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(Football Nation)   When they call the NFL a 'passing league' these days, they weren't kidding. A look at how neutering defenses has led to a proliferation of the passing game   (footballnation.com ) divider line 73
    More: Interesting, NFL, Asante Samuel, Carl Lewis, Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers  
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1677 clicks; posted to Sports » on 29 May 2013 at 8:31 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-05-29 07:03:19 AM  
Makes me yearn for the Last Boy Scout days when you could murder someone on the field.
 
2013-05-29 07:46:40 AM  
The real question is has the rule change affected the rate of concussions or other severe injury to wide receivers?
 
2013-05-29 07:47:26 AM  
Things change. Deal with it
 
2013-05-29 07:57:48 AM  

Peter von Nostrand: Things change. Deal with it


While in general I agree with this sentiment, there is something to be said for game balance. It's possible that the rule change tipped the balance too far in favor of having a good quarterback. It used to be the case that a good defense could substitute for a mediocre quarterback (Trent Dilfer, anyone?) but due to the focus on passing, it might mean that the quarterback is essentially the only player that matters, in that if you don't have a good one, regardless of the quality of the rest of your team, you ain't winning any championships. I don't know that I believe this yet, but if it's true it's a legitimate gripe, outside of "I fear change."
 
2013-05-29 08:04:03 AM  

nmrsnr: Peter von Nostrand: Things change. Deal with it

While in general I agree with this sentiment, there is something to be said for game balance. It's possible that the rule change tipped the balance too far in favor of having a good quarterback. It used to be the case that a good defense could substitute for a mediocre quarterback (Trent Dilfer, anyone?) but due to the focus on passing, it might mean that the quarterback is essentially the only player that matters, in that if you don't have a good one, regardless of the quality of the rest of your team, you ain't winning any championships. I don't know that I believe this yet, but if it's true it's a legitimate gripe, outside of "I fear change."


Teams don't like to run the ball because it's harder and isn't as exciting. Good backs rarely last more than a few years in the league and are more injury prone. The rule changes probably helped a little on the way. Plus let's face it, with steroids the game would be a meat grinder if it was more run heavy
 
2013-05-29 08:30:52 AM  
Homer alert:

The Saints offense is just terrifying. Dropped balls here and there but otherwise so efficient as to give us a legit playoff shot every recent year. But you all know what a hardcore offense does with a statistically laughable defense. I don't like this whole "greatest show on turf" bullsh*t that's becoming the league standard. The one time we won the SB it was due to nasty but not illegal defense.
 
2013-05-29 08:54:05 AM  

Peter von Nostrand: Teams don't like to run the ball because it's harder and isn't as exciting. Good backs rarely last more than a few years in the league and are more injury prone. The rule changes probably helped a little on the way. Plus let's face it, with steroids the game would be a meat grinder if it was more run heavy


I don't think the rules on the running game changed much one way or the other, though.  Helmet-to-helmet hits need to be limited because they're dangerous, and the NFL really needs to end that SPARTAAA BS and focus on tackling with technique.  They're still not there yet.

The more problematic changes have to do with the passing game.  The rules are so badly stacked against defensive backs that you practically need a law degree to cover a receiver these days.  The receivers themselves are bigger and stronger than ever, yet are given favored treatment over DBs who have to be smaller and lighter to keep up with them.  A 6'1", 210-pound DB isn't allowed anything more than superficial AND incidental contact while defending a 6'4", 240-pound receiver?  That's just absurd.  It's gotten so bad that QBs now deliberately underthrow the long routes even when the DB is trailing the receiver.  That used to be suicide (a great recipe for a pick-six), but now if the wideout has to slow down to adjust to the ball, that sends the DB flying into his chest for a nice, easy pass interference penalty.  Apparently it's illegal for DBs to have momentum, the laws of physics be damned.

It's a passing game now not because the run game has become hard to execute, but because it's become impossible to defend the pass.  It used to be the case that the good QBs put the ball where only the receiver can get to it, but now it's more about making the DB choose between a penalty and a completion.
 
2013-05-29 09:00:13 AM  

dragonchild: DBs who have to be smaller and lighter to keep up with them


The rest of your post aside, this makes no sense. If the receiver can be 6'4, 240 and run fast, then a DB can be 6'4, 240, and run fast enough to cover.
 
2013-05-29 09:10:50 AM  

dragonchild: Peter von Nostrand: Teams don't like to run the ball because it's harder and isn't as exciting. Good backs rarely last more than a few years in the league and are more injury prone. The rule changes probably helped a little on the way. Plus let's face it, with steroids the game would be a meat grinder if it was more run heavy

I don't think the rules on the running game changed much one way or the other, though.  Helmet-to-helmet hits need to be limited because they're dangerous, and the NFL really needs to end that SPARTAAA BS and focus on tackling with technique.  They're still not there yet.

The more problematic changes have to do with the passing game.  The rules are so badly stacked against defensive backs that you practically need a law degree to cover a receiver these days.  The receivers themselves are bigger and stronger than ever, yet are given favored treatment over DBs who have to be smaller and lighter to keep up with them.  A 6'1", 210-pound DB isn't allowed anything more than superficial AND incidental contact while defending a 6'4", 240-pound receiver?  That's just absurd.  It's gotten so bad that QBs now deliberately underthrow the long routes even when the DB is trailing the receiver.  That used to be suicide (a great recipe for a pick-six), but now if the wideout has to slow down to adjust to the ball, that sends the DB flying into his chest for a nice, easy pass interference penalty.  Apparently it's illegal for DBs to have momentum, the laws of physics be damned.

It's a passing game now not because the run game has become hard to execute, but because it's become impossible to defend the pass.  It used to be the case that the good QBs put the ball where only the receiver can get to it, but now it's more about making the DB choose between a penalty and a completion.


It would be interesting, to me at least, to see how much it would slow the game down by taking away the face mask. However that may just affect the defense more than the offense
 
2013-05-29 09:12:07 AM  

nmrsnr: dragonchild: DBs who have to be smaller and lighter to keep up with them

The rest of your post aside, this makes no sense. If the receiver can be 6'4, 240 and run fast, then a DB can be 6'4, 240, and run fast enough to cover.


Not to mention several WR tackles were made by DB's last season, and not every instance was penalized. WR's aren't all Mercury in pads. Some are f*cking butterfingers. A weak QB means only short passes and thereafter, short runs, because the DB's have had time to catch up and run the receiver out of bounds.

/Running the WR out of bounds seems to be a common technique these days, though.
 
2013-05-29 09:12:20 AM  

nmrsnr: If the receiver can be 6'4, 240 and run fast, then a DB can be 6'4, 240, and run fast enough to cover.


Nope.  You're thinking of fly routes where the receiver just runs straight ahead -- sure, you only need raw speed for that.  But that's just one route.  The receiver dictates the timing and changes in motion with the route; the defender has to read & react.  So while speed is necessary for those fly/post routes, the #1 requirement to play cornerback is quickness.  There are a few tall and short DBs and some of them even do well -- among the top five in INTs last season were a 5'8" and a 6'3".  However, the vast majority of CBs are between 5'10" and 6'1".  Any shorter and they can't win the jump balls against taller receivers; any shorter and they lack the elite quickness to stay with them.
 
2013-05-29 09:19:28 AM  

dragonchild: nmrsnr: If the receiver can be 6'4, 240 and run fast, then a DB can be 6'4, 240, and run fast enough to cover.

Nope.  You're thinking of fly routes where the receiver just runs straight ahead -- sure, you only need raw speed for that.  But that's just one route.  The receiver dictates the timing and changes in motion with the route; the defender has to read & react.  So while speed is necessary for those fly/post routes, the #1 requirement to play cornerback is quickness.  There are a few tall and short DBs and some of them even do well -- among the top five in INTs last season were a 5'8" and a 6'3".  However, the vast majority of CBs are between 5'10" and 6'1".  Any shorter and they can't win the jump balls against taller receivers; any shorter and they lack the elite quickness to stay with them.


But that's reaction time, which has little (nothing?) to do with physical size, except maybe for changing momentum on a post or slant route, but even then I'm not sure that being smaller makes you more able to stop on a dime, since bigger means stronger, too.
 
2013-05-29 09:20:01 AM  

dragonchild: any shorter taller and they lack the elite quickness to stay with them.


FTFM

verbaltoxin: Not to mention several WR tackles were made by DB's last season, and not every instance was penalized.


I'm not complaining about contact after catch.  The problem is that staying in an NFL receiver's noon shadow before the pass is thrown without contact is a very difficult thing to do.  Receivers take full advantage and bully the hell out of DBs with all sorts of moves intended to do nothing more than get the DB to bump them.  And when that happens, QBs are coached to throw at covered receivers so the refs will throw the flag.  DBs are coached to avoid all this because the PI penalty is a killer, but their only viable option is to play softer, which is how we have so many passing offenses.

Now, I don't blame the receivers because they're just being coached within the rules as written, but when a contact sport's strategy is re-structured to draw penalties, there's a problem with the rulebook.
 
2013-05-29 09:22:01 AM  

nmrsnr: Peter von Nostrand: Things change. Deal with it

While in general I agree with this sentiment, there is something to be said for game balance. It's possible that the rule change tipped the balance too far in favor of having a good quarterback. It used to be the case that a good defense could substitute for a mediocre quarterback (Trent Dilfer, anyone?) but due to the focus on passing, it might mean that the quarterback is essentially the only player that matters, in that if you don't have a good one, regardless of the quality of the rest of your team, you ain't winning any championships. I don't know that I believe this yet, but if it's true it's a legitimate gripe, outside of "I fear change."


Explain the Ravens winning this year
 
2013-05-29 09:22:33 AM  

nmrsnr: but even then I'm not sure that being smaller makes you more able to stop on a dime, since bigger means stronger, too.


When you think agility, do you think of big tall strong guys?

No need to even get into a physics discussion, this one just takes a clear head.
 
2013-05-29 09:27:19 AM  

nmrsnr: But that's reaction time, which has little (nothing?) to do with physical size, except maybe for changing momentum on a post or slant route, but even then I'm not sure that being smaller makes you more able to stop on a dime, since bigger means stronger, too.


You answered your own doubts.  And yes, being smaller means being quicker.  Smaller means your joints are not only closer to the ground but also closer together, so a change of direction involves less torque and range of motion.  It's much more obvious in the NBA because the height discrepancies are more extreme.  If quickness wasn't tied to being short, then there wouldn't be a distinction between point guard and center -- why not just run your offense through your tallest player?  The fact that anyone below 6'6" -- let alone 6' -- can have an NBA career at all is because they can run circles around the big guys.  Thing is, this isn't really something I should have to explain when there are tomes of literature on this subject.  Pretty much every sport recognizes that shorter people are generally quicker.
 
2013-05-29 09:28:21 AM  

nmrsnr: Peter von Nostrand: Things change. Deal with it

While in general I agree with this sentiment, there is something to be said for game balance. It's possible that the rule change tipped the balance too far in favor of having a good quarterback. It used to be the case that a good defense could substitute for a mediocre quarterback (Trent Dilfer, anyone?) but due to the focus on passing, it might mean that the quarterback is essentially the only player that matters, in that if you don't have a good one, regardless of the quality of the rest of your team, you ain't winning any championships. I don't know that I believe this yet, but if it's true it's a legitimate gripe, outside of "I fear change."


Except the last Super Bowl featured Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick.
 
2013-05-29 09:29:53 AM  

KingKauff: Explain the Ravens winning this year


Really? we're doing the "Flacco isn't elite" thing? He's gone to the playoffs every year he's been QB, and his defense hasn't been nearly the quality of Ravens defense Dilfer had.

When you think agility, do you think of big tall strong guys?No need to even get into a physics discussion, this one just takes a clear head.

True enough, but we're not talking O-line here, just enough to cover a WR who also needs to be agile. The question is does the advantage the WR has by dictating the route require that the DB be smaller to match agility? And if it does, wasn't that the case before the rule change too?
 
2013-05-29 09:35:59 AM  
Didn't the proliferation of passing start because running became so hard because the defensive linemen got much bigger and harder to find holes and gaps.  Then players got really good at passing.


The explosion in offense and decline in defense numbers is a bit skewed too.  An unsuccessful running play takes around 30 seconds or so before the next snap where as a unsuccesful passing play might take as little as 5 seconds and certainly no more than 15 off the clock meaning more time for more plays meaning more offense.

Didn't they just move back the start time of the late game because of extended games caused by constant overruns of the early games in part because of the pass heavy league.  Ironically a good passing team like the Manning Colts would usually see their game finish earlier because the clock just wouldn't stop.
 
2013-05-29 09:38:53 AM  

nmrsnr: The question is does the advantage the WR has by dictating the route require that the DB be smaller to match agility? And if it does, wasn't that the case before the rule change too?


These aren't questions, though.  The first is common knowledge among every defensive coach from FCS all the way through the NFL, reinforced by decades of tryouts (with notable exceptions that are exceptions for a reason), and the second is a non sequitur.  The DBs haven't changed; the rules have, which screwed the DBs because they demand they become quicker than ever.

I'm having trouble keeping up with your complete inability to grasp a point, here.
 
2013-05-29 09:51:06 AM  

nmrsnr: dragonchild: DBs who have to be smaller and lighter to keep up with them

The rest of your post aside, this makes no sense. If the receiver can be 6'4, 240 and run fast, then a DB can be 6'4, 240, and run fast enough to cover.


The offense has the benefit of being able to rotate which receivers exert themselves on a play. The DBs have to exert themselves every play. See the difference?
 
2013-05-29 09:53:14 AM  

dragonchild: These aren't questions, though.  The first is common knowledge among every defensive coach from FCS all the way through the NFL, reinforced by decades of tryouts (with notable exceptions that are exceptions for a reason), and the second is a non sequitur.  The DBs haven't changed; the rules have, which screwed the DBs because they demand they become quicker than ever.I'm having trouble keeping up with your complete inability to grasp a point, here.


In re the first point, have DBs always been significantly smaller than WRs? You say they need to be for speed issues, but you could say the same thing about RBs, but there are no shortage of RBs built like tanks, since their strength mitigates their quickness deficiencies. I honestly just don't know whether the significant size disadvantage you claim has always been there or not.

To the second, I thought you were saying the size differential was due to the rule change, but you weren't, so that's my reading comprehension fail.
 
2013-05-29 09:55:11 AM  
Easy solution that the NFL has always had access to, but refuses to consider.  Speed up the game.  Fewer time-outs and play stoppages.  No instant replay, fewer commercial breaks, faster re-starts.

The titanic defensive linemen that make running more difficult will die off, sending WR's on long seam routes on every play will also die off (they can't make it back in time and will tire), and a good organized running game will do what it always has - grind down the D.

Smaller, smarter and healthier players with more endurance will flourish, and by the way the concussion and injury problems may decline as well.
 
2013-05-29 10:04:25 AM  
-2012: the Ravens (Elite Flacco, below average defense (5615 yards)) beat the 49ers (Highly-rated and dynamic Colin Kaepernick, third best defense (4710 yards))

There you have it.
 
2013-05-29 10:05:44 AM  

dragonchild: These aren't questions, though.  The first is common knowledge among every defensive coach from FCS all the way through the NFL, reinforced by decades of tryouts (with notable exceptions that are exceptions for a reason)


alright, I lose. From a 2006 ESPN article: "Currently, the NFL has only four starting cornerbacks who are 6-2... There are no 6-3 corners starting in the league."

I clearly underestimated the offensive advantage. I admit to not paying much attention to player sizes during a game, they all look big.
 
2013-05-29 10:15:32 AM  

Faddy: Didn't the proliferation of passing start because running became so hard because the defensive linemen got much bigger and harder to find holes and gaps.


I tried to prove this point once so I pored over decades of data, but the statistics don't bear that out.  Here are the league-average, per-game team rushing stats:

1970: 31 att, 120 yd, 3.8 y/a
1980: 32 att, 128 yd, 4.0 y/a
1990: 28 att, 114 yd, 4.1 y/a
2000: 28 att, 113 yd, 4.1 y/a
2010: 27 att, 115 yd, 4.2 y/a
2012: 27 att, 116 yd, 4.3 y/a

Total yards haven't changed that much except for 1980 which is an outlier (rush yds/game went as high as 130 in 1981 but dropped to 118 in 1982).   What I immediately notice is that the attempts are down despite the yards/attempt trending up.  Teams were willing to rush the ball over 30 times/game back in '70 despite averaging a half yard less.  Hell, 4.3ypa was good for 5th-best in the NFL in 1970.  Why are teams averaging four fewer carries when rushing is more efficient than ever?  Because it's even easier to advance the ball by passing.  Back in 1970 the league average was 5.5 yards per passing attempt; now it's up to 6.2.  That 0.7 y/a difference has resulted in a whopping shift toward getting your yards through the air, from 161ypg in 1970 to 231ypg in 2012.  The top passing offense in 1970 was the San Fran 49ers with 2923 yards.  Only three NFL teams did worse than that last season (and, yep, two of them were the Jets and the Chiefs).  So if you're not averaging 4.3 yards per rush, it's not worth the trouble.  The running game certainly evolved, sure, but there were always challenges.  I'd hate to plan a running game these days.  But looking at the numbers, teams are finding ways to advance the ball on the ground.  It's just that coaches don't want 3.8ypc when they can average six through the air.

The running game didn't get any harder; passing got easier.  WAY easier.
 
2013-05-29 10:19:24 AM  

nmrsnr: I admit to not paying much attention to player sizes during a game, they all look big.


It's hard to tell visually because NFL players in pads are generally only seen with other NFL players -- on the field.  You can tell the difference between a 5'8" RB and a 6'3" lineman because they're all packed together, but DBs and WRs battle it out in space.  The 3" difference between 6'1" and 6'4" may not seem like much, but here's where I have to trust the results.  I'm sure a coach would LOVE a 6'7" DB if he can stay with a wideout, but historically they've never been able to do it.
 
2013-05-29 10:19:54 AM  

Faddy: Didn't the proliferation of passing start because running became so hard because the defensive linemen got much bigger and harder to find holes and gaps. Then players got really good at passing.


No.  It's no more difficult to run the ball now than it ever was.  You just don't see a sustained rushing attack anymore because it's way too easy to pass the ball.

The axiom used to be that when you called a passing play there were three possibilities - completion, incompletion, interception - and two of them were bad.  Now, you've got just as much of a chance for a defensive penalty - more closely called pass interference, downfield contact, and an inadvertent blow to the head of a receiver.

My contention is that they need to do away with the limited five-yard contact zone and only call pass interference when the ball is in the air.  If they really cared about player safety they should let DBs make contact to throw off the receiver before he catches the ball.  As the rules stand now the best way to defend the pass is to knock the shiat out of the receiver right as he makes the catch, and half of those are going to be penalized too.
 
2013-05-29 10:20:14 AM  
I think the offense/defense passing balance could be improved if the refs would stop calling DPI so often for "jump ball-type" passing routes where technically, all players have a right to the ball.

More specifically, the amount of DPI on the 7 and 9 routes is too high IMO.  These are the hardest routes to throw for QBs and if you call DPI too often when the ball is underthown and/or floats, you are really rewarding bad QB play, especially considering in the NFL it's a spot-of-the-foul penalty.

I'm all for the calls for illegal contact and holding during routes beyond the 5-yard chuck zone...to me, clutching and grabbing route runners takes away from the timing of the passing game too much and over-rewards lazy secondary play.
 
2013-05-29 10:21:30 AM  
Faddy:   Ironically a good passing team like the Manning Colts would usually see their game finish earlier because the clock just wouldn't stop.


That was probably because the other teams ran on them a lot, too, to go along with high percentage of completions. Colts could never stop the run and the other team being successful at it kept Peyton off the field and the clock running. Even if the Colts had a lead, teams would still run. Passing to catch up only played into the Colt's and Freeney/Mathis' hands.

Peyton actually did the opposite. Shoot, they ran the no huddle. Their plan was to score as fast as possible and not give the other teams defense a breather. It backfired more than once, our defense didn't get a breather that way too, but they did score a hell of a lot of points quick that way...

Funny you bring up the Colts, though, because some might say Polian played a big part in the offensive heavy changes over the past decade...
 
2013-05-29 10:23:35 AM  

Coach_J: These are the hardest routes to throw for QBs and if you call DPI too often when the ball is underthown and/or floats, you are really rewarding bad QB play, especially considering in the NFL it's a spot-of-the-foul penalty.


It's not bad QB play.  The QBs are deliberately underthrowing the ball because it's a spot foul if the DB so much as breathes in the wrong direction.  They're playing for the PI call.  And when an offense plays for a penalty, I consider the game broken.

/ Yes, that includes soccer and basketball
 
2013-05-29 10:26:07 AM  
The NFL is moving towards arena style football. You'll basically be expected to score every possession. It will be like watching the farking Saints play themselves every week, all offense no defense.

We'll never get an understandable consistent pass interference penalty in the NFL at this point. QBs and WRs are only going to get more protection from hits and become even more unstoppable. Holding will probably cease to be a penalty (which it barely is now).

Whether arena football style NFL is going to help or hurt the NFL ultimately is up for debate but there's no doubt that's the direction they're going.
 
2013-05-29 10:36:09 AM  

nmrsnr: Peter von Nostrand: Things change. Deal with it

While in general I agree with this sentiment, there is something to be said for game balance. It's possible that the rule change tipped the balance too far in favor of having a good quarterback. It used to be the case that a good defense could substitute for a mediocre quarterback (Trent Dilfer, anyone?) but due to the focus on passing, it might mean that the quarterback is essentially the only player that matters, in that if you don't have a good one, regardless of the quality of the rest of your team, you ain't winning any championships. I don't know that I believe this yet, but if it's true it's a legitimate gripe, outside of "I fear change."


A good defense and/or running game still compensates for a poor quarterback.  An average QB can set you over the top.  See:  Eli Manning, Joe Flacco
 
2013-05-29 10:38:39 AM  
2. The axiom "offense wins games, defense wins championships" should be modified in this day and age to "defense can take you far, but curtail their ability to dominate physically with crunching, blindside hits, and a quarterback of a high caliber will likely destroy them in the end."

I thought it was "offense sells tickets, defense wins championships" which is much more relevant given the direction rule changes push the NFL.
 
2013-05-29 10:46:32 AM  
IIRC, the main rule change before the 1978 season was to outlaw the head slap. I have no problem with that.
 
2013-05-29 10:48:16 AM  

dragonchild: Peter von Nostrand: Teams don't like to run the ball because it's harder and isn't as exciting. Good backs rarely last more than a few years in the league and are more injury prone. The rule changes probably helped a little on the way. Plus let's face it, with steroids the game would be a meat grinder if it was more run heavy

I don't think the rules on the running game changed much one way or the other, though.  Helmet-to-helmet hits need to be limited because they're dangerous, and the NFL really needs to end that SPARTAAA BS and focus on tackling with technique.  They're still not there yet.

The more problematic changes have to do with the passing game.  The rules are so badly stacked against defensive backs that you practically need a law degree to cover a receiver these days.  The receivers themselves are bigger and stronger than ever, yet are given favored treatment over DBs who have to be smaller and lighter to keep up with them.  A 6'1", 210-pound DB isn't allowed anything more than superficial AND incidental contact while defending a 6'4", 240-pound receiver?  That's just absurd.  It's gotten so bad that QBs now deliberately underthrow the long routes even when the DB is trailing the receiver.  That used to be suicide (a great recipe for a pick-six), but now if the wideout has to slow down to adjust to the ball, that sends the DB flying into his chest for a nice, easy pass interference penalty.  Apparently it's illegal for DBs to have momentum, the laws of physics be damned.

It's a passing game now not because the run game has become hard to execute, but because it's become impossible to defend the pass.  It used to be the case that the good QBs put the ball where only the receiver can get to it, but now it's more about making the DB choose between a penalty and a completion.


Your newsletter. Available in hardcopy and online editions?
 
2013-05-29 10:51:02 AM  

grinding_journalist: I thought it was "offense sells tickets, defense wins championships" which is much more relevant given the direction rule changes push the NFL.


I agree.  A QB with 3000 passing yards is now practically an off-the-shelf product.  Valuing that production is like chasing the housing bubble; you're paying $500k for that condo in Detroit.  On the other hand, it now practically takes a HoF-caliber cornerback to slow down the passing game, so if you've got a HoF cornerback you keep the HoF cornerback.  That'll get you way more production than breaking the bank on the 20th-best QB in the league.

The reason why elite QBs like Drew Brees get all the attention is because they're that effin' good.  They'd be good no matter what the PI rules were, because all the other QBs have to play by the same rules.
 
2013-05-29 10:51:37 AM  
If the offensive line has such a huge advantage in the rules, explain why the Cowboys O-line can't keep Romo off his ass.

/because Romo doesn't get them anything for their birthdays?
 
2013-05-29 10:54:11 AM  
CB is the worst position to play in football. A lot of demand, a lot of stress, no glory. If you're as fast and as tall as the receiver you're covering, why not be a receiver yourself? Serious question, could someone tell me why a player wants to be a CB?
 
2013-05-29 10:58:18 AM  

The Banana Thug: CB is the worst position to play in football. A lot of demand, a lot of stress, no glory. If you're as fast and as tall as the receiver you're covering, why not be a receiver yourself? Serious question, could someone tell me why a player wants to be a CB?


Common wisdom I've heard is that DBs are just WRs with bad hands.
 
2013-05-29 11:00:46 AM  

The Banana Thug: CB is the worst position to play in football. A lot of demand, a lot of stress, no glory. If you're as fast and as tall as the receiver you're covering, why not be a receiver yourself? Serious question, could someone tell me why a player wants to be a CB?


Tall and fast with bad hands.

If you don't like getting hit (Sanders, I'm looking at you).
 
2013-05-29 11:13:41 AM  
I get what you guys are saying about short DB's (agility/quickness), but I am seeing a shift and expecting to see more tall DB's in the future. Having one 6'3" 220lb DB on each team might not be out of the ordinary here soon.

First off, there are too many tall/athletic guys that can't catch. IMO, if they want to take home that NFL check, they need to work on their tackling. They can start on ST's. (Think Kassim Osgood, just with a full transition to defense.)

Also, when you look at all the problems defenses have been having with these TE matchups, something has to change. I'm expecting more tweener LB/DB's to be the answer.

I'm not suggesting taller DB's against the taller WR's, even though I think teams will like to have that option, but tall/big dime/nickelbacks... who can matchup against these hybrid TE's... kinda surprised it's not really a thing yet. Could see it becoming more popular than the pistol offense, though, IMO...
 
2013-05-29 11:14:29 AM  

nmrsnr: dragonchild: DBs who have to be smaller and lighter to keep up with them

The rest of your post aside, this makes no sense. If the receiver can be 6'4, 240 and run fast, then a DB can be 6'4, 240, and run fast enough to cover.


Defenders have to be faster than WR because they're reacting to the receiver's plan.  Thus they're generally smaller at the NFL level.
 
2013-05-29 11:48:15 AM  
If the league is too much of a quarter back league because of a rule change, maybe we could change another rule to balance it out? Perhaps going to three downs would help?

/ducks
 
2013-05-29 11:51:29 AM  

dragonchild: Faddy: Didn't the proliferation of passing start because running became so hard because the defensive linemen got much bigger and harder to find holes and gaps.

I tried to prove this point once so I pored over decades of data, but the statistics don't bear that out.  Here are the league-average, per-game team rushing stats:

1970: 31 att, 120 yd, 3.8 y/a
1980: 32 att, 128 yd, 4.0 y/a
1990: 28 att, 114 yd, 4.1 y/a
2000: 28 att, 113 yd, 4.1 y/a
2010: 27 att, 115 yd, 4.2 y/a
2012: 27 att, 116 yd, 4.3 y/a

Total yards haven't changed that much except for 1980 which is an outlier (rush yds/game went as high as 130 in 1981 but dropped to 118 in 1982).   What I immediately notice is that the attempts are down despite the yards/attempt trending up.  Teams were willing to rush the ball over 30 times/game back in '70 despite averaging a half yard less.  Hell, 4.3ypa was good for 5th-best in the NFL in 1970.  Why are teams averaging four fewer carries when rushing is more efficient than ever?  Because it's even easier to advance the ball by passing.  Back in 1970 the league average was 5.5 yards per passing attempt; now it's up to 6.2.  That 0.7 y/a difference has resulted in a whopping shift toward getting your yards through the air, from 161ypg in 1970 to 231ypg in 2012.  The top passing offense in 1970 was the San Fran 49ers with 2923 yards.  Only three NFL teams did worse than that last season (and, yep, two of them were the Jets and the Chiefs).  So if you're not averaging 4.3 yards per rush, it's not worth the trouble.  The running game certainly evolved, sure, but there were always challenges.  I'd hate to plan a running game these days.  But looking at the numbers, teams are finding ways to advance the ball on the ground.  It's just that coaches don't want 3.8ypc when they can average six through the air.

The running game didn't get any harder; passing got easier.  WAY easier.


This is exactly right. Look at yards per rush against yards per pass. The reason teams run less is because the average rush is about 4 yards and the worst passing team in the league got 4.9 yards per pass. It's been clear for a while that passing moves the ball better. The only reason teams run even as much as they do is because of the risk aversion that so many coaches have.
 
2013-05-29 11:55:06 AM  

Nietzsche is Dead: If the league is too much of a quarter back league because of a rule change, maybe we could change another rule to balance it out? Perhaps going to three downs would help?

/ducks


You sound Canadian.

/NTTAWWT
 
2013-05-29 12:04:56 PM  

Weigard: Except the last Super Bowl featured Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick.


Colin Kaepernick is, right now, the best QB in the NFL. You don't agree now, I get it. Check back with me on New Years Day. You'll agree then.
 
2013-05-29 12:04:57 PM  

The Banana Thug: could someone tell me why a player wants to be a CB?


Schadenfreude.  Getting in someone's head until they're spewing obscenities and shaking with frustration is a rush.

Pontious Pilates: Common wisdom I've heard is that DBs are just WRs with bad hands.


That's what the WRs say because they don't know what it's like to shadow someone's movements.  If a CB has bad hands it's because quickness and speed are so much more important.  Many CBs are perfectly serviceable receivers; bear in mind when they make a pick they're catching a ball they're not supposed to catch.  What they're coached not to do is risk a completion or penalty to catch the ball, so that limits (and thus de-emphasizes) their pass-catching skills.

overfienduglar: If you don't like getting hit (Sanders, I'm looking at you).


Defenders don't get hit; they hit.  Besides, Sanders' one-dimensional skill set was a notorious liability even back when he was playing.  You didn't pass anywhere near him, but you could run at him and he'll practically direct traffic for you.  He got away with it back then because CBs were considered too small to bring down running backs in space, but nowadays CBs are expected to finish their own tackles.
 
2013-05-29 12:06:32 PM  
 FTA:
aggressive defenders had to temporarily halt their instinctive tackling mechanics, essentially having to make sure


I would argue that leading with the head is not a survival instinct.
 
2013-05-29 12:16:47 PM  

Why Would I Read the Article: Weigard: Except the last Super Bowl featured Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick.

Colin Kaepernick is, right now, the best QB in the NFL. You don't agree now, I get it. Check back with me on New Years Day. You'll agree then.


Lolwut
 
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