Quick Reads
The best and worst players of the week according to Football Outsiders stats.

Week 2 Quick Reads

by Bill Barnwell

Two weeks into the NFL season and three teams have already decided that they need to change their starting quarterback. After weeks of training camp, numerous sessions installing the playbook, and thousands of reps with the first team offense, it's taken the Bills, Panthers, and Raiders an average of 51 attempts to determine that they made the wrong choice at the game's most important position.

And it's madness.

The issue here is not that Trent Edwards, Matt Moore, and (ugh) Jason Campbell are necessarily guys who are going to lead their teams to championships. They may not be good starting quarterbacks. But what's changed between the end of the preseason and their respective points of benching?

Very little. About one-tenth of a full season's worth of passes.

And what do we know about them that we might not have known two weeks ago? The answer's the same. Campbell's been sacked on 10.3 percent of his dropbacks and fumbled an unlikely-to-reoccur once every 15.5 touches. Edwards has one completion thrown more than 18 yards downfield in his 52 attempts. He's thrown two picks, one of which went straight through Steve Johnson's hands and into the arms of a waiting Packers defender. Moore's played the worst, having thrown four interceptions and taken sacks at a 14 percent clip while completing 40.8 percent of his passes. On a team that needs to win this year, though, he should have had the most job security.

Furthermore, each benching seems even stupider when you consider who's coming in to save the day. With John Fox in what amounts to a lame duck role on a team full of veterans, he's benching Moore for Jimmy Clausen, who completed 50 percent of his passes and threw two picks in 42 attempts during the preseason. Edwards is being replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick, who's ranked 36th, 35th, and 36th in DVOA over his three seasons with significant playing time and has to rank as one of the worst quarterbacks in the modern era to get 23 starts. Campbell's being dumped for Bruce Gradkowski; at least Gradkowski was passable last year, but it's different cuts of the same cloth.

The next set of quarterback changes bodes to be even more baffling. The hawks are flying around Kevin Kolb after he had a bad half (partly due to a concussion) against the Packers, thanks to a good half of running by Michael Vick against the Packers and an average performance against the Lions. David Garrard and Vince Young were benched, a week after each ranked in the top ten for DYAR while winning games. If you're an optimist, Derek Anderson was sat down because the score was lopsided; if you're a pessimist, Anderson was sat down because he was missing open receivers and couldn't move the ball against one of the league's worst pass defenses.

The cliched arguments for "sparking" the team or being proactive about making changes cancel out pretty quickly with the anecdotally-accurate statements of having consistent reps with the first-team offense or building confidence in a
player by sticking with him through adversity. The remainder is the question that coaches need to ask themselves before making a move: He's Derek Anderson. He's Matt Moore. He's Trent Edwards. What did you expect?

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Kyle Orton DEN
25/35
307
2
0
211
211
0
Orton's performance was overshadowed by the nature of the other afternoon games, but all he did on Sunday was consistently move his team down the field for points, drive after drive. He was 8-of-9 on first down for 56 yards, helping his team get into manageable third downs; on average, he only had 6.3 yards to go (in 2009, a dropback on third down came with an average of 7.7 yards to go). Then, on those third downs, he was a machine. Orton dropped back on 15 third downs and picked up a first down or a touchdown on 12 of them. While Orton often found himself forcing a throw into Brandon Marshall on third downs last year, he targeted six different receivers on those 15 passes. And this all comes while left tackle Ryan Clady is gimpy and right tackle Ryan Harris has been out with an injury.
2.
Donovan McNabb WAS
28/38
426
1
0
197
197
0
McNabb pretty much had his run of the Texans' secondary downfield; on passes thrown 20 yards or more downfield, McNabb was 5-of-8. So far this year, on those passes, the rest of the league is 87-of-275 (31.6 percent). He just narrowly overthrew Joey Galloway on one of his three incompletions there, a fourth quarter pass that would've sealed the win for the Redskins. One thing to watch out for: The downfield stuff disappeared once Trent Williams went down with an injury at the end of the fourth quarter, and McNabb took two sacks in three plays while being forced to scramble on others. The depth for any Snyder-era Redskins team is thin at best, and Stephon Heyer is no left tackle.
3.
Aaron Rodgers GB
19/29
259
2
0
195
180
14
I'm certainly surprised Rodgers rated this high. It's because of what he did in the second half, where he went 11-of-13 for 149 yards with seven first downs and two touchdowns. Eight of his completions went ten yards in the air or more, and with Buffalo likely to feature an above-average pass defense this year, this will look even better by the time the season's done. After three halves of middling performance, Rodgers might have snapped into form.
4.
Matt Schaub HOU
38/52
497
3
1
194
192
2
And I thought Matt Schaub was going to throw for 150 yards a week as part of the Texans' historic march to 16-0. He did his best work against DeAngelo Hall's defense on first down, where he went 17-of-21 (with two sacks) and picked up the five yards or more needed for a "successful" pass 12 different times. Interesting schematic note: Only one of those 12 successful passes was to Andre Johnson.
5.
Peyton Manning IND
20/26
255
3
0
191
191
0
If I don't talk about this game, did it ever happen? OK, fine. Remember that devastating Giants pass rush, the one that went along really well with the commanding offensive line that never got hurt and had a cheat code for picking up six yards? And remember when the Colts offensive line looked terrible and Peyton Manning was going to end up replacing them with N'Sync? Those two things combined, and, well, the Giants sacked Manning once on 27 dropbacks. It's not really a schematic thing -- the Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl when their defensive linemen simply defeated the Patriots' blockers over and over at the line of scrimmage. That barely happened on Sunday night.
6.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
21/30
220
3
0
159
165
-6
Throw in two pass interference penalties for 39 yards in the fourth quarter, courtesy of Darius Butler, who looks like a young Duane Starks in the secondary for the Patriots. Although Sanchez's output was obviously dramatically different from his performance against the Ravens in Week 1, it's the same guy. I think he struggles when teams present him with complicated fronts and then force him to diagnose a tricky rush on the fly, even if it's just three or four guys. These days, the Patriots' defense is, well, pretty vanilla. New England was also without three defensive starters. It was a good day for Sanchez, who needed a game like this to boost his confidence back up, but I think that the Patriots are going to present themselves as having major defensive issues by the time this season is over.
7.
Matt Ryan ATL
21/32
225
3
0
158
176
-18
One way to win games by 34 points is to never come off the field. Ryan faced 11 third downs and converted eight of them. That's pretty good. He actually went 9-of-10 (with one pass interference penalty) on those plays, and the ones he didn't convert were third-and-20 (14-yard gain) and third-and-15 (11-yard gain). That's unsustainable, but Ryan shouldn't need to be that good to win games.
8.
Philip Rivers SD
22/29
334
3
2
143
143
0
The Jaguars had nobody who could stop Antonio Gates. Rivers went to Gates for two of his touchdowns (and one of his interceptions, a tip play in the end zone) and picked up three first downs on his five other throws in Gates's direction. When they started to bracket Gates with a safety, opportunities opened up downfield for Malcom Floyd, who caught Rivers' final pass for a 54-yard touchdown. The scary thing is what Rivers has ahead of him: Serious amounts of yardage. He's got a terrible slate of pass defenses ahead, with Seattle, Arizona, Oakland, St. Louis, New England, Tennessee, and Houston on tap before the bye. That could very well yield a 300-yard average.
9.
Jay Cutler CHI
21/29
277
3
0
142
143
-1
That's just about a flawless game on the road against one of the league's most fearsome pass rushes. And it all came after Cutler lost his starting left tackle to injury. (On the other hand, Chris Williams serves as a good antidote against Aaron's argument that your starting tackle is clearly better than your swing tackle.) Cutler was sacked on his first dropback and not once more, and while he was only successful on 14 of his 30 dropbacks, he made up for the leaner times with big plays to Devin Hester (38 yards), Greg Olsen (39-yard touchdown), and Johnny Knox (59 yards). Furthermore, he sealed the game in the fourth quarter by going 5-for-5 for 73 yards. This was a game for the pundits who suggested that Cutler's temperament or performance in clearly-demarcated zones of importance were substandard.
10.
Drew Brees NO
28/37
254
2
0
136
136
0
The two touchdown drives for the Saints started on the 49ers' 46-yard line (blotto free kick) and the Saints' 39-yard line. Thanks to fumble recoveries and good work on special teams, they took over two other drives on the 49ers' 14- and 35-yard lines. Those are responsible for 20 of their 25 points; the other five came on the safety and the game-winning drive by Brees, which was the only time the Saints really moved the ball down the field effectively all game.
11.
Josh Freeman TB
12/24
178
2
0
118
101
17
When Raheem Morris gave Byron Leftwich and Josh Johnson two and four starts last year, respectively, to prove themselves, it at least had a long-term goal in mind. The 2009 Buccaneers weren't going anywhere, and Morris had job security stretching into the future. He also didn't bench Freeman during what was occasionally a gruesome second half. So far this year, it's paid off: Freeman's only thrown one interception in 52 attempts after throwing one every 16 attempts as a rookie. He didn't take a single sack against the Panthers, and given 11 third downs, he converted five of them, including a third-and-17 that is currently tied for the longest third down conversion of the season. The longest from last year, by the way? Matt Moore's 42-yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith in Week 15 on third-and-26. Who else did the Vikings think Moore was going to throw to?
12.
Tony Romo DAL
34/51
377
1
2
99
99
0
51 dropbacks and no sacks -- the offensive line did its job. The issue so far has been sustaining drives; Romo's historically put up a third-down DVOA split that beat his performance on first and second down, but he's only converted five of the 19 third downs he's been up against so far this year. That's what really ails Dallas so far.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Alex Smith SF
23/32
275
1
2
84
71
12
14.
Michael Vick PHI
21/34
284
2
0
59
42
16
Right about average, and it will look worse with opponent adjustments seven weeks from now. The numbers above don't mention (although they incorporate) the six sacks Vick took and the two resulting fumbles. He was 1-of-4 in the red zone and picked up five of 12 third downs. Kolb's start against a bad defense -- Kansas City last year -- was 24-of-34 for 327 yards with two scores, no sacks, and no fumbles (and a one-yard TD sneak). And Kansas City had a better defense than Detroit does.
15.
Tom Brady NE
20/36
248
2
2
58
58
0
Brady to Aaron Hernandez: 6-of-6, 94 yards, four first downs, and an eight-yard pass interference penalty for the fifth. I'll save you the subtracting. Brady to everyone else: 14-of-30, 154 yards, five first downs, two touchdowns. After those two big plays to end the first half, Brady came out of the tunnel and promptly started the second half by going 5-of-14 for 31 yards with two picks. Without Darrelle Revis around. After three consecutive first downs, Brady then finished the game with a strip sack inside the red zone with 4:15 left.
16.
Bruce Gradkowski OAK
11/22
162
1
1
46
44
2
You know Bruce Gradkowski. Does the poor man's Jeff Garcia thing. Ducks under clotheslines and scrambles about at the first sign of danger, which usually comes pretty quick when you're platooning your left tackle with the 6'8" guy who was your starting center for a week. If he stays upright long enough, usually the defense collapses and he can improvise a throw to someone. If not, crunch. He's actually a great quarterback for Darrius Heyward-Bey because DHB can now fall down, play dead until his defender forgets about him, and then get up and run to space for Gradkowski to throw at him. No wonder nine of Gradkowski's 22 attempts went to Heyward-Bey.
17.
Chad Henne MIA
9/15
114
1
0
40
40
-1
The first attempt was a 46-yard heave to Brandon Marshall. After that? 8-of-14 for 68 yards. Give him credit for turning the first third down into a touchdown pass to Brian Hartline, but he was 1-of-6 on converting them the rest of the way. The Jets -- even without Revis -- should be a sterner test.
18.
Luke McCown JAC
11/19
120
0
0
33
34
-2
McCown came in for the fourth quarter and managed to throw 18 passes; unfortunately, on the final one, he tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. David Garrard took his place and threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Mike Sims-Walker. Is that a reverse vulturing?
19.
Shaun Hill DET
25/45
335
2
2
19
17
2
Through halftime, Hill hadn't completed a single pass that traveled further than seven yards beyond the line of scrimmage. And he only had six completions, so it wasn't like he was Welkerdolaing the Eagles to death. He did better against the prevent in the second half, but with the ball on the Lions' 43-yard line, 1:48 left, and about 27 yards needed to set up a game-tying field goal, Hill threw four straight incompletions to end the tilt.
20.
Seneca Wallace CLE
16/31
229
1
1
4
4
0
I got a text from a mole of mine at the stadium during halftime of the Browns-Chiefs tilt. "This is awful. The entire stadium can see where Seneca is going with the ball." Sometimes, it didn't matter -- 109 of his yards came on two plays. Wallace's success rate? A devastating 28 percent.
21.
Sam Bradford STL
14/25
167
2
1
-10
-10
0
Bradford's first six plays consisted of three passes for three first downs and 66 yards mixed with three sacks for 32 yards. From then on, he wasn't sacked and didn't complete a pass longer than 13 yards downfield until there were four minutes left in the game. It turned out that Bradford had the football game equivalent of a season of "24".
22.
Carson Palmer CIN
17/35
167
0
0
-24
-21
-3
23.
Matt Cassel KC
16/28
176
0
2
-28
-25
-3
Seven of those 16 completions went for five yards or less. And only two of those went for first downs. He had a sudden stretch in the second half with five straight completions, four of which went for 17 yards or more. I don't know any TV shows that were only exciting two-thirds of the way through a season for an episode or two.
24.
Kerry Collins TEN
18/24
149
1
1
-30
-22
-8
Collins' start to the fourth quarter: 4-of-6 for 35 yards with one interception, one intentional grounding penalty, two sacks, and two fumbles. I wanted to print out every shoddy article from 2008 on Collins calming the team down with his consistent hand of veteranness just so I could rip them up.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
25.
Matt Hasselbeck SEA
20/35
233
1
3
-32
-52
20
I didn't see interception number three, but the first two were just dumb throws, the sort of stuff you expect rookies to do. Just thinking -- at what point do we look back at the peak of the Hasselbeck era and see a Hall of Fame left tackle, an All-Pro left guard, an MVP running back, and a four-year run of ridiculously easy schedules and say that Hasselbeck was a smidge overrated? I don't want to say that Seattle should bench Hasselbeck, since that would go very handily against the introduction to this piece, but I don't think he's played very well so far.
26.
Jimmy Clausen CAR
7/13
59
0
1
-54
-54
0
27.
Eli Manning NYG
13/24
161
2
1
-54
-56
1
Eli Manning had an 85.6 quarterback rating this week. 85.6. That was 14th in the league. He had one long touchdown down three scores and another down four. That was more than half of his passing yardage. He fumbled three times. He took four sacks. Quarterback rating is disinterested in these facts, though. Completions are fun!
28.
Matt Moore CAR
6/16
125
1
1
-62
-59
-4
A full list of the other players who Matt Moore attempted passes to besides Steve Smith: Tony Fiammetta, David Gettis, Mike Goodson, Jeff King, Dante Rosario, and Jonathan Stewart (one target). You can't bench Marty Hurney, though.
29.
Jason Campbell OAK
8/15
87
0
1
-71
-60
-10
30.
Charlie Batch PIT
5/11
25
0
0
-72
-72
0
When Dennis Dixon's leg injury was announced, the general consensus from the beat writers on Twitter was that the Steelers could win with just about anyone at quarterback. Charlie Batch, I promise you, is going to test that theory.
31.
David Garrard JAC
15/23
173
1
4
-81
-81
0
32.
Brett Favre MIN
22/36
225
0
3
-110
-110
0
Not all interceptions are created equal. Favre threw interceptions at the Dolphins' 1-yard line and 2-yard line. A third one was picked off on the 8-yard line, but that was a 58-yard punt that just cost the Vikings a lot more money than it should have. After a career-low interception rate of 1.3 percent pushed his career average to 3.3 percent, Favre's thrown four picks on 63 attempts this year.
33.
Derek Anderson ARI
17/31
161
0
2
-113
-113
0
Anderson's too slow to note open receivers, so when he does get the ball out, the receiver's covered, the window's gone, or the route is being extended to someplace where there is coverage. The result? Well, that line above. Oh, and Anderson got Larry Fitzgerald beat up in Week 1, which is a great thing to do to your franchise player when he's already banged up heading into the season.
34.
Trent Edwards BUF
12/18
102
0
2
-135
-135
0
35.
Vince Young TEN
7/10
66
0
2
-144
-128
-16
Tom already covered Young's day on a play-by-play basis at the Total Titans blog. I'll just say that two fumbles and two interceptions on 12 touches would get my dander up, too.
36.
Joe Flacco BAL
17/39
154
1
4
-190
-191
1
When Flacco was up against the elite pass defense of the Jets, an inconsistent, middling day seemed par for the course. The Jets make a lot of quarterbacks look bad. The Bengals have a good secondary, but the Flacco that showed up this Sunday appeared to have mistaken them for the Jets once more. He had one of the worst first halves of football you will ever see a NFL quarterback have: 5-of-17 for 23 yards, with one first down and one interception. That's Derek Anderson on a day where even Ken Whisenhunt would wish for Matt Leinart. He put together one drive after the break, picking up two first downs and then finishing with a gorgeous 31-yard touch pass to Derrick Mason for a touchdown, but then it was back to more of the same. After that drive, he went 8-of-17 for 62 yards with two interceptions, another pick on a Hail Mary, a sack, and just three first downs. While the Bengals were able to get effective pressure on Flacco -- and T.J. Houshmandzadeh dropped a big pass downfield -- Flacco also missed open receivers, both with his throws and with his eyes.
Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Jason Snelling ATL
129
2
57
1
102
68
34
You didn't have Jason Snelling in your fantasy lineup? Well, I didn't either. But Snelling showed off the sort of production Michael Turner could have put up against a Cardinals defense that appears to dearly miss both Karlos Dansby and Antrel Rolle. With the game in hand most of the way, Snelling simply took over the clock. Nine of his 24 carries went for a first down or a touchdown, and he converted three of the four third downs he faced (with the one holdout a third-and-15 job). He even caught all five of the passes thrown to him while accruing 60 YAC. With Snelling playing so well, the Falcons were able to let Turner rest a balky groin on the sideline; in the future, they might even give Snelling a share of the workload before Turner gets hurt.
2.
Jahvid Best DET
78
2
154
1
69
19
49
Kevin Smith, meet Wally Pipp. Jahvid Best probably isn't about to turn into a Hall of Famer, but he sure looks like a dynamic back that can fire through gaps before good run defenses know what hit them. With the Lions-Eagles game stretching towards nearly four hours, Best was able to get 31 touches and picked up 12 first downs on them. While he must atone for back-to-back stuffs on third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter, Best was the reason the Lions were even within 11 points at that point. Good offenses stretch the opposing safeties vertically and horizontally. Calvin Johnson's had the vertical part down for a couple of years now; if Best can continue to work wonders in the screen game and as an outlet receiver, the Lions may just have an offense.
3.
Frank Gore SF
112
1
56
1
53
55
-2
While it ended up working out alright for the 49ers, I could not fathom why they didn't run the ball with Gore on that two-point conversion try in the fourth quarter. At the very least, why not get Gore back there and see if a defense that has done nothing to slow him down all game will bite on a play-fake?
4.
Mike Tolbert SD
82
2
13
0
47
37
10
The only running back in San Diego with a positive rushing DVOA last year was the burly Tolbert, who serves as San Diego's part-time fullback and full-time third-string halfback. When Ryan Mathews went down with an ankle injury, it was Tolbert -- and not the pricy Darren Sproles -- that the Chargers turned to against the Jaguars. Tolbert converted for touchdowns on both his carries in short-yardage, and picked up four yards or more on nine of his 14 rushes. He also added a 13-yard catch on his only target as a receiver. Tolbert's not going to be a starting back, but the Chargers should be able to depend on him as a short-yardage runner and change-of-pace for Mathews. Perhaps this game will give them motivation to do so.
5.
LeSean McCoy PHI
120
3
8
0
44
55
-10
McCoy had a 63 percent success rate on 16 carries, including a 100 percent rate on his three carries in the red zone. That answers the question of Bears offensive line versus Lions defensive line in short-yardage from a week ago, in case there were any doubts. It's just a shame he couldn't do more as a receiver -- he caught one pass in each quarter, but after an eight-yard pickup for a first down in the first quarter, the other three catches went for a combined zero yards.
Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Cadillac Williams TB
51
0
8
0
-66
-47
-19
27 carries for 51 yards just seems like it's difficult to pull off. The lowlights? A 15 percent success rate. Eight carries for no gain or negative yardage. My favorite, though, is the incredible 1.3 yards Williams averaged on 16 first down carries. He was even 1-of-5 for eight yards as a receiver, and that came on second-and-19. I don't have our "Worst DYAR Games" database talking to one that has game results, but Cadillac finished with the 18th-worst game in the DVOA Era. It's hard to imagine a running back who had a worse day while his team won.

Wait, I actually found one! Joe Aska had -71 DYAR in the Raiders' Week 7 win over the Lions in 1996. Detroit had the league's 28th-ranked defense that year. Coming off of a 136-yard game against the Jets, Aska carried the ball 16 times for 44 yards, blowing away Williams's production, but he caught three passes for ten yards. Not so bad? Well, he fumbled once, and 22 of his 44 yards came on one play. That means he ran 15 times for 22 yards the rest of the way. All five of his red zone carries were unsuccessful, too. It was his last professional start.
Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Kevin Walter HOU
11
11
144
13.1
1
70
Despite the presence of the promising Jacoby Jones, the Texans surprisingly held onto Walter in free agency this offseason. It paid off on Sunday. Walter caught Matt Schaub's first pass for 24 yards, the first of his 11 catches on the day. Walter went 11-for-11, a truly impressive feat; as far as we can tell, the most targets a player's accrued in a single game without an incompletion during the DVOA Era (1993-2010) is 12, most recently set by Amani Toomer in Week 2 of the 2006 season. While Walter paced all wideouts with 70 DYAR, it was far from a historically-great performance, ranking 263rd over that era. The reason why: All of Walter's targets came on first or second down.
2.
DeSean Jackson PHI
4
7
135
33.8
1
56
DeSean Jackson? Running through a defense featuring C.C. Brown? Who could have imagined such a thing? Jackson was his old boom-and-bust self, as three of those four completions went for 29 yards or more.
3.
Demaryius Thomas DEN
8
9
97
12.1
1
50
As Vince noted in Audibles: Demaryius Thomas had at least four inches and 30 pounds on each of Seattle's starting corners, and he caught eight of nine passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. Guess what you have to look forward to in three years, Bears fans!
4.
Aaron Hernandez NE
6
6
101
16.8
0
49
I covered Hernandez in the Tom Brady comment, but this is a pretty remarkable start to a career for a rookie tight end. We've noted in the past that rookie tight ends are basically useless: they look cute and get press about how they're going to give their quarterback another option, but they end up catching about 25 passes for 300 yards and get hurt. Hernandez, though, is playing more like a Colts slot receiver than a tight end. At a listed weight of 245 pounds, well, he's also shaped more like a Colts' slot receiver. At the very least, he looks like an upgrade on Sam Aiken.
5.
Malcom Floyd SD
3
4
95
31.7
1
46
In the early running, it doesn't appear that Floyd or Legedu Naanee has the clear spot as the number-two receiver behind Gates. Floyd only got those four targets, but he appears to be playing more of the Vincent Jackson role as the guy who takes advantage of his size and gets downfield to abuse safeties. Naanee -- outside of one long bomb that came against a totally blown coverage by Eric Berry -- appears to be playing what amounts to a possession receiver role. Value them for your fantasy league accordingly.
Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh BAL
0
6
0
0.0
0
-40
This is not the homecoming T.J. Houshmandzadeh planned. He had one really bad drop on a pass that hit him in the hands and would have given the Ravens the ball at midfield with four minutes to go. The announcers noted at one point that Houshmandzadeh had left Cincinnati and found that the grass wasn't always greener on the other side after his disappointing year in Seattle. On the other hand, if the grass isn't up to Houshmandzadeh's specifications, he has $15 million to spruce it up or re-produce whatever grass setup he wants to his liking.

Comments

164 comments, Last at 22 Nov 2010, 8:14pm

3 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

I thought he was superb for much of yesterday's game, however, I can't work out if the niners are actually any good. At times the offense looked great and the defense was decent but then the muppet-circus errors crept in. It did seem that every ball bounced the right wasy for the Saints (must be their creole ju-ju)

23 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Those two interceptions pull his DYAR down a lot, though both were tips that are by nature flukey. I'd like to see his DYAR if his two tips hit the ground like Brees's did. Wait -- one of those was Brees catching his own pass. I wonder if he has the record for quarterbacks who catch their own passes?

Yeah, four turnovers, three of them inside the Saints 30, and the only one that didn't look like a bit in a clown show was that nice strip of Walker by Vilma.

110 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Well, the second tip was simply a fantastic play by the defender. And yeah, any one of the those turnovers doesn't occur and the Niners probably win. Great play by the o-line with 5.5 ypc and zero sacks.

160 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Brees probably does have the record: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/tiny/s7Jf6

Most of the guys ahead of him (Kordell Stewart, Billy Kilmer, and Harry Gilmer) definitely got their receptions playing other positions. The other two (Terry Baker and Richie Lucas) were playing QB at the time, but their careers were so short it just seems impossible that their receptions could have been completions to themselves.

Note: Since I couldn't look for completions specifically by a player to himself, I just looked for QB receptions. I started it at 1950 so that it would at least mostly be what we think of as QBs today. Hence it is not definitive, but it still looks likely that Brees has the record.

47 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Agreed that he's worth mention, but maybe it was the late game/early deadline issue.... Dude's got some wheels, too. The last quarter drive was into the wind.

51 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

As a Saints' fan, I'll comment on it:
1. He played "decent NFL starter" quality all game. His 2 picks were not completely his fault--the first one normally falls incomplete as the DB doesn't have enough time to react. The second one just happens sometimes--it was a great play by the LB to put it in Porter's breadbasket.
2. He played tremendous on the last drive. His only "error" was going out of bounds enough to give Brees time to work his magic. But let's face it-- ~2:15 left, no timeouts, down by 8, your QB drives it down, gets the TD & the 2-point conversion--what more can you ask of him?
3. I don't know if the FO stats blame him for that ugly snap to start the game--but Aaron/Bill, if that's so, a manual adjustment for that play is in order. Smith actually made the SMART play--no sense falling on it, as it will still be a safety, and you might get injured Brees-style; or worse, you don't get it, and the Saints get a TD.
4. I don't remember him getting sacked--a couple of times he escaped and ran, another time or two he got outside the pocket and threw it away, deep enough into the sideline to avoid any fluke INT.

All in all, I kept waiting for the "real" Alex Smith to show up, and he never did. It will be interesting to see if Smith, Sanchez, Flacco, Schaub, et al. play the rest of the year like they did in week 1 or week 2. Their teams' success depend on it.

71 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

"He played tremendous on the last drive. His only "error" was going out of bounds enough to give Brees time to work his magic."

Yeah, the announcers were talking about that too, but I can't agree. I think the team has to put itself in a situation where they have two chances to win/tie, either with the 2-point conversion (~40% chance) or with an ensuing onside kick (~20% chance, IIRC). They were leaving time on the clock for themselves, in case the 2-point conversion fails, and they were right to do so.

84 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Completely agree. You can't assume that the 2-point conversion will succeed. What would the announcers have said if they ran the clock all the way down so that the TD came with only 10 or 15 seconds left and then they failed on the 2-point conversion? Even if they recovered the onside kick, the announcers would say they blew it by not leaving more time on the clock for a game-winning drive.

2 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

The Cardinals should look to young, unproven backups on other teams. There's got to be some young guy out there who wasn't given enough of a chance to lead his team. Maybe the Texans; they might be willing to trade a guy like Matt Leinart to them.

4 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

I find watching Cadillac Williams to be incredibly inspirational due to what he's gone through in terms of injuries. I also find it to be incredibly frustrating, and he has absolutely no burst. He seems to do OK on the first few drives, getting actual gains, then nothing as the game goes on. Wondering if his legs just stop working after some exertion.

Earnest Graham or Kareem Huggins should get a few carries, right? Why keep feeding the ball to a guy who can't move the chains at all?

18 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

I think the bigger problem isn't Cadillac but the absolutely horrid performance of the O-line, at least when run-blocking. It's amazing how horrible they've been. Putting this on Cadillac seems a bit unfair, though he hasn't looked particularly special. Remember, Earnest 'Insurance' Graham hasn't looked any better in his limited carries, and Huggy Bear was too injured to play last sunday. Lumpkin and Blount are on the roster but I don't think either will get a carry until after the bye week.

Olson seems intent on ruining Cadillac for free agency next year, though.

5 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Agreed that Romo's game was all about 3rd downs. He would be firing 20-yard strikes to Austin, Williams, or Witten on 1st & 2nd downs, then he'd have a 3rd and 3 and bounce it at the feet of one of his RBs or throw it three feet behind someone. And it's not like the Bears suddenly woke up and pressured him on those downs either --- I remember good pass breakups on two 3rd downs (one by Briggs, one by Tillman), but the rest were pure unforced errors by Romo.

6 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Man, you guys are seriously going to wind up eating tons of crow with all of that Vick denialism, eh? Sure, one or two of those are Rothlisburger/Rodgers type sacks, but... You seriously going to try and tell us that the guy who's number 4 on NFL.com of quarterbacks to date was mediocre? Child, please.

9 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Assuming this is a serious post...

This ranking is actually based on statistical data. NFL.com's QB rankings are completely subjective. Those 6 sacks and 2 fumbles make a difference, especially against a defense that isn't likely to amount to much this year.

134 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

I think Detroit will have an average or better defense this year, as measured by DVOA. In the offseason I see them replacing C.C. Brown and adding a d-lineman and a linebacker or two. They are seriously 4 starters away from a top-10 or better defense.

10 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

It was Detroit. With worse receivers and a worse running game behind him, Jay Cutler put up more yards on basically the same number of attempts and completions. And took fewer sacks.

17 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Eagles scored 35 points. Michael Vick only threw for 2 touchdowns. He didn't throw a pick. He's had mebbe three inadvisable throws at all. LeSean McCoy ran wild on a defense that was considerably more terrified of Vick than they would be of just about any other QB. Did you see all those all-out blitzes? Do you think for one moment that Kolb would have taken much fewer sacks? Do you think Kolb would have driven GB and Detroit defenses to complete exhaustion because they *have* to defend the entire field? The methods here on FO drastically undervalues efficiency.

Jay Cutler, on the other hand, passed for a ton of yards, yes. He also threw a pick. The Bear's offense score slightly more than half the yards that the Eagles did and should not have won the game anyways. The Bears aren't exactly all that efficient on offense with Jay Cutler, tho' they are vastly improved (especially in protection) than they were a year ago.

Also it does need to be said, both Detroit and KC are much better defenses than they were a year ago.

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You really think they all out blitz as much with Kolb under center? They blitzed because it worked for Gunther Cunningham last time he faced Vick. Did they blitz Cutler like that? (Honest question, but I'm assuming no.) Vick doesn't get the pass out fast enough to beat the blitz with regularity. He played well for backup getting a spot start, and as an Eagles fan I'll take the ugly W. But the Vick bandwagon can leave without me.

Yeah, Cutler had a pick. Vick had at least a couple sure fire INTs that were dropped, there was some luck involved in Vick not having any.

27 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Young QBs are routinely heavily blitzed. Kolb might not have gotten the same sort of pressure, but he would have had people in his face. And at Green Bay, which was a good defense Vick torched for a half, mind you, Kolb did fold under normal 3-4 blitzing.

All QBs have surefire INTs dropped. Nature of the game, yada yada yada. If DBs could catch, they'd be WRs. We could play this game all night. That's why stats don't make distinctions between INTs and not an INT regardless of circumstance.

Yeah, backup QB, you can keep saying that like a mantra and be left behind.

22 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

How does DVOA underrate efficiency? DVOA is all about efficiency and getting first downs.

I think you're underestimating how disastrous sacks are for an offense.

And comparing him to Kolb is just...weird. This ranking doesn't say Vick is worse than Kolb at all (though the blurb implies as much), it simply says that Vick had a middle of the pack performance. How Kolb would've done against this Lions defense is irrelevant in that performance, as Vick isn't being measured against a hypthetical Kolb performance. He's being measured on what he did on the field vs what the rest of the league did on the field.

Also, you seem to forget that this isn't fully a quarterback ranking as it is a ranking of 'Quarterback in his offense with his receivers and O-line against a certain defense'. That Cutler is ranked higher doesn't automatically mean he's a better quarterback than Vick, it means his performance in his situation was better than Vick's performance in Vick's situation.

32 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

It's too tied to a conception of what an offense is supposed to look like. As a result, teams who are on the margins of a pretty narrow bell curve in terms of things like numbers of first downs are distorted.

Here's the bottom line. Vick is number 4 in QB rating. More than that, he's a pretty darn close to an indisputable 4 in QB ratings with an argument that he's better than P. Rivers. If your methods sez he's really a 15, you're saying that David Gerrard and Chad Henne are comparable QBs. Do you not see the problem here?

35 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

You're going to hang your hat on passer rating? His rating is only 1.6 points better than #6 Kyle Orton. Are you saying Kyle Orton is essentially just as good? Jay Cutler is #1. Mark Sanchez is #8. Josh Freeman is #10. I'm fairly confident that this won't be the case in oh, 6 weeks, let alone by season's end.

FWIW, Vick's career passer rating is 76.8. Garrard's is 84.9. In of course far less playing time, Henne's is 76.1.

135 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

I thought he was hanging his hat on some "power ranking" he found on NFL.com. I looked and couldn't find what he was talking about. The only QB ranking I found there was based on fantasy points, and then Vick was #5.

34 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Even if you are Vick fan and not looking at the DVOA numbers produced at this site, what do you think is the ceiling is for a team starting Vick as their QB? Playoffs? Conference Championship?

If a team has an inaccurate quarterback, it takes having one of the best defenses in the league plus a pretty strong running game to compensate. And those cases seem to only come up once or twice a decade(Ravens 2000, Bears super bowl team that lost to the Colts).

Accuracy and decision making at the QB position makes a huge difference, and the lack of those skills are harder to overcome as the competition level increases.

41 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Why yes, A Conference championship. An erratic, lazy, Vick on a very mediocre Falcons team went there once upon a time.

Plz stop the stupid. Or if that's the blinders, take them off.

I'm being real, and you guys are the haters.

It's not as if I've forgiven that post where it was snarked that Matt Schaub was better than Vick when he was drafted. That was just blatantly stupid, and people on this site have real issues when it comes to Vick. My eyes aren't exactly lying to me, and my mind can recognized tired tropes that obviously came from ignorant people talking to each other. I can practically recite them verbatim, but hey, that would be redundant in this reply, wouldn't it?

136 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

It was the 2005 Atlanta Falcons, who started 6-2 mostly on the strength of fumble luck, but were ranked in the bottom half of DVOA. Somebody posted the links to FO "hating" the Falcons to Falcon message boards, and they came out in droves. Sure enough, their fumble luck reversed almost completely, and they went 2-6 to finish 8-8.

118 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Look, the stats are the stats, they say Vick had a mediocre game relative to his peers.

That's not an opinion, it's not what someone believes, it's what the numbers say.

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In reply to by shah8 (not verified)

This is seriously the funniest post I've read on this site in ages. Thanks very much for the much-needed parody of an 'Iggles fan'. You really got the 'completely ludicrous' nature of sports fandom down to a tee. Congrats!
This is meant as comedy, right? Right?

159 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

And your argument is that Vick is better than Schaub? Led the league in yardage last year Matt Schaub?

Nowhere has this been more appropiate: Child, please.

- Alvaro

62 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Except that's not what the ratings are saying. The ratings are saying that Vick in his offense, against this opponent, with his teammates and given the situations he was put in had an equal performance to Henne and Garrard. It does not say anything about the long-term prospects or overall quality of Henne or Garrard, it only says something about the result of passing downs this week. That's it. The problem isn't what these ratings are saying, the problem is how you are interpreting the ratings.

Also keep in mind that this result may start to look very different once full opponent adjustments start to kick in.

68 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

*sigh*, I cited the example of Henne for a reason.

He has one touchdown with 2 added quarters.

Do you seriously contend that Vick would have done anything other than torch the Bills as A Rogers has done? Or do you contend that Vick would have had only one TD on that Dolphins offense? Do you see what I mean about the absurdity of saying that Vick is comparable to Henne in any way, shape, or form, and that might make the statistical methods questionable?

And looking down...

My, my, my, some people are awefully sure that Vick will just completely stink it up. A leopard never changes his spots and all. There's someone I'll be able to sell a bridge to...

80 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Again: it's not about what Vick would have done or what Henne would have done. That's not this ranking. This ranking does *not* say Vick is about equal to Henne. What it says is that the Eagles passing offense against the Lions defense with Vick at helm was somewhat better than (19 DYAR is fairly sizeable) the Dolphins passing offense against the Vikings *this weekend*, with some minor adjustments for (perceived) opponent strength.

That's it. That's all it says. It has very few implications for the long-term viability of Vick as a QB, or for the overall quality of Vick as a QB. In fact, I don't disagree with you that Vick has a lot of merit. But that's not what this rating is about.

52 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

The part of the GB game Vick looked best in, the Packers only had two available DL. GB had only dressed four for the game. Justin (an injury just waiting to happen) Harrell is now on IR. Cullen Jenkins injured his hand and they had to improvise a cast midgame. When you only have two healthy lineman, your OL blocking is going to look good. We've all seen this Vick before. He'll have 2 or 3 great games both running and throwing, then have 2-3 games where he plays like Jamarcus Russell.

7 The Clausen Experience begins

1. "With John Fox in what amounts to a lame duck role on a team full of veterans, ..." - did you mean Rookies?
2. "You can't bench Marty Hurney, though." - Can you bench the OC for calling repeated pass plays on the goal line?

The Panthers, as built, cannot let other teams get a lead, and they could not stop Freeman from converting on third down - usually with his legs.

Is there a WR equivalent to "Hole in Zone," because Clausen throws so many out of bounds that the player with the most targets may be "Inactive WR."

8 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

As a Bears fan the big question I have is how much of Orton's success is a product of the system in Denver, and how much is his ability? Would he be this successful elsewhere (the Bears for example)?

When he was on the Bears he looked terrible, just really awful - it seemed like his signature play was the the three yard pass into the back of a tight end or opposing linebacker (while Rex's signature play was 'run backwards 12 yards and fall down').

Cutler has provided no surprises - he's pretty much what i expected. But Orton's success has me totally baffled. I can't imagine that Orton would have been able to handle the total ineptitude of the Bears' offensive line, but then I couldn't imagine him throwing an accurate pass more than 8-9 yards either...

28 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Orton did not look terrible his last year with the Bears. As a rookie, sure, he was awful, but when he won the job back in 2008 he looked surprisingly competent (especially before his injury, when he had an 18.5% passing DVOA).

29 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

It's not like Orton's alma matter hasn't produced NFL quarterbacks lately, particularly ones who are given a chance to start, then get traded away for a new shiny toy...

49 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Lessee... This means that Denver should start planning their Super Bowl
victory parade for February 2013.

97 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

I don't know - even then he seemed to have trouble with anything over a few yards from scrimmage.

Really? Remember that sweet throw to R. Davis to "win" the Atlanta game? And I remember at least a few nice long ones on the way to putting up 48 against Minnesota. Anyway, I was ecstatic when they got Cutler, but only because I felt that "top 5" was a major upgrade over "pretty good."

101 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Yes - a few throws here and there, but really looked awful the vast majority of the time in my recollection. Also, right now he's not just "pretty good", he's dominating. I never would have seen that coming, even if i thought he was better than awful.