Three things the Redskins can learn from the 2020 playoffs
By Ian Cummings
No. 2 – Teams can win in multiple ways
Proponents of analytics and new-age football philosophy will tell you that you have to pass the ball at a certain ratio to sniff a win, while proponents of old-school football will tell you that establishing the run and becoming the more imposing team is the thing that matters most.
I’m here to tell you both things are false. To be a winner in the NFL, a team must be one thing: Flexible. There are multiple ways to win in the NFL, and the best way a coach can prepare a team to be a winner is to ensure that his team can change situationally, and get the most out of every matchup. Some philosophies might be more consistently productive, but every opponent provides a different challenge.
The Titans took advantage of a Ravens rushing defense that allowed the twelfth-most yards per carry this season, and in the process negated a strong secondary, by having Derrick Henry run for 195 yards on 30 carries in a physical win. But if they needed Ryan Tannehill to pass, he could have. The Chiefs, meanwhile, took advantage of a weak Texans secondary and threw for five touchdowns in a 51-31 blowout. But when they needed to chew down the clock late, and ice their lead, they ran the football.
There are multiple ways to win, and ultimately, when these teams face off against one another, we won’t find out which team has the better philosophy, or which has the microscopically better culture. We’ll find out which team is better at altering its game plan to best exploit opponents’ weaknesses. Flexibility is key, and teams that don’t have it don’t go far.