Week 13 Quick Reads

Week 13 Quick Reads
Week 13 Quick Reads
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Vince Verhei

With Peyton Manning blowing away all other quarterbacks and no running back having an especially high DYAR (not when we include both rushing and receiving, anyway), the drama this week focused on wide receivers, and which of a trio of stars would finish atop our receivers' tables. When the dust settled and the final numbers were crunched, Denver's Eric Decker (eight receptions in 12 targets, 174 yards, four touchdowns) finished with the best game this week. Chicago's Alshon Jeffery (12-15-249-2) was next, followed by Cleveland's Josh Gordon (10-15-261-2). It was a big week for wideouts, as Decker, Jeffery, and Gordon each had one of the 10 best DYAR games this year. Decker had the second-best game of the season, which is saying a ton. There have been so many great receiver games lately that the "best WR games ever" table is starting to get redundant.

Decker is the seventh wideout this year to amass 100-plus DYAR in a single game. There were only two such contests in all of 2012. Are these handful of outstanding games anamolies, or are they a sign that we're seeing a golden season for elite receivers?

The top 10 wide receivers this season are averaging 283 DYAR apiece. Using the simplest projection method possible (dividing by 12, multiplying by 16) gives us an average projected figure of 378 DYAR for that group. That would be a very good number for the DVOA era (going back to 1989), but not close to the record. The best Top 10, by a mile, are the receivers of 2011. Calvin Johnson led the league that year with 570 DYAR, the second-best wideout season we've ever measured behind only Michael Irvin's 1995 season. Jordy Nelson had 517 DYAR in 2011, only the third time two wideouts have gone over 500 DYAR in the same season, along with Irvin and Jerry Rice in 1995, and Randy Moss and Torry Holt in 2003. Johnson leads the league again this season, but is on pace for "only" 466 DYAR.

After 2011, there's a giant dropoff. The next best year was 2000, when the top ten receivers averaged 385 DYAR apiece. There are five other seasons with an average top 10 of at least 370 DYAR; the 2013 group will probably finish in the middle of that pack.

While the lack of a single dominant wideout seems to be hurting the 2013 wide receivers, however, there's something to be said for depth. Twelve wideouts this year are on pace for at least 300 DYAR. That would tie the record set in 2000 and again in 2012. Even 2011 had only eight players with 300-plus DYAR.

Now, let's revive an old Quick Reads tradition: Explaining why Adrian Peterson is missing from our running back tables after a massive rushing yardage total. Peterson rumbled over, around, and through the Chicago defense for 211 yards on 35 carries, the second-highest single-game rushing total of the season. And actually, this absence is easy to explain. Peterson finished in sixth place among running backs this week, only 2 DYAR off the table, so it's not as if he's buried in the middle of the pack. More to the point, Peterson's total DYAR includes his receiving numbers, and there he had a lousy day. His four targets resulted in two incompletions, a 2-yard gain on second-and-13, and a 2-yard loss on first-and-10. In rushing value alone, Peterson had the best game of the week and one of the ten best games of the year.

Another surprising absence from the running back tables is C.J. Spiller, who gained 149 yards on only 15 carries against Atlanta. Spiller's day, though, was built on a tiny dose of boom and a good amount of bust. He had a 77-yard run in the first quarter and a 36-yard touchdown in the fourth, but otherwise gained 36 yards on 13 carries, with just one other first down.

And even in such a big week for wide receivers, it's still surprising that Roddy White (10 receptions, 14 targets, 143 yards) was only 19th at his position. Five of those receptions, though, went for less than 10 yards, including a 9-yard gain on third-and-16 and a 6-yard gain on third-and-10. He was also the target of an incomplete pass on third-and-2.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Peyton Manning DEN
22/35
403
5
2
263
263
0
Manning threw a pair of interceptions in the first half, and the Broncos trailed 21-14 at the break. In the second half, Manning went 11-of-15 for 221 yards with three touchdowns and six other first downs, plus a pair of 19-yard DPIs.
2.
Russell Wilson SEA
22/30
310
3
0
202
193
9
3.
Tom Brady NE
29/41
371
2
1
144
144
0
Brady's splits by half were even more dramatic than Manning's. He had only five first downs in the first half, including a 23-yard touchdown. He then picked up first downs on 14 of his 17 throws in the second half, going 15-of-17 for 231 yards over that stretch.
4.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
28/43
331
2
1
119
108
11
The Dolphins blew the Jets out of the water, and they still left points on the board. In the red zone, Tannehill went just 1-of-5 for 13 yards with no touchdowns, including an incompletion on fourth-and-goal at the 1.
5.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
28/44
257
2
0
113
106
7
Roethlisberger's first six deep passes were all incomplete. His last two were completed for 19 yards each, to Antonio Brown and Heath Miller.
6.
Matthew Stafford DET
22/34
330
3
2
111
107
4
Stafford's first eight passes were all thrown to the short right area. For the game, he went 10-of-14 for 151 yards and seven first downs throwing to that direction. He only threw two passes to the deep right zone, both in the fourth quarter. Both were completed, for 56 total yards and a touchdown.
7.
Nick Foles PHI
21/34
237
3
0
110
100
10
Foles hit Zach Ertz for a 24-yard touchdown in the third quarter that put Philadelphia ahead 24-7. For the rest of the game, he went 1-of-7 for 9 yards with more sacks (two) than first downs (one).
8.
Cam Newton CAR
18/29
263
2
2
101
76
25
Throwing to his left, Newton went 9-of-12 for 144 yards with two touchdowns, five other first downs, and one interception. He also ran five time for 68 yards and a touchdown.
9.
Robert Griffin WAS
24/32
207
1
0
89
56
34
Another passer with extreme splits by half, but in the opposite direction. Washington was tied with the Giants at 14 after two quarters, but in the second half Griffin went 8-of-15 for 58 yards, with more sacks (five) than first downs (two). He also ran 12 times for 88 yards and six first downs, including two conversions on third or fourth down.
10.
Philip Rivers SD
23/37
252
1
1
89
85
4
Rivers didn't throw a single pass in the red zone, mainly because he sucked so bad in the front zone. Between Cincinnati's 20- and 40-yard lines, he went 2-of-11 for 43 yards with one first down (which, granted, was a touchdown) and one interception.
11.
Matthew McGloin OAK
18/30
255
0
1
88
88
0
Throwing to his left, McGloin went 6-of-14 for 67 yards with three first downs, including 1-of-5 for zero yards in the second half.
12.
Colin Kaepernick SF
19/28
275
1
0
82
73
9
On third downs, Kaepernick went 8-of-8 for 126 yards. It's not quite as good as it sounds -- four of those completions failed to gain first downs, and he was also sacked once.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Matt Ryan ATL
28/47
311
1
0
66
61
6
Included in his DYAR, but not listed in the table, Ryan was sacked six times, and also fumbled a snap. He dropped back to pass 21 times on first down, but not very effectively, completing nine passes for 77 yards with three first downs and one sack.
14.
Case Keenum HOU
15/30
272
0
1
59
49
10
Inside the New England 40, Keenum went 3-of-8 for 33 yards with one first down and a sack. One of those completions was an 11-yard gain on third-and-15.
15.
Josh McCown CHI
23/36
356
2
0
53
53
0
Not counting passes to guys named Alshon, McCown went 11-of-21 for 107 yards with five first downs and four sacks.
16.
Tony Romo DAL
23/32
227
1
0
44
44
0
On the Cowboys' first five drives, Romo went 6-of-13 for 55 yards with one sack and only two first downs, and Dallas fell behind 21-7. On their last drive of the first half, he went 5-of-7 for 71 yards and three first downs. Dallas scored to make it 21-14, and then Romo played much better in the second half.
17.
Alex Smith KC
27/42
293
2
1
42
25
17
On third and fourth downs, Smith completed nine of 11 passes for 113 yards. Like his ex-teammate Kaepernick, though, it wasn't as good as it sounds -- only three of those completions picked up first downs. To be fair, he was stuck in some very long-yardage situations. Twice Smith gained 16 yards on third down and still came up short of the sticks.
18.
Joe Flacco BAL
24/35
251
1
0
32
27
5
Flacco wasn't much on first and second downs, but on third downs he was a goldurn machine. He went 8-of-11 for 118 yards, with a touchdown and six other first downs. Oh, and he had a 26-yard DPI.
19.
Drew Brees NO
23/38
147
1
0
31
31
0
20.
Kellen Clemens STL
19/37
218
1
1
31
26
5
Clemens' first nine deep passes were all incomplete. He threw three more after that, completing two of them for 46 total yards, but by then the Rams were down by 17 points in the fourth quarter.
21.
Eli Manning NYG
22/28
235
1
1
25
29
-4
Inside the Washington 40, Manning went 6-of-6 for 79 yards with a touchdown and three other first downs.
22.
Chad Henne JAC
22/40
195
2
1
13
13
0
In one stretch of this game, starting in the second quarter and going into the fourth, Henne went 1-of-11 for zero yards.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Andy Dalton CIN
15/23
190
1
1
10
3
7
Dalton had only six dropbacks on Cincinnati's side of the field, and none in the red zone. He went 2-of-5 for 29 yards with a touchdown, plus an intentional grounding penalty.
24.
Matt Cassel MIN
20/33
243
1
1
-2
-2
0
Inside the red zone, Cassel went 3-of-10 for 14 yards with one touchdown and one interception. All of those passes came with Minnesota down by three to ten points.
25.
E.J. Manuel BUF
18/32
210
1
0
-17
-21
4
Throwing to his right, Manuel went 5-of-11 for 47 yards, with only two first downs.
26.
Carson Palmer ARI
24/41
302
3
2
-37
-37
0
Palmer's first three plays on the Philadelphia side of the 50 went interception, sack, sack. After that, he went 6-of-8 for 115 yards with three touchdowns and two other first downs, plus an 8-yard DPI.
27.
Brandon Weeden CLE
24/40
370
3
2
-40
-41
1
Six of Weeden's first seven passes were thrown to Josh Gordon. This is not a critique; if I was in charge of Cleveland, I'd throw it to Gordon every play too. Not counting passes to Gordon, Weeden went 14-of-25 for 109 yards with one touchdown, five other first downs, two interceptions, three sacks, and two fumbles.
28.
Geno Smith NYJ
4/10
29
0
1
-46
-43
-3
Smith's four completions gained a total -- a total -- of 4 yards in the air.
29.
Christian Ponder MIN
3/8
40
0
0
-54
-54
0
In a little more than a quarter, Ponder gained one first down and gave up three sacks.
30.
Mike Glennon TB
14/21
180
0
1
-56
-55
-1
When Glennon got the ball in the second half, the Bucs were only down by 11. From that point forward, he went 6-of-10 for 56 yards with one first down, three sacks, and an interception.
31.
Andrew Luck IND
17/32
200
0
1
-76
-97
22
Third downs: 4-of-10 for 56 yards with two first downs, two sacks, one fumble, and an interception.
32.
Matt Simms NYJ
9/18
79
0
1
-95
-91
-5
Inside the red zone, Simms went 0-for-4 with an interception and a sack.
33.
Ryan Fitzpatrick TEN
21/37
201
1
3
-126
-150
25
Fitzpatrick's first deep pass was complete to Nate Washington for 31 yards, and his last was complete to Kendall Wright for 35 yards. In between, he went 0-for-8 with an interception.
34.
Matt Flynn GB
10/20
139
0
1
-159
-158
-1
Seven sacks, a botched snap, and two fumbles will do that to you. On Detroit's half of the field, Flynn had a blown snap, three incompletions, and an interception. Yes, that's it.
Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
DeMarco Murray DAL
63
3
39
0
67
43
24
Not a lot of yards, but a lot of short-yardage success. The longest of Murray's 17 carries gained only 11 yards, but he still had three touchdowns and four other first downs, including four conversions with 2 yards or less to go for a first down. Meanwhile, he was stuffed for a loss twice. The Cowboys threw him five passes, and each of them resulted in a reception of 7 yards or more.
2.
Reggie Bush DET
117
1
65
0
56
17
39
Bush caught each of the five passes thrown his way for at least 6 yards apiece, including gains of 11 and 32 yards. On the ground, he was stuffed three times and fumbled once, but he also gained 10 yards or more five times in 20 carries, and added a goal-line touchdown.
3.
Jamaal Charles KC
93
1
27
0
48
29
20
Charles has had some miserable days as a receiver, so it's a relief to see him get two catches in two targets, for gains of 16 and 11 yards. In 19 carries, he had two stuffs and a fumble, but he also had three 10-yard runs and eight total first downs on the day. Each of his last four carries gained a first down or touchdown.
4.
Joique Bell DET
94
1
34
0
43
31
12
Bell was stuffed three times in 19 carries, but he also had two 10-yard runs, and finishe with seven first downs. He caught three passes in four targets, including a 27-yard gain and a 3-yard catch on second-and-2.
5.
Willis McGahee CLE
57
1
14
0
39
32
7
McGahee was also a short-yardage wonder. The longest of his 14 carries gained only 11 yards, but he had a touchdown and six other first downs, while being stuffed only twice. His two targets resulted in receptions for 9 and 5 yards, both on first-and-10.
Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Maurice Jones-Drew JAC
77
0
4
0
-45
-5
-40
Jones-Drew had runs of 18 and 13 yards in the first quarter, and added a 4-yard gain on third-and-1 in the fourth. Those were his only first downs on the day. His other 20 carries averaged 2.1 yards apiece, including five stuffs for no gain or a loss. The Jaguars also threw Jones-Drew eight passes. Six of them were incomplete, including plays on second-and-3 and third-and-2. His two completions were a zero-yard gain on third-and-8 and a 4-yard gain on first-and-10. (EDITOR'S NOTE: We forgot about MJD's passing stats: 1-of-1 for 8 yards and a touchdown, on third-and-1 no less. That gives him an extra 19 DYAR. Now, that still would have made him the least valuable running back of the week ... until Monday night, when he was passed by Marshawn Lynch. Against the Saints, Lynch ran 16 times for 45 yards, a 2.8-yard average, and also had a fumble. Seattle threw him four passes, and he caught three of them for 12 yards. That's -12 DYAR rushing, -29 DYAR receiving, and -41 DYAR total.)
Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Eric Decker DEN
8
12
174
21.8
4
115
Decker's touchdowns gained 41, 37, 15, and 1 yard, respectively. Three of his other catches gained first downs; the fourth was a 7-yard gain on second-and-8. Oh, and he had a 19-yard DPI too.
2.
Alshon Jeffery CHI
12
15
249
20.8
2
97
In the third quarter alone, Jeffery had three receptions in four targets for 145 yards, with two touchdowns and another first down.
3.
Josh Gordon CLE
10
15
261
26.1
2
79
Gordon has now gained 498 yards the past two weeks, and he's currently averaging 124.9 yards per game. That would be best in history for a non-strike season. Can he maintain that pace? It's tempting to write the last two games off as a fluke, and to a degree they certainly are. On the other hand, Gordon has now gained at least 125 yards six times in 10 games this season, so it's hardly unreasonable to think he could maintain that pace. Against Jacksonville, he had touchdowns of 21 and 95 yards on the day, both of which put Cleveland ahead, and he had five other first downs on the day.
4.
Andre Johnson HOU
8
9
121
15.1
0
53
Oddly, Johnson had no targets on third down. Six of his targets came on first-and-10. All of those passes were caught, four for first downs, two for 9-yard gains.
5.
Doug Baldwin SEA
4
5
77
19.2
1
45
Five targets, in order: 52-yard catch on third-and-3; 7-yard catch on second-and-5; 4-yard touchdown; 14-yard gain on second-and-6; incompletion on first-and-10. That incompletion came with Seattle up by 20 points in the third quarter.
Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Garrett Graham HOU
3
11
36
12.0
0
-40
Only one of Graham's catches produced a first down. Meanwhile, he failed to convert on first-and-goal from the 8, second-and-goal from the 1, and second-and-6.

Comments

208 comments, Last at 05 Dec 2013, 10:59am

1 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Talking about opponent adjustment. I expected Brees to be below replacement level but it sure seems opponent adjustment helped him quite a lot.

So, what is his YAR number, Vince?

2 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

I'm staggered Brees was so...well, OK I guess. I figured he would have been one of the worst. 3.9YPA with a strip sack, a couple of 5 yarders on 3rd and 10 (or something like that), a couple of incomplete passes on 4th down. I know opponent adjustments are part of it, but that looks like a horrible game statistically to me. I guess he only had one sack and one turnover (on the same play), but still.

3 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Brees had -45 YAR. He got a boost of 76 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. That's the biggest boost of the week. Next biggest was Matt Ryan, who only got a boost of 54 DYAR in 11 more dropbacks.

4 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Is that the biggest of the season? I'd really love there to be a random page that just tracked (say) the top 5 opponent adjustments for the season (both positive and negative).

Also, any chance we could have a weekly table of just the top 5 rushing DYAR? No need for comments, I just feel that the RB table every week is effected more by receiving (both good and bad) than rushing.

5 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

If it is true that Russell Wilson is a mere one inch shorter than Drew Brees, there are a lot of NFL personnel guys (including some in Seattle) who should be ashamed of themselves. If you watched the guy in his year at Wisconsin, and didn't see an upper level NFL first rounder, in terms of throwing ability, mobility, and demeanor under pressure, you just aren't watching the same game as I am, and I said so at the time. I bought into the "he's too short" nonsense to some degree, because I didn't know how much to trust the published numbers of various qb statures. If he really is just an inch shorter than Brees, well, that's just stupid.

6 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Wilson is offically 5'11" That is 1 inches shorter than Brees, but remember Brees was already thought of as too short and was thought of as an exception.

This post actually give a good break down and why shorter QBs are often drafted lower

http://www.foxsportswisconsin.com/05/25/12/Tall-tale-Story-of-short-NFL-QBs-is-well/landing_badgers.html?blockID=735138

The funny thing is that in 2001, the year Brees was drafted the first two QB drafted with Michael Vick and Drew Brees, both 6'0", so it is not like teams do not want to draft short QBs, they just have to be really great and Wilson was in a draft with 3 highly thought of guys in Luck, RG3 and Tannenhill.

7 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

You aren't too short when you are playing at a Hall of Fame level. Wilson is essentially Brees with a better arm and mobility. Yes, you have to adjust your offense a little with a shorter qb. So what? If the qb in question is just barely shorter than a current HOF qb, and he has a better arm, better mobility, and obvious leadership quaities, it's just idiotic that he lasts until the 3rd round.

18 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Even "a lot closer" isn't anything close to 'Wilson is Brees with better mobility and a better arm'. They guy Will is talking about should be putting up DVOAs in the +40% or higher range.

80 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Was Brees doing so in his 2nd year? Does Wilson play in an offense which focuses on passing in the manner that Sean Payton's offense does?

91 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Brees wasn't doing so in his second year; I think it was his third when he took off.

However, playing in a passing-focused offense depresses - not increases - DVOA. It's basic game theory. Everyone plays to stop Drew Brees when they play the Saints. Against the Seahawks, they are at least as concerned about Marshawn Lynch, because the Seahawks run the ball.

194 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Last night, at least, it was quite clear the Saints were out to stop Marshawn Lynch.

They were successful, too, as he was the Least Valuable Running Back.

Of course, that didn't really stop their offense.

201 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Have you seen the 49ers this year? Eight or nine defenders on the line on nearly every play. Sure teams will look to stop a credible passing game first but will take away the run if the passing game reeks.

195 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

If we are now comparing Brees in his 2nd year to Wilson in his 2nd year we should note that both of them were on teams with strong running backs.

98 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Isn't anything close? How do you know? Do you see the difference in protection the last three weeks? If Wilson had that the entire year, he very well could have put up DVOAs in the +40% or higher range.

178 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Russell Okung has missed eight games this year, Max Unger three, and James Carpenter has been moved to guard and still can't stay in the lineup. Oh, and starting tackle Breno Giacomini has also missed seven games.

188 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

That line is 31st in adjusted sack rate and 32nd in PFF's ratings. They might have all those things on their line (though both Okung and Unger have missed a lot of time) but as a unit, they've kind of sucked.

And Carpenter is a huge, huge bust. He's at best a serviceable player on runs as a guard.

196 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Adjusted Sack rate does a better job of telling you how long the QB holds the ball than anything about the line.

All of FO's line stats are fucking terrible.

16 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

What hyperbole? He's a 2nd year qb, playing at a very high level, in an offense without superstar receivers, who obviously should have been taken before the 3rd round.

19 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

The "He's Drew Brees with better mobility and a better arm" part.

He's clearly good, and is probably going to be a superstar, and its a crime he lasted to the 3rd, but hes not Brees yet, let alone significantly better than Brees.

68 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Brees had 60% completions, 17 TDs vs 16 INTs his second year. (7 TDs vs 8 INTs the second half of the season.) By that criteria, Wilson is WAY better than Brees.

But that's absolutely not what you meant when you first made that comment.

73 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

I would prefer that you not read my mind, and then tell me what I meant. What I meant was that Wilson has a better arm, and better mobility, than Brees, that he is just barely shorter than Brees, and that, in his 2nd year, has shown nothing to indicate that he will fall short of Brees in terms of ability.

112 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Well, absolutely nobody would take your original comment as worded to mean what you say here. And projecting that a second year guy is destined to do that for ~15 years is a real stretch. Could happen, but usually doesn't.

135 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

What you said was that Wilson is better then Brees, not that he's better than Brees was at a similar point in his career.

I'm pretty sure everybody here is impressed with Wilson, but Brees is already a future Hall of Famer.

141 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

I said Wilson was Bees with a better arm and mobility. I apologize for the lack of clarity. I should have written that Wilson was only barely shorter than Brees, had a better arm and mobility, was better in his 2nd year than Brees was, and thus there was little reason to think that he lacked a valuable quality that Brees possessed.

164 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

What I really want to know, is how does he compare to Matt Flynn, after Flynn's first start? I seem to remember his enshrinement in Canton by some after that game, but I can't be certain...

179 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

I'm nit picking. You seem to be referring to the Week 17 Detroit game in 2011, that was Flynn's 2nd start. His first start was week 15 in 2010 vs New England. Your point still stands, but it was his 2nd start that got people to over hype him.

170 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

I also have to disagree. People were saying the same thing about luck, comparing him to his predecessor's rookie year. This naturally gave way to the assumption that their careers would move in lockstep, with luck besting each of manning's years.

First of all, Brees' career arc is very unusual and I wouldn't expect Wilson to follow that. Brees was very poor his first few years that the team was ready to give up on him. He improved dramatically in his third year, but even then, he was considered pretty good, not elite. It wasn't until an unusual circumstance of being moved that he vaulted into an elite player, a career jump almost no one(including saints fans) saw coming. Should we expect the same from wilson? i don't know, but I don't think you can draw that conclusion by looking at his play versus brees' 2nd year.

As to wilson, I'm reluctant to make any declarative statements about future careers for 1st or 2nd year starters anymore. I feel like there comes an adjustment period where every qb must go through some growing pains. After all, look at the plaudits kaep received last year. He was a 1st year starter in the superbowl. There was nothing but huge potential in his future. Now, the criticism he's received this year is overblown, but look at how far hes fallen compared to the expectations. Seattle fans probably can't envision a similar story for wilson, say next year, but I do think he's going to have some growing pains eventually. No one qb becomes elite without going through some growing pains.

174 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Through last year, Kaepernick had 10 starts, including payoffs. Wilson now has 30. Evaluating the prospects of qb after 10 starts really isn't at all similar to doing so after 30.

Am I willing to call Wilson a HOFer, as I do Brees? Of course not. Anybody who would be surprised at this outcome, at this point, however, isn't paying attention. He appears to be at the happy circumstance of having a lot of talent, and a lot of intelligence and discipline, on a talented team, with a good organizational structure. His biggest immediate challenge might be if his offensive coordinator gets a head coaching job. His head coach has a decent record of hiring assistants, however.

175 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Well, would you prefer I mention Cam instead?

And I know you you're statements were misconstrued. I think my larger point was just that it's misleading to compare career arcs, especially since special qbs often have their own stories that define them.

15 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

We essentially have one really great short QB in the history of the NFL, so predicting how great Wilson would be based on the play of Brees would be stupid.

I mean Vick has better arm and better mobility and actually have great leadership qualities, but you would have a hard time finding anyone who think he is nothing more than an average QB.

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Sonny Jurgenson played at 5'11", which was considered short even in his era.

The similarity between Jurgenson and Brees in stature, throwing motion and on-field demeanor is considerable IMO.

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Len Dawson was 6'0, Bart Starr 6'1, Joe Theisman 6'0... Not many guys I found shorter than 5'11 but many of this contemporaries were right around 6'0.

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I assume any QB listed around six feet is actually an inch or two shorter than that. Jim McMahon was listed at 6'1, but he was lucky if he was six feet even.

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They measure everybody at the combine now, so Wilson is an honest 5'11. I think they were already making those stats public back when Brees attended the combine. At any rate, when Brees and Wilson shook hands after they game they were eye-to-eye.

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http://www.nfldraftscout.com/ratings/dsprofile.php?pyid=72519&draftyear=2012&genpos=qb
http://www.nfldraftscout.com/ratings/dsprofile.php?pyid=196&draftyear=2001&genpos=qb

If I'm reading that right, Wilson is 5 ft 10-5/8 in, and Brees is 6 ft 0-1/4 in.

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I'm pretty sure Tarkenton was pretty close to Brees in stature, and my guess would be that he was shorter. It would be stupid to imply that Tarkenton was not great.

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Montana and Young were very charitably listed at 6'2" as well ... both were at least an inch shorter than Jerry Rice, who's also listed at 6'2" (and I've met Jerry in person and I wouldn't be surprised if he was closer to 6'1").

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Tarkenton is probably a fairly good comp for Wilson in terms of total package of skills. Wilson isn't a "running quarterback" the way Newton or Kaepernick is; he's more of a scrambler in the Young/Tarkenton tradition who uses his mobility to extend plays first and get yardage second.

Wilson isn't going to be the second coming of Aaron Rodgers, but I think a respectable, Roethlisberger-type career is not out of reach.

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Wilson has a considerably better arm than Tarkenton ever had. Now, Tarkenton was the best I've ever seen, in terms of speed of recognition, and deceptive ball handling, so I certainly don't wish to argue that Wilson is as good as Tarkenton. It isn't impossible that he'll get there, however.

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Wilson's numbers are already significantly more efficient than Roethlisberger's at this stage in their careers, and passing efficiency is what wins games in the NFL.

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Ummmmm.....No.

You forgot, or didn't realize Big Ben's first 2 seasons are among the best of all time. His efficiency was off the chart.

Let's check the numbers. (DVOA)

1. Ben

1) 1st year: 31.7%
2) 2nd year: 35.8%

2. Wilson

1) 1st year: 19.7%
2) 2nd year: 22.8%

I don't think Wilson's number is significantly more efficient than Ben. No way.

159 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Late Young was a scrambler. Young Young was absolutely a runner. He would have caught more heat for it, except his melanin deficiency rendered him merely plucky.

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Don't know if I'd be talking about Vick's "great leadership qualities" when he spent a year in jail and spent many years in Atlanta pissing away his talent and refusing to do any sort of video study.

Looking at 2002 Vick and 2010 Vick, I think he absolutely could have been a great quarterback, but he was totally ruined by his own ego and Mora Jr / Knapp stupidity.

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Will, Brees had fantastic mobility in college (pretty sure that the same week my local boy at Washington, Marques Tuiasosopu, threw for 300 and ran for 200 in the same game, Brees ended up stealing the headlines at Purdue by doing the same damn thing!) and he was drafted in the second round (albeit the first pick of the second round--what a coup for SD, getting Tomlinson and Brees). Since I stand a towering 5-7 I find that bias annoying, but it's pretty universal. I think Vick's running ability made his height sort of a moot point.

What I find surprising is that the bias, which holds for most other positions as well (Linemen need to weight a certain amount and have long arms, and that almost always means a certain height is required, a TE who is 6-3 is puny), does not really apply at all for top-of-the-draft RBs. Trent Richardson is 5-10. Who the hell drafts a fast and powerful "midget" RB #3 overall? A shifty later pick, like Darren Sproles, makes perfect sense. But your new "face of the franchise"? WRs, too, have a prototypical size the pro teams seek, but they are sure willing to go down to 6-0 for first rounders with the right skill set and other measurables. There are many successful WRS that are shorter, but I don't think they were picked near the top of the draft.

CB might be the only place an NFL team will use a first round draft pick on a super talented guy who is just 5-9 or so, even though they'd prefer someone closer to 6-2.

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What is strange about the over-emphasis on height at the qb position is that it is the position where mental performance makes the most difference. It is likely not a coincidence that Tarkenton, Brees, and Wilson are all very smart men.

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On the other hand Bradshaw doesn't seem like the sharpest tool in the shed. Even if his hof selection was unjustified, he was still a good QB for a number of years.

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I will note again that if you switch Archie Manning's birthday with Terry Bradshaw's, Archie might have been thought of as the GOAT, and Terry would have been thought of as a physical specimen who didn't amount to much, prior to becoming a t.v. personality. Archie Manning on a roster of HOFers would have been something to see.

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Tarkenton and Aikman aren't all that sharp these days either (Tarkenton for his rants, Aikman for his bouts of cluelessness in the broadcast booth). I ascribe it to too-many-headshots syndrome and age.

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I'll buy that.

I was trying to explain to my shorter than average 9 year-old the height issue while watching the game last night. Everybody wants a 6-5 QB, but hey also want 6-5 men blocking for him, so he STILL can't see over them since his eyeballs are about 3 inches lower than that, at 6-2. (My son said, yeah, but they're bending over while blocking--yeah, a bit, but their helmets make them an inch taller and it's not like he's looking through a window even at 6-5.) I was impressed by Wilson's low percentage of batted balls stat from last night--he's bottom third in the league, despite being the shortest starting QB. Not sure if that was raw numbers or a rate stat.

Much like the long arms needed for OL and DL, which generally corresponds to height, I wonder if hand size is the real physical key for QBs. Wilsons are unusually large for a guy his height, but on par with a guy who is about 6-4 or 6-5. Hmmmmmm. GMs draft tall guys, not because they're tall, but because they have good hands and the height factor just comes along for the ride. Just a theory. They measure this stuff at the combine, so clearly they know it's important. And yet again, it was ignored in Wilson's case....

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"Trent Richardson is 5-10. Who the hell drafts a fast and powerful "midget" RB #3 overall?"

Emmitt Smith was 5'9". (#17 overall)
Barry Sanders was 5'8". (#3 overall)
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/S/SmitEm00.htm
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/S/SandBa00.htm

Running backs have been getting shorter since Jim Brown was a young man. Smith and Sanders were smaller than Bronco Nagurski.

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I think all you need in order to understand why shorter QBs are drafted lower is to watch Brees standing on his toes with his chin up as if he were walking on a pool trying to keep his head above the water while in the pocket. It's amazing he can play like that.

------
The man with no sig

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The former scout who's on NFL Network's post-game show (he was working with the Eagles when Wilson was in the draft) said he had graded Wilson in the upper 2nd round. Then, after he was officially measured at 5'10" and change, dropped him a round.

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Yep. It was also 100% certain that the Eagles would have taken Wilson in the 3rd if he had last 5 more picks.

It is very normal a guy drops a round or 2 with less than ideal measurements.

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I think the Seahawks offense is one of the best coached and coordinated in the game. They've taken the Alex Gibbs zone run/Playaction boot game that the Texans used (that might have become a little stale or it could be a QN issue) and folded their read option game into it. When the niners use their read option it still seems to be a package that's independent of their overall attack, not so for Seattle, their R/O game has a full set of bootlegs, rolls and screens from the same look. It all feels so much more integrated and I think it makes it very difficult for defenses to get a handle on it.

Seeing Ricardo Lockette make a fantastic catch down the sideline made me think about what Doug Farrar wrote about them this week. He was in training camp with the receiver starved niners but they let him go, Seattle pick him up and use his speed and leaping ability on a deep jump ball. Presumably the niners cut him because they were only interested in an all round receiver but Seattle saw a player who could help them win games. The niners kept Marlon Moore and Kyle Williams.

The Saints do the same thing; Devery Henderson was their deep ball specialist and now they've replaced him with Kenny Stills, who can fill a role in their offense.

The point I'm trying to make is that Seattle are a very well coached and managed team, I wouldn't expect much better results if Wilson was in Philly. Bevell should be top of everyone's list of potential head coaches, all that might get in his way I'd a lengthy playoff run that could stop him interviewing. If I ran the Texans I'd relish the chance to have him develop a young qb, while keeping Dennison on the O-line and Phillips on the defense. They have so many of the right parts in place.

183 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

FWIW, Lockette was with Seattle last season and the first part of training camp this year; SF only picked him up after the 'Hawks cut him.

191 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

The niners definitely had first crack at Lockette this offseason, he was living with Kaepernick while they worked out before mini-camp. There were numerous articles in the SF media about how they used to quiz each other on the playbook.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/22598793/living-with-colin-kaepernick-means-playbook-quizzes-while-you-shower

http://www.sacbee.com/2013/05/19/5431627/roster-hopeful-lockette-is-learning.html

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I don't think that's the case at all. Bevell was mocked rightly for his offense when they had TJax running it (in both Minn and Seattle) and was only successful with Brett Favre for one year. Every other time he's been kind of meh. They've done well with Wilson and adapting to his strengths, but a lot of that is that Wilson just has an awful lot of strengths and can learn absurdly fast.

The reason I think Wilson would be phenomenal in Philly is that Philly has significantly better skill players and Wilson makes really good decisions. Those combined with Wilson's running ability would be a very potent matchup. And while we may disagree about Bevell, I hope you would agree with me that Kelly is a better offensive mind than he is.

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I'm more inclined to blame Childress than Bevell for the poor performance when they were together in Minnesota, he was in overall charge. (I'm not a huge Chilly fan.)

As for the time with Jackson, he's limited; you would expect more from Wilson. I don't think it makes any sense to deny that Bevell has done a fantastic job integrating the read option into the scheme. Plus, coaches can improve and right now I think he's doing very well.

I was probably remiss in not giving quite a bit of credit to Tom Cable, who probably has a lot of oversight in the run game.

I also think Seattle has pretty good skill players: Lynch, Tate, Baldwin plus Okung and Unger, along with very solid supporting players. It's the line that's been a bit of a mess, partly due to injury. Philly are amongst the best at those spots but I don't buy that Seattle are not also good there. (Aside: am I the only person who thinks Tate has turned into a really good receiver? He seems to be constantly hauling in a fantastic catch down the field.)

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It's worth noting that T-Jack was playing with a significant injury basically the entire season, and throwing to a completely decimated wr corps then there were all the o-line injuries as well. When an udfa rookie is your teams only credible receiver I don't know if that season is going to be an accurate indicator of the quality of the offensive system or the capability of the injured QB running it.

But oh yeah, I love Tate. One of my plans is to get an Elite Tate jersey and get him to sign it with a gold paint pen.

204 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

I would definitely agree Childress was the bigger problem. My conspiracy theory is that Childress was that he really had the hots for Mr Stubbleface and was tampering with him before the retirement fiasco ( they wete hunting buddies, after all), and that Jackson became a secondary consideration because of it.

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It's like the scouts totally forgot Wilson played behind the 5th largest offensive line, NCAA or NFL, while at Wisconsin.

Where he broke every Wisconsin passing record of note.

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I watched every game Wilson played at Wisconsin. I've watched one game by Manziel. I thus have little belief in Manziel, one way or another. It causes me concern that he was stupid enough to entrust the well being of his teammates to the ability of an autograph broker to keep his mouth shut.

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I don't think his teammates were going to have their knees broken if word got out. 'Well-being' is you being hyperbolic.

The NCAA's student-athlete thing is incredibly stupid and I don't think a guy selling his autograph is a personal flaw that will matter in the NFL.

110 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

I'm only being hyperbolic if one has a poor understanding of the term "well-being".

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/well-being

No one has more contempt for the NCAA than I, which I view as a criminal enterprise, under any intellectually honest reading of the law. The fact remains, however, that Manziel risked the well-being of his teammates on the ability or willingness of an autograph broker to keep his mouth shut. Manziel did this despite being already affluent, and facing no dire financial circumstances. This speaks very poorly of Manziel's leadership skills, in a job where those skills are important. Now, is it conclusive? Of course not. It is an issue to be examined, however, especially in the interview process.

181 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

No it's still hyperbole. It certainly wasn't a risk to his teammates' health or prosperity, and I find it hard to believe they'd be terminally unhappy if Manziel had not been able to play the rest of the season. And 'risking their well-being' is generally used to mean more than 'make them sad for a bit.'

As to the rest of your post, I don't disagree. I don't think one bad decision disqualifies him as a leader but I know you didn't say that. I do think way too much of an importance has been placed on that incident.

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Look, if you want to claim that hugely increasing the odds of failing to obtain an outcome, that you work extremely hard to achieve, is not a risk to happiness, go right ahead.

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The argument isn't one of ethics. It's 1) selfishness, since he easily could've gotten ruled ineligible and ruined a season of high expectations for his teammates, and 2) stupidity for doing something counter to NCAA rules that was a virtual certainty to be discovered.

2. Is negated if Manziel was consciously trying to bring down the NCAA eligibility rules, but I don't get that impression.

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I'm more concerned about the fact that he bad-mouthed A&M while still a student-athlete there.

Ordinarily, I would have the greatest respect for anybody who said that he couldn't wait to leave College Station. But for a man in his position, it's incredibly selfish, immature, and stupid to put something like that on Twitter. "Bulls--- like tonight is a reason why I can't wait to leave college station...whenever it may be."

What kind of teammate can a person like that be?

151 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

The Twitter comment was a veiled shot at the College Station police department over a ticket. So:

(1) It was *not* directed at A&M or the team at all.

(2) Given the general attitude of the student body towards the police (City or Campus, how dare the College Station Gestapo enforce noise ordinances and the drinking age!) it certainly didn't hurt Manziel's standing with either his teammates or his fanbase. It may even have helped it.

tl;dr I spent six years at A&M: The tweet in question was an absolute non-issue in context, regardless of the media coverage.

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Well that explains some of the context. As a standalone tweet it looks like it's pointed at the university itself, but I can accept it being aimed at the police.

Still, it's really not something he should be tweeting.

Twitter is a great way to turn throw-away comments into national news stories. If I were a college coach, I wouldn't want any of my players tweeting.

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Hm, for a 68% completion rate, 8/11 on third downs and no INTs, Flacco's DYAR seems low. Especially compared to the likes of, say, Matt McGloin.

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That's a very nice turn-around for Peyton, both between halves and from last week to this.

It's clear now that neither crowd noise nor personnel were the issue last week at New England. Weather conditions were much better this week. But I really wonder whether the Chiefs also learned the wrong lessons watching film of the Patriots making Peyton produce like a replacement QB when he did throw the ball. (see DYAR, DVOA)

Obviously, it was the passes to Decker that made this a great (instead of just a good) day for Manning. Did KC play soft there in order to put more emphasis on blunting the running attack? Or did a cold 20 mph wind really knock 350 DYAR out of Manning's game?

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I have a couple theories about Manning's play in the Pats game.

First, the weather was obviously a factor. Not only the cold but the wind. I don't think Manning's necessarily bad in the cold (it was quite cold in the game against KC the week earlier as well), but it is probably easier to have a bad game in adverse weather conditions.

Another is the fact that they never really passed consistently until the 2nd half. They built the lead with barely having to pass. Manning never really got into the rhythm of the game.

The final reason I think is possible would require watching the film, but I think the Pats sold out hard to stop the pass, which presented itself in the amount of ground the Broncos were able to gain on the ground. Manning repeatedly checked to run plays (or just had run plays called against advantageous fronts), and the Patriots just covered really well.

All in all, he had a bad game. This week, he had a good game.

I do wonder where this ranks in the highest DYAR games with multiple interceptions.

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I am happy to be wrong about this, but after the Pats game, I thought Peyton was done, as in he finally got freakin' old before my eyes and can't do it anymore. As in Irsay clearly made the right decision because Elway didn't even get two full seasons out of the guy's desiccated body. Further, he KNOWS he can't do it any more because even when Talib went out and he had the wind at his back, Manning continued to call run plays. I was grumpy and depressed and frustrated--like the kid in The Princess Bride who just KNOWS that Prince Humperdinck has to get killed in the end, I was waiting for some grade-A Manning magic and not only did it not come, it looked like it wasn't even attempted. Hey gramps, get off the field and put that kid Osweiler in! At least he'll take a shot!

He looked weak and old and indecisive to me. And Brady, playing in the same conditions looked great--at least in the second half. It was really depressing for a Manning fan. I can finally say it now because I was wrong. So glad to be wrong.

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It was typical Belichick. His thinking: let Moreno run wild because that alone won't be enough to win the game.

I was pleasantly surprised that the Pats did such a good job against the Broncos' passing game, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's something to count on in a rematch.

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I think you're trying to over-fit the data here. The reality is, that sometimes QBs have better weeks than others. So do receivers/DBs. They are not Robopunter, so there is just gonna be variation, and trying to read too much into game-to-game variations is likely a folly.

That said, if you want to look at a specific result: Decker & Manning were beating Cooper (the Cheifs' rookie CB) like a drum... maybe no NE DB was similarly such a weak link (or NE was better hiding it). Indiviual matchups matter a lot, so finding one glaring mismatch and repeatedly hammering it can lead to big swings.

Thats also why Julius Thomas' injury is a big deal from Denver. With Thomas, Thomas, Welker and Decker, there is almost certainly going to be a major mismatch somewhere as no DEF is 4-deep in sufficient cover guys... and PM is as good as anyone finding where that mismatch is. With only the big 3 WRs, a team with a deep secondary and/or good zone scheme MIGHT be able to slow things down if DEN is having a down day.

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350 DYAR is too much to explain by a bad day at the office. Or so I think. It would be a huge flaw to be that inconsistent.

Julius Thomas was out both games. He's a red herring on this topic.

Decker against Cooper was a mismatch. The question is "Why did KC allow that mismatch to happen so many times?" Why was Cooper, of all people, their guy left all alone on a defensive island?

Was it scheme? Was their defense depleted by injuries? Is a 20 mph wind the only difference between the Broncos pass offense being horrible and being almost unstoppable? Was it something else?

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I think it was mostly that Denver has a lot of weapons, and Cooper had to cover someone. Would it have been better to have him on Welker or Demaryius Thomas? I don't think so.

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Manning is not a good bad weather quarterback. Cold bothers him a little (he had a couple of balls slip out at Arrowhead), but wind is a big problem because he is a little bit short on arm strength and does not spin the ball as much as most NFL quarterbacks. This isn't a knock on Manning; it just means that his passes are more vulnerable to the wind.

Another point is that the Kansas City cornerbacks weren't as aggressive in hand checking as the NE cornerbacks were; Andy Reid doesn't have a special mind ray that makes referees look the other way on that.

Kansas City tried to compensate for the loss of Justin Houston by having Eric Berry blitz and/or play near the LOS and keep only one safety deep (and apparently shaded towards DeMaryius Thomas, although I'll have to watch tape). Flowers was on Welker a lot of the day, I think.

Essentially, they challenged Peyton to go downfield to Decker and/or a tight end, and Manning did it successfully. They probably expected to give up a couple of big plays, but didn't realize just how many times Cooper would get burned.

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I think its funny to talk about Peyton's "bad game" last week. He lead the team to 31 points (yes aided by short fields) last week. I know DVOA says it was a bad passing game, but Denver still put up 31 points, likely because Manning focused on the run. We always talk about Manning's incredible intellect and then don't acknowledge it when the game plan is run plays. I'm sure that Manning was calling the great majority of those runs.

Interestingly, Brady's offense was very similar. They scored 31 points because of short fields in the second half. Brady threw more against a weak set of defensive backs but essentially the offenses played to a draw.

The last three games that Denver has lost, the Broncos offense have averaged over 33 points (35, 33, and 31). How many other teams does this apply to and shouldn't the media (and everyone else) start focusing on really how bad Denver's defense is?

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It was the mirror image of a defense devoted to stop Adrian Peterson, and (often) like DYAR/DVOA with regard to Peterson, Manning's numbers last week fall well short of capturing context.

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The Broncos had a defensive touchdown in there, so the offense just scored 24 points, in nearly five quarters of football, despite the short fields. In that light, I don't think the offense was very impressive against New England.

Similarly, in the playoffs last year, the team scored 35 points, but two of those TDs were on special teams, so the offense generated just 21 points in more than five quarters of football.

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It wasn't a good day offensively, but they ran the ball really well all game long. When the offense absolutely had to score a TD (down 31-24), they did just that in a nice drive (that was aided by one penalty early on a bad throw by Manning).

After the game was tied, the Patriots ran 12 plays for 51 yards (excluding the drive that started at their 11 with 0:28 left), while the Broncos ran 20 plays for 78 yards. If that ridiculous screw up on the punt return happens, it is very likely the worst outcome for Denver is a tie.

If anything, when the game was close, the two offenses were essentially equal. When it wasn't, it was Denver running the ball, and New England passing it.

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The offense was not impressive if you think possessing the football is completely, or largely, without value. Possession is often overvalued, but it is not wise to go too far in the other direction.

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That's the reason I staunchly defend Manning's SB MVP--he called a great game and when the Bears sold out to prevent the deep ball, the Colts ran and passed underneath all day (except one 55 yard TD to Wayne on a missed assignment). His stats were okay, but his brain was awesome and the RBs had such great days because the D was so concerned about Manning's arm.

What bothered me about the Pats game was that, when it looked like he'd be able to take advantage whether it was the wind at his back or Talib going out for a handful of plays, he still handed it off. Hunh? Five years ago he'd attack a replacement DB instantly and repeatedly until the guy's charred body was dragged off the field accompanied by Eric Idle ringing a bell and calling "bring out your dead."

So to me last week's reluctance to throw looked like a lack of confidence. And he almost NEVER threw against the wind. Wise? Yes, probably (though Brady did fine in slightly diminished wind in the 2nd half). But the eye test for me says Manning had a crappy game against the Pats. And as I said above, I thought I was witnessing the end of his career in one 60-minute reveal. Glad I was not.

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Oh, I don't think there is any doubt, at this stage in his career, that when he is playing a good team in extreme wind, he really needs to have his defense step up. He can't carry a team as completely as he could when his arm was better.

Sadly, ol' Peyton and me are very similar, in that I now can't function on two hours sleep, preceded by 6 hours of whisk(e)y drinking, as well as I could when I was 30.

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I'm still wondering how much the ankle problems had to do with that. With a slight lack of grip and arm strength, being unable to fully transfer weight with feet due to dodgy ankles would be a trifecta of problems when it comes to dealing with a windy day. I'd guess provided the OL keeps most of the pressure away that Manning's ankles will gradually improve, and a first round bye will not hurt if they win out.

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A few other things of note in that NE game. One thing I've noticed is, manning at times can be his own worst enemy. His playcalling is predicated on what the defense shows and he runs if they are playing the pass. In some sense, this played into nes hands and I think he was clearly out of rhythm in that game. That said, I went back and watched the game in all 22. None of his receivers were getting open. Welker was completely manhandled and logan ryan did an excellent job on the outside. Virgil green was left primarily as a blocker and it was only sure handed tamme they were relying on at the end. Manning was poor with his feet that game, but actually his throws late in the game were sensational, really threaded in. Its easy to blame the entire woes of the passing game on manning, but his receivers really couldn't get open the way Ne's could...

Speaking of ne, this game highlighted to me why Gronk may be right next to calvin and a few others for impacting a game. Why was edleman and others able to break wide open many times? Including vareen? Because so much attention is drawn by gronk. Worse, his presence is in the middle of the field so it draws a huge crowd of lbs and safeties. The pick plays also occur in the middle so it makes defending anything in the slot a lot worse. Simply put, gronk is a nightmare that makes everyone better. I think someday, someone will be able to draw up a good defense against him, but its clearly not denver.

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I wouldn't blame the receivers so much as the Patriots selling out to stop the passing game. It's a bitch to get open when the entire defense is ignoring play fakes and focused on you, the receiver. Even the DL was dealing with the run as an afterthought. That opens up the run game a lot. But it cuts down on the time available before a pass must be thrown, open receiver or not.

As for the Denver D, they weren't selling out in the same way. Naturally, the Patriots receivers got open more and play action worked better. That's not a dig on the Denver D. They were asked to defend the pass and the run as most defenses do, while the Pats D were allowed to focus on one and chase the play on the other.

One particular point I disagree on. Since the Patriots were conceding the run and very few Denver receivers were getting open, Manning played into the Patriots hands each time he tried to pass anyway, not when he called for the runs almost guaranteed to succeed. If he had stuck with the run even more, the Broncos would have won in regulation. Instead, he caused several drives to stall by losing patience with the running game prematurely.

The Pats got into his head and convinced him to throw unnecessary passes into a defense loaded up against the pass.

180 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Not sure I agree with you. we probably saw the game the same way, but our disagreement is from the interpretation of the results.

Let's start with denver's D. I don't know what the intentions were, but I noticed two particular things that really flustered the broncos. The first came when they played man and Ne ran a bunch of pick plays. They also exploited denver's lack of coverage against runningbacks when they played man. Now when denver switched to zone, gronk basically attracted a ton of attention which led to safeties being out of position and the middle of the field between gronk and the los being open, not too mention down the sidelines from the vacated safety spot. The overwhelming message I got was not they were bent over backwards defending both, but that they simply have no clue how to defend gronk effectively.

Now to Denver's o. Again, the pass game was ineffective, but I don't think it was much about playcalling and Ne's defense as it was from manning simply having poor mechanics. THere are three specific plays that really come to mind. Two were D. Thomas on the outside where the ball sailed on one and was woefully underthrown on the other. The final play was that horrible int that got wiped out via penalty. Again, in all three cases, manning did not have his feet set or his body squared. The int he was basically falling away. Why that is, we can only speculate. It could be that he was confused by what he was seeing or it could be because he was favoring his ankle. Again, we'll never know. But I prefer to chaulk it up to bad mechanics that he fixed on the last drive.

Finally - Ne's defense wasn't quite what you think it was. They started the game in dime looks with spikes on the bench, but then went back to traditional nickel looks. I don't know how much I would take away from the denver o vs ne D side of things, but I think the ne O vs Den D basically is a recurring theme.

17 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

If my method consistently left Peterson out of the list of most valuable running backs, I would actually question my method rather than making excuses for it week after week.

23 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

In reply to by Dennis Doubleday (not verified)

I agree completely. DVOA/DYAR didn't fall out of the sky. As with any measure, it's better if they have face validity. And their results for running backs have been persistently weird. Obviously a statistic isn't useful if all it does is reaffirm our preexisting opinions, but it also shouldn't leave us scratching our heads every week either.

29 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

In reply to by StanSellsBoats (not verified)

The easy explanation has already been stated, and it's the fact that he's not great as a receiver, and when teams pass to running backs as frequently as they do today, that will knock you out of the top 5. You can make the argument that they should have a separate table for rushing alone (and maybe omit rushing from the QB list). Nobody here is arguing that Peterson isn't the best pure runner, and it hasn't been close for a long time.

38 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Plus its not like DVOA actually excludes Peterson every week. Just that sometimes his high yardage total games don't match up to the total contributions of other backs.

44 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

"Efficient" doesn't always equal "best". A running back's numbers will always be dragged down when he's expected to carry his entire offense week after week. Calvin Johnson hasn't sniffed the top 5 for DVOA the past three years, but nobody is arguing that he isn't the best at his position.

63 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Receiving is still very much a hobby for RBs. Of the complete list of starting RBs since 2007 (loosening passing rules), only Sproles has more receiving yards than rushing yards and near-parity on attempts.

Even Reggie Bush is basically 3:1 in attempts and 2:1 in yards, rushing over receiving. Really notable receiving RBs like Rice and Westbrook are similar to Bush's distribution. Peterson? He's 10:1 and 8:1.

DVOA is weird. It goes totally Twi-Mom for rushing QBs, but hates rushing RBs in favor of WRs playing out of position.

showing my work:
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&match=combined&year_min=2007&year_max=2013&season_start=1&season_end=-1&age_min=0&age_max=99&league_id=&team_id=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos_is_rb=Y&c1stat=rush_att&c1comp=gt&c1val=100&c2stat=rec&c2comp=gt&c2val=20&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=rec&draft=0&draft_year_min=1936&draft_year_max=2013&type=&draft_round_min=0&draft_round_max=99&draft_slot_min=1&draft_slot_max=500&draft_pick_in_round=0&draft_league_id=&draft_team_id=&college_id=all&conference=any

90 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

It might be the comparative aspect of the DVOA and DYAR measures. Very few RB's are good receivers so those that are get a huge relative bonus for their receiving yards. While on the other side there are plenty of good rushing RB's so to get a big boost requires a much higher relative level of performance.

32 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Its all about success predictability. While no one doubts AP's greatness, saying a system should modify itself to be less predictive in order to get "face validity" is insane.

Perhaps the issue is instead that the things AP does simply aren't as valuable as other things in winning games. Getting a 5 yard rush on 1st down is great, but just not as great as getting a 3 yard reception on 3rd-and-2. We overrate his success because we've been inundated with "run to win" claptrap for our entire lives. That doesn't mean AP isnt the "most dangerous runner in the NFL".... but maybe that "title" isn't worth as much as we think, and DVOA/DYAR are simply pointing that out.

The reality is likely somewhere in between... but at the least, we should think about it and just not throw out results that our flawed perceptions might disagree with.

34 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

How do you know that setting up a 2nd-and-5 is less valuable than getting a first down on 3rd-and-2?

How do you know it isn't the method that is flawed and not "our perceptions."?

We aren't talking about fine lines here, anyway. We are talking about a dominant player that every team fears to face.

36 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

In reply to by Dennis Doubleday (not verified)

Because the latter gets you a first down, and the former hasn't yet? That's a little like asking how baseball fans know a sacrifice bunt is less valuable than a single.

43 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

In reply to by The Ancient Mariner (not verified)

Actually, that's not the same at all, since a sacrifice bunt gives up an out. One would need to look at the value of being in 2nd-and-5 relative to a less desirable 2nd down situation.

102 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

In reply to by Dennis Doubleday (not verified)

Not a strong parallel, to be sure, but the point is that a single accomplishes something which a sac bunt doesn't -- to wit, putting an additional man on base (or, if you prefer, avoiding an out). Similarly, making a first down accomplishes something which getting 2nd and 5 doesn't -- to wit, getting a new set of downs.

40 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

In reply to by Dennis Doubleday (not verified)

I'm not sure what to say if you think it's unclear that a converting a 3rd down is more valuable than good gain on 1st down. That's like saying it's unclear that scoring a touchdown to give your team the lead late in the 4th quarterr is more valuable than scoring a touchdown to give your team the lead in the 1st quarter.

Anyway, we've known for a long time that while running is important, the passing game has much more value. Yes, every defense fears Peterson, but what good has that done the Vikings this year?

46 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

In reply to by JoeyHarringtonsPiano

OK, so you are saying that if you picked a team you would take DeMarco Murray instead Peterson?

Your statement about the Vikings is really dumb, sorry. He has a really bad QB situation, which just makes his 211 yards all the more impressive.

50 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

In reply to by Dennis Doubleday (not verified)

No, I'm saying that if given a choice between Peterson and bunch of replacement level players at other skill positons vs. Demarco Murray and above average players at skill positions, the choice should be obvious.

If the Vikings could trade Peterson for a top 5 quarterback, don't you think their win total would improve? I'm trying to get you to comprehend that a good passing game does more to help a team win than a good running game. DVOA/DYAR tries to measure exactly that.

56 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

In reply to by Dennis Doubleday (not verified)

"In rushing value alone, Peterson had the best game of the week and one of the ten best games of the year."

Again, go back to my previous post. Nobody is arguing that Peterson was far and away the most valuable pure runner this week. It's just that other backs contributed more to their team's chances of winning with their contributions in the passing game. I stated before I wouldn't mind a table that excludes receiving for RBs and rushing for QBs.

52 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Of course not... but that isn't what DVOA measures.

Murray had a very efficient game, given the schemes used and the supporting/opposing casts around him. For that one game, he was better than AP this week. AP's DVOA/DYAR through multiple seasons far exceeds Murray's, and his supporting cast is likely inferior to Dallas' so if in your mind you want to project what you think AP could do onto a different team, thats fine.

DVOA doesn't have a clue who either has a QB... it purely is measuring outcomes, and then projecting those to future success. If AP moved to a different team, we might project greater success... but complaining that DYAR doesn't do things it clearly states it does not even try to do is stupid.

142 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

You're asking for a lot if you want a RB's stats to also measure how good the QB play on his team is.

No statistic is supposed to be a be-all end-all in player evaluation. A statistic by its nature takes a lot of data and picks out some of the information while ignoring a lot.

Stevan Ridley has a better DVOA and better DYAR than Peterson, but I don't think even the most homerific Patriots' fan would prefer Ridley over him, even if the fumbling problem was gone. Patriots' RBs typically look better in DVOA tables than their talent alone would justify, because the Pats run-block well and have a great passing game that defenses have to pay attention to.

169 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

What was more concerning, historically, was that GB's running backs looked good, too. This was when GB couldn't run block at all and none of their RBs were even replacement-level.

51 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

In reply to by JoeyHarringtonsPiano

A 3rd-and-2 is a relatively high percentage play. If I get a CHANCE to convert one of those, it is because some other better-than-average play happened in the first 2 downs.

Let's say that Peterson runs for 9 on first down, for 0 on 2nd, and 2 on 3rd, getting the first down. Which was the more valuable play? I think it is clear that the first down run was the most valuable.

55 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

I was complaining about this statement:

I'm not sure what to say if you think it's unclear that a converting a 3rd down is more valuable than good gain on 1st down. That's like saying it's unclear that scoring a touchdown to give your team the lead late in the 4th quarterr is more valuable than scoring a touchdown to give your team the lead in the 1st quarter.

Converting a 3rd down is not automatically more valuable than a good gain on 1st down.

62 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

In reply to by JoeyHarringtonsPiano

The point is that there is a sliding scale of value. We all agree that 9 on first is more valuable than a conversion on 3rd and 2. But where is point at which those values cross?

I think the methods used here undervalue Peterson's performance, that's all.

64 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Maybe, and the FO guys do tweak the formula every year to try to make it better.

But you'd have a much better argument if Peterson's performances actually led to points/winning more than they are doing. The Minny lack of success overall certainly doesn't scream out that AP's actual outcomes produced are being hugely undervalued. Marginally maybe, but nothing that suggests the whole system should be blown up.

Peterson is a great back, and very few would argue he isn't the top back in the NFL. But his actual performance simply may not be as valuable on a week to week basis as other RBs scoring more points and coverting more third downs (by pass or run) in a given week.

61 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

Fair enough... in context you are correct and there isn't categorial claim... but saying that, you also have to look at the context of the post you were complaining about which was a 5-yard first down run (barely a success as defined at 40% of needed yardage on 1st down) which you were doubting.

9 yard run on first and ten (90% of 1st down)... very big deal. 5-yard... not so much. 3rd and 2 conversion... big, but not huge deal. 9yard run on 3rd and 8, HUGE deal. DVOA/DYAR look at all these, and weight them based on predictiveness (see the annual DVOA update posts Aaron does every year).

The weightings certainly can be tweaked to improve things, but they actually have to improve the whole system, and not just confirm your/our biases on a particular player and what we think should be valuable (vs. what actually IS valuable).

190 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

I think you're actually wrong, but I'm not sure. I suspect strongly that DVOA actually does value a conversion of 3rd and 2 higher than 9 yards on first and 10.

48 Re: Week 13 Quick Reads

In reply to by Dennis Doubleday (not verified)

Although a potentially dominant player every team fears, apparently defenses have figured him(or the Vikings) out to greater extent this year than last. He had an incredible year last year and was easily the number one DYAR RB (historically good IIRC), so the system was apparently smarter last year. This year has not been nearly as successful (averaging about 1.6 YPC less than last year, lower success rate etc), so his DYAR has unsurpsingly taken a big hit. However accurate it may be, DYAR measures achievement not potential.