Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» Game Preview: DEN-CIN

Maybe the Bengals are a paper tiger, but are they really that bad in prime time games? Is Peyton Manning struggling in Denver's new offense? We detail the Monday night clash.

13 Aug 2007

Preseason Audibles: Week 1

compiled by Doug Farrar

Two FO staples will return to the lineup when the regular season starts: Audibles at the Line, the round-robin staff evaluation of each game, and Every Play Counts, Michael David Smith's weekly analysis of on-field play. In the preseason, we like to combine these two columns for a little something we call Every Play Doesn't Count. This combines the quick-hit style of Audibles with a taste of the breakdowns you know from EPC. As the preseason progresses, game action will become more important and will be discussed more frequently. In the first week of preseason games, the focus is really more on individual matchups and rookies looking for roster sports.

Standard FO disclaimer: Be aware that the material in this roundtable might seem a bit disjointed and un-edited. Games are chosen based on our own personal viewing preferences, and are going to reflect the teams we support and the cities where we live.

Cincinnati Bengals 26 at Detroit Lions 27

Doug Farrar: I saw the highlight of the TD bomb from J.T. O'Sullivan to Shaun McDonald – the Bengals were playing a coverage right out of a Fred Thomas instructional DVD. If Detroit's receivers get open like that in the regular season, they'll have the Kitna-predicted 50 touchdowns by Week 7.

After watching it again, it would appear that the members of the Bengals defense that didn't bite on O'Sullivan's play fake were all covering Calvin Johnson. Film review should be fun.

Stuart Fraser: Hey, it's the Lions. 79-yard drive to the Bengals' 2, T.J. Duckett fumbles on a first-and-goal carry and Cincy recover for a touchback.

Michael David Smith: Random thought: Does anyone know how Martz-coached teams have done in the second halves of preseason games? I have a feeling that the Martz schemes are perfectly suited to exploiting defenses that have scrubs on the field. So the fact that both of the Lions' backup QBs went for 220 doesn't say much about the quality of the Lions' backup QBs, but it does say a lot about the ability of the Martz offense to attack the defense's weak points. Of course, when the regular season starts the Lions won't see nearly as many weak points on the opposing defense as they saw against the Bengals' third-stringers.

Mike Tanier: At some point, I think you get a bunch of second halves where Marc Bulger was the QB which would obviously give Martz an advantage.

Stuart Fraser: Mike Martz's merry men scored 72 points in the first half and 13 points in the second half of preseason games, and then in 2002, Tennessee, San Diego and Kansas City all put 20+ points on the Rams in the second half. 2001 fits the theory, but overall...

(Preseason 2000-2007; 30 games, including Hall of Fame Game in 2001)

First Half: Opposition 323, MartzSpawn 301 (Pythag. .458, actual .467)
Second Half: Opposition 272, MartzSpawn 246 (Pythag. .440, actual .433)
Final: Opposition 595, MartzSpawn 547 (Pythag. .450, actual .400)

Indianapolis Colts 10 at Dallas Cowboys 23

Aaron Schatz: The announcers were talking about the Colts' run defense playing well. I don't know how many of them were playing well, though. There was a play where Marion Barber cut back, and he had nothing but open space. The only guy who could stop him was DE Jeff Charleston, who grabbed his ankle and wouldn't let go. Without Charleston, Barber was gone for six. Everyone else overpursued.

Did the Colts actually blitz six at one point? Are they trying something new or just trying to fool opponents? They NEVER blitz.

Bill Barnwell: Charleston looks like a wideout. He is the smallest defensive lineman of all time. The Cowboys offensive line is getting no push. They're doing fine blocking for Romo, but no push on the interior.

Michael David Smith: The Colts' defense just looks like it desperately needs a couple more players in the front seven. If Tony Ugoh and Anthony Gonzalez are anything short of this year's versions of Marcus McNeil and Marques Colston, I'm going to have to say the Colts should've taken two defensive players in those slots.

Sean McCormick: I don't know - the long-term health of the franchise is completely tied to Manning and his targets, and Gonzalez looks like an excellent pickup. As much as the Colts put Dallas Clark out in the slot last year, they'd be better served with a legitimate slot receiver, and Gonzalez looks like he can play. (It also represents much needed depth at a paper-thin position.) As for Ugoh ... well, it was a bad year for tackles. He's got the body to play, and it's safe to say that he's going to be getting help from either a tight end or a back for most of the year.

There's no doubt that the Booger McFarland injury could prove to be big, though. The Colts can't afford to lose anyone up front.

Aaron Schatz: Who the hell at FOX headquarters has the good record collection? In this silly "pressure points" halftime feature piece, I've so far identified Spoon and Air (the French chillout duo). I wish they had kept that Air song going to the point where the melody is all just whistling. Heh.

Aikman and Buck were talking about how Manning says that he trusts Ugoh to take over for Tarik Glenn, that Howard Mudd is the key behind the offensive line. As they are saying this, Stephen Bowen, a rookie defensive end from Hofstra of all places, just DESTROYS Ugoh. Spins past him in about half a second. It was a bit embarrassing.

Bill Barnwell: That was some brilliant subtle burying of Aikman ("[Tyson] Thompson got some carries early in the year but he really struggled to get touches later on with two big guys ahead of him") by Buck ("Thompson broke his leg in October and went on IR...")

If Herman Edwards actually ran a fashion show, he'd send the same model out there 65 consecutive times and end the show five minutes too late.

Ben Riley: I was only half-listening -- fiddling with KUBIAK -- but did Pam Oliver interview a roach-covered Tony Romo a moment ago? And did she then "defy" her producer to continue questioning Romo about some non-important issue, which then prompted Joe Buck make some awkward crack about her asking "vital" questions, which then in turn prompted a very stilted "Ha ... ha ... ha" from Troy Aikman?

NFL Preseason Football Fever: Catch it!

Atlanta Falcons 16 at New York Jets 31

Bill Moore: Kellen Clemens looking pretty good. Fairly solid decision making and quite a gun. Clemens has stood solid in the pocket, taking a few hard hits. I missed this story in the New York press, but Cedric Houston quit? Even though he basically he was practically assured the third RB position, if not the backup.

Andre Wadsworth – who hasn't played in 5? Years, has not played a down yet. The Falcons, on the other hand, haven't looked good in any aspect -- offense (although I missed Harrington early on), defense, or special teams.

Their second-round pick, CB Chris Houston, went down in the third quarter. Hamstring, Achilles, or something. Didn't return.

Benjy Rose: J-E-T-S Pre-Sea-Son!

Clemens looked shaky at the beginning, but seemed to get real comfortable as his near-3-quarter stint progressed. His pocket presence is much like Pennington's, but he's got a much better arm. He did seem to be running Chad's offense, though -- lots of running & short passing, with the occasional underthrown long pass (1 worked, one didn't). I wanted to see him run some un-Chad 10-15-yard outs or 10-15 zips over the middle.

Leon (Washington)!!! HEEEEE SHAAAAALL BEEEE LEEEEEONNNNNN!!! He had a nice boom-and-bust game. A 25-yard run, and then 8 more for 5 yards. Nice 86-yard kickoff return, and a 13-yard screen reception.

Thomas Jones scored a short TD, but didn't do much. Pennington didn't attempt a pass in his quarter of play, although he did throw a block for Brad Smith on a reverse. Sean Ryan!!! 2 TD catches! Well, one wide-open defensive breakdown plus 1 nice diving drop that was called a catch. Either way, who is this guy?? D-line didn't get any push at all unless they blitzed 6 or 7 guys. That could be a problem.

On the Falcons side, it was really interesting to hear the Atlanta radio (1st quarter) and TV (rest of the game) announcers NOT Favre-ing up to Vick during the game. That's all they do. Vick Vick Vick Vick Vick Vick Algernon Vick Vick Vick. Tonight, though, they had to come up with something else to talk about.

Joey Harrington had a really nice game. Looked strong, confident, had a great presence out there. Looked a lot like Big Ben at times with his elusivity (elusiveness?). Danced out of the broken-down pocket, KEPT HIS HEAD UP, and threw on the run for a nice 37-yard completion on third down. If he plays like this during the season, the Falcons will be better than with Vick.

Chris Redman ... meh.

D.J. Shockley impressed me. Kid's got a freakin' cannon. I think he's got a better arm than Vick, and has a quick release instead of Vick's goofy Randall Cunningham arm flail thing. He needs work, but Petrino would be wise to keep him around and put him in a few plays... it would keep the fans happy (he's a Georgia product form High School and college), and would keep the Vick-style offense in there a little. Jason Snelling looked real good, too. A bruiser. Bettis-like.

Yay, football!!

Doug Farrar: Well, Shockley might see some time. According to several sources, Michael Vick's going to be suspended for the season.

Aaron Schatz: I met Bill Musgrave at the combine this year and he had some really nice things to say about D. J. Shockley. Kid's a very hard worker.

Sean McCormick: I guess it's the ten pounds he put on in the off-season, but Mike Nugent's leg is noticeably stronger on kickoffs. He was banging them to the goal line and into the end zone, and this from a guy who struggled to get the ball to the ten-yard line last year.

The team seems committed to using Brad Smith much in the same way that Parcells used to use Ray Lucas, which is unfortunate. He got some snaps at quarterback and looked extremely uncomfortable. If his first option wasn't open, he immediately looked at the pass rush and started running. He was successful running one reverse, but his other trick plays -- taking a snap from the shotgun and handing off to Leon Washington/getting a direct snap on a punt and trying to throw a pass -- were total busts. He did manage to draw a dubious PI call in the end zone, but I'm starting to wonder if he wouldn't be better off just getting reps at one position for a while, rather than moving him all over the place. Then again, if Justin McCareins beats him for the third wideout spot, it's hard to see how else Smith would get on the field.

The run defense looks suspiciously like last year's run defense. On the Falcons' touchdown, they were able to neutralize the front seven -- D-Rob was nullified by a guard, and no linebackers were anywhere behind him, which resulted in a running back scoring from the eight without being touched. On the other hand, Kenyon Coleman beat a block and made a stop in the backfield on third-and-1, which is a play you didn't see any defensive lineman make last year.

It was limited action, but I thought Jonathan Vilma looked more comfortable in the defense than he did last year. In particular, he was making plays while attacking the line of scrimmage, rather than letting runners get into his body and knock him over. I can't wait to see how he plays with David Harris lined up alongside him.

New England Patriots 10 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13

Aaron Schatz: The Pats came out with split backs on a lot of plays. They hardly ever used split backs last year. In fact, most teams don't seem to use split backs much anymore, with the major exception of the Seahawks.

Bam Childress just got popped big time on a punt return, helmet coming off. I remember some guy in the Colts-Cowboys game getting destroyed on a punt return. I wonder if there's more of a chance of an injury from these reckless hits as sixth-string players desperately trying to make the team try to prove themselves on punt coverage by sending someone to the hospital.

There seems to be a debate in the fantasy football projections community regarding Cato June and Derrick Brooks this year, but from what I saw, Brooks was definitely on the strong side, not the weak side.

Mike Tanier: Derrick Brooks was playing in the middle and on the strong side a lot last year. Jaws mentioned it. Greg Cosell mentioned it. I verified it on the game tapes I watched. I think all the beat writers and talking heads just assumed that never happened, never bothered to watch a game tape or ask Kiffin, and just went with the "will June replace Brooks on the weak side?" storyline. I take that as a reminder that sometimes when we disagree with 97 percent of the sources out there, we very well could be right.

St. Louis Rams 13 at Minnesota Vikings 10

Ryan Wilson: Tarvaris Jackson has only thrown one deep ball (incomplete), but has been very accurate on the short to intermediate passes. More impressive, Troy Williamson caught three nice balls (I guess catching 20,000 during the off-season helped) -- including a nice above-the-head grab in the middle of the field that would've been an incompletion last year.

Doug Farrar: On Jackson's second pass of the game, he threw high and over the middle to Troy Williamson. People think Minnesota's short on receivers now, but the situation isn't going to get any better if their quarterback keeps doing that.

Another thing I'm noticing about Jackson is that this is the preseason, but he's not sliding or ducking out when he runs. He's extending every run and slamming right into defenders. The Seahawks brought former Mariner John Olerud into their training camp last week to work with their quarterbacks on sliding. I wonder if Dan Gladden is available at a reasonable rate?

Ryan Wilson: Rams first-rounder Adam Carriker beat the Vikes' RG to tackle Adrian Peterson at the LOS on Peterson's only carry. Rams LB John Alston, last year's second-round pick (who ran something like a 4.4 at the combine), made an unbelievable open-field athletic tackle on a Tarvaris Jackson third-down scramble. Rams CB Ron Bartell, a 2005 second-rounder, was raw coming out of Howard, and was out of position (or took bad angles) several times during the quarter.

Doug Farrar: Carriker negated Adrian Peterson on his first NFL carry. Just bulldogged him. Great play from a guy who's moving inside to tackle

Steven Jackson is already in mid-season form, making two Vikings defenders miss on a short screen from Bulger on the Rams' first drive. I really like Jackson, and I still think people don't give him the credit he's due. I might take him in a fantasy draft over anyone but Tomlinson.

Peterson has an obvious ability to zip through small holes, but he runs pretty high for someone who's had injury concerns. I assume the coaches will work with him on that, because I just had a Chris Brown Flashback Experience.

Mike Mayock is doing color in this game, and he's really good. He's especially adept with the rookies, of course, but he's also talking about formations and coverages, he's got a self-deprecating sense of humor, and he's very conversational -- not stiff at all. A pleasure to listen to.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Brian Leonard bandwagon is now accepting passengers.

Sean McCormick: Ssshhh! I plan on drafting him in the last round of my draft and then sit back and watch him score more receiving touchdowns than Randy McMichael.

Buffalo Bills 13 at New Orleans Saints 10

Mike Tanier: Poz (Paul Posluszny) looks good so far. He made a bunch of plays in the middle of the field, slipped a block to make a tackle on one play, came back from deep Tampa-2 coverage to make another tackle in the passing game. Nothing spectacular, but he knows his assignments and looks like he belongs.

Tyler Palko looked OK in the early going until an interception at the end zone. Most of his throws were short but he executed well and knew where his second receiver was.

The announcers were raving about #40, Kevin Dudley, fullback for the Saints, after he lowered his shoulder and finished a run after a catch on a little rollout pass. The kid reminded me of Jim Kleinsasser a few years ago, when Kleinsasser was young and spry. That's just on one or two plays, mind you, but for a moment I thought old JK was traded.

Doug Farrar: Palko looked great on the fake/fourth-down run at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Sold it perfectly and didn't hurry the timing.

Sean McCormick: The full J.P. Losman experience was on display. On a third-down play, he was athletic enough to pluck a bad snap out of the air, roll right and head upfield, weaving through traffic for a twelve-yard gain. The next play, he was supposed to take a one-step drop and throw the quick slant, but he held onto the ball too long, waiting for the receiver to be wide open instead of throwing to the spot, and the result was an incompletion. He just doesn't seem to get much a pre-snap read. If he wasn't so mobile, he'd be Rob Johnson.

The Buffalo secondary is completely uncompetitive, no matter who is playing quarterback for the Saints. They're not blowing coverages and leaving receivers wide open, but they just don't have the athleticism to play tight coverage. Instead, they're letting the receivers catch the ball in front of them and then closing in for the tackle. It looks suspiciously like a Herm Edwards special.

Trent Edwards is going to get himself in trouble with Daryle "The Mad Bomber" Lamonica if he keeps up with stat lines like this. Seriously, how do you manage to complete 10-of-11 passes for just 49 yards?

Drew Boylhart over at The Huddle Report gave a first-round grade to Tyler Palko. Based on this game, I didn't see it, as his arm strength is clearly limited. That said, I thought he made good decisions with the ball. He could certainly show J.P. Losman a thing or two about throwing timing routes.

Doug Farrar: A first-round grade? Boylhart must be from Western Pennsylvania.

Jacksonville Jaguars 17 at Miami Dolphins 18

Doug Farrar: Vonnie Holiday was flagged for roughing the passer after he sacked Byron Leftwich while Leftwich still had the ball. Seriously. Leftwich's arm was still going back when Holliday first hit him. Good to know that they've ironed out those touchy calls.

Kansas City Chiefs 12 at Cleveland Browns 16

Doug Farrar: Cleveland rookie corner Eric Wright made a great first-quarter play on a deep pass from Brodie Croyle to Samie Parker. Wright came out as a junior from UNLV after leaving USC in the wake of some off-field issues. He redshirted in 2003, sat out the 2005 season due to transfer rules and played only nine games for the Rebels in 2006. He's certainly got great speed (ran a 4.36 at the Combine), and we'll have to see what he does with a clean slate in Cleveland. Reports indicate that Wright is well aware of the "Pacman Effect." The underclassman/red flag combo always gives me pause, though. Observing the careers of Koren Robinson and Jerramy Stevens will do that.

Sean McCormick: Croyle made a bad mistake early on. The play was supposed to be a screen pass, but the runner was held up, so Croyle just chucked the ball about ten yards downfield at the left hash. The only problem was that the only player in the area was Leigh Bodden. The instinct to bail on the play was fine, but he needed to do a much better job of throwing it away.

Joe Thomas was impressive in his first game. His pass protection was consistently solid, and he was better than advertised in his run blocking. He wasn't up against Julius Peppers or anything, but he looked like he had the left side of the line pretty nicely nailed down.

Carolina Panthers 24 at New York Giants 21

Bill Barnwell: The Giants' run defense has been embarrassing. Defensive tackles are getting no push on the line of scrimmage. Meanwhile, announcers are continually pushing how much the team loves Tony Spagnuolo's new "aggressive" attacking scheme while ignoring each time the Panthers exploit the Giants' overpursuit. Howard Cross points it out from the sideline halfway through the second quarter.

It was an awful series for Giants safety Craig Dahl. He hit a defenseless player from behind for a personal foul, took a poor angle to tackle a Panthers wideout and let him get out of bounds with 12 seconds left, and then had a mixup with a cornerback on the last offensive play of the half, where the corner thought he had safety help and Dahl was looking into the backfield while a Panthers receiver ran unimpeded down the sideline by the corner for an easy touchdown.

Watching Jared Lorenzen play quarterback is still so strange. His mechanics seem very ... mechanical and there's no fluidity to his throwing motion. He also runs through his progressions slow, which is to be expected considering he barely ever gets back there to throw against an NFL defense.

Doug Farrar: Wait, these are the Giants. What are these "progressions" of which you speak?

Chicago Bears 20 at Houston Texans 19

Doug Farrar: The Texans are wearing their road unis at home. Must be a Lone Star State thing. They also seem to have some sort of perpetual argument with the end zone, judging from their first three scoring drives. Those drives began at the Houston 48, the Chicago 16 and the Chicago 24. Nine plays in the red zone, and three field goals to show for it. The third drive featured three incomplete passes from Sage Rosenfels (who could have been called for illegal grounding on third down), took a total of nine seconds off the clock, and wasted a 78-yard kickoff return from Jerome Mathis. I know that preseason performances are generally inconclusive, but that was especially awful.

Then, the Texans drove from their own 14 to the Chicago 20 through the last few minutes of the first half, and promptly went three-and-off. Field goal number four. Houston was 0-for-7 on third down in the first half.

Just watched a sideline interview with Keenan McCardell, now with the Texans. For some reason, his career stats snuck up on me. I didn't realize he had amassed 861 career receptions (third-best active behind Marvin Harrison and Isaac Bruce) for over 11,000 yards (fifth-best active behind Harrison, Bruce, T.O. and Rod Smith).

Washington Redskins 14 at Tennessee Titans 6

Doug Farrar: I heard a commentator on ESPN radio this morning refer to Vince Young as a discipline problem in the same breath as Pacman Jones. Are you freakin' kidding me? "Next week on Outside the Lines: Will Vince Young's bedhead ruin the Titans' season?"

The pass to Antwaan Randle El with three minutes left in the first half was called an incompletion, but it looked very close – could have been a fumble. Jeff Fisher, the co-chair of the Competition Committee, threw the challenge flag, and this caused Spiro Dedes and Marshall Faulk to go on and on about how great it is that officials will finally have HD instant replay. Fisher, however, was told that the play was not reviewable. The HD angle is nice, though long overdue, and it's great that replay is finally permanent, but I really wish there was a more complete and sensible set of definitions regarding what is and is not reviewable. I mean, if the guy who helps run the Competition Committee doesn't even know what he can challenge…and why can't he? That could have put the ball in the hands of his offense.

Wouldn't the preseason be a good time to take, say, five unchallengable scenarios and make them challengeable, just to see what should be allowed? Would it really bother Roger Goodell that much if these oh-so-meaningful preseason games were five minutes longer on average?

Just saw another Tarvaris Jackson special. In the third quarter, Titans QB Tim Rattay threw high (in this case, "high" is defined as "five feet over the receiver's head") and over the middle to rookie Paul Williams. Williams jumped for it and was absolutely creamed by Omar Stoutmire on his way down. I'm starting to wonder if we shouldn't count "receiver kills" in the Game Charting Project -- it would be interesting to know which quarterbacks throw their receivers under the bus most often.

Aaron Schatz: Tarvaris Jackson special? Isn't this the Eli Manning special?

Arizona Cardinals 23 at Oakland Raiders 27

Sean McCormick: Daunte Culpepper played better than his stats would indicate, as he was basically throwing to the East Bay track team and there were drops aplenty. He fumbled when hit early on, but he seemed to get more comfortable as the game went along, and he was moving much better than I remember him doing at any point last year. Oakland's quarterbacks all played reasonably well, actually. I wonder if they are going to try and carry four quarterbacks once Russell signs, or if Josh McCown and Andrew Walter are fighting for one spot. We all know about Walter's struggles last year, but he looked a lot better than a lot of the second and third stringers seeing action this weekend.

It's bad enough that Oakland spent the second pick in the 2004 draft on a tackle who they have to play at guard, but the worst thing is that he's not even a good guard. Robert Gallery was still struggling mightily, always looking a step behind the defender. There were multiple plays where an Oakland runner was blown up in the backfield because Gallery let his man go by him. Whatever fundamental soundness this guy had coming out of Iowa is long gone, and he just seems to lunge at whoever is across from him. At the rate he's going, he's actually going to be a bigger bust than Tony Mandarich, who was at least a competent player with the Colts.

Doug Farrar: Sean, did any of Gallery's troubles look like adjustments to a new blocking scheme? Steve Hutchinson, as great as he is, would sort of flail toward the second level at times when he went to Minnesota and was involved in more zone blocking than he was in Seattle. Of course, it's possible that Gallery's just done, but I wonder if any of the other Oakland linemen seem to have issues adjusting to new line coach Tom Cable after whatever it was they were doing last year. Former Denver guard Cooper Carlisle would obviously have an easier time.

Stuart Fraser: Yeah, I can see how adjusting from "flail ineffectually at the opposing defensive as he goes by you" to "actually block somebody" might take some time.

Sean McCormick: It's a good question, but considering how lunging was just about his only successful means of blocking at left tackle, I'm guessing it was old habits. Most of the Oakland line was blocking pretty well... or at least, pretty well by last year's standards.

Seattle Seahawks 24 at San Diego Chargers 16

Doug Farrar: On Seattle's first drive, Matt Hasselbeck threw a ball that was batted in the air by Jamal Williams and caught by guard Rob Sims, who rumbled for 16 yards. In the 2004 Wild Card game against Green Bay, Steve Hutchinson caught a deflected pass and flopped forward for a short gain. Sims may not be at Hutchinson's level as a guard just yet, but he's got him beat as a slot receiver.

Good protection on Seattle's opening scoring drive, with their starting offensive line against San Diego's starting defense - especially since the Seahawks didn't really simulate a 3-4 in practice last week. It's interesting to see which teams really gameplan for the preseason and which teams keep it vanilla. The Steelers were throwing the kitchen sink at the Packers – zone blitzes all over the place. The Seahawks, on the other hand, will implement fairly rudimentary gameplans pretty much all the way through.

Antonio Gates made a nice play on the Chargers' opening drive – he chipped Patrick Kerney at the line, held him up from getting to Rivers and still got out for the catch.

If there's one thing that will keep Seneca Wallace from becoming an NFL starting quarterback, it's his inability to put anything on touch passes. The ugly overthrow to Leonard Weaver in the second quarter, which was picked off by rookie safety Eric Weddle, was a perfect example. Wallace has good mobility and can make certain plays, but every throw has to be on a straight line

Ben Riley: Wallace has looked awful, but then again, he usually does in preseason. Hawks are generating a strong pass rush -- Billy Volek just fumbled as I was typing this -- but the secondary doesn't look improved with Deon Grant and Brian Russell; on third-and-17, Grant took a horrible angle on Darren Sproles, who ran right by him.

Perhaps running counter to conventional FO wisdom, I think the Chargers have real questions at WR. Eric Parker is banged up so we got to see Craig Davis fumble a reverse and Malcom Floyd drop a pass that hit him squarely in the numbers.

Doug Farrar: Let it heretofore be known that Craig Davis prefers the name "Buster".

(Sunday night preseason ennui begins to distract our West Coast correspondents...)

Ben Riley: Finally, am I the only one completely horrified by the "Deliverance" commercial for Viagra, featuring seven guys sitting in a shack in the middle of the woods signing praises to an impotence drug?

Doug Farrar: Bad year for commercials. There's the "Viva Viagra" one you're talking about, there's the "Baconator" with the cut-and-paste faces on the screaming girls (the celebrity is ... bacon?), and the extremely disappointing follow-ups to the "T.J. Whosyourmama" fantasy football spots. "Ballet parking"? Please.

Ben Riley: For me, the biggest disappointment is the Verizon cell phone commercial. You can't make a "when pigs fly" reference, bring a live pig on screen, and then not have the porker go airborne.

Doug Farrar: The Manning/Bush room service commercial is pretty good. "Can I get someone up here with enough chili to fill up my bathtub?"

Well, Madden and Michaels just lost all the monitors in their booth halfway through the fourth quarter. Goodnight, everybody!

Posted by: admin on 13 Aug 2007

63 comments, Last at 21 Aug 2007, 12:03pm by bengt

Comments

1
by James, London (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 11:51am

"Pennington didn’t attempt a pass in his quarter of play, although he did throw a block for Brad Smith on a reverse"

Does anyone else think that having your starting QB throw a block on a reverse in pre-season is a really bad idea? Especially when he's as fragile as Chad?

2
by sam (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 11:56am

JAX/MIA

The roughing call on Holliday was for helmet-to-helmet. Look, I agree that there are way too many judgment calls on roughing the passer (like, for instance, the play where Tom Brady tumbled backwards over a fallen D-Lineman and got a ridiculous roughing-the-passer call). But the rule is the rule, no helmet-to-helmet contact against the QB. It was pretty clear-cut to me.

3
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 12:30pm

James - maybe the wily Mangenius is hoping Pennington will get hurt, so he can start Clemens and take a short-term hit in production for a long-term gain.

The only game I watched out of these was the Seahawks-Chargers game on Sunday night. John Madden was really on his game - it was the best I've heard him since the mid-90s. I think having completely anonymous players on the field helps by keeping him focused on the action rather than buttering Brett Favre's bread or telling anecdotes about popular players. His best moment was when he explained how bootleg passes will always work in the preseason minutes before the Chargers ran one for a Volek-to-Floyd TD.

Also, Darryl Tapp looks ridiculous for the Seahawks. He looked like he had good outside and inside moves and was performing at a different speed than the players around him - sorta like a non-skeezy Mike Vick.

4
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 12:30pm

Poor Anthony Wright. The offensive line play by the Giants during 4th quarter was about high school level. Watching them play I thought they really couldn't do worse if they tried, just standing upright they probably would have done better than the "blocking" they attempted.

5
by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 12:31pm

Trent Green got a hardy round of boos in his first start. So begins the new (and probably very brief) TRENT GREEN ERA in Miami.

6
by mactbone (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 12:37pm

I thought the NFL wasn't allowing male enhancement drugs to be advertised during games?

7
by SGT Ben (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 12:44pm

WOOHOO!!! Charlie actually looked decent behind a line that did a decent job. It's only preseason...but I'm a Browns fan and (therefor) filled with eternal hope every year!

8
by sam (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 12:48pm

4:
You would hope that the line would be at least collegiate-level. Since those guys played in college.

You'd hope.

9
by SGT Ben (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 1:01pm

#9

Just because they played at the collegiate level doesn't mean that they played like collegians. lol

10
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 1:28pm

Terrible commercials all the way around for the NFLN....and you can count on seeing the same ones at least every other commercial break. The one with the Mannings and Matt Leinart looks to be the exception, but I haven't heard the audio yet.

As far as the NFL goes, there's a lot of talk about Howard Mudd, Dante Scarnecchia, and Hudson Houck as being the best offensive line coaches in the league, but I'm not sure anyone does a better job than Bill Muir in Tampa. It doesn't matter which linemen were in the game, they just took it to the Patriots D in the run game. I've noticed this the last couple of years when I've watched the Bucs, and it makes the slow development of Carnell Williams that much more puzzling.

11
by Scott C. (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 1:31pm

The Steelers were throwing the kitchen sink at the Packers – zone blitzes all over the place. The Seahawks, on the other hand, will implement fairly rudimentary gameplans pretty much all the way through.

Then why were they stunting and blitzing so much on D? The Seahawks defensive game plan sure didn't look very plain to me. Not regular season sophistication, but not rudimentary.

12
by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 1:34pm

The Bears broadcast was incredibly corny and Ditka is lousy in the booth. I hate announcers who cheer or talk about the team saying, "we."

13
by Marko (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 2:02pm

I didn't like the Manning/Bush room service commercial for three reasons. First, why are they staying at the same hotel? Second, don't the people at the hotel know what room someone is calling from? Whenever I stay at a hotel and call the front desk or room service, I don't have to tell them what room I'm in - they already know. That kind of ruins the idea of pretending to be someone else at a hotel and ordering something to be delivered to his room. Third, Bush ordered something for Manning while a room service guy (or some other hotel employee) was right there in the room with him. If you were going to pull a prank like that, I'm thinking it would be best to do it with no witnesses, and especially no witnesses who were hotel employees. Then again, maybe I'm taking this commercial too seriously.

14
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 2:04pm

#2 Sam,

The play in question was against *against* NE and happened vs. Miami. Harrington was backpeddeling after releasing the ball and tripped over a sprawled Wilfork.

As far as I know, Brady has never drawn a PI call by tripping over a Dlineman.

15
by dbt (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 2:07pm

Ditka's only job is to appeal to the guys who still get off on that crap in this town. It's not often I thank god for national broadcast teams but ....

16
by sam (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 2:09pm

14:
You are right. I can only plead that I had only had one cup of coffee at the time. And I was hungry.

My sincere apologies to all New England fans! I humbly beg forgiveness from his Excellency, the Ineffable Number Twelve.

OK, seriously. I apologize. I blew it. In retrospect, it seems much more like something that would have happened to Manning than Brady.

17
by Ryan (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 2:12pm

Did anyone see the Panthers sixth-string RB Eric Shelton flatten Gaints safety Will Demps on the Carr-to-Biddle TD pass at the end of the first half?

18
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 2:16pm

"It doesn’t matter which linemen were in the game, they just took it to the Patriots D in the run game. I’ve noticed this the last couple of years when I’ve watched the Bucs, and it makes the slow development of Carnell Williams that much more puzzling."

I wouldnt take much from that. The Patriots D was destroying Tampa for the first 2 series, and thats without Seymour. After that, both Wilfork and Warren came out, and that entire Patriots defence is built on getting pressure up the middle from the line. Without that dominating presence, its just a different D. Mike Wright looks like hes gonna be decent, but hes not Vince Wilfork, Jarvis Green is good, but hes not Richard Seymour, and Kareem Brown/Kenny Smith/Santonio Thomas are certainly not Ty Warren.

FWIW, Gaines Adams looked really impressive.

I was also more impressed with Gutierrez than Cassell... he lacks touch, but if that comes along, he definitely throws a better ball than Cassell, and seems to move better in the pocket.

19
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 2:23pm

I wouldnt take much from that. The Patriots D was destroying Tampa for the first 2 series, and thats without Seymour. After that, both Wilfork and Warren came out, and that entire Patriots defence is built on getting pressure up the middle from the line. Without that dominating presence, its just a different D. Mike Wright looks like hes gonna be decent, but hes not Vince Wilfork, Jarvis Green is good, but hes not Richard Seymour, and Kareem Brown/Kenny Smith/Santonio Thomas are certainly not Ty Warren.

Well what I take from that is that our reserve defenders couldn't get off a block to save their lives, and these were the second stringers. If you or someone else is going to guarantee me that Seymour, Wilfork, Warren, Bruschi, and Thomas aren't going to miss any games this year, then I guess I'm OK with it.

20
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 2:32pm

Dryheat, of course some of them are going to miss time.

The thing is, when you start with second stringers, like they did on the line, as soon as you start moving to "second string" you're putting in camp scrubs. Kareem Brown (4th? Round rookie DE/DT) was playing in the first quarter. Hes listed as about 6th on the depth chart.

Now, when you've got Jarvis Green, who is a specialist pass rusher, and more of a 4-3 end, and Kareem Brown, rookie 4th rounder, as your Ends, you have to expect some yardage to be given up on the ground.

The pats started subbing out, and subbing deeper before Tampa did.

And FWIW, Bruschi missing time wont make a god damn difference.

As to Thomas, he looked really slow.

21
by Unshakable Optimist (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 2:38pm

It doesn’t matter which linemen were in the game, they just took it to the Patriots D in the run game. I’ve noticed this the last couple of years when I’ve watched the Bucs, and it makes the slow development of Carnell Williams that much more puzzling.

Williams gets stuffed because defenses stack the box against us. If we have a quarterback who's at least respectable, he should have a decent season.

Speaking of ridiculous PI calls, the worst one I remember seeing last year was called on Brian Urlacher. I don't remember what game it was, but I remember that the quarterback got rid of the ball just as he was getting to him. Urlacher was specifically careful not to throw a hit, he merely put his hands on the guy to help stop himself and the ref threw the flag. It happened sometime in the second half of the season, though after watching what happens when he goes one on one with Tom Brady I think we can safely rule out the Patriots game.

22
by Marko (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 2:47pm

That play with Urlacher was against Brad Johnson of the Vikings. It was a ridiculous call, but he didn't "merely put his hands on the guy to help stop himself." He gave Johnson a little shove, but it was really minor. I recently saw an article saying that there is a new rule regarding roughing the passer. I don't remember all of the specifics, but it had to do with a continuous motion by the defender running into the quarterback not being a penalty. When I read about that rule change, my first thought was that it was a reaction to the play with Urlacher and Johnson. I'll see if I can find a link to the article describing the new rule.

23
by Al H (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 2:50pm

I watched the Jags/Dolphins game this weekend with the local announcers. The hit did look like a helmet-to-helmet and was pretty rough, dunno if it deserved the flag, but I can see that being called in the preseason.

Listening to the Miami feed that's replaying on the NFL Network, you'd think that it was the Tuck Rule screwjob! They've gone on for about 10 minutes about how horrible a flag it was and how unfair it was, hoping it doesn't hurt the finances of Holliday.

It's pretty hilarious actually how much they complain about it.

24
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 3:01pm

# 3 - You musted have missed the part where Madden was talking about how all the kids will want green dots on their helmets now, or the part where he explained the physics of powered flight.

25
by Charles the Philly Homer (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 3:10pm

Man, the Giants D looks bad.

Obvious preseason disclaimer, but holy crap. That Dahl guy shouldn't have been allowed back on the team bus.

26
by ferarapan (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 3:24pm

Boylhart's grade on Palko might be a bit much, but you have to hand the guy one thing: he's the only reputable online draft analyst who is willing to go out on a limb. I can't stand it how every draft site likes about five players and then pretty much hates on every other player in the draft for various reasons. I also don't get why all draft sites have essentially the same profiles. Boylhart is my favorite profiler because he's not a clone. He's wrong a lot, but in my experience, he's right a lot more, and he's not afraid to say a guy that will get picked in the 7th round will be a starter. He's also a witty dude. Scott Wright is, imo, the best for the consensus profiling style.

27
by Benjy Rose :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 3:29pm

#1: Yes, that's exactly what I was thinking. Granted I should have put "blocked" in quotes (or inverted commas, as you Brits are apt to say), but still...I cringed when I saw Chad running out ahead. He's one of the better QBs at blocking on a reverse -- he doesn't shy away from contact...which is nice, but when your shoulder's being held together with bakery twine, not the best idea.

28
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 3:42pm

Sam #16

I just realized that I double posted the "against" which gives the impression that I was agitated by the comment. I apologize for that error.

UO #20,

The aforementioned Wilfork/Harrington was the worst PI call I have ever seen. Vince was literally lying on the ground and made no attempt whatsoever to touch Harrington. Joey just backed toward him and toppled lightly over him because he didn't know that WIlfork was there. It still astounds me to this day that someone would throw a flag on that play.

29
by Tom (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 3:49pm

I believe the penalty against Urlacher was something along the lines of "he flexed his muscles as he hit the QB." The commentators said Johnson should refuse the penalty just so he could face his teammates again.

30
by sam (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 3:58pm

27:

Hypothetical question. That happens, and "your" team is the one on offense. How would you feel if your quarterback said to the ref, "no, seriously, i just tripped over him 'cause i didn't know he was there.. that wasn't roughing."? Would it matter if the refs had blown one or more calls earlier in the game?

31
by Booker Reese (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 4:01pm

Wow dryheart - you must not have seen a lot of TB games.

I have to totally disagree with you on Muir. His rep is fantastic no doubt, but he's been considered a failure in Tampa and a lot of folks are surprised he still has a job. With the exception of Anthony Davis, who Muir took from undrafted free agent to starting LT (though he should be a backup), nobody has developed since he's been here.

Worse, he's been knee deep in the selection process for free agents and draft picks. While I'm hopeful with Davin Joseph, Trueblood, and now Sears, his track record with some of the others is not so great.

As for Caddy - it's easy to explain: He was dinged up last year, the OL was atrocious, and the QB play was so poor that teams stacked the line. Add it all up and he had a down year.

32
by Booker Reese (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 4:16pm

Aaron and Mike, re: Derrick Brooks and the strong side. Recently the Bucs lb coach explained that the Dungy-Kiffen Tampa-2 D was associated with an "under" front with the sam aligned opposite the TE. However, the Bucs have transitioned to more "over" fronts the last couple years, with the sam aligned away from the TE. The Bucs haven't been clear with the terminology he said, but basically Cato June is playing the same position he played in Indy - he's just called the sam linebacker now.

The media has messed this up a ton, both locally and nationally. I heard Rod Woodson express concern about June opposite the TE during the NFL Network's Buc preview - he obviously didn't do research.

A similar confusion happened with Ian Gold in TB, but I believe it was in reverse.

33
by Adam H. (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 4:38pm

Gallery's ineffectual flopping around got me thinking. FO should do an article on the making of a first round bust. Was Gallery really that overrated, or was bad coaching the primary culprit here? When you see multiple high profile prospects tube with the same francise (you know who I am thinking of) do we blame the coaches, or the personel guys. I would be really interested to see what you guys could uncover.

34
by Robert K (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 5:19pm

Did Olerud get a special jersey, or was he just wearing a helmet?

35
by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 5:22pm

#11: I noticed that, too, but that doesn't really constitute a complex game-plan; the Seahawks stunt a lot, in general, and here it didn't seem to be implemented for a specific objective of a gameplan, but more like an evaluation tool of the linemen they had in there.

They were stunting like crazy, though, seemed like 75% of the time. I was hoping that had something to do with them defending the run so horribly, giving up 1st downs on 3rd & 21 and all, but something tells me it wasn't the stunting that made them tackle so poorly. At least it can't account for the 3rd, 4th & 5th missed tackle and the allowing of 24 yards on 3rd & 21... Whatever the case, it's clear that they desperately need Marcus Tubbs, and it could make or break their season, facing Steven Jackson, Frank Gore and the AFC North.

Back to the subject at hand, I dunno how much the Steelers' kitchen sink constitues a complex gameplan, but the Seahawks' did seem pretty rudimentary. Cover 2, a couple delayed blitzes by the linebackers, and crazy stuntin' (not to be confused with Icy Hot Stuntas).

While we're at it, Doug, it's just too funny for the "Stealers" typo to show up in your article in PFP2007. I don't doubt Aaron's clarification, but I dunno if there could be a funnier random typo to make it into the book (I did notice the "statictical toolbox" header typo on the right-sided pages for that article...). And if anyone does doubt Aaron's explanation of how "Stealers" got into the book, it should only fortify your credibility, to me. For all your diligent coverage of the Seahawks and the NFC West, you paint a picture of Seattle like they are the Lions or Browns, or something, even while being spot on with SanFran's contention for this year.

36
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 5:25pm

The thing about the Manning/Bush room service commercial that bothered me is that it's identical to a commercial for the NHL (I know, I know, no one watches hockey) that ran in the spring, featuring a large number of players, but which ended with the same joke, with Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals making the large room service order, and saying "Oh, my name? Sidney Crosby" (of the Penguins).

37
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 7:19pm

I think that's just how things are done these days. It's like the FSN commercials (last season? two seasons ago?) where people were intimidated by a guy wearing a Red Wings jersey, which I thought was pretty cool until I saw the exact same thing, but with a Ducks jersey ... and then a Sharks jersey ...

The Browns announcers seemed convinced that the team had dominated the Chiefs, even though it took a late kickoff return to give them the win. Um, okay ... not that dominating a team in preseason means much anyway ...

The guys in the studio after the Cleveland game (I think ... let's see, it was DirecTV showing NFLN's HD feed from the Cleveland game ...) missed the Leftwich roughing-the-passer call too. I'm not sure why people don't automatically look for helmet-to-helmet contact when they see a flag ...

38
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 9:48pm

Oh, get over it people. That Wilfork-Harrington call had nothing to do with the Fins shutting Brady out. And they didn't steal any signals either. The Fins just play the Pats tougher than any team, that's all.

39
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 10:00pm

#37,

Where did that come from? Where did anyone mention that call and its influence on the game? If you look closely, you will see that the initial mention of it was as if it were *Brady* being the benefactor.

For the life of me I have no idea where you got the impression that you did.

40
by sam (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 10:29pm

DolFan is just mad because he had to see the suckitude that was Trent Green and the Miami "offense" on Saturday. What was it, 4th quarter before the Dolphins converted a 3rd down?

41
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 11:57pm

So continuing from where they left off last year, I see.

42
by hector (not verified) :: Tue, 08/14/2007 - 12:20am

Steven Jackson is already in mid-season form, making two Vikings defenders miss on a short screen from Bulger on the Rams’ first drive. I really like Jackson, and I still think people don’t give him the credit he’s due. I might take him in a fantasy draft over anyone but Tomlinson.

For the record, the overwhelming fantasy consensus is with you. Jackson is the consensus No. 2 pick and no one is close.

43
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Tue, 08/14/2007 - 1:03am

As for the Gallery-Mandarich comparison:

I think the title for biggest tackle bust ever will end up being decided by how good Larry Fitzgerald and Philip Rivers become. Mandarich's legendary busthood is derived from being drafted directly over two Hall of Famers.

If either Rivers or Fitzgerald ends up in the Hall of Fame one day (not too unlikely) then I would be willing to accept Gallery as the greatest lineman bust ever.

44
by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 08/14/2007 - 8:44am

Mandarich’s legendary busthood is derived from being drafted directly over two Hall of Famers.

Which would be the Sanders brothers, but if I recall correctly, Derrick Thomas was also in the top 5, meaning there's a chance of 4 HOFers + Mandarich in the top 5 that year. I can't imagine how much better Green Bay would have been in the mid-90s with Deion or Derek Thomas instead of Mandarich.

45
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 08/14/2007 - 10:16am

Re: 36

In fairness to the Browns announcers they did have almost twice as many first downs as the Chiefs, had a huge advantage in yardage and time of possession, and the Chiefs never threatened offensively until late in the fourth quarter.

I may be the only guy here that actually liked the fantasy football commercial ('Valet Parking'). Yeah, the end was pretty lame, but I got a kick out of watching that guy make his big pitch to be fantasy league commish ('80 inch plasma, gourmet chef pushing out nachos and wings...').

46
by azibuck (not verified) :: Tue, 08/14/2007 - 10:36am

This would be more interesting if there were more comments from the FO guys about the games and players, and less about commercials and nonsense. Oh, and without the unrestrained arrogance. You geniuses are flipping unreadable sometimes.

47
by Coach Tuesday (not verified) :: Tue, 08/14/2007 - 10:53am

Good to see the incessant FO snickering about JP Losman will be going strong for yet another season. At least we all know that he's sure no Matt Cassel!

48
by sam (not verified) :: Tue, 08/14/2007 - 11:10am

azibuck,

You're more than welcome to watch every NFL game and publish your comments along with emails back and forth with your friends wherever you wish. The FO guys will be publishing plenty of analysis once the season starts. A little brevity in the preseason makes a lot of sense to me, since the actual content of the first preseason slate of games doesn't offer much analysis potential.

PS the spam word is DOOFUS... how appropriate

49
by Theo, Holland (not verified) :: Tue, 08/14/2007 - 12:26pm

45. Azibuck,

That "college completion % leads to NFL succes thingy" you have there on your blog, did you make that up?

Pretty ballsy then to come here and say the guys of FO are arrogant huh?

50
by Independent George (not verified) :: Tue, 08/14/2007 - 1:12pm

To quote David St. Hubbins, "Hmm, an all-black album cover. Gee, I wonder who thought of that idea."

51
by Duff Soviet Union (not verified) :: Wed, 08/15/2007 - 12:10am

Tony Mandarich is the Sam Bowie of football. He wasn't THAT bad, but he's remembered as worse than he was because of who he was drafted ahead of. Mandarich was drafted ahead of the Sanders' and Thomas while Bowie was drafted one pick behind Hakeem Olajuwon and ahead of MJ and Charles Barkley (and John Stockton, but a lot of teams passed on him). Gallery is worse.

52
by bengt (not verified) :: Wed, 08/15/2007 - 4:51am

#16:
I think a genuflect joke would have been almost acceptable there.
Are there audibles for the Hall-of-fame-game? Surely Ilanin would have something to say.

53
by sam (not verified) :: Wed, 08/15/2007 - 9:15am

51:
You know, I thought about it. Just thought it would have been over the top--since I was in fact genuinely apologizing.

54
by azibuck (not verified) :: Wed, 08/15/2007 - 11:30am

#47, sam, I think you were looking to use "levity" not "brevity". My point is, mocking things in the preseason is easy, and easy to find. FO could, again, differentiate itself from the rest of the schlock out there by providing serious analysis of even a few things. And they did. Maybe they just dumped all their emails into this article, without editing stuff out. If so, fair enough, I'll take the bad with the good.

#48, Theo -- Yes, I did think that up, and I published it before FO did. I also offered it to Aaron, but he wrote me that they had someone working on something very similar. I still have his email.

I'm arrogant, but I'm just an average know-it-all with a computer. Relentless arrogance from a major website gets annoying.

55
by sam (not verified) :: Wed, 08/15/2007 - 12:27pm

levity, brevity, shmevity. I got my point across, didn't i? ;)

Audibles at the Line is a regular season features which is, essentially, the conglomeration of emails traded by FO staff & contributors. It is generally pretty unedited. It is usually posted Monday morning, before any of the 'real' analysis that will come during the week. The slightly sad part is, it typically has about as much depth to it as most "real media" analysis all week. It's the guys' first impressions, as they are unfolding in the games. It's similar to the banter you'd have theoretically if you put all the guys in one living room and sat them in front of a TV.

56
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 08/15/2007 - 7:47pm

Maybe they just dumped all their emails into this article, without editing stuff out.

Um. It does, in fact, say almost exactly this at the beginning of the article.

Be aware that the material in this roundtable might seem a bit disjointed and un-edited.

Man. All the people who complain about Audibles (and EPDC) - so, to counterbalance, I have to say: I love Audibles. It's a great counterpoint to the analysis articles, and it actually makes FO feel like a community. I mean, we created ROBO-PUNTER in a comments thread (a Four Downs draft thread, actually), and later, you see it cropping up in Audibles, and then in Extra Points - which makes it clear that the authors actually read the comments. That, to me, is fantastic.

Let me just repeat that again: Audibles, Every Play Doesn't Count - fantastic. Love 'em. Keep it coming.

57
by Doug Farrar :: Thu, 08/16/2007 - 12:34am

#2 - I have to respectfully disagree. I just saw rear- and front side-view angles of the hit when Leftwich was being interviewed on Total Access, and there is never a point where Holliday's helmet hits him in a way meant to injure. Hs facemask goes into Leftwich's shoulder and grazes the bottom of his facemask, but there's no spearing or leading with the helmet at all. Rich Eisen called it a "clothesline", which I don't really see, either. It was a hard hit, but the head contact seemed incidental.

I can see how there might be the "ingredients" of a helmet-to-helmet hit in this case, but officials have had one mantra drilled into their heads over the last few years - first you see it, then you call it. You can't make a call based on an impression, and I think that's what happened here.

58
by Ilanin (not verified) :: Thu, 08/16/2007 - 9:22am

The reason there are no "Audibles" for the HoF game is because at that point we (by which I mean Doug) were going to do EPDC in the same way it was done last year. During the Lions-Bengals and Colts-Cowboys games the roundtable emails started up, and it got turned into an Audibles-style column.

I posted a few comments about the HoF game on the messageboards. I was impressed by Pittsburgh's recievers, except Nate Washington, who still needs to learn to catch. On the other hand it was the Saints secondary. LaMarr Woodley looked a lot more like an OLB than a second-round DE conversion project. Daniel Sepulveda looks Moorman-like as a punter, which is probably what you expect if you drop a fourth-round pick on a specialist. For extended analysis, AOL Fanhouse's JJ Cooper has done a frankly disturbing amount of film breakdown on Steelers preseason games (when one considers they're preseason). Link in name.

59
by azibuck (not verified) :: Thu, 08/16/2007 - 10:59am

Um.

Um. Indeed. My original comment was that it would be "more" interesting without the shlock. Whatever. It's great that the authors read the comments. In fact, my comment was for them. Thanks for the name-calling and condescension just the same.

60
by usedbread (not verified) :: Fri, 08/17/2007 - 10:37pm

so you watched the buffalo-saints game... which i missed.
thanks for focusing wholly on buffalo(a last place team), its not like anyone wanted to know about the saints anyhow.

61
by Gaius (not verified) :: Sat, 08/18/2007 - 5:41pm

FO Honchiko read the comments?

Maybe so.

One may well question their perspicacty, however, if exploiting the non-pop cultural, not-explicitly statistical vein that was well mined during a significant exchange relating to Tenichtitlan media bias toward the MesoAmerican ballgame.

To wit:
No comments regarding the SuperChick Coyualzauqui's adadamantly NFL-quality parlays versus her brother Hitzilipochtli.

No signigicant mention of the stud Lawrence Taylor-like striker-domino Ahaw of Yaxchilan commonly translated as Bird Jaguar and his prowess in the game that is clearly ancestral to [along with Gaelic football, rugby, bear-baiting, bull-baiting, and medieval warfare] furbol norteamericano...

Want some cool kink-links to graphics of Bird-Jag as Lawrence Taylor?

Want to know why Frank Ryan is hipper than Frank Sinatra?

I can do it sometime if there's a request; however, I'm working on an editorial project and cannot be counted upon to respond immediately.

Not so incidentally.

We all know USNews & World Reports academic rankings for 2008 came out. So how about a disco-discussion without cussing regarding the equivalence between so-called football factories and academic excellence.

To get that conversation started, I'd nominate University Athletic Association Division III [UAA -- those geek-freak, well-funded techno-lib joints] and certain independents as BETTER than official Ivy or Gawker small-glib-lib colleges as prospects -- because UAAs, with the tech endowment, are geared to produce liminal relators to the psy-bio kinesics field-play...okay, give it up, pup.

If anyone's interested, let it commence.

62
by Gaius (not verified) :: Sat, 08/18/2007 - 5:54pm
63
by bengt (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 12:03pm

#57:
So there are audibles for the HOF game indeed. ;-)
I have been watching up to the middle of the third quarter, and what I would note is the great pass defensed by Woodley (much more like a LB as a DE, as you noted), and the fact that Kendall Simmons looked very promising at RG.