Great Athletes Who Spent Their Careers on Terrible Teams

With Joe Thomas’s retirement a question popped into my head: Who are the other great athletes that spent their entire careers on bad teams? There are good players playing on bad teams, but I’d especially like to hear about really great players on really bad teams. For example, I wouldn’t count Charles Barkley, because he never really played on a bad team. Same with Bernard King.

One that comes to mind is Mitch Richmond, although he didn’t play his entire career on a bad team (but his good years were wasted in Sacramento). Archie Manning and maybe Bert Jones are others.

2017 NFL: Super Bowl

I can’t believe I’m at the point where I don’t want to watch the Super Bowl. I just don’t want to sit there and watch the Patriots win, not to say that it’s going to happen, but it could. The other thing is that I totally wrote off the Eagles once Wentz got hurt, and after seeing Foles play a few games afterward. He looked really bad. The way he’s been playing recently, causes me believe that, like Alex Smith, the head coach has found certain schemes/plays to put the QB in the right play and cover his weaknesses. In other words, Foles’s success is scheme/coach-driven. If that’s true, I tend to think it could get ugly in this game, because you don’t beat Belichick by out-scheming him. You beat Belichick by talent (and solid coaching)–something that clever schemes have a limited effect upon.

The other scenario where the Eagles end up winning is if the DL can get to Brady, especially the interior. In my opinion, the Patriot OL has been really good, maybe a top five OL this year. Their interior pass protection has looked especially great. They looked like an impenetrable wall against the Jaguars, and if they play like this against the Eagles, I don’t see how the Eagles can win. (Eagles do have some good interior D-linemen, so there’s hope.) If they can pressure Brady up the middle, they could not only disrupt the offense, but they could get some turnovers.

I tend to think the game will be a blow out, though.

Is This a Sound Way of Using Statistics to Evaluate Play Calling?

I’ve recently seen some fans use statistics to evaluate a play calling in a way that seems inappropriate to me. Here are three different ways I’ve seen statistics used to evaluate play calling:

1. Counting the number of times a playcaller ran or passed the ball on at certain downs and distances (e.g., on 3rd and 4, the play caller called a run play 68% of the time, etc.).

2. Examine the sequence of runs and passes to evaluate predictability. For example, one person criticized a play caller for utilizing the run-run-pass sequence way too often.

3. Identifying conversion 3rd down conversion rates for both passing and running at different distances–e.g., 45% success running and 55% success passing from 3rd and 4–and using this to make play calling decisions.

Do you guys think this is sound and appropriate way to evaluate a play caller–e.g., determining if they’re too predictable? What are sound and unsound ways of using these type of statistics to evaluate play calling?

Russell Wilson Thread (2017-)

If you guys have time or interest, I’d be interested in hearing your comments about the pass protection in all the sacks Wilson took in 2017:

To what extent do you think this is Wilson’s fault?

Some things that I think are important:

1. Look at the number of pass rushers. It seems to me that the vast majority have four rushers, some three or five. Almost none are all-out blitzes. Do you guys have the same impression?

2. Show me a defense that can consistently generate good pressure/hits/sacks with four pass rushers, and I’ll show you a dominant defense. The Seahawks turned every opponent into a dominant defense!

3. Obviously this doesn’t include instances when Wilson avoided a sack despite bad protection. I wouldn’t be surprised if these plays equal the number of sacks, if not exceed it.

4. The number of plays where the OL provides really good to really good pass protection is important. Let’s say out of 30 pass plays per game, on average, 20 are good to very good, five are so-so, and the other five are awful. That might not be so bad. If you give a QB consistently good pass protection, I think he can deal with the few instances of bad pass protection. Having said that, my guess is if we were to show the instances of good to really good pass protection that number would be really small in comparison to instances of bad, really bad pass pro.