Sunday, August 29, 2010

MMTMQR: AFCP (the P stands for Preview!)

Ohhhhh brother. Lordy. Get ready for more unsubstantiated bullshit (lots and lots of it), more complaints about how sometimes advertisers like to get the word out about their products before the products are available, and of course, plenty of smug comments about how people who claim to be psychic aren't actually psychic. On the other hand, there are no science fiction realism complaints in this week's AFC preview. Speaking of- the NFL season doesn't start for three weeks. CREEP! This information won't be relevant for nearly a month!

Thus you don't have to run the ball well to win at football. Increasingly, you can't run the ball even if you try -- because linemen are getting so big, there's steadily less room for running.

Unsubstantiated bullshit. The best kind, really- unsubstantiated bullshit that has a folksy, simpleton logic to it. Well gee there, y'know, if them boys cain't rush the ball no more, maybe that's cause them other boys tryin'a block for 'em and them other other boys tryin'a tackle dem is gettin' too big!

In 2008, only seven NFL teams rushed more often than they passed. In 2009, the number fell to just four -- Carolina, Cincinnati, Jersey/B and Tennessee. Maybe this is because, as the Football Outsiders website long has contended, establishing the pass has more tactical value (because of more yards gained per attempt) than establishing the run. Maybe it's because rules changes (no contact with the receiver after 5 yards, no head slaps by pass-rushers) encourage the forward pass. Or maybe it's because linemen are now so big.

Maybe it's because of these two other possible explanations that are based on actual thinking and logic- or maybe it's cause the durn players is 10% heavier than they used to be!

Needless to say, my favorite pick of the draft was Myron Rolle.

Fair, but it's also worth noting that your favorite players in any draft are those who are not picked at all. And are then cut from four teams before catching on somewhere.

Had Rolle declared for the 2009 draft, he probably would have gone in the second round. Instead, he took a year off from sports to study at Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship. Because of this decision, Rolle lasted until the sixth round -- NFL scouts and touts thought placing education over football made him weird. What it made him is smart!

Thank you, Rick Reilly.

Trent Edwards, likely to start at quarterback, seems a nice person. But he was 10-20 as a starter in college and is 14-17 in the pros.

Right- his record from college sucks because he went to Stanford before Jim Harbaugh taught them how to not be atrocious. But don't forget that VINCE YOUNG IS A WINNER. LIKE TEBOW. TEBOW IS THE NEW VINCE YOUNG, AND VINCE YOUNG IS THE SORT OF NEW CHARLIE WARD.

Last year, Edwards was the NFL's shortest passer in an ultraconservative offense, with only 11 percent of his pass attempts traveling more than 20 yards. Winning NFL teams -- New Orleans, Minnesota, Indianapolis,

Anyone else?

New Orleans --

Ah right. And Minnesota as well.

do not play ultraconservative, as the Bills have for several seasons.

Teams with awesome QBs tend to throw deep a lot. Maybe if Trent Edwards just starts throwing deep more, he will become as great as Manning or Brees or Favre or Brees.

Three years ago, the Giants faced a meaningless season-finale game against the Patriots, went all-out to win and nearly did; when the two teams met a month later in the playoffs, at the Super Bowl, the Giants prevailed. The gung-ho attitude showed in the meaningless final regular-season game surely was a factor. Last season, the Bengals faced a meaningless season-finale game against the Jets, rolled over, and the next week lost again to the Jets at home in the playoffs: two losses to Jersey/B in consecutive weeks, by a combined 61-14 score. Not trying to win that season-finale game surely was a factor in Cincinnati's early playoff exit.

Meanwhile, the Saints started 13-0, then lost their last three regular season games. In their week 17 regular season finale, Drew Brees didn't take a snap. And this surely was a factor in... something.

SI Swimsuit Count: Annually TMQ tallies the number of disrobed babes in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition: Somebody's got to do this!

You are a creep, and no one cares.

Cleveland Browns: What is it that new Browns president Mike Holmgren saw on tape of Jake Delhomme that no one else sees? Holmgren traded away Brady Quinn, passed on Tim Tebow and Jimmy Clausen in the draft,

And drafted Colt McCoy- but don't mention that, because it doesn't fit within the idea of this section.

and handed the Cleveland starting quarterback's job -- plus $7 million guaranteed in 2010 -- to Delhomme, who has thrown 35 interceptions over the past two seasons.

So that Colt McCoy wouldn't have to start as a rookie and throw 35 interceptions.

Denver Broncos: Talk about turbulence -- this was the second consecutive offseason of upheavel in Dove Valley. A year ago, Mike Shanahan was cashiered and Jay Cutler airmailed to Chicago; this year, two high-profile quarterbacks were brought in (Tebow and Quinn)

In what world is Brady Quinn still considered high-profile? Was this paragraph originally drafted in 2006?

Trades brought Josh "When Does the Frat Party Start?" McDaniels an impressive 10 high draft choices (first, second or third round) in his first two drafts with the Broncos -- but only one pick was invested in an offensive lineman, which increasing looks like a problem area for this team. Denver now has three prominent, big-salary quarterbacks on its roster (Kyle Orton, plus Quinn and Tebow),

Am I missing something here? Has Brady Quinn done anything in the NFL for the past three years besides suck balls? Excuse me- prominently suck balls.

Indianapolis Colts Last season, the Colts opened 14-0 and closed 2-3. Guess that pretty much settles the argument about whether a team that has locked up its best playoff seed should stop trying to win.

Again- the Saints started 13-0, then went 0-3 while giving its starting QB an entire game off, then finished 3-0. So yeah. Let's leave that argument open.

Polian said the Indianapolis offensive line "did not have a good game … they were outplayed by the Saints' defensive line … pretty decisively." Maybe, but the Colts would not have reached the Super Bowl without that line.

THAT MEANS YOU CAN'T SAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT THEM EVER. Those of you riding Scott Norwood for missing that Super Bowl kick for the Bills- just keep in mind how many other field goals he DID make. (Not that I'm a Norwood hater or anything. Dude dealt with all that nonsense pretty well.)

Hank Baskett was criticized for flubbing the second-half-opening onside kick; but what about special-teams coach Ray Rychleski, who failed to warn his charges to watch for an onside?

More unsubstantiated bullshit. Because if Rychleski actually HAD warned the special teamers, how would Greg make his point (not copied and pasted- that Peyton Manning and Jim Caldwell shouldn't escape criticism)?

(The unusually long Super Bowl halftime show was perfect for making the receiving team fall asleep.)

It was exactly as long as the 2007 Super Bowl halftime show (Prince was the performer- remember his boner guitar silhouette thing?). In that game, the Bears kicked to the Colts to open the second half. Just saying- the Colts had been here before.

Reggie Wayne was criticized for dropping the touchdown pass that would have given Indianapolis a last gasp in the final minute, but why wasn't Manning criticized for his bad fourth-quarter pass that was returned for a touchdown?

Manning was relentlessly raked over the coals for that pick. Everywhere- MSM, blogs, water coolers (or at least the ones I frequent). Holy moly. You really will just go out and change facts wherever you can to make them fit your point, won't you? You know, it's really a shame no one ever talked about the Babe Ruth curse during the 2004 World Series- just goes to prove my point that stories about Boston's sports teams are tragically underreported these days.

Jacksonville Jaguars: In the past two drafts, Jax used two first-round, one second-round and two third-round choices on offensive and defensive tackles. In the previous draft, counting trades, Jax spent first-, second-, third- and fourth-round choices on defensive ends. And this offseason, Jacksonville signed defensive end Aaron Kampman to a big-bucks free-agency deal. So far, there isn't much return on the investment. Last season, the Jaguars opened 6-4, then closed 1-5: Both the offensive and defensive lines seemed to weaken down the stretch.

More unsubstantiated bullshit.

New York Jets: Since Rex Ryan took over the Jersey/B Jets in winter 2009, you'd think the emphasis would have been on defensive trench types.

No, I'd think the emphasis would be on whatever players the Jets needed most. Last year they had one of the best offensive lines in the the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE- therefore it's not very surprising to me that Ryan hasn't really focused on drafting any offensive linemen.

You'd think wrong: Ryan has used his high draft choices and trade material to obtain a quarterback, three running backs, a cornerback, two wide receivers and two offensive linemen -- mostly skinny glory boys, and no front seven personnel at all.

If only Ryan had Gregg's uncanny general managerial skills- the Jets might just be going places this year.

"Blood, Sweat and Chalk" does a fine job of emphasizing how high school and small-college football -- Whittier, Iowa Wesleyan, Glenville State, William&Mary, Emory&Henry, Portland State -- influenced the development of football tactics. In many cases, big universities and pro coaches took the credit for ideas begun in the prep or small-college ranks.

Reminds me of the way the mean University of Louisiana coach stole Henry Winkler's magical playbook in "The Waterboy."

I See Gullible Marks … No, Wait, I See Federal Agents: Why didn't six people who make their livings as psychics see the indictment coming?

Take that, so-called psychics! Gregg is blowing the lid off this one! Call up Chris Hansen and Dateline NBC- we've got a story to sell them.

Christmas Creep:

Is there anything left to say about this topic? Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnope.

Why do the Chargers of late perform well in the regular season then wheeze out in January? Maybe it's the San Diego lifestyle: They want to take off the athletic tape and hit the beach. Or maybe this team lacks mental toughness.

Unsubstantiated bullshit.

All football games are hard physically, but playoff games are notably harder mentally than regular-season games. The further into the postseason a team advances, the more important psychology becomes -- because if you lose, you are embarrassed and your season is over, whereas if you lose in the regular season, that's annoying, but maybe you'll play better next week. The Chargers are a physically strong team but do not seem mentally strong.

My guess- they're having a hard time dealing with how big offensive and defensive linemen are getting these days.

I really don't think I can do another full season of this shit. I hope Simmons takes the time to write something new soon so I can focus on him. In the meantime- six more podcasts with Bill's high school friends, and another with Seth Myers.


rich said...

how high school and small-college football...influenced the development of football tactics.

File this under "well no shit sherlock." You know why the big schools aren't going to crack out any new tactics? Because they're really fucking good using the old ones. I can see it now:

Mack Brown: Boys, I know we've had great success the last couple of years using our system, but follow me on this. We're going to go with 10 offensive lineman and we're going to run this midget I gave a scholarship to this morning... That reminds me points to random player Get the hell out of my locker room and give your room key to our new offensive weapon!

Garrett Gilbert: Coach, why exactly are we doing this?

Brown: Because TMQ said ya'll's offensive linemen be too fat to run the ball effectively. With teams reading his glowing insights, no one will expect a team with our talent to run a completely batshit crazy offensive scheme.

Gilbert: But coach, we're NCG contenders using the...

Brown: English Motherfuck! Do you speak it? I said TMQ has spoken! Sweet baby Tebow, shut your trap and go play for Ball State if you wanna pass the ball.

During next week's JoeChat

GGilbert, TX Joe, I've been kicked off my football team and was looking for advice to get into baseball. What's more important for a pitcher: speed or command?

Joe:That's a great question! I haven't seen you throw, but just be glad you aren't transitioning to SS. That's the most difficult position to learn. I think it's still too early in the season to tell you if command or speed are more important.

Thanks for the post. Lord it's been a long day.

Jack M said...

Indianapolis Colts Last season, the Colts opened 14-0 and closed 2-3.

Woah, hyper-specificity alert.

Biggus Rickus said...

Indianapolis also played in the mother fucking Super Bowl against another team who rested their starters late in the season. If anything, bringing up either of last year's Super Bowl participants proves the exact opposite of Gregg's point.

Elliot said...

The Chargers actually haven't performed all that well in the regular season. In the past three or four years they've been near or below .500 until December, when they go on a tear and are undefeated in December and January in the regular season. The Chargers are woefully inconsistent and have had the fortune of playing in one of the weakest divisions, so it's less of a playoff freakout, or "lack of mental toughness" than an overall lack of playing consistent, winning football throughout the season.

And yes, LB, Brady Quinn is terrible and has no place being mentioned as a "prominent" anything anymore.

Xavier said...

Simmons Tweets:

# Im always on the bandwagon. Hasn't been a fun team to tweet about til recently. RT @StatMagician: And @sportsguy33 is back on the bandwagon. Friday, August 27, 2010 10:23:29 PM via UberTwitter

# Great Red Sox win. Can't ask for much more as a fan than what they've given these past few weeks. Every reason to fold shop and they didn't. Friday, August 27, 2010 10:10:08 PM via UberTwitter

You're welcome.

Biggus Rickus said...

Following Simmons on twitter? That kind of dedication deserves a medal.

Xavier said...

Oh god, no. I couldn't bear to follow him; I just check in on his feed when I need to stoke my righteous indignation.

Tonus said...

I wonder if Gregg is trying to imply that the next innovation in pro football will be the use of under-sized linemen as a way to run the ball more successfully.

"Now that the linemen are smaller, our backs have these hugs holes to run through. It's crazy, but it works!"

Jeff said...

Good stuff Larry. TMQ is the only bullshit I bother reading online anymore. Just too...much...bullshit.. to ignore. I'll be checking back weekly.