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28 Sep 2015

Week 3 Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

By this point in his career, Colin Kaepernick should be peaking. He was drafted in 2011, the same year as Cam Newton and Andy Dalton, who between them have led the Panthers and Bengals to a combined 6-0 record with 13 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Kaepernick and the 49ers, meanwhile, sit at 1-2 with two touchdown passes and four picks.

It's an interesting comparison, because Newton and Dalton were both starters in Week 1 of their rookie seasons and have missed only two starts between them since, while Kaepernick spent a year and a half on the bench in San Francisco. He took over for Alex Smith in the middle of 2012 and took the world by storm, coming within a pair of failed red-zone drives of winning one Super Bowl and playing in another, finishing in the top 10 in DVOA both years. He was just mediocre in 2014 on an 8-8 49ers team, though, and now finds himself playing some of the worst football of his career. We could write that off as a small sample size fluke -- after all, it has only been three games. Unfortunately for Kaepernick, though, that performance looks less like a fluke and more like a natural progression. Kaepernick's passing DVOA was 25.8% in his first year as a starter, but has fallen every year since then, to 16.6% in 2013, -8.4% in 2014, and -36.8% through three games of 2015 (going into the Kansas City-Green Bay Monday nighter).

Kaepernick's statistical decline is evident, and if you watched the game last Sunday, you know that these numbers pass the eyeball test. Kaepernick's first throw against Arizona was a terrible interception, the kind of throw no quarterback with 48 total starts in the regular season and playoffs should make. The Cardinals, as they are wont to do, brought the heat, sending a six-man pass rush after Kaepernick on third-and-10, and Frostee Rucker and Calais Campbell both pressured the quarterback. Kaepernick responded to this pressure by throwing an awkward duck of a pass with neither foot set on the ground, then turtling to protect himself from Rucker's impact. He looked like a terrified free agent pressed into a starter's role, not a fifth-year pro who signed a seven-year extension worth up to $127 million just a year ago. Kaepernick's wobbly pass hung in the air before Justin Bethel, a fourth-year pro who has never started a game, jumped in front of Vernon Davis for the first interception of his career and an easy touchdown.

A few plays later, Kaepernick did nearly the same thing. The 49ers had a second-and-9, and Arizona rushed five. This time the 49ers kept in seven blockers, which gave Kaepernick time to check his first and second reads, but both were covered. By that time Campbell was in his face again, and Kaepernick tried to sidearm a pass to Anquan Boldin while jumping backwards. That form is, um, not ideal. Tyrann Mathieu, despite giving Boldin a 14-yard cushion at the snap, had plenty of time to jump the route and intercept the ball for a touchdown that was nearly as easy as Bethel's had been.

Mathieu's touchdown put the Cardinals up 14-0 and apparently put the 49ers' coaching staff into panic mode. The next two San Francisco drives consisted of nine runs, zero passes, and two punts. San Francisco's defense was playing hardly any better than its offense, and Arizona responded to those punts with a pair of 81-yard touchdown drives. Kaepernick wouldn't throw another pass until the 49ers were down 28-0 -- and that pass was a 2-yard gain on third-and-20.

Kaepernick's performance hardly improved after that, and his final statline looks like something out of JaMarcus Russell's nightmares: 9-of-19 for 67 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions. He's the first player to throw four or more interceptions while gaining less than 70 yards in a game since Luke McCown did it for Jacksonville in 2011, and just the fifth to do so since 1986. (Not surprisingly, games like this used to be a lot more common -- it happened three times in the 1980s, but 15 times in the 1970s and 18 times in the 1960s. John Hadl, Sonny Jurgensen, Dan Pastorini, and Milt Plum did it twice each.)

The splits for Kaepernick, if anything, are even worse than his raw numbers. He threw for only three first downs all day, just one after halftime. In one four-play stretch over the second and third quarters, he went interception, interception, sack, sack. His longest completion gained only 14 yards. He converted only one third down through the air, and that was a third-and-1 with San Francisco down by 40 points late in the fourth quarter. That play was also his only conversion out of seven plays with 5 or fewer yards to go. He only threw three deep passes that traveled more than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage; two were intercepted, and the other was incomplete.

When I saw that statline and those splits Sunday night, I immediately looked up the worst passing DYAR games of all time. I was surprised, though, that Kaepernick finished just 33rd.


Worst Single-Game Passing DYAR, 1989-2015
Year Player Team Pass DYAR Comp Att Yds TD Int Sacks Wk Opp
1994 David Klingler CIN -302 10 30 115 0 3 7 4 HOIL
2006 Rex Grossman CHI -284 14 37 144 0 4 2 6 ARI
2012 Brandon Weeden CLE -284 12 35 118 0 4 2 1 PHI
1998 Donald Hollas OAK -273 12 31 152 1 6 8 14 MIA
2001 Brian Griese DEN -272 16 32 151 1 4 5 17 IND
2003 Tim Hasselbeck WAS -268 6 26 56 0 4 1 15 DAL
2005 Alex Smith SF -263 9 23 74 0 4 5 5 IND
1990 Vinny Testaverde TB -260 10 24 149 1 5 3 9 CHI
1990 Troy Aikman DAL -259 9 25 61 0 2 4 6 PHX
2002 David Carr HOU -258 6 25 87 0 2 9 2 SD
2014 Teddy Bridgewater MIN -257 23 37 188 0 3 8 6 DET
Year Player Team Pass DYAR Comp Att Yds TD Int Sacks Wk Opp
1993 Craig Erickson TB -257 13 29 122 0 4 3 6 MIN
1989 Vinny Testaverde TB -256 19 39 188 0 5 4 13 GB
1998 Ryan Leaf SD -256 1 15 4 0 2 2 3 KC
2003 Kordell Stewart CHI -256 14 34 95 1 3 5 1 SF
1992 Kelly Stouffer SEA -254 12 21 109 0 2 5 13 DEN
2007 John Beck MIA -250 23 39 177 0 3 3 13 NYJ
1998 Bobby Hoying PHI -248 16 34 118 0 2 5 11 WAS
1999 Drew Bledsoe NE -247 16 34 201 1 5 4 11 MIA
2004 Michael Vick ATL -247 13 27 115 0 2 5 13 TB
2010 Todd Collins CHI -244 6 16 32 0 4 2 5 CAR
2005 Kyle Orton CHI -239 17 39 149 0 5 0 3 CIN
Year Player Team Pass DYAR Comp Att Yds TD Int Sacks Wk Opp
1991 Jeff Carlson TB -238 12 32 164 0 3 5 9 GB
1998 Tony Banks STL -237 15 35 121 0 3 8 8 SF
2007 Brian Griese CHI -236 35 52 286 2 3 6 4 DET
2000 Akili Smith CIN -236 18 41 183 0 2 5 3 JAC
2000 Anthony Wright DAL -235 5 20 35 0 2 4 17 TEN
2004 David Carr HOU -233 22 41 215 0 3 5 10 IND
1990 Babe Laufenberg DAL -232 13 36 140 0 4 1 16 PHI
1999 Jon Kitna SEA -231 19 43 197 0 5 3 12 TB
1997 Kelly Holcomb IND -231 5 8 29 0 3 2 17 MIN
1993 Wade Wilson NO -231 6 15 46 0 3 4 12 SF
2015 Colin Kaepernick SF -230 9 19 67 0 4 2 3 ARI

(We'll save you the trouble of counting: that's five appearances by Bears quarterbacks, four by passers from Tampa Bay.)

Now, granted, that's a lot of really bad football games. Nobody wants to be on a list that includes multiple appearances of Buccaneers-era Vinny Testaverde. Still, Kaepernick threw for more interceptions against Arizona than first downs. Doesn't it feel like he should be higher here?

The "problem" is that Kaepernick had only 19 passes, and just 21 total dropbacks (including two sacks). The players in this table averaged 34 dropbacks each, 15 more than Kaepernick, and only four had fewer plays than the San Francisco quarterback. DYAR is a counting stat, and players who get more plays have more opportunities to rack up negative DYAR.

With that in mind, let's look at that table again, this time sorted by DYAR per passing play. (Note that there's a minimum of 8 passes required to be listed on the Quick Reads list for quarterbacks.)


Worst Single-Game Passing DYAR, 1989-2015 (Sorted By DYAR/Play)
Year Player Team Pass DYAR DYAR/Play Comp Att Yds TD Int Sacks Wk Opp
1997 Kelly Holcomb IND -231 -23.1 5 8 29 0 3 2 17 MIN
1998 Ryan Leaf SD -256 -15.1 1 15 4 0 2 2 3 KC
2010 Todd Collins CHI -244 -13.5 6 16 32 0 4 2 5 CAR
1993 Wade Wilson NO -231 -12.2 6 15 46 0 3 4 12 SF
2015 Colin Kaepernick SF -230 -11.0 9 19 67 0 4 2 3 ARI
2003 Tim Hasselbeck WAS -268 -9.9 6 26 56 0 4 1 15 DAL
2000 Anthony Wright DAL -235 -9.8 5 20 35 0 2 4 17 TEN
1992 Kelly Stouffer SEA -254 -9.8 12 21 109 0 2 5 13 DEN
1990 Vinny Testaverde TB -260 -9.6 10 24 149 1 5 3 9 CHI
2005 Alex Smith SF -263 -9.4 9 23 74 0 4 5 5 IND
1990 Troy Aikman DAL -259 -8.9 9 25 61 0 2 4 6 PHX
Year Player Team Pass DYAR DYAR/Play Comp Att Yds TD Int Sacks Wk Opp
1994 David Klingler CIN -302 -8.2 10 30 115 0 3 7 4 HOIL
1993 Craig Erickson TB -257 -8.0 13 29 122 0 4 3 6 MIN
2004 Michael Vick ATL -247 -7.7 13 27 115 0 2 5 13 TB
2012 Brandon Weeden CLE -284 -7.7 12 35 118 0 4 2 1 PHI
2002 David Carr HOU -258 -7.6 6 25 87 0 2 9 2 SD
2001 Brian Griese DEN -272 -7.3 16 32 151 1 4 5 17 IND
2006 Rex Grossman CHI -284 -7.3 14 37 144 0 4 2 6 ARI
1998 Donald Hollas OAK -273 -7.0 12 31 152 1 6 8 14 MIA
2003 Kordell Stewart CHI -256 -6.6 14 34 95 1 3 5 1 SF
1999 Drew Bledsoe NE -247 -6.5 16 34 201 1 5 4 11 MIA
1991 Jeff Carlson TB -238 -6.4 12 32 164 0 3 5 9 GB
Year Player Team Pass DYAR DYAR/Play Comp Att Yds TD Int Sacks Wk Opp
1998 Bobby Hoying PHI -248 -6.4 16 34 118 0 2 5 11 WAS
1990 Babe Laufenberg DAL -232 -6.3 13 36 140 0 4 1 16 PHI
2005 Kyle Orton CHI -239 -6.1 17 39 149 0 5 0 3 CIN
1989 Vinny Testaverde TB -256 -6.0 19 39 188 0 5 4 13 GB
2007 John Beck MIA -250 -5.9 23 39 177 0 3 3 13 NYJ
2014 Teddy Bridgewater MIN -257 -5.7 23 37 188 0 3 8 6 DET
1998 Tony Banks STL -237 -5.5 15 35 121 0 3 8 8 SF
2000 Akili Smith CIN -236 -5.1 18 41 183 0 2 5 3 JAC
2004 David Carr HOU -233 -5.1 22 41 215 0 3 5 10 IND
1999 Jon Kitna SEA -231 -5.0 19 43 197 0 5 3 12 TB
2007 Brian Griese CHI -236 -4.1 35 52 286 2 3 6 4 DET

Now that puts a different spin on things. Only four quarterbacks have amassed -230 passing DYAR in a game and been worse than Kaepernick on a per-play basis. Kelly Holcomb's terrible game was the last performance by an Indianapolis quarterback before the team drafted Peyton Manning. It came in a relief appearance for Jim Harbaugh in the Colts' 13th loss of the 1997 season, a Week 17 game against a Vikings team that would beat the Giants in a memorable wild card game a week later. Holcomb wouldn't play again in an NFL game until 2001, and wouldn't start again until 2002, when he played in and nearly won a wild card game himself. I assume you're all familiar with the Ryan Leaf game, but you may not realize that in addition to his 4-yards-in-15-passes production, he also fumbled four times. Todd Collins' four-interception game against Carolina was the last start of his career; he would go 0-for-4 in the NFC Championship Game that year, and then he was done. Wade Wilson and the 1993 Saints were 5-0 going into their game against Pittsburgh; they finished 8-8, Wilson would miss the last two games of the year with a knee injury, and the next year the Saints brought in Jim Everett to be their starter. (On the plus side for Wade, his movie looks awesome, if not particularly family-friendly.)

Not every bad game on this list signaled the end of a player's career. Holcomb would later have his playoff shootout, Testaverde had a lot of good years with the Ravens and Jets, and the Cowboys are happy they didn't give up on Troy Aikman in 1990. These numbers also don't yet include opponent adjustments for 2015, and Kaepernick's game probably won't look so bad by the end of the year if the Cardinals (third in the league in scoring defense) continue to smother opponents. And of course, Kaepernick can still run -- seven carries for 46 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals, six of those carries counting as successful plays.

As a passer, though, Kaepernick has been in a tailspin for several years now, and those in the Bay Area are beginning to lose hope. It has gotten so bad that 49ers coach Jim Tomsula has already been asked if Kaepernick will be benched (as reported by the team's own website!). Tomsula firmly denied that possibility, which is probably for the best -- Kaepernick's backup is Blaine Gabbert, best known as the worst quarterback in the DVOA era. For better or worse, this team is only going to go so far as Kaepernick can take them.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Aaron Rodgers GB
24/35
337
5
0
1
229
221
9
KC
Rodgers was very effective throwing very short. On passes within 2 yards of the line of scrimmage, he went 7-of-7 for 75 yards. Three of those completions went for touchdowns, three others went for first downs, and the other was a 7-yard gain on first-and-10. Mind you, Rodgers was also very good throwing very deep. On passes that traveled at least 13 yards downfield, he went 5-of-7 for 143 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown. He was virtually perfect at the goal-line; inside the Kansas City 10, he went 4-of-5 for 19 yards and four touchdowns. The Packers have the best quarterback in football, and they weren't afraid to use him -- seven of Rodgers' first eight passes came on first down.
2.
Tom Brady NE
33/42
358
2
0
2
228
224
3
JAC
Brady has now finished first, fifth, and first second in Quick Reads. He has three games with 139 passing DYAR; the rest of the NFL, combined, has 11. Yes, he's having a good year. There was a point early in the third quarter when New England was ahead 20-3, and Brady was sacked on third-and-13. It seemed like he was angry the Jaguars had the audacity to sack him, because his next two throws resulted in DPIs of 52 and 24 yards, and then he completed ten passes in a row, gaining 83 yards and six first downs in the process, including a 13-yard touchdown to Keshawn Martin. Then the Jaguars had the nerve to sack him again, and so he threw three more passes, completing two for 20 yards. Now, I'm not sure WHY Brady threw eight passes while the Patriots were ahead by 34 points in the fourth quarter when Jimmy Garoppolo was right there for mop-up duty, but that's hardly new ground for New England. Brady's arm strength has been questioned in recent years, but he was most effective against Jacksonville when throwing deep. He threw eight passes that traveled at least 10 yards downfield, and only one was incomplete. Two, as mentioned, resulted in DPIs for 76 total yards; five others were completed for 126 yards and five first downs.
3.
Tyrod Taylor BUF
21/29
277
3
0
0
178
180
-2
MIA
What the -- a Buffalo quarterback? THIRD?! Why yes, it has been a long, long time since a Bills quarterback gained this much passing DYAR in a game. Five years, to be exact, since Ryan Fitzpatrick pulled it off in Week 7 of 2010, when he led a 10-point fourth-quarter comeback to tie the game against the Ravens, who still had Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. (Of course, because they're the Bills, they lost in overtime.) As for Taylor, he was especially effective on third downs against Miami, going 10-of-12 for 114 yards and seven first downs, including touchdowns of 10 and 38 yards. Weirdly, Taylor threw 29 passes, and not one was thrown to the middle of the field.
4.
Cam Newton CAR
20/31
315
2
0
1
171
153
18
NO
Note to all future Panthers opponents: when Carolina approaches scoring range, there's no mystery where Newton is throwing. With Kelvin Benjamin out for the year, and Devin Funchess off to a slow start, Newton only has one target with the size to be a reliable red-zone threat. He threw seven passes inside the New Orleans 21. One was thrown to Funchess; it was incomplete. The other six all went to Greg Olsen, resulting in five completions for 49 yards and four first downs, including two touchdowns. Newton was also tremendous at the other end of the field. At or within the Carolina 20, he went 6-of-7 for 154 yards and five first downs. The Saints, by the way, might want to look at their right cornerback. Throwing to that side of the field (meaning, throwing to his left), Newton went 7-of-11 for 171 yards, with every completion picking up a first down. Did we mention that Newton had a game this good with Ted Ginn, Corey Brown, Devin Funchess, and Brenton Bersin as his wide receivers?
5.
Eli Manning NYG
23/32
279
2
0
0
145
145
0
WAS
6.
Matt Ryan ATL
24/36
285
2
0
1
141
133
9
DAL
It was not a fast start for Ryan and the Falcons. On Atlanta's first five drives, he went just 7-of-14 for 66 yards with three first downs and a sack. On his last drive of the first half, though, he went 4-of-5 for 66 yards with two first downs, leading the Falcons to a field goal. And then in the second half he went 13-of-17 for 153 yards and nine first downs as Atlanta scored touchdowns on three straight possessions. Ryan's second-half game plan can be summarized in five words: "Get the ball to Julio." Julio Jones was the target on 12 of those throws, including eight targets in Ryan's first nine passes in the second half. Jones finished with 12 catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns, but also with 20 targets, and those eight incomplete passes were enough to knock him out of our top receivers table by one spot.
7.
Derek Carr OAK
20/32
314
2
0
0
141
141
0
CLE
8.
Luke McCown NO
31/38
310
0
1
1
125
125
0
CAR
McCown threw for 18 first downs against Tampa Bay; only Tom Brady threw for more this week. McCown's perfect strike range came on passes thrown 10 to 16 yards downfield. In that distance, he went 7-of-7 for 92 yards, with every completion picking up a first down. He completed each of his first nine third-down passes for 107 total yards. Six of those completions went for first downs; the others went for 5 yards with 7 to go, 20 yards with 21 to go, and 9 yards with 10 to go. Unfortunately for McCown and the Saints, his final third-down pass, thrown in scoring range with New Orleans down by five inside the two-minute warning, was intercepted.
9.
Andy Dalton CIN
20/32
383
3
1
2
119
107
12
BAL
With about 7 minutes left in the game, Dalton was sacked and fumbled, and the Ravens recovered and returned the ball for a go-ahead touchdown. From that point forward, Dalton went 5-of-6 for 160 yards with two go-ahead touchdowns and three other first downs. Coaches call this "overcoming adversity."
10.
Carson Palmer ARI
20/31
311
2
1
1
112
134
-22
SF
11.
Joe Flacco BAL
33/49
362
2
1
0
69
69
0
CIN
12.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
20/24
192
0
1
3
50
50
0
STL
Roethlisberger was literally perfect on third downs, going 5-of-5 with five conversions and 64 yards. Four of those conversions went to Antonio Brown.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Brandon Weeden DAL
22/26
232
0
1
2
46
46
0
ATL
Weeden only threw one deep pass against Atlanta; it was incomplete. Once the Falcons realized they had nothing to fear from the long ball, they clamped down on the short routes, and Weeden was finished. In the second half, he went 9-of-12 for 68 yards (25 percent of them on a 17-yard gain on third-and-23) and only two first downs, with two sacks.
14.
Peyton Manning DEN
31/42
336
2
1
1
38
38
0
DET
Manning, like Brady, is a geezer with questionable arm strength -- but also like Brady, he excelled at the deep pass. On balls that traveled at least 10 yards downfield, he went 8-of-11 for 162 yards. Each of those completions picked up a first down, including touchdowns of 11 and 45 yards.
15.
Russell Wilson SEA
20/30
235
1
0
4
36
31
5
CHI
16.
Marcus Mariota TEN
27/44
367
2
2
3
28
28
0
IND
17.
Jameis Winston TB
17/36
261
1
1
0
25
25
0
HOU
The anti-Roethlisberger: on third downs, Winston went 2-of-12 for 31 yards, with as many conversions (one) as interceptions.
18.
Nick Foles STL
19/28
197
0
1
2
21
19
2
PIT
19.
Ryan Mallett HOU
24/39
229
1
1
1
11
11
0
TB
Add Mallett to the list of quarterbacks with very narrow windows of effectiveness. Mallett threw eight passes that traveled 8 to 13 yards downfield, and all eight resulted in first downs: seven completions for 89 yards, plus a 9-yard DPI.
20.
Blake Bortles JAC
17/33
242
2
1
2
-2
3
-5
NE
21.
Teddy Bridgewater MIN
13/24
121
0
1
0
-11
-11
0
SD
22.
Kirk Cousins WAS
30/49
316
1
2
1
-19
-19
0
NYG
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Josh McCown CLE
28/49
341
2
1
5
-26
-26
0
OAK
The Browns didn't run much early, and hardly at all late. After the Raiders went ahead 20-3 with 9:25 to go in the third quarter, the Browns called 36 pass plays and only two runs. Going all in on Josh McCown hardly seems like a winning strategy, but it almost worked, as McCown went 21-of-33 for 237 yards and a pair of touchdowns over that stretch. Of course, he was also sacked three times and gave up one fumble and one interception.
24.
Sam Bradford PHI
14/28
118
1
0
1
-26
-26
0
NYJ
Bradford threw seven passes with 5 yards or less to go for a first down. He completed three of them for 13 total yards and only one conversion.
25.
Andrew Luck IND
18/30
260
2
2
3
-34
-44
10
TEN
When the fourth quarter started, Luck had thrown for only three first downs, with two interceptions, the Colts trailed 27-14, and 0-3 looked like a very real possibility. In the fourth quarter, he went 11-of-13 for 139 yards and a pair of touchdowns, with one sack, and now the Colts are tied for first place.
26.
Jimmy Clausen CHI
9/17
63
0
0
2
-54
-50
-4
SEA
The Bears had no faith in Clausen, and he did nothing to show that they should have. He did not throw a pass on first down in the first half, and only three times in the second half. In eight third-down dropbacks, he had only one conversion, a 4-yard gain on third-and-3. He had only two first downs on the day, and none in the final 29 minutes of the game. The Bears did not cross Seattle's 40-yard line all day; in fact, Clausen threw only one pass on Seattle's side of the field. Of course, it was incomplete.
27.
Matthew Stafford DET
31/45
282
1
2
4
-66
-66
0
DEN
28.
Philip Rivers SD
21/34
246
1
1
4
-71
-71
0
MIN
29.
Alex Smith KC
24/40
290
1
1
7
-123
-124
1
GB
30.
Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ
35/58
283
2
3
1
-138
-143
6
PHI
Fitzpatrick's day was similar to that of Josh McCown -- faced with a big deficit, he was forced to pass on nearly every play. The Eagles took a 24-0 lead just before the two-minute warning in the first half. After that, the Jets only ran ten times (including four runs by Fitzpatrick himself), while Fitzpatrick went 24-of-42 for 235 yards and a pair of touchdowns. And, like McCown and the Browns, the Jets pulled with one score in the fourth quarter, but Fitzpatrick's late interceptions more or less sealed their fate -- each of those interceptions came with the Jets in long field goal range, between Philadelphia's 30- and 37-yard lines.
31.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
26/49
297
2
3
2
-160
-160
0
BUF
Tannehill put some points on the board, but he still struggled when knocking on the door. Inside the Buffalo red zone, he went 1-of-9 for 9 yards and no first downs. He had almost no success throwing to his left, where he went 5-of-13 for 34 yards and no first downs. None of those 13 passes traveled more than 10 yards downfield. Tannehill's third- and fourth-down numbers were bad enough on the surface -- he went 6-of-14 for 106 yards and only three conversions, with one interception that resulted in a Buffalo touchdown. In reality, though, they were even worse than that. He did not convert a third down until Miami was down by 27 points halfway through the third quarter, and his yardage total is skewed by a 46-yard touchdown thrown on fourth-and-8 that still left Buffalo down by 20 points with about eight minutes left in the game.
32.
Colin Kaepernick SF
9/19
67
0
4
2
-198
-230
31
ARI



Five most valuable running backs (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Devonta Freeman ATL
30
141
3
5/5
52
0
74
54
20
DAL
Freeman kept the Falcons in the game while their passing game was spinning its wheels and their defense was getting pushed all over the place. When Atlanta fell behind 14-0, Freeman responded on their next drive with runs of 16 and 10 yards, and capped off that drive with a 3-yard touchdown. He also had receptions of 7 and 35 yards to set up their field goal at the end of the first half. Freeman finished the day with nine total first downs on the ground, four of them on runs of 10 yards or more. He was stuffed for no gain or a loss four times, but he made up for that by converting 4-of-6 short-yardage opportunities.
2.
Chris Johnson ARI
22
110
2
1/2
40
0
55
38
17
SF
Johnson turned 30 years old last week, but he still has some pop. He burned San Francisco for runs of 14, 15, and 30 yards, to go along with his 1- and 6-yard touchdown runs and his 40-yard reception. Of course, those were his only first downs on the day -- he remains a boom-or-bust player. On the other hand, he was stuffed for no gain or a loss only four times, and never for anything worse than a loss of 1.
3.
Adrian Peterson MIN
20
126
2
0/0
0
0
52
52
0
SD
Four runs of 10 yards or more, including a 43-yard touchdown, and he also had a 2-yard score. He was stuffed for no gain or a loss just twice. Weirdly, each of his 20 carries came on first or second down.
4.
Karlos Williams BUF
12
110
1
0/0
0
0
50
50
0
MIA
SPOILER: When the running back tables are updated later today, Williams be first among all running backs in rushing DYAR. That's especially impressive because he has only 24 carries, exactly the minimum needed to qualify for our tables. Eleven runners have at least twice as many carries as Williams, but none can match his DYAR -- and DYAR is a counting stat! It should go without saying, I guess, that Williams will also be first in DVOA and success rate. His day against Miami was typically excellent in a small sample size. Each of his 12 carries gained at least 2 yards, and three gained at least 10, including a 41-yard touchdown.
5.
LeGarrette Blount NE
18
78
3
1/1
14
0
44
36
8
JAC
Goal-line excellence: Blount had six carries with 1 yard to go against Jacksonville and converted five of them, including all three of his touchdowns. He was also explosive, with runs of 17 and 22 yards, while getting stuffed for no gain or a loss only twice.


Five most valuable running backs (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Devonta Freeman ATL
30
141
3
5/5
52
0
74
54
20
DAL
2.
Adrian Peterson MIN
20
126
2
0/0
0
0
52
52
0
SD
3.
Karlos Williams BUF
12
110
1
0/0
0
0
50
50
0
MIA
4.
Frank Gore IND
14
86
2
1/2
8
0
40
40
0
TEN
Running backs have picked up a first down on 23 percent of their carries across the league this year. Gore had seven first downs in only 14 runs against Tennessee, including gains of 12, 18, and 25 yards, plus a pair of short touchdowns, while being stuffed for no gain or a loss just twice.
5.
Jamaal Charles KC
11
49
3
5/7
33
0
37
40
-3
GB
Charles had touchdowns on three of his four red zone carries Monday night, while adding runs of 10 and 13 yards, and was stuffed for no gain or a loss just twice.


Least valuable running back (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Darren Sproles PHI
11
17
1
4/6
19
0
-32
-16
-16
NYJ
Last week in this space, we noted that the Philadelphia offense had the highest stuff rate we've ever recorded, and the Jets defense had the highest stuff rate in the league this year. So of course, when the Eagles played the Jets, Sproles was stuffed on five of his 11 carries (though at least he avoided the dreaded superstuff). Meanwhile, he had only two first downs, a 12-yard gain on third-and-2 and a touchdown on third-and-goal from the 1. Only one of his three receptions was a successful play; he failed to convert on targets on second-and-4 and third-and-8. (Obviously, this is looking at rushing and receiving only and does not reward Sproles for his 89-yard punt return touchdown.)


Least valuable running back (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
James Starks GB
17
32
0
1/1
19
0
-19
-29
10
KC
Only two first downs and a long run of 11 yards, while being stuffed with no gain or a loss eight times in 17 carries. Two thoughts: Whatever their other faults may be, the Chiefs have an awfully good front seven. And this kind of run support makes Rodgers' performance this week even more impressive.


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
A.J. Green CIN
10
13
227
22.7
2
90
BAL
His touchdowns of 80 and 7 yards both put Cincinnati ahead in the last half of the fourth quarter. He had five other first downs on the day, including gains of 47 and 31 yards.
2.
Larry Fitzgerald ARI
9
11
134
14.9
2
85
SF
"YOU STILL GOT IT! (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)". Less than a month removed from his 32nd birthday, Fitzgerald had touchdowns of 4 and 8 yards, and had five other first downs on gains ranging from 13 to 23 yards. His only reception that did not produce a first down was a 9-yard gain on second-and-10.
3.
Rueben Randle NYG
7
7
116
16.6
1
71
WAS
Randle's second reception of the game was a 9-yard gain on first-and-10. Every other ball thrown his way resulted in a first down, including a 41-yard touchdown on third-and-10 and a 30-yard gain on second-and-6.
4.
Steve Smith BAL
13
17
186
14.3
2
66
CIN
We repeat: "YOU STILL GOT IT! (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)". Smith is 36 years old and in the middle of his 15th season, which means he has been a pro football player for more than 40 percent of his life. After just 13 yards in the season opener, Smith has gone over 150 yards in back-to-back games. He had touchdowns of 50 and 16 yards against Cincinnati, the former of which converted a fourth-and-5. The Ravens also threw him six passes on third down, and he caught four of them for four conversions and 61 total yards.
5.
James Jones GB
7
8
139
19.9
1
61
KC
A 27-yard touchdown, plus gains of 52 and 20 yards and two other catches for first downs.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Jordan Cameron MIA
3
8
16
5.3
0
-44
BUF
Cameron's first reception went for 10 yards and his only first down on the day. He followed it with a 3-yard loss on second-and-3. And it's not because the Dolphins were throwing to him in long-yardage -- he had five targets with 6 yards or less to go for a first down and converted none of them, catching just one of those passes for that loss of 3.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 28 Sep 2015

290 comments, Last at 01 Oct 2015, 4:02pm by PatsFan

Comments

1
by Topas :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:20am

Nice, to have the GIFs for Kap. Nice, since I am no 9ers fan actually.
And I cant wait to have the total players stats updated to see how Taylor is doing now overall after three weeks. Other than the first half of the NE game, he was good to great. He actually converts third downs which was a foreign concept for Bills QBs during the last 15 years. But having no completions in the middle of the field frightens me. Might be the small QB syndrome. Hopefully he is more Drew Brees and less Tim Tebow.

3
by Otis Taylor89 :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 8:02am

BUF seems to have the talent at receiver for Taylor, however they don't seem to have the big receiver that can go up and get the ball in the middle of the field (ex. J Graham, M. Colston in NO in past years). You combine that with the height of the QB and you may have a recipe for disaster or at least leveling out when defenses figure that out.

7
by Mike B. In Va :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 8:40am

Having the big guy to go get the ball is supposed to be a combination of Clay and Watkins - and with Watkins getting hurt (again) I'm not surprised they didn't work the middle of the field. I will be curious to see what happens when they play the Jets, who can take away the outside of the field.

2
by osoviejo :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 7:02am

They were drafted in 2011.

4
by Travis :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 8:04am

Todd Collins' four-interception game against Carolina was the last start of his career; he would go 0-for-4 in the wild card game that year, and then he was done.

That wasn't the wild card game; it was the NFC Championship.

5
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 8:12am

I normally have no use for Ray Lewis on ESPN, but thought he was good last night, talking about the idiocy of trying to stop a Patriots/Packers passing attack especially on the goal line, while playing off receivers, soft, and dbs and linebackers not communicating. He made the point of how much more intelligent the Seahawks approach was, getting your hands on receivers every play and daring refs to call it. I'd love to see some film of Seahawks db contact, compared with other teams, to see if the Seahawks are just better at doing it without fouling. As it is, I kind of agree with Steve Young, who said he'd be tempted to tell his defensive backs to go get flagged 35 times, and make the game unwatchable, rather than yield the easy completions we see so frequently from the top tier qbs.

6
by big10freak :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 8:39am

What's strange is that KC dbs were using their hands at other points of the field which at times were called but not regularly. Why they chose to play back while at the goal line versus how they played elsewhere is definitely curious.

Though it is true their hand usage midfield was typically after the 5 yard zone. So maybe press is just 'not their thing'.

8
by BJR :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 9:09am

Several of Starks' carries were pure garbage-time clock-killers. It felt to me that the GB running game was fairly effective in the first half - perhaps I'm confusing it somewhat with the short passing game - but I don't remember runners being stuffed very often until the game was out of sight.

I know it was covered in detail only last week, but there must once again be some astonishing Alex Smith 3rd down air-less-expected numbers from last night. I counted at least three occasions on 3rd and long when he threw behind the line of scrimmage.

15
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 9:36am

It was mostly Lacy in the first half I think, not Starks.

107
by BJR :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:49pm

Yes, it was more a response to Starks' comments section which suggested Rodgers had no help from the run game. It seemed to be functioning quite well to my eyes - mostly with Lacy - in the first half.

19
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:11am

Throw in a pointless scramble on the last play of the first half rather than flinging it deep, and then, just to be different, a pointless scramble on the last play of the game rather than flinging it deep and it pretty much sums up Alex Smith in a neat little package.

35
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:53am

In slack, I jokingly asked what Alex Smith would do KC had all receivers run routes deeper than 5 yards and travis responded "scramble". Sure enough...

Man KC has to one of the least fun teams to watch. I'm dubbing Alex Smith an excitement vampire. Free Chase Daniel!

72
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:41pm

Isn't this a bit reminiscent of Reid's early years in Philly, when their best receiver was Charlie Garner? I wonder if this is just how Reid likes to build his team - before you get DeSean Jackson, you have to endure a few years of Todd Pinkston & James Thrash while you slow fill out your roster.

76
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:44pm

Probably true, but Step #1 of that process was get Donovan McNabb. Step #1 this time was trade for Alex Smith.

125
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:31pm

If a player comparable to Donovan McNabb had been out there, I'm sure Reid would have made a play for him. As it stands, who could he have reasonably gotten better than Alex Smith? EJ Manuel was the only QB taken in the first round in 2013 and Smith was the class of the free agent market.

(He's also not the GM in KC like he was in Philly.)

122
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:26pm

Freddie Mitchell!

9
by nat :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 9:22am

Now, I'm not sure WHY Brady threw eight passes while the Patriots were ahead by 34 points in the fourth quarter...

It's called running out the clock. And it worked almost perfectly. Despite starting with a short field at their own 42, the Patriots managed to run 9:47 off the clock in a seventeen play, six first down drive.

14
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 9:35am

The point of the question is an inquiry as to why Mr. Bundchen was on the field. Mind you, if a professional team wants to score 100, it's fine by me, but Darth Hoodie's Plan for Galactic Domination would have looked ill considered if somebody had taken a dive at his apprentice's knees, while The Empire was ahead by several tds in the fourth quarter.

16
by nat :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:05am

And the answer is the same: to run out the clock. I doubt Garoppolo could have sustained a nine minute drive. He's not too bad for a backup QB. But he ain't Brady.

There's a secondary point, too. All week the Patriots have been emphasizing "start fast and finish" as their coaching theme for improvement. Turning a drive starting with thirteen minutes left into a kneel down or its equivalent would have undermined the week's coaching lessons. An insanely successful clock-killing drive was exactly the right positive reinforcement for a week of hard work.

18
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:11am

At this point, why does anyone ask this. Clearly BB doesn't care, and clearly this is their MO. Brady will play until it is laughably over, or until the other team is so far ahead he doesn't want to risk Brady (see: Chiefs last year, or Saints game in 2009).

I agree that Garroppollo (sp?) would not have been able to do that 9:00 drive, but at this point Belichick is gonna do what he does.

21
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:21am

This is where Belichik's logic is weakest. If Brady shouldn't be exposed in a blowout loss, then exposing him in a blowout win is at least worthy of inquiry. Yes, there is some value in finishing off such a victory which has lesser value in a corresponding loss, but compared to the cost of losing an entire year's work when some frustrated d-linemen just says "F**k, it, I'm spreading the pain", and takes a dive at his knees, the value is a bit mitigated. Now, I didn't see the game, so maybe the Jags looked comatose for the entire contest, causing Belichik to reasonably conclude that the game was about as dangerous as a 7 on 7 drill with shells only, The Apprentice wearing a red jersey, but it is something to consider.

27
by Kevin from Philly :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:40am

Well, if they brought Garapollo in, they'd have to re-inflate the balls. Too much trouble.

29
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:43am

HA!

31
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:45am

Brady did take a sack with 8 minutes left in the game.

Even moreso than protecting the starting QB, I always felt like coaches should be getting backup QBs more snaps than they get. Getting them out there in live game situations has to have some value.

22
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:23am

When you are up by 30 plus points in the fourth quarter, it doesn't matter, in terms of winning that game, whether you run out the clock. Again. It does not matter.

The secondary part would look really dumb, as The Apprentice was being inserted into an MRI machine. That would have been kind of negative. Look, I'm fine with it either way, but to pretend that there isn't a significant downside to having your most important player exposed to much larger human beings trying to hit him, at a point of the game where his absence cannot possibly result in a contest which is made competitive, is just silly.

132
by Kal :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:52pm

When you're up that much you don't need to run out the clock. That's sort of the point. That makes it more likely you'll run out the clock and end the game, but the game is functionally over at that point.

23
by RickD :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:32am

"Mr Bundchen?"

Anyway, just one week earlier the Patriots had a 24-point 4th quarter lead against Buffalo cut to 5 points. One of the themes of the team is "play 60 minutes". One of the most egregious failures of the Belichick era was blowing a huge lead against Indy in the AFC championship game in 2006. (One of the top two failures, by my count.) So the Pats play with full effort basically until the clock is under 2 minutes.

There are two counter-arguments: one, which I'm glad to see you don't espouse, is that this is somehow bad sportsmanship. The other, which I agree with the a certain extent, is that this strategy puts unnecessary risk on Brady. But I also recall a few years back when Belichick put the backup in early in the 4th. (Hoyer? I'm not sure which QB it was.) Guy promptly threw a pick six, and Brady had to come back in the game.

So yeah, Brady could probably come out of the game a bit earlier, and Pats fans wouldn't mind that at all. But it's not about running up the score either. (Nor is any other franchise in any other major sports league held to this kind of standard.)

25
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:38am

The lead in the 06 AFC Title Game was erased in 10 minutes of the 3rd quarter. That wasn't because the team packed it in the 4th. I know that essentially is what began this whole '60 minutes' thing, but that isn't the best example of the team blowing it.

I agree that the sportsmanship argument is dumb - and I feel the same way about Carson Palmer playing all but one series as well in the 49ers game. If they want to do it to score 50, then whatever, but it is an uneccessary risk, one that BB has shown time and time again he is willing to take.

As mentioned above, there is an interesting dichotomy with BB willing to take Brady out of games that they are losing in ('05 Colts, '09 Saints, '14 Chiefs; may have happened more, but they rarely lose big anyway), but it is what it is.

28
by RickD :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:42am

BB's dichotomy about using Brady in games where he's getting blown out underscores that it's really about winning. If he's losing a game and Brady is pulled, that means he's waving the white flag. I think in the past when an opponent has pulled their starting QB, he's been known to respond in kind, but I couldn't say that's happened often.

And again, yes, I would have been happier if BB had pulled Brady a little sooner on Sunday. The other vital cog is Gronk. Sometimes he gets pulled in the blowout situations even when Brady is left in.

59
by PirateFreedom :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:09pm

Brady has been pretty durable since coming back in 2009 and before 2007.
I was just happy to see Gronk off the field when the game was in hand, he's the guy I worry about every game due to his injury history and his critical importance to the Pats.

117
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:13pm

A large part of the dichotomy is that if they're way behind, it's likely at least in part because Brady has been taking hits and the opposing line is winning decisively. So he's at far greater risk in those games than he is in the games where he's completely untouched behind the line.

37
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:58am

Well, as you note, they don't play with full effort for 60 minutes on those very rare occasions when they get blown out. They decide to give up.

I don't care if professional teams try to win by as wide a margin as possible. I do think it is unwise to have your most important player taking hits when it is literally impossible that the game can be made competitive. You don't play your starting qb in the last preseason game, either.

If you can't have some fun with the fact that the wife of one of the NFL's most valuable players makes more money than he does, and is more globally famous, well, c'mon, this isn't really serious business, for anyone not trying to make money from it.

38
by RickD :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:00am

"If you can't have some fun with the fact that the wife of one of the NFL's most valuable players makes more money than he does, and is more globally famous, well, c'mon, this isn't really serious business, for anyone not trying to make money from it."

Just arching my eyebrow a bit. It's all good.

82
by slomojoe :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:54pm

RickD, you absolutely should be joining in in manly condescension of a guy who happens to not only be enormously successful himself, but also have the sense to marry a woman who is both very beautiful and extremely smart and successful herself. Any man whose wife earns more than him is by definition a loser!

Now, if only Brady had married some gold-digging bimbo like so many football players, that would have earned him some back-slapping man-props, amirite?

83
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:56pm

what

86
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:01pm

Yeah I think you should just chalk it up to Will being an old guy, it's a generational difference - I didn't even understand the "joke" the first few times he made it.

89
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:16pm

Um, I'll plead guilty to being old, but what is generational about noting the amusing oddity of an athlete, who has made 160 million dollars, finding a spouse who is more famous and financially successful? Outside of Andre Aggassi and Steffi Graf, it is pretty unique, and the tennis players didn't get together until they were retired.

In any case, it's just something I find kind of funny, like something out of an old movie called "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai" where the lead character is a physicist, neurosurgeon, test pilot, and rock star.

90
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:22pm

Aren't you playing on the (fairly archaic) custom of either spouse being to referred to by the surname of the more prominent/successful partner? That's some shit that started dying out around the 1970's.

The joke (I guess?) being that USUALLY it is the man who is more successful - another archaic idea that hasn't been true for decades. It's just humor touching on stuff from another era. Because of that, the first few times you did it, it felt (to me) like exactly the kind of prehistoric macho taunting the above poster is accusing you of.

I know you, so I know you're not a mean-spirited dude, it just felt like an out-of-touch, inadvertently un-PC grandpa joke...

94
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:34pm

I promise, I wasn't try to taunt Mr. Brady.

98
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:37pm

Oh, I believe you - and what a dumb taunt it would be: Your wife is gorgeous and rich and you're the envy of men worldwide!!!

100
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:40pm

I nag my wife daily for not making 40 million a year super-modelin'! Slacker!!

185
by nat :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:23pm

Nicknames are all in good fun, but you need to ditch the ones that fall flat. I noticed you had the good sense to switch from the lame "Hobo" back to the evocative "Darth Hoodie" for Belichick. Lots of good associations there.

For Tom Brady, "Mr. Bundchen" is a fail because it doesn't have any useful connotations or imagery. It's been many decades since it was reasonable to mock someone for having a successful wife. (edit: actually, it was never reasonable, just commonplace) And while she may be richer and better looking than her husband, in our circles her husband is undoubtedly the more famous. And it's hardly a funny-sounding name, so it fails on that, too.

The wikipedia page of NFL nicknames lists Tom Terrific, Touchdown Tom, and Deflator in Chief, all of which are pretty meh in my opinion. Even the last one is just a case of trying too hard. But we could do with something new.

"Uggly Tom" might work, with his pretty-boy rep and his history with certain footwear whose name shall not be spoken here.

"The QB Who Stared at Goats" - refs a weird movie and a famous GQ photo shoot, but seem too wordy.

Keep trying new things until you find one that works.

190
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:31pm

But the fact that he's more famous in our circles is exactly why I find "Mr. Bundchen" so funny.

If we're going back to Ballghazi, how about Die Flederball? I know it doesn't really make any sense, but it sounds like 'deflate' in English.

191
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:33pm

I've always liked Tommy Gorgeous. It has a nice "wrestling heel" feel...

196
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:40pm

What do we call Peyton? The Forehead? Omaha? I like Omaha, but (1) I don't hear it as often anymore, and (2) plenty of other QBs use it, too.

203
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:58pm

This conversation is just reminding me how the great art of athlete nicknames has really died. I mean, we've gone from "Concrete Chuck," "The Natrone Bomb" or "The Nigerian Nightmare" to just calling a guy by his initials. Or cheesy stuff like Megatron and Muscle Hamster.

208
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 5:14pm

What about Pot Roast?

Actually, come to think of it, I can't even remember who Pot Roast was, or why he was called that - all I can remember is the nickname... which I suppose makes it either the best or the worst nickname in the game.

Fred-Ex was a phenomenal nickname, but is disqualified because you're not allowed to nickname yourself (unless you're Steve "Sudden Death" Sabol).

Jon Gruden being nicknamed "Chuckie" was kind of fun.

Maurice Jones-Drew's "Pocket Hercules" was kind of awesome.

210
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 5:26pm

Yeah, who was Pot Roast?! I too only remember the nickname! I also always loved Ironhead Heyward. That nickname probably extended his career an extra year or two. I liked that the other Eagles players called Fred-Ex by the nickname "Hollywood" because of his best friend, the super-famous Hollywood actor Jaleel White... aka Urkel.

Pocket Hercules is great, but I think represents the start of that trend of Megatron and Muscle Hamster where the nickname is more silly than awesome and not something the athlete probably loves to be known by.

241
by Rich A :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 7:21pm

Terrance Knighton; formerly of the Jaguars and then the Broncos and now I believe is out of the league.

242
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 7:24pm

No, he went where players approaching 30 go, to be overpaid; the Washington Redskins.

251
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 8:08pm

Terrance Knighton was a good player for the Broncos. Surely not worth whatever the racists paid for him, but as a Broncos fan, I have some good memories of him.

205
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 5:05pm

Archie calls his middle son longneck, and his middle son does have sone distinct physiological anomalies from the shoulder up, so it works for me. There have been times when I think he has borne a resemblance to certain famous movie character, so if he he makes it to the 2018 season, I'm sure I'll make some crack about going home and glowing finger tips.

226
by nat :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:41pm

It used to be "The Fivehead" didn't it?

People have been trying "Noodle-Arm" on for size this season. Given his team's record, perhaps that should be the Flying Spaghetti Monster. All miracles flow from the His Noodly Appendages.

Officially, it's The Sheriff. That's as weak as Tom Terrific. And who needs official anyway.

(You know the tune) Peyton needs a new nickname.

231
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:48pm

It was my understanding that pretty much only Gruden says the Sheriff.

261
by Bobman :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:59pm

There was a Colts website years ago where we largely referred to him as FIVEhead. I mean we could with impunity since we loved him, right?

206
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 5:13pm

I do like "The Apprentice" in the context of any thread which references Darth Hoodie. If only Kraft would agree to dress his various low level employees on the sidelines as Imperial Troopers, the we could have comedy/trolling gold!

263
by Shattenjager :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 12:34am

Why is "The QB Who Stared at Goats" a reference to a movie and not to the book on which it was based? Especially since it's a mediocre movie based on an absolutely fantastic book?

273
by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 12:56pm

Haven't read the book, but it was a great movie.

------
Who, me?

140
by RickD :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:06pm

I think people, in general, refer to a men by a wife's name as a way to demean and emasculate them.

I don't think that's your intent here.

269
by RBroPF :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 9:16am

I disagree, I think that's exactly his intent, rationalizations and protestations aside. Maybe he even believes his own rationalizations, but there is no way you can be oblivious to the unspoken derogatory connotation of that nickname. I call total BS on the whole "Oh I don't mean it that way" thing. Of course you mean it that way.

And to be clear, I don't think there's anything wrong with using a derogatory nickname for a player you're not a fan of. That's part of the fun, right? I just don't understand why you don't just cop to it.

271
by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 10:11am

Say, do you work county fairs with the mind-reading gig, or just stick to bus stations?

(edit) Just to be certain that there is no misunderstanding, I really, really, really, dislike you. On the other hand, Mr. Bundchen, I've always liked watching.

97
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:37pm

I generally appreciate your comments, but that reads to me like a parody of the "I'm still in college and am offended by everything" brand of Facebook commentary.

101
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:41pm

I'm not personally offended by it in the slightest - but I can see why several folks raised their eyebrows. (Also, if I were still in college, I would've had to started commenting on this site when I was 12.)

(Plus, like it or not, that Facebook "outrage generation" is real and it is where the culture has gone...)

106
by Eddo :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:45pm

I'm just used to Will's use of nicknames for so many things. I don't find it amusing, but it also doesn't bother me at this point. I can't imagine he meant it in a derogatory fashion (just like I can't believe chemical_burn is actually offended, I think he's just pointing out why some people would be bothered by it).

108
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:52pm

C'mon, admit it, you kinda' like "The Ponderous One", don't you?

110
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:55pm

I'm genuinely surprised when I call Favre "ol' stubbleface" and my friends have no idea who I'm talking about.

112
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:04pm

They probably wouldn't get "The Jeans Model", then, and I have to admit I stole that from Bobman, I believe. Back in '09, when he as having a career year at age 40, and the hyperbole, both positive and negative, was off the charts, I called him "The Zombie King", because all who came into contact with him lost the power of reason.

I dunno, we write about the same players so often, I just like to come up with different monikers.

121
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:21pm

The Ponderous One is awesome*.

* - The nickname, I mean, and not the player**.

** - Because, clearly, he could never be as awesome as Joe Webb.

127
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:35pm

I can't tell you how sad it makes me that shah8 never comes around anymore, to preach The Gospel of Webby.

Really, watching Christian in the pocket, trying to determine where to throw the ball, made him the most aptly named qb I could imagine. Jamarcus' last name would have had to have been "Purple DranK" to be as good. The Ponderous One looked like he was apologizing every time his hand moved forward.

265
by dryheat :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 8:13am

Most aptly-named outside of Willie Thrower, of course.

141
by RickD :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:08pm

"The Ponderous One" is what lets you off the hook for "Mr. Bundchen"

:-}

249
by Eddo :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 7:59pm

Honestly, no, but I sincerely mean this: please don't stop on account of me. I know who you mean, so your points still come across.

EDIT: And for the record, I like your posts, Will.

262
by Bobman :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 12:05am

Adding to the nickname discussion, I once tried to explain Purple Jesus to my wife, who looked at me like I had three eyes.

She also didn't get it when one night, in bed, I apologized for not being Tom Brady. Then burst out laughing maniacally and had to try to recreate the whole DJ Gallo article for her (circa 2004), and the subsequent FO genuflecting commentary every time we used 12 or a multiple thereof, or had a comment that was numbered in that fashion.

I think she made me sleep on the couch after that. Smart girl.

260
by Bobman :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:55pm

RE #89, Will, "I don't care if you drove through a mountain in Texas, when you play my club you go on stage on time."

I remember reading a quirky review and dragging my college roomie to see it; 30 years later we're still quoting it to each other. One more insanely over-the-top role for John Lithgow who chewed up so much scenery he actually crapped an entire set once they finished filming.

Oh wait, was this a football discussion? Or a discussion about all that damn "come join us" mail I get from AARP?

264
by Independent George :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 1:40am

I need to speak to John Bigbooty at the Yoyodyne Propulsion Institute!

267
by PatsFan :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 8:54am

Tay! Tay! Tay!

87
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:06pm

I suspect words are a challenge for you.

58
by ChrisS :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:09pm

I think a small argument could be made that the QB is getting in some useful reps with live tackling, which is something that happens rarely (these days) in practice/preseason. However I agree with you and i think it is also the best time to evaluate the backup in full-speed action, unless you know he sucks and don't want anyone else to know.

63
by Raiderfan :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:15pm

Formally, T.R. (Tuck Rule) Bundchen. Informally, TRB.

88
by Perfundle :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:15pm

The Patriots were up 24 points against Buffalo, but the Bills had the ball. That's different from having a 34-point lead and possession. You can also argue that being too aggressive was what allowed the Bills to come back in the first place. They threw a deep pass on 4th-and-1 from Buffalo's 41 which failed, and their next drive only went 1 minute before Brady got strip-sacked on a dropback when trying some runs would've been a safer option, but instead New England had 15 straight dropbacks to start the fourth quarter.

47
by amin purshottam :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:51am

As long as Bernard Pollard is not on the opposing team I think we are safe

96
by nat :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:36pm
143
by RickD :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:09pm

These days I'm more worried about TJ Ward.

10
by deus01 :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 9:27am

Is DYAR factoring in the defensive rankings already? It looks like P. Manning and Brady have similar stat lines (completions/attempts/yards/td) but there's a big difference in DYAR so I'm curious as to what is causing the difference.

17
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:06am

It isn't factoring in the 'D' yet, I believe.

My guess is Manning had more failed completions (I'm assuming Brady had few... I didn't watch any of that game) and the interception, though tipped and not his fault, was in the red zone and likely was a good negative figure.

When opponent adjustments are factored in, me thinks the Brady number for this game goes down a bit. Not really sure at this point what type of defense Detroit is, though.

20
by deus01 :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:15am

I looked at the VOA rankings before and Jacksonville was ranked ahead of Detroit. It's confusing that these things keep being referred to as DYAR and DVOA when there are no defensive adjustments yet.

24
by RickD :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:37am

It probably is a function of when and where the passes were successful. For example, I recall Manning facing a 3rd and 21 and throwing a pass that went for about 19 yards. DVOA treats that as a "failure".

Arguably, that's not a terrible result for that kind of down and distance, as it's still 19 yards in the field position battle. But the success rate stat demands that 3rd down plays lead to 1st downs.

34
by deus01 :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:52am

Since the success rate of passes after a bunch of penalties or losses is naturally going to be lower getting 19 yards on a 3rd and 21 may still be somewhat indicative of value above replacement even though the play is technically a failure. Having a successful run game should also be correlated with having a higher passing DYAR as it will help set up a lot of shorter completions that are a 'success'.

36
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:55am

19 yards on 3rd and 21 is probably better than the average QB does (care to confirm/deny Vince?), so it's probably slightly positive, but going to be worth way fewer success points than converting a 3rd and 5 or even a 1st and 10.

39
by nat :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:10am

1) Fewer interceptions
2) More first downs
3) Induced DPI (more and for more yardage)
4) Fewer incomplete passes
5) More yards

It's not any one thing. It's the total effect.

It's real. You can see it in the scores, too.

That's not to say that Manning didn't throw some sweet passes. He did. But don't fool yourself into thinking his day and Brady's were about the same.

120
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:19pm

All games and all plays are different, and so I absolutely believe that DPIs and whatnot should be factored in to a QB's performance... but to say that Brady "induced" two hugely successful DPIs is patently ridiculous if you watched that game. On the first, the ball was underthrown and he got rewarded. On the second, he actually made his first bad decision of the season (that I've noticed, anyway) and threw an INT that came back because the defender behind the one that undercut the route committed a foul that didn't impact the decision or throw whatsoever.

Today is a funny day (if you've been following the arguments about the Rodgers grade) to cite PFF, but if we're doing film study, those were both negative plays, not plays that should be rewarded.

(Note: the first one is only slightly negative, in that it has been pretty well established that throws like that are worth making given how easy it is to turn an imperfect throw into a DPI... still, I'd argue that that makes it "less negative," not "a strong positive.")

40
by nottom :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:12am

Brady didn't have an interception + Brady had 2 big Pass Interference calls which get included in DYAR. Other than that it was probably just a matter of Brady's short stuff being a bit more efficient (19FDs passing vs 14 for Peyton).

11
by BJR :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 9:27am

I respect Andy Reid as a coach, but I can't believe he went into Lambeau last night with that offensive game plan. There were maybe two passes thrown beyond 10 yards in the first half? That might work at home against the Raiders, but even if you don't trust your QB throwing downfield, you can't possibly expect to win at the home of Aaron Rodgers without at least trying it out before the game is a blowout.

26
by RickD :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:38am

The Chiefs simply are a team without a deep passing game. Hey, Maclin caught a TD pass last night! Baby steps!

42
by TADontAsk :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:26am

Not defending it, but that's just the way Alex Smith is. And it's been that way, so I'm not surprised. I think the Kansas City chapter in FOA covered this pretty well, if I recall. And there was a graphic up in week 2's Thursday night game that showed how many times Alex Smith threw downfield in 2014, and it was less than once per game. He simply plays to avoid turnovers at the expense of big plays.

65
by Raiderfan :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:19pm

Not anymore. We have an elite QB now.

66
by big10freak :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:22pm

Smith was sacked 7 times and avoided at least 4-5 other such situations. The KC offensive line was getting whipped regularly all over the place.

The only times KC broke big plays was when GB sent extra rushers (which frankly was unnecessary) and coverage broke down. Damarious Randall had a rough night covering Maclin without help.

70
by Flounder :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:36pm

Ben Grubbs, in particular, seemed to get thrashed practically every play. Daniels, Raji, and Elliot right off the top of my head all clowned him. I'm sure there were others.

104
by BJR :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:45pm

I'm not saying his protection was good, but Smith has proven himself a master at taking sacks throughout his career so I wouldn't put it all on the O-Line. He's got no pocket presence whatsoever and sets off scrambling at the first sign of pressure.

But yes, I find it hard to believe that Reid would game plan that way in a game he must have known would require 35+ points to win, so it was probably just bad execution.

109
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:54pm

I mean, it's easy to complain about Reid's gameplane, but what can the guy do with so many injuries in the secondary? They were forced to play as their #2CB a converted safety who wasn't good enough to make the Raiders' roster. I think Reid's basic idea for the Chiefs is good, considering their roster's make-up: slow the game down, lots of short high % passes and off-tackle runs designed to get at least a few yards. Combine that with good special teams and defense that generates a lot of negative plays. It's not his fault that the refs don't call false start anymore and give Aaron Rodgers the authority to challenge 4th down plays without a challenge flag.

Reid's basic idea of understanding Alex Smith's (severe) limitations as a QB, maximizing his strengths and limiting the damage he can do to the team is solid. And it's true that he builds the wr corps last: McNabb for his first few years relied on the TE and RB in the running game in a fashion that is almost identical to how Charles and Kelce are used.

The Chiefs have a tough, tough schedule and have taken their two losses down to the wire despite a slew of bone-headed mistakes. There's plenty of room for improvement and lots of reasons to think they'll pick up steam as the season goes on (not the least of which is getting CB's back from injury...)

111
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:56pm

I think the only thing I might have considered, if I were in Reid's parka, was to simply advise my overmatched dbs to just mug the receivers, and dare the refs to call holding more than 30 times. and hope to turn the whole game into an ugly mess.

113
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:06pm

But they did - and they got called quite a bit. There was a redzone sack/fumble recovery (which would have been game-changing) called back and a pair of 3rd downs converted on illegal contact/holding. They stayed in man-press virtually the entire game. The problem was that so few of the sacks got home (because Rodgers is magic in the pocket) and scrambles broke their back (because Rodgers is magic outside of the pocket.)

Really, if Smith DOESN'T heft it up for the dumb interception and is a little more careful with the ball, then this game plays out entirely differently. Also, if the refs didn't hand the Packers 2 TD's (not calling the false starts) and an early 3rd down conversion (allowing Rodgers to demand a challenge without a challenge flag), then I think everyone is talking very differently about Reid's gameplan.

I mean, look, Alex Smith is no fun whatsoever to root for, but Reid is definitely getting the most out of him. The team is built to win games 21-17 that are over in precisely 3 hours. They shouldn't be as afraid to uncork it to Maclin as they are, but Smith has so little pocket presence and so little football smarts, that I can appreciate Reid dumbing the game down for him substantially and giving all the complicated work on offense to the o-line, TE's and RB's. I mean, Smith has trouble hitting the RB on screen passes - the game should not consistently be put in his stewardship. That blown redzone inside screen to Kelce last night is just a jaw-dropping illustration of his astounding lack of abilities.

115
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:09pm

I think Reid is a very underrated coach, which is kind of remarkable.

119
by big10freak :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:18pm

Reid has some very clear traits that draw negative attention: time management and being 'pass happy'

these things overshadow all of his positives

126
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:33pm

On gameday they do - but the same stuff can be said for Mike McCarthy's gameday incompetence. Coaching is a year-round activity and Reid is one of the very best in the league at everything that happens on days other than Sunday. (Like McCarthy, who again, is so bad a coach he has likely cost the Packerts two Superbowls, most notably the NFCCG last year where it wouldn't have been unreasonable for him to have been fired during the post-game press conference, so astoundingly awful was his decision-making and stupidity.)

Also, Reid's run-to-pass ratio is now about league-average - it's crazy to me he gets criticized for being ahead of the curve (with Belichick) on seeing where the league was going in regards to the passing game. His "pass happy" system is an example of his brilliance - regardless of what meat-headed Philly fans calling for him to "tote that rock!" more often think.

130
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:45pm

Just wondering, what is the other Super Bowl that McCarthy cost the Packers? Obviously you can make an argument for last year (though they still would've had to beat NE - I think they would have, but it is debateable).

The other year's had playoff losses where there was nothing glaringly wrong from his point of view. Unless you think he made some crucial errors in the '07 Title Game.

136
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:00pm

Uh - how about the 15-1 2011 team's utter embarrassment at the hands of the Giants? They got out-coached every step of the way in that game. It's a total failure of coaching for a 15-1 team to get humiliated in their only playoff game.

139
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:04pm

Honestly, the Giants just played better that day. It happens. Not every time you lose as a favorite you were being outcoached.

Rodgers was off his game (he missed a few easy throws), the Packers fumbled like 5 times (not McCarthy), Eli played great, and the Giants won.

Also, the Packers OC had his son die in the week before the game, so it may make sense their offense was a little off that day.

146
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:11pm

The most egregious snafu in that game was the Packers yielding a Hail Mary at the end of the half, in about the most lackluster defensive effort you're likely to see in a playoff game. I don't know if any of that is on coaching, but I still can't quite believe what I saw.

149
by big10freak :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:14pm

Yup

150
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:15pm

A 15-1 team not winning a playoff game is a coaching failure. Rodgers fumbled because he was under constant assault from the Giants pressure and McCarthy had no response. Rodgers dropped back over 50 times and they ran the ball about 15 times. Rodgers' struggles were exactly the kind of struggles that "pass happy" Andy Reid's Qb's frequently had in the playoffs. A 15-1 team just shouldn't collapse like that, a huge part of it has to be on the coach.

158
by big10freak :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:22pm

Well, it was 20-13 Giants entering the 4th quarter. And early in that quarter Green Bay drover to the NY 39 yard line before Rodgers was sacked on 4th down. After that it all went to h*ll.

162
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:25pm

But that's why I'm harping on McCarthy's failures: the game was winnable and he insisted on having Rodgers drop back 50+ times, despite the Giants pass rush totally disrupting them all game long. He abandoned the running game and did almost nothing to ameliorate the pass rush. It was mediocre game-planning and nonexistent in-game adjustments (which are two essential McCarthy qualities.)

192
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:33pm

The Giants really didn't get that good of a pass rush. So much so that Coughlin was asked at halftime why the pass rush wasn't getting there.

They covered incredibly well, though. Rodgers was holding the ball longer than I've ever seen him.

Of course, they also had 5-6 drops in teh game - again, not on McCarthy.

194
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:36pm

I'm obviously biased, but I thought the Giants were in total control of that game from the beginning. I distinctly remember there being several horrendous officiating errors that erased I think 14 points from the board in the first half, but my memory has faded enough that I can't remember the specifics.

202
by big10freak :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:55pm

Green Bay got its share of breaks before things fell apart. Giants missed a field goal. Burnett intercepted Manning at the GB 10. Burnett broke up a pass that could have led to a TD that held NY to a field goal.

209
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 5:26pm

That game could've been far more one-sided.

Both Green Bay TD drives were extended through awful decisions. First Bill Leavy saying a Packers RB had his knee down on a fumble, and then a bad roughing the passer call.

And as mentioned, the Giants left a lot of points on the field in that first half - some of that due to good play by GB.

Overall, even for a game that was 20-13 in the 3rd Quarter, that was an ass-kicking.

216
by oaktoon :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:18pm

There were three fairly critical elements that led to that Packer defeat-- only one of which reflects on McCarthy. 1) He did what Belichick would never do (and McCarthy says he won't repeat)-- sat Rodgers in the final regular season home game vs Detroit (the Matt Flynn Contract game-- 6 TD passes)-- as a result, the league MVP had not played for three weeks before the Giant game. 2) Greg Jennings-- still GB's #1 receiver-- had been injured for more than a month. The timing problems between him and Rodgers were evident on a couple of crucial passes in the first half; 3) Joe Philbin was the offensive coordinator. He had responsibility for the game plan before each game. His son fell through the ice in the bye week-- almost certainly drunk-- and died... While Philbin would return during the second week lead-up to the playoff game, of course it had to have had some negative impact. And of course the Packer defense had already demonstrated-- despite the gaudy 15-1 record-- that it was not at the level of the previous year's Super Bowl winners.

133
by big10freak :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:53pm

Given the immediate attack on McCarthy I presume you interpreted my post as some kind of criticism of Reid. That was not the intent. Merely to relay what I deemed as common perceptions (right or wrong) that influence the narrative

And briefly to McCarthy, he did step away from playcalled as an internal reorganization in reaction to the NFCCG. I think that speaks well to the guy.

FWIW

138
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:02pm

No, I bring up McCarthy because he's the coach on the other side of the field last night and one I think is HIGHLY comparable to Reid in almost every way. McCarthy is guilty of everything you can accuse Reid of (bad game management, over-conservativism, regularly being out-coached) but everyone would agree McCarthy is one of the best in the league because of what he does year round and how he has developed a winner.

142
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:08pm

I'm not sure McCarthy is that great from Monday to Saturday. Having the best QB in the game hides a lot of flaws.

That said, he is clearly elite™ at the teaching side of things. He seems to be able to slot in players all the time who don't look lost on the field.

144
by big10freak :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:11pm

The teaching side of things is the Monday to Saturday stuff.

Green Bay not only slots guys in who seem to know their assignments but they are typically rookies or more interestingly undrafted rookie free agents who Ted has foisted on McCarthy to keep the cap money free to sign the big time talent.

This is no small thing

154
by big10freak :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:18pm

And not trying to lather McCarthy in glory but the only coach Rodgers has had in his career is McCarthy. And anyone who saw Rodgers in his first training camp, if they are honest, thought the team had drafted the 21st century version of Rich Campbell. A skinny guy with a slow release, mediocre arm and a smart*ss demeanor versus the guy today who has a Marino like release, a great arm but still the wise*ss demeanor.

And it was McCarthy who got Favre back in shape and got his play closer to its previous form.

On Gameday Mike would likely be better served staying home and playing Call of Duty. But Monday to Saturday he does pretty ok

159
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:22pm

My point is: I think McCarthy is a pretty great coach and that his obviously, undeniable, championship-costing flaws don't overshadow is equally obvious abilities and talents. The same can be said for Reid. I'm not here to tell you Andy Reid can manage the clock, I'm here to tell you I'll put Andy Reid alongside any other coach Monday through Saturday, year-round.

165
by big10freak :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:28pm

No argument here

167
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:30pm

Huh? You're the one who started the argument by saying Reid's negatives overshadow his positives. Or did you mean that sympathetically? In which case.. case closed: we agree!

171
by big10freak :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:38pm

A) There was no argument
B) When I wrote 'overshadow' I meant in terms of how Reid is popularly perceived. But when Andy Reid's name is mentioned one hears jokes about Reid's time management even on analytical football sites.

I think Reid is a great coach.

170
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:35pm

There is more to Mon-Sat coaching than just teaching. I don't like his game planning, I think his offense is overly complicated, I don't like his player usage (why does Kuhn get carries other than hearing the cheer at Lambeau), I'm not sure about his player evaluation skills (defense has been talent weak for years, Seneca Wallace as Rodgers only backup?!?!?).

But when you have Rodgers, you can run as complicated an offense as you want, he'll sort it you. You can put him in 3rd and 8 with Kuhn runs because he'll convert anyways, etc.

Like I said, he's great at teaching, and with Rodgers that's enough.

184
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:23pm

The thing I dislike most about McCarthy is that in their two games against the Seahawks last year, the team played so, so scared. In that first game, he coached like he was about to wet the bed in terror at the big bad defense and the unstoppable rushing attack. The second one might have even been worse - just totally petrified of dropping the hammer and defeating them, just running away from victory in panicked fear.

193
by big10freak :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:35pm

I guess we watched a different chammpionship game. Green Bay made mistakes but for 3.5 quarters the Packers took it to the Seahawks in every way possible. The defense in particular was aggressive and incredibly physical.

I can understand other adjectives but scared is not one of them.

215
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:16pm

Bill Barnwell did a fine job recapping all the terrible, awful, cowardly decisions McCarthy made in the NFC title game. This is long, but you can skip to the "Thank You For Not Coaching" subhead. He had many, many chances to go for the knockout blow, on the road, against what had been the best team in the NFC all year, and every time he let off the gas and played it safe.

http://grantland.com/the-triangle/afc-nfc-championship-patriots-colts-se...

218
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:23pm

Whoa - I missed that article! But yeah, that was the definition of a coach being terrified of losing and utterly scared that the other team would punish him dearly for any boldness. It was the coaching equivalent of licking their boots and kissing their ring.

221
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:29pm

I agree with Chem. Burn, Seattle played a terrible game on offense much more than they were being beaten by GB. Of 4 ints two passed from Kearse's hand into the defender's and one was a "we got to make something happen" play form Wilson. You can basically surmise that one of the best offensive teams in the NFL isn't going to keep screwing up all game and you want to ensure your lead is so large as to be unassailable when they stop screwing up.

McCarthy blew that game by not going for TDs, and then by expecting Seattle to play as conservatively as he would in OT.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

220
by oaktoon :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:28pm

You clearly saw a different NFC title game. You can knock McCarthy for not making adjustments, or for clock management, or play-calling-- but game planning is one of his clear strengths. The Packers and Mccarthy outplanned and coached Belichick in the game at GB in November, and clearly they did the same to Carroll and Wilson in the championship game. They hardly played scared in the first half or indeed up until Peppers told Burnett to fall down. The mistakes that can be laid at McCarthy's doorstep prior to the final 6 minutes were a lack of aggression at the goal line... BUT-- the dirty little secret is that beginning with the Lion game where Rodgers hurt his calf, the Packers were horrible in goal line situations-- converting something like 1 out of 12 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 1 plays into TDs. And part of the problem was Rodgers' lack of mobility.

The final six minutes were another thing altogether-- and there I blame a whole lot of people, but must include McCarthy for his piss-poor play calling on the "drive" following the Burnett INT, Bakhtiari for missing the block which blew up the first run and set the chain in motion, Rodgers for misfiring on the FG drive when there was plenty of time to make it a TD, Clinton-Dix for failing to knock down the moon shot two point conversion pass, Peppers for imploring Burnett to fall down when a TD or, at the least, return very deep into Seattle territory was set up, and Burnett for listening to him, and of course Slocum, the special teams coach, and Bostick, for botching the onside kick.

McCarthy's legacy is in the balance this year, i think.. He's got Rodgers in his prime. No Nelson but they had no Ryan Grant after week One in 2010, and suffered many other injuries that year. At the very least he had better coach this team to another SB.. Or he will go down as a good coach, with a great QB, who failed to fully fulfill his team's considerable potential...

223
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:32pm

Saying you "beat" Seattle on game planning seems a little silly. Seattle and Carroll probably do the least amount of game planning of any staff in the NFL.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

229
by theslothook :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:45pm

Why is Aaron rodgers given a complete pass for that seattle performance? Is it because of the injury? He was awesome against dallas the week before and was horrendous when completely healthy vs seattle in week 1.

You can be one of the greatest qbs of all time and still play a poor game in the playoffs, especially against a very tough defense at home.

235
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:52pm

Because until Rodger's game in week two he's been completely dominated by Seattle's Defense going back to the "fail mary" game in 2012. McCarthy should have been planning for the balance between Seattle's D and GB's O to remain stable. Which it in fact did. He basically should have been thinking to himself how many times am I going to get in Seattle's 5 and should I be settling for FG's when I get there.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

222
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:31pm

I feel the same which is why I was impressed that he handed off play calling to Clement this off season and I don't see as many of those issues. He is also the one who said we're playing Matthews on the inside halfway through last season which turned the defense around. He's been more involved in special teams (now that he isn't play calling) and that seems to have paid off, but I'm still nervous about them. This of season bolstered my opinion of him, I think it was the most direct addressing of the teams coaching weaknesses. He's a top tier coach, but the packers have had better, and there are better ones in the league right now. I'm happy to keep him till he wants to leave or clearly declines more because bringing someone else in is almost certainly going to create a drop off for a year or two and McCarthy is good enough to have them as legit super bowl contenders every year so I don't want to give that up for a few down years followed by a better SB chance.

277
by RickD :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 5:33pm

"He's a top tier coach, but the packers have had better,"

Have they had better since Lombardi?

Better question: how does he compare to Holmgren and Sherman?

Most franchises don't have Lombardi and Curly Lambeau in their coaching history.

278
by tuluse :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 5:38pm

I think Holmgren and his Packers assistants are far superior to McCarthy and his.

282
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 6:08pm

You are correct, that is a much better question.

I think Holmgren was better than McCarthy. If McCarthy finishes out his contract he could end up being more accomplished than Holmgren. Of Course McCarthy is now the 2nd longest tenured coach in Packers history behind only Lambeau. He and Holmgren are very close on accomplishments. Holmgren has a slightly higher win percentage in both the regular season and post season and got to one more Super Bowl. But it's a small difference. Holmgren was 9-5 in the post season McCarthy is 7-6. Holmgren was .670 win percentage, McCarty .656. It would be a fun game to try and play but I think McCarthy has generally had better offensive talent, and Holmgren generally had better defensive talent, but I think McCarthy has had a slight overall talent edge, so should have done better. I think Holmgren assembled better staffs too, though again not by much.

Separating Sherman's GMing from his coaching I think McCarthy is better than Sherman, and I don't think it's close.

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by Independent George :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:26pm

We fans only ever see Head Coaches work for roughly 3.5 hours on game day, plus another 0.5 hours during the postgame press conference. That excludes the other 76 hours of the work week during the season.

As a result, guys like Reid tend to get abused for the obvious mistakes they make during that (admittedly important) 5% of the job we witness, while overlooking the other 95% that puts them in a position to win in the first place.

For this reason, I maintain that Marty Schottenheimer is the most underrated Head Coach in NFL history.

129
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:43pm

I don't even think Marty was that deficient during games.

135
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:57pm

I don't, either, but that's the public perception. He's made his share of in-game mistakes, but no more than any other coach.

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by RickD :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:22pm

If only Marlon McCree hadn't had his interception stripped by Troy Brown, the Chargers would have beaten the Pats and might have been able to beat the Colts in 2006 when the Pats couldn't...and then any of them would have beaten the Bears (IMHO).

(shrug)

Guy loses his job for that. 14-2 and fired.

169
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:35pm

Then A.J. Smith hires Ted Cottrell to be defensive coodinator (!)(!!)(!!!)(!!!!), before hiring the next head coach. I actualy think Norv could be a passable head coach if he got lucky with his defensive staff, and had a really good G.M. (who wouldn't hire Norv, of course), but that firing and hiring sequence may have been the single dumbest HR crap I've ever seen, worse than anything in Snyderland, or even worse than Jerrel getting liquored up and jealous, then alienating the guy who was making him a sh8tload of money, and turning over that magnificent roster to Barry Freakin' Switzer. I swear, Troy Aikman has nightmares to this day, and that wasn't as bad as firing Marty, in good measure due to a dispute about the coaching staff, and then hiring Ted Cotrell as coordinator in your next move. Good grief.

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by Independent George :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:27pm

Oh, it's even worse than that.

NFL Films has aired footage of Marty during practices that week, explicitly instructing his DBs to just fall on the ball if they make the game-clinching interception in the 4th quarter. He prepared them for that exact scenario, gave them exactly the right instructions, and he still gets blamed for that loss.

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by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:55pm

I agree 100%.

Marty is one of the few coaches I hold in a high regard. (I have high standards for coaching, as do many of us here.)

What's odd is that I think very, very little of his son. (And the opposite could be said of the Shanahans, though I still think Kyle is a dickhead.)

137
by big10freak :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:00pm

The vast majority of good coaches are good before and after game time. Because that is what really matters. Finding the talent, developing the talent, getting the talent in the right positions to succeed and getting the talent in the right mindset. You do THAT and the game time stuff that folks kvetch about have an incremental impact but not nearly the significance of playing the wrong guys or being unable to develop a mediocre talent into an acceptable performer.

Mike McCarthy, for all his obvious game day issues of which there are MANY, is FANTASTIC on the days in between games. McCarthy (and Thompson) have a robust player development program that routinely takes guys and turns them into serious contributors. That impact cannot be overstated

It's the 'making adjustments in real time' that drag down their reps.

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by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:16pm

You might as well be describing Reid.

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by dryheat :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 9:30am

A lot of this teaching is done by assistants, while the coach does some other over-arching task. Hence we see one other hallmark of a good coach -- the ability to put together a good staff and instill in them how things are to be done.

I found the most interesting part of "Do Your Job" to be the interview segments with the Co-ordinators and positional coaches.

266
by dryheat :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 8:30am

Keeping it simple, I just think it's impossible to win in this league with a quarterback who can't/won't throw the ball 10 yards downfield -- as Chip Kelly is also learning. The defense can play 11 men near the line of scrimmage, and really don't need to cover WRs once they go 20 yards -- certainly not with safety help. Jammal Charles could be so much better with another quarterback.

Honestly, the Chiefs would have been better off with just about any other QB in free agency. Maybe even a Matt Cassel reunion. I can't believe I'm saying this, since I might be his biggest anti-fan, but the offense might work better with Jay Cutler at the helm. And to more-or-less ignore QBs in the draft is as daft as it gets. I thought Aaron Murray was pretty good at UGA, but if he can't win the back-up job, then you should still be drafting QBs.

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by chemical burn :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 10:29am

Hm - Cutler and Reid, now that is an interesting, interesting idea. Reid has always been able to get QB's to perform at their absolute highest level (McNabb, Vick, Kolb, Garcia, AJ Feely, Alex Smith, hell, even a Detmer - basically the only QB he couldn't work with was Mike McMahon) so it's not unreasonable to think that he might possibly who knows be the man who finally taps at that Cutler-y potential. There's obviously a ton of downside there, but that's the first suggestion I've heard for Cutler's future that makes sense for both parties involved.

And I agree they should have at least taken a flyer on Brett Hundley (who I still think is the best QB from this draft class - he certainly looked the best of any of them during the preseason, so that theory isn't 100% cooked. yet.) or brought in a journeyman like Tyrod Taylor to push for playing time, but again Reid isn't the GM. He's doing a good job with the player he's been tasked with working on. I kinda disagree about the absolute need to stretch the field (although Maclin and Kelce certainly make medium-range passes a major threat for any defense to consider) - Reid runs a more sophisticated scheme than what Kelly is doing, where the misdirection is stronger and the defense is kept more off-balance. When it is working, KC's short passing game very deliberately punishes a defense for aggressiveness, blitzing and loading up the box - if you come at it too hard, Charles will break a screen-pass or Kelce will have too much open space to work with.

Anyhoo, we agree that at this point Smith is one of the major issues holding the team back. (Although when they get players back from injury and their schedule cools off, I think a lot of the panic about their flaws will dissipate.) Their o-line also needs more talent and Fisher being a bust is a major problem.

(The Matt Cassel idea, however, is terrible.)

12
by Charles Jake :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 9:29am

Hilariously, the Bears won two of the games on the worst DYAR table. The most memorable being the "they are who we thought they were" game. Pleasantly surprised Clausen wasn't the absolute worst.

An object at rest cannot be stopped.

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by Dan :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:38pm

And not just any two - they won their very worst DYAR game (Rex Grossman 24-23 over Arizona) and they won their very worst DYAR/play game (Todd Collins 23-6 over Carolina).

276
by Steve in WI :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 2:36pm

Carolina's QB in the Todd Collins game? Jimmy Clausen.

So he may not statistically be the worst, but if you play his team and your QB *is* the worst, you can still win.

13
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 9:34am

Everyone who hasn't should definitely see this Steve Smith td, https://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/__O0nHGgc60-3s1qJSAx360KBSE=/800x0/filt...

30
by nuclearbdgr :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:44am

Minor Correction - Starks played against KC, not NYJ

32
by RickD :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:47am

Has Kaepernick been replaced by a pod person? Did Harbaugh steal his mojo and take it with him to Michigan?

Seriously, I'm baffled at how far he's fallen. As with RG3, I would be interested to see how he'd do in a different situation with different coaching.

41
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:19am

Well, if he keeps playing like this, the Yorks aren't going to want to pay what his non-guaranteed contract calls for, and he likely isn't going to want to stay with the team. Now, would he be wise enough, as a free agent, to pick the franchise that could best situate him for 10-12 more years in the league, or would he just go to wherever he woud start immediately, and the most guaranteed cash in the next 2-3 years? If he chose the former, I, perhaps oddly, think Denver woud be his best choice. The president of the team knows football, especially quarterbacking, as well as any executive in the league, and the traditional Kubiak offense might be ideal for Kaepernick. Even taking a 3rd string salary for a year in Denver might be smart, if Kaepernick is willing to humble himself.

45
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:45am

Actually, the team that would probably be the best fit for Kaep. is Phi. or a Shanahan disciple that could install the zone pistol game that RGIII ran (coincidentally an offense developed by Kaep.'s college coach).

Kaep. was successful when his legs complimented a dominate play side running game and his big arm got into the action with long P/A strikes. If Kaep. goes to a team that wants him to run a standard West Coast attack he's likely going to fail.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

50
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:56am

There is nothing about Chip Kelly's talent evaluation, in the last year in particular, which would make me think Philadelphia is the place for me to go, to extend my career for a decade or more.

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by gomer_rs :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:17pm

Regardless of what Chip Kelly is currently doing to his offensive line, everything about his offense would work better with a QB with Kaep.'s skill package and Kaep.'s skill package would work better in that system than in the traditional west-coast based O.

If Kelly can return his O-line to functional then Phi. would be a great fit for Kaep.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

71
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:36pm

System is nothing without talent evaluation, and Kelly looks like, right now, that he is a poor NFL talent evaluator, and not just with regard to the o-line. I mean, he gave up considerable draft value, and Nick Foles, to obtain Sam Bradford, and Sam Bradford's contract.

75
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:44pm

There's also the question of how much longer Kelly is going to be in Philly. Even if the Iggles give him another year, who's to say he won't just pull a Saban?

84
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:00pm

I think there's almost no chance he's given carte blanche for another off-season. For one, there won't be cap room.

The Eagles' schedule is so soft (the Jets are the best team they face until December and they're facing every team seemingly at their weakest: the Saints withou Brees, Skins without DJax, Cowboys without Romo/Bryant, etc.) that I think they're going to go 6-2 over their next stretch, then run into the buzzsaw of New England, Buffalo and the Cardinals and finish out the season at 9-7, possibly winning the NFC East in the process.

I think if even they manage to eek out a playoff win over the Vikings or something, Kelly won't be able to say this off-season, "Ok, we're getting rid of Jason Peters and Fletcher Cox so I can bring in MY guys" or whatever. But the biggest issue is going to be if they stumble into the playoffs and decide to commit longterm to Bradford (who stinks.) Anyway, he won't be able to ship out productive players this off-season, I don't think...

131
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:45pm

Just being contrary here, but wouldn't the lack of cap room be a good reason to keep him? This way, they can take the dead money hit in 2016, leaving the new regime more room to breathe in 2017 while simultaneously being able to blame all of your problems on the old regime.

Step 1: Write two letters...

145
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:11pm

Bradford is a free agent after this season - they can't "keep" him, they have to resign him or let him walk. The nightmare is that he throws for 4,000 yards and 25 TD's for a mediocre 9-7 team that sneaks out a playoff win and becomes a hot commodity. (Because he now is proven in the playoffs and Kelly's system generates great raw stats.) There's also going to be total collective amnesia about his health if he makes it through the season unscathed.

He has made between $13 & $17 million a year his entire career and would expect at least that much and probably even more since the new cap has changed the game with QB deals. I mean, look at what McCown got this off-season or Sanchez just to be a back-up. They're already talking "NFL-wide QB crisis" - imagine what kind of a seller's market the next off-season is going to be. In terms of resigning him, imagine the deals Bradford will be getting offered if the Eagles' season plays out how I expect it to?

He's already the highest paid player on the Eagles and if they want to keep him, they could be looking at INCREASING his salary.

148
by Southern Philly :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:14pm

The Eagles currently have the 9th most amount of cap room for 2016.

195
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:39pm

With no starting QB signed? Not at all surprising. You might not know this, QB tends to be a team's big ticket item.

(Also, where are you getting your number? I see them listed as having the 12th highest cap for 2016 and the only team that high without significant money already tied up in QB. It seems like most sources think they have $130 million out of the $150 cap already accounted for.)

198
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:46pm

overthecap has them with 130 million accounted for, but it doesn't take team specific caps into account for 2016 yet just estimating 150M for all teams. The Eagles have a cap of 159M this year, so there's a good chance that accounting trickery means they'll have a higher cap than average next year.

200
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:54pm

those are exactly the numbers I'm seeing at multiple sites - and they're not even close to the 9th lowest or whatever in the league.

207
by Southern Philly :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 5:14pm

D'oh, I was looking at this year.

85
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:00pm

Yeah, I really think Denver is a good place for any free agent, because Elway has a clue, and he ain't goin' anywhere.

91
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:24pm

That Denver team is also very close to being a real contender (the running game's awfulness is a bit of mystery to me) and the QB position is one place where they will almost certainly be looking for an upgrade next year...

161
by RickD :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:25pm

The running game is transitioning into Kubiak's scheme. In the long run, it should be fine.

164
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:28pm

Yeah - but look at their DVOA. After two weeks, they're the worst in the league and, as an Eagles' fan, that shocks me deeply. (The Eagles are 31st.) They didn't look better this week, either. There's transitioning and then there's total failure.

I believe you that it will get better, but it's purely a matter of faith in Kubiak at this point (and I'm not sure how blind and/or inexhaustible my faith in Kubiak is...)

211
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:02pm

I think that Kubiak's record should garner some faith. It doesn't have to be blind faith and it certainly won't be inexaustible, but also Kubiak has a couple of highly regarded pieces and several young players to build around.

Nobody currently on the line has played next to any other player on either side of them. Mathis came in almost at the end of preseason, so his struggles aren't a huge shock and it's reasonable to expect improvement from him. Also, Vasquez has played well in years past and Harris has also been serviceable under the same scheme, so I don't even think it's optimistic to expect the line to gel as the season goes along. I mean, even last year, the Broncos had to do some maneuvering to figure out the center position.

As for the Eagles, I can't speak for them. Kelly's track record isn't nearly as long as Kubiak's.

213
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:10pm

I agree with everything you're saying - my main concern is really the tension that overtly exists between Kubiak's (still ineffectual) system and the offense Manning prefers running. The pistol formation seemed to ameliorate some of that tension this week, but the run game was still terrible. They just seem more than a bit caught in "neither fish nor fowl" territory as they're trying to work things out, which is why I have concerns they'll sort it out - it seems like they're headed in two directions at once.

But yes, I have a reasonable amount of faith in Kubiak...

224
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:34pm

I have a skepticism of this offense improving to the point that it was early last season, but I think that they have a chance to Raven their way to a championship with this defense and some reasonable improvement.

Personally, I'm ecstatic to have Kubiak as a head coach, but less for this year with Manning and more for the future. I mean, most Broncos fans don't have the fondest memories of Brian Griese or Jake Plummer or Jay Cutler, but all three had decently productive careers with the Broncos. The scheme can do good things without top notch talent at QB with is certainly a boon.

I have much trepidation about QB once Manning in gone, but I feel a bit better about the possibilities with a coach like Kubiak on board.

258
by Grendel13G :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:12pm

I have fond memories of Jake Plummer! Always thought he wasn't given enough credit. He played pretty well for some pretty good Broncos teams.

134
by Kal :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:56pm

I don't see that happening, mostly because Kelly hated a lot of aspects of college football. He hated recruiting. He hated dealing with boosters. He hated the stress of dealing with kids who were having school problems.

I don't think he'd ever return to that.

147
by duh :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:12pm

He's going to have to make a living somehow, he going to become a coordinator? I sure don't see him as a TeeVee talking head.

155
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:19pm

Yeah, Kelly as a coordinator. I'm sure that would be a great experience for all involved.

160
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:23pm

Humor via understated sarcasm is some of the best.

151
by Southern Philly :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:15pm

This. The money and contractual clauses would have to be fantastic.

153
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:18pm

You don't think he'd get whatever the hell he wanted from Miami or USC to come back to college?

80
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:50pm

This is one of the many untruths about Kelly that gets repeated endlessly: you can see what a Kelly offense with a rushing QB looks like because Michael Vick played about half a season in it. And he was terrible. The team was 3-5 and Vick had a DVOA virtually identical to Kellen Clemens and Mike Glennon. Kaepernick has arm-strength, football intelligence and mobility pretty comparable to Vick. There's no reason to think his DVOA would be any better than what virtually EVERY QB under Kelly has been: a passer rated somewhere between 20th and 27th in the league in DVOA.

There's zero evidence a player like Kaepernick would radically alter Kelly's offense or the team's overall effectiveness. And remember: Vick got to play in 2013 with DJax, a great o-line, younger healthier Brent Celek, and LeSean McCoy. 2016 Kaep would be playing with a bunch of scrubs.

92
by Perfundle :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:27pm

Kaepernick and Vick had very comparable offensive supporting casts in 2013 (amazing run blocking, average pass blocking, good RBs, good receivers) and Kaepernick was far superior. Vick simply couldn't cut it at that point. Now maybe Kaepernick has declined so much that he can't either, but barring a few more horrible games he still shouldn't be compared to Vick yet.

95
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:36pm

But Kaepernick wouldn't be stepping into the 2013 Eagles. He'd be stepping into a terrible offense with a very bad supporting cast (that will only be weaker next year.) The argument isn't "who is a better QB? 2013 Vick or 2015 Kaep?" but "would Kaep improve a terrible Eagles offense in 2016." The answer to that is almost definitely "no."

And a final thing: Vick's number in the 2013 Eagles offense are almost identical to his Falcons-era numbers. Amazing rushing, bad passing. To suggest he had nothing left in the tank makes only as much sense as the idea that without Reid, he reverted back to being himself.

116
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:10pm

Remember my supposition for Kaep. to Phi. starts with "o-line play returns to serviceable".
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

124
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:26pm

But there's almost no way for that to happen - they're going to be cap-strapped next year, possibly in the extreme depending on what happens with Bradford, Thornton & Curry (putting their d-line in a crazy flux), Thurmond (their only good FA acquisition in 2015), Nolan Carrol (their #1CB), Maxwell (an expensive bust) and Murray (an expensive bust.) Jason Peters is already struggling in age-related (and injury) decline this year and the guards are terrible (and Gardener is proving to be injury-prone.) If you believe FO, then Kelce is the worst of them all (I find that idea dubious, but some folks disagree.) That Lane Johnson has failed to develop beyond "adequate" is very troubling: Kelly doesn't seem to be able to develop talent in two ares: the o-line and the secondary. The secondary has been a problem from Day 1 of the Kelly era and hasn't shown any improvement and the o-line is beginning to collapse in age-related decline that has been obviously coming since he took over (and Herremans, Mathis and Peters were all clearly at the tail end of their careers.)

The way the contracts are structured, this is a team that Kelly clearly intends to keep together in this basic shape through 2017 - it's tough to see where there's much wiggle room to do otherwise, other than shuffling journeymen guards and tackles around.

So... I don't believe Kaepernick's salvation will be found in Philly.

175
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:00pm

Not being familiar with the Eagles personnel or cap situation I will not dispute your point.

The one thing that might be in the eagles favor though, line play does appear to have a correlation with how long those particular players have been together. So, if Phi. just has bad players then they could potentially improve to just bad, but if they have a mix of bad/decent/good players on the line they could improve to decent over the course of the season by playing with each other and learning how each player will react to a given front and play.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

178
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:07pm

Sure - and it would definitely be tough for them to continue to be as bad as they have been (it's the same principle everyone is applying to the Broncos running game.)

I am HIGHLY dubious about the ceiling for a pair of career back-ups at guard and an aging Jason Peters who has collapsed to the field in agony in each game so far this season. And there's no depth: with Gardner's injury, the Eagles are now forced to start Matt Tobin, who is agonizingly bad by any standard.

So, next off-season, the Eagles should be looking to improve anywhere between two and five positions along the line (if Lane Johnson wasn't a top pick, I'm not sure he'd still have a job.) There's not enough money and draft picks in a single off-season to solve that problem. And again, that's without taking depth into account - Kelly's insistence that depth doesn't matter has already landed them in jams at WR and in the secondary. I doubt he'll suddenly get the picture with the o-line. If Peters goes down, there's nobody there to replace him, just roster flotsam.

114
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:08pm

Except that's not true, because Vick played before the development of the modern option game in college. The key to the modern option game is reading the reaction to the mesh, something which Vick didn't have experience with, that Kaep, who ran for over 1,000 yards for in one of the first modern option offenses has succeeded at both college and pro level.

That's why Kelly went after Bradford, Bradford excelled making that decision in the past. Though Foles was a successful former Air-Raid QB too so not sure what the big difference between them was.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

118
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 2:15pm

What's not true? Vick's DVOA numbers in Atlanta and under Kelly are virtually identical. Every QB under Kelly with a healthy body of work elsewhere (Vick, Sanchez, Bradford) has put up very similar numbers to what they did for other teams and other situations. Taking Kaepernick off of a crummy 2015 49er's team and putting him on a crummy 2016 Eagles team leads me to believe his numbers will likely be pretty similar in both situations.

156
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:21pm

One thing that would be different is there is no way Vick would make it through a season running option runs, but Keapernick has a chance. So 16 games of mediocrity!

173
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:49pm

What's not true is that Vick and Kaep. are a perfect parallel. The post snap reads on the option aren't necessarily the same as just being a good runner. For instance, Tebow was a talented runner, but he often made the wrong reads on the option. There is nothing from Vick that I've seen that makes me believe that he has a natural feel for the spread option reads while Kaepernick has proven adapt at manipulating the moment of the mesh in order to move defenders.

You're arguing Vick (running QB)= Kaepernick (running QB) and I'm arguing Vick (not-experienced at doing thing A) < Kaepernick (experienced at doing thing A)
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

176
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:01pm

Yes, you are right Michael Vick and Colin Kaepernick are, in fact, two separate human beings and not the same person.

What I said is Vick and Kaepernick have comparable arm strength, football intelligence and mobility. I would throw in accuracy and ball security. It's not like comparing Kaepernick to Carson Palmer or two, you know, WILDLY different QB's. Or even comparing two reasonably similar players with some massive differences, such as Vick (who has a very low football intelligence) to Russell Wilson (who has a very high football intelligence.)

I mean, Vick even played in a modified read-option early in his career - his usage in the "college style" system is supposedly what held his development back for years as a pro. Those "three-headed monster" run-based Atlanta teams were constantly bashed for incorporating option principles to simplify the game for Vick. So I'm not even sure you're splitting an entire hair...

179
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:09pm

They did include option principles but they were more triple option and less spread and packaged play principles. Vick was an EXCEPTIONALLY slow decision maker in the packaged plays. This is a deficiency that Kaepernick has never had. Kaepernick may not be making better decisions than Vick but because he makes them faster that makes him a better player within the newer concepts. Thefe is a material difference in the run concepts and how they stress a defense. The older triple option concepts don't provide the passing options that the spread concepts do.

That's why very few teams still run the old option concepts, basically the flex-bone AF Fisher DeBerry descended teams and Va Tech, while many teams run the spread concepts. They stress the defense in fundamentally different ways and the skills are not necessarily translatable.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

181
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:17pm

Ok, if Kaepernick comes to Philly, the o-line improves and the offense gets back on track, I owe you a coke!

(Still, I saw Vick run the read option in 2013 and I never would've counted slow decision-making at the mesh-point among his issues. I personally think Kelly's offense is too predictable to succeed without exceptional athletes at the skill positions and that read/stressing a defense is all but beside the point.)

186
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:25pm

Well I think Kaep. would be a better QB option than Phi. is currently running out there...

I probably agree with you that their o-line is un-salvageable.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

189
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:30pm

Philly doesn't run the read option since Vick went down. It's something Kelly is super touchy about, in this case I think rightfully. Foles didn't run it virtually at all, maybe three times a game in short yardage where it was no different from any other naked bootleg fakes. Whatever they are, Kelly's Eagles are not a read-option team and I'm not sure Kaepernick is worth anything outside of that context. I certainly don't want him coming to Philly to try to run this shotgun offense...

197
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:41pm

Chip runs a packaged play on effectively every down, and the read option does increase the threat that packaged plays provide, but the key skill in a packaged play based attack is making the correct run/pass read and doing so fast enough that the player isolated in a run/pass conflict doesn't have time to recover. Read/option ads at least one extra run/pass conflict or run/run conflict on every play but isn't necessarily the basis for the attack, usually making the run blocking job of the o-line easier.

And, as you've noted before, packaged play offense is in some ways become more skill dependent across all 11 players because they are intended to isolate each individual player in a one-on-one matchup that they need to win.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

199
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:51pm

I know how the offense is supposed to work - and we're both in agreement that they seem to have systematically gotten rid of the personnel to make it effective. I might buy the value of a more mobile QB like Kaepernick if they still had a great cut-back runner who could take advantage of the backside hesitation, but Murray and Mathews ain't gonna do that no matter how much attention Kaepernick draws from the DE. Right now, they're having to run every play so wide to mask the deficiencies of the guards that whatever's happening at the backside is entirely irrelevant - their only running play is that sweep where Kelce pulls. I have a sneaking suspicion you've watched very little of the Eagles this year...

Keep in mind, KAepernick doesn't have that great of accuracy and ball placement and these wr's are so weak that you basically have to throw them open on every play. That's something Kaepernick (and Vick) is utterly incapable of doing. I think this offense with Kaepernick would resemble the 2013 Vick offense more than you're willing to admit: a lot of scrambling, not much effective passing, turnovers, sacks, etc.

217
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:22pm

I haven't watched much Phi. last year. I watched their Atlanta and Dallas games this year. My prime interest is actually college football (but there aren't really boards with the level of sophistication of this one on college that I'm aware of). I've followed the rise of Rich Rod and Oregon's variant on his offense for a while and live in PNW (I'm a U of O law student), so basically my discussion on the issue is more theory and less specific... this guy is terrible/or great... level.

As for cutback guys like McCoy I always thought Kelly sought more 1 cut guys. When his running game is working the best, and I think in the Oregon context that was 2010, his base play is zone stretch with the backside option where the running back made a single cut vertically into the stretched line. What I've never understood since he went to Phi is why he hasn't spent the time stretching the field latterly on his runs like he did at Oregon. Obviously the Lombardi sweep is horizontal but doesn't lead itself to the packaged plays.

Anyways I'm basically coming around to your view that his personnel management is terrible and he is attempting to manage personnel like a college team.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

225
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:35pm

Yeah, I mean, I don't know - I think so many of the college spread and read-option concepts have become commonplace in the NFL that I'm not sure there's SO much difference between what Kelly does and the kinds of plays I see Seattle, SF, Denver, NE, GB and KC running. To me, the only unique aspect of Kelly's system is the pace, which when it works really does blow the opposition off the field - you can see in the second half teams struggling to keep up. It's not that they're fooled by anything Kelly is doing, just that defending Kelly's offense does require them to run a lot, especially laterally across the face of the line of scrimmage and on long drives or late it the game it can wear them down. I mean, they were blocking JJ Watt with TE's and RB's last year late in Houston game because he was just totally gassed.

That's definitely the idea, to engineer favorable match-ups through better conditioning and an unrelenting pace, but I'm not sure how unique anything they're doing is. One of the things that supposed got Foles kicked out of town is that he, Maclin and DJax would still run pass plays with the normal route trees, that they refused to run the plays as Kelly called them and would take the defense into account. I'm just not sure you can win in the NFL without doing stuff like that and that winning the conditioning battle is enough in and of itself, especially when you don't have someone like DJax or McCoy to really push a defense. Those guys tire out and frustrate a defense even without running the no-huddle.

You can see it in the offense this year: it's super repetitive and seemingly even more repetitive than years previous in order to contend with the interior o-line weakness, bad WR's and struggling QB. They have like 4 plays that ever work and run them each a dozen times a game.

230
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:47pm

I didn't know about the Foles/Macklin/DJax conflict on not running the routes he wanted. That seems stupid to get overly angery with that since that was working. I personally thought Macklin was launched because it would be too expensive to keep him.

I think the primary concept that Kelly has brought up, other than the game pace, is the offense built on packaged plays. You occasionally see teams experiment with a packaged play here and there, Seattle famously torched GB last year on a packaged triple option, but to base your offense around the packaged play as the fundamental construct such that most or all plays are packaged is something completely different.

I hope somebody matches personnel savy with the packaged play concepts because it would likely force the 4-2-5 and 3-3-5 base defenses from college up to the pros.

I also would like to see Seattle go two tight with Willson as the play side end and Graham as the back side; then inside zone option the back side contain, packaged with backside flanker go and TE(Graham) short flag.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

237
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 7:01pm

Yeah, but Kelly is nothing if not a control freak. It's stupid to get rid of the best WR in the history of the franchise, just cut him and get nothing in return, because he's an annoyance in the locker room. It's stupid to trade the best RB in the history of the franchise as part of a salary dump and then take on a hugely expensive player as a replacement.

I don't know, there have been conflicting reports about the particulars of why Maclin didn't come back - the difference between what Philly and KC were offering him was very small and they easily could have covered it. They clearly didn't have any interest in covering it. Maclin himself suggested he would have needed more money to play in Philly and that he took a slight discount to reunite with Reid, but he quickly walked that statement back.

Kelly's treatment of Foles will remain one of football's truly bizarre chapters - no young QB has EVER been that successful and traded by away their team. There's literally no precedent. And by all accounts they had their mind made up about it in November of last year when the team was 9-3 - Lurie is on the record saying that by the time of the Thanksgiving Dallas game they were already shopping him. Foles himself made comments in early December that his collarbone was healed and he could play if he needed to. The whole thing is really astounding in retrospect.

244
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 7:42pm

I find the whole Foles for Bradford trade baffling. t if you think he's not very good and just went on a hot streak, it makes sense to sell high.

Buying low on Bradford even makes some sense. If Kelly had for example, traded a low pick for Bradford without giving away a starting QB, that would be rather genius.

Instead he somehow managed to sell low on Foles and buy high on Bradford.

248
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 7:58pm

The trade is horrible even if you believe in Bradford and dislike Foles, it was just horrible deal-making. Just baffling - the excuse always given is that they got in a bidding war with some other team (purportedly Cleveland) for Bradford. A quick hint: if you're in a bidding war with Cleveland, you've already messed up.

Also, as it was happening, it was crazy to me that people still believed Kelly had some kind of QB magic: Sanchez, Vick and Barkley had all been terrible under him. Foles was mediocre in 2014. The idea that he could tap Bradford's magic, never-seen potential wasn't rooted in any verifiable reality.

There's so much weirdness: in the off-season, I went through every year in DVOA's history and there are literally zero QBs under 24 that had a season as good as Foles was in 2013 who were traded by the end of the following season. A QB with that much success so young has literally never been gotten rid of as quickly. And he was cheap! He was set to get paid peanuts in 2015!

Also, I really believe that Kelly acquired Bradford as some kind of a botched deal to move up in the draft. I distinctly remember thinking that Cleveland had something to gain by cock-blocking Philly from moving up and if they were the ones supposedly interested in Bradford, they apparently maneuvered Kelly into trading away significant assets (Foles and a 2nd round pick) that would've been crucial to a big draft move.

This off-season really is one for the ages: the Foles deal, getting rid of McCoy for an oft-injured LB who remains injured, letting Maclin go over pennies after cutting DJax for no reason, signing one of the most obvious free agent busts in recent history (Maxwell), then loading up at RB when every other team in the league was bargain-buying at the position, cutting two very good guards and not finding replacements.

But the Foles for Bradford trade still takes the cake.

253
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 8:11pm

Signing two running backs is also pretty baffling. All the other moves can be filed under poor player evaluation, but really how does a team make use of two free agent running backs? Not even mentioning that Sproles is still on the roster and useful.

Unless the plan is to line up Sproles and Mathews at receiver, which given the current state of the Eagle's receiving corps might not be such a bad idea.

283
by Dave Bernreuther :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 7:23pm

Even in the year that he did well, Foles was leaving plays out on the field all the damn time.

There's definitely value in not being reckless, of course, but I can sort of understand why this infuriated Kelly. I think his ego thought that they should've taken the entire league by storm and that a better QB would have.

I think he's right, of course, but as a baseline, Foles was pretty damn good, even with his obvious limitations.

The irony is that now he's got a guy who won't throw the ball downfield at all. And to think, we all blamed Brian Schottenheimer for it...

284
by chemical burn :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 8:26pm

I always find this bizarre - you know what? EVERY QB LEAVES PLAYS ON THE FIELD. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and especially Peyton Manning and Tony Romo leave between 5 and 10 plays on the field every game. If you want to say he took too many sacks in 2013 and then swapped that out for too many interceptions in 2014, that's fine, but the idea that he should have been more efficient in 2013 is just insane.

Anyway, the treatment of Foles in Philly has no precedent, however it turns out...

286
by Will Allen :: Thu, 10/01/2015 - 12:06pm

Yeah, they guy had over 1000 DYAR, and 35% DVOA. If somebody wnts to say it was an extreme outlier, and he'll never approach it again, fine, I guess, but to say he was deficient in a meaningful way in 2013 is just nuts.

288
by Independent George :: Thu, 10/01/2015 - 1:01pm

I totally get that, and agree, but at the same time... there are plenty of one-year wonders at QB. I mean, Scott Mitchell was a legitimate MVP candidate in 1995.

I can't pretend to know enough to spot the difference ahead of time, or explain why, but sometimes it takes an entire season for the league to catch on to a QBs weaknesses.

ETA: And, holy crap, Erik Kramer in the same year! What the heck was going on in the NFC Central in 1995?

Erik Kramer: 32.7% DVOA, 1585 DYAR
Scott Mitchell: 26.0% DVOA, 1520 DYAR

I'm beyond baffled.

289
by tuluse :: Thu, 10/01/2015 - 1:18pm

Erik Kramer was actually pretty good, just made of glass.

Look at his ANY/A+, almost every year he got extended playing time he was above average, http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/K/KramEr00.htm

54
by Lyford :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:03pm

#off-topic #pedantic #grammarbitch #petpeeve

"when his legs complimented a dominate play side running game"

I can't even tell anymore if people are being sarcastic when they use "dominate" as an adjective, or if they just don't know, because they haven't been taught, that "dominate" is a verb and the adjective is "dominant" or "dominating." I would imagine that there are instances of each...

60
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:12pm

Well when I typed the phrase I used "dominant" in my internal monologue so the use of "dominate" was simply a typo.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

93
by Eddo :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:33pm

Thank you for this (and thank you gomer_rs for clarifying below). I've been assuming people think "dominate" is an adjective, pronounced like "definite". It's annoying.

Glad to see it was just a typo. gomer_rs.

99
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:39pm

That's still not as bad as people who use "bias" as an adjective instead of a noun. As in, "Stop covering the Pats so much, you're obviously bias.".

ETA: Or, better yet, "Stop covering the Pats so much, your obviously bias."

103
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:44pm

You looser, your also a hippocrite!

163
by RickD :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:28pm

And I thought you were going to jump on the usage of "complimented" instead of "complemented".

"That's a great dominant play side running game!" said his legs.

79
by N8- :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:48pm

Perhaps KC could bring in Kaep in replace Alex Smith. Deja vu

172
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:49pm

Montana
Bono
Grbac
Smith

Tradition!

177
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:05pm

Don't forget Steve DeBerg! He had interim stops between SF and KC, but he counts too!

Immortalized in this comic.

49
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:54am

Kap was awful yesterday but he showed some real improvement in the first two weeks and without excusing his crap play on Sunday he really isn't getting much help. The line is hot garbage, Boldin is slowing down and Vernon Davis looks like he's just going through the motions, it's a mess that extends beyond the qb.

Look at the first play, the best outcome I can see from that play is throwing the ball away. A pick six is much worse but there's no real opportunity for a good play there and the run game was doing nothing either.

The defence is mired in Mangini's ridiculous scheme too, it's going to be a long, tough season in NotSan Francisco.

52
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:02pm

The only throw he has on the first play is to Boldin, immediately when Boldin turns inside, and even this requires that qb and the receiver to be really working well together.

53
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:02pm

The only throw he has on the first play is to Boldin, immediately when Boldin turns inside, and even this requires that qb and the receiver to be really working well together.

55
by amin purshottam :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:04pm

It all started with the problems Harbaugh had with the front office and vice versa last year and so the whole year got flushed down the toilet. Then the injuries and all the player losses, especially on the D and now we are stuck with an idiot for a coach who knows nothing about QB's. Another decade of futility has begun in SF. Why not just bring Mike Singletary back? Mike Nolan? Denis Erickson?. The Dorks are terrible owners. What a waste of a good talent. They should just trade Kaep. to a team with a good coach who has a clue and the same with the team. Too bad Eddie DeBartolo can't take back ownership of the team and somehow bring Bill Walsh back. How much money would it take to bring Steve Mariucci out of retirement?

rant over.

33
by tjb :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:47am

Karlos Williams runs like he has been shot out of a cannon. Those types of runners tend to have really short careers, but it makes him the perfect complement to Shady McCoy for now so I'll take it.

I'm not 100% sold on Tyrod Taylor in general, but "Tyrod Taylor with gonzo receivers in Greg Roman's offense" looks like it could be at least as good as "Colin Kapernick with Vernon Davis and some other dudes in Greg Roman's offense". Roman seems to be able to get some pretty decent play out of athletic QBs who are a bit limited as passers (even Alex Smith falls into this category to an extent). If the Bills continue this whole above-average offense thing, they'll probably end up losing Roman in the offseason and I'm worried Taylor wouldn't be nearly as effective in a different scheme.

43
by jtr :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:30am

I'm not surprised to see Kaep falling apart. Harbaugh was working with him one-on-one in practice and carefully engineering the gameplans to keep things simple for him. I haven't seen any evidence that Kaep has much football IQ, and I think Harbaugh was able to utilize Kaep's physical tools to cover that up in a way that a glorified strength coach obviously can't do. I'm not saying that the 9ers win this game if Harbaugh is still around, but he probably would keep Kaep from putting up minus 230 YAR.

BTW, thanks for going back to the normal GIFs for this. The other ones wouldn't load on my work computer or Android.

46
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:46am

But Harbaugh wasn't working with him one-on-one, they had to bring in George Whitfield in the 2014 training camp to work with the qbs and even then it was only for three days. This is why Kap had to hire his own coach this offseason, the biggest failing of Harbaugh was that he didn't put any significant effort into developing his young qb.

Harbaugh's system was all about minimising risk by reducing post snap reads and he did this for Alex Smith too, so it wasn't a Kaepernick thing.

48
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:52am

I don't think Kaepernick is lacking i.q. or even football i.q., as much as I suspect that he is suffering from Cutlerphrenia, while having less orthodox qb proclivity than the namesake of the affliction. Ol' Colin appears to my very distant (thus wild-assed guess making) eye to be as stubborn as a constipated mule being asked to dance an Irish jig. He might be just a woodhead, but unlike the ursine obstinate egotist taking snaps, the propsecting one is still south of 30, so there is still hope, even if not hope that should be pursued at the price the contract now calls for. If he is willing to accept hard, hard, effective coaching, like a certain jeans model did when moving from Georgia to Wisconsin, he can still have quite a career, it seems to me. Of course, when the jeans model made that move, he had yet to make any real money yet, so he may have been more open to the possibility. Kaepernick has already obtained 29 million to put into failed restaurant ventures and commercial real estate ponzi schemes, so he may be less persuadable.

51
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:58am

Kap's contract really isn't that bad, it will rapidly get pushed towards average qb compensation as it is eclipsed by new deals under the growing cap.

57
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:09pm

You still don't to pay 16.5 million to a guy who isn't playing well, trending the wrong way, and will be 28 next year. If the Niners collapse this year, think they have a good prospect to draft, my bet would be that they cut him loose, as the situation turns toxic.

69
by big10freak :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:28pm

Kind of amazing that a guy who has blown up defenses in the playoffs would a few years later face being pushed to the curb.

Now having written that watch him make the Packers look ridiculous once again this Sunday.

77
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:44pm

Against Mangini's non-defense Rodgers might become the first qb to throw a TD on every pass attempt.

73
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:43pm

Nah, the Packers are much better situated defensively now, than they were then. I wouldn't expect Peterson to rush for 31 yards, on third and 25, against the Packers this year, either.

78
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:45pm

'Turns toxic' - you might be a couple of weeks late there.

And $16 million is a lot to most of us but it's a out the bottom of what a veteran, starting quarterback gets.

I thought after two weeks that he is an average NFL passer that also gives your run game some help by forcing the defence to respect his running ability on the back side. I think his production has declined because his supporting cast has declined and that's who he is; he can't transcend his surroundings like a Rodgers or a Peyton Manning but he can be decent when his support is decent. I think his support is as dismal this year as it was last year, his line has become even worse, which should have been difficult to achieve and the defense is going to struggle under Mangini's nonsense.

But I'm not going to let one game, however disastrous, change my opinion that much. If this continues to happen then I might hop on the anti-Kap bandwagon.

81
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:53pm

16 million is likely going to be about 7-8% of next year's salary cap. That's a lot of money, period, for a guy who is not making a significant contribution to winning games, and who has an unattractive trend line at age 28. Yes, it would all be contingent on the Niners thinking they have a good prospect in the draft that the new coach (I am assuming) likes . If that is the case, then they would be better served getting a placekeeper, like a Ryan Fitzpatrick, for 4 million, using the savings to get some o-line help, and making their future with a guy in their early 20s, who won't get paid for 4 years.

Yes, if Koepernick has a good, or even decent remaining 13 games, this is all moot. I suspect that this coach is going to prevent that from happening, as the season goes on, and the opposition has more film of Tomsulahood.

44
by Eddo :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:42am

Vince, re: Karlos Williams -

Why do you guys have a minimum threshold of carries/targets/attempts for DYAR? It's a counting statistic, not a rate stat, so it shouldn't need one.

Let's say there was a tight end that had only 20 targets all year, but all were caught for touchdowns. You wouldn't say he didn't lead the league in touchdown receptions just because he only averaged 1.25 targets per game, would you?

(EDIT: clarified some language)

56
by theslothook :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:05pm

I feel compelled to say, I am sick to my stomach to see this site once again massively overrated the so called football diety. I mean, seriously, how can god's second born child score on less than HALF of his drives? And only 5 tds??? Pathetic.

Clearly this site, this country, and this universe has some overt bias to everything green and yellow. It just makes me sick. PackersOUTSIDERS INDEED!

67
by NYMike :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:23pm

I don't think there was anything left to say after Gruden went on and on and on and on and on. And on.

I ran low on Maalox to combat his commentary.

And I'm a Packer Fan.

And on and on.

166
by RickD :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:30pm

Wow - glad I turned it off.

Gruden is hard enough to deal with when he's effusive about mediocre talent. I expect by the end of the game the praise for Rodgers was otherworldly.

168
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:34pm

The weirdest part about that game was that neither Gruden nor the other guy seemed to have any awareness that a perfectly respectable Chiefs comeback was in progress mid-way through the 4th quarter. They were totally checked out in the middle of the 3rd quarter even as the Packers let the Chiefs crawl back in - isn't their job to pretend a game is exciting? If the Chiefs had hit their two-point conversion and not wasted a timeout, it would have been a very intense ending. And none of that happened until there was about 2 minutes left...

174
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 3:51pm

Gruden expressed surprise that that Reid was going for two after the last Chiefs' td! I yelled at the t.v. (which, I swear, I rarely do), "Hell, Jonny, it's a 10 freaking point game, with more than a minute left, and the Chiefs have two timeouts! What do you epxect him to do, pull his team off the field, and go to the airport?!"

183
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:19pm

John Fox would have punted.

187
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:25pm

Their non-reaction to the Chiefs idiotically burning a timeout while driving in for a score with under 3 minutes left was astounding - wasting the TO all but lost them the game! And they were like "whatevs" - back to talking about nothing.

68
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:27pm

For the evening meal before gamedays, does Aaron of Chico serve, as is the tradition, popcorn in his chalice filled with beer cheese soup, to his teammates? Or does he give it to him separately, to partake of his body?

74
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:43pm

God, I wonder what the Packeroos must think of that 'other' football analytics site that had the gall to say Rodgers had a average game?

61
by theslothook :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:13pm

.

62
by theslothook :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 12:14pm

/

102
by Eddo :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:43pm

Interesting to see Mariota and Winston come out just about the same (and I can't imagine opponent adjustments will be too different for them), given that every other site I see is praising Mariota almost unconditionally and crapping on Winston.

105
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:45pm

First impressions, man - they're killer.

180
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:16pm

That wasn't the wild card game; it was the NFC Championship.

Minor Correction - Starks played against KC, not NYJ

Thank you. These errors have been fixed.

Several of Starks' carries were pure garbage-time clock-killers. It felt to me that the GB running game was fairly effective in the first half - perhaps I'm confusing it somewhat with the short passing game - but I don't remember runners being stuffed very often until the game was out of sight.

Nine of Starks’ carries and four of his stuffs (including two failures to convert on second-and-1) came in the first half. Eddie Lacy only has six carries in the first half, though they were mostly pretty good, totalling 34 yards.

Man KC has to one of the least fun teams to watch. I'm dubbing Alex Smith an excitement vampire. Free Chase Daniel!

I have a confession to make: When the Chiefs are having a good day, I kind of get a kick out of their Chinese water torture offense. It’s the closest thing the NFL has to Georgia Tech’s triple option. It’s just small gain, small gain, small gain, matriculate down the field, and then WHAM Jamaal Charles breaks a long run or Travis Kelce gets open on a seam or a cornerback misses a tackle and a wideout and suddenly they’re in scoring range. It’s very patient in the way it waits for the defense to make a mistake instead of forcing their hand. And hey, they’ve scored nine touchdowns on offense, which is in the top 10, so it’s not like it’s a complete disaster. But I freely admit this is a guilty pleasure and I don’t expect many people to agree with me.

In any case, it's just something I find kind of funny, like something out of an old movie called "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai" where the lead character is a physicist, neurosurgeon, test pilot, and rock star.

That movie is awesome. “No matter where you go, there you are.”

Is DYAR factoring in the defensive rankings already? It looks like P. Manning and Brady have similar stat lines (completions/attempts/yards/td) but there's a big difference in DYAR so I'm curious as to what is causing the difference.

No defensive adjustments yet. Yes, their completions, attempts, and yardage were about the same, but that doesn’t include Brady’s two DPIs for 76 yards, and DYAR accounts for that. Including those two plays, Brady threw for 21 first downs with no interceptions and only seven failed completions. Manning threw for 14 first downs with one interception and 12 failed completions.

Why do you guys have a minimum threshold of carries/targets/attempts for DYAR? It's a counting statistic, not a rate stat, so it shouldn't need one.

The biggest reason is that DYAR can be negative, and we want to be able to refer to a player’s ranking in a meangingful manner. For example, in rushing last season, we can say “Alfred Blue ranked 43rd in rushing DYAR,” but that only includes the 43 running backs with at least 100 carries. If we include every running back who carried the ball last year, we would have to say that Blue ranked 155th. Which is kind of absurd. It’s silly to say that Jalen Parmele had more DYAR than Blue last year (-7 to -88), but it’s kind of silly to say he was better when he only had one carry all season long. So we use minimum plays in the DYAR tables, even for single games.

182
by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 4:19pm

You're the man, Vince!

204
by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 5:04pm

So we need some kind of absolute 0 YAR.

234
by tjb :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:52pm

What's the worst possible play in terms of DYAR? Take a first down snap at the opposing 1, run 99 yards backwards and fumble? We can call that "zero" and any outcome better than that can be positive...

255
by Eddo :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 8:21pm

Vince, thanks for clarifying on the threshold. I would have dismissed the negativity argument if you hadn't given that example, so thank you VERY much for going into details. What service!

259
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:15pm

Love your work Vince but this article made me want to hurl, not anything you've done, just having to stare into an abyss.

I mean, what are the odds on the House of York ever managing to set the niners in order without starting the process with a decent qb? We know they can't hire a coaching staff.

268
by CaffeineMan :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 9:11am

I totally sympathize, if you can believe that coming from a Pats fan. :-)

Bad owners are the worst and I could never find anything to do about it, except to stop watching. I used to be a huge Red Sox fan, lived and died with them in the 70's and 80's, read all the early Bill James stuff, followed Peter Gammons in the Globe religiously, etc. In the early 90's I realized ownership was never going to put a team in a position to win it all. It wasn't that the teams were bad. But the owners, cronies, and morons in charge of the franchise were just going to ride the fan's money train on their own ego trip forever. When the World Series was cancelled ('94?) I used it as an excuse to just cut loose of the whole thing. I open an eye come playoff time but that's it.

If the Sullivans hadn't sold the team, I would have done the same with the Pats. I can't think of anything to do but vote with my feet.

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by RickD :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 5:48pm

It's funny - I grew up in Boston and didn't realize at the time just how bad the Boston owners were (excluding the Celtics, of course). The Boston media constantly lionized Tom Yawkey. Only thirty years later did I find out he'd tried out both Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays but wouldn't sign either because he was an unrepentant racist. The "Curse of the Bambino" was always really "the Curse of the Racist Owner".

At least the Sullivans blew all their money on the Jacksons' Victory tour.

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by Jerry :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 11:04pm

The Celtics had a lot of awful owners, too. They just deferred to their general manager.

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by PatsFan :: Thu, 10/01/2015 - 4:02pm

And note that the only time they were bad under Red was when the owner (John Y. Brown) didn't do so.

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by Richie :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:07pm

7 times a plyer has had 150+ receiving yards in a game after turning 36. Two of them are Steve Smith this year.

3 are (of course) Jerry Rice. Terrell Owens and Joey Galloway are the final 2.

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by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:14pm

He's a Hall of Famer, right? I feel like I have no idea how the coming WR glut is going to play out - it seems like it might be "Randy Moss gets in and nobody else." I've even heard TO discussed as only a borderline candidate! Anyway, I think Smith deserves it, he was unstoppable in his prime like no WR I've seen but Rice and Moss...

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by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:26pm

BORDERLINE?! Only four men ever scored more touchdowns than Owens (Rice, Emmitt, Tomlinson, Moss), and he might be second if he hadn't been playing second banana to Rice for the first five years of his career.

And Smith totally deserves it too. A one-man team stuck with mostly crappy quarterbacks, still effective for most of a decade. I thought he should have been MVP in 2005, when he dragged a mediocre Panthers to the NFC title game, where the Seahawks spent a good chunk of the game legit quadruple-teaming him and won.

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by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:43pm

I agree it's INSANE. But they're clearly not letting Isaac Bruce in anytime soon (or Marvin Harrison) so there's really no clear threshold for what caliber of WR the selection committee is willing to deny.

If Smith has a good year this year, he can get to like 7th in yards and top 10 in receptions - there's still going to be a half dozen guys ahead of him on both lists who seem like they can't get in. I just don't know how it will resolved. I'm hoping Smith gets in, but I don't see how that won't open the floodgates and just choke everything up for years with WR's. I mean, you have guys like Anquan Boldin, Torry Holt and Hines Ward hanging around with very similar cases to Smith, let alone the guys like Harrison, Bruce, Wayne, Andre Johnson with probably better cases. And then Moss and TO should be going in before any of them. Fitzgerald is almost definitely going to retire with a better case than Smith and probably not many years later.

I just don't know how it will shake out (I also have a bad feeling that hordes of Welker advocates are going to spring up...)

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by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 7:09pm

The institution is a joke, to the point where if they don't manage to wait until the inductee has died, they are doing a better than normal job, for them.

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by LyleNM :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:44pm

Well I think ChemBurn meant borderline for first ballot. I have definitely heard people suggesting that he might not make it first ballot but I doubt that anybody thinks he won't be elected at all.

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by theslothook :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:48pm

It could be a while. On paper, Harrison is a slam dunk, but he's still out in the cold.

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by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 7:01pm

Bruce I actually get, because aside from 1995 he wasn't ever really a great player -- only twice in the top 10 for receptions, four times in yards, three times in touchdowns. He was just a B-plus guy FOREVER. It wouldn't bother me if he got in like Bettis bothered me, but I think there are more deserving candidates.

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by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 7:36pm

Don't Bruce, Holt, and Faulk all competing with each other for catches give some context to not great counting stats?

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by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 7:46pm

He's saying the inverse, though, right? - Bruce had great counting stats because he hung around forever. It's weird because the other great Rams WR who has world-class stats, Ellard, is being kept out of the hall for the exact same reason. Personally, I think compilers should go in, the Hall is not a measure of greatness but an acknowledgement of accomplishments. It's exceptionally hard for even A+ guys to accomplish what Bruce did, to be excellent year-in, year-out for years on end, to maintain your health and your focus in spite of the grueling challenges of competing at the highest level. That's worth something.

But I disagree ever so slightly with the idea Bruce was a B+ guy: he was an A- guy (at both his best and worst) and the Hall tends to like guys who have some measure of A+ success on their resumes. I think Holt is the "sometimes A+, sometimes B-" guy who is hurt by the counting stats issue.

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by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 7:51pm

He's saying he had bad per year counting stats (receptions, yards, tds). Look at 2001, he was only 35th in receptions and 17th in yards that year, but 9th in DVOA.

Then the argument I suppose is can the 3rd best receiver on a team be a HoF player? I don't know the answer to that.

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by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 8:02pm

Art Monk was arguably the 3rd best WR on some of those teams. I think a better question for Bruce is "should the hall accept the greatest #2 WR of All Time?" And I think they should because they already accepted Monk, who was the 2nd greatest #2 WR of All Time.

It's also easy to overlook that a lot of Bruce's stats were compiled in a different era - he's not as much of a beneficiary of the recent passing inflation as Smith, Holt, Harrison, Wayne, Johnson, Moss, TO, etc.

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by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 8:09pm

I've heard a good argument Monk was that he was actually TE/WR hybrid, basically Shannon Sharpe or Jimmy Graham just listed differently (and hell probably a better blocker than Graham).

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by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 8:19pm

He weighed about 50 pounds less than Graham and 25 less than Sharpe, so I've having trouble seeing it. He was not a big dude. I'll give you that those Redskins teams didn't really have pass-catching TE's, but their H-back was normally an RB, wasn't he?

Redskins historians feel free to jump in!

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by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:51pm

No, I've heard multiple people suggest that, like Harrison, because of his "issues" that TO is going to be on the waiting list for quite some time.

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by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 6:53pm

Kind a different caliber of issues though, TO's gun never shot anyone.

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by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 7:03pm

And Harrison was never convicted of anything.

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by Independent George :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 8:47pm

TO's issues were, frankly, rather entertaining for anyone who doesn't root for his team. I mean, doing situps on his driveway? Crying for Romo at a press conference? Ok, maybe that's not completely normal, but I'd say that's within one standard deviation for Wide Receivers.

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by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 9:02pm

And Harrison was an unimpeachable pro on the field and in the locker room.

Look, I'm not saying the idea that TO might have to wait is anything other than absurd nonsense, just that the selection committee has proven to be extremely persnickety and willing to stick with capricious judgements.

I always liked him. I think if McNabb doesn't get injured in 2005, they win the Dallas game to get to 5-4, they right the ship and TO comes back into the fold as the playoff race heats up. But that season just seemed so determined to blow up from 20 different angles.

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by RickD :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 5:56pm

If Harrison were poor, he'd be in prison right now.

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by Richie :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 1:37pm

I think Smith's argument that helps him compared to just about every other great modern WR, is his QB's. Rice, Owens, Moss, Holt, Harrison, etc. all played with good (or HOF) QB's. I assume most of Smith's receptions came from Delhomme, who had some decent seasons to be fair. But he also caught a lot of passes from Jimmy Clausen, 44-year-old Testaverde, Rodney Peete, Chris Weinke, etc. And he still managed to be a top-10 WR most years.

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by chemical burn :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 2:19pm

I agree 100% that it makes him even more impressive - but is there a WR for whom that has mattered to the selectors? If anything, that should be helping Isaac Bruce, too. (And I think deserves to be a clincher for Fitzgerald as well.) There's all the logical things we all agree on here and then there's the criteria the selectors will have in mind. I mean, being Jerome Bettis (media personality, lovable guy, went out on top, played for a hallowed franchise) matters more to the committee than a clear-eyed comparison of the accomplishments, hardships and abilities of Bettis versus Edgerrin James or Fred Taylor. If there weren't a WR glut, I think even Hines Ward would have a shot that Torry Holt probably doesn't...

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by Richie :: Thu, 10/01/2015 - 12:39pm

I have a feeling that selectors use the "he benefitted from playing with a HOF QB" argument AGAINST receivers, but don't use the opposite argument FOR them.

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by tuluse :: Tue, 09/29/2015 - 7:53pm

I just checked the QB page. Clausen not only "leads" the NFL with the worst passing DVOA by a healthy margin (-64% to Hoyer's -40%), but also "leads" in worst QB rushing with 4 rushes for 8 yards and a fumble (-136% well behind Palmer's -107%).

#beardown

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by RickD :: Wed, 09/30/2015 - 5:57pm

Mel Kiper still thinks he's a "can't miss".