2018-2019 NFL: Week 9

Thu
Raiders-49ers

Sun
Falcons-Redskins
Lions-Vikings
Steelers-Ravens
Chiefs-Browns
Jets-Dolphins
Bears-Bills
Buccaneers-Panthers
Chargers-Seahawks
Texans-Broncos
Rams-Saints
Packers-Patriots

Mon
Titans-Cowboys

17 thoughts on “2018-2019 NFL: Week 9

  1. Before commenting on the games, let’s look over the major trades that just occurred:

    Golden Tate to the Eagles for a 3rd to the Lions
    Demaryrius Thomas to Texans and a 7th for 4th and 7th to Broncos
    Haha Clinton-Dix to Redskins for a 4th to the Packers
    Ty Montgomery to Ravens for 7th to the Packers
    Dante Fowler Jr to the Rams for 3rd in 2019 and 5th in 2020 to Jaguars

    Comments:

    I don’t get the Packers trading Clinton-Dix for a 4th. I actually don’t know a lot about Clinton-Dix, but that seems like a good deal for the Redskins, and this seems like the Packers are giving up on the season. (Or maybe they have a lot of DBs?)

    The Lions giving up Tate might be more perplexing. They’ve been searching for a third receiver for a long time, and finally seemed to have gotten this with the emergence of Kenny Golladay. They picked up Snacks Harrison, too, and I think they still had a chance to make the playoffs. I don’t get this.

    (On a side note, I’m not sure how Don feels, but I would have preferred Tate for a 3rd over Cooper for a 1st. The difference between Tate and Cooper might not be that significant, although Tate is older.)

    The Rams getting Fowler is annoying. I really want them to lose. I understand that Fowler has some off field issues, too. The Rams are testing the importance of character and culture theory.

    1. Yeah, those are strange moves for the Packers, and Clinton-Dix is a great addition to a good Washington D, and probably a bargain for a 4th rounder.

      I don’t understand the 7th round picks. Did they add a round for next year?

      Also, the Rams are going for it. It’s a great move on their part. While Goff is still young, effective, and a total bargain and while they have all these expensive, aging veterans. You’ve been saying since the preseason that the Rams are testing theories on chemistry and whatever, but I’ve been saying that winning takes care of all of that. That’s not my theory, by the way, so maybe the Rams are also testing THAT theory. In any case, if the goal is just to win THIS year, I think they’re on to something.

      1. I don’t understand the 7th round picks. Did they add a round for next year?

        I’m pretty sure there’s been a 7th round for a long time. Chris Carson, Seattle’s starting RB, is a 7th rounder.

        You’ve been saying since the preseason that the Rams are testing theories on chemistry and whatever, but I’ve been saying that winning takes care of all of that.

        I agree winning can cover up problems, but the question is, can the team win a lot of games? Additionally, what happens when inevitable adversity occurs? Can the team handle that doesn’t have a great culture and team ethos handle the adversity well? Or do the wheels start coming off? Finally, good culture is largely a long-term proposition. It takes time to build. You can sacrifice and undermine good culture for short term gains–and you may experience success. In the Rams case, even if they do well, if they sent the wrong messages and reinforced the values that they don’t believe will help them sustain success, that’s not going to be easy to undue in the subsequent seasons. If a coach is willing to significantly sacrifice important values and principles for the sake of winning, that will likely undermine that coaches ability to establish those values and principles in the future.

        (In reality, I think all coaches make some degree of compromise to these principles–in order to secure talent and win games. Most teams have one or two players that, by their presence, contradict, at least slightly, the values and principles the head coach claims are vital. Coaches can maintain their credibility by doing this, but if they take on too many players, I think that’s really difficult. We’ll see.)

    2. Clinton-Dix is a free-safety. Green Bay did draft two corners, but that would not necessarily make Clinton-Dix expendable. I wonder if he is just good friends with Ty Montgomery. Just kidding.

      Although Amari has been playing slot, I think it’s possible that he can play the outside. Tate is a traditional slot guy being more quick than fast. So I’m guessing Tate isn’t a guy Dallas was looking for. Plus Dallas is in need of a number one receiver or at least it believes that. I believe Dallas is in need of new coaches. Tate is not a number one guy. He is a classic number two guy.

      Has Fowler been good this year? Wasn’t he a good outside rush guy at one time?

      1. Tate has played on the outside when he was at Seattle. I’m not sure how he was used in Detroit. Also, I’m not convinced Cooper is a true #1. He seems closer to a really good #2, which is how I view Tate. Cooper may have more upside and may ultimately be better, but I don’t think the gap is that far. Plus, Tate doesn’t really have a problem with drops (and Tate was a decent return guy, but he might not be great now).

        Has Fowler been good this year? Wasn’t he a good outside rush guy at one time?

        Honestly, he hasn’t stood out for me while watching the Jags. (But their entire front four has been disappointing, for the most part.)

        1. Based on what I’ve been hearing especially from The Ringer about Carr and how he gets rid of the ball so quickly, it has to hurt his ability to get it to his receivers. So that’s the hope. But even if I didn’t want to get rid of the Cowboy’s coaches and thought they could win this year with a good receiver, I still wouldn’t be confident in Amari being that guy based on what he has shown recently. So to give a first round pick for him seems ridiculous. That being said though, getting Tate for a third rounder would almost be more ridiculous, because as you said Tate doesn’t have Amari’s upside and Dallas doesn’t need another middling receiver.

          1. Based on what I’ve been hearing especially from The Ringer about Carr and how he gets rid of the ball so quickly, it has to hurt his ability to get it to his receivers.

            I don’t get the thinking, here. Normally, getting the ball out quickly is a good thing. I’ve never heard this used as something that hurt a WR.

            That being said though, getting Tate for a third rounder would almost be more ridiculous, because as you said Tate doesn’t have Amari’s upside and Dallas doesn’t need another middling receiver.

            Unless Tate’s ability has declined, “middling” seems too harsh. But let me put that aside for a moment, and get back to it later. If the Cowboys really need a WR and they don’t see any good ones in the draft, 3rd for Tate seems like an appropriate and better trade than a 1st for Cooper. I guess, if you really believe Cooper could be a legit #1, then it makes sense. I guess, I don’t have that confidence.

            Getting back to the “middling” comment. If Tate hasn’t lost a lot of ability, I would put him close to a top #2. If you had three top #2 WRs, I think that could be a solid group. For example, Wilson’s best WR corps, in my opinion, was like this–Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin/Jermaine Kearse. (They also had Zach Miller who was a solid TE.) Maybe Rice is a #1, but not an elite one. This was a good group, and I would be happy if the Seahawks or Raiders could assemble a unit like this. (The current group of Lockett, Baldwin, and David Moore/Jaron Brown may be close to that, at least if Baldwin were 100%.)

            A third might be an overpay for Tate (although if he hasn’t lost much, maybe not), but I’d rather overpay with a 3rd than overpay with a 1st.

          2. WRs need time to get into their routes, so if Carr is inclined to get the ball out too quickly, it either doesn’t give the receiver time to run their route (or at least the route they want to run) or Carr is over-anticipating his throws, which means the ball would get on the receiver quicker than they expected. I want to say Carr gets the ball out significantly quicker than the rest of the league. I think most QBs are bunched together and Carr is an outlier based on what I’ve heard.

            Tate is still great after the catch, I’m not sure how much separation he still gets. But I would be surprised if he is more physically gifted than Gallup. I’m sure Tate is still better than Gallup, but I would think Gallup could do more things and have to worry defenses more than Tate. Comparing Tate to Beasley and they are virtually the same guy. Maybe Tate is better after the catch, but prior to the ball getting there I would think Beasley might even be slightly better. Amari, on the other hand, is a big guy. He can be imposing and cause matchup problems. Amari could just be another Dez (current Dez) and that’s the downside, but his upside is a guy that will draw coverages and get defenders out of the box. Even if Tate is better than any Dallas receiver (and really I don’t really think he is), he is not a guy that defenses will adjust to, and that’s what Dallas needs or wants. So maybe middling is the wrong word to use, but middling in the sense that he could be good, but not a guy that will draw attention from defenses.

            Last year I thought McVey’s receivers were about the same talent level as Dallas’ this year. Maybe Cooks changes that a little, but last year the Rams, at least to me, didn’t have anybody that will guarantee win on the outside on every play (or was Watkins better than I’m thinking he was last year). But schemes, o-line play, Gurley, or Goff, made those receivers viable. If Dallas could do that, then yes Tate would be a better play, but Dallas doesn’t seem to be able to use their receivers as well as the Rams. Because of that, they were looking for a Dez replacement, at least that’s how I view it.

  2. Except for Goff, I agree with a lot of rankings here. Cousins has been impressive not for just being able to throw under pressure, but also making really, really difficult throws in the process. That has really stood out to me.

    I wonder how they’re defining pressure, and whether they consider various degrees of pressure. These QBs are not facing equal pressure, even the pressure Wilson has faced may not be as much as someone like Cousins or even Ryan. I could be wrong about this, though.

    1. Isn’t “pressures” an official stat? If not, it’s definitely been in the parlance (as in, Clay Matthews had one sack and four pressures), so I’m guessing they’re going with whatever the definition is there. It’s interesting that you disagree with a statistical rating. 🙂 There’s no claim that these are the necessarily the best QBs when pressured; it’s only saying these are the passer ratings when QBs are pressured.

      The other thing that stands out is the lower list. Very young QBs make total sense for this list. What the heck is Flacco doing there unless his WRs aren’t getting open?

      1. It’s interesting that you disagree with a statistical rating.

        As far as I know, “pressure” is largely a subjective criterion. How does one objectively measure pressure on the QB? And again, if the league or analytics advocates treat pressure as if it’s a binary thing, I thing that’s a mistake. I believe there are degrees of pressure, and they’re not all equal. Moreover, I believe the distribution and type of pressure across all the passing plays matters a lot. As far as know, no one has analyzed pressure like this.

        There’s no claim that these are the necessarily the best QBs when pressured; it’s only saying these are the passer ratings when QBs are pressured.

        By “disagree,” I mean the ranking for Goff is misleading. The ranking suggests he performs well under pressure. I don’t agree with that.

        What the heck is Flacco doing there unless his WRs aren’t getting open?

        There could be some truth to this, although his targets are better than they have been in the past. My guess is that Flacco is far better as throwing off of a strong run game (versus throwing from spread formations). But that’s just a guess.

  3. Don,

    I’ve heard criticisms of QB’s time regarding holding the ball too long, but never for getting rid of it too quickly. Do you recall who said that about Carr? I’m curious to read that.

    As for Tate, I agree he’s not really a play maker that will draw a lot of attention from defenses, but I just don’t think you always need that player, if the other players are good. For example, if you’ve got three really good #2s or solid #1s, and no true playmaker, I think you can have a good offense. In any event, the bigger problem in Dallas is the OL.

    If Dallas could do that, then yes Tate would be a better play, but Dallas doesn’t seem to be able to use their receivers as well as the Rams.

    I think the schemes and also the use of no-huddle and the variations in tempo are a big factor. But that would require a bigger philosophical shift. Were the schemes great for Dallas in 2014 or 2016? I don’t know the answer, but my guess is that it wasn’t. My guess is that the biggest difference is the quality of OL play. Right now, the OL is inconsistent and sometimes below average. I think that’s the bigger issue.

  4. Pre-game Comments

    Rams-Saints, Chargers-Seahawks, and Packers-Patriots are the games I’m most interested in this week. These games should say a lot about each team, how good they are, and how likely they can win the Super Bowl.

    Rams-Saints. I’d like to see how well the Saints defense holds up. They might give up a lot of points, but I’d like them to not just be a sieve, at the very least. I’m also interested to see how well the Saints can control the ball.

    Chargers-Seahawks. I’m interested to see Bosa’s impact (if he plays). Will both teams continue to play well? If they play in an inconsistent or sloppy way, that’s a bad sign for both teams (maybe more important than winning). I’m curious to see if the Seahawks can continue to run the ball well.

    Packers-Patriots: I want to see if the way the Patriots defense fares against the Packer offense, and the way the Packers defense handles the Patriot offense.

    Falcons-Redskins. I’m curious to see how the Redskins defense handles the Falcons offense. Also, if the Redskins offense struggles against the Falcons defense, I’ll take that as a bad sign.

  5. Mini-Rant

    I have never been a big fan of Newton, for a variety of reasons. But I did think he deserved the 2015 MVP, and I also thinking of him as an MVP candidate this year isn’t crazy. What I’m annoyed at is some of the thought process Cowherd uses in the clip above–primarily a heavily reliance on statistics, without really providing context. For one thing, does anyone think that Mitch Trubisky is good as Cam Newton–because they have similar stats (the few that Cowherd chose)? To me, that’s ridiculous.

    I’m not saying Newton should be the MVP, but I wouldn’t dismiss the proposition because his numbers (in terms of volume) are not as good as some other QBs. Volume are partly a function of the type of offense, as well as the quality of the supporting cast. My sense is that Newton doesn’t have a great supporting cast, especially on the OL. Additionally, the offense–especially the run game–is built upon him in my opinion. Take away all the variety of option/misdirection type runs, and I don’t get the sense that the Panthers would run well. His WRs don’t seem all that great, although Greg Olsen is very good (although I don’t know if he’s 100%). I feel like his accuracy has gotten a tad better (less inaccurate throws) and his ball security has been good.

    Off the top of my head, I probably wouldn’t choose him as MVP, but I disagree with the idea that considering him for this is not “reporting.”

  6. Mini-Rant, Part 2

    Put aside whether comparing Brady and Rodgers is appropriate. What bugs me above is again the rationale Cowherd uses. With Brady and Rodgers, I assume Brady’s Super Bowl success is reason Cowherd believes the comparison is inappropriate. Similarly, he cites playoffs wins and losses offering Roethlisberger and Rodgers as a more apt comparison. My complaint is that evaluating QBs by wins and losses–even Super Bowl wins and losses–is a bad way to evaluate a QB. I haven’t always felt that way, but I feel that way now.

    A better way involves looking at the way the QB performed, accounting for their supporting cast, the overall quality of the team, coaching, and quality of opponent(s). You should also focus on what the QB has the most control over–e.g., their decision making, effort, and quality of their throws. If you’re going to look at playoffs or Super Bowls, look at how they performed in those games. Perhaps the most important thing I’d look at is the way QBs performed in key moments and pressure situations–e.g., critical third down in the Super Bowl, facing a heavy pass rush. A QB that performs well in those situations and better than a QB with higher volume stats is the better QB in my view.

  7. Raiders-49ers

    I didn’t watch the game. All I saw was this:

    Without knowing anything else (such as injured Raiders), my first thought was: “The Raiders are tanking?” Whether they are or not, the score seems ridiculously bad. The 49ers have key injuries, and they’re not a good team. I have a hard time believing that the Raiders should lose by this much.

    On a somewhat related note, I was listing to the Ringer with Mays and Clark and they were talking about the moves by the Lions and Packers, largely supportive of the trades. Putting aside whether the moves are good for the team or not, I don’t think they’re good for the team during this season. I think both of them mentioned that both teams don’t have a chance to win a Super Bowl. That’s not a crazy statement, but to say that definitively, given the quality of both teams–and the quality and volatility of the league–I don’t think you could say that. If KC, NO, or the LAR suffer key injuries, that could create an opportunity. I disagree with them that both teams have no chance, but even if this were a high probability, if teams that can have a .500 record (or slightly hire) decide to give up the season at the half way point, in order to get better picks for the following season, I think that’s lame and a significant problem in the league. The decision may be rational, but this can’t be good for the league, right?

  8. Here some quick thoughts on the some of the games.

    Chargers-Seahawks

    If the Seahawk offense performed well, the Seahawk defense seemed to perform poorly, and vice-versa. I thought Wilson had a pretty bad game. His accuracy seemed shaky, and that pick 6 was just a bad throw and decision by him. It’s a little concerning.

    Ultimately, the loss might have just come down to the fact that the Chargers just have better players and are a better team.

    Packers-Patriots

    This is the second week I thought Mike Pettine had a good defensive game plan. Granted, the Patriots didn’t have Gronk and Sony Michel, but the Packers lost a bunch of players to injuries as well.

    The fumble by Aaron Jones seemed decisive, but other than that, I thought McCarthy, once again, was too one-dimensional, passing the ball a lot in ways that made no secret about this. It’s very difficult to beat a Belichick team this way, in my opinion.

    Rams-Saints

    Saints were the better team, but what’s scary is that they had to rely on turnovers and playing almost the perfect game to beat the Rams.

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