Monday, March 16, 2009

Peterson for Redding, a wash at best.

My first reaction to the trade of Julian Peterson was "Are you fucking kidding me?" Upon further reflection, this trade is understandable, but I don't see it as an improvement one way or the other.
The Seahawks were changing to a base tampa two where the pressure was to be generated by the front four, Peterson is poor against the run and struggles mightily in coverage(Such a change from his younger years), he has poor gap control, poor play recognition and poor tackling. However, the whole defense couldn't tackle or stick to their gaps last year. He's still a capable pass rusher with the perfect build and uses his hands extremely well. He was also horribly used. I don't understand the stunts to the inside that had him pushing in the middle and a DT containing the outside. Doesn't make sense in so many fundamental ways I can't even list them here, but I'll address it later, because that exact philosophy is why this trade was made in the first place.
Cory Redding is going to be used at defensive end the first two downs and moved inside on passing downs(As Kearney was occasionally last year).

I think this is inanely stupid but Redding is a better fit for it than Kearney, he is better built for rushing on the inside and has more experience. However, I don't get the idea of having smaller guys rushing in the inside lanes on 3rd down.
Defensive ends use a variety of different things to get to the quarterback. They use speed to get the offensive lineman off balance, if they use their speed to get to the edge and he turns his hips, they can rip to the inside. If they don't pop out quick enough, they can swim around the end around the end, or they can use their speed to generate explosiveness and power through the lineman with the bull rush. Part of the reason defensive ends can get pressure on the quarterback is that they can work in space, aside from a back helping out or a tight end chipping, its one on one. Inside rushers have to rely on technique and strength. There isn't as much space to work and the center or guard is there to help out. Guards and centers are typically shorter than tackles and have shorter arms so that they can get to the defenders chest, they don't need great reach because of the lack of space they are protecting. If you get pressure up the middle from your defensive tackles, its typically a bull rush and they are collapsing the pocket. That way the tackle is getting pressure and still maintaining his gap integrity. If the tackle tries to skirt around the outside, unless the guard or center has a failure of technique and is caught leaning forward, the offensive linemen can push the rusher up and to the side, clearing out the middle of the field for the quarterback to step up. Ideally you want a push up the middle causing the quarterback to glide backwards in the pocket into the ends coming around the edge. Even if a pass is thrown, the quarterback is unable to fully step into the throw and in most cases these days, the quarterback is throwing off his back foot. Placing ends on the inside means that you won't have that push, instead you have them trying to get upfield, leaving their gaps open and allowing the quarterback to step up in the pocket with now a multitude of new options, A) The quarterback can run, if in man coverage this is the best bet, if in zone, he can still gain 3 or 4 yards at minimum or B) the quarterback now has a clear view of the field and doesn't have to rely on passing lanes, his throwing angles are different but when the quarterback moves, coverage typically breaks down and holes will open up behind the linebackers, who move up thinking the quarterback might run.
In philosophy, putting all your ends out there to rush the passer seems like a logical idea. But it simply doesn't work. They either get stonewalled or run themselves out of the play. It sounds like something you'd try in a video game.
I think this strategy will work with marginal success at best, the Seahawks are doing what they've been doing the last couple years on defense, they are failing to maximize the talent of their players and use them where they have the highest chances of success.

I think the Seahawks defense will be more disciplined against the run next year, Peterson was a liability in that regard and their are putting a defensive line together that will keep the linemen and fullbacks off the backers, but on third down, the ultimate thorn in the side of the Seahawks last year, I doubt we will see a significant improvement. Due to changes in the secondary scheme, it will be improved, but the scheme is still flawed and the talent lacking.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Count me in as one guy who wouldn't be surprised at all if the Cougars won the Pac 10 tournament and went dancing.
Count me in as another guy who thinks the Huskies will have their hands full today. It pains me to say both things.

I hate conference tournaments, goes in line with my last post. I don't see the point in penalizing teams that win their conference by not even giving them a tourney birth.

As much as I loved Daryl Tapp at VaTech, he's disappointed me. He's shoddy against the run, both in technique and containment, he plays selfishly. The Seahawks don't have any ends that are good against the run. Kearney even gets washed every now and then. Thats why you see so many stretch plays against them, they get these light ends on their shoulders and drive them. I'd do the exact same thing. I'll never understand why they let go of Bryce Fisher in 2007. The oft injured Wistrom held down the fort as well, they struggled on interior runs back then, traps, powers, pulls. Thats why the Niners would beat them in 2006, they'd wear them down. I want a thick end with a fat ass in there, your push is coming in the middle anyway with Mebane, just contain the outsides, funnel the qb in the pocket. I don't like these slim defenses.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Case Against Cinderella

Take this for what it is, I am a fan of the BCS, and I think the only feasible change would be a Plus 1 format. I hate the notion of BCS Busters and I hate how the regular season is deemed irrelevant. I hate how a body of work throughout the season is thrown out the window and one game is the judge.
If Utah had to play in the SEC, they wouldn't have been a BCS team, Utah knows this, everyone who watches College Football knows this, but we dance around this like other issues, ignoring it, living in a fantasy world where everyone is equal.
But I digress, the NCAA Tournament nears and the search for the next Cinderella, the next Gonzaga, George Mason, or Davidson, the next Valparioso. Let me say this, I am growing sick of Cinderella. Sure, upsets in the tournament are part of what makes the tournament the tournament. How can I forget Hampton beating Iowa State, or Gonzaga's inexplicable runs through the tournament? Yet when it comes to the Final Four, I want the best teams in, I want the 1's and the 2's fighting it out. I don't want George Mason taking the spot of UCONN, I want to see the titans, who have dominated all year sharing the same battlefield. There isn't any glory for the late arriver who shows up to the battlefield after everyone is bloodied and beaten and lands the kill shot.

I believe in excellence, I prefer to see excellence in sports. I want to see the two teams that have sustained excellence for the longest period of time over a team that is 16-14 in a no name conference who won their conference title game on a buzzer beater in front of 150 people.

As great as the tournament is, the format, the four games going on at once, the live look ins, the increased presence of Cinderella is growing tiresome. College Basketball is weaker, there is more parity, and its been occuring since players started jumping to the NBA in the mid 90's. Gone were the great teams of players playing together for four years. The Duke teams of the early 90's were replaced by the UNC teams of the mid 90's, uber talented teams with no chemistry and a constantly rotating roster every year.
Great players are what creates the difference between the great teams, and everyone else. Now all great players jump to the NBA after one or two seasons. The media is left to create legends of mediocre players in Adam Morrison, Tyler Hansborough and J.J. Reddick. If you think Blake Griffin is staying another year, your insane. He's going to chase the money, like everyone before him.
I like to see the great matchups, I like great games, I like sports played at the highest level possible. In order for any upset to happen, thats all that has to happen(Exception the near miss of St. Josephs vs Stanford years ago), in order for an upset to happen, the quality of play has to decrease. Its poor basketball.

Argue with me on this, I welcome it.
The Washington Huskies will not get past the Sweet 16 this year, take it to the bank.
Insane athletes, terrible outside shooting, questionable coaching decisions and ball control against zones, undisciplined defense, they are a year away from being a top 10 team, two years from a top 5, they just aren't there yet. Plus I expect them to live in foul trouble during the tournament, they will have to deal with officiating crews not used to their physical nature.

UCLA sucks. the offense is questionable, the defense isn't what it usually is, they are overcoached. I don't see the same intensity from this group. Sweet 16 tops.

Arizona State can be dangerous. I know what your thinking, its a two man show. But, you have a 2-3 zone that can befuddle teams, a big time scorer, a great rebounder, and shooters around them. Elite 8 perhaps.

Pac 10 is a year away from making any real noise.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Am I the only one not totally buying this mysterious hip surgery A-Rod is having?
Its no secret that A-Rod is one of the hardest working players in baseball, and a hip injury is typically

A) a conditioning injury(which as stated above, doesn't make sense given the player we are talking about)
B) his body breaking down from PED's? Hmmmm
C) a red herring to cover up something else? Time off? An emotional breakdown? Some kind of mental rehab facility? He has trouble dealing with pressure, has had trouble dealing with New York, and now the steroid thing? It makes one think.

I'm not usually a conspiracy theorist, but this seems fishy, this is A-Rod we are talking about here. If he had a nagging injury last year how come his numbers didn't show it? How come in some cases(his fielding percentage) his numbers were better than the phenomal year he had before? Wouldn't a hip injury hinder his side to side movement and make it more difficult for him to get balls especially considering he has more space to make up for given the fact that Jeters range isn't even close to what it used to be?

AND, if he had kicked steroids when he came to new york in 2004, it seems weird for a physical breakdown to happen five years after the fact.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Houshmandzadeh, finally the Hawks get a big, tall, strong receiver with great hands. And he runs good routes. Stick him on the outside, and Burleson, and Branch in the slot. Branch is tailor made for that role. I like the makings of this seahawks offense for next year and I am relieved that this makes drafting Crabtree not necessary. I don't like having rookies in positions where they have to start. Its like starting true freshmen in college ball.

Jason Smith, the tackle from baylor, if available would be nice. And then kenny britt in the second round, maybe that UNC receiver(nicks?) if they have to trade down. Later rounds get a younger safety, someone that can run and has good instincts. Its important to draft a safety that has makeup speed, they will make mistakes in pursuit and coverage reads, you need a guy with the athleticism to make up for them.

I just don't want to see Brian Russell there anymore, and Deion Grant, bless his soul, plays hard, hits hard, but he's winding down.
They need a little youth, or at least someone younger.

But then again, i thought they were horribly horribly horribly horribly used last year in marshalls scheme. Absolutely horrible. I couldn't have thought up worse ways to use those two guys.

So, they might be better in a less horrid scheme. God that was bad.