Soaring Eagles, Fading Tom Brady Magic

Philadelphia Eagles DT Javon Hargrave
Philadelphia Eagles DT Javon Hargrave
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 3 - Tom Brady wore a Tom Brady shirt to Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.

No, not his own jersey or some TB12 licensed apparel he hopes to hawk. Brady wore a long-sleeved white pullover with his high-school yearbook photo (captioned "Greatness Lasts Forever") plastered across the back. That's not the sort of Brady paraphernalia that's gonna fly off the shelves: no one wants to be seen in public wearing a giant picture of a gawky teenager who looks like he just got caught huffing dry-erase markers behind the cafeteria stairwell.

It's amazing what passes for normal, or even laudable, among rich-and-powerful weirdos like Brady. Try wearing an enormous picture of yourself to any occasion except perhaps your own bachelor party: you'll be treated like someone who cannot be trusted with safety scissors. But Brady's like a pharaoh. He could order a four 50-foot likeness of himself carved into a cliffside and folks would be like, "yeah, that's on brand."

Hey, this sort of fashion faux pas is inevitable when a middle-aged man suddenly starts dressing himself for work for the first time. And that's the only Brady divorce joke in this edition of Walkthrough, scout's honor.

Brady can be forgiven for celebrating himself on Sunday because the Buccaneers practically sent him onto the field to take on the Green Bay Packers all by himself. Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and various offensive linemen/ancillary characters were all injured or suspended on Sunday. That forced Brady to spend the afternoon throwing to Russell Gage, Breshad Perriman, and Cameron Brate while handing off to Leonard Fournette, who was in full 2.92-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust mode.

Aaron Rodgers was also short on receivers: rookie Christian Watson was hurt, and Sammy Watkins' hamstring went on its annual leafing excursion into the countryside the moment the weather turned. Rodgers made the best of things by spreading short passes around until Aaron Jones fumbled into the end zone on the Packers' third possession. Then Rodgers blasted off to Planet Seething and what should have been a marquee matchup of Hall of Fame quarterbacks looked like a 2021 Chicago Bears intrasquad scrimmage. Watching Brady and Rodgers sword-fight at the 50-yard line would have been more entertaining than what we saw on Sunday. Wait, scratch that, because it legitimately sounds rather awesome. Watching Brady and Rodgers debate sociopolitical issues would have been more entertaining than what we saw on Sunday.

Then Brady got the ball with 3:04 to play in the fourth quarter, trailing by eight points. Time for Brady Magic, or some fading facsimile. Short pass to Gage, then another, then another. Then Fournette, Brate, Scottie Miller. The Packers could not even force a third down.

Soon the Buccaneers are on the 10-yard line. A defender grabs Brate before the ball arrives and they are at the 3-yard line. Brady fires a dart to Gage in the end zone and the score is 14-12. Maybe magic is real. Maybe greatness does last forever.

Except that the Buccaneers, who flirted with a delay-of-game penalty on the touchdown pass, watch the clock hit zeroes on the two-point try. They are flagged back to the 7-yard line, and Brady's conversion attempt fails.

The Buccaneers are 2-1, the Packers 2-1, Brady magic ain't quite what it used to be, and none of the expected NFC powerhouses look very good right now.

That includes the Los Angeles Rams. At least the Buccaneers and Packers had legitimate excuses for their offensive brownout. The Rams were at relatively full strength on Sunday when they took a 13-0 lead and then just stopped to let the Arizona Cardinals catch up. The Rams settled for field goals early (except for one Cooper Kupp highlight-reel end-around touchdown) then three-and-outs for much of the second and third quarters, then a fourth-quarter fumble at the goal line when they had a chance to ice the game away.

The Rams got away with a very ordinary performance on offense and defense in a 20-12 victory because the Cardinals are coached by that guy your niece brought to Thanksgiving dinner last year who never took his sunglasses off. But do you have any confidence in the Rams as Super Bowl favorites after what you have seen over the last three weeks? Thought so.

All of which brings us around to one simple question:

Are the Philadelphia Eagles the Best Team in the NFC Right Now?

The answer is "Yes." But the caveat is "Right now."

Coming off Sunday's convincing 24-8 over the Washington Commanders, the Eagles are all but certain to remain the top-ranked team in the NFC in DVOA. The Eagles also pass the eyeball test. Jalen Hurts is playing well. The defense is playing well. The Eagles are fast, aggressive, creative, and more or less fundamentally sound. Everything is clicking.

The Eagles are the best team in the NFC until Brady gets some receivers back, until Rodgers decides who is worthy of his targets, and until the Rams stop playing like the four-man team that they're so often accused of being. When any or all of those things happen, we'll reevaluate the conference's balance of power. And as of now, there's not another team in the NFC that appears to be in any way worthy of adding to the conversation. (Pipe down, Bears fans.)

The Eagles are also the only NFC team that's an actual pleasure to watch, except perhaps for the Detroit Lions, forever graded on their "look how hard they are trying"/"covering the spread is almost winning" curve. Being fun to watch is not the same as being great, but it's telling that the Eagles look much more polished and dynamic offensively than teams led by Hall of Famers or defending Super Bowl champions.

The Chiefs play the Buccaneers next Sunday night in a Super Bowl LV rematch which would have looked great last year. The Packers host the Patriots in a game that would have been a hoot circa 2018. But the Eagles host the 2-1 Jaguars, who have won their last two games by a combined 62-10 score. That statue of Doug Pederson outside the Linc is gonna start hovering two hours before kickoff. Eagles-Jaguars may not be a Super Bowl preview, but it's a matchup that's looking forward, not backward.

Brady? He still has a future once Evans and the others return. But on Sunday, he looked like a middle aged man staring at his high-school yearbook and realizing just how much of his greatness is now in the past.

Game Spotlight: Miami Dolphins 21, Buffalo Bills 19

What Happened? The Bills might have been able to overcome an avalanche of injuries: both starting safeties, defensive tackles Ed Oliver and Jordan Phillips, several others. They might have been able to overcome the 89-degrees-and-high-humidity temperatures at kickoff, conditions that forced Stefon Diggs and others out of the lineup at times due to cramps. But the Bills could not overcome injuries, the heat, AND their own mistakes, including:

  • A missed 38-yard field goal;
  • A dropped likely pick-six by Matt Milano;
  • A bobbled snap that prevented Josh Allen from spiking the football, costing the Bills a field goal attempt before halftime;
  • A dropped catchable touchdown pass by Gabriel Davis in the third quarter (fine play by Dolphins defender Keion Crossen, but the ball should have been caught);
  • Failure to punch in a touchdown given four opportunities inside the 2-yard line late in the fourth quarter;
  • Failure to spike the ball in time for one last desperate field goal at the end of regulation.

And much more. Your thoughts, Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey?

Yep, that says it all.

What It Means: First of all, the Dolphins deserve a ton of credit. They are now 3-0 against three quality opponents, winning each game in a wildly different way. Their defense applied constant pressure to a depleted Bills offensive line. They strung together enough big plays‚ÄĒTua Tagovailoa-to-Jaylen Waddle for 45 yards on third-and-22; Jevon Holland's early strip-sack to set up a first-quarter touchdown‚ÄĒto withstand the Bills' relentless drives. And they were prepared for a second heat-impacted game within three weeks, which makes sense, but that's not a home-field advantage they often leveraged in the recent past.

At some point, the time comes to stop putting asterisks next to Dolphins wins because they aren't particularly artful and start accepting that they're building a very strong playoff portfolio.

As for the Bills, this loss felt like a companion piece to their 2021 "OMG it's windy" loss to the Patriots. The Bills controlled the ball for over 40 minutes, held the Dolphins to 3-of-8 on third downs, and dominated the stat sheet in multiple ways. Losses like Sunday's demonstrate a lack of readiness to handle everything that a Super Bowl run throws at a top contender. Such losses are also a great way to end up on the road for a playoff game or two.

The silver lining? The Bills should be healthier (and better hydrated) next week, and they won't approach their next game as if they have already won it all.

What's Next: The Bills stay on the road to face the Baltimore Ravens, who remain their greatest threat to AFC supremacy. The Dolphins embark on a two-game road trip, starting with the Bengals.

A Walkthrough Special Investigation: Does Your Offense Stink?

The Buccaneers offense stinks right now, as outlined in the opening segment. The Packers offense doesn't "stink," though it sure comes and goes. But what about some other offenses around the league which were supposed to be pretty good? Walkthrough investigates.

Does the Arizona Cardinals Offense Stink?

Yes, but in an entertaining kindergarten dismissal sort of way. Kliff Kingsbury begins each game by grabbing his PS5 controller and trying out an all-new Madden playbook. Offset pistol formations? Shotgun triple-option concepts? Intricate motion to get playmakers open in the flats? Let's cram it all into the first three unproductive series! Who cares if the results look like this?

The Cardinals have been outscored 31-0 in first quarters and 56-10 in first halves. They would be 0-3 right now if the Raiders weren't such a disappointment factory.

But the Cardinals Have Hope Because: DeAndre Hopkins will be back in three weeks. The Cardinals face the Panthers and Seahawks over the next two weeks (with the Eagles wedged between them), so they could be 3-3 by Nuk's return. And Kingsbury has ideas on how to fix the offense. About six million ideas. And he'll try to implement them all simultaneously.

Does the New Orleans Saints Offense Stink?

Heck yes. The Saints have scored 13 combined points in the first three quarters through three games. Jameis Winston produced his28th career multi-interception game in Sunday's 22-14 loss to the Carolina Freakin' Panthers, but the interceptions had far less bearing on the result than an early Alvin Kamara fumble, a blocked field goal, and a series of penalty-exacerbated first-half three-and-outs. When Winston's turnovers aren't your team's primary problem, you have some real problems.

But the Saints Have Hope Because: They face the Minnesota Vikings in London next week, and there's no way Kirk Cousins doesn't find a way to screw that up.

But seriously: the Saints have too much talent on offense to be this bad. They should at least bounce back to the old Winston touchdown-interception-touchdown-interception paradigm soon.

Does the New England Patriots Offense Stink?

Dear friends, if Mac Jones is injured, the Patriots don't even have an offense anymore.

Before Jones suffered a leg injury on his final play of a 37-26 loss to the Ravens (a high ankle sprain was likely at press time), the Patriots were beginning to cobble together a semi-functional offensive identity out of power runs and deep shots to DeVante Parker (5-156-0 in one of his semiannual "fool you into thinking he's a WR1" performances). Things began falling apart during a late turnover spree, however, and even the Patriots' scoring drives were either aided by excellent field position or abetted by desperately entertaining fourth-down heroics by Jones.

But the Patriots Have Hope Because: A few weeks of Matt Patricia calling plays for Brian Hoyer may provide just the moment of clarity Bill Belichick desperately needs.

Does the Indianapolis Colts Offense Stink?

Yes. Their offensive line is porous, their receivers ordinary at best, and Matt Ryan is washed like a midwife's hands. The Colts have been outscored 61-16 through the first three quarters of three games this season.

But the Colts Have Hope Because: Sunday's 20-17 win over the Chiefs proved that if their opponents:

  • Spot them the ball on the 4-yard line for an easy early touchdown after a muffed punt;
  • Miss an extra point and a field goal, and also run an awful fake field goal because they are afraid of their backup kicker; and
  • Spot them a free first down after a third-and-long fourth-quarter sack because the refs decide that a defender raised his voice at Ryan;

They are perfectly capable of winning just enough games to squeak into the playoffs at 9-7-1.

Does the Washington Commanders Offense Stink?

Naturally. The Commanders produced negative-18 yards of passing offense in the first half of their 24-8 loss to the Eagles in Week 3 after producing just 56 yards of total offense in the first half of their loss to the Lions in Week 2. Carson Wentz's Sunday revenge fantasy involved standing perfectly still in the pocket waiting for the perfect moment to unleash his newfound self-actualization and maturity. The result: nine total sacks, plus two strip-sack fumbles.

And before you start blaming the receivers or system for Wentz's Sunday woes, remember that folks were about to anoint the Commanders' receiving corps as the second coming of the Greatest Show on Turf after Week 1.

But the Commanders Have Hope Because: C'mon, folks, if that's what Wentz did in his first big redemption-narrative game of the year, there's no place to go but the bottomless pits of despair.

Does the Denver Broncos Offense Stink?

Yes, and it's somehow getting worse. What started out as red zone woes in Weeks 1 and 2 became every-zone woes on Sunday night. One fourth-quarter drive and various Acts of Garoppolo allowed the Broncos to climb to 2-1 with an 11-10 win.

But the Broncos Have Hope Because: Nathaniel Hackett just needs to hire more assistants to help him make decisions. Say, is Pat Shurmur available? (We're not doing the 49ers because no one expects a team with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback to have anything but a paint-by-numbers offense.)

Does the Los Angeles Chargers Offense Stink?

What? Don't be silly! Justin Herbert is awesome! But he's playing hurt. Which resulted in a strip-sack in Sunday's 38-10 loss to the Jaguars. And there was a tip-drill interception deep in Chargers territory. Plus there were again too many three-and-outs. Mike Williams caught one pass (a touchdown) in six targets: that's not great. And come to think of it, the offense wasn't all that crisp over the first two weeks, either. But "stink" is too strong a word. It's more of a recently groomed labradoodle smell right now.

But the Chargers Have Hope Because: Keenan Allen should soon return to provide a focal point for the passing game. Herbert will either get healthier or have adamantium fused to his skeleton. And true Herbert stans evaluate him solely on his highlights, anyway.

Walkthrough Sportsbook

Every few weeks, Walkthrough places a battery of Sunday wagers, then shares the results with readers so you can learn how a degenerate thinks how a respected NFL analyst approaches the game!

Green Bay Packers (+2.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-110)

Process: The moment news of Mike Evans' suspension hit my email, instead of tweeting about it like a professional journalist, I immediately logged onto my favorite sportsbook app. For once, the line had not yet moved much, providing a bit of a bargain.

Result: We didn't need the extra points in an outright Packers victory, but we were glad to have them. WIN.

Justin Jefferson OVER 7.5 receptions (+110)

Process: Jefferson went HAM in Week 1. Then Kevin O'Connell thought, "let's surprise the Eagles with Irv Smith Jr. and Johnny Mundt on Monday night. It will be more like MUNDTday night! They'll never see it coming." The Vikings hired O'Connell to purge that sort of wisdom from their coaching staff, and Walkthrough reasoned that the Lions would either have no answers for Jefferson or force the Vikings into a shootout.

Result: Three catches for 14 yards? In a Vikings WIN and a shootout? How is that even possible? And don't hit me with that Jeff Okudah is good now stuff. I refuse to believe that Okudah, Jared Goff, and the offensive line are all suddenly playing well, yet the Lions still cannot beat anyone better than the Commanders. No matter how true that might be! Why, this LOSS makes me wanna…

New Orleans Saints Moneyline AND Over 40.5 (+210)

Process: Gimpy Jameis Winston versus still-on-playbook-page-seven Baker Mayfield? Bring on the points off turnovers!

Result: The points-off-turnovers idea was perfect, as the Panthers scored their first touchdown on a 44-yard Marquis Haynes fumble return. But everyone appears to have overestimated the Saints. Even Walkthrough. But especially the Saints themselves. LOSS.

J.K. Dobbins anytime touchdown scorer (+165)

Process: OK, so, Monday Walkthroughs are complicated to assemble. And on Sunday morning we thought, "Gosh, what if we forget to mention Dobbins' return to the Baltimore Ravens lineup with all the Brady-Rodgers stuff going on?" Then we had a eureka: a Dobbins prop bet, with a little pre-written segment that must be finished after the game. It's like a string around our pinkie, only expensive.

Result: Dobbins rushed seven times for 23 yards and added two catches for 17 yards, but he did not score a touchdown. As a society, we need to come around to the fact that Lamar Jackson is now operating as much more of a traditional (and delightfully effective) pocket-passer, and adjust our prop bets and fantasy lineups appropriately. LOSS.

Houston Texans (+3) at Chicago Bears (-115)

Process: Walkthrough could see no reason in the world why the Bears should be favored over anyone.

Result: The Texans are a little too committed to their "just good enough to almost win" bit; a late Roquan Smith interception of Davis Mills sealed a 23-20 Bears win. Also, always check the Chicago weather report, because the Bears go Full Ditka the moment it starts raining. Anyway, Walkthrough's gonna take this PUSH and run with it on a terrible afternoon of wagering.

Denver Broncos (+1.5) over San Francisco 49ers (-110)

Process: The Broncos looked like one of the most undervalued teams in the NFL entering Week 3: they would have been 2-0 with a pair of convincing wins if they had any idea how to score touchdowns inside the 5-yard line.

Result: Welp, this was a WIN. Though being forced to watch it felt like a loss.

Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5) over Jacksonville Jaguars (-110)

Process: Walkthrough watched this line nosedive on Friday afternoon and waited for the Justin Herbert prognosis like everyone else. When it landed at "game-time decision," we took a flyer that either a wobbly Herbert or Chase Daniel enjoying a first-start bump could beat a Jacksonville Jaguars team that might have been overvalued after beating the Colts. As a bonus, the wager would ensure that we discussed Friday's Chargers spread freefall (see the Dobbins wager).

Result: The Chargers are becoming the Powder Blue Falcons. LOSS.

Walkthrough Twelve Quadrillion-Star Play of the Week: Buffalo Bills (-5.5) AND Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) Two-Team Parlay (+210)

Process: The Cardinals and Dolphins appeared to be two of the most overvalued teams by the public in the NFL after unlikely Week 2 comebacks. They were facing the defending 2021 Super Bowl champions and the prohibitive favorites to be the 2022 Super Bowl champions. And this wager had to be placed on Thursday, when many Bills injuries were being downplayed, for podcasting purposes. Yes, wagering is very different when it is part of your job.

Result: The worst part of this one is admitting that the Bills were never in any real position to cover late in the game. LOSS.

Final Tally

This was a very, very, very bad week. We were actually going to delete the whole thing just to hide our shame. But shame is a powerful teaching tool. Just wait until next time!

Walkthrough Week 3 Awards

Time once again to hand out the most coveted awards on the Internet.

Offensive Line of the Week

Per Jacksonville.com reporter Demetrius Harvey, Doug Pederson gave a two-word answer when asked how Trevor Lawrence managed to complete 19 of his final 22 passes: "offensive line." That line also helped John Robinson and Travis Etienne combine for 145 yards, including Robinson's 50-yard run on fourth-and-1. So let's hear it for Cam Robinson, Ben Bartch, Luke Fortner, Brandon Scherff, and Jawaan Taylor.

Defender of the Week

Cincinnati Bengals edge rusher Trey Hendrickson recorded 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in a 27-12 victory over the New York Jets. Hendrickson's second strip-sack resulted in a quick Bengals touchdown that put the game more or less out of reach in the third quarter.

Special Teamer of the Week

Someone named Michael Hoecht blocked the punt. Someone named Jake Gervace caught it like a long rebound. The huge first-quarter play gave the Rams a short field that they turned into a field goal on an afternoon when they struggled to move the ball consistently. So let's hear it for those Rams special-teams NPCs!

Honorable mention goes to San Francisco 49ers punt gunners Samuel Womack, Ross Dwelley, and Tarvarius Moore (he gets his feet out of the end zone, just in case) for downing a Mitch Wishnowsky punt at the 1-foot line in Sunday night's tribute to 1930s small-college football.

Sunday night football was a punt-and-pin masterpiece overall. But Walkthrough doesn't wish to spend several paragraphs talking about it, nor do we want to encourage anyone.

Burn This Play!

Let's check out that Kansas City Chiefs fake field goal early in the fourth quarter:

The design isn't bad. The execution is fine. But it's fourth-and-11, and the Chiefs had been giving off strong "we don't trust the kicker" vibes since Matt Ammendola's missed extra point. As you can see, Bobby Okereke (58) is ready for the fake: even if Tommy Townsend connects with Noah Gray, there's no way this play goes 11 yards.

But that's just the runner-up. The winner of this week's Burn This Play could only come from the mind of Matt Patricia:

The primary issues here are timing and spacing. How is right tackle Isaiah Wynn supposed to keep Calais Campbell away from Rhamondre Stevenson? Wynn is stepping back in pass protection, but the screen pass is executed so fast that Campbell doesn't have time to get drawn into the backfield, and Stevenson is barely outside the tackle box, so he's just a few strides away from a charging, unblocked edge rusher. This play is almost designed to funnel Campbell straight to Stevenson.

Mac Jones' pass also forces Stevenson to stop and turn for the ball. Again, that appears to be by design. Even if Campbell is not around, Stevenson must operate from a standing start while defenders crash past his blockers. Jones needs to hit Stevenson moving forward, or back toward the formation if someone cracks back on Campbell, or he needs to be Tyreek Hill who can accelerate into fifth gear from a standing start, not a 225-pound power back.

Those are the sorts of fit 'n' finish play-design mistakes professional offensive coaches identify and iron out in the offseason.

Best Supporting Actor in Someone Else's Highlight

It's only appropriate that this week's BSASEH is for a play which was nullified by a penalty in that dreary Buccaneers-Packers game . Check out poor Rashan Gary (52) on Tom Brady's "Hurry! The Senior Services transit bus to the supermarket departs in one minute!" scramble late in the fourth quarter:

Gary's like, "Screw you, Brandon Walton. Imma bull rush you right into Brady. Even if I fall down I'm getting right back up. There he is! Now to just reach out and … where old guy? What do you mean he ducked right past me? I'm hopping mad now! Let me hop after him. Oh lookout, a lineman. Brace for impact!"

Rando of the Week

A Colts superfan wandered onto the sideline on Sunday and cheered the team on to victory. Check it out:

Wait, that's no superfan: that's injured Pro Bowl linebacker Shaquille Leonard! He's no rando. So why is he Rando of the Week? Because the telecast kept cutting to him, and cutting to him, and cutting to him some more as if Leonard were the defensive coordinator or something. It gave the impression that Leonard, crowd noise, and pure adrenaline had more to do with the Colts victory than anything Matt Ryan or the offense did.

Which, come to think of it…

Comments

143 comments, Last at 28 Sep 2022, 7:49am

#1 by Pat // Sep 26, 2022 - 8:39am

The Eagles fading hard in second halves just worries me a ton. By the eye test they look great, because you remember the first half.

The Jaguars game concerned me a bit before the season because of familiarity: with the Jaguars actually playing well, that's ramped up. Still think Philly wins but a Jaguars upset wouldn't shock me.

Points: 0

#41 by Harris // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:33pm

I keep telling myself they're sitting on big second half leads and Sirianni isn't inclined to show anything to the opposition if he doesn't have to. And, hey, they're 3-0 despite watching the nonexistent second half offense. They have time to get better.

Points: 0

#2 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 26, 2022 - 8:54am

38*-10

Points: 0

#3 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 26, 2022 - 8:58am

I refuse to believe that Okudah, Jared Goff, and the offensive line are all suddenly playing well, yet the Lions still cannot beat anyone better than the Commanders. No matter how true that might be! Why, this LOSS makes me wanna…

As a Lions fan -- yes, they can and will absolutely do this. The Lions will find ways to lose. They've lost twice on the longest FG in NFL history as time expires.

Only bet on the Lions if someone has a gun to your head. And even then, consider just taking the bullet.

 

Points: 0

#6 by serutan // Sep 26, 2022 - 10:10am

 While I totally understand where you're coming from, as a neutral it seems like the Lions are going in the right direction - from what little I've seen they've improved, but the defense isn't yet good enough to reliably hold a lead.   If they have a good defense oriented draft/FA period in the offseason, they might actually be a serious contender for a playoff spot next year.

Points: 0

#29 by KnotMe // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:01pm

Teams are bad tilll they arn't but it's hard to see the turning point except hindsight....which is really painful for fans but that is the nature of sports.

The lions do look to maybe be going in a good direction for now

 

Points: 0

#31 by theslothook // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:05pm

In reply to by KnotMe

This is 100 percent true.

The Chiefs were in the similar cursed vein of the Chargers. Same with Andy Reid. It can be hard to remember now, but Reid had a reputation of being the ultimate big game bungler. Basically everyone sort of thought of him as today's Marty Schottenheimer. And lord knows what the reputation of the Colts franchise was prior to Peyton Manning's arrival. And speak to any long term Pats fan about what life was like prior to 2001. 

Its fun to believe in curses, but these sort of things end and then we just never remember them anymore. 

Points: 0

#45 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:47pm

I would have killed to have had a Reid or even a Schottenheimer as coach.

Caldwell is the best coach we've had in seven decades.

Points: 0

#53 by Pat // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:07pm

Where did this "curse" idea come from? Everyone knows why the Lions have struggled. It's not a curse. It's because the owners have been hiring their friends for decades rather than people who are actually good at their jobs.

It's not impossible for the Lions to win. You get lucky in the draft a few times, other teams struggle, not a problem. It's the long-term part that's the problem.

Points: 0

#54 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:11pm

Oh, I know exactly where the fault lies.

WC Ford bought the Lions because his dad told him he was too stupid to run Ford Motor Company. Everything that has happened to the Lions since proved his father was right.

Points: 0

#50 by Pat // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:59pm

Basically everyone sort of thought of him as today's Marty Schottenheimer.

What. Who are these people, and why are we listening to them?

Marty had 5 wins out of 18 games in the playoffs. Andy literally had more wins than losses in the playoffs in Philly. Marty lost in the first playoff game they played 9/13 seasons. Andy in Philly was bounced out in the first round twice out of nine times.

"Can't win the big one" happens to tons of coaches: Bill Cowher and Tony Dungy, for example. But don't demean Marty Schottenheimer's "accomplishments" by suggesting that he could ever have an equal. Ron Rivera's probably the closest and it'd take him another decade of futility.

Points: 0

#56 by theslothook // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:18pm

I remember specifically Bill Simmons after the Colts epic comeback against the Chiefs proclaiming Reed forever snakebit.

We've discussed this so I wont rehash that old debate, but definitely people on FO were criticizing both his silly use of timeouts + his preference for a methodical plodding drive that ended up burning him once against NE and then a second time against Pittsburgh(this time at home).

I think Reed has blindspots as a coach, but I never buy into can't win the big one narratives, but that doesn't mean they don't exist out there all the time. 

Points: 0

#68 by Pat // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:45pm

You're misunderstanding my comment. Of course people were claiming Reid couldn't win the big game.

But that's nothin' compared to Schottenheimer. Comparing Reid's "can't win the big one" days to Schottenheimer is like comparing McVay to Belichick.

Points: 0

#84 by KnotMe // Sep 26, 2022 - 2:47pm

Sometimes I feel like "cant't win the big one" is "good enough to coach sub-par teams into the playoffs but never had the talent to get farther." Not saying that was the case for Schottenheimer, but seemed true with Reid. And you always get SSS issues with playoffs. Belichick is headed toward this case now I think, but will probably retire before getting there and it won't matter anyway. 

Points: 0

#99 by Pat // Sep 26, 2022 - 3:39pm

I actually think you're backwards on that: I think it's true for Schottenheimer. For Andy it was just a stupid dumb trope. You're talking about a guy who took a team to the Super Bowl and lost by 3 points to the greatest coach and QB of all time, and then also took teams to 4 other conference championships, losing for ridiculous reasons. It's the exact same thing they said about Dungy and Manning.

With Schottenheimer you could just say "couldn't win in the playoffs." With Andy you had to just keep redefining "big games" and putting random qualifiers to fit the meme.

Points: 0

#85 by Mike B. In Va // Sep 26, 2022 - 2:54pm

Schotty's biggest accomplishment seems to be getting flawed teams to the playoffs at all. I mean, he got the 2001 Washington Football Team to 8-8, which was practically miraculous. When handed a team with actual talent, it had to be the Chargers, so of course his playoff seasons ended on missed FGs, because Chargers.

Oh, and that UFL championship means something, I guess.

Points: 0

#44 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:45pm

Lions fandom is like being in a BLEVE.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_liquid_expanding_vapor_explosion)

The Patricia era was sort of like the explosion and subsequent conflagration -- everything was on-fire and blowing up around you.

Now we're in the stage where you've been launched clear of the giant fireball by the initial explosion -- things are still burning, but it's a lot better than it just had been.

However, now we enter the "hopeful" stage of said man tossed clear -- he's still going to slam into the ground. All that improvement was illusory -- things were better, but it didn't matter. Everything was still doomed. 

Points: 0

#72 by KnotMe // Sep 26, 2022 - 2:05pm

Oddly enough, Patricia has been more of an IMPLOSION in new england. No hope of getting blown clear there. 

As everyone knows, the key is to jump just b4 the explosion hits you. 

I feel like you need to get all 3 meta right(FO, Coach, QB). The owner just needs to hire the right people and not be a cheapskate. (
Lions just had a regime change so it's hard to evaluate. Campbell seems pretty good at least (he gets guys to play hard and isn't totally incompetent decision wise so....seems decent.) Holmes is to new to really evaluate but their draft got good grades IIRC. Goff is probably a bit underrated although he's more of a "win with" than "win bc of" I feel.  Tentative optimism is a good way to view it I think. 

 

Points: 0

#82 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Sep 26, 2022 - 2:30pm

LOL ... this brought tears to my eyes.  Well done, Sir.

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#4 by fyo // Sep 26, 2022 - 9:03am

Josh Allen was remarkably bad in ways that the statistics won't reflect. We had him a 4-1 victor over Tua in dropped interceptions at my house. Other than that he was his usual scary self and as a Dolphins' fan, I'm not looking forward to the next decade of having my team face him twice each regular season. He also outgained the entire Dolphins' running game by himself.

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#5 by mehllageman56 // Sep 26, 2022 - 9:43am

I didn't get to watch the game, only highlights, but it looks like Tua is Good Pennington, compared to Mac Jones turning into a pumpkin.  I think the Dolphins are definitely a playoff team, and might have lucked out with their coach, so I wouldn't be down on their chances the next few years at all.

Josh Allen has surprised us all, but with the way he runs, he's on Cam Newton career-time, not Tom Brady's.  So (adjusting slide-rule), more like 5 to 6 years than a decade.  Personally I hope the Bills win it all soon.

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#12 by fyo // Sep 26, 2022 - 10:39am

I'm not prepared to conclude much of anything with Tua. The only thing I will say is that he's doing much better than last year.

This week (pre-MNF) he's actually had the deepest average completed pass (avg completed air yards). Even removing his 50-yard bomb to Waddle, he's still eighth (while not removing everybody else's deepest throw). Not only is he completing passes much deeper downfield on average compared to last year, he's also just targeting players deeper - something he previously ranked dead last. We're only 3 games in, though, so low sample size issues abound.

Obviously, getting Hill and a new coach the focus has been on generating more yards after catch and while that's been the case in the first two weeks, there wasn't much this time - and for the season, neither Hill nor Waddle are in the top 10 in YAC/reception. Without a running game, it's going to be very much on the passing offense, so we should get plenty of chances to see how things develop.

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#14 by Pat // Sep 26, 2022 - 10:51am

I agree in the sense that it's way too early to conclude anything. Getting Hill in and a getting a new head coach just means that basically every other team had to throw out their entire scouting reports on Tua. His completions in previous years were like, 2 yards closer to the line of scrimmage on average. It's basically like everyone's starting from scratch, so the real question is what happens later in the season as you get more and more film.

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#35 by KnotMe // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:18pm

If nothing else, the Dolphins are like 5x more fun to watch. 

Not sure you can call NE a "quality opponent" unless quality means "not the texans", but the point stands. And they dominated that game, which is what good teams do to bad ones. 

Their division looks weaker than expected so they may have a good playoff path.

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#40 by Pat // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:32pm

Oh, without a doubt! And having 3 games in hand versus conference opponents, at least 2 of which will certainly be in the playoff hunt, will help a ton.

I mean, jeez, the Dolphins could be undefeated by their bye week. Next week's practically their biggest challenge. Never would've expected them to start 3-0.

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#34 by mansteel // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:16pm

Re. Tua, the offense, and the overall results: while Tyreek helps, it seems to me that there's been a clear coaching upgrade. That offense was hard to watch last year and it is totally different (and more effective) this year.

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#86 by Mike B. In Va // Sep 26, 2022 - 2:57pm

He's also got to play against secondaries with practice squad guys in them for two consecutive weeks. He looked OK in Sunday's game - the throw to Waddle was nice, as was the third TD - but it's not like he was facing elite opponents at full strength. Still, he's definitely improved. It's amazing what competent coaching can do.

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#55 by KnotMe // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:11pm

Of course Young average 4.3 rushes per game, his high was 6 in 1991. Which was alot for the time, but not really much for a modern QB.  Lamar is at 10 attempts per game for his career and there is a bit more wear an tear.  Honestly, the running QB are so new we don't really know how they will work out due to SSS issues. Newton is the only guy who made a name on running and finished his career. (Vick was earlier, but it's hard to tell where he would have gone). 

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#59 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:28pm

Young's high was 8 rushes per game.

Cunningham hung around until he was 38. If you add in his sack totals, he had something like 1200 rush attempts.

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#71 by Noahrk // Sep 26, 2022 - 2:01pm

I think the Dolphins struck gold with McDaniel. From how the defense played in the two-minute drill yesterday, making the Bills fight for every yard and eventually winning the drive, when others play soft and let the opponent move the ball at will (here's looking at you, Green Bay). To how despite arriving as a "run-game genius" he's been willing to air it out. But most of all -and this didn't get much attention, if any- but he went for it twice on fourth down against Baltimore on his own side of the field in the first half. That alone convinced me Miami stumbled into something special here.

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#111 by DGL // Sep 26, 2022 - 5:26pm

how the defense played in the two-minute drill yesterday, making the Bills fight for every yard and eventually winning the drive, when others play soft and let the opponent move the ball at will

Wouldn't a team with any ability to hit big plays on offense be better served by doing this - playing aggressive defense with a one-score lead in the closing minutes of the game?  The CW is that you want to avoid the opponent getting a big play - but if you give up a fast score, that just gives you the ball back with time for your own offense to score.  Maybe when you get down below 30 seconds you switch into a conventional prevent, because any score gives you too little time to respond - but in the canonical two-minute drill (opponents with possession in their own half of the field at the two minute warning) it would seem to me that you want to be aggressive on defense, maximize the chances of a TO that ends the game or a sack or penalty that puts the offense in a bad position, and take the risk of the other guys hitting a 75-yard TD, because if they do, you get the ball and a minute or more to respond.  Whereas if you make them matriculate down the field ten yards at the time, you're relying strictly on your defense to eventually stop them.

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#120 by Noahrk // Sep 26, 2022 - 6:56pm

The prevent defense works in some situations, but I feel like teams routinely abuse it. And the coaches always reply, "it works if it's executed properly". Which, fine, but executing it properly involves text-book tackling and doing something you haven't done all game long and with more DBs involved. It can be truly painful to see, like with Green Bay yesterday. How to go from tiger to kitten with a simple scheme change... or your money back! That's what the ad must've looked like that these coaches buy into.

So, yeah, I think there's the getting the ball back thing, which at least gives you a chance, but mostly that the regular defense that's worked all game long is more likely to keep working than a fresh new defense with completely different parameters.

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#135 by IlluminatusUIUC // Sep 27, 2022 - 2:26pm

Regardless of what you should do in a vacuum, it was 100% the right call against us on Sunday. Buffalo was so depleted on offensive line that our right guard, a third string tackle lining up out of position inside, was playing on a torn ACL. We were legitimately out of backups.

In that case, attacking the Bills OL and forcing them to communicate and move laterally to attack wide rushers and open up gaps for blitzers is absolutely the smart play and it worked over and over again. Sitting in coverage and letting Allen and the wideouts move them was a bad idea. Notably, that's what we did in the critical 3rd and 22 and McDaniel called up the perfect shot play to exploit it.

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#77 by JonesJon // Sep 26, 2022 - 2:11pm

It is too soon to say for sure but there is probably a reason Tua was starting over Mac with no QB controversy and was a more highly regarded draft prospect

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#87 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 26, 2022 - 2:57pm

On the other hands, Georgia let Justin Fields walk in favor of Jacob Eason and Ohio State let Joe Burrow walk in favor of Justin Fields.

No one knows anything.

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#106 by JonesJon // Sep 26, 2022 - 4:34pm

Not quite, Georgia let Fields walk in favor of Fromm and Ohio State let Burrow leave in favor of Haskins. 

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#98 by Mike B. In Va // Sep 26, 2022 - 3:29pm

At that point he was pressing and trying to will the team to winning, so I give him a pass for the near INTs at the end of the game. He had to take chances. Ironically missing the TD gave them that chance at the end, plus adds "Buttpunt" to NFL lore...

I think the long drives were the game plan - no better way to hide a secondary than not have it on the field, and they had to figure the Phins were going to sit high and take away the big plays.

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#136 by IlluminatusUIUC // Sep 27, 2022 - 2:28pm

I don't think the Fins really were sitting high, they were sending a lot of disguised pressures and our inexperienced and severely injured OL kept letting free rushers through. Allen just didn't have time to let anything open downfield, there was a lot of quick action by necessity.

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#7 by TomC // Sep 26, 2022 - 10:16am

And as of now, there's not another team in the NFC that appears to be in any way worthy of adding to the conversation. (Pipe down, Bears fans.)

Even in the normal Superfan sports radio and chat room hangouts, the consensus is that this is possibly the worst 2-1 team ever. They're a wannabe Barry Alvarez Badgers team without anyone close to Brooks Bollinger.

That line also helped John Robinson and Travis Etienne combine for 145 yards

If an 87-year-old former coach is gaining 100 yards, your O-line needs more than just a weekly award.

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#20 by TomC // Sep 26, 2022 - 11:12am

The '99 team averaged 300 yards on the ground. 

(Of course that made me check, and Air Force is averaging 412 this year.)

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#80 by JonesJon // Sep 26, 2022 - 2:16pm

If you just consumed all the postgame content from Bears radio/blogs/podcasts/shows yesterday and never saw the score you'd think they were blown off the field and 0-3 right now. There are a few very vocal Fields believers still out there on twitter but for the most part the entire fanbase is defeated right now

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#123 by Tyler S // Sep 26, 2022 - 7:07pm

30% chance the defenses outscore the offenses in that matchup? 40%?

In all seriousness, as bad as the Wilson/Hackett offense has looked so far, there's a pretty likely scenario where the Broncos ride a top 5 defense, a gradually improving offense, and a weaker than expected AFC West/WC field into a playoff berth. The roster talent is way better than what the Bears have. 

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#9 by big10freak // Sep 26, 2022 - 10:23am

FWIW Gary should receive credit for keeping his composure and not going after the refs given how he was repeatedly put in a chokehold by one or more TB linemen.  I mentioned in the FO faux audibles on how the refs were letting the o lines do everything but kneecap rushers.  It was pretty ridiculous

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#17 by JS // Sep 26, 2022 - 10:59am

And yet neither QB had much time to throw.

It seems OL now just get to do at least a little mini-hook as the DL goes around them. Sometimes more, but almost always at least that.

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#10 by big10freak // Sep 26, 2022 - 10:24am

That midwife's hands line was used a previous FO thread.  Just a heads up as some might think the FO writer is using without attribution

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#11 by jheidelberg // Sep 26, 2022 - 10:25am

Recently FO had an entire article on Lamar.  Now you state, "we need to come around to the fact that Lamar Jackson is now operating as much more of a traditional (and delightfully effective) pocket-passer"

Yes, someone will surely offer him $200M guaranteed.  This is actually begin to look a bit low.  

Does the Ravens offense stink.  NO.  It looks like this, Lamar completes long pass, Lamar completes medium pass, Lamar runs, lets take a play off and show everyone how this offense can stink when Lamar does not touch the ball and gives the ball to a RB.  Don't forget the defense, it stinks, Mac Jones can average 10 yards per pass when not throw it into a defenders hands after Tua throws 6 TD's in a game. Alas, there are always special teams to save the day if needed. The Ravens have a lot of injuries, so what, it is just like last year, the injuries will not matter unless Lamar becomes one of them.

Tua's concussion protocol test:

1.  What day is it?  Sunday. Correct

2.  How many fingers do you have on each hand?  Four. OK close

3.  How many TD passes did you throw against Baltimore last week?  Eight. Close enough, now get back in there.  

The Ravens offense is similar to next week's opponent Buffalo, except that you insert Josh Allen in the place of Lamar on offense.  And yes, the injuries do not matter you have Josh Allen, just win baby!!  Which when we see the post game win expectancy for the Miami game, they did exactly that yesterday, except on the scoreboard.

The battle will be a shootout if Buffalo's defenders are still out and Tucker can break a 42-42 tie with 3 seconds left with a 64 yard FG.  Nathaniel Hackett says, "I knew that I made the right decision in week 1, my kicker simply failed."

 

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#13 by Pat // Sep 26, 2022 - 10:46am

Yes, someone will surely offer him $200M guaranteed.

Of course someone will offer him that. Whether or not that team will be able to win consistently is another question. It's one thing to win with Jackson making basically nothing, it's entirely different to do that with 20% of your cap stripped away.

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#26 by jheidelberg // Sep 26, 2022 - 11:54am

https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/baltimore-ravens/cap/

Instead of having high priced players (Ronnie Stanley, the defense, etc.) that produce very little due to injury/incompetence, there will be lower priced players that can do the same, possibly a little better, possibly a little worse.

The main difference would be special teams, something that does not eat up cap space for any team, is highly inconsistent from year to year except for the fact that NE and BAL are great, and LAC is awful.

Of course you could argue that this Ravens team will not win consistently, but based on last year's results and the early results this year, the team is very good with Lamar, not very good without him.

Yes, of course Lamar must produce at an elite level or his contract will be horrible for whoever bites the bullet.

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#36 by Pat // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:25pm

 

Yes, of course Lamar must produce at an elite level or his contract will be horrible for whoever bites the bullet.

It just depends on the contract. A 5-year, $250M, fully guaranteed contract that starts next year? That's the most expensive contract in the league. Lamar doesn't have to just play elite with that, he has to be the best QB by a fairly big margin. He won't just be playing Mahomes, he'll be playing Mahomes + 5% cap space/yr. That's most of Travis Kelce's contract.

It's different when you're talking about, say, Aaron Rodgers. I still can't figure that contract out, but at least in some sense the Packers are just borrowing from the post-Rodgers era. If the Ravens end up paying a QB like him absolute top dollars this early in his career, what's the point? It's not like in 5 years he'll be like "it's OK, I don't need mega-money this time around." Lamar's got the Ravens in nearly the same spot Prescott had the Cowboys in, Prescott roasted them, and I just can't see how they can win even with him.

Don't get me wrong: again, of course Lamar's going to get offered a huge contract. I just have my doubts it'll be considered a win in the long term for the team that signs him.

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#51 by jheidelberg // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:02pm

It is possible that the Lamar contract will not be a good decision for the team that signs him.  I can not see the Ravens starting over, so my guess is that he signs with the Ravens long term whether it is the Dak Prescott way or not.

 Not signing him is becoming in the short term the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, or Jacksonville Jaguars of recent history.  

2-15, 3-14, 4-13, 5-12, whatever.

Sometimes this lasts 20 years and occasionally you become the Colts and get out of hell.

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#64 by Pat // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:34pm

 

 Not signing him is becoming in the short term the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, or Jacksonville Jaguars 

The Ravens have literally never had a season in their entire history below 0.300 other than their first year. I have no idea why you think they would suddenly become a laughingstock if they decided to effectively trade Lamar Jackson for multiple first-round picks (via a non-exclusive tag that's not met, for instance).

It'd be super controversial if they didn't sign him, but if any team could make it work, it'd be the Ravens.

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#90 by Mike B. In Va // Sep 26, 2022 - 3:03pm

Yeah, at this point that team has earned the benefit of the doubt. They're not always good, but they're seldom BAD.

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#105 by Pat // Sep 26, 2022 - 4:09pm

They're just extremely good drafters. That's part of why I think they'd be fine pretty much either with or without Jackson. Not saying they should get rid of him, but I think if he's pushing "absolute top of the league" in terms of money, it's a tough sell, especially with one of the best QBs in the league being closer to the bottom.

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#117 by jheidelberg // Sep 26, 2022 - 6:29pm

One name.  Ozzie Newsome.  The GOAT of GM’s.  Name players that you want from the Ravens on your team, virtually all are Ozzie draft picks or acquisitions. The 2019-2021 drafts have produced little.

I am not trading Jackson for 5 number 1 picks. ¬†Look at DVOA (VOA) 79.1 % Pass VOA, sheer insanity in small sample size. ¬†Try getting 10 avid football fans not from Baltimore and play,‚ÄĚName Ravens WR‚Äôs.‚ÄĚ

This team is Lamar Jackson period and the only other thing that they do well is special teams.  But hey if you do something well, be the best.  Oh yes, that Hall of Fame Coach Harbaugh, he won with Flacco so he will figure out how to win with whatever you throw out there.

Opinions on this current team vary massively as does mine.  I could see the Ravens winning the Super Bowl as a ceiling, and not making the playoffs as a floor.  My most likely scenario is a division title as this division is very overrated.  Then in playoffs, game by game, you never know, the Ravens have navigated through with Dilfer and Flacco, so why not Jackson?

 

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#132 by Pat // Sep 27, 2022 - 10:21am

The 2019-2021 drafts have produced little.

That's... a stretch. There aren't any superstars, yes, but producing superstars isn't skill, it's dumb luck. They're still hitting ~2 starters/year, although they traded away two of those (for basically their original draft slots, so that's a hit). Newsome's drafts weren't all awesome either.

Don't get me wrong, I think they've stepped back, too, but it's a bit too early for me to declare that they're terrible or something. But this is part of the problem: if the Ravens were drafting top-end, then paying Lamar a top-end salary's not the end of the world because you make up for it in drafting. Right now recent years have been lean in drafting, so they're going to have to make up for it in free agency, and paying Lamar top end salary will just blow all that out the window.

Opinions on this current team

This "current team" has absolutely nothing to do with Jackson's contract. It's the future teams you care about.

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#137 by jheidelberg // Sep 27, 2022 - 2:28pm

For sure the current team has nothing to do with Jackson’s current contract.

Its only 3 games, but small sample size Jackson is MVP, this is crazy what he is doing.

Ravens pass DVOA 70%
 

Drafting superstars is luck?  Guess I was lucky to see Ogden, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs.  Now Jackson. Ozzie has many great hits, but without these 5, the direction of the franchise is very different over 2 decades.

I believe so much in Ozzie, that although I said that I would not trade Jackson for 5 first rounders, I would trade him for Ozzie of 25 years ago, as I am confident that he would reconstruct the team over the next 25 years to be successful.

Yes its important to draft guys that are starters. I wonder if there are so many whiffs, that in an  draft of 32 1st rounders, if they ended up being 32 mediocre NFL players, that this would be an above average, maybe well above average?  What do you think?

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#139 by Pat // Sep 27, 2022 - 3:48pm

Jackson is MVP, this is crazy what he is doing

Yes. He's great. Remind me again when the last time an MVP's team won the Super Bowl? Twenty-three years ago.

Drafting superstars is luck?  Guess I was lucky to see Ogden, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs.

Ozzie Newsome was a GM for 24 years. He didn't get a superstar every year. Or every other year. Or every third year. You can't judge DeCosta on 3-4 years compared to Newsome for 24 years.

If you're good enough to regularly draft guys who can start, you'll get superstars. That's the point. I'm not saying Newsome wasn't fantastic. Of course he was. I'm saying you can't say "now that Newsome's gone they're a disaster." It wasn't Newsome alone. He built a system and infrastructure, and it's still there.

Getting 2 starters per year is about par for the draft.

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#141 by jheidelberg // Sep 27, 2022 - 10:09pm

That is a great stat, but it is correlation with no cause and effect.  My man Dilfer started the streak, and our men Flacco and Foles got a Super Bowl Championship with no MVP.

I ll take my chances on a Ravens Championship if Jackson wins MVP, I m sure you’ll like the Eagles chances more if Hurts wins MVP.

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#52 by KnotMe // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:06pm

That seems to be the new normal for QB contracts. Everyone just pushes the bar up. If your guy is Mahomes....it's fine. If you got a tier 2 guys it's a problem, although it can still work (Rams). It may normalize with everyone just spending 20% of the cap on QB. 

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#57 by Pat // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:21pm

If your guy is Mahomes....it's fine. 

Mahomes isn't a good example. He's way behind Watson, Prescott, Rodgers, Cousins, Allen, Murray, and Wilson in salary. Prescott will hit free agency in 2025 having made 25% more than Mahomes in his career despite being drafted lower.

The Chiefs having continued success is an example as to why you don't pay QBs top end of the market deals and just find a way to be creative so the agents can claim success in Agent Contract Theater.

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#60 by theslothook // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:29pm

Everyone is speculating, but if I am Jackson, with every successful week, my contract demands surge by a million dollars at least. And at this point, if I were him, I wouldn't settle for a penny less than fully guaranteed.

So lets say its a 5 year 300 million fully guaranteed contract. Is that worth it? We still haven't found the magic number where its not palatable to pay him. 

Leave aside injury concerns and the like. Jackson playing exactly as he is right now is probably between the 3rd and 5th best QB in the league, depending on what you think of Rodgers with actual receivers and Herbert with functional ribs.

I maintain, despite this week's debacle, Mahomes remains the defacto MVP choice which in part reflects a perceived skill difference between him and the rest of the league. And I don't disagree. Right he is the gold standard. This year is proving to be a fascinating line of demarcation for Allen. To me he's riiiiight on that knife's edge between tier 1 and tier 2(Prime Big Ben, prime Philip Rivers, etc etc). Jackson feels more sold as a tier 2 player, though he's so brilliant that maybe I am wrong. But that's where I slot them

Can a team with solid tier 2 player win when you gut most of the roster, which is basically saying you aren't going to be able to field much beyond maybe 1 highly paid skill player, 1 highly paid defensive player, and then having to round out the rest of the roster by draft picks, mid tier vets, and a lot of spackle. 

I am not discussing if the alternative is palatable. Its not. But I maintained that paying Dak that price was prohibitive given I think he's a Tier 3 starter. Lamar is tier 2, but if hes going to demand a pie in the sky salary, can they meaningfully expect a SB win with him making that money? Imo, if this wasn't the Ravens organization, I'd say no. But this org can. 

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#62 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:34pm

Can a team with solid tier 2 player win when you gut most of the roster, which is basically saying you aren't going to be able to field much beyond maybe 1 highly paid skill player, 1 highly paid defensive player, and then having to round out the rest of the roster by draft picks, mid tier vets, and a lot of spackle. 

Isn't that what everyone considers the Rams to have done in 2021?

It was also basically the Manning Colts.

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#66 by Pat // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:43pm

The Manning-led Colts in their Super Bowl year had Wayne, Harrison, James, Freeney, and Mathis, all of whom are at least Hall of Fame semifinalists. That's... not what he's describing. That was a way different era: quarterback money was much more affordable then.

I totally agree on the Rams, though.

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#69 by theslothook // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:46pm

Technically that team that won the super bowl did not have James. 

They did have Jeff Saturday and Tarek Glenn as well.

The Colts weren't talentless during that period. They were just super top heavy and concentrated at premium positions.

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#74 by Pat // Sep 26, 2022 - 2:06pm

Bleah, that's what I get for changing it from "at one point had" to "in their Super Bowl year." Grr.

 They were just super top heavy and concentrated at premium positions.

It was just a different era. Manning took up like, 10%-ish of the team's cap, Freeney took up ~7%, Wayne 5%, Mathis 6%, Harrison 6%. That's 2 WRs, 2 premium defensive players, and a QB for 34% of your cap. The Colts were Dungy's Tampa 2 so the CBs weren't expensive.

Nowadays that's not top heavy, that's normal. The Rams have 39% of their cap tied in 2 premium defensive players, a QB, and one WR: more cap space dedicated, one less player.

edit: and for an even more obvious example, the Chiefs have 50% of their cap dedicated to 5 players. That's a top heavy team. The Colts in the 2000s were just targeted.

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#67 by theslothook // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:44pm

Basically yes. Although we disagree about Stafford's tiering and how replicable that strategy is. 

But much like the '07 Giants showed that you can win a super bowl with that kind of roster construction, It's really not any kind of blueprint to follow in my opinion.

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#88 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 26, 2022 - 3:00pm

The 2008 Giants were really good right up until Plaxico tried to shoot his dick off.

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#15 by big10freak // Sep 26, 2022 - 10:54am

After the (insert derisive description of choice) that were the 2021 GB special teams yesterday was glorious.  

 

Not just competence.  Flashes of excellence.  
 

 

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#16 by Venger // Sep 26, 2022 - 10:57am

Watching Brady and Rodgers debate sociopolitical issues would have been more entertaining than what we saw on Sunday.

 

Lets not say things we can't take back, Mike. Or give NFL network execs any ideas. 

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#38 by DGL // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:28pm

"The Pro Bowl Games will include NEW CHALLENGES where players showcase their football and non-football skills in a fun and memorable way."

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#47 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:51pm

Oh ESPN would outbid NFL Network for that.

They like those two in a way that approaches their utter devotion to Michael Jordan.

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#18 by theslothook // Sep 26, 2022 - 11:03am

I don't agree with Taniers characterization of the Buck Packers fully.

In reality, the difference in this game was that the Packers deliberately came out throwing short from jump and the Bucs came out defending them as if they were going to run their usual offense in spite of the receiver problem. Thus, it was a clinic of bad coverage in the first half, a problem that was corrected in the second half and a big reason why the Packers did nothing offensively.

Honestly, it was weird to see live but credit LaFleur for building a gameplan to mitigate the obvious weakness in his offense. But it was frankly weird to watch. One sequence epitomized the sharp divergence in play calling in this game vs Packers games of yore. It's 1st and 9 at the goal line. The Packers run on first and second down to set up a 3rd and 6. They then run a long developing swing route to the running back who gets tackled well short of the end zone and coughs up a fumble. It was so stark to see not one pass go into the red zone by an Aaron Rodgers led offense. 

Other thoughts:

Both coverage units in the game were outstanding. Idk if Rasul Douglas is consistently good. But I've always liked him as a corner. Savage was great as well.

The final drive defensive play calling was so bad it's hard to put into words. They basically gifted the Bucs 40 yards on blow coverages.

Brady and Rodgers still look good physically. How Brady is still able to take hits and not remain comatose for a week at his age is just hard to understand.

The lack of receivers is a big problem for the Packers and unless someone improves massively, seems rather prohibitive. I think they need to explore who is gettable in the trade market because you can't keep crafting gameplans like yesterday's and win.

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#19 by JS // Sep 26, 2022 - 11:04am

I have a couple procedural questions.

1.  When Josh Allen fumbled the snap, did that mean that he couldn't spike the ball - because you have to do it immediately or something - or did he just lose the thread? He could have just tossed a dart out of bounds over Diggs' head, of course.

2. On the last play of the game, the runner would have done better to throw himself at a defender's feet. Couldn't he also have knelt?

3. In the GB-TB game, GB lost a ton of field position due to an awful running into the kicker penalty. Could they have challenged that? If so, they should have.

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#30 by dmstorm22 // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:05pm

1.) I think it seems like you have to do it immediately? At least at some point it could switch conceivably into intentional grounding. That said, Allen could have just fired it well above Diggs head nad I think gotten it incomplete before the half runs out?

2.) I guess so, but not sure if it would have helped too much. That was just a clusterf**k at the end of each half. Bills left so many points on the field between those two, the missed field goal, the failed 1st and Goal, etc.

3.) I don't believe so

Points: 0

#73 by Noahrk // Sep 26, 2022 - 2:05pm

In reply to by dmstorm22

1) I think he could've. What you can't do is look at the defense and then decide to spike it. But having trouble with the snap shouldn't have any impact on whether you can spike it or not.

2) He could've knelt or given up and the Bills would've had one more play after a spike, but it would've been out of FG range. The way it went he barely made it to the 40, which would have been a 57-yard FG even if they'd managed to clock it. The defense simply won that drive.

Points: 0

#93 by Mike B. In Va // Sep 26, 2022 - 3:14pm

1.  When Josh Allen fumbled the snap, did that mean that he couldn't spike the ball - because you have to do it immediately or something - or did he just lose the thread? He could have just tossed a dart out of bounds over Diggs' head, of course.

2. On the last play of the game, the runner would have done better to throw himself at a defender's feet. Couldn't he also have knelt?

 Question one seems to be disputed, and I don't know if it was addressed during the press conference or not, but it was clear the Josh thought it was grounding. Question two is why Dorsey destroyed the coaches' box at the end of the game, because almost anything MacKenzie could have done there would be better than what he did.

Points: 0

#100 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 26, 2022 - 3:39pm

Here's this situation officially addressed in the rules:

A.R. 8.89 INTENTIONAL GROUNDING‚ÄĒMUFFED SNAP‚ÄĒBALL DOES/DOES NOT HIT GROUND
First-and-10 on B20. One minute and thirty-five seconds remain in the first half, and Team A is hurrying to score before halftime. T-QB A1 muffs the snap, and: (a) regains possession of the ball before it hits the ground; or (b) the ball hits the ground but bounces back into A1’s hands. A1 then immediately spikes the ball to stop the clock.
Rulings:
(a) Second-and-10 on B20. No foul since the ball did not hit the ground, and the QB spiked the ball as soon as he gained possession.
(b) Second-and-20 on B30 and run 10 seconds off the clock if Team B chooses. This is intentional grounding. If Team A has timeouts remaining, it can use one in lieu of the 10-second runoff, but the yardage and loss of down will still be enforced.

It's grounding if the ball hit the ground. It's not grounding if it did not.

I'm not sure which case holds here.

 

Points: 0

#107 by Mike B. In Va // Sep 26, 2022 - 4:39pm

It didn't look like it hit the ground, so it wouldn't have been grounding. Instead, it's a "learning experience".

Points: 0

#138 by IlluminatusUIUC // Sep 27, 2022 - 2:31pm

Allen had halfbacks behind him. If he backed up enough to make it a forward pass and then drilled at their foot it could have worked. He didn't need to throw to the sideline.

Points: 0

#21 by theslothook // Sep 26, 2022 - 11:18am

Yesterday was the day of disappointing offense. I won't call it bad offense in the sense that every week can have bad offense if you select the games appropriate. But disappointing offense means you went in expecting good offense and came out with bad offense.

The packers bucs was rather deliberate/unavoidable. The packers played the hide the receivers(which is functionally equivalent to hide the QB) and the Bucs operated their offense as usual, its just much harder to make that work without a healthy Godwin or Mike Evans.

But man, the 49ers Broncos was tough to watch. After one beautiful drive with some horrible offensive pi to lead a td, it was just one ugly drive after another. I don't like bashing Jimmy G because its the easy thing in the world to do, but its probably fair to say he is the reason they lost yesterday. 

I wish I could chalk that up to lack of reps as the starter, but these low moments aren't his first.

And the whole Broncos offense looks so off, its miserable. Without joining the chorus of boos for Hackett, its really hard to figure out why. The timing of everything just feels off and you can see with some of Russ' throws just hitting the dirt instead of the receiver. Rex Ryan claimed that the problem is because they are always in gun when they should be running the football and using playaction and essentially letting Russ serve as a complimentary role. I am guessing he means something equivalent to what the Seahawks did. Or maybe hes imagining Russ on the 49ers.

Either way, after N number of years, it's still completely unclear to me what is the offense that Russ should be running. He's had stretches of brilliance, but they were usually in the first half. And then the wheels fall off. I read a long blog post by Field Gulls which explored this in detail and showed as time went on, the inefficiencies playing that style started to widen; with it specifically blaming Russ. Not exclusively, but protection breakdowns and missed opportunities kept becoming more frequent.

In the end, its going to be hard for me to ever wrap my mind around someone like Wilson, who is like Jimmy G but without the turnovers and better highlights. Ie - capable of sublime moments married to long stretches of malaise. Much like yesterday though, the scoring is usually tamped down such that Wilson only needs a few stretches of brilliance to eek out a win. But I can't imagine that will work long term in Denver. 

Points: 0

#115 by reddwarf // Sep 26, 2022 - 6:09pm

Yes, they looked awful yesterday, against a very good defense.  It was kind of a 180 from the first two weeks though.  Instead of gaining a ton of yards and no points they couldn't move the ball well but did score in the red zone.  They didn't kill themselves with stupid penalties and turnovers where it hurts the most.  I think SF's defense deserved a lot of credit for how off the Denver offense was yesterday.  That's one of the fastest defensive swarming teams I've seen.

That said, and as loath as I am to agree with Rex Ryan, yeah...too much shotgun and not enough playaction or designed rollouts.  Not sure why.

Side note: during the game I was thinking that it was so on-brand for Denver this year to get a safety while it cost them a TD I wanted to cry.  Seriously?  What a stupid play.

 

Points: 0

#134 by BJR // Sep 27, 2022 - 12:55pm

I think it is worth noting the part special teams played in the Broncos/49ers scoreline/lack of offense. Punt after punt seemed to be downed inside the 5 yard line. 

Points: 0

#22 by mehllageman56 // Sep 26, 2022 - 11:32am

Off subject, since no one cares about Jets games (and I don't blame them), but once I saw Jason Whitlock's tweet about Joe Burrow going woke and therefore failing, I knew the Jets were done this week.  Seriously, it was up there with Limbaugh's Donovan McNabb speech.  Whitlock went full Limbaugh; never go full Limbaugh.

Just to knock my reputation down even further here, I did a tarot reading about when the Jets would win a Super Bowl.  3 cards from my Grunge deck- The Fool reversed, the King of Pentacles reversed, and the Queen of Pentacles reversed.  Not good, but also: the Fool is the first card in the deck, zero.  According to the book that comes with that pack, the King of Pentacles and the Queen of Pentacles are the last two cards in the deck.  There are 78 cards in a tarot deck.  Since the Jets last won in 1969, they will finally break the curse in 2047.  See all of you then.

Points: 0

#23 by theslothook // Sep 26, 2022 - 11:34am

I am curious to know how Burrow looked; because by numbers it appears it was finally a turn around for him and the Bengals offense. 

Points: 0

#24 by mehllageman56 // Sep 26, 2022 - 11:44am

I watched a lot of the Bengals-Steelers game, but I've missed the other two games the Bengals played, only seeing highlights of yesterday's one.  I though Burrow looked ok, but made a bunch of bad decisions under pressure against the Steelers, but he still should have won the game.  From yesterday's highlights, he seems to be fine; it helps to play 11 vs 8 or 9, since the Jets don't have safeties or linebackers that cover.  One of the touchdowns was a foolish all out blitz on 3rd down; Burrow got it to Tyler Boyd, who had a step on one defender for a first down.  Then Jets happened; the safety went for the big hit instead of wrapping up, and it turns into a fifty yard touchdown and a 14-6 lead.  I don't think there was much wrong with Burrow; he was just facing two of the best defenses in the league.

Points: 0

#33 by Pat // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:10pm

Burrow looked really good on the first drive. After that... yeah, less so. That drive with the Boyd touchdown? Should've ended several plays before but, well, the Jets Jetsed: pointless personal foul, 15 yards when they had them at 4th and 9.

EPA has the game basically decided by the Bengals defense, only crediting the offense with ~4 net points, and that idiot personal foul works out as a net change of over 3 points. Essentially, if it wasn't for that stupidity, you would've said that the Bengals offense was, on balance, worth next-to-nothing.

Points: 0

#25 by Pat // Sep 26, 2022 - 11:53am

I mean, in comparison to week 1 and 2, sure, but realistically they scored 2 touchdowns and a field goal, and 2 of those 3 drives were basically single-play "whoops" drives by the Jets. Like, generally when you throw a pass to a guy with 2 defenders less than a yard away he ain't gonna gain 45 yards after the catch (and God knows what the Jets were doing on the long pass to Higgins).

The other 10 points were gifts from Joe Flacco.

Points: 0

#129 by jheidelberg // Sep 27, 2022 - 12:21am

I grew up a Jets fan in NY/NJ left 45 years ago and left all of my NY behind.  I hate all NY teams.  I can assure you that for over 50 years that people have been trying to figure out what the Jets are doing.  I just went to the Ravens-Jets game week 1 in NJ.  My favorite was the guy wearing a tee shirt J-E-T-S  Just Endure The Suffering.  The Mike White chants started in the second half, because as we know, 3rd string QB's are always the answer to a team's problems.

 

 

Points: 0

#130 by mehllageman56 // Sep 27, 2022 - 3:54am

Kind of agree that they don't know what they are doing, but not true for every year of those 50 years.  Some of the teams in the 80s did know what they were doing, they just had some bad luck (all the injuries in 1986, the Mud Bowl), and that's not even getting to the teams right after the AFC Championship in 1998.  The Jets actually have the most Championship game losses without a win (4), more than the Browns (3) or Jaguars (3).

Points: 0

#131 by jheidelberg // Sep 27, 2022 - 10:21am

My statement was made more as a generality than the specifics of any given season, which it appears to which you agree.  However, you do have a great stat that the Jets have more AFC Championship losses than any team.

Now I ask, "What on earth were the Jets doing in an AFC Championship game with Mark Sanchez at QB?"

Points: 0

#140 by mehllageman56 // Sep 27, 2022 - 6:44pm

Late answer, but they had 4 pro bowlers on the offensive line, and another guy who should have made the pro bowl, some good running backs and decent tight ends/receivers, and the best defense in the league in 2009.  In 2010 they had almost the same crew on offense but one more good reciever, but the defense was not quite as good, still made it to the AFC championship.  2011 they had the best defense in the league again, but Sanchez finally dragged them down.

Remind me why everyone is so down on Rex Ryan again?

Points: 0

#81 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 26, 2022 - 2:27pm

I care about the Jets because YOU need a little more faith in them as a fan. The Jags are doing and you're only two letters different.

Points: 0

#89 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 26, 2022 - 3:01pm

The Packers are only two letters away from something, too.

Points: 0

#128 by mehllageman56 // Sep 27, 2022 - 12:05am

I don't need to do anything for them.  I've got a wife and two cats to take care of, and I'm not going to disappoint them all by getting myself slightly fired for watching a terrible team when I'm working.  I used to have a job where I could pay attention while the games happened, but now I get paid a decent wage.

Besides, ask a Browns fan how it feels now.  Or how do you feel about Farve now?  You were a fan then, weren't you?

Points: 0

#133 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 27, 2022 - 10:45am

There are other teams with second year QBs that are doing worse process wise. Not sure why you want to be more pessimistic than a fan of a team fully guaranteeing a serial assault. 

 

Points: 0

#142 by mehllageman56 // Sep 27, 2022 - 10:14pm

2 things: I don't want to pessimistic, I've just been trained to be, like Browns and Lions fans.

My main point in bringing up Watson and Farve is, no one knows what these people that we put on a pedestal are really like, unless we have actual contact with them.  Everyone thought Watson was a great human being until a year or two ago.  

Points: 0

#116 by colonialbob // Sep 26, 2022 - 6:25pm

I sincerely enjoy that "my tarot reading said the Jets will not win the Super Bowl until 2047" is only the second-silliest bit of analysis in this post.

Points: 0

#27 by theslothook // Sep 26, 2022 - 11:58am

Ok so I have to admit, I find the whole Dorsey loses his mind in a fit of rage so weird. First off, its not like they lost the division, were eliminated from the playoffs or saw a SB slip through their fingers. I feel like veteran coaches know that losses can happen because the league is so tough. But second of all, the whole video feels so fake idk why. He throws the head set, his hat, and then tries to smash his papers. It was so goofy that feels so inorganic to me. 

Points: 0

#76 by Noahrk // Sep 26, 2022 - 2:10pm

I thought it was weird, too. It doesn't look fake at all to me, the man is clearly furious, but I don't know exactly why. It's not like there was a clear mistake on that play that cost them the game. On others, yes, but not that one in particular, I don't think.

Points: 0

#94 by Mike B. In Va // Sep 26, 2022 - 3:18pm

Pretty much everything MacKenzie did after catching the ball was a mistake. Go out of bounds, give yourself up, do just about anything other than what he did and they get a shot at the FG.

Points: 0

#122 by Noahrk // Sep 26, 2022 - 7:06pm

Well, yeah, but a super long FG. I'd understand how Hackett would feel like it was letting victory slip away, but it's a low percentage kick. Maybe if he'd given himself up immediately they'd have had two plays, but it made sense to try to get out of bounds. It was a good play by the defense getting pressure and forcing Allen to go to the worst possible place with the football. I honestly can't fault the WR too much.

Points: 0

#112 by fyo // Sep 26, 2022 - 5:51pm

You need to watch it again. He isn't trying to "smash his papers" - it's the Surface. He picks it up and repeatedly slams it into the table. Sure, there are papers flying everywhere, but that's what happens when you go absolutely bonkers ūüėČ

Points: 0

#28 by johonny12 // Sep 26, 2022 - 11:59am

Usually you think of Miami heat welting a teams defense and Miami pushing their opponent around on offense in the second half. This was the first game I can remember seeing a teams offense slow down from the heat and humidity. It didn't help that the Bills offense were on the field continously but not scoring. Slow to get off spikes, other mental mistakes, and a skipped 1 yrd pass at the goal line were probably all a result of being exhausted. Then again, most teams run on defenses that's been on the field all game. The Billls for whatever reason refused to run on Miami sans one huge burst by Moss that might indicate maybe try more of that, but somehow signaled to them to keep throwing down after down with Allen. I'm wondering how Miami's D plays on short rest in Cinncinnati. I hate Thursday games. 

Points: 0

#75 by Noahrk // Sep 26, 2022 - 2:07pm

I hate Thursday games. 

Same, but at least the other team is on equal ground.

Points: 0

#95 by Mike B. In Va // Sep 26, 2022 - 3:20pm

The skipped throw was probably a result of Allen smashing his hand on a helmet on the play before that. X rays were negative.

Points: 0

#32 by dmstorm22 // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:08pm

Offense is way down this year through nearly three weeks.

Teams averaging just 21.1 points and 344 yards. 2017 was a weird low outlier for both but aside from that year this is way down from even last year. And I believe this stabilizes quickly. 

A lot of it seems like bad QB play - league-wide passer rating is already below 90, and generally gets worse as the year goes on due to weather and injuries.

Then again, there do seem to be a lot of very good to great defenses right now, be it SF, TB, BUF, or even teams like Jacksonville who are showing out.

Weird start, but it might just be a defense-first year.

Points: 0

#39 by Pat // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:28pm

And the Giants/Cowboys haven't even played yet, both of whom are averaging under that per game. Of course now that I say that it'll be like 40-37 or something stupid.

Points: 0

#48 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:56pm

Interesting to consider in light of refs basically completely ignoring holding, too.

Pre-season effect?

Points: 0

#96 by Mike B. In Va // Sep 26, 2022 - 3:21pm

They're ignoring PI/Illegal Contact, too, despite calling it constantly during the preseason.

Points: 0

#101 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 26, 2022 - 3:40pm

It's only fair to ignore both kinds of holding.

\I did see the rare defensive line version of holding this week, though

Points: 0

#108 by Mike B. In Va // Sep 26, 2022 - 4:40pm

I think I saw one of those last week, too. Weird to hear it called.

Points: 0

#43 by DisplacedPackerFan // Sep 26, 2022 - 12:45pm

So I first compiled this back in week 12 of 2020 a few weeks after the Bucs spanked the Packers in Tampa. This last game doesn't really improve things but it does mean that he has now had the same opposing quarterback more than once! He has also had multiple No Good, Very Bad, Awful Games under different head coaches now too. Yes this is very likely all just small sample size theater but it's still pretty crazy for AR12.

Some notes on just how bad he plays against Tampa Bay in Tampa Bay (updated)

  • Sort his games by AY/A and the 5 games at TB are 5th, 7th, 23rd, 64th and 103rd worst out of 216 games he has played in, so 108th would be median. Every game at Tampa is in the bottom half of his games played.
  • Now lets adjust that to only look at the 209 games he's started. That removes 1, 3, 8, 21, 105, and 106. The worst game as a starter by AY/A is now the 2010-12-12 game @DET where he was injured in the first half it's possible without the injury he may have done better.
    So that puts games in Tampa vs TB at 3rd, 5th, 19th, 60th, and 99th worst of his 209 starts
  • His 2nd worst start (and worst start without leaving with an injury) is now the 2021 season opener played in JAX against NO, maybe it's a Florida thing....
  • Don't like AY/A rankings? His 3rd, 8th, and 14th worst completion percentages as a starter came in games at TB. To be fair his 2 wins in TB are now his 23rd and 28th best comp percentages as a starter too.
  • He has 4 career games with 3 INT, 2 of them @TB
  • He has 17 games with 2 or 3 INT (never thrown more than 3), 3 of them @TB
  • He has 3 games with 2+ INT and 0 TD, 1 against TB (and one against NO in JAX)
  • 3 pick 6's, 2 against TB
  • 95 career INT. 9 of them in the 5 games at TB. That's 9.5% of his career INT in 2.3% of his games.
  • 7 of his 453 TD's are @TB that's 1.5% of his career TD in 2.3% of his games.
  • Yes a guy with career 4.77 TD to INT ratio is at 0.78 TD to INT playing @TB
  • 9 starts with a comp % under 50, 2 of them at TB another at 51.9% was at TB¬†¬†
  • His good game at TB was only so so for him 31-40-318-1-0 but he did lose a fumble so he has a turnover in every game there.¬†

The Games (I use ISO date formats so YYYY-MM-DD)
List from best to worst AY/A. Note his career average AY/A after 209 starts is 8.43, his best start is 17.06 and he has 67 starts over 10.

2014-12-21 20-3 victory 10-4 GB beats the 2-12 Josh McCown led Bucs

  • Rodgers was 31-40 for 318 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 1 sack, 1 fumble lost.
  • 8.45 AY/A 99th worst of 209 starts. Just barely better than career average.
  • Week 16 Quick Reads¬†gives him 97 DYAR (97 Pass, 0 rush), though the formatting on that page has some issues now.
  • This was his 23rd best completion percentage as a starter at 77.5% so there is that.
  • McCown was sacked 7 times and threw an INT, and the score was still only 20-3.
  • He was coming off the flu and playing with a strained calf, maybe that's the anti voodoo recipe!

2022-09-25 14-12 victory 1-1 GB beats the 2-0 Tom Brady led Bucs

  • Rodgers was 27-35 for 255 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 1 sack.
  • 7.14 AY/A 60th worst of 209 starts
  • Week 3 Quick Reads gives him 66 DYAR (66 pass, 0 rush)
  • This was his 25th best completion percentage as a starter at 77.1% so there is that.

2009-11-08 28-38 loss 4-3 GB falls to the 0-7 Josh Freeman led Bucs

  • Rodgers was 17-35 for 266 with 2 TD, 3 INT, 6 sacks
  • 4.89 AY/A 19th worst of 209 starts
  • Third 3 INT game of his career (of 4 total)
  • Week 9 Quick Reads¬†gives him -52 DYAR (-70 Pass, 18 rush)
  • First pick 6 of his career
  • 8th worst comp % in game started (48.6%)
  • 7 INT on the year with 3 in this game for 43% of the season total.

2008-09-28 21-30 loss 2-1 GB falls to the 2-1 Brian Griese led Bucs

  • Rodgers went 14-27 for 165, 2 TD, 3 INT, 3 sacks
  • 2.59 AY/A 5th worst of 209 starts
  • First season as an NFL starter
  • First 3 INT game of career (had his second one a month later in NO)
  • We don't really have 2008 week 3 Quick Reads
  • 14th worst comp % (51.0%)
  • Missed a series in the 4th quarter with a shoulder injury.
  • I remember the grumbling after this game about him not being a good NFL starter.
  • 13 INTs that year, 23% of them were in this game¬†

2020-10-18 10-38 loss 4-0 GB falls to the 3-2 Tom Brady led Bucs

  • Rodgers went 16-35 for 160, 0 TD, 2 INT, 4 sacks
  • 2.00 AY/A 3rd worst of 209 starts.
  • Throws 2 or more INTs in a game for only the 16th time in his career
  • Throws 3rd pick 6 of his career
  • 1 of 2 games with multiple INT and 0 TD
  • Week 6 Quick Reads¬†gives him -137 DYAR (-143 pass, 6 rush)
  • 5 INT on the year, 2 in this game for 40% of season total
  • 3rd worst Completion Percentage in a game started (45.7%)
    He's at 68.5% on the season, which would be his best season (68.3% in 2011). Take this game out and he's at 70.8%

So is it just Florida?
Well we've got the vs NO in JAX games, we've got 1 game at MIA vs MIA, and 2 games at JAX against JAX. So lets add those 4 data points to the 5 we've already got. That gets us up to 4.3% of his games started. Best to worst his other florida games

2008-12-14 16-20 loss 5-8 GB falls to 4-9 David Garrard led Jags

  • 20-32 for 278, 1 TD, 1 INT, 3 sacks, 1 fumble
  • 7.91 is AY/A 90th worst of 209 starts
  • 74th worst comp percentage at 62.5%
  • Didn't really have a 2008 week 15 Quick reads

2014-10-12 27-24 win 3-2 GB beats 2-2 Ryan Tannehill led Dolphins

  • 24-42 for 264, 3 TD, 0 INT, 3 sack, 1 fumble
  • 7.71 AY/A is 84th worst of 209 starts
  • 37th worst comp percentage at 57.1%
  • Week 6 Quick Reads gives him 78 DYAR (65 pass, 13 rush)
  • Not the worst game but again not a stellar game for the guy who got league MVP that year

2016-09-11 27-23 win 0-0 GB beats 0-0 Blake Bortles led Jags

  • 20-34 for 199, 2 TD, 0 INT, 1 sack
  • 7.03 AY/A is 57th worst of 209 starts
  • 45th worst comp percentage at 58.8%
  • Week 1 Quick Reads gives him 106 DYAR (89 pass, 17 rush). Note: QR page formatting is pretty screwed up

2021-09-12 3-38 loss 0-0 GB falss to the 0-0 Jameis Winston led Saints in JAX

  • 15-28 for 133, 0 TD, 2 INT, 1 Sack
  • 1.54 AY/A 2nd worst of 209 starts
  • 19th worst comp percentage at 53.6%
  • 3rd (of 3) career game with 2+ INT and 0 TD
  • Week 1 Quick Reads gives him -114 DYAR (-114 pass, 0 rush)
  • 4 INT on the year, 2 in this game for 50% of season total
  • He was league MVP this year with a game that bad in Florida

So we've got a lot of bad comp percentage games. And every game started in Florida is in the bottom half of all his games by AY/A and all but one is below his career average and depending on how the rest of this season goes might end up below it again since it's only 0.02 above it.

Since we are comparing Aaron Rodgers to Aaron Rodgers even some of the bad games are still getting positive DYAR because you are talking about a 4 time league MVP. But Florida has not been good to him. He's not great @ARI either so it might just be a more general hot weather issue.

The 12 of 95 INT in 9 of 215 games is 12.6% of his INT in 4.2% of his games, that's a bit better than just the @TB numbers but still not good.  It's also 13 of his 453 TD for only 2.9% of his TD's in 4.2% of his games. The 1.08 TD to INT ratio in Florida is better than just @TB but again career is 4.77.

Let's be a little more fair about some of this outside of the already mentioned small sample size. One @TB and 1 @JAX game were 2008 his first season as a starter. His 63.6% completion percentage on the season is his 4th worst as a full time starter (12 full seasons and 2 more injury shortened season). His 2008 games rank as the 14th, 20th, 31st, 32nd, 39th, 67th, 74th, 79th, 81st, 93rd, 122nd, 125th, 146th, 172nd, 180th, 206th worst of his 209 starts, that's 10 of the 16 games that year in the bottom half of Rodgers games for comp percentage.

So what can I take away from this latest game?
Both the Bucs and Packers defenses seem like they can throttle an offense that is missing multiple starting receivers. The Packers offense still has a worrying trend of not being able to counter in game adjustments made by an opposing defense. The Packers do seem to have turned a corner on special teams. Yes there was the penalty on the punt that was a very close call as I can see some feeling the Packers player was blocking into the punter and others saying that it was more another Packers player that actually cause the contact with the punter. But the little things like actually having gunners on punt coverage and lane disciple on punt coverage and kick coverage are still there. O'Donnel is still doing a good job at punting. Rodgers is still mostly just reading his nearest blocks and trying to get upfield on the returns. A bit conservative on fair catch vs return but I'm OK with that while he's still working on other stuff and like it way better than not fair catching when he really should have last year.

But that's about it.

I'd like to say the team still hasn't figured out it's offense without Adams but TB I think will have a great defense DVOA at the end of the season so it's hard to take a lot away from 3 good drives and then a bunch of crap. 

Points: 0

#58 by theslothook // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:23pm

Rodgers willingly playing in a conservative offense definitely floored me. I never expected that. I mentioned here and many times on discord, the whole Packers offense felt so strange. It was like an out of body experience.

The packers made an emphasis on running the ball and not throwing long. The few times they did, including puzzingly in an end of game situation on a 3rd and 3, it led nowhere. 

The Packers approached this game with 0 faith in their receivers. Its a gameplan that "worked" and it certainly was novel, but not one they can replicate against opposing offenses that aren't so hamstrung in their own right.

Honestly, I am surprised Rodgers wants to play this way. Then again, I was surprised he was ok playing similarly in 2019 that way. Basically being, not quite a complimentary piece, but certainly not the overwhelming qb we have seen before.

I'll be curious to see how this offense looks moving forward. Through three weeks, I see problems.

Points: 0

#61 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:29pm

Rodgers has gotten really risk-averse as he has aged. He's now taking turnover avoidance to self-limiting levels, which doesn't really surprise me.

Points: 0

#65 by big10freak // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:38pm

Being a quality qb means taking calculated risks.  12 now does that less and less with each passing season 

Points: 0

#103 by DisplacedPackerFan // Sep 26, 2022 - 4:06pm

Yep as Aaron Brooks and Big10Freak mention as well he's gotten so risk adverse that it's detrimental.

This isn't the first time the Packers have planned like this under LaFleur, but it was a pretty extreme example. The LaFleur offense is supposed to be an attempt to be QB neutral. In that yes the QB does need to do things and make decisions and that multiple styles of QB play can work, but it feels very much like it's an attempt to be very deliberate, safe, and workable even without ideal personnel. I think against a slightly above average or worse NFL defense that would actually be the case. I think against defenses that are particularly strong in at least 1 area of defense you need some quality play to keep it working.

So part of what you saw was because of the defense too. There were deep shot routes run at a fairly normal rate for the offense Rodgers just never took them. Part of that was because they weren't always open, part of that was because there was decent pressure even if not a lot of sacks and he didn't see them. Part of that was I think the much talked about Rodgers not having trust in a receiver.

Rodgers did start making more conservative decisions and I say Rodgers not the play calling after the fumble in the endzone. Greg Olsen actually did a very good job of pointing out the options Rodgers had pre and post snap on a few plays that showed how the offense uses RPO both before and after the snap. Rodgers made a few more aggressive throws earlier with those options, he didn't later when the same or similar play was used.

I was a bit surprised that Doubs got 8 targets but nearly all of them were passing as rushing where he got the ball behind or at the LoS and was expected to try and make something of it (which he mostly did) or when he was like 2 steps clear of his defender either because of the route combos creating that space or a couple times where Doubs had a good cut and created it. Still as a semi-related tidbit Doub's 18 targets are now the 10th most of any rookie pass catcher with Rodgers (passing 2008 Jermichael Finley's 12 and 1 behind 2015 Ty Montgomery's 19). His 137 yards is the 9th most passing the 136 of Montgomery and 74 of Finley. I'm keeping watch on the rookie numbers after compiling them in post 6 here,

Rodgers simple isn't throwing deep unless the receiver is clearly open most of the time, back to his conservative approach and lack of trust showing up again. This happened last season with MVS was injured, he was the only deep target Rodgers would throw to without huge separation. This year Watkins was getting some of that. Watkins is of course on IR now and Watson the other player who has speed to spare in the WR room and he was out so again all the deeper routes were decently covered and Rodgers won't throw to them anymore unless they more clearly open.

Again I don't know if the core issue is LaFleur preaching ball security uber alles, Rodgers needing "trust" to target a player that isn't very open, or Rodgers just being so turnover adverse that even if he trusts the player he won't pull the trigger anymore.

You can actually find play like this from Rodgers going all the way back to 2010. If the team has a lead and the defense is playing well he leans even harder into ball security. Perhaps not as extreme as this last game but it's not completely new, but as others have mentioned it has gotten worse.

 

As to what the offense is moving forward I'm curious too. Preseason I basically said I don't expect the offense to ever be consistent. I didn't expect the WR options to be consistent for more than about 4 games at a time because of injury and dog house status. I was very curious how this design would work with 3 or 4 of the more frequently used receivers being new to it (Waktins, Watsons, Doubs, Toure). I had no idea what Tonyan would look like after the injury or how he would be used since Deguara finally showed improvement last season. So far Tonyan has looked like what he did in most games and 2020 looks like the fluke career year. Though he's not running as many deep routes and getting more targets as the safety valve than in the past. 

I'm also not sure I'm sold on the Dillon and Jones in the backfield at the same time formations either.

So it should be interesting but then that's what I expected was a constantly shifting focus and constantly shifting set of personnel.

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#118 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 26, 2022 - 6:29pm

Is it though? It's so weird to me that people turn one Rodgers best traits into a negative despite the big picture. Like is it really "detrimental" to have the the 2nd best QB in EPA/play (or ANY/A) behind Mahomes (includes sacks and throwaways, as well as the playoffs, heck you can exclude the turnovers, adjust the garbage time filters all you want, Rodgers remains high)? Weird nit picks (especially on Rodgers who has had tons of coaches/coordinators). This isn't a Jimmy situation either where the grades don't match up.

Feels like people really just see the low Int% and jump to that for being the reason he hasn't won...more. Yet when he throws into double coverage deep to Davante in the playoffs he gets criticized for not throwing it shorter to Lazard. Or when he throws it to short Cobb down 17 two weeks ago it gets laughed at. Feels like he's in a lose lose situation. 

Now on the flip

 If the team has a lead and the defense is playing well he leans even harder into ball security. 

lean into it when they're losing too? Yeah seems like a lose lose situation. Heck the INT yesterday was on 3rd past the sticks while winning (don't know who ran the wrong route). I mean I guess every QB is detrimental to some degree but sure is a weird thing to harp on when, flaws and all, their teams are as good they are BECAUSE of them (more so than any other single individual). I'm fine with Rodgers not throwing into triple coverage to some rookie, while winning or losing. That's an underrated trait if anything (he's really good at recognize what can go wrong in terms of "if this bounces out of my receivers hands will it bounce to a safety behind" etc.)

Just an annoying pet peeve of mine people try to extrapolate too much and make a big deal out of. Especially when they winning. Avoiding unnecessary risk can be good! Ask Drew Lock.

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#63 by big10freak // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:34pm

First, great work

 

Second, I know that o line performance or lack thereof has been a contributing factor.  Multiple units have gone south and pulled a Lazard.  ( puking reference)

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#92 by DisplacedPackerFan // Sep 26, 2022 - 3:06pm

Yep it's certainly not just Rodgers. As you say there are multiple examples of other players on offense (and defense) having heat related issues. Not just Lazard issues but cramping and dehydration. For some reason I remember a story about a defensive player getting an IV at half time to help rehydrate.

As mentioned I had pulled most of this together in 2020 and copy/pasted with some updates here because it is still pretty striking how poor his stats are in a related set of samples, admittedly a small sample size so I'm glad you did appreciate it.

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#70 by BroncFan07 // Sep 26, 2022 - 1:48pm

Did you not see Russell Wilson getting interviewed by NBC after the game? Was he not named player of the game? Did he not heroically lead Denver to one touchdown? Did he not force Jimmy G to step out of the end zone? Did he not force 2 SF turnovers at the end of the game? Did he not keep punting the ball deep and covering SF's return game? I will not take this Russ Wilson slander. 

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#78 by Noahrk // Sep 26, 2022 - 2:13pm

Speaking of that game, it won't garner the attention of the first two games, but Hackett's decision to run three times up by one with 2:06 left and SF with three TOs was horrific. Even after the sack they played so soft that if not for the fumble SF still had a solid chance to win. I would've liked to see that play out.

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#83 by BroncFan07 // Sep 26, 2022 - 2:45pm

Nothing says "we trust our $250m QB" like having him hand off on 3rd down rather than try to put the game away right there. 

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#114 by reddwarf // Sep 26, 2022 - 6:00pm

The passing game had been a mess all day and you think they shouldn't have been forcing SF to burn timeouts?  I didn't necessarily like the play calls themselves--they telegraphed run with those huge heavy formations which left no chance of success.  But choosing to run?  I'm fine with that given this game.

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#119 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 26, 2022 - 6:32pm

Specific calls weren't great but the general idea was fine. 

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#124 by Noahrk // Sep 26, 2022 - 7:09pm

But that's exactly the best situation to pass. The Niners were crowding the line of scrimmage. There was no way the runs were going anywhere and the Broncos probably didn't face a more favorable passing situation than that one the entire game.

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#79 by KnotMe // Sep 26, 2022 - 2:15pm

i.e. No great teams, but no super bad ones either and everything is kinda compressed toward the middle. (which is what the FO preseason model predicted so....)

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#97 by JoelBarlow // Sep 26, 2022 - 3:23pm

Did anyone ever really love Matt Ryan the way the tape eaters talk about Herbert?

Either way, yes, same, always find a way to lose games and be mediocre energy

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#104 by KnotMe // Sep 26, 2022 - 4:08pm

Well, Ryan was third in his own draft so no one was THAT sold on him. And there was a long way between him and those above him. 

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#143 by Theo // Sep 28, 2022 - 7:49am

Hey Mike,

you didn't really watch the Bucs - Packers game at all, did you?

Points: 0

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