Thursday, January 7, 2010

16 comments Peter King Tells Us How Mike Shanahan Will Improve the Redskins to 9-7 Before He Gets Fired In 2 Years

J.S. had a good idea that for the NFL Playoffs each of us would write out who we pick for the game and predict a score against the spread. Then in the name of competition and with no tangible prize we would keep a tally on the right side of the blog as to who was doing the best. So over the next couple days (before the games obviously) we are each going to post our predictions for the NFL playoff games. I am still not incredibly pumped up to see 3 of 4 games we already saw last week, but I will get over it.

Sorry for the long title today, I couldn't really think of a way to shorten it as hard as I tried. As many of you have heard by now, the least shocking coaching hire in the NFL has been officially been announced. Mike Shanahan is going to coach the Washington Redskins and have full power in the organization, which is usually a bad idea in my opinion to give a head coach full power in the organization, but I am not affiliated with the Redskins in any fashion so nobody gives a shit what I think. The fact Daniel Snyder hired a coach with a "pedigree" isn't shocking since he has done this twice already with the Steve Spurrier and Joe Gibbs hirings. Daniel Snyder just wants a "name" to coach his football team I think this is how his hiring process works:

(Daniel Snyder speaking to a Redskins employee) "I want Bill Walsh to coach this team. Get him on the phone now!"

(Redskins employee) "Bill Walsh is dead sir."

(Daniel Snyder looks at the employee with disbelief) "That's not my fucking fault so don't get that tone with me! Why are all the competent coaches dead? Mike Holmgren, Woody Hayes, and Brooks Robinson...all dead! (kicks a puppy in the face) Dammit!"

(Redskins employee) "Actually Mike Holmgren just took a front office job with the Browns, I thought you would have heard about that. I am also pretty sure Brooks Robinson never played football or coached any sport. Also, you said you never wanted me to call, and I quote, 'that fat walrus looking asshole Holmgren' for interest in coaching the Redskins if the team had a coaching vacancy. You said, and I quote again, 'I know he smells like blubber and I can't hire someone who smells like a dirty Eskimo.'"

(Daniel Snyder) "How the hell do you expect me to keep with up all the league news...and I don't recall ever saying that (flips off a group of school children taking a tour of the Redskins facilities) about Mike Holmgren."

(Redskins employee) "You actually also told the Washington Post that, then threatened to kidnap the editor's family if he didn't squash the story."

(Daniel Snyder removing the pacifier out of his mouth and throwing his favorite blankie across the room) "Maybe I did, maybe I didn't say that. Just....just give me one good coach who is possibly available to hire, just one fucking coach that I can hire and that will make people think I am a genius!" (turns the television channel to Dora the Explorer)

(Redskins employee) "You could hire Russ Grimm, Sean McDermott, or Leslie Frazier...there are a ton of options available out there among young coordinators in the NFL."

(Daniel Snyder) "Who the hell are these people? Do they work in this building? How many Super Bowls have they won as head coaches? I have never heard of one of these people in my life and I bet no one else has either. Also, what the hell is a 'coordinator?'"

(Redskins employee jokes) "Well, then just go hire Mike Shanahan then if you only want a coach who has won a Super Bowl...(speaks more seriously now) Russ Grimm played for the Redskins in the early 80's to the earl---"

(Daniel Snyder changing his own diaper out of defiance) "Silence! You're fired. I need someone who can give me good ideas that will actually work. Ever since I bought this team no one has given me a good idea and I have been forced to fire all my head coaches to make up for everyone else's incompetence. (Chases a senior citizen up and down the hall with a knife) Someone get me Mike Shanahan on the phone! Tell him I want to hire him and ask if the Broncos will let him out of his contract even after his big Super Bowl win last year."

I think that's how Snyder hires a head coach. My point is that Mike Shanahan is now coaching and having overall authority with the Redskins. I question not only how the arrangement will work with Daniel Snyder but the intelligence in giving a head coach General Manager and coaching responsibilities. Peter King has some thoughts in his weekly mailbag on how Shanahan will turn the Redskins around.

WWSD? What Would Shanahan Do? That's the question on the minds of so many Redskins fans with former Denver head coach Mike Shanahan reportedly agreeing to a deal, and I thought I'd tell you the four things I think he'll do early in his regime:

1. Find a way to get rid of Daniel Snyder as the owner of the Redskins any way possible, including directly/indirectly causing his death, framing him for a crime or tricking him into jumping into a vat of hot lava by telling him it is a really shiny puddle of water.

2. Find high defensive draft choices who never lived up to their potential and have personality issues. That means Dewayne Robertson is soon to be a Redskin.

3. Somehow manage to deftly and inconceivably draft offensive players well, while not being able to draft defensive players to save his life for certain periods of time.

4. Check on John Elway, Jake Plummer, and Brian Griese's availability to quarterback the team. Trade Clinton Portis for Brandon Marshall and see if the Bears are willing to let Cutler go straight up for London Fletcher.

Bring his son Kyle in to help develop the next Washington franchise quarterback. Can't see them keeping Jason Campbell, particularly when keeping him means investing in a new contract when he hasn't played well enough to deserve it. Look for the Shanahans to look hard at first-round passers (remember the stunner when they drafted Jay Cutler in 2006?)

You mean when Shanahan drafted a quarterback when it wasn't a position of need because the team already had a successful quarterback in Jake Plummer and he passed up guys like Haloti Ngata, DeMeco Ryans, and Johnathan Joseph (Fine, he drafted Dumervil and Marshall in the 4th round this year, I never said he was terrible at drafting overall) to get Cutler? Then he was fired because his defense couldn't stop anyone, no matter how good the offensive was, and the team's record reflected that? I think I recall that.

That's why it wouldn't surprise me to see the Redskins pick a quarterback down the line (Zac Robinson, Colt McCoy) and address a terrible offensive line in the first round.

Are Zac Robinson and Colt McCoy going to be available "down the line?" I know Colt McCoy has fallen among the eyes of NFL scouts, but quarterbacks have a way of sneaking their way back up the draft board sometimes. I didn't think Josh Freeman would be taken as early as he was last year and I have a feeling McCoy is going to sneak up some draft boards. Zac Robinson would actually be a good fit for Shanahan's offense but Daniel Snyder will require Shanahan take the bigger name QB available. Daniel Snyder probably thinks "Zac Robinson" is a character from "Saved By the Bell: The New Class."

Try to get another year out of Clinton Portis. The Redskins owe him a ton of money anyway, and he fits the one-cut, upfield running style Mike Shanahan will want. Plus, the Redskins have so many holes and can't fill them all in one year; it'll be better for Shanahan to plug this hole with vets and a couple of undrafted free-agents this year.

Since the Redskins offensive line is so terrible, are a veteran or a couple undrafted free agents really going to suffice to get the running game going like Shanahan is used to? I guess we'll see, but it's interesting Peter mentions the offensive line is terrible for the Redskins and then acts like they can plug any running back available in there and the team will have success running the ball.

Look for a defensive coordinator who will give the 3-4 a shot.

It's always a good idea to take the highest paid defensive player in the NFL and try to get him to play the position he excels at using a moderately different technique. I wonder how Haynesworth would do in the 3-4? Brian Orakpo will be excited about this, but I can't help but also wonder how London Fletcher will do in the 3-4 defense. He's a small guy and it hasn't really affected him too much in the NFL, but I am not sure he is a 3-4 linebacker. I don't think he has played in that defense before (I am pretty sure Buffalo ran a 4-3 when he played there).

The 3-4 defense is not a bad idea for Washington, but my two greatest pet peeves in football are when fans of a team suggest that team switches to the 3-4 defense or just suggests a team signs a player just released from another team. It never fails whenever a guy like Joey Galloway gets cut, some asshole posts a message on a Carolina Panthers site that says, "Galloway a good fit in Carolina?" It also never fails that I write a message that politely explains this person can attempt to have intercourse with himself in a crevice of his body that babies can't be made in.

Just like it never fails that some asshole wants a team to go to the 3-4 defense as if that fixes all the defensive problems in the world. These guys never seem to take into account the fact a team just can't switch to the 3-4 defense and have success immediately. They have to find the right personnel, get rid of the wrong personnel, and then have those players that stick around learn the 3-4 defense. Still, many think switching to the 3-4 defense is just as easy as hitting a button and then great success will come! It's not an extremely difficult transition but it's also not an easy transition.

So I am not against the 3-4 defense, any suggestion at all of a team switching to the 3-4 just causes me to bristle a little bit initially.

But Shanahan knows he wants to be much better at stopping the run in Washington than he was in Denver.

This is what makes Shanahan a great head coach. He knows he needs to stop the run so he doesn't have to fire a defensive coordinator every single off season like he did his later years in Denver. I am sure if Shanahan told Snyder this philosophy in his interview, Daniel Snyder thought this was a brilliant move on Shanahan's part.

Expect the unexpected. Shanahan doesn't care what you or I think. He drafted Maurice Clarett in the third round

Mike Shanahan doesn't care that he wasted a 3rd round pick on a player who could barely make the practice squad, if he is going to fail, he is going to fail making huge personnel errors that journalists and fans will remember for decades. If he wants to draft Barbaro to play free safety for the Redskins, he will do it. In fact, Mike Shanahan will TRADE UP in the NFL draft just to make sure he gets Barbaro. Do not test Mike Shanahan.

paid sick sums of money to unpopular free-agents who didn't pan out (particularly on defense),

"I don't care that this essentially got me fired! I don't give a damn and I am not changing my style simply because it didn't work when I didn't have a Hall of Fame quarterback, a great running back and a great offensive line."

handed the reins of his offense to Brian Griese and Jake Plummer when they weren't the belles of the NFL ball.

Jake Plummer was a 2nd round pick in 1997 and one of the most highly sought after free agents after his contract with Arizona ran out. Brian Griese was a 3rd round pick in 1998 and was 17-5 as the Michigan starter. Neither player was a 1st round pick, but neither of them were considered to ever NOT be quarterbacks with good potential. In fact, I think both were considered good value for where they were drafted.

For the record, Shanahan had the following records with quarterbacks who weren't John Elway:

Bubby Brister: 4-0
Bill Musgrave: 0-1
Brian Griese: 27-24
Jake Plummer: 39-15
Jay Cutler: 17-20

Obviously a quarterback's record is also indicative of the defensive and special teams play of that team, but I do want to note Peter King is giving Mike Shanahan credit for replacing a starter who was 39-15 in his career with Shanahan, led his team to the AFC Championship Game the year before, and was only 32 years old. Shanahan replaced Plummer with Jay Cutler who went 17-20 under Shanahan in Denver. I just thought I would mention Shanahan is getting CREDIT for replacing a generally successful starter with a starter who was less successful.

Yes, I know there is more that goes into a team winning than just quarterback play, but I find it interesting Shanahan is considered smart for passing over areas of need for the Broncos in 2006 to solidify a position that didn't really need solidifying.

He'll make a few decisions, particularly in free-agency, that will make you scratch your head. But he'll be decisive,

He may not know what the hell he is doing, but at least he makes his bad free agent signings in a timely fashion. That has to count for nothing.

and at least on offense, will have a very good track record behind him.

Considering the Redskins already have a pretty good defense I think the team can live with his defensive philosophy of signing busts with attitude problems for a couple of years. I am very interested to see what Albert Haynesworth thinks about Shanahan being his head coach. Will Haynesworth feel like he has to cut his production and go back to his head-stomping ways to fit in with his new coach's preference on defense?

So basically Peter says Mike Shanahan's plan will be to make questionable defensive personnel decisions, he expects to have full authority though we know this won't happen, and change around the most successful part of the Redskins team, which is the defense. Good luck Redskins fans. I am cautiously optimistic, but how long can we really expect Mike Shanahan and Daniel Snyder to co-exist before they start pulling guns on each other in the locker room after a loss?

First, a note about the hot story of Sunday that seems to be the tepid yawner of today: I asked my Twitter family last night if the league should look into mandating playing starters if a team has its playoff position ensured. In three hours, I got 465 responses. Of the 401 who answered the question directly, it was 335-66 opposed to league intervention on the issue.

League intervention on the issue of mandating a team to play its starters is absolutely stupid. I can't emphasize this enough. I am not in favor of teams resting their starters in many situations down the stretch when a playoff spot has been clinched already, but mandating a team play all of its players is just dumb. It should be an organization or coach's decision. It should not be the NFL's decision.

Let's get to some "Peter mail:"

Bob Blair of Reno, Nev.: "Roger Goodell has two priorities that appear to be at odds -- add games to the regular season schedule while also creating incentive for teams to play their starters late in the season. It would seem that with more games, that just creates the possibility of more disparity in team W-L records and the associated playoff positioning. It sort of seems like he wants his cake and to eat it as well, doesn't it?''

I agree with Bob, this does seem a bit contradictory. Since this is so obvious, we all know Peter will disagree.

PK: Not really. What Goodell wants is for fans who pay regular-season prices not to get screwed any more than they are now with the preseason games.

Yet Roger Goodell doesn't care that NFL teams make fans pay regular-season prices for the abhorrent competition that is preseason football games. If Goodell wants the end of the season to be more competitive, lengthening the season is not the answer.

What would happen, let's say, if the Colts had their last two of three at home this year instead of away? Then they'd have had the option of playing four of 10 home games this year (including two in the preseason) at exhibition-game quality.

This is a problem, but I don't think the solution is to force teams to play their starters a certain amount of time in the game.

Of course, we all think it's asinine for owners to charge regular-season prices for exhibition games. It's the biggest ripoff in the NFL. But that's not going to change until the league goes to 18 regular-season and two in the preseason. Then, the league will be robbing ticketholders for one game, not two.

Peter is completely missing the obvious point with this sentence. He gives the example above of the Colts playing 4 exhibition-quality games if nothing is done. If the 18 game schedule is implemented, the Colts could win the division even earlier and the fans still get ripped off paying full price for 3 exhibition-quality games. Two games will be added to the schedule and in the Colts situation this year, one of those games would be a home game that would not feature the Colts starters. That would have been a minimum of 3 games the fans get ripped off on and if the schedule was done to feature more Colts games at the end of the year (say 3 of the last 4), potentially even more games could have the Colts sitting starters. The obvious point is that if you increase the season by two games, then a team could clinch their division even earlier and still have 2-3 home games left.

From Andrew Scott of Houston: "Happy New Year, first of all. Secondly, was there a little rum in your eggnog latte when you submitted your all-pro team? Vincent Jackson over Andre Johnson?

That seemed to be the consensus from everyone I spoke with as well, along with many people who commented on it here.

Johnson had 39 more catches, 400 more yards, averaged 20 more yards per game and had 310 more yards after the catch! How is that less consistent than Jackson?

So basically Johnson averaged 2.4 more catches and 25 more yards per game? While having Kevin Walter and a half season of Owen Daniels playing along side him? Sounds to me like Johnson should be the choice. Don't come at Peter with your statistics and well-reasoned fact based arguments! He will bitch slap those away and use faulty reasoning based on hyperbolic and non-tangible observations!

It was very difficult to leave him off my team. In fact, both Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison looked at me like I had two heads Saturday night when I raised the prospect of Jackson and Wes Welker over Johnson.

"Most other people who cover the NFL like me also thought I was a moron. This only helped to assure me I was correct."

I don't believe you can go purely by stats when you look at receiver or tight end.

Fine, let's go by supporting cast around the receiver:

Andre Johnson: Matt Schaub, Kevin Walter, 1/2 season of Owen Daniels.

Vincent Jackson: Philip Rivers, Malcolm Floyd, Antonio Gates, Darren Sproles

Wes Welker: Tom Brady, Randy Moss

From this, it sure looks like Andre Johnson deserved to make the team considering he has an inferior quarterback and 2nd receiver along side him compared to the other two guys.

There's also opportunity. Johnson was targeted by Matt Schaub 171 times this year, or almost 11 pass attempts per game. Jackson was targeted 108 times (in 15 games) by Rivers, or seven times a game;

So Andre Johnson doesn't deserve to make the All-Pro team because he is able to get open more frequently than Vincent Jackson? This doesn't make sense.

Antonio Gates got 114 passes thrown his way.

So Andre Johnson doesn't deserve to make the All-Pro team because he doesn't have another receiver on his team to take the defense's attention away? Terrible reasoning.

When Owen Daniels went down for the season with eight games to go, Schaub began throwing to Johnson even more -- 91 times in his last eight games.

So Andre Johnson doesn't deserve to make the All-Pro team because he became the focal point of the passing attack (and the defense's attention) and still played well and produced?

Johnson was targeted 80 times when Daniels was on the field, so he was only targeted 11.4 times per game without Daniels and 10.0 times per game with Daniels, so it's not like he was targeted a hell of a lot more anyway when Daniels went down.

I simply thought in making two clutch game-winning catches (including one in the final seconds at the Giants when the Giants were still contenders) in the Chargers' strong run this year, and because of powerful athleticism that, in my mind, is the equal of Johnson, that Jackson deserved my vote slightly more.

"But Vincent Jackson made a crucial catch in an important game against a team I follow and he is tall and more handsome than Andre Johnson. He LOOKS like a receiver should look like more than Andre Johnson. Therefore he makes my All-Pro team."

Even after Peter's reasoning, I still think it was a bad call. In fact, hearing Peter's reasoning for leaving Johnson off his All-Pro team makes me think he had already made the decision to not include Johnson before even sitting down to think about who should make the team. Johnson should have made the team.

I think Jackson's one of those players who gets overlooked a bit because of where he plays and by having Gates on his team. He's the only player in football to be over 17 yards a catch the past two years; even with his more limited chances, he matched Johnson this year in touchdowns with nine.

Maybe Jackson is overlooked, but you can't overlook Johnson (who had a better year) just so you don't overlook Jackson.

One of the problems is picking two players from among a deep pool; it seems you're slighting the other great players in that pool.

Especially when you slight the best receiver in the AFC. To be fair, I don't know what reasoning I would accept in leaving Andre Johnson off the All-Pro team, but Peter's reasoning is especially bad.

-One last thing about an article Gene Wojciechowski wrote. He wasn't impressed with the TCU-Boise State game because apparently it was too hard fought and featured defenses that were too talented.

How do I say this nicely? Boise's 17-10 victory against TCU was as exciting as watching someone watch paint dry. The game didn't lay an egg; it laid an omelet.

That egg/omelet thing doesn't make sense, but I thought the TCU-Boise State game was hard fought and close. I think if the teams were Alabama-Texas it would be seen as a hard fought defensive struggle rather than a boring game.

If TCU won big, and Texas won little -- and sloppily against No. 1 Bama -- then maybe, just maybe, enough AP voters would go all Horned Froggy on their ballots.

Why can't Boise State be put on the ballot? They are also undefeated and beat an undefeated team in a bowl game. Why is it only TCU who has a shot to be #1 if they had won the Fiesta Bowl? Boise State is undefeated, Cincinnati has one loss, and that would leave the winner of Texas-Alabama as the only other undefeated team in the nation. If TCU theoretically had a chance at being considered #1 in the country then I would think Boise State does as well.

Except that TCU left its game at poolside. The Horned Frogs forgot that before they could make a statement, they first had to make some plays. They wasted an opportunity of a lifetime.

BUT BOISE STATE CAN STILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITY AND BE VOTED #1.

Tight … nervous … lacking intensity. Whatever it was, it showed. TCU and Boise had the whole football nation to themselves Monday evening and they whiffed.

This game was more exciting than the ugly classic between Nebraska-Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game and was a better game than the Orange and Sugar Bowls. I don't see the problem.

Touchdown passes were dropped. Wide-open receivers were missed. Snaps flew through the hands of quarterbacks. All you really need to know about the game is that Boise punter/place-kicker Kyle Brotzman might have been the best player on the field.

This is what can happen when two Top 10 defenses play each other. All offense all of the time isn't always a good thing.

Boise and TCU had a chance Monday night to dig their feet deeper into the BCS concrete mix. Instead, they delivered a forgettable game and by doing so, gave the anti-WAC and anti-Mountain West faction another reason to freeze them out of the BCS.

So if the game had been more exciting and higher scoring, the winner would have had a chance to claim they could compete with the eventual BCS Champion? I don't believe that at all, partially because I think this is a stupid conclusion. The excitement of the bowl game a team plays in should not affect a team's future ranking based on that bowl game in this situation. Also, if TCU or Boise State had won 45-42 then idiots like Gene Wojciechowski would say neither team has a good enough defense to beat Texas or Alabama. So they are in a no-win situation. If they win a close, hard fought bowl game, the teams played too ugly to be considered #1, while if they were in a shootout people like Gene would question whether the defenses could play against top-notch competition.

No matter what they do, members of the media wouldn't give TCU or Boise State the benefit of the doubt to be voted #1 anyway, so it doesn't matter what kind of game the Fiesta Bowl was. I thought the game was exciting personally.

16 comments:

HH said...

Danny Kannel: 0-1

The famous game against the Pats where the Pats took the intentional safety by snapping it over the punter.

ivn said...

all you need to justify Andre Johnson's All-Pro candidacy is this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpWqMqrZwTU

let's see Vincent Jackson do that, Peter King

ps - a playoff pick-off would be a pretty good idea

rich said...

I'd love to see the league mandate teams play starters. It'd mark the first time an entire team was put on the DL as having a "lower body injury."

PK is a moron.

Bengoodfella said...

Yeah, I didn't count that game on Shanahan's record perhaps I should have. I don't know why I left it off since I included Bubby Brister's long and glorious Broncos career.

The best part of that video is Rodgers-Cromartie trying to start a fight for an instant and then realizing three of his guys had gotten run the fuck over by Johnson and it may not be a good idea...you know, since three of his guys may be laid out and he was surrounded by 5-6 Texas. So Rodgers-Cromartie pushes for a second and then just quits and walks off the field.

Yeah, we are doing the playoff pick-off. I just want to make it interesting.

Rich, I don't think there is a way the league could mandate teams play their starters. It simply wouldn't work. You are right that players would sit with fake injuries. I know there is a need to make sure the quality of play is high, but the teams get enough shit as it is when they don't play their starters. I will be interested to see the reaction among the Colts fans when they play their first playoff game at home.

I am sure they will cheer, but I will be interested anyway as to how they react.

rich said...

Bengoodfella,

It's actually something I'm conflicted on. On the one hand, you when playoff teams sit starters, the games become much less interesting, so as a form of entertainment, it loses some value.

However, injuries happen in the playoffs too and I can see the benefit of playing backups in meaningless games so you can evaluate how your gameplan needs to change if a player goes down in the playoffs.

For example, if Brees gets hurt in their first playoff game, knowing what Mark Brunell is capable of doing is crucial because you can't run the same type of offense with Brunell under center as you can with Brees.

So it might suck from an entertainment standpoint and there are (as have been made over the past few weeks) very valid reasons to, even if just for a half, play your starters, there are also valid reasons for sitting them.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I am conflicted on it too actually. In the case of the Colts, I thought they should have played their starters.

I can see your point on this issue. It is necessary to see your backups play during game action, but hopefully you would also have a feel for how these guys would play during practice and the preseason as well. I am actually not against teams sitting their starters in certain situations.

For the Saints, (since you brought up Brunell), I think they should have played Brees a few minutes against Carolina since he hasn't played much lately and the team has not played well either.

I can see how a coach would need to play the backups and sit the starters during a game at the end of the season. For me, I think a coach should do whatever helps his team win more games in the playoffs. If that is sit guys so they can get healthy, then I would do that, but if it is to play guys to keep rhythm, then that is the right call.

Injuries do happen in the playoffs and I think the Patriots are better off with Welker getting injured against the Texans so they can gameplan with Edelman as the slot receiver.

I can see your point and it does suck for fans to see the backups. It would be nice if the ownership would give the Colts fans a discount on the last game of the season tickets since the starters won't play, especially since they have a home playoff game for extra revenue.

HH said...

I think the Texas Longhorns are showing us now how important it is to play your backups in meaningless games: You can see Gilbert growing up as the game progresses. Imagine if he'd been mopping up the second halves of all those Texas blowouts.

Think about Edelman, having to replace Wes Welker, the NFL receptions leader, going into the playoffs. Game experience prepared him better than anything.

I don't think we need to punish teams for dominating and prevent them from being able to protect starters/develop young players. And I think this is going to become more important because I think the salary cap will cause teams to have more extreme records: there is no point in winning 6 or 8 games, so teams will put all their eggs in a two-three year window, probably have great records, and then rebuild for the same period with extremely young cheap players and bad records. You know what I mean: sign super studs, prorate the cap hit over six years, content two years, and cut half of them, and, because of the cap hit, play with undrafted rookie free agents until you're out of salary cap hell. I don't know why, in all the talk of parity, no one's mentioned this before, or at least I haven't heard it. But I think the salary cap will increase in-season inequality of records, and that'll make the rest starters/start 'em a bigger issue than it already is.

Martin said...

I don't mind teams resting starters, per se, but in cases like the Colts, when it's obvious that this plan hasn't worked in the past, something else needs to happen. Seriously, unless Manning was going to play 1 play, hand the ball off, and walk off the field, there was NO REASON he should have been on the field at all for that last game. Same with Clark and Wayne. Either play to win, or don't play, cause this half assed shit is jsut as likely to get someone hurt as anything.

I think as we've all seen though, this makes the idea of the extended schedule even more absurd. The Colts and Saints would have been taking 4 games off to keep players from being injured. At that rate they almost need to be able to expand the rosters like late season baseball.

The Casey said...

Actually, the Colts and Saints wouldn't have been taking 4 games off because they wouldn't yet have wrapped up home field. Adding two games also means it's two more games for someone else to catch up.

I, as a fan, wouldn't have a problem if I'd bought tickets to the last home game of the season and my team chose to mimimize the starters' playing time to keep them fresh/uninjured for the playoffs. What I want is to see my team win the Super Bowl, and if that means I watch second-stringers most of the game, then that's what it means. I also think, like HH said, that it's usually a good idea for your backups to have some game experience to try to maximize their preparedness for when they have to play.

All that said, I do feel like the Colts are a special case here, mostly because they've been in this situation before and it's usually worked out poorly for them. I think it has to do with the nature of their offense, but that's just a guess.

With less than 4 minutes to go in the first half of the game last night, Alabama punted from inside Texas' 40. Oops, I mean "Alabama launched a mincing, 'fraidy-cat punt from the maroon zone." Do you think TMQ wrote the words "Game Over" in his notebook?

Bengoodfella said...

HH, I thought about your argument when I was watching the game. You do have a point when talking about in-game experience because Gilbert started to look a lot more comfortable as the game progressed. It's a good point as to why it is important to play backups. I actually touch on the Edelman/Welker issue a bit in my playoff predictions.

I don't want to punish teams for protecting their players, I think it is a coach/organizational decision, but I also would do whatever is best for the team to win a Super Bowl. Mandating playing the starters for a team when homefield is clinched or something is insane and I think also a really bad idea. If a team clinches and doesn't want to play its starters, that's the team's decision.

I do have to agree with Casey and say I, as well as the rest of the NFL, is over reacting a little bit because the Colts are a special case of this because they were (a) going for a perfect record and (b) have rested starters before and it didn't work out. How many times is a team going to be going for a perfect record and then rest its starters?

HH, that's interesting how you think the salary cap is going to cause more inequality when it's entire purpose is to cause equality among the teams in the NFL. It could happen, but I am more interested to see what happens with the owners and players this next off season and how that may affect inequality in team records.

Martin, I can accept the Colts decision, but I don't agree with it. Like you, I can't figure out how personal goals are worth attaining in a game, but team goals aren't. Especially when it's going to be nearly a month since the offense was last on the field together. I just think it was potentially a bad move for them to rest the starters. They had such momentum and were playing so well...

It is a good point that potentially a team would not clinch as early under an 18 game schedule. Maybe I am mixing two issues that don't need to be mixed, but under the 18 game schedule there will be a bigger need for good backups since theoretically more injuries could occur during the season.

Again, I think I, and others, are getting too caught up just in the Colts situation. It was a pretty special situation and they didn't even have their backup Jim Sorgi playing, they had Curtis Painter starting and he was 3rd string all year. I had no problem with the Saints sitting their starters and I would potentially go see a game where the starters sit. In the special situation of the Colts though, the fans had a chance to see a perfect Colts team go 15-0 and I think that is where much of the debate is still coming from.

I have no problem w/ resting starters, a team has to see what the backups can do, but the Colts were a special case.

I don't THINK Easterbrook wrote "Game Over" in his notebook, I KNOW he wrote "Game Over." Also, a weasel coach won the National Championship, that has to burn him up.

KentAllard said...

"Expect the unexpected. Shanahan doesn't care what you or I think. He drafted Maurice Clarett in the third round"

Peter thinks drafting Clarett is a sign of someone who knows how to build a team? I remember the Bronco boards speculating on whether Shanahan was stoned when he made the pick. This was a guy with character issues (obviously) who had sat out for two years, and ran a slower 40 at the combine than half the offensive lineman that year (I think it was something like a 4.93). As later results showed, it was a stupid, stupid pick, and the first time I noticed that Shanahan had truly lost his grip.

Bengoodfella said...

That blurb about Maurice Clarett is my favorite part of the Peter King mailbag. As if drafting Maurice Clarett over a ton of other players was a good move. I don't think anyone really knew what Mike Shanahan was thinking and the only ones who gave him the benefit of the doubt did so because of who he was.

That was a bad pick and really a sign that Shanahan was looking for talent in players where there really wasn't any.

KentAllard said...

The next running back taken after Clarett in 2005 was Marion Barber, so I imagine Denver could have done better.

Bengoodfella said...

Mike Shanahan = Epic Fail. I would say Barber would have been a better fit for Denver. They could have also gotten:

Brandon Jacobs
Kerry Rhodes
Jason Brown
Chris Canty

That was just the fourth round. I left out Trent Cole, Jay Ratliff or the undrafted Ryan Grant.

Anonymous said...

Hey, you *really* think the TCU Boise St game was better than Iowa GT? I'm pissed about GT losing but hot diggity damn, didn't Iowa pretty much prove that if Stanzi had been healthy at the end, they would have been legitly in the mix?

It was just an awesome defensive performance, and Paul Johnson choked (not really, just delayed doing the necessary outside pitches too long and did his customary what the hell was that pass call). Iowa for sure would belong on the field much more than Cincinatti against Florida.

--shah8

ps...Vincent? What the hell? I would just think he's throwing love P. Rivers way...

Bengoodfella said...

I am a big fan of Boise State and TCU, so I was excited and enjoyed that game. I thought it was a good one. I have to admit the team I was impressed with was Iowa. I had followed them all year and didn't really think they could beat GT, but they did and they looked good doing it.

I didn't think Stanzi was a great QB but they are a different team with him out there. If he was there for the losses I think it may have been a different outcome. He gives the team a swagger and a feeling I think they lack without him.

I would have rather seen one of the 2 undefeated TCU/BSU play Iowa, Cincy, Florida.

I don't want to shortchange Jackson or Welker but one of them has to go for Johnson. I think he was just giving Rivers some love.