Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

01 Dec 2005

Week 13 Rundown

Every game this week is a "must win." OK, not really, but there are some contests that will go a long way in determining who gets to play well into January. Falcons-Panthers, Broncos-Chiefs, and Bengals-Steelers are all big division games. The Eagles still aren't out of it, but they'll have to play the Seahawks. And the Texans-Ravens matchup could very easily be renamed the Leinart/Bush Bowl. All that's missing is cousin Eddie and his dickie.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 01 Dec 2005

31 comments, Last at 03 Dec 2005, 2:59am by Sergio


by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 12:03pm

Personally, I'm hoping that the Ravens -- who statistically have a very slim shot at the top pick now, given who has to win games -- wind up in 3rd or 4th.

Repeating a little history by taking D'Brickashaw Ferguson to start rebuilding the O-line would make this fan happy indeed.

Failing that, am I the only person who thinks Lindale White will be just as good, if not better, than Regggie Bush in the NFL?

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 12:25pm

I'm with you on Lindale White.

I feel foolish, but I would like to jump on the Reggie Bust bandwagon... he's been dominant like Peter Warrick and Ki Jana Carter.. but it also seems like he could be a better version of Warrick Dunn.

by Joon (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 12:51pm

i'm not riding that train. bush is really good. certainly better than warrick, who was quick but not powerful; plus he's an RB, which means he will get the ball about twice as often as a WR.

dunn is very strange--in college he was the classic quick outside running back. but in the pros he almost always runs between the tackles. he obviously doesn't bowl guys over, but his shiftiness enables him to get through the hole and usually avoid the first man. other than edge, he's probably the best at getting 5-8 yards on a rush this year. i think bush is different--the downside for him is basically tatum bell.

by kjbad (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 1:45pm

Bush is nice, but there are a lot of teams that need a bigger back to complement the "speed" back that gets to the outside. AZ could definitely use LenDale White to go along with JJ Arrington, for example.

For the good of the NFL, Bush needs to go to a weak offensive team. If the Eagles or Rams ever got a hold of Reggie, look out.

by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 2:00pm

Mike Tanier, in your Falcons/Panthers breakdown, you referenced the Adjusted Line Yard rankings for the Offensive and Defensive Lines. But those pages are not up to date. They only includes the first 10 weeks.

by jim's apple pie (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 3:11pm

I think Lendale White is more of a classic NFL-type running back, but I don't think that means he'll be better than Reggie. I see White as being just another solid running back that is dependent on his o-line to make him great or average. He's Stephen Davis, Ricky Williams, Cedric Benson, etc. etc.

Bush has a chance to be a special talent, but I'm not sure if he's going to be able to take the pounding at the next level. Really, whatever team that drafts him should utilize him in the exact same way that USC does. Don't try to turn him into an every down, between the tackles running back. Use him at KR, RB, and WR but have another bruising tailback to take some of the load.

by Luz (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 3:27pm

this steelers fan is hoping lendale white falls to the steelers. they need a nice new big back to replace bettis and safeguard against staleys knee.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 3:57pm

The problem with the Bengals trying to use the Colts gameplan is that the Bengals defense isn't good enough - they can't stop the run like Indianapolis can (well, they can't stop the run at all, whereas Indy's just average).

In fact, it's not like Pittsburgh was completely unable to stop the Colts. They struggled in the first quarter, obviously, and struggled in the first drive after the half. Other than that, they managed the Colts pretty well.

by Bob Cook (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 3:58pm

White and Bush -- Gen Y's Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell.

by james (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 4:16pm

Bush is one of the most unique speed dependant football players ever. His top speed is second to very few. There are a few classes of speed in the NFL. You need to know 100m time and 40yd time to approximate field speed. These following times represtent the athletes at age 21/22

Class 1. Darrell Green 4.2 40y; 10.0 100m; 5.8s 65m with running start.

Class 2. Moss, Deion 4.2 40y; 10.1 100m; 5.9 65m with running start

Class 3. Reggie Bush 4.4 40y; 10.4 100m; 6s 65m with running start

Class 4. Warrick Dunn 4.2 40y; 10.2 100m; 6s 65m with running start

Class 5. Rocket Ismail 4.2 40y; 10.4 100m; 6.2 65m with running start

In the football speed heirarchy 65m with running start is the kind of speed that is optimal. That is point 1.

Point 2. Look at everyone else's 40 time on the list, it is 4.2. Bush makes the list with 4.4. Why?

It takes every sprinter a certain number of strides to reach their optimal stride length and top speed. 65m running start time and 40y time give approximations of these needs. Bush is the kind of guy who needs a bunch of steps to get going from standing still. Everyone else is not.

On the football field the length of time before contact allows Bush the steps he needs to become elite.

Without getting into to it too much, several of ND's dbs run 4.3 40s, and Bush outran every ND defender that day.

There aren't many guys with Bush/Dunn kind of top speed in the NFL. The one's that have it (Rossum, Whitted for example) are not skilled enough football players or aren't defenders(Moss). If Terrance Newman is still as fast as he was in college than he is an exception.(4.2 10.2 just like Dunn)

My point is that what you see in Reggie Bush is Randy Moss minus 4 or 5 inches. Same kind of accelaration but doesn't need as much space. Because, his legs aren't as long he doesnt need as much space to get them going.

The Moss comparison doesn't stop there. Bush is going to have a Moss type effect on the NFL. They have never seen a weapon like him out of the backfield. Alot of plays that usually can't be run in NFL because of the speed of the defense can be run with Bush.

Hopefully he can stay healthy.

by NF (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 4:56pm

In the football speed heirarchy 65m with running start is the kind of speed that is optimal. That is point 1.

Are you talking about Arena Football or the NFL?

On the football field the length of time before contact allows Bush the steps he needs to become elite.

Without getting into to it too much, several of ND’s dbs run 4.3 40s, and Bush outran every ND defender that day.

But Bush can't simply run right into his line. He has to find his holes and burst through them. Also, the reason Bush could outrun the ND defensive backs is that they aren't in a race with Bush. DBs have jobs like coverage, and on run plays need to head the opposite way that Bush is trying to go before he breaks away from the line.

by clem (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 5:05pm

So Matt Millen has a bunker 1500 feet below Detroit? Under Detroit there are extensive salt mines. The idea of Matt Millen literally toiling away in the salt mines has a certain appeal to this Lions fan .... If I remember correctly, at least part of the Lions' Allen Park complex is, fittingly, atop a former landfill. Another appropriate place to stash Millen.

by james (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 5:14pm

My point is that players get to move before they actually have to decide turn on their speed. This isn't true on the track. So 40yd time isn't always accurate to decide what kind of field speed an athlete has. Another example is Jerry Rice. By my calculations(rather archaic but using stop watch on the longest play i could find) Jerry Rice ran about a 6.2 65m. So although he only ran about a 4.6 40y he was still moving at Rocket Ismail type speed. That would make his 100m about 10.8. Not great but his 65 time was elite.

Notice a trend with the guys who 40 times are disproportionate to their 100m time? These are the next level guys.

by honest abe (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 5:28pm

i may be a drunk, but i thought this was top-notch. well done mike for insightful and witty comments.
i particularly liked the cards at 49ers comments:
"And now that Neil Rackers has missed his first field goal of the year, Denny Green cannot rely on anyone anymore."
i agree with a lot of your picks, such as the panthers and skins.

by cjfarls (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 7:32pm

Hey James-

How 'bout diggin up some old game films (which it seems you may have already done) and writing up an guest article for here on FO. I'm intrigued by your analysis... perhaps pre-draft?

by james (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 9:37pm

My uncle(a track/football coach) passed all of these ideas to me a while ago. So it really isn't my work. I got the 100m times from him or either googled them. I got the 40m times from googling and a checked them with a friend that is a scout. But the idea of figuring field speed is all my uncles. I just did the conversions.

My next project is Tedd Ginn. I'm having a hard time with him because he is alot slower than he was last year. Especially with top speed. I suspect he tried to put weight on. So it may take him 2 years to work his way to his previous level if its possible. His stride length is much shorter than it was last year. But its improving. Maybe he was injured or is changing the way he runs for some reason. He was a national level hurdler so he has the knowledge to fiddle with his own body. He's not a finished product yet. It is very hard to generate great top speed weighing anything more than 180 unless your legs are extremely long(think ex spring champion Linford Christie). Tim Montgomery 5'10ish only weighed about 175 while using the clear.

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 9:42pm

I think Bush has a very real shot of winding up in Cleveland. Especially if they still have Droughns to compliment Bush.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 11:41pm

Heh. Ginn's major problem for this season wasn't his speed. It's the fact that for half the year he thought that the football field runs side-to-side rather than along its length.

OK, maybe not his major problem. But if you saw him up until about midway through the season, on every kickoff return, I swear he ran the length of the football field side-to-side and gained 2 yards. That was nuts.

by james (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 12:54am

I agree that Ginn had that problem this year. However, I'm not convinced that it didnt have anythign to do with some loss of speed. I think he changed once he wasn't getting away with that anymore.

I don't remember what game it was last year but it was at night. He crossed the line of scrimmage then cut entirely back across the field and outran everyone. He jogged for the last 30 or so yard. Guys looked like they were in slow motion. Guys took good angles and got outran. He looked like a jogger his stride was so long.

I've only seen 5 OSU games this year. He has looked tons better in the last two.

I love speed guys so I hope his mojo is back.

by Zac (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 12:59am

Geez, Mike. How can I be expected to rely on you for witty pop culture references when you don't even mention that Nick and Jessica have broken up? I'm very disappointed.

by John (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 1:47am

I don't get this: why would Houston be stupid enough to sign Bush or Leinart? They have a QB and a RB. What they need is a LT and a S load of other OL and DL, and since everyone else is salivating over the USC duo they would be in a great situation to trade down. If Houston doesn't take D'Brickashaw with their first pick they deserve to lose forever.

by Scott (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 7:37am

Does anyone remember the fun-and-gun San Diego State football teams with Dan McGuire and Marshall Faulk? Marshall Faulk was the ultimate threat out of the back field rushing and receiving. He didn't have a big bruising back like LenDale White, so he had to be an every down, every situation runner. Reggie Bush has the same tools, but the short yardage runs and goal line runs usually go to White because of his talent and the perception that Bush is only the speed guy. If Marshall Faulk had a bruiser, he would have been just the speed guy, in college and in the pros. Fortunately for us, Faulk was given the opportunity to show his entire skill set. I think Reggie Bush is in that same mold and will transition to an everydown threat just fine at the Pro level.

With every running back durability is an issue. You can probably count the consistently durable primary running backs over the last decade on one hand. Emmitt Smith, Marshall Faulk, and Curtis Martin come to mind.

by Joon (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 12:30pm

eddie george.

that's it, i can't think of any more.

by EJP (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 12:52pm

Couldn't even read the first paragraph because of an ad for mortgage rates with no close button. Anyone know how to get around this? Fox Sports articles always have this, so you can even read the first few lines.

by EJP (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 1:03pm

I pray that the Packers will be in a position to draft Reggie Bush. I too view him as a Marshall Faulk-type back. What is the tiebreaker among teams with awful records as to who gets the top picks? If Green Bay and Houston, for example, both end up at 2-14, who picks first?

by Bowman (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 1:39pm

Strength of schedule for 1st round, than rotates through other rounds. The WEAKEST strength of schedule takes pick 1. Looking at the schedules, I'd have to imagine that HOU "beats" the other SOS teams easily.

by JMM (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 3:55pm

I remember only 3 players (in the NFL) with a "why did everyone else stop running?" speed gear. (a truely subjective measure, I admit) Sanders, Vick and Willie Parker.

RE #22 If you mean backs who have been durable for 10 years, OK, but if you meant backs who were durable within the last 10 years, I'd give Bettis at least an honorable mention: '95-'01 was a good stretch. He isn't very fast.

by big_adventure (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 5:22pm

It's pretty amazing to me that Faulk makes the "durable, primary" back list but Sanders is left off of it. He had, what, 693 consecutive seasons of 1000+ always-effective yards, behind an inferior line to mostly anything Emmit, Faulk, George (who had to have been the most overrated player in the league for years) or Martin ever had? OK, it was 10, but it was all of his seasons. Can anyone doubt that HE would be the all time NFL rushing champ if he hadn't just decided to up and quit? And he missed about 5 games in his career and averaged considerably over 300 carries a year.

I'll put odds at 3:1 that Bush is never anything resembling an NFL star. But the same thing could be said for most backs.


by james (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 2:46am

1. Reggie Bush will come nowhere close to being a bust.

2. Draftin an olineman in the first round is a waste of a resource. There are only a few position where you can only find quality in the first round. (Corner and Dline). After that the only excuse for drafting another position in the first round is if you see a game changer. If you aren't getting one of those three things you are wasting a pick.

All that being said this is my draft board. Some guys may or may not leave this year

Reggie Bush
Jeff Semardzija
Mario Williams
Marcus Vick
Brady Quinn
Vince Young
Darnell Bing
Matt Leinart
Marcedez Lewis
Adrian Peterson
AJ Hawk
Darryl Tapp
Greg Blue
Demeco Ryans
Tamba Hali

These guys are all huge playmakers who we've seen make big plays in big moments. If you can't get one of these guys in the first round....trade down.

by james (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 2:50am

Oh jeez,

Left off a few who can't come out yet...
Vernon Davis
Brian Toal

by Sergio (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 2:59am

I'm a little late, but the Texans center is STEVE McKinney. SETH McKinney plays for my Dolphins...

Not that anyone would've known the difference last week, though.