2017 NFL: Week 4

Thursday

Bears-Packers

Sunday

Saints-Dolphins
Panthers-Patriots
Jaguars-Jets
Titans-Texans
Steelers-Ravens
Bengals-Browns
Lions-Vikings
Rams-Cowboys
Bills-Falcons
Eagles-Chargers
49ers-Cardinals
Giants-Buccaneers
Raiders-Broncos
Colts-Seahawks

Monday

Redskins-Chiefs

57 Responses to “2017 NFL: Week 4”


  1. Reid

    Bears-Packers

    Turnovers killed the Bears early. Glennon had a few nice moments, but man, the one thing he cannot do with this offense is turn the ball over. From what I’ve seen so far his ball security isn’t that good. He would be a solid QB if it were, certainly a good placeholder for Trubisky.

  2. Mitchell

    Ooh, look at all the nice intra-division games. Raiders-Broncos is the game of the week, but Vikings-Lions and Titans-Texans are interesting, and for some reason I’m curious to see what happens in Niners-Cardinals. The whole AFC North is playing itself. Too bad the games will probably be sucky.

  3. Don

    Mitchell,

    “… games will probably be sucky” because it’s lopsided or bad play? I thought the teams look a little better this weekend (ie: not as sloppy). I’m not sure why I feel that, exactly. But maybe Dungy was right and it takes a few weeks.

  4. Mitchell

    Mostly I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but Browns-Bengals sounds like it could be a disaster, and Steelers-Ravens…I don’t know, but *yawn*. That used to be a great game!

  5. Reid

    Mostly I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but Browns-Bengals sounds like it could be a disaster, and Steelers-Ravens…I don’t know, but *yawn*. That used to be a great game!

    I have a similar reaction to those games, but not the ones you initially mentioned. I wouldn’t expect the Raiders-Broncos to be sucky or boring (although it could be either or both). My sense is that any in-division game in the AFC West will be interesting. I have more positive expectations about the Lions-Vikings, although a little less about the Titans-Texans. (I’m liking more of what I see from Watson, though, so that’s an area of interest.)

  6. Don

    Reid,

    My guess is you don’t like any Raider game since you are frustrated by them. And you seem to like watching the Lions.

    I love watching the Titans (only because of Mariota, but they frustrate me at times), but the Texans with Watson and that defense is almost unwatchable. That Thursday night game against the Bengals was unbearable. The Texans were much more fun against New England (the parts I saw), but only because I was cheering for the Texans to win, and they had a chance. I’m dumbfounded how they could put up so many points in that game. I’m guessing the Texans, barring turnovers, will get less than 14 against an average Titan’s D.

  7. Don

    Ooops forgot, but I’m not sold on the Chiefs like the rest of the pundits (although maybe a little more than Reid who didn’t even have them as a contender). And as I stated I sort of like Washington, even though they went from one of the more dynamic receiving corp to one of the worst without Garcon and Jackson. That game could be telling, but I don’t think the Redskins will be able to run consistently against the Chiefs to win.

  8. Mitchell

    I specifically said the AFC North games looked sucky to me. The other intra-division games look pretty good. I love me almost any game in the Black-and-Blue division, and yeah, the AFC West games always have my interest.

  9. Reid

    Don,

    My guess is you don’t like any Raider game since you are frustrated by them. And you seem to like watching the Lions.

    The Raiders defense is playing much better than I expected, so that is making the games much more watchable, and less frustrating. But I do get frustrated, and you know I don’t really like their offense. Still, I’m watching all their games.

    Yes, I like watching the Lions…Well, I don’t know if I really like watching them, so much as I’m interested and curious in watching how good they really are.

    I love watching the Titans (only because of Mariota, but they frustrate me at times),…

    I feel the same. What frustrates you, though? For me, their defense is frustrating. They don’t tackle well, and their play at the LOS doesn’t really make up for it. LeBeau’s forte is blitzing, but they’re blitzing isn’t very good or effective in my view.

    The offense just seems to sputter at times, although that’s not uncommon for a run-based offense. Mariota can be frustrating, but I’m not sure why. (I have a feeling that I’d be less frustrated if he were in Adam Gase’s system.)

    but the Texans with Watson and that defense is almost unwatchable.

    I know what you mean. The thing is, the Texans seem to have almost nothing on offense. Hopkins is good, but he’s like the only real target. Watson doesn’t have much to work with. There are some promising signs with him.

    Ooops forgot, but I’m not sold on the Chiefs like the rest of the pundits (although maybe a little more than Reid who didn’t even have them as a contender).

    This is accurate. What will change my views is if the Chiefs running game can get really good and/or their defense is dominant. (Their ST seems really good, too.) If these things happen, and they’re not far away, I’ll give them a chance.

    But even if the Chiefs meet this criteria, getting to and winning the Super Bowl still comes down to the QB making a handful of plays and protecting the football. There usually is a situation where the QB has to pass and pass a lot. I’ll be surprised if Alex Smith can do this.

    Mitchell,

    I specifically said the AFC North games looked sucky to me.

    Oops, I didn’t read that carefully. My bad.

    …the AFC West games always have my interest.

    That’s not always the case for me. I think the AFC West is probably the best division in football.

  10. Reid

    By the way, the Chiefs are kinda interesting to watch. Reid is very creative on offense. They can be exciting on ST, too.

  11. Mitchell

    Yeah, but why does he seem to be so terrible with clock management at the ends of halves and games?

  12. Reid

    No idea. But I believe the Chiefs owe a lot of their success, at least offensively, to him. The value Reid adds is sort of like the value Belichick adds to his team.

  13. Reid

    I’m going to be pissed if the Cardinal OL plays better than the Seahawks’.

  14. Reid

    I like some of the first couple of points in this article, but the Raiders aren’t going to do this. I would love to be wrong about this, though.

  15. Mitchell

    Something someone brought up on Dan Le Batard this past week had me wondering. If controlling the ball and chewing up the clock are so important, do you guys advocate for teams to let the play clock run down to 4 or 5 seconds before snapping the ball on every play if the clock is running?

  16. Reid

    I’m not sure, but one drawback is that if you do this all the time, this will give an advantage to defenses.

  17. Mitchell

    Why? If you don’t always snap it with the same amount of time on the clock, what’s the advantage?

  18. Mitchell

    The other day, Dan Le Batard suggested that the Vikings have the best one-two set of wide receivers in the NFL. He asked Chris Mortenson (who’s back at work after almost two years of treatment for stage 4 throat cancer, thank God) if he agrees, and Mortensen didn’t say who had the best, but he did say Denver (with Thomas and Sanders) had a better pair.

    It seems we have this conversation every season, which I actually enjoy. Who’s your pick for this season so far? Before the season began, I might have said the Giants. Now I think maybe Le Batard is right.

  19. Don

    Diggs is approaching elite status, and I think some pundits were saying it even before this year. He just hasn’t stayed healthy. Thielen seems really good and is an amazing deep threat. I think Diggs and Thielen complement each other well. Not sure if you are supposed to add in TEs, but Rudolph healthy is good if not very good.

    I still think I would take Atlanta’s crew of Jones, Sanu, and Gabriel (if you get to add the third receiver). I would also still lean towards the Giants of Marshall, Beckham, and Shepherd despite their struggles. I think the underrated crew I really like, although the team has struggled the last couple weeks, is Miami with Parker, Landry and Stills. Oh and of course Ant Brown, Bryant, Juju, and Rogers has to be number one if not in the top three.

  20. Don

    Reid,

    Do you still have the Patriots in another tier above the other teams after this week? If I had to pick just two teams that I think look really like if the playoffs were today, I really like the Broncos and Vikings (once Bradford comes back). I’m not sure why but they seem to both seem to have the best balance of offense and defense. I’ll put the Chiefs in there too, until they show me something else.

  21. Don

    Rams, Cowboys:
    I think the Rams offense, which was leading the league prior to yesterday, is for real. They do an amazing job mixing it up and trying to get the ball to their playmakers in Gurley and Austin. I, also think the Cowboys o-line may have a problem. It was sort of hard to say after the first three weeks, facing the Giants, Broncos, and Cardinals, but they had their problems again this week. It’s not a good trend. Really it was the two turnovers by the Cowboys (and none by the Rams) that cost the Cowboys this game. Rico Gathers (converted baskeball player to TE) had a great preseason and he seems to be a legitimate receiving threat. I wonder if they bring him on to try to get this offense going.

    Broncos, Raiders:
    I watched a little and I already knew the score so I didn’t watch too much of it. I’m surprised at the way the Broncos can defend the run this year. How did that happen? The Raiders offense has their problems like the Cowboys. There is not guarantee either team will be any good this year.

    Seahawks, Colts:
    I thought the Seahawks did a better job this week on first down. They had a lot of short passes and mixed in a lot or rushes. This isn’t a great offense, but if they can do more of that, they will have a chance to be good. Brissett is a legitimate starter in this league. He’s not a star, but he can make enough plays. Seattle was riddled with injuries in this one.

  22. Reid

    Don,

    Do you still have the Patriots in another tier above the other teams after this week?

    I do, but this is based on the assumption that the defense will get a lot better towards the end of the season. I feel like the Patriot defense has often started slow and made huge improvements come playoff time. If they get a bye for and if they go to the Super Bowl, Belichick will have two weeks to prepare. Barring injury, I would be surprised if the defense doesn’t play much better than this. (I might forget to mention this, but the Patriot defense has looked bad facing more complex offenses–specifically offenses with a lot of misdirection and one involving a running a QB. I wonder if the Bills could add in those type of plays.)

    I like the Broncos, but I’m not sure what to expect from their offense. Sometimes they look solid, if not more than that, and then other times they seem to struggle. Their pass protection seems a bit shaky, which suggests that the running game is even more important. I’m uncertain about the Vikings for similar reasons.

    If you told me that the running game for both teams would be in consistently among the best, I would agree with you. They would fit the mold of a strong defenses and strong running game. I could say this about the Chiefs as well, but the difference is that I’m more certain that Smith won’t be able to carry the team in stretches and make the handful of crucial plays, while protecting the football. I’m not sure that Bradford and Siemian can do this, either, but at least it’s an open question. (I like Siemian–I’m rooting for him–but I feel like his lack of arm strength is going to get him in trouble–e.g., lead to a turnover in the big games.)

    So who would be there, instead of those teams? For me, I still putting the Cowboys up there. The thing is, I just don’t know what to expect from that defense. Actually, I have some questions about the offense, too, but come playoff time, as of now, I think they’ll be important.

    I’d also put the Falcons in my second tier. I might be missing other teams, but’s who I’ll go with now.

  23. Reid

    Colts-Seahawks

    General impressions. As a Seahawk fan, the first half was frustrating. The Colts are probably one of the worst teams, and they made the game close. I put the Wilson’s first pick on him, and the second one was on Graham. Sick about Chris Carson. He might be lost for the season.

    Brisett looks decent. I think he has some accuracy issues, though. The pick 6 was not good, and he had at least another in the game I saw.

    Rams-Cowboys

    I was going to choose the Rams as a surprise team this year, but mainly because I thought the defense would be really good, and the run game could get going. But I never thought Goff would play this well. Are the Rams offense as good as they seem or is the Cowboy defense not as good? I have no idea.

    Don mentioned problems with the Cowboy OL, but I don’t really see a huge problem. Maybe they’re not as dominant in the run game, but they still have one of the best rushing attacks. The problem in this game was turnovers and the Cowboy defense.

    Raiders-Broncos

    Raiders were without Crabtree and lost Carr at some point. Still, I’m not sure it would have made a huge difference. The Raiders defense looked decent.

    Titans-Texans

    I think Louis Riddick said that the Titans defense didn’t seem to know how to defend the plays like the read-option. I don’t know what it was, but they were horrid. I stopped watching the game once Mariota got hurt, but prior to that, the Texans seemed to move the ball easily up the field.

    Vikings-Lions

    This was a good game, although it was marred by Vikings turnovers. Still, the Vikings hung in there. I really like Case Keenum as a back up. He’s not great, but he can make plays with his feet and arm, and he had two really outstanding plays.

    Panthers-Patriots

    Two key penalties by the Patriot defense in the last drive allowed the Panthers to drive down to win the game. The Patriot defense wasn’t very good for the entire game.

    One thing that stood out for me with regard to the Patriot offense versus the Panther defense. When the Panthers rushed four, the Patriots OL consistently gave Brady a lot of time. I think this was really important.

    Bills-Falcons

    I was cheering for the Bills so I was happy they won. But Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu left the game due injuries (which sucks).

    The Bills’ run game really got going by the end of the game, particularly on one drive. The wheels looked like they were coming off on the Falcons defense. Tyrod Taylor played a solid game.

    Turnover were crucial in this one.

  24. Reid

    Don mentioned that the Seahawks had a bunch of injuries–Jeremy Lane for one. I’m not sure about his injuries but Cliff Avril hurt his kneck and Rees Odhiambo went out with a cardiac contusion. Chris Carson has a fracture below the knee and a high ankle sprain.
    Sick. But the thing is, the amount of injuries isn’t that uncommon. Maybe not as serious as injuries to the neck and heart, but the number of players sustaining injuries is quite high. I would say excessive to the point where it is diminishing the games. (Not to mention that it seems really unsafe for players.)

    Edit

  25. Mitchell

    Because I haven’t been able to watch games on Thursday and Monday, I haven’t quite had my fill of football, so when I woke up to use the bathroom at 5:00 Sunday, I figured I’d stay up and watch the second half of the Saints-Dolphins game. The Dolphins looked bad and Brees looked good. He was doing his usual Brees thing, spreading the ball around. I think we can all agree that if Ted Ginn is your best receiver, you can’t win much (although he seemed to prove me wrong on that two years ago when he went to the Super Bowl), but Brees has other good targets and it was fun to watch him find them.

    I chose Cowboys-Rams over Steelers-Ravens, and although I was disapointed at only two Sammy Watkins targets, I thought it was a good game. This is a good time to remind people that in Goff’s debut game last season, I said something like, “He looks like he could be good.” I guess that’s not really going out on a limb. I don’t know about you guys, but I thought Prescott and Elliott looked like they found last season’s groove, and if Prescott finds Bryant (as he did a few times) like he did not find Bryant last season, I don’t see why the Cowboys can’t win this division. Bryant made some really nice catches.

    I came away from the Raiders-Broncos game feeling pretty good. I agree with Reid: that Raiders defense looks decent. They were playing without their second receiver and their run game predictably didn’t do anything to Denver, but the Raiders were in it until the very end. E.J. Manuel’s passes had some zip I don’t remember seeing when he started for Buffalo, and until he messed up at the end, he had a real starting QB’s presence. I thought the same of Jacoby Brisette in the Seahawks-Colts game.

    That evening game was ugly, but it was nice to see Russell Wilson getting back to being Russell Wilson in the second half. He seems to find open receivers well on those busted plays and he had some nice runs of the sort I wasn’t sure we’d see from him much this season. Some nice runs by what’s-his-name, too. I don’t know why Doug Baldwin isn’t as productive as Julian Edelmann or Wes Welker. Is it because the Seahawks don’t really have a deep guy? It’s too bad. I feel like Baldwin is being wasted for the second year in a row.

    Also: Marquette King is going to the Pro Bowl this year.

  26. Don

    I thought the Cowboy defense was playing pretty well. They were bending but not breaking. It was a huge difference between this game and the Bronco game. The Rams settled for 6 field goals. They had 7 total but one was at the end of the half. The Rams could only muster two TDs and one was on a nice play and a possible defensive breakdown on Gurley long TD. The Cowboys was without Sean Lee, too. They will get better with Lee, Hitchens, and David Irving coming back.

    The Colts run defense is top five this year so far. They seem like a bad defense when I saw them in the preseason, but maybe they have gotten better. I thought it was sort of ridiculous to keep running Lacy, but maybe I’m bias because Carson is on my fantasy team. There was a huge difference between Lacy running and Carson running for sure.

    Weird because I didn’t think Brissett’s accuracy was that bad. In fact I would say accuracy-wise he is a small step above Dak (Just based on seeing this one game though.). Brissett is super cool in the pocket, too. In fact I would say too cool at times. Get rid of the ball dude. He definitely made a bad decision on the interception.

    Other than the Broncos who we already talked about, the one loss teams are Philly (Reid’s high on Wentz), Lions (another Reid team), Green Bay (Don is not so high on them – well not as high as pundits), Falcons, Carolina, Bucs, Redskins (but they play tonight), Bills and Steelers. Which teams are contenders and which are pretenders? I think the Falcons and if Newton is not healthy right now, the Panthers are the top of this heap for me. I think the Lions and Pack are slightly behind them. Your thoughts?

  27. Reid

    This is a good time to remind people that in Goff’s debut game last season, I said something like, “He looks like he could be good.” I guess that’s not really going out on a limb.

    In my view, I think this would be going out on a in my opinion, because he looked bad in my opinion. What made you think he could be good? To me, he looked like a dear in head lights. (Same with Paxton Lynch last year.)

    …he had a real starting QB’s presence.

    Maybe, but for me, at this point, that is far overshadowed by what I’ve seen from him. Emmanuel’s barely a good backup in my opinion.

    I don’t know why Doug Baldwin isn’t as productive as Julian Edelmann or Wes Welker. Is it because the Seahawks don’t really have a deep guy?

    I think it has more to do with the offense. I think he’d put up huge numbers if he played on the Patriots. He’s probably the best slot WR in my opinion.

    He’d probably put up better numbers, on the Seahawks, if the OL was decent.

    Also: Marquette King is going to the Pro Bowl this year.

    I don’t really care, but I wish he’d stop getting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Since we’re an irritating subject, I saw at least one more fairly easy catch that Amari Cooper dropped. He’s good, but he’s irritating.

  28. Don

    I thought King was a pro-bowler. I’m sort of surprised by the comment if you mean this would be a first.

    You guys think Baldwin is better than Golden Tate? I think I would take Tate in the slot. Ant Brown plays the slot as well right?

    I thought Goff was okay last year as well. I didn’t think he was as bad as other QBs I’ve seen. I don’t think he’s that great right now (at least not yet). He’s in a good offense (what?), with good to great play calling, and he’s capable. But there are at least 15 guys I would take over him right now. But he will get better as this really is his first year as a starter. You guys like Goff over Siemian?

  29. Mitchell

    Cooper dropped at least two easy catches. He leads the NFL in dropped passes.

    Manuel was 7 for 7 at one point, or something like that, and his passes weren’t six-yarders. He kept them in it. That’s good backup material if you ask me.

    And you don’t care if the Raiders have the best punter in the AFC? Field position, baby. I would think a ball-control guy like you would appreciate that. He’s a punter who makes a difference.

  30. Mitchell

    He was the second team All-Pro punter, but he wasn’t selected for the Pro Bowl.

  31. Mitchell

    I would take Baldwin over Tate, ‘though maybe not over healthy Edelman. Antonio Brown is a slot guy, but why don’t we think of him that way?

    I don’t think “he looks like he could be pretty good” is going out on a limb because the unspoken other half of that is “he looks like he could be bad.”

  32. Reid

    Don,

    he Rams settled for 6 field goals. They had 7 total but one was at the end of the half. The Rams could only muster two TDs…

    Hmm, good points. I forgot about this. Now, I’m puzzled as to why they lost. The Cowboys managed to have leads at certain points, too. Did the offense not hold the ball long enough? Did they stall too many times? How many times did the Cowboys turn the ball over–two times

    The Colts run defense is top five this year so far.

    I wouldn’t put much on this stat. My sense is that Pagano is using smoke and mirrors (and he’s pretty good at that), but that can only go so far.

    As for Carson, he’s way better than Lacy in my opinion. Carson is not only more explosive, but his lateral agility is very good. He’s by far the best back they have in my opinion. Sucks that Carson might be lost for the season.

    Weird because I didn’t think Brissett’s accuracy was that bad.

    It wasn’t this game that I had in mind. But I like his poise, too.

    Other than the Broncos who we already talked about, the one loss teams are Philly (Reid’s high on Wentz), Lions (another Reid team), Green Bay (Don is not so high on them – well not as high as pundits), Falcons, Carolina, Bucs, Redskins (but they play tonight), Bills and Steelers. Which teams are contenders and which are pretenders? I think the Falcons and if Newton is not healthy right now, the Panthers are the top of this heap for me. I think the Lions and Pack are slightly behind them. Your thoughts?

    In terms of have a decent shot of going far, I would say Falcons and Packers–at least in terms of me being the most confident. I think Lions are close. Panthers have a shot, but I’m really uncertain about Newton. I don’t know if the injury is the main issue, or new offense (although it doesn’t all that new–just less called run plays, perhaps?).

  33. Don

    Was the retired Indy punter in the pro bowl? I guess I could look it up. I didn’t realize they only have one punter in the pro bowl, but that totally makes sense.

  34. Reid

    One punter per team you mean, right?

    By the way, I forgot to mention a few other things:

    In the Rams-Cowboys game, I felt like Goff needs to step up in the pocket, timing this right when the outside pass-rusher gets on top of him. A lot of times, it sees like he’ll stay in the spot, instead of sliding or hitching into the pocket. (Brady and Brees are great at this.)

    The other thing. For a really good offense, the Falcons OL is kinda suspect, especially in pass protection. Indeed, if this were the 90’s, I’d say they have a terrible OL. But in today’s NFL, I would say the OL is competent (solid in the run, but weak in the passing game).

    I’ve been a strong critic of Matt Ryan, but he is a big reason their passing game can be as productive and effective as it was last year and continuing on this year. He has to throw under duress, including taking shots when he’s going to get hit. I thought last year he was really good, probably the best I’ve seen of him from what I remember. It seems like Ryan has become more poised and courageous as he’s aged, which is usually not how it works. I didn’t think he would duplicate what he did last year, but so far I think he has. (I have no idea what his stats are, I’m mainly talking about the way he’s throwing from the pocket, although I’m not sure if his ball security has slipped some.)

  35. Mitchell

    Yeah, Pat McAfee went for the AFC last season, with Dustin Colquitt the AFC alternate. The NFC punter was Johnny Hekker (Rams), who was also the 1st team All-Pro.

    Oh, and since I picked the Packers to go to the Super Bowl, of course I’m going to say they have the best chance of the one-loss teams.

  36. Reid

    Oh, and since I picked the Packers to go to the Super Bowl, of cours I’m going to say they have the best chance of the one-loss teams.

    Really? “of course?” What if you no longer thought they had the best chance, based on what you saw in the past four weeks?

  37. Mitchell

    Then I’d give a different answer. But I haven’t seen anything to change my mind. Yet.

  38. Don

    Yeah Mcafee has been a constant in the Pro Bowl I think.

    I’ll give Reid some credit here, but the commentators (mostly Moose) were talking about Goff and that the coaches were working with him to step into the pocket or slide within the pocket. I’m guessing Reid didn’t hear that when he watched on game pass, but yes it is one of the issues mentioned. They want him to step into the pocket more often and not leave it so quickly. So you think Mariota doesn’t have this issue? You think Goff’s problem is way more pronounced? When the commentators mentioned it and in which plays he should have stepped to the left or into the pocket, I guess I noticed it more, but I’m guessing without that I would think Goff and Mariota are just about the same. Mariota just doesn’t move quickly enough (takes too long to decide sometimes) and isn’t smooth when moving in the pocket. By the time Mariota leaves the pocket or slides in the pocket it’s already too late in many cases. I think Mariota steps up into the pocket fine, though.

  39. Reid

    Mitchell,

    But I haven’t seen anything to change my mind. Yet.

    Right, so then not “of course.”

  40. Reid

    Don,

    Yeah, I didn’t hear the commentators talking about Goff stepping into the pocket. Usually if I’m making a comment, and I heard it or didn’t come up with it on my own, I’ll try to credit whomever said it.

    To be clear, I’m talking about something really specific–not just stepping into or staying in the pocket, generally. I’m talking about when a QB hits their back foot at the end of their drop, stepping into the pocket right when the edge rusher just about to hit them, thus avoiding the edge rusher. Several times Goff would hit his back foot and just stay there and you’d see the edge rusher coming right upon him. (Sometimes the O-lineman would still be between the rusher and Goff, though.)

    To me, Mariota is still really raw when it comes to his footwork, both in terms of dropping back to pass and just sliding and moving in the pocket. I’m a big proponent of the west coast school, where the passes are based on timing and footwork has a lot to do with that. QBs from the west coast school really throw with their feet. Guys like Mariota and Carr are really far from that in my view. (Siemian is good at this. Hoyer’s footwork stood out for me yesterday, too.)

    Rodgers footwork is terrific. I think Brees moves really well, too. Brady is good, but he’s not smooth at all. Rivers is good at this, too, but he’s not very smooth, either. Wilson is OK, but sometimes I think he could be better at his footwork when dropping back and throwing. But I also think he just won’t really be able do slide and hitch in the pocket like the taller QBs. So when he moves it’s going to be a lot different than the taller QBs.

  41. Don

    So based on this recent post, although there are some similarity, you are almost saying the opposite of what Moose was talking about. He was saying at the point where Goff should step right or left or up into the pocket, he’s leaving the pocket. In most cases QBs would step into the pocket but I guess if the rushers are occupying that space, then you could step right or left and then up into the pocket. Moose was saying the coaches were working with Goff to not leave the pocket and either slide one way or the other or step up into the pocket.

  42. Reid

    So based on this recent post, although there are some similarity, you are almost saying the opposite of what Moose was talking about.

    Based on what you said, it sounds like I’m talking about something different, yes. Honestly, I can’t remember if Goff left the pocket too early (too scramble), so I’m not really commenting on that. There were about two or three (maybe more) times where he planted his back foot and just didn’t move forward, even when the edge rusher would probably have crushed him if the linemen didn’t hold his block. Simply hitching a few steps up would allow Goff to evade the pass rusher.

    By the way, you think Mariota leaves the pocket too early? I don’t really think that. I just think his footwork in the pocket, sliding and shifting, isn’t that great. Two QBs I haven’t mentioned–Palmer and Ryan. They’re not smooth, but they’ve displayed an excellent job of moving and shifting, particularly since they’re under heavy pressure quite a bit. (Like Rivers and Brady, they may not move so smoothly or elegantly, but they’re very good. Brees may not be elegant, but for some reason he seems slightly smoother than those other guys.)

    By the way, one of the things that I wanted to mention, that I really haven’t heard (although it’s not like I listen to a lot of pundits). To me, when you look Rodgers’s scrambling, one thing you have to keep mind is how good his pass protection is. Even when pass rushers get by the OL, there’s almost a second stage of pass protection that occurs when Rodgers starts scrambling. That is, Rodgers will start scrambling, and he’ll move in a way to almost set up blocks for his linemen, so that they can continue blocking and then help up the scrambling. This often makes the scrambling more orderly, if that makes sense. (This might not be as true this year, as the previous two.) Anyone who watches all of the games of the Seahawks and Packers could see this, I think. There is a really big difference in the nature of the scrambles for, either team.

  43. Reid

    Heard Derek Carr out with a back fracture, 2-6 weeks. Dang it!

    Also, I believe Dalvin Cook is out for the season with a torn ACL. (No wonder Latavius Murray played a lot.)

    (Rees Odhiambo has a bruised sternum, not bruised heart, which seems way better.)

  44. Don

    By the way, you think Mariota leaves the pocket too early?

    I actually think Mariota leaves the pocket too late if anything. His ability to process information is still a little slow at this point. Sort of what you stated, but your context was more about footwork. It’s gotten better, but it’s still too slow for an elite QB. When he leaves the pocket and sometimes when he moves within the pocket, it happen a step too late, which is why he either still gets sack or in some cases gets the ball stripped.

    I think we are saying the same thing, but I’ll sort of reinforce what you saying. What pundits will say about scrambling QBs is that it makes it harder for the line to block. O-linemen have their backs to the QB, so they have to guess where he will be and move the linemen away from that spot. If the QB is going to take off or scramble, then most of that is on the QB to move to a spot that is vacated rather than on the linemen to know where the QB is going to go. But if the o-linemen stays active, they may be able to spot their QB again and make adjustments. I’m guessing though that a play happens so fast, I wouldn’t put too much on o-linemen in terms of praise or criticism.

  45. Reid

    His ability to process information is still a little slow at this point.

    This, more than leaving or staying the pocket seems like the bigger issue–although, I don’t know if it’s even this. If I had to choose, I might say that footwork and accuracy are the bigger issues. Maybe decision-making, which is tied to processing information.

    I’m guessing though that a play happens so fast, I wouldn’t put too much on o-linemen in terms of praise or criticism.

    I tend to credit the Packer OL (at least when they’re healthy). I don’t know what the pundits say, but in my view, the Packers had one of the best OLs, more in pass protection. Indeed, I might choose them over the Raiders. My sense is that the major problem with the offense is the WRs/TEs inability to get open, particularly in man coverage. (That last bit is more based on what commentators have said; I haven’t really looked at the all-22 to examine this for myself.) But as evidence, do you recall the Packers relying a lot on slants? And they were really explosive. In the past two or three years, the don’t see to throw this as much, not for explosive plays. My guess is that they don’t have play makers. Jordy might have been the guy, but either he hasn’t returned to form or defenses have figured him out. They don’t have a TE like Jermichael Finley, either.

    But back to their OL. The one thing that stands out to me, when they pass protect, is how orderly and organized it looks. They control the pass rush very nicely. Seeing a free pass rusher is rare, especially on non-blitzes. Compare that to Seattle. The pass pro can look chaotic. Pass rushers can break loose instantly even on a four-man rush. Rodgers may be one of the best scramblers, but I wouldn’t assume that he would be able to scramble successfully if he played on Seattle’s team. The nature of the scrambling is really different.

    Because the Packer pass protection is organized, I think this allows for extended pass protection when Rodgers scrambles. If the OL wasn’t so good, they wouldn’t be able to do what I’m talking about. By the way, the Packer OL doesn’t seem to be as good at this this year, at least against the Seahawks. The Seahawk DL made the pass protection messier and more chaotic in my opinion.

  46. Don

    Just so I’m clear we are talking about the line play once a play breaks down? Are you saying even though the defense is getting through the o-line, there is still some semblance of order? Because I’m assuming Rodgers will only leave the pocket (ie: scramble) once the play breaks down. Or are you talking about a “scripted” roll out where the Packer o-line is better in that situation?

  47. Reid

    Just so I’m clear we are talking about the line play once a play breaks down?

    Yes, but I’m also saying the the Packers OL has been really good at pass protection before it breaks down, and because of this, they’re able to create almost a second stage of pass protection when pass rushers penetrate the pocket. This second stage is a product of the good pass protection initially and the way Rodgers maneuvers once the pockets starts breaking down. This can create really extend the play. These plays can be almost as long as Wilson’s Tarkentonian scrambles, but they look entirely different. It’s like the Packers form two pockets–one after the snap and then another when the pocket falls apart. Wilson’s scrambles look frenetic and crazy in contrast, and setting the play to Benny Hill music would match it. (No, I’m not talking about the scripted roll outs.)

    Again, the Packers may not be doing this as much this year, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this in the previous two years. There were many games where Rodgers would have an eternity to throw, and it wasn’t like he was running like a chicken without a head. Because of this, I think you saw teams blitz Rodgers a lot (in the playoffs. I believe the Giants and the Cowboys did this, even they don’t normally blitz. Same with the Falcons.)

  48. Reid

    Mitchell,

    Cooper dropped at least two easy catches. He leads the NFL in dropped passes.

    This is dang, annoying. Not so much that he leads in dropped passes, but that he dropped two easy ones!

    Manuel was 7 for 7 at one point, or something like that, and his passes weren’t six-yarders. He kept them in it. That’s good backup material if you ask me.

    But I’m not basing this on one game.

    And you don’t care if the Raiders have the best punter in the AFC? Field position, baby. I would think a ball-control guy like you would appreciate that. He’s a punter who makes a difference.

    No, I care–what I’m grumbling about is the flag he got for unsportsmanlike conduct. This happened at least once last year, too; although I guess this makes him, truly, a Raider punter.

    I would take Baldwin over Tate, ‘though maybe not over healthy Edelman. Antonio Brown is a slot guy, but why don’t we think of him that way?

    Does he play a lot from the slot? (I really haven’t paid close enough attention to know.) If so, I’d choose him. Baldwin doesn’t always play in the slot, too, but I think that’s where he’s the best.

    I don’t think “he looks like he could be pretty good” is going out on a limb because the unspoken other half of that is “he looks like he could be bad.”

    Yeah, that’s true, but I responded the way I did because I basically saw almost nothing to make me think he would be pretty good. Probably the best defense I could muster would be:
    “Well, Peyton Manning and other great QBs looked awful in their first year, too.”

  49. Don

    How did a punter get a unsportsmanlike penalty? Taunting? That’s pretty funny…

  50. Mitchell

    Brown actually lines up all over, which is probably why I don’t think of him as a slot receiver. But when people call him that I certainly don’t disagree.

    When the Raiders are ahead, if King boots a good one, he usually dances right there on the field, which I think is leagal now but I’m not sure.

  51. Reid

    When the Raiders are ahead, if King boots a good one, he usually dances right there on the field, which I think is leagal now but I’m not sure.

    Well, he got a penalty last week–but it wasn’t for celebrating. He threw a ball at a Bronco player.

    Don, this is isn’t the first time he got flagged.

    Brown actually lines up all over, which is probably why I don’t think of him as a slot receiver. But when people call him that I certainly don’t disagree.

    Sounds kinda like Baldwin. I’m not sure how often Baldwin lines up in the slot versus on the outside, but I think he’s ideally a slot. Maybe one could say the same about AB. The thing is, on the outside, AB seems like a terrific WR–better than Baldwin. That’s probably why I see AB as a regular WR versus a slot WR.

  52. Don

    That’s one intense (albeit stupid) punter.

  53. Reid

    Redskins-Chiefs

    This was a pretty good game, especially if you like two evenly matched opponents. Both offenses seemed conservative, and maybe some would call it boring.

    I come away from this game not knowing what to think of either team. They both look solid, in all phases of the game, but I don’t know how much of that is due to limitations from their opponents. In a way, I think they are close to a team like the Lions–but I give a little edge to the Lions because of Stafford.

    One other thing. There seemed to be a lot of injuries in this game. I think Josh Norman left and will be out for at least a couple of weeks.

  54. Reid

    Don,

    The context was a failed punt. It’s still not smart. The previous incident involved taunting. I believe he picked up the referee’s flag and used that to taunt the referee or the other team, too. Definitely keeping within the Raider tradition, though.

  55. Mitchell

    Actually it was a failed fake punt on 4th and 10 on the Oakland side of the field. I liked the call, even though it failed pretty badly. Didn’t result in Broncos points either. Kicker hit the upright on the FG attempt.

  56. Reid

    Oops, yeah, failed fake punt. I guess he was salty. 🙂

  57. Reid

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