Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

28 Oct 2007

Don Banks Snap Judgments

I try to cut Don Banks some slack because it is impossible not to make mistakes in this type of quick react column. This week, however, he has a doozy:

"Didn't the Eagles used to have a running game? I mean, like late last season? Oh, that's right. That's when Jeff Garcia was their quarterback."

I mean, they ranked 2nd in running DVOA coming into the game. Or, if you're into conventional statistics, Westbrook and Buckhalter were both averaging over five yards per carry. Then they play the greatest run defense of recent memory and get stuffed. I'm not saying Donovan McNabb is above reproach, but this is absurd. At best, it speaks to a failure to understand the basic premise that the opposing team has an impact on how a team performs.

Posted by: Ned Macey on 28 Oct 2007

33 comments, Last at 30 Oct 2007, 1:19pm by Buff


by hooper (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 10:49pm

"...it is impossible to make mistakes in this type of ..."

Do you mean:
"...it is impossible not to make mistakes in this type of ..."?

If so, I completely agree. In the age of lightning-fast fact-checking, writers really need to learn to slow down a bit and think through their claims. Even 10 years ago, that kind of statement would go largely unquestioned.

by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 10:52pm

Au contraire, I think it's quite possible to make mistakes in this type of column.

by Ned Macey :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 10:58pm

It is also apparently impossible for me to post anything without a mistake.

by JFP (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 11:03pm

Has anyone checked on Gregg Easterbrook? His head may have exploded around 6:45 PM EST.

by JoRo (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 11:03pm

So the Saints moved to the NFC West?

by NC (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 11:22pm


He is too busy creating a list of similarities between Belichick and Pol Pot for the next TMQ.

by Alex (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 11:28pm

The myth of Philadelphia's offensive improvement with Garcia continues. Seriously, this is getting to be a little too ridiculous now. Their offensive DVOA declined, in both passing and rushing, in the second half of the season in 2006.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 11:42pm

He's incorrect about LenDale White becoming a force on the ground.

What happened was that he got to play the Raiders.

by Buff (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:08am

Why all the Brady-for-MVP talk? I think it is fairly obvious that his numbers are due, in large part, to a new cast of receivers. Wouldn't that make a stronger argument for the Patriots being a more complete team instead?

by Buff (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:16am

Re: #5 Along with "division leader Carolina" apparently. I missed that one too...

by JFP (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:19am

Brady would probably agree with you. Due to the nature of the game the NFL MVP is an award you can't give to any one player. I know there have been co-MVP's before so if the Pat's can keep it rolling maybe the offensive line can get a share of that award.

by Jesse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:38am

A Brady-Moss co mvp wouldn't surprise me all that much.

by MarkB (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:39am

#9 - by your logic, I think Brady deserves to get a few MVPs retroactively for the years he's had in the past without the receivers he has now. Of course, do runners with bad offensive lines ever win the MVP? Or QBs with poor receivers? It's the nature of the beast. It's the "Best Stats" award, nothing more.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 1:39am

"I think it is fairly obvious that his numbers are due, in large part, to a new cast of receivers"

Yes, it is due to his recievers. He's no longer playing with waiver wire players, and now has studs.

I think, after seeing his performance this year, a case could be made as to how Brady should have won it last year, taking his team to the AFC championship with the likes of Jabar Gaffney, Doug Gabriel, and Reche Caldwell.

I think Moss deserves it, honestly.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:20am

If Brady does not get it because his WRs are so awesome can we take away Peyton Manning's MVP awards.

I mean really Wes Welker, I like the guy a lot, but he is not a super stud WR.

and is Chad Jackson dead?

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:24am

"and is Chad Jackson dead?"

Hes on the PUP list with Troy Brown.

I think he'll go on IR. I think the ACL he blew in the AFCC is still healing.

The real question is : Is Kelly Washington dead?

by JFP (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 2:38am

Regarding Kelly Washington. On one of the recent post game shows (can't remember if it was tv or radio) someone commented that Washington is doing really well on special teams. I have no idea if that's true or not, but that's what was said.

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 8:24am

Don Banks made a stupid comment... so what, it's not like nobody at FO never made any dumb comments.

by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 8:29am

Banks' comments about the Eagles are especially weird considering that McNabb completed 64 percent of his passes for more than 300 yards in a win. Sheesh. Now the guy is getting criticized even when he's successful. When McNabb starts shooting people from a bell tower, I'll understand.

by Kalyan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 8:31am

#9: It is just amusing to see the pathaters now trying to downplay the achievements of Brady's stats

Peyton won 2 MVPs and was a co-winner for one more year .. So shouldn't he return all his MVPs? How about doing it with all the QBs who won MVP honors when they had atleast one WR/OL pro-bowler in his team ?

by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 8:51am

He’s incorrect about LenDale White becoming a force on the ground.

I disagree. F = M * A; since acceleration due to gravity is a constant, so all his extra mass is just means he's exerting that much more force on the ground...

by Vern (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:48am

Question brought on by the opening comments. When DVOA is adjusted for D, is that adjustment situational? For example, for offensive DVOA if a team faces a great D overall, but one that is not so good on the run, are the run plays adjusted less than the pass plays?

by billsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:50am

I didn't watch the post-game press conference, but I'm pretty sure Belichick was worried about the very real possibility of a 45-point, fourth-quarter comeback, when he should have been more worried about the very real possibility of an angry and frustrated Sean Taylor breaking Tom Brady after a play.

That vein in my forehead starts throbbing every Monday when I see Peter King put Tom Brady at #1 on his MVP watch, while Moss occasionally slips in at #5. How many times does Moss have to push off and pull it down in double coverage before people start noticing? Of course, I foster an irrational hatred towards Tom Brady, so that might have something to do with it.

You're in the wrong thread with that comparison, and I think you'll find that Welker is much better than you're giving him credit for. Look at his catch percentage, 2005-present: 56, 67, 76. He's been steadily improving, and, discounting his year as solely a kick returner, he was a perfect candidate for "third-year breakout receiver" this year. Plus, he tries to run over/through defenders in the open field, and not enough WRs do that anymore.

by Josh (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:50am

Don Banks made a stupid comment… so what, it’s not like nobody at FO never made any dumb comments.

Like Chris--that guy never makes dumb comments (mike vick excepting)

by billsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 9:56am

I guess we could just go for the obvious explanation, that Brady's only playing better this year so he can be good role model to his bastard son.

by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:08am

#21 Physics jokes. I love this site.

by TGT (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:39am


Yes, run defensive DVOA does apply to running plays.

by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:45pm

Through 8 games Brady is putting up the best season ever, by any player. How can he not win the MVP?

by Buff (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 3:42pm

#13: No doubt about it - Brady was more MVPish in those seasons than he is now.

#20: Sure, you could take Payton's MVPs away based on the same argument. By all means, PLEASE take away his Super Bowl MVP. The only difference is that, with Manning, there is a more mechanical precision with the way he runs the Colts' offense. Brady? He's capable of the same thing, but has favored the Hey-there's-Randy-Moss-so-I'll just-chuck-it-up-there-and-let him-go-get-it-because-he's-that-much-better than-anyone-covering-him-right-now method. A little more skill to the former approach, no?

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:01pm

Buff, hes thrown about 6 of those passes this year. Most of the other 200 or so completions he has have been pretty good passes.

by Xian (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:09pm

What I find weird about Banks ignoring MN's defense is that he was a sports writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press in the mid-late 90s. You'd think that he would be paying attention to one of the few things the Vikings are doing well.

by crack (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 12:03pm

I think it's because he was a Vikings beat writer that he is discounting the team.

by Buff (not verified) :: Tue, 10/30/2007 - 1:19pm

30: Like I said, Brady is very capable of running his offense in a precise manner. As someone else stated, he's done it before with less to work with. He just has a little more leeway now to make those six throws when the opportunity presents itself. To me, that says it's more about the upgraded talent around him than anything special he's doing.