Loving the Bills, Loathing the Browns

Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson
Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Preseason Week 2 - Playing football for the Cleveland Browns in 2022 may be like trying to itemize tax deductions during a volcanic eruption.

If "distractions" are truly a thing, the 2022 Browns should have all the focus of a seventh-grader's research paper. Players should have so many other things on their minds that they drive past the stadium on Sunday mornings, pull into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame parking lot, scratch their heads, ask themselves "What am I supposed to be doing right now?" then suddenly remember, "Oh yeah. Football."

Distractions, of course, may not really be a thing. Indeed, the Browns did not look all that distracted when they lost 21-20 to the Philadelphia Eagles on a soggy afternoon yesterday.

The Browns didn't look all that spectacular, either. Third-stringer Josh Dobbs started in backups-on-backups action, lest the Browns give opponents any Jacoby Brissett film to study. The Browns offense was largely scrambling and silliness, their interior defense was soft serve, but Walkthrough isn't gonna pretend that the Browns played like they lacked the bandwidth after a tumultuous offseason to remember how to huddle or buckle their helmets properly. It was just preseason porridge.

Still, the Browns did not go about their summer like a normal football team. Distractions may not be real, but disruptions are, and the Browns dealt with a bunch of them. Installing an offense for a Pro Bowl quarterback while knowing a journeyman will also need something he can execute for multiple games? Disruptive. Watching a six-game suspension become an 11-game suspension? Disruptive. Losing your starting center in the preseason opener because Deshaun Watson had to be floated onto the field like a trial balloon? Disruptive. Joint practices with the Eagles suddenly turning into Senate judiciary meetings on Friday? Disruptive. Baker Mayfield's ghost haunting the roster until July? Disruptive.

Maybe the Browns successfully tuned out the "noise" (that's coachspeak for "an outraged nation begging for justice") and built a foolproof plan for going 6-5 or something under Brissett. Yeah, that totally sounds like a thing the Browns can do. This is the organization that turned Freddie Kitchens into Robespierre a few years ago, but perhaps now they have found their zen by closing ranks around an utter scuzzwad.

But I sincerely hope not.

Make no mistake: if biblical plagues strike the Browns, Walkthrough will microwave a bag of popcorn and root for the locusts and toads. I was willing to compartmentalize the sinner from the team and its fans—remember, the Saints, Panthers, and Falcons really wanted to be the Browns a few months ago—right up until Friday's consequences are for losers and repentance is for snowflakes press conferences by Scuzzwatson and his boss/enabler Jimmy Haslam. Joel Bitonio's "Cleveland against the world" comments did not help, either.

Watson's disgusting misdeeds may lie well beyond Walkthrough's jurisdiction, but supporting him and rooting for him through his remorselessness is a football crime, deserving of a football reckoning. When heavy rains fell just before kickoff of Eagles-Browns on Sunday afternoon, it was not hard to interpret the omen. Pour down, oh cleansing rain, for 40 days and 40 nights, washing away all traces of our putrescence. Just spare Jalen Hurts.

Cosmic righteousness, like distractions, may or may not be real. But the Browns have a way of manufacturing their own kismet. They'll trot Brissett on the field to execute an offense designed for a much better quarterback, with Donovan Peoples-Jones as his second-best receiver and a run defense that will keep opponents in every game. Yes, the Browns will run the ball well and notch plenty of sacks and interceptions. But you know what they will look like? The Baker Mayfield 2021 Bum Shoulder Experience 2.0, dreary also-rans that will need Scuzzwatson's late-season antiheroism to climb up to our Football Outsiders Almanac 7.8-win projection.

Wait 'till next year, Browns fans will cry. They have cried that every year since 1999, about Tim Couch, Butch Davis, Eric Mangini, Brady Quinn, Mike Holmgren, Johnny Manziel, Mayfield, and the Moneyball gang who made a pseudoscience of waiting until next year. But there's always another drama next year, surrounding Mayfield, Manziel, Kitchens, Hue Jackson, Odell Beckham, Haslam's latest quick-fix savior, Haslam's former quick-fix savior. Next year the Browns will be short on cap space and draft picks, and they will still need better receivers and defensive tackles if they hope to compete.

The Browns have sentenced themselves and their fans to another typical Browns season. In the past, they were the NFL's most lovable losers. Now the Browns are loathable, and their fans are left to choose between rooting for mediocrity followed by moral compromise or just watching the Guardians on Sundays. And while the Watson "distraction" will subside for a few months, that's unlikely to make the Browns better or more likable. They'll only become more forgettable.

Preseason Week 2 Quarterback Update

Only Walkthrough has the courage to tell you how young quarterbacks around the league are really doing, rather than waiting through four three-and-outs for one highlight against fourth-stringers and then declaring the head coach a moron for not instantly anointing him QB1.

Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

Lawrence has looked like the Next Big Thing in spurts through two preseason games. He mixed fastballs with paint-the-corner changeups against the Steelers starters on Saturday night, adding a few pocket escapes and scrambles for good measure. Then the Jaguars kept stalling near the red zone (both on Saturday and last week), with Lawrence and Christian Kirk failing to connect a few times.

Lawrence is going to be helped immeasurably by his new coaches and supporting cast. But he will also be limited a bit by his new coaches (Doug Pederson without Frank Reich sounds more like Mick Jagger's solo albums than the Rolling Stones) and supporting cast.

Davis Mills, Houston Texans

Adequate from a clean pocket. Scattershot when pressured. Slightly less mobile than Nick Foles. Mills couldn't move the Texans offense against the Rams' 2.5th string for five series, but the Texans deployed the keep our starters in until they accomplish something preseason tactic, and Mills built a touchdown drive out of a pair of deep 50-50 balls against rookies before halftime. We're all playing along with the whole "Mills is a real franchise quarterback" thing because few are paying close attention, and those who are may be afraid that the Texans will toss Josh McCown onto the field when Mills flames out.

Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky, Pittsburgh Steelers

Entering Saturday's game, Walkthrough gave Trubisky about a 90% chance of starting on opening day. That's down to 50%. Pickett led a touchdown drive with 1:05 to play in the half in which he not only delivered on-target passes to open receivers but managed the clock like a veteran. If Pickett demonstrates that he can be game manager, he takes away one of Trubisky's few advantages.

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

Given plenty of time to throw (no Maxx Crosby or Chandler Jones for the Raiders) but no one to throw to (no Tyreek Hill or Jaylen Waddle), Tagovailoa demonstrated that he can reset his feet and check down to his second to fourth read. Other than that, there was little to see on Saturday night. The evolution into Lefty Garoppolo continues, right down to the carefully spun reports of interception-fest practices.

Carson Wentz, Washington Commanders

Great pass. Awful pass. Pass that looks like a miscommunication between Wentz and his receiver. (Those never go away.) Sack because he held the ball too long. Repeat until fans start to wonder if the team would be better off with Taylor Heinicke or Sam Howell under center. Don't bother, they're already there.

Malik Willis, Tennessee Titans

A stare-down-the-first-read-then-run quarterback who would get sacked 50 times and complete 50% of his passes if forced to start right away. Mike Vrabel silenced the "wHy'D U BeNcH hIm?" crowd from last week by starting Willis and letting him play three non-productive quarters. All the cherry-picked Willis highlights you may have seen come from one drive before halftime; scramblers facing randos are bound to do something in preseason, given enough time.

We'll check back in on Willis next July. He'll be a deactivated QB3 for most of this season.

Desperately Seeking Buffalo Bills Skeptics

JOB OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT: Anyone who can come up with an anti-Bills Super Bowl argument for 2022 will become an instant viral sensation.

We're not talking about some surly Jets/Dolphins fan theory, a trophy case tour from Tom Brady stans, or an injuries-can-happen appeal to ignorance disguised as wisdom. What the world needs now is a legit-sounding reason why the Bills should not enter the season as Super Bowl LVII favorites. The aspiring analytics guru, tape grinder, or sports talk gadfly who can craft a straight-faced anti-Bills argument will get more screen time than that gal-yelling-in-her-bored-boyfriend's-ear meme.

Football Outsiders Almanac won't provide that argument; the Bills are our Super Bowl favorites. Walkthrough ain't volunteering, either. The sportsbooks list the Bills at +600 to win the Super Bowl, so count the handicappers out. And chances are that no one is lining up to pick against the Bills after Saturday's 42-15 vivisection of the Broncos on Saturday.

Yes, it was Bills starters against Broncos backups in the first quarter. And the Bills' first-quarter tackling was suspect. First-round cornerback Kaiir Elam is a little huggy in coverage. But the Bills didn't let up when their backups entered the game. Their offense scored 28 points while only facing one third down the entire first half. (They converted.) Rookie James Cook looks great. Rookie Khalil Shakir looks great. Gabriel Davis looks like younger-bigger Tyreek Hill. The Bills appear to have backups or prospects at most positions who can outperform an average team's starters.

So where will the Bills doubters come from? Maybe, as friend-of-Walkthrough Nate Geary of WGN radio in upstate New York tweeted just after Saturday's game, the call will come from inside the house:

Geary told Walkthrough that the caller, who wanted to trade Josh Allen for draft picks, referred to Keenum as "Casey Kasem," so drunkenness may have been a factor. But perhaps we have reached sports talk Moneyball apotheosis: why bother trying to win a Super Bowl when a team can just keep winning the offseason resource-allocation RTS game?

No, the Bills skeptic will be a television analyst who draws the short straw in the name of embracing debate or some cred-seeking contrarian with a dream. This proud free thinker will declare Allen "overrated" and the Bills secondary and receiving corps "vulnerable." Justin Herbert, Bill Belichick, or Tyreek will be propped up as the boss destined to defeat the Bills before the final level. The laboratory-concocted but Cinnabon-smelling take will provide awesome content for a few hours sometime in the next three weeks, now that the preseason novelty has worn off.

And you know what? That anti-Bills contrarian is much more likely to be right than those of us following the flock, because even a prohibitive favorite like the Bills has only (checks Almanac) a 33% chance of becoming a true Super Bowl contender, at least according to our admittedly over-conservative calculations.

Saying that a team won't reach the Super Bowl is always a safe, high-percentage prediction. But that doesn't make it a wise one.

Trevor Penning, Romeo Doubs, and the Gradual Learning Curve

New Orleans Saints rookie left tackle Trevor Penning's training camp and preseason performances have been in the eye of the beholder. The reps where he's dragging his defender into the parking lot for a clobberin' at the end of the snap have been beautiful. The footwork lapses in pass protection have been ugly. Penning no longer feels the need to pick a fight with a defensive teammate in every single practice, which is a step in the right direction. But the impression Walkthrough gets watching Penning, a player we adored at the Senior Bowl, is that he's ready to feast upon some souls on run plays but will force the Saints to keep a tight end or running back in to block so Jameis Winston doesn't get creamed on third downs.

If the Saints were developing Penning to take his rookie lumps in 2022 and become their cornerstone left tackle for the rest of the decade, Walkthrough would be thrilled about what we have seen so far. But Penning will be an immediate starter protecting a quarterback likely to be wearing a brace on his left knee for a team in Win Now/Die Broke cap shape. The Saints cannot afford "great game except for two horrendous reps" performances in September, especially when they face the Buccaneers.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Romeo Doubs is in a similar place. Doubs' preseason mix of highlights, dropped passes, and rookie mistakes are encouraging for his long-range future. But the moment he drops a bomb in the regular season, Aaron Rodgers will put him in target jail for a month. That will be no big deal if Christian Watson develops quickly, Sammy Watkins stays healthy, and Allen Lazard finally enjoys his breakout season. For a Super-Bowl-or-Bust team, three "ifs" equal a "nope."

Rookies expected to play significant roles on contenders don't have the luxury of a gradual learning curve. They need to eliminate their mistakes ASAP. Ja'Marr Chase did it. (Saving ya the trouble of name-dropping him as a receiver who overcame summertime dropsies, Cheeseheads.) Most take time. The Saints, in particular, don't have a lot of time to spare.

Matt Rhule is Cheating at Solitaire and Losing

Matt Rhule's gaslighting tactics are beginning to work.

Third-string quarterback P.J. Walker started for the Carolina Panthers against the New England Patriots on Friday night, with Rhule explaining (LOL) that he saw enough from Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold during joint practices to make his evaluations. Walkthrough began composing a paragraph about how important live-game reps against the Patriots starting defense would have been if Rhule wanted to properly, competently settle his quarterback competition.

Then we remembered: THIS SHOULD NOT BE A QUARTERBACK COMPETITION. AT ALL. Making Mayfield compete with Darnold is like making Matt Ryan compete with Nick Foles for the Colts job, or making Carson Wentz compete with Taylor Heinicke for the Commanders job. (Well, maybe that last one might make a little sense, but that's another conversation.)

Third-round pick Matt Corral replaced Walker after three series, flailed around for a half, then suffered a season-ending foot injury in the fourth quarter. Rhule traded up for Corral in the 2022 draft to satisfy ownership's quarterback-of-the-future mandate in the pre-Mayfield times. Corral was perfect for Rhule because he wasn't an immediate starting threat; Darnold could wash out in early autumn, Corral might run around and win a late-season game or two, and Rhule could plead "continuity" when begging for another year on the job. Upper management sniffed out this job-preservation gambit and fetched Mayfield, and Corral looked spectacularly lost in his preseason debut last week, but Rhule still gave the rookie extra playing time on Friday instead of giving the starter he acquired just after the Fourth of July Weekend some much-needed live action. And thusly the nominal quarterback-of-the-future was broken fresh out of the box.

Rhule thinks he is playing 4D chess but he is really just cramming rooks up his own rectum. It has gone from embarrassing to nearly dangerous. Walkthrough hopes Rhule tries to name Darnold his starter this week and David Tepper floats down from the sky on a hovercraft and fires him while he's still standing at the podium.

Five Takeaways from the Chicago Bears-Seattle Seahawks Thursday Night Puntfest

Some thoughts from earlier in the weekend:

  • Walkthrough needs to see what the Bears offensive line looks like with Lucas Patrick at center and Riley Reiff at right tackle before we declare the whole "Justin Fields will thrive under the new regime" theory to be anything but pure wishcasting. Both the Chiefs and Seahawks first-team defenses obliterated Fields' protection in the opening series of the first two preseason games. Patrick is out indefinitely with a right hand injury (remember: center) and Reiff is 33 years old and on his third team in three years, so the cavalry could turn out to be two lame donkeys. Teven Jenkins, drafted to play right tackle in 2021, is apparently being switched to right guard and didn't look bad on Thursday, so there's that.
     
  • The Seahawks draft class looks swell. Walkthrough favorite Boye Mafe has been getting into games early and making plays both as a pass-rusher and in pursuit. Kenneth Walker just underwent hernia surgery, but offensive tackles Charles Cross and Abe Lucas have both been impressive. (And it's not like the Seahawks are ever short on running backs.) Football Outsiders' Derrik Klassen noted on Thursday how ironic it is that the Seahawks suddenly figured out how to draft offensive linemen the moment Russell Wilson left. The glass-half-full take: Cross and Lucas will be experienced bookends by the time the Seahawks find a real quarterback.
     
  • Bears rookie receiver Velus Jones fumbled the opening kickoff but later demonstrated his size/speed/elusiveness package on a 48-yard punt return. Jones started at receiver but caught just one 4-yard pass late in the second quarter. Jones was considered more of a prospect as a returner than receiver before the Senior Bowl. Let's hope the Bears didn't go fishing for a WR1 for Fields in the third round and end up hooking Cordarrelle Patterson instead.
     
  • Bears rookie safety Jaquan Brisker broke his right thumb during the game. Brisker underwent surgery over the weekend and is out indefinitely. Running back Khalil Herbert has played well throughout the preseason but was carted off the practice field on Sunday. When it rains, it pours.
     
  • Walkthrough attended the Santana/Earth, Wind & Fire concert at the Camden Waterfront instead of watching this dreary exhibition of mediocrity live, catching up with the replay on NFL+ on Friday morning. We stand firm behind this life decision.

Week 2 Preseason Awards

The only awards that matter for games that do not matter.

Defender of the Week

Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle T.Y. McGill is having a heckuva preseason. He notched two sacks against the Raiders last week, one of which was featured in Thursday's Walkthrough. (We slagged Alex Leatherwood for allowing McGill to breeze past him, because we're all about that negativity.) McGill followed that performance up with 1.5 sacks on Saturday against the 49ers.

Also, his sack dance is making "T" and "Y" gestures with his arms, so every sack is a little like dancing to the Village People at a wedding!

Offensive Line of the Week

Both the Buffalo Bills first- and second-team offensive lines spent Saturday night picking Denver Broncos defenders out of their cleats. So let's hear it for starters Dion Dawkins, Rodger Saffold, Mitch Morse, Ryan Bates, and David Quessenberry, as well as second-stringers Spencer Brown, Cody Ford, Greg Mancz, Bobby Hart, and Greg Van Roten.

Special Teamer of the Week

KaVontae Turpin left TCU as a 153-pound all-purpose back in 2018. He knocked around the Spring League, the Fan Controlled Football League, and the European League of Football for a few years, playing for teams such as the Panthers Wroclaw and the FCF Glacier Boyz. (Gosh, the name "Glacier Boyz" really makes you wanna watch some FCF, doesn't it? Sounds like a combination body spray/hard seltzer.) Turpin worked his way up to the USFL New Jersey Generals, then the Cowboys 90-man roster. And now that he returned a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown against the Chargers on Saturday night, Turpin is likely to land on the Cowboys roster as well. Glacier Boyz to Cowboys? That's what the preseason is all about, true believers!

Best Supporting Actor in Someone Else's Highlight

Keep your eye on New Orleans Saints quarterback Ian Book throughout this replay of Shawn Davis Jr.'s fumble recovery and runback for the Green Bay Packers.

First, Book drops to his knees and begins flailing for the loose football like he's chasing a cat running under a sofa to avoid its eardrops. Then teammate Nick Vannett and Packers defender T.J. Slaton slam into him. Everyone then leaps up to chase Davis except Book, who writhes on the ground thinking, "I bet Taysom Hill never had to put up with this sh*t?"

Comments

171 comments, Last at 25 Aug 2022, 2:09pm

#1 by RickD // Aug 22, 2022 - 10:14am

Avoid playing chess with Matt Rhule.

Points: 0

#7 by Harris // Aug 22, 2022 - 10:49am

At minimum you should insist on using your own rooks.

Points: 0

#8 by serutan // Aug 22, 2022 - 10:51am

 I take it you prefer challenging games?  :)

Points: 0

#10 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 22, 2022 - 11:13am

Taking on a chimp in chess is harder than you may think. They throw pretty hard and like biting people in the face. They are like a hairier Bobby Fischer.

Points: 0

#147 by jonsilver // Aug 23, 2022 - 4:55pm

This is one of the few times I remember the comments being funnier than Tanier's wisecracks.

Points: 0

#170 by Duke // Aug 24, 2022 - 4:01pm

Do not loan out your chess set to Matt Rhule

Points: 0

#2 by Raiderfan // Aug 22, 2022 - 10:17am

“Lefty Garoppolo ”.

Points: 0

#3 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 22, 2022 - 10:28am

In the past, they were the NFL's most lovable losers.

Were they? I suppose in the sense of having been screwed by Art Modell.

Buffalo and Cincinnati might quibble, and you can make a case for the Cardinals. (There's a reason Rod Tidwell played for the Cardinals)

What the world needs now is a legit-sounding reason why the Bills should not enter the season as Super Bowl LVII favorites.

Aside from being the Bills -- their problem may actually be the same ones you find fault for in the Browns -- a complete lack of interest in stopping the run. That whacked the Chargers last year, too. Even if you don't think Belichick is a god walking upon the mortal plane, he's still a really good DC. And he continues to value run-stopping. There may be a little something to that in pressure games.

why bother trying to win a Super Bowl when a team can just keep winning the offseason resource-allocation RTS game?

That's not unprecedented. MLB is already there. Only Houston, NY, and the Dodgers are trying to win. SF and StL merely cannot tolerate losing. Everyone else is trying to win moneyball.

(Gosh, the name "Glacier Boyz" really makes you wanna watch some FCF, doesn't it? Sounds like a combination body spray/hard seltzer.)

early-2000s style hair dye. Think Guy Fieri or early Timberlake.

Points: 0

#12 by Pat // Aug 22, 2022 - 11:15am

That's not unprecedented. MLB is already there. Only Houston, NY, and the Dodgers are trying to win. SF and StL merely cannot tolerate losing. Everyone else is trying to win moneyball.

That's because baseball's season is long compared to its playoffs and it's hard (expensive) to be better than your opponent: the World Series would be equivalent to the NFL having a 23+ game season, and even worse, you have to go through the best-of-5 series to get there (which would be the equivalent of the NFL having a 32+ game season). So from an economics perspective the boost of getting to the playoffs is pointless because it's effectively a coin flip once you're there for very little return - being competitive in the regular season cheaply is way, way more valuable. And while the NBA is somewhat in between, it's much cheaper in the NBA to be better: marginal cost is like $2.75M per percent of win probability versus MLB's $14.5M per percent of win probability (obviously there's a sigmoid type curve there that applies for large amounts, it's not really linear).

It's interesting because with the NFL being more of a team game and a much shorter season it's in some sense hard to argue that NFL teams would ever actually do the same. Really the only position where I could imagine it would get talked about is quarterback.

Points: 0

#13 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 22, 2022 - 11:33am

It's harder to tank in football and hockey because the sport is so dangerous. Going half-assed can literally get you killed. And in football, because contracts aren't guaranteed and careers are so short, you can't be confident in carrying your existing talent forward into the light.

I'm completely unsympathetic to MLB owners, whose cartel is formally a monopoly and abuse that status wildly -- and who completely own the entire developmental player train, including human trafficking of children from Latin and South America. To be cheap on top of it is just spitting in your face after bulldozing your house.

\Brady, at 22 years, has played for forever. He'd be in 14th place in hockey, still 10 years behind Gordie Howe -- who started his career before the troops returned from Japan from WWII and ended it in the 1980s.

Points: 0

#19 by theslothook // Aug 22, 2022 - 11:51am

I don't think tanking is represented by half assed play. Even in the NBA, the tankiest league, the players play to their best abilities. Tanking manifests itself at the GM level; intentionally fielding a team of rookies and long shots in the hope that a few of them click while the onfield results are clearly secondary. 

Because teams are evaluated on a two to three year cycles, tanking doesn't really work. You really need a patient GM like the Sixers ownership to be ok with horrible on field results for a prolonged period of time. If I were an NFL owner, I would embark on this strategy because unlike the NBA, there is no draft lottery.  

Points: 0

#28 by Pat // Aug 22, 2022 - 12:52pm

If I were an NFL owner, I would embark on this strategy because unlike the NBA, there is no draft lottery.  

I don't really agree - the difference in the NBA is that the draft value falloff is incredibly steep compared to the NFL. Top picks in the NFL just aren't nearly as valuable as we think they are: it's like the difference between a player worth $10M and a player worth $5M (#1 vs #16). There's obviously an advantage, but it's just not that big. And it's not like you can consistently get the #1 overall pick anyway. So in some sense "tanking" is probably like the difference between an average top 10 pick and an average top 20 pick, which is even less.

Plus it really just doesn't take that long to turn things around in the NFL because (at least in my opinion) the biggest variation between the perpetually successful and perpetually awful organizations is the competence of the front office/owner. 

Points: 0

#29 by theslothook // Aug 22, 2022 - 12:59pm

I say tanking strictly for the Quarterback. Every other position, tanking doesn't make sense from an ROI stand point. 

Points: 0

#31 by Pat // Aug 22, 2022 - 1:08pm

Yeah, but when you're talking about a quarterback, that's a single draft pick. Basically doesn't make sense to tank for multiple years at that point, it's pretty much a "when you luck into a high spot you take a shot" type of thing. The teams I think of as multi-year tanking are basically the Browns and Dolphins and I don't really think it's helped in either case because, uh, they're not that good overall.

Points: 0

#37 by theslothook // Aug 22, 2022 - 2:32pm

Well that's All because their quarterbacks haven't become good to even great. I think we'd have a different attitude if Baker were Lamar or Josh Allen 

Points: 0

#41 by Pat // Aug 22, 2022 - 2:57pm

Well that's All because their quarterbacks haven't become good to even great

I'm still baffled by the fact that you can look at the past 10+ years (including what they did this offseason) of Browns football and conclude the only reason they're a bad franchise is because they never found the One True QB. They haven't found the One True QB because they're a bad franchise.

I mean, the Colts have been churning QBs since 2017 and they've really had one really bad season. Patriots have had 2 seasons without Brady and 2 QBs, and bottomed out at 7-9. Reid improved Kansas City by 9 games with a passer that cost them 2 second round picks, and honestly Garoppolo's still available for probably that cost and performance-wise he's not much different. Ravens were still a middle of the pack team with Flacco outside of one year.

Honestly based on the history of Browns football some part of me is expecting Baker Mayfield to suddenly be a top-10 QB this year and lead the Panthers to the playoffs. (A small part, mind you).

I mean, the Browns just effectively handed a 57.5M/yr contract to a QB (with a weird structure where the first year's a void year - odd, but that's the Browns for you), just flat out blowing away the rest of the league enough so that an owner basically came out and said "WTF Browns."

Points: 0

#46 by theslothook // Aug 22, 2022 - 3:07pm

Except, they weren't the only franchise to aggressively pursue Watson. I find it borderline ludicrous that fan bases are all loathing the Browns when in fact he was pursed by  I don't really think its so hard to believe, given the low probabilities involved, that a franchise can keep missing at quarterback. 

In fact, I find the Browns specific backlash ludicrous. According to pft, at least 6 teams attempted to acquire Watson. I firmly believe every single NFL franchise, including Tanier's Eagles, would try to acquire Watson if they didn't already have a solution at quarterback. Acting as if the Browns are the only conscience bereft franchise is just wishful thinking.

Points: 0

#49 by Pat // Aug 22, 2022 - 3:18pm

Except, they weren't the only franchise to aggressively pursue Watson. 

I'm not criticizing them for pursuing Watson. I'm criticizing them for throwing wacko money at him when he initially turned them down, including letting him structure the contract such that barring anything other than a 1-year suspension just utterly hoses them.

Only the Browns could land a top QB and still screw it up.

Points: 0

#53 by theslothook // Aug 22, 2022 - 3:36pm

It still doesn't negate the fact that assuming Watson is still the player he was, they are now set at quarterback. Sure, they may not win a sb, but that doesn't invalidate the process. 

Points: 0

#57 by Pat // Aug 22, 2022 - 3:45pm

Sure, they may not win a sb, but that doesn't invalidate the process. 

The process isn't to find a quarterback, it's to build a winning team. They're literally telling the entire rest of the league "hey, we think we're so awesome we're giving you all an extra 5% cap space, OK?" I have, uh, strong doubts about the Browns ability to succeed when giving the entire rest of the league a significant head start. They knew he'd get a suspension this year. They knew it was effectively going to be $230M/4 yrs.

Also, you know that whole "assuming" part? The Browns guaranteed the entire contract. The Eagles gave big money to Wentz, but they weren't stupid, they retained the ability to duck out of it with a trade. So did the Rams with Goff. The Browns assumed all of the risk with Watson. It's a completely insane contract. The idea that it somehow won't be a problem for the Browns is just wishcasting.

edit: the insane thing is that with this entire comment I've also forgotten that in addition to the wacko contract they handed Watson they also torched their ability to improve thanks to giving up the draft picks. Again: not criticizing the pursuit of Watson. I'm criticizing the fact that they didn't realize the price was too high.

Points: 0

#59 by theslothook // Aug 22, 2022 - 4:36pm

If Watson didn't have this suspension + the <insert appropriate word here> baggage; would the price still be too high? 

 

Points: 0

#63 by Pat // Aug 22, 2022 - 5:09pm

Without the suspension: probably too high. It'd be close. The problem is that there's just no risk mitigation for the Browns whatsoever. Even when the Rams traded for Stafford they waited a year before doing the contract extension to see if things would work out. A five year fully guaranteed contract's just a special kind of nuts.

Regarding baggage just depends on what you mean. Even without the lawsuits + suspension you also still have the fact that he forced his way out of Houston and didn't play in '21. If Watson had been traded in '21 and played for another team, 5 years $210M probably isn't so bad. It's still a big risk. It's a bigger friggin' risk than Dallas is taking with Dak Prescott!

Points: 0

#72 by Pat // Aug 22, 2022 - 8:28pm

Better version of the question: would it be too much if it had been Russell Wilson?

Nope. I still wouldn't like the trade myself, but I could understand the gamble.

Points: 0

#81 by KnotMe // Aug 23, 2022 - 10:55am

I think the browns basically classified as "desperate" as a franchise, so they did what they needed to do to get it done. I think at least part of it is giving fans hope so they look they they are progressing. 

Of course, they gave up so much that pretty much has to be a top 3 QB to justify the cost. If 2020 is his new level rather than a career year, they are fine. But yeah, the contract is essentially untradable, since in any situation where they would want to they would have to each so much money it's not worth it. 

Perhaps a better way of looking it was, assume Watson had an injury and would miss 6 games to a full season. What would people think of it then?

Points: 0

#83 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 11:20am

Guaranteeing the contract fully was insane, but I am left to haphazard a guess here. It's very possible that Watson's camp telegraphed to the browns that the only way he chooses them was if they guaranteed the contract.

At that point, unlike the other teams, The browns pursuit had alienated Baker and it's likely that fueled their ultimate desperation. 

But that said, given the discourse around Watson, the trade compensation has become an afterthought in this discussion.

To me, it's super steep largely because it's so unprecedented. People simply do not trade QBs this good at this age. The last time it happened was Jay Cutler and he was I believe coming off his second seasons, not someone who had come off an all pro worthy season and had the career cache of Watson.

Consider that Russell Wilson basically went for one first rounder less but he's also much older and there's even some talk about him possibly slowing down athletically. I asked Pat, independent of the suspension and all of the {insert appropriate word} baggage, was this trade worth it. He said no. Maybe he means the compensation plus the guarantees, but let's just focus on the trade compensation. If you hate this price then you probably also hate what the Broncos gave up for Wilson. The only difference I can see between the two situations other than the price difference is the fact that the Broncos had zero alternatives on their roster already, whereas the browns did.

Points: 0

#84 by Pat // Aug 23, 2022 - 11:43am

The last time it happened was Jay Cutler and he was I believe coming off his second seasons, not someone who had come off an all pro worthy season

Nope, this is your memory failing you. Jay Cutler was coming off of his third season, in which he was 5th in DYAR, behind only 4 likely Hall of Famers. Watson's coming off of his fourth season, in which he was (drum roll please!) 5th in DYAR, behind only 4 likely Hall of Famers (I'm being nice to Buffalo fans, shh). And the idea that Cutler didn't have Watson's "career cache" is just silly. It's just one year difference between them. Cutler finished 8th/5th in DYAR in years 2/3, Watson finished 10th/12th/5th.

The Bears gave up 2 first round picks and a 3rd round pick for Cutler. But they gave him a totally minor extension that left them with plenty of risk mitigation, before finally giving him a long-term extension in '14.

 

Consider that Russell Wilson basically went for one first rounder less but he's also much older and there's even some talk about him possibly slowing down athletically. I asked Pat, independent of the suspension and all of the {insert appropriate word} baggage, was this trade worth it. He said no.

No, I said independent the suspension alone, it would have been too expensive. The baggage is harder to deal with with Watson because you would have to rewind the clock to last year entirely: not only do you have Watson's legal issues, there's also the fact that he was totally content to entirely sit out a year, so his priorities are questionable.

I said the deal would've been worth it for Wilson. Would've been a huge risk and I doubt it would've worked out. But I could see the reasoning.

Points: 0

#91 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 12:14pm

Look this is all risky and the picks are probably now more just due to QB inflation. Again, the contract is bad but that may have been the price to acquire Watson in the first place.

Let me first state that with the baggage around Watson, I would not have made this trade even for purely football reasons. But we're talking about the trade compensation alone. Let's assume for the sake of argument that the contract was a sunk cost because you are the Browns and Watson won't go there unless he's compensated as such. 

Above and beyond all of that, is it still worth it to fork over so much of your future for Watson? Its a risk, for sure and Cutler shows the downsides of that risk. At the point of the trade, Cutler was looking like a Tier 2, could even be Tier 1 kind of player. Instead he was in actuality a Tier 3 player being aided by Shanny the elder and a good receiving core. Was Watson similarly being propped up by an offensive supporting cast + coach? That seems less likely, but that's all coming from hindsight. The Browns are betting that Watson was in fact held down by coaching and that he's probably a tier 1 guy or at worst a tier 2 guy. That's dumb logic to me, but its pretty common in the NFL; especially when you have a 2 year lifespan as a head coach and you are always facing a win now mandate. Hit on Watson and unless you go full BOB, you are likely to get a second contract. See Pete Carrol. 

Ultimately, the discussion should also flow through alternatives. Are the Browns better off holding onto the picks and either extending Mayfield to what would be an inflated contract probably or starting over at Quarterback again and using the picks. I think path A)(again without all of the baggage) is a higher variance route but one I would personally take. 

I find it also interesting to contrast this trade and the one the 49ers gave up for Lance. Both were three first rounder exchanges. Of course, the difference here is you are trading relative certainty for cap dollars. Lance is a cheap asset and if he's good, its the most valuable thing in football. Also he's a complete unknown and if he busts, you are F!*E$. With Watson, even if he disappoints and is tier 3; you might even be able to hang onto your job. 

Points: 0

#93 by Pat // Aug 23, 2022 - 12:44pm

Let's assume for the sake of argument that the contract was a sunk cost because you are the Browns and Watson won't go there unless he's compensated as such. 

I mean, if that's the case, everything else is moot. You fix the fact that you're the Browns first. Otherwise you're just going all-in with a bad hand. Doesn't make any sense.

 

Ultimately, the discussion should also flow through alternatives. Are the Browns better off holding onto the picks and either extending Mayfield to what would be an inflated contract probably or starting over at Quarterback again and using the picks. 

Again - if you're under the assumption that because you're such an effed up organization you need to basically screw your chances of actually winning to get a top QB, you're better off using the picks and starting over again. The Browns this year with a top QB would've had a decent chance of being a competitor (not winning, being a competitor). Hence the reason I said Wilson wouldn't've been too expensive. Every year after now the Browns chances get worse. Every other team gets better, and they won't.

With Watson, even if he disappoints and is tier 3; you might even be able to hang onto your job. 

Wow, that's exactly the opposite conclusion I would've had there. With Lance you can try again quickly. With Watson? Can't change Watson, but can change the coach.

Points: 0

#95 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 12:52pm

If Lance is a total bust or even a mostly bust a la Mitch Trubisky, I think everyone is getting fired. 

Points: 0

#96 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 12:52pm

If Lance is a total bust or even a mostly bust a la Mitch Trubisky, I think everyone is getting fired. 

To me, a lot of this depends on what Watson ends up being. If he's a tier 2 level QB(think Big Ben); then the Browns will need to hit on more luck than if he were better than that. 

Again, going back to the alternatives; its really an inflated Baker contract or starting over and I just don't think starting over is realistic. The ultimate downside is drafting another QB, watching him bust and then everything is sunk from there. You may say Watson is uncertain, but he's far more certain than an unproven first round rookie and Baker is a near certainty that he's not a tier 1 or tier 2 quarterback.

You trade three picks in part to limit variance on the quarterback. In that way, if you have that positioned locked up, it becomes easier to build a quality team around him. 

Points: 0

#97 by Bryan Knowles // Aug 23, 2022 - 12:57pm

Honestly, I think both situations are true.

If Lance is terrible, Lynch and Shanahan are going to get the blame for putting the future of the franchise on a bust -- not just taking one, but trading so many assets to do it.  They'd probably be gone.

If Watson isn't elite, his contract makes him unmovable, so the Browns' only option for refreshing things would be with a head coaching change.  They'd probably be gone.

Points: 0

#98 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 1:00pm

But in both universes, the bet is safer on Watson being really good. Lance right now could be anything. Literally any outcome is possible, from Jamarcus Russel to Patrick Mahomes. 

Going back to Tanier's math, Watson's mean outcome is some version of a Tier 2 - Big Ben like player. There lurks some downside risks he becomes Kirk Cousins 2.0 or some optimism that he joins Mahomes at the very top. But in all of these scenarios, it is extremely unlikely Watson ends up Trubisky. 

Points: 0

#101 by Pat // Aug 23, 2022 - 1:12pm

Except the bet isn't on Watson being really good. It's on the Browns being really good. If Watson's great and the Browns either don't make the playoffs or wash out early next year, how are they going to improve? They can't add talent in the draft. They can't add players in free agency.

They can fire the coach and bring in some new guy. No cap issues there!

It's the opposite in the 49ers case. Lance doesn't have to be Trey Lance. If he ends up being Baker Mayfield, the 49ers can still work with that, because they've got buckets of cap space. Assuming Garoppolo's gone, they've got $100+M on a 3-year timescale. The Browns have $16M on a 3-year timescale. 

The 49ers have margin. The Browns do not.

 

Points: 0

#103 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 1:15pm

I realize the Texans went 4-12 with Watson playing out of his mind, but how likely is that scenario? How often do QBs playing really well translate to teams missing the playoffs? 

Deshawn Watson is 26 years old. Assuming this year is a lost year, he will be 27 next year. They will have something like 6-8 years; which is an NFL eternity. Watson affords a time scale that Lance, in a pessimistic case, does not. Even if Lance is Baker Mayfield, that window is something like 2-4 years, not 6-8. 

And again, if Watson is Mahomes; then suddenly your margin for error massively increases. I think part of the trade was a bet on Watson being even better than he has looked in part because the Texans were such a mess. 

Really, this comes down to what the cap casualities are going to be with respect to Watson's contract. The first round picks are gone; true, but you live with that IF Watson is really really good. That's kind of what I was getting at. You can afford to miss on first rounders when you have a really great QB. It becomes a disaster if your QB is just good or average. 

Points: 0

#105 by KnotMe // Aug 23, 2022 - 1:23pm

There is probably some winners curse involved. (To put it another way, if you could see the future and were trading for a 25 yo Mahomes or Brady....even at that price it's a no brainer). The Browns were really high on Watson's chance to be a Tier 1 or 1.5. If everyone thought he had a really good chance there would have been alot more teams in on the bidding. Anyone with a QB Houston might actually want back could have put together a better package.

 

Well, the Texans won the same number of games with(2020) and wo(2021) Watson so clearly he didn't help much. ;)

Points: 0

#108 by Pat // Aug 23, 2022 - 1:47pm

How often do QBs playing really well translate to teams missing the playoffs? 

Matt Ryan 2020, 10th in DYAR, 4-12. Kirk Cousins 2020, 9th in DYAR, 7-9. Cousins 2021 7th in DYAR, 8-9. Herbert 2021 5th in DYAR 9-8. Prescott 2019 1st in DYAR, 8-8. Stafford 2019 9th in DYAR, 3-12-1. Carr 2019 6th in DYAR, 7-9.

So what, that's like, 20-30% of the time, a QB in the top 10 doesn't make the playoffs. Pretty stable too, think there were 3 in 2018 as well.

I actually think you're being over-generous, though: cases like Green Bay, where the team makes the playoffs but gets bounced consistently - that's way more likely to get a Browns coach fired.

They will have something like 6-8 years; which is an NFL eternity.

do not understand why people think Watson will stay in Cleveland. Where is this strange idea that Cleveland is a more functional franchise than the Houston Texans coming from??

Points: 0

#112 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 1:55pm

You have to make the case that the alternative is somehow a better scenario. Channeling my inner Tom Sowell, "Compared to what?". The alternatives are an overpaid Baker Mayfield or rolling with the draft lottery yet again. 

I would also add - QB trade requests often feel like one time events, unlike the NBA. Elway demanded a trade and stayed in Denver. Eli demanded a trade and stayed in New York. Cutler demanded a trade and stayed in Chicago. In the latter two cases, those teams also had periods where they were flat bad but neither demanded a trade to get out of dodge.

Maybe Watson is different. But again, at the time of his request, it was made clear that the issues were with the Texans organization; specifically with its team chaplain/team emperor Jack Easterby. 

Points: 0

#120 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 23, 2022 - 2:24pm

Where is this strange idea that Cleveland is a more functional franchise than the Houston Texans coming from??

Watson certainly thought it was.

Points: 0

#123 by Pat // Aug 23, 2022 - 2:33pm

Don't actually agree. That's why the Browns had to throw gigantic amounts of cash at him.

Points: 0

#126 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 23, 2022 - 2:56pm

He has agreed to play football for Cleveland.

An offer he refused in Houston.

Look, your position here cannot be reasonably supported. Cleveland is a dumpster fire. Houston is a dump fire on a submarine.

Points: 0

#131 by Pat // Aug 23, 2022 - 3:09pm

Okay. Let's be clear here. I do not believe Deshaun Watson did not want out of Houston because of some grand opinion on Jack Easterby's qualifications. I believe he wanted out of Houston because the organization lied to him and didn't include him in their front office redo, quite possibly because Watson's got an overly high opinion of himself.

I don't see Haslam souring on Watson (even if he plays well statistically) and brushing him off as terribly unlikely. I mean, I don't even see it as unlikely. Watson didn't want to play in Cleveland at first. They remedied that with giant amounts of cash.

Assuming they screw up in the future again (or, said another way, assuming they stay the Browns) it's not like they can do better than they've already done.

I don't make huge distinctions between degrees of dumpster fire.

Points: 0

#87 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 23, 2022 - 11:56am

At that point, unlike the other teams, The browns pursuit had alienated Baker

Not totally unique. The Falcons also burned their bridge with Ryan in their pursuit of Watson.

Points: 0

#90 by KnotMe // Aug 23, 2022 - 12:13pm

Given that Watson initially refused to waive his no-trade clause for Cleveland it's likely that them guaranteeing the contract is what changed his mind. 

Points: 0

#86 by Pat // Aug 23, 2022 - 11:54am

I think the browns basically classified as "desperate" as a franchise, so they did what they needed to do to get it done.

Yes. Exactly. Which is why it's insane. It's like buying lottery tickets to try to pay bills. Step #1 is always "become a not desperate franchise."

If 2020 is his new level rather than a career year, they are fine.

No, they still aren't! Compare it to, say, Dak Prescott. The Cowboys gave Prescott a 4 year contract, and will pay him around 18.6% of the cap those years to get that performance (with cap shenanigans spreading things out). They get 4 shots at the Super Bowl with high-level QB performance in return at most.

The Browns gave Watson a 5 year contract but they knew they'd only get 4 years out of it. They will end up paying him over 23% of the cap those years (again, with cap shenanigans stretching things out, this time before and after). They also get only 4 shots at the Super Bowl with high-level QB performance at most. The Browns are just handing the rest of the league a 5% cap advantage because they knew they'd have to pay Watson a huge amount for a useless year.

Perhaps a better way of looking it was, assume Watson had an injury and would miss 6 games to a full season. What would people think of it then?

How would we not think of it as insane? Drew Brees and Daunte Culpepper were both signed with known injuries that doctors could check out, evaluate, etc. The Dolphins effed up on the evaluation, the Saints didn't, and in addition, both were signed to lower contracts. The teams knew the risks, the players knew they carried risks, and so the contracts reflected that.

The Browns don't even know that Watson won't screw up again or that he'll actually come back this year! I mean, sure, they might have mitigations in the contract for that (but... it's the Browns) but they ain't getting the picks back.

Points: 0

#92 by KnotMe // Aug 23, 2022 - 12:34pm

I bet they were thinking they could use this year (so 5 shots) since all they have to do is reach the (expanded) playoffs. That might actually be difficult with 11 games however. 

They are probably thinking that if he turns out to be elite they should be able to get a second contract since QB age fairly well and them being decent into their mid 30s (or much later...lol) isn't that uncommon, so he could be around for close to 10 years.  If they get a 25 yo upper elite QB it's actually not horrible....but it goes bad quickly if he's not quite all that. 

Points: 0

#94 by Pat // Aug 23, 2022 - 12:46pm

 

They are probably thinking that if he turns out to be elite they should be able to get a second contract

How? They had to 100% guarantee his contract to get him when his market was depressed due to massive controversy. If he turns out to be elite and the controversy dies down, how do they keep him? Like, give him the franchise or something? Is he going to stop not wanting to be there without giant cash payouts?

Points: 0

#99 by KnotMe // Aug 23, 2022 - 1:01pm

Well, cash worked once. He also may have trouble leaving bc he would want his new team to give him a fully guaranteed contract. I agree that there might be some wishcasting, but they probably thinking that, given his age, they can extend him if warranted. 

Points: 0

#100 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 1:05pm

His priorities might also change. He may start to want to win more and be more flexible with his contract once the legal issues are squarely in the rear view. 

Its hard to separate the <insert word here> baggage from the on the field football player. Up until all of this came out, Watson had a sterling reputation as a football leader and franchise setter. I don't think its far fetched that he signs a longer term, team friendlier deal to facilitate winning. 

Points: 0

#102 by Pat // Aug 23, 2022 - 1:14pm

Up until all of this came out, Watson had a sterling reputation as a football leader and franchise setter.

You mean, except for the whole "I'm demanding out of this dumpster fire of a franchise" bit?

You do realize that the Browns are a dumpster fire of a franchise, right?

Points: 0

#104 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 1:21pm

The Texans are run by a team chaplain. The Browns ostensibly are run by actual football people. When Watson demanded a trade, absolutely no one thought he was in the wrong. 

Perhaps Watson is the kind of Qb who will demand a trade whenever the team is bad, but I think the issues with Watson were all about management and the Texans bizzaire decision executive. 

Points: 0

#106 by KnotMe // Aug 23, 2022 - 1:28pm

And changing out both the coach and GM didn't change it enough for him. 

Points: 0

#113 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 1:56pm

Well, the main figurehead remained, its his puppets that were fired. I don't think a rumor like Josh McCown being slated as the next head coach happens unintentionally; which provides a wonderful peek into the mindset of Houston's brainstrust. Basically, the team is run by a football charlatan. 

Points: 0

#142 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 4:07pm

I think Snyder is worse and his shenanigans are a direct result of his team's futility. I will 100 percent agree on this. 

Haslam is a fickle owner and has his issues, no question, but I need to see that he will look a gift horse in the mouth and still send it away to believe it. 

Points: 0

#110 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 1:51pm

Compare Andrew Berry's resume vs whatever the hell Jack Easterby is. 

Points: 0

#114 by Pat // Aug 23, 2022 - 1:59pm

Haslam's just as interfering as any of the other nutsy owners in the league. He hasn't had a general manager stay there more than 3 years his entire time there, I think.

Points: 0

#115 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 2:03pm

He's hardly the only mettlesome owner though. But I agree , Haslam is a bad owner and could be a source of conflict between Watson and the Browns. Could. But again, I am speaking strictly from the perspective of the Browns. As long as I don't do stupid things which are under my control, I should reasonably expect Watson to play a long time for me. 

Points: 0

#116 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 2:03pm

He's hardly the only mettlesome owner though. But I agree , Haslam is a bad owner and could be a source of conflict between Watson and the Browns. Could. But again, I am speaking strictly from the perspective of the Browns. As long as I don't do stupid things which are under my control, I should reasonably expect Watson to play a long time for me. 

Points: 0

#117 by Pat // Aug 23, 2022 - 2:10pm

But again, I am speaking strictly from the perspective of the Browns. As long as I don't do stupid things which are under my control,

So.... you don't follow the Browns, then?

It's the same thing I say about the Bears. When the Bears draft a QB it's an automatic black mark for me because the Bears don't know how to evaluate quarterbacks or offense. They don't know what they're doing. The Bears will be a defense and special teams team as long as they're owned by the family that wants them to be a defense and special teams team.

Haslam's Browns are the same way. He takes massive risks and then basically fires everyone regardless of whether or not it works out because it'll never work out as good as he thinks it should. If someone gave me anything better than even odds on Berry and Stefanski getting fired in the next 2 years, I'd take it. I'll bet Haslam's banking on a Super Bowl win next year. Anything shy of that, sayonara.

Points: 0

#125 by KnotMe // Aug 23, 2022 - 2:54pm

Many times when teams improve it starts with a change of ownship although it often takes a fair bit of time after that. (KC, Buffalo, if you want to go back, NE)

Of course the Brown's issue is that Haslem wasn't any better than the previous owners. I think the issue is the owner has to hire the top people and they don't know enough to evaluate them. 

Points: 0

#129 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 3:06pm

The ownership angle to me is way overblown. So many teams have "bad ownership" until they hit QB gin and it all is rendered irrelevant. Check out Mike Brown the owner. Somehow, Burrow developed anyways. 

The Chargers have notoriously bad owners, but that hasn't stopped them from drafting two exceedingly successful Qbs. I guarantee people were arguing that Ownership played a big part in why Ryan Leaf was a disaster. And yet, that narrative died. And what do people here think of Jim Irsay?

And is Bob Kraft the reason the Pats have 6 titles? And what about Steve Bischotti, who despite 2 sbs, has been the owner of a team notoriously bad on offense year after year.

It seems ownership has become this convenient catch all excuse to explain on the field misfortune. When you miss badly at QB, sometimes that's really all there is to it. 

Points: 0

#135 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 23, 2022 - 3:32pm

but that hasn't stopped them from drafting two exceedingly successful Qbs.

Three!

They drafted Manning the Younger, Brees, and Herbert. They also traded for Rivers.

Points: 0

#156 by ahmadrashad // Aug 24, 2022 - 12:27am

Haslem is a terrible owner because he's a terrible manager, if you've ever worked around the type, you'll know. His style is basically russian roulette where no matter what happens someone is getting fired soon. (In fact thinking about it, I don't blame Watson demanding a fully guaranteed contract, because a 7-10 season and Haslem will want him gone.) 

Some people here have apparently taken brain-damage from twitter/reddit JOKES. "Bears doomed to bad offense due to owners" is not any sort of analytical take. 

Points: 0

#161 by Pat // Aug 24, 2022 - 10:16am

Some people here have apparently taken brain-damage from twitter/reddit JOKES. "Bears doomed to bad offense due to owners" is not any sort of analytical take. 

It actually is! Bears front office turnover through multiple GM/head coach changes has been very low in comparison to other teams. That is analytical - it's just numbers (take a look at the turnover when Pace took over versus when Beane took over the Bills). It's a side effect of nepotism - it generates organizational inertia and implicit priorities and mindsets that stick around for decades. It's the same issue the Lions have (for exactly the same reason) - the difference is that the Lions are basically bad at everything.

Points: 0

#162 by Pat // Aug 24, 2022 - 10:17am

Check out Mike Brown the owner. Somehow, Burrow developed anyways. 

The criticism on Mike Brown was that he was cheap, not incompetent - and the Bengals outflow spending has increased a lot in the past few years.

Points: 0

#166 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 24, 2022 - 11:35am

They've even upgraded to flying in second class in recent years!

Points: 0

#168 by Pat // Aug 24, 2022 - 11:58am

And they're going to build an indoor practice facility so they won't have to borrow the University of Cincinnati's! Mike Brown's just making it rain!

 

Points: 0

#130 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 3:06pm

The ownership angle to me is way overblown. So many teams have "bad ownership" until they hit QB gin and it all is rendered irrelevant. Check out Mike Brown the owner. Somehow, Burrow developed anyways. 

The Chargers have notoriously bad owners, but that hasn't stopped them from drafting two exceedingly successful Qbs. I guarantee people were arguing that Ownership played a big part in why Ryan Leaf was a disaster. And yet, that narrative died. And what do people here think of Jim Irsay?

And is Bob Kraft the reason the Pats have 6 titles? And what about Steve Bischotti, who despite 2 sbs, has been the owner of a team notoriously bad on offense year after year.

It seems ownership has become this convenient catch all excuse to explain on the field misfortune. When you miss badly at QB, sometimes that's really all there is to it. 

Points: 0

#134 by mehllageman56 // Aug 23, 2022 - 3:27pm

Pretty sure that Kraft is the reason Belichick is in New England.  He stole, ok, paid to steal Belichick from a rival with multiple draft picks, and it was worth it.  So yeah, Kraft is a massive reason the Patriots have those titles.  He's also the main reason they are still in New England.

Bischotti inherited a Super Bowl team (they won in 2000, when he was a minority owner), and kept the same GM until Ozzie Newsome retired, and only had to make one coaching hire.

Brown hasn't been the worst owner in the NFL; he may be the cheapest, but he doesn't fire people that often and also doesn't meddle that much.  The Bengals had a ten year period of being like the Browns, but they went to Super Bowls before that, and then went to the playoffs a bunch under Marvin Lewis.

The Spanos family and Dan Snyder are horrible owners in comparison, and have mucked things up as much as possible.  The Chargers have wasted multiple franchise quarterbacks and only got to the Super Bowl once, with one of their weaker ones.  They traded defensive players in the early '80s, ruining the Coryell/Fouts teams' chances of winning the big one, so they could save money.  Snyder not only helped ruin RGIII's career, but has created one of the most toxic workplaces in North American sports.  I only say one of the most because I remembered everything that came out about the Blackhawks a year ago.  If the emails ever come out, Snyder may still have them beat.

Irsay has his personal issues, as well as possible crimes, but he has been a much better owner than his father was.  The Colts went from a laughingstock to competitive once Irsay Jr. started to have influence in the organization, around the late '80s.

Points: 0

#136 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 23, 2022 - 3:34pm

Brown hasn't been the worst owner in the NFL; he may be the cheapest, but he doesn't fire people that often and also doesn't meddle that much. 

Neither do the Fords. They are still terrible owners.

Points: 0

#164 by Pat // Aug 24, 2022 - 10:57am

Neither do the Fords.

Rod Wood: “I would probably say that I’m not qualified to run any other NFL team, but I think I’m qualified to run this one because of the connection to the Ford family”

Hiring only people you like is meddling.

Points: 0

#139 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 3:52pm

And that Peyton Manning fellow. I am sure he was a product of Irsay too.

More seriously, you are naming owners that didn't win the SB, but have otherwise had successful seasons. We are now crediting Kraft for the Pats success? What percent does he deserve? 1% or 99%?

That's the other issue I have with all of this. Its all post hoc. A team is bad, so the owner is bad. A team is great, the owner must be amazing. Jed York was described as a complete nitwit in the aftermath of the Harbaugh firing. That discourse died down the day Shanny nearly won the SB and their recent contendership. Is he still a nitwit? is he the reason they didn't win the SB??? Is that why they couldn't hold a lead and Jimmy G fumbled against the Rams? And really, its becoming a catchall for every thing. A franchise has had bad offenses for years? Its the ownership. The franchise has great QB play but doesn't win enough games? Ownership for that too. Somehow one set of owners tanks the offense, another set tanks the defense and special teams. And yet when the ravens win in spite of bad qb play, where was the handwringing over Bischotti's meddling stopping a potential dynasty?

Points: 0

#144 by KnotMe // Aug 23, 2022 - 4:32pm

Mostly, ownership has to hire the right people and have a realistic understanding of the process. NE isn't a good example bc...there was some crazy luck involved there. Mostly, Kraft  realized Belichick was good and knew enough to ride out the lows (wern't people saying he had lost his touch after 2011?)

KC might be better example, they hired Reid, fumbled around for a while, hit on QB and BOOM, elite team. Buffalo would be even better since they changed owners but they havn't done anything yet. 

 

Points: 0

#151 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 6:03pm

If Josh Allen didn't buck convention and instead was still a bad qb by year 3, I guarantee Sean McDermott is fired and Beane as well. The fact that didn't happen isn't suggestive of any prowess on the Bills' ownership, but rather the fortune of a quarterback panning out. 
 

Remember this is Buffalo, who had embarked on their own 20 year misery cycle until they happened to land the quarterback. Obviously, I think McDermott is a very good coach, but its all rendered irrelevant if their Qb isn't really good. Let's all watch what happens with Pete Carroll now. 

Points: 0

#165 by mehllageman56 // Aug 24, 2022 - 11:26am

Yes, I am crediting Kraft for the Patriots' success, because without him Belichick stays in New York.  Kraft had to actually fight to get his guy, who had worked for Kraft before but not in that role.  The other examples I don't know or actually agree with (I don't know how Bischotti meddled in Baltimore), but as a Jets fan I can attest to Kraft owning a huge part of the Patriots' success and also the decline of my favorite franchise.

Points: 0

#169 by SandyRiver // Aug 24, 2022 - 1:56pm

The Patriots could never sustain quality teams prior to Kraft's ownership, and the previous 2 owners (the clownish Victor Kiam and James Orthwein) both wanted to move the team out of New England.  Neither showed interest in improving upon the bargain-basement wreck that was Foxboro Stadium, with player spaces that would embarrass a high school athletic director and a field that once had ponds deep enough to prevent FG attempts.  Kraft was willing to shell out the funds for a modern facility, which of course turned into a gold mine for him, but what other NFL owners paid for their stadiums.  IMO, having decent facilities instead of dungeon-like ones had to improve team morale while making NWE more attractive to free agents.  The Belichick factor is well documented above.

Points: 0

#127 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 2:59pm

I think we have stumbled upon a point of disagreement.

"The Bears will be a defense and special teams team as long as they're owned by the family that wants them to be a defense and special teams team."

What evidence is there that the Bears ownership specifically mandates the team do this? It certainly hasn't been related to their drafts. I detailed long ago the number of moves they have made, including firing a long time successful defensive HC, in the name of fielding a great offense. And your statement above is factually wrong. In 2013 they were 6th in pass DVOA. It was only for one year, but it literally still contradicts your statement. Again, you seem to be looking over the data and then ascribing the cause to the only factor left over. After all, they have cycled through coaches, GMs, and QBs and they've largely failed. Thus it must be because of ownership. But just how is ownership intentionally subverting the team? Are you really going to suggest they don't want a good quarterback or a good passing game? How specifically are they undermining the efforts? 

Yes there are some owners who undermine. Haslam is one. I agree. But if you think Haslam is hopeless as an owner, then really no matter what he does, the team is going to be bad. If they draft a Watson like quarterback, he will demand to leave. If they fail to do so, they will be a bad team. If they trade for Watson, somehow even that choice will be bad. So then this trade has nothing to do with Watson because they are screwed no matter what direction they take. 

Points: 0

#132 by Pat // Aug 23, 2022 - 3:10pm

 

What evidence is there that the Bears ownership specifically mandates the team do this?

The fact that they said it?

The Bears GM/owners have made exactly this comment about the team with regards to NFL rules changes.

Points: 0

#138 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 3:48pm

They said they don't want a good passing game and only want defense and special teams????

So were they lying or mislead when the team fired the coach who gave them exactly what they wanted and decided to go for Marc Tressman? That seems odd. What about trading 2 firsts for Cutler? What was the intention there? Or drafting Derrick White. Or Trubisky. Or trading for Brandon Marshall. Or signing Moose Mohamad? Or Matt Nagy.

Points: 0

#146 by KnotMe // Aug 23, 2022 - 4:46pm

Can they not get a QB bc they want defense and special teams or do the want defense and special teams bc they QB thing hasn't worked out for them?

Points: 0

#148 by theslothook // Aug 23, 2022 - 4:56pm

My point is, if this view held any water; then they had the literal perfect head coach in Lovie Smith that they intentionally moved on from. And its not as if they hired some other defensive coach to replace him. Even if they happened to say they want defense and special teams; that decision runs 100% counter to their actual actions. 

Which destroys this argument that the Bears offensive malaise is directly resulting from ownership. Without a direct causal mechanism, this is all just post hoc narration. 

Points: 0

#163 by Pat // Aug 24, 2022 - 10:46am

then they had the literal perfect head coach in Lovie Smith that they intentionally moved on from.

Why in the world do you think it took so long for them to move on from him?

Of course they tried to build offenses, but they didn't actually do any of the real changes needed to do it. You're looking at all of the superficial efforts. They drafted a QB #2 and then traded the house for Khalil Mack. They're the little kid who promises they're going to change and be diligent with their homework, goes and gets things set up and then ooh new youtube video.

Points: 0

#159 by Pat // Aug 24, 2022 - 10:03am

They said they don't want a good passing game and only want defense and special teams????

I didn't say that. I said they're a defense and special teams team. That's what they believed they were building. They focus on defense and special teams first, and if the offense is good, cool.

The fact that they said that the Bears are a team whose strength is defense and special teams like they believed that was a thing already tells you something.

Or signing Moose Mohamad? Or Matt Nagy.

It's hilarious, you're saying all of these things like they're supposed to demonstrate that what I'm saying is wrong. All of these moves, they make them and sometimes the offense gets better, but when the defense isn't up to par, hey that's just getting away from Bears football. This is what the Bears do. They're literally the only franchise out there that hired a defensive coach as their head coach this cycle.

Points: 0

#150 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 23, 2022 - 5:12pm

I think their comments were in the context of resisting rule changes that would make the NFL even more QB-centric than it already was, and for the reason that they didn't want such a change because they were historically inept at finding and developing QBs. They preferred rules favoring defense and special teams because they could win that way.

I don't think they resisted the idea of wanting a great QB, but they knew they had if anything an anti-talent at doing so.

Points: 0

#160 by Pat // Aug 24, 2022 - 10:12am

That's basically what I was saying. I'm not saying they don't want to find a great QB, I'm saying they're not willing to make the changes that would let them do so. They're really good at identifying/acquiring defensive talent/coaching, and have been for a long time. But in order to get a great QB, you've gotta have scouts/personnel guys that'll say "he's a great player, but I don't really think Mack's worth as much as my guy insert offensive player here." Well, and higher-ups that are willing to listen to reasoning like that.

(I mean, I've also don't think any of their scouts/personnel guys had a clue about scouting offensive personnel at all but that's a separate thing.) 

Every time a new front office comes in, they fire the guys at the top and promote the guys below them. There's huge organizational inertia there. They can't find a great QB because they don't have the scouts and personnel to identify them, and the internal Bears nepotism isn't going to let the new guy head coach come in and mess things up.

I'm not saying they aren't trying to find a solid offense, they just aren't introspective enough to realize that the traits they are valuing in the front office are actively harming their ability to do so.

Points: 0

#107 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 23, 2022 - 1:31pm

Your question is asked in the context of the result where Watson is now rich, elite, and successful -- in Cleveland.

Why would he want to leave?

Points: 0

#111 by Pat // Aug 23, 2022 - 1:52pm

Because he won't be forced to pick between desperate teams due to having a suspension looming over him and can move wherever he wants? Where are these ties to Cleveland coming from?

Points: 0

#118 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 23, 2022 - 2:13pm

You were asking why would Watson -- assuming he's been successful and Cleveland is good and wants to extend/resign him at the end of this huge contract -- why he would do so. -- This is all in the context where everything has worked out really well!

Likely for the same reasons Manning wanted to stay in Indy, Rivers in SD, Rodgers in GB, and Mahomes in KC -- because being really rich and successful has pretty strong appeal, no matter where you spend your winter or how few ties you have there.

The only guy who really forced his way out was Russ -- because he decided cooking was worth more to him than the other things.

Points: 0

#119 by Pat // Aug 23, 2022 - 2:19pm

Oh, no. I was assuming that Watson was successful but the Browns were the Browns.

In the context of Watson being successful and Cleveland being good, sure, Watson would stick around to spend time with the unicorns and flying ponies.

Points: 0

#122 by KnotMe // Aug 23, 2022 - 2:32pm

if Watson puts up DYAR of ~1200 in 2023 and 2024 and they offer him an extension, why wouldn't he take it?

If Watson is rich, elite and successful in Cleveland...and still wants to leave? That says something about your franchise. 

 

Points: 0

#124 by Pat // Aug 23, 2022 - 2:39pm

 

and they offer him an extension, why wouldn't he take it?

Fair caveat, I'm assuming that Watson cares about more than just making money from football. Like, better working environment, actually having playoff success, etc. Which... might be a stretch. I'm still thinking that 2-3 years of dealing with Haslam will have him being GTFO. Or that Haslam will tire of his new shiny toy.

Note that in this situation that doesn't mean that Cleveland will have success with Watson, they're still likely going to have to fully guarantee everything and pay him absolute top rate, so they'll be running at a severe disadvantage.

If Watson is rich, elite and successful in Cleveland...and still wants to leave? That says something about your franchise. 

I agree...?

Points: 0

#128 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 23, 2022 - 3:00pm

I'm still thinking that 2-3 years of dealing with Haslam will have him being GTFO. 

If it's working, it's working.

Peyton put up with Irsay. Rivers with Spanos. And Spanos and Irsay were somewhere between incompetent and evil. If you're making bank and the team is doing okay, you can probably deal with the clown in the expensive suite. That model has worked for the Cowboys for 30 years.

Points: 0

#158 by Pat // Aug 24, 2022 - 9:56am

 

Peyton put up with Irsay. Rivers with Spanos. And Spanos and Irsay were somewhere between incompetent and evil.

hugely disagree - to me you're talking more about the owners as people than as owners. Irsay stuck with the GM/head coach through years of losing to the Patriots when fans were calling out they'd never be able to win the Super Bowl. And honestly, Jerry Jones gets more crap as the Cowboys head coach than he deserves. He's really not that bad a GM, just a bit too egocentric (but on the whole still a net positive). And dear God, I'm an Eagles fan saying that.

highly doubt Watson gives a crap about the owners being good people or not. That's not what I'm talking about. Haslam's the most impatient owner in the entire NFL. He hires Sashi Brown, who guts the team and starts stockpiling picks and then fires him because it's taking too long. Then he hires Dorsey because he wants the team to start winning, Dorsey goes and racks up one of the best drafting stretches I've ever seen, and fires Dorsey because... it's taking too long.

Now he hires Berry, they don't pick up Mayfield, they trade the house and mortgage everything for Watson, and immediately lose a year. I've seen this movie before. I know what's coming next. And when Haslam sours on Watson for not winning the Super Bowl immediately, I'm betting Watson gets fed up with this crap.

Points: 0

#133 by KnotMe // Aug 23, 2022 - 3:11pm

I can't think of many cases of a player doing well someplace and pretty much shooting their way out of town. (Turning down an extension with over a year left is pretty similar. It's risky for the player due to injuries and variance, so't pretty rare unless the team botches the money or the player is dead set on leaving).

The Browns can't see their own state, so I think their view that they can extend him if it works out is reasonable bc that is usually the way it works. 

 

Points: 0

#171 by Pat // Aug 25, 2022 - 2:09pm

I can't think of many cases of a player doing well someplace and pretty much shooting their way out of town.

uh... Seattle and Houston?

I don't understand what you're trying to say - do you mean a player and the team doing well? Yeah, sure. Winning helps a ton. But the Browns aren't going to win this year and I have doubts about next year.

Points: 0

#73 by mansteel // Aug 22, 2022 - 8:41pm

To me, that's the best case against tanking. The #1 overall pick (or, say, a top 5 pick) is perhaps statistically the best way to get an elite QB, but the hit rate isn't great. In fact, I think the only top-5 QB picks since Troy Aikman (drafted in '89) to win a SB for the team that drafted them are named Manning. Why intentionally suck when reward is a lottery ticket only slightly more likely to pay off than the one you'd get anyway?

Points: 0

#74 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 23, 2022 - 12:08am

Eli was drafted by the Chargers.

That Colts SB was the only Manning title for their draft team.

Points: 0

#33 by Mike B. In Va // Aug 22, 2022 - 2:09pm

Aside from being the Bills -- their problem may actually be the same ones you find fault for in the Browns -- a complete lack of interest in stopping the run. That whacked the Chargers last year, too. Even if you don't think Belichick is a god walking upon the mortal plane, he's still a really good DC. And he continues to value run-stopping. There may be a little something to that in pressure games.

Yeah, other than completely rebuilding the defensive tackle spot through free agency, they totally weren't interested in stopping the run. We'll see what the results are, but they now have the horses to do it. Corner is a much bigger concern for them than stopping the run right now. 

Points: 0

#38 by horn // Aug 22, 2022 - 2:35pm

are definitely trying to win and not MoneyBalling. They only have 2 legit prospects in their farm system, both just drafted very recently and promoted to AA.

They have signed big money FAs: Harper, Realmuto, Schwarber, Castellanos and Wheeler. They're not as good as the Mets or Dodgers but they are valiantly trying to win before the bullpen gets wracked by injuries again....oh, no wait. Damn.

Points: 0

#44 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 22, 2022 - 3:02pm

I wasn't sure what to do with the Phillies and the Padres, who spend but are magnetically attracted to .500.

They may be an example of "musn't lose", though.

Points: 0

#4 by theslothook // Aug 22, 2022 - 10:30am

33 percent feels way too high. It's as if the offseason makes people forget that injuries aren't a thing. Oh and while we are at it, Allen and Diggs are no Moss and Brady; so it's not as if they are about to embark on an 07 Patriots string of regular season dominance.

The Bills are my Superbowl choice as well, but not an overwhelming one. I felt more confident in the 2020 Kansas City Chiefs as a more recent example.

Points: 0

#22 by MJK // Aug 22, 2022 - 12:05pm

The Bills are probably the single most likely team to win the SB this year.

The Bills are very unlikely to win (or even make) the SB this year.

These two statements are both true and not contradictory. Winning the SB is hard.

Points: 0

#155 by Tutenkharnage // Aug 23, 2022 - 11:53pm

But that’s because the odds being referred to are their odds of finishing with 12 or more wins, according to the Almanac. 

Points: 0

#5 by IlluminatusUIUC // Aug 22, 2022 - 10:43am

The anti-Bills argument is a decidedly non-analytical one: Sean McDermott's defenses have blown leads in every road playoff game they've played with Josh Allen. (Technically each in McDermott's tenure, but I'm not counting 3-0 vs. Jax). 13 seconds is the most recent and the most egregious, but letting up 21 unanswered to KC in 2020 and 19 unanswered to Houston in 2019 are arguably as bad. He is currently on the Andy Reid arc of "he can't win the big one" until he does.

Points: 0

#6 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 22, 2022 - 10:45am

That's more Shanahan than Reid, I think.

Shanahan has lost 28-3 and 20-10 leads in the second half of SBs and 17-7 in an NFCCG.

Points: 0

#48 by IlluminatusUIUC // Aug 22, 2022 - 3:16pm

To be fair, Shanahan is an offensive coach and was only the OC during 28-3, but fair point. He has inherited Reid's legacy, especially since Reid himself broke that 20-10 lead.

Points: 0

#9 by theslothook // Aug 22, 2022 - 10:54am

The Houston loss I put more on the offense than the defense. Their offense went into extreme turtle mode with a ton of time left. Given that this was Allen's second year, that game practically cemented my opinion that he was destined for bustville.

Points: 0

#50 by IlluminatusUIUC // Aug 22, 2022 - 3:20pm

The Bills had the 21st ranked offense and the 7th ranked defense that year, setting aside that the Bills got completely hosed by two of the worst calls of the year, playing conservative ball with a 2 TD lead was probably the right call.

Points: 0

#35 by Mike B. In Va // Aug 22, 2022 - 2:11pm

I believe their answer for that is to not play any games on the road. ;)

Points: 0

#58 by takeleavebelieve // Aug 22, 2022 - 4:29pm

Similarly non-analytical, the past two years of puff pieces about the magical connection between Daboll and Josh Allen would lead one to believe the offense might lose its mojo. 

Points: 0

#65 by Mike B. In Va // Aug 22, 2022 - 5:16pm

Astute Bills watchers are waiting for the regular season to see if dreams of not getting cutesy in the red zone and costing the team a TD shot are true with the move from Daboll to Dorsey.

Points: 0

#11 by FanZed // Aug 22, 2022 - 11:14am

I'm here for all of the entertaining mockery of Panthers head coach, Matt Rhule ("Rhule thinks he is playing 4D chess but he is really just cramming rooks up his own rectum.").

On the other hand, I'm not going to slag him when a rookie QB gets injured during the 4th quarter of a pre-season game. It always sucks when a guy gets injured. Given that we're talking about professional football where freak injuries are a way of life, I'm not sure that not playing a rookie who needs the experience is a viable option. 

I can even accept the substance of the argument that Rhule has no clue how to develop a roster or manage playing time and still not condemn him for Corral's injury. 

Points: 0

#75 by KnotMe // Aug 23, 2022 - 3:13am

He named Mayfield the starter at least.

Stopped clocks, blah, blah

Points: 0

#78 by Mike B. In Va // Aug 23, 2022 - 8:00am

In the end, even he's not stupid enough to cross his owner.

Points: 0

#14 by big10freak // Aug 22, 2022 - 11:37am

I don't know any Packer fans here who expect anything other than highs and lows with Doubs or frankly pretty much the entire receiving corps save perhaps for Cobb.  GB has a high variance plan in effect.  Could boom but pretty obvious the masses outside of the GB front office think bust is more likely.  Cannot find any article online talking about GB's 2022 without the writer saying GB undermined the season by not retaining Adams (not looking to relitigate that decision here)

 

On a minor note don't understand the continued acerbic tone taken toward Packer fans at FO.  If someone is getting aches and pains from rolling their eyes at online Packer boosterism why does the aggravation require the mostly sensible GB fans at FO to be on the receiving end of sarcasm?  We get termed 'humorless' or in this article "Cheeseheads" which based on context is not written in good natured fashion.  The writer repeatedly takes swipes at the GB qb for his passive-aggressive behaviors.  Is that because he wants Rodgers to get off his corner?

 

If there is any answer I anticipate it being called 'hypersensitive' or the equivalent.  So if that is the route just come at me directly via my email in my profile.  Happy to engage offline.  I just think the group here is pretty grounded and unworthy of being a ridicule pinata.

Points: 0

#20 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 22, 2022 - 11:52am

the mostly sensible GB fans at FO

This sort of ignores the elephant in the room. =)

Points: 0

#26 by big10freak // Aug 22, 2022 - 12:38pm

If someone wants to take me to the woodshed they are welcome to try.  And I prefer the one on one versus the one to many with good posters being collateral damage.

 

 

Points: 0

#27 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 22, 2022 - 12:48pm

Oh you're not the elephant.

He's not yet appeared in this article.

Points: 0

#60 by theslothook // Aug 22, 2022 - 4:37pm

I would assume after several gutting defeats, he's learned not to engage in self aggrandizing fandom. 

Points: 0

#21 by theslothook // Aug 22, 2022 - 11:54am

I think the media permanently soured on Rodgers after the vaccine fiasco. Rightly or wrongly, vaccination decisions have become extremely politicized and Rodgers' decision put him squarely amongst a segment of the population that draws most of the mainstream media ire. 

There also may be people who read into Rodgers typical candor as petulant, but I find it refreshing personally. For once, we get a quarterback who doesn't answer every question in coach speak. 

Points: 0

#25 by big10freak // Aug 22, 2022 - 12:35pm

FWIW I have been clear that as early as 2017/2018 12 began sounding like a weirdo.  And now that transition is finished as he completed his Jedi weirdo training.  I also have shared on his board that I thought his leadership efforts with MVS were abysmal. It was only after someone (coaches?  teammates) pulled him aside that Rodgers adjusted his approach to be more positive.  MVS just could not process harsh criticism especially of the non-verbal kind (Rodgers throwing his arms in disgust for example)  So in this regard Rodgers has not done his best work though I acknowledge he has changed when given feedback.  

 

So I have no issue with anyone taking shots at Rodgers.  For the most part he's earned it.

Points: 0

#34 by Pat // Aug 22, 2022 - 2:09pm

 

So I have no issue with anyone taking shots at Rodgers.  For the most part he's earned it.

There's pretty solid evidence that you're in the minority of Packers fans, at least at FO. Last time there was a sling about Rodgers literally 100% of the Packers fans who commented were grumpy about it (note that you didn't), as far as I could tell.

I didn't read the "Cheeseheads" comment as being anything acerbic, though: more like because of the recency bias of Chase there'll be a bunch of critical fans (and those probably deserve the tone) pointing out that hey, Chase did it, so anyone can.

Points: 0

#51 by IlluminatusUIUC // Aug 22, 2022 - 3:23pm

There are plenty of players who refused the vaccines for a host of reasons. The ones who became punchlines are guys like Rodgers and Cole Beasley who publicly cried about being victims. Rodgers even moreso because of his "immunized" comment which came off like a bald-faced lie.

Points: 0

#54 by theslothook // Aug 22, 2022 - 3:38pm

That was my biggest problem with Rodgers. Say whatever you want about not getting vaccinated - at least those players faced the music of their actions. Rodgers lied about it. 

Points: 0

#68 by big10freak // Aug 22, 2022 - 6:30pm

Agreed.  Rodgers thought he was clever with his wordsmithing but that was at best disingenuous 

 

Now currently he is getting recognized by his young teammates for his efforts at mentoring.  Which is why I think Rodgers just needs to be TOLD when and why he is being regarded as a dipsh8t.  He has shown the ability to adjust his behavior.  But only on matters related to football.  Outside of football he regards any negative feedback on his actions or words as someone either hopelessly biased or not as informed.  
 

Ergo, weirdo.  

Points: 0

#153 by jonsilver // Aug 23, 2022 - 6:30pm

Which, when you think about it, is really counter-intuitive. You would think that someone in Rodgers' profession, who has reached the level in it that he has, if given a choice as to which side of his experience (his profession or his membership in society apart from profession) he would choose to be dogmatic about if he had to choose one and only one, would choose his profession. But, no, he's decided to come down on the other side, the one where he has no accolades and trophies. Hence, arrogantly weird. 

Points: 0

#32 by drobviousso // Aug 22, 2022 - 1:47pm

Tanier is, I'm very sad to say, just getting very repetative and mean spirited.  

Points: 0

#39 by horn // Aug 22, 2022 - 2:41pm

Agreed it's been happening for a while now. Who should be the QB in Wash? The guy with 27 TDs and 7 INTs last year with one functional WR? Or the guy with 20 and 15 INTs - the 29yr old UDFA?

The guy who was 11th in QBR or the guy who was 22nd?

He hates Wentz' political beliefs and refusal to take the little-known risks of vaccination [Myocarditis, et al] so he will insult Wentz every week. Meanwhile, people who have been vaxxed 3-4 times like myself, POTUS, et al still got Covid.

Points: 0

#43 by Pat // Aug 22, 2022 - 3:01pm

He hates Wentz' political beliefs and refusal

You... you think that's the reason Tanier hates Wentz? Seriously?

Tanier hates Wentz because he was a well-documented pill as the QB to the team Tanier's written entire articles about being a fan of.

Points: 0

#45 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 22, 2022 - 3:04pm

Tanier makes fun of him for being in the Cousins-Rodgers club, but loathes him for being even more allergic to accountability and criticism as he is to pass rush pressure.

Tanier sees him as a passive-aggressive version of Jeff George, and he's the anti-Whitlock.

Points: 0

#80 by KnotMe // Aug 23, 2022 - 10:39am

Tanier is great at the analytics, but just above average at the entertainment side. It's just that, like most writers, he tends to fall back to clichés when there isn't anything new to say on a topic. 

Points: 0

#167 by drobviousso // Aug 24, 2022 - 11:46am

Its funny you say this, because Tanier has written some of the best of the entertainment stuff this website has ever posted.  It was years ago.  As one commenter said of that post "Wow. That was outstanding. What a perfect way to skewer the producers of irrelevant gossip and shame those of us who indulge in it."

I'll just quote this (its a letter from a senior demon to a younger demon about how to corrupt the souls of the impressionable)

If we are to best use football fandom as an avenue for temptation, our first priority must be to make our patients, the fans, as jaded as possible. Jading them to the simple pleasures of sport opens their minds to our darker inventions: not just gambling or the lazy gluttony of all-day drunken viewing, but wrathfulness, and that creeping disatisfaction that robs them of joy in other endeavors and causes a ripple effect throughout their lives. In short, your duty in the sports department is to keep fans both disillusioned and habitual in their sport viewership. They must watch it more, and enjoy it less, in the tradition of our classic cigarette advertisments.

Points: 0

#40 by Kaepernicus // Aug 22, 2022 - 2:52pm

So I want to engage with you about the state of the Packers offense. As a 49ers fan I watched both those games last year and was amazed at how much Rodgers singles out very specific receivers. I think Jones/Adams were the only people who caught a ball in the playoffs after that one TE? fumbled the ball. When was the last time he had so few weapons he trusted? Among the elite QBs Rodgers seems to be the most fickle when it comes to trusting his weapons on a game to game basis. Most of this is just me trying to figure out who to target in fantasy. Aaron Jones seems like he has a chance to go 2018 McCaffrey level as the main weapon. For the first time in a while the Packers look like a defense and running smash mouth team. They are one of my sneaky SB picks if just one of these younger WR work out. Could end up looking a lot like the 2010 team if the pieces fall into place.

Points: 0

#47 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 22, 2022 - 3:07pm

Rodgers can be weird.

This team saved their season via two hails mary to Jeff Janis, who had two receptions all year to that point.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/gnb/2015.htm

 

Points: 0

#52 by Kaepernicus // Aug 22, 2022 - 3:26pm

This is exactly what I was looking for! That team seems like an almost perfect comp with Cobb now filling in the James Jones role. I would say Dillon/Jones is an upgrade over Lacy/Starks. Now the question is which of the young guys emerge as the Adams/Cobb for this year's team. Luckily for the Packers they still play in a pretty terrible division. Seems like in 2015 they really struggled against elite defenses and on 3rd down. This is going be a fascinating season in GB.

Points: 0

#55 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 22, 2022 - 3:38pm

Lions are gonna lose on another Hail Mary this year, aren't they?

\The Lions have twice lost at the gun to the longest FG conversion in NFL history.

Points: 0

#82 by serutan // Aug 23, 2022 - 11:09am

True, but those losses were 51 years apart from each other - there are far more sound reasons (i.e. ownership) for the Lions being cursed.

Points: 0

#89 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 23, 2022 - 11:59am

Lord knows Ford is the real problem, but it would be nice if He could avoid piling on.

Points: 0

#137 by KnotMe // Aug 23, 2022 - 3:39pm

Teams are cursed till...they aren't, like say the Cubs. I like Campbell as a coach so they got one piece at least. 

Points: 0

#140 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 23, 2022 - 3:57pm

The Cubs managed to run into the one team even more cursed than they are -- the Indians also lost a WS to the Braves.

The Cubs still managed to blow a 3 run lead with 2 outs in the 8th inning of game 7 and let the winning run come to the plate in the bottom of the 10th. Basically, they ran into the one team that didn't even bother to move the headstones.

Because that wasn't even the Indians' most gutting game 7 loss.
https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/FLO/FLO199710260.shtml

Under this model, the Lions really need to manage to run into the Chargers, Bills, or nuBrowns in the SB, and probably encounter the Vikings and Cardinals along the way.

Points: 0

#145 by KnotMe // Aug 23, 2022 - 4:41pm

And the Red Sox had only 0-3 comeback in MLB history against their rivals(and torched the Cardinals in WS). Your cursed till you arn't. 
 

Odds of the Lions reaching the superbowl aside, them meeting the Chargers, Bills, Browns, Cincy or Jax is plausible. 

Points: 0

#157 by DisplacedPackerFan // Aug 24, 2022 - 6:30am

Quick note before the TL;DR all start to address your question about fantasy. I don't play fantasy but I wouldn't take take any Packers WR, RB, or TE as anything but a 2nd or 3rd option. While I fully expect the team to still win at least 11 games if Rodgers is healthy and have an above average offense it's not going to flow through any single player (outside Rodgers). I expect massive game to to game variation and a fair bit of usage variation based on injuries/hot hand/dog house statuses. This is going to be 1986 looking standard stats, just 20% better on the passing side because of a real QB and with only 2 running backs instead of like 4.

 

I've pointed to 2015 as a comp a few times since the Adams trade. On the surface it seems similar. 2015 they lost Nelson for the year to the knee injury in the preseason. That really affected that 2015 team. They brought James Jones back just to get someone else already familiar with the McCarthy offense. However Rodgers getting injured against Minnesota in week 11 that year also played a role in that being Rodgers worst full season DVOA. I don't have the full the splits but it looks like he was around 75 DYAR a game pre-injury and fell to -60 DYAR/g post injury.  75 DYAR/g is his career average (since taking over as starter in 2008). It's 80 DYAR/g if you don't include 2015 (reply 42 for more detail on all that) .

So while 2015 was a big outlier for Rodgers and a potential cautionary tale of what losing his top receiver could mean. It was a completely different style of offense and he also had an injury complicating things. Still even before the injury it was a lesser season by Rodgers standards. 2018 would stick out as well for a year without weapons he really trusted. He had Adams, the corpse of Jimmy Graham and Cobb, until Cobb got injured. Then he had to throw to rookies MVS and ESB and the results were not great (reply 6 for that breakdown I've got other response in there about who is going to catch the ball this season).

So with a lot of training camp and preseaon done what do things look like?

This is a LaFleur team and the 2015 and 2018 data points were McCarthy offenses. They are very different. You are correct that the front office that took over in 2018 has been gearing for more running / short area passing and better defense and it's showing. I don't really want to say smash mouth but the Shanahan coaching tree that LaFleur is from really does like having a running game and a TE that gives you big scheme advantages against LB/S/3rd CB in coverage. The Packers didn't have a Samuel or Kittle type player so they actually used Adams to do some of things that both of them were doing in addition to doing everything else a WR does in the offense. They've taken a few draft shots and FA signings to try and get some other options for those jobs but have missed on all of them so far.

So what to expect overall
Under LaFleur the team has gone 35.8 - 32.8 - 34.8 on passing attempts per game and 25.6 - 27.6 - 26.2 on rushing attempts per game. That middle season 2020 was the best offense by far of the 3. Of course Rodgers had a massive career high in completion percentage that year at 70.7% killing the 68.3% of 2011. His 2021 of 68.9% is his 2nd best. So the scheme very much favors higher percentage passing plays and rushing more.

Lots of details for why the pass/run ratio was what it was in different seasons but breaking it down the design is likely looking for a 55% passing and 45% rushing split. If things go exceptionally well like 2020 (54.2% passing) then you'll see even more rushing with 4 minute drills at ends of game. If you aren't moving the ball as efficiently then you'll see 2021 with the 57% passing rate. 2019 was 58.2% passing but Rodgers has said he didn't fully buy into LaFleur's system that year and would audible to passes more often.

I expect that we'll see pretty close to a 56/44 split even if things aren't going as well. I expect more run first plays to be called and Rodgers to not go with the passing option unless the defense really makes it the better call. In the past with Adams as an option I'm guessing he would take the pass option for anything that was a 50/50 call based on what the defense showed. Early season especially I expect that will be the run. Later on if he finds a good connection with one or more of the receiver options that might change. But I suspect the first few games we're going to see the "vanilla" version of this offense and more running than we might see later. That all factors in to pull down pass attempts for the season.

I figure there will be right around 580 passing targets (about 34 a game down from 34.8 last year but up from 32.8 in 2020) when you poke at all that.

I also don't think any single player will break 750 yards receiving. It's gonna be weird but I also think the offense is designed to work that way with the scheme helping someone get open and without having those 1 or 2 players you can count on to get themselves open fairly often without help and a QB that can go through progressions well that the ball is going to be all over the place. You won't see even distribution every game, but over the season it will break that way. You'll have a Sammy Watkins gets 11 targets game a couple Lazard with 10 and the weird Aaron Jones with 9 or Christian Watson/Romeo Doubs with 10 because the scheme just works for that one player to have favorable match-ups or because they play Detroit and Chicago twice each year and they aren't exactly talent rich opponents. They also get the Jets, Giants, and Commanders, it's not like it's a daunting schedule this season.

Running Back as targets
I do expect targets to running backs to climb to around 150, from the 109-117 range it's been at under LaFluer. It's basically been a pretty steady 7.5 RB targets a game under LaFleur. 150 is only 8.5 a game I do not expect Jones to have a chance like 2018 McCaffrey though simply because he is going to split time and may actually have fewer snaps than Dillon at the end of the day. Jones got 38.8 snaps per games played (missed 2 games 1 with injury and sat week 18 so 578/15). Dillon got 28.0 snaps per game. However, Dillons usage went up as the season went on and really spiked after Jones was injured. Jones missed the week 11 game with the injury. After he got back even though he still started all but week 18 where he was rested there were a few games were Dillon got more snaps. So I expect the team will still have around 66 offensive snaps a game because I don't expect their pace of play to change (it's always slow under LaFleur) but I expect both Jones and Dillon to be around 34 snaps a game if there are no injuries. Yes I do expect several snaps a game with both of them on the field at the same time.

Jones is still the better receiver and may get targeted more still but I also expect Dillon will get some more opportunities. Dillon mostly just ran flat routes; 15 of his 38 targets were on flat routes and 37 of his 38 targets were from the backfield, he lined up in the slot once. Compare that to Jones who had 65 targets with 42 from the backfield, 13 slot, 10 wide. Jones had 15 flat routes as well but with 50 other targets he was doing a lot more in the passing game. I don't expect Dillon to be that level of versatile but his role will expand. I'm guessing Jones will climb from 4.3 tgt/g to around 5 for 85 targets and Dillon will go from 2.2 to around 3.5 for 60 which gets you to 145 with a few targets to RB3 to get to 150. 

Put Jones at his career 73.5% catch rate and 7.9 yard/rec that's a career year of 62-490 with 2 - 8 TD.
Dillon with his still reduced route usage is more likely to get more high percentage plays still, so I'm guessing his 60 targets is going to be more of a 82% catch rate and closer to 8.4 yard/rec for a 49-411 with 2 - 4 TD.

Tight Ends as targets
This looks like it has been a remarkably stable number regardless of the players in this offense. 95 - 94 - 94. Well with 17 games last year that targets/game did drop so the target options do matter.  I actually expect that we'll see about 120 targets to TE; 7 a game up from the 6 a game in 19 and 20 and way up from the 5.5 last year.

I still don't know what to make of Tonyan and Deguara. Lewis will get about 1 target a game unless there is an injury again which pushed him to 1.7 a game last season. The uncertainty has nothing to do with Tonyan coming back from the ACL injury either. I fully expect that when he plays he'll play like Robert Tonyan. The issue is who is Robert Tonyan. Was 2020 just a 1 year wonder or was it a 3rd year player breaking out and being mostly what he was going to be? I think it more likely a 1 year wonder. He played 11 games in 2019 (his 2nd year) and played in 8 games last year and those 17 games look very little like the 16 games in 2020 as far as results. He had an 88.1% catch rate in 2020 he had a 63.6% catch rate in the 17 other games in the LaFleur offense. His target rate in 2020 was 3.7 a game and it was 3.6 a game in 2021 and he was 11.3 yards/rec both years but that 2020 catch rate feels like it was a career year and that 63% is more likely who he really is.

Deguara showed improvement from his rookie to 2nd year and with Tonyan getting injured got a lot of opportunity. His catch rate of 75.8% was good but it was kind of a Jones/Dillon usage thing again. Deguara was never splitting wide and wasn't running the same seam stretching type routes. That can be seen in his 1.6 yards before catch vs Tonyans 5.2. He was a bit better after the catch with 8.2 vs 6.1 for Tonyan. But after Tonyan was injured the offense gave some of the routes to Adams/Cobb/Lazard even if it wanted them to be to a RB or TE because Dillon and Deguara couldn't do what Jones and Tonyan could. So I don't know if that was purely a coaches decision for the offensive flow or if it was because Deguara doesn't have the ability to run some of the routes and get open. Or if Rodgers just didn't look his way on those routes because he didn't trust him yet. It needs more film study that I don't have time or access to do. The fact they didn't draft or really bring in any other TE to challenge for that spot also tells me something positive about Deguara. But it's hard to tell what kind of weapon he might be in the passing game even remembering games sometimes he flashed and sometimes he just looked bad.

With Adams gone, Tonyan back and Deguara going into season 3 and some of the preseason stuff I seen, I think that the offense will use a few more 2 and even 3 TE sets and target the TE more in the passing game. Just how the targets will be split between Tonyan and Deguara I'm not sure, but I still expect old man Lewis to get his 1 target a game in situations where the defense is caught with it's pants down and then about 6 more targets a game to split between the other 2. If Tonyan is playing like 2020 again then he'll get about 4.2 of them and Deguara will get the other 1.8.  If Tonyan is playing like he did in the 17 other games under LaFleur I expect he'll see about 3.2 and Deguara around 2.8. I just have no idea what they will do with them. It puts Tonyan anywhere from 34 - 60 recptions and 384 - 681 yards and Deguara in the 22-34 and 210 - 360 yards range.

Wide Receiver targets
So that leaves about 310 targets for whoever is playing WR any given week. That's about 18.5 targets a week which is a significant drop from the 19 - 22 or so we averaged in previous years under LaFleur. I've given 1 extra per game to the RBs and 1 extra a game to the TEs and I'm basically give 1.5 a game to rushes. So that's 3.5 of the difference.

I get that it looks like Lazard-Watkins-Cobb is the nominal starting trio with Watson and Doubs as the next 2 up it's just not going to play out like that though. I just do not expect a stable WR line-up.

I expect Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb to each miss 2 to 6 games over the season right in line with the 4.75 they have both averaged over their last 4 seasons. So that will get get Watson/Doubs a few starts as well as giving Amari Rodgers another chance to not look overwhelmed like he did as a rookie and still has at times this preseason. You will also see Samori Toure/Juwann Winfree/whoever is the 7th WR on the roster get a chance when 2 of the nominal starters are both out for injury/COVID at the same time. I also expect that all of them are going to fluctuate on usage based on health and if Rodgers got mad at one of them. So I fully expect at least 5 WR with at least 1 target a game by the end of the year. That is a what we saw in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Only 3 WR got over 16 targets in 2020 but that feels like the exception. I actually wouldn't be surprised to see 7 WR get over 17 targets this year because I fully expect injuries and COVID restrictions and some player ending up in the doghouse to cause more churn.

Adams got basically 10.6 targets a game the last 3 seasons. Total targets varied with games played but it's a surprisingly stable number. The options after that never broke more than 5 targets a game. But that will have to change.  I don't think anyone will average more than 7 targets a game but I think you might have 3 different players over 5 a game but no player with more than about 85 targets total because of missed games and 1 or 2 game stretches were they get like 6 - 9 targets a game then disappear again.

So I'm going with
Watkins 84 - 7 target/gm but only 12 games
Lazard 80 -  5 target/gm but only 16 games
Cobb 72 - 5.5 target/gm but only 13 games
Watson 42 - with one game with 8 - 10 targets.
Doubs 24 - with one game with at least 6 targets.
Others 15

That will put Lazard around 55 rec, Cobb ~51, and Watkins ~50 given historic catch rates with all of them they all end up with 615 - 700 yards. It's gonna look weird. Along both running backs over 400 and one TE with like 200 and the other with like 600 OR both TE around 350. There will be several articles about how the offense flows better without focusing in on one receiver, but all of them will ignore that it's still not as good of an offense as it was when it did in fact flow through basically just Adams and Tonyan in 2020.

A note on Rodgers and how big an outlier 2015 was for him
I'm using DVOA/DYAR for this, it's not the end all be all evaluation tool but it does track pretty well with perception of how good a QB is.
The 2017 injury year (only started 7 games), 2018 McCarthy collapse, 2019 not fully buying into the LaFleur offense, and 2008 first year as a starter are the only other seasons besides 2015 under 17.8% DVOA for Rodgers. They were all in the  7.8% - 9.0% DVOA range too. That range is the 11th - 13th best QB in the league most years (since going to 32 teams). 2015 of course was -1% DVOA, negative. 17th in the league that year. It really sticks out.

Also as I've mentioned you look at the 2017 - 2019 performance trend even given the extenuating circumstances with all of them then the 2020 decision to draft Jordan Love doesn't seem as bad of a process. It was still a huge miss on the evaluation of where Rodgers was as a QB but when every other season outside the first as starter was 17.8% - 46.6% DVOA or better and then you get a 3 year run where you are basically at half of what the previous worst had been and have 2015 where even before the injury he wasn't great after losing his top receiver, there is some sense in the process (reply 118 and reply 62 if you want more details of my thoughts on the process). Of course I still think their execution of that process, was flawed too because I don't think Love was the right player even if the evaluation of Rodgers being in decline, or at least "only" an edge of the top 10 QB was right. I also think getting a QB at that point was wrong process even if the evaluation was right because you are likely better served improving the rest of the roster and just riding out the last several years of the Rodgers contract and taking a shot later.  Though again the mistake may have been one of evaluation in how good Love is. If they thought Love, with a couple years seasoning, was a floor of say 0% DVOA and a ceiling of 25% (Rodgers median season as a starter) guy I still think it's wrong process to pick him, but I at least understand why you would if you figured Rodgers was now a 8.5% DVOA guy who would be 40 at the end of his contract. Still think you ride it out, but at least I get it.

Points: 0

#15 by serutan // Aug 22, 2022 - 11:37am

But he will also be limited a bit by his new coaches (Doug Pederson without Frank Reich sounds more like Mick Jagger's solo albums than the Rolling Stones) and supporting cast.

 

   Even so, compared to Urban Meyer Perderson is going to look like Bill Walsh to Lawrence.

Points: 0

#17 by DGL // Aug 22, 2022 - 11:43am

If Pickett demonstrates that he can be game manager, he takes away one of Trubisky's few advantages.

Given the state of the Steelers' O-line, it's a reasonable bet that the QB who starts the season will succumb to injury before the end of the season.  And the old "rookie quarterback behind sub-par offensive line develops bad habits that permanently impair his development" trope isn't all wrong.

In other words, this season Trubisky's and Rudolph's (should they keep him) greatest ability may be expendability.

 

Points: 0

#18 by theslothook // Aug 22, 2022 - 11:48am

Is Pittsburgh line truly subpar? They finished first in RAP(shameless plug). I know Ben got rid of the ball in lightning fashion, but still. First!

Points: 0

#36 by DGL // Aug 22, 2022 - 2:30pm

Per FO's stats, last year they were abysmal in run blocking (rank 28) and slightly above average in pass blocking (rank 11), but as you point out, the pass blocking numbers are also affected by Ben throwing a lot of quick short passes (fifth-worst among qualifiers in YPA and second-worst in YPC).  And they just did not look good in either run blocking or pass protection.

Points: 0

#61 by takeleavebelieve // Aug 22, 2022 - 4:48pm

PFF graded them as 26th overall, which is decidedly subpar. 

https://www.pff.com/news/nfl-final-2021-offensive-line-rankings

Points: 0

Save 10%
& Support Mike
Support Football Outsiders' independent media and . Use promo code TANIER to save 10% on any FO+ membership and give half the cost of your membership to tip Mike.