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DeMarco Murray is the toast of the NFL, but injury and team issues clouded some observers' view of his talent. Texas RB Malcolm Brown might have the same problem this winter. 

11 Aug 2011

Walkthrough: The New Normal

by Mike Tanier

Devin Thomas said on Monday that he sometimes hears Mike Shanahan’s voice in his head.

There has to be a medication for that.

Thomas is trying to catch on in Giants camp. The former Redskins second-round pick, who was accused of lacking dedication and effort by Shanahan (get in line) has said several times that he has a “hunger and thirst” to overcome his reputation and live up to his potential.

He has talked about his hunger several times because he has been interviewed several times. This part of camp belongs to guys like Thomas: guys fighting for a job, some of whom have an interesting back-story. Or at least, a back-story that sounded interesting the first time or two you heard it.

We are back to normal folks. We are shoving tape recorders into the faces of backup wide receivers and asking their opinions of things they don’t want to talk about, like their pasts, their competitors in camp, or Osi Umenyiora.

My God, I am sick of Osi Umenyiora, Schrodinger’s pass rusher, riding a stationary bike inside a black box.

We shouldn’t be sick of Umenyiora, or of predictable features about backups. Holdouts and canned features are a sign of a return to sweet, sweet normalcy.

Football is back. I loaded up CBSSports.com a moment ago and received this nugget of wisdom from Rapid Reporter Steve Reed in Panthers camp: “RB Mike Goodson, RB Tyrell Sutton, WR Armanti Edwards and WR Brandon LaFell are working on kickoff returns.” A four way battle for the Panthers kickoff return job! Be still my heart! Keep me posted! This is not sarcasm: I spent five months hearing about revenue sharing and rookie wage scales. I want to see Tyrell Sutton tote the rock like his career is riding on it.

This weekend, there will be preseason games. Many of you will tune in to one or two, watch for 30 minutes, and be bored. This week’s games are going to be more boring than ever, because coaches really do not want the first stringers out there with only about a week of practice (for the free agents) under their belts. When the third team hits the field, they will probably run off tackle a lot, because the offense is barely installed and coaches want to get out of the game without injury or incident.

But it’s football, folks, and it’s on schedule again. Football is supposed to bore us to tears on August Friday nights.

I am writing on Wednesday evening. It has been 16 days since the lockout lifted. Sixteen days! Less than three weeks ago, there was no guarantee we would be here. I remember that Wednesday, three weeks ago: everyone expected the players to vote, but night fell and word came that there was “nothing to vote on.” The owners voted to ratify the outline of the CBA on their end the next day, and the sky fell. That was 20 days ago.

Did you think, less than three weeks later, that the routine would have already set in?

What we saw in the days after the lockout was not quite football. It was a frenzy, a whirlwind, a kindergarten bus unloading in a playground while Arthur Blank awkwardly shifts his head in what I believe is an attempt at a dance. The trades and signings took place so quickly that you could lose your equilibrium trying to really follow and understand them. It felt like the barrage would last for weeks. Stop to think and process the depth chart? There’s no time for that! The Texans just signed Johnathan Joseph! Think fast: the Ravens released Derrick Mason! Kevin Boss signed with the Raiders? Red alert!

But suddenly, everything has slowed down. The free agents are on the field. Depth charts are starting to make some kind of sense, even in Washington. The holdouts are taking center stage, as they often do before the first two preseason games.

And Devin Thomas is hurt, nursing minor injuries, just like he is every year at this time.

We can breathe. We can be bored. Boredom is good. It resets the brain. It reminds us of how special autumn Sundays are, of what we almost lost.

Time to breathe also means time to read a good book. Or write one. Speaking of which …

Chapters

So, we’re writing a book here at Football Outsiders. We are so busy writing the book that we don’t have time to talk about the book or promote the book, which is counterproductive. I am so busy finishing my parts that when the host mentioned the book during a radio appearance on Tuesday, I froze for a second. “Book? Oh yes, that thing. Well, it’s awesome, and everyone in Edmonton should buy it, as soon as it’s done, which it will be, as soon as I get off the phone.”

Football Outsiders Almanac 2011 will be awesome this year, and we are hoping you will buy it. The magazine stands are littered with football and fantasy magazines talking about what the Cardinals will do without a quarterback and speculating about where Donovan McNabb will end up. In just a few days, we will produce a book that is not only updated with all of the major transactions of the last three weeks, but the most intensive analysis of those moves that can possibly be done by sleep-deprived people on a tight deadline.

As a way of promoting the book, and as an admission that I have had no time to think about anything but my book assignments and my duties as a temporary Giants reporter, I put together some teasers of the eight chapters I wrote or revised. There are few spoilers here in terms of our projections: the projections change every time there is a major move, and I do not want to report any official numbers until the thermometer pops. These are more like abstracts of the chapters, as well as reflections about what goes into writing a book when five months of planning flies out the window in about 72 hours.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills are boring. Their fans probably do not think so, but the rest of us do. If you made a list of teams that you wanted to see play, given the chance to program a special Thursday Night game or something, the Bills would probably be near the bottom of your list.

Writing about them is not particularly fun, either, because there are never a lot of exciting new personalities or major changes to talk about. Ryan Fitzpatrick is not a hook for a story in the same way that, say, Cam Newton is. Chan Gailey and his offense are a lot of fun, but there is only so much to be said about a wide-open offense that finished 26th in the league in DVOA.

The Bills chapter, therefore, explores the Groundhog Day-like rut the team is stuck in, and how the emergences of stars like Steve Johnson and Kyle Williams just aren’t enough to generate real enthusiasm. I tried to make the chapter more interesting than the team, and I think I succeeded.

Chicago Bears

There’s an unpopular subgenre of Football Outsiders literature called the “Why Playoff Team X Was Not As Good As Its Record” essay. They are not much fun to write, because no one wants to throw cold water on fan optimism, and we can count on emails/blog entries telling us that we are geeks who underestimate heart and toughness. These essays are an unfortunate necessity, because it is hard to explain why a team that played in the NFC Championship Game is projected to do less this season, and that explanation usually involves things like close wins, schedule strength, and games won against teams using a backup kick returner as a quarterback.

In one paragraph, I explain how many of the Bears problems last year stemmed from the fact that they kept juggling their offensive line right up until the start of the season. I then said that while the camp line appears to be set, with Chris Spencer as the new center, that could change by the time readers get their hands on the book. Sure enough, the Bears juggled their line while we were editing, moving Roberto Garza to center so we could all enjoy the Lance Louis experience once again. There’s nothing quite like predicting something that happens immediately after you predict it.

Detroit Lions

The Lions chapter focuses on their front four, and how for the first time in a decade we can say that the Lions have a truly great something. Even with Nick Fairley limited due to injury, the Lions line has the potential to be special, and the overall prognosis for the whole team would be better if the NFC North were a weaker division.

While researching the Lions line, I noticed some Ndamukong Suh backlash from this site or that. Suh is the best young lineman in the NFL, and he has the potential to be one of the best players in the league. Some of the people who claim he is overrated may just be trying to get ahead of the curve or be contrary. Others may be making too much of his penalties. Roughness penalties may be negative plays, but they are often a sign of an excellent lineman, especially if those plays are not evidence of stupid play but just the result of a big, fast guy being a step late now and then. Fairley’s college penalties concern me, because it looked like he was lunging at quarterback’s knees maliciously, but Suh was often flagged for something that looked far worse than it was. If you use some “penalty deduction” on him, he probably comes out looking pretty awful, but he is really a special defensive lineman, one who will always incur the occasional penalty while taking over a game.

Green Bay Packers

I have written the team chapter for the last three Super Bowl champions; before that, I got to write about the 2007 Patriots, who were about as good, and as interesting, as a non-champion can be. One way to approach an essay about the champions is to break down, statistically, how they did what they did. That isn’t my favorite approach. For the Saints last year, we used a lot of numbers to break down how their offense and defense worked, which made sense because both their offense and defense were statistically fascinating. But the Packers? Sure, their crazy formations are interesting, but we have a box for formation tendencies. They were a 10-6, Wild Card team, not a team that dominated from September through February. I suppose I could break down Aaron Rodgers’ emergence, or find cool tidbits about Clay Matthews, but you don’t need Football Outsiders Almanac to tell you those guys are good.

The best champion essays, I think, provide perspective on how the team won, and how they will be remembered. Two years ago, I wrote about the Steelers’ patient, old-fashioned approach to roster development, and this Packers essay is a lot like that. I try not to spoon Ted Thompson too adoringly, but he has done an excellent job finding late-round picks and street free agents who can help his team. The Packers essay examines what really goes into finding a John Kuhn or a Sam Shields: not brilliance, but a willingness to communicate needs, allocate resources, and work within a framework of coaches, scouts, and executives. In other words, it takes management.

Minnesota Vikings

The rough drafts of the Vikings essay, written in May, were very pessimistic. Heck, the team didn’t even have a stadium to play in at that point. Since then, the Metrodome has been fully patched and re-inflated, and so has the Vikings roster. Donovan McNabb may be on the decline, but he’s still good enough to run a Bill Musgrave offense (hand off, hand off, play-action seven-step-drop bomb) until Christian Ponder is ready. Ponder is not an A+ prospect, but he does not have to be if Musgrave gets his Adrian Peterson-heavy attack churning in the right direction. The release of Bryant McKinnie is a case of addition by subtraction for a team that needs to demonstrate that they are moving forward and changing the way they do business.

The Vikings essay you will read still has gloomy undertones, and it starts with one of the silliest metaphors I have ever written. It explores how hard the rebuilding process can be in the NFL. It’s easy for fans to say “blow up the stadium and start over,” but what happens if the stadium actually does collapse? The Vikings are trapped between the glory of 2009 and the disaster of 2010, and it will take more than one draft and an insane off-season to dig their way out from under the avalanche.

New England Patriots

Analyzing the Patriots’ roster moves is like trying to predict tornados. There are some things you have down: the Patriots are going to stockpile second-round picks in the draft, usually by trading with needier, less successful teams. Then the team veers toward the trailer park by signing Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth. On the one hand, you can claim that those moves were part of a predictable pattern that started with Randy Moss. Great. Show me someone who predicted those moves, and I will believe they were predictable.

The Patriots chapter needed major revision after the team acquired Ocho and the Tarkus, but the core concept remained: the Patriots do things differently. Not just differently than every other team, but differently than themselves. They are always adjusting their roster strategy, and if you look back over their decade of excellence, three distinct philosophies emerge. Whether the team’s latest wrinkles produce a Super Bowl is yet to be determined, but a 14-2 team added significant talent in the offseason, without incurring many losses. That alone is a pretty impressive accomplishment.

Philadelphia Eagles

Bill Barnwell wrote the original Eagles chapter before joining Grantland.com many months ago. The Eagles made one or two moves since then, so I jumped in to add bits about the Kevin Kolb trade and Nnamdi Asomugha, and to revise the thesis into something along the lines of: “holy crap the Eagles have signed a lot of dudes!”

The Eagles don’t do this. They never have. The only thing close to a spending splurge like this was the year they brought in Terrell Owens and Jevon Kearse, but that was the acquisition of two key pieces, not an epic spree. It’s easy to sense some urgency in the moves, and I thought at the end of last season that Andy Reid had one more season to win a Super Bowl or seek employment elsewhere. If that’s the case, he is going down swinging.

The first 700 words of the Eagles chapter, before giving way to material from the first draft, were written in one 20 minute sitting on July 30th, in the brief free time I had before my son’s birthday party. And it shows. Seriously, though, I think the essay captures the giddiness of those few days when the Eagles tried to sign the world.

Washington Redskins

I inherited the Redskins chapter sometime before the lockout, the rationale being that no one makes fun of Dan Snyder or psychoanalyzes McNabb like I do. Compliment accepted! The Redskins chapter makes fun of Snyder and psychoanalyzes McNabb, noting that the departures of Haynesworth and McNabb were more ridiculous than their arrivals.

The chapter is already out of date, because John Beck is listed as the starter, not Rex Grossman. It does not really matter. In fact, it confirms the main idea of the chapter, that the Redskins are still operating in a weird dysfunctional bubble where owner, general manager, coaches, and veteran players all do their own thing and hope it works out.

And Finally

Walkthrough will sound a little more like itself in a week or two, as the book crunch ebbs (for me, anyway) and my foray into beat writing subsides. Like every football writer on earth, I am a little gassed right now.

Walkthrough will return to its weekly schedule by the time the season starts, but I make no guarantees about next week. I will also be more involved with the New York Times soon than I have been in past years. More on that to come. The N.F.L. game previews will be back as soon as the games matter, and they will make as little sense as they ever have.

The Philly Fan’s Code is in printing. Pre-orders are available through Amazon. I am starting to line up a few tour dates. South Jersey types who attend the Collingswood Book Fair in October can look forward to seeing me there. One book at a time, though: my book will make perfect reading during baseball playoff games, when you are looking for perspective on who Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are and why they are kicking butt. The Almanac is the program you need to tell one Eagles acquisition from another.

More on that later. More on everything later.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 11 Aug 2011

45 comments, Last at 16 Aug 2011, 9:38am by Kevin from Philly

Comments

1
by Shawn :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 2:44pm

Give us some credit. Even Bills fans know their team isn't very fun to watch.

2
by Theo :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 3:50pm

Could you teach that trick to the brownies fans?

19
by Thok :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 11:25pm

To be fair, last year Peyton Hillis was more interesting than the entire Buffalo Bills team combined.

5
by prophetik (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 4:20pm

i found the bills - their offense, at least - pretty fun to watch last year. tons of nobodies making great plays is always interesting to me, because while you know that jackson will do his bob-and-weave thing for 800 yards and kyle williams will munch a few linemen into unrecognizable piles of mush, there wasn't anyone who really knew who would catch balls and get sacks this year.

watching stevie johnson go from being a guy criticized for bad route running in camp to being excellent at finding space in limited lanes was awesome. watching moats end *****'s career was awesome. watching the bengals get stomped - and then add one of the worst cover SSs as their starting safety - is still awesome. watching them trade touchdowns over and over with the pats, force KC into overtime, and come within one Ray Lewis play of beating the Ravens was pretty incredible, particularly for a team that just never seemed to be able to compete with the big guys.

so i think it's unfair to say that they're boring to watch. their defense is fun to watch because they're terrible and other teams just throw points on the board against them. their offense is fun to watch because they'll covert a 3rd and 14 after bumbling comically around the field for the first few downs from an awesome catch by a receiver no one knows about.

probably just homerism, but there's something there that makes the bills fans keep coming back. it's not the water, and it's not the beer for sure. it's also not the 90-degree summers or 20-degree winters.

32
by Yesimadolphinsfan (not verified) :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 12:28pm

It's Dick Jauron's game-planning and play calling that keeps people watching.

6
by Temo :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 4:22pm

The Bills are so exciting, the best play by a Bills player last year happened in Seattle.

14
by Marko :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 7:24pm

And their most memorable play was a dropped pass in the end zone against the Steelers in OT. Had Steve Johnson caught that pass, the Ravens would have won the AFC North (and probably would have ended up in the Super Bowl), while the Steelers would have had to go the wild-card route.

3
by Coach Tuesday (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 4:05pm

Yep, football normalcy is back alright! Snarky FO columns that take gratuitous shots at the Bills, fluff up the Patriots, and whine on about how tedious it can be to write about football for a living. Finally we're back into the swing of things.

4
by Temo :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 4:19pm

If only you'd mentioned commentators complaining about bias and ingratitude, we could have gone completely meta on his ass.

7
by Scott P. (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 4:36pm

The Patriots chapter needed major revision after the team acquired Ocho and the Tarkus,

I wonder what position Tars Tarkas would play at. Receiver, presumably.

12
by wr (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 7:09pm

Tars Tarkas is O left tackle material. Thuvan Dinh is more the receiver type.

13
by wr (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 7:11pm

Oh, and Dejah Thoris and Thuvia can head up the cheerleader squad.

24
by Mike B. In Va :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 10:46am

I love where you guys went with this, but I think Mike was going ELP instead of ERB.

Only on this site...

42
by TomC :: Sat, 08/13/2011 - 11:11am

Really? Haynesworth is an armadillo tank? Or an awful prog rock album?

43
by chemical burn :: Sat, 08/13/2011 - 11:42am

My immediate thought genuinely was "armadillo tank born from a volcano that fights other monters? makes sense."

8
by QQ (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 5:21pm

They were a 10-6, Wild Card team, not a team that dominated from September through February."

I disagree with this comment and think it is wrong.

REGULAR SEASON
--------------
-GB had the 2nd Best Point Differential in the League
-8 out of GB's 10 wins were by 1 TD or More
-5 of their 10 Wins were by 18 or More

POSTSEASON
--------------
-Held Double Digit Halftime Leads in all 4 PostSeason Games
-In 4 Games (0 at Home), the only game they trailed in was the game they won 48-21

***Yes GB lose 6 times during the regular season, but I think dominance has more to do with points scored/allowed than record. I can't imagine many people who could make the argument that Chi and Atl were more dominant than GB.

2010 GB was not AS dominant as some historically great teams (1996 GB) but to say they were not dominant at all is pretty wrong.

9
by John (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 5:57pm

Congratulations, that may be the first usage of "pretty wrong" I've ever seen. Think you could make that statement a little stronger? Was "pretty" really necessary?

11
by Temo :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 6:04pm

Pretty constructive post there, John.

16
by John (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 8:30pm

Pretty much so.

Real football's back tonight, the only thing that makes me miss having a TV. I really need to find a sports bar other than the local steakhouse.

17
by tuluse :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 8:36pm

Pretty astute observation there Temo.

21
by Temo :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 1:27am

Or you sure it wasn't pretty petty?

18
by Theo :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 10:23pm

Reasonably quite.

23
by Bobby Wommack (not verified) :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 10:11am

First off, your stats are wrong. 8 out of the 10 GB wins were NOT by 1 TD or more. It was only 6 games. But did you pay attention the teams they beat? The Pack didn't exactly have the toughest schedule.

Teams they beat by 1 TD or more:
Buffalo
Jets (9-0)
Dallas
Vikings
49ers
Giants

The only playoff team the beat by more than 1 TD was the Jets, and that was 9-0 in a game where the Jets D dominated the Pack, but their D was equally as good against Sanchez.

And in another content, the Pack only beat 4 teams in the regular season with a winning record - Bears, Jets, Eagles, Giants.

So its safe to say they weren't dominate in the regular season.

Stats like that are great to show off, but really meaningless without context on who they beat.

25
by Mr Shush :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 11:02am

Or . . . we could note that they were 3rd in regular season DVOA at 23.4%, just ahead of the Ravens and Eagles but a long way behind the Patriots and Steelers, and that they had a terrific post-season, which might take them up to around 30% if you included it as well (just at a guess). Then it just depends what you mean by dominant. Were they dominant like the 96 Packers or 99 Rams? No. Were they much more like your average 12-4 or 13-3 team than your average 10-6 team? Yes.

27
by Lance :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 11:53am

Well, the original poster was arguing with the assertion that GB wasn't "a team that dominated from September through February"-- that is, from the beginning to the end of the season. While it seems clear that by the season's end, the team was very good, we might still question if they were dominant from the start.

By Week 6, for instance, GB was only 3-3 and had seen consecutive losses to Washington and Miami (though, admittedly both in OT). It's hard to argue for complete dominance when you're sitting at .500 nearly 40% of the way through the season, and have seen back-to-back losses to two teams generally thought of as being below average.

28
by Arkaein :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 11:54am

Very few teams win many more than 4 games against teams with winning records. The Packers played 7 games against teams with winning records during the regular season, which is about average for a playoff teams (since the rest of the NFL will have a slightly less that 0.500 record compared to almost every playoff team).

Not only that, but GB played most (5 of 7) of their games against winning teams on the road (Eagles, one against the Bears, Jets, Falcons, Patriots).

35
by Nevic (not verified) :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 1:50pm

One other stat that just blows my mind. GB never trailed by more than a TD all year. In 20 games, they were never more than one play away from tying or taking the lead. While not dominant exactly, it is another indicator of good play throughout the season.

29
by Lance :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 12:00pm

Not to quibble too much with your argument-- since I generally agree with it-- but in Week 1, they DID beat the Eagles by exactly one TD, 20-27, and they DID beat Chicago in Week 16 by the score of 10-3, also one TD. Since the phrasing was "1 TD or more" then we can throw those in and that's 8 as the original poster said. I am still not convinced that GB was dominant "from September through February" but the poster is correct about the victory totals, however valid (or not) his point was.

10
by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 6:02pm

Will buy boik. When can be biught?

15
by Bill (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 7:47pm

and with that, the season has officially begun...

37
by Dean :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 3:34pm

Amazon still isn't showing a release date, but its available for preorder.

39
by Aaron Schatz :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 7:26pm

No, no. Not yet. It doesn't go up on Amazon until we're done with it, unfortunately.

45
by Kevin from Philly :: Tue, 08/16/2011 - 9:38am

Kudoes for finishing the book before selling it.

20
by anton (not verified) :: Thu, 08/11/2011 - 11:39pm

lots of bills defending their team.. was i missing something by not watching them???

22
by Willsy :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 1:55am

I didn't buy the physical book last season and went the pdf route. Big mistake. Thought I would print out key parts etc - nope. Did I read it cover to cover like previous years - nope. Did I annoy my wife by leaving the book lying around in front of the TV - nope. Was I starved of information? You bet! As soon as the real book is released my and Raiderjoe will have UPS on the case have the book delivered to out hot little hands.

So I pretty much stuffed up last year and I won't that mistake again.

When is the Wisdom of Crowds pick the Division winners happening?

26
by dan hefner (not verified) :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 11:10am

Can't wait for the new Almanac and yr. columns in the Times. Go man go.

30
by jpg30@earthlink.net :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 12:09pm

Mike,

To paraphrase:

"The most intensive analysis of last minute NFL player movement & up to date roster analysis that can possibly be done by sleep-deprived people on a tight deadline."

Who wouldn't want to buy a book like that? :-)

-Joe

31
by Ambientdonkey :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 12:14pm

The Bears didn't really shuffle their line. Spencer was never the 1st team center.

38
by Dan :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 4:55pm

They do have 3 of 5 starters playing in a different position from where they played last year. Garza has moved from RG to C, Webb has moved from RT to LT, and Carimi is at RT after playing LT at Wisconsin. Louis has broken into the starting RG position after being the backup RG last year, making Chris Williams at LG the only starting OL position that's been stable from last year.

But blaming the Bears' shuffling for their poor OL is giving their players too much credit. If they can't block, it doesn't matter where you line them up or how much stability you give them.

40
by tuluse :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 9:06pm

From last year, they've shuffled it, but they haven't shuffled it this year.

Personally, I think continuity is overrated. All it means to me is that you had good players who didn't need to be replaced and stayed healthy.

33
by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 1:32pm

No need for hanbags at football site ecxept for redskins guy fans who dress lold womrn

34
by Nevic (not verified) :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 1:48pm

OK, this comment had me falling out of my desk chair at work laughing. Now I'm getting strange looks from co-workers. Good thing I was not drinking anything when I read this.

36
by Dean :: Fri, 08/12/2011 - 2:12pm

Joe, you’re showing your age on this one. Redskins fans don’t actually show up to the games anymore, cross dressing or otherwise. That’s one of the easiest “road” tickets anywhere in the league.

44
by dbostedo :: Sun, 08/14/2011 - 6:21pm

Oddly enough they still buy lots of season tickets though. I guess the first couple of games are probably tough to get "road" tickets at, but once they lose a couple of games, it starts to get easier. (There's not much middle ground with 'Skins fans - if they go 2-0, they're clear super bowl winners; if they go 0-2 they're the worst team in the league. It's kind of fascinating to see.)

41
by Dave in Tucson (not verified) :: Sat, 08/13/2011 - 3:57am

[Ted Thompson] has done an excellent job finding late-round picks and street free agents who can help his team.

TT does an excellent job of drafting, period. Almost every player drafted by the Packers since 2006 was still in the League, still playing in 2010.