Are Houston Texans Already on the Clock?
NFL Week 4 - The Houston Texans look like they belong in some upstart minor league. They're coached by a relic from the turn of the 21st century. Their quarterback is an overpromoted clipboard jockey. Their roster is full of veterans with "so that's where he ended up" name recognition. Everything about the Texans screams USFL. For the second year in a row.
The 0-2-1 Texans are now the favorites to end up with the first overall pick in the 2023 draft according to our Football Outsiders playoff odds simulations. Yet they are also just a few plays away from being 3-0. They would have beaten the Chicago Bears in Week 3 if not for a goal-line Davis Mills interception, settling for a 23-yard field goal, and other scattered miscues in a 23-20 loss. They might have beaten the Denver Broncos in Week 2 if they punched in a touchdown from first-and-goal from the 4-yard line. And the Texans could have beaten the Colts a dozen different ways when they held a 20-3 fourth-quarter lead in the season-opener that ended in a tie.
We can pull the ol' "a play here and a play there" routine with most NFL teams right now. The point is not that the Texans are secretly good, simply that they are not as bad as their record, and it's time to come up with an improvement plan to make them better.
That's right folks: TankWatch is back!
TankWatch: Houston Texans
The Texans Story So Far: After appointing Lovie Smith as a placeholder coach for an organization incapable of making up its mind, the Texans successfully sparked an offseason bidding war for Deshaun Watson's services. It was like some minor comic book villain getting Lex Luthor and Brainiac to out-bid each other for a lump of Kryptonite, and it worked: the Texans pried three first-round picks and change from the Cleveland Browns. The team then added a deep and promising draft class headlined by cornerback Derek Stingley to a Nick Caserio-built roster of bargain-bin veterans.
The results so far? A team just good enough to lose.
What's Going Right? A few things:
- The draft class looks great. Safety Jalen Pitre intercepted two passes and recorded a sack against the Bears. Running back Dameon "Three Pitbulls" Pierce has become a fantasy favorite and folk hero with his Beast Mode rushing style. Stingley is having a typical early season for a rookie cornerback: some penalties and mistakes, but plenty of opportunities to flash his ability to stick with top receivers. Guard Kenyon Green is holding his own as a starter.
- Caserio's latest batch of stopgap veterans, headlined by Jerry Hughes, is also playing rather well. O.J. Howard caught two touchdown passes in the season-opener. Steven Nelson has been fine opposite Stingley.
- Lovie Smith's beard looks like freshly fallen snow on a cedar grove at sunset.
- Everything looks professional. The Texans no longer feel like a sidebar project to help team vizier Jack Easterby sell Christian comedy improv videos. That's remarkable after a winter in which Easterby tried his darndest to promote Josh McCown from backup quarterback to head coach.
What's Going Wrong? Of course there's a lot here:
- The run defense is pitiful. The Texans rank 30th in run defensive DVOA. The Bears (admittedly an excellent rushing team) gashed them with runs/scrambles of 52, 41, 29, and 19 yards in Week 3.
- The Texans goal-to-go offense ranks 31st in DVOA, ahead of only the Denver Fumbles and Field Goals Club. Davis double-clutched before throwing an interception into the end zone against the Bears. Pierce is a bruiser, but he's also a fumble-prone rookie, and opponents know what's coming when he lines up in an I-formation at the goal line.
- Everything is too conservative. Smith kept his safeties deep for the entire Colts comeback, even when Frank Reich countered by running Jonathan Taylor late in the fourth quarter. Pep Hamilton's offense is content to run Pierce and Rex Burkhead into the ground while trying to open up the middle of the field for Mills. There are moments of flair, like a fake punt against the Bears, but the Texans play every week like they are trying not to lose.
- Mills is a creaky journeyman veteran disguised as a second-year prospect: a less mistake-prone Mike Glennon. He'll limit anything the Texans try to do offensively.
What Needs to be Done? We're not going to pretend the McNair family will sell the team or Easterby will leave to to start a TikTok ministry. So let's propose some solutions from within the McNair/Easterby Cinematic Universe.
- The Texans must determine what they want to be. The Texans only promoted Smith because they spent so much time flirting with McCown that they were about to get pulled over for driving 120 mph past the Rooney Rule. The Texans will move on from Lovie in the offseason, and that will be an opportunity to finally establish a post-Deshaun/J.J. Watt/Bill O'Brien identity. Will they seek a Mini McVay? Someone from the Andy Reid tree? A college hotshot? A defensive coach? Some of those choices sound sketchy, but failure to choose would be the worst choice of all.
- The Texans must plan to draft a quarterback. Giving Mills an extended 2022 audition is fine; there's a slim chance that he will develop into more than a bottom-quartile starter. But with two first-round picks in 2023, and their own pick likely to be high, the Texans must position themselves as major players in the Bryce Young/C.J. Stroud sweepstakes.
- The Texans must establish a core. There's not much young talent behind this year's rookies and some stray Nico Collins types. The Texans must spend 2022 developing their Stingley/Pitre/Pierce building blocks while trying to find other players under 24 who can grow alongside them. That may mean phasing out some Hughes/Nelson/Desmond King/Christian Kirksey types as the season wears on. That won't be a popular decision among Caserio (the NFL's greatest secret shopper), Lovie (veterans are safe), or Easterby (he's heard of those guys!), but someone's gotta make the call.
- Create a coherent cap plan. The Texans have $49 million in 2023 cap space: not bad, but not outstanding for a last-place team with no A-tier veteran stars. Much of their 2023 cap space is tied up in left tackle Laremy Tunsil ($35 million) and Brandin Cooks ($26.6 million). That's fine—they are two of the Texans' best players, and both could prove invaluable when developing a real quarterback prospect—but all those AAA-affiliate veterans are nickel-and-diming away the Texans' future budget. Caserio should switch philosophies from spackling together the roster with veterans to embracing a youth movement and saving money for future tactical free-agent strikes. Again: an unpopular change in Houston which must occur.
How Bad are the Texans? DVOA ranks them as the second-best team in the AFC South through three games! Of course, even the world's biggest Colts skeptic (me) thinks Matt Ryan and company will figure things out to a degree, and Mike Vrabel could take the field with his arms and legs cut off and win a few Titans games. But the Texans are mediocre by design, and they need to take a long look at the early-season jolt the Jaguars are enjoying. The climb from laughingstock to credibility does not need to be that long. The Texans just need to stop snoozing through gap years.
What's Next for the Texans? They host the Chargers, who are so injury-crippled that Texans +4.5 looks tasty. Then they visit the Jaguars, who may be huffing a little helium right now. For self-esteem purposes, the Texans need to split that series. For draft position purposes? Their lay-low-and-lose-late tactics are working just fine.
A Brief Dive into the Victory Formation
This quirky video from Quirky Research crossed Walkthrough's desk on Wednesday morning. It shows the 1980 Houston Oilers attempting to run out the clock at the end of a 13-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
On this date in 1980, the Oilers tried to kneel out the clock but didn't quite know what a kneeldown play should look like. pic.twitter.com/bZcNs8J4X7
— Quirky Research (@QuirkyResearch) September 28, 2022
Bum Phillips first orders an awkward-looking handoff to Rob Carpenter from a full-house backfield, then a Ken Stabler flop, then another awkward handoff to Carpenter. Carpenter stands perfectly still after each handoff and waits to be tackled. A fracas erupts after the second handoff, and the offsetting personal fouls actually stop the clock, defeating the whole purpose of the plays.
So why didn't Stabler just kneel?
The quarterback kneel and the "victory formation" were just becoming widely accepted as of 1980. As this Wikipedia entry (our primary source) notes, stadium game clocks were not standardized until 1976; referees kept the time, and coaches only had a rough estimate of exactly how many seconds were left. And the idea that anything which needlessly endangers a quarterback is inherently foolish is also a rather new idea. Teams used quarterback sneaks to kill the clock after the two-minute warning for most of football history. Kneels happened when there were only a few seconds left, but they weren't a popular strategy among rugged old-school coaches.
The Miracle of the Meadowlands changed all of that in November of 1978, less than two years before that Oilers-Bengals game. You probably know the tale: the Giants called a handoff while leading the Eagles 17-12 in the final moments, quarterback Joe Pisarcik botched the exchange with running back Larry Csonka, cornerback Herm Edwards scooped and scored. The Eagles and Giants immediately began tinkering with "victory formations," and those tactics began spreading through all levels of football.
Early victory formations looked like that Oilers full-house backfield in the video. The Eagles, as I recall, liked to line Harold Carmichael up as the deep back. Over the years, the "fullbacks" moved closer to the line of scrimmage, placing them in better position to dive on a loose snap, while the tailback began lining up as more of a deep safety; I remember Wes Hopkins as the tailback in the Eagles victory formation a few times. Placing a safety deep has obvious advantages for a team trying to prevent a scoop-and-score catastrophe, though anyone fast enough to chase down a defender and knock him out of bounds will do.
The victory formation was not immediately adopted everywhere. Quarterbacks also still sometimes flopped like Stabler does in the video instead of kneeling. Tracing the development of the fully codified kneel play is beyond the scope of a Thursday Walkthrough, but Wikipedia claims (without citation) that the kneel was added to the NFL rulebook in 1987. No one really thought much about the kneel after that, give-or-take Greg Schiano. (Please take him.)
Anyway, the silliest thing about those old Oilers plays is Carpenter making no attempt to run, which both: a) opened himself up to wicked hits; and b) signaled "we're just futzing around here," which courted the clock-stopping roughness penalties. Phillips probably wanted to milk that extra second it took for the defenders to reach Carpenter, but calling a sweep and ordering the back to dive before he reached the sideline would have been more effective and less incendiary. But the NFL was full of pretty dumb ideas back then.
It all goes to show you how rapidly football evolves. Every high school team knows how to kneel from the victory formation nowadays. But 40 years ago, Hall of Famers were still expected to flop on the field and hope for the best.
Requiem for Pro Bowl Requiems
Making fun of the Pro Bowl is a tradition almost as old as the Pro Bowl itself.
In fact, it's such a hoary tradition that I have written many "poke fun of the Pro Bowl" articles over the last 15 years or so. Here's one from 2018 on a janked-up webpage; the others are lost to the vagaries of search engines.
Most of the gag columns were prompted by developments like the news that came down from NFL headquarters on Monday: the Pro Bowl is dead, replaced by "The Pro Bowl Games … a multi-day AFC vs. NFC competition" culminating in "an action-packed flag game featuring Pro Bowl players." The Pro Bowl has been on life support for decades, with the NFL adding and removing fantasy drafts and other wrinkles to try to resuscitate it. But they finally pulled the plug.
I won't be poking fun at the Pro Bowl Games concept because, while the flag football game sounds lame (that copywriter really quenched their thirst with the adjective action-packed), I would rather watch Pro Bowlers play cornhole on a random weeknight than watch the Pro Bowl. A quarterback skins game on the links? Sign me up! Let me bet on it! It sounds like fun! And it's not funny to poke fun at fun things.
Major league baseball more or less invented the concept of the professional sports all-star game in 1933. It was a Depression-era gimmick to sell tickets and drum up interest in baseball when folks had little time or money for any pastimes. Baseball's Hall of Fame was concocted at about the same time for about the same reasons. The NFL fiddled with all-star concepts in the late 1930s and early 1940s before concocting the modern Pro Bowl in 1951.
All-star games proved wildly successful for major league baseball and became a tradition. But that tradition comes from the pre-television era, let alone the pre-Internet era. One reason I loved watching baseball's All-Star Game as a child was that it was one of my few chances to see American League stars such as Jim Rice or Rod Carew in a live game. All-star games were also a tool for promoting last-place baseball teams in an era when playoffs as we now know them didn't exist: the Phillies might finish 48 games short of the pennant, but come to Shibe Park to watch All-Star Chuck Klein!
The Pro Bowl never really caught on, for a litany of reasons. My favorite oft-told Pro Bowl tale involves Mike Boryla, the Eagles backup quarterback who became a Pro Bowl hero after the 1975 season. Fran Tarkenton, Roger Staubach, Archie Manning, and Steve Bartkowski all declined invitations due to injuries and "injuries," so Boryla, who was just about to start taking offseason law classes, was pressed into service as Jim Hart's backup and ended up throwing two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, including one on a play he designed himself. You can read more here.
So yes, the Pro Bowl was a joke nearly fifty years ago, long before cable and satellite packages made the concept of an NFL all-star extravaganza utterly obsolete. Poking fun at it now feels almost cruel.
One reason the Pro Bowl never died was the television ratings: terrible by NFL standards, but still better than anything else on television. Ratings have dropped, but the Pro Bowl isn't disappearing because no one watched, but because the players don't want to do it anymore and the league decided that it's not worth the fight to keep it going.
The Pro Bowl Games will retain the game's vestigial value. Specifically, it will create a reason to announce AFC and NFC rosters, which are essential for contract incentives and journalistically useful when referring to someone as a "three-time Pro Bowl guard." The concept of the Pro Bowl is much more useful than the game ever was. And while fan Pro Bowl balloting doesn't have the cache that baseball All-Star balloting had in yesteryear (voting was another incentive for purchasing a ticket), it's the sort of low-effort fan-activation micro-transaction that feeds the NFL's insatiable machine. To be blunt: "Pro Bowl SNUBS" articles drive a lot of traffic in my industry, folks.
So farewell, Pro Bowl, 1951-2021. You outlived your usefulness by about three generations but also outlasted your hecklers. May you live on as something that honors players without injuring them while appealing to a 21st century audience. And may our grandkids write angry social media posts about Pro Bowl snubs long after anyone has forgotten why the annual awards ceremony and beer-pong tournament is called a "Pro Bowl" in the first place.
75 comments, Last at 30 Sep 2022, 3:24pm
#1 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 29, 2022 - 10:06am
Agree heavily despite many saying they shouldn't "rush" things. Mills is the only QB under contract and will only have 2 years left (and can be a good experienced bridge/backup/sacrifice). But if you're picking 1st...he's probably not it. Hence why he also went in the 3rd.
#8 by Pat // Sep 29, 2022 - 11:13am
I think "Texans must draft a quarterback" is such a given that it's almost boring. It's practically a no-brainer. I think the more interesting thing is what else they do. Defense is a safer free-agency bet but it's not great pickings. Maybe like Bradley Chubb and Dalvin Tomlinson? Not exactly earth-shattering. Or trade for Quinnen Williams? Probably a better option, but less return.
Defense is a better target than offense, though. Maybe you could pry like Claypool or Curtis Samuel away in trade? That's... not exactly inspiring. I'd have to imagine the other productive lesser WRs would be held on to by their current teams (like Aiyuk, Higgins, Boyd, etc.) through '23 at least. Otherwise, what, target some minor WR who's doing well? Noah Brown or Jakobi Myers? Not exactly awe-inspiring.
Might be able to pry one of Godwin/Evans from the Bucs assuming Brady retires, but it'd likely be Evans and that might not be great return.
#13 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 29, 2022 - 11:33am
I still hear a lot of Will Anderson (who is great!) but think that would likely be franchise malpractice because if none of these guys interests you...
They should be willing to take a flier on just about anyone though. Idk how many good players would be willing to go to Houston unless they overpay. We'll see who's actually avaliable in a few months.
WR looks like it'll have to be added to as it's just old Cooks, unknown Metchie and Nico Collins (Tyler Johnson also under contract but 5th rounder already cut with no noise this year isnt reliable right now). I'm not sure why they haven't swung a day 3 pick for Denzel Mims yet.
#21 by Pat // Sep 29, 2022 - 12:13pm
The one thing that bugs me about the next QB class is that Stroud and Young are obviously on insanely talented teams, and that always makes me a bit nervous. It's just gotten so hard to evaluate college QBs anymore. I mean, Young did not look good in the majority of the Texas game as soon as things weren't going right, and it absolutely should've cost them the game. But Levis at #1 also would kinda freak me out.
The funny thing is that I think it's gotten easier to evaluate edge rushers and receivers, because now you see them against NFL-level talent frequently. So it's almost like it'd be safer to take Anderson (who I agree is just fantastic) but yeah, you just can't do that.
#27 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 29, 2022 - 2:27pm
They're recruited, play well, and win for a reason. There's a reason Stetson isn't (or rather shouldnt be) getting much hype.
Season low 66.9 grade on the road for Young but he still showcased the ability to escape a sack and pick up positive yards and a 1st, on that last drive. Something he seems to be able to continue. Teams should still be trying to make stacked teams in the NFL. Texans specifically have Metchie, great opportunity to ask him about his former QB behind closed doors.
Levis is weird. In every sense but whatever. I still need to watch more. But from what I've seen there has to be a flavor that interests them at that position in this class. Anderson may be safer, like Chase Young, but that just makes them play musical chairs at the most important position. Putting their ceiling at a WC exit? Don't think Dolphins or Chargers care that he was gone.
#30 by Pat // Sep 29, 2022 - 3:02pm
Season low 66.9 grade on the road for Young but he still showcased the ability to escape a sack and pick up positive yards and a 1st, on that last drive.
Yeah, I don't have the same opinion on that play. That wouldn't have worked any place except college. He only escaped because of an extremely blatant hold on the rusher in front of him. The escape itself I'm not even sure what to think of, either. Obviously the RB should've chipped the blitzing linebacker, and it should've been Young's job to see the LB and let him know.
But from what I've seen there has to be a flavor that interests them at that position in this class. Anderson may be safer, like Chase Young, but that just makes them play musical chairs at the most important position.
Yeah, I agree. I feel like if you absolutely made me choose now I'd say Stroud but might regret Levis later. I actually feel the least confident about Young. That Texas game just put up a lot of red flags.
#32 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 29, 2022 - 3:42pm
That's a P5 upperclassman he had the athletic ability to avoid as well as. pick up a big 19 yard run in crunch time. Draft the OL if you need to. That's was a DB blitz though, not an overloaded side, RB was running a route. Younger than Levis too.
#33 by Pat // Sep 29, 2022 - 4:04pm
Yeah, I didn't see the exchanged blitz at first. Doesn't really change anything: the LB drifting down should've let the QB know there was possible pressure coming from that side. The fact that it came from the DB instead shouldn't really change anything. Either he adjusts the RB to chip on his way out or he knows he has to throw hot. It's 1st and 10 with 34 seconds left. A sack there is gigantic. You can't screw that up. That was luck, not skill.
It's not like the athleticism is off-the-charts or anything there. You see that play all the time. Just happened to be on a bigger stage and in a clutch moment.
Stroud's performance versus Notre Dame was a ton more impressive. Similar situation, where things just weren't working, but overall safer and more straightforward response.
#40 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 29, 2022 - 4:46pm
To cover the RB (like he did). Then the S was left to cover the WR. Result is probably why you don't call that against a 5 star recruit (which doesn't have to do with the team). It's why he's the 13th highest graded/276 QBs. As well as the highest passing grade last year. And it's not like the next best draft eligible players on Bama are on offense. Metchie was probably his best WR. Evan Neal not starting so hot either (69th/70 T).
He and Stroud are interchangeable at this point. They'll likely be the easiest to build around. I dont have overthink to it. Good team balanced out by good competition, like it does so many other times.
#42 by Pat // Sep 29, 2022 - 5:06pm
It doesn't matter that he's drifting down to cover the RB. Once he drifts down, there's a possibility that he's going to blitz, and as a QB, you have to account for it. That play just wasn't that impressive, and he had plenty of other WTF bad plays that game, too. The safety that he lucked-the-hell out of was awful. It's not often that a total and complete mistake ends up benefiting you.
This is too much detail anyway, I'm not saying Young's terrible or anything. If he was the only top QB available, I'd be happy grabbing him high in the draft. It's just that there are alternatives this year.
#57 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 29, 2022 - 11:05pm
It means he's going to cover the RB, like he did. He could blitz from where he was anyway. Or anywhere for that matter. But if he does that leaves the RB wide open.
You've gotta be the only one that doesn't think it's a highlight to bend like that and breakout for a 1st and 9 more in crunch time. If you couldn't find any good in that game (and just that game) you won't like Levis vs Florida (for the 2nd time). Young is QB2 at worst. I won't overthink it at this point. Certainly will be the highest drafted Bama offender. Hence why he had 26 offers/26 visits. Not perfect like any prospect but still the best SEC QB.
#71 by Pat // Sep 30, 2022 - 1:16pm
It means he's going to cover the RB, like he did. He could blitz from where he was anyway.
So what if he covers the RB? When he comes down, the QB needs to let the RB know that if there's a blitzing defender on that side he needs to chip him on his way out. That's just basic communication between the two.
You've gotta be the only one that doesn't think it's a highlight to bend like that and breakout for a 1st and 9 more in crunch time.
Happy to be that, then. Like I said, he didn't break out. The only reason he could get to the edge was the uncalled hold, and dodging a sack like that is basically par for the course for an NFL QB.
you won't like Levis vs Florida (for the 2nd time).
Not as much as I disliked the Texas game, actually. Similar problems in both cases, though.
#74 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 30, 2022 - 2:55pm
Such a weird nitpick. If he expects a LB blitz he can throw it to the open RB! Sounds like you really want perfection, from a college guy. Lot of what ifs and assumptions. Anyone can do that...for an NFL QB. Which he isn't. Just a casual sack avoidance and 19 yard first down run. Dont think everyone can do that in crunch time!
More impressed by the 3 star recruit that's two years older and playing a team he's already played? You do you if you want to be on this island. I don't think too many are struggling to separate the two as prospects. Or how good their teams are.
#36 by jheidelberg // Sep 29, 2022 - 4:12pm
I totally agree about the challenges of analyzing QB’s on insanely talented teams.
After being in a long conversation on the discord app during the Giants game, there are differing opinions with regards to Daniel Jones. Is his team so awful that nothing can be done in his shoes? Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm sure made it appear that way.
A new point that I would like to add to the discussion. Bad teams in addition to lack of talent force QB’s into more bad situations like 3rd and 10 or more. As you have often pointed out, some 2-3 yard runs are in lieu of an awful pass play. What’s a QB to do in 3rd and 12?
Also lets look at Matthew Stafford. How many of his INT’s are because his team is trailing by multiple scores late in the game in the 4th quarter from his days with the Lions.
So yes, lets beware of guys on great teams. In college they will not face a large amount of 3rd and anything, let alone 3rd and 12 trailing by 10 points with a few minutes left.
#62 by JimZipCode // Sep 30, 2022 - 9:37am
"Texans must draft a quarterback" is such a given that it's almost boring. It's practically a no-brainer. I think the more interesting thing is what else they do.
I'm always more worried, for teams that haven't had infrastructure, about who is going to DEVELOP the highly-drafted quarterback. You can go ahead and draft the best prospect in the top 5. But you have to evaluate whether the gang you have is who you want responsible for him.
The Texans have:
— OC Pep Hamilton
— WR coach / Pass Game Coordinator Ben McDaniels
— QB Coach Ted White
Maybe that is the group you want to have developing your top-pick QB. I don't know anything about Pep Hamilton, good or bad. It's just something you have to nail down (to my mind), if you're going to draft a QB in the top-5 or -10.
#72 by Pat // Sep 30, 2022 - 1:47pm
I'll be perfectly honest, I'm really kindof assuming that the Texans plan on redoing the coaching staff entirely again after this season. Their staff this year is just... bizarre, which is why I picked them for one of the teams that I knew wouldn't be a "surprise" team like the Jaguars appear to be.
#2 by Pat // Sep 29, 2022 - 10:32am
The Texans have $49 million in 2023 cap space: not bad, but not outstanding for a last-place team with no A-tier veteran stars.
The Texans have $49M in cap space, but $243M in 2023+2024. They have 18 players actually under contract in '24, the fewest in the league. Tunsil's gone after '23, so if he's still worth it, that "$35M cap hit" in '23 drops to probably like $10-12M. They'll almost certainly extend Howard, so they might just cut Tunsil and extend Howard, which would jump the '23 cap space to more like $75M.
They already have a plan: basically replace their entire team over the next two years. Which, I mean, given the team's front office/leadership, could work out terrible, but it is a plan.
#3 by andrew // Sep 29, 2022 - 10:48am
after the 1975 season. Fran Tarkenton, Roger Staubach, Archie Manning, and Steve Bartkowski all declined invitations due to injuries and "injuries," .
To be fair, Tarkenton's father had passed away during the NFCCG two weeks prior.
#4 by jheidelberg // Sep 29, 2022 - 10:56am
If for some reason you require more information than what I listed below, here is the entire Wikipedia page.
Until the 1960's, keeping track of the official time in a gridiron football game was the responsibility of the referee. The stadium game time, if displayed at all, was unofficial and often done so with poor-quality analog scoreboard clocks utilizing clock-like dials that did not meet a universal league standard, requiring more effort to ascertain the exact time left. Moreover, many of the stadiums used at the time primarily hosted baseball, thus the scoreboards were optimized for a sport which did not even use a game clock, and were often in incongruent positions not easily visible to the players, with timing also done by portable devices rented by the teams that were not synchronized to the main board.
Thus, it was not feasible for teams to engage in the sort of meticulous clock management that would eventually become commonplace in the modern era, since coaches and players had only a rough estimate of how much time remained after each play. The risk of miscalculating the amount of time remaining in a half or game was a strong deterrent against willfully foregoing the opportunity to advance the ball on each down. A play clock visible to all in the stadium was not instituted in the NFL until 1976, meaning the timing of a kneel could not be ascertained.
Traditionally, teams leading after the two minute warning generally ran quarterback sneaks (which brought the risk of injuries on low-yardage plays) or dive plays to the fullbacks or other running backs to run time off the clock. Even after the stadium game clock became official, this tradition endured for a time as many coaches in this era considered kneeling cowardly or even unsportsmanlike. However, the Miracle at the Meadowlands, on November 19, 1978, in which defensive back Herman Edwards of the visiting Philadelphia Eagles recovered a botched handoff between quarterback Joe Pisarcik and running back Larry Csonka of the New York Giants, provided a nationally televised spur for change.
With 31 seconds remaining, the Giants led 17–12 and the Eagles were out of timeouts. As Pisarcik attempted to hand it to Larry Csonka, it was awkwardly fumbled; Edwards scooped it up and ran it 26 yards for the Eagles' improbable 19–17 victory. The play generated tremendous controversy, ridicule, and criticism toward the Giants nationwide and specifically offensive coordinator Bob Gibson for failing to use the supposedly foolproof quarterback-kneeldown play. Gibson was promptly fired following the game, and never worked in football again.
In the week following the game, both the Eagles and Giants developed specific formations designed to protect the quarterback behind three players as he fell on the ball. Previously, quarterbacks executing a similar "kill the clock" play simply ran a quarterback sneak from a tightly packed conventional offensive formation. The Eagles made the playoffs and the Giants finished at 6–10.
The "victory formation" spread rapidly throughout football at nearly all levels, as coaches sought to adopt a procedure for downing the ball in the final seconds which would reduce the risk of turnovers to the absolute minimum possible. Within a season or so, it had become nearly universal. In 1987 the NFL rule allowing quarterbacks to simply kneel and not have to fall down and risk a hit from the defense took effect.
One of the revived XFL's most significant officiating controversies in 2020 occurred as a direct consequence of a mistimed quarterback kneel. While leading 32–23 over the Seattle Dragons, Houston Roughnecks quarterback P. J. Walker kneeled on fourth down at his own 21-yard line with three seconds remaining on the clock. Officials mistakenly declared the game over, thus depriving the Dragons the chance to run at least one offensive play in which (due to the XFL's three-point conversion rule) they should have had a chance to tie the game and force overtime. The league quickly admitted the mistake and largely avoided further scrutiny after, along with nearly all other professional sports leagues, it cancelled the remainder of its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
#19 by Travis // Sep 29, 2022 - 12:03pm
Wikipedia is conflating the QB kneel with the QB spike (which was indeed made legal in 1987). Kneels/kneel equivalents were certainly legal before 1987, and certainly preceded the Herm Edwards play.
#43 by ahmadrashad // Sep 29, 2022 - 5:16pm
I believe the issue was there was no "give up" rule at the time, so the QB was not actually down until he was contacted. Of course, the defense could always take a cheap shot or something, so handing it off and having the RB fall to the ground was common.
#56 by ahmadrashad // Sep 29, 2022 - 9:53pm
Interesting, I didn't know that. In any case, in your third video you can hear they don't blow the whistle until after the QB was touched down.
(Edit: upon further review the first video I couldn't hear a whistle, but the second was blown quickly.)
(Edit 2: another example would be touchbacks on kickoffs. The returners used to kneel in the end zone until a defender ran down and touched them. At some point they could do a little half kneel to "give up".)
#18 by BigRichie // Sep 29, 2022 - 11:59am
Football coaches didn't used to be that way. Not till the 70s, I'd say. Prior to which, they'd most often be whatever ex-player the owner figured would be most able to sell an extra dozen or so season tickets.
#7 by theslothook // Sep 29, 2022 - 11:09am
I don't really understand why Lovie is any different from virtually every other defensive coach with respect to bad offenses. Read the comments about the Steelers and you'd be forgiven for forgetting that Tomlin was also the coach when The Steelers were a high efficiency offense. And of course, did you know the highest scoring offense of all time was coached by John Fox?
Presumably, if those coaches deserve 0 credit for the offense, then they are akin to passengers in a car and deserve no blame when the offense is bad. Yet everyone seems to happily indulge in a weird case by case basis. The offense sucks? Must be the coach. The offense is great? Maybe it's the coach right up until the team is bad.
#31 by theTDC // Sep 29, 2022 - 3:33pm
I think it’s generally agreed that a Payton Manning lead offense has Manning as the coach and offensive coordinator. That’s very different from an offense lead by, say, Jared Goff. I think people are right to give John Fox zero credit for Manning’s success, just like people are absolutely right to give McVay, Sean Payton, Andy Reid, and other offensive coaches credit for their offensive success.
#34 by theslothook // Sep 29, 2022 - 4:12pm
Well my point is, can we name a single defensive head coach that we want to give credit for the offense at all? Or are they all slaves to the qb/talent on offense. And IF that's the case, then why are we bashing Lovie Smith for having crappy offenses? If you want to say his defenses are antiquated and he doesn't know have the requisite aggressiveness - all fair. But I am referring specifically to his terribleness with respect to the offenses he has
#39 by Pat // Sep 29, 2022 - 4:39pm
can we name a single defensive head coach that we want to give credit for the offense at all?
All of them. They hire the offensive coordinators. Well, except Fox in Denver, obviously.
And IF that's the case, then why are we bashing Lovie Smith for having crappy offenses?
Because he hired Mike Martz.
#41 by theslothook // Sep 29, 2022 - 4:46pm
So that one decision means he is responsible for bad offense in seasons prior and season after? Sort of the like the ghost of Mike Martz following him everywhere he goes and sleeping in his attic. Even retroactively before he got hired apparently.
Also, since when do we credit defensive head coaches for hiring great offensive coordinators? And while I am at it, how do know who is a good offensive coordinator ex ante such that we can judge them accordingly, rather than making a bunch of post hoc declarations. Jets offense sucks? Must be the coordinator. Or the head coach. Or the GM. It becomes a cast of characters whos length his wholly arbitrary. Blame is so easily diffused.
Rather than play this endless game, it might be easier on all of us if you just name the offensive coordinators in the league currently who if you took them off their teams and put them on the Bears, Jets, Steelers, or Texans and that offense would be materially much better, let's say at least 10 percentage points better in DVOA.
#44 by KnotMe // Sep 29, 2022 - 5:54pm
Honestly, picking coordinators that make good HC seems to be mostly luck. The general trend seems to be "pick someone on a high profile team with a good HC". The only usable trend seems to be "don't pick someone who worked for Belichick"...and they can't even get that right. It's possible some owners are better at it than others, but, like QB, once you get a pick right you don't have to change for a while so it's hard to tell.
It's only one example, so grain of salt time but, pretty much the only major change was the OC so,
NE had 10.5% offensive DVOA last year and is at 3.4% this year, with what everyone agrees is a huge downgrade at OC. Even if you think DVOA is overrating them and downgrade that 3.4 I'm not sure a coaching change CAN give 10% improvement
#45 by theslothook // Sep 29, 2022 - 6:15pm
I'm posing the question of who's even a good offensive coordinator and how do you measure that?
At least with defensive coordinators who cycle enough, you can kind of infer they are good because defense isn't so heavily slanted to one particular player or position group.
But on offense, it's really hard to tell, if not impossible, both who is really really good and who is really really bad.
Really this is all aimed at commentary asserting things with such clarity that I find frankly unjustifiable ex ante.
#47 by Pat // Sep 29, 2022 - 6:31pm
"So that one decision means he is responsible for bad offense in seasons prior and season after?"
Yup. It's like when you're talking to a person and you're not sure if they know what they're talking about, and then they go and reveal they don't.
#61 by Pat // Sep 30, 2022 - 8:52am
I mean *I* wasn't expecting anything. The OC is Pep Hamilton, who's bounced around football with less success than anyone I can imagine. As soon as the Texans just promoted him I was like "oh, so they really are just punting the season."
#58 by theslothook // Sep 29, 2022 - 11:05pm
Im saying this very politely, but I fundamentally disagree with this view from the first word to the last. That somehow this one decision is enough to inform you, the fan from the outside, about Lovie the coach. And this one decision alone grants you a level of certainty beyond all doubt is yet another point of disagreement. I don't ever claim to know one man's competency based on one decision.
Maybe I'm too ensconced in the world of econ that I am naturally resistant to leaps of certainty relying entirely on real world observations which are inherently very noisy vs controlled experiments. Every model out there relies on several assumptions that should never be taken as gospel, a bit of circumspection every professional statistician and data scientist I have been around will tell you. Certainly people a lot smarter than me
Also, can you please list the names of offensive coordinators who meet the muster of your approval. I think we can document them and thus have a proper reference to avoid future debates. And while you are at it, please list the names of defensive head coaches you feel confident can properly run an offense since that was the primary point of my original post.
#60 by Pat // Sep 30, 2022 - 8:36am
I'm not basing his competency on one decision. That decision removed any benefit of the doubt I had about his understanding of offense. If a guy comes up to you claiming to understand science and starts using "astrology" instead of "astronomy," you get suspicious, but hey, maybe it was a slip. If he then starts talking about how "oh, they already have faster-than-light communication, it's just quantum effects" you go "oh, you *are* an idiot."
There are *plenty* of other decisions he's made regarding offense that my decision's based on.
#66 by theslothook // Sep 30, 2022 - 11:10am
I'm not basing his competency on one decision.
I hope you can understand my confusion when I read this response to my, very specifically, written question:
Me: "So that one decision means he is responsible for bad offense in seasons prior and season after?"
But that aside, I find equating hiring Mike Martz with astrology to be one of the more baseless comparisons. Whatever you want to say about Mike Martz, he was a sb winning offensive coordinator who was largely thought to be an offensive wunderkind. He then went to the super bowl as a head coach. You can claim this was all a mirage or that the game had clearly passed him by, but on the surface the hire seems very typical. I just don't understand how you can pan this move based on Martz' resume.
Can you imagine If Lovie Smith had done something so incredibly asinine as to hire his offensive line coach to be his defensive coordinator? Or even hiring his former defensive coordinator turned fired failure head coach to run his offense? What might Pat's outrage be then?
#70 by Pat // Sep 30, 2022 - 12:09pm
He was always responsible for the offense in seasons before and after. He's the head coach! That decision just meant that it wasn't bad luck. Hence the difference between the words "base" and "mean." That decision meant it was his fault before. It's not the basis for that conclusion. This is the way Bayesian inference works.
Can you imagine If Lovie Smith had done something so incredibly asinine as to hire his offensive line coach to be his defensive coordinator?
These guys aren't gods. They can make mistakes. The way you know a coach is good is if he recognizes his mistakes, fixes them, and brings things back on track. Hence the reason why Lovie Smith hiring Mike Martz is an "oh, you don't know what you're doing" moment.
As a random aside, I actually think Castillo would've worked out fine, except for Andy's son's suicide the next season. Philly's defense in '11 was worse than '10, but primarily in the pass defense side. Reid just wasn't present enough in '11 to help work out the kinks there. They certainly had the talent on the defensive coaching staff.
It's literally the same thing with Belichick. Other people might be vilifying him for the Patricia/Judge experiment. I'm not.
#64 by JimZipCode // Sep 30, 2022 - 10:00am
name the offensive coordinators in the league currently who if you took them off their teams and put them on the Bears, Jets, Steelers, or Texans and that offense would be materially much better, let's say at least 10 percentage points better in DVOA.
Stipulating that by "put them on the Bears, Jets etc" we mean retroactively put them on those teams at the beginning of the offseason program. So they're running things thru OTAs and training camp etc.
- The Andy Reid / Eric Bieniemy combo, whoever is installing the offense in KC
- Kyle Shanahan
- Brian Daboll
- Arthur Smith
- Greg Roman
Justin Fields seems custom-built for a Greg Roman offense, doesn't he?
#65 by Pat // Sep 30, 2022 - 11:00am
Where's this bizarre idea that offenses are somehow "one guy" or something coming from? I can't just rip Eric Bieniemy off the Chiefs and shove Getsy aside and suddenly magic happens.
Just look at the Jaguars, for instance, who look way better on offense, obviously. Pederson's obviously an offensive head coach, but Press Taylor (the OC) was with Pederson in Philly, and both the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach are high-end coaches as well. That's Taylor + three other guys who were NFL offensive coordinators.
So let's go look at the Texans. How many guys there have that kind of experience?
Oh wait! Zero!
#63 by JimZipCode // Sep 30, 2022 - 9:49am
can we name a single defensive head coach that we want to give credit for the offense at all?
Belichick. He seems heavily involved in game-planning, on all sides of the ball.
Parcells came up as a defensive coach. But we give him some credit for Phil Simms historically-efficient performance in the one Super Bowl, and for Drew Bledsoe's prolific offense (they went to a SB!), and for unearthing Tony Romo.
Don Shula was a defensive player, position coach and what we'd now call a coordinator, before getting a head job. We routinely give him credit for the Dan Marino explosive offenses.
Maybe Tom Landry?
I haven't been able to think of non- Hall of Famer examples yet.
#67 by theslothook // Sep 30, 2022 - 11:21am
Responding to you and Pat. The point here is How much blame / credit should we be assigning to defensive head coaches for the failure / success of the offense?
The whole offensive coordinator hire to me is vague theory that has no legs since that doesn't really answer the question either. Few coordinator hires look truly questionable ex ante and worse, ones that look particularly egregious/horrible have been made by coaches who are going to go to the Hall of Fame as I listed above. Also, what can look like heresy in the moment, such as hiring a special teams coordinator to replace your sb winning head coach, can later look like genius. Of course, if it had failed we would all be laughing at the stupidity of the move. Basically, as fans from afar, our narratives are akin to heads I win tails you lose bets.
The names you've listed above, as you correctly point out are all Hall of famers, to which Lovie is very very unlikely to be.
However, where exactly does that leave him as a head coach? I just don't find very much compelling evidence that can isolate his specific failings with respect to the offense.
Furthermore, your list of Hall of famer is coming with the benefit of hindsight after a long long career spanning multiple rosters. And even Belichick is now getting teased and jeered for being a bumbling clueless fool who fell ass backwards onto Tom Brady
#69 by Pat // Sep 30, 2022 - 11:57am
should we be assigning to defensive head coaches for the failure / success of the offense?
It's not a number. You have to look at what they do. Do they bring in lots of experienced guys on offense who either fit the talent they have or then adapt the talent to fit them? If things aren't working do they change things?
The Texans have zero experience on the offensive side of the ball. None. Pep Hamilton's never been anything except a quarterbacks coach in the NFL and had vastly more "fails" than "succeeds." Their quarterbacks coach was Pep Hamilton's QB coach from the DC Defenders in the XFL. Ben McDaniels, the passing game coordinator, has never been anything other than a quality control coach in the NFL before the Texans. (But... but.. he's Josh McDaniels's brother! So maybe it's hereditary!)
Just a glance at the Texans coaching staff shows there's zero care about the offensive side of the ball.
Is this normal? Take a look at the Steelers coaching staff. The Steelers QB coach has been an NFL OC twice. The WR coach was the passing game coordinator with the Panthers. There's plenty of experience there, and Tomlin's history suggests he'll change things if it's not working.
The Bears are somewhere in the middle of the two: there's not as much experience, but at least there's some.
And even Belichick is now getting teased and jeered
These people are dumb, and should not be listened to. Belichick's a defensive mastermind and offensively has twisted his roster and talent in so many different ways. Yes, plenty of people are reactionary and don't have consistent mindsets. Doesn't mean everyone does.
Also, what can look like heresy in the moment, such as hiring a special teams coordinator to replace your sb winning head coach, can later look like genius
Harbaugh was not an "outside the box" hire! He was pushed heavily by Andy Reid, who was a highly successful coach with the Eagles at the time. Harbaugh was actually given additional responsibilities with the Eagles specifically in order to boost his head coaching resume. As in, Reid was pushing for people to hire him, and the responses he got from GMs was "we're not going to hire a guy who's never even been a position coach." So Reid made him a position coach.
Yes, not all of Reid's assistants have been successes. It's not a magic bullet. But if Harbaugh hadn't worked out, the people who were saying "look, hiring a special teams guy was stupid" - those would be the guys making up a reason ex post facto. Hiring a special teams coordinator wasn't the smart move. Hiring a guy heavily pushed by Andy Reid was the smart move.
#73 by theslothook // Sep 30, 2022 - 2:40pm
Pep Hamilton's never been anything except a quarterbacks coach in the NFL
He was the offensive coordinator for the Colts in 2013-2015. Also now we have slipped into the world of grading assistants and that is now how we assess the success of the head coach? And the grading is done how? Purely by on the field results? That gets back to the circular argument that great offenses with great players implies great coordinators. Of course, follow that logic to its conclusions and Smith should lard up his coaching staff with previously successful coordinators like Adam Gase, Joe Philbin, and Mike McCoy.
Once more, what evidence do you have that other defense first head coaches can do better than Lovie? I have gone over Tomlin's track record when Roethlisberger was injured/declined/retired. Its abjectly terrible. I have posted Pete Carrol's offensive numbers when Wilson is not his QB. They are abjectly terrible.
I am sorry, but none of your arguments amount to more than vague assessments of causality when trying to explain correlation. I find all of this one big pretense of knowledge.
#75 by Pat // Sep 30, 2022 - 3:24pm
This is factually incorrect, he was the offensive coordinator for the Colts in 2013-2015.
Whoops, you're right. Forgot about those years.
Also now we have slipped into the world of grading assistants and that is now how we assess the success of the head coach?
Yup. I don't know how else you judge head coaches. If Nick Sirianni would've come in and fired Stoutland, he could've won the Super Bowl and he'd be the dumbest coach out there. For instance, promoting Castillo absolutely was a mistake. It's like, one mistake in 20 years. It lasted a little over a year. Lovie Smith kept the same OC and coaching staff for like ~10 years, and then replaced him with Mike Martz.
I have gone over Tomlin's track record when Roethlisberger was injured/declined/retired. Its abjectly terrible. I have posted Pete Carrol's offensive numbers when Wilson is not his QB. They are abjectly terrible.
I don't have opinions of head coaches by results on the field. That's results, not process. The results happen. I grade them by the response they make to the results on the field. In Tomlin's case, it's how he responded over the years to losing the various coordinators and to other struggles they had offensively.
I don't actually think Pete Carroll is a good head coach.
#16 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 29, 2022 - 11:44am
It makes sense when you consider that college football was wildly more popular than the NFL for much of the NFL's existence, and frankly, is still a near-peer in terms of popularity.
Consider that two Big Ten teams draw more attendees per season than any NFL team, despite a schedule which is 4-5 games shorter. Soldier Field would be seventh in terms of capacity in the Big Ten, and in most of the NFL North, professional teams don't play in the largest football stadium in their state. Hell, the Lions are third.
#26 by IlluminatusUIUC // Sep 29, 2022 - 2:20pm
in most of the NFL North, professional teams don't play in the largest football stadium in their state. Hell, the Lions are third.
I think this is less of a fan interest issue and more of a revenue issue. College teams don't share gate revenue but NFL teams do. However at least previously (dunno if new CBA changes this) NFL did not share luxury box revenue. So it was to each team's advantage to sacrifice seats for boxes, driving down the capacity.
Similarly, college stadiums generally pre-date TV, so packing them in was the best way to make money.
#38 by DGL // Sep 29, 2022 - 4:30pm
Heisenberg and Schroedinger are driving down the street, when a cop pulls them over for speeding. "Do you know how fast you were going," the cop asks? "No," said Heisenberg, "But I can tell you exactly where I was." The cop finds this suspicious, so he has them open the trunk for a search, and finds a dead cat inside. "Hey," the cop says, "Did you know there's a dead cat in your trunk?" To which Schroedinger replies, "Well, there is NOW."
#10 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 29, 2022 - 11:31am
Placing a safety deep has obvious advantages for a team trying to prevent a scoop-and-score catastrophe, though anyone fast enough to chase down a defender and knock him out of bounds will do.
I remember in grade school our victory formation involved the deep RB lining up at about our own 10 yard line.
He was basically the emergency tackler on a scoop play.
Major league baseball more or less invented the concept of the professional sports all-star game in 1933. It was a Depression-era gimmick to sell tickets and drum up interest in baseball when folks had little time or money for any pastimes.
I have to think barnstorming was something of a predecessor for the MLB All-Star Game.
There were traveling barnstorming teams that were basically All-Star teams, and you could see them either playing Negro League teams or playing as a mixed team. It was a fascinating era made possible by incredibly cheap-jack owners.
#14 by jheidelberg // Sep 29, 2022 - 11:40am
Mike, as I commented in your prior article, I assume that you mean starting QB’s with regards to bottom quartile QB’s.
You’ve mentioned Trubisky and Mills, who are the other 6 (you are only allowed 8 of 32 for bottom quartile)?
If you don’t reveal the 6, I am assuming that you have other articles waiting in the wings to reveal these ghastly QB’s.
#28 by Tracy // Sep 29, 2022 - 2:35pm
I'm not Mike, but according to FO's own DYAR metric, Mills currently sits in the bottom 8 after 3 games, along with Joe Flacco, Carson Wentz, Joe Burrow, Baker Mayfield, Daniel Jones, Matt Ryan, and Justin Fields. That seems about right to me, with caveat that I don't believe Burrow belongs with the others. If you take the 7 not including Burrow, and add one of Trubisky, Geno Smith, or Jameis Winston, I think you're pretty close to nailing the bottom quartile.
If you prefer to add all of Winston, Smith, and Trubisky to the list of the 8 worst starters, then go ahead and pick the best 3 from Burrow, Wentz, Mayfield, and Ryan, to move out.
#46 by jheidelberg // Sep 29, 2022 - 6:23pm
A bottom quartile QB is one that I will define as one in which you have virtually no chance at all with which to win a Super Bowl. So I'll take Burrow out and add Trubisky.
I'll even remove Mayfield and add in, Geno, what on earth are you doing at number 10 Smith? He is performing better than Russell Wilson both this year and last. Therefore I vote Geno Smith as my number 1 candidate to regress towards the mean. Regression toward the mean is one thing, regressing toward the Geno Smith mean should spell disaster for Seattle moving forward.
Your post led me to look at DYAR numbers. A special shout out to Josh Fields. DYAR is a cumulative stat, he is in last place and has thrown so few passes as indicated by a recent FO article. He is in a world of his own.
#48 by theslothook // Sep 29, 2022 - 6:33pm
You'll have to define the magnitude behind virtually no chance, because between 2000 and 2020, three sb winning teams were guided by QBs that probably should not be the starting quarterback, including Nick Foles, Trent Dilfer, and broken down shell of himself Peyton Manning.
#49 by jheidelberg // Sep 29, 2022 - 6:52pm
OK, I must revise, to win with THAT version of Peyton Manning is both recent and absurd. He truly was in the bottom quartile, he may have been the absolute bottom. Dilfer won by standing behind center and handing off and letting his defense win the game, that was 22 years ago.
Foles, he is an isolated case, Pat argues that his O-Line won. Regardless with just the Manning example, it does show that when all of the stars line up in a row, you can win a Super Bowl even in the modern era, not only with a mediocre QB, but an awful QB.
I'll still take my chances with prime Manning, Brady, Rodgers, Mahomes, etc., and lose out on taking all of the scrubs to win the Super Bowl at 100-1 odds or worse.
#54 by TomC // Sep 29, 2022 - 8:03pm
"Man, Tanier just writes too much, there's no way anyone can be interesting for that many words a week, he doesn't kill me like he used to..."
Lovie Smith's beard looks like freshly fallen snow on a cedar grove at sunset.
"Here, just take all my money."
#55 by laneveramisma // Sep 29, 2022 - 8:08pm
Hi Mike. You might not even read this, but I wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoy your work. In my daily “allotted hour to read about the NFL” time, it’s usually Walkthrough that I look for first. So thanks for your informative, intelligent and at times hilarious contributions to everyone’s football reading material. Love the podcasts too!!
#59 by jheidelberg // Sep 30, 2022 - 12:02am
I did not know where best to comment on this and since I am unavailable for a few days I will comment here.
The app is tremendous, you get great discussion with FO staff and fellow fans while watching football. I had a wonderful time tonight, and Monday night's game in which I had no interest became enjoyable. This is probably the best thing that FO has created, its like having a football party with intelligent football writers and fans.
For full disclosure, you will need to provide your own snacks and refreshments.
I am among the worst of us with regards to technology, so if I can do this, so can you, therefore I recommend to all of you, whether you make comments here or just read them to please join in.
To FO staff: Please continue to provide links in your articles to further encourage these excellent discussions.
#68 by theslothook // Sep 30, 2022 - 11:34am
This comment's probably going to get lost in the ones above so I'll write it here. I pose this to anyone reading:
Of all 32 offensive coordinators in the league and only the offensive coordinator. Please list the names of which coordinators who if they were taken off their respective teams and paired with Lovie Smith, let's say for several years, you would be confident the offense would be better.
Full disclosure off the top of my head, I can't come up with a single name. I can haphazard some that maybe I'd take a chance on, but none id feel confident on.