Audibles at the Line: Week 8

Audibles at the Line: Week 8
Audibles at the Line: Week 8
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

compiled by Rivers McCown and Andrew Potter

This year, we have a new format for our Monday morning feature Audibles at the Line, combining our Twitter feeds with our e-mail discussion. First, we're replacing our usual back-and-forth with some longer-form dissection of each game that at least one of us watches in depth. Second, every game that we find time for will also have a selection of tweets from us and a few reader tweets we found particularly insightful. To follow these tweets live on Sunday, or to contribute your own thoughts or a question for the FO staff, you can use hashtag #foaud. We discussed the new format in this post.

On Monday, we will compile a digest of tweets and e-mails to produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed, not entirely grammatically correct, and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.

Audibles is still being written from our point of view, meaning we aren't going to cover every game, or every important play. We watch the games that we, as fans, are interested in watching, so your favorite team's game might not be covered to your fullest desires or even at all. (If you are a 49ers or Patriots fan, you are probably in luck; if you are a Bills fan, not so much.) We have no intention of adding new authors to cover every game on a given Sunday, nor will we watch a different game from the ones that we're personally interested in watching, just to ensure that Audibles covers every game. Audibles is often written from a fan perspective as much as an analyst perspective; in order to properly accuse FO writers of bias, please check our FAQ.

San Francisco 49ers 42 “at” Jacksonville Jaguars 10 (London)


Scott Kacsmar: London fans look thrilled now, but the 4th quarter of Jaguars games are as desolate as Fallout 3.
Danny Tuccitto: Kyle Williams w/ a fumble and two drops in the first 3 minutes of the game. 49ers score TD in spite of him.
@cptii: Kyle Williams is not playing like a guy who’s fighting for his roster spot …
Danny Tuccitto: Colin Kaepernick TD run near end of 1st quarter made possible by Frank Gore taking out two defenders with one block.
Tom Gower: Barring a shocking comeback in London, the non-Indy part of the AFC South will finish 0-for-October.
Vince Verhei: Jacksonville keeps forgetting to cover backs and tight ends. Because, you know, SF has so much depth at wideout.
Scott Kacsmar: 49ers should easily put together a 5-game winning streak that includes 31+ points and winning by 12+ points each game. Rare air.
@PigskinLover: Vernon Davis with a beautiful stalk block allowing Kaep to score his 2nd rushing TD. Dangerous when blocking AND receiving so well
@MilkmanDanimal: Chad Henne curently 10/19 for 76 yards. Kind of says it all.
Danny Tuccitto: 4 out of 5 statheads agree that Gus Bradley should not have opted for FG down 28-0 at end of 1st half. i'm the dissenter.
Danny Tuccitto: i wonder if Lou Brown attached pink slip to Kyle Williams' locker prior to halftime.
@Mclemons67: Gus Bradley calls for the FG on 4th and 4 down 28-0. Official signal of surrender?
Tom Gower: Re Jaguars kicking FG down 28-0 at end of first half, life's too short to worry about that decision.
Danny Tuccitto: What's amazing about 49ers D the past month or so is that they're doing all of this with absolutely no pass rush.
@PigskinLover: Kendall Hunter just showed some moves similar to his pre-injury arsenal. Niners deep at RB heading into second half of the season


Tom Gower: With Jacksonville losing this game, the non-Indianapolis part of the AFC South finishes 0-for-October. I don't even think there was a single contest where they (Houston, Jacksonville, or Tennessee) played with or better than the opponent and lost.

Rivers McCown: Houston-Seattle? But yeah, that's a sad, sad division right now.

The Jags are in full science experiment mode. Mike Brown has at least been a nice find, it looks like.

Tom Gower: Houston-Seattle was September 29. I had to check that one.

Scott Kacsmar: Tennessee gave the Chiefs a pretty good game on October 6, even with Ryan Fitzpatrick starting.

Cian Fahey: This game felt like I was watching grown men against infants ... no, embryos. It's the kind of game that doesn't sell the sport to anyone in the world, not least casual fans who may have caught it on TV by accident today in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland. You can't really take anything away from the game for the 49ers, but there were three notable takeaways for the Jaguars.

1: Maurice Jones-Drew is still an outstanding running back. He was consistently breaking tackles, making the right cuts, showing patience and was again outstanding in pass protection. The Jaguars made him a focus of the offense both as a runner and receiver, maybe as one final showcase on the trade market? There may not be a team with the need for Jones-Drew, but it will be sad if he rots away on this team for the rest of the season.

2: Johnathan Cyprien was the worst player on the field ... by far. The Jaguars have bad players who play poorly on a weekly basis. Their team also plays poorly as a unit on a weekly basis. Those are not problems. However, Cyprien is expected to be part of this defense for a long time, he won't be if he plays many more games like this one. He repeatedly missed tackles and made no impact in coverage. He is obviously very talented, but these weren't just rookie mistakes, they were worrying signs emanating from a terrible level of play. You have to reach a high mark of bad play to stand out on this Jaguars roster.

3: On the other side of the ball, Mike Brown was very impressive again and Denard Robinson showed some life. While the offensive line will need some work, if the Jaguars land a top quarterback such as Teddy Bridgewater in next year's draft, they could rebound very quickly because of the skill position talent on the offense. Marcedes Lewis only had one target, on which he fumbled, so he can't be celebrated, but Cecil Shorts (who is playing through pain), Justin Blackmon, Brown and Robinson should provide plenty of targets for (Bridgewater) that Chad Henne can't show off.

Cleveland Browns 17 at Kansas City Chiefs 23


Ben Muth: I don't want to jump to conclusions on his career yet, but Eric Fisher has been terrible so far in KC.
Scott Kacsmar: Alex Smith: "I'm just trying to do all I can to help Ryan Succop make the Pro Bowl. If he plays with me long enough, perhaps Canton."
Vince Verhei: CLE has 2 runs for -2 yards. Then a flea-flicker inexplicably works for a TD.
@THEOSU7: One play after a terrible holding call on Joe Thomas, KC records its first sack of the day. There may be correlation.
@dingerc: Absolutely brutal def holding call against Joe Haden in KC. Bowe pleaded for flag and got it late.
Tom Gower: Browns in KC territory, end up at 3&30 punt. Browns to be in KC territory after punt, muff it. Ah, Cleveland.
Tom Gower: Barkevious Mingo thinks that flea-flicker the Chiefs tried to run was cute. Blew by Branden Albert on the outside.
@dingerc: CLE’s defense keeping them in game late. Browns’ offense and special teams keeping them out of it.
@Cassieper: Getting a stop deep in Chiefs' territory down 3 and then muffing the punt with good field position is the most Browns thing ever.
@MilkmanDanimal: Jason Campbell used to look constantly shell-shocked and panicked in the pocket, but he's looked very comfortable today.
Vince Verhei: Campbell needs 80 yards in 17 seconds with no timeouts. Throws short completion in bounds. Game over


Tom Gower: I know, saying this when they're 8-0 is playing with fire, but I wouldn't bat an eye if the Chiefs finished 11-5 and went out in as desultory a wild card performance as they had in 2010. Outside of Jamaal Charles, there's just not enough there on offense for me to like. Alex Smith's "random deep ball on the sidelines" strategy doesn't work nearly as well as Joe Flacco's, and it felt like virtually every third-and-long was either a screen or a sack. Granted, they're a fine screen team and convert many more of those than I'd expect.

In my peregrinations between games, I missed Cleveland's scoring drives, so perhaps I'm getting a skewed picture. I think Jason Campbell looked like the player who benefited from Hue Jackson's tutelage in Oakland in "how to not take all those sacks," as he moved both within and outside the pocket to escape from the virtually omnipresent Kansas City rush. Translating that non-sack to actual offensive progress was a much more difficult proposition, though the Browns did manage 17 points somehow.

Aaron Schatz: I said to someone on Twitter today that the Patriots would make the playoffs and lose to Kansas City. I don't think the Chiefs are going 11-5, but a game between the 13-3 Chiefs and 12-4 Patriots would be quite a matchup of teams that weren't as good as their records.

Miami Dolphins 17 at New England Patriots 27


Aaron Schatz: In case you were wondering if the problem is Brady or his receivers, he just threw behind his best guy - Gronk - and got picked.
Aaron Schatz: that third-and-8 had really strong coverage by Dion Jordan on Gronk AND a really awful pass by Brady. Hand injury a real issue?
Aaron Schatz: Interesting to note Patriots are almost exclusively in a 3-4 look today with Ninkovich and Collins as OLB.
@pchicola: A hybrid 4-3/3-4. Forston plays 2gap nose; Vellano 3-tech over/under; Jones 5-tech; Niko Sam Elephant. Colllins Will.
Aaron Schatz: So far, Bryant McKinnie is very definitely an upgrade on Jonathan Martin at LT for Dolphins
Aaron Schatz: Vollmer likely out for year. At this point, just making the playoffs has to be considered a very successful season for Pats.
@pchicola: Want an indicator of Brady's lack of trust in WR. MIA is hi-low'ing Gronk w/ OLB & SS. And Brady still keeps looking for him first.
Aaron Schatz: Pats kneel on ball with :30 left, all three timeouts. Seems like massive vote of no confidence in offense.
@MilkmanDanimal: Brady sacked as Blount stands around wondering who he should be blocking. Saw that a lot in Tampa; Blount is just awful at blocking.
@ochocincoblog: New England games and interesting penalty calls: a tradition unlike any other. The Patriots on CBS
Tom Gower: What a terrible break for the Dolphins & Olivier Vernon. I thought he tried to corral the ball, gets called for a bat.
Aaron Schatz: I think that with the Vernon penalty, intent doesn't matter. A concept Boston fans are all too familiar with today.
Tom Gower: Per the NFL Rulebook (at least 2012, what I have on this comp), a bat is defined as intentional striking of the ball.
@pchicola: I have years watching the Pats, and Ive never seen so many slot corner blitzes as today. The closest were the SS blitzes by Rodney.
Aaron Schatz: I don't even think Brady has been that much better in 2H. Pats have dominated with run, defense, and special teams.


Aaron Schatz: Every review of this game will use the phrase "tale of two halves," but golly, this was the tale of two halves. Patriots looked terrible and lethargic in the first half, then dominated the second half. But they didn't dominate with Tom Brady. Clearly Brady is hurt, his hand was swollen, and he really wasn't much better in the second half than he was in the first. However, the Patriots stepped up running the ball, and on defense, and special teams, and that won them the game. In particular, the Dolphins front really broke down against the run in second half, leaving some big holes.

One of the problems for the Pats in the first half was not using their best players. The word in the press box is that Bill Belichick benched Stevan Ridley and Logan Ryan for their celebrations of touchdowns a week ago, and didn't bring them in until the second quarter. (Ryan didn't play much until the third). Once they came in, they were much better than the players they replaced. Ryan in particular really looked strong and I would love to see him playing over Arrington once Aqib Talib comes back.

I did think there were some impressive things for the Dolphins despite the fact that they hit a wall in the second half. The offensive line was dramatically improved. The sacks the Dolphins gave up tended to be untouched rushers or coverage sacks, and there were some good run holes too. The play design for the Dolphins today was also good. They were getting guys open all over the place -- downfield, on swing passes, a runner in space on an end around, all kinds of stuff. The one problem they had was a lack of real weapons they could use over the middle. Everything was on the outside. Even passes to tight end Charles Clay and slot receiver Rishard Matthews tended to be on the outside. And I worry about a couple of plays where I saw Brian Hartline open and Ryan Tannehill threw to Mike Wallace. I hope that's not an effect from Wallace bitching in the locker room.

What happened to the Miami run defense after halftime? I have no idea. As for special teams, someone has to explain to me why Marcus Thigpen kept making fair catches without any Patriots within eight yards of him.

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Vince Verhei: Having watched the illegal touching penalty again, I can see now what the ref was looking at when he threw the flag. It's still not plain to me that Olivier Vernon was intentionally knocking the ball backwards, but I get why the call was made. I'm still not sure, though, WHY this is a penalty, and for sure it seems like the punishment doesn't fit the crime. I guess I understand that the offense can't bat it forward, because you don't want a team intentionally putting the ball on the ground and then batting it forward. So if the rule has to be the same for offense and defense, then fine. But they don't take the ball away from the offense for illegal batting, and they shouldn't have taken the ball away from Miami here either. It seems to me that the rule should be: Miami gets the ball with a penalty marked off from the spot of the foul.

Buffalo Bills 17 at New Orleans Saints 35


Scott Kacsmar: The three major 2013 adopters of the read option (PHI, OAK, BUF) have all had injured QBs. Thaddeus Lewis down in NO.
@Broncfan07: Thad Lewis hurt on the first play of the game. This is why Buffalo can't have nice things.
@GDFar: Saints look like they don't have pass plays with Graham out of the game.
@SigurWes: Is today the day the league realizes how good the Buffalo defense is?
Andrew Potter: Five interceptions against Flacco was a pretty good hint. Alonso's a stud.
@JoshReedBTG: Jimmy Graham has to be the first-ever TE to vulture TDs.
@GDFar: Saints DB dives for Thad's stomach, Thad ducks and gets hit in the helmet. 15 yard penalty. Impossible to hit the qb.


Rivers McCown: I'm not sure what happened to Robert Woods after his really promising start. Were all of his targets just a function of Steve Johnson sitting? Just three targets today -- and two last week -- despite Buffalo never really being in a position to run clock.

On the other hand, this is what happens when Jimmy Graham is clearly hobbled: seven different Saints receivers were targeted at least three times in this game.

Dallas Cowboys 30 at Detroit Lions 31


@GDFar: Lions knew they'd go for it on 4th. 2 runs, a throwaway on 3rd, TD on 4th. Great job thinking ahead by DET.
Scott Kacsmar: Based on @pfref, Megatron TD is first time since 1999 a team converted on 4th & 2+ inside opponent 5 in 1st QT of tied game (2nd time inside opponent 10).
Mike Ridley: Detroit's front four is manhandling Dallas' offensive line on passing downs.
@toooast: Brian Waters down, grabs the part of the knee where the ACL is, then walks off. Lose him and this line unravels quickly.
Tom Gower: Matt Stafford just tried to throw one too many slants. Sean Lee recognized that.
Vince Verhei: By God, I will do my best to get Sean Lee a Madden Ultimate Card this week.
@Broncfan07: Dez Bryant, with the DB in his jersey, makes a ridiculous catch with just his left hand for the TD.
Tom Gower: Yes, that was Larry Warford 15 yards downfield taking out Sean Lee on that screen to Joique Bell. Other note from that play: Lions had both Bell and Bush in the game, Bush in the slot. Preoccupy D w/ Reggie, hit 'em w/ Joique
Rivers McCown: Calvin Johnson has 221 receiving yards. Next-highest Lions receiving yardage total: 25.
Rivers McCown: Am I too much of a Monday Morning quarterback for wondering why Detroit didn't go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 2 there?
Aaron Schatz: Calvin Johnson trying to single-handedly destroy FO's ESPN Upset Watch, apparently.
@scott_tanner1: shouldn't romo just take a sack there and keep the clock running? or is 7 yards of field position for the punt more valuable?
Aaron Schatz: How do you not have two guys right on Megatron when DET needs a TD from the 30 with 30 seconds left??? The Cowboys should have been playing the Bill Belichick vs. Tony Gonzalez defense on that whole drive.
@MilkmanDanimal: Dallas has 260 total yards. Calvin Johnson has 329. Just . . . wow.
Vince Verhei: Stafford fakes spike, sneaks across winning TD instead. Awesome Finish.
Vince Verhei: I can't believe people are talking about Dez Bryant after what Calvin Johnson just did.


Tom Gower: For much of this game, there was little offense to be found by either team outside of Calvin Johnson. Dallas's offensive line was simply overwhelmed, even though Ziggy Ansah, Ndamukong Suh, and Nick Fairley left the game at times for medical attention. Tony Romo played like a quarterback under a great deal of duress, throwing inaccurately and struggling to sustain an offense. On the other side of the ball, a similar story. Reggie Bush didn't help things by continuing his recent trend of spending too much time running like he did early in his career, like going forward was too simple and easy a proposition for his talents. I mostly bailed on this game at 10-7 in the third quarter, looking for a more interesting contest with more happening. Naturally, this was the cue for all heck to break out, most of which I missed.

Scott Kacsmar: Dallas basically took an easy situation that should have gave Detroit at best 25 seconds left to come back and instead gave them 62 seconds because of a holding penalty on Tyron Smith on third down. Even with the penalty being declined, the clock still stops, and that saved Detroit today. It's inexcusable for Dallas to blow that clock situation. You're better off taking three knees and punting there instead of what they did.

Rivers McCown: But how can we blame this on Tony Romo? Didn't he tell Tyron Smith to do that?

Vince Verhei: I forget who it was that pointed this out on Twitter, but the basic story of this game was: Detroit would move the ball, then their best players would turn the ball over. Dallas would then punt the ball away in short order. Repeat. Calvin Johnson had a fumble, which might knock him down a few pegs in Quick Reads this week, but I think I might move him ahead of Randy Moss on my list of "guys who are open even when they are double-covered, because they'll just outjump them and grab the ball anyway." The stuff he did today was just unreal, over and over again.

If you missed Matthew Stafford's fake spike-and-sneak for the win, it's worth going out of your way to see. One of the best finishes to a game ever, especially since most of the Lions clearly had no idea a sneak was coming. (I think the center might have been in on it, but the rest of the line just stood up.)

Rivers McCown: I don't really know why any team would play Calvin Johnson straight up at this point. The Lions have zero other credible receiving threats. If I'm running a defense against Detroit, Calvin gets the double at the line every time I've got five defensive backs on the field.

New York Giants 15 at Philadelphia Eagles 7


Ben Jones: Giants have a 30 yard punt. Phi run two unsuccessful plays then throw an interception followed by a penalty on NY. I need more beer
@Gberry523: Seriously someone block for two or more seconds, or Vick is going to get hurt again.
Ben Jones: Eli has a goattee, clearly he is now the evil Manning
Ben Jones: So far Peyton Hillis is winning the battle of 2011 Madden finalists
Ben Jones: The Giants are winning in the trenches on both O and D but can't get anything but fgs. Will this bite them?
Vince Verhei: Vick benched. Barkley in at QB Eagles.
Ben Muth: Has anyone ever seen Jimmy Clausen and Matt Barkley in the same room at the same time?
Vince Verhei: Poor Matt Barkley. His turnovers are always so comical.
@zgeballe: Does a turnover on downs keep Matt Barkely's streak alive?
Ben Jones: Nate Allen with a German suplex on Victor Cruz ... no flag and an injury. Wonderful.
@MilkmanDanimal: Giants are just unstoppable against bad teams starting their third QB of the season.
Ben Jones: 4th intentional grounding for Eli against the Eagles this year ... WTF
@MilkmanDanimal: Matt Barkley, 1st and 10 from the 3. There is no way this could end badly.
Scott Kacsmar: Eagles working on a 7-quarter span of scoring 3 points. No one cares about "but how many plays did they run?!?!" anymore.
@MilkmanDanimal: I take perverse pleasure in bad football, but even I'm turning off Eagles-Giants at this point. Bad can be fun; this is just boring.

Pittsburgh Steelers 18 at Oakland Raiders 21


@PigskinLover: Pryor just rattled off a 93 yard run for the Raiders justifying the draft choice by AL Davis who is now able to rest in peace.
Vince Verhei: All the Raiders have are QB runs. I don't know why teams aren't putting nine in the box with three spies.
Tom Gower: I still love watching Darren McFadden on the edge. Troy P was unblocked there, still gained 19 yards
Scott Kacsmar: So Antonio Brown runs out of bounds to help the Raiders have more time to score before the half.
Vince Verhei: Raiders up 21-3 at half, headed for third win of year. I formally concede they will not get the first draft pick next year.
@ptmovieguy: OAK rookie Sio Moore succeeding lately, pushed around KC's Fisher 2 weeks ago, now harassing/sacking Big Ben.
@MilkmanDanimal: Guy Whimper injured, meaning somebody even worse than Guy Whimper is about to come in. THE. HORROR.
@ptmovieguy: Didn't know Guy Whimper plays for PIT, this game is a ex-Jags tackles reunion!
Vince Verhei: Zoltan Mesko with the punt of the year. I counted seven bounces inside the 1 without going into the end zone.
@zgeballe: Wow, what in the world is Roethlisberger doing taking a TO there? 5 yards are worth WAY, WAY less than a chance to stop the clock


Tom Gower: The Raiders went up 14-0 early, before I started watching, on a long Terrelle Pryor run where Pittsburgh just didn't cover the keeper (no clue what exactly happened). Darren McFadden looked good, healthy, explosive running at times. On the whole, though, Oakland didn't do much offensively after the early explosion, but they managed to harass Ben Roethlisberger and win against a Steelers offensive line that had some success opening up holes in the run game last week. Some credit goes, as it does most weeks, to defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. Watching the defense play is way more fun than it was in 2011, when you had some Al Davis-mandated stuff still and then ended the season with Chuck Bresnahan apparently deciding being able to run whatever defense he wanted meant he literally could run whatever he wanted, regardless of whether it made any sense. I mostly bailed on this game at halftime, so I missed whatever the Steelers did better on offense in the second half.

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Rivers McCown: So wait, is pumpkin or the read option the flavor of October?

Vince Verhei: I don't think I've ever seen a team as dependent on the quarterback run as this Oakland team. Even the Michael Vick Atlanta teams had Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett to run once in a while. The Raiders have Darren McFadden, who is explosive and unreliable, and that's it.

Terrelle Pryor, by the way, went 10-of-19, averaged 4.6 yards per pass with no touchdowns and two interceptions, and had a QBR of 96.2. Don't ask me.

Pittsburgh's offensive line was completely overwhelmed today, on practically every play. Ben Roethlisberger can fight off pass rushers and throw on the run, and that's the only reason the Steelers were ever in this game.

Aaron Schatz: Like you said, you've never seen a team as dependent on the quarterback run as Oakland. ESPN's QBR includes runs. That's why this QBR is higher than any of his passing stats would be.

Vince Verhei: "ESPN's QBR includes runs."

Ah. Didn't realize that. Still ... over 90 on a scale of 0 to 100?

Scott Kacsmar: Yeah, I think the QBR does a solid job for the season, but some of the individual game results are downright funky. One of Pryor's interceptions was a dropped pass, so I wouldn't blame him on that. However, he had 28 other drop backs, his first interception was a horrible throw, and I think he had more than enough negative plays to not be anywhere close to a 96.2. Really makes me curious how they weigh things.

By the way, I'm just realizing the Steelers spent over nine minutes on a drive to start the third quarter to set up a missed 32-yard field goal. That sums up why I can't stand watching this team this season.

New York Jets 9 at Cincinnati Bengals 49


@Foosball_Wizard: Jets defensive backs replaced by uniforms stuffed with feral cats for the first two Bengals drives.
@Foosball_Wizard: Geno Smith has a hornet on the back of his uniform as he starts the Jets second drive. Ill omen.
Aaron Schatz: I'm not sure CIN-NYJ is the right game for anybody to be trying to stuff the ball up the middle.
Aaron Schatz: Don't give up on Dee Milliner folks. As we've noted, even the most talented CB often struggle as rookies, sometimes even into year 2.
Aaron Schatz: Gresham did slightly drag his toe there for CIN's fourth TD. Let the ass-whupping continue.
@BeccaDannysWife: Solomon Wilcots keeps saying "Klerey" instead of @JeremyKerley -- was he scared by Beezus and Ramona as a child?


Rob Weintraub: While nothing would please me more than to give a detailed breakdown of Cincy's epic destruction of the Jets, alas, I had a speaking engagement in Charleston, SC today. I was driving home, and thus missed my first game in forever.

Given the result, I will now announce that I won't be watching the Bengals play for the rest of the season...

Rivers McCown: Bengals fans, I am available to write columns scrutinizing Andy Dalton's play every week. My paypal address is...

Matt Waldman had a pretty awesome week between Matthew Stafford and Marvin Jones.

Atlanta Falcons 13 at Arizona Cardinals 27


@L_Crosby: Joplo Bartu has been very close on about five tackles for ATL. And by "so close", I mean "arms on the guy and not gotten him down."
Scott Kacsmar: Matt Ryan leads the Falcons in rushing today (1 run for 13 yards). Sums that one up.

Washington Redskins 21 at Denver Broncos 45


@RobertGrebel: I love Demaryius Thomas acting like like he's ready to catch a pass as he runs the NotAPick play on Welker's touchdown.
@RyanCrinnigan: Was Thomas preempting an offensive PI call by dropping into that "throw it to me" stance after picking for Welker?
@MilkmanDanimal: RG3 has had several godawful, off-balance throws today. There's a pick-six just waiting to happen.
Rivers McCown: Jordan Reed is a matchup nightmare.
Scott Kacsmar: If you force Denver into 4 possessions and have them start at their own 1, 7 and 10, then holding them to 7 is very doable.
@TCBullfrog: Someone explain to me how Josh McCown had more points in one half vs. Redskins D than Peyton Manning does.
Aaron Schatz: @tomecurran just pointed something out to me -- what if the Broncos are the 2007 Pats (who ran out of ridiculous offense)?
Vince Verhei: At this point, I'm convinced Peyton is intentionally throwing pick-sixes just to make Matt Schaub feel better.
Aaron Schatz: Demaryius Thomas tripped on the grass. Pick-six Washington. Way to make DeAngelo Hall look good, buddy.
Tom Gower: One of the reasons I thought DEN's offensive success would be sustainable was D.Thomas/Decker could win v physical coverage. Oops.
@PigskinLover: Has there ever been a DB with better INT luck than DeAngelo Hall? Gets gifted INTs by being out of posn or dumb luck, like a WR trip.
Aaron Schatz: Aha. I see the Broncos have returned. Good starting field position is certainly a nice plus.


Tom Gower: Didn't see much of the first half. Caught most of the second half. The Redskins had one drive on offense right before the end of the first half. It included a fourth-down conversion and a 12-men penalty that turned a short field-goal attempt into first and goal and led to a touchdown. The other two scores came off a pick-6 and a fumble-sack that let them start in the red zone. I suspect Denver's defense will still rate highly by DVOA.

I think the Redskins used the same playbook Indianapolis did, physically challenging Denver's receivers. DeAngelo Hall got two picks when he just beat Demaryius Thomas in the route or for the ball. Eric Decker seemed to care more about getting the flag than making an effort to catch the ball. Wes Welker had more success getting open over the middle, but the Broncos eventually adjusted and got away from the isolation routes on the outside in what they thought were winnable matchups to pick plays, things over the middle and, of course, the screen game where they so often excel. When they did that, they were the Broncos offense we've seen much of this season. The pick-six was one of Hall's interceptions, while the fumble-sack came when Orlando Franklin, who returned today and was just okay, I think (it's so hard to evaluate offensive lineman live unless I'm really paying attention to them), got turned by Brian Orakpo. Manning threw a third pick, when he tried squeeze a seam route in a hole that didn't exist and the safety got the tip. Still, 38 straight points to end the game isn't too shabby.

Rivers McCown: I am unabashedly pulling for a DeAngelo Hall FO Madden card.

Like Tom, I spent most of the second half on this game. The only thing I'd add is that Robert Griffin got pulverized throughout the half. Von Miller's return has added more teeth to this defense, which can use Shaun Phillips in smaller bursts now. Malik Jackson also had a very good game. If Denver's defense can play along this level going forward, with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie picking up most of the slack from Champ Bailey's decline, I think it's hard to call anyone but the Broncos the favorite for the Super Bowl.

Green Bay Packers 44 at Minnesota Vikings 31


@GDFar: Coming into today, Cordarelle has only played 22.6% of MIN off snaps. No excuse for a team desperate for offense.
Scott Kacsmar: That wasn't Blair White, was it?
@ramdog7: These Packers reminding me of the late Manning era Colts who were plugging in any old WR/TE off the street and getting production
Scott Kacsmar: And now, the part of the game no one wants to see: the Minnesota offense.
@DownIsTheNewUp_: Before SNF - Aaron Rodgers last 10 games indoors - 248 completions 350 attempts @ 70.8% 3224 Yards with 31 TDs & 2 INT. QB rating 127
Aaron Schatz: Yes, Packers go for it on fourth-and-3, and PASS with patterns LONGER THAN THREE YARDS! That's how it WORKS people!
@itnw0628: I might be wrong, but it feels like more coaches elect to go for it on 4th and short situation so far than previous seasons.
Tom Gower: Charlie Johnson* is a better left guard than he was a left tackle. That's a comparative statement of quality, not an absolute one.
Tom Gower: The Vikings really, really, REALLY miss Harrison Smith in the back of that defense.
@nath_on_fire: Is Leslie Frazier officially giving up on the game, or did he just forget that getting a 2PC makes it a two-possession game?
Tom Gower: I vote giving up.
Tom Gower: GB drive chart tonight: TD, FG, TD, TD, TD, TD, FG, FG. Minnesota's biggest problem tonight is not QB.


Tom Gower: The Packers had to convert enough third downs that this may be just a really good offensive performance instead of "the best offensive performance of the year," but Aaron Rodgers et al. did even more against a depleted and not-good defense than I thought they would. On the other side of the ball, Christian Ponder is who we thought he was; I wish I had something more interesting to say about him than that, but he needed to be a Rodgers-level quarterback to give a defense that did not get a single stop tonight (field goals don't count in my book) enough help for the game to be really competitive. The details weren't quite how I expected this game to go (more proficient offense on both sides), but the broad-scale look, a comfortable Packer win, feels right.

Scott Kacsmar: Make that seven scores (four touchdowns, three field goals) for the Packers on seven drives. I'd call that a zero-stop night as well. Honestly, the game put me to sleep so I don't really have anything to add other than the Vikings showed us some of the worst offense imaginable on Monday night and followed it up with one of the worst defensive performances this week. Can't wait to see them again on Thursday night against Washington in two weeks!

Rivers McCown: I, too, suffered my turn falling asleep while watching Christian Ponder pretend to be an NFL quarterback.

While I thought we were a little harsh on the Vikings in FOA, pretty much every coinflip has gone against them so far this year. The offensive line play has regressed, Adrian Peterson has not been able to even come close to replicating last season, Greg Jennings has shown little (and Cordarrelle Patterson can't get on the field because ... because ... Because of Winn-Dixie?), the loss of Antoine Winfield has hurt the defense in the middle of the field, Desmond Bishop is hurt and the other possible solutions at outside linebacker haven't panned out. Perhaps most damningly, the Vikings have fallen from 16th in Adjusted Sack Rate to 29th (through Week 7), and they only sacked Rodgers twice tonight.

There are consolidation years, and then there are consolidation years where everything goes wrong. This is looking like the latter.


179 comments, Last at 24 Nov 2013, 3:25am

#1 by aces4me (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:11am

But they don't take the ball away from the offense for illegal batting, and they shouldn't have taken the ball away from Miami here either. It seems to me that the rule should be: Miami gets the ball with a penalty marked off from the spot of the foul.

Pats recovered the batted ball. They didn't take the ball away from anyone. It was all about field position.

Points: 0

#2 by dmstorm22 // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:17am

Yeah, the Pats recovered the fumble back near the 45 or so. The Patriots defintely got the benefit of some calls in this game, the bat being the most impactful. The first half DPI on Wilson on Gronk was just terrible. The 3rd quarter IC was about as bad, but I laughed at what I presumed to be a makeup call with the holding on the next play.

The Patriots offense still doesn't look right, and they played a team that matched up terrible with Ne England's defense. It will be interesting to see how they deal with the Panthers offense in three weeks. The Patriots might end up at 11-5 or 12-4, but this year that might be good enough for just the #4 seed.

Points: 0

#136 by dryheat // Oct 28, 2013 - 7:39pm

I think you were listening to Simms too much. I thought that the PI was an obvious call. CBS only showed one replay, but Wilson clearly went through Gronk's back on the way to the ball. He actually moved Gronk about two feet off his spot, which speaks to the impact of the collision.

Of course, Simms and Nantz spent the rest of the game up in arms about the call, yet never called for a replay to demonstrate how right they were.

Points: 0

#7 by Basilicus // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:29am

Agreed. A defender is only going to bat the ball if their team has very little chance of recovering it. If all a defense needs to do to recover a ball is swat or kick it - essentially touch it - then that's all a defense would ever do.

Miami never had possession, so giving them the ball just because they touched it...there aren't many rules that would destroy the sport, but that'd be one of them.

Points: 0

#22 by tim_l (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:01am

Agreed. NE recovered the fumble, so Miami would never have been awarded the ball under any circumstances. The better rule would be NE ball at the spot of the batting, down counts. Intentionally batting the ball should never allow your team to recover a fumble, but you shouldn't get 15 yards and an automatic first down called against you. That seems excessive, especially on a play where you stripped-sacked the QB.

Points: 0

#62 by Bobman // Oct 28, 2013 - 1:44pm

I can see why the penalty hits the offense hard (and explained the Raiders "holy roller" play to my kids) but not sure why it so severely impacts the defense (especially when they don't recover. If he hit it sideways (but away fro the opponent) is it still batting? If he held the fumbler down so his teammates could recover the ball, is that so different?

Not sure I could have determined if the player was reaching for the ball and so encumbered by another player on top of him that he was clumsy, or he really meant to swat it, and am indifferent about the call that was made, but really think that rule needs to be rearranged to penalize the D less. 10 yards from the spot, maybe, but not 15 yards from the previous LOS and a 1st down. That was, what, almost a 40 yard turnaround? What other plays get such a big hit--only DPI, and this was not as egregious as DPI.

In other horrid calls, a really atrocious non-call on "pushing the runner" yesterday, I think on GB. Short yardage play whistled dead and the linemen are still pushing so hard the runner pops out the other end like extruded play d/oh. UM, if the refs blew the whistles, his forward momentum stopped, how come he shot out of there? Answer--two 300 lbers were propelling him. You see it called once or twice a year but I have never seen it as blatant.

Points: 0

#80 by ctpatsfan77 (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 3:15pm

The rules say that for enforcement of penalties on a loose ball, if it occurs behind the LOS, the LOS becomes the spot. If it happens beyond the LOS, it occurs at the spot of the foul.

Also, for the record, it's 10 yards + automatic 1st down.

Points: 0

#164 by Anonymousse (not verified) // Oct 29, 2013 - 1:17pm

" Intentionally batting the ball should never allow your team to recover a fumble, but you shouldn't get 15 yards and an automatic first down called against you"

So, basically, there should be no penalty against Miami? Not so much.

Points: 0

#12 by Annoyingly Ano… (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:39am

Yes, when they decide if 15 yards is really the appropriate level of penalty for pushing on a FG attempt, they also need to decide if 10 yards plus first down is really the appropriate penalty for defensive batting. Seems like it should be a spot-of-the-foul kind of thing. Particularly as the Dolphin appeared to be not trying to move the ball, just trying to get it away from the Patriot about to fall on it.

Is there a pool for what obscure rule with inappropriately large penalty will be called in next week's Patriot's game? I think I'll take a helmet removal, though I'm sure the FO crew can come up with something even more obscure.

Points: 0

#13 by CBPodge // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:44am

I know the NFL has tried to remove incidental penalties recently, so you don't have the incidental facemask and intentional facemask, its just the latter. But this seems like a play where two levels would make sense. Incidental batting, where the player looks like he's trying to recover it, but accidentally knocks the ball on, just sets the ball, whoever it is recovered by, at the spot it was batted, with no further penalty. Intentional batting (to deliberately stop the other team recovering, or deliberately knocking it further forward) is fair to have a case of "your team can't recover it, and its a penalty as well."

I'd have said yesterday's was definitely accidental, but I do see what the ref saw - Vernon trying to recover it, but him knocking it on took it right away from a diving Pats O-lineman, who was about to land on (and possibly crush) the ball.

Points: 0

#14 by Paul M (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:47am

Vince blew the basic fact about the play-- which team recovered the ball-- wonder if he was even watching... But his fundamental point about the punishment not fitting the crime is accurate. All the "bat" did (and for the record I believe it was intentional-- just as Middlebrooks second leg kick was clearly intentional, though in the latter case it does not affect the call-- but this was a player who knew he couldn't recover the ball trying to hit it forward so that one of his teammates would) was move the ball backwards-- so why not penalize Miami from the spot of the foul instead of the where the play originated-- basically the NFL takes away the skill of the original sack which caused the fumble which seems way out of proportion...

Points: 0

#20 by aces4me (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:00am

There has to be some disincentive to bat the ball. If there is no yardage penalty then every defender who thinks he can't recover would bat the ball backwards. If it gets called no big deal because he wasn't going to get it anyway. If it doesn't get called it is all gravy.

Points: 0

#31 by Anonymousse (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:24am

Agree. It's pretty easy to kick a ball 30+ yards,so if batting was allowed, I'd think it would be a good move on defensive player's parts to just kick it if they weren't sure they could recover. Even if you don't recover, you've eaten up all the punt yardage.

Points: 0

#55 by ChrisS (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 1:08pm

I believe that illegal kicking is a separate penalty in the NFL

Points: 0

#52 by johonny (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 12:48pm

The problem with this is that pretty much every fan that watches games sees fumbles patted all over this place. It is nearly impossible to judge if the player was trying to pick it up or not. Almost never is the penalty called. This makes the call much like the call that went against the Pats last week odd and seem like some mysterious punishment rather than a normal enforcement of the rules. It is hard to argue with all the other problems Miami had in the second half saying this cost them the game, but I can't argue I didn't think to myself WTF.

Points: 0

#58 by RoninX (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 1:24pm

Having absolutely no dog in this fight I agree with this post completely. Balls are constantly being "batted" in the effort to recover fumbles. This was very clearly exactly that same thing: a genuine effort to snag a loose ball that just happened to knock the ball backward 15 yards. If the exact same thing happens and the ball only moves 5 yards there is no way the "batting" penalty is called making this the definition of a poor call.

The Dolphins didn't play well enough for 60 minutes to win this game, but its pretty deflating when the officials just decide to job you in that fashion.

I also strongly am in favor of officials being able to use the replay booth to properly enforce penalties that grant first downs or cost teams more than 10 yards. I want my game rules enforced correctly and will happily endure football games that are 15-20 minutes longer on average. I'm sure the advertisers wouldn't be heartbroken.

Points: 0

#66 by aces4me (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 2:01pm

It is funny when I watched it happen in real time (I am a Pats fan just for full disclosure) I thought immediately he had intentionally swatted the ball. I didn't know then it was a penalty and I thought it was a pretty heads-up play to keep it away from the Pats lineman about to fall on the ball. I was pretty excited to hear it was a penalty.

Points: 0

#82 by RickD // Oct 28, 2013 - 3:34pm

This was very clearly exactly that same thing: a genuine effort to snag a loose ball that just happened to knock the ball backward 15 yards.

Is it wrong to call it "batting" if the act causes a major change in field position?How about judging the action based on whether the player is bringing the ball closer to his own body, as opposed to pushing it away?

It may have been this player's intent to pick up the ball. But the effect of the action was the same as the effect of an unambiguous batting of a ball.

Points: 0

#96 by RoninX (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 4:52pm

The player brought both hands swinging in towards his body, clearly trying to gather the ball in towards his body. However since this was done is the act of falling/lunging toward a rolling football (never the most predictable of objects) it sent the ball away.

Another example: A couple weeks ago Marshawn Lynch fumbled on a run near the opponents endzone vs. the Titans. A defensive player scooped it up but failed to hang onto it, and the scooping motion sent the ball sailing... right into the hands of Russell Wilson several yards away. If Wilson isn't right there that balls probably goes 7-10 yards before someone falls on it. All of this was clearly above board (the defensive player certainly wasn't attempting the bat the ball) however that player's action sent the ball away from him. Should a flag have been thrown in this case?

Video from

My answer is no. In fact, despite the amount of coverage this play got no one mentioned the possibility of a "batting" foul being missed. Correctly in my opinion because the player (just like the miami player) was clearly trying to recover the ball. Why are people happy to call one a "wild bounce" (quoted from and the other a foul?

Points: 0

#100 by RoninX (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 5:00pm now has the batting video up:

And I have to say my memory was slightly erred. I remembered the Dolphin grabbing with both hands at the ball when in fact one in firmly on the ground the whole time. It still looks to me like the "bat" occurred during a clear recovery motion and is the sort of thing that happens on many fumbles, and the flag was only throw because of how far the ball went not because the action or its result (moving the ball further from the player attempting the recovery) was at all unusual.

Points: 0

#135 by Anonymous8 (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 7:19pm

I'll grant that the pass interference call for Gronk was dreadful, but the batting penalty looked like a fair call. The referees can't read minds, only look at actions and it sure looked like the Cannon was in a good position to recover the ball before the Miami player batted it away. Maybe it was just a clumsy attempt to recover that just happened to knock the ball down field and keep it away from the Patriots. But an intentional foul seems more plausible. The penalty may be overly harsh but in that case change the penalty.

Points: 0

#139 by RoninX (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 8:06pm

I don't question the application per se. However, based on the application I don't understand why this is not constantly being called on fumbles (like the "scoop" in the Seattle vs. Tennessee game I linked to).

For whatever its worth, the rulebook info I could find says:

"A player may not bat or punch:
(a) A loose ball (in field of play) toward his opponent’s goal line or in any direction in either end zone.
(b) A ball in player possession.
Note: If there is any question as to whether a defender is stripping or batting a ball in player possession, the official(s) will rule the action as a legal act (stripping the ball). "

The penalty is vague, poorly defined, and rarely enforced (since as defined it happens all the time on a loose ball) so I can't disagree: change the penalty!

Points: 0

#161 by RoninX (not verified) // Oct 29, 2013 - 11:21am

Maybe the cowboys will file an appeal (if the statute or limitations hasn't expired), but seriously...

"Note: If there is any question as to whether a defender is stripping or batting a ball in player possession, the official(s) will rule the action as a legal act (stripping the ball)."

Points: 0

#138 by dryheat // Oct 28, 2013 - 7:44pm

I thought is was very clear that he made a conscious effort to tap the ball ahead away from the Patriot to a spot where a teammate would be more likely to recover it. I have no doubt about it.

But let's say I'm wrong. Now we're putting referee's in the position of gauging intent. Almost always a bad move. How is replay going to judge intent?

Points: 0

#40 by Nathan // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:33am

Not the really place for this but I disagree about the Middlebrooks kick being intentional. It looked to me like the kick coincided with him pressing his hands on the ground, almost like a push-up, then suddenly stopping. It looked to me like he realized the ball had gotten past him and his immediate reaction was to start to get up, then he realized he wasn't going to get the ball in time anyway so decided to lay flat, but by then it was too late. Was the proper call though regardless of intent.

Points: 0

#47 by Paul M (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 12:05pm

that explains the first time his legs went up. The second time he a) knew the ball was heading down the left field line and the game was over unless b) he could impede Craig in some way, who he knew was still next to/above him. SO the legs go up again and it is as clear as day he was trying to stop Craig from advancing.

Points: 0

#83 by RickD // Oct 28, 2013 - 3:37pm

He says he was trying to get out of the way. I see no reason to doubt him.

Every major leaguer knows about the obstruction rule. I find it hard to believe that Middlebrooks would intentionally do something that would award Craig the winning run automatically as opposed to do the action that didn't do so.

Yes, he looked awkward. But this all happened really quickly - in less than a second. Inferring intent from video seems like a great way to get a lot of things wrong.

Points: 0

#102 by Cythammer (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 5:05pm

You see no reason to doubt him?? He wants to cast doubt on the validity of the call. His rationale for lying is incredibly obvious.

In the heat of the moment I think it's pretty easy to forget about an obscure rule that (apparently) few people understand. Based on the Red Sox's response to the call, I'm not sure that all of them did know about the rule.

Points: 0

#142 by Viliphied (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 8:09pm

Except it doesn't cast any doubt on the validity of the call because a fielder's intent does not (and should not) factor into an obstruction call. What Middlebrooks did, intentionally or not, is literally the textbook example of obstruction. See a very nice summary here:

Points: 0

#163 by Anonymousse (not verified) // Oct 29, 2013 - 1:11pm

Agree here. It looks like Middlebrooks tries to do a pushup basically to get up, Craig plants his arms on Middlebrooks back, and pushes him back down to get over him. This causes Middlebrooks feet to slip out from underneath him and go up.

There's literally nothing to be gained there by Middlebrooks intentionally tripping the very hobbled Allen Craig.

Points: 0

#25 by tim_l (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:04am

I vote for "disconcerting signals". I saw that called a couple of years ago, and I was shocked that the word "disconcerting" actually appears in the NFL rule book.

Points: 0

#44 by Otis Taylor89 // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:41am

I don't understand what the big deal was on this penalty. After he touched the ball it went at least 15 yards in the positive direction for Miami - does that happen if he was trying to "corral" the ball?
Actually, if he batted the ball sideways or backwards there wouldn't have been a penalty (I think!).

Points: 0

#51 by Kulko // Oct 28, 2013 - 12:43pm

If Miami had intentionally swatted the ball away to keep the Pats Lineman who was there from recovering it, it should be unsportsmanlike conduct, and therefore the penalty is totally in line with other penalties.
This is no different from getting a interception called back on a borderline late hit on the QB, i.e. it hurts very much because of the big gain you have just lost, but which was at least partially forced by the behaviour of the lineman.

PS: I agree by now that the dolphins players probably di not intend to push the ball, but when looking in real time, I was totally convinced that he did, so I cant fault the ref for calling it.

Points: 0

#3 by bucko (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:19am

David Bakhtiari's shutout of Jared Allen last night was impressive. Playing in that dome on turf against a guy who has single handedly disrupted the Packers offense the kid handled him without help.

Points: 0

#4 by TomKelso // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:21am

Beezus & Ramona, Because of Winn-Dixie, and the Jets, Vikings and Jags looking like rejected entries from Goosebumps...

It's Kiddie Lit Week on Audibles! Join the FO Book Club and get a free copy of The Todd Haley Playbook!

Points: 0

#5 by Ryan D. // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:24am

Are Thursday night games typically not included in Audibles?

Points: 0

#17 by CBPodge // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:57am

I seem to recall seeing them in the past, but I imagine no one had anything hugely interesting to say about Bucs V Panthers in a fairly uninspiring, uninteresting game.

Points: 0

#23 by MilkmanDanimal // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:02am

A fair portion of social media buzz for any Tampa game consists of Bucs fans trying to think of creative ways to throw various kinds of insults, rocks, and/or bodily waste at Greg Schiano.

Points: 0

#63 by Bobman // Oct 28, 2013 - 1:50pm

Dude, I am contemplating buying a Fire Schiano billboard and I (A) am not a Bucs fan and (B) live in Seattle! Still, seems like a worthwhile investment....

Points: 0

#18 by Andrew Potter // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:59am

Audibles is typically only the Sunday games. The exception was opening night.

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#6 by NYMike // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:25am

We're going to hear a lot about how great Aaron Rodgers was last night, and he was, but those receivers caught a lot of ankle-high fastballs. The offense last night for the Packers was definitely a team effort.

Points: 0

#16 by bucko (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:56am

The Packer defense in the third quarter and most of the 4th completely stifled the Vikes offense. Mike Daniels is becoming quite the inside pass rusher.

Points: 0

#91 by Will Allen // Oct 28, 2013 - 4:23pm

Stifling the Vikings offense is not much of a feat, in case you hadn't noticed.

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#112 by rageon // Oct 28, 2013 - 5:47pm

I'm not so sure about that. Lots of people have done it this year: Ponder, Freeman, Cassell....

Points: 0

#65 by Bobman // Oct 28, 2013 - 1:57pm

Jordy Nelson had glue hands. From one ankle high fastball caught in stride to his 80 yard TD catch (beautiful threaded needle by Rodgers) but that was still a high bullet that was hauled in with one hand.

Is he like that every game? That was insane.

Points: 0

#68 by Arkaein // Oct 28, 2013 - 2:10pm

He had a couple of drops against Baltimore, but has otherwise been almost flawless this season. Just before the Baltimore game a video was posted on called "Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Jordy Nelson Catches Everything":

These clips are just from the first 4 games this season.

Points: 0

#70 by bucko (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 2:20pm

Nelson's use of the sideline has been magnificent.

His body control, hands, you name it have been amazing

Points: 0

#69 by ebongreen // Oct 28, 2013 - 2:18pm

Nelson is pretty darn good. Rodgers helps make him that way, but he's pretty darn good all by his lonesome. His 2011 season was not a fluke.

He's not Calvin Johnson, and he hasn't been the marquee player Larry Fitzgerald has been thanks to the plethora of recent Packers receiving talent - but he's probably among the top 10, top 20 receivers in the league.

Points: 0

#146 by Irishman (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 8:38pm

Well, I'm glad you asked. According to Football Outsider's Wide Receiver DVOA (or Defense-adjusted Value Over Average), Jordy Nelson is ranked #3 behind Welker (DEN) and Brown (PITT).

Points: 0

#8 by johonny (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:29am

The Dolphins gave up 6 sacks, 2 int, missed 2 field goals, and a fumble. But I accept the ref cost them this game ;) The Dolphins biggest problem right now is the coaching staffs believe Tannehill turns into Joe Montana in the 4th quarter. He doesn't and riding his shoulders the past 2 games in the 4th has hurt the team. The only good news is after this Sunday the Dolphins hit the Save Jeff Ireland's job stretch of the schedule where they always seem to win 3-4 games to save Jeff Ireland's job. Not that any fan wants his job saved. Fin up or fin down this team isn't worth watching year in and year out. They are though the Best Professional Team in Florida... ouch.

Points: 0

#9 by hscer // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:33am

Yeah, I'm totally perplexed by Pryor's ESPN rating too. That run is just one "action play" and on his other 28, he produced 96 yards and 2 turnovers. I hope their stats department puts up at least a token article explaining it.

Also, just a random note here: that wasn't the first "illegal bat" ever vs. NE - Ahmad Bradshaw committed one in XLII.

Points: 0

#10 by dmstorm22 // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:34am

Yeah, and that was a stupid play by Bradshaw, as looking back that ball was almost certainly going to bounce out of bounds. It knocked the Giants out of field goal range, and the Giants were lucky the Pats didn't recover it. I do remember Steve Smith's epic rolling effort to pick up the first down after recovering it.

Points: 0

#11 by PatsFan // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:39am

Aaron -- ESPNBoston's Mike Reiss, who was one of the people floating the Ridley benching idea on Twitter yesterday, has reversed field on that. From a blog post today:

ANALYSIS: During the game, it was difficult to comprehend why the team's best pure rusher, Stevan Ridley, was seemingly used so sparingly. One theory floated from this perspective on Twitter was that perhaps it was a result of some in-house discipline for his actions on a touchdown run last week (he high-stepped it in), but with the benefit of time in putting together the snap counts, the feeling here is that probably wasn't it. An educated guess is that Ridley's lack of snaps were combination of: 1) Brandon Bolden being viewed as the best pass-protecting back and that being prioritized in this week's plan based on the varied blitzes the Dolphins had shown on film; 2) A rotation with LeGarrette Blount in the "big back" role that limited overall opportunities for both because the Patriots didn't have a lot of plays. Had the Patriots sustained more drives, the substitution pattern between Blount and Ridley likely would have been seen more clearly. The substitution pattern showed up by looking closely at the team's longest drives -- on the 15-play, second-quarter march, Ridley took all the "big back" snaps while Bolden was on for the "passing back" snaps; and on the 13-play fourth-quarter drive, Blount took all the "big back" snaps but one, while Bolden took the "passing back" snaps.

Points: 0

#27 by Anonymousse (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:06am

The problem with that argument is that Legarret Blount is vastly less talented than Ridley, and a bit less talented than Bolden. It shouldn't be an even platoon, based on talent.

I think "Why does BB keep playing Blount" and "Why does BB not play Ridley" are the same question.

Points: 0

#39 by RickD // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:32am

Reminds me of BB starting Edelman over Welker early last season. This wouldn't happen to be Ridley's contract year? (Checks) Nope, that's not it.

Points: 0

#15 by Boots Day // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:50am

The Chiefs yesterday looked like the worst 8-0 team I've ever seen. They were one Davone Bess away from losing to the Browns - on their third QB of the season - at home.

Points: 0

#19 by bucko (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:00am

It's a mirror image of the 2003 Chiefs who were all offense and little defense. People raved about the KC 'opportunistic defense'. That team got to 9-0 before the turnovers stopped happening and the team finished 13-3 and lost to the Colts 38-31 in the divisional round

Points: 0

#45 by stan (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:50am

KC lost that playoff game to the Colts because Manning played the best game by a QB in NFL history (combining with the game vs. the Broncos the week before as the best 2 game stretch ever by a QB). That was a good Chiefs team and they played a lot of good football in that loss.

Points: 0

#153 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 29, 2013 - 12:23am

Could be worse. Seattle looked like the worst 7-1 team I've ever seen tonight.

Although St. Louis was so inept, I was pretty comfortable that Seattle was going to win when StL had the ball at the 21 with 2:00 left.

Points: 0

#169 by greybeard // Oct 29, 2013 - 2:37pm

I remember thinking that the Pats were the worst 16-0 team that I have ever seen.

Points: 0

#21 by MilkmanDanimal // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:00am

Whenever Blount came in the game in Tampa, the offense was basically holding up a giant "We will be running the ball now, thanks" sign, because he was so comically inept in the passing game. Couldn't catch, and, more importantly, he was possibly the singly-worst pass-blocking back I've ever seen. Yet, somehow, the Patriots are trying to use him to protect Tom Brady. Just don't get that one at all; he's repeatedly proved himself incapable of doing the job, yet I've seen him back there on passing downs over and over. Beginning to suspect Belichick and Brady had a spat, and Blount is Bill's way of getting back at Tom. TAKE THAT, GOLDEN BOY.

Jason Campbell looked quite good yesterday; he's been beaten up so much, I'm used to seeing him looked panicked in the pocket and dump the ball off at the first opportunity. Against the Chiefs, he looked calm, went deep a number of times, and looked like a genuine NFL QB against a pretty nasty pass rush. I mean, he probably could have crapped himself on the field and still been an upgrade over Weeden, but he really did look good.

Points: 0

#24 by P (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:03am

SNF showed a graphic in the second half, of John Kuhn, Seneca Wallace, and someone else whose name escapes me. They're the only 3 players on the roster that have played for an NFL team other than the Packers.

That's absolutely insane. 50/53 Packers haven't played for anyone else. They said no other team has even 40 such players.

Points: 0

#28 by NYMike // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:17am

Ryan Pickett is the third Packer. He played for the Rams. A long time ago. He's been in Green Bay since Rodgers got there.

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#29 by bucko (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:17am

That is all the GM, Ted Thompson. He does not see value in free agency and NFL trades are hard to make happen. Thompson is obsessive about drafting/developing players.

I understand if folks are going to reply that most teams have that attitude.

Points: 0

#35 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:27am

Having that attitude and being wildy successful at it are two very different things. Thompson is one of maybe 3 or 4 GM's who are in the latter category.

One of the many reasons that the Lions will probably never consistently compete with the Packers that Thompson can stock the back end of his roster with quality players he drafted, while Martin Mayhew ends up stuck scouring the waiver wire to do the same thing.

Points: 0

#36 by bucko (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:29am

It's pretty clear that McCarthy and the staff have a knack for getting players to develop.

There are several guys who worked for Thompson who I believe are taking the same approach. The GM in Seattle for example.

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#132 by nath // Oct 28, 2013 - 7:07pm

The Lions' bigger problem under Mayhew, in my opinion, has been a tendency to blow high picks on players with injury red flags (Jahvid Best, Mikel Leshoure, Ryan Broyles... even Darius Slay wasn't 100% when they drafted him).

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#154 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 29, 2013 - 12:28am

Mayhew does that because there's no real risk and he's usually selecting high. Remember, when he became Detroit's GM, they were easily the least talented team in the league, top to bottom, while the Packers were transitioning into Rodgers from a team that went to the NFC title game.

Mayhew was starting when Thompson already had Jennings, Driver, Nelson, Finley, and Jones.

So while Mayhew was rebuilding starters, Thompson could poke at his back end, and spend 3 years getting Rodgers killed before bothering to assemble a competent offensive line.

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#167 by LionInAZ // Oct 29, 2013 - 2:20pm

Indeed. Thompson had Favre and a core of decent players in place when he took over, including Driver, Nick Barnett, Cullen Jenkins, Al Harris, and Nick Collins. Then he picks up Ryan Grant and Charles Woodson and now the team doesn't have too many holes to fill.

Mayhew started out with Calvin Johnson and a bunch of crap, by contrast.

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#170 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Oct 29, 2013 - 3:25pm

All of that is true, and Mayhew has found some useful players off the scrap heap (this year alone, there's Rashean Mathis, Kris Durham (not someone you'd like starting, but hasn't embarrassed himself, either), Joe Fauria, and LaAdrian Waddle).

But you have to admit, his day 2 and 3 drafting hasn't been great. Willie Young was a steal, Larry Warford was one of the best picks of the entire draft, and Jonte Green is decent depth, but most of the others are off the team. And that's not even getting into the recent 2nd round picks.

I'm not saying Mayhew is a bad GM. In fact, he's above-average. I like the fact he avoids overpaying for average free agents (which is a mark of a bad organization). The comment was comparing him to Ted Thompson, which I guess a pretty unforgiving standard.

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#171 by DisplacedPackerFan // Oct 29, 2013 - 3:29pm

Small nit, Thompson drafted Nick Collins, he was their 2nd round pick in the Rodgers draft. It's good the gamble on Woodson worked out (remember it was only the Packers and Jags that even offered him a contract) because the rest of the secondary sucked, Ahmad Carrol still started 16 games for them that year. He also brought in Pickett that year too. That being said, Thompson did clearly have more to work with then Mayhew. Sherman had depleted the roster but it wasn't all gone. Of course within 3 years Thompson had shed pretty much everyone but Driver, Tauscher, Jenkins, and Clifton from what he inherited.

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#32 by jimm (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:24am

As a viking fan it is really annoying to have one of the worst GMs. It's even more annoying when on of the best GMs in the business is on a team in your division.

I wish I could cheer for teams I respect rather than the one inherited through family. I try but I just can't cut the cord.

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#61 by Otis Taylor89 // Oct 28, 2013 - 1:44pm

I actually don't see this as a great thing. You've got homegrown players who only see one way of teaching players and don't have players who many be able to bring in tips from other coaches from other teams.
Lets face it, most of the reason they are successful is they have a Top 3 QB (and maybe the best) throwing the ball to people. For all the talent they have on their team they seem have been under performing for years.

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#67 by Anon (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 2:07pm

That has to do with being one of the most injured teams in the NFL every year. Not sure why this is but it is becoming a problem. Yesterday alone they were missing at least 7 starters. Last week they didn't have a healthy player not in uniform.

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#72 by Arkaein // Oct 28, 2013 - 2:26pm

Starting in 2009, the Packers have won at least 11 games every season, except for winning 10 and then the Superbowl in 2010. Since the start of the 2009 season, only New England has won more regular season games than GB.

This is underperforming?

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#75 by DisplacedPackerFan // Oct 28, 2013 - 2:38pm

Well yeah they are only 5-3 in the post season with Rodgers as the starter. Not getting to the conference championship game every year is under performing. Don't you know that post season success, and especially super bowl rings, is the only way to measure success in the NFL? All of Peyton Mannings teams under performed too, he just isn't clutch like his younger brother Eli.

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#130 by BJR // Oct 28, 2013 - 6:41pm

Maybe not underperforming, but his point about having a future HOF QB slinging the ball is valid. I'm not going to argue with anybody vastly more knowledgeable than me on the subject that the Packers front office are doing a good job, but if I was to attribute individual credit for the Packers' winning in recent seasons, I would have Rodgers a distance ahead of anybody else.

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#74 by bucko (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 2:34pm

Unless the expectation is that the Packers get to the Super Bowl every season I can understand being disappointed but I don't know how losing in the divisional round of the playoffs the last 2 seasons is deemed underperforming.

And the defense the last 2 seasons has been below average losing guys like Nick Collins and having to play linebackers like Erik Walden. That latter item is on Thompson's resume as well. He has been drafting to correct that issue but it's been slow to take. (Perry, Lattimore, Mulumba)

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#37 by Sakic (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:29am

Ryan Pickett was the third name and the Packers picked him up in 2006.

The Packers are very cautious about free agents...the guys they do pick up seem to be cast offs with potential they have identified to fit their system. The highest profile free agent they have ever signed (in the Thompson era) is Charles Woodson and even he was a bit of a discount and really only had one other suitor at the time (J'ville if I'm not mistaken.)

I know Thompson's philosophy of building through the draft and retaining your own frustrates a lot of people but I'll take consistent playoff appearances and Superbowl victories over free agent coups anyday and it's amazing how many local "football experts" (i.e. sports talk shows) second guess him every step of the way.

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#42 by archibaldcrane (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:39am

Cullen Jenkins is the 3rd. He was the only one of the three that was actually a "valued free agent" type situation and that was back in 2006. Kuhn was cut by the Steelers when we signed him, and Seneca Wallace was cut at the end of the 49ers training camp this year when we picked him up.

It really is insane, especially when you think about players that the Packers have not kept and signed with other teams.

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#56 by justanothersteve // Oct 28, 2013 - 1:08pm

You're outnumbered. Everyone else remembers it being Pickett.

Seriously, TT has signed a few players from other teams over his time. But other than Pickett and Charles Woodson, there haven't been any major signings. Kuhn was a cheap waiver wire cheap pickup. He even traded for Ryan Grant. But Cullen Jenkins started with the Packers right out of college.

He's not perfect. He'll even admit he screwed up cutting Vonta Leach.

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#59 by Sakic (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 1:34pm

Yep, every GM makes mistakes you just hope they avoid the really big one.

Interestingly enough, Ron Wolf always said his biggest mistake was not resigning Punter Craig Hentrich.

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#60 by bucko (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 1:39pm

He has also criticized himself for not getting Favre better receivers.

It's pretty clear Thompson took that message to heart!

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#148 by Irishman (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 8:55pm

Cullen Jenkins was signed by Green Bay as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2003 NFL Draft. He came to the Packers out of NFL Europe and made the team out of training camp.

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#26 by Anonymous37 (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:05am

I wonder if Calvin Johnson will crack 3rd place on Quick Reads? I kid, I kid...

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#128 by ChrisS (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 6:34pm

He had a fumble and DYAR hates fumbles. He also should be hit with a half of an inteception as Stafford's first int went through his hands and then to Lee. What an awesome football player. The Lions have not had much recently but they do/did have Johnson and Barry Sanders, something to keep a fan warm through terrible seasons.

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#33 by RickD // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:27am

"It seems to me that the rule should be: Miami gets the ball with a penalty marked off from the spot of the foul."

So instead of actually recovering the football, all you have to do is bat it?

Terrible idea, Vince.

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#38 by jimm (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:31am

I was on Pro Football talk and someone commented the Vikings should trade Jared Allen for Larry Fitzgerald, to which another noted that the Arizona wouldn't trade him for the entire Viking defence - pretty funny.

Got me thinking - would they actually do it. I mean you get three recent 1st rounders and a decent DE in Robison. Most likely they would, but what if they had the choice of the entire Viking defence or the Vikings first rounder. I'd take the pick.

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#41 by tsmonk (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:38am

"On the other hand, this is what happens when Jimmy Graham is clearly hobbled:" He scores twice anyway?

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#133 by nath // Oct 28, 2013 - 7:09pm

He sees a severe reduction in snaps and the ball is distributed much more widely amongst the Saints' receiving corps.

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#43 by Lance // Oct 28, 2013 - 11:39am

"@MilkmanDanimal: Dallas has 260 total yards. Calvin Johnson has 329. Just . . . wow."

Well, when you get 4 takeaways, including Sean Lee taking the ball down inside the 5 (or whatever) it's going to get in the way of getting total yards. Someone in the open discussion was like "Detroit totally owned this game if not for the turnovers"-- as though, somehow, turnovers were foisted upon them in some haphazard way. One can surmise that there are plenty of games lately that Dallas would have won if not for turnovers...

But yes, it's all about yards.

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#105 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Oct 28, 2013 - 5:12pm

Did you actually watch the Dallas offense in the first three quarters? They didn't do much of anything except give their punter a good workout. And Detroit was moving the ball mostly at will, but kept giving the ball away before they could score. Sean Lee's INT to set up the touchdown was a good read by him, but that other one was just random luck. Johnson's fumble was a good hit, but Bush's fumble was just a sloppy play by him.

If Dallas was truly the better team, those 4 turnovers should have given them a 3 or 4 score lead before all the craziness in the final minutes had a chance to happen.

Yes, turnovers matter, but they tend to regress to the mean (unless you're the Lovie Smith Bears), and you shouldn't plan to rely on them to win, or to determine how good a team is (unless they establish a pattern over several games, which is not the case here).

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#118 by BJR // Oct 28, 2013 - 6:01pm

Another way a team might find to lose in spite of much superior play execution: Detroit had something like 8 penalties to Dallas' 2. But it was obvious to anybody watching the game yesterday that Detroit were dominating the game when they weren't turning the ball over or getting flagged.

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#127 by ChrisS (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 6:31pm

Looking at the box score after the game I was amazed that Detroit had zero sacks. The defense was putting pressure and hitting Romo on almost every pass. This did not show up in the sacks but it certainly kept the completion pct down.

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#175 by jebmak // Oct 30, 2013 - 1:28am

I watched the game, and it looked to me like Dallas luck-sacked their way into most of those turnovers. They didn't deserve the win. I'm glad that it was taken from them.

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#46 by BigWoody (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 12:01pm

Hey, the Raiders beat the Steelers! Where's RJ?

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#50 by merlinofchaos // Oct 28, 2013 - 12:23pm

Hey be nice, it's not even 9:30 on the west coast yet. He's probably still fighting the victory hangover.

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#73 by Sakic (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 2:32pm

He's probably still logging in. I often wonder how many tries it takes for him to get his password right.

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#93 by Whatev // Oct 28, 2013 - 4:35pm

It's probably not as bad as you think; he's previously given a demonstration showing that he can type accurately if he feels like it.

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#49 by Peregrine // Oct 28, 2013 - 12:11pm

Shortform on the Falcons: the defense stinks, the OL stinks, and Steven Jackson is rusty and also stinks. At this point, I'm happy about any running play that doesn't lose yardage. The defense is soft, lacking the physicality to consistently create problems. Matt Ryan didn't play well yesterday, but the degree of difficulty he faces is absurd. The Cardinals front seven just ripped the OL apart. Two of the four picks were Ryan flinging it downfield under pressure on 3rd or 4th down because if he didn't try to make something happen, nothing was going to. Hope he survives the season, honestly.

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#84 by RickD // Oct 28, 2013 - 3:39pm

How did all of this happen so quickly? The Falcons were legitimately viewed as an elite team last season.

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#86 by theslothook // Oct 28, 2013 - 3:47pm

Were they? I know they went 13-3, but many times FO had to justify their relatively low dvoa rankings anyways. I long felt that atlanta is a version of the old colts. They have a terrific set of receivers(or did), a decent secondary, and one of hell of a qb. The rest of the team is pretty unremarkable. I'd argue the o line sucks, their pass rush is terrible and their linebackers are awful. Together, they are probably an average team, meaning they win games at home against equal or worse teams and lose to most good teams/average teams on the road.

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#88 by RickD // Oct 28, 2013 - 4:06pm

I think the combination of a #1 seed and their pretty decent performance against the Seahawks suffice for them to be called "an elite team". Not the best, but certainly one of the top 4 (along with SF, SEA, and GB). It's not that easy to get 13 wins in the NFL. And their division was pretty tough last year - even without Payton the Saints were dangerous, the Panthers have been a DVOA favorite for quite a while now, and Schiano had yet to complete his process of utterly destroying the Bucs.

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#124 by BJR // Oct 28, 2013 - 6:25pm

This is purely subjective and impossible to quantify, but I'd have the Falcons up there as one of the best coached teams in the league under Mike Smith. They are consistently at the bottom of the league in penalties conceded, and generally seem to avoid the dumb errors that plague other teams.

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#89 by Peregrine // Oct 28, 2013 - 4:10pm

Gradually then suddenly, which is how it usually goes. Ryan, Gonzalez, Roddy, and Julio carried the team last season, helped by an OL that was reasonably competent in pass protection. Some changes were made on OL, and the young guys who were given the opportunities haven't performed, but then the veterans haven't either. And with the injuries to Roddy and Julio, Ryan's having to make lemonade throwing to a hodgepodge WR corps while under severe threat of harm. Trust me, the reason the Adjusted Sack Rate is so low (or was until four sacks yesterday) is that the coaches and Ryan are gameplanning getting the ball out quickly. We REALLY miss Roddy White, who is a wonderful all-purpose WR.

As for the defense... I hate it. We need a 330-pound war daddy DT in the worst way.

The larger issue is that Dimitroff has gotten a lot of pub but I don't think he's drafted enough good players. Here's an interesting exercise for FO posters to consider: write up a list of your team's top 10 picks from the five drafts from 2008 through 2012 (thereby excluding rookies). Here's my list of the top 10 for the Falcons, and keen observers will note that two of these guys are no longer on the team (and three of them are on IR or IR-Return). The quality drops off pretty quickly, I'd say.

1 Matt Ryan QB Boston College
2 Julio Jones WR Alabama
3 Sean Weatherspoon LB Missouri
4 Corey Peters DT Kentucky
5 William Moore S Missouri
6 Thomas DeCoud S Cal
7 Kroy Biermann DE Montana
8 Curtis Lofton LB Oklahoma
9 Sam Baker T USC
10 Vance Walker DT Georgia Tech

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#98 by theslothook // Oct 28, 2013 - 4:56pm

I'll do the colts:

1. Andrew Luck
2. Dwayne Allen
3. Ty Hilton
4. Anthony Castonzo
5. Coby Fleener
6. Pierre Garcon
7. Pat McAfee
8. Austin collie
9. Pat Angerer
10. Fili Moala

Just looking over this list, if this isn't in the bottom 5 in the nfl, then I'd be pretty shocked.

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#126 by Purds // Oct 28, 2013 - 6:30pm

Notice how much of the top is in the last two years under the new GM?

1. Andrew Luck
2. Dwayne Allen
3. Ty Hilton
5. Coby Fleener

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#145 by Purds // Oct 28, 2013 - 8:37pm

Could be, but at least 1, 2 & 3 have done very well. Ask all the teams that try to draft WR and hope they play well in the first year.
Luck has been great for them.
TY was the Colts top DYAR receiver last year.
Allen was their top DYAR guy last year (and #8 in the NFL).

Now, Allen is out for the year with injury, and TY seems to be having a case of the drops lately, so maybe you're right. But many of the late-Polian era draft picks were horrible from the start, like first-round-bust poster boy, Jerry Hughes.

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#131 by BJR // Oct 28, 2013 - 6:45pm

2-10 might be in the bottom 5, but Andrew Luck's presence ensures it is nowhere near.

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#103 by bucko (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 5:08pm

I am sure other Packer posters would do better but from memory:

(Rodgers was in the 2005 draft)

1. Clay Matthews LB
2. Josh Sitton G
3. Jordy Nelson WR
4. BJ Raji DT
5. Jermichael Finley TE
6. Brad Jones LB
7 Randall Cobb WR (one really good year but understand if folks disagree)
8. Morgan Burnett
9. Bryan Bulaga (injuries but good when healthy)
10. Casey Hayward

Left off and open for debate: Mike Daniels (very solid rotational d-lineman), TJ Lang (starting guard but how had his ups and downs), Mike Neal (lots of injuries), CJ Wilson (run stopping d-lineman who can't get on the field now)

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#158 by Sakic (not verified) // Oct 29, 2013 - 8:59am

I could make an argument for Sam Shields as well but overall that's who I'd have.

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#159 by Sakic (not verified) // Oct 29, 2013 - 9:10am

For some reason I was thinking Shields was a 7th rounder but he was actually an UDFA. Still worth mentioning, though.

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#108 by MilkmanDanimal // Oct 28, 2013 - 5:17pm

Well, being that Tampa's 2008 first-rounder was Aqib Talib and 2009 was Josh Freeman, I . . . you know, just assume there were obscenities, I no longer have the energy to rant.

Still, interesting exercise.

1. Gerald McCoy DT
2. Lavonte David LB
3. Doug Martin RB
4. Mike Williams WR
5. Mark Barron S
6. Adrian Clayborn DE
7. Mason Foster LB

Not sure where to go after that. Erik Lorig at FB? Dekoda Watson at LB/special teams guy? Da'Quan Bowers at theoretical DE, presuming he ever gets on the field? This is a team just loaded with free agent pickups and a number of UDFA guys. We're the anti-Packers.

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#109 by DisplacedPackerFan // Oct 28, 2013 - 5:25pm

Interesting exercise... Since 08 (and I'll give the overall pick number and draft year too just because)

1. Clay Matthews LB (#26 in 09 USC)
2. Jordy Nelson WR (#36 in 08 Kansas State)
3. Josh Sitton G (#135 in 08 Central Florida)
4. Randall Cobb WR (#64 in 11 Kentucky)
5. BJ Raji DT (#9 in 09 Boston College)
6. Jermichael Finley TE (#91 in 08 Texas)
7. Morgan Burnett S (#71 in 10 Georgia Tech)
8. Casey Hayward CB (#62 in 12 Vanderbilt)
9. Bryan Bulaga T (#23 in 10 Iowa)
10. TJ Lang G (#109 in 09 Eastern Michigan)

Yes I think Sitton is that good, and maybe I under rate Cobb. Lang while still just a guy has been solid for several years now but arguments for Brad Jones, Mike Daniels, James Starks, or even Breno Giacomini (now with Seattle) are reasonable. I won't accept Newhouse over Lang though. I hope that Nick Perry, Jerrel Worthy, Derek Sherrod, and Jerron McMillian all become better choices for #10 soon too.

There are other players that could be on that list and yes, Thompson hits enough in the draft each year, and does well enough with rookie FA's. The roster just keeps churning under him with 11 - 15 new players (mostly rookies) making the 53 man roster each season for opening week and injuries tending to add more during the season.

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#110 by bucko (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 5:32pm

So we agree on 9 of the top 10 with me liking Jones more than Lang.

And our top 3 are a dead match.

thanks for posting.

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#113 by Perfundle // Oct 28, 2013 - 5:52pm

This is surely the best top 10 list in the league:

1. Russell Wilson QB
2. Earl Thomas S
3. Richard Sherman CB
4. Russell Okung LT
5. Max Unger C
6. Kam Chancellor S
7. Bobby Wagner LB
8. Red Bryant DE
9. Golden Tate WR
10. Malcolm Smith LB

Wright and Irvin would've been ahead of Smith last year, but Wright has looked slow this year and Irvin got himself suspended for 4 games.

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#115 by coremill // Oct 28, 2013 - 5:59pm

SF's is pretty good as well:

1. Colin Kaepernick
2. Aldon Smith
3. Navarro Bowman
4. Michael Crabtree
5. Mike Iupati
6. Anthony Davis
7. Bruce Miller
8. Kendall Hunter
9. Chris Culliver
10. Ricky Jean-Francois.

Seattle's is slightly better, because they've been healthier and the Niners whiffed on 2012. Add in 2007 (outside the cutoff here) when SF drafted Patrick Willis, Joe Staley, Ray MacDonald, Dashon Goldson, and Tarell Brown, and I think SF would come out ahead.

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#137 by Karl Cuba // Oct 28, 2013 - 7:41pm

Technically not a draft pick but Alex Boone would make that list over RJF. Ian Williams would have a shot too if he hadn't broken his ankle.

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#125 by theslothook // Oct 28, 2013 - 6:28pm

I think sherman should top your list. Obviously, qb is the most important position, but sherman is either the best at his position or in a conversation with about 2-3 other people. I think Thomas is excellent too so maybe there's an argument there, but I'd still say sherman at 1. I also thought carpenter would be on this list too.

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#141 by Perfundle // Oct 28, 2013 - 8:09pm

Carpenter is a good run blocker, and he's important in that if he is lost they really have no one to back him up, but he's quite bad as a pass blocker during the games he actually plays, which is less than half of them.

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#151 by Splattered // Oct 28, 2013 - 10:07pm

Don't know if it's better than Seattle, but it's not bad.

1. AJ Green (WR), 2011, RD1
2. Geno Atkins (DT), 2010, RD4
3. Carlos Dunlap (DE), 2010, RD2
4. Michael Johnson (DE), 2009, RD3
5. Andy Dalton (QB), 2011, RD2
6. Andre Smith (OT), 2009, RD1
7. Jermaine Gresham (TE), 2010, RD1
8. Kevin Zeitler (OG), 2012, RD1
9. Vontaze Burfict (LB), 2012, UDFA
10. Marvin Jones (WR), 2012, RD5/Mohammed Sanu (WR), 2012, RD3

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#111 by TomC // Oct 28, 2013 - 5:39pm

Stab at a Bears list:

1 Matt Forte RB 2008 Tulane 2 2 13 44
2 Alshon Jeffery WR 2012 South Carolina 2 2 13 45
3 Henry Melton DE 2009 Texas 3 4 5 105
4 Earl Bennett WR 2008 Vanderbilt 3 3 7 70
5 Johnny Knox WR 2009 Abilene Christian 5 5 4 140
6 Corey Wootton DE 2010 Northwestern 2 4 11 109
7 Stephen Paea DT 2011 Oregon State 2 2 21 53
8 Major Wright DB 2010 Florida 1 3 11 75
9 Zack Bowman DB 2009 Nebraska 6 5 7 142
10 Shea McClellin DE 2012 Boise State 1 1 19 19

Surprising number of offensive skill players, especially from the nominally offense-starved Lovie-Jerry era.

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#121 by Thomas_beardown // Oct 28, 2013 - 6:14pm

I think you can trace Angelo's and Lovie's firings directly to Williams and Carimi being busts. Bookend tackles would have fixed a lot of problems.

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#122 by bucko (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 6:20pm

Gabe Carimi failing in the NFL still baffles me. I guess the knee injury robbed him of any chance to be a solid player.

But I thought at MINIMUM he would be a decent right tackle if not better

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#129 by TomC // Oct 28, 2013 - 6:40pm

For whatever reason, Angelo's record on 1st-round picks in general (not just O-linemen) was simply dreadful; the only one that could be considered even a partial success is Tommie Harris. That's why my reaction to the horror at trading 2 first-rounders for Cutler was "shit, we should do that every year."

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#114 by RickD // Oct 28, 2013 - 5:53pm

Let's see...

For the Patriots, I would go with something like.

1. Rob Gronkowski
2. Jerod Mayo
3. Sebastian Vollmer
4. Nate Solder
5. Aaron Hernandez (gotta include him)
6. Chandler Jones
7. Devin McCourty
8. Stevan Ridley
9. Brandon Spikes
10. Alfonzo Dennard

with Edelman, Vereen, and Hightower on the outside looking in.

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#120 by Thomas_beardown // Oct 28, 2013 - 6:04pm

Mine for the Bears

1 Matt Forte
2 Henry Melton
3 Kyle Long
4 Jordon Mills
5 Alshon Jeffery
6 Major Wright
7 Corey Wootton
8 Earl Bennett
9 Chris Conte
10 Stephen Paea

It's crazy how much things can change in a year, had you asked me last year, there would be no Long or Mills, and I would have put Conte 3rd.

Edit: I had accidentally reversed Bennett and Jeffery.

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#166 by TomC // Oct 29, 2013 - 1:28pm

tuluse: my list definitely would have included Long, and possibly Mills, but Peregrine specifically said through 2012, i.e., no rookies.

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#123 by lionsbob // Oct 28, 2013 - 6:25pm

Detroit Lions:

1. Ndamukong Suh
2. Matthew Stafford
3. Cliff Avril
4. Nick Fairley
5. Louis Delmas
6. Gosder Cherilus
7. DeAndre Levy
8. Brandon Pettigrew
9. Sammie Lee Hill
10. uh Jerome Felton, Jahvid Best, Kevin Smith?

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#134 by nath // Oct 28, 2013 - 7:18pm

The Saints' list looks pretty bad after the top three:


1. Jimmy Graham 10-3-95
2. Carl Nicks 08-5-164
3. Cameron Jordan 11-1-24
4. Thomas Morstead 09-5-164
5. Corey White 12-5-162
6. Akiem Hicks 12-3-89
7. Charles Brown 10-2-64
8. Malcolm Jenkins 09-1-14
9. Tracy Porter 08-2-40
10. Nick Toon 12-4-122

Yep, a punter is fourth. From 4 to 10 they're pretty much ordered by "contribution over expectation at draft position." Yep, Nick Toon is tenth even though this is basically his rookie year. If we included 2013, Vaccaro, Jenkins, and Stills could all make this list already.

Almost no one else the team drafted in that time is still on the roster or ever contributed anything meaningful. The only other draftees still with the Saints are Mark Ingram and Patrick Robinson, both tremendous first-round disappointments.

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#107 by bucko (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 5:15pm

Strongly agree. A few bad decisions can set a team back years.

And one really good one can vault them forward

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#149 by Will Allen // Oct 28, 2013 - 9:32pm

Indeed, the Vikings top 10 2008-2012, in no particular order......

1. John Sullivan
2. Matt Kalil
3. Percy Harvin
4. Kyle Rudolph
5. Harrison Smith
6. Phil Loadholdt
7. Blair Walsh
8. Everson Griffen
9. Jasper Brinkly
10. Jared Allen for a first and two thirds

......isn't a bad bunch, but without anything at qb, it desn't amount to much, if you don't have a qb to begin with.

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#53 by Jericho (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 1:02pm

Two random thoughts:

(1) Why were the officials reviewing the Stafford sneak play at the end of the game? It looked pretty clear he broke the plane intially, but even so he came back on his feet and ran in the end zone untouched. Either way he scores. What was the review for?

(2) Peyton Manning was strip sacked by Ryan Kerrigan and the ball came loose. Manning then basic grabbed on to dear life to prevent/hinder Brian Orakpo from recovering the fumble. Orakpo recovered anyway. Manning was flagged for holding. however, the penalty was declined since it apparently would result in Denevr keeping the ball if accepted. Doesn't this seem odd? should the penalty be tacked on to the play? And if not, why don't more people try to grab players to prevent a recovery? If Manning succeeded and prevent Orakpo from getting the ball and Denver recoverys, that's a huge win.

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#54 by bucko (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 1:06pm

Regarding item 1 the league reviews all scoring plays

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#64 by Nevic (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 1:54pm

Re: #1: the refs blew the whistle when they called it a TD initially, so the play was dead and his second effort would not have counted. Same thing happened to Rodgers on SNF against the Vikings. Refs blew the play dead and a second later his team pushed him into the endzone.

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#78 by NYMike // Oct 28, 2013 - 3:06pm

In the SNF play, it was clear, even as a Packer fan, that Rodgers' forward progress had been stopped and that this was the correct call. I've seen the Detroit replay, and that was not the case on Stafford's play. It would have been very unfortunate if they blew the whistle because they thought it was a TD and then it wasn't.

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#76 by Sakic (not verified) // Oct 28, 2013 - 2:42pm

Re: #2

My line of thinking is that the penalty occurred before Washington has recovered therefore it applies to action before the change of possession (similar to holding on a punt return after the ball was kicked versus before the ball was kicked.) Now, if Denver had recovered I assume it would have been accepted.

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#81 by Perfundle // Oct 28, 2013 - 3:15pm

"And if not, why don't more people try to grab players to prevent a recovery?"

Because most people aren't in a position to. You have to simultaneously have no chance of recovering the fumble yourself (or in Manning's case, no chance of taking that chance), and be right next to someone who is in position to recover. Oh, and be able to react in a non-instinctive manner in a split second.

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