Football Outsiders
Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis

Week 7 Open Discussion Thread

Carson Wentz
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Week 7 kicks off tonight with an AFC West matchup as the suddenly struggling Chiefs, losers of two in a row, travel to Denver to take on the Broncos. Big Sunday games include Houston (4-2) at Indianapolis (3-2), Minnesota (4-2) at Detroit (2-2-1), and Baltimore (4-2) at Seattle (5-1). The Sunday night game sees Eagles playing the Cowboys with first place in the NFC East on the line, while the undefeated Patriots play Sam Darnold and the Jets on Monday night. Use this thread to discuss them all. 

Comments

70 comments, Last at 19 Oct 2019, 8:18pm

1 Brock Osweiler

So where is the Osweiler retirement thread???

45 ..

In reply to by amin purshottam

If you seek an open discussion thread, look about you.

2 Picks are ein!

Chiefs 24 broncs 20
eaidwra 24 packera 34
Rama 18 falcs 28
49ers 44 red clouds 13
Texas 31 clots 21
Vikinhs 27 loins 13
Jagd 26 bengals 9
Cards 24 giants 22
Dolps 0 bills 19
Cahegees 34 titans 11
Ravens 27 seahaeks 29
Saints 21 bears 28
Eags 20 cowbous 24
Oates 30 jets 20

3 Oh my god that sucked. At…

Oh my god that sucked. At least flip the play so the punter is running to his right so he could potentially get off a 20-yard kick when he saw the run wasn't going to work. Or better yet, just go for it with the offense, or EVEN BETTER yet, just punt it.

5 Ugh Mahomes injured on a QB…

Ugh Mahomes injured on a QB sneak. I doubt you’ll see many coaches running that from now on, even though this was probably just bad luck.

8 I mean, if you're thinking…

I mean, if you're thinking about having to slot someone into the offense to replace Mahomes in an emergency, you certainly don't think Colin Kaepernik.  You immediately call Matt Moore.

11 I mean, ideally you call…

I mean, ideally you call someone who is actually a good quarterback rather than either of those guys, but Moore's last two seasons with significant playing time (2016 and 2017) are quite a bit better than Kaepernick's last two (2015 and 2016), albeit in a smaller sample size. Moore was actually the <200 attempt DYAR leader in 2016.

9 Looks like a couple linemen…

Looks like a couple linemen who were grappling with each other fell on the back of his leg.  Like I said, probably just bad luck.  

Most coaches are so risk-averse, though, that they’ll let this random event change their behavior.

12 Not like it's a one-off,…

Not like it's a one-off, though: the Kubiak Texans lost their best shot at a Superbowl to Haynesworth injuring Schaub on a sneak, and Schaub was never the same again. How often does it have to happen to make the play a bad idea? One time in a thousand?

44 I hate to give Aikman credit…

I hate to give Aikman credit for anything in his post-playing career, but he said it perfectly on the previous 4th-and-short: You don't want to run a sneak with your franchise QB playing on a bad ankle -- a lot of things can happen at the bottom of a pile.

And maybe it was a co-incidence, being a knee injury and not a lower leg, but I thought Reid made a foolish decision given the circumstances.

46 Aikman was surprisingly…

Aikman was surprisingly observant last night.  He also noticed and commented on Joe Flacco playing poorly.  I mean, it wasn't a challenging point to observe, but my bar for NFL colour commentators is pretty low.

More fun was when Aikman wondered why anybody was still in the stadium watching this game?  Buckman leaped in a bit later with the party line about the great fans in Denver, which isn't false, because Broncos fans are great fans.  But I think Aikman's comment was more telling.  Rather than booing, a unified exodus after the Broncos couldn't be bother to run a play at the end of the third quarter might have been an even better statement on last night's performance.

10 Courtland Sutton is really…

Courtland Sutton is really good. I feel like him and Terry McLaurin should start a support group for wideouts forced to live in terrible passing offenses.

15 That's not a first down. If…

That's not a first down. If you reach the ball forward and then pull it back, the spot should go where you pulled it back to, because you pulled it back voluntarily. Reaching the ball forward only works on the goal line because the rules are different there. The play doesn't end on the rest of the field

16 This game is like a movie…

This game is like a movie that’s really boring, yet I keep watching because I just want to see how it ends. I mean, I’ve made it this far...

17 This has been a terrible…

This has been a terrible offensive performance by Denver. They are ranked 20th in DVOA on offense but they look much worse than that today. With Mahomes out they have a serious chance to get back in the divisional and wild card races with a win, but at the moment the offense has given up more points than they've scored.

28 As a rams fan who had to…

As a rams fan who had to live through the 2016 Rams offense, 4th worst of all time per DVOA, this Broncos offense is reminding me of that team. I don't think they're actually that bad, since even Fant isn't going to drop the ball four times in a row most games. But they sure are that bad this game.

And it's not just the overall result. It's the total lifelessness. Forget getting three touchdowns to tie the game, getting three first downs seems a hard enough challenge. I hate to be too down on Flacco, but man he's looked really bad in a lot of different ways, from not scrambling, to fumbling about five times, to making terrible throws. And the offensive line looks beyond atrocious.

32 Lifelessness is the right…

Lifelessness is the right word.  

I know Flacco's not a firebrand leader, but it seems no one else is either on the Denver O.  Maybe there was stuff going on on the sidelines that didn't get air time, but I don't recall ever watching a professional team look as flat and quiet about it as the Denver O did in the second half tonight.  If I didn't know better, I'd have thought it was a preseason game.

And on the Denver D, is there a reason why Fagio won't let Von Miller rush the QB?  Maybe I'm wrong about this and maybe he was just getting blocked, but from what I saw, it seemed like Von Miller was being used in contain or dropping back into coverage.  And maybe I'm wrong about that, as I was only half watching the game (kind of like the Broncos O-line).

22 It seems like the offense…

It seems like the offense would jump two or three spots alone in DVOA if they simply never allowed Garrett Bolles to set foot on a NFL field again

30 Asking what I assume is a…

Asking what I assume is a Broncos fan, is it fair to say the the shine from 2013-15 has worn off in Denver? Elway looks like a guy just smart enough to know his time is coming, but not smart enough to do anything about it either way.

34 I am a Denver fan, and yep…

I am a Denver fan, and yep.

I think Elway took a lot of only semi-justified crap.  He had a lot of brilliant moves (Drafting Brandon Marshall, Malik Jackson, Matt Paradis, Danny Trevathan and signing Darian Stewart, Emmanuel Sanders, Louis Vasquez, Russel Okung were all solid choices, plus he got great value in free agency from the prestige signings of Wes Welker, DRC, Aqib Talib, TJ Ward, and obviously Peyton Manning).  But he whiffed on so many draft picks.  Even a (so far reasonable) pick in Bradley Chubb is pretty low value - drafting Chubb forced Shaquill Barrett to the sidelines and imagine denver this year with Barrett AND Q Nelson (or some other draft haul from the bills).

This year has been SO frustrating to watch.  Flacco is just terrible (and this game was abnormal, but not by much).  He generates sacks and his instincts are to dump the ball off, which he doesn't have the accuracy to do well.  Granted there have been plenty of sacks from the O-line.  But thats also some of the Elway problem - he doesn't seem to think beyond the immediate moment.  He paid big money to Ron Leary and Ja'Wuan James instead of extending Matt Paradis at an affordable moment.  Justin Simmons has been good to great, and is probably going to make big money in free-agency next year. Maybe he's offered and Simmons wants out of Denver, but Simmons should have received an extension offer before this year began (as should have Shelby Harris).

I am getting steamed so I will quit but I have been talking with a lot of Denver fans, and I think the general consensus is Elway is increasingly a problem, and until the team ownership is close to leaving the trust, the caretakers won't have the courage to fire him.

36 I'd have to see a real study…

I'd have to see a real study about Elway's drafting to be convinced he's significantly worse than any other GM. Anyone can cherry-pick, but I don't know the actual evidence, like average career AV of draft classes compared to other teams over that time range. I have a hard time faulting him for his QB moves - you could argue that he had a better opportunity than Houston to trade up for Watson (and right now, I'd trade Bolles and Chubb for Watson in a heartbeat), but other than that you're looking at criticizing him for not drafting Rosen. Other than that, he's missed on quarterbacks that every other team in the league has also missed on.

You could argue that he shouldn't have brought in those other quarterbacks at *all*, but... then what? Who'd be QB? Are we talking about keeping Tebow until after Peyton retired?

But.  But, but. Even if those aren't points against Elway, we've got a serious culture problem in the organization. It's just hollowed out. It's sort of at that point where you need a functional owner to step in and make a move, even if it's a bad move in isolation, just because culturally the organization really needs that kind of move to be made. And we just simply have no one to do it. I mean... if Elway were the owner, this is where he'd step in and fire the GM. But as GM, he's just out of moves right now.

I like the coaches, but none of them are firebrand types. I don't know how this team gets better without lucking in to some sort of amazing player-leader.

It might be that the team's downfall was Fangio's resistance to keeping Kubiak as OC. Under Kubiak, the offense would never have given up like they did tonight.

 

38 Culture problem would…

Culture problem would explain what I saw in that second half. I hate to say this as a non-Broncos fan, but that was so bad and seemingly complacent, I personally got a little bit embarrassed for Vic Fangio. Don't know if you consider him part of the problem or not.

Anyway, I understand whiffing on QB's, at least as far as average GM's go. Frankly, I think a lot of GM's just happen to be the lucky ones who get Aaron Rodgers or some equivalent fall into their lap. Or they make a pick that turns out to be Russell Wilson in the third round, or Tom Brady in the sixth. Having said that, one of the advantages you would think Elway has, is the ability to evaluate quarterbacks, to a very real degree. Ultimately, if he could actually do that he wouldn't keep whiffing time and time again. He wouldn't have drafted Lynch, or Simian, or all the other junk he's brought in. If he really had any ability, he would have spent just two or three late round picks on QB's in the past few years, and gotten someone like Gardner Minshew. 

We can look at a lot of moves in isolation and say, "oh well drafting Lynch was reasonable, singing Flacco/Keenum was reasonable", but eventually you need to do something that actually works out.

52 He also drafted Osweiler,…

He also drafted Osweiler, and later offered him an extension but was marginally out-bid by Houston. 

Worse than any of the draft busts, however, is trading for Joe Flacco and making him your starter. There's simply no upside or growth potential to doing that. You'd be better off starting a late round rookie, where there's at least a small chance they might turn out to be good, but if as is more likely they completely suck you get a premium draft pick for your troubles. 

54 Siemian was a 7th-round…

Siemian was a 7th-round draft pick, and it seems to me you'd have to consider that a hit for Elway - not a lot of 7th rounders make even serviceable backup QBs. The much, much bigger problem was taking Lynch in the first round.

Elway's most positive contribution by far was signing Peyton Manning, which may look obvious in retrospect but was not at the time. Tim Tebow had just led the Broncos to a playoff victory and was a cult hero in Colorado. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for Elway to mutter about how Tebow was going to grow into a great quarterback, but Elway saw through that and went out to get P. Manning. He deserves credit for that.

56 Right, meant to say Lynch…

Right, meant to say Lynch and Osweiler. Siemian was actually a great selection in the 7th round, and if he had, say, whiffed on Osweiler, but hit on Lynch and Siemian, and that was the entirety of the resources that he'd spent on QB, then I'd say he was doing extremely well. His only real good moves thus far have been signing Manning, which was obvious, and drafting Siemian, who's a backup somewhere else now. That's just simply not very good.

39 For what is worth, I did…

For what is worth, I did this chart before the last draft.

https://tinyurl.com/y45ywtux

Right: lot of draft capital

Up: good draft value extracted (in comparison to the average quality of the draft and the position where the picks were).

An imaginary diagonal from bottom-left corner to up-right corner would be the line of competency.

So, Elway = not great, not terrible (at least for pure drafting). 

 

49 Kubiak is really solid. He…

Kubiak is really solid. He might not have been a top 10 coach, but certainly a mid-level guy who is hard to improve upon. Likewise, teams could far worse than him as a coordinator. I'd certainly take him over the latest "well, he once attended  a wedding with Sean Mcvay" hires around the league.

 

23 Denver doesn't get a play…

Denver doesn't get a play off before the end of the third quarter, down 3 touchdowns. They line up with about 20 seconds to the go, Flacco wanders to the line getting there with around 5 seconds remaining , looks around, then saunters off to the side line.

31 I was going to turn the game…

I was going to turn the game off, and then that happened. It just seemed so weird. It's like you get used to seeing a certain level of effort and competence from NFL teams, and the Broncos are not displaying that right now.

25 It's so dumb and…

It's so dumb and counterproductive to boo the players. They are clearly doing their best. I mean, what did anyone expect from Joe Flacco? He's played BETTER than I expected before this year. Honestly this is the best-case scenario. Booing Elway and the front office would be good though, because they're the ones who put Flacco out there.

I can't wait until Lock is healthy so we can see what kind of potential he has.

51 Speaking as someone who…

In reply to by Mountain Time …

Speaking as someone who spent some time in Ford Field during the Matt Millen era, I  feel confident that the fans probably ARE booing Elway, not the players.   When we were booing in the mid aughts, we were perfectly aware that the players were trying as hard as they could.  It wasn’t their fault that they didn’t belong as starters in the NFL (in some cases, they didn’t belong in the NFL period).   Our boos were meant for the front office and ownership to hear.

27 Flacco is showing a firey…

Flacco is showing a firey competitive drive we haven't seen the likes of since Jay Cutler in Miami. Maybe it's okay to boo at that

29 The Broncos had not been a…

The Broncos had not been a terrible team prior to tonight. They could easily have been 4-2 as 2-4. I wouldn't have expected a scoreline like this with a healthy Mahomes, much less a third-stringer at QB. It's just been an awful performance.

40 Gosh, from what I hear,…

Gosh, from what I hear, Aikman, after openly excoriating Flacco for most of the game, finally resorted to simply laughing at him. I rarely have the sound up when I'm not watching with people who want the jibber-jabber, but I wish I had heard that.

43 He did. It was literally the…

He did. It was literally the worst skewering of anyone I've ever seen Aikman do - and I've seen a lot of Aikman, living in an NFC East town. When Praise Everybody Aikman is ripping on you, you *suck*.

 

In all fairness to Troy, though, Flacco was quite possibly as bad as you can be without a Peterman-level meltdown. I'd rather have watched the Dan Reeves Giants and their rotating mediocrity.

47 Mediocrity is usually enough…

Mediocrity is usually enough to rack up points against the Chiefs.  It takes a special level of suckitude to make them look like the 49ers' D.

Andy Reid gave another excellent post-game interview and talked about how the individual pieces have been coming together on D over the past few weeks, it just wasn't noticeable, but tonight they got it all working together and now they just need to keep that going.  Next week Rodgers is the opposing QB, so maybe we'll see how much of last night's performance was really related to the Chiefs' D getting their act together.

69 He didnt throw 5 picks only…

He didnt throw 5 picks only because he was sacked all the time or threw the ball in the dirt so far from anyone that it had no chance of being caught by anyone.

The only pretty pass I saw all night from Flacco was the one after the pick. Thats it.

 

59 Dear God

I think that was the worst offensive performance I've seen out of Denver in 40 years (yes I'm old). At least when Seattle embarrassed them in the Super Bowl you could point at a historically good defense. But this...

Also, thank you Ben Muth, for NOT following the Bronco's o-line this year. I don't want to read about it and I'm pretty sure you'd end up stabbing your eyeballs out with a fork.