Archive for August, 2007

Great article on Mudd…

August 31, 2007

Why didn’t we jump off the roof when Tarik Glenn retired? Two words: Howard Mudd. Today Len Pasquereli had two articles which were of note to Colts fans. The first dealt with declining line play in the NFL, and the Colts own private cap saver in Howard Mudd. The Colts rarely draft linemen early in the draft. They rarely pay out big contracts. Yet every year, they produce great run totals and low sack numbers. It can’t be overestimated how important Howard Mudd is to the Colts success. I really hope he can help Ryan Diem out though. I know Ugoh is getting all the scrutiny, but Diem is not playing well.

The second article dealt with whether Jacksonville is a viable place for an NFL team. In a day and age where virtually every NFL game is sold out, the fact that the Jags can’t sell tickets is embarrassing. It’s a small time town that doesn’t belong in the NFL.

Footballoutsiders has a nice piece on statistical correlation. Don’t start snoring! The concept is that just because something always occurs in a win or loss doesn’t mean that that event CAUSES the win or loss. Such as the kneel down. Did you know that if your team kneels on the final three snaps of the game, they have a virtually 100% chance of winning? Duh. We all know that kneeling down doesn’t MAKE you win, it is the effect not the cause. This article deals with other instances in which media guys try to say that event X causes a win or a loss, when it really might just be a result of winning or losing.

Bucky Brooks of SI made a critical mistake. He confused the words ‘best’ with ‘most yards’. He picked his best offense of the year and went with last year’s #1, the New Orleans Saints. The Saints did gain the most yards, but folks, the Colts offense was better. Simply put, the Colts have the most efficient offense in football. They gain fewer yards than a small handful of teams simply because they get FAAAAAR fewer plays than most teams. Last year the Saints were 2nd in yards and 1st in plays from scrimmage. The Colts were 14th in plays, but 3rd in total offense. That is sick. These two offenses aren’t even on the same planet. He did pick Wayne and Harrison as the best WR duo, but that’s an easy one.

Not much needs to be said about Pat Kirwan other than that he clearly hasn’t been paying attention. He wonders how the Colts will replace a raft of players. Dude, they’ve been replaced. Where will the Colts find a wideout to fill the Stokely role? Where will they find TWO cornerbacks? What about a left tackle? Seriously man, wake up and smell the preseason.

Demond and I will check in later with our thoughts on tonight’s game. It’s basically just a watch Ugoh fest. I suppose we’ll check out the 2nd string runners and kick coverage too. Does the fun ever stop??

Back in my good graces…

August 31, 2007

Pete Prisco put out his AFC South report, and hit the nail on the head. He says the Colts will actually be better because of the personnel changes in the secondary and at the linebacker spot.

In other news, 18to88.com reader JD has nominated Justin Snow for the Classic Colts. He says, “Just look at the guys he has been snapping the ball to and it’s easy. Vandejerk was the most prolific % wise kicker in the league during his tenure with us. Hunter is always right up there tops in the league with his net yds allowed. These guys didn’t get there by chasing balls around in the backfield as a result of a bad snap. Very unappreciated indeed.”

I would add from Wikipedia: In 2003, long snapped for Mike Vanderjagt where they combined, along with the place kicker holder (Hunter Smith) becoming the first long snapper, holder and kicker trio in the league’s history to go an entire season, including the playoffs, without missing a field goal or point-after attempt.

He jacked a snap in XLI, so that’s a strike against him. I’m willing to put him on the waiting list to see if he does anything noteworthy, good or bad before he retires. If you have an opinion on Snow or any other nominee for the Classic Colts, drop us a line.

NFL Films? Sign me up!

August 30, 2007

According to Colts.com, the Colts will be featured on the latest, much anticipated episode of America’s Game: The Super Bowl Champions. It airs on the NFL Network for the first time Wednesday, September 5th at 9:00 pm Eastern. That story about Marvin suggesting they run the ball is the stuff of legend (well, to me at least). Let’s be clear:

1. NFL Films rule.

2. I don’t get the NFL Network, but I now have a good reason to change that.

Flem in my throat

August 30, 2007

That sounded more disgusting than I intended somehow. Anyway, check out this terrific review of the Manning Passing Academy with regular ESPN contributor Dave Flemming. It’s another cool insight into the life of America’s favorite QB and his family. The camp sounds awesome, and it sounds like genuinely fun time for the kids.

Also, check out Dr. Z’s preseason predictions. He puts the Colts at 12-4 and losing in the AFC Championship game to the Chargers. Totally reasonable. Our position on this season is that the playoffs will be a huge crap shoot. The AFC is so tough, there is no way to know who will emerge. Obviously, we hope it’s the Colts, but the ball can bounce in funny ways. If you click on the Colts logo in that article, you get Peter King’s preview of the Colts. The most interesting aspect of which is that he mentions Polian will be up for serious consideration for the HoF because of his draft record. This is significant because he’s actually a voter. So that’s encouraging.

Demond Sanders’ Comments: Cool stuff. How did Polian manage to find Joseph Addai, knowing that he needed to replace Edge with a Pro Bowl caliber player? Three well-known backs were already selected, and Polian is left with what most analysts considered to be a second round player. How did he know? I have no idea.

Marvin article posted

August 30, 2007

Well, I didn’t have time for any kind of thorough research or advanced data collection (hey, I used DPAR. Does that count?). But anyway, check out the new article on Marvin’s current place among the game’s elite. We are homers, but we are also honest. It’s tough to argue that Marvin is the unquestioned best WR, but there isn’t really anyone who you can prove is better. I know that’s a frustrating answer, but hey, we just report the facts.

Marvin is the best at scoring touchdowns by far. He ranks very high in the new fangled DPAR stat (behind only Reggie Wayne). He lags a little in the yards category. His numbers last year were excellent, but you could argue he was further down the list two and three years ago. I think the numbers show he is definitely superior to Torry Holt but Steve Smith’s durability (or severe lack there of) makes it hard to quantitatively judge the two against one another. Read it for yourself and judge by the numbers that are most convincing to you.

Demond Sanders’ Comments: Next we should do an article on whether Peyton Manning is the best active quarterback in the NFL. Or not.

Some crap, fodder for an article, and one tremendous interview

August 29, 2007

Peter King has come out with a list of the 500 best NFL players. #18 is number one.

The best part of the exercise is this tremendous interview with Manning. It’s loaded with great stuff that I haven’t heard anywhere else. I’m sure Michael Silver is stewing somewhere. Honestly, if Peter King is worth anything, it has to be for his ability to get an interview like this. It’s really good stuff, and I don’t know that any of the other national guys could get it.

My main complaint with the list will center around Marvin being way too low and behind Holt and Smith. I could go over and shred the list, but why bother? It’s one man’s opinion. There’s been a lot “Marvin’s old now, he’s clearly not the best WR in the league”. King says he’s “slipping a bit and not as physical”. Ok, let’s do some research. Our next article for 18to88.com will compare Marvin’s last 3 seasons to those of Chad Johnson, TO, Steve Smith and Tory Holt. Then we’ll see who the best WR in the league is. I hope to have this up by tomorrow.

By the way, Reggie Wayne at 68 behind guys like Todd Heap and Calvin Johnson? Let’s offer him to the Ravens or Lions straight up for those guys. Bet you money they take that deal in a second.

And don’t get me started on Vince “I completed 51% of my passes last year!” Young at 41, earning the comment “May become the NFL’s Jordan”.

A cry for help

August 29, 2007

We are looking for information on a game that has been nominated by a reader as one of the great Colts games ever.

Reader JD says:
You’re gonna have to help me out with the year but what about the game against Pittsburgh when Butler caught the deflected pass for a long touchdown at the end of the game for the win. It was 1980 something at the dome.

Here’s what I know:
On October 21st, 1984 at the Dome the Colts beat the Steelers 17-16. The Colts scored all 17 points in the 4th quarter. I can only assume this is the game he means. I was 7 or 8 at the time, so I don’t remember this game. If anyone out there has the full story on this great comeback, drop us a line at 18to88@gmail.com. It seems like a natural nominee for important Colts game. A big home comeback in the first year in Indy certainly belongs on the list.

Learning from mistakes

August 29, 2007

There is a steadily rising drum beat for the Reds to rehire Pete Mackanin as manger. He has lead the Reds to great record over the past two months he’s been on the job. Until last night, the Reds had climbed from 17 back and were on the verge of being in contention. Great job right?

Let’s have a history lesson. A few years back the Reds were looking for a new manager after firing Jack Mckeon. They cheaped out and hired Bob Boone, who was far and away the worst manager I’ve seen (ok, Ray Knight was horrible as well). After firing Boone in midseason 2003, they hired Dave Miley, a baseball lifer to take over the team. The team played better, and Miley was hired permanently. 2004 was disappointing due to injuries, and partway through 2005, they fired Miley and hired Jerry Narron, a baseball lifer. The club played better, and Narron was hired permanently. In 2006, the team started strong, sputtered, and missed the playoffs. In 2007, they fired Narron after 3 months of eye bleedingly bad baseball, and hired Pete Mackanin a baseball lifer. The club immediately started playing better.

Do you detect a pattern here? Forget the fact that he GAVE away last night’s key doubleheader by not starting his best lineup in either game. Forget the fact that he pulled Arroyo after 78 pitches and 6 innings to save him for a short rest start on Saturday (win TODAY’S game. Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow-Call it the Sermon on the Mount school of managing). Yeah, I’m mad at him for giving away 2 games last night, but mostly, I want the Reds to stop hiring guys just because of the ‘bump’ that teams receive from a new guy. They need to take the time to find a real manager, someone who is a proven winner. I wonder what Cito Gaston is up to?

That’s no moon…

August 28, 2007

it’s the new defensive tackle for the Titans.

Seriously? David Thorton, Nick Harper, Gilbert Gardner and now Corey Simon? Somebody has some serious Colts envy.

Demond Sanders’ Comments: I think we’ve been kind of hard on this guy. Let’s take just one minute and try to see the world through Corey Simon’s eyes.

Is it all greek to you?

August 28, 2007

We’ve talked a lot about the concept of Pythagorean wins in the past few weeks. As we’ve pointed out, this solid predictor of future results does not look good for the boys in blue this year. We’ve also pointed out that the Colts tend to outperform their projected wins (a fact which gives us hope this year). The question is why? One of the obvious conclusions would be to say that Peyton Manning is elevating the team through his spectacular play. Footballoutsiders studied this very theory:

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/2007/08/27/extra-points/5397/

the conclusion? Meh, can’t prove it’s true. There is not statistical evidence that great QB play in general can cause a team to consistently over perform. I know that this is news to those who want to make the QB singlehandedly responsible for wins and losses (if you want a hoot check out the schlock on coldhardfootballfacts.com about Rothlisberger today- does he suck or not? He won so many games he must be great! But his numbers and play are erratic, what if he starts sucking? OUR BRAINS MIGHT EXPLODE!), but there just isn’t any justification for it. QB play is one component of many. Let’s keep it all in perspective. The Colts overperform every year. Some of that probably is Peyton. Some is Tony Dungy (the most overperforming coach in the NFL). There’s no good way to know for sure.

Demond Sanders’ Comments: Well that’s underwhelming. This shows me that you can’t use statistical analysis for everything. If you do then you will inevitibly spend loads to of time trying to prove things almost all of us have already accepted to be true, but for whatever reason can’t be proven by numbers. For example: You can’t put a number on leading two game winning touchdown drives in a five minute stretch. Those clutch scores against the Jets didn’t affect the team stats that much, but they were the difference between a 12-4 and an 11-5 season.