Monday, September 3, 2012
When the other team punts, Pulaski rarely has a returner on the field. Kelley reasons that a muffed or fumbled punt is about as likely as a long return, and so is content simply to let the punt roll, in order to ensure his side takes possession. Kelley rarely sends a rush after a punter, reasoning that a roughing-the-kicker penalty is more likely than a block.
I get that this Arkansas HS coach is doing a good job (Gregg says they've played in the state championship game for two consecutive years, winning one of those games), but isn't the point of being a coach to help teach your players not to make dumb and avoidable mistakes like roughing the punter or muffing catches? I mean, results are results, but this just seems lazy to me.
"Everyone says football is a game of field position, but it's not," Kelley maintains.
Well, the extent to which it is important can vary from game to game, but field position is definitely generally something teams should worry a lot about.
"It's a game of scoring points, which only happens when you possess the ball.
And call me crazy, but I would guess that there's a direct relationship between how far a team has to go with the ball to score on a given drive and their likelihood of scoring on that drive.
Last year the typical NFL offensive play gained 5.4 yards.
If it's fourth-and-3 or less, going for the first is likely to result in keeping possession. Of course a fourth-down try may fail, giving the other team the ball, but a punt is certain to give the other team the ball. So why do NFL teams almost always punt in fourth-and-short situations, surrendering possession? It's a game of points, and scoring points requires possessing the ball.
You are a simpleton. There is no better word for you. You are a fucking simpleton.
Here in 2007, TMQ detailed the math of rarely punting. The Accuscore computer simulated thousands of NFL games for TMQ using NFL stats, and found that at the pro level, rarely punting made victory 5 percent more likely. In a 16-game NFL season, that means one additional victory per year.
That's all well and good, but it's worth noting that if it was known that a team would always go for it on 4th down, the way other teams defended them on downs 1-3 would change. You'd see fewer 15 yard screen pass completions on 3rd and 19, for example, because defenses wouldn't go all soft in order to ensure they forced a 4th down. I'm not sure the net effect would make going for it on every 4th any worse than Gregg supposes it would be, but I'm just saying is all. Let's make sure we try to take everything into account before we start sucking our own dicks and anointing ourselves football savants.
"When coaches go for it on fourth-and-short, announcers call that a huge gamble," Kelley says. "It is not a gamble, it is playing the percentages. The gamble is punting! But coaches are afraid of criticism, so they order punts."
Well, Mr. Watch How Aggressively (And Incorrectly) I Turn Conventional Wisdom On Its Head, it's probably still fair to say that going for it on 4th and 8 from your own 22 is a pretty decent sized gamble.
Consider that the Giants-versus-Bills Super Bowl in 1991 came down to a 47-yard field goal attempt on grass as the clock expired. When the kicker missed, he was blamed for the loss, though 47 yards on grass is 50/50 for the best place-kickers.
DON'T FORGET: FOOTBALL IS NOT A GAME OF FIELD POSITION.
Though TMQ believes football coaches should go for it more often on fourth down, that does not, of course, mean the tactic will work. Fourth down was Atlanta's bête noire in 2011; the Falcons an awful 4-for-16, including 0-for-3 in their playoff defeat at Jersey/A. Failure on fourth-and-inches at the Giants' 21 in the third quarter was the game's pivotal down.
BUT THE AVERAGE NFL PLAY GOES FOR FOUR OR FIVE YARDS! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
Carolina: Cam Newton's rookie season was seriously impressive -- 4,784 yards of total offense and 35 touchdowns passing or running. He even caught a pass for a first down. The sky seems to be the limit for Newton, plus he has a sense of humor. At a Super Bowl brunch, Newton was asked whether, after he is sacked, he yells at his offensive linemen. His response was to tilt his head upward as if looking high into the sky and say, "I tell the offensive line, 'Now listen you guys ...'"
I like that Gregg considers this a noteworthy example of someone demonstrating comedic chops. I'm sure he loses his shit when he reads the cartoons in The New Yorker.
Despite the show put on by their prize rookie, the Panthers finished 6-10 and a weak 1-6 versus teams that made the playoffs. Defense was the main reason: poor overall, and an NFC-worst 143 points allowed in the fourth quarter. New head coach Ron Rivera is a former defensive coordinator, so presumably will have something to say about the tackling. Perhaps he also will break Carolina of its recent habit of cannibalizing future drafts. In the past three years, the Panthers have traded future first-, second- and third-round choices for second-, third- and fourth-round selections right away. The net of those transactions was to swap a first-round draft choice for a fourth-round draft choice.
And cash in on assets a year early. I like that he came up with that unclever and misleading angle though. HEY LOOK THE NET RESULT OF ALL THE TRADES THE RED SOX HAVE MADE SINCE 1919 WAS TO TRADE BABE RUTH FOR CLAYTON MORTENSON, HOW FUCKED UP IS THAT
Chicago: The Chicago Tribune reports that once again, Lovie Smith plans to cut back on kick returns by Devin Hester so that he can devote more energy to being a wide receiver. In other news, the United States Navy plans to dry-dock its aircraft carriers in order to devote more resources to wooden sailing ships.
First of all, there's a real humdinger of a zinger. Also, apparently Hester as a KR : Hester as a WR :: awesome modern warships : warships we haven't used since the 19th century.
Few NFL teams have fight songs -- why not?
Because it's not 1955 anymore?
The Cowboys have 18 coaches including four gentlemen with the title "coordinator." Considering Garrett's Princeton background, how long until the Boys have a faculty senate?
In 2011, Aaron Rodgers was close to perfect: a 122.5 rating -- best ever for a single season -- plus 39 more touchdown passes than interceptions. For his career, Rodgers' 6.25 percent touchdown passes is the best in a generation, while his 1.8 percent interceptions is the best of active quarterbacks. But Graham Harrell is his backup. Aaron Schatz notes, "Over the last 10 years, 11 different undrafted quarterbacks with no NFL starting experience have started games because of injury to the No. 1 QB. Those players have combined for a 38-to-48 touchdown-to-interception ratio, and their teams were 10-18 in these starts."
Here's your Packers preview, everyone: if Rodgers gets hurt, they are kind of fucked.
Now high school football teams are jetting all over the nation for games put together by promoters and shown on television. Surely this is exciting for the boys involved - but also distracts them from schoolwork, while cutting into study time. Football keeps getting bigger and bigger. Where is the sense of perspective in high school programs that act like college programs?
My monthly "gotta agree with Gregg on this one" moment. Fuck high school sports being on national TV, and doublefuck the disgusting companies like ESPN that make money off of it.
Last season the Vikings were 1-2 when rushing for at least 200 yards, which may mean the run is overrated in the contemporary pass-wacky NFL.
Last year the Broncos were 1-0 against the Jets during Thursday night games, which may mean that the Jets are the worst Thursday night team in the history of organized sports, or might not mean anything because holy shit who thinks that's a meaningful sample size.
Want to lead the league in sacks? Any team can lead the league in sacks by blitzing a lot and ignoring "contain." In 2011 the Steelers were a modest 17th for sacks but had the NFL's top-rated defense, because Pittsburgh defensive ends first contain and get after the passer second. Allen ignores contain -- an old lady with a walker could get around Jared Allen.
No one is trying to "get around" Allen. He is trying to get around offensive tackles. Please reconsider that line, it doesn't make sense when you're referring to a defensive end. You are a bad writer.
Not honoring contain is good for his personal self-promotion, but bad for the team. Why should Allen care?
He is very well paid for sacks,
He is paid well to accumulate sacks.
and none of the 23 Minnesota coaches seemed concerned about defense.
Past tense. Holy Moses, that paragraph made my brain bleed.
"Procedurals" Update: TMQ wound up last season spoofing the "procedurals" that have taken over network television, and soon will have more on the nuttiest of them all. Here are "procedurals" lowlights from the offseason:
On "NCIS: Los Angeles," the agents look super-cool by wearing tight jeans and fashion tees. Then they pull out cell phones, pistols (sidearm plus backup), handcuffs, flashlights, badges, wallets and extra magazines for lengthy gun battles. Where were they carrying this stuff? In one episode the mega-babe detective attends a party wearing the sort of short, skin-tight outfit that starlets sport on a red carpet. Her partner asks where her gun could possibly be hidden; she replies, in a bra holster. Moments later a firefight begins against mobsters with automatic weapons. She pulls her gun and fires dozens of rounds. Viewers never find out where the extra magazines could possibly have been hidden. The instant the battle ends -- with, of course, the bad guys dead while all their automatic weapons fire missed at point-blank range -- the babe detective pops her pistol back into the bra holster. A gun that has just fired dozens of rounds would burn her skin!
THE NERVE OF THOSE PRODUCERS!
Meanwhile, later in the column:
If you haven't seen "Necessary Roughness," it's a pleasant diversion -- a clever show that's more or less about pro football. Catch it while you can since the midseason finale is Wednesday night.
And I'm sure life in the NFL is depicted with pinpoint precision on that show.
New Orleans: The Sinners -- their new TMQ name --
ROASTED! Billy Joel, sit back and wait for those royalty checks to start rolling in.
Several times over the past three seasons, before the bounty scandal broke, TMQ said things like this: "Tuesday Morning Quarterback continues to feel unease about the New Orleans defense which, under the tastefully named Gregg Williams, blitzes way too much."
And then the Saints won a Super Bowl and continued to make the playoffs every year after that and we were all like, oh yeah, that's right, Easterbrook has his head in his ass as usual.
Reader David Starnes of Fletcher, N.C., notes, "Now we know why the Saints blitzed too much. The game plan was predicated on payday hits. You can't get those hits without big blitzes."
You are the stupidest person alive. You are stupider than the Manning/Unitas/Colts curse guy from last week. Please destroy your computer and never use the internet ever again.
NFL.com, the league's website, has been aggressive in coverage of Sinnersgate, running many items that surely made the owners squirm. One NFL.com front page showed Gregg Williams in a graphic with Pete Rose and Mike Tyson; the attached report hit hard on sports scandals. This is a positive sign. NFL.com being honest about an NFL scandal, along with the NCAA being honest about the Penn State scandal, is a step in the right direction for the traditionally closed, "how dare you criticize us" culture of football.
My God. Gregg is a much bigger sucker than I realized. HEY THE LEAGUE PUT OUT SOME NEGATIVE P.R. REGARDING THE SCANDAL THING! I'M SURE THEY DIDN'T DO THAT FOR SELF-INTERESTED REASONS AT ALL, CERTAINLY NOT TO INFLUENCE PUBLIC OPINION REGARDING THE PUNISHMENTS THEY HANDED DOWN IN THE SCANDAL'S AFTERMATH!
HEY LOOK, THIS SON OF A DEPOSED NIGERIAN KING JUST EMAILED ME AND WANTS TO GIVE ME A MILLION DOLLARS! BETTER SEND HIM MY BANK ACCOUNT INFO!
Andy Reid has guided the Eagles to 19 playoff appearances -- of active coaches, only Bill Belichick received more postseason invites.
Each NFL postseason game should not be described as an "invite." This is bad writing.
This year's wide receiver corps includes the me-first Randy Moss, the me-first Michael Crabtree,
BEWARE THE CRABTREE CURSE, TEAM THAT NEARLY MADE THE SUPER BOWL LAST YEAR IN PART DUE TO CRABTREE'S 72 CATCHES FOR 874 YARDS!
Mega Millions is one of many lottos run by the Multi-State Lottery Association, which has 33 member states. Governors and lawmakers of those states say they want to help average people. Yet they sponsor lottos that pick the pockets of average people. In 2010, Americans spent $58 billion on Powerball games run by state governments. Did the states extend that much in in aid to average people? When state and local income taxes, sales taxes, energy taxes and property taxes are combined with billions wasted to buy state lottery tickets, it may well be that on balance, the poor and working class are harmed financially, rather than helped, by state and local governments.
OK, fine, I'll agree with Gregg twice in the same column. Lotteries are awful.
It's been a laff a minute at quarterback for the Seahawks under Carroll, six players attempting forward passes in his two seasons. The laffs will continue with two new signal-callers, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson.
Not sure I follow the use of "laffs" here. I mean, it's kind of funny to spell it that way (not Cam Newton pretending to be on the ground after a sack funny, but funny all the same) but it comes in from out of nowhere. Also, Wilson looks like a pretty legitimate QB so far.
TMQ likes Miami over Seattle on Nov. 25. That game follows the Seahawks' bye, and Seattle is a league-worst 6-17 after bye week.
Context? Check for typos? Come on man, you're taking my attention away from pointing out how much you suck at thinking and putting it on how much you suck at writing. That's annoying.