Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

Playoff scenarios

December 15, 2009

Thanks to Dave in Tucson for pointing this out. Read here from cbssports for the latest playoff scenarios. A Packer win (at Pitt) and a Dallas loss (at NO) would clinch a spot for the Pack this week. This could be a tough game for the Packers as Pitt will no doubt be hungry and playing with fire after being embarrassed by the Cleve. It will be a great game to ready us for the playoffs and I hope we match their intensity.

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Some stats to chew on

November 24, 2009
  • #1 rated passer in the NFL at 112 – Brett Favre
  • #4 rated passer in the NFL at 102 – Aaron Rodgers
  • Tom Brady has passed for 3049 yards already, could he break the Marino record?
  • Jay Cutler has thrown for 18 ints this year, to go with his 74.5 QB rating
  • Rodgers and Romo are tied for most passes over 40 yards – 11 each
  • Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 43 times – leading the NFL. Of the top 10 Qbs rating-wise (excluding the sack-prone Ben Roethlisberger’s 30), no top 10 QB has been sacked more than 22 times. Unreal difference.
  • Ryan Grant is the #9 RB in the NFL at 82.9 yards per game
  • Chris Johnson’s 6.2ypc and overall 124.2ypg averages are making Adrian Peterson look just OK. Dominant.
  • #9 in receptions this year in the NFL: Ray Rice, RB from Balt.
  • Wes Welker is averaging 106.8 yards per game.
  • Nearly 1/3 (14 of 50) of Sidney Rice’s receptions have been for more than 20 yards.
  • NO WR Robert Meacham has 16 receptions on the year – 7 of those have been for Tds.
  • Shane Lechler kicked off 1 time this year and blasted a 75 yard kickoff to the opposing team’s 5 yard-line – and it was returned for a TD. He has no other kickoffs this year.
  • Indy kickoff specialist Pat McAfee leads the NFL in kickoff distance at nearly 70 yards per kickoff.
  • Mason Crosby is the 25th ranked kicker in terms of FG percentage (18/23 – 78%).
  • Mason Crosby is last in the NFL for kicks over 50 yards (kickers w/2 or more attempts – he is 1 of 5 – 20%).
  • For net average (a key indicator in a punter’s performance), Jeremy Kapinos ranks last in the NFL at 33.5 (for punters who’ve punted more than 30 times).
  • Jeremy Kapinos ranks 28th for punts inside the 20.
  • The Packers rank 17th in the league with 21 sacks.
  • Individually, Cullen Jenkins has 4.5 sacks, good for 31st in the NFL.
  • The Packers are ranked #7 overall in yards per game and 8th in PPG.
  • The Packers have the #3 ranked defense in yards allowed per game, yet they are ranked 12th in points allowed per game.
  • The 3-7 Washington Redskins are ranked #5 and #6 respectively for the same defensive categories and the previous entry.
  • The Packers have committed the 7th FEWEST penalties as a defense.
  • The Packers have committed the MOST penalties of any team on offense.
  • The Packers lead the NFL in turnover ratio at +14.

Bills fire Jauron

November 17, 2009

NFL.com is reporting this. I haven’t read any other info with more details.

Cincy pass D putting the clamps on #1 WRs

October 15, 2009

Greg Jennings may have been frustrated after the Cincy game, but he should take some comfort in knowing that there are other stud #1 WRs who had a similarly frustrating experience against the unheralded Cincy pass defense.

Thanks to a friend of mine I’ll call Steve, because that’s his name, for mentioning that Cincy’s pass D had been good against #1 WRs. It inspired me to do some amateur statistical sleuthing to see just how good they’ve been. Here is what I’ve come up with:

  • In 5 games, depending on whom you consider to be Pittsburgh’s #1 WR (Hines Ward or Santonio Holmes), the Cincy defense has given up either 109 TOTAL PASS YARDS to the opposing teams’ #1 WR (if you consider Ward to be #1) or 45 TOTAL PASS YARDS yards (if you consider Holmes to be #1). That’s TOTAL PASS YARDS – unreal for 5 games.
  • In 3 of those games, they have shut out the #1 WR completely, meaning zero catches, zero yards.
  • Week 1 – Brandon Marshall 4 rec 27 yds; week 2 – Greg Jennings zero; week 3 – Hines Ward 4 rec 82 yds/Santonio Holmes 1 rec 18 yds; week  – 4 Braylon Edwards zero; week – 5 Derrick Mason zero.

While other WRs on these teams have made plays and even had decent days (Donald Driver 6, 99, 1TD for example), Cincy has apparently been focusing on shutting down the #1 WR and succeeding at it. I can’t help but wonder what role succeeding at this has played in their winning.

I am very interested to see what they do this week against the guy I consider to be the best WR in the NFL: Andre Johnson. If they shut him down, I’m pretty sure other NFL teams will start watching every second of game film on Cincy’s defense to figure out what they’re doing.

Jim Gray defines awkward

October 13, 2009

I’m absolutely positive that I’m not the only one who has wondered how “sportscaster” Jim Gray ever got a job. Remember those incredibly uncomfortable interviews he’d conduct with the losing head coach of some NBA team after some important game? Remember those awkwardly asked questions at halftime of NFL or college football games? Remember that guy who would land relatively high profile, national TV spots consistently despite being a squish? That’s Jim Gray.

Well, I was driving around in the car last night listening to the radio and I heard Jim Gray on Westwood One’s coverage of the Monday night football game. He “does” the halftime show. As I tuned in I heard an interview with some coach, not even sure who. The second I heard shaky, unsure words fumbling out of some guy’s mouth, I knew it had to be Jim Gray. He was just awful and it was evident that the interviewee wasn’t too excited about having to sit there and answer questions that seemed to come from a junior high school kid doing an interviewing project for English class.

I don’t rip heavily on sportscasters often because frankly, I respect many of them and the fact that they can talk at least somewhat intelligently about something and make relatively few verbal errors. (Of course there are exceptions and I reserve the right to rip in the future when needed – in fact, I have a Wayne Larivee rip coming soon.) But what frustrates me about Jim Gray is that he’s never even been close to being good. Not even close. Whenever he is on the air, whether it’s TV or radio, the viewer/listener immediately feels an overwhelming sense of discomfort…almost an “I feel awkward because this guy made a poor career choice” feeling. Some say that he is either just put in uncomfortable situations or that he just asks tough questions and that’s what leads to the awkwardness – those two things may be true to some extent but other sportscasters can handle those situations far smoother than the bumbling Jim Gray. What’s of course most shocking is that he has landed 11 Emmys and won National Sports Reports of the Year 2 times. If you ask me, Jim Gray belongs behind a desk wearing one of those accountant hats tabulating numbers or in a lab working solo – anywhere where he and his incredibly awkward brand of communication can be far away from others.

They talk about people having a “face for radio”. Well, after listening to him last night on the radio, I’d say Jim Gray has a “voice for newspaper”.

Should the Packers pursue RB Tashard Choice?

October 12, 2009

Welcome to left field, I know. But I have been watching this guy and he can play. (Yes, he’s on my fantasy football team). He is the Cowboys’ 3rd string RB behind Marion Barber and Felix Jones. The Cowboys love this guy because he’s the rare back-up who comes in and doesn’t miss a beat. Despite being 3rd on the depth chart, he does have experience as a starter because he was plugged into that role last year when Barber and Jones went down – and succeeded. He averages 5.1 ypc, has terrific hands for catching balls out of the backfield, is a very tough and aggressive runner (similar to Barber in this regard), has powerful legs, can block effectively on passing plays and he can make people miss. Yes the line in front of him in Dallas is competent/massive and yes Barber averages 5.1 ypc and Jones averages a gaudy 10.1 ypc. But I’m telling you – this guy is a great player who happens to have a great attitude (read here – I love his quote).

The Packers could use a good option besides Ryan Grant – especially if Grant continues to be sort of…non. Wynn isn’t cutting it (I particularly question his blocking on 3rd downs), Brandon Jackson is always hurt, and the team mistakenly cut Tyrell Sutton. So, going after a guy like this who has proven he can play as both a reserve and a starter would make sense. We could use him on 3rd downs or even bring him in for some different RB looks on 2nd downs. Ryan Grant is still the guy here but I have to admit, I’ve cooled on Grant this year and I don’t think getting a legit replacement for him in case he gets hurt or continues to seem average would be a bad idea. Yes, we have other areas of need to look at first (O-line especially) and we should be actively looking at options there. But the Packers also need better depth at RB and the time to go after this guy is now before his price goes up.

Thoughts on week 5

October 12, 2009
  • The Steelers let Detroit hang around. For a team that has been so successful in recent years, it’s very curious to me that Pitt seems to have so much trouble closing opponents out. They jump out to big leads fairly often, but don’t close games out well. The Packers of 1996 were especially good at that – blowing out the teams that they should have blown out. A few weeks ago, when Pitt was playing Cincy I believe, I took Cincy because I reasoned that Pitt can’t continue to win in the ugly way they win. I wonder if this will be a year the ugliness of their games will catch up with them – especially with Cincy and Balt crowding the top of the division.
  • Daunte Culpepper looked pretty bad yesterday. I know he led Detroit on some drives and had a couple nice completions, but those sacks at the end of the game were ridiculous. Only one of them was one of those where he didn’t have much of a chance to do anything. The other two it seemed like he saw the defenders coming, panicked, and then ran backwards in what looked like an effort to simply lose yardage. Any agility the guy used to have is gone.
  • Peyton Manning is passing as well as I’ve seen a QB pass for a long time. Brother Steve and I have ripped on Manning in the past (mostly for whining and generally not being the kind of guy you want to root for), but in fairness to him, he is really an incredible QB. Chris Collinsworth was very accurate himself when pointing out just how accurately Manning was passing the ball. We’ve talked about Manning’s apparent inability to consistently throw a spiral, but I’m starting to realize that it may not have to be a thing of beauty to be effective – like Jim Furyk or Arnold Palmer golfing. Peyton Manning is very, very good.
  • Why would Houston hand the ball off to the slow-motion RB Chris Brown 2x (!) when the game was on the line with less than a minute to go at the goal-line? Just doesn’t make sense. I could see maybe calling a more imaginative-type play for him to try to catch the defense off guard, but not 2 obvious run plays (the last one was ridiculous as Brown moved toward the pile so slowly and predictably it was as if Gary Kubiak had $400,000 on his team not covering the spread). If I were the Texans’ coach, I would have gone to ONLY one of three players: Owen Daniels (who was having a very productive game), Andre Johnson (arguably the best WR in the NFL) or Steve Slaton, a guy Gary Kubiak seems to have forgotten about this year – and, a guy who proved effective last year getting into the end zone.
  • Cincy is for real. These guys are really good. Balt is a quality team and Cincy didn’t blink and simply made the plays they had to make to win.
  • Denver coach Josh McDaniels went nuts after the game jumping up and down. Wow, what a turnaround it’s been for him to go from feeling the hate from Bronco fans who didn’t like how he handled things over the off-season to being 5-0 after besting his mentor.
  • Buffalo is very bad. Not sure why I ever thought Trent Edwards would be decent. Ugly.
  • Even though Seneca Wallace is often regarded around the NFL as a quality back-up, the guy’s winning percentage cannot be good. He may have talent and may in fact do some things well, but he rarely leads the team to victories. He is the opposite of someone like Shaun Hill – Hill doesn’t do much of anything yet wins pretty consistently.
  • Even though the Rams/Vikings game wasn’t even close, it did make me aware of something interesting: I’m not sure the Vikings defense is that good. Hear me out. Teams have been able to move the ball quite easily against the Vikings the first few weeks of this season. Steven Jackson didn’t have a huge game, but somehow, the Rams were able to at least get the ball into the Vike’s red zone on a good number of occasions (before turning the ball over each time in pathetic fashion). Keep an eye on that MN defense – moving the ball on them this year may prove easier than last year which could ultimately swing back to put pressure on one Brett Favre. (Some statistical support for those who need it: the MN defense is ranked #14 in yards allowed this year – not great for what had recently been a suffocating defense.
  • Atlanta is really, really well coached. I think Mike Smith may be a real star in this league for a while. When that team executes a game plan like they clearly did yesterday against a quality opponent on the road, it points to the coach and his staff’s ability to prepare the guys.
  • Speaking of coaches, it’s time for Jax to move on. Whenever a team plays as inconsistently as this team does under Jack Del Rio, I think it’s a sign that a coach is losing (or has lost) some of his players. The inconsistency suggests that the team does have the talent to compete, but that there is tension within…or something. I just get the sense that “Of the River” is the kind of coach who is not respected by the whole locker room.

A punter’s temptation?

October 1, 2009

Do you ever watch a football game and wonder if the punter may be fighting off internal temptations to take matters into his own hands, get the snap and just take off running for the first down? I am pretty sure that it was this constant thought (which still occurs to me almost every time a punter steps on the field) that steered me away from getting involved in kicking or punting for my high school or college teams (despite my soccer background and my general interest in kicking). There is no way I would have been able to resist the temptation to take off. No way. In fact, I would argue that a good number of us may experience this sort of secret urge when we watch punts, and this may help explain our unbridled joy when a successful fake is pulled off. I read an account of Buffalo’s punter Brian Moorman apparently doing this last week and as I was reading I realized that I was way too into just reading about it – if I’d seen it live I might have fainted.

The only analogy I can think of, and this may be a very bad one, is when I’m sitting in church, and it’s mostly silent, and I feel that strong temptation to yell something out – anything. I think if someone actually did that someday, I would feel the same kind of exhilaration that I feel when  watching a successful fake punt.

2009 Predictions – AFC East

September 8, 2009

Peter King: Pack to NFC Championship Game

September 2, 2009

Interesting – read here for King’s 2009 predictions. He has the Packers losing to the Bears in the NFC Championship Game. That would be great to get that far for sure, but horrible to lose to the Bears.

He is the second expert guy the other being Peter Schrager from Foxsports.com – thanks Manolito for pointing his article out), who has picked the Bears to lose in the Super Bowl. Disagree with that.