Ron Glover’s NFL Questions (And Maybe Some) Answers: Week 6

 

The Donovan McNabb story may be coming to an end, none of us hoped it would be like this. The Tim Tebow era begins in Denver minus one key component. The Shanahans finally have their man in John Beck and who will fill in for Jason Campbell for the next six weeks?

Miller: The Pathetic End For Donovan McNabb

I don’t want to use the term set up to fail in this case (Although, I wouldn’t be that far off) but has any star quarterback in the NFL had a tougher road to haul? At the time that he was pulled McNabb was 19-24 for 177 yards, he had not thrown a touchdown or an interception. His porus offensive line yielded five sacks and a few hits on their QB. The most telling stat has to be that Adrian Peterson had a paltry 12 carries for 39 yards (third game this season with less than 20 carries). The Bears being up 26 points after three quarters was probably Leslie Frazier’s reason for the move. But the cameras showing Wilma McNabb leaving the club box kind of gave a finality to the career of a man that I never stopped pulling for.

It’s official: Tim Tebow named Broncos’ starter vs. Miami

It’s Tebow Time in Denver but he’ll be without a prime target. How long will this last?  Josh McDaniels really left the Denver Broncos in more of  a mess than when he actually coached there. The Broncos finally get their man in Tim Tebow but will be without leading receiver Brandon Lloyd who was traded to the St. Louis Rams on Monday for a sixth-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The trade reunites McDaniels and Lloyd and gives Tebow one less option as he begins his life as a starting NFL quarterback. 

Do the Shanahans, the Kardashians of the NFL finally have their man? It took four interceptions in three quarters of play for Mike Shanahan to pull the plug on Rex Grossman who had won the led the Redskins to the top of the division in the first month of the season. Grossman, who began the season with four touchdowns in his first two games has thrown seven interceptions in his last three contests. If the Redskins win the NFC East, it may be because of Grossman’s undoing.

Hue Jackson and the Raiders are faced with their first on the field crisis as they look for a replacement for Jason Campbell for the next six weeks. Options? There have been rumors of a trade with the hated Broncos for Kyle Orton or a deal with the Bengals for Carson Palmer. David Garrard needs immediate back surgery for a herniated disk and will be unavailable. Could the Raiders stick with Kyle Boller and possibly Terrelle Pryor (assuming he’s been making progress). The Raiders schedule over the next six weeks reads: Chiefs, Bye, Broncos, @Chargers and Vikings before returning home for the Bears in Week 12. How much rust does Carson Palmer have on him and would the Broncos really do anything to help out a division foe?

 

64 Responses to “Ron Glover’s NFL Questions (And Maybe Some) Answers: Week 6”

  1. Corin Brown says:

    Sorry for the confusion guys, I’m not trying to have it both ways. I guess I’m ultimately not really into this individual greatness discussion. To clarify, I think it’s the team and organization that wins SB’s in the NFL – that’s why I love the NFL the most. I recognize and quite enjoy moments of individual excellence and excellent careers, of course. I also enjoy checking out and comparing individual statistics. But it’s the climb to the top of the mountain as a unit, for the best team in the NFL, that I think is unique in sports. OK, having said that, let me talk about Brady some more. (Ha!)

    I feel the Brady skepticism. I hear it loud and clear. But I just can’t discount the rings. What can I do? Hard as it may be to believe, I did watch all three of the games.

    SB36: yes, the conventional wisdom is that Brady had a soft game. Yes, he only completed 15 balls and like 150 yards. But he made the plays he needed to make to win the game. The Pats were up until the end of the game (thank you Ty Law) so why shouldn’t he be playing possession against Martz/Faulk/Warner/Holt/Bruce, et al? And at the end of the game when sorry John Madden was beseeching him to kneel for OT, BB put the game in his hands and he drove down to the 35 for Vanitieri to win it. I think he completed 3 passes on that last drive. 2 short ones to Kevin Faulk, I think and Jermaine Wiggins. But the big one was to Troy Brown for like 25 yards down to the Rams’s 35. Passing at all in that game situation was incredibly risky. Just ask Madden, he couldn’t figure out what they were doing. But that single pass completion to Brown signaled to Patriots fans Brady’s ability to deliver in the clutch, on the biggest stage in the world, under the most pressure possible, as a 14 point ‘dog. (It was either that or his scary dance moves at the SB rally in City Hall Plaza a few days later – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ha4U9MiTAa8 fwd to 2:40) Is he the only QB who could have executed that drive? Of course not. But what else is he supposed to do?

    I know this is boring, so I’ll spare my specific opinions and recollections of SB’s 38, 39.

    How could the Pats win 3 SB’s if Brady was such a mediocre QB? I can see a good team winning it all with an average QB once maybe (Dilfer.) But THREE different times? And after missing the playoffs altogether b/t the first and second? And each successive SB win coming after wholesale player turnover as a result of BB/Scott Pioli’s signature revolving door of anonymous free agents? Were the Pats D and Vinatieri really that dominant over 4 years that they carried Brady’s goldbricking ass? Yes, Vinatieri was awesome; yes, he made some incredibly clutch kicks; yes, he could run for Governor of Massachusetts and win in a landslide. But he’s a kicker. Brady is the QB. They are all important cogs, even the LS, but the QB is most crucial, just as the defensive leader is. Every SB team needs an excellent one on both sides of the ball. Yes, the Pats SB wins were incredibly tight. But that just means the players were performing under the maximum pressure possible – the biggest test for a player there could be.

    As for the Marino comparisons, I am dubious. However, I’m also biased. I never liked Marino. He was a tremendous passer but he was also a whiney schmuck who visibly shamed his linemen and receivers whenever anything went wrong, which after his second year in the league was often. As a leader on a football team, there’s not a bigger sign of being a loser. I think pre-game shows are comprehensively unwatchable but one of the few times I enjoyed one was the stretch when Deion Sanders sat next to Marino at the CBS desk. Marino despised Deion and it showed. It burned Marino that a flashy guy like Deion had 2 SB rings and he didn’t. He couldn’t figure it out and it ate him up on LIVE TV! Deion knew this, of course, and god bless him, he shoved it in Marino’s mug every chance he got. Made for great TV. I will always love Deion because of that. And for when he dumped a wastebasket full of ice water on Tim McCarver on TV after the Reds won the World Series. But back to Marino…

    A quick comparison of Brady and Marino on pro-football-reference.com yields some interesting stuff. I’ll try to keep this brief because I knew I said I didn’t like this stuff. My favorite stats for passers (besides SB wins, playoff record and wins/losses, of course) is adjusted yards/attempt, yards/completion and TD/INT ratio. I like the first 2 because they are they cut to the essence when comparing old school guys who bombed the ball down field frequently like Marino and the newer style of QB who play possession. (Also, I will never accept the opinion that Brady is a dink and dunk passer, but I will not expand on that here for fear of getting bounced off this blog.) So for AY/A, Y/C, TD/INT for their careers, Brady is: 7.6, 11.7, 2.49; Marino: 7.0, 12.4, 1.66. Pretty even, I think. Some other things I learned: Brady has averaged 29 TD passes a season (not counting this year and the year Bernie Pollack snapped his knee in two in week one) and Marino has averaged 25 TD passes a season. Something else shocked me. Marino averaged 300+ yards/game only once in his career when he got 317/game in 1984. Brady averaged just over 300/game in 2007 of course. He also owns the single season record for TD’s in 2007, as I’m sure I don’t have to remind anyone reading this. By the way, Brady is averaging 360 yards/game so far this year. However, I doubt even he will be able to sustain this rate. Although, he only needs to average 264/game the rest of the way this year to have one more season averaging 300+ yards/game than Marino with six fewer seasons under his belt. Another interesting comparison is the % of TD passes thrown by Marino and Brady by distance of TD pass. They break down the distances this way: 0-3, 4-9, 10-19, 20-29, 30+. Brady’s %’s are: 18%, 29%, 20%, 9%, 22%. Marino’s %’s are: 16%, 25%, 21%, 15%, 22%. As a percentage of their overall TD passes, Brady and Marino threw the same number of bombs. And on a per season basis, Brady has trown 6/season while Marino threw 5.5/season.

    I also think Brady throws a pretty accurate deep ball. But in his 10 years in the league he has had only one legit deep threat to throw to. I don’t count 85, who seems to have forgotten how to affix his chin-strap. Sorry! I said I wasn’t gonna get into that. My bad.

    Thanks for your indulgence, troops.

    I hate bye weeks!

  2. Temple3 says:

    Totally agree on Marino and Deion. No argument from me on that one.

    I also agree with you on the QB stats that matter. We’ll have to discuss the dink and dunk thing though. For example, Brady ranks 5th among current players in AY/A, but he also has 7, count ‘em 7, seasons with an AY/A under 8. He even has 4 seasons with an AY/A under 7 — and the Patriots won a Super Bowl in one of those seasons.

    Aaron Rodgers has only had 1 season in 4 with an AY/A under 8. Philp Rivers has only had 2 out of 6. Romo had 2 out of 5. Even Roethlisberger, who has lost receivers like Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress since his rookie season, has been above 8 for 5 of his 8 seasons, including both Super Bowl seasons. One of the seasons where he missed the mark came after his motorcycle accident.

    There are only a handful of True Bombers in the league. Brady’s first time above 8 AY/A reflects the greatness of Randy Moss. In the previous season, Brady was a 6.7…he jumped to 9.3 with Moss.

    We’re at a point now (the last 2 years) where everyone’s numbers are up. It’s more basketball than anything else and the Patriots have tapped into that…but because their defense is no longer a Top 10 unit, it hasn’t mattered in January. You underestimate just how good those SB defenses were in the Red Zone and in getting turnovers. +19 in takeaways in the post-season means more possessions, more room for error, more chances for Vinatieri to do his thing.

    I like how you do business, and we agree on some things, but I don’t believe you’ve made a compelling statistical argument for Brady as either a Bomber or as the guy who can lead his team to post-season victory without the support of a kick-ass defense. (I also agree that Brady is a very, very accurate deep passer. I think I’m giving more credit here than you are.)

    I’d submit also that Moss is the only elite deep threat that the Pats have had, but he’s not the only LEGITIMATE speed guy. That list of guys who can get over the top of a defense includes Deion Branch, particularly during his first stint in NE. He caught the decisive TD vs. Pittsburgh in the 2004 AFC Championship Game. David Patten averaged 18 yards a catch and caught 7 tds in ’04. That’s a very serious deep threat. David Givens averaged almost 16 yards a catch. But even with all of that, Brady spent a lot of time dinking and dunking to Patrick Pass, Kevin Faulk, Troy Brown, and Daniel Graham.

    Just look at the passing distribution that the Pats have had during their run. Weis’ emphasis was on spreading the ball around and using the pass to substitute for deficiencies in the run game. And how do we know all this? Because the first time Brady cracked even 7 AY/A, he had Corey Dillon running for 1600 yards. Dillon’s impact was tremendous on the passing game in NE. It opened up the deep passing game off play action. Dillon had an impact for 2 years — and Brady’s numbers reflect his presence in the lineup.

    In 2006, when Dillon was gone, Brady returned to form with an AY/A under 7.

    In 2007, Moss came and the rest is history.

    I’m not even arguing that Brady is mediocre. I’m just saying what I’m saying – no more no less. He’s a guy whose legend grew before his performance matched his accolades…and he’s a guy whose performance went stratospheric with the addition of Moss, but he’s been unable to win it all because he doesn’t have those super studs on Defense.

  3. Temple3 says:

    Just one quick point…

    The gap in your analysis comparing Marino and Brady is fundamental. You cannot compare them directly because they played in different eras, under different rules, with different enforcement, etc.

    To have a better picture of their relative performance, you need to compare Marino’s performance to league averages (or even groups (like the Top 5 or Top 10) of his; then do the same for Brady.

    So, if you look at the list of CAREER LEADERS in AY/A, you cannot help but notice that the top of the list is filled with active players. Ten of the top 12 are active players and the 11th is Kurt Warner who just retired. So, this is probably NOT a good data set for a straight line comparison between a QB from the 80′s and a current player.

    Still, it’s worth noting that Brady ranks 5th here. Among his contemporaries, Marino ranked 4th — behind Steve Young (whose best passing years were later than Marino’s), Joe Montana, and Roger Staubach. That’s one helluva group. One could certainly argue that it’s more impressive than a group that includes Philip Rivers and Tony Romo.

  4. MODI says:

    Another great TSF exchange!

  5. Corin Brown says:

    We’re going round and round!

    I’m gonna tap out but I just wanna mention a couple of things first:

    As a lifelong Pats fan going back to Grogan, Morgan, Tippett, Mosi, Hannah, Nelson, Collins, exploding toilets in the $3m Shaeffer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium, etc., I absolutely adore each of the guys you mentioned (Graham not so much.) They are unassailable legends in Boston. But calling them deep threats? Not sure about that. They got downfield and they had some speed and most importantly they GOT OPEN, always caught the ball (except for Graham) and never fumbled. But they never presented one-on-one match-up issues that at least a dozen other WR’s of their time with better speed and bigger size did.

    Moss and Rice were the best WR’s I ever saw. (That would be another great discussion.) Brady’s AY/A in 2007 was 9.4. His AY/A last year was 9.0 without Moss. It’s 9.0 so far this year. The Pats’ WR situation w/o Moss has been a disaster. Welker is awesome, but the poor guy is on an island. But Brady’s AY/A is still at least 9 with zero running attack, zero deep threat and ridiculously predictable play-calling.

    Brady’s career and the Pats’s fortunes have definitely morphed. The main catalysts were the departure of Weis and the loss of the ability of their D to rush the passer without blitzing. Since Weis left, the play-calling became too one dimensional, predictable and as a result too easy to defend. I always despised McDaniels’s play-calling and will never forgive him for not running more screen passes as a reply to the Giants’ prodigious pass rush in SB 42. Just one screen pass to Kevin Faulk! ONE!!!!!! O’Brien has been the same – until this year. There have been some green shoots of hope the last few games as the running attack has flourished with BJGE and Ridlay. I’ll be interested to see how the stats shake down compared to 2007 if the Pats can continue to present D’s with this 3 pronged offense (1. Gronk/Hernandez two headed monster 2. Welker 3 BJGE/Ridlay) with Brady pulling the strings. On the other hand, the D couldn’t be any more of a disaster. Their only hope is if they keep making one-off plays at key moments (like against Dallas) and keep going up against stupid opposing OC’s (Dallas again.) I’m not counting on that. The irony is that as Brady’s stats become more and more impressive, his performances in the playoffs have gotten worse and worse. I could blame them on the above reasons but ultimately he’s the man and has to answer.

    But he’s still got those 3 rings in his pocket and made important plays when it mattered most. He was the QB for a dynastic NFL unit.

  6. kos says:

    T3 -

    Dropping more knowledge like always!

    MODI -

    Great to see you chiming in!

    CB -

    I don’t think any of us disagree all that much on Brady’s career. The more that’s been posted, the more the same points come up.

    I can’t remember what the topic was, but I wish you could have seen the post that T3 had about Brady’s career a couple of weeks ago. About how as his numbers have gotten better, his team’s fortunes have gotten worse.

    He’s having all of this success during the season now, and almost none in the post season. Some of it is ironically because the Patriots went from a smashmouth, ball control team, to a finesse team. On both sides of the ball.

  7. Corin Brown says:

    Haha! I know it. I forgot what we were talking about too. I just remembered what T3′s original idea was that I reacted to. It was the great receivers make great QB’s theory. I just wanted to say that: Brady won those SB’s without “great” receivers like Moss, Rice, Taylor, Wayne; yes, Moss made Brady’s 2007 season (the only one who genuflects at Moss’ feet more than me is Brady himself); he put the ball up 500 times and threw 36 TD’s with only 4 picks(!!!!!!!) last year without Moss on the team.

    Now I’m gonna spend my day off poring over relative WPA’s and SSR’s on Brian Burke’s site trying to prove that Brady will actually walk on water next week against the Stillers. (I’d settle for a game without a pick.) I hope I don’t stroke out.

    Is it Sunday yet?

  8. Temple3 says:

    CB:

    It’s all good. And, yeah — what kos said!

    Just to clarify…check out what I said up top re: Pass, Faulk, etc. — it’s that they were NOT deep threats. Those were the dink and dunk options for Brady. Young Deion Branch, Patton, Moss, etc. were the deep threats. Add Bethel Johnson to that. The Donte Stallworth experiment, etc.

    As a lifelong Steelers fan, I had to endure NE’s rise. It was acutely painful for us (kos and I) because so much NE success happened in Pittsburgh. I/we remember all the gorry details – like re-kicks on 4th down from plays ten years ago. I know the Steelers haven’t beaten the Pats with Brady since we ended their 21-game winning streak back in ’04 with Plaxico taking Ty Law down to the local escuela.

    And as a Michigan grad, I’m just a bit conflicted…I don’t know if that balances me out and makes me objective! LOL!

    I’m glad you’re in this space, man!!! Have a spectacular weekend.

  9. Corin Brown says:

    Thanks, man.

    I’ve been enjoying the Denard renaissance and the new Hoke energy. I love that kid. I like the little back from Florida too – forgot his name. Those last three sentences represent the extent of my CFB knowledge. Ha!

  10. Temple3 says:

    No problem. BTW, Brian Burke’s stats are going to tell you the exact same thing I did. Brady’s WPA and EPA are mediocre at best (except for WPA in ’04) during the SB run.

    His performances get better in ’05 and ’06…and then they just get scary in ’07.

    You can run but you can’t hide!

  11. Temple3 says:

    WPA in ’03 — my bad.

  12. Burundi says:

    Excellent breakdown, T3. You’ve been imploring me for years to do the heavy lifting and anatomize, the way you have, above, why I believe that Tom Brady is precious little more than a glorified “system” QB (with the “system”, as you’ve most persuasively argued, necessitating the D&D approach to reflect the inability to run the ball—save for when CD was in the house). Thanks for absolving me of that task.

  13. Burundi says:

    Reminiscing on the egregious call that was the application of the “Tuck Rule” and how I threw the remote down and left the house knowing full well that the game was over, only later feeling deceived, enabled me to get past sharing alumni status with Brady. Seeing Chris Berman hold on to his bitterness regarding that call shores up my resolve to assert that TB’s run remains the the fruit of the poisonous (non-)Tuck.

  14. Corin Brown says:

    Consider the tuck rule payback for Ray Hamilton. Also, I’m not sure what that play has to do with SB’s 38, 39.

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