John Updike, or whatever

The GOAT
GSEZ Founder

Regarding our pre-game assessment of the Panthers debacle, I am torn between “we had the issue spotted but we called it in the wrong week” and “wishful thinking took over AGAIN.”

Suffice to say that one’s in the rear-view mirror.

*****

When you read the sports stuff, why are predictions always “bold”?  Cracks me up.

“Bold” is starting your own business somewhere.

“Bold” is having a sweaty, furtive, relentless rocks-off affair with a much larger guy’s hot girlfriend. (I was gonna say “asking the homecoming queen out on a date” but that is more in the “I am chasing parked cars at full speed” category, which we’ll cover some other time.)

“Bold” (to steal from Lee Trevino and many others) is having a 50 dollar bet on golf/pool/darts/whatever with five dollars in your pocket.

Sports predictions are done almost 100% of the time by sportswriters who need to do a lot more situps.

I think we’re done here.

*****

I know that despite that IN THE FIRST HALF against the Panthers our defense gave up drives of

5 plays for 75 yards and a TD;

15 plays for 65 yards and a FG; and

10 plays for 72 yards and a TD (and I know you are familiar with GSEZ’s famous analysis of Short Possessions and Long Drives, which we should have patented as a business process but as is the way of our people we open-sourced).

So, obviously the problem was….Jameis Winston. LMMFAO.

*****

Now, we all agree that Winston is playing in the shadow of Drew Brees (which I don’t know if you realize takes a tremendous amount of quiet courage and emotional risk), but let’s get some perspective on the two INTs he tossed last Sunday, both of which came in pretty desperate situations.

Because of recency bias and a few other factors….we have forgotten that Drew was not exactly the greatest avoider of the INT.

Claude took a look at some of Drew’s career numbers, and broke them into three eras.  We looked at where Drew ranked in “percentage of passes intercepted” versus other QBs in the league.  We shall invoke the serial Rabbit Angstrom novels of John Updike to classify these stages:

Rabbit, Run:  From 2002 (his first year starting in San Diego) until 2008, Brees ranked, on average, 15th in percentage of passes intercepted.

Rabbit is Rich:  Prime Brees, 2009-2016 where, with all due respect to the Brady, Eli and Rodgers stans, he redefined quarterback play for the next generation (as always, I am Right, but that’s another blog entirely, perhaps off-season), and in the piling up of staggering success-weighted numbers far ahead of his peers while carrying largely journeyman skill position players, he ranked 14th in percentage of passes intercepted.  People say things like “no risk it no biscuit” because it sounds cool, but he sort of proved the point.

Rabbit at Rest:  Late stage Brees, fooling himself and the world (and we are glad he did) that he still had a gun, from 2017-2020, over four years he was an average 5th in the league in interception percentage, with an astonishing ratio of 106 TDs against 23 INTs.

But let us admit that, for the vast majority of his career, Brees was way too often willing to force a pass into coverage, or because he wanted more, or because he lost a bar bet with his brother-in-law, or whatever,  more than from time to time, and net/net it probably made us as a franchise, but…he made a lot of throws he should not have.  Truth hurts.

The way human brains work, over time we forget the bad and remember the good.  Is what it is (and explains a surprisingly large number of marriages, and even more affairs, and certainly second marriages [tm – Oscar Wilde]); again, another off-season blog.

Winston’s career INT percentages are not good, at all.  There is no rationalization of this, other than he played under shitty coaches for the first four years of his career (very true) and then one year of gunslinger HC Bruce Arians, whose career magically improved when Tom Brady was his QB.

Both of Winston’s INT’s on Sunday were at least marginally defensible:  the one at the end of the half (per the great Nick Underhill at https://neworleans.football/, a pay site I have no trouble recommending), Harris was open, the throw was there, but Jameis just didn’t have the time to set his feet), and the other was in WGAF time/score territory.  I’ve seen Brees do a lot worse on a given/play situation.

Winston doesn’t get an infinite runway, but I think the kid’s on the right track and I’m looking forward to Sunday.

*****

“Inspire Change” – the back of a helmet neck guard.

“End Racism” – two words on the end line at the back of the end zone.

“There will be taunting penalties enforced randomly” – *smdh*

You can always trust the NFL to do the minimum necessary to follow the money.

*****

I had a fever dream last night.  DE Cam Jordan was hurt, and DE Marcus Davenport was back, and rookie DE Payton Turner was ready to go, so we moved Davenport to RDE and…..opposing quarterbacks kept getting absolutely murdered.

Maybe it wasn’t a dream?

Cam Jordan is a 32-year-old defensive end.  I am going to spare you Claude’s deep numbers dive.  Defensive ends in their 30s do not sack the QB.  They are living on rep.  Cam went from 15.5 sacks in 2019 to 7.5 sacks in 2020.  He has completely hit the wall.  He is still a tough dude in super shape and can reinvent himself as a situational inside pass rusher, but DEs Marcus Davenport (perhaps our best player in training camp) and rookie De Payton Turner (who was dominant in his first start on Sunday) need to start at the two DE positions as soon as Davenport gets off IR after next week.  Just sayin’.

*****

It’s a shame that the matchup of two of the three best head coaches in the league (Belichcik, Payton, Reid) couldn’t come when both teams were not running on all cylinders. Honestly, last Friday when I thought we’d smack the Panthers I was wrong on two counts – they are further along in their rebuild than I realized, and we hit our “we are playing out of our suitcases” wall pretty much on schedule and I was living in wishful thinking. 

After Katrina/Ida/whatever in between I forgot, this not being in your own training/practice situation is a huge deficit.  These NFL teams/players are so good, so talented, so prepared, every little deficit counts against you.  And that’s where we are now.

The most fun coaching matchup in the NFL (let’s face it, Belichick owns Reid but not Payton) is on Sunday.  NO predictions, but I know we will be prepared and swinging.  Let’s enjoy.

WHO DAT.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *