Friday, September 16, 2011

9 comments TMQ: Gregg Officially Pronounces Indianapolis Dead

Just one week after announcing the Colts would make the Super Bowl,

For the next big game, TMQ again likes Indianapolis versus New Orleans -- which would make the Colts the first-ever home Super Bowl team.

Then announcing that wasn't really his pick given a special set of circumstances,

Age will end -- Narnia ended, too -- but isn't over quite yet. If Manning goes on injured reserve, my AFC choice switch to New England.

Gregg has officially pronounced the Indianapolis Colts dead...prematurely of course. They can still win some games this year and there is no guarantee Manning's career is finished. The good news is the Colts are masters of getting the best possible type of NFL player, the undrafted free agent, so they should be good to go in Gregg's mind, right? Apparently not. I guess undrafted free agents can't play as well without a highly-paid glory boy first round pick like Peyton Manning.

Just three weeks ago Gregg was discussing that Indianapolis is great for three reasons:

1. They have Peyton Manning
2. They have Bill Polian
3. They don't panic and change their system when encountering failure.

I'm not trying to rub it in Colts' fan's faces (that's tough to say three times quickly), but I'm trying to rub this in Gregg's with two of the three reasons still present one would think the Colts great run (or "Narnia" as Gregg calls it) could still go on? Right? The Colts still have Polian and a system that works. Apparently, success is not possible since Gregg seems to have counted the Colts out at this point. In my opinion this would make Gregg wrong not only in counting the Colts out. By counting the Colts out when they lose Manning then Gregg is really saying there is only one reason the Colts are good...Peyton Manning. Take away one of the three reasons and "Narnia" is over? Doesn't sound like reasons #2 and #3 are that strong when it comes to why the Colts have had a great team for the last decade.

Onto this week's TMQ...I am going to skip the extended "Narnia" comparison to the Colts simply because its stupidity and the boredom I felt reading it is mind-boggling.

But doesn't it feel like the NFL's Narnia is about to end? Manning may not play this season. If his "neck" injury actually is a spine problem, he would be well advised never to take the field again.

What a wimp that Peyton Manning is! Brett Favre would return to the field if he had a major spinal injury. He would return to the field to play the game like a child does, refuse to talk about the spinal injury he has by talking about how he isn't going to be talking about his spinal injury, then Favre will send out X-rays to the media during the week to show how severe the injury is, talk to Peter King about how much pain he is in before the game and then begin his press conference after the game by saying his spine felt fine and didn't affect his performance at all...though we all know he is just being coy. He was such a competitor!

Peter, who ruled during Narnia's Golden Age, is instructed to close a door that will forever seal Narnia away as just a memory, its reality inaccessible even to Aslan himself. All things must end. Nobody expected Colts/Narnia to end so soon, but Peyton the High King may find himself instructed to close the door on a Golden Age of football.

Peyton Manning's career may be over...or it may not. Can we stop speculating about this, please? It would be the end of a great quarterback's career and deserves to be noted, but I think it is a bit early to write Manning's NFL eulogy.

The Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton threw for a rookie-debut record 422 yards. Newton has already shown he can handle traditional pocket passing better than Tim Tebow, the collegiate player he's most often compared to.


Newton has proven he can throw the ball well against the Cardinals. That's all he's proven. He hasn't shown he can be a traditional pocket passer in the NFL yet.

But the Arizona Cardinals came into the game expecting Newton to run. The Cardinals had their safeties up close to the line as extra linebackers, allowing Newton simple reads while creating man-on-man matchups at the corners. On some plays, Newton looked in the window and saw Cover Zero, the simplest read in football.

What Gregg leaves out is the reason there were man-on-man matchups at the corners is also because the Cardinals were blitzing the shit out of Newton. It may have been simple reads but Newton was getting blitzed pretty heavily, which added some degree of difficulty to his throws. Still, you pick up the blitz and you have a good wide receiver on a rookie cornerback and the throws may be fairly simple.

Expect the Packers to play man on one side of the field, zone on the other, switching randomly just before the snap. Let's see how Newton handles complex mixed coverages.

Let's see how Newton handles a really good defense, as well as more complex mixed coverages.

Could it be that the new spot helps kick returners? Last year, most lined up a few yards in front of their goal lines, and often had to take a step backward to catch the kick. Sunday, returners were lining up in the end zone -- then moving forward when catching the kick. This seems to add acceleration.

This is a good point by Gregg. In my criticism of the new kickoff line I had completely neglected to think players will get a running start at returning the football in some cases. I'm not being sarcastic about this. I didn't think some players may be able to hit top speed slightly earlier because they would have more forward momentum.

Stats of the Week No. 7: Quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Andy Dalton, who faced each other in the Cincinnati Bengals-Cleveland Browns contest, were 87-15 as college starters and are 3-7 as pro starters.

I always enjoy how Gregg plays with these numbers at times in order to try and prove his point. Here he is trying to show how two winning college quarterbacks who faced each other on Sunday in the NFL have struggled to win in the NFL. Sunday was Andy Dalton's first NFL start. He is 1-0 as an NFL starter, but Gregg lumps him in with McCoy's 2-7 record in an effort to prove his point that college success doesn't lead to NFL success.

Stats of the Week No. 10: Winning its last two appearances in Denver, Oakland has outrushed the Broncos by 405 yards.

Clearly, this is all Kyle Orton's fault. Bring on Tebow!

TMQ's immutable law holds: Rush Eight If You Want to Block That Punt. NFL coaches rarely send a big rush after the punter, fearing a roughing call and generally being hyper-conservative. Watch tape: usually no more than four men make no more than a token effort to pressure the punter.

Teams also enjoy not rushing the punter with eight men, not just because they are hyper-conservative and fear a roughing call, but because they want to set up a punt return rather than have their kick returner with 2-3 guys from the opposing team bearing down on him if the punt isn't blocked. If the punter is rushed heavily it leaves fewer players from the receiving team downfield to set up a punt return. I find it interesting Gregg loves to criticize excessive blitzing as stupid, but then he says teams are too conservative by not sending eight men after the punt. It's just one of his contradictions in his black and white world.

Later, Carolina leading 21-14, the Panthers blitzed six against an Arizona five-wide package. No one at all covered Early Doucet, whose 70-yard catch-and-run touchdown set the stage for the Cardinals' win.

This is slightly incorrect. Jordan Pugh was one of the five Panther defenses who would defend five Cardinal wide receivers, but he blew the coverage. So no one covered Doucet but it wasn't because of the blitz or a lack of defenders, but because of a blown coverage and missed tackle by Pugh. The blitz wasn't necessarily to blame, as it seems Gregg wants to in some way prove, but the inability of a defender to pick up his receiver.

Blitzing note: The word on the street is to blitz Michael Vick, which the St. Louis Rams did relentlessly on Sunday. Once this caused him to lose a fumble, when he failed to see a safety blitzing from his right (Vick's blindside). But the Philadelphia Heat offense gained 404 yards and scored 24 points. If that's what happens when you mega-blitz him, I'd call it advantage Vick.

If the Rams had won, then blitzing would have been smart or Gregg would not have even brought this up.

Sour for Saints' fans was a bland call from usually daring Sean Payton. The problem was that in the third quarter, facing fourth-and-inches on the Green Bay 7, Payton signaled in a complex action with two shifts, a man in motion, then a play-fake. The play didn't even come close to working.

But Gregg! I thought if a team shifted or put a man in motion rather than just running straight up the middle it confused the defense and helped the offense succeed every single time? Hasn't this been drilled in our head how it "confuses" the defense to see a man in motion or a shift occurring?

October 27, 2010: New England simply used a power set, no shifts, no man in motion. That was sour for the Patriots. On fourth-and-short, defenders are primed to charge straight ahead. The offense must do a little dance to create some uncertainty.

September 15, 2010: but using a bland straight-ahead play that failed. TMQ maintains you must do a little dance on short-yardage downs: A shift or man-in-motion or both are required to distract the defense.

There are other instances of his as well, but I am too lazy to look them up. Trust me when I say Gregg has discussed the use of shifts, instead of just running straight ahead, quite a bit. Gregg loves to make up "immutable laws" and while he has never said teams need to shift or put a man in motion on short yardage plays on every single play, he has criticized any coach who didn't use a play involving shifts on short-yardage downs. So I feel like I should mention a time when he was wrong about this, yet neglects to mention his suggested way of running the ball didn't work on short-yardage downs. It seems picky and it probably is. That is until the next time Gregg complains on fourth-and-one a team didn't put a man in motion or shift a player to guarantee short-yardage success and many people will probably get annoyed as I do at how confident Gregg is this plan always works.

Then Gregg shows some of his own hypocrisy when critiquing "The New York Times."

An article "described incorrectly a scene from 'The Godfather Part II.' The senator threatens to squeeze the Mafia boss Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino; Corleone does not threaten the senator." Come on Times, let's be accurate about imaginary events!

Seriously? Nearly every single week Gregg complains in his TMQ that television shows depicting imaginary events are not accurate or true to life. I can't believe Gregg is complaining about a correction in regard to a movie that was in the newspaper. Gregg was complaining just last week about the lack of realism in regard to comic book hero movies. It's just unfathomable in my mind for Gregg Easterbrook to criticize anyone for demanding accuracy for imaginary events since he dedicates large parts of TMQ, including this one, to demanding accuracy on television shows.

Paul Lockhart-Korris of New York City reports that in late August, he received an email from ESPN The Magazine (published on Earth The Planet) urging him to renew gift subscriptions now because, "The holiday season is fast upon us."

So it is Christmas Creep to acknowledge it is not yet the holiday season, but to say it is fast approaching. The mere warning of Christmas approaching is now "creep" in Gregg's mind?

The premise of "Stargate Universe" was that a wormhole accident put a group of present-day soldiers and civilians aboard a million-year-old automated starship built by an extinct civilization. Though the vessel had been exploring the universe on its own for a million years, the moment people arrived, engines and shields began failing -- and must be fixed by characters pressing buttons. If pulling out a failed piece of electronics and screwing in a new one as warning alarms sound is critical to starship operation -- this happened several times in the series -- how did the vessel function autonomously for a million years? Plus why did an automated ship have loud alarms?

I admit I don't know much about the electrical engineering of faster-than-light starcruisers. But why, in sci-fi space battles, do weapons hits on the hull cause sparks deep inside the vessel? It seems the civilization that built the ship was able to invent warp engines, but not circuit breakers.

As promised, this is Gregg demanding accuracy and realism for imaginary events.

Baltimore has used predictable playcalling in recent losses to the Steelers. Sunday, the Ravens were unpredictable. Blessed with a pair of young pass-catching tight ends, Baltimore often had both on the field and sent them into pass patterns, a tactic Pittsburgh did not expect.

Tight ends catching passes? Who woulda thunk it? Has this ever been done before?

Then Baltimore went for two out of a PAT kicking formation -- a tactic TMQ has always thought should be used more often, given most defenders nap through the PAT attempt.

Of course if more teams went for two out of the PAT kicking formation the opposing team would start to expect it and this tactic wouldn't work as often. Teams would quit going for two out of the PAT kicking formation and we'd be right back where we are now. I'll let you decide if you think defenders nap through the PAT attempt or not.

Mark Sanchez just posed shirtless for GQ. With scantily clad cheer-babes part of marketing throughout the NFL, and increasing women's interest in football, TMQ continues to believe the league is missing an opportunity by not fielding shirtless male cheer-hunks.

Apparently TMQ not only enjoys scantily-clad cheerleaders of any age he can ogle, but he also thinks teams are missing an opportunity to draw in female fans who are as pathetic and sex-deprived as Gregg seems to be. To the point he believes women would watch a football game merely to see a shirtless man.

Even if it makes sense long-term for the Jaguars to transition to rookie Blaine Gabbert, waiving their veteran starter is likely to mean fewer victories in 2011, and fewer seats sold late in the season.

I'm pretty sure Jaguar fans aren't coming to games no matter who is starting.

Opening day often tips off what new tactics can be expected throughout the year. TMQ noted two in general use Sunday:

• Tight end as a wide receiver.

Anyone who thinks lining the tight end up as a receiver is a new tactic hasn't watched the NFL over the last few years.

Nothing is new under the sun: The Redskins used tight end Clint Didier as a wide receiver against Denver in the 1988 Super Bowl.

How about going back to..................last year when the Falcons used Tony Gonzalez as a wide receiver or the Chargers used Gates as a wide receiver? How many times has Dallas Clark been lined up in the slot like a receiver? Really Gregg, you think this is in any way new?

Pre-snap jumping and shouting.

Also not really new.

Oakland's Ryan-brothers-flavored defensive game plan of frequent safety blitzing did not stop Kyle Orton.

Don't tell that to Woody Paige. From Woody's Tuesday column:

Fox won't mess with Orton's fragile psyche by changing quarterbacks, even though Orton's quarterback rating was 46.5 at halftime, with 11-of-23 completions for 125 yards and one untidy, untimely interception.

It didn't matter that Orton couldn't get the Broncos in from the 15-yard line after a turnover on the Raiders' first possession. And it didn't matter that Orton was sacked on third down at the Raiders' 5-yard line in the third quarter. And it didn't matter that Orton was standing back to pass in the fourth quarter and dropped the ball out of his hand for a whoopsie or a fumble.

It didn't matter that Orton was booed constantly during the evening. He had 304 meaningless yards passing and 13 yards rushing.

This is interesting. Those 304 yards passing were meaningless to Woody Paige, who loves Tim Tebow, and will give any excuse to advocate Tebow being the Broncos' starting quarterback. Those 304 yards passing showed Gregg Easterbrook, who wanted to show that the Raiders blitzed too much, that Kyle Orton couldn't be stopped. Funny how biases affect a person's view of something isn't it?

The Patriots ran an homage to Oregon's Blur Offense, using a very fast pace with less than 20 seconds between snaps. There were no sideline poster boards with pictures of celebrities and Kermit the Frog, so it wasn't clear how New England signaled in such rapid no-huddle plays.

On next year's list of "new" things Gregg will add "radios in the quarterback's helmet" since he doesn't seem to be aware of these currently.

Much of the time when New England was five-wide, both tight ends were on the field. Twenty-five years after the run-and-shoot seemed to exhaust every possibility, Bill Belichick still comes up with new wrinkles.

New England did this last year too. I wouldn't expect Gregg to know this.

Charles Clotfelter says in his important new book "Big Time Sports in American Universities" that Nick Saban's Alabama contract offers him bonuses of $550,000 per year for on-field performance versus $50,000 per year for academic achievements of his players. This makes priorities clear: The University of Alabama thinks football is 11 times more important than education.

So what does the fact the English Department at the University of Alabama don't get paid any money for the performance of the football team and the department faculty are paid only to educate suggest? That Alabama finds the football program nearly worthless or that the English Department is paid to teach students, while Nick Saban is paid to coach the football team?

Education is important, but Alabama isn't saying football is 11 times more important than education, they are saying Nick Saban was hired to coach football. Paying him more for academic achievements than football achievements would be wonderful in a perfect world, but this isn't a perfect world and a football coach gets paid more to win football games than he does for academic achievements.

Bonus College Score Campbell 76, Apprentice 0. The Apprentice School isn't a college, rather, a vocational affiliate of a shipbuilding company. Nevertheless the Campbell Fighting Camels, leading 69-0 in the fourth quarter, kept snapping the ball to run up the score. Located in Buies Creek, N.C., Campbell University apparently does not have sportsmanship on the curriculum.

Campbell also does not allow you to purchase beer in the Buies Creek city limits, because it is a backwards-ass school, but they will be glad to sell you as many cigarettes as you would like at the convenience stores just off-campus.

Next Week: Peter, Susan and Lucy ask Aslan to let them bring Peyton Manning a healing apple from Narnia.

Oh good, more "Narnia" references in regard to the Indianapolis Colts. Nothing like beating a tired comparison out further.


HH said...

Here's my question about the Colts: how bad must Curtis Painter be? He's been in the system for years, and yet he now backs up an old Kerry Collins who walked in a week ago? How can anyone credit the Colts method and especially Polian when that's the situation you find yourself in. Gregg gives New England a lot of crap, but they developed an undrafted rookie who didn't start in college into an NFL starter, and he was ready when called upon after the Brady injury.

HH said...

Could it be that the new spot helps kick returners? Last year, most lined up a few yards in front of their goal lines, and often had to take a step backward to catch the kick. Sunday, returners were lining up in the end zone -- then moving forward when catching the kick. This seems to add acceleration.

I'm gonna say BS/fluke on this. This would mean that for the past two decades, not one returner or special teams coach realized that "hey, if you line up a few yards further back, you get a running start and get more yardage." Who actually believes that?

Bengoodfella said...

HH, Painter must be very bad. He's been in the system for two years now, if I am not wrong, and a guy walks in off the street and takes his job? What I don't get is why Painter is even on the roster anymore other than he knows the offense. I tell you, a great quarterback covers up a ton of deficiencies in a team. A bad quarterback makes a team look a lot worse than they are.

I don't know if I actually believe that thing about the returners, but it is something I haven't thought about before. I think the difference is teams have a better idea they can stand on the back line of the end zone and then run up and return the kick. I'm not saying returners having more momentum is a truth, but they have less real estate to cover in regard to where the kick may go because they don't have to worry as much about the ball going over their head.

your favourite sun said...

Stats of the Week No. 7: Quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Andy Dalton, who faced each other in the Cincinnati Bengals-Cleveland Browns contest, were 87-15 as college starters and are 3-7 as pro starters.

Peyton Manning began his career with a record of 3-13. Troy Aikman lost his first 11 games as a starter, and had a career record of 3-18 at one point. So McCoy's record through 9 games isn't necessarily indicative of the calibre of quarterback he could become. Especially considering he's playing for the Browns.

On the flip side, Ryan Leaf started out 2-0.

rich said...

he can handle traditional pocket passing better than Tim Tebow, the collegiate player he's most often compared to.

Two big problems here:

1) How many of those 400 yards were actually from the pocket?

2) Newton has an offense with talent: you have two good to great RBs and Steve Smith. Tim Tebow has... um... I think Eddie Royal is still in Denver, isn't he?

This seems to add acceleration.

Dumbass doesn't know what acceleration is. The player's acceleration, that is the change in speed, is the same. If you want to say they catch the ball moving faster that's a potentially valid point, but their acceleration hasn't changed. For a self-proclaimed sciencey type person, he sure messes up the basics.

when he failed to see a safety blitzing from his right (Vick's blindside)

Something about this makes me laugh. How could Vick not have seen the defender coming from his backside?!

let's be accurate about imaginary events!

I love this. A man who constantly makes stuff up about real events (such as your takedown of him miss that Doucet wasn't uncovered, just blown coverage) and real science facts/math is complaining that someone messed up an imaginary event.


"The holiday season is fast upon us."

Lets see here, ESPN the Mag is monthly, so if this was his September issue he has October and November before Xmas... I guess they should have waited for the last minute to inform him.

It seems the civilization that built the ship was able to invent warp engines, but not circuit breakers.

As an electrical engineer, let me answer this morons rhetorical question: For the same reason there is sound and explosions in space. It's a fucking tv show.

Also, it makes perfect sense. Circuit breakers are typically mechanical switches in houses and whatnot, but a lot of actual lab equipment still uses the old school filaments that actually break at a certain amperage or power or whatever you've designed them to do.

In either case, if you put high energy into a system (ie a massive laser), then the circuit breakers may actually fail because they'll break. Even if the circuit breakers don't fail, that energy has to be dissipated somehow and... get this... one of them is heat. So the ship would get really hot, which would cause electrical components to fry.

so it wasn't clear how New England signaled in such rapid no-huddle plays.

This magical technology called headsets and speaking.

Located in Buies Creek, N.C., Campbell University apparently does not have sportsmanship on the curriculum.

I looked at the link... they were up 55-0 at half, they scored twice in the third and once in the fourth.

They attempted ONE PASS the entire half. What the fuck were they supposed to do? Take a friggin' knee for two full quarters?

Bengoodfella said...

Sun, great point. I am hearing a/b Leaf starting off 2-0 a lot lately down here in relation to Cam Newton. Apparently ppl believe the Panthers beat the Cardinals by not losing badly, which is annoying. The players around the QB often decide his record, especially for a rookie.

Rich, I don't know how many were from the pocket. A fair amount of them were but a lot of it was blown coverage by the Cardinals as well. So I give him some credit, but not a ton quite yet.

Tebow doesn't have much to work with and Newton definitely has some more. That's one big reason I think Tebow shouldn't play now. They need players around him to help him succeed.

If Vick could see someone from his blindside, well that would just be amazing peripheral vision. He's like Steve Nash if he can do that.

How the heck does Gregg complain someone complains about imaginary events. That thing a/b Doucet's TD annoyed me b/c it was complete blown coverage. There were enough guys to cover all the Cardinals receivers, so the blitz didn't leave men open. Pugh just blew coverage completely.

I'm not entirely sure everything you wrote a/b electrical engineering, but I think it sounds like Gregg was wrong! I like to hear that.

I mean really...he didn't headsets is how the plays come in? Seriously?

I went to grad school at Campbell and their football team is 2-3 years old, so I guess they just needed to kick some ass to feel better a/b themselves. I agree with you though, they ran the ball rather than take a knee. What else could they do?

Arjun Chandrasekhar said...

i think you covered it all well, but let me say one thing: if saban's football related bonuses are 11 times his academic related bonuses, they aren't saying football is more 11 times more important to the school, they are saying football is eleven times more important than academics IN THE CONTEXT OF NICK SABAN'S JOB, not the entire university! and since he is the head football coach it makes sense that the ratio would be skewed to the former. now, we can argue whether they should change the incentives (like you said, ideally i think they would make the academic incentives higher) but gregg is clearly misinterpreting and distorting information

Martin F. said...

For someone who bitches about tv and others getting things wrong, Greggg can't get easy shit right. Though I detested Stargate Universe, it wasn't an automated ship. It originally had a crew, which is why it would have all those things on it that he can't figure out, like sirens. There wasn't a crew on it because they had abandoned it.....though I can't remember why. Plague? Dinosaurs? Too much Gregg? Gregg on the other hand bitched about realism in the show, when he couldn't get one of the most important basic premises of the show correct. F you Gregg.

Also, Gregg got one of the schools in your obscure college score of the week wrong, cause he's a numbnut. He says Limestone College....a school which ahs no football team. He meant Livingston College.

Bengoodfella said...

Arjun, what irritates me is I know Gregg is smart enough to understand that concept. He just doesn't want to it seems. They aren't saying how important academics are with how much they pay him, but how important it is in the context of his job. I know Gregg can get this, he doesn't want to.

Martin, that little fact changes his whole complaint doesn't it? If it wasn't an automated ship then that explain Gregg's question, as well as the fact he needs to do more research to get it right.

He even got one of his obscure college scores wrong. You correct him on two things, that's a good showing!