Tuesday, December 13, 2011

WMTMQR: Still banging my head against this wall

And the Denver Broncos looked really, really finished when they took possession with 4:34 remaining in regulation, trailing by 10. Denver hadn't scored in the game. Tim Tebow had misfired on 11 consecutive forward-pass attempts. Despite having the league's No. 1 rushing offense, Denver coaches ordered punts on fourth-and-1, fourth-and-1 and fourth-and-2.

And the football gods allowed them to win? Awful inconsistent of them if you ask me. It's almost as if they don't fucking exist, and that punting on 4th and 1 against one of the league's best run defenses isn't actually a moral transgression on par with mid-level war crimes.

Denver has become the NFL's top rushing team, and the running game often starts slowly. In the first half the defense is fresh, and may stop the run. By the fourth quarter, the front seven is tired and becomes vulnerable. So it's not just craziness in these Denver comebacks, though craziness surely is a big factor in the entertainment value. It's tactics. Denver is using tactics that are likely to result in an explosion of yardage late in the game.

Which tactics? You mean "running a lot?" There are several teams doing that. (Even in this PASS WACKY version of the NFL!) And I'm pretty sure the idea that defenses get tired is 1) not anything new, 2) not a tactic that is only likely to work if the offense is focused on the run, 3) not really "likely" to result in an explosion of yardage late in the game; a better choice of words would be "slightly more likely than an offense based solely on heaving the ball deep on every play."

Opponents need to realize this, and "roll" their defenses -- bringing personnel out to rest -- from the first quarter on.

Thanks for the advice, Lombardi. Every team already does this every single game, especially visiting teams in Denver. I don't think it's much of a secret that it's harder to breathe at higher altitudes.

Denver's use of the high-school-style zone-read option also forces defenses to defend all 11 Broncos players on rushing downs. Usually in the NFL, on a rush down the defense defends only 10 players.

And unless they're playing the Panthers, they cease defending the quarterback the moment he hands off the ball. There's this popular tactic you might have heard of called play action passing that is partially dependent on that phenomenon.

Against the Broncos, all 11 offensive players must be defended.

/watches video of Drew Brees handing off and the defense's reaction, then watches video of Tebow running the zone read

Yep. Completely different. The zone read works well for Tebow because he's big and fast and good at it, not because defenses are "forced" to defend him while by contrast they can ignore other QBs after the handoff. Your expert analysis of this situation is a bunch of fucking white noise.

By the fourth quarter, defenders are more winded than they would be against a standard offense.

No. Except for the altitude factor.

And in other NFL news, by the third quarter at Green Bay, the Packers led Oakland 43-7. That means if the game had been played under National Federation of High Schools rules, the timekeeper would have switched to "running clock" in which the clock almost never stops, shortening the contest. The running clock, used when the margin is 35 points or more, is the most common mercy rule found in high school football. The Packers reached it in the third quarter!

I'm not sure that last sentence needed an exclamation point. Plenty of teams have done that to the Raiders since Rich Gannon and Tim Brown retired.

Sour Redskins Plays of the Week: "He held the ball too long." That's what every TV commentator said of quarterback Rex Grossman, who was sacked in the end zone for a safety by former teammate Andre Carter in the New England at Washington collision. Time the play -- Grossman was starting his throwing motion at three seconds. The problem was not that he held the ball too long.

Considering a sack in that situation meant a safety, it kinda was. The QB has to treat that situation differently than if the line of scrimmage is the 20.

The problem was that undrafted free agent emergency left tackle Willie Smith, filling in for the megabucks Trent Williams (suspended for failing drug tests), did an "olé" block, all but stepping out of Carter's way.

NOOOOOOOO! WILLIE! HOW COULD YOU???? Why were you not inspired by every Jeff Saturday who has gone before you? More importantly, what did you do to Gregg to get him to call you out as a shitty player considering your incredibly Gregg-friendly credentials? Also, typical of Gregg to not realize that the real problem was that the Redskins called a play that gave Grossman a chance to hold the ball in the end zone and stare down Santana Moss as he ran a triple move thirty yards down the field.

Later, score tied in the third quarter, New England faced third-and-12 on the Washington 37.

You don't need a sack here -- the Patriots are already out of field-goal range.

Stephen Gostowski's career long is 53 yards. So no, not really.

Nevertheless, Washington big-blitzed.

A tactic that has never worked in football history, except for the three or four times it worked for Dallas against Eli Manning on Sunday night and the four or five times it worked for the Seahawks against Sam Bradford last night (yeah I watched some of that game, what's it to you?).

Gronkowski ended up covered by linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, catching another easy-looking touchdown catch to set the single-season record for touchdowns by a tight end. Just to prove this was no fluke, on the play, Washington corners Josh Wilson and DeAngelo Hall just stood there watching Gronkowski run the final 10 yards to pay dirt.

Neither were nearly close enough to Gronkowski when he caught the ball to try to stop him from scoring. Both would have been flattened like traffic cones in the way of a garbage truck if they were close enough and did actually try. But it's more fun to write from the perspective of GRRR WHERE'S THE HUSTLE THESE GLORY BOYS ARE SO GLORY BOYISH

Sweet 'N' Sour Playoff-Clinching Plays of the Week: The Houston Texans had never made the playoffs. Trailing Cincinnati 19-13 with 18 seconds on the clock, out of timeouts, third-string quarterback T.J. Yates at the controls, Houston faced third-and-10 on the Bengals 23. Incompletion. But Cincinnati corner Adam Jones, who grabbed a receiver during his route, did a theatrical hands-in-the-air gesture, meaning "I didn't commit a penalty." Then the flag flew -- Jones talked the officials into penalizing him! As TMQ points out, football players should never make the hands-in-the-air "I didn't do it" gesture. This only notifies the zebras you did, in fact, do it. Always act nonchalant! Very sour.

Watch football for, like, 45 fucking minutes. You'll see a DB make the "I didn't do it" gesture and not get flagged.

Gregg's editor: "You know Mr. Easterbrook, it's not really good to try to prove all your points and hypotheses with scatted anecdotes."

Gregg: "Huh?" /eats paint chips, makes anti-Semitic remarks

Last year when TMQ mocked the highfalutin flavor claims of wine tasters -- notes of "buttered toast" was my favorite -- oenophiles protested that tasting terms don't mean a drink actually tastes like toast or fruitcake, they signify the presence of flavors that aficionados recognize. Maybe. I still doubt most wine snobs could tell a merlot from a cabernet in a blind tasting, let alone identify "aftertaste of pomegranate."

Whoa, twat-on-twat crime. Brutal. Usually they all stick together. They must have kicked Gregg out of their bridge club or something.

Everyone knows the San Diego Chargers turn it on as the holidays approach, and they are 34-17 in December in the past decade. But the team that owns Christmas month is the New England Patriots, who are 42-7 in December in the same span.

Interesting- two of the best regular season teams of the last ten years have also been good at the end of the regular season. Sounds crazy but I'll hear you out. It's a free country.

Possibly this is because while other NFL teams move to their practice bubbles when the weather turns nasty, the Flying Elvii continue to practice outside.

Or because the Patriots have had a Hall of Fame quarterback, a great coach, and plenty of other great players for the past decade.

The worst Decembers of the past decade are Detroit (13-37) and Oakland (16-35). Detroit is always indoors at home, Oakland's home offers ideal weather. Both teams fold when it's cold outside.

Both teams have folded at every possible opportunity during every month of the season for the past decade. But I like your theory too, it's a lot more clever and wrong.

Lend Me a Tight End! Four NFL teams -- Green Bay, Houston, New England and New Orleans -- routinely use multiple tight end sets. Their combined record is 43-9. Why does the rest of the league not notice? P.S.: It's working for Stanford, too.

Yeah, other teams! Just sign Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, or Owen Daniels and Joel Dreessen! It's not that hard- how are you too stupid to figure it out?

Arizona leading San Francisco 21-19 with 2:14 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Squared Sevens,


one of the league's best rushing teams, faced third-and-1 near midfield. San Francisco went incompletion, incompletion, game over. On the day, the Forty Niners averaged 4.3 yards per rush and 3.4 yards per pass attempt. Why, with the game on the line and just one yard to gain, not rush?

Yeah! It's not like that yards per rush figure came from plenty of runs on 1st and 10, or 2nd and 3, or dozens of other down/distance combinations that don't involve a defense that's got 8 guys in the box! It's science: if you gain 4.3 yards per rush, every rush will result in 4.3 yards. Come to think of it, the 49ers should have simply run on every play- they'd have scored a touchdown on every possession. It's so simple.


Chris W said...

I pooh pooh wine snobs as much as the next guy, but the Idea that people who make it their life's pursuit to tell two distinct grapes apart can't tell two distinct grapes apart might be even stupider than his completely stupid belief that people whose careers depend on being able to sense tenths of a second can't sense tenths of a second

jacktotherack said...

"Lend Me a Tight End! Four NFL teams -- Green Bay, Houston, New England and New Orleans -- routinely use multiple tight end sets. Their combined record is 43-9. Why does the rest of the league not notice? P.S.: It's working for Stanford, too."

I'm 99% certain almost every team in the league utilizes single-back, double TE sets. I know the Bears do, the problem is when its Kellen Davis and Matt Spaeth in there it isn't super impressive. Also its hilarious how he always brings up Green Bay using multiple TE's. They hardly ever run Ace sets. Unless they are on the goalline most of the time when Green Bay goes with two TE's on the field it's Crabtree lined up tight and Finley split out like a WR. Sorry Gregg, but a lot of teams don't have TE's that have the skillset to be split out and used on the perimeter. But fuck it, if you just sign 18 undrafted FA TE's, you're Super Bowl-bound.

Regarding his point about Denver being effective because they wear people down with their rushing attack, aside from the Oakland game where they ran wild when the fuck has this happened this year? It certainly didn't happen Sunday. Denver did shit running the ball all day, 4th quarter included. Tebow led the team in rushing with 49 yards. If anything what has been wearing teams down has been having to rush Tebow in hurry-up passing situations when Denver is trailing late in the game (which they always are because Tebow fucking blows in a structured offense). This definitely happened to the Bears. The d-line got gassed, the coverage was soft, and Tebow hit wide open dumpoffs, curls, and outs to get Denver in position to win. It had absolutley nothing to do with their rushing attack and option game which the Bears completely shut down.

I just can't fathom how ESPN continues to employ this man, let alone allow him to write about football when he is such a fucking simpleton when it comes to basic football concepts.

Tonus said...

See, this is why the Packers are having such a bad season. They don't run the ball, and teams don't have to defend Aaron Rodgers. They can focus on the other ten players, and then it's an 11-10 mismatch!

If only Aaron Rodgers could run...

Anonymous said...

There's a place with even nicer weather in December than Oakland. It's called San Diego. Hey, they have an NFL team. I'd bet they practice in the perfect weather. How do they do in December again? Hey, weren't they the team that Gregg said does well in December?

At least Gregg is consistent with one thing: contradicting his own writing.

Tim N said...

I'm confused - is Gregg saying a particular substance can't possibly taste like any other thing?