Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

11 Sep 2009

NY Times: Week 1 Matchups

Here are Mike Tanier's Week 1 game previews, now appearing every Friday on the New York Times Fifth Down blog.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 11 Sep 2009

27 comments, Last at 13 Sep 2009, 9:59pm by Key19


by The anonymous commenter (not verified) :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 1:20pm

The football outsiders columnist Mike Tanier might want to have a word with the inexperienced copy editor Jim-Bob who liberally inserted the conspicuous articles in front of the adjectival phrases in his the FO in the NY Times column.

by zlionsfan :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 2:30pm

Glad to see I wasn't the only one who noticed it. They might as well have ended the column by saying "This article sponsored by the article 'the'."

by tunesmith (not verified) :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 1:34pm

Disappointed to see Tanier buy into the Josh McDaniels == petty dictator nonsense. McDaniels may be many things, but that doesn't apply. The players seem to have a lot of respect and appreciation for him. Marshall's beef predates McDaniels, and it was Bowlen's call to get rid of Cutler, after McDaniels and Cutler appeared to be repairing the rift.

by Telamon :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 2:21pm

You might want to read more carefully: Tanier didn't say McDaniels is a petty dictator, just that he's getting a reputation as one. Which is obviously true, as you wouldn't be getting your panties in a bunch denying it otherwise.

by tunesmith (not verified) :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 2:32pm

The quote is "The Broncos bring the 33-year-old head coach Josh McDaniels, fast earning a petty dictator reputation by alienating the team’s most talented players..." - I think my reading is more on target than yours.

by Eddo :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 5:39pm

"petty dictator reputation"

He is "earning a [adjective phrase] reputation".

by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Sun, 09/13/2009 - 12:25am

to finish the sentence, "by alienating his players." Tunesmith is justified in his reading. The sentence implies McDaniels is guilty, if not of being a petty dictator, then at least of doing something that could earn him the reputation. Tanier accepts the premise that McDaniels is alienating his players (which Tunesmith disagrees with); if Tanier believes this, it may well be because he has bought into the idea that McDaniels is a petty dictator--that he is not undeservedly earning that reputation, and the alienation of his players is proof.

I'd say McDaniels is a total douchebag myself.

by loneweasel (not verified) :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 7:39pm

Earth calling Denver fans in denial,

Josh McDaniels IS a petty tyrant. He HAS destroyed your team. This reality is not going to change no matter how much cool-aid you drink from milehighreport.

McDaniels is not earning the respect of his players no matter how many Denver Post beat writer puff pieces say that he is.

This is a 32 year old guy whose only claim to fame is coaching Patriots offenses to spectacular chokes to the Manning Brothers in consecutive years. Like all the other petty tyrants who rode the coattails of the guy in Foxborough, he's going to crash and burn, perhaps in more awe-inspiring fashion than anyone before him.

Denver has not seen a sub-500 season or an abysmal coach in quite some time. When you guys are in the middle of an 11-game losing streak this season, you'll know what it looks like.

by Kibbles :: Sun, 09/13/2009 - 1:20am

Any Denver fan over the age of one and a half knows what a sub-.500 season looks like, since they were 7-9 in 2007.

by jebmak :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 2:59pm

"Cinderella stories often have Amy Winehouse sequels."

That made me laugh out loud.

by Kevin from Philly :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 3:09pm

As did the description of Emmit Smith as "a man known for choosing his words randomly".

by chris owen (not verified) :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 6:27pm

loved that line as well

by vinyltoupee (not verified) :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 3:02pm

Fun reading. But wit doesn't trump insight.

On Favre: " the disconnect between his fame and his ability grows wider each year."

I'm no Favre apologist, but this is inaccurate. His final year in GB, in 2007, was up from the previous two years, and his "swoon" in NY last year, as it turns out, may have had something to do with a torn bicep.

On Romo: "must prove he’s serious about upping his game-plan-studying-to-songstress-snuggling ratio."

Again, following easy headlines doesn't take much work. If you pay attention to the bulk of what current and former players in Dallas including QBs such as Staubach and Aikman, say about Romo (people that are a little more articulate than E Smith), he's always been serious and a hard working competitor. His growth curve is in learning how to handle people like Mike Tanier.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 4:04pm

"and his "swoon" in NY last year, as it turns out, may have had something to do with a torn bicep."

I'd believe that if he hadn't shown the same pattern of decline in every single season since about 2000. He has ALWAYS been significantly worse in the 2nd half of the season.

2007 is special, in the fact that its the only year in the last couple where he actually participated in the team's off season training program.

by Mike Tanier :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 4:14pm

I've heard almost nothing good about Romo's work eithic,and I've heard it from some people who follow the Cowboys pretty closely.

As for Favre, when writing 150 words for an audience of non-zealot football fans, sometimes you condense the point a little bit.

by The Original Omar :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 7:34pm

I'll come up with 2 people that say Romo is a gym rat ball- a-holic for every one that says he has no work ethic. And common sense tells me that you don't go from undrafted free agent QB on a Bill Parcells coached team to 2 time Pro Bowler without working at it. If it were that easy you wouldn't be writing about it.

by billsfan :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 11:03pm

I can't speak for everyone here, but Pro Bowl appearances are generally regarded as Not a Big Deal. Romo's first Pro Bowl appearance was a joke--he'd only started something on the order of 6 games before being elected.

(I also like the Eagles)

by Key19 :: Sun, 09/13/2009 - 9:59pm

Besides the fact that he and Roy came in two weeks early to work on their chemistry, which was overly-well-documented (probably not a phrase/word, but you understand what I mean).

The fact that you went to Emmitt for a quote supporting your point was also suspect.

by D :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 4:25pm

Does this mean you won't be giving picks for every game like you used to Mike?

by Eddo :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 5:40pm

Good read, as usual. Also, the logos that the Times uses are really slick.

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 6:35pm

Wow. I misread that as, the logos really suck," and I was about to agree with that...

"Just look at that pumpkin."
-John Madden, looking at the moon.

by billsfan :: Fri, 09/11/2009 - 7:30pm

The Browns logo was especially atrocious.


(I also like the Eagles)

by Lou :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 2:00am

i was thinking the same eddo, don't know why but some of those logos look really cool

by tide182 :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 12:55am

agree w earlier post - i liked the article, enjoyable to read, especially good as a first take to a theoretically new group of readers over at the NYT blog, but what about the outright predictions? i felt like you had a nice little run going there where even if your picks werent correct they were well thought out and if you read the blurb you could make an intelligent (or foolish) decision on your own.

bring back the picks! the govt is too busy with "that whole economy thing," health care, and everything else to care about a little gambling these days... plus what if im trying to parlay in delaware this week before theyre shut down!?

by Mike Tanier :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 8:25am

I think there will be some formula tweaking in the weeks to come on the Times capsules.

One thing about Week 1 game capsules: they are tricky. I am writing to people who followed the entire off season religiously and people who were following baseball and only kept track of the football headlines. I need to tell a Giants fan what the major Jaguars headlines are, and talk about their matchup with the Colts, and do it all in about 200 words. And I can't sling tons of DVOA around or talk about Cover-2 shell with man underneath. Hence, quick Romo-Ochocinqo one liners, so new-to-arrive fans have a feel for these personalities. I do try to spin the familiar caricatures of these guys slightly differently, but I have about 20 words to do it in.

by ammek :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 8:52am

You get a better class of complainant in the NYT comments. Not 'Tanier sucks' but 'Tanier isn't quite as witty as SJ Perelman'.

by tuluse :: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 3:16pm

I miss the fox sport commentators