Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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17 Sep 2009

Walkthrough: Revelations

by Mike Tanier

When the rapture occurs, the righteous will ascend into heaven, the wicked will suffer tribulations on earth, and Ben Roethlisberger will pump-fake.

In the event of biblical judgment, Walkthrough will appear on this site as scheduled, but the Cardinals quarterback situation will sort itself out nicely. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they'll have to honor Kurt Warner's contract even if he is walking upon streets of gold.

New Testament scholars know that the rapture appears nowhere in the bible; it's a synthesis of material from the books of Revelations and 1 Thessalonians. That makes it an uneasy mix of clashing philosophies from different eras, just like the Redskins offense. Non-scholars believe that the Man from Mars who Eats Cars (Richie Incognito) is somehow involved. They are mistaken, though not necessarily forgiven.

We dwell on these matters because Week 1 of the NFL season brings a rush to judgment, biblical or otherwise. We quickly separate the saved (Seahawks) from the damned (Panthers) based on 60-minute samples. When results turn out as we planned (Warner reverted to pre-2008 form), we cite predestination. When our predictions prove faulty (Jay Cutler was a jittery mess) we banish our claims in to-early-to-tell purgatory. Luckily for all, our judgments are more ephemeral than eternal. In two weeks, we'll be too busy fitting Super Bowl rings on the teams that rode soft schedules to 3-0 records (Vikings, Broncos) to remember any of this week's Mark Sanchez-to-Matt Ryan comparisons.

Week One brought few real revelations, but plenty of apocalyptic signs, like Jeff Garcia's return to Philadelphia to form the Three Am-Egos quarterbacking corps. Lock Garcia, Donovan McNabb, and Michael Vick in a room forever, and you have a form of damnation more excruciating than anything Jean Paul Sartre devised.

There may be no exit to the Eagles' quarterback situation, but Walkthrough always comes with an escape hatch. I admire Big Ben's willingness to play through the echo of the trumpet, but I don't want to get sacked. I'll just check down to a different subject.

Capers's Crusaders

The Packers will take what they got from their defense Sunday night: 13 points allowed, four interceptions, and an opposing quarterback driven to distraction by their pass rush (granted, Jay Cutler was already halfway there). New defensive coordinator Dom Capers was hired to bring a Steelers-style defense to Green Bay. Early returns indicate that he succeeded.

Capers normally runs a 3-4 defense, and at the start of the Bears game he deployed a rather traditional 3-4 defense. Very early in the game, he shifted to a 2-4-5 alignment, first on passing downs, then on nearly everything but obvious rushing downs. Ends Johnny Jolly and Cullen Jenkins lined up at tackle in Capers' 2-4 front (Jolly is a converted tackle), with linebackers Aaron Kampman and Clay Matthews playing with their hands in the dirt as rush-or-drop ends. Nick Barnett and Brandon Chillar played inside linebacker, with Barnett rarely blitzing while Chillar moved all over the formation. Capers explained after the game that he made the switch to the nickel so he had an extra defensive back on the field to cover Greg Olsen. Whatever the reason, this 24-front combined many of the advantages of a Steelers 3-4 with those the Giants enjoyed in their Four Aces look two years ago. It became the default alignment from which Capers ran his most elaborate blitzes against the Bears.

Figure 1: Packers Corner Blitz

Figure 1 shows the Packers first blitz of the game, on third-and-8 in the first quarter. It's a corner blitz, with Tramon Williams attacking from the offensive right side. We often think of corner blitzes as wild, dangerous plays, but this blitz is designed to be relatively low risk. Only four defenders are rushing the passer, so Capers can drop a full seven defenders into zone coverage. This blitz works because the offense doesn't know which defenders are attacking, and the ones who do blitz execute a perfectly designed stunt.

To execute a blitz properly, defenders must maintain their assignments. On this play, Kampman (74) must sacrifice himself, attacking the inside shoulder of the right tackle. Kampman's job is to draw that blocker inside. Linebacker Chillar (54) is responsible for the blocking back, Matt Forte (22) in this case. Chillar must not freelance or work inside to get the quarterback; his job is to draw Forte to the outside. Kampman and Chillar do their jobs perfectly, creating a wide, unblocked lane for Williams.

Good blitz design is useless without good coverage design. The Packers are in zone coverage in Figure 1. The figure shows them in quarters coverage, though that's a guess; they could be in Cover-3 or something more exotic. What is certain is that Jolly (97) drops into a shallow zone, and that Nick Collins (36) slides over to drop with the receiver vacated by Williams. Collins gives the receiver a wide cushion, and had Cutler read the blitz immediately, there's a chance that he could have fired a short pass to his slanting receiver. But Cutler reads the blitz too late, and by the time he throws, it's into Collins, Jolly, and a crowd of defenders. Cutler made several mistakes like that in the game, but give the Packers credit: They executed perfectly, and they gave no pre-snap indications that they would blitz from the right corner.

Figure 2: Chillar Blitz

Williams gets another chance to blitz later in the quarter, this time on first-and-10 (Figure 2). On this play, Williams and safety Atari Bigby cheat before the snap: Williams moves to get a better blitz angle, while Bigby slides up to cover the receiver. Cutler does notice the move and makes an adjustment, pointing Bigby out before the snap. The adjustment doesn't work. On this play, Williams sacrifices himself to take Forte wide while Chillar bursts through the lane. Kampman once again gives himself up to move the right tackle to the inside. The Packers are in man coverage on this play, and Cutler tries to exploit a mismatch -- Olsen (82) versus rookie Matthews (52) in the left flat. But Cutler's rushed throw is off target.

Let’s look at Jolly's interception late in the second quarter (Figure 3). On third and goal, the Bears line up in a tight twins formation with three wide receivers. The Packers stay in their new 2-4 base, but with a wrinkle: Jolly (97) is lined up in a seven technique, about a yard wide of the left tackle but inside the flexed tight end. Kampman is now between Jolly and Cullen Jenkins (77). Cornerback Charles Woodson (21) is also crowding the line, putting him in great position to blitz.

Figure 3: Jolly Green Giant

Woodson does blitz, as do Matthews and Chillar. Kampman drops into coverage. Again, despite the addition of a defensive back to the blitz package, only five defenders are rushing, so this is no jailbreak. The design of this blitz calls for Woodson and Jolly to occupy the tackles, setting up favorable matchups for Matthews and Chillar. The execution is flawless. Matthews is too quick for the guard blocking him; the rookie makes a quick inside-out move and closes on Cutler quickly. Note that the left guard does not appear to have screen blocking responsibilities; that is, he doesn't release Matthews on purpose to block on the screen the Bears try to set up. Matthews's rush disrupts the timing of the screen. Right tackle Chris Williams does have screen responsibilities, so he blocks Jolly and releases. Unfortunately, the play is already blown up. Cutler throws too quickly, and Jolly is in position to make a very athletic play.

The Bears made some adjustments in the second half, but the Packers defense continued to execute well, save for a few deep ball lapses. The blitz in Figure 4 occurred on second-and-13 early in the third quarter. The three-defender pattern highlighted in blue should be familiar: it's a variation of the blitz the Packers used in the first two diagrams. Here, they're running it to the other side, with Matthews sacrificing himself and Chillar blitzing wide to give Al Harris (31) a seam. The Packers even feign a blitz on the other side by having Woodson sneak into the box. The Bears, however, appear ready for just this blitz. Both Olsen and Forte block on the left side while Cutler sets up a screen to Earl Bennett (80) on the right.

Figure 4: Screen vs. Blitz

This play should work. Bennett has right tackle Williams blocking for him, and the Bears are attacking the weak side of the defense as the Packers roll defenders in the opposite direction. But this pass nets just four years because the Packers do a great job of containment. Kampman keeps Bennett in front of him while Woodson and Williams converge; though its not shown in the figure, even Jolly scrapes off the line to give chase. The Bears convert a first down against a Packers blitz on the next play, but they do it with Forte and Olsen blocking. If Dom Capers can neutralize two of his opponent's best players by forcing them to block, it's a win for the Packers defense.

Watching the Packers defense, I was impressed by the athleticism of their front seven. Kampman, who has always been a good all-around defensive end, does an excellent job as a drop linebacker. Jolly has never looked this good. Matthews is a very good athlete with promise. Chillar and Nick Barnett are dependable veterans who look well-suited to their new roles.

The Packers secondary isn't as impressive, and I think Woodson and Williams will get burnt for their share of long touchdowns this year. The Packers will live with a few long bombs if their defense can keep applying pressure and forcing turnovers like it did on Saturday night. The Packers don't have a Top Five defense, but their defense will hold most opponents in the 20-point range while using turnovers to give the offense some short fields. It's a far cry from what the Packers had last year, and the new 2-4 front will definitely force opponents to adjust.

The Phisher King

I spent last Sunday morning battling a computer worm called the Green Antivirus. Described as a "rogue security tool," the worm accessed my computer when I was downloading, let's say, spreadsheets. It imitated my McAfee security program reasonably well, telling me that I had several scary viruses on my computer (the kind that send my credit card numbers to Nigeria). It warned me, incessantly, that Green Antivirus software was the best way to repair the damage, and it made Green look convincingly like a McAfee product.

Here's the worst part: it hijacked Google. I was suspicious when I saw a misspelled word in one of the messages, so I tried to research Green Antivirus. Google provided me with (fake) reviews of Green Antivirus from various magazines and links to purchase the $99 software from "Dell" and "Amazon." When I searched for Norton Antivirus, the links took me to (fake) sites that compared Green, favorably, to Norton.

I was clearly in Kaiser Soze unreliable narrator territory. I knew just enough about "phishing" (the creation of fake bank and credit card sites) to look for telltale signs of Internet forgery: oddball URLs, typos, and so on. There were just enough of these (and the Green price used European commas instead of American decimal points) to keep me skeptical. I loaded up my secondary computer, and a Green Antivirus search on the unaffected machine sent me to several alerts and how-to-remove notices like this one

One site suggested that I download a cure, but when I tried to on my infected computer, Google told me that the "cure" was actually a Phishing site. Was Green Antivirus sending a phony message? Or was the post that suggested the cure secretly planted by the hacker who created the virus? Switching into X-Files "Trust No One" mode, I hunted down a surgical file-removal cure.

After discussing how we acquire knowledge in last week’s Walkthrough, this Green Antivirus incident really shook me. He who can hijack Google can control the world, telling me that my stocks are down, not up, that the antidote is really the poison, and so on. From a football standpoint, a phisher could hijack your web browser and send you to a look-alike football site. He could post a false arrest or injury report about a player, then mislead a blogger on an infected computer to comment about the report. Soon, the line between fact and fiction could be blurred for tens of thousands of us.

Imagine the chaos. A phony ProFootballTalk.com (an easy site to replicate), or a copycat of my favorite Jaguars blog could fool a local beat reporter into making a false statement. The beat writer's report would reach the print media, as well as thousands of unaffected computers. By Sunday, sideline reporters would have to debunk the false rumor -- if they haven't come to believe it by then. Those of us who depend on the Internet for tons of information, from out-of-town news to video feeds of games we missed, could easily be duped.

Who would profit from such a scam? A gambler looking to move a spread, perhaps. Or someone looking to sell a fake fantasy service (and steal credit card numbers) by creating false endorsements on a trusted site, making up some bogus news to enhance the illusion. But that's not the point: an enterprising teenager could probably confuse the football world with a well-placed worm, just for giggles. Our reliance on a handful of computer programs to provide us with important information leaves all of us vulnerable.

Anyway, my primary computer is now clean and healthy. I’m fairly certain all elements of the Green Antivirus have been excised, so I'll leave the epistemological angst behind and go back to football.

Jaguars Notes

David Garrard's season-ending ACL tear presents a real problem for the Jaguars, especially in light of Luke McCown's recent tractor accident. I think the Jaguars did the right thing this week by bringing Rodney Peete in for a tryout, but Torry Holt, who provided all of the scoring for the Jaguars wide-open, deep-passing offense last week, is unhappy about the move, apparently because of Peete's recent conversion to Sikh.

With the Jaguars quarterback situation in disarray, it's up to Maurice Jones-Drew to put aside the distractions of his relationship with Jennifer Lyon. I don't usually comment on tabloid stories, and I really don't care who killed whose Betta fish in this case, but it's clear that MJD wasn't himself last week when he was tackled in the end zone by Bob Sanders for a safety. If Peete returns, the Jaguars will have to rely even more heavily on their short passing game, plus their surprisingly effective Mercedes Lewis Wildcat package.

With Garrard hurt, Holt angry, MJD in hot water, and Jack Del Rio considering a Congressional run, I am going against FO wisdom on this game and taking the Cardinals.

Next Week in Walkthrough: I run Antivirus again, then write a long apology for the last segment.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 17 Sep 2009

80 comments, Last at 24 Sep 2009, 12:56pm by Temo

Comments

1
by bowman :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 12:15pm

Mike,

You need to run Antivirus again. The Jaguars brought in Jeff George. See www.jagaurs.com for the update by Vicc Kitchman.

2
by Key19 :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 12:27pm

Hilarious. The last segment really had me going at first.

3
by Dan :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 12:28pm

Given his injury history, I was surprised to see the Jaguars trade a 3rd rounder for Cadillac Williams just so they could put him in the backfield with Mercedes Lewis in their wildcat offense.

4
by Loomis (not verified) :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 12:35pm

Oh man, I regularly read a website with "Anime Babes" advertisements? D'oh.

7
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 12:39pm

I used to think the same thing about Catholic Match Girl, until I found myself lost in her demonic gaze.

13
by nat :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 1:19pm

I love it that Catholic Match Girl gets her own entry in the FO FAQ, but Robo-Punter gets nary a mention.

The burning question: Who would be the better quarterback, Robo-Punter or CMG? Would it matter if they were in the shotgun or under center? Robo-Punter would be more comfortable in the shotgun, fer sure, but....

Never mind.

31
by Independent George :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 3:42pm

Both of them made it into the glossary

36
by MatMan :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 6:00pm

I discovered FO post-Catholic Match Girl. Does somebody have a picture? I'd like to know what all the heavy breathing was for.

40
by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 8:47pm

"Catholic Match Girl".

Joan of Arc?

43
by Telamon :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 9:42pm

I think it was her creepiness that got me. Not that she was unattractive, but that stare...*shudder*

60
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 10:48am

Yeah, her looks were really a non-issue. It was the stare that always made me feel like Cameron Frye at the art museum.

46
by matt w (not verified) :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 12:01am

or anyway, for as long as the Google Cache lasts, here. (It would seem to be courtesy of BlueStarDude.)

47
by Telamon :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 12:30am

My soul!

48
by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 12:50am

My liege!

52
by Ben :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 4:13am

That image really needs to be added to the FO glossary, so that all may be entranced by The Stare.

5
by tuluse :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 12:38pm

This article gives me hope that it was just being unprepared for a creative, well executed defense that made the Bears look so bad, and they should become an average offense by the end of the year.

Unfortunately, we have an even better version of the same defense coming up this week.

15
by MCS :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 1:29pm

Many Packers fans are ready to canonize Capers. They need to be reminded that their success came against a Ron Turner offense.

6
by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 12:38pm

Being someone who actually started Garrard in a league last week, I'm not sure the ACL tear would really make that much difference.

8
by Temo :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 12:56pm

Consider me fooled until the italics. :(

9
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 12:56pm

I think the Packers made a really, really, smart move in hiring Capers. That said, the test will come when they face an offensive line which has a few brawlers, instead of whatever what best describes the Bears offensive line.

I also look forward to seeing how Tony Romo reacts to Jessica Simpson's hostile takeover of the Cowboys.

10
by DaninPhilly (not verified) :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 12:57pm

A good article, as always. I never knew how complicated defenses had become before reading these walkthroughs. How has the defense evolved over the years in the NFL? Anyone know about an article which a layman like me can understand?

By the way, biblical scholars will also tell you it's "Revelation" not "Revelations," but that's splitting the number of angels which can dance on the end of a hair.

12
by tuluse :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 1:04pm

There was a great series of articles posted on here a while back, I'll see if I can dig them up.

Edit Here it is: http://subscribers.footballguys.com/2009/09bramel_idpguide.php

17
by DaninPhilly (not verified) :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 1:57pm

Thanks, I'll check it out.

18
by DaninPhilly (not verified) :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 1:57pm

Thanks, I'll check it out.

14
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 1:27pm

I think somebody could actually make some money by writing a definitive history which traces the evolution of strategy in football, with a narrative which describes the cross-pollination between professional, college, high school, or hell, even less organized forms of the sport. I remember playing club ball in college, before anyone had heard of Dom Capers, and few had heard of Buddy Ryan, and seeing defenses deciding that rushing guys completely randomly was the best way to cause chaotic disasters for offenses. It'd be fun to have a skilled researcher and interviewer try to map out the twists and turns of inspiration which influenced the major actors who led to the current game.

A lot of guys who could have provided insight have already died, of course, but it would be cool for somebody to preserve what history is still available.

41
by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 8:53pm

Yes the book is called Revelation, with no "s". But that screws up the pun and, speaking for Mike (without any actual authority to do so), he'll take pun over fussy precision any day.

And, please note, splitting angels is seriously bad karma.

11
by Joshua (not verified) :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 12:59pm

The section on the Jaguars is beautiful!

16
by Bruce G. (not verified) :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 1:44pm

"New Testament scholars know that the rapture appears nowhere in the bible; it's a synthesis of material from the books of Revelations and 1 Thessalonians"

Rapture: Theology. the experience, anticipated by some fundamentalist Christians, of meeting Christ midway in the air upon his return to earth.

Actually Mike, the 1 Thessalonians passage you refer to describes the rapture completely by this definition. No synthesis needed. So in fact it does appear in the Bible. But I digress....carry-on....

19
by Phoenix138 :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 2:04pm

Terrific work, Mike.

20
by jebmak :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 2:09pm

Good choice on the Jaguars. I bet that you figured that a team with no fans would be easier to trick people with.

21
by ChiJeff (not verified) :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 2:23pm

As a Bears fan, I think that Dom Capers defense was legit. Without a doubt there are going to be growing pains. But overall Packer fans should be pleased with Capers and his defense. This does make them legit SuperBowl contenders from the NFC.

26
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 2:37pm

I'd have to agree. In fact, I think the wrinkles that Capers has added to the defense is going to make it that much more likely that My New Purple Quarterback will regress from being a 'dependable Dilfer' to being 'an old gunslinger', thus leading to a Green Bay sweep for the season.

Granted, I also think that the Minny line is far preferable to the Chicago unit, and might subdue some of the exotic pass-rush. Then again, MNPQ is far less mobile than Cutler (thanks for the demonstration on that one, fearsome Browns rush!).

29
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 3:15pm

Well, I'm unlikely to be willing to put my money where my mouth is when it comes to Viking/Packers this year, so I'm certainly not in the prediction business. Having said that, and as you and I have both noted, Hutchinson, McKinnie, and Co. have no resemblence to the turnstiles the Bears have employed on the offensive line, and (I can't believe I am writing this) the Vikings might have a non-trivial edge on the Bears in the receiver department. Finally, Forte is a nice player, but he ain't you-know-who. The Jeans Model likely won't have the same requirements put on him as Our Young Petulant Squire, Jay of Lake Forest.

The most remarkable aspect of the last Packers/Vikings game, other than Gus Frerotte's bad acid trip, was the Vikings serving the proverbial canned whupp-ass on both lines of scrimmage. Now, some of that was scheme by the Packers defense, but it was mostly a case of physical superiority.

22
by Ezra Johnson :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 2:30pm

And don't forget Capers was their third choice after Gregg Williams and Mike Nolan! Sort of like how McCarthy wound up with Rodgers after he picked Smith over him in SF (maybe that's why he felt he owed Nolan a favor).

On Sunday, the blitzes were one thing, but maybe more impressive was how they shut down the running game. That was their biggest problem last year.

55
by justanothersteve :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 10:01am

Even more strangely, McCarthy ended up as coach in GB because Minnesota wanted to make sure they didn't sign Childress.

23
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 2:31pm

A phony ProFootballTalk.com (an easy site to replicate), or a copycat of my favorite Jaguars blog...

This implies that there exist more than one Jaguars blog. Which would surprise me, given their apparent fan base (or lack thereof).

Good start to the Walkthrough season, Mr. Tanier.

24
by Arkaein :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 2:32pm

Great work Mike. If nothing else, the new GB defense will be entertaining to watch.

A few interesting points I read to day in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article covering blitzes employed against Chicago:

* GB never brought more than 5 rushers all game

* GB only brought 5 on about 30% of defensive snaps (watching the game and seeing all the pressure they brought I would have guessed closer to 50%)

* Only 3 blitzer combinations were used more than once, and of these two were used three times and one was used twice.

I'm personally not too worried about Woodson. He's such a savvy player that he rarely allows himself to get beat. In previous seasons playing mostly man coverage he would take a few risks, but would almost always save himself from giving up a big play by grabbing his man for a 5-yard holding penalty if he guessed wrong.

I actually think that Harris, Williams, and Collins may have a few more individual lapses since Harris has better feel for man coverage, Williams tends to mix great plays in with occasional lapses in coverage, and Collins is simply unproven in this type of defense. I also expect these lapses to diminish as the season goes on and the players get more comfortable with playing zone defense.

25
by ammek :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 2:37pm

Excellent work on the Packers. Capers and co have been stressing "unselfishness" all offseason long, and your article demonstrates why. I have higher hopes for Matthews after reading it.

27
by NRG :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 3:03pm

Despite what a spellchecker or good taste might say, it's "Marcedes Lewis".

32
by dbostedo :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 3:48pm

Well the incorrect spelling in the column was intentional. I would assume the incorrect spelling in the comments just follows from that...

28
by Boston Dan :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 3:09pm

There are millions of people using McAfee and Norton products whose computers get infected all the time.

I never have a problem with viruses, phishing attacks or anything else and have been using Avast's free products for years. I'm not with the company, I am an extremely satisfied end user.

http://www.avast.com/

30
by BucNasty :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 3:40pm

Just sent him an email saying the same thing. Avast and SUPERAntiSpyware have never steered me wrong.

33
by Noah of Arkadia :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 4:02pm

Using Norton or McAfee is like getting your football news from
jaugars.com

Avast
Avira
Clamwin

nod32
Kaspersky

The first 3 are free. The last 2... well.

35
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 5:25pm

There's also AVG. It's free, and has kept my abacus free of germs for a few years now.

37
by Mike Tanier :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 6:11pm

Nice try Green AntiVirus

Hijacking my computer and putting fake "helpful comments" from "readers" after my column was a brilliant gambit. But I am smarter than that!

I will not download this "Avast", which is no doubt an awful virus. Nor will I fall for any more of these "posts" that are just figments of a hacker's imagination.

Trust no one.

42
by Temo :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 8:59pm

I suppose once they're actually posted, they cease just being a figment of the imagination and actual posts, whether they're genuine or not.

Besides Mike, what is real? How do you define real? If you're talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.

You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and you believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland. And, I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

54
by Scott de B (not verified) :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 6:37am

I choose to cut both the red and blue pills in half, and take half of each.

64
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 1:46pm

Is it bad that I caught the Matrix reference before you even got to the "electrical signals" part, and way before you mentioned the the blue pill?

68
by Temo :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 4:06pm

No, I generally suck at subtle referencing.

75
by NorthStarr :: Sat, 09/19/2009 - 7:14pm

You guys should read Jack L. Chalker's 'Wonderland Gambit' trilogy
(The Cybernetic Walrus, The March Hare Network and The Hot-Wired Dodo),
an excellent little series about virtual reality.
"Ask not why we sing this song,
'Cause everything you think you know is wrong."

49
by BucNasty :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 1:30am

We're as real as can be, Mike. Just remember to go to Add/Remove Programs and remove McAfee, leaving your computer totally defenseless, before installing Green AntiVi-, I mean "Avast" on your computer (seriously, I screwed up and installed two before and it wasn't pretty).

51
by Independent George :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 1:54am

'Format C' is my preferred solution.

53
by Levente from Hungary :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 4:46am

Great follow up, Mike :-)))

I happen to work with an IT security company (among others), I will forward this piece to the guys for some laughs. Unfortunately they won't get either the Pack or the Jags section as they don't follow football.

57
by justanothersteve :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 10:06am

Mike, if you truly trust no one, you will get a Mac. Mac faithful (a religion if I've ever seen one) insist that Macs never get any of the problems other PCs do.

61
by Flounder :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 10:49am

Well, I've been a mac user for 25 years and I haven't gotten one yet.

76
by NorthStarr :: Sat, 09/19/2009 - 7:20pm

Does that also mean that Macs never get any problems that other PCs DON'T?

The beer mug is MORE than half full.
Pass the brats, please.

59
by Dales :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 10:13am

Well played.

However, I echo the above who tout Avast.

66
by crack (not verified) :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 2:43pm

Is is getting solipsistic in here or is it just me?

65
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 1:48pm

I've also had no issues with AVG.

34
by tuluse :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 4:07pm

Norton and McAfee are ok, but they're huge resource hogs.

If you are using Vista, I don't see a reason to run anti-virus. Just leave UAC on, and you have to click continue every time a program wants to modify a system file.

38
by TomKelso :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 8:05pm

Of course non-scholars are mistaken -- the Man from Mars is through with cars, and through with bars, and now he only eats guitars!

Given other news this week, it may even make him a "hero" of sorts...

70
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 4:42pm

Don't get Tanier started on the 'Harmonica Hero' stuff again...

39
by Dan :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 8:39pm

The Bears made some adjustments in the second half, but the Packers defense continued to execute well, save for a few deep ball lapses.

I thought that the Bears offense looked a lot better in the 2nd half. They had 3 scores in 5 possessions, all coming off of long drives, with only the one INT. Cutler was 9/14 for 150 yards, with 7 throws for a first down or TD and 8 successful passes (only the 4-yarder that's diagrammed here was unsuccessful). Add in Cutler's scramble and the 1 sack, and they still had 146 yards on 16 passing plays, which is over 9 yards per play, with a TO and a TD. Their longest pass that half was the 36 yard TD to Hester (the bomb to Knox was in the 1st half). And Cutler seemed to have a lot more time in the pocket.

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by The Guy You Don't Want to Hear (not verified) :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 10:39pm

Does it make me sort of a de facto Packer fan that I'm vehemently rooting against the Vikings and Bears this year (both because of how much I hate their QBs)?

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by BucNasty :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 1:32am

Yes. Of course, it also makes you a Lions fan.

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by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 11:27am

A completely rational response, and I say that as a Vikings fan. If I hadn't been watching Jackson/Frerotte/Holcombe/Bollinger/Johnson try to play qb for the Vikings for the past several years, hell, I might be rooting against Favre!

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by The Guy You Don't Want to Hear (not verified) :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 7:38pm

My father has always been a Viking fan (and he was born in Nebraska and has lived his entire life in Colorado--figure that out), so I really want to root for them and I have, but I just can't root for *shudder*. We spent the off-season figuring out ways to trade Brandon Marshall for Tarvaris Jackson, which speaks volumes about the state of my Broncos.

So that I don't have to post more than once, I was thinking that it doesn't really make me a Lions fan because they don't have a realistic shot at being helped into the playoffs by the Vikings and Bears falling apart. Maybe it shouldn't matter.

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by MCS :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 12:53pm

Plenty of room on the Packers' bandwagon. Hop on board!

Of course I hear there is even more room on the Lions bandwagon. But since the bearings are ridiculously squeaky and it is in dire need of a coat of paint, you may not want to be seen over there.

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by Dan :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 3:48pm

The Lions just got a fresh coat of paint. Hop on!

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by Flounder :: Thu, 09/17/2009 - 11:38pm

Great article. I also thought Kampman did good. He didn't do anything flashy, but wasn't put in the position to do anything flashy. Teams are keying on him, and I think it's a smart strategy to use him as a a bit of a decoy on blitzes early in the season.

Also, I have never been a fan of AJ Hawk, but he played surprisingly well. The best I've seen him play since his rookie year

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by Dales :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 10:03am

"When our predictions prove faulty (Jay Cutler was a jittery mess)"

Speak for yourself! (Oh wait, you were...)

I predicted a season of disappointment for Cutler.

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by Geo B :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 10:08am

The best anti-virus is to use a Mac! OS X, virus-free since 2001 ....

Steeler fan trapped in Houston!
Six Time SB Champs! ;-)

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by Tofino :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 4:08pm

In unrelated news, you should have seen the pair of spreadsheets on this chick I just passed in the street. Whoooo-eee!

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by Sifter :: Fri, 09/18/2009 - 5:35pm

Hah :D

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by Nonstopdrivel (not verified) :: Sat, 09/19/2009 - 12:46pm

Excellent analysis of the defensive scheme. I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops over the course of the season.

I too have fallen prey to the rogue antivirus solutions in the past, so I know how pernicious they can be. Many actually install the putative viruses they want to clean up (of course, the files are actually entirely benign). The worst thing about these programs is they hijack your browser by changing your HOSTS file. I have to wonder what it says about a businessman's psyche when he has to stoop to altering your computer's behavior in order to get you to use his product.

Like many of the posters above, I used AVG for years and never had a problem with viruses. However, I discovered that it slowed my bootup times absurdly, sometimes to five minutes or more. I switched over to the free German product Avira and now have prompt bootups with no diminution in protection. (In fact, I've read some reviews that indicate Avira is actually faster at virus detection.)

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by boog :: Sat, 09/19/2009 - 5:15pm

Those blitz packages with three defenders working together look just like pass patterns. In both cases a couple of players work together to clear out for a third, and the opposing team has to guess which they should key on.

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by Aron (not verified) :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 12:21pm

I got myself a similar virus the other day (just installed Win 7 and hadn't bothered to set up the littany of protections yet). After some thought, system restore and then Avira did the trick. Make sure you have System Restore set up on your computer as it'll help fix 90% of these problems.

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by Tyler Hartling (not verified) :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 6:58pm

hey mike its tyler hartling from school, what u do on here is totally awsome

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by Temo :: Thu, 09/24/2009 - 12:56pm

It's a good thing Mr. Tanier isn't your English teacher.

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by Mike Tanier :: Wed, 09/23/2009 - 10:03pm

Tyler,

My friends and readers call me Mike.
My students call me "Mr. Tanier."