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Week 4 Open Discussion

Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Taylor
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

So, the Titans and Steelers are getting a surprise week off. Not so for the rest of the league!

The week begins with a Broncos-Jets matchup on Thursday night that may determine who gets the first pick in next year's draft. Notable games include the Colts (2-1) at the Bears (3-0) at 1 p.m. and a pair of late games: the Bills (3-0) at the Raiders (2-1), and the Patriots (2-1) at the Chiefs (3-0) no, it's just Bills-Raiders, with Pats-Chiefs delayed at least a day or two. Those are now the only three games this week where both teams have winning records. The Sunday night game pits Philadelphia (0-2-1) against San Francisco (2-1), while the Packers (3-0) host the Falcons (0-3) on Monday night. Use this thread to discuss them all assuming any of them are actually played. 

Comments

203 comments, Last at 06 Oct 2020, 5:20pm

2 Oh boy Jest and Donkeys…

Oh boy Jest and Donkeys tonight! A hidden storyline: if Darnold is yanked,  this becomes the Flacco revenge bowl!

3 Unless the Jets are actively…

Unless the Jets are actively trying to sabotage Gase, they should win this game.  DEN is so beat up, missing it's best D-men, playing in the east on a short week, playing its third string QB in his first start on a short week so he didn't even get a full week of starters' reps ... there's just no way they should win against an NFL team, not this week.

NYJ's players have to have enough pride to want to get off of zero wins, and enough professionalism not to completely quit on Gase.  So I think they win this one.  They may not win another under Gase, but they should win this one.  (And if they don't, then I'd guess they won't, in fact, win another under Gase, because I can't envision a better set up for them than this week.)

 

7 Yeah, I thought the best…

Yeah, I thought the best Jeudy could do was defend it, but he went for the ball and the defender never even got his hands that close. I hope Rypien doesn't think he can get away with that every time.

8 Maybe this time?

Not sure the second foot wasn't coming up before the ball was caught, but even giving the DB a chance was dumb. Great catch if it is an interception.

Gets overturned, and the replay was conclusive, no idea what Rypien was doing with that. 

14 I lost track of how many…

I lost track of how many stupid penalties NYJ took to extend DEN drives.  It seemed like every second possession, they were taking a roughing penalty on 3rd down and giving DEN a fresh set of downs.

Maybe Williams gets fired this week, instead of Gase?  Giving up 37 points to a guy making his first start, a guy who threw what should have been 4 INTs (only 3 of which were caught, the 4th going for an improbable TD) is bad, bad, bad.  

I'm all for addition by subtraction by removing Gase, but Williams' side of the team looked, if anything, even worse than the offense did.  I can't see why anyone at Jets HQ would think that swapping Williams for Gase would be an improvement.

15 Agree with this. There were…

Agree with this. There were a few fairly tricky-tack penalties, especially by the “let them play” standards of the first few weeks, but the one of them that seems more game changing at the time was probably the long PI against Denver (the, I think second, Jets Roughing penalty was also fairly lightweight but they conceded a defensive holding on the same play anyway so the drive would have continued). 
 

Both teams had some dumb penalties (Broncos special teams to take the missed FG off the board was a blatant dumb move, and the Jets had a late after the play roughness that was especially undisciplined). At the end it almost felt that Gase was calling timeouts just so The defence could headhunt and get penalised even more.

I’m hoping (though not expecting) that Shurmur might actually bring the first down play-action pass into the Broncos playbook next week, having spent almost every first down this week ploughing Gordon into the line for 2 yards... he has surely established the run as far as game film is concerned (I’m wondering if the short week and lack of reps before this for Rypien is why there seemed to be no audible available to go away from a run when there were 9 in the box).

Not sure why I’d hope for if it were a Jets fan, other than getting Gase & Williams a long way away from the team. Darnold looked serviceable some of the time, and didn’t throw the WTF picks that Rypien managed, but he also seemed uncertain on some plays. 
 

Oh well, I guess the Broncos better hope Lock recovers and plays well enough (or the Jets rebound under new coaching).

16 I don't know what to say…

I don't know what to say about Darnold, either.  The guy is not playing in a normal NFL environment.

The Jets offensive strategy appears to be to create as many 3rd downs as possible, hope the opposition blitzes, and hope Darnold does something good before being hammered by the blitzers.  Prior to 3rd down, there were seemingly no downs-and-distances when the preferred call wasn't either have living legend Frank Gore plow straight ahead or have Darnold toss a short pass into the flat and let a guy with limited YAC-abilities generate zero YAC.  Oh, and if you get into field goal range, try to get back to the maximum edge of that range, so that you're not settling for a short field goal, you're settling for a long field goal.  Some of the above was likely outcome rather than strategy, but I'm honestly not sure which parts were which.

 

 

17 Well, you don't know what…

Well, you don't know what the Gase-Williams relationship has been. Gase is the head coach, after all, and the organization may feel (or Williams convinced them) that he's undermined discipline in the whole team.

19 amazed

that anybody watched the game last night.

Gotta give credit to the Jets, though.  I knew they could pull through and lose another one.  

21 Quite likely not that far…

In reply to by RickD

Quite likely not that far behind the NBA Finals game on network TV the night before, which had 7.41 million viewers. Last week's Dolphins-Jags game wasn't much more attractive than this game and despite getting the lowest TNF ratings since 2016 still got 5.43 million viewers. Last night's game was a dog but a game involving the NYC market would always get a boost I assume. The NFL is king and millions of people will watch any game between any teams, no matter how bad of a matchup it is.

20 After the announcers called…

After the announcers called Thursday a game with defensive masterminds, I'm curious who are the best defensive coaches.

Here's my list:

Belicheck

Son of bum

Fangio

Bowles

Joseph

Zimmer

Schwartz

 

26 Son of Bum, of whom I'm a…

Son of Bum, of whom I'm a huge fan, is not actually coaching in the league at the moment, so he seems more fitting for a "best ever" list.  I also appreciate that his twitter handle is actually @sonofbum.

Vance Joseph?  Look, I'm a CU fan and root for Mr. Joseph at every step.  But what exactly has he done to be ranked the fifth best defensive coach in the NFL (fourth if we subtract Phillips)?

Not meaning to be overly negative.  My guess is that the list was off-the-cuff and meant to generate intelligent, well-researched discussion.  Unfortunately, that last bit just isn't me.  Thanks for the intriguing post.

 

 

32 Carroll will never win any…

Carroll will never win any popularity contests outside of the PNW.  To many people think poorly of his time with the Jets/NE and how he left USC.  

Based solely on accomplishments it's hard to say.  The LoB is an obvious feather in the cap, but while his defenses were good, they aren't "sexy".  A lot of people only recognize defenses that Blitz a ton and take a lot of chances.

Pete's more of a do something so well that it doesn't matter if they know what is coming.  I would say he should likely be better known for simply developing talent out virtual no-names because they fit his system.

22 Intriguing game...- Darnold…

Intriguing game...

- Darnold's TD run was unbelievable- one of the best QB runs in years, right up there with Watson 2017 vs Bengals and Jackson last year vs... Bengals. Ha.

- Rypien made numerous outstanding deep throws. However, those horrendous 4th Q picks cancelled out a lot of the good he did. Still, positive overall impression; a lot of starters can't consistently hit those throws, e.g. Darnold.

- The roughing the kicker call was complete rubbish, as was the long PI against the Broncos; the CB was totally playing the ball, and if anything, the receiver was holding onto his arm!

- I'm almost always in camp Go For It! on 4th and short, but I think the Jets were right to kick, to take the 28-27 lead. Even if they'd converted, they may well have settled for a FG anyways. Kicking with 6:00 left meant that, even if the Broncos went down and scored, the Jets would have time to respond with a drive of their own, which is exactly what happened.

- It will be lost to the sands of time, but the facemask penalty on Quinnen Williams' 3rd down sack, on what eventually became the go-ahead drive for the Broncos, was YUGE. How can guys make boneheaded mistakes like that? Rypien was turned around and already falling down; keep your damn hands off his helmet. Minus that unforgivable error, the Jets very likely win.

- As for the futzing around during the last :20... no words.

23 Roughing the kicker? There…

Roughing the kicker? There wasn't one of them, there was a roughing the long-snapper on Denver which was totally correct.

I'm hoping that Rypien coming back from two poor interceptions in quick succession to throw some nice passes gives some hope for him being at least at adequate reserve, but very hard to tell until he plays some opponents who do more than seemingly trying to intimidate and mug you into mistakes. I suspect he will have some problems next week, but a full week to prepare can't hurt, and if it makes for some more variation on first down play-calling that won't be a bad thing either - not sure how much useful gamefilm for the Patriots the TNF game really produced. Hopefully Fant will, as reported this morning, be fine by next week.

24 "I suspect he will have some…

"I suspect he will have some problems next week"

A guy making his second NFL start against a Belichick D?  I suppose there's some potential that he may have a few problems before the game is over.

On the other hand, I understand Rypien's a great student of the game.  Maybe he'll spend the long week reviewing all the various schemes the NE D has used over the past year, so they won't be able to surprise him.

35 I’m British, understatement…

I’m British, understatement comes naturally ;) - facing a Belichick D is a good way to find out whether your QB is just a glorified jugs machine or actually has some real-time smarts. The question is whether Rypien can adjust, learn and maybe show himself to a worthwhile long term backup QB. Two big ifs, but if Broncos finish this season with Lock as a functional starter and Rypien as an adequate backup QB both on rookie contracts and with an early draft pick then it likely won’t have been that bad a season in the long run.

25 Dang.  Broncos had a…

Dang.  Broncos had a comfortable 4% lead according to FO probabilities in the "Lie Down for Lawrence" contest (sorry, "Tank for Trevor" is just too obvious).  Opportunity squandered, with a loss and a tiebreaker ceded to the Jets. Maybe the Jets will start to . . . (laughs hysterically).  Ok, never mind. I can't begin to say that with a straight face. Worst day in Broncos franchise history.

27 It was entertaining...

...because I never thought the Jets would actually win the game, even when they took the lead.

I knew they'd find a way to lose.

They're now tanking, whether they like it or not.

33 Nah...they're the Jets. …

Nah...they're the Jets.  They will win just enough games right at the end to ensure the Giants get the first pick.  At which point they will pull a Mike Ditka and trade their entire team to move up for Trevor Lawrence and suck as a result for another 5 years.

Sorry Jets fans...

36 Looking at their remaining schedule...

...I don't see any wins there.  They play Miami twice, but they'll be an underdog in both of those and I figure Miami to be improved by then.

They could win one remaining game with some major breaks like injuries to the other team, but it's going to be tough.

 

29 Broncos best path to Trevor…

Broncos best path to Trevor Lawrence is now the Johnson family sells the team to an Irsay who hires Frank Kush as head coach. 

Or, through a confluence of events I can't even begin to contrive, the Colts draft Lawrence and somehow allow the Broncos to acquire him.  Because the Broncos have never won a Super Bowl with a starting quarterback not drafted by the Colts. (Thank you, Colts)

 

31 Well

In reply to by scraps

Exactly!

37 After the Buc's marched down…

After the Buc's marched down the field methodically against a pretty good defense, the Chargers struck right back in about 3 plays, thanks to a true "holy shit" throw from Herbert. Apparently that's the first TD on an opening drive for the Chargers in 22 games, which seems almost impossible given that they had Rivers for most of that time, but here we are.

40 Something something Father…

Something something Father Time something something undefeated...

 

On another note, Browns/Cowboys looking like the track meet that everyone expected. BFFs Jarvis Landry and OBJ have both had several trick/unusual plays; Landry had a TD pass to OBJ and the latter has taken a straight, on-ground 23-yard rush.

Nick Chubb holding his leg in pain...yikes...

39 1st quarter in Detroit. …

1st quarter in Detroit.  Lions scored on a nice opening drive followed by a tipped Drew Brees interception that gave the Lions the ball in the red zone.   They punch it in to make it 14-0.  It’s been all Saints since then, as the Saints’ offensive line is blowing up the Lions’ defensive line and running the ball down their throats.  Who needs Michael Thomas?  14-7, but the Saints are driving again.

41 seahawks backup dbs

For the first three games, Seattle's defensive backs were.... concerning.  When half of the defensive backs were injured going into this game, alarm bells were ringing.  Yet in the fourth quarter last week and the first quarter this week, all of a sudden Ugo Amadi and especially (because he was lifted from practice squad) Ryan Neal are surprisingly good, lotsa broken up passes, etc.  

43 and goddammit

Again, Seattle's playing down to their opponent. 

 

edit: Too soon! 

My god, I would have never bet on Pete going for it at the end of the first half.  Old dog surprise.

42 OBJ, who had as many or more…

OBJ, who had as many or more questions 3 weeks ago as Baker on whether he was fitting in and whether he would be part of the Browns future, has a nice TD reception to tie it.

Myles Garrett with yet another strip-sack, and Olivier Vernon makes up for his perpetual injuries with the recovery.

After looking washed all season, Andrew Sedejo forces a fumble from Elliott.

44 Good god the Lions defense…

Good god the Lions defense is bad.  Brees is going through it like a hot knife through butter, and the Lions offense is just not good enough to keep up.  This game feels like its over already and its not even halftime.

45 Horrifying hit on a…

Horrifying hit on a defenseless receiver by White of the Chargers. Announcer inexplicably praised White at length for not going helmet-to-helmet and said it shouldn't be a penalty - instead, it was shoulder to helmet with a running start, and an obvious penalty, as the rules guy tried to gently explain.

A few unproductive plays later, Mike Evans got mad, screamed at and shoved a DB. Presumably because he can't do that to Tom Brady; the offense has done exactly nothing since that first drive and they are clearly frustrated with each other.

Just as I'm about to stick a fork in them, though, Chargers' 3rd string RB coughs it up inside the 10. A couple bad throws then Brady hits Evans (who bails him out with a borderline superhuman jump to catch an airmailed ball) for the TD, and it's at least sort of a game again.

EDIT: On review, it looks like the bad handoff was more on Herbert than the RB.

97 I watched that game and was…

I watched that game and was amazed that announcers don't know the rules of the game they are  "experts" on. This lack of knowledge shows up way too often, which is why I usually DVR and fast forward through most of the blather. Agreed that the hadoff was placed in the RB`s collarbone. 

46 Chargers with a well…

Chargers with a well-deserved fumble to end H1, gifting TB a TD.

Kneel out the half or call a play with a chance to move the ball into field goal range.  The give up handoff, dive into the line should always result in a fumble, in my opinion, as a reminder to the coaching staff that they just called a pointless, dumb a** play.

48 Haskins looking good

Washington's defense is helpless vs. the Ravens' attack, but at least Haskins is looking good today.  Just converted a 4th down for the second time today. 

129 Haskins...

...is a project.  He doesn't look natural in the NFL game.  He may become competent in time, but he looks like a back-up QB at best long-term.

Alex Smith should be playing at this point.

143 I don't think there's any…

In reply to by DIVISION

I don't think there's any question that a healthy Smith would be the better QB right now.

I think playing Haskins is the right move, though.  He'll likely learn more on the field, and WAS needs to know what they have with him.

Given the weakness of the NFC East, it would be tempting to play Smith and try to win the division crown.  I'm not sure a first round playoff exit's much different than missing out on the playoffs, though, given the overall state of the football club.  Changing perceptions is always good, but winning a weak division won't necessary change perceptions much.  Overall, I'd be inclined to see what Haskins can do, unless he's self-imploding to the point it's impacting his confidence.

51 Brady and the Buc's figured…

Brady and the Buc's figured something out at halftime, and suddenly they're within 3. He looked much better and was getting the ball out quicker - it looked like they may have simplified his reads, he pretty much just took the snap and threw. The Chargers haven't been great in coverage, so if they can get the ball out before the pass rush gets home, they will likely be successful.

Chargers have been pretty successful moving the ball on the ensuing drive, but just got hosed on a bad chop block call - the RB cut the rusher and the lineman sort of patted the guy's shoulder. Maybe that's the letter of the law, I don't know, but the lineman barely touched him; that was no more dangerous than your average cut block.

And the Chargers miss the FG. I'd be pretty mad if I were Lynn.

UPDATE: That was fast. Two great Brady throws later it's 28-24 Buc's. The Chargers were in command for about the first 29 minutes of the game but all of a sudden it's nearly out of hand.

Will be fun to see how Herbert responds, though. He was slingin' it that last drive, before the bad penalty.

52 WOW, Herbert hits a bomb…

WOW, Herbert hits a bomb against the blitz, 72 yards and it's 31-28.

I was pretty high on Herbert coming out of college and I'm happy to say he's exceeding my expectations. He's pretty much shredded the #2 defense by DAVE (#4 by VOA) today.

53 RGIII in game

With Ravens comfortably ahead and <5 minutes left, RGIII makes an appearance in Washington's stadium, to an appreciative round of applause by the Redskin faithful.

Oh, right.  It's 2020.  

55 Excuse the hot-takedness of…

Excuse the hot-takedness of this, but the Chargers-Bucs game is shaping up like one of those games when people will look back at and see a Brady-Herbert shootout and say "wait, those guys played against each other once?"

I know, it's way too early to assume a long storied career for Herbert.

60 Hah, we both sing the kid's…

Hah, we both sing the kid's praises then he throws a terrible, terrible pick to probably ice the loss. That was his only real mistake on the day though, depending how you want to apportion blame for the botched handoff (which looks to be the difference in the game). That was a strange throw, he had two guys open-ish against the zone and managed to throw it straight to the defender between them. Either the ball slipped out or he got indecisive at the last second.

Still, that was a mighty impressive start, especially for a rookie against one of the better defenses in the League. He and Burrow have both really impressed me so far, and I'm usually a grump about rookie QBs, but I'm higher on this group than any QB class at this point in their careers since... 2017 certainly, maybe even 2012.

61 Anyone betting the over in…

Anyone betting the under in the Seattle-Miami game would've felt pretty good with the score at 17-15 with 6 minutes left, then the flood gates opened at the end. It still came in under the final O/U of 54.5, but the line was hovering around 54 all week, so that late 2-point conversion definitely swung a few bets.

After a hot start, the NFC West has cooled down a bit with LA and Arizona having three losses outside the division. Meanwhile the NFC East is truly a race to the bottom.

130 I predicted...

...the Carolina game was no gimmie like the oddsmakers seemed to imply.

The reason the Detroit game was a bad loss for Arizona is that the Carolina game was a harder challenge.

At this point, I'm asking why Kliffsbury isn't running the ball more to establish offense.  For a team with so much talent on offense, they aren't scoring nearly enough points.  Also, apparently the defense wasn't prepped for this game.

62 Browns and Cowboys combine…

Browns and Cowboys combine for 1073 yards after sack yard losses, and 87 points.

Baker 19-30 & 2 TD, but the running game cleared 300 to take care of the heavy lifting.

Dak cleared 500 excluding sack losses, 4 TDs, and stayed INT-free until the very end when Denzel Ward iced the game by catching a pass intended for Amari.

67 If any organization is…

If any organization is capable of spontaneous self-breaking, its the Browns.

I hope they don't.  I'd like to see the organization have some success.  But who knows what impact the rarified air of a 3-game winning streak will have?

72 Next games: home v. IND, @…

Next games: home v. IND, @ PIT, @CIN, home vs. OAK, home vs. HOU, home vs. PHI.

PHI is the only game I count CLE as an overwhelming-level favorite, but that could still change if they end up benching Wentz or making other wholesale-level changes.

But @PIT is the only near-guaranteed loss I see; although people were considering today a near-guaranteed loss.

87 Next Browns games.

Agreed.  The Browns' schedule is about to get tougher, so let's not get overly excited about the 3-game winning streak.  After all, it came against three teams with losing records.  Still, it's great to see the team finally doing good things.  The offense looks legit; the defense, not so much.

I really like Stefanski's approach to offense, a heavy dose of power running with enough passing mixed in to keep the defense off-balance.  The NFL has become pass-happy over the past decade or so, to the point where defenses are constructed solely to defend the passing game.  That has opened the door for someone to cross up the defenses by running the ball, something that today's defenses are not designed to stop.  You saw the result today --- 305 yards rushing at Dallas.  Right now, at least, Stefanski looks like he's stolen a day's march on the rest of the league.  He's doing something they haven't yet figured out how to counter.  Being one step ahead of the other guy is a good place to be.

93 I liked the postgame show…

I liked the postgame show analogy I heard on the local station that Stefanski was like a young boxer who sometimes got out-wisdom'ed, but eventually out-stamina'd for the knockout punch, against the old-guard of Rivera and McCarthy.

 

One of the Browns message boards had a story indicating some great inside information about how Stefanski was enforcing COVID discipline, and that the current cluster **** in TN would never happen on his watch.  All of that seems consistent with the stories from the Building the Browns youtubes.

98 The Cowboys are just an…

The Cowboys are just an absurdly horrible defense. They've only kept the opposition under 38 once in four games. I don't think blasting them is evidence of stealing a march on the league.

131 Not as much as your baby Ti-Cats!

The Browns actually have a sense of stability now with Stefanski.  They're going to be much better than I thought.

As long as their offense goes through their run game and isn't dominated by Mayfield, they'll be fine.

64 yeah, arizona

I used to root against Arizona only because they are the same division as the Seahawks; otherwise, I still remember liking Terry Metcalf.

Now when they get their asses handed to them on a plate with watercress around it, I don't know, it's satisfying somehow.  

121 The Cardinals are much…

In reply to by scraps

The Cardinals are much improved under Kingsbury and Murray, but still appear to have a ways to go before they’re in the conversation of the top NFC teams (although that road win against the pre-injurypocalypse 49ers was pretty impressive).  Of course their biggest proponent around here activating the FOMBC didn’t help.  I still see them having enough talent to be competing for the 6th or 7th seed come December.

122 Maybe. SF lost to the Eagles…

Maybe. SF lost to the Eagles, who tied Cincinnati and lost to the Redskins, and who were even more banged up than the 49ers are.

SF has only beaten the NJ teams, who are a combined 0-8.

132 Reminiscent of last year.

I told you guys this Carolina game would be harder than Detroit.

I didn't see it, was watching the Seattle game but from the stats it looks like Arizona just couldn't stop Carolina's offense.

Murray had a good game, even thought he lost  a fumble.  

Kliffsbury needs to adjust to defenses because he has the talent to beat most teams on offense.  I put this loss on the defense and the coaching to some degree.  Carolina is rebuilding and they don't have much talent at all.  

 

66 With the Wilson hype..

..going into that game it's surprising that MIA kicker was the game MVP for SEA.

Secondary looking like they could play in the SEC now at least.

69 Still need to improve on…

Still need to improve on third downs on both offense and defense; they've had a worse third-down conversion percentage than their opponent for all four games.

The good news is that Seattle has easily the lowest ratio of third-down plays to all plays, meaning they convert so often on first and second down.

And wow, Seattle had zero (accepted) penalties in this game. This has literally never happened under Carroll.

68 Down here in DFW it seems…

Down here in DFW it seems like everyone was very high on the Mike McCarthy hire. Four games in it's looking like a potential disaster, on two fronts. First, there is the obvious, which is that Dallas is playing way below expectations. What makes it worse it that the strength of the team is the offense and Dak Prescott, which were already excellent before McCarthy arrived. The team looks a lot worse than they did under Jason Garrett.

 

The other reason to doubt McCarthy is because of how things are going in Green Bay. In his second year under a new coach Aaron Rodgers is suddenly back in vintage form. That means McCarthy may have been a big part of the problem, or at least was incapable of improving the situation. I think McCarthy is at best a mediocre coach.

73 That makes sense.  If you…

That makes sense.  If you have a great QB, all you need is a middling-to-better defense to be a playoff threat.

If you don't have a great QB, you need a few other things to fall into place, although your defence likely needs to be better, too.

74 McCarthy's main strength as…

McCarthy's main strength as a coach is that he ensures a basic level of competence throughout the organization: the team is always prepared, technically sound, and generally doesn't do stupid things. He is also, I think, a good QB coach - he fixed Favre towards the end of his time in GB, and of course helped Rodgers become Rodgers - although his best work there came 15 years ago (Hundley and Kizer, shall we say, did not develop well under his tutelage, although to be fair that may be a polishing fecal matter situation). And his broad strategy (emphatically not his play-by-play tactics) on offense is sound, namely come out passing to build a big lead early, then grind down the clock in the second half. It's a recipe for consistently solid regular-season performances and lots of postseason disappointment.

He would be pretty much the perfect coach for the Jets.

But he is an odd fit in Dallas to say the least, as their existing strengths pretty much matched his to a tee. From afar, at least, their offense looks good - they just hung 38 on a pretty good defense - but he's always been pretty hands-off on defense. There is just no excuse for letting anyone, much less the Browns, score 49, much less for giving up two big gimmick plays to OBJ. To me, that's primarily on Nolan - though by extension on McCarthy, who needs to be overseeing him. It looks like Nolan was not his pick, as he was actually hired first. Is Nolan a Jerrah Jones favorite for some reason? If not, I'd imagine he'll be getting the axe if he doesn't shape things up in short order. Of course, McCarthy might very well pick Dom Capers to replace him, so be careful what you wish for.

89 Mike Nolan was definitely…

Mike Nolan was definitely McCarthy's pick, and of course there's a personal connection:

https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/cowboys/2020/01/06/why-mike-nolan-would-be-natural-fit-with-cowboys-as-mike-mccarthys-defensive-coordinator/

It's really funny that there were people out there who bought into McCarthy's PR blitz that he was going to become this super forward-thinking, innovative NFL head coach. Not that he's a total dinosaur or anything, but shockingly, superficial stunts like making a visit to the PFF offices matter a hell of a lot less than your typical football guy bullshit like hiring your old buddy who last coordinated a defense in 2014.

99 I thought all the noise…

I thought all the noise about how McCarthy was rethinking his coaching and trying to catch up with all the latest trends was strong evidence that he's a bad coach. He should've been doing that all along. It's a problem if he only started once he got fired.

133 Living in Texas...

...but being a Cards fan, I have to say that you guys are a trip.  The t-shirts, decals and everything emblazoned with Cowboys, but you still have a meddling owner who sabotages your chances at winning.

All that talent, but still underachieving.  You jettisoned Garrett because he was predictable on offense and couldn't get you over the hump.  You bring another vanilla coach in McCarthy and now you're scoring points but you can't defend.

It's classic Dallas.  As others have suggested, maybe run a defense that fits your personnel?  

The winner of the NFC East will have a sub .500 record.  Slight lean towards Philly because they'll get healthy and they can play defense.

75 Josh Allen appeared to…

Josh Allen appeared to injure his non-throwing hand and briefly went to the locker room, although he hasn't missed any plays. However, the offense hasn't really done anything since. He may not be right.

Of course as I write that, he hits a couple of nice throws to take them down inside the 1. The second could plausibly be a TD, under review.

76 damn

The Colts' defense is getting more real every week.

77 Nick Foles turning back into…

In reply to by scraps

Nick Foles turning back into a pumpkin isn't the most compelling argument for the Colts' D.

They may well be a really good D, I'm just not taking this week as particularly strong evidence of this. 

79 Foles has an 88 passer…

Foles has an 88 passer rating for his career and more than twice as many TDs as picks. I don't know why people act like he's been consistently terrible except for a brief fluky run his whole career. He's been pretty good.

88 An 88 passer rating is…

An 88 passer rating is almost exactly league average in the current era! (88.6 as of 2017.) And it's actually worse for Foles when you realize how much his crazy 2013 stats prop up his career numbers. He's been well below average for most of the rest of his career - except for two playoff games in 2017, of course, which don't show up on the stat sheet but were obviously hugely important. But even then, we're three seasons removed from that run at this point, and he was awful today.

100 If it's league average than…

If it's league average than that indicates Foles has been about the 16th best QB on average in the league during his career. In other words someone who should be pretty secure in a job as a starter. Lots of people act as if he's been a backup quality player almost his entire career.

103 I just mean that his 2013…

I just mean that his 2013 numbers - which were unambiguously excellent - are a large outlier that drag his career averages up to settle at league average. Once you account for that you can see that he's otherwise been a significantly below average quarterback in most of the other games he's played. (Other than the magic of the 2017 NFC Championship and Super Bowl.)

111 One more note on Foles

In this game I was recalling John Gruden facing all-world Rich Gannon in the super bowl.

I don't know if Reich's insight into Foles paved the way for the defense to more or less shut him down (I mean it's a new team and offense after all), but I suspect there was some input Reich had that was helpful for his D.

Good thing Indy's D is at least top-5, because their O has been settling for FGs at a positively Jacobean rate.  (Brissettian didn't have the same ring to it)  Rivers has avoided mistakes since Game 1, but isn't really leading the team to the promised land.  Missing Marlon Mack more than they thought?  Missing his young WRs on IR?  Or just blah blah blah father time blah blah blah undefeated...?

118 Perhaps it would be fair to…

Perhaps it would be fair to also point out that his season under Jeff Fisher’s “tutelage” is a negative outlier that’s pulling his career passer rating downwards, almost as much as his insane 2013 is pulling it upwards, making a kind of sort of wash.

135 Goff = System QB.

There was a whole discussion threat about comparing Goff to Kirk Cousins, as in everything has to go his way in order to succeed.

I'd take Cousins over Goff, though.

If L.A.'s O-Line has any major issues, Goff is a sitting duck.  

168 There's simply no particular…

There's simply no particular reason to think it makes sense to arbitrarily throw out the portion of his career where he played well. I might as well say it's the years in between 2012 and his second Eagles stint that shouldn't count, in which case he would look like a superstar.

134 Colts D.

Other than the brief run with Jacksonville, when has Foles ever been bad?

I would argue that he probably should have been the one to stay in Philly, as he was the one who won the SB.

Colts defense looks competent if not impressive in beating the Bears.  I don't put this on Foles as much as their defense playing well.

 

78 Just caught the highlights…

Just caught the highlights of the SEA-MIA game.

Seahawks look like tourists who arrived in Florida on an airline that lost their luggage.  They changed at the hotel into the first pair of pants they saw for sale at the airport, and headed to the strip in the ugliest-a**, mismatched outfit you'll see.

 

91 That's an odd conclusion to…

That's an odd conclusion to come to if you just watched the highlights. Seattle certainly made its share of mistakes in the game, but I can't imagine the highlight video would show most of them. The most notable one is the interception in the end zone, and the fourth-down sack would might be included, but they also dropped a couple of interceptions and had a few dropped passes, which don't sound highlight-worthy.

95 maybe

he's referring to the new chartreuse & burnt sienna with sprinkling of coquelicot seven-pointed stars all down the right side uniforms.

80 Rams Giants

Wow, I don't think I have ever enjoyed watching a victory less than that Rams-Giants game. Painful impotence on offense, which I think made me feel the defense was doing worse. Every single Giants first down caused borderline pain.

I genuinely hope this is not indicative of the rest of the year, because if so I'm going to have to evaluate the Rams as a 9-7 team, instead of the ~12-4 team that I was hoping for.

85 i bet on the rams

In reply to by theTDC

in a Survivor game. Last year it was a bet on the Rams that knocked me out.  Your Rams are bad for me.

136 They were never a 12 win team.

In reply to by theTDC

Based on their FA losses and cap issues, I had the Rams in the cellar this year and they still may be.

What I saw in the Giants game was a team with just enough talent to squeeze by a rebuilding team that had schemed for them.

The Giants D played great most of the game, save that blown coverage to Cupp.  

They don't have any depth.  An injury to Goff, Donald would be catastrophic.  

I see the Rams as being a .500 team in the NFC West.  They may finish with 9 or 10 wins, but I'm not optimistic.

190 I ended up watching quite a…

In reply to by theTDC

I ended up watching quite a bit of this game, and I'll say Mark Schereth was a revelation in the broadcast booth.  As good as Romo is explaining details, but shuts up once in a while.  Actually, it was probably why I watched so much of this game.

81 Eagles-Niners. Injury…

Eagles-Niners. Injury-ravaged o-line vs injury-ravaged d-line. I'm inclined to think the d-line wins that battle, and on cue two Niners come through unblocked on the very first play.

82 Wow, this Sunday night game…

Wow, this Sunday night game is a totally sloppy shit show. Especially coming off of Bills/Raiders, and yes that's weird to type.

84 The Eagles offense had…

The Eagles offense had looked pretty shaky until putting together a solid drive capped by a nice Wentz TD run - and then went for 2 in the 1st quarter up 6-0. They convert easily, but it's a curious decision: do they just like their O against that D that much? (Or, do they like their D against the Niners' O that much? Or, do they dislike their [either] and figure they ought to grab all the points they can, while they can?)

As a rule, it makes sense to go for 2 if you think your odds of converting are > 50%, and I believe the NFL 2pt conversion rate is quite a bit over 50%. I'm wondering if "go for 2 always" will become the new "go for it on 4th down", now that the latter has finally taken root.

90 yeah, also

In the middle of a game, say second quarter, and you score a touchdown to make the difference 7 points -- say, 16-9 -- should you go for two?  It seems to me that you should.  It's 8 if you kick and 9 if you score two, the difference of one score or two scores.  And if you miss, you're up 7 either way...

Seattle had that situation, and they kicked.  I think most teams do.  And I don't know what moneyball would advise.

92 Not in the second quarter…

In reply to by scraps

Not in the second quarter. That's way too early to know whether or not failing the conversion will come back to haunt you.

On the other hand, later in the Seattle game, Seattle scored a TD to go up 15 pending the extra point. Going for two there makes a lot more sense. There were only 4 minutes left, so Miami has almost no chance to score three times even with all of their timeouts. A failed conversion still requires two TDs from Miami (and one 2pt conversion), so there's not much downside to going for two.

94 "That's way too early to…

"That's way too early to know whether or not failing the 4th down conversion will come back to haunt you."

It's the same logic, no? But we know going for it on 4th down even early is usually the right call, because in the long run you'll come out ahead. Likewise, if you can sustain a > 50% success rate on 2pt conversions - an "if" to be sure, although one I'm fairly confident in - in the long run you'll come out ahead.

107 I'm not sure what sure…

I'm not sure what your criteria for going for it on 4th down is. 4th and 1? 4th down slightly out of field goal range? If it's the former, a big difference is that the success rate on 4th and 1 is so high that a failure will be blamed on player execution (unless the call is a pass) instead of a coaching decision for a two-point conversion. Also, I checked the two-point conversion success rates and it's been pretty much exactly 50%, so I wouldn't be that confident in any team's ability to sustain a > 50% success rate (though to be fair extra points aren't the sure thing they used to be, so maybe just 50% is enough).

96 but

it could easily be that your failure to go for 2 haunts you.  I don't see any difference on that argument....

 

edit: hadn't seen Spanosian's argument, which I agree with.  Agree, agree, agree.

108 The difference is that the…

In reply to by scraps

The difference is that the decision not to go for 2 puts the onus on the defense to sustain the lead, and also on the opposing team to convert their own two-point conversion if the 8-point margin holds up. I seriously doubt any coach will be haunted by not going for 2, since hardly any coach would even consider it and no journalists will ask them about it.

109 you shouldn't care

about coaches and certainly the media questioning or not questioning.  That doesn't matter to the central point, whether it's a good idea or not.  Likewise the "onus" to do anything.  

We're probably talking past each other.

 

110 How can you take out…

How can you take out potential criticism of the decision from determining whether it's a good idea or not? You want to base it purely on stats? I don't think that will end well.

On a side note, I checked PFR for your scenario. Teams have gone for 2 when up 7 points 9 times out of 451 since 1994, with 3 successes. 3 out those 9 tries were by the Wentz-led Eagles. Another was by Seattle the last time they played New England, in 2016, though that one was similar to today's, since it came with 4 minutes left in the 4th.

113 as i said

we are never going to agree, because we have differing basic worldviews (in this case). That's okay (or at least I think it's okay).

119 The Browns went for 2 up 9…

The Browns went for 2 up 9. Of course, they actually attempted both modes of conversion, and were fortunate to be playing the Cowboys, who have a Chargersian curse regarding blocked kicks.

117 Pederson has always been…

Pederson has always been fond of going for two, especially on the first score.

The one I'm seeing increasingly often is going for 2 when you just cut the deficit to 8. (Scored, going from 14 to 8, choosing with try after mode)

126 I like the 2-point attempt…

I like the 2-point attempt at that score differential, it makes sense.

If it wasn't for the limited number of 2-point plays most teams seem to have in their repetoire, I'd suggest most teams should go for 2 after every TD in the first half, at least.  Not sure if the math here is changing or not, but the 2-point conversion seems to carry a higher expected return, albeit at higher variance:  https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2020/1/30/21112250/two-point-conversion-percentage-stats-success-rate-extra-point-nfl-dorktown

 

86 Woo, Brandon Aiyuk with a…

Woo, Brandon Aiyuk with a catch-and-run (I guess technically it's a rushing play) that'll live on in highlight reels for the rest of time. He hurdled a guy who was nearly upright, pretty much landed in the end zone.

And the Niners kick the XP to settle for a 7-8 deficit.

101 Mullens looks horrible…

Mullens looks horrible. Overthrowing receivers and not protecting the football. He just threw a pick six to make it an 11 point eagles lead.

137 QB Controversy?

Based on how Beathard looked, I actually don't think Jimmy G is much better than him.

If Beathard has this type of confidence running the offense, I question why Mullens was ahead of him in the depth chart. 

San Fran fans?

102 weird to think

These are two of the last three NFC champions.

 

 

106 wow

Even with their injuries, I wouldn't have thought the 49ers would lose.  At Santa Clara, too.

 

115 I only watched the second…

In reply to by scraps

I only watched the second half, but they can't survive Mullens playing like that. That interception in the second half was the worst pass I've seen for a QB in a clean pocket, and I heard the one in the first half was pretty bad too.

Regarding home-field advantage though, does that exist this year? The bookies think it does, but right now home teams are 29-31-1 straight up and 27-34 against the spread. Home teams get a slight edge due to the crowd noise, ref influence by the crowd, familiarity of the stadium/climate, no travel/time zone disruptions, etc. I don't know which of these plays the biggest role, but the first two seem important and basically don't exist this year (though perhaps bigger crowds will be allowed in the future).

116 that pass

was laughable or horrifying, depending.  I half expected Mullens when interviewed after the game to reveal he was red-green colorblind. 

138 It's a good thing you don't bet on NFL games, scrapster...

In reply to by scraps

This was a prime game to take the Eagles as a road dog.

The Niners got by on two rebuilding teams in successive weeks and looked competent doing so.

They played an actual NFL team on Sunday night who was desperate and had a much better offensive coach at the helm who has won a SB, not blown one.

All the ingredients were there for a prime upset.  Even when Philly was down in the early second half, I felt that if they could somehow get a lead, their defense would seal the game at some point on a mistake by Mullens.

I didn't expect it to look so easy, though with that Pick Six.

To be honest, San Fran looked like a shell of themselves.  That team as currently constructed is only winning six or seven games this year unless they get their players back healthy.

Their D-line was subpar.  O-line was worse.  We saw Mullens.  Kittle was their best player.

139 That's a pretty harsh take

They played an actual NFL team on Sunday night who was desperate and had a much better offensive coach at the helm who has won a SB, not blown one.

Shanahan is responsible for an impressive turnaround in that franchise is quick fashion.  Also those two wins against the NJ teams, they didn't just win with a MASH unit, they blew them out as if they had their starters in.  It looks like a tough year for them, sure.  I'm not counting them out yet though.

142 Scrapster...

I predicted the Cards game and the Vikings game if you go back and check out my posts.

Philly game was more of a 50/50.

I don't bet money on these game, thankfully...

 

 

144 i was talking

In reply to by DIVISION

just about Philly vs Santa Clara, which your self-congratulatory comment was about.  

145 Scrapster!

In reply to by scraps

I should have put it in my predictions, but I didn't feel strongly enough like I did the other two games.

It was a 50/50 hedge, whereas I thought the Cards/Panthers and Texans/Vikings games were more like 60/40.

I didn't count on Philly's defense being the factor in the game nor that Nick Mullens would be such a dumpster fire as a back-up.

 

128 FO piocks for Week 4?

did I miscalculate?  Did FO hit only 2 of their AS picks?  I know you have bad weeks but.......

141 I saw that, too...

Without a true home advantage and the parity we're seeing, plus injuries, it's tough to bet on the NFL.

I predicted how the Cards game would go.

I also predicted Minnesota beating the Texans.

I wasn't definite on Philly beating the Niners, but I knew they'd be a live dog on the road.

FO picks are becoming as dependable as Nate Silver's Presidential predictions!

174 i erased a comment

In reply to by RickD

that essentially said the same thing*, but figured it was not worth it.

 

* “same thing”, in this case, means yours was better & more compact.