Giants DabollMania and the Christian McCaffrey Gambit

New York Giants HC Brian Daboll
New York Giants HC Brian Daboll
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 7 - In this jam-packed Week 7 edition of Monday Walkthrough:

  • The San Francisco 49ers discover that Christian McCaffrey won't solve their biggest problem;
  • The Baltimore Ravens throw themselves at another fourth-quarter collapse, but miss;
  • Dak Prescott returns, not with a bang but a whimper;
  • The Tom Brady Regret Index debuts;

and much more!

But first...

The New York Giants vs. Sustainability

There's something infuriatingly familiar about the 2022 New York Giants.

They fall behind each week. They look bad to terrible in every first half: they have been outscored 75-53 in first halves this season. Aha, the skeptics keep proclaiming: this is the week when they fall back to earth.

Then the Giants come back in the fourth quarter and win, often in a way that's almost impossible to explain. The Packers suddenly could not stop Daniel Bellinger or David Stills on third down. … The snap flew over Lamar Jackson's head. … Trevor Lawrence got stuffed on a fourth-and-1 sneak at the Giants 20 in the fourth quarter…

Every week, the cooler heads who insist that the Giants success is unsustainable sound like churlish, naysaying killjoys. When was the last time such an unimpressive team ever enjoyed such an unlikely, inexplicable run of success?

Ah, Walkthrough remembers this feeling.

The year was 2011. The team was the Denver Broncos. The quarterback was Tim Tebow. The phenomenon: six straight wins, the last five of them by a combined 20 points, nearly all of them built out of unlikely fourth-quarter heroics by a team that tripped over its own feet for much of the early afternoon.

The 2022 Giants and 2011 Broncos don't actually have much in common. There's no magical Tebow-like figure in the Meadowlands. Those Broncos had truly great players scattered around their roster, while the Giants, for all of their sudden success, still only appear to have a handful of even Pro Bowl alternate-caliber contributors. TebowMania was a national phenomenon, while the Giants are more of an early-season curiosity.

What the TebowMania Broncos and the 2022 Giants have in common, however, is the fact that both teams kept rolling 7s week after week, leaving the folks trying to explain dice probability looking increasingly ridiculous. This team is different. Your mathematics cannot measure the contents of their throbbing hearts.

The Giants beat the Jaguars on Sunday by poking a fumble away from Travis Etienne as he headed toward the end zone; blocking an extra point after a post-touchdown false start; getting an interception back on a roughing-the-passer penalty; stuffing Lawrence on that fourth-down sneak; running the ball late in the game as if Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley were Lamar Jackson and, um, Saquon Barkley; and finally stopping the Jaguars on their final drive at the 1-foot line after Lawrence found Christian Kirk over the middle in the waning seconds.

The Giants played reasonably well on Sunday, but they also looked like the Giants we expected to see in the preseason: bobbling and dropping passes on offense, a step slower than Lawrence and the Jaguars on defense. The Giants keep playing C-tier teams such as the Jaguars, Panthers, and Bears close but winning, just as they keep playing would-be contenders close and winning.

Sustainable? No way. Thrilling? Sure, for anyone who isn't required to watch games with a sober, critical eye and make accurate predictions about what will happen in Week 8/November/late January.

The TebowMania Broncos, you may recall, backed into the playoffs at 8-8 after their luck started to run out. They shook the world with a playoff upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers before crumbling. The Broncos brain trust knew that TebowMania was lightning in a bottle, so they traded Tebow and acquired Peyton Manning, becoming instant contenders.

Again, the similarities to the 2022 Giants are strained. The Giants are not close to being one player away from Super Bowl contention, even if that player were somehow Peyton. But perhaps they already have the most important piece of the puzzle: head coach Brian Daboll.

Daboll remains aware of how much work is left to be done and how many questions the Giants will need to answer once the hot streak goes cold. He probably knows how much luck he has benefitted from. He also knows that all the luck in the world would not help the Giants if his coaching wasn't keeping them in position for those unlikely comebacks.

TebowMania was fleeting, but DabollMania looks likely to turn into something lasting once the Giants acquire enough talent to grow from a great fourth-quarter team into a great four-quarters team.

Until that happens, enjoy the ride. But remember that not even loaded dice can come up with 7s forever.

Christian McCaffrey Can't Un-Garoppolo Jimmy Garoppolo

The San Francisco 49ers 2022 season has gone through three distinct chapters in just seven weeks:

Chapter One: The Trey Lance Era Has Begun! And Ended!
Chapter Two: Return of the Garoppolo!
Chapter Three: Christian McCaffrey Cometh!

It has been quite a journey. Walkthrough hasn't even bought potato chips to hand out for Halloween yet, but the 49ers have already lurched from "Go Trey Go" to "Oh No Garoppolo" to "We're One Player Away," trading lots of draft picks for that proverbial player, then finally to wherever they are emotionally after Sunday's 44-23 reality check at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs.

McCaffrey rushed eight times for 38 yards on Sunday, adding two catches for 24 yards. Jeff Wilson rushed seven times for 54 yards, often looking like the sort of shifty, darting rusher who needs more touches, not fewer.

Stop us if you have heard this before, but running backs are almost interchangeable, with a team's offensive line, scheme, and situation having far more to do with production than pure talent. The difference between McCaffrey and Wilson, while real, is not worth second- through fourth-round picks in 2023 and three years of future cap hits in the $12-million-per-year range.

Only a legit Super Bowl contender should ever have considered parting with such a haul for an oft-injured player at an easy-to-fill position. The 49ers may briefly have looked like contenders after beating the Rams and Panthers, and they could rationalize the Falcons loss because Nick Bosa and others were injured. But Sunday's drubbing at the hands of the Chiefs illustrated:

  • The 2022 49ers defense is not as devastating as it looked early in the season (or in 2021 or 2019): not as much support for Bosa along the line, not enough depth of talent in the secondary; and
  • All the YAC-producers in the world will never stop Garoppolo from lobbing interceptions in the red zone, loitering in his own end zone for safeties, getting strip-sacked with the game on the line, or just limiting the 49ers offense with his inability to drive the ball more than 20 yards downfield.

Sure, McCaffrey should make more of a difference as he's better integrated into the offense. He should help keep the 49ers playoff-viable after their Week 9 bye, when most of their opponents are beatable. But at some point, McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle become redundant and start siphoning opportunities from each other. The 49ers just spent a lot of draft capital to become more like themselves and shine an even brighter spotlight on how much scaffolding their quarterback requires. Instead of getting immediate dividends on Sunday, they received a reminder that they still have the same old weaknesses.

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch should have taken a deep breath before consummating the McCaffrey trade, reminded themselves of what a whirlwind September and October have been, and reached the conclusion that they won't improvise their way to the Super Bowl. They're risking 2023 and beyond on their 2022 salvage operation.

It makes for compelling headlines and intriguing speculation, but a very familiar and limited style of football which, just a few weeks ago, the 49ers themselves were eager to move on from.

Introducing the Tom Brady Regret Index

Tom Brady is probably regretting his offseason un-retirement right now. The 3-4 Buccaneers have lost four of their last five games, with back-to-back losses to the Kenny Pickett-/Mitch Trubisky-led Pittsburgh Steelers and P.J. Walker's Carolina Panthers Flea Market by a combined 41-21 score. And it's hard to blame injuries when playmakers like Mike Evans are back in the lineup. Sure, Evans does something like this now and then…

… but that only adds to the regrets. Also, Brady did not look good on Sunday, at all.

Brady's personal life has gone pear-shaped as a direct result of choosing the smoldering embers of his career over hearth and home, but Walkthrough is not here to make fun of Brady's domestic situation, at all, heaven forbid. We're keeping things 100% positive by offering sound advice, one middle-aged dude to another: there's still time, Mister Tom-versus-Time! You could be at the marriage counselor's office first thing tomorrow and helping the kids with their homework by Tuesday! It's a far, far better fate than Thursday Night Football! Per sources, families are good!

Anyway, the Tom Brady Regret Index (TBRI) is designed to quantify just how bad Brady's un-retirement decision has been. Brady can use this index, designed by a qualified football analytics expert (or at least the longtime associate/confidante/wingman of one), for some incisive self-evaluation.

The TBRI starts with the assumption that being married to a billionaire supermodel and living the cushy life of a homemaker/television personality is worth 1,000 "Brady Bucks." So Brady starts the calculations at negative-1,000 because of what he left on the table. In order to make his decision to return to football worthwhile, he must now climb out of that hole. When Brady is in the positive, his choice was at least arguably worthwhile. While in the negative, Brady will be coping with some degree of regret. Simple, right?

Here is how Brady's regrets are calculated. Note that accomplishments are graded on a "Brady curve": if Brady cranks out 12 wins and cruises deep into the playoffs like he is supposed to, he will probably be just fine.

  • Win a playoff game: 500 Brady Bucks.
  • Beat a team with an even or winning record: 300 Brady Bucks.
  • Beat a team with a losing record: 200 Brady Bucks.
  • Lose to a team with a winning record: -250 Brady Bucks.
  • Lose to a team with a losing record: -500 Brady Bucks
  • Score more than 28 points: 100 Brady Bucks
  • Score less than 10 points: -100 Brady Bucks
  • Each sack: -100 Brady Bucks

Note that for ease of calculation, we will adjust the "winning" and "losing" records each week. The Falcons, for example, currently count as a team with a losing record, even though they were 2-2 when they lost to the Buccaneers.

So Brady is currently -1,000 (base value) + 300 (Cowboys win) + 400 (Falcons and Saints wins) - 250 (Chiefs loss) - 1,500 (Packers, Panthers, and Steelers losses) +100 (score in Chiefs game) - 100 (three points on Sunday) -1,000 (10 total sacks) = -3,050, which equates to one country music album's worth of regret.

Look for the TBRI to run on Thursdays or Fridays each week, starting (maybe) Friday after the Buccaneers face the Ravens on TNF!

The Baltimore Ravens are More of a State of Mind Than a Team

The Ravens have ceased to be a football team and have instead become a weekly referendum on Lamar Jackson's current and future value as a quarterback/human, and that referendum never reaches any firm conclusions. Nothing that happens before there are about seven minutes left in the fourth quarters of their games even matters.

The Ravens coughed up a 23-13 fourth-quarter lead by allowing Nick Chubb to go HAM for 46 yards on four runs to set up a Kareem Hunt touchdown to cut the score to 23-20 before Justice Hill fumbled the ball back to the Cleveland Browns with 3:10 to play. The Browns appeared to score a go-ahead touchdown on the next drive, but Amari Cooper was flagged for offensive pass interference, and the Browns ended up getting a 60-yard field goal blocked. Crisis averted, until Thursday.

If the Ravens wish to escape their endless purgatory of fourth-quarter catastrophes and near-catastrophes, they must stop allowing the opponents they (usually) substantially outplay to stay in the game for the first three quarters. That means less settling for Justin Tucker field goals; fewer series marred by sacks and negative plays that either knock the Ravens out of field goal range or flip field position; and fewer splash plays allowed in the first half on defense.

Until the Ravens learn how to keep their foot on their opponent's neck, they will keep living and dying on Jackson highlights and (yes) miscues. And that's a formula likely to leave them around .500.

Dak Prescott is Back and as Dak as Ever

Dak Prescott returned to the Dallas Cowboys lineup after missing five games with a hand injury and did roughly what Cooper Rush could have done: managed a 24-6 win over the Detroit Lions which was a 10-6 yawner until late in the fourth quarter.

Oh, Dak was fine. The Cowboys would probably have scored seven more points and taken the sputtering Dan Campbell Cult out of the game earlier if Noah Brown didn't fumble while getting pinwheeled near the end zone before halftime. But anyone expecting some sort of triumphant return by Prescott simply hasn't watched much Cowboys football: the more pieces Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore have to work with, the more flummoxed they seem to be by the puzzle.

The Cowboys remain much better off with Prescott's high risk/reward ratio passing than with Rush running out of novelty-shop tricks, of course. The Cowboys also get the Bears next week, so they should be able to manufacture another win before their bye while playing at less-than-peak performance. Prescott picked the perfect time to return—emphasis on "picked." If Dak really was shrewd enough to wait until Rush got rope-a-doped by the Eagles before racing to the rescue against a team with no defense, maybe he should be promoted to coach and general manager.

Russell Wilson is a Better Quarterback Than Brett Rypien

Shocking, right?

Some of Walkthrough's media colleagues tried to prep-cook a Rypien-Wilson controversy entering Sunday, but the longtime Broncos backup was not up to that minor challenge, going 24-of-46 for 225 yards and one interception in a 16-9 loss to the New York Jets.

Rypien is one of those quarterbacks who can throw accurate deep sideline passes from a clean pocket. Unfortunately, he throws those passes whether his receiver is open or blanketed, and doesn't do anything else particularly well. He's basically Diet Drew Lock, with less mobility.

Rypien out-performing the struggling-and-really-injured Russell Wilson would indeed have been juicy, but reality is cold and unforgiving, and the Broncos offense has problems (injuries, poor offensive line play, Aaron Rodgers' former human stress ball calling plays) that a former draftnik darling isn't gonna solve.

Zach Wilson was also pretty terrible for the Jets—Walkthrough couldn't find many bloopers on Twitter, though rest assured they were bloopy—but let the Jets have their moment.

Matt Ryan is Still Washed

Oh, you thought Ryan was coming around after he threw for 389 yards and three touchdowns last week? That only happened because the Jaguars defense consists of four draftnik binkies and seven guys named Foyesade Oluokun.

Check out Ryan's second interception in Sunday's 19-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans, the one by David Long which didn't make all the highlight montages:

That's what a log decomposing on the forest floor looks like if you speed it up by a factor of 1,000.

The Colts are 3-3-1, and most of their AFC South matchups should finally be behind them, so let's check their upcoming schedule to see if they can make a run:

  • Week 8: Carson Wentz and the 2021 Colts
  • Week 9: Tennessee Titans, but from Boston
  • Week 10: Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Week 11: Houston Texans
  • Week 12: Houston Titans
  • Week 13: Houston Oilers
  • Week 14: Bye
  • Week 15: Kirk Cousins and the 2023 Colts
  • Week 16: Jacksonville Chargers
  • Week 17: 15-1 New York Giants
  • Week 18: Houston Texans

Wait, that cannot be right. Is this Groundhog Day? Is Walkthrough being punished for our hubris?

Nope: there may be a typo or eight on that schedule, but it's the Colts who are being punished.

Fire-High Heinicke and Carson Wentz, Two Spider-Men Pointing Meme

Taylor Heinicke went 20-of-33 for 200 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception (a pick-six) in the latest attempt by cruel fate and crueler 21st century society to determine what will happen once Aaron Rodgers finally snaps: a 23-21 Commanders upset of the Green Bay Packers.

Heinicke also had a strip-six fumble negated by a (reasonable, no matter what Packers fans may tell you) defensive holding penalty. The Commanders played hide-the-doofus with Heinicke with a run-heavy game plan early, then let their 2021 starter play his scattershot YOLO style of football in the second half, resulting in three long scoring drives, two of which ended with short field goals.

While they can be surprisingly similar in some ways, Carson Wentz remains a better quarterback than Fire-High Heinicke. Unless you factor cap space and trade capital into the equation. And the ceaseless melodrama one of them brings from job to job. Then it's not really close.

Never Bet on an Atlanta Falcons Game

Never bet on the Falcons. Never bet against the Falcons. Never bet the over. Never bet the under. Never bet some benign little prop about Olamide Zaccheaus' receiving totals, lest you conjure Damiere Byrd back onto this plane of existence like Candyman to catch a 75-yard touchdown. And never, EVER bet a same-game parlay involving the Falcons.

Walkthrough knew all of these rules and has been warning you to follow them for years. Yet we were lured by a wicked temptress of an over/under of 47.5 to take the Bengals moneyline and the under at +160. The result? The Bengals took a 21-0 lead, then a 28-7 lead, then allowed the Falcons to score 10 points just before halftime to get the total to 45 points. Not good.

Joe Burrow ran for a touchdown midway through the third quarter to clear the over and ruin the parlay. And then the Falcons, those SICKOS, stopped scoring and stopped allowing the Bengals to score. Both teams just munched the clock, with the Bengals driving down to the Falcons' 2-yard line before kneeling. It's like they crossed the over, turned around with their noses on their thumbs and said "Neener neener neener, we made you lose money just because we're the Falcons and we hate joy."

So remember folks: when the Falcons play well, they are just trolling you. And when they play miserably, they still play just well enough to troll you.

Week 7 Awards

Shiny hardware time!

Defender of the Week

Chris Jones and Frank Clark share this week's award with 3.5 combined sacks and a pair of big plays that allowed the Chiefs to take control of a somewhat out-of-control game in the fourth quarter: Clark's safety-sack of Jimmy Garoppolo, which was followed quickly by a Chiefs touchdown, and Jones' strip-sack of Garoppolo to quash the last real 49ers rally.

Offensive Line of the Week

The Chiefs line of Orlando Brown, Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith, and Andrew Wylie delivered a statement win against Nick Bosa and the 49ers defense: Patrick Mahomes was sacked just once and enjoyed a clean pocket for much of the game, while the Chiefs rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns.

Special Teamer of the Week

It's a Chiefs sweep! South Jersey's own Isiah Pacheco returned the second-half kickoff 48 yards to set up a Chiefs touchdown in a game that was still nip-and-tuck at halftime. Pacheco, elevated to the starting lineup this week, also rushed eight times for 48 yards.

Burn This Play!

The Titans are short on playmakers. And Ryan Tannehill was banged up in Sunday's win over the Colts. Time to get backup quarterback Malik Willis involved!

Did the Titans give Willis some snaps in relief of Tannehill to provide a spark? Nope.

Well, surely they ran some Wildcat wrinkles, right? Nope.

Would you believe a Tannehill-to- Willis jet sweep? Say it isn't so…

That's the sort of thing the New Orleans Saints can get away with because Taysom Hill has been running gadget plays for five years and practices at a variety of positions. Willis surely worked on that play during the Titans' bye, but that fumble came on Willis' first snap since a little mop-up work in the Bills loss, and he was asked to do something he has probably never done in his football career at any level.

Next time, just run some Willis-Derrick Henry read-options before you try to get fancy, Coach Vrabel.

Best Supporting Actor in Someone Else's Highlight

A riddle: how many Colts defenders does it take to tackle Derrick Henry when he's trying to run out the clock in the fourth quarter?

Answer: At least 12, as this play illustrates:

This week's BSASEH goes to the poor Colts in the middle of that pile: Tyquan Lewis (94), Grover Stewart (90), Bobby Okereke (58), and Tony Brown (38), plus Zaire Franklin (44), who gets run over by the whole pile and can be seen in the right corner of the screen readjusting his shoulder pads and wondering what just hit him.

Honorable Mention goes to Cam Sample, the Bengals defensive lineman who drew coverage duties against Kyle Pitts at the goal line and decided to use the hug 'n' hump technique:

So that's why Pitts isn't getting the ball much: there's a much larger man dangling from him.

Rando of the Week

Oh, were you expecting Sammy Watkins to return and make a difference for the Packers on Sunday? Do you think it's still 2015? Have you not learned enough about frustration and disappointment from life yet? Do you need big name/small production wide receivers to teach you? Don't you recognize the NFL equivalent of a knockaround NBA power forward who only gets minutes because of his size and fading name recognition when you see him?

Watkins was targeted once without a catch in the first half of the Packers' loss to the Commanders. He finished with two catches, one of 28 yards and one of 8 yards. The 28-yarder came with 23 seconds left and the Commanders in guard-the-sidelines prevent mode. And it's possible that Rodgers and Watkins aren't quite on the same page just yet.

The solution to the Packers problems isn't walking through the door anytime soon. And don't even think about Odell Beckham Jr.: he knows a sinking ship when he sees one.


117 comments, Last at 29 Oct 2022, 5:35am

#1 by jheidelberg // Oct 24, 2022 - 3:55am

1.  Ok, I cry uncle, the Giants will make the playoffs.  They are 6-1, are DVOA neutral and their remaining schedule is neutral.  For the rest of the season, at 5-5 or better, they almost surely make the playoffs, at 4-6, they likely make the playoffs, and at 3-7 would still have a chance.

What happened twice to ordinary Giants teams that made the playoffs?  They won the Super Bowl.  OK that will not happen.  Please promise me, I can not deal with a New York team winning the Super Bowl.

2.  I want Brady Bucks designations for:

a.  Every roughing the passer call that he draws.

b. Every time he complains to the refs (a more fruitful endeavor than complaining to your spouse).

c.  Every successful QB sneak or running play.

d.  Severe negative ramifications for games missed due to injury.  Double penalty for time missed due to a concussion.

e.  Special one time bonus if he makes Thursday Night Football interesting.

3.  Baltimore Ravens;

Football Outsiders needs to figure out a way to not have this team destroy the great respect that DVOA has gained in the industry as a benchmark for analyzing team performance.  FO has survived Tim Tebow, despite his name still being mentioned in some articles like above, so this can be done successfully.

The Ravens resume:

1.  Blown a 21 point 4th quarter lead breaking a 711-0 run for teams leading by 21+ in the 4th quarter.

2.  The team is one of two teams in the NFL to have a double digit lead in all of its games along with (PHL).  The Ravens lost 3 of the 7, fell behind before coming back in a 4th and won a game yesterday in part due to an absurd coaching decision by Kevin Stefansky.  

3.  Justin Tucker—FO provides a playoff odds report based upon playing out the rest of the season 50,000 times.  As a service to readers, can we get projected standings by replaying all games 50,000 times with, “If a team had Tucker instead of its kicker, what would the record of the team be?”  Going the other way, if the Ravens had Joe Mediocre as their kicker, they would be somewhere between 2-5 or 3-4, with a corresponding loss to DVOA, which would still have them near the top in DVOA.

Its a QB driven league, yet the value of Tucker may be surprisingly high.  Without him, the discrepancy between DVOA and the Ravens team record could be historic.

Points: 0

#114 by MrMan // Oct 26, 2022 - 5:48pm

additions to the TBRI.  I too, would like to see WWJT add to every NFL team if he were their kicker.  This needs to be a full article. 

Points: 0

#2 by Will Allen // Oct 24, 2022 - 7:36am

Packers performance yesterday will further degrade the DVOA value of the Vikings' stomp of them in the opener, which could result in a significant rankings drop for them, in a bye week. Might every NFC North team rank between 21-32 by DVOA? Here's hoping! Ii want to see how bad the division can get!

Points: 0

#3 by jheidelberg // Oct 24, 2022 - 7:58am

The last time that you made such a comment, I pointed out how bad most of the other divisions have been.  But now, barring a Bears stomp over the Pats tonight, it appears that you have something special in the works in the NFC North.

The Vikings have 3 division wins and will lose DVOA on a bye without an impressive performance by the Bears tonight, as the opponent adjustments get stronger, and the Viking opponents look weaker.  

Points: 0

#4 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 24, 2022 - 8:00am

Those Broncos had truly great players scattered around their roster, 

That seems like a retrospective analysis. I don’t recall that being the belief at the time.

Points: 0

#10 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:02am

I don’t recall that being the belief at the time.

Miller was the 2nd overall pick and Rookie of the Year at the time and Dumervil had been sack leader just a few years prior. The defense was dramatically up and down that year (dramatically, primarily due to the secondary) but Miller and Dumervil were absolute standouts on the pass rush.

That's part of the reason TebowMania was so annoying. The pass rush was easily as responsible as Tebow for many of those games, especially because it had to keep compensating for the secondary.

Points: 0

#81 by OmahaChiefs13 // Oct 24, 2022 - 4:01pm

As a fan of one of the teams that era of the Denver pass rush absolutely flattened twice a year.....can confirm. was gross, y'all.

That pass rush was championship caliber even if the rest of the team wasn't.

Points: 0

#14 by takeleavebelieve // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:13am

Some of that is Tebow’s own fault, though. It’s hard to get a read on Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker when punchlines like Tebow and Kyle Orton are throwing them the ball; it wasn’t until they had a competent QB that people realized they were good receivers. Similar thing on defense with Chris Harris - it took a while before people could get their heads around the idea that a rookie UDFA might be the best slot corner in the league. 

Points: 0

#15 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:18am

But until then, Thomas was just the go-route WR who had come from an option offense, and Decker was a white WR from Minnesota. Which is basically the same as being a punchline.

Points: 0

#17 by theslothook // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:21am

I'd say they had three to four relative household names:


Dummerville, Miller, Bailey, and Ryan Clady. 

Points: 0

#5 by mansteel // Oct 24, 2022 - 8:13am

Pretty fair analysis of the Giants. Their luck will indeed run out at some point, but the coaching upgrade is real (and spectacular). Not just play design--though going from Jason Garrett to Daboll/Kafka is like upgrading to a Ferrari from a horse and buggy--but putting guys into positions that maximize their strengths. I intermittently defended Joe Judge the last of couple of years, largely because I thought some of the narratives surrounding him were lazy and unfair, but this season has shown just how bad he and his staff were. 

Points: 0

#43 by serutan // Oct 24, 2022 - 12:16pm

but putting guys into positions that maximize their strengths.


  This is what has impressed me most about Daboll.  He understands he doesn't have Josh Allen and Stefan Diggs anymore and has adjusted accordingly,

Points: 0

#86 by theTDC // Oct 24, 2022 - 5:35pm

Going from the Fisher->McVay saga as a Rams fan I've learned to never excuse coaches who aren't getting the job done.

Points: 0

#6 by mansteel // Oct 24, 2022 - 8:18am

Mike, what were the qualifications for the QB cycle you wrote about last year? 200 yds passing, 100 rushing, 3 total TDs? And no turnovers for the supercycle? If so, Daniel Jones was a TD short. But he should get some sort of credit for yelling at a teammate after a 4th down dropped pass (number 5 on the day) at the goal line {"Catch the ball!) . He apologized to the world in the postgame presser (lol) but most everyone in Giantland loved it.

Points: 0

#7 by Chuckc // Oct 24, 2022 - 8:48am

To me, Garoppolo wasn't in the top 3 problems for the 49ers yesterday. Even if you take away Garoppolo's pick, safety and fumble, they're still coming out on the short end. They couldn't block anyone, the Chiefs scored every time they touched the ball after the 1st quarter and dumb penalties killed them.

Points: 0

#78 by Mike B. In Va // Oct 24, 2022 - 3:43pm

It was almost like they had a replacement-level secondary out there...

Points: 0

#101 by apocalipstick // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:53pm

Amen, my brother.

I could not for the life of me understand why everyone thought that was such a good signing. I mean, sure, Ward looks competent compared to Rashad Fenton, but that's small beer.

Points: 0

#93 by Chuckc // Oct 24, 2022 - 7:29pm

Jimmy Ward shouldn't have been playing with that ridiculous cast on his hand. You'd think coaches would know better.

Losing Mosely really hurt. Charvarious Ward had been playing well but was terrible yesterday. Hufanga probably should have taken a game off even though he played well. He almost got hurt again.

And not just the secondary. The linebackers seemed like they were out of position on every play.

Points: 0

#94 by theslothook // Oct 24, 2022 - 7:52pm

I actually blamed the lack of pass rush more so than the coverage. On several instances Mahomes just got to survey the field and launch a deep pass. The interception he threw was one of the very brief times Bosa was able to get near him. Otherwise, it was a lot of clean pockets. The Chiefs line just crushed the 49ers front all game. 

Points: 0

#8 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 9:20am

Check out Ryan's second interception in Sunday's 19-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans, the one by David Long which didn't make all the highlight montages:

Both of Ryan's interceptions were just standard QB mistakes: the pick-six looked like Ryan screwed up what the route was going to be, the second interception he just couldn't see the defender.

It's not like Matt Ryan's been some sort of interception-avoiding machine. Yes, he's on pace for the highest number of picks in his career, but he's also on pace for the most number of attempts in his career, by giant leaps and bounds (not even considering the 17-game season!).

Let me stress that again: Matt Ryan is currently on pace for 721 attempts (with the highest attempts/game of his career). Indianapolis traded for a 37 year old QB with signs of decline. And somehow decided "yeah, let's use him more than he's ever been used before." And it's not a game situation thing: Ryan's been through two 4-12 seasons before and was well off this pace.

Points: 0

#18 by theslothook // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:23am

Watching the game, every single one of his hideous throws came while under pressure. And the throws were all ducks because his arm is a dead husk.

Points: 0

#22 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:39am

I don't agree with the hyperbole (regarding arm strength, at least), although it's certainly down. But I'm mainly responding to the interceptions. The first interception had nothing to do with arm strength, for instance, and it definitely wasn't a "duck." The second one was bit of a touch pass/lob to get over the lineman's arms. He just couldn't see the linebacker, who was lurking directly behind the Colts receiver in his line of sight.

You would've seen interceptions like that at any point in his career.

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#34 by theslothook // Oct 24, 2022 - 11:02am

Duck was hyperbolic, but I think a lack of arm strength showed on his interceptions. It wasn't the reason why they were picked off, but they were still plays that highlighted his lack of arm strength.

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#37 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 11:42am

The first one was just mechanically awful, and it was just totally wrong timing for the receiver - the ball's in the air before the outside receiver even clears the corner (as a note, the reason I said wrong route is that I think Ryan's mechanics are screwed up because he realizes it's wrong, but it could just be bad mechanics). Is it underthrown? Yeah, of course, but again - look at his mechanics. It's literally all arm, and yes, I know, it's funny to say that when talking about "arm strength" but you don't throw just with your arm. Not stepping into it, nothing from the hips.

And that's always been a problem for Ryan. His footwork/lower body was singled out coming out of college, he's focused on footwork before, and film evaluation always points out footwork issues.

The second interception here has nothing to do with arm strength, it's going right to where the receiver is exactly as it's supposed to. He just didn't see the defender.

edit: Ooh, I found a clip of an almost identical Ryan issue as the first interception from 2014. Same mechanics issues (total lower body screwup), same pass issue (very underthrown), even same result (apparent throw directly to the defender).

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#53 by Ben // Oct 24, 2022 - 1:30pm

I obviously have no insider knowledge, but I strongly suspect that on the first interception, the receiver should have broken off his route and came back towards Ryan. The unblocked blitzer is just to his right at the snap. Running an out and up double move with an unblocked rusher makes no sense. If the receiver had broken off his route, he would have basically ended up exactly where Ryan threw it. I figured Ryan threw it to the spot where he assumed the receiver would be. 

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#56 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 1:43pm

Yeah, the first pick's just got a lot of indications that things just didn't go the way they were supposed to. It could be the inside receiver was supposed to fake outside, and then turn inside, in which case Ryan's throw was where he would be. I'm not entirely sure I believe that because I'm not sure the inside receiver could've turned around by that time. That being said, Ryan's throwing motion does start the instant that defender starts moving inside.

It could also be that the outside receiver was supposed to break in, because the inside receiver looks like he's running interference. In which case Ryan's throw is off, but that could be due to the mechanics breakdown when Ryan sees that the receiver didn't break inside. Could also just be that he tried to hit the receiver in stride past that corner, but his mechanics broke down due to the oncoming pressure.

But really all I'm saying was that it wasn't really a "no arm strength left" pick. Ryan's had picks like that his entire career. Matt Ryan's not Philip Rivers or anything.

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#63 by dryheat // Oct 24, 2022 - 2:24pm

Indianapolis traded for a 37 year old QB with signs of decline. And somehow decided "yeah, let's use him more than he's ever been used before."


Well, at least they're not fixing to recoup sunk costs.  It's SAM EHRLINGER TIME!

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#69 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 24, 2022 - 3:29pm

If you do the same thing to Ehrlinger, is it called Lucking him?

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#9 by takeleavebelieve // Oct 24, 2022 - 9:39am

What’s the ratio of Brady Bucks to Bowles Nickels?

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#11 by johonny12 // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:09am

The Dolphins win the Brian Flores is back bowl! The fact Flores is only the linebackers coach for the Steelers and their defense shut down Miami after the first quarter doesn't seem to matter to fans. They wanted revenge for him having back to back winning seasons as the Dolphins head coach or something. I'm sort of amazed how hated he is in Miami. But I have discovered, the fans really don't like him. 


Anyway, Miami's offense did not roar back to life with Tua back. Even with Hill Miami's offense is reverting into the same lack luster scoring offense of the past few seasons. A win is a win, though. The Steelers look very much like a team playing for next season at this point.  

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#13 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:10am

They wanted revenge for him having back to back winning seasons as the Dolphins head coach or something

Pretty sure they want revenge for costing them a first and third-round pick (and possibly some of them for making their franchise look bad).

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#23 by johonny12 // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:42am

I'm pretty sure that's the owners fault as he happened to be incredibly guilty according to the NFL's investigation. Ross also returned last night to very little fan fair. Ross burned a lot of bridges in the NFL front office. The fan base tired of him a long time ago. 

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#26 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:48am

Oh, I totally agree, but I figure it's a normal response for a fanbase to blame everyone in those situations. It's tough to relate though, it's been 30 years since I've hated an owner.

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#24 by Noahrk // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:44am

I have no beef with Flores, but if a revenge game against Ross could be arranged, I'm all for it.

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#51 by jjohnson177 // Oct 24, 2022 - 1:14pm

He may have had back to back winning seasons, but he lost to Urban Meyer as well as the Falcons last year. Also look at the murderer's row of QBs Miami faced in their 7 game winning streak last year: Tyrod, Lamar, Flacco, Cam, Mike Glennon, Zach Wilson, and Ian Book. And with a playoff birth on the line in both 2020 and 2021, he lost those 2 games by a combined score of 90-29.

I'm not saying the Dolphins should have fired him, but did you notice how the whispers of "Watson to Miami" stopped once Flores was fired?

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#12 by Led // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:09am

That Titans clip is ridiculous and violates the spirit of the rule even if not the letter, which I believe is now limited to a teammate *pulling* a ball carrier forward.  I'm not a fan of OL charging down field to blast the pile either as it's an unnecessary injury risk.  I'd be in favor of returning to the old aiding the runner rule.  

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#16 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:20am

I wonder how you apportion ALY and 'yards after contact' for that one.

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#19 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:27am

That'd be harder than you think!

Watch the Colts defenders on that clip - they're the ones who screwed up the most. Watch the defensive tackle (#90) and the linebacker (#58). They've literally got their arms around Henry and they're pulling backwardsThey're the ones that lift him up, so the Titans offensive linemen aren't actually shoving Henry - they're shoving the Colts defenders!

Yeah, it looks like #71 is pushing Henry... but are his arms on Henry, or are they on the Colts defenders arms? #60 is clearly pushing the Colts defender (which is the right thing to do, since no one's pushing back on him!). By any stretch of the rule, he's allowed to push on his opponent's arms.

But here's the ultimate question: why the heck does the Colts #94 and another player (#44, I think) come in and push the pile forward? I don't actually think the Colts would've gotten the first if they hadn't done that! The pile was literally stopped, and probably would've been called for forward progress... and then they crash it and everyone starts falling forward.

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#29 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:53am

Yeah, it looks like #71 is pushing Henry... but are his arms on Henry, or are they on the Colts defenders arms? #60 is clearly pushing the Colts defender (which is the right thing to do, since no one's pushing back on him!). By any stretch of the rule, he's allowed to push on his opponent's arms.

Should be an illegal block in the back, then. The close-line play exception ends once you get >3 yards downfield.

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#38 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 11:45am

Should be an illegal block in the back, then.

On who, #60? He's not pushing him on the back. He's shoving him from the side (edit: actually more like the front - he's essentially wedged between Henry and the defender).

A block in the back from shoving a guy's forearms would be a difficult version of Twister.

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#20 by halfjumpsuit // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:29am

I don't have any problem believing that Brian Daboll is an upgrade from Joe Judge, and the Giants definitely know that Daniel Jones isn't it. And Daboll doesn't have Nathaniel Hackett-level of screw ups, but what has he done? If the Giants record matched what their performance is, we wouldn't be talking about him. I was going to write more than that but then I realized that yeah, that actually does make him just like Tim Tebow.

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#41 by Tutenkharnage // Oct 24, 2022 - 11:53am

In reply to by halfjumpsuit

... so I imagine they'd be 4-3 or 3-4 right now if their record matched their performance, in which case we'd still be talking about Daboll, since the team went 4-13 last year.

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#47 by serutan // Oct 24, 2022 - 12:29pm

  Agreed.  Just being transformed from a hot steaming mess to 500 mediocrity would be getting buzz (although COY buzz would be less likely) because it is a significant improvement.

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#48 by halfjumpsuit // Oct 24, 2022 - 12:38pm

This time last season Arthur Smith was 3-4 with a team that was 31st in DVOA and that won 4 games the year before, which from last year is as close to overachieving as Daboll is this year that we have to compare. I don't recall him getting half the attention Daboll is, and for good reason.

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#71 by Tutenkharnage // Oct 24, 2022 - 3:31pm

Part of it is because even though each team's record exceeded its in-season performance, an overachieving 6-1 is a lot sexier than an overachieving 3-4. But part of it is that everyone understood that the Falcons were putrid, as evidenced by a team that was 31st in DVOA last year after 8 weeks. But the Giants finished 31st in DVOA last year and are now in the middle of the pack, which is indicative of a much different coaching performance, at least insofar as we're attributing the team's performance to coaching.

So it's hype, sure. But it's not just hype. And comparisons between this year's Giants and last year's Falcons after seven games are way off base.

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#85 by Kurt // Oct 24, 2022 - 5:07pm

In reply to by Tutenkharnage

this ties into your DVOA point and also is something people outside this site care about: The first three teams Atlanta beat last year (Giants, Jets, Dolphins) came into those games with a combined 2-10 record.  The Giants have beaten both #1 seeds from last year (before people realized just how far TEN and GB have fallen), and also Baltimore.

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#98 by halfjumpsuit // Oct 24, 2022 - 9:02pm

In reply to by Tutenkharnage

The comparison is that both teams records were about 3 wins more than they should be.

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#21 by theslothook // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:30am

Listening to Rodgers press conference was an interesting peek into his mindset. As always, I love his candor because he gives very honest reactions.

I remember after they lost in 2011, he was filled with regret. He said that winning a SB bonds you with that particular group of players in a way other seasons don't.

In his intro press conference last year, he was not afraid to air out his long long list of grievances festivus style.

Today, he was oddly zen about everything. The season appears to be spinning on of control but he seemed so academic about why and then was even playful about how everyone will expect the Packers to get rolled in Buffalo and that is somehow a good thing. 

I know it's a lost cause trying to understand the dude, But I have always felt he was much more human than the cyborg that is Peyton Manning and the demon that is Tom Brady.


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#25 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:46am

But I have always felt he was much more human than the cyborg that is Peyton Manning

This is the single strangest comment I've ever seen from you. Manning, to me, is by far the most human of the three QBs you mentioned. Far and away. He's just a goofball guy who loves basically everything about football. Everything I've read from everyone who's interacted with him says that's just who he actually is.

I don't understand how Rodgers airing out grievances makes him "human" - to me, it makes him arrogant and self-centered, which is just a mindset I can't understand at all at this professional level.

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#30 by Will Allen // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:55am

Yeah, Manning's always struck me as a guy with a reasonable sense of humor, which is not the norm for superstar athletes.

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#32 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:59am

I in no way think Peyton & Eli is an act. I think that's who they are.

They aren't Batman or Superman -- for those guys, their alter egos were Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne. Inside, they saw themselves as Superman and Batman.

The Mannings are more like Spider-Man. Yeah, they can fight the Hulk, but they are still Peter Parker in spandex and a spider-bite.

\Von Miller sort of strikes me that way, too. He's a normal guy who has super powers.

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#35 by theslothook // Oct 24, 2022 - 11:04am

Manning is my favorite player But I don't think his goofball style represents what he is really like.

There are enough breadcrumbs left in prior interviews from players and coaches and select writers that suggests there's a side to him that's very much out of the public eye and I mean that as a compliment.

But because the cult of personality of Manning is so strong, we never really get to see it in his interviews.

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#39 by Noahrk // Oct 24, 2022 - 11:47am

That goes for pretty much anyone whose flaws aren't evident. We can see Brady and Rodgers' flaws, because they either won't or can't hide them. What Manning seems to be like is the guy who enjoyed football, but enjoys life more, but that just means there's something we can't see. Then again, we're not writing a psychology paper, in the context of a sports forum it's ok to take people for what they seem to be.

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#44 by BJR // Oct 24, 2022 - 12:18pm

I've sometimes been suspicious of Manning's utterly relentless pursuit of commercial income. I guess it's all easy money, and could be interpreted as him being a fun guy who is happy to goof about and poke fun at himself. But dude, seriously, how much money/notoriety do you need? Are you not happy enough with your achievements on the football field?

But yeah, who am I to judge?


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#46 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 12:27pm

I've sometimes been suspicious of Manning's utterly relentless pursuit of commercial income

His two major on-screen appearances (excluding commercials) right now are watching Monday Night Football with his brother, in his own house, and hosting a trivia show with his other brother.

What makes you think it's about him?

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#49 by BigRichie // Oct 24, 2022 - 12:55pm

While he was still playing and therefore his most marketable, Peyton was on commercial after commercial for this, that and the other thing. All playing his 'likeable goof' role.

Doesn't mean there's nothing of that nature actually in him. But he's also been playing it for $$$ for years and years now. (my limited understanding is Peyton has given a reasonably decent amount of that $$$ back over the years; helps fund a hospital, I think?)

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#52 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 1:17pm

The previous comment was regarding Manning still being so present after football. While Manning was playing football I don't blame him for being on commercial after commercial because he was pretty significantly underpaid. Not like, Brady level underpaid, but still pretty big. It's the same thing I've said regarding Mahomes and Brady - all of them make sure to stay very relatable to people because the majority of their value is in their brand, rather than the contract.

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#59 by BJR // Oct 24, 2022 - 2:08pm

He's entitled to do whatever the hell he wants with his image/profile.. If that means making as much money as possible, cool. But it does run contrary to the idea that he's just some fun-loving dude, only interested goofing about with his brothers. 

Call me cynical, but I suspect he is probably just as ruthless in his commercial pursuits as he was on the football field. 

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#61 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 2:16pm

he's just some fun-loving dude, only interested goofing about with his brothers. 

That wasn't what I was saying. I think both of Manning's on-screen appearances are more about helping out his brothers' images/value rather than trying to profit on his own.

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#79 by theslothook // Oct 24, 2022 - 3:49pm

This is kind of what I was getting at. The goofy fun loving guy to me is a put on image. Again, he might be like that in real life, but I doubt it.

Honestly, I find that personality type to run completely counter to his professional football personality - which was effectively a maniacle workahololic who rigidly controlled the entire aspect of a team's offense. He basically ran almost every practice and gave orders to his coaches to watch film, not the other way around. He wanted Von Miller to benched because he missed curfew the night before. He was so convinced the Patriots were spying on him everywhere that he upeneded the entire team's protocols. He overruled a coaching subsitution to punish Austin Collie for show boating on a catch. The guy was in every sense of the word a major control freak. 

You listen to interviews from competing players at the probowl, including from Ray Lewis to Ty Law and the guy was all business even there. Past defenders have remarked that he was completely unafraid to humiliate defenders over and over if they kept making technical mistakes on the field. Past defensive coaches have said the guy will say all the right things  and be totally complimentary to your team just as he is building your resume to getting fired. Someone with that mentality isn't someone I associate with the image he displays in his numerous tv commercials.  

That's why I think its a personality projection and why its so appealing; the football equivalent of being Mr. Rodgers from Mr. Rodgers neighborhood is meant to depricate and carricature a personality type that we would otherwise never associate him with. Thats why I said we don't really know what kind of person he is because I think the version we see is an intentioned version. We know he works hard and is a football junkie, but that alone isn't enough to inform. 

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#80 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 24, 2022 - 3:57pm

It's not necessarily a contrary personality trait.

Steve Martin is both a total goofball who led audiences across the street to take over a different bar, and an anal-retentive workaholic who obsessed about getting the joke right. But he wouldn't have been as funny without both parts.

\he also survived that Godzilla attack in Tokyo back in '54.

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#83 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 4:09pm

Work hard, play hard.

He likes football. Likes being around the players. Likes goofing around. The only way you get to keep doing that is by working your friggin' butt off when you can.

Watch the video of Decker getting revenge on him, which is filmed on a hidden camera. He's the exact same guy.

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#88 by JimZipCode // Oct 24, 2022 - 5:52pm

The goofy fun loving guy to me is a put on image. Again, he might be like that in real life, but I doubt it. ...  Someone with that mentality isn't someone I associate with the image he displays in his numerous tv commercials.  That's why I think its a personality projection and why its so appealing; the football equivalent of being Mr. Rodgers from Mr. Rodgers neighborhood is meant to depricate and carricature a personality type that we would otherwise never associate him with.

I think you're partially misreading Manning. He is affecting a very recognizable American archetype: the friendly aw-shucks cornpone demeanor that masks a sharp dealer who will fleece you in a horse trade. Some kinda Will Rogers / Tom Sawyer / I-dunno-who stock character. The goofiness is part of it. So is the sophistication. 

Rex Ryan used to affect a similar pose when he was the Ravens defensive coordinator. Best example I can remember is a mid-week interview he gave ahead of a matchup with the Dolphins, just after the Dolphins unveiled the Wildcat. Asked about the matchup, Ryan slyly drawled that they'd try to do the best they could, with a little twinkle in his eye. Spoiler: Ray Lewis & Terrell Suggs & Haloti Ngata & Bart Scott & co suffocated the Dolphins.

Bum Phillips.

I think middle America recognizes it instantly, both sides. It's a reason Manning is so successful post-football 

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#91 by theslothook // Oct 24, 2022 - 7:22pm

That's all probably true.

I think I needed to clarify something. This is purely in the context of a post game press conference. I feel like I can learn something sincere listening to Rodgers as compared to Manning or Brady.

The reason why isn't entirely unsurprising.  Manning, likely because he grew up in a football family; knows exactly how to professionally navigate the media. That means at best the press conference might drop a few key nuggets here and there about specific plays that worked, but its otherwise going to be an endless resuscitation of how amazing everyone is, including the fans. Its definitel for the best because lord knows the wrong phrase could incite internal turmoil, but as a fan, it certainly isn't all that enlightening to hear endless platitudes hurled towards a defense he carved up in two seconds because the corners stunk. 

To come back to my point about Rodgers; whether you like him or not or find his antics agreeable or needlessly polarizing; I feel like at least I am getting a dose of what he is actually thinking. Because nothing he says or does is coached in a way some PR person would suggest, it seems genuine. So when he feels like the team isn't doing right by him; he will list it detail by detail. If he thinks your defense did nothing special and somehow his coaching staff is unncessarily junking up the playcalling with weighty complexity(something none of the reporters specifically asked but he offered up anyways); well I am guessing he really believes that. So in that sense, I appreciate that if I am going to listen to him, I will get what he really thinks. Whether thats good or bad isn't something I was trying to pass judgement on.

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#105 by GKJohn // Oct 25, 2022 - 8:46am

well stated, and agreed with everything you say.

I love the aaron rodgers authenticity.  and I think his players respect it, at the very least.

though he comes across as stoic, and sometimes apathetic, I think he plays the game hard, and his teammates play hard for him.

I have nothing to base this on, except that he churns out winner afer winner, and despite what some may think, has been terrific in the post season (45 to 13 td to Int rate).

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#92 by theslothook // Oct 24, 2022 - 7:28pm

The goofiness is part of it. So is the sophistication. 

That archetype scares me. I get vibes of Tom Ripley or Max Fischer from Rushmore. The inveigler who will charm you and then rob you/kill you and start wearing your clothes and posing as you at fancy cocktail parties in Northern Italy.

I separated this post mostly because its kind of separate from Aaron Rodgers. I get a sense that people who watch Manning selling Buick, or Manning being a prankster, or a livestream of Manning on his couch accurrately capture who he is. Again, maybe it does, but considering his football behavior; I'd be surprised if it did. But who knows? I have never met him and the only person I know who was a few feet away and never got to say anything. So I am in the dark and left to piece together who he is based on the same hearsay and visual evidence.  

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#109 by Pat // Oct 25, 2022 - 9:35am

That archetype scares me. I get vibes of Tom Ripley or Max Fischer from Rushmore. The inveigler who will charm you and then rob you/kill you

This is entirely wrong. Manning isn't charming his opponents and backstabbing them. He's met up with Brady in the offseason and traded notes regarding training, workouts, and offenses. He's had a huge role in the development of other coaches and quarterbacks.

Your reasoning here just doesn't make any sense. It's like you're saying when you see a chess grandmaster joking around with other people and having fun with younger players and pointing out where they went wrong that "oh, he's just softening them up to murder them in the future." Yeah, uh, no. Did you see Manning jawing with players on the field trying to manipulate them and get into their heads?

I just don't get it. This is just the kind old grandma who'll eviscerate you with a 7-letter triple word score in Scrabble. Or the brothers who'll defend each other immediately and then end up slamming each other to the ground in out-of-control backyard football.

 I get a sense that people who watch Manning selling Buick, or Manning being a prankster, or a livestream of Manning on his couch accurrately capture who he is.

There are plenty of videos of him in training camp or in the quarterbacks room discussing stuff. He's not playing for the cameras then. He's literally the same guy.

It's just bizarre to me because to me Rodgers is the one being one hundred percent fake on camera. I mean, in that last press conference, he's doing everything he can to say "everyone besides Watkins and Lazard doesn't know what the hell they're doing" without saying it.

I have never met him and the only person I know

Have you met Rodgers? You're literally doing the same thing there. Hell, he could be a totally different person and playing things up for the rubes, too. Definitely wouldn't be the first one to come out and say divisive things just to get reactions and get his name out there.

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#99 by LionInAZ // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:14pm

Yes, the aw-shucks demeanor can really deceive people. 

I read about something like this a long time ago about trusting people. The comparison was between a New Yorker who might treat you rudely but is straight and a Southerner who will shake your hand and glad talk while he's fleecing you.

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#110 by Pat // Oct 25, 2022 - 9:40am

He's not an "aw shucks" type when he's competing against you!

The "friendly guy who's actually a pool shark" doesn't sit there talking about game details like how the felt is playing and what english should've been put on the ball when other guys are playing.

Manning literally spends a huge amount of time talking exactly about how he sees the game, how it's played, and what should be done. That's the exact opposite of what you're describing.

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#40 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 11:52am

But I don't think his goofball style represents what he is really like.

You must've read very, very different things than I did, then. Everything I've read says that Manning was a combination of a goofball who swapped linemen's pants and a detail-oriented football addict.

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#45 by serutan // Oct 24, 2022 - 12:23pm



Yup.  That time he hosted Saturday Night Live the cast said he did incredibly detailed preparation.

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#36 by theslothook // Oct 24, 2022 - 11:05am

The fact that he was willing to be up front about his personality such that we could judge him as arrogant is why I find it so refreshing. His refusal to be a company man and to toe the company line means his words will carry something of substance for a change.

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#42 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 11:54am

The fact that he was willing to be up front about his personality

Yeah, I don't have the same opinion. I don't think he's up front about anything, I just think he's absolutely terrible at controlling his emotions and opinions. Being unable to control yourself doesn't make you human - in my opinion, it's the exact opposite.

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#28 by Noahrk // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:49am

I only saw a little bit, but he seemed seethingly sour to me. He said something like it was the best thing that could happen to the team, but he really, really did not mean it.

By the way, I really wish teams tried the lateral play more often. Not only is it huge fun, I have the feeling it could work more than you'd expect. If the offense can keep the play alive long enough, the defense starts to disorganize and you get the feeling anything could happen.

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#54 by SandyRiver // Oct 24, 2022 - 1:30pm

That one may have been close to success.  When a pressured Rodgers threw a too-short "lateral" (drawing the flag), my TV screen showed no one in front of the intended recipient and they'd made it nearly into the red zone.  Couple yards longer and a yard to the left and maybe they're lining up for the game-winning PAT.

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#96 by Noahrk // Oct 24, 2022 - 8:07pm

Yikes. I didn't see the whole field, but maybe because of the player reactions it felt that way. Tough break, especially when it was your QB who threw the lateral.

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#102 by dmb // Oct 24, 2022 - 11:38pm

There was also an illegal blindside block correctly flagged on the play, so even if the throw from Rodgers was an accurate lateral, any hypothetical TD wouldn't have stood.

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#31 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:56am

I know it's a lost cause trying to understand the dude, But I have always felt he was much more human than the cyborg that is Peyton Manning and the demon that is Tom Brady.

Peyton is easy. He basically dragged a dead leg connected to a broken neck in order to keep playing football, because football is the lens through which he sees life and himself.

Brady is doofy Jordan, if Jordan had been born on 3rd base.

Rodgers is fully aware of how easy a life QBs have and is too old and too rich to be bothered to care about something as trivial as losing.

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#55 by SandyRiver // Oct 24, 2022 - 1:39pm

A guy who had trouble making QB1 for his college and was then drafted famously low (in hindsight) doesn't seem to fit the above description, unless I'm missing something.  To me, he's intensely (maybe to a fault) competitive and incredibly focused, on football and most anything else.

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#58 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 1:46pm

I think the "born on 3rd base" comment refers to the fact that Brady's father's fairly wealthy on his own, so in some sense, playing football was a bonus - he could afford to do it because career-wise, things weren't going to fall apart anyway.

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#60 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 24, 2022 - 2:09pm

Basically this -- Brady was also drafted by the Expos out of HS, so he had options if the whole "gridiron" thing didn't work out for him.

\which also belies the non-athletic draft knock

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#62 by KnotMe // Oct 24, 2022 - 2:21pm

Brady was a catcher.  Which is pretty much the least athletic position in the major professional sports. 

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#72 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 24, 2022 - 3:31pm

You squat for four hours in 90 degrees and full sun and run around in 10 pounds of armor throwing 150 pitches from ground level and get back to me about "least athletic."

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#89 by KnotMe // Oct 24, 2022 - 5:53pm

Actually probably right. Pitchers are probably the least athletic since they are so specialized. Less hitting is acceptable for catchers but it is somewhat debatable weather that makes them more or less than say a DH. True that it's a bit difficult to compare across sports. Athleticism is pretty different across sports (like Jordan being bad at baseball). 

And Brady was only unathletic by NFL standards, which are pretty crazy honestly. The entire league is huge guys who move very fast. 

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#100 by LionInAZ // Oct 24, 2022 - 10:20pm

Johnny Sain was very popular as pitching coach because he did not make pitchers run sprints. "You're not running the ball across the plate." There were plenty ofoverweight starting pitchers in the 70s -- Wilbur Wood, Mickey Lolich...

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#107 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 25, 2022 - 9:23am

Jordan was extremely athletic -- he was a good fielder and had good power. But he couldn't hit the curveball. Batting is as much fine-motor and extreme hand-eye coordination as it is power or speed -- it's more like pool/snooker in that regard.

DH is probably the least athletic baseball position -- you basically only need a great eye and strong wrists. Theoretically, a painter could do it.

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#50 by mshray63 // Oct 24, 2022 - 1:12pm

Mike, I was looking forward to reading your comments about the Seahawks, but I guess nothing unexpected happened in their game yesterday.

I would like to point out that it's really unfortunate that Geno gets credited with an interception and a lost fumble for two balls he placed in his teammates hands exactly as he was supposed to.

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#57 by JoelBarlow // Oct 24, 2022 - 1:44pm

I think we're -- the general commentariat and media - getting better about recognizing fraudulent teams. Seems like there's someone every year that is quite randomly 6-1 because their opponents missed two GW FGs and they have a +6 turnover diff because of fumble luck etc. 

But we're not getting any better with not falling for the coach of those teams. There's so much Daboll changed the culture! They don't make mistakes. They're creative and do this one playcalling/play design thing that is super cool garbage out there

It's all ex post facto + random timing of a new coach. Analyzing NFL HCs seems to be essentially impossible, especially in the short term. 

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#64 by Ben // Oct 24, 2022 - 2:26pm

A bit of breaking news here. The Colts have decided to start Sam Ehlinger for the rest of the season. Ryan has a shoulder strain, but Frank Reich said that Ehlinger will remain the starter even after that heals. 

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#65 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 2:37pm

 but Frank Reich said that Ehlinger will remain the starter even after that heals. 

At least until he seriously struggles or gets injured. Then it's Nick Foles time.

Because we all know that Nick Foles with offensive line struggles looks great!

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#66 by KnotMe // Oct 24, 2022 - 2:42pm

Did not expect that. Looks like they have him through 2023 and take a pretty big dead money hit if they cut him before that. 

It was clear the Ryan trade was done to win a weak division. They are only half a game back but the Titans have the tiebreaker. Their schedule (19) is easier than Titans(7) so it could still work I guess. 

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#67 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 3:00pm

It's Reich trying to save his job, in my opinion. He's great schematically, but he's made so many mistakes from a managerial standpoint.

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#70 by KnotMe // Oct 24, 2022 - 3:29pm

I would think Reich would get a new job pretty easily if they fired him. I don't think he's an upper tier coach, but felt above average to me. Havn't followed them that closely so don't have a strong opinion, but it would surprise me. Even if the Ryan trade was on him, pretty much everyone like it, so it's hard to blame him for Ryan falling off cliff. 

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#75 by colonialbob // Oct 24, 2022 - 3:35pm

I'm sure he'd get a new job, but I wonder if it would be like Pederson this year - brought into a turbulent situation (Carolina?) in an effort to provide stability and professionalism. I don't think he'll be the hot hire that a team expects to really put them over the edge.

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#76 by Ben // Oct 24, 2022 - 3:36pm

I think it’s hard to judge Reich. 5 different week 1 starting QBs in 5 years is a pretty bad set up for success. I guess there’s the argument that he hasn’t been able to make any of them work, but lack of continuity at the most important position in the game is tough. 

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#77 by Pat // Oct 24, 2022 - 3:42pm

He vouched hard for the Wentz trade in the first place, and had to personally apologize to the owner for the way it fell apart. The OL shuffling this year's been pretty bad as well, especially considering what they've ended up with, they had on the roster in week 1. So the obvious question there is "why couldn't you figure this out in the offseason." Plus I can't really figure out why the playcalling is leaning so heavily on Ryan when he's at the age he is and the line's struggling.

I think a lot of weight's put on the fact that he's been fairly aggressive on 4th down, but that's such a negligible part of the game overall.

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#68 by Ben // Oct 24, 2022 - 3:12pm

I’d think that the only way Foles gets the call is if Ehlinger goes full Nathan Peterman. 

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#74 by serutan // Oct 24, 2022 - 3:33pm

Obviously the plan is to hold Foles back until week 15 or 16 then unleash him for a Super Bowl run.

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#84 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Oct 24, 2022 - 4:46pm

That's not the worst plan for QB the Colts have had this season.

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#87 by horn // Oct 24, 2022 - 5:36pm

Imagine thinking Matt Ryan was an upgrade over Carson Wentz, lmao. 11 fumbles and 9 INTs, great job Jim Irsay! Wentz only threw 7 picks the entire season!

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#90 by Ben // Oct 24, 2022 - 6:20pm

They got Ryan several weeks after they traded Wentz. They just knew they wanted anybody but Wentz as the QB. The real mistake the Colts made was thinking Wentz was worthwhile to trade for in the first place. He’s got the physical ability, but not the head to be a top NFL QB. 

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#106 by Mike B. In Va // Oct 25, 2022 - 9:16am

Everyone should love Heinicke. Dude has Josh Allen's head and attitude.



Unfortunately, he doesn't have Josh Allen's body, so that gets him into trouble. But there's something in the IDGaF way he plays that's fun to watch, unlike Wentz, who just feels like he's a ticking McGuffin no matter who he's playing for.

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#113 by greybeard // Oct 25, 2022 - 9:54pm

That is because 49ers defenders dropped 3 of them.

They are both terrible. Ryan seems to be the worse of the bad.

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#95 by Bazz // Oct 24, 2022 - 8:01pm

Tanier's showing his Eagles homerism in the Dak section.

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#103 by occams_pointed… // Oct 24, 2022 - 11:42pm

Couldn't resist outbidding the Rams to deny them the RB they covered. Getting a McCaffrey mid-season is totally the Rams M.O.

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#104 by occams_pointed… // Oct 24, 2022 - 11:42pm

Not sure why this posted twice 

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#112 by morganja // Oct 25, 2022 - 6:16pm

I am surprised they didn't throw a flag on the Panthers CB when he interfered with Evan's stiff-arm with his facemask. 

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#115 by liquidmuse3 // Oct 29, 2022 - 4:48am

Since I’m the “Tebow Guy” & the Cross Signal was throw up, I do have to say it’s funny watching the passing numbers go down but the wins go up. The supposed final argument against Tebow was literally his last start (16th overall & 2nd playoff game) where John Fox & company went cartoonishly conservative (unlike the Pittsburgh playoff win) & Belichick destroyed Tebow in New England; conveniently forgetting Bill did that to St. Andrew Luck a couple times as well. I still say football is fun & Tebow was fun & anyone fighting against that just simply was not. Passion + calm under pressure + not throwing interceptions turns out is winning football, something we’ve known since the dawn of the game.

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#116 by liquidmuse3 // Oct 29, 2022 - 5:13am

Funny Mike glosses over how the Broncos got Manning and became The Credible Team We Can Respect. So sustainable! Except the Super Bowl they actually won was based on defense, running, & Peyton literally putting up worst stats than Tebow ever did (with none of the running threat but twice the interception threat).

”Tebowmania was fleeting” because people like Mike made him such a culture war touchstone that teams literally stated they didn’t want the distraction (plus coaches are dumb, as we’re noting more & more). But all the dummy did was put up a 90.0 rating his last 2 (playoff) games & 90.0 in his last preseason (Eagles) before then working all summer with Tom Brady’s throwing coach…& never getting hired again. Oh well, maybe Mike can build another wing to his house off FO subscriptions.

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#117 by liquidmuse3 // Oct 29, 2022 - 5:35am

Since the Bucs are my *actual* team (& not Tebow), I dunno: if the marriage was crumbling before this football year, & Tom would’ve been MORE regretful knowing he could still play, how do you know he’d be happy? He’s STILL helping his kid with her homework on a Tuesday & he still gets to play football. Only now he doesn’t have a miserable wife who wanted to get back to her modeling career regardless. Lest you say “well, he wishes he could’ve played for Miami”: he can’t reach Scotty Miller with the deep throws, what make you think he can reach Waddle & Hill (though Giesicki is better than injured Cameron Brate). Also Miami’s line was almost an accessory to a murder, how are they helping the old man?

No, you don’t get to Brady’s level by being content to watch Netflix with your wife (if she’s not on location) or Disney with your kids unless you have Something to look forward to. I think it’s all working out just fine. Especially if we bring Arians back 😉

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