Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features

SandersEmm10.jpg

» Scramble for the Ball: Quarter Pole Projections

Mike and Tom weigh the chances of this year's class of receivers, running backs and tight ends who are on pace to break the magical 1,000-yard mark for the first time.

20 Sep 2006

Every Play Counts: LaVar Arrington

by Michael David Smith

Early in the 2005 season the Washington Redskins did something that just a year earlier would have seemed unthinkable: They put three-time Pro Bowl linebacker LaVar Arrington on their inactive list. Arrington was healthy and ready to play, but the Redskins' coaching staff explained that whenever they put him on the field, he did his own thing rather than play within the defensive system, and his refusal to follow the game plan hurt the team.

Arrington made it back into the starting lineup later in the year, but he wasn't happy in Washington, and his coaches weren't happy with him. During the off-season both parties agreed to go their separate ways, and Arrington signed a contract with the division rival New York Giants.

So now that Arrington is in a new environment, is he able to play within the confines of the defense? Watching Arrington on every play of the Giants' victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday showed that he doesn't seem to know what he's doing in pass coverage, has lost the blend of speed and power that once made him a terror as a pass rusher, and generally looks washed up at the age of 28.

In the scheme run by Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis, linebackers have to read the offense and react, rather than simply attack as soon as the ball is snapped. Although a read-and-react defense by definition forces linebackers to see what the offense is doing before they can pursue the play, it's surprising how passive Arrington looked against Philadelphia. On one first-and-10 swing pass to running back Brian Westbrook along the left sideline, Arrington was closing in and could have taken a shot at Westbrook, but when he saw that his teammate, cornerback Sam Madison, was about to make the tackle, he slowed down and watched. Sure, Madison tackled Westbrook and it didn't hurt the Giants that Arrington didn't get there to help out, but what if Madison had missed? Arrington should have followed up the play in case Westbrook had broken Madison's tackle, but he seemed content to leave the work to someone else.

Early in his career, Arrington was at his best when he lined up on the line of scrimmage and blitzed. That's what he did in 2002, when Marvin Lewis was his coordinator and he led all NFL linebackers with 11 sacks. But in the Giants' defense he just as often lines up four yards off the line of scrimmage and has coverage responsibilities on short passes in the flat. He struggles with that job.

On a first-and-10 late in the first half Sunday, Arrington got completely turned around in coverage, following tight end L.J. Smith deeper than he needed to (he had a defensive back behind him), opening up a huge area of real estate that Westbrook entered to catch a seven-yard pass. Arrington did make the tackle on that play, but if he had been in the correct position he would have stopped the pass from being completed in the first place.

That was far from the only time Arrington gave too much of a cushion to a Philadelphia running back. On a third-and-3, Donovan McNabb passed to running back Thomas Tapeh, with Arrington in coverage. Arrington backed up far enough that he allowed Tapeh to run past the first-down marker and turn around with plenty of space. Tapeh dropped McNabb's pass, but if he hadn't it would have been a first down.

Arrington also had trouble tackling. On a nine-yard completion to Correll Buckhalter late in the first half, Arrington was in coverage and should have tackled Buckhalter for a short gain, but Buckhalter ran through Arrington's arms and picked up five extra yards before Carlos Emmons tackled him. The Eagles obviously noticed Arrington struggling. After that missed tackle they threw three consecutive passes into the left flat, exactly where Arrington was in coverage. Those coverage problems are why Arrington comes out in the nickel package.

If he looked incompetent against the pass, Arrington looked uninterested against the run. On a third-and-2 run by Correll Buckhalter, Arrington lined up on the line of scrimmage outside the left tackle, but when Buckhalter went up the middle, Arrington just stood there and watched. Two plays later he did it again: If you see a replay of Brian Westbrook's 12-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, keep an eye on Arrington. He lined up outside Philadelphia's left tackle and Westbrook ran outside the right tackle, so no one would expect Arrington to make the play. But everyone would expect Arrington to try to get into the vicinity in case Westbrook cut back in the other direction, and he didn't. As soon as he saw Westbrook turn the corner, he slowed his pursuit to a jog. There's just no excuse for loafing the way Arrington did on that play.

Even when Arrington was in position to make tackles, he didn't fight off the Eagles' blocks. On the first play of the second half, when Westbrook ran in Arrington's direction and gained 13 yards, Arrington got abused by Eagles tight end L.J. Smith. Arrington tried to get into the backfield around Smith's outside shoulder, but Smith drove him about 10 yards back.

Perhaps most troubling was Arrington's performance on Westbrook's crucial fourth-quarter fumble. When the ball came loose, Arrington just stood there and watched as his teammates and the Eagles scrambled for it. Four minutes remained in the game and the Giants trailed by 10. That turnover fueled their dramatic comeback victory. You'd think Arrington would be doing everything he could to get to the ball, but he just didn't look too interested.

Is Arrington lazy? That would certainly be a reasonable conclusion, although it's also possible that his knee is hurting him so much that he doesn't want to go full speed unless it's absolutely necessary. Since undergoing multiple surgeries for a 2004 knee injury, Arrington has often talked of the pain he feels. Whatever the reason for Arrington's going in slow motion on so many plays, it's going to hurt the Giants' defense.

Saying he has slowed down because of his knee isn't a question of Arrington's toughness, though. On the first play of the second quarter, Arrington ran head-first into Westbrook and went down with a pinched nerve in his neck, appearing to be in a lot of pain. He sat out only two plays before returning to the game.

But that knee is most likely why blitzing, which was once Arrington's forte, is now an exercise in futility. Arrington did blitz a few times, but he was never successful. Both of the Eagles' tackles were able to keep him in check, and even Westbrook, a running back who weighs 203 pounds to Arrington's 257, had no trouble blocking Arrington, stopping him on multiple plays before he even got close to McNabb. On one third-and-2 early in the third quarter, Arrington blitzed and Westbrook took him out low. The old Arrington would have jumped over a running back who dove at his legs, but this version of Arrington went straight down to the ground as McNabb completed a pass for a first down. Arrington looks nothing like the Penn State player who famously leaped over the offensive line to drill a fullback the instant he received a handoff. He has now played in 18 games since he last had a sack.

Arrington was benched in Washington because he couldn't play within the schemes of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Now he seems unable or unwilling to play within Giants coordinator Tim Lewis's schemes. But what's fascinating is that Lewis and Williams run very different defenses. Williams, a Buddy Ryan protégé, likes his linebackers to attack and run as fast as they can to the ball on every play. Lewis likes his linebackers to read the offense, stay in coverage, and make sure they're always in the proper position. It makes sense that a linebacker would have trouble moving from one of those systems to the other, but a linebacker who can't fit into either has a problem.

Arrington says he just wants to line up and drill someone, which would seem to make him a perfect fit as a special teams gunner. But the best special teams players are the ones who never stop hustling, and Arrington doesn't fit in that mold. There just isn't a place on a football team for a player who played the way Arrington did on Sunday.

On the FOX broadcast of the game, commentator Troy Aikman said, "LaVar has not shown the same intensity that I was used to seeing of him when he first came into the league." Aikman would know. It was a tough hit by Arrington that gave Aikman the concussion that ended his career. But Arrington didn't deliver any tough hits on Sunday. Arrington's contract was described in the media as a seven-year, $49 million deal, but the contract was so back-loaded that the Giants can get out of it whenever they want without too big a hit on their cap. Unless he improves dramatically as this season wears on, he shouldn't be back with the Giants next year.

Each week, Michael David Smith looks at one specific player or one aspect of a team on every single play of the previous game. Standard caveat applies: Yes, one game is not necessarily an indicator of performance over the entire season.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 20 Sep 2006

64 comments, Last at 25 Mar 2007, 2:10pm by bad credit

Comments

1
by Blitz Fitness (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 11:41am

This is the same type of play I saw out him in Washington. I'm glad to see that it wasn't me who was crazy, but the bobble heads who were flabberghasted as to why the Redskins sat him.

2
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 11:46am

MDS,
I love reading your articles!

Too bad Washington couldn't keep Pierce and get rid of Arrington before last season...

I didn't really notice him play poorly in Washington because he hardly played last season.

3
by Doug Farrar :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 11:48am

Great stuff, MDS. I love this series.

"He has now played in 18 games since he last had a sack." Ouch.

And what's with all the seven-year, $49-million backloaded contracts this year?

4
by Sergio (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 12:03pm

Great article, MDS. As usual.

Also, completely off topic (but I haven't seen it commented anywhere) - is it true what they said on NFLTA? Has Volek actually been traded to San Diego?

Seriously, what did the kid ever do?

5
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 12:12pm

Terrific piece. It's always hard to to say from afar whether a guy's physical problems are the major hindrance, or if he simply doesn't like to play football all that much anymore, or whether the former is producing the latter.

6
by Rob (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 12:13pm

I don't mean this as a complaint--but could the next EPC maybe be about a player overperforming expectations? Some talented young guy that the rest of the league hasn't caught on to yet?

7
by Adam (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 12:18pm

This isn't really a surprise to me after watching him the last two years in Washington. Greg Williams' scheme should have been a perfect fit for him and considering how many undrafted or unheralded LBs Williams' D has turned into legitimate starters, it was hard not to feel that if Lavar couldn't get on the field here he wasn't going to do well anywhere. On top of that, his attitude degenerated and it's probably only a matter of time before he starts running his mouth again and saying ridiculous nonsense to the NY media. That city is going to eat him alive before long. He won't have the benefit of all the apologists who still believed in the unfufilled hype in DC.

8
by Dave Glass (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 12:20pm

I LOVED Arrington when he was at PSU, but I always felt he was a bit overhyped and that Brandon Short was much more consistent. I understand the knee has probably changed his game, but I too am appalled at the lack of hustle he has shown.

re: #6, I would also enjoy a look at an unknown-but-on the rise player, and I'm sure if anyone can find such a player it's MDS.

9
by David (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 12:20pm

How about Alex Smith?

And only half of that suggestion is because he's playing the Eagles this week. His non-suckage is one of the most interesting individual storylines of the year so far.

10
by Jason (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 12:23pm

Give LaVar a break, at least he's really cool in the Eastern Motors commercial.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD8o9bt-eWg

11
by DanT (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 12:37pm

Re: #9

I love the idea of every EPC this year being about a player against the Eagles. Mostly because this is two weeks in a row my take matched that of MDS.

It makes me feel smart!

12
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 12:57pm

Kudos to MDS for another great piece.

13
by paytonrules (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 12:59pm

Of course he's at a Pro Bowl level. He plays in New York!

14
by daryl (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 1:06pm

Just rewatch that play on tape when Westbrook fumbled and Arrington was nowhere near the play.So why would he be in the pile?

15
by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 1:15pm

I agree, EPC is one of the best things on FO (and there are a lot of really good things). I'm also not surprised with Arrington's play. I initially thought Washington's coaches were sitting him for some reason other than his play, but then he made it to the field and showed they weren't.

For a guy for whom your job is your credit, you'd think he'd be more concerned with keeping his.

16
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 1:18pm

I LOVED Arrington when he was at PSU, but I always felt he was a bit overhyped

in 2000, the burning question was "who should go first, Courtney Brown or Arrington?"--5 years down the line, turns out the correct answer was "false"

17
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 1:30pm

The level of major suckage in current play at the top of the 2000 draft is quite interesting. Not just Brown and Arrington, but also Warrick, Lewis, Simon, Taylor, Dayne, Janikowski, and McDougle in the first 20 picks. That's close to 50% of the guys who are playing terrible or can't even get on the field!

18
by Independent George (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 1:32pm

#16 - this is true now, but let's not forget how terrifying he was just a few years ago, before the injuries. I find it hard to fault picking Arrington that high - for a while, he produced exactly what was expected of him. Plus, didn't Washingon trade down to take him as part of the Ricky Williams/Ditka deal?

Hee hee. Ditka.

19
by Goathead (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 1:38pm

A bit OT but the NYTimes has a really nice story today on some of the head games & pushing the rules that goes on in the NFL:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/20/sports/football/20giants.html?ref=foot...

20
by Jerry Giants fan (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 1:43pm

Lovely to jump from one conclusion to the next based on two whole games. How about giving the guy as chance to play a half season in a totally new system, one he's never played in before saying he can't play in that system.

21
by Will (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 1:43pm

Regarding #10 - I am not so sure LaVar's job is really worth a lot of credit these days.

The funny thing is that the Washington sports talk (old 980 crew) bashed Gregg Williams for benching Arrington and starting Warrick Holdman last year.

Holdman is a starter now and nobody's griping about it.

LaVar was a huge fan favorite here but really didn't contribute as much as it seemed. Sort of like Warren Sapp. Not to pick at Warren, but he was more talk than production for the last few years.

22
by NF (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 1:56pm

If the Saints win mostly because of Drew Brees play next Monday, you should do an EPC on the Saints passing game. Since trading Stallworth, their best receiver may be Reggie Bush. Who happens to lead all rookies in receiving yards. The other two significant receivers are Devey Henderson, who will either break-out this season or he will be buried on the depth chart next season, and Joe Horn, who I think has very little left after injuries and age.

I'm not a fan of the Saints, but it would impress me if they can get success from their passing game agaisnt a quality pass defense.

23
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 2:29pm

LaVar was a huge fan favorite here but really didn’t contribute as much as it seemed. Sort of like Warren Sapp

I think that's because, when he DID make a play, it was of the spectacular variety, so people didn't notice all the other times he was badly out of position

24
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 2:31pm

I will always give LaVar Arrington the benefit of the doubt, simply due to his being a Voltron fan.

25
by Paralis (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 2:32pm

re #21

Given how the rest of the Redskins squad is performing, the fact that nobody's complaining about Holdman isn't such an endorsement. I haven't been watching closely enough to tell whether that's a case of him playing well, though, or whether he's just better than Kenny Wright. or Mike Rumph. Or Andre Carter.

26
by sam_acw (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 3:01pm

I wonder if he'd be a good fit on the outside of a 3-4 defence if he gets some energy into his game.

27
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 3:23pm

Re: 17
Come on, Jamal Lewis doesn't belong in that list of yours! He's had a 2000 yd season, and one bad year because his leg never recovered from surgery.

28
by Adam H. (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 3:30pm

Hey MDS, wasn't the victim of the "LaVar Leap" the Illinois fullback?

29
by Adam H. (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 3:37pm

Google. Elmer Hickman FB. Did you know LaVar's middle name is RaShad? His full name has five capital letters.

30
by MM (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 3:39pm

This on the day of his grandfather's funeral?

31
by Adam H. (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 3:50pm

Re 30 Yeouch, didn't see that on Google.

32
by Robin Fishbein (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 4:01pm

Is it possible that loafing from far-side defenders could be a coaching issue?

Some coaches' instructions to their defenders are as follows...
(1) First few seconds of play: Carry out individual assignment.
(2) Rest of play until the whistle: Chase and tackle ball carrier.

From the perspective of an outside linebacker, after the ball carrier passes the offensive tackle on the far side, has he been given specific instructions as to what to do? Does he have an assignment to carry out in that situation? Or is he left to decide for himself, in the moment, what to do for the rest of the play?

33
by Travis (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 4:11pm

If Arrington continues to play like this in the Week 5 game against Washington, he really is shot as a player. I can't think of a game in which he'll be more motivated.

Interview published today:

Q. Other than Tom Coughlin which coach would you like to play for?

Arrington: Marty Schottenheimer.

Q. Which coach wouldn't you like to play for?

Arrington: Joe Gibbs.

34
by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 4:46pm

#32: Choose and angle and go to the ball. Guy runs past scrimmage? Run to the ball. Guy catches past scrimmage? Run to the ball.

35
by Matt Weiner (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 4:51pm

19: Nice article. Burress a frequent victim of uncalled penalties? Has he stopped getting away with pushoffs since he left Pittsburgh?

36
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 5:55pm

Burress needs to watch film of his last catch against Philly last week if he thinks that he's a "victim" of uncalled penalties. :)

37
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 6:45pm

Re: 36
Burress needs to watch film of his last catch against Philly last week if he thinks that he’s a “victim� of uncalled penalties. :)

Pat- Question: Why was Buress' jersey on his right side(the side S. Brown was covering, pulled down exposing his entire side of shoulder pads. Just look at some of the pictures of that moment, they proof is readily available

38
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 8:16pm

Because Brown was trying to fight through a pushoff from Burress.

39
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 8:23pm

Actually, let me take that back - the one I'm thinking of was an earlier catch. On the game winning catch, it was only very slight contact from Burress.

Brown was on Burress's left side, by the way, not right. There's a video of it on YouTube, although the angle there isn't great.

40
by Travis (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 9:07pm

Brown himself didn't think there was pass inteference on the winning TD. Article:

Brown was asked whether Burress pushed off on the play.

"Yes, but it is a physical football game," he said. "I was pushing him, and he was pushing me. He adjusted to the football and made the catch."

41
by Harris (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 9:19pm

#32 My high school coach told us to watch CRC -- Counter-Reverse-Cutback. In other words, keep your butt at home
(about a yard into the backfield) until the ball passes the line of scrimmage, then take a pursuit angle. On passes, the rule was to wait until the QB passed the RB to watch for the draw, but that rule wasn't nearly as crucial as CRC. I'll know what that means when I'm 90.

42
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 09/20/2006 - 10:32pm

Sorry you are right, it was his left side.

On wireimges.com you can see Buress' jersey being pulled down in one of the picks. Cant make any call in that situation if/when both players doing it.

43
by R.P. (not verified) :: Thu, 09/21/2006 - 12:17am

FYI - your assessment on his effort after Westbrook's fumble is largely inaccurate, as is the play where he supposedly "gave up" on a swing pass to Westbrook ont he Eagles first drive.

Arrington lined up off left tackle, engaged Matt Schobel slanting playside, and went to the ground as it appeared he got tangled with one of the Eagles linemen. When he got to his feet, the ball was already out, with players converging. The kicker? The ball was outside the near hash while Arrington was on the far hash. Given the pile-up of players in his line of sight, who knows if he even saw the ball on the ground, let alone the fact that he was not near the play.

One the swing pass, by the time Arrington got to the play, Westbrook was already rolling forward on the ground - In order to put a hit on him, he would have had to drill him on the ground. Also, he did not "let up" - he corrected his pursuit angle once Madison got in position and had to bring himself under control to ensure Westbrook couldn't cut back inside if Madison missed. It's good fundamental football.

I'm not saying he played well (not one of their LB's had what I would call a good game) but lets not embelish to prove a point. He's not a coverage LB - that's not news - and that's not what he was brought here to do. Once his teammates can actually get their zone responsibilities tightened up, and stop someone on 3rd down, maybe the Giants might take a lead for more than 11 plays in 2 games. Then Lewis can cut the "bend...don't break" zone and start rushing more than 4 as they have the majority of the first 2 games.

To look at some of these plays and try to spin the events the way you have......sorry, but it screams "agenda".

44
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 09/21/2006 - 2:22am

B: Like I said, Youtube has the actual clip. In motion, you can see that Brown doesn't make contact until Burress runs into him. Though in that situation, like Brown said, it's pretty much incidental contact. Looks worse static.

45
by Kalyan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/21/2006 - 6:00am

Great article. I was wondering if the next week article would contain someone on the offense - say, Alex Smith (49ers) or Grossman (Bears). Through Week 2, they have looked impressive

I wonder whether the 49ers have the offense firepower to withstand the eagles.

46
by Elmer Hickman (not verified) :: Thu, 09/21/2006 - 6:42am

Elmer Hickman

47
by Ilanin (not verified) :: Thu, 09/21/2006 - 9:56am

Since everybody else seems to be suggesting EPCs, I thought I'd join in.

Alex Smith sounds like a good idea. However, there is a danger of this feature turning into Every Play Against Philadelphia Counts, so maybe somebody else next week. I'd be interested in an Ike Taylor EPC, since he's beginning to acquire a decent rep; or for an offensive player, how about D'Brickashaw Ferguson/Nick Mangold? I'm assuming that the Jets' line is moderately improved since they actually seem to have an offence this year, but the specifics would probably be educational.

48
by Fiver (not verified) :: Thu, 09/21/2006 - 10:19am

Re: #47 -
I watched the Jets/Pats game and observed some of Ferguson and Mangold's play. I didn't see many rookie screw ups, and they seemed pretty solid in pass pro on the plays I watched. In the run game, they weren't doing much, but the backs they are blocking for are of such poor quality, it's hard to tell whether they are the problem there. Also, they were going up against a very solid DLine. Anyway, I second the request for a two-fer EPC of Mangold and Ferguson.

49
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 09/21/2006 - 10:33am

If you're going to look at Mangold/Ferguson you should probably just focus on the Jets' offensive line as a whole. From my limited experience watching the Jets, it looks like the rooks are the only guys on that line that are worth anything. It might be interesting to see just how bad the other 3 guys on the line are in comparison to the two rookies.

50
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Thu, 09/21/2006 - 11:22am

I throw in my EPC suggestion --
Every Play Counts: ROBO-PUNTER

If he's unavailable I'll second the Alex Smith nomination.

51
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Thu, 09/21/2006 - 11:43am

How about Reggie Bush for EPC? Sure it's obvious, but it's a game that everyone will see on Monday night, and there's already been one on Mario Williams.

52
by Rob (not verified) :: Thu, 09/21/2006 - 3:18pm

51, yeah, that would be excellent. It seems like he's (at the least) an unusual player; FO's blog indicates he ran out of bounds on 9 touches in one game, much higher than usual. I'm curious if that's random or if he's actually avoiding contact and going out of bounds before being tackled. Personally, (I'm no falcons fan) Jerious Norwood might be good. Dunn can't keep being good much longer, so it would be interesting to see the heir-apparent of the Falcon's rushing attack. Better yet, though, someone none of us have heard of (yet).

53
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Thu, 09/21/2006 - 4:21pm

I wonder now, with the Itty Bitty RB Committee article now posted, whether that would lead to an EPC of McAllister and Bush vs. Vick and Dunn...

Just tossing that out there, lads.

54
by Larry (not verified) :: Thu, 09/21/2006 - 8:51pm

Loved the article and the EPC series. I know that you did a couple of Seahawk related EPCs already, but I'd like one for Walter Jones and new Left Guard Chris Spencer.

55
by Sean (not verified) :: Thu, 09/21/2006 - 10:10pm

I like the Alex Smith idea. I would also like to read an EPC on AJ Hawk. Some Packers fans and a writer have been less than impressed, especially from a no.5 overall pick.

56
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Thu, 09/21/2006 - 10:18pm

I like it when EPC focuses on non-QBs. It's pretty easy to tell whether a quarterback is doing well, and you learn that from watching the games without too much effort. I can definitively say, without any special analysis, that Donovan McNabb is a better quarterback than Drew Bledsoe.

But can I tell you whether Igor Olshansky is a better 3-4 lineman than Ty Warren? Nope. And I have absolutely no idea.

The purpose of EPC is to answer that sort of question. It's to carefully study the players we don't normally watch every play. I would be perfectly happy if MDS wrote this column for a decade without once focusing on a quarterback.

57
by Richard Citrone (not verified) :: Fri, 09/22/2006 - 12:24am

So I guess now your an expert on the play of a linebacker in the NFL. Are you just taking the season off as a linebacker coach. Sports writers the problem today is none of you have ever played the game. Your probably an Eagles Fan. WTF FOX sports you hate the Giants and Notre Dame, keep dreaming underdogs.

58
by Ilanin (not verified) :: Fri, 09/22/2006 - 8:02am

57 - no, no, the FOMBC is invoked on the DVOA thread, not here. But nice try anyway.

59
by DGL (not verified) :: Fri, 09/22/2006 - 10:28am

I was wondering if we needed a more generic form of the zlionsfan template, to apply to non-DVOA threads. Something that included "geeks with glasses living in their parents basement" and "how can you expect to know anything about football if you never played it" and such. Didn't have time to put it together, though.

60
by Andrew (not verified) :: Fri, 09/22/2006 - 1:43pm

johnnyblazin #27:

Come on, Jamal Lewis doesn’t belong in that list of yours! He’s had a 2000 yd season, and one bad year because his leg never recovered from surgery.

Yes, but what has he done lately that's worth a top of the 1st round pick and money? Corey Simon had an awesome couple of opening seasons. But now he sucks, is injured, and is vastly overweight.

61
by Andrew (not verified) :: Fri, 09/22/2006 - 1:46pm

Pat and Matt Weiner:

Burress a frequent victim of uncalled penalties? Has he stopped getting away with pushoffs since he left Pittsburgh?

Burress needs to watch film of his last catch against Philly last week if he thinks that he’s a “victim� of uncalled penalties.

Is Burress the new Michael Irvin? A guy who is always covered, but opens up with a nice little shove? That's sure what he looks like.

62
by Sean_C (not verified) :: Sat, 09/23/2006 - 12:53am

3 Players I'd like to see featured in future EPCs:

Ike Taylor: just signed a big contract, is highly regarded by a number of analysts, but game after game it seems like offenses try to pick on him. Is he over-rated?

Rudi Johnson: I've read somewhere that no other featured running back gains more yards after contact - this should impress people, but he does not seem to be regarded by many analysts as an elite running back.

Justin Smith: Drafted 4th overall in 2001, he hasn't yet lived up to that lofty status - but 3 sacks in week one may be a sign he's finally turned the corner.

63
by Chuck (not verified) :: Fri, 12/15/2006 - 3:47pm

LaVar is a head case. His downfall with the 'Skins started when he didn't like all of the "6's" in his original contract. (It seems that the Beast's number in the Book of Revelation is 666. Originally, it was 616 and the Beast was Rome in a Hebrew numerical pun.) The rewrite left out a bonus and led to arbitration. He's a smart guy, but didn't bother to read his contract.

On a different note, LaVar is an avid chess player. He contacted a Washington chess organization about participating in a tournament as an attraction. The tournament was set up and he was a no-show.

64
by bad credit (not verified) :: Sun, 03/25/2007 - 2:10pm

"1h5fd1f-5u7odw3-tw8qqe1e-4