Wednesday, January 13, 2010

14 comments TMQ: Wild Card Weekend "Analysis"

Those of us hoping that Gregg Easterbrook would take a sabbatical during the playoffs and focus on his ever-increasingly popular book career were disappointed today when he put up his TMQ again. Who can forget last January when he criticized Jeff Fisher for not going it on fourth down against the Ravens defense in a close playoff game? I certainly can't forget my shock at seeing Gregg criticize Fisher for not going for it on fourth down when the Titans defense had shut the Ravens down fairly well all game and not getting the 1st down at that point would have essentially given the game to Ravens. Let's see if he has any equally inane criticisms for us this week.

Suddenly the Jersey/B Jets, who were "obviously out of the playoffs" according to their own coach three weeks ago,

This was clearly a motivational ploy by Rex Ryan to motivate his team. This is the second straight week Gregg hasn't realized this.

It's as if, in the third quarter on Dec. 27 in Indianapolis, when the Colts' starters left the game and handed a free victory to the Jets, there was some mystic energy transfer -- the Colts gave up their perfection and it was absorbed by the Jets.

Or as logic and a little research would show, the Jets beat the 2nd and 3rd string players for the Colts and then beat the exact same team two weeks in a row, one of those weeks the team (the Bengals) had nothing to play for. I think the Jets mystic energy is the ability to beat the Bengals and the Colts backups.

After the Vikings defeated the Packers in October, and the sports-yak world was saying Green Bay blundered by letting Brett Favre go in order to keep Rodgers, TMQ opined that ultimately the Green Bay decision was correct, because Rodgers will play well for many years to come.

I am glad Gregg can understand this. As I have said so many other times. 2-3 years of Brett Favre is not worth 13 more years of Aaron Rodgers. The Packers had seen Rodgers and Favre in practice for 3 years at the point Favre retired/unretired, didn't it occur to anyone Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson wouldn't have been so confident to play hardball with Favre unless they knew Rodgers could put up numbers that were nearly Favre's equal?

Yes, I know, I should just become a member of this site. What Peter King is to Brett Favre, I am slowly becoming to Aaron Rodgers. I will scale back on the Rodgers mentions, I promise.

A facemask penalty should have been called against Arizona on the fateful final play. The Cards' Michael Adams yanked hard on Rodgers' facemask an instant after the ball came loose.

But Gregg, you don't understand...the official can't pay attention to whether it was a forward pass AND whether a penalty should be called. Gosh, how dare Gregg criticize the officials here. If only there were other officials on the field who could make this call correctly...

A facemask call against Arizona would have nullified the turnover ("the spot of enforcement is the spot of the foul and the ball reverts to the offensive team") and given Green Bay a first down.

Even though I didn't care about this game, I wanted this play to be called back on a penalty just to see the Arizona crowd reaction. Can you imagine the madness that would have ensued among the crowd if the officials had called a facemask penalty on Adams, negated the touchdown and given the Packers a 1st down? Not to mention Rodgers had been picking on Adams all night and pretty much burning him at will, there is a good chance Michael Adams would have hung himself with the official's flag after the game if this facemask penalty was called against him.

(Speaking of Michael Adams, every time I heard the announcers say his name I thought of the 5'10" point guard for the Bullets and Hornets...then I thought of his jump shot, which I used to try and emulate because he barely kept his guidehand on the ball before shooting. I got to the point I could hit 3 point shots in the "Adams style" but couldn't hit a 2 point shot to save my life. These are the things you wonder about when you get old like me.)

With Peyton Manning, Indianapolis is 0-3 in the playoffs when having a bye, and 7-5 in the playoffs when required to play in the wild-card round.

I am not saying this number is a trend, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't taking this into account when picking this game for the upcoming weekend. That's a big difference in record when having a bye and not having a bye. Basically, Peyton Manning has never won a playoff game when he has had a bye week...and he had a bye week this past week.

If the Colts honk out this weekend after giving up their final two regular-season games, they will never, ever hear the end of it -- and that's pressure.

Which is why I didn't understand why Jim Caldwell and Bill Polian put this extra pressure on themselves. Injury talk fades away (anyone still talking about the Welker injury among the media?), but talk of a team giving up a perfect season and then losing in the playoffs isn't going away quickly. Stopping the Colt momentum train at 14-0 was a big risk in my mind in the court of public perception.

As for Minnesota, Brett Favre, like any skilled veteran quarterback, wants to be blitzed, because it insures man-on-man coverage.

Yes, because every single time a team blitzes they are automatically playing man-to-man coverage. A team would never play zone coverage behind a blitz would they? That would be insanity!

Dallas blitzes less than any NFL team.

Well it is easy to not blitz when you have 4-5 guys rushing the quarterback and three of those guys could potentially make the Pro Bowl. Not many teams WANT to blitz, but some are forced to do so to get pressure on the quarterback. So blitzing isn't always about being aggressive, but also finding a way to pressure the opposing quarterback.

That's me knocking down Gregg's inference that blitzing less often is good all the time.

The idea that the Jets, who just a month ago looked cover-your-eyes awful, could defeat the Chargers at home seems preposterous.

I am a little confused by what Gregg means by this statement. The most the Jets have lost by this year has been 17 points to New England. The worst team they have lost to this year is Buffalo in overtime and they went 4-4 at the beginning of the year and 5-3 in the second half of the year (not including the win over Cincinnati this past week). I don't know if the Jets are going to beat the Chargers or not, but I wouldn't say them beating the Chargers at home would be "preposterous."

Early in the year, the Saints were jumping out to early leads; opponents had to abandon the running game, allowing New Orleans to mask its weakness against the rush. Late in the season, the New Orleans offense slowed down; in close games, opponents exposed the New Orleans run defense.

This is a good point by Gregg. It's amazing how many NFL analysts can't seem to understand this fact. I am not saying the Saints defense is bad, but I can't explain how many times I heard Peter King and company say that the Saints had improved so much on defense, when they just had large leads and the other team couldn't catch up. I don't want to take anything away from the New Orleans defense, but it's a lot easier to play defense when the other team doesn't have the option of running the ball.

Obviously the Colts would rather win the Super Bowl at 17-2 than lose it at 18-1. But had Indianapolis achieved a perfect 19-0 season, that would have swung sports wisdom to a consensus that Manning is better than Brady.

Yeah maybe, but sports wisdom (????) would also say that Brady has 3 Super Bowl wins to Manning's 2 Super Bowl wins. I think this argument is going to last as long as Brady as more Super Bowl wins than Manning.

If you're making the harmless $5 workplace bet on the NFL playoffs, take the home teams this weekend. Home teams in the NFL divisional round are the surest thing in sports. Since the current playoff format was adopted in 1990, home teams in the divisional round are 56-20, a .737 winning percentage.

Actually, since home teams in the divisional round have a .737 winning percentage it would make more sense to choose 3 of the 4 home teams and not all of them. So if a gambler is trying to be exactly right, coming as close to the winning percentage since 1990 might make more sense. Therefore I think a smart gambler would choose 3 out of 4 home teams to win this weekend.

Home teams dominate the NFL divisional round -- check-mark them in your office pool. You don't even need to know who's playing!

Last year in the division round 3 of out 4 home teams lost. The year before that 2 out of 4 teams lost at home. The year before that 2 out of 4 teams lost at home. So out of the 20 losses since 1990, 7 have happened in the last three years. So feel free everyone to just blindly pick the home team, like Gregg says, if you want to be wrong...since the trend seems to clearly not be going towards the home team in the divisional round winning their game automatically.

For the past two years, the stock play of every high school and college passing offense has been the receiver hitch screen -- especially popular in high school because it is the easiest pass for a novice quarterback to complete. This year the play has been showing up in the NFL, where defenses aren't accustomed to it. Dallas called a receiver hitch screen to Miles Austin -- touchdown, behind a pull block from tackle Marc Colombo.

This was the FIRST year the hitch screen appeared in the NFL. If you believe that, then I have some ocean front property I would love to sell you.

Sour Play of the Wild Card Round: Because their rushing game is so strong, the Jets execute the waggle -- fake toss one way, bootleg the other way -- better than any other NFL club.

Gregg knows this because he is well-versed and knowledgeable in the NFL's "Waggle Rankings" that don't actually exist.

Seemingly finished, with Arizona leading 31-10 at home, Green Bay scored to make it 31-17 -- then Green Bay executed an onside kicked and recovered the ball, which was sweet. Sour was that the Cardinals were not prepared for an onside kick -- the entire Arizona front line was retreating as foot struck ball.

There is a reason this onside kick worked against Arizona and that is because it was a surprise. Maybe Arizona should have expected the onside kick, but I don't know if it is logical to criticize a team for not ALWAYS expecting an onside kick.

Play That Made the Football Gods Chortle: Trailing by the new-economy score of 24-7, New England faced third-and-2 at midfield. Bill Belichick called a quick out to Kevin Faulk -- the very play that failed on fourth-and-2 against Indianapolis earlier this season. It failed again. Then Belichick sent in the punting unit, though any statistical analysis would say to go for it on fourth-and-2 from midfield when trailing by 17 points.

This was chicken shit, I will admit that. The Patriots should have gone for it.

They were booing loudly and lustily in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium, when early errors by the home team staked the Ravens to a quick lead. Way to support your team, New England fans!

As much as I would love to rip the New England Patriots fans for doing this, it was completely justified. This is the playoffs where one loss means you are out for the year. There is no excuse for playing a terrible game at this point in the season. If fans paid for tickets they have a right to boo when the team doesn't show up for a playoff game. It doesn't mean they are jumping off a bandwagon, they just don't appreciate the effort being put forth. I booed the entire Carolina Panthers team last year in the playoff game against Arizona and it wasn't wrong. That's my opinion.

There was intense booing after Tom Brady's second first-quarter interception, more booing after Belichick ordered a draw on third-and-20, still more booing after Brady threw the ball away on a second-and-goal. Sure, you've won three Super Bowls in a decade, but what have you done for us lately? Either the New England home crowd is incredibly spoiled, or it's comprised of 68,765 fair-weather friends.

Or possibly the fans paid extra money for a playoff ticket to watch the team lay down against an opponent they had beaten earlier in the year and were favored to beat again. It's not being a fair weather fan (or friend), it is just expecting to get their money's worth from a game. Sure, maybe the Patriot fans are a little spoiled but there is nothing wrong with having high expectations for a team who has a home game in the playoffs. Simply because the Patriots have won 3 Super Bowls in the 2000's doesn't mean the fans should not care about the team winning or not.

New England's offensive tactics, which seemed fresh and original in 2007, looked tired and predictable on Sunday -- endless curls and comebacks.

In 2007 they had Donte Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney, Wes Welker, and Randy Moss running the pass patterns. In 2009, they had Randy Moss, Julian Edelman, and Sam Aiken running those pass patterns. It's more of an offensive personnel problem than a problem that the league has caught up to them.

And for all the draft choices and free agency bonuses New England has invested in its defensive front seven, no Pat ever touched Ray Rice as he ran up the middle for 83 yards on the game's first snap.

I believe the Patriots have a grand total of 3 1st round draft picks in the front seven of their staring defense. It's a decent amount, but it is not like New England runs a bunch of 1st round draft picks out there that don't produce on a regular basis.

Trailing 33-14 with 7:24 remaining, New England faced fourth-and-11 on the Baltimore 26. You're the coach -- what would you do here? The deficit is 19, meaning at least two touchdowns and a field goal are needed. Belichick ordered a field goal attempt, which shanked, effectively ending the game.

My comment on Twitter immediately after this happened:

Somewhere Gregg Easterbrook is writing in a notebook, "Game over" and including that missed FG attempt in his TMQ. He's so predictable.

He is so predictable at times.

The Rooney Rule, that NFL teams cannot hire a new head coach or general manager without interviewing a minority candidate, in recent use smacks of snake oil. The Redskins hired Bruce Allen as general manager, then Mike Shanahan as coach, without any meaningful consideration of anyone else. Skins assistant coach Jerry Gray, who is African-American, appears to have been interviewed strictly to satisfy the letter of the rule; the spirit of the rule was ignored. Seattle appears to have hired Pete Carroll as coach without giving meaningful consideration to anyone else. The Seahawks interviewed Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who is black, but reportedly not until they were already finalizing a deal with Carroll.

The Rooney Rule does have its merits and it also helped some minority candidates get an interview when they may not have otherwise. I have always been under the idea that a team who doesn't hire a minority candidate for a position or chooses to ignore minority candidates will eventually be an inferior team at some point, because they refuse to hire the best talent available. Sure, it may take a few years, but being overly discriminating reduces the talent pool a team has to choose from. That's clearly not a good thing and can't help a team in the long run. So I think Washington and Seattle may end up paying by not hiring qualified minority (or non-minority) candidates when given the opportunity. I think that will be payback for going around the Rooney Rule...watching Frazier or another qualified minority candidate succeed somewhere else.

If it were me in Leslie Frazier's position, I would have refused to interview knowing that I was literally the token minority candidate. Of course he wants to interview for a head coaching position, so it is hard for him to turn down a chance, but it would be the principle of the matter for me.

You'd ask, "Why does anyone agree to participate in this charade?" Because the NFL is a fraternity, and if you want to continue as a member, you go along to get along.

Sadly, I believe this to be true.

Ted Cottrell, who did a great job as defensive coordinator for the Bills, Jets and Vikings, got called in for so many head-coaching interviews that were shams to cover the Rooney Rule that it seemed to burn him out, reduce his effectiveness and make him bitter about the NFL. Cottrell may have actually believed he was being considered for the jobs! He's now exiled to the UFL, and that's not because he forgot how to coach.

What??????? So Ted Cottrell interviewed TOO OFTEN for head coaching positions and the fact he didn't get these jobs made him get bitter and worse at his job? Gregg knows this because.......? Then he was "exiled" to the UFL because he was bitter and burned out, but still a good coach, even though Gregg said himself his effectiveness had been reduced?

I just want to make sure I get Gregg's story straight because honestly, it seems a bit ridiculous. Cottrell did get a bad deal in San Diego, but he is also 0-6 as a head coach in the UFL, so there is a little data pointing to him not being a great coach.

More importantly, I have no idea how Gregg is capable of going into Cottrell's mind to know exactly that he got bitter and burned out and that's how he became a less effective coach.

The performance of African-Americans as head coaches and front-office executives dispels any previous prejudice: Is there an NFL owner who today would hesitate to hire Tony Dungy or Jerry Reese? Thus perhaps we no longer need a Rooney Rule. The rule did its job, and now can be retired.

Contrarily, the fact Carroll and Shanahan got the job without a minority candidate being considered or contacted for the job before those two coaches were contacted is perhaps proof the Rooney Rule still has a place in the NFL.

Another Reason Old Media in Decline: Tuesday Morning Quarterback was a lifelong subscriber to Columbia Journalism Review until, a few years ago, the phone rang at 8 p.m. during a family Sunday dinner,

Not during Sunday night family dinner! Did the man with the gun to Gregg's head force him to answer the phone during this precious dinner hour?

and it was a CJR telemarketer calling to ask if I wanted to extend my subscription. Instead, I said with full righteous mettle, "Cancel my subscription!"

Does this person count as a telemarketer since Gregg is already a customer? I think I would argue "no," since Gregg already has an established relationship with the telemarketer's company.

I Hired Him, I Supervise Him, But He's the One to Blame: The three teams which fired offensive coordinators on the season's eve -- Buffalo, Jacksonville and Tampa -- finished a combined 16-32. Firing a coordinator sure helped!

With the season ended, the Bears and Giants are among teams to fire coordinators, with Lovie Smith firing a defensive coordinator for the second time in three seasons, while Tom Coughlin fired a coordinator for the second time in four seasons.

One of the times Tom Coughlin fired a defensive coordinator eventually led to him hiring a defensive coordinator who helped lead the team to a Super Bowl victory. Then said coordinator left for a head coaching job with the St. Louis Rams and Coughlin was forced to promote the coordinator he fired, Bill Sheridan. There's a little more to the story Gregg doesn't mention to help prove his point. It's another example of Gregg leaving out small facts to cause the reader to be influenced that what Gregg is implying is true.

Head coaches want fans, and team owners, to assume the coordinators are responsible for whatever goes wrong. But coordinators are hired by the head coaches -- and supervised by them. If the coordinators are screwing up, and a principal role of the head coach is to supervise the coordinators, then what, exactly, are the head coaches doing all day as the coordinators screw up?

This is really nonsense. Under Gregg's theory he puts forth here, anytime an employee doesn't perform well in a position, the hiring manager or supervisor should quit because he hired that person. It really doesn't make sense. It's possible for a superior to hire the wrong employee in an organization and it not be the superior's fault.

Jersey/B at Cincinnati Analysis: This game was over when the Cincinnati linemen did not come out with bare arms.

Of course. Why wouldn't that be the exact reason the Bengals lost the game? Most games are lost because of non-football reasons like this, at least in Gregg's world.

There were five downs on which a blitzer reached Carson Palmer without ever being blocked by anyone. When the Jets blitz, their corners press -- to counter the Jets blitz, throw deep and make them pay.

It's as simple as that. When the Jets blitz, just throw the ball in the direction of Darrelle Revis, the best cornerback in the NFL right now, and good things will happen for your team. Or always throw to the corner opposite Revis and then throw into what will most likely double coverage. See how simple it is to throw an interception, I mean, beat the blitz by throwing deep?

Instead, Cincinnati constantly attempted rinky-dinky short passes against the Jersey/B blitz, not making the Jets pay a price for their tactics.

An equation Gregg still hasn't figured out:

Blitzing = Less time for the quarterback to throw the ball = shorter passes to the hot read = rinky dinky short passes.

It's not that the Bengals wanted to throw short passes, the blitz necessitated that. Going deep wasn't always an option for them.

The Jets -- was I totally wrong about them? Two weeks ago, TMQ wrote that although Jersey/B's formula of first-ranked defense and first-ranked rushing attack "seems designed to win outdoor games in January," nevertheless, "the Jets are just a terrible team." Suddenly they are not a terrible team.

Teams that can run the ball well, can throw the ball when necessary and play great defense are always going to have a chance to succeed in the playoffs. It's not a fact, but it's pretty close.

Two Jets defensive starters, Jim Leonhard and Marques Douglas, were undrafted. Douglas has been waived by four NFL teams, Leonhard wasn't recruited out of high school and had to walk on at Wisconsin. Kids, never give up!

Never give up. There may be a one in a million chance that you walk on your college football team and then end up starting in the NFL, but hang on to that one in a million chance because it could happen! One in a million isn't that bad, so hang all your dreams on these odds!

How's that for a motivational message?

Hidden Play of the Wild Card Round: On the first offensive snap of overtime, Green Bay ball at its 20, Greg Jennings ran a Z-in deep, beat his defender by 10 yards -- and Aaron Rodgers overthrew him. Had the pass been on target, Jennings likely would have gone the length of the field for the winning score. Instead, two snaps later, Rodgers fumbled and Arizona won.

How in the hell is this play "hidden?" Aaron Rodgers and the entire Green Bay fan base are probably still seeing this missed throw in their nightmares. This was a play that would have won the game for the Packers in overtime, there is no way this play was hidden.

Trailing by the new economy score of 24-7, Green Bay reached first-and-goal on the Arizona 9 with a minute remaining in the first half, holding two timeouts. The Pack let the clock run, apparently hoping to get a touchdown as time expired. Instead what they got was a personal foul on Arizona with four seconds remaining, which moved the ball to first-and-goal at the 2. From there, Green Bay kicked a field goal as the clock expired, with an unused timeout to donate to charity. Had the Packers conserved even a little time, they would have been in position for a likely touchdown just before intermission, and four more points in a game that ultimately went to overtime.

Gregg Easterbrook has major causation problems. Yes, the Packers should have probably conserved the clock better at this point in the game, but it is not the direct cause of them losing the game (the effect). Yes, if the Packers had a touchdown there they would have won the game, but if the Packers scored a touchdown there, that would have changed the entire sequence of events in the 2nd half as well. Not to go all "Lost" on you, but maybe the Packers go for a field goal when they went for it on fourth down to catch up to the Cardinals or the Packers don't try the onside kick they recovered. My point is that the game probably wouldn't have gone EXACTLY like it did if the Packers had gotten a touchdown in this situation.

I dislike it when Gregg takes an event that happens in a football game and second guesses that decision based on the outcome of the game. The Packers mismanaged the clock here, but there is no way they could have known this clock mismanagement would have cost them the game (assuming they even get a touchdown instead of a field goal). I would have to say the absolutely terrible pass defense had more of an effect on the outcome of the game then poor clock management at the end of the first half.

What really puzzled me about Green Bay tactics was why the Packers didn't go for two. Scoring to make it Arizona 45, Green Bay 44 with 1:51 left in regulation, Green Bay took the singleton. By going for one, the Packers handed the ball back to an offense that averaged 9.3 yards per play, punted only once on the day and had two timeouts.

I think there could have been a case made for going for two on the part of the Packers. Of course they won the coin flip and if it weren't for the "hidden" deep incompletion to Greg Jennings they may have won the game regardless.

If Green Bay had won, TMQ would have featured a prominent "Stop Me Before I Blitz Again" item. Arizona blitzed a way-too-high 32 times on 50 Packers called passes (attempts, sacks and scrambles). Five sacks resulted, but so did numerous Green Bay big plays. Arizona was blitzing on both of Greg Jennings' long receptions in the third quarter, blitzing on all second-half Green Bay touchdowns (including a double safety blitz on the touchdown to Jordy Nelson) and blitzing on the fourth-and-5 converted by Green Bay. Perfect chance for TMQ to denounce the blitz! Then Arizona blitzed on the overtime sack-and-fumble down that won the game.

I guess Gregg is pretty much admitting he only brings up some stuff when it works. At least he admits it, though it doesn't give him any credit in my mind.

As for the no-call of grabbing the face mask, league spokesman Greg Aiello told The New York Times a no-call could be justified if Michael Adams of Arizona did not twist or pull Rodgers' face mask. It sure looked as though Adams did, but set that aside and check the rule example cited by the league -- one that applies to a "runner." Rodgers was a passer on the play, and NFL rules make a significant distinction between a runner and a passer...One -- Rule 12, Section 2, Article 12, Paragraph 3 -- makes any contact to the passer's "head, neck or face" a personal foul...Does anyone believe a special rule that protects a quarterback's "head, neck or face" nevertheless allows grabbing the quarterback's face mask?

I am not as up on the NFL rulebook as I possibly should be, but it certainly sounds to me like the grabbing of the facemask is a part of the quarterback's head, neck, or face. Not to mention, I would love to know how Michael Adams is so strong as to be able to grab Rodgers' facemask while being in the movement of sacking him and not tug on the facemask at all. That is some real muscle control he has.

Everyone accepts that Arizona won the game, but the NFL should muster the courage to admit the zebras blew this call.

Good luck with that. I like how the NFL said it is not a facemask if the player doesn't get pulled or twisted. I wonder how the rule would actually hold up if a defensive lineman just grabbed the offensive lineman's facemask while rushing the passer and never twisted or pulled the helmet, but just kept his hand there for a short period of time. The odds are good the officials would call it a facemask.

The undrafted Romo, who has wilted in previous late-season pushes, this year looks like a star quarterback.

Now here is a Peter King-esque statement. This year he looks like a star quarterback? He had a pretty good year this year, but it wasn't that much different from his previous yearly performances:

His statistics were improved, but he has always been a good quarterback.

As for Philadelphia, could it be that Jamaal Jackson was the league's MVP? Since the Eagles center went out injured in Week 16, the Philadelphia offense declined from among the league's best to 14 points in its final two outings. Many snaps were bad, disrupting play timing, and backup center Nick Cole doesn't understand how to move laterally to help other blockers, which Jackson does well.

Or maybe Jamaal Jackson isn't the league MVP, but Nick Cole is just that bad at being Jackson's backup. Maybe this statement is tongue-in-cheek, but why does Gregg go to the extreme and say Jackson may be the MVP, rather than recognize the more likely idea that Cole is not a great backup center?

Colt McCoy was injured early and freshman Garrett Gilbert entered, never having played in a pressure situation in college. Instantly it was obvious the game would turn on whether Gilbert could perform cold.

So the BCS National Championship hinged on whether one of the quarterbacks for the two teams could have a good game? You don't say! Tell me more!

I think it was obvious prior to kickoff how the Texas quarterback (whoever it was) performed would turn the game one way or another.

Greg Davis, the Longhorns offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, was nowhere to be seen as Gilbert stood alone.

Quite possibly Greg Davis was in the offensive coordinator's box overlooking the field. I know this because I watched the game and ABC showed him approximately 132 times. I know Gregg attended the game, so he may not have seen ABC show Greg Davis that many times, but as I have said before, if he is going to criticize people he should do a little bit more homework. Many offensive coordinators have a box that oversees the field when they are calling plays. Of course, him not completely doing his homework is a constant complaint I have about Gregg and he has never improved upon it, so it may be too much to ask.

(In "Avatar," the Na'vi word "scown" means buffoon.)

Next Week: Unable to think of a Person of the Year, TMQ names a Scown of the Year.

I nominate Gregg Easterbrook. Also, I am tired of "Avatar." Really tired of it already. I haven't seen it and was going to until everyone said how great it was. Now, I just want it to go away.


The Casey said...

I can't believe that you don't understand that Greg Davis knew TMQ was there, and made sure he wasn't on the sidelines so that Easterbrook would know how inadequate a coach he really was.

Also, for some reason nothing turns me off of a movie faster than everyone telling me how good it's going to be. I may as well put it in my rental queue now.

wv: unfinked

RuleBook said...

- The Cowboys are healthy -- the sole NFL team with no one on injured reserve. (Philadelphia, whom Dallas just beat, has eight players on IR.)

The Cowboys have no one on IR as long as you ignore the fact that Stephen Hodge and Brandon Williams are on IR. Also, according to the Eagle's website, they currently have 7 players on IR.

- Stats of the Week No. 2: The Ravens won a game in which they passed for only 34 yards.

Unless you are the Browns, Bucs, or Raiders, a team only throwing for 34 yards typically implies that they are running a lot, which would imply that they have a lead, which means that they are the likely winners. Any time a QB throws only 10 passes in a game, regardless of the other statistics, his team probably won.

- I think the Rooney Rule has its place, but, in my opinion, it should be for open interviews. In other words, if a team wants a particular coach (such as the Lions with Mariucci, or the Seahawks with Carroll), they should be able to hire them immediately. If a team interviews multiple people, then one should be a minority. I think the rule forces sham interviews.

- The three teams that fired offensive coordinators on the season's eve -- Buffalo, Jacksonville and Tampa -- finished a combined 16-32.

Except that the three teams that fired offensive coordinators before the season were Buffalo, Kansas City, and Tampa Bay, which finished a combined 13-35.

- Green Bay's defense, ranked second in the NFL, gave up 532 yards and 51 points.

Green Bay's defense gave up 45 points. Their offense gave up the final 6.

HH said...

So much anger today...

If the Colts honk out this weekend after giving up their final two regular-season games, they will never, ever hear the end of it -- and that's pressure.

TMQ advocated resting players and losing to reduce pressure. F*** you.

Seriously, how many starters for the league's top-ranked defense can you name without peeking?

I'm not a Jets fan, and I can name most starters and a few backups. Don't f***ing blame me 'cause you don't pay attention to the sport.

In the second half, Green Bay played "voodoo" defense: no one down in a stance, the defensive front dancing around, often only one defensive lineman on the field. Obviously it didn't work -- Arizona averaged 9.3 yards per offensive play -- so why did Green Bay stick with an unorthodox defensive tactic that was backfiring?

Arizona scored 24 points in the first half. I can't check how much they averaged per play by half, but I imagine they didn't do better in the second half. Since Green Bay wasn't stopping them with standard defense early, what did they have to lose with the radar defense [as it's called, which TMQ knows, since he wrote about it years ago]?

the scorer ruled the play a fumble -- see the notation near the end of the league's Game Book. It can't be a fumble when the quarterback is trying to tuck the ball!

So it's a bad scoring decision. It makes no difference, since the TD is legit either way. [Unless you consider the pretty blatant hit to the face of Aaron Rodgers.]

TMQ was at the BCS championship, where half an hour before kickoff, the public-address announcer read a disclaimer that included this warning: "Game events may include pyrotechnics, loud sounds and use of aircraft." What was the latter supposed to inspire me to do -- scramble interceptors?

Gregg Easterbrook hates pregnant women, children, and the elderly, and anyone else who is sensitive to loud sounds, such as a sonic boom.

Bengals offensive line, you are guilty of the single worst plays of the season -- so far.

"Single plays" is grammatically and logically wrong. Gregg Easterbrook is the single worst people in the world.

Bengoodfella said...

Casey, I know I guess I totally missed that Greg Davis was showing his coaching inadequacies by sitting up in the box calling the plays. I bet Davis is never in the box, he is usually on the field, but he wanted to display his poor coaching method to the world.

I will probably see "Avatar" but all the hype about it really is making me wonder if I am going to be let down.

Rulebook, I almost checked to see how many players were on IR for each team but decided against it. I probably should have because that was low hanging fruit.

I thought the same thing about Stat of the Week No. 2. It means your team is running the ball very well and that's not a bad thing.

That's an interesting view on the Rooney Rule. I wouldn't mind it because I think some teams turn it into a sham, but in the end I really believe a team is going to hire the best coach for their team. If they don't it's their loss.

Thanks for correcting those numbers. I should have caught that. You would think if a guy wrote an entire article about something he would make sure his numbers added up.

HH, this was one of his worst TMQ's this year overall. Nothing stood out, but there was horribleness to be found everywhere.

I believe it was Gregg who said a perfect season means nothing because he assumed the team wouldn't win the Super Bowl b/c the Pats didn't win the Super Bowl. He changed his mind it seems on this issue.

You know I hate it when a sportswriter just assume we are all as stupid as he is. I just realized the Jets are missing a HUGE part of their team...Kris Jenkins, who is on IR, which disproves his theory good teams in the playoffs are healthy. I can name almost the entire starting lineup for the Jets on offense and defense, I like football and don't like the Jets. That's what fans can do.

Good catch on the radar defense. I didn't know TMQ talked about it a few years ago. I will have to check that out.

I like how he acted as if a sonic boom or a loud noise wouldn't scare the shit out of the crowd. There is probably some drunk ass in the crowd who thought the place was under attack if the warning wasn't made.

I agree and nominate TMQ for worst person of the week.

rich said...

I'm going to do the unspeakable and defend TMQ (to an extent):

The Jets may not have lost their games by a lot of points, but look at their losses:

Saints by 14 (10 points scored)
Miami by 4 (27 points, 309 yards offense)
Buffalo by 3 (13 points)
Miami by 5 (25 points, 378 yards offense)
Jacksonville by 2 (22 points, 322 yards offense)
NE by 17 (14 points scored)
Atlanta by 3 (7 points scored)

So while they weren't "cover your eyes awful" as a team, they were pretty bad offensively (at least passing). They averaged 321 yards a game (20th in the league) and also had 21 Ints with 12 fumbles, 30 of which led to TOs. Toss in the league's 31st ranked passing game (only Cleveland had less yards passing).

Baltimore this year followed a very similar path, but averaged 30 yards/game more and had 22 TOs. So while you can say they ran the ball well, so they didn't have to pass that often, you also have to consider that the Jets ran the ball because they simply can't pass the ball that well.

I Hired Him, I Supervise Him, But He's the One to Blame: The three teams which fired offensive coordinators on the season's eve -- Buffalo, Jacksonville and Tampa -- finished a combined 16-32. Firing a coordinator sure helped!

Well as RuleBook said his facts are wrong, but lets consider for an instance the possibility that the teams might have actually have been worse with the old coordinator. Did they suck? yes, could they have sucked more? Absolutely.

Also maybe the coordinator was trying to implement a system that didn't match the personnel or that the head coach didn't want to implement. TMQ is a moron.

There were five downs on which a blitzer reached Carson Palmer without ever being blocked by anyone. When the Jets blitz, their corners press -- to counter the Jets blitz, throw deep and make them pay.

So wait, the Jets blitzed got to the QB without being blocked, but somehow blitzing is still bad in his opinion?

Instead, Cincinnati constantly attempted rinky-dinky short passes against the Jersey/B blitz, not making the Jets pay a price for their tactics.

Other than the time lack of time in the pocket to let plays develop, there's another reason you do these "rinky-dinky" passes. When a blitz is on, then there's at least one player who typically drops back in coverage who isn't there anymore. So where do the holes in the defense open up? Wherever the blitzer was. Since most of time, this is a LB, you go short to take advantage of a missing LB. If your WRs can either get the CBs downfield enough or block well, you can make decent gains on this. Notice how when GB blitzed, the result was a short slant in the holes left by the linebacker.

The undrafted Romo, who has wilted in previous late-season pushes, this year looks like a star quarterback.

And high round draft picks Jason Witten (3rd), Leonard Davis (1st), Andre Gurode (1st), Flozell Adams (1st) and DeMarcus Ware (1st) also playing really, really well.

Finally good catch on TMQs math error of the week. Boy for a guy with an econ degree (right?) from a good school, he sure does suck at math.

HH said...


Right on. The undrafted Romo whose backfield includes Felix Jones [first] and whose defense has at least two first-round corners. Pardon me if I'm not that impressed.

Martin said...

The Pats have spent 3 first round picks on their front 7. Figure that is a third of their starters, and over a ten year period, they spent a third of their 1st round picks in that area. Doesn't sound excessive to me. Yet again, TMQ not making a point, but just typing shit down on paper.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, it's not unthinkable to defend TMQ. I don't run a dictatorship around here. Point taken, they may not have been awful but they certainly weren't tops in the league in offense and Sanchez struggled in the passing game. I am open to the idea they ran the ball well because they didn't pass it well. You make a good point, but I don't think it would be preposterous if they beat the Chargers this weekend.

Gregg doesn't consider the team could have been worse before firing the OC. It's part of his black/white train of thought we see every week. He sees the team sucks and thinks it must be b/c the OC got fired and the coach doesn't know what he is doing. It's not always right.

Blitzing is a bad thing when it doesn't work. Also, I think we can quit the whole "Romo wasn't drafted" thing b/c it doesn't matter since he is a great quarterback. We know he wasn't drafted and we have moved past that. Gregg takes one person on a team not drafted and uses that person as an example of why highly paid players suck and ignores the highly paid players around that undrafted player. There is really nothing wrong with drafting players in the 1st round and them playing for you team. It's actually a good thing.

Martin, the Patriots do have 3 1st rounders by my count and it isn't excessive. Plus, it's not like they are players that stink. It's Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo. They had one bad game.

Martin said...

I think I found someone as bad at statistics as TMQ. A writer for ESPN jsut claimed that Kiffin left Tennessee because the SEC is too tough a conference, and winning at USC in the Pac-10 will be easier.

I'm not going to argue that premise, cause it could be valid, and makes some sense.

Then he bases his argument on the OOC records of the 2 conferences. Straight up. Even though every college football fan on the planet knows that the SEC regularly plays the weakest OOC schedule, because they beat up on each other in the strongest conference in the country. Why get hurt or take chances with OOC games? The SEC regularly has rating #s strength enough that playing a Div-2 school, and the Louisiana-Techs and Pacific Universities doesn't hurt them much. this tends to inflate that OOc schedule record just a smidge.

On the other hand, the Pac-10 regularly plays the toughest OOC schedule because it often has a mediocre conference rating. It rarely schedules Div-2 teams, with 3 of it's members having never played a school from Div-2. This tougher scheduling will result in a lesser record, as they play tougher teams.

Go ahead and cite BCS championships, amount of SEC teams in the Top 10, Top 25, even OOC records vs BCS teams (though I don't know who this favors) to prove the well established point that the SEC is a tougher conference, but for God's sake, NOT accumulated OOC records for ALL opponents. That's the single worst and dumbest stat you could take.

Jason Vida, you fail.

Edward said...

Trailing 33-14 with 7:24 remaining, New England faced fourth-and-11 on the Baltimore 26. You're the coach -- what would you do here? The deficit is 19, meaning at least two touchdowns and a field goal are needed. Belichick ordered a field goal attempt, which shanked, effectively ending the game.

I don't get this. TMQ's logic:

1. The Patriots need a field goal at some point in the game.
2. The Patriots elect to kick a field goal instead of going for it on 4th-and-11.
3. GAME OVER!!!!!!11111oneoneone!

Bengoodfella said...

Martin, he can't base it completely on OOC records. That's terrible information. The SEC teams like Florida and others did play easier OOC schedules, but I think the Pac-10 plays a tough OOC schedule. Maybe his editor told him that he couldn't use any good reasoning to make his case and to find something that would initially resemble terrible reasoning for saying the Pac-10 is easier?

It should be a pretty easy thing to prove the SEC is harder than the Pac-10 but OOC schedules are not the way to do it.

Edward, that's a good point. TMQ admitted NE needed a FG, but then criticized them for going for a FG. I knew the second they kicked it and it missed Gregg Easterbrook was going to criticize that move.

Go said...

This Colt undefeated story is getting really old. First, there was no guarentee they would have beaten the Jets with the starters and second there is no way the Colts play all their starters in week 17 in that blizzard. And if they did, there's a good chance they would have lost anyways.
Whether they went 16-0 or 14-2, they still would have a bye week in the playoffs.
Third, going 16-0 is not historic anymore. It's been done.
Lastly, even if the Colts went 16-0and won the Superbowl it would still be debatable that they were the greatest team ever. The 07 Pats, 86 Bears, 93-94 Cowboys had better teams imo. Plus the Colts were very fortunate in a few games. Miami outpossessed them 45 - 15 mins. Belichik's screw-up. Kris Brown shanked the game-winning fg. Jacksonville took them to the wire.

By thw way, I really like Indy. I'm a huge Manning fan and would love to see them take it all.

Bengoodfella said...

Go, every team has a few breaks that helps them win games, but the Colts have had a few high profile ones like the Belichick fourth down call and the Miami game on MNF.

You are right in making the point they would have lost momentum before their 1st playoff game anyway. I made the point earlier, though I believed the Colts should have gone for 16-0, it didn't really matter because every team has to win all their games in the playoffs to win the Super Bowl anyway.

I wouldn't mind seeing the Colts take it though I don't really care at this point, I just want to see good games.

Jason B said...

"So if a gambler is trying to be exactly right, coming as close to the winning percentage since 1990 might make more sense. Therefore I think a smart gambler would choose 3 out of 4 home teams to win this weekend." To do as well as possible, you take all four home teams, assuming they're favored. If all four home teams are 75% to win, you don't take a 25% option just because one of the four road teams is likely to win.