Fat Pickins (and probability) - Week 14

Although the Broncos are favored today, the ratings say there's a 51% chance they lose.

What does Jeff Sagarin know that we don't?  Nothing really, it's a glitch in his model that hasn't accounted for both Jay Cutler and Matt Forte going down in recent weeks.  It's the same glitch that took weeks for the Colts to work their crappiness through the statistical system.

So look for a Broncos win.

Enjoy the games, everyone!

Continue reading "Fat Pickins (and probability) - Week 14"

The Daily Lard 12-11-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As another slate of NFL games chock-full of bone-jarring tackles approaches, another sobering article is here to remind us of the long-term consequences facing the players whom we'll soon be imploring to lay down a harder hit, or to get an extra yard or two for the benefit of our fantasy teams. Peter King and SI spoke with 39 of the 48 players (46 are living) from the Week 1 roster of the 1986 Bengals, and they of course found a wide range of maladies, from the aches and pains inherent of any physical sport or labor to the precursors of dementia and worse.

How these ex-players (gladiators?) look back upon their careers is similarly expansive, from CB Ray Horton's I'd do it again in a minute, to S David Fulcher's it wasn't worth it whatsoever, to TE Eric Kattus not wanting his own sons to take up the sport at all. If I have a son someday, I doubt I'd encourage him to play the game. Yet here we are...

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A lesson on how to apply selection bias

LOVIE: WE KNOW WHAT'S AT STAKE
www.csnchicago.com

This will be difficult. Whether because of altitude or whatever, the Broncos have the NFL’s best record at home (218-84) since 1975. They already have lost to Oakland, San Diego and Detroit at home this year.

The Broncos do indeed have the best home record since 1975.  Wait, 1975? 

Often in our quest to build a gigantic sample size, we end up creating a worse problem--we ignore the obvious, like new stadium construction, regime and player changes, and you know, recent five and ten year trends, which would match current rosters.

But it's one hell of a statistic.  Even the wine-and-cheese crowd that currently inhabits SAF can get behind it.   

RG3 beats AL, C-3PO, and R2-D2 for Heisman

Griffin wins first Heisman Trophy for Baylor
rivals.yahoo.com

Griffin received 405 first-place votes and 1,687 points. Luck received 247 first-place votes and 1,407 points to become the fourth player to be Heisman runner-up in consecutive seasons and first since Arkansas running back Darren McFadden in 2006 and `07. Alabama running back Trent Richardson was third with 138 first-place votes and 978 points. Wisconsin running back Montee Ball (348 points) was fourth and the other finalist, Louisiana State cornerback Tyrann Mathieu (327) was fifth. Griffin’s highlights were spectacular—his signature moment coming on a long, cross-field touchdown pass with 8 seconds left to beat Oklahoma—and he put up dizzying numbers, completing 72 percent of his passes for 3,998 yards with 36 touchdown passes and a nation-leading 192.3 efficiency rating.

Got myself a little man crush on RG3, I'll admit it.  So although this has nothing to do with the Broncos (or does it?), it gave me the chance to express myself emotionally and work in a random Star Wars reference at the same time.  Here is the dizzying play in case you missed it:

Pete Carroll scared to death of Tebow

Tim Tebow: Flavor of the month, or long-term staple in Denver?
www.latimes.com

Carroll said the Seahawks were strongly considering taking Tebow early in the draft too. “When we got close to draft time, I had an awakening,” the coach said in a phone interview this week. “All these shows where they were talking about how he’s not throwing the ball right. He’s got all these guys drilling him, trying to figure it out, get his motion to where everybody would find him acceptable. It hit me, like, ‘What are we thinking? This guy’s like the greatest winner and champion of all time, and he’s going to figure it out somehow. Whatever he needs to do to figure it out, he’ll figure it out.’  “It really changed my outlook on his value going into the draft. I wasn’t surprised to see somebody else take him, that somebody else would realize the same thing. He’s going to find a way to be successful, more so than maybe anybody else we’ve ever watched come through the college ranks.

“Now that he’s jumped in there and he’s doing it and kicking butt, it’s like, who cares how you do it? What difference does it make? This guy is contributing to a great win streak, they’re in first place, and everybody is scared to death to play them because they can’t figure out how to beat them.”

If Tebow keeps winning expect to see a lot of quotes like this coming around the bend, from both coaches and journalists. Of course, it goes without saying, they are ridiculous.

Everyone needs to get their Tebow narrative straight as fast as they can. Here's the narrative: they knew it all along. As always, the story gets rewritten to fit the result after the fact, just like John Fox is doing now. 

So Pete Carroll had an awakening and says the Seahawks were strongly considering taking Tebow? Yeah? That's why Carroll drafted Russell Okung and Earl Thomas with his first two picks in 2010 when Tebow was still on the board. 

Elway and Tebow hug it out

Elway determined to succeed with Tebow
msn.foxsports.com

Elway — who was sometimes caught in media controversies during his 17-year Hall of Fame career — became concerned enough that he spoke privately with Tebow to clear the air.

“I said, ‘I know you don’t read those things, but I know you’re just like me in that your family and friends think it’s their obligation to tell you something that was said about you. I just wanted to make sure that as long as you and I are always on the same page I’ll do the best I can,’ ” Elway said. “I told him I probably answered with too sharp an answer which could be spun a different way. I told him I’m sorry it came out that way, but it’s not the case.”

Tebow told FOXSports.com he didn’t take Elway’s comment the wrong way but appreciated his gesture.

“Just for us to talk and have an open communication and good relationship definitely means a lot,” Tebow said.

The two will become even closer in the offseason. Elway said he plans to “spend a lot of time” with Tebow and Broncos quarterbacks coach Adam Gase. Elway already offers suggestions to Gase but doesn’t want to meddle too much with the coaching staff’s efforts in developing Tebow.

If Elway plans to spend a lot of time with Tebow in the offseason, I'm guessing this puts the whole quarterback thing to rest?

Tebowites of the world, unite!

More God, more Tebow

Tim Tebow: God's Quarterback
online.wsj.com

...feelings about Mr. Tebow have been a litmus test of political and social identity. If you think he’s destined to be a winner, you must be a naive evangelical. If you question his long-term chances as an NFL quarterback, you must hate people who love Jesus.

Just in case you've not had your fill of philosophical meanderings about religion and sports.  All together now: "lightning rod." 

This little gem of a quote pretty much sums up how each side sees one another.

(h/t RSH)

STDL: Week 14 - Broncos vs Bears

On Thursday we covered Tim Tebow's stats through Week 13; today let's examine the full team's numbers and how they match up with the Bears. Of course, Chicago's offense will be without Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, who have been responsible for 82.1% of the Bears' net offensive yardage but just 57% of their touchdowns. Chicago has also scored a combined six touchdowns on interceptions and Devin Hester's punt and kick returns. Marion Barber (five rushing scores) and Cutler's backup Caleb Hanie (two TD passes) round out their scoring. The absence of Cutler and Forte is sure to loom large tomorrow, but keep in mind that the following numbers were achieved largely on their broad shoulders.

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The Daily Lard 12-10-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Willis McGahee and Eddie Royal have been listed as questionable for tomorrow's game, while Ryan Clady, Von Miller and several others are listed as probable; only Royal is unlikely to play among that quartet. S Major Wright is out for Chicago as expected.

Naturally, the first matchup Chris Benson considers is that between the Bears' woeful offensive line and Denver's elite edge rushers (Von and Doom officially have 17 sacks, but PFF cites them as having combined for 20 - it's not a typo, but a disagreement between the official scoring and PFF's tracking), and he points out that too much attention paid to the Dynamic Duo could result in sacks for guys like Ryan McBean and D.J. Williams.

Benson wonders if the Broncos can win if/when their running game is completely shut down and reminds that last week was not an example of that, as much as the current narrative says Tebow beat the Vikings by airing it out. He thinks tomorrow could be the day we find out, thanks to the Bears' fine run defense.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 12-10-11"

Goody got it going

Goodman peaking along with the Broncos
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

New head coach John Fox and his staff had done some housecleaning. Holdovers like Renaldo Hill, Nate Jones and Perrish Cox - all members of last year’s secondary - were cut. Goodman survived in part because of his deep resume as a cover corner and because Broncos staff went back to the 2009 tape, when he played his second straight 16-game season, to get a better read on his abilities.

“Obviously just watching him in camp, without having an offseason, I think all of our guys were a little rusty coming in initially,’’ Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen said. “But I think probably about halfway through camp you realized he still had the ability to cover and he was getting his legs back under him.’‘

Those legs spent much of the offseason on the track, as Goodman ran countless sprints and did endurance work to try to strengthen the muscles that had failed him the previous season.

An increase in man-to-man coverage helped him rediscover his comfort zone.

Show me a corner that doesn't want more man-to-man coverage, and I'll show you a safety.

Sprint-interval training.  It does a body good.

2014 Offseason

All Offseason Coverage