Recency bias is a drug from hell. And the convention title video games and the Tremendous Bowl hold shaping narratives about construct a workforce, what kind of offense and protection to combine, what the remainder of the league ought to prioritize in the course of the workforce constructing course of, and so on. It occurs yearly. After the Eagles’ first Tremendous Bowl win, the usage of the “run-pass possibility” made RPO slang in a single day. Mahomes’ Tremendous Bowl win the next 12 months ushered within the new mould for the prototypical franchise quarterback.
Final 12 months, I highlighted the league’s rising propensity to make fourth place, cross first place, and prioritize YAC. These tendencies are going nowhere. To deal with them briefly, groups in fourth place are nonetheless noticeably extra aggressive than they had been 5 to 10 years in the past. It’s good.
The Bengals and Chiefs completed third and fourth, respectively, in first-down cross price in the course of the common season. Eight of the 14 playoff groups had been within the prime 10 in first down cross price and first down cross price in one-score recreation eventualities. When the NFL is a copycat league, different groups must emulate what one of the best groups are doing, and a type of issues is passing them extra usually than they run down first, even when the sport is shut.
And YAC might be round for some time. The Chiefs completed the common season with probably the most total YAC. The 49s had one of the best YAC common per reception. The Chiefs completed second in that class, whereas the Eagles completed fifth and Bengals completed eleventh, though Ja’Marr Chase missed 4 contests.
Typically these tendencies are straight out of the common season. However they’re principally drawn from the playoffs.
Let’s determine these tendencies forward of Tremendous Bowl LVII.
Make investments closely within the offensive line
The 49ers reached the Tremendous Bowl after the 2019 season, finally dropping to Mahomes and the Chiefs. Lower than two months later, they traded a fifth and future third for future Corridor of Famer first-round left sort out Trent Williams. Huge swing.
Whereas they allowed burgeoning keeper Laken Tomlinson to hurry into free palms after the 2021 season, they drafted Aaron Banks within the second spherical in 2021 and spent a fourth-round decide for keeper Spencer Burford final April, two gamers, who had been the principle starters at Guard within the 2022 season.
After Burrow led the NFL in Sacks Taked (51) in 20221, the Bengals spent a mixed $22 million in collective annual common wage on three blockers — La’el Collins, Ted Karras and Alex Cappa — in the course of the 2022 offseason. They did so regardless of drafting 4 offensive linemen since Burrow grew to become the No. 1 total in 2020, they usually drafted one other blocker in fourth-round Cordell Volson final April.
Unsurprisingly, Burrows sacks (51 to 41) and sack price (8.9% to six.3%) declined from 2021 to 2022. His interception price additionally dropped from 2.7% to 2.0%.
After a disastrous growth within the Tremendous Bowl loss to the Buccaneers — in a recreation with out a number of starting offensive linemen — Kansas Metropolis now is aware of the pitfalls of that growth: The Chiefs didn’t sit on their palms. GM Brett Veach signed prime free-agent guard Joe Thuney to a five-year, $80 million take care of practically $32 million in full ensures, buying and selling a number of picks for Orlando Brown from AFC rivals Ravens, however the blocking reconstruction it wasn’t completed.
Within the draft, Veach chosen longtime Oklahoma heart Creed Humphrey within the second spherical and took a fly on guard Trey Smith, a tall and gifted SEC blocker who handled blood clots in school, within the sixth spherical.
Now Kansas Metropolis in all probability has one of the best blocking unit within the AFC.
The Eagles and GM Howie Roseman have lengthy prioritized the trenches and for a while have boasted one of many league’s most devastating offensive traces. It’s principally a veteran-laden group led by heart Jason Kelce and proper sort out Lane Johnson. However Roseman’s perseverance in constructing the lockdown unit has paid off as soon as once more.
After Jordan Mailata was a seventh-round flyer within the 2018 draft, Roseman picked Andre Dillard in spherical 1 in 2019. Dillard hasn’t turn into the stud many thought could be within the NFL. Mailata has blossomed into a big street grader. The ascending ahead arrow didn’t cease Roseman from choosing jack-of-all-trades blocker Landon Dickerson – who’s now left beginning guard – in Spherical 2 of the 2021 draft and even grabbing the over-talented heart cam Jurgens in Spherical 2 of the 2022 draft as an eventual Kelce -Substitute.
The Eagles have one of the best offensive line in soccer and largely mishandled the 49ers’ top-ranked protection within the NFC title recreation.
Throughout the common season, solely 12 certified quarterbacks managed a 75+ passer score below stress. When saved clear, a whopping 39 passers had a 75+ quarterback score.
When unsure, take flyers about quarterbacks
Within the 2020 draft, at decide #53, after 5 quarterbacks had been chosen, the Eagles chosen Jalen Hurts after a extremely productive season in Oklahoma that adopted a singular profession in Alabama. That alternative got here lower than 4 months after the Eagles gained a Divisional title and star quarterback Carson Wentz was knocked out with a concussion following a playoff loss. Previous to this season, Wentz acquired a considerable four-year extension with the Eagles for $128 million assured $100 million.
Wentz threw for over 4,000 yards this season with 27 touchdowns and simply seven interceptions.
The Eagles may have gone in lots of different instructions with this decide. However they understood the potential worth of choosing a quarterback there and did so. Wentz fell aside in 2020 and was subsequently traded. Hurts was then the quarterback of a seven-man Philadelphia workforce that misplaced within the first spherical of the 2021 playoffs and can now begin within the Tremendous Bowl.
The 49ers got here to a Tremendous Bowl and NFC title recreation with Jimmy Garoppolo, then determined to commerce a litany of early picks to climb the draft board and choose Trey Lance. In fact, final April they utilized the ultimate decide within the draft to none aside from Brock Purdy.
Be aggressive… be, be aggressive
From probably the most ubiquitous cheering on the sidelines of America’s highschool video games to making use of to the NFL. That is form of a mixture of the 2 above, however… be aggressive. And I’m not suggesting extra flashes. I converse aggression to the construct of the roster. This actually may very well be an extension of what the Rams did forward of their Tremendous Bowl season a 12 months in the past.
Think about the demonstration of this concept that Roseman demonstrated final low season. He traded a first-round decide for AJ Brown on the primary day of the draft. As if that wasn’t sufficient — and would usually be thought of sufficient — he introduced in James Bradberry 9 days after his launch by the Giants in Could. Then, to essentially showcase his aggressive fashion – Roseman traded fifth and sixth picks for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson within the 2024 draft and a seventh decide in August 2025.
Let’s not neglect – and also you’ll hear loads of recollections over the subsequent two weeks main as much as the Tremendous Bowl – Chiefs GM Brett Veach TRADED TYREEK HILL within the offseason, an concept that beforehand appeared implausible, a whole non-starter.
It hit the Chiefs:
- A part of the Compensation Package deal in alternate for choose CB Trent McDuffie
- WR Skyy Moore
- Contract avoidance for Hill averaging $30 million per 12 months and $52.5 million in full ensures
- 2024 fourth-round decide
- 2024 sixth-round choice
Kansas Metropolis then had cash to signal Justin Reid, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Carlos Dunlap in July. It additionally offers the Chiefs the flexibleness to signal their very own this offseason.