In light of Bills coach Sean McDermott saying four times during his postgame news conference that he had to look at the tape to evaluate the plays of quarterbacks Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen, we asked BN quarterbacks analyst Jim Kubiak to weigh in:
One of the most important routines for any football player, coach, or scout is the study of film.
This practice not only removes emotional elements that often taint perception, but it allows our eyes to see all that we miss in real time.
The speed of the game is truly remarkable. With 22 players on the field at the same time, it is easy to understand why our eyes cannot process all of the action. It is also virtually impossible standing at ground level on the sideline to get a sense of where every player is and what he is doing. A coach on the sideline does not have the benefit of replay except what is shown on the stadium scoreboard.
The game film takes each situation and action and breaks it down into smaller, more digestible parts that can be processed, identified, coached and ultimately corrected.
Much like a surgeon goes through the elemental steps of each surgery, rather than getting overwhelmed by looking at it in its entirety so, too, does a professional coach require the time to break apart these moments of execution and split second-decisions to correctly diagnose progress.
Quarterbacks, in particular, have the very difficult job of having to recognize coverage and make lightning-quick decisions based on information they process on the field. Then they must execute the throws under duress. It is very difficult to see things down the field behind the enormous offensive lineman of this day and age.
Film preparation allows players to look at specific personnel grouping or alignments that may tip off the quarterback as to what the defense is trying to do. It allows them to prepare for the characteristics, the strengths or weaknesses, and it allows them to identify where they want to attack.
The film preparation in the business of football is more important that the physical practices during the week. Most do not realize the films’ value, nor could they comprehend how difficult it is to see and process information on the field.
This misperception makes it seem that when a coach makes a reference to “watching the tape” before making a decision as a stalling tactic.
The reality is that the film review is the only way a coach can accurately answer the question.