Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features

BradyTom00-10.jpg

» Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Five different teams from last year's DVOA top eight rank in the bottom half of the league through four weeks of 2014. What can we learn from other teams with similar starts in the past?

20 Oct 2009

Week 6 Quick Reads

by Bill Barnwell

One of the league's elite quarterbacks had the best game of the past 15 years on Sunday, according to our DYAR metric.

It just wasn't the one you might think.

Tom Brady and Drew Brees each had incredible days on Sunday. Brady, playing in an October nor'easter, threw for 380 yards and six touchdowns in just under three quarters before giving way to the Brian Hoyer Experience. Brees, in the relative calm of the Superdome, picked up 369 yards on four fewer attempts while throwing four touchdowns. There's very little between them. Brees put up 318 passing YAR on the day, while Brady was right behind him at 314 passing YAR.

What that stat is missing, though, is what separates these two: The 'D' in DYAR, which stands for defense-adjusted. Brady spent his Sunday against a Titans pass defense that was 29th in the league even before Sunday, a game they entered without either of their starting corners. Meanwhile, Brees' matchup saw him take on the league's best pass defense, a Giants team that had allowed opposing #1 and #2 receivers a combined 43 yards per game.

As a result, DYAR takes some of the air out of Brady's game while raising Brees's up to the historic level. There were only three YAR between them, but Brees finished the day with 347 passing DYAR, the highest total in the DVOA Era (1994-2009). Brady ended up with 264; remarkable, but not historic.

Those totals come even before considering that opponent adjustments are only at 60 percent; each week, we up the defensive adjustments 10 percent, until they hit 100 percent after Week 10. Unless the Giants defense fails to recover from their destruction at Brees's hands, the Saints quarterback should see his DYAR total for what was truly an amazing performance rise even higher by the end of the year.

(If you want to compare Brees' day to the other top quarterback games, click here. That was written before we had 1994 and 2008 stats, but no 1994 or 2008 games would break into the top ten.)

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Drew Brees NO
23/30
369
4
0
350
347
4
Brees actually finished with 350.3 DYAR, thanks to the 3.7 rushing DYAR he added to his 346.6 passing DYAR. The defensive scheme that the Giants employed against Brees to disastrous results was extremely similar to the one they used against the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, with the usually blitz-happy Giants rushing four defensive linemen and dropping seven back into coverage on most plays. The difference? In the Super Bowl, the Giants -- particularly Justin Tuck -- abused the Patriots' offensive linemen, beating them one-on-one repeatedly and battering Tom Brady. On Sunday, they barely sniffed Brees, giving him all the time he needed to take their zones apart.
2.
Tom Brady NE
29/34
380
6
0
264
264
0
We don't have the numbers readily available, but it would be a huge shock to find that Brady didn't own the single-quarter record for passing DYAR. In that fateful second quarter, Brady was 17-of-21 for 252 yards, six first downs, and five touchdowns. Had he thrown for touchdown passes instead of taking sacks on two separate third-down plays from the Titans 15-yard-line, he might have been able to challenge Brees.
3.
Matt Schaub HOU
28/40
392
4
1
205
202
3
Our colleague Vince Verhei notes, "Matt Schaub is going to end up with a pretty great day by DYAR, but the receivers are doing more than their fair share -- a lot of the yards, especially the big plays (the Steve Slaton touchdown, a screen to Andre Johnson) have come after the catch." Of course, most big plays have a fair amount of yards after the catch, but Vince is right; the Texans had seven plays with ten or more YAC on the day. The only team with more was...
4.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
23/35
417
2
1
197
189
8
The Steelers had ten plays with 10 or more YAC on the day. Of course, Cleveland's right up there with Oakland amongst the league's worst-tackling teams, but that's still a remarkable total. By player: Hines Ward (79 YAC), Santonio Holmes (49 YAC), Heath Miller (19 YAC), Mike Wallace (18 YAC), and Rashard Mendenhall (14 YAC).
5.
Brett Favre MIN
21/29
278
3
0
165
165
0
We'll cover the DPI king of the day later on, but 2008 pass interference champion Bernard Berrian was up to his old tricks, picking up a 39-yard pass interference call in the fourth quarter that got the Vikings down to the Ravens two-yard line. Favre's final pass, the 58-yard bomb to Sidney Rice, had all kinds of stuff going on worth mentioning. One, there was a blatant hold only inches away from Favre that should have been called. Two, the defender in coverage on the play was noted sieve Frank Walker, who was brought in to replace a benched Fabian Washington. If you watch the 2008 Ravens on tape, you'll note that teams went after Walker like he owed them money when he snuck into the cornerback rotation. He's a gaping hole at cornerback. Three, we heard people saying that Rice was an emerging star at wide receiver Sunday night. Really? Give the guy credit for a huge game, but before Sunday, he was on pace for 54 receptions, 745 receiving yards, and six touchdowns, and that was assuming that he stayed healthy for a full season for the first time in his career. Let's hold off a bit on anointing him.
6.
Joe Flacco BAL
28/42
385
2
0
147
147
0
One thing DYAR and DVOA don't account for is injury. Of course, injury can be all the difference in the world; consider Flacco, who was 3-of-5 for 22 yards and a sack in the first quarter. After Antoine Winfield went down with a foot injury during the opening series of the second quarter, Flacco threw for 363 yards. Correlation isn't always causation, but having Winfield around for the whole game couldn't have hurt.
7.
Kurt Warner ARI
32/41
276
2
1
137
137
0
It wasn't exactly Brady's second quarter, but Kurt Warner had one of those first halves that make you wonder how he won't be a first-ballot Hall of Famer: 12-of-12, 171 yards, six first downs, a passing touchdown, and 14 points on the board, with a third drive ending the quarter inside the Seahawks' ten-yard line.
MNF.
Kyle Orton DEN
20/29
229
2
0
125
133
-9
8.
Aaron Rodgers GB
29/36
358
2
1
84
79
5
Aaron Rodgers didn't pad his stats; after a third-quarter sack and fumble, he threw only one pass in the fourth quarter, an interception. A more important question: What's up with Greg Jennings? We thought the star wideout would have a big game against the Lions, but Jennings only ended up with 38 yards on six catches in eight attempts. Our theory: Rodgers is struggling to get the protection he needs to allow Jennings to run double moves and get open downfield.
MNF.
Philip Rivers SD
20/33
274
1
0
66
68
-1
9.
Jay Cutler CHI
27/43
300
2
2
63
50
14
Of course, statistics never tell the whole story about a player or a game. Cutler's a prime example; he threw two ugly picks, and was constantly buzzing his receivers with inaccurate throws vaguely in their direction. You often hear about a pitcher in baseball with good control, but no command, meaning that they get the ball in the strike zone, but can't put their pitches where they want them to; that was Cutler on Sunday.
10.
Matt Ryan ATL
19/33
185
2
2
62
56
5
Hooray for statistical flukes. Before Sunday, Ryan was 7-of-11 on deep (15+ yards) passes to the left side of the field, picking up 153 yards. Against the Bears, though? Two attempts, two picks.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
11.
Carson Palmer CIN
23/35
259
1
1
49
48
1
Palmer's numbers were stifled by fumbles that came on completed passes around midfield. Those turnovers don't color his numbers at all, but they stopped drives that might have helped him accrue more DYAR and, more importantly, helped Cincinnati to a 5-1 record.
12.
Marc Bulger STL
22/33
213
1
1
25
25
0
There were a lot of great performances by quarterbacks this week, but there were also a lot of absolutely miserable days, too. The result is that a typical middling day from Bulger, accruing 25 DYAR, ranks 12th despite the fact that it would've been 17th or so on most weeks. Bulger's final pass of the day, from the Jaguars nine-yard line in a three-point game, was marked with no intended receiver. That's the NFL play-by-play's way of insulting you.
13.
Eli Manning NYG
14/31
178
1
1
23
23
0
The Giants game plan offensively was to beat the Saints deep, especially on passes through the middle of the field, on seam routes and deep posts. It didn't work, thanks to a combination of tipped passes, drops, and poor throws. Manning threw seven different pass attempts 20 or more yards downfield, and didn't complete a single one. If two or three fall into Giant hands, the game very well might have gone differently.
14.
David Garrard JAC
30/43
335
0
2
13
-2
15
Not included in the totals you see above (outside of DYAR) are, yes, four different pass interference penalties against Rams defenders. They only counted for 37 yards, but that's four new sets of downs that the Jaguars passing game picked up. Although Garrard acccrued his fair share of yards and first downs, his two picks -- including an ugly screen pass returned by Leonard Little for a touchdown -- held his advanced metrics down.
15.
Jason Campbell WAS
9/15
89
0
1
2
5
-3
What was it, again, that Todd Collins was suppose to offer the Redskins that Jason Campbell didn't? Jim Zorn claimed after the game that Campbell had some accuracy issues, but he completed a higher percentage of his passes than Collins did. Collins has the vaunted "game manager" label that's supposed to grant him the magical powers of avoiding turnovers and dumb plays, but football isn't Dungeons and Dragons, and Collins took a game-ending sack in the end zone. Campbell averaged more yards per attempt, and took one fewer sack in two more attempts. The only difference between the two is that Campbell threw an interception on a Hail Mary play to end the half, and that Clinton Portis rolled off a 78-yard carry while Collins was handing the ball off. Oh, and that Campbell might actually contribute to a winning team at some point in the next ten years, while Collins is an emergency backup. Jim Zorn played the last card he had on Sunday, and it failed.
16.
JaMarcus Russell OAK
17/28
224
1
2
-2
-12
10
It's a mystery to us, too. In a game against one of the most confusing, dangerous pass rushes in the league, JaMarcus Russell was actually ... mediocre. That's not an insult, either; we expected Russell to put up one of his worst days of the year, and while he got serious help from Zach Miller's running after the catch on his absurd 86-yard touchdown, Russell held up in the pocket and kept the ugly mistakes and awful breakdowns in mechanics to a minimum.
17.
Brian Hoyer NE
9/11
52
0
0
-7
-5
-3
18.
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF
10/25
116
1
1
-46
-44
-2
Fitzpatrick's ability to end up on teams with starting quarterbacks that get hurt is astounding to us. Of course, we're not one of those starting quarterbacks. All we're saying is that if your favorite team signs him, you should be prepared.
19.
Donovan McNabb PHI
22/45
269
0
0
-56
-56
0
Again, this doesn't even consider that the Raiders were without Nnamdi Asomugha (on the other hand, it doesn't consider that the Eagles were without Jason Peters for most of the game, either). This was the ugly side of McNabb. When he's on his game, there might not be a better quarterback in the league, but McNabb is given to stretches of utter mediocrity, where his mechanics break down and he one-hops a half-dozen curl patterns and overthrows six more deep ins. That makes him the polar opposite of Kevin Kolb, who doesn't have the arm strength of McNabb, but appears to be a more accurate passer. That doesn't necessarily make Kolb the better player, just a different one.
20.
Matt Cassel KC
17/32
186
0
0
-58
-47
-11
Cassel made one of the worst throws you'll ever see on Sunday, scrambling out of the pocket to complete a pass despite being a full two yards ahead of the line of scrimmage. Granted, it's a move that Brett Favre has pulled a half-dozen times during his career, but it wasn't a good thing then, either.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
21.
Derek Anderson CLE
9/24
122
1
1
-63
-63
0
It takes a lot to make 5.1 yards per attempt and a 37.5 percent completion percentage look good. Fortunately, Derek Anderson's Week 5 numbers qualify as "a lot" of something. Maybe realtor-in-training Brady Quinn can put Anderson's house up for sale, too.
22.
Todd Collins WAS
6/14
75
0
0
-85
-85
0
23.
Daunte Culpepper DET
6/14
48
0
1
-86
-86
0
It seems so strange to consider that, this time four years ago, Culpepper was 28 and very clearly the best quarterback in the NFC. Imagine if Ben Roethlisberger tore his knee to shreds next week and then was never effective as an NFL quarterback again. That's Culpepper.
24.
Jake Delhomme CAR
9/17
65
1
2
-89
-89
0
This was supposed to be Delhomme's big game of the year, his chance to take on the league's weakest defense and help restore his seasonal notation to some sort of respectability. Instead, he threw for 65 yards against a team that had allowed the Cowboys two individual plays of 65 yards or more in Week 1. Granted, the Panthers were busy running all over the Buccaneers on the ground, but Delhomme could have -- and should have -- done far more with his 17 attempts.
25.
Drew Stanton DET
5/11
57
0
2
-96
-96
0
26.
Josh Johnson TB
11/17
147
0
1
-107
-102
-4
The biggest problem at the moment for Josh Johnson is holding onto the ball. His raw numbers above look fine, if pedestrian, but he lost a fumble on an aborted snap (the one fumble that the offense is far more likely to recover than the defense), and then fumbled three different times on sacks. He has to do a better job of protecting the football, something his coaches will be drilling into his head in practice.
27.
Matt Hasselbeck SEA
11/29
112
0
1
-131
-128
-4
Seahawks punter Jon Ryan beat his team's starting quarterback by 156 passing DYAR.
28.
Kerry Collins TEN
2/12
0
0
1
-134
-134
0
Another example of "When Game Managers Go Bad". Collins should be an ideal quarterback for the snow, where he'll stay within himself, make good decisions, and do whatever else it is quarterbacks of middling talent who have great defenses do during seasons when they make the playoffs. Instead, he turned the ball over twice and fumbled another time before being taken out.
29.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
10/29
119
0
5
-209
-211
2
Four of Sanchez's five interceptions went to Braylon Edwards, who had three catches on nine targets for 40 yards. Not to say that the Browns know what they're doing, but the line of people queueing up to laugh at them for trading away a "star" wide receiver for mid-round picks and Jets bench players got a lot smaller this week.


Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Ray Rice BAL
77
2
117
0
68
28
41
We're going to look back at the 2008 draft class for running backs the same way that people view the quarterback class of 1983. The two backs selected first -- Darren McFadden and Jonathan Stewart -- have struggled with injuries, but consider that they were followed by Felix Jones, Rashard Mendenhall, Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, and Rice. Rice isn't as flashy as some of the other guys on that list, but what a football player. He didn't run for a first down against a very good Vikings run defense, but he scored on two long carries, and he was 10-of-11 for 117 yards as a receiver. That's a good season for Brandon Jacobs.
2.
Laurence Maroney NE
123
1
10
0
61
64
-3
While the Titans' pass defense has been terrible, they still had an elite rush defense through the first five weeks. Hard to say whether it was the weather that affected an undersized team that relies upon speed, but they made Maroney look like a viable starting back for the first time in, seemingly, years.
3.
Thomas Jones NYJ
210
1
17
0
56
43
13
How do you rush for 200+ yards and not finish first? Well, an utter and absolute lack of balance. 135 of Jones' yards came on two consecutive carries (well, with some other non-Jones plays inbetween), which is great, but you have to contribute over the rest of the game, too. Jones had four carries on first down for two yards or less and failed to convert on his only third-down carry. Against the Bills, who ranked 24th in rush defense DVOA heading into the game, Jones needed to do more considering the workload he got.
4.
DeAngelo Williams CAR
152
2
20
0
55
41
14
Williams didn't have the big plays that Jones did, but he put up virtually the same amount of rushing DYAR because of his consistency. Only two of his 16 carries on first down went for two yards or less, and he converted three of his five attempts on third down. Although Tampa Bay's defense is worse than Buffalo's, it's not a coincidence that Williams' team scored 28 points and won, while Jones' scored 13 and lost.
5.
Brian Westbrook PHI
50
0
91
0
39
13
26
Westbrook only got six carries, but he picked up two first downs and added a nine-yard run on first-and-10. The bulk of his work, as might be expected, came in the passing game. As an honorable mention, we'd like to note the player who came behind him; Steve Slaton had -34 rushing DYAR, but 65 receiving DYAR to finish with 31 total DYAR on the day. At some point, isn't it easier to just make a guy a wide receiver.


Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Matt Forte CHI
24
0
37
0
-65
-81
16
As we suggested two weeks ago, there was nothing wrong with Matt Forte that was magically "fixed" by playing the Lions. It was a narrative formed by people who don't consider the strength of a defense when looking at a stat line or clips of a player in a single game. It's the same sort of folks who were saying that JaMarcus Russell looked more confident because Zach Miller went all Tecmo Bo against the Eagles defense, or that Peyton Manning carried the Colts to the playoffs with a huge second half without considering that he played an impossibly easy slate of games. Of course those guys look good; look who they're playing!


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Marques Colston NO
8
8
166
20.8
1
120
Throw in a 35-yard pass interference penalty for good measure. As we mentioned earlier, the Giants had been shutting down the opposing team's top wideouts this year. Corey Webster, in particular, was having a monster season; the Giants' top corner had been allowing opposing number one wideouts only 15 yards per game. Colston averaged nearly 21 per catch, abusing Webster, fellow corner Terrell Thomas, supposed safety C.C. Brown, and overmatched linebacker Antonio Pierce for big play after big play. Colston's game ranks eighth among wide receiver games in DYAR history (for more on the other games, click here).
2.
Randy Moss NE
8
10
129
16.1
3
82
Imagine what he'd do if he didn't loaf! All Moss did this week was turn all eight of his catches into first downs or touchdowns.
3.
Wes Welker NE
10
11
150
15.0
2
76
Welker would have had a perfect day, if not for a second-quarter drop. For such a smart player, a lot of Welker's incomplete passes come in exactly the same way: While catching a short pass, Welker often tries to turn and make his move upfield before he's got the ball in his grasp. The result is a dropped pass. Because Welker's got such a reputation, he doesn't take any flak for it, but he does it frequently enough to warrant mentioning.
4.
Sidney Rice MIN
6
7
176
29.3
0
61
We threw some cold water on Rice earlier, but it was still an excellent game. Baltimore excels at taking away the throwing lanes to possession receivers and limiting their numbers (look at Welker's career against them if you don't believe us), but Rice simply got downfield and abused Fabian Washington until the Ravens' corner got benched. And then he made Frank Walker look worse.
5.
Hines Ward PIT
8
12
159
19.9
1
56
His line was sullied only by a Roethlisberger interception on which he was the intended target. There hasn't been a ton of Hall of Fame hype surrounding Ward, but he has to make it in the long run, right? He's 16th in career receptions and 28th in receiving yards, and has four Pro Bowls and two Super Bowl rings to go along with his well-deserved reputation as a blocker. A full list of the wide receivers taken before him in that year's draft, by the way: Kevin Dyson, Randy Moss, Marcus Nash, Jerome Pathon, Jacquez Green, Patrick Johnson, Germane Crowell, Tony Simmons, Joe Jurevicius, Mikhael Ricks, Brian Alford, E.G. Green, Jammi German, and Larry Shannon. Moss, Ward, and Jurevicius would be a heck of a combination, actually.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Jeremy Maclin PHI
1
6
6
6.0
0
-32
Maclin was supposed to benefit from Asomugha paying attention to DeSean Jackson, leaving him free to abuse Chris Johnson in single coverage while McNabb got eons and eons of time throw from the Eagles' excellent offensive line. Instead, Asomugha didn't play, so Johnson got shifted over to cover Jackson. Jackson took advantage of Johnson, which isn't surprising, but Richard Seymour laid waste to the left side of the Eagles' line, and Maclin never had any time to get deep. Ah, the best-laid plans...

(Reminder: 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 20 Oct 2009

91 comments, Last at 22 Oct 2009, 6:01pm by Sifter

Comments

1
by Fan in Exile :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:16pm

Seriously you had to bring up Marcus Nash that's just evil. Evil I tell you. Oh well at least we're 6-0.

2
by Ken (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:21pm

How do Brady and Brees compare in their single game DVOA's?

3
by Boots Day (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:23pm

Is there a typo in Warner's first-half numbers? 12-for-12 is great, but for only 88 yards doesn't exactly scream Hall of Fame.

38
by TXNiner :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:29pm

The typo seems to be that it was his first-half numbers. Those were his first quarter numbers, which make them a bit better, although the yards per completion still doesn't scream HOF.

4
by montel555@gmail com :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:27pm

DYAR is misleading about Brady's historic day because he was withdrawn at the beginning of the third quarter; because DYAR calculates overall worth to a game, not play-by-play worth, Brady's results would be skewed downward for being withdrawn in the 3rd quarter. DVOA would be a much better comparison point for Brees and Brady because Brady was very historic on a play-to-play basis.

6
by nat :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:33pm

I'm a Brady fan, but you may be wrong about this one. Because the Titan's stunk like a skunk's spunk in the trunk, Brady had a full day's worth of passing in a half and a series. Brees will have the higher DVOA.

It's all about the defense adjustment.

7
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:34pm

Brees' DVOA was 140.6%, while Brady's was 88.5%.

31
by BucNasty :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:13pm

DYAR also doesn't take into account the injuries or the Titans giving up 5 minutes into the game. It was cold, miserable, and the game was over before it began. Those guys just wanted to go home. The Titans' pass defense is bad this year, but there's no way it's that bad.

They were also 0-5 coming into this game, and likely expected to lose. The Giants had far more to play for.

47
by johonny (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:54pm

I though they took into account garbage time yrds. Which would mean even if Brady stayed in and piled on stats they'd get pro rated down anyways. It's probably impossible to tell how good or bad Brady's day was because it's hard to tell how hard the Titans were actually trying. I think every system is going to breakdown when a team basically gives up so early in a game like it appears the Titans did Sunday. It leads to the question how often does a team destroy another team like that and should a game like that be a wake up call that the Pats are back in Super Bowl form. I remember the Eagles once destroy the 49ners, but then the 49ners were the team that ended in the Super Bowl. But something tells me that's the exception not the rule.

53
by tgt2 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:22pm

Guts and Stomps:

Guts and Stomps

I think there was updated analysis in some of the books.

51
by tgt2 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:11pm

DYAR sums the worth of all dropbacks. Even though he only played 2.5 quarters, Brady had more dropbacks than Brees, not less.

81
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 10/21/2009 - 6:56pm

Dropbacks aren't a relevant stat. Drives are. You get more dropbacks when you keep drives alive.

82
by nat :: Wed, 10/21/2009 - 7:48pm

I think you're forgetting the point of the first post in this thread: it was suggested (wrongly) that DVOA would show Brady to have had the better day. The theory was that he amassed his DYAR in a half and a series vs Brees full game, so his DVOA must be higher. But DVOA is a per-play stat, not a per-game stat or per-quarter stat, or even a per-drive stat. So comparing the number of dropbacks was the right thing to do.

As for keeping drives alive, for that you need to look at YAR and VOA. You get no extra help when you play against a good defense. You still need ten yards to get a first down. The D in DVOA doesn't get you one extra inch in today's game. It just gets you more respect (and higher expectations) in the next game.

5
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:31pm

"Cassel made one of the worst throws you'll ever see on Sunday, scrambling out of the pocket to complete a pass despite being a full two yards ahead of the line of scrimmage."

Cassel did the same thing in pre-season against the Vikings. The refs didn't call it though. It was reviewed and he was clearly 2 yards over the line and they let the play stand - it was really odd because it wasn't close - he was way past the line.

57
by doubleipa (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:39pm

But was the throw bad? Clearly his awareness was. I think I'm recalling correctly that Favre made a great throw while pulling one of these against the 49ers.

8
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:36pm

Rice doesn't seem to have the top end speed but he has great hands. If you watched him the first two years in Minnesota - when he wasn't injured he was good. He catches just about everything you throw at him and he seems to have a knack to get deep even though he isn't particularly fast.

I think his weakness is he isn't particularly dangerous once he's caught the ball. He's not a great yar guy. Harvin is has great skills in that regard and Berrian is also better than you would think. I'm saying all this without any idea how their stats stack up in that regard. Just observation on my part.

9
by Temo :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:38pm

I play my game-manager and roll 3 12-sided die...

(did I do that right?)

18
by Fan in Exile :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:57pm

Only if you have a level ten Game Manager, for anything less than that you role 2 12 sided die.

22
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:01pm

I wouldn't expect a game manager to be worth 3d12 worth of offense. 2d8 tops. 3d12... that's crazy talk.

44
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:42pm

Probably not ... playing would suggest a card-type game, and few of those use dice as well. So you might play your game manager, giving all WRs in play +1 to receiving and +1 to getting first downs.

Dice would suggest classic AD&D: unfortunately unless you had a really well-prepared DM, rolling dice was an indication that something could happen in a particular situation, so you sometimes had to be "surprised" even when you weren't. It might be more like this:

DM: Okay, you're trailing 3-0, start of the second half.
Zorn: My game manager trots onto the field and joins the huddle.
DM: Penalty, offense: too many men in the huddle.
Zorn: No, wait! I mean the other QB comes off and then the game manager comes on.
DM: Too late, it's first and 15 now.
Zorn: (sigh) All right, uh, we try to run to the left side.
DM: (places a d6 in front of Zorn) Roll this.
Zorn: d6? Seriously? (rolls a 3)
DM: Stopped for 1 yard. Now it's second and 14.
Zorn: Um ... okay ... uh ... screen?
DM: (hands Zorn a d20) Roll this first.
Zorn: (rolls) A 16. That's good, right?
DM: (looks at a chart) Yeah, your game manager realized that your play was stupid and called an audible at the line. Roll 2d8.
...

55
by Temo :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:32pm

The extent of my nerdery in my youth was Magic: The Gathering type games, so it would make sense that my syntax would remind you of such.

Your hypothetical game intrigues me and I would like to propose a business venture. I'll be in touch shortly. Also be sure to leave Barnwell out of this surely lucrative venture.

66
by matt w (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 5:31pm

Man, that twelve man on the field penalty seems like a real jerk move. I bet that if Zorn said "I draw my dagger" without explicitly saying "I sheathe my sword" that DM would make him save against stabbing himself in the groin.

I am not unaware of the homoerotic undertones of that sentence.

So which head coach is playing Tomb of Horrors?

68
by drobviousso :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 6:15pm

So which head coach is playing Tomb of Horrors?
NPC's:
Acererak - Al Davis
Gelatinous Cube - Andy Reed

PC's:
Female Drow Assassin who's Drizzt's cousin - Josh McDaniels
Goliath Thief/cleric multiclass, dwarf sorcerer, halfling cleric, or any other build that flies in the face of simply math - Jim Zorn
Human Fighter with a sword, heavy armor, a cha of 8 and no IC talking: Chilly
Human Samurai (OA is allowed, right?) - Mike Singletary

10
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:39pm

Another Rice comment - Ray Rice this time. I've watched that guy a few times now and I'm very impressed. He reminds me of Barry Sanders - but a North/South type of runner. He just runs through tackles and he so low to the ground at times defenders think he's down when he's not.

12
by Temo :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:43pm

Having watched him at Rutgers, yes, he's very shifty. He's always reminded me of a Emmitt Smith than a Sanders, though a lot of that is probably in the similar body types (low, stocky, balanced).

71
by The Guy You Don't Want to Hear (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 7:25pm

I could see Emmitt Smith there, actually. I commented in the game discussion threat that Rice annoys me because he doesn't look at all impressive to me and yet somehow seems to pile up numbers. I had the same feeling about Emmitt Smith (and I will point out that I did not see him much early in his career when he was putting up ridiculous numbers).

11
by MC2 :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:40pm

So, you're putting the blame for the Jets' loss squarely on the shoulders of Braylon Edwards and Thomas Jones, eh?

Seriously?

15
by Arkaein :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:53pm

They have Sanchez ranked as the worst QB and Jones as the 3rd best RB, so I'd say no, they aren't saying that. Try to take the entire paragraph for each player into context.

19
by MC2 :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:58pm

Even with all the (justified) bashing of JaMarcus Russell, Derek Anderson, Jake Delhomme, etc., Sanchez has posted 2 of the 3 worst QB performances of the year, according to DYAR (Delhomme's infamous Week 1 meltdown was the worst). In spite of this, there has been virtually no FO criticism of Sanchez for either of these games. In fact, on both occasions, they have gone out of their way to make excuses for him.

32
by anotherpatsfan :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:15pm

If you look at the QB stats for passers with 50-plus passes, Sanchez is 38th (!!!, i.e., behind 2 CLE guys, 2 DET guys and 2 SEA guys) in DYAR (only ahead of Russell) and 36th in DVOA (only ahead of Culpepper, Anderson and Russell, squarely in Delhomme-ville). Despite some good game results and clutchiness against the Pats fanning the ridiculous hype flames, statistically, he sort of sucks at this point as compared to this year's QBs (without regard to how he's doing historically as compared to rookie QBs playing for decent teams). As a Pats' fan, I know I'll be happy if he keeps completing 52 percent of his passess. The FO guys may think his DYAR/DVOA speaks for itself about his sucknitude. Do you need someone from FO to tell you he sort of sucks so far?

73
by MC2 :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 8:45pm

I don't need anyone to tell me anything, except the truth, as opposed to making excuses. Two weeks ago, Sanchez had a terrible game, yet rather than criticizing him for it, Quick Reads informed us that this was just an aberration, and that he had been "great" the first 3 weeks (when, in fact, according to DYAR, he had been mediocre at best in 2 of the first 3 games). We even got a Peyton Manning comparison, with the obvious implication that Sanchez, like Manning before him, was just enduring some small bumps on the inevitable path to stardom. Contrast this to Stafford, whose failures in Week 1 were described as confirmation of all the knocks on him leading up to the draft.

Then, this week, after another terrible game, we are treated to more excuses. First, we're told that it was Edwards' fault that Sanchez threw so many picks, when anyone watching that game should know that most of those picks were nowhere close to the receiver. I didn't see the first couple, but of the ones I did see, they were either thrown right to the defender, or simply thrown up for grabs. There's no way Edwards could have been expected to make those catches.

Furthermore, we are told not once, but twice, of the inadequacies of Thomas Jones, who was, in fact, the only bright spot for the Jets' offense. Nevertheless, it seems that he "should have done more" and that it's "no coincidence" that his team lost. I'm just flabbergasted that anyone who saw that game (or even browsed the box score) could come away with these kinds of observations.

83
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 10/21/2009 - 10:14pm

1. Sanchez's INTs were not overtly blamed on Edwards. The point of the comment was to note that the Edwards trade thus far has not paid dividends for the Jets and that the Browns may have "won" the trade. Also, just because the throw is not near the receiver that doesn't mean he (the receiver) bears no responsibility. He could have run the wrong routes, especially since he's new to the team and wasn't known as a great route runner in the first place. In fact this is quite likely. (Sanchez's comment doesn't mention that Sanchez sucked, but it doesn't have to because we already know that.)

2. Jones was not blamed for the Jets' loss. He was blamed for having a merely very good day when his traditional stats implied that he had a superb day, in a game in which his team needed a superb performance and not just a very good one. The comment answers the question "How did the Jets lose if Jones was amazing" with "Jones was good but not amazing."

87
by MC2 :: Thu, 10/22/2009 - 5:16pm

So, let me get this straight. According to your theory, it's "quite likely" that a veteran, former Pro Bowl WR ran the wrong route (at least) 4 times in one game? This is the most logical explanation for a rookie QB throwing multiple INTs? Have you ever heard of Occam's Razor?

As for Jones, you're splitting hairs. When Jones' performance is denigrated and compared unfavorably to DeAngelo Williams' performance, followed by the assertion that "it's not a coincidence" that Williams' team won and Jones' team lost, the only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn is that Jones bears a large portion of the responsibility for his team's loss. This, of course, ignores the fact that if not for Jones' two long runs, the Jets would have lost in a blowout.

The answer to the question "How did the Jets lose if Jones was amazing?" is simple: "The Jets lost because Sanchez was terrible."

89
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Thu, 10/22/2009 - 5:38pm

I'm not going to argue the Jones thing further because it's just semantics.

As for Edwards,

According to your theory, it's "quite likely" that a veteran, former Pro Bowl WR ran the wrong route (at least) 4 times in one game? This is the most logical explanation for a rookie QB throwing multiple INTs?

Yes, I don't see any problem with what I said. Edwards may be a "veteran," but that doesn't mean he necessarily plays like one. He may have made a Pro Bowl, but that doesn't mean his performance is consistently Pro Bowl-level. Also, it's convenient that you ignore the fact that he just switched teams. He probably doesn't even know the terminology yet and is obviously unfamiliar with the offense. He's never been described as a "detail-oriented" guy either. In any case, of course no one would place 100% of the blame for Sanchez's interceptions on him, but in all likelihood he bears some responsibility. Unless you think a brand new WR understands the offense better that the QB whose been a starter since the preseason?

90
by MC2 :: Thu, 10/22/2009 - 5:50pm

You make a fair point about Edwards learning a new system, but let me point out that it's much more difficult for a QB to learn a new system than it is for a WR. That's because for the most part, the WR only has to learn what he's supposed to do on each play, whereas the QB has to learn what everyone is supposed to do (and where everyone is supposed to be) on each play. Given that, I don't think it's impossible that Edwards already understands his own responsibilities better than Sanchez understands Edwards' responsibilities. Also, even if Sanchez "knows" where Edwards is supposed to be on each play, it's very easy to "forget" where he's supposed to be, given all the mental balls that QBs have to juggle in the heat of the moment, whereas again, Edwards just has to concentrate on doing his part. That's one of the big reasons why QB is so much tougher to learn than any other position, and why Ryan and Flacco's success last year was so shocking.

85
by anotherpatsfan :: Thu, 10/22/2009 - 1:53pm

You might check out Walkthrough for an analysis of some of the problems Sanchez had Sunday.

88
by MC2 :: Thu, 10/22/2009 - 5:38pm

I just read the Walkthrough piece and found it, as usual, to be very informative and honest, although in some ways, it still felt a bit like an apology for Sanchez (e.g. there was no mention of the interception that was thrown directly into the hands of one of the Bills LBs, Posluszny I think). In general, though, it seemed like a fair assessment of Sanchez's performance.

Just to be clear, I'm not trying to rip Sanchez himself, just his performance in this particular game. I think it's still too early to tell whether he becomes a good NFL QB or not. I just hate it when football writers and/or broadcasters prematurely crown a young player's ass (to borrow Denny Green's famous phrase), and then refuse to point out the mistakes that the player makes, for fear of contradicting their earlier praise. I expect that kind of crap from ESPN, but I expect better from the folks here at FO.

64
by Arkaein :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 5:12pm

I'm not trying to excuse or bash Sanchez, though I think he very likely has a bright future considering he's just a rookie (which is probably the best excuse for his play given that the other players you listed are all veterans with starting experience). Just pointing out that FO really was not trying to deflect blame from him, given that the numbers put him dead last.

It's just the style of how Quick Reads is structured, they always try to find an interesting tidbit to go along with the stats and to apply some context. The fact that most of the INTs were aimed at Edwards is interesting, whether it's an anomaly or part of a possible trend such as locking in on a primary read.

35
by C (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:19pm

Good point but Sanchez would be a Senior in college if he didn't come out and was starting what, his 5th NFL game and in windy crappy conditions with a new WR? We've already seen the Delhomme act, the Jamarcus act etc. etc. etc.

The thing that flashed through my mind with Sanchez though is if his arm is strong enough for NY ( not sure how the wind will be in the new stadium), and if he will be alright playing in the cold.

Sanchez had a crappy game, but he IS a rookie who came out his junior year... That happens sometimes. He wants to win, he wasn't throwing all screen passes, he made some terrible throws but that happens sometimes for rookies...

At least he didn't get the Jason Campbell excuse... It's his 2nd year with his 2nd different offensive coordinator man!

21
by anotherpatsfan :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:00pm

How do you come up with that? Saying Jones should/could have had better DYAR with over 200 yards rushing doesn't blame the loss on him. Saying 4 of the ints were directed at Edwards doesn't blame the loss on him -- although it is unclear whether (without having watched the game) he was all or partly at fault on the ints, which seems to be part of the message. I think the Edwards thing is more a cautionary word to Jet fans about thinking -- as many did last week -- that he is the savior and Sanchez/Edwards is the next Manning/Harrison. Sanchez being dead last in DYAR seems more relevant to the cause of the loss -- although as is often observed here, the QB gets too much credit/blame for W/L, 5 interceptions does seem to be pretty blameworthy (and hopefully it is cold and windy when the Pats play them again).

13
by anonymiss (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:49pm

Rice ran for first downs on both of his scores, according to NFL stat rules (check the game book). I don't understand why that isn't a first down in your book. Why hold it against a guy that he got in the end zone? He *did* give his team a first down on the play.

48
by anotherpatsfan :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:01pm

I doubt DYAR/DVOA hold it against Rice for getting in the end zone twice, and I don't think from the comment that the FO commenter implied anything other than that he had a very good game. He must have meant "move-the-chains" first downs, because I imagine he knows that touchdowns = first downs.

14
by Snack Flag (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:49pm

I dislike Favre as much as the next guy, but that comment on him is just weird. I don't know why you would go out of your way to insult Sidney Rice - I haven't heard many people anointing him. He's a big, athletic receiver that's probably the 4th or 5th offensive weapon on the team. And he has made some great catches this year, like on the pass interference play. I don't see what's significant about that play at all, besides Rice's great catch. There's holding on every play, there's lots of terrible db's in the league (not ONE mention of CC Brown in the Brees comment?) - the only thing that matters is that Favre made a great throw and Rice made a great catch.
I don't mind throw away stuff like this in Audibles, but when you have a subjective agenda in articles like this, it really takes away from the content.

29
by o rly (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:10pm

It is pretty funny. If Brett Favre does something good, it has to be related to a) a good wide receiver b) an uncalled penalty c) a bad DB. Really, how many 58 yard passes are there that don't have at least one of those things involved.

45
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:52pm

Regardless of the externalities, that was an incredible throw. That man really defies so many rules of football mechanics, aging, etc.

34
by Peder (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:18pm

And if we're going to highlight important holding calls, the Ravens last touchdown was assisted by a pretty blatant hold from a WR. It was the key 'block' that turned a big gain into an easy touchdown.

61
by doubleipa (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:49pm

Thanks for that; the comment definitely smacks suspiciously.

16
by BucNasty :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:53pm

Fitzpatrick's ability to end up on teams with starting quarterbacks that get hurt is astounding to us. Of course, we're not one of those starting quarterbacks.

Joey Harrington used to have that same skill, but he seems to be losing it with age.

46
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:53pm

Gilooley Fitzpatrick?

17
by anonymiss (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:53pm

It's Zorn's fault, it's Snyder's fault, it's the line's fault, it's the young receivers' fault, it's the weather's fault, it's the economy's fault, it's the San Andreas fault, it's a foot fault, it's Sonny Jurgensen's fault, but it is never, ever, ever Jason Campbell's fault. Not even when he leads his offense to a bagel on the board at home against the mighty Chiefs defense (on the final drive of the second quarter, don't forget JC's misguided scramble on second down, which cost them precious time and gained little).

Oh, and picking on the Todd Collins safety is a little silly - it's a desperation play at the end of the game, where holding the ball and hoping for a miracle actually makes a little sense. Had Campbell been in that spot, you'd want to wipe it off the record, too.

24
by Kurt :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:05pm

Yes, I don't think you can really hold Collins responsible for his performance - they have a terrible O-line, Portis is cooked, the whole organization is a mess. Collins probably isn't the answer, but considering all those other factors they should give him 3 1/2 years at the helm, just to be sure.

27
by C (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:09pm

Thank you.

I don't understand why people give this guy an unconditional free pass on everything. He can throw a screen pass and rack up stats that look "average", so since he has "average stats" it couldn't possibly be his fault that the offense is "bad".

I don't have the exact numbers in front of me but I want to say that in 2007 Todd Collins was 4-0 as a starter while Campbell was 5-7. Keep in mind Collins wasn't beating patsies either... Winning @ NYG, @ Minnesota on a nat televised game, and I believe he beat the Bears and Eagles or Cowboys at home. It's not like he was whipping up on the Raiders, Lions, Browns etc. Collins had a good DVOA and the offense wasn't checkdown city. Before you make fun of a guy trying to win a game in the 4th quarter ( and compare 3 less completions)... give the guy a chance.

Jason Campbell hasn't ever showed anything to suggest that he can lead a passing attack and beat opponents or even make them respect his arm. Collins might not be the ideal QB by age or arm, but I haven't even seen from Campbell what he did in 2007.

To me you could pick up a guy like Damon Huard for free and get exactly what you'd get from Campbell...

The fact that he gets all of these excuses from the media seems bizzare.

33
by anonymiss (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:18pm

Part of that Todd Collins miracle run in 2007 was tied to the fact that he knew the Al Saunders offense so well from all their time together. Of course that's also a reason why the team probably would have done better that year had Collins played the entire way.

Jason Campbell, I just don't see it. I know he's always getting new coordinators and such, but has his pocket awareness improved? The Cassel pass over the LOS got mocked, but I've seen Campbell try to do that more than any current quarterback. He might look great at the combine or against an absent pass rush, but I don't trust his decisions when the pocket is muddied and bodies are all around him.

63
by C (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:58pm

They asked Campbell before last weeks game what he needs to improve on and he responded, " I need to make quicker decisions". Isn't that what we said from day 1? I'll add the mechanical (slow) release too and it makes throwing downfield harder for him.

Everybody used that excuse in Washington... "Todd Collins knew Saunders offense". If you watched the games though, the thing that was very evident was that Collins had much better timing, and was throwing passes to guys even before they made their breaks. Collins would throw deeper passes, more intermediate stuff, and wouldn't resort to the checkdowns as much as Campbell.

The coaching staff also had more confidence in him. Look at Redskins 3rd and longs. You could flip a coin to see either Screen, draw, or Campbell throwing a 2 yard check down and hoping the back picks up the remaining 8 yards... Keep in mind, defending these 3 plays is a lot easier than locking up 5 pass catchers man/man or playing a disciplined zone with 6 or 7 defenders... If other teams had to honor the deeper and intermediate throws more...

Campbell is 27 years old and he's no better than he was his rookie year. He's playing check down QB for dummies in the same way Byron Leftwhich was in year 4 or 5 or whatever in Jacksonville. People are finally getting sick of his act, and Rodney Harrison called him out on National TV.

If you'll watch a Redskins game, the announcers are still pointing out what he does well, instead of pointing out the obvious flaws in his game... It's frustrating.

91
by Sifter :: Thu, 10/22/2009 - 6:01pm

I mostly agree with you Chris and understand your position, but you are hardly making a strong case against the "Todd Collins knew Saunders offense" statement. Everything you list afterwards: better timing, throwing deeper, less checkdowns, greater confidence from coaching staff to call riskier plays etc. ALL those things will happen with a guy who is more familiar with an offense eg. Todd Collins with Al Saunders massive playbook...

I don't think Campbell is a good QB, he's probably better than he's been made to look at Washington. But as most people seem to be saying here - he's not the main problem. It's the coaching staff/front office IMHO. Use your 2007 example. If Collins knew the playbook better (which he evidently did), why the hell was he on the bench? That is a coaching staff issue (unless Snyder explicitly demanded Campbell should start of course). And Zorn seems a nice guy, but he's out of his depth here.

Best thing would be to blow it all up after the season, new coach, new QB and get some OL depth. With the amount of injuries up front, the rest of the season the QB is going to suck whoever plays there.

56
by peterplaysbass (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:38pm

Had Campbell been in that spot, he'd have thrown a short, meaningless pass or run out of bounds for a loss (or, in this case, a safety).

20
by C (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 2:59pm

Before we pile on Todd Collins, the guy steped into the game after 2 years on the bench. To compare his 1/2 of football to the big lackadaisical is unfair and violates sample size ( who cares if he had 3 less completions). In 2007 Collins vastly outperformed him. The funny thing is before the game they asked Zorn if he considered a QB change " No I haven't". Was that a lie or did the media give him an idea?

I thought Josh Johnson with 4 fumbles and 1 pick and 1 team offensive TD would be right down there next to Sanchez...

Brees looked unstopable, but the Giants defense was overrated and missing 3 of their back 7 at that... The funny thing is now they talk about Brees with all of his "weapons". Really? Colston was a 7th round pick, Meachem hasn't done much yet, Lance Moore was an after thought, Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell didn't get much respect around the league... Bush & Shockey are both seen as overrated...

Brees is a case of making the talent around him look better. If Michael Vick was throwing incompletions to a 7th round tight end out of Hofstra, an under sized Lance Moore, and a 1st round pick that hasn't done anything yet... they'd say he has no talent around him.

Brees just completly understands the passing game and protections in the same way Brady and Manning do. I wouldn't say his roster is "loaded with talent", he makes the guys around him look better. He didn't even have one 1000 yard receiver last year in a year he threw for 5,000 yards.

I will say in that game he did have some things go his way. It seemed that early on the pass protection did just enough to give him time to get the ball downfield, another .25 of a second and maybe not... he had the deflected ball to Lance Moore at the start off Corey Websters finger tips on 3rd down... The Eli Pass to Steve Smith on 3rd down should have been caught... If you touch it you should catch it... yeah he could have thrown it a little shorter, but there would have been risk of an INT since the defender was behind him... It wouldn't kill Smith to be a little faster... we also had the Hixon drop on a 3rd down on the next drive ( or 2nd) that could have kept the game closer early on and allowed the Giants to run the ball more...

I like how you pointed out Schaub beneffiting from screen passes run for long TD's... I wish you would do that for certainly recently benched NFC East QB's...

Donovan was "off". but that's because his offensive line ( in particular backup LT) was completly out matched. Richard Seymour had 4 sacks in the first half and deserved every one of them.

Mcnabb was rushed on all of his throws, and didn't have time to set his feet... which resulted in poor mechanics and too many low throws. Mcnabb wasn't holding onto the ball too long, he was constantly letting less than 3 seconds to drop back, set, read and throw... The receivers still should have caught the balls (on poor throws) because they are pro's and that's their job. I wouldn't blame it on Mcnabb.

If you took away one long throw/run by Zack Miller, I find it hard to belive Jamarcus Russell had a higher DVOA than Mcnabb. I wouldn't say he beneffited from a screen + a whole bunch of rac yards, but that play was uncommon...

There's nothing that bothers me more than a QB throwing all low risk screen passes, racking up stats, and then the media praising him for being a "good QB"...

The other thing that bothers me is the "Charles Davis assumption". " Josh Johnson keeps scrambling around which means he MUST have no receivers open downfield". Just like all the other mobile QB's before him that never had any receivers...

42
by Joseph :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:38pm

Chris--Brees does make the talent around him better. HOWEVER, Colston is a 7th round pick that has put up 1st round #'s for the last 3 yrs. Per the FOA2009: 2006 DVOA=14.0% (17th), DYAR=250 (9th); 2007 DVOA=17.1% (14th), DYAR 354 (5th); 2008 (hurt--missed 6? games) DVOA-2.8% (33rd), DYAR 111 (33rd). As for Bush--his rushing #'s aren't good, but his receiving #'s are: 1st, 32nd, and 7th in DYAR amongst RB's in his 3 years. (8th, 36th, and 16th in DVOA) Moore is known as a technician--think Welker-type. Henderson led the league in DVOA in 06 and 08 (not ranked in 07--but wouldn't have been too high), while his DYAR was 12th and 17th. Yes, Brees is a GREAT QB--but he has decent receivers around him. As we all know, most HOF QB's had a HOF WR with them, and vice-versa. Largent is one exception that comes to mind.

60
by C (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:45pm

You can't just read off their stats and DVOA's to prove the Saints WR's are "good". Look, I think they are "alright" too, but to say the Saints are "loaded with talent" and list of guys that never did anything...

Look, Colston has put up good numbers, but if his rookie year he was drafted by the Redskins, or played a season with Mike Vick, or god forbid went to the Raiders.... Do you think we'd even know who Colston is? In all reality he'd still be Mr. Irrelevant.

The only reason people knew who Devrey Henderson was, was because he was so fast in those John Madden games.

Look, Brees made Terrance Copper look OK. Terrance Copper was one of the worst WR's I'd ever seen...

Meacheum was a raw talent out of Tennesse who could do stuff after he got the ball... I like how they are bringing him along, maybe this year or next year he takes the next step but again... if he was playing in Oakland, Buffalo or Washington... he'd probably be receiving the same criticism that Malcom Kelly and Devin Thomas are receiving...

As bad as I thought Terrance Copper was at the craft of WR, I think Lance Moore is good at it. He's a poor man's Steve Smith to me...

I think the Saints WR talent is fine....

but to say that Brees is "loaded with talent"... If Brees sucked nobody would point out that the Saints are "loaded at WR"... if Brees was named Michael Vick they would probably say he has "no receivers".

If you want to talk about a WR core loaded with talent, look at Arizona with Fitz, Quan, Breaston, Urban, Doucet... That's loaded....

74
by Joseph :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 9:05pm

Chris, I never said they were loaded. However, I think this is the thing with the Saint's wideouts/TE's/backs--they each have a different role; they know that role; they don't try to do much more than that. Since Brees is so good at locating the open man/mismatch, the receivers/backs know that "I just run my pattern--if I am open, Brees will find me, and get me the ball. Personally, I think this fact helps them all concentrate better and run precise routes.

43
by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:42pm

With McNabb, at a certain point, doesn't he have to realize he doesn't have much time and start making quicker decisions? Even late into the game, he was looking downfield for the deep pass. A couple more throws to Celek and Westbrook (who were playing great) and the Eagles would've won the game. McNabb should've know the rush was coming and gotten the ball out quick - that's essentially was JaMarcus was doing in the face of the Eagles rush, quick passes to the RB and TE...

O-line injuries or no, McNabb and the Eagles coaching staff have no excuses: Westbrook ends up in the top 5 DVOA on 6 rushes and 9 catches - keep him involved in the game! The checkdowns were working - McNabb should have the good sense to get the ball in Westbrook's hands, and quick!

23
by BucNasty :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:02pm

Imagine what he'd do if he didn't loaf! All Moss did this week was turn all eight of his catches into first downs or touchdowns.

Let's just be thankful he doesn't put himself in harm's way by trying to block.

58
by peterplaysbass (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:40pm

He actually looked like he was loafing on one of his touchdowns. I think they were using his reputation to trick the coverage into rushing the line of scrimmage. Pretty funny stuff.

25
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:07pm

Aaron, I must obsessively note that you failed to note how Favre was also aided by the Ravens' defenders being distracted by the sight of Dan Dierdorf waving pom-poms, with a certain stubbled qb's likeness tattooed on his bare midriff, before Dierdorf threw caution to the wind, tossed down the pom-poms, and held for Favre on the play you mention, before Sidney Rice (how dare you doubt Rice's greatness!) bailed out Favre yet again!

36
by anotherpatsfan :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:22pm

Nice. Favre getting more bailout than AIG... I am surprised you are also not all over how they manage (with great stretchiness I must admit) to diss Favre in the Matt Cassell blurb, about BF's tendency to have fun all over the field, including throwing the ball after crossing the line of scrimmage...

41
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:37pm

Favre's epidermis is so thick that he is often behind the line of scrimmage, in situations where other quarterbacks are committing penalties.

54
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:29pm

Now I am totally lost. Isn't it where the ball is, or where the QB's skin is? Not sure I even want to know the answer. There's probably a horror movie/halloween appropriate answer, but again, no need to know.

And really, no thanks at all for the searing image of #4 tattooed onto Dierdorf's belly... though, one can't help but wonder if the stubble in the tattooed image is inked there or if it's artfully coiffed anc close-cropped Dierdorf hair in a sort of a 3-D image. Very artsy--somewhere betwen Museum of Modern Art stuff and performance art.

26
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:07pm

"It seems so strange to consider that, this time four years ago, Culpepper was 28 and very clearly the best quarterback in the NFC."

Really? You're serious? Did you ever look at the stats for the backups like Frerotte and Bouman when they got a chance to play? They were better than Culpepper.

I'm a Viking fan - and I really have a soft spot for Culpepper but there is no way he was ever the best QB in the NFC or even in the NFC central. He was the product of a very good offence.

59
by peterplaysbass (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:44pm

"He was the product of a very good offence."

I'm a Viking fan also, and I agree with what you're saying here (Birk did Culpepper's thinking, and Moss did his catching), but the fact still remains that he would've been a top MVP contender the year he threw 39 TDs if it weren't for the fact that Peyton chose to officially be forever awesome and throw 49 TDs.

62
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:54pm

In 2004 Culpepper put up more than 5,100 yards rushing and passing (an all-time record) and had 41 total touchdowns. He was second in the league in passing DVOA and DYAR behind Peyton's ridiculous season.

Randy Moss was third on the team in receptions that year, and a distant second in yards behind Nate Burleson. So you can't say it was all him.

So yeah, I think it's safe to say Culpepper was the best quarterback in the NFC at the time.

67
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 6:14pm

2004:

5 games played before Moss got injured Culpepper averaged 353 yards/game
5 games Moss actually missed Culpepper averaged 220/game
9 games played when Moss returned (at something significantly less than 100% health) Culpepper averaged 274 yards/game.

You can't just take some QB stats - even ones such as DVOA and DYAR and say that it "safe to say" he was the best QB in the NFC. All that would be safe to say is he had the best stats.

In 2003 the year before with essentially the same offence Gus Frerotte put up a QB rating of 118 in the two games he started. Bit of hint this was an easy team to compile great QB stats on.

70
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 7:22pm

it was 8 games after Moss returned not 9 (2 playoff games)

79
by Fan in Exile :: Wed, 10/21/2009 - 10:18am

All you can say from that is C-pep was the second most productive QB, and the most productive one in the NFC. It's a thinking mistake to confuse productivity with quality no matter how good the stats are.

28
by gormleymp (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:09pm

No love for Steve Slaton in the gushing sentiment about class of 2008 RBs?

78
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 10/21/2009 - 6:22am

"Steve Slaton had -34 rushing DYAR, but 65 receiving DYAR to finish with 31 total DYAR on the day. At some point, isn't it easier to just make a guy a wide receiver.

Apparently that's because he's a Reggie Bush style slot-receiver-in-disguise. Never mind the 166 DYAR (9th in the league) and 1285 rushing yards last year. Slaton's struggling because both starting guards are on IR and the center was never much good in the first place. He's not a guy who's ever going to be effective if he has to bull past multiple defenders in the backfield, but given decent run-blocking he can be devastating. The Texans should be running more toss plays, because the tackles and wide receivers can actually block.

Similarly, I don't think Forte's having a "sophomore slump" - his line just freakin' sucks.

30
by C (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:12pm

Before all the injuries, I don't think Pepper was that bad. Now could he have worked on his game instead of working on that silly " get your roll on gig" sure... I think the Lions should start him over Stafford for at least this year, but that's just me.

39
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:32pm

You know, I thought as much at first (and posted it somewhere on the site) ... but at this point in the season, the passing game looks miserable with Culpepper on the field and mediocre with Stafford out there.

If Stafford is healthy, I suppose he might as well be out there for the experience.

37
by booker reese :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:24pm

Just a minor correction - Josh Johnson did fumble 4 times, and 3 were on sacks.

However, the playbook is wrong about one being on an "aborted snap." It was a pitch to Ward that hit Ward in the hands. I believe that's on Ward.

Johnson's non-sack fumble was on a 9-yard run as he was going to ground.

40
by Temo :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 3:37pm

If the ball doesn't make it into the runner's grasp, then by rule it's a fumble on the QB.

72
by C (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 7:46pm

If people looked at fumbles the way they look at interceptions... I know it isn't a 1 for 1 thing, but FO does a good job of looking at fumbles...

Josh Johnson had a horrible game. 4 fumbles ( I thought he had 5)... He in fact had 2 on the same drive. Plus the 1 interception was a potential 5 turnover game ( like Sanchez).

If I'm a defender playing the Bucs, I'm swiping at the ball when Josh is carrying it. The pitch to Ward wasn't really his fault ( whether it's counted that way or not), but the others certainly were...

49
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:06pm

I am SICK to death of this anti-Colts bias! Nothing! I repeat, NOTHING at all about them. First, nobody on the whole freakin' Internet previewed their game last weekend. Then,here of all places, not only was there no discussion in Audibles, but now they're shut out of Quick Reads, too? Oh, very clever, Patriots-nation, you are too scared of the greatness of the Colts that you just figure you'll ignore them and they'll go away. Well, in the words of the immortal Glenn Close, they will not be ignored! (wait, she died in that movie, didn't she??? okay, forget the immortal thing.) What's wrong with you, it's like they didn't even pla--- ah hell, never mind.

sorry, bye week really getting to me.

50
by Todd S. :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:07pm

A full list of the wide receivers taken before him in that year's draft, by the way: Kevin Dyson, Randy Moss, Marcus Nash, Jerome Pathon, Jacquez Green, Patrick Johnson, Germane Crowell, Tony Simmons, Joe Jurevicius, Mikhael Ricks, Brian Alford, E.G. Green, Jammi German, and Larry Shannon. Moss, Ward, and Jurevicius would be a heck of a combination, actually.

"Kudos" to the Colts for drafting TWO of those guys before Ward was picked (Pathon and E.G. Green).

80
by Quixzlizx (not verified) :: Wed, 10/21/2009 - 1:41pm

I think the Giants had 2 of them, too (Jurevicius and Alford).

52
by batesbruce :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:18pm

I wonder how Brady's quarter stacks up against Doug Williams' in Super Bowl XXII? (Doug threw 4 TD's in the 2nd quarter on 9 of 11 passing)
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/W/WillDo01/super-bowl/

65
by t.d. :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 5:20pm

I understand the reason behind tempering any praise of what Favre has done so far, but in my opinion it has been the third biggest story of the early season (behind the Saints' transformation into a juggernaut and the Broncos' amazing turnaround), and he's already contributed two amazing game-winning plays they never would have gotten without him. He's already exceeded what I thought his ceiling would be.

69
by Amp (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 7:05pm

I'm puzzled as to how Kerry Collins and Matt Hasselbeck's DYAR scores are so similar - Hasselbeck at least generated some positive yardage, whereas Collins would have been more productive if he'd just spiked the ball on each pass play.

75
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/20/2009 - 11:04pm

Bill Barnwell "Favre's final pass, the 58-yard bomb to Sidney Rice, had all kinds of stuff going on worth mentioning. One, there was a blatant hold only inches away from Favre that should have been called."

Not sure what you were looking at but I just watched NFL Replay and there wasn't anything remotely resembling a hold on that play.

76
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/21/2009 - 1:24am

Y'know, when I first saw that claim regarding an obvious hold in the Audibles piece, by Kurtz, I think, I didn't bother to check it, even though I didn't recall seeing it. Hell, obvious holds go uncalled all the time, so it certainly seemed plausible, if a bit odd that it would be mentioned in a fashion that sorta suggested the writer was disparaging Favre, for some odd reason (I'm obsessing!).

Then, while I'm watching "Playbook" on NFL Network, Mike Mayock is breaking down that very play, and I don't see the hold, and Mayock goes out of his way to praise the two Vikings closest to Favre, Kleinsasser and Loadholdt, for their excellent pass blocking.

Yeah, yeah, I know; Mayock is like Dierdorf, just another Favreian Zombie laying waste to the NFL countryside, marauding in service to their jeans-modeling Dark Prince, in an eternal titanic contest for the souls of football fans everywhere, against the Forces of Light, led by Kurtz, Barnwell, and others who Know the True Faith.

Keep those stakes sharpened, and the garlic necklace nearby! Keep to the road!Stay off the moors!

77
by anonymiss (not verified) :: Wed, 10/21/2009 - 4:33am

Click name for link

- Campbell clearly uncomfortable right now, no sense of timing and rhythm, was not pulling the trigger on easy throws that were immediately defined.

- Campbell not patient right now, was not allowing route combinations to develop, was hurrying himself with no pressure – Campbell playing with no confidence.

84
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 10/21/2009 - 10:20pm

Good link. Notes a variety of weaknesses of the Skins' offense, which include but are in no way limited to Jason Campbell.

86
by Official review (not verified) :: Thu, 10/22/2009 - 4:21pm

Regarding the alledged holding on the Favre 58-yd pass play. The person who wrote there was a blatant hold only inches away, surly is not a football official.
Thers's nothing that even gets close to being a holdig call.
The player closest sin Min #40 vs a d-end, so I assume this is the player he questions. First part of the play, #40 has good position/leverage on him, there might be a sligth grab of the jersey, but nothing close to enough for a flag, also, the defender seems to be fine with being pushed around, that counts against a flag as well. At the end of the play, it's clearly open hands on the defenders shoulder. If this were to be a holding, there would be several flags for holding and other fouls every darn play.

Clearly a good no-call !