J.J. Watt, Reworked Defense Offer Houston Texans Hope in NFL Playoffs

In truth, it wasn’t an impressive regular season from the Houston Texans.

The Texans have made the playoffs, they even won their division, but they did so with a 9-7 record in what once again appears to be the worst division in football. For a long time it didn’t look like the Texans would even manage to win nine games though.

For a long time, it looked like Bill O’Brien was going to be responsible for a team that was going to compete for a top-five pick in the draft.

O’Brien’s Texans began the season with a 2-5 record. Brian Hoyer had been named the starter to enter the season after a close competition with Ryan Mallett. Hoyer’s tenure as the starter lasted just 34 attempts as he was benched before Week 2. Continue reading »

Buffalo Bills Must Keep Feeding Sammy Watkins in 2016

Over the course of this season, Sammy Watkins has been frustrated by his lack of involvement in the Buffalo Bills offense. In October, Watkins told The Buffalo News, via ESPN, “I need the ball at least 10 times….You came up to draft me and I’m not getting targets – that’s a problem. You’re making me look bad and you’re making yourself look bad. Why not make both of us look good?” Watkins has unfortunately been right more often than not.

Entering the final week of the season, Watkins had six games with four or fewer receptions. In three more games, his final three leading up to Week 17, Watkins caught five passes. The receiver still managed four 100+ yard games and over 900 yards with nine touchdowns, but in a pass-heavy league he never came close to catching double-digit passes in a game. Continue reading »

Momentum, Luck and Mariota

If you’ve been on twitter at any point over the past two or three years, you’ve undoubtedly witnessed debates over momentum. Weirdly, momentum is a subject that pulls more passion out of NFL analysts than most subjects.

Part of the passion is the greater influence of analytics. We live in a time where there is a prevailing cultural acceptance that numbers are what matter most. Continue reading »

What Is Being Overlooked in the Aftermath of the Chip Kelly Firing

Chip Kelly isn’t Joe Philbin or Dennis Allen. He’s not your typical NFL coach.

When the Philadelphia Eagles fired Kelly this week, the story wasn’t just that he had failed to satisfy Jeff Lurie. Kelly’s failures were being presented as an indictment of wider philosophies. His arrogance, his out-of-the box thinking and his handling of professionals opposed to that of his students overshadowed what actually happened on the field.

One of the most common phrases uttered in response to Kelly’s firing was some variation of: “Chip Kelly the General Manager got Chip Kelly the Coach fired.” Continue reading »

This Week’s Articles

Bleacher Report – DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles Would be Better Off Without Each Other
After DeMarco Murray had a meeting with Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeff Lurie last week, he was a name to watch on Sunday. Mruray’s meeting was supposedly about his role in the offense, so I wrote about why Murray was frustrated with his role in the offense. It’s not simply about how many touches he gets, it’s how those touches are designed.

Sports on Earth – How Todd Gurley Beat the Detroit Lions
Arguably the best running back in the league already, Gurley had another one of those games this week where he alone was worth watching the game. His explosiveness, balance and vision are simply sublime, not to mention his physicality against contact. Gurley is carrying that Rams offense this year. He can’t be written about enough.

Bleacher Report – A.J. McCarron Can Keep Cincinnati Bengals On Course for AFC North Crown
A.J. McCarron is not a quarterback I am particularly fond of but the Cincinnati Bengals have the best supporting cast in the NFL and a relatively soft schedule to finish out the rest of the year. If Hue Jackson is smart with how he calls plays, something he has been most of the year, the Bengals should still comfortably get to the playoffs.

Football Guys – Pushing the Pocket: The Ancillary Pieces of the Oakland Raiders Passing Game
This article is behind a paywall. My weekly tape analysis for Football Guys leads me to the Clive Walford, an athletic tight end who should be a vertical threat for the Raiders for years to come, and Seth Roberts, one of the more intriguing young players to emerge during this season.

Football Outsiders – Film Room: Khalil Mack, Blake Bortles
Khalil Mack dominated the Denver Broncos on Sunday so he was someone that had to be written about in Film Room. Mack’s sacks were all quite similar in how he got to the quarterback, but he did show off his versatility and take the quarterback down from both sides also. The second part of this article looks at the debate over Blake Bortles’ performance this week before I offer my own opinion on his play.

Sports on Earth – Jameis Winston and Mike Evans Could Become a Special Duo
This is an article I’ve wanted to write for a while but never found the right place to put it. It’s also an article I enjoyed writing more than most over recent weeks because there were fewer restrictions on what I could do(I say fewer but mean none at all). It compares Winston and Evans to Brady and Moss/Gronkowski by detailing the specific nature of each’s relationship.

Bleacher Report – Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns Enter Crucial Game Against the Seattle Seahawks
I once again lament the Browns’ persistence in keeping Manziel on the sideline for so long while scrutinizing his play from last week against the San Francisco 49ers. Manziel missed multiple big plays because of his poor pocket presence, something that the Seattle Seahawks are going to test even more this week. If Manziel had played all season, this game would have less significance for he and his franchise.

Sports on Earth – Matchup Spotlight[Publishes Friday]
Matchup Spotlight this week will look at the Odell Beckham-Josh Norman matchup that everyone is looking forward to, as well as what the Denver Broncos are going to need from Von Miller against the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackles. Finally, the article looks at the rejuvenated Philadelphia Eagles and how their interior offensive line will be crucial if they are to upset the Arizona Cardinals.

2015 Articles

Non-Gif Articles

Reaction to Justin Houston’s Huge Contract Extension

On Martavis Bryant’s Potential to be a Star

Looking at Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota’s Transitions to the NFL

Xavier Rhodes Pre Snap Reads Analysis

How the Seattle Seahawks Should Use Jimmy Graham

Carson Palmer is an MVP QB

Julio Jones is a Perfect Fit in Kyle Shanahan’s Offense

Analyzing Russell Wilson’s Ability as a Passer

Gif Articles

Why Jonathan Stewart is Being Overlooked

Davante Adams: The Green Bay Packers’ Biggest Problem

Celebrating the Versatility of Tyrann Mathieu

The Qualities of Cam Newton

T.J. McDonald’s Value to the St. Louis Rams

Tyrod Taylor Should be the Buffalo Bills Starting QB

NaVorro Bowman’s Return to the NFL and why the 49ers Need him to Excel

Why the Packers will Miss Jordy Nelson

Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins’ Dysfunction on Offense

How the Minnesota Vikings Passing Game Eats Itself

The Interceptable Passes Project

Every offseason, I pay close attention to the number of interceptable passes a quarterback throws. It’s something that is an important part of evaluating the individual player but also something that is subjective and not properly tracked anywhere.

To better formalize my own opinions on each individual quarterback, I decided to note every instance when a quarterback threw an interceptable pass in 2014 and chart them for public consumption.

31 quarterbacks were covered, with Matthew Stafford being the only absent starter. He is absent because the Gamepass tape for Lions games doesn’t work properly. Sam Bradford was used instead of Austin Davis or Shaun Hill, so his 2013 season is included with the 2014 seasons for every other quarterback.

Continue reading »

Pre Snap Reads 2015 NFL Mock Draft

With three days to go until the NFL draft, the excitement is building for fans. For writers, the same is true, but with one added caveat. Because the buildup to the draft takes so long, essentially everything that could be covered has been covered. Everyone is out of ideas so everyone is pumping out mock drafts.

Pre Snap Reads is better than that, I have plenty of new ideas…joining in the fun and producing a Mock draft of its own.

Continue reading »