Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

14 Oct 2013

Mandatory Monday: Receiverless Beds

A closer look at how the 49ers, Patriots, and Ravens are getting by with their depleted receiving corps. Some are doing better than others. Also, do-it-yourself offensive coordinator kits for those who dare to enter the altered state that is Todd Haley.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 14 Oct 2013

68 comments, Last at 17 Oct 2013, 2:28pm by Bobman


by Chris UK :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 8:35am

The Raiders DIY OC kit segment had my colleagues looking at me as if I had lost my mind. Great stuff Mike!

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 8:56am

"Use handoffs the way a writer uses the spacebar."

Brilliant line.

"Joseph Fauria, jump ball in the end zone, all day, every day."

Lions fans are just happy to have a 2nd play in the redzone playbook other than "Jump ball to Calvin Johnson".

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 10:06am

Seriously. The man has 7 NFL receptions and 5 TDs.

I wonder if he can play linebacker.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 10:12am

So much for journalistic integrity.

", and Welker was handed a like-it-or-lump-it contract with "Lump It" written at the top."

The offer the Patriots made to Welker was bigger than the offer he ended up with. His agent clearly misread the market.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 12:07pm

Not sure what "journalistic integrity" has to do with this issue. He's saying that the Patriots presented Welker with a "take it or leave it" offer, which ultimately set the stage for Welker leaving. By all accounts, this is exactly what happened. The Patriots haven't even disputed that.

What happened afterwards is another matter. Getting less elsewhere certainly implies that Welker's agents misread the market. But if the Patriots really did make him a better offer than he could have gotten anywhere else, it also implies that they might have been able to keep him if they'd negotiated with a little more finesse instead of a sledgehammer.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 1:35pm

THe 'lump it' is an insinuation that it was an insulting offer. It was the best offer he got.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 2:14pm

"Best offer he got" and "insulting" are not mutually exclusive. From the sound of things, they did give him the best offer he got, and they also did it while treating him like a disposable cog.

I have no dog in this fight, but I just found it a little overboard to immediately jump to questioning someone's integrity over this. It's not a secret that the split between Welker and the Patriots was acrimonious.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 2:52pm

A journalist's job is to present the facts, not to spin them in a way that obscures what actually happened. When you deliberately obscure the facts, thats an integrity issue.

The Patriots made Welker an offer larger than what Denver did. His agent said they had insulted him, and broke off communications. By the time Welker's agent came back, realizing he'd misplayed the market, they'd signed Ammendola.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:10pm

You realize that your second paragraph does not actually contradict what Tanier wrote, yes?

Also, there's a subtle difference between "journalism" and "commentary". This piece is commentary. It involves interpretting information. The fact that you may disagree with said interpretation (although again, I'm not sure why) does not automatically call the author's integrity into question.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:56pm

You're missing the point.

It's about word choice here. Tanier could have said the Patriots made Welker a "Take it or Leave it" offer, and he would have been completely accurate, but instead he chose to use a significantly more negative term that insinuates that the offer was by its very nature an attempt to insult him.

He was either being lazy, and didn't know what the offers actually were, or he was intentionally trying to twist the story into some sort of narrative that doesn't fit the actual facts.

I thought the whole damn point of this site was to get away from the football narratives and talk about what's actually going on in football.

by tuluse :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 4:01pm

"he chose to use a significantly more negative term that insinuates that the offer was by its very nature an attempt to insult him."

That's true, but it doesn't necessarily follow that the money was less than Welker was worth. A team can theoretically offer a contract that pays market value and still insults the player, no?

"I thought the whole damn point of this site was to get away from the football narratives and talk about what's actually going on in football."

Two things. One is that FO seems to focus on what is actually happening instead of blinding following narratives, but that doesn't mean they don't talk about narratives or even construct their own. Two is that Tainer doesn't write for FO anymore, and has focused more on narratives in his writing at SOE.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 4:03pm

What's actually going on in football is that the Patriots receiving corps is terrible, partly because they botched the negotiation with Welker.

by Bobman :: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 2:28pm

How exactly does one, er, lump it, anyway? It sounds like it could have something to do with areas where the sun doesn't shine (Seattle?) or maybe it has something to do with tea time...? Crabcakes?

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 2:39pm

Because it'd be impossible for somebody to just be incorrect or have a different take than you on something, it just has to be a failure of his journalistic integrity?

Not sure if you fit into the group or not, but I continue to be perplexed by the small subset of Pats fans who just have to make Welker the bad guy in his split with the team. The team was happy enough to part ways with him, but it's horrible that he was willing to do the same to the team?

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:01pm

A journalist "just being incorrect" is an integrity issue. Being wrong because he doesn't bother to check what actually happened is an integrity issue. This is very easy to verify - Kraft has gone on record detailing the offer they made Welker. The contracts were similar, but the Patriots had $2M more in incentives, and the bonus money was all signing bonus, as opposed to the 4M signing bonus, and 3M option bonus that Welker received in Denver.

Nobody is making Welker out to be the bad guy here. Welker was looking for a deal with the Patriots, the Patriots were looking for a deal with him. His agent misplayed the market, and it cost his client a couple million bucks.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:36pm

And he's playing with Peyton Manning on an unbeaten team with far less drama than where he came from. You keep implying this is some sort of black/white issue when it's all sorts of shades of grey. And while you claim not to be negative towards Welker, it's odd that you can't even seem to entertain the notion that maybe he wanted a change of scenery. It's all about it being some bad financial move in your mind.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:48pm

Whether he wanted a change of scenery is completely tangential to this conversation.

Tanier insinuates that the Patriots gave him a lowball offer, when Bob Kraft has detailed the terms of the offer he was given, and they included more money than Denver gave him.

by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 7:45pm

Yep, everything is black or white, your way or the highway. Ironically, isn't your attitude exactly the kind of thing you're ostensibly complaining about?

by LionInAZ :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 7:58pm

It's *your* interpretation that Tanier implied lowballing. My interpretation is that the Patriots wete never interested in actually negotiating a contract with Welker. If I were Welker, I might consider that quite insulting.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 11:14pm

If they weren't interested, they wouldn't have given him the largest contract offer.

by Ben :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 10:38am

The Belichick Uncertainty principle finally explains the Patriots injury reporting after all these years.

by nat :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 11:29am

I followed the link to the Washington "Red Clouds" proposal. Red Cloud was a revered Lakota (some would say "Sioux") leader, though not a leader of all of the Sioux nations.

If you're interested, read his Wikipedia article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Cloud

This is the best idea for fixing the Redskins team name yet. It preserves what was best about the current name, unambiguously honors a great leader struggling against long odds, maintains the warlike vibe (as he was a successful war leader), and is consistent with the past team traditions. (All except the racist ones, which is the point of changing, isn't it?)

by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 12:17pm

Why do we continue to let the name "Redskins" dominate the discussion? They are a football team. Talk about their football team; hell, talk about their leather-faced coach, their nepotism, their ridiculous owner, whatever -- but keep it related to football. We are not going to "rid" "racism" by just avoiding it and pretending like it did not happen, and this is the furthest stretch to racism I have seen in a very long time.

by nat :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 1:41pm

I was commenting on the article, and a topic that has to do with how a football franchise chooses to "honor" a segment of the population with a term they find offensive. And one (now two) posts hardly dominates the discussion. In fact, if you had merely responded rationally about the merits of honoring Red Cloud as a way of gracefully retiring the racist (or at best hopelessly outdated) Redskins name, this would not be a big deal at all.

Seriously, if the Redskins decided to change their name to "Red Clouds" next season, what reasonable objection could you possibly have?

by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 2:04pm

"Dominates the discussion" in so much as, quite often comments about the Redskins (such as your comment) literally did not say anything constructive or related to football, but rather what you find racist/offensive/whatever about a name. A name, might I add, that is not altogether offensive according to surveys (yes, the one done in 2004) and the countless Natives speaking about it not being offensive.

But if you want to pretend like things never happened, good for you, I suppose. You are part of the problem at that point.

Good day.

by tuluse :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 2:13pm

I don't think changing the name Washington's football is pretending things never happened.

I mean would it be appropriate for a sports in Berlin to be named the Gold Stars? Or maybe we should change the Panthers to the Darkies?

It's an offensive racial slur on something that should be promoting fun and entertainment.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 2:25pm

"not altogether offensive"

There's a ringing endorsement.

by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 2:40pm

Historical usage of the term was not always negative. In fact, there is no singularly accepted origin or context, and is widely considered negative, neutral, or self-identifying (although not commonplace). As such, tell me the last time you heard it used in a negative way? Maybe old Western movies? I can tell you the last time I personally heard it in a negative way -- never, and certainly not as often as even less-regarded racial slurs are concerned, such as the use of the word "gypped," of which I can almost guarantee the use by everybody in this thread.

So yes, "not altogether offensive" is the most adequate way to describe the word IN ITS ORIGINATION (since nobody really knows with certainty), and we are only worried about it now because it is the politically correct thing to do.

All told, I see nothing that will convince me to think of the Redskins as not the Redskins, and not deserving to remain the Redskins.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 2:55pm

Other racial slurs are irrelevant. If someone tried to name an NFL team the Washington Gypsies, I'm sure it would not be a popular name choice.

I do find it interesting, and I really don't mean this in a condescending way at all, that you do seem to acknowledge that the name can legitimately be interpreted negatively ("not always negative", "no singularly accepted origin or context", "considered negative, neutral, or self-identifying").

by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:01pm

It absolutely can be considered negative, and I regard that in its truest form; that does not make it wrong or necessary of change, because it is not widely used in modern language in such a way, and thus has lost most of its non-neutral connotation. That is, nobody uses it except to refer to a football team.

I would like to pose a hypothetical -- where is the outrage over the "Fighting Irish," when traditionally Irish were not considered white (and thus, lesser individuals of the same nature as Natives and blacks), and their logo is a caricature of a drunken Irishmen looking for a fight, which is quite a stereotype for the Irish?

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:23pm

If and when the Irish decide they don't want their nationality to be used by Notre Dame, I'll also defend them. I'll do this even though my Irish heritage is orange.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:32pm

"If and when the Irish decide they don't want their nationality to be used by Notre Dame, I'll also defend them"

And when we get an Indian Tribe thats really offended, I'll defend them. But right now, they all seem to have the opinion of "meh, who cares," and it's writers on the internet that are driving all the outrage.

I guess the question is, why are we more concerned about the Redskins than the Fighting Irish, when the 2nd one clearly posits a much nastier stereotype.

by Not Saying :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 8:27am
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:24pm

Fighting Irish is a red herring. It's akin to getting pulled over for speeding, and insisting that it's unfair because the other cars were speeding too.

But to address this point anyway, I'd put "Irish" in a class alongside "Indians" or "Gaels" as far as names go. It refers to a group of people in general rather than referring directly to their skin color. I suppose someone could take that as offensive. If enough people did, they could put together an effort to change the name.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:27pm

I would think "they're all angry violent drunks" is a lot more nasty of a stereotype than "they have red skin"

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 4:07pm

I missed the part where ND's mascot is drunk. Nevertheless...

"I suppose someone could take that as offensive. If enough people did, they could put together an effort to change the name."

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 2:38pm

It's clearly a racist term. Would you refer to a native american as a redskin to his face? I didn't think so.

by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 2:47pm

Phrases such as "That's gay," or "That's retarded," or "I was gypped," or "Don't be a Jew," or any of a thousand similar comments are made each day, likely around you, in discussions, and in general conversation. Are we to hold a crusade for any such term we deem unacceptable because a portion of the population (say, 10% of the offended group in the case of Redskin) finds it offensive?

If so, will we abolish the use of "gym rat," "deceptively fast," and similar and almost exclusively "white only" adjectives removed from our language, because those are clearly racially classifying?

The conversation goes both ways.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 2:58pm

You actually think it's OK to say 'that's gay', 'that's retarded' or 'don't be a Jew'? Hate to be the one to point this out but it sounds like you're an arsehole, someone really should have let you know sooner so you could have worked on trying to give up that habit.

by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:10pm

Again, you are reading what I am writing, but not really comprehending it.

Gay originally meant happy and carefree, but has divergent usages to become 1) "ridiculous" and 2) "homosexual." People only equate ridiculous to homosexual because of the widespread adoption of the second to refer to a group, and they take it to an extreme (as you have).

Retarded was intentionally chosen as a neutral word to describe slow individuals in a politically correct way, and is a word dating back centuries that simply means to impede or hold back. While maintaining a negative connotation because of context, retarded is widely used to mean, like gay, "ridiculous," as that is the most literal definition given that context.

Of the three examples, "Don't be a Jew" is the only one that can be considered in such a way as to be intentionally disparaging in origin.

None of this changes the fact that you likely hear these phrases uttered every day.

Now, for your shot at my character, I am not really going to discuss that point because it changes nothing for the discussion at hand.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:26pm

Gay and retarded don't mean ridiculous. Retarded was used not as a politically correct way to refer to people, it was used to justify treating them differently, usually as less than human.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:43pm

He never said "retarded" means "ridiculous".

He said that "gay" does, and one of the definitions of "gay" (according to dictionary.com) is "theatrical and flamboyant" which I think fits "ridiculous" pretty well.

As to the question of the word "Retarded", the word 'retard' means : "to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede," so the word describes well the mentally handicapped, and their learning issues. It has only recently become considered "offensive," as every decade or so we seem to invent a new more innocuous sounding term. I think people are using "developmentally delayed" now, despite the fact that its a completely inaccurate term.

I think "Mentally Retarded" is still the correct medical term though (atleast a brief search of google and references to the DSM IV-R

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:48pm

"retarded is widely used to mean, like gay, "ridiculous,""

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:50pm

Missed that.

It doesn't change the fact that "retarded" is a clinical term, and not one made up to marginalize people. It's a perfect description of the condition.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:46pm

You better recheck your facts on that. My hometown had a "school for the retarded" that didn't change its official name from that until sometime in the 80s. That was the accepted clinical term for people with Downs Syndrome and other developmental issues for decades and you still sometimes hear "mental retardation" in a clinical setting.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:53pm

And the term's use has been reduced as society has moved away from treating people with cognitive difficulties differently and as it was recognised that they should be encouraged to enjoy a full role in wider society.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:58pm

The medical community seems to disagree.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 4:09pm

And perhaps someday "cognitive difficulty" becomes offensive and you end up sounding as bad as you think "retarded" sounds now. The reality is many terms can mean vastly different things depending on who is using them and the context. And overdoing PC tends to just make people dig in their heels in more, rather than helping the problem. I've seen news stories about Africans use the term "African-American" because the writer couldn't come up with any other acceptable term to say the person has dark skin. Stuff like that just makes the world a dumber place.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 4:18pm

In reply to you and Mr Mouse:

Can you really not understand the difference between using the term in a clinical environment and using it as a slur? I think you are deliberately being obtuse there.

by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 1:27am

I would say the same about your original claim that retarded wasn't an actual clinical term. You're not a stupid person. Hard to believe that fact snuck by you. You overreached and went past obvious slurs to trying to claim some of these word were solely slurs. That is just as incorrect as anybody claiming they never are.

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 7:27am

Not really, I was responding to a poster who had packaged it together with 'don't be a Jew' and 'that's gay'. There's a limit to how much time I'm going to spend typing a response to that kind of person so I might have left a few nits for pedants to pick at. Are you defending the use of 'retard' as an insult?

by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 9:06am

You are being intentionally misleading with reference to my comments.

Not once did I say it was okay to use any negative phrase as an insult. Not once did I advocate the use of any of these terms, but merely used them as an example to draw a parallel. And the crux of my point, which you seem to entirely gloss over every time: Redskin, in modern day language, is not overtly racist -- it no longer holds that connotation in a majority of speakers. A huge part of that is the fact that the word is rarely used outside of discussing the Washington football team. Just as I would not advocate the use of a slew of disparaging terms for team names, I would not be okay with Redskin if I felt it was not a neutral term.

Who makes that determination?

We can point out articles from the Oneida (who have made it their goal to stir up this entire controversy, as is their right); we can point to surveys showing 90% of Natives largely do not care either way. But one thing is for certain -- it is not even on the same level as "That's gay," "That's retarded." Do you truly disassociate yourself with people that use those commonly? Do you openly chide people who use them? From what you say, I would like to think that you do. And if you do not, you owe it to yourself to start today.

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 9:42am

I don't hang around with anyone who would think it's OK to use those words.

I suppose I disagree with two of your premises; firstly, I do think Redskin is a racist term. Just because it is widespread or that many people (myself included for a long time) didn't think about it enough to realise that it is racist doesn't stop it from being racist.

Secondly, this particular word can be removed from common usage with the decision of one man. Unfortunately there are just too many idiots out there who will continue to use most of those other words but all it would take to get rid of Redskin is for Dan Snyder to change his mind.

by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 9:55am

I completely understand the other side ("your" side) of the debate, and have considered it. I am simply presenting the other side, and that it is not necessarily grounded on race, "honoring" the team, or the team's "history."

I have no issue with the disagreement.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:17pm

Phrases such as "That's gay," or "That's retarded," or "I was gypped," or "Don't be a Jew," or any of a thousand similar comments are made each day,

There are significant numbers of people who would like all these removed from general conversation and find them offensive. Look at the broad spectrum of people, from Ann Coulter to Rahm Emanuel, who used "retard" and found themselves in a controversy. (And people from Sarah Palin to Piers Morgan who have tried to stop people from using it.) I'm old enough to remember when (mostly Southern) politicians could get away with using the "N-word" and it was accepted by their supporters.

I've lived 13 years with a Native American partner. He does find the Redskins name offensive. He just thinks there are more important political fights. That there are some tribes that don't have a problem with the name does not mean it's OK. The political history of how the US Government and people have dealt with indigenous American tribes is far too diverse to go into here. Maybe if stupid people were just called Keiths you might get it.

by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:39pm

In a language of a million words, in countries whose dominant language is English, there is bound to be a word, phrase, or an ideology based upon words or phrases of the language that offend somebody.

I did not assert that nobody is offended by the word, and understand that it will happen. Accordingly, every person of the opposite opinion of me in this thread has failed to convince me that striking one word is not a landslide to abolish every offensive word or phrase, simply because "I am offended/I know somebody that is offended."

It is a tough line to draw -- throw one out, throw them all out?

by tuluse :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 3:51pm

A key factor here is the near genocide of American Indians. Nothing of this scale has happened to Irish-Americans, so the Figthing Irish is less offensive. Not to mention, redskin is more on par with a team called the Fighting Micks, of which, I see none.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 4:02pm

The fact that the Irish-Americans haven't been the victim of near genocide doesn't make the term less offensive, it makes you LESS SENSITIVE to how offensive the name is. There's a big difference there.

And no, "Redskins" is not on par with "Fighting Micks". Something like "Bloodthirsty Scalpers" would be on par with "Fighting Micks". "Redskins" is on par with calling a team the "Redhairs" or the "Gingers"

by tuluse :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 4:05pm

Well I disagree with you entirely, and I think I'll just have to leave it at that.

I will point out there are no sports teams named the Fighting Gingers (while referring to Irish people) either.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 11:19pm

Of course you disagree.

You think racism can only be directed at minorities. We've had this conversation before.

by Duke :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 6:17pm

By this argument, no words should be abolished or discouraged, because that could lead to us throwing out all words? We should not get mad at people for using any racial epithet?

Certainly we don't have to be worried about throwing out the entire English language. Situations will come up where people will bring up that a term hurts other people. We will deal with them on a case-by-case basis.

by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 2:25pm

Red Cloud at night, sailor's delight?

by nat :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 4:03pm

Red Cloud at night, sailor's delight?
Redskin in the morning, sailors take antibiotics.

by TomC :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 2:14pm

I'm not sure what a "Gronk tease" is, but I'm pretty sure it's dirty.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 2:41pm

The Red Cloud idea is a good one. How funny would it be if the Washington team ended up being named by a die hard Eagles fan.

by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 7:51pm

Haha awesome observation

by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 7:50pm

Between Annoyingmouse and Keith(1), this comment thread SUCKS. Not even RaiderJoe could save us from those retards.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 9:48pm

The word "sucks" is an offensive term, deriving from the act of fellatio and implying sexual submission and humiliation, particularly of women and of gay men. I wish you avoid using such offensive language in the future.