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Great season Nate - appreciate your writing. Not sure if you heard, but Irsay is already talking about getting "tougher". So brace yourself for another off-season of bolstering the run game, and against the run.
2 months, 4 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/eyes-in-the-backfield-patriots-45-colts-7.html
Good article - like always. Just one point of clarification about the fake punt. It was not "called" by the coaches. It is always an option when the defense gives a certain look (uncovered gunner). Its up to Boomstick to call it at the line. He did and the rest is history. Just clarifying because the call had nothing to do with the coaches lack of confidence in the game plan.
3 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/eyes-in-the-backfield-cowboys-42-colts-7.html
Good article Nate. I admire this team's resolve. Andrew has made it a habit to make-up for his mistakes throughout his career. Back at Stanford, if he threw an interception, chances were he would lead the team to a TD on the next possession (there was a stat about this somewhere). He has that same knack now. Of course, it would be nice to lessen the number of turnovers, but I take comfort in his ability to overcome them.
4 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/eyes-in-the-backfield-colts-25-browns-24.html
@GeorgeCostanzaIII @Nate Dunlevy @ScottComstock It's easy to be critical of Grigson - and I have. However, people (i.e. Constanzalll) fail to realize how difficult it is to build a team with free agents. When Grigson took over, he was given a pile of cash to spend and lots of holes on the roster to fill. He HAD to spend the money and he HAD to fill the roster. Did he over pay for some free agents? Of course. EVERYBODY overpays for free agents. Did he swing and miss on some guys? Of course. That's the nature of the free agent beast. Really good players never hit the free agent market. The talent pool is filled with guys who have warts - i.e. they are old (Jackson), coming off injury (Bradshaw, Toler), have yet to prove themselves (Ricky Jean, Donald Thomas), or were simply not that good (Landry). You have to accept these warts when signing free agents, because those are the only guys to choose from.
Since Constanzalll seems to have all of the answers, I'm sure he will respond with a list of guys that would have been better than the guys we got. Hindsight makes that easy. However, the reality is that building a team with free agents is destine to fail long-term. That's why the worst move Grigson has made is trading away the 1st round pick for T.Rich. Not only is Rich terrible, but the opportunity lost with the 1st round pick is huge.
4 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/eyes-in-the-backfield-colts-23-jaguars-3.html
@silentkman @Johnny_Socko @Nate DunlevyYou're right. No need for name calling. My mistake.
4 months, 4 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/eyes-in-the-backfield-patriots-42-colts-20.html
@Nate Dunlevy @Johnny_Socko @silentkman Don't think Powers fits the "man-to-man" scheme. He's purely a zone coverage guy, which is why we had him under the old regime. When you think about it, the transformation of this team has been massive. Going from 4-3 with primarily zone secondary, to a 3-4 with man coverage. Not to mention going from an offense designed for passing to a "power running game" (chuckle). The cast of players that are effective in both systems is very low. So it requires a whole new roster to make this kind of change work. Such a drastic overhaul requires time and is fraught with pitfalls. Sigh....at least we have Luck!
5 months ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/eyes-in-the-backfield-patriots-42-colts-20.html
@Nate Dunlevy @Johnny_Socko @silentkman Lol, I love the idea of fixing ANYTHING on defense as well. Its sure easy to be critical of Grigson, and I have. However, looking back, he was dealt a pretty bad hand. When he came in the decks were cleared and he was sitting on a pile of cap space. He had to spend it. The majority of those signings have been mediocre to bad. But, that's the nature of free agents. The really, really good players never hit the open market, so the player pool to choose from is suspect. But Grigson had to fill the roster and he did. The one glaring mistake - and it was big - was the T.Rich trade. Hard to overcome that.
@Nate Dunlevy @Johnny_Socko @silentkman Agreed. However, I still think having some semblance of a running game is important. I've heard many coaches talk about how incredibly hard it is to throw 40+ times in a game. It puts tremendous stress on the O-line and QB. Clearly, Indy always needs to be pass-based as long as we have Luck. But having a little balance with the running game will make him more effective, not less.
@Nate Dunlevy @silentkman Silentkman is obviously an idiot, but.....why say last year didn't work too well? We lost in the 2nd round of the playoffs. That's no better or worse than 11 of Peyton's 13 years with the Colts. If anything, getting stomped into the ground by N.E. twice in the past year gives more credence to the idea we need to get better against the run. Just because the execution of that philosophy has been a failure doesn't mean the idea is bad.
@Nate Dunlevy @Johnny_Socko Look at the roster moves on defense: Jackson, Landry, Redding, Jones, Ricky-Jean. All considered better run defenders than pass defenders. Plus we lose a HOF pass rusher. And yet the defense is somehow better defending the pass. It's truly bizarre. Maybe we are missing the forest because of the trees.
Plus, I'm not sure DVOA is doing the Colts justice. Take last week for example. We ran the ball consistently well and completely shut down the Bengals running game. How is it that our rushing DVOA's are so bad?
5 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/eyes-in-the-backfield-colts-27-bengals-0.html
Hey Nate, give this some thought. You have long preached building a team to pass and stop the pass. Interestingly, the Colts have done just the opposite (at least in terms of roster construction). Nevertheless, the team's offensive & defensive passing DVOA's are now much improved. You seem to think this is because of a change in coaching philosophy; however, could it be that the Colt's roster construction has forced teams to play us differently? Meaning since we are now better suited to run and stop the run, it has actually resulted in a net gain in the passing metrics. Could it be the flawed Grigson/Pagano mantra has actually worked in a bizarro sort of way?
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.
1 year, 6 months 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.
1 year, 6 months 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.
1 year, 6 months 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, 11 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.
2 years, 3 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.
2 years, 4 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.
2 years, 6 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.
2 years, 6 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?
2 years, 6 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.
3 years ago on Gary Brackett Talks to Colts Authority | April
@Nate Dunlevy @rogcohen Luck=Super Bowls. I hope so. C'mon Andrew!
3 years 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.
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.
3 years, 5 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.
3 years, 5 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.
3 years, 6 months ago on Thursday Open Thread: Most Wins Edition
@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.
3 years, 6 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.
3 years, 6 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.
3 years, 7 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.
3 years, 7 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.
3 years, 7 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.
3 years, 8 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?