1. Welcome to San Diego Chargers NFL Football Podcast and Forum!

    Bolt Talk is one of the largest online communities for the San Diego Chargers. We host a regular Chargers podcast during the season. You are currently viewing our community forums as a guest user.

    Create an Account or

    Having an account grants you additional privileges, such as creating and participating in discussions. Furthermore, we hide most of the ads once you register as a member!
    Dismiss Notice

The Case for Improvement

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Jesse Kemp, Aug 10, 2016.

  1. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2013
    Messages:
    1,112
    Ratings:
    +534
    I'm not sure if everyone is aware of this, but we sucked last year. However, one of the fun things about the NFL is that turnarounds don't have to be a slow process-- especially when you have a great quarterback. While far from guaranteed (realistically, I'd actually say it's improbable), a major turnaround to a PO berth could happen for a number of reasons. Here they are, as I see them:

    1. Health: The Bolts have been snake bit in this department for a number of years. Some of that is undoubtedly a result of constructing a roster of injury prone players, but the majority of the problem really comes down to bum luck. Footballoutsiders has a stat called Adjusted Games Lost. This is a more nuanced way of looking at injuries, as it takes into account starters vs. backups and players who take the field while injured. In 2015, the Chargers were 27th in AGL. In 2014, they were 31st. In 2013, they were 28th. Basically, since this new regime took over they have been the 2nd most injured franchise in the NFL behind the Giants. This has been the biggest reason why we can't get over the double digit hump, and will regress toward the mean... someday.

    2. Close Calls: In 2015, 12 of the Chargers 16 games were decided by one score. In those contests, the Bolts were 3-9. Now some might say well yeah, we sucked and McCoy is a coward when the game is one the line. And you'd be right to some extent. However, the fact is that results in one score games are extremely volatile and random. Teams that do especially well or poorly in these contests tend to regress back towards the mean, or even to the other extreme from one season to another. These types of wins and losses are not nearly as predictive as blowouts, which do a much better job of demonstrating true superiority/inferiority. Just to show you what I'm talking about, the Chargers played in 7 one score games in 2014, and came out 5-2. It's not as though those two iterations of the Bolts were all that different.

    3. Turnovers: The Chargers were -4 in turnover differential in 2015. That isn't horrific, but it's below average and obviously hurts more than it helps. That was a result of two factors: 13 picks from Rivers, and a total of 20 fumbles. Let's take those one at a time. 13 INT's is actually Rivers' career average as a starter. So it's not like that number is totally out of whack. However, the average is pulled up by bad seasons (18 in 2014, 15 in 2012, 20 in 2011) where we could not protect him well, get open consistently, or run the ball. When he has a supporting cast, he's generally right around 10 (9 in 2006, 11 in 2008, 9 in 2009, 11 in 2013). This figures-- he's a smart, accurate QB, so when he has some combination of time, open receivers, or a running game he's generally pretty good at protecting the ball. Should the health issue improve, this will too. After Allen went down last year, Rivers had shoddy protection, no one to get open, and no running game to lean on. To counter those 13 picks, Chargers' defenders only managed 11 interceptions. Additionally, we fumbled the ball 20 times to our opponents' 14 and we were 22nd in rate of recovering our own fumbles, and 19th in rate of recovering opponent fumbles. What that means is that when a ball hit the turf last year, the Chargers were below average in recovering it regardless of who let it go-- that's a random stat that also tends to regress.

    4. Pythagorus, that old devil: If you're not familiar, the pythagorean theorem of the NFL is a means of looking at point differential and its predictive ability of wins and losses. In simple terms, the amount of points you score and are scored against you in a season should come out to a particular record the majority of the time. The Chargers finished -1.9 in PWE (Pythagorean Win Expectation), which was actually the biggest discrepancy of anyone in the league. This is closely tied to one score games, but basically what it means is that our scoring differential last year points to a 6-10 team, not a 4-12 one. Now that doesn't sound great, but it's actually pretty significant. Because it means we were really better than our record, so all the other factors (close games, turnovers, health, etc.) don't have to push us quite as far as one might think. If some health, luck, and turnovers go back our way to the tune of 4 more wins then this is a team good enough to hit double digits, technically. That isn't a pipe dream scenario for a team that was as unlucky as the Chargers last season.

    5. Additions, Subtractions, and Growth: The Bolts have come out of this offseason with better personnel on paper than they had a year ago. Let's look at the losses first. Weddle is the biggest and most obvious. But the loss is somewhat mitigated by his decline-- he was not his all-pro self in 2015. We still downgrade, but not as significantly as you might think. Green is the next most signficant name, but I don't view him as a big deal-- he's athletically talented but a poor fit here. He doesn't get open early enough in the down to fit how Rivers thrives. I think he could do well in Pittsburgh, but I don't view his departure as particularly damaging. Floyd is a loss as a familiar target, and lastly Patrick Robinson was playing some pretty good cornerback last season. Those are the losses of significance. Here are the additions to counter: with Green gone, the Chargers took the best TE in the draft. With Floyd gone, they signed Travis Benjamin and get Allen back from injury. They upgraded over the capable Robinsons with the more consistent and capable Hayward. And then there are the areas they added without actually losing anyone of significance: Mebane at NT, Slauson at C, and Bosa at DE (hopefully!). The depth looks better in most areas. As objectively as I can assess it, my calculus tells me that we came out worse at safety and better at several other positions. Net progress.

    Outside of the personnel, I think that Whisenhunt is a big, positive addition. Our offense was great under him in 2013. I put more stock in this than most, as I am a big believer in Whiz. There are a handful fo coaches in the NFL that can really outperform their rosters, and he isn't in that small group to be sure, but I do believe he's as good or better than many in the next tier. Circumstances have conspired against him in his previous stops in my humble opinion. Whatever your opinion, he's a proven OC who has succeeded here already.

    And that leaves the growth factor. The next step of young talent already on the roster will be a bigger help than any additions. Gordon, Oliver, Allen, Benjamin, Williams, Franklin, Fluker, Barksdale, Liuget, Ingram, Attaochu, Emanuel, Te'o, Perryman, Verrett, Hayward, Phillips, and Addae are all young enough players to still be on the ascent with their best ball ahead of them. Now don't mistake me-- I am NOT saying that all of them will improve or even be good. I am actually quite convinced that some will not. However, it's reasonable to assume that several will to the extent that there will be a net positive impact on the team.

    So there it is. That's my case. I think it's an extremely safe bet that the Chargers will have one of the biggest swings in terms of record in 2016. What remains to be seen is if it will be big enough to swing us into the postseason. It's certainly not impossible to imagine a healthier roster looking night and day different from the tire fire we saw last year. Let's hope for a big improvement, a fun season, and a team that makes people want to keep them around town. Also, for a FO that pulls its head out of its own backside and gets its 3rd overall pick into camp.

    What do you guys think?
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  2. The Nose

    The Nose Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2016
    Messages:
    28
    Ratings:
    +16
    Not sure yet... still reading. ;)
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
  3. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Messages:
    22,291
    Ratings:
    +4,401
    Perhaps break that down into flash cards..... discrete chunks of information. ;)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2013
    Messages:
    1,112
    Ratings:
    +534
    Nobody reads long forms any more. C'mon put your attention span through its paces!
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  5. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Messages:
    22,291
    Ratings:
    +4,401
    Well, I didn't see any Super Bowl prediction in there. Just a lot of "we won't suck as bad as last year" drivel. ;)
     
  6. The Nose

    The Nose Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2016
    Messages:
    28
    Ratings:
    +16
    You trying to come in here with a well written, thought provoking post? Well this is the internet, buddy!
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  7. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
    Messages:
    53,033
    Ratings:
    +4,976
    THAT IS IT! WE WILL HAVE NO UNBRIDLED OPTIMISM HERE! ROBDOG! GET THE BAN HAMMER!
     
  8. Lawyers guns & money

    Lawyers guns & money BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    439
    Ratings:
    +108
    **** just got real in here. Thanks Kemp
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Pointyearedog

    Pointyearedog I only put idiots on ignore...

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    5,344
    Ratings:
    +1,733
    Better than the "Thunder Hammer."
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  10. Lawyers guns & money

    Lawyers guns & money BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    439
    Ratings:
    +108
    We are gonna be much better. The health issue is a head scratcher. I have no idea why we are bottom 2 in injured players. Chao is gone so that can't be it.

    I also think the TO numbers will improve. Whiz will bring a more balanced attack and Gordon will hopefully hang on to the ball. Hopefully Slauson can anchor the line and give PR a pocket. He needs that badly.

    The close game numbers were putrid and McCoy has to stop turtling. Rivers made some ?? Decisions (end of GB) and I doubt that improves in his 13th year. I hated Frank Reich so let's blame him.

    I am skipping the Pythagorean bs.

    I think we got better. I like the picks, Perryman will have a full year, Ingram is improving, Flowers will be better this year. Reasons for optimism exist.

    Gotta stay healthy tho
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan

    Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Messages:
    6,981
    Ratings:
    +1,581
    I think I still have mine from the SMM days...it's in here somewhere....AH! Here 'tis:

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan

    Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Messages:
    6,981
    Ratings:
    +1,581
    Especially the O-Line.
     
  13. woodeye

    woodeye Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Messages:
    327
    Ratings:
    +51
    But you do know why we get injured...and I know. No it's not Evil Dr. Quack. Time for all this :poop: to get real. As they say in the song "...the :poop: has hit the fan."

    It was Eye.

    :eek:
     
  14. Lawyers guns & money

    Lawyers guns & money BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    439
    Ratings:
    +108
    I could not and wood not ever pin that :poop: on you.

    Send lawyers, guns and money
    The :poop: has hit the fan
     
  15. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
    Messages:
    53,033
    Ratings:
    +4,976
    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Messages:
    22,291
    Ratings:
    +4,401
    Oh, on that injury thing..... Stevie Johnson is done for the year. So much for turning over a new leaf.
     
  17. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
    Messages:
    53,033
    Ratings:
    +4,976
    One does not say the L word or one get the hose again...
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan

    Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Messages:
    6,981
    Ratings:
    +1,581
    Yeah, but we were ok depth wise in receivers. Adding James Jones doesn't hurt either.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Messages:
    22,291
    Ratings:
    +4,401
    You mean until the next one goes down. ;)
     
  20. Chaincrusher

    Chaincrusher BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2015
    Messages:
    2,316
    Ratings:
    +301
    1. Health: Yes, we have been on the high side in terms of injuries. No, that is not the primary reason why we have not been able to crack double digits in terms of wins. Other teams have injuries as well. But what they don't have is a run defense that has been consistently in the bottom handful of teams in the league, almost zero pass protection and no running game. The loss of Allen in particular hurt, but as a reality check, we were 2-5 when that injury happened.

    2. Close Calls: Three of the 9 losses by one score or less were by 7 points and a fourth was by 8 points. We weren't on the verge of winning those games. We were a score away from getting those games to OT. A 5th game was was a home loss to the Steelers without Roethlisberger. Not counting the Steelers game where I think the margin likely would have been greater had they had Roethlisberger, in my view, there were three 50/50 type games that we lost: @BAL (26-29), CHI (19-22), @OAK (20-23, OT). There were two games that we won that were 50/50 type games: DET (33-28 after trailing 21-3), CLE (30-27, Lambo mulligan game winning FG as time expired). I didn't include the game @CIN (19-24) because I thought they had the better of the game and the score was closer than the game was. I also didn't include the win against JAC (31-25) where JAC scored very late after a blocked punt to get the game within 6 points as I felt we had the better of that game.

    The point is that when you study the individual games more closely, your close call analysis falls apart to some degree. We really won 2 of 5 close games in which we were neither the better nor worse team that day. In other close losses, we put up a good fight against a better team.

    The reality is that we did not beat a single team with even a .500 record last year because we were a very bad and obviously less talented team than many of our opponents last year.

    3. Turnovers: We tied with 4 other teams for 12th in terms of most giveaways, which takes us to 16 teams. The 4 teams tied for 8th had 4 more turnovers than we did. The team that finished 17th had 2 fewer turnovers than we did. Thus, the picture that emerges is that we were an average team in terms of committing turnovers. On the other hand, we finished 24th in turnovers generated, but tied for 15th in fumbles recovered.

    While I do not think the ability to cause/recover turnovers is as random as you make it sound, the point is that none of these numbers is at the bottom of the league or something that is likely to change in a big way due to the occurrence of chance events.

    4. Pythagorus: We had the 6th worst point differential last year and we finished tied with the 3rd worst record with one less win than than the team with the 6th worst record. This is very consistent with my close games analysis, which shows that we won 2 of 5 50/50 games. Could we have just as easily won 3 of those games? Sure. Was it any kind of fluky result that brings real hope for the future? No, not really.

    Further, I think our ball control approach tends to produce closer games in general as the air is taken out of games by design. That can make a bad team look less bad in terms of producing closer scores. (It would also tend to make a good team look less good by point differential analysis.)

    5. Additions, Subtractions, and Growth: The loss of Weddle is huge and totally underestimated in your analysis. He did have a worse year in 2015, but I expect him to have a bounce back year this year and then begin a gentle decline in 2017. That would be an age analysis more in line with NFL reality.

    And if you disagree and think that NFL safeties decline at age 30, then get ready for a long season because Lowery, who is only one year younger than Weddle, is the same age this year as Weddle was last year.

    In any event, even a Weddle in decline is substantially better than Lowery on his best day.

    Henry is overrated and not the receiving threat that Green is. I do not think for one moment that Henry will prove to be the best TE even in this year's weak TE draft class. He did not excel on his own college team last year, finishing with all of three receiving TDs, a distant runner up to the team's leader in TD receptions, Drew Morgan, who had 10 TDs. To me, lack of receiving TDs by a supposedly great TE is a sign that the TE struggles to get open, especially when it counts in the red zone.

    I had Bosa and Henry rated as my two most overrated players in the entire draft (no joke) and, incredibly, Telesco managed to draft both of them with our first two picks.

    Further, I could not disagree more that we upgraded at CB when we added Hayward and let Robinson go. Telesco seemed to overlook the difference between a slot CB and an outside CB when he made that combination of moves. Robinson played very well for us as an outside CB. Hayward has had success as a slot CB, but not so much as an outside CB. So who is going to play on the outside? It will either be Flowers or Hayward. Both represent a downgrade at outside CB.

    Also, a number of players that you named as ascending players are veterans whose games should have fully developed by now (Franklin, Benjamin, Barksdale, Te'o, Ingram and Hayward to name a few). Now, do I think Benjamin can produce better results for us than he did in Cleveland? Of course I do because he has Rivers throwing to him. But I don't think that is because Benjamin is ascending as a player. Rather, it is because he is in a better situation.

    At the end of the day, I think the Raiders improved by leaps and bounds compared to any incremental improvement we may have had with our lackluster draft and questionable free agency moves. The Broncos and Chiefs were already miles ahead of us. On paper, that's 6 losses in our division.

    Add to that a likely loss on the road to an emerging HOU team and a likely beat down on the road against a good CAR team that is a horrible matchup for us (dedicated ground game plus mobile QB). Then, I think we need to be realistic and say that the game at ATL is a probable loss as we always struggle against them, are on the road and they are likely slightly better than we are. That's 9 likely losses so far.

    What's left is: JAC, @IND, NO, TEN, MIA, TB, @CLE. I think we will likely win most, but not all of those games and that we will likely pull an upset in at least one of the games that on paper it looks like we should lose. At the end of the day, it still looks like we will finish somewhere around 6-10, last in the division, and will likely be picking in the top 10 again in 2017.

    So that is some improvement, but nothing to be all that excited about.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
  21. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2013
    Messages:
    1,112
    Ratings:
    +534
    I do think health has been the biggest obstacle. The OL was an injured mess well before Allen got hurt. And we were even more injured in our 9-7 seasons. We aren't just on the high end. We are 31st over the last 3 years. If that number was simply average we would have been in the double digits in wins in 2013 and 2014 for sure. 2015 harder to say.

    The reality is that heavily records in one score games tend to regress to the mean. That's a blind stat, that treat all one score games the same. You can parse the individual games and try to explain it away, but that's a subjective response to an objective trend.

    Causing turnovers is not random. I explained a possible theory as to how the INT's would go down-- specifically via health and more support around Rivers. But actually recovering the fumbles when they are caused is random. And we were below average in that area, granted not by a huge margin. The turnovers could help in a turnaround but I do think it's the least important point in my list.

    On the PWE, the actual objective formula disagrees with your subjective analysis. We were -1.9 which was the biggest negative discrepancy in the league. This further supports the point regarding an uneven record in one score games. Our scoring differential was that of a 6-10 team. Also, we haven't actually executed a ball control approach since 2013.

    I didn't think that I underestimated the loss of Weddle. I acknowledged it as a downgrade no matter how you slice it. I said we got worse there. I don't know if you want me to go chicken little over it, but I was pretty clear.

    Henry is a better route runner and pass catcher as a rookie than Green has ever been. He can also block, which will help get him on the field. You can't really expect me to base my analysis on your opinion that the consensus top TE and top 40 prospect is really a crappy player?

    Last year, Robinson often pushed Flowers in the slot, where he sucks. Hayward pushes Flowers back outside where he's far better. Furthermore, Hayward has been a consistently good corner for his entire career. Robinson was good last season, but that was an outlier in a rocky career. You may genuinely be the only person who doesn't like that swap. A heathy Flowers is easily better than Robinson.

    What I said was that those players are young enough that their best ball could be ahead of them. That's true. I also said they won't all be good, but that there are enough young players that we can expect growth.
     
  22. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Messages:
    22,291
    Ratings:
    +4,401
    I don't think you need to worry about Green...... that's the Steelers problem:

    When will Ladarius Green join the Steelers, if ever?
    Posted by Mike Florio on August 11, 2016, 11:18 AM EDT


    With Steelers tight end Heath Miller retired, it was believed the team had found a capable replacement in free-agent acquisition Ladarius Green.

    The four-year, $20 million contract came with a signing bonus of $4.75 million. Nearly two weeks into his first training camp with the Steelers, Green still hasn’t emerged from the physically unable to perform list. Ostensibly absent due to lingering ankle issues that were addressed via January surgery, Green seems to be no closer to practicing than he was when camp opened.

    As Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review explained on Thursday’s PFT Live, Green isn’t seen much, engaging only in limited daily running. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explains that the team remains tight lipped about Green, with coach Mike Tomlin simply saying, “He’s on PUP.”

    That’s still more than quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. When recently discussing the tight end situation, Roethlisberger (per Bouchette) didn’t even mention Green.

    The situation has prompted Bouchette to ask whether the Steelers blew it by signing Green. That question will get louder, especially if/when more time passes with Green not practicing.

    These observations come at a time when folks in the know have mused about the possibility that Green will never play for the Steelers, with injured reserve eventually becoming a potential outcome for a player who presumably passed a physical at some point. Whether it’s the ankle that’s keeping Green from playing or something else physically is going on and the ankle is the official explanation, a sense has lingered over the past couple of weeks that Green isn’t close to being ready to play for the Steelers, and that he may never be.
     
  23. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2013
    Messages:
    1,112
    Ratings:
    +534
    He had every opportunity to break out last year and didn't. And it was his 4th season. He is super long and fast and will be better suited for the Steelers' vertical passing attack. But he's a poor route runner and struggles to uncover early in the down. He was a bad fit. Also his piss poor blocking made 12 personnel with him and Gates impractical. I'm very glad we didn't pay him. We now have a better compliment to #85 and a future starter at the position.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  24. Chaincrusher

    Chaincrusher BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2015
    Messages:
    2,316
    Ratings:
    +301
    Sorry, but our biggest problem is that our overall talent has eroded to the point of being sh!tty when compared to that of other teams.

    We wildly overachieved in 2013 based upon where our defense ranked against both the pass and the run. But our talent level has declined since then.

    The OL sucked when at 100% health. Neither Watt nor T. Robinson were worth crap at OC. Franklin sucked at OG. Fluker struggled as he learned a new OL position. Dunlap, the 7th round draft pick hero of the group, has seen his level of play steadily decline since 2013 even when at full health. Barksdale is steady and average at best. They just aren't good. The addition of Slauson will help, but they aren't going to suddenly become as good as the OL of the Cowboys.

    You are the one citing a general rule that close game results tend equal out over time for all teams. I am the one providing the specific game analysis that places the Chargers within the context of that rule and within the point differential expected win analysis that you provided. Far from being subjective, my specific case example analysis breaks down the games to a much greater degree than your very simplistic and overly general rules do.

    The fact is that your one score dividing line is an arbitrarily chosen point and that if you call a "close game" a game decided by less than 7 points (where a TD plus regular extra point changes a loss to a win instead of some overtime crap shoot or needing a two point conversion just to get the game to OT) and throw out the Steelers game for obvious reasons (no Roethlisberger, like us not having Rivers), you have 3 close games won and 4 lost. That's as even of a distribution as you can get with an odd number of such close games.

    As you said, the turnover was the least important on your list. You agree that we were not in an extreme posture as far as turnovers go. I think that reduces likely turnover change to a comparatively insignificant factor since we are floating around average in that area.

    We have absolutely tried to be a ball control offense since 2013. We just haven't had as much success at it as we did then. To the extent the play calling has been different, it is because it had to be due to an inability to do what we wanted to do due to having less talent on the roster. You can't run the ball when your OL and #1 RB are both sh!tty and everyone knows it. And you can't back teams off from compacting their defenses when you lack a consistent deep threat.

    The fact is that the PWE, while of some value, is frequently incorrect in its predictions. The 2012 Colts were 11-5 with a -30 point differential. That year, the Colts were 21st (12th worst) in point differential, but tied for the 6th best overall record. That would be an example of a significantly misleading record based upon point differential.

    By contrast, we had the 6th worst point differential last year and we finished tied for the 3rd worst record. The multiple teams that tied for the 5th worst record (which covers the team with the 6th worst record) all had exactly 1 more win than we did. There just isn't anything remarkable about that no matter how you want to try to spin it.

    As to Weddle, you emphasized that he was in decline and that the downgrade wouldn't be that much because of that. I think the notion of permanent decline is not true at this point and that if it is, you can expect a similar decline from Lowery, who is the same age this year as Weddle was last year. I expect Weddle to return to Second Team All-Pro form this year and expect Lowery to be among the worst starting FSs in the NFL. The downgrade is bigger than you originally suggested.

    As to Henry, all I can say is that I have family that attends Arkansas and that as a result, I got to see him play a lot both in person and on television. He did not stand out at all against college players. At no time did I ever think he was the best player on the field. His stats, or more properly the lack thereof, are consistent with my observations.

    I have seen Rivers turn street free agents and castoffs into solid receivers, so anything is possible with him, but I do not see anything from Henry that would make him worthy of a second round pick, much less our early second round pick. I would rather have Green, though I agree that almost any TE is a better blocker than Green. Henry is, of course, overrated as a blocker, but is still better than Green in that regard.

    The height of the Henry overrating nonsense occurred on this forum when one poster actually suggested that Henry was the reason behind Arkansas's successful running game and offense when Henry had less than 5% of the team's offensive TDs.

    Arkansas, of course, had the biggest OL in the world (including all NFL OLs) and absolutely mauled and pounded on smaller DL players and had a pretty good RB in Collins, who was good enough to be drafted by the Seahawks in the 5th round of this year's draft. Collins had 20 rushing TDs by himself to go along with Drew Morgan's 10 receiving TDs. Kody Walker added 6 rushing TDs. Dominique Reed and Jeremy Sprinkle each had 6 receiving TDs to go along with Morgan's 10. Henry tied for a distant 4th in receiving TDs with 3. He was second to Morgan in receptions and receiving yards. He was a part of the offense, but he was not some sort of standout player.

    Do you now see the degree of not impressive I am talking about?

    Regarding the CB changes, Flowers sucked everywhere (both outside and in the slot) and still does as far as I am concerned until I see otherwise. It is my understanding (which could be wrong) that it is Hayward and not Flowers that is playing outside (which surprised me when I heard that). Even if Hayward plays inside and is an upgrade there, the downgrade from Robinson to Flowers outside still makes the move a bad one. They could have kept Robinson and Hayward, but then that would be a tacit admission of the obvious--that Telesco screwed up by giving Flowers a long term deal, which Telesco can't afford to have with his other noteworthy screw ups.

    There is no way that Flowers is better than Robinson at this point in their careers. First, it was Robinson and not Flowers that was the first round draft pick. It is Robinson that has the superior physical skills. You are making up an excuse for Flowers, blaming his poor performance on injury when Flowers himself acknowledged that his poor play was not due to injury. By contrast, Robinson did have nagging injury issues in New Orleans that he finally overcame with the change of scenery. There is no denying that he was the second best CB on the roster last year.

    In my view, what happened was that Flowers lost a step. Flowers was always good enough in every area, but his lack of speed was his biggest weakness. He always had just enough speed to get by to go along with his good other traits. But last year he no longer had enough speed even to get by. Instead, he was getting toasted with regularity.

    He claims that he trained harder this year, but I don't know if extra training gives you back lost speed. The proof is in the pudding as they say, but it may well be that KC cut bait on Flowers a year too soon and we bought the Brooklyn Bridge after seeing Flowers in his last good year in 2014.

    Meanwhile, we passed up the chance to keep an emerging Robinson for very little money.
     
  25. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2013
    Messages:
    1,112
    Ratings:
    +534
    Never said health would make us the Cowboys on the line. It will just help among other factors. Franklin, Fluker, Dunlap, and Hairston all had to play hurt at times last year. Robinson is gone and Watt is probably on the roster bubble. It's not going out on a limb to say that healthy we should be OK, which is a huge step up from 2015.

    You are giving your analysis game by game. I appreciate that. I'm not criticizing it. But it is literally your subjective opinion. Me saying that uneven records in one score games tend to regress is not my opinion. It's just a fact. Also, the regression statistic defines what a one score game is (namely, a one score game). I don't.

    On turnovers, yeah I'm conceding that it's a minor point. No one thing on this list is supposed to account for all the improvement we might expect in 2016.

    I didn't say that we didn't try to be a ball control offense in 14 and 15. I said we didn't execute. We couldn't, as you point out. But that kind of dumps cold water on your argument that we were in one score games because we use a control offense. We didn't, because we couldn't.

    We can cite exceptions to PWE, specifically because they are exceptions to a rule. We remember them because they were surprising. They're surprising because the majority of the time PWE and actual records are closely matched.

    I can't speak to any supposed overrating of Henry because I wasn't around to talk about him with you pre draft, but I'll give you my take if you're interested. He has decent size and a frame to get bigger. He is a willing blocker who proved capable in college, and comes in with far more experienced in that regard than most rookies. His hands are elite. He's a good route runner with some savvy in in the context of a pro style offense. He knows how to body up defenders, putting them on his hip and then stemming off to uncover and provide a nice big target. There is no reason that he could not exceed Green's 2015 stats as a rookie. I have to ask-- why are you comparing him to Arkansas' wide receivers?

    What I actually said about Weddle is that he was down in 2015, so that changes the calculus of how much we're downgrading. That's just true. From last year, we are losing a very good safety, especially in coverage, but not the all-pro version that we had seen in years' previous. You seem very sensitive to me pointing that out... I love Weddle. I think he will be good in Baltimore. I evicerated the FO for the way they treated him. I wanted him back. But I can say all that and still acknowledge that he was down last season. And none of that changes that I noted safety as a position where we got worse. But I take that together with the whole roster, and the areas where I think we got better.

    You want to talk about Robinson and Flowers "at this point in their careers," and then cite draft status? Who cares? When healthy, Flowers has been a great corner for a long time. He's struggled to stay healthy recently, in 2013 and 2015. Hopefully he will bounce back in what is probably his last year here regardless. And the bottom line is that his contract was going to keep him here this season regardless (yes, probably a mistake from Telesco-- not the point of this discussion). He's always been better outside than inside, hurt or healthy. Hayward is a stud in the slot and lets Flowers have his best chance. And Hayward may "start" but he will play the slot the vast majority of the time, a la Chris Harris Jr. or Leon Hall when he was with the Bengals. Oftentimes the nickel corner actually plays outside and pushes a starter in to the slot to maximize everyone's skill sets.

    We were smart to give 3/15.5 to a 26 year old who has proven to be good for 4 years rather than 3/13.5 to a 28 year old whose one good season is the outlier in 6 seasons so far. You never want to pay for the outlier. For almost the same exact money, we got younger, better, and more consistent. I applaud that exchange regardless of whether Flowers continues to stink or bounces back.
     
  26. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Messages:
    22,291
    Ratings:
    +4,401
    • Informative Informative x 1
  27. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2013
    Messages:
    1,112
    Ratings:
    +534
    Agh... I hate this.

    Ghelken with maybe an encouraging take:

    Michael Gehlken‏ @sdutGehlken
    Orlando Franklin jogged briefly, trying to shake it off. Able to bend knee while standing. Now walking off field under own power.
     
  28. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Messages:
    22,291
    Ratings:
    +4,401
    Won't know until he gets it examined. Guys walk off and still have torn ligaments.
     
  29. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2013
    Messages:
    1,112
    Ratings:
    +534
    If he's gone, I guess they either start Wiggins again, or if Tuerk is ready then Slauson slides over. Maybe Watt factors? Sucks. Sucks. Sucks.
     
  30. Chaincrusher

    Chaincrusher BoltTalker

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2015
    Messages:
    2,316
    Ratings:
    +301
    First, you referenced close games and then went on to state that that means games decided by one score or less. You do not have a monopoly on how a close game can be defined. That is my point.

    Your dividing line of an 8 point margin is arbitrary. Frankly, my rationale for a close game being one decided by a 6 point margin or less makes more sense as a TD plus regular extra point would change the outcome of that game, not just get the game to OT where it could then be lost.

    If you move the line to 6 points, then you lose 4 of the so-called close games and all of a sudden things look a lot different and more in line with our record and how our point differential rank suggests we should have finished.

    I did disqualify the Steelers game and you can call that subjective if you like, but I think there aren't too many people that think that the results of game get better for us if Roethlisberger is playing and not Vick. And that matters because you are relying on point differential analysis in your post and the result of that game does not represent a true indication of where the point differential should have been in that game.

    You wouldn't even blink if I were to suggest that our point differential in a game would be worse if we were without Rivers. It is the ultimate "duh" statement. It's pretty much the same way with Pittsburgh and I think it is fair to recognize that, but that is the only subjective adjustment I made in that analysis in my previous post. Other than that, your reference to it as some sort of subjective analysis is just wrong as with that one exception, it is purely an objective analysis.

    I disagree with your take on our ball control offense. We still tried to run the ball and still threw lost of short passes. We still finished 5th in the NFL in percentage of time of possession. We were 1st in 2013 and 10th in 2014 in terms of percentage of time of possession.

    You missed my point regarding PWE. We can cite exceptions precisely because they stand out so much. We can show how the 2012 Colts had wildly different rankings in terms of point differential and record. That is totally different than our team last year where we had the 3rd worst record and 6th worst point differential. That is not some sort of anomalous result. That is a minor variation on what one would expect our record to be based upon our point differential. I pointed out that the 6th worst record only produced a 5-11 season versus our 4-12. The difference is night and day between our record versus point differential (3rd worst/6th worst) and what a real outlier like the 2012 Colts (6th best/21st best) looks like.

    Weddle was injured last year, so if you want think that last year was an indication of how he is going to play this year, that is highly questionable. I would consider that to be an outlier unless Weddle has a down year this year because NFL FSs do not tend to decline at age 30. If Weddle were 32 and healthy all year and played worse, then I think that would be a more convincing take on the issue.

    Yes, I do want to discuss draft status as a part of the background that would tend to explain what has happened with Robinson and Flowers. I have done so because you are making it sound like Robinson had one fluke season.

    What I think you are missing is that an oft injured player for several years (Robinson) changed teams, got healthy, played in a system that fit his skill set and finally turned into the player that he always had the potential to become based upon his first round draft pick pedigree. In short, I think his years in New Orleans are the outliers, not the other way around.

    Flowers sucked in 2013 and sucked again last year. As I stated previously, I think his marginal speed has caught up with him. He has lost a step, a step he didn't have to spare and now he is no longer consistently effective. Flowers sucked in 2015 long before he was ever injured. Cincinnati's best passing play was to throw the ball to whomever was being defended by Flowers. It didn't matter who the receiver was.

    Having Flowers outside or inside does not make us better. Flowers sucks in either place. You can say that Hayward will be in the slot most of the time, but that is not what the team is saying so far from what I understand. And Hayward is not as good as Robinson on the outside. He just isn't. I would rather have Robinson our team based upon what he proved last year on our team in our defensive scheme. We have already seen free agents that were supposed to be good come over from other teams and suck. To me, that is the far greater risk.
     

Share This Page