Wednesday, November 11, 2009

17 comments TMQ: Gregg Is Still Making Up Fake Curses And Testing My Sanity

Does the weekly TMQ even need an introduction at this point? I have even given up on mentioning that I never planned on making this a weekly post on Wednesday. For your reading torture, it's this week's TMQ.

Beware the Crabtree Curse! San Francisco opened the season 3-1, with its sole loss to powerhouse Minnesota on the game's final snap. Since signing Michael Crabtree, San Francisco has lost four straight -- the Niners just rolled over at home against the Titans, who came into the contest 1-6.

There is no Crabtree Curse. It's the curse of having to play good teams in the AFC South.

Record of teams 49ers played the first four games of the season: 16-16

Record of teams 49ers played the next four games of the season: 20-13 (including 3 from the AFC South)

Gregg goes on to say he knows San Francisco has had offensive line injuries but every team has injuries so that can't be an excuse. Actually it can be. The 49ers have a shaky quarterback in Alex Smith and rely on Frank Gore to run the ball well to win games and when they can't do that, they don't have a great chance to win games against good teams. It's not like they have an experienced and incredibly competent quarterback to run the offense when the offensive line is struggling. A lack of protection for Smith and no running lanes for Gore can great impact this team negatively.

Coach Mike Singletary had San Francisco's players buying into the notion that no one's bigger than the team.

Gregg knows this from the zero conversations he has had with Mike Singletary, San Francisco 49ers players, and anyone else who could corroborate this theory. He is just making up the idea Singletary had every player buying into this theory because this is what he wants to believe.

Then, suddenly, you can jerk San Francisco around all you want and get $17 million guaranteed as your reward. San Francisco management's cave-in to the me-first Crabtree triggered an instant losing streak, by communicating to other 49ers the message that the team-first stuff was always just empty talk.

The contract Crabtree signed, which for the third straight week I have to remind Gregg of this, was the original offer that Crabtree was offered and is representative of the #10 slot in the NFL Draft. Michael Crabtree was the one that caved and ther 49ers gave him a fair offer and didn't lower the offer because that is not exactly negotiating in good faith.

Caving in to Crabtree may cost the Niners their season.

The 49ers signing Michael Crabtree and then losing 4 straight games could not have less to do with each other. The theory that teams lose a bunch of games after signing draft picks to large contracts could go for nearly every single team that drafts in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft.

Squared Sevens apologists have put word on the grapevine that team management should be praised because the contract Crabtree signed in early October was the same one offered before his nutty holdout began -- no added sweeteners were offered. So Crabtree shafts his team, and the team responds by not upping its offer -- talk about profiles in courage!

I can't begin to describe to you what a moron I believe Gregg Easterbrook to be by saying this. Let's look at a little scenario and pretend Gregg Easterbrook is negotiating his next contract with ESPN and we will use the Easterbrook principle of negotiating that involves decreasing a previously offered contract as punishment and see how it works.

(ESPN negotiator) "Gregg we are offering you $100 to write each column. Really no one likes you but we don't have any other options on Page 2. We realize we are stuck with you so that's out offer."

(Gregg Easterbrook) "That's an unacceptable offer. I was supposed to be getting $700 per column because the less talented Jay Mariotti just got that at AOL. I want $700 per column."

(ESPN negotiator) "We can't control how much other organizations pay their employees. For what you do, the going rate is about $100 per column. Accept it or don't have a job working for a sports web site. You did sign a non-compete agreement."

(Gregg Easterbrook) "I will wait for my contract to run out and then get more money somewhere else."

(ESPN negotiator) "That's fine if that is what you want to do. You know our offer and we will not be posting any of your columns in the interim. Call us when you are ready to accept."

(Two months pass by with neither side speaking to each other. On a Sunday, Gregg calls ESPN to start negotiating again)

(Gregg Easterbrook) "I miss writing. I will accept your offer of $100 per column."

(ESPN negotiator) "Actually Gregg because you didn't sign it a few months ago, our offer has gone down to $75 per column."

(Gregg Easterbrook) "But you made me an offer and now are changing your offer when I want to accept your original offer. Your new offer is far below the average rate for a sportswriter with my experience receives and is pretty much a slap in the face. This is negotiating in bad faith because you are penalizing me for not accepting your original offer. What kind of company negotiates like this?"

(ESPN negotiator) "Actually, you suggested this type of negotiating when talking about Michael Crabtree and the 49ers a few years ago, and because ESPN is evil in many ways we liked the idea and adopted it."

(Gregg Easterbrook) "But...I was bold by turning down your contract offer. Fortune favors the bold! Right?"

(ESPN negotiator) "No, not really."

As you can see from my little skit, negotiating contracts can't work like this. The 49ers made an offer and they CAN lower the offer based on Crabtree not originally accepting the offer, but it is not a good way to do business...especially when there is a slotting system used by many teams and Crabtree signed a contract at the slot amount. I guarantee the easiest way to lose the respect of the current players on the 49ers team is to do a bait-and-switch in contract negotiations and not give Crabtree the contract offer that was originally offered. There is probably not a single 49ers player that would trust the San Francisco front office if they lowered Crabtree's offer and other players around the league would feel the same way. Good luck getting free agents to sign in San Francisco for a period of time.

Once training camp broke, San Francisco should have reduced its offer to Crabtree, since he was worth less at that point.

I have no idea how Michael Crabtree is now worth less to the 49ers simply by missing a few weeks of the season. It's not like it was a one year contract.

A rookie who holds out is worth less every week; by season's start he is worth substantially less, since he becomes less likely to succeed as a pro, while projecting waves of negativity onto the team.

Here is the part where Gregg starts lying to those reading. He has absolutely no proof this statement is true, therefore he is lying. Again, ESPN allows one of their columnists to tell lies in a column they are writing. I can think of many players who held out and ended up succeeding in the NFL. It's true that players who hold out do slightly hurt their chances of success in the NFL, but I don't think this is a reason to lower a contract offer.

Really the only way anyone knows if a rookie holding out will be a bust or not is to look at his statistics when he does play. In the case of Michael Crabtree, his first three games as an NFL player has had him accumulate 14 catches for 167 yards. That projects to around 900 yards and 75 catches for a year. That's without training camp. Throw in the fact Crabtree is a rookie wide receiver, which is a group that traditionally has trouble their first year in the league and it looks like a good bet that Crabtree has a good chance to succeed as a pro.

The result is four straight defeats for a team that previously looked primed for a playoff run.

I think Gregg is slightly overstating the case for the 49ers to make the playoffs after the first couple games of the year.

Owing to a featherbed schedule -- only two of San Francisco's remaining eight opponents have a winning record -- this team still might stumble to a decent finish.

Just a month and a half ago, Gregg Easterbrook was talking about how every team's schedule is decided years in advance, but now he is sort of knocking San Francisco for having an easy schedule. Just another contradiction by Gregg Easterbrook.

Jim Caldwell, who had never been an NFL head coach before taking the Colts' helm, is 8-0 -- the first pro football rookie head coach at 8-0 since Potsy Clark of the Portsmouth Spartans.

Jim Caldwell used to coach at Wake Forest University and he is successful in the NFL as a head coach (so far). Since Gregg advocates NFL franchises not hiring coaches from major universities (ok, maybe Wake Forest isn't "major" but they are major enough for what I am trying to prove) and thinks they should hire from the geniuses at small schools I wonder what he thinks about Caldwell doing well in the NFL?

Right now, rookie left tackle Michael Oher looks terrible. Oher has, at a tender age, already had a lifetime of complex emotional experiences, plus been the subject of a book that's been made into a big-studio movie that opens next week. When Oher was drafted, TMQ noted, "The true story of an impoverished African-American boy adopted by an affluent white family has obvious Hollywood appeal, but can any 22-year-old handle such media pressure?" Maybe Baltimore needs to take him out of the lineup for a while.

Brilliant idea. The best thing for a rookie is to take him out of the starting lineup and possibly ruin what confidence he has. I think it is good for some rookies to struggle, especially if they have not struggled on the field at any point in their playing careers, because it teaches them how to handle adversity and fail.

I don't know why it has never dawned up on Gregg that rookie tackles in the NFL can struggle for a period of time as they adjust to the speed of the game. Oher is protecting Joe Flacco's very well and has gone up against pass rushers like Jared Allen and Elvis Dumervil when they have lined up on his side this year. It is perfectly reasonable to expect him to struggle a little bit as a rookie but taking him out of the lineup is one of the worst possible suggestions to help improve his play.

Stats of the Week No. 5: Undrafted Miles Austin has 531 yards and six touchdowns receiving in his first four starts; that is a rate of 2,124 yards and 24 touchdowns for a full season.

Fun with numbers! 250 yards of that total was in one game, that is called an "outlier," and if you take that number out of this, Miles Austin still has good numbers but it's not quite as impressive as the numbers Gregg is projecting. Never underestimate Gregg's ability to try and mislead us with statistics. Austin is looking like a great receiver, but quoting misleading statistics like this serves no purpose.

Stats of the Week No. 8: (Bonus college stats) Against Connecticut, Cincinnati gained 711 yards on offense -- and won by two points. Against Tulsa, Houston gained 695 yards on offense -- and won by one point.

What happened to Gregg's "when two teams of similar talent play each other they don't score as many points" theory? The score in these two games were 47-45 and 46-45, so wouldn't you think those scores would be lower if Gregg's theory wasn't a crock of shit? Which leads me to believe, as I believed at the time, Gregg's theory that scores are higher in college football now because teams play "cupcake" squads is a crock.

TMQ maintains that NFL teams, which are surprisingly squeamish about attempting to block punts -- ultra-conservative coaches are more afraid of roughing calls than enticed by blocks -- should go after punters more often. That means sending seven or eight rushers; winless City of Tampa sent seven on a Green Bay punt, and the result was a block returned for a touchdown.

This one time that Gregg's theory was proven correct shows that his theory is ALWAYS correct in his mind. At least that is what he would want you to believe. In reality, he just chooses this one time when a punt got blocked as proof he is always right and that's just not true.

Trailing 28-23, the Bucs reached fourth-and-4 on the Packers' 7-yard line with 4:20 remaining, and rather than do the ultra-conservative thing -- many NFL coaches would take the field goal in this situation

Down 5 points in this situation on the opponent's 7 yard line, I know of no head coach that would go for the field goal here. None. Even I would criticize a coach who makes this call to choose to go for the field goal here when his team is 0-7. If a coach goes for a field goal here, he either has a great amount of confidence in his defense, has three timeouts left or he is trying to make sure he covers the spread.

Stop-and-go to rookie seventh-round draft choice Sammie Stroughter for the touchdown, and no Green Bay pass-rusher was anywhere near rookie quarterback Josh Freeman.

Gregg bitches that teams blitz too often in this area of the field and that causes them to lose games. He did it last week with the Iowa-Indiana game and the week before with the Miami-Wake Forest game. This situation is exactly why teams blitz in situations like this, to get pressure on the quarterback, and Green Bay lost the game because they couldn't get pressure on a rookie quarterback.

Then the Bucs went for the deuce -- again with five receivers out, again no Green Bay pass rush.

Again, this is why teams blitz in this situation. Green Bay did not blitz and Josh Freeman had all day to complete the pass, which he did. Also, the Bucs were not aggressive by going for two points here. Every team in the NFL would have done the same thing because a 2 point conversion puts them up 3 points instead of 2 points. There is absolutely no reason to go for the extra point in this situation because it only puts your team ahead two points.

Also, Jax offensive tackle Eugene Monroe had a perfect block at the point of attack as Rashad Jennings, a seventh-round choice from Division I-AA Liberty, ran 28 yards for a touchdown.

A 7th round draft choice? Another unwanted, diamond in the rough player who is better than those useless first round draft picks! 1st round picks are so overrated.

Who threw that block again? Eugene Monroe? Is that the same Eugene Monroe who was picked #8 in the 2009 NFL Draft? I believe it is. So to recap, a unwanted 7th round draft choice got a touchdown because an overrated and pampered 1st round pick threw a great block.

Sweet 'N' Sour Series: Game tied at 13, Philadelphia went for it on fourth-and-1 on the Dallas 45-yard line midway through the fourth quarter and failed.

So the Eagles went for it on fourth down in the very area that Gregg always bitches teams don't go for it and they didn't convert the first down...and they lost the game? I thought fortune favored the bold????????

Aren't the Eagles guaranteed a first down because they were aggressive? I love it when the very thing Gregg suggests teams should do because it is always a good idea, fails.

Increasingly, TMQ is convinced that the key to success on short-yardage plays is a little misdirection -- the defense is cranked to go straight ahead, so feint one way and then go the other.

I guess Gregg Easterbrook seems to believe that NFL defensive players are characters on a video game or are robots who don't have joints and are not capable of changing direction on a dime to get to a ball carrier.

The problem with Gregg's theory, other than the fact he doesn't always think logically, is the shortest distance between two points is straight ahead and in the NFL defenders can change direction quickly. Misdirection takes longer than plowing straight ahead, so there is a chance the team running the misdirection could lose 3-4 yards on the play.

The fact running the ball straight ahead did not work does not mean running a misdirection play in the same situation would work.

A TMQ pal who is scientifically adept writes, "According to the New York Times, the premise of '2012' is that neutrinos from a solar flare heat Earth's core and cause the crust to buckle, creating super-volcanoes and mile-high tsunamis. Put to one side that billions of neutrinos per square inch already pass through the Earth yet don't interact much with matter. Suppose a truly stupendous number of neutrinos was emitted by the sun. Then all matter in the sun's vicinity would be heated the same amount (per gram). The Earth's core is denser, meaning more grams per cubic centimeter, so the core would receive the most heat by unit of volume. But the mantle of Earth is pretty dense, too. If the core was heated by 10,000 degrees, the mantle would be heated by 5,000 degrees, and people standing on the surface would be heated by 2,500 degrees. Water in our bodies is about half as dense as rock in the mantle. If the sun really did emit stupendous amounts of neutrinos, everyone would fry, and the movie would end at the outset.

If you took the time to read all of that, you are probably wondering the same thing I am. Why does TMQ insist on sucking the fun out of absolutely everything? Would it be possible to watch a movie with Gregg Easterbrook and not want to cut his tongue out after 15 minutes when he has pointed out every logistical flaw in the movie?

For a guy who is a stickler for factual details in movies, he sure plays loose with facts when writing his NFL column every week. I find this slightly ironic.

As Pittsburgh's offense got untracked and began to move the ball -- the Steelers ran for 150 yards after the intermission -- Denver couldn't reply by holding the ball, running the ball and asserting some control over tempo.

Gregg said last week teams running from the shotgun are more effective than team's who run from behind center. Pittsburgh ran most of the game from behind center and ran the ball very well. You will not hear Gregg say he is wrong though...he will just ignore this example and wait until one example shows him to be correct and mention this example as proof his theory is always correct.

What's going on with Denver's fades? Tuesday Morning Quarterback thinks the altitude advantage means a lot early in the season but steadily less as the season progresses.

Hey look! Another Gregg Easterbrook speculative theory!

Thus they gain the wind advantage held by distance runners who train at high altitude. Early in the season that really helps, including when the team plays at sea level -- in the second halves of early-season games, the Broncos have the fitness edge. As the season progresses, the Broncos are progressively further from their training-camp regimen, so that edge begins to soften.

I will assume this is possible because I don't have much knowledge on this topic and it could be probable if a team practiced in high altitudes for even a shorter period of time. Runners do this to gain an edge, so it may very well could be true. Let's assume the Broncos players get an advantage from practicing in training camp in the high altitudes.

So...if the Broncos do get that advantage, I don't see how they lose the advantage in a couple of months of the regular season despite playing and practicing frequently in the same place they got the fitness edge. That doesn't make sense. They practice in Denver right? Even if they don't go all out, they are still practicing in high altitudes which would enable them to keep a little bit of their advantage wouldn't it?

By the playoffs, even their stadium-altitude advantage may not be large, because at that point opponents are so pumped they don't care about oxygen pressure.

If anyone has ever played sports or watched sports and seen a team come out pumped up and full of energy (or full of adrenaline)...what based on your experience happens after a little while if that team/player stays at that same level throughout the first part of the game? They tire quickly. So if Denver's opponents are pumped up and full of energy/adrenaline enough not to care about the altitude, wouldn't the crash be even worse in higher altitudes where it is more difficult to breathe? So if Denver's opponents did come into Denver pumped up, it should still be an advantage for Denver because they would crash due to the fact they expended a lot of energy early in the game, while Denver's players would be more even keel.

With New England leading 7-3 and Miami facing third-and-13 on the home team 33 -- a sack here knocks the visitors out of field goal range -- New England ran "cover zero," the extreme rare double safety blitz, and got a sack. No Dolphin ever touched safety Pat Chung.

I bet when Gregg saw these safeties blitzing he said, "touchdown," like he always does when a team blitzes a lot of players...except it didn't happen this time. Gregg of course left that part out so he wouldn't look wrong.

With Miami leading 17-16 and the Flying Elvii facing third-and-1, the Dolphins came out with eight defenders smack on the line of scrimmage. Six came after Tom Brady, who threw a simple crossing pattern to Randy Moss, who legged it out 71 yards to the end zone. Where were the Miami safeties on this play? Your guess is as good as mine.

You mean unwanted, diamond-in-the-rough 6th round pick Yeremiah Bell and 5th round pick Gibril Wilson weren't where they were supposed to be? Where were they then? I don't know. Maybe they were discussing Gregg Easterbrook's infatuation with talking about how great undrafted and lowly drafted players are when they do things positive on the football field, but he ignores the fact they were undrafted or lowly drafted when they do something negative.

Indianapolis sent four wide receivers into the end zone, then flipped the ball forward to Joseph Addai for a middle-screen touchdown. Sweet play, and only a team with a strong offensive line sends five receivers out near the goal line. But Colts guard Ryan Lilja was well downfield to screen-block when the pass was thrown; the play should have been flagged.

You mean the undrafted Ryan Lilja committed a penalty that wasn't called? But I thought that undrafted players were the most pure and honest players in the world?

But why does the NFL let its players make foolish choices about concussions? The league should have clear guidelines mandating sufficient rest periods in the wake of a concussion.

As I said last week, by putting mandatory guidelines in for how long a player should have to miss games if he suffers a concussion the NFL is also making it more likely players and teams will cover up whether a player got a concussion or not. If Brian Westbrook had to sit out two games then he would probably not be listed on the injury report (or else the NFL would get suspicious of the severity of his injury) and he would play in the game to avoid the mandatory sentence of two games. If Westbrook wanted to rest one game after his concussion then the Eagles would lie and put him on the injury report for a different reason so Westbrook can miss one game and not the mandatory two games for a concussion. Mandatory rest periods will cause more teams to cover up concussions in my opinion.

'Tis Better to Have Rushed and Lost Than Never to Have Rushed at All: Trailing New Orleans 23-20, Carolina reached second-and-8 on the Saints' 43 with 3:02 remaining. Considering the quick-strike New Orleans offense, the circumstances dictated the Cats try to use up clock in driving for a touchdown. This seemed promising, since Carolina was running the ball well -- 183 yards rushing to that point.

90% of those running yards were from under center and not from shotgun by the way. I am determined to shoot down Gregg's lie last week that teams run better from the shotgun.

But as TMQ keeps noting, despite a strong rushing offense and a turnover-happy pass attack, Carolina coaches keep calling passes. From this point the Panthers went incompletion, incompletion, sack/fumble, and TMQ wrote the words "game over" in his notebook.

What a bold prediction! Gregg wrote "game over" in his notebook after the Saints got the ball back with less than three minutes to play. Gregg is a genius for predicting this. A genius in his own mind that is.

By the way, the Panthers did get the ball back still down three points, but in the process of running the ball, as Gregg suggested, DeAngelo Williams fumbled which was recovered in the end zone. THEN the game was over.

On the winning touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson with 29 ticks remaining, Jackson was single-covered deep though he is at or near the top of the NFL in every stat key -- yards per catch, first downs per catch, receptions of 20-plus yards. Veteran corner Corey Webster seemed to freeze for an instant as Jackson broke for the end zone -- San Diego needed a touchdown to win, where else was the pass going to go?

To Antonio Gates? To either LT or Darren Sproles? To another receiver on the field? It seems like the Chargers had more than one option of players to throw to in this situation. I don't get Gregg's question. Maybe Webster thought he had safety help on this play. Has Easterbrook thought of that? Of course not, because that would require some knowledge of the NFL and how defenses are run.

Leading 17-14 with 2:11 remaining and San Diego down to one timeout, the G-Persons faced fourth-and-goal on the Bolts' 4, and kicked a field goal. Had Jersey/A gone for it here, a touchdown would have ended the game, while a failed try would have pinned the Chargers against their own goal line.

The Chargers had to go 71 yards to get a touchdown after the Giants kicked the field goal. If the Giants had failed on fourth down, the Chargers would have had to go only 60 yards to be in field goal position to tie the game. It was not a very aggressive move by the Giants, but showing faith in the defense to not give up a game-winning touchdown is not always a bad just didn't work here.

TMQ suggested that because Sparano was wearing dark glasses though the sun had set behind the stadium wall, maybe he couldn't see the scoreboard. Many readers, including Dorothy Clarke of Naples, Fla., noted that because of an accident that injured his eyes when he was a teen, Sparano must wear dark glasses at all times. Sorry -- that's the sort of thing I should have known.

There is a list of 100 other things TMQ should know that never gets apologized for. I am waiting...

Pass Wacky ≠ Victory: TMQ detailed a month ago how the supposed "explosion in scoring" in college football supposedly caused by shotgun spread passing is an artifact of more cupcake games; when equal opponents meet, scoring isn't high. This could not have been shown better than Saturday's Nebraska 10, Oklahoma 3 contest. Oklahoma scored just three points despite calling 61 passes.

Gregg had two great examples of this theory being absolutely incorrect earlier in this TMQ when he talked about UConn-Cincinnati and Houston-Tulsa having a lot of yardage accumulated and small margins of victory. Yet, he ignores those TWO examples of his theory that "when equal teams meet scoring isn't high" being a crock of shit and wants us to pay attention to the ONE example where his theory is proven correct.

Why does Gregg insist on ignoring his evidence that his theories are wrong and also insist on focusing on the one time his theories are proven correct? Probably the same reason Gregg outright lies in TMQ by making statements that are based on zero facts which he tries to deceive the reader into believing are actual concrete facts and not just merely his opinion. That reason is that he values trying to be seen as right more than he values not deceiving his readers.


Dubs said...

"Down 5 points in this situation on the opponent's 7 yard line, I know of no head coach that would go for the field goal here. None. Even I would criticize a coach who makes this call to choose to go for the field goal here when his team is 0-7. If a coach goes for a field goal here, he either has a great amount of confidence in his defense, has three timeouts left or he is trying to make sure he covers the spread."

Andy Reid laughs at your belief system and would have trusted his defense regardless of how many timeouts he had left!

Martin said...

LOL I too was going to say Andy Reid!

Bengoodfella said...

Haha...that is probably true. I think that is the greatest thing about Andy Reid. He is such a successful coach but his game management and play calling always seem so bad.

I really don't know why a coach would not go for it there, unless he thought he could get the ball back.

Bengoodfella said...

Great. Look for my post tomorrow called, "Why Andy Reid sucks."

Martin said...

Somehow I think Andy is a good M-F coach, but they need to send him to a KFC and let him eat during the games and let someone else actually run the team on Sundays.

RuleBook said...

Then the Bucs went for the deuce ...

Also, the Bucs were not aggressive by going for two points here. Every team in the NFL would have done the same thing because a 2 point conversion puts them up 3 points instead of 2 points. There is absolutely no reason to go for the extra point in this situation because it only puts your team ahead two points.

Several years ago, one of the things Easterbrook used to harp on, with which I actually agreed, was, with regards to PATs, "kick early, go for it late." His entire point was that those coaches follow their 2 point card, and don't take into account the time left on the clock. Since 2 pointers are less than a 50% proposition, a team should typically only go for two in necessary situations. The reason the Bucs went for two here is because when they scored with 11:34 left on the clock, they went for two and didn't convert (they were down 23-28 before the try).

This is one of those good points that Easterbrook used to make, before he went insane. I still agree with it. Sadly, if the Bucs had not converted, we would have heard nothing, or he would have praised them for being bold.

Bengoodfella said...

Yeah, Reid isn't the best game manager in the world. Maybe he should be a GM or something like that and leave the coaching alone.

Rulebook, I wonder what caused Easterbrook to go insane? I do agree that teams should only go for 2 only in necessary situations because the 2pt try is a 50/50 proposition and it doesn't make much sense to leave points on the board in a game. I think ever since Easterbrook got suspended for his Jewish comments someone else has been writing the column and this new person claiming to be Easterbrook fails to make sense a good portion of the time.

That's really the only reason I can think of for his change.

Martin said...

Wait, I jsut realized that he was complaining that he was complaining about teams not blocking punts again. Or in this case congratulating Tampa for blocking one. He will never understand that the odds of blocking a punt and scoring off that block are much much smaller then actually returning a punt for a touchdown, or even getting that roughing the kicker call he is claiming that coaches are so afraid of.

Bengoodfella said...

I try not to say "never" but I definitely think we are on track to a point where Gregg will never accept the fact blocked punts don't happen as often as a punt being returned for a touchdown...I don't believe it happens as much in the NFL. Even though I think he may never get it, it's not stopping me from trying to have him get it.

Gregg has his own NFL reality that we are all not privy to.

RuleBook said...

I will say, in fairness to Easterbrook, the first time we killed him for the punt-block thing was when he said that the Pats were not going to be able to return the punt for a TD against the Broncos.

In a vacuum, we are right (I think) in that a punt return seems more likely to occur than a punt block, and there is no roughing/running into the kicker penalty risk.

However, in the Pats/Broncos game, the Broncos were punting from midfield. Those punts are 99% (statistic I made up, not to be confused with actual statistics) unreturnable. When the ball is punted from opponent territory, the kick seems to usually do one of three things:
(a) go out of bounds
(b) become a touchback
(c) hang in the air long enough to force a fair catch

Therefore, in the Broncos/Pats situation, I think Easterbrook was correct in that a punt block would be more likely than a punt return.

All that being said, I still wouldn't go after the block simply because of the penalty risk, since a roughing penalty would have lost them the game in regulation.

Bengoodfella said...

Well, I don't want to be fair to Easterbrook...but I will. Point taken about the punt from midfield, I can understand why a team would go for the punt block but then a roughing the kicker call would lead the other team to be in field goal range. I know that is probably rare, so I can see why a team would not plan for the punt to be returned.

In that situation, without the vacuum, the punt block may make more sense, but I don't know if I would criticize a coach for not going for it there.

I don't think going for the punt block is a bad idea but Easterbrook is missing the concept of field position and how important that is to so many teams. I don't have the numbers but ensuring your special teams and punter gives the other team poor field position is vitally important, along with turnovers, in determining whether a team wins the game or not.

In a vaccuum, we are right about setting up a return being better than going for the punt block, but the Patriots case is a judgment call and I wouldn't criticize the coach for the decision he made because of that.

Every once in a while Easterbrook is sort of right.

KentAllard said...

I'd love to see his notebook, to check out how many times he wrote "game over" and was wrong. I imagine he tears those pages out.

Jeff said...

The "Crabtree Curse" opening made my brain spin so much I pretty much abandoned the rest of the column. I'm impressed you were able to parse that out logically.

Also, the Denver thin-air thing about it being less of an advantage later in the season did not make any sense.

ANameNotTaken said...

I haven't seen you mention it with regards to the "Crabtree Curse" stuff...
But as I've pointed out to many people before Mike Singletary held out of two contracts. His rookie contract (drafted second round but wanted first round money) and after the Super Bowl.

By Easterbrook's reckoning that makes Singletary a diva.

I'm not sure if you're familiar with Nassim Taleb's book The Black Swan, but on Taleb's website he calls out Easterbrook (who reviewed the book for the NY Times) for not actually reading the book.

Bengoodfella said...

I haven't talked about that at all. I actually didn't remember that Singletary held out after the Super Bowl season. I think that is ironic since Easterbrook seems to think that Singletary is trying to have a "no individual is bigger than another" principle for this team. Obviously he didn't always live by this idea. You are right that Singletary is considered a diva by Easterbrook.

I am not actually familiar with that book at all. I had never heard of it. I wonder if the author knew that Easterbrook hadn't read it before reviewing it or he was just speculating. If he didn't read it, then he absolutely deserves to be called out for that. I can't believe he would do that...actually I sort of believe it.

KentAllard said...

As far as Crabtree and others holding out, it's easy for us to be critical of that, but from their point of view, it could well be the only contract they sign in their career, and at most they will sign two or three, so I can't fault them for trying to get as much as they can while they can. It may irritate me, but I would probably do the same in their case.

Bengoodfella said...

Kent, I am not going to completely criticize a player for holding out, though I do think it is stupid because if that player is any good it won't be his last contract...but I guess there is always that chance. Usually I feel like a player is holding out over a couple million when the next contract could be much larger. I guess the players who hold out tend to want more money up front.