Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

20 Oct 2008

2008 Quick Reads: Week 7

The new kids on the block take over Quick Reads this week.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 20 Oct 2008

45 comments, Last at 22 Oct 2008, 9:13am by resident jenius


by Anonymous please? (not verified) :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 12:48am

Give Nick Collins, GB safety, catcher of 5 INTs this year a little credit, please!

He has finally fulfilled his draft position, and more!

by MCS :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 7:16pm

Strange...NFL.com has Collins with 4 ints. Regardless, two went for TDs. I agree that a little respect is finally due.

I'll admit that I was calling for his dismissal last season. Mmmmm, crow is tasty.

by dbt :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 1:04am

It's not quite accurate, but I've started calling oakland's CB "awesome-oowa"

by Independent George :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 9:28am

What about AWESOM-O?

Who do you think he's going to be playing for next year?

by hector :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 1:17am

When the Lions finally stopped an attempt to Johnson in the fourth quarter, down 28 points, the eight remaining fans in Ford Field let out a mock cheer the likes of which would've put goalies who make a save after giving up three goals on three shots and pitchers who get an out after allowing three consecutive homers to shame. OK, we're lying. The eight remaining fans at Ford Field were probably suiting up for the team at that point.

Cute line, but the game was in Houston.

Moore is your argument against ever spending a first-round pick or serious dough on anything but an elite running back.

Peter King agrees! "All I know is Moore's the latest example of how you can find running backs, and unless it's Adrian Peterson, I'm never drafting one in the first round." Actually, I think all of us agree. It's long been a fungible position.

by BigDerf :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 4:11am

Of course not.... you never take a Running Back in the first round....

Unless he's LT... or AD... Or Joseph Addai... Or Steven Jackson....

Based on my rough count, 18 teams currently have a former first round pick either as their starter or as a member of their 2 back RBBC.

Sure you see a lot of first round guys get hurt but that's just the nature of the position.

by Dales :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 8:02am

LT- yes.

AD- I am drawing a blank...

JA- no.

Steven Jackson- yes.

18 teams may have a 1st as their starter or as part of the rotation, but I think I agree with the idea that it is a bad idea to spend high draft choices on all but the most elite of running backs.

by crack (not verified) :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 8:32am

AD is All Day Adrian Peterson. Stupid moniker, but AD likes it.

by Dales :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 12:46pm

OK, he's a yes.

But the list of current yesses is not much bigger that that small list (sans Addai).

by tuluse :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 12:57pm

Ronnie Brown

Marshawn Lynch

Larry Johnson

I think those guys were worth their draft position.

by TGT :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 8:40am

So then half the teams have non-first round starters or part of their RBBC.

The point wasn't that first round running backs are risky; the point was that later round running backs are just as good as most first round running backs. If you're not getting a back who can immediately be top 5 in the league, you'd be better served spending that 1st round pick on a more important position, and plucking your starter on day 2, or off the waiver wire.

I hated the Raven's trade for McGahee and pick of Ray Rice in the 2nd round last year. Sure McGahee's good, but he's not worth the money compared to the average running back, and Rice was completely unnecessary with the given backfield.

by Independent George :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 9:38am

Yes, RBs are fungible, but it also depends on things like your roster needs, and who else is available in the draft. In a weak draft class, you're better off overpaying for a rookie RB you'll get production out of than overpaying for a backup DE that you cut in four years anyway.

Speaking of which, 2004 is starting to look like one of the best ever.

by David :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 12:00pm

Admit it, you just posted that link to further mock 49er fans, right? (Rashaun Woods, for those of you too lazy to click through)

Also, calling it one of the best ever, though I'd generally agree, you do have to look past the elephant in the room at 2nd overall pick: Robert Gallery

by RowdyRoddyPiper :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 4:58pm

"you do have to look past the elephant in the room at 2nd overall pick: Robert Gallery"

There's got to be a Raider's exemption in there right?

It's obviously too early to say anything conclusive but looking at the success that 3 of the 4 QBs taken in the first round have had (Manning, Rivers, Roethlisberger) it's not crazy to think this could be on par with 1983. I mean they both started the same way, with the number one over all refusing to sign (or indicating they would refuse to sign) with the team that drafted them.

by Independent George :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 8:53pm

Draft Day 2004: a talent pool so deep, even Matt Millen couldn't screw it up.

Round 1: Manning, Fitzgerald, Rivers, Taylor, Winslow, Roy Williams, Dunta Robinson, Roethlisberger, Vilma, Lee Evans, Tommie Harris, Will Smith, Wilfork, Steven Jackson, Ben Watson

Round 2: Snee, Olshansky, Julius Jones, Bob Sanders, Tank Johnson

Rounds 3+: Cooley, Schaub, Cotchery, Vasher, Jared Allen, Patrick Crayton, Derrick Ward

by ammek :: Wed, 10/22/2008 - 3:39am

Ah but Mike Sherman went where Millen feared to tread. Round one: Ahmad "illegal contact" Carroll. Round three: two defensive busts and a (failed) punter.

by ammek :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 3:48am

I approached this week's Quick Reads with some trepidation: no Bengals RB to laugh at. But everything turned out OK: I got to laugh at a Raiders running back instead.

This week's QB stats, plus the simmering War of Brett's Phone Call, ought to put a (temporary) end to Favrostalgia in Wisconsin. Hopefully it might put an end to announcers comparing Rodgers with his predecessor, too, but I don't think we're gonna be spared that for many years to come.

Does Cotchery's -45 DYAR rank with the worst single-game receiving performances of the DVOA Epoch? Sounds pretty low to me. Though I'm sure Chris Chambers has managed worse.

by Not Anonymous (not verified) :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 5:36am

You could run this exercise with anyone, I know, but Orton has a 10/4 TD/INT ratio and a 91.4 QB rating (14th in NFL). But just in this last game alone he was cheated out of multiple TDs (Clark fumbled on the 1 and Booker dropped a sure TD twice). If his ratio was, say, 12/4, his rating soars to, oh only 94.3 (11th). Not quite as dramatic a change as I was expecting. Last year, that rating would have placed him 8th between Garcia and Hasselbeck.

Cherry-picking some more, his last three games rate a cumulative 106.2, which as a seasonal score would rank him 2nd in the league both now and last year. (It's 113.1 if you give him back the 2 missed TDs, which would lead in 2008, but still been second to Brady last year.)

So what's his true level? Has he had a couple career fluky games? Has he peaked? Plateaued? Or is he just getting started? Will he continue to improve each week? Is he due for a huge correction? Is he a 100+ QB? Does he settle in the 90s or fall back to the 80s (or farther)?

Personally, I'm rooting for the guy, but still think he'd be hard pressed to challenge 100+ for the duration (defense neutral that is). Low to mid-90s seems about right.

by Eddo :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 9:12am

I think he's reaching his true level, though games against Detroit and Minnesota inflate his numbers. He's a good to very good quarterback now. Will he still make mistakes? Of course, everyone does.

Orton's shown enough to have Ron Turner give him full control of the offense. He spreads the ball around well. As one Outsider pointed out in Audibles, he doesn't get happy feet in the pocket. He's very adept at reading defenses, which he's had to do since his freshman year at Purdue.

Numbers-wise, I'd say he'll settle in the high 80's to low 90's. I think he could be higher if he had a true go-to receiver, but until that happens, low 90's is his peak.

by TomC :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 10:12am

I think he could be higher if he had a true go-to receiver

The most impressive thing about Orton's year so far has to be that he's doing it with those wide receivers. The emerging #1 had been in the bottom 10 in DVOA three years running, but now he's hurt, and the only guy left who had enough catches to qualify for an official DVOA the last few years is 106 years old and dropped two TD passes on Sunday.

The tight ends are good (when they're not getting stripped of the ball), and Forte is nice out of the backfield, but posting top-5 DYARs with Marty Booker, Rashied Davis, and Devin Hester? That's damned impressive.

And don't get me started on the offensive line.

by laberge :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 10:42am

I think you have Orton rated a little high. I bet his rating settles out more in the mid 70's to low 80's. He hasn't thrown up any stinkers, yet, and even great QB's have real bad days. Plus he plays in Chicago. The late season weather there will not be conducive to a strong finish for Orton.

by Jimmy :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 1:13pm

He hasn't thrown up any stinkers, yet

What the hell do you call the short pitch to Gaines Adams for a pick six touchdown? It was the worst throw I have seen a QB make all year, it coast the Bears the game. The only thing at all impressive about Orton that day is that he came back and made some pretty good throws later.

by tuluse :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 1:12pm

Minnesota had the 7th ranked pass defense according to DVOA going into this game.

by scott257 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 7:37am

On Eli Manning: Receivers dropped at least 5 passes. I thought he was throwing the ball pretty well, all things considered.

by Dales :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 8:08am

As I mentioned on the Open Discussion thread for week 7, in my opinion the problem this week was not with his accuracy, but with his decisions. Time and again, he was forcing the ball to receivers who were not open. I cannot rule out, with 100% certainty, that there were better options or receivers less well covered on those plays, but if there were not then that is something that the 49ers have not been noted as being capable of doing so far this year. I think it is more likely that Eli was just having a tough day in his decision-making.

by Independent George :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 9:42am

I didn't see the game, but from the radio broadcast, it seemed like he was forcing it to Plax when he wasn't open. It seems like he's hitting Smith pretty consistently when he goes to him.

by Flounder :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 8:14am

You guys have Nick Furgeson instead of Nick Collins in Peyton Manning's comment.

by TGT :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 9:12am

I watched nearly the whole Browns-Skins game, and I don't think people should read too much into Anderson's poor day. Edwards dropped at least 5 sure completions, and ran the obviously wrong route at least 3 times that I could see. Who knows how many times he ran the wrong route and didn't get thrown to. It was like he couldn't read coverage at all:

1) Big blitz up the middle, CB plays off: Runs a double move deep, and the pass goes at his feet. DA was expecting a short slant.
2) Cover 2 with DEEP safeties: runs a weird double fake followed by a post going right into coverage, and the throw goes to the open 15yard out. It looked like Edwards was making up his own play to fake out the LB underneath. He did completely turn him around, but a simple 15 yard out would have been uncovered.
3) Man coverage, outside technique: Runs a deep out. Anderson nearly turfs the ball after aborting a pass over the middle, and then rushes a throw to the alternate sideline with pressure coming. The replay showed no one else even close to where he was looking at first.

As if Edwards' screwups weren't enough, Jamal Lewis returned to the guy I new in Baltimore. Twice he was hit in the hands on dump offs with room to run, and both times it was like he was like he was a defensive linemen in tecmo superbowl. When he finally did catch one, it went for 15 yards to the 1, but he still missed it at first, and got lucky that it landed back in his hands.

I'm not saying DA is back to last year's form, but he wasn't nearly as horrible as his conventional stats and DYAR show. I'm also a Ravens fan who would love last year to be an aberration. (In case you don't know, the Raven's cut Anderson. Was Billick an offensive genius at some point? No, I'm not bitter.)

by Eddo :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 9:15am

I didn't see the game, but from your description, Edwards seems to have regressed from last year, which looked like his breakout year.

Plays #1 and #3 above sound like his fault, but play #2 sounds like a designed route to get the linebacker to commit to Edwards or the underneath receiver. Since he chose Edwards, the 15-yard-out was open. Or am I misunderstanding your description?

by Temo :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 9:49am

That disconnect came out all over the place in Week 7.

I know I'm fighting a losing battle here, but DISCONNECTION is the correct word here.

If there it was acceptable to use "connect" as a noun, then I could understand using disconnect as a noun. But it isn't, and you can't.

by TomC :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 10:04am

Yes, you're fighting a battle against established usage and lexicology. Even the OED accepts "disconnect" as noun meaning "a complete lack of understanding, agreement, or consistency; a discrepancy."

by Temo :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 11:01am

Thanks for saying what I just said, that was helpful.

Listen, I didn't say it was wrong, I'm just saying that it sucks. You wouldn't say that two things have a 'connect'; you'd say they have a 'connection'.

Then why would two things have a 'disconnect' instead of a 'disconnection'.

I hate that word more on principle of logic than lexicology.

EDIT: I should mention in all fairness that Safire disagrees: But it was not a disconnection ; the word disconnect has a sense beyond the physical breakage of contact.

I disagree that disconnect as a noun means something more than 'disconnection', but again I'm sure I'm fighting a losing battle on that one.

by tuluse :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 1:03pm

You aren't fighting a losing battle, it's already been lost :).

Personally, a disconnection has a connotation that there was once a connection, while a disconnect doesn't.

by TomC :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 5:16pm

Thanks for saying what I just said, that was helpful.

No problem. Oh wait, you were being sarcastic. Ah, then let me see:

Listen, I didn't say it was wrong, I'm just saying that it sucks.

You said the following: "I know I'm fighting a losing battle here, but DISCONNECTION is the correct word here." That sure sounds to me like you're saying it's wrong.

And you said: "If there it was acceptable to use "connect" as a noun, then I could understand using disconnect as a noun. But it isn't, and you can't." Now this is an impressively garbled sequence of sentences, but I think I can extract some key words from it, namely "acceptable" and "isn't" and "can't". Maybe you're drawing a subtle distinction between "not acceptable" and "wrong".

by Temo :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 9:39pm

Maybe you're drawing a subtle distinction between "not acceptable" and "wrong".

I was, and failed. Fair enough. Chalk it up to bad writing on my part for the misunderstanding then.

by ineedawittyname (not verified) :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 10:48am

this just in: Nnamdi Asomugah is good.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 12:03pm

Is there a mirror to this page anywhere? ESPN is blocked behind a firewall at my office, but FO is cool ;)

Chris Horton for defensive rookie of the year.

by DrObvious (not verified) :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 12:26pm

Google cache's most every webpage within a few hours. You can access the cache by google searching "cache:[someurl]", so for example searching "cache:www.aol.com" will bring up google's aol cache.

I think there's a firefox plugin floating around to make this an automate right click.

by Dan :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 1:04pm

What a bizarre game for the Vikings offense. On their 7 scoring possessions (5 TDs & 2 TDs) they had 7 legitimate drives (all starting inside their own 40 yard line), moving the ball an average of 64 yards per possession and picking up a total of 27 first downs. On their other 6 possessions, they gained a grand total of 10 yards, picked up 1 first down, turned it over 4 times on interceptions and once on downs, and punted once (which was blocked after the punter fumbled). Has an offense ever scored 40+ points and had a worse game, or has a defense ever allowed 40+ and had a better game?

by BucNasty :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 2:25pm

This is late as hell, but has anyone heard what Collinsworth says about Steve Smith whenever he makes a big play in Madden '09?

"How many times have we seen it were a defender thinks he has him, and he just turns around and hits him in the mouth..."

by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 4:53pm

Dan - I agree bizarre. But that's Frerotte - one pass is great the next completely off target. Any pass rush and he's sacked. And, the running attack so often leaves them in second and 10+.

I think the Vikings will likely go on a run now. I see them winning 5 of the next 6. But then lose 2 or 3 of the final three to miss the playoffs.

Next 6 games - home to Hous, GB, @TB, @Jack, Chic, @Det

Final 3 games - @Ariz, Atl, NYG

by Eddo :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 5:02pm

Houston at home is a likely win, and at Detroit should be too.

But Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, and Chicago have shown themselves to be good teams. I can't see the Vikings beating the Buccaneers on the road, and I wouldn't be surprised if they lost all three against the Packers, Bears, and Jaguars. I would be surprised if they won all three of those, however.

by tylerdolphin :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 5:09pm

There is no way Pennington was the 3rd best QB Sunday. He was WAY off his game. He was inaccurate, missed wide open receivers, and basically wasn't himself. Combine that with a few bonehead decisions (QB sneak on 2nd and 16??, A run on 3rd and 11 inside the 20??) that he admitted to calling himself and he simply did not have a good day at all. He also dumped the ball of on 4th down with the game on the line. You HAVE to try make something happen there. A covered dumpoff is not even an option. Nevermind that horrible pick 6.

by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/21/2008 - 5:34pm

Eddo - bit of a crazy prediction but I don't think the Bears or Packers are really any better than the Vikings and given it's a home game I would make them favourites. Det and Hous are awful and Jacksonville and TB are pretty much mediocre teams as well.

This is a crazy year - I really don't see much difference between the top 20 teams. Luck will play a bigger role this year in who makes the playoffs than it does in most years.

by resident jenius :: Wed, 10/22/2008 - 9:13am

Just a little shout for Steve!

Of the two incompletions directed his way, one was a such a poor throw that he would have had to be about 20 feet tall to catch in bounds. The other was a pretty pass right into his bread-basket that should have been a score. So I guess 4th place was about right for the week.

Both of his incomplete passes were bombs though... does DYAR give him any credit for that?