Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

01 Dec 2009

Week 12 Quick Reads

by Bill Barnwell

Their careers might not have turned out the way each of their respective organizations intended after selecting them in the 2006 NFL Draft, but Matt Leinart and Vince Young each put on creditable performances in the Titans' thrilling 20-17 win over the Cardinals on Sunday.

Both Young (in his five starts since returning to the lineup) and Leinart (in his first start of the year) looked better on Sunday than they ever did as injury replacements or in mopup work during their periods on the bench. The reason why is simple: Practice.

While Leinart split reps with Kurt Warner in practice this week, being the expected first-team quarterback on Monday allows a passer a full week of opportunities to play alongside the ten players he'll be alongside on Sunday. That's several days to take snaps behind a first-team offensive line, who get a feel of where the quarterback lines up, where he moves in the pocket, and how to create lanes for him. It's several days of throwing to elite wide receivers and backs instead of flawed ones, while getting to read how they make their cuts and where they want the ball from under center. The playbook is implemented with that quarterback's strengths and weaknesses in mind. Coaches focus their instruction on him. Timing and accuracy both improve. There's a lot of advantages to being the expected starting quarterback for an NFL team.

All of that would be myth if the numbers didn't back up the logical thinking above, but this is a case where the data backs conventional wisdom. In our records, there are 20 quarterbacks since 1994 that have thrown 100 passes as both a starting quarterback and as a backup. Those passers have put up a collective quarterback rating of 80.3 as starters, but are only at 73.6 as reserves, a difference of about nine percent.

While Leinart's likely heading to the bench, there's every reason to believe that Young's improved performance as a starter is real. He may not approach 400 yards every week, but as long as Young gets to practice with the first team during the week, it should make for better weekends for both him and the Titans.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
MNF.
Drew Brees NO
18/23
371
5
0
251
251
0
Most DYAR by a quarterback with fewer than 25 pass attempts:

1) Peyton Manning, Week 10 of 2002 vs. Philadelphia: 273 DYAR, 18-of-23 for 319 yards, 3 TD, 0 sacks.

2) Drew Brees, Week 12 of 2009 vs. New England: 251 DYAR

3) Jeff Blake, Week 8 of 1995 vs. Pittsburgh: 251 DYAR, 18-of-22 for 275 yards, 3 TD, 0 sacks, plus three carries for 33 rushing yards.

4) Carson Palmer, Week 7 of 2009 vs. Chicago: 247 DYAR, 20-of-24, 233 yards, 5 TD, 0 sacks.

5) Kurt Warner, Week 12 of 2001 vs. Atlanta: 235 DYAR, 17-of-23 for 342 yards, 4 TD, 2 sacks.

6) Jay Fiedler, Week 13 of 2003 vs. Dallas: 234 DYAR, 16-of-19 for 239 yards, 3 TD, 1 sack, plus a rushing touchdown.

7) Peyton Manning, Week 14 of 2007 vs. Baltimore: 228 DYAR, 13-of-17, 249 yards, 4 TD, 0 sacks.

8) Jake Delhomme, Week 16 of 2004 vs. Tampa Bay, 19-of-24, 214 yards, 4 TD, 1 sack.

None of these games had an interception.
1.
Brett Favre MIN
32/48
392
3
0
218
218
0
Not even the most hopelessly optimistic Vikings fan could've predicted that Favre would put together numbers like these. Favre had never posted a DVOA higher than 30% in his career before 2009, but his dominance of the Bears should push him up around 45% or so. The interceptions which served as the easy knock against him throughout his career have disappeared; he's thrown 24 touchdowns against only three picks, yielding an 8:1 ratio that's unmatched by any quarterback over a full season in the history of the league. The only quarterback even above a 6:1 ratio over a full season is Tom Brady in 2007. His interception rate of 0.8 percent would be the lowest ever for a quarterback in a season with over 300 attempts. That's fluky low and likely to bounce back some, but it's pretty clear that this is the best season Brett Favre's ever had.
2.
Philip Rivers SD
21/28
317
2
0
196
199
-3
Back when Rivers vs. Cutler seemed to be the battle that would decide the AFC West for a decade, people used the same sort of adjectives about Rivers that they say now about Cutler: Cocky, spoiled, petulant, various unprintables. Very little has changed about Rivers' style, but because he's playing for a winner, you don't hear those words about him anymore.
3.
Vince Young TEN
27/43
387
1
0
165
177
-12
Young converted nine of the 18 third or fourth downs he faced, including five plays in such situations of 15 yards or more. If you're a Nate Washington owner in fantasy football, you might want to be concerned -- Young clearly doesn't have a great rapport with Washington in the passing game, and while Washington was targeted nine times on Sunday, those passes only yielded three completions, and all five of Young's fourth quarter passes to Washington fell incomplete. Washington could lose time going forward to Lavelle Hawkins, who Young (ironically, for the purposes of our intro) worked with as part of the second-team offense.
4.
Tony Romo DAL
18/29
309
2
0
154
154
0
It's hard for a quarterback to put up big DYAR totals while converting on only one of the nine third downs he faced, but Romo was able to do so thanks to big plays on first and second down. It also wasn't exactly all Romo's fault; he was victimized by drops, and he faced third downs that required 11, 15, 17, 23, and 24 yards for conversion.
5.
Matt Schaub HOU
31/42
284
2
2
135
130
5
The difference between All-Pro Schaub (first half, end of fourth quarter) and Terrifying Schaub (third quarter, first half of fourth quarter) is turnovers. Schaub had three of them in a 14-dropback span, helping to turn a six-point lead into a 15-point deficit.
6.
Kyle Orton DEN
18/28
245
1
1
115
115
0
Much like Romo, Orton succeeded despite struggling on third down, converting only his final two chances at one. Orton didn't dial up the big plays that Romo did, but he was devastating on second down, going 10-of-12 for 125 yards and five first downs.
7.
Aaron Rodgers GB
28/39
348
3
0
91
91
0
Rodgers had a field day picking on dreadful Lions corner Will James, resulting in a big game for Donald Driver (who finished ninth with 36 DYAR). Ryan Grant and the Packers' rushing attack placed Rodgers in manageable third down situations, which helped convert on eight of his 13 chances. Rodgers only once faced a third down with more than eight yards to go, and had to pick up an average of only 6.1 yards on those 13 dropbacks.
8.
Peyton Manning IND
27/35
244
3
2
89
89
0
The Texans focused their defense on Reggie Wayne, who was the intended target on two picks and caught only three passes for 19 yards. Sunday was the first time since 2006 that Wayne didn't have more than 64 yards against the Texans, and it was his lowest yardage total in a non-Week 17 "Sorgi Special" since a seven-yard performance against the Broncos in 2002. So, instead, Manning just went 9-of-12 for 133 yards, six first downs, and a touchdown to Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon. While every Colts game usually yields a textbook throw from Manning, his 24-yard throw to Garcon in the third quarter was the absolute perfect example of a throw to beat the Cover-2.
9.
Josh Freeman TB
20/29
250
2
0
79
72
7
Our David Lewin suggested in March that Josh Freeman would end up being the best quarterback of this draft class. So far, he looks to be absolutely right. The issue with Freeman, as it is with many rookie quarterbacks, is his propensity for turning the ball over: His fumble on Sunday made it seven on the year, to go along with eight interceptions in only four starts. If he can hold onto the ball, his accuracy and arm strength are clearly enough to make him a worthwhile NFL quarterback.
10.
Joe Flacco BAL
23/35
289
1
0
67
67
0
The complexion of last year's first Ravens-Steelers matchup was changed when Joe Flacco was sacked by James Harrison and fumbled, with LaMarr Woodley picking up the fumble and returning it for a touchdown. This year, another Flacco fumble nearly cost the Ravens the game, as the Ravens passed up a shot at a 51-yard field goal to try and get additional yardage, despite not having any timeouts. In a situation where the only two rules are don't get sacked and don't turn the ball over, Flacco was sacked and fumbled. While the refs blew the call on whether Flacco's fumble could be advanced, the sack cost the Ravens their shot at a field goal within Billy Cundiff's range, and considering that the Steelers won the coin toss to start overtime, there was a possibility that Flacco's fumble could very well have ended up costing the Ravens the game. Our numbers underestimate how damaging the sack was.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
11.
Chris Redman ATL
23/39
243
2
0
66
65
0
Redman looked pretty good when Bobby Petrino gave him a chance in 2007, putting up a 5.5% DVOA that was far better than the performances of Joey Harrington (-5.8%) or Byron Leftwich (-65.0%). He's immobile and takes too many sacks, but considering our discussion about how quarterbacks improve with first-team reps, it was a pretty nice performance by Redman, all things considered. Matt Ryan isn't likely to miss time with his turf toe injury, but it's a painful injury that could flare up and force Ryan out of a game for a chunk of time. In other words, Redman's last pass this season probably won't be the touchdown he threw to Roddy White.
12.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
13/17
154
0
1
51
37
13
The Jets' offense made Sanchez look good over the first three weeks of the year; without having to come from behind, Gang Green could run the ball on most plays and put Sanchez in manageable situations with high-percentage throws. The team's struggles after their three-game winning streak stretched Sanchez into a quarterback he's not ready to be. If they could play Carolina and get a pick-six to start off the game every week, Sanchez would look a lot like this quarterback. Unfortunately, they can't.
13.
Donovan McNabb PHI
21/35
260
1
1
46
46
0
MNF.
Tom Brady NE
21/36
237
0
2
45
50
-5
14.
Matt Leinart ARI
21/31
220
0
0
43
43
0
The biggest issue with Leinart, in our eyes, is his footwork. It takes the 6-foot-5 Leinart eons to drop back, giving NFL pass rushers ample time to get into the backfield. He also has the sort of accuracy issues and general rust that you see from quarterbacks that haven't played in a while, problems that would likely alleviate themselves if he was given consistent practice and playing time as a starter.
15.
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF
17/26
246
1
1
34
6
28
Fitzpatrick's 28 rushing DYAR are the most for any quarterback in a single game this year, coming thanks to a 31-yard touchdown run as well as three conversions on either third or fourth down. He ran because he wasn't safe in the pocket; the Dolphins sacked Fitzpatrick six times, including a stretch of three consecutive
dropbacks.
16.
David Garrard JAC
26/36
307
0
0
23
24
-1
Garrard's raw numbers look good, but he ends up 16th because of how he performed inside the red zone. In five dropbacks, Garrard completed exactly one pass, for -2 yards. More importantly, he was sacked twice, fumbling both times and turning the ball over in the process.
17.
Jason Campbell WAS
22/37
231
2
2
20
20
1
Ths was another week where a pretty poor Campbell performance was mitigated by a nice job on third down. Although he threw both his interceptions there, Campbell converted eight of the first 12 third downs he faced, which is great, but he failed to come through on even one of their final five. Of course, as our Doug Farrar noted regarding Campbell's final pass, " If Juqua Parker body-slammed Brady or Manning like he did Jason Campbell, he wouldn't be penalized -- he'd be deported."
18.
Chad Henne MIA
17/31
175
1
3
18
18
0
Buffalo has a pretty good pass defense, and one of those interceptions was a Hail Mary attempt that ended the game, so Henne's numbers get a boost. Like Campbell, he also did his best work early on third down, completing his first seven passes on third down, and picking up four first downs and a touchdown in the process. After that, though, Henne had two incompletions and two picks, including that Hail Mary.
19.
Dennis Dixon PIT
12/26
145
1
1
14
-7
21
They won't exactly be calling for Ben Roethlisberger's head in Pittsburgh, but it was a solid enough performance considering that Roethlisberger got the practice reps and Dixon was playing the Ravens. The interception that ended his day wasn't an awful throw, but an excellent play by fellow rookie Paul Kruger to react to the quick slant. Most times, that pass will get batted down as an incompletion, and as Dixon gets more chances to play, he'll learn to look off that defender and create space for the slanting receiver behind him.
20.
Eli Manning NYG
24/40
241
0
1
8
6
2
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
21.
Alex Smith SF
27/41
232
2
0
7
-1
7
Credit where credit's due: The 49ers noticed how well Smith played in the shotgun, and put him in it 28 times on pass plays. He actually wasn't all that great in it against the league's worst pass defense, picking up only four first downs and a touchdown, but it was the right idea.
22.
Bruce Gradkowski OAK
18/35
200
1
0
-24
-33
9
On passes to wide receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphy, and Chaz Schillens, Gradkowski was 6-of-19 for 75 yards. Normally, that would mean that a quarterback is being weighed down by those wideouts, and the franchise needs to go out and acquire better wideouts for him to play with. Of course, these are the Raiders, who have spent huge gobs of free agent money and a top ten pick on wide receivers over the past two offseasons. They might just be better off with no wide receivers whatsoever.
23.
Carson Palmer CIN
14/24
110
1
0
-25
-28
3
The Browns did a good job of getting in Palmer's face, but something else was off with Palmer and his receivers. He one-hopped a fair amount of throws. There were timing issues coming in and out of breaks. His performance was like a pitcher who doesn't have his best stuff; it was a lot of junky underneath patterns, with no deep patterns requiring huge velocity. They got the win, but 110 yards against the Browns just isn't enough. It won't be a big deal if it's just a one-week blip, but if there's a bigger problem than that, the Bengals are in serious trouble.
24.
Matt Hasselbeck SEA
14/25
102
0
0
-30
-38
8
105 yards against the Rams, though is just awful. Hasselbeck's longest completion through the air was 13 yards, and he only attempted one pass that went more than 14 yards downfield. It's not like the Rams have the sort of blistering pass rush that prevents quarterbacks from getting the time needed to allow receivers to get open deep. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who was supposed to revitalize the Seahawks' passing game, caught two passes on six attempts for 14 yards. Just a strange game.
25.
Kyle Boller STL
28/46
282
1
2
-40
-48
8
26.
Brady Quinn CLE
15/34
100
0
0
-60
-75
14
The roller coaster ride that is Brady Quinn continues; since his return to the lineup, Quinn has two awful games against very tough pass defenses (Baltimore and Cincinnati) and one great game against a terrible pass defense (Detroit). San Diego and Pittsburgh are next, and neither of them are slouches. First down is supposed to be the easiest down to throw on, because teams are expecting the run, but Quinn was only 7-of-13 for 22 yards on the opening down.
27.
Matt Cassel KC
20/31
178
1
1
-63
-64
1
Just ugly. One exchange with center Rudy Niswanger was botched, and another Niswanger snap went over Cassel's head. Cassel was intercepted once, strip-sacked on a play that was returned for a touchdown, and was called for intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety. On the bright side, he's built a rapport with Chris Chambers; maybe it was Chambers' old teammates in San Diego giving him some space out of kindness, but Chambers caught seven of the eight passes thrown to him, impressive totals for a player with a famously-low catch rate.
28.
Jay Cutler CHI
18/23
147
1
2
-68
-67
-1
Completions aren't great when they're not pushing your team towards a new set of downs. Cutler only had four completions for ten yards or more, and while he was upright for a fair amount of the game, his last 11 dropbacks yielded four sacks and two picks.
29.
Matt Stafford DET
20/43
214
1
4
-129
-131
2
When a struggling player has a huge game against a poor defense and coaches and media start spinning it as a huge step forward, don't buy it. More often than not, it's just a player taking advantage of awful D and looking good in the process. It's pretty clear from looking at his game log that the five-touchdown game against the Browns is a huge outlier.
30.
Jake Delhomme CAR
14/34
130
0
4
-168
-168
0
You can't really pin the freakish first interception that bounced off of Steve Smith's foot on Delhomme. Fine. He still threw three more and converted one of the ten third downs he faced. We were among those saying that Delhomme should be given time after his debacle to start the season against Philadelphia, but even if you throw out that game and this one, he's thrown more picks (ten) than touchdowns (eight). His contract extension this offseason, designed to free up cap space for Carolina, may end up being a huge albatross for the franchise.


Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Fred Jackson BUF
73
2
43
0
62
37
25
Jackson caught all five of the passes thrown to him, getting eight yards on four of those five. He didn't pick up negative yardage on a single one of his 15 carries, had four or more yards on nine carries, and scored on three- and seven-yard runs. There was no Chris Johnson highlight reel run in his day, but it was marked by the absence of anything resembling a poor play.
2.
Steve Slaton HOU
57
0
49
0
49
29
21
Instead of Ryan Moats, Slaton's clearly splitting time with Chris Brown, who is the team's best pass blocker in the backfield and Gary Kubiak's choice close to the goal line. Slaton's the far better runner and receiver, though; five of his ten carries went for first downs, and he caught seven of the eight passes thrown to him. The only one that fell incomplete was 25 yards downfield, and Slaton shouldn't be that deep anyway.
3.
Chris Johnson TEN
154
1
32
0
47
41
6
A year ago, what made Johnson so dynamic was his ability as a receiver; this year, though, he's become more of a running back and less of a hybrid receiver. He caught three of the four passes thrown to him on Sunday, but only one of those passes went for a first down. His 85-yard run was obviously brilliant, but Johnson only ran for three first downs on his other 17 carries. Remember: the best run in the history of the NFL only scored six points, and you usually need a lot more than six points to win. Johnson had a good game, all things considered, but the Titans needed to convert three fourth downs on their final drive and score on the game's final play to win because they didn't do very much on offense outside of the Johnson touchdown run and that ultimate drive.
4.
Ray Rice BAL
88
0
67
0
43
19
23
The most impressive play of the week, by our count, was the 44-yard pass that Rice caught against the Steelers in the fourth quarter. Specifically, it was the 35 yards of YAC that Rice picked up on the play, breaking three or four tackles in the process. That's one thing if it comes against the Browns or the Lions, but Rice was playing the Steelers. They don't miss tackles like that. Just a remarkable play by a remarkable player.
5.
Knowshon Moreno DEN
88
1
19
0
43
40
3
The Giants signed Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard this offseason in the hopes that the pair would allow them to rotate defensive tackles in and out and keep the interior of their line fresh against the run, but thanks to injury and ineffectiveness amongst both those two and incumbents Jay Alford (out for the year) and Fred Robbins, that simply hasn't been the case. With defensive ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora taking wide routes to get to the passer, the Giants have struggled with backs running on the interior, and are allowing consistent yardage far too frequently. Moreno's longest run on the day was 12 yards, but he had six first downs and a touchdown on his 19 carries, with ten of them going for five yards or more. That's how you put your offense in manageable third downs, keep the ball, and score points.


Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
DeAngelo Williams CAR
40
0
10
0
-37
-20
-17
We fully expected the Jets' rush defense to crumble with Kris Jenkins out for the season, but it just hasn't happened. With Jenkins in the lineup, New York was allowing an average of 115.7 rushing yards per game; in the five games after Jenkins' placement on IR, Rex Ryan's defense has given up 99.2 rushing yards per game. Williams should have been able to rip apart the Jets without Jenkins, but it may be an injury on his side of the line -- Jordan Gross, out for the year with a fractured ankle -- that's causing him problems.


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Percy Harvin MIN
6
8
101
16.8
1
70
Five of Harvin's six completions resulted in either a first down or a touchdown, with each of those passes going for 12 yards or more. He's become the most effective slot receiver in football outside of Wes Welker, and should be the Offensive Rookie of the Year. It'll be interesting to see how he does when he's moved onto the line of scrimmage and doesn't have Favre throwing passes to him, but Harvin's done great work in the role allotted to him this year.
2.
Antonio Gates SD
7
7
118
16.9
2
70
The sixth-highest DYAR game for a tight end since 1994. Gates is quietly on pace for his best season as a professional; his 59 catches are one fewer than he had in 16 games a year ago, and he is now on pace for a 1,200-yard campaign. He isn't getting into the end zone the way that he was at the beginning of his career, with his two touchdowns on Sunday representing half of his season's total, but he draws so much attention in the red zone that it opens up opportunities for the players around
him.
MNF.
Marques Colston NO
4
5
121
30.2
1
55
3.
Miles Austin DAL
7
11
145
20.7
1
54
Even more impressive than Austin's numbers above is the fact that he spent a fair amount of his day against Nnamdi Asomugha, who normally erases wide receivers off the field. Outside of Vincent Jackson, who outplayd an injured Asomugha in Week 1, no one's done better work against the league's premiere cornerback this year than Austin. (In all fairness to Asomugha, he was not in coverage on Austin's touchdown, and was expecting a safety to be behind him in zone coverage on Austin's biggst play of the day, a 49-yard completion in the first quarter.)
4.
Terrell Owens BUF
5
5
96
19.2
1
48
Only five catches against a pretty poor pass defense, but he caught everything that was thrown to him, nabbed three first downs, and put the game away with a 51-yard touchdown. He and Ryan Fitzpatrick have actually turned out to have a pretty solid rapport, which is good, since they might be recreating it in the CFL in two years.
5.
Antonio Bryant TB
3
4
91
30.3
1
46
There were finally signs of life from Bryant, who has followed his latest breakout sason with his latest missing year. Injuries, poor quarterback play, and general ineffectiveness have hampered Bryant's totals, but he still has the talent and the remarkable hands to be a dynamic receiver downfield. He's got five more games to make up for the first ten.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Calvin Johnson DET
2
12
10
5.0
1
-41
Calvin Johnson absolutely, positively should not have been on the field. He looked to be in constant pain, had trouble getting up off the ground, and appeared to re-injure himself more than once. He couldn't get downfield, so it wasn't like he was creating space for receivers to operate underneath. Six of his ten targets came in the fourth quarter, with the Lions down anywhere from 15 to 22 points. They might have been better off playing the K Records' Calvin Johnson at that point. Jim Schwartz is a good coach, but he should've recognized Johnson's struggles and taken his helmet away.

(Ed. Note: Quick Reads appears on ESPN Insider on Monday, then gets republished on FO on Tuesdays, with added ratings for Monday Night Football.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 01 Dec 2009

89 comments, Last at 02 Dec 2009, 6:42pm by peachy

Comments

1
by Key19 :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 1:53pm

Yay, Quick Reads!

It seems like Tony and Miles are always either at the top of the list or near the bottom. I seldom see them in the middle.

It's too bad that my fantasy team is so horrible. I made two great picks to kick off the draft (S-Jax, Colston), and the rest of it was just so bad that not even those two putting up monster numbers can get me to .500

6
by Temo :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:03pm

That's kind of how the Cowboys offense as a whole flows it seems. Truly feast of famine for most of the past few years.

The only thing that seems consistent year-to-year with them is the penalties and sacks/turnovers (usually one or the other... either Romo takes sacks or he turns the ball over, he hasn't ever eliminated both). I think that's why the DVOA projections have always projected the Cowboys lower than the public (ie, Vegas projections).

9
by Key19 :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:21pm

I'll take the new Sack Romo over the old Turnover Tony.

2
by Paul R :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 1:58pm

Here's how it looks on my monitor:

"Peyton Manning
The Texans focused their defense on Reggie Wayne, who was the intended target on two picks and caught only three passes for 19 yards. Sunday was the first time since 2006 that Wayne didn't have more than 64 yards against the Texans, and it was his lowest yardage total in a non-Week 17 "Sorgi Special" since a seven-yard performance against the Broncos in 2002. So, instead, Manning just went 9-of-12 for 133 yards, six first downs, and a touchdown to Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon. While every Colts game usually yields a textbook throw from Manning, his 24-yard throw to Garcon in the third quarter was the absolute perfect example of a throw to beat the Cover-2. The only problem is that"

It could be a glitch in my browser, but I think it's more likely that

26
by jebmak :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:09pm

LOL

3
by John (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 1:58pm

...was the absolute perfect example of a throw to beat the Cover-2. The only problem is that

That...what? I'm dyin' here. What's wrong with my boy Peyton?

10
by andrew :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:21pm

The only problem is that the pass is so stunningly perfect, it leaves football writers dazed and unable to finish sentences.

11
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:26pm

Yeah, I fixed that.

37
by Paul R :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:37pm

Well, it got deleted. But now it's going to haunt me.
From now on, every time Peyton throws to Pierre against a cover-2, I'll be obsessively rewinding the tape and watching the play again and again, trying to find the mysterious "Problem."

46
by LukeM :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 4:11pm

Maybe the problem is that Garcon got blasted as he caught the pass.

78
by Purds :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 9:39pm

Actually, Garcon has brought a physical nature to the WR spot that the Colts have not enjoyed in a decade. He clearly takes bit hits, but he also met out one last night on a return of a interception. I can't remember which play it was, and I think it might have even been whistled dead, but everyone was still running and he absolutely leveled the Texan with the ball. Channeled his inner Bob Sanders.

58
by puffbronfman :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 5:15pm

The line is there in the ESPN Insider version. Since the full version of that is supposed to be here, this is what is missing:

The only problem is that Manning might be the only quarterback that can consistently make that throw.

4
by Nathan :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:00pm

haha k records reference, what?

5
by Joseph :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:03pm

I haven't mentioned it before, but I will add my voice to the commenters pleading that QR tables for RB's & WR's be extended to more than 5. I fully expected Devery Henderson to be the Saints' WR on here, not Colston. (Although Colston had a great game, too.) This is from memory, but he had the 70 yd TD, the 30ish yd pass on the first scrimmage play of the game, and his other catch went for a 1st down also.

7
by Richie Richie (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:11pm

Just because a week's practice as starter does help doesn't mean all or even neccesarily most of your alleged reasons apply. In particular, I've never heard of offensive lineman pass-blocking differently for Ralph throwing such-and-such pattern than for Fred throwing the same such-and-such pattern. Goodness, that sounds goofy.

13
by reinhard (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:29pm

Consider Kerry Collins and Vince Young. You don't think the lineman pass block a little differently for those two guys?

42
by Joe T. :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:52pm

Or Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart. Kurt is a righty, and Leinart a southpaw. With Leinart in, the RT is responsible for blocking the blindside.

8
by Temo :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:15pm

You've ruined everything, Paul R.

14
by MCS :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:33pm

Yeah, I was looking forward to several comments along the lines of, "the only problem is that..."

He spends entirely too much time rehearsing his commercials.

41
by Temo :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:51pm

Actually it was a reference to him leaving his italics going, leaving everyone else's post in italics. I guess a mod fixed it.

But your point is good too.

12
by Tom Dellinger (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:28pm

Re your comments about Philip Rivers. The reason people are now not saying the derogatory things you list about Rivers is simply that they are not true and never have been. You are out of touch with the real Philip Rivers. Therefore, for me, your site has no credibility. Oh yes, you have opinion - but informed opinion is a waste of thinking person's time. See ya!

15
by Tom Dellinger (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:33pm

Opps. That would be "uninformed" opinion, of course.

16
by JoeHova :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:38pm

I liked it better the first way.

31
by Bobman :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:21pm

Worked better for me as well.

18
by Key19 :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:41pm

Oh, so what was reason people were saying those things only, say, about 1-2 years ago? Because they weren't true and never had been at that point too?

I'm surprised you even were here long enough to post a comment if something like that would offend you to the point that you leave the site.

39
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:46pm

I liked that he came back long enough to post a correction.

45
by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 4:01pm

Rivers yaps a little during games: not a lot, a little. He's done it with fans, too, which is a little bit unbecoming of a franchise QB, but that was awhile ago. Otherwise, his arrogant/cocky rep is totally undeserved. I'm not the poster above, and I'm not making any comments about the site, just to be clear.

52
by Keith (1) (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 4:56pm

I also see no evidence that Bill said that Rivers was anything like the things people have called him. He simply stated that others have called him such things and no longer do because he plays for a winning team. He said he is the same player now as he was then, never passing judgment.

You people really need to learn how to read before criticizing (and this is not directed at you in particular, so unbunch your underwear before you go crazy).

50
by Phil O'sopher (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 4:53pm

Seriously?!?!?!?!

He was labeled that way by the media and the fans from the get go. And rightly so. I am a Rivers fan, but he seems he would get along great on "I Luv New York" or "Tool Academy". Rivers has had that fire and competitiveness, but he also has that -I date raped your sister- feel to him.

In real life, he may or may not be a great guy, but perceptions were there that he was an assclown and are still there for many fans, but since he is winning the media is not harping on him like w/ they are now for "8 and 8" Jay Cutler.

Seems weird to get all stand-offish for the Rivers comments. tongue in cheek as they were, a lot of truth in them thar word like thingies.

73
by Media Narratives (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 7:58pm

How can you claim to be a "Rivers Fan" and yet apparently know nothing about him?

Rivers' negative reputation is the result of a few minor incidents on national television (one on MNF, one during a playoff game in Indy). Like most media narratives, the initial image was never given any sort of context nor was the "full story" ever actually reported. San Diego rarely gets any national media coverage, so all most football fans know of him is what they saw in these few incidents.

In real life, Rivers appears to be nothing but a stand up guy. He's married to his high school sweetheart, has 4 (going on 5) kids, and is apparently a dedicated father, husband, teammate and friend. His teammates all love and respect him. Watch his press conferences some time: he comes off as a classy, humble guy. He doesn't swear or do anything inappropriate. If anything, he's probably too much of a goody goody for a lot of people. Its actually amazing how far from reality the media image of Rivers is.

I also wonder about the FO comment for this week, that Rivers is now "on a winner". Newsflash: San Diego is the 3 time defending division champs. Rivers has done nothing but win since he took over the job. I'm not really sure what they think has changed.

84
by Phil O'sopher (not verified) :: Wed, 12/02/2009 - 12:05pm

LOL

I have direct ticket and watch each and every team each and every week.

Ima Rivers fan as I think he is a good player. I know little of his personal life or care. He appears (yes that is perception) to be a date raping Jeremy Shockey type. He may be completely different in person or off the field. That is how he carries himself when I watch him.

I don't get the persnickety defense though. Most of this is tongue in cheek, and meant to be made fun of or laughed at.

Sorry that my perception isn't what you want it to be, but it is what it is.

88
by Sifter :: Wed, 12/02/2009 - 3:58pm

I kinda like QBs that aren't robots and show a bit of emotion. If Rivers was a WR or a LB, no one would care.

17
by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:41pm

I was observing during last night's MNF that Percy Harvin has about the same skillset as Reggie Bush--only Harvin is bigger and more powerful. I would rather have Harvin on my team for sure.

"Just look at that pumpkin."
-John Madden, looking at the moon.

25
by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:06pm

I made the same comment to my wife while we were watching the game. I was telling her how I was upset about the Texans' loss after taking a liking to the team for choosing Mario Williams over Reggie Bush in the draft, and when she wanted to know why the Texans are now respected for that decision, I explained the poor transition Bush has made from college to pros. I then went on to explain why I had been upset about Minnesota's picking Harvin last spring (I wanted Oher) - because I thought of him as a flashy college player doomed for mediocrity in the NFL ala Bush.

The reason I've come around, of course, is Harvin's ability to hit and take hits without going down.

I'm so glad he failed that drug test. I'll bet he is, too, now that he's on a team with Adrian Peterson, Brett Favre, and sporting a 10-1 record.

29
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:15pm

Let it be noted again that there may be wisdom in a highly rated college player, who has won the Powerball Lottery prior to the draft, taking a few hits in the dorm room prior to the draft, if he really, really, wants to play on a winning team.

32
by Bobman :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:24pm

High risk, high reward (pun intended).
I DO like it in concept, but what if he slips to pick #33 instead of #27?

Then he gets the double-whammy of bad team and millions less. Plus the ignominy of millions saying "what a dumb shit...."

33
by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:24pm

I'm probably naive, but I would hope that a lot of people would trade money for success. Sean Payton gave up $250k of salary to lure their new D-coordinator, and you've commented elsewhere that their defense has made a great turnaround.

What's the difference end up being, you think? Where would Harvin have been drafted, anyway? Before the Raiders took DHB? Before Crabtree? Before Maclin?

36
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:36pm

I'm no draft expert, so don't ask me. I do know that guys who get drafted in the top five or so have a very significant edge, in terms of career earning potential, compared to guys who don't go that high. Of course, getting drafted by a terrible team, especially if you are a qb, can really harm what you get in your second contract, so it is all speculative in good part.

57
by Phil O'sopher (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 5:13pm

Hard to know exactly, but Kiper was claiming Harvin was top 5 pick before his little smoke fest a few days before the combine.

Of course, he also thought Crabtree was going top five and Darius Heyward-Bey was 2nd round grade at best.....lol Al Davis is classic to watch from the outside and not being a Raiders fan, BTW.

Crabtree is having a decent impact (for a guy who held out for no good reason for all of camp and half the season) right now for the 49ers and DHB is absolutely useless and he falls down on every other play and can't catch.

I think Bush gets beat on a bit more than he should. He is a classic hybrid WR/RB (Eric Metcalf type) that can influence defensive match-ups and get your team in a better position to win. If he was the 22 overall pick like Harvin, he wouldn't get the same level of critism as he does being the 2 overall pick.

IMHO

66
by peachy (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 6:43pm

The relative draft positions definitely influenced perceptions (in my opinion) - Harvin had been sliding past the mid-point for various more-or-less asinine reasons even before the drug test, whereas Bush was conventional wisdom's slam-dunk #1.

And yeah, he's a lot tougher and stronger than you'd guess from his size and build - the receiving version of MJD. I can understand NFL-oriented fans not realising that he possessed those attributes - from the perspective of a college-oriented fan, draft coverage is generally pretty lousy, and Harvin had the exceptional misfortune to be the guy everyone bagged on the last time through - but those of us who watched him at Florida were well-aware of what a physical brute he is. There are reasons besides his speed and elusiveness that he had half again as many rushes as receptions, and averaged 9.5 ypc for his career. (If you are an NFL-oriented fan, allow me to assure that even by college standards, and regardless of the offensive system or the surrounding talent, 9.5 ypc for a guy with that many touches is ridiculous.)

85
by Phil O'sopher (not verified) :: Wed, 12/02/2009 - 12:12pm

Good post.

My buddy called me yelling and screaming that the Browns passed on Harvin with the 20th pick for a center. He was convinced this guy was great and Browns need help at WR (well everywhere, but who's counting).

At the time, I figured we would ruin him like we do all our draft picks and he would be a giant bust with us. Don't mind the o-line pick as much as most around here.

So, question: If Browns drafted Harvin instead of Min, what type of year would he be having right now? Or if T-Jax was at QB, what type of year?

I know my thoughts, but curious what others think

89
by peachy (not verified) :: Wed, 12/02/2009 - 6:42pm

There's no question he fell into a great situation, and I doubt he'd be doing as well on some other teams, or with some other quarterbacks. However, one advantage of his particular skillset - his experience as a running back, his talent as a returner, his surprising strength for his size, all in addition to the obvious speed and elusiveness - is that he should be able to find a productive niche in any offence. If he lacked polish as a pro-style receiver coming into the league, that was partly because Florida used him everywhere - as conventional tailback, pitch-man on the option, slot receiver, deep threat, even occasionally as a 'wildcat' runner taking the direct snap... pretty much every position in Meyer's assorted versions of the spread-option but H-back. So I think he would do better in, um, less favourable circumstances than a more specialised player might, especially if the coaches were willing to be creative. You can judge the likelihood of that better than I.

(Massive credit to the Minny staff, by the way - they've done everything right with him since before the draft. If Childress the Conventional can get the best out of an unusual guy like Percy, there's hope for any coach.)

19
by loudawg (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:46pm

How does does Drew Brees have a DYAR of 251 and Peyton Manning have a DYAR of 273 in 2002 when Brees gains more yards per attempt and throws 2 more touchdowns? Something seems a little off here.

20
by Formersd (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:54pm

Philadelphia 2002 had a better pass defense than New England 2009.

22
by DrunkenOne :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:02pm

Manning's game was against the #5 pass defense, -10.2%

NE's pass defense was 13th, -.08% before this week

21
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 2:57pm

Because Philly's defense in 2007 was probably a lot better than the Patriots in 2009.

24
by Paulo Sanchotene, RS, Brazil (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:06pm

Not only that, if this matters in DYAR (I'm not so sure about that).

If Brees had more deep passes for first down and more yardages and more check downs for, i.e., 2 yards in a 3rd-and-3, his DYAR would be lower than Manning's; even with more actual yards and the same numbers of completions.

60
by puffbronfman :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 6:27pm

Just looked through the numbers - Brees' down splits probably had an impact on his DYAR. On 1st down, he was 10 for 10 for 295 yds, 9 successes, 5 first downs, and 3 TD's. On 3rd down, he was 2 for 5 for 13 yards, 2 first downs, and no TD's. In contract, Manning was 9 of 11 with 6 first downs/TD's on third down in that game in 2002.

23
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:05pm

Any week now I expect someone to write that Adrian Peterson's effectiveness has declined. Brett Favre having his finest statistical year ever indicates otherwise, no matter that Peterson's fumble issues continue. One of these weeks a defensive coordinator is going to go in the other direction, and decide to let Peterson try to beat them, instead of Favre. We'll see how the Vikings respond.

The biggest difference I saw between Brees and Brady last night was that Brady spent time on his back, and Brees was physically exerting himself about as much as he would walking 18 holes of golf. Brees is great. His receivers are very, very, good, and possibly great. The defense has made a huge turnaround. All of that, however, is in good part derivative of truly superior offensive line play.

28
by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:15pm

Is Adrian Peterson a better running back than Brett Favre is a quarterback?
Is Minnesota's offensive line better at run blocking or pass protection?

I would answer yes and yes, which is why (I think) defensive coordinators continue to make Favre beat them. If a defense tries to stop the passing game (I see Arizona and the Giants as the likeliest candidates) will Peterson gash them? We won't know unless teams stop filling the box.

Watching New England fail so miserably last night made me wonder how they might've done if they had a better pass rush, or better running game, or better run defense. A light bulb went on, and I think Minnesota would match up very well against New Orleans. I hope that game happens at some point in the playoffs. Interceptions would be the key to the game, and (gosh this is weird to say) I'd put my money on Favre at this point.

35
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:28pm

I don't think it is entirely clear that the Vikings offensive line run blocks better than it pass blocks. Mckinnie is certainly a better pass blocker than run blocker, and Sullivan is easier to expose in the run game, by putting a good tackle right on top of him. Loadholdt is too early in his career to really tell. He pass blocked more in college than he run blocked, but certainly rookie tackles typically have more problems in pass protection. The problem in defensing Favre first is that you don't really gain much in terms of better preventing the home run, given Peterson's ability to go the distance. The Titans present the same sort of issue, with a different twist, by putting a home run running back and a qb with home run running skills, on the field at the same time. This just in: watching football can be a lot of fun.

A Vikings/Saints playoff game will come down to whether Jared Allen and Co. can get pressure with 4, or whether Brees has a leisurely time.

64
by RickD :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 6:32pm

There is nothing seriously wrong with the Pats' run defense. It's the pass defense...all the pass defense. Very little pass rush and a secondary that is just not good enough.

75
by t.d. :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 8:31pm

Regardless of whether Peterson is relatively better than Favre, it seems like terrible strategy. Isn't one of FO's basic tenets that an effective passing game is far more critical to success than a great running game? Favre has been incredibly effective, but it's ridiculous to suggest that this is the best he's ever been. It's much more likely that this is easily the best offensive team he's ever been on. I would bet that Cris Carter's production spiked when the Vikings drafted Moss, too.

80
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 11:32pm

I suspect the thinking was that a 40 year old guy, who has been known to throw some interceptions, making 40 to 50 throws, would be easier to beat than dealing with Peterson's explosiveness. Peterson ain't exactly a four yards and a cloud of dust runner. When Ted Cottrell, bless his thick head, for some unknown reason, decided to defend the the pre-Favre, pre-Harvin, pre-Berrian, Rice as rookie, Vikings like they were a dominant passing team, Peterson almost rushed for 300 yards against the Chargers. It has turned out, however, that the Vikings receivers are darned good, when matched with a qb who can make his progressions like answering the phone, and thus uses the entire field, given his still formidable velocity and accuracy. It's a real conumdrum for a defensive coordinator, one that can only really be solved as most defensive conumdrums can be reliably solved; by a complete whipping on the line of scrimmage.

82
by t.d. :: Wed, 12/02/2009 - 2:40am

I love watching the Vikings play, and I'm not even a fan, because they seem to be good at so many things. I know everybody was saying they were just a quarterback away for it seemed like forever, but I'm amazed at how good these receivers are. The Vikings and the Saints are both very formidable, but, in a toss up, I usually go with the team with the better line play, and until last night I'd have said that was clearly the Vikings (now I'm not so sure).

49
by Johnny Socko (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 4:24pm

I disagree on your assessment of Brady last night. Yes, he was pressured at times; however, there were MANY times when he had excellent protection and still made bad decisions and/or throws. His 2nd INT is a prime example. He had no pressure what-so-ever. I didnt time the play, but I would guess he held the ball for over 5 seconds before trying to force the ball deep to Moss (who was lolly gagging around BTW).

I think the difference between Brady last night vs. the normal Brady is his willingness to settle for the short pass. Throughout his career his biggest strenght has been hitting the underneath stuff consistently, resulting in long drives resulting in TD's. However, I think he has fallen in love with throwing bombs to Moss in recent years. While this is loads of fun when it works, it results in some "stinker" games on rare occasions.

74
by t.d. :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 8:24pm

I don't think the pressure affects Brady so much on a play-to-play basis, but rather in his anticipation of it. It isn't that he doesn't ever have time, it's that he's aware that he has to be watching for it constantly. It looked a lot like he looked earlier in the season when people were writing that he was 'rusty'. I don't think he was so much rusty as apprehensive that at any given point he could be blindsided by another kill shot. For years, this has been the strategy against Manning (if a team has the resources to pull it off), it figures that it would be applied to Brady.

51
by jmaron :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 4:53pm

I've been wondering when some team will make that change defending the Vikings. I think the Vikings would react fairly well to that because they are pretty stubborn trying to run regardless. I'm hoping people keep focusing on Peterson - it almost guarantees 30+ pts for the Vikings.

One thing I've noticed lately is the Vikings are having a lot of trouble in 3rd and 4th and short running situations. They aren't getting any push up front. They also seem to run right most of the times in those situations - which strikes me as odd.

56
by MJK :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 5:13pm

I think the biggest problem Brady had last night was that he was facing a defense that schemed wonderfully to take advantage of being the home team in a very noisy dome.

The Saints were rushing either 3 and double covering everyone, or big-blitzing 6 in an overloaded fashion while having their defenders jumping the hot routes. Practically nothing in between. But they were rushing both out of the same formations, and always seemed to have just the right one dialed up. I think this is because, even when Brady and Co. saw what the Saints were going to do defensively, they couldn't audible to change the protections, or change up the play, because it was so loud.

Belichick had also clearly schemed to emphasize a careful, run-oriented, ball-control attack against the Saints, which went out the window when the defense melted down and gave up loads of long TD's, and he didn't have a good Plan B ready.

I think the blowout had more to do with the defensive meltdown, and with Belichick being out-schemed, than it did with Tom Brady.

59
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 5:44pm

Yep. Williams has done a masterful job of designing a defense which is able to hide it's flaws, especially at home, because the Saints offense quickly builds leads. There's a reason Sharper, for instance, is on his third team, but you won't see it much as long a Brees is as untouched as a orchestra conductor.

62
by RickD :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 6:30pm

Another big problem Brady had last night was the large number of injuries on the offensive line.

I think you could make a case that the Pats had an over-complicated scheme last night. But I think the bulk of the blame has to fall on the secondary, who were just godawful.

The stat BB is citing today is that the Pats gave up "300 yards on 8 plays". You just cannot do that.

And yeah, the crowd noise helped. But that can be beaten.

70
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 7:32pm

It's also quite clever of the Saints, since they're not used to playing in a noisy dome.
.
.
.
...there's a zinger in there somewhere, about how the Saints usually have a quiet home crowd because they're usually not very good, but I didn't manage to pull it off.

77
by Purds :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 9:37pm

Wait. Brady and Co. have played enough games in the Indy dome lately -- they must have hand signal audibles by now, right?

27
by DonBrady (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:11pm

All your comments seem to focus on facts; performances and the like. That is with the exception of Rivers. What the heck does Cutler/behavior perception (regurgitated at that) have to do with how Rivers is performing? Gees...stick with what you do well please.

30
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:17pm

I think making snarky comments IS one of their strengths (among many.)

34
by Bobman :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:27pm

There's the comic book references, obscure sci-fi references, and of course 80's pop music. Sometimes philosophers are paraphrased. Face it, this is the new Monty Python's Flying Circus. Plus the streets are safe at night, there's that.

38
by DonBrady (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:42pm

Great site, witty & original. In this instance, ad nauseam.

43
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:53pm

It is a silly place.

87
by Paul R :: Wed, 12/02/2009 - 12:59pm

It's only a model.

40
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:50pm

Football analysis without a good dose of the Hegelian dialectic just doesn't cut it for me. Zombie perspective and Goetherian interpretative tools are important, too.

44
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 3:59pm

Seriously. I used to be able to stomach (and even anticipate) football analysis without Hegelian dialectic, but no more!

47
by Packerpalooza (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 4:16pm

What saddens me about Number 4 is that he had to be motivated by spite.

54
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 5:04pm

When's the last time you saw a zombie who wasn't spite-filled? Get thee back to basics, go rent "Night of the Living Dead", and re-acquaint yourself with the canon, will ya? Sheesh!

48
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 4:17pm

Will Allen do you still think Pace is as bad as you thought when you see Cutler's performance after he got replaced by Shaffer?

Maybe he is, but where are all these NFL caliber tackles the Bears can't seem to find?

53
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 4:59pm

Maybe he is, but where are all these NFL caliber tackles the Bears can't seem to find?

In the NFL draft.

55
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 5:07pm

Especially the first two rounds. Maybe Gaines Adams can switch to offense.

63
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 6:30pm

For the Bears, it's even more like "especially not in the seventh round." They've drafted 7 offensive linemen over the last 7 years, which okay, is really low already, but all but 2 of those guys have been in the 7th round, which is just crazy. For reference, the Eagles drafted 14 over the same timeframe, 10 not in the 7th round. The Colts drafted 12, 10 not in the 7th round. The Patriots have drafted 12, 11 not in the 7th round. The Cowboys drafted 10, 7 not in the 7th round.

The Bears seem content to have an offensive line depth chart filled with free agents and late-round draftees. Not really a model for success.

67
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 6:50pm

I think some spots on the o-line can be more easily filled with very low draft picks than other spots. The Vikings have done pretty well with finding decent to good centers late in the draft. Finding good tackles from that location is like trying to win the lottery, it seems.

71
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 7:41pm

Yeah, but even the Vikings didn't rely almost entirely on the 7th round - Sullivan was just a 6th round pick. Might not seem like much of a difference, but over the same timeframe, the Vikings have drafted only 5 OL, which is crazy-low, but the 5 were three 2nd rounders, a 4th rounder, and a 6th rounder, and a third of the offensive linemen on the team are from that group - and to be honest, the Vikings are pretty thin on the offensive line.

72
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 7:53pm

Going out and paying a guard 48 million made drafting guys less imperative, and Artis Hicks, who you are no doubt familiar with, has been very valuable in terms of depth, given his versatility. Just before your cutoff they had made Mckinnie a high first rounder, and Birk was a multiple Pro Bowler from the late rounds, so I think the Vikings are a real anomaly, in terms of getting away with few draft picks spent on o-linemen over the past 7 years.

76
by Temo :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 9:28pm

The Cowboys strategy going back to Jimmy Johnson's days has been to ignore WRs in the draft (seriously, ignore) and invest heavily in defensive players. I'm not sure if this was the case during Johnson's days, but lineman have always been taken in the 2nd-4th rounds, and not many at that. The Cowboys philosophy (stated, at various times) is that you only need to hit on a few lineman because their careers are more generally lengthier than other positions and don't require frequent investment.

However, the success of these draft picks, especially lately, has been sketchy, and the Cowboys' depth at O-Line is horrible-- so this strategy is perhaps questionable.

Of the opening day O-Line, 3 were free agent signings, one was a draft pick in 2002 the other was a draft pick from 1998 (both 2nd rounders).

61
by RickD :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 6:27pm

I'm still in shock at what Marques Colston did to poor Jonathan Wilhite.

The horror...the horror...

65
by Theo :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 6:39pm

"[The Raiders] might just be better off with no wide receivers whatsoever."
... and become the Browns.

68
by D :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 6:53pm

A year ago, what made Johnson so dynamic was his ability as a receiver

When was Chris Johnson ever a dynamic receiver? Last year was a below replacement in terms of his pass catching (-20 DYAR, -19.8 DVOA) and he had 43 receptions for 260 yards (6.0 yds/rec). This year he's already at 294 yards (8.9 yds/rec) and has solid DVOAs and DYARs?

69
by anotherpatsfan :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 7:24pm

While things like this may slip through the tight-deadline cracks sometimes, certainly FO stats don't support that conclusion, which seems pretty insupportable -- as said in FOA 2009: "The one area where Johnson could improve is as a receiver, where his shiftiness should be an asset, but he needs to better understand the timing of the passing offense." What made him so dynamic last year was, well, his dynamism/athletic ability...he is freaky fast/quick/elusive in space, and had some impressive long scoring runs. FO/Kubiak love for him last year convinced me to get him earlier in 3 drafts than he was conventionally listed, and it certainly helped...

79
by t.d. :: Tue, 12/01/2009 - 10:01pm

Since you guys have the game charting data, I think sacks, dropped interceptions, and tipped interceptions should be included in the quarterback metrics.

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by Bill Barnwell :: Wed, 12/02/2009 - 12:19am

Sacks are included in the quarterback metrics. Dropped and tipped interceptions would be strange and somewhat arbitrary to quantify for a variety of reasons (variance in return, lack of impact from a dropped interception vs. incomplete pass or tipped interception vs. standard interception), even if we turned the data around in real-time. The compilation of game charting data lags behind real life, usually by a couple of weeks.

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by t.d. :: Wed, 12/02/2009 - 3:10am

I was really thinking two things.
-A tipped ball that isn't intercepted versus one that is seems to be somewhat random, and ought to be treated as a different type of event versus a throw into triple coverage.
-A dropped interception is really an interception, that the defense f#cked up.

I also wasn't really thinking in terms of quick reads, since I figured that you guys have enough on your plate.

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by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 12/02/2009 - 12:32pm

Josh Freeman does not suck.

That's it. The team's 1-10, it's the best I can do. The QB doesn't suck.