Wednesday, November 30, 2011
To give you an idea of how San Francisco are the most likely playoff participent outside Green Bay this year, consider this. Most people predicted the NFC West could be had with about 8 wins this year. Let's be optimistic for Seattle, Arizona and St. Louis and say that's still true. San Francisco, who still have five games remaining against Arizona, St. Louis and Cleveland, would need to finish 3-7 to give these teams any sniff at all. This seems unlikely, but considering they went 6-10 last year with Abruyo Franklin on the roster, possible. Even then, Seattle would probably need to go 7-4, as they have already lost to the Niners. That seems insanely unlikely. Even if they swept their home games (which includes dates against Baltimore and the Eagles) they would need to win at least one more road game - hardly a sure thing. Arizona would also need to go 7-4 and the Rams 8-4, and remember this is in the best case scenario of the Niners finishing 3-7.
Nothing to see here, Niners clinch with a win in any of their last five games or alternatively, either Arizona or Seattle failing at going 0-5. St. Louis join Minnesota as the only teams in the NFC already mathematically eliminated from winning their division.
Green Bay are so far out in front it's not even funny. Second place is all but guarenteed a wild card spot, and that is a race between the Lions and Bears. Certainly the Lions, up two games and a head to head win against Chicago, have the inside track and do look the real deal, but they also carry the handicap of being the Detroit Lions.
Green Bay looks almost even money to go undefeated, but the action behind them has been fascinating to watch. At the time, the Bears were 3-3, but two of the wins were against the Panthers and Vikings. Their candidacy was more or less theoretical. Since then, both advantages the Lions enjoyed have vanished, and even with Cutler's season ending injury they are in plenty of trouble. They only have really looked convincing against the Tebows in Week Eight, and have games with Norlans and the Pack remaining. However the claim that second place in the division will be in the playoffs looks as secure as ever.
Ostensibly close, but really New Orleans seem well in control. Every team here has to pay the Green Bay piper this year, and Tampa still have yet to. The Saints are still unbeaten at home, and seem to be pacing themselves well so far. Still, Tampa's win this week adds a layer of intrigue. The Saints should be able to build some seperation over the next third. Atlanta have quite simply been a disappointment since the starters pistol fired, but are still in touch if they can put it together from here on out.
While seeing New Orleans (4-1 since this was written) and Atlanta (4-1 also) put the pedal down since Week Six was pretty predictable, Tampa Bay's tailspin was less so. Remember, this was written after their defeat of the Saints, having already knocked off the Falcons earlier. Tampa have not won since this point, making this a two team race. Though the gap between the Falcons and Saints looks wider than the literal one game between them, New Orleans has three of its final five games at home, where it is undefeated, and holds the tiebreaker over the Falcons. The two play in Louisiana for a late Monday Night Christmas present, but Atlanta's real battle appears to be with the flagging NFC North middle powers.
An absolute clusterfuck of a division. Really, I can't remember a division this muddled and yet relevant (unlike last years NFC West) in a long time. I absolutely could see literally any of these teams getting hot and making a deep playoff run, but I'll be damned if I know who. Dallas' top tier talent is of a very high quality, and their losses are to Detroit, New England and the Jets, all in games they absolutely could have won had a play or two gone differently. The Redskins were pacing this division with the best defense before the wheels fell off their offense completely this week. The Giants have been the toughest and guttiest team and in the best form, winning four of their last five despite a slew of injuries. Unfortunately, that loss was the biggest shock of the season, losing at home to Seattle of all teams, and the injury cloud still casts doubts. Philadelphia are probably twice as talented as any of these teams - they are also 2-4. Literally anyone's division to win.
This was almost the precise moment Washington imploded in Grossmanesque (ha!) fashion. Injuries also completely derailed their season. Philly has been as profound a dissapointment as the NFL has seen in some years, though both technically and actually, have played a little better since the 2-4 start, but the hope has faded entirely now. The Giants have not dealt well at all with the increase in degree of difficulty in their schedule. While the win over the Pats was nice, it also relied on a last second drive, and the Giants have not looked convincing in an entire game ever since this was written. They still have games at the Jets and Cowboys left and of course the Packers are looming next week. It's hard to see how they best 9-7. Even if they sweep the two remaining games with Dallas, the Cowboys could still win out over the rest of their schedule (at Arizona and Tampa, home to Philly) to render the point essentially moot. They are very real and sturdy favourites.
As discussed below, a severe injury has changed the complexion of this division markedly, and San Diego are to football a bit like Mitt Romney is to Republicans; we're all just going to have to deal with them winning even if we don't think they are that great. One of the least interesting divisions in the NFL.
This is clearly now wrong, which you might think would have created some intrigue. That would be a mistake, it's just incredibly depressing.
It's fairly clear the baton has been passed from Pittsburgh to Baltimore, but the Steelers still have plenty of time and have not fallen in a hole. Cincinnati looms as the long shot wildcard hope in the AFC, but things get much tougher schedule wise from here. It's not likely they'll be relevant in another six weeks.
Pittsburgh have essentially been hanging in there all season, but little more. Baltimore have been frustrating, adding to a two score loss to the Titans in the first third with even more mindbending losses to the Seahawks and Jags, while Flacco plays like a backup QB for much of the time. Nevertheless, they have beaten Cincy, Pittsburgh (twice), the Jets, Niners and Houston, and have a cakewalk home. They should take this division holding the tiebreaker over the Steelers. Cincinnati are relevant, but only for a wildcard spot, and only just.
Manning has obviously left a profound power vacuum at the top, which Houston were only too eager to fill. They have a nervous few weeks at least dealing with Tennessee, if they capitulate this time, the emotional effects and subsequent roster and coaching overhaul may take years to overcome.
Credit the Titans for stubbornly holding onto the coattails of the Texans, who are trying to hold on down the stretch with Tyler fucking Yates for God's sake. Houston have a slightly easier path home, as Tennessee has New Orleans still to come, but this could all come down to the last week showdown in Houston potentially. Indianapolis' first six weeks were dissapointing, but competitive. Since they have been outscored by a nearly 4:1 ratio and it might get worse, with New England, Baltimore and Houston all still to come. Yikes.
The Bills have lost 2 of their last 3 and have not won on the road since Week One, beating up on the Chiefs. They now enter a period with road games at Dallas, Miami, the Jets and the Chargers, with home games against Washington, the Jets and the Titans. Not a gimme amongst them, and hard to see them keeping up with their atrocious D. The Jets have dealt with a horror early schedule and are expected to make their claim to a wildcard. The division looks, once again, to belong to the Patriots.
Those road games did...not go well. The Patriots looked distracted immediately following these comments, but have since kicked back into top gear. They hold two games and the tiebreaker over the Jets. They will win the AFC East and are chasing homefield through the playoffs. New York has been poor since a 2-0 start, but should they win their next two at Washington and against the Chiefs, they should be able to wrap up the final wildcard place.
1 - GREEN BAY (-)
11-0, 1st NFC NORTH
W 27-15 @DET, next @NYG
I actually thought this was the game the Packers would lose. Now, I honestly believe they will go 16-0.
2 - NEW ORLEANS (+1)
8-3, 1st NFC SOUTH
W 49-24 vNYG, next vDET
Something about Ron Jaworski's voice makes me wanna punch him in the face. I think it's the excessive earnestness and his tendency to use inflection at the end of nearly every sentence. It's like he's auditioning to be a radio DJ or something. This game was always likely to come down to whether New Orleans brilliant offensive line could block the Giants various assortment of pass rushers. The answer was a conclusive yes as the Giants got to Brees (24/38 for 363 yards and 4TDs) just four times for 1 sack.
3 - NEW ENGLAND (+1)
8-3, 1st AFC EAST
W 38-20 @PHI, next vIND
Brady (24/34 for a ludicrous 361 yards and 3TDs) is well and truly back to his best. He has thrown 8 TDs and no picks in his last three games with an exceptional 9.2 YPA, including a date against the Jets and Eagles, two good to great pass defenses. After a four game drought (by Patriots standards) where they did not clear 30 points in any game, New England have done so three times in a row, with 109 in total in their last three games. Watch out.
4 - BALTIMORE (+5)
8-3, T-1st AFC NORTH
W 16-6 vSF, next @CLE
This is a great pass rush. I have previously said the Jets ran the best blitz in the NFL, but it may be the Ravens, with only one natural pass rusher (Suggs) they rank 1st in the NFL in sacks (38). Against the Niners they racked up an amazing 9 of them, to go along with 21 total hits. San Francisco's offense is not good, but their offensive line is not bad, it's shocking that the Ravens should be able to dismantle them to that extent. It's unusual for defensive lineman to pick up sacks in the 3-4, but Ngata and Redding weren't just engaging blockers, they were knocking them over - they combined for 4.5 sacks between them. Back in the top five, with next week at Cleveland. Nothing can possibly go wrong, right? Let's try this again, shall we Baltimore?
5 - PITTSBURGH (-)
8-3, T-1st AFC NORTH
W 13-9 @KC, next vCIN
Offensive line looked as terrible as ever, although the stats (1 sack, three hits) don't show it. Kansas City took away the long ball from the Steelers, even on times that Roethlisburger (193 yards on 31 throws) did have time. If a good team does that to Pittsburgh, I'm not sure how they possibly win.
6 - ATLANTA (-)
7-4, 2nd NFC SOUTH
W 24-14 vMIN, next @HOU
Harry Douglas has had a great little run recently. He has 14 receptions for 229 yards the last three weeks. If he can become a genuine 3rd receiver, Atlanta's offense will only become more efficient. In fact, all of their targets have been on fire of late, White has 267 yards in the last two games and Gonzalez has 29 of his 50 catches in the last five. Atlanta have only lost to Green Bay and New Orleans in the last two months. I said a few weeks ago, the breaks are going the Falcons way, and it continues next week - are getting Houston at the right time.
7 - HOUSTON (-5)
8-3, 1st AFC SOUTH
W 20-13 @JAX, next vATL
I haven't commented on it much this year, but their defense really is so much better this year. Smarter and in particular, more energy (35 sacks this year, they are just flying around all over the place). I know energy is a bullshit weasel word much of the time, conveying nothing and a copout to actually make a claim, but with Houston, it really is true. The matchup against the Jacksonville "offense" (7 sacks and 19 hits) was just a joke. Houston's special teams ripped this game in half (a 53 yarder by Rackers, a punt landing inside the one, a kickoff return of 45 yards and punt returns of 42, 31, 23 and 16 yards) which was good, because the Texans had just about their worst running game of the season (2.8YPC) and now that Tyler Yates is the QB (8/15 for 70 yards)...I was prepared to go to war with Leinart but this is a bridge too far. Hard to take them seriously in the playoffs anymore, sadly.
8 - SAN FRANCISCO (-1)
9-2, 1st NFC WEST
L 6-16 @BAL, next vSTL
A strong defensive performance (Ray Rice was held to just 2.8YPC) was lost in an entirely overmatched offense. They had just 96 passing yards all game and Alex Smith was lucky to survive the onslaught of pass rushers. Some teams you talk about how they have so many ways to beat you, but San Fran seem the opposite - they have so many ways to lose a game. There's no way they can keep up or stop Rodgers, Brees or possibly Brady for example in a track meet. And now we know what happens if they take on an elite defensive team like Baltimore or Pittsburgh (upcoming). My concerns that they just can't beat the best teams has not been responded to. Their previous skins of Philly, Giants and the Lions do not look quite as impressive as they did two or three weeks ago.
9 - DALLAS (+2)
7-4, 1st NFC EAST
W 20-19 vMIA, next @ARI
Easy to point at Romo's interceptions, but they were excellent plays by Miami's corners. Romo (22/34 with 226 yards and a pair of TD)s also made so many throws while being hit it was ridiculous. He really is an exceptional, top five quarterback. He seems to have a genuine rapport with Laurent Robinson (7 catches for 79 yards and a TD), amazingly.
10 - JETS (+2)
6-5, 2nd AFC EAST
W 28-24 vBUF, next @WAS
Rich Gannon made one of the funniest comments about Mark Sanchez (17/35 for 180 yards, 4TDs and a pick). "I think he's the kind of guy that if you're running the ball well, making stops on defense, getting turnovers, giving him short fields, he can...function." So if literally every other aspect of your football team is performing at an exceptionally high level, Mark Sanchez won't completely torpedo your chances of winning, while at the same time providing you with the absolute minimum level of production to ensure your season doesn't end in disaster. I thought this was a little harsh. Anyone that hates Sanchez should be forced to have their eyelids cut off and watch every throw by Blaine Gabbert and Curtis Painter this season. Anyway, we're all stuck with the Jets now it would seem, in their Jerseyesque obnoxiousness...I can just imagine "The Situation" asking "what, you want the fucking Bengals in the playoffs?".
11 - DETROIT (-1)
7-4, T-2nd NFC NORTH
L 15-27 vGB, next @NO
Joe Buck lives for moments like Suh's American History X re-enactment to unleash the full scale of his self righteousness. But the issue was the first half inability to take their chances. The Lions had 218 yards of offense in the first half, 9 first downs (vs 4 from the Packers, 2 by penalty), and no points. That can't happen against Rodgers and company. It's probably fair to say the Lions are thankful for Caleb Hanie.
12 - CHICAGO (-4)
7-4, T-2nd NFC NORTH
L 20-25 @OAK, next vKC
Hanie's first interception was simply unforgivable. He had great protection in the pocket, never seemed particulary interested in running it, and just went outside the pocket where his offensive linemen couldn't help him. He was obviously pursued, and as he approached the sideline, seemed to want to throw it away and instead picked out a pretty fucking conspicuous black shirt somehow. His day (18/36 for 254 yards with three picks and a failed spike - fucking seriously - to end the game) was not to improve.
13 - GIANTS (-)
6-5, 2nd NFC EAST
L 24-49 @NO, next vGB
Both defenses were pretty awful here (1042 yards and ten touchdowns in all), but Norlans is less reliant on theirs. New York don't tackle or cover well. They don't run well. They have too many holes to be particulary scary, even if their strengths (Manning and the pass rush) are pronounced and in important areas. For example, the Packers, who surely the NFC goes through, have exactly the same kind of team, except their quarterback is better (much better, as good as Manning has been) and their pass rush is comperable. For a big man, Brandon Jacobs (46 yards on 13 carries) just goes down too easy. There was one run where he was in the open field against I think Roman Harper, who lowered the shoulder and took him down no problem. Is really a disgrace that a defensive back can take a man this size down one on one. They talk about the toughest pound for pound, Jacobs is among the softest, pound for pound.
14 - CINCINNATI (-)
7-4, 3rd AFC NORTH
W 23-20 vCLE, next @PIT
No team that has allusions to the playoffs should ever, under any circumstances, trail the Cleveland Browns by 10 points. A.J.Green (110 yards on 3 catches) just gets better and better, but a running team needs more than Cedric Benson back there. Their supposedly superb (ranked 1 in the league coming into this game) run defense gave up 134 yards on 4.5 a carry in this game.
15 - TENNESSEE (+3)
6-5, 2nd AFC SOUTH
W 23-17 vTB, next @BUF
Won turnoverpalooza 2011 (9 in all) on the strength largely of smoke and mirrors. The focus, is, of course, going to be on Johnson's "resurgance" (190 yards on 23 carries in this game) but it does make you realise how Barry Sandersesque he is. It's either -3 or 11 yards on each run. If you're gonna be like that you really have to be finishing with TDs, and Johnson couldn't even when he is hot. They need a better back than Ringer to pair with him in order to do...you know...running back stuff. Tennessee have bounced between 15 and 19 in these rankings since Week Five.
16 - TAMPA BAY (-1)
4-7, 3rd NFC SOUTH
L 17-23 @TEN, next vCAR
LaGarette Blount might have had the best game of a running back this year (103 yards on 20 carries but looked so, so much better). I like him an awful lot, in fact I have for a little while, I was just unsure whether I could trust him. I'm rapidly reaching that point. He has all the physical attributes (this stuff happens with alarming regularity), huge but athletic, moves piles and a better ball catcher than you think (3 catches for 56 yards). This is who Brandon Jacobs should have been. Tampa have played well without luck for much of the season, and this was another example. Their defense in particular was better than the numbers (Tennessee had 352 yards) make out - Tampa had a lot more positive plays than Tennessee, but a 3rd and 17 conversion, a few Chris Johnson runs, turnovers (5) and a kickoff returned for a TD killed them.
17 - OAKLAND (+2)
7-4, 1st AFC WEST
W 25-20 vCHI, next @MIA
Can you complete three passes a game of over 20 yards without throwing multiple picks? Congratulations! You are AFC West champs.
18 - DENVER (+2)
6-5, 2nd AFC WEST
W 16-13 (OT) @SD, next @MIN
Ah, a game where both teams are terrified to pass (until the final play of the first quarter, the two teams were 1/8 for 5 yards combined). The NFL at it's finest. Of course, Denver had reason to because their quarterback is universally acknowledged as an incompetant NFL quarterback, and San Diego were scared to death of the Denver pass rush (*whispering* and just quietly, Rivers might also be an incompetant NFL quarterback). I have a lot of respect for McGahee, who had 117 yards on 23 carries (5.1YPC) is essentially running into ten guys with the way Tebow leaves his running backs out to dry with his inept passing - Tebow completed his first pass with 3:56 left in the first half, a deep bomb to a streaking Eddie Royal for a TD. Nah, I'm fuckin' with you, it was a bubble screen for eight yards, of course. Their biggest gainer of the first half was thanks to San Diego causing a fumble they recovered. It honestly seems Denver nevercall pass, like when they do pass it's a kind of broken play or improvisation, like when Rodgers runs. It's absolutely hilarious. I heard the comment; "Tim Tebow brings a linebackers mentally" - and skill set apparently. By the way, I never heard "Donovan McNabb just wins games" or "Michael Vick just wins games"...and they could fucking throw...not to go all Jemele Hill on you. The media coverage of Tebow makes David Eckstein look like Jerry Sandusky in comparison.
19 - MIAMI (-3)
3-8, 4th AFC EAST
L 19-20 @DAL, next vOAK
You have a good defense, it's a 3-3 game, 3rd and infinity with a minute left and Dallas had one timeout in the first half - run the football. You have a good defense. I know a botched snap is impossible to predict, but it could have been an interception or sack/fumble. Just play safe, don't be a hero. Phil Simms was trying to will Reggie Bush (3.8YPC on 16 carries) to be an every down back when there's just no evidence to suggest he can carry defenders at all, it's ludicrous to suggest he'll "learn" this skill after five years. God I hate announcers. Brandon Marshall (5 catches for 103 yards and a score) made some exceptional catches. Sometimes we forget just how exceptional he is - Calvin Johnson like. Some TD grabs are overrated, this is not one, it was with Newman all over him. A great grab. He has the ability to dominate games.
20 - SEATTLE (-3)
4-7, T-2nd NFC WEST
L 17-23 vWAS, next vPHI
It's a credit to Seattle that it took until Week Twelve before they had what could be termed a "bad loss". Tavaris Jackson (14/30 for 144 yards, albeit with 2 TDs and 1 INT) must be better. The offensive line tamed a strong pass rush to the tune of just 2 sacks and six total hits, but Jackson could get nothing downfield. His longest pass all game was 24 yards.
21 - CAROLINA (+4)
3-8, 4th NFC SOUTH
W 27-19 @IND, next @TB
Very quietly, Jonathan Stewart is overtaking d'Angelo Williams as the Panthers best running back. Both have 280 yards in their last six games, but Stewart has them at 5 yards a carry while Williams is at 4.5. Williams has only three games over 4.6YPC all season. Stewart has six such games this year.
22 - BUFFALO (+1)
5-6, 3rd AFC EAST
L 24-28 @NYJ, next vTEN
Buffalo are not good. Buffalo without Fred Jackson, Kyle Williams, Demetrius Bell and Terrence McGee are really not good. Have not beaten a team other than Philly and Washington (combined 8-14) since the win over the Pats in September. Carolina and Buffalo's rise is a necessary byproduct of the spectacular crashes of San Diego and Philadelphia.
23 - PHILADELPHIA (-1)
4-7, T-3rd NFC EAST
L 20-38 vNE, next @SEA
Clearly expected Brady's normal methodical approach and cheated up, and as a result got burnt repeatedly deep. Still cannot cover tight ends, unsurprisingly, Gronkowski and Hernandez combined for 121 yards on ten catches. You wouldn't know this was the same defensive group as last week as they made it to Brady just three times. After forcing a punt on the Pats first drive, New England scored all 38 points on their next eight - including only one punt and a missed field goal.
24 - MINNESOTA (+2)
2-9, 4th NFC NORTH
L 14-24 @ATL, next vDEN
Really, to lose by only ten in Atlanta, rushing for 2.7 yards a carry is something of an achievement. Good for Ponder (17/25 for 186 yards and a TD for a 103.1 rating).
25 - SAN DIEGO (-4)
4-7, T-3rd AFC WEST
L 13-16 (OT) vDEN, next @JAX
On Tebow's first run, not only did no one pick him up on the option, but every single pass rusher was pancaked. I mean, the Chargers have never been a tough or physical team but that's ridiculous. Anyway, Antonio Gates - people still talk about him like he's a great player, but he's constantly injured and only really seems to be useful in the redzone, and even then way less than in his 20s. I'm not sure he's even in the top ten tight ends in the game today. I think the myth of Antonio Gates is a better player than actual Antonio Gates. He is on pace this season for 752 yards (if he plays every game) and 6 touchdowns (again, if he plays every game - his lowest total since his rookie year). The days of him getting 950 yards a season and 9 scores are well and truly over.
26 - CLEVELAND (+2)
4-7, 4th AFC NORTH
L 20-23 @CIN, next vBAL
Heard people falling into the bad team, good pass defense trap this week with the Browns - don't buy it. Cleveland rank first this year in yards per game (174.7), but are seventh in yards per attempt (6.6), 20th in sacks (25) and allow a QB rating of 80.3, good for 11th. They also have a pathetic six picks on the entire season.
27 - WASHINGTON (+2)
4-7, T-3rd NFC EAST
W 23-17 @SEA, next vNYJ
Rex Grossman threw for a 154.2 passer rating in the fourth quarter and actually saved his team from the jaws of defeat instead of the other way around.
28 - JACKSONVILLE (-4)
3-8, 3rd AFC SOUTH
L 13-20 vHOU, next vSD
If this blog is discovered by people thousands of years in the future who want to know what the Jacksonville Jaguars 2011 season was like, just imagine the play beginning at 1:10 of this video on repeat forever.
29 - ARIZONA (-2)
4-7, T-2nd NFC WEST
W 23-20 @STL, next vDAL
People not named Sam Acho hit Sam Bradford once in this game. This team might have only won one game without Patrick Peterson. He has 558 punt return yards and 134 more than second placed Jacoby Jones and 187 more than third place Ben Tate. He has four, count em four TDs.
30 - KANSAS CITY (+1)
4-7, T-3rd AFC WEST
L 9-13 vPIT, next @CHI
Tyler Palko has thrown six interceptions and no touchdowns in 65 throws in his starts.
31 - ST. LOUIS (-1)
2-9, 4th NFC WEST
L 20-23 vARI, next @SF
St. Louis are allowing 159.0 yards per game rushing this year. They haven't even played many great running backs, only McCoy and Rice would be in anyone's top ten running backs as backs they have played. Just awful.
32 - INDIANAPOLIS (-)
0-11, 4th AFC SOUTH
L 19-27 vCAR, next @NE
Indianapolis have not led a football game for 365 minutes and 15 seconds.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Baseball strageies are very well explained. I can follow and organize material. I think it well written. I recommend it. I am a baseball coach and I beleive that the information in this would cost me in hundreds of dollars for a baseball clinic. I was grateful for the pictures and diagrams in the book because I think it enhances the material provided.
We all know I work very hard in MMQB talking about baseball strageies and I am always here to help those baseball coaches running a clinic. Consistent readers of this blog also gladly note how many pictures and diagrams I use to enhance the material. So I'm glad my hard work is making a difference. Most likely Ceska was happy about the diagrams and pictures since he seems to have an only slight grip on how to spell. Thanks for the spam Ceska.
That was this week's edition of "Spam BotB has received in response to a post." This week in MMQB, Peter details the Texans bad luck and gives his vaguely informed opinion on a bunch of other stuff. I should probably changed "This week" to "every single week" and that last sentence would be completely accurate. Here is this week's pictures and diagrams to help baseball coaches manage their material easier.
Gary Kubiak's voice sounded defeated, deflated on the phone from Jacksonville, where his team had just defeated the Jaguars with a heavy heart.
"With a heavy heart?" Did Matt Leinart die or merely get injured and is out for the season? I realize it is a tough loss for the Texans, but I'm not sure "with a heavy heart" should describe a season-ending injury for a player.
Nine years ago, Daniels had thrown six passes as a redshirt freshman at Wisconsin, but now this was the Houston backup plan if Yates, suddenly the most important player on the franchise, went down.
Peter is firing on all cylinders today. T.J. Yates is the most important player on the franchise now. Most valuable player in regard to keeping him healthy? Yes. Most important player on the franchise. Not unless something happened to Arian Foster or Andre Johnson.
My favorite note about T.J. Yates is that until his senior year at UNC many Tar Heel fans called him T.J. Yikes. I think that's great.
Imagine you're Kubiak.
(Bengoodfella buys a huge house, a bigger car and moves out of his mom's attic. Then goes out and requests Rick Smith sign Sage Rosenfels)
You've lost defensive cornerstone Mario Williams for the year, and offensive key Andre Johnson for six weeks,
Johnson is back now. Let's not dwell on injuries in the past that may no longer be relevant.
and in the last game, you lost your rock at quarterback, Matt Schaub, for the season. You get the ship steadied by spending two weeks (including your bye) getting Matt Leinart ready to play quarterback for his first meaningful snaps in four years. And 28 minutes into his first game, Leinart gets dumped on his throwing shoulder and, apparently, cracks his collarbone.
Am I still Gary Kubiak? If so, I'm calling Brett Favre. He can easily lead my Texans-coached team to the playoffs and then throw a crucial interception while playing throw tremendous pain, such as a really, really achy ring finger. He'll show you X-rays if you don't believe it is really, really achy.
Heck, the Texans will take hanging onto their two-game lead in the AFC South and just making the playoffs now.
I do feel bad for the Texans. My motto generally in situations like this is "that's why you have backups," but at this point I think we are past that phrase having meaning. 3rd string quarterbacks aren't expected to lead teams to the playoffs nor should one be expected start a playoff game and have any sort of very positive impact.
That being said, I do really like T.J. Yates in the future. Just not starting for the Texans this year.
They'll get backup Kellen Clemens ready (he was signed after Schaub went down), and sign another backup, possibly Brodie Croyle. The savior won't be Brett Favre, barring a major change of heart from GM Rick Smith and Kubiak.
Jimmy Clausen is available I hear. $50 bucks and a case of Sun Drop. That's the asking price.
Also, please shut up about Brett Favre. Even if he was signed I firmly believe Kellen Clemens or Brodie Croyle could come in and do approximately the same job as Favre could do at this point. Clemens nor Croyle are that good, but they also bring no-drama and maybe they will be competent. Favre's QB rating last year was 69.9 and he threw more interceptions than touchdown passes. That isn't the kind of quarterback the Texans need right now.
"I don't think so,'' Smith told me about Favre postgame. "I don't want to bring the circus to town.''
Brett Favre's legacy, everyone!
My favorite part about this story is how Peter went on television and brought up the story of Favre to the Texans only to then squash it. He essentially created the Favre-to-the-Texans rumor and then told us all why his idea won't work. You would think he worked for ESPN the way he did this.
The recipe for the Broncos winning five of six is not Tebow, Tebow and more Tebow. It's defense and the running game keeping things close. It's Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil rushing the passer and keeping him uncomfortable, and a reborn Willis McGahee (4.8 yards per carry at age 31) pounding defenses with the changeup ability of Tebow thrown in. And Eric Decker making circus catches. That about covers it.
So my question is, I wonder what happens when McGahee stops running well at 31 years old, Eric Decker can't make a circus catch and the changeup of Tebow's ability is better game planned by defensive coordinators? I'm not questioning whether the Broncos are playing very well right now or not. They are playing well, but the quarterback's ability can't be a "changeup" and expect the Broncos to continue winning games for the next few games and seasons. The Broncos defense is playing exceptionally well. Tebow is an incredible weapon at quarterback, but I firmly believe he will have to complete more than 9 or 10 passes in a game for the Broncos to win. Maybe I'm wrong and Tebow will change the NFL forever.
And the two men combined to do it, helped by a third-and-11 conversion catch by Decker that was upheld by review on the game-tying drive at the end of the fourth quarter. You know, when Tebow takes over.
Tebow taking over in the fourth quarter consisted of two drives that consisted of 16 plays and 87 yards. Let's be cautious in how we use "take over" to describe his performance. In overtime he had three drives consisting of 13 plays and 73 yards. It's impressive the Broncos won the game, but it took a missed field goal and three drives for the Broncos to get in field goal range in overtime. Tebow isn't such a winner if the Broncos defense doesn't step up and prevent the Chargers from scoring points in overtime.
And the special teams shall lead them. Remember draft weekend 2000? (Of course you don't remember something that happened 11 and a half years ago. But play along.)
Everyone who reads Peter's column is stupid and can't remember 11 years previous to this year. If only you had the lofty ability to recall facts, or the ability to use an Internet search engine, like Peter does.
I'm just like you. I'm skeptical of Suh's sincerity. But his apology may give Hanks and Anderson something to think about, because I'm told he wasn't winning any points inside the walls of the league office by his consistent refusal postgame to accept any blame for the incident.
Maybe Suh should have texted a picture of his penis to the Green Bay offensive lineman rather than step on the lineman's arm and he would then escape punishment from the NFL .
The Lions should very quietly arrange for Suh to get anger-management counseling, because the way he plays, and the way he goes over the edge at times, he looks like a guy who needs behavior modification.
Shock therapy maybe? Does that sound like a good way to do behavior modification?
Also, given the fact Suh's behavior is public knowledge and the public wants to see how Suh is punished for stepping on a player's arm, I am interested to see how his punishment in the form of behavior modification could be arranged very quietly.
I believe, despite Suh finally admitting he did something wrong, the league will suspend him this week. My gut tells me two games, though the NFL could make it one game plus time already served -- nearly half a game for the 25 minutes missed against Green Bay.
That's bullshit. How can Suh get credit for a suspension after he got kicked out of the game? This isn't the prison system where inmates get credit for time served. I don't think Suh should get credit for missing half a game because he got kicked out of the game for stepping on a player. He got kicked out of the game for the personal foul he committed and the punishment from the NFL for Suh should not be considered part of the punishment for the personal foul he committed during the game. The punishment from the NFL should be separate from the personal foul he committed which got him thrown out of the game.
As I said on NBC Sunday night, I think it's likely if Suh appeals his suspension and is suited up next Sunday at New Orleans, the Lions will sit him for the first quarter to show they're serious about reining him in.
Wow. A whole quarter. Those Lions sure are cracking down on Suh's behavior.
Aug. 28, 2010: Browns QB Jake Delhomme slammed to the ground by his head, resulting in a $7,500 fine.
In fairness to Suh, Jake Delhomme does owe me $150 for the 2009 NFL playoff game against the Cardinals. So he was only roughing up Delhomme a bit at my behest.
Dec. 5, 2010: Bears QB Jay Cutler gets a forearm to the back of the head, leading to a $15,000 fine.
Again, in fairness to Suh, Cutler was dating Kristen Cavilaiatirrri at the time and some sense needed to be talked into him. God only knows what viruses she is carrying.
Aug. 12, 2011: Bengals QB Andy Dalton slammed to the ground by his head -- $20,000 fine.
Suh just wanted to know if Dalton's head would bounce like a big red ball would. It was only an experiment and he won't do it again.
One other note: This is the sixth season for Roger Goodell as commissioner. For on-field incidents (not including things like the Vick or Roethlisberger suspensions) only one player in the Goodell era has been suspended for longer than one game, and that was Albert Haynesworth, who got five games for the Andre Gurode helmet-ripping-off and head-stomping. Gurode was injured by that. Dietrich-Smith, apparently, was not hurt by the Suh stomp.
So whether a player is hurt or not should factor into the determination of the fine? So if a player is going to cheap-shot an opposing player just be sure it doesn't leave a mark or doesn't cause any type of permanent harm. Apparently the act itself shouldn't determine the fine amount, but the damage the act causes is the real determination of the fine amount.
6. Pittsburgh (8-3). I know the win at Kansas City was too close for comfort, but Ben Roethlisberger's such a special player. His lofted first-half touchdown toss to backup tight end Weslye Saunders at the back of the end zone was gorgeous, and I'm glad Cris Collinsworth fawned over it.
10. Houston (8-3). I hate downgrading the Texans here, because what they did with a third-string quarterback was admirable in Jacksonville. But until I see "C" quarterback play out of T.J. Yates or whoever the quarterback's going to be, I'm not going to trust them to win in January.
So winning a close game against a bad team with your starting quarterback gets you moved up in Peter's rankings while winning a close game against a bad team with your backup quarterback gets you moved down in Peter's rankings.
12. Chicago (7-4). The Bears will be endangered species if Caleb Hanie duplicates that performance a couple more times.
Ba-da-(gunshot to the head)
15. (tie) Denver (6-5). I don't want to be a Doubter. At some point, when a team wins five out of six, and the quarterback is money in the fourth quarter every single week of that stretch, you've got to say, "Who cares how it's happening. It's happening.''
Arizona CB/PR Patrick Peterson. How valuable has Peterson been to a Cardinal team struggling so mightily to score? His fourth punt return for touchdown in his 11th NFL game tied an NFL record for punt-return touchdowns in a season -- and he's just the second rookie in NFL history (Detroit's Jack Christiansen, 1951) to do it. The 80-yard winding return gave the Cardinals a 20-10 lead in a game they'd go on to win 23-20, on a day that quarterback John Skelton struggled mightily all day.
This is interesting:
So in regard to the Broncos scoring three points in the fourth quarter it doesn't matter how it is happening, it is happening. This goes for Tebow's performance as well. Peter doesn't think it matters how it is happening, it is just happening. Tebow went 9-18 for 143 yards in the game.
In regard to the Cardinals scoring three points in the fourth quarter, John Skelton struggled mightily all game. Skelton went 12-23 for 114 yards. Skelton clearly played worse than Tebow, but his team still won the game. Still Tebow didn't play exceptionally well. Possibly this is a sign quarterback play isn't the reason both teams won the game.
I can't gloss over the fact Tebow didn't have an interception and Skelton had two interceptions. Still, he and Tebow scored the same amount of points on offense in the fourth quarter and both of their teams won the game despite the quarterback play. My point is that Tebow is playing well, but the Broncos are winning because he isn't turning the ball over, not because of Tebow's quarterback play. I really can't emphasize this enough. I give Tebow credit for playing well and not turning the ball over, but the Broncos defense is the reason the Broncos are winning games.
4. Terrell Suggs, OLB/DE(you figure out the position; technically he's an outside 'backer, but he sure looks like a defensive end the way he lines up to me), Baltimore. When he's really good, the Ravens don't lose.
Justin Smith has been at this spot for the past few weeks. I guess because the 49ers offensive line couldn't stop the Ravens from getting to Alex Smith this means Justin Smith is now less valuable to the 49ers. Let's face it, Peter just puts pretty much whichever defensive player seems the hottest during the past week in his MVP Watch.
I'm hardly the arbiter of great parenthood -- that would obviously be Steve Martin -- but sometimes it's hard to keep your mouth shut when you see some of the interesting parenting out there.
It's the weekly Peter King column topic I call "Peter King says he isn't going to do something and then immediately does that very thing." This week, Peter isn't a great arbiter of great parenthood (I am ignoring the Steve Martin movie reference), but this doesn't stop him from being an arbiter or parenthood.
On Saturday, I flew back from San Francisco to New York after spending a family Thanksgiving in California. Across the aisle from me were a mom and her 3-year-old (I'm estimating) daughter.
She could have been six months or could have been eight years old. Peter doesn't know. He's estimating. Peter was very busy at the time, seeing as there was a packed plane and that meant there were a large amount of people Peter had to stare at and then make a note to himself about each person's behavior.
The mom put her own headphones on and opened a book. After about 90 minutes, the movie was done, and the kid was restless, and the mom kept shushing her. "Sssssshhhhhh!'' And the kid would say, "But Mommy!'' and ask for drink or food or whatever, and the mom would say, "Sssshhhhhhhh!'' This went on, on and off, for the rest of the flight, the mom refusing to pay attention to the kid, the kid crying out for attention -- any kind of attention. Five hours of the mom ignoring the kid other than to shush her.
Peter would never have shushed his children or ignored them as they were growing up. Peter would have directed his wife to pay full attention to the children while she was taking care of them as Peter flies and drives around the United States for half of the year reporting on the NFL. If Peter had heard stories of his wife ignoring his children on a plane, well that just would have been unacceptable, and when he got home in two weeks he was going to have a real talk with her.
I guess I should have begun that sentence with "I'm hardly the arbiter of great parenthood" and I would have been free to criticize other people's parenting behavior.
(This would have been annoying to hear the mom say "Sssssssssh" for the entire flight. I will admit that. I just don't know what kind of attention the parent can give the child while on a flight. I know Peter knows this better than I do, since he seems to have been staring intently at these two people, but perhaps the parent was "Sssssshing" the child because she couldn't provide what attention the child needed while on a flight)
Those two have some interesting years ahead of them.
Not that Peter believes he can stand in judgment of them however.
h. Matt Moore. Good backups have 15-year careers, and Moore is at least that -- and on a day when he and Mike Pouncey couldn't get the exchange right, I thought he was still a major plus.
Moore struggled at times and he won't ever be an elite quarterback, but teams can do a lot worse than him as the backup quarterback. I've always been a bit of a fan of Moore and this Dolphins team is about the best situation he has ever been put in as an NFL quarterback.
b. Alex Smith missing a wide-open Delaney Walker on the first 49er offensive play of the game. Big, big error.
Right, because after the first offensive play of the game there is little to no time to make up for this huge, massive error.
3. I think whoever hires Tony Sparano when he gets fired after the season is going to get a heck of a football coach.
I think Peter King is a big fan of Bill Parcells, who is a big fan of Tony Sparano, which is why Peter King makes this statement. I have read multiple reports from multiple sites that have described how Tony Sparano is over his head as the Dolphins head coach. He may be a good coordinator, true, but he probably isn't going to be a head coach again. More importantly, most NFL head coaches got to where they were because they were a heck of a football coach previous to being an NFL head coach. So this statement could probably go for quite a few fired head coaches. Whatever team got Dick LeBeau after he was fired from the Bengals got a heck of a football coach. The same goes for Gregg Williams. Most fired NFL head coaches got to where they were because they were good football coaches. Sparano isn't special in this way.
Steven Ross' preliminary search list should include Jon Gruden and a slew of defensive coordinators: Mike Zimmer (Bengals), Chuck Pagano (Ravens), Perry Fewell (Giants), Rob Ryan (Cowboys) and Mike Pettine (Jets).
I don't get the Rob Ryan inclusion. I think if his name was Rob Sawyer he wouldn't be considered a head coaching candidate at this point in his career. That's just my opinion. Dallas' defense is 12th in yards per game given up, 14th in passing yards per game given up, and 10th in rushing yards per game given up. Those aren't bad numbers, but they are also some of the best numbers a Rob Ryan coordinated defense has ever accumulated.
The following are the rankings of Ryan's defenses in yards per game given up since he became a defensive coordinator:
Of course, this doesn't mean Ryan won't be a good NFL head coach. He may make an excellent head coach. These numbers just tell me he really hasn't distinguished himself too much as a defensive coordinator, at least in my opinion. He's been good, but not great. The rankings of these teams may mean absolutely nothing, but I do believe if his last name wasn't "Ryan" he may not be as highly regarded as he is.
I've said for years the NFL needs to adopt the college system for pass interference -- 15 yards from the line of scrimmage on defensive pass interference -- instead of the spot-foul it uses. (I actually think 10 yards would be better, but I'd settle for 15.) Brown's foul was relatively ticky-tack, and this was a game that was going to be a defensive struggle all the way, and this foul gave the Ravens 50 yards. Huge.
It is sad that Peter and I can agree on something.
9. I think that was the softest, weirdest, most unimpressive four-touchdown game that Mark Sanchez played Sunday that I'd seen in a while.
I thought it didn't matter how it got done as long as it got done? Sanchez is a winner! He just wins games, it shouldn't matter how he does it. The very rule that was being used to support Sanchez as a quality quarterback (he wins games) is now being used to describe Tebow and for some reason this rule no longer applies to Sanchez, as there are heightened expectations for him. Sanchez actually seems to be playing statistically better this year than he has the previous two years, yet he's not a "winner" anymore because he isn't winning as many games.
b. Take A Breath Dept.: Far be it from me to critique an obit in the great New York Times,
Which means Peter will now immediately critique an obituary. An obituary. Someone died and had their life written about in a paper. This gets critiqued by Peter King.
but the Tom Wicker piece after he died Friday in Vermont could have used a few more periods. In the first seven paragraphs of the piece were 49-, 65-, 69-, 58-, 58- and 62-word sentences.
Good thing Tom Wicker is dead. I am sure he would be outraged at the long sentences used to describe his life.
d. Wicker was a great questioning-authority and participatory-journalism beacon for J-school students in the '70s. His reporting from inside Attica during the New York prison's uprising was riveting.
This was riveting material, not because of the actual reporting, but because of the short sentences used in the piece.
e. Spent Thanksgiving with my family in San Francisco. Fun, relaxing, at times slothful. Very enjoyable, including the football-watching. What I found most interesting was the interest in the games.
"Not only do they have NFL games on the West Coast, but they enjoy watching NFL games on the West Coast! Who knew?"
i. Lord, Notre Dame looked pathetic Saturday night until that frosh quarterback from Cincinnati Moeller came in. How in the world has the Irish won eight games?
Clearly, Peter hasn't watched many Notre Dame games this year since he is obviously taking a sample of one game against one of the best teams in the country (Stanford) and then basing conclusions about Notre Dame after seeing that one game.
Saints 30, Giants 17. Look on the bright side, Eli: At least your parents only have to get on a streetcar to commute to this game.
Because we all know Eli Manning has two concerns prior to a football game...whether the Giants will win and what kind of transportation his parents will have to use to get to the game.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Tom Brady has been dubbed the greatest quarterback ever by many people.
This is how the article begins. Nothing screams "vague evidence of proof ahead" than the citation of "people's" opinion in the opening sentence of a persuasive article.
Most believe that he is at least in the top five in NFL history.
"Most people" believe this. So far we are disproving the beliefs of "many people" and "most" people. I look forward to see what "quite a few" people believe. No really, go ahead and cite "people's opinion" as a way to disprove this belief when this group of people couldn't seem more vague. I am not sure most people believe Tom Brady is one of the top five quarterbacks in NFL history.
He has six Pro Bowl appearances and was voted the NFL MVP twice. Tom Brady holds numerous Patriot team records, as well as NFL records.
Plus he's a pussy because his hair used to be long because he married a model but he cut his hair probably because she told him to which she also made him move to Los Angeles and this causes him not to focus on football and that's why he'll never be a part of the New England community.
Brady is also the most overrated quarterback to play the game.
We all know which quarterback is the most overrated is purely an opinion. We also all know that Brett Favre is the most overrated quarterback in NFL history.
Tom Brady is simply a system quarterback.
As I have stated before, nearly every quarterback is a system quarterback in some way. If the Bengals asked Andy Dalton to run the Saints offense I am not sure he could do it. The same thing goes for Mark Sanchez. Could he run the Chargers offense? Possibly not. Smart offensive coordinators and coaches model the system on the strengths of their quarterback. The fact the Patriots system works so well is a testament to the system and to how well Tom Brady runs the system. The bottom line is Tom Brady isn't by any measure the most overrated quarterback in NFL history.
That is how Belichick built his team. Any decent quarterback can step into the Patriots' system and succeed.
This is absolutely false. Any decent quarterback can not step into the Patriots' system and succeed. I know there aren't too many examples of this with the Patriots, but Matt Cassel's success with the Patriots is the only justification and evidence given for statements like this one. Cassel was in the Patriots system for three years before he started one game for the Patriots and so he didn't just "step into" their system. Any decent quarterback could be in an offensive system for three years and then do a good job as the starter for a year, which is what happened with Cassel.
In 2008, Brady was injured and Cassel, a quarterback who had not completed a pass since high school, stepped in to take over.
I find it incredibly difficult to trust a person's point of view when they play so loosely with facts and refuse to do research. Matt Cassel hadn't started a game since high school, but he had completed a pass since high school. He had completed 23 passes in the NFL when he took over the Patriots starting job in 2008. So let's the facts correct and then I can believe your point of view. Typical Bleacher Report crap.
He's acting like Cassel was brought in off the street while working as a mechanic to lead the Patriots offense. Cassel is a decent quarterback and he had learned the Patriots offense over the previous three years before he was a starter in 2008. I had shown in the previous post the difference in Brady's numbers in the Patriots offense and Cassel's numbers in the Patriots offense. Here they are again:
Cassel 2008- 3693 yards, 63.4 completion rate, 89.4 passer rating, 21 touchdowns
Brady 2007- 4806 yards, 68.9 completion rate, 117.2 passer rating, 50 touchdowns
Brady 2009- 4398 yards, 65.7 completion rate, 96.2 passer rating, 28 touchdowns
Brady 2010- 3900 yards, 65.9 completion rate, 111.0 passer rating, 36 touchdowns
So while Cassel succeeded, Brady is very obviously a better quarterback in the Patriots system than Matt Cassel was. Why is Brady better in the system? Because he's a much better quarterback. This is the part many of the "Brady is overrated" crowd miss. Sure, Cassel had a good season in the Patriots offense, but he wasn't on pace with Brady's numbers in that offense. Brady performed better in the Patriots' offense, but the insane "Brady is the most overrated quarterback in NFL history" crowd (which numbers probably one person), ignores this and wants to pretend both quarterbacks performed on a similar level.
Cassel finished in the top-10 in passing touchdowns, completion percentage and passer rating. Since joining the Chiefs in 2009, Cassel has yet to match the overall production he showed in New England.
Matt Cassel was Top 10 in the NFL in passing touchdowns and passer rating in 2010. So for this arbitrary criteria on what makes him a great quarterback, he was close to producing like he did in 2008 with the Patriots. Sure, he didn't hit the level of 2008, but there were some statistics that were better in 2010 than 2008, like touchdown to interception ratio.
One of the most debated topics in recent memory is about Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Everyone wants to know which quarterback is better. The 2011 season answers this question without a doubt.
Not without a doubt. What has been answered without a doubt is that Curtis Painter isn't an NFL quarterback and the Colts have big defensive problems. Peyton Manning didn't play defense for the Colts as much as I can recall. So while Manning's worth to the Colts has been proven, I think the overall talent level on the Colts isn't very good in 2011. This isn't even what this article is supposed to be about. This isn't supposed to be a Manning v. Brady argument, but a discussion on why Brady is the most overrated quarterback in NFL history. If Brady is the most overrated quarterback in NFL history because he isn't as valuable to his team as Peyton Manning is, then many of the NFL's quarterbacks are overrated as well.
When the Patriots have not had Brady, their record is 11-5. However, the Colts are 0-9 without Manning. It is obvious that Manning is more important to his team.
It is also obvious the backup quarterback for each team had different skill levels when taking over for the starting quarterback.
If Manning went to the Seahawks, Dolphins, Redskins or any other team with a bad quarterback situation, he could carry them too. Manning instantly makes a team much better. Brady just doesn't seem to have that trait.
The Patriots in the ten years Tom Brady has been the full-time starter: Four Super Bowl appearances, three Super Bowl wins, eight playoff appearances, and 116 wins.
The Patriots in the ten seasons before Brady was the full-time starter: One Super Bowl, zero Super Bowl wins, four playoff appearances, and 71 wins.
I'm not sure how anyone can say Brady doesn't make the Patriots instantly better by being the quarterback.
Brady could not be put on any team and lead them to success.
This pure speculation that has no factual backing.
Brady did win three Super Bowls, but the last one was in 2004, seven years ago.
Panic in the streets of Foxboro! It's been seven whole years since the Patriots won a Super Bowl? Break up the team, fire Belichick, and hang Robert Kraft in effigy!
Since the Patriots' last Super Bowl victory, Brady is 5-5 in the playoffs.
Let's cherry pick stats to deceive our audience into believing Brady is overrated! Brady is 14-5 overall in the playoffs. Brady is 5-5 in the playoffs since 2004, but this throws out the 9-0 record from 2001-2004. And since the author wanted to bring up Peyton Manning (and this is part of the deception to make Brady look worse than he is), let's see what his record in the playoffs may be.
Peyton Manning is 2-3 in the playoffs since his last Super Bowl victory and is 9-10 overall in the playoffs. Nothing like cherry picking stats and then having them come back to bite you in your ass. I guess Peyton Manning should be used in the same terms that Brady is, as a choker and system quarterback, since he has a losing record since his last Super Bowl victory.
The Patriots have won a lot of regular season games, but they have also been horrible in the playoffs, especially recently.
"Especially" recently? You mean "only" recently. The Patriots didn't lose a playoff game in the 2000's until 2005.
Brady's last playoff win was in 2007.
If you notice, the author is only talking about Brady being overrated in the context of the postseason. This is because Tom Brady has a 29-11 record since 2007. I could count 2007 and that would put it at 45-11 as his record. My point is a quarterback isn't overrated based solely on his postseason record since football is a team game.
Alas, the author is not satisfied with making factually incorrect and misleading statements about the Patriots so he expands his reach in making factually incorrect statements to making these statements about entire divisions in the AFC.
So, why are the Patriots, and Brady, so "good" in the regular season? They play in the AFC East, which, until recently, was one of the weakest divisions in football.
Fine, let's play this game. How weak has the AFC East been since 2001? Let's look at teams out of the conference who made the playoffs from this "weak" division (in parenthesis) and their record (We will learn in a minute the author means "recently" to mean "this year" so I will feel free to include every year since 2001 since "recently" has such a narrow span of time it encompasses apparently):
2001 (3): Miami Dolphins 11-5, New England Patriots 11-5, New York Jets 10-6
2002: (1): New York Jets 9-7
2003 (1): New England Patriots 14-2
2004 (2): New England Patriots 14-2, New York Jets 10-6
2005 (1): New England Patriots 10-6
2006 (2): New England Patriots 12-4, New York Jets 10-6
2007 (1): New England Patriots 16-0
2008 (1): Miami Dolphins 11-5
2009 (2): New England Patriots 10-6, New York Jets 9-7
2010 (2): New England Patriots 14-2, New York Jets 11-5
Look at it this way...over the last ten years there were 60 playoff spots available in the AFC. Teams from AFC East took up 16 of the 60 spots, or 26.6% of the playoff spots. BUT, each division winner gets an automatic spot in the playoffs, so the real question of the AFC East's strength could be what percentage of Wild Card teams came from that division.
Over the last 10 years there were 20 Wild Card spots open. AFC East teams took 6 of those 20 Wild Card spots. That's 30% of the Wild Card spots taken up by AFC East teams. I'm not sure this makes the AFC East one of the weakest divisions since teams from that division get more than their share of the AFC Wild Card spots.
This year is the first season in a long time that there is good competition in the AFC East and the Patriots are obviously struggling, with Brady leading the way.
This is the first time in "a long time" there has been good competition in the AFC East, unless you want to count the Dolphins winning the division in 2008, the Jets being 1 game behind the Patriots in the standings for the division lead in 2009, or the Jets two AFC Championship Game appearances over the last two years. Why include those though when it ruins part of your argument?
Brady has already thrown 10 interceptions this year and looks confused in pressure situations
Thanks Gregg Easterbrook. We appreciate you telling us how Tom Brady looks in pressure situations.
It is simple. Brady is struggling because the Patriots are struggling.
If only fact backed up this fictional assertion. As I was writing this, Tom Brady was on pace to break Dan Marino's single season passing yards record and had the following passing statistics:
66.0% completion rate, 2703 yards, 20 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and a 100.0 QB rating. Also the Patriots are 5-3, which I would hardly classify as struggling. Tom Brady isn't struggling in the least, but good try in making it seem like he is by cherry picking his interceptions statistic and giving no information on his other statistics. Unfortunately, some people do research when they read a column and the research shows you are off base in your contention Brady is struggling this year.
Did anyone notice how great the Patriots' back-up quarterbacks were in the preseason?
Let's remember it was the preseason and doesn't really matter. Let's look at how great the Patriots backup quarterback (Brian Hoyer) was during the 2011 preseason since the author provides no statistical backing other than to say, "Hey remember how the Patriots backup quarterbacks looked in the preseason?" and then hoped to God no one does any research to back up his claim.
Brian Hoyer (4 games): 59.5% completion rate, 296 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions, 89.0 QB rating.
Tom Brady (3 games): 56.0% completion rate, 379 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, 92.0 QB rating.
Naturally, this automatically means Hoyer could do the same things in the regular season that Tom Brady does. Let's ignore the fact Brady stepped his play up in the regular season, which I am sure Brian Hoyer would have done also. So Hoyer looked good in the preseason. Not as good as Brady looked, but good. This still doesn't mean his statistics would translate to the regular season.
It may have been against second- and third-team defenses, but the Patriots' system made Ryan Mallett look like a Pro Bowler.
A Pro Bowler? Really? Ladies and gentlemen, here are the new Pro Bowl standard numbers for a quarterback. That new standard is Ryan Mallett, and these are his Pro Bowl statistics:
Ryan Mallett (4 games): 57.1 completion rate, 357 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 72.0 QB rating.
It seems Pro Bowl standards have slipped somewhat. I am sure in the author's head this was a really, really great preseason performance though.
I am sure that Mallet or Brian Hoyer could come in and do just as well as Brady is this year.
Your sense of surety on this doesn't serve as proof your statement is true. I'd love to live in a world where everything I said or believed magically ends up being true, but that's not how things are.
Brady is in the top three for most statistical categories, but he just cannot seem to win the big games,
He led the Patriots to the Super Bowl in 2007. Also, this statement doesn't mean much just by being stated nor does it prove Brady is the most overrated quarterback in the history of the NFL. Brady has won three Super Bowls and I am pretty sure those are big games.
Since the author seems intent on comparing Manning to Brady, let's remember Manning hasn't exactly won the big games in his career either.
Manning has done more with less in Indianapolis for years.
I am not sure how a person could argue this successfully. For the majority of his career, Peyton Manning has had two Hall of Fame receivers (Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne) and a borderline Hall of Fame tight end (Dallas Clark). Manning has had these receivers for most of his time in Indianapolis, as well as a high quality running back in Edgerrin James.
Only since 2007 has Brady had receivers that could be considered on par with the players Manning has had for the majority of his career. Even then, Brady now only has had two potential elite receivers on his team during his Patriots career. I don't know how a person can argue that Manning did more with less.
If he is healthy and playing for the Patriots right now, then they are probably a 7-1 or 8-0 team. That is what a guy like Manning does for your team.
Again, this is pure speculation that has no factual backing other than the author's opinion that he is attempting to pass off as a fact.
Brady, on the other hand, can only be as good as the people around him.
Which explains perfectly why he won three Super Bowls during a time when he only had one 1000 yard receiver? This explains why Wes Welker and Randy Moss were both better receivers when Brady was throwing them the ball?
He cannot make every player better than they are like Manning can.
Wes Welker argues otherwise.
Randy Moss pre-Patriots and Randy Moss post-Patriots also argues otherwise. It sure seems Brady made both of these guys better.
That is what makes Brady overrated. He gets too much credit for the Patriots' success.
He's the quarterback for the most successful team over the last decade. These types of players tend to get a lot of credit for the team's success. Part of the reason Brady gets so much credit is that he, along with Kevin Faulk and Matt Light, has been the player who has been on the Patriots roster every single year during their great run. I know others talk about the greatness of Bill Belichick, but as smart as Belichick is, he can't win games without players executing his game plan.
So if Brady is overrated because he has been at the helm of the Patriots run then does that mean Joe Montana was overrated by not winning a Super Bowl without Bill Walsh and Jerry Rice on his team? Shouldn't the quarterback of a very successful team get credit for the Patriots success when that success has been sustained through the personnel changes that have taken place over the last decade?
This year, Brady has led the Patriots to a 5-3 record, but they seem to be falling apart after a 5-1 start.
Panic! They've lost two games in a row!
They have lost two straight games to teams that bullied the Patriots around.
The Patriots weren't bullied to where they were never in either game. The Patriots were in both games and had a chance to win the Giants game if the defense had made a stop at the end of the game. Tom Brady didn't lose that game, the Patriots' defense did.
It'd be interesting to see what Brady could do in Miami, Seattle or Washington.
It would be interesting to see what Peyton Manning could do in Miami, Seattle or Washington. There isn't a Reggie Wayne or Marvin Harrison on those rosters.
Probably just as well as the current starters.
This is idiocy. Plain and simple. Tom Brady is a better quarterback than John Beck, Tarvaris Jackson/Charlie Whitehurst, and Matt Moore ever could be. Anyone who suggests Brady is on par with those quarterbacks simply has a bias against Tom Brady or can't handle reality. This is a stupid statement to make.
Actually, what this article really is would be an attempt to increase pageviews and write something "controversial" in an effort to get people to read what the author has written. There's no such thing as bad attention, even when the bad attention is on a poorly written and researched article a high school freshman would be embarrassed to write. If the author wanted attention, well then mission accomplished.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Let's start with the changes that need to be made. Some of these are a big deal and others aren't so much. I could probably do a more fleshed-out version for each of these topics, but I won't do that today.
1. Charge calls near to the basket.
I hate charge calls under the basket. My favorite college basketball team is well-known for taking charges and I cringe whenever I see them take one close to the basket. It is such a subjective call and though the circle in the lane has helped clear things up a bit, I still get annoyed because I think any spot in the lane should be for the shooter. I don't know the rulebook by heart, but it seems many of the officials in college basketball can't seem to get the charge call correct. I feel like the prevalence of charge calls in college basketball prevents teams from playing good defense. Maybe someone thinks a charge call around the basket is good defense and I do think that way in general, but mostly I have a problem with charge calls around the basket. If a player is driving to the basket and is near to the lane, I think it should be a blocking foul. I get a bit irritated seeing a defensive player take a charge three feet away from the basket. I know this isn't how the rules play out, but I feel like the present college basketball charge call rewards bad defense.
2. The discrepancy in pass interference calls on offensive players and defensive players in the NFL.
How is it an offensive pass interference penalty gets 10 yards from the previous spot and a replay of the down, but if the defense commits defensive pass interference it is at the point of the foul? This discrepancy annoys me. I feel like the penalty for offensive and defensive pass interference should be the same. I used to worry defensive players would just commit pass interference if they weren't punished by the offense getting the ball at the spot of the foul, but now I realize that is sort of a silly worry. On a deep pass, it may seem ridiculous for the offensive player to not get credit for where he would have caught the ball absent the interference, but it is also ridiculous the defense only gets 10 yards from the previous spot when a potential interception is taken away by offensive pass interference. I think these penalties should be the same. I'm not sure I care whether the offensive or defensive pass interference penalty is adopted, just so they are the same penalty.
3. Decals on the basketball court in college basketball.
This happens all the time in college basketball. Some stupid tournament is happening in a city and there is a logo decal placed on the court to advertise one of the sponsors. I call it a decal on the court, but it is really a sheet of ice sponsored by Burger King or another company like that. So while these basketball players are on the court they have to watch out when running/walking over these logos because they are slicker than the rest of the floor. It's unsafe, ugly and has no place on the floor. Remove the decals from basketball floors. I always cringe when I see a player do a split or slip while dribbling around on the logo. One day someone is going to get hurt on those logos. Of course the NCAA doesn't care, because along with no giving a shit whether student-athletes ever go to class. They are in the business of making sure their sponsors get the right amount of ad space, even if that means a student-athlete has to tear a groin muscle or break their leg for Valvoline to get a decal on the court. One would think a dangerous spot on the court, a spot that not only serves no purpose being on the court, but is also slicker than the rest of the court would be banned. One would think wrong.
4. I'd like to see a salary cap in baseball, not permanently, but just for a few years.
Let me be clear. I do not want a salary cap in baseball permanently. I would like to see baseball have a salary cap for a few years though, just to see what happens. It's more of an interest to see what would happen than anything. I realize this is impossible. A sport can't switch between having a salary cap and no salary cap on a whim. I think it would be interesting to have the NFL salary cap in baseball for a few years. No, I don't believe baseball needs more parity and this is why there should be a salary cap, I just want to see MLB General Managers work within a cap for a few years. I do enjoy the parity in MLB and I also enjoy the parity in the NFL. It would be interesting to see a hard cap in MLB of $110 million and watch teams work to stay under this cap. It would also make the trade deadline on July 31st that much more interesting because some teams would try to acquire players and still not go over their cap space. I am not sure if a hard salary cap would change the sport too much, but I think baseball would be better if there was a salary floor and a salary cap for a few years. Just to see how it worked out.
5. I would like to get rid of the one-and-done rule.
I favor a two-and-through rule. The one-and-done rule is an NBA rule imposed on college basketball to make it seem like the NBA gives a shit about their athletes getting an education. In reality, this rule serves no purpose, other than to force colleges to enforce an NBA rule and deal with the consequences of the rule. I believe athletes should be able to go straight to the NBA after high school, but I also think there is something to be said for attending college for two years and then going to the NBA. I don't believe a two-and-through rule would cause an excessive amount of players to go to the NBA out of high school, it would improve the quality of the player coming out of college and at least it would give the student-athlete who wants to go to college two years to work on getting an education.
This rule would acknowledge there are those athletes who don't need to go to college and it would also give more lip service to athletes who want to go to college and begin an education while learning to play basketball against a higher level of competition. I think if we asked Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger, and Perry Jones, they would say two years in college helped their game improve and prepared them better for the NBA. I just don't know if I like the one-and-done rule anymore.
6. College basketball polls should be released on December 1.
I hate the idea perception of how strong a team is determines how highly ranked a team is. Why can't we just wait a month and start ranking college basketball teams at that point? Rankings are stupid this early in the season, but the polls do serve some purpose later in the season. I just don't see why/how a team can be ranked in a certain position based on perceived strength of the team. Why not wait a month and then rank the teams?
7. The College football coach's polls should be released after three weeks of the season.
I feel much stronger about this happening. A team ranked #20 in a preseason poll that ends up going undefeated could very well miss a shot at the BCS title game because they were ranked so high at the beginning of the season they didn't get a chance to leapfrog two other undefeated teams. Maybe this doesn't happen incredibly often, but why not wait a few weeks to rank the top football teams in the nation? It just makes sense in my mind to rank teams after three weeks of the season once we have seen how strong each team has looked on the football field. Sure, there is a bias in the ranking based on strength of schedule, but ranking the teams based on some information is better than ranking them based on having zero information.
This year's preseason poll Top 10 looked like this:
5. Florida State
7. Boise State
8. Oklahoma State
9. Texas A&M
Four of those teams in the preseason poll aren't in the Top 10 at this point. Florida State and Texas A&M are unranked and Oklahoma State and Wisconsin are #11 and #12 respectively.
Of the four teams currently in the Top 10 that didn't start the season that way, Arkansas was #14, Virginia Tech was #13, Michigan State was #17, and Houston was unranked. It doesn't seem like there is a huge difference in their present ranking and their preseason ranking, but why not wait three weeks into the season to rank these teams? It can't hurt anything and maybe a team like Houston (or Boise State/TCU in the past) would get a higher ranking and receive a chance to be #1 or #2 without the rest of the teams in the major conferences having to lose a game. I also believe it would be much more interesting for the first coach's poll rankings to come out after a few games.
8. The bowl system in college football.
I'm not against the bowl system changing until I see a good playoff system idea set up. At this point, I am not sure the system will ever change or if there has been a quality alternative to the bowl system seriously considered. I would enjoy an 8 team playoff, which I think is enough teams to include championship-caliber squads as well as provide for the mid-majors to get a team or two into the playoff if deserved. My biggest beef with the bowl system is how underwhelmed I feel when I see the bowl projections. After a full season, I tend to feel like there has to be a bigger payoff than some of the bowl matchups. Here are Stewart Mandel's bowl projections. I'm very underwhelmed. In the BCS bowls, I am completely not excited by a Houston v. Michigan matchup. Nothing against those two teams, but it just doesn't excite me and I'm not sure this is a game America has been waiting all season to see. Virginia Tech v. West Virginia is another matchup I am not excited to see in a BCS bowl. I've seen West Virginia play in person and there are probably 20 other teams in the nation that are better than they are. They get an automatic bid because they are in the Big East.
I know it sounds silly to get rid of the bowl system because one person is underwhelmed by the matchups, but isn't the point of bowl games other than to lose money for the schools participating, to gain viewers and create exciting matchups? I can't believe I am the only one who enjoys the college football season and at the end of some football seasons feels a little underwhelmed at the bowl matchups in the BCS games.
Boise State loses one game and now they play Arizona State, the 5th best team in the Pac-12? Clemson had BCS hopes until this week and now they play an inconsistent UCLA team? Is Clemson going to be motivated to play that game? Probably not. We'll get another abomination of a game like last year's Washington v. Nebraska matchup where a bowl chose to take Missouri over Nebraska to punish Nebraska for leaving the Big 12. There are matchups I would enjoy watching, and I do enjoy many of these games every year, but I can't help but wonder why a team like Stanford or Oklahoma State can't get a shot at beating Alabama or LSU before there is an Alabama-LSU rematch? I guess I feel frustrated because there has to be a better way.
9. I would like the NBA to use the NBDL as a minor league system rather than a place where shitty players go to play.
This is somewhat in combination with my two-and-through rule above. Overall, I don't think the NBA knows how to use the NBDL. There is a stigma about playing at that level. I do realize the MLB minor league system is different from how the NBA works, but I would like to see each NBA team have a certain NBDL team. Maybe this is more about changing the perception of the NBDL, but if a player does go straight from high school to the NBA, that player can get playing time at the NBDL level to improve their game rather than sit on the bench in the NBA while getting little playing time. So maybe it is more about changing the perception of the NBDL and less about how teams use the NBDL.
In a perfect world, the NBDL wouldn't be a place where shitty players go to try and make it to the NBA, but is sort of a college basketball-lite league where they learn the NBA system they will be asked to run at the NBA level. In MLB, there are plenty of players who are veterans and take up spot on a main roster while superior, younger players are in the minors working on their skill set. This could work in the NBA as well. I know this sounds like a fantasy, but rather than have NBDL call-ups be rare, I would rather see teams use their NBDL team as a farm system of sorts to improve the NBA team. I feel like there is a disconnect in how the NBA uses the Developmental League and how they should use it. It may just be me.
10. A season opening NCAA-type tournament in college basketball with 32 teams.
I know the concern is this would overshadow the NCAA Tournament at the end of the year. I don't believe it will. I think a 32 team tournament opening up the year would help the momentum caused by Midnight Madness at schools. Rather than have these separate tournaments at the beginning of the year, why not have a 32 team tournament composed of the teams in the 32 team round of the previous year's NCAA Tournament? Actually, I don't care how the teams are chosen, as long as the competition level is high like it is in the NCAA Tournament. In fact, I would be fine with the teams from the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament and the NIT Final Four getting in the season opening tournament with the NCAA Final Four teams getting a first round bye. It may be hard to schedule this logistically, but I have to believe this would be fun to watch.
Now 5 things I am thankful for...
1. Steve Smith (Carolina)
I just love this guy even though he talks too much shit, has an anger problem and is generally short with the media. When he punched Ken Lucas in the face in training camp a few years ago, I couldn't blame him. I had wanted to punch Ken Lucas in the face a few times as well. I'm not sure Panthers fans appreciate him as much as they should.
2. Aaron Rodgers
He is awesome at the football, which makes him fun to watch. Mostly, I love how he is making Brett Favre forgotten in Green Bay. Even when certain Green Bay-area writers try to cherry pick Favre statistics not using an entire season (I read an article from the past week with an author defending Lord Favre from the idea Aaron Rodgers is on his level and can't find the link), everyone should realize Rodgers is performing at a level Brett Favre rarely achieved. No matter how many Favre-loving writers try, the Packers did a great thing for the Packers over the long term by kicking Favre's old ass out the door and choosing to back Rodgers. I love he makes this decision look smart.
3. College basketball
I just love the sport. I know many people favor the NBA, but I can't help but enjoy college basketball. I realize it isn't basketball at its highest level, but it is still one of my favorite sports...even if my least favorite team won the title last year and my second least favorite team will probably win the title this year.
4. The NFL didn't go to an 18 game schedule
It was just a terrible idea. I hated the idea of more games and I am glad this wasn't a part of the new agreement between the union and players. Unless rosters were expanded I just don't see how teams could play 18 games and expect a healthy roster in the playoffs. Sometimes there is something to be said for not "improving" a product. I think this is one of those cases. Too much would have been too much.
5. Instant replay in the NFL
Remember when there was opposition to this? Why doesn't baseball expand replay? I feel like instant replay has added a nice element to the NFL because it shows when officials make really good calls and how stupid some head coaches are. Yes, for me instant replay is less about the actual replay but how it reflects on the competency of the officials and head coaches. Plus, it is fun to sit at home and pretend you are an official and see if you agree with the call on the field.
Now five things that piss me off...
They can get out of control. For example, when John Elway said on the radio recently Denver had not found their quarterback of the future and he was seen scouting Robert Griffin III and Landry Jones, the Tebowmaniacs went apeshit. They were writing crazy things about the greatest quarterback in the history of the Broncos franchise to him over Twitter. If the Broncos draft another quarterback and Tebow is really such a great quarterback he will find work with another team...or he may beat out the newly drafted quarterback and try to hold on to the job. John Fox likes winning and will go with a quarterback that does this for him. Trust me, Fox won't start a rookie quarterback he doesn't have faith in. These people get so wrapped up in cheering for Tebow sometimes logic and any sort of decorum goes out the window.
2. The NBA lockout
I don't miss the NBA that much right now. The NBA lockout pisses me off because I am not sure the owners and players realize the NBA wasn't exactly the most popular sport in the United States and the negative publicity of the lockout isn't helping the future or popularity of the sport. I enjoy watching the NBA, but this lockout doesn't seem to be doing anything but pissing off the diehard fans of the NBA and alienating any casual fans of the NBA. I'm not Bill Simmons and I don't believe I know how to fix the lockout, but I do believe this lockout has gone on long enough and a missed NBA season isn't going to benefit the league in the short or long-term.
3. Expanding the MLB playoffs and creating a one game playoff
I have accepted the MLB playoffs are probably going to be expanded. I can deal with that. The issue I have is the idea of creating a one game playoff between two of the Wild Card teams. I think this is beyond stupid. What the hell is one more game going to prove that 162 games haven't proven already? Why manufacture drama like this? Life isn't fair, but let's say one of the Wild Card teams won 90 games that year and the opposing Wild Card team won 84 games. Why should the 90 game winning Wild Card team have to play one more game to prove they deserve to be in the playoffs? I can get on-board with an expanded playoff, but don't manufacture drama and make any playoff more than just one game. If two teams have the same record I can understand a one game playoff, but a one game playoff deciding which team gets to advance after 162 regular season games have been played seems stupid to me.
4. The phrase "he just wins games."
This is such a lazy phrase. It conveys no knowledge as to why a person wins games and skips analysis to award the winning of a game to a particular player. For me, this is just an irritating phrase. It is usually used to describe a player who doesn't have the statistics thought necessary to win games, but somehow manages to win. The player's ability to win a game can be described in other ways, but it is easier just to use a simple catchphrase in the absence of doing any analysis.
5. The new MLB CBA (a portion of it)
Here in this link Craig Calcaterra talking a little bit about the new CBA. It basically ensures teams may spend less money on international signings and takes steps to ensure two sport athletes like Bubba Starling isn't going to choose baseball over another sport. This is just what baseball needs, a more efficient way to take the better athletes from looking at baseball as a potential sport of choice. What's next? God forbid baseball takes steps to make the sport more attractive of a sports-related career choice.
So maybe baseball is finally taking steps to achieve Tim Keown's goal of taking all foreigners out of the pool of available baseball players, but from the first look it seems this CBA makes an international sport less international and takes two-sport athletes away from trying to make it in baseball. I'm not sure that's a good thing.
Hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving.