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08 Jun 2009

Wisdom of Crowds: Projecting 2009 QB, Part I

by Bill Barnwell

I've had an idea for a while now. Inspired by Tangotiger's Scouting Report by the fans, for the fans on defensive range and ability in baseball, I've wanted to use the collected expertise of the readers of this site to learn more about aspects of the game and its players that we simply can't learn through numbers.

My original idea was to try and create some sort of form similar to Tango's page on offensive line play, defining some sort of spectrum of abilities for offensive linemen and then getting fans who watch those players perform regularly to rate them, creating a set of individual offensive line rankings that allow for qualitative analysis.

That's a more complex project that requires significant time and buy-in, though, so I started thinking of simpler projects. One that always came to mind was projecting player performance -- while we use KUBIAK to spit out an expected total based on historical data and team variables, there are inherently things that KUBIAK might not pick up on or fully comprehend.

I'd always wanted to take our projections, as well as the projections from other sites and fantasy experts, and compare them to the thoughts of an informed group of readers and fantasy participants. Truthfully, I've been too busy/lazy when not busy to implement the infrastructure to gather the results over the last couple of summers, but I realized last week that I actually have the infrastructure needed already built for me, with an interested audience already available.


Last week, we started sending out Tweets from our account (@fb_outsiders), asking people to give us their predictions for how a given player will do in the 2009 season. To allow for easier comparison, we asked that people assume that each player participates in 16 games.

After we received a healthy response on the first day for Matt Cassel, we decided to make it a daily feature, asking Twitteronia their thoughts on a different player every day. We received a bevy of responses as the week went along, getting predictions from readers as well as members of the media like Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, Newsday's Bob Glauber, and Rotoworld's Gregg Rosenthal.

The result is a feature you'll be seeing every Monday on FO: Wisdom Of Crowds, named after James Surowiecki's 2004 book. While we won't be providing KUBIAK figures for the players for a variety of reasons (for example, because KUBIAK isn't done yet), we'll be providing details on each player's projection by the readers and give our thoughts on the figure.

We'll be providing the average projection for each player as well as the maximum and minimum figure provided. We'll draw these from multiple predictions, so if one prediction for Cassel suggests 3000 passing yards and 15 TD, and another suggests 2900 yards with 18 TD, we'll consider the maximum projection to be 3000 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Last week, we decided to go with a Peter King-themed stash of players, focusing on four quarterbacks that caused our favorite SI columnist to spill many a word last season.

Tuesday: Matt Cassel
Average Prediction: 3289 passing yards, 19 TD, 15 INT
Maximum Prediction: 4300 passing yards, 33 TD, 8 INT
Minimum Prediction: 2400 passing yards, 10 TD, 22 INT

I chose Cassel to start because I think he's probably the most interesting player to project in the league this year. Like Edgerrin James in 2006, Cassel is undergoing a dramatic shift in context by moving from New England (the best passing offense in the history of football in 2007) to Kansas City (24th in the league last year while running a gimmick offense). When you throw in the dramatic improvement Cassel made over the second half of the season (as noted by Sean McCormick in our Four Downs series), there's significant variance on what people perceive his actual true level of ability to be. That comes out in the variance of predictions; at his best, Cassel would be among the best players in football; at his worst, he'd be a player the Chiefs wouldn't even want to re-sign.

In my opinion, Cassel's prediction is a little high. I'd expect him to throw a few more interceptions outside of the Patriots' scheme and the comfort of throwing checkdowns to Wes Welker and Kevin Faulk, although his cumulative totals should be high if the Chiefs are losing regularly. Something like 3400/18/20 seems right.

Wednesday: Matt Ryan
Average Prediction: 3589 passing yards, 22 TD, 14 INT
Maximum Prediction: 4000 passing yards, 25 TD, 10 INT
Minimum Prediction: 3100 passing yards, 14 TD, 18 INT

Ryan's another very interesting player because of his context. Last year, the Falcons were one of the unlikely success stories of the league thanks to the play of Ryan as a rookie and the ascension of Michael Turner to an elite back.

One of the other reasons, though, was health -- of the 11 spots on their offensive lineup, only one went through any injury issues. Left tackle Sam Baker went down and was replaced by Todd Weiner, who himself dealt with back issues for most of the year. Everyone else remained healthy, which is unlikely to reoccur in 2009. As a "Curse of 370" candidate, Turner seems the most obvious candidate to break down, but it's easy to imagine how much this offense would struggle were Ryan or Roddy White to suffer an injury. I'd expect Ryan's numbers to be below that average expectation.

Thursday: Tom Brady
Average Prediction: 4013 passing yards, 31 TD, 12 INT
Maximum Prediction: 5000 passing yards, 38 TD, 4 INT
Minimum Prediction: 3000 passing yards, 24 TD, 16 INT

I think the Patriots would take 5000/38/4. While I wasn't surprised that there was such a high yardage total out there, I was very surprised that not a single person picked Brady -- who had 50 TD in 2007 -- to go even above 40 in 2009. I'm not saying they're wrong, just that I was surprised.

I think the prediction generated here is reasonably accurate, actually. It seems weird to peg Brady at 31 TD, but the possibility of Randy Moss being dragged down by an injury along with some regression to the mean from the outlier that was 2007 makes me believe that the most plausible touchdown total for Brady is in the 33-35 range.

Friday: Brett Favre
Average Prediction: 3067 passing yards, 19 TD, 22 INT
Maximum Prediction: 3800 passing yards, 24 TD, 17 INT
Minimum Prediction: 2450 passing yards, 15 TD, 30 INT

Alright -- for this prediction, we asked people to project Favre if he played 16 games as the starting quarterback for the Vikings. Strangely, we got a bunch of responses expecting Favre to get hurt; while he's old and already has a shoulder issue, the guy hasn't missed a game in 14 years. He's probably going to be on the field for all 16 if he makes it to one.

Obviously, hopes for Favre in Minnesota aren't very high -- I'm guessing our readership is more aware of the ridiculously easy schedule Favre struggled against last season, and doesn't have high hopes for an offense that features Bernard Berrian and Percy Harvin as likely starting wideouts. I tend to agree.

This week, we'll be taking predictions on five more quarterbacks (including Tony Romo today), and I'll be next Monday and each one thereafter with another article summating what you guys are thinking about the chances of five new players in the upcoming season.

To participate, all you need to do is follow us on Twitter @fb_outsiders, where we regularly poke holes in Drew Rosenhaus and answer your questions about all things FO.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 08 Jun 2009

71 comments, Last at 17 Jun 2009, 5:41am by Marver


by dsouten :: Mon, 06/08/2009 - 4:40pm

So about how many responses did you get to each?

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 6:15am

Yes, sample size seems relevant. Maybe some sort of variance estimation?

Other than that i really like this, as an offseason timekiller!

by Pete (not verified) :: Mon, 06/08/2009 - 5:04pm

What's Mike Florio's twitter address?

by grrigg :: Mon, 06/08/2009 - 6:07pm

If you do this sequentially I wonder what impact people's first answer had on their subsequent answers. Say, I decide that Matt Cassel is worth 3400 yards, 20TDs and 10INTs (just for example's sake).

I bet that this seriously impacts my answer to Matt Ryan. Without having the Cassel primer first I might decide on something different for Ryan. However now I will ask myself, how does Ryan and his offense/schedule compare to Cassel and whether his numbers should be higher and by how much.

I am willing to bet that people's predictions are strongly influenced by their first choice of numbers, and what if they picked poorly for Cassel?

by dangerdonkey (not verified) :: Mon, 06/08/2009 - 7:42pm


You could always go to his site to find out. Most intilectuals will actually spend a reasonable amount of time looking ...

I however am not an intelectual so I do not know the answer nor did I spend the time finding out. Email it to me when you find out, will ya...

The Peepshow

by Pete (not verified) :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 9:59am

Wasn't too hard to find... I was already following someone, probably him: @ProFootballTalk

by Jimmy :: Mon, 06/08/2009 - 8:39pm

The only way Brady will only throw 4 picks all year is if he gets injured again. You could get four picks just from balls batted at the line and off receiver's hands.

I know Garrard had a year where he few a tiny amount of picks but that was a fluke. The thing about flukes is that you can't predict them.

by Vincent Verhei :: Mon, 06/08/2009 - 8:46pm

Steve DeBerg's 1990 season says Hi.

(Not saying that Brady will repeat the feat, just saying that it's been done before, by a worse, older player.)

by jimbohead :: Mon, 06/08/2009 - 8:54pm

right, but to put that down as your expectation value? So, the distribution of likely outcomes for Tom Brady's interception count is centered around 4? In this scenario, perhaps he has a 20% chance of throwing 2 or less interceptions?

by Steve (not verified) :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 10:54am

No: that is the best projected performance, not the average.

by Eddo :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 11:15am

True, but I assume he was referring to the person who made the 4-interception prediction. To make that projection seriously, they'd have to believe 4 is the average.

by RickD :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 4:30pm

They were asking people to predict this season's performance. They were not asking people to provide an average of a distribution of predictions. The difference is worth noting.

And yes, four picks in 16 games is really very low. Even for Brady, who is careful with the ball, that's low.

by Eddo :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 5:34pm

Right, but let's say I'm asked to give my prediction for Brady this year. I'd probably say, "4 interceptions is the best-case scenario, with 18 being the worst". I wouldn't actually list either extreme as my prediction; I'd probably officially say about 8 or 9.

So the person who made that projection either (a) doesn't understand projecting things and listed his best-case (or near-best-case) projection for Brady or (b) legitimately thinks that 4 was the most likely outcome, with his best-case scenario being even less than that.

If it weren't such a small sample size of projectors, I'd actually like to see the mean projection after throwing out the high and low, and the median projection for each QB.

by dbostedo :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 5:55pm

I believe Rick said it best. There's a difference between asking someone for an average of how they think someone would do, versus asking for a single number. If I ask you for a prediction, I don't want a range. I want a single number.

And I think a lot of people would pick a number they thought sounded good and go with it. So the prediction of 4 was just that - a prediction of an absolute number. A total guess, if you will, with no qualifications (and perhaps not nearly as much thought as you seem to be assuming they put into it).

So I would say it's "(c) picked a semi-random number they thought sounded good"

by Temo :: Mon, 06/08/2009 - 8:58pm

Wow, talk about flukes. I wonder how many balls CBs dropped against him that day.

by Theo :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 8:36am

Dan Orlovski

by Temo :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 10:51am


by rk (not verified) :: Thu, 06/11/2009 - 2:47pm

DeBerg also threw 444 passes that year. Brady has thrown at least 474 every year since 2002 (except last season obviously).

by Whippy (not verified) :: Mon, 06/15/2009 - 2:34pm

Hey Jimi
Are you nuts saying that Bardy could never have only 4 picks
The last year that he played he threw 50 TD"s with 4 INTs
He has already done it so why do now say he has no chance.
The ACL surgery, there have been many QB's having a torn ACL and it never seemed to bother any of then.
Look at carson Palmer

by Eddo :: Mon, 06/15/2009 - 4:52pm

Except that Brady threw eight interceptions in 2007.

And both Palmer and McNabb had ACL injuries and took a full season to get back to previous levels. The difference, of course, is that Brady's injury happened in week one, so he's had more rehab time, but using Palmer as an example is kind of funny.

by MJK :: Mon, 06/08/2009 - 8:41pm

I think Ryan is a bit optimistic. I don't have hard statistics to back it up, but my impression is that almost every inexperienced QB who has a surprisingly good first season tends to take a step back in his second. Call it the Kordell Stewart effect.

Also, while I'm not ready to annoint Cassel as an elite player, I don't think he will have a ton of interceptions. After watching him play in New England, I think he has a far stronger propensity for pulling the ball down and taking a sack, or running for no gain, then he does for making poor throws. When he was confused by a defense or not absolutely sure that someone was open, he took the sack. If he doesn't light things up in KC, I would expect it's because he's taking lots of sacks rather than trowing lots of INT's.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 6:33am

I'm not trying to start te irrelevant Cassel-thread, but:

Taking the sack is easy, when you have a lead. Cassel had the lead a lot - just had to try manage the game - he'll have to win it in Kansas.

Besides - he could take the sack or tug it, because what are the odds of Moss, Welker and Faulk being covered two plays in a row? So you live to see another play, do not put the victory in jeopardy and throw a slant to Moss on the next play.

In Kansas, however, you're trying to catch up for most of your attempts. You're under pressure all the time because of a struggling O-line, you're staring down Devard Darling and Bobby Engram because your stud WR is double covered. Taking sacks or scrambling will be, perhaps, OK in the 2nd quarter, but eventually Cassel will HAVE to gamble. Sure, he was facing similar situations in NE, but not EVERY SINGLE game.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 6:39pm

Kansas City is in Missouri.

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

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 9:05pm

What happened to Welker being a product of the system? What happened to Moss being lazy?

The patriots defense was terrible last year. Their running game was mediocre. They won because Cassel was tremendous in the second half. Theres a chance of some regression, but for every part that theres a downgrade in KC, (like WR2), theres an upgrade (like RB1).

by MJK :: Wed, 06/10/2009 - 2:19pm

Cassel actually trailed quit a bit last year--my (admittedly subjective) impression is that most of his sacks were taken when the game was close or when the Pats were trailing.

The Patriots defense was really, really bad last year, and their O-line, while perhaps better than KC's, was nothing to write home about. Again, I'm not saying that Cassel is or isn't going to do well in KC...I'm just saying that, based on his playing style, it's more likely that if he does not do well it will be because he takes sacks or runs for no gain than because he's gift wrapping it to CB's.

by chemical burn (not verified) :: Wed, 06/10/2009 - 3:58pm

These points are pretty dubious - the Patriots defense was 20th in DVOA (8.9%), which is bad but significant less than KC's excruciating 28th (17.5%) ranking. That's a defense that is almost twice as bad...

As for Rich's claim, Cassell's DVOA was 20th (9.8% - same as their defense, that's weird), which puts him squarely between Sage Rosenfels and Seneca Wallace. The Patriots "mediocre" rushing offense ranked second only to the Giants with a whopping 18.8% DVOA. All signs point to Cassell being a beneficiary of the Patriots fantastic offense, but clearly being a weak (and possibly the weakest) link.

We'll see, though - certainly, there was way more talent in NE than there will be in KC(on both sides of the ball and way, way, waaaaay more on offense), so its not unreasonable to think that there's chance that Cassell will both throw more interceptions AND take more sacks in KC. Rich and MJK seem to be arguing that he won't be tested as a QB far more than he was in New England, which seems obviously wrong - the Pats clearly carried Cassell to success, not the other way around...

by chemical burn (not verified) :: Wed, 06/10/2009 - 4:02pm

also, I'd just like to say, I hope Cassell succeeds in KC - Rich pointed out how he really came on in the second half of the season and if KC's awfulness doesn't break him, he could keep developing into something great...

by MJK :: Wed, 06/10/2009 - 7:15pm

Don't group me with Rich. I respect him as an intelligent poster, but often disagree with him.

I'm not claiming that Cassel won't be tested as a QB in KC. Obviously, QB performance is related to team quality, especially offensive quality, and NE is obviously superior to KC. What I was arguing is that his INT total probably won't be as high as some people expect it might be when he is tested. Cassel has strengths and weaknesses. After one season with the Pats, it looks like his strengths are good speed, reasonably accurate short throws, and good ball protection--he seems to be good at recognizing when a WR is covered and not throwing there. His INT rate in New England was much lower than almost any Pats fan expected when he took over.

His weaknesses are that he's not super accurate with the deep ball (not clear if that's due to arm strength or just mechanics/lack of practice), takes too long to read through his progressions, seems to err too much on the side of caution when it comes to ball protection, and has a tendency to take off and run and try to make something happen with his feet when his first two reads are covered.

Note that all these weaknesses, with the exception of the erring on the side of caution in ball protection, are common among inexperienced QB's. They also were all diminishing as time went on in New England, showing that he can improve at them.

I have no doubt that they will rear their heads again in KC...I fully expect him to take off and run half the time (taking a lot of sacks in the process) whenever both Bowe and Gonzalez are covered. I just don't expect him to hurl the ball up for grabs ten times a game the way that some QB's do when they're inexperienced.

My comments about NE's defense were to address the wrong notion that Cassel took so many sacks because he always had the lead in NE and was relying on the NE Defense to carry him. That NE defense last year was not capable of carrying anyone. Furthermore, both Cassel and the defense improved as the year went on (or perhaps the bad weather improved the defense). So Cassel's worst play, including the bulk of the sacks he took, occurred when the defense was also playing its worst, and Cassel was often trying to win the game for the Pats. Other teams were keying in on the pass rush, and all they had to do was cover Welker, Faulk, and Moss, and Cassel would panic and get sacked. However, he threw almost no interceptions then. Hence my projection that, when he goes to KC and a worse defense, he will start taking a lot of sacks, but INT totals probably won't be that high.

by tuluse :: Wed, 06/10/2009 - 8:31pm

Gonzalez is in Atlanta.

Given that Bowe is only dependable receiver in KC, could we see a new record set for sacks taken?

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 06/10/2009 - 9:12pm

For a single QB? Maybe. For a team? No way. That number (104, from Philly in 1986) is so far out of reach for a normal team it's not even funny. FO did an article on that team a while ago. That team was a disaster. It was a serious challenge for Carr to break the single-QB record a few years ago, but 104 is just unbeatable.

by chemical burn (not verified) :: Thu, 06/11/2009 - 11:05am

Only having seen a handful of Patriot games last year, those are interesting observations to me, MJK - and I don't really have anything to argue with in them. It seems almost inevitable that a ton of sacks are in the offing for Cassell in KC, if not an astronomical increase in interceptions.

But I also wonder how much his low interception total was helped by the offense in NE as well - has FO ever studied if certain receivers have demonstrably lower interception rates? What I mean is: are QB's less likely to throw interceptions to Moss than they are to Bowe (or Welker)? I know a lot of that would be related to usage, but I'd curious if the stats show anything else.

Watching the Eagles last year, it was clear that when McNabb took aim at DeSean Jackson, he was much more likely to throw an interception than he was to any other receiver - Jackson would run sloppy routes, get out-muscled for the ball, take a bad position in relationship to the corner-back, etc. I would bet most of McNabb's int's last year were targeted for Jackson... even though Jackson was the Eagles most obviously talented receiver...

by chemical burn (not verified) :: Thu, 06/11/2009 - 11:17am

And just to add to my thought about NE's offense helping keep down Cassell's interception total, it should be mentioned that having the 2nd ranked in DVOA rushing attack takes a lot of the pressure off of a QB. KC's rushing DVOA was 22nd (-5.2%), so Cassell will be under even more pressure to make things happen for his team.

And NE's defense might not have carried anyone last year, but they weren't the leaky, useless disaster that KC's was. Cassell will be under pressure to compensate for his defense in KC to a degree that he didn't have to even with NE's D as weak as it was. Maybe I'm changing my mind again...

Terrible defense, no rushing attack to bail him out, playing from behind or in shoot-outs, constant bad field position (since KC's special teams ranked 30th in DVOA and their defense caused few turnovers while having a historically low number of sacks) - he's going to have to carry the team and I just find it hard to believe that pressure won't cause a spike in interceptions... Or maybe it's that taking sacks in that scenario doesn't sound like a much more accomplished feat of QB-ing maturity - it sounds like David Carr all over again...

by DeltaWhiskey :: Fri, 06/12/2009 - 7:15am

leaky useless disaster, or LUD

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Fri, 06/12/2009 - 7:58am

Haha. Does that mean that Cutler had great season last year, when you adjust for LUD? LUDYAR?

by DeltaWhiskey :: Fri, 06/12/2009 - 9:48am

I believe the proper acronym is LYAR

by tuluse :: Sat, 06/13/2009 - 5:46am

This is where eyes are useful. Cutler made the running game look much better than it was, not vice versa.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 06/15/2009 - 1:38pm

"And NE's defense might not have carried anyone last year, but they weren't the leaky, useless disaster that KC's was. "

Again, for the first 10 games of the season, they were. They were playing a lot of young guys, and improved quite a bit at the end of the season.

by tuluse :: Tue, 06/16/2009 - 3:30am

And Cassell looked terrible early in the year.

by crack (not verified) :: Thu, 06/11/2009 - 4:09pm

What are the odds of a player being sandwiched between two Iowa State QBs in DVOA? That's

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 06/15/2009 - 1:35pm

"As for Rich's claim, Cassell's DVOA was 20th (9.8% - same as their defense, that's weird), which puts him squarely between Sage Rosenfels and Seneca Wallace."

What was Cassell's DVOA in week 7?

IIRC, it was about -15%. So, 9.8% for the year means he played pretty damn well in the second half.

by I am excellent at making love (not verified) :: Mon, 06/08/2009 - 8:50pm

A couple notes on the Vikings:

1. Harvin will likely not be the starting WR (for better or worse). At least at first.
2. The Vikings schedule is probably as easy this year as the Jets schedule was last year.
3. Shiancoe is a good pass-catching tight end.
4. One of Brett Favre's greatest strengths is (was?) audibling out of a play to take advantage of where the safety was lined up. I'm guessing that if Favre plays for Minnesota, defenses will be forced to pick their poison between stacking the line to stop Peterson, or leaving a receiver in single coverage. Assuming Favre's arm doesn't fall off, it doesn't take an All Pro WR to beat a defender in that situation, if the QB can deliver the ball.
5. If Favre signs with Minnesota, we may see the first season in which a semi-productive uninjured QB is "pulled" for a series or two each game.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 12:30pm

Please elaborate on #5. I'm not sure what you mean. For one thing, I've seen that situation before. And why would Minnesota start doing that with Favre?

by Dumb Cheesehead (not verified) :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 8:32am

Favre notes:

He's never thrown for less than 3100 yards in a season where he actually started a game. Not once, ever. In fact, the closest he's come to that is 3200 yards in his 13-start 1992 season. Even in 2005, when Green Bay posted an awful 4-12 record, Favre put up 3881/20/29. He's also never thrown for less than 18 touchdowns. I don't think he'll get the 3800 yards from the maximum prediction (not from the current Vikings WRs and with Adrian Peterson anyway) but he'll top the average yardage prediction and probably the touchdown prediction too.

by zlionsfan :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 12:08pm

But he's obviously not going to maintain that until infinity. At some point, he will show the effects of age/passes thrown/etc. (Artificial turf as well?)

There's really no way to project what he'll do, because he's clearly an outlier in just about every way possible ... while it's reasonable to suggest that he will enjoy another 3000-yard season in Minnesota, I think it's also reasonable to suggest that 2009 is the season where Favre falls off a cliff. (As a Lions fan, I'm hoping Favre plays 16 games for the Vikings, because I suspect he's approaching the downward arc of his career, and I would love to see that happen for the Vikings. Especially if his sack and interception totals look like last year's.)

Besides, blah blah rushing attack like this one. Favre might not get/be given enough attempts to hit 3000 yards.

by Dumb Cheesehead (not verified) :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 2:23pm

I don't think he's going to maintain it until infinity, no. But he has maintained it for 16 years and a 17th isn't out of the question. I do think his interceptions will go up, I predicted 3500/20/30 I think which is fairly reasonable. It's his 2005 season -300 yards +1 interception which isn't a huge fluctuation.

I do think that being in a dome will have a positive effect on his late-season numbers vs. last year, but overall he is not going to help the Vikings nearly as much as they think he will. Or at least Childress thinks he will.

by DaninPhilly (not verified) :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 8:52am

Am I crazy for thinking that Brady's injury will hamper him more than people are talking about? Historically, don't QBs take at least a while to come back from such an injury? Think Carson Palmer, think Donnovan McNabb. Both of them took well over a year after their initial injury before returning to their old form.

Why are we assuming that Brady will be the Brady of the past few healthy seasons? Isn't it actually reasonable to think it will be about half of the season before he finds his stride? Why haven't I seen anything about the recovery from such an injury and layoff anywhere?

by PatsFan :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 1:20pm

I tend to agree. Look at Peyton Manning last year. Clearly seemed to take him a while to recover from a far less severe knee problem.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 9:08pm

He won the MVP didn't he? He had surgery a couple weeks before the season. Palmer was a probowler last year.

Brady has been in rehab for almost a year now.

I think Brady will have a worse year simply because 07 was an outlier, and he'll be rusty, but last year's MVP certainly isn't a good example of it taking a while to recover.

by Jimmy :: Wed, 06/10/2009 - 9:09am

Manning had some trouble with his bursa sac in his knee. I would have been ideal to do the surgery in January instead of August but it wasn't a major surgery. Brady's injury was much worse although he has had a lot longer to recover from it.

by Marver :: Wed, 06/17/2009 - 5:41am

Philip Rivers recovered from serious knee surgery to post the best numbers of his career with an injured receiving core, tight end, running back, and center. Then again, he's a robot who also managed to play an AFC Championship game on it.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 1:44pm

Culpepper... Their career-top are comparable. Sure Culpepper relied more on his abillity to run, but still...

by MJK :: Wed, 06/10/2009 - 2:26pm

Important considerations on Brady's injury, relative to Palmer, McNabb, Manning, and Culpepper:

1). Play style: As Brady himself has joked, he thinks this year he'll go from "the slowest QB in the league" to "a little slower". Brady never has relied on his mobility the way that McNabb and Culpepper did. The only parts of his game that may be affected are his above average ability to do the QB sneak, and his shiftiness to buy extra time in the pocket. Losing the former is not a major liability. Losing the latter could be, but is far less likely to be than Culpepper or McNabb losing their mobility.

2). Timing: Palmer was injured at the end of the season. Manning had complications in the off season. Brady was injured in Week 1--so he had an extra 4 months longer to get back into shape that Palmer didn't have, and many more months than Manning had.

He may be somewhat impaired...one of the reasons I don't think he'll duplicate 2007...but I think he'll be perfectly functional.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 06/10/2009 - 9:02pm

ACL injuries don't limit quarterbacks because of mobility. They limit quarterbacks because stepping into their throws feels different than it does before because they haven't put weight on that knee in a year.

Every time a QB has an ACL injury, in a few months you always hear that the QB is "ahead of schedule," how modern medicine has sped up the recovery time from over a year to just a few months, and how they're "100%". And then when the inevitable slightly disappointing season's over and the QB can freely talk, then he says "yeah, it took a while to get to the point where I could trust my knee again." And then the *next* year the QB finally looks normal again.

I think your final statement's right, but I'm amazed that the average performance is 4000 yards. I'll be seriously shocked if he puts that up.

by Pete (not verified) :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 8:55am

I think that Favre is old and tired. His performance has been on a steady downward slope for a while. For all of that he still may have more potential than either of the current Minnesota QB's.

If I was Childress and Favre was available, I would try to sign him to an incentive-laden contract. I would concentrate on keeping Favre healthy and getting to the playoffs with as much in the tank as possible.

Next, I would mostly write off the first four games. Sure these should be easy games, so even without Favre and the DT's I think Minnesota could win 1-2 of these.

As a result of writing off the first four games you now have four extra weeks to slowly bring Favre up to speed. Do this in a manner that does not place wear and tear on that old man's body. Have him help Jackson and Rosenfells and work with those young receivers (Bernard Berrian, Sidney Rice, and Percey Harvin as well as pass-catching TE, Shiancoe).

Let Favre know that in almost every game he may only play half a game. (This is what Miami should do with their ex-Jets QB, too, since his arm falls off in the second half of games) Obviously, Favre would want to play a full game against Green Bay and as a division rival I think this would be helpful. By the time these games roll around Favre could be in a groove and may not be worn out, yet.

Next, I would let Rosenfells and Jackson compete for QB. Let them know that they will be playing even if Favre is there. Jackson could do well if you include some Wildcat/option plays. He may not have the best decision-making skills, but I think this could play to his strengths. Let Favre lead by example, so Jackson and Rosenfells have a good leader to show them how it can be done (not Favre's ideal strength to mentor, but I think he could serve well enough in this roll).

by John Walt :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 10:50am

Why do you think Favre would come in and 'tutor' the other quarterbacks? He has never done anything in his career like that. In fact, I remember him loathing this at every turn. "It's not my job to show him how to play" was his favorite mantra for the first few years Rodgers was in Green Bay with him.

by crack (not verified) :: Thu, 06/11/2009 - 4:11pm

What the hell is he going to teach them? 'Get a strong arm, gun it.' Farve is great because of talent. You can't teach talent.

by Magnus (not verified) :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 10:42am

The Ryan/Falcons analysis was a little thin.

Turnsock (an injured starter last year) ... will become a second stringer with Gonzoles, and a healthy Baker back in the line-up.

This can only make the offense better.

And if Turner goes down ... don't expect the Falcons to become unraveled with Jason Snelling, Thomas Brown, and Jerious Norwood on the roster. Mularkey has plugged and played Snelling before ... and he will be surprisingly adequate to "outsiders".

by RZf332 (not verified) :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 11:41am

Its hartstock you idiot that got hurt

by Anon (not verified) :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 1:11pm

If you're going to be rude, at least get it right yourself: the relevant TE is called Ben Hartsock.

by Darrel (not verified) :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 12:50pm

The overall point Magnus made is correct.
The Falcons are loaded at the skill positions on offence.
Their achilles heel appears to be quality depth on the O-line.
Barring some serious injuries in that department?
Ryan and the Falcons offence should put up some good numbers.

by tuluse :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 2:46pm

Unless Ryan is the one who gets hurt, or Roddy White. How do your receivers look if he goes down?

by Magnus (not verified) :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 9:33pm


I had a brainf*rt and misspelled a name...get called an idiot.

Meanwhile "Pro-journalist" has an article talking about depth and the sophomore slump while ignoring completely one of the biggest FA signings of the offseason.

As my friend says, the falcons are staced on offense ... really another LT is the biggest concern.

If Roddy gos down ... we will feel relatively secure with Gonzo, an underrated Michael Jenkins, Harry Douglas, and Brian Finneran.

by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 3:59pm

Pete - "I think that Favre is old and tired. His performance has been on a steady downward slope for a while."

His QB ratings over the past 10 years

08 - 81.0
07 - 95.7
06 - 72.7
05 - 70.9
04 - 92.4
03 - 90.4
02 - 85.6
01 - 94.1
00 - 78.0
99 - 74.7

I know QB rating isn't a perfect stat but I don't see a steady decline in those numbers. In fact, his last two seasons rank 1st and 6th and two of his worst seasons were 9 and 10 years ago.

As well, Favre in 2008 was miles better than his replacement in GB in 2009.

I would certainly take even a 40yr old Favre over Jackson or Rosenfels.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 9:11pm

Take a look at Favre's QB rating (or any other stat) from the last half of the season to the first. Over the last 5 years, been significantly worse in the 2nd half of the season than the first.

by Noah Arkadia :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 9:15pm

Wow, I had no idea he'd stunk for so long

by ammek :: Wed, 06/10/2009 - 6:46am

Tell me, how good was Favre's "replacement in GB in 2009"? Aren't you getting ahead of yourself?

If you intended to say "Favre in 2007 was miles better than Aaron Rodgers in 2008", well, that depends what you mean by miles:

Favre 2007 - 95.7
Rodgers 2008 - 93.8

Both of which are far better than 2008 Favre in a less-friendly pass offense after less time in training camp.

by tuluse :: Wed, 06/10/2009 - 5:47pm

What is that? QB rating on FO? Surely you are aware of the better tools we have.

A Rodgers DYAR 933 DVOA 14.8%
B Favre DYAR 1437 DVOA 28.0%

Yes Favre had a much better year in 2007 than Rodgers did in 2008. Although Rodgers was still pretty good.

by Bobman :: Tue, 06/09/2009 - 4:49pm

Well, regarding Tom Brady... hs just flipped a rented kayak in the Charles River (Tuesday 4:45 EST).

New nickname: Eskimo Roll.

(sigh, great, now I not only have to genuflect everytime I see the number 12, I have to every time I see a kayak... oops, that reminds me, it's been a while since I apologized to my wife that I am not Tom Brady.)

by MJK :: Wed, 06/10/2009 - 2:29pm

You don't need to do that unless your wife apologizes to you for not being Giselle.

by mrh :: Wed, 06/10/2009 - 10:16am

"I am excellent at making love (not verified)"

classic username

by Biggy Beezy (not verified) :: Mon, 06/15/2009 - 1:35pm

The best quote in that entire article.. "it can be easily imagined"
I can't blame ya........ this is a tough time for football fans.