Happy Friday, friends. It’s time to Digest the Minnesota Vikings, who despite their 2-9 record have a bit of power behind their punches, and can knock you out if you don’t come correct. They’re lining up to have a very high draft pick in 2012, and I think that they can have a pretty quick turnaround in 2012 assuming they pick wisely, and their young QB improves. For now, though, let’s take a look at them in their current state.
Generally, I’d say that the Vikings profile kind of similarly to the Broncos in some important ways. To wit:
a. Both teams start young QBs who can look good one play and bad the next.
b. Both teams struggle to protect the passer in the straight-up dropback passing game, but both can get the running game blocked a lot of the time.
c. Both teams can rush the passer creditably from both edges, although the Vikings’ second-best guy (Brian Robison) is not really close to the Broncos’ (Elvis Dumervil) level.
d. Both teams have a good set of DTs who stuff the run well, and both teams’ LB corps are better against the run than in coverage.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! You may recall that the other day I applauded the "spirit of what (Kerry) Byrne and CHFF are trying to do" with their "Real QB Rating" before going on to criticize Byrne's interpretation of the numbers CHFF's new metric had spit out. Well, I guess I should have looked deeper into this Real QB Rating, because as Mike Tanier explains in great detail, it has extreme flaws. Relax, Tebowmaniacs - none of this is a criticism of Tim, but rather of CHFF's methods as they relate to Real QB Rating.
So, here's the problem with it: Real QB Rating relies upon the old-school QB Rating as a framework, and it overcredits completion percentage in a big way - and as my friend Ted Bartlett has written many times already, completion percentage is completely overrated (although I wouldn't go as far as to say it's worthless). As Tanier shows, a slight improvement in completion % without adding even a yard of production has a significant positive impact on a QB rating, and that's just not going to help us evaluate a quarterback.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! I've just sat here for the past 40 minutes trying to respond to complaints about my tone of late, but I've actually run out of time. So, I'm going to get myself to work and finish up my thoughts later when I get a chance. Worst Lard intro ever, I know. More of the self-referencing garbage that I so intently try to avoid - that makes 10 uses of I/me/my/myself, or 10 more than this writer would like to use each day. Sorry, folks - enjoy the links and have a great day!
Update: 3:01pm ET - Turns out Vic Lombardi was right about Von Miller having had surgery this week - it was to repair torn thumb ligaments yesterday, and both Miller and Eddie Royal (ankle) might miss Sunday's game in Minnesota.
Yesterday we again decried ESPN's attempts to paint their own Total QBR as a revolutionary passing metric. Another day, another gross instance of statistical malfeasance, this time delivered by CHFF's Kerry Byrne in a column for SI. It's pretty bad, quite frankly - virtually a page out of the playbook for how to misinterpret and overstate stats and their meaning.
The spirit of what Byrne and CHFF are trying to do (factor rushing into a QB rating) is excellent, and in full disclosure it's something I've also been working on since last year myself. Yet, the manner in which Byrne is presenting the data for Tebow's 2011 starts is completely self-serving and ignores some crucial context. Let's examine some of the more glaring fallacies of Byrne's column:
The Broncos have signed CB Tony Carter and WR Greg Orton to their practice squad to replace Kyle McCarthy and Mike Mohamed, who were both promoted from the PS on Monday. Denver originally signed Carter as an undrafted rookie in 2009, while Orton was with the team during the 2011 preseason.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his YGS column yesterday, Ted addressed my own mentally masturbative claim from our CTF in which I suggested the Broncos would be "a legit team" with a league-average QB. I was not discounting Tebow's contributions to Denver's winning streak when I wrote that - we can't arbitrarily subtract his play from the past six weeks and say the Broncos would still be 5-1. It would be foolish and pointless to do so, actually - Tebow played a part in all five wins in varying degrees (IMO none more so than in San Diego). They didn't win in spite of Tim or his play. Obviously, Tim has a lot to do with how and why the Broncos have been so effective running the ball, and I have no problem accepting that they'd be far less devastating there (if even very good at all) with another QB.
My opinion was (and still is) that another QB (not necessarily Orton), given the quality of defense and special teams Tebow's been afforded these past six games, would do quite well, and that success would be sustainable (which is what I meant or should have written when I wrote legit). I don't think it's a far reach to say there are plenty of NFL QBs who would be scoring significantly more than the 16 points per game the Tebow-led offense has been accumulating. However you slice it, the abundance of one- and two-minute offensive possessions Denver's gotten in the past six weeks are pure defense killers.
Happy Victory Tuesday, friends. Are you getting used to Victory Tuesdays, yet? I kind of like them, personally. Those of you who had your hearts set on a Top-5 pick may not, but football is funny. Players and coaches like to win, and they try really hard to make that happen, and sometimes they get it done, even if some find it to be strategically unpreferable. In this space, we’re always pro-#winning, so deal with it. Ready… BEGIN!!
1. Today, I want to share some thoughts about why the Broncos are winning, and why it has seemed like a tale of two seasons. There are a number of reasons for it, and it qualifies as a confluence of all of those reasons. I’m one guy with an opinion, but here’s my list:
a. It took a little while, but the team has taken very well to the new defensive scheme. The Broncos tried to use even-front players in a Fairbanks-Bullough 3-4 scheme for two seasons and didn’t have great results. This staff came in and installed an aggressive 4-3 that has a very simple and sound approach to gap control.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest mailbag, Mike Klis goes all Woody Paige in responding to a reasonable and intelligent question about the Broncos' struggles to score points and extend drives beyond three plays with Tebow at the helm. He does so by cherry-picking some numbers which make the Tebow-led offense appear more productive than it's been; according to Klis' calculations, the Broncos have scored 21.2 points in their five wins under Tebow, as if points per win ever mattered. For one, this removes the 10-point effort against the Lions, which when included brings the figure down to 19.3 points. Secondly, two of the touchdowns scored during this time were provided by Eddie Royal's punt return in Oakland and Andre' Goodman's INT return against the Jets. Without those, the offense is down to 17 points per game, and then there's the issue of two games having gone to overtime, without which the Denver offense is scoring 16 points per game since Tebow took over.
Do all those other scores count? Of course! Should the Broncos give them back because Tebow wasn't responsible for them? Nope. But really, let's not say the offense is scoring 21+ points a game, okay? I can just see the water cooler conversations now. Fan A: The wins are nice, but we need to score more points to beat the good teams. Fan B: You're an idiot! They're scoring 21.2 points with Tebow! Mike Klis said so, must be true ZOMG!!