Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

01 Oct 2012

Audibles at the Line: Week 4

compiled by Rivers McCown

Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around e-mails about the games that each of us are watching. We share information about the games that the rest of the group might not be watching, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed about which games they might want to tune into (if they can).

On Monday, we compile a digest of those e-mails and produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.

While these e-mails are generally written with Audibles in mind, they do not represent a standard review of all the games each week. That means we aren't going to cover every game, or every important play. We watch the games that we, as fans, are interested in watching, so your favorite team's game might not be covered to your fullest desires or even at all. (If you are a 49ers or Patriots fan, you are probably in luck; if you are a Bills fan, not so much.) We have no intention of adding new authors to cover every game on a given Sunday, nor will we watch a different game from the ones that we're personally interested in watching, just to ensure that Audibles covers every game.

Thursday, September 27

Cleveland Browns 16 at Baltimore Ravens 23

Peter Koski: So, Joe Flacco is still Joe Flacco, eh?

Vince Verhei: Brandon Weeden, unpressured, just underthrew an open receiver on a 5-yard hitch.

Aaron Schatz: Kid, if you can't hit that pass at age 28, when are you planning on learning?

Vince Verhei: I was so intrigued I looked this up. There were 63 unpressured underthrows on passes 4-to-6 yards downfield last year. So about two per team. Two players tied for the league lead with six: Blaine Gabbert and, no kidding, Tom Brady. Nobody else had more than three.

Tom Gower: Jake Locker did it on consecutive plays over the middle in Week 2, throwing first at Kenny Britt's feet and then one-hopping a ball to Chris Johnson.

Peter Koski: [Disclaimer: Ray Rice fantasy owner] I don't understand Baltimore's offensive game plan so far. It seems to be a, "Look, we can pass! Flacco has arrived!" gameplan. On a short week, when you have a good running offense you can lean on, I was thinking they'd soften up the defense in the first half with mainly run. Even Baltimore's first half two-minute drill seemed to be forcing things.

Rivers McCown: Baltimore was not getting anything to Dennis Pitta ... actually, the Browns came into the game with the fourth-lowest DVOA allowed to tight ends. I wouldn't have guessed that with all the injuries they have had at linebacker. Maybe a "T.J. Ward is healthy" thing?

Sunday, September 30

New England Patriots 52 at Buffalo Bills 28

Andy Benoit: The Patriots were extremely efficient on their first opening drive touchdown of the season. Long pass to Rob Gronkowski was the big blow -- Tom Brady had plenty of time and space to step up and throw. 7 plays, 90 yards.

Aaron Schatz: Yes, very little pass rush from the vaunted Buffalo front four. I'll be watching that more this game. I noticed that Mario Williams plays more on the left (offensive right) which surprises me a little bit. Also, that drive was a good example of one of the good things about Stevan Ridley: He always seems to stumble forward for an extra yard or two at the end of every play. That really does add up.

Andy Benoit: Ryan Fitzpatrick's second interception was a pure underthrow. T.J. Graham had beaten Devin McCourty on the fly route, and the route was far enough outside the numbers that safety help over the top was not going to be relevant. But Fitzpatrick short-armed it; mechanics are still a bit of an issue for him at times.

Aaron Schatz: It's interesting, the Bills have done a good job of keeping the Pats offense down; they've had just 19 yards with no points after two Bills turnovers. But Mario Williams is doing nothing. Sebastian Vollmer has him totally contained. Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus are having a much bigger impact.

Rivers McCown: Mario had a reputation for disappearing for a couple games at a time in Houston. I'm not really surprised that he's having a quiet start. Especially given that cast he's wearing ... he is always playing dinged up.

Andy Benoit: Scott Chandler made a great mid-air adjustment on a touchdown catch over the well-played face-guarding of Patrick Chung. Chung played only the receiver, and didn’t see the ball.

Aaron Schatz: Here's that play in a nutshell: Chung is 5-foot-11, Chandler is 6-foot-7. That concludes "play in a nutshell."

Andy Benoit: What's up with Stephen Gostowski? It's weird seeing the Patriots have kicking issues. Bill Belichick looks befuddled.

Aaron Schatz: I was shocked when they called timeout and brought out the kicker. Fourth down with a foot-and-a-half to go on the 25? Go for it, kiddies.

Andy Benoit: At the 4:10 mark in the second quarter, Fred Jackson made a phenomenal over-the-shoulder catch near the sideline over great man coverage by Jerod Mayo. Jackson has flashed wide receiver like talent before.

Jackson is running with decent fluidity and good solidity (fluid movement, solid in balance and body position) in his first game back from a leg injury. He has three catches for 50 yards through 34 minutes.

Chandler's second touchdown was another very good adjustment on the ball. Chandler is a tall hands catcher. Linebacker Brandon Spikes is great downhill, but he doesn’t have the speed to run vertically with a target like that. He didn't think to run with him initially, anyway.

Aaron Schatz: Pats defenders always seem to be playing the man, not the ball.

Vince Verhei: Actually, there were times last season I don't think they were playing the man OR the ball.

Aaron Schatz: From the replay, it didn't even look like Spikes was trying to run vertically with him. It looked like that should have been on the safeties, and they were just both too late to get to the middle of the field.

I think I may have mentioned this last week, but I swear that Brady used to throw the ball away under pressure, didn't he? It seems like he just gives up and goes down in a clump these days instead of trying to get rid of it to save yardage.

The Patriots just failed on third down again on their first drive of the second half. Third-down conversions on offense just awful today. I think they are something like 1-for-6.

Also, it may not have been Mario Williams disappearing. It may have been Vollmer playing well, because on the second-and-8 where Gronkowski almost catches a long touchdown, the Bills ran a stunt and Williams pushed Ryan Wendell back like ten feet on skates.

Andy Benoit: The Bills are having tons of success throwing inside the numbers, splitting New England’s two deep safeties. Donald Jones' catch-and-run touchdown was a great illustration of that.

The key with Bills offense is Fitzpatrick having room to plant, windup, and launch. He’s been very good today with a clean pocket this game.

Aaron Schatz: The Patriots just scored, finally, to make it 21-14. Almost the entire drive was runs. Huge holes. One remarkable thing about this game is the way the Pats have completely shut down the Bills' run -- remember, C.J. Spiller is currently leading the league in rushing DYAR by leaps and bounds -- while themselves running wild on the Bills. Yet they can't seem to complete passes on third down, until, finally, the touchdown to make it 21-14.

Gronkowski is clearly off today as a receiver, he dropped another possible TD pass on that drive, but at least when he's off as a receiver he's still a bad mofo as a run blocker.

Andy Benoit: The Patriots have generated minimal pressure with a four-man rush. Chandler Jones has been very quiet for most of the game working against Cordy Glenn. (Right as I type this, Rob Ninkovich turned the corner for a forced fumble and sack around Erik Pears. Also, Cordy Glenn got his knee rolled up on the play. Maybe the next sentence I'll type will be "Andy Benoit has not won the lottery lately.")

Aaron Schatz: The Bills have had two offensive linemen go out with injuries. The one good thing about the insane constant churning of their offensive line the last year or two is that all the backup linemen have regular-season experience.

Andy Benoit: Bills corners Stephon Gilmore and Aaron Williams did a very good job on Brandon Lloyd. The reason: both are pretty well-sized and long, which is a formula for beating a guy like Lloyd who lacks speed and quickness, but relies on acrobatics and positioning with the ball in the air.

Aaron Schatz: Well, the second half was certainly different.

I warned everybody before the season about trusting rookie cornerbacks, but I have to say, I'm very impressed with Gilmore's play today, at least what I've been able to see on TV angles.

This just came over Twitter from the Patriots official Twitter feed: This is the first time the Patriots have had two 100-yard rushers in the same game since December 19, 1982 against Seattle. Thirty years. Wow.

OK, I just put this on Twitter, but I'll put it out to all of you. What comes after a law firm? We need a nickname for Brandon Bolden, the Pats' latest Ole Miss UDFA find.

Rivers McCown: If they're using him as a change of pace back, my vote is for "Countersuit."

Aaron Schatz: The current Twitter leaders seem to be "Judicial Review" and "The Prosecutor."

Seattle Seahawks 13 at St. Louis Rams 19

Andy Benoit: Seattle's white uniforms are ugly. They look like a mistake, like someone ordered the wrong color of pants.

Vince Verhei: The good news for Seattle is that the Rams interior line just can't handle their defensive tackles. Big mismatch for Seattle on virtually every play. The bad news for Seattle is that Richard Sherman is having a lousy game. He gave up a bunch of completions in the first quarter, including one to Chris Givens for a 52-yard gain. He got an interception in there too, but that was due to a St. Louis miscommunication and not anything special Sherman did.

And I disagree strongly with Andy on Seattle's uniforms. I dig the white-on-grey look.

Seahawks try the surprise onside kick to open the second half, but the Rams recover. They proceed to go three-and-out, then Greg Zuerlein kicks a 60-yard field goal. He also has a 58-yarder, and the Rams' touchdown right before halftime came on a fake field-goal try.

Every time I decide I'm out of patience with Russell Wilson and want to see Matt Flynn, there's another jailbreak in pass protection where Wilson is one of maybe eight or ten guys in the league that could escape it.

Seattle has high-profile rookies at quarterback and pass rusher, and now their rookie running back is making plays. Robert Turbin has five carries for 45 yards, I think all in the third quarter. He's doing a lot of it on his own, breaking tackles and finding cutback lanes.

The last Seattle drive pretty much summed up their entire offense at this point. Down six points in the fourth with about six minutes to go, they go run, run, penalty, run, incomplete, incomplete, punt. They have no faith in their own passing attack unless down-and-distance forces it.

J.J. Cooper: The Seahawks are trying to drive for a game-winning touchdown in the final two minutes. Wilson does a decent job of dinking it down the field, but his wideout falls down on a comeback route and the ball lands in Bradley Fletcher's hands. Which is bad since he plays for the Rams. Not Wilson's fault, but nice win for the Rams.

Vince Verhei: Let's not go overboard praising Wilson there. At the two-minute warning, they had a third-and-2 with no timeouts left. They ran for the first down, let 30 seconds go by, threw short and in bounds, let 30 seconds go by, and then threw the interception, which was another short route in bounds. The interception was not his fault. The fact that he was running a six-minute drill with one minute to go is.

Carolina Panthers 28 at Atlanta Falcons 30

Andy Benoit: The Panthers played it safe with a three-man rush, eight-man drop in the red zone against the Falcons on a late first-quarter drive. They got a sack on Matt Ryan followed by an interception. Ryan threw the ball with confidence on the pick, which implies that he was fooled and didn’t see the field correctly.

Early in the third quarter, the Falcons tried a zone blitz that involved safety William Moore and defensive end Kroy Biermann. That meant the defensive end played safety on the play ... a very aggressive, unusual tactic by Mike Nolan. He likely did this as a show tactic for Cam Newton, who has been struggling with blitz identification a bit this year.

Rivers McCown: I don't really do the whole "apocalypse is coming 2012" joke, but I'm a little nervous after Michael Turner nabs a 60-yard touchdown on a screen pass.

Andy Benoit: Newton is beating the Falcons with his legs late in this third quarter touchdown drive. He scrambled in for a touchdown and did a variation of Deion's dance.

Rivers McCown: Newton rushes for what should be the game-ending first down, but fumbles and Carolina recovers behind the first-down marker. Carolina is going to punt on fourth-and-1 from the ATL 45, with 1:10 to play. That's just a brutal call mathematically.

Atlanta gets one last crack at this. Roddy White catches a 59-yard play-action bomb on the first play after that, outdueling Haruki Nakamura on a jump ball. The Falcons are not far from field-goal range.

Aaron Schatz: Sometimes, football people argue that us stats people don't take into consideration the talent on the field when we endlessly go on about needing to go for it on fourth-and-1.

You know, like taking into account that you have Newton at quarterback, and that you gave big money to not one but TWO running backs.

Rivers McCown: And that your defense is brutal. And hasn't been non-brutal since 2010.

Vince Verhei: Small sample size, but...

Coming into today, the Panthers had five carries with one yard needed for a first down, and picked up the first down four times. In the same situation, the Falcons had given up a first down seven times in eight carries. Carolina's odds of picking up a fourth-and-1 are, very conservatively, in the 80 percent range. And probably a lot higher.

Andy Benoit: Get ready for a week of "Is Matt Ryan elite?" discussions.

Aaron Schatz: You know who is elite? Roddy White.

San Francisco 49ers 34 at New York Jets 0

Peter Koski: The Niners open the game with Michael Crabtree against Kyle Wilson. Crabtree draws a defensive pass interference penalty on a double move. Wilson was beaten off the line often early in this game.

Colin Kaepernick seeing a lot of action early. In for Alex Smith after a Frank Gore first down run, they run an option to the left, Kaepernick keeps it for 17 yards. The option pitch man? Delanie Walker.

Third-and-6 from the Jets 7, Kaepernick in the gun, Bruce Miller, Vernon Davis, and Walker bunched to the left. Kaepernick keeps it for the touchdown. Two plays earlier, Smith ran option right with a pitch to Kyle Williams for nine yards.

Andy Benoit: The Niners are showing the Jets how to run an option. Kaepernick has long legs and light feet –- looks like a deer. I’d take him over Tim Tebow eight days a week.

Ben Muth: Kaepernick's touchdown was a Quarterback Toss Crack. It's the same concept that Smith scored on against the Saints last year in the playoffs.

Vince Verhei: Jim Harbaugh is such a magnificent bastard. Hasn't used Kaepernick hardly at all until he plays the Jets, and then he breaks out the Kaepernick-cat just to emphasize how impotent the Tebow-cat has been all year. And the 49ers get more success out of it in one quarter than the Jets have all year.

Jets counter by lining Tebow up in the backfield next to Sanchez as an extra pass blocker. And honestly, Tebow does a hell of a job picking up blitzes. They gave him one old-school Florida short-yardage jump pass, and he completed it for a first down, though the receiver was hit and fumbled. But today more than ever, Tebow looks like a fullback who got the wrong jersey number on accident.

Aaron Schatz: James Brown came on for the game update, showed the Kaepernick play, and said "who says the option won't work in the NFL?" Uh... I don't think that was the option. There was no pitch man. For a play to be the option, don't you need to have, you know, an option?

Ben Muth: Wilson has been beat deep three times today (twice by Mario Manningham, once by Crabtree). But Smith has just overthrown it every time. It's 10-0, but it could be much worse.

The positive for San Francisco is that it seems like it would take the Jets 10 quarters to score 10 points on the them.

Andy Benoit: The Niners have piled on 10 extra points since establishing an insurmountable 7-0 lead over the hapless Jets.

Just in case anyone may have had any smidgen of optimism left for the Jets' 2012 season, Santonio Holmes goes down with a non-contact knee injury. (Which also led to a fumble and touchdown return for Niners.)

J.J. Cooper: Mark Sanchez's lack of accuracy continues to amaze me. Sanchez completed less than 50 percent of his passes for the 12th time in 50 regular season NFL games. If this was 1975, that would be acceptable, but in today's NFL that's mind-boggling.

To put it in perspective:
Tom Brady has 11 sub-50 percent completion percentages in 165 career regular season games
Peyton Manning has eight sub-50 percent games in 212 regular season games
Drew Brees has six sub-50 percent games in 158 career games
Aaron Rodgers has four sub-50 percent games in 73 games

Sanchez's inability to put together strings of four-to-six straight completions makes it really hard to sustain drives. Of course, the Jets don't really have a better option for accuracy on the bench -- Tim Tebow has nine sub-50 percent games in 25 regular season games.

Danny Tuccitto: Sanchez's college completion percentage was 64.3 percent. Tebow's was 66.4 percent. We often say in the context of Lewin Career Forecast that, "A quarterback doesn't learn accuracy when he goes pro." These two prove that the inverse is false.

Aaron Schatz: With Tebow, at least, that's totally a product of the style of offense that has grown in popularity in college in general, and was played at Florida specifically. It's a ton of short bubble screens, and a lot of stuff predicated on the fear of Tebow running. This is why the completion percentage variable in the LCF is now logrithmic. Once you get over like 62 percent or so, additional accuracy in college doesn't mean much. Below 56 or 57 percent, it means a lot.

Danny Tuccitto: Yeah, I was just about to make that addendum to the comment. Sanchez "learning" to miss the ocean from the beach is definitely more troubling given that he actually played in a pro-style system at USC.

Tennessee Titans 14 at Houston Texans 38

Andy Benoit: Texans have dominated ball control in first quarter versus the Titans. That’s been a major element with both teams since last year: Texans controlling possession, Titans not having enough possession.

Rivers McCown: The Titans defense has been brutal. Only third-and-short has haunted the Texans in the first quarter. They had a pair of third-and-1's stuffed, but converted on a fourth down on one of them. Tennessee's coverage is just brutal. Everything underneath is wide open, and without Colin McCarthy, their linebackers cannot tackle.

Jake Locker got destroyed by Glover Quin on a disguised slot blitz, and it doesn't look like he's back on the field yet. Matt Hasselbeck is warming up.

Oh, and to add to the J.J. Watt for Defensive Player of the Year campaign: on Brooks Reed's third-down pass breakup early in the first, Reed ran an inside stunt with Watt. David Stewart was supposed to slide over to pick up Reed, except Watt pretty much shoved him right to the ground.

Tennessee special teamer Tommie Campbell just had his second block in the back on Alan Ball of the game, and to make matters worse, he threw him right in to Darius Reynaud, causing a fumble that the Titans were lucky to keep.

The Titans have actually been really impressive on the ground today. They are generating some giant holes for Chris Johnson, and to his credit he has not tried to be cute about it for the most part. That has and will continue to be a flaw in Houston as long as Shaun Cody and Bradie James are manning the middle.

A tipped Taylor Thompson pick-six has put the Titans in catch-up mode though, and they aren't really generating much consistency in the passing game. Even on the touchdown to Craig Stevens, he was practically blanketed by Danieal Manning. It was just a great individual effort.

Watt has 7.5 sacks in four weeks. He is a 3-4 defensive end.

Vince Verhei: Out of curiousity, have any of those sacks come in a four-man front? I know Wade's 3-4 in Atlanta would go to a four-man line in nickel situations.

J.J. Cooper: Watt is insane. It's not just the sacks. He seems to knock down whatever passes he decides to allow to be thrown.

Rivers McCown: Yes. But he often plays inside in the dime fronts, with Connor Barwin and Reed outside.

Kareem Jackson just correctly played a slant route, broke in front of it, and returned it for a pick-six.

I am now unsure that I am actually awake.

Tom Gower: Cell phone reception from inside Reliant Stadium is terrible, so I didn't even try sending any emails during the game. With Britt out and Jared Cook limited, the Titans had trouble winning one-on-one matchups on the outside. Johnson ran well, much better than he did the first few games, but it didn't matter.

Defensively, the Titans looked okay in the second quarter, but struggled badly in the second half again. And, yes, J.J. Watt is awesome.

Minnesota Vikings 20 at Detroit Lions 13

Vince Verhei: Great blocking by the Vikings on Percy Harvin's kickoff return touchdown. He cut left to right all the way across the field and no Lions defender got within five yards of him.

Andy Benoit: Lions should put quotes around the "special" of their special teams. Lions "special" teams.

Aaron Schatz: Andy, noticed you say something on Twitter about how you are impressed with the way the Vikings teach their defensive players fundamentals, and how that's contributing to their good play this season. Who do you think is leading that, Frazier? He's been there since, what, 2007? Is it Spielman?

Andy Benoit: With a loss today, the Lions are now 6-10 (including playoffs) since their 5-0 start last year.

San Diego Chargers 37 at Kansas City Chiefs 20

Vince Verhei: I guess it's not over yet, but the Chargers got some turnovers deep in Kansas City territory for some easy scores and a 17-0 lead. The Chiefs have had a tendency for several seasons to just not show up some weeks. I thought that tendency would leave town with Todd Haley, but I guess I was wrong. I bet that over the past few seasons, the Chiefs' worst four or six games each year are as bad as anyone else's.

Andy Benoit: Matt Cassel threw behind Tony Moeaki on a crossing route that resulted in an easy tipped pick-six for Donald Butler, who has made a few nice plays in this game. Butler had a sack coming clean off the edge at around the 12-minute mark in the third quarter. He’s also looked fast in run defense going sideline-to-sideline, too.

Vince Verhei: The Chiefs go into halftime with five turnovers and a missed extra point and trail 27-6.

Miami Dolphins 21 at Arizona Cardinals 24 (OT)

Vince Verhei: Last week, none of the early games were close to over when the late games started. This week, Arizona-Miami just started, and we've got five finals and three more in the last five minutes. Thank the Lord for real refs.

Ben Muth: Cameron Wake beats Bobby Massie around the edge for a sack on third down in Dolphins territory. People seem to think that because the Cardinals are 3-0, their offensive tackles are suddenly not bad. This is not the case.

Ryan Tannenhill takes my all-time pet peeve sack. The Dolphins tackles are cut blocking to get the ends hands down on a three-step drop. Tannenhill doesn't see anyone open, so he makes like a statue in the pocket. Sam Acho sheds the cut and sacks Tannenhill from behind. I'm rooting against the Dolphins and I yelled at my TV for him to throw the ball.

Wake is destroying Massie. Three sacks for Wake in 13 dropbacks

Dolphins had a third-and-goal from the 21. They complete a pass to the one. After the two-minute warning, they decide to go for it on fourth-and-goal. They get it. 10-0 Dolphins at the half. The Cardinals offense has looked awful.

Andy Benoit: Tannehill is doing a good job this week of keeping his eyes downfield and using subtle movement to avoid the rush. He’s been willing to challenge Patrick Peterson, too.

Ben Muth: The Cardinals got inside the 10-yard line, then throw to Larry Fitzgerald three times in a row. The last one was a wideout screen for a touchdown. There's something to be said for giving it to your best player three times in a row when you need a touchdown.

Tannehill just threw a ridiculous fade route, jumping off his back foot. He was bailed out by an awful defensive pass interference call. Miami converts another third-and-long.

Jake Long is on an island every play. The Dolphins never slide his way, chip towards him, or keep a tight end in to his side. I wish people would consider stuff like that when citing pressures and hits allowed.

Also, the Cardinals finally caught one of Tannehill's interceptions.

Vince Verhei: Cards get a goal-to-go following a long fumble return by Peterson. On second down, Kolb looks for Fitzgerald again, but the defender jumps the route for the interception. When I say "looks for Fitzgerald," I mean Kolb was throwing this ball to Fitzgerald no matter what. I'm pretty sure that Fitzgerald was already out of bounds before Kolb even released the ball.

Right after Kolb's interception, the Cardinals forget to cover Brian Hartline, who gets free on a simple shallow post for an 80-yard touchdown. Hartline now had a Dolphins-record 245 receiving yards, with seven minutes to go. Tannehill is over 400 yards, but still more than 100 short of Dan Marino's best day.

J.J. Cooper: Wow. Who would ever think that Hartline had an outside shot at Flipper Anderson's record?

Andy Benoit: Kolb had a pair of terrific fourth-down completions on a game-tying touchdown drive in the waning seconds. The legend is building!

Aaron Schatz: I think that Kolb's biggest problem the last couple years has been self-confidence more than anything else. He just looks yippy, and makes huge mistakes under pressure. Well, Miami ranked 31st in adjusted sack rate coming into today, and Kolb just showed great composure and marched the Cardinals downfield for a game-tying, last-minute drive which included two fourth-down conversions.

Vince Verhei: You're right, but let's not forget that Kolb started that drive by taking back-to-back sacks. He was sacked eight times in regulation.

Aaron Schatz: Gotta give some props to the Cardinals' offensive line (strange to say that) for how they've protected Kolb in these last few minutes of the game. Third-and-7 in overtime, Miami sent six guys and Kolb still had a good pocket, which meant no yippy Kolb, and that meant a completion and a first down.

Jay Feely makes a long field goal, and the Cardinals are 4-0. Six-for-six on fumble recoveries today. I know their defense is playing well, I know that Kolb looked really good on the game-tying drive, but this is just not sustainable.

Ben Muth: No it is not sustainable, but it sure is fun.

Oakland Raiders 6 at Denver Broncos 37

Andy Benoit: The Broncos went heavy on the crossing patterns on first series, wanting to make Oakland’s safeties and linebackers play lateral pass defense. They cap the drive with a deep seam to Joel Dreessen: all vertical on that play. Outstanding first drive.

Vince Verhei: With Denver up 34-6 late in the fourth quarter, CBS cuts to a shot of one coach from each team running stairs. The Oakland coach is a tubby Greg Knapp. He's running those stairs, I'd like to believe, not because he is trying to lose weight, but as punishment for the horrible football he has spread across the league over the last decade.

Ben Muth: Everyone was burying Peyton Manning and the Broncos for going down big the last two weeks. No one mentioned that:
A) They played Houston and Atlanta, maybe the best two teams in the league.
B) They almost came back both times.

New Orleans Saints 27 at Green Bay Packers 28

Andy Benoit: Aaron Rodgers was incredible on his first touchdown throw. He eludes pass-rush pressure to his left, gathers on the move, and throws back to his right. Pass may have been intended for Jermichael Finley but James Jones got it.

The story of this game so far: the plays Rodgers has made late in the down to extend the play. He and Ben Roethlisberger are the best in the league at keeping their eyes downfield as they’re on the move behind the line of scrimmage.

Aaron Schatz: I think this may be what puts Rodgers ahead of Brady and Drew Brees as the best quarterback in the league right now. Everyone would rather have a quarterback who knows how to dissect a defense and make the right throw, instead of a guy who likes to improvise and wing it and "just make plays." But the best thing you can have is a quarterback who knows how to dissect a defense, who would prefer to dissect a defense, but *can* improvise and wing it and "just make plays" when everything breaks down. I think the only guys who qualify right now, excepting rookies, are Rodgers, Newton, and Roethlisberger. Rodgers is the best of those three guys in both categories. (Newton is better at *called* run plays, of course.)

Rivers McCown: Putting Jeff Triplette in Green Bay this week may be Roger Goodell's greatest troll job yet.

Andy Benoit: The Saints are getting good production out of Marques Colston in the slot. That hasn't consistently been the case this season. He's getting sit down type stuff in Green Bay's intermediate zones.

Rivers McCown: Yep, the biggest difference for the Saints between this game and their first three is that Colston is healthy and playing well.

Saints get first-and-goal from the 2 on a B.J. Raji personal foul, first play, swing pass to Mark Ingram (isn't this what Darren Sproles is on the roster for?), second play is a fade to Colston that is overthrown. Third play, slant inside to Jimmy Graham, and Tramon Williams does an excellent job of anticipating that and breaking it up.

But still, three shots from the 2 and you don't even try to run it once? With the fourth-best rushing offense (by DVOA) in the league through three weeks? Against a defense that is much better against the pass?

Aaron Schatz: Haven't the Packers been a primarily man coverage team for a while now? Today it seems like a ton of zone, and Brees is picking on the hole in the middle of the field in the same way Ryan Fitzpatrick did in the first half of the Pats-Bills game.

Andy Benoit: Rodgers and Jordy Nelson may have the best chemistry of any quarterback-receiver combination in the league.

At least the Packers are getting screwed by the right refs this time.

Aaron Schatz: You can really see in the Saints-Packers game the way that the regular officials take charge of breaking up a player fight so much better than the replacements did.

Rivers McCown: There have been a lot of completely bonkers receptions in the fourth quarter of this game, especially the fourth-down conversion to Lance Moore that was practically perfectly executed by every player on the field, but James Jones catching a ball that he can barely even SEE takes the cake. Wow.

Cincinnati Bengals 27 at Jacksonville Jaguars 10

Andy Benoit: Great acceleration and ball-tracking by A.J. Green on his late first-half bomb. He’s one of the best in the league at catching those.

Would you believe Blaine Gabbert has the longest current streak of passes without an interception? (127)

Vince Verhei: This comment was accurate for 22 minutes.

Washington Redskins 24 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 22

Andy Benoit: Billy Cundiff is 0-of-3 on field goals. Including a 31-yarder. He’s sitting on the bench with the face of a man who can’t help but envision his imminent unemployment.

Rivers McCown: Boy, Andy had a rough week. #Narrative

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

Danny Tuccitto: At 10:20 of first quarter, William Beatty flagged for what can only be described as an attempted sleeper hold. Did the Giants add Brutus Beefcake to their coaching staff?

Aaron Schatz: Giants definitely seem to be leaving in extra blockers on every play to make sure that Eli Manning doesn't get killed back there.

I get this feeling that the Giants are just throwing long as much as possible, figuring that if they keep doing it, eventually they'll hit a couple of plays and either score or get into field-goal range, and that might be enough to win this game.

Danny Tuccitto: Al Michaels mentioned it early in the broadcast, so I figured I would look at our charting stats regarding the Giants having success with five or more rushers against Michael Vick. He missed last year's Week 11 game, so here are the relevant stats for the other three games over the past two seasons:

5 or more rushers: 41 pass plays, 68.3% defensive success rate, 4.1 yards per play
4 or fewer rushers: 62 pass plays, 50.0% defensive success rate, 7.5 yards per play

Rivers McCown: I'm really excited about Nnamdi Asomugha's Fresh Prince haircut.

Aaron Schatz: This is the kind of game that's probably more fun to chart than it is to watch live. Charting it, you would probably get a better appreciation of the excellent defensive line play. Live, I just feel like, somebody just get more than one first down on the same drive already.

Vince Verhei: Cris Collinsworth talks about how teams that get nothing on the ground in the first half can spring big runs in the second half if they stick with it. Because if there's one team known for pounding opponents into submission with a powerful ground game, it's the Andy Reid Eagles.

Danny Tuccitto: I'm not charting the Giants, but Corey Webster appears at a glance to be on pace for some awful coverage stats. Seems like once or twice (or thrice) per nationally televised game, he just gets made to look silly in coverage. The Giants are one of those teams that doesn't lock their No. 1 cornerback onto a specific side of the field, obviously because they think Webster's worth of that status. I looked at last year's success rate rankings for the No. 1 corners on the other seven teams ranked in the bottom eight of "CB by sides," and noticed this:

Aqib Talib (TB) = 6th
Darrelle Revis (NYJ) = 11th
Ike Taylor (PIT) = 16th
Rashean Mathis (JAC) = 28th
Corey Webster (NYG) = 36th
Sean Smith (MIA) = 57th
Patrick Peterson (ARI) = 68th
Ron Bartell (STL) = N/A (neck injury in Week 1)

So, aside from a guy who was on IR by Week 2 (Bartell was 12th in 2010) and two under-25 players (according to last year's age) who seem to have made the leap this year, Webster was ostensibly the least worthy of the bunch. And that's on the heels of a 28th ranking in 2010 and a 39th ranking in 2011. I'm not going to pretend I know more than the Giants front office or coaching staff, but it's pretty -- um -- odd.

Aaron Schatz: I've always thought he was a reasonable No. 1 corner. They do play a lot of zones, which could affect the charting stats.

Danny Tuccitto: Ah, the totally valid "this is an imperfect measure" caveat.

Aaron Schatz: Awesome move by the Giants to end the third quarter; in a situation where you usually just try to draw the other team offsides (fourth down with 13 seconds until the end of the quarter) they instead suddenly went shotgun and ran a play, and the perfect play for the situation, slant inside to Victor Cruz. Just a great play.

And then Eli throws a terrible interception. So, um, yeah. 1-for-2, I guess.

Rivers McCown: It's really a shame, I was positive that Cruz's catch had totally shifted the momentum towards the Giants.

Danny Tuccitto: The last few minutes have been one fail after another. Eli fails throwing a red-zone interception down three points. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie fails trying to return the interception rather than taking a touchback. Giants defense fails by allowing the Eagles to take the ensuing drive into field goal range in three minutes on (mostly) running plays.

Aaron Schatz: Eagles defense then fails by letting the Giants drive down the field on three passes.

Rivers McCown: Brian Dawkins may be the best Eagles safety to set foot on the field today.

Vince Verhei: Somebody said this years ago in Audibles, I think way back when he played for Atlanta, but it's still true today: Vick is a far shot from being the best quarterback in the league, but boy is he scary when he only needs a field goal to beat you.

Danny Tuccitto: It's a fourth quarter in which Philadelphia has either been clinging to a three-point lead or been down by one. They've run the ball on 12 of the past 18 plays. Super-duper top secret play-calling trend if the Giants' IT staff is hacking this e-mail thread: IT'S A RUN!

Aaron Schatz: The Giants are trying to win the game with a final field goal drive, and the whole drive is filled with pass interference calls. Guess what -- they were mostly pretty good! First, on fourth-and-1, DRC totally hugs Ramses Barden. Then there was a questionable PI on Nnamdi Asomugha, ok, that one was questionable, but then they called offensive PI on Barden when he was completely all over Asomugha. I know Collinsworth disagreed with the middle one, but the first one and the third one were pretty much textbook.

Rivers McCown: I'm really disgusted that Lawrence Tynes missed that second field goal. END ICING.

Vince Verhei: You know how some players have great rookie years, then never seem to get any better, but kind of hang around the league on raw athletic talent alone? Andy Reid is like the head coaching equivalent of that. He's got severe flaws in clock management, often forgets that running the ball is legal, and still does wonky stuff like icing the kicker. But he's such a great coordinator and quarterbacks coach that he's hung around forever, and been successful more often than not.

By the way, Vick's first sentence in the postgame interview on NBC: "I don't believe in icing the kicker."

Aaron Schatz: I love the idea that Tynes missing the second kick shows that icing works. So what does Tynes missing the first kick show? How about Billy Cundiff's missed kicks without timeouts called before them? Or Stephen Gostkowski, or David Akers?

Someone just tweeted to me: "Giants won the Super Bowl last year. Would have missed playoffs (factually) without icing. Stats don't dictate everything."

Yes, that's right. The only reason the Giants made the playoffs is the fact that Jason Garrett iced his own kicker. Because kickers never, ever miss field goals for any other reason, ever.

Rivers McCown: To be clear, my objection to icing is an aesthetic one: it's annoying and adds nothing to the game.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 01 Oct 2012

277 comments, Last at 02 Oct 2012, 9:40pm by tuluse

Comments

1
by Paddy Pat :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:50am

Follow-up thought on Bills-Pats, for what it's worth--the Patriots' running game was almost entirely between the tackles, mauling the Bills' DTs and making whoever was playing opposite Solder look like a crash test dummy. Kelsay and Mark Anderson were both flattened, and Mario Williams was a non-factor, although they tended to run away from him. Both Gronkowski and Fells (Number 86) made several huge lead blocks, lining up at Fullback, and stoning linebackers. This looked like simple, solid technique, with the Patriots repeatedly winning one-on-one battles. It's hard to say if this will be repeatable, or if the Bills simply folded psychologically.

3
by Cogitus :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:49am

Part of the problem is the Bills insisted on staying in a 4-1-6 look, with Bryan Scott as sort of nickel/hybrid LB to counter the Patriot spread and the Patriots consistently attacked this smaller lineup. This resulted in leaving Nick Barnett as the only LB, and apparently Nick Barnett turned 70 this offseason because he looks absurdly washed up. But as you mentioned, the Bills definitely looked tired and mentally out of it, something that has been a staple of the Gailey years in Buffalo. When things are going good they tend to play better, but when things go bad the whole team seems to just check out.

I love Gailey, his scheme, and his approach. But apparently it's not reaching the players because they just don't keep focus and repeatedly seem to fold in the face of adversity. How much of this is accountable to the head coach, I don't know, but a couple more blowouts like this and it might be time for a new direction. With yet another slew of injuries (Glenn, Urbik out for awhile, Byrd and Jones nicked up) it seems like another 6-10 or 7-9 season on the way

101
by Paddy Pat :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:55pm

You may be unduly pessimistic. The Bills have a nasty stretch coming up where they could well lose to SF, ARI, HOU, and NE, but if they win even one of those games and end up at 3-5, they would actually be in pretty good shape to go on a little run. 9 or 10 wins still feels realistic. I guess the trouble for them will be mostly psychologically--how hard they take this loss and any subsequent ones.

105
by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:59pm

Yeah, the back-end of the Bills schedule is quite easy. I remember before the season when I did my personal predictions, I saw them started 3-6, and then ending 5-2. Let's remember that they played with the Pats for 2.5 quarters. They were drummed like a sheep in that last 1.5 quarters. This isn't a bad team. It's not a good one either, but it isn't that bad.

171
by Paddy Pat :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 4:38pm

It seems like the big downer is lack of tactical adjustment. In other words, they may be more talented than they're likely to play at because they don't appear to be super well coached. Gailey does a lot of cute things offensively, but he doesn't seem to be able to instill the team with in-game toughness and he's not making good mid-game adjustments.

63
by BJR :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 11:02am

Quite strange that this running explosion came with Logan Mankins out of the lineup.

2
by BroncFan07 :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:54am

"Ben Muth: Everyone was burying Peyton Manning and the Broncos for going down big the last two weeks. No one mentioned that:
A) They played Houston and Atlanta, maybe the best two teams in the league.
B) They almost came back both times."

I mentioned it. To, um, people I know. They're probably going to have to work on that comebacking again in New England next Sunday seeing as how the Patriots rang up 86 points in 2 games on Denver's D last year.

"Rivers McCown: To be clear, my objection to icing is an aesthetic one: it's annoying and adds nothing to the game."

But Rivers, it adds so much to cake!

4
by socctty :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:49am

I wonder if any coaches tell themselves "I have to save this timeout in case I need to ice their kicker later."

5
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:00am

An Almighty with a better sense of humor would have had the 2nd attempt by the Giants clear the crossbar.

102
by Paddy Pat :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:56pm

entirely agreed. It was very surprising as a casual viewer that that kick missed. It was right down broadway, and after the first miss, one just assumed it would be good.

110
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:18pm

God has an incredible sense of humor - it's just that he loves to see that Tom Coughlin "what the hell just happened?" face.

6
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:02am

Zone-Dar, God of the Cover-Two, watched Vikings at Lions yesterday, and declared a perfect game played by the Horned Purple Heads. Run back opening kickoff for a touchdown. Allow yards on some drives, but not much in the way of points. Run the ball effectively. Kick some long field goals. Make a quick stop on first possession of the 2nd half. Return subsequent punt for a touchdown. Risk little when passing. Force opponent to forgo field goal attempt in 4th quarter, after long drive, because he is down two touchdowns. Stop opponent on fourth down. Sack opposing qb on last play of the game.

I think my win projection of the Vikings may be a wee bit off, given I had 'em pegged somewhere between 3 and 5.

8
by Jovins :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:52am

When did Tony Dungy get promoted to God of the Cover-2?

37
by stephenbawesome :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:41am

Because he won a Super Bowl largely because of it.

I think the Colts were the only other Cover 2 to win a Super Bowl, and most people believe they got as far as they did in spite of their defense.

41
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:47am

Eh, really, the '70s Steelers with Bud Carson as coordinator ran the Cover-two, and Dungy himself attributes his defensive philosophy to the 1975 Steelers defensive playbook.

47
by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:27am

Love it when fans get the idea that there are all these "new things" in football.

EDIT: So, if spam can beat one CAPTCHA screen, it will be stopped by a second basically identical screen?

48
by RickD :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:30am

Tony Dungy won a Super Bowl with the Cover 2, and so did the Colts?

Are you crediting the Bucs' Super Bowl win to Dungy? Or not crediting the Colts' Super Bowl win to Dungy?

60
by stephenbawesome :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:50am

He built the defense in Tampa Bay, and they were actually good. Even if it came the year after he left, I could give him credit for that defense.

The Colts defense was adequate at best.

And while the old Steelers did run something similar, I was referring to the modern Tampa 2 scheme. Just wasn't clear enough.

61
by RickD :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:58am

Oh, I definitely think Dungy should get some of the credit for building the Tampa defense. (Or maybe the credit should go to Monte Kiffin.) But Dungy didn't win a Super Bowl in Tampa. And he did win one in Indy.

The way your comment was phrased, it seemed like you were implying the opposite.

The spam filter here seems to be randomly triggered.

14
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 7:35am

the secondary played better than I've seen a Vikings secondary play in a long time. Smith and Robison have looked very competent and all of them tackle very well. They made Detroit pay a price when they caught a pass.

I was big time anti Spielman, but his first draft looks good right now. Picks 3 guys in the first three rounds that seem to have addressed the most glaring weaknesses on the team. He also drafted a kicker that can kick the ball for a touch back most times - fixing another big weakness.

My prediction for 5-7 wins, so I am pleasantly surprised they have looked much better at this point of the season.

81
by Thunderbolt of ... :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:10pm

Something that I haven't seen mentioned about that game: in the second half, after the Lions were down by 14, they punted on 4th-and-1 from the Minnesota 40 and on 4th-and-5 from the Minnesota 47.

I understand that they don't have a consistent running game, but from the perspective of a Lions fan, that was maddening. Especially in the former case, I can't help but think they were leaving some points on the field (not to mention that when you're behind, you want to MAXIMIZE variance...).

155
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:44pm

as a Viking fan I was very happy to see them punt in those situations.

I thought those were two pretty even teams with the exception of special teams play. The Vikings pass game was pretty awful but they ran it well. Detroit's pass game was pretty decent but they couldn't run at all. The Vikings got the better of the lucky breaks (fumble on the running play at the 29, drop in the end zone by Pettigrew were two huge plays).

I think the NFC North will be a real dog fight this year. I thought it was going to be a 3 team battle but now I'm starting to thinking there are four teams fairly evenly matched.

It's early though.

160
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:53pm

The Vikings passing numbers improve slightly when the DPI calls that Simpson drew are factored, which DYAR will do. It'll be interesting to see how low Ponder comes out in Quick Reads tomorrow.

199
by BigCheese :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 7:14pm

I thought it was going to be a 3 team battle but now I'm starting to thinking there are four teams fairly evenly matched.

I think that impression is based on the very mistaken belief that the Lions are a somewhat competent team (something I've been arguing against since the pre-season). The Vikings are defintely better than expected, but the NFC North is, at most, a two-team race (let's see what happens tonight).

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

236
by LionInAZ :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 6:11am

.

275
by BigCheese :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 7:42pm

Sorry man. But all the signs were there. Last year at this time I was predicting a battle of the undefeateds in the thanksgiving game, and throughout most of the season, that the Lions had the best chance of beating the Packers.

This preseason my opinion was that Detroit needed every single break they could get to go 9-7. Now I think I might have been a tad too optimistic...

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

244
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 10:24am

I'm afraid I think the Packers are likely to get their act back together and win 11 or 12 games. The Vikings have a chance to compete for a wild card, though.

237
by apbadogs :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 8:59am

I'm sure TMQ will make note of this in today's column.

7
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:08am

I'm tempted to say that the NFL had Jeff Triplette and crew in mind when they were insisting in negotiations that there be a bench of zebras developed, to allow easier replacements of refs who weren't cutting it. Then I remembered that the NFL was the bunch that decided that Phil Luckett was just the guy, out of planet with billions of souls, to do booth reviews last Monday night.

16
by justanothersteve :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 8:20am

Rivers McCown: Putting Jeff Triplette in Green Bay this week may be Roger Goodell's greatest troll job yet.

Given the way the end of the game played out, I'd like to add Prescience as another service offered by the FO crew.

49
by Mike W :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:31am

Wow, the Packers sure have been lucky with the refs, huh?

That fumble mess was straight-up scandalous. Total abrogation of responsibility. Did any one of the refs really believe the runner was down by contact? It seems obvious to me that they had no idea whose ball it should be, so they decided to act as if it "didn't happen." Transparently pathetic.

51
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:32am

Hey, Triplette didn't put anybody's eye out, so look at the bright side!

111
by drobviousso :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:23pm

Eye can not tell if this is a pun or not.

118
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:32pm

Yes, and an intentional one, at that!

187
by dryheat :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 6:29pm

This is why good coaches don't frivolously challenge obviously correctly-called plays early.

201
by PackersRS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 7:17pm

Nevermind the Jimmy Graham "catch" that somehow got reviewed and confirmed. Not that the first challenge wasn't completely impulsive. And idiotic. Still, if the review crew don't botch that call, McCarthy would have one challenge left.

That is hilarious, BTW. That the same play happened with Graham and Nelson (drop on the way to the ground), one was ruled a catch and confirmed and the other wasn't. Just hilarious.

204
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 7:32pm

Would he have had a challenge left? I thought you only got a 3rd challenge if you won the first two.

205
by dryheat :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 7:58pm

You do. I think his point was that if the refs didn't blow the call forcing him to use the second challenge (I didn't see that one, so can't comment on the appropriateness), then McCarthy would have had his second challenge to use on that terrible fumble call. To which I would reply that that's the entire reason the challenge system exists -- officials blow calls. Given that the rules only allow two challenges a game unless the Coach wins them both, it was incredibly dumb for McCarthy to use his first challenge on a call that had a roughly 0% chance of being overturned at a non-critical juncture of the game. It was as if he planned on calling a time-out there, so he figured he might as well throw the red flag out there and try to get lucky, without considering that the officials might get one wrong later.

246
by PackersRS (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 10:49am

No no, my point was just completely wrong.

"It was as if he planned on calling a time-out there, so he figured he might as well throw the red flag out there and try to get lucky, without considering that the officials might get one wrong later."

Yes. It's not McCarthy's first time doing this.

The reasoning "the system exists because officials blow calls", though technically correct, doesn't exclude the fact that, though McCarthy made a mistake with the first challenge, it wasn't his responsability to get the call right.

If someone crashes into your car, it's not your fault that you didn't have insurance.

P.S.: What's the deal with this new CAPTCHA verification? I have to type it 3 times for it to work...

196
by PackersRS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 7:09pm

End of refs lockout.

Return of instant replay.

50
by Scott P. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:31am

Is Luckett no longer a regular referee? I'm a bit surprised he would work for the NFL when his fellow referees were being locked out. Even Division I refs wouldn't serve as scabs.

55
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:34am

I'm pretty sure that the league, in it's infinite wisdom, decided that Luckett's consistent incompetence should be rewarded with a promotion into management. Ya' can't make this stuff up.

9
by Marko :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 4:21am

"There were 63 unpressured underthrows on passes 4-to-6 yards downfield last year. So about two per team. Two players tied for the league lead with six: Blaine Gabbert and, no kidding, Tom Brady. Nobody else had more than three."

There would have been a lot more if Donovan McNabb hadn't been benched early last season.

As for "What comes after a law firm?," my answer is: The Bankruptcy Trustee.

11
by Andy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 6:15am

Brady is probably up there on underthrows because of those passes he makes into receivers practically laying on the grass, just past the first down marker. Not much margin for error there.

77
by MJK :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:02pm

Disagree. I think it's because when the Pats call a screen and Brady sees that the other team has sniffed it out, he just throws the ball into the turf, even when unpressured, rather than look for someone else or make the throw and try to let the RB (or Welker) elude the shadowing defender and risk losing yardage.

It seems to happen about once every two games or so, at least.

83
by tuluse :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:11pm

I bet he has thrown twice as many passes in that range as any other QB, so with the same accuracy, he would have twice as many underthrows.

106
by Paddy Pat :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:02pm

I wonder if missed connections on Wide receiver screens count. Brady had a bunch of those last year where they're borderline laterals and the passes hit the ground between the receivers' legs. It was hard to figure why he was missing them.

10
by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 4:44am

Shy Triplegge in Green Bay great troll job by R. Goodell?

84
by Rivers McCown :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:13pm

bc they causd ref strike over so tehy get worst official crewds in game

88
by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:20pm

Why is Triplette considered any worse than, say, Ron Winter or Walt Coleman (my personal most hated refs)??

91
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:29pm

The other guys don't put anybody's eye out!

(I know, I know, I harp on this, but I still can't believe Triplette did this.)

96
by justanothersteve :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:37pm

Or screw up explaining overtime rules.

97
by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:39pm

Or fail to understand simple geometry and physics. (It was a touchback, damnit. A TOUCHBACK!!)

98
by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:43pm

It probably was, but if there is any merit to the words "indisputable video evidence" I can't see how that could've gotten overturned.

190
by McLuvin1983 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 6:37pm

Hey, remember that time when you said Oakland would dominate denver and they kicked your teeth in? Yeah. I remember that time. Clearly, Palmer was worth all that old man Davis paid for him, no?

208
by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:08pm

LOl McLubin

Do you ever post anything here besides troll posts?

209
by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:09pm

LOl McLubin

Do you ever post anything here besides troll posts?

213
by LionInAZ :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:52pm

From what I can tell, no, hr doesn't.

12
by James-London :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 6:30am

God, the Dolphins are hard to support this year. Two consecutive games they've gone out of their way to find creative ways to lose games they had sewn up.
8 sacks, 2 picks for Sean Smith, 400+ yds for Tannehill and 6 fumbles for Arizona, ans still Miami lose... *shakes head*

On the bright side, Tannehill looked good against a for-real defence yesterday. Neither of the INTs were terrible-on the first Hartline slipped coming out of his break and he was hit as he threw for the second.It also appears that Hartline can play (80yd TD where no-one bothered to cover him aside).

Arizona kept going 4 & 5 wide and their tackles got destroyed. Finally the decided to keep extra blockers in, and who knew-Kolb had enough time to pick on Miami's DBs.

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

46
by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:10am

Tannehill looked as good as a lost fumble and a int when the game counts can look. He threw 400 yrds but put the ball in the end zone once. The Dolphins team looks the same every year. A nice bend don't break defense, a little running and a lot of close early season loses. They promise to just wait until the QB develops. It doesn't mean anything. They never build towards anything. After the last decade there is no reason to believe in the team. Unless they actual win games, it's just another loss in the endless season's of losing. I can't wait until Ross sells the team to someone that has a heart.

221
by Noah of Arkadia :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 12:40am

Well, I know that even now Tanny isn't getting any love so far this year outside Miami, but in my opinion he's played well -all things considered- in every single game including preseason. Mind you, this is a kid who was supposed to be so raw he shouldn't even take a snap till next year. But he's got folks in Miami -which boasts the most miserably fair-weather fans you will ever see- more excited than they've been since Marino was young. And I can't blame them. We haven't seen anything that good around these parts for ages (not that I'm actually in "these" parts).

So, yeah, I disagree that it doesn't mean anything. It's the same with every team that's ever been bad out there: they lose games and they lose games, and then one day they start winning. And THEN we say, "oh, of course, this changed and that changed..." But 5 minutes before it happens most of us believe it never will (see Cardinals, Arizona).

------
FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

225
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 12:57am

I have to agree. The only gambling I do is nfl futures and I had 300 dollars on the dolphins going under 7 wins. It wasn't because I thought nothing of tannehill, but i just assumed, once ireland had traded away marshall and davis, that the team was basically going to be in fetus position most of the year. In fact, it reminded me of when cam cameron took over the nick saban dolphins and tried to scheme his way to success and went 1-15. Well, the dolphins have been competitive to the point where I am sufficiently worried they will break my bet and much credit has to go to tannehill who isn't exactly playing with even a mediocre supporting cast.

238
by BJR :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 9:20am

The same might apply to the Browns. Yeah its 0-4, same old story, etc etc, but I watched them last Thursday and they didn't appear very far away from winning some games. The concern is that while the losses continue to mount up, owner and fan patience runs out and a situation of potential promise is jettisoned. That's the vicious spiral of being a losing franchise I suppose.

257
by D2K :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 12:20pm

I disagree!!! Its the same old story with the Browns. I think the Ravens game gave hope to Browns fans, but looking at it objectively you can see that the performance on Thursday night was a direct correlation between the Browns having familiarity with the Ravens, the Ravens coming off of an emotional game against the Pats and the fact that the Ravens played 4 games in 17 days. fatigue was a huge factor in the Thursday night game.

The Browns are still the Browns.

13
by James-London :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 6:39am

"You know who is elite? Roddy White."

You know who isn't? Haruki Nakamura. He was owned by White on the Falcons long TD in the first quarter as well as the big pass on the game winner.

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

21
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 8:33am

Maybe I was watching a different game than everybody else, but he just seemed slower than Roddy White, and definitely not a smart cover man. Both throws, he stopped 2-3 yards in front of where the ball was going to fall and tried to make a jump ball out of it. If instead of doing that both times he actually continued to run to where the ball was going to fall, he could have made a play.

If he did do that, maybe Roddy White could have proved he is elite or owned Nakamura, but both of those were faults of Nakamura, not something amazing Roddy White did.

185
by LionInAZ :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 6:25pm

I thought Nakamura made a terrible decision on that 59-yd pass to White too. He had his hands up in position to reel in the ball, but if he had sold out and extended to knock the ball away or strip it from White he might have had a better chance to break up the pass. He's not going to outleap Roddy White in any case. After all, the game clock favored the Panthers in this situation.

15
by Adam B. :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 8:13am

You're Tom Coughlin. 15 seconds to go. You've just seen that your kicker doesn't quite have the leg for a 54-yard field goal. It's only third down. Don't you use the knowledge gained from Reid's icing of your kicker to decide to let Manning attempt a sideline our pattern to get your kicker in closer range, and take the (slight) risk of a sack compared to letting Tynes kick again?

25
by Dean :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 8:53am

He had the distance on the first one, but it was wide left. The second was short.

53
by RickD :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:33am

It's easier to kick hard if you don't worry about aiming.

68
by Dean :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 11:18am

Sure. But his point was that Tynes didn't have the leg.

54
by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:34am

But it is a sign of the times with coaches taking longer and longer field goals for granted. Kickers are so good these days. But 54 yards? Takes some serious confidence to decide you're close enough from that range. And the fact he missed them both makes me want to fault Coughlin for not trying to get any closer.

69
by Dean :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 11:19am

I fault Coughlan for it even more because it would have been a career long if Tynes had made it.

73
by Kurt :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 11:54am

As bad decisions on that drive go, the decision to kick is at best (worst) distant third behind the decision to throw a risky long pass on second and seven, rather than running again or throwing short; and the decision by Barden to molest Asomugha to the point where the ref couldn't possibly leave the flag in his pocket on that play. People complain about teams "settling" for 44 yard field goals; last night is why they do that.

85
by Independent George :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:13pm

I've got no problem in theory with taking a shot with your 6'-6" receiver one-on-one on the outside; that's actually a tried-and-true tactic against the Eagles. The problem is that Ramses Barden is not Plaxico Burress, and Nnamdi Asomugha is not Sheldon Brown or Lito Sheppard.

112
by BJR :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:23pm

Yeah, I understand Asomugha's reputation has slipped somewhat in the last couple years, but it seemed strange to pick on him at that crucial moment.

113
by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:24pm

The problem is that Ramses Barden literally reached around Nnamdi's helmet and covered his eyes with his hands as if to say "see no evil", because he was so far out of position that Nnamdi had a better chance at even a well-thrown pass than he did.

The other question is why Eli was throwing at the Eagles' best corner on 2nd and 9 with the game on the line, covering a bit-player receiver playing his second start ever. I recognize it was single coverage, but they can't have everyone else doubled, and it's second down. Where is the seven yard out to Victor Cruz?

156
by Kurt :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:49pm

It didn't even need to be an out, they had plenty of time to spike the ball and the whole field to work with. Another inside handoff to Bradshaw for 3-4 yards would have been just fine.

78
by Ryan :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:04pm

If I recall correctly, it looked like Eli was desperate to pick up the first down on that half of the field, even with no timeouts and after the penalty. 10 yards over the middle would have been huge for that kick. Who's handling the play calling/strategy in those moments? Gilbride? Coughlin? Eli?

17
by Dean :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 8:25am

The Rams won yesterday because Jeff Fisher outcoached Pete Carroll. The Seahawks are the more talented team. They ran with impunity. The only thing keeping Marshawn Lynch from scoring very high on this weeks DAVE will be the fact that everybody else can run on the Rams, too. Lynch had 6 yards a pop without any real breakaways. But Fisher “Manufactured” a win. He couldn’t line up and beat Seattle man against man, so he used trick plays. The reverse on the kickoff didn’t work, but I love the willingness to be aggressive. The fake field goal was huge. If the lead is 2 instead of 6 late in the game, it’s a totally different scenario. Even more credit to him to trust his rookie kicker from 58 and 60 yards out early in the game. Greg The Leg is a shoe-in for Special Teams Player of the Month. The other thing that really impressed me was the drive leading up to the fake field goal – specifically Sam Bradford’s performance on it. Three times, the Rams faced drive-killer situations – i.e. 2 ten-yard penalties and a sack. In all 3 situations, Bradford responded by throwing downfield on the very next play and moving the chains. This isn’t a team that’s used to converting 2nd and 20 type situations. He won’t score highly on DAVE (no TDs), but he did what he had to do to win and made some big throws in some key moments.

18
by Dean :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 8:27am

It’s time to flat-out say that Andy Reid traded the wrong QB. Kevin Kolb overcame EIGHT sacks to lead the Cards to ANOTHER come from behind victory. And this was all Kolb. The coaches put the game in his hands - he had 48 attempts (56 dropbacks!). 29/48 324 yards 3 TDs 2 INTs. It’s important to observe that one INT was terrible. But he also rebounded and drove the team down the field for the game winner on the next possession, then made some key throws in OT for the win. It also needs to be observed that unlike his counterpart in Philadelphia, these were the first two INTs he’s thrown all season.

We know Tanier doesn't like Kolb. And we know Tanier has earned the benefit of the doubt on his opinions. As such, I think he’s shaped a lot of our opinions on Philly-related topics. Likewise, Andy Reid has a solid track record as a talent evaluator – especially at the QB position. However, Kolb had a 65% completions rate and 7.3 ypa going into yesterday’s game, plus the off-the-bench Week 1 heroics. The knock on Kolb was that he doesn’t stand up to pressure. He did yesterday. While Tanier might have a great record overall, it’s time to wonder if he’s wrong about Kevin Kolb.

23
by stephenbawesome :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 8:36am

Kolb needs to feel comfortable to do well, and it seems like his best production is out of the no-huddle shotgun-heavy approach that he used for four years in college. He's had a lot of success because he seems to maintain his rhythm. He's also pretty accurate in the short-to-intermediate passing game.

Kevin Kolb's strengths don't seem to match the Eagles personnel. As much as Andy Reid is cited as a West Coast coach, the Eagles offense is largely predicated on the big play. Kevin Kolb is great throwing slant routes and button-hooks, but that's not the team the Eagles are built for.

They have smaller, quicker athletes to either spread the defense laterally to the sidelines or move deep down the field. Kolb's arm talent isn't there for the out patterns and deep balls the Eagles depend on. Shorter passes with those shorter receivers could get them killed (i.e. DeSean being destroyed by Dunta Robinson a few years ago).

Not to mention Kolb's comfort zone doesn't really mix with Reid's habits for varying formations and alignments. What Reid tries to do to create mismatches or get his receivers clean breaks off the line messes with the rhythm Kolb needs to be successful.

27
by Dean :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 8:57am

"Kolb needs to feel comfortable to do well"

Isn't this true of just about every QB in the game?

Also, for all his flaws, Andy Reid DOES tweak the offense to suit the QB. The version of the WCO he ran with McNabb is different than what he's running now, which in turn is different than what his mentors ran in Green Bay. It's logical to assume he'd adjust again with a different QB - be it Kolb or Foles, or whoever.

33
by stephenbawesome :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:26am

You've seen how bad a flustered Kolb can be. Maybe it's an issue of poise, but Kolb has less tolerance for disruption than most other quarterbacks.

Reid does tweak the offense to suit the Quarterback, but the bulk of the personnel on the Eagles team is meant for getting large chunks of yardage at a time. Jackson would mostly become a decoy, and Maclin would see the depth of his targets come in by 7-8 yards and leave him vulnerable to hits from linebackers.

115
by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:28pm

Michael Vick is a better quarterback than Kolb even when he's in the pocket. And unlike Kolb, he can run. He has a better arm, isn't a pansy, and while they both turn the ball over too much, Vick's turnovers at least make sense.

Saying the Eagles should have traded Vick - even assuming they could have gotten the haul they got for Kolb - is insane. Kolb is basically Mark Sanchez; Michael Vick is Brett Favre on roller skates.

120
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:37pm

Saying Michael Vick is Brett Favre on roller skates only makes sense if you are trying to say that being on roller skates really would have a bad effect on passing performance.

261
by Brent :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 3:04pm

I'm not a professional QB, but it sure seems like throwing a football on roller skates would be hard as hell.

188
by LionInAZ :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 6:31pm

So perhaps it's more accurate to say "Kolb needs to feel comfortable to play at an average level."
Which is a very different thing.

56
by RickD :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:37am

Vick was a much, much better QB in 2011 than Kolb was. This isn't remotely a debatable point. Yeah, Vick has looked crappy this season, but Kolb hasn't looked much better. If Kolb "overcame" eight sacks, isn't he at least partly responsible for being sacked eight times? It's not easy to get sacked eight times.

64
by jonnyblazin :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 11:08am

Wow, talk about overreacting to a small sample. Kolb got beat out by John Skelton, and you're saying he's better than Vick?

Edit: now that I think about it, I guess you could say Vick got beat out by Kolb to start the 2010 season. But still, the fact that Kolb couldn't land the starting job after getting paid all that money in Arizona is pretty damning.

67
by DavidL :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 11:18am

And Vick was playing well below his ability in general during 2010. After how he's done in the past year-and-a-quarter, it's hard to look at anything he did that season as a serious indicator of his actual skill.

71
by Dean :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 11:31am

Overreaction? No.

Ahead of the curve? Apparently.

Kolb was clearly better than Skelton last year, but this was neither the first nor the last time that an NFL coach "fell in love with the guy with the big arm." Last year was also Kolb's de-facto rookie season. He entered this year with exactly 16 starts under his belt.

Getting back to the original comparison, Kolb also just turned 28, as opposed to 32. He's playing well and getting better every week. He's only a 60% passer, but yet that makes him by FAR the superior passer. He's much better at reading defenses. And his body isn't visibly breaking down before our eyes.

Aside from a 6 week stretch 2 years ago, Vick has always been more about hype than actual performance. Without a doubt, he's the single most overrated player of the last 20 years (although I suppose LaVar Arrington and DeAngelo Hall at least deserve mention). If you want video games and highlight reels, sure, go with the dogkiller. Kolb will give you superior performance play in, play out.

114
by jonnyblazin :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:26pm

Plenty of bad/mediocre QBs have had good 4 game stretches. And I'm not buying that last year was his de-facto rookie season after being coached up by Andy Reid for 4 years in the league.

I'm not a Vick lover by any stretch, but I'm just not certain that Kolb is that good or has turned the corner. Vick has put up about 7.9 Y/A in Philly, and Kolb's this season is at 7.0, but clearly Kolb's completion percentage is going to be better. Vick has gone crazy with turnovers so far, obviously, so that's not good. I just don't know how you can say for sure that Kolb is better at reading defenses.

If Gostowski kicks the FG, if Edwards catches the ball in the end zone, and if the Dolphins make a couple more first downs, the Cards are 1-3. Would we be saying how amazing Kolb is if that was the case? Let's give it some time before crowning his ass.

Also, Kolb's face looks really fat. He has the face of a 400 pound guy, it just looks funny.

117
by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:32pm

This is silly. Kolb may end up being a passable NFL starter, but he's never been a passable NFL starter yet. Vick has gotten his teams to the playoffs on a number of occasions. Vick's YPA (as noted above) is better, and he isn't throwing to Larry Fitzgerald.

Of course, neither player should be ridden too hard given that these are two of the most patchwork offensive lines in the league.

125
by Dean :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:53pm

"he's never been a passable NFL starter yet"

He's been Player of the Week twice. So at minimum, he's been more than a passable starter 10% of the time. And yeah, he has Fitzgerald, but it's not like Jackson, Maclin, and Avant are worthless.

Ultimately, for my money, there are probably 20 starting QBs better than Vick, and I'll include Kolb on that list.

150
by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:20pm

I take that challenge. Please name these 20 starting QBs better than Vick.

153
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:40pm

An interesting off the top of the head challenge.....

By division.......

Brady
Roethlisberger, Flacco, Dalton
Schaub, Luck
P.Manning, Rivers
E.Manning, R.G. III, Romo
Rodgers, Stafford, Cutler (maybe), Ponder (maybe)
Brees, Ryan, Newton
Smith

.....so I count 16-18. It's difficult to be precise about these things, but it really is hard to to put Vick in the top half. He'll have his moments, on both the good and bad side; my impression is that his variance is significantly higher than is typical among NFL starting qbs.

157
by tuluse :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:51pm

I think I would throw a maybe on Smith and Luck, while adding Tannehill as a maybe.

163
by theslothook :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 4:17pm

I think its way too early to say Luck and tannehill, and Smith has the benefit of playing for a loaded team where he doesn't have to even remotely carry his football team. He even openly admits to avoid picks at the sake of taking sacks. Its important to remember, Vick also improves your running game as the running qb effect. Otherwise, agree with your list

167
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 4:26pm

The Niners have the better offensive line, but the Eagles have pretty darned good receivers, and their defense has played very well. Vick has plenty of talent around him, and the Eagles being at risk for being 0-4 at this point is in good measure Michael Vick's fault.

178
by horn :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 5:45pm

Luck, RG3, Romo, Ponder, Smith, Cutler as magically 'better' are all laughable responses - guys who have never done anything or won anything -- yet in some cases. Flacco isn't noticeably better having seen almost his entire career incl college games. Dalton is pretty meh so far.

Brady, Big Ben, Schaub, Peyton if healthy, Eli, Rivers, Rodgers, Stafford [if healthy], Brees, Ryan are all better. That's 10.

Tier 2 - Vick, Romo, Cutler, Flacco, Dalton, Newton.

Maybe later - Smith, Ponder, Luck, RG3. Likely on 2 of those to improve.

It was Philly's D that lost 5 4th Q leads last year, not Vick. If Jim Johnson had still be around, or even Sean McDermott, they could have been 13-3.

Vick is 56-38 as a starter, 18-10 in Philly. Put that up against anyone outside of the top 10 and the only one remotely close is Flacco. 65% win percentage.

In Philly, he's completed over 60%, 7.8ypa, 44 TD, 26 INTs, 13 rush TDs.

Romo has same ypa, less win%, no rush value, higher INT%.
Flacco has worse ypa, better win%, less rush value.
Cutler has worse ypa, worse win%, terrible personality, little rush value, much higher INT%.
Dalton and Cam not enough data yet.

Rush splits 36 ypg, 13 TDs for Vick in 28 starts in PHL [46/34 lifetime] vs
Cutler in Chicago 11/3
Romo 4.4/4
Flacco 6/5.

180
by tuluse :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 5:56pm

Vick and Cutler have been to an equal number of conference championship games, kind of kills your "hasn't won anything" argument.

268
by horn :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 4:32pm

Vick has higher win% both career and PHL alone, and is better in every QB metric than Cutler the past few years.

The point was neither Cutler, nor Vick, had won anything so that can't be used as a reason to pick Cutler, who has been mostly terrible in recent years, over Vick. [Ditto for Romo and the others named. Ryan and Schaub have never won anything at all, but have better passing numbers so it makes sense that people like them better as a QB]

But your attempt to cherry-pick one data point on a stats-heavy website in an attempt to dodge the question is transparently laughable.

270
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 4:40pm

Actually my point was that using the "WINNING!" argument for a single player is ridiculous and I was attempting to make it look so.

272
by horn :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 4:57pm

Right, so keep ignoring all the QB stats aside from pure W/Ls that show Vick to be a better QB and changing the subject.

Your lack of anything fact-based whatsoever to back up your inflated opinion of Cutler is very convincing! You win!!

273
by horn :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 4:57pm

Right, so keep ignoring all the QB stats aside from pure W/Ls that show Vick to be a better QB and changing the subject ad infinitum.

Your lack of anything fact-based whatsoever to back up your inflated opinion of Cutler is very convincing! You win!!

207
by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 8:33pm

I would take Vick (for this year only, not as a developmental player) over:

RGIII
Luck
Cutler
Ponder
Smith

And about dead even with Newton and Dalton. And if Stafford keeps playing like this...

I think he's solidly a top-half starter in the league, and that most of the kvetching to the contrary is more about his rap sheet than his accomplishments. His 2010 was very, very impressive, and his 2011 was not precisely bad given how often he was playing hurt.

The dude is legit, and has been for a while now.

210
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:24pm

Of course, the fact that he gets hurt a lot is a good reason to not prefer him to some other guys.

269
by horn :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 4:36pm

But Stafford gets hurt more and misses significantly more time, in fact, over 3x as many games: 19 to only 6 starts for Vick past few years.

So why the massive blind spot?

What makes Stafford, who has Calvin Johnson to throw to,isn't very mobile, and can't stay healthy or upright so much better than Vick?

It sure seems like you are picking the 'best' of Stafford and Cutler and comparing them to the 'worst' of Vick. Yeah, I'll take a 100% healthy Stafford over an injured Vick, sure, but that seems like a stupid comparison...

271
by horn :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 4:51pm

Oh, and Cutler has missed more starts [and more time if you include the Playoffs] than Vick past 3 years. So that's yet another black mark against Jay that no one bothered to include.

And Schaub has missed 2 more starts incl playoffs than Vick.

Gee, sure seems like Vick is healthier than you guys give him credit for.

Very curious, Will, as to why you don't penalize other QBs for their injuries, only Vick.

Why the blind spot? Is it simply more fun to make lazy generalizations about him because of his past, his time in Atlanta, or other?

Romo has also missed more time than Vick since 2010.

Big Ben has missed the same amount. Smith has missed the same amount of starts. Bradford also the same. Cassel has missed more time.

In fact, the list of QBs who have been missed fewer starts than Vick the last few years is pretty much: Eli, Rivers, Brees, Brady, Ryan, Rodgers -- and some of those guys have also missed plenty of time in the past to injury.

I have no trouble with taking any of the above 6 above Vick, that's pretty much the 'Elite' list everyone agrees on, with maybe Big Ben inserted also. Vick is somewhere btw 11-14 if you assume Stafford and Peyton are 100%. Otherwise he moves up to the 9-12 range if you are penalizing each QB equally & fairly for their missed starts due to injury.

Going fwd is a different story - we'd probably take all the stud rookie QBs over Vick for post-2012 play. He is 32 after all.

274
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 5:18pm

I'm part of a secret society dedicated to anti-Vickian activities. We have a secret handshake and everything. You're on to me.

More seriously, I make no effort to treat these ranking exercises with anything approximating thoroughness. I've watched Vick be inconsistent for many years now, and am probably tired of it, but that doesn't mean I'm a member of the Stafford Fan Club either.

161
by Dean :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 4:07pm

I won't include any rookies. IMO, they all have grades of "Incomplete" at this point. Still, the first 15 or so are fairly easy.

Manning, Romo, Rodgers, Stafford, Newton, Ryan, Brees, Brady, Rapistburger, Flacco, Schaub, Rivers, Palmer, Manning, Dalton.

Kolb, of course. That's what started the whole debate.

Then we get into ones where there's at least some room for discussion. Alex Smith, Jay Cutler, Sam Bradford.

That's 19. Which would put the dogkiller right at #20.

But look on the bright side. That puts him ahead of Locker, Gabbert, Cassel, Sanchez, Fitzpatrick and Freeman.

And each week, the hits take another toll.

EDIT: Just noticed I didn't include Ponder. In truth, I don't know what to make of him yet, so add him to the "incomplete" pile with the rookies.

165
by theslothook :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 4:22pm

This debate about Kolb is a bit mystifying. Kolb was at one point unable to beat out skelton and lets be honest- what has been the big difference between arizona being an 8-8 team with the kolb/skelton combo vs this years 4-0 team? The defense and more probably, the schedule. Kolb has been about the same- mediocre and people forget, but for large portions of that Miami game, cards had tons of scoreless drives. Vick may be fading fast, but his running ability and overall passing abilities edge out kolb, who not only is a mediocre non short thrower, kolb considerably worse under pressure than the average qb.(so does vick incidentally- but at least vick can scramble away)

223
by Noah of Arkadia :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 12:47am

I'd definitely say that Kolb is in the "incomplete" column as well as the 1st and 2nd year QBs.

------
FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

169
by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 4:34pm

I'll go with mine.

I agree with your first 15 other than Dalton (I think too early), but replace him with Cutler. SO that's 15.

I honestly don't think Vick is any worse than Smith or Dalton. I think he is better than Kolb and Bradford. He's in that 16-19 range.

I guess it wasn't as ludicrous as I first thought, but I think Vick is better than the QB from Weeks 1-3.

172
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 4:46pm

It may be mathematically self-evident, but I think people overlook how damnably difficult it is to be the 16th best starting qb in the NFL.

173
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 4:59pm

I think it is difficult to outright say that Stafford, Newton, and Dalton are better than Vick, much less Kolb.

Now, do not misunderstand me -- I think Newton could grow into a much better quarterback than Vick would ever hope to be, but I think he should model himself on Rodgers, not Vick. Also, I have always held the belief that Stafford is really just volume and not actual skill and the Lions definitely need to shop or drop him. Dalton is still out for me and it seems like every time I hear his name it is just because he bombed something to Green. With all that said, I do not think anybody could look at Vick's body of work and Kolb's body of work and say "Kevin Kolb is absolutely better than Michael Vick as a quarterback."

Based on your history of disliking Michael Vick, I would say you are ranking him such because you dislike him as a person. That is fine, but let us not cross our "bad quarterback" and "bad person playing quarterback" rankings -- see, Rapistburger.

P and E Manning, Romo, Rodgers, Ryan, Brees, Brady, Roethlisberger, Flacco (a true maybe), Schaub, Rivers, Palmer (right there with Flacco), I could understand. That is 12 players definitely/arguably better and three more that are fast approaching (again, arguably) his skill level. That puts him comfortably in the top-half of the league.

It is what it is, man. Like him or hate him, he is definitely better than Kolb. I think only you and Kolb's family are likely to argue the other way.

175
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 5:17pm

Nobody can get Vick's body of work to start a game for them this year. What you are going to get is Michael Vick in 2012. Still fast, but not as fast as he used to be. Likely more subject to injury than he has been in the past, which entailed a lot of injuries. Based on what we have seen so far, still subject to stretches of horrid decision-making. He's a guy, like nearly every guy past 30, on the physical decline, who has not shown himself to be appreciably, consistently, better, in the mental aspects of the position.

177
by theslothook :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 5:38pm

Is it then a question of where vick is now where vick will be even a year from now? I agree, two years from now, mike vick WILL NOT be a starting qb in this league. But the question is right now. And i agree, vick is somewhere in the 13-16 range, depending on your perspective.

Ill do one for the hell of it:

The ones that are no question better:
P&E Manning, Brady, Rodgers, Roethlisburger, Rivers

The solidly better:
Ryan, Flacco, Schaub, Romo,

The maybe but still slightly better:
Cutler, Palmer

The toss ups:
Andy Dalton, Matt Stafford

The sleepers:
Alex Smith, Newton

So, depending on where your cutoff of maybe and toss ups stand, vick is no worse than 13-17, right about where I figure he is. Strictly as a passer- vick is below average, but factoring in everything, he falls about there imo.

193
by Marko :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 6:47pm

You forgot Brees in the "no question better" category. And no way is Palmer better or even a toss up. At his peak before his injury, Palmer definitely was beter than Vick and was right on the cusp of the elite category. Now he is among the bottom 10 starting QBs in the league. Brett Favre probably would be a better QB than Palmer right now.

226
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 12:58am

Yeah that was a careless omission about brees. obvious no brainer

214
by RickD :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 11:07pm

This seems like a fun game to play.

What many people are overlooking is Vick's variance. On any given day, he could easily be one of the top 5 QBs in the NFL. But most of the time he's not.

I'd go with
Tier I: Brady, Brees, Rodgers
Tier IA: P. Manning, until we're certain about his arm.
Tier II: E. Manning, Ryan, Flacco, Rivers

beyond this point there's a cloud of QBs of roughly equal ability, each flawed in some way:
Schaub, Roethlisberger, Vick, Romo, Cutler, Smith, Newton

Stafford still has only one respectable season so I don't want to put him in this tier. Luck and Griffin will be there soon enough.

I'm a bit suspicious of the claim that Vick is the 20th best QB, esp. when it's comingled with the term "dogkiller." Somebody is begging to be accused of bias. While I wouldn't put Vick in the top 10, it seems ridiculous to put Luck, Ponder, Alex Smith, and the like clearly ahead of him.

228
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 1:04am

Not to be a manning homer(if that makes any sense), but just off what i've seen so far, hes elite and right there with the Brees, Rodgers, and Brady. From what Ive seen, its the receivers that have had to adjust to him, not so much him needing to adjust to being back.

Couple other points- Big ben is definitely better than vick, im not sure why hes not with eli, flacco, ryan and rivers- hes more boom and bust than those guys, but his highs are elite enough to push him there. why aren't shaub and romo not considered at least probable in terms of being better? They have both been far more consistent than vick over a large enough sample size. Adding those, that puts the count to 11 and I think cutler in vick's shoes would be better, so thats 12 easily. The rest are more subjective I would agree- personally, i prefer stafford to current Vick.

Beyond that, i agree with you- people are overreacting. Smith maybe a popular media guy now, but id be surprised if most FO readers believe smith is an above average qb. Same with Ponder- who is getting undue credit for the vikings surprising record.

262
by Brent :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 3:14pm

Kinda funny to read these after watching Romo lay the biggest egg of his career on MNF. Wonder if he'd be that high in people's rankings if they made them on Tuesday instead of Monday.

179
by horn :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 5:52pm

You're right you don't get a 'career' Vick this year.

You get a guy with similar ypg to Ryan and Romo, higher ypa than Brees, Stafford, and Rodgers, playing behind a significantly worse O-line [which aren't you supposed to account for at this site, missing their Center, best OL in Peters, AND Peters backup?]

Anyone who would look at Cutler this year - using your logic of 2012 performance - and pick him over Vick, is simply a hater.

Oh, and Vick has been missing his best WR for about 70% of the time due to injury and ineffectiveness. Perhaps missing 2 of the 3 most important people/best players on the PHL offense that surround Vick has something to do with it?

186
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 6:29pm

Funny, last week it was implied I was a hater of Cutler. Neither has been impressive this year. I might pick Cutler over Vick simply because Cutler was better last year, with really terrible support, prior to getting injured. I wouldn't fight a hard battle, however, to get either one of them instead of the other guy.

181
by horn :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 6:01pm

Trusting a blogger like Tanier, whom I love, over a truly talented, expert QB evaluator like Andy Reid makes no sense whatsoever. Whether or not he likes Kolb is irrelevant, this discussion plays into Andy's key strength.

Andy knew that McNabb was going to be the franchise as a rookie. He developed him into an MVP candidate.
He also knew when McNabb had no more value left.

He grabbed Garcia off the dust-pile and won a playoff game with him.

He developed Feeley and Kolb into 2nd rd picks and got a king's ransom for Kolb, and a 2nd rounder for Feeley.

He knew Vick was a better QB, even rusty, in 2010 than Kolb, and Vick won the division after not starting since 2006.

He drafted Nick Foles who looks like he may be the real deal someday, and cut Kafka who wasn't, keeping Trent Edwards over him. Foles in preseason looked wayyyy better than a normal 4th roundpick and went against NFLX starters in multiple games.

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by tuluse :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 6:06pm

"He knew Vick was a better QB, even rusty, in 2010 than Kolb, and Vick won the division after not starting since 2006."

Then why did he start Kolb first?

191
by LionInAZ :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 6:43pm

To get Vick into football condition?

194
by theslothook :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 6:50pm

This is why its difficult to compare qbs- we like to look at ypa and other stats but the problem is, none of their respective situations are comparable. Thats why its inherently subjective and you have to use a lot of judgement when it comes to stats combined with their respective circumstances.

I think its pretty obvious that flacco and ryan are better than vick. Ditto for schaub and romo- who are still far more consistent than vick.

The real cutoff seems to fall on the cutler, palmer, stafford level- guys who feel as inconsistent as vick but don't have vicks scrambling. With these qbs, i take into account circumstances. Vick's o line isn't as good as last year, but its no where near as lousy as cutler's. Stafford's o line may not be great either, but up till recently, he's felt more consistent than vick. Ditto for palmer.

Sure, Vick is capable of having monster games with his legs and making killer deep passes- but hes also the same guy capable of fumbling over and over, possessing a david carr like ability of taking sacks, throwing 100 mph short passes ahead or behind receivers, and failing to go through progressions when defenses take away his first. The end result leaves vick as the most variable qb in the league and considering the fact that most fans and coaches prefer consistency over boom and bust, it really dampens vick's overall performance.

267
by horn :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 4:27pm

Romo, huh? You may want to recheck that.

Stafford has missed 19 games in 3 years so far, significantly more than Vick. Gotta mark him down for that if you're honest.

Ryan and Schaub are better. Flacco is same category, he's worse on all the metrics but W/L. [And he's the only comparable one who is better than Vick in that Dept.]

I don't know where you get the nonsense that Vick is some 'boom/bust' type QB, you just made that up. He hasn't thrown a '100mph behind a WR' that I've seen the past few years. Good to hold onto those 2003 impressions though.

'Palmer feels more consistent.' Do you realize how laughable this is at this site? Jeez.

19
by stephenbawesome :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 8:28am

Greg Zuerlein is pretty incredible. I know Kickers keep getting better and better each year in terms of leg strength, but Gregatron might be the league's best kicker already. I haven't seen many Rams highlights outside of Red Zone, but I have never seen a team as confident in their kicker from 60 yards in as the Rams seem to be when Zuerlein is kicking.

He might set the record for longest field goal this year. Some of his 50+ yard kicks this year and in the preseason had another dozen yards to spare over the crossbar.

26
by Dean :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 8:54am

At one point, the Rams chose not to attempt a 65 yarder, and a smattering of fans actually booed the decision. Zuerlein is rapidly becoming a folk hero among the tens and tens of Rams fans.

34
by stephenbawesome :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:27am

I think in the right circumstance, they will attempt it this year. I think the concern with field goals of that length is if it does miss, the other team is set up at midfield already.

36
by Zieg (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:33am

That's how Connor Barth's 57 yarder looked yesterday. Do the Rams play the Bucs this year? If so I recommend just using a HORSE style field goal competition to decide it that way we don't have to watch either team's offense.

38
by stephenbawesome :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:42am

They did that one year with David Akers and Adam Vinatieri at the Pro Bowl skills competition. It was sort of fun to watch.

20
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 8:30am

I was disappointed that the Packers could not generate more of a pass rush against the Saints. Brees is great and was making some great throws. The Packer linebackers stink in coverage which was exploited by the Saints nonstop yesterday.

Mike McCarthy forced himself to run the ball a bit more yesterday. I know it galled him to do so but at least it happened. For a guy who presents himself as a guy who likes physical football he sure coaches a namby-pamby approach. And wasting that one challenge early on a call that was not that hard to see was not going to be overturned was just silly.

James Jones is loving the new league where you have to have strong hands to break away from defensive backs and create separation. Jones isn't fast but he is easily the strongest/toughest Green Bay receiver. He mixed it up with the Seattle secondary quite well and New Orleans took their shots and Jones gave as good as he got. I was surprised Jordy Nelson picked it up this weekend. Nelson got pushed around against the Seahawks. And in a physical game Greg Jennings has almost no chance especially battling an injury.

Finley held onto the ball yesterday. That was nice to see.

Sam Shields got abused yesterday and this after starting to build a case that he had turned around from his awful 2011.

But no mention of one gutsy fourth down call backed up inside his 20 McCarthy has his team run for a first down on a fake punt? That might have been the play of the game

31
by Sophandros :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:10am

That fake punt was the play that won the game for the Pack, IMO.

They marched down field after that to score, which also had the effect of hurting the Saints' defense's confidence.

-------------
Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

32
by Sakic (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:11am

The Packers special teams haven't looked this good since their Superbowl year...their 96 Superbowl year.

They are getting good returns from Cobb, the kick coverage has been extremely solid (not to mention getting jobbed again on the non-fumble call on the kick return), plus the fake field goal for a touchdown against the Bears, and the gutsy, gutsy first down run by Kuhn on the fake punt. I don't know what they've figured out but I like it.

22
by Dean :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 8:34am

Looks like the Eagles might have their Corner situation solved. Both Hughes and Boykin look like keepers. Hughes looks like the guy they’ve been seeking for years – a slot corner who can move outside in injury situations. Patterson and Hanson could play the slot, but neither one could step up if a starter went down. Hughes might just be that guy.

If McNabb had one-hopped that throw to Jackson in the second quarter, the fans in Philly would have gone ballistic. It didn’t matter much, as the Eagles ended up getting a TD on that drive anyway, but man, what a different reaction.

On the other side, my sister is a big Giants fan. She constantly refers to “Good Eli” and “Bad Eli.” I think those terms don’t need explaining around here. There is some truth to that, though. If you don’t see “Bad Eli” early, you don’t win too often. I was all set to chalk this up to a Giants win when we saw our first glimse of “Bad Eli” in the 4th.

I have to wonder what Vince was watching, though. The game's in the 4th quarter and he's grumbling about Reid passign too mcuh. During that string of McCoy rushes the TV boys don't notice, but Dallas Reynolds and Evan Mathis are just destroying people inside. I hope Ben is watching this.

Giving the devil his due, the dogkiller has his usual terrible throws, but tonight he seems to be following them up with good plays. And they end up as incompletions rather than turnovers.

Chase Blackburn did a phenomenal job blowing up the rollout on 3rd and goal. He didn’t get the tackle, but his penetration kept dogkiller from getting to the edge.

Kickoff returns are such a huge disparity tonight that even Collinsworth notices. He doesn’t notice that it’s been good for the Giants not just in returns but in coverage as well.

If Eli hadn’t thrown the INT, the whole two minute drill wouldn’t matter - the game would be already over. But if he’d pulled it off, Big Media swings from his nuts.

One last note: Al Michaels was particularly terrible. Usually, he’s fantastic, but you can clearly tell he’s a New York guy who hates Philly. And by the way, Al, there is no jail in Lincoln Financial Field. That was The Vet. It’s OK. This is only their 10th year in the building. You can’t be expected to know that or anything. Makes you think back to the obligatory Cheesesteak segment earlier in the broadcast, and the audible sneer in his voice when Michaels couldn’t resist saying he "prefers a New York.” Jackass.

28
by Christempacct (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 8:59am

Actually, the Linc was built with a holding cell because of the old "Eagles Court" in the Vet. But the cell has never been used, because right about then the team got serious about controlling fan misbehavior, and Eagles court was abolished.

So the Vet had a court and the Linc doesn't, but the Linc has a holding cell and the Vet didn't.

119
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:33pm

The Eagles special teams have been horrible all season, so this is nothing new - just new to NBC.

24
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 8:40am

As a Wisconsin alum, I am happy that Watt's game has translated well into the NFL. I thought he was going to be awesome because he was all kinds of awesome as a Badger but you are never 100 percent sure.

Aaron Kampman was an oustanding DE in the league for a few years because he was outstanding in using his hands and had a nonstop motor. JJ is a bigger, stronger version of Kampman and that is a crazy good combination.

57
by Mike W :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:37am

I'm on record on this site as predicting Watt would be a beast in the NFL partly because of his hands - he is a very sure tackler, bats passes away frequently, and moves OLs around with impunity - but I'm surprised he's this good. Texans have done a very good job using him in their pass rush schemes.

29
by DGL :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:02am

Quoth Aaron: "For a play to be the option, don't you need to have, you know, an option?"

For a play to be a Wildcat, you need to have an unbalanced line and a back coming in motion at the snap, but that never stopped NFL announcers from terming every play with someone other than the starting quarterback receiving a shotgun snap a "Wildcat". Brad Smith in a Pistol formation running an option sweep? "Wildcat!"

35
by stephenbawesome :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:29am

If they called a Texas A&M game and saw Johnny Manziel running the Air Raid and using a lot of pistol formations with a few designed runs, they'd claim every snap was a Wildcat.

59
by RickD :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:44am

The definition of "option" is simpler and more widely known than the definition of "Wildcat." I think it's reasonable to ask announcers not to use the word "option" on a play when there are no options other than a QB run.

70
by DGL :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 11:26am

Personally, I think it's reasonable for football announcers to actually use all football terminology correctly. But seeing as how they continue to refer to "the shadow of their own end zone" and "catching the football at its highest point", I despair at their ability to get anything correct beyond "run", "throw", "left", and "right".

92
by tuluse :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:31pm

Shadow of their own end zone is a figure of speech. It's not meant to be taken literally.

108
by Dean :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:06pm

The figure of speech is actually "shadow of their own goal line." Yes, I'm being a bit pedantic, but it makes sense if you think about it. It's implying that the ball is so close to the goal line that the shadow of the paint on the grass (turf) extends out to cover part of the ball. Hyperbole, sure, but brilliant hyperbole when it was new however many generations ago that was. Sadly, it's been dumbed down to the point where people don't even know what they're saying.

109
by Arkaein :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:16pm

Isn't the original expression "shadow of their own goal posts"? Since the goal posts actually do cast shadows, which tend to be in the end zone or very close to it (at least in one direction on the field).

135
by RickD :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:30pm

Surprisingly, Google gives me 25,900 hits for "shadow of their own goal line" and only 9,120 hits for "shadow of their own goal posts."

(Clearly I have too much free time.)

136
by RickD :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:32pm

And "shadow of their own end zone" takes the silver at 24,900 hits.

137
by Marko :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:39pm

"Sadly, it's been dumbed down to the point where people don't even know what they're saying."

Unfortunately, this is true of many sayings, not just this one.

My two biggest pet peeves for announcers are (1) when they shout "reverse" when it's an end around (and of course, if it's an end around that then becomes a reverse, they call it a double reverse), and (2) when they say "the ground can't cause a fumble" because, you know, it can if the player is not down by contact. What they mean is that if you are down by contact, it's not a fumble when the ball comes loose.

224
by Noah of Arkadia :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 12:54am

I don't get it. If the paint on the grass casts a shadow, then the unpainted grass from the end zone surely does as well.

------
FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

30
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:05am

Aren't young quarterbacks like young pitchers? If they stay healthy, have some degree of ability and can use that thing 3 feet above their backside they can probably play in the league?

42
by JohnD (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:49am

A pitcher's job is so much easier than a quarterback's; I can't imagine that there's much of an analogy to draw here.

A pitcher has all the time in the world to plan, and very little to do once things are actually moving. A quarterback has to think and move fast, think and move smart, with chaos all around.

Plus there's that team leadership thing, and the fact that QBs don't get the luxury of taking games off, sharing that responsibility with a bullpen, etc.

QB is a position where I could see talent, brains, and hard work not being enough to guarantee any sort of success in the NFL.

195
by LionInAZ :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 7:07pm

Pitchers have to aim at a smaller target many more times per game, the batter has just as much time to prepare for each pitch, and there aren' t defenders trying to make a batter miss the ball. It's a mistake to make such cross-sport comparisons, especially on locker-room issues such as 'leadership'.

263
by Brent :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 3:33pm

Tougher to stick as a QB because of talent saturation. What, 12 active pitchers per club or so? So ~360 in the league at a time? If you restrict to starters, then about 5 per club, which is 150+ starting pitchers in the big leagues. Only 1 relevant QB per team in the NFL. I think a lot of guys who don't make the starting gig as QBs would be useful in some sort of situational role... except that such roles don't really exist.

39
by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:43am

Probably not fair to compare Sanchez to 4 of the best QB's in the league. How does he stack up to the likes of Cutler, Romo, Schaub, Roethlisberger?

40
by justanothersteve :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:47am

Sanchez isn't as good as any of those four either. In fact, I'm having a difficult time thinking of another team's starter that he might be better than. I'd have said Kolb, but even he hasn't looked that gawd-awful these last few weeks.

62
by BJR :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:58am

I'd consider benching Matt Cassel for Sanchez.

73
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 11:54am

Cassel can consistently get the ball in the general area of a receiver. Sanchez cannot.

80
by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:09pm

Matt Cassel is what Sanchez might be if he sat behind Tom Brady for a few years learning how to play the position.

168
by Purds :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 4:32pm

I love that comment! Made me chuckle, and it made a good point as well.

89
by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:23pm

Sanchez was ranked ahead of Cassel in DYAR and DVOA in 2009, 2011 and through the first three games this year (in 2011, Cassel played fewer games, but his DVOA was quite a bit worse). Even in Cassel's flukily good 2010 season he wasn't that much ahead.

I would bench Cassel for Sanchez. I think it is clear by now that Matt Cassel just is not that good. Totally flustered by pressure. Way too pick prone.

121
by Paddy Pat :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:37pm

Cassel played well in the second half of 2008, such that by the end he was one of the highest QBs in DVOA in the league (doesn't translate to his year-long numbers because he started so poorly). He responds to coaching, and played well behind a strong offensive line--kind of like Drew Bledsoe. Sanchez reminds me of Jay Fiedler a little, although not quite as good. I think Sanchez might be a better starter than Sam Bradford is at this point in his career; I would take him over Hasselbeck in Tennessee at this point too, most likely; under some circumstances I would prefer him to Fitzpatrick; That's about it.

122
by tuluse :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:41pm

Matt Cassel played with a motivated near his prime Randy Moss. I don't think there is another player in the past 15 years who has had a big an effect on his QB's level of play.

138
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:40pm

I think his larger point, outside of the Randy Moss effect, is that Cassel is a product of his environment, with a much greater upside than Sanchez. I think Cassel's floor is about the same as Sanchez, and they both stay around that. I just cannot imagine a scenario where Sanchez could do what Cassel did with Moss because he honestly cannot hit a striding receiver. Cassel can, but has been plagued with ineptitude in terms of coaching.

Neither has a ceiling even around, say, the floor of Jay Cutler/Tony Romo, and many people claim that those two are inconsistent, erratic, and prone to boneheaded mistakes. But at least they are talented.

242
by peterplaysbass :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 10:16am

Cutler and Romo have some pretty low floors. I thought I was going to have to take my shoes and socks off to keep track of Romo's INTs last night.

Romo week 4: 5 INTs - 2 returned for TDs

Cutler week 3: 17/31 for 183 and a pick
Cutler week 2: 11/27 for 126, 1 TD and 4 INTs

There are three ugly games in the last three weeks from your "high floor" QBs. That said, I'd still take either way ahead of Sanchez or Cassel. I just think their ceilings are higher than the Cutler/Romo floor.

227
by Noah of Arkadia :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 1:00am

You've got to be kidding. Now you're stepping on my toes. I used to love Jay Fiedler. Sure, he was a limited QB athletically, he made some bonehead plays and often put his team in a tough spot early in games. But he usually came fighting back in the 2nd half, he had a big heart and he was smart, and I don't recall him ever having those god-awful games Sanchez has. Like every other normal QB, perhaps, but not every few games, like Sanchez.

------
FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

264
by Paddy Pat :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 3:46pm

I said that he reminded me of Fiedler but not as good. Memories tend to be short, but Sanchez has also had a knack for bringing the Jets back in gut-check, big-heart drives, like in the game against Houston in 2010, or against the Pats in the playoffs that same year. His performance has tailed off as his receivers, backs, and o-line have deteriorated, but there's a case for Sanchez as something like a poor man's Jay Fiedler.

Incidentally, I liked Fiedler too. His throw through Mobley's arms in Denver in 2002 was epic.

133
by RickD :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:27pm

Is it time to start the irrational Cassel-Sanchez thread?

Seriously, it's hard to believe that Cassel is into his fifth season as an NFL starting QB. And Sanchez is into his fourth.

The NFL still has a serious QB shortage.

140
by Independent George :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:42pm

I disagree; the Jets and the Chiefs have a serious QB shortage. The league's supply is about as good/bad as it's ever been.

189
by Paddy Pat :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 6:36pm

I think there is a lot more QB talent than there used to be. Where are the Gus Frerottes and Tony Banks's of 2012? Who are the worst starting quarterbacks of today? I'd say the list goes something like this:

Tannehill
Weeden
Sanchez
Wilson
Kolb
Cassel
Fitzpatrick
Gabbert
Bradford
Freeman

That's not a bad list at all.

We've got 3 rookies who we don't enough about, and they're not really that bad, anyway, excepting perhaps Wilson.

Gabbert's in year 2 with a weak supporting cast. Arguably, he could turn into Marc Bulger or Jake Delhomme down the line.

Kolb could also be Jake Delhomme, although he could mature into something more like Matt Hasselbeck. He could use better protection and a little confidence, and he seems to be at least passable as is.

Bradford and Freeman are both young talents, still developing with plenty of upside. I think it's too early label them lousy. Let's say that Bradford's pocket presence makes him a dubious prospect, and Freeman could use some better coaching...

So we're left thumbing our noses at Cassel, Fitzpatrick, and Sanchez. I think it's one of the best crops of quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen.

197
by theslothook :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 7:13pm

The real question is: which teams are likely to be searching for new qbs within the next 2 years assuming their current qbs stay where they are skill wise:

The current qbs of those teams:

Sanchez
Cassel
Fitzpatrick
Bradford
Freeman
Kolb
Gabbert
Wilson

Thats roughly 8 keeps, which feels right in line with the general leaguewide demand for qbs. The real truth is, the standards for qbs have increased as the new garden variety replaceable qb has increased. Of the mentioned qbs above, only imo sanchez and gabbert really feel comparable to the old style terrible qb. Even cassel is capable of putting up decent stats, its just, decent stats gets you a loss nowadays unless the rest of your team is super talented.

198
by theslothook :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 7:14pm

The real question is: which teams are likely to be searching for new qbs within the next 2 years assuming their current qbs stay where they are skill wise:

The current qbs of those teams:

Sanchez
Cassel
Fitzpatrick
Bradford
Freeman
Kolb
Gabbert
Wilson

Thats roughly 8 teams, which feels right in line with the general leaguewide demand for qbs. The real truth is, the standards for qbs have increased as the new garden variety replaceable qb has increased. Of the mentioned qbs above, only imo sanchez and gabbert really feel comparable to the old style terrible qb. Even cassel is capable of putting up decent stats, its just, decent stats gets you a loss nowadays unless the rest of your team is super talented.

211
by LionInAZ :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:14pm

This seems like the perfect place to re-introduce the question "which of these QBs would you replace with Jason Campbell"? I'd say that any of them are good candidates. And I would include Locker while we're at it.

249
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 10:59am

I still think Bradford's going to come good. His numbers have been depressed by his horrific supporting talent, and that won't last forever. Yes, his pocket presence is an issue, but not a David Carr-level issue.

265
by Paddy Pat :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 3:49pm

I also think Kyle Orton is better than most of these guys, but I disagree about Locker. He's flashed some greatness a few times this season. Give him time. As for right now though, yeah Campbell would be better.

43
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:54am

All talk of backup qbs and starting qb accuracy aside, if you don't show up for slugfest when the Niners are on the schedule, they will make you look bad.

72
by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 11:41am

There is a reasonable chance the Jets get shutout in back-to-back home games.

That Jets offense is awful, and that Texans defense is great.

It was good to see the 49ers back in their beast mode, but I still want to see more from Alex Smith. He was really confident and on point those first two weeks. Granted, Rex can usually scheme up a good game plan against the pass, and there was no need to run, but he didn't look all that great.

243
by peterplaysbass :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 10:22am

Wow. Shutout at home 2 weeks in a row - how often does that happen?

They'd have to fire Fatty Pie, right?

Let Tebow be the starting QB and the head coach.

44
by nat :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 9:55am

I know it's just Audibles, but weird comment balance on the Pats-Bills game. 18 emails from the first three quarters, 3 from after the game (two about moronic nickname ideas), and 0 about a fourth quarter that started tied 21-21 and featured 38 points.

Surely between possible-upset-now-completely-up-for-grabs and blown-out-beyond-hope something noteworthy must have happened. Ya think?

93
by tuluse :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:32pm

It was actually a pretty boring blow out 4th quarter.

127
by BJR :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:59pm

Yeah the game was interesting whilst the Pats were fumbling and missing field goals. Once they began marching down the field every possession (marching is quite an apt description) it quickly turned into a blowout.

166
by theslothook :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 4:26pm

I was actually interested in knowing EXACTLY what the hell happened that game. I wanted to know in the first half- how the heck was the bills offense containing the pats offense? Is some malady now lingering over the pats this year?

Then the 2nd half the obvious- What the hell changed?

Any pat fans that actually saw the game explain both to me?

174
by BJR :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 5:11pm

The Pats moved the ball well in the first half as well, but two of their drives ended in missed field goals, and a further two ended after lost fumbles. That explains the lack of points. Not much more to it than that really.

202
by Michael19531 :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 7:18pm

I'm a Pats fan who watched the game and I really thought the game turned when Tom Brady hit Wes Welker for 10-15 yard completions on the same option type routes on the 1st play of NE's first 3 possesions after the Bills took a 21-7 lead. The Pats also played at a faster tempo and the Bills kept getting stuck in their nickle and dime packages. Rbs Stephen Ridley and especially Brandon Boldin took full advantage.

203
by MJK :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 7:25pm

Also, turnovers aside:

In the first half, Brady and/or McDaniels was locked in on the idea of passing the ball, especially to Brandon Lloyd, despite the fact the Bills were selling out to stop the pass. (The essentially played the entire game in a lightweight nickel, with just one LB and one hybrid LB/S on the field). Also, the Bills (mostly) weren't blitzing. Brady (usually) had plenty of time, but just couldn't find an open guy. The Bills CB's in particular made a couple of amazing pass breakups. A couple of Pats drives ended (or were forced into FG attempts that were then missed) when Brady tried to force the ball to a well covered receiver. Other than one stout stand on 3rd and 2, the Bills never had much luck stopping the Patriots rush in the first half...the Pats just weren't trying to run all that much.

In the second half, the Pats said "OK, you're going to sell out to stop the pass, then we're going to run". And they did. Lots and lots. The Bills compensated not by going back to their base, but by moving their safeties up...which Brady then used to pull off a few very successful playactions.

It also helped that his receivers stopped dropping the ball (either before or after the catch).

45
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:02am

Also, I've tended to think that Schwartz was a good hire for the Lions, but I've really have started to have significant doubts. They just don't seem to be very well coached.

52
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:32am

His brazen attitude was great when they were a bunch of scrub players overachieving. Now that they have some good talent, they really need somebody that can make better in-game decisions regarding down/distance/time, somebody that makes better play-to-play personnel decisions, and somebody that can reign in the chaotic nature of the football team -- so pretty much the antithesis of what Schwartz is.

I like the guy, but he is better suited to a coordinator/position coach. A few of my Detroit friends feel the same.

58
by Independent George :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:44am

His brazen attitude was great when they were a bunch of scrub players overachieving. Now that they have some good talent, they really need somebody that can make better in-game decisions regarding down/distance/time, somebody that makes better play-to-play personnel decisions, and somebody that can reign in the chaotic nature of the football team -- so pretty much the antithesis of what Schwartz is.

I know I know! Mike Singletary is available!!!

86
by Ryan :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:16pm

Perhaps Jim Schwartz is the NFL's version of Harvey Keitel's Winston Wolf--can come in and fix a disastrous situation when required, with the difference being that Winston knew when his job was done. Now that the Lions don't have a bloody, headless corpse in the back of their car, maybe it's time to find someone else? Because right now, Schwartz handling a non-laughing stock team is like asking Wolf to cater a debutante ball. The skill sets aren't matching up.

147
by TomC :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:11pm

I'm pretty sure that corpse still had a head.

229
by Noah of Arkadia :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 1:05am

What's that movie, Nikita?

------
FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

233
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 1:15am

Pulp Fiction

123
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:45pm

If Andy keeps making dumb moves like last night, he'll be available soon.

212
by LionInAZ :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 10:39pm

It's hard to say how well the Lions are coached considering how much turnover there has been on the roster the past three years -- but I will say that the special teams have gotten progressively worse, so it's time to think about firing Danny Crossman.

65
by C-Weezy :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 11:09am

Thrilled with the Eagles' victory last night. However, it seems every week, Nnamdi Asomugha gets beat on a play where the announcer says he "thought he had help." On the Hixon pass in the 4th quarter that he got beat on, was Nate Allen the safety on that side?

On the opening drive on the 2nd half, when the Eagles got stuffed at the 1 yard line and had to kick, you don't want to try at least one run up the middle?

148
by TomC :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:12pm

He's still learning how to play zone, particularly cover-2-type zone.

66
by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 11:10am

"What comes after a law firm?"

The bill.

116
by drobviousso :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:31pm

Malpractice insurance.

132
by RickD :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:22pm

Backwards. Usually a law firm will be the one going after malpractice insurance.

158
by DPowers (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:52pm

Why not reference America's favorite legal duo with Bolden and Bash? It also helpfully implies that Brandon Bolden, lovable as he is, is clearly the Breckin Meyer of the duo.

75
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 11:57am

To comment a bit more on the Packers Defensive scheme.

Haven't the Packers been a primarily man coverage team for a while now? Today it seems like a ton of zone, and Brees is picking on the hole in the middle of the field

What the Packers had been doing a lot of was man coverage on the outside, with Shields and Williams, and then zone with everyone else in whatever combination of players they had; anywhere from 1 to 5 linebackers, anywhere from 3 to 7 DB, anywhere from 1 to 4 linemen. They did change on Sunday, and that is part of why Shields looked worse. He still can't play zone. People were talking about how bad of an idea it was to use Asomugha in zone last year, it's probably even more of a bad idea to use Shields that way. Shields in man is probably 90% of Asomugha but in zone is he is probably 50%. He's better in zone this year than last year, which is good since this is year 4 of playing CB or any kind of defense for him so getting better is a good thing, but he still is very poor in zone. The 80 yard TD was because he had no idea what his assignment was and sat down in a zone.

Part of the other problem yesterday was the early injury to McMillian, he played 68% of the snaps in week 2, and 71% in week 3. The game plan was going to involve a lot of DB's, pulling LB's off the field for additional safeties since McMillian, Jennings, and Burnett are all generally better in the run game than all the corners except Woodson and Williams, who are on the field all the time, and better in the passing game than any of the linebackers. Initial adjustment was Jarret Bush playing defense again, later that changed to scrapping the original plan and going with more linebackers in coverage, and things were worse than they might have been.

76
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 11:59am

To comment a bit more on the Packers Defensive scheme.

Haven't the Packers been a primarily man coverage team for a while now? Today it seems like a ton of zone, and Brees is picking on the hole in the middle of the field

What the Packers had been doing a lot of was man coverage on the outside, with Shields and Williams, and then zone with everyone else in whatever combination of players they had; anywhere from 1 to 5 linebackers, anywhere from 3 to 7 DB, anywhere from 1 to 4 linemen. They did change on Sunday, and that is part of why Shields looked worse. He still can't play zone. People were talking about how bad of an idea it was to use Asomugha in zone last year, it's probably even more of a bad idea to use Shields that way. Shields in man is probably 90% of Asomugha but in zone is he is probably 50%. He's better in zone this year than last year, which is good since this is year 4 of playing CB or any kind of defense for him so getting better is a good thing, but he still is very poor in zone. The 80 yard TD was because he had no idea what his assignment was and sat down in a zone.

Part of the other problem yesterday was the early injury to McMillian, he played 68% of the snaps in week 2, and 71% in week 3. The game plan was going to involve a lot of DB's, pulling LB's off the field for additional safeties since McMillian, Jennings, and Burnett are all generally better in the run game than all the corners except Woodson and Williams, who are on the field all the time, and better in the passing game than any of the linebackers. Initial adjustment was Jarret Bush playing defense again, later that changed to scrapping the original plan and going with more linebackers in coverage, and things were worse than they might have been.

OK will that get through the filter?

95
by Xian :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:35pm

M.D. Jennings didn't come back in after his injury did he? That may have forced the switch back to more linebackers.

206
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 8:11pm

Geez I confused myself, I meant the MD Jennings injury, I don't know why I thought it was McMillian.

But it was 21 - 7 when he got hurt and the D had forced 2 punts. But yes it was the injury that forced some of the formation changes, and opened things up even more. The Saints were still able to move while he was in, he wasn't the whole reason by any means. The Packers were playing straight zone way more than typical for them this year.

Another thing I've said about the Packers is that they have great game preparation coaching. They tend to scheme very well, but they don't always adjust great during the game, and typically only adjust at all during halftime. I know this is hard for any team to do, the whole "you win the game during the week". But it's the biggest area of weakness for the coaching staff I feel, even if they are NFL average it. Well maybe not the biggest weakness, I'm not convinced that Campen is a good o-line coach. I also don't know what to think about Slocum on the special teams, I used to think he was awful, but the special teams have turned around recently and they have also gotten an infusion of talent. Perhaps it just took longer than I thought to fully shake off the effects of the horrible Sherman contracts and get things to a point where special teams became more of a talent/money focus.

79
by Jetspete :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:05pm

The problem for Sanchez is that he only has one weapon now with whom he is comfortable. Back in 2010, he proved to be efficient when he had five guys (Holmes, Edwards, Cotchery, Keller, LT) with whom he had familiarty. With Keller's injury, only one of those five guys remain. The Jets cant run, cant screen, cant stop the run, cant rush the passer, and their qb is trying to learn a new system with new receivers on the fly. If Holmes, Hill and Keller all play in the same game though, i imagine Sanchez will look better.

Also, the lack of an out-of-the-backfield running back is absolutely killing this team.

104
by Led :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:59pm

A legitimate QB would be able to do SOMETHING even with the crappy bunch of skill players the Jets have. But oh how crappy they are. Holmes would be a good second receiver these days but he drops a lot of balls and is good for at least one bonehead play a game. Kerley could be useful in the slot but either Sanchez or the scheme (or both) fail to make proper use out of him. With Hill and Keller out, there are no other NFL caliber receivers on the team. My kingdom for a receiver with the ball skills of Domenik Hixon! And Greene and Powell are pretty much maxed out at about 8 yards if the blocking is perfect, which it rarely is. Free Joe McKnight! He at least offers some possibility of a big play. I didn't think the Jets were going to be Greatest Show on Turf, but I thought the offense could be passable. Maybe even feisty on a good day. Boy was I wrong.

124
by Paddy Pat :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:46pm

What about Stallworth and Gaffney? Terrell Owens? Ochocinco? The market is flooded with passable free agent receivers who can catch and run. The Jets must think they have talent.

134
by Marko :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:30pm

Yes, adding Terrell Owens or Ochocinco to a team that has Sanchez at QB, Tebow as the backup QB, Rex Ryan as coach, and Bart Scott on defense, and is covered by the New York media, is an excellent idea. What could go wrong?

This wouldn't be a three-ring circus, it would be a five-ring circus. On the bright side, the Jets could have a great sponsorship opportunity with Barnum & Bailey.

Maybe this is a good idea to you since you are a Patriots fan.

139
by Led :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:41pm

I actually don't think those guys are worth anything, except maybe Gaffney. I'd rather young, cheap and crappy than old and crappy. At least the young guys can contribute on ST.

144
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:57pm

I support TO or Ocho going to the Jets, just for the sheer trainwreckiness it would likely produce.

146
by tuluse :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:01pm

Why does it have to "or"? Get them both there.

149
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:17pm

You, my friend, are a genius!

192
by Paddy Pat :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 6:43pm

I actually have a hard time imagining Owens or Ochocinco being as disruptive as Holmes was last year, and I don't really think that Ryan cares about having a circus in the locker room anyway.

My point was just, if there's truly a shortage of wide receiver talent, one or another of those guys ought to be brought in for a workout. Even Salas, who the Pats just cut could probably help them out.

I guess, I don't really understand the Jets' skill position problems--especially at running back. There are always lots of talented young guys available at that position--street free agents join teams and put together big performances all the time--like Brown on the Giants. Why do the Jets stick with what doesn't work? Greene, Kerley, and Holmes have been weak for a number of years now.

82
by MJK :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:11pm

Pats-Bills game in a nutshell:

In the first quarter, the Patriots came out with a better gameplan and bottled the Bills up on defense while effortlessly scoring a TD on offense.

Toward the end of the first quarter, and in the second quarter, the Pats fell apart and the Bills played really well. Bills figured out the middle of the field was theirs and that the Pats LB's can be abused as pass defenders, while on defense they stayed in a 7 cent defense (halfway between nickel and dime) and McDaniels kept trying to get cute with tricky pass plays when the Pats receivers were all well covered. Meanwhile, you had Pats receivers dropping balls or fumbling them when they caught them, safeties not covering TE's or forgetting how to tackle, and Gostkowski missing FG's. Only a young and mistake-prone, but opportunistic Pats defense kept the game from getting out of hand.

Third quarter started out much the same way, with the Bills extending their lead, when suddenly McDaniels decided to cut the cutesy crap and just pound the ball with 2 TE's versus a lightweight nickel. Of course this worked, helped by the Bills secondary forgetting how to tackle. Throw in a few opportunistic turnovers by the Pats defense and you ended with a Pats blowout.

90
by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:26pm

I like how both teams are situated leading into next Week's Rivalry-in-more-ways-than-One game in Gillette.

Neither team is 1-3 and desperate. Both teams are coming off blowouts (including a dominant performance by Denver, as only self-inflicted wounds like Thomas's fumble and the fake field goal, kept it from being 45-6).

The only issue is it is early enough that neither team is really in danger of falling too far behind the pack with a loss (especially if Denver can rebound the next week with a win in San Diego). I think the Pats are better, but their defense hasn't looked too good the past two weeks.

141
by MJK :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:46pm

They didn't really play in an NFL game last week, so it's hard to say how their defense looked.

This week, their defense actually looked pretty good, except for the inability to cover a big TE down the seam or a RB who is good at catching. Of course, doesn't Denver have both, and a QB that can find them? So it could be interesting...

142
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:47pm

The defense forced 4 INTs, and 3 Fumbles (2 of which they recovered).

Its pretty tough to keep from giving up yards, and some points, when your offense is either turning the ball over, or going 3 and out for 45 minutes.

Of the 28 points they gave up, 7 were on a turnover on the 24 yard line, and 7 were in garbage time. They also managed to stop a drive (off turnover) that started inside the 20.

Frankly, as poorly as the Patriots played in the first half, they were lucky they weren't down by 40 when the offense decided to play again.

151
by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:23pm

They forced a lot of turnovers, but chances are that won't happen again. Their run defense was strong, but their pass defense seemed lost at times. They made plays on te ball when Fitz gave them a chance, but it wasn't exactly good coverage.

164
by Anonymouse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 4:18pm

"They made plays on te ball when Fitz gave them a chance, but it wasn't exactly good coverage."

I noticed this on a Pat's site yesterday. If the opposing quarterback (in this case Fitzpatrick) can only throw the ball forty or so yards, it's actually quite good coverage to be a few yards underneath the opposing receiver beyond that range. I'm referring in this case to McCourty's first pick. The ball was thrown from the 4 to the 42, which is probably CLOSE to Fitzpatrick's limit, and certainly counter-productive when Graham was streaking past mid-field.

170
by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 4:36pm

On that play, Fitz seemed locked in on throwing that deep pass. Didn't seem to go through any sort of progression. The first pick was also a batted ball.

I still don't think the Patriots defense is all that good. They've always been able to have games where they force a lot of turnovers. This was no different. They really capitalized on each one in that second half, though.

184
by Paddy Pat :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 6:24pm

The run defense is much more consistent than last year and the safety play is far better, albeit inconsistent. Tackling seems sounder. I think they're apt to be mediocre with upside and may get better as the year progresses. Last year, they basically played without safeties for most of the season.

87
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:17pm

""A quarterback doesn't learn accuracy when he goes pro." These two prove that the inverse is false."

My brain is starting to hurt from trying to figure out the inverse of that statement. A quarterback does learn accuracy when he's not a pro?

94
by Harris :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:34pm

I think it means that a QB can FORGET accuracy after he turns pro. I think.

99
by Danny Tuccitto :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:51pm

The inverse of, "If a QB is inaccurate in college, then he will be inaccurate in the NFL," is, "If a QB is accurate in college, then he will be accurate in the NFL."

100
by Independent George :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:53pm

Wait - is that the inverse, or the converse?

131
by RickD :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:20pm

Danny is correct. It's the inverse.

The inverse is logically equivalent to the converse in the same manner that the contrapositive is logically equivalent to the original statement.

To summarize, if you start with a -> b, then
~a -> ~b is the inverse
b -> a is the converse
and ~b -> ~a is the contrapositive.

245
by peterplaysbass :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 10:35am

I love Football Outsiders.

154
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:44pm

Well yeah, if you change the statement it becomes a lot easier.

250
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 11:09am

I suspect the reality is more:

If a QB has a bad completion percentage in college, he is almost certainly inaccurate.

but it is not the case that

If a QB has a good completion percentage in college, he is almost certainly accurate.

276
by Brent :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 8:29pm

This.

277
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 9:40pm

Right, if x then y does not imply if not x then not y.

103
by mansteel (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 12:57pm

It's easier if you translate it into an if-then statement: If a quarterback is inaccurate in college, then he will be inaccurate as a pro. The inverse is then: If a QB is not inaccurate in college, then he will not be inaccurate as a pro. Ditching the double negatives leaves us with: If a QB is accurate in college, then he will be accurate as a pro.

Tebow and Sanchez (and many others, undoubtedly) are living proof that this statement is false.

107
by Wikitorix (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:03pm

That would be the converse. The inverse would be "A quarterback goes pro when he doesn't learn accuracy."

128
by rageon :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:59pm

So, like Jamarcus Russell, then?

129
by NYMike :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:11pm

Can we all agree that it wasn't very clear?

145
by DGL :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:58pm

It certainly wasn't not unclear.

231
by Noah of Arkadia :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 1:09am

More like the inverse of that.

------
FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

126
by tuluse :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 1:57pm

Shouldn't Holmes have been ruled down when fumbled? It seems to me it was a clear example of the same rule applied to Victor Cruz last year. He was clearly giving himself up, and not trying to advance the ball.

130
by jimbohead :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:17pm

I certainly thought so, and I'm surprised the refs didn't rule it down on review.

143
by Travis :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 2:53pm

A runner not being ruled down by virtue of giving himself up isn't reviewable.

The Jets' only hope on review was that Holmes's fling would be ruled an illegal forward pass, resulting in a 5-yard penalty and possession reverting to the Jets. Something similar happened with Vincent Jackson against the Raiders in 2006.

159
by Eddo :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:53pm

Would the defense have the option to decline the illegal forward pass penalty?

162
by Travis :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 4:17pm

Sure, but it would still be Jets' ball at the spot of the illegal pass. An incomplete illegal forward pass ends the play as soon as the ball hits the ground.

152
by Perfundle :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 3:37pm

"Let's not go overboard praising Wilson there. At the two-minute warning, they had a third-and-2 with no timeouts left. They ran for the first down, let 30 seconds go by, threw short and in bounds, let 30 seconds go by, and then threw the interception, which was another short route in bounds. The interception was not his fault. The fact that he was running a six-minute drill with one minute to go is."

They were at the Rams' 45 yard-line at the two minute warning. It takes six minutes to go 45 yards? The best result would be that they would get several cracks at the end zone with around 30 seconds left, just like they got against Arizona in the first game, and just like they got against Green Bay in the third one, and I don't see how the strategy they pursued wouldn't have allowed them to be able to achieve this. If the receiver hadn't fallen down, they would've had a first down around the 25 yard line with 50 seconds with the clock running, and that sounds like perfect time management to me.

176
by horn :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 5:27pm

Cammy-cam is not better at 'dissecting a Defense' than Vick. He just isn't. Yet.

183
by Paddy Pat :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 6:21pm

Russell Wilson is now averaging the fewest yards per pass in the entire league. He has about 2 games worth of production in 4 games. Is it not possible to bench him for a little while so he can learn behind a less raw starter? The guy just isn't ready and the Seahawks are capable of being more competitive than this. Basically, I think there are much better arguments for benching Wilson than there are for benching Sanchez or Cassel.

200
by BJR :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 7:16pm

Well there is certainly one better argument for benching Wilson than Cassel or Sanchez, which is that they have another guy on their roster who may have the potential to become the long term starter.

A Cassel or Sanchez benching would really just be a token way of the coaches saying 'we've had enough', as neither Tebow or Brady Quinn are realistically going to provide any improvement. Although given the complete lack of healthy receiving talent on the Jets I'm beginning to think they might as well start Tebow (shudder) so that opposition defensive coaches at least have something to plan for the week before games - as well as for some entertainment value.

266
by Deelron :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 4:16pm

Apparently Flynn has an elbow issue of some sort which leaves him healthy enough to come in on a game day and play through it but not healthy enough to get full starter reps during the week.

215
by RickD :: Mon, 10/01/2012 - 11:11pm

Bears are really stepping up tonight. Seems like the Cutler - Marshall connection is kicking into gear. And without the pressure of trying to be a #1 receiver, Hester has a nice TD catch his own self.

216
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 12:04am

Hey, I don't to short the Bears' effort, but I really have to say it is more the case of the Cowboys receivers taking a step back. That may be the worst receiver performance I've ever seen.

217
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 12:10am

I watched at the bar tonight, so I didn't pay as much attention as I might, but the mistakes looked more like a 50/50 split to me.

Also, I don't think the Cowboy's receivers played as poorly as the Bears did against the Packers.

220
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 12:39am

When it gets to the point that a receiver just gives the opponent 7 points, when he acknowledges a signal from the qb, and then doesn't run the right route, it's hard to get worse than that. Another int, in the red zone, happened on a tipped ball that should have been caught. There were other drops as well.

Dez Bryant is a moron.

218
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 12:16am

Dez was just awful. That first pick-6 was totally on him. The final two picks were just awful reads by Romo. Classic Cover-2 interceptions, really. Basic stuff that Romo just got wrong.

That Cowboys defense is so inconsistent. They look so good against the Giants and then last week against the Bucs, and look completely incompetent tonight. Surprised they didn't blitz Cutler more.

219
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 12:21am

I don't think the defense was a huge problem. It allowed 3 point in the first half, and 10 points in the second when the game was still in reach. They also forced one turnover at that point, which should have set up the Cowboys for a field goal a minimum.

Obviously they didn't end the game well, but it might have been Rob Ryan gambling to try to make something happen.

230
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 1:08am

It helped that the Bears had fewer possessions because of pick-6s.

The drives went Punt, Punt, FG, kneel, TD, fumble, FG, TD. After two punts, the only time they stopped the Bears was the sack fumble by Ware. Against an up-till-now bad offense, that isn't great.

222
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 12:42am

Eh, you get down 17 points with half a quarter to go, you kinda' lose the luxury of avoiding the throws that your reads tell you to avoid.

232
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 1:10am

I tried to watch this game very closely and I have concluded that the bears linebackers are now becoming a liability. The hallmark of that cover 2 style( i know they really don't play cover 2 standard anymore), is that the linebackers are able to have speed to get back into throwing lanes and read the plays. It was happening to urlacher, but even briggs was guilty of not reacting and getting back fast enough. This led to really huge holes in the zone.

The other thing about the bears D and maybe this was just one game, the safeties were late getting over the top on several plays. I didn't get a chance to rewatch with coaching film, but I suspect they were either biting hard on PA or just simply not reacting fast enough.

Still- bears d line and corners are very good. The d line especially. I remember about 2 years ago, after the bears had lost the nfc champ game- remarking how they were going to be facing some serious questions as the defense was getting old and it looked like they were entirely dependent on peppers for rush. Now the dline looks positively stacked with healthy rotation of men, with a possible superstar in melton. Amazing how perceptions can change over just 2 years.

234
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 1:23am

I don't think it's perceptions that changed, I think it's the team that changed. Melton, Paea, Mcellen, and Okoye have all been added since then.

The safeties are up and down, especially Conte. However, they are both pretty young. It's Conte's 2 year, and Wright's 3rd.

235
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 1:47am

btw, i have to stand corrected- before the season, i didn't buy into marshall or the bears receivers at large. Now, they are a clear upgrade.

239
by Independent George :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 9:51am

I bought into Marshall, but I never bought into OL - and still don't. The Bears might go 11-5, but Cutler might get himself killed in the playoffs if he faces San Francisco, Philly, or the Giants. The Cowboys, too, if Ware, Spencer, and Ratliff are healthy.

247
by RickD :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 10:54am

This is what I was aiming at with my original point. The Bears have a legit #1 WR for the first time in a long time. And that lets Hester be a #2 WR, which he did very well last night.

And yes, the Cowboys were awful, esp. Dez Bryant.

251
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 11:18am

Hester isn't even #2 at this point. Jeffery is. I bet Bennett ends the year with more targets per game.

253
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 11:31am

I'm going to raise the issue in the DVOA column, but having an owner who insists on hiring really dumb players, and insists on putting them on the field, makes game days a lot less enjoyable for Cowboys' fans, while making things kind of fun for the fans of the Cowboys's opponents.

240
by supershredder (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 9:53am

Hey can someone help me find stats for team defense in goal line situations? Or red zone defense or whatever. Would appreciate the help!

241
by Steve in WI :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 9:55am

Well, the Bears' defense isn't going to force 5 turnovers every week, but that was fun to watch. I'm a little worried about how the Cowboys seemed to be able to make the Bears miss tackles and turn 0-2 yard plays into decent gains. And I think the jury is still out on Urlacher and whether or not he'll be any good this season.

That said, this is the game I was waiting for from the Bears' offense. I'll take a 75% completion rate and no interceptions from Cutler (could have done without the fumble, of course) any day. Even though the game got out of hand in the second half thanks largely to the defense, this is the first time all season I would have felt reasonably confident if the Bears had been playing in a tie game or even with a 1-score deficit. I thought the offensive line looked the best it has all season, too.

252
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 11:21am

I think it's clear Urlacher is good this year, just a much slower good than he has been. He still knows his assignments inside and out, and can read an offense as well as anyone.

If you catch him on PA, he has no chance to recover, but if he guesses right he can still get to where he should be in time.

255
by Eddo :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 12:04pm

Yeah, last night was possibly the worst tackling I've seen from the Bears under Lovie Smith. And yet, there is so much talent there that they still had a good game overall. Henry Melton's progression into a force at DT is a testament to the coaching staff.

248
by RickD :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 10:57am

Cris Carter and Mike Golic are arguing vehemently on Mike and Mike that Ron Rivera did the right thing by not going for it on 4th and 2 feet. They argue that the coach is playing the percentages, even though the data doesn't bear that out. They claim that they are nor arguing out of fear, even though they jump on the fact that Cam Newton had just fumbled on the play before.
Greenie has it right but he cannot get the jocks on his side.

254
by Paul MAnonymous (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 12:00pm

Amazed how negative the buzz is getting about them. OK-- by all rights, they should be 3-1 now. The Saints game was a) against a totally desperate team with a first-class offense; b) made closer than it should have been by three huge officiating calls-- the first, the OPI, debatable, the next two: Graham's "catch" and then Sproles' fumble, just flat out wrong. On top of that Packers are going in for an 11 pt lead and Rodgers gets scratched in eye and Harrell fumbles away the drive. Could have/should have been a victory and a cover.

Did the defense get shredded? Yup-- and Aaron quite rightly points out they were in zone whereas their best work previous to this has largely been man. Was the Saints defense porous and ripe for a Rodgers' breakout performance? double Yup. Will they be a TD underdog in two weeks in Houston? probably. But they have a pretty damn good track record in domes the past few years. Win that game and be 4-2 (really 5-1) and then where do they rank? It's early-- the trick is to play well at end of season, not beginning.

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by peterplaysbass :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 12:12pm

Please stop boohoo-ing for the Packer loss in week 3. Many teams have been the victims of bad calls (by regular refs!) that have cost them games - even playoff appearances.

I saw this posted in a thread at a Vikings site last week and it applies well here:

"I'm still waiting for the Packers to admit Nate Poole was out of bounds, that the refs blew that call, and the Vikings got screwed out of a playoff appearance in favor of Green Bay.

Since we all know that will never happen, all I can say in regard to last night’s blown call and the victory it cost the Packers is:

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA"

That said, I think the jury is out on Green Bay. Part of the negativity comes from them winning a SB two seasons ago and then going 15-1 last year - people are surprised at the slow start. To then host an 0-3 team and beat them by 1 point just invites further criticism. I'm expecting GB to figure things out and get on a roll at some point, but even a 10 or 11 win season might feel like a let down after last year.

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by Paul M (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 1:01pm

OK-- one simple fact. They are 23-3 in the last 26 games played with referees who didn't make an incompetent series of 4th Quarter calls, culminating with a horrendous game-changing mistake. Their three losses were to a) the 2011 SB champs; b) the team that lost in the nFC title game to the 2011 SB champs; and Kansas City.

As to your other points, i agree that the jury is still out. But I can't see it leaning to a "guilty" verdict-- not with this QB, head coach, and playmakers on both sides of the ball. The 1 pt win against NO was tainted-- decent refereeing and absent the horrendous timing of Rodgers' eye injury (yes, blame Harrell-- his fault on the fumble)-- it could and should easily have been a 10-14 pt win. And I'd be prefectly happy with 10-6 or 11-5-- in fact, I predicted the latter before all this craziness happened-- if they are playing their best ball in December/January. Nate Poole stuff happens all the time-- the replacement's screw-ups at the end of the Seattle game were epic. But I will say this: glad to see you guys beating up on Scharwtz and his punk team-- that's a no-class operation headed for oblivion.

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by peterplaysbass :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 1:39pm

oops - see comment #259

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by peterplaysbass :: Tue, 10/02/2012 - 1:27pm

I'm having trouble with the spam filter, so I'm rewriting my response to be much shorter.

I agree with you.

Also, the Lions deserve their losses. Cheers!