X’s and O’s with the Bros, Week 7 v. Colts: Luck-y and Good (On Elite Rookie NFL Quarterback Play)

by Cleveland Frowns on October 24, 2012

Welcome to the latest edition of Xs and Os with the Bros by Xs and Os editor @rodofdisaster. This feature represents a basic attempt to look deeper into the game of football, learn something about the X’s and O’s that make it go, and better appreciate the games within the game. It’s called Xs and Os with the Bros because you don’t have to be a player, coach, or rocket surgeon to get something out of taking a closer look at a football play, so please enjoy the post and the discussion in the comments.

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This week, the Browns lost a winnable game to the Indianapolis Colts by a final of 17-13. I would argue that neither team was especially dominant, and that the game was generally well-played and competitive. As much as some might want to point to Josh Gordon’s dropped pass in the end zone as the reason the Browns lost the game, the truth is that such a claim could apply equally to any number of plays that weren’t properly executed or playcalls that were simply ridiculous.

Instead of following the usual format of analyzing one play, this week I’ll focus on a set of plays that help illustrate why Andrew Luck was the first player chosen in the 2012 draft and the most highly touted quarterback to enter the league at least since Peyton Manning. This isn’t to take away from Brandon Weeden because I think he played well. And it’s not to suggest that the Browns’ defense played terribly, because I don’t think it did.

The point here is to focus on how a quarterback wins games for his team. Most of us know the buzzwords used to suggest that a QB is making the right decisions (e.g., “following his reads”, “going through his progressions”), but what does that look like on a football field?

I. THE READS

Play #1: 1st quarter; 15:00. 1st & 10, Colts 20
Offense: 11 personnel and offensive tackle eligible on left
Defense: Base 4-3 with 1 deep safety

In panel A, we see that the safeties, Young and Ward, have switched with the TE having gone in motion to the right (Ward dropped back as he was in the box and Young came down to cover on the other side of the line). This is going to be a play-action pass. The Browns LBs are sucked in on the run fake. Haden and Brown are playing off-man coverage.

In panel B, we see the receiver on top is running a 9-route down the seam. Luck is looking at him all the way and Ward is reading Luck’s eyes. The RB is releasing to the flat and Maiava has him. Young has the tight end and he’s blocking. The extra tackle who reported eligible is circled and he’s blocking the defensive end. Reggie Wayne is at the bottom of your screen and Brown is to his outside. There is nothing keeping him from running straight into that area that Ward is vacating. Seeing his deep receiver on the right doubled, he looks to Wayne as his second option. That goes for a 30 yard completion.

Play # 2: 1st quarter; 8:47 left, 2nd & 11 on Browns 25
Offense: 11 personnel, 2×3 empty backfield.
Defense: 41 Dime, man free coverage

In panel A, we see that the Browns are showing blitz and a clear man-coverage look against an empty set.

In panel B, we see Luck looking straight. You can tell from his head movements, his progression went as numbered:

1. the slot receiver was in traffic, so he went to…
2. the TE to the flat; Ward made a nice recovery, so…
3. he saw Ballard cross with Wayne and both defenders take each other out leaving Wayne open. This was definitely his 3rd option and resulted in a 19-yard gain to the 6-yard line.

Play #3: 2nd quarter; 11:57 left, 3rd & 10 on Colts’ 45
Offense: 11 personnel, trips, bunch right shotgun
Defense: 42 Nickel; Cover-2 zone look

In panel A, we see the Browns align and show zone against the bunch formation.

In panel B, we see that Luck’s first read is the TE coming across the shallow zone. The underneath defenders are playing him. Luck sees Avery (#2) come across behind the linebackers and fires a laser in between three defenders for 16 yards and a first down. Luck is only reading half the field on this play but he’s made the best decision here.

Play #4: 2nd quarter; 9:10 left; 3rd & 5 on Browns’ 18
Offense: 11 personnel, 2×3 empty backfield
Defense: 42 Nickel; Cover-2 zone (not obvious on pre-snap)

Panel A shows the presnap alignment. The Browns are trying to show a 2-man look.

Panel B shows Luck looking right to the TE (#1) who is jammed by Skrine. His vision is pulling the defenders over that way (arrows). Notice that the defender who is at #2 is NOT a linebacker but rather Billy Winn who’s dropped into coverage. The Browns are only rushing three. Wayne is cutting across on a shallow cross (#2).

Panel C shows that Luck as pulled Winn over enough to now turn back and fire a strike to Wayne for yet another first down.

II. MOVING DEFENDERS

This play further illustrates some of what we’ve seen above in how Luck uses his yes to move defenders. Here he looks right to move D’Qwell Jackson and open an area to throw to for the completion. Every top level QB in the NFL has this skill and uses it well.

III. MAKING ADJUSTMENTS

Play: 3rd quarter; 9:38 left; 1st & 10 from Colts’ 43
Offense: 11 personnel, 2×2 L
Defense: 42 Nickel;

Panel A shows the Browns ready to pounce on a run play. There’s a defender in every gap on the offensive line. Not shown is the hand signal Luck gives to Wayne when Wayne motions to the bottom of your screen.

The next two panels show the Colts offensive line and running back all running the originally called play, a run. Wayne on the other hand has soft coverage from Sheldon Brown, recognized by Luck, who called an audible resulting in a slant for an easy 7 yard pick-up.

So easy that they did it again on the very next play.

This time it’s Donnie Avery for a six-yard gain and a first down.

DISCUSSION:

Oliver Luck (a St. Ignatius alum) was drafted out of West Virginia by the Houston Oilers in the 2nd round of the 1982 draft. His career was spent mostly backing up Warren Moon, but nevertheless he always had a reputation as a smart guy, and went on to earn a J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1987.

My grandmother always said that fig trees don’t make apples, and it’s not too hard to see what Andrew Luck does that makes him so special. Though what an analysis like the above can’t show is the more micro adjustments a quarterback makes because he knows the tendencies of individual players on the opposing defense (such as a certain safety’s over-aggressiveness in response to play action) as well as the awareness of his own teammates and the adjustments that they’re likely to make in real split-second time once the ball is snapped. Which isn’t to minimize Luck’s athleticism, which resulted in two rushing TDs against the Browns. And which isn’t to say that the kid is perfect. His deep throws were frequently off-target last Sunday and teams like the Jets have shown that he isn’t quite invulnerable to the bad game.

It’s also not to say that the Browns’ own rookie QB signal-caller is a failure. If you watch Brandon Weeden closely, you’ll see that he makes good decisions relatively consistently. What he hasn’t shown is an ability to consistently read the whole field and adjust to defenses in the manner that Luck did consistently on Sunday (it’s the art that Peyton Manning has taken to an unprecedent level — in this way Luck is following right in his predecessor’s footsteps). Part of that is likely due to the fact that Luck’s coaching staff grants him more latitude to do this (such as when he punished the Browns for giving him that same slant option two plays in a row). Weeden definitely has more “arm talent” than Luck and as much as any quarterback in the league. If he could combine that with something approximating Luck’s field vision, the Browns offense could turn into something extremely dangerous to opposing defenses.

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The complete “Xs and Os with the Bros” archive is available here.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/353RMCG4SCQSGHPMKN7TMON654 S. A

    Great analysis as usual. So, based on trajectory is Weeden shaping up to be more of a Brett Favre type QB?

    • Believelander

      If this Weeden guy turns out anything near as good as Brett Favre in his prime, I could probably find a way to live with that.

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/353RMCG4SCQSGHPMKN7TMON654 S. A

        Yeah, that’s why I said Favre and not Romo

        • Believelander

          As much as people bag on Tony Romo, and rightly so, he’s honestly the best “off the street” quarterback since Kurt Warner, and before him Warren Moon. While he has made boneheaded decisions and cost his team games, the franchise debacles going on in Arlington come down to a lot more than Tony Romo.

          To be honest, I don’t see Brett Favre doing significantly better than Romo QBing the Cowboys during Romo’s years there. When he won a Super Bowl in 96 in Green Bay, they had an embarrassment of riches on that roster, and a future Hall of Fame coach in Holmgren (how weird to say that now). Perhaps he would have been a bit better, but I’d bet all I’m worth he wouldn’t have sniffed a Lombardi trophy.

          So if Brandon Weeden became Tony Romo, I could probably live with that. You need to put together a solid consistent defense to win with Tony Romo because of his relief pitcher grade inconsistency. But then again, you needed a solid, consistent defense to win with Brett Favre for the same reasons, to perhaps a slightly lesser degree.

      • actovegin1armstrong

        Believe,
        Perhaps I am just a QB hater, but I was never a big fan of Favre. (Although he was good in “Something About Mary”.)
        His “gunslinger” attitude made him very interception prone. (Kill me with stats if you like, I am only going by the eyeball test.)
        I like the Packers and I have always wondered if they should have given up that 1st round pick to get him.
        By an odd coincidence I hung out in San Antonio with George Blanda’s niece the day after Favre relieved Blanda of the worst stat a QB can have, most interceptions.
        She did not like the fact that I knew who held the record.
        I like Favre, I love his “rock’n’roll lifestyle” and I appreciate his toughness, I look at Favre and Jim Brown as two of the toughest guys to ever play the game, but I am not convinced that some of his MVP years and Super Bowls were won in spite of the way he played, not because of the way he played.
        QB’s have evolved and become more cognizant of what it really takes to win, game management, not just slinging the ball around.
        I would not want another Brett Favre on the Browns’ roster.

        • rodofdisaster

          “I’m in town to play the Dolphins, you dumbass…”

        • NeedsFoodBadly

          You love that Favre texts pictures of his penis to people?

          I have to assume that’s what you mean by rock ‘n roll, since tossing around a pigskin in the flatbed of your pickup in Mississippi is more country fried to me.

          • ClevelandFrowns

            DON’T ANSWER THAT, ACTO.

          • Believelander

            Calm down Pete. It’s just a ding dong on a cellphone. I thought you loved Little Debbie snack cakes.

          • Believelander

            Dong shots for everybody, man. The game of Life is evolving.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            See, NFB,
            Frownie is already trying to censor me.
            He does it every time I try to post a penis pic too.
            Favre just texts his, I am going to post here so everyone can get a good laugh.
            “Objects on this website are larger than they appear.”

        • Believelander

          Brett Favre never really pushes into the same echelon as Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, or Aaron Rodgers. He was always that fringe elite quarterback a notch below the true greats, and his greatest accomplishment was longevity. So in a lot of ways I agree with you. And actually my comment below in response to Tony Romo highlights the fact that I don’t really think Brett Favre was but maybe a little better than Romo.

          All that said, would a Brett Favre in his prime not be the best quarterback we’ve had on the roster since Otto Graham? You could argue Bernie Kosar was better at his peak, but you could also sure argue he wasn’t.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Favre gave the ball away on a very consistent basis.
            The best thing about Bernie is that he was terrific at protecting the ball. He rarely made, “look at me I am a hero” throws that ended up in the wrong hands.
            I would much rather have Bernie than Brett.

          • BIKI024

            again, 2.0% INT rate (Bernie) verse 2.8%, i’ll take that all day if i get a TD more per game..

          • BIKI024

            he also won a lot more games than Bernie..

          • BIKI024

            it’s pretty laughable that you would take bernie over favre. i mean i love bernie for obvious reasons, but there’s a reason he has never even come close to being considered being hall of fame worthy. i doubt bernie even makes the Top 50 all time. favre is definitely in the top 10, no lower than top 15.

          • BIKI024

            Bernie at his peak over Favre at his peak? wow

            Bernie’s best years was probably 86 and 87, where he threw a COMBINED 39 TDs. In Brett’s prime, he had a FIVE year stretch averaging 35 TDs per season, so there is no comparison when it comes to putting 6 on the board.

            in terms of INT%, in 86 and 87, Bernie had threw picks on 2% of his throw, whereas in that same 5 year stretch mentioned above he his INT% was 2.8%, not that big of a difference and i think most GMs would take that TD disparity over .8% more picks any day of the week.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            ” so there is no comparison when it comes to putting 6 on the board.”

            I shall not argue this terrific observation Biki. Favre was one of the greatest QB’s ever at putting 6 on the board!
            Unfortunately the 6 was oftentimes for the other team.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            That is also a very misleading stat Biki, because it does not include the times Bernie audibled to a run play, or just refused to throw the ball.
            Also . 8% may not sound like a lot to you, but, but it is significant when the base number is 2%, even I can do the math on that and it turns out Favre threw a much larger % of iNT’s than Bernie.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            I am happy that I made you laugh Biki.

          • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris M

            @ Acto – Just for fun. – Career Pick 6 totals.

            http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=7473

          • ClevelandFrowns

            Wow. Amazing that Bernie is so far down on that list given how many passing attempts he made.

          • ClevelandFrowns

            Amazing re: Tom Brady and Eli as well.

          • ClevelandFrowns

            If it wasn’t for the Curse of Wahoo, Bernie would have done some things.

          • Believelander

            WOW IN OUT OF LEFT FIELD, IT’S BIKI LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!!!

            I NEVER said Bernie was better at his peak than Brett Favre at his peak, but I said someone could argue it. Brett Favre in my mind was obviously better than Bernie.

            And for what it’s worth, Biki, 2.8% is a FORTY PERCENT INCREASE over 2.0%. On any given drop back in those periods, Favre was 40% more likely to throw an interception. Again, Favre was in my opinion and that of most people the better QB, but you’re wrong to say that’s some kind of ephemeral difference.

            And also, averaging 35 TD per season requires elite status, but the reason looking at total TDs is a meaningless stat is because throwing 20 TD per season does not preclude elite status. Again, let me re-iterate for you: I DONT THINK BERNIE KOSAR WAS BETTER THAN BRETT FAVRE.

            You can have a signed affidavit if you want. Go back to weeping lovingly over your Mark Sanchez nudes.

          • BIKI024

            you obviously haven’t seen mark sanchez nude you gaycist!

          • BIKI024

            and yes, there is a HUGE difference in talent between Favre and Bernie… again, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone put Bernie in Top 50 all-time QB’s.. Favre is easily Top 15, if not between 7-10..

          • BIKI024

            left field? don’t appreciate your gay innuendo my friend.[

            besides, i was mainly talking to Acto, so go smoke some bikilettuce homey

    • Cranky M

      What’s the basis for that statement? I fail to see any similarity whatsoever, aside from the fact that they both have strong arms.

  • Bryan

    Interesting stuff. I thought Luck looked like a world beater in the 1st quarter, but after that his production and play just don’t line up with the way you describe him. Frowns has detailed just how bad our defense is (especially our pass defense), yet after the second drive of the game Luck was 9-18 for only 74 yards (just over 4 yards per attempt), took 3 sacks, fumbled once (at a crucial point of the game), and only put 3 points on the board.

    What are your thoughts on why he produced so little for a majority of the game against such a bad pass defense?

    • ClevelandFrowns

      1. A wide open T.Y. Hilton killed at least one second-half drive with a drop on a perfect read and throw on third down.

      2. Sheldon Brown’s forced fumble killed another drive on what ended up being a good blitz.

      3. Toward the end of the game the Browns got wise to the fact that the Colts were going to keep running the ball.

      4. Rod notes that Luck was inaccurate on a number of throws downfield.

      • actovegin1armstrong

        Frownie, et al,
        What do you think of Hilton?
        He was my guy in two or three Cheddar Bay essays last year. I expected him to be “getting it” and tearing up the league by now.

        Local radio in Austin was calling Josh Gordon “the biggest surprise in the league”.
        Although they also mentioned his drop on the potential game winning TD.
        I expect Gordon to bounce back against a weak Chargers secondary.

        • Believelander

          If Gordon’s ON against a putrid Chargers defense, after the game Philip “Hang Time” Rivers will be demanding the Chargers either trade for Josh Gordon – expired trade deadline be damned – or buy out the entire Browns organization. Peyton Manning had not a great day 2 weeks ago and still burnt their ass a bunch of times.

      • Bryan

        Luck deserves some blame for the fumble. I thought that was one of the rare times he held the ball too long, and it cost him. His general inaccuracy in the 2nd half was a bit surprising.

        Rod basically said this, but essentially Weeden is a better pure thrower and Luck has a quicker brain. If Weeden can get to Luck’s level on the mental side, watch out.

        • ClevelandFrowns

          Right.

        • Believelander

          RG3 is a better pure thrower than Luck too, but the Colts still picked correctly. What Luck is doing is what only the top echelon of QBs ever do well – Brady, Manning, Rodgers, Eli, etc. Those who don’t make the lightning-fast reads and adjustments will always be relegated to that second tier elite quarterback, not all-timer types.

          Having a QB come out of college who can do that and do it reasonably well is practically unheard of.

          As for the inaccuracy, it shouldn’t come as a surprise unless you haven’t been paying attention to Luck (which as a stat geek, I have). He’s been less accurate on the season than Weeden, completing a putrid 53% of his passes, which is several points lower than Weeden (over 56%) and that’s including the Game That Shall Not Be Named. Since the week 1 game Weeden didn’t play, he’s been far more accurate in general than Andrew Luck, which has shocked me, until you consider the Colts have been heaping 42 throws a game on Luck’s shoulders. He may be Peyton Manning one day, but he isn’t yet, and someone might want to send Bruce Arians a memo to that effect.

          • Cranky M

            “he’s been far more accurate in general than Andrew Luck, which has shocked me, until you consider the Colts have been heaping 42 throws a game on Luck’s shoulders.”

            The Browns have been heaping just as many pass attempts (if not more) on Weeden. So i fail to see the relevancy of how many pass attempts he has in relation to his accuracy.

          • Petefranklin

            I suspect the majority of attempts were much longer on average than weedens were.

          • Believelander

            The Weeds is a little under 39 pass attempts, so yes, he’s throwing only a handful less than Luck. I’ve noted, too, that neither one of these coaches is putting their rookie in a position to win, because the lack of rush attempts means they’re asking them to throw the ball a LOT on 2nd and 3rd down and long situations.

          • ClevelandFrowns

            Amidst all this talk about certain coaches not putting their quarterbacks in position to win, I’ll just note that the Colts are 3-3 with a dumpster fire of a roster.

        • actovegin1armstrong

          ” If Weeden can get to Luck’s level on the mental side, watch out.”

          Weeden will probably continue to improve, becoming a better passer and he may be as good as, or better than Luck.
          However, I do not see it happening from our half season sample, as far as Weeden rivaling Luck’s intelligence please remember that Weeden went to Oklahoma State University and Luck went to Stanford.
          Is there much more than that to be said?

      • bupalos

        >>>1. A wide open T.Y. Hilton killed at least one second-half drive with a drop on a perfect read and throw on third down.>>>

        That was a serious drop. It reminded me that more than half of what we’ve come to call drops don’t deserve the name.

        >>>2. Sheldon Brown’s forced fumble killed another drive on what ended up being a good blitz.>>>

        Is anyone else not 100% convinced that he fumbled there?

        • Believelander

          I think that was a call where there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn it on replay, so whichever way they called it on the field was going to stand.

          If you put a gun to my head, I would say it was a fumble – from what I saw he lost control of it somewhat and sort of trapped it. The problem is, Luck clearly had possession of it when his back hit the ground, so he was down by contact. However, you can’t review who recovers a fumble, so.

          Either way, Indy should have kept the ball, but it was a great play by Breezy Brown nonetheless.

        • Warburton MacKinnon

          I didn’t think it was a fumble,ball came out when Luck was bounced off the turf. One of many bad calls that game,granted this one benifited the Browns but still bad call.

    • Believelander

      Our defense is getting more complete.

      Our defense may have given up a lot of yards in week 1, but that was partially due to the blazing disaster that was our offense that week. The next four weeks we were without Joe Haden, rookie standout James-Michael Johnson, and for parts Sheldon Brown, Dmitri Patterson, TJ Ward, D’Qwell Jackson, etc.

      Now guys are sliding back into place. We have Haden back, and after 2 good drives by the Colts (which basically encompassed the entire first half along with our drive), our adjustments started to click into place. And while they were far from the Chicago Bears against Cinci last week, they were also a far cry from the nightmare that the defense had been the previous four weeks.

      It’s going to be interesting to see Haden & Co. vs Marmalard and the San Diego Stickums (they’re under investigation by the league for use of the banned substance). Chargers struggling or not, Rivers struggling or not, ol’ Laserface is still one of the more dangerous QBs in the league with a lot of weapons at his disposal. I shudder to think of our guys trying to cover Antonio Gates. Joe Haden, meanwhile, has shown he can be left alone chaperoning a guy like Vincent Jackson. The Chargers are another team with no run game, so it’ll be interesting to see if Jauron concedes them the run in order to try to shut down the pass.

      All in all, I don’t see the Chargers as any less winnable than the Colts, really.

      • ClevelandFrowns

        Agreed re: our defense. We have playmakers at all three levels.

        It will help this Sunday that Vincent Jackson plays for the Bucs.

        • Believelander

          Well, fuck. Golf clap, sir.

          I was thinking of Malcom Floyd, who is Vincent Jackson with a different and slightly more misspelled name. Either way. Huge guy, jumps out of gym, not that fast, catches floaters from Philip Rivers.

          • Petefranklin

            You mean Bobby Meachum. Floyd is more of an outside guy.

          • Believelander

            Vincent Jackson is more of an outside guy. Then again with numb nut Greg Schiano coaching him now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him coming out of the backfield or playing offensive line.

  • Ron

    Did anyone else see McGlynn holding Rubin on the 1st Luck touchdown run in the 1st, or am I imagining things?

    • dubbythe1

      pretty sure there was a false start and a hold, but I am only speaking from twitterverse rants.

    • Believelander

      It’s ok, the refs made up for it by calling McGlynn’s hold on Ray Ventrone on the ensuing kick return.

      Wait….

  • rgrunds

    Rod, that is so good. When the mind succeeds, the body will follow.

    By the way, try to give Pete a little job here and there since you’ve taken over the website. Don’t completely exclude him. I think he could be very useful licking out the septic tank or some other maintenance activity.

  • technivore

    Is it possible that the offense Weeden is running simply doesn’t allow him to make adjustments along the lines of the run call that he turned into a quick slant to Wayne? In other words, I wonder if Luck would still look as good in Pat’s offense.

    • Bryan

      Rule of thumb for any player – If the produce at level X under an average coach, they produce at level .6*X under Shurmur.

      • Petefranklin

        Rule of thumb for any fan- If the Browns are watchable with only a drink or two under an average coach, it takes 6 times that amount of alcohol to watch the Browns under Shurmer. DRINK!

        • ClevelandFrowns

          That or six times the wager on whoever the Browns are playing.

          • bupalos

            Which would leave you without enough money to buy the requisite alcohol, their spread record being 192-2, as Biki will no doubt point out in 3, 2, 1…

    • NeedsFoodBadly

      Yah, this is a salient point. I’m betting that Weeden is NOT allowed to make those adjustments and that Luck would not be doing as well with Shurmurball schemes.

    • GrandRapidsRustlers

      I would want to sit in the meeting room when Pat tells Luck that he cannot audible. Colt just puts his head down and starts laughing while Luck tries to engage Pat.

      This does bring me to the next point…at what point in this season does Weeden just audible on his own?

      • technivore

        Wouldn’t any audible options have to be built into the playbook? I’m guessing there simply aren’t any in this (highly) offensive scheme.

        • GrandRapidsRustlers

          Forgot about the obvious…

          Can you imagine Brandon and Colt with a white board trying to define audible to Pat?

          Or Pat watching a Broncos game…what in the hell is the QB doing?

          • Believelander

            Curtain rise, beleagured NFL coach Pat Shurmur watches game tape of Denver Broncos. Cue internal monologue:

            ‘He puts his…right hand in…he puts his right hand out? He puts his right hand in…and he shakes it all about….is this the Hokey Pokey I’ve heard tell about? How does it give Peyton Manning superpowers? I must gain these secrets for my own…

          • GrandRapidsRustlers

            This was great.

            Especially the end where I figured out what happened to Dawg Pound Mike.

          • NeedsFoodBadly

            This is, I think, the most accurate and truthful description we will ever get of what goes on behind the scenes in Berea. Bravo, sir.

      • Believelander

        GRR: he will probably start calling audibles right around the time he’s 100% sure Shurmurface is canned. Or when Jimmy Haslam tells him he can.

        • GrandRapidsRustlers

          So…Sunday at 1:01PM.

      • ClevelandFrowns

        I’m not sure that Weeden cares too much about audibles. He might be all too happy to try to jam it wherever the Shurmurball Tecmo 1 playbook arrow calls for it to go.

        • GrandRapidsRustlers

          I can see Brandon being handed the Tecmo sheet to take home to study.

          He puts on the American flag outfit and starts studying because this is 3 more plays than he ran at OSU.

          • ClevelandFrowns

            Yes.

      • Warburton MacKinnon

        This is part of the reason Colt was replaced,he stopped listening to Shurmer. Watching the games last year Shurmer was more pissed when Colt didn’t run the exact play he called even if went for positve yardage vs. when he ran the exact play and got nothing or negative yardage.

    • Beeej

      To answer your question look at the “2-minute drill” at the end of the half. In college Weeden’s offense got most of their scores in under 2 minutes. With AskPat, it looked like his first time running a hurry up.

  • BernietoCatcherGuy

    I just realized Holmgrem got his wish: Shurmur was the last coach he would hire!

    • Believelander

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      /justdesserts’d

  • Cranky M

    So, is anybody going to acknowledge the fact that maybe, just MAYBE, the fact that Luck has a receiver like Reggie Wayne may help just a bit? As opposed to having his top 2 receivers being, say, a guy who hadn’t played football in over a year, and a former RB with very limited experience at WR?

    I’ve actually been underwhelmed by Luck. I’m not saying he isn’t good, he obviously is. And i’m certainly not writing off his potential to be special. But as of now, i think he’s getting a bit too much praise in relation to his performance.
    He really hasn’t been any better than Weeden, at least not substantially so. Yet he is already the next Peyton Manning, and Weeden is a bum? What am i missing, exactly? Other than the fact that the narrative had already been decided upon before the season started.
    Our pass defense isn’t exactly impenetrable, and they completely shut him down after those first 2 drives.
    (And don’t give that nonsense about dropped passes killing drives. Why is that not a reasonable excuse for Weeden, but it is for Luck?)

    • BIKI024

      it’s not an excuse because Mike Holmgren picked Weeden and everything Holmgren does is turrible, absolutely turrrible

    • ClevelandFrowns

      Blah blah blah. Folks have pointed out that some “drops” are a lot worse than others. And how much better would Luck be if he had this Browns offensive line protecting him? I’m sure that difference is far more significant than the one between the Colts’ and Browns’ receivers, as much as it’s all irrelevant to Rod’s analysis here.

      • Believelander

        Imagine how much worse Luck would be if he had the Lions’ offensive line.

        It could be THIS WORSE.

        That said he’s been sacked 16 times, just over 2 a game. Which isn’t bad for a QB who rates on the more mobile side of things, and is throwing the ball over 40 times per game. I really wouldn’t say that offensive line play has been a significant difference in the play of Luck vs. Weeden. Neither line can f***ing run block (someone should tell the Browns this though).

      • Cranky M

        I never said the difference was solely based upon the receivers. But it seems silly to ignore the fact that Luck has an established, All-Pro receiver, whereas Weeden has a bunch of people still learning to play the position.

  • ClevelandFrowns

    The legend Grossi is at it again, going straight for the epitaph this time … http://espncleveland.com/common/more.php?m=49&action=blog&r=17&post_id=6851

    • Bryan

      The best part of his analysis is he makes no mention of the overall success rate on 3rd/4th and 1 situations across all teams. Converting 50% of the time may very well be pretty good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-White/100000446546049 Steve White

    Rod, thanks once again. Greatly appreciate the insights into what separates a superb rookie QB from a good rookie QB.

  • FSOhioZJackson

    On the road the rest of the week so here’s my Cheddar layout, at least until/unless I change my mind

    All play: Sooners -10

    Dolphins +2.5 at Jets

    Arizona Cardinals +7 vs. SF

    UMass +33 at Vandy — Why can’t Umass get 3 and hold them to 35?

    Eastern Michigan +15 at Bowling Green

    ESSAY: Ohio State – 1 at Penn State

    Some people devote themselves to noble causes and charitable organizations. I will follow their lead here — sort of — by devoting my essay pick to what I believe, and that’s simply that Ohio State has better football players than Penn State. Not all of them, and certainly not at all positions. I just believe that this Ohio State run of luck and magic and stuff has happened, at least in part, because there’s a ton of raw talent here. I gave up on good (O’Brien) defeating evil (Meyer) a long time ago, and I know the numbers say Matt McGloin is some kind of changed person. I’ll go against those numbers and trust my eyes and my belief and just guess the Buckeyes -1 isn’t too good to be true, but rather just true. Congrats, Penn State, on a great and noble run. May it resume next week against a team that has regular Big Ten athletes.

  • CleveLandThatILove

    Luck is pretty impressive for having less than half a season under his belt and not a ton of talent around him. Thankfully Indy is not in the AFC North- nowhere to go but up for the Colts. Envious.

    But- I feel some light shining on Cleveland with the new era upon us, and a truly invested owner (more than just cash, now). The Brownies are becoming watchable again -baby steps climbing out of the grave – nowhere to go but up here as well.

  • Sam Sneeda

    Gotta put in my Cheddar picks early so I’m posting them here. Traveling tomorrow morning to my cousin Emily’s wedding in San Diego…Frowns knows Emily. Makes me feel like I should bet on SD…or CLE…confusing.

    Oklahoma -10 over Notre Dame
    Georgia +6.5 over Florida
    Penn St. +1 over Ohio State
    Dolphins +2.5 over Jets
    Broncos -6 over Saints
    Bucs +6.5 over Vikings $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Thursday Night! Thursday Night! Thursday Night! Maybe I am getting anxious now that I’ve climbed the ranks the last 2 weeks with a 9-2-1 record (2-0 on money picks)…gonna try to sneak in a Thursday Nighter! I just don’t feel that MIN is really that good…check their schedule…kinda weak. Tampa is a team that kinda reminds me of the Browns…new/green coach, young offense, talented rookie RB, decent defense…just feel that they are getting better each week and should find a way to keep this one close in MIN…I mean, they did it in Dallas, so why not in Minnesota. TB is ranked #3 defending the rush…pretty sure that is the strength of this MIN offense…something’s gotta give…and I’m thinking it’s both offenses which should lead to a low scoring bore fest. Every game TB has lost this year has been by 7 points or less..let’s hope it’s not 7 this week! I’m going with the Hemingway special again and calling for the ML on this one too!!

    17-16 TB

    • ClevelandFrowns

      Tampa is a team that reminds you of the Browns and you’re still wagering on them? BALLSY. I like it.

      Best to Emily and the whole Sneeda Family.

      NS SS 1

      • bupalos

        Holy hell if the Browns could stop the run like Tampa we would be taking this division.

  • LadyLuck

    AP: Oklahoma -10 vs ND
    Chargers -3 @ Browns
    Falcons +2 @ Philly
    Raiders +2 @ Chiefs
    Tampa Bay +6.5 @ Minn
    Essay: OSU +2.5 @ PSU

    Who wouldn’t want to make the ineligibowl/sanctionshootout their essay pick!? Whether its Kenny or Braxton I think OSU will get the W. I know the defense stinks but I think our offensive has proven they can score just as quick as the defense gives up points. OSU is going to stay undefeated so that they entire country can talk about how ridiculous the sactions are and show how the NCAA messed up on this one! GO BUCKS

  • actovegin1armstrong

    Cheddar 9
    ****Bonus essay and Super Terrific All Play****
    The Catholics +10 over those Rotten Land Grabbing Bastards.
    In Oklahoma their entire history is about being “sooner” which meant cheating to get the best land away from honest people who followed the rules and even worse than that some of the land grabbing further evicted and isolated “trail of tears” “almost native Americans”. This is like the Curse of Chief Wahoo to the tenth power. The only reason that Texas does not fall into the Gulf of Mexico is because OKLAHOMA SUCKS!

    I expect the great savior, The Marvelous Manatee of Notre Dame to make those evil okies pay for their sins.
    The Perfectly Pious Catholics, (all Medieval Inquisitions notwithstanding), shall be expected to give a small measure of payback on Saturday.
    Also, I think that the line is too high because it is difficult for the general public to see the Irish as serious contenders.
    I also love the way the Holy Front Seven has been playing and in the all-pervasive national trend for The Year Without Defensive Backs, a Magnificent Seven may be all they need. (In all due tribute to Akira Kurosawa.)
    [e. g. “The Year Without Defensive Backs” Baylor has scored 50 points and 63 points, both in losing efforts. A large percentage of the football games this year have had basketball scores. The big Muckety Mucks have changed the rules again to benefit the sissies on offense and this is a travesty.]
    Oklahoma will need to score more than 10 points to cover and I have my doubts that the drastically overrated Laundry Jones will look to more than two reads before he gets “happy feet”. His impressive stats have come in games where his Offensive Line was giving him terrific protection against over-matched defensive lines. In one of his better games this season, after the snap, I saw him pull a sandwich out of his jersey, eat lunch, pick up Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” and give it a good read, (I saw his lips moving), before he threw the ball downfield. Although it may have been Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”, because after the game he kept asking, “Who is Bob Stoops”?
    Our Marvelous Manatee and his cast of favorites shall not give him that much time.
    Wash St +25 over Stanford
    UCF -2.5 over Marshall
    Ohio State -1 over PSU
    Texas -21 over Kansas
    Pats -7 over Rams

  • Leftyjsf

    I’m afraid I am headed towards brokeback mountain but through 7 games….

    McCoy 10 Td 5 picks
    Weeden 9 TD 10 picks

    Some like Ginger, some like Mary ann, I digress.

    Great job by Frowns on All Bets are off.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    ABAOSTO posted their Fantasy Playbook 16 hours ago. Two hits. Let’s hope they smahten up and get the Pattakos segment up posthaste. Hell., I’ll even sit through a 30 second monetizing opportunity to see this.

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