Audibles Audio: NFL Films’ Greg Cosell previews Week 3 of the NFL season
In our ceaseless chase to bring you the best NFL game preview content anywhere, Audibles is happy to talk with Greg Cosell of NFL Films, and the executive producer of ESPN’s NFL Matchup, about football as much as possible. There are few people more qualified to do so — Greg has been with NFL Films since 1979, and he and Steve Sabol invented advanced football analysis on television with the “Matchup” concept, which premiered in 1984. The most important part of his job is the insight he grabs from watching as much or more coach’s tape than anyone not actually working for an NFL team. It’s this insight we draw heavily upon for our weekly Friday podcasts, which preview the upcoming Sunday and Monday games and review the Thursday night contests.
We’ll start with the Kansas City Chiefs’ 26-16 Thursday night win over the Philadelphia Eagles, and proceed from there.
A few words of wisdom from Mr. Cosell:
On Alex Smith’s limitations and his function in Kansas City’s offense: “I think you only go so far with him. Clearly, he’s not willing to pull the trigger [on throws] unless it’s wide open. We don’t know what he’s told or how they want to play, but the defense is the strength of their team. So, they’re perhaps going to play offense to that strength. But in today’s NFL, the way points are scored, and with the emphasis on passing, I think it’s hard to be a real contender that way. Can you win nine or 10 games? You can, and it’s been done, but it’s hard to play that way as your modus operandi week after week.”
On the thought process behind the Trent Richardson trade: “I think it speaks to [Cleveland's] world view of where they want to go. This is just my interpretation, but I think they know that Brandon Weeden is not the guy. They want to build up draft choices, and in today’s NFL, a feature back — even if he’s special — that’s not how you compete for championships. Look at Minnesota. You could argue that Adrian Peterson had the single greatest year of any running back in NFL history in 2012, but what are we all talking about? ‘Christian Ponder’s got to play better.’ So, I think they’re taking that approach to its extreme, saying that the position is not as relevant anymore.”
On Philip Rivers’ performance against the Eagles last Sunday: “Rivers had one of the best performances I’ve seen on film in recent years. He controlled the game at the line of scrimmage, and threw the ball exceptionally well. It was a Peyton Manning game. We know, and I know you wrote about it because we talked about it a number of weeks ago, that Rivers has not played as well the last two years as he did the previous four or five years. We also know that there’s a disconnect between perception and reality with Rivers. It’s as if people want to think that Rivers has become Mark Sanchez, but he’s still a very high-level NFL quarterback, with tremendous smarts and understanding. He knows everything that’s going on, on the field. He just has certain limitations he can’t go beyond, and he needs to manage those personally.”