- Jan 4, 2002
La Canfora has a look around the league with a particular focus on factors behind reduced scoring:
Cronyism and nepotism still offer a fast-track for some unworthy coaching candidates, people around the league lament. Then factor in how many of the young coaches stack their staffs with similarly inexperienced assistants, and consider how all this newness impacts skill players already having to learn new systems.
There are more explanations. We saw an unprecedented offseason of blockbuster trades involving both quarterbacks and wide receivers changing teams. The preseason is shorter than ever, and fewer teams are actually playing their starters for any meaningful period of time in those exhibitions. Injuries to key players have been prevalent — with players rightfully indignant over the lack of mandatory grass fields — and executives grumble privately that the ever-expanding slate of international games doesn’t help the quality of play across a regular season that is also longer than ever.
There is an interesting subplot to consider, however. Believe it or not, the NFL running game is thriving like never before.