Sunday, December 30, 2007


This might sound like splitting hairs, but it epitomizes a really disturbing trend in football analysis, so I have to post it. Phil Simms is certainly not the only guilty party, but he is the funniest:
"Troy Smith is in his second start today, and did really well last week, but he's gotta learn to make them....make you....beat them deep."
Might not be an exact quote. Phil Simms made me make him make me make myself have trouble remembering who made who make what by making this.
Anyway, if you enjoy hating dickish place kickers as much as I do, or if you're looking for some sort of reason to be happy about the Pats going undefeated, you'll love this post over at KissingSuzyKolber. You might also want to check and see if that video of Bill Gramatica injuring himself celebrating a field goal is still on YouTube. That stuff's hilarious.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Scouts Inc rates your team's Quarterback!


The reason why is very simple. Simple enough that they admit it themselves, before the list is even seen.

The hardest part was deciding how to rank them. Do we look at just this year? Do we look at their careers and their body of work? We decided it would be a mixture of the two, that we couldn't completely ignore a veteran with a history of great success having a subpar year.

The hardest part is coming up with a method of evalutation. Really? I can give you a ton of ways of evaluating QBs (in no particular order, as Scouts Inc. would prefer it):

yards per attempt
completion percentage
consecutive starts
college starts
drawn out of a hat
drawn out of a shoebox
alphabetically by last name
alphabetically by first name
alphabetically by middle name
color of teams home jersey

and last and most definately least:


The point is, if you are going to make a list, you need to have criteria. "A mix" of the criteria does not cut it. Then you just have subjective dribble.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thought it wouldn't get any worse than "Touch 'em All"?

You thought wrong.

Behold, the ESPNU Championship Series.

At times like this, I can't help but wonder how the person responsible pitched this:
So, the BCS sucks. How dare they decide who's better than whom in order to set up the national championship game? Fuck. It really burns me up when people think they can know who would win in a game that never happened.

So anyway, I got this idea. We take the top 10 teams in the BCS, since they know who's better than whom. Then we put them into this playoff bracket, and hold a playoff. What? Nah, there won't be any actual games. We're ESPN though, we think we can know who would win in these games that never happen. So basically, we decide these match-ups that mean nothing and then predict the outcomes, except we're never wrong, because they never happen.

"Great idea! We'll make it a yearly feature."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Cloud over Baltimore just self-satisfaction

The dense, impenetrable cloud that hung over Baltimore this Monday night has dissipated. The sound of gun shots and foul stench remains, but locals report they are "used to it".

The Ravens gave the Patriots all....well, most....that they could handle, in a stadium that was filled to the brim, and, amazingly, a couple of fans were able to squeeze in between the collective egos of Bill Belichek, Brian Billick, and Don Shula.

The Patriots remained undefeated, leading Shula to trade in the champagne for enormous quantities of Nutrasystem low-carb whiskey. Brian Billick was seen kissing...his job good-bye.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Eagles' Provide League with Blueprint for Beating Seahawks

  1. Don't actually beat them.
[not actually an effective blueprint]

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This just in, the 72 Dolphins are all assholes

Mercury Morris, running back and douchebag extradinaire spoke out this week, explaining that the Patriots are nowhere near accomplishing the great achievement of his 72 Dolphins. The always modest Morris pointed out that no one has surpassed their magnificence yet, and that the Patriots have 10 more games to go (though this is a matter of opinion, since the Dolphins of course played fewer games).

Here are some totally unrelated facts:
  • 72 Dolphins' opponent winning% .396
  • 72 Dolphins' points scored-points allowed 14 game season : 214
  • 2007 Patriots points scored-points allowed 9 games in: 208
I don't even like the Patriots, but if they do it, they will be about a hundred thousand times better than the 72 Dolphins, and I sort of wouldn't mind seeing it just to shut these old farts up. That said, I think every football fan secretly hopes it's his favorite team that finally gets to do the honors.

Just for comparison, and as a contingency in case the Pats don't make it:
  • 85 Bears' opponent winning% .500
  • 85 Bears' points scored - points allowed (including fluky Miami loss) ADJUSTED TO 14 GAME SEASON: 225.75
    (originally 258)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Great season for the NFL

After decades of finishing right at .500, the NFL is finally expected to right the ship and post a winning record.....against itself. Now I know that not every jackass columnist working at ESPN has taken a statistics or economics course, but evidently Jeffri Chadiha is unaware of the concept of a zero-sum game. Namely, both teams can't win.

Of course, this wouldn't matter if he actually looked at the teams' respective schedules and predicted who will win a given game. This approach would be called "analysis". Mr. Chadiha, instead, glanced at the teams' records at the midway point and decided that a good team will win x games, a bad team will win y games, no one will go winless, the Vikings will magically finish 7-9, and somehow the Raiders and Chiefs will combine for 8 wins in the second half. This is known as the "blind-folded two-year-old throwing darts at a number line" approach, or the "pulling numbers out of his ass" approach. Take a minute to understand the magnitude of this. He's getting paid to analyze teams and have some idea of who's more likely to win. He isn't just being dumb, he's not even doing his job.

However, before we let the issue drop, I thought I'd highlight some of the true gems embedded in this article:

The Panthers:
"This offense has second-half disaster written all over it.
Prediction: 7-9."
A 7-9 disaster.

The Niners:
"Surprise: Rookie linebacker Patrick Willis leads the NFL in tackles. After that, there really hasn't been much to smile about around the 49ers.
Disappointment: What happened to their running game? Frank Gore made the Pro Bowl last season. This year he has 435 yards at midseason.
Prediction: 6-10."
Anyone who thinks the Niners will DOUBLE their first half wins (2) with 4 in the second, raise your hand. Really? No one? Even though the wins they've got so far have been amazingly fluky?

Anyone think Minnesota will go .500 the rest of the way?

Think the NFC East will combine for 41 wins? That's more than 10 per team, and 20 more than they have now. A combined 10 games against division opponents, means 5 wins, assuming no ties. So they have to get 15 wins. Of the remaining 19 games, 15 are against opponents that Chadiha himself picked to go .500 or better the rest of the way (2 against the Pats).

Suddenly it becomes obvious how the NFL ended up with a winning record. Everybody's a winner.

A tip of the TurnOffESPN chapeau to, the statistically-minded, funny, and utterly classy baseball blog that broke this story.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Tonight we're gonna Party like it's 1695!

Remember when Dr. Z was cool? I don't.

We have fun on this blog with Dr. Z's works. In fairness to him, he's not really a serious journalist. He's reached the point where you either accept his rankings as absolute truth no questions asked, or you realize that they are complete baloney and you are better off taking teams out of a hat and listing them as the pills fly.

Senile or not, there is absolutely no excuse for this piece of crap. I wish not to discuss the nuiances of a football game with anyone who can't see from this piece that Dr. Z has simply lost his mind.

He basically tries to denounce passer rating as a stat as utter garbage.

[I]t's a prehistoric monster that no one understands, an illogical piece of antiquity that influences so much of the game when it shouldn't. It affects what is written, what is discussed, what becomes the basis, in some cases, of salary structure and bonuses for players and coordinators.

Okay. Settle down kiddos and take a deep long breath. If you are reading this blog, you are certainly not a member of the sample universe that Dr. Z is addressing. Therefore, you are a no one to him. Because let's face it, if you are anyone, you aren't allowed to understand passer rating. Anyway, for those of you who need a refresher course: here's a basic overview of how passer rating is calculated.

Passer rating is a cumulative statistic that is split equally into 4 parts: Int/Att, TD/Att, Comp/Att, Yards/Att. Scores can range anywhere from 0.0-158.6 Each component of the stat will range between 0.0-39.7. The 4 components are added together and gives you a cumulative number. League average tends to hover around 78.0 depending on the year.

Passer rating has some major flaws. First of all, remember that the stat represents all 4 categories as equal components of QB performance. Yards/Attempt is generally seen as the most important stat, and should rank more than one quarter of the total output in a perfect system. Combined, TDs and INTs make up half the rating, but these number can skew the total BAD especially in a small sample. Additionally, Completion percentage already correlates somewhat to TDs AND INTs based on attempts, so its essentially stating the same thing 3 different ways.

A better formula would look something like this:

(Quantity INT/ATT) * .05 + (Quantity comp/att) * .5 + (Quantity Yards/Att) * .45

Where the completion percentage makes up half the total and the yards per attempt makes up 45%, leaving a measly 5% for interceptions per attempt to account for the select QBs (Favre) who always exceed their INT projection based on their completion percentage.

Here's the point. QB Rating is a main stream stat, and it gets it right in a lot of ways because of its use of the ever so important rate stats.

Now with that out of the way, back to Dr. Z totally humiliating himself.

Steve Young, who has the highest career passer rating in history, admits that he's "not quite sure how the system works."

Steve Young is an idiot. Maybe the greatest QB ever, but an idiot nevertheless. I wouldn't expect anything different, would you?

Charley Casserly, who as Redskins general manager was quite aware that some clauses were built into contracts that reflected the rating points, says, "No, I couldn't tell you exactly how they determine the ratings."

Charlie Casserly drafted both Heath Shuler and David Carr in the top 5 picks of their respective drafts.

Bill Parcells, whose 11-point dictum to quarterbacks came from years of study of the position, says, "I don't know how they arrive at their ratings and I don't care. I don't pay any attention to them. I have my own system for evaluating quarterbacks."

The key here is that he does in fact have his own system for evaluation. Dr. Z clearly does not, but curiously ignored that part of Parcells' quote. As stated above, QB Rating is hardly the be all end all, but in a large sample, you won't stray too far from reality if you use it.

Average grades were in the 60s and 70s. En masse, NFL passers in 1972 completed 51.7 percent of their heaves. A mark like that would earn a player a grade of 72.3. Average, in other words. Interception percentage, or number of interceptions per 100 passes thrown, was 5.3, league-wide. A grade of 70. Touchdowns per pass attempts averaged out to 4.5, a grade of 60, and yards per pass attempt came out to 6.82, which got a mark of 63.7.

Put all those figures together and you've got a number of 66.5 for a dead average player, hitting the norm in each category. Higher achievements, of course, would bring higher grades.

Okay. This is getting weird.

After spending the entire first page of his article criticizing a system that "no one understands", Dr. Z goes on to show a pretty solid understanding of the system as it applies to stats in the 60s and 70s. One can only wonder where he's going with this.

Now here's the snapper. Achievements have gone way above the old standards, but Elias has maintained that same system for 35 years, with the same benchmarks and the same schedule of rewards. The passing game has changed dramatically, but [The] Elias [Sports Bureau] plods on, stuck in its standards of 1973, when its system came in.

That's it folks. Dr. Z. thinks QB rating is a useless stat, because it's old and hasn't changed in thirty five years. That's...blatent hypocrisy.

But that's not all, Dr. Z now goes on the offensive.

I said that their practice of including quarterback kneels at the end of the game in the rushing stats was wrong and misleading. It penalized the good teams, which won, therefore had QB kneels. It could knock a team's rushing stats down from 4.0 to 3.7 by artificial means. Just have an asterisk designation ... "Three kneels for minus three yards, not to be included in the official statistics."This of course is a good point, but sample size more than accounts for this. Not that I would expect Dr. Z to know anything about sample size, it's not like that concept has changed in the last 35 years, so it must be garbage.

The small sample stats would be a lot more accurate if kneels weren't included in the stats, but it really is much ado about nothing.

I screamed about spikes being scored as incompletions thereby penalizing the QBs from bad teams, which always were catching up, hence spiking the ball. Why should they influence a passer's accuracy?

Same deal here. Dr. Z is right that the short term stats would be more representitive of the job a guy did if spikes didn't count as incompletions, but like the above example:

1) Independant Organizations such as Football Outsiders have already created stats (See: DVOA) that measure more accurately than the basic stats.
2) Sample size all but eliminates rare plays such as spikes and kneels.

In Dr. Z's defense, his beef seems to be against the Elias Sports Bureau, but that doesn't give him a right to project his beef to any and all objective evidence.

As of this week, all the ranked quarterbacks in the league average 63.3 percent completions. In 1972, the year that keyed the standards put in, that was a stunning statistic. Only one passer even topped 60 percent, Norm Snead of the Giants at 60.3. A mark of 63.8 percent would have gotten you a rating in that category of 110.9, a Pro Bowl number. Guess what? It still does today. In other words, average equals excellent.

Okay. This is where Dr. Z culminates his pretty solid argument by drawing one of the most asinine conclusions in the history of logic. Outside of his complete and utter ignorance of era adjustments, he makes the blanket assumption that all "stat geeks" feel that there is a hard number that QBs must stay above to reach certain levels of achievement. This is every bit as stupid as arguing that a RB who gains 99 yards in a game had a comparable game to a RB that gains 101 yards under similar conditions, and then bitching out the guy standing next to him under the assumption that he might disagree with this logic.

Obviously a QB rating of 90 was more impressive in 1958 than it is now. Any stat relies on realistic interpretation to give it value.

And here's where the shit hits the fan:

Chad Pennington: 111.2
Jeff Garcia: 110.7
Ben Roethlisberger: 108.0
Byron Leftwich: 97.2
Sage Rosenfels: 91.4
Donovan McNabb: 91.1

In each case, the passer with those gaudy numbers lost ... repeat: lost the game. And yet many people rely on them to judge the quarterbacks. A safety-first mentality has been created. Throw the 8-yard checkdown on third-and-12; it'll work wonders for the rating chart. Avoid interceptions at all cost, don't be bold, take care. Remember, your contract is tied to it.

I would be willing to bet Dr. Z's house and his wife that QB Rating correlates STRONGLY to winning percentage. Thanks for giving us a sample of one week and trying to make a conclusive argument though.

For the record: 8 yards on 3-12 is significantly better than an interception, and measurably better than an incompletion. If it was simple to convert on third and long, this discussion wouldn't be necessary.

Also, avoiding interceptions=generally a good thing.

Anyway, that's whats wrong with the system, per Dr. Z. He doesn't understand it, and you nobodies who happen to understand can you sleep at night!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Where exactly is the "Hill" again?

Per Len Pasquarelli:

Arguably the best free-agent quarterback still available is Drew Bledsoe, who has fielded more than a few phone calls but remains steadfast in insisting he is retired. Jake Plummer is sitting at home in Idaho, but the Bucs still own his rights and have filed a grievance against him for retiring rather than reporting to camp. Aaron Brooks probably is the next most-accomplished free agent.

"And after that," noted one pro personnel director, whose team has not yet suffered a problem at quarterback, "it really goes downhill."

The best three quarterbacks that a "pro personnel director" could come up with are Bledsoe, Plummer, and Brooks?

I guess Vinny Testaverde was already...oh right.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Jim Rome has described the Tribe's collapse in the ALCS this past week as devasting, on par with when "Craig Ehlo got posterized by Number 45 [sic!]" or The Drive (by John Elway). He then proceeded to chalk it up to part of Cleveland's nature, as though there was something about the city of Cleveland that caused all of these events. Of course, that makes sense! It had nothing to do with Jordan being almost certainly the best basketball player ever to touch a ball, or with John Elway and the rest of the Broncos being really good, or with "coincidence". The implication being that slightly-above-average Craig Ehlo should have stuffed that shot right back in the face of the best ever, and only failed to because Cleveland must always lose. (Never mind that they made it to the Finals this very year)

More importantly, what the fuck is this "Number 45" bullshit. Clearly, Jordan hadn't even worn #23 when he was kicking Ehlo's ass in the 1989 playoffs. When they met again in the 96 finals, with Ehlo as a benchwarmer, Jordan was again #23. The only reason he ever wore #45 was that he was so amazingly good that his number was retired almost instantly. Is Jim Rome such a prick that he has to come up with a second-grader-esque nickname to tease Michael Jordan? Honest to God, I know I should be dead to it by now, but I am SHOCKED that anyone could be on television without exhibiting more maturity. I guess he's trying to make fun of Jordan for retiring? Maybe? Never mind the fact that Jordan retired to challenge himself, and attributed his decision to his father's tragic death. Jim Rome is nothing if not classy.

To be fair, perhaps Jim Rome doesn't really understand the social institution of family. He later blasted Steinbrenner's kid for referring to Big Stein as "my dad", rather than "the boss" or "Steinbrenner". Clearly it had nothing to do with the fact that "my dad" is a bazillion times less ambiguous than both of the asinine suggestions and less robotic and insulting to our intelligence than saying "George Steinbrenner" 30 times. that Jim Rome spent his time preparing. Nor did it have anything to do with the fact that "my dad" is the most natural way to refer to his father, and was a habit he's had for 40-years or so.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Matt Hasslebeck: Fretter

Ah, just when you were getting sick of the big-game choking cliché, RE:Peyton Manning and whoever else, Madden and Michaels come through with a new one. For those who didn't have the pleasure, here's a snipppet:

Michaels: Tom Brady loses Deion Branch and he's fine, but Matt Hasslebeck loses Deion Branch and he frets.
Madden: That's who he is, he's a fretter.

Ah yes, "fretting" is why the Seahawks are struggling. Not because Deion Branch was just really important to the offense, or because Shaun Alexander is past his prime, or because Darrell Jackson left, or the lack of blocking. Thanks for clearing that up, Hasslebeck should suck it up and start winning games like the Patriots do.

The beautiful thing about fretting is that it fills in a gap. If choking explains why good teams lose big games, what's a vodoo-analysis way of explaining why mediocore teams lose unimportant games? Surely, we can't just judge based on talent and stats. Fretting can fix that!

fretting:bad teams::choking:good teams

So you saw it here first: fretting, the new trend in sports analysis.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Now the New York sports media (ESPN) is calling for Tony La Russa to take Torre's job managing the Yankees.

Still unknown is whether they really believe that La Russa has some kind of baseball wisdom that Torre lacks, or they just think that Steinbrenner deserves to have a total prick managing his team.

One thing is for sure though, I look forward to next year when La Russa will DH for his first baseman and bat the pitcher 7th, in order to get more speed and/or grit into his lineup.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rome is Burning

Well, let him.

Jim Rome did an entire segment of his show on Tony Romo, having "It". No word on if this is the same "It" possessed by David Eckstein, used car salesmen, and comedians. Anyway, this was before his 5 interception, 6 turnover performance. Fine, everyone makes mistakes. Today, he clarified:

Most of the time, when someone turns it over six times, people lose respect for him, Rom explains.

GOOD. I totally agree. BRAVO! What, you have more to say? Please, continue. I'm sure you're probably going to say that it was just a bad game, and that Romo will probably recover in the future, although the media's fellatio of him was clearly premature.

At this point, Rome explains that he is still convinced Romo has "It". He goes so far as to say (approximately, and double-negatively), "not only have I not lost respect for Romo, I would say that this only adds to the legend. That he can give the game away like that and still win."

What...the...fuck? You respect him MORE because he sucked but won? Kyle Orton played 14 real games (excluding the week 17 dive the Bears took to the Vikings) in 2005. The Bears won 10. Behold the legend that is Kyle Orton.

So Romo won the game. It couldn't possibly be that the Cowboys won because of their other players, you know, the ones who DIDN'T turn the ball over six times. Nor could be that Bills are really, really bad, and scored NO OFFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS.

Let me also attach some props to Trey Wingo. Although, I'm not sure this was him and not bad closed captioning, since I was working out to Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" at the time, apparently Brett Favre's birthday is "already a National holiday in Wisconsin." I always knew Wisconsin was a strange state.

Similarly, Gator Sorority Girls have a "National" holiday in Rex Grossman's honor.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

This One's My Favorite

16. San Francisco 49ers (1-0)I'm taking a survey, trying to find one person, other than me, who watched the Cardinals game to the very end. "I did," said Rich Dalrymple, the Cowboys' PR director. Sorry, you don't qualify. Has to be Eastern time zone, which means until 1:30 a.m. "You didn't say that," he says. Well, I said it now. Hey, don't bother me. I'm busy.
Wow. Take a minute and read that over. This man is paid to analyze football. This man is paid, large sums of money, to analyze football. Does he?

He begins by alluding to the fact that the game was on very late...and then continues. No justification for his ranking. Of course, part of the reason the west coast teams are the ones playing that late game is it's not that late for their fans. Besides, is 1:30 late? I think that Dr. Z is just grumpy because he couldn't get up in time to beat the breakfast rush at Denny's.

Notice further, that he actually goes to the trouble to drop in Rich Dalrymple's bold-faced name in the middle of what I presume is a fictional story (at least it would fit my theory that he writes this on the john the day it's due). He had to name-drop a PR director in some bullshit anecdote. That's like bragging about getting to 1st base with a sex doll.

So in conclusion, the 49ers are the 16th best team in the NFL, because their first game was on very late.

Welcome to Dr. Z's house of madness

So, we haven't updated for a while, but Dr. Z's first power ratings of the season came out, so it's hard not to feel like a kid in a candy store. Let's take a look at this:
10. Chicago Bears (0-1)
San Diego LB Matt Wilhelm on the instructions his position coach Ron Rivera gave about trash talking to Rex Grossman: "He told us that Rex was kind of a mental midget so you can get into his head and create that doubt." Careful, there's not much room.
Hmmm. Nice little anecdote to lead into the analysis. Oh, that's all? I guess Ron Rivera could be decently familiar with Rex, since he was in the same building very often in his tenure with the Bears. Didn't really deal with the offensive players much, so it might just be some bold talk he used to fire up his team...nah, football coaches never do that. Anyway, Dr. Z decided to put the Bears, 2 time defending NFC North Champions 10th, behind the Titans, Panthers, Bengals, Cowboys (whose defense allowed Manning to throw for 312 yards and 4 touchdowns in a partial game, and allowed Derrick -fucking- Ward to hang a 6.8 average for 89 yards rushing) and the Broncos who barely scraped by the Bills. His supporting evidence for this? Ron Rivera says Grossman is a mental midget. That is why the Bears lost to a team with Philip Rivers, LT, Antonio Gates, and Shawn "Gigantour" Merriman. Not the three lost fumbles, or Benson's ineffectiveness, or the Chargers getting all kinds of pressure.

Besides, how is it insulting to say that Grossman's head isn't full of a lot of space? That's just an inept insult. If he's dumb, his head should be ALL space. Unless Dr. Z was just saying that Grossman's head is unusually small (the Juan Pierre of quarterbacks? nope, just wrong).

More of Z!!

Some of this stuff was too good to not post.

Miami Dolphins (0-1)
Yeah, I know, they gave the Skins a tussle in Washington and took them down to the wire, but I still ask this question: How do you let a player like Wes Welker go when you could have signed him for peanuts?

Okay. Wes Welker was traded to the New England Patriots for a third round pick. That's GREAT value for Welker. But thats not even the point. His quote was "when you could have signed him for peanuts."

He was TRADED!!!!! He was UNDER CONTRACT and then he was TRADED!!!


Titans 4th in Dr. Z's Power Rankings

Not a whole lot you can say about this one.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Someone once said that Brady Quinn was a bust because he missed a week of camp?

Adam Schefter reports:

While Quinn already has agreed to a five-year deal with the Browns, (Raiders QB Jamarcus) Russell is nowhere close to a deal.

Two weeks ago, a person familiar with Russell and the Raiders negotiations said the two sides were a "Grand Canyon" apart.

Now, the same person said the two sides are a "bay" apart.

Russell to San Francisco?

Raider Nation can only hope.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Quarterback Accused of Heinous Crimes

Of course, I'm referring to Rex Grossman. As ESPN has astutely pointed out dozens of times since last October, Grossman's being ranked 24th in passer rating in his first full season is reason for his immediately dismissal and banishment. Even though most quarterbacks don't really achieve above replacement without experience (by FootballOutsider's measurement he did perform above replacement level).

Granted Grossman was not very good this past year, but what exactly makes ESPN's Gary Horton say, "his rope may be short with solid nine-year veteran Brian Griese waiting in the wings". This is particularly befuddling when you consider that Griese was there last year, and Lovie Smith refused to bench Grossman for any length of time. I believe the exact words were "Rex is our quarterback".

PS: (SMALL SAMPLE SIZE ALERT!!!!!!!!) when Griese did play last year, though it was mostly in blow outs, he put up a rating 62. Not really anything to draw a conclusion, but I'm just putting that out there.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Who's Now?!


Friday, July 6, 2007

Most indispensable player

Peyton Manning? Tom Brady? LaDainian Tomlinson? No!

Jeffery Chadiha thinks its Larry Johnson.

The Chiefs wouldn't win three games if Johnson wasn't available this season.

The Chiefs respect Chadiha's analysis so much, that they seem perfectly content in forcing Johnson to play under his rookie deal this year, even if the alternative is a holdout.

If the Chiefs were to start a replacement level back instead of Larry Johnson, Football Outsiders estimates that it would cost them about 42 points, or roughly 2.5 wins.

Michael Bennett is a better than replacement back, to the tune of 1.5 wins above replacement if he had seen the carries that Johnson saw last year.

2006 Kansas City: an 8-8 team without Larry Johnson. Jeffery Chadhia: a total moron.

He set an NFL record with 416 carries in 2006 and their offense seems to deteriorate a little more with each passing season.

And will likely deteriorate significantly this season because Larry Johnson did carry the ball more times last year than any player in NFL history. Ever. Johnson would have to be some freak of nature to get more than halfway into this season without breaking down a la Curtis Martin and Shaun Alexander the last two seasons.

Right now, Kansas City likely will have a first-time starter at quarterback (second-year veteran Brodie Croyle), a depleted offensive line that lost its two best players over the past two years (offensive tackle Willie Roaf and guard Will Shields) and a corps of wide receivers that ranks near the bottom of the NFL. In other words, the Chiefs had better give Johnson the new contract he covets if they want to have any optimism about their offense this coming season.

If the goal is to generate optimism, Chadiha might have a point. However, if I were to build a sports franchise, my goal would be to get the best players on the field I could. And while Johnson is a great runner, history suggests that hes doomed to injury or ineffectiveness this year. But, hey, thats nothing $56 million can't fix, right?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

What's the deal with Dr. Z's Editor?

Somebody needs to be fired.

Just the gems:

This one is actually a caption under a picture of Redskins RB Clinton Portis: Clinton Portis (above) showed his true colors by downplaying Michael Vick's reported connections to dog fighting.

Well, there it is! The fact that Portis has been a model citizen in this league for five seasons was just a cover-up for the true nitty gritty evil colors that Clinton Portis stands for, BURGUNDY AND GOLD!

What you didn't know is that Portis actually used to have a close relationship with Paul Zimmerman and the two were good friends. That was until one fateful night when Zimmerman was hiding in the bushes outside the Portis residence and he overheard a conversation between Portis' girlfriend and a mutual friend who oddly enough were discussing the state of moral issues in the NFL. It was then that Zimmerman learned that Clinton Portis not only steals from the Salvation Army collection pot, but also eats babies and condones dog fighting! Zimmmerman and Portis never spoke again despite constant attempts by Portis to contact Zimmerman to explain himself.

Or maybe I complely bullshitted that anecdote, and he is just an obviously biased prick. This is where the editor comes in and says "Hey, Paul! You can't caption a photo like that and put it on It makes you look like a 7 year old boy (going on 8)."

In all seriousness, Portis' statements were as ignorant as they were harmless. But come on, who among us would be shocked to learn that Dr. Z's summer home is actually a bush in a greater man's (i.e. Linda Zimmerman's) yard?

Olufemi of Marysville, Wash.,"a sailor currently deployed in Iraq," wants to know if the Redskins' LaRon Landry-Sean Taylor safety tandem will be among the NFL's top 10 pairs. Well, Olufemi, I know things are tough enough over there, and I don't want to make them any tougher for you, but in all fairness I can't say yes. Taylor, to me, is the classic case of a guy who occasionally messes up his coverage because he's trying so hard to make the big hit. And Landry hasn't played a down yet, so how do we know anything?

Although he sounds like a guy who only knows football from an NFL Live point of view (poor editorial work once again), Dr. Z does have a generally correct assessment of Sean Taylors strength and weaknesses. He justs oversimplifies the analysis so he sounds like a moron.

The real think I take issue with here is the last sentence. Anyone who writes this. or something similar to this is not only stupid and ignorant, but also very lazy. Dr. Z has far more access to LSU game film and Landry's college numbers than I do. The key is knowing what to look for. History has shown that the college players that make the best pro prospects are the ones who take more from their college games than they give to their teams. Essentially, this is to say that a player who is incredibly physically dominant at the college level and creates many points for his team because of it is far more likely to underachieve his expectations at the next level than a guy who played a lot of college snaps and underwent steady and trackable improvement. Film study shows you much about Landry's intangibles, while his college starts and statistical improvements/dominance speak for themselves. We know that Landry projects well to the NFL. Granted, we have no clue just how well, but remember that Dentist Zim's claim is that we can't possibly know anything about him.

Q: Can the Redskins be the 2006 Saints this year?

A: No, because I don't think they have the offensive players nor scheme. But don't go by me. I'm always wrong about this team, as brother Snyder is always quick to point out.

First of all, I don't think the Redskins have any reason to attempt the Saints' formula for success, so this is a dumb question right off the bat. But this answer by Dentist Zim is about as unhelpful as one could possibly dream of, and quite possibly as ignorant.

Jason Campbell's 3rd year projection: 4.5 DPAR/G
Drew Brees' 6th year projection: 3.9 DPAR/G

Clinton Portis career Y/C: 4.7
Ladell Betts career Y/C: 4.3

Deuce McAllister career Y/C: 4.3
Reggie Bush 2006 (career) Y/C: 3.6

I won't even have to run the stats to make a claim that Santana Moss and Chris Cooley are both better than any receiving option the 2006 Saints had going in. And up front its not even a debate.

So although it would be highly unlikely that this Redskins offensive group posts numbers better than the 2006 Saints did, they have more talent than this Saints team did it with. Granted, that Saints team was just really, really fortunate and even more efficient, but Z is just dead wrong on the personell comment.

As far as schemes go, its a complete moot point. The best system caters to the strengths of its players. While Sean Payton's system certainly did this last year, what makes Zimmerman think that this is repeatable number one, and number two, better than Saunders system.

Jim of Lincoln, Neb., asks this tough one: Given Donovan McNabb's recent problems, "do you think Rush Limbaugh has received a certain form of vindication regarding his comments that led to his ESPN firing?" No vindication and no mercy for that creep. His point was that the writers were copping out for McNabb because he was a black QB, acting as if this were a truly remarkable phenomenon in the NFL. Time had passed him by. He made a personal issue out of a silly non-issue, just to get people stirred up, Imus-style. Vindication? Hell no!

I could go on and on about how Dr. Z is completely and utterly retarded and senile at this point in his career, but essentially, this would just become a blog-style pissing match. That said, the man is entited to an opinion so long as he doesn't deliever it in a soapbox-rant and ignorant-laden manner, as he does here.

But the real travesty I have with this is that the editor lets it slide. This is completely unacceptable. This isn't even remotely close to sports journalism. This is a man who has apparently had his head in the sand for the past 4 years and the editor must have been right along there with him.

The ONLY even remote similarity between the Imus situation and Limbaugh's comments were the way in which idiots in the media (such as Zimmerman) reacted. Limbaugh's comments were opinion based on conjecture and observational evidence. Imus' comments were loose-tounged references to people who the media deemed to be different than him, and were highly insensitive in an ignorant manner.

Anyway, here are the DPAR/G rate stats for McNabb's career before and after Limbaugh's remarks (with college projections in parenthesses):

2000-1.9 (3.09)
2001-1.25 (3.14)
2002-2.13 (3.74)

2003-2.31 (4.14)
2004-7.65 (4.44)
2005-2.58 (4.64)
2006-5.7 (4.74)

While the projection might have been a bit high, he certainly had seasons that justify the lofty projection, which expects him to be at Culpepper level circa Minnesota. In reality, this projection is pretty much in line with what Donovan's reputation is. If we agree that the projection sets a baseline for about what the hype surrounding McNabb would make you think of him as a player, then by definition, McNabb is very overrated (as are most "great winners").

The other half of Limbaugh's theory (that race caused this player to be overrated by the media) is a clear oversimplification, a likely misguided one, of a bigger problem: the propensity of the media to fall in love with physical tools. McNabb has them all and makes astonishing plays, but the consistency is lacking at times, and is demonstrated in the bottom line.

It is not my place nor my capacity to speculate as to whether or not Rush Limbaugh feels any justification from calling that one correctly. But I have every reason to believe he knows more about football than Paul Zimmerman.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Thats why they play the games, fool! (Version One of Many)

Paul Zimmerman is back!

Wonderful. I linked you as a reference to what I'm going to do, but before I start, let me make it loud and clear that no sane person should click that link. Trust me, I know less about football now than I did before I started reading that crap.

Anyway, Dr. Z spends a lot of time rambling, but his point can be reasonably inferred. Randy Moss should not be enshrined in Canton. Writes Zimmerman:

I promise you this, Gary. As long as I'm a selector, the Canton Highway will be a very difficult road for Moss. I don't care how many great years he gives the Patriots. The guy's a dog, and there are too many people who spent years of sacrifice without getting a sniff from the Hall.

Wonderful. Dr Z, if that is your real name, would you please tell us why you think his career with New England (i.e. the second half of his career) should have no barring on his HOF credentials. Why have you come to a decision so early? Any reason?

Also, Michael Irvin was perhaps the biggest "dog" in NFL History, and he got your vote year after year for HOF consideration.

Michael Irvin (159 Games):
750 Receptions
11904 Yards

Randy Moss (138 games adjusted proportionally to 159 games and rounded):
779 Receptions
12328 Yards

Randy Moss will likely play much longer than Michael Irvin did.

Look, my assessment of Moss is that he won't be anything insanely special in NE. He has diminishing physical skills and has proven over a large sample size that his effort level is determined by factors not attributable to Randy Moss.

But already, Moss has a very solid case for the HOF. If he exceeds expectations in New England, is there really anyway that you can not vote this guy in first ballot? I mean, Dr. Z thought Irvin should be in, so obviously citing Moss' character against him is a gianormous double standard of epic proportions.

Then again, this is the same guy who thinks that Art Monk, a man who retired as the most prolific receiver in NFL History (by the metric of receptions) should not be inducted into Canton. I can't stress this enough. A man who thinks that one of the greatest receivers ever to play should not be in the hall has a vote for the hall of fame. Old and senile doesn't quite describe this. Dustybakerdumb doesn't quite describe this. This is downright and utterly senseless.

And that, in a nutshell, is why they play the games. So dudes like Dr. Z come out looking completely and utterly clueless time and time again.

Actually, there are a bunch of other reasons the games are played, but honestly, is that not the most significant one?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

I don't know what to say about this

Consensus Draft Grades?

Lions got a 3.0 for taking another WR (C. Johnson) at no. 2 (because Charles Rogers worked out great) and a bad QB prospect (Stanton).

Eagles take a great QB prospect (Kolb), a great defensive end (Abiamiri), and a highly rated RB "steal" in Tony Hunt...and milk out a consensus 1.8 DPA (Draft Point Average).

Hey, if it's clear to us in the sabermetric football community that you have no idea how to evaluate a draft--maybe you are better off waiting the 3 years to actually get some feedback.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Former Browns Consultant Praises Russell Pick

Former Browns' consultant Vic Carrucci has attempted to write a rare post-draft puff piece on JaMarcus Russell. What he succeeded in doing is writing an NFL piece that I would expect from a middle-schooler. Read at your own peril.

This was a slam-dunk. This was a no-brainer. This was the sensible decision once all of the nonsensical speculation finally stopped.

The Oakland Raiders could not pass on a quarterback. Not after saying no to Matt Leinart a year ago. Not while lacking a legitimate starting quarterback this year. Not with Lane Kiffin, their rookie head coach, needing a centerpiece to the explosive, quick-striking offense he is looking to build.

It's not like the JaMarcus Russell pick was made because anyone in the world thought he was the best player available. Like him or hate him, he's going to be the Raiders best QB since Rich Gannon retired--unless Josh McCown beats him to the punch.

So while you have to respect the Raiders for making the move they needed to make based on the information they had, it's obvious that the Raiders' methods of QB evaluation--like most of the league--are flawed, and that 99% of the population will realize this before Vic Carruci does.

He's "special".

Furthermore, the Raiders could not pass on one of the most talented passers to emerge from the college ranks in many years.

#1) They did.
#2) As you alluded to one paragraph before, they've proven the ability to pass on a franchise QB before this year also.

They could not pass on a quarterback with JaMarcus Russell's ultra-powerful arm or his extraordinary athleticism for someone with a towering, 6-foot-5-plus, 256-pound frame.

What about Calvin Johnson? What about him? He is an incredibly talented wide receiver, but what good would that be with no one to throw him the ball.

For evidence on why a 6-5 256 lb frame means about as much to being a good QB as having a gigantic wang, see this post.

If you want evidence on why an ultra-powerful arm and overrated atleticism aren't very valuable, go read everything we've ever written, or just sit in the corner and let common sense set in.

I'm really sorry that I didn't get a chance to do more Calvin Johnson posting prior to the draft, but basically, receivers are improperly valued for a plethora of reasons, and Calvin Johnson will likely not do any "game redefining" during his NFL tenure.

What about Brady Quinn? What about him? He had an outstanding collegiate career, but he does not possess the same pure talent as Russell. No other quarterback in the 2007 college crop does. No quarterback currently in the league can match his arm strength.

Russell was the choice. Russell always was the choice.

I like the part where Vic Carruci writes of Quinn, "He had an outstading collegiate career" only to realize that this fact completely trumps all of his weak Russell points. He sheepishly tosses Quinn to the side of the road, and goes back to giving Russell a hummer.

Yes, he has some rough spots that were evident even during his most dominant moments at LSU. All rookies do. Kiffin and the rest of the Raiders' coaching staff are capable of smoothing them out.

It also helps when you have the tremendous foundation that Russell provides. He still will be able to do good things even before he learns what he needs to learn to become a consistently effective NFL quarterback.

Well, of course. In sabremetric football circles, and in MOST conventional circles, it's pretty much accepted--and evidenced--that no QB as a rookie will play anywhere near what he will be as a guy in his prime. Quinn is no more of an exception than Russell is.

The second statement is pretty much true also. I mean, sure Russell will only be a shell of his not so great potential, but just because he will be a complete "deer-in-the-headlights" rookie that has little chance of being replacement level does not mean that he won't rifle interceptions and take sacks with the utmost arm strength and falling force respectively.

I've heard the criticism that the importance of Russell's arm strength is overrated. It isn't.

Um, okay?

I've heard that the forecast for tomorrow for Chicago, Illinois will be 75 and sunny. But trust me, it won't be!

Your evidence?

No, he won't be throwing long passes on every down or on most downs. But the mere fact he poses a deep-ball threat is going to allow him to make an impact that Quinn and other rookie quarterbacks with less powerful arms aren't able to make. The respect opposing defenses must show Russell for his ability to make a game-breaking play with one flick of the wrist alters their coverage in ways that should allow the Raiders to run more effectively and/or make plays with short and intermediate passes.

This is not how football is played. Number one, no amount of respect for his arm will make up for a typical rookie QB performance. He will be costing the Raiders points. Quinn might be also, but he has a far better chance of being above replacement level. At least, thats what his projection tells me. Number two, you can not just assume that defenses will play JaMarcus Russell differently than any other crappy QB with a big arm.

Then again, after watching what his arm strength did to warp the minds of these draft analysts, defensive coordinators should be a bunch of sitting ducks, so long as he keeps his golden arm gleaming and polished.

I've heard criticism that the importance of Russell's standout performance in the Sugar Bowl is overrated. It isn't. Russell gave his best performance in the biggest game of his career, and that says plenty about him as a competitor and about what he can do at the next level. The fact he clearly overshadowed Quinn is equally important, because Quinn once held the distinction of being the best quarterback in the draft. Russell went a long way toward making him second best.

I think JaMarcus Russell proved clearly that he could do exactly to the Irish secondary what future NFL studs like Pat Cowan, Joe Dailey, John David Booty, Drew Stanton, Curtis Painter, and even Reggie Ball could do with superior offensive talent. All aboard the Reggie Ball man train!

Seriously, the notion that one "big" game against a weak opponent should be weighed any more greatly than any game Russell didn't play as well in is sick, twisted, disgusting, and perhaps the worst possible evaluation of a QB .

Russell isn't defined solely by his immense physical skills. He also has exceptional awareness in the pocket and his instincts are superb.

I think Carriuci's observation right here is more than a bit off. But don't take my word for it, how about we take the word of the guy who created the fucking QB projection system:

David Lewin writes, "An even bigger issue with Russell is that he is an atrocious decision maker. He consistently throws the ball into double and triple coverage. Like Favre he often gets away with it by making spectacular throws. Still, field vision is the single most important quality for a quarterback. You can get away with being average in this regard if you have superior arm strength and accuracy, but Russell still has a ways to go before he can be considered average at seeing the field."

Lewin's analysis is actually defended by real life "examples" and anecdotal evidence, which means it's "more accurate than" Carruci's baseless statement.

As the top overall pick of the draft, he must deliver in a big way. Every bit as big as his talent and physique says he can.

"Whether it's other people or myself, I set my standards very high and for the expectations that everybody has," Russell said. "But you know, you can only do what God has set for you to do. I'll be very pleased to go out there and work as hard as I can to make everything possible for the Raiders."

As the top overall draft pick, Russell will get a contract that is likely 2 years longer, and worth about 6 million more on a per season basis than Brady Quinn will after his draft day free fall.

Meanwhile, the Browns will build around their powerful offensive line and QB, and the Raiders will build around a weak QB and offense with what little cap room they have left. The Browns will become a perennial playoff contender, and the Raiders will not.

And the most ironic part in all of this is that Vic Carrucci got fired from his post as consultant to the Browns, allowing for this to happen.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Built to be a QB

Much has been made of Jamarcus Russell being as big as a lineman (and nearly as fast!). So much in fact that you might think, as some sources in the media have suggested that being amazingly huge will make you an amazingly good quarterback (here for instance). Now we've heard this about height for years, after all, Peyton Manning is the 6 foot 5 quarterback with the laser, rocket arm. This year, a big deal is being made out of weight as well. Now a normal person might think that a quarterback's ability is more affected by his ability than his height or weight. In fact, that's what's called a tautology.

However, seeing as the main stream sports media is above recognizing tautologies, let's test this bitch empirically. I'm going to fire up Stata and bust a regression on your dome. I'm going there, just because this talk is all so god damned stupid.

I'm only reporting the data for QB rating, because in spite of being a pretty shitty measure, it accounts for most forms of performance in a number that is decently spread out throughout the league. Rest assured I also regressed height and weight against tds, sacks, yds/game, comp%, and ints individually. The bottom line is that there is no correlation, 0, jack, zip.

Now, obviously, I excluded Quarterbacks without much playing time, this data consists of only QBs who had played six or more games and attempted more than about 15 passes per game. Since there is relatively little variation in height, compared to weight, I standardized the data first. The p-value for height is .330, the p-value for weight is .792!!! This means that it is 4 times as likely that weight has NO EFFECT on QB performance as it having an effect. The p-value for height is less than half as much, which may seem impressive, but generally the level of statistical significance is .05. Even more impressive, the coefficient for height is -2.1. NEGATIVE. That means that although the correlation is fairly likely to be a result of random variation, assuming that it isn't, taller quarterbacks actually perform WORSE.

Now you're probably reluctant to accept this, because the conventional wisdom is that height helps quarterbacks. However, this makes perfect sense. Unless a quarterback is about 4'11" it doesn't matter! And yet, coaches believe it matters so they tend to stick with subpar quarterbacks longer if they happen to be tall. It's just like deciding that the first man in your line up NEEDS to be fast, and then putting your worst hitter there. The physical attribute doesn't correlate strongly enough with performance to justify it. However, actual, statistical performance correlates perfectly with performance.

So basically, anyone who says that someone is "built" to be a quarterback, is WRONG--very, very wrong. Feel free to punch them.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mel Kiper Schools Todd McShay

Mel Kiper is owning Todd McShay right now on Sportscenters NFL Draft Squareoff. Among his points:

-McShay puts too much value on big game arguments. Troy Smith and Chris Leak were wonderful in big games, but are bad prospects.

-Kiper has Quinn 5 on his board, McShay has him at 7. Kiper is trying to figure our how the fuck you can possibly feel the 7th guy on your board is overvalued. Kiper says that if McShay really thought Quinn was overvalued, he'd have him at 20-25. McShay actually claims that hes compensating for where Brady Quinn is going to be drafted. On his own personal draft board. I'm now convinced that one of the reasons he sucks so much is that he doesn't actually know what his job is.

-Per Kiper, McShay is too worried about the accuracy issues. They happen.

-The money due to each player is not an argument. You are trying to draft the best player. Worry about the money later.

This is why I love Mel Kiper. Look, the guy has Russell overrated, like a lot of other people. But rather than try to conform to conventional logic, like McShay, if he knew that Russell was bound to be the next Grossman--he'd put him down at 20-25. Because he's whats known as an "honorable draft analyst".

Thursday, April 19, 2007

You can't make this Shit up

I go to my mailbox and despite all my raging defense mechanisms, am still pleased to find the draft preview issue of ESPN the Magazine!

And then I look at the cover and in horribly unessarily giant bold yellow print, well, see for yourself:

Aside from this complete disregard for general marketing principles (I'll be damned the day that "upside" sells in the same way sex does), this cover almost seems like a satirical mockery of an ESPN the Magizine draft issue done by a bunch of sabremetric lowlives. Admittedly, this would have been a very good idea, but once again ESPN beat us to the punch.

The saving grace for ESPN in all this is that fortunately it does not feature a giant smiling mug of JaMarcus Russell on the front, rather has the mean, gritty face of Amobi Okoye (a prospect who we here absolutely love).

I'll check in with more updates once I gather the courage to open this thing up and read the pure shit inside of it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Next Vince Young?

So I'm watching NFL Live and they tease a segment as "another double threat" like Vince Young. They come back and mention that this player can throw or run. I know a measurable like this might not really be a factor in games, but know, just for shits and giggles: guess what this player's 40 time was?

Now I'm not saying that it's bad for his position...or even that it's relevant to how he will produce. But it may be relevant if you're going to compare his
running ability to Vince Young. They specified running ability. The player in question, by the way, is our old friend JaMarcus Russell. In case you're wondering, Young's 40 time was a disappointing 4.58. ESPN called it disappointing right here.

Ok, now some will think as I do that ESPN feels they got burned by doubting Vince Young last year, when he turned in a solid rookie season by combining mediocre passing stats with some very good rushing stats, and leading a pretty bad team dangerously close to the playoffs. So ESPN saw a quarterback who looks kind of like Young from a nice big, southern, state school that upset an early season favorite in a bowl game and wants to get on the bandwagon early. If so I've done my job.

Others of you will, rightly so, object to me using 40 times as a basis for comparison (oddly enough Brady Quinn's was 4.73). Good, I'm glad. So let's take a look at college stats. Again, this is a rushing comparison because that's the thing that ESPN did that made me cry. I'm only including this year for Russell because this is the only one where it wasn't negative.

Young (2005): 1050 yds / 6.8 ypc / 12 tds
(2004): 1079 yds / 6.5 ypc / 14 tds

Russell (2006): 142 yds / 2.7 ypc / 1 td

Again, I'm not saying that this should greatly impact his ability to be a successful passer...although it would probably help [ALL THINGS EQUAL] if he had Young-esque speed. What I'm saying, asking really is why the fuck can't ESPN see that he doesn't? Do they assume that his athletic ability resembles that of Young solely because of race or what? The whole thing sounds Dusty-Baker dumb to me. Again, for serious discussion of why sample size concerns should play a role in not getting bat-shit crazy excited about Russell compared to Quinn who is at least as appealing see below...but this whole segment irritated me far too much to ignore.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Bonus Article Tonight for all those Loyal Readers

All 4 of ya.

We are probably going to be doing nothing but draft stuff for the next two weeks in this here space because...well, nobody is going to write anything about anything in football but the draft between now and then.

Anyway, I've noticed that most scouts will overvalue a players' physical tools, especially at the wide receiver position, and then when said player fails to meet expectations they write article about how tough it is to pinpoint receivers.

Well, the truth of the matter is, it's not all that hard. You've just got to look for the guys with the most college experience. Receiver is a very mental position and you want a guy who is aware of what is going on around him playing for you. So if you are going to get behind a WR prospect, get behind a guy like Dwayne Bowe, a highly rated 4 year player (3 year starter) at LSU. You'll be right more often than this guy.

But he will learn his lesson eventually. At least, thats what I thought until I read this article. Now I'm convinced he won't ever learn why he sucks at scouting prospects.

You need to be an INsider to access it. Sorry.

Productive NFL wide receivers come in many different sizes, shapes and speeds. Just take a look at the wide receivers who led the NFL in catches last season. Sure, Houston's Andre Johnson fits the mold as the league leader with 103 receptions. After all, the former No. 3 overall pick (2003) checks in at 6-foot-3 and 219 pounds with 4.4 speed. But how do you explain Mike Furrey, a former undrafted free agent in 2000, hauling in the second-most passes (98) in 2006?

Furrey plays the slot receiver in Mike Martz' offense.

Seriously Todd, no position in football is more affected by what their team is doing around them than the WR position. You probably should know this considering the career path you've chosen.

Andre Johnson caught a bunch O hitches from David Carr. That type of offense is only successful if you turn those hitches into TD's sometimes.

Other productive NFL receivers who slipped in recent drafts include Carolina's Steve Smith (third round, 2001), Seattle's Deion Branch (second round, 2002), Arizona's Anquan Boldin (second round, 2003), the N.Y. Jets' Jerricho Cotchery (fourth round, 2004) and New Orleans' Marques Colston (seventh round, 2006). Meanwhile, David Terrell (2001), Ashley Lelie (2002), Charles Rogers (2003) and Reggie Williams (2004) all looked the part as high draft picks coming out of college but haven't come close to matching production for investment.

Steve Smith, 2 years CC + 2 years at Utah, all starting
Deion Branch, 4 years at Louisville
Anquan Boldin, 4 years at Flordia State (correct me if I'm wrong)
Marques Colston, 4 year starter at Hofstra (also a really lucky find)
Jerrico Cotchery, 3 year starter at NC State, additional PT as a Freshman

David Terrell, 2 1/2 year starter
Ashley Lelie, 3 year starter
Charles Rogers, 3 year starter
Reggie Williams, 2 1/2 year starter

Have you learned anything from this trend? I'm guessing not. Okay then, moving on.

The bottom line is that evaluating wide receiver talent from the college ranks has become maddening for NFL front offices. In my estimation, there are a couple reasons for this. First off, I would argue that quarterback is the only position with more outside factors to skew collegiate production. Secondly, the ability to "separate" is the most important skill for a wide receiver. Unfortunately, it also can be the trickiest to properly evaluate.

Todd McShay actually thinks that QB production is the most skewed position on the entire field. He actually wrote this paragraph. This is hilarious. The easist position where a convienient FORMULA exists to project success to the NFL level is the position that Todd McShay believes is the one that gets skewed the most.

Did I read that correctly?

Secondly, the ability to seperate is not really all that meaningful of a quality for a receiver. The fact that you value it so much completely explains why you can't evaluate them properly. I would think the two biggest sticking points for grading a reciever are:

1) How well he plays the ball (the catch)
2) How well he gets yards after the catch (after the catch)

I would say that MOST receivers are relatively identical in the way they seperate. This probably explains why you can't grade a difference accurately. It's also a huge red flag that you are doing this whole scouting thing improperly, but I'm not one to tell you how to do your job.

Or am I?

While catching the ball is the ultimate goal, a receiver with great hands is rendered useless if he can't get open. It's not difficult to evaluate a receiver's hands, top-end speed and leaping ability. The challenge when evaluating a wide receiver's separation skills is to sift through those potentially deceptive variables, which include his supporting cast, the offensive system he plays in and the types of defensive coverage and level of competition he faces.

It's good that its not that hard to evaluate hands, speed, and leaping ability, because those things really don't matter. I mean, you don't want to draft a guy who drops the ball a lot, but those guys stick out like sore thumbs even at the Collegiate level.

Also, why would supporting cast, offensive system, or coverage (well, I can sort of see coverage) have anything to do with how well a guy seperates. You still haven't even told us why getting seperation is important. You have no credibility whatsoever.

Although there's no exact formula that makes up a receiver's ability to separate, here's a look at some of the key ingredients:

There's probably no formula because it doesn't really matter. Let me tell you how the passing game works. The defense, if in a zone, rolls coverage to where most receivers are. Not all receivers are going to seperate on any given play. The QB reads the defense and hits the open guy.

So, seperation, as you call it, is really just the ability to run.

Wonderful. I can see how someone would think that a receiver is defined by his ability to run while playing football. But lets see some of Todd McShay's fancy terms for this skill:

1. Initial burst
2. Recognition/instincts
3. Change-of-direction skills
4. Competitiveness

Initial burst, you mean running Todd?

I personally think recognition and insticts are the most important trait for a successful receiver. Hey kiddies, you know how you develop recognition and insticts? Stay in school. Play your senior year. Learn something. College is fun. Enjoy it. Become a better NFL prospect in the process.

Change of direction skills is completely useless and arbitrary. Unless you are talking about run after catch skills. Then its just arbitrary, but can have a conceivable use.

Competitveness is not a possible criteria to get open. It just isn't.

Jerry Rice will forever be the ultimate example of this attribute. A relentless approach to the craft -- both in practice and in games -- allowed Rice to overcome below-average speed throughout his brilliant 20-year career.

Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Rich Gannon may have had something to do with this too Todd.

This is a nice gritty article from Todd McShay with great upside and a high ceiling to allow for a lot of potential growth. What it's missing in facts and analysis (everything), it makes up for with initial burst and competitiveness.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Moment You've All Been Waiting For

Todd McShay and me in a very one sided debate!

I feel like a fighter right before the heavyweight title.

Heeeelllllloooo, Todd.

Todd McShay: Hello, SportsNation. Less than three weeks until the draft and it's still snowing in many parts of the country... We might as well talk shop, right?

Colby (South Jersey): In your latest mock you have Quinn going to the Vikings at the seven spot. I've also heard names like Peterson or Ginn Jr. Sounds like they are focusing on the offense in the draft. What do you think their biggest need is and can they compete if they fill it?

SportsNation Todd McShay: I would rank the Vikings needs as follows: WR, DE, CB, TE, QB. If Quinn falls to them at No. 7 I think they could take advantage of the value. Otherwise, I think they'd be better served addressing some of those other needs. There isn't a WR worth drafting at No. 7 after C. Johnson, and the same can be said for DE after Gaines Adams. My first priority would be to trade out. If they can't get a deal done (which is more likely than not), I think they should take DS LaRon Landry or CB Leon Hall.

Todd, I paid big money to your employer so I could hear you do idiotic and baseless things like deem Brady Quinn overrated, and now I hear some blasphemy like the Vikings could actually get value for him at seven?

For shame, Todd!

But at least you didn't disappoint me with that list of needs. That, my friend, is some freakin horrible analysis. Good work.

The Vikings don't need a DE. They took DEs in the first round in 04 and 05. These guys have turned out to be very good players, but you wouldn't know that because you are too busy getting your panties in a bunch over sack totals. It isn't going to matter who is playing WR if Tavaris Jackson is their QB. You could have gotten away easy if you just said "they could really use a QB (factual statement)", instead of some garbage about how they should be looking for WR, DE, CB, TE, and QB IN THAT ORDER DAMN IT!

Seriously though, if the Vikings land Quinn at 7, it would be the duty of Jerry Angelo, Ted Thompson, and Matt Millen to track down Phil Savage and rip his vocal chords out as punishment for passing on Quinn. Millen would deserve the same treatment, but lets face it, the Bears and Packers are much better off as long as Millen calls the shots in Detroit.

Rob, Somewhere,TN: Am I the only one thinking that the Raiders may be trying to move down to #4 and take Quinn?

SportsNation Todd McShay: That's a bad idea. If you can get an elite WR like Calvin Johnson or an exceptionally gifted QB like Russell, why trade down to take an overrated QB like Quinn?

Oh Todd, no you didn't.

First of all, the correct answer to the question would be yes, Rob from somewhere in Tennessee is the only one thinking the Raiders might do that.

But you, Todd McShay, are bad at your job. See, the whole idea behind a scout is to actively try to do everything necessary to discover who the best prospects really are. Not to try to justify hype by falling in love with skills that Russell shares with Leaf and Akili Smith and Cade McNown and all those busts.

Also, you are getting paid a king's ransom to have a TV/Interweb Chat gig where you answer people's questions with some degree of accuracy. Your job is NOT to perpetuate the hype of Russell/Johnson, it's to dismiss it when it isn't necessary.

Calvin Johnson: 34 NCAA Starts
JaMarcus Russell: 29 NCAA Starts

Dwayne Bowe: 35 NCAA Starts
Brady Quinn: 45 NCAA Starts

Then again, if anyone in the league didn't think Todd McShay was a lazy-ass, worthless scout, he'd be working for a team right now and not ESPN.

Darryl (Oakland, CA):: I've seen that Trent Edwards has moved up to either the Raiders or the Lions in the second round. If the Raiders take Calvin Johnson, will the first pick of the second round be Edwards?

SportsNation Todd McShay: I've heard some of the same rumors, Darryl. There are also rumblings of the Lions' interest in Edwards with the second pick of the second round. I'll be honest; I like Edwards as a developmental type, but not that early. I still think Drew Stanton has better pro potential.

You know, Trent Edwards has college stats, Todd. It really wouldn't be that hard to do some background research since its only your freakin job.

WTF is a developmental type? Is that code for "not a good prospect, but if you let him reach his prime before he reaches the field, he might appear better than he really is"? Because if so, that would be a point worth making.

Somehow, I get the feeling that Todd McShay actually believes that with the right coaching and the same damn amount of practice time as every other player in the league, Trent Edwards will actually exceed his career path! Woot, he developed differently than every other QB in the history of the game! I'm Todd McShay bitches!

Josh (Philly): Todd-This isn't a "why do you hate on Notre Dame" type of question, but what about Quinn's game makes you so quick to slap the "overrated" label on the guy? I know he underperformed in big games in college, but couldn't that just as easily have been a product of the quality of the talent around him when matched up against teams with elite talent?

SportsNation Todd McShay: I think Quinn is a good prospect and he's worth a mid-to-late first round pick in most drafts. But I don't think he's worth a top-five pick. In addition to his big game woes, he's not accurate enough for my liking. I think playing at ND and under Weis, as well as being a part of a 2007 class that lacks a lot of elite prospects, has really skewed Quinn's value.

Josh in Philly, I love you.

Todd, why don't you explain to the nice people why Quinn projects as a mid round pick and Russell as a top 5 pick guy?

Russells Draft Projection Comparibles:

1. Rex Grossman
2. Kellen Clemens
3. Cade McNown

Quinn's Draft Projection Comparibles:

1. Donovan McNabb
2. Carson Palmer
3. Jay Cutler

Todd McShay has access to the same information I do. Either he hates Notre Dame and has a bias against Quinn, or he's a lazy scout who does little actual work and gets paid a lot to be wrong.

I'm betting on the latter.

And WTF does a statement like Charlie Weis "has really skewed Quinn's value" mean? Holy fuckin a Todd McShay, you are both biased AND a moron. Do you really expect Quinn to reject the teachings of Charlie Weis once he hits the pro level?

Kevin (Berkeley): I've heard rumors that because of "character issues" and fumbling issues, Marshawn Lynch's stock has dropped to late-first round status. Is there any truth to this? Also, when exactly will Daymeion Hughes get drafted? I haven't seen two mock drafts where he goes in the same place.

SportsNation Todd McShay: The character stuff is hard to assess on Lynch because he was never charged or convicted with anything, although his ex-girlfriend did get a restraining order against him. I think he could drop to the bottom-half of the first round, but more due to his fumbling issues, nagging back injury and concerns about his inexperience as a fulltime load-carrying back.

You are ignorant. You don't need a conviction to have character issues. You need a conviction to be a criminal. I think you are confusing the two terms.

Someone will draft Marshawn Lynch in the top half of the round for need, I promise you.

J (Maryland): Hey Todd, do the Ravens draft a QB?

SportsNation Todd McShay: At some point in the middle rounds it would be a good idea. Someone with developmental upside such as Beck or Houston's Kevin Kolb. But they have other needs to address early on, including CB, OT and LB.

Developmental, developmental, developmental, upside, upside, upside. I, too, Todd, think that the Ravens would be better off with the next Giovanni Carmazzi or Chris Redman than with someone at another position who can actually play in this league.

Oh wait, no I don't. I just don't like the Ravens all that much.

Aric- Columbus,Oh: Todd, people are saying the Browns should draft Troy in the Second Round because he is a town favorite and compares him to Drew Brees. What do you think?

SportsNation Todd McShay: Most importantly, the Browns aren't going to draft a player because he's a hometown favorite. It just doesn't work that way.

McShay-English translation: Brady Quinn is overrated.

You know what, this debate is over.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Rodd Newhouse Chat

Sometimes it's just not fair for an NFL personel guy to have to field questions from the bottom third of American society, but it helps to know what you are talking about.

I love Scouts Inc!

Brandon(Terre Haute): Hey Rodd, is Micheal Turner going to go anywhere and what will it take to get him? Where will David Carr end up?

SportsNation Rodd Newhouse: Brandon, it is going to take a lot to get MT. This guy can play! That is why the Chargers put the high tender on him. He gives great assurances to a team that is built on running the football. As for Carr, I think his agent is putting up smoke screens byt saying Carr does not want to land in OAK. Thereare no guarantees the Raiders are taking a QB number one, but if they do, Carr still sees himself as a starter and wants a chance to compete as a backup somewhere like CLV, or CAR

First of all, Brandon is the first person to actually formulate a question that can be both read and answered. I'm sure he bothered to ask an NFL insider what the value of Michael Turner was so he could receive an answer like, "a lot". There is no possible way that he already knew that before asking the question. Also Rodd, the question was not "Can you say some nice things about Michael Turner?", it was "How much will it cost to get him?"

At least he answered the David Carr question but not before throwing out the gem, "Carr sees himself as a starter and wants a chance to compete as a backup somewhere..." Marvelous.

Ryan, Ohio: What do you think of the Jamal Lewis signing by the Browns?

SportsNation Rodd Newhouse: J. Lew is still a solid running back. Even if the Browns get AP at the #3 spot, I see that as a win for the Browns. A solid veteran RB to compliment a young fresh player who will have a great mentor to learn from on the field. (not off the field) ha ha ha.


Jamal Lewis defense adjusted points above replacement (DPAR) over the last 5 years:

2006 3.8
2005 -12.9(!)
2004 17.3
2003 30.4
2002 16.0

He hasn't been above league average since 2004. In fact, he hasn't even been the best RB on his own team since 2004. So, Newhouse is right, Adrian Peterson will be a great pick, because it accelerates Jamal Lewis' departure, which should win the Browns a few games.

How pathethic is Jamal Lewis going to be when he doesn't get to go up against the Cleveland defense anymore?

Shawn Peninsula, OH: Do you think the Browns should go after Trent Green, David Carr, or do you think that they should let Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson battle for the starting QB.

SportsNation Rodd Newhouse: I personally feel as though Charlie Frye can and will be a good QB in the NFL. the problem is that he is on a bad football team right now. He is being asked to do too much. Carr and/or Green would be able to step in and help Frye right away becuase they both have experience and need a fresh new start. Anderson is just merely a backup at best.

What are you basing this Charlie Frye support on?

Charlie Frye DPAR:

2006 -17.5
2005 -9.3

The numbers say Frye regessed from his rookie year. I wouldn't worry too much about that though since Frye is nowhere near replacement level and shouldn't even be on an NFL roster.

Charlie Frye is a perfect example of how the term "sleeper" is an oxymoron. Players in the draft who get the sleeper tag always go two rounds before they should (see: Gocong, Chris) and rarely justify their draft status. A sleeper is supposed to indicate a potential draft day steal, but in reality just creates a sizable market for the player. Thus, there really can't be any sleepers.

Carr or Green would both be significant upgrades. Green's the better of the two, but also has no future beyond a year or two. Which is good, since the Browns can just draft Brady Quinn and plan on being a perenial playoff contender. But then there's the whole Jamal Lewis must really suck to be a Browns fan. USC has a better offensive backfield.

Amer (San Jose, ca): Hey Rodd, Where will Lance Briggs play in 2007?

SportsNation Rodd Newhouse: ABSOLUTELY! You play for almost 700k last year, and you can't play for 400k per WEEK this year. Gime a break. His bark is loud, but make no mistake about it, whether traded or withthe Bears, he will be in ubiform and collecting his checks. He may sit a few weeks if still with the bears, but he will not sit more than a month, becasue hw only hurts himself by then.

Ok, first of all the question was WHERE Lance Briggs will play, not if he will at all. That said, Rodd's probably stumbled upon the right answer here (sort of since he only kind of picks a position). Anyway, the intelligent response would be that Briggs has little leverage. Anyone with experience in dealing with players knows that Briggs' threat to sit out the first ten games of 2007 is without substance. Outside of leaving all that money on the table, who's going to pay a guy whos career regressed a bit because he stayed away from football for 2 1/2 months of one of the seasons in the prime of his career? Briggs would be putting the death sentence on his own career. In the months following the draft, you will see Briggs cut a deal with the Bears to sign the tender in exchange for a (non binding) promise to not use the tag on him next year. Sorry you had to come all the way out here to get that answer when Rodd Newhouse could have just as easily told you that himself, had he read the question properly.

Also, why would Briggs sit out a month and then return? That makes no fucking sense.

Jim, VA: Rodd, talk about smoke screens. What's this I hear about the Skins bringing in JaMarcus Russell in for a 'look.' A look at what? Don't have they have a good young QB in Campbell who I might add Gibbs traded a 2/3 and a 3 in the following year to Denver to move up to get this guy. NFL Execs and GM can't take them serious to draft Russell. Can they?

SportsNation Rodd Newhouse: You never know in this League. I have said before, once the 1st pick goes, all bets are off, and what once was a smoke screen is now a reality. Teams make trades and find themselves in situtions they had only dreamed of and just want to be prepared. While not likely, there is a possibility that this could happen.

What? I'm not even sure I follow his train of thought. First of all, it's NOT possible that JaMarcus Russell will be a Redskin. So you are wrong, Rodd Newhouse. Secondly, I'd like you to explain to us why all bets are off after the first pick. Is this your clever way of saying if the Raiders take Quinn #1 overall, any team might take Russell because of his oozing upside? Why would JaMarcus Russell falling to No. 6 be a situation that the Redskins dreamed of? In fact, why would it change anything they were planning to do. Maybe they could get better value trading out of the pick, but still this whole debate is stupid.

wolfbait, san diego: dallas had 3 noteworthy signings this offseason: leonard davis, brad johnson and ken hamlin. i think davis will thrive, especially as a G where his size will help and his lack of speed won't hurt. johnson is ok and hopefully will be a mentor that doesn't ever see the field. but hamlin is a FS known less for coverage and more for being a hard-hitter that can align the rest of the defense. so my question(s) is: how well do you see him solving dallas' deep coverage problems? can he help roy williams and the CB's back there enough? is pat watkins a guy that can be the FS of the future? thanks much!

SportsNation Rodd Newhouse: hamlin will help the Boys' secondary by playing FS. While he is kown for his hard hitting, he acutally can cover with good range. Williams should move to SS becasue he has shown he cannot cover a wet paper bag. he will be better served closer to the LOS. Watkins only started last year by default and is a backup. The Boys' still need help oposite T Newman. A. Henry is NOT a CB. his best position is as a backup safety, becasue he lacks the speed to cover MvM.

Roy Williams was a classic case of a team not looking at a progressing trend before investing. At the time Roy Williams was drafted, the skill set of an enforcing safety was in high demand accross the league. Had Jerry Jones done a little foward thinking research, he might have noticed that offenses were trending towards faster TEs. Now, 5 years later, it's clear that Roy Williams' skill set makes him a big liability in coverage. Roy Williams is nothing more than a below average safety. If he was picked ten years before he was, he would have been a perrenial pro bowler. Actually, he is a perennial pro bowler, but that's only because the people who vote for pro bowlers are ignorant. Adrian Wilson is a better safety completely wasted than Roy Williams. He would have been a legit pro bowler in the 1990's.

The best personell guys stay ahead of the curve. Jerry Jones is not one of the best personel guys.

The interesting thing is that Hamlin may suffer from the same problems that Williams did. He's got better cover skills then Roy, but they aren't especially special (ha ha ha Rodd Newhouse). Bottom line is that the Dallas secondary still sucks.

Asher - Indy: I hadn't heard about Carr not wanting to join Raiders. Isn't that the only place he'd be a starter almost by default? Did you say that you think his agent saying that is a smoke-screen? To what purpose. I'm confused, obviously - can you elaborate?

SportsNation Rodd Newhouse: Carr wants to be a starter. Yes, it looks like he would be the default starter in OAK, but he has not proven himself in HST, so if the Raiders sign him, and still draft a QB, there is open competition for the starting QB position. It makes sense on his part to puthat out there, becasue he wants to see what OAK's real intentions are with him if/whne he signs. This kind of stuff happens all the time by agents. Similar situation with Briggs/CHI/WAS.

Maybe Carr doesn't want to go from Houston to the only team in the league with a worse line than Houston because that's not conducive to ressurecting a career? Is that at all possible? And how is this like Lance Briggs' situation at all? One guy ia a Free Agent, the other has the Franchise tag, a tag of which the only purpose is to prevent movement. These situations are nothing alike.

Soren (LA): Of the Sophmore QBs (VY, Leinhardt, and Cutler), who do you expect to slump and who do you expect to break-out this year?

SportsNation Rodd Newhouse: I expect #7 to slump a bit, becasue he is changing systems and has to learn e new system all over again. Culter should improve the most simply as a product of the system, and VY will improve, but will have a few more ups and downs.

Yeah, that new offense is really going to make Leinart look like a rookie again. There's no way he will improve on his impressive rookie year. Regression, Charlie Frye style! Yes, Cutler will improve, but for god sakes stop citing the system as evidence for anything. Yes, Denver has a very efficient system. No, Cutler is not a better player than Leinart. Vince Young should improve also, but he was clearly the worst passer of the three last year. More evidence that the ROY award means nothing.

AP (Boynton Beach,FL): Rodd I'm not sold on San Diego even though they had the best record in football last year they lost a lot of good people on that coaching staff

SportsNation Rodd Newhouse: AP, I share your concern. This team went 14-2 last year and almost completely didmantled the staff. While I think this was the most talented team in the NFL last year, now that they have lost their head coach and both coordinators, I think a lot of the continuity has been lost, and I do not see them repeating as divisional champs in 2007.

Holy crap! The continuity is gone! How will Chris Dielman and LaDainian Tomlinson ever be able to look at each other again? How can they expect to be better than the Raiders and Mr. Continuity himself, Lane Kiffin? Time to throw in the towel!

Steve Chicago: do you think the Bears would do the trade with the skins? Wouldn't it look bad for the organization if they do the deal as proposed by Drew Rossenhause? It will look like the Bears are caving into Briggs' demands...what would stop any other player unhappy with their contract from doing the same?

SportsNation Rodd Newhouse: Looks are not always what the look like. Rosenhaus is NOT in control of anything. The Bears are letting him do the work they do not want to do, and that is make phone calls to any suitors who may want to talk. ALL GM's knw each other and talk behind the scenes, so what we hear and read in the media from agents and players is NOT what is really going on behind the scenes. So if the trade gets done, it is becase V. Cerrato and J. Angelo agreed to the parameters.

Rosenhaus is the only party benefiting from this deal. The Bears don't have a use for the No. 6 pick and need Lance Briggs a lot more than Washington does. Briggs is in danger of losing his good image because of Rosenhaus' negotiating techniques. Also, I'd like to see some defense of the statement "looks aren't always what they look like." What?

mango: is Drew Rossenhause good for the game or bad for the game?

SportsNation Rodd Newhouse: By the way, Rosenhaus is really a great guy to do contracts with. he knows his stuff, but plays to the media too much sometimes and makes teams agitated, but that is his job for his clients, and he is actually quite good at representing his clients' interest. But trust, he knows when to strike a deal

Rosenhaus is a good agent. However, the question was whether or not he is good for the game. Read the damn question!

Rudy (San Diego, Ca): Rodd who wins and loses games players or coaches? SD still has the best team on the field!

SportsNation Rodd Newhouse: Ture. Players win the games, but without coaches players are not put in position to win games or make plays. I still think they are the most talented, but therr is a new regime in town and that will have an effect.

Thank you Rudy from San Diego.

Obviously Norv Turner will find a way to keep the ball out of LaDainian Tomlinsons hands and keep Phillip Rivers from throwing also. That horrible failure of a coach! He's going to punt on 2nd down and shit isn't he!

Gotta love Scouts Inc!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Even Pete Prisco can be right sometimes

Keeping with the April 1 theme, check out this article.

Hey, we aren't afraid to give credit where it is due. It's not like theres a lot of it to give.

Some of the comments are hilarious. Gotta love the sportsline posters.

From the article:

Oakland Raiders coach Lane Kiffin made a good point this week. He said Russell's big arm is great and all, but also asked how many times quarterbacks throw the ball 70 yards in a game? Answering his own question, he said twice.

Chances the Raiders make Brady Quinn the first pick: 51%

Chances the Raiders make JaMarcus Russell the first pick: 48%

Chances the Raiders forget when draft day is: Scary