This is about as slow as it gets for a football blog. 90 degree heat every day (at least if you live anywhere near the east coast), the weekend just came and went, and now we’re 2 days from the 4th of July. People are taking off from work (and therefore not reading football blogs), instead getting some fresh air, and/or drinking. Awesome time of the year… just not for this. I’ll still be writing away, just FYI, for those of you who have football OCD.
I’m in the process of putting together a podcast with Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz. We’re both Eagles fans, and while they’ll get a lot of attention, the focus will be on the NFL in general, and I’m sure we’ll do a lot of talking about the NFCE. We don’t have a name yet for it, so if anyone has any suggestions, we’re open to any ideas. There are basically two types of names for football podcasts: Cheesy or boring as hell. I’m not sure what Tommy prefers, but my personal preference is cheesy. OK, back to football.
– Evan Silva of Rotoworld spoke with Greg Cosell about a number of running backs. The first one they started with was DeMarco Murray. Good read in its entirety, but here’s a quick snippet:
“There’s very few long runs in the NFL where guys run in a straight line. That doesn’t happen very much. In the NFL, you must really be able to create space for yourself in confined areas. And the way you create space in confined areas is with lateral movement. And if you can’t do that, you have limitations as a runner. And (Murray) did that much better than I anticipated based on his college tape.”
Personally, I kind of thought of DeMarco as sort of straight-liney last season, which would differ from Cosell’s take. I trust his judgment better than my own though, especially since I’m relying on what I remember as opposed to what I’ll assume is recent film study on his end. I think the one play that stands out in my head of Murray last season was his 91 yard TD run against the Rams that was pretty much a straight-liner, with one simple cut to turn Quintin Mikell around once he got into the open field:
I think I’ll go back and look at a little more tape of DeMarco and try to see what Cosell sees.
More after the jump…
– Jared Allen thinks he can put up 25 sacks in one season. He also thinks DeMarcus Ware is capable of that number as well. Allen and Ware are as good of candidates as any, but I’d would add another 5-6 guys to that list who I think are capable of that number if a lot of things fall into place for them. One thing I know with almost absolute certainty is that Michael Strahan’s sack record is going down… and very soon. A few reasons:
- The NFL is extremely pass happy nowadays.
- There are a large number of QBs that have wheels and will look to extend plays rather than throw the ball away. That will lead to more sacks.
- Offensive line play in the NFL has become an epidemic.
- It’s a golden age for pass rushers. Lots of really, really good ones.
22.5 is very doable. I think it’s about 50/50 that someone breaks that record this year.
– My buddy Derek of the legendary, zombie-like IgglesBlog (“zombie-like” since it occasionally comes back from the dead), contributed to the EaglesAlmanac we published a week ago. He had so many leftover notes from his research for the Almanac, that he put up three posts on his otherwise dust-collecting corner of the Internet. Definitely worth a look.
– Donovan McNabb apparently is looking at three teams as a possible landing spot for his services, and thinks there’s an 80-90 percent chance he’ll play this year. Not to sound too harsh here, especially since I was a fan of McNabb for so many years, but does anyone really care about McNabb anymore? That’s a serious question. I know I don’t. Just curious if anyone else does.
– Robert Griffin III convinced teammates to work out with him in an informal passing camp in Waco, TX. Impressive. Very impressive. I know that RG3’s alma mater Baylor is in Waco, but when I think of Waco, I think two things:
- I’ll never be there
- David Koresh
It’s July. Think it’s hot here on the East Coast (for those of you that live in my neck of the woods)? Try 98 degrees with over 50% humidity. You don’t follow your rookie QB to Waco in July if you don’t believe in him.
– Kevin at Hogs Haven chronicled Lorenzo Alexander’s flight troubles. As a bonus, I got to be reminded of how much I disliked Jorrick Calvin as a kick returner for the Eagles (not that Dion Lewis was any better).
– More Marty B! NFL.com’s Brian McIntyre thinks Martellus Bennett could be in for a breakout year, and noted that Cowboys QBs had a 65% completion percentage whenever they threw Bennett’s way:
As we noted last week, Bennett was targeted just 130 times with the Cowboys, or 7.3 percent of the time he was on the field. The surprising thing is Bennett took advantage of his limited opportunities, catching 85 passes (good for a 65 percent catch rate) for 846 yards with four touchdowns in 60 games.
65% is right on par with Tony Romo’s and Jon Kitna’s completion percentages over that span. As I noted a week ago, 46 of Bennett’s 50 receptions over the past 2 years fell exclusively into 5 buckets:
- Short (2-10 yard) stop routes
- TE screens
- Nobody was open, the play broke down, and the QB found Bennett as a safety valve
- The misdirection screen, AKA the “Oh shit” screen
- Shallow crosser
And just for the sake of getting my money’s worth out of the graph I created for that piece, here it is again:
Anyway, the point here is that when you’re almost never catching anything more than 10 yards down the field, a catch rate of 65% is definitely not good, especially when your QB is already hitting on that kind of percentage anyway, making far more difficult throws down the field. Mike Garafolo of NJ.com asked Bennett about his route options and whether or not he had fewer of them in Dallas. It doesn’t seem like it’s much different in NJ.