Attack of SPYTEK and the GM Clones!

Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Divisional - The Minnesota Vikings could be getting a whole lot cooler very soon: they interviewed Buccaneers executive John Spytek for their vacant general manager position on Monday.

That's right: SPYTEK. The Vikings might be purchasing a general manager from the Sharper Image catalog. No more throwing money at Kirk Cousins and hoping for the best. Spytek will bug every other team's boardroom and hack military satellites for footage of Packers practices, and he'll do it all while playing baccarat in Monte Carlo and wearing tactical slacks. With a name like Spytek, he's gotta be a regular Bluetooth Belichick.

Have a look at Spytek. OK, maybe he's no Daniel Craig, but he's definitely GM material:

Now compare him to fellow GM candidate Adam Peters, who interviewed with the Giants at about the same time as Spytek infiltrated Vikings headquarters:

Peters may have to look elsewhere, however, because the Giants are hot-'n'-heavy on Joe Schoen:

And let's not forget leading Bears candidate Eliot Wolf, who loved the guy who gave him his first NFL break so much that he called him "dad: "

If those photos have you wondering, the Rooney Rule now requires teams to interview two minority candidates for any vacant GM position, so the handful of front office lieutenants who don't look like their ancestors sailed over on the Mayflower will be very busy over the next week or so, and one or two might even end up getting an offer! The Vikings, for example, interviewed Eagles Director of Player Personnel Brandon Brown during what is becoming a comprehensive search. Still, the demographics of the top GM candidates are rather predictable.

Comparing the merits of these nearly identical deputies is fruitless. Spytek rose through the Buccaneers ranks and became a hot candidate about the same time that Tom Brady showed up. Peters has been John Lynch's right-hand man for the 49ers for a few years; before that, he was the Broncos director of college scouting at around the time that Peyton Manning showed up. Schoen has been so instrumental to the Bills success over the last three years that his name was never mentioned in the media until he showed up atop the GM candidate wish list. Schoen worked for Bill Parcells' Dolphins staff, which is why John Mara is sending paratroopers to camp out on his front lawn with suitcases full of money.

Determining which individual scouting or personnel success each of these candidates might have been responsible for at past stops is impossible and irrelevant. The GM promotion game is part apprenticeship, part patronage system, with a little bit of cagey behind-the-scenes self-promotion and a dash of wishful thinking sprinkled on top. Spytek has a recent Super Bowl ring, Schoen a Letter of Introduction with Parcells' seal on it, Wolf a Hall of Fame legacy, so they get the interviews. Any front office that enjoys reasonable success and stability for a few years begins shedding spores like these to populate the weaker organizations. It's like asexual reproduction, which helps explain why everyone looks alike.

The alternatives to hiring some young 40-something wearing an old school necktie who slow-cooked in some other team's front office are all unappealing:

Give the coach personnel control: Coach will then hire his own suit-filler, who is likely to be far less qualified than the fellows above.

Hire from within: Then why fire the last guy?

Seek out a veteran GM: The John Dorsey/Dave Gettleman approach is a great way to build the sort of roster that would have competed for the Super Bowl 15 years ago.

Mike Mayock: Selecting players is harder than talking about them on television. Who knew?

Front office assistant roles are essentially administrative desk jobs with little more glamor than a managerial role at an accounting firm. Execs such as Spytek don't really grind film while biting the eraser off a pencil in a darkened draft war room. (Who's that Eastern Michigan left guard? Rewind. Magnify. ENHANCE.) They don't drive across the prairie in rental cars to pry secrets from a college conditioning coach over a Whataburger. They sure as hell aren't shouting "That's our final offer!" to Jerry Jones and theatrically slamming the phone down on their desks. They spend their long days collating scouting reports, trading emails and phone calls with the agents for street free agents, negotiating boilerplate contracts with fifth-round picks, and attending endless meetings about things such as the budget and next week's private workout schedule.

Mastering the daily tedium of an NFL front office is important, because rosters aren't built by just circling names on mock drafts and free-agent lists. But a mastery of tedium does not automatically translate to brilliant big-picture decision-making. Typically, it only translates to a glowing recommendation from the big-picture decision-makers.

Anyway, Spytek, Peters, and Schoen will probably be fine, in part because the bureaucracies through which they all climbed guarantee a baseline level of professionalism and competence. The organizations that spend decades in the gutter usually have meddlesome owners (Browns, Washington), take the coach-as-savior route a little too often (Jaguars, Browns, Washington, Raiders, Panthers soon), or change regimes so constantly and suddenly (Browns, Jets) that their front-office infrastructure never really coalesces. All a team must do is grab a guy who knows how to push the papers around and can avoid doing anything patently stupid. After that, central tendency, the league's parity-loving slingshot mechanics, and the vaunted "process" will keep any franchise buoyed around .500.

Yes, I keep saying "fellow" or "guy." In addition to Spytek, the Vikings also interviewed Eagles Vice President of Football Operations Catherine Raiche, who if hired would become the first female GM in the NFL since Susan Tose Spencer (former team owner Leonard Tose's daughter) was the Eagles general manager in the mid-1980s.

Raiche rose up through the CFL ranks and has worked in both personnel and cap management capacities. She also practiced law in Canada, which is the sort of thing that can come in handy when making decisions in the modern NFL. It makes sense that the lone female GM candidate took an alternative route to her position, since the main route is clogged by men who look suspiciously like the men who hired them. There are female executives scattered around the org charts of many franchises, but most are shunted far from personnel departments, lest the manly men who sit around discussing salary cap budgets and the interview results of sixth-round prospects get cooties.

Raiche deserves her opportunity as much as any young exec. But it probably won't come from the Vikings. They may be cool enough to hire someone named Spytek. But they aren't that cool.

New Methods for Firing Old Coaches

NFL teams used to simply call the head coach into the owner's office on Black Monday, tell him the bad news, let him address the lads before they cleaned out their lockers, and then watch him ride off into the sunset. But the league's more dysfunctional organizations decided to get a little more innovative this year.

Las Vegas Raiders Method
Leave Nick Bisaccia twisting in the wind while firing Mike Mayock and lining up interviews with Bisaccia's replacement. Hey, he's just an "interim" coach anyway, right? No reason to keep him in the loop when there's a slim chance the next GM and head coach will want to send Bisaccia back to his special teams coordinator's office in the broom closet behind the weight room. Now that's how you treat someone who has devoted 40 years to college and pro football, Mark Davis. Daddy would be proud! (Daddy is probably trying to figure out how to wrangle a lightning bolt from the clouds to strike Davis' Mercedes moments before he climbs in as a warning shot.)

Houston Texans Method
Spend a week "evaluating" David Culley before firing him. In other words, spend a week watching Jack Easterbonnet make paper-clip chains at his desk and stall like the sales manager at a used car dealership in an elaborate pantomime of looking "thorough" and "careful," because that's what he thinks real team executives do. Then round up the old Patriots assistants, starting with Brian Flores, who if hired would burst the bubble of relatively good vibes Culley used to shield the locker room from Easterbunny's prickly life guru routine in about three seconds.

New York Giants Method
Call Joe Judge in for an exit interview, but don't make it clear that it's an exit interview, to him or to yourself:

JOHN MARA: I'm afraid of change.

JOE JUDGE: I'm a barking lunatic.

JOHN MARA: I don't want to appear impatient.

JOE JUDGE: Did I ever tell you about how Bill Belichick was nearly fired in 2018, but I saved him by convincing the team not to quit on him?

JOHN MARA: Let me hear your vision for our GM search, because I ran out of ideas 20 years ago and also have a profound instinct for subtle cruelty.

JOE JUDGE: My dog could be the GM! We can wrap him in a cute little Giants scarf and teach him to use a cellphone, just like we did with Dave.

JOHN MARA: Yeah, this isn't working out.

JOE JUDGE: Sorry. Only my dog has the power to fire me.

Dallas Cowboys Method
A variation on the old toxic boyfriend approach: don't fire Mike McCarthy, but publicly criticize him, growl at him constantly, and generally neg him in the hope that he gets fed up and dumps you first. It didn't work on Jason Garrett, so heaven knows it ain't gonna work on Admiral Dayspa.

Arizona Cardinals Method
To be determined.

Blame Canada
Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and offensive coordinator Matt Canada are the canaries in the Pittsburgh Steelers coal mine. As they go, so goes the Steelers rebuilding plan.

Smith-Schuster is a free agent. He appeared to be a superstar in the making after going 111-1,425-7 in his second season in 2018 but has since tailed off and missed most of this year with a shoulder injury, returning for five uneventful catches in the wild-card loss to the Chiefs. JuJu has been gushing lately about his desire to return to Pittsburgh, but it's not clear if the organization's feeling is mutual. The Steelers tend to lock down any player they wish to keep in the final year of their contract: never before and rarely after.

Canada inherited the thankless task of trying to build an offense around a quarterback who could no longer run or throw but was also immune from any form of local-media criticism, and he was expected to do so with an untested hodge-podge of offensive linemen. Canada's offense looked comically bad for much of the year, and he became the blame magnet for anyone who talked themselves into believing that Ben Roethlisberger "still had it," including a surprisingly large percentage of the Steelers fanbase and their media enablers.

Some Pittsburgh media members really have it in for Canada, who is apparently responsible for Diontae Johnson's dropped passes and the feeble Steelers run defense, among other things. But again: it's illegal to criticize the Steelers defense west of the Susquehanna River, where the clocks all stopped in 1977. Criticizing receivers is just fine‚ÄĒSmith-Schuster and Chase Claypool are both in constant danger of being branded as Antonio Brown Extra Lite every time they make a mistake, speak out of turn, or get too active on Instagram‚ÄĒbut Canada is the people's scapegoat right now.

Canada may or may not deserve a second chance in Pittsburgh: it's impossible to evaluate his performance under such hopeless circumstances. Most organizations would toss him to the wolves, but Mike Tomlin and the Steelers tend to err on the side of patience and prefer an orderly succession among coordinators: Canada rose from his quarterbacks coach role to replace Randy Fichtner, who rose up from his quarterbacks coach role to replace Todd Haley. Current quarterback coach Mike Sullivan served as an offensive coordinator for Ben McAdoo's Giants and Greg Schiano's Buccaneers and was Army's football recruiting director when the Steelers called. Sullivan is a consigliere for an old quarterback, not a candidate to step up and thoroughly rebuild an offense. Tomlin was characteristically tight-lipped about Canada's status during Tuesday's end-of-year press conference.

If the Steelers replace Canada with someone outside the organization, it's a sign that they are heading for a sweeping-change rebuild. Under those circumstances, they're certain to let Smith-Schuster walk as a free agent. Retaining Canada, on the other hand, would be evidence that the franchise thinks it can turn things around relatively quickly. That perception would be reinforced if they tag Smith-Schuster or try to lock him down before he hits the market, giving them a receiving corps they could win with while a quarterback develops.

I think the Steelers need a thorough rebuild: they must replace Roethlisberger, most of the offensive line, and large swatches of the secondary and interior defense. Their draft-and-develop plan has not churned out enough quality starters over the last few seasons and, yes, the coaching staff could probably use some fresh voices and ideas.

The Steelers organization often sees things differently, as do the players themselves. Diontae Johnson endorsed Mason Rudolph to be the team's quarterback of the future earlier in the week, and there are other rumblings which suggest that the rarely impressive four-year veteran will get a shot.

Imagine Canada calling plays for Rudolph next year, with Johnson and Smith-Schuster dropping some of the few passes that actually reach them. Steelers fans' only coping strategy will involve basement shrines to T.J. Watt.

A Canada-/Rudolph-/JuJu-centered rebuilding in Pittsburgh is unlikely. But we won't know the direction the Steelers are actually heading toward until they start making their first big offseason decisions.


96 comments, Last at 21 Jan 2022, 2:48pm

1 Steelers QB

I would think the Steelers would be the most aggressive in pursuing Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, or some other big-name QB.  I cannot image they'd settle for Mason Rudolph.

3 The Steelers make a ton of…

In reply to by RickD

The Steelers make a ton of logical sense for a vet QB (ideally a mobile one, as they've said), but their assets are pretty weak. They probably wouldn't have any pick in the teens, let alone the top 10.

4 Yeah

In reply to by RickD

But apparently I missed them extending Rudolph???? That's money down the drain. Idk why they felt the need to do that last April. What did they see that we didn't??

33 short-term extension

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

It's 4 million for one year. Not a bad deal for an efficient backup. He's 5-4-1 as a starter and potentially an Earl Thomas-induced megaconcussion and a Myles Garrett rage attack from having earned the Steelers a playoff spot in 2019. (I know they wouldn't have won that Browns game, but he got benched in the next game after a putrid start, after what was no doubt a traumatic and distracted week to bounce back from what had-been his worst game of the year against the Browns).

They should definitely be seeking an upgrade as a starter, especially if Tomlin wants to keep with Tanier-appreciated streak of 500 ball or better, but Rudolph probably has earned himself a career as a veteran clipboard holder to the tune of 3-4 million a year. 

39 He's also literally the only…

He's also literally the only QB they have rostered for next year, I think - and if you're going to (hopefully) draft a high QB it's probably a smart idea to have some continuity there assuming they're sticking with Canada.

Plus to be honest if Rudolph ends up being superfluous for the Steelers, he might have some trade value.

49 Like I always say

Forget backup QBs. Especially those off rookie deals.

IDK how efficient, 44th in EPA+CPOE composite and Adj EPA/play (out of 56 since 2018) for a 3rd round pedigree, is something one wants to burn a few bucks on. He's a dime a dozen. 

Spend that, Jacoby Brissett money, on something else and someone that can actually crack a rotation instead of praying you never see him on the field. 

Margins baby. 

53 injuries

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Disagree - this football game is inherently dangerous. I don't know the numbers, but a LOT of teams turned to a backup at some point this season. Well at least the majority (off the top, Jets, Ravens, Steelers, Browns, Colts, Texans, Broncos, WFT, Cowboys, NYG, Vikes, Packers, Bears, Lions, Panthers, Saints, Seahawks, 9ers, and AZ had at least one game QB'd by a backup. Whether COVID or injury. The Vikings, well they are overinvested at QB already, but a better backup might have helped keep their playoff hopes alive. The veteran Colt McCoy helped keep the Cards from falling out of the playoffs. 'Margins' suggest paying someone who can run your offense can pay off.

54 Of course

In reply to by NYChem

But the backups don't matter. I could go through all of them but you listed only 4 playoff teams. Half of those 4 are already out and the other two were successor plans. 

In a salary cap league, there's little reason to (keep) holding onto fringe, average players at positions that dont rotate. Suffice to say Mason R isn't an exception to the rule. Move on and focus on the future and younger players.

64 a solid backup can keep you…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

a solid backup can keep you from losing a game, while a bad backup gives the game away. 4 million dollars for 1 victory is worth it. Now granted, Mahomes, Brady, Tannehill, Stafford didn't go down, and the Packers had enough to get the 1 seed even with Rodgers missing a game. So sure, this year, the superbowl won't hinge on a viable backup. And most years it doesn't, your starter goes down, you're screwed. But Jeff Hostetler, Doug Williams, hell, Tom Brady (I know, he was not a veteran backup, and on a 7th round QB contract) but still, all examples of a veteran coming in on a talented team and winning the freaking whole shebang.

I mean, Mason ain't them, but backups matter. The Vikings threw away their season with having to start whatshisface, who has basically no NFL experience even in 7 seasons and played like it in a must win situation. Colt McCoy gives 'em a better chance.

68 Myth

There's no such thing as "a solid backup." Half the starting QBs in the league are interchangeable. You think you got a good one chillin on the bench? In this salary cap league? Doubtful. IF you do, you're usually paying for it...a lot. 

 So sure, this year, the superbowl won't hinge on a viable backup. And most years it doesn't, your starter goes down, you're screwed.

Exactly. We don't have to interject a but for exceptions. Especially ones pre-salary cap. Also wouldn't put Tom Brady in that category whatsoever. He was a 6th round pick so very cheap and came with theoretical upside (turns out a lot).

We don't need to see year 5 of Rudolph. You gave him a chance. Gave him 4 actually. Don't likely need to look any further if he can't beat out Bens corpse in those years. Doesn't even have the excuse (or upside) Haskins has of just joining the team yada yada. It was a get of jail free card but instead just extended the sentence because...he was better Or you? Con...grats? 

Going back to Sean Mannion? think it mattered? Congrats on maaaaybe getting blown out in the WC? Colt McCoy played surprisingly well indeed. Might to look at the contract and tell me ultimately if it mattered. Better off spending that on...whatever the Cardinals lacked elsewhere. Might get you further in the playoffs. Was Colt Mccoy REALLY the catalyst to playing that well? Was his inherent talent the reason they won those games? They could've lost (another) one of those games and still made the playoffs (where they would end up getting shellacked anyway, despite their starter coming back). The Vikings had a ton of other problems. 

Also, all other things remaining the same, the Vikes winning the ONE game Kirk was out would've only pushed them to the 8th seed. It wouldn't have mattered lol they should've recognized Mannion wasn't it and thrown Mond a bone anyway so some data points on him could be collected instead of another old white QB that survives on being "great in the locker room" but alas. At least Mannion was super cheap. 

I just have no interest in QBs like Brissett and Rudolph at $5*m (part of it was put on this seasons cap, which also means less rollover). At any cost really tbh, but especially above the min. Would rather take a random swing on finding a young Tony Romo then double down on Rudolph. 

69 I agree that backups matter…

I agree that backups matter. It's pretty ridiculous to me that when a starter gets hurt, the first assumption is that a team will go outside of their building to find a replacement. That basically means that they don't trust the "backup" to actually back up the starter. That's a failure of team management and coaching that can waste a season of your best non-QB players in their primes.

It's all risk management, and it's fascinating that NFL teams typically known for conservative choices during games would make higher-risk choices with roster management.

I'm rooting for Ryan Fitzpatrick to go to the Steelers, because I think that's the only division he hasn't played for now that he has the NFC East checked off.

I'm also rooting for Gardner Minshew to follow in Fitz's footsteps as the QB who can step in and win you a few games when you need it.

88  That basically means that…

 That basically means that they don't trust the "backup" to actually back up the starter. 

That's because the backup actually does plenty of other things besides actually be a backup, and to actually have a long-term backup that could backup the starter would be stupid expensive.

typically known for conservative choices during games would make higher-risk choices with roster management.

Honestly this is really a failure of definition: calling a choice "conservative" requires understanding why it's being done in the first place. Since we don't have that, it's really naive to call those in-game choices conservative.

The prime example of this is the "free play" deep shot. If you didn't know that the offsides occurred, that'd look like an incredibly risky play - in truth, it's not, because there's very little risk involved. The opposite occurs all the time, too: you might think of a checkdown as a conservative play, but it's not. It's a risky play that didn't work. Audibles to runs can also be risky plays that didn't work.

Teams take high-risk choices every year with roster management, because they have to. You can't build a roster from top-end players at every position.

90 Types of backup QB

Given that this is Walkthrough, has everyone forgotten Tanier's Taxonomy of Backup QBs?

There's the "Get you through a month" backup, the "Get you through a game" backup, and the "Get you under the cap" backup.  The teams who scramble for a replacement when their starting QB goes down are saying their existing backup is probably a Get you under the cap guy, or maybe a Get you through a game guy.

8 I think it might be tough…

In reply to by RickD

I think it might be tough for them to go after Watson. Ben had his own issues but he was THEIR player, so it made it easier to stand by him. 

Watson is a guy with a lot more baggage who has a career W/L record of 28-25, hasn't played for a year, and doesn't play well with management. 

I agree what Wilson/Rodgers should be on their radar if available because they have some other pieces in place. 

71 Steelers will handle QB this…

In reply to by RickD

Steelers will handle QB this year like they have done for every other position over the last 20 years: carryover players (Rudolph and Haskins if he signs to come back) will be given a "what you have to improve to get the job" when they leave, they will sign a mid-range vet option to insure they have an opening day option if the carry overs don't improve, and they will make a draft play if a suitable one presents itself.

I think both Rudolph and Haskins will have real chances to grab the job. But it will take growth on their part. If they don't show improvement they or the mid-range vet will be at best a one year bridge. Day 1 of OTA's Rudolph will be QB1. After that, its wide open.

94 Steelers' process

This seems exactly right to me.  I don't expect Rudolph or Haskins to be the next franchise QB, but I think it's most likely one of them will start in 2022, and the team will either take a swing on a second-day draft pick or try to complete the rebuild then find someone permanent for 2023.  I think people overlook just how young this offense is because of Ben--the rebuild has been well underway for two years now.  

The comments about the total fungibility of average players in a salary cap league are misguided.  There is value to time in the system and continuity.  Football players aren't just collections of traits, they're human beings.  Continuity is best way to get the best possible performance out of your second-tier players--or at least that's the bet the Steelers have made over the past 50 years, with more success than most.

95 "comments about the total fungibility of average players"

In reply to by jorite

There is value to time in the system and continuity.  Football players aren't just collections of traits, they're human beings.  Continuity is best way to get the best possible performance out of your second-tier players--or at least that's the bet the Steelers have made over the past 50 years, with more success than most.

This is a weird take. We do know that Rudolph is entering year 5 and couldn't beat out Bens corpse right? He's literally had continuity (of which I alluded to for the reason to stick with Haskins over Rudolph because he DIDN'T have it, but DOES have better traits, which, yes matter).

IDK what you mean by 2nd tier but QB is the most important position. The Steelers have been good because they've have trait-ful QBs like Ben and Bradshaw lol no they aren't the greatest ever but they certainly are better than Rudolph. Even ODonnell took the job in year 3 instead of losing to an...average QB like Ben in 2020. IDK what you think Rudolph will provide going into year 5 other than taking up cap space and randomly turning into...Chad Henne? Seriously, realistically what do yall think his ceiling is? Aim a little higher is all I'm saying. He isn't vital and there really wasn't a reason to rush an extension for the sake of "continuity" 

96 Doing things the Steelers way

The Steelers way is usually the right way.  I have joked that about Mike McCarthy, that no one does less with more.  Tomlin is the opposite, no one has done more with less over the past 3 years.  I have wondered what would happen if a team needing a QB would stop the desperation by grabbing the first thing that they see, and instead build a team in which a QB is a missing piece.  Right now the Saints appear to be this team.

Here are recent examples of excellent franchises needing a QB:  Ravens, draft Lamar Jackson with the 32nd pick, Patriots draft Mac Jones with the 15th pick.  So far so good for both.

The Steelers drafted Roethlisberger with the 11th pick.  I see nothing wrong with the Steelers staying the course, trying to build up the offensive line and defense in 2022 and then try for a QB in 2023.  If the Steelers stay with Tomlin, they may never get to draft in the top half, his record streak of non-losing seasons is incredible.

Now having said that, I expect the Steelers to have a losing season in 2022 with the Rudolph/Haskins combo or someone else of their ilk.  If the Steelers can do anything with Haskins they are magicians.  Living in the Baltimore area, I get FOX Washington, so have seen more WFT games than I care to admit.  Haskins is not even a good backup.

Of course the Steelers can move on from Ben's 3 yard passes, to the GOAT of 3 yard passes in Teddy Bridgewater and attempt to make another pointless playoff run next year.  I do not expect them to do this, but if you can compile a 9-7-1 record with this version of Roethlisberger, imagine the possibilities with a more efficient dink and dunk guy.  OK, maybe Bridgewater is not the GOAT of dink-dunk, I should not take take this title away from Alex Smith.

I believe that you go all in (Russell Wilson) or all out.  The problem with the Steelers going all out is they simply do not know how to play garbage football.  They may find a way to go 9-8 or 8-9 (Tomlin will need to sit out a loss) with Rudolph/Haskins/worse than Haskins (pick up a Giants QB), and repeat their miracle of mediocrity with such irrelevance at QB.

2 Glad the Titans hired Jon…

Glad the Titans hired Jon Robinson, who can put together a nice roster, and also is the only GM I've ever seen who I'd like to have a beer with and shoot the shit with. Too bad he has too many privilege points for you, Tanier, and too bad for the other NFL teams that there's only one of them.

5 Hiring a GM who will have…

Hiring a GM who will have drafting authority  is even more of a random exercise than hiring a head coach. How many people in the NFL have ever drafted enough players to have significant confidence that their results were due to their ability, as opposed to luck?

6 Great point

Will-that is a great point. It really gets tricky at times when they are drafting QB's. Looking back now at that infamous 1983 draft, who would have guessed that Tony Eason and Dan Marino would have retired with each guy having played good enough to help their team win 1, but only 1 Conference Championship? 

On top of that , for Dolphin fans, what might have been if the Dolphins had drafted HOFer Darrell Green instead of Marino. Green was the very next player selected after Marino. The Killer B's with the addition of Green. Add Green to what was then the best Defense in the League. 

Green helped his team win 5 total Championship Games including 2 S.B.'s.

But that is the nature of the draft.

7 If a person drafts for 10…

In reply to by Bob Smith

If a person drafts for 10 years, that's a pretty long time in the job. About 70 picks. Unless the person does a lot of obviously dumb stuff, you really can't have significant confidence that you can evaluate their drafting ability. Very, very, very, few people have been so successful over 70 picks that we can have have strong confidence that they are good at drafting, as opposed to being just lucky. That's before we account for injury luck.

Head coaches are much easier to evaluate than a GM's drafting ability.

55 Jones has done enough really…

Jones has done enough really obviously stupid personnel stuff to know he's a bad talent evaluator.

Look, obviously, a sample size of 150-200 draft picks is a lot better than  fewer than 70, in terms of the chance of telling us something meaningful, but it still isn't great. Pat's point of owners having a lot more to work with than fans is obviously right. I'm sure Newsome has kept all his draft boards, and if we saw every GM's player rankings over a decade, we'd gain terrific insight. My guess is that Newsome's rankings indicate clear superiority, compared to the norm. We'll never see that data, unfortunately.

60 My guess is that Newsome's…

My guess is that Newsome's rankings indicate clear superiority, compared to the norm. 

This is a really good point I hadn't thought of, too: not only do the owners know why the GMs made the picks they did, they also know the picks the GMs wanted to make but couldn't because another team got the player first.

13 Well, it's hard for us. It's…

Well, it's hard for us. It's probably less difficult for an owner/president/etc. who's actively involved in the draft process, because it's not binary. If a GM's like "we know this guy's a bit of an injury gamble, but his upside is huge" and then you lose him due to injury, that's not a miss.

Fans also usually have super-high standards for draft picks, which are fairly ridiculous. First round picks aren't supposed to be Hall of Famers, they're just supposed to be starters.

10 Trolling the Dolphins for…

In reply to by Bob Smith

Trolling the Dolphins for drafting Marino is a bit much.  By the way, QBWinz doesn't work as a stat for cornerbacks.  Ask Darelle Revis.

12 What

And what did I say that was inaccurate? You don't think that the Dolphins would have been better off in the long run with Green?? The fastest player in the league for 20 years.

Coach Shula knew how to win in the playoffs with a good running game and a good Defense. Plus he had his '82 team in the S.B. with Woodley and Strock as his QB's. He always used running backs by committee even back in the 70's so that was nothing new.

18 Wait

In reply to by Bob Smith

Are you really saying the Dolphins shouldve drafted a CB over DAN MARINO? 

That's HELLA hindsight. 

19 The year

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Keep in mind what year it was coupled with the winning formula in the playoffs that Coach Shula was using then. Yes, he might well have had more success back then with Green instead of Marino in the playoffs.

22 They still wouldn't have won…

In reply to by Bob Smith

They still wouldn't have won a Super Bowl in the 80s because the NFC would destroy them if they got that far.  The 1984 team was the best they had, and it got annihilated by the Niners.

45 What...

In reply to by Bob Smith

Even back then QBs were more valuable. I'm far from a Marino truther but his CarAV was 145 in 242 games, 1st in the 83 class. Green had 103 in 295 games, 5th in the class. Marino played 17 years, started 16 of them, was a Pro Bowler 9x, and was an AP 1st team All Pro 3x. Green played 20 years, started 15 of them, was a PB 7x and was a All Pro 1x.

You're blaming the wrong dude for the Dolphins not winning it all. You're resulting really wrongly here. 

I think I've seen this obsession with playoff stats before. I could've swore you were arguing Flacco, or someone like that, was better based on their playoff games that consisted of less than half their career games (way less, for EVERYBODY).

52 Wrong

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

I am not blaming anybody for the Dolphins' failures in the Marino era. I am simply telling you how Dan played when he had a chance for some team success.

In his 3 championship game losses ('84 S.B., '85 Conf. Champ., and '92 Conf. Champ.) he had 4 TD's, 6 INT's, 2 fumbles, a Comp.% under 50%, an avg. Passer Rating under 60, and he led his offense to an avg. of only 12 p.p.g. 

Now you tell me, how can a team win championships when their QB is playing like that ??

P-F-R study says that Marino gave his team a NEGATIVE VALUE in all 3 of those championship game losses. Well that assessment certainly passes the common sense test given the way Dan played in those 3 losses.

57 And you think WHO would've done better?

In reply to by Bob Smith

Alright bro. I really shouldn't have to say this, but they don't get to the playoffs without Marino. Youre really using THREE GAMES, in the CCG (aka not their first game) to prop up CBWINZZZZ????

YEESH. Brother you're off the deep end. I think there's plenty of evidence here that you're alone in such analysis. Marino was the right pick. Period.

62 Finished

Let me finish with this-I liked watching Marino throw the ball around in the Reg. Season back then as much as anybody. It was much better watching 35 passes a game than 35 to 50 rushes, and Dan was the only guy that was averaging 35 or so per game regularly. There is a quote from Dan where he gives Coach Shula credit for allowing him to throw the ball as much as he wanted to. I'll post it if you want.

But when it comes to the playoffs, Dan had his problems a majority of the time and it is well documented by his Resume and by studies done on P-F-R. 

63 You can't just transfer Greens rings to Miami

In reply to by Bob Smith

That's just not how it works. The Dolphins don't come near the playoffs if they swapped Marino for Green. 

Gotta stop relying on a 3 game sample size. I'm suspecting it WAS you was taking Flacco over Marino based on a single elimination tournament and not the countless other games.

65 Yes

It absolutely was me and here is how it went down. I said that I thought Flacco played better a majority of the time IN THE PLAYOFFS than Marino. I then asked somebody on here this question-if you had a S.B. game coming up, who would you want for your QB-Flacco or Marino BUT you must base your answer on each guys Playoff Resume.

You must base your answer on HOW THEY PLAYED in their biggest game in their career-and each of them indeed played in 1 Super Bowl Game so we know exactly how each guy played when they had their chance.

You cannot pretend that they played differently than they did. You must decide who you want based on how they actually played and not on how you want to pretend that they might have played.

That is how that went down.    Are you aware of how each guy played in their 1 and only S.B. game?  

This has nothing to do with the question of who had the better career overall. Marino had the better career but Flacco was more successful in the playoffs.


70 Yikes

In reply to by Bob Smith

Context matters. 

Otherwise you think Bart Starr is the GOAT. 

73 Context

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Context as it pertains to what part of the post. I'll take a chance-Both Flacco and Marino were playing against very good defenses statistically speaking. Dan was playing against a team that was slightly better overall-statistically speaking while Joe was playing against a team that was very much better overall statistically speaking-using OFFICIAL NFL Rankings. 

Flacco's team was the 2nd worst team statistically speaking to win a S.B. using OFFICIAL NFL Rankings as they pertain to the 4 main categories-Pts. Scored, Pts. Given Up, Yards Gained, and Yds. Given Up.

Flacco had the much better stats-3/0-- Rating of 124.2 vs 1/2 --Rating of 66.9   Joe led his offense to 5 scores-3 TD's and 2 Field Goals while Dan led his offense to only 3 scores-1TD and 2 Field Goals. Joe's offense only had to punt 3 times while Dan's had to punt 6 times.

As for Starr being the GOAT-Kerry Byrne at CHFF did a Top 10 about 15 or 20 years ago and he made a very strong  argument for Bart being just that at that time using facts and stats.

74 All that

In reply to by Bob Smith

And the Dolphins still shouldn't have drafted Green over Marino

81 Faulty Logic

In reply to by Bob Smith

You are comparing how they actually did with Marino (poorly) to a projection of how they might have done (better?). 

Before the SB, if you were the Dolphins and you could choose Green or Marino, would you choose to upgrade at 1 CB position and massively downgrade at QB?


Here's a reductio ad absurdum argument. If they'd drafted any player other than Marino, they would have leaned into the run game instead of passing and might have won the game. Drafting NOBODY would have been more effective in the SB than drafting a HoF QB. 


PS - Everyone but you would take Marino over Flacco in the playoffs every time. Just because he DIDN'T win doesn't mean he CAN'T win. If you were playing the 2021 Saints would you want Brady who looked bad twice, or Daniel Jones/Sam Darnold who defeated them handily? 

You're looking at the CCG and SB and he went 1-4? It was a long time ago, but didn't they have to win playoff games to get there? If you ignore most of the wins, any QB looks bad.


This was way too much ink for one wrong opinion.

85 Then why

In reply to by Darren

Then why post it. You say "Just because he DIDN'T win doesn't mean he CAN'T win". Yes, you can PRETEND he played good enough to win them all in the playoffs. Let's PRETEND he played good enough to help his team win the S.B. in all 10 years he was in the playoffs.

When you are done PRETENDING, tell me exactly what his Playoff Resume tells you that he played good enough to help his team win. Let me help you out with that----ONE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP.

20 So they would have Darrell…

In reply to by Bob Smith

So they would have Darrell Green to prevent Wesley Walker from torching them, but O'Brien would just throw to Toon or Rob Moore.  Meanwhile you would have David Woodley facing the NY Sack Exchange once Joe Klecko breaks Don Strock in two.  Not that Green wasn't a great player (I'm going to banging the table soon for Sauce Gardner at 4), but a Hall of Fame quarterback is more important than a Hall of Fame defensive back.

24 The point

But you are missing the bigger point-possibly having more success in the playoffs with Green. According to P-F-R Marino played a lot of bad playoff games-enough to have a losing Record in the playoffs.

Plus he was bad in 75% of his Championship Games according to them. I am saying that there would have been a better chance for Coach Shula and the Dolphins to have more success with Green added to the Defense than what we now know they had with Marino added to the offense.

27 I don't think you are…

In reply to by Bob Smith

I don't think you are realizing how much a problem quarterback would have been for them in the 1980s without Marino or even O'Brien (they were planning on taking O'Brien if the Jets took Marino, it's in From Elway to Marino).  Unless they took Esiason early the next year they would have been a disaster at the position.  That's not an era when you could get anyone through free agency or even trades.  The Niners hoarded two starters at the position and kept them both well into the later years of Montana's career.  You are also forgetting that the Redskins had Theismann for the first two NFC championships, and then got lucky with Doug Williams finding the fountain of youth in the 1987 playoffs.  They also had an amazing year from Rypien in 1991.

35 OK

Good points, but Coach Shula was used to playing 2 QB's and winning-thinking about Griese and Morrall_ and he was doing half decent with Woodley and Strock. The move that would have been very interesting would have been to work a deal with the Bills for the rights to Jim Kelly.

How much fun would that have been watching teams come into Miami in January and then have Kelly run the K-gun offense if that would have been possible without Coach Levy. Defensive players would have been crawling off of the field after a long drive.

93 OK

I guess you were looking for me. What is my definition ?  What is your definition of better ? Trent Dilfer had a big advantage because he was part of a team whose Defense was No.1 for Least Points Allowed. Do you agree with me that any QB should be able to play better and win easier when they have a No.1 Defense??

29 While you are correct about…

In reply to by Bob Smith

While you are correct about Marino's playoff record, the Dolphins would probably have not made the playoffs anywhere near as often.  They probably win the division in 1983 (the other young quarterbacks in the division were either not ready or in the USFL), but by 1985 the Dolphins would be cannon fodder to the Jets and Patriots.  In 1986 those games against the Jets turn into blowouts or close games (they get destroyed early on, and maybe win the second that was a blowout win in real life).  By 1988 Kelly is dominant and the Dolphins wouldn't have a chance without a quarterback.  Having Green just means Thurman Thomas or James Lofton get more touches against them.

50 I'm sure the Dolphins would…

In reply to by Bob Smith

I'm sure the Dolphins would have lost fewer Championship games if they had drafted Darrell Green over Marino. In fact, they probably wouldn't have lost any.

14 Yep.

I think it would be interesting for a team to narrow down a GM search to, say, 7 candidates and hire one completely at random and give him or her a 5 year contract. I suspect that hiring a good GM, at least from outside the organization, is almost entirely a matter of luck, so it's best to be random. The problem is that it takes a couple years to determine whether a GM has any skill, so you have to let them do their thing for a while before you can determine if you got lucky and hired someone good.

58 Ok

I mentioned that elsewhere but I think that's the exception to the rule (and why we know of such instances)

9 I don't agree that hiring a…

I don't agree that hiring a GM is the randomizer that Tanier thinks it is.  First off, drafting is only one aspect of the job.  Trading is another, as is free agency.  The job entails understanding the market, what other teams would want, using cap space effectively, scouting your own team, scouting all the other teams in the league, and scouting college players.

I think it's pretty obvious that Joe Douglas is a much better General Manager than Idzik or Maccagnan was.  He has 'won' almost every trade that he has made, and now has the team with a ton of draft capital as well as a good cap situation.  He was also well respected around the league before being hired, having worked in the Eagles and Ravens front offices.

16 I also want to point out…

I also want to point out that the Jets don't fire their coaches and general managers that quickly.  Gase and Idzik were gone after two years, but they are the exceptions, and were very incompetent in their jobs.  The Jets kept their top three management people (Tannenbaum, Bradway and Joey Clinkscales) from around 2002 until 2012 while changing their roles.   Clinkscales went to the Raiders on his own in 2012 to work with Reggie McKenzie, and Tannenbaum got fired after the buttfumble season.

17 Honestly, the draft's pretty…

Honestly, the draft's pretty much the least important aspect of the job, in my opinion (at least in terms of identifying which player, not which position). It certainly helps, but basically so long as you're not terrible, that's fine. You could almost throw out your entire drafting department and just use online aggregate ratings and you wouldn't be that bad.

Biggest thing, in my opinion, is to identify the right areas of need for the team. That's what Howie Roseman's struggled with most over his career, which is why he frustrates the hell out of me as a GM. If you don't know where the strengths and weaknesses of your team are, you're always going to top out at mediocre.

28  but I disagree a GM could…

 but I disagree a GM could throw out their drafting department and use online aggregate ratings.

I didn't mean it'd be a good idea. I meant if you had a great GM and, I dunno, they lost all their scouting or something and had to throw things together at the last minute, it wouldn't be the end of the world. Silly thought experiment.

Idzik's first two draft picks in 2014 were a safety and a tight end, two of the lowest-value positions on a team. Yes, the Jets draft was highly regarded that year, but that's because the main disconnect between mock drafts and actual drafts is in relative position value (that's why I said ratings, not mock drafts). Those are positions you take when you're lock-solid at high-value positions (or you actually know what the heck you're doing), not when your starting quarterback had the second-highest interception rate in the league the previous year and you're basically just guessing.

All I'm really saying is that actually identifying good players (not positions) in a draft isn't really that important: the difference between the best GMs and "wisdom of the crowds" isn't that large. It's not nearly as important as recognizing what positions you need help at and who to spend money on.

40 No, I mean highly regarded…

No, I mean highly regarded at the time (in 2014). As in, go back and look at draft grades that year and the Jets pretty commonly got high grades, although hell if I know why. Pryor was drafted in most mock drafts right around that point, but again, that's just because safeties get overrated by most mock drafts.

I actually thought you were pointing out 2014 because it was so horrible and yet it was highly regarded by draftniks at the time.

44 No, I wasn't, it probably…

No, I wasn't, it probably was not the right example.  I just thought that was an example of a GM not doing his job when it came to the draft at all, especially not listening to his coaches or scouting people.

People were high on Pryor and the 2nd round pick Tight End, but the other picks were... really foolish.

46 I thought it was a great…

I thought it was a great example of a GM botching a draft while simultaneously getting lauded by pundits. :)

That's partly what I mean, though. Throw out the entire scouting department - if Idzik had actually bothered to talk to the coaching staff and find out what their primary needs were he would've done a ton better. Of course, that assumes that the coaching staff knows...

77 It's not nearly as important…

It's not nearly as important as recognizing what positions you need help at and who to spend money on.

Well, you also need to get the fit right.  Does your cornerback need to be better at press or zone?  Do you need an RB who has more speed or one better at breaking tackles?  What does your scheme require?  Basically, the positions that have names aren't fine grained enough to say that picking position is what's important.


84 Basically, the positions…

Basically, the positions that have names aren't fine grained enough to say that picking position is what's important.

Oh, hell yes. The fact that we use "wide receiver" as a position (or "defensive back") is insane, for instance.

86 That would be a fun job, to…

That would be a fun job, to come up with position names that would actually be useful in draft analysis. 

There's been some evolution.  "Edge" is a recent addition after years of talking about "3-4 OLB" and "4-3 DE." 

89 The frustrating thing is…

The frustrating thing is that I'm sure there'd be pushback with people like "oh, he's not a pure scatback" which is just doofy - we get that there are tons of crossover types, like Lamar or Deebo Samuel, and no one's "pure" one thing or another. But if someone runs like 70% of his routes as a split end, call him a damn split end. We get that people can switch positions.

26 Evaluating Prospective GMs

It's still a pretty random job, though. It's simply impossible to predict injuries (occurrences, severity, player decisions in light of them, etc.), and predicting/managing veteran decline is also ruled by randomness. That said, Tanier's point is clearly applied to hiring first-time/inexperienced GMs. It takes years, possibly decades, to figure out if a GM is actually good, or merely lucky.

15 Spytek

The moment I saw that name I went to the same place, assuming Brady had access to SPYTEK....  

Part of the trouble with these old networks of GMs is that the job involves using those.   The Vikings ditched Spielman, but he had 16 years worth of contacts, relationships, friends and so on.   There's probably people employed in other organizations that he may have helped get jobs there.   We have seen a number of recent deals between the Vikings and Broncos, I'm sure a good part of that is Paton, the GM there, used to work for him and they have a good relationship, as he did with some of the other people Paton took with him.

Still, I'm glad to see teams exploring outside that box, there line between "legacy" and "nepotism" is pretty thin...


25 How does a defense with two…

How does a defense with two 1st team All-Pro lineman end up 27th in rushing defense (DVOA)?

a. bad coaching/scheme

b. process rewards pass rushing (especially sacks) over run defense so they shouldn't have been All-Pro

c. DVOA is underestimating how good the run defense was

In the games I saw, I would not say "c."  Probably some combination of "a" and "b" but I lean toward "b."

34 Looking at the defensive…

Looking at the defensive line stats, the Steelers are 19th in adjusted line yards, not great, just above the Jets at 21.  The RB Yards for the Steelers is an absolutely terrible 4.97, but then you look farther down and see the real problem; 2nd level yards are 30th and open field yards are 32nd.  In comparison, the Jets were 24th in both stats.  My diagnosis for the Jets is that they need safeties that can stay healthy and fast linebackers who can tackle, who don't run really fast away from where the ball is going, which is what happens when you draft former college safeties who have no instincts for playing linebacker.  CJ Mosley and Quincy Williams possibly excepted.  I didn't watch Pittsburgh that much, but it would seem that the linebackers and safeties would be a problem there too.

38 individual effort

Individual effort and skill can get you sacks, and splash plays, and turnovers, but it can't stop an opponents run game on plays run away from you. I think a is closer to the truth, there are a lot of weaklinks and poor tacklers and misplayed assignments and bad angles being taken that were definitely being schemed for by the opponents, and the fact that it didn't really show improvement over the year is concerning. You need 11 NFL-capable players with good communication and high effort to be a great run-defense. I think there were problems on all 3 fronts.

32 As a fan it stinks seeing…

As a fan it stinks seeing Peters and Carathon get interest because I want them to say. But it is actually surprising that it took this long for these guys to start moving to the top of the interview lists. When the new regime took over in 2017 the 49ers had the worst top to bottom organization outside of Cleveland. The roster was awful, the Baalke FO was awful, the Chip Kelly coaching staff was awful, and Jed York was bottoming out as one of the worst owners in the league. Through the draft (B+/A-), free agency(C/C+), coaching staff(A/A+), and trades (B/B+) they have turned it into one of the best top to bottom franchises in the NFL. It is wild how fast they have turned it around while missing on a lot of 1st round picks and high priced free agents. They have done it by killing it in the later rounds of the draft, bottom of the FA market, and winning on impact large trades. Without getting Ford, Tomlinson, Jimmy G, and Sanders via trade in 2018/19 they definitely don't make it to the SB. If they don't trade for Trent Williams last year they probably aren't playing in the divisional round right now. Making up for your mistakes seems to be massively important for these FO roles. The Kwon Alexander, Dee Ford, and McKinnon contracts were bad. Locking up Tomlinson, Juice, Ward, Tomlinson, and Moseley on cheap deals were home runs. It is amazing how much fan bases overreact to the 1st round picks and big ticket FAs. Like most things, success is built around the margins and from the ground up. Paying a FB like Juice was mocked by a lot of analytics people because they had no clue how he was actually going to get used by SF. Being able to deal Buckner and keep Armstead for a little less money and a 1st round pick was a brilliant process that looks really good now (looks great if you pretend Aiyuk was the 1st pick instead of the second). I think they are going to deal Jimmy G this off season even if they win the SB for a similar reason and the fan base/team are going to get mad about it. This off-season when they get done moving Jimmy they will sign Deebo and Bosa to big deals as well setting the team foundation for the next 4 years at least. It is incredible how much success they have had without an elite QB. Who ever picks our FO guys are probably going to be in a good place at GM for the next 5 years.

42 I feel similarly. The…

I feel similarly. The interesting thing about the niners FO is that there's this clear division of labor, where the people who would traditionally be in the GM seat are just one level below. It's pretty clear to me that Lynch is a recognizable name with a strong jaw line and an amiable nature who can communicate well with the real power (Kyle) while handling a lot of the boring parts of the job. The key is that he enables Peters/Carathon to actually evaluate players in a stable environment, where the vision for each player is well understood. And none of them actually has to negotiate a deal or set up a salary cap; they have Marathe for that. I wonder if the talent of Peters/Carathon is the secret sauce to all those great late round picks, or if it's the structure, or if it's just randomness.

The weakness is that Shanahan seems to become obsessed with specific players, at which point the front office ends up overpaying. That's how you get McKinnon, Ford, and Alexander. Then injuries happen, the vision doesn't quite materialize the way Shanny expects, and draft picks and cap space get wasted. But at least Marathe does a decent job on the back end giving the team options. I'm hoping that's not what's happening with Trey Lance (hyperfixation, lack of success, boredom, and then a slow expensive fizzle).

48 I was originally angry about…

I was originally angry about the trade up for Lance because of the cost in picks, but realized really quickly watching him play this year that Kyle will be able to make the offense at least average even if he doesn't grow at all. Our roster has become very strong too so the 5th year team options on late 1st round picks are less important to the future than they were 3 years ago. The only glaring hole that we could really use a 1st round pick on is DB for the next few years. Look how good the O-line has done without Mike at RT this year, no need to overpay for that position when we can plug others in effectively. They have turned a ton of scrap heap FAs and low round draft picks into above average contributors consistently so they are less worried about the loss of first round picks when filling roster holes. If Trey becomes an above average starter this is a SB contender for his rookie deal. I am interested in seeing how they address DB this off-season. I am looking for a trade deal for a 1st round disappointment with big upside like Okudah or someone else in that mold where we send a 3rd and coach them up to their potential. They do a great job of understanding excess value at positions in this system. My biggest fear at the moment is seeing Warner fall back to earth after signing the contract. Seeing him pick it up late in the season makes me think it was a scheme change issue more than anything. Bosa and Deebo have definitely proved that they need to be paid though. That QB rookie contract is extremely important for this roster right now. Getting one with a huge ceiling seems like a great risk/reward move by the team. Seems like the single biggest problem teams are having these days relate to over-paid QBs making their rosters very fragile. When you have a great offensive scheme and pieces it opens the door to being successful while churning through lottery tickets at QB while staying competitive. The state of the franchise was the biggest reason I was excited about the Lance pick. This is very similar to KC going from Smith to Mahommes. The biggest question now is how close Trey can get to that level of QB play.

61 At the risk of turning this…

At the risk of turning this into a "state of the niners" thread, as we watch Shanny wheel out a progressively more-and-more injured Jimmy G, I'm much more hopeful about Lance after seeing the Texans game. Different throws had different velocities, he had a couple passes where he started the motion right on the WR's break, etc. But my broader concern about the structure remains: Shanahan seems to get hyperfixated on players, doesn't seem to have anyone who can tell him no persuasively, and that has led to the organization overpaying in the past.

As to SF's upcoming needs, I think the organization has made the strategic value decision that no corners are worth top market rate, whether in the draft or free agency. They want free agents in the 8-12m range, and draft picks in the 3rd-5th round range, because they play a zone scheme that doesn't depend on top-level athletes. They're not going to draft or sign a Lattimore (cap number of 20m(!!!)), because it would just be a waste.

67 Interesting "state of the…

Interesting "state of the Niners franchise" discussion between you and Jimbo, but I'd like to hear some *now* news.  What is the injury news on Bosa and Warner and all heading into the Packer game?  That status could (will) be big.

72 Bosa and Warner

Bosa is in concussion protocol, so any guess is valid until he's cleared. Warner went on social and said he's good to go, and that his MRI looked great. I *almost* believe him, but am sure he'll play.

A huge issue is that Jimmy has a shoulder sprain to go with his thumb. The way Shanny's been riding him, he'll play until he's a literal corpse. I've been ride or die Trey Lance should start the playoffs since week 17. Variance is our friend. Embrace chaos.

Ambry Thomas, rookie disaster turned week 18 savior turned solid-ish corner against DAL, was limited, but I can't figure out exactly how. I hope he plays so that I never have to watch Josh Norman again.

82 Overpaying for FB

Yes Juscyzck is important to their offense. But nobody else is paying FBs above minimum (Bills?). You could pay him 1.5 million and it would be his highest offer by a mile. They overpaid.

87 Valid comp

The trouble is that there are not valid comps at FB, because there are too few of them. The contract (5.2apy, 2017) was a modest raise over what Delaine Walker had recently received from the Titans (4.4, 2013). It's pretty clear both parties saw Juszczyk's value as equivalent to a blocking TE or "joker".

Edited to add: I actually got my OTC dates wrong. The walker comp should come from his 2016 extension, which was a 6.7m apy deal. Nevertheless, there's this continuum from FB to blocking TE to receiving TE, to big-bodied WR that isn't captured neatly in position labels. I suspect that a lot of time is spent negotiating around where a player best fits, and what are the most relevant comps.

36 I hope Reggie McKenzie gets…

I hope Reggie McKenzie gets a look this time around.  I felt him and Joey Clinkscales got shortchanged with what happened in Oakland.

41 FWIW, three of the first…

FWIW, three of the first five GM candidates the Bears interviewed are Black (Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Champ Kelly, Glenn Cook), and they requested permission to interview Reggie McKenzie. But the wider point of the similarity in football backgrounds is well-taken; all these guys' resumes look the same---except for Adofo-Mensah, who's an analytics guy with an economics background.

66 I love your humor Mike, I enjoy humor as much as football

New methods for hiring new coaches and GM's, some questions to ask: 

Las Vegas Raiders questions:

1.  How private do you think that your company e-mails are?

2.  When you wish to communicate in private, should you use e-mail or the cone of silence?

3.  Do you recommend that a background check is used before obtaining players?

4.  If yes to question 3, and the background check comes back clean, how good are you at accurately predicting the future criminal record of 21-22 year old men?

Houston Texans questions for coach

1.  Other than the pay, why do you want this job?

2.  Why do you think that other NFL teams will not hire you and thus are sitting here on this interview?

New York Giants questions GM

1.  What is the draft highest pick that you would use on a RB?

2.  What do you think that it will take to for the Giants to consistently win 6 games and continue to be the best team playing at Met Life Stadium for the next decade?

3.  The Jets got a 2nd a 4th and a 6th round pick for Sam Darnold, so if hired do you think that you can get a 1st, 3rd and 5th round pick for Daniel Jones?

4.  Other than winning games, how can we get the brutally tough NY media off of our backs?

New York Giants questions for coach:

1.  Are you able to condense a postgame rant to 500 words or less and 3 minutes or less?

2.  We are trading Daniel Jones.  Who would you start at QB, Mike Glennon or Jake Fromm?

Dallas Cowboys questions (if necessary):

1.  What would you do on 4th and manageable, trailing by 16 points in the second half?

2.  Needing a TD with 14 seconds left and no timeouts on the opponents 40, do you prefer a pass to the end zone, a QB draw or some other play?

3.  This interview is not over yet, get back in your chair and move back 5 yards, and if you flinch again, I will ask you to move back another 5 yards!

4. We spent over $1 billion on a stadium so that money is no object.  What is the best way to bribe referees so that they do not call so many penalties against us?

5.  We probably want to wait 5 years, to assure that Dak Prescott is a Hall of Fame QB, and that Mike McCarthy truly gets the least with the most.  Are you available in 2027? 

Pittsburgh Steelers questions for offensive coordinator (if necessary):

1.  Our offense revolves around throwing 3 yard passes, should we beg Ben Roethlisberger to come back, acquire Teddy Bridgewater, or go in a different direction?

2.  Our coach wins games with a washed up Ben Roethlisberger, Duck Hodges, Mason Rudolph and an assortment of other backups, so if hired, you do understand that you will be blamed for everything that goes wrong with the offense, correct?

3.  Do you think that you can develop an offense that coach Tomlin has enough confidence in, so that he will not punt on 4th and 1?  How about 4th and 2?  Do I dare ask about 4th and 3?

Jacksonville questions:

1.  Other than getting lap dances, what do you do in your spare time?

2.   If I hire you tonight, will I still respect you in the morning?