Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Dec 2005

2005 Quick Reads: Week 16

This week's Quick Reads features a look at DPAR's best running back seasons, many of which are going on now. Maybe Michael David Smith is right about Larry Johnson being an All-Pro. Also, for those of you who didn't tune in to the scintillating Vikings-Ravens tilt on Christmas night (what ever were you thinking?), you'll be shocked at the week's top quarterback. Loser Leagues wept the world over.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 26 Dec 2005

31 comments, Last at 28 Dec 2005, 12:16pm by B


by Walt Pohl (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 9:00pm

Aaron, the answer to your Matt Hasselbeck question is "yes". For the purposes of bias, Los Angeles counts as East Coast.

by Adam (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 9:11pm

Kyle Boller atop a list of NFL QB's? Blasphemy!

by dfarrar777 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 9:18pm

Re: The Brees/Hasselbeck conundrum, I believe the term in this case would be, “South Left Non-Pacific Northwest Coast Bias�. This is also in effect when anyone on Total Access (based in L.A., of course) fails to concede the MVP award to Shaun Alexander every five minutes.

by dedkrikit (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 9:20pm

I *love* the comments on the RBs. Didn't figure out the song until the last line on Portis -- very nice!
And the J. "Toast" Lewis reference reminded me of the old Mutant League Football game on the Sega Genisis.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 10:39pm

Long live Digital Underground!

I don't know what to make of the Boller thing. Mostly I hope he's fooling the Ravens into thinking he's a real NFL QB and giving him a few more years. But there's just a wee bit that's somewhat afraid - what if he actually is becoming a good QB? Man, that would suck. Hopefully they'll throw a $25 million bonus at Jamal Lewis just to screw themselves over, just in case.

by VIncenzo (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 10:45pm

Chris Cooley is the Redskins #2 wide receiver. Seriously.

by doktarr (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 10:52pm

Trogdor, as a guy who traded Ricky Williams for Chester Taylor in a keeper league, I really, really hope they don't.

by NF (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 10:58pm

I had a funny joke this morning I was going to post here, but I forgot it.

On the subject of Charlie Frye, is there a "he is playing on the Cleveland Browns 2.0" exception? No, I'm not a Browns fan.

by Sara (not verified) :: Mon, 12/26/2005 - 11:23pm

Nice Spinal Tap refernce.

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 1:28am

I'm glad to see Boller really turning it on. Everyone always lumps him in with Joey Harrington, Rex Grossman, and David Carr when discussing 1st round QB busts, but I think Harrington is the only one who belongs on that list. Carr plays with a 3 man offensive line (because I refuse to believe a 5-man line could be that bad), Grossman's been injured and never has had a chance to prove himself (which is funny, because coming out of college scouts said he reminded them of Favre with his toughness), and I've always liked what I've seen from Boller. Not a ton, mind you, but I've always felt like he was showing the makings of a fine NFL QB, much like most people feel about Eli Manning. I can tell you I'd rather have Kyle Boller than Phillip Rivers, that's for sure.

Also, keep in mind, before this season, his only receiving threat was Heap. As Aaron mentioned, Derrick Mason is tremendously underrated. Owens showed us the effect a star receiver can have on his QBs numbers, so why did no one believe that Mason would improve Boller at least a little?

No, I'm not a Baltimore fan. I'm a Denver fan. And yes, Terrell Davis's season was unbelievable, especially when you consider he missed about 2 whole games worth of action, with all the halves that Denver sat him down in at the end of the year after they clinched. Give him another 2 games worth of numbers and he would have set records that would be virtually unassailable.

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 1:29am

Double post, but I'm surprised at no comments on Grossman. You would think football outsiders would be weighing in and at least saying "the fact that he has positive DPAR means that he's a DRASTIC improvement over Orton. We were saying Chicago should see what they got in Grossman, and now that they have, they're legitimate contenders." I guess it's been done already, though.

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 1:32am

Aaaaand with the trifecta... does anyone realize that 7 of the top 10 RB seasons have come with Dick Vermeil RBs in Dick Vermeil offenses? 3 top 10 seasons for Faulk (although, technically, two were under Martz, it was in the offense Vermeil installed). 3 top 10 seasons for Holmes (whose 3 year run was actually significantly better than the more widely recognized 3 year run of Faulk)... and now a top 10 season for Larry Johnson. A common joke between my friends when ranking fantasy players in the preseason is that we'll title a top-10 spot "Denver RB" and fill it in with whoever wins the job. We really need to be doing that with "Vermeil RB", too.

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 1:48am

What is Charlie Batch's DPAR for the one pass he threw, a 31-yard touchdown pass?
(he was involved in no other plays, other than handing the ball to reserve running back Verron Haynes)

by The Phil (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 1:53am

"I'm a freak
I like to keep things unruly.
I once threw a touchdown pass to Chris Cooley."

That works in or out-of-context.

by SJM (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 2:28am

For the record, before this week (when Seatle played against Indy's second string) Brees had a higher DPAR than Hasselbeck.

But if you looking for bias, well, Brees was a Pro Bowler last year and displaced a high 1st round pick, maybe that's why he's getting more attention than Hasselbeck. Also, Brees clearly is better than at least two of the NFC Pro Bowl quarterbacks this year as well as anyone who was "snubbed," while he got bumped down off the AFC squad, so maybe journalists feel bad for him.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 2:45am

With Boller, the early talk was that this would be a make-or-break year, partly because they got him a legit receiving threat. Basically, a no-excuses kind of year. And until two weeks ago, it looked like nothing had changed. The linked page is his game-by-game stats, and the last two weeks completely stand out. If he's really a good QB, why was he looking upward at mediocre all year?

It would be one thing if he'd been putting up QB ratings of mid-80's all year and had these two games - that would look like solid improvement, and a couple of real breakout games. In other words, what we'd expect with another year of maturity and adding a great receiver. But the way it's happened, these last two games stand out so much, it's really hard to trust them. Has he truly turned the corner, or is he still the below-average QB of weeks 10-14? That's what's so hard to get a handle on, and the one I really hope Baltimore manages to screw up somehow. You know, 'coz I hate Baltimore.

by dbt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 3:28am

I'd actually like to see Muhsin's DPAR and dropped passes count. Oy.

by Joe (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 4:16am

The humpty dance is your chance...to do the hump.

Do the humpty hump.

by Michael David Smith :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 8:45am

"Terrell Davis’s season was unbelievable, especially when you consider he missed about 2 whole games worth of action, with all the halves that Denver sat him down in at the end of the year after they clinched."

Which games are you referring to? He had 29 carries in the season finale.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 9:24am

Kibbles #12:

If we had DPAR back into the 1970's, I'd bet the 1979 and 1981 Wilbert Montgomery seasons under Vermeil would be pretty highly rated also (he got injured in 1980).

1979 - 338 rushes for 1512 yards (4.5 y/r), 9 ruTD, 41 receptions for 494 yards (12.0 y/c), 5 reTD

1981 - 286 rushes for 1402 yards (4.9 y/r), 8 ruTD, 49 receptions for 521 yards (10.6 y/c), 2 reTD.

by masocc (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 9:48am

Pay no attention to Kibbles, MDS, he's hallucinating. TD absolutely TORCHED the Seahawks for 178 yards in the season finale of 1998 (and played well into the 4th quarter). He also played into the 4th vs. Miami the previous week (though was VERY ineffective). And into the 4th against the Giants the week before that. Sooo, ummm, unless the Broncos clinched the title and HF advantage in errr, week 10....?

(Oh, and lest ye think I'm some sort of TD encyclopedia, I pulled most of that info from CNN/SI box scores. Except for the Seahawks torching. Blargh. We were still in the wildcard hunt, and Denver played their studs just to stick it to us.)

by masocc (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 9:51am

Ooops, I forgot a very important part of my previous post:

Those bastiches!

by Oswlek (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 12:38pm

From prior Kibbles passages I think he means that Denver sat Davis for several second halves in games that they were winning handily.

I don't think he is saying that TD missed any complete games, just that he sat for about 120 minutes worth of game time.

by Justus (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 1:47pm

Yeah, I think Kibbles is referring to various fourth quarters that Davis sat. Still, I think the complaint doesn't make sense. Davis had 392 carries. Whether those came in "14" games or 16, that's still a crapload. If TD "only" played 14 games then he "should have had" 448 carries which is so far ahead of anyone else in history it is ridiculous. (Any surprise his career was done after that season?)

(By way of comparison, Barry Sanders' 2000 yard season came on 57 fewer carries. Sanders averaged 6.1 yards per attempt that season.)

by TomC (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 3:30pm

Double post, but I’m surprised at no comments on Grossman.

I actually had a post written and queued up (it just said "Replacement Rex! Replacement Rex!"), but I deleted it because I figured people had gotten sick of hearing about it.

by Bob Cook (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 4:07pm

I'm not sure we want to know if Portis once got busy in a Burger King bathroom.

by masocc (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 5:21pm

Don't make me look up the box scores for the whole bloody season. TD didn't sit much at all that year. Nearly 400 carries (with Elway at QB) says enough to that right there.

Besides, most RBs sit for a quarter here or there each season with a lead, injury, blowout loss, etc.

by Richie (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 8:48pm

Re: Boller

For some reason I am intrigued by him. I am not a Ravens fan. But if you look at his game log this season, he was OK in week 1 against Indianpolis. (Did he play the whole game?)

Then he missed 7 games due to injury.

First game back against Jacksonville was horrible. I think you can write that off to being rusty, and playing against a solid defense.

His next 4 games had QB ratings between 65 and 80, which isn't great, but isn't completely horrible either.

I'd say you have a combination of "finally getting it" coupled with playing against opponents that are out of it the past couple weeks. And also finally getting healthy and up to speed after missing half the season.

My conclusion? None. I thought the additions of Jim Fassel, Rick Neuheisel and Derrick Mason would help turn Boller into a good QB, and send Baltimore back to the Super Bowl.

by Vince (not verified) :: Tue, 12/27/2005 - 8:58pm

The last line of that Ode to Digital Underground was so awful, it made the rest of it that much greater.

by Hector (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 10:15am

Re : Boller
He can throw long (even on the knees...), he is flashy (humm, can a date with Tara Reid qualify for that), he worked with Jim Fassel...

Is he the next Raiders' QB ?

I'd like for Boller he has the chance to play a fourth year, even as a sub for Miami or to nurse the start for Pennington or in Chicago.
To be sub in Chicago MEANS you will start.

How much did his injury stop his progression ? Can Will answer ?

by B (not verified) :: Wed, 12/28/2005 - 12:16pm

A date with Tara Reid doesn't qualify for anything except a herpes screening.