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NCFalcon52
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Here is an article from NFLDraftBlitz that may be helpful in learning about Moneyball. I know that Titans DC Jim Schwartz uses some of the Moneyball techniques. What do you think about a Coach coming into the Falcons and using these techniques?

Moneyball.

Michael Lewis book turned heads when it hit the shelves across the nation. It introduced the baseball community to Athletics general manager Brilliant Billy Beane s radical front office strategies. Beane created a contender for a small market franchise in a league driven by massive payrolls and contracts so large they should be subjected to random urine tests. Some became disciples of Beane s method for success; others shook their heads and loudly disagreed. However, practically all of baseball s enthusiasts missed the point of Moneyball. It wasn t really about on-base percentage. It wasn t even about baseball at all. Moneyball was about effectively running a business against overwhelming competition.

Beane engineered a successful business by identifying trends and inefficiencies in the market his market being Major League Baseball and finding ways to exploit them. As a result, he fielded a winning team at a cheaper price than his competitors.

The same principles can be applied to the National Football League.

While risky first round draft choices carry a substantial dollar value that can haunt a payroll for years, the prospects selected in the later rounds come at such a cheap price that they are pivotal to a franchise s short and long-term success. Acquiring immediate contributors at somewhere between 350,000-850,000 a year not only fields quality players, but also leaves a general manager with a flexible cap situation.

There is a belief, however, that these prospects are terrible players with little or no opportunity to make a factor in their first two years. It is not surprising to hear someone allege, Well, there s a reason they went in the fifth round when another complains about a good players fall come April. This is a direct result of a disturbing virus that has infected the League s front offices for the past decade, possibly even longer: sloppy evaluation of college game film. There appears to be a lack of thoroughness that has butchered draft day for many teams over the years. Estimations of a prospect s athletic talents and football skills are often badly inaccurate too many times prospects, both good and bad, have had key aspects of their game ignored, especially among first round picks. Front offices also seem to do a haphazard job of analyzing an entire college roster. Yet, Randall Gay LSU s nickel back last year is going to be starting for the Super Bowl bound New England Patriots. Domanick Davis, another LSU graduate, was a kick return man and backup for the Tigers turned starting running back for the Houston Texans. D.D. Lewis of the Seattle Seahawks was one of the many excellent players fielded by the Texas Longhorns in 2001. Overshadowed by many of the other great players on that team, Lewis was not highly touted. Now, the Seahawks have a former seventh round selection performing at a high level whenever he sees the field.

All of the poor scouting around the League has led to an increased emphasis on the NFL Combine.

Every off season, scouting departments and general managers around the League assemble at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis to participate in this crazy, but incredibly important event for the future of many young athletes. Draft prospects watch their stock rise and fall at the combine, victimized or augmented by the measuring tape, stopwatches and weights as if forty-yard dashes in shorts and bench presses had anything to do with game day speed and strength. Personnel departments place far too much emphasis on the practically meaningless measurements taken at Indianapolis. What scale takes into account tenacity and heart? What weight machine measures basic football skills to succeed in the League? Somebody show me a game where someone runs forty yards unmolested in the latest line of sports attire from Under Armor, please. I m begging you.

However, the Combine does have its advantages. It allows scouts to re-affirm their estimates of a players athletic ability. It also provides a place and time for every team to interview the top one hundred or so prospects that have entered the Draft without tipping off organizations to their possible draft day strategy. Most importantly, though, it provides intelligent, attentive general managers a conduit to building a winning team at flea market prices.

More often than not, talented football players considered undersized or too slow fall on draft day. Perhaps the primary job of a general manager is to determine value, and these players present great value for a man willing to endure the criticism of selecting them. Teams have been built around these players for years. Wasn t Jerry Rice too slow for the NFL? According to his 4.6 forty time, he was. According to his numerous records and rings, it obviously meant nothing. The Denver Broncos won two Super Bowls, back to back, thanks to their running attack based on undersized offensive linemen and running backs. On their way to their third Big Game in four years, the New England patriots have thrived on defenders who other teams wouldn t make a place for in their systems because they didn t fit the prototypical height-weight. Jason Taylor has visited Honolulu on an annual basis despite only weighing 255, nearly twenty pounds lighter than what a defensive end is supposed to be.

Tendencies will change, of course. Like a few years ago when teams tried to mimic the Tampa Bay one-gap, cover two defensive schemes, organizations will catch onto what the top squads are doing and try to emulate their approach. But, there will always be an opportunity to discover players ignored by others. These same players will be competing hard on Sunday, eventually be rewarded with a juicy contract while many of the more highly touted prospects will find themselves riding the bench, or not in the League at all.

And of course, the attentive general managers who draft these players will become geniuses. Who wouldn t like to have that reputation?

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Phenomenal post. I'm a big fan of Money Ball and the philosophies it presented as to ways to exploit the system. I think Dimitroff was a great step in the right direction for this team. I think as a GM that worked under Big Bill Billicheck, he realized some of these philosophies. I've been so impressed with the young GM's that swept baseball, and Big Bill has proved it with the Patriots. I've read up quite a bit on Schwartz and I know he also worked for Bellicheck with the Browns. We'll see how this plays out, but I think we're beginning to see a new trend around the league.

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grendel (1/13/2008)
FalconsFor6 (1/13/2008)
Let me get this straight...

"Moneyball" in a sense is a way of leveraging the pay and play of later round draft choices against the boom or bust tendencies of early round draft choices?

All while taking advantage of the poor talent evaluations of other teams?

It's about looking at what things are really valuable measures of success. In baseball it's looking at things like OBP and slugging percentage instead of batting average, etc.

In football it could be looking at tackles for loss and passes defended instead of sacks and interceptions.

It's about measuring real value instead of perceived value and maximizing real value by taking advantage of other people's misperceptions of value.

Ahhhh, I see...

Thanks for the explanation...

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When you think about it there are guys every year that stand out late in the draft and have great years and careers. We wonder how people can miss them. Most of these guys have some great stats but are missing either height, 40 time or bench press. The thing you can't measure at the combine very well is how well they are going to be at the next level. We put so much on the 40 time and we miss some key categories that these guys do well in at college.

Just look at someone like Zach Thomas who at Texas Tech He recorded 390 tackles, including a career-high 131 tackles and a school-record 20 tackles against Missouri in his senior season. He was overlooked b/c of size but his stats showed he was a football guy. Of course we know how this 5'10 guy did in the pros.

It is just a great way of getting guys based on football skills in a game vs. combine stats.

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Cush, I've read a lot of your posts and you really know your stuff.

Anyway, Money Ball is basically applying economics to professional sports. Its a great thing to do, as economics apply to everything. Like Cush, I'm hoping we land Schwartz due to this very philosophy. Schwartz has his degree in economics and studied under Bill Bellichick. Dimitroff also studied under Bill Bellicheck. Bill is a friend of my economics instructor at school. We actually broke down the Patriots from the game, to the offseason moves and looked at them economically. It was amazing. I don't think anyone can say Schwartz is the next Bellicheck, but economic principles is something he would bring to this team.

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AkCraigg (1/13/2008)
Cush, I've read a lot of your posts and you really know your stuff.

Anyway, Money Ball is basically applying economics to professional sports. Its a great thing to do, as economics apply to everything. Like Cush, I'm hoping we land Schwartz due to this very philosophy. Schwartz has his degree in economics and studied under Bill Bellichick. Dimitroff also studied under Bill Bellicheck. Bill is a friend of my economics instructor at school. We actually broke down the Patriots from the game, to the offseason moves and looked at them economically. It was amazing. I don't think anyone can say Schwartz is the next Bellicheck, but economic principles is something he would bring to this team.

Thanks AkCraigg, and I think this is one reason Dimitroff and Schwartz would work extremely well together. I'm pretty sure the Schwartz interview came after the Dimitroff one...
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I would love to see Schwartz/Dimitroff. I do think you're right. I also keep reading that Schwartz is the Redskins front runner. I can't remember correctly, but I think Dimitroff was a scout for the Browns with Schwartz. I also think Ryan was on the Pats' staff during Dimitroff's tenure there. We'll see how it plays out. I would love to have Schwartz, but I certainly wouldn't mind if we landed Ryan.

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Thanks. I've been hearing the term "Moneyball" for a few days now and I was wondering if it was a typo of Martyball.

While I can't disagree with the points made I think that finding the "value" player is also heavily based on the staff you have and scheme you run.

You've got to find the "right" player and then put them in a situation to win.

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Dr John Zoidberg (1/14/2008)
Thanks. I've been hearing the term "Moneyball" for a few days now and I was wondering if it was a typo of Martyball.

While I can't disagree with the points made I think that finding the "value" player is also heavily based on the staff you have and scheme you run.

You've got to find the "right" player and then put them in a situation to win.

Even though I agree to some level, that is the problem with many draft picks. Teams are trying so hard to find someone who fits their scheme or their team, when teams change schemes every couple of years with OC and DC leaving left and right. If you find a player who is a player then you can work the scheme to fit your team.

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Dr John Zoidberg (1/14/2008)
You've got to find the "right" player and then put them in a situation to win.

We have (Michael Vick) the right player, but he's working towards Parole at the moment :blink: thus our attention need shift to the next right player of which is whom?

LOT DT DE RB QB etc.....all of the above perhaps :)

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Even though I agree to some level, that is the problem with many draft picks. Teams are trying so hard to find someone who fits their scheme or their team, when teams change schemes every couple of years with OC and DC leaving left and right. If you find a player who is a player then you can work the scheme to fit your team.

I agree. That's why consistency is so important. That or you get a new staff that recognizes the type of players that are currently on the roster and then "adjusts" their scheme to fit the players. Obviously that didn't happen for us when we hired the Antichrist... Bobby Petrino.

There are players that are players regardless of scheme. However it seems to me like those guys aren't the ones you're finding in the later rounds.

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grendel (1/14/2008)
I think it would. JA led the defensive linemen in tackles, I believe.

Dunn does a LOT of little things to help the offense, and I know it's been made fun of, but his pass blocking is amazing. I've never seen a 180 lb back who can stop a full-speed LB who weighs 40-50 lbs more than him dead in his tracks like Dunn can.

Unless they can move Dunn to fullback (which will make our fullback position Mega Chunky) cap wise, he really no longer fits the model make up for the rest of the Roster imo. :cool:

Coaches break down the game film very carefully and assign grades to each play by each player. They're looking at the little things the players are doing, and that's why Dunn keeps getting the nod to start.

How much are those little things costing us overall production vs overall cap space wise?

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grendel (1/14/2008)
I'm not saying that Dunn is the answer.. I'd love to have a guy with Norwood's production and Dunn's savvy and non-running skills. Unfortunately, we have Dunn and Norwood, one who can do everything and just runs ok, and one who isn't a complete package but runs great.

Now add Rashard Mendenhall or one of the other bowling ball type backs in this draft to the mix and what do ya get?

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Money Ball is a philosophy that is harder to implement in the NFL. As Cuish said, maybe we would look at our players differently. How do you value Warrick Dunn's contract vs. his less than 4 yards per carry vs. his influence in the community vs. his blocking skills vs. his leadership vs. his mentorship of younger players? Those are just a few of the things we have to look at as a franchise. Maybe the right answer is somewhere between the lines. It will be fun to see who comes in as coach. As I've mentioned Schwartz/Dimitroff would make a great tandem. Add Rex Ryan as the Defensive Coordinator, and we're in business. There are so many dynamics in evaluating football talent that economics is the best way and the most efficient way to build a team. I feel like we're headed in that direction.

Maybe the Falcons could search for value in hiring a new QB Coach. Maybe the smartest move the Falcons could make is to hire Drew Bledsoe. We all know he was the mentor of Tom Brady and Tony Romo. I know he does coaching because a few of my buddies go to his summer camps in Washington.

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One only needs look at the Patriots to see this idea working ! They traded players for multi picks and traded some of those for more picks and stocked their team with many good 4th and 5th round and beyond players and we all see where this got them Tom Brady a notable example!

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I totally agree that this concept could/should be applied. Isn't that what the Patriots have been doing since the turn of the century? If you think about the comparison that Beane used for being cash strapped to the NFL's salary cap it seems the only logical way for a team to get value in a watered down league with equal spending rights. If all teams are only allowed to spend X amount of dollars then what makes the difference is getting value for those dollars spent.

Who cares if a DE is averaging 1.5 sacks a game if he ineffectively clogs his lane to allow multiple first downs against the rush. He makes a positive play on average of 1.5 times a game but a negative play is the result on 10 plays a game.

Off subject:

The same science could also be applied in explaining why Norwood doesn't get more snaps per game. His ineffectiveness at blocking makes him a liability in the passing game.

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great post

The Combine started out as a way of I think (many years ago) of about a half a dozen teams to pool their information and film and stats. They also got the idea to hold a clinic or tryout camp for all prospects to display their talents. I think the original group were not into the measurables as much. The group I think got to 12 and then around 18 teams, when finally ALL the teams were allowed to share. When it got to that point it did indeed become a tape measure circus. The coaches, scouts and GM's go around and try to misinform each other now to throw off who they intend to draft

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NCFalcon52 (1/13/2008)
Here is an article from NFLDraftBlitz that may be helpful in learning about Moneyball. I know that Titans DC Jim Schwartz uses some of the Moneyball techniques. What do you think about a Coach coming into the Falcons and using these techniques?

Moneyball.

Michael Lewis book turned heads when it hit the shelves across the nation. It introduced the baseball community to Athletics general manager Brilliant Billy Beane s radical front office strategies. Beane created a contender for a small market franchise in a league driven by massive payrolls and contracts so large they should be subjected to random urine tests. Some became disciples of Beane s method for success; others shook their heads and loudly disagreed. However, practically all of baseball s enthusiasts missed the point of Moneyball. It wasn t really about on-base percentage. It wasn t even about baseball at all. Moneyball was about effectively running a business against overwhelming competition.

Beane engineered a successful business by identifying trends and inefficiencies in the market his market being Major League Baseball and finding ways to exploit them. As a result, he fielded a winning team at a cheaper price than his competitors.

The same principles can be applied to the National Football League.

While risky first round draft choices carry a substantial dollar value that can haunt a payroll for years, the prospects selected in the later rounds come at such a cheap price that they are pivotal to a franchise s short and long-term success. Acquiring immediate contributors at somewhere between 350,000-850,000 a year not only fields quality players, but also leaves a general manager with a flexible cap situation.

There is a belief, however, that these prospects are terrible players with little or no opportunity to make a factor in their first two years. It is not surprising to hear someone allege, Well, there s a reason they went in the fifth round when another complains about a good players fall come April. This is a direct result of a disturbing virus that has infected the League s front offices for the past decade, possibly even longer: sloppy evaluation of college game film. There appears to be a lack of thoroughness that has butchered draft day for many teams over the years. Estimations of a prospect s athletic talents and football skills are often badly inaccurate too many times prospects, both good and bad, have had key aspects of their game ignored, especially among first round picks. Front offices also seem to do a haphazard job of analyzing an entire college roster. Yet, Randall Gay LSU s nickel back last year is going to be starting for the Super Bowl bound New England Patriots. Domanick Davis, another LSU graduate, was a kick return man and backup for the Tigers turned starting running back for the Houston Texans. D.D. Lewis of the Seattle Seahawks was one of the many excellent players fielded by the Texas Longhorns in 2001. Overshadowed by many of the other great players on that team, Lewis was not highly touted. Now, the Seahawks have a former seventh round selection performing at a high level whenever he sees the field.

All of the poor scouting around the League has led to an increased emphasis on the NFL Combine.

Every off season, scouting departments and general managers around the League assemble at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis to participate in this crazy, but incredibly important event for the future of many young athletes. Draft prospects watch their stock rise and fall at the combine, victimized or augmented by the measuring tape, stopwatches and weights as if forty-yard dashes in shorts and bench presses had anything to do with game day speed and strength. Personnel departments place far too much emphasis on the practically meaningless measurements taken at Indianapolis. What scale takes into account tenacity and heart? What weight machine measures basic football skills to succeed in the League? Somebody show me a game where someone runs forty yards unmolested in the latest line of sports attire from Under Armor, please. I m begging you.

However, the Combine does have its advantages. It allows scouts to re-affirm their estimates of a players athletic ability. It also provides a place and time for every team to interview the top one hundred or so prospects that have entered the Draft without tipping off organizations to their possible draft day strategy. Most importantly, though, it provides intelligent, attentive general managers a conduit to building a winning team at flea market prices.

More often than not, talented football players considered undersized or too slow fall on draft day. Perhaps the primary job of a general manager is to determine value, and these players present great value for a man willing to endure the criticism of selecting them. Teams have been built around these players for years. Wasn t Jerry Rice too slow for the NFL? According to his 4.6 forty time, he was. According to his numerous records and rings, it obviously meant nothing. The Denver Broncos won two Super Bowls, back to back, thanks to their running attack based on undersized offensive linemen and running backs. On their way to their third Big Game in four years, the New England patriots have thrived on defenders who other teams wouldn t make a place for in their systems because they didn t fit the prototypical height-weight. Jason Taylor has visited Honolulu on an annual basis despite only weighing 255, nearly twenty pounds lighter than what a defensive end is supposed to be.

Tendencies will change, of course. Like a few years ago when teams tried to mimic the Tampa Bay one-gap, cover two defensive schemes, organizations will catch onto what the top squads are doing and try to emulate their approach. But, there will always be an opportunity to discover players ignored by others. These same players will be competing hard on Sunday, eventually be rewarded with a juicy contract while many of the more highly touted prospects will find themselves riding the bench, or not in the League at all.

And of course, the attentive general managers who draft these players will become geniuses. Who wouldn t like to have that reputation?

great post. enjoyed reading it.

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