Four Downs: AFC East

Best player available analysis by Sean McCormick
Remainder of Four Downs by Aaron Schatz

(Ed. note: For this round of Four Downs, we're pleased to present Sean McCormick's "Best Player Available" analysis for each division, along with the usual gang commenting on other moves by each team before and since the draft. The reasoning behind BPA analysis is explained in this article. Each player drafted is listed along with his position on four different independent draft boards and the Best Player Available according to each of those boards. Please note that two of these boards only ranked 100 players.)

Buffalo Bills

Pick Player Player Rankings Best Player Available
8 DB Donte Whitner 16, 18, 22, 22 QB Matt Leinart (4)
26 DT John McCargo 44, 46, 47, 51 OT Winston Justice (3), DB Jimmy Williams
70 DB Ashton Youboty 24, 32, 33, 42 DB Ashton Youboty (4)
105 DB Ko Simpson 39, 49, 52, 60 DT Gabe Watson (3), DB Ko Simpson
134 DT Kyle Williams 77, 80, 85, UR OT Jonathan Scott, DE Mark Anderson, DB DeMario Minter, DT Babatunde Oshinowo
143 OT Brad Butler 228, 246, UR, UR DT Babatunde Oshinowo (2), DE Mark Anderson, DB DeMario Minter
178 LB Keith Ellison 152, 184, UR, UR DT Babatunde Oshinowo (3), RB Andre Hall
216 OT Terrance Pennington 248, UR, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), RB Andre Hall, DB Anwar Phillips
248 G Aaron Merz UR, UR, UR, UR RB Andre Hall (2), DB Anwar Phillips (2)

In an inauspicious start to their draft, Buffalo pulled off not one but two of the first round's biggest reaches, prompting commentators to wonder if Marv Levy was in over his head as a general manager. But a funny thing happened on their way to draft ignominy: the Bills pulled off a string of impressive selections that made the overall quality of the draft look a whole lot better.

The expectation was that Buffalo would take Brodrick Bunkley at eight, but instead the team threw the first curveball of the day, opting for Ohio State safety Donte Whitner. Top safeties were in short supply, and Whitner is a perfect fit for the new Cover-2 defense the team is installing. Whitner has the coverage skills to match up on tight ends and slot receivers, he comes down quickly to play the run, and he's one of the fiercest hitters in his class. With rumors that St. Louis was interested in Whitner, Buffalo preferred to stay put and take their man rather than risking a trade down to get him at better value.

It's always worrisome when a team locks into a player to the point where they reach over better players to take him, and in this case Buffalo will have to answer for their decision to pass on Matt Leinart, who was the consensus best player available. J.P. Losman has done nothing to suggest he'll develop into a competent starter, Craig Nall is a total unknown, and Kelly Holcomb is strictly stopgap material. It's not often that a team with such an unsettled quarterback situation will pass on a franchise quarterback.

With the selection of John McCargo, the Bills again sacrificed value in favor of need, only this time they traded second- and third-round picks to do so. McCargo is a poor man's Bunkley, a penetrating under tackle who can shoot the gaps and cause disruption. He fits the new scheme well, but McCargo will have to prove that he can be effective without the presence of Mario Williams and Manny Lawson to free him up. The Bills must have felt the dropoff in quality after McCargo was significant enough to justify the trade up.

Buffalo's draft really got rolling with their third round selection of Ashton Youboty. Youboty plays inconsistently at times, but he has excellent size and athleticism for a cornerback. The Bills have had great success with Ohio State corners, and Youboty should continue the trend. All four boards grade him as one of the steals of the draft, and the pick is all the sweeter because it came to the Bills in return for the mediocre Travis Henry. How's that working out for the Titans?

Fourth-round pick Ko Simpson was another major steal, as he was projected to go in the second round. Simpson is extremely raw, but his upside as a playmaking safety is tremendous. He has the ability to man up against tight ends and bigger receivers in the red zone, and new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell will probably use Simpson primarily in that capacity until he learns the finer points of coverage and improves on his open field tackling.

Kyle Williams and Keith Ellison were also good value picks. Both of them are undersized but productive players who fit the scheme, Williams as a one-gap defensive tackle and Ellison as an outside linebacker. Ellison has good cover skills, but he also has trouble disengaging from blockers. For now he'll be tried out on the strong side, but his future may be as a nickel and dime linebacker. Offensive lineman Aaron Merz switched back and forth between center and guard at Buffalo minicamp, and that versatility gives him more value than most seventh-round linemen.

Exiled from New Orleans, Part I

Trying to improve linebacker depth, the Bills dealt tight end Tim Euhus to New Orleans for linebacker Courtney Watson. Watson's 2005 performance was very, very bad according to the individual defense statistics in Pro Football Prospectus 2006. Yes, our individual defensive statistics are very dependent on each player's role in the scheme and the performance of his teammates, but Watson had worse numbers than anyone else on the Saints. Out of 116 linebackers with enough plays to be ranked, Watson finished 113th in Stop Rate, the percentage of tackles that stopped a play short of success. He also finished 102nd in average yards gained when he made the tackle on a passing play (8.0 yards), and 115th in average yards gained when he made the tackle on a running play (5.6 yards).

The Euhus trade makes room for 2005 undrafted free agent Brad "Moe" Cieslak to make the squad as the third tight end behind Kevin Everett and Robert Royal.

Undrafted Free Agents

Wide receiver Martin Nance is the most likely undrafted free agent to make this year's Bills roster. He had nearly 1,500 yards receiving for Miami of Ohio back in 2003, with some guy named Ben Roethlisberger throwing him passes. Then Nance missed 2004 with an ACL injury, and went undrafted despite another 1,100 yards in 2005. He is considered slow (just 4.55 in the 40-yard dash) but could this just be the "year after ACL surgery" effect? Nance has two advantages when it comes to making the team: at 6-foot-3, he is taller than any receiver ahead of him on the Buffalo depth chart, plus snow does not give him the heebie-jeebies.

Other free agents with a chance to make the team, or at least the practice squad, are cornerback Eric Bassey from the University of Oklahoma, University of Missouri linebacker Derrick Ming -- who Buffalo plans to convert to fullback -- and linebacker John DiGiorgio from Saginaw Valley State. DiGiorgio is a hyperactive player who finished his career ranked third all-time in tackles by a Division II player, and could be a useful special teams gunner.

Miami Dolphins

Pick Player Player Rankings Best Player Available
16 DB Jason Allen 22, 26, 28, 29 OT Winston Justice (3), DB Jimmy Williams
82 WR Derek Hagan 66, 67, 86, 88 G Max Jean-Gilles, DB Ko Simpson, DT Gabe Watson, DB Darnell Bing
112 OT Joe Toledo 100, 106, 147, UR OT Jonathan Scott, DE Mark Anderson, DB DeMario Minter, DT Babatunde Oshinowo
212 DT Fred Evans UR, UR, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
226 DT Rod Wright 79, 90, 97, 103 DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
233 WR Devin Aromashodu 132, 224, UR, UR DB Dee Webb (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall

While no draft pick figures to have more immediate or long-term impact than the one Miami used to obtain former Pro Bowl quarterback Daunte Culpepper, the Dolphins did a good job throughout of obtaining value throughout the draft. Perhaps their riskiest pick was their first one, when Miami jumped into the defensive back run and selected Tennessee free safety Jason Allen. Allen is a supremely talented player -- he has elite cover skills and could probably excel as a cornerback if asked to switch positions -- but some people believe the dislocated hip he suffered during his senior season makes him a major medical risk. (According to our man Will Carroll, Allen should be fine this season, and his only problem is a higher risk for recurrence.) The boards considered Jimmy Williams the safer pick, but if Allen can put his injury history behind him, he figures to significantly upgrade Miami's secondary. Allen has the versatility to line up at safety, at an outside corner position or in the slot, and he provides excellent run support.

Derek Hagan had a very productive career at Arizona State, but a poor Senior Bowl week and pedestrian workout numbers caused his stock to drop. Hagan has the size and the hands to be a quality possession receiver, but he doesn't have the explosiveness or top end speed to threaten a defense. Miami already has a burner in Chris Chambers, and they would be happy if Hagan developed into a complementary player.

Joe Toledo was drafted more for his athleticism than his production. He switched from tight end to tackle for his senior season, and a high ankle sprain limited his lateral movement, so this pick is really about upside. Two of the boards felt he was worth the risk, but he's several years from the starting lineup.

Miami did very well with both of their seventh-round selections. Rod Wright has the Texas lineman disease -- he has first round measureables, but his effort is inconsistent. Part of that inconsistency might be traced to a torn rotator cuff that Wright played with for all of his senior season. The injury was discovered at the combine and it was likely the biggest factor in sending Wright's stock tumbling. Wright had surgery and will likely spend the season on IR, but he should be ready to go in 2007. Auburn wide receiver Devin Aromashodu was considered a major steal on at least on board. He has good size and legitimate deep speed, but his route running leaves something to be desired. His best chance to make an impact is as a deep threat and a return man.

Lake Wobegon, Where Every Child Is Above Average

Hi. This is Aaron writing now.

Just a thought: Reports out of Miami say that Daunte Culpepper's rehab is ahead of schedule, and he could be in the starting lineup for the first game of the regular season. Then again, reports out of Cincinnati say that Carson Palmer is way ahead of schedule, and he could be in the starting lineup for the first game of the regular season, and reports out of New Orleans say that Drew Brees will be fine to start the season, and of course reports from Pittsburgh say that despite his motorcycle accident, Ben Roethlisberger will be all ready to go for the start of the season.

Has medical science really improved this dramatically? I am hesitant to believe that all four players will come back and play immediately at the high level that recent news stories seem to be suggesting.

Undrafted Free Agents

Miami is bringing in a couple of big name undrafted free agents -- at least, they have big last names thanks to their familial NFL connections. Yes, the Dolphins signed Marcus Vick and are trying to turn him into a receiver. No, Vick really doesn't deserve as much attention as he gets. More importantly, the Dolphins inked running back Gerald Riggs Jr. out of Tennessee, who had over 1,100 yards with 5.7 yards per carry as a junior, but missed half the season with an ankle injury as a senior. With Ricky Williams now in Toronto, Sammy Morris often playing fullback, and Travis Minor, well, still being Travis Minor, the Dolphins could have an opening for a third-string running back. Other names to watch are Oregon State linebacker Trent Bray, Utah defensive tackle Steve Fifita, and Indiana defensive end Ben Ishola. Ishola is a native of Berlin, so even if he's not good enough to make an NFL roster he'll probably be bouncing around practice squads for however long NFL Europe remains in existence.

New England Patriots

Pick Player Player Rankings Best Player Available
21 RB Laurence Maroney 25, 26, 27, 29 OT Winston Justice (3), DB Jimmy Williams
36 WR Chad Jackson 16, 17, 17, 19 OT Winston Justice (3), DB Jimmy Williams
86 TE David Thomas 80, 94, 95, UR G Max Jean-Gilles, DB Ko Simpson, DT Gabe Watson, DB Darnell Bing
106 RB Garrett Mills 94, 95, 168, UR DT Gabe Watson (4)
118 K Stephen Gostkowski UR, UR, UR, UR OT Jonathan Scott, DE Mark Anderson, DB DeMario Minter, DT Babatunde Oshinowo
136 OT Ryan O'Callaghan 70, 83, 99, UR OT Jonathan Scott, DE Mark Anderson, DB DeMario Minter, DT Babatunde Oshinowo
191 DE Jeremy Mincey 174, 192, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
205 G Dan Stevenson UR, UR, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
206 DT LeKevin Smith 114, 176, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
229 DB Willie Andrews 208, 232, UR, UR DB Dee Webb (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall

After a season where the defense fell apart and the offense carried the team into the playoffs, it was expected that New England would use the draft to restock the talent in the back seven. Think again. Instead, Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli seem to have decided that after years of beating Indianapolis, it was time to join them. The team emphasized offense with each of its first six selections, and spent every first day pick on a skill position player.

Minnesota's Laurence Maroney is a one cut runner who gets through the hole quickly and has the body control to make defenders miss. Maroney was generally considered the best of the non-Bush running backs, and there were rumors that the Colts were eying him as a replacement for Edgerrin James. Instead Maroney will join a rotation that includes Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk, and likely assume the starting job in 2007.

When Florida receiver Chad Jackson slipped into the second round, New England didn't hesitate to pull the trigger on a trade, sending second- and third-round picks to Green Bay so they could get their man. Jackson had moved in front of Santonio Holmes on all four draft boards, so getting him with the 36th pick overall was a major coup for the Pats. Jackson has prototype size and speed. He runs sharp routes and has consistently shown both excellent hands and a clean criminal record (his true advantage over Holmes). He should provide an immediate lift for a receiving corps that has been thinned out by free agent defections the past two seasons.

While the Patriots didn't land any more first-round talents, they got good value out of several of their offensive picks. New England places a premium on smart, versatile players who can operate out of run or pass sets, and both David Thomas and Garrett Mills fit that description. Thomas is a tight end/H-back 'tweener who can play on the line but is going to be more effective if he is moved around to create matchup problems. Mills also played tight end at the college level, but he will be moved into more of a traditional fullback role. Mills is an excellent receiver, and he will likely become a trusted safety outlet for Tom Brady.

Ryan O'Callaghan is a massive right tackle who has been slowed by injuries. Three of the boards considered him one of the top hundred players in the draft, so he was good value in the fifth round. New England also did well with their late round defensive picks, netting Jeremy Mincey, LeKevin Smith and Willie Andrews at moderate value.

The most questionable decision of the draft would have to be taking a kicker in the fourth round. New England had a major need after losing Adam Vinatieri in the off-season, but Gostkowski was not a good enough prospect to warrant anything higher than a sixth- or seventh-round pick.

Exiled from New Orleans, Part II

The defensive line is perhaps the most impressive unit in New England, made up of three first-round draft picks all under the age of 27. So how much more impressive would the unit be with a fourth first-round draft pick to serve as backup? The answer is probably "not much more impressive" considering that the fourth player is Johnathan (sic) Sullivan, acquired via trade from New Orleans. No, that "sic" was not a sign that Johnathan spells his first name in an odd fashion; it was actually the sound of Sullivan burping after downing another five hamburgers. The Patriots hope that they can somehow restrain Sullivan's appetite and recapture the talent that had people comparing him to his college -- and now pro -- teammate Richard Seymour when the Saints took him sixth in the 2003 draft. There's no risk involved, as Sullivan is getting a minimum salary for the next two seasons, and the 2008 and 2009 years on his contract are now void due to a playing-time clause. All it cost to take a chance on Sullivan was underachieving wide receiver Bethel Johnson, who had just four receptions in 2005 and was so far inside Bill Belichick's doghouse that he had Kibbles 'n' Bits coming out of his ears. Seventh-round pick Willie Andrews is the best candidate to take on Johnson's kickoff return duties.

Undrafted Free Agents

The most important name among the Patriots' rookie free agents is Freddie Roach, a linebacker out of Alabama who was coveted by the Dolphins as well. The Patriots seem to find a significant undrafted defender each season (DT Mike Wright, CB Randall Gay) and Roach has been impressive in minicamp. The Patriots also have a tendency to find players whose college coaches have Belichick connections. They signed two players who learned from Charlie Weis at Notre Dame last year -- linebacker Corey Mays and wide receiver Matt Shelton -- as well as three men who played at Florida for Belichick's new best buddy Urban Meyer: cornerback Vernell Brown, offensive tackle Randy Hand, and safety Jarvis Herring.

Finally, it is unlikely the Patriots will go into the season without a veteran quarterback either second or third on the depth chart. But if that is the case, undrafted free agent Corey Bramlet out of Wyoming will probably be the default third-stringer behind Tom Brady and Matt Cassel.

New York Jets

Pick Player Player Rankings Best Player Available
4 OT DBrickashaw Ferguson 3, 3, 3, 3 OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson (4)
29 C Nick Mangold 25, 27, 28, 28 OT Winston Justice (3), DB Jimmy Williams
49 QB Kellen Clemens 87, 89, 113, UR DB Richard Marshall (2), OT Eric Winston, DB Ashton Youboty
76 LB Anthony Schlegel 202, 242, UR, UR G Max Jean-Gilles, DB Ko Simpson, DT Gabe Watson, DB Darnell Bing
97 DB Eric Smith 177, 214, UR, UR G Max Jean-Gilles, DB Ko Simpson, DT Gabe Watson, DB Darnell Bing
103 QB Brad Smith 138, UR, UR, UR DT Gabe Watson (3), DB Ko Simpson
117 RB Leon Washington 108, 108, UR, UR OT Jonathan Scott, DE Mark Anderson, DB DeMario Minter, DT Babatunde Oshinowo
150 TE Jason Pociask UR, UR, UR, UR DT Babatunde Oshinowo (2), DE Mark Anderson, DB DeMario Minter
189 DB Drew Coleman UR, UR, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
220 DT Titus Adams 194, 248, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall

Many teams mimicked the Patriots approach to drafting by placing an emphasis on character and intelligence, but New York took that approach to an extreme. The results was a draft class that had the highest average Wonderlic score of any team, but one that doesn't grade out nearly as well on the value boards.

The duo of Eric Mangini and Mike Tannenbaum started off well enough, bolstering the offensive line with D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold. Ferguson was the consensus best offensive lineman in the draft, and he is already penciled in as the starting left tackle. Ferguson is considered the best pass blocking tackle to come out of the college ranks in several years, and he capped a dominant senior year by going to the Senior Bowl and toying with the best edge rushers in college football. Ferguson's quick feet and huge wingspan make it hard for defensive ends to get the corner on him, and he has the strength to absorb bull rushes.

Mangold was the top interior lineman in the draft, a technically sound center with the stoutness to hold up when isolated on a defensive tackle and the athleticism to pull and trap. With Trey Teague suffering a broken ankle in mini-camp, it's likely that Mangold will open the season as the starting center.

The Jets slid back in the second round, acquiring extra picks, and then made a short trade up to land Oregon quarterback Kellen Clemens with the 49th pick. Clemens was not highly ranked on any of the draft boards, perhaps in part because his senior season was cut short by a broken leg. He received some powerful support in the days leading up to the draft: Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge both tabbed him as the best quarterback in the class. Clemens is a little short but has a live arm, a compact release, and an impressive ability to find the open man. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer did a great job developing Drew Brees, and Clemens has a similar skill set. Most reports already say Clemens was the most impressive of New York's four quarterbacks at minicamp, and it was Clemens, not Chad Pennington, who spent the majority of the time with the first-team offense.

New York's draft began going off the rails in the third round, when the team reached massively on a pair of Big Ten defenders, Anthony Schlegel and Eric Smith. Schlegel has value as an inside linebacker with short area power, but he had no business going on the first day. Smith is an injury-prone safety whose limited athleticism will probably keep him from ever developing into a starter.

Things didn't get much better on the second day, as three of the team's five selections graded out as major reaches. Florida State runner Leon Washington was taken at good value, and with the Jets running back group looking unsettled he has a chance to earn significant playing time. Defensive tackle Titus Adams has a chance to stick as a two-down run stuffer, and cornerback Drew Coleman stood out with strong play at minicamp.

Undrafted Free Agents

It was a happy day around the Football Outsiders office when the Jets signed Brown University running back Nick Hartigan. Hartigan led the school that birthed FO to its first-ever outright Ivy League title, scored 20 touchdowns, and led Division 1-AA with 1,727 rushing yards. (Oh, and he was a Rhodes Scholar finalist.) Because he has what you might call "Division 1-AA speed," Hartigan has bulked up to 235 pounds and projects to play fullback in the NFL. Right now, the Jets depth chart at fullback is empty behind B.J. Askew, so there's an opportunity if Hartigan can make the most of it. You have to figure that, like our fellow Brown alum Sean Morey, Hartigan understands that strong effort on special teams is the secret to making an NFL roster as a Division 1-AA player.

(Yes, I know most of you don't care. Listen, if you think we're bad, consider how excited Chris Berman gets about players from the other seven Ivies. He might explode on air if Hartigan scores an actual NFL touchdown.)

Other names who will challenge for a spot on the Jets roster include Richmond's Stacy Tutt -- yet another quarterback switching to another position, the Jets have him right now at halfback -- and gargantuan (6-foot-9, 350 pounds) offensive tackle Ed Blanton out of UCLA.

Comments

232 comments, Last at 17 Jul 2006, 9:08pm

151 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Do the 80 and 88 games started including playoff games? Or regular season games only?

152 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

I don’t know, that’s pretty substantial luck...

Huh? No it's not. You lose fumbles about 50% of the time. Culpepper lost 35 out of 81. That'll happen like 10-20% of the time. It's not substantial at all. It's just luck.

154 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Regular season... playoff games aren't relevant to what we're discussing. And yes, Pat, I didn't express that well, but you got it.

155 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Hey I'm curious where you got that 50% stat. I just spent a couple minutes searching but couldn't find total fumble numbers.
I actually think that you might be selling yourself short, based on what I did find... it seems to me that the figure is more like 2/3 for quarterback fumbles, so I could be much wronger than I anticipated.

156 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Hey I’m curious where you got that 50% stat. I just spent a couple minutes searching but couldn’t find total fumble numbers.

See here. It's actually about 53% for all fumbles, but for sacks (which I'd guess most of Culpepper's are) it's 50%. There's probably a few aborted snaps in there too (which are 3/4 recovered by the offense) but assuming it's 50% is probably pretty safe. I don't think many of Culpepper's fumbles are aborted snaps.

In any case, the difference between 50% and 53% is really small. Culpepper's rate of recovering fumbles really isn't significantly above the norm, especially given the sample size.

157 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

you know what i dont understand. ive been arguing the same exact thing as he did, and he was taken seriously. now why is that?

i can be arguing the peyton manning is a good qb and people will still mock me. and i can tell you now, that i know more about football, than everyone here. (except of course, the writer of this article).

now what ive been debating is that culpepper is a better qb than trent green.

trent green is entering his 13th year, and has only 5000 yards more than culpepper. while daunte culpepper is entering his 8th. trent green is going to retire in a few years, and daunte culpepper can catch up to him in a season and a half.

now i know you guys are going to say, well if trent green started as early as culpepper did, then he would have even more yards than culpepper. but trent green might not have been so good if he didnt learn from the sidelines all those years, while culpepper was on the sidelines for only a year. daunte culpepper can run, pass, and turn miami into a playoff contender. he has the talent around him. he will do it.

158 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Stephen, Peter is getting Kudos for putting forward a coherent argument as to why Culpepper is a good QB, something we can read and give due merit to. He is not just ranting; if you back up your arguments as coherently as Peter has and avoid bald faced statements than you’ll get treated in a similar manner.

I think there is a risk of us being “Yanged�- by this I mean you make such a bad case of arguing your point that even where it may have some merit, people are immediately inclined to take up the counter position. The way you have been writing I would bet that if you argued that Joe Montana is a better QB than Ryan Leaf a lot of us would be “yanged� and immediately start arguing “no he isn’t� on principle. As a result Peter, I think some people are under-estimating Culpepper’s talent because they’ve been “yanged�.

Here is my argument for Culpepper being comparable to Brooks. IMHO they both have talent (great talent in Culpepper’s case) but both are sloppy in their play whilst equally capable of outstanding plays. They both seem to struggle to concentrate during a game and neither seems to be a particularly good leader, something important for their position (I think we can agree so far?).

They also luckily enough began starting in the same year, 2000. Statistically Culpepper has a far high completion percentage at 64.4% vs Brooks at 56.4% and his YPA is well ahead- I think this reflects the team around him but accept he is a better player than Brooks.

Culpepper since 2000:

Games 80
Att 2607
Comp 1678
Pct 64.4%
Yards 20162
YPA 7.7
TD 135
Int 86
20+ 258
40+ 57
Runs 454
Yards 2476
Avg 5.5
TD 29
Fumbles 81
Lost/ pct 36/44%
Sacks/ Loss 228/1214
Total plays 3289

Fumbles per play is 2.5% although this ignores fumbles that may have occurred on hand-offs to the RB. Culpepper is sacked on 6.9% of his plays (this includes running plays, which make up 13.8% of his plays)

Brooks since 2000:

Games 82
Att 2771
Comp 1563
Pct 56.4%
Yards 19156
YPA 6.9
TD 120
Int 84
20+ 253
40+ 45
Runs 340
Yards 1410
Avg 4.1
TD 13
Fumbles 59
Lost/ pct 23/39%
Sacks/ Loss 209/1280
Total plays 3320

I would argue that these stats are pretty close, Culpepper has better completion and YPA which suggests he is the better player, I won’t dispute that and I would take Culpepper ahead of Brooks but I still think they are similar players to each-other. I was going to say Brooks is under-rated and Culpepper over-rated, but comments on this website suggests that is a harsh judgement on Culpepper. As always these stats only show us how the players compare in the context of playing for the teams they are with, no one would argue that over the last six years New Orleans has been a better team than KC, so maybe Brooks numbers are deflated by this?

For completeness I’ve put Green since 2000 (when he left the Rams), a very different type of player.

Green since 2000:

Games 85
Att 2819
Comp 1744
Pct 61.9%
Yards 22180
YPA 7.9
TD 127
Int 81
20+ 291
40+ 60
Runs 172
Yards 702
Avg 4.1
TD 4
Fumbles 39
Lost/ pct 15/38%
Sacks/ Loss 173/1045
Total plays 3164

This means Green turns the ball over a lot less both through the air and via fumbles (per play) than the other two. He throws for more yds per attempt and has only a marginally lower completion rate than Culpepper- Of course you can't compare the stats directly as they are surrounded by differing players and played different offences, DPAR helps a little here but with the same caveates (see below). I think you can make a strong case for Green being the better QB of the three.

I have listed DPAR and rank over the last six years below. Other than 2001 & 2004, Culpepper and Brooks are pretty similar. Green scores better.

Green DPAR and rank
2005 91.1 & 3
2004 102.9 & 5
2003 97.1 & 2
2002 74.8 & 6
2001 4.5 & 27
2000 59.7 & 9

Brooks DPAR and rank
2005 23.2 & 22
2004 23.2 & 19
2003 57.1 & 6
2002 60.4 & 10
2001 7.6 & 20
2000 8.6 & 26

Culpepper DPAR and rank
2005 -6.9 & 36
2004 136.4 & 2
2003 62 & 5
2002 20.9 & 24
2001 21.1 & 17
2000 89.5 & 3

159 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

EnglishBob, I hate you. Now I have to explain to everyone what the new word I've introduced into my vernacular means!

160 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Miami will not be a contender.

Culpepper is going to face more challenging defenses in the AFC, the new conference will be very hard on him, & Dolphins win 6 games (if they're lucky).

161 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

It's actually sort of amusing how similar Green's stats look to both of the other QBs, despite playing very different games. Personally I dislike declaring players "better" or "worse" unless it's extremely clear-cut (Brady v. Griese or something). Players have different skills, and it's important to use them in a way that will bring out those skills (Vick doesn't need to be west coast, he should be running and throwing the ball far, as David Lewin wrote on this site). It's sort of the curse of Madden that we feel like every player has an OVR rating that we can point at and know how good they are.

I think it's clear that someone like Green has demonstrated more leadership and intangibles than Culpepper, and also much more ball security (intelligence). It's equally clear that he has nowhere near the talent Culpepper does; he manages games for one of the best running attacks in the league and has the best security blanket in the league (Tony G). He also does not contribute by running the ball the way Culpepper does. On the other hand, if I were forming my team there's no way I would ever choose Culpepper's inconsistency over a 90+ QB rating every season, great supporting cast or no.

I might also bring up, though, that Green had SEVEN years in the NFL (including one full starting season) before the year 2000, whereas that's Culpepper's 2nd year (and first starting). I should hope he would have a better understanding of the game by then. Obviously this argument won't really be finished for a few more years, and I have a feeling that this season will quickly establish whether you're right, and Culpepper collapses into Brooks-like stats, or I am, and he shows promise and eventually develops back into a phenom.

Brooks and Culpepper are rather similar, you're right... in the sense that they're both rather-mobile (Vick and maybe VY sort of redefine what a rushing QB is) quarterbacks with relatively low football IQ. That said, at no time has Brooks even approached Culpepper's peak, nor has he consistently run or completed passes as well. Sure, they're similar in style and tendency, but only in the way Eli and Peyton are (although obviously there's a dramatically bigger gap with the Mannings).

Oh, on the fumble thing, note that only 3/8 of running plays result in a fumble... I think a very good portion of Culp's fumbles come on "sacks" where he's attempting to run; my thought is that he might actually collect fewer fumbles than he should. Probably a pointless discussion though, I think it's been established he's not far from average.

To return to why this topic existed: I don't think the Dolphins will win very many games this year; the defense continues to age, Ronnie's not that great yet (I'm a huge Ricky fan) and Culpepper... I mean, tearing all 3 ligaments is bad. It's possible he won't be ready to play for real this year. The Jets suck, and the Bills have ensured that their team will suck for even longer than the Jets will. Pats take it easily.

162 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

I think Pats fans are underestimating the impact of Culpepper to a degree BECAUSE Miami fans are going crazy with joy and making lots of claims about beating us down. Maybe not at this website, but big time at some sites. Also, the media wants a changing of the gaurd.

Culpepper will help the Fins win some games and will probably have a decent year or two before the league totally catches up with his new format. But he is not singlehandedly going to take down the Pats just yet, and the whole 'Death of the Dynasty' stuff is really premature. The Pats have the easiest schedule they have had ever in Brady's time at the helm. Not as easy as the Colts, but Brady is used to playing the toughest schedules, and this year should be a real change of pace for the Pats.

Maybe Brady will have some talent surrounding him on offense, which was only true in 2004, with a healthy Dillon. That was a pretty good year for the Pats....

163 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Apologies to Massoc!
Peter, in #130 I say Culpepper is different not better than Green; and vice versa. I agree they are difficult to compare and also agree with your comments on football brains and talent regarding the two. You are also right that after 7 seasons Green should have gotten better so it is not a fair comp on that basis, Culpepper can get better, Green probably not. I also agree completely that Culpepper is better than Brooks, I mean they are similar in style and approach not skill set (though I don't think the gap is enormous). With that said in 2003 they ranked pretty closely, 5th and 6th on DPAR.
Stats can only be backwards looking, using them to forecast (extrapolate) is useful but should be treated with caution, so I am not trying to forecast a collapse for Culpepper. I actually think he'll do well if fit and focused in Miami.

164 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Miami fans always go 'crazy'. I remember when Ricky first retired and there were fish fans in the streets partying. At the time they didn't know why. They just figured maybe this would be the change that put them over the top.

I just think that Dolphins fans need to get some excitement out of the season. They know they're going to suck with or without Culpepper, but having Culpepper now gives them something to get excited about.

165 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

I don't think the Dolphins are going to suck this year. If Culpepper recovers from his injury they're good enough to be the #2 in the AFC East. With luck and injuries on thier side, they could even win the division.
As for Green vs Culpepper, Green has been the more valueable QB over the last few years, but he's near the end of his lifespan, so I wouldn't be at all suprised if Culpepper has the better season.

166 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Green has been the more valueable QB over the last few years, but he’s near the end of his lifespan, so I wouldn’t be at all suprised if Culpepper has the better season.

See, this is the big thing for me: while I don't think the Dolphins are going to be fantastic this year, the one big improvement that Culpepper brings is that he's got definite skills, and probably about half his career left. If Culpepper recovers - and honestly, even if it takes a year, I think he will eventually - Miami's set themselves up to have the foundation of a really good team.

It might take a year, though. Quarterbacks often struggle the first year after they switch teams.

Hey, that's a good research topic for someone, especially given the abnormally high number of starting-quality quarterbacks swapping around this year.

167 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

161 brings up a hugely important point we've been ignoring. Whatever you think of Culpepper (I do happen to think he was great, and that having Randy Moss contributed, but wasn't the sole reason for, his greatness). But tearing three ligaments? Ten years ago, he'd be finished with that kind of an injury.

Look at Willis McGahee - he tore three ligaments, was drafted by the Bills, spent a year on the sidelines, a year where he took over for Travis Henry halfway through and showed flashes of brilliance, then was mediocre last year. Bills fans are still waiting to see the McGahee that ran so well in college.

Culpepper will be limping around the field this year if he plays at all. If he ever returns to top form, it'll be 2008 before we see that. But if he does, the Dolphins will be great.

As for Trent Green, I agree he's underrated - his stats are always good, he always wins games, and people just don't think of him when you're talking about good QBs. (people also don't think of him on fantasy draft day, which is nice)

And Ricky Williams? He should stay up north - the Dolphins are better off without him. He's a distraction. Let Ronnie Brown be an every-down back, and I think he'll do fine.

Again, it's the Patriots' division to lose. The Dolphins and Jets are dealing with QBs coming back from injury, and the Bills are dealing with QBs who aren't very good at the game of football. Advantage: Patriots. No one's running game or defense is significantly better than the Pats (especially if Maroney works out well), so who's going to catch them?

And I'm not saying this because I'm a Patriots fan - I'd love to see someone knock them off their perch. But that someone will come from the AFC North or West.

168 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

RE: 139

I have to admit, it's funny to be called "retarded" by someone who can't spell or add.
I'm honored. Thanks.

169 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Re: 149 culpeppers fumble recovering ability

I gathered a bit of stats on QBs fumbling and I thoughtn I'd share them with you folks. I included rushing attempts per game so we could see who was more likely to fumble all things being equal. I also included a simple fumbles-per-game-started column. I also included a "personal recovery rate" which just means how oftne they recovered their own fumble themseles as opposed to another team member.
Daunte Culpepper fumbles about once per game which is standard for a QB who rushes 5 or 6 times a game. His team recovers their own fumbles about 56% of the time which is perfectly normal for most quarterbacks. Rushing QBs generally lose more fumbles. The Falcons for example recover only 46% of Michael Vick's fumbles. Jake Delhomme and Kerry Collins are 2 QBs who fumble often considering they ony rush about twice per game on average. A fellow who rarely fumbles the ball is Peyton Manning, partly because he seldom rushes. One QB who sems to stand out as far as fumbles go is Doug Flutie. While most QBs end up losing 35-48% of their fumbles, Flutie managed to lose only 5%.
here is an excel file of the stats I put together.
http://ez-files.net/download.php?file=f5c0606a

170 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

daunte culpepper is so much better than brooks. its not even funny anymore. why are people comparing them? they should be comparing culpepper to either

a) Donovan Mcnabb (who is worse than culpepper)

b) Trent Green (who is about the same as culpepper.

aaron brooks is horrible compared to culpepper. he has never had a rating higher than 90.0, he has never had a completion percentage rate higher than 60 percent.

he had two seasons with decent yardage (3832, 3810 ) but he had 22 and 16 interceptions so he was probably just throwing it deep over and over again.

aaron brooks is even a worser rusher, averaging only around 250 yards a season with 2 tds.

culpepper is WAAAAY better than Aaron Brooks. but in all fairness to brooks, i mean WHOS HE GOING TO THROW TO IN NEW ORELANS?? i think he will do MUCH better in oakland with randy moss and jerry porter, and his legs should give him time to find the open receiver.

next, daunte culpepper is already passing and jogging so he wont be slowed down that much during the season. next season he should probably be rushing as much as he has in the past (unless of course there is another injury.)

171 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

The QB who seems most similar to Trent Green to me was Rich Gannon. Good quarterback in a system that optimizes his intelligence. Culpepper seems like a mobile Bledsoe: loaded with talent, and not somebody I'd ever want on my team.

172 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

171: Sounds about right to me.

167: Yeah basically, we would start seeing "good" Daunte next season at best, there's no competition for the Pats this year.

Way off base on Ricky though, he's an incredible running back and an asset for any team. The only reason he's a distraction is that the NFL makes him one. I suspect Dolphins fans no longer have any affection for him thanks to what he has inadvertently done the last few years, but were there no marijuana tests, any franchise should want him.

173 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

#170

Wow. Just, Wow.

Where does one begin with that post?

174 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Where does one begin with that post?

I know! It's... almost scary.

i mean WHOS HE GOING TO THROW TO IN NEW ORELANS??

I recommend this guy. You may have heard of him - second ranked WR in DPAR last year.

175 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

second ranked WR in DPAR last year.

Two years ago. Not last year. Two years ago. Typo.

176 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Hey...leave off Stephen Yang. Don't you know that his name is close to Steve Young, and therefore knows more about football than anybody else here? If you've forgotten, you can reference post #157.

177 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

except of course, the writer(s) of this article

178 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

my name is an alias. obviously. and i do know more about football than anyone here. (since the writer isnt talking anymore)

i dont understand, i have provided opinions and evidence and stuff that makes you think, and no one wants to argue it. i do agree that trent green is similar to rich gannon, but i think that kurt warner is also similar. they have the same throwing style, were amazing QBS for a few years, got their teams to the superbowl, i think they are similar.

now daunte culpepper is a good qb, and he is better than trent green. why is trent green considered like some kind of god?

if you put daunte culpepper in trent green's position with tthe chiefs, and trent green in daunte culpepper's position with the vikings, i think that daunte culpepper would get more yards and better rating andd more tds and everything else, better than trent green. i can gurantee you that. unfortunately, we'll never find that out because trent green is going to retire in a few years, and in a few years or so, daunte culpepper will easily pass him in yardage, making him the better qb.

now ive said this before and i'll say it again.

people might say that "well if trent green started as early in his career as culpepper did, he would have much more yards"

and i would say that this is not true, because maybe the reason trent green is so good is because he had a lot of time to develop, as culpepper had a year.

179 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Yang,
The entire point of the football outsiders website is so we can avoid analysis such as player A got more yds than player B so he must be better. Culpepper may well get more yards at KC than Green (we'll never be able to prove it, despite your guarantees) but he would also likely turn the ball over more and possibly not get as many wins for KC as Green has.
I wasn't going to bother to respond out of depsondancy and to avoid being "yanged", but ho hum.

180 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Ah, cause and effect, the flow of the Universe.

You see, statements like these:

and i do know more about football than anyone here.

lead to effects like these:

i dont understand, i have provided opinions and evidence and stuff that makes you think, and no one wants to argue it.

181 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

I know who Culpepper should be compared to !

-Quincy Carter! Put Quincy Carter on the Vikings for the last 5 years and I say they win just as many Superbowls!

182 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Jesus Christ, I haven't even thought about Quincy Carter in years. Why would you make me remember him?

Stephen, one of Daunte's greatest attributes is how powerful his arm is; that doesn't mesh very well with KC's crappy, mostly slow receivers. Tony G is the most important target, and he's a TE. I don't believe he would succeed as well as Trent Green at KC. That said, I don't think anyone, ever, has said that Trent Green is more than an above average QB with an excellent supporting cast. If anything, hate on McNabb.

As for Brooks, I think that case is pretty much closed.

183 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

The point on Brooks isn't that he is better of even as good as Culpepper, it was that he is a similar player to Culpepper. See post 158 for that. Also Green has been ranked by DPAR as a top five QB for three years running, and sixth in 2002. This is obviously with a good line and a great TE and running game, but it would suggest that in the last few years he has been a good QB.

184 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

I just want to point out that in his time in Minn, Culpepper benefited from a great O-line & primary receiver just as much as Green has in KC.

186 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Ok, it's been a while, but I'm a sucker for the classics.

Trent Green is clearly ranked too high because I know more about football than anyone else here. Total passing/rushing yards is way better than this. GREEN SUXX HE CANT RUN AND ONLY PASSES BECAUSE EVERYBODY ELSE IS GOOD CALLPEPPER HAD NOBDY ELSE ON THE VIKINGS HED THROW 50 TDS WITH PRIEST HOLMES YOU JERSK DONT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT FUTBOL

I admit, the last part is a bit weak. It's the offseason - I'm not in game shape yet.

187 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

172 - I agree that suspending someone for a year for pot is pretty ridiculous. Somebody recently made the point that, while performance-enhancing drugs should be banned, we should allow performance-inhibiting drugs. If you can rush for 100 yards while stoned to high heaven, more power to you, I say.

However, I think Ricky's a distraction for other reasons, not the least of which is quitting football just before the season started and leaving the Dolphins high and dry. Now, I'm a lifelong Bills fan, so anything bad that happens to the Dolphins makes me smile at least a little, but I still thought Ricky was a dick for jumping ship on them the way he did.

I also think, as much talent as he possesses, he may be more trouble than he's worth. Why else would the Saints have been so happy to get rid of him? I don't think Deuce McAllister nessesarily has the raw talent Ricky does, but compare their 3 years each as the Saints' featured back (I don't count last year for Deuce since he was hurt for most of it) McA managed 4.3 yards per carry over that span; Ricky had 3.8. Ricky scored 16 TDs, Deuce had 30. Ricky's receiving numbers are a bit higher.

Still, the Saints dumped Ricky in favor of Deuce and were a better team for it. I think the Dolphins dumping the Ricky/Ronnie committee in favor of just Ronnie Brown isn't going to hurt them any.

188 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

172 - I agree that suspending someone for a year for pot is pretty ridiculous.

Ricky wasn't suspended this last year for pot. The rumors were methamphetamines, but they were never anything more than rumors.

189 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

ok everyone, i just have a few things to say.

last season, miami missed the playoffs by one game.

this season, they have daunte culpepper instead of gus frerrotte.

next, their schedule is quite easy.

@steelers
bills
titans
@texans
@patriots
@jets
packers
@bears
chiefs
vikings
@lions
jaguars
patriots
@bills
jets
@colts

now here they have 16 games. some wins are obvious and some losses are obvious.

now the dolphins are going to beat the bills twice, jets twice, packers, texans,

that is 6 guranteed wins right there.

they play the steelers in the steelers home, so i will say thats a loss. when they play in foxboro, another loss, when they play the pats at home, that could also be a loss.

so their score right now is 6-3. they will probably beat the lions, 7-3, they might lose to the jaguars, unless they are already in the playoffs and rest their starters, but its in miami so im counting that as a win, 8-3, when they host the chiefs and vikings, they might lose to one of them so thats 9-4, when they play the bears in chicago, they will probably lose, 9-6, and when they play the colts at home in week 17, chances are the colts will gurantee home field advantage and rest peyton so thats a win.

so their schedule is 10-6, with a loss to the patriots at home and a loss to the chiefs/vikings at home.

10-6 will get them into the playoffs.

190 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Re Yang-ster, 189,

That's all fascinating and all, but the Jets looked pretty good before they started playing football last year too, and previously they actually were a playoff team. Espn ranked them 9th FWIW.

But that goes for any team.

With Miami there are some other questions too. Not the least of which is how Culpepper will adapt (new team, new injury).

As far as the Jaguars go, it's pretty improbable that they'll have the playoff seeding wrapped up with 5 weeks of football left to play.

191 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Not the least of which is how Culpepper will adapt (new team, new injury).

The "new team" thing could be a big deal - just from a brief glimpse (not enough statistics anyway) it looks like about half the quarterbacks that switch teams midway through their career struggle the first year - like Trent Green, Mark Brunell, Kerry Collins. The other half pick up right where they left off - Drew Bledsoe, Jake Plummer.

Given the number of starting-quality QBs switching teams this year, could be interesting to see who struggles and who doesn't.

But it's definitely not a guarantee that Culpepper won't struggle his first year.

192 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

the jaguars lost jimmy smith. thats huge. i dont think they'll be as good this year as they were last year.

as for the jets, curtis martin is 2 years older and coming off an injury, their offensive line is better but their qb situation is meh. their wide receivers are nothing special and they lost ty law, john abraham, wayne cherbet.

the one thing i see being good for the jets this year is their offensive line.

as for culpepper, he has better weapons in miami, and overall a better team.

he might struggle this year, but next year, daunte and ricky...OUCH!!!

193 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Yang-ster,

So wait.... The Jaguars were going to lose to Miami cause they were going to have the #1 seed locked up in week 12 or so, and rest their starters. And now Miami is just going to flat out beat them down, despite what was a pretty heinous Jaguars defense? What happened between 12:16am and 1:03am?

Better hope conversion project, and part-time circus freak, Matt Jones stopped making progress at his position. Between Maurice Drew and the ever refurbished Fred Taylor there might be something of an intimidating ground game. Will Fred Taylor be in the game or on the sidelines in Miami? Who knows? Will Daunte?

The point about the Jets is they were ranked 9th pre-2005 and looked like as close to a lock for a wild card berth as there is, and now people have to seriously debate whether they're in the same class as a Niners team that put forth one of the most anemic seasons ever. Miami's ranked 8th pre-2006. They've got Daunte on his new, somewhat unfamiliar, knee, age on defense, and a couple of young guys who look like they're ready to breakout. That last one, 31 other teams got that too. Even the Niners. So yeah. Who knows how the season will unfold. 2005 started with the Seahawks having one of the hardest schedules includings a practically unwinnable game in Philly on Monday night. (IIRC) They ended with having the 2nd easiest schedule after having put up 80 unanswered points in 8 quarters of MNF in Philly.

What I take away from this is that people rely on impressions of the past to predict a future that is always changing and necessarily fail. FO tries to measure the obscured reality to exert some semblance of control over that inescapable failure.

194 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

but the jaguars game is in miami.

and the seahawks are going to destroy the eagles.

last year. correct me if im wrong, the seahawks beat the eagles 35-0?

and the seahawks have an easy schedule this year.

@lions
cardinals
giants
@bears
@rams
vikings
@chiefs
raiders
rams
@49ers
packers
@broncos
@cardinals
49ers
chargers
@buccanneers

their schedule is extremely easy for the superbowl runner up.

two games against SF, two games against AZ, two games against the rams.

thats 6-0.

packers, lions, vikings, raiders, another 4 wins

10-0

chargers in their seahawks field, 11-0, a game at kansas city, 12-0

against the bears in chicago, i'll give it to the bears, and that bronco game in invesco field, the broncos will win that one. 12-2

playing the giants in seahawks field, you can even give that to the giants.

and week 17 against the buccanneers who might have the division locked up, you can still give it to the bucs.

12-4, division winner.

195 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

When the Vikings line fell apart last year, Dante turned into a turnover machine. If Miami can give him decent protection, he should do good. However, Miami's aging defense and other problems indicate to me that they're not yet ready to overtake the Patriots. They do have a good shot at a wildcard, but it's anything but a guarantee.
As for the seachickens, let's wait till the next NFC West thread to discuss them.

196 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

as for culpepper, he has better weapons in miami, and overall a better team.

Huh? Miami's receiving corps seems pretty similar to Minnesota's from last year. In fact, according to DVOA/DPAR, Minnesota's was better.

When the Vikings line fell apart last year, Dante turned into a turnover machine. If Miami can give him decent protection, he should do good

That I'll agree with. Miami's offensive line was really good last year in terms of pass protection.

Then again, Collins went from a good offensive line team to a good offensive line team, and he struggled. Green I can't check. Brunell went from good offensive line team to a good offensive line team, and he also still struggled.

Plummer went from a moderately bad (20th) to a good (11th) protecting team, and succeeded right away. That might be a good analog. But I still think that QBs that switch teams struggle in their first year more often than not - so Culpepper could have a difficult time.

he might struggle this year, but next year, daunte and ricky…OUCH!!!

Wait, but if he struggles this year, how will the Dolphins be a 10-6 team?

197 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Why to people keep listing Ricky as an elite back? The last time he had a great year was 2002, and he carried the ball 380+ times that year and in 2003 as well. After a year off, and now under a coach who's not trying to run him into the ground, he had good success in a limited role (14 carries per game, 4.4 yard average). If he ever returns from up North, I expect he'll do well at that role for a few more years, but he's by no means a game-changing back.

198 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

ricky williams and ronnie brown, is betteer than ronnie brown. its as simple as that. if the dolphins have ricky williams along with culpepper, defenses are going to have to respect the run and the pass.

and i want to know the same about culpepper. when did culpepper go from an elite qb to a hoorible qb, just because he had one bad season, doesnt mean anything. he is still good.

199 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

oh and chris chambers had 82 receptions for 1118 yards, and 11 tds, by far the best season he has ever had. with frerotte throwing to him.

and now culpepper is going to be throwing to him.

200 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

oh and chris chambers had 82 receptions for 1118 yards, and 11 tds, by far the best season he has ever had.

You're wrong. Chambers had 166 passes thrown his way, and only managed 1118 yards. That's only 6.73 yards/attempt, or 13.6 yards/reception, and a DPAR of 3.9, and a 13% TD/reception percentage.

Chambers in 2001 had 22.9 DPAR: 883 yards on 90 passes, or 883 yards on 48 catches, or 9.8 yards/attempt, 18.4 yards/reception, with 8 TDs, or a 16% TD/reception percentage.

Chambers in 2001 was significantly better than in 2005. It's just that in 2005 he got thrown at more - still, he did less with those extra passes than he did in 2001 with fewer.

Put another way, if you imagine that for the first 90 passes thrown Chambers' way, if he had performed like he did for the first 90 passes of 2001, he would've had to have sucked pretty freaking bad to get to the levels of 2005 - he would've had to have gained 235 yards on 34 receptions out of 76 passes, and only 3 TDs. That's pretty freaking bad.

201 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

look pat. lets look at this logically.

i think the dolphins are going to make the playoffs, and you think otherwise.

there is now way for us to prove that the dolphins are going to or not going to make the playoffs.

so i propose this.

we should make a fantasy football league with a few other people and compete against each other. this way, it will test our football knowledge, and it will allow us to keep in touch throughout the season, and once january finally comes, who ever is right will be able to brag.

if you're that confident the dolphins are going to miss the playoffs, then you should have no problem accepting this challenge.

202 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

OH DAG.
THE GAUNTLET HAS BEEN THROWN DOWN.

Side note: I don't know if this can possibly be accounted for in the DVOA, but Chambers was thrown to an absurd amount of times because he was the only threat; he was double teamed most of the time, there's no way he can catch them all.

203 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

You want to make a fantasy football league? And you think Chambers is a star player? Can I join this league, too?

204 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Culpepper is going to be in a whole new world when he comes to the AFC.

The AFC East is brutal. I think all of the teams in the AFC East are better than their records show, mainly because they beat each other up all year.

There is no gaurantee that the Dolphins are going to sweep the Bills and the Jets. The Jets defense and the Bills defense are going to be tougher than most of the defenses Culpepper ever faced in a very weak conference.

And who is Culpepper going to throw to?

205 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Chambers was thrown to a lot last year, 166 passes. By comparision, Steve Smith only had 150 passes thrown his way. Of course, Smith managed to get 400 more yards.

206 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

culpepper is going to throw to chambers, booker, mcmichael, and ronnie brown out of the pocket.

also, even if chambers got thrown to 166 times, thats with frerotte throwing, so how do we know that those passes werent overthrown, or underthrown, or intercepted? sure he probably dropped a few balls, or missed some that he shouldve caught, but doesnt everyone do that?

and steve smith had jake delhomme throwing to him, and delhomme is a pretty good qb.

NOW WHOEVER WANTS TO JOIN THIS FANTASY FOOTBALL LEAGUE:

WE MUST ORGANIZE ON THIS THREAD.

IF YOU LIKE TO JOIN, THEN ADD YOUR NAME TO THE LIST, AS YOU POST SOMETHING.I WANT TO USE FOX FANTASY SPORTS IF THATS ALL RIGHT WITH EVERYONE.

1.Stephen Yang

207 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Let's not hijack this thread into a discussion of setting up a fantasy football league.
I don't have the data in front of me, but I did have the oppurutunity to chart a game or two of Miami's last season, both games where they played NE, so maybe that's not a good comparison. From my recollection, there were a number of passes that Chambers dropped when he should have caught them, more than you would expect from an elite receiver.

208 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

I don't know if anyone would use the word "elite" for Chambers. He's pretty good though, maybe around 15th.

209 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

By DPAR, Chambers has never been ranked as high as 15th, but then he's always been saddled with lousy QBs. It's unrealistic to expect Culpepper/Chambers to be as effective a combination as Culpepper/Moss was.

210 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

The Dolphins are going to be in a heated battle this year...

battling with the Bills and Jets to stay out of last place!

211 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

i think the dolphins are a lock to get in second place. maybe even first, who knows? randy moss is much better than chambers but i expect him to put up career highs.

and if no one wants to start a fantasy football league with the FO posters then FINE! i already have 5 teams in fox which is the limit and im doing flea flicker as well.

the jets are going to get last place in the division, i think. and not only do i think that, but the guy who wrote an article aslo thinks that.

check it out:
http://www.nfl.com/news/story/9532593

i do not agree fully with this man, i think the 49ers are going to finish last with the jets, texans, titans, all floating around there, possible the bills.

212 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

i think the dolphins are going to make the playoffs, and you think otherwise.

Where the hell did I say that? All I said is that if you think Chambers in 2005 was better than Chambers in 2001, you're nuts. Chambers in 2001 had a higher catch percentage, a higher yardage/catch, yardage/completion, and a higher touchdown percentage, and a much higher DPAR and DVOA.

As for the fact that Frerotte was throwing to him, Chambers in 2001 had Jay Fiedler throwing to him. We're not talking about a massive difference here.

213 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

I think the Bills will be worse than the Jets this year. I don't beleive in the Bills defense, and any of the four guys the Jets will be starting at QB will be better than Losman.

214 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

pat, thats what ive been arguing this whole time, that daunte culpepper will make the dophins into a playoff team.

gus frerotte got them to 9-7, culpepper will improve that record by 1 or 2 wins. i can promise you that, that the dolphins are going to make the playoffs, with the other wildcard going to pittsburg/cincinatti

215 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Stephen - if you want to be taken seriously here, you need to do several things.

1) You need to back up your arguments logically. This means not referring to total stat numbers and the like. FO has a lot of data that gauges a player far more accurately than total yeards and total TDs

2) You need to acknowledge all aspects of the player you are trying to have a discussion about. In this specific case, you are ignoring fumbles and interceptions, or making odd relations (like number of fumbles compared to number of runs - which was a totally illegitame, irrelevant comparison).

3) Use some of the stats that we have here on FO. Again, they are far more telling of a player's ability than raw numbers. There's a secondary part to this, also - the stuff we talk about is not in fantasy football terms, but in real contributions to the team. Read the FAQ, and I'd also recommend grabbing last year's book, you should be able to get it very inexpensively.

The bottom line on Culpepper is this: He's a pretty good passer, and a good runner, for a QB. Just because a QB can run does not make them a good QB in and of itself - said running QBs are generally significantly more error prone or fumble prone than a good pocket QB, like Green, Brady, or Manning. This is often because they are trying to force a broken play to success, which can happen sometimes, and doesn't happen in others. Also, note that while Brady does not have the mobility that Culpepper does, he has much better awareness, vision, and pocket presence - a play that turns in to a broken play with Culpepper, because a defensive lineman starts to grab him and tries to (unsucessfully) tackle him, Brady, in many cases, will have simply sidestepped up in to the pocket, avoiding the scenario entirely.

If you are to look at Culpepper's DVOA and DPAR stats, and take them into consideration with the surrounding scenarios he has played in, you could easily make the following judgements:

1) When playing behind a solid offensive line, with a good receiving threat, Culpepper can be very dangerous. He's accurate from the pocket, and okay throwing on the run. Even when behind a good OL, his poor awareness makes for him being very fumble prone, which is a *major* downside. A fumble is equal to half an interception, for all intents and purposes.

2) When playing behind a poor offensive line, he has poor awareness, and this leads to many, many broken plays. His lack of awareness and presence leads to *many* fumbles, and he throws a lot more interceptions when under constant pressure.

3) If you take away his star receiver, he can still perform very well, but his passing numbers are "merely" very good. This goes for most QBs, by the way ;)

Culpepper is a good QB, with HUGE potential, but MAJOR flaws to go along with them. If he can fully recover from his injuries, he could be reminiscent of Steve McNair in the later portion of his carreer, but, right now, there are many things that need to be improved upon for him to be considered an elite QB.

Your continuous lack of facts and fanboyism is what is resulting with the attitudes you are seeing. Frankly, the level of discussion here would be much, much higher if you were not participating in the discussions.

So, what will happen? Well, most "experts" predictions are roughly the same - better than random guessing most of the time, but not approaching 75-80% accuracy.

What will happen with the Dolphins as a team next year is very hard to say. The defense is aging, which can lead to players degrading, and being more injury prone. The QB is important, but the importance of a QB is often overrated. If the defense falls apart, the Dolphins next year could look similar to the Patriots this year - good to very good offense, poor defense, and the result is that the offense just can't keep up against good teams.

I would entertain a bet that the Dolphins will improve this year, however, I also think that there are plenty of areas where they can break down and underperform. The QB change is not a very significant factor in this part of the discussion, but if the OL can't hold, they will have some pretty big problems.

216 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

what you said for culpepper goes for a lot of qbs. if a qb has a good offensive line and a good receiving threat, they will do good. DUH. if a qb has a bad offensive line and no receiving threat, they are going to do bad. DUH.

culpepper can make a broken play into a success most of the time. a regular pocket qb, cant. culpepper tries to gain yards, when the coverage is good, and the pass rush is on. a pocket qb would simply throw away the ball.

i never said, culpepper was better than brady or manning. i said he was better than trent green, but not brady or manning. like i said before, trent green has a better offensive line, and better weapons, while trent green is definately in the top 10 for qbs, a lot of his success depends on the rest of his offense.

now culpepper had an amazing year in 2004. he had an amazing year because of a good offensive line, randy moss, and nate burleson. and no running attack. trent green had a great season, but worse despite having Priest Holmes, a great offensive line, and better weapons.

also, trent greens success is due to the fact that he was taught my mike martz, culpepper had dennis green, and mike tice, who was fired after a winning season.

culpepper fumbles more than the average qb. but one fumble a game, isnt going to kill a team. 50% of the time, the dolphins will recover the fumble.

plus in miami, culpepper has a good offensive line, 3 good weapons (chambers, booker, mcmichael) and a running attack with ronnie brown. plus next year, ricky williams will most likely be back and the dophins offense, will be a great one.

the dolphins are going to get in the playoffs. i doubt they will go to the superbowl, because i think the afc champions will be the colts/bengals.

217 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

One fumble a game is a huge problem. Huge. There have been very few players who turn the ball over to that degree, and I see no way that isn't a severe impact on his value.

Once again, Culpepper blew 3 tendons. I sincerely doubt he'll play that well this year, and potentially ever again. If he makes a full recovery, perhaps in 2007 he can start taking the Dolphins to the playoffs. Right now, you'll be lucky if he can play the season opener at all, even if he's at 75%.

Anyway, QB is the most important position, I would say that Culpepper's performance is the greatest single factor in the Dolphin's success next season. As I've already indicated, I don't think that's a good thing.

218 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

also, trent greens success is due to the fact that he was taught my mike martz,

What is it with people trying to find excuses for Green's success other than "he's a good QB"? He played with Martz for one season in Washington (where he was good, not great), and half a season in 2000 (where he was great). That's it. For the other five seasons he had absolutely no connection to Martz whatsoever.

219 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

the dolfins are going to win it all u people seem to forget what other team that went 9-7 did so much to improve got two new conators we even stole bills head couch add pro bowl QB in culpepper
plus it the second year under the new sysem

and if that wasn't all miami heat are champs dont u think how bad they want to be in that super bowl when it down here and have home fleid

220 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

trent green is a good qb. but a lot of his success comes from learning from mike martz and learning behind that all star offensive line. trent green is a great qb, but its not like he had nothing and he was great, he had a lot of help, and became great, and theres nothing wrong about that, its just that culpepper had much less help and he is just as good as trent.

221 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Green had Martz, Culpepper had Dennis Green. Green had a great O-line. Culpepper had a great O-Line. Culpepepper had Moss and Carter, Green had Tony Gonzalez. Green had Holmes and Larry Johnson, Culpepper had a committe of good backs. Both quaterbacks have benefitted from a great offensive system.

222 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Culpepper had a committee of good backs? Name one since 2000.

223 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Culpepper had "much less help"?

He played in a weak conference, and he got to throw to arguably the best receiver in football, in a dome!

How much more "help" did he need?

224 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

222 - Hmm, did Robert Smith retire before or after 2000? Doesn't really matter, they've definitely only had scrubby committees ever since.

220 - Denny Green knows what he's doing, particularly with young quarterbacks. I think the Cards are potentially terrifying once they get Leinart in there.

223 - There was nothing especially weak about the division while Green Bay was still a top team, which has been most of Culpepper's career. Granted the Lions and Bears have sucked since forever.

225 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Not division, conference.. The conference has been weak. lousy division in a lousy conference. Thats why some teams that look really good in the NFC suddenly look bad when they play an AFC team like the Steelers, Broncos, Bengals, Patriots, etc.

Heck, the Bucs were prepared to blow out the Jets and they lost to Vinny Testaverde! What a hoot!

Green Bay a top team? Since when ? They have become a joke, much like the rest of the conference!
If Seattle is the best that the NFC can come up with... yikes!

226 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Robert Smith retired after the 2000 season, when he averaged over 5 YPC. Since then the vikings have had a succession of backs averaging between 4.5 and 5 YPC. Now the reason they were so successful just plugging anybody in was because of the strength of the offensive line more than the talents of any individual back, but that just proves my point that Culpepper beneffited from a very good offensive system.

227 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

OK, I've been out of touch for a while and it looks like I've missed one of the most entertaining threads so far, about the division with my favorite team. :-) So I thought I'd share a few comments. Sorry if I touch on things people have already said--once I hit post 170 or so I just skimmed. I'll break this up into multiple posts to avoid Carl-esque essays (whatever happened to that guy? His posts were so entertaining, and so easy to skip if you didn't have a free hour...)

228 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Regarding the Dolphins and Pats:

I think the Pats will win the division (although I am a Pats homer). The defense was bad for much of last year, but that was due to significant, significant injuries. We're not just talking several key players here (although they did lose several key players). We're talking practically the entire opening day depth chart at certain positions wiped out by week 4. Provided that doesn't happen again (although it's happened the last two years, but not playing on Heinz field might help) the Pats defense will be significantly better, even without significant personnell changes. Look at how well the defense performed in the playoffs last year. Meanwhile, the offense sputtered late, but that was a function of Brady finally breaking down after an entire season where he had no help and all the other teams started keying in on him. Someone commented in one post that "The way to stop Brady is to pressure him". Well, that's true. That's the way to stop any QB. But it's a lot easier to pressure a QB with no running game and two rookie on the O-line, and a weak defense. Now with some weapons and an improved defense, look for Brady and the Pats offense to be good, provided that last season didn't damage him.

On the other hand, I'm of the opinion that people make too much of Miami last year. In a division with two goat teams, they managed to essentially finish at 8-7 (the last game can't be counted because they spent 3 quarters playing agaist an offense with Matt Cassel, Bam Childress, and Heath Evans as the skill players). Even in that game, they looked sloppy. Although I think he will be a good coach in the long run, and will eliminate some of this sloppiness, Saban is still a young (pro) coach who will make mistakes. They are aging in many key areas. As to Culpepper, he's a definite improvement, but it's not like the Dolphins acquired Peyton Manning. See my next post for more details on what I see as Culpepper's weakensses and for opinions that will probably illicit a Yang response. I think the Dolphins will come the closest to challenging the Pats, but I don't see it happening this year.

229 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

Regarding Culpepper:

I was very high on Culpepper at the beginning of last season. I had him ranked in my mind as the fifth or so best QB in the game (behind Brady, Manning, Hasselbeck, and Palmer). Then he looked horrible. Then he got injured. Then the Vikings got better. Now for the record, I don't think their improvement was due to switching Culpepper for Johnson--I think FO has shown that it was mainly the defense that improved. And I'm not willing to write off Culpepper's skill drop to losing Moss. Cast helps, of course, but he had looked really really good in the past and I don't think you can look that good if you're bad, regardless of cast. I would guess how well a QB plays is probably 1/3 supporting cast, 1/3 coaching, and 1/3 their own skill. Hence, you're not going to be in the top third of QB's if you have lousy skill, even with a great cast and a great coach (my low opinion of Mike Tice also causes me to value Culpepper's skill). So I chalk up his bad start last year to some random inconsistency, and to lack of discipline.

But I don't think he'll come into the Dolphins this year and immediately make them elite. Here's why:

1). Stephen Yang puts a lot of stock in Culpepper's mobility. Even assuming his injury doesn't slow him down, I think QB scrambing ability is an overrated stat. Look at how many people overrate Vick. A lot of people point to scrambling QB's such as Steve Young or Steve McNair, but what they forget is that these guys were dangerous not because of their scrambling ability, but because they were great QB's who had the additional tool of the scramble. If mobility alone was valuable, then Bethel Johnson should be a QB. In my opinion, the most important QB skills are, in order, wits (decision making), throwing accuracy, mobility in the pocket, and then a tie for "arm strength" and scrambling ability. Neither Brady nor Manning are the most mobile QB's in the world, but Brady tops out in the first three categories (usually) and Manning in the first two and in "arm strength". I'm not sold on where Culpepper falls in a lot of these categories. But if his success in Minnesota was largely due to a good O-line and his scrambling (which I don't know)--that is, if he tends to hold the ball too long or is inaccurate, then Belichick (and other coaches that he'll face in the AFC) will take him apart. It's easy to stop mobile QB's if they are not super accurate or if they hold on too long--you just assign a LB to "spy" or contain them.

2). He's in the AFC now. I think most would agree that the AFC is the stronger of the two conferences at the present.

3). I fear for his lack of discipline. I see Culpepper as kind of a Brett Farvre or Drew Bledsoe--not in skill set, but in mind set. He possesses amazing physical skills, and so he tends to rely on those skills to get himself out of jams (but where Farvre or Bledsoe would rely on their "cannon arms", Culpepper scrambles). But that gets you into trouble as often as you make great, memorable plays. Culpepper, like McNabb, saves some broken plays with some impressive scrambles that look great on Sportscenter highlights, but I'm sure there are equally many that don't get remembered where he hurts his team.

4). I'm not sold his injury won't hamper him much. Knee injuries hamper a scrambler much more than a pocket passer.

All in all, I think Culpper is a great acquisition for the Dolphins--for next year. This year he's going to be gimpy, at least for part of it, learning a new system (since his injury will interfere with his training), with a relatively weak supporting cast, and still undisciplined (Saban is a disciplinarian and will get him more disciplined, but it won't happen overnight).

230 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

One final comment about the Pats.

It is very accurate to say that the Pats pass D, at least over the last few years, is centered around the play of the safeties. It is not accurate to say it depends on Harrison returning at full strength.

The Pats (when not playing Duane Starks) usually have their corners play a press coverage, bumping the recievers off their routes to disrupt the timing of the passing game. This buys the pass rush time to rush the QB, but risks the WR getting by the corners for a big gain. Therefore, the safeties have to be very intelligent and know the system and realize which corner needs their help, and when to commit to helping him. They also disguise their coverage schemes very well, and again base the schemes on the safety knowing the system and knowing where to be when. For examples of what happens when an inexperienced safety is thrust into the mix, look at the last two SB's that the Pats won--in both games, one or both starting safeties went out in the second half with an injury, and within a few plays (in some cases, on the next play) Ricky Prohel or Terrell Owens broke the coverage for a big gain and then the defense fell apart and the other team got back in the game and the Pats were forced to win by a FG.

Although Harrison is (or was) a fantastic player and gave the Pats secondary an instant boost in 2003, his return is not a necessity for the Pats D to be successful. The disintegration of the pass D when Harrison went down was caused not just by that loss, but by losing the next two safeties on the depth chart in quick succession, so that they constantly had someone different there and no one could learn the system. (Add to that the fact that they simultaneously lost their best pass rushers, were still missing their best LB, and also lost several CB's all at the same time).

Obviously, it would be best if Harrison returns to form. However, there are other options. If Harrison doens't return, the SS will be either James Sanders, a 2nd year player who showed skill last year briefly before being injured himself, Artrell Hawkins, who is no Harrison but who was good enough to hold things together last year, or Tebucky Jones, who is a bit of a gambler and probably was drafted too high (causing him to be labeled a bust), but is still a skilled, physical player. So, provided that they don't lose a safety a week like last year, their defense can still be good even without Harrison.

231 Re: Four Downs: AFC East

to avoid Carl-esque essays (whatever happened to that guy? His posts were so entertaining, and so easy to skip if you didn’t have a free hour…)

I think Carl's still in Iraq - he was, for a while. If he's back, though, he's likely covering other sports than football.