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Coffee & Cigarettes: Educational links for Sunday

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While I'm away from the blog for a couple of weeks, I've set up some posts that point you in the direction of some interesting or educational links about football. Today's expert analysis comes from Joe Bussell, aka NFLosophy, a former ops director for the Buccaneers.

Obstinacy and Analytics in the NFL | NFL Philosophy
The NFL is a league of 32 separate entities that are all working towards a common goal (profit) while competing against each other. There is massive conduit that connects all 32 teams that allows staggering amounts of information to flow throughout the league. Ideas and concepts can change hands in the league with very little impedance, especially with how often coaches, scouts, and personnel change teams and take that information with them.

The Relationship of Coaching, Players, and Winning in the NFL | NFL Philosophy
The building of a professional football team is much like a master craftsman building a piece of furniture, statue, or a work of art.

The Mental Disconnect – Adapting to the NFL | NFL Philosophy
A few weeks after the NFL draft, the NFL holds their annual “Rookie Symposium.” The NFL has called it an introduction to “life in the NFL.” Former and current players and coaches will come in and speak to the 254 drafted players and explain to them the ins and outs of living an NFL life. Herm Edwards’ gave a well-known speech at the symposium where he tells the incoming rookies that, “you only need 1 of everything.” (You can see the speech here, with the quote around the 13-minute mark.)

The Alternative Route | NFL Philosophy
The clear plan of nearly every team in the NFL is to find a “franchise” quarterback and then build around him. Without a franchise quarterback, most teams aren’t considered Super Bowl contenders. Even now, the Chiefs, who are sitting at 9-0, are largely considered frauds because they lack a superstar at the most important position in the sport.

The Most Obvious Secret in the NFL | NFL Philosophy
It may be the most famous analogy about team building in NFL history. When asked about why he was leaving the New England Patriots, Head Coach Bill Parcells infamously stated: “They want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries. Okay?”

The Foundation of My NFL Philosophy | NFL Philosophy
Every offseason when I begin applying to teams, I send over a “packet” of information that contains a multitude of different elements. Part of it is the positional breakdowns that I’ve already posted here for everyone to see. It also includes a little research, some core principles I believe the best organizations possess, and some fundamental philosophies that successful teams abide by.

Evolution and the NFL | NFL Philosophy
One of the most fascinating aspects of the NFL to me is that it is always evolving – both on a micro and a macro level. It can be as small as an in-game adjustment to a specific play or player, or it can be as large as a change in philosophy or scheme.

The Illusion of Balance | NFL Philosophy
It never fails. Every NFL Sunday you inevitably hear the saying, “They’ve got to stay balanced,” or, “Balance is what wins games. Teams that run the ball more win games.” The announcer or analyst then throws out the stat that Team A is 6-0 this season when they run the ball 25 times or more.

The Failure of Head Coaches | NFL Philosophy
That title is actually misleading. Most head coaches failures aren’t really their own. Honestly. The blame should be placed squarely on the front office and owners who hired them. By hiring the wrong guy for the job, they’re setting him up for failure. It’s not the coach’s fault for accepting a high paying promotion with great power even if he’s not ready for it. Who wouldn’t?

Position Breakdown: Running Backs, Wide Receivers, and Tight Ends | NFL Philosophy
To continue my Position Breakdown series, today we look at the offensive “skill positions.” One of the biggest traits I look for in all of these positions is overall athleticism. Instincts plays a significant role but a lot of that can be practiced and learned. You can’t teach athleticism. This is where we could discuss Bill Parcells planet comment: “There are only so many people on the planet with that type of athleticism.” As you can tell at tight end, some of the best ones are simply the best athletes, such as Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, and Vernon Davis.

Position Breakdown: Offensive Line | NFL Philosophy
Our series continues, breaking down each position by the skills necessary to be successful in the National Football League. Today, we take a look at the offensive line.

Position Breakdown: Defensive Line | NFL Philosophy
The defensive line may be the most important unit on the field. If the defensive line does it’s job, they can create havoc for a quarterback or stone a run game all on their own. If the defensive line can get pressure on the QB, it makes the back-seven’s jobs much easier. There is no substitute for lining the front with studs. A strong d-line can impose it’s will on an offense and take over a game.

Position Breakdown: Linebackers | NFL Philosophy
For the 2nd installment of the Positional Breakdown series, I take a look at linebackers. Linebackers are multi-tool players that need to excel in many different areas.

Position Breakdown: Defensive Backs | NFL Philosophy
The way NFL football is evolving, defensive backs are playing an ever increasing role in the outcome of games. Teams need to be strong on the back end of the defense so that teams aren’t putting up points in bunches on them.

Bears Fake Jet Sweep Toss | NFL Philosophy
When watching Bears’ film this week, I came across a play in Marc Trestman’s offense that I really loved. The Bears used the play twice in the 4th quarter and Matt Forte gained 19 and 24 yards out of the same play and same formation. It’s cleverly designed and the Bears set it up by running an end around to Alshon Jeffery out of a similar look earlier in the game.

The Art of Separation | NFL Philosophy
When discussing receivers, the typical evaluator will discuss size, speed, strength, hands, body control, and route running. A bigger wide receiver has an opportunity to make more catches because his size gives him an advantage. Hands, speed, and strength are pretty self-explanatory. Body control is more about a receiver’s ability to haul in the ball while he’s in the air. Route running is about a receiver’s ability to make sharp cuts and that gives him a better chance at getting separation.