Neil's NFL Daily: April 10, 2013
A raft of mid- to low-tier moves yesterday made for some interesting discussion points, and in particular three by the Raiders played to what I’m now seeing as one of the most extensive and sensible rebuilding jobs of my experience. We’ll get to that in a moment, but firstly I just want to make a quick comment on the Greg Schiano having no faith in Josh Freeman story. I know some of you are crying “hypocrite – you said you don’t talk about rumor” but frankly, if Schiano was completely sold on Freeman he wouldn’t be the coach he is.
Of the starting QBs we graded in 2012 no player was worse under pressure than Freeman, not Ryan Fitzpatrick, not Mark Sanchez, not even Brandon Weeden. Freeman graded at -21.3 on his 205 drop-backs under duress, and if we know one thing about Schiano it’s that his QB crumbling under pressure will not be well received.
Wednesday, April 10th
Defensive Reformation in Oakland
With the Raiders adding three more players in free agency yesterday, it’s now more probable than possible the defense will begin 2013 with only two starters from the 2012 season intact. In MMQB this week Peter King does an excellent job of explaining why this is happening, but perhaps it’s now worth looking at just what a thorough overhaul there’s been, and why I’ve been quite impressed with the way things have transpired. This doesn’t mean I think Oakland have any shot at the playoffs this year, but what I do believe is, with the resources at his disposal, Reggie McKenzie would have been hard pressed to do a better job.
Here are the players they’ve picked up together with the cost and PFF grade in their last season of action (NB: the deals for the three guys signed Tuesday — Carter, Young and Hansen nor Mike Jenkins– aren’t yet available, but I don’t expect any to be substantial).
Name Position Previous Team Snaps Overall Grade 2013 Cost Guarantee Comment
Andre Carter DE OAK 323 -0.1 N/A N/A Graded +3.5 after first three games
Pat Sims DT CIN 209 0 $1.75m $0.25m Graded +2.0 in run defense
Vance Walker DT ATL 598 8.9 $2.0m $0.5m Only three "red" games all year
Jason Hunter DE DEN (2011) 415 -5.4 $1.0m $0.125m Graded +0.7 in 771 snaps as LB in 2010
Nick Roach SLB CHI 710 -2.5 $1.6m $5m First game out of position at MLB graded -2.3
Kaluka Maiava MLB CLE 498 7.9 $1.4m $2m Graded +4.7 in coverage
Kevin Burnett WLB MIA 1,096 11.9 $1.9m $1.3m Graded "green" in every facet of play
Tracy Porter CB DEN 316 -2.1 $1.2m $0.135m Played 44% of snaps in 2011 for Saints in slot
Usama Young FS CLE 691 8.5 N/A N/A Graded +1.0 in coverage
Mike Jenkins CB DAL 374 -6.9 N/A N/A Missed tackles an issue towards season end
Joselio Hansen SCB OAK 571 4.3 N/A N/A Graded +3.4 in coverage
There’s some excellent pickups here, most notably Burnett and Walker, but even the lower graded players have redeeming features and make sense. How the coaches now use the talent they’ve been given is obviously key.
Brady Quinn Signed by Seahawks to Back Up Russell Wilson
It’s not surprising Quinn did OK in the Seattle try-outs because passing with a clean pocket is not his issue. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to replicate game conditions and that’s where he really struggles. In the introduction I talked about how Josh Freeman was the worst regular starting quarterback when under duress. If we now push that to quarterbacks with over 100 snaps, the worst in that same category becomes (you’ve guessed it) Brady Quinn — he managed an unbelievably low passer rating of 3.2 when pressured. It’s at this stage you begin to wonder why Tim Tebow wasn’t an option, because by choosing Brady Quinn as your second-stringer you effectively say if Wilson goes down we give up the year. People say you can’t take Tebow because you need to run a completely different offense, but Seattle will almost certainly have a lot of read-option installed anyway and reducing your attack to that has surely got to be better than asking Quinn to pass? Look, I’m no big fan of Tebow, and categorically not as a passer, but he wins games and the circus that surrounded him last year was mostly of the Jets own making. Seattle are grounded enough to handle any hoopla, so I’m disappointed they didn’t make a more audacious decision here.
I get questions nearly every day, either directly or on twitter (@PFF_Neil), and I felt this was a good forum to share the answers. Any questions I get that can be better answered without a character restriction I’ll respond to here.
Defending New England’s Mojo
Why no mention of Andre Carter, Marc Anderson and Aqib Talib? Don’t fit the weak “Pats-lost-mojo” narrative?- @PatriotsXLVIII
While I believe my point about the Patriots free agency stands, in hindsight I don’t think I did a good enough job of explaining exactly what I meant. Although I think the jury is still out on the Talib move (-3.8 grade in coverage last year for NE) I agree both Carter and Anderson were good pick-ups. You can add to that Brian Waters too for good measure. However, and this was my problem in trying to rush on and talk about Tommy Kelly, I didn’t mention them or explain that in my opinion at least, these were different animals from some of the great pick-ups of their Super Bowl years, guys who just didn’t come in, do a decent job, and leave the next year but became part of the fabric of the team — Rodney Harrison (six years with the team), Mike Vrabel (eight years), David Patten (four years), Anthony Pleasant (three years), or Rosevelt Colvin (five years) etc.
As I tried to explain, I don’t think New England are doing a poor job — just not as good as they used to do in this regard.
This series started last week, and for those that didn’t catch them, here are the first five issues:
Wednesday – Nnamdi Asomugha, a myth? And Carson Palmer’s underlying weakness in 2012
Thursday – Daryl Washington’s suspension, and why the Cardinal’s O-Line may be better than you think
Friday – Why Right Tackle is not the place to be from a salary perspective, and Jason Hanson’s retirement
Monday – 49ers excel in O-Line Cap Management, and things to like about Rolando McClain
Tuesday – The Mike Jenkins story, and are the Patriots losing their FA mojo?
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