Football! Week 11 the Bill Parcells is missing edition

Week 11’s update of the limited vocabulary of the hosts of Sunday NFL Countdown.

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Tebow + Mechanics + Below Average Wonderlic Score = Winning

James Walker thinks, Jets should be wary of Tebow, Broncos.

I, for one, am excited to find out why.

The New York Jets have Pro Bowlers on both sides of the football. This week, they play a Denver Broncos team with a losing record and a quarterback who completed just two passes last week.

There’s no reason to worry, right?
Pro bowls are voted on by fans who oftentimes get these kind of things wrong, that is why MLB’s All-Star game counting for something is idiotic (Ken Harvey, yes, that Ken Harvey, was once an all-star), so I’d put that as like a 2 on my 1-10 how confident am I in a team’s chances to win scale. The second part does make me more optimistic.

Not so fast.
*Franklin slams on the breaks*

Thursday’s meeting with the underdog Broncos (4-5) is a classic trap game for the Jets (5-4). Nothing has been easy all season for New York, which lost an emotional game just a few days ago to the New England Patriots.
You are alluding to a real reason that the Jets might lose, James! You are so close! And yet, you, Admiral Ackbar, choose to go with “a classic trap game.” I am just guesstimating here, but I’d say of all the “classic trap games” in history, the better team wins more often than not. Is that like a journalism “go to” when describing FOOTBALL! games?

The Broncos and Jets both played last Sunday, but the Jets played on Sunday Night, so they have had a little less recuperation, plus it is an away game for the Jets, that is the reason I think you were trying to get to, but your journalistic principles got in the way.

As the Jets try to move on from that loss, here are five reasons they should be wary of the upstart Broncos:
1. Their quarterback is Mark Sanchez, the most overrated quarterback in the league
2. It is an away game
3. They really aren’t going to lose.
Let’s see how many we match up on.

Reason No. 1: Tim Tebow is a winner
Jesus, here we go.

There are plenty of reasons to criticize Tebow. His throwing motion is as bad as there is in the NFL. His accuracy is spotty, and his footwork and pocket presence leave a lot to be desired.
Sounds like a pretty crappy quarterback if you ask me.

But no one can deny that Tebow is a winner. Since putting Tebow into the starting lineup, the Broncos are 3-1 and are within just one game of first place in the AFC West. Despite the many holes in his game, Tebow is a natural leader who finds ways to win.
Wins are a terrible measure of anything. Calvin Johnson was on the winless Lions, must be a bad WR. Tim Tebow wins 3 games and he is good enough to be an NFL quarterback.

Can someone please just come off the god damn Tim Tebow is winner shtick. (My yiddish is not very good, so I probably didn’t use that correctly, but you know what I meant). Everyone quarterback in the NFL was a good one in college and probably had their fair share of winning seasons. Ryan Leaf went 10-2 in his last season, Joey Harrington went 30-5 in his college career, et-freaking-cetera.

Has it occurred to anyone that the Bronco’s have won despite Tim Tebow? Let’s take a look at the team’s Tebow has beaten this year.

Winless Dolphins
Raiders starting a quarterback who just came out of semi-retirement
Chiefs who lost to the winless dolphins and also still have a point differential of -77

The Broncos have altered their offense to fit Tebow’s strengths as an athletic, running quarterback. Denver is using a read-option offense similar to what Tebow thrived in at Florida. Last week the Broncos ran the ball 55 times and had just eight pass attempts in a win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Overall, Tebow’s numbers are pretty good. He’s thrown for 605 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception. Tebow also has rushed for 320 yards and averages 6.7 yards per carry. These stats shouldn’t be overlooked.
Awesome, some counting stats and one rate stat. Now let’s look at some others. Net yards per pass attempt, <5. 11% sack rate. Ranked 37th in DVOA among quarterbacks (hint: there aren’t that many teams). 45.2% completion! Ho-ly crap he is terrible.

“I think every week we’re trying to come up with something different and it’s not necessarily the same thing,” Tebow said in a conference call this week. “We’re trying to just keep defenses off balance and however we can do that, we’re going to try to do that. I think that’s the name of the game, and then make good decisions, and I think that’s kind of our plan.”

The Jets will try to be the first defense to shut down Denver’s “T-bone” offense. Otherwise, Tebow could improve to 4-1 this season at New York’s expense.
There is a reason that the NFL isn’t based on running option plays every time, in the long run, it doesn’t work.

Reason No. 2: Patriots hangover, short week

The Jets put a lot of stock into last week’s game against New England. New York’s players were describing it as the AFC East championship. The Jets had a chance to take control of the division but were trounced by the Patriots, 37-16, which was a big emotional blow to the Jets.

Can New York recover in four days?
I don’t know, do you think the Broncos will be able to recover from their emotional win over the Chiefs in almost the same time? An equally valid question. And by valid, I mean, not valid at all.

The Jets have been inconsistent after playing the Patriots in the past. Including playoffs, New York is just 10-12 in games since 2001 after facing New England. There is an emotional and physical toll New York pays every time it plays its biggest rival.
I’m going to guess James didn’t bother to check that stat for other teams. I certainly didn’t, and I’m not going to, I just wanted to make sure that everyone knows this is dumb.

“They definitely did it on purpose to mess with the Jets,” Ryan said jokingly. “No, that’s not what happened. It’s just the way it is. These are games that if you win, you feel great that they’re on your schedule. If you lose, then it was terrible.”

In addition, the Jets have a big AFC East rematch next week against the Buffalo Bills (5-4). Both are battling for the wild card and have similar records.
Why does next week’s opponent matter? How many times to teams reiterate that they are focused on the current opponent? A million?

Tiebreakers will be on the line and it could be a playoff elimination game for one of these teams. But the Jets need to win Thursday to set up that scenario.
Another team that has to win to set up that scenario, Buffalo.

Reason No. 3: Jets are a bad road team

The Jets are an impressive 4-1 at home. But they have not been the same team this season on the road, where New York is 1-3. 

Rex Ryan usually has his teams ready to play away from MetLife Stadium. But surprisingly, that hasn’t been the case this season. The Jets beat the Bills on the road this year and suffered road losses to the Patriots, Baltimore Ravens and Oakland Raiders. New York has been outscored 109-89 in those four games.
Those three losses were to pretty good teams… Raiders were not starting a quarterback out of semi-retirement

This season, it’s hard to predict which Jets team will show up on the road. Will we see the physical and efficient Jets team from two weeks ago in Buffalo? Or will we see the sloppy, turnover-prone road team during New York’s three-game losing streak?
When the quarterback is Mark Sanchez, the answer, more often than not, is going to be the latter.

Reason No. 4: Mark Sanchez is struggling  (And also sucks)

Sanchez is on pace to set career highs for yards, touchdowns and completion percentage. But he hasn’t made the kind of strides the Jets expected in Sanchez’s third season.

Like New York’s offense, Sanchez has been inconsistent. Denver’s defense is in the middle of the pack at No. 18. But last week Sanchez struggled against New England, which is the league’s worst defense. He had two costly interceptions, including a pick-six in the fourth quarter to seal the game for the Patriots.

Sanchez, who is facing a lot of heat in New York, was asked to rate himself this week.

“At this point we’re 5-4. So, that’s how I grade myself,” Sanchez said. “I think, if anything, everybody in this locker room, we’re all just a little frustrated, and a little upset at this last loss, because we thought we could’ve put ourselves in a good position, but I grade myself at 5-4 and we’ll see how this season turns out.”
56.7, 1.6, 6.1. That is how a realistic person grades Mark. His completion percentage, touchdown to interception ratio, and net yards per attempt. An even more realistic person would use career numbers, but that is just harsh.

If Sanchez can struggle against New England’s defense at home, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility he could struggle against Denver on the road with little preparation time. Sanchez needs to be at his best Thursday night. 

Reason No. 5: Jets’ defense doesn’t always travel

This season, the Jets’ defense already has allowed 30 points or more in four games, doubling their total from last year.
2010 Defensive DVOA – 5th
2011 Defensive DVOA – 2nd

New York’s defense has shown flashes. But overall, it’s not the same dominant group that it was last year. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady dropped 37 points on the Jets last week.
Tom Brady threw three touchdowns, add the extra points and that is 21. Sark Manchez threw a pick six and there were some field goals.

The Jets’ defense also doesn’t travel well. The Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens and Patriots all scored at least 30 points against the visiting Jets in three consecutive weeks from Sept. 25 to Oct. 9.
And the Bills scored 11, what is the point?

Despite their inconsistencies, the Jets are eighth in total defense. Denver is No. 22 in total offense.

“Just matching them up on paper, I think the Jets match up great against Denver’s offense,” said Matt Williamson from Scouts Inc. “The Jets can play so much man that I think they can put a lot of defenders around the line of scrimmage. I could see Ryan doing some very unique things.”

New York is expected to win this game. But if the Jets aren’t focused, Tebow and the Broncos could put a surprising dent in New York’s postseason hopes.
So let me get this straight. If the Jet’s win, you can say that you only said the Jets might lose, but you thought all along that they would pull it out. But if they do actually lose, you can say you called it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is called taking a stand.

Could this exact article not be written about every matchup?

I’ll take a stand. Jets win, 42-35, every touchdown is scored on a pick six. But the Jets still give up 30 points, so James lives to write another day.

Breaking News, Terry Francona has computer on desk!

Dan Shaughnessy, overall nincompoop, is somehow still writing. How do I know this? Because I troll every newspaper website in the United States looking for terrible sports writing, it’s just 99% of the time, I’m on either the Boston Globe or Boston Herald websites.

The piece (of crap) is entitled, Red Sox managerial search raises questions

I’m going to take a shot in the dark here and say that the question is, who is going to be the next manager? Nah, way to simple for Dan.

Yesterday it was Gene Lamont, a 64-year-old man who has been in professional baseball for 47 years. On Friday it was Torey Lovullo, a veteran of nine seasons managing in the minors. Last Wednesday, it was Sandy Alomar Jr., a nice former player with no managerial experience.

Before that, it was 60-year-old bench coach Pete Mackanin with his nifty handkerchief, great hair, and iPad. We’ve also seen Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum, the man who made us all forget Wendell “Send ’Em In’’ Kim.

See, here is the stuff that I want to be reading. I want to know about Pet Mackanin’s nifty handkerchief, great hair, and iPad. This is hard hitting sports journalism at its best. Another interesting note that Dan failed to mention, Pete Mackanin is a graduate from Brother Rice High School. Man, what was the interview process like to be a sports writer in Boston?

No-Names On Parade. This is the theme of the Red Sox managerial search in November 2011.

Why are the Sox going low-profile in the search for their next skipper?

And why did Texas pitching coach Mike Maddux say no to an interview, citing family reasons (Mad dux’s family lives in Dallas-Fort Worth), then go to Chicago to interview with the Cubs?

Dan smells a conspiracy. Beware. Also, news flash, the Cubs new general manager is Theo Epstein, whose philosophy is no doubt still alive in Boston.

Maybe the Globe’s Nick Cafardo gave us the answer last Sunday when he wrote about the Red Sox’ insistence on an “organizational approach’’ for their next manager.

Nick explained that the Sox reject the old-school notion of “one voice,’’ and prefer managers “who take a lot of input from the front office.’’

We know the Sox emphasized the “organizational approach’’ in the eight years that Terry Francona managed the team. Francona had a computer on his desk, and Theo Epstein’s minions were in and out of his office all the time.

Stop the freaking presses. Francona had a computer at his desk! Are you serious? Jon Lester drinks beer and people crap all over him, but Francona could have been playing flash games for all we know. Jesus. HE HAD A COMPUTER! ON HIS DESK!

But only in the days after Francona was fired did we get a grasp of the extent of the interference from above. If you saw Philip Seymour Hoffman’s depiction of an emasculated Art Howe in “Moneyball,’’ you know what I’m talking about.

I saw it, twice, and Art Howe did NOT have a computer on his desk in that movie.

This is why you won’t hear about them trying to bring Tony La Russa out of retirement. This is why Bobby Valentine and Joe Torre are out of the question. There will never be another Dick Williams type in the Sox dugout. The Sox want a “player’s manager.’’ Some would also say they want a guy who’ll take lineups from Bill James, Tom Trippett, and Carmine the computer.

Cherington disputes the latter notion.

Would that be so bad? When I coach a little league team, hell if I don’t use an online lineup analyzer to set my lineups. Dumb managers set terrible lineups all the time, which are statistically proven to be improved by utilizing some statistics to create a better lineup, I repeat, why is it such a bad idea?

“I’ve never seen that happen here,’’ said the new GM. “We’ve had plenty of conversations about lineups and at times made suggestions, but Tito always made out the lineup, and I don’t remember one exception to that. I don’t ever remember a time when we mandated a lineup to Tito.’’

Good. That’ll help knock down the image that the Yankees are run by Hal Steinbrenner while the Red Sox are run by Hal from “2001: A Space Odyssey.’’

If you argue for one second that Watson wouldn’t kick Hal’s ass in managing a team, then I will take a bat to your typewrite.

“How many managers who have been around for a while would like that?’’ asks Joe Morgan, who managed the Sox to division titles in 1988 and 1990.

Answer: Zero.

I was really hoping that Red Machine Joe Morgan said this, because it is something that he would say, but alas, this Joe Morgan was before my time, and even worse, white. Also, I don’t know why a manager wouldn’t like something that makes their job easier… but I guess that is why white Joe Morgan is no longer coaching.

Maybe that’s why you’ve never heard of most of the Sox candidates. In addition to the men listed above, the Sox are also reportedly considering Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, Dodgers coach Tim Wallach, and Marlins coach Joey Cora.

I am offended that you think I have never hear of Joey Cora, or is that Alex, ah who cares.

What do all of these candidates have in common?

Ipads and nice hair?

All are nice guys, “good baseball men,’’ relatively anonymous, and certainly in no position to make demands as they interview for the job. They are all baseball lifers who’d be forever beholden for this opportunity. They’d go along with the plan. They’d be good organization men. They’d study their spreadsheets from Lawrence, Kan., and never complain.

Am I missing something? What does Lawrence, Kan have to do with anything? Did anyone bother to tell Dan that you don’t abbreviate Kansas as Kan?

“The numbers won’t tell you what a guy is made of,’’ said Morgan. “That’s probably the biggest thing. Just because a player got a hit in one situation doesn’t mean he will do the same thing if things are more stressful. That’s something a manager would know better.’’

Here we go. You can’t just use logic and reason! What if Einstein relied on numbers? This world would be a different place. And you are exactly correct, white Joe, just because a player got a hit in one situation does not mean he will do the same thing if things are more stressful. However, the reason behind this is a combination of luck, skill, and small sample size. Good thing we live in a world where managers have perfect memories and can calculate large numbers in their head for each of their players, so they can decide  how to use them. Oh what, I’m talking about computers.

Amen. If the collapse and fallout from 2011 proved anything, it’s that the Sox need a strong voice and presence in the manager’s office. They need someone who will occasionally scare the hell out of the Popeyes-and-beer brigade. They need strength, presence, pedigree. They need somebody with chops.

They need fewer computers on desks!

They need Jim Leyland, Mike Scioscia, Ozzie Guillen, and Joe Maddon. They need Earl Weaver, Billy Martin, and Casey Stengel.

All of these guys are either dead or working for another organization. You are not answering any questions, but you never really asked any, which was the title of this article…

They need the Marlboro Man, not Casper Milquetoast.

WTF? You lost me.

“I’m not sure I accept the dichotomy,’’ said Sox CEO Larry Lucchino (“the man who runs the Red Sox,’’ according to John Henry). “I think we are wide open in our approach. There are various types of managerial roles and philosophies. I will wait until the end of the process to declare which one we like more.’’

Something tells me that John McGraw is not walking through that door. It’ll probably be more like Sandy, Torey, or Dale – flanked by the minions from baseball ops.

John McGraw died in 1934, there is a 100% chance he isn’t walking through any doors right now. Also, if I remember correctly from my watching of Ken Burn’s Baseball, John McGraw walked around with a piece of lynching rope in his pocket. Not the whole thing, just a piece, but still.

The Maddux rejection really makes you wonder. Managing the Red Sox should be an attractive opportunity. There are tons of payroll and star power. You have a full house every night. Your work truly matters to millions of people.

So why the parade of no-names? And why did Maddux reject the Sox without even bothering to talk?

Loose Change Pt. 2, the Mike Maddux Conspiracy, coming to Youtube soon.

Maybe there’s too much interference in Boston. Maybe being an “organizational’’ manager is not such a good gig after all.



Inspired by Bill Belichick, check out the new Hemmerling for Mitchell Hall of Fame.

Football! Week 10 Bad Football Analysis, Unlike Desean Jackson, Never Sleeps Edition

Week 10’s update on the very limited vocabulary of the hosts of Sunday NFL Countdown.

Other Highlights:

Cris Carter said “we have not seen a team do well after losing the super bowl.”
He is probably referring to the idiotic “Superbowl Curse.” There are 7 teams that are mentioned in connection with the curse. There are 6 teams that are considered exceptions.

Bill Parcells – To get where this team wants to go, which I assume is the Super Bowl…
Quite the stretch there, Bill.

Cris Carter is awarding Cam Newton the Rookie of the Year award, “not for the stats, but for the off the field stuff.”
Meanwhile, Adam Schefter uses quantifiable facts, known as stats, to let Cris know that Andy Dalton is in fact a better candidate.

Graphic: McCoy 5.5 YPC/Tate 5.7 YPC/Murray 6.7 YPC
Berman mentions that Murray’s numbers are based on 3 games, also known as a very small sample size, but Tom Jackson does not care.
“Good numbers, Boom!”

Pick ‘Em Segment:
Ditka – Bengals (over Steelers), their time has come.

Carter – It’s the Cowboy’s (over Bills) time.

Solid analysis all around!

Time for some fact checking, Jerry!

Jerry Crasnick thought it would be a good idea to ask MLB GM’s for their opinions on this year’s crop of free agents. Jerry did not, however, think it was a great idea to do some good ol’ fashion fact checkin’.

2. Which free-agent closer, Joe Nathan or Frankie Rodriguez, has a better chance of regaining his former glory?

This is already a terrible question… Frankie Rodriguez hasn’t pitched in the Major Leagues since 2001, so the answer is obviously Joe Nathan. Francisco Rodriguez, the individual pictured in the article is, in fact, a free agent.

Good start.

Responses: Nathan 13, Rodriguez 12. The other three voters were undecided.

Dear GM’s, make a decision. Seriously, this is a harmless poll, you make harder decisions every single day, and yet you remain undecided on this? And, if any of you were astute enough to notice the Frankie Rodriguez thing, then you could have answered this easily. Kudos to me!

Rodriguez, 29, is now three years removed from breaking Bobby Thigpen’s record with 62 saves. His fastball isn’t what it used to be, either, but he’s remained effective while relying more on his secondary stuff. K-Rod throws his changeup and breaking ball about 40 percent of the time now.

Jerry, you are correct! K-Rod does throw his off speed pitches 40% of the time. But Jerry, I can’t let you get away that easily. K-Rod throws his fastball about 60% of the time, according to the general principles of being capable of doing math at a 1st grade level. Would anyone like to take a wild guess as to what K-Rod’s career fastball frequency is? C’mon, guess!

That’s right, it is 56.2%. 60 > 56.2 > Tebow, which would mean that K-Rod is actually relying on his fastball more, mostly due to the fact that he no longer throws his slide.

Two NL executives used the phrase “high-wire act” to describe Rodriguez. But he still averaged 9.92 strikeouts per nine innings this season, and his swing-and-miss rate was identical to his 2008 peak in Anaheim. He’s done an admirable job reinventing himself as a deception and location guy.

2008 SwStr% for K-Rod: 12.0%
Career SwStr% for K-Rod: 12.9%
Yes, his 2011 rate was 12.0%, equal to 2008, which also happened to not be his peak.

Also, being able to break the record for saves while posting your lowest SwStr rate should say something about saves.

Just another quick one…

Mike Pereira, who looks eerily similar to Joe Maddon in my humble opinion, has some expert analysis that we should all read. Most of that analysis being current reality television events.

We’re halfway through the NFL season and I’m not sure which is more surprising, the fact that San Francisco is 7-1 or that the 49ers’ new coach, Jim Harbaugh, got more face time Sunday on FOX than Kim Kardashian gets in her reality show.

Wow, Mike, a real L O fucking L there.

I’m not saying Harbaugh hasn’t done a great job, because he has. But he seems to protest more than those demonstrating in Occupy Wall Street.

Am I right? Seriously, this sounds like an opening of a really shitty comedy club. How many pop culture references can you fit in one piece?

The cameras found him on seemingly every penalty — and San Francisco was penalized nine times. I really can’t blame the director, because quite frankly, Harbaugh was good drama. Except, of course, for those who were officiating the game.

Of course. For those of you who took the under on 2.5, congratulations.

There were two interesting plays in this game that I wanted to point out, one happening near the end of each half:

–First half: San Francisco had the ball, fourth-and-1 at the Washington 11-yard line with 1:55 left in the second quarter. San Francisco led 10-0. The 49ers were called for a false start penalty, making it fourth-and-6 from the 16-yard line. The 49ers had to settle for a field goal.

MY TAKE: This was a false start. It was fourth-and-1 and we have seen teams make sudden shifts, just trying to draw the defense offside. We call this a “no play shift.” And you penalize the shifting team.

A shift of two or more players is legal as long as it is smooth and continuous. That was not the case here. That shift was solely done to draw a foul and the officials were alert to this action. That has been on a training tape to the officials before this game, and in my opinion, the crew got this right.

Now Mike, I watched the game, and it seemed rather fluid to me. However, that is not what irks me. What irks me is that you say, “a shift of two or more players is legal as long as it is smooth and continuous. That was not the case here.” Great, now tell me what it was, who wasn’t fluid? Who was at fault here? But you just say that it was solely done to draw a foul, which is pretty speculative on your part, maybe they really just wanted to shift, do you see the kind of wacky shit Harbaugh is using?

blah blah

After watching this game, here’s some advice for young Mr. Harbaugh: We’re only halfway through the season — take some deep breaths and enjoy the ride.

Harbaugh is like 47, Pereira can’t be that old… old enough to be calling him “young Mr. Harbaugh.” Stick to the Kardashians, Mike.

Anyway, that is all for now, I really just don’t like Gruden or Pereira, so I had to get this out there.