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Pure Football
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Everything posted by falconidae

  1. it was 30-7 with 4 seconds left in the game.
  2. WTH is the point of an 11 minute drive in the 4th quarter when you're down by 23?
  3. I didn't see this anywhere. 538 isn't perfect but thought this was interesting. They're comparing this defense to the 2011 Alabama defense and saying it could be better. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/georgias-defense-isnt-just-good-it-might-be-best-ever-good/ College football does not lend itself to consensus, but if you asked enough fans to name the best defense the sport has seen this century, you’d probably get a clear answer: 2011 Alabama. The Crimson’s Tide case is overwhelming, no matter the lens used to examine it. Narratively? That team won a national championship game by a 21-0 score, in a rematch with an LSU team that had previously beaten it 9-6. Professionally? Fourteen players from that defense became NFL draft picks. And statistically? A range of traditional and advanced metrics say 2011 Bama is the century’s best defense. Nick Saban is the defining coach of his era, and that 2011 defense is his masterwork. Any time over the past 10 years, it would have been reasonable to assume that defense would never meet an equal. Yards and expected points added per play have gradually but steadily increased, suggesting defense is a lot harder to play than it was then. No team has sniffed 2011 Bama’s top-line defensive numbers, and the last two national champions have been particularly absurd on offense. But halfway through 2021, the 2011 Tide defense is in real danger of meeting its match, at the hands of the same coach who helped run that unit a decade ago. Kirby Smart, the ex-Saban defensive coordinator and current Georgia head coach, has assembled the sport’s best defense in years. The No. 1-ranked Dawgs have given up 33 points in six games, all wins. Nobody’s scored more than 13 on Georgia, and two have scored nothing at all. Georgia’s defense has given up two touchdowns, the same amount it has scored, and also added a safety. The Bulldogs’ 5.5 points allowed per game would be the fewest of the century, ahead of 2011 Bama’s 8.15. (Lest anyone think it’s strictly a result of an early season schedule, Georgia’s points allowed per game drop to 5.2 against Power 5 teams only, compared with 7.8 for Alabama a decade ago.) By yards allowed per play, for which ESPN’s Stats & Information Group has data going back to 2004, Georgia’s 3.56 is just behind 2011 Bama’s 3.32 and 2004 North Carolina State’s 3.47. In expected offensive points allowed per play, Georgia’s -0.35 figure leads 2011 Bama’s -0.33 for first place since at least 2004. Georgia’s defense keeps shutting the door College football team defenses with the lowest expected points added (EPA) allowed per play since 2004 SEASON TEAM RECORD EPA ALLOWED/PLAY 2021 Georgia 6-0 -0.35 2011 Alabama 12-1 -0.33 2006 Virginia Tech 10-3 -0.29 2021 Iowa 6-0 -0.26 2016 Alabama 14-1 -0.26 2008 TCU 11-2 -0.25 2008 Southern Cal 12-1 -0.25 2004 Virginia Tech 10-3 -0.25 2009 Alabama 14-0 -0.25 2014 Clemson 10-3 -0.24 2021 stats through games of Oct. 9. SOURCE: ESPN STATS & INFORMATION GROUP Repeatedly, and across different metrics, the picture is clear: 2011 Bama has been the gold standard, and 2021 Georgia is threatening that standing to an unprecedented extent.1 The most important area in which Smart has copied Saban is recruiting. Alabama was a singular recruiting force for most of Saban’s tenure, signing up the country’s No. 1 class every year from 2011 to 2017, according to the industry-consensus 247Sports Composite Team Rankings. The Tide are still mega-elite, and in 2021 they signed the highest-rated class in the history of recruiting rankings. Over the past half-decade, though, the Dawgs have joined the Tide in the highest tier of player acquisition. In 2016, Smart’s first year, Georgia had the sixth-most-talented roster among Football Bowl Subdivision teams, based on the recruiting ratings of its players in 247Sports’ Team Talent Composite. Smart signed up a couple of No. 1 classes of his own in 2018 and 2020, and by 2020, Georgia had narrowly passed Bama in its player ratings. In 2021, the Tide and Dawgs are basically tied at the top. The Dawgs’ rise as a 1B recruiting power to Bama’s 1A is only partly attributable to Smart and his staff. It helps a lot that the state of Georgia has produced a rising share of the country’s blue-chip prospects right as Smart has gotten traction in Athens. But the end result, whatever the blend of driving factors, is that the chess pieces Smart can move around the defensive board are better and faster than their opponents. It’s easy to see how that pays off. One example is that Georgia is blitzing on 18.8 percent of opponent dropbacks, its lowest rate under Smart, but is getting sacks on 12.1 percent of dropbacks — the highest rate under Smart. After Georgia beat South Carolina 40-13 in September, a reporter asked the losers’ coach, Shane Beamer, if Georgia did anything in particular with its schemes to make life so miserable on the South Carolina offense. Beamer was exasperated in explaining that, no, Georgia didn’t have to do anything special to bully his players. “They’ve got like 100 five-star football players on their defense,” he said. “They have a defensive lineman [Jordan Davis] that weighs 340 pounds and runs better than everybody on this call. They’ve got five-star defensive backs. They’re big and physical and fast. I mean, other than that, they’re really freaking good. That’s why they have the top defense in the country. They’re hard to run the football on, so there wasn’t some magical scheme they came out with tonight. They’ve got five-star recruits everywhere and they play really physical.” He closed by saying, “****.” That’s mostly it. But it’s not all that simple. Smart has spent years laying the seeds of a defense that’s as dominant as 2011 Bama’s but constructed for a different period in college football. A good illustration is a drill Smart brought to Georgia not long after taking the job. The “Oklahoma drill” is an old football staple in which players, usually each in a lineman’s stance, lock horns in an enclosed area and try to put each other on the ground. (The drill has understandable critics.) Smart has a twist on the exercise, which he calls “Millennial Oklahoma.” It works in open space to mimic spread passing situations, with receivers and defensive backs engaging and creating open-field tackling drills that befit an era of the shotgun rather than the I-formation. Georgia’s defense is built for its time, and it shows on game days, too. With the nickel base defense all the rage now, the Dawgs line up with at least five defensive backs on the field on 68 percent of their snaps. Stopping the pass is where a defense butters its bread. A hint of that is that pass defense accounts for 76.2 percent of Georgia’s total defensive EPA so far, compared to 58.6 percent of Bama’s in 2011. Watch enough of Georgia (it doesn’t take much), and you’ll see moments where the Bulldogs’ discipline and creativity mix with their talent to make opponents look bad. The decisive play in a season-opening win over Clemson came when safety Christopher Smith sat patiently on a shallow slant route by Justyn Ross, baited QB DJ Uiagalelei and then bodied through Ross, a future NFL receiver, to intercept a pass and go 74 yards for a touchdown. In a rout of then-unbeaten Arkansas a few weeks later, the Bulldogs so confused and then buckled the Hogs’ blockers that four pass-rushers beat six protectors almost immediately at the snap: Defensive connoisseurs have found much to love in Smart’s defense, which has achieved Saban-like results with a much different (and in some ways less complex) structure. [Right click on that link for a loooooong discussion comparing Saban and Smart Ds.] To stay on its historic course, Georgia will have to hold off offenses that operate much differently than the LSU unit Saban and Smart opposed together in 2011. The two coaches will probably see each other in Atlanta for the SEC Championship in December, and maybe even after that in the College Football Playoff. In Smart’s latter years at Alabama, his counterpart coordinator on the other side of the ball, Lane Kiffin, helped Saban modernize its offense into exactly the kind of attack Georgia’s defense is now designed to stop. If the Dawgs do get over the hump and return to the ranks of national champions, it will be on the strength of another Smart defense that was crafted explicitly for its moment — albeit a time much different than 2011.
  4. OK, would still prefer to beat them twice. Put that demon to rest.
  5. So, for Ga to win a national championship, going to have to beat Alabama twice in one year? One month? You beat Alabama twice to win the championship should finally care of that particular demon.
  6. Have you forgotten where you are? They'll start panicking with a touchback and slide downhill from there.
  7. See other teams inactives with 7 players, do you only have to have 5 inactive, or are the Falcons going to announce a couple more later?
  8. Think it may have been a cap decision, not a football decision.
  9. Now I'm wondering if the Falcons are one of the 3.
  10. Mental gymnastics is insisting that every single person who refers to a team being over the cap is wrong. You did notice that all those links I gave you said the Saints were "over the cap" right? Pretty sure every single person who gets paid to talk about football uses the phrase "over the cap" to describe the situation the Saints were in in March 2021. And every other team in a similar situation. And, after a couple more examples, I'm out. Made my point, disagree with yours, I could give hundreds of more examples, but no point. From SI: The Falcons are actually already over the 2022 salary cap before a single player has been drafted or free agent signed. ( Note: This is no longer true, Font has done an excellent job of clearing space) https://www.si.com/nfl/falcons/news/falcons-salary-cap-problems-atlanta-matt-ryan-julio-jones-terry-fontenot. From Over The Cap from Sept 7: Last week we had about 7 teams that were over the salary cap and most made moves yesterday to get under. https://overthecap.com/salary-cap-space-update-september-7/ Here a post from OTC showing teams with negative 2022 cap space: https://overthecap.com/salary-cap-space/
  11. Yes, the best way out of the current cap situation, unless you just want to blow the team up and start fresh, is to extend Ryan for 2-4 years, with a couple of those years voidable years. I'm expecting that to happen next offseason, unless Ryan shows serious regression, which I don't expect.
  12. And, if it applies, everyone says that teams are over the cap during that time.
  13. I just get bored, because I have literally heard every argument they make about Ryan since he got here. 14 GD years and not one new argument and with most of them, no humor at all.
  14. Yes, I misspoke, it's only part of the offseason. There is a time from the end of one league year to the start of the next league year where you can be over the cap.
  15. You're splitting the finest of hairs here. You are technically correct, and everyone uses over the cap the way I do, including Over the Cap, ESPN, NFL.com, pro football network, CBS sports and NBC sports, shown below. And every single person talking about the cap. I can give you hundreds of other examples. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone not using the expression to indicate what happens over the offseason. It's like when someone, in causal conversation mentions a theory when they actually mean hypothesis. I never correct them, even though I know better, because it's a jerk move and I knew what they meant. The only exceptions I make are giving good friends ish in a conversation or when someone has presented themselves as a science expert and they just aren't. Refs listed above, hundreds more upon request Assuming the cap drops to around $175 million we project the Saints to be in the ballpark of $95 million over the salary cap https://overthecap.com/navigating-the-saints-2021-salary-cap-situation/ No team was more hamstrung by the NFL’s reduced salary cap than the New Orleans Saints, who began the offseason nearly $100 million over the threshold. https://www.espn.com/blog/new-orleans-saints/post/_/id/34072/how-the-saints-cleared-111-million-in-cap-space-and-how-it-affects-next-year At one point this offseason, the New Orleans Saints were a gargantuan $54.4 million over the NFL salary cap, a number that was not going to magically come into compliance once the final 2021 league figure was set https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/saints-release-cb-janoris-jenkins-as-they-continue-digging-out-of-2021-nfl-salary-cap-hole-per-report/ The Saints are projected to be more than $75 million over the salary cap in 2021 https://www.profootballnetwork.com/new-orleans-saints-salary-cap-situation-2021/ The Saints currently stand $68M over a cap of $198M https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/saints-set-to-enter-salary-cap-crisis-in-2021-and-several-cap-experts-are-unsure-how-theyll-escape-it/ "The Saints have huge cap problems. They figure to be $60 or $70 million over the cap, "Breer said. https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/patriots/why-saints-cap-situation-could-make-michael-thomas-target-patriots
  16. This February, Falcons had about 35 mil more in contracts during this last offseason than the reduced cap allowed for. If you can't be over the cap at any point of the calendar year, then the league wouldn't have allowed those contracts to be signed.
  17. Don't think the " At Any Point" is correct. You can be as far over the cap during the offseason as you want. Can't be over the cap during the season.
  18. Saints have 37 mil in dead cap because they had to cut so many player to get below cap. They have 11 mil in dead money for next year and are 35 mil over the cap for next year, The reckoning for keeping a team around Brees has come due.
  19. OTOH, I played the free tickets the daily fantasy sports give you for the first game of the season and I now have 18 bucks I didn't have before the game started.
  20. So, just when does Brady's deal with the devil expire?
  21. My theory about why Arians looks that why is Brady has told Arians that he's going to retire as soon as he breaks Brees' passing yardage mark and Arians is afraid Brady is going to do that tonight. (not really, Brady has a 1000 yards to go)
  22. Yeah Grady wants one more big payday. Don't know if the Falcons can give it to him.
  23. Yes, people think you have to spend millions to get an impact player, no you don't. Have to find the right player for your system. L Smith is it. It's the quiet moves like this that have me excited for this regime.
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