Home / General / THE SUPERGENIUS of Chip Kelly, SUPERGENIUS: A Progress Report

THE SUPERGENIUS of Chip Kelly, SUPERGENIUS: A Progress Report

Comments
/
/
/
175 Views

ChipKelly1

Well, that season of experiment didn’t end well.  

Relevant:

  • DeMarco Murray at least had a per-carry average over five yards. Alas, this was in five carries and included a fumble that essentially ended Philadelphia’s season. Murray concludes the meaningful portion of the Eagles season having averaged 3.5 yards a carry.  Paying a lot of money for running backs coming off high workload seasons is a definitive sign of a bad organization, and this was not an exception to the rule.
  • Sam Bradford’s numbers look superficially respectable.  But the QBR — which adjusts for, inter alia,  short yardage completions in garbage time that improve raw stats while contributing negative value to the team — shows him at a rancid 22.1.  That’s a little unfair, in that his receivers had multiple drops (a mitigating factor all year for Bradford, although not Kelly.)  On the other hand, Rodgers and Wilson and especially Newton aren’t exactly working with the 2000 Rams, and they’re able to run offenses with far greater efficiency; after 5 years of submediocrity it can’t all be the surrounding talent. What’s scary for Eagles fans is that Bradford probably has been just good enough to be not good enough again next year.

Kelly will apparently be back and with his track record I don’t think that’s a bad decision, but one would hope that he understands that he needs a lot of help putting the roster together.

This can serve as an NFL open thread. I’ve heard that Murray Chass has seen Peyton Manning’s back acne or something, which is surely the greatest scandal there absolutely ever was since under-inflated footballs.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    Scott, Scott, Scott. Take a step back:

    1) the [slurs] under Jay Gruden just won the division. No, seriously. This is not something that just happens.
    2) Cousins is a FA. The [slurs] being the [slurs], they’ll offer him an insane contract that will make Rick DiPietro’s look like something Warren Buffett thought up.
    3) Net result: CHIP owns the NFC East for a generation!

    Wake up and smell the 11th-dimensional chess SHEEPLE!

    • Lord Jesus Perm

      This is going to be a league that hands Kirk Cousins and Ryan Fitzpatrick big time deals, isn’t it?

      Just goes to show how ridiculously scared teams are about QBs these days.

      • And the number of quarterbacks anyone thinks is going to be an above average NFL QB in the 2016 draft is precisely zero, with teams hoping against hope with QBs like Connor Cook and Jared Goff and Cardale Jones, who couldn’t even keep his starting job at Ohio St.

        It’s almost as if the NFL shouldn’t be outsourcing its farm system.

        • FMguru

          The way the best prospects are systematically sent to teams with no talent, bad coaching, and rotten offensive lines has also done a lot to diminish the number of NFL-quality quarterbacks.

          • Right. How much did Aaron Rodgers benefit from not immediately starting for a horrible team. And then you have a QB like Marcus Mariota, who has clearly shown himself to be at least an average NFL QB but who is getting pummeled every time he drops back to throw to his terrible receivers who can’t get open. So much about how the NFL operates is just stupid.

            • joe from Lowell

              I always think of David Carr. He could have been a very good quarterback if his o-line didn’t keep setting records for sacks allowed.

              • Scott P.

                Recent research shows that a QB is much more responsible for sacks than his offensive line. Look at Denver, where the sack rate dropped by 50% when Osweiler took over. Carr was sacked at a greater than average rate even later in his career when he had a better O-line. He just didn’t have the talent for avoiding sacks.

                • CrunchyFrog

                  Well, be careful with that example. Osweiler’s main problem has been holding the ball and taking unnecessary sacks. The big difference the first three games with Osweiler was the reintroduction of play-action, which Peyton avoided, but with Kubiak’s system is a key part of sack avoidance (the defense, guarding the run, is just enough slower to launch the pass rush that the OL gets better blocks). The big problem in the last two second halfs for Denver was that they stopped play action and sacks shot back up.

                • Lord Jesus Perm

                  Doesn’t Brock have a higher sack rate than Manning this year, though (but in general, I tend to agree with you)?

                • joe from Lowell

                  That may be true in a general sense, but I remember the early Houston Texans.

                • ricegol

                  you must remember that Dan Marino was one of the slowest men in the modern era to play the QB position. and he had a couple of really good offensive linemen (Richmond Webb and Keith Something) but he never had anything like the Hogs or mid 1990’s Cowboys. in spite of all that, Marino was hardly ever sacked – mainly because of his superhuman release – he may have gotten hit quite often, but long after the ball was gone.

                • CrunchyFrog

                  Marino *hated* being hit. If he was so much as bumped by a defenseman he’d chew out his linemen – loudly. Some have theorized that his fear/loathing of being hit so much is why he developed his insanely quick release.

                  But the other thing he did was to usually keep in 1 or 2 eligible receivers as extra blockers. This meant that they had only 3 or 4 receivers on routes much of the time. In 83 and 84 this wasn’t a problem, as the liberalized pass interference rules of the late 1970s hadn’t yet been “interpreted” to allow a defender to contact a receiver while the pass was in the air if the defender was playing the pass. In those years there was no “defender has an equal right to the pass” construct. So Marx, Clayton, and Moore were able to use their speed to get open and their leaping ability to pull down balls even if double-covered, as long as the passes were accurate. After the league adjusted to the new rule interpretations Marino was never quite as efficient and never came close to his 1984 records, as he often had to sacrifice the extra blocker just to get someone open.

              • efgoldman

                I always think of David Carr. He could have been a very good quarterback if his o-line didn’t keep setting records for sacks allowed.

                Or going back further with our team, Joe, Jim Plunkett, who had the crap kicked out of him so badly that he essentially took a couple years off, then came back to win two supes with the Raiders.

                • joe from Lowell

                  I started paying attention in the Grogan era.

        • Captain Oblivious

          Worth mentioning is that Tom Brady was a sixth-round draft pick (199th overall), Russell Wilson was 75th overall, and Andy Dalton 35th.

          • joe from Lowell

            Tom Brady was the Patriots’ second 6th-round draft pick that year.

          • Yes, but that’s actually quite rare. If you look at the leading QBs in the NFL, they are almost always 1st and 2nd round picks. Brady and Romo are very much exceptions. Low round QB selections almost never turn into even passable backups.

            • Scott Lemieux

              And Wilson, who would have gone in the top 5 if he was 6’3, is pretty clearly the exception that doesn’t negate the rule. Getting Wilson in the 3rd round was just a classic Moneyball-style efficiency, taking advantage of the prejudice against shorter QBs.

              Brady is basically a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and if you want to replicate it would would be a good idea if you could hire Bill Belichick. And this is really Dalton’s first year as a championship quality QB.

              • CrunchyFrog

                It’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing even for Belichick. None of his subsequent late-round QB picks have been special.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Oh, yeah, I’m not suggesting Belichick could do that with anyone else, just suggesting that he’s part of the mix.

              • efgoldman

                And this is really Dalton’s first year as a championship quality QB.

                Assumes facts not in evidence.

                • Bill Murray

                  they won the division championship today

                • efgoldman

                  they won the division championship today

                  By that standard, Cousins and whatever Bozo is playing QB for Houston this week is “championship quality.”

            • efgoldman

              Yes, but that’s actually quite rare. If you look at the leading QBs in the NFL, they are almost always 1st and 2nd round picks.

              Johny Unitas was undrafted. Very different time of course.

          • Phil Perspective

            People forget that Brady had to fight Drew Henson for playing time at Michigan. The same Drew Henson that Sports Illustrated, and other sports media of the time, played up as a future two-sport(football and baseball) star.

            • apocalipstick

              I read somewhere that Brady assessed his strengths as accuracy plus the ability to read a defense and make a quick decision. He then stated that neither of those was particularly valued in the Michigan passing game. He seemed to imply that spreading the ball around gave the coaching staff acid reflux.

        • witlesschum

          Watching Cook for four years, he will be decent quickest, since he’s played in a pro style system making his own reads and checks at the line for five years. He’s got the temperament to be a good pro QB, given that he can shake off the insane mistakes he makes now and again and not be rattled. His accuracy is better on some throws than others (he can’t for instance execute a screen pass to save his life) but he can make precise downfield ones that I think means he can play well in the pros.

          • There’s a strong correlation with accuracy problems in college and failure in the NFL. See Harrington, Joey.

            • witlesschum

              Having seen both play extensively, Cook’s inaccuracies seem like less of a problem.

          • Linnaeus

            I haven’t watched a lot of MSU football this season, but I get the impression from what I have seen that MSU’s receivers drop a lot of passes, even ones that are thrown well.

            • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

              That’s what they said about Jake Locker…

            • witlesschum

              They honestly dropped more against Michigan than they usually do. Cook nailed MacGarrett Kings Jr. between the numbers on their last drive for a first down inside of field goal range and he let it bounce off his chest.

        • Michael Cain

          It’s almost as if the NFL shouldn’t be outsourcing its farm system.

          Especially to a bunch who have now indicated that they have no particular interest in broadly teaching QBs, running backs, or offensive linemen all of the skills valued by the NFL.

        • Brien Jackson

          I still think Jones has a good chance to be a good NFL QB in a Roethlisberger type system. Being benched for Barrett this year really doesn’t say anything about him, if only because Meyer kept running Barrett’s offense instead of calling plays like they did for Jones in last year’s playoff.

          • Yeah, it’s possible, but of course he lacks almost any experience in actual games compared to every other quarterback. Who knows, maybe that’s a good thing if he can sit for 2-3 years and just learn how to play QB.

            • Lord Jesus Perm

              Seeing some of this year’s QBs (Gabbert, Taylor, Cousins) come out and be competent makes me wonder if that should be the default instead of throwing guys into the fire. The Newtons/Lucks/Winstons are the exceptions that can go from day one. Don’t think most guys are ready for playing QB in the pros right off.

              • efgoldman

                Don’t think most guys are ready for playing QB in the pros right off.

                Even Bradshaw and Aikman got beat up, very badly, at the beginning. It is a testament to both that they survived until they got surrounded by great teams.

        • Pseudonym

          If the problem is that there just isn’t any potential in the draft, how would a farm system help? Or is the problem that there’s no opportunity for development?

          Is baseball the only major American pro sport that has a real farm system?

          • efgoldman

            Is baseball the only major American pro sport that has a real farm system?

            NHL

            • Lord Jesus Perm

              And to a lesser extent, the NBA.

          • Manny Kant

            Isn’t the issue more that college does a bad job of training QBs, and thus squanders talent and makes the real prospects harder to identify?

            • College does a great job of training QBs to win in college. Why should college football coaches run offenses that the NFL wants them to run?

      • CrunchyFrog

        This is going to be a league that hands Kirk Cousins and Ryan Fitzpatrick big time deals, isn’t it?

        Well, as long as they aren’t Jay Cutler-style overspend-to-let-the-QB-know-how-much-we-love-him-while-giving-us-no-options-if-he-craps-out deals that’s okay.

        Cousins and Fitzpatrick may be a new trend in the NFL of QBs who were hailed as great after a few successful starts, struggled a lot after defenses figured out their weaknesses, and after a few years of bench time and mop-up play came back in fully experienced and able to play well as NFL QBs.

        One thing to realize, though, is that just because these guys are successful in their current situations doesn’t mean they can be transplanted into other situations and play just as well. There usually is a system-coach-player match involved. Even then, short-term success doesn’t mean long terms success (too many examples to mention), so long term ironclad deals make no sense for the teams.

  • njorl

    They really should get rid of Bradford. People make too much of the drops by Eagles receivers. They aren’t good, but a lot of these “drops” are wildly inaccurate passes where the receiver makes an adjustment he should never have to make. He puts the ball behind receivers on crossing routes even when they are trailing defenders. A receiver will have a back beat outside, but the pass comes on the inside shoulder so he has to do a 180 degree turn (which requires losing sight of the ball) at the last second. He almost never hits anyone in stride.

    If you’ve got the 25th best QB in the league, you should probably stick with him unless you have a chance to get someone who has proven himself to be better. Bradford ain’t that good and he won’t get better. Bradford has demonstrated that his ceiling is barely better than a what you get when you take a chance on an unknown.

    • CrunchyFrog

      a lot of these “drops” are wildly inaccurate passes where the receiver makes an adjustment he should never have to make.

      Not going to argue with your general point, but the official “drop” statistic is actually pretty strictly limited to passes that were easily catchable – the receiver was clearly aware the ball was coming, the ball was in an easily catchable position, and there were no nearby defenders or other receivers to cause interference. Basically a wide open player, arms open, ball falls through.

      Now, something like the Brady pass that Welker failed to catch near the end of the Super Bowl was not officially a drop, no matter what Brady’s wife thought.

    • Captain Oblivious

      The problem with getting rid of a QB is you need to find another one. Right now, it’s a seller’s market.

      • This is what Dolphins fans fail to understand about Tannehill. He’s nowhere near elite, but who’s gonna replace him?

        I should waste some time correlating the NFL’s leading teams with its best OLs, but I have other things to waste time on today.

        • Linnaeus

          This is what Dolphins fans fail to understand about Tannehill. He’s nowhere near elite

          As I have learned from my fantasy team.

  • CrunchyFrog

    Last night I was hoping for a report of Eli Manning talking to a reporter and saying that the Eagles were laying down like dogs. Oh well, opportunity missed for another generation.

  • CrunchyFrog

    I am interested in seeing what the Eagles do. The reality that Chip Kelly has had more hits than misses as a coach, so if you assume he keeps learning at the NFL level and someday gets better-than-average talent he has a chance to get to the Super Bowl. But his GM decisions were in the Holmgren/Millen category of really, obviously, predictable-at-the-time stupid. The team now is in worse shape, personnel-wise, than what he inherited from Andy Reid.

    On the other hand, Jay Gruden has proven himself a competent NFL head coach – which is unexpected and good for him. To go 8-8 (I assume they rest their starters next week and lose a meaningless game) with below-average talent, decimated by bad free agency and draft decisions since free agency became a thing, is actually impressive.

    Meanwhile, as this also means another playoff-less season for the New Jersey Gnats, it’s time to wonder what they plan to do. They’ve been hit-and-miss on the draft and on game planning since forever, but the franchise m.o. is to hang in there and hope to squeak into the playoffs then go on a hot streak. Do they stick with the current GM and coach another year hoping for another hot streak, or do they face reality and start rebuilding?

    • It seems incredible they’d keep Coughlin, but the question is, what coaching talent will be on the market for 2016?

      (As a Fins fan, I’m not asking this rhetorically.)

      • Denverite

        Everyone seems to think Adam Gase is gone.

        Josh McDaniels to a lesser extent.

        I wouldn’t be shocked to see Saban give it another go if he wins the championship again.

        Todd Haley will probably draw some interest after his season in Pittsburgh.

        • CrunchyFrog

          I was going to mention McDaniels as a joke. As far as I can tell, no one in a hiring position not named Mike Lombardi has ever been interested in hiring him since his Denver debacle – the rest is hype. You hire Adam Gase if you want Mike McCoy – but you shouldn’t want Mike McCoy. You hire Todd Haley if you think that his disaster in KC wasn’t his fault (the one good year he had was because he handed the reigns to Belichick’s coordinators from 6 years previous).

          Teams should be looking for another Bruce Arians – the guy who didn’t excel at selling himself and thus was ignored for decades until, by accident, he was given a interim head coach title and turned a team around on a dime, snagging two COY titles in 3 years. Ignore this year’s hot coordinator (with exceptions – i.e. Todd Bowles), this year’s hot college coach, or another retread (“hey, maybe Rex Ryan is just the guy to turn the Bills around”)

          For the Dolphins the first thing is to clean up the front office and establish a strong GM. For Dolphins fans that’s what I’d hope for. Just hope they don’t grab Scott Pioli if/when Atlanta dumps him – no idea how he keeps getting jobs.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Yeah, good luck if you hire McDaniels. If you like the job Rex Ryan did in Buffalo this year, you’ll love Josh. He’s a good playcaller and that’s all he is. (His talent judgment might be worse than Kelly’s.)

            • CrunchyFrog

              He wasn’t even a good play-caller in Denver or St Louis. The 6-0 start in Denver was driven by defense and special teams returns, the offense was mediocre on its own. Something about the NE environment makes him successful there, but he’s not been able to replicate that elsewhere.

              • Scott Lemieux

                Well, in fairness, the best playcalling in the world isn’t going to make Kyle Orton or (as we’ve now seen twice) Sam Bradford look good. I’d hire him as an OC. But a head coach? No way.

                • CrunchyFrog

                  Compare his season in StL to the ones just before and just after with largely the same personnel.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Looking it up, you have a good point. Bradford did regress under McDaniels.

      • Nobdy

        Coughlin is the second best Giants coach of the modern era, and as an organization the Giants tend to be relatively loyal (at least for an NFL team.) I could see them giving him another year, especially after the team’s offense performed well this year.

        The real question I have is why coughlin doesn’t ride into the sunset? It’s clear the giants are going to need to rebuild their defense, and Coughlin will be 70 before the next season starts. He has his Superbowls, his son-in-law is no longer on the team, he’s rich and will be fondly remembered. He should let someone else take a crack at making something of the last couple years of Eli Manning’s career, and Odell Beckham’s rookie contract. Instead it seems like Coughlin is willing to tarnish his legacy chasing a third Superbowl and the hall of fame, and will have to be fired.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Yeah, the Giants would be crazy to bring him back. We’ve had this debate with LeBeau, but while Coughlin was certainly an excellent coach in his prime, he’ll be 70 next year and he’s coming off four non-playoff years, three of them with losing records. It’s time for the Giants to move on.

          • howard

            in all honesty, the giants are run the way i would try and run a football team, with a tremendously high value placed on stability, and they’ve been pretty much running the same basic approach since they hired george young in 1979.

            but jerry reese has now had enough years to prove that he’s not a good personnel evaluator and although i think that coughlin remains a good motivator, the reality is that, as his predecessor and mentor, parcells, always said, “you are what your record says you are,” and coughlin’s record says he’s no longer a top coach.

            so i think the giants should – doubt they will, but should – go against type and replace gm and coach at the same time for the first time since bringing in young.

          • Nobdy

            I think Coughlin is overrated even before the recent problems. He did well in Jacksonville with an expansion team, true, but he was by all accounts a pretty terrible person there, not just in a “players didn’t like his tough guy personality” way but in a “he ignored doctors suggestions and put hurt players on the field to get hurt even more” way. I believe Tony Boselli blames Coughlin for cutting short his career, for example.

            He didn’t have those kinds of problems with the Giants, but his teams have been inconsistent at best.

            He had two streaky improbable Super Bowl runs. Those paper over a lot of other issues. I’m not saying he was terrible, terrible coaches don’t win two Super Bowls under any circumstances, or lead expansion teams to decent records, but I do consider him overrated.

            And whatever he’s doing with the Giants now just isn’t working. Sometimes even with a good coach a team stops responding for whatever reason and it’s time to part ways.

            • CrunchyFrog

              Agree with this and Howard’s comment above.

          • CJColucci

            I’m agnostic about giving Coughlin one more year or canning him (and Reese, too) unless I have some idea of the alternatives. For the past few years, it has been the same story, and Coughlin is obviously not the team’s future. So what I wonder is if well-run teams keep their eyes on candidates for their next (with any luck) long-term coaching (or GM) hire and make decisions based on the availability of people on their lists? Does the fate of someone in Coughlin’s position depend more on the availability of someone on the team’s wish list than it does on Coughlin himself?

      • Lord Jesus Perm

        IMO, Jerry Reese deserves to go even more than Coughlin does. He’s assembled a pretty shit roster. particularly on defense. Skill positions outside of ODB aren’t much better.

        • Nobdy

          The defense is an unforgivable disaster, but in terms of skill positions a lot of the problem is injuries. It’s always bad to draft a running back with the first pick, but David Wilson’s neck issue wasn’t necessarily predictable, and then he gave a huge contract to Victor Cruz (which wasn’t totally unreasonable given Cruz’s production) only to have Cruz’s body give in. Every team deals with injuries, but Reese has been pretty unlucky recently.

          • howard

            i do agree that the giants have had unnaturally high injury probems. i don’t have time to relocate now, but either pro football focus or pro football outsider ran a metric this off-season about injury impact, a fairly deep look at the subject, and the giants had the worst injury problems in the league in both 2013 and 2014.

            however, that said, i don’t think that the basic talent level of draft choices in the reese era has been high enough, and there have been very few late-round pleasant surprises or free agents out of nowhere (although admittedly, one victor cruz, healthy, was plenty in that regard).

          • efgoldman

            Every team deals with injuries, but Reese has been pretty unlucky recently.

            The Pats are now down to their fourth or fifth (I’ve lost count) left tackle. The free agent guy off the street got hurt.

      • MaureenDowdsLudes

        I hear Sean Payton may be available.

      • efgoldman

        It seems incredible they’d keep Coughlin, but the question is, what coaching talent will be on the market for 2016?

        I wonder if Coughlin will just retire, regardless of what the team wants.

    • efgoldman

      To go 8-8 (I assume they rest their starters next week and lose a meaningless game) with below-average talent, decimated by bad free agency and draft decisions

      Not to mention a stupid, overbearing owner who thinks he knows more about football than the alleged professionals he hires. That trick never works.

      • CrunchyFrog

        I thought it was clearly understood who was behind that long reign of error.

  • CrunchyFrog

    It’s possible that the NFC playoff seeds could be fixed by end of day today, which would almost certainly be the first time that’s ever happened with a week to go and would be interesting on a number of fronts, such as seeing the impact on the playoffs when everyone gets a “rest” week and seeing the impact on TV ratings.

    They key for this to happen is that Green Bay has to win the North, which happens this week only if they beat AZ and Minnesota loses to NYG – pretty unlikely that both happen, but possible. Then add in Seattle beating the StL/LA Rams and the seeds are set. Atl is eliminated by the Seattle win, and the AZ loss gives Carolina #1. Seeds would be: Car, AZ, GB, Wash, Sea, Minn.

    Similarly, it’s possible that tonight’s SNF game is virtually meaningless – the first time that’s happened since flex scheduling was introduced in 2007. NYG is already eliminated, and if GB loses to AZ then regardless of what happens tonight GB and Minn would play next week for the division title, with a tie next week giving GB the division. The exception would be if both Atl beat Car and StL beat Sea – in that case Atlanta would still be alive to steal the final wildcard from Minn, so they’d need to play for that reason. The NFL could have avoided this by simply flexing GB-AZ into the SNF slot, but since AZ played last week they rolled the dice and hoped NYG would still be alive now.

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      The Falcons were *5-0!/ 6-1*!

    • MDrew

      No, if Green Bay wins then they can take the 2 seed from Arizona with an Arizona loss & GB win next week.

      • CrunchyFrog

        Oh, good point.

        • MDrew

          Hard to keep that one in mind, it seems so implausible the way the season has gone. But it’s really very much in play. I’d even say mildly likely if both games weren’t in Arizona with such high stakes.

          That said, the bye has never seemed to help the Packers all that much in the playoffs. They could definitely use it this year, though.

    • efgoldman

      such as seeing the impact on the playoffs when everyone gets a “rest” week and seeing the impact on TV ratings.

      Nothing will be clinched in Phantasy Phootball, though.

  • Fighting Words

    The saddest part of this post is that, from the perspective of a 49ers fan this season, the Eagles actually look like a competent, well run organization (hell, even the Raiders look like a competent, well run organization!).

    • sparks

      It’s why I have and will continue to call them The York Disaster. Harbaugh was an optical illusion. The team’s fortunes may change when the York family sells it. I really believe (if I’m allowed the intersport solecism) they’re the Wilpons of the west.

      • Scott Lemieux

        When there’s a power struggle between Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh and you side with the former, as a Seahawks fan all I can say is HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

        • Watching the 49ers implode by the week in the offseason was the only thing cutting the bad taste in my mouth from the Super Bowl.

          • Pseudonym

            I was never a close follower of football but started paying attention when Harbaugh was coaching Luck at my alma mater, and it turned me back into a 49ers fan for a few too-brief years there. My loyalties are not strong, however, and I have no problem rooting for fellow alum Richard Sherman.

        • Linnaeus

          I’m very pleased that it went the way it did, but for reasons in addition to benefiting the Seahawks.

          • Philip

            +1

        • CrunchyFrog

          I wonder if the hiring of Harbaugh, which was so uncharacteristic of the York Niners, was because they needed to build credibility to get the funding needed for Levis stadium. The stadium vote was passed in June 2010 but the funding wasn’t secured until near the end of 2011 – after Harbaugh had established them as legit super bowl contenders in his first year.

          With stadium built they decided to go back to their trusted way of doing things.

          • ColBatGuano

            I think Harbaugh was hired because he was a successful coach at Stanford thus giving him legitimacy in Bay area. That and the fact that his brother had been fairly good at Baltimore. Still just sheer luck that he turned out to be that good.

            • Phil Perspective

              It helped that Jim Harbaugh was an NFL QB too, don’t forget. So he wasn’t your average college coach coming into the NFL clueless.

              • drkrick

                Look how well that worked with Spurrier.

              • ColBatGuano

                Nick Saban was an assistant coach in the NFL.

  • timb

    My problems with the baseball steroid scandal was more about how a) that conduct wasn’t against the rules and b) writers made huge generalizations with barely any proof.

    However, these allegations are serious in that HGH use violates the rules. There’s no gray area or “well, the Pats are smart to break minor rules” thing; this is an allegation of cheating. As such, there should be an investigation as to whether the crook here is a liar or a drug dealer

    • Denverite

      I’ve long thought that punishing athletes for using a drug that promotes recovery from injury to help recover from injury is exceedingly silly. They’re not using a foreign substance to get stronger or faster. They’re using it to get healthy after injury. In the western world we have a word for that. We call it “medicine.”

      • ThrottleJockey

        You’ve just described muscle rebuilding. Every time you exercise you damage muscle which is rebuilt by your body bigger and stronger. Hence, you can see why HGH should be restricted.

        Playing through–or not playing through (cough, cough, Tiger Woods)–injury and illness is part of the game. Who doesn’t remember Michael Jordan scoring 38 points in the Flue Game? For me at least its among the Top 5 Most Memorable Sports Moments.

        He remembers waking up in the middle of the night, sweating profusely, shaking, and feeling as if he was going to die. “I was scared; I didn’t know what was happening to me,” Michael Jordan would say.

        At first, he thought it was a nightmare. Then he realized it was real, that he was seriously ill. “I felt partially paralyzed,” he would later say.

        When he lifted himself up from his bed in his Utah hotel room, his head began spinning. He’d never been so nauseated before. He feared that somehow, some way, someone had slipped some kind of drug in something he ate.

        It was the middle of the night in Salt Lake City, an off day between Games 4 and 5. The series was tied, 2-2, following Utah’s second consecutive win, but how in the world could Jordan play in this condition in Game 5?

        Jordan called the Bulls’ medical personnel, which came rushing to his room. They determined that he was suffering from food poisoning or an intestinal stomach virus. “There’s no way you’ll be able to play Game 5,” Jordan was told.

        Jordan remains in bed for the next 24 hours, missing the Bulls’ morning practices the day before and the day of Game 5. He had lost several pounds. He was dehydrated. Then, at 3 p.m., just three hours before tip-off, Jordan rose from his hotel bed and dragged himself to the Delta Center.

        • CrunchyFrog

          You know, speaking of conspiracy theories (as we have done in other threads), one topic that interests me are sports food poisonings. Seems three big ones came in a cluster: The 1995 Rugby World Cup Final, the 1998 World Cup Final, and the 1997 NBA final. Two of them got the desired result – the upset. The other one failed because … Jordan.

        • Captain Oblivious

          There’s substantial scientific evidence that HGH does not make you stronger than you would be if you healed normally. One study found that it made sprinters 4% faster but otherwise had no effects. Another study found anti-aging effects in elderly men. Otherwise, no one has found any performance-enhancing benefits to using HGH.

          Search for “does HGH make you stronger” and you’ll find all the links.

          I can see a 4% increase in short-distance speed as a legit reason to ban the use of HGH in the NFL. I’m just pointing out that the belief that it adds muscle mass and strength beyond the individual’s natural capacity is not supported by the available studies.

          • Nobdy

            Injury recovery is a significant benefit in sports, especially the NFL where everyone is always playing injured and being injury free is often the difference between a crappy team and a championship contender.

            If HGH were legal then pretty much everyone in the NFL would have to use it to remain competitive. Then everyone in college would use it and it would filter down.

            The real issue with HGH is not much whether it makes you stronger but whether it’s safe enough to permit that kind of arms race. The answer to my knowledge is that we just aren’t sure.

            Are we willing to say that using HGH is a de facto requirement if you want to be a pro football player?

            • Scott Lemieux

              Are we willing to say that using HGH is a de facto requirement if you want to be a pro football player?

              I’d have to say that is we’re being risk-averse about the health of NFL players, this would be an…odd place to draw the line. “We aren’t 100% sure that HGH is 100% safe! So take a Cortisone shot and 5 Percocets and get out there and get your head smashed repeatedly.”

              • tsam

                I feel like this would be a lot of fun for a few minutes.

              • Linnaeus

                I used to live next door to an ex-NFL player. What you describe is pretty much standard practice, according to what he said.

              • Captain Oblivious

                Yeah, I’m a little reluctant to make the argument that we should be worrying about the long-term effects of HGH on highly-paid professional athletes.

                On the other hand, I saw a study (can’t find the link to that one), which suggested that while HGH promoted more rapid healing, the result were inferior to natural healing — IIRC, the muscle tissue was not as dense, or something like that. So if this study is correct, HGH could theoretically result in more injuries in the long term, with players rushing back and getting reinjured at a higher frequency.

                I’m not keen on legalizing HGH in pro sports without having more research on both short- and long-term effects. I think most pro athletes understand the risk of injury, but allowing HGH introduces unknown risks, and like Nobdy says, it would effectively remove the choice of some athletes as to whether to use it when injured. And you know the coaches and trainers will pressure them to do just that.

                • Pseudonym

                  It seems like “legalizing” HGH in pro sports would be a bit premature when it’s not actually legal under U.S. law for that use, but I’m not familiar with how well league rules follow the law or whether that’s considered relevant at all.

            • efgoldman

              Then everyone in college would use it and it would filter down.

              Just think of the children.

              • joe from Lowell

                They’d be enormous!

        • Pseudonym

          You’ve just described muscle rebuilding. Every time you exercise you damage muscle which is rebuilt by your body bigger and stronger. Hence, you can see why HGH should be restricted.

          HGH should be restricted because it promotes muscle rebuilding? Are you being sarcastic?

          Playing through–or not playing through (cough, cough, Tiger Woods)–injury and illness is part of the game. Who doesn’t remember Michael Jordan scoring 38 points in the Flue Game? For me at least its among the Top 5 Most Memorable Sports Moments.

          Are you seriously suggesting that we should conspire to keep sports players more sick and injured than necessary just for our entertainment?

      • timb

        But, the rules are the rules, lawyer guy. Breaking actual rules comes with penalties

        • Pseudonym

          is-ought fallacy

          • timb

            There ought to be no investigation into allegations re breaking of rules is a fallacy?

    • CrunchyFrog

      Agree, requires investigation. You’ll recall that many of the baseball steroid users got their start looking for something to improve their recovery from injury – Bonds, McGwire, Clemens. Once started, of course, they kept using because of the performance improvement.

      Similarly, if HGH is thought to be something that could help with a neck injury like Manning had, then him taking some in 2011 is certainly plausible. Consider the context: With less than three weeks to go before the start of the 2011 season Manning and Indy both thought he’d be ready by opening day. At worst, they figured, he’d miss the first week or two. Indy didn’t have the QB depth chart that they would have if they’d expected Manning might miss the entire season. Manning’s delays kept getting pushed out a week or two at a time. They healing progress the medical staff expected just didn’t happen. Eventually, it became doubtful whether he could every play again.

      In that context I could see trying HGH – if it was something thought likely to help with the recovery. Remember, many of the performance enhancing drugs that are illegal in pro sports are routine pharmaceuticals for injury and surgery recoveries.

      • timb

        Using my rudimentary knowledge of medicine (from hundreds of disability hearings), his neck injury was one I could get a 50 year old warehouse worker disability benefits. It was an amazingly terrible injury. His recovery was shocking.

        Again, cortisone is legal (rules wise) and it helps recovery. But, HGH is against the rules, so using it is wrong (w/i the confines of the game)

        PS I also should mention that I dislike Manning intensely, because I’m a contrarian from Indianapolis

      • ThrottleJockey

        How would manage such a system? Let’s say you made HGH legal for the purposes of injury recovery but made it illegal for the purposes of general physical improvement. How would you know who was using it legitimately to recover from a specific injury and who was using it for general physical recovery? Are you going to take their doctor’s word for it? The doctor they and their teams pay? Or are you going to use your own doctors and make them read through all the reports the teams’ and players’ doctors submit to them insisting that Peyton Manning’s neck will fall off unless he takes HGH?

        I don’t see many good reasons to legalize HGH in sports.

        • CrunchyFrog

          Oh, to clarify I didn’t suggest it should be legal. I just said I could see someone in that situation trying it out.

          I’m also not saying that I think he did or didn’t – just pointing out that’s it’s a plausible scenario IF (and only IF) HGH could help with that kind of injury.

        • Denverite

          How would you know who was using it legitimately to recover from a specific injury and who was using it for general physical recovery? Are you going to take their doctor’s word for it? The doctor they and their teams pay? Or are you going to use your own doctors and make them read through all the reports the teams’ and players’ doctors submit to them insisting that Peyton Manning’s neck will fall off unless he takes HGH?

          There are a crapload of conditions for which we do precisely this. Adderall is illegal in most sports unless you get a doctor to say you have ADHD. Hypothyroid medicine is illegal unless a doctor says you have hypothyroidism.

        • BubbaDave

          If I were going to allow HGH for injury recovery the rule would go something like:

          A player is allowed to use HGH from the time he is placed on IR until a date one month before the first OTAs. A player is only allowed one HGH recovery every 3 years. The player’s injury records will be reviewed by a panel of three doctors, one team-supplied, one chosen by the NFL, and the third chosen by the state medical association; if that panel determines the injury is not appropriate for HGH treatment their decision is final and cannot be appealed.

  • Todd

    Last night was two tales, not just Kelly’s. Washington just has a better 53 man roster than the Eagles. They are bigger better disciplined and somewhat deeper team (Washington being among the lead leaders in games missed by starters due to injury). For the first time in 15 years, Washington hired a true GM, and the results were immediate. For the first time in a long time, the Eagles hired an inexperienced GM, and the results were immediate.

    • Scott Lemieux

      As reluctant as I am to praise Snyder for anything, McCloughan really was a fantastic hire.

      • Phil Perspective

        As reluctant as I am to praise Snyder for anything, McCloughan really was a fantastic hire.

        If McCloughan has solved his personal issues, absolutely. If so, it’s the best decision Danny Boy has ever made.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I’d rather have McCloughan drunk than a lot of GMs sober.

          • drkrick

            The people who’ve worked with him drunk didn’t seem to think so. But I’m only giving Snyder credit for signing off on someone else’s decision to bring him in.

  • MaureenDowdsLudes

    I don’t get the whole Chip Kelly thing. I get he excelled at Oregon but has he really been much above replacement level in the pros?

    • brewmn

      New to this blog, are we?

    • joe from Lowell

      Scott is not a big fan of the glowing reviews Chip Kelly received for his off-season moves. The all-caps part is little bit sarcastic.

    • Scott Lemieux

      has he really been much above replacement level in the pros?

      As a coach? Sure — he won 20 games in 2 seasons with Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez. As a GM? He’s need a telescope to see replacement level.

      • MaureenDowdsLudes

        Didn’t Rex Ryan go to consecutive title games with Sanchise? Playing in a division with a team quarterbacked by a guy many (not me) consider to be the qiuarterbackingest quarterback to ever quarterback? And coached by Sith Lord Belichick? Rex Ryan’s clock management skills make Jason Garrett look like Jimmy Johnson. And Kelly did have LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson. The Giants, Cowboys, and racist foreskins, were a sad collection of dumpster fires as well. I guess I don’t see those 10 wins as being evidence of anything other than basic competence. Which, in the current NFC East, is enough I suppose. I understand the SUPERGENIUS is snark, but I’m not even seeing plain old genius. Maybe he’d be a better OC.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Ryan did a good job overall in New York. I will post on this eventually, but I’m surprised he was as bad as he was in Buffalo.

          • efgoldman

            I’m surprised he was as bad as he was in Buffalo.

            I wasn’t. On-filed discipline (dumb penalties, freelancing) have been a constant wherever he’s been. With the Ravens he had enough great players to overcome it. Not so much with the J-E-T-S, and exactly the wrong players in Buffalo.

            • Scott Lemieux

              The lack of on-field discipline was entirely predictable. Ryan turning an elite defense into a below-average one really wasn’t.

          • CrunchyFrog

            Ryan did a good job overall in New York. I will post on this eventually, but I’m surprised he was as bad as he was in Buffalo.

            His first year in NY was similar. A good start, lots of hype, tougher as the season got on. The difference was that in 2009 they had a more talented defense to start with and ended up 9-7, backing into the playoffs the week after Ryan declared they were eliminated. Once there he got two close playoff wins against Lewis’ Bengals and Turner’s Chargers – two teams known for letdowns in playoffs. The end result exaggerated how well the team did. Qualitatively, 2015 Buffalo isn’t as good but it isn’t that different in context.

            2010 was the one special year for Rex Ryan. 11-5, two impressive wins over recent super bowl teams Indy and New England, before falling at Pittsburgh by only 5 points.

            Let’s see how next year goes, and whether Rex lets it descend into chaos after that like he did in NYJ.

            • efgoldman

              whether Rex lets it descend into chaos

              Seems to me he started at chaos and is watching it go downhill from there.

            • Scott Lemieux

              was that in 2009 they had a more talented defense to start with

              This just isn’t true. The Bills were a top 3 defense last year for noted SUPERGENIUS Jim Schwartz. He had considerably more talent to work with in Buffalo than he ever had in Jersey. The key problem is that he was still scheming as if his front 4 couldn’t generate a pass rush on its own.

              • CrunchyFrog

                I stand corrected – misremembered. Hmmm. Yeah, looking up some stuff again, Ryan did underperform this year relative to what I would have expected for him based on his first year in NY. Can’t even blame strength-of-schedule, as his division faced the two worst divisions on the planet this year in the AFC South and NFC East.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  And what’s really weird is the way they’ve underperformed. Really, the underlying performance of the team has been pretty similar to the previous year (13th in DVOA vs. 9th). But that’s misleading in that the Bills were able to get average or better QB play from the free talent pile, a near miracle, which partly covered up the complete and inexplicable collapse of the defence. That Ryan failed in this way is deeply strange — he really does have a good record as a defensive coach.

                • Denverite

                  and inexplicable collapse of the defence

                  Out of curiosity, I know this is the British spelling — which way do Canadians spell it?

                • Hogan
                • CrunchyFrog

                  I don’t know any example where Canada chooses the American spelling over the British.

                • Linnaeus

                  I don’t know any example where Canada chooses the American spelling over the British.

                  Canadian spelling does take the “z” in some words where British takes the “s”, e.g., civilize/civilise.

      • MaureenDowdsLudes

        Also, on my phone here, and the only way I am able to reply to a specific comment in the thread is to switch from mobile to desktop site. Is this a bug or a feature? Is there a hack I am unaware of?

        • I think that is a long-term problem with the mobile site.

          • Pseudonym

            Do you have developers on retainer? Or maybe you could give some former coal miners an opportunity to fix this?

  • Morse Code for J

    As a Colts fan, I sincerely hope that we lose today and foreclose any possibility of Andrew Luck being paralyzed from the neck down in a Wild Card game we can’t win. I also hope that Ryan Grigson is fired and replaced with somebody who understands what the team’s needs are (e.g., not first-round WRs or draft picks traded for another team’s failed RB).

    • CrunchyFrog

      Indy needs both a new GM and coaching staff. After the first year with Arians, Luck’s talent hid a lot of deficiencies in both the coaches and the talent level. Probably the same could be said of Manning’s time in Indy.

  • MDrew

    It’s a good day for Tom Brady.

  • EliHawk

    In non-NFL smart football news, last night in the pinstripe bowl an announcer actually advocated going for it on 4th and 1 instead of kicking the field goal to get the points. Tied 34-34, Duke had 4th and 1 on the Indiana 18 with 6 minutes to go, and decided to go for it instead of taking the 3 points to break the tie. And was promptly stuffed. Yet the color commentator said it was the right call, you have a good offense, would have probably made it, and need points in the shootout. In the end it didn’t kill Duke (Indiana marched down and scored, Duke tied it again at 41-41 w/ a minute to go, won in OT), but still, I was amazed at someone not going for the knee jerk “Take the points” and not backing down on their call after they didn’t convert.

    • MDrew

      What did anyone think about that final FGA?

      • erick

        I thought that since the cameras are all at angles there wasn’t a definitive view

        • EliHawk

          Same, though I also think that in 2015, it shouldn’t be hard to have lasers in the uprights or a chip in the football so you don’t have that problem. If they have goal line technology in soccer and tennis, shouldn’t be that hard for football.

          • efgoldman

            If they have goal line technology in soccer and tennis, shouldn’t be that hard for football.

            They have goal line cameras in most major college broadcasts. The NFL owners just don’t want to spend the extra $ per game. After all, when you’re making billions, you want to max out to the eighth decimal place.

          • witlesschum

            I think an easier, probably cheaper solution is to just mandate taller posts. I saw a few people suggest they just make it a rectangle, which would be weirdly fun.

    • Captain Oblivious

      You also have a college FG kicker. Even from the 18 it’s no gimme for a college kicker.

  • Pretzalcoatl
  • joe from Lowell

    The Jets’ line play has been great, on both sides of the ball.

    I always admired that decision to spend both 1st round picks on offensive linemen.

    • CrunchyFrog

      The Jets are a very solid team overall. Impressive win today.

      • Joe_JP

        along with the Steelers loss, they were happy enough to suggest the Pats wanted to kick off in OT

  • MaureenDowdsLudes

    No one should be fired as long as Jason Garrett still has a job. Been a Cowboy fan my entire life and he is far and away the shittiest coach in team history. I’m including Chan Gaily and Dave Campo. I wish I could perform my job that poorly, for so long, and still stay employed.

    • CrunchyFrog

      The problem with assessing Garrett is a coach is that we don’t know how many of his “decisions” are actually made by Jerry Jones. From early on Jones was questioning and arguing with Jimmy Johnson’s decisions, to the point that Johnson almost quit after the first super bowl. The flunkies Jones hired after Johnson quit were guys he paid salaries far below league average – this was the “there are 500 guys who coach the Cowboys” era. All those coaches were lucky to be given a chance to be head coach and just had to put up with Jones interference. Then Jones made the conscious decision to step back and let Parcells run things. After Parcells left Jones got back into it again with Phillips, but he saved the intense meddling for Garrett.

      Garrett was practically raised in Cowboy-land. He has some backup QB experience for a few other teams, and a couple years of QB coach experience in Miami, but all his experience with NFL management is in Dallas. Maybe that’s why he apparently lets Jones hire the assistant coaches, decide who starts, decide who does the play calling, etc.

      Given that I think that firing Garrett doesn’t get you anything, unless Jones falls in love with some coaching star and is willing to give up a lot of power to land him – which he’s said he won’t do again. Best bet is he’d promote Linehan or Marinelli to that role – you might want to look up their HC records.

      • MaureenDowdsLudes

        Jones has done exactly two good things since buying the Cowboys: Fire Tom Landry and hire Jimmy Johnson. The rest is just one big dumpster fire inside a tire fire.

        • CrunchyFrog

          Hiring Deon probably was necessary to get them that last Super Bowl. At the time there was some criticism about overpaying but the on-field performance justified it.

          On the down side (if you are a Cowboys fan), after Jones won that bet he became addicted and kept rolling the dice on big name free agents and losing.

          The Parcells hire also wasn’t bad.

          And has GM he’s been mediocre, but not horrible (and there are lots of examples of horrible). He’s regularly accumulated replacement level talent at a reasonable depth to get the team to an average record, and occasionally had a really good draft pick.

  • MaureenDowdsLudes

    Hell, I’ll even take Chip Kelly over Garrett.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Chip Kelly with Romo and Bryant would actually have a chance to be a top 3 offense.

      • Denverite

        For the eight games Romo plays.

        • MaureenDowdsLudes

          If only he would last eight.

      • drkrick

        Before he gets rid of both of them.

        • CrunchyFrog

          In exchange for Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden. Or was that the other SUPERGENIUS from the Northwest?

        • MaureenDowdsLudes

          And Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith.
          This is in reply to drkrick.

      • CrunchyFrog

        Per my previous comment I don’t think Kelly would tolerate working for Jerry Jones, who I very much doubt would give Kelly the same latitude he gave Parcells.

  • Scott Lemieux

    Thank God for Tom Cable, offensive line SUPERGENIUS.

    • The Rams hold some sort of special Seahawks kryptonite.

      • CrunchyFrog

        Too bad for Rams fans (both of them) that Fischer can’t win against anyone else consistently.

        Hey, if they do move and they don’t fire Mr. Mediocre, he’ll probably the only head coach to move with two franchises.

        • Epsilon

          Really? Don’t Rams fans have it bad enough without having to be accused of not existing?

          Never has a fanbase been treated so poorly in so many ways. Being expected to stomach probably the worst ten-plus years of football in the history of the league all while being totally ignored while their shitbag nominally “local” owner torpedoes a purchase by a real owner so he can try to ship them back to a huge media market they already left?

          At least the Browns fans have no threat of having this version of their franchise moved for no good reason other than maximizing a multi-billionaire’s “Capitalism: The Game” high score.

          • CrunchyFrog

            My apologies – was meant as a joke, not an insult. Mostly figured the local fans are already giving up, but apparently not. No, they don’t deserve this treatment. The idea that a taxpayer-funded stadium is obsolete after 20 years is something only American billionaire sports owners believe.

    • LosGatosCA

      Cardinals got 8 sacks on Rodgers today.

      Cable’s super genius powers will be sorely tested against them next week, if Panthers lose in their earlier game.

      • CrunchyFrog

        Without Aaron Rodgers the Packers are a sub-.500 team. Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy have been coasting for a long time on the back of an all-time great QB, giving him a mediocre supporting cast (no matter how many products Clay Matthews fronts).

        The AZ defense looked positively 1985 Bear-esque today, but against a real offensive line next week they’ll probably just be very good.

        • The AZ defense looked positively 1985 Bear-esque today, but against a real offensive line next week they’ll probably just be very good.

          Well, they are playing Seattle’s offensive line….

      • Philip

        I was half-watching that game, and it was really just painful to watch. Practically every time he dropped back it seemed like the o-line just collapsed.

    • ColBatGuano

      Yeah, that was some painful stuff by the Seahawks today. Although I don’t think you can blame Cable for those two snaps, one 12 feet in the air over Wilson’s head and the other a ground ball through the infield.

  • Lord Jesus Perm

    Not sure how Todd Gurley only has four carries unless he’s hurt.

    Also, Fred Jackson’s still in the league?

  • drkrick

    I’m leaning toward the criminal being a liar.

    The informant, a Mr. Sly (is this a Dickens story?), has recanted the whole thing publicly and told AJ it wasn’t true before they released the piece (echoes of the Rolling Stone UVA rape debacle). Sly says that he was approached by a guy claiming to want to get into the PED business, and that because he wasn’t sure the guy was on the level fed him a line of bs to see if he would know enough to call Sly on it or not. That guy turned out to be AJ’s “undercover reporter.” If that’s their only source, it’s a problem

    In addition, the Guyer Institute, where Sly was supposed to be working as a pharmacist in 2011 when this was happening, has already documented that Sly didn’t work there until 2013, and as a pharmacist intern, not a pharmacist.

    • CrunchyFrog

      This certainly is the information that is being sent out in response by the NFL, Indy, Peyton, and the other players and teams mentioned.

      Too early to tell. This version of events is entirely plausible. AJ has already reasserted that they confirmed the 2011 employment date for Sly, so it’s not going uncontested.

    • marduk

      I was leaning that way too until the Manning team (and Manning) went with the “I’m outraged about these lies and how dare you ask about my wife’s private medical need for -cough- argle bargle -cough- which is totally private and none of your business!?!”

      Because I’m sure there are totally legitimate reasons Payton Manning’s wife is getting regular HGH treatments in the mail, right?

      • Linnaeus

        I thought that the Manning connection was the weakest part of the Al Jazeera report, but I also wondered why Manning, who has access to some of the best medical care possible, would go to an anti aging clinic to treat a neck injury.

  • CrunchyFrog

    The discussion about next week’s game flexing is going on now behind closed doors. First they have to decide who goes on SNF. Second they have to figure which games get moved to the 2nd time slot. The latter is done to assure that later games aren’t affected by playoff positioning information learned from earlier games.

    The blatantly obvious choice for next week’s SNF is GB vs Minn for the division title, but apparently Fox is lobbying to have them take Buffalo vs NYJ on the grounds that NYJ probably won’t have a wildcard clinched (but they might) and that Rex vs his old team will be enough of a national attraction anyway. Hoping Fox loses this one – it was their whining that gave us NYG/Minn tonight instead of GB/AZ.

    For the timeslot 2 flexing, hoping they move Car/TB to the second period, otherwise AZ benefits from knowing whether Car wins. On the AFC side if Denver loses tomorrow (shudder) that opens up all kinds of options in the wildcard, so probably worth moving the Pit/Cle and NYJ/Buf games to the second timeslot as well.

    • CrunchyFrog

      Looks like the did the right thing. GB-Minn on SNF. TB-Car flexed late, as is Oak-KC (as the AFC West title will be in play whether Denver wins or not tonight). If Denver loses they may consider moving the NYJ and Pit games later as well.

      Of course, if Denver’s D can’t shut down Cincy’s backup QB after all of the hype (ahem, Denverite) this year then Denver might as well just mail it in against SD next week anyway, and save themselves another losing road playoff game.

  • Joe_JP

    So, the Pats wanted to kick off? Um okay.

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/14446123/bill-belichick-new-england-patriots-says-matthew-slater-followed-instructions-defer-ot-possession

    Don’t quite believe it but hey it worked okay either way.

    • Denverite

      There’s a decent story to tell about how Belichik was indifferent to winning that game, especially once he saw the Pittsburgh score.

      • CrunchyFrog

        I doubt it – they really would loved to have clinched #1 and rested players next week plus the bye week.

        It’s always dangerous to parse the stories too closely, since reporters so often get things wrong, but a pretty clear picture is emerging in this case that should result in yet another adjustment to the OT coin flip protocol. Before the official ceremony the Referee talked to Belichick directly who indicated that he would, indeed, let the other team kick in order to choose the side with the wind. The team captain confirmed this with Belichick multiple times.

        The problem was the way the conversation went after they won the flip. Before the game it’s understood that each team will get the chance to receive to start one of the halfs, so if you just say “we’ll kick” then as receiving team you get to choose the side to receive on. But for OT you get a choice of either choosing who kicks off OR choosing sides.

        In the 1962 AFL Championship game, which went to OT, Abner Haynes of the Dallas Texans infamously said “We’ll kick to the clock” when he won the toss, electing to take the strong winds over the ball. But the first words “We’ll kick” were his choice, so the Oilers were then given the choice of sides and thus received with the wind. As it turned out, neither team scored in the first OT quarter and Dallas scored in the second OT with the wind.

        Similarly, but with an interesting twice, yesterday the Ref, knowing Belichick’s choice, asked the captain “You’ll kick, right”. This prompted him to say he would, but that also meant that NYJ was given the choice of sides. It’s not clear if the captain makes this error without the prompting from the Ref. Which is why I think a protocol change is likely to follow.

        • Denverite

          Something similar happened when I was playing Pee Wee football as a kid. Our captains had the bright idea that we wanted the ball to start the second half, so when they won the toss, they elected to kick, thinking that meant the other team got to kick in the second half. Our irate coach informed them that it didn’t work that way.

          In any event, I’m sure you’re right, but it definitely worked out in the Pats’ favor in that I’m sure they’d much rather have the Jets as the second wildcard than the Steelers.

          • CrunchyFrog

            In any event, I’m sure you’re right, but it definitely worked out in the Pats’ favor in that I’m sure they’d much rather have the Jets as the second wildcard than the Steelers.

            That seeding is so uncertain that I can’t imagine it was any factor at all. I think if you’re the Pats you figure they key is getting the conference championship at home, regardless of opponent. You might be surprised to learn that only 6 of their 23 playoff games (excluding super bowls) have been on the road this century. It seems that they do make home field a priority.

            • Denverite

              That seeding is so uncertain that I can’t imagine it was any factor at all.

              The Steelers would be the #6 seed in most outcomes, meaning that if they won their first round game, the #1 seed would get them no matter what.

              • CrunchyFrog

                But no way do they try to lose, giving up the first seed and a needed break next week, in order to to avoid playing a team who *might* be the second seed *if* that team wins the wildcard. Knowing all the while that if the team is that dangerous they’ll probably still meet them in the conference championship.

                That doesn’t even begin to discuss their huge advantage at home in the playoffs versus the road, in terms of records during the current coach/QB era.

        • EliHawk

          Seeing “You’ll kick, right” makes me sad we didn’t get a bunch of confusion about which direction they’ll kick.

  • Pseudonym

    Speaking of the Seahawks’ lack of toxic masculinity…

  • witlesschum

    Jim Caldwell is showing worrying signs of saving his job. I can’t tell if he can coach at all or if it just helps to have Teryl Austin as your D coordinator.

    • CrunchyFrog

      As a fan of a losing team, one of your worst fears is that after the season is long gone it that the team rallies around the coach to end on a winning streak. Resulting in a another year of coaching mediocrity (or worse, a contract extension) and a worse draft position.

    • Linnaeus

      I have a hard time seeing the Lions actually being consistently successful in the regular season and winning more than one game in the playoffs as long as any of the Fords own the team.

      • CrunchyFrog

        Occasionally someone I know will ask if Ford makes decent cars. You know, someone who migrated to the US, has been buying mostly used imports, and is looking at a Ford.

        If that person is a football fan I point out that the Ford family has owned the Lions for generations. That usually ends the discussion.

        Now that I think about it, their decision to hire Microsoft to write their dashboard software is wonderfully like the Millen hire.

        • Linnaeus

          It would be one thing if the Lions’ lack of success could be explained by a series of bad business decisions. That happens all of the time, in professional sports or any other business. IMHO, though, the Fords don’t actually see the Lions as an NFL team so much as they regard it as a fiefdom. When you’re an aristocrat, part of your job is to own things, and they’re content with that.

          • CrunchyFrog

            Agree. It was mostly snark. However, it does same something about tolerating mediocrity for generation after generation.

            And having spent a lot of my youth working for a computer vendor in southeastern Michigan, I’d say that describes both the ownership of the Lions and the top management/directorship of the Big Three.

  • Thrax

    What’s scary for Eagles fans is that Bradford probably has been just good enough to be not good enough again next year.

    Maybe. Who’s the better available alternative, via free agency or the draft?

  • Gwen

    Congrats to the NFL on finally finding a way to make the AFC South almost exciting.

  • Thrax

    But the QBR — which adjusts for, inter alia, short yardage completions in garbage time that improve raw stats while contributing negative value to the team

    Overadjusts, I think you mean. How exactly a QB is supposed to complete a lot of long throws in garbage time against defenses that have only one job, namely not giving up long throws, has never been clear to me. I agree that a 10-yard throw when you’re down three scores is probably not going to win you the game, but throwing into triple coverage isn’t going to either.

    Bradford’s game against Washington (37/56, 380 yards, 1/0) had the same QBR as Jimmy Clausen against the Seahawks earlier this year (9/17 for 63, 0/0), or his own against Carolina (26/46 for 205, 0/1). (QBR, for what it’s worth, is not opponent-adjusted.) Most people would not view those as equivalent performances, and I’d side with most people. I’m not defending the NFL passer rating, which is pretty flawed as well, but I wouldn’t view QBR as gospel.

    (As for Bradford himself, he’s been OK in the second half of the season, when healthy. With a better line and fewer drops from his receivers, the available evidence suggests that he wouldn’t be a liability. I’d blame Kelly more for bad OL and WR moves than for Bradford as such.)

  • Denverite

    Looooooooooooooooooooommmmmmisssssssssssss

  • Denverite

    Looooooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmiiiiiiiiiiiisssssssssssssss

  • Denverite

    The Broncos just allowed 294 yards to the #5 offense by DVOA.

    Scott, this is a top 5 all-time defense. The burden is on you to argue otherwise by now, right?

    Seriously, what is the argument that the Seattle 2013 defense is better than this one? Scoreboard.

    • CrunchyFrog

      So how much did you drink this time? Did you not start watching until the second half?

      In the first half Denver couldn’t stop anything Cincy did. Something like 8/8 on 3rd downs, some 3rd and very long. No punts. They had 3 possessions (not counting kneel down at half) and the Broncos were lucky to get a Cincy incompletion and missed FG on the third. I was wondering if someone had added lead to the defenders shoes they looked so bad.

      Yes, they looked a lot better in the second half. They went to a zone and it confused the inexperienced QB. Even then some of their success was due to more conservative play calling by Cincy while they were ahead (unfortunately a trademark of Marvin Lewis) – when Cincy fell behind and needed the tying FG they got it, and if AJ Green doesn’t slow down on that one pass they probably get the TD.

      The final play, while super exciting and causing lots of cheering in this Bronco household, was sheer luck. Except for that the famed Broncos D caused zero turnovers.

      294 is misleading, both because there was a backup QB and because there were fewer than average possessions this game. The Broncos allowed 3 very time consuming drives in the first half, and their offense executed a few of those themselves in the second half.

      • Denverite

        I actually didn’t start watching until the second half. I had a kid’s basketball game to watch the first half.

        But still. I’m right, Scott’s wrong, and I’d like some acknowledgement of that.

    • Scott Lemieux

      the #5 offense by DVOA

      Obviously, the Broncos have an outstanding defense, but this is bad faith worthy of John Roberts himself.

      • Denverite

        Who was right and who was wrong?

        • Denverite

          Seriously. What all-time DVOA do the Broncos have to hit before you acknowledge that I was right? #1 since 1986? #2? #3? #4? (It’s tough to see them falling below #4.)

          “Denverite was right. I was wrong. No shame in that.” Go on.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I’ve already acknowledged that I underrated the Bronco defense at the beginning of the season. As for the ’13 Seahawks, talk to me at the end of the season. And, certainly, giving up 17 points at home to a C- QB prospect making his second pro start is not exactly compelling evidence of your point.

          • CrunchyFrog

            It would have been 17 points before halftime if the Cincy FG kicker doesn’t miss. This is not something the greatest defenses of all time did in games this critical this late in the seasons.

          • Denverite

            We’ll see next week. As of now, the Broncos defense is more-or-less 3.0 DVOA points better than the 2013 Seahawks. Like I said before, close-but-not-that-close. I’ll stand by that. This is a better defense, and it’s arguable but not close. DVOA.

            • That you are bragging about the Broncos “historic defense” defeating AJ McCarron and thus are better than the 13 Seahawks makes you look like an idiot.

              And you want scoreboard? Here’s one:

              Seattle 43
              Denver 8

              • Scott Lemieux

                Well, you do have to adjust for degree of difficulty. Peyton Manning is no AJ McCarron.

                • Denverite

                  DVOA adjusts for degree of difficulty.

                  And I would actually like some clarification. Where do the Broncos have to rank all-time by DVOA for there to be some acknowledgement that I’m right, and this is a(n) historically good defense? Is top five all-time good enough? #4? #3?

                • Scott Lemieux

                  DVOA adjusts for degree of difficulty

                  Imperfectly. For example, it will, like you, evaluate yesterday’s performance as if Denver was playing the #5 offense in the NFL rather than a C- prospect making his second pro start at QB. (Unlike you, it has an excuse.)

                  Where do the Broncos have to rank all-time by DVOA for there to be some acknowledgement that I’m right, and this is a(n) historically good defense?

                  As of now, it looks like it — we’ll see at the end of the season. Yesterday’s game, though, is neither her nor there in terms of this debate, and if anything is a point against the argument.

  • Denverite

    I CAN HAS MIC DROP NOW?

    • CrunchyFrog

      Stop now. Avoid the headache tomorrow.

    • ColBatGuano

      Wow, this is seriously dumb.

      The Broncos managed to defeat the Bengals in overtime at home against the second string QB and you want to crow about it? I can’t tell if you have a football problem or a drinking one.

    • junker

      Seriously dude, this is not a good look for you and you might want to avoid embarrassing yourself like this in the future,

  • MDrew

    !!

  • Pseudonym

    Kelly will apparently be back and with his track record I don’t think that’s a bad decision, but one would hope that he understands that he needs a lot of help putting the roster together.

    Well, so much for that!

    • Thrax

      The “sources say” at the ESPN story indicated that it was the product of Lurie telling Kelly he needed to give up GM duties. I can believe it would be tough to accept that demotion, but I think the best outcome would have been Kelly as coach and an experienced GM he can work with.

      Curious whether the new coach will give up on Bradford and start fresh with a rookie. Unfortunately, the 2016 QB class looks none too promising.

      • Thrax

        Also, I’d guess that Kelly will end up at Tennessee, unless someone else throws a *lot* of money at him.

It is main inner container footer text