Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week Three at Philadelphia

After the first half of this one, I got a bit too invested in the game to keep up the tablet notation out at a bar, but here is some of my thought process throughout watching the first half and some general takeaways about the team after the brutally close loss to Philadelphia.

-The team looks more fired up than I've seen in a long time. Unsurprisingly, DeSean Jackson looks particularly amped.

-We're finally going to Garcon early, it will be interesting to see if it keeps up, and how much it has to do with Jackson playing injured.

-The DB was rightly penalized there, despite what the announcers are crying for, but Jackson should have been as well. It's odd that the initial action is caught, but the retaliation isn't, but both were guilty.

-Aaaaand, there's the make-up call. No one did anything wrong on that play, it was a clear apology to Philadelphia for the previous play.

-Morris isn't getting a lot of room to run. Paulsen failed to seal the edge on this particular run, making him fight in the backfield.

-They lined up with Jackson in the backfield, faked a deep pitch to him before turning and tossing a bubble screen to Garcon. I like the creativity, but that was a terribly conceived play. There's no way the team was going to throw it 8 yards into the backfield to get it to Jackson, so the fooled no one regardless of execution and was a waste of time. 

-Back in the red zone, once again going to Young. I don't know when opposing defenses will start realizing how much the team loves going to the fullback in the red zone.

-This isn't the first time I've had this revelation, but Niles Paul would be a really good receiving option if he could reliably catch the ball. 

Takeaways from Week 2's Dismantling of the Jaguars, and a Look at the QB Situation Going Forward

This will be just a bullet-point list of some of the notes I took of my impressions during week two's win over Jacksonville and week three's blank blank the Eagles. I may add to it or reformat it as I re-watch games, but will put this up for now.

-Love the keeper first play of the game. Force defenses to respect that possibility, which Houston's did not in week one. Worked for a first down, and, perhaps most importantly, Giffin slid competently at the end of his run. 

-Tyler Polombus vacated his man to try to help Chester, letting his block go for an easy sack. Terrible play.

-On defense, our pass rush continues to look fearsome while our complete lack of a secondary to provide coverage allows completions. Allen Hurns did us a big favor by dropping a sure-fire touchdown pass.

-A return that goes nowhere yet still manages to have two penalties on it. That's a staggering level of incompetence from our special teams.

-On the play Griffin got injured, he actually did a phenomenal job of using his athleticism to extend the play while keeping his eyes downfield, and found an open receiver for a first down. Unfortunately, it ended with the awkward step and dislocated ankle.

-I like the gameplan of mixing it up and taking shots while still running the ball, but things aren’t going our way here. Outside of unfortunate injuries the only area we actually see to be struggling is on the OL, particularly the right side. Chester is a weak link and Polombus is even weaker.

-Defensive backs aren't on the same page. Amerson nearly had an interception, but Biggers got in the way going for the ball himself.

-Run the ball to the left instead of the right, and we see Trent Williams actually seal his block leaving a seam off his hip for Morris to pick up 15 yards. That's the difference between the left and right side of the OL, even in the run game, where Polombus is relatively solid. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Success rate of taking runningbacks high in the draft lately is atrocious

I decided to take a look at recently-drafted runningbacks league-wide to support an impression I had, and found the results interesting, so I' going to post them here in a rare Redskins-unrelated piece. Trent Richardson gets a lot of flak for being so obviously and visibly disappointing, but he's hardly the only runningback taken recently who hasn't lived up to the hype. In fact, there are many times more failures than success stories.

Simply put, there are a lot of these dudes. Not all out of the league or anything, but guys like Darren McFadden, who flashed and was built up as ready to break out for years, and then rather suddenly stopped being talked about. The list goes on with names like Ingram, Williams, Jones... Even guys like Ryan Mathews and CJ Spiller may not be busts but have been extremely disappointing given their pedigree and expectations, and people discuss that a lot. Players managed to go straight from still-promising to forgotten and skip the vitriol that Richardson has incurred. It got me thinking and well...

Looking at 2008-2012 RBs drafted in the first two rounds (so, guys who are still fairly young but are now in at least their third season) yields the following:

'08 (8 backs)
4th overall, Darren McFadden, (Bust. Still on the Raiders, backing up a decrepit Maurice Jones-Drew)
13th overall, Jonathan Stewart (Huge disappointment. Panthers never even seemed to want him based on usage. Had one good season)
22nd, Felix Jones (Horrible bust, currently a free agent)
23rd, Rashard Mendenhall (Bust and hated for sympathizing with terrorists. Retired because nobody wanted him)
24th, Chris Johnson (Had a phenomenal early career, but quickly fell off, now being replacement-level on the Jets)
44th, Matt Forte (Good, reliable, versatile player)
55th, Ray Rice* (Was a good player, now suspended indefinitely)
64th (actually first pick of the third round), Kevin Smith (Bust)

'09 (4 backs)
12th overall, Knowshon Moreno (Had a couple okayish years, but hasn't been impressive at all. Big disappointment)
27th, Donald Brown (Has contributed some in a backup role. Bust)
31st, Beanie Wells (Awful bust)
53rd, LeSean McCoy (One of the best HBs in the NFL)