2017 NFL Week 8

Thursday
Dolphins-Ravens

Sunday

Vikings-Browns
Chargers-Patriots
Bears-Saints
Panthers-Buccaneers
Colts-Bengals
Raiders-Bills
49ers-Eagles
Falcons-Jets
Texans-Seahawks
Cowboys-Redskins
Steelers-Lions

Monday
Broncos-Chiefs

42 Responses to “2017 NFL Week 8”


  1. Mitchell

    The Raiders are getting 2 points at Buffalo. That game is tough to pick! I think Oakland is going to win it, though. The moneyline is Raiders +145. I would totally bet the Raiders on that line. That’s way too high.

  2. Reid

    This kind of pisses me off, and I’m kinda surprised at my level of anger at this. Apparently, the Texan players aren’t happy either (which is understandable):

    If I give McNair the benefit of the doubt, I would guess that he meant this as a figure of speech–making the point that owners can’t let the players run things–the owners have to make the ultimate call. That’s fine, but if this is McNair’s position, he really chose the wrong expression to convey this.

    It reminds me of that journalist who used “chink in the armor” when discussing Jeremy Lin. Was it meant as racist comment? I don’t know, but you could make it case that it was not.

    But that’s the thing: it’s hard to be sure. Same with the situation with McNair. In that situation, you black NFL players protesting police mistreatment of black Americans. And an NFL owner uses “inmates” to refer to players. It has a rather strong poetic resonance, conveying very negative things.

    To be fair, McNair released this:

  3. Reid

    On a lighter note, I thought this was hilarious:

    As Rocky Balboa said, “He seems upset.”

  4. Mitchell

    It almost doesn’t matter whether he meant it literally or as a figure of speech. I mean, it matters, but even as a figure of speech it betrays a way of thinking that is not constructive to working through this thing. The players and their union are partners in putting out this product. They may get paid by the owners, but the owners get paid by the fans who pay for a product that the owners don’t really have any real expertise in putting together. If J.J. Watt is the best in the world at what he does, the owner cannot think of him as merely an employee. Without Watt, the team owner doesn’t have a product, and Watt cannot be replaced with just anyone, which is partially the problem with unionized players.

    The players are partners. The broadcasters are partners. The owners are partners. They run this thing as partners. Or at least they should.

  5. Reid

    I mean, it matters, but even as a figure of speech it betrays a way of thinking that is not constructive to working through this thing.

    This is true as well. The relationship between players and owners is different from many other employer-employee relationships.

  6. Reid

    Dareus to the Jaguars. I never really noticed Dareus when I watched the Bills play, so maybe he’s not as good as he was before, but, on paper, the Jaguars DL seems pretty fearsome.

    If they’re making this move because they want to make a Super Bowl run, they’ve got to go after a QB.

  7. Reid

    Texans-Seahawks

    Is the Texans offense for real? It sure seems that way. The Seahawks had great difficulty stopping them, if you overlook the three takeaways, including a pick 6 (I don’t really count the last one). They would have been destroyed if it weren’t for those turnovers. Credit Bill O’Brien for all the plays to maximize Watson’s skill set. And also credit Watson.

    Wilson had a really bad INT that almost lost the game at the end. But putting that aside the offense did well. The OL gave him time and Wilson did damage. What’s a little surprising is how effective they are on play action–surprising because the Seahawks struggle to run the ball. My theory is that defenses so strongly believe that Carroll is committed to running the ball, that they’re prioritizing stopping the run. And this opens up the play action passing game.

    Raiders-Bills

    Raiders turned the ball over 3 times.

    Chargers-Patriots

    I think Chargers special teams lost this game. Several times the Chargers ran the ball out of the end zone, and only gained about ten or fifteen yards. On one occasion, the returner went back in the end zone and the Patriots got a safety. Field position was a big deal in this game, as both offenses weren’t top notch.

  8. Reid

    Happy about this! Hopefully, they can get the run game going. (Also, I hope Joeckel can come back soon. This OL could make a dramatic turn by the end of the season.)…Actually, a 2nd round in 2019, too–that is a lot, but I think they have to do these things to stabilize the OL.

  9. Reid

    Risky if you ask me.

  10. don

    Garoppolo has to be better than a second round QB. He will cost more in terms of against the cap. What move would you rather make than go after Garoppolo?

  11. Reid

    If you make this move, you’re not going for just someone better than a 2nd rounder–you’re trying to get your franchise QB–and that’s the way I look it: Is Garoppolo a franchise QB? I don’t really know for sure, but I’m real wary of judging a QB that plays in on Belichick’s team. (See Matt Cassel.)

    Would move would I make? I’m not sure, but, again, the way I’m judging this move is on whether Garoppolo is a franchise QB or not. What’s your take on him, especially relating to this question?

  12. Mitchell

    Yeah but Shanahan is the QB whisperer.

  13. Reid

    I’m going to assume that’s your usual sarcasm.

  14. Mitchell

    It’s not. He was (maybe) right about Cousins. The vibe all season has been that Cousins would be going to LA or SF next season, but LA is obviously out now, and Cousins has priced himself out of SF probably. Shanahan seems to know what he likes in a QB and when he has it, he seems to know what to do with it.

  15. Reid

    In that case, I don’t think Shanahan has shown much evidence that he’s a QB whisperer. I also don’t really care for the term. It seems to leave out the part where you have to identify the QB with talent. To me, Parcells and Walsh were the two best coaches at spotting and developing a QB. I wouldn’t call them “whisperers,” but this is probably more of a semantics issue. Is Shanahan great at spotting and developing QBs? I have no idea. I just think he’s really good OC, especially at developing the run game.

  16. don

    I think a lot of the talent evaluators think Garropolo is better than anyone that can be drafted. Since no one knows for sure, it’s a good move. The risk for me is less about Garropolo’s “franchiseness” (because it’s not the end of the world to “miss on a QB”), it’s more about what he will cost against the cap (So basically only time will tell, based on what it will cost to sign Garropolo). A rookie QB is not as much of a risk because he’s paid on the rookie scale for four years (I’m pretty sure). So in that sense a team can miss on picking a QB (A team is just losing that one pick.). But once you have to pay them a regular contract like Osweiler, then it gets a little tougher to get out of. I like the trade since it was just one second round pick (If what you said is correct.), and if they can get his contract at an average price. Would you rather take Cousins, what everyone was saying the Niners were going to do?

  17. Mitchell

    The original “whisperer” (I think) was the horse whisperer in that novel. The character didn’t just understand horses, he or she seemed to know what each horse needed in order to connect with it, almost empath-like. I like whisperer as a term because it implies that a coach sees the strengths of the QB and understands the person inside that body, knowing what motivates it or connects with it or whatever. In spiritual gifts, I think of it as compassion.

    It’s more than just knowing how to spot a QB (which Sean McVay doesn’t get credit for, unless it was part of his decision in taking the job). I think it has to do with relating to the QB, something more spiritual like the horse whisperer. But yeah, that’s probably just semantics.

  18. Reid

    Don,

    Do you recall who thinks Garoppolo is better than any QB coming out of the draft? I’m just curious, because I don’t trust all the pundits, not equally. Just a small case in point: I heard GM street guys talking about Wilson’s and Watson’s performance yesterday–about how they both had great games. I can’t be sure, but my impression was they equated great games with high volume stats (passing yards and TDs). To me, this is not a good way to evaluate QBs. A QB can throw for 200 yards and 2 TDs and have a much better game than a QB who throws from 400 yards and 4 TDs. But I digress.

    If the evaluators are finding someway to separate Garoppolo’s play from Belichick’s system–i.e., if they’re identifying traits that are independent of that system–then fine. I’m not good enough to know that so I can’t say for sure. I am skeptical that all of the credits are doing this, though.

    Would you rather take Cousins, what everyone was saying the Niners were going to do?

    I think this is a hard question to answer. I think Cousins is a QB that can thrive and take his team to the Super Bowl with a strong running game or really good passing weapons. But even then, I’m not sure his ball security is good enough. I think Shanahan can build a great running game, so, in this sense, I think he’d make a good fit.

    But I’ll say this: I have more confidence that Cousins can be a franchise QB than Garoppolo, at this point.

    Mitchell,

    To me “whisperer” leaves out the “spotting talent” part. To me, there’s the connotation that the whisperer can take almost anyone and turn them into a great QB.

    And if Shanahan thought Beatherd was better than Watson, that’s not a good sign.

  19. Reid

  20. don

    I never heard anyone breakdown Garropolo, but I know it’s almost universal that they think he’s better than anyone that can be drafted (last year anyway). Again it’s less about whether he is the “end all be all”, since they didn’t give up much to get him, and more about how much he will cost. Cousins I would think would get top five money next year, because he’s getting it this year by being franchised. If the Niners can get Garropolo for top twenty money, it’s a no-brainer to take the chance on him. If it’s top ten money or better, then I would be questioning the move. I would think it would be in that range however. That being said though, you would think the Niners have lots of room under the cap.

    On a side note, you are sold on Watson? A lot of people have him higher than last year’s rookies (ie: Watson will have a better five year span over Dak and Wentz). Also since I’m on the subject, Wentz is a top five QB right now for you? Seems like it, based on your past post. I imagine he has to be higher than Big Ben, who looks awful at times. I heard Rivers hasn’t been great this year as well. You don’t seem to be a huge fan of Brees as well.

  21. Mitchell

    I’m wary about Watson for two reasons: first, he has a build and style like Robert Griffin III. He could get smooshed on any given play. And the Texans have a horrible track record for messing up good QBs.

  22. Reid

    Don,

    I never heard anyone breakdown Garropolo, but I know it’s almost universal that they think he’s better than anyone that can be drafted (last year anyway).

    OK. It would have been nice to hear who said this, and if they actually analyzed Garoppolo. Someone compared the situation to Matt Flynn trade. That resonated with me.

    Again it’s less about whether he is the “end all be all”, since they didn’t give up much to get him, and more about how much he will cost.

    Not sure what you mean by “end all be all,” but he basically has to a QB that can lead your team to the Super Bowl, for me. If the Niners believe that, then this is a good trade. Also, the 49ers’ second round pick is significant. It’s like to be at the beginning of the second, which is basically a first round pick. Raiders got Carr in the second round. I think it’s reasonable to think you can get a franchise QB in rounds 1-3.

    On a side note, you are sold on Watson? A lot of people have him higher than last year’s rookies (ie: Watson will have a better five year span over Dak and Wentz).

    I’m not sold yet–certainly not enough to say he’ll be better than those two. For one thing, I haven’t watched him closely enough. For another, I think he’s relying heavily on the offense–like Newton, RGIII, and Smith. The key for me is, can he QB in predictable passing situations, in more pass-oriented ways, including in the pocket? I have no idea at this point. With RGIII, I have bigger question marks because I watched him a lot, and the Shanahan’s utilized a lot of bubble screens, RPO slants, and when he got in predictable passing situations (in the shotgun), he seemed to struggle. I recall that Watson may have struggled a bit, too, in similar situations, but the evidence is way too small for me at this point.

    Mitchell,

    Watson doesn’t seem as brittle as RGIII for some reason, and Griffin was awful about avoiding contact, but what you’re saying is valid. The style he’s playing increases risk. I haven’t seen how smart he is with regard to avoiding hits.

    As to your second point, the one thing I’ll say is that the plays they have for Watson is really helping him, and I don’t think he’d have the same success without it. The key will be transitioning him to more conventional pocket passing. (By the way, I kinda liked what I saw from Savage.)

  23. Mitchell

    Actually, I think Cian Fahey had something favorable to say about Jimmy Garoppolo, but I can’t remember what it was and don’t have a moment right now to look it up.

  24. Reid

    Meh. I still have trouble getting over Fahey’s critique of Wilson, especially his use of screenshots to “prove” that Wilson missed open targets.

  25. don

    What I’m trying to get at with Garropolo is that they can miss on him like any team that misses on a QB in the draft and it’s not going to set the Niners back a whole lot unless they going to pay him big money that they don’t have room in the cap for. If the Niners miss on Garropolo, you make it seem direr than it really is. It is rare that a team knows they are going to get a franchise QB when they make a move. I’m saying Garropolo chances are being a franchise QB is as good (and many pundits think better) as anyone they can draft especially with a second round pick. Why do we have to look at it in terms of whether or not Garropolo is a franchise QB or not? Why can’t we look at it terms of is his chances of being a franchise QB greater anyone else they can get?

  26. don

    I know this is a can of worms, but you think Wilson’s accuracy is elite or in terms you would use, in the ideal situation (good line and good WR) elite?

  27. Reid

    Wow:

    I’m surprised by this. I thought Benjamin was a key piece in the Panthers offense. His numbers may not be great, but I feel like he’s an important target when they need him (like on 3rd downs) and also a good WR for TDs.

  28. Reid

    Why do we have to look at it in terms of whether or not Garropolo is a franchise QB or not? Why can’t we look at it terms of is his chances of being a franchise QB greater anyone else they can get?

    It’s not that you can’t look at it that way, but I don’t personally look at it that way–depending on how you’re defining this. The key question for a team should be: We really believe this guy can be a franchise QB. They’re not 100% sure, of course, but they should be really confident that about that. To me, this is different from saying QB A has a 50% chance and QB B has a 70% chance, so we’ll go with QB B, but we don’t really love QB B. What you’re saying sounds more like that. I think a team should really love the QB and think the chances are high that he’ll be a franchise guy. If they feel that way about JG, then the deal makes sense. If they think JP has a 70% chance and the other incoming QBs are 50-60%–and they’re not confident and enthusiastic about JP–then I don’t like the deal.

    I know this is a can of worms, but you think Wilson’s accuracy is elite or in terms you would use, in the ideal situation (good line and good WR) elite?

    I’m exactly sure what you mean precisely by “elite,” but I would say yes to this. I can think of QBs with better accuracy. Playing now, I’d definitely choose Rodgers over Wilson. I would say the difference between the other QBs isn’t as significant–especially if you give Wilson a good pocket with good WRs. (Also, in terms of throwing under duress and on the move, very few QBs, if any, could throw with similar level of accuracy.)

    Also since I’m on the subject, Wentz is a top five QB right now for you? Seems like it, based on your past post. I imagine he has to be higher than Big Ben, who looks awful at times. I heard Rivers hasn’t been great this year as well. You don’t seem to be a huge fan of Brees as well.

    Forgot to answer these question.

    Off the top of my head, I would say Wentz is in the top five now. Yes, higher than Roethlisberger, and I think I’d choose him over Rivers. I do think Rivers is declining, although it’s hard to know how much of this is due to him or the supporting cast.

    The thing about Wentz is that he looks out of control when he’s improvising. Wilson, for all the crazy things he does, what’s remarkable is how in control he seems. But Wentz doesn’t really throw too many passes that are just terrible (as in, forcing throws that can be intercepted). I haven’t really noticed that so far. Still, I’m hesitant because his play seems so reckless. Also, I worry that he’s going to get hurt. He’s a little reckless in this regard as well in my opinion.

    As for Brees, he has looked really good so far. I want to say he looks close to his prime. The question I’d have is if he can do this as the season goes on and when the weather gets colder. Home field is going to be crucial. I’m curious to see if his performance declines outdoors, in colder weather. (That’s a pattern I’ve noticed.) I consider Saints as potential contenders right now, too.

  29. don

    I disagree about Benjamin. He and Funchess aren’t great at getting open. They are good targets, but seem to lack the ability to get any separation. As little as Ginn was used in Carolina, they seem to miss his ability to open up the field. I think Cam isn’t entirely healthy, but he would perform better if he had a better receiving cast.

  30. don

    Your post reminds me of another question. What do you think of the Saints offense this year? I thought they were pretty well balanced and had enough variances to make them unpredictable. They don’t just fling all over the field, but seem to have some semblance of being able to do that when need to. I don’t see the Saints as a great team, but they have a great chance to win their division.

  31. Reid

    I disagree about Benjamin. He and Funchess aren’t great at getting open.

    Whether that’s true or not, I feel like if they’re in a two minute situation, and they need a big catch, Benjamin will come through. He seems to find a way to get into the end zone as well. Besides, he’s the type of big WRs that doesn’t excel by getting open so much as boxing out and out jumping defenders for the ball. Bills gave up a 3rd and 7th for him supposedly.

    Your post reminds me of another question. What do you think of the Saints offense this year? I thought they were pretty well balanced and had enough variances to make them unpredictable. They don’t just fling all over the field, but seem to have some semblance of being able to do that when need to. I don’t see the Saints as a great team, but they have a great chance to win their division.

    I agree with pretty much all of this. I talk about balanced teams–being good on offense, being able to run, pass and also being good on defense, being able to defend the run and pass. Saints seem like that–assuming the defense as good as they seemed in the last few games versus the first two. If they are, I think they could go far, especially if they get home field advantage.

  32. Reid

    Yep, the run-blocking stunk.

  33. Reid

    This sounds like the same ‘ole Browns to me. Actually, a part of me feels like this might be for the best, even though I sort of like McCarron. McCarron strikes me as a QB who could be good, but will be the type that needs a strong running game. Plus, that’s no sure thing, either. If this is accurate, the Browns should try something else–like build up the other positions, and go after the QB they really believe in. (I feel bad that they missed out on Wentz, but Wentz seemed a bit risky to me.)

  34. Reid

    This makes the 49ers trade for JP better to me:

    They still have their 1st round pick. They have the next eight games to evaluate JP.

  35. don

    Why are you calling him JP? Mistake or…

    I think it’s good that Shanahan will get to “test drive” Garropolo for this season before having to decide to resign him for the future. The sort of downside could be if he does fairly well, then it will cost them. Whereas if he was unproven (never played a down this year), they may have had a better deal on his upcoming contract.

  36. Reid

    Oops, yeah, JP was a mistake–I meant JG. (I got tired of trying to spell Garoppolo; not sure why I said “JP.”)

    The sort of downside could be if he does fairly well, then it will cost them.

    Hopefully, the next games will give Shanahan a solid sense of whether JG is the future. If so, that will be worth it–even if they have to pay more. But having their first next year and a bunch of picks in the first three rounds makes this a much better trade in my eyes.

  37. Mitchell

    Meh. I still have trouble getting over Fahey’s critique of Wilson, especially his use of screenshots to “prove” that Wilson missed open targets.

    You know that he’s not using the screenshots to come to his conclusions, right? He logged every play of every game of last season during the off-season. Those GIFs might not be convincing by themselves, but don’t mistake his providing them as examples for using them as the grounds for his conclusions. Fahey is certainly an opinionated guy with one way of looking at things, but I would question his philosophy before I question his methodology. Until someone else tells me he or she has looked at every play of every game for a whole season and quantified his or her evaluations, he deserves to be listened to. Actually, even when someone else does. That single characterization is worth listening to. I think Jaworski does this but without as much quantification.

  38. Reid

    You know that he’s not using the screenshots to come to his conclusions, right? He logged every play of every game of last season during the off-season. Those GIFs might not be convincing by themselves, but don’t mistake his providing them as examples for using them as the grounds for his conclusions.

    First of all, some of them were screenshots, as in still photos. Second, I would hope he’s not using still photos to come to his conclusions, but even if he’s not, I don’t think using still photos is a good way to support your point, as it’s something that can be easily manipulated. Third, for this particularly article in mind, I went back and watched many of the specific examples he gave, using the all-22 footage. The screen shots look like obvious misses, but when you watch the footage, it’s far less clear in my view. I think there are many factors that go into whether a WR/TE is actually open or not, and I didn’t get the sense that Fahey objectively accounted for them. Fourth, with Wilson, I feel like missing open WRs/TEs was something critics would pick on–whereas they wouldn’t do the same for QBs like Rodgers, Brady, Peyton, or Brees. The thing is, if you watch their games, they miss wide-open WRs/TEs as well. The question is, is there a big difference between Wilson and those games, with regard to missing open WRs/TEs? I don’t know the answer to that, but I think the narrative on Brady et al., is that they are great at reading defenses and finding the open man, while critics could more easily use the narrative that Wilson struggled to find the open WR/TE. There could be truth to this, but complicating matters is the fact that Wilson would often improvise, which can increase the chances of missing open targets in my opinion….I can go on, but I’ll stop there.

    Until someone else tells me he or she has looked at every play of every game for a whole season and quantified his or her evaluations

    How would you quantify whether a WR/TE was open, and whether a QB should have seen the WR/TE or not?

  39. Mitchell

    I couldn’t, obviously, but Cahey at least quanitifies it for everyone. You have to pay for that data, I think, but the answer to the “Is there a big difference…” between Wilson and Rodgers, Brady, Peyton, or Brees question is in those numbers. As you mention, it’s a complicated evaluation, so is it fair to “meh” him just for giving it a try? I’m inclined to give him the benefit until I’ve looked at his evaluations across the board.

    Anyway. If he fails on that particular measurement it doesn’t mean he’s not credible.

  40. Reid

    But you think we should put a lot of weight on converting something that is qualitative (e.g., an open WR/TE) into something quantitative? Being open or not isn’t a binary thing; nor is it objective. Putting numbers on this seems very arbitrary and imprecise.

    I’m inclined to give him the benefit until I’ve looked at his evaluations across the board.

    That’s fine. I have a harder time, after having watched the game film myself.

  41. don

    I’m pretty sure overall Fahey is a Wilson fan based on some of stuffs I read. I could be wrong but I think Fahey criticized Wilson for leaving the pocket too early or running too early, when guys were open, but I think overall he thinks Wilson is a star.

    I think because talent evaluation of any athlete is not an exact science, anyone willing to stick their neck out there with their in-depth analysis can be picked apart. When you are doing that analysis to a QB, you can multiply by ten fold.

  42. Reid

    The evaluation I have in mind is pretty old, maybe going back to 2014.

    …but I think Fahey criticized Wilson for leaving the pocket too early or running too early, when guys were open,…

    Andy Benoit and others have said this as well. I think we’ve talked about this issue before, but I think these critics would have more credibility with me if they acknowledged that QBs that will improvise should be judged a bit differently–or they should just come out and categorically reject improvisation. It’s like if you’re a classical music critic evaluating a musician who will sometimes break out in a jazz improvisation. You either say this is bad or you show that you’ve adjusted your standards of evaluation.

    I think because talent evaluation of any athlete is not an exact science, anyone willing to stick their neck out there with their in-depth analysis can be picked apart. When you are doing that analysis to a QB, you can multiply by ten fold.

    I agree with this, and, to be clear, I’m not expecting Fahey or any evaluator to give definitively right assessments. Indeed, in general, I don’t think there is such a thing. My problem had to do with this methods and approach.

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