Jordan Love, Trevor Siemian, and The Replacements

Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love
Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 9 - It turns out that the gap between Jordan Love and Aaron Rodgers is rather significant.

The Green Bay Packers were without Rodgers this week, for reasons so well-publicized that Walkthrough's octogenarian mother is semi-familiar with the details. We all anticipated that Love would be a step down, but not three flights of stairs down.

Love (19-of-34 for 190 yards, one touchdown, one interception) was inaccurate on routine passes. He had no concept of how to recognize a blitz, make adjustments, or manage the pocket. He threw lots of passes up for grabs. Basics like being ready for the shotgun snap eluded him at times. He looked more like a Josh Johnson-type emergency quarterback than a first-round pick from two years ago who has supposedly been groomed for just this sort of scenario.

Sunday's loss to a Chiefs team that's barely scraping by won't hurt the Packers much. The NFC North remains theirs to lose. The race to the top seed in the NFC playoffs is a quagmire, thanks to recent Buccaneers and Cowboys upsets. And Rodgers will come back from quarantine feeling vindicated, which is his best possible feeling. The Packers' 2021 season outlook on Monday morning is not appreciably different than it was last Wednesday morning: they're poised to lose the NFC Championship Game due to the collapse of their run defense or (based on Sunday's C-plot) their special teams.

The Packers' long-term outlook is foggier. Love didn't look like Rodgers' heir apparent, and Rodgers apparently will need an heir rather soon. (More on Mister Personality at the end of today's recap.) Anyone hoping that Love would throw four touchdowns and create a smooth 2022 succession plan in Green Bay had to be disappointed, and by "anyone" we mean folks with last names such as "LaFleur" and "Gutekunst." But a contender cannot afford to look that far down the line. And the Packers are indeed contenders.

So are the Cardinals. And if we stretch the definition a smidge, so are the Titans and Saints. Let's see how their replacement quarterbacks (and running back) fared in Week 9.

Colt McCoy, Arizona Cardinals
Kliff Kingsbury hooked McCoy (22-of-26 for 249 yards, one touchdown) up with the deluxe veteran backup game plan in the Cardinals' 31-17 victory over the 49ers: lots of short passes with YAC opportunities; some trickery (Christian Kirk's option pass); a dash of Chris Streveler Wildcat; plenty of rugged running from Chase Edmonds, James Conner, and Eno Benjamin. McCoy is a standard Get You Through a Game backup, and that's precisely what he did.

Kyler Murray is not expected to miss significant time, so McCoy's mission is likely accomplished. Walkthrough speculated on Wednesday that spot starts by backup quarterbacks will become more common in the era of the 17-game season. The Cardinals, unlike the Packers, demonstrated how those spot starts should be handled.

Adrian Peterson, Jeremy McNichols, and D'Onta Foreman, Tennessee Titans
By the time the Titans needed their three-headed Derrick Henry replacement committee, they already held a 14-3 lead thanks to Matthew Stafford's impersonations of Carson Wentz and 2013 Matthew Stafford on a pair of interceptions, a pick-six and an almost pick-six. When the Titans needed fourth-and-short conversions on the drive that gave them a 21-3 lead, they turned to Ryan Tannehill on a sweep and a bootleg. Peterson got a goal-line Wildcat carry, and the Titans tried to cross things up with a Marcus Johnson reverse (Jalen Ramsey tossed him into the stands for a loss), but the Titans' early game script suggested that they knew they couldn't expect much more than replacement-level production from their backfield.

As the game wore on, the Titans still got little from their running game and couldn't sustain second-half drives. Fortunately, the Rams offense never got its act together after a disastrous first quarter, and the Titans came away with a 28-16 victory.

How the Titans proceed from here is a mystery. They have won two straight games largely as the result of turnovers, but their defense isn't good enough to sustain that success. The upcoming schedule is full of winnable games (Saints, Patriots) but few gimmes (Texans). The Titans hardly found a new identity on Sunday night. Luckily, as is often mentioned here at Walkthrough, they have such a margin for error that they don't have to find themselves again until January.

Trevor Siemian, New Orleans Saints
Sean Payton's best bet may be to try to munch the clock for 540 minutes until the playoffs and see if any opponents notice.

The Saints' game plan was to let Siemian hand off and look busy until the Falcons imploded in the fourth quarter. And it almost worked! The Falcons tried to hand the game back to the Saints after taking a 24-6 lead: they committed 41 yards of penalties on one 54-yard Saints touchdown drive, moved backwards on offense while failing to control the fourth-quarter clock, and even allowed a 26-yard punt return to help the Saints take a lead. Alas, the Saints did not count on Cordarrelle Patterson high-stepping and tip-toeing up the sideline to set up a game-winning field goal, or the fact that their own secondary is now dangerously depleted. The Falcons, now somehow .500, prevailed in a 27-25 victory.

As for Siemian, the telecast claimed he was the victim of five dropped passes in the first half, and tight end Adam Trautman did drop a catchable ball on fourth-and-3 in the first half. But most of the "drops" were poorly placed or contested throws that receivers got a finger on. Siemian (25-of-41, 249 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions) was bad in a way that the Falcons defense and the stat sheet hides.

Taysom Hill only took a handful of snaps at quarterback. Hill completed two consecutive passes for 33 yards in the third quarter, only for Siemian to re-enter the game and get strip-sacked on the next play. It's as if Siemian has replaced Taysom as Payton's new obsession. For all his flaws, Taysom can do everything Siemian does, and also run.

Walkthrough has no idea how the Saints remain in the playoff picture with The Lovechildren platooning at quarterback. Our guess is that it involves the Panthers and Vikings stinking so thoroughly that the Saints get there by default.

Game Spotlight: Cleveland Browns 41, Cincinnati Bengals 16

What Happened: With the selfish, loathsome Odell Beckham Jr. finally out of the picture, the Browns refocused on fundamentals, rededicated themselves to teamwork, and rediscovered what it's like to be free of the mind-fracturing distraction of R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People playing on a loop in the background every time Baker Mayfield drops to pass, setting the stage for the team to climb into the upper echelon of Super Bowl contenders.

Or perhaps Joe Burrow threw a 99-yard pick-six to Denzel Ward to quash the opening Bengals drive, then a failed Bengals fourth-down conversion and a Ja'Marr Chase fumble in the second quarter gave the Browns a 24-7 lead. That lead snowballed into a blowout of an opponent that remains firmly in the Browns weight class. But Walkthrough's guessing the first version of this game summary would get more clicks.

What it Means for the Bengals: While the AFC North is full of unpredictable teams and remains up for grabs, it became clear on Sunday that the Ravens deserve their spot at the top of the standings, while the Bengals are heading for a spot near the bottom, with the Browns in between. (The Steelers probably belong near the bottom too.)

The Bengals just aren't built for the long playoff haul yet. Burrow isn't ready, their defense isn't ready, and their coaches may never be ready. The Bengals' only method for coming back from an early deficit is to bomb it out to Chase; if that fails, they are out of ideas. Contrast that with the Ravens, who clawed their way back against the Vikings with a mix of offensive adjustments, defensive stops, and the typical Justin Tucker heroics. The Bengals are capable of upsetting anyone on their best days, but they lack week-to-week consistency.

What it Means for the Browns: The real impact of Beckham's absence is that the Browns can now stop pretending they have an All-Pro deep threat to funnel their offense through. They can instead go about the business of manufacturing a ball-control attack and picking their spots with deep shots to Donovan People-Jones. The Browns would be a much better team if they had a receiver as dangerous as Beckham is purported to be, but they are ultimately better off without the unreliable shell of a playmaker that Beckham has become.

What's Next: The Browns have another chance to distinguish themselves from the passengers in wild-card steerage when they visit Foxborough to face the Patriots in Week 10. The Bengals have a bye, then a Raiders-Steelers-Chargers slate that should further clarify the AFC playoff picture (but will probably just end up muddying it some more).

Tank Watch Special Report: Miami Dolphins 17, Houston Texans 9

What Happened: This game was on the television next to Browns-Bengals at the tavern and we could not help but watch.

What Else Happened: Jacoby Brissett started in place of Tua Tagovailoa because the Dolphins are desperate for any excuse to move on from Tua because Tua suffered a midweek finger injury that no one knew anything about. (It was a wild week.) Tyrod Taylor started for the Texans because no one in the organization wants to make a decision anymore because he's their best willing quarterback when able.

The Texans and Dolphins not only combined for nine turnovers but, somehow, nine different types of turnovers. Routine interceptions? Check. Tip-drills? Check. Off-the-helmet tip-drills? Check. Strip-sacks? Check. Peanut punches? Check. Fumbles at the end of punt returns? Check? Taylor shot-putting the ball Carson Wentz-style directly to a defender instead of stepping out of bounds? Check and mate. It was everything you could ask for from a matchup of one-win teams in November. And less.

The Dolphins prevailed thanks to a Myles Gaskin Wildcat touchdown and a pair of Randy Moss impersonations to keep drives alive by tight end Mike Gesicki.

What it Means: Thanks to the Jaguars' upset of the Bills (Walkthrough did not watch that game, has no idea what happened, and does not want to think about it until Monday's second cup of coffee, thanks), the Texans and Detroit Lions now have inside track to the top pick in the 2022 draft. The Lions, on bye this week, may be hard to catch, but they are still playing with a little pride, while the Texans offer nothing but disgrace and shame.

As for the Dolphins, Walkthrough is chiseling this take in stone: there is ZERO chance that the Dolphins open the 2022 season with Tua as their starting quarterback. If they can't swing a Deshaun Watson deal, they'll overdraft a rookie or overspend on a Drew Lock or Taylor Heinicke that they can foist off as a prospect.

We're not questioning whether Tua is injured, we're reacting to the Dolphins' eagerness to give him the hook in favor of The Jack of All Tip-Drills just four days after the Watson deadline expired. Tua was not injured enough to be deactivated, mind you: he was available to back up Brissett, but not to start, which is a rather fine needle to thread with someone who is ostensibly the future of your franchise. The Dolphins keep screaming at the football world that, for whatever reason, they are done-Done-DONE with Tua. The football world reacts by saying Hmm, that was a semi-impressive drive full of RPOs in the first quarter against the Falcons. We really need to see more before we pass judgment.

What's Next: Seriously, no one cares.

Midseason Awards

Walkthrough prewrites our midseason segments knowing full well that fate hates us and wants all of our selections to look ridiculous on Monday morning. Yet we keep prewriting, because Week 9 is a great time to look back on the season so far, and because the end of Daylight Savings Time is rough on early risers.

So, did Walkthrough curse the Cowboys to an ugly loss this week? Decide for yourself.

Offensive Line of the Midseason
The Dallas Cowboys entered Week 9 ranked first in adjusted line yards by a wide margin and fifth in adjusted sack rate. So Tyron Smith, Connor Williams, Tyler Biadasz, Zack Martin, and Terence Steele win this award, with assists from Connor McGovern, Ty Nsekhe, and La'el "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a clean urine sample today" Collins.

Honorable mentions go to the outstanding pass-blocking Los Angeles Rams line and the outstanding run-blocking Cleveland Browns line. We aren't listing out all of their names. Especially for the Browns, because they have had to play about a dozen dudes.

Defender of the Midseason
Not only does Trevon Diggs have seven interceptions, two of which were pick-sixes, but the Cowboys rank first in DVOA against No. 1 receivers (probably because, you know, Diggs keeps intercepting passes). Yes, he gave up a touchdown and a long pass interference penalty on Sunday. Pass-rushers have bad games, too. We just don't notice them.

Coordinator of the Midseason
Vance Joseph's Arizona Cardinals defense entered Week 9 ranked second in both DVOA and pass-defense DVOA. And he has done it without Chandler Jones or J.J. Watt for big chunks of the autumn. Unsung defenders such as Markus Golden (whose three sacks would earn him Defender of the Week if we were doing that this week) and Jalen Thompson have stepped up this season, while young fly-around guys such as Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins are developing. Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury get nearly all of the attention, but Joseph's unit is keeping the Cardinals in the Super Bowl picture.

Kellen Moore gets honorable mention, despite Week 9.

Special-Teamer of the Midseason
Shelby Harris wins this trophy for a pair of blocked field goals: one against the Browns and one that helped the Broncos climb back into the playoff race last week against Washington.

Honorable mentions go to Ravens returner Devin Duvernay, Raiders punter AJ Cole, Patriots returner Gunner Olszewski, Colts kick gunner Ashton Dulin (10 total tackles and a fumble recovery), and Dolphins gunner Mack Hollins (who loves downing a punt inside the 20 the way most receivers love catching touchdowns).

Undrafted Rookie of the Midseason
There's no James Robinson among 2021's undrafted rookies, but Ravens running back Ty'Son Williams entered Week 9 averaging 5.5 yards per carry and did his part to help quell a backfield emergency in Baltimore until the middle-aged cavalry arrived.

Unsung Hero of the Midseason
Jonathan Taylor leads the NFL in scrimmage yards (1, 114) and is averaging 5.9 yards per rush and 12.7 yards per reception. Taylor deserves Offensive Player of the Year consideration but was getting just +6500 odds on Sunday morning. It's hard to think clearly about the Colts when Carson Wentz is turning the organization into a one-man improv routine.

Honorable mentions: Raiders edge rusher Maxx Crosby, Falcons all-purpose back Cordarrelle Patterson.

Best Supporting Actor in Someone Else's Highlight
The Dolphins midfield logo earns this week's award for its sack of Tyrod Taylor late in the fourth quarter:

As Football Outsiders' own Rivers McCown pointed out, teammate Rex Burkhead deserves credit for the sack because he tripped Taylor during his drop. (Remember: Burkhead is on the roster to provide a championship-caliber veteran presence). Officially, Emmanuel Ogbah gets credit for flopping on Taylor. But that logo has been through a lot over the last few decades and deserves our respect and recognition.

Honorable mention: Outstanding 1980s/1990s Cardinals linebacker Freddie Joe Nunn, as seen on Chandler Jones' undershirt when Jones passed Nunn as the Cardinals' all-time sack leader.

Justin Jefferson does NOT get honorable mention for whatever the heck he was doing during Dalvin Cook's long run against the Ravens. That's what theater types call "doing too much business in the background."

Burn This Play!
The Vikings lined up in the victory formation leading 17-10 with 19 seconds left before halftime. Kirk Cousins appeared to take a knee after the snap, but instead slipped the ball to Dalvin Cook, lined up as one of the "up" backs. Cook attempted to sneak unnoticed around left end, but the Vikings offensive line did such a great job of pretending that they had no reason to block that the Ravens defense spotted Cook and stuffed him in the backfield.

To give credit where credit is due, Cousins jogged off the field to the right (away from Cook) pumping his fist in the air as if he had just flipped the ball to the ref and was eager to grab a Gatorade. Cousins would have earned Best Supporting Actor if the play had worked. But the play was destined to fail, in part because its designer (Klint Kubiak, or some toddler Kubiak great-grandnephew who will "earn" a coordinator job before he can drive a car) hedged his bets. Tight end Luke Stocker ran a seam route up the right side to occupy the safeties, but that action only alerted the safeties that something was up. Cook would have gained 15 yards, at most, from the Vikings 29-yard line. Also, running a play where no one even tries to block is quite the tactic for a coach to talk himself into.

This is what the Vikings focus their energy upon instead of searching for ways out of the salary cap sinkhole they dug themselves.

Monday Night Sportsbook: Chicago Bears (+6) at Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers games are just 1-5-1 at clearing the over this year, while Bears games are just 2-6. That's the sort of trend the house corrects for, and Monday night's over is priced way down at 39. That's well within range of a Points off Turnovers Fest, so Walkthrough is taking it.

As for the line itself, we have no faith in the Steelers covering, nor in the Bears in general, so we'd rather root for mayhem. One DraftKings Special caught our eyes, however: Najee Harris AND Justin Fields over 124.5 combined rushing yards at +125. The Bears defense ranks just 24th in DVOA and tends to buckle when trying to force big plays to help their offense. Fields and Nagy's assistants appeared to discover that scrambling can be a good thing last week. Take the special and the over, enjoy the utter chaos, and don't worry about the result!

And Finally...

By the power invested in me by the so-called "woke mob," I hereby sentence Aaron Rodgers to a lifetime of being Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers is fabulously wealthy, transcendently talented, and fitter and healthier than most of us could ever aspire to be. He has been romantically linked to several glamorous paramours and pursues bucket-list careers as offseason side hobbies. He inspires awe on the field, and he should inspire jealousy off the field.

Yet Rodgers is a grievance junkie, perpetually dissatisfied with his coaches, his team, the NFL, the union, his own family, and now, apparently, the scientific community and much of mainstream society. Rodgers believes he's a better general manager, epidemiologist, and (presumably) game show host than the folks who do those things for a living, and he's bitterly disappointed at all of us who are foolish enough to disagree. He's never a very happy camper.

Rodgers is also stunningly fragile. He awkwardly misrepresented his vaccination status at the start of training camp (around the same time he was publicly castigating the Packers for 10 years of personnel decisions he didn't like), lest he endure the sort of criticism Carson Wentz and Kirk Cousins weathered for about 72 hours each. He tangled Packers coaches and teammates into his sad little fabrication for months. Then he lashed out with one of his all-too-common self-serving manifestos when the fib was exposed.

Like many wealthy, successful people, Rodgers expects to be worshipped from afar. Unconditionally worshipped, in his case, and from very afar. But he just completed an evolution from "eccentric sports personality" to "polarizing sociopolitical personality," and will likely spend the rest of his life in that ecosystem. No ManningCasts or Newlywed Game gigs after retirement for Aaron Rodgers! Just appearances on wannabe-edgy podcasts which will patronizingly allow him to spew nonsense in exchange for engagement; hermetically scripted interviews with puff-piece journalists who will nearly be strip-searched before they are granted an audience; and finally a Hall of Fame speech that's sure to sound like a screed from a spurned lover.

Many folks thrive in the briar patch Rodgers just chose for himself: speaking your mind on the Internet can be fun (or at least tolerable) for the quick-witted and thick-skinned. But Rodgers hasn't found joy in a career and industry that has treated him with deference since he was barely old enough to buy a beer. He just spent three months twisting common sense into pretzels to avoid a little public shaming. He's not the sort of fella who will enjoy being one of the public faces of the anti-vax movement and its adjacencies.

So Rodgers is hereby sentenced to be himself. He is sentenced to someday endure a week of inescapable Super Bowl press conferences in front of the international media. He is sentenced to another offseason of trade/relocation conversations, this time infused with far more skepticism about the type of teammate/leader/individual his new team is getting than he dealt with last year. He is sentenced to getting name-dropped by political figures that he, at least publicly, wants nothing to do with. He is sentenced to SNL skits and future Josh Allen State Farm commercials.

I wish Rodgers everything he wishes for himself. I hope he plays and achieves success until he's Tom Brady's age, all the while contemptuous of his coaches, the league, the union, the media, the fans, and all but the few teammates consigned to his touring entourage, quietly seething until the end about his own perceived victimhood.

It's a punishment, after all, that truly fits the crime.


53 comments, Last at 09 Nov 2021, 4:34pm

1 Next week.

With the Panthers on-deck, the Cards should let McCoy start and rest Murray.  

9 I think we can all learn a…

In reply to by DIVISION

I think we can all learn a lesson from Buffalo this week - it's easy to talk yourself into being overconfident about a weak opponent.

2 lol I love how bettors can…

lol I love how bettors can rationalize any position:

"Here's a trend, let's bet on it"
"Here's a trend, the house corrects for it, let's bet on the opposite"

3 Eh.

I went 3-1 this week.  That's much better than FO Walkthrough did.

Arizona, Giants, Titans.  Lost on the Eagles.

I trust my judgement over Aaron Schatz...

6 LOL. Trends are mostly…

LOL. Trends are mostly random noise. And gambling is a quest for an immeasurably tiny edge. If you ain't rationalizing, you ain't wagering, because you are putting that money into savings bonds or something! 

13 FO+ Picks

In reply to by DIVISION

FO+ Picks went 7-3 this week, with no picks on three games. And yes, FO+ picks had Titans to cover despite their low overall DVOA.

33 Aaron.

In reply to by Aaron Schatz

You picked the bottom-feeding Niners over the Cardinals.  The talent disparity on these teams is vast.  Even without Murray, Hopkins, Green did you really see the Niners winning that game?    That's where you lost credibility.  

I bet on underdogs to win straight up, so points don't matter.  

I bet on the Titans to beat the Rams...

Being successful at betting is more than statistics and trends; there's a psychological aspect that you people are missing.  A team's motivation or lack thereof plays a crucial role in how these games play out.  I wish we had a way to quantify that, but as someone who works in the Psychology field, my insight has informed my betting.

I read your Walk Through, but your analysis is often too conventional.  Analytics are one aspect of picking games, but should never be the only one.


35 @DIVISION FO helpfully posts…

In reply to by DIVISION

@DIVISION FO helpfully posts its picks ahead of time. One can come to a conclusion regarding their picking performance as a result.  You are always welcome to do the same and post ALL of your picks ahead of time. 

4 Ty'Son Williams?!

Such disrespect for Jerry Jacobs. Losing the Undrafted Rookie of the Midseason award to a guy who is struggling to see the field and isn't even a rookie.

You know, Jerry Jacobs. Lions UDFA cornerback. Filling in with the injuries to Okudah & Melifonwu. Beat out Bobby Price for the starting job.

10 Sound and Fury

I'm a lifelong Packers fan and Rodgers is my favorite Packer in my 55 years of viewing games. I watched Friday's interview with a blend of fascination and horror as Rodgers dug himself a crater in response to his quarantine. 

If Rodgers wanted to be taken seriously, he should have appeared, groomed, at a press conference with his "medical team" to take questions and provide answers. Instead, he sat in a tee shirt on his couch, stringy hair hanging below a knit cap, looking like a 37 year old stoner while talking to McAfee, a 40-ish adolescent standing behind a desk filled with bobbleheads supported by a staff of 20-ish bobbleheads. Rodgers looked like he had taken a cue from Q.

Two sections of the interview provided clarity to Rodgers' personality. Rodgers intentionally mangled the MLK Jr quote, written by MLK Jr in a jail in the segregated south, housed there because of the color of his skin, so Rodgers could justify and give credence to his predilection to ignore rules he deems unjust. In the other moment, Rodgers described how he submitted 500 pages of internet printouts to the league office fully expecting the league's brass to review his online research and grant him special dispensation in face of the players association covid agreement and CDC guidelines. Rodgers' hubris combined with a blindness to the absurdity of that submission was eye opening.

To whence, from here? Rodgers had just come off a huge high, defeating the unbeaten Cardinals on the road on a short week with his top receivers missing. He was lauded nationally for this performance. Days later, he's been humiliated on the national stage, his own doing. Importantly, his sponsorship with a local healthcare provider was dropped within 24 hours. State Farm apparently pulled all Rodgers ads, at least in the Green Bay market. How does this fuel Rodgers' grievances?

With the season going so well and Rodgers appearing happy, I thought chances were good that Rodgers and Packer brass would reach an agreement to extend his Packer career. Now, I think anything short of a Super Bowl win and Rodgers is likely out of here. Subsequent victories this season won't chip away enough of the chip on his shoulder for the dismissal of his research and the nobility of his stand against unjust rules. 

Rodgers will get his weekly 45-minute warm tongue bath from McAfee, be lauded by the conspiracy theorists, the FREEDOM! folks, be praised by Joe Rogan's crowd. That adulation won't be enough for Rodgers, who will only feel irritation that the majority won't share in that praise, who see the flaws that Rodgers so clearly presented himself. Rodgers will leave Green Bay after this season, his self-own the main reason, and Adams will split as well. That 45 minute interview Friday changed the future of the Packer franchise. 

14 Preach it, Fury!

In reply to by PackerPete

I still held a thimble-full of respect for Rodgers based on his play and how he maneuvered the Packers into paying for his "last dance" fantasy. No more. He's shown he's just another privileged guy who squeals with rage in response to thwarted entitlement. 

I live in Broncos country, and fans here are praying the team somehow swings a trade for him in the off-season. They should be careful what they wish for. The Aaron Rodgers experience would be nothing like what they enjoyed a decade ago with Peyton Manning.

17 I’ll be honest, for a long…

In reply to by PackerPete

I’ll be honest, for a long time I’ve thought of Rodgers as the epitome of how society ignores the bad of someone when they have that one item of greatness. It’s why athletes in general get a pass on so many misdeeds as long as they perform on the field. 

In my opinion, it’s the same reason why Ruggs can find himself driving 156 mph drunk despite having access to free rides and a bank account that means he doesn’t need those free rides. It’s the same reason that hundreds of people ignored glaring signs of Jerry Sandusky’s misdeeds since he was perceived to be the best at his job. And unfortunately, there are many many more examples.

In this case, there’s probably no damage caused by his idiocy. That’s called luck. 

So honestly as a packers fan, I’ll take a decade of losing if we can ditch this highly talented, HOF, loser. I don’t really care that there’s no known viable alternative. Get to work Gutekunst - and fix your organization while you’re at it. It’s unacceptable that you just ignored this stuff. Fail to fix it and I’ll be looking for your firing too. 

22 It’s the same reason that…

It’s the same reason that hundreds of people ignored glaring signs of Jerry Sandusky’s misdeeds since he was perceived to be the best at his job.

That's not entirely right. It's really common for predators to literally cultivate an image that makes what they do be total cognitive dissonance - even if they're not famous (they'll ingratiate themselves in the community, etc.). There's a selection effect there: if they don't, they're caught quickly. There's a long piece by a researcher on this subject that came out around that time stressing this (practically begging people to change the idea that people must've been willfully ignoring things, because the system cannot rely on people recognizing signs on their own).

It's dangerous to think of this as "rich/famous people can get away with it" because plenty of non-celebrities get away with it, too, simply because people think "oh so-and-so couldn't possibly." In Sandusky's case, specifically, there was a CPS agent who literally dismissed a parent's complaint because in his experience 60+-year olds don't just become predators (yes, those were very close to his exact words).

25 Well

Equating this to Sandusky and Ruggs felonies is almost as silly as Rodgers equating his situation to MLK. 

Rodgers is dumb and spread a bunch of lies but in November 2021, if you're against vaccines, you always will be more or less. He was just preaching to the choir of idiots that were already spouting such stupid reasons. 

Maybe looking back at past comments in a different light but the "bad" that was generally spouted about him beforehand was always silly. This is truly the worst thing he's done publicly that we know of. That doesn't mean his family is justified for whatever they did to piss him off, or whatever other thing we supposedly turned a blind eye to, "for a long time" as youre implying.

And speaking of Ruggs, who will deserve whatever he gets, the notion that he just shouldn't drink and drive painstakingly ignores how drinking impairs decision making. Telling someone that while theyre in that state does little. Literally everyone knows drinking and driving is bad. Even Ruggs knows. But yet it still happens because that's what drinking does. But that's another convo that many don't want to have about the dangers of alcohol outweighing the benefits but whatever, that'll always be a losing battle since prohibition ended. Shout out to Darren Waller and Maxx Crosby for getting sober though. No one chooses to be an alcoholic but it's good to see people give it up when they realize it's problematic l.

29 To clarify, I did not equate…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

To clarify, I did not equate those scandals. I specifically noted that the impact was totally different. I did draw a correlation between the enabling behavior at play in all these situations, and I stand by that. 

To your point about the history with Rodgers, I could give many examples of his repeated history with pettiness and I think it’s striking that he has played with so many players but has virtually none who say positive things about him as a person. They usually dodge any question other than how good he is as a player. But, also here’s an article from a couple years back that goes into a number of examples:


31 I think the past couple years disprove that

They didn't enable him and did the opposite actually, apparently ignoring him in negotiations, etc.  

so many players but has virtually none who say positive things about him as a person.

That's simply not true. The only two that consistently hate him are, specifically, Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley. Everyone actually does come to his defense. Or rather did. That article specifically was combatted by others, both current and former (and former have no reason to defend him). Like seriously, the author seems to have a weird vendetta against Rodgers. Took a good shot at him when they were at their lowest to explain the decline.

The only thing you can really look back in hindsight and question is probably hanging out with Barstool employees and associating with them. He's clearly a weirdo, like his predecessor and so many other great QBs, but bringing up Sandusky and Ruggs is a weird way to compare enabling. 

30 Let's not forget the bit…

In reply to by PackerPete

Let's not forget the bit about believing in "autonomy over your own body". Of course we all believe in having autonomy over our own bodies. But our autonomy ends where the next person's autonomy begins. In other words, it's a nice sophism, but it doesn't get you out of having to follow the rules.

34 Boomer or Gen-X?

In reply to by PackerPete

You sound more conservative than me and I'm a Gen-X'er!

If you have been watching the Packers since the dawn of man, you should know that Rodgers is a narcissist who does what's in his best interest.  It's apparent through his relationships and how he portrays himself in the media.  Of course, McAfee enables him because he likes the exposure.

Your franchise wasted years of his prime and that's not lost on him.  I expect him to leave the Packers in the off-season.

Pittsburgh would definitely appreciate him more than Green Bay, Wisconsin.

40 Very well said. I've read…

In reply to by PackerPete

Very well said. I've read that post a couple times.

Just some pre-amble and clarification on my stance as Rodgers as a player
I have not been a Packers fan for as long because I'm not quite yet into my 50's so I just don't have the years yet. I'm still partial to the "beautiful violence" that is football so while Rodgers has indeed been one of my favorite players to watch, offensive players will always need to be a step up to pass a defensive player as my favorite to watch. Of course offensive players tend to stick around longer, and be involved more integrally in more plays than defenders, so have a larger impact on impressions so it all evens out. Rodgers is definitely fun to watch and definitely one of my all time favorites to watch and certainly has had a much larger impact on the teams success than probably anyone else I've watched. But he could never physically dominate someone the way White did at times because QB's aren't in a position to do that and I enjoy seeing a defender beat multiple players and get the sack more than I enjoy a beautiful pass. I realize that means I probably should have followed in one of my older brothers footsteps and followed the Bears (I did work for them a few summers at training camps) because they tend to have better defensive players. But anyway I'm way far away from my point...

Rodgers has always had a chip on his shoulder or an axe to grind or insert your favorite idiom for holding a grudge or feeling persecuted or insulted. He still to this day carries around not being drafted #1 and falling so far down in the draft. Something that is so far in the past he has fans playing football in High School that weren't born when it happened. So I wasn't surprised that he was an idiot and didn't get vaccinated. I don't buy his I'm allergic to some of the ingredients either, that's so exceedingly rare (I think it's like 0.05% of the population) that if you hear it, it generally is a lie used to just cover your ass. He's bought into the hogwash propaganda about the COVID vaccines for whatever reason and spouted several of the planted talking points and thought terminating cliches from the anti side. Even if that wasn't one of the lies he told there are plenty of others, that one in particular just bothers me a lot, it's just a pet peeve and perhaps irrational though I have my reasons to justify my annoyances to myself. Maybe I should ease up on Rodgers. LOL

Where I do differ some with your assessment
I didn't expect him to come back after this year, even if the team won the Super Bowl. This of course just makes that even more likely. He used what little leverage players have (a separate issue and I tend to be on the side of the players) to allow him to get out of the contract after this season and control his career. Knowing the team was helping him to maintain his deception that he was vaccinated actually tells me a lot about how much they were doing in good faith for him. I guess suspensions are off the table but if the NFL doesn't throw some fines his and the teams way then they might as well throw their protocols out. It also seems pretty clear the org is hiding their true feelings about Love and that they know they made as mistake and yet won't admit it, clearly they are pretty good at covering shit up. Even with that though I just didn't expect Rodgers back. Murphy and Gutekunst don't seem to have a ton of fucks to give about some things and are seem to be pretty stubborn themselves and after they negotiated his exit strategy I figured it was over.

He's not the only difficult personality in the league and teams and fans turn blind eyes to bad behavior on things worse than this for talent way less than his. So yeah he'll still have however long of a football career he wants. He doesn't seem to be all that hard to get along with for other players. A couple of cases of players who really don't like him, but also plenty of evidence of other players that do. He's not a locker room cancer by any measure though, not even the court of public opinion since the NFL bottom line still has fans that will actually like him more after this moronic stunt he pulled. So you aren't likely to divide a locker room with him anymore than any other issue could. So it impacts his football career very little. It might ruin his post football career in similar ways that Favre ruined his, though for different reasons. Of course unless his financial acumen is even worse than his medical acumen he doesn't need a post football career, and hasn't for a long time. He would need to be really bad with money for him to not have financial security for him and his family for a long time.

I figured Adams would split regardless as well. He's had a season where most of the passes thrown to him were from Brett Hundley, so he knows what crappy QB play will be like. He's seen how this front office tends to handle vets looking for a 3rd or 4th contract and knows he can get more money somewhere else depending on how much the money really matters to him. He likely figured Rodgers wouldn't be coming back so why commit. Even if Rodgers did come back I think that while Adams loves being the man he actually had more fun playing the game on a team that had another legit receiver. He did play with Nelson and a not past his prime Cobb before. I've always gotten the impression that he had more fun on those teams and that he was bothered nearly as much as Rodgers over lack of another receiver. Adams hasn't, won't, and can't make the kind of money Rodgers has, positional value, career longevity, and nature of endorsements being what they are. He has made enough that he too should never have to worry about money again but if he wants to maximize his career earnings that would be hard to do staying in Green Bay given their history, sure this particular front office hasn't been in charge that long but signs point to treating contracts beyond the 2nd one in a similar fashion to the Thompson era. If he wants to maximize his chances of playing on a team with multiple legit receiving threats that also won't be in Green Bay. He could also find a team with a QB that is as good or better than Rodgers. No doubt Rodgers is still one of the best to ever play the position and one of the best to still currently be playing the position and has had seasons where he was the best that season. But how big is the gap between Mahomes, Rodgers, Brady, Prescoot, Allen, Murray? I'm not saying there isn't one, but they are out there so he might be able to get very high QB play, have another receiver and get more money than GB would give. Or find whatever weighting he prefers to those factors to maximize his personal return. Regardless I have doubted for a while based on what I guess about him, that Green Bay is the place he will do that even if they keep Rodgers. 

What does that all boil down to
That 45 minute interview may have helped seal the course of the franchise, but I was pretty sure the franchise was on that course already. We'll never know if it was the last the straw or not. It does clear up any lingering ambiguities for folks that still had them though I'm sure. In a way it may make it easier for the team when they do move on from him next year.

42 Totally agree on the idea…

Totally agree on the idea that if this situation has sealed the fate of the Packers/Rodgers relationship, it's mostly through clearing up those ambiguities. You never know what could happen in the next few months that could actually alter the trajectory, but this is definitely where things stand right now.

God, I was so annoyed by how he talked about how he was a "critical thinker" before basically regurgitating a copy+paste of the same few things that have been spammed online for months and literally name-dropping Joe Rogan. Lots of great words from you and others in these comments here, and from Mike, of course.

44 Every person over the past…

Every person over the past year who has tried to convince me that vaccines are dangerous has used some variation of "you need to be a critical thinker" or "you need to do your own research" .  And they've all pulled out papers they've printed out and tried to convince me I need to read them before I let myself/my child be vaccinated.

There's no point in getting upset or thinking less of them. It's just how their brains work.  They truly believe the medical establishment is trying to push a dangerous product on the population and that they've learned the truth.  I'm certain that they're legitimately baffled by why I "just don't get it".

Like politics and religion, vaccines and conspiracy theories should not be discussed at friendly get togethers.

51  They truly believe the…

 They truly believe the medical establishment is trying to push a dangerous product on the population and that they've learned the truth.

It's just elitism. People want to believe that they're somehow smarter because they've figured out something the rest of the population hasn't. Same reason people believe in aliens, flat earth, ghosts, and God knows what else. I'm just glad people used "critical thinker" because it makes it easy to identify and weed out. If they would've said "scientific thinker" I might be goin' on a rampage.

11 Miami oline is terrible

I believe Myles Gaskin 20 rushes for 34 yards and 6 catches for 23 yards deserves more credit for Miami's huge win. At this point, Tua doesn't deserve to be stuck in Miami. Anywhere else in the NFL, but the Texans, and he's better off. 

12 Well, PackerPete...

...stole my thunder; thanks for writing quickly, my writing is boring as hell.

Two things:

1. I admire PackerPete's optimism; but people do not change their character in a couple months, and definitely not while surrounded by sycophants and while having more money than God. From Rogers' point of view, he is doing the right thing.

2. Tanier made one mistake, using the word "fib." That word is defined as "a lie, typically an unimportant one." This is not unimportant. It is a public health matter. The Packer organization is being affected, and that's not even the important part. Rogers comes into (very) close contact with more people in a week than I do in a month (possibly even a year). If any of them did not realize the truth or were taken in by his terminological BS, in my opinion that is fraud.

Goodness, I like reading these columns. Why can't someone write news like Tanier?

15 Replacing Derrick Henry

I have previously stated that Derrick Henry is the most overrated injury in football.

With my apologies, I must remember that there is competition, so sorry Christian McCaffrey as your team has no offense with or without you due to having Sam Darnold as QB.

With a similar apology, I call to you Saquon Barkley, as your team also does nothing with or without you.  Truly a completely irrelevant number 2 pick in the draft, you are even irrelevant in fantasy football drafts, with your second consecutive year of injuries.

Finally, my apologies to my hometown Ravens, what would we do without you JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards?  Win games by letting Lamar have the ball more of course.

RB's are useless.

Then we move to QB, look at what the Packers look like without Rodgers.  Seattle without Wilson.  Give me my starting QB, and I will deal with 15 or more injuries like the Packers, Rams and Ravens.


20 RB's are useless. I'm…

RB's are useless.

I'm totally fine with that so long as the obvious corollary is "offensive linemen are the most underappreciated position in all of sports."

Well, at least by fans and sportswriters who wait years to induct obvious generational talent in favor of Some Random RB. Certainly not by the Titans, who have more cap space dedicated to their OL than any other team in football.

23 Yes, the running game is…

Yes, the running game is predicated on the ability of the offense line, and yes, the QB, as the box is not stacked against great QB's.  Look at how Mahomes is now defended. 

26 I agree with this for the…

I agree with this for the most part; if you have monster line like Indy, you can just steamroll defensive lines made up of high DT draft picks like they are nothing (witness Nelson & Co. last Thursday).  However, you need a RB who can take what is given them.  Sometimes you need a RB who can take what isn't given them, but that isn't going to win you as many games as Brady or a Manning.

21 you can cherry pick every week about useless positions

Last week it was in fact QB - Mike White, Cooper Rush, Trevor Simien; who needs a starting QB?

This week, well, Odell isn't a good comparison to Henry, but still, who needs a WR?. Chubb and his supporters can definitely give you a counter on how important running backs are. You can look at the Denver Dallas result, who needs an elite EDGE? Steelers last week, who needs a FG kicker? 

Point is, if the Titans D-line doesn't step up in their most inspired performance in a LONG time, it's a different story. If Darnold wasn't beyond terrible and beset by extra queasiness against his arch-dominator (nemesis isn't really the right word), maybe that's a different story too. Saquon, well, yeah, especially with his injury history he wasn't worth a 2 overall. Well guess what? I am going to go out on a limb here, neither was Zach Wilson!

24 RB's are always useless.  …

RB's are always useless.   Just because a few backup QB's came up with victories does not undermine that QB is by far and away the most important position in football.  It is worth 15-20 injured guys on GB, BALT, and LAR.

Ask Dallas last year what life was without Zak, or Seattle this year without Russell Wilson.  Ask Jim Caldwell at 2-14 and then fired how life was after Peyton Manning.  

36 just leave him be

Guys, Heidelberg just likes going to insane extremes for the attention. No point even in discussing, never mind debating with him. He's kinda a Dwight Schrute.

37 gotcha

yeah, insane extremes are ok for an argument starting point, but if you're going to insist on staying there, well, that's what facebook is for I think.

38 Insane extremes

In reply to by NYChem

Interesting critique, especially when the head of the site, Aaron Schatz has said all of the following:

1.  Based upon DVOA with Derrick Henry, I do not expect the playoff odds to be adjusted.  My take:  If Aaron Schatz does not feel that Derrick Henry does not move the bar on playoff odds, how can any RB?

Now we can look at the report and see no mention of Henry.  However, Tua Tagovailoa is on the chart, which means that the author of the chart believe that Tua means more to Miami winning than does Derrick Henry to Tennessee winning.

2.  When I questioned last year the downgrading to the playoff odds reports in equal amounts of Jimmy Garoppolo,  Michael Thomas and Christian McCaffrey, Aaron responded that he was skeptical about McCaffrey.

3.  When I questioned the downgrading of Baltimore right before the season started due to the loss of JK Dobbins, Aaron responded that the downgrade was due to a formula that included lost DYAR, but he will review in the offseason to see how DYAR should be treated between different positions.

As far as Facebook or social media goes, I have no accounts.  I find intelligent conversation on this site, and this is the only website on which I post.  Posting on here is a hobby for me, just like watching sports, mostly football, baseball and basketball.

I use my real name on here, you are all always free to look me up and give me a call, I enjoy intelligent, intellectual discussions. Yes, I will actually take a call from any of you. I find any of you worthy of a conversation, regardless as to whether or not I agree or disagree with the author of an opinion posted.

If you team has a game in Baltimore and you want to visit, I would be glad to meet.  For you Ravens fans already in town, this is also an invitation.

Pat, specifically with whom I had a spat last week, I know a good place in Delaware to meet and have friendly conversation.

I miss my days in college and my 10 years as a stadium vendor where I had a large group participating in sports conversations.

You will notice that I stick to football on here and have not participated in the Jon Gruden, DeShaun Watson, Henry Ruggs or Aaron Rodgers discussions.  I believe that these are all men involved in important stories regarding football and life in general, but feel that the discussions on this site get too emotional with lots of eggs and stones being thrown.  I have stayed out of the crossfire.

Some of the intense conversations has caused us to lose theslothook, who I feel was one of the most intelligent and knowledgeable contributors.  If you are reading this, please return.

I am always up for a discussion.  So if anyone would like to show me the value of RB's, I will be glad to listen and agree, or counter.

I would love to see anyone give me a top 10 list of running backs in the past 10 years, and explain what a great difference they made to their team.  I will specifically challenge you Big Richie and NYChem.

Sorry I have no idea what the reference to Dwight Schrute is despite looking up online as I have never watched the office.

How angry can people get to the fact that I do not value running backs, but do value going for 4th down?  Amazing how intense things get sometimes, we are talking about a game for crying out loud.  

41 The problem that I have with…

In reply to by jheidelberg

The problem that I have with "running backs are useless" and "running backs don't matter" (another common one) is that they don't really express the point correctly with the added bonus of being trite and degrading to the players on the field.

Stealing a term from (I think) Josh Hermsmeyer, it's more accurate to say "running back is a solved problem." Teams know how to scout and coach running backs well enough such that most every team is at least 2 and sometimes even 3 deep with guys who can fill the role totally adequately in the NFL. And the types of elite RBs who can tilt the field in college football aren't really able to have the same impact on the NFL game thanks to the quality of the other players on the field and some of the rule differences between college and the pros.

So for many reasons, the RB position is mostly fungible in the modern NFL. But do you think a team should truly buy in to the idea that RBs are useless and stop rostering them? If not, I think it's pretty insulting to the guys who are out there on the field to say they're useless. Just my opinion.

45 OK I shall rephrase

Dank 067 has legitimate points and criticism, thus I shall rephrase:

Running backs are fungible

Running backs are easily replaced

Running backs matter less than any other position in the NFL

Injuries to running backs cost teams little or nothing

Now having said that, with all the ragging by FO and myself, Baltimore is number 2 in rushing DVOA (meaning that they are second, do not confuse with other meaning of number 2).  Baltimore was number 3 in rushing DVOA in 2020, so my preseason point that losing Dobbins would not impact the Baltimore team has so far proven correct.

RB's are very dependent upon others to succeed, specifically in the case of Baltimore, unless of course you believe that off the street Murray, Freeman and Bell are a great combo.  Williams for his limited role is no prize either.

In addition:

RB's should rarely if ever be drafted in the top rounds

RB's correlate little with winning

RB's should rarely if ever be paid more than NFL minimum

I would hardly consider anything stated in this post to be an "insane extreme."




46 To be clear, you're…

To be clear, you're conflating "guy who carries the ball on running plays" with "NFL running back, player at the position."

You keep pointing to carries, yardage, and rushing DVOA and then pointing to the players changing and saying "look, nothing changes." It's a huge assumption to make that the only effect that a player has on a team game is the plays the random NFL gamebook decides he's directly involved with.

The "draft in top rounds" and "pay NFL minimum" is a bit of an extreme position to take based on that assumption.

RB's correlate little with winning

I'm gonna translate this into "RB injuries correlate little with losing" because the statement on its face is really weird. And while this is true, it's also true for virtually every position except quarterback. But I think this is mainly true because of team construction: every team needs a quarterback, not every team needs a great running back or great linemen or a great tight end or a great wide receiver.

47 What you're missing is that:…

What you're missing is that:

1. RBs get to carry the ball

2. TV cameras follow RBs carrying the ball

3. RBs score TDs

4. RBs feature regularly in game highlights on Twitter and ESPN

5. Casual fans know the names of RBs

6. RBs regularly get elected to the Hall of Fame


The only other players who achieve any of these things are QBs, occasionally WR1s and once-per-generation TEs.  Therefore only QBs, a few WR1s, and the rarest of TEs are as valuable to a team's (fans) as RBs.


Okay, all kidding aside, I think the argument that RBs are fungible can be overstated because for any position it's better to have a better-than-replacement player.  It's just really hard to measure the value any given player brings to a 53-player team.  RB stats are RB+OL stats so if an RB goes down and someone else takes their place it's not surprising that the results for the new RB will be similar because the OL part of the equation hasn't changed.  It doesn't necessarily follow that you should spend your money/draft picks elsewhere, though, unless you can define the extra value you're getting from acquiring a better-than-replacement value player in another position, instead.  Stats are really bad at assessing what that marginal value would be for getting a better G or a better LB or a better S, for example.


48 It's also worth noting that…

It's also worth noting that it's only really the fans (well, and media) that somehow don't seem to understand this. Teams don't overvalue RBs anymore. Looking at, say, Derrick Henry, Ezekiel Elliot, Saquon Barkley - that just totally misses the point. 

Most RBs are paid like crap. The only positions that earn less than running backs are punters, long snappers, and fullbacks. Centers are better paid, and they're the most underrepresented position in the Hall of Fame.

There's an argument to be made that they're overdrafted, absolutely, but there's an argument to be made there in terms of immediacy because of the rapid learning curve for running backs.

49 Response to two contributors above

I'm gonna translate this into "RB injuries correlate little with losing"   Yes, that would be a good translation.

I'll agree with both of you on separating out stats, whether it be RB or any other position.  It is indeed a team game.  That is the problem that I have with DYAR and individual player DVOA.

I understand about the "casual" fan, I am interested in people on this site, the serious fan that can look past the glory of all of those 1-10 yard TD runs and see that the RG and RT, and TE, or whatever offensive line position that you like blew everyone off of the ball as the RB waltzes into the end zone untouched.

What amazes me about football is despite how important the QB is, so many games come down to one play, some unsung hero (good time for your weekly I hate kickers comment Wil Allen in response to this post).  One of my favorite games last year was the Jets beating the Rams in part because the Jets punter made a tackle in the open field on a punt return at the 40 yard line, saving a TD, the Jets defense made a stop and the Jets won.

Every man is important, but again, GB, LAR and BALT, can field virtually an entire 53 man team between them with injured players, but before Rodgers was one of the missing in action, the wins kept piling up for all of them, Rodgers, Stafford 2021 version and Jackson make for a lot of wins.

Of course the argument can be made that Stafford has finally made it to "the next level" because the Rams move him up or conversely, that the Lions held him back.

Stafford is better as a Ram, Goff is better as a Ram, Stafford is worse as a Lion, Goff is worse as a Lion.  Seems logical and unsurprising to me.  Its difficult to throw successfully on endless obvious passing downs, trailing by 2-3 scores in the 4th quarter in many games.


50  Every man is important,…

Every man is important, but again, GB, LAR and BALT, can field virtually an entire 53 man team between them with injured players, but before Rodgers was one of the missing in action, the wins kept piling up for all of them,

There's a selection bias here. Teams plan for most positional injuries, but the entire league can't plan for QB injuries because there aren't enough of them. Some teams get lucky and have really high-end backups. In Green Bay's case specifically, it's likely even worse thanks to (Aaron "I ain't no Mr." Rodgers).

You can point to every team and find a position they go light on, and when they do get nailed by injuries at a position they went light on, it's a total effing disaster. But basically every team goes light at QB. So when you average over the league, the teams that go light/heavy average each other out, but far less so at QB.

Plus there's another effect: good teams are good. When you find a team that's good at identifying talent at the most important positions, hey, guess what? They're good at identifying talent at other positions, too.

52 It wasn't intentional selection bias

I used these three teams because Baltimore and GB at one point recently, were leading in IR players.  The Rams will set a record for most players used in a season, they are only 7 away according to the SNF broadcast crew.  Of course now that I look deeper, it is that the Rams simply cut guys due to non-performance, not injury.  Now LA is filled with NFL wannabes in addition to Hollywood wannabes.

Part of the Ravens long term success is having a very deep roster, and part of why they are always good at the non-Tucker special teams in my opinion.  I would say that over the Ravens history that they have had the best 40-53 men, along with NE, despite having to constantly replace these guys with more guys off of the street.  Of course no way to prove that, just simply that the team wins and wins with Joe Flacco as their all time great QB before Jackson showed up.  This is a rare year in which my saying, "Just put 11 guys on the field in a Ravens uniform and good defense will be played," has not worked.

53 No, by "selection bias" I…

No, by "selection bias" I wasn't talking about your choice of teams. I meant that the fact that QB injuries have an outsized effect relative to the average of other positions is because you're selecting the most scarce position. If you somehow could identify teams that went light at OL and look at the effect of injuries there, I'd bet it's much stronger. But that's way hard, because "light" is a combination of numbers, experience, talent, and risk.

I used these three teams because Baltimore and GB at one point recently, were leading in IR players.

Side note: it's way too early to tell, but I wouldn't be surprised if with the new rules, better teams end up having more total IR time - at least, they should. There are multiple reasons why good teams might be more aggressive at putting players on IR: they're trying to win, so the excess cost doesn't matter, and they're better, so there's also a good chance they know of a player worth the roster spot, too.


Part of the Ravens long term success is having a very deep roster

Yes, that's what I meant by "good teams are good." I mean, you said "Jackson make[s] for a lot of wins," and I actually don't really agree: I think Jackson's success comes more from the Ravens than himself. I'm not convinced he'd have success elsewhere.

I mean, I actually think there are probably as few QBs who can just go and make a real difference on any team as there are RBs. Definitely not a ton (like 10x) more. It's just that the talent falloff is slower.

28 Picking nits

Great article as always Mike, just a couple of corrections. Unless I'm mistaken, Stafford threw 1 pick-six, not 2. The first one might as well have been a pick-six cuz the Titans got the ball at the 2 and scored on the next play. Also, the final score was 28-16, not 28-9.

39 Aaron Rodgers was my friend

I knew Aaron Rodgers.  Aaron Rodgers was my friend.  Aaron Rodgers is no Tom Brady!

The Buccaneers gave the league the blueprint to slow down Mahomes and the rest of the league has copied it.  KC doesn't have the roster to adapt.

If you are going to evaluate selections against the spread, make them in advance of the games.  Kudos to FO+.  7-3 weeks are rare.