Mark it Zero

The Dude’s Mail Sack: ┬íViva Los Broncos!

Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions about the state of the Denver Broncos. Got a titillating question? Put a dollar bill into the Dude’s G-String and he might answer it—after bowling practice.

Dear Thaddeus Jarlath Johnson,
 
I just felt I should warn you that I plan on dominating the MHR Draftivus contest with my most recent theoretical work, based on the writings of Von Nuemann and Morgenstern. Your little MHR game should make for a simple test case for proving some of my more advanced game theory equations, and I just felt that I should mention this, since there will be no reason for anyone else to enter the contest once my entry has been submitted. My calculations will be so awesomely accurate that they will eliminate the possibility that anyone could even come in second. It will be too awe-inspiring.
 
I hope I have saved your membership a lot of hard work and toil with this announcement.
 
Sincerely
J.F.Nash, Princeton, N.J.

 

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The Dude’s Mail Sack: Jason Elam is Bon Jovi

Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions about the state of the Denver Broncos. Got a titillating question? Put a dollar bill into the Dude’s G-String and he might answer it—after bowling practice.

Heya, TJ, I'm the biggest fan you've ever seen down here! I'm almost coming undone with excitement for this upcoming season.  I wonder sometimes if you are giving away too much critical information in your mail sack. Couldn't some other team use your sack to their advantage?  I'd certainly use your sack if I thought it useful.  Have you ever heard of another team getting unintended Broncos data from your sack and using it?
 
--Jenna J., BraSwell, Georgia

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A stop watch, a scale, and a prayer - drafting a running back

Give me a running back with the power of Walter Payton and the speed of Eric Dickerson.  Now you've got a guy who can take you to the promised land.  But, unfortunately, a guy like that only comes along every 50 years.   And we've already seen in our lifetime a guy named Bo Jackson.

--TJ Johnson
 
In the last several weeks, I've become MHR's version of a big-bad-bangin'-cold bucket of water.  I've compared the draft to a crapshoot. I've compared it to blackjack.  I've even railed against drafting the most talented wide receiver this year, Dez Bryant, because he was late for practice, games, and most recently, forgot his cleats for his pro day. It's gotten to the point where I am sure that Jeremy Bolander, E.J. Ruiz, and Sayre Bedinger would rather me retreat to my statistical cave and churn out a few more articles on Expected Points Value.  In NFL fandom (not to be confused with fandago, hombre), the NFL draft has become second fiddle to only Tom Brady's girlfriend/fiancé/wife and the annual Oakland Raiders coaching change.  Better to leave the draft analysis to the professionals...and Mel Kiper, Jr.

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The NFL Draft: A little less crapshoot, a little more blackjack

Several weeks ago, I compared the draft to a crapshoot, in which luck was as important as skill in determining success in the NFL draft.  While I still believe this to be the case, I also believe there are teams that do gamble better than others. So maybe I should change my analogy to Blackjack.  Even though you might demonstrate more skill than the other guys, it doesn't necessarily mean you're going to win.

Part of this change in perspective is due to a recent study by Pro Football Weekly (PFW).  In their 2010 Draft Guide, the magazine took at look at each team's drafts during the 5-year period of 2004-2008.  It looked at several benchmarks for success, but the benchmark that was the most interesting and useful was each team's breakdown for all 7 rounds of the draft in the following 3 categories:

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The Dude’s Mail Sack: A cage match between Jarvis Moss and Marcus Nash!

Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions about the state of the Denver Broncos. Got a titillating question? Put a dollar bill into the Dude’s G-String and he might answer it—after bowling practice.

TJ, I know I said last week that I thought Kyle Orton's neckbeard was sexy, but that's until we signed Brady Quinn. He's absolutely dreamy.  Have you seen his pecks?  His biceps?  Everyone wants to know, is he going to start in 2010?

--Charlie, Colorado Springs, Colorado

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Draft Dez Bryant - only if you’re playing Monopoly

"The process was really thorough. We took our time. It was important for me to get the right fit for our football team."

--Matt Millen, Former General Manager, Detroit Lions

Matt McGuire, over at Walter Football, is probably best known for his mock drafts.  But it's his blog that I enjoy more. Recently, he had a blog entry entitled, NFL Draft Picks Are Business Investments.   He wrote something that I think deserves a lot more attention:

If I gave you $4 million to invest, would you invest that money into a company that didn't care very much about what they were doing? Would you be confident about investing in a business that didn't care about customer service, their product, employee relations, employee performance and leadership?

I doubt you would - you might as well throw the $4 million into a fire.

But what if this company had a lot of upside? Would you still be willing to lose the $4 million if you could get a large return in a couple years? It's a massive risk.

How can a company that doesn't care become profitable? It's almost impossible for that to happen.

So why should we evaluate NFL Draft prospects any differently? In translation: How can an NFL player be successful if he has a very mediocre work ethic, doesn't love the game, doesn't take the process seriously, and is immature?

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The Dude’s Mail Sack: Is Kyle Orton eye candy?

Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions about the state of the Denver Broncos. Got a titillating question? Put a dollar bill into the Dude’s G-String and he might answer it—after bowling practice.

Hey, TJ, just give me the stats! I've noticed that with the signings of Jamal Williams, Jarvis Green, and Justin Bannan, the Broncos are getting a little long in the tooth on the defensive line.   Are these guys really the answer?   I mean they are really really old.

---Mike, Norman, Oklahoma

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The Loser’s Curse and the NFL Draft

In 2005, Cade Massey and Richard Thayer, two academics from Duke and the University of Chicago, authored a fascinating and statistically-heavy paper entitled The Loser's Curse: Overconfidence vs. Market Efficiency in the National Football League Draft.  While the paper is dated, and while it has received its fair share of criticism and analysis itself, I think the most fascinating sentence from the entire 59-page paper is the biggest and most overlooked truth from the modern-day NFL:

Buying expensive players, even if they turn out to be great performers, imposes opportunity costs elsewhere on the roster.

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Visions of sugar plums: the value of Brandon Marshall

Christmas comes only once a year.  And Pete Carroll isn't donning a santa costume.

While we all might have believed last week that Brandon Marshall was worth a 1st and a 3rd round pick,  two things happened in the last two days that say otherwise:

  1. The Denver Broncos themselves placed only a 1st round tender on Marshall
  2. The Anquan Boldin trade

The Boldin trade, in particular, dealt what could have been a giant blow to the idea that the Broncos will be getting what we as fans hope is a fair value for the player known as The Beast.   

After the jump, we'll look at the Boldin deal, it's consequences for Marshall, and what both Seattle and Denver might be considering as they discuss what Bradon Marshall is worth.

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Shake Me: How turnovers and penalties shook the 2009 Denver Broncos

Penalties and turnovers hurt, like a kick to the groin.  Every coach will tell you that they can kill a drive faster than a Darrius Heyward-Bey crossing route (the groin of the Oakland Raiders).  In fact, you hear about penalties and turnovers so often in post-game press conferences, you would think that play calling had little do do with the results of the game.  

And often this is the case.  The team that does the best job executing its own individual game plan is usually the winner. Penalties and turnovers are simply markers along the way.

But when you chart every offensive play in a given season, you tend to only focus on the big picture (trends, downs and distances, player values) and forget about just how large a role penalties and turnovers really play.  Each holding call, each interception and fumble, each turnover on downs, and each missed field goal--each one of them were a piece of what became the 2009 Broncos offense.  So I thought that I'd take a brief moment this week in the middle of all of the draft analysis, to explore, using expected points value, penalties and turnovers. 

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