Wednesday, December 2, 2009

24 comments TMQ: There Is No Such Thing As Football Gods

Today, Gregg Easterbrook bases his TMQ on the Football Gods punishing the Patriots and rewarding the Saints. Obviously this is a wonderful template for a horrible TMQ. There are no such things as Football Gods, I believe this so sincerely I will quit capitalizing it. Maybe there is such a thing as karma, but football gods are completely fictional and Gregg Easterbrook sounds slightly insane talking about them. Enough introduction, let's just get to the disaster---I mean the column.

Mortal, didst thou doubt the existence of the football gods? Didst thou lack faith?

So apparently Gregg Easterbrook has such a high opinion of himself that he thinks he is the conduit for the football gods or he is a football minister. Either way, there is no such thing as football gods and if there is then Easterbrook is going to football gods Hell for impersonating a minister.

A week ago, the Patriots led the Jets 31-17 with 30 seconds remaining in the game. Bill Belichick had his starters still on the field; Tom Brady threw deep to Randy Moss -- Belichick was desperately trying to run up the score in order to taunt the Jets organization. The football gods exact vengeance for this sort of thing. Monday night in New Orleans, the Patriots were punished.

The football gods must not have cared that the Jets beat the Patriots the first time they played and then proceeded to talk major amounts of shit after that game. The Jets had a beat-down coming because they are trying the "we'll talk a good game and then try to back it up on the field" strategy. Sometimes this confidence backfires. It's called competition and the entire purpose of an NFL team is to win games. If you want teams to quit scoring on you, pull your guys off the field and put the backups in the game. The Jets did not do this. As long as the Jets are trying to score points, the Patriots should be able to as well.

The football gods are also a creative force: They brought us the 2009 New Orleans Saints. Has there ever been a team more fun to watch?

The 2007 Patriots, the 2000 Ravens (yes, I like defense), the early 2000's Rams, etc...and I could go on and on. The Saints are exciting, but there have been more exciting/as exciting teams in the NFL before they came along this year. The Saints were pretty fun to watch last year too, they just didn't win as many games.

Many athletes talk about having fun when they play but appear grim on the field -- the Saints look as though they are, in fact, having fun. Fun is good!

As I said one sentence ago, the Saints were just as fun to watch last year, they just did not win games, so fewer people talked about them. When a team is 11-0, it is really freaking easy to have fun. No matter what anyone says in the world of sports there is a super duper special equation sportswriters can't seem to remember. It relates to whether football players (or athletes in general) have fun on the field or not. Here it is:

Bad team chemistry + winning = Fun
Good team chemistry + losing = No Fun
Bad team chemistry + losing = No Fun
Good team chemistry + winning = Fun
Team fun to watch + winning= Fun
Team boring to watch + winning = Fun
Team boring to watch + losing = No Fun
Team fun to watch + losing = No Fun

OR:

Winning = Team having fun
Losing = Team not having fun

The Patriots appear to be experiencing wrenching angst as they perform.

They experienced this last night because they got their ass kicked. Hence they lost, which means they didn't have fun.

(Perhaps it's accumulated guilt from all those ethical shortcuts.)

Meanwhile the Saints are a team that is full of saints (no pun intended) and players who have never taken a shortcut, outside of the two players who (wink, wink) did not know they used a substance banned by the NFL. Other than that, the Saints are the team sent by God to win the Super Bowl and rid the league of cheaters like the Patriots. That's Gregg's view and I find it to be extremely stupid.

I kicked off this season by declaring on "The Brian Kenny Show" that I liked the Colts and Saints to meet in the Super Bowl. This prediction is faring so well, it's almost spooky.

The two best teams this time last year? Tennessee Titans and New York Giants. Combined they had zero playoff wins. That's why they play a full season in the NFL. Gregg shouldn't feel too good about his prediction quite yet.

As USC was trying to hang onto its lead against Texas -- sorry, I meant as Arizona tried to hang onto its lead against Tennessee -- Vince Young staged one of the great outhouse-to-penthouse moments in sports annals: an 18-play, 99-yard drive consisting of 17 Young passes and one Young scramble, leading to the winning touchdown on fourth-and-goal on the last snap.

"One of the great outhouse-to-penthouse moments in sports annals?" Are we sure Gregg isn't overstating this just a little bit...or a hell of a lot?

How about Matt Leinart not knowing until a few hours before kick-off that he was starting and then almost leading the Cardinals to a road win against the hottest team in the NFL. Why aren't we talking about that as a great moment in sports annals? Probably because the Cardinals lost and that's no fun to talk about compared to a player who won the game in dramatic fashion, which goes back to my equation:

Winning = Fun
Losing = No Fun

TMQ noted last week that Young's victories will raise Tebow's draft status, since Young is the NFL player most similar to Tebow.

I am getting a little irritated with all the Tim Tebow talk and how Vince Young is going to help Tebow go higher in the NFL Draft. All of these single-minded media members seem to believe that Tebow is the only quarterback who is going to benefit from Young doing well. Obviously I give Easterbrook a pass (sort of) because he is too stupid to actually know more than one college quarterback who can throw and run. Easterbrook barely knows a whole lot in-depth about the NFL, and he writes a long column about the NFL every week, so I wouldn't expect him to be up-to-date on any good college players other than Tim Tebow.

Don't we think that Young's performance is also helping Jake Locker and Dan LeFevour and their prospects to get taken highly in the NFL Draft? Everything is Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow in the world and it gets old. Both Locker and LeFevour are effective passing/running quarterbacks. I wouldn't expect Gregg to know any other quarterback considered to be second tier that currently plays college football, but sportswriters only referencing Tim Tebow annoys me.

Purists haven't seen Tebow perform in the pocket, and think big guys who look more like tight ends than quarterbacks can't win consistently in the NFL. Suddenly a big guy who looks more like a tight end than a quarterback is on a 9-0 tear in the NFL.

Eh, Vince Young is a little light for a tight end in the NFL these days at 233 pounds. Again, I would not expect Gregg Easterbrook to know this because he probably doesn't know how much tight ends in the NFL weigh. I have very low expectations for what Gregg Easterbrook should and should not know. That doesn't mean he doesn't disappoint me every single week with his lack of in-depth football knowledge.

If Young keeps winning, Tebow could rocket up to the top five picks in the 2010 draft. Tim -- send Vince a case of champagne!

The top 5 picks in the NFL Draft? That "could" happen but I don't know if he will even be one of the top 5 quarterbacks taken in the draft, especially if Jake Locker and Clausen jump into the draft. The 2010 draft is pretty loaded on defense (Suh, McCoy, Berry, Mays) I think it is going to be tough for Tebow to go in the Top 5 of the draft no matter how well Vince Young performs the rest of the year.

Stats of the Week No. 8: (Bonus college stat) Against Texas, Texas A&M gained 532 yards and lost. Against Montana, South Dakota State scored 48 points and lost.

Whatever happened to the idea that when two teams who have similar talent levels play each other there is not a lot of scoring? Doesn't Gregg love this theory? Rest assured, the next time there is an example of this Gregg will be the absolute first to point it out. In the meantime, he will skip over any examples where this theory is not right.

Stats of the Week No. 9: In the five games since Vince Young took over as starting quarterback, Chris Johnson has 800 yards rushing.

Let's re-write this sentence in Easterbrookian language:

In the past five games, Chris Johnson has over 800 yards rushing. Needless to say, the Titans and Vince Young are 5-0 in that stretch.

Sweet Unknowns of the Week: As Houston kicked a field goal to take a 17-0 lead over Indianapolis, Spenser, my 14-year-old, pronounced of the Texans, "They're doomed." And yea, verily, it came to pass.

As Jake Delhomme trotted on the field after the kick-off Sunday I saw he was still the quarterback for Carolina and pronounced, "We're doomed," and it came to pass. That makes me a fucking genius. Now, I am going to be like Gregg and leave out the other 100 times I made doomsday proclamations and was completely wrong.

Considering the Colts came back from 10 points (I think, it may have been more, but my point is that they have come back against the Texans before) down in Houston last year with 3 minutes to play and Peyton Manning is still the quarterback for the Colts this wasn't exactly a Nostradamus-type prediction.

With Bob Sanders and Marlin Jackson out for the season, and Dwight Freeney missing the contest with an injury, the Colts' defense started no one drafted higher than the third round.

Amazing. The fact the Colts have cheaper, lowly drafted players on defense could be because the Colts offense has most of the payroll tied up in expensive 1st round draft picks like Manning, Addai, Brown, Wayne, and Clark. All of whom are productive, good players.

Big plays were made by Colts defensive starters Gary Brackett, Daniel Muir, Melvin Bullitt and Jacob Lacey, all of whom were undrafted free agents. Pierre Garçon, out of Division III Mount Union, caught a touchdown pass.

Has anyone else noticed that Gregg Easterbrook uses the exact same examples every single week of great players who were lowly drafted or undrafted? Every single week he uses players on the Colts and he names the exact same players every week. Somehow this is supposed to convince everyone that undrafted free agents are the best players in the NFL. Gregg may be more convincing if he actually found other players on other teams who were undrafted and played well and didn't use the same examples week after week.

Robert Mathis, a low draft pick out of Division I-AA Alabama A&M, not only stripped Matt Schaub of the ball to set up the game-icing touchdown, he did so while being held by the Moo Cows' offensive line.

Robert Mathis has been widely known as a great defensive end in the NFL for a couple of years now. It's a bit too late into his career to be playing the "he was lowly drafted and therefore is an underdog" card as related to him.

I don't know what's in the water in Indiana, but it seems to turn unknowns into football players.

Yes, because all these undrafted Colts players didn't know how to play football until they got to Indianapolis. I bet that is exactly the case.

With the game tied at 7, Baltimore's Mark Clayton simply ran past Pittsburgh cornerback William Gay for a 54-yard reception; a touchdown and a 14-7 Ravens halftime lead followed. Not only did Gay ignore his man; and not only was Gay making the high school mistake of looking into the backfield trying to guess the play, rather than covering his man;

Or Gay was playing zone defense and wasn't responsible for covering Clayton out of his "zone" and was hoping the safety was providing him help over the top. (Speaking of safeties, notice the Steelers lost again without Troy Polamalu?) If Gregg is going to write an NFL-related football column every week, he may as well familiarize himself with the NFL in regard to the different defensive schemes that are run so he does not sound like a total idiot.

The sad part is that there are people reading his TMQ who think, "hell yeah, that happens all the time" because these people let Gregg think for them and don't care to know that cornerbacks don't ALWAYS play man defense and are sometimes responsible for "zones" on defense...which means Gay may not have been responsible for this reception. I am not a football genius but before criticizing a football player, at least try to understand if that football player was responsible for the mistake or not.

there was 2:47 remaining until intermission, making a deep pass attempt likely.

I have no idea why a deep pass is more likely when there is less than 3 minutes remaining before halftime. It doesn't make sense. You would think a team would try and have a drive that ends right before halftime, as not to give the other team the ball back, so they would not be afraid to run the ball and throw intermediate pass patterns. I don't see how a deep pass is more likely than anything else in this situation since there is plenty of time left on the clock to do pretty much anything offensively.

Note: Football enthusiasts stopped following Redman's name after he was let go by the Ravens, Patriots and Titans, then entered exile with the Arena League Austin Wranglers. Redman now has 19 touchdown passes versus 10 interceptions in his NFL career, and will be a free agent in a few months.

I am glad Gregg knows exactly what football enthusiasts were following at all times. There is nothing more irritating than a sportswriter who claims to know what everyone was thinking about or following. If Redman is going to be a free agent then who wouldn't want a 32 year old QB with a career passer rating of 80.6 (actually not horrible, but not great) who needs 7 chances to throw a game winning touchdown pass? I fail to completely see how Redman having a good game against the Buccaneers will make him a valuable free agent.

(Actually, I wouldn't mind if he was the QB for my favorite team this year, but that bar is set so low now I would take pretty much anyone at this point)

The three top-performing quarterbacks this season -- Drew Brees, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning -- simply aren't getting hit, and all quarterbacks suddenly become more talented when the blocking is good.

Yet for some reason it is the quarterbacks who always get the credit for playing well, when in fact, the protection the quarterback receives allows him to be as great as he is.

Bear in mind, in his first couple seasons, Brees wasn't very accurate -- San Diego showed him the door after he threw 53 interceptions with the Chargers. Rather than get discouraged, Brees kept working to improve, and he now delivers the ball with near-perfect accuracy

Let's see how wrong Gregg Easterbrook is in making this statement. Brees completion percentage each season with the Chargers:

2001: 55.6%
2002: 60.8%
2003: 57.6%
2004: 65.5%
2005: 64.6%

That's seems like was pretty accurate with the Chargers. As far as his interception totals, the 53 interceptions was over 5 seasons and he had a TD:INT ratio of 80:53. Basically Brees has always been a fairly accurate quarterback but he has stepped it up since he was signed by the Saints.

Also, "showing him the door" is not at all how the Chargers treated Brees. He declined a contract offer from the Chargers and chose to become a free agent. The Chargers didn't raise their offer because they had Philip Rivers. It's as simple as that.

You got the feeling the defensive game plan included instructions to Wilhite to blitz the first time he saw an empty backfield.

I am sure that is exactly what the Patriots coaching staff told Wilhite to do. The first time he sees an empty backfield, no matter the defensive play call, Wilhite should blitz. I really doubt players on the Patriots defense are given that much leeway. Who cares if he was in man coverage with no safety over the top, if he sees an empty backfield he should blitz...that's not exactly what the Patriots wanted Wilhite to do. They wanted him to run the defensive play that was called.

This blitz was probably called by the coaching staff.

When a defensive back blitzes, the quarterback is supposed to throw to the side the blitz came from, which will be undermanned. The response can't work any better! Pats safety Brandon Meriweather was totally out of position,

Well obviously, since Wilhite was given permission to free-lance like this with an empty backfield according to Gregg Easterbrook.

Over on the New England side of the ball, the Patriots scored a touchdown on a fourth-and-1 rush from the New Orleans 4-yard line with an unusual blocking scheme

The Patriots went for it on fourth down? Fortune favors the bold! How come the Patriots didn't win the game then? Don't Gregg's theories ALWAYS work?

Belichick went for it -- New Orleans blitzed and cornerback Mike McKenzie broke up the quick out to Randy Moss, reading the play so well he seemed confident a quick out was coming.

Gregg Easterbrook fails to talk about how blitzing never works here...probably because the blitz actually worked. Everyone knows Gregg probably said, "Game over" when the Saints blitzed, but he won't mention that since the game didn't happen that way.

New England holds four second-round draft choices in 2010 and two first-round choices in 2011 -- maybe the Patriots should have focused more on reinforcing their 2009 roster, as opposed to stockpiling future picks.

I hate second guessing like this. Next year (or around draft time), Gregg Easterbrook will be complimenting the Patriots for having so many 2nd round draft picks, but he questions it now because they lost a game. As I have said over the past couple weeks, I hate second guessing where the person making the second guess changes his/her opinion based on the outcome.

Gregg then starts naming the football gods. I wish I was kidding.

Belicheat: god of stolen signals. Said to guard the underworld; this is best not spoken of.

It's just pure comedy gold.

Mini and Micro: twin sisters of great beauty, goddesses of cheerleading. They wear string bikinis rather than robes.

It's so sad to see Gregg Easterbrook exploiting the NFL cheerleaders by showing their pictures in his TMQ and not compensating them. Now he is mocking them with horrible "goddess" nicknames.

sorry, Arizona leading Tennessee -- the Cardinals ran a double safety blitz. "Hey, Tennessee might win," yours truly said while observing the mega-blitz begin: 10-yard completion to Kenny Britt. Tennessee facing third-and-5 on the Arizona 26 with 28 seconds remaining, Arizona coaches again called the double safety blitz. "Hey, Tennessee is going to win," yours truly said -- and behold, a 17-yard completion to Jared Cook. Had the defending NFC champion simply resisted the urge to big-blitz on the final Flaming Thumbtacks' drive, Arizona likely would have jogged up the tunnel victorious.

It's really likely the Cardinals would have won the game. This is based on absolutely no evidence this statement is true, which is the only kind of statement Gregg Easterbrook likes to make. I do know the one thing you don't want to do to (for?) Vince Young is to give him plenty of time in the pocket to make a decision. Gregg completely ignores the fact Young is great at scrambling and the Cardinals smartly decided to make him throw the ball to win the game instead of giving him a chance to use his legs to win the game. They lost the game, but I can't argue completely with the strategy of trying to rush Young into making a decision and trying to keep him in the pocket throwing the ball.

the Broncos came into their Thanksgiving game trying to throw down the middle. In the first quarter, it didn't work. Rather than panic -- TMQ's immutable Law of Composure holds, "Don't Panic, There Will Be Plenty of Time for That Later" -- Denver continued trying to throw down the middle. The result, on third-and-8 from the Jersey/A 17 early in the fourth quarter, was a down-the-middle touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley, securing a safe 23-6 lead.

As usual, Gregg doesn't explain the fact the Broncos were winning 16-6 before this touchdown pass was thrown...but of course this was the most important pass of the game because it proves some stupid theory TMQ has.

TMQ noted that Jersey/A is on a five-year run of rarely using high choices on blockers and asked, "Who's going to man the trenches?" On Thanksgiving night, the trenches weren't manned well.

I thought high draft choices were not good football players and undrafted players were the better players? I guess that rule is only true when Gregg wants it to be true so he can be right. When Gregg can't be proven right about how good lowly drafted players are then high draft choices are wonderful.

And great line play at Minnesota isn't just from brand-name athletes such as Kevin Williams and Steve Hutchinson. The undrafted Artis Hicks had a perfect pull block on Percy Harvin's 35-yard rush that set Minnesota's early tone against the Bears.

You mean Artis Hicks had one good block AND he was undrafted? That must mean he is the greatest player in the history of the NFL or at least better than many highly drafted and highly paid players who play the same position as him.

From earlier in the column:

(Pats wide receiver Wes Welker, who is 5-foot-9, was assigned several times to block middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma and did so very well.)

On Sunday at St. Louis, the Rams reached the Seahawks' 1 and lined up with speed receiver Donnie Avery wide right. Avery came in motion back toward formation and stopped in the fullback position; St. Louis ran a play-fake, and he ran back into the right flat, uncovered, for a touchdown. Attention Seattle defense: the 5-11, 183-pound Avery is not going to lead block!

Apparently Gregg doesn't think Donnie Avery who is 5-foot-11-inches will be the lead blocker but he finds it perfectly normal to have 5-foot-9-inch Wes Welker blocking a linebacker. The lesson? Pretty much any good wide receiver can block fairly well and defenses can't just assume that receiver isn't going to be a blocker on a given play.

Gregg is unable to learn this lesson, so he believes in the black and white rule that if a wide receiver lines up in the fullback position then it will automatically be a passing play. There is no need to even follow the running back, who by the way is Steven Jackson who also happens to be one of the best running backs in the NFL, just don't fall for the play fake EVER.

Buffalo's Fred Jackson, undrafted out of Division III Coe College -- an academics-oriented school with high admissions standards -- caught a pass or ran seven times, plus took a Wildcat snap, on a 75-yard touchdown drive against Miami that ended with a Jackson touchdown. Jackson has driven high-first-round-drafted, megabucks tailback Marshawn Lynch to the bench.

Gregg is absolutely lying here. I have Fred Jackson on a fantasy team. Marshawn Lynch missed the first 4 games of the season and at Game 5 of the NFL season Fred Jackson was benched in favor of Marshawn Lynch. The only reason Jackson played more this past Sunday is because Lynch had an injured shoulder...otherwise Fred Jackson would still be a backup or at least be sharing carries with Lynch. I can understand how a sportswriter giving his opinion can be wrong, but Gregg Easterbrook is just outright lying here. As soon as Lynch gets healthy, Jackson will probably be 2nd string again.

Bumbling former coach Dick "Cheerio, Chaps" Jauron thought Lynch should start because he was a high draft choice. Temporary Interim Provisional Coach Perry Fewell thinks Jackson should start because he performs.

Jauron started Fred Jackson and used him extensively for the first 4 games of this season. Lynch was going to start on Sunday for the new head coach if he did not have an injury. Another lie. Lynch and Jackson had the same amount of carries the week before under Fewell against the Jaguars.

In the game, Buffalo scored four touchdowns -- two from the undrafted Division III Jackson, one from undrafted Ryan Fitzpatrick of Division I-AA Harvard and one from thrice-waived Terrell Owens of Division I-AA Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Owens was never waived for his performance on the field, he was waived for his attitude and off-the-field and on-the-field distractions. Gregg can write such misleading sentences at times.

Mike McLaughlin of Spokane, Wash., writes, "This wasn't an isolated incident. When LSU played at Washington early this season, Miles had a Louisiana state trooper as his security. Not only is Seattle not in Louisiana, it's so far west it wasn't even part of the Louisiana Purchase!"

It wasn't even part of the Louisiana Purchase! Holy shit, doesn't Les Miles know the NCAA rule that he shouldn't take state troopers on an away game trip that is outside the boundaries of a 200 year old land purchase agreement by the United States? I think it's in the NCAA Rules and Regulations book.

I've proposed the Crabtree Curse and the Kern Kurse.

And we won't hear anything about the Crabtree Curse, because the 49ers won. Apparently the curse just took a week off and will be back next week...or when the 49ers lose again. Rest assured, we will hear about the curse at that point because Gregg picks and chooses when he brings up the Crabtree Curse.

Finally, Tracy Kennett of Wood River, Ill., provides this YouTube clip of 17 points scored in the final 47 seconds of a high school football game -- including a game-winning 80-yard touchdown pass on the last snap of the contest.

More reasoning why the Patriots were throwing deep against the Jets late in the game a few weeks ago.

Here's another indicator of the absurdity of college football. Reader Cliff Pannella of Atlanta notes that while trailing Florida 30-0, Florida State kicked a field goal from the Florida 3-yard line, abandoning any attempt to win but keeping a shutout off the Seminoles' record. How do we know avoiding a shutout was Bobby Bowden's motive? He said so!

I don't know why it is so absurd for a football team to try and score points late in a game to make the score closer. Would giving up and just walking off the field be much more preferable? This type criticism doesn't make any sense. Should Florida State have just tried not to score and down the ball? They tried to score to make the game closer, I really don't see a problem with that.

How long until Notre Dame wishes Weis were back and the Fighting Irish were, like this season, taking highly ranked teams down to the wire in exciting games?

I would say it will be either "never" or "negative 3 weeks" before the Fighting Irish wish they were average like they were this year.

Next Week: Chad Ochocinco demands his own personal football god.

There are no football gods.

Well that's one more week of TMQ and one more week of another black stain on modern sports journalism.

24 comments:

Fred Trigger said...

I havent read the second part yet but felt I should bring this up. Does anyone else feel that Jimmy Clausen will get robbed of the heisman this year? He has put up sick numbers that are better than anyone else in college football, but he is going to be punished for it because he plays on a shitty team. Does anyone else feel the same way, or am I just acting crazy again?

Fred Trigger said...

btw, the nickname me and my friend came up with for him, of course we were very hammered, was "The Pickle Man". I mean, it works, right? "Snap into a Claussen!"

RuleBook said...

- Stats of the Week No. 8: ...South Dakota State scored 48 points and lost.

What he fails to mention here is that SDSU was leading 48-27 at the start of the 4th quarter. Montana scored 34 unanswered in the 4th to win the game. I bring this up because if SDSU had thrown the ball at all in the 4th quarter to score, and had won 55-27 or 55-34, Easterbrook would have called them out for running up the score.

- Sour Matched Set of Plays: DeSean Jackson of Philadelphia was covered by no one on his 35-yard touchdown reception against Washington; Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot let Jackson run right past him.

You addressed the Steelers/Ravens play, but I can't speak to that one, as I didn't pay attention to the coverages. However, in the Eagles game, I know that Smoot was playing zone, and was supposed to release Jackson to the safety. Due to the routes that were being run, the safety had 2 people to cover, and he picked the one that wasn't Jackson. Smoot performed his assignment correctly.

- Roberson was far on the left, totally out of the action, committing a hold that had no impact on the outcome, other than to give Atlanta a first down. A penalty far from the action on a critical down is extremely sour.

I read and hear comments similar to this from analysts and commentators all the time, and it drives me nuts. There is no such thing as a defensive holding penalty or illegal contact away from the play, since those penalties occur before the pass is thrown. The penalty may have had an impact on whether the receiver that was held/contacted was open. If the penalty causes him to not be open, then the QB may throw the ball elsewhere, thus making the penalty "away from the play." Of course, like everyone else, I wouldn't expect Easterbrook to know this.

- TMQ hates the silly third-quarterback rule -- but why wasn't Edelman just listed as a receiver and therefore allowed in the game? In an emergency, he could have shifted to quarterback.

TMQ should not criticize rules he doesn't understand. The reason that Edelman wasn't listed as a receivere and allowed into the game is because then he would have counted against the 45-man active roster, and someone else would have been on the bench. The emergency QB (typically the 3rd QB) is a 46th player. The emergency QB rule is a great rule: it allows a team an extra player that is more likely to make an impact than a 3rd QB to play, while still preventing the team from being crippled if two QBs get injured in one game (such as OT in the Steelers/Chiefs game, if the Chiefs hadn't scored on their possession).

- Had the defending NFC champion simply resisted the urge to big-blitz on the final Flaming Thumbtacks' drive, Arizona likely would have jogged up the tunnel victorious.

The Cardinals only rushed more than 4 on four plays in that drive. The two completions that Easterbrook mentions are the only two completions he had against the blitz. In addition, all of the Titans 4th down conversions, including the TD, were against standard pressure.

- But that was then. This is now. A touchdown at 7:39 was Jacksonville's last hope!

A FG or TD will still take it from a 3 possession game to a 2 possession game at that point, so you take the more probable points at this point because scoring on this drive to reduce possessions from 3 to 2 is more important than the actual deficit.

- Regarding the Florida-FSU game, I'm going to *shudder* side with Easterbrook on this one. A team should always try to win the game. The FG was attempted on the last play in the 3rd quarter. Odds are clearly much higher that FSU will get 3 offensive possessions than 4 or more in the 4th quarter, with Florida attempting to drain the clock. Thus, you have to aim for decreasing the number of possessions. A 30 point lead and a 27 point lead are both a 4 point deficit, so in essence, kicking a FG there is like taking an XP to trail by 9 rather than attempting to go for 2 and trail by 8.

RuleBook said...

Also, I'm liking this Anti-TMQ idea more and more:

From ATMQ:
Saints had 4th down in their own territory on the first drive. They did the intelligent thing and kicked a FG. Needless to say, they went on to win.

From TMQ:
For the Patriots, it all came down to fourth-and-4 on the New Orleans 10-yard line, trailing 31-17 late in the third quarter. Belichick went for it [...] and made the right choice by going for it.

From ATMQ:
On the last play of the Titans drive, the hyper-passive Cardinals defense only rushed 4. You need to blitz to put pressure on Vince Young! As soon as ATMQ (anti-TMQ) saw Arizona dropping 7 players, he wrote "game over" in his notebook.

From TMQ:
Arizona leading Tennessee -- the Cardinals ran a double safety blitz. "Hey, Tennessee might win," yours truly said while observing the mega-blitz begin: 10-yard completion to Kenny Britt. Tennessee facing third-and-5 on the Arizona 26 with 28 seconds remaining, Arizona coaches again called the double safety blitz. "Hey, Tennessee is going to win," yours truly said -- and behold, a 17-yard completion to Jared Cook. Had the defending NFC champion simply resisted the urge to big-blitz on the final Flaming Thumbtacks' drive, Arizona likely would have jogged up the tunnel victorious.

Fred Trigger said...

Rulebook,

Any quarrels with Jimmy Clausen as a leading Heisman canidate?

The Casey said...

4 Heisman candidate QBs:

A 70.0%/36TD/6INT/4599YDS/159.2RTG/7.9YPA

B 68.0%/28TD/4INT/3722/161.4/7.9

C 66.4%/17/4/2166/160.7/7.6

D 71.8%/27/9/3328/152.9/7.1

They're in the order I felt like looking up the numbers. I don't know that I'd say that one is head and shoulders above the others. And that's not counting RBs, either. I think Clausen's in the discussion, but I don't think it's a travesty if he doesn't get it.

(Keenum, Clausen, Tebow, McCoy)

RuleBook said...

Fred,

I have never liked wins as a measurement for QBs, and I hate how the Heisman now has to go to a player on a national championship contender.

From a QB perspective, I think he would be second on my list to Kellen Moore. I know Clausen has played better competition than Moore, but he still hasn't played many particularly good defenses (even USC is mediocre this year). However, I am one of those that hates watching the Heisman go to a QB all the time. Especially this year. Clausen is having a great season compared to other QBs this year, but compared to a typical Heisman QB, he doesn't compare. (Look at the Bradford/Tebow/McCoy stats from last season - they're insane).

I would be more inclined to look at a different position. Even from a ND perspective, I like Golden Tate better than Clausen, but that may just be my anti-QB sentiment. Tate has caught over half of Clausen's TDs, and almost half of his yards.

However, I think Gerhart should win the Heisman this year. His numbers are dominant for any season, whereas most of the other competitors are dominant only compared to other players in this weak season.

My Heisman ballot would probably be:
1. Toby Gerhart
2. Ndamukong Suh
3. Golden Tate

All that said, I don't follow college as closely as I follow NFL, so I have to rely more on stats rather than actually watching the players. Thus, I may have some unknown folly in my arguments, but this is my Heisman opinion currently.

Fred Trigger said...

all I know is ND is screwed if both Golden Tate and Jimmy Clausen leave for the draft (as they should, since rookie bonuses are most likely going to be depressed following the mess that is sure to be the next CBA for the NFL.)

Bengoodfella said...

I don't know if Clausen will get robbed of the Heisman but I don't know if he is even going to get invited to New York, which I don't think is a travesty in all honesty. There are a couple other worthy QB's like Casey showed. I don't think Tebow should necessarily be as deep in the Heisman Race as he is, but he is going to be there and there isn't anything I can do about it.

Kellen Moore is the guy getting screwed in my opinion. He should be getting a lot more publicity for the Heisman than he is.

The Pickle Man? I have to think about that one.

Rulebook, good call on the SDSU score. That's what happens when a team lets off the gas pedal. On that Smoot play, that is exactly what I hate about Easterbrook. His knowledge of football is fairly limited so he doesn't know things like that. Then his dumbass readers read what he wrote and think Fred Smoot blew the coverage which wasn't accurate. I wish ESPN wouldn't let him get away with that stuff.

I completely meant to call out Easterbrook on the 3rd QB thing with Edelman but forgot to do it. Thanks for doing that. Not only does he not understand football, but football strategy he doesn't get either and then somehow feels like he is able to criticize moves he doesn't understand.

Gregg won't ever mention that the other completions for the Titans weren't against the blitz. Probably best to side with Easterbrook on that UF-FSU play, it was probably a cowardly thing to do, but I still don't mind Bowden going for the field goal since they weren't going to win the game. It is probably stupid reasoning by me.

Maybe he should write the Anti-TMQ every week instead of TMQ.

I follow college pretty closely, contrary to my College Pick 'Em score, and I do love Ndamukong Suh so much. He is the best player in college football in my opinion. If I wanted to continue with the Anti-Realism Heisman ballot I would put Kellen Moore on the ballot as well. I think he has done a great job this year.

Fred, you mean WHEN Clausen and Tate leave Notre Dame. I don't believe both of them are staying at all. I would bet they are gone.

Jeff said...

When I read "and yea, verily, it came to pass" I think about destroying something beautiful.

Mantis said...

Kellen Moore 2009 stats: 64.9%/38 TD/3 INT/3053 YRDS/168.75 RTG/8.43 YPA. He's only been sacked 5 times this year as well.

Boise lost their starting RB DJ Harper early in the year for the season, starting TE Richie Brockel was lost for the year a few weeks ago, and WR Austin Pettis broke his leg against Nevada early in that game. Boise's #1 RB now is a guy who started the year on defense. Boise's main WRs are now Titus Young and Kirby Moore. Despite the injuries, Kellen Moore is playing excellently. He's got to be the top QB in the nation this year.

I will take any of the other QBs mentioned here ahead of Tebow tho.

Fred Trigger said...

heh, I only bring up clausen since thats really the only college football I watch. My buddy I watch the games with is a hardcore fan and cant belive (and I believe, rightfully so) Tebow is ahead of him in Heisman rankings. I'll have to mention moore to him, though, just to see how high I can get his blood pressure. I will say: Tate is a monster, and that most definteley helps Clausens numbers.

Martin said...

That play with Smoot....it was covered on NFL Live and The Blitz on ESPN, the company TMQ writes for! Both shows specificly talked about how it was a safety coverage, where Smoot let him go once he left his zone. More then ever, it's clear that Gregg has no idea what zone coverage is, thinks every team is running man to man, and if he had to explain Cover 2 to his readers, his brain would explode.

If he just watched the highlight show he would have known what the hell was going on. Kill a fucking clown, this guy is terrible. Every week P.King writes a terrible column, and I think "This is the worst it can be" and then TMQ writes an even worse column....

Mantis said...

A few comments on TMQ now:

"Stats of the Week No. 5: Since taking the field for the start of the playoffs last season, Miami is 5-7."

This has been brought up here before, but this is a stupid stat. Every team that made the playoffs last year besides the Steelers ended the season with a loss. He might as well of said "Miami is 5-6 this year." What an awesome stat!!!!!!11111!!!!!!!

"Stats of the Week No. 6: The Broncos and Giants opened a combined 11-0, and since are a combined 2-7."

My first comment on this site was concerning TMQ and his Detroit-St. Louis stat. I now realize he picks and chooses when streaks start and end to fit his logic. He started Detroit's record from 2007 and St. Louis's from the middle of 2008 to get his number. This isn't as bad, as these teams started 6-0 and 5-0 respectively. Still, I can use TMQ logic too. The Saints and the Rams both started 2009 a combined 11-0.

"As Houston kicked a field goal to take a 17-0 lead over Indianapolis, Spenser, my 14-year-old, pronounced of the Texans, "They're doomed." And yea, verily, it came to pass."

I tried pronouncing doom this week. I watched the Seahawks-Rams this weekend. When Seattle kicked a FG to go ahead 27-10, I pronounced of the Seahawks "They're doomed." Since all teams that take 17 pt leads are doomed, I was certain to be correct. TMQ wont admit when he's wrong, I wont either.

TMQ then list some gods. Belicheat must be a very young god. Reading that made me dumber than I already am. It's painful reading a TMQ column.

The football gods punish Jacksonville, even though San Francisco has the dreaded Crabtree Curse. WTF??

"The same question for San Diego as for Minnesota: Who have they beaten? The Bolts have wins over the Giants, Eagles and Broncos"

TMQ asks who San Diego has beaten, then answers the question right away. Wins over two teams who are 7-4 and a 6-5 team is pretty solid to me. I'd include Miami as a quality win, but they're 5-7 dating back to the playoffs last year. Obviously they aren't any good.

"I've proposed the Crabtree Curse and the Kern Kurse. Michael Morris of Bartlesville, Okla., adds the Weiner Curse: The Jets, once 3-0, are 2-6 since Mark Sanchez ate a hot dog on the sideline during a win. He adds the Scrimmage Curse: The Giants, once 5-0, are 1-5 since the G-Persons derided playing Oakland as like a scrimmage."

There is no Crabtree Curse. The Kern Curse was broken on Thursday when the Broncos won. Sanchez is playing like a rookie after that decent start of his, this is about where the Jets should be this year. The Giants started 5-0 beating powerhouses like the Redskins, Chiefs, and Raiders. After that they have lost games to the Saints, Eagles, Chargers, and Broncos. This isn't a curse, it's a team beating bad teams and losing to good teams.

Bengoodfella said...

Verily it came to pass is a sportswriting apocalytic term in my world.

Kellen Moore has had a great year and you are right that Boise State hasn't exactly had a roster full of their #1 players so far this year. Of course his name isn't as sexy as some of the other guys on the list, so he won't even be considered...even though I think he deserves to be. I don't hate Tebow, I just don't like the love he gets from the media and I really don't know how his game will translate to the next level. He has a good year, but I don't think he deserves the Heisman. Moore is high on my list though.

Clausen is helped by having Tate and to a lesser extent Floyd.

Martin, I have come to the conclusion that Easterbrook doesn't watch the shows on the network he writes for. I don't know how he doesn't understand zone coverage, but I am just afraid he is making his less inquisitive readers that much dumber. Smoot wasn't responsible for the receiver so it wasn't his fault. I wish Gregg would realize this.

Peter King is a different kind of bad from TMQ. TMQ is actually worse than King.

Mantis, I don't pay enough attention to those statistics he provides because, like you said, he just picks and chooses what he wants them to say. When he picks the last game from last year to add to the "streak" is a low point of the column. He loves to cherry pick like that.

I don't know why he keeps talking about the Crabtree Curse when it is obvious there is no such thing. I also don't know why he thinks his kid is smart for saying the game was over at that point for the Texans. It's not like the Colts can't come back. I hate the "curses" he talks about and they are all crappy.

A couple months ago TMQ talked about how NFL teams can't help the schedule they play, so I don't think it is fair to say the Chargers haven't played anyone. They have beaten the teams they should beat and have beaten some of the tougher teams they have played. It's that simple, they are a pretty good team.

Exactly. The Giants started the year off with an easy schedule and now they have to play good teams, so they are losing more. I am glad we understand that at least.

Syed Ashrafulla said...

I don't think a player like Kellen deserves a Heisman shot over Colt or even Case simply due to the profile of game that Kellen plays. Most of Boise's games were lightly covered against unimpressive teams. I understand and generally champion the "look at the entire season" argument, but that does not stand in college. Scheduling and media coverage change games. When Colt went for 304 and 4 TD against A&M and Kellen had 276 and 5 TD against Nevada, one look at the stats says "Nevada's a better team; they're 8-4." That argument doesn't work, because A&M is the tougher game in college (if this was the NFL, I'd agree).

I just think that a lot of aggregate statistical analyses fall short in college due to the heterogeneity of schedules and media coverage, both of which have a major impact. As for why Jimmy doesn't deserve it, well he's not actually better than Colt (give Colt Golden Tate and we might be pissing ourselves here in Texas). My Heisman vote would go to Ndamukong, because that guy is literally the best player in the land. I think Nebraska should've just put him at quarterback because he's so good he'd just run over people out of the shotgun.

Bengoodfella said...

Yes! Ndamukong Suh for the Heisman, I can get behind that. I would dare any voter to watch one Nebraska game with Suh playing and tell me he isn't the best player in college football. Nebraska should put him at QB because Lee is not good. Not. Good. Suh for the Heisman!

As far as your other comparisons, I can see what you are saying that college is different, but I still wish Moore would get a fairer shot. The guy is not even getting a whiff which makes me want him to get more publicity. I like Clausen but I don't know if he should be in the Heisman race.

I don't like the Mark Ingram candidacy. He's a good player, but the best player in the country? I don't necessarily think so.

Fred Trigger said...

honestly, I hope all the commenters give me more fuel to the fire as to why Clausen doesnt deserve the heisman. We are good friends and all, but I still like to give him shit. I keep telling him (jokingly, of course) that the first words ou of his newborn daughters mouth will be "Pete Carroll is god". Its all in good fun, though.

KentAllard said...

I'm not certain Clausen and Tate leaving (Clausen 95% certainty, Tate 65%) is that giant an obstacle. Dayne Crist, Clausen's backup, has two years in the program, has a stronger arm than Clausen and was the #2 QB in his year coming out of high school. Tate is a great talent, but ND is actually deep at WR, so there will be a dropoff, but not one so big that it can't be overcome. ND's problem will be, like every year, their defensive recruits haven't produced, and every quarterback they play looks like John Elway as a result. They return ten starters on defense, but the defense was terrible, so I don't know if that means anything.

If TMQ wants an example of an NFL quarterback who looks like a tight end, he should use Byron Leftwich.

Bengoodfella said...

Nothing wrong with giving your friends shit. Clausen isn't a bad quarterback but I don't know if he should be in the talk for the Heisman or not. Just tell him that.

Kent, it's nice to have a ND fan chime in. I didn't know who the backup was, but I assumed it was a widely coveted QB and I know Michael Floyd isn't leaving school this year so that will help them for the future. I thought the defense would step up this year because they had a defensive guy who could be a leader (though he was a freshman) in that Hawaiian kid whose last name I can't spell, but I was wrong. Defense is the name of the game and teams can't win if they don't play it.

Syed Ashrafulla said...

Te'o was hurt for awhile iirc. I just think that at this stage of the game, one player isn't going to help a team. It's like how Chris Johnson at ECU or Kevin Smith at UCF couldn't take those teams past a certain point, no matter how hard they tried. TCU and Boise figured that out and started recruiting at places of inequity at all positions; their OL I know was ridiculous before (Ryan Clady, etc.) and I assume it's just as good this year.

What bothers me about ND is they have more money and more resources (via their alumni network) than a team like TCU or Cincinnati, yet both teams completely outclass them in terms of program strength. Is this the coach's fault at this point, or a lack of ability (or some other intangible) by the AD? It can't be the "standards" because nowadays players are being bred to be good academically too because good academics makes a lot of money in future marketing deals. I think the AD is at the heart of a lot of the problems. Marketability aside, ND has resources and inroads into major recruiting hotbeds. So how are Boise and Louisville out-recruiting them? Are they listening to Rivals.com too much?

Bengoodfella said...

Syed, you are right about that. I was still hoping maybe he would give the defense a lift in some fashion, but obviously that didn't happen. I respect Boise State for figuring out the inequities and putting a great team together. I was very interested to see how Ryan Clady did in the NFL and it seems like he belongs.

As far as your Notre Dame comments, Kent may be able to better respond but I sort of wonder what you are wondering. I always thought it was the academic standards they had, but over time I think that reasoning has diminished for me. I don't know who to blame for the problems and I am not sure it lies in recruiting on the offensive side of the ball, but I blame a lot of it on the defense. As far as Rivals.com's influence, that could very well be it. I feel like sometimes teams look at the list of players available at a position and recruit the best players instead of players who may be the best fit for the team. Maybe ND is guilty of that.

It's interesting to blame the AD for the problems since much of the blame has fallen on the head coaches for the team's failures in the past. Are teams like Boise State/Cincinnati out-recruiting them or developing players on their roster better? I don't know the answer really...

KentAllard said...

This will be the first coaching hire by the current AD, Jack Swarbrick.

I do think it is on the coaching. Weis was the first coach since Holtz that the alums had any hope for; we knew Davie & Willingham were losers. I believe the talent is there, it will just take someone who can bring it out. There's no doubt for example, that ND has a huge talent edge on Navy in the matchup of our offensive line against their defensive line; but they have dominated us for the last three years.

Bengoodfella said...

Maybe the talent is there against teams like Navy and that may lead to what I think the problem could be. I think ND is not developing players like they should while other schools are taking talented players and getting them developed. I could be wrong, but considering there is talent on the team, they have to be identifying the wrong talent or not developing it.