That’s my little theory—sometimes when teams get off to a fast start in the regular season, they fall prey to the “depreciating asset” nature of their business. They tend to forget that what really matters is improving the overall quality of play going into December and January—they over-rely on the track record of their early-season successes which now qualify them for playoff eligibility.
This is a phenomenon in real life as well as in pro football. It’s a human tendency to face upcoming challenges in your business or personal life with the comforting thought “Well, I’ve done pretty well before and we always seem to have landed upon our feet in the end.”
So the tendency is to rely upon past performance as a predictor of future results. But just because you were scoring 30 points a game in November doesn’t necessarily carry over into December.
The problem comes in when you realize the team assets that got you some early success are actually declining in value. It’s a combination of ongoing injury, fatigue and opponent scouting.
It’s more of a problem for the offense as a unit, I reckon. The league gets updated tape on you and your tendencies on offense. You then have to adjust to your opponents’ defensive adjustments. As the season wears on, and as attrition removes some of your better players, counter-adjustments require more imagination and for most teams depreciation sets in.
A classic contemporary example of this theory is the current slide with depreciating assets the Kansas City Chieves find themselves in. After a 5-0 start, Andy’s boys are now 6-6. Even when Alex Smith leads his offense to 34 points, the KC defense gives up 38 points. Depreciation is a drag.
Where the Eagles defense can help the most down the stretch is to take some pressure off the offense, which no matter how you slice it really misses left tackle Jason Peters and all-purpose back Darren Sproles. Without those guys in the lineup, asset depreciation is already a factor for the Eagles offense. So the Eagles defense is in a position to at least slow down offensive depreciation by taking over significant portions of upcoming games on their own. Missing MLB Jordan Hicks due to injury complicates that prospect, but if ever there was the time for the Philly defense to make its own statement in a late-season run, it is now.
Fran Duffy of PE.com sort of addressed this point in his recent summary of the Eagles’ loss in Seattle:
“From a pass rush standpoint, one scheme that has worked time and time again for the Eagles has been their use of their primary nickel subpackage, where Brandon Graham slides inside as a defensive tackle next toFletcher Cox. With a four-man rush, the offensive line must pick its poison when it comes to declaring the protection. Will they slide to Cox, so that he’s not left in a one-on-one battle? Or will they slide to Graham, who also is a mismatch for a guard? Here, the Seahawks decide to double-team Cox, a wise choice, but Graham makes them pay with 1.5 sacks. This has been a staple for the Eagles’ defense in third-and-long situations thus far, and I expect it to continue through the rest of the 2017 season.
“All in all, I would not describe this as a bad game for the Eagles’ defense. It was far from perfect, and there are some things to clean up, but the Eagles were beaten by a quarterback who is capable of making jaw-dropping plays with both his arm and his legs. They got burned on a blitz downfield. The Seahawks utilized some crafty concepts against man coverage, and they had a couple of self-inflicted wounds with penalties and missed assignments downfield. There are plenty of teaching points for the coaching staff to work on this week out in Los Angeles, and I expect a bounce-back performance against the Rams on Sunday afternoon.”
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BRISUKSEGG Fantasy Football Update for Playoffs Round 1:
Amazingly, we are set up for a clash of dinosaurs—two old foes who have been at this thing for over a decade are set to meet in the Finals— ~BROZ vs. TGFJB99:
#4 ~Broz Sux Moose Nards (SPIF)
#1 Bri’s Fantasy Boys (Broz)
#3 The Bri Slapper (Nads)
#2 NFC East Mr. Jinks (ATV)
My own wallet assets are depreciating as I had bet upon both Spiffo and ATV to make it to the Finals. If you’re smart, bet the opposite of what I predict.