Thursday, August 29, 2013

13 comments Gregg Easterbrook (Not Really) Previews the NFC

Gregg Easterbrook didn't really preview the AFC last week in TMQ, as well as did his 100th column about concussions. Gregg believes that high schools and youth leagues follow the lead of the NFL, unless the NFL needs to follow the lead of high schools and youth leagues of course. It really works whichever way Gregg needs it to work at that very moment to prove a point. This week Gregg asks if the zone-read is a fad, discusses the plot issues with "Star Trek" and continues to not really each NFL conference by not really previewing the NFC.

Is the zone-read option the flavor of the month, or is it the new vanilla? The first few weeks of the NFL season might tell.

Or the first few weeks of the season might not tell. Either way, stay tuned to TMQ where Gregg will tell us the Packers lost the first game of the season because their cornerbacks got caught looking in the backfield while playing zone coverage and the receiver ran right past one of these Packer corners. This would never have happened if the Packers cornerbacks would ignore the defense called and play man coverage all the time like Gregg seems to believe an defensive player has the option to do.

Last season, the Forty Niners, Seahawks and Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons (see below)

A. Nobody cares.

B. Everyone knows you are referring to the Redskins. You aren't as clever as you think yourself to be.

There are likely to be numerous all-zone confrontations. San Francisco and Seattle play each other twice, plus each line up against Carolina. Washington faces the Eagles twice and also the Niners.

The question is whether the zone-read is a fad or a fixture...or will the zone-read be a part of some teams' playbook and they will continue to use it as long as they have a quarterback who can execute the zone-read well, but possibly not use it to the extent it is currently being used? I vote C.

Considering the zone-read was a surprise tactic last season, who will surprise with it this season?

Oh Gregg, always misunderstanding offensive and defensive strategies. The zone-read doesn't serve solely as a surprise tactic, but relies on the quarterback's ability to run with the football and make a great decision as to when to pitch the football to the running back. What makes it work isn't necessarily the surprise, but the skill at which the play is blocked and the decision-making ability of the quarterback. It's like any other running play, where it is generally successful if blocked correctly and executed well.

Green Bay didn't sign Vince Young, or the New England Patriots sign Tim Tebow, because they need someone to fill the Gatorade bucket. 

No, really, the Patriots did sign Tebow because they needed someone to fill the Gatorade bucket and also for the purpose of seeing if there were ways to use Tebow successfully outside of the quarterback position. At this point, Tebow seems to be better at refilling the Gatorade bucket.

Imagine having to prepare for the disciplined traditional passing of Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady and also for zone-read chaos when a guy who can run or throw takes a few snaps.

Or imagine having to play against Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin, or Colin Kaepernick. Not that preparing for Rodgers or Brady is easy, but the defense generally knows if either Brady or Rodgers are in the game then the Packers/Patriots aren't going run the read-option. So the real confusion comes in when a quarterback can run the read-option and also pass the football successfully. It's kind of a tip-off about the play the offense is running when Tebow is back in the shotgun, but the defense has to respect Kaepernick's legs and arm when he is back in the shotgun.

In college, the quarterback is assumed to be a rushing threat, if only because his economic value is so low: He works for free, and an injury does not cost the school anything.

Well, plus college defenses don't have the caliber of athlete that an NFL defense has, which generally makes defending the quarterback when he runs more difficult at the college level.

An NFL team might have $20-$50 million invested in its starting quarterback and thus wants to protect him from harm.

I can't make a blanket, generalized statement, but I'm guessing an NFL team would decide to use the read-option with their quarterback if they thought it could help them win games and the quarterback would be smart in trying to be smart while carrying the ball. Obviously an NFL team doesn't want their starting quarterback injured, but I don't know if a team would go away from the read-option (or zone read) if they think this could help them win games. Will teams run the read-option with Tom Brady? No, but the new type of quarterback that is athletic and can throw the football well makes the read-option a more viable strategy.

A zone-read rushing play is 11-on-11, and, as the Niners showed the Packers, you'd better be ready to account for that extra man.

Gregg specializes in summarizing information that the reader probably already knows.

TMQ noted in January that having the edge rusher force the action back inside is "the adjustment the whole league will make next season".

As usual, Gregg makes something black and white when it isn't really that simple. That's great if the whole league will have the edge rusher force the action back inside, but what will happen if the edge rusher gets blocked or the opposing team is running up the middle instead of the quarterback keeping the football and running outside? Things aren't always just as simple as Gregg wants to make them.

Adjusting for sacks and scrambles, only three NFL teams -- San Francisco, Seattle and Washington -- ran more often than they passed in 2012. All three made the playoffs; two won a playoff game, and the only reason it wasn't three was that Washington and Seattle faced each other.

What Gregg neglects to mention is that he has been telling us for the past couple of years that the NFL is a pass-wacky league and it will continue to trend that way. This is all forgotten of course when he finds data that comes close to contradicting this point of view.

In 2012, the top four rushing teams -- Washington, the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle and San Francisco -- reached the playoffs. The top three passing teams -- the New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions and Dallas -- did not. Last season's stats show that, just like in college, a team can win by featuring the rush. For 2013 at least, expect an uptick in rushing plays.

Remember these statistics in mid-November when Gregg starts talking about pass-wacky offenses around the league and how the NFL is now a passing league where good defensive teams don't matter and the team that outscores the other team makes the playoffs. In fact, Gregg sort of talks about this very subject in this TMQ. 

Now, Tuesday Morning Quarterback's NFC preview.

Again, Gregg is using the term "preview" very lightly since he only seems to talk about what happened last year as it pertains to each team.

The Oakland Raiders gave the sun, moon and stars for Carson Palmer, kept him just two seasons, then shipped him to the Arizona Cardinals for a late draft pick. Arizona gave the sun and moon, though not the stars, for Kevin Kolb, kept him just two seasons, then waived him. Now, Arizona has Palmer, while Oakland is left holding a pair of late-round draft picks. Had Arizona simply acquired Palmer two years ago for what it spent on Kolb, this would have been praised as a brilliant move.

So it would have been smart for the Cardinals to give up a 1st and 2nd round pick for Carson Palmer two years ago, but it wasn't smart for the Raiders to do the same thing? The going price for Palmer at the time was a 1st and 2nd round pick, so the Cardinals would have had to give up a 1st and 2nd round pick for Palmer and there's no guarantee that he would have been successful in Arizona. So I'm not sure I am able to see why it wasn't smart for the Raiders to trade for Palmer, but the Cardinals should have traded for Palmer. They got him for a late-round pick this past offseason. That seems like a better deal, even in retrospect, then giving up a 1st and 2nd round pick for Palmer (which would have resulted in them giving up the chance to draft Michael Floyd and Kevin Minter---or Jonathan Cooper instead of Minter if the Cardinals made the playoffs with Palmer starting for them). The Cardinals have been terrible at quarterback, but a 1st and 2nd round pick for Carson Palmer is a steep price to pay. Of course the Cardinals did give up a 2nd round pick for Kolb, plus gave him a extension. So maybe Gregg has a point, but I'm always inclined just to think he doesn't have a point.

Arizona had an above-average defense in 2012 but the league's worst offense. Considering the offense could not stay on the field, the stout performance by the defense was impressive. The Cardinals' big problem on offense was an abysmal average of 5.6 yards per pass attempt. Palmer can only improve that number.

Right, which is why it was such a good deal to get him for a late-round draft pick. I'm not sure it was worth trading for Palmer if the Cardinals had to give up a 1st and 2nd round pick. Palmer just isn't worth that to me and I'm guessing he isn't worth it to the Cardinals either if they could go back in time and make this deal.

Arizona held a 10-point lead over the Atlanta Falcons, who would go on to host the NFC title game. Whisenhunt pulled starter John Skelton and sent in the never-used Ryan Lindley, who immediately lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown.

This is a fantastic example of how Gregg lies and misleads his readers. The Cardinals held a 10-point lead and were even in this game because the Falcons turned the ball over seven times. Ken Whisenhunt pulled John Skelton because Skelton was 2-7 for six passing yards at that point in the game. He had six passing yards, so you can see why Whisenhunt chose a different quarterback at this point in the game. Gregg of course doesn't tell us this, but just tells us that Ryan Lindley was never-used and the immediately lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown.

Whisenhunt replaced Skelton when there was 9:39 left in the second quarter of the game. Lindley was an improvement over Skelton and he only committed one turnover, that is one turnover, during the game. The Cardinals did not lose this game because Whisenhunt pulled Skelton for Ryan Lindley. They lost the game because both quarterbacks were bad.

Arizona was not only defeated in that game but was 1-6 for the remainder of the season.

ALL BECAUSE THE CARDINALS REPLACED A SHITTY QUARTERBACK WITH ANOTHER SHITTY QUARTERBACK! IT RUINED THE CARDINALS ENTIRE SEASON!

Atlanta: The easiest thing to forget about the 2012 NFL season was that the Falcons went 14-4 and came without a couple snaps of the Super Bowl.

This is one of easiest things to forget about the 2012 NFL season? The NFC Championship Game is probably of one of the three most high-profile games of the NFL season and the Falcons blew a lead at home. This is quite easy to remember.

It was as if in last season's playoffs the Falcons suddenly forgot how to play football.

They made the NFC Championship Game. How is making it to the NFC Championship Game and coming close to making the Super Bowl "forgetting how to play football"?

The Atlanta defense finished 24th statistically, and often -- at inopportune moments -- forgot how to play football.

My God, somebody please tell Gregg that the other team practices too. It's not like the Falcons just magically forget to play football, they get beaten by a team that showed themselves to be the better team. The 49ers came close to winning the Super Bowl two weeks after beating the Falcons. In fact there's a trend here:

The season before, the Falcons went to Jersey/A in the postseason and seemed to forget how to play football, losing 24-2.

The Giants went on to win the Super Bowl. 

The season before that, the Falcons had the table set, opening at home after a bye, then seemed to forget how to play football, losing 48-21 to the Packers.

Green Bay went on to win the Super Bowl.

In 2008 the Falcons lost to the Arizona Cardinals, who went on to make it to the Super Bowl. So it isn't like the Falcons are losing to shitty teams in the playoffs.

When Newton arrived in the league, defensive coordinators assumed he'd be mainly a running quarterback and kept their safeties near the line of scrimmage. Newton responded by throwing for a record-smashing average of 427 yards in his first two contests. Defensive coordinators then told their secondaries to drop into a regular shell; since then, Newton has averaged 248 yards passing per game.

Which is about average for an NFL quarterback. Newton also led the Panthers in rushing last year, which apparently Gregg doesn't count as deserving to be a part of this discussion.

Now there are 24 seconds in regulation, Buccaneers ball on the Cats' 24. Vincent Jackson, the opponent's best receiver, was able to run into the end zone covered only by a linebacker -- touchdown.

To be really fair to Ron Rivera, which I am not inclined to be, Jackson was covered by the defensive rookie of the year on this play (Luke Kuechly) and Josh Freeman made an absolutely perfect throw to get the ball into Jackson. It was a gorgeous throw and Kuechly had pretty good coverage on the play.

Otherwise, Gregg has a point when discussing Ron Rivera.

During the offseason, the Bears used first- and fifth-round draft choices on offensive linemen, then traded offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, their first-round choice just two years ago, to the Buccaneers at the fire-sale price of a sixth-round draft choice.

Gregg wants to know why the Buccaneers didn't just draft Carimi when they had the chance two years ago rather than give up a sixth round choice for him in 2013.

Why discard Carimi, a great college player and a major investment for the Bears, even if his NFL career started slowly?

Because he wasn't playing well in comparison to the salary that he was getting paid?

Front-office politics are the likely answer. New general manager Phil Emery needs to shift blame, so he gave the heave-ho to Smith, a hire of former general manager Jerry Angelo. Now he tells the world that Angelo's final first-round draft choice was a blown pick. Emery also waived Chris Williams, an offensive lineman chosen in the first round in 2008 by Angelo. This allows Emery to enter the 2013 season with excuses lined up.

It also allows the Bears to rid themselves of underachieving offensive linemen on the roster, regardless of where these offensive linemen were chosen. A General Manager's job is to make a team better and getting rid of two underachieving picks isn't front office politics, but an attempt to make the Bears better. I would think if anyone could understand getting rid of an underachieving player it would be Gregg Easterbrook. He is the one who constantly harps on first round picks being overpaid glory boys. Yet, the Bears get rid of a couple of these underachieving guys and Gregg doesn't like it.

If the Bears win, fine; if they lose, Emery can blame Angelo's bad draft picks.

Which is valid to do as it pertains to Chris Williams and Gabe Carimi. Neither player produced what was expected of them for the Bears. They weren't very good picks.

In the Dallas-San Francisco draft trade, the Boys gained only a third-round choice to allow the Niners to swap up 13 spots to the middle of the first round. In other trades involving the first round, to swap up eight spots, the St. Louis Rams gave the Bills a second-round choice. To swap up from the second round to the late first,

Perhaps Jones paid so much to Romo that he needed to move down in the first round to lower his rookie bonus costs and was so focused on moving down he allowed himself to be fleeced.

Actually if Gregg took the time to do any type of research he could see that the contract extension to Tony Romo actually opened up cap room so the Cowboys could sign free agents and their draft picks. It's irritating how Gregg makes these types of comments without doing any research. Maybe the 3rd round pick wasn't enough compensation for moving up 13 spots and maybe the Romo extension wasn't a great idea, but signing Romo to the contract extension freed up cap space rather than cost the Cowboys cap space.

In my draft column, yours truly observed that Mel Kiper and his kith get a hard time because their predictions are public, while we never know what mistakes NFL scouts make in private. 

Sort of like when Gregg states he wrote "Game over" in his Selena Gomez Trapper Keeper notebook and Gregg's readers have no way of verifying whether this is true or Gregg is just stating this using hindsight to make himself look smarter? Gregg's readers also have no idea of when Gregg has written "Game over" in his notebook and this hasn't been true.

Reader John Martin in Washington, D.C., reports that because Jones allowed himself to be filmed -- looking manly, of course -- in the Boys draft room, it was possible to freeze-frame and zoom in on the Dallas board. The Boys slotted DJ Hayden, taken by Oakland with the 12th selection, as a second-round choice. The Boys' board reflects guesses about value specifically to the Cowboys, not necessarily a Kiper-style overall ranking.

Yeah Gregg, pretty much every team's NFL draft board consists of that team's guesses about a player's value. That's what a draft board is.

Ben Cohen of the Wall Street Journal calls the new palace at the University of Oregon "the physical embodiment of this gilded age of college football." In the most recent academic year, Oregon cleared a $31 million profit on football, according to Department of Education data, while graduating just 49 percent of its African-American players.

How many of these players would have gone to college, much less graduated, without having played football or received a football scholarship? Not excusing the profit Oregon cleared, but I think looking at whether these African-American players would have been able to attend college without football is important.

Exploiting young black males without conferring education ought to shame Chip Kelly, the University of Oregon alumni and trustees and the NCAA.

Again, we have to also focus on two other factors:

1. How many of the 49% who graduated would have gotten a college degree without a sports scholarship? This is a difficult question to answer for sure, but I think it is an important question.

2. It takes two to tango. Chip Kelly has a responsibility to make sure his players go to class and graduate, but you can't make a person graduate college and attend class during college if that person doesn't want to. I guess Kelly could kick players off the team who don't go to class and aren't on-track to graduate.

Assuming Knight is in the top bracket, donating $68 million to the University of Oregon football program would cost him about $43 million. Taxpayers would be hit for the other $25 million. To cover Knight's deduction, average people must be taxed more or the national debt must increase.

The theory of tax deductibility for donations to colleges and universities is sound: Higher education benefits society as a whole. But when the tax expenditures go to football programs, society does not benefit.

Tell that to the Oregon football players and boosters who can proudly show off the new facility.

And if the money given to football might have instead been donated to the university's endowment or core academic mission, society is actively harmed.

Society is harmed under the assumption that Phil Knight would have donated this money to the university's endowment or core academic mission. I'm not sure Phil Knight would have donated $68 million to the university's endowment or not, so the only way to conclude society is harmed is if assumptions are made. And we all know what happens when you assume? That's right, Gregg makes shit up in order to better prove a point he wants to make.

That athletics diverts money from college education, and does so at taxpayer expense, is a broad problem. 

Again, we are working under the assumption that the money given to athletics would otherwise be given to an education fund. This isn't an assumption I am willing to make, mostly because I don't want to make an assumption to try and prove my point correct like Gregg does.

The University of Maryland just reported a $21 million athletic department deficit despite all UMD undergrads being charged $398 annually to subsidize athletics. That's about $11 million taken annually from regular students who are struggling to pay tuition and diverted to sports.

That's not what I'm seeing. I'm actually seeing $406.38 to pay for athletics. Of course students are also being charged the following fees annually as well:

Stamp Union Fee: $308.24
Recreation Building: $362
Technology Fee: $264

In fact, out of the $1,771.82 in fees charged to a full-time student during the 13/14 year, athletics is responsible for 22.9% of the cost of these fees. I'm betting in terms of students getting use out of these fees, that athletics is a much better deal than paying $362 for a recreation building. Maybe not, but in terms of the fees it costs a student to attend the University of Maryland athletic fees don't make up the majority of the cost.

Detroit: Stacked with high first-round draft picks and mega-contract players, no NFL team underperforms like the Lions. The talent-stacked defense, which allowed 49 touchdowns in 2012, has given up more total points than any other NFL team over the past four seasons.

I'm not sure you can call the Lions defense "talent-stacked" if the defense doesn't play well. Maybe the defense should have talent, but they clearly lack some sort of talent somewhere.

In a pass-wacky league, the Lions are wackiest. Adjusting for sacks and scrambles, Detroit coaches radioed in 378 more passes than rushes last season -- 24 more called passes than rushes per contest. While Seattle rushed 57 percent of the time (see below), the Lions threw just shy of twice as much as they ran. Because the NFL has become a passing league, even Bill Belichick is now pass-wacky. But Detroit takes pass-wacky too far.

It also doesn't help the Lions offensive line and running backs haven't helped the run game flourish even when a running play is called. You may ask in Gregg's opinion how we know when a team takes pass-wacky too far. That's an easy answer. A team has taken pass-wacky too far if they don't win games. If that team is pass-wacky and wins games then that is the right amount of pass-wacky. It all depends on the result, because otherwise Gregg has no suitable advice on what a team should do (or should have done) without knowing the result.

This column is a longtime fan of Vince Young. It might be chaotic when he's on the field, but at the double whistle, his team has more points than the other team. So it's nice to see Young get another chance with the Packers.

Vince Young just wins games. Lazy analysis will always survive no matter what.

Considering Green Bay's passing system relies on precise execution -- the Packers throw deep sideline routes, a favorite pattern of the Manning brothers -- it's hard to see Young running the same offense Rodgers runs.

So the Packers will just completely change their offense if Vince Young ends up having to start for the Packers. I can't see how anything could go wrong in this situation.

Mike McCarthy's charges were eaten alive by the zone-read in the playoffs and now open against the Niners. Young can impersonate Kaepernick when the Packers run the scout team. And if Young comes in a few times a game for zone-read plays, this will force Green Bay opponents to prepare on defense for two entirely different philosophies of offense.

The initial problem I see with the Packers running the read-option successfully is that at this point they don't have a running back that really scares NFL defenses. It's much different to run the read-option with Robert Griffin and Alfred Morris or Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore than it is to run the read-option with Vince Young and (the unproven) Eddie Lacy. Before Gregg starts getting excited about the Packers running two entirely different offensive philosophies he needs to think whether the offensive line that can't block for Aaron Rodgers can block for Young when running the read-option.

Then Gregg publicizes a book he wrote about youth football that goes on sale in September. I'm not linking it right now and no one can make me.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback has long felt the Giants are a better reflection of the New York City milieu than the Jets, setting aside that both neither practice nor performs in the Empire State. The Giants bicker openly about money and ego, seem constantly on the verge of collapse, then rally and do something special. That's New York!

What? The Giants do not openly bicker about money and ego and seem on the verge of collapse. If anything, the Jets are the team that openly bicker about money and ego. Of course the Jets don't always follow it up with something special, but like always, we can't have reality infringe on Gregg's comparison. Gregg prefers to create his own reality that fits the point he wants to prove. He wants the Giants and Jets to reflect their respect states and so that's how he will frame his comparison, reality be damned.

The Jets seem constantly depressed and fouled up. That s New Jersey.

Okay...this is a really bad analogy. It seems there is more bickering about money and ego in the Jets part as compared to the Giants.

There's no sane reason to expect the Giants to be good this season -- but touts felt that way going into 2011, which ended with Eli Manning hoisting the Lombardi.

Why is there no reason to expect the Giants to be good this season? Gregg constantly makes statements like this with little to no factual backing. Why couldn't we expect the Giants to be good? They still have a really defensive line, great receivers, and Eli Manning as their quarterback with David Wilson just waiting to breakout. I hate it when Gregg makes a statement without explaining what the hell he is talking about. This is an opinion being framed as a statement of fact.

The Vikings' last season came down to this: In the playoffs, trailing Green Bay 24-3 with 11 minutes remaining, facing fourth-and-2, Leslie Frazier sent in the punting unit.

Since he did the "safe" thing and punted, he wasn't criticized. But down by three touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a playoff contest, punting on fourth-and-2 is like running up the white flag. Needless to say, the day ended with Minnesota decisively defeated.

I am willing to bet the Vikings still would have been decisively defeated even if the Vikings had converted this fourth down instead of punting the football. Gregg's point stands that the Vikings probably should have gone for it, but he is trying to tie the result of the game to this decision by Leslie Frazier when there seems to be a very tenuous connection.

And, as usual, led by Jared Allen, the Vikes did well for sacks. But the team finished just 20th overall on defense -- Allen and other Vikings defenders gambled for sacks at the expense of gap discipline.

On every play the Vikings defenders gambled for sacks at the expense of gap control. Gregg has no specific play that shows this to be true, mostly because he really, really enjoys just making shit up that he believes makes sense in his head.

In a third scene, New Improved Kirk and New Improved Scotty dangle together from a great height. New Improved Chekov comes along and hauls the pair up, using one arm to raise the weight of two men -- something not even an Olympic power lifter could accomplish. Perhaps by 2255, fitness DVDs are more effective at building muscle mass.

Or maybe, just maybe, this is a movie and the fact it involves time travel and aliens from other planets that happen to also speak English means Chekov lifting more than an Olympic power lifter could lift is not the most unrealistic part of the film. It's science-FICTION. The key word being "FICTION" which means "not real." So the movie is not intended to be realistic and I don't get why Gregg wants a science-fiction movie to be realistic.

In the flick, Starfleet is run by a neo-Nazi megalomaniac intent on galactic domination. He is able to build a secret starbase, there to manufacture the ultra-gigantic space dreadnaught, without anyone noticing. Wouldn't building a starbase in orbit around Jupiter require a fantastic investment of material and labor? Wouldn't an auditor have spotted trillions of quatloos missing from the Starfleet budget?

1. It is a movie and Gregg is stupid for asking this question. I can't comprehend why he takes movies seriously enough to ask these types of questions.

2. Gregg has described quite a few times how the United States government and other entities have lost millions of dollars they can't find. So let's pretend that happened here. Starfleet misplaced $500 million and can't find what happened to it.

said to be impossible in all previous "Trek" iterations, including the movies and TV shows set a century after 2255. Attacking a ship in a warp field was previously said impossible, even for Species 8472, the most advanced civilization the Federation has ever encountered. Suddenly, doing this is a snap.

I can't imagine how irritating it would be to watch a movie with Gregg Easterbrook. I would probably get so irritated by his comments about a movie that I would try to force feed him popcorn in the hopes he chokes to death or at least loses enough oxygen to forget what he was commenting about.

Everyone's waiting to see if Kelly implements his Blur Offense with the Eagles. Michael Vick, named the starter, would seem the perfect quarterback for the Blur; Nick Foles and Matt Barkley are pocket passers.

Never underestimate how uneducated Gregg Easterbrook can be. A pocket passer can thrive in Chip Kelly's offense as well and Nick Foles seemed to run the Eagles offense pretty well in the preseason. It's not like Kelly's offense always requires the quarterback to scramble and run option plays.

Regardless, TMQ is putting his chips on this wager -- not only will Barkley win the Eagles' starting job sooner rather than later, he will be the top quarterback of the 2013 draft class.

I am more than willing to wager on this. Also, Gregg doesn't count as being correct if Vick and Foles get injured this year because Gregg said Barkley will "win" the starting job. That's not winning the job he gets it because the other two quarterbacks were injured. Also, I don't know what the hell "sooner rather than later" really means so it's obvious TMQ is putting his chips on the wager, but not feeling confident enough to set out a timeline for when "sooner rather than later" might be.

But it's hard to see Barkley operating a zone-read action. The compromise might be Barkley running a quick-snap spread. 

It's not really a compromise since elements of this are currently present in Chip Kelly's offense.

What was this year's Song of the Summer? "See You in September", by the Tempos, was the No. 1 single of Summer 1959, then the top summer hit again in 1966 when rebooted by the Happenings. Summer of 2008, Coldplay's "Viva la Vida" was pounding out of every beach boom box and the speaker towers of every lakeside watering hole.

I don't know if "Viva la Vida" is the Song of the Summer for 2008. I can't really imagine that song pounding out of a beach boom box or at a watering hole. Maybe it's just me since it is an opinion. I would say "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry was the 2008 Song of the Summer. You couldn't avoid it.

Perhaps the Song of the Summer 2013 is "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk. It's nice to see an act that has been around for a long time reach No. 1 in middle age -- 

The two members of Daft Punk are 39 and 38 years old. They have put four albums out and the first album came out in 1997. I don't know, again, it is a matter of opinion, but I'm not sure Daft Punk is in middle age for a band. They made their first album only 16 years ago.

The 2012 Niners were both impressive statistically and fun to watch, owing to the midseason switch from conventional passing to Kaepernick. Lots of things went very well. San Francisco finished second in total defense; the offensive line was stable for the entire season; 14 players scored touchdowns (lots of guys handling the ball is usually a positive sign);

Or a really bad sign because it means the team has suffered a lot of injuries during the season. I know, I hate to ruin Gregg's assumptions like I tend to do.

A mild question is why San Francisco used its three seventh-round choices rather than banking some of them, too. Considering the Niners have the league's strongest roster, can three late picks make this team?

Well of course they can Gregg. Aren't you the one who constantly tells us how great late-round and undrafted players are? I always love to notice how Gregg backs away from his insistence that late-round and undrafted players are often better than first or second round draft picks when it fits the point he wants to prove. When an undrafted player does well in the NFL, all of a sudden Gregg is back talking about highly-paid glory boys and how these first and second round players are lazy unlike those hard-working undrafted free agents.

In this TMQ, Gregg also suggests that undrafted players should make more money in bonuses, which could have the side effect of fewer undrafted players being signed by teams in order to save money. Obviously Gregg didn't think about this when making the suggestion to up the bonus of undrafted free agents. He's hurting the players he claims to want to help.

The Bluish Men Group attempted 405 forward passes and 536 rushes, the kind of ratio that was common half a century ago. With most NFL defenses geared to stop the pass, Seattle's run-first offense seemed to baffle opponents, allowing the Seahawks to average 4.8 yards per rush and 8 yards per pass attempt, both healthy numbers.

Yes, I'm sure every NFL team that played the Seahawks last year were baffled on how to stop the run. They had completely forgotten how to stop the run. Because NFL teams are only able to stop an opposing team from passing the football or running the football and can't simply do both. It always has to be one or the other. God, I hate Gregg's type of reasoning.

Carroll's defense played a power style, holding opponents to 6.2 yards per pass and 4.5 yards per rush -- both nice margins compared to Seattle's own numbers. The Hawks defense finished fourth against yards and first against points.

This really good defense was led by Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley, who Gregg called "a weak, insecure coach" last week in TMQ.

Since the arrival of Jeff Fisher as Rams coach, the team has been active in draft-choice trades. Notably, the Rams dealt away the chance to select RG III;

Yep. I'm not big on what-if situations, but without using a "what-if" scenario one has to wonder how choosing to keep Sam Bradford around rather than draft Robert Griffin will look for the Rams in the coming years. Was three picks and keeping Bradford worth passing up the chance to draft Griffin? As Joe Morgan says, it's too early to tell. Granted, the Rams did get some draft picks out of the deal, which is always helpful to build a good team around Bradford.

Summing Fisher's trades, St. Louis swapped Griffin and two first-round picks, plus second-, sixth- and seventh-round selections for Tavon Austin, Michael Brockers, Janoris Jenkins, Alec Ogletree, Isaiah Pead, Stedman Bailey, Rokevious Watkins, Zac Stacy and Washington's 2014 first-round pick.

I realize I harp on this, and for fear of agreeing with Gregg, but when Peter King is praising the Rams organization's genius during the 2013 draft I wonder if he imagines Tavon Austin playing with Robert Griffin instead of Sam Bradford?

First in run defense, last in pass defense -- sounds like Buccaneers coaches were not employing balanced tactics. 

This could be why the Buccaneers signed Dashon Goldson, drafted Johnthan Banks, and traded for Darrelle Revis. It's hard to be a balanced defense when Eric Wright is one of your starting corners and a converted corner (Ronde Barber) is playing safety alongside a rookie (Mark Barron).

In March, the American Astronomical Society "expressed deep concern about the U.S. government's new restrictions on travel and conference attendance for federally funded scientists." Attending conferences is useful for many professions, but why should average people be taxed to fund science junkets? I write novels and benefit from attending literary conferences. If I demanded that scientists be taxed to fund my travel, scientists would be outraged.

The difference that Gregg is too blind to see is the term "federally funded scientists." Regardless of which side of this matter I agree with, these scientists are federally funded and believe their knowledge base can be improved and expanded by attending conferences which would help society as a whole. Gregg Easterbrook is not a federally funded author so an increase in his knowledge base theoretically would only help him sell books and the idea is this wouldn't help society as a whole. 

TMQ banged the drum for years about eliminating the Redskins name. Then, when the world seemed to lose interest, I returned to using the name in the column. Now that interest is rising anew -- two lawsuits are in progress -- this column will go back to calling the franchise in question the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons.

What a sellout. Always following what's popular to do.

Next Week: Still America's original all-haiku NFL season predictions!

I most likely say this every week when reading the one sentence preview of next week's TMQ, but this is my least favorite TMQ of the year.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

"And if Young comes in a few times a game for zone-read plays, this will force Green Bay opponents to prepare on defense for two entirely different philosophies of offense."

I just want the record to show that Gregg is advocating taking Aaron Rodgers out of the game and putting in Vince Young, if only for a few plays. Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the NFL; Vince Young was unemployed three weeks ago. The level of moronicism (Gregg's stupidity deserves its own word) it takes to think taking Rodgers out of the game is a good idea is mind-blowing. BUT THEY'LL HAVE TO PREPARE FOR BOTH. No, they won't. Stay disciplined and Vince Young isn't going to kill you. Ooh, a five yard run, big whoop. Aaron Rodgers can light you up for 500 yards and 5 TDs, that's what you prepare for. Any plays out of Vince Young is a win for your defense. That's one more play in which Rodgers can't throw a 60 yard TD.

The Panthers should start putting in Derek Anderson for a few plays so defenses have to prepare for a pocket passer as well. It's the same line of reasoning, absolutely moronic.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, after the Panthers first drive last night I'm almost okay with the Panthers putting Derek Anderson in the game. Okay, I'm kidding about that.

Didn't you read that Gregg says Vince Young wins games? He wins games, so why wouldn't the Packers take the best quarterback in the NFL out of the game to throw a few diversionary tactics at the defense...you know, because I'm sure the Packers offense and Rodgers would be totally cool with this.

Drekkan said...

To be utterly fair to Gregg (and really, if we're not then we stoop to his level) I do have some positives about his column.

The first is a Trek one. Maybe it's growing up as a trekkie - but we do tend to be obsessive and want our directors and writers to be as obsessive as we are. It's why TNG was so beloved, while Voyager and the TNG movies so reviled. TNG and the greater universe created around it had a great level of attention to detail, and at least some token attempts to maintain some form of canon and technical viability.

The JJ Abrams movies kinda toss this in the junk heap in favour of lens flair and Action! It's silly - his characters are caricatures, his villains are awful parodies of villains past, and he completely disregards everything that was trek. If Gregg was a Trekkie, I get his frustration. I wouldn't apply the same niggling to any movie (Pacific Rim, for all its flaws, was a hilarious romp of a film) - but Trek is different.

The second point is the University of Oregon piece. It's not really to defend Gregg, rather to defend where he seemed to be going. There's quite a bit of talk in the economist community - and in the policy community - that charitable donations (including university donations) should not actually be tax deductible. The line of reasoning is that I'm not allowed to say, "Here are my taxes, you, government, are not allowed to spend any on Defence - only on social security" or vice versa. Allowing charitable donation tax credits basically allows something along the lines of this behaviour - you get to effectively pick and choose where your tax dollars go. Further, the better off inevitably get the greatest benefit of these choices - and we shouldn't allow Mitt Romney to decide that his tax dollars should fund the Mormon church instead of paying for food stamps for all Americans (or, you know, a B2 bomber). I thought that was where Gregg was going - but then he goes and fucks up a very good point in order to make a stupid one.

***

Of course, I'd feel dirty if I just came through and defended Gregg. So I just wanted to point out what I think is one of the best examples of him misleading his readers/derping as a whole. Gregg takes the time to point out how many teams that were top rushers made the playoffs, while how many teams that were top passers didn't.

The first big point is that he didn't point out that the team that actually won the Super Bowl wasn't on that list of top rushers. It's kinda odd that his thesis is that running wins championships when the top rushing teams... didn't win the championship.

The second is that he completely ignored the realities of the game. Of course teams that are chronically behind (largely because of terri-horri-bad defence are going to have lots of passing yards. When you're always behind you have to throw to catch up. Conversely, you typically see teams that have the lead (partly because of great defence - cough 49ers cough) run the ball a lot in the second half. It's not rushing that leads to victories - it's leads and victories that lead to rushing.

The other explanation also undermines another Gregg point. Washington and Seattle both ran up those numbers because of the consistency of their use of the zone-read to free up running lanes for their backs. The consistent use of this tactic, and the fact you know it is coming, renders a description of it as a "surprise tactic" as incomprehensible.

Of course, he's right about the Vikings. That's the one team that won because it ran, and ran, and ran. But that's mostly because Adrian Peterson is an otherwordly being with surprising regenerative powers put on earth to run the ball. Seriously - how much do you think the Raiders hate themselves that they passed on Peterson and took JaMarcus Russell instead?

Crazee said...

Phil Emery has released three players from last year's draft class already, including their third round pick today. Probably more office politics.

Caraimi had bad knees and a bad attitude about fighting for a roster spot. He threatened to not show up to camp because they wanted him to be a Guard. So, they decided to trade him. Seems fair to me. The Bears O-line actually looks competent now.

Bengoodfella said...

Drekkan, I'm not a Trekkie. Perhaps I just don't understand the need to be accurate in the movies. Of course if Star Wars or another film had contradictions I would probably be unhappy. It's just the Star Trek universe is so big I don't know how you keep track of everything and there's bound to be contradictions.

I'm with him about donations not being tax deductible if they go to sports. I'm cool with that. It's just he assumed the money would go to education, which isn't an assumption I would make.

You make a really good point about rushing. Last night the idiot announcers for the Carolina-Pittsburgh game said Ron Rivera wants to get back to running the football like they did the last 6 games of last year. Well yes, they were able to run the ball because they were ahead and didn't have to worry about passing to catch up. The increase in rushing was caused by being successful on the ground initially and having a lead. So whether a team is able to run the ball a lot or not can depend on whether they have a lead.

Also, there's no way the zone-read is a surprise tactic. It was clear from the beginning of the season it would be a part of the Redskins playbook if the Redskins wanted to play to RG3's strengths.

Yes, Adrian Peterson is otherworldly. There's not many running backs like him. I think the Raiders probably would have liked to have that choice back. At the worst they could have possibly chosen Calvin Johnson, Joe Thomas, and about four other guys in the first round over Russell...most likely more. Hindsight is great, but Peterson is proof running backs are devalued, but they still do have some value.

Crazee, GM's are always releasing players that contribute because they want to make the past regime seem dumb. Because making the team worse always helps a GM keep his job and all.

Anonymous said...

Wondering if you saw the new Reilly column. He makes tons of awful pop culture references and is just plain wrong about most of his opinions regarding the top 100 NFL players.

Anonymous said...

Following up on my original comment: it looks like Vince Young has been released. Let's all remember that Gregg advocated taking Rodgers out of games to put Young in.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I have it bookmarked but haven't read it yet. I scanned it briefly and it seems like he was questioning ESPN's 100 NFL player list. It has the makings of a disaster.

I'm betting Gregg will state in this week's TMQ that the Packers will regret cutting Young.

Anonymous said...

Why they cut young?? And then sign senace Wallace?!!? Crazy...

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I'm sure if the Packers don't make the playoffs Gregg will claim it is because they cut Young and got a winner off their team. He's so full of shit in that way.

Chris Carlomastro said...

So, this article was written in August...and he is promoting his book that comes out in September? This is Book Creep!!! Why hasn't he mentioned that?!?

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, dammit! You've defeated me. I wish I had noticed that. Book Creep is the worst!

This week he talks about lawsuits that haven't even been filed yet. It's Lawsuit Creep!

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