Happy Football Thursday, friends. As the preseason comes to a close, we’re left to ponder the value of tonight’s game, which begins after my bedtime. All I can really think of is that it gives the underdog lovers something to get all excited about.
I’m continually interested in how fans latch on to some late or undrafted player, based on a play here or there, or his name, or where he went to school. That underdog is going to be a major player, maybe even a star! He’s a diamond in the rough, and I’ve been down since Day 1. When the IAOFM crew was chatting during the Bears game, we were having a laugh about how Xavier Omon hysteria was about to be upon us when he made a few good runs against third-stringers. Well, it came, and it went. No other third-string defensive line that the Broncos played was sorry enough to be blocked by the Broncos' third-string offensive line.
For the Broncos, the value is that it gives them a chance to make a last-minute decision on who makes the team, and maybe more importantly, the practice squad. For the most part, the decisions have most likely been made on the larger body of work, though. If you think about it, tonight’s game is going to end around 2am Eastern. Cuts to 53 have to be completed by 9pm Eastern time on Friday. That leaves very little time for deliberation.
Happy Saturday, friends. I’m back for Part 2 of Holding John Clayton Accountable for Sucking Fest 2012 (here's Part 1). Some of you complained and criticized me for undertaking such a project yesterday. Your concerns are noted, and are being taken under advisement.
Today, we continue our slog through the Chad Pennington Division, and then make our way into the Hit or Miss Division. If you can believe it, the reasoning gets worse the further we go. To wit:
Alex Smith hadn’t yet put together a complete effective season before last year, so Clayton rated him 28th. That was reasonable, though I’ve always liked Smith, and would have had him a bit higher. My issue with this paragraph is that Clayton treats the movement between last year’s ranking and this year’s ranking as an event. Look here, John - you made a statement based on some evidence, ultimately got proven wrong, and now you’re making a new statement based on additional evidence. Smith just played good football, stayed healthy, and showed himself to be a winning player.
I almost never read John Clayton’s articles on ESPN, because they tend to be horrible. They call him the professor, but really he’s a sniveling little toolbag who doesn’t know anything about football. He’s basically equivalent to Mark Kiszla, but he got lucky, by getting picked up by ESPN way back when. Anybody who knows anything scoffs at this dude.
Every year, Clayton writes an article ranking QBs, and I just know it’s going to be a steaming piece of crap, but I read it anyway. It’s kind of like rubbernecking to see a car accident, knowing that you’re being a jerk and holding up traffic behind you. (In all likelihood, they’ll rubberneck too.)
Well, I read the annual trainwreck yesterday, and I decided that I should go all Drew Magary on it, and make the perfesser my own personal Mr. Lofty Acela of Beernerdness. It’s not so much that I feel hostile because Clayton’s writing is awful (though it is); it’s more that his inability to think consistently or intelligently is shocking, no matter how many times I see it.
Here’s the spot where some of you ruminate on how arrogant I am, and how I think I am the biggest brain in the room, because I am about to pick on Clayton. You know what? Bite me.
The question of the day is whether Mark Kiszla knows what he’s talking about, when it comes to football.
Are you done laughing yet?
Okay then, welcome back. Since we know the answer is that he doesn’t know anything beyond the most basic level, we can pat him on the head like a good little dullard, and at least explore whether the basic point he was making is valid.
Kiszla thinks the Broncos have better personnel to play a 3-4 than they do a 4-3. If you’ve read this site for long, you know that there’s no monolithic 3-4 that half the NFL uses, and there’s similarly no monolithic 4-3 in use by the other half. There are 3-4’s that play like traditional 4-3’s (such as Houston and Dallas), 4-3’s that play like traditional 3-4’s (like Seattle and Miami), and then there are teams that play both fronts, most notably New England and Baltimore.
Happy Tuesday, friends. I’ve had a chance to review Thursday night’s game a few times, and in the spirit of what I did yesterday with rookie QBs, I decided to share some thoughts about the Broncos’ 2012 rookie class. Since I’m so interested in player development, I’m thinking I may do so semi-regularly throughout the season.
Derek Wolfe - DT, 2nd-round pick
Wolfe makes me smirk, because not only was I all over him before the Draft, so was Doc. It was a good day to be an IAOFM guy while the Legwolds and other writers of the world were flailing. Remember, Legwold had never heard of Wolfe when the Broncos picked him.
Well, Wolfe looked like the real deal on Thursday. He has an excellent mix of size, strength, quickness, effort, and ability to use his hands well as a pass rusher. His hand use is really advanced for a rookie, and I think he has a nice innate feel for how a pocket is moving that he can employ in working toward the step-up/escape point. You can say that he gets garbage or coverage sacks, but how many times over the years have we wished that somebody could play inside and pick up a few of those?
Happy Tuesday, friends. I’m a little hard up for stuff to write about today, so I decided to eat some low-hanging fruit. Being a person who subscribes to ESPN’s Insider service, I get an interesting mix of useful and useless material. Among the useless stuff that I get is articles from K.C. Joyner, The Football Scientist, or as I like to call him, The “Football Scientist.”
Joyner was an early screamer about football stats, and how there weren’t enough of them, and how they weren’t good enough. He had a point, but his personal capacity to remedy the situation was, shall we say, limited. He created a bunch of metrics, many based upon his own subjective observations. For an example, I give you Good Blocking Yards Per Attempt. What exactly does “Good” mean? It sounds like he’s measuring something that’s not exactly measurable.
I guess it’s good to be first on the scene, because then ESPN pays you to write stupid articles and pimp your book through oblique references to it, as if everybody bought and memorized the thing. Actually, it’s good to be second too, because they do the same thing with Football Outsiders, who also acts as if their own proprietary stats are the bomb-diggity, be-all, end-all fountain of all football knowledge. I’d like to see them have a nerd fight – My VYPA is better than your DVOA! I’ll unleash my 23rd-level warlock on your paladin! Pokemon to the rescue! (I know, I’m kind of an a-hole jock – sue me.)
Friends, Coloradans, non-Coloradans, ninnies, lend me your eyes. I finally made some time to write about football, and I also feel semi-motivated to do so, so I decided to throw a couple thousand words at you, like we were on a date. I’m springing for McDonald’s, going all Andrew “Dice” Clay with it. I know what you’re thinking – yes, that does make you the heavyset woman in this deal. Yum – Big Mac.
Since training camp has begun, it seems appropriate to start talking about current events. This was supposed to be the year I went to Dove Valley for a few days to see it for myself, but with changing jobs a month ago, that wasn’t in the cards. Next year, I guess.
Anyway, I was watching NFLN the other day, and they seem to be featuring Heath Evans in a lot of their programming lately. I can’t really figure out why – all this dude talks about is what it’s like to play for Sean Payton and Bill Belichick. It seems like that’s the extent of his available insight. While I respect both coaches, I think there’s a lot more to football than the way they do things.
This article is not going to be about football, so if you’re the type of ninny who thinks you should try to keep us in a “football only” box, you can drop off the call right now. This is an article about IAOFM, and you, and the world we share. Broncos fans who meet three criteria tend to read this website, over all the others that are available:
Whether you realize it or not, this website intentionally occupies the educated/intelligent fan space in Broncos Country. That was a marketing decision made way back when, and it’s the reason you don’t see us adding writers to the staff. The same parts that get put into a Chevy Cobalt don’t get used in a Mercedes S Class.
We don’t write for dumb people, because we figure they have plenty of other choices out there where the writing is congruous with their reading levels. IAOFM will never dumb anything down, you can be assured of that. I know that a lot of our long-time readers are happy about that, and don’t want that to change, and personally, those are the people I write for.
Did you hear the one about the NFL team which “reached” for a player to fill a need? That’s a no-no, picking for need. You should be drafting the best player available (hereafter BPA), regardless of need, goes the story. I reject that thought as being over-generalized, because if you have a bad team, you should be picking to fill roles that will allow you to be competitive.
If you’re the Giants, then fine - take the BPA - if there’s no massive need to fill. Some would say that Jerry Reese did that over the weekend (including Reese), but I would tell you that RB David Wilson and WR Rueben Randle filled needs, and specifically replaced Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham. The Draftnik groupthink didn’t have the Giants universally taking any position, so that allows Reese to say he went BPA, regardless of the reality.
Then there’s the Ravens taking Courtney Upshaw. They got the BPA and he’s a pass rusher! Huzzah for Ozzie Newsome! Except that Upshaw isn’t a dynamic pass rusher, and that he does fill a clear need, with the departure of Jarret Johnson, as an edge-setter in the running game on the strongside. If Ozzie had a slightly worse track record, you’d be reading about how as an Alabama alum, he shows too much love to Crimson Tide guys like Upshaw. (Johnson also played at Alabama, actually.)
Ted Bartlett evaluates draft-eligible prospects in his spare time, among a number of activities he pursues, including golf, MBA classes, and smirking about how much he's outkicked his coverage on the girlfriend front. When his kindergarten teacher told him that he was advanced, what she was saying was that, with minimal effort, he'd be able to do better than "really passionate" people who try their hardest. He also focuses on the NFL's business and legal environment, offensive and defensive schemes, going off on unrelated tangents, and all 32 teams in the NFL. Follow along as he offers his instant analysis of tonight's NFL Draft.