Archive for the ‘Chain Links’ Category

It’s OK, embrace fear. Embrace worry. Embrace it all, and welcome it into your life, Vernon Davis owners.

A week ago, Davis was just a man without a target, let alone a catch from a target. He was completely absent during the 49ers’ 13-6 win over Seattle, as one of the league’s premier players at his position went an entire game without even being targeted, and given an opportunity to contribute.

That was last Thursday, and while the worry was already escalating then because pulling parts of our body out is a long-held fantasy ritual, there was an assumption/hope that what we saw last week was just a one-game outlier. And in a basic sense it was, as Davis was actually targeted last night, but only twice. Those two targets turned into two receptions for 34 yards.

After being held off the scoresheet completely last week, Monday night was Davis’ third straight game with less than 40 receiving yards, and he hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 3. He’s now on pace for 748 yards, his lowest total since 2008.

Read the rest of this entry »

As we go through the usual routine of dusting ourselves off on a Monday morning from hangovers that are either induced by beverages, too much football consumption, or hurricane baby making, foggy numbers always emerge from the heavens.

More specifically, as we look back on Sunday it’s always important to dissect the usage that’s spread around each offense, whether it’s the carry split between running backs, the targets for wide receivers, or just simply the amount of plays each player was on the field for, because doing anything of significance is only possible if you’re on the field.

This is a weekly ritual, and usually if we see something that especially jumps off the screen, we note it as we run through the various taking points created by another Sunday of hot football action. Today two such usage trends have already risen, showing two players who are possibly headed in opposite directions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Throughout this season we’ve found ourselves repeatedly and extensively examining a man’s groin. Long ago I shed my awkward feelings about this, and it helped yesterday when we learned that Greg Jennings’ injury is a little more serious than just your standard-issue groin pull. Still, we’re hoping this is the last time we write anything on the matter for a few weeks, although that goal will surely fail.

We’re dedicating more prestigious blog space to Jennings because following some scary, horrifying news yesterday that he may be out up to six weeks after his procedure to correct a sports hernia and therefore his season — or at least his fantasy season — was in serious doubt, a slightly better diagnosis surfaced last night while we were all busy watching Doug Martin trample dudes (more on that a little later).

So thanks for that, Adam Schefter.

Read the rest of this entry »

The lives of NFL coaches are an anomaly. They’re extremely well compensated for their craft while working absurd hours. One year of success is cast aside when a losing season is suffered.

Andy Reid’s tenure in Philadelphia is coming to an end. Juan Castillo’s firing was the decision of a desperate man. We’ve ruminated on former stars and their inability to cope with normal life. Reid’s decision to continue coaching after the death of his son during training camp was stunning to outside observers – he’s really going to take no time off? But for Reid, a person who can’t see himself as anything else but the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, it was standard. The Eagles have been near the top of the NFL during Reid’s tenure. Consider how many coaches have been fired since 1999 – his first year in Philly. The Bills alone have had six different head coaches during that span.

Sunday’s loss against Detroit marked the end for Castillo. Nnamdi Asomugha calling out his defensive coordinator for changing coverage packages on Calvin Johnson that had been working was the first time Eagles players openly questioned the braintrust’s decision making.

Which brings us back to Reid. Michael Vick has played poorly, the Offensive line is terrible (why was Castillo was moved to defense again?). Reid’s in game decision making continues to baffle Eagles fans and neutrals alike. Though yards against isn’t the best metric to analyze a defense, the Eagles rank 12th in that category and that’s without Trent Cole and Jason Babin doing much of anything. It isn’t the defense that is holding Philadelphia back.

Owner Jeffrey Lurie states he had doubts over the Castillo hiring. Asante Samuel is taking swipes at his former boss on twitter. The sharks have circled.

Reid is left with one choice. Turn to rookie QB NickĀ Foles and hope.

The Philly Inquirer’s Jeff McLane:

Reid was asked if was willing to roll the dice on the rookie in light of the success a number of young quarterbacks have had in the NFL over the last few seasons. “I’m looking at everything,” Reid said. “I’m going to try and do what’s best for our offense in this case and then whatever that decision is, I’m going to do. Right now, Michael’s the guy.”

Financially this a move that the front office might induce anyways. Vick’s out clause after the season would save the team $13 million dollars. For Reid, Foles is the guy he drafted. After taking a flier on Vick, he and Marty Mornhinweg can start over with Foles, who performed well in the preseason.
Andy Reid’s future in Philly will be determined by the fortunes of a third round pick. 1999 was a long time ago.

Read the rest of this entry »

The mobile quarterback presents both a problem, and a solution to a problem. Like Michael Vick before him, just five games into his career this is the difficult existence of Robert Griffin III.

He allows the offensive coordinator to pursue creative avenues that were otherwise unimaginable before. Options, roll outs, and designed runs can be executed with ease using the quarterback’s elite athleticism, and until defenses adjust (and they always do) there’s an element of surprise.

The problem is that inviting such a unique scheme has consequences, namely repeated blows to the head and other areas of the body which aren’t designed to sustain such punishment. We assumed there would eventually be some kind of breakage with RG3 if he kept running and exposing himself with such frequency, and in Week 5 the inevitable became reality when he sustained a concussion against the Falcons.

Read the rest of this entry »

Arian Foster's goal-line efficiency is the new inefficiency.

Watching as your running back is repeatedly stuffed at the goal-line goes beyond a feeling of loss. You feel betrayed, cold, and alone.

It’s a special kind of failure even though it happens so often, because the inability to finish a drive that may have otherwise been successful for your RB leads to the kind of crazy which digs that ass dent in your couch several inches deeper. Trust me, I know.

An end zone drop by a wide receiver is the equivalent of a car wreak. It’s painful, and sometimes fatal, but it’s also sudden and over quickly. Your top running back can get stuffed multiple times, and sometimes even on back-to-back plays. It’s one of the most cruel punishments fantasy football has to offer.

Of course, you don’t draft a running back solely because of his goal-line ability. But it’s nice to know that the deal can be finished, and the red zone RB slayer can be defeated swiftly. So, who’s the best at such sword wielding tomfoolery? There’s a chart for that.

Rotoworld’s Chet Gresham was kind enough to look back through the first five weeks of the season thus far, and chart the success (or lack thereof) of running backs who have had a minimum of two rushing attempts inside the opponent’s five yard line. What he found is that the leading point scorer at the position could be much, much better.

Read the rest of this entry »

Upon hearing about the severity of Brian Cushing’s injury, there will be those who maintain faith about the Texans and their undefeated season, and their ability to keep that unblemished record in tact even without one of the league’s premier tacklers. They’ll point to the glut of injuries sustained by the Texans last year, a vortex that sucked back two quarterbacks, Andre Johnson, Mario Williams, and Arian Foster for a handful of games.

So brace for impact, clingers of hope, and just completely forget that although it was a joyous occasion last January when Houston won a playoff game with some guy named T.J. Yates as their quarterback, they lost three straight games to end the season, which included losses to the lowly Colts, Panthers, and Titans.

Alright, ready? Because I’ve buried this lede far enough to delay the agony. The Texans fear that Cushing will be lost for the season due to a torn ACL, according to a report early this morning from Pro Football Talk. An MRI later today will reveal the severity of the injury, but Cushing was on crutches after Houston’s Monday night win over the Jets following a cut block by guard Matt Slauson.

Read the rest of this entry »