Wednesday, April 21, 2010

12 comments TMQ: Pre-Draft Insanity Edition

Our 2 month wait is now over. TMQ is back and I am going to cover it today. I am not going to lie, in some ways I have missed TMQ. Granted, my blood pressure has been lowered and I no longer have to read Gregg's weekly article that makes me cross-eyed and causes me to question his NFL knowledge...but I miss him in the way you miss something that always annoyed you when it is no longer around to annoy you.

Fortunately, TMQ is back. The eyes of America scream in horror.

But even given my oft-stated belief that offensive line play is the sine qua non of football success,

Gregg somehow believes he is in the minority on those who believe offensive line play is crucial to a team's success. Everyone else must believe it is the kicker that is the most indispensable player.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback wonders why more quarterbacks aren't expected to be tabbed in the draft's lottery portion. As NFL rules have become more passing-friendly, fielding a franchise-quality quarterback has become issue No. 1 for any team that aspires to reach the playoffs.

Does TMQ really wonder this? How about 2 good reasons for this:

1. Quarterbacks are generally more expensive to draft in the lottery, get coaches fired if they don't work out, and they have a high bust rate. Also, there aren't usually that many good quarterbacks in a draft.

2. Why the hell would a team draft a quarterback in the lottery if that quarterback isn't good enough to be in the lottery? It doesn't make sense to just draft a quarterback high, and reach for this quarterback in the lottery when there are other positions of need on a team.

Of this season's championship-round teams, three had franchise-quality quarterbacks (Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre) while the fourth had a highly drafted rookie with franchise potential (Mark Sanchez).

Remember how Gregg thinks highly drafted players are overrated and he champions undrafted or "unwanted" players? These quarterbacks were all taken in the 1st or 2nd round. Just thought I would add that.

Important as the offensive line is, if you want to win games in the contemporary NFL, you must have a premium quarterback.

I don't know how true this really is, but it is true to an extent. I just never thought TMQ would be the one championing drafting highly paid quarterbacks early in the NFL Draft.

So why do the draftniks have Jimmy Clausen going in the mid-first round and Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy in the second round?

Because teams have other positions of need or don't think those quarterbacks are good enough to be drafted in the 1st round. Where should Clausen go in the lottery, since Gregg assures us this is where he should be drafted? Let's look and see the teams that could pass on him and why:

St. Louis- drafting Bradford
Detroit- have Stafford
Tampa Bay- have Freeman
Washington- just traded for McNabb
Kansas City- just traded for Cassel
Seattle- just traded for Whitehurst
Cleveland- just signed Delhomme
Oakland- still haven't paid enough attention to Russell to realize he stinks
Buffalo- have a need for Clausen
Jacksonville- have Garrard
Denver- just traded for Brady Quinn
Miami- have drafted a quarterback in the 2nd round two straight years
San Francisco- have a need for Clausen
Seattle- just traded for Whitehurst

So there are really only two teams in the lottery that really haven't addressed the QB position for this upcoming year and therefore may want to look at other needs. So that's the reasoning for Clausen not being drafted in the lottery. I am not saying it makes sense to me, but why teams may pass on him. Colt McCoy...he's a different story, but why draft him in the 1st round if he is available in the 2nd round?

Maybe the draftniks will be proved wrong. But in a draft that appears to offer four premium quarterbacks, only one seems sure to be a lottery pick. Money concerns and front-office career politics may be at work.

Could be that...or there could be serious questions whether these quarterbacks are "premium" quarterbacks or not. That seems more likely to me.

Any NFL general manager who selects a quarterback early in the first round knows that in the current money-and-media environment, he is fairly asking to be hammered with criticism within three years if a highly drafted megabucks quarterback has flopped. Bobby Beathard pretty much ended his career as an NFL executive by using the second overall choice on Ryan Leaf in 1998. If Beathard had chosen a lineman with that pick, he might still be a general manager.

It's good that Gregg can answer his own questions. I know he is now going to say the GM's are chicken and want to keep their jobs, which is partly true. On the other hand, why draft a quarterback you aren't 100% sure of and ignore a player you are more sure of when your team has a need at that position too? It makes sense to draft a player if you are confident in his success and have a need at that position. So if a team has a question about a quarterback and feels more confident about a player at another position of need, it may make more sense to avoid the quarterback.

The general manager who picks a lineman high is, by contrast, employing the low-risk strategy. Linemen are more likely to succeed than quarterbacks, because they're not under the microscope.

There's no evidence of this. Absolutely none. He still makes shit up, even after a two month layoff.

For head coaches, there is also a fear-of-quarterbacks dynamic early in the first round. Traditionally, head coaches are judged on their tutelage of quarterbacks. Don Shula, Bill Belichick, Joe Gibbs and now Sean Payton are respected in large part because they made quarterbacks successful. The coach who can't get his quarterbacks to shine gets shown the door. Think of Brian Billick.

You mean the part where he got the head coaching job of the Baltimore Ravens because of his work with Randall Cunningham? This same guy who won a Super Bowl with a shitty quarterback? Is this the same Brian Billick who eventually got fired, but still had some success with the Ravens...he's the best example of a coach getting fired for not developing a quarterback?

Can you name the offensive line coach of any NFL team?

Absolutely. If you can't do this and you cover the NFL in any fashion, this would seem to be a problem to me.

The head coach whose team chooses a lineman high in the draft knows that even the team's most ardent fans never will actually watch the offensive line during games.

How in the hell is this true at all? Ardent fans NEVER watch the offensive line? First off, this is completely inaccurate. Fans do watch the offensive line all the time. Second, I still have to wonder how the hell Gregg can just get away with saying shit like this. It is like I am reading what a football novice would say...someone who doesn't watch football and doesn't know enough to know what he is saying is false.

ESPN needs to hire editors who can point out that even in attempting to entertain an audience, there does need to be some semblance of accuracy in the statements made by the columnists who write the words that appear on the web site.

TMQ sees Tebow as first-round material and has been saying so for months, including here and here. Tebow's college passing stats are quite similar to Peyton Manning's, and Tebow threw 88 touchdowns to 16 interceptions, better than Manning's 90 to 33. Who cares if Tebow's delivery isn't classic? Fran Tarkenton's delivery made purists cringe, but on the day Tarkenton retired, he held most NFL career passing records.

I saw that comparison in an article on and I have to say there is a huge difference in the offenses both quarterbacks were running in college. If you used this comparison as the basis for how good a player could be, Armanti Edwards of Appalachian State would also be a 1st round pick because his numbers surpass Tebow's.

Many who pass on Tebow on Thursday night may regret it later.

They very well may. He has a great work ethic and could be successful in the NFL. He also played in a very quarterback-friendly offense in college and Urban Meyer nor Florida have produced great quarterbacks over the last 20 years. So there's that.

Clausen played under constant pass-rush and scoreboard pressure, leading many tense fourth-quarter drives. McCoy is a master of the blink-and-it's-gone release that is essential to West Coast-flavored NFL offenses.

I do remember Clausen's many fourth-quarter drives...or do I?

Also, McCoy's blink-and-it's-gone release didn't do too well against Nebraska's defense nor do too many teams still use the pure West Coast-flavored offense anymore...specifically not too many teams in the lottery who need a quarterback.

He has a great arm and accuracy, obviously, but Bradford was rarely hit in college -- sacked just 25 times in nearly 1,000 drop backs.

Now apparently the fact a quarterback gets rid of the ball and doesn't get sacked is a bad thing. Usually, the fact a quarterback can get rid of the ball and avoid a sack is seen as a positive, but not here. Sometimes it is good and sometimes it is bad, depending on what point Gregg is trying to prove.

Just a few minutes ago, it was great that Colt McCoy got rid of the ball quickly, but for Sam Bradford this means he hasn't been sacked enough.

At Oklahoma, Bradford stood serenely in the pocket, patting the ball and scanning the field, while rushers were efficiently neutralized. That was good for the Sooners, but it means we don't know how Bradford will perform when pass-rushers are beating the snap into the backfield,

The Oklahoma offensive line wasn't great this year and I would argue the Texas offensive line is better than the Oklahoma line was. Of course, Gregg wouldn't know anything about this because he is too busy worrying about which teams play "cupcake" schedules to watch the offensive lines...and really even the most ardent fans don't watch the offensive line anyway, right?

Plus, Bradford spent most of his Oklahoma career running up the score in blowouts. He participated in only a few collegiate games that were contested late in the fourth quarter, and those he lost. Tebow and Clausen come to the NFL a lot more accustomed to performing under intense pressure.

Really? Tim Tebow didn't spend most of his career running up the score against the weak out-of-conference schedule Florida had? How many games did Tebow participate in that were contested last in the fourth quarter? Shouldn't there be a discussion about how good of a defense was on the other side of the ball for Florida and Oklahoma respectively and how this affects whether Tebow/Bradford lost the game?

This won't happen. Gregg is an idiot.

In other football news, the NFL finally changed the overtime format -- in the postseason at least...The new format is way too complicated -- the new rules for turnovers and onside kicks in overtime will drive everyone crazy. There is sure to be some absurd outcome where officials spend 15 minutes debating who won and then, after the crowd has departed, we realize the game was awarded wrongly.

This will probably never actually happen, but great fictional story! I don't think the overtime is that complicated at all, I just think it should be used during the regular season as well as the playoffs. I don't see a reason for different rules during the playoffs and the regular season.

2. Detroit Lions: Alan Mulally, CEO, Ford Motors. Unlike Chrysler and General Motors, Ford took no bailout money. The company decided on its own several years ago to emphasize manufacturing quality and fuel efficiency, with the result that Ford was positioned for success without federal subsidies. That's the can-do attitude the Lions need. Downside: Mulally will demand a $17.9 million signing bonus (his actual compensation for 2009).

How the hell is the signing bonus a downside? The #2 pick is going to demand A LOT more than $17.9 million in a signing bonus. I really do wonder if Gregg understands the NFL in any fashion and comments like this one doesn't help me think he does. $17.9 million for the #2 overall pick is a great deal for the Lions.

11. Denver (from Chicago): Donald Sutherland, as Professor Jennings in "Animal House." Adult supervision is needed to counter the frat-boy atmosphere 33-year-old head coach Josh McDaniels has brought to the Broncos.

If I am not wrong, McDaniels has gotten rid of players who have caused trouble with the Broncos and tried to get players who aren't troublemakers. I have no idea what the hell Gregg means about "the frat-boy atmosphere" in Denver.

22. New England Patriots. Tiger Woods, cheater. In the two years since the Patriots swore off cheating, the team's fortunes have faltered. It's harder to win when playing fair, eh, Bill? Addition of Woods revives the old spirit.

The Patriots went 11-5 two years ago without their starting quarterback, Tom Brady, and last year they made the playoffs and lost at home. They were essentially a playoff team over both of the last two years. Sure, they haven't won a Super Bowl, but they haven't really been a bad team during the last two years and it is hard to win the Super Bowl I don't think we should hold this against them.

Unified Field Theory of Creep: Reader Peter Wunsch of East Northport, N.Y., wrote in February: "Pathmark, a New York supermarket chain, is advertising a Passover sale starting on February 26. Passover begins on March 29 this year. I hope the food has a long expiration date."

I did not miss the "creep" theory that Gregg is always passing around. It is not a requirement that a person buy food from Pathmark EXACTLY on February 26th, nor is it a requirement a person eat the food AFTER March 29. Also, most non-perishable items have an expiration date over a month so it may not matter anyway.

If Gregg can be nit-picky and try to be a smart-ass, I can too. The sale is obviously an attempt to get customers to buy things they may normally lay off for Passover and therefore it would make sense to eat the food before Passover. I never thought I would have to explain something like this on this blog.

Those movie scenes where heroes blast away at close range in an enclosed area such as a room, then pause to engage in witty conversation? Their ears would ring so much they couldn't hear.

It's good to see Gregg still believes movies and television shows are supposed to be based on physical possibilities and are not intended to be solely entertainment.

In a recent episode of "V," an infiltrator sneaks aboard the super-advanced faster-than-light alien starcruiser floating above Manhattan. Within its anti-gravity fields and defensive shields, his cell phone works perfectly.

How unrealistic! You mean when this person boarded an alien spaceship floating above New York his cell phone worked perfectly? When is there going to be some semblance of realism in these science-fiction shows? Everyone knows if you board an alien spaceship, there is no way your cell phone will work.

As for misidentifying the FBI, on a recent episode of "Fringe," a mysterious scientist is said to have done "classified work for NASA." NASA is a civilian agency;

Which is why this person said the work was "classified" meaning it is not the normal work that civilians have done for NASA and no one knows about this work. Also, this is a science-fiction show where scientists are attractive and crazy-shit happens everyday. There is some leeway for dramatic license.

the Air Force and the National Reconnaissance Office manage classified space projects.

As far as Gregg knows.

Speaking of excesses at General Motors -- the public owns 80 percent of the company, making General Motors executive handouts a public matter -- another former CEO, Fritz Henderson, has been hired as a "consultant" at $700,0000 a year. So that he can give more of the same bad advice that drove General Motors to insolvency? That $700,000 a year is being forcibly seized from taxpayers whose median household income is about $50,000 a year. And the $700,000 a year is not for round-the-clock effort but for three days of work a month. As Viknesh Vijayenthiran notes, Henderson's deal works out to $3,000 a hour, funded by taxpayers fortunate to earn $20 an hour. Why is there no outrage?

Perhaps there is no outrage because few taxpayers were aware of this problem. Also, who the hell are taxpayers going to complain to? The same lawmakers who gave the bail-out to General Motors and haven't stopped them from hiring this gentleman at $700,000 per year? Here's a hint, the people don't care because they don't know and even if they did know (which they do now), no one who has power would do anything about it.

Overtime Discussion Goes Into Overtime: Last year TMQ proposed that the solution to NFL overtime woes was to forbid field goal attempts and punts in overtime, preventing the dreaded first-possession field goal victory while forcing teams to go for it on fourth down.

This wouldn't prevent a first-possession touchdown without the other team touching the ball. Also, as much as TMQ hates it, field goals and punts are a part of the game of football. If the rules of football are going to be changed in overtime, we may as well go all out and change the rules to make an even better overtime suggestion than the one Gregg just suggested.

Geoff Roark of Tyler, Texas, proposes, 'In overtime, just eliminate the field goal. The main defect of the current NFL overtime is the ease of winning the coin toss, getting a short field after the kickoff, advancing a relatively short distance then gaining victory with a field goal.

What's especially intriguing about the Roark idea is that spectators might find they prefer football without field goals -- since the team in scoring position always would go for it."

This is idiocy. The point of overtime isn't to choose whether the spectators would enjoy watching football without field goals or not, it is to find a fair way to run the overtime so that each team has equal chances to win. I would actually argue an overtime where there can be no punting would potentially swing the advantage to the team that kicks off because if a team can't punt and goes four-and-out, then the other team has a short way to go for a touchdown.

Look, if the proponents of the "each team gets the ball" overtime can use doomsday scenarios to show how unfair the regular season overtime is, I can too. Is it really fair that Team A can't punt and Team B takes over at the 35 yard line of the of Team A?

This may not happen every time, but overtime is being completely overhauled at this point and not allowing punts or field goals doesn't seem like a sensible suggestion to me. I could go with disallowing field goals in overtime, but not punts.

Reader Rashaan Alexander of Baldwin, N.Y., notes this concern: "The new overtime format will lead to longer overtime periods, which means players who participate in future overtime games will have extra opportunities to pad their stats...That was the year Drew Brees came within 15 yards of Marino's mark. The Saints played a five-quarter game against the Bears that season; Chicago got the overtime kickoff and won without New Orleans ever having a possession. Had the new format been in effect, it's likely Brees would have thrown for another 16 yards and taken the record. Will there be asterisks on stats that are padded by the new format?"

I don't know if I can buy the "they will pad their stats" argument made here. Just don't include statistics accumulated in overtime. That fixes this argument. Really, is Brees playing in overtime any more padding his stats than the Saints throwing the ball a lot or Brees still in the game when it has been decided? Either way, there is still a competition for the victory going on in overtime so I don't consider Brees to have padded his stats in that overtime.

If this is such a big deal, just don't include overtime statistics in the official statistics...assuming it is such a big deal.

Next Week: Scandal erupts as NFL general managers steal passwords to alter their draft grades.

Yeah right, Mel Kiper Jr. always gives his draft grades for teams between A- and C+ it seems like. I remember one year (last year or the year before) he didn't give a team higher than a B+ or lower than a C-...or something like that.

Besides, draft grades are pointless, which means I will also be giving teams draft grades as soon as the draft is complete.

Let's enjoy TMQ being back as much as we possibly can. He will go back to hibernating over the summer and thinking of different ways to annoy me before too long.


Dylan Murphy said...

Agreed about the lineman vs. QB success. We just don't hear about lineman who suck. It's not like the ESPN bottom line reads, Russell - 6/13, 42 yards, 2 INT: Gallery - 7 sacks allowed, 0 pancakes. Well, at least the first part is true.

KentAllard said...

Clausen led a fairly incredible 7 fourth quarter go ahead drives his senior year. Notre Dame still lost three of them because they didn't have a defense, but it was pretty impressive. There are a lot of fair critiques about Clausen, but he did come through in the clutch.

I live in the town where much of NASA's research is done, and I can attest that much of it is classified, and I have stood next to doors with signs saying they are a restricted area. And my cell phone still worked!

Don Shula had three big name quarterbacks in his career: Johnny Unitas, who was kind of a big deal when Shula came to the Colts, Bob Griese, who was an efficient game manager but the Dolphins of that day were a grind-it-out team, and Dan Marino, legitimately great. Not an amazing track record with quarterback development, though not a terrible one or anything.

rich said...

Did Greg really use Brees as an example of why teams need to draft a QB in the lottery? Brees is actually an example of why you wouldn't draft a QB in the "lottery," because as you pointed out BGF, he wasn't drafted in the lottery.

If you draft a QB in the lottery it only makes him a "franchise" player in name only. The QBs this year aren't all that great and there's a ton of talent in other positions. You know what a lot of championship teams have: really good defenses. So if your choices are "can't miss" defensive prospect or a mediocre QB...

As for Clausen/Tebow/McCoy, is it really hard for TMQ to fathom that a team might think Clausen is a better QB than the other two? This is kind of like asking "why is Spiller projected to be a first round pick, but Dexter McCluster projected in the later rounds?" Simple answer? He's projected to be better.

Like you said, a lot of teams in the lottery don't need a QB and the teams that do will likely draft Bradford and Clausen first. If you're a team that has another need (keeping in mind that QB is a pretty weak position this year), then you'll draft the better player in a position of need before grabbing a QB.

McCoy to Cleveland makes sense in the second round. Get another OL to pair with Thomas (a great young core to work off of) or get a defensive player and then get McCoy in the second round.

Certain players fit certain systems and so teams value them differently. Arizona has no desire for McCoy because they run an offense McCoy can't handle, so to them he's maybe a 3rd or 4th rounder (best available). Cleveland runs an offensive style that fits McCoy well, so grabbing him in the second round would make sense.

The fact that football writers are baffled by basic logic that most fans have is rather terrifying.

Martin said...

I still can't believe that the Rams are going to draft Bradford. He looks like he'll be at best an avg NFL qb, where as Suh and McCoy look to be multiple All-Pro guys at D-Line.

I remember that Title game with Bradford running a halting, confused, completely unsure Sooner offense. this guy is gonna lead an NFL team to the promised land? Good luck on getting a boat load of great D players in the future then.

Bengoodfella said...

Dylan, it is true. You don't hear about linemen who stink, even though Robert Gallery has gotten some pub for not being a great tackle and there is always Tony Mandarich. I don't think it is true linemen are more likely to succeed than quarterbacks drafted in the lottery. I may be wrong, but either way there isn't any proof given by Gregg.

Kent, I think you mean Clausen's junior year, but point taken. I have come around on Clausen. He's a dick (or appears to be), but he could be the best QB available.

TMQ doesn't believe your phone worked.

Shula did have some good QB's, but I would argue he probably didn't necessarily develop some of them any more than Jim Mora developed Peyton Manning. Marino was a good QB and so was Unitas. I see what you are saying though.

Rich, this year there are some QB's with questions and it is a deep draft, so QB's may not be taken until later. Every good QB isn't going to be taken in the lottery.

Certain teams do value certain players differently for their team. Some teams who have high picks may not like the QB's for where they are in the 1st round.

It is terrifying that some writers can't get how teams can't just take a quarterback and throw him into their offense and expect success.

Bengoodfella said...

Martin, I feel like I am always wrong about QBs, but I have real questions about guys like McCoy and Bradford because of the defenses they played against. When they faced a good defense, they didn't do well...of course I can't put all the blame on them.

What is even worse is that Eric Berry may not get taken in the Top 5.

Martin said...

Quarterback is the most important position on the team. Why do so many teams half ass it and take the best QB available only when they need a qb, then pay him gobs of money?

Sure the Rams need a QB, but does anybody really think that Bradford looks like the kind of QB that will lead them to the promised land? Why invest a #1 #1 pick on a guy who isn't a truly outstanding player of the uppermost elite in college? it's the most important position on the team, treat it as such. Build the rest of teh team, assemble parts and have a holder QB in there until such time as a guy you REALLY want is available.

That's just me though. I'd be a GM who spent Top 10 picks only on O-Line, D-Line and safety unless there was a Phil Rivers, Drew Brees, P. Manning type QB to go get.

KentAllard said...

BGF, thats right, Clausen's junior year, since he didn't have a senior one. Although he is graduating, so technically...nah, I just made a mistake.

PK is pushing the idea of Tebow to the Vikings in the 1st round. While I am comfortable with the ide of the Vikes throwing away their pick, I don't know if we can stand the deluge of Favre/Tebow stories to follow.

The Casey said...

BGF, really? The Browns aren't going to draft a QB high because of Jake Delhomme?

I'm not sold on Clausen. I'll agree that he's got a lot of ability, but so did Ryan Leaf. And I'm not the only one to make that connection.

Also, I'd think it odd that aliens would build cellphone-jamming technology into their spaceships.

Bengoodfella said...

Casey, yes I do believe that. I am not saying it makes sense because it doesn't, but I think because they traded for Seneca Wallace and have Jake Delhomme I don't see them taking a QB in the 1st 2 rounds. That's my belief. I have been wrong before, but I think they may go for a QB in the 3rd/4th round. I think it was idiocy to sign Delhomme in the first place.

I have come around on Clausen. He could be another Ryan Leaf, he does seem to have that persona of a cocky asshole, but I have come around on him. Maybe I have been worn down and there isn't too many great QB's so he looks better to me.

I think aliens are past cellphone jamming technology so it may not be in place on their ships.

Martin, I would be a terrible GM because my first pick would be Suh, McCoy, or Berry. You can't spend #1 overall money on a safety. Bradford looks the part, and I have him mocked at #1, but there is a part of me that sees the offense he played in and thinks he ran up numbers in the OU system but may not be a great QB.

The problem for the Rams is they can't take a DL #1 because they have other needs bigger than that (even though they probably should), they can't take a safety #1 overall, and they need a QB so they draft one. It doesn't make sense, but I think they feel like they have to do it.

Kent, you know more about them than I do. Either way, Clausen isn't at ND anymore.

I could not stand Tebow/Favre on the same team. I don't have Tebow going in the 1st round and I think I may end up regretting that. At least a team knows Tebow will work hard and stay out of trouble, but I need to have him on a team that doesn't have a player like Favre or Manning. I couldn't stand it.

KentAllard said...

I'm not completely sold on Clausen. I believe any top-rated college QB is a 50/50 proposition at best. But that article is by another of the retards at The Bleacher Report. He states that ND lost games because of Clausen's fourth quarter "miscues"? That's odd, since Clausen threw four interceptions in 425 attempts, none in the fourth quarter, nor did he have a fourth quarter fumble.

Easy for "Joe O'Neill" to say Clausen was unpopular with his teammates, but that wasn't true at ND, attested by the fact that a number of players visited Clausen in California during the offseason.

O'Neill, who is "looking to publish his second novel" probably went off the rails when he stated "I am a graduate of Washington State University."

Bengoodfella said...

Kent, I don't know if I am sold on Clausen either, but I am NEVER sold on 1st round quarterbacks. It's a fault I have. He ran a pro-style offense, which I believe may put him above Bradford, Tebow, and McCoy. That's just my opinion.

Bleacher Report articles can be crazy. My problem lies in that Clausen seems like he could be a sort of hybrid robo-quarterback and cocky asshole. This may not be true, and his teammates don't seem to dislike him...from what little I have heard.

Any quarterback is a risk and a quarterback who has spiked hair and confidence will seem like he will be a failure...except for Tebow of course.