Patriots Screens, Lions Sneaks, Chargers AI

New England Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson
New England Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 15 - In this edition of Walkthrough...

  • AI software writes Justin Herbert poetry, and it makes as much sense as anything else that has been written about Herbert this year;
  • Detroit Lions special teamer C.J. Moore does something no one has done in many years.

But first...

Screening the New England Patriots

The New England Patriots ran lots and lots of screen passes on Monday night. Announcer Troy Aikman even speculated that the Patriots use more screens than any other team in the NFL.

Aikman was close. Here are the most prolific screen passing teams in the NFL through 13 games, per Sports Info Solutions:

Most Screen Passes 2022
Team Att Cmp Yards Avg.
GB 81 70 440 5.43
NE 75 60 452 6.03
ARI 72 64 398 5.53
JAX 71 60 404 5.69
TB 67 61 361 5.39

The Packers use more screens than the Patriots, but they also attempt more passes in general. Screens represent 18.2% of Packers pass attempts (not dropbacks) but 18.6% of Patriots pass attempts. The Patriots throw the most screen passes in the NFL as a percentage of their passing game.

Screens represent 13.9% of Cardinals pass attempts; the Cardinals play from far behind more often than the Packers or Patriots, and screens (as opposed to swing passes or dumpoffs) tend to disappear from the game plan when the defense is playing conservatively.

The Saints and Seahawks have run just 27 screens each, the lowest figure in the NFL. The Saints average 6.3 yards per attempt, the Seahawks 3.7. Considering how weak the Saints passing game is and the presence of potential YAC guys such as Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill, it's surprising that they don't use screens more often.

The Titans average an NFL-high 9.6 yards per screen thanks to some Derrick Henry rumbles. The Lions, with their athletic offensive line and creative scheme, are second with 7.0.

The Cowboys average just 3.1 yards per screen. Tony Pollard is 4-of-6 for 58 yards, Ceedee Lamb 7-of-9 for 33 yards. Ezekiel Elliott 2-of-3 for -7 yards.

"Screen" is sometimes used colloquially for "pass behind the line of scrimmage." The Patriots are 13th in the NFL in pass attempts with zero or negative air yards. Here are the top five, with clock-killing spikes removed:

Most Passes to Receivers at or
Behind Line of Scrimmage, 2022
Team Att Cmp Yards Avg.
LAC 163 122 576 3.53
GB 150 119 613 4.09
TB 144 103 551 3.83
ARI 134 95 560 4.18
KC 132 94 683 5.17

Joe Lombardi's reluctance to throw downfield is often used as evidence that he is holding Justin Herbert back, and there's some merit to that. Still, it's worth noting that Lombardi is compensating for a patchwork offensive line, and that Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Patrick Mahomes are on the same list as Herbert. The fact that the Chargers throw at or behind the line of scrimmage two or three more times per game than the other teams looks significant: scaling the micro-passing game back from 12.5 passes per game to about 10 might make a huge difference.

The Chiefs' success on passes behind the line of scrimmage is a testament to Andy Reid and his staff and the overall health of their offense, plus Patrick Mahomes of course. The Chiefs have good-not-great short YAC options at the skill positions, but Reid/Eric Bienemy scheme up opportunities, Mahomes sells the deep threat and scramble threat, and the Chiefs block well on the perimeter and downfield.

Would you believe that the San Francisco 49ers are 20th in the NFL with 102 passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage? They're 24th in overall attempts, which is certainly a major factor. The 49ers' "spread" of air yard distances doesn't look all that noteworthy. They're not the most prolific or dependent short passing team in the NFL. They're just among the best at it.

As for the Patriots: their screen game works as well or better than anything else they try to do offensively. It gives their linemen, tight ends, and hard-blocking Kendrick Bourne a chance to make things happen for Rhamondre Stevenson, the other backs, and each other. It also stresses silly defenses like the Cardinals into making tackles on the perimeter.

A healthy screen game should help propel the Patriots past the silly-tackling Raiders on Sunday. After that, the schedule gets tougher, and the Patriots will probably need some things that Mac Jones and Matt Patricia aren't capable of delivering.

Artificial Intelligence and Justin Herbert

Walkthrough has been fiddling with ChatGPT lately. It's an open-source AI doohickey capable of an amazing imitation of human thought and writing. If you ask ChatGPT a question like "What is DVOA?" you get an answer that neatly summarizes our methodology:

DVOA is a statistic used in American football to measure a team's performance on a play-by-play basis, adjusted for situation and opponent. It stands for Defense-adjusted Value Over Average. It is used as a measure of a team's efficiency, with the goal of determining the team's true strength and predicting future performance.

If you ask a more specific question, like "compare DVOA to quarterback efficiency rating," you get a more detailed answer. That answer might contain a mistake or two, but so might Walkthrough's answer. Our source in the high-school English teaching field thinks ChatGPT is already spitting out compare-and-contrast essays about topics such as The Scarlet Letter at about a C to C- level for 11th-graders. Walkthrough has gotten ChatGPT to produce capsules about players good enough for publication at some of the Internet's less-choosy aggregation-heavy outlets.

Sure, an AI can explain DVOA. But can an AI write a sonnet in iambic pentameter about Justin Herbert? Judge for yourself:

In Southern California's sunny skies,
A quarterback with golden arm now thrives,
His feats on field earn fans' ecstatic cries,
And make the Chargers' future look alive.

Justin Herbert, Oregon's finest son,
Now leads L.A.'s team with poise and grace,
His touchdowns fly, his passes are a swan,
And in his footsteps, victory finds its place.

His rookie year was one for the record books,
And though he still has much to learn and grow,
His talent and potential give us looks
Of greatness yet to come, and winds that blow.

So let us cheer and praise this shining star,
Whose bright and shining future is not far.

It sounds like Data's Star Trek poetry! Not great by any means, but pretty darn good for 30 seconds of work.

But can an AI write a sonnet, in iambic pentameter, comparing Herbert to Tua Tagovailoa?

Justin Herbert, the young quarterback from Oregon,
Is known for his strong arm and quick feet.
His passes fly true, and his runs are a sight to see,
As he takes the field and shows his elite skill.

Tua Tagovailoa, the star from Alabama,
Is a quarterback with poise beyond his years.
He throws with precision, and his passes are a treat,
As he leads his team to victory with ease.

Both men are rising stars in the world of football,
And each has a bright future ahead.
But while Herbert's arm may be a bit stronger,
Tagovailoa's mind is quicker, it's said.

So while they may both shine in their own way,
It's clear that they are both cut from the same cloth,
And their talents will take them far in the NFL,
As they strive to reach the pinnacle of their sport.

Eat your heart out, Emmanuel Acho.

ChatGPT has not been reprogrammed since 2021 and has no direct Internet access, so it's not really up to date on current events. With all the attention ChatGPT is getting these days, the designers are likely to update it. Once the AI has absorbed all of the up-to-the-minute discourse on Herbert and Tua, just imagine how much smarter (?) (??) (?????) it will be!

Fakin' It With C.J. Moore

Congratulations to Detroit Lions defensive back and special-teamer C.J. Moore: your 42-yard fake punt run against the Vikings made you the most effective fake-punt rusher of the last seven years!

Or perhaps the second best.

Moore is the only player to produce three career first downs on fake punts since 2015, per the Sports Info Solutions database. Moore picked up 13 yards on a fake punt earlier this year and 21 yards on a fake in 2021. But 83 total yards is only good for second place among active fake-punt rushers in career yardage.

Here is the list of every player who has more than one carry on a fake punt in his career since 2015:

Most Rushing Yards on Fake Punts, 2015-2022
Player Team Years Fake
Yards Avg. First
Travis Homer SEA 2019-22 2 102 51.0 2
C.J. Moore DET 2021-22 3 83 27.7 3
Anthony Levine BAL 2015-19 3 65 21.7 2
Chris Jones DAL 2016-17 2 54 27.0 2
Marquette King OAK 2016-17 2 24 12.0 1
Sean Chandler CAR 2021-22 2 16 8.0 2
Corey Grant JAX 2015-16 2 11 5.5 1
Clayton Fejedelem MIA/CIN 2018-21 3 7 2.3 2
Michael Dickson SEA 2018-22 2 1 0.5 1
Jamie Gillan CLE/NYG 2020-22 2 -5 -2.5 0

Travis Homer's 73-yard punt return in 2021 gives him the yardage edge over Moore. A 73-yard punt return requires a fake punt from a team's own 27-yard line. Few coaches would dare such a tactic. Dan Campbell might try it twice in the same game. Watch your six, Travis: Moore is gaining on you.

Your first question after scanning that list may be "Who is Clayton Fejedelem?" He's actually who you think he is: a seventh-round pick as a defensive back by the Bengals who has stuck for years as a special-teamer. But for the grace of heaven, Fejedelem could be a household name like C.J. Moore.

Ah, poor Jamie Gillan.

Poor, poor Jamie Gillan. It's not surprising to see several punters among the prolific fake punt rushers, whether they are really up to the task or not.

It's a little more surprising to not see Taysom Hill, who has just one fake punt run for 4 yards in his career. Hill is 1-of-3 for 10 yards as a fake punt passer for his career, so we're back to the Taysom paradox where the Saints insist on using him in all the weirdest ways.

Passes by personal protectors are rare. Here's one by crafty southpaw Kevin Byard:

And here's one by college-quarterback-turned-tight-end Logan Thomas that looks suspicious from the get-go: check out how close to the line of scrimmage he's aligned. The Jets don't spot it because they are the Jets.

For the most part, punters are tasked with passing on fake punts, and Johnny Hekker remains the undisputed champion: 14-of-23 passing for his decade-long career, 186 yards, 13 first downs, and a touchdown.

Hekker has just one pass attempt since 2019. Lions punter Jack Fox is in line to inherit his crown. Fox is 3-of-4 passing for 44 yards and three first downs in the last two seasons.

Campbell, with the help of special teams coordinator Dave Fipp, loves the fake punt. It remains to be seen how much the Lions will love it as the team improves and stakes increase. Campbell appears to be the sort who will remain aggressive when it comes to high risk-reward tactics.

No Walkthrough discussion of fake punts would be complete without mentioning John Teltschik, the Eagles punter during the Buddy Ryan era. Teltschik ran seven times for 91 yards and went 1-of-3 passing, with a "sack," in just four seasons. Teltschik was given a green light by Buddy to take off if he thought he saw the return team napping. Buddy was willing to do anything to generate offense except put together a conventional offense. Teltschik produced some fun highlights but also a few plays like Michael Dickson's maybe-sorta-whoopsie non-fake fake from October:

Dickson is a better punter than Teltschik was. But when it comes to fakes, he ain't C.J. Moore.

An Artificial Walkthrough Obituary

While putting the ChatGPT AI through its paces, we thought it might be fun to ask it to write an obituary for a brilliant, handsome, minor celebrity in the world of NFL media. Here's what it came up with:

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Mike Tanier, a beloved writer and commentator on the world of American football. Mike passed away on December 14, 2022, at the age of 48, after a brave battle with cancer.

Mike was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and grew up a passionate fan of the Eagles. He attended Temple University, where he studied journalism and began his career as a sportswriter. He quickly made a name for himself with his incisive analysis and sharp wit, and became a regular contributor to many prominent publications, including Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and Bleacher Report.

In addition to his writing, Mike was a frequent guest on radio and television shows, where he entertained and educated audiences with his expert knowledge of the game. He was known for his unvarnished opinions and his ability to break down complex topics in a way that was accessible to fans of all levels of knowledge.

Mike is survived by his wife, two children, and a large extended family. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him, and his contributions to the world of sports journalism will not be forgotten.

The AI made a bunch of mistakes longtime readers can probably spot, and it's odd that it mentions neither Football Outsiders (I have been here in various capacities since 2005) nor the New York Times (bylines going back to about 2008). But … HOLY CRAP THE COMPUTER JUST RANDOMLY DECIDED TO KILL ME WITH CANCER. That is not cool! Heart disease, maybe. Hit-and-run victim in a Wawa parking lot? Inevitably. But c'mon Hal: you can't throw around guesses like that!

Tune in next week when I apologize to our mighty Artificial Intelligence Overlords for dragging it into the whole Herbert-Tua thing. After a very thorough physical, of course.


48 comments, Last at 17 Dec 2022, 10:23am

#1 by KnotMe // Dec 15, 2022 - 10:31am

How long has ChatGPT been writting for FO? 2021?

(you know someone had to ask)

Points: 4

#40 by HitchikersPie // Dec 16, 2022 - 2:57am

"Hmmm doesn't seem too realistic this week, better throw in something about Edelman not being a Hall of Famer"

Points: 0

#2 by Mike B. In Va // Dec 15, 2022 - 10:38am

Honestly, if I'd been handing ChatGPT ML learning sets, I would absolutely give anyone who dies at less than 50 an evenly-weighted set consisting of cancer and drug overdose.

Either of those is a more likely outcome than Lombardi's "offense" winning NFL games.

Points: 1

#3 by JimZipCode // Dec 15, 2022 - 11:09am

Honorable Mention to the best passer in Ravens franchise history: punter Sam Koch, who on his 16-yr career went 7 for 8 as a passer, for 82 yards 5 first-downs.

87.5% completions and 10.3 yards-per-attempt. Eat your heart out, Kyle Boller.

Koch retired last year.  He threw his first incomplete pass, and knew it was over.  He was in Ravens training camp as a coach to their new punter Jordan Stout, which is very Ravens.

Points: 2

#19 by Kaepernicus // Dec 15, 2022 - 2:44pm

Koch was also a Nebraska Cornhusker great. NU had a very long run of sending quality kickers and punters to the NFL that was broken by the Scott Frost error. The Brown family is to kickers as the Manning family was to QBs.

Points: 0

#4 by NoraDaddy // Dec 15, 2022 - 11:17am

About the Jamie Gillan dropped snap/punt.

Does anybody understand the dropkick rules and why this couldn't be considered a dropkick instead of an illegally kicked fumble (as called by the refs)?  And then what would the resulting new LOS be if it was considered a dropkick?

I assume it would then be like a missed field goal and the new LOS would be the location of the kick which would've been about the same as the 10 yard penalty for the illegal kick.

Edit: A little googling showed that a dropkick can be used as a punt as well so now I'm really interested in why it wasn't allowed to be a dropkick and counted as a valid punt.

Points: 1

#5 by OmahaChiefs13 // Dec 15, 2022 - 11:58am

Rule 3, Section 18, Article 1, Item 3 specifies a punt as:

a kick made by a player who drops the ball and kicks it before it strikes the ground

The rules do allow for a dropkick to be used on a safety kick....a safety kick (as a form of free kick) can be a placekick, punt, or dropkick. Since safety kicks usually use the punter kicking as if it were a punt, that's probably what you found on your search. But as a free kick, they fall into a different category.

So, the LoS piece is irrelevant....the rules specifically disallow dropkicks for punts for whatever reason.

Edit: that reason probably has something to do with eliminating a Fumblerooksi/Holy Roller type loophole scenario.

Points: 1

#15 by NoraDaddy // Dec 15, 2022 - 1:18pm

Thanks for the info.  Nobody from the Giants seemed to be complaining so I assumed the refs got it correct.

Points: 0

#17 by DGL // Dec 15, 2022 - 2:10pm

the rules specifically disallow dropkicks for punts for whatever reason.

I don't think this is right.  A punt is a type of scrimmage kick (rule 9); a drop kick is also a type of scrimmage kick - a kick from behind the line of scrimmage.  Rule 9, Section 1, Article 1:

KICK ON OR BEHIND LINE OF SCRIMMAGE. Team A may attempt a punt, drop kick, or placekick from on or behind the line of scrimmage.

The only reason I could find for calling this an illegal kick is that the definition of a drop kick is "a kick by a player who drops the ball and kicks it as, or immediately after, it touches the ground" (3-18-1.1), and in the official's judgement, Gillan didn't kick it "immediately after" it touched the ground.  While that seems to be splitting hairs on drop kick technique, it's probably a better rationalization than "well, he didn't mean to drop kick it, so it doesn't count as a drop kick."


Points: 0

#25 by OmahaChiefs13 // Dec 15, 2022 - 4:12pm

I mean, I posted the actual rule section defining a punt. Again, it's Rule 3, Section 18, Article 1, Item 3.

That whole section deals with the definitions of free kicks, scrimmage kicks, safety kicks, punts, and so forth. Those definitions (the entirety of Rule 3) drive all of the other rules in the in, they're prescriptive, not suggestive or a Football for Dummies help section.

A punt is defined as being kicked without the ball hitting the ground (which would exclude a dropkick also by definition). I posted the text of the definition for you and everything :)

So do you just not believe me (in which case you could look at the rule in question)?

Points: 0

#28 by DGL // Dec 15, 2022 - 4:30pm

Yes, a punt is defined as a ball that is kicked without the ball hitting the ground ("a kick made by a player who drops the ball and kicks it before it strikes the ground.")  Gillan dropped the ball, it hit the ground, and then he kicked it, so by definition it was not a punt.  At which point the definition of a punt becomes immaterial, because whatever he did, it wasn't a punt.

If it wasn't a punt, then it was either a legal kick of some other kind or an illegal kick.  So why wasn't it a (legal) dropkick?  

The fact that Gillan is called a "punter", and the team was in "punt formation", and everyone was expecting him to punt the ball is also immaterial - all that should matter is what actually happened.  He struck the ball with his foot (a "kick"), after the ball touched the ground (a "drop kick"), behind the line of scrimmage (a "scrimmage kick").  What was illegal?


Points: 0

#29 by DGL // Dec 15, 2022 - 4:43pm

To clarify my reply: You are correct that "a dropkick can not be a punt".  But a scrimmage kick can be either a drop kick (if the ball hits the ground) or a punt (if it doesn't), and they are both legal kicks that should not draw a penalty, which is where my question is going.

Points: 0

#31 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 15, 2022 - 5:39pm

A missed dropkick would return the ball to the opposing team at the place from which it was kicked.

Not all that different from what happened.

Points: 0

#34 by OmahaChiefs13 // Dec 15, 2022 - 7:47pm

It wasn't ruled an "illegal punt". It was ruled an illegally-kicked fumble.

Scrimmage kicks are differentiated from free kicks by certain commonalities, and you can find examples of drop kicks, punts, and placekicks among the group of scrimmage kicks.

That does not mean you're allowed to do any of the above to attempt any of the allowable scrimmage kicks for any given situation....which is what you're implying when you keep trying to address that one line of the rules you've pulled out in isolation.

Otherwise, punting a FG try (which is also a scrimmage kick) would also be legal. So would giving up possession and kicking away on 4th down by "punting" with a run-up and a placeholder. After all, those are both allowable types of scrimmage kick as you're interpreting that one line, right?

Under the circumstances (offense possessing the ball, not on the down after a fair catch), the only allowable scrimmage kicks were a FG attempt and a punt. By lining up and snapping the ball the way they did, it could no longer be a legal FG attempt (unless we called it an attempted dropkick FG) so it had to be a punt.

That punt stopped being a punt once it hit the ground, yes, because of how punts are defined. At that point, it has to either be an illegally kicked fumble (which is what was called), or a missed (dropkick) FG. Blocked, actually, because it looks like it contacted a defensive player first behind the the defense would have gotten possession at the point of the kick (as was said).

I suppose the rules would have supported either interpretation, although the wrinkle with the missed FG would have been possession if it had been first contacted past the that point, it'd have been a live ball able to be possessed by either team. Remember that Dallas/Miami snow game where Leon Lett tried to recover a missed FG attempt, touched it without gaining possession, and gave Miami another attempt at the new spot.

Given all the possession thorniness, an illegally-kicked fumble seems like the most sane ruling.

Points: 0

#43 by Pat // Dec 16, 2022 - 11:44am

Otherwise, punting a FG try (which is also a scrimmage kick) would also be legal

No, field goals can't be punts, they specifically have to be drop/place kicks. That's specifically in rule 11.4.1(a).

So would giving up possession and kicking away on 4th down by "punting" with a run-up and a placeholder.

Yeah, that's the ambiguity in the current rules - there's no definition of what a "field goal attempt" is. Just what a successful field goal is (which must be a drop/place kick scrimmage kick). So, by language implication, all drop/place kicks are field goal/try attempts, because if they did go over the bar, they'd be field goals, so any drop/place kick from scrimmage is a field goal attempt. Just like if a ball would've been caught, it would've been a completed pass, therefore it must be a pass attempt, regardless of whether or not it was intended.

or a missed (dropkick) FG. Blocked, actually, because it looks like it contacted a defensive player first behind the the defense would have gotten possession at the point of the kick (as was said).

Illegally kicked fumble is the best "spirit of what happened" ruling though. He clearly wasn't intending a drop kick field goal attempt, so applying those rules to get a more favorable result to the Giants doesn't really make sense. I'm sure that's what the discussion between officials was afterwards.

The funny thing is that if they had been trying to cheat what happened, the Giants shouldn't have touched it, because if Philly had attempted to recover it, it would've acted like a normal punt.

Points: 0

#44 by OmahaChiefs13 // Dec 16, 2022 - 2:38pm

No, field goals can't be punts, they specifically have to be drop/place kicks. That's specifically in rule 11.4.1(a).

Yes, I understand that. Obviously. 

Which is why I said "Otherwise, punting a FG try...". As in, clearly indicating that it's not legal, because that one single statement about scrimmage kicks that keeps getting repeated isn't the only rule in play. You know...using one absurd, clearly incorrect statement as an example of why another absurd, clearly incorrect statement is absurd and incorrect?

There are additional rules that modify the general statement that "a scrimmage kick can be a placekick, dropkick, or punt"....just like in the case you cited. And just as in the case of punts. That statement about scrimmage kicks keeps getting brought up in a vacuum as if it exists in a vacuum and allows for a dropped-kicked punt in this situation. It clearly doesn't, anymore than a FG could be punted. Because there are other rules modifying that statement.

Illegally kicked fumble is the best "spirit of what happened" ruling though. He clearly wasn't intending a drop kick field goal attempt, so applying those rules to get a more favorable result to the Giants doesn't really make sense. I'm sure that's what the discussion between officials was afterwards.

Yes. I agree. Which is why I said:

Given all the possession thorniness, an illegally-kicked fumble seems like the most sane ruling.

Seriously, does like half of what I type not make it through for some reason, or do people really just skim to find individual lines to argue with?

Points: 0

#48 by Pat // Dec 17, 2022 - 10:23am

I'm just clarifying what you said. The rules regarding punts and field goals are explicitly spelled out, so there's no ambiguity. The rules the other way (placekicks/dropkicks are always field goal attempts) are implicit, so it is more confusing, but there's an element of "don't rules lawyer football" to the game. The *intent* of a dropkick/placekick is a FG attempt, and that clearly wasn't what happened there.

Points: 0

#30 by almon // Dec 15, 2022 - 4:48pm

if a safety kick can be a placekick, how come no one uses it?

you can kick hella further with a placekick than with a punt, no???

Points: 0

#32 by DGL // Dec 15, 2022 - 5:41pm

You can't use a tee for a safety kick, and you generally can't placekick further with a ball held on the ground than you can punt (or perhaps better to say that a punt gives a better combination of distance and hang time than a placekick with the ball held on the ground).

Points: 1

#35 by OmahaChiefs13 // Dec 15, 2022 - 8:22pm

Also slowing down the coverage team a hair by making one of them hold. 

Probably not any kind of warstopper, but why do it if not necessary?

Points: 0

#36 by OmahaChiefs13 // Dec 15, 2022 - 8:22pm

Also slowing down the coverage team a hair by making one of them hold. 

Probably not any kind of warstopper, but why do it if not necessary?

Points: 0

#41 by IlluminatusUIUC // Dec 16, 2022 - 10:46am

Hang time is the key there. Without a tee, you can't get the distance to put it through the end zone or the hang time to let your coverage team set up, so you're getting the worst of both worlds: A long, low kick that gives the returner time to get a head of steam without the chance of a touchback ending the play.

Points: 0

#45 by OmahaChiefs13 // Dec 16, 2022 - 2:59pm

Side note:

I'm amused that the tee loophole Josh McDaniels had been exploiting to get more lift on kickoffs got closed.

For those unaware, McDaniels had been using both a tee and a holder on kickoffs...the holder would place the ball on the edge of the tee, rather than in the divot designed to hold the ball, to gain another half-inch or so of lift on the kick for exactly the reasons Illuminatus outlined.

Supposedly the Raiders had checked with the league first, and they said "go ahead", but after doing it for 2 straight weeks, they walked that back and said it was no longer allowed.

Points: 0

#7 by BigRichie // Dec 15, 2022 - 12:02pm

It's not a 'screen' pass when you just whip it out to a lone receiver, as there's nobody there to set up any screen in front of him.

Aaron Rodgers does this frequently, my impression is he makes such decisions at the line. Monday night the Pats did it time and time and time again. And again. Sure looked like with diminishing returns.

This is an entirely different play from a running back screen, and really doesn't have much in common either with those actual wide receiver screens where the receiving guy drops behind a (usually stacked) blocking receiver, with the onside tackle immediately hustling his own heinie out there upon the snap of the ball.

Points: 1

#9 by OmahaChiefs13 // Dec 15, 2022 - 12:10pm

It's not a 'screen' pass when you just whip it out 

There's a whole list of terms for that, and you're right...none of them are "screen pass" (probably).

(Couldn't resist)

Points: 2

#24 by BigRichie // Dec 15, 2022 - 3:32pm

I for one am trying to keep this a family site!

(now if you'd some way fit diminishing returns or heinie hustling in there, I'd have given you points for creativity anyways; also stop pretending any of us analytics nerds actually get laid)

Points: 1

#8 by Romodini // Dec 15, 2022 - 12:04pm

When Tanier is out of a job because AI is good enough to write simulated Tanier articles with the same wit and Brady bashing, I don't think he'll find it all that fun and cute. And it still won't be impressive.



Points: 0

#16 by theslothook // Dec 15, 2022 - 1:47pm

I don't think we as consumers would want to read ai narrated fo commentary, at least anything beyond a basic recap which Ai can happily take over.

I doubt any of us will want to watch robot actors or robot athletes. 

Perhaps one day it will become Westworld style where we truly won't care whether the person is real or not, but I don't think that describes the human spirit at least any time soon.

Points: 0

#18 by Romodini // Dec 15, 2022 - 2:40pm

Disney has already brought back numerous Star Wars faces from the past through CGI, so the precedent of watching non-human actors is being established, even if they're not robots.

Consumers may "prefer" human-created entertainment or products, but at the end of the day businesses prefer profits and consumers like things cheap. Most products are no longer handmade. That hasn't stopped anyone from buying them. I know someone whose aunt wrote a kid's book with AI-generated art. I won't be surprised if the majority of writing, art, and creative tasks are eventually automated as well. Employers already expect people in these industries to work for pennies anyway. They might as well get rid of them entirely where it's possible.

On the bright side, it probably won't even matter that students will surreptitiously write school essays with AI programs and won't be able to write coherently, because there won't be any writing jobs for them even if they could. 

Points: 2

#23 by theslothook // Dec 15, 2022 - 3:19pm

I work in machine learning. I guess I am more optimistic about the world with Ai than most. I think most of it will be very complimentary, much like the shovel and later the tractor were compliments to farming that helped us advance from digging with our bare hands.

There are some interesting growth papers on a world of mostly complete automation. At that point, our wages fall to nothing, but everything becomes super cheap except for the few tasks you cannot automate.

Then we get into Kenyes' utopia. We put in 1 hr a day of labor work and spend the rest of our day writing poetry and wandering the pretty gardens.

Points: 0

#26 by Romodini // Dec 15, 2022 - 4:16pm

Or Huxley's dystopia, where we are slugs that watch an endless stream of inane Tik Tok videos all day. 

I'm weary of both the "good" and bad that AI can accomplish.

Points: 0

#33 by serutan // Dec 15, 2022 - 5:44pm

Artificial intelligence hasn't accomplished squat because there's no such thing.  Just lots of statistical analysis and fancy databasing.

Points: 2

#10 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 15, 2022 - 12:15pm

You're only 48?

Points: 3

#12 by BlueStarDude // Dec 15, 2022 - 12:40pm

Right? Was going to ask about that too! 

Points: 0

#22 by Mike B. In Va // Dec 15, 2022 - 3:06pm

That does explain why he thinks Slash is "among the greatest living rock guitarists", although unfortunately that set gets smaller every year.

Points: 0

#37 by LionInAZ // Dec 15, 2022 - 9:45pm

Anyone not old enough to remember Jimmy Page,  Jimi Hendrix or Jeff Beck doesn't have an axe in the fight.

Points: 0

#42 by ChrisS // Dec 16, 2022 - 10:54am

Neil Young, Jeff Beck and Richard Thompson are also among my favs from the olden days

Points: 0

#46 by Mike B. In Va // Dec 16, 2022 - 5:20pm

To be fair, only two of them are "living", and I'm really not sure if Pagey is undead or not...

Beck is most certainly alive and probably the greatest living rock guitarist. Certainly the most original.

Points: 0

#47 by LionInAZ // Dec 16, 2022 - 8:37pm

If you want to you to be technically correct, some might include Eric Johnson. But Jimi is always alive in my heart.

Points: 0

#11 by theslothook // Dec 15, 2022 - 12:27pm

One of the reasons I came up with the Gutless pass stat(which I regret the name of); was to see\ who was artificially depressing their pressure numbers via plays such as screen passing. In particular, I was curious which defenses were being hurt by it.

That said, I agree with Tanier. The screen pass story doesn't really line up neatly into one cohesive narrative. Even when you condition on win probability, you get strange bedfellows of HOFers and rookie Qbs alike. That's because screens serve many many purposes and its too difficult, at least via charting, to segment which one's are used as change of pace plays, which one's are used because of superior personnel, and which one's are used to hide their QB.

Points: 1

#14 by KnotMe // Dec 15, 2022 - 12:58pm

It's the same old problem with play need to know what the defense alignment was. But when you start combining offence and defense alignments you run into sample size issues I bet. 

Points: 0

#38 by mansteel // Dec 15, 2022 - 10:02pm

"The AI made a bunch of mistakes longtime readers can probably spot..."

You mean like, "with his incisive analysis and sharp wit"?

I kid, I kid.

Points: 0

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