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06 May 2010

Walkthrough Plug 'n' Play

by Mike Tanier

May is like Christmas for NFL coaches. Minicamps and rookie camps have arrived, so coaches get to unwrap all the new toys their teams acquired in the offseason. Some teams rebuilt entire units. Others added new quarterbacks. Some teams turned weaknesses into strengths; others turned strengths into something even stronger.

Let's put ourselves in the shoes of three coaches who may be making significant changes in the offseason. Imagine you got a new quarterback or a whole new defensive line. Sure, you drafted and signed players who fit your scheme, but sometimes you have to tweak your scheme to maximize the strengths of your personnel. For each team, we'll outline a few objectives, then diagram a few plays that can turn those objectives into reality. Is it a purely speculative exercise? Of course! That's what football in May is all about.

Unit: Detroit Lions Defensive Line

New Players: DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, DT (nose) Corey Williams, DT (three-tech) Ndamukong Suh.

  • Take advantage of Suh's quickness and lateral ability.
  • Use Williams as a space eater.
  • Avoid double teams for Vanden Bosch.
Diagram 1: Suh Nut Stunt

The Lions acquired three new defensive linemen in the offseason, but none of them is a pure pass rusher. Vanden Bosch is a high-effort defender who registered some high sack totals when he teamed with Albert Haynesworth in Tennessee, but he is not a Jared Allen-type who can slice through double teams or defeat elite left tackles on his own. Williams is a huge hombre with some sneaky quickness who collects some clean-up sacks, but he won't generate his own pressure. Suh is a quick, high-energy penetrator whose pass rush technique is not refined. The trio will immediately upgrade the run defense, but Jim Schwartz cannot just put them on the field and wait for a 45-sack season. He'll have to implement stunts and twists that take advantage of what each of his linemen does best.

Diagram 1 shows the Lions running what is sometimes called a "Nut" stunt. The "n" stands for nose tackle Williams (99), and the "t" stands for three-technique tackle Suh (1, because I didn't know his new uniform number when I made the diagram). Williams goes first in this stunt. Aligning between the center and guard, he attacks the center's inside shoulder and tries to draw a double team. Suh begins by threatening the right guard, then loops behind Williams. He hits the backside B-gap as Williams penetrates the A-gap. The combination of Williams and Suh attacking the offensive left side should prevent blockers from double-teaming Vanden Bosch (93).

Diagram 2: Lions Double Stunt

With so much quickness on the defensive line, Schwartz may want to run some double stunts like the one shown in Diagram 2. Here, Williams and Suh start the stunt by engaging the offensive tackles. Suh, in the strong side B-gap, attacks the right tackle's inside shoulder. Williams, here aligned with his helmet on the left guard's inside shoulder, attacks the guard then loops outside. Vanden Bosch takes an initial step to the outside to widen the tackle, then flattens hard to the inside. Ideally, Williams will scoop up both the guard and the tackle, giving Vanden Bosch a chance to get to the quarterback. The left defensive end (probably Cliff Avril) is also shown working inside, where he could be isolated against an out-of-position guard or center.

Diagram 3: Lions Suh Sink

The stunts above make maximum use of Williams' power and Suh's quickness. Suh and Vanden Bosch are also smart linemen who are capable of dropping into zone coverage. The Lions will certainly run some overload blitzes this season, usually with Vanden Bosch dropping. As an alternative, they could allow Suh to sink into a middle zone, as shown in Diagram 3. A "Sinking Suh" defense could be very effective against teams that throw a lot of passes to their backs and tight ends over the middle, including the Vikings and Bears.

Unit: Denver Broncos Offense

New Players: QB Tim Tebow, WR Demaryius Thomas

  • Take advantage of Tebow's running ability while hiding his limitations as a passer.
  • Use Williams as a threat both to block and catch screens.
  • Offset the loss of Brandon Marshall.
Diagram 4: Tebow Trap

For Tebow to be successful, the Broncos must establish him as a rushing threat. Josh McDaniels can't be afraid to call some designed running plays. McDaniels said last week that Tebow would work from the pocket, but the coach hinted that he would also give the rookie some rushing opportunities. "If he rushes for two touchdowns on a Sunday at some point in his career, great, that's super," McDaniels said. For the Tebow experiment to succeed, there will have to be several Sundays like that.

Diagram 4 shows Tebow doing what he does best: running up the middle. The diagram shows a modified version of the quarterback trap seen in many spread-option playbooks. The trap block is executed by the left guard, who comes behind the center to knock the three-technique tackle out of the hole. Note that this block isn't as hard as it looks on screen. The three-tech, unblocked at the start of the play, will penetrate. He may be frozen briefly by Knowshon Moreno (27) running a pass/pitch route to the flat. The guard doesn't have to drive the defender backward -- he can simply shove the three-tech wide of the quarterback.

The right tackle also has a tricky assignment, climbing out to engage a second-level linebacker. Remember that the linebacker will also probably react to Moreno and move to his left (offensive right) before the block. Dan Graham (89) and Thomas (1) release as though running slant routes, then block their defenders to the outside.

Diagram 5: Tebow Option Choice

Thomas is a very effective blocker, and Diagram 5 shows him cracking a safety on a variation of the shotgun Choice Option. As drawn, Graham and the right tackle zone-block on the strong side, while the left tackle and guard zone block on the weak side. This play is drawn as a fake to Moreno and a off-tackle run to the right by Tebow. Graham helps the tackle control the defensive end, then climbs out to engage the strongside linebacker (who hopefully froze during the option handoff). Based on the front, the play could quickly be changed into a handoff to Moreno, or Tebow could make the decision during the mesh. This variation on the choice option is NFL ready: There's no unblocked defensive end careening into the backfield, as you often see on college or prep option plays.

We trust Tebow to throw, don't we? Well, McDaniels does. For now, let's keep things simple. Plays like Diagram 6 are already in the Broncos playbook; you've seen Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal (and Randy Moss and Wes Welker a few years ago) run them. Thomas jabs downfield on his first two steps to make the cornerback backpedal, then works back toward the quarterback to take the pass. Graham and the right tackle are the screen blockers, with the right tackle making sure not to turn upfield before the ball. Moreno cut-blocks any crashing defenders. As a wrinkle, Tebow could jab step toward the line of scrimmage to freeze any interior defenders looking for a quarterback draw.

Diagram 6: Broncos Screen Right

The offensive tackles figured heavily in all three of these plays, and I would name them if I had any clue who they are. With Ryan Clady hurt, Ryan Harris and Tyler Polumbo are the likely starters, but the Broncos could easily sign Flozell Adams or some other alternative by the time you read this. Rookie Zane Beadles may also sneak into the starting picture. Thomas and Tebow got all the headlines, but if the Broncos suffer another line injury, Beadles may wind up the team's most important rookie.

Unit: New York Jets Secondary

New Players: CB Antonio Cromartie, CB Kyle Wilson.

  • Weaponize the league's best cornerback trio.
  • Use Darrelle Revis to maximum advantage.
Diagram 7: Jets Corner Blitz

Kyle Wilson is a powerful little defender who will excel on the blitz and in run support. Cromartie is a dangerous ballhawk who will make mistakes in coverage but can turn any errant pass into a touchdown. Revis is the best cover corner in the league. Rex Ryan can make the best of each player's skills by designing some corner blitzes with man-zone hybrid coverage behind them.

Diagram 7 shows the Jets rushing five defenders from their nickel package. Wilson (1), in addition to blitzing, is acting as the force defender on outside runs to the offensive left. Revis (24) is isolated in man coverage against the lone receiver on the right side. The rest of the defense is playing a two-under, three-deep zone. The linebackers are responsible for the hook zones in the middle of the field, while Cromartie (31) and the two safeties play quarter-quarter-half coverage.

As diagrammed, Cromartie rides the outside receiver for a few strides, then gets deep if that receiver crosses the field. That technique puts Cromartie in good position to jump a route. If the quarterback reads blitz and throws to Wilson's receiver, Cromartie could intercept the pass. The safety on Revis' side, covering half the field, can focus on the tight end or any crossing receivers because Revis doesn't need much over-the-top support.

Diagram 8: Jets Blitz vs. Bunch

Let's look at the same blitz from a different formation (Diagram 8). In this blitz package, Revis always lines up on the side of the field where there's an isolated receiver. Wilson aligns on the opposite side, and Cromartie goes wherever there are "numbers." Against a bunch formation, as shown, Cromartie flows to the three-receiver side. Again, he looks to jump any hot routes at the snap, then backpedals to cover the deep sidelines. The "quarters" in deep coverage are always on the side of the field with the most receivers. If the offensive formation is balanced (a four-receiver set, two on each side), the Jets just select default sides. It would take about 15 diagrams to illustrate the typical variations in a blitz package like this, but we are rapidly running out of time.

Nothing I've drawn is out of character for the coaches in question: Schwartz likes to generate pressure with stunts and limited blitzing, McDaniels likes draws and screens from the spread, and Ryan isn't shy about the corner blitz. Chances are, teams spent the first week of May reviewing plays and concepts like these, plus about 200 more. They get their Walkthrough, we have ours.

Announcements, One of them Big

I live-blogged the release of the NFL schedule for The New York Times a few weeks ago. Many of you may not have known I was doing it -- or thought I was actually attempting some kind of in-depth analysis. The live blog was meant to be ironic comedy, and you can still see it here. Much of the humor is very Walkthrough-like, and most of it wasn't specific to the show, so you can enjoy it a few weeks later. Scan down to 6:22 p.m. to read my synopsis of the 75-year history of schedule release programming.

You don't need me to tell you The Onion is hysterical, but I wish I wrote this piece about the Patriots. First one to post the factual error here on the Walkthrough board gets bragging rights.

And now the big news: I'm writing a book.

I'm not talking about my chapters in Football Outsiders Almanac, though I am working on them as well. A few months ago I began developing a project about Philadelphia sports history. Temple University Press liked the idea, and as soon as the Almanac is finished, I will begin writing The Phanatic Code.

The premise of The Phanatic Code is simple: I will rank the 50 most remarkable Philadelphia sports stars of the last 50 years. I won't be picking the best players, but the most beloved, reviled, and discussed players. In other words, the most "Philly" of the Philly stars. I will be using a (somewhat) quantitative ranking system to justify the selections, and each player will get his own chapter. It's a chance to relive the greatest, worst, and craziest moments in Philly sports history.

You can bet Donovan McNabb will have a long chapter. Randall Cunningham and Reggie White will, too. But The Phanatic Code isn't just a football book, so there will be plenty of Phillies, Sixers, and Flyers in the mix (plus a boxer or two). It's also a book of current history, not another rehash of stories about the Whiz Kids or Broad Street Bullies. Yes, the Bullies will have their say, but so will Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Brian Dawkins, and other contemporary stars. Instead of rehashing the Santa Claus incident again, the book will explore modern mythology -- McNabb's non-puke in the Super Bowl, Utley's obscene cheer during the World Series parade, and so on.

It's the perfect book for anyone who loves Philly sports, loves to hate Philly sports, or likes the offbeat mix of humor, history, and analysis you find regularly here at Football Outsiders!

The Phanatic Code won't take away from my work here at Football Outsiders, though I may take a brief hiatus as the school year ends. I'll be writing about football full-time through the 2010 season. If anything, I plan to be more active come September. It's my other job that will suffer. This has been a brutal year to teach in a New Jersey public school, and if I don't take an opportunity soon to try my hand as a full-time writer, I never will. I am taking a one-year unpaid leave of absence from teaching so I can write the book and focus on my football writing career. It's an exciting and scary move, but I know I have the support not just of a loving family, but of a great Web site and the best readers in the world.

More on the book to come. For now, back to football.

Mr. Carroll's Amazing Emo Mix Tape and Playbook

Scene: Seattle Seahawks practice facility

Charlie Whitehurst: It's great to be part of the Seahawks organization. I can't wait to compete with you for a starting job, Matt.

Matt Hasselbeck: And I look forward to the challenge, because that's the kind of mature, grounded guy I am. What about you, LenDale? You must be thrilled to be reunited with Coach Carroll.

LenDale White: Mmmph, Rummph, Mmmph, flugrrth.

Hasselbeck: LenDale, put away the Pacific salmon. And the crab legs. And the geoduck. What were you saying?

White: Pike's Place market is AWESOME!

Hasselbeck: True. But we need your help to understand coach's system. I expected there to be playbooks at this meeting, but all I see are cassette tapes.

White: Those are mix tapes.

Whitehurst: You mean the kind moody teenage girls give their boyfriends to prove how deep they are? With lots of Coldplay and Dashboard Confessional?

White: Yep. Coach likes us to guess what he's thinking. Before the draft, he made his assistant tweet the titles to a bunch of songs, like "Big Balls" by AC/DC, "Jeremy" by Pearl Jam, and "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash. Using those hints, fans were supposed to guess that the Seahawks planned to draft Russell Okung. Coach uses cassette tapes instead of mp3s because he's an old-school kind of guy.

Whitehurst: What do those songs have to do with Okung? Especially AC/DC? Unless ... my God, how in-depth are scouting reports these days?

Hasselbeck: Don't worry about it. Let's be professional about this. With my bald dome, these old-fashioned Walkman headphones fit me perfectly. I will listen to the songs, you guys interpret what they mean. The first song is "The Island" by The Decembrists.

Whitehurst: Never heard of it.

White: It's an 11-minute epic loosely based on Shakespeare's Tempest, the story of a mysterious island that has been the setting for battles, sexual misdeeds, and other shadowy intrigue.

Whitehurst: Wow. That was great analysis. So you like this band?

White: No. I had a lot of free time on my hands in Tennessee, so I started editing Wikipedia.

Hasselbeck: I think we may be reading too much into the song. Let's simplify.

Whitehurst: "The Island" might refer to a cornerback in man coverage, with no safety help. Maybe Coach is talking about a trips formation, with our No. 1 receiver isolated on the far side. Who's our top receiver?

Hasselbeck: T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

Whitehurst: No, seriously. Who's our top receiver? And who is this Sycorax? Sounds like somebody the Rams would draft.

White: It's a moon of Uranus. Maybe we're looking in the wrong place.

Hasselbeck: We're getting nowhere. Let me fast forward. The next song is from my era. "Tusk" by Fleetwood Mac.

Whitehurst: Never heard of it.

White: An interesting song. A Southern California egomaniac grows full of himself after a long run of success, then goes on a self-indulgent power trip, taking a whole bunch of USC students along for the ride.

Whitehurst: I can't see what that has to do with anything. Next song.

Hasselbeck: OK, it's "Tomorrow Man" by Gus Black.

Whitehurst: Never heard of ... wait, I think it's about me! I'm the Tomorrow Man. You know, the starting quarterback of tomorrow. Coach wants me to start instead of you, Matt.

Hasselbeck: Don't jump to conclusions. I am trying to make out the lyrics.

White: I know them. "Don't turn around/they're coming to choose/"

Whitehurst: Hear that? Choose a quarterback!

White: "Your haircut/the language you use."

Whitehurst: Only one of us has hair, buddy.

White: "I miss California/you're misunderstood."

Whitehurst: California! That settles it. Here's the clipboard, Yesterday Man.

Hasselbeck: That can't be right. Maybe we're overanalyzing the song. Maybe it's just a puzzle about the initials. What could "TM" be short for?

Whitehurst: Transcendental meditation.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 06 May 2010

61 comments, Last at 14 Jun 2011, 5:20am by Eric Thornton


by Theo :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 12:27pm

Halfway through the article and I already love it. Recognize the stunts from my playing days. Awesome.

But why is Tebow wearing #13?

by Mansteel (not verified) :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 12:35pm

"First one to post the factual error here on the Walkthrough board gets bragging rights."

Is it that four of the Patriots 2010 draft picks are dead?

by Key19 :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 1:00pm

My guess is that Wes Welker apparently took part in the rookie survival excursion, even though he was not drafted by the Patriots.

by Mike Tanier :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 1:41pm

The Tebow number is an error. I used edits of some old diagrams and must have forgotton to edit his number!

by Bobman :: Mon, 05/10/2010 - 1:08am

Mike T,

It's a sad day when you don't call on some Seattlite homeys (Is it Vince who lives in nearby Bothell?) to check your comedy dialogue (which was great, but....)

It's Pike Place Market. The street is Pike Place, just off Pike Street. No possessive. You wouldn't go to a restaurant in Trenton and order a Philly's Cheese Steak, would you? 'nuff said. Well, maybe if you wanted a wedgie and your lunch money stolen.

And nobody west of the Delaware (okay, make that the Rockies) would talk about salmon like that. Out here, "salmon" = pacific salmon. That tepid, bland, pink excrement from the Atlantic is 99% farmed, much of it farmed in Chile, and is always referred to (locally) as Farmed Atlantic Salmon the same way you'd refer to a cousin's son in reform school or special ed. Out here salmon has first names or nick-names like you'd refer to legendary sports heroes--Babe, Rollie, Eck, Cal, Bo... Except the salmon is king, sockeye, and the rest (secondary species) with lots of nicknames--I love "dog salmon" for chum salmon because that's what Alaskans caught to feed their sled dogs. There are other modifiers, such as troll caught, Copper River, Yukon, etc.

Okay waaaaay TMI, and it's only scratching the surface. I grew upon Long Beach Island fluke, blowfish, bluefish, and stripers, but I guess I'm converted. Next time you're out here for a Seahawks game, holler and I'll throw a couple on the grill for you for a taste test comparison.

Oh, and best of luck on your big plunge. You deserve it and the world needs more writers like you. (so maybe we chop you up in to little pieces like Mickey in Fantasia?)

by Travis :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 2:23pm

The article says "new" Patriots take part in the initiation, presumably not just drafted players.

by Mansteel (not verified) :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 12:41pm

Oh, and I wish you the best on your sort-of-new career, Mike. You're a talented writer; I (and I'm sure I speak for many others here) will be keeping my fingers crossed for you.

by Theo :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 3:11pm

Good luck with the book. I have a lot of colleagues in Philadelphia, and as soon the book comes out, I'll let them know.

by Jerry :: Fri, 05/07/2010 - 3:12am

+1. Best of luck writing full-time (I'm luckier for you're doing it), and I hope it all works out for you.

by Dean :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 12:42pm

Denver doesn't have Alex Gibbs anymore. Can anyone answer if their RT has the agility to get out and make the second level block described in the Tebow Run?

by Bronco Nut (not verified) :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 4:09pm

Ryan Harris is their RT, and he's definitely capable.

by Shattenjager :: Sun, 05/09/2010 - 12:03am

Comment removed (decided it was too dumb to post).

by Joseph :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 12:53pm

My guess as to the factual error--Wes Welker was NOT a Pats' draft pick, so he wouldn't have done the "initiation."

by Key19 :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 1:00pm

Damn, I should've posted before finishing reading.

by Shattenjager :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 1:25pm

I figured it was that the Onion is "hysterical."

by Dean :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 12:54pm

A book of lists doesn't excite me. On the other hand, an entire book of Tanier's writing? That makes it an automatic must-buy.

by langsty :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 2:37pm

Yup. I don't care about Philly sports, but I'll be first in line for this. Best of luck making a full time job of it, Mike.

by Dan :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 1:12pm

Is the factual error that Thomas Welch could beat up Zoltan Mesko armed with nothing more than a flashlight?

by MJK :: Fri, 05/07/2010 - 11:49am

Beat me to it.

By some accounts, Zoltan Mesko is built and can out-bench press every one of the other Patriots draft picks...

by andrew :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 1:21pm

With the wind whipping sand in their eyes, there is no chance their footprints from a day and a half before would still be there.

by andrew :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 1:24pm

FWIW based on the clues provided I put them in the Namib desert. Its the only one where they might actually find diamonds on the surface (though he was probably deranged).

Lastly, certain parts of the article are just hard to believe. Like Bellichek being impeccably in a smart white suit.

by Marko :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 1:32pm

Hopefully there will be a chapter devoted to the most enduring "Philly" sports star of all: the fans. Throwing batteries at players, cheering a motionless Michael Irvin, booing Mike Schmidt, the selection of Donovan McNabb and Santa Claus (at least Santa Claus was drunk), requiring a courtroom and jail cells at the Vet, etc. And let's not forget their latest contribution to sports fandom: multiple incidents of fans running on the field and the creation of a national debate regarding whether it is appropriate to subdue such idiots with a taser.

by Dean :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 1:42pm

Things like this happen in every town. When it happens in Podunk, nobody cares. When it happens in Philly, somehow it's national news.

by Marko :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 2:19pm

Sure, fans running on the field and acting like idiots happens all over. But some of the other stuff doesn't seem to happen anywhere else. Where else are fans known for cheering a motionless opposing player? Where else did a stadium have a courtroom, a judge and jail cells to deal with in-game incidents? I never went to the Vet, but like many sports fans I've heard stories about the 700 level there. How many other sports stadia have such sections or levels that are so infamous for their unruly fan behavior?

A few weeks ago I saw a link to a story about a fan who was arrested at an MLB game for intentionally vomiting on a teenage girl. My immediate thought was that it had to be in Philadelphia. I then clicked on the link and learned that my presumption was correct.

by DM (not verified) :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 2:27pm

"Where else are fans known for cheering a motionless opposing player?"

Jets fans cheered Chad Pennington getting hurt, Browns fans cheered Derek Anderson getting hurt. What's worse, cheering a guy on your hated rival getting hurt or your own player getting hurt? I'm going with the latter.

"Where else did a stadium have a courtroom, a judge and jail cells to deal with in-game incidents?"

The Vet wasn't the only stadium to have a jail cell. Tampa has one.

"I never went to the Vet, but like many sports fans I've heard stories about the 700 level there. How many other sports stadia have such sections or levels that are so infamous for their unruly fan behavior?"

Never heard of the Black Hole? Or the Dawg Pound?

by Mike Tanier :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 2:29pm

I joked with a few friends that I wanted the kid getting TASERed to be the cover of my book. But really, I will be writing about the players, and the perception of the players, no so much all of the old incidents. If you look through a Philly book store, you will see dozens of local sports books, and all of them seem to mention booing Santa or throwing snowballs. I don't want to rehash those stories again (though darn it they will probably worm their way into the story).

What I hope to do is give guys like Lindros and McNabb their due by finding their place among the Heroes. That may mean debunking some myths and exposing some of the unfair criticism that I think players in every city deal with. If you read me a lot, you won't be surprised that I hope the tone will be very positive and upbeat, despite a few million boos.

by Dean :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 2:41pm

" never went to the Vet"

So in other words, you have no idea what the place is really like, but you'll judge anyway.

by Marko :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 3:06pm

So in other words, you didn't read what I wrote, or you chose to misinterpret it.

You don't have to go to a place to know its reputation. Did all of the incidents I mentioned happen or not? They did. Sure, other places have had ugly and/or bizarre fan incidents. But Philadelphia has always seemed to have more than its share of them. In fact, many Philly fans seem to take pride in the obnoxious behavior of their fellow fans.

I'm sure you are a pleasant, courteous fan who is always respectful of the opposing team and its fans, so there's no need to take this personally. But to ignore the reputation of your fellow fans seems disingenuous.

by Jimmy Oz (not verified) :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 10:47pm

"A few weeks ago I saw a link to a story about a fan who was arrested at an MLB game for intentionally vomiting on a teenage girl."

she was 11. thats like two years away from being a teenager, and so very not 18 or 19 as could be assumed. i'd be ashamed to support a philly team.

by tuluse :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 2:52pm

I've never seen Santa booed outside of Philly

by Eddo :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 7:00pm

I'm pretty sure most stadiums have jail cells. What do you think park security does with fans who start fighting (i.e. committing assault or battery)? They don't just let them go on their merry way.

by Jerry :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 11:20pm

I've never heard of a cell in a venue that wasn't the Vet, including the three or four stadiums I've toured. There's probably a squad car available if police need to incarcerate someone.

by tuluse :: Fri, 05/07/2010 - 2:45am

Most stadiums use police for security. I imagine they throw the people that need to be arrested in meat wagons.

by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 2:16pm

I assumed that Rex Ryan (the new sexy rexy, now that he's had his stomach stapled) would use his two new cornerbacks and Revis to play man free coverage and send seven rushers whenever he felt like it. If you read Ryan's coaching book, he doesn't actually bother to describe the nickle packages, he uses his Will as an adjuster, covering the inside receiver.

by tunesmith :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 2:25pm

Broncos notes:

- Tebow is #15, not #13
- Who is Williams? (Top of Broncos section)
- It's Beadles, not Beedles.

Enjoyable read though - thanks!

by Mike Tanier :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 3:18pm

Williams is Thomas. For some reason I keep thinking his name is Williams. Sorry, editing was tricky this week due to assorted craziness.

by Dan :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 2:36pm

Those aren't the Patriots' 12 newest players - they've since added guys like Dane Fletcher, Bryan Anderson, Sergio Brown, and Pat Paschall.

by Jimmy :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 2:52pm

Added and sadly lost.

by zlionsfan :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 3:03pm

Great article. It was nice to read about Lions talent without punchlines.

For what it's worth, the other DE in your picture, likely Jason Hunter or Cliff Avril, will be more like a pure pass rusher. I don't remember much about Hunter from charting last season, but Avril definitely has speed coming off the corner and can make the occasional power play as well.

I will be very interested to watch the defense this season. It'll probably be another season before it's completely repaired (the secondary is basically Louis Delmas and spare parts from other teams), but at least this season they may have enough talent at other positions to play competent football for 3+ quarters instead of the 1-2 they seemed to play last year.

by CaffeineMan :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 4:08pm

That Onion was hilarious. My vote for factual error is that Orhnberger actually made the roster last year, so he must have made it through. Or maybe it was some kind of identity switch.

by Zilla (not verified) :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 4:42pm

I've got a vote on that someone cut off Orhnberger's face skin a la Hannibal and got aid from traveling Nubians before killing them and escaping by camel.

by CathyW :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 6:53pm

Best of luck with the book, Mike. As one of those crazy Philly fans, I can't wait to read it!

It really has been a tough year for NJ public teachers - I live in PA, but of course the budget situation in NJ has been all over the local news. I hope the writing thing works out for you, but it's really a shame when talented teachers are driven out of educating our children by a bunch of idiotic, short-sighted politicians.

by D :: Thu, 05/06/2010 - 10:03pm

Is Green Man going to make the book Mike? He seems like a good cover model.

by Vincent Verhei :: Fri, 05/07/2010 - 5:06am

PIKE Place Market. No apostrophe, No "s." It is awesome, though

by Bobman :: Mon, 05/10/2010 - 2:30am

Argh, I didn't read ALL comments before posting similarly, and then running on about "Pacific salmon" as well above.

I like Pike and Western for vino, and Sur La Table, and DeLaurenti's, but try to avoid the giant congestion nightmare of cars, tousists, and flying geoducks.

by Fion :: Fri, 05/07/2010 - 5:21am

Jermaine Cunningham might be considered a defensive end and not an outside linebacker? That seems more than a little nit-picky, though.

Good luck with your book, Mike!

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 05/07/2010 - 8:37am

He's 6'3, 266. He's about 40lbs to light to be a DE for the Pats.

by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 05/07/2010 - 11:03am

IF they stay in a 3-4. . .

by Bobman :: Mon, 05/10/2010 - 2:31am

And three inches too tall and 40 lbs too heavy to play DE for the Colts. 266? That's DT territory in Indy ;-)

by Mike Tanier :: Fri, 05/07/2010 - 7:02am

36: Green Man made the cover of a Jere Longman book a few years ago. I am hoping to get some pics of contemprary stars like Ultey and Donovan for the cover. Of course, covers are handled by the publisher

41: Vince, LenDale hasn't been in Seattle long enough to say Pike Place correctly. It's like the people who call South Street "South Side"

by Vincent Verhei :: Fri, 05/07/2010 - 1:58pm

Ah. Joke up there, my head down here.

by raffy (not verified) :: Fri, 05/07/2010 - 9:21am

I do hope that your book is commercially successful enough to allow you to write full-time. I have at least two Philly fans on my Christmas list that will love it. Although it will be a loss for the children of the South Jersey school district, it will be a gain for the rest of us for you to engage in your passion - writing about Sports - and we to engage on ours - reading about Sports.

by Telamon :: Fri, 05/07/2010 - 12:36pm

Jeez, am I the only Decemberists fan here? "The Island" is an amazing song.

by Dean :: Fri, 05/07/2010 - 12:58pm

A combination of pop, indie and folk?

I'll be polite and just say, "no thanks, I'll pass."

by jimbohead :: Fri, 05/07/2010 - 1:25pm

No no, I enjoyed the reference. I think the image of the typical Decemberists fan (glasses, nerdy, reads a lot of 19th century lit.) is incompatible with the typical football fan though. I like to think of myself as on the edge of both curves, defying t-tests.

by Duke :: Fri, 05/07/2010 - 10:20pm

Possible "factual errors":

* Technically, Tedy Bruschi works for ESPN now, and not the Patriots...but McCourty just guessed at the identity of the man who hit him.
* The article plays fast and loose with who's alive/dead...the initial list of players implies that only Jermaine Cunningham has died, but later on Brandon Spikes implies that Weston is dead as well. And later still, the article claims that there are two more dead recruits.

That's all I got.

by Hogan :: Mon, 05/10/2010 - 1:09pm

Wow, you have really taken the time to be very comprehensive in this article. Thank you for our thoughts and I love the analogy of Christmas presents on Christmas day. We will check up with you again.

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by Kevin from Philly :: Sat, 05/29/2010 - 7:37am

The factual error was that no one was filming them for Belachick.

by Nathan :: Sun, 06/27/2010 - 3:11pm

I'd like to see a chart comparing the use of the word "weaponize" before and after the release of Batman Begins.

by deewep (not verified) :: Thu, 02/17/2011 - 8:08pm

This is a very good write up I love how the Broncos have been utilizing Tim Tebow last season even though I am not a fan of him. I think the Buccaneers got the most out of the training camp in 2010 as they were able to make many rookies shine, and also I am a fan of them. If they can repeat that in 2011 they should be top playoff contenders in my opinion. Dave from making money on the internet

by Eric Thornton :: Tue, 06/14/2011 - 5:20am

As a Denver native and true Bronco fan, I've hung with them through good and bad times but enough is enough! Mike Shana-gland may be clinging to his 'winning record' and have Pat Bowlen wrapped around his little pinky and a new home that rivals that of Steven´╗┐ Spielberg but he definitely has lost me as a supporter. Rat-face boy has become far too predictable and his detached cold fish attitude on the sidelines couldn't inspire a bus load of heisman trophy winners.