Saturday, May 19, 2018

Cleveland Browns Acquired Team Guys on Offense

Jeff Janis has only 17 catches in his career but is a special teams ace and valued backup.  
Drew Stanton's numbers are not exciting.  But he is a backup QB that has a habit of winning games.  

     The Browns have gone out of their way to obtain guys who are good leaders in the clubhouse, paying a steep price for "character guys" in each position group on offense, including quarterback Drew Stanton, OL Donald Stephenson, WR Jeff Janis.  These guys are not the necessarily the best available players but do stabilize an offensive unit that was essentially devoid of veteran leadership when Josh McCown was sent packing and Joe Thomas wound up on IR. You can see a plan emerging.  The team will have at least one sane voice in each meeting room during the week. 

Stanton, Stephenson and Janis do not have eye-popping scouting reports from Pro Football Focus, and in fact are each considered below average,  but they are all Coach-on-the-field type guys that will act as a bridge between the coaching staff and the young Browns players. None of these guys figure to be starters, but they are going to establish the right kind of leadership.

     Janis may be particularly important because the Browns' best receivers are not considered quite the bedrock of stabilty, with off-suspended Josh Gordon and protege Antonio Calloway.  Corey Coleman has also generated some minor off season drama with an alleged off-the-field altercation as well being called out for inadequate conditioning in 2016.  Hopefully Janis can help to stabilize these talented but possible troubled players.     

    
The Cleveland Browns contemptuously trashed their veteran leadership last year.  Unquestionably the leader of the offense was Josh McCown, a guy who would do anything for the team, and supported the other quarterbacks no matter what.   No less an authority than the Browns' bad boy Johnny Manziel explained it thusly on Twitter: 



   "Draft a QB in the first round and put him into a toxic Quarterback room vs. what it was like my second year with [Josh] McCown,” Manziel said. “COMPLETELY different situation. It’s all about the right fit and mine in Cleveland wasn’t right. That’s just the facts. I also have nobody to blame but myself.”   

     Manziel's tweet was probably a bit ill advised, as even the mildest of controversy is not what his career needs right now, but nevertheless the salient point is that he articulated very well the need for sanity in the quarterbacks' meeting room. Josh McCown created a much better environment for the other quarterbacks as they tried to assimilate the complexities of the Browns' offense.  The quarterback room is like a war room, where plans are made up and plays are created and modified. Most of the burden falls on the Coaching Staff, but the players are part of that process also.  

     Browns GM Sashi Brown, on the other hand seemed determined to eliminate veteran leadership, for reasons that are not clear.  Perhaps he thought he could help to mold a new cadre of loyal Browns by relying on younger minds.  In any case, McCown was sent packing as well as the unquestioned leader of the defense in Joe Haden. Also sent packing were star linebacker DeMario Davis, S Jordan Poyer, CB Tramon Williams and other guys who have been around the league for a while.  

     This year, the Browns again ejected all quarterbacks including DeShone Kizer, Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan.  But most importantly, future Hall of Fame lineman Joe Thomas is retired.  This presented the Browns with a leadership vacuum among the players if not a talent vacuum and that is probably why the Browns brought in Janis, Stanton and Stephenson.  Having veteran starters like Tyrod Taylor and Carlos Hyde is going to help also.      
       
     Veteran defensive starters Jason McCourty, Jamar Taylor, and Danny Shelton are also gone this year, despite seeming to have played well last year. In their place are E. J. Gaines, Demarious Randall and T. J. Curry. The Browns have addtional veteran presence on defense with former All Pro Jamie Collins, Jamie Meder, Chris Kirksey and perhaps Tank Carder, so on that side of the ball they were better off than the offense. 
     The Browns seem to have pursued a plan of acquiring not just talent but leadership on the offensive side of the ball.   My guess is that even if the box score doesn't mention guys like Stanton, Janis and Stephenson, their presence is going to be felt by the rest of the team. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Browns WRs in 2017 Struggled. How Bad was It?

Corey Coleman had a shot to keep the Browns' last drive alive last year, but came up short, sending them to their 16th loss of the season. 

      Looking back on the infamous 2017 Cleveland Browns season, one of the most painful subjects is the wide receivers.  I'm actually an optimist about the Browns.  You might not have recognized that last year when I had the audacity to suggest that they were only a four win team, much of it due to weakness at the wide receiver position.  
   "Four wins?  Kennel, have you flipped your lid?  Hey, they signed Kenny Britt!  Plus young prospects like speedy Corey Coleman, Ricardo Louis and Hollywood Higgins!  Victories are assured!"   
   Well, that's not what happened.  They were even worse than I imagined.  Corey Coleman broke the same hand he injured last year, and never showed an ability to catch the ball, though he is fast and elusive with the ball. 
    The table provides a few stats about how bad they were, but in reality does not begin to tell the full story.


Wide Receivers Catch Percentage and PFF Ranking.  
Add caption
      
    In terms of catch percentage (balls caught divided by targets), they were epic underperformers. The Browns did have Hollywood Higgins catching more than half his chances, but all the other wideouts were under 50 percent. Frankly this is incredible. The table shows their rank according to percentile both for Catch percentage as well as their overall ranking by Pro Football Focus.  Not that PFF is always right, and I doubt whether the Browns get the same level of attention as other teams, but at least they made the effort. 

  PFF's ranking is based on 116 WRs in the NFL which is essentially three starters per team, plus 20 extra top extra wide receivers.
   The catch percentage stat is based on a different pool from Pro Football Reference, because they include tight ends and running backs, resulting in a total pool of 212 players.  So I used a percentile basis.  So, for example, PFF ranks Josh Gordon as 83rd percentile meaning that 83% of the group is not as good as him.  Conversely, his catch percentage 2.8 percentile means only 2.8% of the group was worse. 
     Josh did see a lot of double coverage and did not have a very accurate qb throwing passes his way, but I wonder if his ranking by PFF might be a bit generous. How could you be 83rd percentile in overall performance if you're one of the poorest performers at catching the ball?   

     But no matter how you slice it, the rest of the Browns wide receivers struggled to catch the ball, and the guys at PFF were not very impressed.  It would be very hard to conceive that a guy ranked 12th percentile (i.e., Corey Coleman) could be an NFL starter.  Catching fewer than 40% of the balls thrown his way is just an amazing stat and not in a good way.  Corey will either improve or a new starter will be found.  
     You can blame some of the problem on young quarterback DeShone Kizer, but tight ends David Njoku and Seth DeValve plus halfback/slot Duke Johnson had respectable stats with the same quarterback.  Wide receivers just really did have a difficult time in 2017.  
     Kenny Britt actually was sent away last year, but it would not be surprising to see the other Browns receivers pushed for their jobs in 2018.   
     

Hooray for Hollywood!  Rashard Higgins caught a few footballs in 2018 but is considered by PFF to be in the bottom 5% of the NFL.  Ouch. 



Monday, May 14, 2018

The Super Bowl Drought for the Old Guard NFL, 1968-1983

     You might imagine that the old school NFL--teams that were established prior to the merger of the All America Conference and the NFL in 1950--continued to dominate.  In fact, that pattern started to emerge with Super Bowl I and II taken by Green Bay, who basically obliterated everything in their path. The pattern was shattered by the New York Jets and Joe Namath after the 1968 season. But would you believe that it would take FIFTEEN YEARS before the old school would win another Super Bowl?

That's correct.   To clarify, by Old School I am referring to the teams that were with the NFL prior to the merger with the All America Conference in 1950,  and stayed in the NFC after the merger with the AFL in 1970. Specifically, these teams were New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington, Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, St. Louis (formerly Chicago) Cardinals, and Los Angeles (formerly Cleveland) Rams. 

I got interested in this question based on some commentary in the Remember the AFL group on Facebook.

The old Cleveland Browns (now Ravens) and San Francisco 49ers were originally in the AAC and joined the NFL in 1950. But the Browns as well as the Steelers and Baltimore Colts (who actually replaced the defunct Dallas Texans in 1953) joined the AFL in 1970.  So for the purposes of accounting, I have grouped the former AAC teams with the Steelers and Colts.  They are all transplanted teams, and thus differentiated from the Old Guard.  

The NFL expanded a few times as well.  It seems like the Dallas Cowboys have always been in the NFL, but in reality they were an expansion team, along with the Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, set up to counter the AFL.  They were later followed by Tampa, Seattle, Houston and the new Browns. Generally the expansion teams not from Dallas have had a hard time winning Super Bowls.  

So, let's recount the 15 year drought between wins by the Old School.  

AFL teams namely the Jets, Chiefs and (transplanted) Colts won Super Bowls III through V.   The next teams that won were the expansion Cowboys (twice), and the AFL Dolphins (also twice). The Steelers won four times in the 1970s, and the Raiders won twice. They were followed by the 49ers winning the first of their four championships, before Washington finally managed to win Super Bowl XVII.

A case could be made that the Old School had become stodgy and complacent.  The new, hungrier teams from the AFL as well as the new expansion teams (especially the highly innovative Dallas Cowboys) created a superior brand of football.  


The NFC had a comeback of sorts, winning 13 straight between 1985 and 1997.  But even  that was not so much the Old Guard reasserting itself, but the continuing success of the Cowboys (Expansion) and 49ers (Transplants), both of whom were among the dominant teams.  In all, the Old School won the Super Bowl only 11 times after its dominant 2-0 start. That's fewer than either the transplant teams or the AFL teams. 

Dallas skews the results among Expansion Teams with 5 wins, while Tampa Bay, Seattle and the Saints are the other Expansion Teams to have turned in a win.

Old School                            13 wins
Transplanted AFL +AAC       16 wins
NFL Expansion Teams           8  wins
AFL Teams                           15 wins.

Once the script changed in Super Bowl 3, the football world was changed forever, and the Old Guard never fully recovered.  

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Super Bowl III was not a Fluke. Why the AFL beat a Superior Team

     Super Bowl III, considered by many sports historians was not a fluke in my opinion. The New York Jets were 18 point underdogs, and yet they spanked the Colts 16-7, and it wasn't that close.  New York led 16-0 and gave up a fourth quarter touchdown after Baltimore pulled quarterback Earl Morrall in favor of Johnny Unitas, who had been injured all year. 
      This was a case of a superior game plan defeating a team with superior athletes.  The Colts never saw it coming, just as Goliath never thought about the need to defend against a 120 mile an hour stone until a split second before his death. 
      I've been interested in this literally for decades, but I really learned a lot from corresponding with sports historian and author Bob Lederer, who collected great information for his new book, Beyond Broadway Joe--The Super Bowl Team That Changed Football.

     In Super Bowl III, the poor Colts defenders wondered why it was that quarterback Joe Namath always seemed to have the right play called to defeat their hitherto invincible Blitz. How could Joe know that the blitz was coming?  Well, the answer is that Joe didn't know. Bob was able to confirm for me that the Jets knew how to change the play after the snap via the "hot read," and the Baltimore Colts did not.  The Jets actually changed the play when the Blitz came, AFTER the snap. The "hot receiver" would shorten his route so that Namath could dump it off quickly.  The Colts had no such play, meaning that they had to guess whether the Blitz was coming BEFORE the snap, and they were basically stuck running the play that was called. If it was the wrong play, they just had to live with the results. So no wonder Namath always had the answer for the Baltimore Blitz.  He could adapt in the middle of the play, whereas Baltimore could not.  They just couldn't figure it out.  
      Bob Lederer confirmed that for me, after I had wondered about that for years. Try as I might, I couldn't find a reference on the internet explaining the origin of the "hot read."  I once met Browns star running back Greg Pruitt at a Browns Backers affair at Tuty's in Beavercreek Ohio, and asked him that question.  Greg came along a few years later (1973) and wasn't completely sure when the hot read came along, but did say that the Browns implemented a form of that for him.  His job changed depending on who he was supposed to block.  If it was a linebacker, it was his job to pass block.  But if it was a defensive lineman, then he was to head out in the flat for a short pass. 
     Bob also reminded me that in 1968, many quarterbacks did not even have the option of creating an audible.  The strategy varied from team to team, but play calls were sent in from the sideline when a substitute player would enter the game on every play; i.e., a "messenger guard" or "messenger tight end."  They knew how to use the audible, but not all quarterbacks had permission under most circumstances. 

    On the other hand, Namath was allowed to call an audible at the line of scrimmage based on what he was seeing from the defense.   If Joe wanted to change the play call, he could, and then if the blitz came, there was yet another change in the middle of the play.   That was one of the strategic advantages that the Jets had. 
    Another huge advantage was the way that the quarterback dropped back to pass.  Earl Morrall backpedaled with short steps, facing forward to see the entire field all the time.  It was like dink dink dink dink dink dink dink clunk clunk bloop.    Namath, on the other hand, turned sideways and glided back about 12 yards in his seven step drop and threw a noticeably faster ball.  It was like swoosh swoosh swoosh kapow.  Hence he had much more time to throw.  

     Namath's Jets won with  ball control, dink and dunk offense that avoided turnovers and sacks.  The Jets also had a sophisticated defense, using zone coverage and the "bump and run."  These tactics were evolved in the AFL.  The Colts were one of the first teams in the NFL to use the zone defense, but that was old hat for the Jets.    
       Defensive lineman Gerry Philbin made me laugh in some interviews many years later. Do you know the old adage that defensive linemen hate ALL quarterbacks, including the quarterback of their OWN team?   Well, it's probably true.  Gerry seemed to be really frustrated by Joe's tendency to be erratic at times. His viewpoint seemed to be that the defense was going to win the game as long as Namath didn't screw it up.  Maybe he was right.  
     In that same vein, Curt Gowdy mentions during the Super Bowl III telecast that the Colts used to refer to star halfback Tom Matte (a converted quarterback) as the "Garbage Can."  Gowdy explains that that Matte always gains a lot of yards "without really looking like it."  But that's not it at all. That nickname was applied by defensive lineman Alex Karras, who scornfully implied that Matte padded his stats by getting supposedly easy yards in non-key situations, rather than the "tough yards."  Matte, it must be understood, was handsome like a quarterback, dressed well and spoke well.  That was enough to earn him the same type of flak normally reserved for the quarterback. Matte's teammates thought it was funny, and the nickname stuck.   
     But no matter.  Although Joe Namath was unquestionably the most sensational star of the AFL that's not the only story.  There's also the AFL tactics that gave them a major advantage.  Then, just to prove it was no fluke, the Kansas City Chiefs beat up the Minnesota Vikings, the Purple People Eater team that was even better than Baltimore, so they said.    

Bob Lederer's book is not out yet, but I have already ordered mine from Amazon.com. 




Sunday, April 29, 2018

Review of the Browns 2018 Draft

The last time the Browns drafted a quarterback and a cornerback in the same round ?   Just four years ago, amazingly enough.  So, is Mayfield the next Johnny Manziel, and is Denzel Ward going to be the next Justin Gilbert?  Stay tuned Browns fans.  



   The Browns had an excellent draft by any measure.  Some fans are complaining, they should have taken so-and-so, and nobody else in the NFL is worth drafting.  Of course, that's nonsense.  If you have a guy who can throw the ball farther than John Elway, it can't be that bad.
     Baker Mayfield throws the ball better than anyone I can remember. He's in the class of Marino and Elway  Are there risks?  Sure there are.  Off the field, he has a penchant for getting in trouble, and that could cost him and ruin his career.  But this is football, no one is guaranteed to be able to suit up more than one game at a time.  
     Selecting Denzel Ward at fourth overall disappointed a lot of fans given that big bad Bradley Chubb was still available.  Defensive end is hugely important, and these guys get their name called all the time for sacking the qb and stopping the run.  Cornerbacks are boring. If they are very good, nothing happens all game long because the qb never throws at him.  So it may be that Ward is a much more significant force than you might imagine based on media impact.  We drafted him because we have to beat a team that has Antonio Brown on the roster.  
    If you've read Mark F Barnes' excellent reviews of Austin Corbett, this is a guy with very good OL skills who will be considered at tackle or guard if Joel Bitonio moves outside to replace Joe T.  
    Nick Chubb is a guy I've really liked.  People are worried about a knee operation 3 years ago, but he was devestating at the end of last year, 145 yards versus Oklahoma.    He is a power back, perfect for a cold weather ball control team.  
    In the 3rd round they went DE with Chad Thomas.  He is not going to start because of Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah, and Carl Nassib is pretty decent too.  They must think he's pretty good to take a defensive end at that point of the draft.  
    Anthony Calloway (Round 4)  is a first round wide receiver who can't stay out of trouble.  Can the Browns help him turn his life around?  Maybe, but we have more than our share of troubled wide receivers. 
    In the back of the draft, you start looking for specialty team players and longshots.  Probably linebacker Geneard Avery,  5th round, Damion Rately (6th), and Simieon Thomas (also 6th) will probably not start unless they make a big splash in the Pre-Season. 
  

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Village Elliot's 2018 NFL Draft Scorecard: He Knows Nothing About NFL Football!




So, how'd I do in prognosticating the draft?  It's rather humbling, because the main result is that it proved once again that I know nothing about NFL football.   But here is my self assessment concerning my main predictions.

1.  Josh Allen would be the first overall pick:  WHIFF!
2. Bills move up in the draft for a qb:  CORRECT.
3.  Giants Draft Barkley:  CORRECT. 
4.  First three picks will be QBs:  WHIFF.
5.  4 QBs taken in the Top 10:  CORRECT.
5.  Huge 3 team deal:  WHIFF.
6.  Jets draft Darnold:  CORRECT.
7.  6 QBs in Round 1:  WHIFF
8.  Browns trade down from Pick 4:  WHIFF
9.  Dolphins trade up for Rosen:  WHIFF
10.  Denzel Ward drafted before Minkah Fitzpatrick: CORRECT
11.  Mason Rudolph drafted in Round 1 (Arizona):  WHIFF.
12.  Patriots draft Lamar Jackson and Shaquem Griffin in Round 1. WHIFF!  WHIFF!

Pics  I totally blew are Shaquem Griffin, who I believe will be a star on defense and would make the end of the first round; Mason Rudolph who I felt was a first rounder; ditto for Combine freak Will Hernandez and Derrius Guice.




Friday, April 20, 2018

Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph Belong in the First Round.

"Elliot Kennel, you stupid jerk!  Did you really say Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph might be better than me?  Man, I'm putting you on my enemies list!"
   
Call me crazy but Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph are darned good and belong in the first Round.   Let's think this through a little bit, shall we?
   First, Mason Rudolph has done everything Baker Mayfield has done, except get arrested or grab his crotch on national TV.   I mean, 4900 passing yards, 37 TDs and 9 INTs. Jeepers.  Well, of course he did that in the Big 12,  and it may be argued the Big 12 does not know how to play pass defense.  
    That may be true, but isn't that the same conference that Oklahoma plays in?   Mason Rudolph is known for having a deadly accurate deep ball and has plenty of arm strength, though quite not at the level of Mayfield or Allen.  I think both Mayfield and Rudolph are candidates  to play in Game 1, depending on who drafts them.   Rudolph seems to have the right kind of work ethic to succeed in the NFL, whereas Mayfield is going to have to work hard to shake off the comparisons with Johnny Manziel. 
    Like Mayfield, Josh Rosen has also alienated a few people with his mouth.  It's not that he's said or done anything bad,  but there is some concern that he might not have the right kind of personality to play quarterback in the NFL   
   CBS Sportsline, incidentally, ranks Mason Rudolph as the top quarterback in America in at least one mock draft, but 10th overall.  They also like Lamar Jackson at 11th overall. That's probably not a bad estimate for where he will be taken. The main gripes against Lamar are that he is a running quarterback, has his mother for an agent, and scored poorly on the Wonderlic intelligence test.    Well, all those are true.  
    I am not crazy about running quarterbacks, either, but this fellow is just as talented if not more so than DeShaun Watson. Jackson will probably never have to pass against a seven man front, because other teams are going to have to stack the line to prevent him from running wild.  So it may be that Jackson is not quite the passer of the other five, but he doesn't have to be.  He will succeed.
    The Wonderlic flop didn't have to happen.  I blame his inexperienced agent (namely his mother) for not preparing him for the test.  There are test taking strategies that a normal agent would prepare his client for (i.e., if you don't know an answer, should you guess or not?  How much time should you spend on a tough problem before giving up and moving to the next). I doubt whether his well-intentioned but inexperienced agent knew how to prepare. Hence her son wound up being embarrassed.  Thanks, Mom.  But irrespective of test scores, he ran a complex Louisville Offense and is clearly football smart. I'm not buying the stupid quarterback narrative.  Jackson will be a star.       
    Per my own evaluation, I'd go with the following order:  Allen, Darnold, Jackson, Rudolph, Rosen and Mayfield.  But I think the draft order will be Allen, Mayfield, Rosen, Darnold, Jackson, and  Rudolph at the end of Round 1.  Really I'm comfortable with all 6 guys.  Although Mayfield and Rosen may have some perceived risk factors, it's still a worthy gamble that they will grow up to be star players.   

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Village Elliot's 2018 Mock Draft 3.0 Saquon to Giants, Lamar Jackson to Pats , Browns trade back, Buffalo, Denver trade up.


******************************************************
  I updated the draft after the New England deal that brought them an extra first round pick.  I think that becomes Lamar Jackson.  

******************************************************

  Of course, mock drafts are ridiculous because there are so many things that people can do that every prediction will soon fall apart. Nevertheless, like a moth driven to fly into a flame, I have a compulsion to try to predict the future and read the minds of NFL General Managers. I'm going to take my best shot at predicting some absolutely improbable future events. Thus, I have the following outlandish scenario to propose for my mock:   I think the Bills want to move up, and the Browns and Giants are interested in moving down.  The first three picks are going to be quarterbacks.

Here's how it goes:
1.  Browns draft Josh Allen.  He has the most talent but lousy stats.  I think that the stats can be overcome. Mainly, he needs to throw to people better than a converted point guard as his top wide receiver and things will improve.
2.  A three way deal with the Browns, Giants and Buffalo results in Buffalo moving up all the way to Number 2 and they draft Baker Mayfield. I didn't make this up completely, as it was rumored a few weeks ago.  Buffalo sends a  2nd and 3rd round draft pick to the Giants, who move back to 4th overall.   Buffalo then sends the Browns two number one picks this year (12th and 22nd) and their first round pick in 2019.  So, when all the carnage is over, Buffalo gave up 1,1,2,3 plus number 1 in 2019.  Phew!  But if Baker Mayfield is good enough to lead them into the playoffs, it's worth it (he won't).  
3.  The Jets are up next, and they go for Sam Darnold, the gunslinger from USC.  
4.    The  Giants get their guy to help out Eli, namely Saquon Barkley, to create a more balanced offense.  
5.  Miami Dolphins move up by trading Denver three picks in including 11th overall in order to get their guy, Josh Rosen. 

6.  Indianapolis drafts Bradley Chubb, the brilliant defensive lineman.  They really didn't want a quarterback anyway, since they are banking on Andrew Luck coming back. 
7.  Tampa Bay solidifies their secondary by drafting Denzel Ward, the shutdown corner from Ohio State
8.  Chicago Bears draft Quenton Nelson,  to take care of Franchise QB (they hope) Mitchell Trubisky. 
9. San Francisco 49ers take Minkah Fitzpatrick.   The draft always seem to deliver top defensive talent to San Francisco in Round 1. 
10. Oakland Raiders select Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia. Jon Gruden needs to fix the Raiders' defense. 
11. Denver stakes Will Hernandez, G, UTEP, who was a Combine stud.  
12.  With the Bill's pick, Cleveland goes for Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame. They need to replace Joe Thomas. This is a no-brainer. 
13. Washington Redskins go with defense, Vita Vea, DT, Washington. 
14. Green Bay Packers  The Packers try to plug a leaky secondary with Derwin James, SS, Florida State. 
15. Arizona Cardinals.  Hey, did everyone forget about Mason Rudolph?  He had four fantastic years with Oklahoma State and is ready to play NOW.  He might make the All-Rookie Team.  Arizona was not able to move up, and  is overjoyed with Rudolph. 
16. Baltimore Ravens address a need for a wide receiver, by selecting Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama. 
17. Los Angeles Chargers select Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama. If you want a great defense, just draft someone from Alabama. 
18. Seattle Seahawks need to replace Richard Sherman, and pick Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa. 
19. Dallas Cowboys pick Courtland Sutton, WR, Southern Methodist.
20. Detroit Lions get a pash rusher by selecting Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA. 
21. Cincinnati Bengals (from Buffalo) adds to Marvin Lewis' defense with  Tremaine Edmunds, ILB, Virginia Tech.  They have to replace often-suspended Vontaze Burfict.
22. Cleveland Browns did not get Saquon Barkley, so they take another stud runner in Derrius Guice, RB, LSU. 
23. New England selects Lamar Jackson, and the entire NFL groans. Why didn't we think of that?  Jackson is the most talented qb in the draft, but obviously fits a running quarterback style offense that most teams don't like. The Patriots don't care, they can morph into any kind of team that they want on a particular Sunday. Jackson may also decide to be on the field at the same time as Tom Brady, and emulate Kordell Slash Stewart.  
24. Carolina Panthers get Isaiah Wynn, OT, Georgia. They want to protect Cam Newton.  
25. Tennessee Titans draft to re-establish their defensive line, and they go with Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan.
26. Atlanta Falcons bolster their front line with Taven Bryan, DT, Florida. 
27. New Orleans Saints recently learned how to play defense.  Great idea, so they will add  Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama. 
28. Pittsburgh Steelers select  Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars were hoping for a qb to slide because they hate current starter Blake Bortles.  Finding none, they take James Washington, WR Oklahoma State.  Nobody could cover him at the Senior Bowl.  
30. Minnesota Vikings  go with Leighton Vander Esch ILB, a sideline-to-sideline linebacker.
31. New England Patriots draft Shaquem Griffin.  He's gotten plenty of attention for overcoming the handicap of having only one hand, but what is being missed is that he is an incredible player.  He also weighs 229 and runs a 4.3 40 yard dash. People who think he is a day 3 pick are insane. Watch the film and believe your eyes.  He is a first round draft pick.  
32. Philadelphia Eagles need some O-Line help and go with Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA. 
    
Well that's a lot to have happen.  Do you think I will get anything right?     

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Cleveland Browns' Plan to Weaken the Rest of the NFL

Comebacking Johnny Manziel is seeking to add to the burgeoning list of ex-Browns quarterbacks making a living in the NFL.  

It seems as the Cleveland Browns want to make  as many trades as possible, especially their ex-quarterbacks, in order to  weaken the rest of the NFL. It may be working.  Come to think of it, right now there are an unbelievable 9 former Browns quarterbacks on NFL rosters, plus another two or three hoping to catch on somewhere, including Johnny Manziel.  Amazingly, the retread crew combined for 39 starts in 2017, including last year's one-and-done champion, DeShone Kizer who started 15 times for the Cleveland Browns. Still would you have guessed that the other ex-Browns had combined for 24 additional starts?  

Some will no doubt be gone after training camp, but for now they are (with the number of 2017 starts, if any):   



Brian Hoyer, Patriots, 6 starts for SF
Colt McCoy, Redskins
Josh Johnson, Raiders
Josh McCown, Jets, 13 starts in NY.
Robert Griffin III, Ravens
Cody Kessler, Jaguars
Kevin Hogan, Washington, 1 start for the Browns
Brock Osweiler, Dolphins, 4 starts for the Broncos.  
DeShone Kizer, Packers, 15 starts for the Browns

Also looking for a new job are three guys with an outside chance of getting on an NFL roster this year.  

Derek Anderson
Johnny Manziel
Thad Lewis

Honorable Mention:
Doug Pederson, now the Super Bowl winning coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.  

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Tracking Josh Allen's Worst Game in 2017 vs Oregon: Was He Inaccurate or Not?

Why didn't Josh Allen complete more passes against the Oregon Ducks? 

     I've been very interested in determining whether to agree with the popular assessment that Josh Allen is a strong armed but inaccurate passer.  Accordingly, I've asked for readers to cite examples of inaccuracy on game film, but so far none have emerged.    

     I don't have a vested interest one way or the other.  I'm an amateur at this, not a Pro, and I don't claim to be a good talent evaluator.  Nevertheless I wanted to from my own opinion on Allen's accuracy or lack of it.   
     Elsewhere, I've documented that the Cowboys team was depleted in offense in 2017, as 4800 yards of total offense (receiving and rushing yards) graduated after 2016.  See   Why Josh Allen's Low Completion Percentage Does Not Matter

     That's their best two wide receivers, tight end and running back, so the 2017 crew was very, very thin. Their best guy is a converted quarterback who seems to be a good athlete, but he is just learning the position.  

      Anyway, I looked at the worst game of Josh Allen's career, a 49-13 drubbing by Oregon last Sept 16 2017.  Allen's stat line was 9 for 24 for 64 yards and an INT.  Wow, that was horrible, 37.5% completion percentage.  So Josh must be horribly inaccurate, right? 
    I went through and cataloged each pass from the video record and tabulated the results below including one extra pass that was called back due to penalty.  I saw passes hit receivers in the hands and bounce off.  I saw receivers fall down and others run the wrong route.  I saw receivers covered, and the ball thrown out of bounds to avoid a sack. Look, the stats suck.  But I didn't see much inaccuracy. Maybe one pass that was clearly overthrown, and a few others that were higher than desirable but catchable.  Is that the reason we are going to turn down an opportunity to draft a guy who throws the ball better than John Elway?   
   No.  Maybe a scout can determine that Allen makes bad decisions, doesn't go through his progressions well or has no touch.  I don't know about that.  But the accuracy narrative is not what the film says. 
    As previously noted, the Wyoming team graduated 4800 yards of offense after the 2016 season, with corresponding stars to replace the players they lost. Moreover, they are an FBS team playing a Pac 12 team.  So of course they are going to be totally ouclassed, at least at that early point of the season.  To put it bluntly, the receivers couldn't get open and they couldn't catch.  
    Given that the 2016 Cowboys had four guys on offense that made NFL rosters.  Maybe a better question is why Josh didn't put up better numbers in 2016 with all that talent. He also threw 15 INTs in 2016 verus 6 in 2017.  Maybe he wasn't very good in 2016.  To me the data suggests that he really did get a lot better in 2017, even though the stats show the opposite.  
    Maybe someone else can find some other game films where Josh misses several open receivers.  I invite you to do so and publish the results.  Until we see the evidence, however, I disbelieve the inaccuracy narrative.  It's easy to read the stats and note that sub-60% accuracy is not very good.  But I strongly suspect that the writers claiming Allen is inaccurate just didn't watch much film.  Just look at the tally below.  For these reasons I believe Josh Allen is the no-brainer first pick of the 2018 draft.  


   

2018 Cleveland Browns, Pre-Draft Free Agent Summary

The Browns have been prolific in the off-season, with several key additions, but also some unexpected subtractions.  The net summary is posted below.
    On balance they added major players at quarterback, Slot receiver, tight end, plus three starters at defensive back. Major adds:  QB Tyrod Taylor, RB Carlos Hyde, SR Jarvis Landry, TE Darren Fells, RT Chris Hubbard, CBs E.J. Gaines, DeMarius Randall, S T.J. Carrie.  On the loss side, we lose Isaiah Crowell, LT Joe Thomas, DT Danny Shelton, CB Jason McCourty.  The net add, depending on how you count, is probably at least four major upgrades.  

     Main takeaways: 
     a.  Carlos Hyde may be a little better than Isaiah Crowell, but they are similar in talent level.  Crowell's major problem with the Browns was Coach Jackson's play-calling. Maybe we should be sympathetic, as a lot of observers had the same issue.  . 


     b.  Tyrod Taylor is an enormous upgrade.  It's not that Tyrod is so super, but DeShone Kizer had a horrific rookie year.  He was too inexperienced for the job, and it made no sense to pass over Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan.  But okay, what's done is done, and three quarterbacks' careers are in the dumper, but we now have a bona fide quarterback, two in fact, with career winning records.  By contrast the career win totals for Kizer, Kessler and Hogan:  zero.  That's just crazy. 
   
     c.  Jarvis Landry and Darren Fells help the receiving corps immensely.  Last year's wide receiver group was beyond terrible. OC Todd Haley now at least has slot receivers (Landry and Duke Johnson) and  but they can now at least field a team that doesn't make opposing defenses fall down laughing.. 
     d.  The secondary is significantly improved by adding E. J. Gaines, T. J. Carrie and DeMarius Randall, with Terrance Mitchell as another experienced player.   The reason for giving away Jason McCourty is not clear, as most observers thought he played well in 2017.  

        e.  Trading Danny Shelton for minimal value is also a bit of a head scratcher, but the Browns have several good defensive tackles, and Danny Shelton's lack of speed makes him best suited for Nose Tackle in a 3-4 defense, which the Browns no longer play.  He's a good player, but will help New England more than he helped us.  
     
         f.  The 2018 draft will add major players:  2 first round and 3 second round as now constituted.  Those guys are normally starters, meaning that the Browns will probably add a net of 8 or 9 good players.  That's a huge number, and the talent level might be upgraded to the point that they are actually competitive in 2018. 

     g. Trading away late round 2018 picks is almost a necessity because of the large number of incoming players. It's almost too many for the system to handle.  For example, if you wind up cutting a good player in order to add a sixth round draft pick guy, that is a net negative.  Better to trade that late round pick for a better 2019 pick.  The exact number.   Currently, the Browns have a net addition of about four players from Free Agency, and 9 draft picks are expected.  The right number is subjective, but my guess is that reducing the number of 2018 draft picks to about 6 or 7 is probably better than staying with 9.  

Off-Season Cleveland Browns Player Moves.  




Wednesday, March 28, 2018

2018 Mock Draft from the Village Elliot: Elway Moves up to 2nd, Browns move down from 4th, Saquon to the Giants.

  The Village Elliot does not know any more than anyone else. No secret sources or anything like that.  Of course, mock drafts are ridiculous because there are so many things that people can do that every prediction will soon fall apart.  Nevertheless, I have a compulsion to try to predict the future and read the minds of NFL General Managers. With that in mind, I'm still going to take my best shot at predicting some absolutely improbable future events. Thus,   I have the following outlandish scenario to propose for my mock:   I think the Broncos and Bills want to move up, and the Browns and Giants are interested in moving down.  The first four four picks are quarterbacks. 

Here's how it goes:
1.  Browns draft Josh Allen.  He has the most talent but lousy stats.  I think that the stats can be overcome. Mainly, he needs to throw to people better than a converted point guard as his top wide receiver and things will improve.
2.  The Broncos move up and draft Josh Rosen.  Denver is okay at qb with Case Keenum, not to mention Pax Lynch and Chad Kelly.  Nevertheless, John Elway is a brilliant but super-aggressive guy.  He sees quarterback talent in this draft and it will drive him crazy unless he trades up to get his guy.   Elway can evaluate the talent better than anyone, but my guess is that Josh Rosen actually grades out a little better than Baker Mayfield or Sam Darnold. The Giants might be willing to move, because Coach Pat Shumur wants to win now with Eli Manning. He wouldn't mind having a quarterback, but there are some attractive guys later on in the draft, or they can get Elway to recycle youngsters Lynch or Kelly. What Shurmur really wants to do is help Eli by adding some pieces on offense.  So the Giants should be open to be rewarded for moving back. Elway will be willing to overpay, so Denver  blows the 2018 1st/5th overall, plus their 2018 2nd round choice and a 2019 number one, in order to move up to Number 2 overall. Whew!  But if Elway gets his man, it's worth it. 
3.  The Jets are up next, and they go for Baker Mayfield.  Baker is a big of a loose cannon, but what better guy to mentor the youngster than Josh McCown?  
4.    The  Buffalo Bills trade their two number one picks (12th and 19th) plus a number 2 this year and a number 2 next year in order to take Sam Darnold.  That's a steal, because Darnold is a franchise and probably worth four number one picks.  They might have to outbid the Giants, though the Giants are primarily interested in drafting Saquon Barkley to create a more balanced offense.  The Giants wouldn't mind the Bills drafting ahead of them, but they can not know that the Browns won't take Barkley. So I think they make an offer to the Browns also, but the Bills are more willing to overpay.  
5.  The Giants are relieved that the Bills have taken a qb, because now they get a premier running back for Pat Shurmur's revamped offense.   Hello Mr. Barkley, welcome to New York.
6.  Indianapolis drafts Bradley Chubb, the brilliant defensive lineman.  They really didn't want a quarterback anyway, since they are banking on Andrew Luck coming back. 
7.  Tampa Bay solidifies their secondary by drafting Denzel Ward, the shutdown corner from Ohio State
8.  Chicago Bears draft Quenton Nelson,  to take care of Franchise QB (they hope) Mitchell Trubisky. 
9. San Francisco 49ers take Minkah Fitzpatrick.   The draft always seem to deliver top defensive talent to San Francisco in Round 1. 
10. Oakland Raiders select Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia. Jon Gruden needs to fix the Raiders' defense. 
11. Miami Dolphins have to replace Ndamukong Suh, and go with
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan. 
12.  With the Bill's pick, Cleveland goes for Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame. They need to replace Joe Thomas. This is a no-brainer. 
13. Washington Redskins go with defense, Vita Vea, DT, Washington. 
14. Green Bay Packers  The Packers try to plug a leaky secondary with Derwin James, SS, Florida State. 
15. Arizona Cardinals.  Hey, did everyone forget about Mason Rudolph?  He had four fantastic years with Oklahoma State and is ready to play NOW.  He might make the All-Rookie Team.  Arizona was not able to move up, and  is overjoyed with Rudolph. 
16. Baltimore Ravens address a need for a wide receiver, by selecting Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama. 
17. Los Angeles Chargers select Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama. If you want a great defense, just draft someone from Alabama. 
18. Seattle Seahawks need to replace Richard Sherman, and pick Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa. 
19. Dallas Cowboys pick Courtland Sutton, WR, Southern Methodist.
20. Detroit Lions get a pash rusher by selecting Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA. 
21. Cincinnati Bengals (from Buffalo) adds to Marvin Lewis' defense with  Tremaine Edmunds, ILB, Virginia Tech.  They have to replace often-suspended Vontaze Burfict.
22. Cleveland Browns did not get Saquon Barkley, so they take another stud runner in Derrius Guice, RB, LSU. 
23. Los Angeles Rams Isaiah Wynn, OT, Georgia. They want to protect Jared Goff.  
24. Carolina Panthers get Will Hernandez, G, UTEP, who was a Combine stud.
25. Tennessee Titans  Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama.  
26. Atlanta Falcons bolster their front line with Taven Bryan, DT, Florida. 
27. New Orleans Saints recently learned how to play defense.  Great idea, so they will add Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers select  Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State. 
29. Jacksonville Jaguars find themselves with Lamar Jackson, who slides all the way to 31st overall.  Most teams hate running quarterbacks, but Jacksonville will take him, because they hate Blake Bortles even more than running quarterbacks. 
30. Minnesota Vikings  go with Leighton Vander Esch ILB, a sideline-to-sideline linebacker.
31. New England Patriots draft Shaquem Griffin.  He's gotten plenty of attention for overcoming the handicap of having only one hand, but what is being missed is that he is an incredible player.  He also weighs 229 and runs a 4.3 40 yard dash. People who think he is a day 3 pick are insane. Watch the film and believe your eyes.  He is a first round draft pick.  
32. Philadelphia Eagles need some O-Line help and go with Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA. 
    
Well that's a lot to have happen.  Do you think I will get anything right?     

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Six Quarterbacks to go Round 1 in the 2018 NFL Draft?

     This is an insane year for quarterbacks.  It's very possible that six or maybe even seven quarterbacks are going to be taken in Round 1.  I thought that the Combine would clarify who the top guy is, but probably the top four guys are still very close to one another.  One of them will likely be taken by the Browns first overall.  I still like Josh Allen, but I could easily be wrong.   I would rank them as follows:

Is Josh Allen the top dog in the 2018 draft?  Maybe


1.  Josh Allen.  I still think Allen will be the first overall pick.  His poor numbers at Wyoming are attributable to having a converted point guard and quarterback as his best wide receiver.  When he had a good receiver in 2016 in Tanner Gentry who became a borderline NFL prospect, he hit him for 1300 yards.   But they didn't replace him, and they didn't have running backs to catch high percentage passes either. Plus all winter long I've challenged the folks at Browns Bloggers and Friends group in Facebook, and no one can produce any game film showing Josh Allen's alleged inaccuracy.  No, if he were playing at Oklahoma or USC he would put up big numbers.  There's no such thing as a zero-risk quarterback, but in this case the potential reward is so high that you must accept the risk and draft a quarterback first overall this year.  

2.  Josh Rosen.  Probably the most polished of the group, his arm is close to Allen's.  Watching him launch an accurate bomb 80 yards in the air, it is clear that no one has ever thrown the ball like the quarterback class of 2018. He has size, accuracy and production on his side as well.  There's a legitimate concern about his tendency to put his foot in his mouth at times.   

3. Baker Mayfield.  Two years older than Rosen and a year older than Josh Allen and Sam Darnold, Mayfield is significantly more advanced and could be a Day 1 starter if necessary.  He thinks faster on his feet than the other qbs, and he has plenty of arm strength.  Concerns about his drinking and run-in with the law are real, but not enough to dissuade a team from taking a chance on his obvious on-field talent.  

4.  Sam Darnold.  Sam has an arm comparable to the others, though he does not have the quick release of the other three.  He has more of an elongated delivery, but still he is very strong armed and accurate. He is a year younger than the others, with only two years of college, and he fumbled a lot in college. He'll get better of course. I think that some team will trade up with the Browns  to get him, and qbs could go 1-2-3-4 this year.

5. Mason Rudolph.  A very accurate passer with arm strength probably above Mitchell Trubisky's, who went second overall last year.  He put up huge numbers at Oklahoma State, plus he's bigger than Mitchell, though not as fast.  How can he not be a first round pick?  

6.  Lamar Jackson.  Lamar is an incredible runner and did everything for Louisville the past three years.  His arm is not otherworldly like the top 4, however, and for that reason he might last till the end of Round 1.  Because he gained 1600 yqrds on the ground, there is some thought he should be a receiver or running back.  But, on the other hand, what does DeShaun Watson  do that Lamar cannot?  Lamar is the better runner and has a better arm. He has got to be first round, but because teams are afraid of running qbs due to injury risk, he might be later in Round 1. 
*********************************************************************
Somebody like Mike White of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers may be ignored by the media, but the right NFL team might really like him.   

7.  Somebody else.  It's not crazy to think that yet another quarterback will sneak into the first round.  If you like ball velocity, college stats, size, there are some other guys who seem to meet those requirements.  They are not getting much attention, however, as the media is focused on the top guys.  Mike White, Riley Ferguson, Tanner Lee, Kurt Benkert and others come to mind.  Analysts complain about J. T. Barrett's lack of arm strength, but he threw the ball 60 yards once in a spring practice game contest.  That's plenty strong, but in this year's draft, analysts just yawn.  In any case, some team might very well conclude that one of these guys has what it takes to be an NFL quarterback, and take him in the first round.  Put it this way, I'll be very interested to see if the Patriots decide to draft someone to back up Tom Brady.


Monday, March 26, 2018

Why Tyrod Taylor May not be the Long Term Messiah (guest post by Mark F. Barnes)

(Editors's Note:  Mark F. Barnes was thoughtful enough to compose a breakdown of new Browns QB Tyrod Taylor for Browns Bloggers and Friends discussion group on Facebook.  I've compiled it into a single blog.  This is the kind of stuff you just can't find anywhere else, folks.  Thank you, Mark).
     Bringing in Tyrod Taylor was in part pushed by Hue, but ultimately Dorsey makes the decisions now, but I can see he's attempting to give the HC part of what he wants, but the leash is short and Dorsey is being careful it appears. But for those that think we need to pass on a QB this draft need to really rethink that. This draft has some really good QB talent in it and two very probable, possibly 3, franchise player QBs. I'm an Allen guy and I make no bones about it.  He's six-foot-five, 240 pounds and wielding a howitzer on his right arm.

Now this is not meant to be a blast Tyrod Taylor piece, because it's not, but it is a full breakdown on what to expect, because if you think he's going to come in and light up the AFC North, you better get ready to be disappointed. Is he going to be better than Kizer? Absolutely.

A big ding in Taylors game is his ability to ready and anticipate his receivers. He's been on a team with better talkent than the Browns have so he's starting against a stacked deck. Dorsey signing Landry is a big plus. This guy gets open quickly, makes separation and after he catches the ball he's dangerous, so he makes DBs play him a little soft so he can't get behind them, because if he does. he's gone.

Taylor holds the ball a long time, longer than average.

Here are the NFL’s average throw times in 2017, you lovers of PFF can likely verify this quickly. I use PFR because it's free stats and no nonsense internal rating BS.

Snap to throw=2.65 seconds (Taylor: 3.13, 2nd-highest)

Snap to attempt=2.50 seconds (Taylor: 2.73, 5th-highest)

Snap to sack=3.35 seconds (Taylor: 3.98, 3rd-highest)

Taylor has struggled in the drop back game, registering in the low 60's completion percentage and a 56.4 NFL QB rating. Now don't let that low 60's completion percentage fool you, it's worse off than that, and I will explain later. His 62% +/- is very misleading. His struggles from the pocket are mainly due to his tendency to hold the ball and, ultimately, not pull the trigger. That tendency has led to him to take 46 sacks in 2017! That is the 4th-most in the NFL. Now, not all of them are on Taylor. Sure, there are many factors as to why he took that many last season, I want to focus on the context of sacks that I believe were on him. I have watched every game from last year and he has tendencies, and I will post videos and critique on what I think is causing them.

When watching the following clips, pay attention to a few things: down and distance, shotgun vs under center, the defensive pre-snap and post-snap picture. Is it a single or two-high safety look? Depth of the QB’s drop (3-5-7 steps), where are the QB’s eyes from snap to sack? Was it a straight drop back or play action (this affects the depth of the drop AND how long he is holding onto the ball). Is he working right-to-left or left-to-right? The route concepts and depth of the routes; is the QB reading high-to-low or low-to-high? Man or zone coverage?

Understand, Taylor didn't play under center in college and he's struggled in the transition to the NFL, it matters and it makes a big difference. So from the tight camera angle shots focus on the protection. Which side does the center slide to? Did they have enough guys to block each defender? Depth of the pocket (remember, the interior offensive line sets the depth of the pocket, and the tackles and tight ends manage the width of the pocket). Did he have enough space to climb or slide in the pocket? How much time did he have from the time he hit the top of his drop?

All these things are going to factor into his success or lack thereof. The Browns struggling OL isn't going to be fun I promise you, if they can manage to get him 3 seconds I will be highly impressed and Taylor is going to have to man up and make the throws. The running game is going to be critical as well. Taylor has a league leading low INT% for a reason. He holds the ball and takes sacks, and this also leads to a misleading completion percentage. If he threw the ball away instead of taking a sack, his COMP% would be in the 50's and that's a fact.

Case Study 1: Tyrod Taylor Flees the Pocket Too Soon Versus Panthers.  


Taylor completed 68% of his passes in this game against the Panthers, a good defensive team, but was sacked three times. This play was completely on Taylor. Bills are in 22 package and they have McCoy in motion out of the backfield right and Jones wide right. They run a smash against a cover 3, this should be a boom boom timing play and Taylor gets happy feet and flees the pocket into a sack, he runs right into pressure separating off their blockers and get him in pursuit. Now to be fair the receivers spacing is off from the beginning but if Taylor holds the ball a half a tick longer the routes developed and there are two open receivers. He left the pocket in 2 seconds, had he waited 2.5 he would have seen the separation develop and bang first down move the chains.



Case Study 2:  Tyrod Taylor Needs to Throw it Away versus Broncos. 
  (Editor's note:  from here on out I have not included the direct link to the associated video, in order that your computer not have to deal with too many videos on the same page.  However, you may click on the link below each case study and it will play the youtube video on a separate page).  

Here's a play where he should have thrown it away. I get it it's only first down but taking a sack or failing to throw it away on first down leads to predictability on second down and, more than likely, 3rd-and-long situations. Here the Bills are going after a big play right after the second half KO and Denver has decent coverage. One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, time to get rid of the ball. He bails out left and instead of throwing the ball away he takes a sack and now it's 2nd a 16. This is all on Taylor, once he clears that tackle box, throw the ball out of bounds. He doesn't and he puts the Bills back against the wall.


Case Study 3:  Tyrod Taylor Fails to Climb Pocket

Let's concentrate on a team he will see at least twice a season if he stays in Cleveland and he has a terrible game, 54% CP sacked 6 times, 1 INT and ZERO TDs. Here he fails to step up into the pocket first and foremost, and then he holds the ball way too long. The cover 3 is average at best and he completely misses his read. Step up into the pocket and deliver the ball into space. Pretty plain and simple. This is on Taylor. He has to understand that those tackles are one on one out on a island and he has to be aware of his pocket and what's going on around him. That's not something you can coach. Instincts you are born with. There were a lot of knocks on Johnny but he had eyes in the back of his head and great pocket presence. Taylor has neither.



Case Study 4:   Tyrod Taylor Moves Too Quickly Through Progressions vs Bengals

 3rd-and-6 and Taylor completely bails on his read progressions and it's looking like single high Man, and they are showing a possible backside robber, however the blocking is pretty good and the robber peels to the flat. At the 2 second mark Jones is open at his cut and breaks wide open over the middle. Taylor in this instance steps up too far when the Geno Atkins is taking an inside move and he pulls the ball down and steps into a sack at 3.5 seconds. Instead of sticking to his progressions he stared down a covered receiver on a deep comeback route and got sacked on a play that was an easy first down and a momentum changer. Had he paid attention and kept his head, made the right reads following his progression he would have seen Jones open at the top of his route and bang first down and a missed tackle could be six points.


Case Study 5:  Tyrod Taylor Fails to Pull the Trigger vs Bengals

     1st-and-10 3 minutes left in the game, it's go time, game on the line. Move the chains and keep going. Cleveland is once again in the Marv Lewis favorite single high man, and they have Clay on the hot dig route at the sticks. Pre-snap read should be to him, boom move the chains. Instead Taylor holds the ball, looks around to Jones, who is breaking over the middle past the sticks, and could have been thrown into space, but Taylor again holds the ball. Shady McCoy was in a play flake and drifts to the left flat. But Taylor holds the ball over FIVE SECONDS, that's a death sentence in the NFL. The DE sacks Taylor, and two plays later in 3rd and 16 throws an INT when he sails it over the middle. Game over.


Case Study 6: Tyrod Taylor Misses TE Logan Thomas in MOF vs Falcons 

     Here's the Falcons in the same look Single High Man, he has three receivers running quick digs, and Thomas in a dig up the seam on the middle of the field is never looked at at all. The play fake bites the LBs which opens up the Middle of the field, the Single High safety was in a deep drop since he's last man standing in coverage. He makes one look to his left, looks hime down and in 3.5 seconds is sacked. Ball should have been gone a two, over the middle to Thomas. Maybe it's debatable as to if Thomas was even part of the read, but it was pass all the way and he was wide open, in the middle of the field, that's QB101.


Case Study 7:  Tyrod Taylor Bails Out of the Pocket on 3rd and Long vs Falcons

     3rd and a long 15 working out of his endzone in the shotgun. Cover two in tight trips left 00 personnel empty backfield so the DE's are coming. WR to the right is running an 8 step bang route over the middle slant, and the nickel releases at the cut realizing he has cover two behind him. Taylor completely misses him open in space. They ran out routes from both sides to purposely open up the middle by design. Left slot runs a bang seven over the middle but is covered somewhat, he does separate late. However Taylor first leave the pocket right, for whatever reason, and breaks back left because he hung his right tackle out to dry. He's now destroyed the pocket and not looking up field. He scrambles left and instead of again throwing the ball away he runs out of bounds and now puts his punter's heels on the back line in the endzone.