Sunday - Jan 20, 2019

Home / Commentary / JL’s Observation Deck – Week 11

JL’s Observation Deck – Week 11

I’m not sure that I have ever seen commentary in the National Football League at such a low point on television. Maybe it is because I feel like I know more than just about every single analyst that the networks roll out there, or maybe it’s because I just have perspective and realize many of the old theories in football simply don’t apply to how the sport is played today.

The one ‘saying’ I heard the most this week that drove me absolutely crazy applies to when any team is matched up against an offensive juggernaut.



Team A must run the football to keep Team B’s potent offense off the field. If they do that, it gives them a better chance to win.

Please let me be the one to tell you, running the football to keep the opposing offense off the field has next to nothing to do with achieving victory. A perfect example of this was shown on Sunday Night football this week, as Dallas ran the ball with great success early in the football game. Well guess what,
Drew Brees

still gets his turn to take the field, and when he does, no amount of rest for your defense is going to stop him.

It does not matter whatsoever how much time has come off the clock, all that matters is if your offense moved the chains and scored points. If not, then it was a failed possession. Sometimes I wonder if people really think running the ball early might set the tone for one’s own defense. When in fact, all it did was completely fail to get
Tony Romo

in any kind of rhythm when the Cowboys did need to throw the football later in the football game.

Time of possession is overrated. Effectiveness is measured by first downs and points scored. Despite running the ball for nearly 100 yards in the 1st quarter, Dallas still was torched for an NFL record 40 first downs. The next time you hear somebody say to you ‘They need to run the ball to keep so and so quarterback off the field,’ I strongly urge you to respond with, ‘Well (insert dynamic offense or player) will still get his chance to score regardless, it is inevitable.’

There’s no doubt you will hear it again this week with the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs traveling to Denver for Sunday Night Football. And trust me when I say, it won’t be on the shoulders of
Jamaal Charles

to win this game; the outcome of this game will be directly tied to if
Alex Smith

can put points on the scoreboard, no matter how long or short the Chiefs possessed the football.


Quick Hits

As far as quarterbacking statistics go, I favor yards per attempt over any other to show me which quarterbacks are performing the best. Completion percentage, quarterback rating, and even total passing yards don’t tell the whole story. While yards per attempt gives you an idea of which signal callers are asked to do the most by their coaches and displays if they are able to throw the football down the field. The top-five quarterbacks in yards per attempt with more than 200 passes thrown in 2013:
Aaron Rodgers
 
(8.84),
Peyton Manning
 
(8.8),
Drew Brees

 (8.44),
Russell Wilson

 (8.3) and Philip Rivers (8.28). Nick Foles currently sits at 9.24 yards per attempt, but has only thrown 136 balls. Adjust your projections accordingly …

Tennessee Titans wide receiver
Justin Hunter

, considered a raw project coming out of the University of Tennessee, is starting to make more and more of an impact for the Titans as the season has progressed. The stat sheet didn’t reflect it as he only finished with two receptions, but he did see a season-high on both snaps played and targets. His athleticism is starting to translate onto the field, and he will only get better from this point forward. I highly doubt he is on many fantasy rosters right now, and should make for a good late-season flier in case you are needing receiver depth.

It is time to face the facts folks,
Ray Rice

has lost more than just one step. Yes, his offensive line is not a strong run blocking unit by any stretch of the imagination, but he consistently goes down on first contact and no longer breaks tackles or makes the first man miss as we had become accustomed to when he arrived on the scene. More than 1,400 touches including the playoffs, in a four-year span, from 2009-12 has taken its toll. Rice will never be the same back again, but if improvements are made to the Baltimore line and he can avoid injury, he should be able to return to RB2 form for a couple more years after a very disappointing 2013 season.

Speaking of running backs, were you one of the managers who took
C.J. Spiller

,
Trent Richardson

,
Arian Foster

,
Ray Rice

or
Doug Martin

in Round 1? I’d love to know how you are doing, doing a little case study on why at best, when you draft a running back in Round 1, you are giving yourself about a 50/50 shot at success with that pick. Tweet me @JohnnyLFootball and let me know if you’d be so kind.

Coach Marc Trestman made quite the mistake going with
Jay Cutler

in the second half against the Detroit Lions Sunday afternoon. It was clear Cutler was completely immobile and the Lions took advantage as he was pressured a league-high percentage in Week 10.
Josh McCown

took over and marched his team down the field to bring the Bears within two points. It was admirable what Cutler did hanging in the game, but it was not in the best interest of the team and they’d be smart to rest him for the next full month until Cutler is fully and completely 100 percent healthy. The same can be said for New Orleans’ All-Pro tight end,
Jimmy Graham

. I understand wanting to get him involved in the gameplan, but what is more important, having him for a Sunday Night game against the ultra-soft Dallas Cowboys secondary, or having him in the crucial playoff games in January?

While
Golden Tate

has always shown tremendous talent since his days at Notre Dame, it is finally all coming together for him. He has cracked the top-20 fantasy wide receivers on the season. Not many people would have believed he could accomplish such a feat before the season started. They also probably didn’t predict
Riley Cooper

being a top-15 fantasy wide receiver,
Antonio Brown

leading the NFL in receptions or Jerricho Cotchery,
Eddie Royal

and
Marvin Jones

all being ranked in front of Larry Fitzgerald in fantasy points scored. Just goes to show you the unpredictability of the NFL today. Almost 70 percent of all games played this year have been within a touchdown on the scoreboard at some point during the fourth quarter. That is the highest in the history of the league. Don’t you love it?

Thanks again for reading and have a great week!

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