Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features

HarvinPer09.jpg

» Impact of the NFL's Kickoff Rule Change

After three NFL seasons of kicking off from the 35-yard line, what has been the impact on touchbacks, returns, field position, scoring and injuries? Also, is this rule responsible for a record number of big comebacks?

04 Nov 2009

Cover-3: Ghost Stories

by Doug Farrar

The Great Arizona Run Defense Caper
Carolina Panthers 34 at Arizona Cardinals 21

The Carolina Panthers' rushing attack is defense-proof when it's going well. When they took on that run game last December 8, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 9-3 and had the sixth-best run defense DVOA in the game. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for 301 yards on 34 carries, and four touchdowns on a defense that had allowed just one on the ground all season. The Bucs dropped to ninth in run defense DVOA (they went from 14th to 28th in runs of 10 yards or more allowed in a single game), and though several other factors have been in play, it's worth noting that Tampa Bay hasn't won a game since they beat the Saints the week before that particular debacle.

When they welcomed the Panthers to University of Phoenix Stadium last Sunday afternoon, the Arizona Cardinals had every reason to be confident in their own run defense. The Cards held first place in Defensive Adjusted Line Yards (2.70), running back yards per carry (3.06) and frequency stuffing runners at the line or in the backfield (34 percent). The defensive schemes of new coordinator Bill Davis seemed to exercise better gap control and discipline than the herky-jerky blitzes and misdirection adventures seen under Clancy Pendergast, and I noted as much when I wrote about Darnell Dockett a few weeks ago. Carolina came into this game ranked seventh in Offensive Adjusted Line Yards, but less impressive in the sub-rankings -- Power, Stuffed, and number of runs totaling ten yards or more (Arizona's one run defense weakness before this game).

At the end of the faceoff, Williams and Stewart had combined for 245 yards on 40 carries, and the team's best single game rushing DVOA (51.0%) since the incredible 95.7% they put up against Tampa Bay last year. How did they do it against another very strong run defense?

On Carolina's first two runs of the day, DeAngelo Williams carries for -1 and 4 yards, Arizona showed good gap control and line discipline in standard 5-2-4 sets. The four-yard carry had more to do with a good block -- tight end Jeff King stepped inside to down-block end Darnell Dockett as Williams ran outside behind the sweeping motion of right guard Keydrick Vincent and right tackle Jeff Otah -- than any missed assignment on the Cardinals' part. But on third-and-7 from the Carolina 29, Arizona's old habits died hard.

The Cardinals brought seven to the line to blitz, and right end Calais Campbell jumped offside. The Cards did this a lot last year -- especially in the playoffs -- and a lot of that encroachment went uncalled. In this case, the penalty wouldn't be the problem. As the Panthers slid their protection to the right and left guard Travelle Wharton pulled to provide additional reinforcement, tight end Gary Barnidge blocked left end Chike Okeafor outside, Vincent and center Ryan Kalil handled linebacker Karlos Dansby, Otah pushed Dockett inside for the outside run, and Wharton easily dealt with cornerback Matt Ware, who was trying to fill the gap outside right tackle. Campbell flat-out whiffed on a potential tackle, and Williams headed upfield for a 16-yard gain. This play typified what I saw of the Cardinals' defense last year -- blitz-happy overpursuit, missed tackles, and a tendency to get overwhelmed by power blocking.

Carolina tried five more running plays on that first drive, and only the scoring play netted them over four yards. On the short-yardage plays, the Cards would show blitz, and occasionally bring it, but would also have at least one linebacker trail back for second-level tackling. This made more sense to me, especially against a team as run-heavy as the Panthers, than filling the A-gap with Dansby or Adrian Wilson and conceding the power battle pre-snap. Nose tackle Gabe Watson is a guy who has impressed me this year in his ability to make teams choose between doubling him or Dockett, and when he was in the middle, Carolina found their power running a tougher go early on. Arizona would rotate tackle Bryan Robinson in the middle when Carolina hit the red zone. The Panthers were able to bull forward, but not for much, especially when the Cardinals went with a 4-4 look with eight minutes left in the first quarter. This left Okeafor and Dansby free to flow outside and stop Jonathan Stewart before he could get going.

On the six-yard touchdown run by Stewart with 7:28 left in the first quarter, Carolina took the optimal Cardinals setup, with Watson in the middle, and just smashed it up. The Panthers love to get little overloads going -- whether it's an extra pulling lineman inside or two tight ends outside left tackle to cut inside on a sweep -- and they did a great job neutralizing Arizona's power on this play. Stewart took the ball out an I-formation, Kalil and Vincent doubled Watson and pushed him to the right to create the gap, and left tackle Jordan Gross pulled to the A-gap to take linebacker Gerald Hayes out of the play. That put Stewart against Arizona's secondary, and that’s a mismatch if ever there was one. The Cards put their three primary defensive tackles on the front three -- Watson at the nose with Alan Branch to his left and Robinson to his right -- but the Panthers simply had the power edge. It must have been especially disconcerting to the Cardinals how easy it was for the Panthers to go man-on-man on that first drive -- they didn't have to commit a second blocker to Dockett on just about every play as some offensive lines would.

Figure 1: Carolina's Big Run

Carolina's biggest run of the day came on the first play of their second drive, from their own 13, with 43 seconds left in the first quarter. The Panthers lined up in an I-formation, and Arizona countered with a five-man front and cornerback Bryant McFadden playing the left edge, preparing for a run. As Vincent and Otah doubled Dockett to the right, Kalil handled Watson to the left one-on-one, and King chipped Clark Haggans outside right. Here was the real killer (Fig. 1): Both Hayes (No. 54) and Adrian Wilson (No. 24) hit the wrong spot -- they both headed to the blocking mulch around right tackle while Williams shot straight up the gap created inside. And once again, the mismatch between Williams and Arizona's secondary played out, as Antrel Rolle finally caught up to Williams 77 yards later at the Arizona 10-yard line. I have seen gap sloppiness before (remember, I live in Seattle), but it's been a while since I've seen two defenders -- and one a long-time FO binky! -- blow a spot like that. Both defenders followed the fullback's block outside, which is a neat trick if you can manage it. It helps if you don't actually need your fullback to block and can use him to guide would-be tacklers out of the way.

Two plays later, Arizona went with a similar defensive look, with McFadden spread out a bit more, but still keying on the run. The Panthers used the same strategy on a handoff to Stewart this time -- use the fullback to pull the front eight away from their gaps. It worked again. Stewart ran into a wall to the right side and was able to bounce back and to the left for the 10-yard touchdown run because Okeafor didn't stay put to protect the backside on a cut. He was too busy trying to set a land speed record to the ball. This was very much like the Cardinals defense of last year.

The Cardinals fell a bit in their stats after the Panthers' performance, but the real concern has to be about the sustainability of their run defense going forward. Arizona's 4-3 in a weak division, and they still have Steven Jackson (twice), Adrian Peterson, and Chris Johnson to deal with. If they don’t clamp down on a few things, it could get out of hand. Their blitzes leave woeful second-level reinforcements, and there isn't that dominant presence in the middle so common among the best 3-4 defenses. That's how teams like the Steelers and the Ravens maintain gap control despite their blitz tendencies, and that's what the Cardinals seem to be missing right now.

The Statuesque Aaron Rodgers
Minnesota Vikings 38 at Green Bay Packers 26

Eastern Michigan's T.J. Lang was the second-ranked guard in the 2009 draft class, according to NFLDraftScout.com. But Lang started 36 games at tackle in college, and it was his pure drive-blocking ability that had many NFL teams thinking that Lang could move inside at the NFL level. The Packers drafted him in the fourth round, and he backed up Daryn College at left guard in the preseason. A string of injuries to the line had the Packers starting Lang at left tackle against the Browns on October 25 after he showed promise along the left side in relief duty. He didn't allow a sack against Cleveland, but a far tougher test was on the horizon -- the return of the Minnesota front seven and Rhinestone Cowboy Jared Allen, who spent far too much time on the Packer backfield when the Vikings beat up Green Bay a month ago.

In that first meeting, pressure came from all fronts and throughout the game. In the rematch, the Vikings got to Aaron Rodgers four times in the first half, and twice in the second. More importantly, Rodgers passed for 38 yards in the first half, and 249 yards and three touchdowns in the second half. What changed?

The Packers left Lang alone with Allen for the most part on their first drive -- left guard Daryn Colledge slipped off his defender on one play to help Lang as Allen was recovering to the quarterback after Lang would take his bull rush. Tackle Allen Barbre, however, let Ray Edwards get past him and deflect a Rodgers pass to end the drive. That's what happened the first time Green Bay had the ball, and the Packers punted from the Vikings' 47 with 11:43 left in the first quarter.

The Packers' second drive began at their own 20 with 8:15 left in the first quarter. On first-and-10, Lang kicked out left and blocked outside linebacker Ben Leber, while tight end Donald Lee chipped Allen and Colledge picked him up from there. Ryan Grant fell down before he could block linebacker Kenny Onatolu, and Onatolu's rush forced Rodgers to throw the deep downfield pass to Greg Jennings early and incomplete. A quick screen to Ryan Grant was killed by Chad Greenway for a loss of three even as Lang rode Allen outside with surprising skill. That's the problem with Minnesota's pass rush -- it isn't just Allen, and it isn't just one side. If you pick up your defender, odds are there's someone else rushing through -- quite possibly unblocked.

Rodgers wasn't sacked until the third play of Green Bay's third drive, with 5:42 left in the first quarter, and it didn't come from Allen, who Lang blocked inside while Rodgers rolled left. In this case, Edwards had enough time to fend off Barbre's block, and a chip from guard Josh Sitton, run all the way across the field, and tackle Rodgers for a two-yard loss because Rodgers had nowhere to throw and he simply refused to run out of trouble.

I'd put the second sack, which came on the first play of the second quarter, on Rodgers as well. He was looking for Donald Driver on a crossing route, and Driver got hung up over the middle on a bump and coverage from linebacker E.J. Henderson. With his primary target gone, Rodgers held on to the ball far too long and Edwards took him down again. The third sack, and Allen's first, came with 10:38 left in the first half. It's the first one I wouldn't put at Rodgers' feet -- Allen simply beat Lang by pushing him out of the way with a great hand strike.

The fourth and final sack of the first half came with 3:16 left, and I'd have to put this one on the play calling. With the pressure the Packers knew Rodgers would be under, self-inflicted or not, a play-action draw fake to Ryan Grant is damn near suicidal. In the time it took that play to develop, Pat Williams put an awesome swim move on center Scott Wells and had an unobstructed path to Rodgers -- thanks also to Ryan Grant's "blocking optional" mindset on the play.

So, was the improved pass protection in the second half about a change in defensive scheme, or did the Packers simply wake up and realize that they couldn't wait ten seconds after the snap for every play to unravel? The Vikings were still able to get pressure from their front four with various twists and stunts, as well as winning man-on-man battles, but Rodgers was much more interested in running for positive yardage under pressure or throwing to the underneath read if that was the best option. Allen took him down again with 9:05 left in the third quarter, and that was on Rodgers as well. He didn't get the read he wanted out of a trips left, and he scanned the field far too long before Allen got to him. Lang was beaten on the play, but it's the quarterback's job to have a better feel for pass pressure than Rodgers had on this play and on this day.

The good news for the Packers is that their pass protection issues are not all on their offensive line -- that can be a complex problem to fix. The bad news is that Rodgers' sense of pressure hasn't improved over his NFL career. If anything, it's regressed. And for all the assets that make him a potentially great quarterback, that's the one thing that could keep him from the elite.

Brandon Jacobs' Power Outage
New York Giants 17 at Philadelphia Eagles 40

It's been a strange year for New York Giants fans accustomed to getting powerful inside running from Brandon Jacobs. The comments made by FOX analyst Tony Siragusa earlier this year (the hefty one claimed that Jacobs was "tip-toeing" at the line, the supreme insult to a power guy) may have been an overdue message to a player whose primary attribute seems to have gone missing this year. Through Week 8, Jacobs' yards per carry is down from 5.0 in 2008 to just 3.9 in 2009, his DVOA has taken a major nosedive (from 22.4% to -4.6%), and everyone seems concerned that this former old-school back has turned into a nifty, shifty misfit.

Jacobs, for his part, doesn’t think that he's running all that differently, though some of his comments betray that notion. "I feel like I'm running the same way I was running last year," Jacobs told the New York Daily News in early October. "Getting a little bit smarter, being patient, let the scheme happen for me. You just can't run in there and think that you can outrun your blocks."

Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride believes that the problem is strategic. "If there is an error that is slowing him down, it is because he wants to be perfect," Gilbride said. "He is trying to make the perfect read, if that is it. Sometimes you just have to trust your instincts and go out and play. But I certainly don't see anybody that is tip-toeing."

Jacobs started well, gaining 13 yards and bouncing off tackles on the Giants' first play from scrimmage. But on other plays, I saw unusual hesitation. On New York's second play, Jacobs had a potential gain outside with only Asante Samuel in the way, as the Giants pulled the guards to the right. But he stopped short and cut back inside for no gain. He would run purposefully through a free lane, but time and time again, I saw him hesitate at the point of attack -- looking for a hole as opposed to creating one. He seems to slow down when he hits the line now, looking for that lane, which turns him into a big guy with no momentum and not enough inside speed instead of the battering ram he used be.

I don't think there's a discernible difference in the quality of the Giants' line play; this strikes me as being much more about Jacobs' hesitation or inability to take advantage of power blocking and favorable matchups. To see a runner of his size and ability avoid face-offs with linebackers and cornerbacks because he's looking for the perfect hole is just weird. If the Giants want Jacobs to be more of a do-it-all back in this way, it's a bad fit. And if it's Jacobs trying to do things he isn't really capable of, someone needs to fix it. Maybe a few draws or delays, plays that get the opposing front line out of pursuit too quickly, would be a good change of pace to get Jacobs back on his feet.

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 04 Nov 2009

20 comments, Last at 06 Nov 2009, 4:24pm by jmaron

Comments

1
by Dave :: Wed, 11/04/2009 - 5:29pm

After watching the game and also Playbook last night, I agree that it seemed mostly like Rodgers simply played better in the 2nd half. It looked like two different quarterbacks.

I might even go so far as to say that there were bigger issues in that game than the pass protection. I wasn't a fan of either 2nd half FG attempt, I thought that several blitzes were predictable and dumb (particularly on 3rd and 11 - though to be fair, even sending 6, Berrian was still pretty well covered on that final TD), and they took a few awful penalties. Between those mental issues, the short fields Harvin got them, and the lack of any real pass rush, they gave away an awful lot in that game.

2
by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 11/04/2009 - 5:43pm

I watched the game too, and came away with the following thoughts:

1. Adrian Peterson is really, really good.
2. Minnesota's O line is really, really good.
3. Green Bay's defense has really fallen off this year. They used to be intimidating and tough, to make up for their lack of speed. Now they just look old.

8
by Rich Arpin (not verified) :: Thu, 11/05/2009 - 1:30am

Their d co-ordinator (Capers I think) was in New England last year, and he was always getting his corners to play off 6 or 7 yards. It was so aggravating. Especially when they were dropping back immediately as well. Mayo and the front three were the only good parts of the team, with a developing guyton in there as well.

Aren't the greenbay corners historically good in press coverage?

9
by Dave :: Thu, 11/05/2009 - 3:02am

I think it depends on what ref crew they get. If it's a Ron Winter-type crew, they suck, because they'll get a ton of flags. If they're allowed to get away with muggings, they're pretty awesome.

That was the case a while back, anyway. I assume they've slipped a bit since then anyway, just due to age, and maybe that's why they're backed off some. Or it could be that they're playing different coverages. Honestly, I haven't watched them very closely since last year's Colts victory early in the season (when, coincidentally, they had Winter, but still mostly got away with murder). But they always struck me as a boom or bust unit.

Of course, when the front 7 isn't getting any legitimate pressure, any secondary can look bad.

3
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 11/04/2009 - 6:10pm

I thought Ryan Grant was going to faint at the sight of an angry Pat Williams. Rodgers deserved credit for not fumbling.

4
by Formersd (not verified) :: Wed, 11/04/2009 - 6:43pm

Giants have the Chargers this week and since I watch the Chargers every week, I can say with confidence, that should solve all their running game woes for at least one week. If it doesn't they've got a real problem on their hands...

5
by I am excellent at making love (not verified) :: Wed, 11/04/2009 - 8:37pm

In past few games that the Vikings have achieved an early lead, they seem to be telling their mediocre-at-best safties to Go Stand in the End Zone, hoping to bend just enough to get a dlineman loose for a drive-killing sack. If the opponent eventually gets down to the Red Zone, the decent linebackers have less space to cover, and the team fares pretty well.

6
by jmaron :: Wed, 11/04/2009 - 9:14pm

I just watched a replay of the GB - Minnesota game. I'm not a big Rodgers fan as some on this site may have noticed. I've been posting essentially what Farrar is saying about Rodger's lack of rush awareness for the last two years.

Rodgers was horrible in the first half. He was the primary reason for the horrid 47 yard total. But in the second half I have to admit he was great. He got the ball out, made good decisions and avoided the rush well and threw very accurately.

I wonder if the pressure of the game got to him. He really killed GB's chances in the first game in Minnesota by holding the ball too long on a few sacks and threw an int as well. In both games he started playing much better once Minnesota had established a big lead.

By the way - I read an article on CNNSI and listened to Jimmy Johnson rant about the protection schemes being all wrong in the first half. That's utter nonsense. If anything GB held more guys in to block in the first half than in the second. The difference in the halves was simply about 5 plays where either Rodgers or the line screwed up in the first half:

1) 1st Sack 3 and goal - Rodgers holds the ball for 5-6 seconds - is sacked
2) 2nd sack GB end of the field - Rodgers holds the ball for about 5 seconds - sacked
3) Rodgers fumbles snap on attempted run play - loss of eight yards
4) Jerod Allen sacks Rodgers in 3 seconds
5) Pat Williams sacks Rodgers in 2 seconds.

Having watched the tape closely of the second half - I do get why people see potential great things in Rodgers. But perhaps if people watch the 1st half tape they'll see what I've been writing about.

Time will tell.

10
by Dave :: Thu, 11/05/2009 - 3:07am

It's really strange watching him because in some situations he seems completely above any pressure and has the calmness of a pothead who just took a few hits. But then other times he has that deer in headlights look, where his brain shut down and he can't make a decision. It's amazing how big a swing from one end to the other he can take quickly.

Was the CNNSI article Ross Tucker's? I never found him to be that great a writer (or radio guy, although I suppose he's still better than most) but he did have a point that they seemed a bit too confident in some questionable players, and that the backs could have done more. Maybe I'm just spoiled by watching how well Joe Addai picks up great ends or blitzers and still gets open for checkdowns, but he was definitely right about that - the Packer backs didn't really contribute very much at all. And of course there was that one play where nobody even bothered to try blocking Allen... though even that one may have been able to be salvaged by a quick throwaway.

11
by peterplaysbass (not verified) :: Thu, 11/05/2009 - 9:12am

"in some situations he seems completely above any pressure and has the calmness of a pothead who just took a few hits."

Now we know what those halftime adjustments were.

12
by jmaron :: Thu, 11/05/2009 - 9:14am

It was Ross Tucker's article. In watching the replay I felt that Rodgers had some check down or run himself that he didn't take. But watching games on TV doesn't give you the whole picture. You can't see the secondary so you can't tell how covered receivers are.

Rodgers is likely better than I have suggested but it always bugs me when I think someone is getting unfairly credited or criticized. For the most part people are heaping abuse on the off line and the coaches and I don't think that's fair. I think the 2nd half showed that the coaches had a good game plan (at least offensively) and the the line if you watch the whole game did a very decent job.

14
by tuluse :: Thu, 11/05/2009 - 1:38pm

Rodgers has the worst pocket presence of any "good" QB in the league. I don't know how much this is going to hurt the packers in the short or medium term, but he's sure to shorten Rodgers's career.

16
by ammek :: Thu, 11/05/2009 - 2:50pm

You're giving the Packer line too much of a pass in your desire to give yourself a pat on the back.

Don't forget the Vikings rarely rushed more than four. Sure, that line is very good, but even so: the linemen knew who was coming, and where they were coming from, and got beaten anyway. Rodgers has played the blitz pretty well so far — half of his sacks have come on first down or second-and-short.

It's not so much a question of decision-making or failure to go through his reads: rather, Rodgers gets fixed on an idea in the (mistaken) belief that he has time to let it develop. Overall, his biggest problem is that he seems to play with a lack of urgency. I don't know if that can be fixed.

18
by jmaron :: Fri, 11/06/2009 - 9:10am

Ammek - what do you think most of this posting is if not "I'm smarter than you". Do any of us have a vested interest in the things we discuss on this site?

What I find so annoying about your comment is that almost no one on this site ever says - hey - you've got a good point - or conversely you're right I was wrong.

Yes I'm patting myself on the back - FO is now writing about what I wrote about before the start of the 2008 season - that Aaron Rodgers has a problem avoiding the sack. Did you see that coming - don't remember any comments from you on that front.

I also predicted that Oakland would be a playoff team this year - and that Jamarcus Russell would be a good QB. Oops...but at least I can admit I was wrong and try to learn from others as opposed to folks like you just revert to nothing more than insults and contradiction and ridiculous observations like Rodgers lacks a sense of urgency.

19
by ammek :: Fri, 11/06/2009 - 1:27pm

My apologies, I didn't mean to sound so nasty. The point of my (too-strongly-worded) observation was that sometimes we can get an idea into our heads about a player or coach early on in their career, and henceforth everything they do is viewed through that prism. It's kind of an obvious point — everything that goes right for Belichick is an example of his genius, while whatever goes wrong for the Chargers only reemphasizes the incompetence of Norv Turner.

If you were writing about Rodgers' problems in avoiding the sack before 2008, then you were doing so on the basis of his college and preseason performance, a few quarters of mop-up duty in blowouts, and one half against the Cowboys in 2007 where the Pack trailed by three scores before Rodgers came in. To me, that screams 'small sample size'. Now it may well be that you were and are correct; the subject could be debated forever. However, either way your original pre-2008 observations strike me as being based on flimsy evidence and, as such, not much to get excited about.

I wouldn't categorize your observations as equivalent to a 'prediction' (eg about Oakland), either. Basically every prediction of a team's record or a draft pick's success/failure is pure conjecture, except the really, really obvious ("the Lions will suck") — and even then there are exceptions (2008 Falcons, 2009 Broncos?).

As many of my hunches are wrong as right — I might as well toss a coin. I thought the Lions would improve from 2007 to 2008. That's a worse prediction than your Raiders one. In general I don't really waste time predicting the future, or reminding other people that I noticed something two years ago before everyone else; I don't watch college football either, so before 2008 I had no opinion about what kind of a quarterback Rodgers would be, nor his strengths and weaknesses.

I did — along with everyone else who was looking — notice that the Packers were entering 2009 with an unproven offensive line, and no backup for Chad Clifton. I did — along with everyone else, apart from the Packers' staff — think this wasn't a very bright idea. On the other hand, I also observed that the defensive line was thin, and worried that it would be as much of a problem. It feels good to be wrong.

20
by jmaron :: Fri, 11/06/2009 - 4:24pm

"..that sometimes we can get an idea into our heads about a player or coach early on in their career, and henceforth everything they do is viewed through that prism"

That's very true. I try to be open minded about things but the ego is a powerful thing. I know when I watch Rodgers I'm looking for things that support my initial belief. But I try to avoid getting wrapped up in my own ego, that's why I commented about the 2nd half - because I could see in that half what people who think he's an elite QB see.

"If you were writing about Rodgers' problems in avoiding the sack before 2008, then you were doing so on the basis of his college and preseason performance, a few quarters of mop-up duty in blowouts, and one half against the Cowboys in 2007 where the Pack trailed by three scores before Rodgers came in. To me, that screams 'small sample size'."

Definitely a smallish sample size but what I noted was the consistency in which he showed high sack rates. Each pre-season he was sacked about 12%-15%. Each regular season he was sacked above 10%. I don't have the totals in front of me but I believe it was over 200 attempts resulting in about a 14% sack rate. And, the rate was consistently high across each segment. It was the consistently high rates that made me think there's a pattern here. Of course he managed a 6% rate in a full season, seemingly throwing water on the theory, but this was on a team that gave up on a 2% sack rate the previous year with a different QB. My thought there was that he was sacked at 3 times the rate behind a similar line with the same coaching staff and offensive strategy as the previous guy.

In short - I don't think I based my belief on flimsy evidence.

"In general I don't really waste time predicting the future.."

I don't think I'd find football interesting in the least if I wasn't trying to figure out how things will turn out in the future. What players will develop, which won't, what strategies will prove superior. That's what makes this all interesting to me. I love watching Miami now because they are playing differently than everyone else.

Watching the actual games is fun but only in that I've invested my mind in how things will work out.

7
by Shane S. (not verified) :: Wed, 11/04/2009 - 11:04pm

I remember when Favre was in his first few seasons he'd try to force the ball in rather than wait in the pocket. Rodger's issue seems almost to be the opposite, holding the ball too long. I wish he'd try and just throw it away once in a while, just so his team isn't killed all the time with the bad down and distance situations.

13
by jon w (not verified) :: Thu, 11/05/2009 - 11:05am

i think this jacobs thing is simple. how many times do we see running backs get paid and then go soft. im sure this has happened many times before him, but to me, this will always be the shawn alexander syndrome. the giants seemed like the smart team that knew you need to stockpile good young runners so that you dont have to pay them. they played it perfectly with ward and bradshaw, and im sure once its bradshaws turn to get paid, they will have danny ware in there, and then andre brown...

15
by JoeHova :: Thu, 11/05/2009 - 2:11pm

***i think this jacobs thing is simple. how many times do we see running backs get paid and then go soft.***

I don't think it's really going soft in the way you mean it. There are only so many hits a running back can take. Even great ones rarely last more than 4-5 years and getting hit so much is the reason.

17
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Thu, 11/05/2009 - 7:19pm

Cover-3 is by far the dullest and dryest regular here at FO. But only walkthrough beats it in excellence!!