Broncos Braintrust Leads 2022 All-Keep Choppin' Wood Team
NFL Super Bowl - The All-Keep Choppin' Wood Team is our annual attempt to sift through the debris of the season that was, pulling out the prime examples of bad contracts, boneheaded decisions, and out-and-out terrible play that the league so kindly provides to us. We spend so much time talking about the best of the best that it's fun to spend a minute going over the worst of the worst.
What this isn't is just a list of the worst players in the NFL—though yes, being really bad at football remains a classic way to get onto this list. Instead, the big theme of this season's squad is players we expected more from. It's one thing to be a terrible player as a third-stringer forced into action by injuries, or on a team that's spending the year dead for salary cap reasons. It's another to be acquired in a huge trade, or to sign a huge deal in free agency, or to be pegged as the next big thing at your position, and to come up embarrassingly short. Going through the nominees this season, it was incredible just how many of them fit this category—big-money players coming up dreadfully short. These are players we expect more from, and the sheer amounts of money, draft picks, and hope that have been invested in them means that their struggles hurt their teams more than other players who may have performed worse.
In that sense, it was actually a bit of a refreshing year, as most of our honorees this season came from their actions on the field rather than off it. Last season, we were dealing with Henry Ruggs, Jeff Gladney, Damon Arnette, and Antonio Brown. This year—with one very prominent, notable exception—all of our primary candidates were just bad at playing football. It's a lot more fun to talk about players whiffing blocks or dropping passes than parsing through legalese. It seems like all the bad juju for this season was all condensed into one player up in Cleveland, which at least makes our job that much easier!
As usual, we have picked starters by position, along with a full coaching staff. So, without further ado…
A bumper crop of candidates this year! We have to at least start with Deshaun Watson, as signing the largest guaranteed contract in NFL history, missing more than half the season, and then playing significantly worse than Jacoby Brissett is a KCW-worthy résumé to be sure, and that's before you get into all of the sexual assault allegations, the lies about the sexual assault allegations, the lack of any remorse or apologies about the sexual assault allegations, and just a general dash of assholery. But you know? I don't want to spend any more time talking about Watson than I have to; it feels like we have already written 66 articles about him in a 17-month period, which is objectively far, far too many. We like keeping things a little light around here when the option presents itself, and that's not what a page on Watson would bring. Not even mentioning him would fill the comments section with "what about Watson?" but the KCW team has standards. We are indefinitely suspending Watson from the team.
It's much more fun to go into Kyler Murray's ongoing battle with Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals, including contractually mandated study time. Or Zach Wilson's failure as a prospect, to the point where the Jets actually thought starting Mike White would give them a better chance to win, and they were probably right. Derek Carr—I'm sorry, Pro Bowl quarterback Derek Carr—got benched and looks to be on his way out. Matt Ryan crumbled into dust in front of our very eyes. Marcus Mariota was benched, Aaron Rodgers spent half the year pretending wide receivers didn't exist while practicing his Hamlet for this offseason—we could go a number of different ways with this one.
But I want to talk about Russell Wilson. Wilson was finally freed from the regressive Seahawks offense, and Denver paid a king's ransom for their new king—multiple first-round picks, multiple second-round picks, a solid defensive tackle in Shelby Harris, and some assorted spare parts thrown in mostly to make the list of assets acquired in Seattle comically long. They then turned around and signed Wilson to a five-year extension worth $245 million, with $165 million guaranteed, before he played a down for the franchise. Those are some astronomical numbers—the third-largest contract in history, behind just Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, and only the Watson deal had more guaranteed money than Wilson got. But the deal would surely be worth every penny, because Wilson was going to be that missing piece which would help Denver not only compete with the Chiefs of the world, but also fight for a Super Bowl title for the first time since Peyton Manning retired. After a five-year search for a new quarterback, Denver finally had their man. All the eggs in one basket, but what could possibly be a firmer basket than this?
Patrick Star really has a future as a play-by-play announcer. 🤩
📺: #DENvsLAR on @Nickelodeon
📱: Stream on NFL+ pic.twitter.com/65Zxrbz4lT
— NFL (@NFL) December 25, 2022
The numbers simultaneously speak for themselves and do not tell the whole story. Wilson's -15.2% passing DVOA was 28th out of 34 qualifiers, and by a wide margin the worst in his career. Wilson set career lows in touchdown rate, completion percentage, QBR, and ANYA as well. Wilson had 148 passing DYAR in Week 1 against Seattle. After that, he put up -284 DYAR, with seven different games hitting negative double-digit DVOAs. One of the sharpest red zone quarterbacks of the last decade looked lost and confused at the goal line, and the occasional flashes of brilliance just served as a stark reminder of what Wilson could do, and put all the things that he actually was doing into harsh contrast.
But if Wilson just was bad on the field, he wouldn't have earned this spot; there were worse passers than Wilson in 2022. Wilson has always been known as a little bit of an oddball, but his relentless … strangeness throughout the 2022 season put this year over the top. Was it the high knees on the plane ride to London? Was it the birthday party drama, where only half the team showed up amidst reports that Wilson was losing the locker room? Was it the Subway commercials that were so bad they got pulled off the air within a week—and then the sandwich itself pulled from the menu shortly thereafter? Was it reportedly attempting to use Seahawks audibles in a game in November, despite no one on the Broncos having any idea what he was talking about? Was it the video of him getting yelled at by Mike Purcell, or KJ Hamler furious after not being looked at on the game-losing play against Indianapolis, or Courtland Sutton visibly upset for Wilson ignoring him wide-open on another interception?
Or was it…
After giving it some thought and seeing some niners posts, I have decided to switch who I'm rooting for on Sunday night. BRONCOS COUNTRY LETS RIDE pic.twitter.com/9R725SAMDb
— Kenny (@24khucci) September 25, 2022
Ain't no way he said 'broncos country lets ride' after that performance LMAO pic.twitter.com/OfUWz0b5u4
— DailySportsDosage (@SportsDsd) October 7, 2022
I don't think this is necessarily game over for Wilson; other quarterbacks have had bad years before bouncing back and there were extenuating factors, as I'm sure we'll get to in due time. But it's very rarely a good thing for people to be breaking down the salary cap ramifications of moving on from you less than three months into your first season on a $Bazillion contract. And to the point where Mike Tanier was arguing that eating the $107 million in dead money (!) might be worth it.
In this year's Almanac, we wrote:
The Broncos may not be outstanding in 2022, but they will be interesting for the first time since 2016. They will be on prime-time television five times, starting with Wilson's season-opening return to Seattle, and they will be must-see TV. They'll play in London. They'll score more, punt less, generate more fantasy stats, and give their fans more to talk about in December than mock drafts.
Well, Broncos fans sure had a lot to talk about in December, but whoof. For failing in the most cringey way of any of the quarterbacks this season, Russ is our man. Broncos Country, Let's Ride.
Did you draft Jonathan Taylor first overall in your fantasy league? Then you may be entitled to financial compensation!
Taylor was the second-ranked running back in our default KUBIAK rankings, and in the top three basically everywhere you looked to begin the season. Of course he was! A clear No. 1 back without a time share in the backfield is an increasingly rare commodity, and very few come with Taylor's résumé. He was coming off of a 2,000-yard year with a league-leading 20 touchdowns. Add in a competent quarterback in Matt Ryan under center, and the sky was the limit.
Instead: 62 rushing DYAR, a league-worst -69 receiving DYAR, 1,004 yards from scrimmage, just four touchdowns, and a lot of fantasy teams watching the playoffs from the sidelines.
Taylor's collapse is in large part due to the collapse around him—no offensive line and no passing game makes it fairly easy to tee off on your All-Pro running back. But it wasn't just Taylor's production that dropped, though losing a full yard on your average carry and over 400 DYAR isn't great. More than that, Taylor didn't show the same level of vision or ability to create space that we saw last season. Blame his nagging ankle injury if you must, but Taylor was a shadow of the explosive runner we're used to seeing. He forced just 25 broken/missed tackles compared to 54 a year ago; he averaged 2.5 yards after contact after 3.3 a year ago. With Taylor neither breaking tackles nor running through them in the same way he did in 2021, he was incapable of overcoming the terrible blocking in front of him.
He was far, far from the worst back in the league; 26th in DYAR and 25th in DVOA are disappointments but not disasters. But no redraft player killed more fantasy football teams than Taylor did in 2022.
It was a big year for players who didn't want to be on their teams making scenes. The most successful, in at least one matter of saying, was Robbie Anderson, who got into multiple sideline altercations with Carolina receiving coach Joe Dailey, was sent to the locker room by interim coach Steve Wilks, and then finally traded to Arizona the very next day.
Robbie Anderson appears to have been sent to the locker room by the Carolina coaches.
📺: FOX pic.twitter.com/4a1N8MkV2K
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) October 16, 2022
Anderson then proceeded to play 10 games for Arizona in which he managed seven receptions for 76 yards. He didn't even manage enough volume to qualify for our leaderboards, though his -35.6% DVOA and -79 DYAR would have ranked last and second-to-last had he made enough for the list. Amusingly, Anderson's win-loss record this season was 3-13, while the Cardinals and Panthers were a combined 8-10 without him.
At least Anderson successfully got sent out of town. Not so with Brandin Cooks, who attempted to pull the same feat at the trade deadline in Houston, only for it to come and go with him remaining a Texan. That's a fate one shudders to imagine, and it ended up with Cooks sending out your standard-issue mysterious wide receiver tweet after failing to get his way. We can only assume that sending said tweet caused the "wrist injury" that knocked him out of the ensuing Texans game, and the subsequent stripping of his captaincy. Rumors have Cooks' desire to get out linked to his relationship to the since-departed Jack Easterby, though I think just looking at Houston's win-loss record over the past three seasons should be enough motive for anyone looking for a change in scenery. The future looks brighter for the Texans with DeMeco Ryans taking over, but it's still not for Cooks; he has reiterated that he does not want to be part of a rebuilding process going forwards.
Kenny Golladay also briefly made noise about trying to get out of New York, but it's mainly Giants fans who want out of his four-year, $72-million deal. Golladay, who had the largest cap hit amongst wide receivers this season, simply couldn't get on the field. He managed just 17 targets for 81 yards, and routinely received single-digit snaps by the end of the season, passed on the depth chart by luminaries such as Marcus Johnson. The fact that the best highlight of his season was a block, which got the locker room singing his praises after the game, kind of sums up how this deal has been for New York. Cutting Golladay would add $14.7 million in dead cap for the Giants in 2023, but they may just have to bite that bullet as they clean out another one of Dave Gettleman's big mistakes.
And we can't talk about wide receivers without mentioning Calvin Ridley, who was suspended for the entire season for betting on NFL games. He misses the cut in part because we're not sure which team he actually hurt—remember, he had already left the Falcons last season to deal with his mental health, and it's unclear if he would have played this season at all had he not been suspended, much less whom he actually would have played for. He has since been traded to the Jaguars and you can bet we'll see him back in action in Duval in 2023! Wait, no, poor choice of words…
Calling Logan Thomas an afterthought in Washington this season is underselling it. The Commanders were hoping for a bounce-back year for Thomas after hamstring and knee injuries cut his 2021 season short. Instead, Thomas ended up doing almost nothing in 2022. A tight end is usually the best friend of a struggling quarterback, and Washington had their fair share of those, but Thomas was only targeted eight times in the red zone all season long! Thomas finished the year with 39 receptions, 323 yards and a touchdown, ending up last in DYAR (-76) and third-worst in DVOA (-26.2%) among tight ends. Thomas has called out coordinator Scott Turner, saying that the Commanders should have been scoring more points than they had been. Apparently Washington agreed, as Turner is gone, but Thomas can't find himself blameless for Washington's 29th-ranked offense in goal-to-go situations. Thomas will have a lot of questions to answer in 2023 … assuming he isn't cut this offseason.
We could award the entire Colts offensive line minus Quenton Nelson—and this was far from his best year, at that—but we'll have Matt Pryor stand in for the lot of them at left tackle. Pryor had shown promise playing multiple positions in 2021 and was rewarded with a new contract and the left tackle job to open up the season. To say that went poorly is an understatement; Pryor lasted four games at left tackle before being shunted first to right tackle, then to right guard, then to right on the bench. It didn't help—he ended up blowing 20 blocks and allowing seven sacks in just nine starts. Pryor was an immobile rock on the end and was beaten week after week until he was finally put out of his misery.
Bradley Chubb vs. Matt Pryor pic.twitter.com/DlEPb3yf3o
— Charlie Clifford (@char_cliff) October 7, 2022
On the other side of the line, we're going with Miami's Greg Little. Seventeen different linemen earned negative points from Sports Info Solutions charting, but most of them just played a handful of snaps. Little, on the other hand, managed to blow 32 blocks in nearly 500 snaps for Miami; that 6.5% blown block rate was the highest for any lineman with at least 200 snaps regardless of position.
Sam Hubbard sent Greg Little to another dimension pic.twitter.com/cCVyvhNB2U
— Will Parkinson (@Willpa11) September 30, 2022
Las Vegas' Alex Bars led all right guards with 38 blown blocks. It seems a little harsh to single out Bars, considering the Raiders' initial plan at the position was a four-man rotation at right guard and right tackle. None of those four men were Bars, who was a roster cutdown casualty and spent time on the Raiders' practice squad before being called up. He really shouldn't be a starter; he lacks the quickness and the timing you would like from an every-game starter. But lacking other options, the Raiders gave him 14 starts and, well, there were moments where he was just completely blown off the field. While he generally improved over the course of the year, he still hadn't reached competent starter levels by the end; Chris Jones blew him away to the tune of eight pressures and a pair of sacks in Week 18. You can live with Bars as a spot starter or a bench guy, but he was the worst lineman to start double-digit games in 2022.
But while Bars took the right guard crown, it was Kenyon Green who finished with the most blown blocks among all interior linemen, with SIS crediting him with 42 whiffs. We're being harder on Bars than on Green because at least Bars has been around the league for a few years; Green was a first-round rookie thrust into a bad situation. Texans line coach George Warhop charitably described Green as a "work in progress" and that's true; there's no reason to pull the panic cord just yet. But Green was terrible at times throughout 2022. The Texans knew they were getting a tweener with a raw skillset, but they were probably hoping for a little better than this:
Jonathan Allen is ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/mqku0X3072
— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) November 20, 2022
Green might have had a little easier time had he not been playing next to Scott Quessenberry, who became the Texans' starting center after Justin Britt left for personal reasons after Week 1. Quessenberry gave up more sacks than any other center in the league (six) and the highest sack rate for any center with at least 300 pass block snaps (1.0%). He wasn't exactly a people-mover in the run game, either; the combination of Quessenberry and Green goes a long way to explaining why the Texans were 30th in adjusted line yards up the middle. Work to be done, then.
Here's a mea culpa—las offseason, I had Foley Fatukasi as the best run-stopping lineman available in this year's free-agent class. Jacksonville, apparently, agreed with me, signing Fatukasi to a three-year, $30-million deal. Fatukasi managed a grand total of one defeat in the run game this season, with just two tackles for a loss in total. He had a 19.4% broken/missed tackle rate, astonishingly bad for an interior lineman—it's the 10th worst for a tackle with at least 400 snaps in SIS' database, which goes back to 2015. I can't explain the drop-off; maybe some of it comes from going from an even front in New York to an odd front in Jacksonville, but it's not like he was being asked to do anything out of his wheelhouse. The Jags will have to hope he improves in 2023, because his deal means he's not going anywhere for another year or two.
Also in the "big free-agent signing, little production" bucket is Bilal Nichols, who got a two-year, $11-million deal after a career-best season in 2021. Nichols was brought in to Las Vegas to provide some semblance of an interior pass rush, which never materialized—just 1.5 sacks and 18 hurries on the year. That might be OK if Nichols was solid against the run, but Nichols didn't provide much of an impact there either, routinely getting pushed around or creating a seam and a running lane. Honestly, the best way to word Nichols' impact on the 2022 season is "non-existent"; not exactly what Las Vegas was hoping for from their second-biggest free agent acquisition of the year. Hey, how did that biggest acquisition work out again?
Chandler Jones won the silver medal for defensive free agents last offseason; only Von Miller signed a deal bigger than Jones' three-year, $17-million prize. And why not? Vegas was getting a player who had averaged 12 sacks a year in his previous six healthy seasons; he and Davante Adams were going to be the big-ticket acquisitions that pushed the Raiders over the top in the hyper-competitive AFC West.
One three-sack game against the Chargers in December saved Jones' year from being a complete bust, but 4.5 sacks is still the lowest sack total for Jones in a year he played more than five games, and his 15 quarterback hits are the fewest since he left New England in 2015. Jones had a pressure rate of just 10.3%, which was 92nd out of 270 players with at least 100 pass-rushers, per SIS charting. There were some potential warning signs from 2021 in Arizona, in retrospect—his hurry rate had fallen dramatically, and his pressure rate had dipped too, even if the sacks were still there—but for Jones not even to hit five sacks? For Jones to have 12 games where he didn't reach the quarterback once? Almost unthinkable. The Raiders could cut and run from Nichols if they so choose—it would hurt, but they could make the numbers work. Jones? He has $16 million in guaranteed money next season, so the Raiders are stuck hoping that the 33-year-old can figure out a way to make things work next year.
Most players make the KCW team for their body of work, but one game can be enough to get you on the list if it's boneheaded enough. So hello, Joey Bosa. Saying Bosa single-handedly cost the Chargers the win in their playoff game against the Jacksonville is overstating things; one player does not blow a 27-0 lead. But Bosa's unsportsmanlike conduct foul with five minutes left in the fourth quarter may well be the most costly penalty of the season, helping convince Jacksonville to go for two rather than kicking an extra point, cutting L.A.'s lead to 30-28, and meaning their field goal on their ensuing possession won them the game rather than sending things to overtime.
Joey Bosa lost the Chargers this game. Absolutely unacceptable behavior from a captain. This unsportsmanlike conduct lead to 👉 Jacksonville 2pt conversion 👉 Game winning field goal.
— Austin Franklin (@austinfrankln) January 15, 2023
Bosa, frustrated over what he felt were missed false start calls against Jacksonville, slammed his helmet to the ground in frustration, got it handed back to him … and slammed it back into the ground in frustration again. To make matters worse, that was actually his second unsportsmanlike conduct of the game; he was fortunate he was not thrown out. To make matters worse, Bosa had also been flagged for offsides earlier in the game, negating a third-down sack and giving Jacksonville fresh life on a drive that ended up in the end zone for the Jaguars—and remember, they needed every single score to pull off the comeback in this one. To make matters worse, Bosa then trashed the referees after the game, claiming that the refs were out to get him personally.
"They're probably back in the locker room after the game, like, 'Ha, got that asshole. You know, yeah, got him. Fifteen yards. What a loser.' I guarantee you that's what they're fucking talking back in the back." - Joey Bosa on NFL officials 👀 pic.twitter.com/AU5YPkqZrm
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) January 16, 2023
Bosa then went on to get into several shouting matches with fans outside of the NFC Championship Game, tossing some homophobic slurs at fans heckling him for the Chargers' loss against Jacksonville in an ugly look. Not a great offseason for one of the better pass-rushers in the game, then!
We have picked a bit of a subtle theme to elevate a couple players from a miasma of weaknesses over the middle of the field.
Devin White would be the first to admit that this year was massively disappointing. The second-team All-Pro linebacker in 2020 and Pro Bowler in 2021 had his fifth-year option picked up, with the Buccaneers' official site calling White and Lavonte David arguably the best linebacker duo in the league. And as a pass-rusher, White was still in that category; no off-ball linebacker generated more pressures than White did in 2022. Unfortunately, linebackers have three jobs, and White struggled in both run defense and pass coverage. White's athleticism is undeniable, but he runs himself out of position far too often and takes bad angles, and his 28 missed/broken tackles were up there with the league leaders per SIS charting. He also remains one of the league's most targeted linebackers in pass coverage and has been called out for lack of effort by guys such as Warren Sapp. This pick is less "White is a bad player" and more "White is being used wrong." White had more pass-rush snaps than any other off-ball linebacker last season, but that number should keep going up, because that's the one thing he does well. If the Buccaneers are expecting him to step into Lavonte David's shoes—David is a free agent, and Tampa Bay likely has a bit of rebuilding to come—then they have an unpleasant surprise coming. White is far, far more a poor man's Micah Parsons than a poor man's Lavonte David, and Todd Bowles needs to make sure he uses him accordingly going forward.
Devin White has just become unplayable
Crazy to see people still make excuses for him. pic.twitter.com/Caj8TyEY7F
— 𝗗𝗝 (@DJBucsFan) October 28, 2022
But White wasn't the worst Devin in the middle of the field last season; that goes to Devin Lloyd. Lloyd's rookie season started out alright, as he earned rookie of the month honors in September. Two months later, he was being benched for fellow rookie Chad Muma, as he hit the rookie wall hard. Lloyd ended up leading the league with 36 broken/missed tackles, per SIS charting. Jacksonville was also last in DVOA on passes to tight ends, and a lot of that was Lloyd. When Lloyd got the coverage right, he made some highlight-reel plays. When he didn't, he got torched—he had a seven-game stretch where he had one pass defensed despite being targeted 15 times, leading to his benching. Like with Kenyon Green, there's no need to panic about Lloyd's development just yet, but it was a rough rookie year at times.
Throw in Devin Bush, and maybe teams should look for a different first name for their inside linebackers in the immediate future.
Carolina's Keith Taylor allowed 12.3 yards per target, more than any other qualified cornerback. That's bad! Don't do that!
J.C. Jackson only played five games for the Chargers before dislocating his kneecap—but that kneecap dislocation came after he had already been benched for poor play in Week 6, in prime time against the Broncos. Jackson was at 13.9 yards per target and 20.9 yards per completion, both worst in the league for cornerbacks with at least 20 targets. This coming after signing a five-year, $82.5-million contract this offseason, making him the most disappointing free agent of last year's cycle. Caveat emptor, indeed.
Kenny Moore crashed hard, going from a Pro Bowler in 2021 to one of the worst corners in the year in 2022. Moore, who had a brief contract holdout in the offseason, never seemed to click in Gus Bradley's scheme in Indianapolis, facing more one-on-one matchups than he was asked to previously and not rising to the challenge: his passes defensed dropped from nine to five, his yards per target shot up from 5.8 to 8.1, his completion percentage allowed jumped by five percentage points, and he failed to record a single interception.
A couple of years ago, Darnell Savage looked like the long-term answer for the Packers at free safety. This year, though, he was benched in midseason for Rudy Ford, sat down for nearly a month, and came back to do some nickel and dime corner work at the end of the season. Savage has never been a good tackler, but his broken/missed tackle rate jumped up to 24.7% this season. He also struggled more in coverage than we have seen him in past years, with only four passes defensed. Bad angles, poor form on tackles, blown coverages—you name it, and you'll find plenty of clips of Savage struggling with it.
Trevon Moehrig was pegged for big things this season in Las Vegas; the second-year player was a popular prediction for Pro Bowl possibilities. Suffice it to say, that didn't happen. Moehrig looked lost in the Raiders' secondary, over-thinking and reacting late. Moehrig allowed a 137.5 passer rating in coverage and was possibly just asked to do too much. He was going to be the centerpiece of Patrick Graham's secondary; instead, he constantly found himself out of position or just making the wrong decision.
Brett Maher is not, as it turns out, the first kicker to miss four extra points in a game. "Fat" Pete Henry of the 1922 Canton Bulldogs blew four drop kicks in a romp over the Louisville Brecks. And I'm going to say that if you have to go "well, actually, a player from 100 years ago was just as bad while doing a demonstrably tougher version of what you were trying to do!", it actually enhances the shame of Maher's four missed extra points against the Buccaneers, not diminishes it. Maher was a solid kicker for most of the year! Nine kicks made from 50 or more yards away! In the top quartile in our field goal/extra point rankings! But for special teams, one bad night is more than enough to go down in infamy.
OMG... BRETT MAHER MISSED AGAIN 🤯
*FOUR* MISSED EXTRA POINTSpic.twitter.com/jqS1Ttd3RO
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 17, 2023
It was a close race to the bottom of our punter standings this season! Matt Haack finished with -11.8 points of punt value while Michael Palardy was at -11.3. But that's a counting stat, and Haack had 71 punts to Palardy's 43, so Palardy is our pick. Palardy was signed in November to replace the injured (and ineffective) Jake Bailey and … well, he was terrible. He had the lowest percentage of punts inside the 20 at 23.8%. His 42.4 yards per punt was the second-lowest in the league, only ahead of … uh, Bailey, actually. He was in the bottom five in touchback percentage. Even after adjusting for weather, it has been a while since we have seen someone be this ineffective.
There are a number of solid options here. In terms of overall value, Denver's Montrell Washington was last in the league, but that's more a factor of being a below-average returner with high volume than actually being a disaster. Brandon Powell and Amari Rodgers deserve mention for putting up poor numbers in more limited action; Powell averaged just 7.4 yards per punt return while Rodgers managed to muff or fumble four returns before being benched. But Jalen Reagor has them both covered, with just 6.4 yards per punt return and five muffed/fumbled kicks, including one in the loss to the Giants in the wild-card round. And the Vikings traded a fourth-rounder and a seventh-rounder to the Eagles for his rights! Unbelievable.
Jalen Reagor almost fumbled the ball away to Giants on the punt return. 9 Vikings have a catch and he is not one of them 🤷🏼♂️
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) January 15, 2023
I do not believe Nathaniel Hackett is the worst coach in NFL history. Considering some of the stiffs Denver has had over the years, especially back in the AFL days, there's an argument that Hackett isn't even the worst coach in Broncos history. But I am amazed at how unprepared Hackett was; how even the simplest aspects of head coaching seemed beyond him. By the end of his tenure in Denver, he had outsourced the play-calling and game management decisions, and he mostly ended up standing on the sideline looking befuddled as his team cratered. Hackett became just the fifth coach since the merger to fail to make it through his first full season as a head coach, forever linked with Urban Meyer, Bobby Petrino, Pete McCulley, and Lou Holtz on the list of all-time flops. At least he didn't assault his own kicker, or announce he was leaving via a letter left in the locker room! You know, small favors.
A lot of Hackett's reputation was solidified in the first two weeks of the season. In Week 1, Hackett had some of the worst game management we have ever seen. Against Seattle, Denver got the ball back, down one, with 4:02 left in the game and all three timeouts remaining. That is eternity in the NFL! There is no reason time should have become a factor. Instead, Denver lazily moved the ball downfield—they hadn't even crossed the 50 by the two-minute warning. Denver then finally took their first time out with 20 seconds left, having opted to settle for Brandon McManus attempting a 64-yard field goal for the win; it would have been the second-longest field goal in NFL history. It was easy to second-guess the decision when the field goal inevitably missed—but then again, it was easy to first-guess the decision, too, as the ManningCast proved.
*It was at this point that everyone knew the Broncos had (messed) up* pic.twitter.com/6fgkmxAqan
— Danny O'Neil (@dannyoneil) December 26, 2022
The next week—the very next week!—the Broncos struggled with the concept of time once again, suffering multiple delay of game penalties and struggling to get decisions relayed in on time. The crowd, in one of the best moments of spontaneous, in-person trolling I have ever seen, began to treat this like a basketball game, counting down the play clock live in a "helpful" attempt to remind the offense that they're supposed to, y'know, snap the ball. The mock cheers every time a play actually happened in the second half are a thing of beauty.
Broncos fans are helpfully/mockingly shouting out the play clock on every play as Denver struggles to manage the clock. pic.twitter.com/53p339HGME
— Kyle Clark (@KyleClark) September 18, 2022
That got Jerry Rosburg hired as the "game management consultant," and Rosburg would eventually take over from Hackett after he was fired, because oh boy, things did not get better. Hackett never seemed to find a way to mesh his offense with the skill set of his actual players, and he never got on the same page with his high-priced quarterback. By the end of November—a winless November, mind you—Hackett had handed play-calling duties to Klint Kubiak. What is it, exactly, that Hackett was adding at that point?
George Paton praised Hackett for "his intelligence, his innovation, and his strong leadership qualities" when he was hired. But Hackett showed no in-game intelligence with his game management. He showed no innovation with an offense seemingly unable to work without Aaron Rodgers. And he showed no leadership qualities, as by the end of the season, Broncos players were actively fighting with one another on the sideline and visibly disgusted with the way the offense was being run. A failure on every level, Hackett was sent packing on Boxing Day.
Matt Patricia. I suppose, technically, Patricia wasn't coordinator; he was the offensive line coach and "senior football advisor." He advised that offense, alright, all the way to 18.1 points per game. New England's -8.5% offensive DVOA was their worst since 1995, and while "having Tom Brady" does raise a franchise's floor, it's easy to forget that Mac Jones made the Pro Bowl as a rookie! Patricia, who had never called plays on offense before and had been a defensive coach since 2006, was considered a bad choice when he was assigned the job—universally panned, with the only faint justification being that Bill Belichick knows what he's doing. In this case, Belichick did not know what he was doing. Patricia was miles out of his depth, and New England's offense failed in almost every way possible—no sense of timing or cohesion, questionable overarching strategy, incomplete game plans which neither played to New England's strengths nor attacked their opponent's weaknesses. Patricia failed to grasp the fine details of offensive football and could not make adjustments when things weren't going strongly. But I suppose we'll let Mac Jones have the last word.
Mac Jones to Matt Patricia:
THROW THE F*CKING BALL
F*CKING RUN GAME SUCKSpic.twitter.com/EhtEDkQr9F
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) December 2, 2022
Alan Williams and his Bears defense finished dead last with a 17.9% DVOA. That's worse than any defense since the 2019 Dolphins Tank. Williams' men simply could not generate any pressure whatsoever, either against the pass or the run—31st in adjusted sack rate, 26th in adjusted line yards. As a result, offenses could basically pick and choose whatever they wanted to do against Chicago. Quarterbacks had all day to pick apart the secondary; their 7.4 net yards allowed per attempt was the worst in the league. They only had 20 quarterback knockdowns and 43 QB hits all season long; everyone else had at least 27 and 43, respectively. Running games averaged 157.3 yards per game against them, second to only Houston for the most porous run defense in football. Opponents scored 31 touchdowns on the ground, too—no other team allowed more than 25. We acknowledge that Williams didn't have the strongest hand to play, with top stars being traded away and injuries sapping a lot of what was left. But good coordinators can at least scheme up some success, and Williams could not.
Special Teams Coordinator
When Cameron Achord was promoted to the Patriots' special teams coordinator in 2020, New England was on a 25-year streak of having positive special teams value, one of the more insane runs in DVOA history. In Achord's second year, that streak ended, with New England finishing dead average. And in 2022, the bottom fell out. New England was last in special teams DVOA at -4.3%. They had the worst kickoff unit in the league, and the worst we have seen since the 2012 Houston Texans. They were also in the bottom three in punt value, to boot—the Patriots simply could not cover returns of any sort. For overseeing the collapse of the greatest special teams dynasty in the sport, Achord gets the nod.
Well, let's see here. George Paton hired our All-KCW head coach, and we talked about how bad that was. He traded for and extended our All-KCW quarterback, and we have covered how bad that was. You can't miss on both the coach and the quarterback in the same offseason! And now, they have had to trade away more draft capital to bring Sean Payton in to try to fix things. As a result, the Broncos have the second-least draft capital to work with this offseason and won't be picking until the top of the third round. It's entirely possible that bringing in Hackett and Wilson could derail the Broncos for half a decade. And yes, the previous ownership deserves more than its fair share of blame for the situation Denver finds itself in. And yes, we could highlight the struggles of Steve Keim in Arizona or Nick Caserio in Houston, or even Eric DeCosta and the long-running Lamar Jackson saga in Baltimore. But the highest profile misses this season have Paton's name on them, and therefore he is our man.
|2022 All-KCW Team|
|QB||Russell Wilson||DEN||DT||Foley Fatukasi||JAX||K||Brett Maher||DAL|
|RB||Jonathan Taylor||IND||DT||Bilal Nichols||LV||P||Michael Palardy||NE|
|WR||Robbie Anderson||CAR/ARI||ER||Chandler Jones||LV||RET||Jalen Reagor||MIN|
|WR||Kenny Golladay||NYG||ER||Joey Bosa||LAC|
|WR||Brandin Cooks||HOU||LB||Devin White||TB||Staff|
|TE||Logan Thomas||WAS||LB||Devin Lloyd||JAX||HC||Nathaniel Hackett||DEN|
|LT||Matt Pryor||IND||CB||Keith Taylor||CAR||OC||Matt Patricia||NE|
|LG||Kenyon Green||HOU||CB||J.C. Jackson||LAC||DC||Alan Williams||CHI|
|C||Scott Quessenberry||HOU||CB||Kenny Moore||IND||ST||Cameron Achord||NE|
|RG||Alex Bars||LV||S||Darnell Savage||GB||GM||George Paton||DEN|
|RT||Greg Little||MIA||S||Trevon Moehrig||LV|
Playoff Fantasy Update
|2022 Staff Playoff Fantasy Challenge|
|QB||45.45||Patrick Mahomes||41.65||52.15||40.65||63.05||Jalen Hurts||41.05||48.85|
|RB||Jerrick McKinnon||6.3||35.3||59.9||Miles Sanders||26.5||9.9||16||38.1|
|WR||38.5||11.6||54.3||A.J. Brown||12||41.5||DeVonta Smith||23.7||25.9|
|WR||15.6||Marquez Valdes-Scantling||46.9||0||34.7||13.4||8||Mecole Hardman||3.7|
|TE||42.2||22.9||22.5||Dallas Goedert||24.1||Travis Kelce||56.6||30.4||28.8|
|K||8||6||21||Harrison Butker||26||14||Jake Elliott||15||34|
Vince is in prime position to pull off the repeat. Yes, Jackson's still the leader at 267.95 points, but he's now out of players entirely, while Vince has six guys going to make up just a 23.2-point deficit. Is it conceivable Vince falls short? I suppose, technically; the Eagles offense could get entirely shut down, or it could be nothing but Jalen Hurts-to-DeVonta Smith all day long. But I'll be stunned if Vince can't climb past Jackson with all the ammunition he has remaining.
The question, then, is could anyone catch Vince? You can rule Tom and me out. Mecole Hardman's on injured reserve, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire is being activated, which should eat into anything Jerick McKinnon could do. We're toast, and it will likely be a battle to see which of us features in last place. My strategy of getting three games out of San Francisco did work, but I was assuming that would include three games with a functional quarterback. How silly of me.
Rivers and Cale are also probably out. Having Patrick Mahomes means you always have a chance, but Rivers is more than 60 points back of Jackson, much less whatever Vince is going to put up. Cale's closer, but Travis Kelce alone shouldn't be able to cut into the gap.
That just leaves Aaron, currently sitting in last place but with five players remaining. It's difficult to see a path where enough fantasy points are scored to make up a nearly 90-point deficit without Vince racking up a ton of value, but Aaron at least has key players on both Philadelphia and Kansas City's offense, and you can at least kind of hypothesize a situation where Hurts ends up going absolutely crazy on the ground, Kansas City abandons the run game and blocks Isiah Pacheco out of the game plan, and the Eagles win a bizarre shootout.
Put your money on Vince.
Best of the Rest
We're down to six teams who could win it, for variously increasing values of the word "could." It's legitimately tight at the top, though, which should provide an interesting finish.
Tyler S is your leader in the clubhouse with 176 points, but he's out of players. That makes him the target to beat for everyone else, though he does have nearly a 15-point cushion over the rest of the field. It is far, far from guaranteed that he'll be caught, so he'll be biting his nails throughout this one.
Behind him in second place is JCypress, sitting at 161.05 points, with Kenneth Gainwell remaining. If Gainwell could repeat his 100-yard day against the Giants in the divisional round, that would be enough to make up the gap, but that's the only game Gainwell has had this season which would do it. It seems unlikely the Chiefs will roll over to the extent the Giants did, but it is at least conceivable. More conceivable, probably, than fourth-place Drifter75, who is 22.75 points down and has just Boston Scott remaining, though Scott has found the end zone in each of the last three games.
Outside of the top five, Surebrec needs a 36.55-point day from Kadarius Toney to take over first place. Receivers have put up those kinds of numbers in the Super Bowl before—specifically, Jerry Rice did in 1988, then Jerry Rice did it in 1989, and then Jerry Rice did it in 1994. Crazier things have happened, though I doubt Toney is going to be that level of X factor. But if Toney can't do it alone, perhaps Toney and Scott can combine for 41.45 points. That would vault Jean-Luc Goedert into the lead, assuming Toney outscores Scott by at least 18.7 points. That still probably requires a 30-point day from Toney to along with a Scott touchdown, but we have seen wideouts manage to do that stretching back to Max McGee in Super Bowl I; it seems much more reasonable.
And then there's Simon2, who is technically still alive as well. Trailing by 63.05 points, Simon still has Kenneth Gainwell and Justin Watson available. I guess, in a way, Watson is the speedster replacing Tyreek Hill in Kansas City's offense. Maybe. If you squint. And, well, Hill once had a 13-catch, 269-yard, three-touchdown day. So, you know. There's a chance!
Your top 5:
1. Tyler S: 176 (no players remaining)
2. JCypress: 161.05 (Kenneth Gainwell remaining)
3. Fizz and Friends: 155.45 (Kenneth Gainwell remaining)
4. Drifter75: 153.25 (Boston Scott remaining)
5. Andrew: 153.2 (no players remaining)
71 comments, Last at 15 Feb 2023, 1:48am
#1 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 09, 2023 - 9:48am
Derek Carr—I'm sorry, Pro Bowl quarterback Derek Carr—got benched and looks to be on his way out.
While true, this is more because McDaniels is a KCW member more so than it is a reflection on Derek Carr. He has a history of inscrutably alienating PB QBs.
Did you draft Jonathan Taylor first overall in your fantasy league? Then you may be entitled to financial compensation!
Even Planck cannot find a violin tiny enough for your fantasy team. Criticizing a real person for your imaginary franchise is to acknowledge that you are a selfish ass who cannot participate in any sort of group society.
#11 by MJK // Feb 09, 2023 - 11:49am
Counter opinion: Why is it any more selfish and damning of one's ability to participate in a group society to care about fantasy than about real football?
All football is in some sense "imaginary". In real life, a player plays in a game and tries to carry a ball across a painted line. If he does, his "real franchise" is awarded 6 "points", which are imaginary objects defined by a governing body. Meanwhile, millions of "imaginary franchises" are also awarded 6 "points", which are imaginary objects defined by a different governing body. How is one more real than another? Why is criticizing a player for failing to help one's fantasy team win any more selfish than criticizing a player for failing to help a franchise win that is owned by some random billionaire and connected to one only by an accident of geography or personal history?
One could even argue that the fantasy manager is in some sense a more real participant in their respective fall football hobby than the fan of the real football team. A football fan of a real team is a purely passive participant (discounting those who insist that they help their team win by not changing their lucky underwear...) Their chosen team's good or poor performance has nothing to do with them and does not affect their life in any way. (Unless they bet on the games, but that's another matter). Their sole connection is passive entertainment. But a fantasy manager makes decisions and takes actions that determine the success of their imaginary team. Their connection to their team is still a matter of entertainment, but their team's success is something they have active control over. From this view, which hobby is "more real"?
Regarding group society, the "real football" fan may watch and discuss the game with friends and fellow fans, or they may enjoy by themselves. The fantasy fan as well will discuss the game with friends and fellow league members, but is arguably as or more engaged in social interactions due to their hobby, e.g. discussions of their teams with their league mates, trade negotiations, etc. Our office is always awash with fantasy football discussions and trash talk and trade offers every Monday and Tuesday morning from September through the end of the year.
Finally, consider the relative numbers. There are roughly 45 million people that play fantasy football each year (per multiple sources that pop up in a quick Google search). Roughly 8-10% of them were depending on Jonathan Taylor to play well this year, so roughly 4 million people care about Jonathan Taylor's performance because of their fantasy team. That's probably about the same number of Indianapolis Colts fans out there that care about Jonathan Taylor's performance because if his real team**. So roughly the same number of people had their fall football hobby spoiled because of Jonathan Taylors poor performance in fantasy as those who had their fall hobby spoiled because of his (and the rest of the Colts') poor performance for the real Colts team. Why is the second group more entitled to criticize his play than the first group?
** Note: A quick Google search was unable to tell me exactly how many Colts fans there are, but the population of Indiana is about 7 million, so if one guesses that about half of all Hoosiers are football fans and that the Colts have some fans outside of Indiana, the number of Colts fans in the ballpark of 4 million.
#65 by LionInAZ // Feb 11, 2023 - 12:36am
The term 'fantasy' means exactly what it says. It is the product of one's wishes, not reality. It doesn't matter how many people are deluded into spending real money on fantasies.
I could have made this political, but you can figure that out yourself.
#2 by theslothook // Feb 09, 2023 - 10:21am
I am genuinely curious about Deshawn Watson the QB. Being dramatically worse than Jacoby Brissett is on par with Wilson being completely unplayable. Which is worse depends on many factors; but one of these players got all of the "wtf???" headlines while the other seemed to quietly disappear into anonymity.
Look, Watson isn't going anywhere anytime soon so we might as well accept the elephant in the room
I am genuinely curious if most people prefer Watson just never get discussed around here. I can understand that point of view, but I'm wondering if it's widespread such that I really shouldn't post about it from here on out.
#8 by RickD // Feb 09, 2023 - 11:25am
Clearly Watson runs away with the KCW QB, if not KCW MVP. But there's little new to write about him at this point. He's in Mike Vick territory at this point - before the comeback which may well never come. (I'd bet against it happening in Cleveland.)
#10 by theslothook // Feb 09, 2023 - 11:29am
His off field transgressions (which I'm being absurdly charitably polite calling them that) shouldn't have turned him into a horrible player on the field. Being a murderer didn't make OJ any less of a running back.
Instead, Watson came back and proceeded to be thoroughly unplayable. Just why that is is an interesting question, to me at least.
#36 by KnotMe // Feb 09, 2023 - 4:46pm
I think even Cleveland knew this was a lost year. (Partly why the NFL pushed for a year suspension also).
We have seen guys look great and then not be able to recover that form after one offseason. After this long...it's not that surprising.
#63 by Pat // Feb 10, 2023 - 3:45pm
If you prorate Brissett's DYAR to 16 games (1018 DYAR), Watson was only better than that in 1 year out of his career so far. So even though he was way worse than Brissett in '22, even without the rust he might not have been better.
#54 by Spanosian Magn… // Feb 09, 2023 - 10:27pm
I think a lot of it is just expectations: Denver was hyped as a playoff team and possible Super Bowl winner thanks to their splashy new additions, while Cleveland was decidedly post-hype and out of the zeitgeist. Watson also came back with the team already out of the hunt, at the time that focus was shifting to the playoff races, while Wilson's faceplants came early and on national TV.
But more than anything, a famous and highly-hyped player completely flopping on the field while being a bit of a weirdo in harmless ways off it is fun! Nothing about the Watson story is fun.
Watson will likely be a starting QB for the next four seasons (at least), so it will inevitably be both necessary and appropriate to discuss his on-field play on this NFL analysis site. I can only speak for myself of course, but what I don't want is for him to become a meme, or a flogging horse, or to receive effusive praise - he shouldn't be used to make fun, whether in a positive or negative way, because nothing about the situation is fun.
And so in that spirit, regarding the KCW-ness of it all, Wilson still takes the cake, because he started 15 games and played terribly, tanking a would-be contender's season. In Cleveland, "Being dramatically worse than Jacoby Brissett" is actually a low bar - he's long been a solid enough QB, squarely in second-division-starter territory but not embarrassing, and he actually played pretty well this year (7th in DVOA) - which still wasn't enough to stop them from having a 1-6 stretch, because their defense was just awful. A full season of Watson, coming off a year away, wouldn't have moved the needle that much.
#3 by theslothook // Feb 09, 2023 - 10:24am
Can I nominate Jim Irsay for KCW owner? I know Snyder is and should be the defacto winner every year because of the frightening culture he brings; but in terms of self sabotage over one season, I think it was Irsay.
#4 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 09, 2023 - 10:33am
but in terms of self sabotage over one season
And this is why it's not Irsay. He doesn't have the commitment to embarrassing franchise immolation shown by the Snyders and the McNairs.
Irsay's bad, but... look, he's not even the worst Irsay. He's probably a top-half team owner in the Midwest. He would be the best owner just for teams who currently or once played near Chicago.
\or even Shad Khan, who is slow-motion moving his team to London.
#32 by Tyler S // Feb 09, 2023 - 3:11pm
Terrible ownership also usually has more long-term effects than short term effects. Repeatedly missing on hires, unwillingness or inability to pay players/coaches their market value, and generally reprehensible behavior are more likely to prevent a team from maintaining continued success than to hurt a team's individual season the way a bad player or coach can. Plus, as SixKnots mentioned, wading through all the bad and stupid decisions NFL owners make is a chore in itself, and it would largely be redundant with the GM and HC awards.
There's exceptions of course. Cal McNair was named KCW Owner in 2020 after the O'Brien/Easterby/Watson debacle. Maybe if Irsay hires Saturday as HC, replaces Ballard with Brandon Stokley 2 hours before the draft, and demands the Colts start Sam Ehlinger at QB next season he'll get named too. But I think the general rule, correctly, is that an owner needs to exceptionally mismanage things in order to get considered
#35 by BigRichie // Feb 09, 2023 - 4:41pm
Both Irsay and Haslam did more than enough this year to merit a KCW ownership award. Prior years, Ross with his whisper-lose-on-purpose-whisper, McNair giving the reins to Easterby, Snyder coming out with another scandal, Mark Davis giving the reins and a ridiculous contract to Gruden, Haslam with many earlier you-got-to-be-kiddings, even leaving out mere clownishness a la Jerrah; I've little doubt more seasons than not some owner does something quite worthy of a KCW award.
(and if not you can always say 'no owner award this season')
#66 by Noahrk // Feb 11, 2023 - 10:28am
What do you mean prior years? Ross cost his team first and third round picks. He runs away with this thing.
And the funniest thing? The dolphins were damn lucky his machinations didn't actually land them Brady.
#38 by rh1no // Feb 09, 2023 - 5:05pm
After championing the blatantly racist nickname of the WFT for years, pimping out WFT cheerleaders, and creating such a toxic work environment that Jon Grudem felt safe using racial epithets in emails to WFT execs, I feel like Dan Snyder is well beyond DeShaun Watson territory. The dude is SUCH a scumbag that there's no room for humor when talking about him ... only disdain.
Irsay, though? That dude is comically daft. Perfect for articles like this!
#39 by theslothook // Feb 09, 2023 - 5:07pm
There's a reason I used the word "frightening" to describe the culture as opposed to toxic. Toxic describes an Office Space style work culture when in fact, what's going on in Washington is something much more ghoulish. It makes for the perfect carricature of corporation run amok.
#45 by BigRichie // Feb 09, 2023 - 6:33pm
Corporations don't run amuck (amok?), leastwise not anymore. Too much oversight, and also attention to what bad PR might mean to the bottom line.
You've got to be a smaller operation a la an NFL team- never mind if for tax purposes they incorporate or not - to have an environment a la what Snyder's Redskin operation did. Just put a Snyder-type character into a 'macho' industry with no oversight, and ...
#52 by rh1no // Feb 09, 2023 - 10:01pm
Both spellings are correct, but "amok" is preferred to "amuck" as the word is derived from the Malaysian "mengamok," which was a mental affliction that caused people to succumb to a murderous rage.
If you're a Star Trek nerd, you may recall Season Two, Episode One, "Amok Time," in which Spock finds himself overcome by the Vulcan mating urge pon farr. He then goes on to fight Captain Kirk in a duel to the death for the right to marry T'Pring, his betrothed since childhood. Not only is this one of the top five episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series, but it is also memorable for the first display of the Vulcan salute 🖖
#13 by MJK // Feb 09, 2023 - 11:52am
I love that there isn't even any debate about the KCW OC. And there really isn't. You didn't even touch on the depths at which Matt Patricia failed (some great inside information came out in the local Boston press after the end of the season... Patricia essentially failed at everything that an OC or a coach in general shoudl do, ranging from game planning, play design, teaching the players, communicating with the players, getting along with the players...).
Thank goodness he's out of that role!
Also, it's sad that the Patriots wasted a top 3 defense and possibly a promising upcoming QB because of two lousy coordinators that both made the KCW team.
#14 by theslothook // Feb 09, 2023 - 11:58am
That's on Belichick and its on him way beyond hindsight. Everyone thought hiring Patricia as an offensive coach was looney toons. Bringing him back in the building was highly questionable by itself.
For a guy as brilliant as he is; I really really can't understand the decision. If you feel loyalty to your coaches(something he doesn't have for his players); then stash Patricia in some powerless role to beef up and rehabilitate his resume. But to put him in charge of the offense is just unconscionable.
By comparison, Irsay's decision to hire Saturday was moronic to the core, but I at least understood why he did it. By contrast, BB's decision absolutely makes no sense to me.
#20 by BigRichie // Feb 09, 2023 - 12:41pm
Not here. Each decision was identical at its core: Giving a valued Good Buddy a ridiculous opportunity because you know better than everybody else how smart and talented Good Buddy really is. Not all that uncommon a human strategy.
The Patricia hiring was just the classic Good Buddy mistake, where (so often) turns out Everybody Else was right and you wrong. The Saturday hiring was just ... just ... an unfathomable hire.
#25 by MJK // Feb 09, 2023 - 1:05pm
Very good point. Once you're already terrible and fire your coach mid season, there's not a lot riding on the interim coaching hire.
The Patriots, on the other hand, brought Patricia (and Judge, let's not forget about him!) in during the offseason, with a defense primed to be a top 5 unit and a highly drafted QB coming off a rookie pro-bowl nod looking to make a second year jump. There was a *lot* riding on their OC hire, and Belichick totally blew it.
#27 by theslothook // Feb 09, 2023 - 1:26pm
Its true that the Saturday hire itself just added gasoline to already burning building so the additional damage didn't do much for the Colts this season.
However, it definitely sent shockwaves everywhere and I wonder if it shred some of the credibility of the organization. I was hoping Brian Flores would be their next HC. He chose to be a defensive coordinator instead. Maybe Irsay is such a loon that he thinks he has the perfect head coach in the building already, but I also wonder if the fact that they haven't hired anyone is partly because the Colts are now perceived like the Jack Easterby Texans.
If that's the case, than the Saturday hire was incredibly damaging.
#42 by KnotMe // Feb 09, 2023 - 5:20pm
I know my perception as someone who isn't a Colts fan is that Irsay was the one driving their "random Vet QB of the year" thing as well as the bizarre flailing with Ehllinger. It seemed odd to both throw Ehllinger into the mix the way they did and then just bench him immediately after a single bad(ok, very bad) game vs a team known for being hard on rookies. Then you have the odd Nick Foles experiment late in the season.(wasn't clear if that was Irsay or Saturday trying to be coachy.) Wasn't a good look either way.
When you add in firing Reich over Ballard as an apparent one game over-reaction( I don't think Reich is an amazing coach, but he seems competent and their issues stemmed more from roster construction that coaching), the Saturday hire and the fact that they only have pick #4 (while they CAN trade up for a QB, they also would need to), The roster is decent but it feels like the coach will be held responsible if they don't make the playoffs immediately.
I can see that it probably isn't the most appealing position. Although I think candidates would view most of the other stuff much more worryingly than the Saturday hire.
#23 by theslothook // Feb 09, 2023 - 12:53pm
I would buy that explanation if he made a routine habit of doing this with his players. If anything, the Patriots have been ruthlessly economic about their free agent players. And nearly every single time, Belichick has been right. He clearly knows the intrinsic value of the players involved.
Yet, this decision apparently hoodwinked him. That somehow, he completely misread Patricia as a coach. Ok maybe...but then the decision becomes even harder to understand when paired with the fact that he didn't even hire for the same role he was doing previously. He hired him to do a role he had never done before, had never shown any ability for, and just fast tracked him straight to offensive coordinator full stop. Exactly when has Belichick made a similar decision like this in the past, other than emergency starting Troy Brown at slot corner. In fact, a good analogue would be signing AJ Green and starting him as their middle linebacker.
Irsay hiring Saturday was unfathomable until he started talking and explaining why he did. At that point, the reasons made sense even if the underlying logic behind it was ridiculous.
#22 by BigRichie // Feb 09, 2023 - 12:49pm
I will totally maintain, once you suspend DeShaun (totally agree there), that you could NOT! "go a number of different ways" at QB. Russell chopped more wood than all the rest of those guys combined. And it wasn't particularly close. Russell laid up an Alaskan-winter-style woodpile, and as noted he did a good deal of it in car-wreck-style entertaining fashion.
(you should particularly leave Mariota out of it; he was signed with the understanding that he'd likely be benched for some Young Guy sometime after Thanksgiving at the latest)
#40 by rh1no // Feb 09, 2023 - 5:09pm
Zach Wilson banging his mom's best friend is pretty hilarious. With the terrible season he had, and the bizarre dedication his coaches seem to have pledged to his development as a franchise quarterback, dude was a legit dark horse candidate for this award.
#61 by mehllageman56 // Feb 10, 2023 - 2:33pm
Agree that he was a dark horse candidate, but his coaches decided to bench him, not allowing Zach to win. The only reason he was reinserted into the line-up was because Mike White got injured, and to be honest, his offensive coordinator thought he was the worst option for their offense.
#67 by Noahrk // Feb 11, 2023 - 10:39am
And also, expectations for Zach were way lower than for Russ. There was still hope for him, obviously, but it wasn't looking good for him after his rookie season. He had no chance of winning KCW over Russ unless he went full Peterman.
#30 by Will Allen // Feb 09, 2023 - 2:16pm
Donatell deserves at least consideration for DC. To have two still reasonably decent edge rushers, and some pretty smart, if aging, dbs, and be as bad as the Vikings were at pass defense, is a remarkable coaching disachievement.
#31 by andrew // Feb 09, 2023 - 2:58pm
I saw an article that claimed by looking at it there were plays were some players were playing man to man and others were playing zone on the same play, resulting in massive gaps of coverage which is pretty much what we saw all year long. The defense was bad last year but nothing like this year, and that's with an offense that did its part to take pressure off them for the most part, unlike previous years where they'd play well and eventually get worn out or give up.
It is one thing to say we're going to sell out against the long ball to make sure we don't get beaten deep, even when doing that versus teams that are horrible at long passes, and then sometimes get beat deep anyways.
#33 by reddwarf // Feb 09, 2023 - 4:06pm
In terms of the on-field product Hackett is probably the worst coach in Bronco history (at least in my memory which is way too long but doesn't quite go all the way back to the 60's). But I still despise McDaniels as the absolute worst. Hackett was out of his depth and over-promoted, that is clear. Many organizations make that mistake. But McDaniels...from running players out of town to going full cheating mode in trying to tape another team's practice to the way he took no responsibility for ANYTHING and threw everyone else under the bus...just terrible. I can deal with bad teams-but being actually ashamed to root for the team was a real problem for me when he was in charge.
Still amazed the Raiders were dumb enough to hire him, especially after you add his Indianapolis BS into the mix.
#34 by BigRichie // Feb 09, 2023 - 4:27pm
Yup. I feel the same about the Mighty Pack and the Gregg years.
Nope, you should not still be amazed at the dumbness of anything Baby Davis does. A la the Irsays, I'll confidently argue that Mark is an absolute improvement on the final stage senile version of his own father. But he's still been consistently awful. (whereas Jim was merely mediocre in a very weird way for many years, prior to the astonishing nature of this year's awfulness)
#41 by rh1no // Feb 09, 2023 - 5:18pm
But Bosa's unsportsmanlike conduct foul with five minutes left in the fourth quarter may well be the most costly penalty of the season...
Come on now, Bryan. Bosa's boneheaded play was simply one of many mistakes in a team-wide implosion that determined who would lose to the Chiefs in the Divisional round. But Joseph Ossai's late hit on Patrick Mahomes in the AFC Championship Game broke Cincinnati's three-game winning streak over Kansas City, sending the Chiefs to the Super Bowl.
This one ain't even close.
#43 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 09, 2023 - 5:29pm
Ossai's play was dumb in the instant.
Bosa was idiotic in the moment, in the later moment, in his reaction, and then after having time to cool off and reflect, decided to double-down on the stupidity.
\It is the children who are wrong.
#44 by rh1no // Feb 09, 2023 - 5:49pm
Bosa clearly deserves the KCW award for acting like a dumbass over and over and over again. But his penalty was definitely NOT the most costly penalty of the season, and that's what I was commenting on.
#46 by BigRichie // Feb 09, 2023 - 6:45pm
I suggest you try running across field, at full speed, and keep good track of just where the boundary is.
We see exactly that kind of 'out of bounds' hit all the time. Mahomes had just angled out of bounds, had only put his second foot down, and Ossai makes a normal football hit, nothing at all of the nature you'd get penalized in bounds for. It's illegal, but happens all the time.
Any defensive player who fails to make a tackle because he first looks down to check if the sideline is there or not, he gets cut before the next practice.
Ossai was just in the wrong place at the really wrong time. Nothing more than that.
#49 by BigRichie // Feb 09, 2023 - 8:47pm
You can't debate "whether it was a careless move or a normal play from a guy going hard with the game on the line." It was absolutely the latter. Ain't no one careless with a Super Bowl appearance on the line.
You can debate "whether or not it was the costliest penalty of the season." Granted, anybody who chooses the 'not' side will be on the dead wrong side of said debate.
As to the all-important issue of whether it was worthy of a KCW award or not? Nope. KCWs require a certain amount of idiocy. I've no doubt when the game is on the line (never mind a trip to the Super Bowl) Ossai's penalty ("I can't let the guy get by me! I CAN'T!!!!!") becomes much more common.
#56 by SandyRiver // Feb 10, 2023 - 9:36am
"Can't let the guy get by me" triggered memory of a Pats-Steelers game when the NE linebacker (I forget who) stopped to avoid a late hit on a scrambling QB, and "Slash" Kordell tiptoed inside the line and ran for another 30 yards.
#59 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Feb 10, 2023 - 9:43am
Aye, those frustrate me. There's a point close to the sideline where if you level the QB, you get called, and if you don't, he's still capable of cutting back and gaining yardage. You see similar with quarterbacks occasionally faking a slide on a scramble.
#69 by Noahrk // Feb 11, 2023 - 10:57am
I always assumed defenders had an excellent grasp on the out of bounds line without having to look just by reason of them having played the sport so long and that late hits were a matter of them being unable to keep a cool head or figuring they could get away with it. Pros in other sports seem to, WRs as well.
#70 by rh1no // Feb 11, 2023 - 1:18pm
Yeah, Big Ritchie seems to be taking this one a little personally. Ossai had a tough job on that play, for sure, trying to chase down the game's best QB from behind.
But hitting a guy two steps out of bounds with the clock winding down and a trip to the Super Bowl on the line is an avoidable mistake.
#57 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Feb 10, 2023 - 9:38am
The blurb still vastly understates how bad Matt Patricia was. He didn't "not understand the finer points..." - he didn't understand basic concepts. He pulled play action out of the playbook after players complained they weren't running enough different plays, and teams knew what they were going to run. For an 8 game period, the patriots were only passing out of shotgun, and only running from under center.
He benched players for knowing the Shanahan offense better than he did.
Dude wasn't just completely incompetent, he was actively and aggressively destructive.
#60 by medelste // Feb 10, 2023 - 1:49pm
[The Chicago defense] only had 20 quarterback knockdowns and 43 QB hits all season long; everyone else had at least 27 and 43, respectively.
I'm guessing the second "43" is incorrect, is larger than that.
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