The first in a series, Rob Weintraub chooses an all-star team for each of the eight NFL divisions. This is our chance to recognize some lesser players who had good seasons but not enough to make the larger Pro Bowl roster.
The Saints lose a key defensive lineman, an Eagles guard faces a race to be fit for the start of next season, and the Chiefs have lingering doubts over a trio of would-be starters. We take a quick look at the injury situation for each of the remaining teams.
4 comments, Last at 17 Jan 2019, 6:59am by Sean Clark
Lots of stats and breakdowns in this one, followed by Sean McVay jokes. And while it was sad to see the Eagles' run end, the thought of Brady v. Foles II, and all of the magical thinking that would inspire, filled me with a mix of awe, enthusiasm and dread.
1 comment, Last at 17 Jan 2019, 2:31pm by Guest789
Two more head coach hirings have made the news this morning, from very opposite poles of possibility. Cleveland will be elevating interim offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens to premanent head coach. He had never been anything more than a position coach until midseason, but he led Cleveland to 23.5% offensive DVOA from Week 9 onward. The Browns essentially had no choice here... if they kept Kitchens as OC with a different head coach, and then had a good season in 2019, another team was almost guaranteed to hire Kitchens away. So they might as well just give him a try at the head job now.
Retirement? I don't think this word means what you think it means. After a year off, 66-year-old Bruce Arians is back in the league. This pairs a head coach who loves to go deep with a quarterback who's best throwing deep, so it seems like a good marriage. Arians apparently will come as a package with his former Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, and say what you want about Bowles as a head coach, but he ran some pretty good defenses for Arians with the Cardinals.
7 comments, Last at 09 Jan 2019, 5:25pm by Will Allen
Jason Lisk makes the right point over at The Big Lead... this is all about salvaging Josh Rosen after his dismal (second-lowest quarterback DYAR ever) rookie season. Kingsbury is thought of as a cutting-edge offensive mind, but he was only 35-40 at Texas Tech. He couldn't win there with Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback. But there's a big difference between a) trying to recruit defensive players to Lubbock and b) starting with Chandler Jones, Patrick Peterson, and the No.
21 comments, Last at 12 Jan 2019, 7:23am by Mountain Time ---- formerly Ninjalectual
The first coach-hiring domino has fallen, with Green Bay offering its head coaching position to Tennessee offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur. They wanted a young offensive mind, and they got one, as LaFleur is only 39 years old. But he's also only called plays in the NFL for one year. He didn't call plays as Rams offensive coordinator in 2017 or as Atlanta quarterbacks coach in 2015-2016. Despite the one year with Sean McVay, LaFleur is a Kyle Shanahan guy through-and-through; he was also Washington quarterbacks coach under Shanahan in 2010-2013.
Josh "Air Yards" Hermsmeyer wrote this piece for FiveThirtyEight showing that play-action passes do not lose their effectiveness the more often teams call them in a game. What's more interesting than the conclusion is Hermsmeyer's methodology -- using the NFL's Next Gen tracking data, he followed middle linebackers and tracked how far they moved in pursuit of running backs who they thought had the ball. It's cutting-edge analysis that looks not just at how play-action works, but why.