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» Film Room: Chris Harris

Is Harris one of the league's top cover corners, or a product of the system in which he plays? Cian Fahey says the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

16 Dec 2013

Week 15 Quick Reads

by Vince Verhei

"Given how DYAR loves RB rec yds, I assume Charles broke Quick Reads."

-- FO reader and Twitter user Chris Jones (@CyrisJonfs) after Jamaal Charles' big day against Oakland

No, Jamaal Charles did not break Quick Reads, but he did set a record. Not as a runner, where he had a mundane eight carries for 20 yards and a touchdown. As a receiver, though Charles was a force of nature. The Chiefs threw him eight passes, all complete. The first two receptions resulted in touchdowns of 49 and 39 yards, the latter on third-and-19. He added a 16-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and a 71-yard score (on third-and-1) in the third. His other four receptions netted only 20 total yards and one first down, but that hardly matters. It was just the sixth time in league history that any player at any position had gained 195 yards and four touchdowns through the air, and the first since Jerry Rice against Atlanta in 1990.

Not surprisingly, Charles set a single-game record for receiving DYAR by a running back, surpassing the benchmark set by Marshall Faulk in the 1999 season. In case you've forgotten, Marshall Faulk was a ridiculously good football player, with three of the top ten receiving games in our database going back to 1989. The only other player to appear more than once in the top ten is Brian Westbrook. Westbrook, of course, played for current Chiefs coach Andy Reid in Philadelphia. When Reid was hired in Kansas City, it seemed natural that Charles' opportunities in the passing game would grow. On the other hand, this is a player who finished among the top 30 running backs in receiving DYAR just once in his first five seasons. It was something of an odd mix of scheme and player, and early results were not promising. Through 14 weeks, Charles had only 16 receiving DYAR, total. He had never gone above 24 DYAR in a game, and finished below replacement level six times. Then Oakland came to town, which, as usual, led to better results for all involved. Still, for the season, Charles is only seventh among running backs in receiving DYAR for the season.

Before Charles' game against Oakland, the best receiving game of the year was by Darren Sproles of the New Orleans Saints in Week 4, when he lit up Miami for seven catches in eight targets for 114 yards and a touchdown. Sproles is technically third among RBs with 166 receiving DYAR this year, but he's essentially tied with Detroit's Joique Bell (168) for second place. The runaway leader is San Diego's Danny Woodhead (253). The difference between Woodhead and second-place Bell is greater than the difference between Bell and 13th-place Mike Tolbert. Woodhead hasn't had any Charles-esque monster games, but he has been above replacement level in every game except Week 1, and has at least 24 DYAR in seven different games.

The following table shows the top receiving DYAR games by running backs in FO history. We've already run the top single-game table among wideouts several times this year, so it's about time we ran a new one:

Top 10 RB Receiving DYAR games, 1989-2013
Rank Year Player Team Rec DYAR Pass Rec Yds TD WEEK DEF
1 2013 Jamaal Charles KC 111 8 8 195 4 15 OAK
2 1999 Marshall Faulk STL 101 13 13 204 1 16 CHI
3 2004 Brian Westbrook PHI 84 11 11 156 3 13 GB
4 1991 Robert Delpino LARM 78 9 9 118 1 8 LARD
5 2000 Marshall Faulk STL 78 7 7 116 2 5 SD
6 2003 Brian Westbrook PHI 75 6 5 60 2 11 NYG
7 2001 Marshall Faulk STL 74 7 7 128 3 12 ATL
8 1996 Ronnie Harmon HOIL 73 8 8 108 1 11 NO
9 2003 Moe Williams MIN 71 12 12 113 2 10 SD
10 1990 Barry Sanders DET 69 7 7 135 1 6 KC

RUSHING DYAR LEADERS: The top five running backs in rushing DYAR alone this week, counting up, are San Diego's Ryan Mathews (29 DYAR), Oakland's Rashad Jennings (38), Carolina's DeAngelo Williams (39), Green Bay's Eddie Lacy (40), and best of all -- I am not making this up -- Dallas' DeMarco Murray (48). This makes Dallas' second-half play-calling even more bizarre. In the first half against Green Bay, Murray was stuffed for a loss just once. Among his nine other carries, one was a 1-yard touchdown, and each of the others gained at least three yards. He finished the half with six first downs on the ground, with three gains of 10 yards or more, including a 41-yarder. He didn't get as many big plays in the second half, but each of his seven carries after halftime gained at least 2 yards, and four of those carries gained at least 5 yards.

All of which begs the question: Why on earth did Dallas run so rarely in the second half, after building a 26-3 lead at halftime? The Internet is a big place, and you can find all sorts of opinions out there about who's to blame for the play-caling, but for now let's just deal with a few facts. The average offense this season has run the ball 54 percent of the time when ahead in the second half, and 57 percent of the time when ahead by at least two scores. The Cowboys, meanwhile, had 21 passes and seven runs with a lead in the second half, and nine passes and four runs when ahead by two scores. Did we mention that over the course of the season, Murray is now second in rushing DYAR? This is the kind of guy you want killing the clock and moving the chains. Whomever's to blame, there's clearly something askew in the Dallas game plan.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Tom Brady NE
34/54
364
2
1
176
176
0
Virtually all of Brady's value came on the last three Patriots drives, when he went 17-of-29 for 195 yards with one interception. That doesn't sound like much, but 14 of those completions went for first downs, including a go-ahead touchdown. He had only six first downs up to that point.
2.
Ryan Fitzpatrick TEN
36/55
402
4
2
163
159
4
Fitzpatrick completed each of his first eight passes (with one sack mixed in) for 89 yards and seven first downs, including a touchdown. His pick-six to Antoine Cason put Arizona ahead 34-17 with only 6:13 to go, but from that point to the end of regulation he went 15-of-19 for 176 yards with two touchdowns and eight other first downs. (We won't go into his overtime performance here. That would ruin the narrative.) Remember he did all this against the stout Arizona defense; he got the biggest boost this week due to opponent adjustments.
3.
Matt Cassel MIN
26/35
382
2
1
156
143
12
On deep passes, Cassel went 6-of-8 for 187 yards, plus a 30-yard DPI. Really! Matt Cassel!
4.
Alex Smith KC
17/20
287
5
0
145
143
2
So why is Smith not far and away the top passer this week? A few reasons. The first is a sack-fumble in the fourth quarter. The second is opponent adjustments, where Smith takes a significant hit. Mostly, though, it's simply a matter of opportunity. Most of the top passers this week threw 50 percent more passes than Smith did, and more passes means more opportunities to collect DYAR. The next question: How much of Smith's success was due to Jamaal Charles? Charles caught four of Smith's five touchdown passes, and those four receptions gained a total of 8 yards in the air (three of them were caught behind the line of scrimmage) and 167 yards after the catch. Still, not counting passes to guys with extraneous vowels in their names, Smith went 9-of-12 for 92 yards with a touchdown and four other first downs, plus a 5-yard DPI and two sacks. Which isn't bad.
5.
Nick Foles PHI
30/48
428
3
1
120
111
9
Some serious garbage-time production here. Down by at least 18 points in the second half, Foles went 10-of-15 for 185 yards with one touchdown, eight other first downs, and one sack.
6.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
25/37
312
3
0
113
113
0
How to finish drives: On New England's half of the field, Tannehill went 12-of-15 for 155 yards with three touchdowns, four other first downs, plus a 2-yard DPI and one sack.
7.
Kellen Clemens STL
14/20
158
2
0
110
106
4
On the Rams' first three drives, Clemens went 5-of-6 for 62 yards with two touchdowns and three other first downs. From that point on, with three-plus quarters to go, Clemens threw only 14 passes, including only two on first down. In other words, the Rams are the anti-Cowboys.
8.
Philip Rivers SD
12/20
166
2
0
107
99
8
Anti-streaky: At no point in this game did Rivers complete three passes in a row, nor did he ever throw three incompletions in a row. On third downs, Rivers went 5-of-7 for 84 yards, with every completion gaining a first down, including two touchdowns. He also had an 18-yard DPI and one sack.
9.
Colin Kaepernick SF
19/29
203
2
0
99
79
19
Kaepernick threw no passes to the deep right zone, but to the short right, he went 9-of-10 for 69 yards with a touchdown and five other first downs.
10.
Carson Palmer ARI
20/30
231
1
0
98
98
0
Palmer was at his best in short-yardage situations. He had 10 dropbacks with 7 yards or less to go for a first down and converted seven of them, going 8-of-9 for 79 yards with one touchdown and one sack.
11.
Matt Flynn GB
26/39
299
4
1
94
94
0
In five red-zone trips (all in the second half), Flynn went 7-of-9 for 52 yards with four touchdowns and two other first downs.
12.
Cam Newton CAR
16/24
273
1
0
91
96
-5
On the other extreme we have Newton, who went 1-of-7 for 6 yards with no first downs and one sack inside the New York 20.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
21/26
192
1
1
87
87
0
Roethlisberger's first incompletion came with 10:30 left in the second quarter. By that point, he had completed each of his first 12 passes for 112 yards, with a touchdown and five other first downs. None of those completions came more than 12 yards downfield, and half of them were thrown to receivers behind the line of scrimmage.
14.
Jay Cutler CHI
22/31
266
3
2
85
78
7
Third-down passing: 11-of-12 for 152 yards with two touchdowns and five other first downs.
15.
Andy Dalton CIN
25/44
230
2
0
60
54
5
Amazing juxtaposition here between Dalton and his rival on Sunday night. We already talked about Roethlisberger's hot start. Dalton, though, did not pick up a first down through the air until the Bengals were down by 24 points in the second quarter. Up to that point, he had gone 2-of-10 for 15 yards with a sack.
16.
Kirk Cousins WAS
29/44
381
3
2
36
36
0
Anyone who says that Kirk Cousins had a great game on Sunday should be told the following, in a loud, clear voice: "It's the Falcons." If you take nothing else away from this article, dear readers, take that. Cousins took the largest hit due to opponent adjustments of any quarterback this week. He completed 64 percent of his passes against Atlanta, for 8.5 yards per pass. The average quarterback against Atlanta this season has completed 67 percent of his passes, for 8.1 yards per pass. Given the quality of his opponent, it was really a pretty mediocre game for Cousins. Throwing to his right, in the first half, he went 6-of-6 for 136 yards, with every completion going for a first down, including a 23-yard touchdown to Fred Davis and a 62-yard completion to Aldrick Robinson. Throwing that way in the second half, though, he went just 4-of-7 for 29 yards and one first down.
17.
Peyton Manning DEN
27/41
289
2
1
34
34
0
What kind of third-down performance do you get when DYAR's favorite quarterback takes on the NFL's worst defense by DVOA? Somehow, you get 3-of-8 for 32 yards with two first downs and a sack. No, that makes no sense. Manning also had one fourth-down play, a 15-yard gain on fourth-and-six.
18.
Jason Campbell CLE
23/39
273
1
2
32
26
6
Campbell threw only one pass to Josh Gordon in the first half, an incompletion on third-and-4. He threw Gordon nine more passes in the second half, but completed only three of them, although each of those passes went for a first down, including a 43-yard touchdown. Gordon now trails Calvin Johnson in receiving yards per game this season (going into Monday night, anyway), and seems to be a long shot to break that record.
19.
Mike Glennon TB
18/34
179
2
1
30
30
0
Glennon was competent enough in the middle portion of this game, but his performance on the first five drives of the game, and again on the last two drives, was straight out of football hell. On those seven possessions, he went 5-of-17 for 32 yards with no first downs, three sacks, and one interception.
20.
Geno Smith NYJ
15/28
167
1
1
23
2
22
Some dramatic directional splits for Geno here. To his right, he went 10-of-15 for 121 yards with a touchdown and seven other first downs. up the middle, he went 3-of-5 for 43 yards with one first down and a pick-six. And to his left, he went 2-of-8 for 3 yards with one first down, plus a 9-yard DPI. If you're curious about Santonio Holmes, he had two receptions for 14 yards in eight targets, one of the bottom ten receivers of the week.
21.
Russell Wilson SEA
18/27
206
1
1
19
7
12
Third downs: 4-of-9 for 36 yards with only one first down (including a touchdown) and one sack.
22.
Andrew Luck IND
19/32
180
2
1
14
1
13
Luck had similar splits to Geno Smith. (Now there's a sentence I don't expect to ever write again.) To his right: 9-of-12 for 11 yards with a touchdown and four other first downs, plus a 25-yard DPI. Up the middle: 2-of-6 for 27 yards with one touchdown, one other first down, and one interception. To his left: 8-of-14 for 42 yards and only two first downs.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Joe Flacco BAL
20/38
222
0
0
11
6
4
24.
Chad Henne JAC
21/36
238
2
2
6
1
6
Not listed in his statline, but accounted for in his DYAR: Henne was sacked five times. Surprising fact: The Bills now lead the league in sacks. Henne's numbers when throwing to his left: 6-of-13 for 37 yards with one first down (a touchdown) and two interceptions. Most overused punctuation symbol in this comment: the colon.
25.
Drew Brees NO
39/56
393
1
2
6
-3
9
Inside the Rams' 20-yard line, Brees went 5-of-12 for 28 yards with one touchdown, one other first down, one interception, and two sacks. By DYAR, only two quarterbacks have had worse games in the red zone this season: Andrew Luck in Week 10 (also against the Rams, by the way) and Chad Henne in Week 3 against Seattle. Both of those quarterbacks threw two red-zone picks in a game.
26.
E.J. Manuel BUF
17/24
193
2
1
-1
-13
12
Manuel completed 5-of-6 deep passes for 112 yards, plus a 31-yard DPI. That's very good. On short passes, though, he went 12-of-18 for 81 yards with two touchdowns and three other first downs, with an interception and a 9-yard DPI. That's very bad. Add in the four sacks, the two fumbles, and the fact that all this came against the lowly Jaguars, and, well, here we are.
27.
Tony Romo DAL
29/48
358
2
2
-40
-40
0
We've already talked about how pass-wacky Dallas was on Sunday, and now we're going to talk about it more. Romo had plenty of short-yardage throws against Green Bay, plays that easily could have been runs instead. Twelve times Romo threw with 7 yards or less to go for a first down, nine of them on first or second down. He produced a 5-yard touchdown and a 37-yard gain (both to Dez Bryant), but otherwise went 2-of-10 for 5 yards with no first downs and two interceptions.
28.
Matt Ryan ATL
29/38
210
1
1
-44
-44
0
After the Falcons' first two drives, Ryan was 9-of-11 for 83 yards with a touchdown and five other first downs, and Atlanta was up 14-0. He had only five other first downs for the rest of the day, going 20-of-27 for just 127 yards, with one 18-yard DPI and three sacks, and Atlanta came within one two-point conversion of losing.
29.
Matthew McGloin OAK
18/36
297
2
4
-54
-54
0
Throwing to the short middle of the field, McGloin went 8-of-17 for 68 yards with two touchdowns and two other first downs, plus all four of his interceptions, including a pick-six.
30.
Matthew Stafford DET
18/34
235
1
3
-65
-62
-3
31.
Eli Manning NYG
18/31
156
0
5
-163
-163
0
Manning didn't even have a pass inside the Seattle 40 until the Giants were down 23-0 in the fourth quarter. He proceeded to go 3-of-5 for 17 yards with one first down and an interception. On third downs, he went 3-of-6 for 19 yards with one first down, three sacks, and two fumbles.
32.
Case Keenum HOU
18/34
168
0
2
-210
-213
3
Keenum did not have a pass inside the red zone. He had only one pass inside the Indianapolis 40; it was incomplete. All told, on the Colts' side of the 50, he went 3-of-9 for 24 yards with two sacks, one interception, and exactly no first downs, including failures to convert on third-and-1, third-and-2, and second-and-7.


Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Jamaal Charles KC
20
1
195
4
117
6
111
Not much left to talk about here except his rushing numbers. He had a 1-yard touchdown and a 5-yard gain on second-and-4, and those were his only first downs on the day. His only other successful carry was an 8-yard gain on second-and-10. Putting those three carries aside, he ran five times for 6 yards. I never promised you anything exciting here.
2.
DeAngelo Williams CAR
81
0
87
1
78
39
39
Like Charles, Williams had his biggest plays in the passing game, with a 72-yard touchdown and a 12-yard gain on second-and-8 in four targets. Unlike Charles, he was also an effective runner, with gains of 16 and 18 yards, plus two other first downs on the day. Only two of his 15 carries failed to gain positive yardage, but 11 of them gained at least 4 yards.
3.
Andre Ellington ARI
71
0
87
0
64
22
42
Only two of Ellington's ten carries failed to gain positive yardage, but he had four first downs on runs of 11, 13, 14, and 22 yards. He also had four receptions in five targets for 87 yards and three more first downs.
4.
Chris Johnson TEN
40
0
51
1
49
10
39
Johnson's longest run gained 15 yards, and he had only one other first down on the day, while five of his 13 carries were stuffed for no gain or a loss. He had three receptions in three targets though: a 25-yard touchdown, a 19-yard gain on second-and-10, and a 7-yard gain on first-and-10.
5.
Edwin Baker CLE
38
1
46
0
45
13
32
A seventh-round draft pick by by San Diego out of Michigan State in 2012, Baker made his regular-season NFL debut on Sunday and produced 84 yards from scrimmage. Trent Richardson was the third overall pick in the same draft, and in he only gained 84 yards from scrimmage eight times in 17 games in Cleveland before they traded him away. Each of Baker's eight carries against Chicago (seven of them on first down) gained positive yards, including a 2-yard touchdown and gains of 10 and 15 yards. The Browns threw him four passes, all on second down, and he caught them all for 46 yards. Three of those catches picked up first downs; the fourth was a 4-yard gain on second-and-5.


Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Steven Jackson ATL
38
2
5
0
-43
-13
-30
The good news for Jackson is that he had a pair of goal-line touchdowns, one of which included a humiliation of Washington cornerback Josh Wilson. The bad news is, well, almost everything else. His other 13 carries produced only two first downs and nine runs for 2 yards or less. His receiving numbers were particularly impotent: four receptions in six targets, no first downs, no successful plays, 5 total yards, long gain of 3 yards.


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
DeSean Jackson PHI
10
16
195
19.5
1
56
Jackson had eight first downs on the day (including his touchdown), including three third-down conversions. Four of his catches gained at least 20 yards, including gains of 30 and 51 yards.
2.
Greg Jennings MIN
11
13
163
14.8
1
54
Jennings had a 57-yard touchdown, plus gains of 22 and 31 yards, but those were his only 10-yard catches on the day. Among his eight shorter catches, though, two gained first downs, and four others were still considered successful plays.
3.
Cordarrelle Patterson MIN
5
6
35
7.0
1
49
Man, that Philly-Minnesota game was a good one for receivers. Patterson's receiving numbers were a big snooze, but he also ran the ball twice against Philadelphia, both for first downs: a 3-yard gain on third-and-3 and a 12-yard gain on second-and-8. His first four targets resulted in three targets for 19 yards and no first downs. His last three targets resulted in a 5-yard touchdown, an 11-yard gain on third-and-10, and a 30-yard DPI on third-and-10.
4.
Mike Wallace MIA
6
9
105
17.5
1
47
Wallace's biggest play was a 39-yard touchdown on third-and-2, and he had three other first downs on the day. He also had one run, a 13-yard gain on second-and-6.
5.
Jarrett Boykin GB
6
6
83
13.8
0
46
All of Boykin's targets came on second down. He produced four first downs, a 9-yard gain on second-and-10, and a 10-yard gain on second-and-13.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Mike Brown JAC
3
7
21
7.0
0
-58
Brown had as many fumbles (two) as first downs. That's no good. He managed to get one of each on one play in the third quarter, recovering his own fumble for a 12-yard gain on third-and-9.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 16 Dec 2013

125 comments, Last at 20 Dec 2013, 12:37pm by tuluse

Comments

1
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 4:15am

I'm curious to know which team anyone thinks out there has a better d line than the Rams presently? I imagine there's an argument for carolina, the jets or even maybe the ravens and cardinals. Having watched the rams duo demolish the colts, I think they are the best. I guess when you keep picking high in the draft, you're eventually going to land some top notch players.

2
by CBPodge :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 5:58am

They're stout against the run too. Quinn has come on leaps and bounds in that area this year, and Langford and Brockers both play it very well (Brockers is an intermittently excellent pass rusher too). When you factor in William Hayes as the 5th guy (backup DE, slides into play DT on passing downs) its a great group.

Based off the FO DL stats, the Rams have the best all around line. The stats are not as good as the Lions or Jets against the run, not quite as good as the Saints or Packers as pass rushers, but no one else has the same combination.

The secondary is a mess though. I think a good deep safety could turn that around quickly.

3
by Tim R :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 6:27am

Yeah I'm really hoping they can land a top safety in the draft/free agency and Finnegan manages to recover to a decent level. The defense could be fairly scary with a decent secondary.

12
by td (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 9:43am

Jeeze, the NFC West is just brutal. They could easily have four of the
top ten teams in the league next year

94
by Bay Area Bengal (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 5:09pm

Go back and tell that to 2010 you. Who would have thought?

99
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 6:10pm

Excellent DL, horrible secondary? Sounds exactly like Carolina from last year.

17
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 10:31am

I'd throw the Bengals and Bears into the mix when healthy, with the Bears probably a little behind because Peppers has been slowed and McClellin hasn't been consistently impressive. However, the Bengals will probably lose Johnson as a free agent so their depth will take a shot next year.

18
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 10:32am

I hear Kerouac is terrific off the edge, and that Ginsberg is a great 3 technique.

19
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 10:41am

A great response ruined by me spotting that auto correct had transcribed 'Bears' to 'Beats' and changing it back. And Kerouac was overrated, as a writer and a pass rusher.

25
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 11:02am

When Burroughs lined up over center, however, nobody was going to rush the ball.

28
by beargoggles :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 11:40am

3 yards... And a cloud of smoke
That would be a successful play against Dah Beats.

42
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 12:56pm

I saw the best pass rushers of my generation destroy an offense,
raging unyielding armored,
dragging themselves across artificial turf at noon looking for another arm,
Demon-eyed warriors continuing the ancient gladiator tradition
for the blood-starved audience bearing the emblems of their knights

75
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 3:45pm

Wonderful.

87
by Bobman :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 4:45pm

I hang my head in shame. I responded to the first Beat comments I saw only to discover, once I posted, that you "beat" me to the Howl parody. sniff. Nice job. Though I am proud that I tied mine into the actual fact that Irsay owns the original On The Road manuscript!

112
by Jerry :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 10:06pm

All this needs is John Facenda reading it.

29
by beargoggles :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 11:44am

Duplicate

64
by mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 3:19pm

I have to disagree, Kerouac was the best novelist of the bunch. Not up there with Bellow and Faulkner, but On The Road is pretty damn good. That beer gut wouldn't help rushing the passer though.

83
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 4:31pm

I found 'On the Road' interminable. I kept hoping the arsehole and his arsehole friends would get hit by a bus.

That and the annoying myth that he wrote a single draft in one sitting when there are ten existing drafts in various (presumably boring, self-indulgent and over-hyped) museums.

And millions of school children have had to read it, the bastard.

86
by Bobman :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 4:44pm

Beat Poet/NFL Trivia Time! (bet you never thought you'd hear THAT!):

Who owns the original manuscript (a single, very long scroll of paper) of "On The Road"? Come on, which NFL owner of all of them is likely to be into this shit.... Jim Irsay bought it for about $2.5M maybe 15 years ago.

He also has the first draft of a Ginsburg poem called Foul, that starts with the immortal lines, "I saw the best signal caller of my generation destroyed by a porous D, Mora's madness, shilling pizzas, hysterical, dragging himself through one playoff loss after another for want of a competent OL, kicker, defense...."

Powerful stuff.

95
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 5:34pm

Love it. My hat's off to you.

102
by Bobman :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 6:24pm

Thanks. Don't catch cold with the hat off. If I had seen yours first I probably would have passed on it. Only thing worse than aping Beat poetry (not original in the first place) is not being original-squared because somebody else go there first. Ah well.

20
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 10:43am

Also, if you consider Ryan family defenses to be 46s then the Jets and Ravens would be in with a shout too.

52
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:30pm

I wouldn't put the Bears in the running. Peppers can't threaten the edge anymore (but is still strong and has good moves), and McClellin is frankly not good.

The Lions would have a much stronger argument.

The Rams are the best I've seen this year though. They were the only team I've seen where the Bears offensive line was really struggling.

58
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:40pm

"The Lions would have a much stronger argument."

If you're talking run-stopping, then yes. As far as rushing the passer, they, like the rest of the team has grossly underachieved. Suh is his usual dominant self, but Fairley hasn't been as good as 2012. Young is merely OK, and Ansah's best days are still ahead of him.

115
by MrQuestion (not verified) :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 5:04am

Well they certainly were awesome against the Seahawks

Gotta give a game ball to Jeff fisher for that Seahawks scheme

Shut down Lynch and Wilson - taught Seattle that plan C was the way to maximize
Wilson - get him out of the pocket FAST - which they've migrated to after the Rams game.

That looks like a winning strategy now for the Hawks

4
by rfh1001 :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 6:38am

Hmm. Minnesota. Starting to wonder if passing is more useful than rushing at this point in the NFL. Or is one game too small a sample?

6
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 8:07am

Well, last year, in addition to being forced to ponder their qb play, they also had wideouts who either had no business being in the NFL, or just weren't ready, or were hurt. It made sense to be run first, given the running back. You can't be pass first if nobody ever gets open. This year, the receivers have been decent, at times above average, and pretty healthy. Which gets to my next point.....

All I want for Christmas is a transcript of every conversation that took place, pertaining to the Vikings qbs, since the end of last season, between Leslie Frazier, OC Bill Musgrave, GM Rick Spielman, and the owner. I want to know how it was determined that somebody on the roster not named Cassell, as limited as he is, didn't give them the best chance to be playing for the division in week 17, which given the division without Rodgers for weeks, was a real possibility, if the Vikings could throw the ball slightly better than one typically sees in a Punt, Pass, and Kick competition.

Hell, why we're at it, give me something like that for all pertinent parties, in the run up to the draft where it was decided that The Ponderous One was worthy of a high first round draft pick. I want someone to definitively blame, damn*t! Merry Christmas! Happy Festivus!*

*(airing of grievances)

13
by CBPodge :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 10:02am

Why would you want something for Christmas that would do nothing but drive you towards suicide?

15
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 10:20am

Oh,no, I eat grievances the way a horse consumes oats. !969, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1987, 1998, and 2009 will sustain me until I'm 113.

23
by Mike B. In Va :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 10:50am

Bravo.

30
by peterplaysbass :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 11:45am

The culmination of the 2000 and 2003 seasons don't do anything for you?

43
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:00pm

Ah, not enough at stake in 2003 to truly provoke grievance, and the 2000 team was so bad on defense that I could barely make myself watch the last game.

5
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 8:06am

Again, Romo's issues went well beyond the fourth quarter. His mechanics were awful, which led to his deep passes being awful; imcompletions should have been big gains, at least, and some big gains should have been tds.

I've consistently defended the guy, but there is no defending the lazy performance against the Packers. He needs to be coached harder, but getting good coaching in Dallas can be problematic.

9
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 9:29am

If you replaced "Romo" with "Stafford" and "Packers" with "Ravens" everything about your post would have remained exactly true.

16
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 10:23am

Yep, the Ford and Jones family should each pay the McCaskey family 10 million each to clone Marc Trestman, not that Trestman is the best coach, but just because he does have a knack for getting a lot out qbs with physical tools who don't quite put it together.

21
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 10:46am

Heck I would just be happy if the next coaching staff had a full time quarterback coach who's only job is to hammer home proper/consistent mechanics. Stafford was really mechanically sound the first 9 games, but he's completely fallen apart since the 2nd half of the Pittsburgh game. It's like Josh Freeman 2012 all over again.

96
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 5:42pm

The more I watch Stafford, the more I think this is what Favre's career trajectory would have been without the excellent coaching job from Holmgren early in his career.

97
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 5:49pm

I think this is selling Favre short. He had an accuracy that Stafford has never shown. Even when he was lobbing passes off his back foot.

123
by Thunderbolt of ... :: Fri, 12/20/2013 - 11:01am

When Stafford steps into his passes and throws overhand, his accuracy rivals Favre's. Let's not forget, although the era was slightly different, Favre only completed more than 63% of his passes in a season once before he turned 34 years old.

125
by tuluse :: Fri, 12/20/2013 - 12:37pm

If you want to talk numbers instead of eyeball tests, completion rate: Favre: 62%, Stafford: 59.4%, and as you said, Stafford is playing in a era of higher rates all around.

I'm not saying Favre was as accurate as Marino or Montana, but he was more accurate than Stafford.

Also, how do you think Stafford would look if his number one receiver was Robert Brooks or Antonio Freeman instead of Megatron.

32
by beargoggles :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 11:52am

yes, that was a real turd of a performance by the Lions's offense after the first drive. The PI calls were highly one sided, I'll give them that a little bit in defense.

Harbaugh was absolutely brilliant managing the clock there at the end though. He had clearly made up his mind to use Tucker (arguable decision, but man, what a kicker--"I didn't quite get all of it"), and strung the Lions along so they didn't know whether to call time-out or not.

35
by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 12:22pm

Well, Flacco was injured and throwing off his back foot that entire drive, and the way he had been getting hit the liklihood of getting another first down was pretty slim. I guess most of Ravens nation was thinking are we in Tucker's range yet coupled with "what really is Tucker's range?".

I think Harbaugh was hoping for 56-57, but went for it. No. 9 really is one mother Tucker of a kicker.

62
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:59pm

When they were lining up for the kick, I remembered (Tirico alluded to it, too), that Tom Dempsey made his 63 yard game-winner against the Lions. I thought to myself "I'm a rational person, I don't believe in franchises being cursed or snakebitten...there's no way he makes this". Of course the Lions challenge one's sense of rationality.

40
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 12:39pm

I don't know if Harbaugh was playing a game or didn't know himself, because if he was always planning on using Tucker, he should have let the play clock bleed to zero before calling that timeout.

46
by RickD :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:14pm

Megatron had some pretty bad drops there. Those weren't Stafford's fault.

61
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:51pm

Stafford and Johnson both share the blame for coming up small in a game they desperately needed, and wasting a decent effort by a secondary held together with duct tape. Stafford almost got himself off the hook with some brilliant throws on the go-ahead TD drive. But that last interception was downright Cutleresque (2009 version).

Speaking of which, I think the implosion of this year's Lions team rivals the 2008 Broncos (in the sense that they saw the red carpet to take the division rolled out in front of them, and then preceded to take a giant dump on said carpet).

71
by TomC :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 3:42pm

This discussion prompted me to go back and re-read Waldman's Stafford apologia. It reads even more like a parody now.

93
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 5:06pm

It was actually more defensible at the time because Stafford was something like #6 DYAR and #9 DVOA. His weird mechanics weren't damaging in small doses. Recently they've come out full force, like somebody with Tourette's syndrome who has occasional tics, but then suffering from a barrage of tics in a stressful situation.

103
by TomC :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 6:26pm

The argument he was attempting to make may have been defensible; the argument he actually made (which was basically one long ad hominem screed against nerds of all stripes, with a grand total of one play given as evidence) never was close.

7
by Andrew Keen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 9:09am

So, you're saying that Kirk Cousins is better than Peyton Manning? Got it.

16. Kirk Cousins
17. Peyton Manning

8
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 9:14am

Yes, that is what they are saying. Yep. You betcha.

41
by intel_chris (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 12:49pm

So, what you're saying is Denver should trade their 1st round pick, so that Manning can be their backup and they won't suffer too much a drop-off when their starter (Cousins) is hurt? Hmmm, sounds like a plan.

44
by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:02pm
122
by Andrew Keen (not verified) :: Thu, 12/19/2013 - 8:15pm

Love where you're going with this. I think this idea deserves a full article. But the Broncos wouldn't need to give up a 1st round pick. Just offer the Redskins an oldster with name recognition like Champ Bailey.

10
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 9:31am

That makes about as much sense as concluding that the Colts are better than the Broncos based on the fact that the Colts beat them in week 7.

24
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 10:53am

Hey, at least Colts/Broncos was a head-to-head matchup. Beatpaths!

27
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 11:36am

Hah, yea, I may have undermined my own retort to the OP by using that analogy.

38
by intel_chris (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 12:36pm

Hey, I really liked beatpaths. If nothing else, it really captured the "common sense" that naive followers of football use for reasoning. Moreover, since wins and losses are the main things that drive playoff seeding, it actually does convey information that is relevant, no matter what one thinks of the common man's common sense. I presume that site is lost and the developers of it have moved on, as I haven't been able to find any updates to it for a couple of years. Alas....

50
by ChrisS (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:27pm

I enjoyed looking at the beatpaths as well, they were convoluted and interesting. I believe that Tunesmith ran that site and would link to it in some of his comments. I have seen him around FO.com recently but very infrequently

113
by JP2 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 11:09pm

Beatgraphs is still there, doing the same thing:

http://beatgraphs.com

59
by Arkaein :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:43pm

I used to read beatpaths pretty frequently. It was interesting, but ultimately I don't think it worked very well. Too many major shifts in rankings occurred, even late in the season.

There is a newer site called beatgraphs.com that covers more major sports. It looks like it uses the same algorithms, but I'm not sure if it's run by the same guy.

114
by Duke :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 2:37am

As the guy who used to write the "analysis" of the beatpaths each week, I can tell you that we've all pretty much moved on. The beatgraphs people seemed to get their stuff together pretty well, so you can go there.

89
by Bobman :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 4:48pm

Mark Sanchez (Tebow, too?) has a better playoff win% than Peyton, so he's better, too. Now if they can just find a job....

92
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 5:01pm

One thing that helps keep the manning bros debate alive, eli is saved from postseason losses by not getting into the postseason(not that its entirely his fault). Of course, in two out of the 4 hes been in, he goes all the way.

I'm not sure why, but it reminded me of the naked man strategy that was used in how i met your mother.

98
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 6:03pm

Ha, the comparison makes sense.

Eli's really the best boom or bust postseason QB. He's been there five times. Three times he's gone one and done. The other two, the Giants have won the Super Bowl.

I always thought a nice way to adjust for QBs who don't make the playoffs too much (and therefore don't get a loss) and for QB's who are on teams that earn byes (and therefore don't get a win) is to give the QB's playoff record a loss in the first case and a win in the second.

There are a whole host of problems with this (namely, who gets the loss if multiple guys started the season), so it can never be official, but it is a nice exercise.

Take Peyton, who's 9-11 currently. If we give him a loss for 1998 and 2001, but give him wins for 1999, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2012, he goes to 14-13. Not great, but at least above .500.

Brady actually looks even better, getting just one additional loss (2002), while the seven additional wins ('01, '03, '04, '07, '10, '11, '12), to get to 24-8.

It's really more impactful for QBs that don't make up the two ends of the spectrum (unluckiest playoff QB in Peyton, luckiest in Brady).

Brees goes from 5-4 to 7-10 (he's missed the playoffs a lot).

Eli goes from 8-3 to 9-7

Ben Roethlisberger goes from 10-4 to 13-7

Anyway, it doesn't tell much in terms of how good they are (because playoff record is not a good way to do that), but it does show who's record is getting inflated and who's isn't because they miss the playoffs or get a bye.

11
by P (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 9:41am

I'm curious about how poorly Matt "30 carries for 51 yards" Asiata fared in this.

14
by CBPodge :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 10:05am

So am I now! He should be listed on the overall RB page, but isn't yet. I'll have to check back every hour or so...

31
by peterplaysbass :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 11:49am

I was wondering if he might somehow win "least valuable RB" despite 3 TDs. I'll bet he was close.

47
by Tom Gower :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:14pm

Assuming I'm reading correctly, 3 rushing DYAR, -9 receiving DYAR, -6 total DYAR.

60
by P (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:44pm

Wow, much higher than I would have thought.

I've said to friends that this game was a great example of how a non-QB can never be MVP. Sure, it's a one game anecdote, but the difference between a bad QB (Ponder) and an average QB (Cassel) was much, much greater than the difference between a transcendent RB (Peterson) and a guy who can barely do more than waddle toward the offensive line (Asiata).

121
by peterplaysbass :: Thu, 12/19/2013 - 12:58pm

Of course, a non-QB was MVP last year, someone referenced in your very post.

124
by Thunderbolt of ... :: Fri, 12/20/2013 - 11:08am

He was awarded "Most Valuable" status by the sclerotic football writing community, but even with the best RB season in the last 10-15 years, the Vikings' offense was mediocre (14th in the league in points scored, 15th in total offensive DVOA). That's why a RB should never be MVP - they simply don't matter that much, compared to QBs. If a QB had the best season in 10-15 years, you could bet that his team would have one of the top offenses in the league, regardless of the surrounding talent.

22
by DEW (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 10:47am

Given that Shanahan chose to bench Griffin right before Washington played, in back to back weeks, Atlanta and Dallas, one would almost think he was deliberately trying to make Cousins look as good as possible.

(Two picks and a fumble kind of hamstrings the master plan, there...)

33
by wr (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 11:56am

Obviously he's trying to bait the Rams into giving them their 1st round
pick back for Cousins. After all, if Nepotism Man says Cousins is worth a
first, he must be.

48
by RickD :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:16pm

I think it's in the interests of the entire Redskins' franchise to make Cousins look as good as possible. I'm presuming he'll be trade bait in the offseason.

63
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 2:50pm

If I was Washington, I'd be very hesitant to trade Cousins. So far, what we've seen from RG3 indicates you need to cover your bases at the backup QB position.

The exception might be if you could get a 1st rounder for him, to help offset the original RG3 trade, but I can't see that happening. The teams that need starting QBs are picking too early -- no one's going to trade a top 10 pick for Kirk Cousins.

26
by Paul R :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 11:26am

"Given how DYAR loves RB rec yds, I assume Charles broke Quick Reads."
-- FO reader and Twitter user Chris Jones (@CyrisJonfs) after Jamaal Charles' big day against Oakland

It's surprising how impressive "FO reader and Twitter user" looks as a qualifcation when it's used in the right context.

-- FO reader and Funyun aficionado Paul R (Author of U Suk lol and Bradys a Fairy, published by PatriotNation.)

72
by CyrisJonfs (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 3:42pm

I don't think I've ever been at the top of a webpage before.

34
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 12:21pm

All of which begs the question: Why on earth did Dallas run so rarely in the second half, after building a 26-3 lead at halftime?

I don't get it. What about this question is assuming its conclusion in its premise?

37
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 12:34pm

I consider it rhetorical.

49
by RickD :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:18pm

"begs the question" means something different in common parlance than it does for people with formal study in rhetoric or fallacies.

And there are a lot more people in the first group than the second.

55
by ChrisS (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:35pm

It is too bad that an interesting phrase with a specific meaning, not evident in its wording, has been (mis)appropriated by the general public. It is especailly bad since many alternatives are readily available, e.g. "asks the question". People trying to sound smart, oh well

57
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:38pm

Begs the question is a really unintuitive phrase. Logicians should come up with something better.

88
by Roch Bear :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 4:48pm

How about 'tautology'

100
by Intropy :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 6:10pm

petitio principii

65
by Al Dimond (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 3:20pm

This. I don't usually go for linguistic pedantry, but, "raises the question", "raises the issue", "leads one to wonder", please! The incorrect use of "begs the question" is the sort of change that truly makes our language less expressive.

66
by Rhombus (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 3:29pm

Or, perhaps, one could understand that language itself is not inherently rule-based but is based on shared understanding and meaning. "Begs the question" means "asks the question" to many people, probably a majority, and therefore that is it's definition. For example, "literally" is commonly used in place of "figuratively" to strengthen the meaning of the word. While grammar Nazis and English majors may cringe at this usage, linguists recognize it as a colloquialism that has become widespread enough to become a definition. Other examples of recent shifts in grammar and language include "who vs whom", "ain't" as a word, ending a sentence with a preposition, the phrase "tweet me", and many more.

The idea that English is some sort of static thing that has steadfast rules and those who do not follow the rules are wrong is absurd. The beauty of language lies in its flexibility. In short, do not discredit the author and stifle the evolution of language with your intolerance.

/steps off soapbox

70
by nat :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 3:38pm

*pat pat pat*

There, they're, their. It'll be alright.

73
by Led :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 3:43pm

With you on everything but the "who" vs. "whom" distinction, the loss of which adds to the already excessive synctactic ambiguity in the English language. It's also a symptom of the average English speaker's inability to distinguish subjects from objects, which results in a decrease in the clarity of communication. Figures of speech are inherently colloquial and the connotations of words and phrases naturally shift over time, but you need a certain amount of nuts and bolts grammar rules the make the engine of language work.

85
by Rhombus (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 4:37pm

That's a good point. Grammar is very useful in that it helps remove ambiguity, but I think it's unhelpful when its use is to point out commonly used "errors" that do not actually affect the intended meaning. I have no issue with someone beginning a sentence with "But", and I have no opinion on the Oxford comma debate, but using the wrong they're/there/their, or its/it's (which I actually did in my previous post, I'm so sorry) is a pet peeve of mine.

I suppose it also depends on the formality of the writing in question. In the comments section on ESPN, bad misspells and terrible phraseology are forgivable if the writer is actually able to form a coherent thought. I would put weekly online football articles well within the range of "intermittent misspells and colloquialisms OK".

74
by CyrisJonfs (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 3:45pm

Time for an Irrational Prescriptivist vs Descriptivist thread?

104
by TomC :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 6:30pm

Time for an Irrational Prescriptivist vs Descriptivist thread?

In which Raiderjoe is finally unmasked as Noam Chomsky.

77
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 3:55pm

You're right, one beauty of language is flexibility, but another is expressiveness, and this requires making distinctions. There's surely a middle-ground between the two that is ideal. Otherwise on the one hand we're all still speaking 18th-century English, and on the other -- what you seem to favor -- we all start sounding like Emmitt Smith.

You have to pick your fights. "Begs the question" probably wouldn't make my top ten. "Dominate" for "dominant," "untracked" for "on track," -- there are a lot better fights to pick.

Anyway, it's not true that linguists are on one side and grammar Nazis on the other. There are plenty of linguists who are not on your side. All you have to do is look at the dictionary wars for proof of that.

106
by duh :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 6:46pm

Really? untracked for on track? You've seen this? Yikes!

101
by Intropy :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 6:13pm

Is an apostrophe now a punctuation mark that means "here comes the 's'"?

36
by hscer :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 12:31pm

Broken clock moment for me, if you'll allow me:

https://twitter.com/hscer/status/412318232901464064

39
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 12:36pm

7. Kellen Clemens STL - That's just not right.

45
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:04pm

"On deep passes, Cassel went 6-of-8 for 187 yards, plus a 30-yard DPI. Really! Matt Cassel!"

My thought exactly. But he's really played pretty well this year, particularly when you compare him to Ponder. He beat Philly and Pitt, he led a big comeback win in the 2nd half against the Bears. He wasn't very good against Carolina.

On the whole though, he's averaged about 7.2 net yds per/att vs 5.8 for Ponder. And, he's played against far tougher pass defences than Ponder has. 7.2 per attempt puts a team in the top 3-4 in the league.

I don't know what to make of it. Does this tell me that Cassel is playing pretty darn well or just how incredibly bad Ponder is? He sure looked good vs the Eagles.

53
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:30pm

Cassell is pretty limited, but he can have some moments; he has had two years where he's finished 10th and 11th by DYAR. Ponder is just so incredibly bad that he makes Cassell look like Joe Flacco. Again, the only thing, and I mean the ONLY thing, Ponder does well is run fast after failing to get through his progressions well. I'm just stymied as to how he showed anything resembling a player being worthy of an upper tier first round pick.

54
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:34pm

Ponder is really bad. I used to think it was primarily an arm strength issue, but Will has me thinking it's more a mentality. A QB needs a certain aggressiveness, and Ponder just doesn't. He's like Jason Campbell with below average arm strength, or late career Pennington without the understanding of the game.

67
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 3:34pm

When they signed Cassell, I thought for sure that, athough they were publicly saying that Ponder was the starter, they were also going to give him the preseason, and a maybe two games, to show some dramatic improvement, and otherwise pull the plug and let Cassell play, and thus do their best to salvage the season. Instead they screwed around, wasted 3 million on Freeman, and by the time Cassell was starting as a matter of choice, the season was over.

68
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 3:34pm

I would rank Ponder's shortcomings in this order:

- rapid decision making in the pass offence
- accuracy
- arm strength.

I don't think a QB can succeed if he doesn't do the first two things well. Arm strength is nice to have but not a necessity.

76
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 3:47pm

A weak armed guy needs hyper-accuracy, and even then it is problematic in wind and cold. Average arm strength is ok with good accuracy. A strong arm with average accuracy works better in a lot on instances, because being able to drive the ball quickly downfield really helps sometimes. I really wish we could have velocity readings on qbs like we do pitchers. Yes, on most throws the qb isn't maximizing velocity, but knowing a guy's top end would be useful, I think.

As you say, Ponder is a hestitant, indecisive, nonassertive, inaccurate, and weak-armed. Other than that he's terrific.

51
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:29pm

misplaced

56
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:37pm

There are 15 QBs with 60 or more DYAR this week. There are only 24 QBs with 60 or more DYAR for the season.

69
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 3:34pm

"Virtually all of Brady's value came on the last three Patriots drives, when he went 17-of-29 for 195 yards with one interception. That doesn't sound like much, but 14 of those completions went for first downs, including a go-ahead touchdown. He had only six first downs up to that point."

This is my biggest issue with DYAR. You can have a basically replacement level day, then have 3 great drives at the end, and DYAR says you had a fantastic day.

I'm guessing replacement level is too low or something.

78
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 3:57pm

I don't think going 17-26 for 169 with 1 TD and no INTs is exactly replacement level against a good Miami pass defense. Getting only 6 first downs is mainly because he was throwing successful passes with 8-10 yards to go. These are all before the aforementioned final three drives:

1st & 10, Tom Brady passed to LeGarrette Blount to the left for 6 yard gain
2nd & 8, Tom Brady passed to Julian Edelman to the right for 6 yard gain
2nd & 10, Tom Brady passed to Danny Amendola to the left for 8 yard gain
1st & 10, Tom Brady passed to Josh Boyce to the right for 8 yard gain
1st & 10, Tom Brady passed to Julian Edelman to the left for 6 yard gain
1st & 10, Tom Brady passed to Danny Amendola to the right for 7 yard gain
2nd & 10, Tom Brady passed to Julian Edelman down the middle for 9 yard gain

79
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 4:10pm

But so are these:

2-4-MIA 4
(4:06) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass incomplete short right to 80-D.Amendola.
3-4-MIA 4
(4:01) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass incomplete short middle to 82-J.Boyce (27-J.Wilson).

2-13-NE 48
(1:21) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass short left to 34-S.Vereen to NE 48 for no gain (59-D.Ellerbe).
3-13-NE 48
(:37) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass short middle to 34-S.Vereen to MIA 46 for 6 yards (20-R.Jones) [91-C.Wake].

3-5-NE 7
(8:20) 12-T.Brady pass short right to 11-J.Edelman to NE 10 for 3 yards (21-B.Grimes).

1-10-MIA 30
(11:26) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass incomplete short right to 34-S.Vereen.
2-10-MIA 30
(11:26) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass incomplete short left to 34-S.Vereen.
3-10-MIA 30
(11:22) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass incomplete short right to 82-J.Boyce.

etc

80
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 4:21pm

My point is that DYAR, because of it being a per play counting stat, tends to overvalue long scoring drives, and under penalize 3-and-outs. Essentially, because a 3-and-out only has a couple of bad plays, whereas a long drive has a ton of plays, the long drive contributes more to the value.

A not great but decent analogy is that I feel like its like doing per-pitch metrics in baseball... they're interesting and helpful, but the base unit in baseball is a plate-appearance, not a pitch. It doesn't matter if you take a strike and then get a hit, the result is still a hit (and many very good hitters take a ton of called strikes)

DVOA/DYAR seems to think a team that has a 10 play, all success, drive for a TD followed by a 3-and-out is better than a team that has two 12 play drives for TDs with only 8 succesful plays on each drive. Essentially team one has 10 successes, 3 failures, and team two has 16 successes, 8 failures. I'm not sure that's right anymore.

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by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 4:30pm

Is that last paragraph actually true? I would think a failed third down is more damaging than an unsuccessful play on first or second down.

110
by Purds :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 8:00pm

After the injury debate debacle, I hate to do this, but I completely agree with your premise. I would love to know the exact values. For example, would a QB who gets 5 passing first downs on a drive that eventually stalls rate a better DYAR than Kapernick's long TD pass from this past weekend, and if so, why is the multiple short first downs better?

119
by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 1:47pm

My point is that DYAR, because of it being a per play counting stat, tends to overvalue long scoring drives, and under penalize 3-and-outs. Essentially, because a 3-and-out only has a couple of bad plays, whereas a long drive has a ton of plays, the long drive contributes more to the value.

This can happen from time to time. I call it New York Jets syndrome, after a Jets game a few years ago where they had something like eight or nine three-and-outs and one very long touchdown drive, and finished with a positive DVOA for the game. And that can happen once in a while, assuming those three-and-outs are punts and not turnovers.

120
by nat :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 2:46pm

If you're talking about the Jets game that generated weeks of comments back in 2011, a good link for a wrap up of that is http://www.footballoutsiders.com/dvoa-ratings/2011/absolute-final-word-j... . You can look at the previous few weeks of DVOA commentary for a lot of analysis (by me and others) looking for causes.

The weird results were not caused by confusing per-play success with per-drive success. The real issue was the surprisingly large effect that avoiding high expectation situations had on the Jet's DVOA. In effect, they were graded on an unusually easy curve.

So, while it's correct to remind people that good per-play success tends to cause but doesn't guarantee per-drive success, it's not correct to call this effect "Jets syndrome". That was another problem entirely.

81
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 4:28pm

Well, I didn't even include the 6 first downs. I saw a sack in those drives, so that makes it 6 + 7 = 13 successful passes and 26 + 1 - 13 = 14 unsuccessful passes, which is not bad.

90
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 4:58pm

You know replacement level is supposed to represent signing a street free agent?

116
by nat :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 9:33am

Not so. From the "methods" link...
For quarterbacks, we analyzed situations where two or more quarterbacks had played meaningful snaps for a team in the same season, then compared the overall DVOA of the original starters to the overall DVOA of the replacements.
There's a reason that nearly half of all QBs are near or below replacement level each week.

117
by Insancipitory :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 9:40am

Tavaris Jackson is wrecking the curve?

118
by tuluse :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 1:38pm

I was not aware of that change. I don't think I like it either.

84
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 4:32pm

Its funny, because of the redskins and cowboys' respective circuses, it has (almost) hidden the more curious question of just what the hell is going on with eli manning? In some sense, I might think his season is similar to what flacco, ryan have gone through and rivers went through last year(namely, horrible offensive line combined with poor receiving play). But at the same time, his receivers look far better than any of those other qbs and his play this year has been much worse than any of them as well.

According to various numbers, hes basically playing like brandon weeden. I just find this unconscionable, especially for a qb I thought was right on the door of elite. I can't remember the last time a qb I had legitimate faith in, have a season like this. Maybe delhomme? Plummer? But I never thought that highly of either, not like eli

91
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 5:01pm

I remember Brett Favre 2005 having a similar season, and the Packers bottomed out at 4-12. There were whispers then that Favre was finished. And didn't Ken Stabler have a couple of crap seasons in a row at the end of his career? (unlike Favre he never rebounded) Of course both Favre and Stabler were older at the time than Eli is now.

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by theslothook :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 7:02pm

Actually, that's a terrific example. The favre meltdown of 2005. I'm not sure why, but it never received the headlines it deserved. But yeah, maybe eli can take solace in that.

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by Kurt :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 7:46pm

I think it's almost entirely a combination of being on a bad team* and his style being very aggressive. If it's third down, he'll throw downfield and try to make a play even if his guy is covered. When it works it works great, and when things are going bad his stats are going to be horrible.

* including the receivers, who haven't been very good this year, especially Nicks.

105
by Bjorn Nittmo :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 6:41pm

Clearly DVOA needs fixing if it computed that another QB had a worse day than Eli Manning.

108
by Insancipitory :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 7:12pm

I assume the opponent adjustment has a little something to do with it.

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by wr (not verified) :: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 9:02pm

Yup. A crappy game against the Colts' defense is much worse than a crappy game
against Seahawks'.