Thursday, March 29, 2007

This article is titled: "Plummer, Harrington not dead yet"!

Which pisses me off because I spent all day on the phone setting up the funeral arrangements.

Jeremy Green, please enlighten us.

New Tampa Bay Buccaneers' quarterback Jeff Garcia probably would never admit this, but he is the epitome of a system quarterback. That is not to say he doesn't have talent, it is just that he has proven he needs the right system to succeed.

Garcia has quick feet in the pocket, is able to improvise on the move, gets the ball out quickly and is accurate on short-to-intermediate passes. Those are just a few of the traits that make him an ideal quarterback in the West Coast offense. He has racked up a 61-percent career completion rate, and you can't succeed in that system with a low completion percentage.

An ideal quarterback in the west coast offense? Do, you Jeremy Green know who is the league's most ideal QB for the west coast offense?

Give up? It's Peyton Manning. You know why? Because Peyton Manning is the league's best quarterback.

Additionally, you cite Garcia's 61-percent career completion %, but you just throw it out there inexplicably. Numbers are great tools, but most come attached to an argument, not thrown into the middle of a paragraph for the hell of it. Are you saying that his 61% completion percentage makes him a successful QB, or are you saying that Garcia can't succeed in a west coast offense with numbers that low? Neither answer makes much sense because 61%, while usually a solid career, is not significantly good or bad. It's pretty acceptable for a west coast QB.

Three years ago, when Garcia was released by the 49ers, he forgot how important the system was. Opting for the big pay day instead of the right fit, he spurned the Buccaneers for the Cleveland Browns.

That choice led to him playing in an offense that didn't suit him, and suffering through one of his worst seasons in the NFL. He lasted one season in Cleveland before moving on to Detroit, where in 2005 he had little talent around him. Then the light went back on. Last year he took a backup role in Philadelphia, which turned out to be the best move of the his career since leaving San Francisco.

One of the NFL's most notorious myths; Jeff Garcia was horrible in Cleveland in 2004. Garcia started 7 games that year before a season concluding injury, and went 3-4. Furthermore, there is a significant difference between his VOA and DVOA. The adjustment for defenses faced gives Garcia a big break, meaning that Garcia faced some damn tough D's in his 7 starts there. His otherwise hapless team went 1-8 without him against significantly weaker defenses. The fact that Garcia won 3 games in 7 tries with THAT team is a testament to how well he played.

Jeff Garcia broke his leg in training camp in 2005. He returned midway through the season and posted some really crappy numbers. 2005 is a very clear one year abberation in a very predictable career path for Jeff Garcia. Possible reasons for this abberation include a crappy attempt at a west coast offense by a Detroit team that foolishly spent 3 top ten selections on receivers (neglecting obvious team-wide talent problems at positions far more significant), and the fact that Jeff Garcia BROKE HIS FREAKIN LEG IN THE PRESEASON!

In Philadelphia, he was reunited with his former San Francisco offensive coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg, in the original West Coast system. When Donovan McNabb was lost to the season with an injury, Garcia was given the chance to shine. In the right system and with an offensive coordinator who trusted him, he posted a 6-2 record (including the postseason). During one stretch, Garcia led the Eagles to six straight wins.

Anybody who had followed Jeff Garcia's career should not be surprised that he "rebounded" from the Detroit Lion experience. Garcia's career path has statistically been on a predictable declining line since his probowl years in San Francisco. 2005 was a complete and otherwise inexplicable abberation from this line. When injury is involved, the player nearly always rebounds. The nature of quarterbacking does not allow a guy to just "lose it". The art of playing quarterback is not heavily based on physical skill. Guys will stop improving about their 10th year out of college, but good career QBs can keep playing at a respectable level well into their 40s if they really wanted to. It's like kickers in many ways. Sure Morten Andersen doesn't have the leg to hit 55 yarders anymore, but he can still kick extra points through the uprights, and 10 years from now, will still have that ability.

The system is not responsible for Garcia's "rebound" The west coast offense is very instrumental in improving conventional stats. This is because QBs that complete a higher percentage will throw more TDs and less INTs and get more yards per attempt. The West Coast offense and its offspring systems assist a QB in completing a high percentage of his passes. This makes ANY QB more successful. In many ways, its a superior offensive system to many traditional vertical offenses.

This, however, is NOT an issue of making Jeff Garcia feel comfortable ( joke). Garcia would have bounced back in any damn system, including Oakland's vertical offense. His conventional stats would have looked worse in Oakland, but he would have posted similar DPAR to what he did this year. Then again, there's a reason that I only care about a select few conventional stats. Even these stats (completion % and yards/attempt) are heavily context related, so approach with caution.

That success led to Garcia hitting the market again this season and he wasn't going to make the same mistake again. Garcia visited the Oakland Raiders, who have added veteran offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. Even though Garcia had played under Knapp in San Francisco, the Raiders never will rid themselves of the vertical passing game.

The Raiders offered more money, but when Tampa came calling, it was an easy choice for Garcia. He made the choice he should have made three seasons ago. Now he is with a coach in Jon Gruden who runs a system he knows and trusts.

Even at 37, Garcia is still spry. He showed last season that in the right system, he still can get the job done.

Well, no. Garcia took Tampa's offer because Oakland wouldn't commit to passing on a QB in this draft. Both Tampa and Oakland are void of offensive talent. Tampa has the more QB friendly system, but I think Jeremy Green is confusing QB friendly with Jeff Garcia friendly. All quarterbacks benefit from a system that allows them to complete more passes.

Garcia wasn't the only aging backup QB who was successful last season. Kansas City's Damon Huard kept his team in the playoff hunt when Trent Green missed the first half of the season with a severe concussion. Charlie Batch played well when called upon in Pittsburgh. The common theme is that both were in systems they were comfortable with.

I think the common theme between Huard and Garcia is that they both are pretty good QBs. Undoubtably, Huard would have regressed towards the mean if he had stayed as the starter in KC. He played well enough though to earn the starting job in KC, and I doubt that this is entirely because of the system. That same system didn't help Trent Green overcome his concussion now, did it?

I'm really happy that Charlie Batch played well in two starts. This is not evidence for anything, Jeremy Green.

In a fairly weak free-agent QB market, who are some guys with a chance to revitalize their careers this season? Let's start with Jake Plummer. Yes, I know he has said he is retiring, but the bottom line is he does not want to play in Tampa Bay. He also feels jilted by the Broncos.

However, if he were traded to the Houston Texans, would that bring him back to the NFL? Plummer has not filed his paperwork as of yet, so if a deal can be swung, I believe he would be more then willing to don a Texans' uniform.

Fine, Kubiak is the coach of the Broncos. He runs another very QB friendly system. David Carr completed 69%. Plummer could be every bit as good as Carr. But if Houston had really wanted him, they would have gone out and got him. Not that he would have done anything to solve their QB issue. They'd just be adding 6 years to David Carr's career. 2005 cannot possibly justify an entire career of sort of passable play. His system will not make Jake Plummer a good QB, his system will make Plummer a very conservative QB to prevent him from throwing with his left hand.

But they have Matt Schaub to do that.

Plummer is still only 32 and had the best season of his career in 2005, when current Texans' head coach Gary Kubiak was his offensive coordinator in Denver. If Plummer ends up in Houston, he might have to sit behind David Carr, but you can bet Carr will be on a short leash. Plummer knows the system, likes the situation and believes in the head coach. If he has any chance to resurrect his career, Houston is the best place for that to happen.

I know this article is dated prior to the Schaub trade and Carr release, but why in the fuck would Jake Plummer want to go back up David Carr? Why in the fuck would the Texans want that? If they are going to go out and spend on a QB, wouldn't they want someone who is actually good? Plummer retired. He IS dead. Let go, Jeremy Green. Let go.

Another QB who has a chance to resurrect his career this season is Joey Harrington. The former Lion and Dolphin is on the open market again after only his fifth NFL season.

The fascinating part about this is that Joey Harrington has earned himself the title of "Worst QB in NFL History" from a study of total QB value by Chase Stuart of Pro Football Reference. Harrington isn't actually the worst QB ever to play a down, but per the blog entry, his combination of consistenly poor play and inexplicable longevity means that he has hurt his teams with poor play more than any other player in NFL history. Long live the King!

Now we can assume that Jeremy Green will try to barter for Harrington to get another chance to further establish this impressively bad legacy. Maybe we can get him in a real QB unfriendly system and see just how poorly he can play!

Harrington is still young (28) and the passion to play the game is still there. You could see it last season in Miami. He will never live up to the expectations Detroit had when it drafted him No. 3 overall in 2002, but he showed flashes last season in Miami. In a league littered with average starting quarterbacks, Harrington is good enough to be effective with talent around him.

Harrington needs to find the right backup role. Two spots stand out to me: Denver and Cincinnati. In Denver, he would be the backup to Jay Cutler and would be playing for a coach in Mike Shanahan who knows a thing or two about the position. In Cincinnati, he would be behind Carson Palmer, and would be on a team littered with offensive playmakers.

Without adjusting for defense, Joey Harrington posted an incredibly subpar -7.3 PAR in 2006. If you adjust for some ridiculously tough pass defense, Harrington comes out above replacement level, but you have to wonder if Jeremy Green is some type of robot that has a function that interprets Harrington's play while adjusting for defense in real time observation mode. Robo-Green II then must calculate Harrington's flash factor in real time and upon doing all the above reaches the conclusion that Joey Harrington's play in 2006 was indictive of "some" flash factor. Now Robo-Green II has the task of translating Harrington's flash factor to a projection of potential.

But due to the ultimate outcome, it appears that the Robo-Green II is actually a poor talent evaluator. I didn't see any flash from Harrington last year. Maybe he got confused by that one game in Miami that had all that lightning.

Or maybe Jeremy Green did none of this and just decided to up and defend Harrington with no evidence that he's got a future outside of an observation that "the passion to play the game is still there".

The Bengals need a backup QB with starting experience, after Anthony Wright hit the free-agent market this offseason. As disappointing as Harrington has been, he is a much better player than Wright.

Anthony Wright was, in 2005, the perfect replacement level QB (DPAR=0.0). Harrington is slightly above replacement for career. So Jeremy Green is sort of correct. But I'm not sure "much better player than (Anthony) Wright" is ever a good defense for a quarterback.

Being a backup QB in the NFL is not always about talent. It is about being in the right place at the right time. Plummer and Harrington are two players who never lived up to expectations, but in the right system and surrounded by the right supporting cast, they could emerge as this season's version of Garcia.

To "be" a backup QB is all about being in the right place at the right time. To be a good backup QB has nothing to do with system or expectations. It has to do with finding the best QB option at a reasonable price. If the starter gets hurt, do you really want to be the team that's stuck with Plummer or Harrington at QB? Really?

Didn't think so.

I don't think either of them will be this year's Jeff Garcia. Neither has ever done anything Garcia did in their careers, so expecting Garcia-like numbers would be sort of retarded. Like this article.

NFL Live 3.29.07

For your comedic pleasure, the top 2 QBs in this draft will be broken down by the NFL analyst dream team of Floyd Reese, Sean Salisbury, and...Donovan McNabb? Well, it can't be that much worse than the standard of QB evaluation already set by that program right?

Let's start with JaMarcus Russell's footwork!

McNabb: "A lot of times he tries to overpower throws"

Yeah, Russell has a lot of issues. Lucky for him, he just bleeds upside.

Floyd Reese: "He's as sound as you'll see...His footwork isn't the same twice... He wasn't coached properly because he can 'run fast'"

I know its tough to talk coherently on TV, but lets' break this down.

"He's as sound as you'll see..."

This is clearly the worst thing that has ever been said about DMac on an ESPN program. Dude makes honest analysis, and that big white boy Floyd Reese just spits in his face.

"His footwork isn't the same twice..."

Okay, but if he's 'as sound as you'll see'-

"He wasn't coached properly because he can 'run fast'"

-then...what?! He's as sound as any player, but he hasn't yet mastered the QB dropback at age 21? Obviously this is because the QB coaching at LSU isn't even high school caliber! I mean, why would you teach a guy how to pass properly when he can run?

For the record, Jamarcus Russell ran in the 4.8 range at his pro day. One of the players who ran faster at his pro day was Central Michigan's Joe Staley, AN OFFENSIVE TACKLE. Look, I know Floyd Reese selected Vince Young, but just because you watched game film on Vince Young, who is fast, does not make ALL black QBs fast. That's like saying all white QBs are smart. It's nothing more than a stereotype.

JaMarcus Russell can't run. Donovan, take Mr. Reese to school.

"He's not following through...Here he throws into coverage"

Thank you.

Sean Salisbury realizes he's losing air time: "Doesn't look like he ever gets his hips open"

Thank you, Sean.

The guys now move on to breaking down Brady Quinn's mechanics

Salisbury: "His mechanics break down in the 2 minute drill"

Well, I'd say that would definately hurt his ability to help his team win.

"and that makes him better"

Sometimes I think Salisbury just opens his mouth to hear himself talk.

Reese: "These men are young, there are questions about maturity, JaMarcus Russell must understand the league, we must see Quinn's intangibles"

Uh, I don't know if anyone is questioning either guys' maturity. What the hell does "understand the league" mean? I don't think you can see any more of Brady Quinn's intangibles until the season starts. At that point, he will demonstrate his toughness and grittyness as he rides the bench in anticipation of a day when he can play.

Tell us gentlemen how being drafted Oakland will suck all the upside out of JaMarcus Russell's bloodstream until he runs completely dry:

McNabb: "It all starts up front. Russell has big upside, arm strength doesn't win ballgames"

Upside reference notwithstanding, I'm starting to like Donovan McNabb as an analyst. He seems to understand what matters when it comes to grading QB play. There's something in the water in Philly that turns fans in to rabid animals, and Quarterbacks into respectable analysts.

Just for kicks, here's Linda Cohn after Donovan McNabb states that the Eagles' biggest rival is the Dallas Cowboys:

"And we all know who is on THAT team"

McNabb: "Yes, Tony Romo"

And Cohn finishes: "Well, you got the 'T' initial right"

There you have it. Linda Cohn confirms what we already knew about the ESPN mentality. Nothing in Dallas matters anymore except when that asshole receiver is taking his next crap.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Turn Off ESPN Readers, there's someone I'd like you to meet. You'll be working with him a lot.

Pete Prisco!

Matt's welcome, but Texans mistakenly take keys from Carr

Wow. We're not even to the article and Prisco is already wrong.

This may be unprecidented, even for him!

Let me just say that I am a huge Matt Schaub guy. I think he has the tools to be a big-time NFL passer.

Let me just say that I'm really not a huge Pete Prisco guy. I do like that he keeps his opinions seperate from outside influence. It's a remarkable quality, espicially considering today's style of generic sportswriting. However, the outcome is that in most cases, what Prisco thinks ends up being really, really bizarre. I haven't even read the article beyond this point yet, and I can guarentee you this will be a prime example.

Okay Pete, I'm ready for ya.

But I think the Houston Texans are making a mistake by giving up on David Carr.

I know. I read the title of the article.

The Texans agreed to trade a pair of second-round picks to the Atlanta Falcons and swap first-round spots this year -- eight to 10 -- for Schaub, a player many personnel people think can be a 10-year starter in the league.

The deal is contingent on Schaub agreeing to a new deal with the Texans before being traded.

I have to wonder if Schaub, a third-year player, is really a better option than Carr?

I have to wonder right up front if you've ever seen David Carr play. The best pro-Carr argument is that he hasn't been given a chance. This isn't entirely false, as Carr has been under impossible duress since he came into this league. But some of that duress is on Carr.

David Carr's DPARs

Year's above league average in DVOA=0. His 2004 was ever so close (kinda reminds me of JP Losman's 2006), but that regression in 2005 cannot(!!) be completely pinned on his teammates. Certainly it wasn't all him, but the best explination is that he had a lucky 2004 season, and a real unlucky 2005 season. But he also regressed between those years.

Plus the QB Projection System doesn't like him. He's got the potential to be a very efficient veteran caretaker, but that's about it.

Or are the Texans guilty of thinking that somebody outside the organization is better than the incumbent? Have they fallen for the allure of something new just for the sake of having something different when the reality is, they're just missing the good points about the person they have?

I think that's the case.

How DARE they think that they could improve upon DAVID CARR. It's common speculation in league circles that David Carr is, in fact, the messiah! He could show us how dominant of a player he is ANY year now!@#$ How can the Texans pass on this kind of potential!!!111!!11one.

Stupid team. They've fallen for the "allure" of trying to improve their roster. Don't they know that they can draft Adrian Peterson and MAKE UP for David Carr's lack of production elsewhere?! Geez Louis, they are missing the whole point of offense. You can run the ball and play good defense, and pay David Carr $8 million a year to complete 67% of his passes to Dominick Williams and Owen Daniels on a weekly basis. THIS IS WHY THE TEXANS CAN'T WIN. It's not because they couldn't run the ball or play good defense. It's because they didn't believe in David Carr!

But like I said, I like Schaub a lot.

Wait, what? Pete Prisco, pick a damn side!

Some wonder what Schaub has done to deserve his lofty status as a potential quarterback,

Schaub completed 67%(!) over 32 starts at Virginia. The QB projection system would love him...if he qualified. For whatever reason, the scouts did not give Schaub a top 2 round grade, so the projection system tends to be a little less accurate with regards to him. It guarentees nothing about 3rd round picks.

but you need only look at his 2005 start against the New England Patriots to get an idea of how good he can be as a starter.

In that game, Schaub threw for 298 yards, three touchdowns and had a passer rating of 112.1. That's sensational against a Bill Belichick defense.

The doubters will say that it's just one game.

Only Pete Prisco could argue both sides and still fail to be right.

Oh, I forgot, it's just one game.

What happens when opponents really prepare for him on a regular basis? That's fair. Will it be like a pitcher in baseball who excels the first time around the league and then gets figured out the next time around?

Prisco should probably NOT bring baseball into this considering his incomplete mastery of the sport he's paid to write about. Also, STOP TRYING TO "ANSWER" YOUR CRITICS BY MAKING TERRIBLE ARGUMENTS AGAINST YOUR OWN THAT ARE SO BAD THAT EVEN YOU CAN SHOOT THEM DOWN!!!

My opinion is Schaub will be good. The Falcons people I talked to agreed, but they realize that they had to make the deal or they could have lost him next year without getting anything in return. Michael Vick is their quarterback, even if not everybody in-house agrees he should be. His contract, coupled with his buddy-buddy relationship with the owner, makes it that way, which is why Schaub is on his way to Houston where he will take over for Carr.

And because he's an improvement over David Carr.

When the Texans used the first pick in the 2002 draft on Carr, they did so with the obvious intention of having him be their franchise passer for a long, long time. They expected growing pains, and there were.

Playing behind a sieve-like offensive line, he was sacked 76 times as a rookie. In five seasons, he's been sacked 249 times. That's a lot of shots, and it can make a player gun-shy.

If the QB Projection system had existed in 2002, we would have known that Carr wasn't going to be a special player. It's data from players like Carr that helped David Lewin create the system last year.

Not only that, Carr's had few options other than Andre Johnson, who came three years ago. Teams doubled Johnson on a regular basis, which limited the spots for Carr to throw. And the running game never had a real feature back, while the line's still in the bottom third of the league.

Who could have succeeded under those conditions?

Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Hasselbeck, Marc Bulger, and Tom Brady in that order. All would have struggled to some degree behind that level of pressure. But all would have had more success than David Carr.

Carr had his moments. In 2004, he threw for a career-high 3,531 yards and 16 touchdowns. Last season, he had a 68.3 completion percentage. That was better thanPeyton Manning, Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, and Drew Brees. That's impressive.

Sage Rosenfels completed 69% in the same offense. Mark Brunell completed 63.4% in 9 starts this year. His backup, Jason Campbell, completed only 53% in the exact same offense with better pass protection. Brunell's feat is considerably more impressive than Carr's.

Rosenfels, in fact, played much better this year than Carr. He nearly accrued more total value than Carr, posting a 9.6 DPAR in only 38 passes(!) (Carr threw 440). A lot of that was Carr's incomplete passes turning into INTs, a function of luck, but the point is Rosenfels>Carr.

Of course, neither Carr or Rosenfels should be damned for doing their jobs well. High completion % is always good. This, more than anything, says that Gary Kubiak really knows how to call an offense. Neither one of his QB is anything special. Schaub has a chance to be special. That's why he traded for him.

Yet the perception is Carr is a bum. He can't win. He won't make the throws. He won't get rid of the football.

Carr's not a bum. He's a caretaker. I would define a "bum" as a player below replacement level. Carr was a "bum" in 2005, but that was likely a fluke. Those other arguments suck. People are stupid.

Prisco is probably way more stupid than those people.

There is way too much talent there to give up on him.

Some coaches who worked with Carr in the past, including former Texans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer, think he can be a good starter in the league.

Chris Palmer doesn't have a job due in part to this opinion.

Does he have faults? Sure, he does. The word is he's not a great leader. Teammates notice that he leaves the facility early after practice, rather than staying around to watch film. But, according to Palmer, Carr took the film home and did the work. Palmer said he even tested him by putting things on the film that he might not expect just to make sure he watched it. He always passed.

There was also talk that Carr was babied by the Dom Capers regime.

So, you...agree with these aligations then. David Carr sucks because...he was overprotected by his original coaching staff? He sucked because Chris Palmer and Dom Capers were all over his nuts instead of giving him the coaching he needed? He needed tough love to bring out his mystical hidden talent? This is your thesis then, Pete?

That changed last season with new coach Gary Kubiak, and Carr actually played pretty well. Maybe that's what he needs.

Carr posted a DPAR of 10.4 in 2006. His DVOA was significantly below average.

Some other QB's who "played well" last year (according to Prisco):

Kurt Warner
JP Losman
Eli Manning
Jake Delhomme
David Garrard

All of which were better than Carr.

Giving up on Carr is a mistake for the Houston franchise. Whoever gets him will be getting a player who can be a Super Bowl quarterback. The reality is he will probably be better with a change of scenery.

He might post a DPAR in the 20's! He's got league average potential!

Also, "Super Bowl Quarterback" means nothing. Especially if you are David Carr. It means your team won the super bowl. That's it. It's not a compliment to your skill.

He just needs to get to a spot where there is talent around him, a place that will allow him to show the skills that are indeed there.

Schaub will be fine, but the Texans already had a quarterback with winning skills on their roster. And he wouldn't have cost them two second-round picks and two spots in the first round, either.

I don't know where you're proposing he go to showcase his skills, Pete Prisco, but rest assured that any team that fits your criteria already has a better QB on the roster than David Carr.

Yes, that was a hefty price to pay for a 2004 3rd round pick. They could have traded up for Brady Quinn instead. It would have used up thier first round pick that now resides in the 10 hole, but they would have kept at least one of those 2nd rounders, and he's more of a sure thing than Schaub according to the projection system. But I don't see how anyone can fault the Texans for trying to improve their QB situation.

Houston panicked. Why? The allure of something new clouded the Texans' vision.

They'll realize eventually that the one they had wasn't all that bad after all.

Why? How? What?

Since you spent the entire article admitting that Schaub was going to be good, and the rest defending Carr's crapitude as "not getting a chance" and just blatently misevalutating his performance this season, how can you expect the QB situation not to improve there.

Surely you wouldn't have expected Carr's numbers to improve if his protection didn't. And surely you must assume that the Texans' pass pro will improve at some point in the future. So some QB is going to reap benefits that David Carr never had. Chances are this player will be much better than David Carr.

So what the hell are you saying here? They were getting better production from SAGE ROSENFELS than David Carr! What will happen in the future to make them wish they still had David Carr. They win 7 games next year? I bet they'll be killing themselves over this move!

You're shamelessly defending Carr against a move that's going to benefit him when he gets out of Houston. What the crap is your problem?!

That was the long version. Hope you enjoyed it.

Here's the short version: Pete Prisco is always wrong.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It's Draft Season Everybody!

This time, Chris Low goes down on Jamarcus Russell.

The enormity of it all has yet to sink in, and those who've known him since he was old enough to grip a football aren't a bit surprised.

But, hey, that's vintage JaMarcus Russell.

I, for one, think it's great that Chris Low has such a special, special relationship with JaMarcus Russell. I am sure that Mr. Low will abuse his special relationship to find a fitting definition to the term "vintage JaMarcus Russell" which he will share with us in this piece. I am not completely wasting my time by reading this because this is not going to be just another JaMarcus Russell puff piece.


Down two touchdowns or up two touchdowns, he's the same quarterback. Sitting in the pocket with all kinds of time or throwing with guys hanging all over him, he is convinced that his next play will be his best play. Soaking up a record-setting day or suffering through a forgettable day, he still wants the ball at the end.

Basically he does...what every other draft eligible QB does. Good, because for a second there...

"I've always believed that you measure a quarterback on his bad days, not his good days," said Jimbo Fisher

You're going to get some real shitty numbers if you do that, Jimbo.

"When you're not having your best day, how do you respond? Can you stay into it and manage the game? JaMarcus knew he was a great player with great ability -- and he also knew, if something went wrong or if he messed something up, that he would usually get another chance.

"If he got that ball at the end of the game, he was going to beat your tail -- and he knew it."

Most QBs strive to lock that game up before that last drive so that they can take a knee. But not JaMarcus Russell. He's got a method already.

Similarly, Russell doesn't flinch at the thought of being the No. 1 overall pick in April's NFL draft. The Oakland Raiders are eyeing him closely with that first selection. Russell has been in Arizona training with some of the best receivers in the draft, including former teammate Dwyane Bowe, Tennessee's Robert Meachem and Southern Cal's Dwayne Jarrett.

I have a sinking feeling that the Raiders no longer eye anyone closely. Because if they did, they probably wouldn't be looking at JaMarcus Russell. But I didn't know he was working out in Arizona with a bunch of other draft prospects! This changes everything!

His take on the whole process?

"I'm just going to chill," said Russell, whose cool demeanor has been mistaken for nonchalance more than a few times during his career.

This is the single greatest piece of information I have ever read.

Never a big talker, Russell really doesn't need to. His teammates say there is a quiet confidence about him that is infectious.

"You just learn to trust that he's going to make big plays," said Bowe, who jokes that his hands are still swollen from catching 95 mph fastballs from the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Russell. "He never talked a whole lot about it. He just went out there and did it. That's why so many respected him. When he's out there, there's no doubt in your mind that we were going to win the game."

You play for LSU. You are going to win the game most of the time because you are almost always the best team on the field. JaMarcus Russell was a part of this equation, but not the entire reason for your success.

Also, way to sneak in a comment about how great his arm is, Chris Low. You'd thought you'd slide that one by us. You dog.

Russell, 25-4 as a starter at LSU, engineered eight comeback victories in the fourth quarter during his career. He capped a scintillating close to the 2006 season by outplaying Brady Quinn and passing for a career-high 332 yards in a 41-14 drubbing of Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.

1) That was one game. I don't care if it was the Sugar Bowl. One game out of 29 starts (remember this figure, I promise to explain it's significance).

2) Notre Dame's defense blew in 2006. LSU's defense was dominant. JaMarcus Russell should have had the better game. It was to be expected. If Quinn had had the better game, there would have been an upset and JaMarcus Russell would be a 4th round pick right now.

3) The Sugar Bowl was nothing if not a home game for LSU

4) 41-14 is how the game ended, but does not tell the whole story. It was a one TD game at half, tied late in the first half.

The Sugar Bowl is not a great argument as to why JaMarcus Russell should be the first pick in April's draft.

Suddenly, Russell was the most coveted quarterback out there, and the questions about his decision-making and his tendency to rely on his big right arm had been reduced to a murmur.

"What a great QB that Russell is. Look at how he manipulates Terrail Lambert to fall down and Chiedum Ndukwe to completely forget his assignment." Look, he makes one read and throws a touchdown. What decision making! A lot of guys would have passed up that easy touchdown, but not this guy!"

"It's always been my dream to go high in the draft. But to be the first pick in the draft, that's crazy. I still won't believe it until it happens."

You and me both, JaMarcus. You and me both.

Joe Theismann!

Has created a list of the top 5 receivers in the NFL (Oh, Goodie!!)

1. Marvin Harrison
2. Steve Smith
3. Chad Johnson
4. Torry Holt

Not a bad list at all. Harrison finished 2nd in receiver DPAR (which in no way is a foolproof statistic, far from it, but its probably the single best one to measure WR production) behind teammate Reggie Wayne. Smith was a legitimate MVP candidate in 2005. Johnson led the league in WR yards this year and does so consistently. Holt's among the top of the DPAR list year in and year out.

5. Randy Moss.

Am I the only one who watched the Seahawks and the Raiders on Monday Night last year? Randy Moss must have dropped 30 balls in that game alone. For the 2006 season, he posted a 0.8 DPAR. 0.8. If you don't know how funny that is, read this. The only thing more funny that that is that the color commentator called out a certain receiver on national TV for lackidasical effort. That commentator guessed it, Joe Theismann.

In 2005, he put up a more respectable 15.2 DPAR. But that ranks him 25th in the league.
In 2004, he posted a DPAR of 23.1, good for 22nd in the league. Still not elite.

It could be debated as to whether or not Theismann is making his list based on a guy's potential, because that would make his choice of Moss defensible. But if this is the case, why was he # 5? Seems to me like he has a lot more receiving talent than both Harrison and Holt, and maybe Johnson. The thing about Moss is that he disappears from the field for months at times.

I know he's part of the Raiders' offensive system, and not an intrigal part of it at that. I know Raider QBs get sacked once in every 8 dropbacks. But Randy Moss is part of this. He is getting paid to help his young (crappy) QB. He is providing no help whatsoever.

Randy Moss hasn't been relevant since 2003. At this point, are we even sure he still has the same skills that made him famous in his youth? We can be certain that he's not a top 10 receiver in this league anymore, much less top 5. Why can't Joe Theismann?

Mike Nolan: PI=Death Penalty

49ers coach Mike Nolan apparently does not have a cousin on death row.

"You can maim someone, and it's 15 yards," he said. "You can end someone's career, and it's 15 yards. Pass interference -- it's not a reflection of the severity of the crime. It's like getting the death penalty for going 75 mph in a 55 zone."

You can make a great case for the rules regarding the enforcement of pass interference to be changed. I could make a better one designed to better structure the way it's called. And Nolan has a right to challenge the integrity of a rule.

But in most cases, pass interference occurs as a last ditch means of stopping a completed pass. It's never supposed to be called as an accidental foul. PI--by nature--is intentional. So by lowering the consequences for it, it will often become a statistically smart move to interfere with the receiver.

Pro Football is already a game where the better team is going to lose 38% of the time. Changing rules to benefit teams with worse pass defenses is counterproductive. Not surprisingly, the 49ers ranked 29th against the pass last year posting an 18.1% DVOA below the league average.

And the death penalty!! WTF?