mistaowen wrote:Defenses have changed how they play Russ ever since the Vikings game. They run a ton of cover 2 and cover 4 with varied pre-snap alignments but the same 2 deep safety coverage. Those shot plays that worked for 5 weeks haven't worked because teams got film and saw how explosively successful they were (and how often they were called). Couple that with a rather limited short to intermediate passing game, we see a lot less chunk plays and a lot more struggle. It is VERY rare for DK to get single coverage deep down the sidelines anymore outside of the Eagles game where they thought single coverage was a good idea.
The problem I've seen is they really haven't adjusted on offense to this, at least through 3 quarters of each game. The middle of the field should be eaten alive against these coverages but a lot of those same slow developing sideline homeruns are still getting called. Russ is noticeably more gunshy since the turnover spree - probably with some nudging from Pete - and that's why the team only really moves the ball when it's 4th quarter go time and they're uptempo. You can see a clear switch in philosophy and scheme when they need to get things rolling and it's frustrating they can't come out with that same energy, especially since the defense is finally playing above average ball.
This might work against a Goff-less Rams assuming the game stays close but I have a hard time picturing the D getting consistent stops against the Packers, Bucs, and Saints which will be the same exact dance as the last few playoffs. Down big early by halftime, offense with only a FG or two puttering along, clearly shift into Russ mode late and it's close towards the end but not really in doubt. They'll need to come out firing and give the D a lead against those teams to make a run this year.
Nailed it. We've seen that scenario play out too many times.
My biggest issue with Pete, (other than his penchant for going ultra-conservative for the first 3 quarters in an attempt to keep the game close and winning in the 4th quarter which never works in the playoffs against quality teams like NO and GB), is his failure to adjust to what the other team is doing, both in-game, and game planning during the week. He stubbornly sticks with what they like to do regardless of what the opposing team is showing them. That has to adversely affect Russ, and our offense as a whole. As you noted, teams have adjusted defensively to what we like to do, and we have inexplicably done nothing to counter that.
What I wouldn't give to have an OC like Bieniemy, but only if he was given full autonomy. No doubt he would build a dynamic offense around our QB, a system that takes advantage of RW's greatest strengths. Russ would excel in that type of system and we would be dynamic for 4 quarters, not just one when we're trying to make another miracle comeback.
Of course Bieniemy would never accept that position because he's probably the hottest head coaching candidate on the market right now. And even if he didn't want a HC job yet, why would he ever leave KC, and the best QB in the league. If Pete didn't just sign a long term extension, I would have been in favor of going hard after Bieniemy.