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Denver: great team, or the greatest team? Would you be satisfied with "one of the ten greatest teams?" Plus: hard times in the NFC South, where defense goes to die.

09 Dec 2006

Jaws II

by Mike Tanier and Aaron Schatz

Aaron Schatz: Last year, NFL Films guru and ESPN NFL Matchup producer Greg Cosell invited me and Mike Tanier to sit in on a film analysis session with host Ron Jaworski and the rest of the Matchup staff. It was incredibly enlightening, and the resulting Too Deep Zone was one of the most popular columns we ran all year. Cosell left us with an open invitation to come by any time -- and when we also got the opportunity to attend Monday night's Carolina-Philadelphia game, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to head down to south Jersey, grab Mike, and soak in the football knowledge.

Mike Tanier: I hope you enjoyed your first visit to Lincoln Financial Field. Contrary to media reports, Eagles fans don't sacrifice virgins in the parking lots or pummel opposing fans with baseball bats in the upper deck. Not anymore, anyway.

I enjoy being in the press box, but being there is counterproductive for us in many ways. I'm rarely asked to cover an individual game, and I need the television feed to do the kind of analysis I do for Too Deep Zone. You need the DVOA Mainframe (actually a laptop, but that sounds more impressive). Our articles aren't really reliant on post-game interviews. Even if I got two or three great quotes in the locker room, I would still have to comb the web for other quotes to use in Rundown. I'm better off sitting somewhere with the Ticket on Sunday afternoons, then working out of my home office on Monday nights, where I have all of my sources and the DVR available to me.

When I read our message boards and communicate with readers, I always sense exasperation at the way the NFL is covered: the clichés, the silliness, the need to provide "info-tainment." Then we go to NFL Films and it's obvious that the professionals there also aren't happy with the way the game is presented. So who makes the decision to put comedians in the broadcast booth and write features about how such-and-such quarterback is a "winner"? I guess the marketing people know a lot more about who is watching than the NFL people.

Aaron Schatz: There was no sacrificing of virgins, but I did enjoy the people in the section in front of us constantly turning around and giving us the finger.

This was not only my first visit to Lincoln Financial Field -- it was also my first game in the press box. (Mike had done the press box before in his previous days with Sports Forecaster.) I agree with you that it would be difficult on Sundays, hard to follow the rest of the action around the league enough to write about it the next day. Monday night made a lot more sense, with no other games to follow, and if you want to rewind and watch plays in slow motion, you just set the DVR and watch when you get home. The playoffs will fit the same pattern so I may try to hit Gillette and do a live blog or something come January.

As for the post-game interviews, well, that's definitely not my thing. The questions and answers are basically all clichés, and I just have a hard time turning that into something interesting. Having me write a game story would be like asking Julius Peppers to play offensive tackle. Sure, he would probably be good with some practice, but it isn't really a good use of his skills and there are a lot of guys who can do a better job at it.

(There was one cool tidbit in the interviews. Lito Sheppard pointed out that when the Eagles studied film, they spotted Jake Delhomme's signal for Keyshawn Johnson to run the end zone fade. When Delhomme patted his butt, the fade was on. Sheppard saw the signal, played the fade, and you know the rest.)

As for the issue of "info-tainment" and silly NFL coverage: Most people seem to think that the NFL audience is completely homogeneous, but it's not. I was on public radio a couple months ago and the host acted like football fans only like the sport because they get to see a lot of guys smacking into each other. I tried to explain that you can enjoy the game on different levels and he basically just ignored me.

There is a group of football fans that likes the strategy of the game, not just the hitting or the speed or gambling or the social aspect of watching with your buddies. That group is not the majority of fans but I think it is larger than the NFL or ESPN marketing people seem to realize. Right now, the only television show that serves that element of the fanbase is NFL Matchup. We started Football Outsiders, in part, because we felt that there were more fans like us out there, and they were hungry for more coverage at their level -- the level that is more interested in Brett Favre's read progression than Brett Favre's childhood home.

In the days of three networks and no Internet, you had to appeal to the lowest common denominator to get the largest audience. But in the modern digital media age, there can be information for everybody. Different websites can serve different elements of the NFL fanbase. So can different shows on different cable networks. Why not do a game with two broadcast teams: one that serves the larger audience, with celebrity interviews and basic explanations, and a pair of less famous names (i.e. cheaper to hire) on a second audio channel discussing the game itself from the more hardcore perspective?

OK, I'm starting to ramble.

*****

Our second trip to NFL Matchup was much like the first -- Ron Jaworski and producer Greg Cosell and the staff all watched film and we got to watch with them. This time, we got opinions from a few other people. MNF means all the ESPN football people are in town, so Merril Hoge was in the office for the second half of the day (normally he watches film at his home in Kentucky). Former Washington and Houston GM Charlie Casserly, who now works for the NFL Network, also went in and out during the afternoon.

We received a few dozen reader questions for Ron Jaworski, but only got to ask a few of them. The NFL Matchup team was very busy, and frankly, we weren't quite as prepared as we should have been. Aaron spent so much time on Monday writing Quick Reads and the DVOA commentary that he couldn't go through the questions. So Mike was hoping to organize them during the second half of the Eagles-Panthers game, but got too caught up in the action. Anyway, even if we weren't able to ask a specific question, there were a few instances where we were able to talk at length about players or teams you asked about.

Answers written by Mike except where noted.

Question: Are Rex Grossman's mechanics as inconsistent as they are often reported and is this fixable? -- James Carley

There were many Grossman questions, and the Matchup team wanted to get as much information on Grossman as possible because he's a hot-topic player right now. We broke down tape of the Bears-Vikings game and studied Grossman closely. Jaworski is more concerned with Grossman's decision making than his mechanics. "He's out of control," Jaworski said. "He's having a hard time differentiating aggressiveness from stupidity." I asked about the Bears offensive scheme, and Jaworski pointed out several plays that were designed to give Grossman an easy read and boost his confidence. Even on these relatively simple plays, Grossman made mistakes. "Right now, Ron Turner is calling plays not to attack the defense, but to try to get Grossman comfortable," he said.

(Aaron adds: After listening to Jaws break down Grossman against the Vikings, I am completely convinced that the Bears have to take him out of the lineup. He was missing open guys all over the field. Sometimes there would be a play designed as a quick throw to a guy in the flat, and Grossman would hold the ball for a while, unsure of himself. A good example is his first pass of the whole game. It was a swing to Thomas Jones, wide open, moving towards the right sideline. Grossman actually threw the ball so late that Jones couldn't catch it in bounds. Last year, I wrote in one of the DVOA commentaries on FOX about the fact that top defenses in the salary cap era rarely play at a high level for more than one season. Chicago has bucked that trend, with a spectacular defense for the second straight year. They aren't going to make it three. This is their shot at the Super Bowl. There's almost no chance of Grossman fixing these problems over the next four weeks. Maybe it messes him up for the future, but the window of opportunity is open now. As our buddies at BP say, "Flags fly forever.")

Question: What does the Matchup team see from the Atlanta offense, and it's a matter of play-calling, or personnel, or both? -- Lindsay Crosby (aka BigManChili)

Many readers asked Falcons/Vick related questions. The Matchup team seems generally frustrated by all Michael Vick rhetoric. "There's nothing wrong with the playcalling," Jaworski said. Cosell spoke at length about Vick's progress, or lack thereof, and of the hot air that dominates Vick discussions. "Any NFL offense has timing or rhythm pass plays," he said. "Vick can't throw them with some measure of consistency." Jaworski and Cosell reiterated some of the points they discussed with us last season about Vick's poor mechanics and bad habits, and they confirmed my belief that the Falcons coaches have bent over backwards this year to create a playbook that suits Vick's running style. The Falcons do have a problem with dropped passes and issues on defense, but Vick is still their biggest enigma.

Question: Why haven't the Raiders been able to assemble a decent offensive line? -- Jacob Stevens

"On the offensive line, it's not always about talent," Jaworski stressed. "It's about communication and understanding between the five guys on the line, with the tight end and fullback working in harmony." Despite the fact that Art Shell was a Hall of Fame offensive lineman and other coaches have an excellent line background, Jaworski said that the Raiders "can't transition their coaching to the playing field."

Question: What has happened to the normally stout Tampa Bay defense in 2006? Is the defense getting too old? -- Stewart Glickman

Jaworski: "Yes." Jaworski and Cosell noted that Derrick Brooks has been moved from the weak side to the strong side, an indication that he's slowing down.

Question: What about Vince Young's passing accuracy? -- Subrata Sircar

The NFL Matchup team gave Young a pretty good grade. As you might expect, Jaworski and Cosell are wary of the hype that surrounds a rookie quarterback after a few wins, but they feel that Young is doing his best to succeed within the Titans system and is picking his spots to run. "Vince Young could be better than Michael Vick is ever going to be," Cosell said, stressing that the key would be for young to continue to develop as a passer, not as a runner.

(Aaron adds: I should point out that we talked about Young more with Jaworski than with Hoge, who is well known for his anti-Young stance.)

Question: Jaworski worked with J.P. Losman this past off-season. How would he rate his progress so far this season? -- Yonaton Aronoff

Jaworski worked with Losman this season on quarterback fundamentals: mechanics, read progressions, and so on. Contrary to Losman's reputation, Jaworski was impressed by the Bills quarterback's maturity. "Losman didn't blame anyone else for his problems last year. The coaching staff was long gone, so he could have blamed them, but he took responsibility on himself." Losman is good at recognizing coverages and was smart enough to process Mike Mularkey's dense playbook last season. Jaworski believes that Losman has made progress and can still grow into a very good player.

Question: A fair few Dolphins fans say that Ronnie Brown is too indecisive. Is this the case? -- Rob Barnfield

Merrill Hoge is very impressed by Brown, who was playing very well before getting hurt two weeks ago. Hoge believes the Brown will never be a highlight-reel type player, but that he is going to be a productive runner for years to come. Hoge likes Brown's long-range potential better than that of Cadillac Williams, Brown's college teammate.

Question: Any chance we'll ever see Jaws as a regular "in-the-booth" analyst? If not Jaws, will we see anyone in the near future in the booth who can dish out genuinely good Xs and Ox type info during the games? -- Scott, aka BlueStarDude

Jaworski probably won't be in the booth again until the next time ESPN has a double-header game. He is pleased to have gotten favorable reviews for his work earlier in the season. He mentioned Brad Johnson as the type of player who would make an excellent color commentator when his playing career ends. The NFL Matchup team, like most of our readers, would like to see more serious, football-related analysis during telecasts.

Question: Panther fans can't decide who is to blame for this season's offense. What is wrong with their offense: Dan Henning, Jake, or the offensive line? -- Morgan Murray

Jaworski is very critical of Delhomme's decision making. We didn't have film of the Monday night game to work with, but he explained to me what happened on the Brian Dawkins fourth-quarter interception. Delhomme simply didn't account for Dawkins in the coverage and assumed he could throw the ball deep to a point where only Nick Goings could run under it. Of course, offensive line injuries are also a factor, and the Panthers cannot run the ball as often or as well as they would like to.

Question: What is the Matchup team's opinion of the Giants interior in the front seven? They seem to be playing very well, and the DTs are especially surprising. Do the Giants have something special here in Cofield? -- Kyle E. Gruber

You are going to see a lot of the Giants defense on this week's show. Jaworski and Cosell are impressed with Cofield, but the Giants defense in general has been plagued with mental mistakes in recent weeks. Last season, Cosell and Jaworski felt that the Giants played very good "team" defense, even with several starters out. Players knew their assignments and played within the system. This year, players are making mental errors and trying to make individual plays instead of focusing on their roles. Over and over, two guys would cover the same zone while another was leftopen. Several times, Antonio Pierce was running around before the snap trying to get guys into the proper position. They may show one play where all the Giants are shifting around trying to figure out where they are supposed to be, and as Romo snaps the ball, four Giants defenders are literally lined up in an "I" in front of the center. There is a reason why the defensive four-man I-formation is not popular in the NFL.

*****

Some more thoughts, not related to specific questions by FO readers, noted by Aaron:

The Cowboys are beginning to run a formation with Marion Barber and Julius Jones together in an I-formation with Barber as the fullback. They run Barber ahead with a fake flip to Jones. I assume on some plays the fake will work the other way around.

Osi Umenyiora has problems when he has to play in an "under" front, lined up on a tackle instead of on the edge. Mathias Kiwanuka was stuck in pass coverage way too often. It was more than just confusion before the snap; the Giants generally didn't seem to be using players in ways that fit their skill sets.

Tony Romo has the gunslinger mentality, and he's starting to get loose with the football. When you have nothing but success -- even when you do things wrong -- you get bad habits. Not to alarm anyone, but the name "Rex Grossman" came up. Romo was missing open guys, and making near-impossible throws into tight coverage, but it didn't hurt him as much as it should have because the Giants' mistakes outweighed Romo's mistakes. They think he's a good player, but Jaws and Cosell believe that at some point soon, Romo will have a very bad game. Hopefully, he learns from it, rather than having defenses around the league learn from it. The Cowboys also better hope that game comes in December and not in January.

R.W. McQuarters sucks. We didn't need to go to NFL Films to tell you this, but it was a general theme of the morning.

T.O. actually seemed to be dropping balls because he heard the footsteps of the defenders. The name "Todd Pinkston" was mentioned and no, I am not kidding.

Charlie Casserly wandered in and Jaws asked him about the game he had been watching, Bengals-Ravens. Casserly feels that the Baltimore safeties are undisciplined, and the cornerbacks have a lack of mobility. Contrary to our own Michael David Smith, Casserly said the Ravens should not put Adalius Thomas in pass coverage. He also mentioned that the Cincinnati center and right guard weren't working well together. We weren't watching this game alongside him, so I can't tell you if I agree or disagree with any of his points.

For some reason, they can't set up the camera at Soldier Field at the right height, so the all-22 film comes at a really strange angle.

Thomas Jones is not good at blitz pickup.

Cleveland fans know that we're down on Charlie Frye, but compared to the NFL Matchup crew, we're practically married to the guy. They do not think he is a professional quarterback.

I know that he looked bad early on with all the wackiness on the Cleveland line, but left tackle Kevin Shaffer is still very good and showed by Cleveland spent so much money to bring him in from Atlanta. He just destroyed Jared Allen on one play -- and we think very highly of Jared Allen, and Jaws and Cosell also think very highly of Jared Allen, so it was a bit of a shock.

Jaws and Cosell believe there is no such thing as a "coverage sack." They hate the term. According to Jaws, you've got your first read, second read, third read, and if the offensive line is holding the pocket, you should always be able to find one of them open. A "coverage sack" is really a quarterback's mistake.

Overall, it was another rewarding trip. Next year, we hope to go back for Jaws III, 3-D glasses not included.

Posted by: admin on 09 Dec 2006

76 comments, Last at 17 Dec 2006, 8:38pm by richabbs

Comments

1
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 3:02pm

I've mentioned this elsewhere, but I think the Bears are in a lot of trouble this year with Grossman. They play pretty much the worst pass defenses in the league in the next four weeks, and Grossman will probably start looking better than average again, though probably worse than the beginning of the year. But maybe just enough for the Bears to think "maybe, just maybe, he's coming around."

And then they'll go to the playoffs. They might even end up only playing crappy pass defenses up until the Super Bowl, and Grossman might continue to play marginally.

But in the three games, they're guaranteed to hit one team with a good pass defense, and then Grossman will implode.

I think the best bet for the Bears is to hopefully clinch homefield advantage in the next two weeks, and then start Griese the last two weeks. And Griese will probably look ridiculously better than Grossman (Detroit & Green Bay after all) and after seeing Griese play so well, hopefully they'll start Griese in the playoffs. Risky? Hell yes. But otherwise they're pretty much a guaranteed flameout in the postseason.

2
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 3:29pm

Yeah, there is almost no way that Grossman will string together three non-disastrous games in the playoffs; he has a better chance of hitting the daily pick-three lotto. What is even worse is that if Soldier Field gets the typical January weather, the Bears will not derive much, if any, home field advantage, given how horibillus rex is even more inadequate in such conditions.

Toss in the fact that Harris may not get back for the playoffs, which will expose Uhrlacher's greatest weakness (no, I'm not saying he's overrated, just that he has weaknesses like all players), which may result in the Bears getting gashed by an offensive line which plays well, and then Grossman is really going to have the pressure to perform dialed up. He won't be able to withstand it.

The remarks on Romo are also quite apt. I really like him, but the odds of him avoiding some regression so early in his career as a starter are not good. It all depends on how severe the regression is, and when it takes place. Brees is the best qb in the conference right now, and if Bush explodes like it appears he may be on the brink of doing, there may not be enough time for opposing defensive coordinators to make adequate adjustments.

3
by Xian (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 3:32pm

I wish I had something more insightful to add than "excellent article", but that's all I've got. Excellent article.

(Speaking as Packers fan who is interested in Brett Favre's read progression, and not his childhood home.)

4
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 3:33pm

Re: Cincy Center
Wasn't the C of that game Wilkerson who had to come in around the second half due to injury? He's either a rookie or 1st year starter.

Re: No Coverage Sack
Interesting point. I've started to get bothered by QBs who have all day in the pocket and get sacked. I don't buy there isn't such a thing becuase sometimes ther are 5 DBs covering 3 or 2 receivers (and one of those receivers happens to be James Thrash).

What's cool is that it implies, eventually the DL will beat the OL and eventually the receivers should beat the DBs.

Thanks for the write-up! I hope you guys can go back there again in the offseason and next season.

5
by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 3:33pm

Great column. Here are a few comments:

I like the idea of a game with two broadcast teams. Presumably, that would only make sense for games on ESPN, with its multiple channels. ESPN has already done something similar for some college games, like the FSU-Miami game this year. But the coverage on other channels didn't have a second set of traditional play by play. Instead, they had the studio guys providing commentary or Colin Cowherd doing a radio type talk show, talking about various subjects. What if ESPN2 also covered the Monday Night games, with the team that we all liked (Nessler, Jaworski and Vermeil) providing commentary? I wonder if something in the contract between the NFL and ESPN prohibits that.

As for Rex Grossman, Jaws is right that his biggest problem is decision making. And Aaron is right that Grossman is missing (not seeing) open guys all over the field. Against the Vikings, early in the game he didn't see a wide open Muhsin Muhammad for what would have been a touchdown. Instead, he threw incomplete to Desmond Clark into double coverage. Later in the game, he threw deep for Bernard Berrian, who was tightly covered, and the pass was intercepted. Two other players were wide open for easy first down yardage (Clark on the right side for about 15-20 yards, Cedric Benson in the left flat with the nearest defender about 10 yards away), but he chose to go for the home run.

If he plays poorly against the Rams on Monday night, I fully expect Lovie Smith to replace him during the game with Brian Griese. The Bears are fortunate that they do have a capable backup if Grossman continues his poor play.

Regarding Thomas Jones not being good at blitz pickup, I have noticed that lately also. He used to be good at it, but for some reason he has not been good in the past few games. Perhaps that is because teams have been blitzing multiple people (often from the same side) trying to rattle Grossman, and he has been indecisive on which blitzer to pick up. In any event, it's interesting that one of the reasons Jones has remained the starter over Benson supposedly is because he is better and more experienced at pass protection. But Benson has looked good lately on blitz pickup, and he has really been running with authority the past 3 games. Benson definitely has fresh legs, so I think his playing time will increase substantially in the coming weeks and in the playoffs.

6
by Gus (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 3:35pm

Great article. I thought kind of the same about Romo-that he's jumped out to a great start, but hardly any one has written that he played a bad game against a crippled Giants' D.

I found the Hoge stuff in the link hilarious...the guy needs to let go of his Young hatred. IMO, Vince is here to stay.

Two questions: Is McQuarters that bad? He's only usually matched up against no. 2 receivers.

I love Jaws, but doesn't it sound a little suspicious that he likes Losman (whom he worked with) and hates Frye?

7
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 3:36pm

Re: Coverage of NFL Games
It seems on some of the lower-tier crews they will be more willing to show replay's and other angles. I seem to remember watching a game on CBS and happy we got a replay every play instead of "talking about the players as we see them huddling up".

This is just an unsubstantied anecdote and specifically about CBS...

Maybe we get better video coverage when worse teams play.

8
by Carlos (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 3:40pm

Great article, and -- again -- thx for creating the best football (and sports!) website around!

9
by JMM (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 3:43pm

A program to target the football audience that reads and posts here would be a simple and straightforward- and inexpensive production. Broadcast the coaches tapes (continously) over the week on the Direct TV channel that brodcast it live. Those stations are broadcasting dead air for 165 hours per week.

Seeing all 22 players sans comments after the fact would allow for post game study and analysis. Maybe get some young wannabe's to do a radio-type play by play or pipe in the stadium announcer.

10
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 3:46pm

I am surprised at how little attention has been given to Tommie Harris' injury, relative to the potential impact on the Bears in the playoffs. I heard some ESPN analyst (can't remember who) say yesterday that he though the Bears defense was good enough to withstand it without suffering a substantial drop in performance!

11
by BigManChili (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 3:47pm

My question made it! I'm kinda upset about the answer, because I wanted to finally believe that Vick had "settled down" and was starting to make better decisions, etc. and that the playcalling wasn't helping the WR get open, but oh well. I still would like to see someone besides a retired lineman at WR coach in Atlanta though.

12
by BigManChili (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 3:49pm

Re#9: You could always use the team's radio crew, also. Usually (at least in Atlanta's case) the analyst of the crew does a good job in giving a quick breakdown of the previous play as the teams are huddling up.

13
by stan (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 3:57pm

Re: "coverage sack"

I think one of the reasons they may not like the term is that a QB has to have a sense of time and throw it away before the sack comes.

There are actually coverage sacks, however. Theory aside, there are times when everyone IS covered as the QB goes through his progressions. If the sack comes from his blind or back side as the QB is finishing his progressions, you have a sack where the line held off the pass rush for the expected length of time (barely) and the QB can't really be expected to feel the lineman getting beat and throw the ball away.

This happens far less often than the term is used, though.

14
by stan (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 4:00pm

Aaron,

I thought about asking this question, but didn't get to it. Perhaps next time you can ask Jaws about the unique way that the Colts run their outside zone and ask him to speculate on why more teams don't use the same mechanics.

15
by Boots Day (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 4:04pm

In this week's Fox ratings, Aaron alluded to the fact that Wade Wilson has shown time and time again that he is a poor quarterback coach. When you have a young QB with obvious physical skills who keeps making mental mistakes, it seems clear to me that the first thing you want to do is find a better coach for him.

I suppose it's bad form to fire a QB coach at this point of the season, but that would seem to be the best thing for Grossman at this point. At the very least, he needs a new coach before the 2007 season if he's to salvage what looked just two months ago to be a promising career. Is Sid Gilllman still alive?

16
by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 4:08pm

Will Allen: Tommie Harris' injury has gotten plenty of attention in the Chicago media and by Bears fans. You're right that it could have a huge impact in the playoffs.

I'm not that surprised that ESPN and the national media haven't given it more attention, for two reasons. First, he's not a quarterback, running back or star wide receiver. The national media obviously focus their attention on these positions. Second, there is no definitive prognosis for his injury yet. From what has been reported, it seems unlikely that he will play again this season (including the playoffs), but there is still uncertainty over whether he might be able to make it back. We should know more in the next few days after he is examined by a hamstring specialist in Dallas.

17
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 4:19pm

When does NFL Matchup air? I always seem to miss it.

18
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 4:26pm

Hey, Marko, I'm just hoping that the Rams don't gash the Bears, given the Vikings would be greatly helped if the Rams lost, and it would appear to be the sort of game that the Bears might be at less than maximum intensty for. Still, even Grossman might look good against the Rams' defense, which would be good for the Vikings, but bad for the Bears, since it could get Lovie Smith's feet even more firmly planted in support-rex mode.

19
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 4:32pm

Was anybody as surprised as me regarding the ease with which the Eagle's appear to have stolen Delhomme's fade signal to Keyshawn Johnson? You'd think they would change signals with enough frequency to reduce this possibility to near-zero.

20
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 4:34pm

3:00AM and 8:30AM ET Sundays.

21
by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 4:38pm

Insanely jealous! Thanks for being our eyes and ears.

22
by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 4:42pm

I'm also hoping that the Rams don't gash the Bears. Also, it looks like Nathan Vasher probably won't play because of his hamstring injury, so that's another Pro Bowl defender out. That makes it all the more important that the Bears get a good pass rush on Bulger. The Rams offensive line is banged up, too, with Pace out for the year and Barron and Incognito having bruised feelings because they apparently are the teammates that Bulger was referring to when he said some of the players don't care. We'll see if that inspires the Rams line to play better, or if they quit.

As for the Bears, I'm not worried at all about their intensity level. They know what's at stake. They need to keep winning so that they maintain their cushion for home field advantage. They know they need to play better, especially on offense. They are not playing well enough right now to take anyone lightly (as they seemed to do against Arizona). It's Monday Night Football. I'm sure they will come out with maximum intensity. Plus, Lovie Smith, as a former Rams defensive coordinator, will have them fired up to play well against his former team.

23
by Eddo (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 4:42pm

I've been a huge Grossman apologist these last few weeks, but I'm starting to think the Bears need to at least give Griese a chance.
The absolute worst thing that could happen for the Bears is if Grossman looks average to above average against the Rams and Buccaneers. Then Lovie will stick with Rex as the starter no matter what.
Where I mainly disagree with Pat and Will Allen, however, is their view that if Grossman looks great in the last four games, he will play like crap in the playoffs. I know there's not a lot of precedent for quarterbacks regressing and then turning it around in the same season, but who's to say that Rex absolutely can't learn to make better reads.
I'm not saying that scenario is likely, by any means, all I'm saying is that the Grossman-bashers who are criticizing the coaching staff for being too stubborn with regards to Rex need to be careful that if Rex actually does start to improve, they don't keep the stubborn "Grossman is awful" mindset.

24
by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 4:45pm

"Was anybody as surprised as me regarding the ease with which the Eagle’s appear to have stolen Delhomme’s fade signal to Keyshawn Johnson?"

Yes, I was.

25
by morganja (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 4:46pm

Thanks for the Jaws info.
You asked the question of why don't networks differentiate their audience by putting on different channels with different levels of coverage. The answer is that as long as one network has exclusive rights to broadcast any specific game, why bother? Make a show that appeals to the marginal fan and all other people interested in a deeper analysis have no choise but to watch by default. This is basic economics. If the NFL wants better broadcasts, than the thing to do is open up competition between the networks for each specific game. This is an example of where the economic interest of the league is in direct conflict with the interest of the fan. Before anyone jumps in with any free market nonsense, remember that the league enjoys an antitrust exemption which allows it to operate in a non-free market environment.

26
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 4:48pm

Anyone watch NFL Matchup last week? Here is the verbatim Jaworski quote...
When you look at Rex Grossman on tape, the one thing I see is good decision making. He's processing the information quickly, and going to the right receiver... Relax, Rex is going to be fine.

Jaws was really pimping Losman as well. Kind've funny how he threw a really bad interception last week... especially since they were talking about how he is careful with the football and had a lower interception rate than Pennington and Brady.

Hoge was really high on Cutler too. Both of them liked the move... too bad you guys didn't have time to discuss all of the young QBs. Their last weeks show was dedicated to them... Grossman, Eli, Cutler, Harrington, Losman.

27
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 4:51pm

Where I mainly disagree with Pat and Will Allen, however, is their view that if Grossman looks great in the last four games, he will play like crap in the playoffs.

The only reason I'm suggesting that is because they play crap pass defenses in the last four games, and likely play good defenses in the playoffs.

I'm not suggesting Grossman will improve, and then decline. I'm implying that he's going to suck uniformly, but that suck will be mitigated by the counter-suck of the Detroit Lions pass defense, and then aggravated by the anti-suck of the Dallas Cowboys pass defense.

28
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 5:00pm

I guess I'll add that it seems like Jaws' opinion on Grossman changed solely on the Minnesota game. During NFL matchup (week 13) he discussed how the Chicago WRs weren't all that great at adjusting routes to the defense... and showed how one one play Berrian went deep and drove the safety downfield (as well as the corner). Gross man threw the ball to the middle expecting Berrian to adjust his route in, but Berrian kept flying down the field and the safety picked the ball off.

To contrast this, they showed tape of the NO Saints. The Saints ran a max protection play against the Falcons with 2 WRs on a pattern. The WRs lined up on the same side, with Devery in the slot and Horn on the outside. Devery cleared the inside, and Horn was running an out. The DB on that side, D'angelo Hall was underneath in a zone and covered the out route. Horn adjusted his route and jumped back inside with Brees delivering the ball. I guess that's why WRs and QBs are always working on "timing".

29
by Eddo (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 5:03pm

Pat, as you pointed out in the Jason Whitlock article thread, this is where you and I fundamentally disagree. I'm personally of the opinion that in the five and a half games where Grossman looked great early in the season (GB, Detroit, Seattle, Buffalo, SF, NYG second half), it was because he played very well, not simply because he played against poor pass defenses. Just because a quarterback has a great day against inferior competition does not mean he is not a good quarterback. I agree that the defenses probably blew his success out of proportion, but I still feel he had to at least be playing like a good NFL quarterback to put up those kind of numbers, regardless of who it was against.
The point I was trying to make in my earlier post (#23) is that if, over the next four weeks, Grossman looks like he did in those games, it would be more of a reflection that he has figured out what was causing his poor play rather than simply a reflection of poor defenses.
Is that likely? No, not even close. And if he looks average to merely above-average in the coming games, then I would tend to agree with you; it would be a result of poor pass defenses, not of Rex turning his season around.

30
by Kyle (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 5:07pm

Sweet! That answer covered a ton more than I could've hoped for. Thanks. I am surprised at how bad McQuarters is torched, here I thought he was the only pleasant surprise in an otherwise baaad secondary. But I defer to Jaws. Completely unrelated, I hate how my school email automatically includes my middle initial. I sound pretentious using "E." in my name.

31
by James C (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 5:10pm

First....question answered, thanks guys.

Fairly discouraging answer although I can't say I disagree with it. I watched the Vikes game in a sports bar in London and the whole room seemed to get uncomfortable as everyone could tell that something bad was going to happen when Grossman dropped back. (it may not have helped that Johnson wasn't plaing a hell of a lot better) just a really ugly game.

On the broadcasting point, one of the few advantages you get if being a fan in the UK is the coverage of the evening games. You have to record them as they are on in the middle of the night but they don't seem to be able to sell much of the advertising space so you get analysis through all of the dumb commercials for cars and trans fat filled snacks. It is a big improvement.

32
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 5:10pm

Eddo: No, you're definitely right - Grossman's early-season DVOA (adjusted for opponent) was like over 30%. He definitely was playing like a good NFL quarterback.

I wasn't suggesting he'd return to those levels. I think he'll play better, but still significantly worse than he did in the beginning of the year. But that improvement will be coming entirely from the poor pass defense of the teams he's facing. And the recent low expectations he's cultivated.

33
by rk (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 5:13pm

Everyone should just chill out about Grossman. There's no way he's going to make it through the entire season healthy, right?

I'd like to see the ads for the 2-broadcast team system. "If you want hard-hitting, knowledgeable football analysis with no frills, tune into ESPN2. If you want to see 3 guys discuss anything besides the game at hand, interview celebrities, talk to sideline reporters about meaningless trifles, and spout tired cliches, tune into ESPN where we haven't changed a thing."

34
by Eddo (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 5:15pm

Pat: I think we've found something to agree on; Grossman will not return to his early-season levels. I suppose wishful thinking on my part was hoping he could, but in reality, I'll take 10% adjusted DVOA from any quarterback to go along with a successful running game.

35
by Eddo (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 5:17pm

33: Hilarious on both counts.

36
by Jim Maron (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 5:20pm

Not sure if such a small sample portends anything, but the Vikings ran 13 times for 85 yards after Harris went down. Almost all of that yardage was up the middle and with their second string back. 6 of those runs were for 8-14 yards.

37
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 5:21pm

Yeah, the point I was making is that Grossman's chances of having three consecutive non-disastrous games against GOOD teams is rather low, especially if the Bears run defense suffers a decline. If Grossman is put in a situation against a good team which is running the ball effectively, and where he feels pressure to match the other teams' scoring, I don't think he'll respond well at all. Heck, if Hester hadn't run back a punt in the first half last Sunday, I think the Vikings might've gone into turtle mode in the 2nd half, and forced Grossman to try to beat them, and the Vikings would have been happy with the result. The Bears aren't going to play three games in the playoffs against teams with the Vikings' glaring weaknesses.

38
by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 5:37pm

According to one of the Chicago papers Griese is getting 1/2 of the reps in practice this week. Click name for URL to Sun-Times story.

39
by Israel (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 5:47pm

“Was anybody as surprised as me regarding the ease with which the Eagle’s appear to have stolen Delhomme’s fade signal to Keyshawn Johnson?�

I would have thought that the huddle would be sufficient and that there would be no need for hand signals. shows what little I know.

James (#31) writes "On the broadcasting point, one of the few advantages you get if being a fan in the UK is the coverage of the evening games. You have to record them as they are on in the middle of the night but they don’t seem to be able to sell much of the advertising space so you get analysis through all of the dumb commercials for cars and trans fat filled snacks. It is a big improvement. "

Here in Israel, we get station promos instead of ads. The same four or five all game.

40
by morganja (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 5:50pm

Re: 24
I wonder if this is another example of Henning getting too old and not paying attention to the little things. It is up to the offensive coordinator to change signals, at least it has always been my coordinator that has done so. Is it different in the pros? Is this a responsibility of the quarterback?

41
by Show (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 6:02pm

For what it's worth:

Rex Grossman - through 7 games (can someone with access possibly compare these do DPAR through 7 games)

130/218 for 1643 yards, 13 TD, 7 INT

Tony Romo through 7 games (really only 6.5, played half of first Giants game)

145/214 for 1913 yards, 13 TD, 7 INT

42
by dave crockett (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 6:16pm

Although I LOVE "Matchup" does anyone else think that ESPN has "Foxed" it up a bit? Jaws and Hoge are spending so much time yelling at each other that they can hardly get to the segment.

Last week I thought Hoge and Jaws were going to come to blows over Vince Young. (Btw, I'm not the biggest fan but what is Hoge's deal about Vince Young?)

43
by Gus (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 6:35pm

Hoge hates Vince Young because Young's actually had some degree of success, contrary to Hoge's predictions pre-draft.

Hoge was also the one doing the most yelling...I can't really blame Jaws for yelling back, as otherwise no one would've heard his opinion at all.

44
by Eddo (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 6:40pm

41:
One of the reasons I like this site so much is that the Outsiders didn't get too caught up in Romo's early success like most analysts did. Here, Romo has always been viewed more realistically. Too many pundits have criticized Grossman as the Bears' weak link (rightfully so) while at the same time saying how great the Cowboys chances are because of Romo, even though Romo's first few starts are very much like Grossman's this year.

45
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 7:25pm

44: "Too many pundits have criticized Grossman as the Bears’ weak link (rightfully so) while at the same time saying how great the Cowboys chances are because of Romo, even though Romo’s first few starts are very much like Grossman’s this year."

I don't think there's anything wrong with that. First, Grossman started to suck after his first seven starts. That might not happen with Romo. Second, with quarterbacks aside, the Bears are much better than the Cowboys. Tony Romo is one of the Cowboys' best players, but if he were on the Bears, he wouldn't be one of the Bears' best. Third, Romo just replaced a quarterback who was playing absolutely terribly, so he did improve the Cowboys' chances to be competitive.

46
by jdb (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 9:02pm

Eddo, I feel your pain. I hate knee-jerk QB reactions with a passion, especially in Chicago where we haven't had a truly quality season of QB play in a loooong time. After the games with the Jets and Patriots I still felt like there was hope for Grossman, however slim...but the Vikings game put me over the edge. I have a strong gut feeling that unless he plays well against the Rams in the 1st half on Monday we're going to see Griese come in the 2nd half.

I don't think Lovie Smith is as dumb as his comments make him seem, however. He just goes to greater lengths to back up his players, for better or worse-I don't think he really supports Rex as big as his talk would indicate.

On a different note, I haven't been very impressed by Hoge before, and he usually comes off like a prick (whatever on that, as long as he provides good football analysis). But his pathological hatred of Vince Young is way over the top. It's simultaneously hilarious and sad.

Thanks for another great article. If only serious football guys could provide actual football information during game coverage. I have mute the TV when I watch MNF because the commentary is so unbearably bad, and I'm sure I'm not alone. I always thought that the Joe Morgan/Jon Miller team on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN was the worst broadcasting combo imagineable, but Theismann and Co. have proven me wrong. And it takes a lot to beat the intense, bitter, crazy, wrongness of Joe Morgan.

47
by Eddo (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 9:39pm

45:
You make some interesting points, I hadn't really considered Romo's relative worth on the Cowboys.
My main issue, though, is that guys like Salisbury on ESPN continued to heap praise on Romo without even considering that he'd come back down to Earth, like Grossman did. To hear them talk, Romo was going to have three straight 3 TD/0 interception games on the way to winning the Super Bowl.

48
by Mnatr (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 9:56pm

Uh, where do you think that extra TV crew is going to work? Stadiums aren't exactly loaded with studio space.

49
by morganja (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 10:45pm

Re: 39

The reason that the fade wasn't called in the huddle was that the Panthers came out of the huddle, lined up, and then Delhomme surveyed the defense. He saw what he thought was the fade route available. He made the signal to Keyshaun and started the count. Lito spotted the signal and then came up and positioned himself perfectly to defend the fade route. When the ball was snapped he drove Keyshaun inside, a disaster if it is a quick slant to Keyshaun, but perfect to defend a fade. Whether there was contact beyond the five yard limit and when the ball was in the air notwithstanding, he made a perfect play on a perfectly thrown fade pass. Note how he had to come down barely in bounds with the catch, the sign of a great pass. Unfortunately for the Panthers.

Anyhow, I hope that clears that up for you, Israel, as to why it wasn't called in the huddle.

50
by Jason Mulgrew aka The Mul Dawg aka J-Rocka (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 12:15am

read in Borat voice:

Niiice. I like. Very good. Also, this came on a night when the Eagles team made come from back win against Panther cats. High five!

51
by Jason Mulgrew aka The Mul Dawg aka J-Rocka (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 12:17am

Raiders offensive line- It needs better players. The guys they have now will not play better even if they learn to communicate better. That team just needs better offensive linemen.

52
by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 12:26am

I'm not quite a full Romosexual yet, myself, and let me explain why. I haven't heard anybody even suggest this yet, which is odd since it should be obvious.

Before this year, Rex Grossman was a total unknown. Despite having been in the league a couple years, Grossman had barely played in the NFL because of all his injuries.

Why is this important? Because about 6-7 games' worth of film is roughly what a defensive coordinator needs to compile a sufficiently thorough and accurate analysis of an opposing quarterback. After that, he can sufficiently gameplan for him. Grossman may be regressing, but this is also at least partly the direct result of opposing defensive coordinators being able to really gameplan for him.

This is also the caution about Tony Romo. He's hitting that 6-7 full games mark right as the season winds down, meaning come playoff time, opposing coordinators will have a gameplan tailored to exploit whatever weaknesses of Romo's they see on film.

Now, if Romo's a genuinely great QB, it won't matter. Great QBs improve at enough of a rate to keep up with opposing coordinators. It didn't stop Peyton Manning, didn't stop Tom Brady, didn't stop Carson Palmer or Ben Roethlisberger. And then again, even if Romo DOES "regress" as defenses catch up, the Cowboys are probably going to win the NFC anyway, because they easily could draw something like the defense-free Saints in the second round and the offense-free Bears in the NFC Championship.

Matt Leinart's through this zone -- this week will be his 8th start -- and still improving. This partly illustrates how nice it is to have Larry Fitz and Anquan B, but it's also a strong indicator Leinart's going to be a Pro Bowl-caliber QB and soon. Vince Young's about through it, too, and still looking pretty good.

53
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 12:38am

I think Rex Grossman has much more obvious weaknesses to gameplan for than Romo does. That certainly doesn't mean that coordinators won't find tendencies of Romo's to exploit. I just think that Grossman's suffering more dramatically from gameplanning than most quarterbacks do. And I don't think anyone believes Romo will regress as dramatically as Grossman did.

Grossman's weaknesses are so obvious that an average FO reader could figure out to exploit them. I don't think that's true of Romo, or almost any other quarterback for that matter.

54
by hector (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 12:40am

44 says: One of the reasons I like this site so much is that the Outsiders didn’t get too caught up in Romo’s early success like most analysts did.

Well, not everyone. Ian said this about Romo and the Cowboys two weeks ago, in Aubibles:

If they can beat the Giants in New York, they should cruise to a division title, and frankly, Romo would probably get my vote for MVP.

55
by Eddo (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 1:03am

54: Haha, I guess I missed that quote. It's not nearly as bad as the outbreak of Romomania that occured in Bristol, CT, however.

56
by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 1:12am

Grossman's proven to my satisfaction that he's a backup.

57
by mactbone (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 2:13am

Re 54:
Well, if you're talking about Grossman's aversion to pressure - that's actually something new. I think the injury last year has really affected his mobility. He used to move around a lot more in the pocket, but now he just runs backwards.

Re Harris' Injury:
I think it's a big deal, but the Bears have experienced depth on the d-line with Boone and Idonije. Teams will probably try to double Brown or O-Gun and someone on the d-line will have to step up their game. All that said, Harris played really well in the first 5 or so games and didn't show up a lot after that. In fact, the whole line was struggling until last week when they finally started getting pressure again.

58
by Zug Zug (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 3:53am

Before this article I didnt know this type of show existed. When browsing whats on and I see NFL matchup I thought another run-of-the-mill pre-game wrapup. (not a big tv watcher by any means, outside of giants games, maybe 3 hrs/week).

Ill be sure to check it out now, thanks.

59
by SOW (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 5:56am

52: Which zone has Matt Leinart passed? If he turns out to be as good as John Kitna, is he worth his draft position? He's got some growing to do before he reaches Kitnaville.

60
by SOW (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 5:57am

Let alone Honolulu.

61
by Levente from Hungary (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 10:01am

Aaron,

I fully agree with you on infotainment vs. enjoying the game itself. Your example about Favre was spot on. Here in Europe so often I come across with a Champions League soccer program only to discover that what they show is not the games, but either cliche interviews with high profile players or "interviews" like what is your favourite food or best buddy on the pitch. Very sad and boring.

62
by Lou in Cincy (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 10:51am

Thanx for the NFL Matchup tease. I never get to watch it cuz it's opposite... Sesame Street. (you tell a 2 year old no Elmo!)

63
by sam_acw (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 10:55am

The zone where co-ordinators have enough NFL film on a guy to plan for him. With someone like Linehart who had run a prostyle offense it would probably be a bit sooner that any traits were picked up.

64
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 11:22am

The comments about Vick confirm what some of my office mates and I have been saying for a few weeks:

The WRs could catch before they came to Atlanta, and those who have left have shown the ability to catch after they left. They caught the ball in the times that Schaub threw to them. The common denominators are Vick and Knapp. It seems that he doesn't throw the ball on time for slants and other timing routes, but he still throws a very good deep ball. He either doesn't decide where to go with it soon enough or he simply just doesn't have the right sort of timing with the receivers, and that throws THEM off his game.

When Reeves was the coach, that didn't happen as often because the system didn't rely on timing as much as Knapp's does/did/is evolving from/to or whatever they're doing this week.

I don't think that the Falcons will succeed with Vick as their starting quarterback for a few more years because he needs to realize what it takes to be a successful passer in the NFL. Teams will eventually neutralize his running ability, and he will have to be able to make decisions and deliver the ball more efficiently.

But I'm just a Saints fan exiled in Atlanta, so what do I know?

65
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 12:57pm

58: Hey there Zug, you may already know this, but in case not: Giants Gameplan on channel 5 at 11:30 has some good film breakdown (they did a nice job showing the Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware versus the Colts, in preparation for last week's game). As does Jets 24/7 on channel 2 at the same time. Much better info than the national pre-game shows.

66
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 2:11pm

Great article. Looking forward to Jaws: The Series.

I also love the two-crew idea. I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet, but you know, ESPN's already done something like this. Unfortunately, I don't think it provided the type of analysis we would want (you have to work with the talent you have, after all).

Did anyone else watch one of ESPN's Full Circle broadcasts? IIRC, they use ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPN 360 (the web service) to provide conventional coverage and other features. ESPN shows the conventional coverage on ESPN and shows other camera angles and commentary from in-studio people on the other channels.

It's a great idea (although it's usually a game like Florida State-Miami, in which I have little interest other than for the rivalry), but the sad thing is that in some ways, it's just more of the same. There isn't a channel with serious commentary.

But it could still be done, and you wouldn't need an extra crew at the game. In fact, it might be better if you didn't have them at the game - more space, more resources, more comfort (hey, we have to make sure Jaws is okay with the setup, right?).

67
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 2:15pm

This was not only my first visit to Lincoln Financial Field — it was also my first game in the press box. (Mike had done the press box before in his previous days with Sports Forecaster.) I agree with you that it would be difficult on Sundays, hard to follow the rest of the action around the league enough to write about it the next day.

Which is why Peter King had a reasonable excuse for the multiple mistakes/oversights in MMQB every week (before this year, at least).

68
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 2:25pm

Re: 59/62
No offense to Jon Kitna, but I think Leinart is nearly at Kitnaville right now. I've been impressed by the few times I've seen him throw... he seems to have a good feel for the pocket. Kitna's pocket presence? Pretty bad.

69
by Marko (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 4:09pm

"I also love the two-crew idea. I’m surprised no one has mentioned this yet, but you know, ESPN’s already done something like this."

Actually, someone has mentioned this. I did - see post #5.

70
by Andy L. (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 4:21pm

I wish ESPN would show this program at a more reasonable time. Here in the west coast, it's on at 12am Sundays (I flip over at the the first half-hour of Saturday Night Live), and then again at 5am.

71
by SOW (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 4:38pm

63. You're mixing points. One seems to be that Leinart is beyond the point where DCs have enough tape to scheme his weaknesses. I think this is wrong- he has just passed the STARTING POINT of this time period. The other seems to be that Leinart is going to the Pro Bowl, signs of which I haven't really seen and don't think you can claim, especially since the Unknown Quarterback Adjustment Period has only just begun.

72
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 12/11/2006 - 12:59pm

Re: the Panthers fade route.

Back in the 2000 playoffs (Ravens @ Titans) my friends and I picked up one of Dilfer's signs. He would come up to the line, survey the defense, and then start looking left and right and place both of his hands on his butt, one on each cheek. Then there would be a lead inside run to Jamal Lewis. Happened a couple of times. We didn't watch the second half, so I don't know if they stopped such an obvious sign in the second half, but it was clear to us what was going on.

73
by Miles (not verified) :: Mon, 12/11/2006 - 4:23pm

FYI, Jaw's showed those exact Grossman decisions on SportsCenter this morning (Mon Dec 11), in prep for the Chi-StL game tonight.

74
by Mark (not verified) :: Mon, 12/11/2006 - 5:42pm

#9

That's actually a really good idea. It adds value to the Sunday Ticket package with little to no production cost. even though I see my team regularly, it would tempt me to buy the package if I could see and tape the coach's tape.

75
by Staubach12 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/12/2006 - 12:19am

I'm not sure if others have mentioned it, but I believe Murdoch has already done two audio channel broadcasts of some sporting events on his satellite TV companies in other countries. I've also heard he's working on implementing something like that with SundayTicket. Ah, the things we have to look forward to...

76
by richabbs (not verified) :: Sun, 12/17/2006 - 8:38pm

Does anyone have any respect for what Charlie Casserly has to say anymore? The man who chose Mario Williams over Reggie Bush, Vince Young, Matt Leinhart and, who the Texans really needed, D'Brickshaw Ferguson. The man who built the "marvelous" Texans team. Its a good thing for the Ravens that Rex Ryan is the D-Coordinator and not Charlie Casserly.