177 thoughts on “2020-2021 NFL Offseason

  1. I’m not really interested in the details of the current CBA proposal, but there are some aspects that I wanted to comment on. Two things concern me: 1) the extra game and 2) the reduction of practice times. To get the players to accept the first, the owners seems to think more money and reduction of practice times (and pre-season games) seems like a reasonable compensation. On some level, this makes sense–especially if this is just about compensating players.

    But on another level, this is about something else–namely, the way all of this will impact the quality of the game. I’ve recently heard two former NFL O-linemen talk about the near impossibility of developing linemen without padded practice. They claim it’s critical. If practice with pads is reduced, I would expect the development of players and the quality of play to diminish as well. Similarly, an extra game will likely result in more injured players at the end of the season–and there are already too much injuries affecting the quality of play. I suspect I’m in the minority of this–at least in terms of the degree to which this lessens enjoyment of the games. But I’m pretty sure there is a tipping point for the vast majority of fans. I feel like the proposed changes push the league closer to that point.

    I do think there are adjustments that can be made. For example, if the league decides practice time is important, one way to compensate players is to reduce the number of overall games–for from 16 to 15 or 14. Of course, this would reduce revenue, so the league (or maybe even the players) would not do this. But this is logical solution. The league could also add more byes. A bye could be added before teams play on Thursday night, giving those teams more days of rest before and after the game.

    One other factor that I feel people are overlooking. Players are faster, heavier, and stronger. I don’t see how this can’t or won’t increase injuries, both in overall numbers and even severity. Because of this to protect players and maintain quality of play, reducing games or adding more rest seems like the sensible direction.

    I feel like the rebuttal to this is that there are a lot of injuries now, but that doesn’t seem to have hurt the popularity of the sport. While this is true, that doesn’t mean a tipping point doesn’t exist.

    A lot of what’s going on makes me think of Mark Cuban’s remark that the NFL owners are like pigs at a trough and that their greed would ruin the game. A part of me wonders if the players’ greed can also contribute to ruining the game as well. Whatever the source of the greed, Cuban’s remarks resonate with me.

    1. The owners want more games for the money, yes. But your rank-and-file players, who make up the majority of the league, might see it a different way. The extra game is leverage — something they can concede in order to get what they really want. It might be more money, or it might be the chance to play so they increase their value (and therefore their money). The extra game would come with a few more players on the roster, I think, plus the possible stipulation that nobody would be allowed to play in more than 16 games — thereby giving your edge-of-the-roster guys a chance to play. That’s got to be tempting.

      The league is also likely to stop testing for marijuana, which I think appeals to a lot of players.

      I’m not interested in the conversation about the quality of games — you’re probably right but the salary cap and concussion protocol (or rather, everyone’s increased understanding of the danger of some of these injuries) may be as much to blame as anything. And if you’re the third-string tackle, you probably care more about making your living than you care about the overall quality of the games, especially since the NFL is more popular than ever. If the quality is going down, the fans don’t seem to mind.

    2. That’s got to be tempting.

      I’m sure it is, and I’m sympathetic to this. But this is what I meant that the greed–or selfishness–of the players are also a factor. The players, especially those who will gain the most from this deal, and the owners may not care if the quality of the league goes down, but shouldn’t they? You don’t think the quality can hit a point that causes a decline of interest in the sport? To me, they should be thinking about this, and I think this is what Mark Cuban was getting at.

      Addendum

      I heard John Clayton mention that the TV contracts could potentially increase as much as 60%, and the players would reap some of the benefits of this. But that’s if they get the deal done soon. If one just looks at this in terms of benefits, mostly financial, for players and the owners, it seems like this is a solid deal for the players–at least the lower and middle class ones.

      But let’s say the quality of play drops dramatically. In the end that’s going to hurt both. And if this is a ten year contract, I don’t think they’d be able to make quick adjustments.

  2. Calais Campbell traded to the Ravens for a 5th round pick. Man, that seems really good for the Ravens.

    The Titans resign Tannehill. The one thing I’d be worried about, if I were the Titans, is another Nick Foles type of situation. The similarity is that Foles came in the middle of the season. One theory is that he (and Tannehill) might have done well because opposing teams didn’t have enough information to know how to defend them. That theory will be tested next season.

    (I’m glad Tannehill didn’t go to the Raiders–which is what I heard Mike Lombardi anticipating. In a way, I can see it. Tannehill’s athleticism makes him a somewhat similar comp to Rich Gannon. But I just don’t trust Tannehill’s play-making. Too many bad things seem to happen when he’s moving around back there.)

    By the way, Lombardi reported that the Buccaneers really like Teddy Bridgewater. That one has me scratching my head. Throwing deep strikes me as Bridgewater’s weakness–and that’s a key part of Arians’s game. I like Rivers or even Brady with the Bucs.

    I also heard a report that the Niners are not going after Brady. If this report is only coming out now, I guess there was some truth that they were interested–which is surprising to me.

    1. The Jaguars are in tear-down and rebuild mode. I’m surprised they were willing to take a fifth-rounder, though, and wonder if Campbell’s salary is the real reason: too high for a rebuilding team?

      Another speculation: the Jags had to cut his salary, and because Campbell is such a stand-up guy (he just received the Man of the Year award last month!), the Jags traded him somewhere he could make a difference and possibly win a title. The cutting of salary may have been the real benefit, with the draft pick just being gravy.

      I think everyone had quick flashes to Nick Foles when they heard about Tannehill re-signing. I hope it doesn’t work out that way. I’ve always liked him.

      The Hopkins trade is a head-scratcher. Mina Kimes and Bill Barnwell explore it a bit in today’s ESPN Daily podcast. Does Bill O’Brien know what he’s doing?

      Buckner to the Colts for that pick is a great trade for both teams.

      Diggs to the Bills is worrisome. Buffalo seems like the place where potentially great WRs become mediocre. However, as Kimes and Barnwell broke it down, the Bills now have Diggs as a #1, John Brown as a #2, and Cole Beasley as a #3. That’s a 1-3 I’d be excited about if I were a Bills fan.

      Mariota to Las Vegas. Brady says bye to New England. Bridgewater to the Panthers. Cam given the okay to seek a trade. Thank God for free agency opening up in these days of no sports.

    2. I’m surprised they were willing to take a fifth-rounder, though, …

      Same here. Also, I’m surprised no other team offered a 4th.

      The Hopkins trade is a head-scratcher. Mina Kimes and Bill Barnwell explore it a bit in today’s ESPN Daily podcast. Does Bill O’Brien know what he’s doing?

      Off the top of my head, the only way this trade makes sense for Houston is if David Johnson is really good. He’s salary is kinda high, so he better be one of the best RBs in the league, and if he can make the Texans a top five running game, I guess that would justify the deal. Also, if it’s true that there are a ton of great WRs, then the deal makes a little more sense. But Johnson’s got to be a real difference maker in my opinion.

      Diggs to the Bills is worrisome. Buffalo seems like the place where potentially great WRs become mediocre. However, as Kimes and Barnwell broke it down, the Bills now have Diggs as a #1, John Brown as a #2, and Cole Beasley as a #3. That’s a 1-3 I’d be excited about if I were a Bills fan.

      Yeah, but I wonder if they gave up too much. And will Diggs be a problem? Also, while I think Diggs is a good player, I wouldn’t say he’s in the top tier–maybe just outside of it.

      And again, if this is the year with great WRs, giving up a lot for a WR doesn’t seem like a great move.

      Thank God for free agency opening up in these days of no sports.

      Yeah, and I think this has been one of the most interesting free agencies, in terms of the type of players that are moving around.

  3. Some exciting player movement today:

    On the surface, the Ravens seem to be having a great offseason–they get Calais Campbell and Michael Brockers. I would say their DL was a weakness, and they just gave it a major upgrade. (I believe they franhcised Matt Judon, keeping the pass rusher in house.) And they traded Hayden Hurst for a 2nd round and 4th or 5th and they had to give up a 4th or 5th to the Falcons. They seem loaded at TE, so this seems like a win for them.

    DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals for David Johnson and some picks (2nd rounder?). My heart sunk when I saw that. If the Cardinals upgrade their OL, they’re going to be formidable offense.

    DeForest Buckner to the Colts, for the 13th pick in the draft. I’m happy that the 49ers lost Buckner, but now they’re getting the 13th pick. Ugh. (Niners also resigned Arik Armstead.)

    Whoa–Stefon Diggs to the Bills for four picks–a first, fifth and sixth in 2020 and a fourth in 2021 — while also getting a 2020 seventh-rounder back from the Vikings. If you’re going to lose a good WR, this is the year to do it.

    I’m not sure how I feel about this. The Bills needed WR help. Diggs will do that. The Bills first isn’t going to be worth a lot, but the Vikings need younger (read: cheaper) players, so maybe this will turn out to be good for them.

    1. The Ravens did lose Yanda to retirement, which is huge. I would think they should be spending on a replacement instead. Unless they did already…

      I think the Buckner trade is the most interesting thus far. The Niners have a lot of defensive linemen, and Buckner’s rookie contract is almost done, so that part makes sense, however it could leave a hole in the heart of their defense and the reason they were slowing down the Chiefs. And what position are the Niners trying to improve at with those draft picks? I guess WR would be great with the talent at that position in the draft. It’s just my initial reaction was why would the Niners make a change like this when they are good enough to win it all.

    2. The Ravens did lose Yanda to retirement, which is huge. I would think they should be spending on a replacement instead. Unless they did already…

      This is a guess, but my sense with the Ravens–and the Steelers and Packers–are teams that really prioritize the OL. They seem to always have good OLs, for a long period of time. One way I think they’re able to do this is some combination of constant drafting of linemen and giving these players several years before they’re really needed. In any event, I’ve seen the three OLs lose good players and not really miss a beat, and I feel like they’re don’t often bring in FAs to fix problems. The Ravens must have known Yanda wasn’t going to play much longer. My guess is that they’ve got a solid replacement on the team.

      …however it could leave a hole in the heart of their defense and the reason they were slowing down the Chiefs.

      Yeah, and Buckner was arguably the best D-lineman. Armstead wasn’t really that good prior to last year–or at least that’s my sense. Maybe the 49ers are thinking of getting a more traditional DT and hopefully Ford, Armstead and Bosa will be sufficient to bring the heat. (By the way, as good as their front four was, they seemed to be a really good blitzing team last year. Their defense seemed better, overall, when they blitzed, than when they only rushed four, which is a little surprising.)

      And what position are the Niners trying to improve at with those draft picks? I guess WR would be great with the talent at that position in the draft. It’s just my initial reaction was why would the Niners make a change like this when they are good enough to win it all.

      My reaction is similar to yours. Yes, they could use a WR, but this draft is supposed to be loaded with good ones. I’m wondering if they’re going for an O-linemen or CB (Sherm’s no spring chicken).

  4. Calais Campbell anecdote: A few years ago (when Campbell was on the Cardinals), at the beginning of the Dan Le Batard radio program, Le Batard read the day’s guests, which included Calais Campbell.

    “Why are we talking to Calais Campbell today?” asked Le Batard.

    His producer Mike Ryan said, “He sounds like a friendly monster.”

    Which apparently was good enough a reason. And yeah: he sounds like a friendly monster. It was a great interview even though I don’t remember what they talked about, except at one point Le Batard asked Campbell if anyone ever told him he sounds like a friendly monster, and Campbell laughed and said, “Why thank you. Thank you. I’ll take that as a compliment.”

    1. I totally get what they mean by “friendly monster” voice, especially when he’s smiling. (He kinda has a friendly monster vibe, overall.)

  5. Who will have a better 2020 season–Belichick or Brady?

    To answer this, I will point to the circumstances each finds themselves in–specifically the quality of their teams. Let’s take Brady first. My sense is that people don’t think highly of the Buccaneers. Even without Brady, I would have had them as a dark horse. Had they replaced Winston with a solid QB or if Winston reduced his turnovers, I think they could have been the 2019 49ers of 2020. I say this based on watching them. Both defensively and offensively, they didn’t seem that far away. Add one or two good players on both sides, reduce turnovers, and I could see them as legitimate contenders. Also, I would expect improvement from the team in Arians’s and Bowles’s second year. So if they upgrade the roster–and Brady would qualify–and the players get more comfortable in the systems, it would not surprise me if they become contenders.

    One other thing–and this is something I don’t hear people mention. They have a balanced offense. In fact, I would describe them as a ground-and-pound offense, one that also takes deep shots. Opposing defenses could not just ignore the run game. If they did, Arians/Leftwich showed a willingness to keeping pounding the rock. This balance is another feature that makes them dangerous.

    (On a side note. Arians strikes me as someone who mostly runs a pro-style approach, eschewing spread, especially the dink-and-dunk style. But Brady seems to excel at operating the dink-and-dunk style–among other things. I’m curious to see to what extent the Bucs will incorporate more quick passing spread attack.)

    Bottom line: Brady is inserting himself into a good team. He’s really the main missing piece.

    Belichick, on the other hand, is almost in the opposite situation. Even if Brady stayed, I think the Patriots faced big challenges. (By the way, on one level, Brady asking for $30 million, and not less, put the Patriots in an impossible situation. Even if they paid him something between $20-$25, they would have had a challenge getting him weapons and good defensive players.) Maybe if Hakeem Butler takes a huge leap, and Sanu returns to form, (I believe he was hurt), and Edelman doesn’t decline, then they would have a solid roster offensive roster. But if these things don’t happen, even with a good QB, I kinda feel like they’re in trouble. Say they bring in Dalton or Flacco–I think this would be the biggest roster challenge Belichick faced–or something close to his roster at the start of his tenure with New England. If the roster doesn’t improve significantly from what they are now, and the Patriots win a lot and/or get into the playoffs that would be a huge accomplishment by Belichick in my opinion. It will be a greater accomplishment then if Brady gets to and wins a Super Bowl in my opinion.

    So who will have the better season? Right now, I’m saying Brady has a better chance of going the Super Bowl than the Patriots getting to the playoffs.

    1. Right now, I’m saying Brady has a better chance of going the Super Bowl than the Patriots getting to the playoffs.

      That’s a pretty extreme statement. I would put the Buc’s chance at making the Super Bowl at best around 10-15%. The Patriots should have a much better chance of getting to the playoffs than that. Yes Buffalo might be the best team in the division, but the Pat’s still have Belichick and the Jets and Miami in that division.

      Sort of confirming what you wrote though, I heard the Pats are not in a great situation cap-wise. But how is that possible? I thought they always try and save and never give in to big contracts. I just found that to be surprising.

    2. That’s a pretty extreme statement.

      Yeah, maybe. Making the playoffs might be too low of a bar and going to the Super Bowl may be too high. How about Brady has a significantly better chance of going further in the playoffs than Belichick? I’m essentially saying that Brady is in a much better position than Belichick.

  6. It’s hard to keep up with all the player movement.

    One that stands out: Jurrell Casey to the Broncos for a 7th rounder. Can that be right? Casey is a really good DT–maybe not as good as Fletcher Cox, but a notch below. I would have loved if the Raiders or Seahawks got him. Maybe he’s too expensive? He’s played nine seasons, I think, but he still seems effective. I don’t get it.

    In any event, this is a nice piece for the Broncos. The lost Chris Harris, but they picked up a CB (can’t remember whom).

    Do you guys know any good free agent trackers?

  7. The Rams released Todd Gurley and Clay Matthews. Looks like a rebuild. I have to say it kind of makes sense and it’s within character for this team over the past few years. I can see them replacing both players with people they think are better for a win-now approach.

    1. It makes sense because they didn’t manage their cap all that well, I think. To make matters worse, I don’t think they have a lot of draft picks. They might not have a first round pick for this year and next–or am I mixing them up with another team?

      Also gone from the team–Fowler, Littleton, Brockers, Robey-Coleman. They did add Ashawn Robinson and Leonard Floyd–and of course they still have Aaron Donald.

  8. Melvin Gordon to the Broncos. Todd Gurley to the Falcons. Eli Apple to the Raiders. Emmanuel Sanders to the Saints (Michael Thomas must be happy).

    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/10KSEGcX_WuQjy1mwB942b6-XU3aUNINc

    This CBS Sports tracker looks at their top 100 free agents.

    I think Jameis Winston’s agent should be calling the Browns if he isn’t already. That feels to me like a good Mariota-Tannehill spot, and with those receivers (Oh yeah, Austin Hooper is a Brown now too — forgot about that one) he could do well there. Or at least okay.

  9. Putting aside price tag, which I’m not sure about, I like Melvin Gordon pick up by the Broncos. (I think they added at least one solid O-lineman as well–Glasgow from the Lions? On another note, someone took Andy Janovich, their FB. I wished the Seahawks was the team that did that!)

    I don’t really care for the Falcons getting Gurley. I was never a big fan of Gurley’s. He’s can be really good with good blocking, but can do very little with mediocre or poor blocking. His value also seemed to be based a lot on being a home run hitter, versus a ground-and-pound guy. I prefer the latter. Putting my preferences aside, I’d like this pick if Gurley didn’t have question marks about his health.

    I don’t really care for the Eli Apple pick up by the Raiders.

    A part of me feels like Emmanuel Sanders with the Saints would be a great move. But the Broncos and 49ers released him, which strongly suggests that he’s really declined. If that’s not the case, this would be a great move. (It would have been great for the Cowboys or Packers to get him, too–if he could still play at a pretty high level.) If he can be a solid 3 WR this will be a good pickup.

    Re: Winston and the Browns

    I believe the Browns signed Case Keenum (which is a solid move in my opinion). In addition to getting Austin Hooper, the Browns also signed Jack Conklin and picked up Andy Janovich. It feels like Stefanski is going to implement the ZBS offense a la Shanahans-Kubiak. They’ve got all the pieces. I really love watching the offense, when it’s well-executed, so if the Browns do that, I’ll be happy to watch them. The roster seems loaded, maybe an improvement over last year’s. They have no excuses.

    As for Winston, what other team would be a good landing spot? Is there a place he could compete for the starting position? Miami might be a decent team, at this point. I’m not sure they’d want him. Ditto the Patriots. What about the Rams? If I felt that his ball security could be fixed, I’d prefer him over Bortles as a backup.

  10. Did you guys see the new Rams logo? (See it at the 4:50 mark.)

    The LA part of it looks kinda cool; the actual ram, not so much, to me, although it may be better than the previous version. I saw someone combining the LA part with the ram part, and it looked kinda cool (but I can’t find an image.)

    Ultimately, I want to see how the helmets and uniforms will look. The current ones look pretty good to me.

  11. I read that the Raiders are not signing Eli Apple now, which suits me.

    Cowboys sign Aldon Smith.

    Seahawks sign Benson Mayowa. A decent rotational guy.

    1. Mayowa has now played for all our teams: Raiders, Cowboys, and now Seahawks. He is a decent rotational guy, but I hope they never pay him too much. He didn’t stand out on a Cowboy team without great linemen.

  12. NFL.com/game pass had the 1991 NFC Divisional playoff game between the Cowboys and Lions, which I watched. I thought the game was going to be a good one, as in a close game, but it wasn’t. I have no idea why they chose that game, unless the guy who chose it was either a Lions’ fan, Erik Kramer fan, or a Cowboy hater. Kramer was really good in this game–he got into a groove and stayed there. Summerall and Madden mentioned that the Cowboys weren’t going to let Barry beat them–they were going to force Kramer to do that and that’s what the Lions did.

    Some other things that kinda stood out:

    I forgot the Lions ran the run-and-shoot. Maybe if Scott Mitchell was the QB I wouldn’t be surprised, but I forgot they used this offense before him. I also sort of forgot how the run-and-shoot operated with the QB largely under center. One other thing: I didn’t get why, with the QB under center, and with Sanders, the Lions didn’t utilize more play action and draws or play action draws. I can’t remember them using it once and if they did, they didn’t do it much more than that.

  13. Did you guys see the new unis for the Falcons? It doesn’t look good to me. The Bucs seemed to have gone back to the early 2000s uniform, which I think is a lot better than the one they’ve been using recently.

  14. The draft will happen next week, which is a great move. America needs this draft. The beginning of this draft could have Super Bowl ratings in America, I’m guessing.

    1. Are you even more enthusiastic about watching this draft, because of the lack of sports? I’m going to follow it, but my enthusiasm is a diminished. I think I’ll feel this way about all the offseason moves, unless I have some solid reason to believe the season will proceed.

      1. I think I’ve watched a little bit more than usual of the draft on like NFL Network and stuff. The draft can be pretty boring especially in the first round where it takes forever for the next pick, but I will watch a bit of it for sure.

    2. If we’re talking about watching the draft, I think that can definitely be boring. I doubt I’ll do that. But listening to the draft, while doing other things, I think that’s the way to go.

      By the way, do you guys generally pay attention to the pre-draft evaluation of players? I have almost zero interest, largely because the Seahawks almost always pick players that surprises most people. Besides, we end up finding a lot about the players during and after the draft.

      1. I listen to pre draft stuff so at least I know the guys they talking about or the guys I want to see Dallas draft. Maybe not so much the first round, but in the second or third round and let’s say I want them to get a running back, I just saw guys say that the LSU running back and the Florida running back are good guys that would probably not go in the first round. At least I can watch to see hoping one of the two guys drop to Dallas. Now when Dallas picks they might go kicker at that point even if the two running backs are free, but it still better than me not knowing any of the players.

  15. There are a few “fake” stories or stories to drum up clicks, that Dallas and Houston should exchange QBs. Although I’ve said it before, that Watson has more talent than Dak, I’m not confident he’s the leader that Dak is. And both guys have the same issue of holding the ball too long sometimes, but Watson seem worse and that leads to big hits and bad decisions on his part. If this trade was real, you think I should be in favor of it?

    1. If this trade was real, you think I should be in favor of it?

      I would be–and without a lot of hesitation. Watson is a better QB overall, and I would say better playmaker.

      With regard to whether he holds the ball too long, the reason he’s doing this is the key question for me. To wit, is he holding the ball too long because he’s taking too long to see the field and/or process information? Or is it because of other reasons–like a poor pass pro; lack of threat in the run game; pass catchers struggling to get open. With the Texans, the latter seemed like legitimate issues. Add to this Watson’s scrambling ability, and his holding the ball a long time doesn’t seem like so bad. Now, that doesn’t mean processing information is not an issue. I really don’t know enough to judge this part.

      I will say this: put Watson and Prescott in a situation where the lack pass pro, run game, or quality WR/TEs, and I’m pretty confident Watson will do better in this situation. I also think that if you put Watson on the 2016 Cowboys team, they would have had a better chance of winning it all.

      Based on what I’ve seen so far, Prescott seems more like a QB that depends quite a bit on a strong supporting cast. He’s tough and seems like a good leader, but I see no indication that he’s a significantly better leader than Watson.

      I think it would be a mistake for the Texans to make this trade–unless they got good draft picks with this deal.

      1. I would say Watson’s receivers are better than Dak’s even with Amari and when Dallas got Amari, Dak seem to perform much better. And I don’t think Watson had as good of a year as Dak did last year.

        I get why a QB holds the ball too long matters. However in whatever scenario or situation, if the holding the ball too long causes too much turnovers, bad plays, and chances of injury, a QB need to learn to stop doing it. Part of that is coaching and play calling, as you saw Dak go from one of the worse in terms of sacks to one of the better QB when Moore took over as OC. But Dak still holds the ball too long a lot of the times.

        I’ll also add that I know you have a whole lot of other issues with Garappolo, but the fact that mistakes happen when he holds the ball too long may be his biggest flaw. I give him credit for his courage to stand in there. But talent wise he is Tom Brady and even better when you consider his ability to get outside the pocket. But Brady almost never takes a sack or a turnover because he was holding the ball too long. I would same the same for Brees.

        I take it from your response that you think Watson is much better than Dak. So is Watson a top five QB and Dak a QB 6-10. Or is Dak even lower than 10?

    2. I would say Watson’s receivers are better than Dak’s even with Amari and when Dallas got Amari, Dak seem to perform much better.

      With Fuller, I’d agree. Without, it’s pretty close.

      And I don’t think Watson had as good of a year as Dak did last year.

      To the point where you would say Dak is better than Watson?

      However in whatever scenario or situation, if the holding the ball too long causes too much turnovers, bad plays, and chances of injury, a QB need to learn to stop doing it.

      You think that’s applies to Watson? Do you think the Texans would be better off if he decreased his scrambling–i.e., giving up on plays earlier? I don’t really get the sense. Like most of Russell Wilson’s career, I think if Watson significantly reduced his scramble plays, his team would be worse off, overall.

      I’ll also add that I know you have a whole lot of other issues with Garappolo, but the fact that mistakes happen when he holds the ball too long may be his biggest flaw.

      My sense is that the pressure gets to him, leading to a mistake–not that he holds the ball too long. If he’s going to lose poise by holding the ball too long, then yeah, I guess he should get rid of it sooner, but then that speaks badly of him. Ryan, Rivers, and Luck can hold the ball a long time, too, but the can keep their composure and make good decisions.

      But talent wise he is Tom Brady and even better when you consider his ability to get outside the pocket.

      Maybe, but that matters little if you pressure out in big moments. Carr has talent, too, but that’s negated by untimely bonehead miscues.

      But Brady almost never takes a sack or a turnover because he was holding the ball too long. I would same the same for Brees.

      But look at their offense, play calling, and the quality of the OLs they had over the years.

      I take it from your response that you think Watson is much better than Dak. So is Watson a top five QB and Dak a QB 6-10. Or is Dak even lower than 10?

      I guess you could say I think Watson is in or very close to the top 5 whereas Prescott is not. I’ll put it this way: I’m much more confident in Watson, whereas I have question marks about Prescott. Is he more like Kirk Cousins or in the category above him? I don’t know. But for this reason, I’d take Watson over Prescott. I also think in terms of what Bill Walsh called “spontaneous genius” I think Watson has more of this than Prescott. In my view, the great QBs, in the biggest games, will need to do 2-3 plays where they have to improvise, use their mobility, often during a broken play, and make something happen. Prescott has the ability to do this, but I feel Watson is better.

      1. To the point where you would say Dak is better than Watson?

        I think it’s close enough that it would depend on the surrounding pieces. I think Dallas is better off with Dak, if they can surround him with talent. I agree that Watson has more upside and has a much better chance of making a bad offense good. But I cannot remember a playoff game in which Watson played well. Dak hasn’t been played badly in his playoff games, even the ones he lost.

        Do you think the Texans would be better off if he decreased his scrambling–i.e., giving up on plays earlier?

        Maybe I don’t watch him play enough, but I didn’t think he is great in the pocket. If he commits to get outside the pocket or if run the ball, then he can be show greatness. But if he tries to stay in the pocket and run around like Wilson, I don’t think that he does that well. In some of the bad sacks he takes, he doesn’t even leave the pocket, but just takes a bad sack. I just don’t see the great QBs do that, even when their teams are not particularly good.

        But look at their offense, play calling, and the quality of the OLs they had over the years.

        Yes but look at Brady last year. I never seen so many balls get thrown to the ground or at the feet from one QB that I can remember. Those were all to avoid sacks. Or a few years ago when Aaron Rodgers was having a bad year. He took sacks trying to make plays, I get that will happen. But he rarely takes a sack just holding the ball in the pocket or makes a big mistake when he has to get rid of it. You see that more than you need to from Watson, Dak, and Garoppolo. Those sacks are drive killers.

    3. I think it’s close enough that it would depend on the surrounding pieces. I think Dallas is better off with Dak, if they can surround him with talent.

      Why do you think Dallas would be worse off with Watson–let’s say he was on the 2016-2019 teams?

      But I cannot remember a playoff game in which Watson played well. Dak hasn’t been played badly in his playoff games, even the ones he lost.

      But are you accounting for the different supporting casts? Switch the teams of both players–do you think Dak would play better with the Texans, and Watson would play the same or worse with the Cowboys–in similar circumstances?

      Maybe I don’t watch him play enough, but I didn’t think he is great in the pocket.

      He’s may not great, but he can play in the pocket–unlike Kaepernick or RGIII (maybe Mariota). He’s not just an athlete. I guess you’re saying Dak is significantly better in the pocket? I don’t really see that.

      Yes but look at Brady last year.

      But their offense wasn’t good. And scrambling isn’t a real option for Brady. But suppose it was–suppose the Patriots had Watson. Would they be better off if Watson scrambled more, took more sacks, but also made more big plays during these scrambles. I think the Patriots offense might have been better. (Then again, I think they were so talent-poor that it might not have mattered.)

  16. I agree Dallas may have had more talent but Dak played well. He didn’t not play well in all three playoff games. That’s a good sign. Yes Watson had less talent, but it’s not like he was making up for that. In fact there are times that he was the reason for his team to be playing badly if I remember correctly. If your stance it’s super hard to evaluate QBs because of the talent around them, then that I can agree with. But if you are saying that during the playoff games, Dak played well because of his talent and Watson played bad because of his talent, and that’s a reason to think Watson is a better overall QB, that’s a little hard to swallow. I think Dak may have a little more in terms of immeasurables, and until I see a little more from Watson in bigger moments, I probably won’t change my mind.

    No I don’t think Dak is great in the pocket. In fact I would say he is probably below average at. My point is more, it’s okay for Watson to get sacked or make a mistake trying to make a play outside the pocket. But he takes bad sacks inside the pocket, and being that he’s not great inside the pocket, he shouldn’t make those mistakes. So I agree if Watson is making a play outside the pocket and gets sacked or makes a boneheaded play, I wouldn’t count that as harshly against him. His team needs that from him most of the time. But the little I watched him play, I also see him take bad sacks inside the pocket just because he was holding the ball. He also takes hits inside the pocket that he shouldn’t. I see greatness from him at times, but his bad plays negate some of that for me. And I also don’t see that fire in him, but I’m don’t know enough about his leadership to make a strong judgment.

  17. I agree Dallas may have had more talent but Dak played well. He didn’t not play well in all three playoff games. That’s a good sign.

    He didn’t not play well? Do you mean, he didn’t play badly–i.e., he didn’t do anything to lose the games? If so, as far as I can remember, that’s true. But did he play well enough, especially given the talent around him? For me, I didn’t see enough, especially when it comes to making the handful of plays in the most crucial moments. That’s still a question mark for me.

    Yes Watson had less talent, but it’s not like he was making up for that. In fact there are times that he was the reason for his team to be playing badly if I remember correctly.

    Here’s a big difference between their situations in my opinion: Dak has played on a balanced offense, while Watson played on a one-dimensional one. And I think that comes down to the coaching and the supporting cast, more than the players themselves (although it’s possible that Watson is the type of QB that resist handing the ball off a lot, like a Rodgers or Manning; if that’s the case, I would give him a negative mark for that). Put Dak on a one-dimensional offense, with the Texan roster and coaching, and I tend to think the Texans would not be as good. On the other hand, I think the Cowboys would be better if Watson played on Cowboys. The difference may not be huge, but it would be big enough that I’d want Watson over Prescott if I were a Cowboys fan. (If the Raiders could get either Prescott or Watson, I’d definitely choose Watson.)

    But if you are saying that during the playoff games, Dak played well because of his talent and Watson played bad because of his talent, and that’s a reason to think Watson is a better overall QB, that’s a little hard to swallow.

    I’m not saying Dak played badly and Watson played well. I’m asking if you’re taking account of the supporting cast, coaching, and type of offense when you’re evaluating their performance. Brady didn’t play well this year. Without qualifying the statement, the statement sounds like Brady’s mostly responsible for this. I would totally disagree with this–or I would at least point to many other factors that could be a bigger reason for the lackluster performance, especially by Brady’s standards.

    I don’t think I would say Dak played badly, but his performance leaves me with a questions and uncertainty about how good he really is. With Watson, I didn’t think he has played great, but I think there are other reasons to point to, besides himself. If he played on an offense that was more balanced and with better pass pro, with better pass-catchers–and he didn’t play so well, then I’d be more confident to put it on him. By the way, how often did Will Fuller play in the playoff games? He makes a big difference in my opinion. If I’m not mistaken, he missed the ending of 2018, too. I believe this is one reason the Texans made a trade for Demaryius Thomas late in the season.

    No I don’t think Dak is great in the pocket. In fact I would say he is probably below average at.

    Where do you rate Watson’s pocket play?

    But he takes bad sacks inside the pocket, and being that he’s not great inside the pocket, he shouldn’t make those mistakes.

    I guess I don’t know what you mean; or I just don’t remember seeing a lot of this to see this as a problem. I’m kinda curious to watch and look out for this. I definitely think QBs can hold onto the ball too long in the pocket. When Watson holds the ball a long time, that usually involves a lot of movement–even within the pocket I think. He’s not really a guy who will slide or climb in a pocket–like a Brady, Brees, Rivers, or Ryan. You remember him taking a lot of sacks just playing in a more traditional, pocket style?

    By the way, given what you’ve said, I’m curious to hear your take on Wilson’s sacks this year and last year. My sense is that he’s taking more sacks inside the pocket, and he’s cutting down on the crazy, Tarkentonian scrambles. I feel like his scrambling has become more similar to Rodgers’s.

    And I also don’t see that fire in him, but I’m don’t know enough about his leadership to make a strong judgment.

    Are you talking about expressing emotions in situations other than celebrating a TD or a really good play? Maybe I should re-think my position, but I don’t really care if a QB doesn’t display a lot of emotion or fire outside of these situations. A part of me kinda prefers that, especially if this means they’ll be this way in the biggest moments. A QB like this gives off the vibe that nothing will shake them–even a tough situation or a a really big moment. I prefer this approach to a QB is fiery, but also displays anger or frustration in pressure situations.

    1. But did he play well enough, especially given the talent around him?

      I think if you talking regular season, I would question Dak more. There are times he can do more. But in the playoffs, he played very well against the Packers. He made the great pass and decision to pass to Dez that was ruled incomplete. I think Dak would have been close to 350 if the pass was called a completion. Dak was great in the Seattle game, but he did make that huge third down run to seal the game. He was good enough. Against the Rams, Dallas’ defense couldn’t stop the run. Dak pretty much held them close in the first half. I didn’t see things that would make me worry about him in the biggest moments so far. My worry is what I’ve seen in the regular season games. He can take bad sacks at bad moments. He can be too cautious with the ball at times. I think Moore’s offense help Dak open up a little bit which is why we seen him look a little better in both getting rid of the ball and taking more chances.

      Are you talking about expressing emotions in situations other than celebrating a TD or a really good play?

      No I’m not really talking about that, although that’s is a little part of it I guess. The Elway’s, Marino’s, and Brady’s all showed emotion when playing. Peyton showed his leadership by directing. When you see these guys on the field, you don’t have doubts they are the leaders on their team. The other side you have Montana and Staubach. But even when I think of those guys, there is something different between them and a Watson or Eli (although I don’t put Watson in the Eli category). There is a ho-hum attitude to guys like Watson and Eli. It’s hard to think of them as leading. It’s hard to really know for sure so it’s hard to make any definite statements, though. We used to talk about Derrick Mckey as that guy with talent and no drive, that’s sort of what I’ve seen of Watson so far. Are there past QBs that you think are very similar to Watson or worse yet Eli and were great? You see Montana very similar to these guys?

    2. But in the playoffs, he played very well against the Packers. He made the great pass and decision to pass to Dez that was ruled incomplete.

      In the 2017 playoffs? I don’t remember this play.

      As for his playoff performance, right now, the details of his performance are really fuzzy. But I don’t remember coming away from those games feeling confident that he’s the guy. significantly compensate for a roster that is less then this.

      My worry is what I’ve seen in the regular season games. He can take bad sacks at bad moments. He can be too cautious with the ball at times. I think Moore’s offense help Dak open up a little bit which is why we seen him look a little better in both getting rid of the ball and taking more chances.

      I agree the offense helped him, particularly in terms of productivity. (The downside, in my view, is that they shifted away from the centrality of the run game.)

      As for the regular season, I would worry less about that if his post-season play gave me confidence that he’s the guy. Again, I’m not saying he’s definitely not the guy–I’m uncertain at this point.

      The other side you have Montana and Staubach. But even when I think of those guys, there is something different between them and a Watson or Eli (although I don’t put Watson in the Eli category). There is a ho-hum attitude to guys like Watson and Eli.

      Yeah, but as you implied, Montana (can’t remember if Staubach was not so emotional or not) was more on the ho-hum side, too. By the way, was he always the captain? A part of me wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t, just because of his demeanor. By the way, for some reason, sometimes I get the impression that he’s not that bright–this is partly from interviews, too. It’s not that I think he’s dumb, but he looks and talks in a way that makes me wonder if he’s really sharp. Maybe it’s a sleepy quality? Eli has this, too.

      I’d argue that with Montana, and Staubach, their calmness and ability to perform well in tight situations makes them seem like there’s something more. The same is true for Russell Wilson, too. By the way, I think in the last couple of years, he’s shown more emotion, but early in his career he had a pretty stoic style while playing. (He still kinda does, but not as much in my view.) But when a QB keeps making plays in big moments and they seem calm, even ho-hum, I actually really like that. (I think Flacco is that way.) If I were a coach or teammate, I’d be like this guy is totally fine–the pressure is not getting to him at all. That’s a good thing.

      With Eli, and Flacco, it’s not their demeanor–it’s their inconsistency and lackluster performances. Also, people have criticized Jay Cutler for his demeanor–and I can see that. (Cutler kinda looks like a punk, too.) But ultimately, I wouldn’t care if he played better, not throwing so many bad passes. His vibe of indifference might even be an asset.

      1. But the Brady’s and Elway’s can be super calm in the big moments as well, I think. Can you think of a great basketball player that was like Montana? Kareem maybe?

        And I’m guessing that at least in terms of what you can see, Montana and Watson looks like the same guy not only in terms of emotion but leadership as well? Maybe I added more leadership characteristics to Montana because of his success? I’ve also seen Joe pretty fiery on the Dan Patrick Show when Mcloven called him a system QB (only good because of the system) jokingly. Joe seem pretty upset.

    3. But the Brady’s and Elway’s can be super calm in the big moments as well, I think. Can you think of a great basketball player that was like Montana? Kareem maybe?

      I was thinking of Dr. J. What about Ice, Ray Allen, Alex English, Jamaal Wilkes or Mark Price? Centers in general seem to have more of a stoic, calm style, don’t you think. You mentioned Kareem, but also Robert Parrish, even Hakeem.

      By the way, you mentioned Derrick McKey. I think the issue was his performance overall, relative to his level of talent. The calm exterior seem to be linked to a lack of effort and intensity. But, I think the examples above suggest that it’s possible to be intense, but also play in a more stoic style.

      And, yeah, Brady, Elway, or more emotional QBs can be poised in pressure situations–I don’t mean to say they can’t.

      And I’m guessing that at least in terms of what you can see, Montana and Watson looks like the same guy not only in terms of emotion but leadership as well?

      I can’t say the “it” factor is the same–not to the same degree. I don’t have questions about his leadership, though. The much bigger problem in my view has to do with factors other than Watson–like Bill O’Brien, the supporting cast, one-dimensional offense.

      Maybe I added more leadership characteristics to Montana because of his success?

      I know this is true for me–and it’s success the success in big moments, when plays break down. It could be just a little shovel pass at the last moment. In these moments, his facial expression and the overall vibe he exudes is calm, matter-of-fact almost. Even if you watch “the Catch,” when he’s rolling out and scanning the field, there’s no urgency or stress in his face–he gives two pump fakes, too, right? It’s the combination of an incredible play, especially when the play breaks down, and the calm way he goes about doing this–and that this happens repeatedly. Wilson is the same exact way.

      I’ve also seen Joe pretty fiery on the Dan Patrick Show when Mcloven called him a system QB (only good because of the system) jokingly. Joe seem pretty upset.

      But even his fieriness doesn’t seem all that fiery, don’t you think. To me, he has a goofy, almost dopey, aw-shucks, boyish, simple quality to him. He doesn’t come across at all as a thinker or someone who is deep person. For example, he doesn’t seem like he’s a guy who has the problem of over-thinking things–he just goes out and does things, without much thinking. That’s the impression I get. And by the way, if I’m right, these qualities are positive, if they allow him to play calmly in pressure situations.

  18. I saw that the Jaguars are shopping Leonard Fournette. He’s my type of back, and I would love if the Seahawks or, even the Raiders, got him. But the Seahawks really have other needs, and no longer have a lot of cap space. The Raiders have Josh Jacobs, and they also need other big needs.

    I kinda like him with Detroit in Daryl Bevell’s offense. The Bills or the Colts might be another good landing spot, although I kinda feel like he might be a waste with the Colts. Oh, if the Broncos are going with a run-first offense, he would have been great there, but they already got Gordon. (I prefer Fournette over Gordon, myself.) Rams might have been a good place for him, too.

    In other news, the Chiefs sign DeAndre Washington from the Raiders. I like this pick-up. Washington is scatback type of RB, who is decent at running inside. I’m not sure how good he is as a receiver, but a more spread offense seems like a good fit for him.

  19. Gronk to the Buccaneers for a 4th round pick (I think). Seems like a good trade for the Patriots, and possibly for the Bucs, if Gronk is even 80% of his normal self. Intriguing.

    1. I heard OJ Howard was already being shopped even before Gronk, but I’ll be surprised if Gronk is a huge improvement over Howard and Cameron Brate. Basically I think in terms of pass catching weapons, the Bucs are pretty set. They should be looking to improve in other areas. I may eat those words if Gronk is any good.

    2. …I’ll be surprised if Gronk is a huge improvement over Howard and Cameron Brate.

      I think this is a good point. I’ve heard several people note that Arians’s offense doesn’t really heavily utilize a TE. Based on what I’ve seen, that seems to be the case, although I don’t think he’s had great TEs. Then again, if Brate and Howard are really good, then that would suggest the TE isn’t that big of a factor in his offense (or Leftwich’s). But all this all depends on how you define “big factor.” The TE may not put up big numbers, but based on what I’ve seen the TE is a factor in his offense–he’s basically a pro-style guy.

      The x factor for me is the blocking of all three–I have no idea about the quality of their blocking. If Gronk is significantly better than the other two, that could be a huge difference, not just in the run game, but making him more dangerous in pass game, especially play action.

      If I would be surprised about anything, it would be big numbers from Gronk, given what I’ve mentioned above, and Gronk’s age. Also, I think if he plays a whole season that will be an accomplishment, unless the season is shortened. But even putting up big numbers won’t be too surprising, as we all know how good he was in the past.

    3. Getting the best tight end of all time, who happens to be a great friend of your newly acquired greatest QB of all time, in exchange for a fourth-round pick? Huge.

      Gronk wasn’t even going to play this season. I suspect he doesn’t expect to carry the receiving corps, which would be a huge relief for him. Do you guys remember the Gronk Cruise a couple of years ago? In an unexpected moment of candor during a Q&A, when a reporter asked him what he wishes for, he said, “I wish I could wake up every morning not in pain” or words to this effect. I think he’ll be happy if he gets to play even on a limited basis — in fact he might prefer it.

      I’ve heard (I can’t verify) that Gronkowski hasn’t touched the money he earned from his NFL salary, that he’s lived on his endorsement money all (or most of) this time. So he’s likely not coming back for money.

      I think he’s coming back to hang with his buddy, to catch a few balls, and maybe to go to another post-season. If the Buccaneers only put him in on third and medium or in the red zone, they’re going to get value even if Gronk is only a memory of his former self. And I suspect he could catch that end zone back-shoulder fade into his forties if Brady’s the one throwing it to him.

      What if the real value to the Buccaneers is the effect Gronk’s presence has on Brady? It could be HUUUUUUGE.

      Unless Tua goes somewhere suuuuuper interesting tomorrow (New England?!?!), the Bucs are going to be the story of the season, if we in fact have a season. Man, I kind of wish Perriman were still on the team.

    4. What if the real value to the Buccaneers is the effect Gronk’s presence has on Brady? It could be HUUUUUUGE.

      You think so? Do you mean it would make the game more enjoyable for Brady? That since they have an onfield (maybe offfield, too) rapport, this will help Brady be more effective?

      The Bucs will definitely be a big story. I’m also really curious to see what happens in New England.

      But as you alluded to–that’s if we have a season. And even if we do, I’m not feeling good about the quality of play. I just read the the Saints are cancelling their offseason workout, which I think is the preparation prior to real offseason practices. I’m not sure. In any event, if teams are going to reduce their preparation, relying more on the players to work out in isolation, I feel like that’s going to negatively impact the quality of play, and maybe even increase injuries. I hope not, though.

  20. Off the top of my head:

    Aaron Rodgers ($4)
    Ezekiel Elliot ($3)
    Mike Evans ($2)
    OBJ ($3)
    Davante Adams ($3)

    1. I would go Rodgers ($4), Evans ($2), Amari ($2), Michael Thomas ($4), and Zeke ($3).

      There is no way Derrick Henry is a better all around RB than Zeke. I don’t even think Henry is better than Chubb. I also do not think Adams is better than Cooper.

    2. I didn’t realize Rodgers was 36. That means he would be 39 in three years. Because of that, I think I’d switch to Deshaun Watson.

      I don’t think Henry is a better all-around back than Elliot, but he could be a better back. To me, that’s the question. One could argue that he is, but I wouldn’t pay spend extra for him. I also would be happy with Chubb, especially at his price.

      As for Davante Adams, I have a hard time gauging how good he is. Sometimes he seems like a good playmaker and other times he doesn’t. Between him and Cooper, though, I think I’d take Adams. To me Cooper will drop balls that he shouldn’t and I find that frustrating.

      Evans at $2 is too low.

  21. I’m not sure if it’s true, but I thought I saw the Jameis Winston going to the Saints on a one year deal. That’s a good place for Winston, I think.

    1. The Saints just signed Taysom Hill, Winston, and drafted a QB. Will they keep four during the season, including Brees? It’s possible with Hill playing multiple positions, I guess, but that’s tough. Most teams only keep two on their roster.

    2. The Saints drafted a QB? Someone really good? Otherwise, I’d guess they’d just drop him to the practice squad. i suspect they’re going to keep three, like they did last year.

  22. I agree with Cowherd that grading a team’s draft immediately isn’t worth a lot. I do like how he goes about evaluating teams right now–namely, look at who the teams lost and gained in free agency and the top three picks in their draft. Essentially, he’s evaluating a team’s offseason at this point.

    I agreed with the teams he gave high marks for. The Broncos free agency pick ups were really impressive, and I also agree with Cowherd that if Drew Lock is good, Denver could be a dangerous team.

    I also tend to agree about Belichick and his ability to draft players–namely, it’s not that great.

    On a side note, while I haven’t been following the Patriots moves closely, the overall impression I get is that they’re going back to an older formula, winning with defense, and ball control. I say that because they don’t seem to have added a lot of offensive weapons, although they did draft two TEs. I guess if those two really pan out, and Stidham is really good, their offense may be more than just a good ball control unit.

  23. I can’t remember everything that was said on this, but they discuss a remark made by a long-time Packer reporter:

    “Public niceties aside, my sense is LaFleur, fresh from a terrific 13-3 baptismal season, simply had enough of Rodgers’ act and wanted to change the narrative. With a first-round talent on the roster, the Packers would gain leverage with their imperial quarterback and his passive-aggressive style,” the report read. “If the Packers do indeed want to become a running team next season, they surely wouldn’t want Rodgers rocking the boat and becoming even more difficult to coach.”

    I don’t know the exact situation in Green Bay (obviously), but here are a few comments:

    1. Last year, early in the season, the offense looked different–more plays with Rodgers under center, more play action, and greater threat to run the ball. At some point, though, the offense got away from this, and it started looking more like the offense under McCarthy.

    To me, this seemed like another indication of tension between LaFleur and Rodgers. I’ll say more on this in the next point.

    2. Most talk about this report seem to center on play calling–namely, Rodgers wanted to change plays and LaFleur assented. The talk suggests this is was a key source of the friction. But my sense is that this discussion is really about being a more pass-centric team or a more balance, run-based offense, Rodgers wanting the former, and LaFleur the latter. If this is true, this is a noteworthy detail. If LaFleur wants a more balanced, run-based attack, and Rodgers doesn’t, this is a really big problem. If Rodgers refuses to give in, it might be better for LaFleur to acquiesce (as he largely did last year). The other alternative is to try and trade Rodgers. I don’t think trying to have it both ways is going to work. It could potentially tear the team a part.

    3. For a long time, I have believed that a great passing QB is a double-edged sword. They’re so good at passing, they’ll prevent an offense from having a balanced attack. A deterioration of skill seems like the only thing that will get such a QB to concede (and with Marino even that didn’t seem to do the trick). Rodgers’s skill hasn’t deteriorated enough in my view. If LaFleur really wants a more run-based offense, this is bad news, strangely enough.

    4. If the Packers were thinking of trading Rodgers, where would a good landing spot be? The first team that came to mind was the Chargers. Man, I’d like to see Rodgers in that offense. With the moves Denver made, Rodgers would be interesting in Denver, too. Both teams would become contenders I think. (If GB could get 2nd and 3rd round pick, would this be enough? Also, GB could maybe then sign Cam Newton, if he’s healthy.)

    5. One last note. That the Packers didn’t draft a WR, in a draft with a lot of good WRs, seems kinda crazy to me, and I wouldn’t blame Rodgers for being really annoyed and frustrated. The Packers need at least one more good pass catcher. Maybe they have one on the roster. We’ll see. Also, I believe Peter King said that the Packers have never drafted a WR in the first three rounds for the past six years, nor have they signed any big free agent receivers. I complain about Russell Wilson’s OL. I think Rodgers could make a case about the quality of pass catchers (although he’s consistently have a very good OL). Russ hasn’t had great pass catchers, but in the last three years, I would say they were better than what Rodgers had.

  24. Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, and Joe Flacco free agents. (Winston and Mariota were also available.) Has there ever been this many solid QBs free agents at this time of year? Maybe Newton is really damaged goods (or COVID-19 preventing teams’ doctors from examining him); maybe Flacco is worse than I think. Ditto Dalton. But they seem like good QBs to me. Shoot, I think I’d rather have any of them over Foles, and add Tyrod Taylor to the mix

    If Cam is at least 80% of his prime, it’s kinda crazy if the Chargers don’t take him. If I were a Bears fan I’d want him. Maybe teams don’t want to deal with his attitude? I have a feeling the Belichick wouldn’t want to.

    The Bills or Steelers should consider getting Flacco as a backup (assuming Dalton and Newton want to start). That would be a really good pick-up, I think. The Titans should consider this, too. Shoot, if the Seahawks had a great defense and run game, I’d want one of them as a backup. (They would probably be too expensive, though.)

    1. I’m hearing Dalton to the Cowboys. Don, how do you like that move? If I were a Cowboys fan, I think I’d like it, unless the prices was too steep. The thing is, if for some reason, Prescott goes down, Dalton should be able to keep your playoff hopes alive on this type. (I think I would have preferred Flacco if they could get him for a lot cheaper.)

      1. Price is about right for Dalton. My guess is the Cowboys probably have real concerns Dak will not sign the franchise tag. Will Dak sit the entire year? I doubt it, but I don’t think they would pay Dalton if they signed Dak to a long term contract during the off-season, especially since Dak hasn’t missed a start in three years.

      2. Dalton to the Cowboys for one year and $7M makes a lot of sense for both parties. Dak not signing the franchise deal makes almost no sense to me either, especially with the toys the Cowboys picked up for Dak to play with. I also think if the season ever gets rolling, most players across the league are just going to be happy to play; they’d have to be really, really unhappy with their deals not to play.

        A lot depends on what a season will look like (will it be abbreviated?), and how owners, players, and the league will agree to handle service time.

        Unless Flacco and Cam are hurting for money (which would be a small surprise), it makes the most sense for them to wait. Somebody’s QB always goes down during the season, and now Flacco and Cam can sort of bide their time and swoop in to be storybook heroes. There are a lot of QBs in this league with a ton invested in them but no real clarity. Three fourths of the AFC East, as an example. If the Jets (for example) start out 2 and 6 before Sam Darnold goes down, Cam can just keep waiting for a better opportunity. But if the Jets open at 6 and 2 and Darnold goes down, it could be Superman to the rescue.

        Belichick was willing to put up with Randy Moss, Chad Johnson, and Antonio Brown. I don’t see why he wouldn’t be willing to work with Cam Newton if he thought Cam could win. I heard someone credible (I can’t remember who) posit that the Patriots are actually tanking for Trevor Lawrence, but this seems borderline absurd to me.

    2. Everything you say makes sense, but I wasn’t really thinking of the possibility of the Cowboys failing to get a deal done when they signed Dalton. If Dak sits out, that would be crazy. Something really has to go wrong for that to happen. I just don’t see this. If the Cowboys allow this to happen, they should just move on.

    3. Your points about Flacco and Cam are really good ones. I like the Jets example you pose. Also, I think if Josh Allen goes down for the Bills, Stafford for the Lions–there are a lot of examples actually. (Who is the backup for the Chiefs now?)

      The key is Cam’s level of ability is at this point. If his ability hasn’t significantly declined, he’s better than Tyrod or Foles.

      Belichick was willing to put up with Randy Moss, Chad Johnson, and Antonio Brown. I don’t see why he wouldn’t be willing to work with Cam Newton if he thought Cam could win.

      I’m pretty sure all three had to have the right attitude. I’d guess for some, they’d have to modify when they got over there. And with Moss, it didn’t last. It may not with AB, too. (My understanding is that Kraft wanted him out, not Belichick, but I’m not sure.)

      I heard someone credible (I can’t remember who) posit that the Patriots are actually tanking for Trevor Lawrence, but this seems borderline absurd to me.

      I agree with you–I’d be utterly shocked if Belichick did this. Did Cowherd suggest this?

    4. I forgot to mention this (although I might have mentioned this up there), but I also like Cam or even Flacco with the Steelers. Who knows if Roethlisberger can play a full season, and if he’s lost for the entire season, with the Steelers defense (which seems better than it has been in a while), the Steelers could be in the hunt.

      Somebody mentioned Cleveland for Cam. That sounds interesting, but I’d probably shy away from this if I were Cleveland. I’d be interested in Flacco, though.

      Flacco to any of the McVay or ZBS teams as a backup would be good for him, especially if the team has a good TE.

      I’ve also heard Cam to the Seahawks. I’m not sure how I’d feel about that, but I don’t think this would be great for Newton. (If the Seahawks had a really good defense and run game I think I’d like this.)

      1. If they can get Cam for a deal, I’d leap at him if I were Seattle. Wilson is the Seahawks’ entire offense. If he goes down, they don’t win. If he goes down and Cam comes in, they have another guy who (assuming all the usual assumptions about health) can win a game by himself.

    5. Even if Cam is healthy, I still think he won’t be at his prime (like 2015 for example). If Wilson goes down, the ‘Hawks would need Cam in his prime to have a chance of going deep into the playoffs. I say that because the defense and even the OL might not be that good. If both were really good, then a less-than-prime Cam could lead the team deep into the playoffs, and I’d be much more interested in him.

      1. So you feel better about Anthony Gordon as Wilson’s backup?

        How quickly does a QB fall out of his prime? Maybe for a guy like Newton, who has been unfairly beaten up through the years, it happens quickly, but in 2018, when I think we all know Newton was playing hurt, he had a 67.9 completion percentage for 3395 yards, 24 TDs, 13 INTs, and 7.2 yards per attempt for a QB rating of 94.2 in 14 games.

        He also carried the ball 101 times for 488 yards, 4.8 yards per carry, 4 TDs, and 34.9 yards per game.

        For comparison, in 2015 (the MVP season), he had a 59.8 completion percentage, 3837 yards, 35 TDs, 10 INTs, and 7.8 yards per attempt for a QB rating of 99.4 in 16 games.

        He carried the ball that year 132 times for 636 yards, 4.8 yards per carry, 10 TDs, and 39.8 yards per game.

        There’s a dropoff between 2015 and 2018 for sure, but if he’s close to what he was the last time he played 14 games (when we all knew he was hurt), he’s better than just about any backup QB in the league. And as I said, if the Seahawks can get him for a deal, why not?

          1. Fortunately for the rest of the NFC West, Geno Smith was released by the Seahawks after the 2019 season. He’s still a free agent.

    6. I heard the Hawks signed Geno Smith for one year. But Smith or Gordon are not better than Newton. So why not sign Newton? Here are some reasons:

      1. He likely will cost more.
      2. He has more of a potential to be disruptive than the other two.
      3. The team surrounding Wilson, especially the defense and OL, might be average at best and quite possibly much worse.
      4. There’s a decent chance that Newton is not fully healthy. I think this is one of the reasons interest in him has been low.

      If all this is true, and Wilson goes down, does it make sense to sign Newton?

      Now, if those conditions above change or are not true, that can change things. But as long as they remain true, they seem like compelling reasons not to sign Newton.

  25. Some news: Cam Newton to the Patriots on a 1-year deal.

    An interesting thought below:

    1. Cam could resurrect his career. I think with a mildly effective career in New England, say 3-4 playoff years, he could be a hall-of-famer.

    2. Cam could resurrect his career. I think with a mildly effective career in New England, say 3-4 playoff years, he could be a hall-of-famer.

      It’s hard to see him being a HoF-er unless he wins a Super Bowl or at least goes to one more–unless he performs really well in the regular and post-seasons and has a relatively long career. Say he has 3-4 playoff years, but his teams exist early, and his performance isn’t really good. I think he’d have a hard time getting in.

      His career was never dead. It doesn’t need resurrecting. It needs a makeover.

      Maybe not dead but his career is “beaten down” so to speak. His play has declined. Is it just due to injuries (his pass-catchers have been lackluster), and if so can he overcome them at this point in his career?

      1. Yeah I wasn’t trying to say Cam just goes to the playoffs 3-4 more times and gets into the HOF. But if he plays well for 3-4 more years and is a top five QB in those years, I think he will have the resume. The problem will be that bad Super Bowl performance in his MVP year. That could be tough to overcome. I think Cam’s career overall would be better than Kurt Warner’s with 3-4 more productive years (possible with 1-2 more productive years), it’s just Kurt has three Super Bowls appearances, winning one.

    3. Up to this point, do you guys consider Newton a great QB? I don’t think I would say that, although it’s hard to describe my feelings about him. I think his running really enhanced the offense, maybe more than any other QB, including Wilson. I think it’s the power running, running inside, leading to a package of various option plays that separates him from QBs like Wilson. Earlier, it’s also as if Carolina didn’t care if Newton got pounded on those runs. Also, he could and would frequently make a handful of incredible throws that very few other QBs could make–not just current QBs, but QBs from the past. In 2015, I thought he deserved the MVP.

      But early in his career, his ball security sucked. And he has not been a really accurate thrower, and he would throw too hard, especially on shorter throws. And the Super Bowl performance is a stain, as Don mentioned.

      Does this make Newton a great QB? I’m more inclined to say he’s very good, although his threat of running makes him a formidable and unique challenge.

      As for Warner, I’m ambivalent about how great he is. I don’t put much weight on the fact that he went to three Super Bowls. My sense is that his case is built on numbers he put up with the Greatest Show on Turf. You could argue that was the most talented team, in terms of weapons, and an OL that wasn’t shabby either. I certainly wouldn’t say Warner is better than Newton because of he had better statistical volume.

      1. I’m too lazy to look, but I bet in my book he was a top five QB for numerous years. I’m pretty sure he is regarded as having the best rookie QB year of all time. I’m not sure if Mayfield’s year surpassed Cam, but I would guess not. Cam also has one MVP, which many don’t.

        I think Cam is great. I think Lamar Jackson is a better player, though. I think I would rather have Kurt Warner as my QB, but I definitely would rather have Cam over Eli, who is also a future HOF’er.

    4. I’m too lazy to look, but I bet in my book he was a top five QB for numerous years.

      Statistically, or in terms of how experts would rank him? I think I’d take Warner over Newton, but it may not be a slam dunk. I think I’d go with Newton over Eli (and I don’t think Eli deserves to be in the HoF).

      I think Cam is great. I think Lamar Jackson is a better player, though. I think I would rather have Kurt Warner as my QB, but I definitely would rather have Cam over Eli, who is also a future HOF’er.

      I think it’s way too early to pass judgment on Lamar. It would not surprise me if he flames out.

      How would you compare Newton to the following QBs:

      Phillip Rivers
      Tony Romo
      Matt Ryan
      Matt Stafford?

      1. If I was choosing I would probably have him right in the mix with these guys in terms of talent/skill. That being said though, Cam’s HOF resume with a few more good years, would be above all of these guys with the exception of Ryan. Ryan has a Super Bowl appearance, MVP, and loss as well. I do not think the others have any of those things. HOF has as much or maybe more to do with resume, especially for QBs, than playing ability.

      2. The gap may not be far, but, I think I’d prefer all those over Newton.

        In terms of talent–especially in terms of arm strength–he’s not only better than them, but he’s might be in an all-time great level–with Favre, Elway, maybe Moon.

        HOF has as much or maybe more to do with resume, especially for QBs, than playing ability.

        I agree, but I go more by playing ability and actual performance, especially in critical moments.

    5. I’m seeing Newton signed for $1.75 million (with bonuses for performance?). Man, that’s a steal. If I were a Chargers or Bears fan, I would be highly annoyed. The Titans might have been another good place for him.

  26. My knee-jerk reaction–This seems crazy. I don’t like it.

    Adams better be better be at least as good as Kam Chancellor if not better. This is a lot to give up. He’s not going to be cheap, too.

    1. I’ve become a little more positive about this trade, although I’m not entirely gung-ho. Some Seahawk fans pointed out that the 2021 first round pick may not be as valuable if there is no college football season. That seems like a compelling argument, if they mean that the draft will be crap-shoot, where teams even have less good information. This is not to say there aren’t going to be good players, but the ability to know who they are and get them at the back end of the first round will be really, really difficult. Therefore, the value of the pick may decrease–and if you can get a bonafide star, trading those picks, then the trade might make more sense.

      However, this argument seems a little less compelling about the 2022 draft. It seems unlikely that the 2021 football season will be cancelled, as I would guess the U.S. and the world will have the pandemic under control by then (or at least I hope so). Then again, a late round first may not be as valuable and may be worth trading.

      Either way you slice it, the Seahawks gave up a lot, and Adams will have to have similar impact as an Earl Thomas or Kam Chancellor (in his prime) for this deal to be worth it in my opinion. Picks in the 20s may not be as good as some thing, but they’re still valuable, particularly in terms of trading them to get more picks. And the Seahawks are going to need this to upgrade both their offensive and defensive lines. They just had to cut Branden Jackson, a solid rotational D-linemen and Joey Hunt, their backup C. Duane Brown, their starting LT, doesn’t have many years left, and he could get hurt. I really don’t see a good path to building up their lines for the future. This trade has put much of their hopes on their younger players, including the players they just drafted. If two or three of them don’t really pop, they’re screwed in my opinion.

      Edit

      I forgot to add–another bad aspect of this trade was that Adams wanted to be the highest paid safety. Seattle gave up a lot, putting them in a bad negotiation spot. They’re still in that situation, but this tweet, if true, seems to be a little better, at least for the upcoming season:

  27. I have more to say about the Seahawks trade. I won’t go into now, but I’m a little more positive about the trade, although not completely. Let’s just say I can find some reasons to be optimistic, and even excited. Still, all of this comes under the shadow of the pandemic, looming over the upcoming season. Nothing has changed my pessimism–not without the teams going into a bubble, and even that’s not foolproof. I just saw a ESPN report that 13 in the Marlins clubhouse tested positive. We’re less than a week into the season.

    Think about NFL teams in states with high COVID numbers–the Bucs, Dolphins, Cowboys, Texans, Cardinals, to name a few off the top of my head. I think I’ll be surprised if something similar doesn’t happen to them.

    And in terms of the risk of getting the virus, football has to be way worse than baseball. The offensive and defensive linemen are literally breathing in each other’s faces on every play. The plays at the line of scrimmage seem like the equivalent of going to a bar or gym. On short yardage run plays, more players will have that type of exposure as well.

    I don’t understand how people can think football can be played without putting the players, coaches, and other staff into a bubble situation. Maybe my understanding of the virus is not completely, and my confusion is based on this. But if my understanding is basically sound, I don’t see how the NFL can play an entire season–especially not without missing key players for long stretches and/or at key moments. I would be happy if someone could convince me I’m wrong.

    1. Just saw this article about Bruce Arians. He’s 67 and a cancer survivor. It dawned on me: There are a lot of older coaches in the NFL. (The article mentions Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick.) This puts another twist on the situation. If one of these coaches get the virus and die that would be just awful. If teams (including coaches and staff) are not in a bubble, I’m leaning towards cancelling the season.

    2. Katie Nolan pointed out that they got a two-time all-pro, versatile linebacker-safety hybrid in the early part of his career for roughly two Rashaad Pennys (27th pick in the first round, 2018).

      With Russell Wilson in his thirties now and who knows how many years for the head coach, I find it difficult to fault the Seahawks for this trade. Roll the dice on this next season, whenever it is, while their excellent QB is still consistent and never injured. Sure, it’s a gamble, but it’s a well-considered gamble. And as someone else pointed out today, it would seem Carroll is the anti-Gase, so maybe Adams will click with his new coach.

      You’ll probably never hear me say I’m rooting for Seattle, but I’d actually like to see this work out for the Seattle team, especially if it means a super-competitive NFC West, normally one of the most uninteresting divisions in the league.

      EDIT: Without a bubble, I don’t want to see a season at all.

    3. Katie Nolan pointed out that they got a two-time all-pro, versatile linebacker-safety hybrid in the early part of his career for roughly two Rashaad Pennys (27th pick in the first round, 2018).

      In spite of his credentials, I never had an impression that he was great–not like Earl Thomas or even Kam Chancellor at their best; or that one year where I thought the Honeybadger might have been the defensive player of the year. This is not really a fair comparison, but I tend to think Adams has to be in that ballpark to make this trade worth. This is especially true, since the defensive line is a more pressing need in my view; or at least has big deficiencies (and I don’t think many would dispute that). Giving up that many picks for a really good D-linemen would have made more sense in my view. For example, if the ‘Hawks could have gotten a player like Chandler Jones for those picks, I think I would have preferred that.

      Also, I don’t really care for comparing Adams to the two specific players the ‘Hawks got with those picks in the past, as this isn’t a good way to evaluate the trade in my view. If they got better players at those picks, the trade wouldn’t necessarily be bad. I think you also have to look at their needs. Finding good linemen is going to be a lot harder now with those two first rounders–and they might desperately need them.

      Sure, it’s a gamble, but it’s a well-considered gamble.

      It’s not a good gamble if the team will be in a deep hole in the future. Right now, if they don’t have two or three OL and DL that really emerge, I think they’re going to be in trouble. And it’s not like they have super high picks at those positions.

      Without a bubble, I don’t want to see a season at all.

      I hear you. I just don’t get what they’re thinking. No one should be surprised if many players and staff get the virus, and if some die, that should not be too surprising as well, especially older coaches/staff. I’m starting to get the most worried about them.

      1. So we’re clear, you’re not in favor of another trip to the Super Bowl in, say, the next two seasons in exchange for the following four years of not making the playoffs? I’m throwing these numbers out there, so feel free to adjust. Feels like boosting Wilson’s chances for the next two years at the expense of the next few would be worth it.

        The Seahawks aren’t the Rams, but I’m betting the Rams are super happy with their this-year-or-bust approach a couple of years ago that took them to the Super Bowl right after relocating to a new city. Given this team and this city, what would make it worth it in exchange for how many following years of mediocrity?

      2. Seattle did seem to give up a lot and if I was a fan I would be against the trade. Breaking it down, even if Adams went just for two first round picks, that would be close to too much, but Seattle also had to give a third (next year) and a starter for a fourth round pick from the Jets.

        That being said, it’s pretty unanimous that Adams is the best safety in football right now. Would you rather have Minkah or Derwin James (a little unproven)? Based on the little I seen and all that I heard of Adams I would lean Adams. Would you rather Seattle have gone for Ngakoue? I think I would still lean Adams, but it might be close.

  28. Mitchell,

    So we’re clear, you’re not in favor of another trip to the Super Bowl in, say, the next two seasons in exchange for the following four years of not making the playoffs?

    If the roster and cap are a mess in the subsequent four years, I wouldn’t like this trade-off. I don’t mind “going for it now”–if this doesn’t put the team in a bad position in the future.

    The Seahawks aren’t the Rams, but I’m betting the Rams are super happy with their this-year-or-bust approach a couple of years ago that took them to the Super Bowl right after relocating to a new city.

    If their OL and defense has big holes, I wouldn’t be happy if I were a fan.

  29. Don,

    Breaking it down, even if Adams went just for two first round picks, that would be close to too much,…

    If they traded for a good pass-rusher, I would have been more supportive–but not Ngakoue, who is the right age, but doesn’t seem worth that price. (I initially said I liked Chandler Jones, but I didn’t realize he was 30.) The problem, as I see it, is that Adams doesn’t address a need. That is, the DL will still have glaring needs, not only this season, but also future ones as well. Now, this won’t be the case if they hit on a few of the D-linemen on the team, and in two years, that may be realistic. Short term–it’s not looking good.

    For Adams to be worth the trade, he’s going to have to have a huge impact, maybe a notch below hall of fame type of performance (although I’ve heard people say if he keeps playing at this level, he’ll be a hall of famer. Do you agree with that? Because that’s not the impression I get.). The defense will have look a lot better, too. If both happen, yeah, that would make the deal worth it. But that’s an incredibly high bar.

    Initially, I would have been happier with Derwin James, but thinking about it more, my sense is that Adams is more physical; and if that’s correct, that would give him the edge. If Adams makes the defense a lot more physical, that’s something I’d really value.

    I wouldn’t want Ngakoue for the same amount of picks. I wouldn’t mind having him, but I would be scared to spend a lot on him.

    1. For the Seahawks trade to be worth it, Adams is going to have to have a similar impact as this guy:

      What I remember is that the Colts defense was totally different, with or without Sanders. Night and day. I also remember that he was almost never healthy. Indeed, for some reason I have trouble remembering Sanders’s name, but I could always finding it by googling “Colts safety injured” and his name would always come up.

  30. NFL players opting out of the season

    Three starters on the Patriots–HIghtower, Cannon, and Chung (although I don’t know if Chung still starts). Those are some pretty big names. I don’t like the Patriots, but this sucks. To be clear, I don’t blame them, but if as a fan, if good players are going to opt out or get sick and miss a lot of games, that would diminish the games for me. There are bigger reasons to not have the season, without the teams in a bubble, but this is another one.

  31. When you guys talk about putting teams in a bubble are you referring to what the NBA did and keeping everyone in one place or individually keeping each team inside their own “bubbles”? I think the NFL should do the later, but doing the former doesn’t seem possible.

    1. I was thinking, initially, of a quarantined city type of situation–where all the teams are living in a location (or you break up a league into two or three groups, each living in a separate location), and the people providing services for the teams are also quarantined.

      My guess is that this is not possible–that is, it’s too expensive and would lead to a loss of considerable money. If this were not the case, I would guess the NFL would have done this–and if not, that would have been a big mistake.

      individually keeping each team inside their own “bubbles”?

      What does this mean? Will each individual team live in one quarantined location? Would the people providing services also be the bubble, or are they living in the regular community? If the latter, I don’t think this would be so effective in areas with a lot of the virus.

      Here’s my guess of the situation. A complete bubble is impractical. So they’re going with the next best option, and this option is more profitable than cancelling the season. However, the league knows the next best options will likely not prevent many players missing playing time due to the virus or cancellation of the season. They’re just going to go this route on the slim chance they can have an entire season.

      Actually, if this is what’s going on, it’s seems wrong. If they don’t have a very robust way to prevent players and staff from getting the virus, they shouldn’t have the season.

      1. When I say each team be in their own bubbles, I mean just like the NBA where every player is in one location and they cannot leave and everything is provided for them. The difference though is the NBA is doing this for the entire league, but the NFL would do it by teams and within their own city. Their own bubble “plan” would also require a site for the traveling team as well. Maybe this is what they are going to do, but the public isn’t aware.

        Surprisingly the MLB didn’t do a whole lot in terms of cancelling or postponing the season despite the mini outbreak for the Marlins. They postponed a few games, but they are able to continue to move forward at least for now.

    2. The difference though is the NBA is doing this for the entire league, but the NFL would do it by teams and within their own city. Their own bubble “plan” would also require a site for the traveling team as well.

      That is, the people providing services for the team (e.g., cooks, medical personnel, etc.) would also be quarantined in a part of the city with the players/coaches/staff? If so, then I think this is the next best step from quarantining the entire league or groups of teams into specific areas. It doesn’t sound like this, though. I skimmed over one article, and they just talked about a lot of testing and an emphasis on each person being careful and disciplined (e.g., wearing masks, avoiding crowds, etc.). If this is the plan, I don’t think it’s going to work.

      On a related note, I saw a tweet that the Cowboys are offering refunds for ticket holders. Seems like a ominous, pessimistic sign.

      Surprisingly the MLB didn’t do a whole lot in terms of cancelling or postponing the season despite the mini outbreak for the Marlins.

      They have to at least cancel or postpone the Marlins’ games, right? How does that work? I guess if they can play the games at a later date, it’ll work out. ?

  32. On a side note, the Seahawks may be doing an extreme test of the old debate about which is more important–the back or front end of a defense. There’s no guarantee, but their secondary and LBs might be elite, while their DL, especially the pass rush, might be one of the worst in the league.

    Actually their OL could way below average as well. If this also happens–and they’re successful, it will challenge those who (me) believe you win in the trenches. The Seahawks are building in a team in a way that I kinda hate (i.e., allowing their OL and DL to be the weakest part of the team).

  33. As one head coach explained it to PFT on Thursday, consultations with various doctors not connected to the NFL have led to the inescapable conclusion that, given the total amount of players, coaches, and staff and the prevalence of the virus, one or more people working for one of the league’s teams likely will die from COVID-19 during the 2020 season.

    from PFT

    A bit jarring to read this, but after a brief moment, this sounds accurate. I wouldn’t be surprised if the number is actually higher–not so much with players, but coaches and staff. I bet there are quite a few older coaches who have health issues. But without some kind of bubble, it seems really unwise and almost irresponsible to proceed with the season.

    On another note, I think Russell Wilson, a few weeks ago expressed interest in getting AB. Russ has been wise beyond his years, but this is an exception in my view. I feel like AB needs professional help from mental/psychological issues.

  34. I can’t express what I’m about to say with other Seahawk fans, as I would just be a killjoy and wet-blanket. First, a tweet that started this:

    This is good news for Seahawk fans, and a part of me was happy to hear this, but that instantly went away. This is really bittersweet. Why? I really want to see them play, especially with the new additions, but I don’t think there’s any chance the NFL will have a season, and I don’t think they should. They can try, but I don’t see how games won’t be stopped, key players won’t miss games–people will get the virus and some may even die. The enthusiasm for the NFL right now doesn’t seem realistic at all. (And, yet, I felt–and feel–good about the news about Dunbar. It’s weird.)

    1. What is the most likely scenario you are thinking about? The season never gets off the ground and it never starts or there is a mini or even worse outbreak and it essentially ends the season.

      I think there will start the season, right or wrong. I also cannot see a huge outbreak since teams won’t have a lot of times that the entire team is together. The worse thing that could and probably will happen is if a group – o-linemen, defensive backs, special teams have so many infected that the team cannot play that weekend or possibly two weekends. Unlike baseball, how will the NFL make up that team’s games? My solution is schedule a 16 week season, yet cut the season to 12 games. So if the Steelers and Raiders get canceled in week two, they would be down to 15 games, which would mean all other teams would have a chance to cancel their games somewhere down the line. It will probably require some schedule changes, but it will give each team a 4 week play in which they would have a “bye”. The key would be to let all teams and the public know of this possibility upfront (beginning of the season) to “save face” in case teams have to miss weeks and it doesn’t look like the NFL is just making things up as they go along.

    2. What is the most likely scenario you are thinking about? The season never gets off the ground and it never starts or there is a mini or even worse outbreak and it essentially ends the season.

      Both would be equally bum me out, and I don’t have an opinion on which one is more likely. Actually, in some ways, starting the season and ending it at some point might be worse–especially the longer the season lasted. Imagine getting to the playoffs and then ending it at that point. That would totally suck.

      My solution is schedule a 16 week season, yet cut the season to 12 games.

      Somebody (from CBS sports?) posted a similar idea. It was interesting, but kinda complicated. It also included an option a mini-bubble situation, I think. It involved last year’s playoff teams hosting games at their home stadium–not just for their games, but other games as well….OK, here’s the article.

      He had one idea I really liked:

      If 24 teams make the playoffs, that means eight teams won’t, and this is where things get fun: Instead of having their season end, those eight teams will take part in the first-ever NFL Draft Tournament (I probably should go ahead and get that trademarked now). Basically, this will be an eight-team playoff and the winner of the playoff will get the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The draft tournament would almost certainly get huge ratings compared to a normal regular season game, so networks would likely be on board. The eight-team playoff field would be made up of the teams with the four worst records in the AFC and the teams with the four worst record in the NFC.

      Using last year’s standings, here’s what the first round of the draft tournament would have looked like:
      8. Bengals at 1. Browns
      7. Washington at 2. Chargers
      6. Lions at 3. Panthers
      5. Giants at 4. Dolphins

      1. The NBA bubble is surprisingly successful, so if possible I would be in favor of some kind of NFL bubble. I’m not sure why it doesn’t seem to be a possibility.

        My plan unlike the one the CBS guy posted would be a dynamic schedule. If no team misses any games, than the season would include 16 regular season games in 17 weeks as normal. It’s just if teams do miss games, that schedules would be modified so everyone will have extra byes as well. Of course to be fair everyone needs to know this information upfront that the season can be cut to 12 games. If a team needs to miss more than 4 games, the season would be cancelled or that team would just be out.

        You guys think the optics is terrible if someone does pass away from Covid in the NFL? I understand, yet is it that much different than taxi drivers, police, firemen, or a guy at the Tyson plant dying?

    3. My understanding is, all the leagues employing a bubble strategy is having success–as in zero cases–not just the NBA. I would assume that this approach just wasn’t feasible, either financially (as in, they would lose significant money, relatively to cancelling the season) and/or logistically (e.g., could find enough practice places, lodging, etc.). The other option is that they didn’t plan well or didn’t think they would need this approach. I would be a little surprised if that was the reason, but who knows.

      My plan unlike the one the CBS guy posted would be a dynamic schedule. If no team misses any games, than the season would include 16 regular season games in 17 weeks as normal.

      Does this mean that the teams may not play the same amount of games? That doesn’t sound right. How would that work?

      You guys think the optics is terrible if someone does pass away from Covid in the NFL? I understand, yet is it that much different than taxi drivers, police, firemen, or a guy at the Tyson plant dying?

      Well, first imagine an older coach or staff person dies–e.g., Bruce Arians, Pete Carroll, Dante Scarnecchia, etc. Or let’s say an overweight linemen or a player with existing health issues. Or what about a sports journalist–e.g., John Clayton, etc.? Would the NFL receive a lot of criticism, and would it be deserved? I tend to think yes to both.

      There are at least two differences, between the NFL and a cab driver, worker at a meat plant, fireman, etc., that come to mind:

      1. NFL is luxury for the society and far from a mandatory service. You could make a case that cab drivers and meat packers may not be mandatory also. Let’s suppose that’s true.

      2. NFL players/coaches have alternatives–namely, if they don’t play, they’ll be OK financially. I assume no one will be evicted, or go hungry. I tend to think that doesn’t apply to meat packers and cab drivers. To be fair, that might apply to all the people employed by the NFL.

      Oh, and here’s a third reason, which I’ll pose as a question: Do you guys think the league has a responsibility to protect the coaches and players from themselves, just like how coaches have to sometimes protect players from themselves? They may take a dangerous risk because they just want to play.

      For me, in places where the virus is not under control (and that seems like a lot of places now), I would be shocked if NFL-ers won’t get the virus and the league would have to stop. It’s totally predictable in my view. The more reasonable, best case scenario would involve stopping an outbreak, among a team or the league–not preventing players from getting the virus or major disruption to the reason, including ending it. Without a bubble, in my view, the latter is highly unlikely.

      1. My plan has every team playing the same amount of games, but instead of trying to make up games for teams that miss games due to Covid, the rest of the teams would just have an extra bye week somewhere along the line, preferably at the end of the season. So if Miami cannot field a team and they miss a game against Pittsburgh, the other 30 teams will have an extra bye pushing their total to 15 games. The next week when Miami misses a game against New England, all the other teams with the exception of New England and Pittsburgh will again add another bye to their season. Of course the “extra” byes should come somewhere closer to the end of the season, in case those teams also need to miss games due to Covid. It may seem complicated, but I think it probably won’t be that bad. The biggest complication is if the league needed to make everything fair in terms of home games. So each team starts with eight home games (16 total games eight at home and eight away). If the season gets to 14 games, that each team will have to have seven homes games. If that is super important even if games are played without fans (not even sure that’s how it will be), my solution is schedule four neutral site weeks so that each team starts the season knowing they will only have six home games. And any “cancelled” games would be those neutral site games.

    4. Yeah, this seems complicated. For teams that are not missing games due to the virus, how do you know when to slot in the byes? Let’s say you’re half way through the season.

      One option is just to never use the byes until the very end. But teams that fall into this scenario could potentially have a 4 byes, i.e., four week layoff. That seems kinda long.

      Also, are you saying the number of total games would be in flux during the season? Doesn’t this have potential to mess with playoff standings? I guess it can’t be helped.

      1. But teams that fall into this scenario could potentially have a 4 byes, i.e., four week layoff. That seems kinda long.

        I think if the virus is still prevalent when the playoffs start, the plan should include starting the playoffs early and then maybe adding these extra weeks into the playoffs in case Covid hits a playoff team.

        Doesn’t this have potential to mess with playoff standings?

        I think that’s why my plan is to inform everyone before the season starts of what is the possibilities, so no one can gripe when it happens. The worse and very probable thing that can happen is midway through the season, the season is cut short (same as my current plan without pre-notification), games will be rushed to made up for missed games (three games in two weeks maybe) or the season is continued to be pushed back with long gaps between games (talk about bad optics).

        1. Sorry scratch what I said about starting the playoffs early, because those teams that missed games could possibly still have to play in the last four weeks of the season. So yeah missing four weeks straight could be a problem. They would definitely need to try and balance out the need to hold on to those byes for the end of the season and not having them build them up so they would miss the last four weeks.

    5. They would definitely need to try and balance out the need to hold on to those byes for the end of the season and not having them build them up so they would miss the last four weeks.

      Do you mean, they might decide to give up those byes, shortening the season? How would they actually make a informed decision about this, though?

      I think that’s why my plan is to inform everyone before the season starts of what is the possibilities, so no one can gripe when it happens.

      I don’t think that would end the griping. If I’m understanding your schedule clearly, it sounds like teams could get in or out of the playoffs simply by a decision about the total number of games. For example, if at the half way point, they decide the season will be 13 games, this move alone might end a season for a team or maybe automatically get some teams into the playoffs. Even if you know this potentiality, it’s kind a sucks–and I think it would be frustrating for fans, too.

      1. Do you mean, they might decide to give up those byes, shortening the season?

        No I meant if a team had to take four byes, don’t pile them up to the end of the season and have them take some during the season. I would think the most time off a team would need due to Covid would be two weeks off at a time. That doesn’t mean the players with Covid can be better in that time, but the team could field replacements within that time frame. So a team shouldn’t have to pile up more than two weeks of byes.

        Even if you know this potentiality, it’s kind a sucks–and I think it would be frustrating for fans, too.

        The scenario in which the season will have to be cut short without prior knowledge or the “heads up” is way worse. The only other option would be to keep extending the season with large gaps in between games or have teams not play the same amount of games. I feel like both are worse. Unlike baseball, it will be extremely hard to make up football games, so I cannot think of other options to deal with miss games. Every team already has one bye, which puts in that buffer for one miss game, any more than that would be a problem.

    6. No I meant if a team had to take four byes, don’t pile them up to the end of the season and have them take some during the season.

      But would a team know they could safely use the byes? That is, they could use them only to find out that they really needed them.

      The scenario in which the season will have to be cut short without prior knowledge or the “heads up” is way worse.

      I agree. What you’re saying is better than if the league just decided, at some point in the season, to just shorten the regular season. But I would be surprised if they’d do this. I have to believe they already have that contingency in mind. Or they’ve already decided that they will just cancel the entire season.

      On another note, the other day, I wondered if might pessimism might be misplaced. After all, the NFL seems like a well-run organization, filled with a lot of smart people. Additionally, I don’t know all the protocols they’re going through to deal with the virus. So maybe the completing the entire season (including the playoffs) has a much better chance than I realize.

      Counter-point: By attempting to play–under the current protocols–the owners (and the players?) would not lose more money than if they cancelled the entire season now. However, under the current approach, the odds of completing the season is 50% or less. The NFL could adopt an approach that significantly improves those odds, but this approach would be significantly more expensive (or just not feasible) than cancelling the season now.

      If this is the situation, then I think the pessimism is warranted.

      Edit

      I heard something that made me a little more optimistic. A reporter (can’t remember his name) mentioned that some fans mentioned that while the virus numbers for NFL teams is good now, it’ll get worse when they have to travel. That’s my feeling as well. But the reporter mentioned that NFL teams basically go straight to the airport, then to the hotel, to the game, back to the hotel, then back on the plane–or at least something close to that. He mentioned the NFL would be testing bus drivers and flight stewards. IF this also included hotel staff, I feel like may they have a much better chance that I originally thought. Now, if players, coaches, and staff are leaving the hotels, that’s another story. Also, to what degree will coaches, players, staff be going out in public when they’re in their home cities? If this is really minimal to non-existent, then yeah, I feel like odds of playing an entire season go up quite a bit.

  35. Dang, I wanted the Seahawks to get Eversen Griffin (but it would have been bittersweet, but why am I disappointed? I’m messed up).

    I think contract was a good one, too.

  36. At about the 13 minute mark, the evaluator mentions “the WR talent, outside of Davante Adams has suffered,” and that Rodgers’s (seeming) decline coincides with Jordy Nelson (when he got his first big injury). But the entire video makes the case that Rodgers has declined, that he’s now average. Here’s what I don’t get: why don’t people assume the problem is with the WRs/TEs and not Rodgers? I have some hypotheses to explain this, but it’s kind of odd. Consider this: If Mahomes lost Kelce and Hill, would we expect Mahomes’s number to decline? Would it be surprising if he didn’t look as good? I think if you asked 10 NFL fans this, almost all of them would say they would expect some dip and wouldn’t be surprised by this. And yet people conclude that Rodgers has declined.

    Now, some may respond by saying this isn’t a new problem–that what we’re seeing from Rodgers has occurred over several years. I agree with this, but suppose Mahomes lost Hill and Kelce, and the Chiefs never replaced them, fielding a bottom third pass-catching unit for the next five years. Would it be surprising if Mahomes’s number dipped, and he didn’t seem as good? Again, I would guess most NFL fans, if asked this, would not be surprised. If you look at the Packers receiving group, they haven’t been that good since Nelson sustained his first major injury, and I would say Adams only really emerged in the last two or three years. I wonder what the consensus would be about their pass-catchers–top, middle, or bottom third? They’d be middle at best, to me. Additionally, I don’t really see a significant decline in Rodgers’s throwing ability.

    Now, I do agree that Rodgers has missed more targets–too many–then he has in the past. The evaluator also claims that Rodgers is “leaving too many plays on the field,” playing outside of structure too often. Let’s assume this second point is also true. In my view, weak pass-catchers–that is, pass-catchers that consistently struggle to get open–would explain both, especially if this situation persisted over several years. For QBs that are great at extending plays, if they’re WRs/TEs are struggling to get open, it would make sense if they resort more to sandlot football.* If they do this, I would not be surprised if they miss open players, “leaving plays on the field.” I also wouldn’t be surprised if they begin develop bad habits, like poor footwork.** It would not surprise if their accuracy declines, because of the footwork, but also if the windows are frequently tight.

    On a side note, I want to mention Brady and Wentz–both QBs also didn’t look that great last year, and both played with a pretty bad pass-catching unit (arguably worse than the Packers). It would not surprise me if they look at lot better with better WRs/TEs. (With Brady, at this point, it’s harder to know if age is catching up, or if the supporting cast is the issue.)

    (*If the QB played with a strong supporting cast, you could compare how often they played outside of structure. If they played within structure a lot, with a strong supporting cast, that suggests they’re playing outside of structure because of a weak supporting cast.)

    (**I believe the evaluator mentions that Rodgers always had bad footwork or something to that effect. I disagree with this. I feel like he had great footwork–and he would throw with proper footwork and mechanics. But I think he always had the ability to throw from different platforms–that is, he could throw with bad footwork. I do think he’s developed bad habits, though–but I think poorer WRs are a plausible reason for this.)

    Other notes:

    I’ve mentioned this before, but I think creating a baseline for the frequency with which QBs miss open targets/make the wrong read has to be created. I’d like to know the average for all NFL QBs, and also an average among the top QBs–i.e., how often do the best QBs miss open targets/”leave plays on the field”–and knowing the average of the QB being analyzed, over the course of their career, might be helpful. And again, the supporting cast and any changes to them should be accounted for as well.

    How do you guys like the EPA stat, especially used to evaluate a QB? My understanding of it is not great, but based on the description, I have some problems:

    1. Addendum:

      While I suspect the decline in the Packer passing game may have more to do with the lack of a supporting cast, rather than a decline in Rodgers, I do think he might be a problem for a different reason–namely, that LaFleur wants a more balanced attack and Rodgers (like a Marino) still wants to run a more pass-first, pass-heavy approach. Another way of saying it: He hasn’t given into a run-first approach–like Elway, Romo, and Manning did late in their careers. And to be fair, I don’t think he’s declined to the degree where this is warranted. (Romo’s ability probably didn’t decline significantly, too, although he seemed more britle. On this note, Rodgers seems a bit fragile as well.) Nevertheless, if LaFleur wants a more run-based, balanced attack, and Rodgers wants a pass-first approach, the offense and Rodgers are not likely to function optimally. If there’s a clash between the two, one should be removed.

      2. It may sound like I’m saying Rodgers has not declined–the problem is all with the supporting cast or other factors. And while that’s my guess, I am not 100% this is the case. My main point is that a claim that Rodgers himself has declined should be based on evidence that Rodgers, not the supporting cast, is the reason for this.

  37. How many high-drafted QBs have come back from an utterly abysmal start to their careers? Examples of high-drafted QBs who have had abysmal starts to their careers are Heath Schuler and Rick Mirer. I wanted to say a couple from the Bengals and Browns–Akili Smith and…that QB from Kentucky, whose name escapes me now…Tim Couch (I don’t know where he was drafted, thoug). Oh, Joey Harrington for the Lions. OK, you get the idea.

    I can think of two. One of them was in the news today, which is why I mentioned this subject.

    1. My answers:

      Vinnie Testeverde
      Alex Smith

      I think Testaverde became a QB who could win a Super Bowl, and I’m not sure there’s another QB that took as big of a jump from where he first started in the league. (And if I remember correctly, he was horrible for several years before he went to the Jets and became a really good QB.)

      Maybe Steve Young might be another, but I’m not sure how he did in the USFL, and I don’t know if he was worse than Testaverde when he played for the Bucs, but I think he did make a big jump from the Bucs. I never thought he would be good when he went to the Niners. Ricky was confident that he would be good, and he proved me wrong.

      I don’t know if Smith good enough to win a Super Bowl (unless he played on an all-time great team), but he had a rough beginning to his career and became a decent starter.

      The thing about Testaverde and Smith is that they have several really bad years–and came back from that to be good or very good QBs. I give them both a lot of credit as that must be so difficult on one’s confidence.

      1. All rookies have tough years and many have tough couple years. Aikman wasn’t great in the first couple years (for sure his first year), but you could see greatness in him. Manning was horrible his rookie year too I believe. I’m guessing you mean guys that lose their starting job? Did Alex Smith lose his starting job to Kaep straight up or did he get hurt? I cannot remember.

        1. Just for context, if Sam Darnold becomes a solid player, would he fall in abyssal to solid example? I still feel he will be good one day, but last year seem to be bench worthy at times.

    2. This list should always begin with Jim Plunkett.

      In his first four seasons with the Patriots (drafted first over all), he started 14 games each. His TD-INT numbers: 19-16, 8-25, 13-17, 19-22.

      He only started five games in his fifth and final season with the Patriots. He was 36 for 92; 3 TDs and 7 INTs.

      He was released outright during the 1978 season by the 49ers.

      In his first two seasons with the Raiders, he threw 0 passes and 15 passes. Then he won two Super Bowls. Hero.

    3. Don,

      All rookies have tough years and many have tough couple years.

      This is a good point, and I should address it. I’m not talking about one year of struggling. Many QBs go through that. Testaverde was horrible for many years, and I think he became a backup at one point. Alex Smith was also pretty horrid until Harbaugh got there, and, even in those years, he was just OK.

      So I’m not talking about just one year of bad play, but several–to the point where I would conclude there’s no chance they would be good. Imagine if Blaine Gabbert became a starter that could win a Super Bowl. That’s the kind of scenario I’m talking about. (I don’t know if Alex Smith would qualify for that, but I think he overcame several bad years, and became a starting QB.)

      So no about Darnold, and I don’t think he’s played really badly this year, especially given the talent around him.

    4. Mitchell,

      The main reason I hesitate to mention Plunkett is that I don’t remember him in New England. So I can’t really comment about how bad he was or why he struggled. But that seems like a decent pick as well.

      1. Well. After I wrote that, I wasn’t so sure about the “abyssmal” part. He definitely underdelivered for a number one pick, but I don’t think he was Ryan Leaf or Jamarcus Russell.

    5. Do you remember watching him play with the Patriots? In any event, my sense is that the consensus was that he was struggling quite a bit with the Patriots–whatever the reason. So I think be on there, but I’m not comfortable speaking about him because I didn’t really seem him play early on.

      1. I remember him as a washed-up 49er, but no. The first Patriots QB I was ever aware of was Steve Grogan, who was drafted to replace Plunkett. Suckers!

      1. I liked him too, and he was pretty good (although I looked up his stats when I looked up those other QBs, and there was nothing really worth noting, so I didn’t include him in the list). But he was no Jim Plunkett.

  38. Best NFL QBs of the 70s

    Did you guys see this?

    10. Archie Manning
    9. Bert Jones
    8. Ken Anderson
    7. Billy Kilmer
    6. JIm Hart
    5. Ken Stabler
    4. Bob Griese
    3. Terry Bradshaw
    2. Fran Tarkenton
    1. Roger Staubach

    Some thoughts off the top of my head:

    • Judging QBs by wins–including Super Bowls–gets worse for me over time. Yes, winning a Super Bowl is the ultimate, but use that metric to evaluate a team, more than one player. Now, the way a QB performs in a Super Bowl matters a great deal, and I would put a lot of weight on that.

      In any event, because of this type of thinking, someone like Archie Manning (and probably Bert Jones, whom I don’t really remember) gets unfairly ranked. If Manning played on the Cowboys, Raiders, Vikings, Steelers, Dolphins, I have a feeling he’d be in the top five. And if those teams QBs played on the Saints, some of them may not even make the top 10.

    • Do you guys remember watching Hart and Kilmer? I only barely remember Hart, and by then I don’t think he was that good. But I want to say Kenny Anderson was better, which is kinda ridiculous based on what I just admitted, but there you go.
    • I don’t remember Griese, but I would put Snake above him–maybe above Bradshaw, but I’m OK with Bradshaw, Tarkenton, and Staubach above him.
    • I like the ranking of Staubach and Tarkenton.
    1. I was going to watch that before commenting, but it’s 45 minutes long, and I don’t have that in me right now. So there may be some overlap in my comments and the video.

      First, I didn’t really start watching football until 1977 or 1978. The earliest games I can remember are Super Bowls XI and XII, and after XII I was really a fan. I hate to give the Cowboys credit, but something about watching Tony Dorsett run the football made football make sense to me.

      The thing I remember about Kilmer is that his passes wobbled. I remember this specifically because when we played football in my neighborhood, if I was QB the other guys called me Kilmer.

      I watched Hart lose a lot of games, but his QBing is a hazy memory. I remember he looked great in the white Cardinals unis, though.

      So that doesn’t leave many years in the 70s for my memories. It might be helpful to look at some numbers.

      Staubach: 1969 to 1979
      2 Super Bowl wins
      6 Pro Bowls
      1 Second-team All-Pro
      1 TD passes leader
      4 passer rating leader

      Tarkenton: 1961 (!) to 1978
      (Vikings, Giants, Vikings)
      3 Pro Bowls (plus 6 in the 60s)
      1 First-team All-Pro
      1 Second-team All-Pro
      1 NFL MVP
      1 Passing yards leader
      1 Passing TDs leader
      32 career rushing TDs

      Bradshaw: 1970 to 1983
      4 Super Bowl wins
      1 NFL MVP
      3 Pro Bowls (really?)
      1 First-team All-Pro
      1 Second-team All-Pro
      2 NFL passing TDs leader
      32 Rushing TDs

      Griese (1967 to 1980)
      2 Super Bowl wins
      6 Pro Bowls
      2 First-team All-Pro
      1 NFL MVP
      1 NFL passing TDs leader

      Stabler (1968 to 1984)
      (Raiders through 1979)
      1 Super Bowl win
      1 NFL MVP
      4 Pro Bowls
      2 First-team All-Pro
      2 NFL passing TDs leader
      1 NFL passer rating leader

      Hart (1966 to 1984)
      (Cardinals through 1983)
      4 Pro Bowls
      1 Second-team All-Pro

      Kilmer (1961 to 1978)
      (Saints in 1970; Racial Slurs through 1978)
      1 Pro Bowl
      2 All-Pro
      1 NFL passing TDs leader
      1 NFL passer rating leader

      Anderson (1971 to 1986)
      2 Pro Bowls (2 more in the 80s)
      0 First-team All-Pro (but 1 in the 80s)
      2 Second-team All-Pro
      0 NFL MVP (1 in the 80s)
      2 NFL passing yards leader
      2 NFL passer rating leader (plus 2 in the 80s)
      1 NFL completion percentage leader (plus 2 in the 80s)

      Jones (1973 to 1982)
      (Colts through 1981)
      1 Pro Bowl
      1 First-team All-Pro
      1 Second-team All-Pro
      1 NFL MVP
      1 NFL passing yards leader

      Manning (1971 to 1984)
      (Saints through 1982)
      2 Pro Bowls
      18 Rushing TDs


      Notable absences

      Dan Fouts (1973 to 1987)
      2 Pro Bowls (plus 4 in the 80s)
      1 First-Team All-Pro (plus 2 in the 80s)
      0 Second-Team All-Pro (1 in the 80s)
      1 NFL passing yards leader (plus 3 in the 80s)
      0 NFL passing TDs leader (2 in the 80s)

      John Brodie (1957 to 1973)
      1 Pro Bowl (plus 1 in the 60s)
      1 First-team All-Pro
      0 Second-team All-Pro (1 in the 60s)
      1 NFL MVP
      1 NFL passing TDs leader (plus 1 in the 60s)
      1 NFL passing yards leader (plus 2 in the 60s)
      1 NFL passer rating leader
      0 NFL completion percentage leader (1 in the 50s, 1 in the 60s)

      Roman Gabriel (1962 to 1977)
      (Rams until 1972, Eagles until 1977)
      1 NFL passing yards leader
      1 NFL passing TDs leader (plus 1 in the 60s)
      1 Pro Bowl (plus 3 in the 60s)
      0 NFL MVP (1 in the 60s)
      0 First-team All-Pro (1 in the 60s)
      0 Second-team All-Pro (2 in the 60s)

      Joe Namath (1965 to 1977)
      (Rams in 1977)
      0 Super Bowl wins (1 in the 60s)
      1 Pro Bowl
      1 Second-team All-Pro
      1 NFL passing yards leader (2 in the 60s)
      1 NFL passing TDs leader

  39. I’ve been a frequent critic of the Seahawk OL when I talk about the team with other fans, and I know that can be drag, so I’m reluctant to post my thoughts with them. But I gotta vent, so I’m going to post my comments here.

    Right now, the situation feels like the 2015-2017 period (probably the worst OLs in Wilson’s career; and the OLs outside of this were never great)–with the loss of three starters (Britt, C; Fluker, RG; and Ifedi RT), and replacements that seem competent at best. The result is an OL that doesn’t have a lot of talent, little continuity, during a season with little opportunities to practice. This sounds like a recipe for disaster if you ask me. Here are the potential starters, going from left to right on the line:

    Brown- Iupati-Finney/Ethan Pocic-Lewis(R)-Brandon Shell

    Shell was the starter at the Jets and Finney was a the 6th man, iOL. Given the scarcity of good linemen, when a team doesn’t pay to keep linemen or other teams aren’t bidding high, that suggests the linemen are competent, but likely not much more, and they could be a little less.

    Lewis seems like a promising rookie, which to me translates to a ceiling of competent for this year.

    Brown is good, but not great, and Iupati is more in the competent level at this point. They’re both old and you can’t count on them to play a lot of snaps. If Brown goes down they brought in Cedric Ogbuehi, who came from the Jaguars (and was used as a TE), would play, I think. Not very reassuring.

    So, you’ve got mostly competent players, that have not played together, and a new center. Finney’s had experience, but Pocic, a ’17 2nd round pick, has never been featured as a center with the Hawks (although he played center at LSU), not even as a backup.

    All this seems like a similar situation to the 2015-2017 seasons. For some if not all of them, they were shuffling around players in the preseason as well, especially 2015. The 2018-2019 OLs weren’t great, but they were functional. If the 2020 OL regresses back to the ’15-’17 years, I’m going to pull my hair out. Pete might deserved to be fired, too. Given their moves (and lack thereof), leading to the current roster, it would not be surprising if the OL struggles and isn’t very functional. In other words, it’s predictable. That’s a bad sign for the coach and GM.

    What would make matters worse is that they were willing to give up so much for a safety–a position they had decent depth at. This is also Carroll’s area of strength, where he can mitigate weaknesses. This defense better be really good–able to win games for them, unlike last year, where the team often won in spite of the defense.

    And even that happens, I’m not sure that will make up for a dysfunctional OL–with Russ taking a lot of hits, the RBs getting hit in the back field; or a lot of penalties.

    If the OL can’t have continuity, they could have prioritized bringing in a blue chip player(s)–either prioritizing their draft or trading a high pick(s), like the did for Adams. I know the defense needed an upgrade (but the DL seemed the biggest problem), but it seems like they let too many linemen go without replacing them with really good talent. I hope I’m wrong.

    8/24/20202

    Shoot, that last line kinda crushes me. Handling blitzes, especially the five man variety, zone blitzes, stunts/twists, improved from 2018, in the few years before that the OL could struggle at lot with this. It was painful to watch. This makes me feel like this OL could revert back to those lines.

  40. An awareness and appreciation for the limitations of using stats to evaluate QBs is critical, but often non-existent (at least that’s my impression). I’ll explain the reason and suggest a better way to use the stat. To this, let’s look at the following example:

    “Pat Mahomes on 3rd down” strongly implies that the stat tells us solely about Mahomes–specifically his performance on 3rd down. Now, they’re using EPA of the QB, but as mentioned above the EPA doesn’t account for the actions of the WRs/TEs. If either drops a perfectly throw ball, the QB is penalized in the EPA. To me, replacing the QB with the (passing) offense would be a better way to talk about and use the stats–i.e., “Chiefs (passing) offense on 3rd down.” Am I wrong in thinking is a more sound way of using the stats?

    Now, my guess is that the stats are used in the way above out of the desire to evaluate the QB. This is a reasonable approach, even if the stats don’t completely isolate the QB’s contribution from all the other variables that affect the stat. We want some data to tell us about an individual performance–and as a approximate indicator, this is reasonable.

    The problem occurs when we lose sight that the stat is an approximate indicator–that it’s not equivalent or synonymous to performance like a 40 yard dash is essentially equivalent to a player’s speed (at least running 40 yards). As far as I know, other factors besides the QB contribute to EPA.

    In general, I feel like when we use stats referring to a team or a unit within the team (e.g., passing offense, etc.) is a sounder way to use stats. This would account for almost all the salient variables–i.e, players, type of offense or defense, play calling, etc. (It might not account for quality of opponent, game conditions, and some other variables, though.)

    If you want to evaluate an individual player, I think you have to focus on the aspects the player has the most control over–i.e., aspects that aren’t affected so much by other players or style of offense, etc. Even this is not always possible, though. For example, a QB has control over accuracy and decision-making. But his supporting cast does have an impact on both. Still, I feel like the QB has more control over this than completions and passing yards–hence I would spend more time and emphasis on the former.

    The value of stats lie in giving you a rough picture, maybe providing a starting point. Film analysis, by a knowledgeable person, should also be used. But ultimately even if both are used, I think one’s conclusions will never be completely definitive or 100% reliable, not in a mathematical sense, anyway.

    1. Over the course of a season, a QB faces a LOT of third down plays. A butterfingered receiver is certainly an influence on some of those plays, but over the course of a season, it would only affect the stat if the receivers have horrible dropped pass numbers. And then we’re talking about horrible only as compared to the other receivers on the other teams in the league. Statistically, I’m pretty sure the variance is insignificant.

      A bad offensive line or bad play calling are other issues which support your argument better. I don’t know what kinds of metrics might be used to accommodate for those clear realities when it comes to QB performance.

    2. A butterfingered receiver is certainly an influence on some of those plays, but over the course of a season, it would only affect the stat if the receivers have horrible dropped pass numbers.

      Some other scenarios:

      Pass catching unit struggles to get open–QB frequently has to throw in tight windows;
      Good throw, but great play by DB;
      QB makes bad decision/throw, but WR/TE makes a great catch (Therefore, QB should not be given so much credit);

      I don’t know what kinds of metrics might be used to accommodate for those clear realities when it comes to QB performance.

      Do you think those stats exist? Are there aspects of the QB’s performance that are solely dependent on the QB, and is there a way we can measure this? And is it critical to find such metrics?

      1. I have no idea if those stats exist, or if it’s “critical” to find metrics such as you propose. But a graph like this is useful. I don’t think it’s anyone’s intention to wield the chart as some kind of conclusive statement. Where it can be valuable is when you see something unexpected, like Derek Carr and Matt Ryan having a much better completion percentage than you might predict, or that Wilson would have such a low EPA compared to them. Whatever EPA is. It can make you want to examine what their teams are doing differently. If Carr seems to be so good on third down, why do the Raiders suck? And with Wilson’s score lower than expected, how do they keep winning? This can lead to deeper analysis of what’s going on.

    3. I don’t think it’s anyone’s intention to wield the chart as some kind of conclusive statement.

      What they say and the way they use the stats, in my experience, are two different things. And part of this hinges on the way one defines “conclusive.” To me, if a statement is not conclusive, I, personally, would be more circumspect, not rejecting contrary views.

      It can make you want to examine what their teams are doing differently.

      “Teams” is key. I think using the stat to evaluate the team is more sound and useful.

      And I agree the graph can be useful–but less so for evaluating an individual player. “Pat Mahomes is great in 3rd down situations. Wilson is not so great.” On some level these statements are accurate. But on another level they’re misleading. “Is” is a key word here. If Wilson really is not great on 3rd down, then he would still not be great with an improved supporting cast and coach.

      1. Well this is from two seasons ago. If the statement were “Wilson WAS not as good…” and that’s the basis for examining why not, it’s a pretty useful graph. I guess.

    4. I don’t think I’ve ever seen stats used that way—ie using stats as jumping off point for why it’s flawed. It’s almost used as hard evidence to prove something is true.

  41. “…they would prefer Thomas not be around.” And given what’s said after that, by “not around” that means getting Earl off the team. Wow. At first I thought this was not something out of the ordinary. There was a game where the Rams destroyed the Hawks and Earl said something publicly about Bobby Wagner and Wagner was not happy. I thought Earl was doing something similar. But the quote above, and also reports that he’s late to meetings and not focused (something I’ve never heard about during his time with the Hawks), suggests something else is going on, an it’s more serious. I hope there isn’t something wrong on a deeper level with Earl.

    1. Dang, the Ravens cut Earl.

      I’m hearing the Cowboys, 49ers, and Texans have showed interest. It would be so annoying if he goes to the 49ers or Cowboys.

  42. Here’s why I think the traditional pro style mindset, versus the pass-heavy style a la June Jones, has 3rd and manageable as a goal. Specifically, balance–being effective at running and passing–is a key goal. This goal basically precludes maximizing points/yards on 1st and 2nd. Both will be sacrificed coaches want to throw running into the mix–wanting it to be a true threat.

    Additionally, balance is desirable because there will be times when the offense needs to control the ball, and running is an integral part of being good at ball control. I would add that in these moments running will be predictable–making it much harder to do effectively. And yet, a good offense will be able to run effectively in these moments. If the offense is one-dimensional, pass-based, and they try to run when they need to, the chances of success are super low. Playing a balanced style all the time increases the chances the offense will run effectively when they need to.

    1. I heard Gold speak before, and I don’t think he means passing ala June Jones. He is definitely in favor of passing more, but not nearly as much as Jones. I interpreted it more like if a team is 2nd and 10, he believes in running a route to get the first down and not play to get to 3rd and short. I don’t agree, because then you could be 3rd and 10, but I think his thinking is give yourself two chances at making ten yards in one play is better than playing to get two shorter plays to get a total of 10 yards.

      But it does make your team more predictable because that means always passing on second and long and not just third and long.

    2. Yeah, I don’t think he’s necessarily advocating for a really pass-heavy/pass-centric approach like the run-and-shoot. I made that comment in reference to the remark about the “pro football gap.” (I thought Silva meant the gap between pro style and college, passing offenses–although now I’m not sure what he means by “gap.”)

      Based on what I know of Gold, I’d guess he’d agree with this, but my sense is his position is broader–i.e., pass more on 1st and 2nd to reduce the number of 3rd downs.

      …he believes in running a route to get the first down and not play to get to 3rd and short. I don’t agree, because then you could be 3rd and 10,…

      I tend to be with you. I recall that Bill Parcells said you should almost always run on 2nd and 10–in order to avoid 3rd and 10 and have a more manageable 3rd down. If you had a solid run game–one that would avoid negative plays–that would strengthen this position.

      Having said that, I think you can make a lot of sound arguments pro and con for either running or passing on 2nd and 10. It doesn’t feel like one is significantly superior to the other; it’s a toss up, basically. Are you with me on that?

      If I responded to Gold, I think I would have pointed out that the danger of his approach is that you’d become two one-dimensional and therefore predictable. Your ball control would decrease, too. How do apply his approach while still be balanced, unpredictable, and good at ball control? It can be done, but it gets a little harder. The Hawks passed the ball more in 2019 as well.

  43. I have two contradictory feelings and thoughts right now.

    First, I’m becoming more optimistic that the NFL can actually have an entire season, safely. That is a major change in my attitude, and that has occurred because a) the number of players testing positive is close to zero; b) when games start, I’m hoping they can go from bus-plane-bus-hotel-bus-stadium and back the same way again. If the bus drivers, people the plan and hotel workers are tested, then, what the heck, it seems like they have a decent shot. Or maybe I’m trying to convince myself.

    The second, somewhat contradictory thought is this: A part of me wants the players to strike, as a way to protest police killings of African-Americans. If this can pressure owners and Congress and the White House to actually move to do something, I would be all for sacrificing the season.

    One scenario that kinda appeals to me is if QBs like Brady and Brees say they’re not going to play, and they’re going to push for change–demand better leadership from politicians, including the POTUS. If they said they didn’t want to play, while this was going on, that would resonate with me. It would be something if white QBs and other white star players took the lead on this.

    1. Even without recent events in Wisconsin, I wasn’t sure I wanted the season to proceed, simply because it’s adding a potentially fatal illness risk to an already ridiculously dangerous sport.

      I run an office fantasy football league (for the past two seasons), and I wasn’t going to put out the call this year, but then participants — all of them women — started nudging me. Remembering that the main purpose is office camaraderie (which I have to say this league has been great for), I put out the tentative call and everyone who played last year wants to play this year. We had 14 participants (finding WRs late in the draft was really fun). Four have moved on from the company, but two people who saw how much fun we were having have said they want to play this season.

      So we’re playing, and I think the only real joy I’m going to get out of it is in seeing the smack talk among coworkers, many of whom otherwise never interact in the course of a work week. 🙂

    2. Are you implying that the players on each team will always stay together sort of like a bubble situation? As in they will not go home to see their families? I didn’t hear that part. I did hear that they do have their form of a “bubble”, but never heard a whole of details other than all players wearing those trackers.

      I think games like in MLB are bound to be missed. If the amount of missed games can be fixed with one bye (each team already has one) per team, then the season will not have any hitches. I’m not sure if that will be case though. I wonder what the contingency plans are.

      I really admire the protest. It was the largest one of it’s kind, ever, which speaks a lot of this generation of players. That being said, I’m not sure what the end game is. Is it we will not work until new laws are passed? What if players don’t agree on the laws, and what about the non-players and players that don’t make a lot of money. Can literally everyone in the NFL not work and go without paychecks for an entire season for example?

      Mitchell,

      How did you finish in the last two season against the women?

      1. To clarify, it’s not an all-women league. It’s about fifty-ffity. But the people who were champing at the bit, nudging me to get it rolling this season, were three women.

        The first year we played with 12 teams and I came in like third from the bottom or something. The woman who won had never played, but her husband is in a few leagues, and she’s been his assistant during live drafts, and she knows football. Still a little embarrassing.

        Last season, the woman who won said she’d never played before and “didn’t know much about football,” but I found out later she’d been in one league before. She had Lamar Jackson. I was actually in first or second for most of the season, and when I picked up Kenyan Drake right before he was traded to Arizona (which I did in FLEA too), it looked like I’d sealed the deal. But the eventual league champ picked up Breshad Perriman the week he scored 2 TDs (or something like that), which really annoyed me because I’ve been waiting for Perriman to be awesome since the day he was drafted. She beat me in the semis, and I won my consolation, so I finished third! Argh. Oh, and the fourth-place finisher was actually in first most of the weeks when I wasn’t, and she had never played before either. Didn’t even change her roster until almost midseason.

        It actually pleases me that the women with very little experience have been winning. Makes it easier to get participants the next season.

          1. We just finished setting up the league, with a live draft next Wednesday evening. Fourteen participants: seven women and seven men. I’m really pleased.

    3. Mitchell,

      Even without recent events in Wisconsin, I wasn’t sure I wanted the season to proceed, simply because it’s adding a potentially fatal illness risk to an already ridiculously dangerous sport.

      I felt the same, but the teams are practicing now, and, as far as I know, the positive tests are really, really low. No one on the Seahawks have tested positive. (Well, Ursua did, but it seemed like a false positive.) This is one big reason my attitude has shifted.

    4. This is probably nothing, but I don’t like the way this sounds:

      If they’re wavering between two approaches, one slightly more strict (but costly or inconvenient) than the other–but both reasonably rigorous–then I wouldn’t be worried. But if the wavering signifies disorganization and confusion, that would be worrying–specifically in terms of getting through the season without major outbreaks.

  44. Don,

    Are you implying that the players on each team will always stay together sort of like a bubble situation?

    When they’re flying to another city–kinda. The guy from NFL.com mentioned that there’s so little time for the players to go out when they’re on away games. I don’t know if the league will have a rule requiring them to just go back to their hotels, though.

    As in they will not go home to see their families

    When they’re at home, I assume they can go home. I assume they’re going home now. I’m not sure, though.

    I really admire the protest. It was the largest one of it’s kind, ever, which speaks a lot of this generation of players. That being said, I’m not sure what the end game is.

    I agree with everything you said.

    I don’t have a good idea for an end game. If I were a player, some reasonable, substantive action by political leaders would be a really good step.

    If the owners take some action–that would be meaningful as well.

    1. Apropos to our conversation, I thought this was really cool:

      (The one thing that would concern me: Pro-Trump owners–or even pro-Trump players–might not like this as they might perceive it as helping Biden and Democrats.)

      1. LeBron has been among the leaders in making this happen. Pablo Torre, on the ESPN Daily podcast, pointed out last week that stadiums and arenas are ideal for this kind of thing — large spaces, public property (something I hadn’t really thought of, but it’s maybe the one advantage to cities paying for these things), lots of parking, and (generally) easily accessible.

    2. …stadiums and arenas are ideal for this kind of thing —

      Yeah, although I was thinking more in terms of allowing for physical distancing.

      Another idea: The NBA, the owners–also the NFL, MLB, and their owners–start donating money to states for drop boxes, especially towns and cities with a lot of African-Americans. If I were a player, this the kind of thing that could make feel like I could go back to playing.

  45. Hearing about Chadwick Boseman’s death was a surprise and a bummer. I got pretty emotional at some of the video clips that was on twitter.) Anyway, a thought popped into my mind: What if the Carolina Panthers did a tribute by playing in black. They could go with helmets and uniforms with more black in it. Just in terms of aesthetics, I think the uniforms could look really cool. But it would be a cool tribute as well.

    1. I think the color scheme and logo fit better for Carolina. I like the potential of modifying uniforms to become the “black panthers” appeals to me. I guess the Florida and Pitt could do this, too, but the changes would be more dramatic.

      1. There’s also the issue of, even in tribute to a beloved dead actor, hyping a specific commercial product he represented. I’m sure Marvel and Disney would love the attention cast upon their franchise, but do the Panthers and the NFL want to just give that away? I’d be all for it. But I’m also not a businessperson.

    2. Actually, it could run the other way, too. Marvel and Disney may want compensation for this. Suppose this change ends up in huge sales in team products. Would the promotion of this franchise be enough of a compensation? If the revenue for the Panthers and league was significant, the compensation might be enough for them.

  46. I heard Yannick Ngakoue is going to the Vikings. That should help them, but it’s not going to be cheap. 2nd and 5th (with the 5th turning into a 4th or 3rd if certain conditions are met). And they’ve committed to paying him next season. He’s kinda borderline guy in terms of paying a big salary.

    1. This was a surprise. All week I’ve been hearing he might be headed to Seattle. Minnesota seemed to come out of the blue.

    2. Yeah, I didn’t know the Vikings were on the radar. Then again, I didn’t know any team that was on the radar. (I didn’t get a sense Seattle was in the sweepstakes, though.)

      1. Reid,

        You think Clowney is a much better player than Ngakoue? I didn’t see a lot of Ngakoue, but I think I would lean Ngakoue.

    3. Don,

      It’s kind of a close call, in terms of overall impact. In terms of pass-rushing, I’d go with Ngakoue. In terms of overall disruption, I might slightly go with Clowney. But in terms of these two things, I think I’d prefer a better pass rusher.

      The biggest hestitation about Ngakoue, for me, is his asking price. I’m not comfortable paying him like he’s the best pass rusher. If I didn’t have to do that, I think I’d take him over Clowney.

  47. If Fournette is not a problem off the field, and he’s healthy, I’d love to have him on the Seahawks or Raiders. Man, I would be stoked (assuming the two conditions above are met).

    On a side note, anyone know the meaning of Duuuval?

    1. I read the Jags are trying to void Fournette’s guaranteed contract, so I assume that he had to do something for them to even try and take that stance.

      I googled Duuuval and it’s the Jags’ chant during games, and became sort of their calling card ala Raider Nation (but obviously not as nationally popular since we both didn’t know it). Duval is the county where the Jags’ play their games.

    2. Yeah, I gotta believe there’s something wrong about Fournette behind the scenes. Also, I heard Marone (or someone from the Jags) say they tried to trade him but couldn’t–not for a 5th or even 6th. Not being to trade him for a 6th seems hard to believe, so maybe I’m wrong, here. If not, he must either have a serious injury concerns or off-field issues.

      On a side note, the Lions would be another great landing spot. For most of Stafford’s career, they’ve never really had a really good RB. Additionally, Fournette would be perfect for Bevell’s offense–the former could bring the whole offense alive. The downside is they used a 2nd round pick for a RB. I like Kerryon Johnson, too, although he might have trouble staying healthy. All in all, Fournette would be a really good fit there.

      Washington would be another good spot, especially if Rivera sticks with a run first approach. They’ve moved on from Guice, right? They can rely on AP.

      My understanding is that Fournette would cost a little over 4 million this year. I would guess this removes him from going to Seattle. I love Chris Carson, but I think Fournette could surpass him, and I think he’s more durable. Again, I’d love if the Hawks got him. His impact could be similar to Marshawn’s in my opinion.

      (Don, thanks for the info on Duuval.)

      1. Yeah Washington is definitely in need of a RB from what I know. Speaking of which, I keep hearing good things about the former Redskins and the Giants. I hear they could both be vastly improved. Both will need to get better play from the QBs though. But if they are both closer to 8 win teams, the NFC East could be formidable, as opposed to the last couple years.

    3. No team claimed Fournette off waivers. Could the 4 million be the main reason? I’m a bit skeptical. And now I’m a bit leary…Maybe the team(s) that want him took a calculated gamble that no team would pick him up. So now they could get him at a cheaper price? Or maybe the team(s) that really wanted him didn’t have the cap space? If it’s not these options, that points to either health or off-field issues. That would be a little disappointing, especially since I’d want him to go to Seattle.

      Don,

      I’m curious to see how the Giants offense looks under Garrett. I’m not that interested in Washington, though. I am cheering for Ron Rivera, though.

    4. I don’t know if Fournette is a top 5 talent. But I’ll say this: system fit matters. It would not surprise me if Fournette looks like a top 5 pick if he goes to the right system, with a good supporting cast.

      But I have to believe something is wrong with him (similar to Earl, although maybe not as bad. Man, I haven’t heard any interest in Earl. Whatever the issue is, it must be pretty bad–or maybe Earl is asking for too much money. Maybe Fournette wants too much? I hope if there are off-field issues with Earl, he can fix them and get to a good place.)

    5. This is a good pickup for the Bucs, maybe not the best for Fournette, although last year, they looked like a ground-and-pound team at times. Ultimately though, my sense is that Arians likes to use deep passes to set up the run, versus the other way around. Arians has a more pro-style approach, but this is not necessarily the type of offense that would revive Fournette’s career, although I wouldn’t be totally surprised if it did.

      1. Is Duval the name of the town where the Jaguars have training camp? I’m confused by the title.

        Edit: I just looked it up. It’s the name of the county Jacksonville is in.

      2. I agree with your Arians’ take in terms of deep passes to set up the run, especially with the Cards, but the few times I saw Tampa play last year, they seem pretty committed to the run game. I was a little surprised, but maybe I should not be with Winston at the helm. They needed to protect him.

    6. Don,

      They were running a little more than I would expect, but it’s still pretty consistent with a pro-style offense. Even in Arians optimal offense, the Cardinals will run the ball, and running is an integral part of the offense. They have a balanced approach, but he just seems to prefer the long ball to set up the run.

      By the way, I do see this preference as a weakness. He puts his QBs in harm’s way, I think. He really needs a good OL. What will be interesting is if he incorporates the quick passing, short game from a spread offense, which is something Brady seems good at, but something that seems foreign to Arians.

      1. My criticisms of Arian’s coaching or style of offense pretty much boils down to what you wrote. And I said that when others were praising him taking that Cardinal team to the Super Bowl. That being said though, I think he’s probably a great motivator or at least he seems like a player’s coach and players love him and want to play hard for him.

        I do think Bowles is a great defensive coach though. He seems to maximize his talents wherever he coaches. That being said though, there is a chance that Washington’s defense (going back to guys praising the Skins and Giants) will be better than these Bucs, who was pretty good last year.

        1. And I said that when others were praising him taking that Cardinal team to the Super Bowl.

          I assume you mean the 2015 team that lost to the Panthers in the NFC championship game? In any event, that was a legit Super Bowl contender–arguably Palmer’s best year. The thing is, the pass protection was really good.

          I can’t tell by your post if you really don’t like his offense. I think it’s a weakness, and it can get him in trouble, but overall, I think he is a good offensive coach, and a very good HC.

          I agree about Bowles. I think he’s a really good DC, especially in that 3-4 aggressive, crazy blitzing style. He might be the best at doing that (although he’s toned that down a lot, as most 3-4 defenses have).

          I don’t have a good sense about Washington’s defense, or their team overall. I do think the Bucs are contenders, though, especially if their OL is good, and their defense plays at the same level as last year. (Statistically, they should be better if the offensive turnovers are dramatically reduced.)

          1. Oh yeah Palmer’s year and yes that was a good team. I’m just not as confident in Arians as most are. I think his offensive style flaws can really hurt his team. That being said though, I thought his offense last year didn’t look a lot that Palmer team’s offense.

            I’m hearing that the Washington defense’s front seven can be top five maybe even top three if Young is as good as the Bosa’s. I’m not sure about their DBs though. Speaking of which, PFF stated that a defense built around their DBs will be much more effective than a team built around their d-line. In terms of WAR, PFF is saying good DB play could mean almost two more wins over a good d-line in a season. What that means exactly, I’m not sure, but that seems a whole lot. PFF sites the Pats last year as a good example with Van Noy being the player with the best QB pressure stats. That could mean the Dolphins defense with really no-names on the d-line (or maybe they picked up one FA) could be better than most think with those corners.

        2. On Arians

          OK, got it. And yeah, the offense did look different at times at least. And not only did they run the ball quite a bit, they seemed content on running even with relatively minimal gain. I think some fans overlook their RBs and run game because of this. But if defenses thought they could just ignore the run, they would be mistaken in my view.

          On a side note, with the Bucs picking on Fournette. Here’s my sense of the situation. The Bucs were actually happy with their stable of backs, and they’re tacking a flyer on Fournette. If he’s a problem, they can pretty easily move on. (It would be interesting to see specifics in the contract.) If true, this suggests there are some major off-field issues. If this is not the case, they could strike gold with Fornette.

          PFF sites the Pats last year as a good example with Van Noy being the player with the best QB pressure stats.

          I don’t like citing the Pats to prove a general statement. I do get the sense that he’s emphasized the back end more than the front–for a while now. And it’s been even more extreme lately. His front seven players, in terms of pass rushers have been weak. Has there been a player that defenses have to really worry about?

          But he could be doing this, partly because he’s confident he can scheme up pressure with the front seven, if he has a great secondary, especially one lockdown CB. Not every coach may be able to do that–not with the same level of effectiveness.

          Seattle is also taking an extreme approach to the backend vs. front end debate. It’s not crazy to say that they could have a top 3 secondary and a bottom 3 DL.

          It should be said that this approach (including for the Patriots) may be dictated largely by the cost of pass-rushers. With the cap, it just may not viable to sustain a winning team by also paying for good pass rushers–and a QB. If you’re going to pay the QB, and you want a strong defense, maybe the only financially sound and sustainable way is to build the back end. This is just a theory, though.

          One last thing. Putting great priority on the secondary makes sense if most offenses rely more on a spread attack, especially ones with a strong quick passing attack. However, if more teams start shifting to a run-first, pro-style offense, these defenses might be really vulnerable. (By the way, while Belichick doesn’t seem to want to invest a lot on the DL, and is willing to forgo a great pass rusher. My sense is that he wants a good run-stuffing DT–not that he’s willing to pay for that either, though. I think Carroll is the same way. I get the feeling that this type of player is really crucial and underrated–especially if the opponent plays a pro-style offense. My sense is that this type of player allows less defenders to stop the run, putting the secondary is a better position to defend the pass, especially the play action pass. Also, a great run-stuffing DT probably prevents the offense from controlling the middle of the field with the run game, which seems really crucial.)

  48. Please don’t go to the Chiefs. I could see him being a good fit on teams like the Eagles, Bears, and Colts.

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