Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

18 Mar 2013

MMQB: The Rise of the NFC West

In this week's MMQB, Peter discusses early gains in free agency (and trades) made by the NFC West, the agenda at this week's owners meetings in Phoenix, and grades the best free-agent signings ... so far.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 18 Mar 2013

40 comments, Last at 21 Mar 2013, 12:54pm by Insancipitory


by Guest789 :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 12:11pm

"9. I think it was nice to speak to you again Sunday night, Sean Payton."
Is there any point to that other than name drop? Seriously.


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

by CBPodge :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 12:50pm

I think the point was something along the lines of "it's nice to have Sean Payton back in the NFL".

by CincySaint (not verified) :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 1:33pm

Actually I think the point is that Loomis and Payton had not spoken to PK since his one-sided, non-journalistic POV on the so-called "bounty" scandal. I think King is showing that Payton is a source again. I'd love to know what they talked about :)

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 12:34pm

I think getting rid of the tuck rule is a terrible idea.

Now we're going to have referees trying to judge the intent of the quarterback a fraction of a second after his arm starts coming forward. Was it an incomplete pass? Was it a tuck and now a fumble? Don't know, there's not enough time to tell.

Yeah, the rule produces an ugly situation every once in a while, but its a fundamentally sound idea.

by CBPodge :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 12:52pm

It'll be especially a problem because you'll need strong evidence to overturn it, when it's one of those plays for which strong evidence doesn't always exist.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 1:24pm

The tuck rule was never uniformly applied in the first place. Now, it's a fumble regardless.

I'm actually more concerned about the running back rule. I believe it will lead to even more RB injuries.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 1:50pm

"The tuck rule was never uniformly applied in the first place. Now, it's a fumble regardless."

No, now its a fumble when the referee decides that the 2 inches the QB's hand has moved forward over the last 1/64th of a second has some downward component.

Its ridiculous to think that they can make that distinction, especially in real time. Even umpires don't have that sort of resolution, and they're set up with a perfect view of what they're trying to judge.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 3:08pm

The RB rule isn't really new, even if they end up adding language. It's just a subset of spearing. Offensive spearing has always been a legal call, even if it's more endangered than OPI.

\Fittingly, offensive spearing is the unicorn of football calls.

by Jimmy :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 1:49pm

For the life of me I could never understand why they introduced the rule in the first place. If the QB thinks that in an attempt to fake out defenders twenty yards away that waggling the ball about in a pocket surrounded by pass rushers is a good idea then he deserves to suffer the worst possible consequences of his actions when he gets caught out. This isn't a safety issue it is a 'If you are going to take one of the two hands that should be securing the ball away then you better be trying to throw it because otherwise you are taking one massive risk with ball security." issue.

And I am not sure that you are right in this statement;

Now we're going to have referees trying to judge the intent of the quarterback a fraction of a second after his arm starts coming forward.

To go back to the most famous tuck of all time, Brady wasn't bringing his arm forward, he was lifting it up to near his ear again. I have never been able to understand why that wasn't a fumble, rule or no rule.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 1:56pm

"Brady wasn't bringing his arm forward, he was lifting it up to near his ear again."

No, not at all. He had lifted the ball up, started bringing it forward and down, and got hit.


Honestly, its just much easier to tell referees "if the ball is coming forward, its an incomplete pass".

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 2:00pm

I'm guessing you just don't understand the rule at all.

The rule basically says, "If the QB brings his arm back to throw, once his hand starts coming forward, if the ball comes out, its a pass attempt".

The rule is so the referee doesn't have to try to guess whether the QB was trying to throw the ball when it slips out of his hand or is knocked out. If hes making a throwing motion, its a throw.

by Jimmy :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 3:52pm

And I'm guessing that you are a rude Patriots fan still pointlessly angry that people don't agree with the call ten years later.

He wasn't trying to throw the ball and wasn't trying to bring the ball back into his body. He was either trying to throw the ball into the ground in front of him (which would be intentional grounding and a sack) or he was trying to bring the ball back to his shoulder (which isn't going forward and would be a fumble). Unless you have the tuck rule nonsense leaving it as more of a judgement for the referee and for some reason not giving a fumble when a QB has fumbled.

If you honestly think that Brady was trying to throw the ball when Woodson knoced the ball out then you are (intentionally?) deluded.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Tue, 03/19/2013 - 9:59am

I don't know whether he was trying to throw the ball (and neither would a referee). The ball was coming forward.

Thats the point. The rule is simpler to judge this way.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 4:07pm

So now it's simpler, if the quarterback is trying to throw the ball it's a pass, incomplete or otherwise, and if he isn't then it's a fumble. Why is there any need for a tuck rule? It's a non-functioning, evolutionary relic of the NFL's attempts to remove any grey area from the rules, it's an inflamed appendix and should be removed.

by RickD :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 4:56pm

Agreeing with Karl. Don't see the need for a tuck rule. If it's a passing motion, it's an incomplete pass. If not, it's a fumble.


by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Tue, 03/19/2013 - 10:13am

" if the quarterback is trying to throw the ball it's a pass, incomplete or otherwise, and if he isn't then it's a fumble"

And how do we tell that in the case when the hand has come forward an inch or two?

Why are we trying to make referees make judgement on things that we know they can't tell the difference between. Between comparing baseball umpires to pitchFX, and watching umpires on slow-mo, we know they can't pick these things up consistently.

So why are we pretending here? It just makes sure that they make a lot of mistakes.

by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 03/19/2013 - 10:35am

I don't see where you're coming from. The tuck rule was itself a huge judgement call in how it was applied. Now, it's a much more clearly worded ruling and your beef is it's going to require them making a judgement call? What calls don't require that?

by dryheat :: Wed, 03/20/2013 - 4:08pm

Seriously....this is hard to understand?

Tuck Rule - If the quarterback has the ball in a throwing motion and brings his arm down, it is considered an act of passing until the ball is brought back into his body, regardless if the quarterback was trying to throw the ball or not.

No Tuck Rule - The official has to make a determination whether the quarterback was trying to throw the football or had decided not to throw the football.

Personally I couldn't care less if there is or isn't a tuck rule, but it's pretty obvious which one requires the official to make a judgement of intent. Not really different from the old "force out" rule, where the side judge had to make a judgement whether the receiver would have caught the ball in bounds without contact. Now it's simply out of bounds, taking that judgement away from the officials.

There is no abiguity in the tuck rule call. I never saw an official rule it incorrectly, although it could well have been. Which makes it pretty much the same as every other infraction.

by Insancipitory :: Wed, 03/20/2013 - 4:14pm

Go to NFL.com and watch Andy Dalton throw a ball 10 yards directly behind him, run back fall on it, get touched down, and have the ball return to the previous spot via tuck rule. Directly behind him, forward pass.


by dryheat :: Thu, 03/21/2013 - 7:59am

This video is no longer available via the link, but I believe I remember this play, and if so, it was the proper application of the rule. Didn't he lose the ball taking a hit on a pump fake? Incomplete pass, easy black and white call, since his arm wasn't reset after making a passing motion.

I'm not maintaining that the tuck rule was a good rule (obviously at least 30 NFL teams thought not). It was a rule installed to take away the judgement of the official. I'm not maintaining that that is a good idea either.

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Thu, 03/21/2013 - 8:07am

You've got something set wrong, the video is still available, maybe an adblocker is preventing the ads the NFL like to have before videos.

You're also thinking of the wrong play. There was no one near him, he threw the ball across his body, like a backwards pass to a running back that you see occasionally there was a receiver in the direction he was looking but he was covered. The ball went 10 yards back, nearly in the endzone, he ran back and covered it up and they called it a tuck rule. Yes, it was really the ball slipping out after a pump fake but it was a fumble.

by Insancipitory :: Thu, 03/21/2013 - 12:54pm

The video still works for me as well, but I took the time to get the direct video link http://www.nfl.com/films/s2011/nflcom/w08/111030_phl_bp_dalton_bad_pump_...

by dryheat :: Thu, 03/21/2013 - 12:59pm


by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 03/19/2013 - 10:29am

I can't recall the tuck rule ever being applied where I thought it worked out well. It was never consistently applied, making it clear even the officials weren't 100% sure how it was supposed to work. And when a rule is that confusing, it's always best to have it be gone.

by mehlLageman56 (not verified) :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 2:11pm

The Tuck Rule is gone? Does that mean Tom Brady's slippers fall off and the Patriots carriage of AFC East death turns into a pumpkin?

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 4:08pm

Nah, you're thinking of Fairy Godmothers, the Pats did their deal with the devil.

by RickD :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 4:59pm

Still not getting the hatred of the Patriots being anything more than envy.

Aside from Belichick's complete lack of social skills, he just doesn't seem "evil" to me.

It's not like he was offering money to his players to injure his opponents, for example.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 5:04pm

It's just a silly joke continuing the supernatural theme the previous poster initiated, if you really want to get into why people don't like the Pats I'd try starting with spygate.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Tue, 03/19/2013 - 10:16am

You mean that big hub-bub about something that about 15 teams in the league admitted to doing?

Still sounds like envy over a lot of wins in the last decade.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 03/19/2013 - 11:02am

I don't have any negative thoughts about the Patriots. Having said that, if I had been NFL Commissioner, and had been the recipient of that smart-assed, 2nd year law school, explanation of why the last video taping occurrence was the result of a good faith effort, to be in compliance with the relevant league memo addressing the practice, I would have been tempted to take away a year's worth of draft picks. I then would have explained to the Patriots' management that, since understanding the fundamentals of the english language was such a challenge for them, I was, merely as a good faith effort to help, relieving them of the need to spend any time on college scouting for a year, so as to free up time for every manager in the organization to take remedial language classes.

I really, in general, dislike slow learners.

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 03/19/2013 - 11:32am

I'm not going to get into the specifics of Spygate but at no stage did 15 teams admit to doing the same thing. Did not happen, you can't just make stuff up.

"Still sounds like envy over a lot of wins in the last decade."

OK Patsy the troll, keep it civil.

by Purds :: Tue, 03/19/2013 - 10:41am

Simplify it: arrogance.
1. We don't need to follow NFL rules about video taping
2. We don't need to follow the intent of NFL injury reports
3. "We're only going to score 17 points? O.K."
4. Our head coach doesn't need to answer any questions after a loss

continue the list at your leisure

by Jimmy :: Tue, 03/19/2013 - 12:40pm

According to Teddy Jonhson he was plenty good at injuring his own players.

by ViciousChickenOfBristol (not verified) :: Tue, 03/19/2013 - 1:14pm

Well, I guess it really depends on your definition of evil.

Thou shalt not steal (opponents signals)
Thou shalt not commit adultery (well documented)
Thou shalt not covet (thy neighbor's Tight End, unwritten rules, yada yada)

Then of course there are the deadly sins...

Lust (see above)
Gluttony (running up scores)
Sloth (dressing like a hobo)
Pride (crybaby after a loss)

by Insancipitory :: Tue, 03/19/2013 - 1:32pm

If dressing like a hobo is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

by MehlLageman56 (not verified) :: Wed, 03/20/2013 - 2:08am

Since I've been a Jets fan since 1981, it is just envy, not even hate at this point. If Belichick doesn't write on that napkin, I'm probably pretty happy right now. I was just having fun with the comment. You're right about Belichick not supporting dirty play by his team, he even yanked Merriweather off the field when the safety did a helmet to helmet cheap shot.

by are-tee :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 4:29pm

"There's far too much smoke out there, and far too little whispering to sources off the record that Revis is going nowhere, for me to believe they aren't desperate to move him."

I don't understand why any team would trade for Revis now, with his contract expiring next year, coupled with a no-franchising provision - unless you're going to give him a big new contract now...which is crazy until you know whether he will be the same player coming off his ACL surgery.

by Jimmy :: Tue, 03/19/2013 - 8:37am

One year of Revis' career for the bargain basement price of $6m. One year only. Sign him while you can.

He can't hold out and you would get the chance to try to come to a long term deal with him.

by MehlLageman56 (not verified) :: Wed, 03/20/2013 - 2:16am

It doesn't make sense for the Jets to trade Revis until after the draft because of the cap hit. It doesn't make sense for another team to trade for him until they have some sign that he is close to being back. This is going to drag on for a while, but the real problem is the New York Media. The Jets new GM comes from Seattle, where they keep things quiet, and Idzik has been able to do that; the media had no clue about any of the guys the Jets have signed so far. The New York Media is completely in the dark, and all the stuff they print about the Revis situation, is basically rumors they've made up. As a fan who was sick of the Media last year, and pretty annoyed about tons of other stuff they've made up or gotten wrong, I'm loving this.

by Bill Walsh's Holy Ghost (not verified) :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 11:36pm

Is it just me or did King potentially just admit to a crime by stating he sends money in the mail for the purposes of betting on sports?