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.

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