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Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis

Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Week 7 Open Game Discussion
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Unless you're a David Johnson fantasy owner, the Broncos-Cardinals Thursday night game looks like a snoozer, but eight games on Sunday pit two teams at .500 or better against each other: Titans-Chargers, Patriots-Bears, Texans-Jaguars, Vikings-Jets, Panthers-Eagles, Cowboys-Washington, Bengals-Chiefs, and maybe the biggest game of the week, New Orleans traveling to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. Use this thread to discuss them all.

Comments

256 comments, Last at 22 Oct 2018, 9:05am

1 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

First (and likely only) opportunity to see Josh Rosen in action this year. Wonder how he'll respond to a national game?

12 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Okay, on replay, Aikman may be partially right in assigning blame here to a receiver who stopped his route.

On the other hand, what Aikman failed to point out is that receiver was double covered, and I'm not even sure he could have completed the route without teleporting through the defender in front of him. Maybe try and draw a defensive foul (close to being inside of 5 yards, though).

55 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

I think it's mostly on the line. If the lineman engages his defender well, the guy can't really tip a pass--if you're getting shoved in the chest by a 300-pound man, you naturally get your hands down to defend yourself. Sometimes a QB can contribute too though. I remember some Eagles QB--Kevin Kolb maybe?--getting a lot of passes tipped a few years ago. He had a tendency to pat the ball with his offhand right before he threw it, which tipped off defenders to get their hands in the air.

4 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Well, at least I now know how Aikman will respond to a national audience.

He just analyzed the Cardinals' first series as "not good".

I mean, he's not wrong. I'm just glad he was there to point that out to me.

7 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Hmmm ... where was everyone that was supposed to cover deep on that play? I guess Lindsay is that much of a threat that made everyone rush the LOS and ignore Sutton?

EDIT: Did not notice it was an End Around Pass from Sanders. I though it was a PA play. The End Around sells it more. Also, the announcers here called it a "Reverse"

6 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

The Cardinals uni/helmet combo looks straight out of an 8-bit video game.

Do Bronco fans outnumber Cardinal fans at the stadium? Sure looks that way on tv.

10 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Yeah ... this is a blowout. 2 pick sixes on less than a quarter is Nathan Peterman worthy, not Josh Rosen worthy. The did receiver not go to the middle of the field? Or did Rosen made a bad pass?

11 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

The Broncos are winning on pick-sixes and trick plays. I'm happy about this, and probably will be until six months later, when the Broncos record will have dropped them out of the top 5 and they just miss finding a QB.

18 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

I don't know that they would've been a contender for a top 5 pick. DVOA has them as an above average team, so being stuck in the mediocrity of the 7-9, 8-8 area was and is more likely. Actually, if they had held onto that lead against the Chiefs a few weeks ago they could be in position to pull within a half game here while also holding the tiebreaker.

21 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

I suspect that a fair bit of that is that Mile High is tough to play in September; everyone's still rounding into shape, it's hot, and the altitude kills opponents in the 4th quarter. Winning a couple of games there is par for the course.

Also the fact that the Broncos run defense has seemingly gone to complete suck has an impact on my perception.

Also, I'm a pessimist.

13 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

2 things.

Sanders, why the flip are you doing a flip into the end zone? You could get hurt doing that ship!

Sanders, HOW DID YOU GET SO FLIPPING WIDE OPEN?

14 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

If the Arizona defensive plan is "Allow Emmanuel Sanders to run free deep downfield", then they have succeded. What was the Safety doing?

19 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

*facepalms* How is that you run over the punt returner WAAAAY before the punt even started the fall down? Also, the returner got hurt.

20 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Are the Cardinals really an NFL team? They don't look like they've ever played football before. This might be the worst performance I've ever seen.

49 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Interestingly, the 49ers, even with Beathard, have mostly looked reasonable in their other games (they came very close to beating the Chargers on the road (well, I guess that doesn’t really count as a road game), and we all saw them blow a lead in Lambeau on Monday night. Against the Cardinals, the 49ers had a Vikings vs Bills-level meltdown and turned the ball over on every other possession. The ‘76 Buccaneers would have beaten the Niners that day.

57 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

I'm going to give the kickoff returners a pass on that and assume they knew full well their offense wasn't scoring with normal field positions. 25, 15, whatever. Better to gamble on a long return and the possibility of points.

58 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Well most of the football world saw this coming, though. They almost fooled us by playing the Bears and Seahawks tough, and beating the 49ers. Pretty much the only people who are surprised the Cardinals are bad are...the Cardinals organization.

76 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

It's that stadium. Nothing good can happen to the Seahawks there. You could dress Bethune-Cookman in Cardinals uniforms, and they'd not only cover the spread, someone in last year's "Top 100" would get injured for at least four games.

29 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

On the defensive pass interference just before the end of the half, the DB had his hand grabbing inside the neckline of the jersey pulling down on the uniform and making the receivers neck hole about 50% bigger. Mike Perara's comment "that's a good call". Is it his job to make Aikman appear insightful?

31 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

In defense of both of these guys:

Their audience ranges from people who are incredibly well informed about the game–for example, I wouldn't be shocked if Peyton Manning still enjoys watching football–to people who are watching the game for the first time, people who aren't interested in football and watching with their significant others, and people who just aren't that smart. Therefore, they have to make sure that the latter group has a decent idea of what's going on. So Mike P. pointing out that it was a good call–there are probably people in the audience who don't realize when it goes from legal to illegal. Sure, it's obvious, but they're probably betting that there are people who won't get that, and they need to make it perfectly clear.

Then again, I watch with the sound off, so my insight into this is dubious at best.

32 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

That's a good point. I've often wondered why the play-by-play guys don't ask more "lob ball" questions for the color guys on basic football events during a broadcast. That gives the expert a chance to both explain the core rules and subtleties as appropriate, satisfying both audiences.

34 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

I get what you're saying and it's a good point but I still think commentators do a bad job of explaining things to either audience. For example, they use a lot of football terms to talk about certain types of plays or routes without explaining what those mean and often actually getting them wrong anyway (e.g. reverse vs end around).

I think this why Romo is the only commentator actually worth anything. He does a good job providing insight that's useful to people to have a deep knowledge of the game but he also uses mostly plain language so people who are less familiar with football can also benefit from his description.

Aikman and Buck just blather on about pointless crap, don't give any useful insight, still use plenty of football jargon and still get use that jargon incorrectly. It's the worst of both worlds.

37 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Hah. I mean I guess with the way games are split across networks and only shown in certain areas there's no real competitive pressure to have better commentators. Either that or the average fan is just stupid/doesn't care which to be honest wouldn't surprise me either.

40 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

As recently as three years ago, Cris Collinsworth was excellent. I don't know why he fell off so hard, but around that time there was a big stupid controversy where Broncos fans thought he was rooting against them in the booth for some reason I never understood. I met tons of people around that time who told me versions of "oh I don't like Collinsworth because of the Broncos" or some such. Did NBC tell him to never say anything except bubble-gum saccharine? Will CBS similarly ruin Romo? Can Romo even be ruined, if all those years in Dallas didn't already?

42 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Collingsworth is fine when he talks football. When he talks anything else is when you realize he's a jerk.

Collingsworth's biggest issue is he's teamed with Michaels, who'd rather talk about anything other than today's football game. Retire already, Al.

61 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Is this really going to be a thing - were going to explain that a commentator is a Jerk because he said something stupid in the media when he was prompted to say something when he was in his 20's 20+ years ago.

I think Collinsworth has declined in his role principally because he understands the run game and the traditional "pro-set" offense much better than he understands how option plays are being used to strain the DL & LB position. You can notice this if you watch him in a few consecutive games with different teams playing - he's much more interesting when he watches a 2000's style pro offense operate than he is watching the current-incarnation eagles. It's probably fair to say that he and Al Michaels were having more fun in 2014 than they are today in the booth, but is that really the main reason for the decline?

79 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

The first time Madden explained line play with all the "Boom!"s and "Look at the muds," it was great. By the 159th time, it lost something. When Phil Simms moved to the booth, he was held in the same kind of regard as Romo is now. Familiarity breeds contempt, and the top guys are all overexposed.

30 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Watching DBs trying to catch interceptions and failing, even when the ball lands right in their hands, is a good reminder that what receivers do is actually a lot harder than it seems most of the time.

Also, Aikman just said "Rosen, good drive" after a TD drive in which Denver DBs dropped two such possible interceptions.

35 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

I just tuned in at halftime. Just saw Josh Rosen luckily avoid a sack-fumble only to scramble-fumble a few plays later. I'm hoping this game will go down as a lesson for Rosen. I really had high hopes for him coming to the NFL.

67 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Plummer salvaged a decent career when he went to Denver, but he was mostly awful during his time with the Cardinals (mostly not his fault... you could argue he was in an Archie Manning-type situation).

69 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Best QB/P, definitely yes. As far as pure QB, Jim Hart and Neil Lomax made six pro bowls between them back before the Cards left St. Louis. Since the move to Arizona...yea, it's been pretty ugly, with a crew of Timm Rosenbachs and Jake the Snakes. They also spent high/mid-round picks on something named Joe Sacca and Stoney Case. We all remember Matt Leinart, of course.

One thing they are good at is resurrecting the dead careers of aging veterans (Warner, Palmer). I look forward to Derek Carr, Andrew Luck, or Marcus Mariota having an all-Pro season and leading the Cardinals deep into the playoffs in 2027.

65 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

So now the Cardinals have fired their offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy. What's interesting to me is that the new guy will apparently be Byron Leftwich. At age 38 there are still plenty of Leftwich's QB contemporaries in the league and starting. Would be funny if one of them was playing for the Cardinals instead of a rookie and Leftwich was coaching a guy he used to compete against.

68 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Byron Leftwich then? Generally, journeyman players tend to be better coaches than superstars because they tend to go around the league a whole lot and learn more systems than if they just stayed with one team (Compare Joey Porter to ... I'd say Mike Vrabel). So ... let's see how that turns out. He can't possibly ruin the Cards offense even more.

70 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

That's true in just about every sport isn't it.

I'd put it as a combination of the journeyman being exposed to more with:

  • Spending more time on the bench and seeing more coaching/managing up close
  • Not relying on natural talent but having to learn, which makes them better teachers
  • (Related to the first) Keeping playing jobs by being perceived by coaches as the guy who never leaves the facility or stops watching film.

Jeff George was journeyman (7 teams in 14? seasons), but nobody's beating down his door to hire him as a coach.

78 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

A counterpoint: Josep Guardiola, generally regarded as the best coach in soccer, was an outstanding player who spent essentially his whole career with one team. If Halls of Fame were a thing in the same way, he might miss out (based on his playing career - he'd be first ballot as a coach), but only because he missed a lot of time with injuries. Steve Smith might be a reasonable comparison. And going further back, all-time top 10 players like Cruyff and Beckenbauer had very successful coaching careers. I think it might just be that there are a lot more journeymen than stars, so of course more of them succeed as coaches.

85 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

OTOH, being in one system your whole career means you probably *really* know that system--for every Doug Pederson there's a Gary Kubiak.

I don't think being a journeyman (or not) is nearly as important as not playing very much, meaning not taking many hits to the head.

228 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

There was once a study done on Olympic Archers that showed they could predict who would win the gold medal by how little brain activity they had going on as they took their shot. Less brain activity - more succesful archer. Likewise, when the Seattle Mariners tried to have Ken Griffey Jr. help with teaching younger players how to hit it didn't work because his advice was basically "see the ball, make contact, then it will go really far." Thinking about what and how they are doing it makes athletes demostrably worse at what they are doing.

To the extent that mediocre to bad players have to think about the mechanics of what they are doing to succeed or compete, and possibly how to train themselves to succeed and compete, I would almost never hire a great athlete to coach the position they were good at.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

250 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

I have a family member who makes his living in youth baseball instruction, and Ken Griffey Jr is INFAMOUS for terrible hitting advice. He's got some training equipment and techniques available on the market and they're all terrible. One of his big things is to "swing down on the ball", which I guess is how he thinks about it, but it's the last thing you want to tell somebody who's learning to swing a bat--you end up with kids chopping the ball straight down onto homeplate. There are definitely a lot of athletes who just have an intuitive ability to perform and really can't teach.

That said, I don't think there's any fundamental reason an elite athlete couldn't be a good teacher. In the current NFL for instance, I bet Joey Bosa, with his precise technique and large array of rush moves, would make for a very good tutor to a developing defensive end. On the other hand, Khalil Mack would probably make for a lousy position coach, since his game is largely built on being stronger, faster, and meaner than the other guy, and that isn't really anything that can be taught.

82 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Jacksonville continues to hurl resources at the running back position, in spite of it producing no tangible results. Hyde had a good year in 2016 in Chip Kelly's system, but has been barely above replacement level the rest of his time in the league. I have to believe an equal player to Hyde could not have been acquired for nothing.

Fournette is shaping up to be an epic bust, and providing further proof of why it is unwise to spend significant draft capital on running backs: they get injured a lot.

83 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Even if they don’t get injured, picking a running back in the top 10 puts a lot of pressure on your offensive coordinator to run his offense through that running back, which: A)Not a great idea in today’s NFL (unless the RB turns out to be A. Peterson or L. Tomlinson level talent) and B)May not match up to personnel and/or favorable matchups in a particular game. Even if he runs his normal offense, you get the fans and media grousing about “not enough touches” for the higly-drafted RB.

84 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

>I have to believe an equal player to Hyde could not have been acquired for nothing.

A fifth round pick is pretty close to nothing. I'd say that if Jacksonville has some reason to particularly like Hyde (ie scheme fit), that's worth a fifth rounder right there. Once you're in the late rounds, you're just throwing darts anyways. What are the odds that that fifth rounder even turns into a player as good as Hyde?

87 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Probably better than 1 in 32. Took a look at the 2016 fifth round, and look, there's Tyreek Hill. Also Jordan Howard. A couple of other starters (I only know Brandon Shell is a starter because I'm a Jets fan), so right there it looks like 1 in 8 chance. Better than the regular lottery.

91 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Sounds pretty typical. From 2015 I count six starters/major contributors (that I recognize*) in the 5th round, six in 2014, five in 2013, with an occasional bona fide star thrown in (Jay Ajayi, Stefon Diggs, Chris Thompson).

That all sounds good, but if you can get a known quantity for the pick and you believe his skills fit your system, that's still a worthwhile trade to make. I think the surety of getting a contributor would easily outweigh the small chance of landing a Hill or Diggs in most circumstances.

88 Highly likely no Gronk vs CHI

Gronk was not on the team flight to Chicago. Reports say it is because of a late-occurring back injury.

He hasn’t officially been ruled out but it’s “highly unlikely” he will play.

89 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Vontaze Burfict fined $112k for general dirtiness. If it had happened on a prime time game he'd have gotten suspended.

90 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

(Warning, Steelers biased opinion coming up) For one, at least they did something (However). On the other hand, his only objective on the field seems to injure other players. What will it take for the league to actually suspend the guy? Him sending a QB to IR? For a league that supposedly cares about player safety, allowing a guy that deliberately injures other players seems pretty stupid (Then again ... it's the NFL. It's still frustrating). Hell, not even his own teammates know what the hell he's doing.

93 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

I would've liked the Titans to run the ball on that fourth down play inside the 1 and again on the second two-point conversion attempt from the 1. They had a pretty strong running game and it's one yard or less in both cases, even a weak running game is likely to pick it up.

97 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

I still wonder why a) They didn't go for one (There was enough time for Rivers to drive downfield, plus the Chargers had 2 times outs. Then again, LAC's kicker luck is bad) and b) didn't run it. Why not just running a QB Draw? QB Sneak? Handoff to Derrick Henry?

101 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

I think your parenthetical explained why they didn't go for one. Rivers had a good enough shot of getting the Chargers downfield, and then even if he didn't, OT is a 50/50 proposition.

But yeah, the play calls were bad in my opinion. I did not like going with an empty backfield from the one yard line.

94 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

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Please note that it'll probably take a few minutes for one of our admins to matriculate you into the chat

95 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Crazy play in Philly! Eric Reid on a blitz tackles Wentz after a handoff (could have been a play fake!), Ertz takes exception even though it wasn't a particularly hard tackle, and tries to retaliate but Reid sees him coming and suplexes him! Both get flagged for it, but I have to say that's Reid 2, Eagles 0 on that play

I think that's what a suplex is, I'm not a wrestling fan

96 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

So if the Lions win today against the Dolphins they would be 3-0 against teams with winning records... And 0-3 against teams at .500 or below. Weird.

136 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

You can't fully judge watching live, but it seems like while Trubisky can make some nice, accurate throws to his first read or two within the timing and structure of the play, he starts to spray the ball if he has to hold on and work through his progressions and find receivers. Interesting because it's at odds with the fact that he's very good at shaking defenders in the backfield and scrambling. Anyway, Belichick and the Patriots didn't give him many easy throws in the first half there.

100 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

NE fumbles a kickoff return and Trubinsky turns a 3rd down sack into a TD run on a great scramble.

Then NE's rookie RB loses a fumble on a play that looks like it might put him on IR, and Chicago has a chance to stake a big H1 lead.

103 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

This Bears game is crazy. Watching the Pats first drive it looked like it was going to be a long day for the defense, but forcing two fumbles helps a lot. Trubisky looks great on one play and not so good on the next, but that scramble for the TD was incredible. One of those plays where I’m watching it saying “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit...YES!”

105 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

So unusual to see the Pats D getting all the crucial flags and not the D the Pats are playing against.
For once.

107 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

A team that falls three games below .500 is usually not going to ever get back in playoff contention. If they do, it will probably take all season for them to get there. But if this 13-0 lead holds up it will have taken just four games for the Texans to rally all the way back to being in sole possession of first in their division. They aren't even at the halfway point of their season.

114 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

Ah, THERE'S the New England homer call. WTF was that? The defense was CURRENTLY OFFSIDES but they call false start? Insane.

238 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

I didn't see this game. But if CURRENTLY OFFSIDES means they were lined up offsides (or even moving offsides but not trying to draw someone offsides), the defense has until the snap to get onsides.

118 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

how is that Josh Gordon play a "catch" through the ground? he didn't stand up with it under control.
(see Johnson, Calvin)

122 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

The key there is "full possession". If you lose control of the ball, it's not a catch. Regardless of if you get up or not.

Gordon never lost control until well after he was down. There is nothing remotely controversial about that catch.

125 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

"If the receiver is in the process of going to the ground, they will have to maintain control of the football while on the turf for the catch to be ruled as complete."
https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/20/nfl-new-catch-rule-definition-changes

did he maintain control of the football while *on* the turf?

139 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

If your point is that "control" is not well-defined... OK. I'm not going to argue with that.

But this Gordon play is not even notable. He had full control by any definition - never bobbled it at all. If it was a questionable catch, that 95% of all catches are questionable. You've picked an odd example to rail against the way the catch rule is written.

142 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

"He had full control by any definition"

how could he establish control on the ground? his helmet was off prior to any possibility of that. so he was going to the ground, then he is ineligible to complete the play when his helemt comes off.

he literally cannot establish control through the ground.

if he had not been touched, this would have to be ruled incomplete?

144 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

No. He caught the ball while in the air.

He therefore needs to not lose control when he hits the ground. He did not lose control when he hit the ground. Can you point out where he lost control? If not, it's a catch.

149 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

That is not how the rule is interpreted. Notice the helmet rule does not say "you cannot control the ball if your helmet comes off".

If a RB is carrying the ball and his helmet comes off without him going to the ground, would you call that a fumble?

152 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

no, I'd say his forward progress is stopped at that exact moment and the ball is dead where it was - because as a runner , he is in control of the ball by default

Gordon had not established control as he was a diving/fallign receiver. the end point of his establishing control is being through the ground. he was not through the ground when his helmet came off. in fact his facemask was the first part of him to touch the ground other than his toes. and it came off instantly *before* any other body part. *before* his elbow/arm hit and the ball didn't move in them (impressive as that is). It's a stupid rule(s), and it was called incorrectly and illogically. About the only thing worse is when the refs don't have a camera angle, but somehow assume that human anatomy and physiology don't exist. "we can't see he had the ball this far {despite the fact he has an arm, and we know he didn't fumble it, and we can see his elbow is past the Line of Gain, and we know the ball was past his elbow... but./..... we can't SEE it"..."

140 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

further,

"If a player's helmet comes off during play, he must not continue to participate in the play to prevent injury"

he can't establish control per this rule, because he hasn't maintained control on the turf, because his helmet comes off prior

see, this is a vicious circle of stupidly written rules .

179 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

This is just a vicious circle of immensely stupid arguments. Gordon clearly caught the ball until he was down by contact. The fact that he lost his helmet on contact with the ground after being down is irrelevant.

126 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion

127 Re: Week 7 Open Game Discussion
by SlevinKelevra // Oct 21, 2018 - 2:32pm

"If the receiver is in the process of going to the ground, they will have to maintain control of the football while on the turf for the catch to be ruled as complete."
https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/20/nfl-new-catch-rule-definition-changes

did he maintain control of the football while *on* the turf?