The Daily Lard 11-30-11

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.

In case you're wondering what my mystical "league-average QB" looks like, the league-average NY/A (net yards/attempt which includes sacks) is 6.3 yards, while the league-average ANY/A (adjusted net yards/attempt, which has TDs and INTs baked in) is 5.8 yards. Andy Dalton (6.3, 5.8), a rookie, has posted those exact numbers. Ryan Fitzpatrick (6.4, 4.8) has done a tiny bit better, as has Matt Hasselbeck (6.2, 5.9), and in case you're wondering, Aaron Rodgers (8.5, 9.7) is tops in both metrics, Tim Tebow (4.7, 5.5) is 33rd in NY/A and 23rd in ANY/A, while Blaine Gabbert (4.1, 3.5) is the worst in the league at both (which is 34th).

You may recall from Chase Stuart's recent column that ANY/A is the best metric for telling us what's already happened (explanatory, or retrodictive), while NY/A is more predictive of future success because TDs and INTs "play a huge role in explaining who wins a game but are more random than yards per attempt." In other words, the guy more likely to win games is the one who gets more net yards for every throw he attempts. In case you were wondering, Kyle Orton in 2011 is below-average in both metrics too (5.7, 4.7), and he and Tebow have combined to post a NY/A (5.2 yards) better only than that of the Rams and Jaguars.

So, there you have it. Now that I've hashed it all through, what I was saying on Sunday in CTF (in fewer words and less complete thoughts) was that someone like Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, or Matt Hasselbeck would, in theory, make the Broncos as they're currently playing on defense and special teams, a squad to be reckoned with, and in a sustainable manner which could succeed year in and year out. And remember - Dalton is just a second-round rookie, Fitzpatrick is a Harvard grad who's playing for his third team, and Hasselbeck is the over-the-hill QB most of us thought Tennessee overpaid for.

If you'd like to play around with the NY/A and ANY/A data, you can always find it at PFR for teams here (Passing Offense) and for individual players here (click the headers to sort, and non-qualifiers will disappear for these rate stats, leaving 34 QBs).

As for the Kerry Byrne/SI piece that's setting Denver sports radio afire, I think it's a big pile of statistical junk, and it's a perfect example of how stats in the wrong hands can be rather dangerous and serve to delegitimize the folks who "get it" like Brian Burke, Chase Stuart and Byrne's own CHFF colleague Scott Kacsmar, among others. I'm not being elitist when I suggest that Byrne doesn't get it while Burke and Stuart do - they've obviously spent a lot more time with math than he, because Byrne shows in his column that he's willing to completely ignore the basic definition of a statistical relationship, or he's simply ignorant to it. I'll have a lot more to say about that in a few hours.


Matthew Phillips breaks down Broncos/Chargers for PFF and says Tebow had his first positive passing day of the year, praises the play of who else but Von Miller, and revisits the troubles of Ryan Clady.

Jeff Legwold says the Broncos defense has improved its tackling and the pressure they've been generating is key to Denver winning (duh).

Legwold also focuses on the youthful play of Willis McGahee, and he examines the rareness of Denver sweeping its AFCW road games, and the historical uniqueness of Tebow's 22-carry day.

Woody Paige says Tebow will probably make the Pro Bowl, although his point is that it's deserved. Since the Pro Bowl is a popularity contest, of course he will. I'm also going to say he's a lock for the next Madden cover.

Arnie Stapleton on Tebow's year of comebacks.

Max Henson summarizes the latest Elway Live, Tebow is seeking funds for his children's hospital in the Philippines, and Brian Baldinger talks defense and how the Broncos are game-planning Tebow's success.

D.J. Williams' mother has a restraining order against the suspect in the robberies of her son's house.

Minnesota placed LS Cullen Loeffler, WR Michael Jenkins, S Husain Abdullah and S Tyrell Johnson on IR yesterday, adding four new players at those same positions to replace them.


As expected, the Commish suspended Ndamukong Suh for two games. Here's guessing it gets reduced to a game after appeal and Suh has to take some anger management counseling in return for the reduction. Matt BowenDoug Farrar and Ross Tucker offer their reactions, while Suh's reputation has earned him immortalization via Taiwanese animation.

It's still unclear who will start at QB this week for the Chiefs, who released backup tackle Jared Gaither after a false-start penalty last week.

Houston signed Jake Delhomme to back up T.J. Yates. Scott Kacsmar examines the rarity of what the Texans are trying to accomplish - getting to the playoffs with their third QB. Meanwhile, Chase Stuart considers the impact of old friend Wade Phillips on the Houston defense.

After Indy scapegoated Larry Coyer, they announced that Dan Orlovsky would take over the starting QB job from Curtis Painter. Mike Tanier says they're far from the worst team in history.

Jason Cole says it's unlikely the Jags will be moving in the next 15 years. Post-Jack Del Rio's firing, Don Banks lists the head coaches who may be on the hot seat.

The Bears waived their leading ST tackler, LB Brian Iwuh, while Browns LB Scott Fujita and Bengals LB Keith Rivers were placed on IR.

Bill Barnwell praises Willis McGahee's performance in SD and duns the fourth-down meekness of John Fox in his weekly Fabulous and Flops.

Denver is up to 23rd in Burke's efficiency rankings, from 29th last week.

Closing the book on Week 12: Observations from Nate Jahnke and analyst chatter from PFF; Coach Killers and weekly awards from Eye on Football; PFW's players of the week, top rookies (Von Miller), and MVP candidates (Tebow - apparently nine TDs in six games is a lot?); Rusher Rating via CHFF.

Matt Bowen checks on the Jets offense, the Saints' weapons, and Green Bay's sprint game.

Eric Edholm looks ahead to Week 13, praising Denver's defense and O-line while examining the musical chairs-like game of AFCW QBs.


Peter King responds to email and isn't buying the Tebow-as-MVP talk.

DYAR and DVOA via FO.

Greg Gabriel scouts two Baylor stars - QB Robert Griffin III and WR Kendall Wright.

Here are a few players Wes Bunting thinks could be surprise NFL successes (well, not to him).

This video clip wouldn't be nearly as funny as it is without "Chuckling Idiots" in the title. But it's there, so it is.

KSK captionizes Week 12, Reggie Bush needs to look up the definition of ALS, plus Drew Magary's latest Funbag.

Mike Tyson sang The Girl From Ipanema on a Brazilian TV show. How could anyone not want to see that?

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

The Lard