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Everything posted by mdrunning

  1. I never said Haley changed the game plan; he just made a couple of fourth-down calls which didn't make a ton of sense, especially not when you consider the game situation. A bad call is a bad call, whether it works or not. Roethlisberger was 18-of-19 career on QB sneaks, he's 6-5, and those types of plays initiate contact from the shortest possible distance. Besides, in the postseason, you can't be worried about someone getting hurt on a designated play. The only concern is getting the first down and moving the chains. New England still runs sneaks with Brady, and I believe Brees ran one Sunday against Minnesota. What do those two have in common? They're both older than Roethlisberger. Whether Haley deserved to be fired or not is debatable, but he certainly isn't the only culprit. Questionable decisions aside, how could a team playing at home fall behind by three touchdowns after less than two quarters? That's more on Tomlin than Haley. And for a guy who's more of an emotional compass than a deep-browed thinker, that's a fundamental flaw. Game plans aside, it's the head coach's job to have the players physically and mentally ready to play, and the Steelers almost certainly were not. In the case of the Ravens, that play worked only because of Alex Collins. Cincinnati had it sniffed out and only failed to contain it when they over-pursued and Collins reversed his field. Otherwise, they had him stopped for a three or-four-yard loss.
  2. I didn't hear that, but you're right, how could a head coach not be aware of such a situation? I did think Big Ben's pronouncement right after the game that he wanted to keep playing for another few years was an indication Haley was gone, since he and Roethlisberger reportedly did not get along. It's rather ironic how things can change in the course of the year. Just a year ago, Haley was being praised for this play-calling in the postseason, when Pittsburgh advanced to the AFC Championship, and there was speculation as to whether or not he'd be a head coaching candidate again. His divorce from Kansas City was rather messy, however, due at least in part to Haley's somewhat abrasive personality. For all the criticism and reports of a rift between Haley and his quarterback, Big Ben did have some of his best years statistically under Haley. In 2014, he had his highest passer rating ever (103) and in 2015 he led the league in passing yards per game at 328. Part of the rift may have stemmed from Haley's run-first philosophy and a passing game which emphasized the short and intermediate throws rather than the downfield game. I'm sure this had a lot to do with attempting to keep Roethlisberger upright more often and not take so many sacks, which can shorten a career. Last year, Big Ben was sacked a career-low 17 times, and this year only 21. Before Haley, Big Ben was taking at least 46 sacks per season from 2006 to 2009, which is way too many. I think Haley simply out-smarted himself at times on Sunday, something you see almost every week around the league because oftentimes there's no other logical explanation for otherwise head-scratching play calls. Over his career, Roethlisberger is 18-for-19 on converting QB sneaks, something of which Haley doubtless was aware, yet chose not to play the percentages.
  3. Todd Haley is out as offensive coordinator at Pittsburgh. Technically not a firing because his contract was up, but Sunday's loss likely sealed the deal regardless. Link Not deserving of its own thread, I would think, but newsworthy nonetheless.
  4. For Jacksonville to beat New England, they have to be able to run (duh). They live and die off the run game because they're not a good come-from-behind team. They change completely when they fall behind.
  5. Not a great haul for McCutchen, but then again, teams aren't going to part with their top prospects for a star already showing signs of decline. Pirates get OF Brian Reynolds, pitcher Kyle Crick and $500,000 in international bonus money. The Pirates are reportedly sending $2.5 million to the Giants to help offset some of McCutchen's $14.5 million salary for 2018. Neither of the players involved, it should be noted, ranked among the top 3 Giants prospects, which makes you wonder how much value the Pirates actually received since San Francisco's farm system isn't very good to begin with.
  6. Do we have to bring race and politics into every discussion on here? That's what that cesspool called Nationals is for. Whatever their formula, the Patriots win with it, and you can't argue with that. Who should they get rid of? Brady? Gronk? Edelman? Belichick will do anything to win, and these types of guys usually are among the least racist (or elitist) in terms of player selection. They'll take a chance on a talented player with some red flags (Aaron Hernandez comes to mind, as does Randy Moss) over a white, slightly less-talented, "safer" player, and they'd also do the same in reverse. (Gronk was known for being a party animal.) Talent is talent, regardless of what color it may come in. If the Patriots were finishing 5-11 or 4-12 every year, and they played predominantly white players, then maybe I could see this line of questioning. Like them or not, however, they win with the players they select. Maybe they have more white receivers not because they're elitist, but because other teams tend to think the other way. Other than Randy Moss, they rarely splurge on receivers, so they're going to look for value-type players. Just like professional sports teams years ago which were slow to integrate and missed out on talented black players who could have helped them, maybe the Patriots benefit from a sort of reverse elitism. I can't say what goes on in the war rooms of any of the 32 NFL teams, but if they're not evaluating white receivers as closely, then they're only helping the Patriots because they're able to pick them up cheap. (For what it's worth, of the highest-paid receivers in the NFL this past season, only two--Jordy Nelson (18) and Eric Decker (19) are white.) Danny Amendola is 26th, while Julian Edelman is 39th. Might help explain why the Patriots are always in a manageable cap position. All of this is just a narrow-minded excuse to hate the Patriots. I can see not liking them if you think they cheat, they're arrogant, they win too much, they get help from the referees, Belichick has the personality of a fig, or Brady is the biggest cry baby since Baby Tender Love. They take players who fit their system and they win with them. What's the problem?
  7. That whole list looks like something just slapped together in the heat of the moment. They plays aren't ranked in any particular order, they're just listed chronologically.
  8. Just curious, but where did you coach? It's funny, but I don't recall hearing much about Diggs during his high school track days. Maybe it's because he went to Good Counsel (I believe) and even though they're located in Maryland, they compete in a Washington-Northern Virginia based conference. The guy I remember very well is Ronald Darby when he was a track star at Potomac High School. He looked like a man among boys.
  9. I think by rule, the least a team can offer a player in arbitration is 80 percent of his previous year's salary (the standard 20 percent cut). Had the Orioles done so, there's no guarantee the arbitrator would have picked their figure. Given his injury-marred season, I doubt if Britton would have tried to shoot the moon in his salary request, but he likely would have sought a larger raise than 600K and it's very possible he could have won. In arbitration, the player almost always wakes up either rich or richer. Settling an arbitration case beforehand isn't always the best way to go, but it does at least provide cost certainty as teams start assembling their rosters.
  10. I watched about three quarters of the game and the only call I could say was questionable was the offensive PI call on Eric Decker. That hardly qualified as egregious and there are receivers every week who probably get away with a lot more than that. The other two--the false start/neutral zone infraction, and the face-mask non-call (touching a facemask, by the way, hasn't been a penalty for years) were probably 50-50 balls, but since they both went New England's way, people went nuts. Complaining about officials has become as big a pastime as actually watching the games themselves, and it goes into overdrive when New England is playing because a lot of people simply do not like them. Any time a call goes the Patriots' way, the conspiracy theory machine starts spitting out all the theories as to why the NFL is rigging games to favor the Patriots. Other than the fact that it was the Patriots, I'd say the other reason we're hearing of all the officiating bias is because, quite frankly, there wasn't much else to talk about as New England began pulling away in the second half. If the game had been closer, or if it had involved, say, practically any other team in the postseason which isn't universally disliked (such as anyone other than the Patriots or Pittsburgh), the hue and cry probably wouldn't have reached a fever pitch. Paranoia has become the Patriots' 12th man because people just lose their minds when it comes to New England.
  11. I think you hit it right here. All else aside, the Jags will now be facing Belichick, and I'd rather go against Tomlin 10 times than Belichick once.
  12. If Jimmy Garappolo can put up 44 points on Jacksonville's defense, I'm sure Brady will find a way to score on them.
  13. A rookie mistake. And in every meaning of the word.
  14. Vikings are trying to rival the Chiefs for biggest lead lost in a home playoff game. What was once a 17-0 lead is now a 21-20 deficit.
  15. Leonard Fournette didn't look the same in the second half after the ankle injury, and if he's still gimpy next week, that doesn't bode well for the Jags. I can see New England keying on Fournette, then taking away Bortles's running lanes and making him beat them with his arm.
  16. This game ties the Steeler record for most points given up in a postseason, going back to 1985 when they lost, 45-28, to Miami in the AFC Championship.
  17. Pittsburgh wasted too much time on that final, last-gasp drive. After that big play to Martavus Bryant, they should have kicked the field goal in order to save what little time was left at that point. All that last TD did was pad a few people's stats.
  18. I agree. Once they missed the onside kick, Jacksonville was automatically in field goal range.
  19. That last one no doubt based on their having no faith in the defense to come up with a three-and-out.
  20. The Jags may have gotten away with defensive holding on that play, but regardless, it's still a very dubious play call. Down seven with plenty of time, there's no need to take a shot down the field. Get the first down and keep the drive going, and most importantly, keep Jacksonville's defense out there.
  21. That's two very questionable fourth-down calls by the Steelers.
  22. Jacksonville needs to be able to run the ball effectively on first down and stay out of obvious passing situations. The Steelers might be advised to switch to zone defense in such situations because the only way Bortles is hurting them is on scrambles against their man-to-man defense.
  23. People are always going to claim bias when it involves a team they don't like.
  24. Damn, the Jags could be in some trouble here. To have played as well as they have and only be up seven with plenty of time left could spell trouble. You've got to figure they can't keep moving the ball as well as they did in the first half, particularly not if Fournette can't go in the second half.
  25. Wow, what a huge turn of events right there. With Fournette out and Pittsburgh showing life, the Jacksonville D comes up with a big play.