UPDATE: I was able to upload it to SoundCloud, the link is below!
(Download SoundCloud on your phone if you want to listen to it on the go!)
Moore’s Law Podcast #1
I recorded this on Tuesday night after a weekend spent taking notes on the college and NFL games. I wanted to wait until I got the Moore’s Law podcast up on iTunes, so that I could direct everyone through there because I think that podcasts are much better when they are listened to as an audio file on your phone, rather than on YouTube, so that you can listen to it if you go workout, commute, do some work around the house or cook.
If you have never listened to Jason’s podcast, you don’t know what you’re missing. Podcasts have been a real game changer in my own life because they allow me to consume much more content than I ever would have been able to under the circumstances of the past where you’d have to read about it or know people as smart as the guest on Joe Rogan’s, Joe DeFranco’s or Tim Ferriss’ podcast. (Click on all four of those hyperlinks and click SUBSCRIBE on iTunes and you won’t be disappointed.)
Another benefit of podcasts is that, since they’re so free form, I feel that people get into ideas at a much deeper level than I find even in great writing because the tone of voice, the pace, the choice of words bring you to a sort of mind space that you can’t find as often when you’re reading. For the last few years I’ve been listening to at minimum a podcast per day from those podcasts, along with Joey Diaz, The Fighter and the Kid, and Nerdist to name a few more, and it’s drastically changed my life as it’s the main driving force behind my own self-improvement in many, many areas over the last two to three years.
As I discuss in the podcast, that you can watch below on YouTube or download the MP3 file that I’ve attached (iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher links for Moore’s Law will be up as they are made available, whether that is on this episode or upcoming ones), the main reason I started this podcast is to allow myself to basically share articles in audio form as I want to save my more focused writing for the Caponomics book that I’m trying to finish right now and get out before Christmas. For the way my brain works and the passion that I have for this salary cap stuff, I actually need to get the notes and ideas that I have during the weekend off my brain, so that I can focus on the Caponomics writing, rather than get caught up in writing one or two long articles a week on all the stuff I see the Patriots, Steelers, Packers, Eagles, or Jets doing. I know myself, I can get excited about writing how the Jets roster construction reminds me of the 2000 Ravens and end up writing a 20 page article for Over The Cap that takes me two days and I know it’d end up delaying the release of Caponomics even further AND I’m too excited to share Caponomics with you guys to let myself delay it much longer!!
So what you’re going to hear on this podcast are some of the stories I have from the NFL salary cap, but oftentimes, it will be accompanied by something that isn’t just about the NFL, but about a broader issue in football, like this week’s episode.
I’m 25 years old, I played football at Ramapo High School in the New Jersey suburbs outside of New York City and at the University of Rhode Island and I have a former high school teammate and college teammate who have died of heroin overdoses. With the audience I know we have here at OverTheCap.com, some of the best minds working in the NFL today, the people who can really make a positive change in our corner of the world, I wanted to share this story that concerns the two biggest isses in our sport today: concussions and painkillers.
If you only want to hear the stuff regarding the salary cap, go to around the 53 minute mark, but I hope you take the time to come back to the first half of the podcast at a later date.
I have a friend who is a mutual friend of my college teammate as he went to high school with him at a prestigious New Jersey High School Football powerhouse and we had gotten to talking about our friend’s death just before I recorded this podcast. Our friend got a concussion during his freshman year at Rhode Island with me and, without us really knowing the depth of his struggle due to it being 2008, before we could even comprehend what he was going through. It wasn’t until I read Jane McGonigal’s new book, SuperBetter, where she talks about her struggle with post-concussion syndrome that I even had a clue what my friend must have been going through. Her book is a must-read for everyone in the NFL as she discusses how she used games and game play to overcome her absolutely terrifying symptoms. I lived through the kind of back pain where I went from a healthy Division 1 wide receiver to a 22-year old, old man who could barely move. I cannot imagine the psychological pain and terror of your brain no longer functioning like it used to when you’re 19 or 20 years old like my friend was when he was suffering though this post-concussion syndrome.
I’ve written about this before, if we are going to be a part of this sport, then it’s up to us to protect it. Everyone talks about protecting the shield, well, protect the people behind the shield. Protect the young kids, former high school, college and NFL players who are suffering in great numbers from concussions, old injuries and addictions.
So take a seat, get a pen, take out your notebook, and I hope you enjoy the first episode of the Moore’s Law podcast as much as I enjoy all those other podcasts. I’ve included my personal notes that I wrote before recording the show, the notes for what I cover in the second half of the show, the Caponomics Week 2 review half of the show, below the links to the YouTube and the audio file.
Enjoy and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you again next Tuesday. Follow me on Twitter to be alerted to when we will be live on UStream next Tuesday with Episode #2!
YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mmq2J00Cyp8
(Download SoundCloud on your phone if you want to listen to it on the go!)
E-mail me at Caponomics@gmail.com to join the Caponomics e-mail list and be alerted when the show becomes available each week.
Moore’s Law Podcast #1 Show Notes:
With the thinking like a college coach chapter that I’m STILL writing right now, it’s put me in a sort of mindset where I’m now studying the teams as if I were trying to figure out how they would be able to win a championship if they do. For example, for a team like LSU, I see that their strategy is to run the football with Leonard Fournette and play great defense; in Brandon Harris, they have a quarterback with a running ability that reminds me so much of the QBs they’ve had over the years. With Harris, one guy that comes to mind is Ryan Perrilloux who was their back-up and rushing quarterback to Matt Flynn during LSU’s 2007 National Championship Season.
Similarly to this LSU style, the Buffalo Bills are attempting to create this kind of offense for Rex Ryan, the modern king of the ground and pound. They have a quarterback who couldn’t be more similar to Harris in Tyrod Taylor as Ryan chose to go with the unproven, but electric young gun, rather than the boring, traditional passer. This is actually something I advocate for in Caponomics as, I think, if you’re going to choose to the run-first/defensive model, a quarterback who can run the ball well adds another dimension to your offense, which is much needed considering the lack of a passing game.
On defense, the Bills are doing something with some Caponomics in it as they exemplify the way that some teams are now using their defensive line spending as a way to disrupt the other team’s quarterback and equalize them with their much lower cost and, usually, less productive quarterback. By having a big time defensive line that disrupts quarterbacks, you can, in theory, decrease Tom Brady’s production and give yourself a chance to win. The Rams are another team using this concept and it’s not unlike the way the Seahawks have built a dynasty with Russell Wilson. Teams understand that you can win a Super Bowl without following the QB centric model like the 2000 Ravens or 2013 Seahawks.
Discuss the Week 1 stories first as I missed it last week…
Steelers at Patriots
Chandler Jones is a massive human being. Saw that in warm ups
Dion Lewis IS Kevin Faulk. Same exact body type, a terrific example of stuff that I discuss in Caponomics.
NBC showed a graphic that said 69% pass/31% run in Brady starts against the Steelers. What that set off to me was the idea that he and Belichick have been at this for so long that they can just look back in history at the exact formula for each game that they’ve used to beat teams over the years.
Go/fade out of the slow against man defense is very potent with Antonio Brown. Ability to use that speed to give the quarterback a huge area of the field to throw the ball to maybe the most explosive playmaker in the NFL.
Alabama and Patriots; they have been so dominant over the years because both teams play very fundamentally sound football, no mental errors or bad decisions. If you remember, going into halftime of that game, the Steelers made a handful of costly small unforced errors that changed the complexion of that game.
The way the Patriots use Edelman/Amendola/Lewis to move the chains, while Gronk and Chandler are big-time redzone targets. The smaller players can also get open in the redzone because they can get open in small spaces.
The Patriots have excelled at finding mismatch creators.
Know what you need to do to win at the fundamental level: move the ball, put the ball in the end zone/field goals. Patriots show that on the field with their teams and in the salary cap with the way they have compensated kickers over the years. That 2001 team wasn’t great offensively, but they were 6th in points scored because, when they did fail on a drive, Adam Vinatieri would kick a field goal and make it.
Think of it like this, having a great kicker is like having a great three-point shooter who doesn’t miss very often. It can help you compete in almost any game because it gives you a solid area of the field where you know you can get to and rely on your kicker to make it for you from there. Tom Brady knows that Stephen Gostowski allows him to score three-points almost every time he just gets to the other team’s 35-yard line. If you’re getting the ball at your own 20-yard line after a touchback, that means that you only have to move the ball 45-yards to score three points. Really helpful to break a concept in football down into terms that are that simple.
As I write in Caponomics, I think that the Eagles build their team off the foundational idea of “yards per play,” which I get into at length. I think the Patriots have built their organization off of the foundational idea of moving the chains and having red zone targets who can help you score 7 rather than 3 points. These guys who can score in the redzone can also make plays on the rest of the field as Gronk, Chandler and Blount aren’t only goal line threats.
This brings us to a very interesting aspect of the Belichick dynasty that is rarely spoken of, but is truly the cornerstone of why they’re so good: their Caponomics. It all starts with Tom Brady, who I write about at length in the Manning vs Brady debate article I wrote back in February: http://overthecap.com/manning-vs-brady-debate-broncos-manning-2015/
With Brady making less than 10% of the cap this year, that means the Patriots have a top paid player at 9.77%, which is right around the average for the top cap charge of the cap era champs. More importantly, it’s actually below the league average for the top paid player at 10.69%. Even more importantly, Tom Brady is less expensive than the top paid players for 20 other teams. Among those are guys like Kaepernick, Cutler, and almost every other quarterback in the league. I don’t care how good Drew Brees is, but at 18.43% of the cap, there’s one HUGE reason why the Saints are going to struggle this season and why he might never be on another contender. It’s no disrespect to Brees, I freaking love the guy, but no one is worth 18.43%, like I mentioned in that Suh article I discussed this offseason: overthecap.com/suhs-contract-cripples-the-dolphins/
So that Brady savings is huge and I think the insanity of the quarterback market in 2015 makes it an even bigger deal. When you look at that list of players, you really get a sense of the kind of savings and value that the Patriots are getting right now with Brady. The Caponomics make it even more shocking as not only is Brady at a very low cap hit for a quarterback of his production level, but there are a ton of cap mistakes here according to my Caponomics figures. The figures for guys like Calvin Johnson, Mario Williams, Eli Manning, Matt Ryan, Julius Thomas, Drew Brees, Charles Johnson, Rodney Hudson, Robert Quinn, Gerald McCoy, Suh (long-term), and Adrian Peterson are all out of whack with what has worked for Super Bowl teams.
Speaking of Calvin Johnson brings us toward the Gronk conversation that I was having with myself the night of that game as I asked if he should take “tight end” out of his twitter bio: http://overthecap.com/time-for-gronk-to-change-his-twitter-bio/#more-10589
Like I said, “we need to abandon the way we label players in the NFL”
Good point I just thought of was that JJ Watt probably understands this kind of Tom Brady thinking considering that Bill O’Brien is there and he’s a Belichick guy. Texans also knew that they wouldn’t be in the top tier spending level for QBs yet and they probably wouldn’t be for awhile, so they could afford to spend big money on a DE like Watt, but at the same time, his deal is reasonable. While he costs more this year than Reggie White did in his outside pass rusher record 8.90% in 1996 for the Packers and just lower than Warren Sapp’s DL record of 9.82% in 2002 for the Bucs, he’s clearly worth every penny as the best defensive player in the NFL. I truly believe that unlike the deals that Suh and Justin Houston signed, he understood the negative repercussions of taking a deal that took up too high a percentage of the cap. Another bonus for Watt is that Houston doesn’t have a state income tax and Houston is a place where real incomes are far higher than the income, so money goes much further. In the defense of Suh and Houston, every player has a right to earn what they and the team they’re negotiating with believe they’re worth.
As I wrote in my notes, I’m probably exaggerating, but who knows, “I think Gronk and Chandler might combine for 35-40 TD catches this year.
(With that said, there are a lot of things with this Patriots team that reminds me of 2007)
Gronk: 6’6”, 265
Chandler: 6’7”, 260
They’re both uncoverable if you have one on the field, how hard is it to cover both of them?
Chandler cost only 1.57% of the cap too. He’s always done well with the targets he’s gotten as well, so with Gronk on the other side of the field now, he’s going to open things up for Gronk and himself. I’m sure his statistics will be modest, but the addition of him to Gronk is pure insanity. If you’re a defense, how do you cover both of them in the redzone?
That’s always been the thing about the Patriots, they don’t go after the expensive players at the expensive positions, they go after the best players for what they need across the board and, in their offense, an offense that amplifies the talents of these specific athletes, they come together to form a complete offensive unit. The way they’ve been so low cost at OL over the years, while winning Super Bowls is a great example of this concept of a unit.
Brady has also always been a guy in an offense who gets rid of the ball so quickly that they don’t need the line to hold as long as other lines do.
Stick to the fundamentals of the position, develop a unit, have a great coach, and you can create a more low cost line.
Having mismatch creating pass catchers, small, quick guys who get open close to the line of scrimmage, allows them to get open quickly.
Gronk may be embarking on the most “unstoppable” season in NFL history.
12 catches for 207 yards and four touchdowns already.
96 catch, 1656 yards and 32 touchdown pace and, honestly, that doesn’t sound that crazy to me.
Edelman is in his prime now and may end up being an even better player for them than Welker was. He might actually be a more talented, more fluid athlete and, with 22 catches for 194 yards and two touchdowns already, he’s on pace for a huge season. More incredibly, he had 11 catches for 97 yards in both games. Like Gronk, he’s on an insane pace: 176 catches for 1552 (8.81 ypc) and 16 touchdowns.
People, myself included, thought that Edelman and Amendola were vying for the same position, that Welker replacement role when Amendola was signed a few years ago, but Belichick just decided to go Full Welker with both of them. I write in Caponomics how Edelman and Amendola actually cost the Patriots in 2014 about as much as Welker cost the Broncos that year, but for two players. While Amendola didn’t play very well until the playoffs came, it did give them a natural back-up to Edelman.
The way I’m starting to approach how I think about the Patriots, and how I think about the Eagles too, is like both coaches are like I was when I was a kid, dreaming about the perfect team to put together. Except, unlike that 11 year old version of myself, these are adults, who are doing this for a living, so they actually have a plan of how they’re going to construct that team, what they’re going to do on offense and defense, etc. When I look at the Patriots offense, then I think about how they’ve won over the years, and the whole system makes complete and total sense to me because I can kind of envision what Belichick is trying to do. I know from the past with Randy Moss and Welker that he loved having a big target for Brady to throw to downfield and in the endzone, but he also liked that shorter, quick player who can get open close to the line of scrimmage and create that ball control offense through those short passes. Even looking at the game against Buffalo where Edelman had 19 targets and “only” caught 11 of them, he still got 97 yards, which would be 5.1 yards per carry if you looked at each target as a carry. Looking at Week 1 against the Steelers, Edelman had 97 yards on 12 targets, so that’s 8.08 yards per play there. Going back to me discussing the Eagles as that kind of concept, that “yards per play” as a metric is a very, very important statistic and I think it may hold the key to “#Caponomics” type thinking.
I thought about it this weekend, I think that many of the best receivers in the league are now in that 5’10” to 6’1” area because NFL defenses have, generally, made a change to those longer cornerbacks like Richard Sherman. I think that was a response to the Calvin Johnson, prototypical number one type of receiver that has led to this huge success for the Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., and TY Hilton types right now. I think that this is part of why Antonio Brown has been able to go on this NFL record 5 catch, 50 yards game streak that’s somewhere around 40 games now. I feel that, because of his unique size and skillset, there aren’t very many athletes in the NFL who can cover him. For example, at some point I saw some list of how players do against Joe Haden who is 5’11”, 195 pounds himself and he was able to shut down all of the taller players, but maybe he’s never been able to shut down Brown who is an inch or so shorter, 10 pounds lighter and ran one-tenth of a second faster at the combine.
This is just like with the RB position, which the Patriots exemplify with how they use a pass catcher that’s at one end of the spectrum at 5’8”, 200 pounds and a, typically, powerful lead rusher at 6’-6’1”, 225 pounds. Similarly, I think there is a sort of range of the receiver position where guys like Welker in the 5’9”, 180 range are the bottom and the Calvin Johnson types at 6’5”, 230 are the top. Interestingly, we, myself included, often forget that Edelman is 6’, 198-pounds, so he’s actually considerably bigger than Welker and Amendola, who are shorter and lighter. Like I said before, Edelman seems to be a much more fluid athlete than Welker, while still maintaining his quickness. In fact, Edelman has made the absence of Lafell almost a complete non-issue.
The Eagles do a solid job of this with Josh Huff outside at 5’11”, 205 in the spread offense, which means they have a guy who is like a smaller, but faster running back in the open field, in a spread offense, which means it’s highly likely that it’s a one-on-one tackling situation. I’ve said this before, the spread offense is about spreading defenses in every direction, while the West Coast was about spreading horizontally and the Air Coryell was about spreading vertically. Likewise, the Patriots have guys like Edelman (who, as I just explained, is much bigger than we typically give him credit for), Gronk, Chandler and Blount. I think that’s one of the biggest parts of Gronk’s game that’s just this big cherry on top of all the other incredible things he brings to an offense, that ability to just not allow people to tackle him. While the Patriots offense isn’t the spread, like all the other systems, every offense relies on finding openings and creating opportunities for guys to make plays, so they all have the same sort of foundational values of creating one-on-ones and such.
The Eagles also put their biggest and best receiver, Jordan Matthews, in the slot, like the Saints have with Marques Colston over the years (and a spot that they are probably readying Brandon Coleman for). Having Gronk at tight end is a similar concept to that. The reason the Eagles and Saints, among other teams like the Steelers with Antonio Brown to run fades from the slot, will put their best receiver inside, so that, rather than going up against the team’s #1 cover guy, they might go up against an outside linebacker, safety or third cornerback.
The Eagles then let Maclin walk for the 5 yr, $55 million deal he took in Kansas City and they drafted Nelson Agholor who is the exact same size, speed and all sorts of other measurables as Maclin was, but five years younger with two healthy ACLs.
Bringing it back around, these first two weekends of football have shown me this sort of Caponomics, combined with some martial arts and UFC, thoughts I was writing about this offseason. Taking my newfound appreciation for martial arts through Joe Rogan, The Fighter and the Kid and the UFC, I have started to apply it to how I think about the game of football, positions, teams, players, etc.
So when you look at three players like Calvin Johnson, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown and then Wes Welker, what you have are four players who all do the same thing: catch passes, but who do that same thing in completely different ways. Like I said before and in that Tebow article I wrote where I defined objective, we need to start looking at positions in a different way, we have to start looking at them as required skill sets and roles. It’s a much more productive way of thinking. It’s like how I broke down the Patriots spending money on kickers before. Just thinking of them as “kickers” or people who kick field goals, extra points etc. is not a way that really gives you a kind of ‘proactive’ way of thinking about them. If you think of them as sort of “scoring extensions” that allow you to score from the XX-yard line, then you can really begin to appreciate what they can do for your offense and your team.
Speaking of “scoring extensions,” that’s an added bonus of the Eagles “yards per play” foundational value as by going after the kinds of EXPLOSIVE athletes that you’re looking to have if you’re running the spread and trying to have a high “yards per play.” Also, to have a high yards per play average, you have to create big plays to serve as a sort of outlier that pull up that average. That ability to score quickly is obviously very, very valuable as you’re never out of the game and with the speed they run the offense with, they get more plays, dictate the tempo to wear the other team down, score quickly late in games and feel comfortable running the offense if/when you’re down and need to score quickly. Everything about the modern spread offense is about explosive athletes because it’s about hitting these locations in the defense that are opened up by your “spread” offense that naturally spread the defense out just by formation typically. The goal of the spread is to find openings and create one-on-one match-ups, both of these set up for big play opportunities. Even the running back is someone who you want hitting a specific hole in the defense, which is why you want them hitting their keys hard.
***The best organizations find mismatch creators in a way that the market doesn’t reflect, which complete their foundational values for their offense or defense. Rather than go after big prototypical #1 WRs and well rounded, complete running backs, the Patriots just created mismatches by getting players who did specific things very well. Also, they have always seemed to have players who had a body/skill type that is completely dissimilar to the body/skill types on the defensive side of the football. The Patriots have famously spent very little money on their offensive line over the years, but they also did that with their tight ends in the early-2000s in the pre-Gronk era as they used the TE to improve their run blocking, so the simply went after guys like Michael HooMan who are big bodied blockers and almost exclusively run blockers.
Defenses in the NFL typically seem to be reactionary financially in many ways as JUST recently, DL, pass rusher and CB contracts have gotten out of hand, while QB/WR contracts have been since the mid-2000s.
Like on the field, defensive markets react to O spending. After a decade of increased spending at QB, WR and LT, the defensive side of the ball is now evening things out.
Steve Belichick general defensive philosophy from “The Education of a Coach.”:
“Find out what the other guys do best – which is what they always want to do, especially under pressure in a big game – take it away from them, and make them do things that they are uncomfortable with.” ànot dissimilar to what Ferris mentioned re: the way high level military people are trained in everything to make them prepared for anything. So in the NFL, make teams do things against D’s they aren’t prepared for at a foundational level. For example, like the AFC East is trying to do right now as the Bills, Jets and Dolphins have invested HEAVILY in their defensive lines to try and stop Tom Brady.
This quote from Bill’s dad is a great example of a main idea that probably shaped how Bill runs his offense and defense.
While they’ve always been a great passing team, he’s never allowed his rush offense to sink below average. He’s always had a rushing offense that could beat you if they needed to win that game like Blount has destroyed the Colts the last few years. Blount isn’t considered a great running back and their rush offense has never been considered “great,” but they get it done when they decide to do it. Bill doesn’t allow any part of his team to be a weakness, every year the Patriots are at least average in every phase of the game and it’s what allows them to compete every year. Likewise, they are allowed to do this because of Brady’s manageable cap hit.
I watched the Oregon/Michigan State and LSU/Mississippi State games two weekends ago and had a really fun time watching the game with my “thinking like a college coach” mindset.
Byron Marshall will be the next evolution of Darren Sproles in the NFL as he’s even bigger, but just as versatile and speedy.
LSU has the same kinds of athletes on O every year, down to a T.
Fournette will win the Heisman. A VIOLENT runner.
LSU has FBs and all RBs are over 220 pounds.
Texans keep going to LSU for running backs: Blue, Hilliard
LSU’s receivers look very similar to the same athletes they’ve always had there.
As I said before, LSU is a perfect example of a team that’s using a mobile QB with a big, physical run based offense, something that I’m a huge supporter of in Caponomics. If you’re going to build a run-first/defensive modeled football team, then you should also have a mobile quarterback if you can get one. Having a quarterback who is just an average passer is okay, but if he can run the ball, that’s a huge added benefit and dimension to the team. As Russell Wilson has shown us, a rushing quarterback can drastically improve a rushing offense as the Seahawks have revolutionized the way we look at the running game in the NFL. His ability to slide is one of the most valuable intangibles in the NFL right now.
LSU clearly only has to throw the ball a limited number of times to win and they have explosive receivers who can get open when you do throw it and make big plays.
Used beginning of game to jump ahead
Mississippi State ran a very well designed pick play that went to RB in the flat. He ran directly away from the QB in a straight line to a specific spot, only negative was QB had to throw at an RB who was running straight away from him.
LSU has a complete old school rushing attack with FBs and everything, playing old school football today gives you access to players that don’t have a lot of other options. Invest scholarships in OL, DL, D and RB. This is something that plays out in the NFL every year as well as every team has their own formula that they try to use to win.
Jeremy Langford supplemented Connor Cook’s passing very well as, if you got small to defend the pass, he was a power runner who could run you over.
I’m not sure if these were things he said or ideas I had off of what he said, but I do remember thinking he was brilliant, so definitely worth listening to if you ever get a chance.
**Once you get into the playoffs, it’s a much smaller sample size, so you need to get every advantage you can get.
**Another benefit of college coaches coming to the NFL is that they have experience with managing every aspect of a player’s life. This is still a critical aspect of any young man’s life. Help them have the best nutrition and everything else that you can control. Make them as comfortable as possible, so they’re able to perform to the best of their abilities.
**NFL is all about depth, being prepared for injuries à something college coaches have experience with.
The NFL Will Continue to Grow Because…
They’re selling dopamine hits through gambling and fantasy football.
They OWN fall, and half of winter, Sundays.
Women are REALLY getting involved now with fantasy and other things to get them interested. The NFL Shop ads to women are really terrific because I think this whole fall fashion aspect will suck more and more women in as the NFL continues to grow as a national holiday. By educating fans through things like podcasts and articles, I think this female fan base will continue to grow as football is like a martial art, a fun problem to try and figure out.
Another huge story line through two weeks is the investing in the pass rush/defensive line strategy of the Bills, Rams and Jets. While the Bills and Rams are 1-1, together, these three teams have beaten the Colts twice, the Seahawks and competed very nicely with the Patriots. Granted the Rams had a very surprising loss to the Redskins, but all three teams have showed us the “invest in the pass rush” strategy can be very, very effective in the NFL. The only question I really have is will that kind of spending allow these teams to win a Super Bowl. Examples are right in that table of top cap hits on each team as Mario Williams costs the Bills 13.54% of the cap, while Robert Quinn costs the Rams 11.69%, then Darrelle Revis costs the Jets 11.17% in coverage.
While I appreciate the strategy, the spending is probably too high for them to succeed as the defensive ends far exceed Reggie White’s 8.90% cap hit from 96, while Revis is up near Ty Law’s cap hits from 2003 and 2004, which are outliers with the next highest player not named Ty Law being Corey Webster with the 2011 Giants at a mere 6.54% of the cap. The average percentage of the salary cap that all of the top paid Super Bowl cornerbacks are paid 4.71% of the cap, but if you take out Law’s three contracts that number drops to 3.67%. Even with the Patriots last year, Revis only took up 5.26% of the cap, but considering that the Jets don’t have Brady, but rather a QB group that takes up a mere 3.62% (really Ravens-esque), it allows them to take that spending that top player spending that 14 of the 32 teams use on quarterbacks and spend it on a huge difference maker in the pass game on defense.
With the way the game of football is moving, with the realization that there are only a handful of quarterbacks who should be paid that top dollar, the amount of money invested in quarterbacks is going to decrease, while the amount invested in positions like WR, CB, OL, and pass rush is probably going to rise as the money invested in quarterbacks is spread out to other strategies of roster building.
By investing this heavily in pass rush and pass coverage, the Bills and Jets have showed us over the last two weeks against the Colts how they are able to almost equalize their opponent’s quarterback play, in a sense, with their own quarterback to even out the contest. They then try to dictate the pace of the game with their running games and constantly keep a guy like Luck out of rhythm with the chaos in the offensive and defensive backfields.
Going to speed this up a little bit and just write some general notes and then get into teams in general, rather than the games themselves…
Every inconsistent team seems to have one massive flaw, one area of the game that they are weak in that a good team can easily exploit…like how Steve Belichick looks at the game…
An Antonio Brown type receiver might never command that MegaTron money because he’s not a prototypical #1 receiver and might not have an equal role in every offense…? Plus guys that are that prototypical #1 mold are also better in the red zone, which must be an added factor or reasoning behind the extra spending on these players.
Currently has 18 catches for 328 yards and two touchdowns, 9 catches for 164 yards and a touchdown and a pace of 144 catches for 2624 yards and 16 touchdowns. That is absurd.
Steelers were the first team I saw abandon the one-point PAT after a touchdown as they decided to go with the two-point play after the first score.
They are going to look very, very good when Bell and Bryant come back.
After two weeks, I don’t want to make any predictions, but I’ve really enjoyed watching/researching/studying/etc these teams so far this season:
Patriots, Steelers, Jets, Bills, Chiefs, Falcons, Packers
Seahawks and Eagles off to rough starts, but I’m not worried about either of them. Colts will win their division, but they don’t have the pieces for a Super Bowl. Ryan Grigson needs to give full control of player personnel decisions to Chuck Pagano next offseason, squandered a real opportunity to build a dynasty around Luck before his big money came.
Broncos will be fine if Gary Kubiak realizes that the offense Peyton Manning is more comfortable in is the one that should be run, not Gary Kubiak’s offense. Although, I support his desire to develop this team into a rushing based offense as Manning approaches retirement.
I like the Cardinals too, just haven’t been able to catch their games yet.
Cowboys injuries to Romo and Bryant probably makes them the worst 2-0 team in the league. The Eagles couldn’t be in a better position today.
Speaking of the Colts, Joel Corry from CBS Sports, wrote a wonderful piece about the Colts issues and Ryan Grigson. He really communicated a lot of things regarding the Colts that I have been feeling since last season, but have been unable to articulate myself, so let’s just let him do the talking on this issue: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/25305243/agents-take-has-the-potential-for-a-colts-dynasty-been-squandered
Under the current CBA, I’m a huge supporter of using the time where your franchise quarterback is on his rookie deal as an opportunity to construct a team that can run the ball and play defense to elevate the team during that time and help ease him into a transition to the franchise player. The Colts have essentially put the entire franchise on Luck’s back through the passing game, like they did with Manning, and it’s why we are seeing him struggle so much this season. Sure, you went out and got Frank Gore, that was a great move, but he’s still over 30-years old without a top RB2 behind him and with a below average offensive line in front of him.
Outside of these notes, the rest is in the show…
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