Wednesday, February 3, 2010

16 comments TMQ: The Unwanted Players of the NFL (My Personal Nightmare)

Today, Gregg Easterbrook puts out his All-Unwanted All-Pro roster. Last year's edition provided a huge headache for me because Gregg doesn't understand when a player is unwanted. He thinks any time a player is not re-signed or is let go by a team, that immediately means that player is unwanted, which isn't true. For example, Gregg puts Cedric Benson on his unwanted team this year. There was no reason for an NFL team to even sign Benson because he had attitude problems and was an underachiever with the Bears. Yet, Gregg still finds him to be "unwanted" and infers the Bears should have kept him. I have honestly been dreading this TMQ, but here it is.

(I would guess I could have issues with 30% of Gregg's choices for his All-Unwanted All-Pro team, so I am just going to focus on the egregious players who were included. Feel free to point out players or facts about players he listed that I missed in the comments.)

The chances are good. Back in September, yours truly forecast an Indianapolis-New Orleans Super Bowl --

Back then Gregg said, as I wrote last week, that a team which didn't appear on Monday Night Football would win the Super Bowl along with his initial Saints-Colts prediction. Both of these teams appeared on Monday Night Football. Making multiple predictions isn't cool and I give Gregg zero credit for making the Colts-Saints prediction and may God have mercy on his soul.

When the mechanized, cybernetic Colts meet the wacky, laissez-faire Saints, I for one am expecting a fantastic game. See my scouting notes below.

The mere idea of Gregg Easterbrook giving scouting notes is hilarious in my mind. It's like Gary Busey teaching a course how to stay sane and not lose your mind in difficult times.

In the Jersey/A-New England Super Bowl, the Pats bottled up Eli Manning until the fourth quarter, when he threw for 152 yards -- the rate of a 600-yard passing game.

This is why Gregg Easterbrook giving us some scouting notes is hilarious. He takes Eli Manning's stats in one quarterback and then projects it out to a 600 yard game, like this statistic means something any more than the fact Eli Manning had a great 4th quarter in the one Super Bowl he played in.

Next week, as part of a lavish Super Bowl column, I will bestow the coveted "longest award in sports" -- the Tuesday Morning Quarterback Non-Quarterback Non-Running Back NFL MVP. The finalists are Gary Brackett, Dallas Clark, Jahri Evans, Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, Sidney Rice, Darren Sharper and Kevin Williams.

Draft breakdown of these 8 players:

1st round picks: 5
2nd round picks: 1
4th round picks: 1
Undrafted players: 1

As if I really needed to attack Gregg's fascination with undrafted players any more than I already do...5 of his 8 players up for this non-prestigious award were the same kind of highly paid 1st round draft pick that Gregg hates.

(Only players from the championship round are eligible -- if you're going to wear the mantle of Most Valuable, you better have created some value.

Because only players from teams that are good can be the Most Valuable Player. This is probably the dumbest misconception in the history of sports.

Stats of the Super Bowl Run-Up No. 10: The Colts start eight undrafted players.

How many of these players are on defense and at skill positions? That would be my question to Gregg. The Colts tend to build their defense and offensive line around undrafted players because of how much money they have invested in their skill positions.

This year's Super Bowl halftime act is The Who, a band that would be eligible for Medicare if its members were American -- Roger Daltrey is 65, Pete Townshend is about to turn 65. Now, I like senior citizens who scream into microphones as much as the next guy, but isn't the Super Bowl halftime format getting a bit geriatric?

I have no overall problems with older performers but at least let's get older performers that can still perform and a group that has the entire band together still. The Who have 2 of the 4 original members and Roger Daltry can't hit many of the notes he used to be able to hit.

What I think is ironic is the NFL is so determined to not have another Janet Jackson-incident they are inviting older performers to be the halftime it turns out instead of scarring children's eyes with Janet Jackson's nipple, they will just invite a pedophile to perform at halftime. No problem there right?

In most recent years, Indianapolis has played no-blitz, conservative defense. According to FootballOutsiders, in 2008, the Colts blitzed on just 10 percent of opponents' snaps, well below the league average of 20 percent.

When a team has Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, it is easy to not feel the need to blitz. Gregg hates blitzing so he obviously loves this. What Gregg probably would not think about is the fact the Colts defense has been the sort of weak link over the past couple of seasons, at least without Bob Sanders, so possibly blitzing more would have been a better idea.

This year, under defensive coordinator Larry Coyer -- one of the countless defensive coordinators fired in the past decade by Denver, and doing just fine elsewhere -- the Colts are up to 24 percent blitzing.

There is more that goes into being a defensive coordinator than just calling plays. Coyer has better personnel in Indianapolis than he did in Denver.

my guess is Indianapolis will play a lot of four-man rush, Cover 2 against Brees and hold off on blitzing.

I am sure the Colts will do this, especially since Dwight Freeney is questionable to play any more than 10-15 snaps in the game. Apparently Gregg isn't concerned about the Colts pass rush without Freeney. As much as Drew Brees likes being blitzed, he also likes having a lot of time in the pocket to throw, which could happen without Freeney and the Colts rushing four guys. If the Saints make the Colts secondary cover for a longer period of time, Brees will still burn them. Of course, I am not sure Gregg even thought about this.

When the Patriots set the scoring record in 2007, they constantly changed formations and personnel groups. Sean Payton has taken that lesson to heart, and the result is the highest-scoring team of this season.

I feel like Gregg always skips parts when he makes his leaps in logic. It's great to have multiple personnel groups and formations, but a team also has to have the personnel capable of doing this, which many teams don't have. So while what Gregg is saying is correct, not every team would be able to take this lesson to heart successfully because they lack the personnel to do so.

Three years ago, when the Colts won the Super Bowl, their defense, porous against the run in the regular season, played very well against the run in the postseason.

Then Gregg writes...

As long as New Orleans is still in the Super Bowl when the fourth quarter begins, the Saints have a chance, as this spontaneous, emotional squad comes alive in the fourth quarter. And Manning is only 9-8 in the postseason. It's not as if he cannot be beaten.

We all know how much I hate this statistic. Read what Gregg wrote right about the Colts defense being porous against the run (above) right before he mentioned that Manning is only 9-8 in the postseason. Possibly could the Colts defensive problems have had something to do with Manning's record in the postseason? Possibly.

For the Colts' part, Manning now does such an elaborate chicken dance as he shouts signals at the line that Indianapolis should be called for illegal motion. Often, Colts linemen reset during the Manning chicken dance, and it's not unusual for the tailback to set, then step forward to hear Manning's audible, then step back and reset. Why is this never flagged?

As far as the running back goes, when he steps forward, I believe he is considered a man in motion, so he only needs to be set for one second before the ball is snapped. I had a little tougher time figuring out how Jeff Saturday can move a little bit before the ball is snapped by him and I think he can motion or move slightly because the player is not moving abruptly. I searched and couldn't find a better reasons, but the Colts are never signaled for a false start potentially because Saturday takes his hand off the ball and what movements he does is not an attempt to draw the defense offsides. That's my best guess, but either way Gregg could have done the research I did.

Saints standouts Brees, Darren Sharper, Jeremy Shockey and Jonathan Vilma were players other teams actively wanted to offload.

I swear to God, someone has got to email Gregg Easterbrook or his editor and tell them that Drew Brees was wanted by the Chargers. He turned down a contract extension, received two offers from Miami and New Orleans and chose the higher offer. So to recap, Drew Brees turned down the Chargers offer because he wanted to be a Top 5 paid quarterback (coming off shoulder surgery), became a free agent, and signed with the Saints who desperately needed a quarterback. He was wanted by the Dolphins and Chargers but wanted more money. So in essence he is no different from any other free agent who wanted more money and got it on the free agent market.

Jonathan Vilma was wanted by the Jets, he just didn't fit the 3-4 defense they were running, and Darren Sharper wasn't re-signed because the Vikings wanted to go with their younger players at safety. He wasn't released, he was a free agent and probably could have come back to the Vikings for less money and non-guaranteed starting spot.

Someone has to email Gregg and tell him these things or his editor could do his job and tell Gregg that Drew Brees was money hungry and that is why he didn't stay with the Chargers. I know ESPN has no need for their columnists to write fact-based items on their site, but they couldn't they just require Gregg do it once? Just once not mislead the reading audience? Is that too much to ask?

The 2009 Tuesday Morning Quarterback All-Unwanted All-Pros:

I could write about these for probably 10,000 words, but I will try my best to keep them short when questioning whether these players were unwanted or not.

Here are the qualifications for my All-Unwanted All-Pros: A player must have been undrafted, or been waived, or been let go in free agency when his original club made no bona fide attempt to retain him.

Problem #1: How the hell are we supposed to know if a team made a bonafide attempt to keep a free agent? Negotiations are private. So basically Gregg is just going to make up whether he thought the team tried to keep a player or not. When in doubt, lie and just deceive the audience into thinking you have the answer...that is Gregg's general rule.

Players who left their teams via trade are not eligible, because the team received something of value in return; free agents whom their original teams wanted to retain, but could not for salary cap reasons, are not eligible.

Salary cap reasons for getting rid of player is yet another category there is no empirical evidence as to the reason a player left a team. It also irritates me when Gregg puts guys on the All-Unwanted team who were unwanted 10 years ago, like Kurt Warner, because I feel like there should be a statute of limitations at some point to still call a player "unwanted." Yes, 12 years ago Warner was unwanted, but he was pretty wanted from that point on. Obviously Gregg feels differently.

In a game, I would take my All-Unwanted squad over the Pro Bowl glory boys any day.

I would take the Pro Bowl glory boys over the All-Unwanted squad any day as well. I think we should set up this game and I think my team of Pro Bowl players would win.

Jeff Saturday*, Indianapolis (undrafted, cut by the Ravens, future first-ballot Hall of Fame entrant and 2007 Tuesday Morning Quarterback Non-Quarterback Non-Running Back NFL MVP).

I think the statute of limitations on Saturday's "unwantedness" should have run out by now. Also, is Jeff Saturday really a future first-ballot Hall of Fame entrant? I am not saying he shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame, but first ballot? I think Gregg should think this through before he just starts typing.

Tight end: Antonio Gates, San Diego (undrafted, did not play football in college).

Again, statute of limitations...

Wes Welker*, New England (undrafted, waived by San Diego, not recruited out of high school despite scoring 83 prep touchdowns and kicking a 57-yard field goal,

From Wes Welker's wikipedia page (which is actually pretty accurate when it comes to athletes because their biggest fans are usually the ones who do the writing):

Out of high school, Welker was not recruited much as he was considered to be too small to play at the college level. However, after a recruit at Texas Tech backed out of his scholarship, it was offered to Welker.

So basically, Gregg is wrong. Welker was not recruited much, but he WAS recruited...unless he is the only person I have ever heard of who got an athletic scholarship from a university without being recruited. Now that would be amazing.

Quarterback: Kurt Warner*, Arizona (undrafted out of Division I-AA Northern Iowa, played for the Arena League Iowa Barnstormers, let go by Packers and Giants, let go by Rams after he led them to club's only Super Bowl victory, future Hall of Famer).

We talked about Kurt Warner on Monday, but he was let go from the Giants for good reason and the Rams had good reason to replace Warner with Bulger. Both moves were salary cap moves since Warner was expensive and they had guys starting who deserved to start. So really Warner shouldn't even be on Gregg's unwanted team. It's also a bit of a stretch to say he was unwanted at any point after the 1999 season since he had been a free agent for 2 days when the Giants signed him and the Cardinals signed Warner early in 2005 after the Giants had released him.

Mike Gandy*, Arizona (let go by Chicago and Buffalo)

First off, he was a 3rd round pick so he was fairly highly drafted. He was cut from the Bears and Bills roster due to a mix of salary cap and performance reasons. So there is a reason he was unwanted. He was not very good with the Bills and Bears.

Jonathan Goodwin, New Orleans (let go by Jets);

I wouldn't say that Goodwin was unwanted, he left in free agency to go to the Saints. Goodwin falls under the rule that the Jets didn't keep him because of salary cap reasons. He was a free agent and the Jets already had Pete Kendall on the roster and they were planning on drafting a center (they got Gregg's Non-QB Non-RB MVP finalist, Nick Mangold in the 1st round of the 2006 draft). I would say Goodwin was not able to be re-signed by the Jets because he was going to want a starting position and more money than the Jets could offer, neither of which the Jets were willing/able to do.

Derrick Mason, Baltimore (let go by Tennessee).

Tennessee let Derrick Mason go for pure salary cap reasons. This is widely known and I am not sure how Gregg didn't know this. The Titans were having salary cap issues and had to let a number of veterans go. So he shouldn't be on this unwanted list of Gregg's.

Running backs: Cedric Benson, Cincinnati (practically launched out of Chicago as a human cannonball, the Bears were so anxious to be rid of him -- proved an enthusiastic team player for Bengals);

No team wanted Cedric Benson and the fact he was unwanted is purely because his attitude and performance stunk. He should be taken off this list simply because he was an underachieving 1st round pick until he decided he needed to earn a new contract. Then and only then he tried hard. For someone who hates underachieving 1st round picks I am not sure why Gregg felt the need to put Benson on this unwanted team.

Quarterback: Drew Brees, New Orleans (let go by San Diego, then rejected by Miami when he offered to sign there,

I discussed Brees earlier but he chose to not sign with the Chargers because they didn't give him enough guaranteed money. He wasn't rejected by the Dolphins, they didn't offer him enough guaranteed money. The Saints did offer him more guaranteed money, so he signed there.

Marques Douglas*, Jersey/B (undrafted out of Division I-AA Howard, cut by Baltimore, New Orleans, Tampa and San Francisco);

Absolutely incorrect. Douglas was signed by the 49ers as unrestricted free agent, then signed with the Buccaneers as unrestricted free agent, and then TRADED to the Ravens. So Tampa got value for Douglas. A little research goes a long way.

Leigh Bodden*, New England (undrafted out of Division I-AA Duquesne, waived by Detroit, had three interceptions in one game against Mark Sanchez)

Bodden was released for salary cap/performance reasons. Detroit would have loved to keep him, but his salary and performance didn't allow them to do this.

Darren Sharper*, New Orleans (let go by Green Bay and Minnesota);

Sharper wasn't really let go by Minnesota. His contract ran out and then rather than re-sign him they wanted to give the two safeties currently on the roster playing time.

Charles Woodson, Green Bay (future Hall of Famer cast off by Oakland as washed up four years ago).

For fear of defending the Raiders, Woodson was not re-signed by the Raiders after he had two straight seasons where he was on injured reserve at the end of the year due to leg injuries. Leg injuries are sort of a red flag for a cornerback and the Raiders had not been able to meet Woodson's salary demands so they let him go as a free agent.

There was only one team that offered him a contract that was around what he was looking to make, Green Bay. So basically Woodson wasn't cast off by the Raiders because they thought he was washed up, but wasn't re-signed because he had injury issues and wanted a lot of money.

Ben Leber, Minnesota (let go by San Diego);

Leber was not re-signed by San Diego because they had to make salary cap and roster room for Shawne Merriman. Basically the Chargers couldn't have met Leber's salary demands due to Merriman essentially being given the spot. It wasn't a bad move for the Chargers.

Bart Scott*, Jersey/B (undrafted out of Division I-AA Southern Illinois, let go by Baltimore, key piece of Rex Ryan's crazed defense).

The Ravens couldn't re-sign Scott because they had to sign Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis. They didn't have enough salary cap room for all three players. I would chalk his departure up to him being an unrestricted free agent who wanted more money than the Ravens could offer.

Unwanted head coach of the year: Wade Phillips*, Dallas. At age 62, after being fired by the Broncos and the Bills, and ridiculed for three years by the Dallas press, wins the Cowboys' first playoff victory since the Clinton presidency and receives a lucrative contract extension.

I am sorry, I can't count any head coach that has been hired 3 separate times and fired twice as being "unwanted." He's been wanted possibly too many times in his career. Few coaches get that many chances to be the head coach of an NFL team. Also, I am not sure how we should give Phillips credit for the Cowboys playoff victory since he 1-4 through his entire career. I am not against Wade Phillips, but I am not sure he was unwanted as a head coach nor am I certain this one playoff win shoves anything in his previous employer's face either.

Unwanted executive of the year: Bill Polian, Indianapolis. Built the four-peat Buffalo Bills Super Bowl squad of the early 1990s, then was fired;

Bill Polian was not fired because he wasn't wanted or any football-related reasoning, but he was fired because he didn't get along with the treasurer of the Bills front office. Also, Bill Polian is an asshole.

took over the expansion Carolina Panthers and got them to the NFC Championship Game in their second year of existence, then was forced out;

Absolutely incorrect. He was not forced out of Carolina, he was given a promotion from the General Manager position he had in Carolina to be the General Manager/President for the Colts. Polian could be seen as a money/power chasing weasel yet Gregg thinks he was forced out. I was sad when Polian left and I am not sure there was anyone in Carolina who wanted him to leave.

Think about it, what team would force out a proven GM for a journalist-turned-front office guy with no front office experience? A team in it's 3rd year of playing in the NFL certainly wouldn't do this. Polian left on his own accord. If he was forced out, how come the Panthers got a supplemental 3rd round pick for him leaving for Indianapolis?

Akin Ayodele, linebacker, Miami -- let go by Jacksonville and Dallas.

He was traded by Dallas, so they received value in return.

Larry Foote, linebacker, Detroit -- waived by Pittsburgh.

He was waived by Pittsburgh AT HIS REQUEST. The Steelers had Lawrence Timmons playing well for them (he was younger than Foote) and the Steelers wanted to give Foote a chance to start. So he in no way was unwanted, he requested they waive him so they did.

Anthony Hargrove*, defensive tackle, New Orleans -- cut by the Rams and Bills, did not play in 2008 owing to a suspension for drug use, is now clean.

Apparently Gregg is now doing random drug testing on these players and KNOWS Hargrove is clean.

Randy Starks, defensive end, Miami -- let go by Tennessee.

He was not re-signed by Tennessee for salary cap reasons because the Titans were trying to negotiate a new contract with Albert Haynesworth.

Damien Woody, tackle, Jersey/B -- former high draft choice for New England, let go by Patriots and Lions, many football touts don't seem to realize he is still playing.

I don't really have anything about him, he left both teams to sign free agent contracts somewhere else, so I would again question whether he was wanted or not, but on wikipedia page it mentions TMQ under the "career highlights and awards" section.

Unwanted Player of the Year, second runner-up. Miles Austin, wide receiver, Cowboys: With Austin, suddenly Tony Romo is a good quarterback.

Tony Romo was a good quarterback before Miles Austin had a breakout year. I don't know what would make a sane human being believe Romo wasn't good before this year.

Unwanted Player of the Year, first runner-up. Gary Brackett, middle linebacker, Colts.: Not recruited out of high school, had to walk on at Rutgers. Went undrafted by NFL; now among the league's best linebackers. Plays at an elite level despite being a normal-sized human being at 5-foot-11, 235 pounds.

I guess Gregg Easterbrook thinks a normal human being is 5-foot-11 and 235 pounds and that's not 235 pounds of fat, but muscle. Maybe that's what normal human beings look like where Gregg lives, but not where I live.

Unwanted Player of the Year. Jim Leonhard, safety, Jets: Went undrafted because he is "too short" at 5-8, though he can slam-dunk a basketball with both hands.

I can't believe the NFL scouts completely ignored Leonhard knowing he could dunk a basketball with both hands. What sane NFL team would willfully ignore a player who can dunk a basketball with both hands? As impressive as this is, I am not sure how this skill alone translates into allowing NFL scouts to believe he isn't "too short." Should the NFL scouts have seen if Spud Webb would have been able to play in the NFL? He can dunk a basketball with both hands too.

I chided the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra for going on strike, when it is supported almost entirely by donations. Jacob Sider Jost of Harrisonburg, Va., counters, "Profitable professional sports franchises routinely demand and receive subsidies from taxpayers, who paid $84 million to help build the Cleveland Indians' ballpark, for instance. Surely if professional athletes, who have dedicated their young lives to something totally non-utilitarian which gives great joy to audiences, receive generous government subsidies while making profits, we need not be too hard on professional musicians, who have dedicated their whole lives to something totally non-utilitarian which gives great joy to audiences at much lower cost but at a slight loss.

In your eye, Gregg Easterbrook. Yet again, Gregg did not admit that he was wrong, he merely shows the reader disagreed with him and moves on. Gregg doesn't like to say he is wrong very often.

Aseem Garg of Westlake, Ohio, adds, "I think a good answer to why coaches never call the goal line dive in the middle of the field can be found in evidence from Sunday's game. When Thomas made the leap, the ball nearly came loose from his grasp. In the case of the goal line, it would be perfectly fine to fumble it once the player has broken the plane of the end zone. However, if Thomas had fumbled at the 43 yard line, the ball would be live."

I said the same thing last week. Aseem must be a reader of this here blog or be someone who thinks logically. It's always good to see logical people writing into Gregg and correcting his misconceptions.

The NFL hasn't used up all possible aging rock acts for the Super Bowl halftime show -- Ten Years After is still touring! The challenge: Name an aging, Medicare-eligible (or soon to be) rock group or performer the NFL could book for next year's Super Bowl halftime show. The group or artist must be one that actually could appear -- members alive and still performing. Give your arguments for the group or artists. Short and clever improves your odds, failing to mention your hometown disqualifies you. The winner will receive a signed copy of "Sonic Boom." Submit your proposed faded, aging rock group to

It was a tough choice for me but I have chosen Jefferson Starship as the band that should play at halftime of the Super Bowl. Yes, I wrote an email to Gregg suggesting this. I can't believe I am playing Gregg's silly games.

Next Week: That Super Bowl thing you might have heard about.

If you remember Gregg's observations from last year's Super Bowl, it wasn't good. I am secretly hoping it is bad enough for me to write about next week.


Ellis Green said...

I've been holding this comment back for weeks because I hate being a nitpicker, but...please learn the difference between "infer" and "imply" because you misuse them constantly. Here, I'll help. Basic google search:

Infer vs. Imply

The terms infer and imply are often confused. A writer or speaker implies something, meaning that it is indicated or suggested without being explicitly stated:
“When the CEO stated that the company would not rule out paying a dividend to shareholders this year, she implied that a dividend may be paid.”

Conversely, a reader or listener infers (or draws an inference) from something by drawing conclusions that are not explicit in what is said:
“When the CEO stated that she would not rule out paying a dividend to shareholders this year, the shareholders inferred that the board of directors had recently rethought the issue of dividend payments, since they were not in favour of a payment a month ago.”

オテモヤン said...


KentAllard said...

I think the world of Ryan Grant and am happy with his success, but the reason he was overlooked is at Notre Dame, he kept getting beaten out of the starting job, first by Julius Jones, then by Darius Walker, which cost him carries and made him suspect in the eyes of the scouts.

You rock オテモヤン. I like what you imply.

Dylan Murphy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dylan Murphy said...

Running backs are easy to overlook in general. The NFL is filled with late round/undrafted RBs. For every Ladanian Tomlinson there are 5 Ryan Grants. Also, Darren Sharper was in a bad scheme in Minnesota. He needs cover 1 or cover 2 man where he can just roam around, since his insticts are so good.

KentAllard, after that comment, would it be correct to infer sarcasm?

Bengoodfella said...

Ellis, it's ok to be a nitpicker, I do it all the time. I will talk to my editor and give him a good talking to for not catching that error.

I don't know if I should be insulted, indifferent, or complimented by the fact the sum total of what you felt the need to comment on was my misuse of "infer" and "imply."

Kent, I think what you have there is some world class sarcasm. As much as I like Ryan Grant, I like that you bring up the fact he was overlooked because he couldn't beat out a starter in his time at Notre Dame. Players who aren't starters in college tend to overlooked by many teams I think.

Dylan, that's a great point. What has always confused me is that, knowing what you just wrote, my favorite NFL team takes running backs in the high rounds but doesn't like to draft a quarterback early in the draft. It works out usually, but I have always found it interesting.

Sharper was misused in Minnesota in some ways, I don't think he was unwanted, they just wanted to see how Tyrell Johnson and Madieu Williams would do at the safety positions.

Ellis Green said...

Be complimented. I agree with the substance of everything. TMQ sucks.

TheDood said...

I thought you would have mentioned his rather long-winded, old-man rant on the State of the Union - rated at 824 words by Microsoft Word '07! Either that or the pointless "Unified Theory of Creep" segment.

Gregg failed to note that Lehigh Bodden, undrafted(!), was signed by the Browns in 2003 and played for them for four seasons and was TRADED to the Lions after being arrested, which if I remember correctly, is against Gregg's "rules". And he also seemed to waffle on the criteria that the players had to be on the championship teams. Oh, Gregg.

TheDood said...

This is a spoof "TMQ" that looks and reads like it could've been written by Gregg Easterbrook himself:

RuleBook said...

Dylan, you said:

Running backs are easy to overlook in general. The NFL is filled with late round/undrafted RBs. For every Ladanian Tomlinson there are 5 Ryan Grants.

I'm going to have to disagree with you here. I see many writers make similar arguments because they can give examples like Ryan Grant, but the statistics don't really support that viewpoint.

I know one season is a small sample size, but this is the round, in order, that the top 15 rushers in terms of yardage (the only 15 that gained over 1000 yards) were drafted in.

1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, Undrafted, 1st, 1st, 1st, 3rd, 3rd, 1st, 1st, Undrafted

So, among the 15 best running backs in the league this season in terms of yardage, 13 of them were 3rd round picks or higher, and 9 of them were 1st round picks. In the top 25, 13 of them were 1st round picks.

Bengoodfella said...

Ellis, I will be complimented then. Thanks. I will work on not misusing those two words.

I was actually going to talk about his State of the Union speech but what I was going to write was more political and I try to stay off that topic on this blog. Maybe I will do a political blog called "Bottom of the Barrel: Politics" or "Bottom of the Barrel: Music" just to be exactly like the CSI series.

I did have some comments on the long winded speech and unified theory of creep but I edited my comments on those out. I know it is hard for people to read when I write a lot, so sometimes I have to cut parts.

I could have nitpicked parts many of his "unwanted All-Pros" but I didn't have the time for that. That being said, the Bodden example was pretty bad. He did get traded, though Bodden was cut by the Lions, but for salary cap reasons.

I had never read that TMQ spoof on KSK before. I need to go through their archives because I didn't really get into that site until a little while back. I was shocked to learn they cover Peter King every week. I didn't know.

Rulebook, I think I did a quick study last year on that same issue and I came up with similar data. I do think the running back position can easy to overlook sometimes, though I am not sure there are 5 Ryan Grants for every LT.

Dylan Murphy said...

I only said 5 to 1 to make my point. What I intended to say but obviously did not is that for every running back we expect to be great, there are quite a few more that we're unexpected. Even though Jamal Charles, Michael Turner, Frank Gore, Ray Rice, Ryan Grant and Maurice Jones Drew were in the top 15 in rushing yards this season, it is unreasonable to claim that before they were drafted, the were ever expected to become such solid players. Even though Rice, Gore, and Jones Drew (I believe but I'm too lazy to check on MJD) were drafted in the first three rounds, their success was surprising. Ultimately the take away point from this is that running backs, as opposed to most other positions, produced the most unexpected stars (I'd assume WR also). Am I basing this on statistical evidence? Of course not. It just at least seems to be that way.

KentAllard said...

Not only was that sarcasm, sarcasm is my default mode, and is pretty much all the personality I have. That being said, オテモヤン is still rockin' like Dokken.

Bengoodfella said...

Dylan, I caught on to the use of hyperbole there with the 5 Grants to 1 LT thing. When Rulebook was using the data, I was just saying I obviously don't believe that to the letter. I did show last year that there were quite a few 1st round draft picks at running back who did well.

I would agree that, in my head at least, it seems like there happens to be good quality found at RB later in the draft. I don't know about receiver, but I do think later in the draft if a team has a good offensive line, decent RB's can be found. Maybe I will look at it a little closer in a couple days and see if that is true or not.

Kent, I am 90% sure that could be a virus, so I may want to delete it just in case. Sarcasm is my default mode and unfortunately it doesn't play in the written word.

rich said...

I missed the party (thanks school), just wanted to say one thing:

the Colts are never signaled for a false start potentially because Saturday takes his hand off the ball and what movements he does is not an attempt to draw the defense offsides. That's my best guess, but either way Gregg could have done the research I did.

Your guess is correct.

Running backs can move (watch any football game and you'll see a RB move in to listen to the call.

On the OL, as long as it's not abrupt or pronounced, then slight movement of the head or even slightly standing up isn't going to be flagged.

Bengoodfella said...

Thanks Rich for clarifying that. I thought that was the case. I know the running back can lean in like that because that can be considered a man in motion, but I wasn't sure about the linemen. If I am not wrong, Saturday also takes his hand off the ball when he moves his head slightly, so that way it can't be perceived as drawing the defense offsides.