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» Catch Radius: Best of the NFC

Part I of our catch radius season finale spotlights the NFC kings of double coverage (Calvin Johnson), the sideline (Jordy Nelson), the drag route (DeSean Jackson) and the red zone (Dez Bryant).

25 Dec 2005

Audibles at the Line: Week 16

Each weekend, the FO staff sends around e-mails to each other, both during and after the games. It lets us share ideas for columns and comments, and get an idea of how teams that we can't watch are playing. Be aware that the material in this roundtable might seem a bit disjointed and un-edited. It also might still show up later in the week in other columns, or in comments in PFP 2006.

Shortened Audibles this week, as much of the FO staff was celebrating the holiday. There will be no Audibles Monday to discuss the two Sunday games. In-game discussion of the Sunday games can be found here.

One more note: Audibles usually mentions which games are being covered later this week in Any Given Sunday and Every Play Counts, but those are undecided at this time. I believe EPC will be the second annual "under the radar free agents" column. For AGS, we're trying to decide between the day's biggest upset (CIN-BUF) and the one that involved two teams that still have playoff possibilities (DAL-CAR), plus there is the possibility of a win by the Packers, Ravens, or Jets.

(OK, maybe not the Jets.)

Atlanta Falcons 24 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27 (OT)

Aaron Schatz: Oh, apples. Oh, tasty, delicious apples.

Bill Moore: Tampa Bay eventually won, but what's the point of kicking a field goal on first down, if when you muff the snap you don't down the ball and call time out? At that point, Atlanta's defensive line was a mental mess and Tampawas running all over them. My impossible-to-substantiate thought is that Tampa would have scored a touchdown on the first drive. And Russ, can you give Sheppard a quick primer on how to hold the ball in OT?

Russell Levine: I spent the day shuttling around to parents and other relatives, and only saw TB-ATL on TiVo tonight. I'm glad I broke down about 4:30 and checked the score. I couldn't have taken that one live. What a bizarre game -- with the most bizarre moment coming when Jim Mora took a cell phone call on the sidelines with TB about to punt from midfield at the two minute warning of OT. He was trying to find out how a tie would affect Atlanta in the playoff chase, but nobody had the answer. So they went for the win, went three and out, and gave Tampa the ball back with a minute to go at midfield.

I have to say though that I was actually pretty impressed with Vick today. He showed good command, avoided the killer mistake, consistently broke off 7-8 yard runs when pressured, and even protected himself some times. He still takes too much punishment, but he's at least showing some concern for his body. He also would have had his first three-TD game of his career had Roddy White held on to a perfect deep post in the second half. I'm not convinced that Vick is never going to grow as a passer. He's still very young in age, if not NFL experience, and I still think he can round out his game.

Aaron Schatz: They've got to get him out of this timing pattern offense and let him heave it long again. He needs to play in the New York Giants offense.

Bill Moore: One more note: Listening to the color commentary of Brian Baldinger is painful (not Joe Thiesman painful, but up there). I think he talks just to hear himself talk. He adds so little value to the "color."

New York Giants 20 at Washington Redskins 35

Bill Moore: Eli Manning blocks about as well as I do. And for those that don't know, that's not good.

Aaron Schatz: It's very hard to pay attention to two games at once, which is what I was trying to do with this and SD-KC. I will say that the Giants blew it covering Santana Moss in a variety of interesting ways. The first touchdown was a screen. I usually hate those naked WR screens because the wideout immediately gets tackled by three guys. But Moss avoided the first defender and then offensive lineman Dennis Dockery got out in front and blocked Gibril Wilson away from getting anywhere near Moss, enabling him to get the touchdown. Good job, Dockery.

On the second Moss touchdown, Will Allen turned around with absolutely no idea where the ball was and Moss came down with it and was gone. Allen seemed to be involved in blown coverage on the third touchdown also. Do people realize that no other Washington wide receiver caught a pass in this game? You're supposed to force Washington to throw to the other receivers instead of Moss, not the other way around.

And did everyone enjoy the play where Jeremy Shockey turned to the ref to whine about a flag, and the Washington defender had picked off the ball with Shockey even noticing and so he made no effort to tackle him whatsoever? I think Shockey and Plaxico Burress would rather be thespians than receivers.

San Diego 7 at Kansas City Chiefs 20

Aaron Schatz: They showed a stat midway through the second quarter that Kansas City had passed the ball every single time Larry Johnson was not in the game. They really do have to teach him to block next year so that they can leave him in on passing downs and not signal what they are doing quite so blatantly.

Michael David Smith: Saying KC always passes when Johnson is out of the game is like saying a team always wins when it rushes more than its opponent -- it's true, but it confuses the cause with the effect. The Chiefs always pass when Johnson is out because they don't have a good backup running back, not because Johnson is terrible at blitz pickup. I've watched him pretty closely on blitz pickup since that Whitlock column, and he's really not as bad as people make him out to be. Sure, he's no Walter Payton or Eddie George or Corey Dillon, but he's OK. Trust me, I'm the last person to minimize the importance of blocking, but the idea that he's awful at it has been really overblown.

Aaron Schatz: Good point. I should add that I've joked twice at the FOXSports.com power rankings about San Diego as champions of Super Bowl XLI and the Chargers are clearly a leading contender. The young defenders will be a year more experienced, they can go get help in the secondary, they can trade Rivers for something useful. The Chargers should aim to finish third, not second, to get a schedule with Baltimore and Buffalo instead of Pittsburgh and Miami. Baltimore will be in total rebuilding mode and Buffalo's chances of returning to contender status aren't anywhere near as strong as Miami's.

Dallas Cowboys 24 at Carolina Panthers 20

Bill Moore: Julius Peppers and the Panthers got screwed on the roughing the kicker call that cancelled a missed field goal. It looked pretty clear to me that the ball glanced off Peppers ribs. The ball appeared to change directions, and it looked like his shirt moved.

Buffalo Bills 37 at Cincinnati Bengals 27

Michael David Smith: What does Buffalo do about its quarterback situation in the off-season? It's pretty clear that the offense is a lot better with Kelly Holcomb than with J.P. Losman. I'm guessing Buffalo is going to have a new coach in 2006, and that coach isn't going to want to have Losman as his starter.

Cincinnati's defense is going to cause the Bengals a real problem in the AFC playoffs. They just have too many guys who get run over.

Jacksonville Jaguars 38 at Houston Texans 20

Michael David Smith: David Garrard needs to learn how to throw to Ernest Wilford. If you hit him in the hands, he drops it. If you make him work to get the ball, he catches it. I'm serious. This goes back to college with him -- he just doesn't catch the easy passes. He's like a basketball player who has a higher three-point percentage than free-throw percentage.

San Francisco 49ers 24 at St. Louis Rams 20

Michael David Smith: The St. Louis defense didn't seem like it wanted to play today. It wasn't so much that the 49ers looked good as that the Rams looked like they were doing just enough to still call themselves professional football players.

Ned Macey: I'm not sure how many Rams games you've watched this year, and I didn't watch today, but all year they have receivers running free and running backs gaining huge yardage before ever being touched. 0-2 against SF is just a joke.

Indianapolis Colts 13 at Seattle Seahawks 28

Aaron Schatz: Are they trying to get James over 400 carries so he'll go blow his ACL again next year? 13 carries today makes 360 for the season. I wonder if Indianapolis is just running him into the ground this year, already planning to let him leave in free agency.

Seeing Jim Sorgi run the stretch handoff play is just weird. I honestly have nothing else to say about this game. I apologize to the Seattle fans who wanted a big report.

Ned Macey: I don't know what the numbers are this year, but a year ago Harrison was infinitely better in the red zone than Wayne who was better everywhere else on the field. Based on their touchdown totals and my own observations, that seems to be the case again this year, and the two drives they had Manning in they marched down and failed to punch it in. The second time, Wayne dropped a sure first down, and then on third down he was covered in the end zone.

I cannot believe they had Edge in that long. He continued to be completely ineffective as he has been the last few weeks. If he is even active next week, the Colts are making a mistake. The man needs a couple weeks off.

Aaron Schatz:

Player DVOA Pass Catch Yards TD
Harrison red -7.2% 26 14 103 6
Wayne red -21.3% 20 10 78 2
Harrison other 19.1% 104 66 1014 6
Wayne other 18.3% 101 73 977 3

Detroit Lions 13 at New Orleans Saints 12

Michael David Smith: Two of the players I thought were among the few Saints playing well this year were the reasons Detroit managed a win. Roy Williams beat Mike McKenzie several times. Shaun Rogers looked really impressive against LeCharles Bentley.

The funny thing about Harrington and Garcia is that Harrington is better at all the things that a veteran like Garcia is supposed to be good at, like clock management and recognizing blitzes. Neither played well, obviously, but it's pretty silly for a team playing only to develop its young players to have started Garcia the last three weeks. I would still like a chance to see Dan Orlovsky. What would it hurt?

This was the first game since before Thanksgiving that a majority of the Lions actually looked like they were trying. Of course, when you're trying hard and you need a last-second field goal to beat the Saints, you've got serious problems. It was nice to see Charles Rogers back to his usual self, never got open a single time all game, but he did have a false start penalty. Not sure who that imposter was in his uniform last week.

Oakland Raiders 3 at Denver Broncos 22

Michael David Smith: Jerry Porter and Randy Moss look like all of their routes are very halfhearted, just sort of jogging around out there.

Philadelphia Eagles 21 at Arizona Cardinals 27

Michael David Smith: So do you think that talk about the greatness of Ryan Moats might have been a bit premature? By the way, Sean Landeta has to be the Special Teams Player of the Week. The guy turns 44 in two weeks and he was absolutely booming them today.

Aaron Schatz: Worst-rated punter in the league last year. I wonder if the thin Arizona air has a smaller Denver-like effect. That might help explain Rackers as well.

Pittsburgh Steelers 41 at Cleveland Browns 0

Ryan Wilson: I'm in tropical upstate New York for Christmas, and in addition to not being able to actually see the Steelers, I attended church with the in-laws at 3:30 meaning, that I couldn't even listen to the game on the internets in its entirety. That said, nothing like getting home and finding out Pittsburgh squeaked out a 41-0 win. Which can only mean I should go to church more often.

Posted by: admin on 25 Dec 2005

123 comments, Last at 29 Dec 2005, 8:52pm by thad

Comments

1
by stan (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2005 - 2:17pm

Jim Mora and the entire Falcon organization should have known the potential impact of every possible outcome on their playoff chances long before the game ever started.

This is absolutely inexcusable. Sadly, it doesn't qualify as "negligence" (if defined as prevailing level of care) because I suspectt most other coaches and organizations would have been just as unprepared.

Pitiful.

2
by Smeghead (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2005 - 2:53pm

The mistake Mora made was not going hard enough for the win. A tie would have all but eliminated the Falcons anyway: he punted when he should have gone for it. Lengthier dissertation on this subject under the TB-Atl/Car-Dal game preview thread (click my name).

3
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2005 - 3:22pm

Re: Redskins WR Screen
For some reason that play normally works for the Redskins. Their OL are great at getting out to block. Moss broke a 76 yard TD on one against Kansas City, and sometimes to shake things up they will run it to Portis.

Honestly though it drives fans crazy, because Brunell doesn't have the strongest arm. You wouldn't believe how many fans have written things like "Stop running on first and second down" and "Stop throwing the WR screen" and "Stop passing it to Moss and Cooley", but oddly enough they are working (lately). It was brutal during the 3 game losing skid.

How do you think Laverneous Coles feels? He left DC complaining that the Redskins didn't throw the ball downfield enough... hah! Everyone in the organization was aware he had lost a step with toe injuries... I think all he is now is basically a short possession WR. We love Moss because he is great at making adjustments when the ball is in the air, I'd say him and Steve Smith are the best.. Smith seems like he's a little stronger.

4
by charles (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2005 - 4:31pm

IMO,Too add on to with furtek was saying, db's respect moss' speed too much so they play off him five or six yards, this makes running wr screens to moss easy because he has the space to catch the ball and make a move to get upfield. In yesterday's game they put hime in motion, as well before they ran the screen which created even more seperation between him and will allen. But more important, IMO, is that teams can't double cover moss as much as they would like because portis is running the ball much better in the last month and cooley is starting to catch the ball again.

5
by GMAN (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2005 - 4:33pm

Dear Santana Moss and the Redskins,
Please die. Thank you.

6
by Towwb (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2005 - 5:01pm

Am I the only one here who doesn't get the apples joke?

7
by clem (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2005 - 5:25pm

I just wanted to note that the broadcast crew on the Liedowns-Ain'ts game was actually listenable for a change. Jesse Palmer though did seem to enjoy calling that hurry-up figgy a "hurricane kick" just a little too much given who was playing. I also want to give Harrington some credit. Despite all the pressure, abuse and benchings and the "Joey Sucks" chants, he has been nothing but forthright and classy through it all, never melting down or pointing fingers. His constant refrain through the benchings has been team first, stay ready, play the role they give me without complaint. Some people fault him for this, saying he is not fiery enough to be a leader, but he is true to himself under severe duress and that's admirable in my book.

8
by Justus (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2005 - 5:41pm

Towwb - "How do you like them apples?" The expression had a resurgence after being featured in Good Will Hunting (which took place in Boston).

9
by Thok (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2005 - 6:02pm

0-2 against SF is just a joke.

While I agree with this statement (and I am a 49er's fan) I figure that it's karma for going 2-0 against a superior Seattle team last year.

Has anybody done a study of similar situations (lower DVOA team goes 2-0 against division foe with higher rank DVOA) and looked at what happened to the record of both teams the next year? That seems like a good real world test for DVOA.

(Of course, by that logic I'd expect the 49ers to have a worse record next year; 1-15 here we come!)

10
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2005 - 7:03pm

Re: The Bills and Losman

The Bills are in a bad situation right now.

They drafted a first round QB that has potential. However, first round QBs take nearly a season of play before they show you much of anything. Kelly Holcomb is an average QB in nearly every sense of the word.

However, Buffalo is playing to win, not "learn". The bills are out of playoff shot. they need to start their young QB and get him some games and see if he is going to be that franchises future. Using Holcomb is the "instant-gratification" player. He'll make them at least competitive but if they want to test Losman, he needs to take his lumps sooner or later.

11
by VinnyMurphSully (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2005 - 7:27pm

Re: #10

FYI - Losman has an injured shoulder, otherwise he would be starting.

12
by bobstar (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2005 - 7:53pm

Re: comment #7:

Word. Whoever they were, it was far more enjoyable than almost every other broadcasting team I've heard. They explained the plays and weren't bombastic.

13
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Sun, 12/25/2005 - 9:18pm

Bill: Thank you for the Baldinger comment. The guy is worthless, and he's more painful, IMO, than Theeeeeesman.

Chris (#10): I agree with you 100%. I think that some of the criticism of Losman here and elsewhere is unwarranted when you consider how few starts he's had and the quality of his offensive line. He's shown flashes of brilliance, but he's also made the kind of mistakes that you'd expect from a guy who's appeared in less than one season's worth of games.

14
by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 1:54am

Nice Audibles, but one correction: it's Derrick Dockery, not Dennis.

15
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 2:11am

The Ravens won, but I don't think that was an upset.

plus there is the possibility of a win by the Packers, Ravens, or Jets.

16
by the K (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 2:27am

Could the Mora postgame radio explosion have something to do with the fact that no one really knew what a tie would do for their playoff chances? For those who haven't heard, Mora had a meltdown during a postgame interview, throwing a microphone that almost hit a sideline reporter in the head, and could possibly be disciplined by the Falcons. The tantrum followed the question as to why the Falcons punted on 4th and 2 near the end of OT. I have two theories:

1. No one knew what would happen in the event of a tie and he got upset because he was reminded of that fact;

2. Someone said we can't tie, we need the win, and he for some reason decided to punt anyway and was feeling the guilt for not having the cojones to go for it.

17
by Dan Riley (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 2:35am

With his prediction for the Bolts to be in SB XLI is Aaron saying that Marty will not be back coaching them next year?

18
by Slippery Pete (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 2:47am

Your weekly Joe Theismann quote:

"The Ravens should have just drafted Kyle Boller, and let him play football."

19
by Jake Brake (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 3:15am

I was at the SEA-IND game and Sorgi was a surprisingly good QB. He made only one or two errant throws all game, had good timing with his receivers, and appeared to have a full understanding of their offensive scheme. ('Course, it was against Seattle's secondary.) He even did the Chicken Dance once or twice, and danged if he didn't do a pretty good impression of Manning. If Seattle wasn't so stingy in the red zone (which they excel at) he would have done some real damage.

Seattle will keep winning as long as the D keeps giving up field goals instead of touchdowns. It was impressive that they held Indy's starting O to two field goal attempts, one of which was blocked. (Granted, this was without Harrison - as Aaron illustrated above, their go-to TD machine.) Seattle's offense looks unstoppable right now - the run blocking is jaw-dropping, and the passing game is razor sharp.

The same is true for Indy's passing game - both the first and the second string versions, and that was without Harrison. Both Manning and Sorgi had pretty much forever to throw. But they had no running game, partly because James is worn down as noted above, and partly because that's the strength of Seattle's D. (Not that it seemed to matter to the starting O.)

It looks like both offenses are going to carve up each other's defense if these two teams play again. It's probably going to come down to which offense can stay on the field the longest.

20
by dfarrar777 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 3:30am

Jeremy Shockey

21
by dfarrar777 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 3:30am

Jeremy Shockey +/- Tom Glavine?

Boy, that was embarrassing.

Speaking of bad announcers, I think Jim Nantz and Phil Simms set an NFL resord by mispronouncing the names of every player on Seattle's current roster. For good measure, they went back in time and mispronounced the names of Rick Mirer, Brian Bosworth, Daryl Turner, Duke Fergerson and Steve Largent.

Sorgi looked good against Seattle's D, but he hit a few roadblocks in the second and fourth quarters when Seattle played a little more press coverage and went with some pressure. Other than that, it was a steady diet of vanilla ice cream. What wasn't really mentioned was why they had to do that - the Seahawks were playing with the 4th-6th CBs on their depth chart. Should Seattle and Indy meet in the Super Bowl, it will be two drastically different teams. Indy wasn't the only team playing a lot of scrubs.

22
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 5:23am

Why would the Arizona air be thinner? Simply because it's dry? If I recall my astronomy and my earth sciences correctly, cold air is thinner than warm, and Arizona is usually warmer than the rest of the nation.

23
by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 8:33am

Arizona's altitude, while not as high as Denver's, is still high enough to affect the distance of kicks.

24
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 9:41am

Thok:

Rams went 3-0 against Seattle last year, with two wins in Seattle.

Hard to say how a team that loses to you three times in a season is "better". Can you qualify those remarks more?

25
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 12:12pm

#23, I can't imagine Tempe, which is at 1100 ft. above SL would give a kicked ball any measearable advantage. Now, if you head up to Flagstaff, which is higher than Denver, you have a point.

In the Green Bay game, can anybody tell me why the Packers went for the onside kick after the field goal cut the lead to seven? With almost two minutes left in the game, and holding all three time outs? Makes no sense. Even after holding the Bears to a 3-and-out, after the punt, instead of starting on their 40, Favre takes over on his 10.

And how in the name of Joe Dudek does the broadcast team not even MENTION the decision?

26
by Moses (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 12:35pm

I’m not convinced that Vick is never going to grow as a passer. He’s still very young in age, if not NFL experience, and I still think he can round out his game.

Vick's lifetime rating is one point above Tim Couch and he makes the same stupid decisions today as he did FIVE YEARS AGO. If he couldn't run and didn't play on a good team, you'd be calling him a bust instead of making excuses for him.

27
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 12:42pm

RE: 10

Lostman sucks, but he'd be starting if he wasn't injured. He has shoulder and leg injuries.

RE: 6

"How you like them/dem apples?" is an English idiom. It was famously used in "Goodwill Hunting" and "Fast and Furious." The phrase has been used since ine 1920s.
Aaron used it referencing Atlanta Falcons fans, who flooded this site with stupid comments, because their team was 17th in DVOA despite having a 6-2 record. Aaron was also flooded with e-mails from Atlanta fans (who deservedly have the reputation of not being terribly bright).
Click my name for an example of one such thread (the biggest example for sure).

28
by Israel (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 12:42pm

Aaron writes The Chargers should aim to finish third, not second, to get a schedule with Baltimore and Buffalo instead of Pittsburgh and Miami.

The Chargers will play both Pittsburgh and Baltimore next year, as will all the AFC West. The second place West team will get JAX and MIA, while the third place team will get TEN and BUF, so your point is correct even though your facts are not.

The extreme drop-off from second to third in the AFC appears in all the divisions except the West.

29
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 12:45pm

RE: 16

He admitted that they couldn't figure out what a tie would do for their playoff chances. He even called other members of the organization to ask. Unfortunately, the Atlanta Falcons organization is not filled with very intelligent people, to say the least.
All anyone needed to do was glance at the standings in a friggin' newspaper.

30
by big_adventure (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 12:45pm

25 - Dryheat

The first 1000 feet DO make a big difference, and, in fact, make a bigger difference than any subsequent 1000ft increment. Fulton County stadium was called "The Launching Pad" pre-Coors field just because of the pro-home-run effect of the thinner air there, and it's a few feet lower than Tempe. It was also by far the highest MLB city prior to Baseball in Denver.

Remember, with the gasses in air (which are compressible), the ratio of density to altitude is not linear. This is why air pressure is 2/3 sea level at ~8000 feet and 1/3 sea level at ~30000 feet, yet the atmosphere extends hundreds of thousands of feet higher.

Compare this to water, for example, and you get 1 ATM of pressure every 33 feet, regardless of depth, because you can't compress a liquid.

-Sean

31
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 12:59pm

RE: 25

Yes, Green Bay definitely should have kicked it deep. Several mentioned that in the open discussion thread. Click my name.

32
by ems (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 1:00pm

#26 - Can you explain why Mike Vick had a pretty great year in 2002, and has declined since then? His passing rankings were #11 in DPAR and #8 in DVOA back then, and while he perhaps fumbled more than he should have, his rushing stats were really impressive too. Overall, he contributed something like 24 TDs and maybe 12 turnovers.

I can't defend his play the last two years, because it's been downright terrible. I suppose it could also be injuries, although I assumed it was mostly the scheme that Mora has him running (Mora's arrival directly coincided with Vick's regression). It's disingenuous to suggest that he can't be a successful QB though, because we've seen him do it.

What's the prevailing wisdom re: why he his play has tanked the last few years, after being so successful in his first full year?

33
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 1:23pm

I don't know how good Vick will be in the future, but his willingness to roll over and lose compliantly in the Bears game, under admittedly adverse conditions, says something about his leadership ability, and it ain't positive.

34
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 1:23pm

He’s like a basketball player who has a higher three-point percentage than free-throw percentage.

Actually, Florida guard Lee Humphries actually DOES have a higher 3pt% than ft%. Of course, this had a lot to do with him only shooting 4 free throws all season...

Also, how bizarre is it to see that both of the Colts WRs have a negative DVOA in the red zone?

Re #26: Don't blame Vick, blame the scheme. When he was in a system suited to his strengths (2002), he was a stud. Not the best passer in the NFL, but top 50%, and his rushing more than made up the difference.

That said, I still think he's the most overrated player in the league.

As for the AGS article... my vote is Bills/Bengals. I'd rather read "Horrible team beat great team because ______" than "Good team beat slightly better team because _____. By the way, this game has marginally greater playoff implications than the bigger upset."

Besides, it's not like Buf/Cin is bereft of playoff implications. By losing, Cincy lost out on the #2 seed, and if they lose again next week at KC they might even fall to the #4 seed in the AFC. Good thing next week's game is in January, so the Chiefs will be beatable. Everyone knows the Chiefs have won something like 19 in a row at home in December. If the game was one day earlier, the Bengals would just be screwed.

35
by TheWedge (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 2:18pm

RE 34:
IIRC Bruce Bowen (of the Spurs) also shot a higher % from the arc than from the line.

Speaking of bad announcers in the Arizona-Philly game (I'm not sure who was calling the game) consistently got the names of players wrong and not just things like confusing two wide recievers but mixing up RBs and WRs (calling Reggie Brown Ryan Moats) and calling the numbers of injured players like Westbrook or Sheppard. Just terrible.

36
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 2:24pm

Michael David Smith and Aaron:

Moats did his best running to the left behind rookie left tackle Todd Herremanns, who is now out for the season. Perhaps the problem is undrafted free agent platoon player G/OT Artis Hicks.

Packers Game (1 carry, 6 yards to the left):
1-10-GB27 (8:40) R.Moats left end to GB 21 for 6 yards (N.Collins).

Seahawks Game (3 carries, 25 yards, 0 TD, 1 FD to the left):
1-10-PHI23 (14:29) R.Moats left tackle to PHI 32 for 9 yards (R.Bernard).
1-10-PHI43 (8:38) R.Moats left end to PHI 45 for 2 yards (C.Darby).
1-10-SEA49 (3:18) R.Moats left end to SEA 35 for 14 yards (E.Pruitt).

Giants Game (9 carries, 107 yards, 2 TD, 2 FD to the left):
2-5-NYG40 (8:03) R.Moats left end for 40 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
2-10-PHI24 (3:43) R.Moats left end to PHI 25 for 1 yard (J.Tuck).
3-20-PHI20 (11:34) R.Moats left tackle to PHI 30 for 10 yards (G.Wilson).
1-15-PHI43 (2:38) R.Moats left end to NYG 37 for 20 yards (N.Greisen; B.Alexander).
1-10-NYG18 (2:00) R.Moats left end for 18 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
1-10-PHI32 (1:42) R.Moats left tackle to PHI 35 for 3 yards (C.Emmons).
1-10-PHI43 (3:28) R.Moats left end to NYG 46 for 11 yards (C.Emmons).
2-10-NYG34 (2:06) R.Moats left end to NYG 32 for 2 yards (O.Umenyiora).
1-10-PHI33 (14:53) R.Moats left end to PHI 35 for 2 yards (A.Pierce).

Rams Game (5 carries, 68 yards, 1 TD, 1 FD to the left):
1-10-PHI41 (7:45) R.Moats left guard for 59 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
1-10-STL49 (5:05) R.Moats left guard to SL 43 for 6 yards (L.Little).
Herremans injured shortly after this play.
2-2-PHI35 (3:40) R.Moats left end to PHI 38 for 3 yards (T.Faulk).
1-10-PHI29 (14:56) R.Moats left tackle to PHI 32 for 3 yards (T.Faulk).
1-10-STL28 (2:49) R.Moats left tackle to SL 31 for -3 yards (A.Archuleta).

Cardinals Game (5 carries, -3 yards, 0 TD, 0 FD):
2-19-PHI45 (14:26) R.Moats left end to PHI 46 for 1 yard (J.Darling).
4-1-ARI48 (10:32) R.Moats left end to ARZ 49 for -1 yards (A.Wilson).
2-10-PHI44 (4:05) R.Moats left end to PHI 41 for -3 yards (K.Dansby).
2-3-PHI13 (1:22) R.Moats left tackle to PHI 15 for 2 yards (D.Dockett).
1-10-PHI30 (10:30) R.Moats left tackle to PHI 28 for -2 yards (K.Dansby).

Moats has 255 yards for the year. 203 of them, along with all 3 touchdowns, and 4 first downs are on 15 plays to the left behind Herremanns. 9 of the 15 plays were successful. With Hicks there, in 8 plays he looked totally ineffective, gaining 0 net yards and making only one successful play (which was also a first down).

In his 25 attempts up the middle or to the right, he's gained just 52 yards and 3 first downs.

What is Moats DVOA for carries to the left prior to Herremanns going down?

37
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 2:39pm

If Cinci is smart they will turtle up and play for the 4th seed next week.

Then they get to face Jacksonville at home, and then travel 100 miles up the road to Indy indoors in a nice warm environment, a team they played surprisingly well against.

The alternative is playing the dreaded and resurgent Steelers again at home, then travelling cross country to Denver if they win that game. Doesn't seem like much thought is needed on this choice. Will Marvin Lewis go for it though, or will he let his pride get in the way of what is good for his ballclub?

38
by JTS (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 2:56pm

Paul McQuire on Sunday night should exiled. The man is awful, costantly babbling about food and fat men. What does this idiot have on ESPN that enabled him to stick for so long?

39
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 2:57pm

On Stadium elevation. The Georgia Dome is also quite high up, around 1050 ft.

40
by Thok (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 2:59pm

RE 24 Seattle had a better record than St. Louis last year and a much higher DVOA (-3.3 to -23). Also, notice that if you flip the St. Louis's results against Seattle, then Seattle would be 11-5 last year, while St. Louis would be 6-10. Shockingly, this year Seattle is 13-2 (they have also improved) while St. Louis is 5-10.

My question in 9 quantified what I meant by better team beating weaker team-use DVOA to rank teams.

41
by Tecmo Bo (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 3:10pm

Jim Mora seems to be falling apart. I didn't see this latest press conference moment, but I did see his tantrum last week when a call wasn't reversed (and it wasn't clear that it should have been), and I was struck by how childish he looked. I think the best thing for Atlanta (and Michael Vick) would be to get rid of Mora after the season.

42
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 3:50pm

Thok:

St. Louis and Seattle had similar offenses last year. St. Louis had a much worse pass defense (the major difference), but this wasn't really a problem because Seattle's wideouts apparently didn't recall that you don't get credit for a pass if it bounces off your hands, shoulder, helmet, chest, etc.

However there were some extenuating circumstances here as well. Seattle had a competent back-up QB in Dilfer, who lead them to 2 wins. St. Louis had Chris Chandler, who led them to 2 losses against inferior teams (Carolina and Arizona). Also, thanks to scheduling, Seattle got to play Minnesota during their annual slump, while St. Louis got Green Bay while they were white hot. St. Louis also had the Kyle Turley excitement after free agency and the draft. Numbers don't always tell the whole story.

In any case, if Seattle was really so much better, they certainly should have won at least 1 of 3 games, especially the last one, since it was single-elimination for advancement in the playoffs.

43
by Michael (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 5:08pm

"In any case, if Seattle was really so much better, they certainly should have won at least 1 of 3 games, especially the last one, since it was single-elimination for advancement in the playoffs.">

Ever hear the expression "May the best team win?" It acknowledges the possibility that the best team doesn't always. A reasonable argument could certainly be made that such was the case in that game.

44
by Michael (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 5:12pm

"If I recall my astronomy and my earth sciences correctly, cold air is thinner than warm, and Arizona is usually warmer than the rest of the nation."

Dude, that's terrible. When was the last time you saw a cold-air balloon floating by?

45
by Sean (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 5:16pm

The "Launching Pad" effect in Atlanta has more to do with humidity than elevation. Its a bit counter intuitive at first, but humid Air is 'thinner' than dry air. This is because water has a lighter atomic weight that air.

Oh, and Cheata's claws don't retract all the way.
If you can't win some drinks with those two datums, you shouldn't gamble.

46
by DMP (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 5:21pm

"Aaron Schatz: ...James over 400 carries so he’ll go blow his ACL again next year? ...I wonder if Indianapolis is just running him into the ground this year, already planning to let him leave in free agency."

I've been saying this to people since the beginning of the season. Of course, I only noticed this because I have James on my fantasy team and I noticed his high number of carries even in blowout wins (and I only figured it after being alerted the problem with high number of carries from reading about it here and PFP). It seems pretty clear to me that they are determined to use him up this year and not sign him next. At this point, they have to let him go next year. No way the wheel doesn't come off after the work he's put in.

47
by Michael (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 5:25pm

"Its a bit counter intuitive at first, but humid Air is ‘thinner’ than dry air. This is because water has a lighter atomic weight that air."

Thanks, I've already reached my giggle quota for the day and it's barely past noon.

48
by Thok (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 7:32pm

Just to back up my point a little.

Last year the following teams were beat twice in the regular season by a division foe with a lower ranked final 2004 DVOA.

Jacksonville was beaten twice by Houston
Washington was beaten twice by Dallas
Minnesota was beaten twice by Green Bay (only regular season counting here)
Carolina was beaten twice by Atlanta
Seattle was beaten twice by St. Louis (and once more in the playoffs)
Arizona was beaten twice by San Francisco.

One of these groups of teams seems to have improved in general. One of these groups of teams seems to have declined in general.

Or to put it another way-the first group of teams is 11-0 against the second group of teams this year.

49
by yep (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 7:58pm

I would still like a chance to see Dan Orlovsky. What would it hurt?

My eyes, for starters.

50
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 8:16pm

Re: 46:
How does this take on James' workload jive with the popular conception that Dungy is a class act? It doesn't exactly seem classy to ruin a guy's future knowing that you won't have any interest in it.

I'm not saying Dungy is sleazy, just that if you really believe the organization doesn't care how much damage they do to James, then that has certain implications about the character of the people overseeing the gameplan.

51
by Jason-H (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 8:31pm

Andrew-

In any case, if Seattle was really so much better, they certainly should have won at least 1 of 3 games, especially the last one, since it was single-elimination for advancement in the playoffs.

Or, it could have been simply a match-up issue. Seattle could have been the better team and simply didn't match-up well with St. Louis. As DVOA suggested.

This year, they've swept the Rams and are the only NFC team returning to the playoffs from last year, while the Rams have gone from going 8-8 and sneaking into the playoffs at just .500 to falling even further down the hole.

Thok's point is entirely based on DVOA, which suggested that Seattle was really better than their divisional rival that swept them last year, and now Seahawks have turned the table. It's a discussion about the predictive powers of the DVOA from season to season, so your personal assessment of why the Seahawks 'really weren't better' is almost inconsequential.

Of course, we know you can't pass up a chance to talk down about the Seahawks. Worst 13-2 team EVER.

52
by JC (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 8:34pm

Does nobody care about the BS call on Peppers in the Carolina game? I have to think that a play that potentially changes the entire game and playoffs would be reviewed a little better to ensure that it is right. That doesn't mean that they didn't suck and should have lost the game, but I was appalled at the refereeing of that game for both teams.

53
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 8:34pm

RE: 41 Tecmo

A lot of the stuff on PFT is crap (Mike Florio makes stuff up, and calls himself "we" to disguise the fact that it's one man's speculation), but check out the story dated POSTED 9:27 a.m. EST; December 26, 2005 (it's the top story right now). I linked the rumor mill in my name.

54
by Ted (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 9:05pm

I agree that Mora should be fired. I have no idea how he even got a head coaching job in the first place. He was a useless defensive coordinator in San Fran with his defenses getting worse each year. He has put Michael Vick in a completely counterproductive offense and his butchery last Saturday was inexcusable. It's true that even if they hadn't punted there is a good chance they wouldn't have won but Mora didn't even give them the chance and it was their only option. Also whenever I see him on the sideline he always just appears to be completeley in over his head and his recent meltdowns seem to support this. I doubt it will happen because the Falcons have ridden easy schedules and a bit of luck here and there to good win/loss records in his first two seasons but it's the right thing to do.

55
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 9:10pm

Re 44: Cold air is easier to move through - traditionally in astronomy it contains less particulates and is thus easier to see through as well. Of course, by your logic (i.e. the simple assumption that hot air rises) it should be snowy on the ground and tropical in the Himalayas. So I fail to see your point exactly. Plus I was doing that thing where, you know, you ask about something because you're a little bit confused on it. Which usually results in someone explaining it. Or you making a joke, which isn't quite as helpful. You know, because it foregoes any precise information or clarification so that instead you might poke fun at what - at heart - was a question and not an assertion. What I had forgotten was that Phoenix was at altitude (that means it's higher cowboy). I made the mistake of associating desert with flat, sea-level land, and I was basing my question off of a different information set than I should have, which MDS clarified rather nicely.

56
by Kachunk (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 10:20pm

Basilicus: The reason hot air balloons rise is because hot air is less dense than cold air (ie "thinner"). Denser air is harder to move through (a rough analog: water is harder to move through than air because water is denser, although density is not the only difference between the two fluids).

RE #45 Similarly with the humid air--humid air is denser than less humid air, although this is a much less dramatic effect than altitude or temperature, I believe.

57
by Sara (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 11:18pm

#52 - As infuriating as the kicker-tripping-over-Peppers call was, if his defense hadn't allowed close to 200 rushing yards it wouldn't have been an issue.

58
by Rowdy (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 11:19pm

Michael Vick's career will go down much like Kordell Stewart's.

59
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 11:33pm

(5:19) B.Bollinger pass intended for D.Jolley INTERCEPTED by A.Samuel at NYJ 49. A.Samuel to NYJ 33 for 16 yards (C.Houston). FUMBLES (C.Houston), RECOVERED by NYJ-C.Houston at NYJ 32. C.Houston to NYJ 32 for no gain (A.Samuel).NE-A.Samuel was injured during the play. Play Challenged by NE and Upheld. (Timeout #1 by NE at 05:09.)

WTF? Do they just make the stuff up? I'm sure they'll fix it, but how did they miss that in the first place!?

60
by Michael (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 11:58pm

I noticed that the other day on another challenged play, where "upheld" meant the challenge was upheld, not the ruling on the field. I agree, it's odd.

61
by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 1:59am

1) The Bills should never have picked J.P. Losman, and the criticism is warrented. #13, completing a few deep bombs does not constitute "flashes of brilliance." The long ball is actually the easiest pass to throw. I live in Rochester NY which is where the Bills hold training camp and I saw him in drills. His accuracy is not impressive to say the least, even for a rookie. And that's just practice, where there is no pressure and no defense. Then you watch him in games and he honestly looks like a frightened mouse scurrying around. If you watched Orton earlier this year, even he looked fairly comfortable and poised in the pocket, regardless of wether or not the passes ended up complete. Roethlisberger had the same kind of poise. Eli Manning, who did not look poised at all at the start, still showed impressive mechanics and accuracy. Losman has honestly showed very little in the way of poise or accuracy, and I really can't see him developing into anything more than a typical Journeyman stop-gap QB. THe problem with the Bills is that GM Tom Donahoe is a certifiable two-face. On defense he makes all the right moves: Getting Takeo Spikes from the Bengals, London Fletcher from the Rams, Lawyer Millow from the Pats. CB's Terrence McGee and Nate Clements were diamonds in the rough. Sam Adams and Aaron Shobel are excellent players. On offense, he just doesn't get it. He traded for Bledsoe, which was an acceptable move. Drew's play was fair, but he was taking way too many sacks. Now, you take Bledsoe knowing that he is an accurate passer with a strong arm, but he is a statue, and tends to be a bit slow with his release. So they let him stand back there behind an AWFUL offensive line for a few years, and wonder why he's getting sacked all the time. So what do they do. Improve the O-line? No. THey draft JP Losman SOLELY because of his mobility. Believe me, that is why they took him. There were other QB's on the board that were better college passers. But they took Losman just because he was the best scrambler, instead of just fixing the line. Then last year in the draft, they took Roscoe Parrish, the WR from Miami with their first pick. This caused the owner Ralph Wilson to publically question Donahoe's decisions, as he felt Parrish was a "luxury pick" that the Bills could not afford to make with an offense that had much bigger holes to fill in other areas. Mularkey, I feel, should not shoulder the bulk of the blame for the Bills' shortcommings, as this is only his second year, and have made some very questionable personell choices the last few years.

In summation, Losman was not a good pick, he was not the right pick, Donahoe should be canned, Mularkey still deserves the opportunity to prove himself.

62
by Ross (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 2:09am

Damn, no love For the Dolphin/Tennesses game!?! What about Ricky's big day, or the injury to McNair? We deserved at least a line if you're gonna' give New Orleans and Detriot a 3 paragraph breakdown for Christ sakes...

63
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 2:26am

Check the bottom of this linked page for a chart showing conversion factors for density between dry and humid ideal gas. You'll notice the conversion factors are less than one, which means that - and read this slowly, so you don't start giggling in the middle - as humidity goes up, density goes down.

Now, if you can hold off giggling for a few more moments, I'd like to hammer home the concepts I learned somewhere around 5th grade. See, there's this little constant we call "Avogadro's number", equal to roughly 6.0221367*10^23. That's the number of molecules in one mole of any substance. Now one mole of an ideal gas (such as dry air, or humid air) at STP (standard temperature and pressure) will always be the same volume, roughly 22.4 L [that's the "old" STP of one atmosphere; apparently there's a "new" STP of one bar, but either way it's the same principle - one mole of gas has the same volume at the same T/P]. So the same volume of air, whether humid or dry, contains the same number of molecules.

Now this is where it gets "tricky" (well, if you're an idiot). Dry air has an average molecular weight of approximately 29 (close to nitrogen's 28, raised somewhat by oxygen's 32 and carbon dioxide's 44). But humid air contains water molecules, which have a molecular weight of 18. Notice how 18 is a smaller number than 29? I'll give a minute if you need to catch up here.

OK, remember that the total number of molecules will remain the same in our volume. So for each water molecule you put in (that is, as humidity increases), you have to pull out some other molecule. And the molecules you replace have an average weight of 29, and they're being replaced by a water with weight 18. So, and see if you can get ahead of me now... As the humidity rises, the amount of water increases. And as the amount of water increases, the total weight decreases. Now, density equals (this can get confusing...) weight divided by volume. As humidity increases, the weight goes down, and the volume stays the same. So, as humidity increases, density decreases. Ta-daaa!!!

Does this make sense? If not, I'll gladly dumb it down a little more, and giggle the whole time. Here's a hint: if you want to insult someone, please make sure you have a freaking clue what you're talking about first.

64
by admin :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 2:40am

I think 62 is joking. You are joking, right?

65
by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 2:56am

2) I hope that when the Bengals lose for the second straight week this Sunday at Kansas City, people realize how quick they were to overrate this team and call them the 2nd or 3rd best in the league. They've allowed 27, 45, 37, 29, 31, and a couple of 23 point performances so far this year. KC will probably put up something around 30 on them this weekend. Their defense can't stop anybody that isn't from the NFC North. Their offense is a cool spectacle in the regular season, cause they like to get flashy and throw a lot of deep routes and all of that. But they're ground game doesn't concern any of the good teams, and their slightly above-average rushing attack will become a below-average one in the AFC playoffs. This is a conference where it's going to be almost impossible to squeak by someone in spite of poor defense and average rushing. Anyone who is projecting the Bengals to make it to the conference championship probably should be commited.

66
by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 10:06am

Jason-H:

The more I listen to Seahawks homers here, the less I like them or the Seahawks. I really rather liked the Seahawks before the Seahawks fans all started coming over here to tell us how great their team was, and please ignore the fact that they play in the worst division ever in football, with bonus games against the Titans and Texans for good measure.

Its gotten so bad with Seattle at last looking like something other than a train wreck waiting to happen that you guys are now busily rewriting the histroy of previous seasons.

In 1999 the Jaguars were a "better team" by DVOA than the Titans, they scored more points, and had a better defense. Yet the Titans beat them three times that year FOR THEIR ONLY LOSSES, and of course, the Titans ended up in the Super Bowl, while the Jaguars were home drowing their tears in their beers.

In 2000 the Eagles were a "better team" by DVOA than the Giants, they scored more points, and had a better defense. Yet the Giants thrashed them three times that year FOR HALF THEIR 6 LOSSES, and the games weren't even close, and of course the Giants ended up in the Super Bowl that year.

The 2004 Rams did the same thing to the Seahawks. Boo f***ing hoo. Get over it. You obviously weren't good enough to beat a worse team last year given 3 chances, including one where you were up 17 points with 5 minutes to go AT HOME, and another where you were in a playoff game AT HOME.

People often talk about football as being different from other sports, because of the relative fewness of games compared to Hockey or Baseball, or Basketball. Well, in those rare instances when football teams play each other 3 times in a season, we get a glimpse of the "best of series" type play we see in other sports. If the teams are evenly matched, the chances of losing all 3 games is just 1 in 8 times. If one team is twice as good as another (i.e. they "should" win 2/3 of the time), the chances of that team losing all 3 games is 1 in 28 times. Seattle being allegedly much better than the Rams last year, plus getting home field advantage TWICE, which should only make the DVOA disparity even greater, managed to lose all 3 games.

They really just were not better.

67
by Michael David Smith :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 11:01am

Ross, I'm sorry if my three-paragraph breakdown of the Lions-Saints game offended you. I was born and raised in the Detroit area, which means as long as I'm writing for FO, FO readers will be treated to my thoughts about the Lions. Who knows, maybe I'll still be writing for FO when I'm 80, and by then I'll be able to write about a good team. Nah, probably not. Matt Millen's son will probably be running the team into the ground.

I tried to keep an eye on as many of the early games as I could, but I watched none of Miami-Tennessee. I'm planning to watch the short cut today, though.

In general, my feeling is that if you want to criticize something I wrote, go for it. I'm always interested in hearing from people who disagree with me, and sometimes FO readers have changed my mind about something. Just yesterday, on another thread, someone pointed out that Cortez Kennedy made the Pro Bowl seven times, I did a little more research into his career, and that convinced me that he should be in the Hall of Fame.

But please, don't criticize me or the other Outsiders for what we don't write about. When FO grows large enough that we can have a 32-person staff, and covering the NFL is a full-time job for all of us, I think at that point it'll be fair to criticize us if there are certain teams we don't write about. But until then, we do as much as we can, but we don't claim that we can provide blanket coverage of every team.

Trogdor, thanks for the physics info. Not sure what made Michael in #47 giggle, but I guess we all have our own unique senses of humor. My wife bought me Football Physics, and it's got some interesting information about the effects of altitude on the game. I think it's fair to say that the emergence of Neil Rackers as the league's best kicker is at least in part due to his move to the elevation of Arizona.

68
by thad (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 11:04am

Andrew,
you make some good points. I tend to get sick of all the homer fans here.
My solution is to once in a while go back and read the lhc thread and get a good laugh every so often. Works like a charm. The Seahawks fans are not quite that bad.

69
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 12:01pm

That’s the number of molecules in one mole of any substance. Now one mole of an ideal gas (such as dry air, or humid air) at STP (standard temperature and pressure) will always be the same volume, roughly 22.4 L

Not disagreeing with you on the density issue (don't know the answer), but air is not an ideal gas. There is no such thing as an ideal gas.

70
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 12:16pm

Don't make me bust out eccentricity (the ratio between actual and ideal molar volumes). Air at STP (or any T/P sports are ever played in) is as ideal as it gets. No, no gas is always ideal. But a great many of them have eccentricity of 1, and yield volumes identical to the pv=nrt equation at a wide range of temps/pressures. For example, Helium doesn't show any eccentricity until the temp gets down around 50 K or so (if I remember correctly - it's been a long time since I looked at helium's eccentricity chart).

71
by DMP (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 12:34pm

#50:
Well, I don't know. Maybe Dungy is classy but still a deft businessman, maybe he's not as classy as to save up James so that he'll cost more than he'll be able to produce, or maybe Polian was able to convince Dungy that there is no way they'll be able to re-sign James, so always use him where you need him if you feel that the drop off between him and the next guy in a give situation is just too much (without having to regard for his preservation). But didn't they allow James to seek a trade before the season? I believe that sent out the message clear enough (you're looking at the downward slope, sign for less or see you later), and I believe that's being honest enough and therefore classy.

I'm not saying they are giving him more carries on purpose so that he'll break down after this year. They would need a crystal ball for that. I am saying they are giving him a high number of carries without regard to preserving him for the future, knowing that there is no room to sign him for what he wants and that he is likely to break down after this season given how other backs at his age, his injuries and his number of carries have.

72
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 12:49pm

Re: JC, #52
There were definately some spurious calls by the officials in that game... in fact I'd say they affected the outcome pretty good.

For the record that was Terry McAulay's crew. They will be the crew working the Redskins-Eagles game, another game with playoff implications.

This year they were involved in controversy in 3 weeks at least. This was the crew that worked the SNF game where the Saints beat the Jets 21-19. The crew overturned a Coles touchdown pass. This crew worked the Browns-Bengals game and helped the Bengals on their game winnig drive with some calls.

Last year this crew worked the late December Bears-Lions game where they overturned a 40+ yard Bears TD pass. This crew also was the one working the Browns-Jaguars beer throwing fiasco 4 years ago.

And that's probably the 4th game with playoff implications NFL officials have butchered. If the games all went the other way Carolina and the Skins are in, and Dallas and Tampa Bay are battling for the last spot. I'm just making a hypothetical here... not whining...

73
by DGL (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 1:51pm

#70: "Eccentricity" in a FO message board. If that ain't redundant, I don't know what is.

74
by Levente, Hungary (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 2:21pm

Re: James

I heard somewhere that he is allowed to pull himself of the game (or at least take some break for a few downs) whenever he wants. Is that true? If yes, then he is not just a victim of the "system".

75
by Cabbage (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 2:46pm

A brief primer on humidity and pressure.

I teach people how to fly for a living, the following is pretty much an excerpt from lessons covering the effects of barometric pressure, relative humidity, and temperature on performance.

1)Hot air is less dense than Cold air. In the case of airplanes, this means that less lift is generated because there is less air flowing over the wing. For the purposes of football, this should mean that the ball travels furthur on warmer days.

2)Pressure and temperature are still not as big determinants as elevation. 1" of mercury (Pressure is reported in inches of mercury, with 29.92" being "standard sea-level pressure") corresponds to 1000 feet. You are unlikely to ever see a full 1" swing in barometric pressure. I've been flying for about five years, and I've never seen pressure below 29.70" or above 30.60". In fact, abnormally high pressure readings are much more likely in the US than low pressures. Esp. WRT football season. Clear, cold, sunny days in december are usually indicative of high pressure Canadian air masses settled over the US.
As for humidity, relative humidity is a measure of how much water the air can hold. Cold air can hold less water than warm air. Hot air is less dense, so there is more room for the water molecules than in a comparable parcel of cold air. Humidty effects the travel of the ball in play much more during the summer months because there is a much greater range of possible moisture content. Baseballs will travel furthur during really humid, hot days. Its often too cold for there to be much of an effect on a football.*

*- low humidity days and high pressure systems are associated with good visibility. that may have lead to some of the confusion earlier. Visibility and density tend to have an inverse relationship, but there isn't a particularly hard and fast rule about it.

3) While comment #30 is technically correct, it should be noted that there isn't going to be a very noticeable difference in the rate between altitudes until you get above 10,000 feet. i.e. you can pretty much treat the altitude/pressure relationship as linear. Perhaps not technically correct, but its certainly a practical way to deal with the issue.

4) Wind is still the most prominent atmospheric effect during football games.

5) Domes suck.

Hopefully that clears things up a bit. I'll check the thread later if anyone wants to post any questions.

76
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 3:19pm

71:
So you're saying they are giving James a huge workload with complete knowledge that it will take a big toll on him, not because they can see the future, but because they know what a heavy workload can do to an RB. I'm not sure how we should define "classy," but if that's true, then I'd at least say that doesn't make Dungy a "player's coach." It's not like James is getting overworked because he's needed. They're using him after games are already won, or in meaningless games like this past week's. Any business decision could be classified as "deft" if it helps the organization, which it would in this case by keeping his backup fresh, but it's not exactly all that fruitful in terms of helping the Colts win games this season. Many smart business moves aren't exactly kind, but the point here is whether Dungy is "classy," irrespective of business sense. In my opinion, if it's true that he's coaching with zero concern for James' future, that would make Dungy a jerk, at least.

74: Of course, pretty much any player can pull himself out of a game if he wants, but if someone were to consistently refuse to play when he thought he had taken enough hits in a game then he would get a reputation that would hurt his future just as much as by being run into the ground. It's up to coaches to limit a guy's carries. The only reason a player would have to pay attention to such things as limiting his carries would be if he knew his coach was acting entirely without concern for his welfare. I don't think that happens, but DMP has suggested that it does, and if he's right, and if other coaches were to do the same, then it would seem to create a pretty damaging rift between the needs of players and coaches.

77
by morganja (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 3:44pm

The Panthers game was terrible. Its hard to say that the Panthers are entirely responsible for the huge rushing day when you consider the only holding penalty against Dallas was from an essentially signed confession when the guy tackled Rucker out in the open to save a sack. The referees allowed Dallas to give late hits, push and shove after every play, pretty much do anything they wanted during the game. When one considers the incredibly bizaare ejection of Smith and the nature of the calls one has to conclude this crew fixes games. I say that because they tried to keep the penalties about even but gave impact penalties to the Panthers while giving non-impact penalties on the Cowboys. Penalties on kick-offs and special teams for example are much less significant than penalties on offense and defense, they effect field position but aren't drive killers or extenders. But it is the no-calls that have a bigger impact. There is no way a reasonable person can think that the ball didn't make contact on the Pepper's penalty. The assumption should be when a guy misses a 30 yard field goal that it was blocked, especially after it had already happened earlier in the game. But how can anyone look at that, see the trajectory and spin of the ball change after contacting Peppers and make the call that it wasn't touched.
Yes I am a Panther's fan and I take that into account when I consider my perspective, but this game was fooling no one. The only question is was the officiating just bad or was it deliberately thrown?

78
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 3:57pm

Not to sound conspiracy theory-ish or anything... but this is the third game this season Dallas has benefitted from "impact penalties".

Week 1 against San Diego when there were 2 penalties against Jammar and a spurious roughing the passer call on Castillo in their final drive.

3 weeks ago (?) against Kansas City when they were given a new set of downs on a late flag against the Chiefs on a penalty in the end zone negated a 4th down stop for Kansas City.

I''ll start working on a column called "Every Penalty Counts" or something... because Dallas and Tampa Bay have both benefitted from calls this season. I'm not saying it was intentional, but it is disconcerting that the officials have blown so many calls.

I don't know if it's the fact that there is greater scrutiny, or they are worse than before...

79
by cjfarls (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 4:38pm

Re: Temperature effects on punting/kicking ...

Don't people often talk more about temperature effects on the ball, rather than on the air? Something about the compaction/flexibility of the leather at various temperatures, where a warmer ball compresses more (and hence springs outward) more than a cold ball? Seems like that would have a bigger influence than temperature effect on the air.

80
by David (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 4:52pm

i don't understand the big rush to defend steve smith and cry foul over his ejection cos yer basically saying it's ok for any player to go up to a ref, grab him, say f to his face, and start complaining about any call. can we please bring back t.o. and quit with the spy camera on keyshawn if that's the case. what i found especially exciting was that fox rolled tape of smith giving it to t-bone one play before he officially lost it. i dunno where the offensive holding was or wasn't in that game; i think it's a league wide *issue* and any serious problem with this needs to start in kansas city, not in dallas. as for the trajectory altered missed field goal, the fact that the only thing anybody was able to come up with was "it seemed like" should be enough to kill that discussion. if carolina just stands there, cundiff misses it anyways and parcells still gets to fire his kicker. what i don't get is that he keeps playing these games so closely instead of trying for the end zone ...

81
by Purds (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 5:24pm

Re: James and use by Colts

Some interesting things to note about James:

1) James feels he is more effective as the game goes on, and he's one of those backs who wants the ball as often as possible. Now, I am not sure he's right (that he IS more effective after the 15th carry, for example) but he thinks so. Thus, I am not sure he's opposed to the high carries. In fact, I think he prefers it.

2) James does take himself out whenever he feels he is gassed. Doesn't seem to harm his image with the Colts In fact, in HUGE contrast to Shawn Alexander going in last Sunday to get his 27th TD after he'd been pulled to rest, Edge actually comes out voluntarily on many occasions as the team gets down to the opponent's goalline, in effect giving up the chance to score an "easy" touchdown. I checked: in all 5 rushing TD's scored by other RB's this season, Edge had been in during the drive, had several touches, and then gave way to Carthon and Rhodes for TD runs of less than 7 yards.

3) James doesn't appear to be too selfish when it comes to self-promoting or personal well-being. If you remember, last year on Manning's 48th TD pass, the play was called for James, but he made Mungro switch positions in the backfield after the huddle broke, and Mungro made the catch. In effect, he gave the spotlight to Mungro.

So, is Dungy being classy? ruthless? sumbissive to James' desires? Not sure, but I just wanted to add some facts and observations.

82
by Joelster (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 6:40pm

Andrew, why do Seattle fans make you like/notlike the Seahawks? As a football fan, one should really appreciate the team, regardless of the fans that support them. This years Seahawks have all of the elements of a great team including the best player in the league, emotional motivation, a charismatic kicker, a respected coach, a fantastic red-zone defense and a go-to play that ALWAYS gains 6+ yards. What's not to like? There is nothing about the talent and success of this team that is disrespectful to football history, yet people still disrespect this team and it's fans. As usual, the only way to get respect in "the sticks" is to win the Super Bowl. If Seahawks were from Ohio, they's be penciled in for the Super Bowl already).

83
by Thok (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 7:20pm

Andrew, as Jason-H mentioned, my question was asking about the predictive power of DVOA. If you want, I can rephrase my statement as "If a team is beaten twice by a division foe with a lower DVOA, then which is a better predictor of next year's series between the teams-DVOA, or the actual games?" It seems that DVOA is in general a better predictor. A followup question is do we then expect the team with the higher DVOA is to improve their record given that it's looks like they will improve their record in the those two games.

I'll concede the fact that St. Louis matched up well against Seattle last year if you'll concede the fact that Seattle was a better team than St. Louis against the other 30 teams in the NFL (those games also matter). The question is which of those results are repeatable.

Incidentally, I'm a 49ers fan (woe is me), not a Seattle fan.

84
by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 8:16pm

Joelster:

The Seattle fans here are simply annoying, in the same sort of way that the Atlanta fans like Se7en_Dust and Co. were back when they were 6-2 and being "dissed" by DVOA.

The other dislikable thing about Seattle is the puffing up of Shawn Alexander for his alleged MVPness and prowess in slicing and dicing the NFL defenses and being such a great runner, except that he never had a good running game this year against a decent run defense (look at the games against the Giants, Eagles, Redskins, Jaguars, Cowboys). He has big numbers because they feed him the ball a lot against these bad teams like the 49ers and Texans. I've been much, much more impressed when I've seen a back like Big Mike Anderson or Larry Johnson just plow through the linebackers and safeties on the above good teams like a bowling ball through the pins. Watching Mike Anderson bowl over the Jaguars, Giants and Eagles defenders was just scary. Shawn Alexander never did that. A little perspective is a good thing.

I really have enjoyed watching some of the Seattle games though, especially seeing them beat Atlanta, Dallas and the Giants. Here's to hoping they last long enough to play the Bears, because the rest of the NFC is a bunch of total frauds this year, again, excluding only perhaps the Redskins.

85
by Joelster (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 8:35pm

Go Skins! They are my team. But I have to respecfully disagree about Alexander's prowess. Every game that I've seen he has demonstrated tackle-avoiding skills beyond compare, and I think it's unfair to say he just hasn't seen any good tacklers. But that definitely goes with the territory of being "in the sticks". Your response pretty much echoes the problem I stated before: if you haven't proven it to me with a playoff win...and you're from the sticks, so you haven't faced any real competition...then we will just have to assume you aren't that good. I also don't think we should "assume he's good", but he should definitely be credited for being the top running back, if not the MVP. These rankings are supposed to get around the whole problem of subjective thinking, which is why I pay attention to them, however, the commentary just below the rankings doesn't enjoy the same impatiality whatsoever :).

86
by thad (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 8:53pm

re 78
Matthew, I did not see the Cowboys Panthers game so i will not comment but,
1. the penelty on the Chiefs was blatently obvious.
2. I do not really remember the roughing the passer call but many of those plays are very close and the refs often side with the qb.
3. The penelties on Jammer were obvious.
4. Why do you never mention the bad calls from the first Cowboys Redskins game. There were two very bad holding calls on dallas.
The first was on Flozell adams right before the flea-flicker. Ok who cares. The second was on Allen when dallas was in the red zone and they had to kick a field goal. Finally there was the obvious holding on Glover by Thomas on the 39 yard td pass.
Seriously, Glover was tackled.
Look I am not saying the Redskins got lucky or Dallas deserved to win. The redskin defense, with the exception of the long pass to Glenn, played very well.
That's the way it goes. There was something like 140 plays and I am complaning about three. Which I have not mentioned all year.
You know why, cause anyone can see that the Cowboys make a ton of mistakes, they are poor at run blocking, their field goal kicking is a joke, the idea of having Glenn cover Moss should have been put to rest about 5 seconds after the 70 yard bomb.
When the Cowboy players and coaches do a better, no a perfect job, then I will complain. Until then I can live with the refs mistakes.

87
by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 9:48pm

Joelster:

1277 yards, 20 TD's, 64 rec. yards in 8 games against Cardinals, 49ers, Rams, Titans, Falcons, Texans.

391 yards, 4 TD's, 8 rec. yards in 5 games against Giants, Redskins, Jaguars, Eagles, Cowboys.

Give him an entire schedule against the Little Sisters of the Poor defenses, and he'd rush for 2500 yards. But who wouldn't? Give him LaDanian Tomlinson or Tiki Barber's schedule from this year (3 helpings of what he ran up 391 yards in 5 games on), and he'd struggle to break 1000 yards.

88
by Ross (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 10:10pm

#67 I wasn't trying to be critical of what you wrote, was only drawing a parallel between the teams in games and their lack of playoff possibilities. If Detriot is your team, then they are your team. Just wanted to let you know there is some Fin fans around out here....

89
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 10:27pm

thad,
I'm complaining more about the poor officiating in the NFL in general... and what teams benefitted.

I was just thinking about controversial calls near the end of games, that affected the outcome.

1) Week 3, Patriots-Steelers
Clock error adds 52 seconds to the game. Patriots win on Viniterri FG with 1 second remaining.

2) Week 4, Texans-Bengals
Texans have a chance to win near the end of the game. Carr gets hit as he is throwing, ball goes forward and ruled "fumble" on the field. Bengals recover. Replay is "inconclusive"

3) Week 4, Lions-Bucs
Pollard TD in the corner of the end zone is overturned by replay. ESPN probably got in trouble for showing how bad the NFL officials messed up.

4) Week 6, Falcons-Saints
Peterson missed a GW field goal, but got another shot after the Saints had that "defensive leverage" holding penalty called on them.

5) Week 7, Saints-Rams
Saints are driving near the end, down by 4. Ernie Conwell catches a pass and fumbles as he hits the ground. Ruled a fumble on the field... replay could've overturned it but Haslett had used up his challenges. Replay would've shown down by contact.

6) Week 8, Raiders-Titans
Pac Man Jones has a punt return called back for a touchdown on a phantom penalty. 3 plays later the Raiders sack McNair and pick up a TD in the end zone. Ended 34-25 for the Raiders.

7) Week 9, Raiders-Chiefs
"Leg Whip" called on the Raiders after a Chiefs sack. Replay shows the defender was pushed into Trent Green.

8) Week 10, 49ers-Bears
No one will remember that Vashar was sprung from a touchdown by a block in the back.

9) Week 12, Giants-Seahawks
Shockey TD after dropping the ball. Did Toomer get both feet in?

10) Week 14, Dolphins-Chargers
Officials rule R. Brown fumbled at the goal line. Looks like he broke the plane on replay, "inconclusive".

11) Week 14, Chiefs-Cowboys... from TMQ
"With 54 seconds remaining, rookie offensive lineman Rob Petitti wrapped both arms around Kansas City defensive end Eric Hicks and tackled him to prevent a sack: Holding should have marched the ball away from the Chiefs' goal."

12) Week 14, Lions-Packers
Gado down in the end zone, AND holding in the end zone.

12 calls... 12 close games...
I'm sure there are even more...

90
by Jake Brake (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 10:34pm

Andrew, from reading your ongoing and increasingly bitter spiel, it's difficult to believe your statement about being a fan of Seattle "until all the annoying Seattle fans ruined it" (I'm paraphrasing.) There are plenty of disappointed Rams fans latching on to the "yeah, well we beat Seattle 3 times last year!" argument. Frankly, it's sad that the Rams have devolved into a shell of themselves through a combination of devastating injuries, poor draft and FA choices, and Martz's illness, but clinging to the past isn't going to make the present any more palatable.

I'd give you points for attempting to use some evidence to back up your point, but there's a glaring flaw in your illustration in #66. Both of the examples you listed as analogues use teams with strong records that advanced to the Super Bowl, whereas the 8-8 2004 Rams, who also played in arguably the worst division in the NFL, quickly bowed out of the playoffs. That's hardly a valid comparison. The Rams were better against a single team in the NFL - the Seahawks - last year, but that hardly makes them a better team overall.

91
by morganja (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 10:51pm

What Steve Smith did was, in a crowd, grab the ref around the waist to try to get his attention. For those who say that justifies his ejection riddle me this, why do players touch refs like this several times every game and never get ejected? I've seen this over and over and usually the ref just turns and says something to the player. The ref was wrong. Simple as that. Secondly, what moron thinks that the kick was missed without it being touched? The ball was going through the uprights before the same magic bullet that apparently got Kennedy and friends nicked this ball causing it to change trajectory and spin. That is the rule I always heard discussed during any replay about a blocked kick, did the trajectory and spin change. It was clear to those who saw it live that the ball was tipped, it was apparent to the broadcasting crew, but the refs apparently weren't bothering to watch the game.
Its obvious the NFL and the media are never going to make the referees accountable. We have DVRs, its about time that the fans took this into their own hands. We need to set up a website and review each and every official, grade them and publicize the findings. If the fans grade out certain officials as awful and others as excellent than maybe the NFL will finally do something about this before it ends up like the joke that is professional basketball.

92
by David (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 11:53pm

dude, you're missing the point. it's the ref's prerogative. in this case i'm certain what steve smith had to say to the ref influenced the decision.

93
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 12:07am

Regardless of Steve Smith getting ejected... it's obvious the kick was blocked, therefore Carolina should've gotten the ball back with the game tied.

94
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 12:13am

Wait, I mean the Panthers would've won... and the Cowboys knocked out of the playoffs.

95
by Jason-H (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 12:28am

Andrew-

You can't be serious here.

This whole thing with Thok was you taking out of context a comment and going off on another Seahawks tangent (these tangents are what you create, not us 'annoying Seattle fans'), something you've done since the beginning of the year. It was a question about the DVOAs predictive power in reference to the season following a year when a higher DVOA team is swept by a lower DVOA divisional opponent, but you got locked onto a chance to blast the Seahawks again. As Thok suggested, just replace Seahawks with any of those other teams he mentioned if it makes discussing the subject any easier for you instead of getting clouded up by your own biases.

Nobody is rewriting last season just becuase they speculate about what DVOA means for divisional games next season. It's YOUR obsession with the Seahawks that has made this something else.

---------------------------------
Oh, and I hate to go off on a long tangent, but your bit about Shaun Alexander was so ridiculous I'd hate myself if I didn't say something about it....

"Give him LaDanian Tomlinson or Tiki Barber’s schedule from this year (3 helpings of what he ran up 391 yards in 5 games on), and he’d struggle to break 1000 yards."

You've got to be kidding.

Shaun Alexander has racked up 1100+ yards rushing every year since he became a starter. The idea that it's some sort of 'scheduling fluke' is just ridiculous.

You want a serious argument? Ok. You want to talk about the games against the Cowboys/Giants/Redskins/Eagles/Jaguars as 'proof' that he's not good. Well, let's look at those games, shall we, and see if we can shed some light on your 'proof'...

The Jags game... Shaun had his season low in attempts (still averaged 5.2 YPC, though). Hard to get a lot of yards when you aren't getting the ball, wouldn't you say?
In the Washington game, he still nearly put up 100 yards. I don't consider coming 2 yards short of 100 a big failing. He put up respectable numbers. Great numbers? No, but respectable.
The Dallas game... ok, so far, we've got one here. He didn't do well that game. Good scheme by Cowboys and Shaun did not play well in the weather.
Against the Giants, he put up the largest chunk of the numbers in this group, so there is nothing to discuss here.
Philadelphia... how do you even have the guts to bring this game up? Shaun was in for less than a half! And performed clean up duty most of that time because the Seattle defense put the Seahawks in very short field position more than once. You lose credibility even attempting to short change Shaun Alexander with this 'example'. (He still performed far better than LaDainian Tomlinson did in Philly, despite everything working against Shaun's numbers).

That's 1 in 5 games that you actually have a point against the Cowboys. Not exactly the type of ratio one would need to accept your 'Shaun's not really that good' argument with any amount of seriousness.

Plus, I don't care WHAT NFL teams you play against, 1800 yards and 27 touchdowns is an accomplishment in this league. Suggesting otherwise is petty.

96
by David (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 12:48am

everybody has a different version of how the field goal went down. i doubt that it was obvious. lucas is the one saying he got a finger on it, not peppers, yet the main argument was that it grazed peppers' jersey. lucas also said it wasn't running into the kicker, that cundiff decided to fall over them, even though you can see both players take out his plant leg. and i can't even find a clear answer on whether it would be legal for peppers to run into the kicker if he wasn't the one who tipped it. meanwhile, nobody on the fox team - not that that means anything - came out and said anything definite. and i can only assume that anybody who thinks that any kicker who lets loose a wicked knuckleball from seemingly short distance had to have had their kick blocked is just getting their first look at billy cundiff.

97
by thad (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 1:14am

So far this year the average NFL team is giving up 112.4 rushing yards per game.
This is for all rushing plays.
Seahawks opponents are giving up 117.8 yards per game, or about 5 percent more.
Alexander is gaining 120.5 yards on the ground by himself, per game.
since he is responsible for 77 percent of the Seahawks rush yards, I think that is a pretty impressive acomplishment.

98
by Calbuzz (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 1:29am

The Seahawks are ranked way too high because they don't win in the playoffs. Last year's 3 losses to the Rams is proof of this. Mike Anderson and other backs are better than Shawn Alexendar. I know good tackling when I see it!

99
by DMP (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 1:55am

76 and 81 re: James
I know this train left the station for other topics, but I just wanted to say that I don't see it as necessarily ruthless or not classy for Dungy to use James without regard to his next season. I don't follow the Colts that closely, so feel free to tear this up if you know otherwise, but it seems likely that there was some amount for which Colts would have accepted to sign James for a longer term deal. Being that this was an amount James wouldn't accept, he was looking out for himself and not his future with the Colts (which is fine, no judgement attached here). But this also means that the Colts know they wouldn't have him in the future, and therefore needed to use him to their best benefit for *this season* (if he had signed a long term deal, the best benefit he provides is a mix between using him because he is much better than his replacements and saving him because they want to be able to have his way-better-than-replacement performance for a couple more years).

Whatever the case, whether it's the Colts' or James' or both of their doing that he is getting so many carries at this stage of his career, at this stage of this season, and at stages of several decided games, the whole thing is seriously backfiring right now. Dude is looking awful in the past couple of games.

100
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 2:49am

Andrew (#87):

I don't think your argument about Shaun Alexander's strength of schedule is valid. DVOA/DPAR adjusts nicely for strength of schedule. Alexander is ranked 3rd in DPAR (47.8). He gets used a lot (3rd in carries) so this isn't surprising. But he's also 4th in DVOA (18.6%), which is the "rate stat", so his good performance isn't just a function of a lot of carries. He's also tied for 4th in success rate (52%), so he doesn't suffer from the same problems as, for instance, Thomas Jones, who's 10th in DPAR (19.5) but 37th in success rate (40%). Alexander is more than the "workhorse" type that Jones is.

One argument that is often made is that Alexander does have a very good, if not excellent, line in front of him and they're the reason he gets gaudy numbers, so let's look at that: 9th in Adjusted line yards, tied for 1st in Power (83%), but 26th in Stuffed (28%), so his line has great performance overall. But SEA is also #1 in 10+ yard runs and that's the part that's on Alexander, not the line. I think SEA has both a great line and a great RB.

Oh, and one other thing: The "homerer than thou" criticism never works. We all live in glass houses in that respect, so you might wanna lighten up on the Seattle fans a little. I don't see any real trolls sticking around in the discussions for this long.

101
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 3:20am

Jake Brake:

I was never a fan of Seattle. I liked them (and I still kind of like them). I hardly rooted for them though. Apparently the whole concept is eluding some of you. I just didn't dislike them. As for the Rams, it is fun to see them lose, and its been fun ever since Ricky Proehl's arrogant dynasty comment to the camera before the 2001 Super Bowl.

The examples I gave were because I was trying to make the point that sometimes you really aren't better than that team below you in the rankings that beats you 3 times in 3 tries. Do you want more examples from a different perspective?

The 2002 Steelers beat the Browns 3 times, and ended up 11-6-1, while the Browns went 9-8. Take away those 3 games and the Steelers were 8-6-1 and the Browns were 9-5. Who was better? By DVOA, the Steelers were marginally, but by your "match-up" against the rest of the league ideas, the Browns were.

The 1997 Patriots beat the Dolphins 3 times, and ended up 11-7, while the Fins went 9-8. Take away those 3 games and the Fins were 9-5 against the rest of the league while the Patriots were 8-7. Who was better in your book?

The 1997 Packers beat the Bucs 3 times, and ended up 15-4, while the Bucs went 11-7. Take away those 3 games and the Bucs were 11-4 while the Packers were 12-4. Were they really equally good teams other than the Bucs matching up poorly?

The 1994 Steelers beat the Browns 3 times and ended up 13-5, while the Browns went 12-6. Take away those 3 games and the Steelers were 10-5, while the Browns were 12-3. Were the Browns really better? Arguably, they might have been, but once again, failure to beat a team once in 3 tries doesn't say much for the argument.

It goes on.

1993, Raiders beat Bronces thrice, go 11-7, Broncos go 9-8. You know the routine now. Without those games, the Broncos are 9-5, the Raiders are 8-7.

1991, Chiefs beat Raiders thrice, go go 11-7, Chiefs go 9-8. Without those games, the Raiders are 9-5, the Chiefs are 8-7.

Look, if a team beats you 3 times in a year they are a better team. It doesn't matter how both of you did against the rest of the league in comparison. It matters how both of you play your schedule and the playoffs, which include the games against each other where the "better team" goes 0-3.

Last year, the Rams and Seahawks both ended up with 9 wins at the end of their playoff run. Since the Rams beat them 3 times, they win the tie-breakers for ranking higher. Sure the Seahawks might have been better against the rest of the league, but they weren't better against a complete schedule which included 3 games with the Rams, because they managed to lose all 3 of them and be eliminated from competition by the Rams. They were a worse team, just like all the other loser teams I've listed that outplayed the rest of the league and blew it 3 times in 3 tries against a divisional opponent.

Look, if one team can't beat another team once in 3 tries that they play at least twice per year, every year, that team sucks, they are a worse team, and the team should be deservedly criticized for general suckitude and inability to get it done. Get over it already.

102
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 4:15am

Jason-H:

Philadelphia… how do you even have the guts to bring this game up? Shaun was in for less than a half! And performed clean up duty most of that time because the Seattle defense put the Seahawks in very short field position more than once. You lose credibility even attempting to short change Shaun Alexander with this ‘example’. (He still performed far better than LaDainian Tomlinson did in Philly, despite everything working against Shaun’s numbers).

Emmitt Smith and Terrell Davis said the same thing I did after the game on Total Access. Don't you think they might know what they are talking about? The man had 19 attempts, and he got 49 yards, and it wasn't like all 19 attempts were from within the 5 yard line with goal to go. And Seattle was still passing the ball on first and second down right before the end of the half when attempting to go up 35-0, so it isn't like Philly was "only playing the run" and stuffing the box because Seattle wasn't passing. 7 of his 19 runs were for no gain or negative yardage, including 3 of 5 at the goal line. Tomlinson saw 8 of his 17 plays go for no gain or negative yardage. You really see a major difference in performance from that?

Anyway, look over the years at the teams that Alexander has racked up his biggest yardage against, and you find mostly some of the weakest defensive teams around.

266 yards on the 2001 Raiders. 145 yards against the 2002 Chiefs. 139 yards against the 2002 Vikings. 150 and 176 against the 2004 Rams. 154 against the 2004 Cardinals. 195 against the 2004 Panthers. 160 against the 2004 49ers. 135 against the 2004 Saints. 127 against the 2003 Browns. 108 against the 2003 Saints. etc., etc.

Is that really comparable to Barber putting up 112 and 114 against the 2005 Eagles, 220 against the 2005 Chiefs, 206 against the 2005 Redskins, 151 against the 2005 Seahawks, 125 and 110 against the 2004 Eagles, 122 on 2004 Cowboys?

Are his numbers impressive? Yes. he should rack up huge numbers against all the weaklings Seattle has faced, especially with the weakness of the NFC West since 2003. But do you really think he'd have the most yards if you let Barber, Tomlinson, or either Johnson run against his schedule? Or that he would have numbers even close to what he has if he played even a middle ranked schedule?

103
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 4:26am

CaffeineMan:

But SEA is also #1 in 10+ yard runs and that’s the part that’s on Alexander, not the line. I think SEA has both a great line and a great RB.

Isn't that also on the tackling ability of the linebacking and secondary corps he faces? If they suck, shouldn't he be expected as a good back to put up huge numbers against them?

Anyway, Seattle does have a good halfback and a good line, and they also have a great schedule (for them). All these combined are turning into a great year for Alexander.

104
by Jake Brake (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 4:44am

I bow to your superior intellect, O Jedi Master of the Hypothetical Comparison.

105
by morganja (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 5:09am

The ref's perogitive? Perhaps. So what we have is a ref who picks and chooses what pemalties he decides to enforce. Is that what we want in the NFL? Does that sound right to you? Penalties need to be penalties based on objective facts, not on what some official decides to enforce. Thats how bias, or corruption, destroys a sport. I don't mean to sound too alarmist, but that is a slippery slope that is too soon fallen off. Do we want to end up like the NBA? A running joke? No one gives a crap about the NBA because the games are crap-shoots decided more often than not be the refs. Is that what we want for the NFL? Apparently the NFL feel sthat the less said the better but it is better that these things are brought out into the open and exposed before the rot becomes too offensive.

106
by Joelster (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 7:24am

Is Shaun Alexander really overrated as Andrew thinks? A few items to put it in perspective:As a freshman, set the single game rushing record of 291 yards at Alabama (on the road at LSU).He still holds the record for total yards at Alabama.Led the NFL in 2001 in rushing TDsLed the NFC in 2002 with 15 TDs.Scored 5 TDs and an NFL record in a single half in 2002.In 2004 came in 2nd by a yard in the rushing title.Only player in history to get 15 or more TDs in 5 consecutive seasons.He currently leads the NFL in rushing yards, touchdowns, pro bowl votes, and points scored.First player in history to score 19 TDs in 10 games (Steve Van Buren had 18 in 1945).Holds the NFL record, running for 100 yards against divisional opponants in 9 straight games.12th on the all-time rushing TD list (at age 26).18th on the all-time TD list (tied with Randy Moss).And, of course, tied the record for TDs in a single season last week.Sure, there's a lot of records he doesn't have, but to just call him "good" is too much of an understatement. I doubt we'll get much more than a "very good" from you, due to your "sticks" argument of him not playing in "the big city" like the other backs you mention.

107
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 12:01pm

Joelster:

Seattle's offensive scoring revolves around feeding Alexander the ball at the goal line, perhaps because of all the dropped passes Seattle has had from its wideouts, but also because of how good their line is at run blocking, and how good Alexander is at running. Scoring touchdowns by plunging in from the 1 or 2 yard line is a bit overrated though. That is part of the purpose of this site - to correctly weight that accomplishment by giving props to the QB, wideouts, tight ends, and others for what was done in the drive leading to the touchdown.

And BTW, Priest Holmes scored 19 touchdowns in the last 10 games of 2003. Marshall Faulk scored 20 touchdowns in the last 10 games in 2000. I think Jerry Rice also scored 20 touchdowns in 10 games in 1987. So Alexander is certainly not the first player to do that.

Look he's a really good running back, but a little perspective ie needed on the numbers he is running up this year.

108
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 2:56pm

Andrew:

And DVOA accounts for that by comparing Alexander's success to the league average success against those defenses. So the abilities of the secondaries he faced is already accounted for in Alexander's DVOA and DPAR numbers and indicate much higher success against similar teams in similar situations. I don't think you need to account for it further. You're flinging a lot of arguments around but I'm not sure they're really relevent and the parts that are relevent have alredy been accounted for by DVOA.

109
by Joelster (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 6:45pm

Actually, I was trying to demonstrate that Alexander's top-notch performance is not just happening this year. He has consistently been getting better and better, including several years before this one. And he's only 26. But I guess it is nice to see you add "really" to "good". Like I said, it's all we can expect from your biased point of view. There are plenty of people that feel he is the real deal, as shown by the covers of many magazines and web sites, so we don't really need your opinion to augment that sentiment. And finally, the impartial (and already weighted for your argument) DVOA rank justifies his placement as one of the best running backs in the game, not just "good".

110
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 10:32pm

Joelster:

DVOA says "Alexander, running behind the Seattle line in the Seattle offense, with Seattle's schedule" is one of the best backs in football. It can also tell you if another back, say Maurice Morris, couldn't do just as good a job, if given a starting position. Morris has a 18.8% DVOA this year with Seattle, while Alexander is 22.2%. What it doesn't tell you is if "Alexander running behind the TEAM X line, in the TEAM X offense, with TEAM X's schedule" would do just as well." You have to use your judgement to determine that, which is what I have tried to do.

CaffeineMan:

DVOA does not have anything to do with adjusted line yards and the like, so those say nothing about the quality of the opposing defensive backs and linebackers at run tackling. The high "stuffed" ranking of Seattle you brought up earlier is bad, not good, despite what you said. Being stuffed 28% of the time is terrible.

111
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Thu, 12/29/2005 - 12:59am

Actually, I understood perfectly well about adjusted line yards, and that stuffed is bad. The point I was making was actually to give the benefit of the doubt to Seattle's line, and say that, despite the stuffed performance, they're one of the better ones and even then, Alexander's DVOA/DPAR stats show that he's a great back.

If you want to bring up the stuffed stat as being bad, you're just making my argument for me by pointing out that his DVOA/DPAR was accomplished with a line that was stuffed more often than most. I guess at this point I'll just agree to disagree with you, since you've apparently let your axe grinding with the Seattle fans get in the way of any objectivity.

112
by Sid (not verified) :: Thu, 12/29/2005 - 2:04am

RE: 72

The officiating at the Jets-Saints game was atrocious. The Jets got screwed on two key calls:
The Coles non-TD and the Bollinger "intentional grounding" which killed the Jets comeback drive. Coles scored a TD and Bollinger should not have been called for grounding.

113
by Jason-H (not verified) :: Thu, 12/29/2005 - 8:02am

Andrew-

"Emmitt Smith and Terrell Davis said the same thing I did after the game on Total Access. Don’t you think they might know what they are talking about?"
In this case, not even a little. Shaun's best numbers have routinely come in the second half, and since he didn't even finish the first half/was working with a shorter field/etc., I'm not impressed. Trying to bring up the Philadelphia performance as 'proof' about how overrated Shaun is, is weak. End of story. I guarantee he would have sliced them for a 100+ and probably another TD or two if the Seahawks even had half a reason to play in that second half. (By the way... he still did MUCH better than LaDainian Tomlinson... 7 times more production in less than half the amount of play time).
You can tell Emmitt I said that, too.

"Anyway, look over the years at the teams that Alexander has racked up his biggest yardage against, and you find mostly some of the weakest defensive teams around."
I am willing to bet that MOST great players put up the majority of their great numbers against bad teams. That's usually what happens.

You even compared his performances to Tiki Barber. Do you think he would of had that great game againt KC if the Chiefs didn't forget how to tackle? That was just as embarassing a performance for the Chiefs defense as it was a good performance by Barber. Good players exploit bad ones. It's what makes them good players.

That's not an argument you are making, it's just an observation that most people already know.

As CaffeineMan pointed out, your objectivity has seemingly been thrown out the window, so I'm just going to leave this (and pretty much any further Seahawks discussion) at this.

Maybe next season discussions will prove a little more fruitful.

114
by Andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 12/29/2005 - 11:45am

CaffeineMan #111:

A high stuffed ranking means that most probably, the Middle Linbacker was very often able to break through the line on a run blitz and tackle the runner in the backfield. This generally points to a weakness at blocking at Center, not the whole line, since the Middle Linebacker will almost always shoot one of the A-gaps between Guard and Center to attack the backfield. Maybe Seattle needs a new Center. The other alternative is that the Outside Linebackers and Safeties were the ones doing the negative yardage thing on edge runs or off Tackle runs, which means Seattle needs to make better use of pulling Guards or a Fullback for blocking. Somehow, I doubt Mack Strong is the problem.

115
by Andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 12/29/2005 - 11:59am

Jason-H #113:

We've been through this whole "strengthens in the second half" BS before.

Look at his official splits:

http://www.nfl.com/players/playerpage/187382/splits/2005

His worst running is on carries 21-30, and in the 4th Quarter. The 3rd Quarter only looks fantastic because of that singular 88 yard run to daylight against the Texans.

Its hilarious to me to think he would have been given 35+ carries in playing a whole game against the Eagles. I think not, since he's never run for that many times ever. Most of his games are 19-30 runs. If the big yardage doesn't happen by the start of that, it won't happen by the end. Exactly what Smith said.

116
by Sid (not verified) :: Thu, 12/29/2005 - 5:31pm

Andrew, enough Seahawks-bashing already.

Since this thread got shot to hell anyway, I have a question for you physics folks:

A plane is standing on a runway that can move (some sort of band conveyer). The plane moves in one direction, while the conveyer moves in the opposite direction. This conveyer has a control system that tracks the plane speed and tunes the speed of the conveyer to be exactly the same (but in opposite direction). Will the plane be able to take off?

117
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Thu, 12/29/2005 - 6:33pm

Just have to catch my breath before I contemplate the pan-cosmic irony of Sid admonishing someone else for hijacking a thread to belabor impossible-to-verify opinions .............

118
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Thu, 12/29/2005 - 7:29pm

A plane is standing on a runway that can move (some sort of band conveyer). The plane moves in one direction, while the conveyer moves in the opposite direction. This conveyer has a control system that tracks the plane speed and tunes the speed of the conveyer to be exactly the same (but in opposite direction). Will the plane be able to take off?

No, because there is no air passing over the wings and therefore no lift. It is the movement of the air that is important, not the movement of the plane. Certain light planes (like the old Fiesler Storch) can take off from a virtual standstill if there is enough wind.

119
by Sid (not verified) :: Thu, 12/29/2005 - 7:29pm

Sorry, not familiar. Please provide links.

120
by Sid (not verified) :: Thu, 12/29/2005 - 7:30pm

119 was referring to 117.

121
by Sid (not verified) :: Thu, 12/29/2005 - 7:32pm

RE: 118

Yeah, that seems to be the consensus now. I just mention it because of an interesting thread I saw. Click my name. 41 pages in a little more than 24 hours.

122
by Sid (not verified) :: Thu, 12/29/2005 - 8:10pm
123
by thad (not verified) :: Thu, 12/29/2005 - 8:52pm

ok i dont have all the play by play or dvoa numbers but here is how STATS inc breaks down stuffs. Just straight up tackles for a loss.
nfl average to date per team 50.5
def line 23.3
line backer 18.6
def back 8.6
now seattle
def line 39
line backer 24
def back 9
total 72
their total is the worst in the nfl.
Best is Denver and Atlanta at 32.