Week 2 Quick Reads

Week 2 Quick Reads
Week 2 Quick Reads
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Vincent Verhei

Forgive us for repeating material that isn't even our own, but this Tweet, which ran in Audibles on Monday, neatly sums up the early statistical stars of the 2018 NFL season:

For those of you have not been paying attention lately, grizzled old journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick and shiny young franchise player Patrick Mahomes have been tearing up the league. Together they have gone 4-0 and completed 74.1 percent of their passes for 12.1 yards per attempt with 18 touchdowns and just one interception. Fitzpatrick was first in our quarterback tables last week and ranks second this week, while Mahomes was fifth in Week 1 and ranks first in Week 2.

There's no question that Fitzpatrick and Mahomes have been the NFL's best quarterbacks so far in this young season. The only questions are A) have any other quarterbacks gotten off to hotter starts? And B) does a hot start lead to a good season, or is it just a fluke of a small sample size?

To find out, we went back and looked at the quarterbacks with the best passing YAR in the first two weeks of each season. We used YAR instead of DYAR so we could compare past seasons fairly to what we have seen so far in 2018. At this point, there are no opponent adjustments in our numbers, so we're taking opponent adjustments out of our historical numbers as well. These YAR stats won't change much throughout the year (only a little based on league-wide performance baselines in various situations), while DYAR stats could change wildly depending on how good the Chargers, Steelers, Saints, and Eagles defenses turn out to be this year.

When the number-crunching was done, we found the answers to our questions were A) "yes, but not many" and B) "usually, but not always."

Most Single-Season Passing YAR, Weeks 1-2, 1986-2018
Name Tm Year YAR Age W-L Cmp Att Cmp% Yds Yds/Att TD Int Sk Yds Final DYAR Rk
Tom Brady NE 2011 491 34 2-0 63 88 71.6% 940 10.7 7 1 3 14 1997 3
Ryan Fitzpatrick TB 2018 477 35 2-0 48 61 78.7% 819 13.4 8 1 2 9 ?? ??
Peyton Manning DEN 2013 444 37 2-0 57 85 67.1% 769 9.0 9 0 3 17 2475 1
Brian Griese DEN 2001 438 26 2-0 43 60 71.7% 572 9.5 6 0 1 8 216 20
Drew Bledsoe NE 1997 426 25 2-0 41 64 64.1% 607 9.5 8 0 1 7 809 9
Brad Johnson WAS 1999 411 30 1-1 40 61 65.6% 613 10.0 5 0 2 13 1074 4
Aaron Rodgers GB 2013 408 29 1-1 55 79 69.6% 813 10.3 7 1 6 50 740 10
Randall Cunningham PHI 1989 395 26 2-0 47 73 64.4% 687 9.4 7 1 5 44 218 18
Peyton Manning IND 2006 394 30 2-0 51 79 64.6% 676 8.6 4 1 3 14 2317 1
Peyton Manning IND 2010 381 34 1-1 60 83 72.3% 688 8.3 6 0 3 19 1400 3
Drew Brees NO 2009 374 30 2-0 51 68 75.0% 669 9.8 9 2 2 23 1691 4
Jim Kelly BUF 1991 370 31 2-0 60 82 73.2% 744 9.1 8 3 2 20 1087 3
Jeff George ATL 1994 369 26 1-1 58 75 77.3% 568 7.6 6 0 2 10 348 16
Tom Brady NE 2007 369 30 2-0 47 59 79.7% 576 9.8 6 1 2 16 2674 1
Tom Brady NE 2015 368 38 2-0 63 91 69.2% 754 8.3 7 0 4 22 1312 2
Drew Bledsoe BUF 2003 362 31 2-0 36 53 67.9% 544 10.3 3 1 2 15 -135 38
Chad Pennington NYJ 2006 360 30 1-1 46 70 65.7% 625 8.9 4 1 6 37 739 7
Donovan McNabb PHI 2004 359 27 2-0 45 64 70.3% 575 9.0 6 0 4 36 1274 6
Patrick Mahomes KC 2018 355 22 2-0 38 55 69.1% 582 10.6 10 0 2 4 ?? ??
John Elway DEN 1998 354 38 2-0 38 56 67.9% 525 9.4 3 0 1 9 1185 4

The only quarterback who has gotten off to a hotter start than Ryan Fitzpatrick has this season is Tom Brady in 2011, when he strafed the Dolphins and Chargers in 38-24 and 35-21 wins. (This includes passing YAR only; Fitzpatrick has also rushed for a touchdown and would likely pass Brady if we included rushing numbers.) The Patriots would score at least 30 points in each of their first five games and 12 times total in the regular season, finishing at 13-3. They then beat the Broncos and Ravens in the playoffs before narrowly losing in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants. (This was the lockout year, not the 18-1 year of 2007.) For his part, Brady finished third with 1,997 passing DYAR.

Not surprisingly, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady lead the way with three appearances each on this list. It is surprising, though, to see Drew Bledsoe twice -- once in New England (the year after they lost the Super Bowl to Green Bay), and once in Buffalo. Other names include present and future Hall-of-Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers, plus Super Bowl quarterbacks Brad Johnson and Donovan McNabb.

By and large, starts this hot have usually been led to very good seasons. Of the 18 passers prior to Fitzpatrick and Mahomes who have been this good this early, three finished first in DYAR, ten made the top five, and 14 made the top ten. Three went on to win the Super Bowl, 15 made the playoffs, and only two finished with losing records.

Since things continued to go right for most of these quarterbacks, let's look at what happened when things went wrong:

  • Randall Cunningham, PHI, 1989: By the end of the year, Cunningham's season was most notable for his 621 rushing yards, nearly double the total of any other quarterback. He averaged better than 8.0 yards per pass in his first two games, but didn't even hit 7.0 again until November. After his hot start, he completed 53 percent of his passes for a 5.9-yard average, with 14 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, and 40 sacks. (He also averaged 53.2 yards on six punts.)
  • Jeff George, ATL, 1994: The first overall draft pick in 1990, George flamed out in Indianapolis, but exploded onto the scene early in his first season in Atlanta, thriving in June Jones' run-&-shoot offense. The Falcons and 49ers were both 4-2 going into a critical mid-October divisional matchup, and then it all went south in a hurry. The 49ers whipped Atlanta 42-3 in the Georgia Dome in a game that is most remembered for the pick-six George threw before halftime. The Falcons lost seven of their last ten games, and though he didn't miss a start, George threw only 13 passes in the last two weeks. He had only 17 touchdowns but 18 interceptions after his first two games with Atlanta.
  • Brian Griese, DEN, 2001: Coming off his first and only Pro Bowl season in 2000, when he had a 19:4 TD:INT ratio, Griese started the year with back-to-back wins over the Giants and Cardinals. The Broncos would not win back-to-back games again all year. Griese had more interceptions (19) than touchdowns (17) after that, while averaging only 5.8 yards per pass. He would spend one more year in Denver, then six more years in the NFL with the Dolphins, Bucs (twice), and Bears.
  • Drew Bledsoe, BUF, 2003: My word. Bledsoe had more than 400 DYAR in just two games when you include opponent adjustments, and still finished below replacement level. Do you know how bad you have to be the rest of the season to do that? Here's how bad: eight touchdowns in 14 games bad. 5.5 yards per pass bad. 47 sacks in 465 dropbacks bad. From Week 3 to the end of the year, Bledsoe had -542 DYAR, by far the worst in the league -- worse than Kurt Kittner (-302), Carson Palmer's brother Jordan (-273), Kordell Stewart (-231), and Josh McCown (-220, and yet somehow he is still playing 15 years later).
  • Aaron Rodgers, GB, 2013: For completion's sake, we will note that Rodgers "only" finished tenth in DYAR this season, but that is because he missed seven games -- he still finished sixth in DVOA.

It's hard to find too many similarities between any of these players and either Mahomes or Fitzpatrick. At just 22 years old, Mahomes is far younger than anyone else here. The other names on the younger side (Bledsoe, Griese, Cunningham, George) are among those who flamed out after hot starts, though Bledsoe did fine after his hot start in New England. Meanwhile, the only names close in age to Fitzpatrick are Brady, Manning, and Elway, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is not a Brady, a Manning, or an Elway. The most similar player to Fitzpatrick on this list is probably Brad Johnson, another journeyman who spent 15 years in the NFL, but never more than five years without switching teams. This goes to show you can with a Super Bowl with a quarterback like this so long as you have an all-time great defense loaded with Hall of Fame-caliber players on the other side of the ball.

Finally, we should point out that passing numbers are way, way up across the league this year. On one hand, if we extended our hot start table to 25 names instead of 20, Drew Brees' 2018 season would make it too. On the other hand, the league-wide "raw" passing DVOA, before normalizing for era, is 15.0%. That process of normalizing DVOA and DYAR dropped the numbers for Fitzpatrick and Mahomes a little bit. As Chase Stuart has pointed out, this Sunday was far and away the best passing day in league history. The average quarterback in the NFL in Week 2 had a higher passer rating than Aaron Rodgers' career numbers, which means the average quarterback in 2018 has been more efficient than the most efficient passer in league history. Is this the effect of new rules that make it much more difficult to rush the passer or cover receivers? Is it a fluke of small sample size? The answer is probably a little bit of both, but it's important to remember that we're going through some serious stat inflation when looking at numbers this year.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Patrick Mahomes KC
23/28
326
6
0
1
241
235
6
PIT
Mahomes' first five passes resulted in five completions for five first downs, including two scores, and gained 101 total yards. Inside the Pittsburgh 30, he went 7-of-8 for 105 yards and six touchdowns.
2.
Ryan Fitzpatrick TB
27/33
402
4
1
2
196
196
0
PHI
From the Tampa Bay 49 to the Philadelphia end zone, Fitzpatrick went 8-for-8 for 100 yards and a pair of scores. Two of those completions went for touchdowns, four others went for first downs, and another would have too if Mike Evans hadn't fumbled the ball away.
3.
Matt Ryan ATL
23/28
272
2
1
0
182
162
21
CAR
Ryan threw 11 passes to his right. One was incomplete. One resulted in a DPI for 14 yards. The other nine were all completed for 99 yards and six first downs, including two scores.
4.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
39/60
452
3
0
1
169
155
14
KC
Roethlisberger threw seven passes that traveled at least 24 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Every one was incomplete. He was very effective going up the middle though: 18-of-21 for 188 yards and 11 first downs, including a touchdown.
5.
Blake Bortles JAX
29/45
377
4
1
0
162
151
10
NE
Bortles threw a lot of passes on first down, and at first it caught the Patriots off guard, as he started 9-of-9 for 115 yards and eight first downs, including two touchdowns. Then the Patriots caught up, and his next seven first-down throws resulted in two completions for 12 total yards. And then Jacksonville's aggression paid off in the fourth quarter, as his two first-down throws in that period resulted in a gain of 16 and a 61-yard touchdown.
6.
Kirk Cousins MIN
35/48
425
4
1
2
157
161
-4
GB
Why did the Vikings even bother with short passes? On throws that traveled at least 10 yards downfield, Cousins went 10-of-14 for 224 yards and 10 first downs (including three scores) and one interception.
7.
Andy Dalton CIN
24/42
265
4
0
0
148
148
0
BAL
Red zone passing: 6-of-9 for 41 yards and three touchdowns. A tenth throw resulted in an 11-yard DPI.
8.
Derek Carr OAK
29/32
288
1
0
1
148
148
0
DEN
Yes, there were a lot of checkdowns here -- 15 of Carr's completions gained less than 10 yards. But there were also 16 first downs. Only five of Carr's plays counted as failed completions, and only two of those came on third downs.
9.
Jared Goff LAR
24/32
354
1
1
2
137
144
-7
ARI
Things have not gone well for Arizona so far, but Patrick Peterson remains phenomenal. Throwing to his right, Goff went 5-of-10 for only 33 yards and one first down, with a Peterson interception.
10.
Philip Rivers LAC
23/27
256
3
0
2
130
160
-30
BUF
Rivers was nearly perfect in the first half, going 15-of-16 for 178 yards and 12 first downs, including three scores. He was less effective after that, but every pass he threw in the second half came with a lead of at least 15 points, so it didn't matter.
11.
Cam Newton CAR
32/45
335
3
1
2
104
89
14
ATL
Newton was most effective in short yardage. With 7 yards or less to go for a first down, he went 10-of-15 for 71 yards and nine first downs, including two scores. A 16th throw resulted in a 16-yard DPI.
12.
Drew Brees NO
28/35
243
2
0
3
81
81
0
CLE
Third-down passing: 3-of-6 for 20 yards with three sacks and only one conversion. His receivers also fumbled two of those completions away. That doesn't affect Brees' DYAR, but it does explain why the Saints had so much trouble putting the Browns away.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Deshaun Watson HOU
22/31
310
2
1
4
81
67
14
TEN
A horrible start for Watson. In his first 11 dropbacks, he went 5-of-7 for 50 yards but only three first downs; a DPI for 16 yards; two sacks; a fumbled snap for a loss of 10; and an interception.
14.
Dak Prescott DAL
16/25
160
1
0
0
58
38
20
NYG
First drive: 9-yard gain on first-and-10, 64-yard touchdown. Rest of game: 14-of-23 for 95 yards and only four first downs, plus an 8-yard DPI.
15.
Tom Brady NE
24/35
234
2
0
2
48
42
5
JAX
Jalen Ramsey Effect? Throwing to his right, Brady went 9-of-14 for 83 yards, but seven of those completions gained less than 10 yards and only three went for first downs.
16.
Nick Foles PHI
35/47
346
1
0
3
43
37
6
TB
Foles spent a lot of time on third-and-very-long on Sunday. On third downs, he went 7-of-9 for 66 yards, but only two first downs. That includes a 9-yard gain on third-and-14, a 10-yard gain on third-and-10, and a 15-yard gain on third-and-41. No, really. He also had three fourth-down throws, completing one for a 2-yard touchdown.
17.
Alex Smith WAS
33/44
292
0
0
3
41
45
-5
IND
Every pass Smith threw came with Washington trailing by at least seven points. When down by eight points or less, he went 8-of-10 for 64 yards and four first downs, with two sacks.
18.
Matthew Stafford DET
34/53
347
3
0
2
38
35
3
SF
Somehow, in all those passes, Stafford only threw two balls to tight ends: a 13-yard gain to Luke Willson on first-and-10, and a 15-yard touchdown to Michael Roberts. Maybe he should throw to his tight ends more.
19.
Joe Flacco BAL
32/53
376
2
2
4
29
23
6
CIN
Flacco's first three plays: incomplete, sack, interception. He did not pick up a first down until the Ravens were down by seven; he did not get his second until they were down by 21. He padded his completion rate with a lot of dumpoffs at the end of the game. After Baltimore fell behind by 11 points in the fourth quarter, he went 8-of-11 for just 48 yards.
20.
Aaron Rodgers GB
30/41
281
1
0
4
24
39
-15
MIN
On first downs, Rodgers went 14-for-19, but those completions only gained 113 yards and three first downs, including one touchdown. Twelve of them gained less than 10 yards. He was also sacked on first down once.
21.
Jimmy Garoppolo SF
18/26
206
2
0
6
21
21
0
DET
One thing you can say for Garoppolo: he makes his completions count. Thirteen of his 18 completions against Detroit went for first downs. Going into Monday Night Football, he ranked 28th with 33 completions this season, but 19th with 23 first downs. Meanwhile, he has only two failed completions all season.
22.
Blaine Gabbert TEN
14/20
117
1
0
1
16
13
3
HOU
Hey, Blaine Gabbert had positive DYAR! A rare and cherished event! On third downs, Gabbert completed 6-of-9 passes for 40 yards and only two conversions. He also lost 13 yards on an intentional grounding penalty.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Tyrod Taylor CLE
22/30
246
1
1
3
2
25
-23
NO
Inside the New Orleans 40, Taylor went 6-of-10 for 13 yards (not a typo) and only one first down, with one sack. He also gained 16 yards on a DPI.
24.
Sam Darnold NYJ
25/41
334
1
2
3
-13
2
-14
MIA
Most of Darnold's good plays came in desperate situations. At the time Miami went up 20-0 in the second quarter, Darnold had gone 10-of-16 for 87 yards with five first downs, two sacks, and one interception.
25.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
17/23
168
2
0
4
-13
-34
21
NYJ
Tannehill only threw two deep passes against the Jets. One was caught in the end zone by A.J. Derby for a 19-yard touchdown; the other, a 48-yard bomb to Albert Wilson, was incomplete.
26.
Mitchell Trubisky CHI
25/34
200
2
2
2
-17
-13
-5
SEA
27.
Andrew Luck IND
21/31
179
2
2
1
-26
-22
-4
WAS
Luck was absent for nearly a half of this game. From the 10-minute mark of the second quarter to the start of the fourth, he went 4-of-9 for 22 yards with one interception, one sack, and no first downs.
28.
Case Keenum DEN
19/35
222
0
1
1
-36
-48
12
OAK
Keenum did not pick up a first down until the Broncos were down 12-0 in the second quarter. By that time he had gone 4-of-10 for 18 yards with one interception and one sack. Inside the Oakland 40, he went 6-of-10 for 28 yards with no touchdowns, one first down, and one interception.
29.
Eli Manning NYG
33/44
279
1
0
6
-39
-40
1
DAL
Manning did most of his damage after the game was realistically out of reach. After New York fell behind 20-3 in the fourth quarter, he went 13-of-17 for 109 yards and six of his 11 first downs.
30.
Russell Wilson SEA
22/33
226
2
1
6
-57
-66
9
CHI
31.
Josh Allen BUF
18/33
245
1
2
5
-68
-78
10
LAC
After the Chargers took a 31-13 lead in the fourth quarter, Allen went 6-of-9 for 72 yards and five of his 11 first downs. His first NFL touchdown came with 42 seconds left in the game. In one stretch in the second half, he went 2-of-9 for 7 yards with two interceptions and a sack.
32.
Sam Bradford ARI
17/27
90
0
1
1
-104
-104
0
LAR
Only three of Bradford's completions gained 10 or more yards; none of those came in the second half. His deepest pass only traveled 18 yards downfield; it was intercepted. He threw only one pass in Los Angeles territory; it was his last pass of the game, and it gained 1 yard on second-and-2. He only picked up four first downs, and every one of them came on third or fourth down. On first and second downs, he went 9-of-16 for 37 yards, a long gain of 8, and an interception.
Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Matt Breida SF
11
138
1
3/4
21
0
58
49
8
DET
Breida's four first downs on the ground against Detroit included gains of 20, 28, and 66 yards; nobody else has three 20-plus-yard runs this season. He was hit for no gain three times, though one of those came on third-and-27 and doesn't really hurt his DYAR. His three catches were all successful plays; two went for first downs.
2.
Christian McCaffrey CAR
8
37
0
14/15
102
0
42
7
35
ATL
McCaffrey had two first downs on the ground, including an 11-yarder, and each of his carries gained at least 1 yard. His catches produced six first downs, with a long gain of 18.
3.
Phillip Lindsay DEN
14
107
0
1/1
4
0
37
39
-2
OAK
Lindsay's four first downs on the ground included gains of 53 and 11 yards. He was hit for a loss just twice, while eight of his 14 carries gained 5 yards or more.
4.
Corey Clement PHI
6
30
1
5/6
55
0
36
22
14
TB
Clement was hit for a loss once, but each of his other carries gained at least 2 yards, including a third-and-1 conversion and a 15-yard touchdown. One of his catches lost 5 yards, but each of the others gained at least 12, including three first downs. He also had a 15-yard catch on third-and-41.
5.
Melvin Gordon LAC
9
28
1
6/7
38
2
35
1
35
BUF
Gordon's 20-yard touchdown was his only first down on the ground; he was hit for no gain or a loss four times. Five of his six catches were successful plays, including touchdowns of 9 and 2 yards.
Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Matt Breida SF
11
138
1
3/4
21
0
58
49
8
DET
2.
Phillip Lindsay DEN
14
107
0
1/1
4
0
37
39
-2
OAK
3.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
17
78
1
5/6
9
0
0
23
-22
NYG
Elliott's first two carries were a 2-yard gain on second-and-1 and a 19-yard gain on first-and-10; his last three carries were another 19-yard gain on first-and-10, another 2-yard gain on second-and-1, and a 6-yard touchdown on third-and-2. That's five first downs on those five carries, but he did not run for a first down in between, when his 12 carries netted 30 yards and he was hit for a loss twice. None of his receptions gained more than 5 yards or counted as a successful play.
4.
Corey Clement PHI
6
30
1
5/6
55
0
36
22
14
TB
5.
Jordan Wilkins IND
10
61
0
2/2
3
0
14
19
-6
WAS
A fifth-round rookie out of Mississippi, Wilkins ran for two first downs against Washington on gains of 11 and 18 yards. Each of his carries gained at least 1 yard; seven gained 4 yards or more.
Worst Running Back by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Peyton Barber TB
16
22
0
1/2
7
0
-39
-39
0
PHI
None of Barber's carries gained more than 9 yards or a first down. He was stuffed for no gain or a loss seven times, including a 3-yard loss on second-and-2.
Worst Running Back by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Peyton Barber TB
16
22
0
1/2
7
0
-39
-39
0
PHI
Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Jesse James PIT
5
5
138
27.6
1
67
KC
All five of James' receptions gained at least 14 yards and a first down, including a 26-yard touchdown and a long gain of 46.
2.
DeSean Jackson TB
4
4
129
32.2
1
63
PHI
All four of Jackson's catches gained first downs, including a 75-yard touchdown and a 28-yard gain on third-and-7.
3.
Brandin Cooks LAR
7
9
159
22.7
0
62
ARI
Cooks had six first downs on the day, including two third-down conversions. Four of his catches gained at least 20 yards, including a 57-yarder.
4.
Sammy Watkins KC
6
7
100
16.7
0
62
PIT
Watkins' totals include 41 DYAR receiving, 20 DYAR rushing for his one carry for 31 yards. Five of his receptions went for first downs, including gains of 25 and 40 yards; the other was a 4-yard gain on first-and-10.
5.
Keelan Cole JAX
7
8
116
16.6
1
57
NE
Six of Cole's receptions went for first downs, including a pair of third-down conversions. Three gained at least 22 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown.
Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Demaryius Thomas DEN
5
11
18
3.6
0
-64
OAK
None of Thomas' catches gained more than 7 yards or a first down; only two were successful plays. Only 24 WR/TE games on record have hit -64 DYAR, so this will likely be the worst game for a receiver we see all year -- which is especially amazing because Thomas didn't even fumble.

Comments

48 comments, Last at 20 Sep 2018, 7:08pm

1 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Seattle is just horrid on offense. Absent Wilson's ability to improvise, I think scoring 100 points this season would be a challenge. What the hell happened to their scouting?

Vikings special teams turned a double digit victory margin into a 4th quarter comeback tie.

2 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

"What the hell happened to their scouting?"

Was it just a spate of good luck, convincing us they were good? To put it another way, if they were sure about Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, would they have waited until the fifth round for 'em? Or risked Wilson in the 3rd?

I think about the Inchon landing sometimes, and wonder about the role of luck in life. Had it failed, Truman might have used nukes. That's a different world.

7 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

"I think about the Inchon landing sometimes, and wonder about the role of luck in life."

MacArthur was one of the most overrated generals in history. You can argue that Inchon was his one and only stroke of tactical genius, and like you pointed out, it could have easily failed.

Getting back to the original topic, you can count on one finger all the successful GM's in NFL history who can consistently repeat their success. Bill Polian drafted great for the 2000's Colts, until he whiffed on a bunch of picks late in his tenure.

20 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Jim Finks hired Bud Grant, rebuilt the Vikings roster into a perennial contender, left for the Bears when the Vikings owners cheapskated him. In Chicago, he overcame cheapskate ownership again, and by the time he left, the foundation for the great 80s Bears teams had been He then went to New Orleans, and built them into a playoff contender for first time

28 Re: Week 2 Quick Reads

Is this the guy who asked "Who the hell is Mel Kiper?" or was that somebody else?

In any case, yeah, you make a good case - building three teams back to back to back is doing something.

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Oh, even with the change in personnel, they are still a good defensive team, even if not as formidable as they once were. I was just struck again last night, in the 2 quarters I watched, by how little talent they have on offense, except at qb. I said last month that Wilson might have to play like a first ballot HOFer for them to win 9 or 10 games. I probably overstated, but Wilson isn't quite that, even if he is really good.

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It looked like he was going to lead one of "those" comebacks last night until he tried to force a quick out and threw a pick-6. Then the wheels really came off.

That said, their offense is still better than BUF and ARI, at least.

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I think the skill guys are okay, really. It's the line that's a hot mess.

They remind me of the NYG, except with a mobile QB. So basically, a less-talented Packers.

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While I agree that the line is bad, but honestly, it's always been bad during the Wilson/Carroll era. There are more issues with the Seahawks offense than just the line being bad. That line was bad when they won a Super Bowl, it's nothing new for a Seahawks fan. It's more an issue of consistency from kickoff to final whistle.

I feel like Wilson is his own worst enemy sometimes. He has a tendency to hold the ball instead of getting the ball out quickly which would cover a lot of the line issues. How many of those sacks last night were 3 or more seconds after the snap? I saw at least 2 and the last one where he fumbled was not on the line at all but on Wilson going into school yard mode.

Of course, the one time he fires the ball as soon as his back foot hits, he throws a pick 6 when the corner sits on that route. That is more on the OC to me, he should have been setting up a double move throughout the game for just such a moment.

From another angle, Wilson wouldn't have so many come from behind wins if the offense didn't suck through the first three quarters.

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Vince the average QB last week had a better passer rating than Rodgers (which itself is not true anymore after MNF), not for the full season.

For the season it is around 90.

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Through two weeks, Trubisky just looks bad. Once the DVOA ratings are published later today, the Bears will likely once again be ranked in the bottom 3rd of the league on offense.

It's not accurate to say "meet the new boss, same as the old boss," because Nagy is very different in philosophy and style than Fox was. I suppose the best way to put it is, "the more things change, the more they stay the same."

But it's only week 2, I guess. Still time for the franchise QB to learn to stop overthrowing open receivers and ignoring defenders in between himself and his targets.

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It's too early to say anything definitive, but yeah, it's pretty disappointing that this is what Trubisky looks like after a full set of OTAs and training camp with the new staff and system. The long interception and the overthrow of Gabriel were mostly mechanics, which are at least in principle correctable.

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"On one hand, if we extended our hot start table to 25 names instead of 20, Drew Brees would make it too."

Or, you could be accurate and say Brees was on it twice as he is 11th already.

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Demaryius Thomas *looks* like he's unmotivated, sometimes, but I've never heard any rumors that's actually true or anything. At this point I guess he just is who he is, and he's going to have some -64 YAR days. It's really weird though, when a pro athlete is unable to make apparently simple adjustments, like how RGIII used to look like an awkward newborn deer fawn every time he tried to slide.

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Someday, people will stop giving money to Sam Bradford to play football. But today is not that today. Shoulda got that insured/Geico for ya money, Arizona.

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Vikings didn't regret giving Bradford money. He played extremely well for them in 2016, and if the Vikings had enjoyed better oline injury luck that season, they probably win the division, in good measure due to Bradford's productivity.

I was always a Bradford skeptic until I watched every snap he took in 2016. He was a good player who was hampered by injury and Jeff Fisher.

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So much so that they didn't even consider resigning him this year, even though he would have cost a fraction of what they gave Cousins. Bradford has made a cottage industry out of draft status of excuses. I envy the guy. I wish I could be wildly overpaid for mediocrity too.

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You are ignorant with regard to why they did not consider re-signing him. It had nothing to do with his play, when his knee was functioning.They concluded, reasonably, that they did have sufficient confidence in that knee. Like I stated already, injuries have hampered him, and I doubt he'll stay off IR this year, because the knee seems to be deteriorating.

He finished 16th in DYAR in 2016, with zero protection, constantly changing offensive line , his best running back hurt, and his receivers hurt. If you think that is mediocre, you simply don't know what you are talking about. If facts are going to be something you are determined to ignore, then there is no point in discussion.

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I will say again: Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. His line! His receivers! The stadium grass was too green! Mercury was in retrograde and he's an Scorpio cusp with Aries rising! The cafeteria gave him bad cheese! He had a rock in his shoe! His bedroom was too cold! His pillow was too hot! He was emotionally devastated when Justin and Selena broke up! His sleeves were too tight! He couldn't find his lucky socks! He dreamed that all his teeth fell out!

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Let's see. 1) True. 2) True. 3) False. 4) False. 5) False. 6) False. 7) False. 8) False. 9) False. 10) False. 11) False. 12) False.

Glad I could clear that up for you.

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i know you say it again, because your cognitive abilities preclude you understanding the implications of there being 44 starters in a football game, not including special teams, or of coaching playing a larger role in football compared to any other team sport. Like I said, you have no idea of what you are talking about.

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How the eff did Derek Carr complete 29/32 with 0 turnovers for 148 DYAR, and have his team lose to a QB who was 19/35, 1 INT for -48 DYAR??

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Well, I heard on week 1 of MNF on of the announcers stated that the most important thing for finding players to Gruden is "ATTITUDE". Using that criteria I am sure he is doing great.

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Sure, we all know that Gruden the celebrity GM is going to be terrible for all the same reasons he's always been. But I think it's not impossible that Gruden the celebrity offensive coordinator might be legit NFL-level. If he's a "Josh McDaniels in Denver," that would actually be better than I expected.

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Denver did a lot more on the ground, for one thing. The teams were actually statistically extremely similar. Raiders had one more first down, while the Broncos ran four more plays and had 12 more yards. Denver had the only official turnover of the game, but the Raiders had a 4th down failure. Both punted four times. Also the scoring was almost identical: two TDs and two FGs for both, with the difference being Oakland's missed XP.
Raiders did end up with a ton of what proved to ultimately be empty yardage. They had drives of 62 and 83 yards which got only FGs, and drives of 42 and 60 yards that ended in, respectively, the fourth down failure and a punt. So a lot of the yardage in the Carr's statline simply didn't end up in much on the scoreboard.
If I were a Raiders fan I would still just be glad that Carr had a solid game.

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Thanks for the info. I figured it must be mostly down to bad timing on the Raiders part, e.g. long drives that didn't produce TDs. Also that Denver scored the go ahead FG as the clock expired, offering no chance for reply.

Still, must be very rare for a team to have such a decisive advantage in passing efficiency, win the turnover battle, but still lose the game.

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Seattle is just horrid on offense. Absent Wilson's ability to improvise, I think scoring 100 points this season would be a challenge. What the hell happened to their scouting?

Not that you're wrong, but they have scored more points this season than 11 other teams, including anyone in the NFC East.

It's too early to say anything definitive, but yeah, it's pretty disappointing that this is what Trubisky looks like after a full set of OTAs and training camp with the new staff and system. The long interception and the overthrow of Gabriel were mostly mechanics, which are at least in principle correctable.

Subjectively, I thought Trubisky was awful on Monday night, clearly Chicago's worst player.

"On one hand, if we extended our hot start table to 25 names instead of 20, Drew Brees would make it too."

Or, you could be accurate and say Brees was on it twice as he is 11th already.

I think they mean Brees THIS SEASON, not Brees ever in his career.

Yes. this has been clarified.

How the eff did Derek Carr complete 29/32 with 0 turnovers for 148 DYAR, and have his team lose to a QB who was 19/35, 1 INT for -48 DYAR??

1) Note the running backs section. 2) He's not listed here, but Doug Martin was at -9 total DYAR. Marshawn Lynch didn't do much either. 3) A missed extra point and a failed fourth-down play in long field goal range (the Denver 33, so it would have been a 50-yard kick) took points off the board.

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What's the DYAR for an injured reserve spot?

I had a similar reaction to Eli/Barkley on the Giants.

I get the argument that you don't waste a #2 pick on an RB for a bad team. But if you took a QB, you're going to David Carr that poor kid. Eli looks shell-shocked, and he's played behind sub-par lines for a decade.

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And that guy is (was) one tough SOB. I'll never forget the pounding he took in the 2011 NFCCG, and he never showed any effects of it. Kicked the 49ers round rubber rear ends and traipsed off to the Superbowl.

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"Subjectively, I thought Trubisky was awful on Monday night, clearly Chicago's worst player."

Vince, I'm curious if you could elaborate on this.

I was not impressed with Trubisky, but I've been fairly surprised that the Chicago fanbase's extremely negative reaction to his play last night (essentially ready to write him off as another Grossman). The two picks were quite bad, as well as the other end zone throw that should have been picked... but I also thought Trubisky mixed in enough positive plays to the point that considering him to be the thing holding back this team is kind of crazy (not saying you've said that).

So it would be nice to hear what your thoughts were, since I respect you as an analyst quite a bit. A bad game, with some clear things he can improve? A lost cause?

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The brutal turnovers, the miss of a WIDE OPEN Taylor Gabriel for what should have been a big play (announcers blamed this on Gabriel's height -- an 8-foot man would have been overthrown), the terrible decision of which running lane to take on an option play, turning what should have been a third-down conversion into a loss of yardage instead. I kept thinking to myself the team was putting him in good situations and he was making the absolute least out of them. Obviously he made some good plays too, but there were more bad plays and they were SO bad.

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I do think there's a distinction between writing Trubisky off as a bust, and believing that Trubisky had a bad / really bad game Monday night.

The amount of Bears fans doing the former based on his 14th game in the NFL, and his 2nd game in this offense, reaffirms my belief that we don't *deserve* to have a good QB.