How to Save Matt Ryan and the Colts

Indianapolis Colts QB Matt Ryan
Indianapolis Colts QB Matt Ryan
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 5 - Matt Ryan is washed like Lady MacBeth's hands. Ryan is washed like the countertops in the OCD headquarters breakroom. He's washed like the Mason jars at a hipster pickling collective.

OK, time to retire the "Matt Ryan is washed" routine. Ryan is not really all that washed. He's just a 37-year-old quarterback in the latter stages of a slow decline which began in 2018 and can be clearly tracked using DVOA, adjusted net yards/attempt, QBR, and the naked eye. He could still be productive on a well-constructed team.

Unfortunately, Ryan plays for the Indianapolis Colts, reverse-engineered out of guards, linebackers, and running backs by quarterback commitment-phobe Chris Ballard and coached by Frank Reich, whose "offensive genius" account is starting to look a little overdrawn.

That's right: Ryan is a Colts symptom, not the cause of the Colts illness, and definitely not the cure. Which means it's time for…

TankWatch: Indianapolis Colts

The Colts Story So Far: Take it away, running back Nyheim Hines!

"Every year we have a new quarterback. So each year we have growing pains while we sit here and watch Tennessee, which has had [Ryan] Tannehill, what, my whole career? And each year we're restarting and we have to turn the page. So that sucks a little bit, too, that most teams we play have an established guy, but that doesn't matter. We have figured it out and we will figure it out."

Couldn't have said it better ourselves. Walkthrough loves it when players (or colleagues such as Zak Keefer of The Athletic, the source of that quote) do our jobs for us.

For another perspective, we turn to ESPN personality Dan Orlovsky:

Wow, Orlovsky just birthed a whole new field of analytics: One Guy Not Doing His Job-Alytics! Football Outsiders will unveil 1GNDHJVOA before you know it. I look forward to weekly "percentage of plays in which one guy did not do his job" rankings at various outlets. And what about plays where two guys don't do their jobs? The possibilities for subjectivity-disguised-as-objectivity are limitless! We may have peaked as a society now that we have codified "a play here and a play there" wisdom and extended it out to three-dozen plays.

Orlovsky's remarks can be interpreted as Hines' remarks repackaged in a rather silly way by a former quarterback who might be inclined to provide a little Colts copium. When lots of veteran players are still making mistakes after Week 4, it's a likely sign that a team is still adjusting to its fifth new quarterback in five years. It's also a coaching issue that falls squarely on Reich. The Colts are what the old adage "if you aren't making progress, you're falling behind" looks like in football form.

What's Going Right? We'll keep this brief out of necessity.

  • The Colts run defense ranks second in DVOA.
  • The Colts enjoy some of the ancillary benefits of a strong run defense: they rank sixth in DVOA against first-down runs and 10th at stopping third-/fourth-and-short.
  • Ryan remains a middle-of-the-pack (if not better) quarterback when not pressured: 83-of-115, 899 yards, four touchdowns, one interception, 73.5% completion rate, (10th in NFL), 8.0 yards per attempt (12th), 8.3 ANY/A (12th). (All split stats courtesy Sports Info Solutions).
  • The Colts offense ranks a respectable 19th in fourth-quarter DVOA, in part because opponents have applied less late-game pressure.
  • The Colts might be 2-2 if Rodrigo Blankenship had not missed a 42-yard field goal in the season opener. This is an example of Colts copium! Of course, they might be 0-3-1 if Chris Jones didn't get penalized for scowling too angrily at Ryan after a fourth-quarter sack in Week 3.
  • More copium: The Colts have outscored opponents 24-0 in the fourth quarter. Seventeen of those points came in the season opener.

What's Going Wrong? We'll start with Thursday's big story.

  • Jonathan Taylor has an ankle injury. That's a big problem, but it underscores a bigger problem:
  • Taylor has been dreadful. He rushed for 161 yards in the season-opening tie of the Texans but is just 50 for 167 since (3.34 yards per carry). His two longest runs of the season (21 yards each) came when the Jaguars already had a 20-0 second-half lead.
  • The Colts offense leads the NFL with 117 yards lost to sacks. The average Ryan sack loses 7.8 yards, a high figure which reflects Ryan's rock-maple immobility.
  • Ryan has fumbled nine times. That's a 38.25-fumble pace for the season.
  • Ryan pressure stats: 19-of-41, 226 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions, 15 sacks, 46.3% completion rate (17th), 5.5 yards per attempt (17th), negative-0.9 ANY/A (28th).
  • Ryan has been pressured 58 times. Only Justin Herbert and Carson Wentz have been pressured more often.
  • Ryan has faced 44 rushes of five or more defenders, the sixth-highest figure in the league. He has been pressured 24 times on those blitzes, second in the NFL (Commanders). While left tackle Matt Pryor has played poorly (as Orlovsky noted), the Colts' primary issue in the passing game is that opponents aren't afraid to blitz and know they can get home.

What Needs to be Done? Let's start with actionable items:

  • Replace Matt Pryor with Bernhard Raimann. This is in the process of happening, with Raimann rotating into the game for a series now and then. If Raimann is already good enough to protect Ryan for a dozen snaps per game, then he's ready to replace Pryor.
  • Diversify the running game. According to Sports Info Solutions, the Colts have run inside zone 40 times, the highest figure in the NFL. They are averaging just 2.9 yards per attempt. Taylor leads the NFL with 32 first-quarter rushes but is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry.

    Yes, Reich is trying to slow down the pass rush and feed the ball to his best player. But perhaps he should reimagine how he is doing so. Maybe he should run more pull/trap plays (last checked, the Colts are paying All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson a gazillion dollars). Maybe they should feature Hines on some early tosses/sweeps. Maybe they should … OMG we cannot believe we are suggesting this…

  • Bring back the RPO. Ryan has attempted just six RPO passes this season, per Sports Info Solutions. While it's no longer a fad, the RPO remains a viable nutritional supplement to a balanced offense: the Eagles, Dolphins, and Chiefs are doing just fine with it. It can slow down pass-rushers. It can create short opportunities in space for YAC-types such as Parris Campbell (or Hines, who sometimes operates from the slot). And of course it's the wrinkle that made Reich famous.

    It's likely that the Colts don't run many RPOs because Ryan doesn't like them. Does he like being on pace for 38.25 fumbles?

  • NO. MORE. OLD. QUARTERBACKS. I think this goes without saying. Next year's first-round pick MUST be a quarterback, even if Ryan rebounds somewhat.
  • Scrape the Teflon off Reich and Ballard. This is more of a message for Colts fans and the general media than the organization. But if Jim Irsay is listening: Ballard and Reich aren't bad at their jobs by any means, but the whole Carson Wentz experienced proves that they need guardrails. Ballard, in particular, needs to be placed on notice: he's one of those bosses who is so proud of how he handles a crisis that he turns everything into a crisis. (OMG Luck retired! OMG Rivers retired! OMG Wentz is a weenie! OMG Ryan is…) Ballard and Reich aren't unassailable geniuses; they have spent four years bobbing above .500 in an easy division while burning resources, and now the franchise is trending in the wrong direction.

The Colts are now in a bind. Everything we have seen in the first month of the season screams "time to rebuild!" But the Colts are unlikely to rebuild with Ballard and Reich. So any fixes that take the Colts back toward .500 also take them back toward their codependent reliance on Ballard's Geezer/Doofus of the Year veteran quarterbacks who can get the team within 36 bad plays or so of winning a playoff game.

Walkthrough never, EVER advocates "tanking." It's a stupid strategy on multiple levels. But if Ryan suddenly retired to pursue an acting career (he could play DC's Constantine!), Sam Ehlinger spent the rest of the year trying to prove his preseason was no fluke, the Colts finished 4-12-1, and Irsay invited Reich/Ballard to discuss his "disappointment," the Colts would be much better off in 2023 and beyond than they will be if they turn this season around.

How Bad are the Colts? The Colts' win-total over/under is 7.5, and their playoff odds are at +120. The house suspects what Walkthrough suspects: the Colts offense can climb into the third quartile with a few adjustments and catapult the team to seven or eight wins. The final playoff seed is in reach. If you find that result satisfactory, you may actually be Chris Ballard.

What's Next for the Colts? They may have already faced the Broncos in Denver by the time you read this. Then, more Jaguars and Titans as the NFL tries to get as many AFC South matchups out of the way early so we can stop caring about the division. Then: THE WENTZ BOWL.

The Real Name of Every NFL Offense

Forget the West Coast Offense, run 'n' shoot, or Greatest Show on Turf. Walkthrough has learned what every NFL offense is really called. Get ready for 32 teams, 275 words, and all the wisdom you can handle:

Arizona Cardinals: Kliff Kingsbury's Funbag.

Atlanta Falcons: Tantric Kyle Pitts Denial.

Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson Contract Debate Igniter Fluid.

Buffalo Bills: Utterly Unstoppable! (Checks Weather Channel) Oh S**t.

Carolina Panthers: Unpreparedness Incorporated.

Chicago Bears: The Bobby Douglass Tribute Band.

Cincinnati Bengals: Do These WRs make Zac Taylor Look Smart?

Cleveland Browns: The Faustian Bargain.

Dallas Cowboys: Thanks for the Field Position, Micah!

Denver Broncos: Cook Russ, Let's.

Detroit Lions: Live Fast. Run Hard. Cover Spread.

Green Bay Packers: Rookie WRs Doing the World a Favor By Making Sure Aaron Rodgers Never has Children.

Houston Texans: Three Pitbulls and a Cloud of Dust.

Indianapolis Colts: The AARPO.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Justin Herbertization of Trevor Lawrence.

Kansas City Chiefs: The Angry Grandpa Who Still Writes Letters to Print Newspapers Infuriator.

Las Vegas Raiders: Derek Carr. It's Just More F*cking Derek Carr.

Los Angeles Chargers: The Philip Riversization of Justin Herbert.

Los Angeles Rams: The Premium-Priced Kuppholder.

Miami Dolphins: (Redacted by our legal and neurological departments.)

Minnesota Vikings: Zeno Cousins' Third-and-Long Paradox.

New England Patriots: Zappe Brannigan's Neutral Zone.

New Orleans Saints: The 2019 Fantasy Lineup You Won't Update Until 2025.

New York Giants: Saquon Barkley's Fantasy Owners Now Call the Plays.

New York Jets: The Not as Bad as You Think/Not as Good as Jets Fans Think Special.

Philadelphia Eagles: Yeah, But Howie Roseman is Still a Bad GM. My Column:

Pittsburgh Steelers: Rollout Hell.

San Francisco 49ers: We're Doing This Again? Oh Well, Go Deebo.

Seattle Seahawks: Exotic Dinkdunk.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Nothing-Worth-Divorcing-A-Supermodel-Spouse-For 'n' Shoot.

Tennessee Titans: The Curse of 370, but on Everyone Except Derrick Henry.

Washington Commanders: Seriously, WTF Were We Thinking?

Geno Smith Week at Football Outsiders Continues!

Walkthrough would like to apologize about the "Exotic Dinkdunk" gag above. Geno Smith is not, in fact, dinking or dunking all that much.

Here are Smith's numbers on passes of 10-plus air yards, courtesy Sports Info Solutions of course. Since the tab is open, let's also include Cooper Rush and Jared Goff, two of the other "imposters" among the top 10 in DVOA:

Geno Smith, Cooper Rush, Jared Goff on Throws of 10-Plus Air Yards
Player Team Att Comp Yards TD INT Comp% Y/A
Geno Smith SEA 41 27 584 5 2 65.9% (4th) 13.8 (6th)
Cooper Rush DAL 31 18 375 1 0 58.1% (9th) 12.4 (12th)
Jared Goff DET 51 24 525 4 2 47.1% (27th) 10.3 (23rd)

We used 10 yards because we did not want to measure "deep" passes (15-plus air yards, per convention), simply the ability to get the ball downfield with some consistency. Smith, by these measures, is doing just dandy. Rush's numbers are also fine, though increasing his air yards takes a little helium out of his production. Goff has been a high-volume shooter who has attempted a lot of passes (63) with the Lions trailing by eight points or more.

Walkthrough applied some of our early-success, small-sample litmus tests to Geno, Rush, and Goff this week in search of signs that they were about to taper off. Those tests include:

  • Passing stats when leading. Quarterbacks take fewer risks when playing with a lead, endure fewer sacks and interceptions, and avoid high-risk deep throws on third downs that often fall incomplete, raising their completion rates. Often, an early-season success story is a guy who has not played from behind very much. See Sam Darnold last year.
  • Air Yard splits. See above.
  • Pressure splits. Again, a quarterback can often enjoy a hot streak if he faces minimal pressure over the course of a few games. This often goes hand-in-hand with playing with a lead.

As of right now, all of those tests proved inconclusive. There are some interesting results in the data—Rush has only attempted 25 of 102 passes while trailing, a low rate which surely skews his metrics a bit—but there are no blaring Darnold sirens just yet. If Geno is still crushing it in a week or two, or if the Cooper Rush/Dak Prescott controversy escapes Parler and goes supernova, we'll publish all the results.

Of course, Smith will inevitably fall off the 77% completion clip, and Dak is coming. It takes defenses four to six weeks to get a complete book on a new quarterback. We're now at four weeks. Geno has thrown 11 third-and-long passes (8-plus yards yards to go), Rush 16. Defenses have seen all the plays they are most comfortable with in those situations. Countermeasures are coming. History tells us this is a bad time to leap to conclusions: there's just enough of a sample to fool us, but not enough of one to fool opponents much longer.

What Smith has done (as has Rush, to some degree) is cemented his status as a Get You Through the Month-caliber backup, probably with some added "mentor" value. Good for Smith if he's still earning backup quarterback checks at age 39 based on what he has done over the last month.

Just don't decide Geno Smith is the solution to your 2023 quarterback problem, Chris Ballard.


41 comments, Last at 12 Oct 2022, 1:36pm

#1 by KnotMe // Oct 06, 2022 - 10:44am

Honestly, it's pretty difficult to get 11 people to do their job all at the same time with 11 others trying to oppose them. 

Points: 0

#3 by theslothook // Oct 06, 2022 - 11:01am

God bless Tanier for trying, but this one is so hopeless, we have reached deep into the old bag of parlor tricks in order to convince ourselves the emperor really does have clothes.

What do I mean? Consider the arguments.

4th quarter numbers look good! And yet, somehow Blake Bortles remains retired at the ripe old age of 30.

Sack numbers are high, pressure numbers are ghastly, terrible fumbleitis ensues - suggesting it's the offensive lines fault. Except I heard this same defense plea on behalf of Tim Tebow.

Let me first offer this slight defense for Ryan. The Colts receiving core has one good player in Pittman, who's probably not a true number 1 receiving option on a very good passing game. So in that sense, the Colts offense is a problem beyond Matt Ryan. But when your offense is ranked 32nd and your pass offense is so putrid that the only teams teams worse than you are the tire fire that is the Panthers and the perennially burning Chicago Bears, the QB is a big reason why.

I've written in a different thread, this season is kind of an inevitable one as the constant musical chairs at QB was eventually going to end with hitting your ass on the floor. At some point, you were going to get below league average QB play combined with average or below average supporting cast play and that's what's happened. It was entirely predictable imo, people just thought Ryan wasn't the one to usher it in.

Moving forward, Tanier has spelled out the best long term play here. Keep playing Ryan and tank. He may not like tanking, but no one is going to confuse this team for any kind of SB contender. A one year hiatus for a top QB prospect feels like the way to go. 


Points: 0

#5 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 06, 2022 - 11:24am

Sack numbers are high, pressure numbers are ghastly, terrible fumbleitis ensues - suggesting it's the offensive lines fault. Except I heard this same defense plea on behalf of Tim Tebow.

From where? Analytics types considered Tebow to be Worse Than Satan and blamed him for things like colors changing too early in the fall or milk spoiling or newly-grown warts.

Points: 0

#8 by theslothook // Oct 06, 2022 - 12:16pm

He certainly doesn't qualify as an analytics type, but more than a few people believed small versions of this fairy tale.

Points: 0

#10 by KnotMe // Oct 06, 2022 - 12:25pm

Sadly teams never do this, even when it's stupidly obvious they should, like when a long established guy leaves without a successor. 

Pitt didn't really manage it, NE is another one. It would be interesting if one of those two ends up in striking distance this year. 

Points: 0

#18 by Pat // Oct 06, 2022 - 1:34pm

It's... it's Skip Bayless.

It's a shtick. He literally says the dumbest thing you can imagine and then uses basic logical fallacies to defend them. It gets the entire social media world riled up and he gets all the attention.

Skip Bayless is the sports commentator world's version of a Flat Earther.

Points: 0

#19 by theslothook // Oct 06, 2022 - 2:22pm

The Tim Tebow movement was not just a skip Bayless thing. He may have been the most vocal apotheosis of it, but it definitely had a grass roots following that became a much larger story than one raving lunatic.

I cited that as the most extreme example of spinning all of the negative metrics on the offense as proof that its everyone else's fault.

Points: 0

#22 by Pat // Oct 06, 2022 - 2:58pm

but it definitely had a grass roots following that became a much larger story than one raving lunatic.

Yes, and there are Flat Earth conventions. It's the same thing. Tebow's following had nothing to do with people actually believing the stuff they were saying. They wanted Tebow to be a great QB for cough "other reasons" cough and reverse-argued for it. And people like Bayless see the attention they can get and shout into the echo chamber to amp it up for their own popularity.

I mean, bringing up Tebow as a comparison to Mike's points is like calling a scientist at a conference a Flat Earther for suggesting that a theory might be flawed. Yes, crazy people say similar arguments, and when they use them it's crazy (because they're totally unfounded) but that doesn't make founded versions of those arguments crazy.

Points: 0

#27 by theslothook // Oct 06, 2022 - 7:46pm

You know Tim Tebow made the top 100 on the players list. A list voted by the players. Clearly there's quite a few flat earthers out there.

Also, I think your wildly understating just how prevalent this view was. Tanier has written articles with Greg Cosell lending his expertise. Why exactly would he need to do that?

I don't understand why you think it's such a lunatic position. It's really the extreme manifestation of the guy wins, but I don't really understand how he's winning considering the stats he has so to square that in my mind I will say he's forced to carry a lousy team. 

Once the supporting cast out is there it can wash away almost any amount of bad play.

Points: 0

#28 by Pat // Oct 06, 2022 - 8:25pm

"Clearly there's quite a few flat earthers out there."

Um. Yes. We know that? Like, a lot of them?

Points: 0

#30 by theslothook // Oct 06, 2022 - 8:55pm

So you're essentially calling the players a bunch of flat earthers when it comes to opinions on football. A cynic might wonder how it is that a fan who has never played the game carries The authority to label players as flat earthers who actually do play the game and have presumably had to defend tim Tebow. Got it.

My point, which I will restate for the third time, is that the view that Tim Tebow was actually a good quarterback being held back by a bad supporting cast was far more prevalent and widespread than just the ravings of a click bating Skip Bayless, which is how this whole thing started.

Tangible difference to me but maybe not to you

Points: 0

#32 by Pat // Oct 07, 2022 - 7:27am

I really don't want to get into a discussion about what I'm using "flat earthers" as a proxy for.

But it suffices to say that yes, I am indeed very confident in my opinion on that one.

Points: 0

#34 by KnotMe // Oct 07, 2022 - 9:23am

Tebow I think was one of those guys who had flaws that players are sometimes able to fix but he was not able to, at least not quickly enough to stay on a roster. Teams eventually realized this. 

Points: 0

#35 by Pat // Oct 07, 2022 - 10:59am

I don't even really think it was an "eventually." You don't run Denver's offense the way they did in year 2 if you think you've got a sustainable QB. It's almost like Tebow was the Second Coming of Rex Grossman (now there's an inside joke) for similar reasons - he had like, tons of these "short pass + tons of YAC" or "long bomb completion" plays that are just totally unsustainable. Plus of course the "no idea what I'm doing take off and run" plays.

That's not really that surprising for a QB's first few starts, too. Takes a bit for defenses to figure out what a guy's not capable of.

But of course, because cough certain people cough really wanted him to be a successful QB, you do the exact same thing people did with Grossman - blame everyone else and be like "no, really, these fluke plays can happen regularly if we just wish hard enough."

This is totally different than criticizing the Colts, though: everyone knows Ryan's not some QB who can be awesome and great or anything. But definitely the tackles and line communication (probably the same thing) are definitely preventing the Colts from running an offense to hide Ryan's issues. God, those tackles.

Points: 0

#38 by KnotMe // Oct 07, 2022 - 11:27am

Well, Ryan was decent in 2020. Fair bit worse last year, but I think people wrote it off as a down year + "eh, Falcons" rather than actual decline, which is what it is starting to look like. 

Points: 0

#36 by theslothook // Oct 07, 2022 - 11:17am

To me, it's called goal post moving.

Notice how it started with just Skip Bayless. Then it extended to a religious cabal. And then when I point out the players, by implication, they are also part of this cabal I suppose.

Using flat earthers in this context is already a lost battle. You don't find flag earthers among practicing astronomers.


Points: 0

#39 by Pat // Oct 07, 2022 - 12:47pm

Notice how it started with just Skip Bayless. Then it extended to a religious cabal. 

Extended it? Who do you think Skip Bayless was catering to? He literally wrote an article about it, saying that Tebow was forced out of the league because of his beliefs.

You don't find flag earthers among practicing astronomers.

I can give better examples, but they're probably too out-of-context for most people? There's a session at APS meetings that they shuffle all of the crackpot talks to, for instance, because they have open acceptance. It's always super-embarassing when one of your talks accidentally gets scheduled there because people didn't realize it was serious.

There are real serious scientists there, though, sometimes, who apparently fervently believe totally wacko ideas. I've even seen one of those guys get a plenary (highlight) talk and all of us just needed to sit there and be like "please let this be over" and when questions came up a colleague had to cough politely tell him to please dear god don't engage.

Points: 0

#4 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 06, 2022 - 11:22am

San Francisco 49ers: We're Doing This Again? Oh Well, Go Deebo.

Seattle Seahawks: Exotic Dinkdunk.

Exotic Dinkdunk appears to better apply to San Francisco.

Points: 0

#11 by Kaepernicus // Oct 06, 2022 - 12:42pm

Yeah that one just seemed frustrated what about:

San Francisco 49ers: Deebo Saves! or Deebo take the wheel


Points: 0

#13 by Spanosian Magn… // Oct 06, 2022 - 12:54pm

Exotic Dinkdunk is a pretty accurate name for Kyle Shanahan's system, now that you mention it.

Points: 0

#6 by Pen // Oct 06, 2022 - 11:44am

Coming down to Earth this weekend. He started pushing too hard vs Detroit, making some bad pass decisions. Luckily, he got away with them, but it was clear that having no defense was creating pressure on him to score every drive. As more tape accrues on him, that relentless pressure of having to score every drive will probably be his undoing.

"Defensive genius" Pete Carroll hasn't fielded a decent defense since ET left.

Points: 0

#14 by mehllageman56 // Oct 06, 2022 - 1:02pm

Interesting matchup this week.  The Saints defense hasn't been as good as predicted, but still in top 10 in DVOA.  The question is whether the offense will take advantage of the Seahawks' weak defense.  Kamara is supposed to back, but it might be Dalton playing and not Winston... and even if Winston plays, he is so high variance, who knows.  The Saints' special teams are really bad, 32nd in the league.

Geno's stats will definitely take a dip given the strength of the Saints' defense, and he could make the bad play(s) that lose the game, but I think he may be used to the relentless pressure of having to score every drive.  He started his career with the Jets.

Points: 0

#7 by FourteenDays // Oct 06, 2022 - 12:09pm

I think there's a table (or at least some numbers) missing in the Geno Smith section.

Points: 0

#20 by Vincent Verhei // Oct 06, 2022 - 2:38pm

Oops. Fixed!

Points: 0

#9 by jheidelberg // Oct 06, 2022 - 12:22pm

Ryan leads in yards lost via sacks, it is time to stop counting number of sacks and start counting yards lost and average yards lost by sacks.

We are in a world of -1 yard sacks, and absurdly zero yard sacks.  The Bobby Douglas Tribute Band, mentioned above, had these counted as QB runs.

Points: 0

#15 by Kaepernicus // Oct 06, 2022 - 1:15pm

Yards lost due to sacks is included in ANY/A and is a big reason why Matt Ryan is sitting at 28th in that measure. Honestly ANY/A+ might be my favorite advanced metric for passing offenses due to its simplicity and predictive value. It's nice that the metric has held up well over time too.

Points: 0

#16 by dmb // Oct 06, 2022 - 1:29pm

I think more widespread use of yardage lost would be helpful, but I disagree that we should also "stop counting number of sacks." After all, which of the following sequences is more significantly affected by conceded sacks?


1-10: Sack for -1 yard

2-11: Sack for -1 yard

3-12: Sack for -1 yard

... OR ...

1-10: Sack for -5 yards

2-15: Pass complete for 7 yards

3-8: Pass incomplete


TRICK QUESTION! The answer is "throw your TV out the window so you stop subjecting yourself to watching the Commanders' 'offense' before you claw your eyeballs from your skull and bury them under the floorboards."

But seriously, the point is: number of sacks is also meaningful because a sack is always a non-productive down, and downs are the limiting constraint that thankfully remove offenses like Washington's or Chicago's from the field.

Points: 0

#21 by jheidelberg // Oct 06, 2022 - 2:44pm

I ll rephrase my statement to say that although number of sacks as a stat has value, the yardage lost has more value.  I figured FO accounted for this, so thanks to Kaepernicus for his input regarding ANY/A.

I know that DVOA must account for a -8 yard sack much more severely than a -2 yard sack.

Points: 0

#23 by KnotMe // Oct 06, 2022 - 3:03pm

That's true, but 1 eight yard sack is better than four two yard sacks since the second kills more drives. 

Points: 0

#12 by mehllageman56 // Oct 06, 2022 - 12:51pm

Steelers: Pickett's charging inside  Schrodinger's box.

Seahawks: The Revenge of Todd McShay's Autocorrect.

Points: 0

#17 by JoelBarlow // Oct 06, 2022 - 1:34pm

I think tanking in the sense of going all out to absolutely have the first pick isn't worth it, but wins 4, 5, and 6 can really be hugely negatively impactful in terms of your first round pick capital and the odds of hitting on a good QB

of course you have to be very well established to have a terrible year and not get fired, which will obviously happen for everyone in Indy

if you screw around and win 6 games you're very likely in the zone of needing to trade up to draft a QB or reliant upon a very deep class or luck or some combination of all three



Points: 0

#25 by BigRichie // Oct 06, 2022 - 4:09pm

In reply to by JoelBarlow

6 win teams were in position to draft Watson, Mahomes. Josh Allen too, I believe.

Of course, you there won't be able to draft a Winston, Mariota, Trubisky, Goff, Wentz, Mayfield, Darnold.

Points: 0

#26 by Ben // Oct 06, 2022 - 4:15pm

I agree 100% with Tanier’s Colts analysis. While there is plenty of blame to go around, I think the o-line is problem #1 for the offense. Defenses just have to bring extra bodies every down. Either they’ll sack Ryan or hit Taylor behind the line. The Colts don’t have the receivers to make defenses pay with short quick passes. The fact that this is the highest paid o-line in the league reflects poorly on Ballard. Fans spent the whole offseason (and the offseason before that) discussing the need to improve at LT and WR, so it’s not like these weaknesses are some kind of shock.  

While Ballard is a solid GM from a drafting standpoint, he’s done a pretty poor job at free agency. Not overpaying for big names and keeping the salary cap in good shape is certainly admirable. When that comes at the expense of the team getting worse though, it’s not all that helpful. 

Points: 0

#29 by Pat // Oct 06, 2022 - 8:34pm

I said in the thread on Nelson's extension that it was a pretty big "wtf." Not that Nelson's not good, but... he's a guard. Stunt or twist and he's out of the play. I'm as big an interior OL fan as you'll find, but I sure as heck know you start with tackles first.

Starting Pryor was... not smart, since from what I've seen he's not improved since Philly (probably worse). But the OL communication's just absolutely terrible: that's the real issue.

Points: 0

#33 by Pat // Oct 07, 2022 - 7:32am

Okay, so "replace Pryor with Raimann" isn't the right option. Holy cow, he's not good at this point. Why did you make me watch that game, Mike Tanier?

Points: 0

#40 by turbohappy // Oct 10, 2022 - 1:45pm

He's shown promise, but he's definitely not ready to start. Unfortunately he is much much much better than Pryor even now, which is much more of an indictment of Pryor than anything. This is just a team building disaster. It feels like a team where 3 or 4 lineman have gotten injured...except they haven't, this is what they went into the season with. How Pryor made it off the practice squad and into the starting lineup I will just never understand.

Points: 0

#41 by Pat // Oct 12, 2022 - 1:36pm

He's shown promise, but he's definitely not ready to start. Unfortunately he is much much much better than Pryor even now, which is much more of an indictment of Pryor than anything.

Yeah, but "move Pryor to right tackle" just... kept Pryor on the field. Which just gave teams two tackles to aim for!

Also, I'm not sure I agree he's better than Pryor right now, they're both unwatchable. Getting by either of them is like the easiest thing I can imagine for an edge rusher. Just move one way, duck to the other, hey look, you're past the guy.

Points: 0

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