Friday, December 9, 2011

4 comments Gregg Easterbrook Explains Green Bay's Success to Us Less-Intelligent Folk; I Explain Gregg's Deceptive Nature

Gregg Easterbrook has decided he will open the vault of secrets and explain the Green Bay Packers success to us. I find it interesting Gregg seems to believe he can decode the secrets of the Packers offense since he seems to have only a loose grasp of football principles and why teams do what they do on a weekly basis. It was just last week Gregg criticized the Giants for not running the clock down on the Saints at the end of the first half, while completely not realizing the Saints had three timeouts and could have stopped the clock if the Giants tried to run the clock down. Throw in the fact the Giants were losing at that point in the game and it may have made sense to try and score points before halftime. The same guy who created the Crabtree Curse and thinks Spygate actually began AFTER the punishment for Spygate was handed out, this same guy will explain the Packers success to us all. This should be interesting.

Next Sunday, if Green Bay defeats Oakland, the Packers will get to a 19-0 streak -- similar to the barrier the 2007 Patriots couldn't pass.

Except the Patriots couldn't pass this 19-0 barrier one season, not in two separate seasons. I'm not sure why this is, but the idea team records don't carry over from one season to another completely eludes Gregg Easterbrook. A perfect season is spoken about in terms of a team going 19-0 over one season, not 19-0 when two seasons are combined.

Green Bay's offense is ultra-efficient, with Aaron Rodgers on a pace to set the quarterback rating record. Green Bay's defense gets the job done.

"Gets the job done" being defined as "incredibly fortunate the Packers offense is so strong." The Packers defense has given up 20+ points in seven of their twelve games. Their "getting the job done" really means nothing. It is like saying a pitcher "pitches to the score." Green Bay doesn't have a bad defense, but it also doesn't seem to be outstanding either.

What are the Packers' secrets? First, the personnel:

People who read TMQ on this blog on a weekly basis, will enjoy this part of the breakdown.

Great players: All championship teams must have a few. Rodgers and Charles Woodson will be Hall of Famers.

Both are highly-paid, highly-drafted glory boys. Gregg hates these type of players traditionally...except when it turns out they are great players. Then Gregg neglects to mention their draft status.

If they continue to perform at their current levels, Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji could be, too.

Again, both are highly-paid, highly-drafted glory boys. If these players did something wrong during a game, Gregg would mention where they were drafted. Otherwise, he just doesn't bring it up in an attempt to not submarine his contention highly-drafted players are worthless or underachieve compared to other players.

Donald Driver and Chad Clifton have had great careers, and Greg Jennings is getting into that territory.

So of the seven best players on the roster (according to Gregg), six of them were drafted in the 1st or 2nd round. Gregg would never mention this willingly though.

Undrafted players: The Packers have 16 on their roster -- Jarrett Bush, Tom Crabtree, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Ray Dominguez, Rob Francois, Brett Goode, Ryan Grant, John Kuhn, Jamari Lattimore, Tim Masthay, Brandon Saine, Sam Shields, Shaky Smithson, Vic So'oto, Tramon Williams and Frank Zombo. Football is a team sport, and for team sports, little-known role players are as important as great players.

Excellent undrafted players are important for depth, but isn't it funny none of these undrafted players are considered the "great players" on the Packers team? The players considered great by Gregg were all drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, except for Donald Driver. So little-known role players on the Packers team AREN'T as important as the great players to the Packers.

Unlike highly drafted crybabies who think the rules don't apply to them -- Exhibit A, the Detroit Lions -- undrafted players listen to the coaches and give you what they've got.

Exhibit B: Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Chad Clifton, B.J. Raji, Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson.

For those that don't believe me when I say Gregg intentionally misleads his audience, this is further proof. When naming the best players on the Packers team there is zero mention of where these players were drafted. Then when Gregg discusses the undrafted players on the Packers roster he says:

Unlike highly drafted crybabies who think the rules don't apply to them -- Exhibit A, the Detroit Lions -- undrafted players listen to the coaches and give you what they've got.

He says this as if 6 of the 7 best players, as chosen by Gregg Easterbrook himself, weren't highly drafted players. He misleads and deceives his audience intentionally. He has no regard for sharing all of the facts when making a claim, he only has regard for inane theories that make him look like he was right about his claim.

And the Packers scout the sixth and seventh rounds as intently as the first. Many Green Bay players were late choices, selected by a point in the draft where many teams were just winging it.

As far as evidence of this statement? Gregg has none. He's too lazy to look this little fact up, so he just makes a blanket statement that "many" of the Packers players were late choices. I'm not sure if this means there are many players on the roster who were chosen late in the draft or there are many players who actually contribute to the team chosen late in the draft.

The only NFL roster with five tight ends, as TMQ has noted before: Green Bay has five tight ends, and has won 18 straight games. Why don't other NFL teams notice this rudimentary fact?

Because it is very potentially a highly irrelevant coincidence. If a team goes 12-0 by keeping two quarterbacks on the roster, does this mean all teams would be advised to keep two quarterbacks on the roster? Probably not.

Let's play a game. Gregg loves to tell us how many tight ends the Packers have, as if this is immediately relevant to the Packers record and the Packers use these tight ends to create mismatches all over the field. Let's how many receptions these five tight ends have. Because if they are important to the success of the team, surely that will show in the stats right?

Tom Crabtree: 5 receptions
Jermichael Finley: 42 receptions
Andrew Corliss: 3 receptions
Ryan Taylor: 0 receptions
D.J. Williams: 1 reception

It doesn't look like the five tight ends on the roster are actually contributing to the team does it? In fact, one tight end (Finley) has 82.3% of the receptions.

Guess which other team has five tight ends on the roster? The Indianapolis Colts. So does this mean if you have five tight ends on the roster you could go 12-0 or 0-12? The fact the Colts have five tight ends on their roster doesn't do much for Gregg's "five tight ends on the roster leads to success" theory.

Multiple tight ends allow for multiple offensive sets that confuse defensive game plans.

So does offensive sets with five quality receivers, which is something else the Packers have. The Packers may use multiple tight end sets, but only one tight end catches the majority of the passes. Gregg counts on no one looking this up to prove him wrong. He constantly makes statements having done zero research and hopes his audience is as stupid and lazy as he anticipates they will be.

All contemporary defensive coordinators have some experience dealing with multiple wide receiver sets. Most don't have experience dealing with multiple tight end sets.

This is a non-factual statement with no substantive backing provided. I can't believe Gregg gets paid to write statements like this with zero proof of its truth.

Aaron Rodgers: Quarterback is the most important position in football, and Rodgers is football's best quarterback.

You mean the quarterback position is important? Thanks for decoding this secret of the Packers offense. What's next? An excellent pass rush is important for a defense?

Now Green Bay's tactical secrets:

If Green Bay had tactical secrets, the last person on Earth who could figure them out is Gregg Easterbrook.

Sideline passing:

The deep sideline pass is the hardest throw in football, so only the best offenses feature this action. When a receiver is smack at the sideline, the quarterback knows there will be only one defender --

Well unless there is a safety over top of the defense and is able to react in time to get to the ball. Gregg doesn't ever think of this possibility because it won't fit his contention.

Working the sideline is a way to create one-on-one matchups. The throw must be perfect. If it is, the sideline route is the hardest for even the best cornerback to defend.

I would say if a quarterback throws the ball perfectly at any point in a game, whatever route the receiver is running would be the hardest route to defend at that point in time. That's just me though.

The Packers' offense operates as though it assumes only three downs, like in Canada. Plus Joe Philbin has been the offensive coordinator in Green Bay for eight years. The Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots offenses of the past decade were successful partly because of coaching stability.

So to be as good as the Packers team is, just go out and find a franchise quarterback and a coach that is good enough at his job to not get fired. Why haven't more franchises tried this?

Bicycles: Packers players ride bicycles to the opening of camp, an annual summer ritual attended by thousands of children. Cheesy? Well, it is Wisconsin. Corny? Gets the season off on a fun note. And Packers faithful sure are having fun.

I love it when little things like this are attributed to a team playing well, when it could actually be the opposite. The Red Sox pitchers drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse was a bad thing because they blew the Wild Card lead down the stretch, if the Red Sox had won the Wild Card, and then won the World Series, this ritual of eating fried chicken and drinking beer would have been seen as the team bonding. Winning changes the perception of everything.

The ritual of Packers players riding bicycles to the opening of camp has nothing to do with the team's success. It is fun to attribute this ritual to the Packers playing well, but this ritual could be seen as fun because the Packers are a good team, just like it could be seen as the team not being serious about success if coming off a bad year. It goes both ways.

Everybody's talking about Tebow's runs. That Tebow is not turning the ball over may be the key fact about him.

You think? So today we have learned the best NFL teams have a franchise quarterback and a good head coach, but as a bonus we learn it is also important for a quarterback not to turn the ball over.

Sweet 'N' Sour Play of the Week: Cam Newton tossed right to flanker Legedu Naanee, on what appeared to the defense to be a hitch screen. But it was a lateral: Newton ran a pass pattern left for a 21-yard reception that was the first of many big plays in Carolina's destruction of fading City of Tampa. Sweet. Bucs safeties fell for the initial fake -- though the offensive linemen who had pulled in front of Naanee were pass-blocking, which should have been a giveaway. Sour.

The Bucs safeties didn't fall for the fake at all. They covered the Panther receivers downfield in preparation for Naanee to throw the ball. There were no receivers open downfield. The Bucs just didn't expect the Panthers quarterback to be the receiver. It was a well-designed and executed play. Gregg is incapable of understanding a well-designed and well-executed play often works.

According to the News-Suns of Springfield, Ohio, Meyer's contract includes maximum annual bonuses of $550,000 for victories and $150,000 for players' academic achievements. This suggests that football is 3.7 times more important than education at Ohio State.

No it doesn't, you idiot. It suggests Urban Meyer is hired to coach the Ohio State football team. His main job is to make sure the Ohio State football team wins games. The academic achievements of the players are important, but the job he was hired to perform is where he will receive most of his bonus money. To pay the football coach X dollars for victories compared to X dollars for players' achievements doesn't suggest the ratio at which one is more important than the other overall. It suggests Urban Meyer is hired to coach football, so his bonuses reflect this.

Sure, the blitz sometimes produces a big play for the defense -- New Orleans got a sack against Detroit by rushing seven. But on the big blitz, a big play for the offense is as likely.

Is it? Does Gregg have statistics or any type of data to support this statement? Of course not. This statement may be true, but this is typical of Gregg. He feeds his audience a contention he believes as true without even worrying about supporting his contention without anecdotal evidence being his only true evidence.

"I saw a big blitz not work two times this weekend and saw a big blitz work once this weekend. That must mean a big blitz doesn't work more often that it does work."

Yours truly just ordered something to put under the "holiday tree" from L.L. Bean, which is giving $10 coupons with most transactions. Using the coupon required entering 23 digits. Many account numbers are long because they are generated by algorithms. But nine digits are required to assign a unique number to each person in the United States. Are 23 digits really required for a $10 coupon?

Yes, this is required. If you want a damn $10 coupon just put the 23 digit number in. What is it about sportswriters like Peter King and Gregg Easterbrook that complain about such little everyday things. Is life that hard for them?

Washington has not only put the younger generation on the hook for at least $14 trillion in debt -- now young Americans may end up on the hook for money squandered in Europe. TMQ asks again: Why aren't voters under age 30 outraged about this?

Perhaps they are outraged by this. At this point, we can just add this to the list of things that voters under 30 are going to have passed down to them. Plus, voters under 30 most likely don't have enough money to help make a change. Money talks and many voters under 30 don't have enough money to make it talk. Voters under 30 years old may be outraged, but I'm guessing Gregg doesn't have his pulse on the youth of America, so he may not know about this outrage.

The private-club nature of the BCS is annoying and transparently about the big conferences maximizing profit. But if Boise State wants to say the BCS is bad, it can't also complain about not being allowed in.

Yes, they can. The reason Boise State says the BCS is bad is because they aren't let into the BCS. Boise State doesn't feel it is fair they are left out of the BCS, which is why they say it is bad. This is like saying a woman can't complain about not getting a job because of her gender. Gregg would say she can't say the company is sexist, but also can't complain she can't get a job at the company. The major complaint is based on the exclusion, so inclusion would get rid of the major complaint.

Arkansas finished sixth in the BCS, ahead of Boise State, is a megabucks insider school, yet didn't reach the BCS either. In the Razorbacks' case, because LSU and Alabama made the title tilt, by BCS rules no other SEC school could enter. But that shows the BCS isn't entirely rigged -- Arkansas, an insider, is out

Gregg appears to be a smart guy. So he has to understand the reason Arkansas is out is because there is a specific rule saying three teams from one conference can't make a BCS game. So this doesn't prove the BCS isn't rigged, it just proves there are two teams from the SEC already in the BCS, so Arkansas can't make a BCS game.

Now that the weather has turned cold, cheer-babe professionalism comes into play. Professionalism in this sense means skin or at least skin-tight: this appeases the football gods.

What's so funny is Gregg makes this comment and then on a completely unrelated topic (about the Broncos offense) to this one, shows a picture of Matthew McConaughey from "Dazed and Confused." Gregg isn't smart enough to understand why this is funny, but while he is talking creepily about cheerleaders wearing skin tight clothing, his column has a picture of a movie character whose most famous quote from the movie was:

That's what I like about these high school girls; I get older, they stay the same age.

Gregg is creepy when talking about cheerleaders and is like a much less cool version of Wooderson. That's what I'm saying.

Skins-Jets note: Pass rush specialist Aaron Maybin, who had zero sacks in two seasons at Buffalo, has six sacks in his first nine games with Jersey/B, leading Rex Ryan's pressure-obsessed defense in the category. Maybin hit Rex Grossman to force the fumble that turned the game in the Jets' favor.

Gregg very well may include Aaron Maybin in his list of "unwanted players" after this season is over. He will unfailingly forget to mention that he had Maybin on his list of highly drafted and highly paid glory boy busts before this season began. Gregg wants it both ways. He wants to criticize a player for being a bust and then talk about how a team gave up on that player and refer to him as "unwanted." Gregg always neglects to mention the reason a player was unwanted was also the same reason Gregg previously called that player a highly paid glory boy first round pick.

Buffalo used the 11th overall selection of the 2009 draft on Maybin, then rarely let him on the field, criticized him relentlessly in public, then waived him early this season.

Here he goes, pretending he never criticized Maybin. Gregg not only criticized the Bills for drafting Aaron Maybin, he is now criticizing the Bills for waiving Maybin. Here are some examples of statements about Maybin Gregg has made.

Drafts can be judged three years later. TMQ has a sawbuck that says in three years, the undrafted Coleman will be a more accomplished NFL player than Pierre-Paul, Gholston, Maybin or Ayers.

Gregg is talking about Antonio Coleman here. Coleman still doesn't have a sack in the NFL. Gregg owes his audience a sawbuck...or at least a little humility. Gregg claimed Maybin would not be as good as undrafted free agent.

In the past decade, the Bills have wasted first-round choices on busts Mike Williams, J.P. Losman and John McCargo and spent lottery-level first-round choices on Donte Whitner, Marshawn Lynch and Aaron Maybin, all of whom, in 2009, were kept on the bench by undrafted free agents.

But again, this is a guy (Maybin) who the Bills should have kept around? So they get criticized for drafting Maybin and then get criticized for waiving Maybin when he underachieves. Gregg wants it both ways.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback noted just before Maybin became a Jet, "Making a great show of discussing how bad the previous Bills regime's high draft pick was creates an excuse for [Bills head coach Chan] Gailey and [Bills general manager Buddy] Nix to present a losing team in 2011 -- 'What did you expect, when the guys who came before us blew the team's 2009 first-round pick?'"

Do you like how Gregg tries to pretend this quote from TMQ was about keeping Maybin on the roster? That's what Gregg wants us to believe, that he was advocating Maybin staying on the roster. That's not what Gregg was trying to say. He was trying to say the Bills blew the pick on Maybin and the new regime is blaming the old regime for this pick. Gregg calls the pick used on Maybin as a pick the Bills "blew," but he wants us to believe he believed the Bills unfairly got rid of Maybin in some bizarre scheme to get rid of the previous regimes players so the new regime can blame the old regime for the current state of the Bills.

The Bills are 5-7 and last in the NFL in sacks. If everything about their season was the same except they'd simply kept Maybin, the Bills might be in the playoff hunt. But to the coach and general manager, lining up excuses for losing was the first priority.

So the Bills should have kept the player who was on the bench in favor of an undrafted player? Does Gregg really expect us to believe that is the conclusion he has been coming to when mentioning Maybin over the past few years? I don't buy it.

Undrafted Quarterback Plays of the Day:

Undrafted Miami quarterback Matt Moore threw a touchdown pass to undrafted Miami receiver Davon Bess versus Oakland. Undrafted Tyler Palko threw a touchdown pass against Chicago. In the Carolina-City of Tampa game, undrafted quarterback Rudy Carpenter, called up from the practice squad just hours before the contest, handed off to undrafted tailback LeGarrette Blount.

Of course Gregg won't mention Palko has been mostly bad to below average in his first couple of starts with the Chiefs and he also won't mention Rudy Carpenter was in the game for one play (the one Gregg mentions here). That would ruin the perception undrafted players start for a fair amount of NFL teams, which Gregg attempts to further.

Also, LeGarrette Blount wasn't undrafted because of his skill level, but because he punched a Boise State player in the face during the opening game of the season. He then didn't play much for the rest of the year. So it wasn't football skill that caused Blount to be undrafted. I feel like this needs to be pointed out. Teams recognized Blount's talent, they just knew taking him on may carry some risk.

Class of 1983, Meet Class of 2012: Sports touts, and Indianapolis Colts faithful, are focused on the destiny of Andrew Luck in the 2012 draft. Landry Jones will be available too. Matt Barkley may come out of college, and this season he's looked like he was expected to look when he was the most sought-after prep player in the country. Don't forget Case Keenum, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin, all of whom have spectacular touchdown-to-interception ratios.

Which we all know touchdown-to-interception ratio in college is the main indicator of whether a quarterback will succeed in the NFL or not.

That's six quarterbacks with a legit shot of going in Round 1, plus a realistic shot of at least one Hall of Famer among them.

????? This statement is based on what? So if six quarterbacks go in Round 1, there is a realistic shot of one or more Hall of Famers based simply on the fact six quarterbacks were drafted in the first round? The 1999 NFL Draft had five quarterbacks drafted in the 1st round and none of them are probably going to be Hall of Famers. Six quarterbacks were drafted in the first 36 picks of the 2011 NFL Draft. Is there at least one Hall of Fame quarterback on that list? We'll see, I guess.

Perhaps Kevin Sumlin has joined the ranks of weasel coaches.

Just as a note. Alabama has a "weasel" coach in Nick Saban who is now in the National Championship Game for the second time in three years.

Gregg insists "weasel" coaches are punished for their deeds. Funny, when mentioning the Arkansas Razorbacks football team earlier in this column and how they could have made a BCS bowl if it weren't against the BCS rules, he neglected to mention Bobby Petrino has also been called a "weasel" coach by Gregg in the past. He hopes his readers pay attention to what he writes and then forgets what he has said when it turns out he is wrong.


rich said...

Unlike highly drafted crybabies who think the rules don't apply to them -- Exhibit A, the Detroit Lions -- undrafted players listen to the coaches and give you what they've got.

James Harrison - Undrafted.

The only NFL roster with five tight ends, as TMQ has noted before: Green Bay has five tight ends, and has won 18 straight games. Why don't other NFL teams notice this rudimentary fact?

They also have three outstanding wideouts and two very good ones to accompany a future HOF QB. Why don't teams take notice of this?

Aaron Rodgers: Quarterback is the most important position in football, and Rodgers is football's best quarterback.

Unless you have six TEs on your roster. Then QB isn't that important.

Bucs safeties fell for the initial fake

This is the kind of stuff that makes it absolutely clear that Gregg never actually played the sport. If safeties always realized pass protection, they'd never fall for play action passes either.

Even more so, Gregg clearly doesn't realize how fast the game is and how hard it is to pick up on these things when you're not watching from the above angle. When you're a 6' safety, it's hard to decipher pass vs. run blocking when you're 15 yards away looking through LBers and DLmen who are much, much bigger than you.

But nine digits are required to assign a unique number to each person in the United States. Are 23 digits really required for a $10 coupon?

1. LL Bean is an international company.

2. It's 23 digits to prevent fraud. It's to stop people from changing a single number in the code and using someone else's coupon.

For example, if you have a two number code: 00-99 and give out 50 coupons. You can randomly choose a number and be 50% sure that the code will work. Then when the person with that actual code tries to use it... it doesn't work.

For a guy who thinks he's so smart, the simplest things seem to boggle his mind.

3. If you're giving away free money, you have to make it difficult to redeem it. Why do you think mail-in rebates exist? Companies hope that people are simply too lazy to put the number in.

But that shows the BCS isn't entirely rigged -- Arkansas, an insider, is out

Virginia Tech - Michigan. If that blatant disregard for rewarding teams isn't enough reason to realize that the BCS is rigged, then I don't know what to tell you.

The Bills are 5-7 and last in the NFL in sacks. If everything about their season was the same except they'd simply kept Maybin, the Bills might be in the playoff hunt.

No, the Bills problems are turnovers and in stopping the run. Adding a pass rushing specialist wouldn't really do much.

undrafted quarterback Rudy Carpenter...handed off to undrafted tailback LeGarrette Blount.

Shit, if only Aaron Rodgers could hand the ball off he'd be incredible.

I also find it funny that Rodgers had more passing TDs against the Giants than all of the guys he listed combined.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I really do need to quit being lazy and one day make a comparison b/w undrafted and highly drafted players. One of these days I will...

Six TE's and a mediocre quarterback equals a Super Bowl long as you have plenty of undrafted players as well.

Safeties fall for fakes sometimes, it's just how it is. But the Bucs safeties didn't even really fall for it. It is just they didn't account for the QB being the receiver. Well drawn up play, that's the bottom line.

I think Gregg just likes to ask questions and not think of the answer intentionally to make himself seem smarter than he is. Anyone who takes the time to show how easy it is to get the answer will make him look dumb.

VT-Michigan game. I couldn't believe they got picked. Even Herbstreit was bashing the BCS and ESPN isn't supposed to do that since they are evil and will do what they can to support the BCS. Boise State not making it was a travesty to me. Whatever, it is what we expect at this point.

Gregg is only interested in statistics like how many TD's a highly drafted QB has compared to undrafted QB's when the numbers favor him. Otherwise, he does what he usually does and ignores it to pretend he is correct.

Ericb said...

King and Easterbrook come across as mirror universe opposite versions of the same guy. While King can be insufferable in his self centered sense of entitlement he actually seems to be a genuinely nice, if clueless, guy. Easterbrook on the other hand comes off as a grade A prick. If this were a Star Trek episode Gregg Easterbrook would be Peter King with a goatee.

Bengoodfella said...

Ericb, Peter does seem like a nice guy. I try to go easier on him than Easterbrook. Peter can be insufferable, but he also doesn't try to mislead his audience and realizes when he is wrong. Easterbrook is terrible. Just terrible.