I don't think anyone is really seeing things clearly.
The handwringing and knee-jerk reactions often cloud our judgment, skewing our perceptions and efforts to assess blame -- which in many instances is unfounded.
But to find where actual fault lies, we have to weed through the muck -- and only then, we might find that things aren't actually as bad as we're making them out to be. Lately, the primary scapegoat has been the...
...and there is blame to spread around, here. Certainly in Frazier's incessant desire to automatically start veterans or tenured players over rookies or newly acquired players that might (read: do) have more talent. Musgrave is another usual suspect in these discussions, and for good reason.
At the same time, though, in the last two weeks against the Bears and Browns, the only points we allowed them to score in the second half of each game was on their final game winning drives where they each scored a touchdown. Now, I'm not a 'silver linings' kind of guy, but translation: the coaching staff's halftime adjustments are working. Perhaps they deserve criticism for poor game planning during the week, but they should be similarly credited for proper second half adjustments.
And continuing with a fair, objective view -- as much as we like to rag on Musgrave, the offense has opened up quite a bit this season. We used to complain about our dink-and-dunk passing game -- but just in the last three games, we have completed 11 'deep' passes (15+ air yards) on 26 attempts, for a total of 313yds. Compare that with all of last season, when we were 23/68 on the same passes for 608yds, we will outpace attempts, completions and deep yardage well before midseason. How has that little nugget gotten lost in all of our griping...?? A decent amount of credit for this should go to a player who is also constantly thrown around in the blame game...
...and it's funny that he's still frequently blamed by a good chunk of the fan base, even though he's worked on a lot of the things he was criticized for.
He has more zip on his passes.
He's stepping up in the pocket.
His short and long passes are nearly evenly split for yardage, compared to last year when nearly 80% of his passing yards came on 'short' passes (less than 15 air yards).
Ponder is still developing, of course, and a Ponder-esque boneheaded play rears its stupid bone head every now and then -- but the difference now is, the good plays are far outweighing the bad ones, even if the box score says otherwise.
While the offense as a whole has shown discipline by keeping the penalties down to a near-league best, we have shown a lack of focus at the most pressing times. Certainly we cannot solely blame our QB for that. Which leads us to...
The Real Problem
At some point, you have to stop blaming the coaching staff or scheme. It's not like we're going out there laying eggs -- we're 7th in the league in points per game (yes, look that up if you don't believe me). So the plan is working -- it's on the players to build a damn door so opportunity can knock.
OLine... I know we miss Felton, but where are the holes for AP (less than 3yds/carry since his season opening 78yd TD)?? Can we protect Ponder just a bit more (10 sacks so far this season)??
WRs... how about a little more effort on the routes (Simpson), or a little help tackling on a turnover (Simpson), or not fumbling (Wright) or dropping balls (Carlson, Jennings, Webb, Simpson...) in or near the end zone??
Linebackers... did you forget how to cover?? I mean, we're only allowing opposing QBs to average 70% and 250+ yards right in the area you're responsible for. And for that matter, where's your effort tackling?? Our DBs are outnumbering you nearly 2-to-1 on short pass tackling, and they're already doing their job holding down the back end (seriously, 1/3rd of both deep passing yards and TDs occurred on a single throw to Brandon Marshall -- we are getting shredded underneath, and the LBs are a big cause of it!!).
Again -- execution.
If Frazier gets the boot, I hope Priefer gets a crack at the HC job -- but I'm not expecting that just yet.
If Musgrave's more balanced attack can't hold leads, then I hope we get a proper OC to run the offense -- but I'm not expecting that just yet, either.
And if our veteran players continue to flounder on the field, then I hope our rookies get to see more snaps -- but... wait a minute, I'm actually expecting that any game now...
But just as I believe we would be telling ourselves to 'pump the brakes' if we were 3-0 by a combined total of 15pts, we certainly shouldn't be screaming 'the sky is falling' by going winless in three games by such a small margin.
Keep calm and drink more vodka.