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As usual, nice article Ben. However, being critical because there is separation between Butler/Toler and the receiver is setting the bar way too high. This is normal throughout the NFL. There are only 2 or 3 DB's in the league who can just throw a blanket over WR's (i.e. Revis, Haden). I think the problem making judgments by looking at screenshots is that you can't see the closing speed that most DB's rely on. Of course they are going to allow separation to these extremely talented WR's, but the key is their ability to react when the ball is thrown to make the catch difficult and/or tackle the WR immediately.
9 months, 2 weeks ago on Abridged All-22: Masking Poor Coverage & the Peyton Prism
@MarcusDugan Thanks for the clarification Marcus. I was just surprised to see so many runs for no gain on what I thought was going to be a "highlight" reel. Nevertheless, "Boom" still looks like a "Bust" to me. He doesn't appear to have the speed to turn the corner at all, and I see very little tackle breaking ability. With a nickname like Boom I was expecting to see a battering ram, but I guess not.
9 months, 2 weeks ago on Colts Sign RB Daniel Herron and LB Andy Studebaker
That is the most lack luster highlight video I've ever seen. "Boom" looks terrible.
@Nate Dunlevy @Johnny_Socko @Bobman1 I'll take your word for it on the AV numbers. Perhaps my expectations on 2nd round picks is clouded by the Colts recent history of failure in the 2nd round. I.E. Ben Ijalana, Mike Pollak, and Tony Ugoh. Along with modest success with Angerer and Moala. Nevertheless, Davis was a beast last week (granted against a JV team), so anywhere near that level of production the rest of the year will justify the trade for me.
9 months, 3 weeks ago on Eyes in the Backfield: Seahawks
@Nate Dunlevy @Bobman1 Couple of questions Nate
1) So Davis has to be healthy and amazing all year for the trade to be worthwhile? Why do you set the bar so high for a 2nd round pick? Based on your draft pick articles, you of all people should understand the reality that typical production from draft picks is far less than people think. Your standard for Davis seems out of whack.
2) I agree that T.Rich looks underwhelming. That said, why is the deal philosophically bad? I assume because you think RB's should never be taken that high? But then why did the great(or not so great) Bill Polian draft a RB in the first round 3 times?
@Nate Dunlevy @gbearrin Hmm.....OK. So is Pep Hamilton supposed to coach that skill back into Luck's game? I suppose the change away from Arian's deep pass oriented offense may help, but I'm not convinced that Luck (or anyone for that matter) is able to avoid hits as well as Peyton. So a little more talent on the o-line seems like a good idea to me. Remember, it's not like we have devoted a huge amount of cap space to the line. There is not a pro-bowler among the group.
1 year, 2 months ago on What to Expect 2013: Hough Thornton and Khaled Holmes
@Nate Dunlevy @gbearrin Nate - I see your point (to a point), but worry that Andrew Luck has already shown that he is NOT capable of avoiding the rush as well as Peyton. In fact, I'm not sure anybody is as adept at avoiding taking hits as Peyton. This skill is extremely rare and it seems like you are just giving it to Andrew without acknowledging what took place on the field. Luck took a TON of hits last year. So many, that his career could be put in serious jeopardy if that were to continue. For this reason, I'm on-board with spending resources to upgrade the line.
@7IHd @dmstorm22 Alfred Morris is an average talent. I think its more likely he has been effective because defenses are focusing on RG3.
1 year, 7 months ago on Eyes in the Backfield: Chiefs
I'm a huge Colts and Luck fan, but I would vote rookie of the year as follows: RG3 1st, Wilson 2nd, and Luck 3rd. ROTY is a stat award and those guys easily have the best stats. When people argue "well his team is better, so...." they are trying too hard to justify a vote for Luck. Accept the fact somebody else deserves ROTY, and just be thankful we have Luck for the next 15 years.
@buymymonkey He is correct, although perhaps a little overstated. Columbus is about 45 minutes south of Indy. It's well known in the architecture world for having an unusually large number of showcase buildings. Check it out on Wiki.
1 year, 7 months ago on Eyes in the Backfield: Texans
Nice summary. The pace for 803 drop backs is alarming, and gives me more reason to wonder what the hell Bruce Arians is thinking. Luck is taking MASSIVE hits on a regular basis. This can't be good for his long-term development as a QB. Arians seems hell-bent on going empty backfield and sending everybody out into the pattern. This leaves just our 5 offensive linemen in protection, one of whom is bound to get beaten badly on any given play. Adding to the misery is Luck's penchant to try to make the big play downfield. While I admire his courage, I would coach him to hit the hot read receiver more often to avoid getting crushed.
1 year, 9 months ago on Following a Legend: Andrew Luck Week 6 at New York Jets | October
In addition to the things mentioned in the article, I'm upset with the offensive philosophy. It seems no care is being taken to protect Andrew Luck, despite the fact our o-line is obviously a weakness. Countless times yesterday we emptied the backfield and sent both TE's out in the pattern, leaving our 5 duds on the o-line helpless to protect against the pass rush. This plan would be OK if Luck was getting rid of the ball quickly to the hot reads, but he is not. Instead, Andrew is running for his life and trying to make a big plays downfield. In the process, he is taking HUGE hits on a regular basis. I fear Luck will develop the "David Carr Syndrome", meaning his progress as a player will be stunted by the constant hits he is taking as a rookie.
On top of this, the coaches left Luck in the game when we were 26 points down with less than 2 minutes to play. What were they trying to prove here? All we managed to do was have Luck take a few more beatings in a hopeless situation. I would have liked to see Harnish get one series of play in this situation.
1 year, 9 months ago on Colts Monday Musings: Let's talk about the Coaches | October
Nice article Greg. I'm fairly new here and am curious about your background, especially as it relates to poker. I dabble in this world a bit and wonder if I've seen you "at the table".
The Vegas line for the game is Packers by 7, which seems way, way too low. I can't imagine any scenario were the Packers score less than 38 points and would not be surprised if they break 50. Does Vegas know something we don't?
1 year, 9 months ago on Eyes in the Backfield-Packers | October
"Winning" was one of the slew of books I got for Christmas this year. I haven't read it yet, but am anxious to get started. Gary certainly has a great life story to tell. In addition, everyone should be proud of the Impact Foundation that Gary started. It is a wonderful charitable organization that offers aid to kids suffering from serious illnesses. All Colts fans should be proud of the years Gary was with the team. Thanks for posting the interview Nate.
2 years, 3 months ago on Gary Brackett Talks to Colts Authority | April
@Nate Dunlevy @rogcohen Luck=Super Bowls. I hope so. C'mon Andrew!
2 years, 3 months ago on Did the 1998 Colts Have More Talent than the 2012 Colts? | March
@rogcohen Nail on the head. When Polian took over he inherited a HOF RB and WR, as well as the #1 pick in the draft that became a HOF QB. When viewed like this, its fairly easy to say that Polian and the Colts under-achieved during the Peyton era. I hate to say it, but we should have 3 or 4 SB rings instead of 1.
@Nate Dunlevy I'm sorry, but defending the Faulk trade because it prevented future hold-outs is an absurd argument. Hold-outs are a part of doing business in the NFL. Who cares if a guy holds out of training camp, he will eventually sign and no harm done. I'd much rather have Faulk and his HOF career and a few hold-outs over the years than stinking 2nd and 5th round picks.
2 years, 4 months ago on Did the 1998 Colts Have More Talent than the 2012 Colts? | March
This article highlights Bill Polian's biggest downfall - the Marshall Faulk trade. What a disaster and complete shame. I will NEVER forgive Polian for this debacle. He gave away a Hall of Fame RB in the prime of his career for 2nd and 5th round picks. No excuse. He should have signed Faulk to a long-term deal and used the 4th pick in the draft on Champ Bailey or Javon Kearse or Torry Holt or Booger McFarland or.....anybody else for that matter. Faulk was obviously awesome in St. Louis, but can't help but think he would have been even better if paired with Manning all those years.
@Nate Dunlevy You are totally missing my point. I didn't say the draft picks were bad, I said none of them are currently providing ANY help to the team. There is no debating that.
Also, I find your argument for the "pre Super Bowl" drafts funny. Basically, you are saying since we won the SB, its obvious all the drafts were great? OK, we are now 0-7 and just got beat 62 - 7. Using your simplistic argument, all our recent drafts must be crap. I don't believe that, but that's what your logic tells me.
2 years, 9 months ago on Eyes in the Backfield-Titans
I understand what you are trying to say with #1, but the "Pro Bowl" standard is setting the bar too high. The problem with the Colts recent 1st round picks is that they are not contributing in ANY way. None of the first round picks from 2005- 2010 played any significant role in last weeks game. Yes, injuries are responsible for much of the lack of production - but that doesn't soften the blow to the team. In the modern NFL, its hard to be competitive with such a glaring hole from the first round picks.
@matt_has Damn, that means the Colts are going to have to suck again next year! j/k Getting Luck would be the BIGGEST stroke of good fortune since the Colts moved to Indy. Even more fortunate than getting Manning because we actually -earned- the Manning pick by being a god awful team. In contrast, I don't think we are a terrible team this year, just totally knocked off course by the timing of the Manning injury. Luck could be the John Elway we never had.
2 years, 9 months ago on Thursday Open Thread: Most Wins Edition
I've heard Luck compared to John Elway much more often than Manning. Maybe thats because of the Standford connection, but I think its also because of his "game". I'd guess Luck's chances as follows: GREAT 50%, GOOD 25%, AVERAGE 10%, BUST 10%, INJURY 5%. The Colts would be foolish to pass on him.
@Nate Dunlevy It doesn't matter if you've written 100 articles on QBR because you still don't get it. Not recognizing it as an "eye ball test" shows a complete lack of understanding about how QBR is formulated. The only reason QBR is not more widely accepted is because it is highly labor intensive (and therefore expensive) for ESPN to generate. Therefore, any other media outlet that wants to use the stat must credit ESPN and/or pay for using it. Neither of which other media sources are fond of doing.
QBR is the perfect stat to use for the analysis you are trying to make. The whole design of QBR is to gauge the quality of play from the quarterback, taking all other game factors into consideration. It is far superior to the conventional statistical measures you are using.
2 years, 9 months ago on Has Curtis Painter Outplayed Kerry Collins?
@Nate Dunlevy Just to beat this dead horse some more (pun intended), let's compare the merits of your analysis vs. QBR.
QBR: developed by a panel of experts who have played and/or coached football at the highest possible level and devoted their entire lives the game. In addition, the QBR rating is developed with the help of coaches video tape (showing the entire field), and factors into the equation the relative contribution of teammates on any given play.
DZ's Analysis: developed by a loyal Colts fan with no actual football qualifications other than having watched the game on TV or in the stands. This analysis was also created by watching the Tampa game on TV only and is based on conventional passer stats that we all recognize have limited application.
Conclusion: While I appreciate your effort, it is clear that the merits of QBR are far, far greater than you can produce.
@Nate Dunlevy Its clear from your arguments against QBR that you do not understand the concept of this stat - at all.
@Nate Dunlevy LOL! Stick your head in the sand and I will do the same.
Sorry Nate, but the Total QBR stat blows a torpedo size hole in your theory. QBR clearly shows Painter performed better than Collins, but a rather substantial margin. This stat is particularly meaningful because it is more of an "eyeball" test than the raw stats you used. You may have to back-off your argument.
@ruascott Yes -this is exactly correct. Its insane to try and prove anything with stats with such a small sample size. Football is not a game that is easily quantified with stats to begin with, much less after 1 lousy game.
Nevis and Angerer are nice players, but the Colts are far from talent rich. As the losses continue to pile-up without Manning it will become even more clear how many flaws Peyton covered-up.
2 years, 10 months ago on Tape Study: Bringing the Blitz
@Nate Dunlevy@jorgel Nate, sorry to belittle this point, but your logic is just faulty. You, me, and every fan of the Colts knew Painter sucked. How this obvious point was missed by Polian is beyond strange. I don't care IF or WHO was backing Painter to Polian, it should have been painfully obvious to somebody of Bill's football intelligence that Painter was an embarassment to the game. There is simply no evidence this was NOT Big Bill's decision all along. Afterall, he drafted Painter in the first place.
2 years, 11 months ago on More Fallout from Collins Deal
@Nate Dunlevy@matt_has This is interesting and scary. Anybody have details on what Cooper's problem was and how it might be similar to Petyon's injury?
@Nate Dunlevy@jorgel@thejoshbaker Everybody knows NaPolian runs this team with an iron fist. He listens to nobody. He's already on record saying Collins will start against Hou. if Manning can't play. Most teams leave that decision to the coach, but not the Colts. Every decision made on 56th Street involves Big Bill. You just need to admit HE made the mistake this time, instead of trying to pass it off on somebody else.
@thejoshbaker He said it yesterday. I believe the quote was "heads should roll for this" and he insisted somebody needs to be held responsible.
Sorry Nate, but I don't understand your angst about this. You have constantly defended Polian's every move over the past decade without hesitation, and now all of a sudden he should be fired because Manning's injury is taking longer to heal? The best doctors in the world (I'm assuming) said it would be an 8 week recovery. Manning has no prior history of being a "slow healer", so how was Polian supposed to anticipate this?
Besides, since you always gush about Polian's great drafting ability, shouldn't the team be talented enough to win a few games without Peyton?
Could this be the first sign of tension between the Irsay - Polian partnership? Most people seem to think Irsay has been the driving force behind this signing - although Polian and Collins clearly have a history together. Either way, Irsay's constant tweeting has to drive Polian Sr. crazy. Bill is such a control freak, I can only imagine the temper tantrums he has thrown about some of Jimmy's tweets.
2 years, 11 months ago on Watch Me Make a Fool of Myself (and other Collins related links)
Is the author the same Bobman who posts regularly on Football Outsiders message boards? I always appreciate his witty comments.
2 years, 11 months ago on An Outsider's View of Preseason Football
FWIW, I watched Hughes closely last week and was not that unhappy with his performance. He had good pressure up the middle on Bradford with a line stunt on one play. He also held his ground on a couple of running plays to his side of the field. Granted, he also got blown off the ball on several running plays as well. Lack of strength is my primary concern about him. I'm not giving up on him yet, but the concern level is about 9 on a 10 point scale.
2 years, 11 months ago on How Soon is Too Soon to Judge Jerry Hughes?
Nice work Nate! Question, does this include outside LB's in a 3-4 scheme? I know some of these guys evolved into OLB's (as you note); however, I wonder about the guys who were drafted "pass rush specialists" in a 3-4 defense?
@Merr@Nate Dunlevy I really, really hope you are right about Collie making it through the season, but I fear that you are wrong. Good point about Marvin avoiding hits. He was excellent at that and was able to have a long career because of it, despite weighing about 170 pounds dripping wet.
2 years, 11 months ago on The Fraud that is Preseason Football
@Nate Dunlevy 1. Collie played outside WR in college and lead the NCAA in receiving, so why is this not his natural position? Wayne has already proven he can move to the slot for the Colts.
2. Ha, OK, I'll start working on those stats right away! Seriously, there are no stats to prove it, its just common sense. The injury rate may not be different at all, but the types of hits and frequency of hits are unquestionably different in the middle of the field than on the outside.
I'm not making any conclusions about Collie from that play. Clearly the ball was WAY overthrown, so it probably means nothing. I just thought his reaction was "interesting" given his recent history. He is under a microscope early this year because I am looking for any signs of hesitation. Thats all.
@Nate Dunlevy Couple of points:
1) Why would moving Collie outside hurt the team? Wayne is capable at playing the slot and Collie is capable of playing outside.
2) Regarding potential injury, apparently I see a bigger difference between slot and outside WR than you do? IMO, the slot receiver is routinely catching balls in the middle of the field, where LB's and safeties are looking for kill shots. Outside WR's are typically covered by CB's, with occasional help from a safety on long post patterns. Simply stated, the slot guy is just more likely to get blind-sided (and by bigger guys) than an outside WR.
3) Obviously, all football players run the risk of getting hurt. But not all the positions are equal in this regard. I believe it takes a special instinct, body type, and playing style to avoid injury when playing the slot. Some guys are just made for this position and others are not. If Collie doesnt have these necessary qualities to play slot, then why not move him outside? As an analogy, it makes no sense to play a 180 pound guy at nose tackle (he would get killed), but its perfectly acceptable to have a 180 pound CB. Granted, this is an extreme comparison, but my point is that certain guys are best suited for certain positions.
COLLIE: Am I the only one with fears that Collie won't make it through the season again this year? I'm so disappointed the Colts have chosen to put him right back in the slot position. He will be asked to run the same seam & crossing patters as last year and its only a matter of time until he takes another big hit. IMO, he should be moved to an outside WR where he could be equally as effective, with less risk of being "jacked-up". The best slot receivers have special instincts to avoid taking the knock-out hits (think Hines Ward, Wes Welker, Devon Bess, Stokely). I fear Collie does not have these same instincts. He has shown to be fearless going over the middle (which is admirable), but without the instinct to avoid the big hit, his courage is only going to put him in dangerous situations.
Plus, it remains to be seen if he will still have as much courage this year. Its only human nature to be a little hesitant after the big hits he took last year. As you might recall, he short-armed a ball in the Jaguars game last year prior to being knocked out. Also, in the game Saturday he make a half-hearted attempt to catch the pass from Painter that was intercepted. Granted, this ball was BADLY (horribly) overthrown, but I thought Collie's reaction to stick one arm up in the air without jumping was interesting.
I would be much more comfortable moving Wayne to the slot, who has proven to be effective there in the past. Put Collie on the outside and let him work his magic there.
Love this post, thanks for sharing Nate. Siesta sounds like a GREAT idea.
2 years, 11 months ago on 18 Things I Miss About Argentina
@Nate Dunlevy What have the Jets won? Are you kidding? They beat the Colts last year on our home field with a 2nd year QB, and were in the AFC championship the year before with a rookie QB!
Why would you rather pay Diem $5 mil when you know he sucks, than take a chance on Haynesworth would at least has the potential to be all-pro? If Fat Albert starts to become a problem, then NE can just cut him and its no big loss. Its low risk and high reward.
2 years, 12 months ago on Myths Abound About Free Agency
@Nate Dunlevy Nate, your #7 point is just absurd. Not every free agent or possible trade is a big pile of dung. You totally overstate the argument that free agents and trades do not work. Would the Saints win the SB without Brees, Vilma, or Sharper? How would the Packers without Charles Woodson? What about the Jets without Cromartie, Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Mangold, and Bart Scott? Selective roster moves (be it free agents or trades) can make a team better. It's a fact. Yes, there is risk involved, but that's the nature of the beast. I would much rather be spending $5 million on Albert Haynesworth and Ryan "f-ing" Diem.
I'll add some angst to the comments. Here are my points:
1) Yes, the Colts have traditionally built through the draft and have been very successful.
2) Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons we have not gotten much production from the 1st and 2nd round draft picks for several years. (see Pollack, Brown, Hughes, Gonzo, Jackson, etc..) This is mostly due to injuries, and partially due to just not being very good. The reason doesn't matter, the lack of production does.
3) When Manning retires, the Colts will almost certainly suck. I have already accepted this as fact, although there is the slim possibility we will find the next Tom Brady in the 6th round.
4) Given the above points, the Colts should be willing to sacrifice the future in order to fill some glaring needs on the team now. I'm not talking about signing guys just because they have big names (call that the Redskins method, which clearly doesn't work). I'm talking about filling holes with selective free agent signings and trades (ala the Jets, Saints, Pats)
5) The Colts have done this in the past (see Booger McFarland). Unfortunately, we have some glaring holes now and so far there has been no effort to do anything about it. Last year the OL was a complete mess before the season even started and nothing was done about it. Sorry Adam Terry just didn't fit the bill.
6) I'm ready to trade future draft picks in an effort to shoot for the moon the next couple of years. Yes, it's a gamble, but I'd rather go down with my guns blazing than watch Manning's career just fade away with an aging and untalented team around him.
7) Nate, I know you will respond asking me for specific names and salaries for free agents or trades to pursue. Sorry, I don't have access to that type of information. However, Chris Polian does and he should use it rather than sitting on his hands. He needs to show more creatively with the cap.
Uh oh.....Nate is like the Grim Reaper for radio jobs. Hope Derek still has a job tomorrow, unlike Mark Patrick. :)
2 years, 12 months ago on Dunlevy on XL950
I wouldn't mind seeing Stokely back in a Colts uniform. It was reported he signed with the Redskins yesterday, but now its reported he backed out of that deal. Brandon would be an upgrade over Blair White and provide insurance for Collie.
2 years, 12 months ago on Colts Re-sign Bullitt and Vinatieri