There is nothing like anticipating an NFL release schedule. Although coaches, players and executives have known their opponents since the end of the 2022 season, the league does not reveal the path to the Lombardy Cup until mid-May.
With the full schedule released Thursday night, I wanted to share some thoughts and perspectives on how players and coaches evaluate the schedule and what they’re looking for when they finally get their hands on a regular season roster.
When is farewell week?
Every major league coach immediately looks at the schedule to see when the mandatory break occurs on the calendar. The Bye Week website outlines how coaches set up their training schedules, fixture plans and load management calendars to put their teams in a position to play their best football. Ideally, the bye week hits in Week 9 or Week 10 to halve the regular season and ensure the team avoids a lengthy grind to start or finish the season. In addition, bye placement affects how coaches allocate their 14 paddock practices throughout the year.
From a player development perspective, the bye week provides some teams with a target date for some young players to break out of the rotation as potential contributors. Considering how some coaches prefer to make quarterback changes heading into the bye week due to the extra practice days, the mandatory weekend is the perfect time to plug a young QB into the lineup.
For the players, the bye week is the time they can rest and recharge their playoffs. Bye Mode allows players to properly plan for the marathon-like grind of the season to ensure they are ready to perform at their best when the intensity picks up heading into the extended run.
How many prime time matches are there on schedule?
Regardless of their age or experience level, gamers love to play in prime time games because of the extra interest that prominent broadcasts bring. Whether it is a Monday Football match or a Thursday, Saturday or Sunday show match, most players want to play on the biggest stages to impress their peers, family and friends. With all eyes on every game in the primetime this season, players know that a big performance in the marquee game can help them earn the respect of their peers while securing votes on Pro Bowl ballots and All-Pro lists.
For coaches, setting peak times leads to changes in the prep process as they prepare for the short weeks and/or “mini” weeks that come with playing Thursdays, Saturdays, and Mondays. Additionally, locating primetime games can lead to a streak of games in a short period that forces coaches to rearrange their workout schedules to deal with a rigorous stretch that can make or break a team’s season.
Last season , Jaguar They won three games in 11 days to once again return to playoff contention in the final month of the season. Through careful planning and preparation, Doug Pederson helped his team find their identity and build the momentum that enabled them to steal the division and make some noise in the postseason tournament.
NFL playmakers pyramid
Colin Cowherd ranks NFL teams based on the number of playmakers they have on their rosters.
How is extended running?
In a highly competitive league, the coaches and players know that the best teams play their best during the last month of the season. As teams try to build momentum for the playoffs, they understand the importance of winning meaningful games in November and December as playoff races heat up after the bye weeks.
With that in mind, coaches pay close attention to which opponents are on the stretch schedule and where those major games are played. Although coaches will publicly promote the “anyone, anytime, anywhere” philosophy, smart coaches know when and where to play an important role in this league. play likes buffaloAnd Green Bay And Cincinnati It differs in December from September, and you should plan accordingly. From weather to style of play, the subtle difference facing teams in cold weather may force coaches to work on alternate game plans during training camp to prepare for situations and conditions.
Players and coaches will also take a peek at the last month or so of the season to see if there are some opportunities for the team to build some momentum against weaker opponents heading into the postseason. While there are no “easy” wins in the schedule, not all teams are created equal, and a few wins in November/December could make the difference in making the playoffs or securing the top seed in the tournament.
What are “measuring stick” games?
Each coach designates a few games in the schedule as “measuring stick” competitions due to the opposition’s status as an elite team in the league. These competitions give coaches an idea of where the team is in the league standings while also revealing the strengths and weaknesses of the team.
For ambitious teams in particular, these matches against the ‘elite’ can be a confidence booster as players and coaches view their performance as a true test of their legitimacy as competitors. Although winning is the ultimate goal, the performance provides everyone with a bit of clarity on the gap between the two good and great teams in this league.
Furthermore, “measuring stick” games allow coaches to evaluate their team’s progress at various points in the season to determine if the team is heading in the right direction based on the long-term plan.
What are class matches?
Although teams rarely hang up division championship banners, coaches make winning the division the number one goal for the team in training camp. As the division champion, the team automatically earns a playoff berth and is guaranteed a home game in the Wild Card Round.
Because of the importance of winning the division and the perks associated with it, coaches want to know when these fights fall on the calendar and if there are any quibbles on the “home and home” schedule with division opponents. Additionally, coaches like to know how many divisional opponents are included in the extended run, due to the familiarity and increased intensity of those games.
Because divisional competitions hold such importance, coaches will quickly plot their rivalry games on the calendar as they finalize their pre-season plans.
Bucky Brooks is an NFL analyst at FOX Sports. He appears regularly on “Speak For Yourself” and also breaks the game for NFL Network and as host of the “Moving the Sticks” podcast. Follow him on Twitter @tweet
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