NFL Preseason Discussion

Once the season starts I’ll do the usual weekly threads.

The preseason started last night after we missed the hall of fame game.

Preseason schedule

I gotta figure out how I’m going to watch games this year. Gamepass international screwed up and offered me a price of $240 for the year when it should’ve been $130. I guess that’s still a little less than what Sunday Ticket people pay, but damn that’s getting pricey just to watch some football.

On the other hand, I’ve grown rather less fond of getting up at 9am to go to a sports bar where I have to beg them to put some tv off in the corner to the Browns game. Blah.

How much do you guys actually watch preseason? I used to get really into it and try to do some fantasy scouting on potential sleepers, and got really into the roster battles on my team, but 16 years of nothing but pain and failure from my team have finally started dulling my enthusiasm for football and I can’t get into it like I used to.

I’ll watch the first quarter of a later game or two, but mostly stick to highlights and different MB discussions.

I tried to watch games last night through my Roku on the basement TV but the NFL Roku app wasn’t yet live (“We’re working on getting things ready for the 2016 season”), so I had to just watch on my laptop. Then of course the local games are blacked out so I had to fire up the VPN to see my game.

I won’t purposely watch any preseason NFL, but if I stumble across a game while channel surfing, particularly a Browns game, I’ll give it a look. Getting really damn hard to care about the NFL anymore as a Browns fan. The ceiling is probably 6 wins this year.

Ugh, I get tired of all the pre-season cliches that abound in the NFL.

“He’s in the best shape of his career.”

“We have a lot of work to do, but I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made.”

“He really flashed at times during the game”

“Here’s 5 things to watch for in tonights game”

“Here’s 5 things we learned from last night’s game”

The repetition of pointless cliches is mind-numbing.

That said, I’ll likely try to catch the QB “controversies”. Watching how Sanchez v. Sieman plays out. Seeing if Gabbert can outduel Kaepernick. Seeing if RGIII has developed AT ALL as a NFL QB. Whether Sam Bradford can hold off “how the hell did he get to be the 2nd round pick Carson Wentz”. Interesting battles.

And there’s always watching guys I liked in college to see how they’re doing. Kirk Cousins. Myles Jack. Mike Thomas. Shaquil Barrett.

And, of course, the Packers. Scrubs or not, they’re still the Packers.

Here’s hoping that Eli continues to stay healthy, because hoo-boy their longtime backup Ryan Nassib looked pathetic last night. And for the last several years, those are the only two QBs the Giants have had on the roster.

The Eagles are very boring, for the first time in almost a decade. But seeing how well Wentz handles himself will be interesting enough.

I try to catch every Eagles preseason game. I can’t recall having missed one over the last few years. There’s a lot you can learn from preseason games, but it’s almost entirely on an individual level. The 2015 Eagles were a great example of how the team performance in the preseason matters not a lick.

As for the first preseason game this year, the Eagles are not going to be good. It seems so obvious that this team will go about 6-10 while finishing in the bottom quarter of the league in offense, and the top quarter in defense. One of those teams where half their wins come on scores of 13-9, or thereabouts. They just have almost nothing in terms of weapons left after the great Chip Kelly purging. Maybe their exceptional special teams and (hopefully) defense will steal an extra game, like against the Patriots last year.

Wentz is going to be awesome, by the way. The physical tools are all obviously there: elite arm, plus athleticism, size. But the more important part is that he seems to have the mental tools to be good. It takes way, way more than physical tools, obviously. But Wentz clearly has the other stuff you need to have a chance to be successful. He has poise, confidence, and he’s going to out-work everyone else. From there, he’s going to need weapons, capable coaching, and luck. But I’m very confident he can make the draft investment pay off several times over.

He showed good things in his first game. He never got rattled, even when stupid stuff happened, like when the center snapped the ball before anyone else expected it. Wentz didn’t panic. He never panicked the entire game. He made mistakes. But what’s so encouraging is that he made the mistakes you expect a rookie to make, and the things he did well are things you do not expect a rookie to have a handle on yet.

What is your opinion of Chip Kelly now that we’ve seen his run with the Eagles? While he certainly made the Eagles more fun to watch while he was there, it seems to me that he did a great deal of damage to a pretty good roster once he insisted on having all the control. It also appeared to me (and feel free to educate me if I’m wrong) that the NFL adjusted to his offense and some people whose opinion I respect say it was too simplistic. But not having watched a ton of the Eagles, I was wondering what your take on his tenure in Philly was. And what you expect of his future with the 49ers.

I think I’m fully on the record against the overpaying the Eagles did to get Wentz. While he certainly has the measureables, I’m not sure, given his complete lack of experience against NFL caliber talent, what convinces you he’s got the mental part of the game down, especially to the point of being “very confident”.

From PFF: “The Eagles gave him plenty of work, with 21 passes attempted by the former North Dakota State signal-caller, but Wentz wasn’t able to take advantage of the opportunity. He completed just one pass traveling 10 yards or more downfield, but it was under pressure where he really struggled. The Buccaneers got pressure on 11 of Wentz’s dropbacks, with the QB scrambling on one; he completed just three passes on the other 10. Adding an interception, he had a quarterback rating of 0.0 on throws under pressure.”

But, in his defense, PFF also said: “Wentz was much farther along in his ability to make reads and quick decisions than I thought he’d be,”

We will see how it works out, and it’s way too early to conclude anything yet.

Kelly is the stereotypical ‘good college coach, bad pro coach.’ A state university isn’t the show. Not that it’s impossible to move up; Pete Carroll did a fine job of it, on the second try. I was doubtful of Kelly’s ability to translate when he first came into the league, and I’m at least equally so now.

So, not a big fan. :smiley:

In the words of the late Dennis Green, da Bears “are who we thought they were” - terrible. At least if their first pre-season game is anything to go by.

Just wish they could start off one more year (for a total of 2 with 1985) knocking my socks off before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

He did a lot of damage to the roster, but I think his changes were only a part of the reason the roster fell apart. What happened during the drafts, was more important. The 2013 draft turned out fine, but I doubt Chip had much to do with it considering it was essentially his first day on the job. But 2014 and 2015 are likely to be disasters. In those two years, their first four rounds of picks are going to result in a capable slot receiver (but not a first option), a possible outstanding Mike LB, a backup safety, and a fourth corner (first reserve outside). Not good enough.

Saying Kelly’s offense is simplistic is… simplistic. Chip would be the first person to tell you his offense is simple. It’s supposed to be. That’s not the problem. I think he called plays like a six year old plays Street Fighter. They find the one button or simple combination that worked once and then repeat it over and over and over. Kelly never mixed things up. But he also mashed that one button even when it wasn’t working. He stopped making adjustments, relying on his arrogance in his scheme to “overwhelm” teams. He sabotages his defense by responding to a long drive with a hurry-up three and out.

His offense did, and can still, work in the NFL. But he needs to make adjustments. You have to anticipate that the opposing defense knows what you’re doing, and counter punch before getting hit in the mouth, instead of not doing it afterwards. Even so, in 2015, with his offense having been “figured out” and his team collapsing and imploding, the Eagles finished 12th in yards and 13th in points, despite ranking 30th in turnovers. His ideas work. He’s a really good offensive coach and a terrible leader. And your franchise is going to get wrecked if he has a say in personnel.

I am pretty much against spending that much to move up, unless it is the most obvious, no-doubt, bonafide QB prospect. The problem is, they come around only every few years, and sometimes even they don’t pan out. So I agree that overpaying in this way is not the best idea, though I’m not as adamant about it.

The lack of experience against NFL talent is pretty damn overblown. It’s a cheap talking point that is regurgitated too easily. If you can play, you can play, and there are plenty of examples of this. About a fifth of the starters in the league right now played against lesser competition. “Equally lesser?” Maybe not? But you’re crazily nitpicking if you think there’s a major difference at that point. It’s way, way down on the list of things that matter.

In his first ever live NFL action, Wentz did not have a good game. Absolutely not surprising. But he did things well that rookies aren’t supposed to do, which makes me feel much more confident about his chances. The PFF summary you quoted is almost comically missing the forest for the trees. You cannot watch that game and think it was pressure that he struggled with. He just happened to struggle, and often did so under pressure. PFF is wrong about the cause of the effect.

Wentz felt and reacted to pressure exceptionally well, which is the very most important factor in my mind about whether an NFL QB can be consistently successful. Saying he only completed 30% of his passes under pressure is completely missing the point. Take this example here. No panic, instant recognition, controlled escape, accurate pass on the move. Or this example where Wentz recognizes the blitz pre-snap and quickly and accurately makes the perfect decision on his blitz beater. No panic. He faced a lot of pressure, but henavigated the pocket exceptionally well for a rookie. Rookies don’t often have the instincts to climb the pocket. But just as importantly, he didn’t abandon the pocket on the first hint of pressure. He was unafraid to step up into a big hit and throw. If Wentz completed zero of those passes under pressure, I would still say he handled it well. He’ll get better at aiming too high, you can fix that. You can’t fix deer-in-the-headlights panic. Went doesn’t have that.

So in his very first NFL action, he showed poise and a complete lack of panic. He missed a lot of throws, and he made some mistakes, but none of those things ever once hinted that he wasn’t ready for this level. He never showed something that makes you have to guess what the hell is he even doing? If you look at the list of questions people had about him pre-draft, this game went a ways to answering them. He showed he’s ahead of the game from where people expected him to be. He belongs, without a doubt. That’s the first step.

This is the first year I remember preseason being on cable. I thought Preseason games was on the team’s local network not NFL Network

A big part of Kelly’s issues at Philly had to do with his inflexibility and his insistence on finding players that fit his system rather than making the system fit them. (From the beginning I’ve questioned the wisdom of running a no-huddle, run-based system anyway.) The whole destroying-to-rebuild thing was a mistake in my opinion as well.

As to the stats, the Eagles ranked 14th in rushing and 12th in passing, while ranking second in the league in number of offensive plays, which led to being ranked 23rd in the league in yards/play. Not quite so rosy for the offense as things would seem initially.

As far as Wentz is concerned, I said (before the hairline fracture) that he reminded me a lot of Bradford. Unfortunately, it appears he may be like him in the wrong way.

Missed the edit…

One more choice stat: Philly was dead last in the league in time of possession. Not a winning formula.

Cowboys looked like they found their backup QB in Dak Prescott

Maybe I should have defined all my terms, but I would certainly include making adjustments during a game in the definition of offense.

As JohnnyAce pointed out, I’m not sure that yards is the best metric for Chip’s offense. While it certainly racks up the yards and points, that’s more a result of the sheer amount of plays they run, rather than an indication of the worth of the offense. But I can certainly see the emphasis that the only real determination is points, because that determines who wins and who loses. But Kelly’s points and yardage totals seemed to be prioritize sheer numbers rather than efficiency. We’ll see how he does in San Fran.

Usually it’s the guys who dominate against the lesser competition who get to say “if you can play, you can play”. Small school QB’s, guys like Ben Rothlisberger or Tony Romo (who went undrafted), who find some success in the NFL were pretty dominant in their college careers. Wentz … not so much. Even putting aside the lack of experience issue, he wasn’t even the most prolific or efficient QB in his own college conference (Missouri Valley).

I would say “he didn’t shit the bed” is setting the bar quite low for building confidence. He did fine for a rookie with a sub 45 passer rating, but I find it hard to conclude that this game answered any concerns about his game.

I’m happy you feel confident about him, and maybe he will develop into a very good NFL QB. As always, we can wait and see.

I was very disappointed last year when the Chargers didn’t move from SD. Now, for the next 5 months, I’ll have to hear all about the team every time I turn the news on. San Diego called their bluff on the “new stadium or we leave,” the NFL didn’t kiss their ass, and now the new stadium bullshit is starting all over again. Here’s hoping they have a last place finish this year, and are never in contention for a playoff spot.

Coincidentally, Roethlisberger’s number in college are almost identical to Wentz’s (in Comp%, YpA, QB Rating. Wentz had a much better TD:Int ratio). Wentz also added a ton more value as a runner. The only real difference is that Wentz only got to play a season and a half, so his volume numbers don’t compare. It seems to me he did just fine in college.

Here’s every pass he threw in the game.PFF sure sounded down about his performance in the quote you provided. But they don’t mentioned that there’s five passes in which the WR got both hands on the ball and dropped it. Two throwaways. And he was hit eight times. His numbers don’t look good, but this is a clear case where they don’t tell the story. His WRs and OLine played like garbage. Still, Wentz was inaccurate, but otherwise played an encouraging game.

I don’t quite get the Joey Bosa holdout thing. From my very brief perusal, it comes down to a question of when (not how much), Bosa gets paid, and whether or not the Chargers can offset some payments if they don’t think he’s worth it, but another team does. Is there something I’m missing, or are both sides being headstrong dicks about this? It seems like a “give a little, get a little” situation, but it seems to has turned into a huge drama of hurt feelings and Chargers management needing to have the biggest dick in the room. It’s a shame that both sides seem so dug in. Bosa surely has more to lose, which is what the Chargers are betting on. Dumb all around.

I think every other contract in NFL history either has offset language or a delay, but never both. Essentially they either guarantee you the money but delay the payments for a while, or they have the future offset but give you your money right away. It’s unprecedentedly cheap to try to get both. I can’t fault Bosa at all for not wanting to be the first guy in NFL history to get screwed both ways. He’s perfectly willing to take the totally standard #3 pick contract.

San Diego’s FO is pretty awful.