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

Week 4 Quick Reads

by Vince Verhei

The Houston Texans have a quarterback who once led the league in passing yards, a running back who once led the league in rushing yards, and a wideout who twice led the league in receiving yards. You could be forgiven, then, for crediting the team's 4-0 start to Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, and Andre Johnson. While those men are playing well, however, the Texans' perfect record has mostly been driven by a dominant defense, and that defense has in turn been driven by J.J. Watt, a runaway leader for defensive player of the year one month into the season.

The Texans are second in the league in total defense, and first overall in scoring defense, giving up only 14.0 points per game. Football Outsiders' advanced stats tell a similar picture. Through four games, the Texans' have the league's second-best defense overall, as well as the second-best defense against the pass*. Opponents are completing less than 53 percent of their passes against Houston, for only 6.0 yards per attempt and a collective NFL passer rating of 68.2, while being sacked 13 times. The Texans rank in the top five in each of those categories.

(* They might have been first in both categories were it not for Chicago's five interceptions on Monday night.)

Watt is, unquestionably, Houston's brightest star on that side of the ball. A first-round pick out of Wisconsin in 2011, Watt was a starter as soon as he signed his Texans contract. He totaled 5.5 sacks as a rookie while also effectively defending the run. Our similarity scores system examined Watt's size and production and saw a younger version of Richard Seymour, the versatile lineman who excelled for the Patriots teams that won three Super Bowls earlier this century, and is still starting for Oakland a decade later.

Watt set the bar high as a rookie, but his sophomore campaign has been even better. He has at least 1.5 sacks in every game and leads the league with 7.5 quarterback takedowns. Only ten men have ever collected so many sacks in the season's first four games. Those ten men finished with an average of 14 sacks, showing how hard it is to keep up this kind of production over 16 games.

Even when Watt isn't putting quarterbacks on the ground, though, he's often batting their passes out of the sky. Watt leads all front seven players with five passes defensed. NaVorro Bowman and Philip Wheeler are the only other front seven defenders with as many as four tipped passes, and both of those men are coverage linebackers (neither player has a sack this season), not front-line rushers.

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And as impressive as all of that sounds, it's still not giving Watt enough respect. At FO, we credit defenders with a "Defeat" for all plays that result in negative yardage, a turnover, or a stop on third or fourth down. Put that all together, and Watt already has 17 Defeats this season, which is far and away the most in the league. (Clay Matthews is in second place with 11.) Jared Allen led the league with 33 Defeats in 2011. Watt is already halfway to that total after only four games. In the past 15 years, no defensive lineman has had more Defeats in a season than Robert Porcher, who had 37 for the Detroit Lions in 1997. That record is now in serious jeopardy.

These numbers are all remarkable in a vacuum, but they're downright amazing when you consider Watt's role in the Texans' defense. Watt is not a 4-3 end like Jared Allen, or a 3-4 linebacker like DeMarcus Ware. He's not a perimeter rusher. He plays defensive end in Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme, and that means his first priority on almost every play is to occupy at least one blocker, theoretically clearing space for linebackers like Brian Cushing and Brooks Reed to make plays. Even when the Texans go to a four-man front in nickel and dime situations, Watt usually moves inside to tackle where he can get stuck in traffic, not outside to end where he can work in space. By design, Houston is making it as difficult as possible for Watt to avoid blockers. Watt is responding by taking on those blockers and beating them play after play.

While fantasy football is all about the so-called skill position players, real football games are still usually won and lost in the trenches. As long as J.J. Watt is on the field, the Texans won't lose very many battles on the front line.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Drew Brees NO
35/54
446
3
0
176
176
0
As great as Brees was on Sunday, the Saints likely would have won if he had played better in the fourth quarter. Early in the period Brees hit Marques Colston for 27 yards to for a first down at the Packers' 15-yard line. That drive ended in a field goal, and the Saints' last two possessions ended in a three-and-out and a missed field-goal try (after a go-ahead field goal was called back for a holding penalty). After that big play to Colston, Brees went 4-of-12 for 46 yards with a sack and only two first downs.
2.
Peyton Manning DEN
30/38
338
3
0
153
153
0
The Broncos were up only 10-6 at halftime, and then Peyton did what Peyton does, going 13-of-16 for 142 yards with nine first downs (including two touchdowns) and no sacks or interceptions.
3.
Tom Brady NE
22/36
340
3
0
148
140
8
Similar splits to Manning. First half: 10-of-18 for 141 with a sack and only three first downs. (His receivers also fumbled away two balls, one of which would have been another first down.) Second half: 12-of-18 for 199 yards with no sacks or interceptions and ten first downs (including three touchdowns).
4.
Aaron Rodgers GB
31/41
319
4
1
145
135
10
Let's take a second and look at the top four names in Quick Reads this week: Brees, Peyton, Brady, Rodgers. Seems familiar and comforting, doesn't it? Rodgers was a beast in the red zone, going 7-of-10 for 63 yards with four touchdowns and another first down. (League averages in the red zone this year: 54.6 percent completion rate, 3.98 yards per pass, 22.2 percent touchdown rate.)
5.
Robert Griffin WAS
26/34
323
0
0
119
114
5
It's still surprising to see just how effective Griffin has been as a passer over the course of the season. Through four games (and before Monday night), Griffin ranks 14th among all quarterbacks in passing DYAR, and 12th in DVOA. He's a raw rookie four games into his career on a team that went 5-11 last year and hasn't had a winning season since 2007, and he's playing like a perfectly average quarterback already. He's well ahead of proven veterans with multiple quality seasons, guys like Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, and Matt Hasselbeck. And that's without even considering rushing, which DYAR says he has done better than any quarterback this year. In short, he's exceeded all reasonable expectations for what the Redskins were hoping for when they traded three first-round picks and a second-rounder to get him.
6.
Jay Cutler CHI
18/24
275
2
0
115
118
-3
7.
Eli Manning NYG
24/42
309
2
1
115
115
0
In the first half, Eli went 1-of-6 for 32 yards on deep passes (16 or more yards past the line of scrimmage). He didn't try a deep pass in the third quarter, but he tried four in the fourth quarter, completing two for 72 yards and getting a DPI on another for 21 more yards.
8.
Cam Newton CAR
15/24
215
2
0
89
75
13
Newton only went 2-for-7 on third downs against Atlanta, but those two completions were touchdowns of 17 and 36 yards. By the way, not counting fumbled snaps, Newton has run 19 times with 1 yard to go for a first down in his career, and has picked up 16 first downs.
9.
Michael Vick PHI
19/30
241
1
0
88
69
19
Like Eli Manning, his Sunday night counterpart, Vick also enjoyed a good day on deep passes, going 5-of-9 for 120 yards.
10.
Kyle Orton DAL
9/10
89
1
0
86
86
0
11.
Matt Schaub HOU
20/28
202
2
0
72
72
0
Schaub played his best in scoring position. Inside the Tennessee 40, he went 5-of-7 for 58 yards with two touchdowns and two other first downs.
12.
Matt Stafford DET
30/50
319
0
0
70
59
11
And then there's Stafford, who went 5-of-13 for 60 yards with only three first downs and two sacks inside the Minnesota 40. That includes this red-zone performance: 1-of-5 for 5 yards, two sacks, no first downs or touchdowns. Keep in mind, the Lions lost by seven.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Andy Dalton CIN
20/31
244
2
1
67
63
3
At one point in the second quarter, Dalton was 8-of-15 for 54 yards with an interception and only two first downs. Each of his next seven throws resulted in a first down, including one touchdown, with six completions for 111 yards plus a 12-yard DPI. The Bengals scored two touchdowns over that stretch, taking a 17-7 lead and never looking back.
14.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
26/41
431
1
2
45
45
0
In the fourth game of his career, Tannehill broke the Dolphins record (non-Dan Marino division) for single-game yardage. On third downs in the first half, he went 6-of-7 for 76 yards, plus a DPI for 17 yards, with five total conversions and a 19-yard gain on third-and-20. On third downs in the second half and overtime, he went 2-for-6 for 50 yards with two first downs, two interceptions, and a sack.
15.
Joe Flacco BAL
28/46
356
1
1
44
38
6
Welcome to Air Baltimore. Through four weeks, Flacco has thrown 46 deep passes, completing 22 of them for 625 yards (including two DPI calls) and 304 DYAR. He leads the NFL in each of those categories. Against Cleveland on Thursday night, he threw 13 deep balls (nine in the second quarter alone), completing five of them for 140 yards and a touchdown.
16.
Alex Smith SF
12/21
143
0
0
26
22
4
Rarely will you find a worse quarterback performance in a 34-0 win. In six third-down dropbacks, Smith threw five incompletions and was sacked once. And yet, by DYAR, there were three worse third-down passers this week (not including the Monday nighter).
17.
Sam Bradford STL
16/29
221
0
1
8
8
0
Only nine of Bradford's 29 passes were thrown to the middle or left side of the field. Bradford completed seven of those passes for 69 yards and five first downs, plus an 11-yard gain on second-and-13.
18.
Philip Rivers SD
19/23
209
2
1
7
9
-3
In the first quarter, Rivers was 8-of-10 for 102 yards, with two DPIs for 28 more yards and an intentional grounding for a loss of 13 yards. That's 117 net yards and eight first downs (including a touchdown) in 13 dropbacks. In the rest of the game, he was 10-of-13 for 107 yards, with one DPI, one interception, three sacks, and one fumble. That's 91 net yards and four first downs (including another touchdown) in 17 dropbacks.
19.
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF
22/39
350
4
4
-5
-3
-2
Fitzpatrick is the 17th man in league history to throw four touchdowns and four interceptions in the same game. Coincidentally, the last man to do it was Tom Brady against Buffalo last season. It's a pretty interesting list. Counting Brady, five Hall of Famers have done it (Sonny Jurgensen, Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas, and George Blanda are the others). Brad Johnson, Jim Plunkett, and Ken Stabler all won Super Bowls; Vince Ferragamo and Craig Morton lost them. Milt Plum had a passer rating of 110.4 in 1960; no quarterback beat that mark until Joe Montana in 1989. Bert Jones put together one of the great seasons of all time in 1976. The list also includes men named Babe Parilli and Dick Shiner, both of which sound naughty, but in general, it takes a pretty good QB to put up a four-and-four.
20.
Matt Ryan ATL
25/40
369
3
1
-6
-6
0
Ryan's four longest completions totaled 198 yards, more than half his yardage on the day. In the red zone, he went 3-of-5 for 16 yards with one touchdown, one interception, and two sacks.
21.
Brandon Weeden CLE
26/51
320
0
1
-12
-12
0
Third downs: 5-of-14 for 37 yards and only three first downs, with one interception and one sack.
22.
Christian Ponder MIN
16/26
111
0
0
-17
-18
1
Ponder gained 57 yards on two DPIs and 111 yards on 16 completions. In the second half, he went 6-of-11 for 52 yards, with 27 of those yards coming on one play, which was his only first down in the half.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Matt Hasselbeck TEN
17/25
193
2
2
-20
-19
-2
I noticed this a few weeks ago, and this seems like a good time to point it out: Matt Hasselbeck is perhaps the most mediocre quarterback of all time. Pro-Football-Reference converts all passing stats to an era-adjusted scale where an average performance in any season will grade out at exactly 100, with good performances going higher and bad performances going lower. Len Dawson, for example, gets a "Rate+" of 120, higher than Tom Brady's 119, even though Brady's raw passer rating is about 14 points higher (96.5 to 82.6). Hasselbeck, meanwhile, scores between 100 and 102 in completion percentage, yards per pass, touchdown percentage, interception percentage, passer rating, and sack rate. He's not just average overall, he's average at everything. We should just divide quarterbacks into two groups, BTH (Better Than Hasselbeck) and WTH (Worse Than Hasselbeck). Anyway, Sunday was not one of the more enjoyable days of Hasselbeck's career. He only three three passes all day inside the Houston 40, though he completed all three for 35 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
24.
Josh Freeman TB
24/39
299
1
1
-31
-27
-4
On Tampa Bay's first two drives, Freeman went 8-of-9 for 64 yards and three first downs. On their next five drives, he went 6-of-15 for 46 yards with only one first down, with an interception and a sack. When he got the ball back again, Washington was ahead 21-6. In Tampa Bay's last four drives he went 9-of-12 for 184 yards, with seven first downs (including a touchdown) to put his team ahead 22-21. His defense couldn't hold that lead, however.
25.
Carson Palmer OAK
19/34
202
0
0
-39
-39
0
We talked earlier about what Peyton Manning did after halftime in this game. Well, in the third quarter, Palmer went 3-of-8 for 0 (zero) yards and no first downs. He was better in the fourth quarter, although every pass he threw in the final frame came with a deficit of at least 28 points.
26.
Kevin Kolb ARI
29/48
324
3
2
-64
-64
0
On third downs, Kolb went 7-of-11 for 61 yards and only four first downs (including a touchdown) and four sacks. In his defense, six of those plays came with more than 10 yards needed for a first down. He also went 2-of-2 for 24 yards on fourth down, with one touchdown and one other first down.
27.
Blaine Gabbert JAC
23/34
186
1
1
-84
-87
4
As mentioned last week, nobody goes on a cold streak like Gabbert. He continued to run hot-and-cold against Cincinnati. His first three dropbacks went sack, incomplete, sack. Then he completed six passes in a row for 61 yards, with five first downs (including a touchdown). His next 11 dropbacks produced six completions, four incompletions, one sack, 16 net yards, and only one first down. Then he completed four passes for 47 yards and four first downs. At that point Jacksonville was only down 10 points in the third quarter and the game was still within striking distance. From then on Gabbert went 7-of-13 for 56 yards, one first down, one interception, and three sacks. On third downs, he went 5-of-8 for 30 yards with more sacks (two) than first downs (one).
28.
Matt Cassel KC
24/40
251
2
3
-84
-84
0
Even though Cassel and the Chiefs were down 20 points by the end of the first quarter, they threw only four deep balls all game. Two of them were complete for 55 yards and a touchdown, and another picked up 15 yards on a DPI. The funny thing is, they're not usually averse to the deep ball — Cassel has thrown 31 this year, which is in the top 10.
29.
Tony Romo DAL
31/43
307
1
5
-100
-100
0
30.
Russell Wilson SEA
17/25
160
0
3
-114
-98
-16
First drive: 40 yards, three first downs. Rest of the day: 100 net yards, five first downs. On third downs, he went 0-for-3 with an interception, plus two sacks. (He also had two runs on third-down, including a first down on third-and-1.)
31.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
13/29
103
0
1
-166
-166
0
This trumped Gabbert in the "long stretches of futility" category. His first two dropbacks of each half produced four completions for 56 yards and four first downs. Otherwise, he went 9-of-25 for 47 yards with one first down, one interception, one fumble, and three sacks. On third downs, he went 3-of-5, plus three sacks, for 13 net yars and only one first down.
Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Brandon Bolden NE
137
1
11
0
66
59
7
Bolden had eight 100-yard rushing games in four seasons at Ole Miss. The undrafted rookie now has one in four weeks with the New England Patriots, as he ran 16 times for 137 yards and a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills. The bulk of Bolden's carries came late in the second half of a blowout win, and in one stretch he gained 10 or more yards five times in seven carries, capped off by a 27-yard gain. He ran for eight total first downs on the day, and also caught the only pass thrown his way for 11 yards.
2.
Marshawn Lynch SEA
118
1
37
0
63
48
16
Lynch gained at least 2 yards on 19 of his 20 carries, and gained at least 5 yards 11 times. He had seven first downs on the day, including his touchdown. Seattle also threw him four passes, all complete, for 37 yards and two more first downs.
3.
Trent Richardson CLE
47
1
57
0
56
23
33
Richardson's rushing day was pretty mundane. Fourteen carries for 47 yards, nothing longer than 7 yards, and his only first down was a touchdown in first-and-goal at the 1. The Browns threw him six passes, though, and he caught four of them for 57 yards, including gains of 15, 18, and 20 yards.
4.
Willis McGahee DEN
112
1
23
0
49
52
-3
Nineteen carries for 112 yards and nine first downs (including a touchdown) is good, right? McGahee had five carries with 1 or 2 yards to go, and picked up the first down every time. He also had four runs of 10 yards or more, including a 24-yarder. Finally, he caught each of the six passes Denver threw his way, though they only gained 23 yards.
5.
Chris Johnson TEN
141
0
16
0
45
45
0
Well, hello old friend. Once a staple of Quick Reads, Johnson makes the top five running backs for the first time since Week 14 of 2010. Johnson's 25-carry, 141-yard day comes with a bit of stats padding, as he had eight carries for 55 yards (and four of his eight first downs) while trailing by three scores in the fourth quarter. On the other hand, he still averaged 5.1 yards per rush in the first three quarters, including runs of 13 and 19 yards in the first half. He also caught both of the passes thrown his way for 16 yards.
Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN
82
0
12
0
-71
-59
-12
Green-Ellis gained 82 yards on 26 carries (3.2 yards per rush) with only three first downs. Meanwhile, he was stuffed for no gain or a loss seven times and fumbled twice. His two receptions in three targets resulted in a 1-yard loss and a 13-yard gain for a first down.
OTHER BACKS OF LITTLE VALUE: LeSean McCoy, PHI (23 carries for 123 yards, but nine stuffs for no gain or a loss and one fumble); Ryan Williams, ARI (13 carries for 25 yards, failed to catch either of the passes thrown his way); Pierre Thomas, NO (nine carries for 14 yards, two catches for -1 yard).
Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Roddy White ATL
8
12
169
21.1
2
75
White's big day against Carolina moves him from fourth in our wide receiver rankings into a virtual tie for first with Calvin Johnson. He had seven first downs on the day, including the two touchdowns. The Falcons threw to him three times on third down, and he picked up a first down every time.
2.
Brandon Marshall CHI
7
8
138
19.7
1
70
3.
Brian Hartline MIA
12
19
253
21.1
1
66
In the first 44 games of his career, Hartline went over 100 yards only one time, and that was in Week 2 of this year against Oakland. So no, we did not expect Hartline to set a franchise record with 253 yards against Arizona on Sunday, surpassing Chris Chambers' mark of 238 set in 2005. Hartline had seven total first downs, including an 80-yard go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. He also had gains of 57 and 30 yards on the day, and converted three separate third-down situations. He was the intended receiver on two interceptions on the day, but in FO's system interceptions are blamed on the quarterback, not the receiver.
4.
A.J. Green CIN
6
9
117
19.5
1
60
Five of Green's catches produced first downs (including his touchdown). The sixth was a 5-yard gain on second-and-6.
5.
Andre Roberts ARI
6
9
118
19.7
2
51
Five of Roberts' catches produced first downs (including his two touchdowns). The sixth was a 16-yard gain on third-and-18. On the next play, Roberts gained 9 yards and a first down.
Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Jordan Norwood CLE
4
10
56
14.0
0
-39
You know things are going badly when you catch a pass for 22 yards and still come up 14 yards short of a first down. That happened to Norwood Thursday night. He did get a first down on a 27-yard catch in the fourth quarter, but did nothing otherwise to help his team.
OTHER RECEIVERS OF LITTLE VALUE: Santonio Holmes, NYJ (eight catches, four receptions, 29 yards, one fumble); Cecil Shorts, JAC (five targets, one catch, 8 yards); Steve Johnson, BUF (10 targets, two catches, 23 yards).

Comments

125 comments, Last at 06 Oct 2012, 2:50pm

1 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

"McGahee had five carries with 1 or 2 yards to go, and picked up the first down every time."
Wow... that is music to my ears. An effective short-yardage game (regardless of opponent) is a welcome change for the Broncos of most of the last decade.

2 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

I'm not suprised Ponder is so low this week. When a defense and special teams can play so well, I'm only looking for two things out of the QB: 0 INTs, 0 fumbles lost.

4 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

Not to mention a highly successful day by Adrian Peterson. He's not busting 60 yard TDs this year, but he's taking far fewer negative plays as well. He's got to be close to a top 5 valuable RB this week - I'm a little surprised he's not on the list.

29 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

Indeed - that's why I said I was *not* suprised he was low on the list.

It would be nice to see Ponder win a shootout, though. The 2 TDs in the 4th quarter at Indy were impressive, but I'm not convinced he can be successful long term without the benefit of playing with a lead.

3 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

Wow... How putrid must your play be to come in behind the guy who threw FIVE interceptions? And not just one guy managed that, but two?!

6 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

Ha. That was my first thought, too.

Boy, is it nice to see Cutler ranked somewhere other than the bottom of the list. And to see a Bears receiver in the top 5.

22 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

It really seems like Cutler and Marshall are perfect for each other. Cutler doesn't give a damn about proper footwork because he can get throws off from impossible angles with that arm of his, and Marshall doesn't give a damn if he's open, he's going to catch the ball somehow. Both are misunderstood "jerks" with clinical diagnoses (borderline personality, diabetes) which make their lives way more difficult than anybody else understands. Separately, I don't like either one of them, but together it's great to watch.

30 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

The funny thing is that watching, I thought Romo actually played damned well for most of the game.

The first two interceptions weren't his fault - Dez Bryant didn't make his sight adjustment on one, and Ogletree clanged a well-thrown ball straight into the air on the second. After that, the Cowboys were down by three possessions, and Romo necessarily started forcing balls into windows he didn't have. While throwing interceptions are not good, desperation interceptions against a good defense at the end of the game really aren't as terrible as most talking heads seem to think.

Romo could have been more careful with the ball at that point, but all that would have resulted in was, at best, a 3-point loss instead of the blowout.

36 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

Whatever Romo thought Bryant was supposed to be doing he didn't look for one moment post snap like he was going to do it. Did Romo even look before he threw the ball? Once it left his hand it was going to be a pick. This wasn't a downfield route, it was right after the snap and the defender didn't jump in front of the receiver, he just stood still. Bryant was terrible on that play but so was Romo; if the only player who is going to be able to catch the ball is a defender, don't throw it.

The second pick (ie Major Wright's first) was a great play by Tim Jennings punching the ball out as soon as Ogletree thought he had it.

37 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

I initially thought the Ogletree pick was a great play by Jennings, but replay shows that he never touched the ball; it really did just clang off Ogletree's hands/arms. Jennings may have contributed to the play with tight coverage, but there's no excuse for Ogletree not catching that.

40 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

I had a few looks at it on replay and was fairly certain that Jennings got his hand on it.

Only way to sort this out is a fight to the death in the thunderdome....TWO MEN ENTER, ONE MAN LEAVES!!!

89 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

Even f we don't give Jennings credit for this one (although I would tend to), he still has four picks plus was the pass defender on two others through 4 games. And he's been making oplays all over the field that don't directly result in turnover as well. I know JJ Watt is playing out of this world, but Jennings is the best NFC defensive player so far.

- Alvaro

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

119 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

I suspect your green and gold goggles need calibrating. According to the NFL, he's not even the most impressive CB named Jennings in the NFC North thus far.

121 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

No, no, it's my nevermind. I got lost in the thread and thought MD Jennings was the topic of conversation. If you hadn't replied, I'd have deleted.

And quite clearly, I had briefly confused Big Cheese with one of the Packers homers that came out of the woodwork late last season. Apologies all around.

124 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

I know my nick-name (which stems from long before I knew what a Cheesehead was), is a bit unfortunate for a BEARS FAN, but come on! Them's fighting words! :P

Also, Jennings got the NFC Defnesive Player of the Month, and deservingly so.

- Alvaro

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

35 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

Wow... How putrid must your play be to come in behind the guy who threw FIVE interceptions? And not just one guy managed that, but two?!

But the guy that threw five interceptions actually played a better game than at least half of the QBs above him. The TD drive before the half that made it 10-7 was all Romo making individual plays, and only two of the interceptions were bad decisions/throws---as most of you saw multiple times, the first pick was the result of Bryant not understanding his hot-read responsibility, another was a perfectly thrown ball that bounced off Ogletree's hands, and the one that Briggs took to the house was really a fumble (partially Romo's fault, to be sure, but not a traditional interception). And then there were the 3rd-down plays that would have been conversions if Bryant could hold on to the ball.

Oh, and lest you think I'm a career Romo apologist, I'm actually a Bears fan that was deliriously happy about the result.

edit: awesome that simultaneous Romo-apology posts came from a Bears fan and a Giants(!) fan.

17 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

Hartline slipped coming out of his break for Tannehill's first pick.I'm not sure that's Hartline's 'fault', but it's certainly not Tannehill's.

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

5 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

Nice to see that Stafford's numbers confirm my impression that the Vikings played a textbook cover-two game. Helps when the other squad plays special teams like they had too many Bloody Marys at the Sunday brunch.

7 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

If you want a fact which demonstrates how hard it is to capture individual football player performance quantitatively, not having a Cowboys receiver among the receivers of little value will do pretty well.

18 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

every time I go through Quick Reads it hammers home the point how much football is a team game and how difficult it is to evaluate individual performance with statistics.

24 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

So I watched that first interception like 10 times now. Although Bryant made on the the stupidest plays you will ever see, there was no chance that pass was ever going to be completed. Tillman jumped the route that Bryant didn't run right at the snap, and even Urlacher was right there. It was pretty clear that the Bears knew what Bryant was supposed to do even if he didn't.

Had he run the hitch like was supposed to, he would have been in position to try and break up the pick, but I still think Romo deserves some blame on that play.

31 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

There's a pretty big difference between an incomplete pass, or even an interception, and a pick six served up on a platter, because your receiver is just too damned stupid or lazy to execute the most basic of his profssional functions, in what what was at that point a tight game. Throw in the drops, and I don't care what the yardage stats say, Bryant was hideous.

Jerry Jones' insistence on acquiring and playing really dumb guys, and usually hiring bad coaches, has been killing Cowboys' fans since 1996. I usually find it entertaining, and I actually was rooting a little for the Bears last night, because I want to see Tice do well, and see the Packers fail to win the division. However, I did want to see a competitive game last night, and I missed out on that in the 2nd half. Damn you, Dez Bryant!

41 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

I really dislike Jerry Jones but I do find it hilarious that his arrogant conviction that he is qualified to be the GM of an NFL team keeps the most valuable franchise in the league from ever being as good as they could be. He should be one of the most reviled men in Dallas for his bumbling management that costs the Cowboys year after year. So funny.

65 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

Tyron Smith is on his way to becoming the best tackle in the game. He's probably already the best in the NFC but that's partly due to lack of quality competition. Sean Lee looks pretty good and Clairborne is off to a decent start.

It isn't a great haul for six years.

100 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

I don't think he's there yet but he has so much talent, I can't think of a tackle with such astonishing agility that hasn't been fitted for the yellow jacket or will be one day.

I'm pretty sure I prefer him to any NFC tackle, especially with Peters being injured.

101 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

It's early yet, but I think Kalil is going to be a good one. He's faced some decent defensive linemen already, and has yet to yield a sack, which is a nice start for a rookie. It'll be interesting to see how the Bears play him, and whether the Packers deploy Matthews against him. Texans and Cardinals, too, of course.

107 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

Aldon Smith had him beat at least three times but Ponder escaped, Smith is pretty productive though.

Edit: I do think Kalil looks decent, however, I'm more surprised at how well the rest of the line is playing. I thought those guys could be dreadful.

110 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

It looks like the Vikings have found the proverbial compressed carbon in uncut form in their 2011 6th round right guard, Brandon Fusco. He ain't polished, but he's an enthusiastic and powerful brawler. John Sullivan all of a sudden decided to become a good center last year, amidst the chaos. Overall, the unit is benefitting from being competently coached since August 2011. I really think the lock out last year hurt some teams with a lot of new assistants and young players, and the Vikings o-line has not been well coached since Tice got fired. Loadholdt in particular seems to be benefitting.

111 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

Loadholt in particular surprised me, I was expecting him to get whipped like a the clientele of a fetish emporium. As it was he stood up pretty well against Ahmad Brooks and Fusco did his job against Ray McDonald. I was impressed.

8 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

"OTHER BACKS OF LITTLE VALUE: LeSean McCoy, PHI (23 carries for 123 yards, but nine stuffs for no gain or a loss and one fumble)"
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But isn't the flip side to this statement that he gained 123+ yards on only 14 carries? Even including the stuffs/losses he was still over 5 yards per carry. And on the 14 good carries he was at 8.7. I'll take that "little value" any day.

11 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

I'd always take 23 carries of 5 yards each over 14 carries that total 123 yds mixed with 9 carries for 0 or fewer yards.

That's why Lynch is high on the list for having 19 of 20 carries go for at least 2 yards.

And that's why I love what Adrian Peterson is doing this year. If he ever gets his top gear back, I hope he stays a 90% between the tackles kind of runner - high success rate AND a threat to go the distance.

20 Re: Week 4 Quick Reads

Without question I'd also take somebody who get 5 yards every single time. But the point was really that averaging 5 yards per carry, almost regardless of how you manage it, is better than "being of little value" to your team. It'd be different if it was all stuffs with one huge, lucky run. But he was picking up 8+ yards on something like 60% of his rushes.