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

Week 14 Quick Reads

Week 14 Quick Reads
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Vince Verhei

Week 14 in the NFL saw upsets, shootouts, and a beatdown of truly historic proportions. When the smoke cleared, the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears were left alone atop the NFC's Wild Card leaderboard. The Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, and Washington Redskins were just one game out, and the St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New Orleans Saints were still alive. It seems like a giant mess and a wide-open race, but in reality it would be an upset if either the Seahawks or Bears missed the postseason.

While the five teams at the top of the Wild Card race have very similar win-loss records, some of them have clearly outplayed their rivals according to Football Outsiders DVOA ratings. The following table shows the eight NFC Wild Card contenders along with their overall and conference win-loss records and their weighted DVOA. It also shows the remaining games on each team's schedule, the average weighted DVOA of those teams, and a ranking of the strength of that schedule among the league's 32 clubs. These numbers are fully updated through Week 14, although we won't be able to update the full playoff odds and DVOA ratings on our site until Tuesday afternoon.

Several of these squads still have realistic hopes of winning division titles, but for simplicity's sake let's assume that the San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, and Green Bay Packers maintain their leads in those races.

As you can see, the gap in wDVOA between the Wild Card leaders and their rivals is substantial:

NFC Wild Card contenders
Team
W-L
Conf. W-L
wDVOA
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17
Future Sched
Rk
Playoff Odds
Wild Card Odds
SEA
8-5
6-4
43.9%
@BUF SF STL
7.6%
10
93.0%
62.5%
CHI
8-5
5-4
21.6%
GB @ARI @DET
2.1%
12
62.5%
52.2%
WAS
7-6
6-4
9.2%
@CLE @PHI DAL
-10.1%
26
47.8%
16.4%
DAL
7-6
5-5
-3.2%
PIT NO @WAS
-1.0%
18
13.8%
2.5%
MIN
7-6
5-5
-8.5%
@STL @HOU GB
11.9%
5
6.2%
4.2%
STL
6-6-1
5-3-1
-6.5%
MIN @TB @SEA
11.7%
6
1.4%
1.4%
TB
6-7
3-6
0.4%
@NO STL @ATL
-2.7%
22
1.0%
1.0%
NO
5-8
3-6
-6.9%
TB @DAL CAR
-0.8%
16
0.0%*
0.0%*
* We're listing the Saints' playoff odds at zero percent, but at the end of this essay you'll find a link to ESPN's playoff machine that gets New Orleans into the postseason. So it is ridiculously unlikely, but not mathematically impossible.

Let's take a closer look at each of these teams:

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks are now ranked No. 2 overall in wDVOA, and No. 1 in the NFC. A big part of that is their 58-0 massacre of Arizona, the third-strongest game ever recorded by DVOA, but just a week before that they won a key road game against Chicago. They also have victories over Minnesota, Dallas, and Green Bay, wins that could give them a crucial edge in certain tiebreaker scenarios, as well as a defeat of New England. And though they have lost five games, each of those losses has been by six points or less. They travel to Toronto this weekend to play the 5-8 Buffalo Bills in a neutral site game, then take on the NFC West leading San Francisco 49ers. That game is in Seattle, where the Seahawks have gone 6-0, winning by an average score of 30-11. They finish against a Rams team that might still be in playoff contention in Week 17, but it's hard to find a spot on the field where St. Louis has superior talent to Seattle.

Chicago Bears: After a 7-1 start, the Bears have lost four out of five. Has the team collapsed? Not really, they have just happened to play several good teams in a short period of time. The five teams that have beaten Chicago -- Green Bay, Houston, San Francisco, Seattle, and Minnesota -- have a combined record of 44-19-1, and three of those losses have come by eight points or less. Meanwhile, they have a number of big wins against good teams, beating the Colts by 20, the Cowboys by 16, and the Vikings by 18 when the two teams played for the first time in November. They play the Packers in Chicago this Sunday in a game that could decide the NFC North, but even if the Bears fail there, road contests against Detroit and Arizona should give them a chance to lock up a Wild Card berth. Bears fans should be more pessimistic, though, if the neck injury that knocked quarterback Jay Cutler out of Sunday's game against Minnesota becomes a long-term issue.

Washington Redskins: Speaking of injured quarterbacks, Washington's chances of making the playoffs nosedive if Robert Griffin misses much time with the knee injury he suffered in the win against Baltimore on Sunday. But even with Griffin, the Redskins are hardly powerhouses, doing just enough to get by in recent wins over the Cowboys, Giants, and Ravens. Their remaining schedule is not intimidating, but they could win out and still miss the postseason.

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys will probably need to sweep their remaining foes to make the playoffs, and that might mean three upsets when all is said and done. Two of those games are in Dallas, but unlike Seattle, the Cowboys haven't enjoyed much of a home-field advantage this year, going 3-3 in their new building. That includes losses to Chicago, Washington, and the Giants, three of the teams they're now fighting for playoff spots. Those losses could come back to haunt Dallas when it's time to check tiebreakers.

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Minnesota Vikings: The 21-14 win over the Bears this weekend may have saved Minnesota's season, but it also showed why the Vikings may be vulnerable to an end-of-season swoon. The Vikings are now 4-1 in games decided by eight points or less, but 3-5 in games decided by nine points or more. Teams with that kind of disparity usually run out of luck and start losing close games. The Vikings are also unfortunate in that they close with a rough three-game stretch: road games against St. Louis and Houston then a home matchup with Green Bay.

The rest of the bunch: The St. Louis Rams have the best conference record of any of these contenders, but that hardly matters since their tie against San Francisco all but ensures they will not be tied with anyone in the standings. (In hindsight, that tie may have hurt both teams, costing the Rams a playoff spot and the 49ers a shot at a first-round bye.) The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have lost three games in a row, and though two of those were close losses to quality teams in Atlanta and Denver, the third was a home loss to a Philadelphia team that had lost eight games in a row. As for the New Orleans Saints, they'll need to win out and hope for a miracle, but it's not impossible that they could slip in at 8-8. Until you're mathematically out of it, there is always hope.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Tom Brady NE
21/35
296
4
0
213
208
5
Twenty-one minutes into Monday night's game, Brady was 11-of-13 for 154 yards, plus a 26-yard DPI, with three touchdowns and eight other first downs. He then went 3-of-12 for 22 yards and one first down, then hit Donte' Stallworth for a 63-yard touchdown. Then he futzed around for a while until Ryan Mallett took over.
2.
Cam Newton CAR
23/35
287
2
0
182
143
38
Newton rushed seven times for 118 yards, with a 72-yard touchdown and three other conversion on third or fourth down. His two touchdowns went for 53 and 25 yards. In the red zone, where he went 1-of-5, with his sole completion a 6-yard gain on third-and-15.
3.
Matt Ryan ATL
34/49
342
2
1
120
120
0
In the first half Ryan went 7-of-10 for 40 yards with two first downs and one sack. He was much busier (and better) in the second half, but by then the Falcons were never closer than 13 points. For more on this split, see our "most valuable receivers" table later this page.
4.
Matt Stafford DET
27/44
264
1
1
91
78
13
First downs: 9-of-14 for 68 yards with two first downs, one interception, and one sack-fumble-touchdown. He converted each of his first seven third- or fourth-down throws, gaining 63 yards in the process, but after that he went 3-of-9 for 36 yards and three first downs.
5.
Philip Rivers SD
22/41
200
3
0
83
84
-1
Third downs: 11-of-17 for 118 yards with two touchdowns, nine other first downs, and one intentional grounding penalty.
6.
Carson Palmer OAK
19/30
273
2
1
82
82
0
Second downs: 8-of-11 for 73 yards and six first downs.
7.
Tony Romo DAL
25/43
268
1
1
79
79
0
The Cowboys might not have needed a last-minute field goal if Romo had been more consistent on the Cincinnati side of the field, where he went 7-of-12 for 91 yards and only three first downs (although one of those was a 27-yard touchdown).
8.
Drew Brees NO
27/43
354
1
2
77
77
0
Brees had no problem moving the ball, but scoring proved difficult. Inside the Giants' 40, he went 4-of-11 for 30 yards with one touchdown, one other first down, and an interception.
9.
Nick Foles PHI
32/50
381
2
0
70
43
27
Foles had a lot of success on deep passes, going 5-of-10 for 126 yards. All five completions were third- or fourth-down conversions, including successful plays on third-and-14 and third-and-17. Foles only ran three times for 27 yards against Tampa Bay, but each of those runs was a big play. The first was a 10-yard touchdown in the second quarter. That was followed by a 14-yard gain on third-and-8 and a 3-yard gain on fourth-and-1.
10.
Peyton Manning DEN
26/36
310
1
1
49
49
0
Manning was basically effective everywhere except the red zone. His first pass there was complete for a 6-yard touchdown, but after that he went 1-of-5 for 1 yard (and that yard came on third-and-5) with two sacks.
11.
Jason Campbell CHI
6/9
64
1
0
48
45
3
The numbers in this table do not include a 9-yard DPI. Counting that play, Campbell had four first downs, three of which were third-down conversions, including a 16-yard touchdown on third-and-15.
12.
Robert Griffin WAS
16/26
246
1
0
38
44
-7
Griffin ran six times for 34 yards, although none of those runs gained first downs, and his only successful run was a 13-yard gain on second-and-19.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Colin Kaepernick SF
18/23
185
0
0
34
12
23
Third downs: 2-of-5 for 5 yards with one first down, two sacks, and one fumble. On the other hand, his 50-yard touchdown run came on third down.
14.
Russell Wilson SEA
7/13
148
1
1
34
36
-2
First downs: 1-of-6 for 5 yards with an interception. Second downs: 4-of-4 for 124 yards with one touchdown, three other first downs, and every play gaining 12 to 67 yards. Third downs: 2-of-3 for 19 yards with one first down and a sack.
15.
Eli Manning NYG
23/35
259
4
2
33
33
0
How great was the Giants' field position against New Orleans? Manning threw more passes in the red zone (6-of-11 for 42 yards, plus a 7-yard DPI, for three touchdowns and two other first downs) than in the Giants' half of the field (6-of-9 for 118 yards and five first downs). His average pass came on the Saints' 35-yard line.
16.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
22/41
285
3
1
32
17
16
First half: 9-of-19 for 105 yards with five first downs. And then his first play of the second half was a fumbled snap that was returned for a touchdown. That put San Diego ahead 27-3. Roethlisberger played much better after that, but it never got closer than 17 points.
17.
Matt Flynn SEA
5/9
68
0
0
25
25
0
Only one of Flynn's passes came on first down, and three of them came with at least 20 yards to go. More than a quarter of his yards came on an 18-yard gain on third-and-20.
18.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
17/33
155
1
0
20
10
10
Tannehill's 3-yard touchdown to Anthony Fasano on fourth-and-goal pulled the Dolphins within seven points and gave them a real chance to win. From that point on he went 1-of-8 for 8 yards, with his only completion an 8-yard gain on third-and-19, with one sack.
19.
Christian Ponder MIN
11/17
91
0
1
18
21
-3
Blah blah blah Bears defense blah blah blah opponent adjustments blah blah blah. On deep passes, Ponder went 0-for-4 with an interception.
20.
Brandon Weeden CLE
17/30
217
0
0
-14
-21
7
Inside the Kansas City 40, Weeden went 5-of-12 for 69 yards with three first downs.
21.
Andy Dalton CIN
20/33
206
1
1
-14
-14
0
Seven snaps into the second half, Dalton hit Marvin Jones for an 11-yard gain on first-and-10 from the Dallas 23. It was almost his last good throw of the day. From that point forward, he went 5-of-14 for 32 yards with two first downs and three sacks, and the Bengals would blow a nine-point lead in the process.
22.
Josh Freeman TB
14/34
189
2
0
-15
-8
-8
First downs: 4-of-12 for 21 yards with one first down and one sack.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF
25/33
247
1
1
-16
-7
-9
To his right: 9-of-12 for 133 yards with one touchdown, seven other first downs, and one interception. Up the middle: 3-of-6 for 17 yards and one first down. To his left: 11-of-13, but for only 82 yards and three first downs.
24.
Aaron Rodgers GB
14/24
175
0
0
-17
-34
17
Here is one where you look at the numbers and think "How on earth did Green Bay win this game?" Rodgers only threw for six first downs all day. Only one of those first downs came on Detroit's half of the field, where he went 4-of-12 for 40 yards with two sacks and a fumble. His two runs, though, were a 6-yard gain on third-and-2 and a 27-yard touchdown on third-and-4, both on Detroit's side of the 50.
25.
Joe Flacco BAL
16/21
182
3
1
-21
-10
-11
First ten plays: 7-of-10 for 103 yards with three touchdowns and two other first downs. The rest of the day: 9-of-11 for 79 yards, but only two first downs, with two sacks, one interception, and one fumble.
26.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
12/19
111
0
0
-35
-39
3
Sanchez's first half on Jacksonville's half of the field was a 5-yard DPI. After that, he went 3-of-6 for 18 yards with one sack, one fumble, and no first downs.
27.
Ryan Lindley ARI
8/17
59
0
0
-45
-39
-6
Between the Arizona 40 and the Seattle goal-line, Lindley went 0-for-3 with two sacks and a fumble. He never got closer than the Seattle 39. Keep in mind that Arizona did much better with Lindley than they did with their starter.
28.
Jake Locker TEN
23/35
262
1
2
-51
-66
16
First three drives: 9-of-11 for 129 yards and five first downs, including a touchdown. Rest of the day: 13-of-23 for 133 yards, plus a 10-yard DPI, for six first downs, with one intentional grounding penalty, one pick-six, one other interception, and one sack. He also ran four times for 51 yards and two more first downs.
29.
Matt Schaub HOU
19/32
232
0
1
-51
-51
0
New England's half of the field: 6-of-15 for 90 yards with three first downs, one interception, and one sack.
30.
Sam Bradford STL
19/39
209
1
1
-81
-56
-25
Most drives begin in the back zone, the area between the offense's 20- and 40-yard lines. So it's important for an offense to perform well there. Bradford went 6-of-17 for 62 yards with three first downs and a sack. The Rams won anyway.
31.
Brady Quinn KC
10/21
159
0
1
-91
-91
0
The most amazing thing about this is that Quinn's first two passes were completions to Dwayne Bowe for 23 and 47 yards. He only had two more first downs the rest of the day. None of those were in the red zone, where he went 0-for-4 with a sack.
32.
Jay Cutler CHI
22/44
260
1
2
-103
-112
9
Cutler did not throw a single pass in the red zone, in part because of what he did in the front zone: 5-of-14 for 51 yards and only three first downs, although one of those was a 23-yard touchdown.
33.
Andrew Luck IND
16/34
196
1
2
-118
-123
4
First downs: 2-of-11 for 22 yards and one first down, with one sack and one fumbled snap.
34.
Chad Henne JAC
21/42
185
0
2
-121
-115
-6
Third downs: 4-of-11 for 14 yards with two first downs, two sacks, and one interception. To be fair, he also had a 28-yard gain on fourth-and-15 and a 7-yard gain on fourth-and-2, both when the Jaguars were down seven in the fourth quarter.
35.
John Skelton ARI
11/22
74
0
4
-214
-218
4
I'm just going to break this down into five segments, in chronological order. Segment one: Skelton's first pass was a 9-yard gain on first-and-10, and on the next play he hit Andre Roberts for 24 yards. Segment two: 4-of-9 for 18 yards with an interception and no first downs. Segment three: in back-to-back-to-back plays he went sack-fumble, pick-six, fumbled snap. Segment four: 5-of-8 for 23 yards and, amazingly, a first down. Segment five: back-to-back interceptions and a spot on the bench.
Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Marshawn Lynch SEA
128
3
0
0
75
77
-3
Each of Lynch's 11 carries went for positive yards. He had three touchdowns and three other first downs. His median gain was 10 yards. He had six 10-yard runs on the day, including touchdowns of 20 and 33 yards.
2.
Jamaal Charles KC
165
1
0
0
47
50
-4
Only two of Charles' carries were stuffed for a loss, but five went for 10 yards or more, including an 80-yard touchdown.
3.
Montell Owens JAC
91
1
11
0
40
34
7
In 101 games and seven seasons with Jacksonville, Owens never gained more than 41 rushing yards in a year. Then came Sunday, when he gained 91 yards in one game against the Jets. Only one of his 14 carries was stuffed for a loss, but he had three runs of 10 yards or more, capped off by a 32-yard touchdown on second-and-17. He also caught the only pass thrown his way for an 11-yard gain on first-and-10.
4.
Adrian Peterson MIN
154
2
16
0
37
48
-11
Once again, Adrian Peterson increases his lead in overall rushing DYAR for the season but doesn't finish No. 1 for the week. The fumble hurts, but that came on a reception, and Peterson's rushing value was still way short of Lynch and Charles. He had five runs of 10 yards or more, including a 51-yarder, and also had a pair of 1-yard touchdowns. But six times he was stuffed for no gain or a loss, and 15 others (including those touchdowns) gained less than 4 yards. He had 12 successful runs in 31 carries. Marshawn Lynch had eight successful runs in 11 carries.
5.
Frank Gore SF
63
1
22
0
37
30
6
Only two of Gore's 12 carries were stuffed for a loss, but four of them gained 9 yards or more, and he had a pair of short-yardage conversions, including a touchdown. He also caught a pass for 19 yards on second-and-20.
Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Fred Jackson BUF
15
0
16
0
-40
-32
-8
Jackson's only successful run was a 14-yard gain in the fourth quarter. His other eight runs gained 1 net yard, he failed to gain positive yardage five times, and he also fumbled. He caught each of the nine passes thrown his way, but for only 16 yards and one first down.
OTHER BACKS OF LITTLE VALUE: Trent Richardson, CLE (18 carries, 42 yards, two TDs; two catches for 9 yards); Montario Hardesty, CLE (10 carries, 52 yards, one fumble; together, the two Cleveland runners had more negative value than Buffalo's Jackson); Ryan Mathews, SD (25 carries for 65 yards); Bryce Brown, PHI (12 carries, 6 yards, seven stuffs for no gain or a loss); Chris Johnson, TEN (19 carries, 44 yards; four receptions for 15 yards).
Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Roddy White ATL
9
11
117
13.0
1
64
The Falcons didn't throw White one pass in the first or second quarters, and they went into intermission down 16-0. Then they began feeding White the rock, and good things began to happen. Each of White's receptions gained a first down or touchdown, and eight of them gained 10 yards or more. It was too little too late, however, and Atlanta pulled closer, but was never able to catch up to the Panthers.
2.
Victor Cruz NYG
8
9
121
15.1
1
59
Six of Cruz's catches produced first downs or touchdowns, including a pair of third-down conversions. The others went for 11 yards on first-and-15 and 6 yards on second-and-8.
3.
Anquan Boldin BAL
3
3
78
26.0
2
58
19-yard touchdown on second-and-11, 31-yard touchdown on first-and-10, 28-yard gain on third-and-four.
4.
Mike Wallace PIT
7
11
112
16.0
2
50
First half: six targets, two receptions, 27 yards, two first downs. Second half: five targets, five receptions, 85 yards, two touchdowns, two other first downs, and a 19-yard gain on second-and-20.
5.
Danario Alexander SD
7
11
88
12.6
2
49
Different team, same game, similar story. First half: five targets, two receptions, 45 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown late in the second quarter. Second half: six targets, five receptions, 43 yards, one touchdown, two other first downs.
Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Chris Givens STL
3
10
25
8.3
0
-59
Givens' best play was a 13-yard gain on third-and-6. Otherwise, he had an 8-yard gain on first-and-9, a 4-yard catch on third-and-10, and seven incompletions. He also had one carry for a 3-yard loss.
OTHER RECEIVERS OF LITTLE VALUE: Donnie Avery, IND (nine targets, three catches, 31 yards); Kellen Davis, CHI (eight targets, three catches, 25 yards); Larry Fitzgerald (11 targets, one catch, 2 yards. He would have been the least valuable receiver this week were it not for opponent adjustments. And no, none of this is his fault.).

Comments

209 comments, Last at 15 Dec 2012, 11:26pm

1 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Can I just say as a Skins fan how frustrating it is to be on the outside looking in because of the Fail Mary?

5 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Can I just say as a Skins fan how frustrating it is to be on the outside looking in because my quarterback doesn't know how to slide?

-Fixed your post for ya.

8 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

You mean like when he started to slide and got concussed against the Falcons? Or the two times he's gone into slide to avoid spearing helmet shot attempts by the Eagles and Ravens?

54 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Which is why RGIII isn't as valuable as Luck - because he'll only last 3 years before he has to learn how to be a pocket passer, and that will change his game so much, that he will have a low % chance of succeeding at it.

96 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

In reply to by Eggwasp (not verified)

Pretty impressive to fill one sentence with so much terrible logic.

The best part is that you mention Andrew Luck in your argument regarding injuries. The Colts were in position to draft Luck because Peyton Manning was almost almost paralyzed and on IR an entire year in his prime because of hits he sustained sitting in the pocket.

Almost every QB gets hurt from big hits. Pocket passers and mobile QBs alike. Brady, Peyton, Stafford, Schaub, Roethlisberger, Brees, Rodgers, and Cutler are ones that come to my mind right away.

The second part of your argument is that RG3 simply won't be able change his game in the future. RG3 is a 22 year old who has the arm strength, accuracy, and intelligence or an elite passing QB. He is just 11 games into his career and he is putting up numbers that are jaw dropping. Not good numbers. Not great numbers. Elite numbers. Bet against him if you want, I will just sit back and enjoy watching him terrorize defensive coordinators for the next 10+ years laughing at the haters.

102 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Why don't you dial back the hostility and cliches a bit? Smaller guys who run more have a greater tendency to get hurt than bigger guys who get rid of the ball prior to getting hit, and nobody is "hating" when this is noted. Peyton Manning played 13 years before missing a start, and the chance of a running qb accomplishing that approximates zero.

104 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

But the stupid part is the part of the argument that says that RGIII will have to "learn how to be a pocket passer." RGIII is, right now, leading the NFL in passer rating. He won't have to learn anything, even if we were to presume that he would have to change his game.

There have been many QBs over the years who started out as scramblers but ended up as good QBs even when they scrambled less: John Elway, Steve Young, Randall Cunningham for example.

The argument being made deeply underrates RGIII's passing ability.

111 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

There hasn't been a rookie qb in the history of the league who hasn't had to learn a lot of stuff, regardless of their first year stats, and this qb is no different. Now there isn't much to suggest that RGIII won't do so, but it is also true that if running to the degree he has results in injury that makes him a less dynamic runner (not at all a crazy supposition), then defensing RGIII from the pocket will become considerably easier, IF RGIII doesn't get better from the pocket.

Careers are non-static and unpredictable. Luck isn't guaranteed to have a better career than than RGIII, but that's the way to bet, and odds of injury plays the largest role in that wager.

130 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Hearing quotes like the one from Collingsworth the other day where he reported the Shanahans as saying Griffin would "get teh chance to run an offense like none that had been run before" doesn't fill me with confidence in Griffin's ability to stay healthy. If they had a brain they'd use him like Steve Young, a normal quarterback that can add the odd wrinkle or escape with his legs. If they keep up the read option crap they're going to get him killed.

134 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

I wonder if they have inkling how lucky they are that the guy didn't suffer an injury on Sunday that would have had him questionable for next September.

137 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

The way I remember it, Steve Young circa 1990 was far more reckless and aggressive with the ball than RG3 is today.

147 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Firstly, that's because Steve was awesome. Secondly, at least they weren't sending him off tackle ten times per game.

160 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

This makes me wonder if you have actually watched any games past week 3.

The Redskins have greatly reduced utilizing designed runs with RG3. RG3 still scrambles and gains significant yards, but the designed runs are down enormously from earlier in the year.

144 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Hearing quotes like the one from Collingsworth the other day where he reported the Shanahans as saying Griffin would "get teh chance to run an offense like none that had been run before" doesn't fill me with confidence in Griffin's ability to stay healthy. If they had a brain they'd use him like Steve Young, a normal quarterback that can add the odd wrinkle or escape with his legs. If they keep up the read option crap they're going to get him killed.

-----

Early in the season RG3 was getting unnecessary and significant contact as a result of the triple read option. The Redskins adjusted the play calling significantly. The Redskins offense has evolved significantly since Week 1.

If you actually watch the games over the last 2 months, you will notice most contact on RG3 comes when he is scrambling, not a designed run. The zone read option out the Pistol formation is not gimmick and is not causing the dangerous contact. The contact is mostly coming when RG3 scrambles and doesn't get down early enough. That is not play calling and has nothing to do with his style of play. RG3 simply needs to get smarter about it and go down faster to avoid the hit.

As for Steve Young - you might remember that his style of play was not popular with experts at the time. Young defied the critics and doubters who told him his style of play would be unsuccessful and instead revolutionized how people view mobile QBs by playing his style. Not sure that is the best example to use if you want RG3 to change his style, no?

168 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Also in reply to your other post.

I wouldn't send him on any designed run at all. I'd use him on bootlegs and waggles, maybe a very occasional draw if the opponent's tendencies suggest it. Like Mike Shanahan did with Steve Young.

Steve Young is in the Hall because he was one of the greatest passers of his generation, he'd have made it there even if he couldn't run. Griffin has the same chance if he can stay healthy, he's one of the most gifted passers I've ever seen.

You say that the offense has changed dramatically but I watched them last Sunday, it was full of all sorts of pistol and read option play. If he's not a threat to carry the ball on those plays then it's going to worked out so they'll need to change the scheme, or he is a threat to run out of those plays, in which case he's going to get hurt and they'll have to change the scheme.

I do agree that he needs to slide more.

135 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

"There hasn't been a rookie qb in the history of the league who hasn't had to learn a lot of stuff, regardless of their first year stats, and this qb is no different. "

------

I couldn't agree more.

My comment was in reaction to Eggwasp's claim that RG3 would be unable to learn new things or change him game over the next few years. I just don't see why that is true. RG3 has the arm strength, accuracy, and intelligence to be an elite QB - not just an elite "running" QB.

The big factor that is completely ignored when discussing RG3 mobility and tendency to scramble is the offensive line. Once the Redskins build an offensive line that can protect RG3, I am sure we will see him sitting in the pocket more often. Currently, the offensive line is bellow average. RG3 is safer scrambling and avoiding contact on the move than he is sitting behind this current offensive line.

As you say, and I agree, RG3 and Luck both have a lot to learn.

RG must learn to get down, slide, and throw the ball away safely.

Luck will need to learn that he shouldn't throw the ball to the opposing team 2+ times a game.

162 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

What do you suppose RGIIIs int total would look like if he had Indy's defense to compensate for? Are you under the impression that the Colts have a competent offensive line?

I really don't get the idea that running RGIII in multiple zone read runs per game has negligible cost over time.

171 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

What do you suppose RGIIIs int total would look like if he had Indy's defense to compensate for?

----

We sort of saw that in the beginning of the year, no? The Redskins defense the first half of the year was terrible and on pace to break some records, and RG3's TD/INT ratio was still phenomenal. His interceptions were not significantly higher during those weeks. Over the past 4 weeks the defense has improved from terrible to just bad. They are still in the bottom 1/3 of the NFL. But the statistics earlier in the season show that RG3 did not throw significantly more INTs with a bad defense.

163 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Over the past 2 days I've watched a lot of RGIII and a lot of Tom Brady.

Purely as a passer, RGIII is much, much better than Tom Brady was when he took over as the Pats' starter.

This is why I'm suspicious of anybody who draws any limits to his career.

He may miss a season because of injury at some point. Brady and Manning have both done that already. But I'd put even money on the proposition that RGIII will win an MVP at some point.

I haven't watched as much of Luck. But Luck's ability level seems to be of a similar level. We may have to start an irrational Luck/RGIII thread at some point.

165 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Oh, it is very likely we will have such a thread at some point. The only limit I'm putting on the guy is due to how much he is gettig hit. If that changes, I greatly welcome the development.

209 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

A lot of QBs are a lot better as a passer than Tom Brady was in 2001. Simply put, he wasn't that good.

The thing about Brady thats so impressive is how he has systematically fixed pretty much every hole in his game. He's stronger, has better footwork, better upper body mechanics, makes faster reads, etc, than he did as a rookie. He's a completely different player.

I think that assuming anyone is going to make the ridiculous improvements that Brady did is a bit silly (and I know you're not doing that).

Its like the argument where people looked at Cassel and said "he can throw further than Brady and can run, he'll be a stud under BB". Brady is the absolute tail of the distribution as far as development goes.

I think RG3 is a special talent, but if they keep playing him like they do now, hes going to miss multiple seasons.

183 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Wait, Peyton Manning's in his prime??? As much as I think he's the best QB of his generation, and maybe ever, I don't think that's remotely true.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

61 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Oh you must be referring to the roughing the passer/leading with crown call they called on Ngata for pushing RG3 to the ground with his hands. yeah you can stop bellyaching now.

123 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Nah not that (I agree that was a BS call). I think it was Pollard, when RG3 was a runner and ducked down because the D player clearly launched with the crown of his helmet at RG3's head. Eagle DB tried it as well. Looked it up, it was DRC for Eagles http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/rg3-headshot-11-18-12.gif

will edit comment when I find the Ravens play I was talking about

9 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Maybe if the 'Skins really deserved to go to the playoffs then they shouldn't have lost to the Panthers at home. The reason the Seahawks are leading in the wild card isn't because of the so-called "fail mary" but because they've been taking care of business and winning games. Stop blaming the referees and realize that the Seahawks are simply a better team than the Redskins.

15 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Funny, when I read that I assumed that the "Fail Mary" referred to the Redskins' failure to cover Victor Cruz on the Giants' winning TD in their first game.

Too many early losses, esp. at home. Redskins have nobody to blame but themselves.

But hey - if they can win their last three, they've got the tiebreakers in case the Giants should lose one.

128 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Because the best teams are always the ones in the playoffs? I'm just pointing out if a reviewed play was ruled anywhere near the correct call, the Skins would be in a WC spot right now instead of the Hawks. Not saying they would deserve it, just that they'd be there.

184 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

It was. It was not an atrocious miss-call (other than the non-call on the OPI). There's a very solid argument to be made that they had simultaneous posession if you go back and re-wwatch it in slow motion.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

10 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

We Seahawks fans have felt the pain of being on the wrong end of a massively blown call. No one knows how to handle being the beneficiary of one. However, we're trying to take our cue from Patriots fans who have never, ever felt any misgivings over the Tuck Rule call.

Besides, if the 'Hawks win out, go 11-5 and snag the division from the 'Niners, think how much more frustrating it will be to be a Packers fan and lose the first round bye because of the Fail Mary!

21 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

I'm wondering why the Tuck rule wasn't used when Wilfork caused the fumble last night when Schaub pump faked, but never tucked.

29 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

I can't say why the ref didn't call it, but I know why it wasn't reviewed: it wasn't a turnover, and Kubiak probably didn't want to spend a challenge with no upside beyond changing the field position on a punt.

127 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

It was called in a Jets game that very same season when Vinny Testaverde lost the ball. In general, the "tuck rule" comes into play about once a season on average.

141 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Can you come up with any other examples? I've seen plenty of plays (including the Schaub play last night, for example) where there were legit pump fakes but no tuck rule invoked.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHEQtASq9BI

By the way, that's what that Testaverde play looked like (see about 1:39), and it doesn't look much like the famous "Tuck Rule" play. I guess you could read Vinny's mind and say it was a pump fake and not an actual pass attempt, but it doesn't really matter. His arm was going forward in a throwing motion and interrupted smack in the middle of it. There's no question about that whatsoever. In contrast, Brady had completed his arm motion and had both hands on the ball at the time Woodson makes contact with the ball (or Brady's hand). At least that's how it appears to me. I suppose it's possible Brady started to lose control just before he put his second hand on the ball and "completed" the tuck, but by no means is the replay "indisputable" evidence of that.

149 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

I've personally seen it a few more times since then, once against the Patriots in a carbon copy of the Brady play. I think it was against Cleveland, perhaps in 2007? Brady even joked to the refs as he was jogging off the field about how NE is familiar with the tuck rule.

It occurs once or twice a season and isn't nearly as obscure as fans want to make it.

I'd imagine if NE recovered the ball, it probably would have been overturned. Recall that NE's own tuck rule was called a fumble in live action, so it isn't any different than yesterday.

185 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

No it doesn't. I have seen at least five tuck rule calls this year. Specially now, with the automatic instant replay on turnovers, it gets called pretty regularly.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

62 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

In reply to by maxlongstreet (not verified)

Dude, seriously, get over it. It was a correctly applied but obscure ruling that was made eleven years ago, and has been correctly applied dozens of times since then.

105 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

It wasn't that obscure. The Pats had seen the tuck rule used against them in a regular season game that season.

The biggest problem was that the network announcers had no idea what was going on, and spent 15 minutes on air acting like a correct decision was some kind of travesty.

169 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Easy, you take all the incompletions from the tuck rule and call them fumbles. I just don't see what problem that rule was created to solve.

176 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

The only consistent way that I've thought of to eliminate the Tuck Rule, that doesn't boil down to redefining what "tuck" means is to simply say that any forward pass which hits the ground before passing the LoS is a fumble.

Would certainly cut down on screen passes...

107 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

We're really going to have to have a separate thread for this, aren't we?

We've gone over this many times. The defender had control of the ball first in Seattle.

And that doesn't even bring up the uncalled egregious OPI on the part of Golden Tate.
"Correct call" doesn't belong in any discussion of that play. The "correct call" is either an interception with the OPI declined or it's simply an OPI ending the game.

115 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Yeah the refs blew 4 huge calls in the final 2 minutes of that game all in favor of the Seahawks. Only game I've watched where I thought a ref could honestly be blowing calls on purpose they were so bad. If it were just the blown final call it wouldn't have bothered me so much.

136 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

You can't definitively say that. The ball was between the packer players arms and chest, but the point where he established complete control is ambiguous. Or you have xray vision and can tell when the packer player was able to fully corral the ball before Tate did. Missed OPI is irrelevant in this discussion, as it assumes EVERY other call was correct.

145 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Yes, you can say that. The defender caught the ball with two hands, brought it to his body and maintained possession to the ground. The fact that Tate was able to get a hand in the middle of it is not relevant at all. Nothing is ambiguous, it was a terrible, terrible call.

150 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Unless simultaneous possession is awarded to the offensive player. Golly, I just looked and it is! Tate was the first to touch the ball, also pulled it into his chest and had control of the ball on his back in the endzone, what Jennings is doing is irrelevant after that. I do agree that it isn't ambiguous, I just wish more people knew the damn rules. The mass perception of the call is coloured by the image of Jennings wrestling the ball away but the facts of the play were already established by then.

157 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

I agree, except the mass perception of the call was also colored by some shamefully histrionic commentary from the ESPN booth. I actually thought it was a 50/50 call when it happened (and at that point was already disgusted with a bunch of terrible calls earlier in the drive and earlier in the game, so I was primed for outrage). Reverse angles show it was probably the right call. Like with the Tuck Rule play, I don't think there was anywhere near indisputable evidence to reverse it on replay.

186 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

It's as easy as this: There are A TON of videos of the play out there. Please show me ONE FRAME where it is clear that Jennings has posession of the ball while Tate doesn't. Just one. If you do, I will gladly change my stance.

Since I have looked pretty hard at it and couldn't come up with one, I'm going to go with it being a defesnible call at the very least, until proven otherwise.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

190 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

I suspect you and I (and even the NFL when it comes to things like incomplete pass vs. catch and fumble) differ on what the word "possession" means. I, and I'm guessing most others who think the call was terrible, do not equate simply touching the ball with possessing it. I didn't think it was even possible that anybody would think otherwise.

If there's one lesson learned here, it's that reasonable minds can disagree.

191 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

I'll say this, and I've tried to avoid dscussion of the matter. If what the receiver did on that play, when he initially made contact with the ball, constitutes possession, then coaches need to teach that technique. Receivers need to be taught that placing a hand against a ball, while a defender has the ball in the grasp between two hands, means that not only is a int negated, but a catch is made. Even more importantly, db coaches need to teach that actually catchng the ball is not advisable for dbs, since if a receiver can place his hand against the ball, he'll be ruled to have made a catch.

193 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Wow, that's some revisionist history right there. Youa re willingly ignoring that his left hand is gripping the ball throughout. Placing the right hand against it is irrelevant. The ball comes to Jennings' two hands and Tate's left hand at the same time. They are both gripping the ball as they come down. It is simulatenous posession.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

200 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

They are both gripping the ball as they come down.

Irrelevant.

Read the rule. And the rule says it is NOT a simultaneous catch if one of the players establishes control (which isn't the same as possession) before the other one, even if the ball subsequently becomes jointly controlled. If Jennings controlled the ball (which is a less stringent thing than possessing the ball) for even the smallest fraction of a second before (assuming arguendo) Tate gains joint control, it's not a simultaneous catch.

146 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

In order:

I don't care.

No he didn't.

I have always said that it should have been OPI.

But I really can't stand the griping about playoff implications. 49er fans have as much reason to gripe as anyone, the non-fail-mary brings Seattle closer to us and we were robbed of a win by that demonstrably crap call for a safety when the ball landed two yards over the marker. We might lose the division because of that crap.

182 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

This. As much as I was outraged by th call when it happened, after watching the play again in slow motion, it it obvious that, at worst, it was a judgment call, and at best a completely legitimate call. EIther way, the narrative that the refs screwed the Packers on the worst call ever is completely and utterly wrong. Unless of course you're talking about the non-call on the Pass Interference. Now, THAT was attrocious.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

13 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Can I say as a Packers fan that there was so much bad officiating in that game that the last play doesn't matter? We have no idea who was the better team that day because both teams were robbed several times (I tend to think the Packers were robbed a few more times, but there were high leverage robberies for both teams) and that there have been other calls, in other games for other teams, that have very likely cost teams wins. I get the uniqueness of that call because it's a point in time where you can very clearly see the impact of a call on the outcome of the game, but it's impact on the entire season is not nearly what some want to make it out to be and quite possibly less significant than other less infamous calls.

18 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

From The Onion-

New Study Finds Majority Of Bullshit Calls Go To Other Team
PITTSBURGH—According to a study published Friday in the Journal Of Quantitative Analysis In Sports, an overwhelming majority of bullshit rulings made by NFL officials go in favor of the opposing team. “The data in our findings conclusively proved that most horseshit calls not only go to the other team, but also occur very late in games,” said lead researcher Dr. Alexander Ferguson, a statistical analyst at Carnegie Mellon University.

(Read more) http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-study-finds-majority-of-bullshit-calls-go-to-o,29816/

38 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Oh I'm with you, though if you want to dig back into earlier threads about the Sea - GB game you'll note that I felt the Packers got more favorable calls most of last year, and in several games earlier this season too. But yes, I'm human, and I know that my rooting interest means I'm going to feel the Packers get jobbed more than they steal one.

24 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Agree completely. It was a bad call but far from the worst call of that horrendously officiated game. In real time I thought it was simultaneous possession and it's pretty obvious why the refs thought that as well.

30 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

In the spirit of fans owning up to their teams getting away with some serious crap, that Sidney Rice flop for a PI was some straight-up San Antonio Spurs/Manu Ginboli-level theater. I'm glad it went for my team, because it was by far the most obvious case of a player realizing how in-over-their-head the refs were and taking advantage of it without the least bit of shame.

52 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Let's just say that any team that misses out on the playoffs because they were 1 game behind Seattle and wants to blame the Fail Mary, well, Dennis Erickson has a support group he'd like to lead for you.

194 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

In reply to by mehlLageman56 (not verified)

To be honest, a green and white helmet that says "Jets" looks exactly like a football.

84 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

I think the Skins' problem is on the defensive side of the ball. The team doesn't have the depth to fill in for losing Orakpo for the season (and to a lesser extent Karriker on the pass rush). The secondary is mediocre on a good day, and they have to rely on blitzes to pressure the QB. Making the playoffs would be a great accomplishment for a team that has been bad for a long time. I think most fans here in D.C. accept that this is a rebuilding year, and would be content with an 8-8 record and a QB who survives to play again next year.

2 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

I wonder how much opponent adj. factored in Brady's ranking?

31 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

I wonder how much opponent adj. factored in Brady's ranking?
Since Cam Newton was also going up against a strong pass defense and no one else was close, I'd say "not at all".

3 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Saw Philip Rivers at #5. Had to rub my eyes - is this 2009?

And then I saw Carson Palmer at #6 and knew that it was even earlier.

42 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Yes for Sanchez.

But all of that opposite mojo whirled around and crushed Skelton and Lindley. The link explains it all in detail. Apparently Rodgers ended the opposite mojo.

97 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

In reply to by mehlLageman56 (not verified)

Just clicked on the link and got it. Still, winning for Sanchez means successfully handing off the ball.

98 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

In reply to by mehlLageman56 (not verified)

Just clicked on the link and got it. Still, winning for Sanchez means successfully handing off the ball.

140 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Make sure you go through the whole archive--the first couple were gut-busters (I actually cried from laughing so hard), then they trailed off a bit and relied more on profanity/gross-out humor like Bradford's musings, before returning to actual humor the past couple weeks. Stellar entertainment, and it sounds... so real. Or as Ben R might say THAT'S BECAUSE THAT'S THE WAY WE ACTUALLY TALK TO EACH OTHER. BECAUSE WE'RE ALL PRO QUARTERBACKS. EXCEPT SANCHEZ.

4 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

It's so sad to see Larry Fitzgerald's name among "Other receivers of little value."

6 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

I thought the two decades of failure would be more frustrating

7 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Ha that just compounds the frustration of now having a legit QB only to be missing the playoffs anyway

11 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Playoff machine link is incorrect. After some tinkering, it appears the Saints can only make the playoffs if the Redskins-Cowboys week 17 game ends in a tie in addition to lots of other losses by contenders.

23 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

That game doesn't have to end in a tie. Just give the NFC East to the Giants and make sure the Cowboys and Redskins lose enough other games. I have Cowboys losing to NO and Pit and the Redskins losing to Cle in addition to losing to Dal.

But it requires a lot of losses by St. Louis, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay, too.

73 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

i bet the machine results changed because the initial parameters was set to reflect power rankings hierarchy and power rankings changed. all you have to do is switch steelers-cowboys and rams-buccaneers and it gets the saints in.

109 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

The initial settings shouldn't matter at all. We're talking about tinkering with results to get the Saints in.

12 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

I hope AZ fans have some sort of sympathy card they are putting together for Fitz for the holidays... I don't even like AZ, he's killed my fantasy team, and I still feel like giving Fitz a hug.

26 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

It's interesting to me that Fitzgerald has seemd to get caught in the same conumdrum as another superstar athlete with Minnesota connections, Kevin Garnett. Both guys decided to press their original employer for every nickel they could get, and, to their credit, gave great loyalty to that employed after every nickel was obtained, in the face of obvious major shortcomings in the management skills of that employer.

I would never fault any athlete for being hesitant to leave any money on the table, and it is good for a sport that not every star attempts to find a way to play for the Lakers, Heat, Patriots, Giants, or whomever, but I know Garnett, if given the choice again, and the benefit of hindsight, would likely have left the Minnesota Timberwolves' awful management rather than sign a second contract with them, even if it means taking less money elsewhere. He got lucky and eventually landed with a team he could win a championship with, and get 12 minutes from a second one, but when he was at his absolute peak, he wasted years with lousy teammates, and a chance to win, who knows, 4 or 5 more rings. I doubt Fitzgerald is going to have Garnett's good fortune in getting a 2nd chance, due to differences in the two sports' typical career longevity, if nothing else.

37 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Given their short playing careers and injury risks, it's a really hard thing to ask a player to leave money on the table. But at a certain level of superstardom, I think agents really have to emphasize that a 10% reduction in salary can lead to substantially higher incomes from secondary revenue streams.

I'm surprised taxes aren't a bigger concern, too. The top bracket in California is now 12.3%; Pete Carroll could basically buy a house with the extra money he gets just by moving to Washington. The Cowboys/Texans, Seahawks, and Titans essentially have an extra 5-13% in salary cap space compared to other franchises (NYCs top combined state/city rate is a hair under 13%) - you can make up for it in endorsements if you're a Darrelle Revis, but not if you're a dime back making $1.4M a year.

46 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Unfortunately, we are dealing with a group of pretty young guys (and not just the top earners) who often think purchasing a Bentley is a reasonable thing to do with the money from the first contract, so thinking things through, to a net basis of comparison, doesn't happen a lot. Makes you appreciate a guy like Jim Kleinsasser, who managed to have a very long, if unheralded career, and was still driving a used truck, and sharing a $1000 month rental home, when he was on his second contract.

77 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Remember that pro athletes pay tax in the states they play the games, so even a played with a home state of no income tax still have 8 regular season and 2 preseason games in other states.

83 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Hmmmm, AFC South has, what, 3 teams in states that don't tax the income derived from salaries/bonuses? 10 games tax free, and a 3.4% top marginal rate in Indiana isn't too bad. The green eyeshade crowd sez, "Go Texans/Titans/Jaguars"!

108 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Ok, now this is interesting. I looked up the tax tables for various states, and summarized their marginal rates for incomes over the rookie minimum of 390k. Will is right - the most tax-advantaged career for a player is in the AFC South:

AZ: 4.54%
CA: 11.3% (300k-500k), 12.3%
CO: 4.63%
DC: 8.95%
GA: 6.00%
IL: 5.00%
IN: 3.40%
LA: 6.00%
MD: 5.75% + 3.20% City
MA: 5.25%
MI: 4.35% + 2.50% City
MN: 7.85%
MO: 6.00%
NYS: 6.85% (200k-1M), 8.82%
NJ: 6.370% (150k-500k), 8.97%
NC: 7.75%
OH: 5.925%
PA: 3.07%
WI: 7.75%

No Income Tax: FL, TX, TN, WA

On further review, I realized that the Jets & Giants would pay NJ taxes, while the Bills would pay NYS tax (but not city). And the best reason for moving the Pro Bowl out of Hawaii?

HI: 11.00%

Does the CBA allow players to either defer compensation (like corporate executives), or be paid out of an annuity? You can't dodge taxes by moving to Florida and having your deferred compensation paid out there - earned income is tied to the location where you worked, so you're technically still liable for state taxes where it was earned rather than where it was paid out. But I wonder if there's a tax advantage to taking your signing bonus up front and having your salary deferred and disbursed after retirement... If you can content yourself with a modest annual income of, say 125k, you might be able to reduce your tax burden dramatically in some of those higher-tax states.

151 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Great job at compiling this table. A couple more for you. St Louis has a flat 1% earnings tax if you live or work in the city. Since I work in St Louis, I pay it even though I live in the burbs. KC also has a similar 1% tax. The Jones Dome is in St Louis City. Arrowhead Stadium is in KC. I wouldn't be surprised if more cities are missing (Chicago, Cleveland, and New Orleans immediately come to mind).

113 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Some of us like to avoid violating the prime directive at this site while implying such things like the children in the state of Washington don't learn science.

124 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

I was replying to the comment glorifying Texas, Tennessee, and Florida, not the longer one which I didn't read. The format only makes it look like I was replying to the later comment.

I don't think I was the one who violated any rule of the site. Why is it OK to talk about the benefits of low tax rates but not OK to talk about how taxes pay for schools and whatnot? I'm not seeing how I'm the one who crossed the line.

131 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Because in context, we're talking about (1) players optimizing total income rather than just their contracts, (2) the slight advantage that teams in Texas, Florida, Washington, and Tennessee have with regard to cap space, and (3) the advantage of playing in the AFC South, which has three teams in the division that are tax free and a fourth with a very low marginal rate.

At no point did anybody talk about state governance/politics.

Also, Will, as admirable as Kleinsasser's used truck was, Jeff Van Gundy's 1995 Honda Civic has to win as humblest vehicle relative to the owner's status. Please note that (1) even his assistant drove a '99 Lincoln, and (2) having lost his vehicle, he elected to sleep in his office instead of taking a cab or hitching a ride home with one of his players or assistants.

129 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

How did it come to be that a brief statement, employing the phrase "green eyeshade crowd", which implies a narrow basis of evaluation, is "glorifying" Texas, Tennesee, and Florida?

I'm not going any further with this. If it makes you feel better, I'll note that I am a not an anarchist, and haven't ever written "Smash the State!" on a public building.

159 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

"How did it come to be that a brief statement, employing the phrase "green eyeshade crowd", which implies a narrow basis of evaluation, is "glorifying" Texas, Tennesee, and Florida?"

Because I'm dumb? Let's run with that one and move on.

152 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Rick, I DO love your science and whatnot joke. WA state and OR are adjacent, but one has high sales tax and no income tax while the other has no sales tax and income tax. Each year some taxation study group assesses every state and those two generally come out next to each other. Last time I heard it was 40 & 41. Was that toward the pay more or pay less tax end? As a WA resident, you'd think I'd pay attention to that, but no.... Our kids do okay in science (at least in the Puget Sound area). I could go on, but that would violate the prime directive and border on the Peytom Branning "discussions."

Okay, I WILL get political for 20 seconds, but not in a partisan way. Both WA and OR are highly polarized with the western 1/4 of each state voting consistently one way and the eastern 3/4 voting the other way. Always made sense to me to split them along the ridge of the Cascade Mtns into one blue coastal state and one red inland state. It would save a lot of internal strife, like gubernatorial elections that get votes hand-recounted twice.

158 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

The county-by-county maps after elections in those two states are always telling.

I once took a train from Seattle to Chicago. As you note, the world changes entirely at the Cascades.

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That would shift a couple Senate seats into the red column. (Note: For obvious prime directive reasons, I'm taking no position on whether that would be a good thing or bad thing.)

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? Just one, the trans-Cascadia state. Not high pop. You could combine it with Idaho if you liked, or combine the Dakotas to make it up.

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He had the Cardinals over a barrel to the point that they almost certianly would have had to cut him had he not re-done his contract. I thought for sure he would sign with New England in 2012 free agency, as he and Belichick have a mutual admiration society / full-blown bromance going on.

He chose to re-do and extend his contract with Arizona and cast his lot with Kolb. I really don't have sympathy for his plight, noble as it may be.

14 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Once again, Stafford is less pleasing to the eye than he is to the metrics. Ponder manages, in a major upset, to get an opponent-adjusted positive DYAR. Just when I've developed an ability, mostly from last year, to believe that Cutler has developed into an upper-echelon qb operating behind a lower-echelon offensive line, he has seemed to regress this year into the same ol' Cutler; moments of brilliance alternating with some really crappy, ill-disciplined, shenannigans.

It is no criticism of FO metrics to note that they don't capture that the Arizona Cardinals players have decided to get their coach fired, and that Marshawn Lynch's team can pass the ball, while Adrian Peterson's team is caught in a space-time anomaly which has them operating an offense from 1973. An offense from 1973 wtih a bad qb and worse receivers.

32 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

My having to readjust is of course the Packers - Lions game. Eyeball test wants me say that Rodgers helped the Packers win, and Stafford helped the Lions lose. Some of that has to do with putting qualitative judgements on the fumbles and ignoring the luck with both. Rodger's fumble felt like it was caused by a good defensive play, Stafford's fumble felt like it was just bad play by a QB not making sure he had a grip on the laces in bad conditions and I discount how lucky the Packers were to recover and return that. Sure Mike Daniels was a running back in high school (and had at least one 1000+ yard season) so it's not like he didn't have experience handling the ball, but that was a lot of luck for the Packers. The int that Stafford through felt extremely costly as well. But really I do think the way FO treats those plays is more accurate on judging the effect on the game.

I also tend to forget all the 3rd down conversions that kept the Lions in the game, and Rodger's failing on so many of his attempts at those. So again the more objective measures here do make sense, but it really felt like Rodgers was more valuable to his team than Stafford, but yeah that is not catching the whole picture there.

This is different than your comment, it is hard to put a value on a running back that is the only reason his team is still competitive recently. I don't disagree that negative plays (just like with my observations) do have a big impact and solid predictive value on who wins that game. Rodgers has to throw against 2 and 3 deep shells all the time, Peterson has to run against 8 and 9 man fronts all the time. Where the numbers should show if a team can win against that do seem to hold up. If you have a QB that can at least get you some positive value against the 8-9 man fronts and a running back that still performs excellently you still should win. If you have a QB that can still provide positive value against 2 and 3 deep shells, and get a running game that gives value, you still should win. So Rodgers wasn't able to do what Peterson was and beat the D that is designed to stop him, but the Packers were able to run the ball, unlike earlier in the year.

So I am actually praising the FO numbers here, it's not really what my eyes thought they saw, but it does make sense.

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Outside of the long td run, Rodgers didn't strike me as haing a particularly good game, althugh certainly not as low as where the metrics place him. His fumble wasn't nearly as egregious as Stafford's but it did strike me as one where the qb needed to sense that it was time to throw it away, or to take off running earlier and more decisively.

I guess part of my dislike of Stafford's play stems from the fact that the opponent adjustment is not capturing the fact that Clay Matthews was a spectator, and passing (and running) against the Packers is a lot easier task when Matthews can't disrupt things. The guy just seems to leave a lot of points on the field by being sloppy. However, he's pretty young still, so the potential remains huge.

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I thought Rodgers was quite average (and his DYAR is evidence of that), but I think that partly has to do with the Packers have a rare effective running game, but mostly just the Lions knowing how to play Rodgers. That front-four can get after him, and I guess it is familiarity. Just looking from when the Lions began to resemble an NFL defense in 2010, Rodgers numbers against the Lions are 74/112 for 943 yards 7 TDs and 4 INTs, which is a 98.2 passer rating, but that is very volatile, with two games above 105, and three below 81.

All year, though, teams have taken away that deep throw from Rodgers, much like what teams did to the Colts in 2005 after Manning went crazy in 2004. He'll adjust, but despite his really nice conventional stats, it hasn't been that smooth. Some of that too is missing Jennings/Nelson for some time. Of course, that team could still win the #2 seed.

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To clarify a bit. My eye test didn't expect Rodgers to have good numbers I even figured he could be negative in DYAR. I just expected his passing numbers to be closer to Stafford's and that his running might have pushed him ahead. It was just a good example of not always valuing things correctly. The luck of the fumble return (the fumble itself wasn't really lucky, Stafford didn't have a good grip on the ball in bad conditions, I've seen grips like that cause a fumble in domes) really was a huge impact play and I agree with the comments that it looked like the Lions really didn't appear to play as hard afterwards.

57 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Don't forget the adjustment for playing the Lions' defense.

The Packers generally, and Rodgers in particular, have been awful on first down all season. Rodgers is averaging 6.4 yards per pass attempt on 1st-&-10+, which is fractionally more than Nick Foles, Mike Vick and Christian Ponder, but no other qualifier. Brady, Brees, Manning and Roethlisberger are all averaging over 8 yards per attempt. And that's not taking into account the Packers' 7% sack rate on first down (26th in the league). Last year, Rodgers averaged nearly 11 yards per attempt on first down.

I know that I personally have a tendency to over-praise quarterbacks who are at their best on third down, as Rodgers has been this year, while overlooking their failures on other downs.

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"Don't forget the adjustment for playing the Lions' defense."

Exactly. Scoring 20 offensive points at home against one of the worst defenses in the league doesn't exactly scream "great game by our quarterback." But he was good at taking what was there, and his only bad play was the fumble.

34 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Stafford looked good while the Lions were building a 14-0 lead. But the entire Lions team looked deflated after the fumble recovery brought the Packers within 4. For the rest of the game, the Lions just looked like they knew they were going to lose. And Stafford was a good part of the problem.

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Stafford's interceptions were at critical times, in critical places. I don't think that can be emphasized enough. He reminds me of Brett Favre in later years. He's a chucker. He wings it out and hopes for the best. Luckily Calvin Johnson makes up for that. But generally he is inaccurate and sloppy. Maybe he will get there. They should get Andy Reid to coach him.

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Stafford's only interception of the game was when the practice squad receiver didn't know how to run a proper skinny post...if he does, it's either a reception or at worst an incompletion. Granted, the Packers dropped at least 2-3 other potential INTs when the Lions were in desperation mode during the 2nd half.

I agree that his footwork tends to get sloppy late in games when he's either under pressure, or his team is trailing (He looked quite polished and decisive during the Lions first two scoring drives, then after the Packers started taking over the game, he looked like mid-90's Jeff George). There were a couple throws on Sunday where I felt like covering my eyes before the ball even left his hand, because I knew they weren't going to end well. That fumble was just plain bad luck.

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I would love for Reid to come in and coach him, but given the Ford family's conservatism and Schwartz's recent extension, it's unlikely he'll be fired this year.

19 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

I find the characterization of the Denver-Tampa game as "close" to be questionable. Tampa picked up a cheap TD late to make the final score look a lot more competitive than the game was.

39 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

It was 31-13, then Prater missed a field goal. The Bucs then added 10 points in the final 7 minutes.

Yeah, just like the Manning-era Colts, the Broncos have given up late scores multiple times to make games seem a bit closer than they actually were.

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In fairness, their losses to NE, ATL, and HOU largely followed the same script. I don't think Denver or Manning are the same team they were then, but you can't discount the margin in the wins without doing the same in the losses.

47 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

True. The one difference is in the Atlanta and Houston games both their opponents faced 3rd downs up just 6 before the 2:00. They converted, and the Broncos never got a real shot at the comeback.

The Broncos gave up late scores to make the Bengals, Chargers and Buccaneers games closer than they were (31-23, 30-23 and 31-23), and all three cases, the last score came well after the 2 minute warning, and the Chargers scored before, but never even forced a third down.

I realize that this is mostly an arbitrary distinction, but I guess that is a go to tool for the biased.

51 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Well both the Texans and Falcons faced 3rd-and-five against the 5th-ranked defense with about 2:40 left holding 6-point leads. They were one play from giving the ball Peyton Manning (who had been crushing them in the second half) at the 30-yard line with 2 and a half minute left.

Time Down To go y.line
2:35 3 5 ATL 25
2:49 3 5 HTX 25

I think you'll have a hard time finding a Texans or Falcons fan that wasn't nervous at that point.

That's not the same as giving an opponent a look at a onside-kick in an EIGHT point game.

48 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

I don't remember the details of these games, but my standard always is that if you never had possession of the ball in the fourth quarter, with a one possession deficit, it wasn't a close game. If you never had possession of the ball in the fourth quarter, while trailing by fewer than 12, you were stomped.

49 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Here's the thing though, in the various games (the Broncos losses to the Falcons and Texans, and the Broncos wins over the Bengals, Chargers and Buccaneers), three times the team got possession down by one score (6-8 points), but with less than a minute left and no timeouts far in their own territory. I guess this would fall under the close game distinction, but in both cases, they were two score games, with a late TD by the losing team and then they got the ball back very late. So the losing team, realistically, didn't have a real chance of completing the comeback.

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The same kind of comments could have been made about the Tampa-Carolina game, and then we won that one in overtime. Had a couple things gone differently in the final minutes we might've been able to say the same thing about the Denver game. While I don't deny that Denver owned that game for most of the second half, I think you have to agree they let Tampa get back into it at the end of the 4th. And that kind of qualifies as a close game.

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Sorry dude, Tampa's 4Q win probability peaked at 3%. "Close" is not even a kind of justified descriptor.

http://live.advancednflstats.com/weekly.php?gameid2=55690&week=13

116 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

Perhaps not directly comparable, but the Colts/Lions game is a study in the perils of judging a game by win probability.

http://live.advancednflstats.com/weekly.php?gameid2=55683&week=13

20 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

What about Michael Spurlock? 7 catches on 7 targets all converted third downs...

88 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

I don't even know what game you're talking about but I will blindly support Micheal Spurlock any chance I can get. Many's the time I wish we still had him as a returner.

25 Re: Week 14 Quick Reads

How do I know this was originally posted on ESPN? This fragment:

"Meanwhile, they have a number of big wins against good teams, beating the Colts by 20"

Ha! The Colts are NOT a good team. (And, yes, I'm a Colts fan.)