints kicker Tom Dempsey dies from coronavirus
Tom Dempsey, the former New Orleans Saints kicker best remembered for a record-setting 63-yard field goal, died Saturday from coronavirus.He was 73.Dempsey, who became a football icon for his 1970 kick despite being born without fingers on his right hand or toes on his right foot, had been at the Lambeth House senior living center in New Orleans after his 2012 diagnosis of dementia, according to NOLA.com.He tested positive for coronavirus on March 25.“Our thoughts and prayers are extended to Carlene and the entire Dempsey family on the passing of their dear Tom,” New Orleans Saints Owner Gayle...
New York Daily News
Sideline Chatter: And he insisted on running the four-corners offense to finish every win
Dr. J, meet Dr. A.Anthony Fauci, the immunologist and national point man against the COVID-19 pandemic, was once the point guard and team captain for the Regis High School basketball team in Manhattan, Class of 1958.Quickie retro scouting report: liked to spread the court, run isolation plays; most effective from distance; played lockdown defense.———Headlines gone viral— At TheOnion.com: “Kawhi Leonard misses second consecutive family game night, citing load management.”— At Fark.com: “Wimbledon has officially been canceled. This is not a repeat from 1945.”———20/21 visionThe Tokyo Olympics hav...
The Seattle Times