Our offseason Four Downs series ends with a look at the NFC West's biggest remaining holes and their most notable UDFA signings. The Rams and 49ers have to kick-start their passing games, Arizona's offense lacks a big dimension, and the Seahawks continue to rely on Russell Wilson's magic tricks.
26 Oct 2005
|Compared to Bill James by the New York Times Magazine, AARON SCHATZ is the creator of Football Outsiders and most of the original statistical methods presented on this website, as well as lead writer on the book Pro Football Prospectus 2005. He is in charge of the weekly DVOA ratings and covers the AFC East for our feature Four Downs. He also writes the Monday Quick Reads column and Tuesday Power Ratings found on FOXSports.com, and regular NFL analysis for the New York Sun. Before Football Outsiders, Aaron spent five years on the radio at WBRU Providence and WKRO Daytona Beach, and three years as the writer and producer of the Lycos 50, the Internet's foremost authority on the people, places, and things
that are searched online. He has appeared
on a number of TV and radio stations including ESPN, CNN, and NPR, and written
for a number of publications including The
New Republic, The
New York Times, The
Boston Globe, Slate, The
and the Boston
lives in Framingham, Massachusetts with his wife and daughter and proudly sports a #93 Richard Seymour
jersey on Sundays when he is often told "they can't hear you in Foxboro
through the television."
|Web producer RUSSELL LEVINE writes the weekly column Confessions
of a Football Junkie, co-writes the weekly column Seventh Day
|Long-suffering Lions fan MICHAEL DAVID SMITH emulated Billy Sims
as a toddler, but it wasn't long before he realized his size and
athleticism (or lack thereof) made him a better candidate for writing
about football than playing it. Since then his inspiration has been Sports
Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman, who always seems to notice the details
that the TV announcers miss. Smith lives in Chicago with his wife, Sarah,
a law student with an amazing tolerance for sports blaring on the TV,
sports-talk radio blaring in the car, and sports opinions blaring from her
husband's mouth. Smith got a Barry Sanders jersey just before Sanders'
retirement and a Charlie Batch jersey just before Batch was cut. He now
wears a Lions sweatshirt without any player's name on it. Mike writes
|MIKE TANIER considers himself America's most prolific NFL
ghostwriter after four years as the resident draft guru and features
writer for Sports Forecaster, which syndicates to over 20 newspaper
websites in the US and Canada. (You can read some examples of that work here.)
Mike has also contributed to his hometown Philadelphia Inquirer.
Having grown up just two miles from Veterans Stadium, he took his then-13
month old son C.J. to watch the implosion of that legendary concrete slab,
hoping that the event might exorcise some Philly sports demons. So far,
the demons are covering the spread. When he's not researching obscure football
facts or getting traumatized by the Philadelphia Eagles, Mike teaches high school mathematics in southern
New Jersey. But his real passions are, in this order: a) family life, b)
trying to get his Strat-o-Matic baseball team over the hump, and c)
struggling to keep the characters straight on the PBS import show Age of Warriors. His FO assignments include the weekly column Too Deep Zone and coverage of the AFC West and NFC West for Four Downs, and he also does the weekly rundown of upcoming NFL games for FOXSports.com.
| AL BOGDAN, co-author of the weekly column Scramble for the
Ball and NFC East correspondent for Four Downs, is a Giants fan from Queens, where he lives with his wife and their pet tortoise, Torty. Al is a third-year student at St. John's University School of Law, a member of the St. John's Law Review and the Entertainment and Sports Law Society. On Sundays, you can usually find Al wearing his #7 Steve Beurlein Jacksonville Jaguars jersey that he bought for $7.50 on Ebay. When told that someone owned a Steve Beurelein Jacksonville Jaguars jersey, Steve Beurelein reportedly said, "He must have moved pretty quickly to get that one." (Really. A friend of Al's actually told Beurelein about the jersey.)
|He's better known as an award-winning baseball columnist, but like Bo Jackson, WILL CARROLL has chosen to apply his talents to the gridiron game as well. His weekly FO column The Black and Blue Report, like his Under the Knife column for our partners at BaseballProspectus.com, examines injuries from a medical perspective to figure out not just when a player will return but why and at what strength. Will is the author of two books, Saving The Pitcher and The Juice: The Real Story of Baseball's Drug Problems, and lives in Indianapolis. You can also check out his personal weblog.|
|VIN GAURI is a Chicago lawyer and co-writer of the weekly
college football picks column Seventh Day Adventure. A diehard Cleveland Browns fan until Art
Modell ripped his heart out and stomped on it in 1995, he has since
devoted his full attention to his alma mater, the Michigan Wolverines.
This is fairly obvious to his employers when they look at his billable
hours. When the Browns returned in 1999, Vin wrote each NFL team,
offering his loyalty to the highest bidder. The Browns re-secured his
loyalty by merely sending him a highlight video of the franchise's
greatest moments. Yep, that's the best swag he was offered.
|NED MACEY has followed the world of sports from his childhood
home of Indianapolis to Philadelphia, Detroit, Australia, and beyond. Ned
graduated from Haverford College in 2002 following an illustrious
college pitching career where he starred predominantly as a middle
reliever. While his personal weblog Man
of Leisure Sports is still alive, his personal life as a man of leisure ends this fall as he begins his first year at University of Michigan Law School. On most Sundays during the season he can be
found wearing a Marvin Harrison jersey and lamenting the NFL's need to
broadcast Lions games in Michigan while his wife checks to see how many
times her true love Marc Bulger has been sacked. Ned covers the AFC South for our
feature Four Downs and writes a weekly column on the upset of the week.
| Long Island native VIVEK RAMGOPAL partners with Al Bogdan for
our column Scramble for the Ball. The duo worked together in the mid-90s and even gained
recognition from Marv Albert, which is something they do not really talk
about much anymore in the post-biting era. A telling sign of
multiple-personality disorder, Vivek somehow claims to be both a Jets and
Giants fan. He roots for preseason ties and gets very confused when
you mention that Buffalo is also in New York. Vivek now resides in the Washington
area after stops in Boston and New York. Like a good New Yorker, he hopes
to work his way down the eastern seaboard to Florida by the time heÃs
|After a failed collegiate career as a mediocre middle
infielder at a mediocre baseball school, RYAN WILSON found it easier to write mean things about people than
to have them written about him. He's a big-time
Steelers fan who was rumored to have given his wife an
autographed picture of Hines Ward as a birthday gift
even though she didn't watch football at the time.
Ryan currently lives in D.C. and when he's not
"working for the man" he has his own
weblog devoted to his
strange combination of favorite teams: the UNC Tarheels,
the Boston Red Sox and the aforementioned Pittsburgh Steelers. He's the main man
behind our Extra Points weblog and covers the AFC North for Four
|IMAGE TO COME||In between classes at University of Texas School of Law, TIM GERHEIM fulfills his new role of assistant grand poobah of layout and chief grammar inspector for Football Outsiders. We had to find something for him to do after he wrote the Houston and San Diego chapters in Pro Football Prospectus 2005. Tim is also finishing up a master's degree in sport management (also from University of Texas) and interned this summer with the NFL Players Association. Like many FO writers, his undergraduate degree comes from Brown University.|
GAME CHARTING COORDINATOR
|IMAGE TO COME||
Born a Bostonian, but now a resident of New York City, BILL MOORE is a convertible arbitrageur by day and a
frustrated football statistics data miner by night. His dream is to find the
equation that links football economics and performance. Bill graduated from sports powerhouse Babson College, which, like Ned Macey's alma mater Haverford, is undefeated in football. Suddenly finding
himself with plenty of free time last spring when his company closed, Bill
helped organize data for the player comments in our book Pro Football Prospectus 2005. He currently coordinates our newly developed Game Charting Project. On Sundays, Bill can be found wearing his #54 Tedy
Bruschi jersey and hoping one of his two daughters will don their
out-dated Bledsoe jerseys and join him. Although his probation period of
now 10 years is clean, his wife has still not completely forgiven him for
kicking a hole in their couch during the 1996 Super Bowl.
Atlanta-based creative director BENJY ROSE is somehow fitting in the time to design and develop Football Outsiders between his regular
responsibilities as proprietor of design agency B:COMPLEX
Creative, keyboardist for a classic/modern rock band, and his responsibilities as dad to two kids and ignorer of two dogs. Benjy is a rabid Jets fan, and is extremely proud that Abby learned her J-E-T-Ss just after her ABCs. He digs his bandwagon-jumping
#10 Chad Pennington jersey, but longs for a #24 Freeman McNeil or #85 Wesley Walker kelly green classic.
WEBSITE DESIGN AND PROGRAMMING
|As a one-time minor league trainer in the Florida Marlins system, PAT
LAVERTY can actually explain the difference between an anterior cruciate
ligament, a posterior cruciate ligament, and that other cruciate ligament,
you know, the one that starts with "M." Now he works in the computer department at Brown University right across the street from Peter King's favorite Starbucks! His responsibilities at
Football Outsiders include article layout, working on the weblog, and
programming most of our contest code. Pat's jersey of choice is the classic Chicago Bears #9 Jim McMahon.
|Code Guru and Honorary Outsider BOB SAWYER of Built for the Future is the
creator of Public Address, the content management/blog system previously
used at Football Outsiders, and also worked with Benjy to create and program our
new design. Bob knows just
enough about football to know that if he watches the SuperBowl with his
football-loving wife, he'll get to see some really great ads; he also
typically roots for the underdog during the game. He resides somewhere in
the suburban sprawl north of Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, two kids,
two cats, and a silly mongrel of a dog. Bob used to dream of being a rock
star; now he merely dreams of sleep.
|Graphic designer and freelance cartoonist JASON BEATTIE awaits
the return of the XFL so that he can repeat as XFL fantasy football champion.
Rashaan Sheehee is impressive. Jason lives in Fort Collins, Colorado,
and enjoys Ed McCaffrey brand spicy mustard on game days while sporting
a #30 Terrell Davis jersey. He was one of the world's greatest Simpsons
experts even before Max Scorpio bought the Denver Broncos for Homer.
as well as the weekly cartoon that shows up in various places (usually the
Comic World website.
Drive stats provided by Jim Armstrong
Regular strategy analysis provided by William Krasker
Former contributors: Ian Dembsky, Fritz Holznagel, Bruce Allen
Additional programming on statistical tools: John
Additional help with statistical projects: Melissa Cain, Ryan Maxwell