Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What's the caption?

I'm thinking "Did you really live in a tent in Australia?"
 
Ricky Williams

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Little Nicky

I'll have to find the YouTube video, but I heard a clip of Nick talking about his team's loss to Lousiana Monroe.
 
...and he compared it to 9/11.  What an ass.  A dumb ass.
 
Oh yeah, him losing a football game is akin to something of some real sinificance...
 
I have never been as glad to be rid of him...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Playcalling

Its time for a lesson in playcalling in football school. With respect to CBS, the NFL, and the Dolphins, here's a play that had some ramifications on the outcome. Beck drove the Phins to 1st and goal on the 1 with about 8 minutes left. The score was 17-7.

First down saw Chatman get stuffed on a line plunge. The blocking didn't happen and he lost a yard.

Second down was a pass. Halterman (the elusive #80) came from the tight end slot into the endzone, and was open. The pass was on target, but he dropped it.

Third down was another shot at a run, this time between the left guard and left tackle. Chatman drove his legs forward and regained the lost yard.

Its decision time. Do you go for it or do you take the field goal? Time's ticking. Cameron made the right call, I think, and decided to go. But, it took him a few moments to get the players onto the field. There are a few seconds left, so Beck has to take a timeout.

Now its 4th and goal at the 1. Beck sets up the play that's called, and looks over the defense. Only, there are three problems: (1) the way the defense lines up is going to cause problems for the blocking scheme, (2) Beck can not call timeout, because he took one a short time ago, and you can't call two in a row, and (3) he apparently had no audibles.


The blocking scheme is approximated with the purple lines. Philly's #75 is the problem here (orange x): he's not accounted for in the blocking scheme.

And while I'm showing this, take a look at Chatmans direction (yellow). Its a wide sweep to the right, while the blocking is mostly going left. Its designed to be an option run where he can go inside or out, or possibly can pass.

The issue I have with it is that you're a yard away from the endzone. Why are you dropping 13 yards away from it to try and get there? Its slow developing, and you've moved further away. If it works, you're a genius. If it doesn't, well....




So, here's the start of the play. Satele is the lead blocker. He either doesn't see 75, or he thinks someone else has him. Either way, he just runs past him, and that guy catches Chatman in the backfield for a huge loss.

And that's why I say the scheme was wrong for this defense. The linebacker lined up inside the end. And that meant the right tackle was going to block the linebacker, rather than the end, and Satele was going to block no one, because he was looking for the linebacker.

I have no idea - other than misdirection - what the right guard's assignment was. Its entirely possible he ran the wrong assignment as well.

In any event, I did not like this call. It left too many variables on a 4th and goal at the 1. Better to pound it in than this. Or maybe this could have been the third down play or something. Or if Chatman had the option to pass, he shoulda/coulda done that...

*the* key play of the game

Philly was driving with about 4 minutes gone in the second half. Miami's defense had been playing pretty well to this point, and here it was 1st and 10 on the Miami 13. Miami had a lead.

Will Allen comes on a blitz. He gets to McNabb, and causes a fumble which Miami recovered. And McNabb gets knocked out of the game...

Only, there was laundry on the play. Allen was ruled to be offsides and Philly was given the ball back, had another first down, got AJ Feeley into the game, and scored on the next play. And that was the key to everything on this day.

As I watched it, I thought Allen came across quickly, but when they reshowed it, I wasn't so sure. Here are a couple of screen captures taken from the CBS feed, and with thanks to them, the NFL, and the Dolphins, I'd like to show you what I saw:

Presnap. The ball is circled on the ground. While Allen is moving forward, he is behind the blue line, which I think is a good representation of the line of scrimmage given the ball's position.


At the snap. The ball is now off the ground, and is somewhere obscured from view behind a lineman. Allen is still coming, and now he may be over the line, but then again its close; too close to call at this point....but it doesn't matter because the ball has been snapped already.

So, IMHO, the officials blew the call. Yes. it was close, but I believe Allen timed it perfectly. Too bad that's not challengeable.

Tonight I'm gonna party like its 1999

From CNN/SI



Damon Huard is making a name for himself while emerging from the shadow of Dan Marino.

MIAMI (AP) -- Dull on offense without Dan Marino, the Miami Dolphins nonetheless survived another thrilling finish.

Damon Huard led a conservative attack in his first NFL start, and the Dolphins beat the Philadelphia Eagles 16-13 Sunday when a tricky breeze blew Norm Johnson's 42-yard field-goal attempt wide right with 52 seconds left.

Cecil Collins rushed for 97 yards and Miami controlled the ball for 36 minutes despite throwing a season-low 21 passes.

"I want to run it enough to where we're boring," coach Jimmy Johnson said. "I love these 16-13 boring games."

It wasn't boring at the finish for the AFC East-leading Dolphins (5-1). Their past four wins have been by a total of 10 points.

"It's nerve-wracking," middle linebacker Zach Thomas said. "I don't even like watching. My heart's fine, but my hair -- I think I'm going to be the first one in my family to go bald."

The ending was painfully familiar for the Eagles (2-5), who totaled just 175 yards. They've lost three games by a total of five points.

"We're about to turn the corner," receiver Charles Johnson said. "It's almost like we're peeking around the corner. We're that close to being a complete team."

The Dolphins notched only their second victory in the past 11 games when Marino doesn't play, and they may be without him for a while. He's unable to throw because of a bone spur in his lower neck, and ESPN reported that he'll fly to California on Tuesday to see a specialist.

Marino and Dolphins officials declined to comment on the report. He suited up but missed a start for the first time since 1996, a span of 50 games.

Even without the future Hall of Famer, the Dolphins had the better quarterback against Philadelphia, and they also had the best kicker. Olindo Mare made field goals of 37, 37 and 53 yards, extending his streak of kicks without a miss to 17, a Miami record.

Huard outplayed counterpart Doug Pederson, who was 13-for-25 for 108 yards with four sacks. The Eagles' offense totaled just 175 yards, but coach Andy Reid chose not to use rookie quarterback Donovan McNabb.

"I was feeling comfortable with Doug today," Reid said. "He did some nice things, and there were some things he did I'm sure he wasn't pleased about."

Stingy defense allowed Miami to overcome one glaring mistake by Huard, an interception returned 67 yards for a touchdown by Brian Dawkins. Huard finished 15-for-21 for 142 yards and picked up three first downs on keepers.

"There's a lot of room for improvement," Huard said. "But anytime you win in your first start, you feel pretty good about it."

Miami raced to a 10-0 lead and held on when Philadelphia failed to make the most of two scoring chances in the fourth quarter.

Trailing 16-10, the Eagles drove to the Miami 7, but a holding penalty and sack pushed them back to the 26, and Johnson kicked a 44-yard field goal with 6:08 to go.

Dawkins recovered a Collins fumble at the Philadelphia 42 with 2:33 left. The Eagles reached the Miami 24, but after Pederson's third-and-2 pass was incomplete, Johnson missed the potential tying kick.

Johnson, 9-for-10 previously this season inside 50 yards, thought he hit the ball well.

"I was elated," he said. "Then I looked up and it started drifting right. It's not the way it usually drifts for a right-handed kicker. I was very surprised."

Miami was nursing a 13-3 lead late in the third period when Huard tried to hit Oronde Gadsden on a short pass near the sideline. Dawkins intercepted and ran untouched for the score. It was the second Huard interception returned for a touchdown in two weeks.

But Huard started quickly, moving the Dolphins to scores on their first two possessions. Miami scored a touchdown in the first quarter for the first time in 11 games on J.J. Johnson's 12-yard run, capping a 63-yard drive.

Philadelphia's comeback bid began with David Akers' first NFL field goal, a 53-yarder.

"We didn't give up hope," Reid said, "until the final kick."

GAME NOTES
The Eagles were depleted at linebacker. Rookie Barry Gardner left the game in the first quarter with a sprained right knee, and Mike Caldwell missed the game with a sore hamstring.


The Dolphins rushed for a season-high 149 yards without their best-run blocker, Mark Dixon, who missed the game due to a sore groin.


The Dolphins haven't allowed anyone to rush for 100 yards or a touchdown.


Philadelphia's offense failed to score a touchdown for the fourth time in seven games.


Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson had so much confidence in his defense that he tried an onside kick with a 13-3 lead. The gamble failed, but Miami quickly forced a punt.


Philadelphia's Sean Landeta, playing in his 200th NFL game, punted five times for a 47.8-yard average.


Olindo Mare's 53-yard field goal matched the longest of his career. The kick was his 17th in a row without a miss, breaking the team record set by Garo Yepremian of 16 set in 1978.


Philadelphia fell to 0-5 in Miami.

A little more on "the old rookie"

As I said, John Beck had a decent outing this week.  Consider that last week, Cleo was 16 of 29 for 131 yards, with no TDs and no interceptions, a 66.88 rating.
 
This week, Beck was 9 of 22 for 109.  That's a 56.82 rating.  I would argue that their stats were somewhat similar.  Lemon had a rushing TD, and presumably Beck *could have* had one from the goal line, if the coaches wanted to call his number.
 
That was what I thought was Lemon's best effort.  This was Beck's first effort, so you have to figure he'll get better.  I have no issues with that...
 
And consider this: Miami had 11 drives on Sunday.  Here was the starting field position:
own 34
own 29
own 7
own 2
own 36
own 7
own 23
own 35
own 14
own 44
and own 13
 
So, 5 times (46% of the time), Miami started from behind its own 20.  Find me a QB who is successful when that's the case.  That's right, there really isn't one.  Beck did a decent job with what he was given.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Different day...different QB....same result...

Miami scored first again this week. This time, Ted Ginn, jr (and his blocking family) took it to the house on a punt return. And there were no flags on the play!!

And Jason Allen came up with two picks against Donovan McNabb, to complement the one by Andre Goodman. Overall, the defense came up with a pretty good effort. But, unfortunately, they knocked out McNabb.

Which meant that one time Dolphins QB came into the game. And you knew that this couldn't be good news for the Phins. Of course, he came up big and helped win the game for the Eagles.

Meanwhile, on offense, Miami did little. Beck looked okay in his first start. He had a few balls that were slightly off target, but nonetheless catchable. But, his receivers didn't help him enough. Ginn, jr had some success. Hagan seemed to drop everything that came his way. Martin left the game. Peele was accetable. Who is this #80? And why is he on the team? And Marty Booker was invisible.

And the running game was held in check all afternoon.

So, the lack of offense doomed the Phins.

As did AJ Feeley. Naturally.

0-10, and next up the Steelers. 0-11 surely is in our future.

A correction

I made two errors in a previous post, and I'd like to set the record straight.

(1) Doug Pederson was not a rookie when he played for the Phins in 1993, and (2) he didn't actually start a game for the Phins. He came on in relief in two games.

And incidentally, the Dolphins *only* other starter as a rookie was David Woodley, a few years before Marino.