Archive for October, 2009

Surprise Team of the NFL: Checking the Numbers on the Denver Broncos

October 22, 2009
Is Josh McDaniels a coaching genius? (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Is Josh McDaniels a coaching genius? (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Coming into the 2009 season I, along with many others, thought that Josh McDaniels was an egomaniac who had made a huge mistake in getting rid of Jay Cutler. I know I heard at least one pundit say that the Denver Broncos’ ceiling this year was 3 or 4 wins. Well, so far, the Broncos’ are 6-0, they have the top ranked defense in points allowed (2nd in yards), Elvis Dumervil leads the league in sacks, and McDaniels is looking like a genius. In fact, Neil Paine over Pro-Football-Reference.com wrote a post showing the top season performances in Broncos’ history through the first 5 games of a season. Several players are in the top ten and several more in the top 20 in those lists.

(more…)

Advertisements

Updated: Roethlisberger and Ward Having Historical Seasons

October 20, 2009
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

AP Photo/Don Wright

AP Photo/Don Wright

I added a little more information about Hines Ward’s rankings that I thought was interesting.

A little over a week ago, I wrote a post showing how high Hines Ward ranks among NFL WRs in playoff yardage. So far this year, he and Ben Roethlisberger are having historic seasons in terms of passing and receiving yardage. As of the time of this writing, both are leading the league in respective passing and receiving yardage. I wrote in the previous post on Hines that he was on pace to have over 1400 receiving yards. After his game on Sunday against the Browns, he is now on pace to have nearly 1600 receiving yard this season, which would be a career high and a Pittsburgh Steelers record (currently held byYancey Thigpen with 1398 yards in a season). Ben is on pace to have over 5000 passing yards this season, which also would be a Steelers record (currently held by Terry Bradshaw with 3724 yards in a season). With two Steelers on such a historic pace, for this franchise, at least, I wanted to see how they compared with other players’ performances after the first 6 games of the season.

(more…)

NFL QBs with the Best First Five Games to Their Career

October 17, 2009

Again this year, we have two rookie quarterbacks who started from game 1 of the season. Last year when Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco started, they had unprecedented success, at least in a year where there were two rookie QBs starting (not to mention rookie head coaches as well). This year, we have Mark Sanchez and Matthew Stafford, each starting from game 1 with rookie head coaches as well. I was curious how well Sanchez and Stafford match up against other QBs that started very early in the season. Because of this, I went to Pro-Football-Reference.com‘s Player Game Finder and queried on players’ 1st 5 games of their rookie season, with greater than or equal to 80 attempts and a passer rating of 65 or above (sorted by passer rating). Here are the players that I came up with.

(more…)

Andre Johnson Looking like Earl Campbell

October 17, 2009

Just a quick hit here. I’m sure most of you have seen the highlight of Andre Johnson this weekend running through 3 Cardinals defenders to score a touchdown. You can see the video on NFL.com here.  I was really impressed by his physicality there. In fact, the run reminded me a lot of that classic Earl Campbell run where Earl ran through several players on his way to endzone, ramming his helmet into one guy’s chest and then having his jersey almost ripped off before scoring. Anyway, I can’t think of many wide receivers that I’ve seen over the years that have been that physical on a play. Maybe Hines Ward.

How Often Have 2 WRs Had Over 200 Receiving Yards in the Same Weekend?

October 16, 2009

This past weekend, Miles Austin of the Dallas Cowboys and Roddy White of the Atlanta Falcons each had over 200 receiving yards. Seeing that made me wonder how many other times this has happened in the NFL. As it turns out, according to my research anyway, this has happened only 7 times since 1960, prior to this weekend. To see who the other players were, click the link to read the rest of the post.

(more…)

Another Reason to Argue for Hines Ward’s HOF Candidacy

October 9, 2009
PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 4:  Wide receiver Hines Ward #86 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after a catch in the third quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Heinz Field on October 4, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 4: Wide receiver Hines Ward #86 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after a catch in the third quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Heinz Field on October 4, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Many Pittsburgh Steelers fans are already convinced that Hines Ward deserves to be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he retires. Currently, in his 12th season in the NFL, he is ranked 17th in career receptions, 31st in career receiving yards, and tied for 28th in career receiving TDs. Some would, and have, argued that he doesn’t have HOF worthy statistics, and you can’t just say he should be in because he is the greatest blocking receiver in NFL history. If he retired today, and that were the extent of his accomplishments, I would agree. But, he should play another 3 or more years, including this season. Currently, he is on pace for about 100 receptions and over 1400 yards this season. Although he has yet to catch a TD pass this year, based on his productivity in past years, it’s reasonable expect at least 5 receiving TDs this season. Those numbers would put him at 11th in career receptions, 22nd or 23rd in career receiving yards, and 22nd or 23rd in career TD receptions. Just a couple more years of what would be mediocre production for Ward would put him in the top 10 in every receiving category.

I think that those numbers would be enough to get him in when you consider his other accomplishments: 2 Super Bowl rings (more to come?), a SB MVP, and a rule named after him. When the NFL Network announced the most recent round of HOF candidates a couple of weeks ago, they had two HOF voters on the show. One said that she believed that a major consideration for whether a player is HOF worthy is whether you could tell the story of the NFL without them or not. I think it’s clear that you cannot tell the story of the NFL without Hines Ward. His blocking down the field is so physical that they had to change the rules because of the hit he put on Keith Rivers in the 2008 season, breaking his jaw. The hit was legal then. Anyway, that was a long introduction to get to my latest piece of evidence in favor of Hines Ward being HOF worthy.

(more…)

Are the New Orleans Saints for Real?

October 8, 2009
AP Photo/Bill Feig

AP Photo/Bill Feig

Last season, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees nearly broke Dan Marino’s single season passing yards record. He fell just a few yards short of breaking the record on the final play of the final game of the 2008 season. While Brees had a great season individually, the Saints as a team were the definition of average, finishing with an 8-8 record. So far in 2009, they are one of the last remaining undefeated teams in the NFL. So, the question is, are they for real, or are they either just on a hot streak or playing cupcakes?

(more…)

Reviewing the Pittsburgh Steelers after a Quarter of the Season

October 6, 2009
PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 4:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws the ball in the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Heinz Field on October 4, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 4: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws the ball in the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Heinz Field on October 4, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

So far this year, there has been a lot of discussion among Pittsburgh Steelers fans about why the team has not been able to put teams away when they’ve had the chance. In only one game so far have they outperformed their opponents in the 4th quarter, and that was in week 1 against the Tennessee Titans. The Titans outplayed them for most of the first three quarters, but as they did in so many games in 2008, the Steelers fought back and clawed out a tough win. Since then, though, Pittsburgh has been outplayed in the 4th quarter of every other game, with the worst performance coming in Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals. I commented on these issues in my Around the NFL post, but I wanted to take a more detailed look at what the team’s statistical performance looked like. In this post, I will review the Steelers’ per game statistics to this point in the season compared to their numbers from last season. Since there seems to be much debate as to who is at fault for the two losses, I thought it would be worthwhile to compare the performance of each unit. All statistics come from Pro-Football-Reference.com.

(more…)

Around the NFL in Week 4

October 5, 2009

This week, I’ve decided to take a little break from the game reviews that I had been doing and just post a review of the NFL weekend as a whole with my thoughts on several things that happened in various games. I’ll probably do a couple of posts on how a few different teams are looking to this point in the season as well this week. There were a few things that caught my attention this weekend that I felt like talking about so, I figured I would put down here on the blog. For example, there were the outstanding defensive back plays of Champ Bailey and Darren Sharper, the continuing wussification of the quarterback position by the NFL, a touchdown that was dropped in the endzone that was overturned and ruled a TD, and a few others.

(more…)

Favre Watch: Previewing the Packers-Vikings Week 4 Game

October 1, 2009
AP Photo

AP Photo

AP Photo

AP Photo

In perhaps the most intriguing game of the year, the Green Bay Packers will travel to Minnesota to take on the Brett Favre led Vikings. This will be the first time that Favre has played his old team, and the second time in my memory where a young star quarterback has faced the icon that he replaced. In the 90’s, the 49ers, with Steve Young, faced Joe Montana and Chiefs. That time, Montana came out on top. Now, it will be Aaron Rodgers facing his old teammate. Will Favre get his revenge on the Packers, or will Rodgers help Green Bay fans forget about Brett? (Ok, I know Packers fans will never forget Brett.)

(more…)