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I'm low on Verner, actually, after reading Mike Tanier's piece. http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/68458420/tennessee-titans-alterraun-verner-headlines-nfl-free-agent-class

His argument is that (based on what he saw on film), Verner is more of a zone coverage guy. He's not a physical corner, very rarely bumping anyone at the line. Instead, he backs off, relying on his quickness and intelligence to close on receivers. He sounds like a great player, but not like what the Colts do with their CBs...in fact he sounds like the opposite. Given that, I just don't trust our coaches to use him wisely. It sounds like a recipe for disaster: they'll bring him in, ask him to do crap that he has never done and isn't particularly good at, and we'll be paying 12M per year for someone playing like he's below average.


Good article...sounds like Davis is the best option. It's easy to dream about free agents and upgrading the roster, but as this article and the articles on free agent centers show, these decisions aren't as simple as "our CB is ok...let's get a new one." You have to see what's actually out there and decide what makes the most sense. Well done!

6 months, 3 weeks ago on Free Agency PFF Spotlight Part 2: The Cornerback Contingency Plan

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I fucking love this column every single week.

8 months, 2 weeks ago on CA Charting Project: Offensive Line Charting, Wild Card Week

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Great analysis. Let's hire Reggie as a coach when he's done.

9 months, 1 week ago on The Difference a Good Route Makes

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Great, great work. This article has become mandatory reading for serious Colts fans. You are not only putting in a ton of solid work--you're also applying good analysis to it. Good stuff!

9 months, 4 weeks ago on CA Charting Project: Charting the Colts' Offensive Line, Week 12

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I vote Vontae

11 months, 2 weeks ago on Abridged All-22: Masking Poor Coverage & the Peyton Prism

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This is a fantastic article! Really thoughtful, in-depth analysis of scheme. Great, great work.

I hope Werner can step up and make an impact as a replacement for Walden. I also hope the front office and coaching staff will be quick to pull a player (Walden or whoever) if they aren't working out, regardless of who got which contract or who got drafted highly. 

But again, great article. Excited to see more stuff from you.

12 months ago on All-22: Defense, Week 3 vs 49ers.

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Also--welcome back to Colts Authority, where accurately describing Chris Johnson as overrated won't start a comments-destroying flame war of epic proportions.  I always found that hilarious.

1 year, 5 months ago on What Can the Colts Expect from the 2013 Draft

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Great stuff as always...I'd be curious, too, about breaking this down by position.  Is a WR picked 20-30 generally better than an OT?

 

I kinda hope they trade down and get more picks in the 20-45 range.

1 year, 5 months ago on What Can the Colts Expect from the 2013 Draft

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 @bradicus18  @SGV I'm actually ok with RJF...dude is playing back-up to the Smiths.  I think I've heard Greg Cosell say good things about him, too, for what it's worth.

1 year, 6 months ago on Guest Post: Were the Colts Free Agents Worth the Money?

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 @mattshedd Yeah, that's what's so hard about this (and the draft)...the only thing you really can do is wait to see how it pans out.  There's just now way to predict things.  The draft is probably worse in this regard.

 

That said, I think we can use stats like you do, to at least see if Grigson's behavior makes much sense.  If common patterns pop out, and they reflect what could be good, solid reasoning, then that makes me feel better about the organization.  If it's all over the place and self-contradictory, that would make worried.  No matter how Landry pans out, I'm okay with the strategy here.

1 year, 6 months ago on Guest Post: Were the Colts Free Agents Worth the Money?

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 @mattshedd  Dude--your post is good, and a spelling mistake isn't a big deal.  The guy's name is Gosder Cherilus!!!  That name already looks misspelled!

 

Also, the idea that "oh, now you have no credibility and I have to verify all your stats".  Um--reading blogs is always about trust--no one can verify all this stuff.  I choose to place my trust in people based on if their analysis seems sound and carefully thought out.  Your post is a good example of that.  Spelling counts for very little with me--I believe it's a poor proxy for statistical inference.

 

In sum: rock on.

1 year, 6 months ago on Guest Post: Were the Colts Free Agents Worth the Money?

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 @JonathanCaldwell  At first I was gonna respond to the guy, but I think I'm better off if I imagine that SGV is a really good friend of the writer and that this is a big joke.  It makes me happier to believe that, so I'm just gonna do that.

1 year, 6 months ago on Guest Post: Were the Colts Free Agents Worth the Money?

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Oh, one more point on stats technique.  If I had the time, what I'd like to do is go beyond just last year.  I'm interested in how much does AV bounce around for a player?  Is it common for a guy to go (0.3, 0.8, 9.4, 1.2), or are more guys like (3.7, 4, 3.5, 2.8).  Both those players would have similar AV over four years, but I'd probably have more faith in the second one.  Then again--maybe it makes sense to swing for the first guy.

 

In any case, I bet that the reason FA is such a bad idea in general is that you pay for guys who are like (2, 2, 2, 9) cause you think they're on a good trajectory, when really what you just paid for is a guy who in a few years will look like (2, 2, 2, 9, 2, 2, 2).  It sounds like, with the exception of Landry, that Grigson got a bunch of guys who are (2, 2, 2) but whose situations suggest that their numbers are deflated--eg, Francois (a possible 8 sitting behind Aldon Smith, a 10), or Thomas (same situation).  I actually really like this approach because, even if Grigson is spending a lot--which, again, is irrelevant because of the Colts' cap situation--it shows that it's in a thoughtful way.  Grigson might still be wrong about all these guys, but he's not just going out and signing Albert Haynesworth to make the fan base happy.

1 year, 6 months ago on Guest Post: Were the Colts Free Agents Worth the Money?

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Great post...I liked the technique.  It's not perfect, but no technique will be, and this strikes me as a good, rough way to get a sense of things.

 

I think your takeaway is right--the Colts got a bunch of unproven, young guys.  Lots of upside.  But most importantly--there's almost zero downside.  Given all our cap space and Luck's rookie contract, it just doesn't matter all that much if we blow a lot of Irsay's cash for the next three years.  We have to spend this money anyway...and I don't think there are plausible alternatives.  If we spent less money, we wouldn't get the best people available.  If we wanted "marquee" guys like Jake Long or Mike Wallace, we'd have to spend even more money (and probably guarantee cash well into Luck's second contract, which would be the only big mistake you could make).  

 

So, the only question is, did Grigson roll the dice on the wrong guys?  Should he have gotten Vollmer instead of Cherilus?  Kept Freeney instead of Walden?  But as you rightly point out--we just don't know yet, and at this point, it makes sense to give Ryan "I found Jerrell Freeman" Grigson the benefit of the doubt.  FA rarely works out well, but if you have extra cash, doesn't it make sense to blow it and see?  It's not like you can use cap space to buy first round draft picks...

1 year, 6 months ago on Guest Post: Were the Colts Free Agents Worth the Money?

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And, optimistically, perhaps Pagano's background as a DB coach will help the Colts take advantage of Davis' skills and coach up his skills.

2 years ago on A Closer Look at Newcomer Vontae Davis | August

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I agree re the defense.  On offense, we know what we have--an old Reggie Wayne, a solid Donald Brown, an unspectacular line that needs reinforcement, Austin Collie, and not much else.  It makes sense to retool it.  On defense, though, it's much less clear what we have, since we won't know how folks will transition.  Makes sense, then, to go all in on Luck this year, making it easier on him (while still getting the best players available), and wait and see on the defense.

2 years, 4 months ago on Post Draft Thoughts | Articles

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Loved the article--he's a good writer, and I like the "find arbitrage opportunities" approach

2 years, 4 months ago on Interesting Taibbi Draft Theory | Articles

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That got me really excited!  Aaron Rodgers arm + Tebow body?  Nice

2 years, 4 months ago on Luck and ESPN Sports Science | Articles

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 @psvirsky Was the end of that comment a cry for help???

2 years, 7 months ago on Drama and Change is Boring | February

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Good stuff, as always.  It might complicate things if Peyton comes back...at this point, I'm most worried about getting good WRs/TEs for Luck.  If Peyton is back and close to his old self, the draft picks won't be as good.  Here's to hoping that they hit some home runs in later rounds on an WR/TE or two...

2 years, 7 months ago on Drama and Change is Boring | February

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I didn't hear about the "egg shells" rejoinder...that whole Irsay episode was embarrassing and disappointing.

All that said, Nate, I'm going to stick with what you said yesterday after Peyton's interview: nothing has changed. There is no new information. Insofar as no news is bad news (if Peyton could throw 60 yards, I think we would have seen it/heard of it by now), we still don't know how things will play out. I will grant you that Irsay's behavior has me feeling more worried about the kind of bad ending you assume is inevitable at this point.

2 years, 7 months ago on No Happy Endings for Peyton Manning in Indy | February

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Comparison becomes more apt with this Denver blowout...

2 years, 8 months ago on Boston Herald: Pats = Colts | Articles

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I love this article...well done

2 years, 8 months ago on Breaking Down Colts Key Veteran Contracts | January

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@DougEngland Yeah...everything you're saying makes sense. Let's hope it works out

2 years, 8 months ago on Jim Irsay Gets His Man | January

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@chad72 I'm with you--I'm optimistic, and the Eagles' success in the draft makes me feel better (as does the thought of him bringing some Eagles scouting...shouldn't we nab someone from a top drafting team every year to get the benefit of gems they've found but we haven't?)

2 years, 8 months ago on Jim Irsay Gets His Man | January

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@DougEngland I'm with you on the fact that we don't know if Grigson will be able to run the team well (he's never done it before). I'm not sure if the analogy is perfect, though. As I understand it, the GM still has to know a lot about, be a genius at, and do some talent evaluation. Maybe this isn't true everywhere, but Polian at least appeared to do a lot of talent evaluation. Being great at that is more important in a GM than being good at sales is for a manager overseeing a sales team who doesn't do any sales himself.

2 years, 8 months ago on Jim Irsay Gets His Man | January

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Kinda depressing but great article. The playoffs are all about luck...when teams are this even, and even the worst team will still win 1/3 or more of the time, you can pretty much throw out the idea that "the best team wins"

2 years, 8 months ago on Colts: Most Bizarre Playoff Stat in NFL History | January

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@martinkroeger@Peyton for President TO me, that still makes it horrible. Note that part of Polian being fired is that he was not accepted by the local media (maybe a small part, but a part nonetheless). This idea that he's not liked by the local media is driven, in turn, by bullshit like what Kravitz writes. It might get Kravitz more reads, but if his garbage in any way played a part in Polian leaving, it's unforgivable in my book.

2 years, 8 months ago on The Third Era of Irsay | January

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Good read...I'd be excited about him.

2 years, 8 months ago on A Vision of Jim Popp, Colts GM | Articles

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I agree with your reasoning--if you assume Manning's health is unclear by March 8, then comparing all three scenarios available (just Manning, just Luck, both), option three has the biggest chance of being a disaster. That doesn't mean it will be a disaster, though. People make irrational choices that end up working all the time, and vice versa (see Mike Smith's 4th down calls not working). In other words, saying that the Colts will make the decision with the biggest downside is NOT the same as saying the Colts are about to experience a disaster. Maybe the odds of a disaster have gone up, but there's also still a strong chance that Irsay makes the wrong call but things work out anyway. I'm not ready to be pessimistic until I see how the decision plays out, even if I disagree with the decision. But I also understand your negativity--it is well-founded and rational, just not my style.

2 years, 8 months ago on The Third Era of Irsay | January

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I don't think option 3 would doom the Colts to mediocrity. I view the playoffs as a crapshoot--any team can get hot and win it with some luck. I think that if they can re-sign Mathis and do well in the draft, the Colts will be good enough in scenario 3 to make the playoffs, which as I view it, is another way of saying "they'll be good enough to compete for a super bowl." Maybe the Colts would enter with a 10% chance of winning it all instead of a 20% chance in scenario 3 (compared to scenario 1), but in both cases, you wouldn't expect the Colts to win a super bowl in the next four years anyway. The most likely outcome in both scenario 1 and 3, then, with those numbers, is 4 years of playoff runs that end in a loss because shit is random. The only difference is, in scenario 3, you have a (presumably) better backup who can improve your odds from years 5-15. So, I think scenario 3 is okay, especially if they hit some home runs in the draft to improve the D and restock the receiving corps.

2 years, 8 months ago on Choose Your Own Adventure: The Colts 2012 Off-Season | January

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Was he even offered a job? Is it possible he interviewed but Irsay didn't like him?

2 years, 8 months ago on DeCosta says, "No thanks!" | Articles

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@psvirsky@matt_has@kasey_junk And for what it's worth, I have a buddy at Stanford who has gone to every home game. He has been wowed by Luck--saying he can make all the throws, that he looks like Peyton in terms of decision-making, but more athletic.

2 years, 8 months ago on How does Luck compare to other college QBs? | Articles

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@matt_has@kasey_junk I had the same impression watching the Oregon game. That said, it might be worth youtubing clips of Peyton at Tennessee and seeing if he pops off the screen. Maybe great college QBs just get the job done in unremarkable ways (as opposed to say, a Reggie Bush type)

2 years, 8 months ago on How does Luck compare to other college QBs? | Articles

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@Scott VanDyke@psvirsky That's another interesting part of the equation--how much pressure you put on the players you keep. If you draft Luck, he has to replace Manning, a pressure he wouldn't feel elsewhere.

As to your point, I see more pressure on Luck, a la Ricky Williams or Julio Jones. It's just cognitively easier to point to one guy and say "Is he worth all these picks? Is he worth [name] + [name]?" then to track down everyone drafted and do it in reverse--"Is [name] worth a fraction of Luck?" Just a gut feel, but I feel like the 1 guy in the trade gets more scrutiny.

2 years, 8 months ago on How does Luck compare to other college QBs? | Articles

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I really hope they stick with the same defense...it would doom us to a couple years of adjustment if not. That doesn't sound fun

2 years, 8 months ago on We're all looking offense but we should be thinking defense. | Articles

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@psvirsky Yeah, I'm nervous too. On the other hand, if we end up with a dumb GM who important stats and likes Blaine Gabbert more than Andy Dalton, the upside is that if he picks Luck, our draft position protected him from making a truly franchise crushing mistake. What that says about the next few years/decade is ugly, though...

2 years, 8 months ago on How does Luck compare to other college QBs? | Articles

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@DougEngland HWSNBN went after Nate? Glad you read it so I don't have to. That guy is the absolute worst. Literally one of the dumbest people I've ever read on the internet, and that says something. Still, it's worth remembering this classic comic: http://xkcd.com/386/ .

It just shows that we have to do our part to make sure Colts Authority gains traction. There's a small, frightening possibility that when Irsay listens to "fans", he listens to dudes like HWSNBN.

2 years, 8 months ago on MUST READ: Phil B on Polian's terror | Articles

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@psvirsky@squirrel@Nate Dunlevy Yeah, and not just the talent. If a GM came in two years ago or even last year, they are in Caldwell's position. If they win, it's "they didn't do anything but keep the Colts the same". If they lose, it's "this new guy was a disaster." Now, if the Colts win it looks more like righting the ship through a difficult time

2 years, 8 months ago on MUST READ: Phil B on Polian's terror | Articles

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@squirrel@Nate Dunlevy Also, last year was Chris' first year at the helm, and that role will only increase. So while it might be worth keeping Bill around for his talent (even as he started to take a back seat), it made less sense each year that Chris' responsibility increased, and it makes less sense this year, when you might have the best shot at attracting the top GM talent (assuming the chance to really shape the Colts' future attracts more talent)

2 years, 8 months ago on MUST READ: Phil B on Polian's terror | Articles

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Nate--I think your thoughts are right. I assume Peyton will be okay, so I'd opt for trading the picks for a huge bounty, and re-tooling at WR, TE, and the secondary positions.

That said, I disagree with the certainty of your feelings on keeping both. I also think it's a bad idea, but I'd leave room for the possibility that we're both wrong on this. Who knows--maybe the Colts re-sign Mathis, get lucky on some late round talent, and put together a run next year. Maybe Manning gets re-injured? In other words, I think we agree that of all outcomes, keeping both has a small chance of not failing, but it's not a zero percent chance.

2 years, 8 months ago on Luck and Manning Will Not Co-exist | January

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I"m coming around on this view...given that Polian probably won't trade the #1 pick (the best option, in my opinion), then it's better to get the #2 and focus on improving the team now, waiting a few years to try to get a pro bowl QB and overhaul the team before then. In the meantime, the Colts offense goes back to Pats/Packers/Saints territory, and the defense hopefully gets a little better.

2 years, 8 months ago on Eyes in the Backfield-Jaguars

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@psvirsky Well, maybe Nate takes this to mean "short throws are good enough" at best and "deep throws are non-existent"?

Also, one more downer caveat--Peyton saved Joe Addai's job. Peyton took less money almost specifically for Addai to come back...without that, does Addai play in the NFL to start the season? Considering that, it makes sense that Addai would have Peyton's back...

2 years, 9 months ago on Addai: Manning's good enough in short yardage

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Brad Johnson sounds right to me, and why I'd rather trade the pick and get a ton of guys in the next couple year (and hope Polian can nab a Dalton-esque, Rodger-esque, Marino-esque, or Brees-esque QB in the late 1st round early 2nd round). Everyone talks about Luck as a sure thing--but there is no such thing as a sure hall of famer. A sure Brad Johnson or Vinny Testaverde? Maybe...but the "sure" next John Elway? I don't think there's such a thing.

2 years, 9 months ago on What is the #1 pick worth?

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Hopefully this means his velocity is high enough that the deep level stuff should be okay...I've always heard that arm strength is important not so much for the deep throws as for getting zip on the short ones...

2 years, 9 months ago on Addai: Manning's good enough in short yardage

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I don't know about Florio's reasoning...Condon is the most famous agent in the game, right? Does the top pick going to his (huge) agency really mean anything? Also, wouldn't CAA have some policy in place to deal with conflicts of interest? I mean, if they represent Peyton and ANY Colts player, there's a conflict there, as Florio defines it (e.g., CAA would want Freeney to get the biggest deal, so they might encourage Manning to take less or vice versa?). Just seems like a lot of speculation, and a huge leap to go from "Luck might join the biggest agency in the NFL world" to "Peyton and Luck have a secret plan"

2 years, 9 months ago on Luck and Manning planning?

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??? I'm confused...did they just not do the math that Nate did?

2 years, 9 months ago on Texans and a coin could decide the draft

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great work...you scooped adam schefter, which says something!

2 years, 9 months ago on The Tie Breaker

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"Any QB with any leverage who willing chose to come and sit behind a Hallf of Famer for three or four years isn't worth the number one pick in my book. I suspect most fans would vilify him"

I think this goes too far. I doubt fans would vilify him for keeping his head down and staying in Indy behind Peyton. I bet most fans would be excited he's staying, with some doubters mixed in.

As to the first sentence, I guess you're right--having a number 1 pick sit for 3/4 years wastes upside. But we just can't know the situation fully till a) we know if Manning is healthy (in which case it might not be 3/4 years) and b) what we could get for Luck. If people won't trade enough value for Luck, it could be that keeping him is better than any alternative.

2 years, 9 months ago on Thursday Open Thread: Lucky, Lucky, You're So Lucky

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I'm naturally a skeptic about college players. Two reasons this makes me worried:

1) San Francisco's offense has been dumbed down. Grantland had a great article about how Harbaugh is simplifying the offense for Alex Smith, which has led to Smith having his best year. By taking out route adjustments based on reads, the offense has worked better. In other words, does this mean that Luck is running a dumbed down NFL offense? How do we know he'd be able to transition to a real one? If Alex Smith is managing the 49ers well (against pro defenses, no less), does it really mean much if Luck is running is excellently (against college defenses)?

2) A thought experiment...is it possible that being able to run an "NFL-lite" offense in the college game is a huge advantage? If so, my worry, which is the flip side of my point above, is that that being able to run an NFL-lite offense with Alex Smith-like competence could make you look like a genius against college teams. You'll seem NFL ready because you're doing "NFL-like" things, but it's actually not a good sign that you'll be more than average at the next level, when defenses are built to play against complex offenses.

Thoughts?

2 years, 9 months ago on Is Luck NFL-ready?

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