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13 Oct 2006

The Game Charters Speak

compiled by Aaron Schatz

This week, we give Mike Tanier a well-deserved week off and turn Too Deep Zone over to our game charters. As most of you know, this is the second year of our project where a group of volunteers (and FO staffers as well) charts every game of the season to track things that the play-by-play does not track, and create new statistics. Occasionally you'll see these stats during the season -- for example, in Any Given Sunday this week -- but the turnaround time is slow, so our database is usually behind the actual games by a couple weeks.

But we don't need the database to learn something from the game charting project, because all that tape-watching turns us into scouts as much as statisticians. We asked a few of our game charters to share their thoughts on the games and teams they've charted so far this season. The comments below represent their opinions, not mine or those of anyone else at FO. They reflect the teams these charters track, so all 32 teams are not represented. But if you want to know not just which teams are winning, but why, the insights are quite interesting.

Unrelated note: I've received numerous e-mails about the offensive line and defensive line pages. The macro that producers the HTML is broken and I haven't had time to update them manually this week, but I will try to do so later today. Thanks for understanding.

Late note: Sorry about the mistake that caused me to lose the comments of some charters. Three more charters have been added below.

Sergio Becerril

The Houston offense, in the game I charted against the Dolphins, uses quite a lot of I-formation, three-receiver sets. They usually pass from this set, which set up some good runs later in the game.

Miami has a lot of problems with run blocking, mostly on the right side of the line. Pass blocking is actually quite average, though Culpepper does tend to exacerbate any deficiencies. Harrington pretty much hid them, though I'd say they line did give him about the same time as they gave Culpepper. Run blocking, though ... as I said, there are issues. Right guard is a huge problem right now, but it's not the only one; Jeno James has been faltering far more than he did last year. On the other hand, L.J. Shelton is a poor pass blocker at the left tackle position, but run blocks pretty well.

Culpepper's accuracy dooms him. Against the Titans, they showed differences between his release in Minnesota pre-injury and now, and that might be the reason, but it's just appalling. In his second and third games, he was awful, constantly hitting the receivers' feet, rather than their hands. He improved somewhat in the Texans game, but then he got benched.

Ronnie Brown is, contrary to popular opinion, a beast. Miami fans complain that he hesitates and dances around way too much, instead of hitting the hole quickly, but it's not like the line is giving him that option. I can honestly say 60 percent of the yards he's gotten so far belong to him, and solely to him. He will be a very effective back, once he has, you know, a line...

Dave DuPlantis

One thing I've noticed from doing 1.5 Green Bay games is a strange formation where the Packers take a standard 3-WR 1-RB 1-TE shotgun set, but instead of having the tight end on the line, they line him up as an H-back/fullback, usually directly in front of the running back.

What does this say to me? Even with one of the quickest releases in the game at quarterback, out of the shotgun, with a running back in the backfield to block, they still need another person in the backfield to block, and he has to be in the pocket, because he won't be able to help out on the outside or lined up next to the quarterback.

Kwame Flaherty

The Bills' left side -- tackle Mike Gandy and guard Tutan Reyes -- does a very good job in the running game.

While the secondary has underachieved so far, Giants strong safety Gibril Wilson has been active and very good against the run.

He's still a play maker and is excellent in pursuit but Jets LB Jonathan Vilma is jumping around blocks at times and has been getting pounded when the Jets play 3-4.

Tom Gower

The Titans have three running backs who could start in Chris Brown, Travis Henry, and LenDale White. The problem is that none of them deserves to. I'd expect to see more of White as the season progresses, simply because there's a not unreasonable expectation he might get better, while Brown and Henry are known, mediocre qualities.

Michael Roos moved from right tackle to left tackle for the Titans this year, and has quietly been pretty effective. With starting guard Zach Piller out, Jacob Bell moved to guard from right tackle and second-year man David Stewart replaced him. Having a starter get hurt isn't supposed to improve two positions, but Bell's a better guard than tackle. The other guard, Benji Olson, has been pretty mediocre this year.

Albert Haynesworth's 5-game suspension is well-deserved, but the Titans run defense will really miss him. He's by far their best run-stuffing lineman, even if he seems to take plays off. Kyle Vanden Bosch is a high-motor guy at defensive end and a good player, but can be overpowered at the point of attack. The rest of the line has been underwhelming, and the next time Travis LaBoy keeps contain could be the first. Last year in Brad Kassell, the Titans had an middle linebacker who was pretty bad defending the pass but was a stout run defender. In converted OLB Peter Sirmon, the Titans have an middle linebacker who's a mediocre pass defender and a mediocre run stopper. David Thornton was a big free agent acquisition, but he's been just another guy rather than an immediate impact player. Ketih Bulluck is still really good, but he's also inconsistent. He seems disheartened by some of the players around him and tries to take on too much. I still think he's the heir to Derrick Brooks as the NFL's best weakside linebacker, but he needs a pick-me-up or he'll end up in the Hall of the Very Good instead of the Hall of Fame.

I think Pac-Man Jones would love to play against T.O. every week. He's better against the physical receivers than he is against burners. He's still learning, like when Terry Glenn faked him out and beat him for a touchdown in Week 4, but he's already very good. And Pac-Man looks even better when you compare him to Reynaldo Hill on the other side. I don't think Hill's made a single good play in the passing game yet this year. Thankfully, he has Lamont Thompson to keep him company in the Land of the Secondary Toast. Frankly, unless the Titans can learn how to hide Hill and Thompson, they might not ever stop anybody. Chris Hope has been the Titans' best free agent acquisition. He sometimes takes a bad angle in run support, but he looks like he belongs on the same field as Pac-Man and not Hill and Thompson.

Adam Gretz

On the plays I've charted, I've counted six dropped balls by Steelers receivers: three by Nate Washington, two by Santonio Holmes, and one by Cedric Wilson. The alarming thing about six drops? Three of them came on third downs. A fourth one came in the end zone late in the Cincinnati game on a drive where the Steelers had to end up settling for a field goal. Ben Roethlisberger has been rough, but his receivers aren't helping him. In defense of Holmes though, one of those "drops" came on a play where Keiwan Ratliff took his legs out from under him basically flipped him over heels over head. It was vicious.

Hines Ward looks like he's on the decline something fierce. It looks like he lost the half step he couldn't afford to lose and it's killing him. Some might say it's the hamstring, but I say the hamstring's been lingering for over a year now. Personally, I think his reckless play over the years (which is what made him the great player he was) is starting to catch up with him, combined with the fact he's now 30 years old.

The best defensive back I've seen is Jacksonville's Rashean Mathis. I charted one half of Jacksonville-Pittsburgh, and the four passes the Steelers threw at him went: broken up, broken up, intercepted, intercepted. Cincinnati's Jonathan Joseph was no slouch in his game either. I counted seven passes where he was the closest defender, and only three of them were completed.

Even though Santonio Holmes hasn't played a large role in the Steelers passing game yet, he has made two rather heads-up plays on punt returns. Twice this year I've seen him signal for a fair catch inside his own 10-yard line, and then absolutely light up opposing teams' gunners as they attempted to down the ball. He did it once in Jacksonville and once against Cincinnati. These aren't really earth shattering plays in the grand scheme of things, but both saved the Steelers 17-19 yards of field position. Hey, it's a start for the kid.

All that talk about the Steelers run defense suffering because of the loss of Kimo von Oelhoffen? Balderdash. Brett Kiesel has been superb. He's about 10 pounds lighter, a lot faster, and seems to be just as strong. He's a man, an animal, and a manimal all rolled into one.

Shawn Krest

Bills quarterback J.P. Losman has shown marked improvement in his second year as a starter. Through the first quarter of the season, he has displayed Kelly Holcomb-like accuracy, but unlike Holcomb, he's been completing the ball down the field. Draft day comparisons to Brett Favre may turn out to have some accuracy. They way he's been zipping the ball through porthole-sized windows in double coverage certainly looks a bit like the Green Bay gambler. Coaches usually provide young quarterbacks with more protection, but Losman seems to thrive when he has more options out running routes. His performance by just about any measure (yards per play, quarterback rating, completion rate) is better with three and four wide receivers than with multiple tight ends and fullbacks staying in to block. Part of that could be due to Losman's scrambling ability making extra blockers less important than a more stationary target. After being sacked for a safety in Week 1, he matter-of-factly explained that he ducked the first two guys but just didn't see the third. Another reason could be that Buffalo's tight end depth (Kevin Everett, Ryan Neufeld) isn't as strong as their third and fourth receivers (Josh Reed, Roscoe Parrish).

Mike Kurtz

Chicago is in the strange position of having the receivers (they of the dropped passes last year) make the quarterback look good. Grossman reminds me of Manning the Younger last year; he's simply been getting lucky with interceptions. In the first half of the Minnesota game, there were two interceptions outright dropped, one that was a toss-up, and another that actually was caught, but called back for a mostly unrelated defensive pass interference.

However, the similarity between Manning and Grossman ends there. While Manning is getting lucky on deep routes, Grossman's completion percentage on long passes will probably stay the same; he has some skill keeping the ball right on the edge of the field, and will probably keep it from being intercepted too much. His real problems are with pressure and mid-range routes, especially to the sidelines. He's dangerously inaccurate (although he leads pretty well) over the middle, and he doesn't throw timing routes to the sides with enough velocity. Sometimes he'll telegraph his throws and give the safety (if playing close) a jump. Throws of this sort actually comprised all four of the would-be interceptions I mentioned above, and it's been a consistent problem. I would say he needs to work on his decision-making, but he seems to have the Favre mentality, and that doesn't seem to leave players as they progress.

The big reason for the Chicago offensive renaissance is Bernard Berrian downfield. Muhsin Muhammad continues to be overrated, but Berrian is fantastic. Part of this is that no team has done a decent job of covering him; I've seen bizzare things, from cornerbacks giving 10-15 (yes, 15) yard cushions to safeties not being assigned to roll to his side of the field for help up top. Why are these problems? While Muhammad has the "smoke" option in the offense, most other plays seem to involve a Berrian option: a five-yard hook for soft coverage, and a streak for close coverage. I included an image to show what I'm bad at explaining: most of the problems arise when they put Muhammad in the slot, either on Berrian's side or on the opposite side. While Muhammad does occasionally run streaks, he generally is at his best on a cross or flat accross the middle, so they use him in those routes (and consequently in the slot) very often.

Detroit tried to stuff Berrian at the line. This was a disaster, because while Dre' Bly could shut down Muhammad, Berrian got a lot of free space -- he was wide open all the time, the safety not noticing until too late. The Vikings gave way too much cushion, and the Bears either called or audibled to the hook option. The Vikings avoided the huge play, but they gave away far more then they had to. Interestingly, a good way to deal with this scheme is to run either a Cover 2 or a short zone/zone blitz: When the Lions weren't trying to stuff him, this is what they did. The only problem is their safety is terrible and let Berrian get behind him.

I think a real problem is that the Bears have simply played inexperienced/ bad defenses. The Vikings, hardly Pittsburgh, did a good defensive job even with some glaring coverage errors.

I've been seeing these things during the games and perhaps the constant talk about a guaranteed Super Bowl victory around the town has made me think a little bit much about precisely why I don't like the Bears nearly as much as the world seems to.

Sean McCormick

The Jets run defense is a disaster right now, and the biggest problem is the Bermuda Triangle operating between Kimo von Oelhoffen, Dewayne Robertson and Jonathan Vilma. Von Oelhoffen has a reputation for being a stout run defender, but he has been dreadful this year. Kimo routinely gets pushed off the line of scrimmage and frequently ends up on the ground. Even when he stays upright, he often overruns plays, allowing runners to cutback into the hole he has left. Robertson has made some good plays in the backfield, but he frequently is a step late in closing the hole. As for Vilma, he has been getting neutralized on a regular basis by blockers who get through to the second level. Vilma just doesn't have the size to fill the hole, and he hasn't been able to slip blocks in time to stop runners for acceptable gains.

What is most notable about the Jets run defense is that teams have been completely unashamed to telegraph their intention to run. New England had three tight ends on the field for over half of their offensive snaps, and Buffalo fielded an I-heavy set with two tight ends and a fullback for a similar percentage of offensive plays. Whenever the Jets stay in their base 3-4, teams have simply committed extra blockers to tying up the OLBs and have had their choice of isolations on the ILBs.

Vilma's struggles have extended to the passing game as well. He was the primary zone defender when Roscoe Parrish turned a 5-yard hot read into a 45-yard touchdown. He picked up a gratuitous pass interference while covering Willis McGahee in the flat when Buffalo was backed up in second-and-20 deep in their own end. The Patriots isolated Vilma out wide against Kevin Faulk on third-and-5 and ran a simple stop route; Vilma was so busy backpedaling that he gave up the marker to Faulk without a fight. That conversion allowed New England to run another three minutes off the clock at the end of the game. With Vilma struggling so much on the inside, it's surprising that the team hasn't tried using him more as a blitzer. Victor Hobson, however, seems to have locked up that role.

Joe Petrizzi

Running backs were a blocking problem on both sides in the Week 2 New England-New York Jets game. Laurence Maroney looked awful in blitz pickup when the Jets brought linebackers from the outside on both sides of the line in the fourth quarter. Maroney danced around in front of Tom Brady without picking up either of them, though Brady completed a six-yard pass on the play. Maroney is getting a lot of "real deal" pub in fantasy circles, but he'll have to protect the QB better if he wants to be a full time back.

Jets fullback B.J. Askew was a problem as well. He whiffed on two blocks that led directly to lost yardage. First, the Jets noticed how Jarvis Green kept beating D'Brickashaw Ferguson to the inside and moved Askew over to help -- but Askew whiffed on Green, who forced Chad Pennington into Vince Wilfork for a sack. The second situation was a running play to the left end where Askew dove at Roosevelt Colvin's legs instead of engaging him. Colvin jumped over Askew and disrupted the play, which ended up going for a three-yard loss.

The Eagles drop their defensive ends into coverage on a lot of their blitzes. Many of their zone blitz packages consist of overloading one side of the line with a linebacker and a safety, then dropping the end on the other side of the line into coverage. The man coverage exists on the side to the blitz because there are still four defenders in zone coverage on the other side. I noticed a few times that the blitzing safeties are coached to jump up and block the pass, so it's a tough pass even if the quarterback recognizes the scheme and checks down to the receiver in single coverage. One route I noticed that was effective against this blitzing scheme is to line up a tight end on the non-blitzing side, and have him run a crossing route with a QB rollout towards the blitzing side. This exposes MLB Jeremiah Trotter, who is responsible for that short zone since the safety and outside linebacker on that side are both blitzing. Running the same route to clear Trotter and then handing off on a draw play to the non-blitzing side also might have worked.

Safeties beware! For a converted quarterback, Michael Robinson has tremendous power at halfback. He took on Brian Dawkins at the goal line and literally ran him over, leaving Dawkins with a concussion and knocking him out for the game. Compare this run against Minnesota in 2005 with his TD run against the Eagles.

Garth Sears

Chiefs' offensive coordinator Mike Solari needs to figure out how to mix things up in the running game. He's making the runs too predictable and isn't helping out Larry Johnson much. On the other hand, Solari's watered-down pass playbook with Damon Huard works better than his souped-up playbook with Trent Green. Keep the dumb routes alive, Mike!

As usual, Chiefs' defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham likes blitzing roughly every other down (as well as every single third down) and it's still causing the Chiefs to get burned by long gains. Let Tamba Hali and Jared Allen get to the quarterback and keep your decent second level and much improved third level back at home.

Everybody says the Chiefs' offensive line has really weakened since last year, losing Willie Roaf and John Welbourne, but I think the current line pass blocks very well, and the run blocking isn't too far behind. It's not the 2003 Chiefs, but it's good. The Chiefs don't miss fullback Tony Richardson ... until they get to the goal line.

Bryan Tang

The Bears' defensive line has excellent depth. In addition to recognized names like Tommie Harris, Adewale Ogunleye, and Tank Johnson, they've received solid contribution from DE Alex Brown, and 5th Rd draft pick DE Mark Anderson. Anderson has received the benefit of attention focused on containing Harris and Ogunleye, but to his credit he's making the plays.

Devin Hester has problems catching the ball on returns. This has not had a negative impact yet, but it just seems like it will at some point.

Injuries in the secondary and poor tackling are the culprits for the Colts' poor defensive showing. The defensive linemen are often out of position and reaching for tackles, the defensive backs often dive to knock down opponents rather than wrapping up for sure tackles. One bright spot has been the play of rookie safety Antoine Bethea, he is a playmaker in the mode of safety Bob Sanders (when Sanders is healthy and able to play, which is rare).

Terence Wilkins on returns is a significant upgrade on special teams. Adam Vinatieri looked good when he played, but his absence due to injuries somewhat justifies New England's decision.

Peyton Manning has improved in passing on the run to elude the pass rush, which has been a significant factor in converting critical third downs. But Marvin Harrison's ability to make catches has declined slightly. He drops balls more frequently, and he does not seem able to reel in the difficult catches that used to be the norm for him.

Vince Verhei

The unreported injury story of the early season is the decimation of Seattle's tight end chart. With Jerramy Stevens and Itula Mili both missing big chunks of playing time, the Seahawks are virtually a run-and-shoot team. Of the four halves I've charted, the Hawks have run about 150 plays and used no tight ends on about 70 snaps, almost half the time. They've actually used zero tight ends more than they've used one tight end. This includes the second half against the Giants, all of which Seattle spent trying to run out the clock. I think this is a big reason Shaun Alexander got off to a slow start. (Stevens returns this week.)

The question coming into the season was how Floyd Womack would fill in for Steve Hutchinson. The answer is "poorly." He allowed at least one sack or hurry in each of the three games he started (and remember, I only charted one half of each game). He fared better in run blocking; on runs to the left, in those three games, Seattle averaged 4.8 yards per carry, gaining four yards or more on 14 of 27 carries. With Womack injured, Chris Spencer started at left guard against Chicago. He allowed a sack, and on four carries to the left the team averaged just 3.0 yards per carry (not counting a 19-yard scramble by Matt Hasselbeck).

The Seahawks' safeties are playing great in pass coverage (passes with safeties as primary defenders are complete just 33.3 percent of the time, averaging 4.6 Yd/Att) and the linebackers are playing well (64.3 percent, 7.1 Yd/Att), but the cornerbacks are getting killed (76.1, 9.4). Among Seattle's top 3 cornerbacks, Kelly Herndon is playing best, and he's getting burned for 70.6 percent and 8.2 Yd/Att. These numbers are no doubt skewed by the second half of the Giants game, but the Bears burned them with the deep ball as well.

Posted by: Guest on 13 Oct 2006

83 comments, Last at 17 Oct 2006, 2:43pm by Wanker79

Comments

1
by Waverly (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 3:13pm

Let me be the first to say that I really like diagrams. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all.

2
by John (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 3:15pm

I had become concerned with the Chief's running game. Your offensive line statistics show that the Tackle play, that had given the Chief's running game such vitality in previous years, has disappeared altogether. I am wondering what Sears is seeing that suggests that there can be greater imaginative running plays?

3
by cabbage (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 3:16pm

I agree with the charter on Hester. He's scared me and unless his hands were just a case of rookie nerves, I have to think the first loss of the year will come from a couple of Grossman mistakes and a Hester fumble deep in Bears territory.

4
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 3:18pm

Aaron: did you get comments just from email, or did you use input from the comment box from the link sent out to charters? I'm just trying to figure out if you didn't use my comments, or if you didn't get them.

5
by Soulless Merchant of Fear (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 3:19pm

Ye gods, I love this stuff.

And as a Bills fan who can't see the games, the Losman report is great news. I was afraid of Kyle Boller Part Deux. Whoo-hah!

6
by Sean (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 3:21pm

Awaiting pounce of incensed Bears fans...wait for it...wait for it...

7
by Sean (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 3:22pm

Re 4: Ditto.

8
by admin :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 3:33pm

Eek, I only used comments sent by e-mail. If you did comments otherwise, copy them over to an e-mail, send to me, and I'll add them here this afternoon. Sorry about that.

9
by ABW (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 3:33pm

Great stuff.

What's a "smoke" option? I'm not familiar with that term.

10
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 3:42pm

#1:

Yes yes yes. Some fantastic stuff here. More diagrams, please!

11
by James C (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 3:46pm

OK Bears fan taking the bait.

I for one don't care if Grossman isn't the second coming of Favre/Marino/Montana because even if he is only Rex Grossman he is by far the best quarterback that I personally have ever seen in a Bears jersey. He wouldn't be the first QB lacking in game time to take risks with the football. I think he will settle down, mainly because he seems to be calmer as the game goes on which would indicate a correlation with comfort level. I will admit to the throwing off the back foot habit he seems so attached to does cause my testicles to temporarily retract into my body with fear while I wait to see where the ball will come down.

12
by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 4:04pm

#6

No pounce from this Bears fan, Sean. I'm not sure how good our offense is either. Grossman has gotten very lucky with dropped INT's, and his Tecmo Bowl dropbacks when he gets pressure are going to give me a heart attack. I'd like to see them roll him out some, so that he can get away from the pressure without inviting big losses.

I'm pretty sure the D is as good as advertised, though.

13
by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 4:10pm

Like I said in another thread, as a Bears fan Grossman terrifies me, because he's getting so absurdly lucky doing the wrong things. This article illustrates precisely what he's doing wrong and how he's getting lucky. But that's okay; the defense is still crazy good and Grossman is still a huge upgrade from whatever was hiding in Orton's neckbeard. Good diagram of why Berrian has been so, so open so many times. I'd be curious to see how the Bills played him too, given that he got a ton of yards on what looked like bump&run coverage.

#9: a smoke option is essentially 'if you see man coverage, go long'.

14
by ABW (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 4:17pm

Thanks Kal. That's kind of what I figured, but I wasn't sure.

Once again, I'll say how much I like this tape-breakdown driven analysis, especially when it gets combined with the stats to tell us things like which Seattle cornerback is playing best. Thanks to FO and the charting volunteers.

15
by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 4:22pm

Err, never mind, #14. The smoke option isn't a go route - it's when you throw immediately to that receiver when they're not covered or the CB is off them heavily. Steve Smith does smoke options all the time.

Sorry for the problem; brain fart.

16
by Jason (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 4:24pm

Have any Bears fans been overboard on defending any particular area of the team or the assertion they are already SB bound or even in line for a perfect season? I don't think so. Almost all that nonsense is from media. Most Bears fans are understandably happy, but at the same time reasonable enough to see that while things have gone well, they haven't been perfect. They'll come out when you say Grossman's no more than Eli because that's simply an overreaction. He hasn't played perfectly and if you follow the team, you'd know he's the first to admit it. To say he'll never be anything more than a backpedalling, lucky slinger is narrow minded.

And I'll defend Hester, too. He had one game where he was too aggressive and out of control. Sue him. The next week, he practiced catching 200 punts, probably got a big ''let's be a little more careful'' scolding, and came out and handled the punt returns much better. So, what's the concensus going forward? He's going to continue muffing punts as he did in one game or that he's actually capable of learning and improving and that won't happen again? It's the nitpicking overreaction that Bears fans have been defending if anything. The legimate concerns about where they can improve are the first things out of our own mouths.

17
by admin :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 4:39pm

Three more charters now added above, including Tom and Sean from comments 4 and 7.

18
by dbt (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 4:43pm

Re: #13.

Fortunately, I'm pretty sure he's getting his ass handed to him in film session; he seemed pretty sheepish discussing one of his touchdown passes (I think it was the 15 yarder to Rashied Davis early in the Buffalo game) and Kreutz said the next day it was the wrong read though he wouldn't say how.

19
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 4:53pm

The comments by Adam Gretz on the Steelers receivers illustrate how difficult it can be to classify a dropped pass versus a pass defensed.

Regarding the drop in the endzone versus Cincy by Nate Washington: I agree that he didn't catch the ball cleanly initially, but he was hit pretty well by Madieu Williams a split second after the ball touched his hands. Even if he had 'caught' it cleanly the ball might have come out on the hit, before he had established possession. Conversely, if there'd been no defender around him I'm pretty sure he would have managed to make the catch despite the initial juggle. I almost want to call this play half a drop and half a pass defensed.

And on the drop by Holmes you acknowledge that there was pretty good contact from Ratliff, although, again, Holmes certainly could have caught it.

I think we need to distinguish between these kinds of plays and plays where there is literally no defender within three yards of the receiver and he drops it after it hits him straight in the chest. On the plays mentioned above the defenders deserve some credit for the incompletion.

20
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 4:54pm

Excellent stuff guys.

Keep it up!

21
by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 4:54pm

I am always pleased whenever Microsoft Paint gets worked into a review.

I just want to also thank all the Game Charting volunteers - this information is awesome and helps out in so many different ways.

22
by manning,eli (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 4:55pm

im have a 97 qb rating and 67 percent completion percentage and you guys are still ragging on me. what gives

23
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 5:08pm

The best part about that youtube link to Robinson running over Brian Dawkins was that the hit where Dawkins almost killed Mike Vick in the playoff a couple years ago was in the "Related" menu. I had forgotten the the TD was called back because of an offensive hold during Vick's scramble. I'm not sure what was funnier, that or the shot towards the end of the clip of Doug Johnson warming up. LOL

24
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 5:27pm

Eh, I was on a conference call for work and emailed Aaron before I noticed he posted my earlier observations. Note that the Titans observations all came from before the game against the Colts. Updating those slightly, Michael Roos had a hold and two false starts, but held Dwight Freeney off the scoresheet (no tackles even), and David Thornton had clearly his best game of the year and possibly his first good game. And, as God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly I'll call #32 on the Titans "Pacman" as long as he calls himself "Pacman" and Aaron can keep changing it to "Pac-Man."

25
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 5:35pm

I personally think the 49ers need to get Robinson out in space more - he looked very good in preseason receiving, although granted it was in the second halves of games. But Robinson's a converted quarterback - most of his runs in college consisted of making one or two people miss (usually by running them over), rather than squirting through a crowd.

Plus he's a former wide receiver, so he's got hands, too. He's not done too bad receiving during the year - it's only an average of 4 yards a carry, but that's due to one of them being a blown up screen.

26
by brasilbear (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 5:45pm

#24 Nice WKRP reference. I use that line all the time when I'm teaching and the kids just stare at me. I need to find that clip somewhere.

I'm not gonna defend Grossman either. He has been lucky, I just want him to stay healthy for 16 games.

27
by Andrew (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 6:17pm

manning, eli:

im have a 97 qb rating and 67 percent completion percentage and you guys are still ragging on me. what gives

Because, dude, face it - you suck outside of playing street-ball against the prevent defense in the 4th Quarter.

EM in 1Q - 12 of 22, 3 SACK, 2INT, 1 TD
2Q - 25 of 37, 2 SACK, 1 GROUNDING, 1 FUMBLE, 1 INT, 1 TD
3Q - 18 of 26, 1 SACK, 1 FUMBLE, 1 GROUNDING, 2 TD
4Q - 38 of 51, 2 INT, 4 TD
OT - 8 of 8, 2 SACK, 1 FUMBLE, 1 TD

46% of your completions, 55% of your TD's are in the 4th Quarter and Overtime.

OTOH, 6 of 8 Sacks, 2 of 3 Fumbles, both Grounding penalties, and 3 of 5 Interceptions have been in the 1st 3 quarters.

Not a recipe for success.

28
by coltrane23 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 6:22pm

I love hearing from the guys who are actually charting these games. I agree with Vince's points re: Seattle, since that's the team I see (and root for) every week.

The fact that Kelly Herndon grades out statistically as Seattle's best CB says all you need to know about Seattle's secondary. It's the one glaring weakness I could see going into the season, and it has played out thus so far. The front 7 can cover for them in some games by creating pressure, but if the pressure doesn't get there that D is toast (a la San Diego). What concerns me long-term is that Trufant seems to have regressed, and Kelly Jennings has been unable to wrest the starting position from Herndon.

Chris Spencer is definitely an upgrade over Womack--it was clear as soon as the substitution was made in the Arizona game that the line suddenly became stronger. I would imagine playing LG also has the ancillary benefit of playing alongside Tobeck, which will help in his tutelage as he becomes Seattle's future at C. He's no Hutch, but he's no Pork Chop, either.

29
by Kyle (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 6:31pm

Amusingly enough, Eli Manning is still posting a 67% completion percentage or higher in the 2nd and 3rd Quarter, and he had only one turnover compared to 3 touchdowns in the 2nd and 3rd quarter as well. Two fumbles, yes, but neither fumble was lost.

His first quarter has been disastrous, even with the Seattle performance largely being to blame, its no excuse. Yet his 2nd-4th quarter performance seems to be just damn fine.

To present it another way:

1Q - 12 of 22, 54%, 3 SACK, 1 TD, 2 INT
2Q & 3Q - 43 of 63, 68%, 3 SACK, 2 GROUNDING, 2 FUMBLE (0 LOST), 3 TD, 1 INT
4Q - 38 of 51, 74%, 4 TD, 2 INT
OT - 8 of 8, 2 SACK, 1 FUMBLE, 1 TD

And let us not forget the fact that EIGHT of NINE sacks came against the Philadelphia Eagles, where the sacks were a combination of terrible tackle play, a potent pass rush, and Eli Manning.

Props to Andrew for horribly misinterpreting statistics in a vain attempt to dogpile on Eli. Its so pathetic how so many people want to paint Eli as a bad quarterback, and yet their "defense" is that "well everyone in the media loves him!" when, in fact, you normally hear the negatives about Eli from sportscasters and the like.

30
by Kyle (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 6:33pm

I caught a mistake I made, Eli did in fact lose one fumble in the 3rd quarter on opening night against the Colts, which was the product of Eli and Tiki not properly communicating. Of course this is no excuse, this is just me giving the fumble context by stating that its both guys' fault.

31
by Jody (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 6:38pm

great job, charters. I also like the chart, with the accompanying explanation, because I am someone who doesn't know many of the terms for the routes and formations. I would love to be involved in charting baseball games, somoene would set one up like FO has done.
re #27, that sounds remarkably similar to David Carr of the last few seasons. Go Texans!

32
by Marko (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 6:43pm

I completely agree with Jason in #16.

dbt: The play on which Grossman made the wrong read was the 15 yard TD pass to Rashied Davis. Grossman acknowledged it was a wrong read - he said he read blitz, when it wasn't a blitz. He still was able to put the ball exactly where it needed to be between two defenders.

One more thing about criticism of Grossman: Is he the only quarterback who is getting ripped by certain people here because of dropped interceptions? I'm pretty sure he isn't the only quarterback who has had potential interceptions dropped.

33
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 6:52pm

Re #32
I don't remember if it came up in AGS or not, but Vince Young had an underthrown deep ball that should've been intercepted but wasn't when the DB hit the other DB and forced him to drop it. The difference, I think, is that Young has been pretty mediocre on deep balls this year and that's not too surprising. Grossman, OTOH, has had a great deal of success throwing deep; the dropped interceptions, however, are indications that this success isn't necessarily as likely to continue as results thus far would indicate.

34
by James C (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 7:16pm

Is there any data in the charting on which defenders have dropped interceptions?

I have seen Nathan Vasher drop at least two this season after catching everything that came near him last year. Obviously this would greatly influence how he would grade out. Does anyone keep that kind of data?

35
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 7:47pm

Re #34
I've been noting it when I see it. The only one I remember from the time I was charting was Charger DB Drayton Florence dropping Kerry Collins' first pass in Week 2. I get the feeling it happens less often than you (collectively) think it does.

36
by paytonrules (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 7:59pm

How come Dr. Z's breakdowns never mention testicles?

Only at Football Outsiders - the comments!

37
by Boots Day (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 8:32pm

James C. (No. 11): Are you too young to have seen Jim McMahon?

38
by Marko (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 8:36pm

"I get the feeling it happens less often than you (collectively) think it does."

I disagree. Every week there are plenty of dropped interceptions. Of course, this is a subjective determination. But off the top of my head, I can think of several specific ones that stand out. For example, in the opening game of the season, Ike Taylor dropped a gimme pick in the end zone against the Dolphins. Darren Sharper dropped one against the Bears that was right in his hands. Nathan Vasher dropped two that James C mentioned. (I remember those independently of him. One was against Lord Favre in the first game, and the other one was last week when he slipped as the ball came to him.) There were multiple dropped interceptions in the Manning Bowl. I could go on, but you get the point.

39
by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 8:42pm

re: Angry Bears fans

I already got jumped in the DVOA thread. I think they're spent.

40
by James C (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 8:55pm

#37

The only game of Jim McMahon I have seen is my video of the Superbowl. So yes I am too young. I only remember as far back as Jim Harbaugh.

41
by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 9:32pm

#34: I mark dropped interceptions in the comment field. I don't think they get figured into any statistic, though, since they're just comments.

You are correct, however, that he's dropped a few. Not that many, and not enough to point him out in particular, but your comparison to last year is pretty apt.

#19: Both your examples would be "hit in motion" rather than "pass defenced." There are actually very few of those for non-crossing routes, after you pay attention to all the hits and notice how hard players get hit and still usually hold on to it.

42
by Vince (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 10:21pm

#19: Both your examples would be “hit in motion� rather than “pass defenced.� There are actually very few of those for non-crossing routes, after you pay attention to all the hits and notice how hard players get hit and still usually hold on to it.

Whoops. I've been using "pass defensed" for any incompletion caused by a defender making contact with the ball or the receiver.

43
by Andrew (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 10:34pm

Kyle:

Giants-Opponents scores by quarter:

Q1 7-34
Q2 19-37
Q3 14-14
Q4 54-10
OT 6-0

The results of the first three quarters scream ineptitude at simply executing the game plan. You can blame the Q1 and Q2 scores on the defense, but where is Eli and the offense to counter what the defense is giving up?

And why is his completion percentage up? Because he is playing dink and dunk. He should be completing close to 70% of the passes he is throwing.

58 of 101 completed passing plays went for 10 yards or less. A number of the ones that went over were also on short passes.

When Eli has gone long (over 20 yards), its usually wildly incomplete. But when it isn't, its really hit or miss - 6 TD's on long balls, but also 3 INT's, and 2 fumbles from hanging Plaxico out to dry.

He just has no reliable touch with the ball once it is beyond a 10 yard throw.

I say this as someone who's watched every game Eli has played this year except the Seahawks game.

P.S. David Carr has completed 73% of his passes. But what good has it done the Texans? Similarly, Chad Pennington is up at 66% completion, Brunnel at 64%, Kurt Warner, Jon Kitna and Charlie Frye all at 63%. Is that helping their teams? There is more to winning football games and being a good QB than completing short passes.

44
by admin :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 10:58pm

Well, looks like I need to send out more charting clarifications ... actually, Vince is right and Fnor (sorry, man) is wrong. "Hit in Motion" is supposed to be for when the QUARTERBACK is hit in motion. You know, whacked in the arm, ball comes out at a weird angle instead of as he intended. That kind of thing. A pass where the defender impacts the catch by hitting the ball or the receiver is "Pass Defensed" and a pass where the receiver just drops the ball on his own or has it plunk off his hands is "Dropped" (unless it plunks off his hands because only Yao Ming could have made a clean catch, in which case it's "Overthrown").

45
by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 10/13/2006 - 11:42pm

Yeah, my bad. Sorry, everyone.

46
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 12:29am

So, the two plays I mentioned in post #19 should be "pass defensed" not "dropped"?

47
by Fnor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 1:41am

Yes. Although now that I've been corrected, I did suggest that we actually have a separate category for the receiver being hit.

48
by Brett (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 1:42am

I'm a Bear's fan and I appreciate the objective analysis. Rex has had a few boneheaded throws that should have been picked. Ron Turner, the Bear's Offensive Coordinator, has gone on record saying that Rex could easily have 8-10 interceptions. Against better teams, Rex will have to improve his decision making.

The only thing that angers me is the "constant talk of a guaranteed Super Bowl victory" comment. Where does a statement like that come from? Certainly not from any Bear's fans I know (and I know a lot). If anything, Bear's fans, after a string of early exits from the playoffs, are more cautiously optimistic than casual observers and the media.

One or two injuries, and the Bears could easily turn into that pumpkin I purchased over the weekend...

49
by Peter (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 2:04am

Y'know, why DOESN'T somebody get a 7' guy to play WR? Simmons recommended Stromile Swift, I figure someone like him, maybe Amare Stoudamire would be incredible WRs... of course bball players make more money, but surely there are 7' sort-of-fast guys who can't shoot out there...

50
by NY ex-pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 2:13am

Lots of interesting stuff -- thanks for all the work

re: #23, 25

I thought the Robinson run was even better in context since it was in the series right after Dawkins had stopped Gore on what, if memory serves, was 4 straight tries after SF had reached 1st and goal. The last time Dawkins forced the fumble that was returned for a TD. I also recall that on the next series, Robinson managed to knock linebacker Matt McCoy out of the game for a series or two. Yikes!

51
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 2:14am

I'm wondering if we shouldn't have WR Fault as an option and maybe get rid of Alligator Arms. What do you do when the WR just gives up on the route?

52
by Bobman (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 4:09am

Awesome. Many thanks for the labor and insights. It's like watching a game with Jaws... four weeks afterwards on tape delay. But without having to travel to Philly (or Camden, or wherever he calls his HQ).

53
by Dan (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 4:39am

#43 Andrew: In the new york times today they had a stat that eli is completing 61.1 percent of passes over 20 yards.

54
by Cid (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 6:11am

Angry Bears fan here.

I agree with the stuff about Rex. He makes some bad decisions under pressure, and has so far been (mostly) let off the hook by defenders. he HAS been inaccurate on medium routes.

I think I speak for most Bears fans when I say that we are surprised by the offense and have complete confidence in the D. So if you want to make Bears fans angry, you need to pick on Tommie Harris or Brian Urlacher, not on Rex Grossman.

Most of us haven't seen Grossman healthy for enough games to have any idea how good a QB he really is. We don't really know how well those hand transplants for Bernard or Muhsin are going to hold up, whether Cedric Benson will ever get on the field in a meaningful situation, or whether Thomas Jones is ever going to show us the explosiveness he had at times last season. We don't really know if Robbie Gould is going to keep hitting 45 yard field goals. He couldn't seem to hit anything over 40 yards last year. Maybe he bought a leg from the same place Berrian got the hands.

Even if the offense DOES come down to earth, where does that leave the Bears? 12-4 or 13-3? Even with an average offense they're a top 5-6 NFL team, and at worst the 2nd seed in the NFC playoffs.

55
by jurb (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 8:32am

The Bears’ defensive line has excellent depth. In addition to recognized names like Tommie Harris, Adewale Ogunleye, and Tank Johnson, they’ve received solid contribution from DE Alex Brown, and 5th Rd draft pick DE Mark Anderson. Anderson has received the benefit of attention focused on containing Harris and Ogunleye, but to his credit he’s making the plays.

I think you've got Pro Bowl DE Alex Brown and rotation DT Tank Johnson mixed up.

56
by Fnor (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 10:03am

#51: "Alligator arms" is just so darn fun, though.

57
by noah of the ark (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 12:28pm

Speaking of angering Bear fans, as nothing else seems to work, let me say that I remember McMahon as the anti-Jeff George. Lots of guts and confidence, but not much else. If he had played for a different team, he'd likely be remembered as the 80s Jake Delhomme or something. The real driving force behind those (that) Bear teams was the defense, the offensive line, and Walter Payton.

58
by gregg (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 1:03pm

This is great stuff guys. I would enjoy reading this as often as possible, even if it's not all about the current week. You don't see this anywhere else - thanks.

59
by James, London (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 1:04pm

This is great, great stuff.

Sergio, you and MDS seem to have a disagreement about the Miami O-line. This weeks EPC suggested that the Right side was better than the left both running and in pass protection, and that Vernon Carey was the best player on the line (gulp).

I've only seen the 'Fins once this year (vs Buffalo) and the whole line stank. What are you and MDS seeing differently?

60
by Nate (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 2:16pm

57 - Bears fan here. Jim McMahon was a good quarterback only by Bears standards.

61
by gmc (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 3:10pm

#38

Absolutely agree. In the Pittsburgh game I counted three passes to Chambers (two in the end zone) where Chambers had at least a step and Cpep threw the pass basically to the defensive back.

Ike Taylor should have had two INT's in that game, and Champ Bailey -would- have.

62
by MdM (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 3:31pm

RE: Bears Fans...

You know, I can't say I have noticed Bears fans overhyping Grossman. They seem to be enjoying their good fortune/good play and that's about it. However, I do hear a lot of comments annointing them as undefeated but it doesn't seem to come primarily from Bears fans.

However, Bears fans are definitely the loudest at Goldie's sportsbar in Scottsdale. Sometimes I can barely hear my Eagles game because of their cacaphony!

63
by ZS (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 4:16pm

Totally Unrelated Comment:

Today is a very good day. Because I am a draftnik, and I just found out that I do indeed get the NFL Network.

64
by Mentos (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 5:17pm

re: 63

65
by Mentos (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 5:18pm

Yeah, I messed up the previous post.

re: 63

Yes, that is totally out of place, sir.

66
by Tony (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 5:47pm

Re: Grossman and the Bears.

It's funny this gets mentioned here in this context, because as I watched Grossman in the bits and pieces of games I've seen him in this season, all I can think of is that Grossman is currently to the Bears as Roethlisberger was to the Steelers in '04 and '05. His raw numbers make you think he's better than he actually is, but he's still winning because he's going in there and doing everything he needs to win, and making few enough mistakes that he's not going to make them lose. It should be interesting to see how his season progresses, not to mention looking at how the Bears utilize their run game to "protect" Grossman.

67
by stephen wolfe (not verified) :: Sat, 10/14/2006 - 11:03pm

I have a rules question and couldnt think of a better place to go...
if a returner muffs a kickoff at his 5 yard line and picks it up in the end zone, can he take the touchback?
Thanks guys.

68
by Marko (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:33am

Yes, if the impetus for the ball going in the end zone came from the kick. But if the ball went in the end zone because the returner caused it to do so, then it would be a safety.

69
by Paul (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:23pm

Oh no. The stat geeks, the pretend-Jaworskis, don't like the Bears. And when the Bears are 10-0 and have beaten every opponent by 25, they STILL won't like the Bears. Because they're "different" than other analysts. They're much more sophisticated. They read between the lines. They see beyond trivial things like, ya know, SCORES, and RECORDS, and QB ratings.

Grossman sucks! He's lucky! The Bears are overrated! They're lucky!

Keep saying it all year. As the Bears keep rolling through the league, and Grossman keeps lighting up opponents, it's going to look sillier and sillier. It'll be a few stalwart stat geeks, pretending to be NFL coaches and scouts, waging a losing war against all reality.

Have fun.

70
by Bill Barnwell :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 1:38pm

Oh yeah - those stat geeks who don't like the Bears but have them ranked #1 pretty much across the board and have Grossman as the third-best quarterback in football?

Come on. At least the Falcons' fans had a case for us thinking their team was being slighted...

71
by Johnny (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 1:40pm

Joe Petrizzi's observations on the Jets are pretty much on the mark. Vilma IS having trouble in the 3-4. Askew DOES suck as a blocker, runner and pass catcher and Brick IS having all sorts of problems transitioning to the Pro level.

But the problems don't stop there. Electing to go with the 3-4 this year without the players to do it is a questionable call, Lil Schott seems to be overmatched as an OC so far, Sutton doesn't seem to be able to scheme anything that will stop the run, and third down has been a BIG problem all year long.

On the plus side, Chad is the Comeback Player of the Year - so far (with the exception of the Jags game in which he wasn't at all sharp), Coles and Cotchery have been outstanding, Nick Mangold at Center is having an outstanding rookie campaign, Leon Washington is a real find, Cedrick Houston has done well when he's on the filed and the Special teams have been doing fairly well also. But thems slim pickins when looking for positives so far.

From this Jets fans' point of view, I have to hope that Mangini is using this year to reconstruct the tean and weed out those players and coaches who can't get the job done, much as Landry with the Boys, Parcells with the Giants and Belichick in his first year at NE did in their first years with those teams.

72
by Paul (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 2:06pm

#70,

THEY don't have the Bears and Grossman ranked so high, their SYSTEM does. If they were allowed their way (as proven by their editorial opinions stated here), the Bears would be lower, and Grossman would be looking up at Brad Johnson.

Unfortunately, the numbers don't lie.

73
by Bill Barnwell :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 2:14pm

I have this image of Aaron playing the Satan role in South Park and the brought-to-life DVOA spreadsheet playing Saddam Hussein. "Can I PLEASE put Brad Johnson higher??" "NO, MINION."

As for your comment, I fail to see where that's occurring. The person here who was suggesting that Rex Grossman isn't all he's cracked up to be is, in fact, a Bears FAN. More so than that, SEVERAL Bears fans.

Whee trolls!

74
by Paul (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 3:08pm

But he IS all he's cracked up to be. If his numbers are good, and his team is winning and putting up points, how is he not all he's cracked up to be? What other criteria are there for being a good QB besides winning and leading your team to points, and putting up great numbers?

You guys are cowards. I'll love it when the Bears keep rolling, and Grossman keeps rolling. You a-holes will just discuss it and state your observations, and never bother to correct the things you'd previously asserted. Grow up.

75
by Vince (not verified) :: Sun, 10/15/2006 - 10:31pm

Paul, you still haven't responded to Bill's point that it's BEARS FANS saying things like, from #13, "as a Bears fan Grossman terrifies me, because he’s getting so absurdly lucky doing the wrong things."

76
by brasilbear (not verified) :: Mon, 10/16/2006 - 1:45pm

Must undo the FPMB Curse.....Grossman still gives me the shivers, I just don't trust him yet...Does that help?..Maybe this...

Grossman/Bears is/are clearly ranked too high because Grossman is too short and Jerry Angelo is the devil. Kyle Griese/Eagles is/are way better than him/them. You would do better asking those red-butt monkeys to pick games/teams/quarterbacks (or maybe tha one armed one in the Chicago Linkcon Parkzooo.)

Don't hex us!!!!!

77
by brasilbear (not verified) :: Mon, 10/16/2006 - 1:46pm

And FPMB should read FOMB of course....

78
by DGL (not verified) :: Mon, 10/16/2006 - 4:15pm

#71: "Electing to go with the 3-4 this year without the players to do it is a questionable call..."

I've wondered why Mangini hasn't gotten called more on this. Vilma was considered to be one of the few bright points on the Jets last year - so the first thing you do when you come in is install a defense for which you don't have the right personnel and that will take one of your best defensive players out of his game? If a player made the equivalent move, it would be called a "rookie mistake". I don't get it at all.

79
by Mentos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/16/2006 - 6:12pm

re: 71

I really don't like the 3-4 defense. If you have the right nose tackle, fine run that defense if you really want to. But this is not the 1970s anymore.

I think Schottenheimer is doing a much better job than Hackett and Heimerdinger.

80
by Sergio (not verified) :: Mon, 10/16/2006 - 11:13pm

re: 59 (James)

Sorry for the delay, but I was away on vacation.

I made my comments pre-NE. Regardless, I saw better runs through the left than through the right, and most of the "good" runs to the right happened when 78-J.James (LG) pulled right. IMO, that's more of an indictment on __________ (RG du jour) than on Carey, who has been consistently average/good, rather than great sometimes, and lousy on others... like the rest of the line.

My biggest beef on the line, besides the RG spot, is LT. Shelton has been horrible in pass blocking, which killed a lot of drives; some of it is Culpepper holding on too long, but still...

I think the main difference between my perceptions after 4 weeks and MDS' detailed analysis of the NE game is that Damion McIntosh was starting at RG, instead of Jacox. I didn't see yesterday's game, but I heard that McIntosh was starting at LT, instead of Shelton, who instead got moved to RG... just as a friend on a mailing list suggested. I'll chime back in with the analysis once I get to the game...

81
by James, London (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 11:47am

Sergio,

Thanks for the response and I hope the vacation was good.

Reading back through the EPC, according to MDS, "The weakest link on Miami’s line is left guard Jeno James..." MDS then says that James has been playing through injury, so if his knee was worse in the NE game than before that might explain some of the discrepancy.

As for McIntosh, I believe that he is a decent run-blocker, but bad in pass protection which doesn't sound ideal for an LT. Still, if he's no worse than Shelton in pass protection and can improve the run blocking on the left side it might not be a bad switch.

You and MDS both praise Carey as the best player on the line. As the RG spot such an issue, is there no-one anywhere (practise squads, street FA), who might be a better solution than Miami already have? If your gonna' have poor play in a wasted season it might as well be from a youngster who has potential.

82
by Sergio (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 12:45pm

Thanks. Good vacation, indeed - but I've slept about 10 hours in 5 days. Insane.

Yes, there might be. In the 2005 draft, Miami drafted Anthony Alabi, a 6th rounder (IIRC) lauded as being hand-picked by Houck; a bit of a project, but certainly with potential. He has yet to play a game.

Miami also drafted Joe Toledo in the 4th this year, but he got injured. He was a backup swing G, IIRC, so that's where the problem might be coming from - not exactly the injury to the starter, but the lack of depth...

McIntosh isn't that bad in pass protection. He's just inconsistent. From what he did last year and what I've seen from Shelton this year, I'm more than happy to give him a chance at the spot. I still have to go through the tape and analyse it, but I'm confident he'll do better than Shelton - for at least a couple of games. That said, I wouldn't mind at all if Miami went 7/7 to the OL next year...

83
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 2:43pm

But he IS all he’s cracked up to be. If his numbers are good, and his team is winning and putting up points, how is he not all he’s cracked up to be? What other criteria are there for being a good QB besides winning and leading your team to points, and putting up great numbers?

You guys are cowards. I’ll love it when the Bears keep rolling, and Grossman keeps rolling. You a-holes will just discuss it and state your observations, and never bother to correct the things you’d previously asserted. Grow up.

:: Paul — 10/15/2006 @ 2:08 pm

I just thought I'd repost that for comedic value.