July 30, 2012

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 29 comments

Boston Globe's Patriots/NFL writer, Greg Bedard, doesn't think Mike Wallace is smart enough to play for Patriots:

Wallace may be on the trade block, but don't dream too much about him coming to the Patriots. Pittsburgh won't want to face him, and a trading team would have to give up picks and a big contract. Plus, who even knows if Wallace can grasp the Patriots' offense?
When asked by some idiot on Twitter to elaborate, he responds.

posted by scully at 07:55 AM on July 30

That took me a minute to figure out why the guy was an idiot because I wasn't seeing it. Yes, it's interesting that Bedard had zero support for his contention that Wallace isn't smart enough, but he didn't backtrack anyway.

posted by bperk at 08:05 AM on July 30

That's a great exchange, Rick.

posted by NoMich at 08:18 AM on July 30

You misunderstood what he was saying. The Patriots have a long history of bringing in receivers (mainly via free agency) who fail because they never figure out the offense. Doesn't mean they're dumb; it certainly could, but it's not an ipso facto thing. They've already cut Anthony Gonzalez this year, Chad Johnson was a flop, Chad Jackson was a waste of a second-round pick, Charles Somebody-or-other from the Panthers never got on the field, etc.

It would be a really expensive risk for the Pats to take at a position that's crowded in camp. Plus Bedard is only addressing it to prevent idiot Pats fans from asking him on Twitter and via email.

posted by yerfatma at 09:39 AM on July 30

What makes you (and Bedard) think they are failing because they can't understand the playbook rather than they don't get the timing right with Brady? Perhaps the depth is affecting the number of reps necessary to get timing right between QB and WR? It can't possibly be something the Pats are failing to do with regard to free agent WRs, I suppose.

posted by bperk at 10:17 AM on July 30

About a decade's worth of stories where that is the answer. The Pats' WR playbook is apparently really complicated. There are about three reads at the line and then three reads after the snap (or something like that) which you have to get right to be in the place where Brady puts the ball. You can definitely try to blame Brady, but I think his track record is such that we can assume he's almost always right. Look at the stories about Chad Johnson in Miami. Half of them expect a Renaissance because all he will need to do is run a given route at the line. A question of timing is when the ball is in front/ behind/ just past your hands. Not knowing the reads means the ball goes into empty space or a DBs hands. You can see the difference.

posted by yerfatma at 11:12 AM on July 30

So, it's an offense that is so complicated that only rookies and Moss can grasp it. Umm, okay.

posted by bperk at 11:39 AM on July 30

Yeah, the Patriots didn't write the book on multiple route quick read offense, can't imagine there are too many pro receivers who haven't played in such an offense. What I see is the Patriots trying to plug a hole in their deep game with a long line of guys who are known for their athleticism and not their willingness to execute precision routes when they aren't seeing the ball.

posted by cixelsyd at 12:00 PM on July 30

So, it's an offense that is so complicated that only rookies and Moss can grasp it. Umm, okay.

And Welker, Stallworth and a whole host of others. It's just a very hit or miss thing, which is why I doubt they'd pay a premium price for a wide receiver that may/may not work out. They've done fine without that to date.

The Pats don't draft like a lot of people do; they draft players who are intelligent and versatile above pure athleticism or college numbers. They do this because they run schemes that are complex, involve them lining up in a ton of different ways. This allows them to get by with lesser-quality players like Deion Branch looking great. It's how Matt Cassell looked so good when he was running the offence. Yes, Brady's precision and timing is important, but the offence is designed as such to confuse and obfuscate and doesn't rely on pure speed and athleticism from their wideouts.

posted by dfleming at 12:01 PM on July 30

Brandon Tate
Taylor Price
Joey Galloway
Kelley Washington
Chad Jackson
Doug Gabriel
Bam Childress
Andre' Davis
Tim Dwight
Bethel Johnson
JJ Stokes
Donald Hayes

That's why they aren't going to over-spend on a wide receiver. They went out and got Brandon Lloyd this year because he has a good track record and a track record in Josh McDaniels' system. You can say the Pats' system is just like everyone else's. I have no idea. But there are a number of names there who had success elsewhere and the only explanation I have for the difference is the one I've seen repeated for years by people who cover the team.

posted by yerfatma at 12:59 PM on July 30

Another football suicide: O.J. Murdock

posted by NerfballPro at 01:01 PM on July 30

The Independent's LA correspondent isn't best pleased with NBC's Olympics coverage, and tweeted the email address of the guy in charge; NBC complained and got his Twitter account suspended.

posted by etagloh at 01:01 PM on July 30

What makes you (and Bedard) think they are failing because they can't understand the playbook rather than they don't get the timing right with Brady?

In either case, how is that appreciably different from Bedard's question, "Plus, who even knows if Wallace can grasp the Patriots' offense?"

posted by yerfatma at 01:03 PM on July 30

Aly Raisman's parents watch her perform the routine that got her into the finals.

posted by rcade at 02:20 PM on July 30

Aly Raisman's parents watch her perform the routine that got her into the finals.

NBC showed that last night. I think it was her uneven bars performance, not her floor routine. It looks painful for them, and that is with her doing well. Imagine what it looks like when she isn't.

In either case, how is that appreciably different from Bedard's question, "Plus, who even knows if Wallace can grasp the Patriots' offense?"

One is implying that he lacks the intelligence to understand the Pats offense.

posted by bperk at 02:46 PM on July 30

Aly Raisman's parents watch her perform the routine that got her into the finals.

Yeah, saw that last night. I don't see it as "Hilariously Awkward", but it was painful to watch, especially the end. I appreciate the parents' stress, but it's gotta suck to be sitting near them.

One is implying that he lacks the intelligence to understand the Pats offense.

That's what you're bringing to it. Look at the list of players above, they can't have all been too stupid. But for some reason they didn't get it.

posted by yerfatma at 02:49 PM on July 30

So why is the guy on twitter questioning Bedard an idiot? It seems like a reasonable question? What does Bedard know about Wallace's intelligence that we don't?

posted by insomnyuk at 03:14 PM on July 30

Look at who the question is from.

posted by yerfatma at 03:22 PM on July 30

Look at who the question is from.

I have no idea who Rick Scully is. He doesn't have a page on Wikipedia. When I search on Google, I get a lot of Canadian real estate pages, LinkedIn profiles, and a player picked in the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft.

Please explain it for the clueless.

posted by grum@work at 03:35 PM on July 30

That's what you're bringing to it. Look at the list of players above, they can't have all been too stupid. But for some reason they didn't get it.

Right, but to you that means the players didn't understand the offense, and to me that means that the Pats are having difficulty incorporating free agent WRs into their offense. At some point, it makes sense to look at what the Pats are doing wrong, no? Their other offensive players are not entirely made up of mensa candidates.

posted by bperk at 03:39 PM on July 30

I have no idea who Rick Scully is

Scully is the member who posted the link.

posted by bperk at 03:41 PM on July 30

At some point, it makes sense to look at what the Pats are doing wrong, no? Their other offensive players are not entirely made up of mensa candidates.

The Pats have had, for YEARS now, one of the most potent air assaults in the league. I think it's a matter of not holding on to players who aren't fitting the way they play and not taking big fliers on guys like Wallace who will command picks and a ton of money and who may or may not work out.

I mean, look at the teams who've thrown money at Deion Branch, David Givens, David Patten, Donte Stallworth and others from the Pats' who've gone on to be busts in other systems. Paying big time for a WR is not a low-risk move, whether it's for chemistry, intelligence or other reasons. There's a chance Wallace can't keep up with the offence, despite his awesome physical skills. In a more straightforward scheme where he's running one-read, deep routes, he's a lot less of a risk.

That's how I read it, anyways. I think it would be as true for a number of the top receivers who are physically gifted but are not necessarily known for their prowess as a route runner or who are coming from simpler systems.

posted by dfleming at 03:51 PM on July 30

Yeah, it would be nice for them to have a system that you could plug any receiver into, but given the results they've achieved with guys like David Givens, Reche Caldwell, etc, that's just another reason they'd never pay for someone like Wallace. It's why they've given up on high draft picks (I think) and why they've played hardball with Welker, but one wonders how long they can keep it up. At some point they're going to hit Bankrupt on the wheel.

posted by yerfatma at 04:14 PM on July 30

Scully is the member who posted the link.

Ah.
For some reason, I never assume people use real names for discussion boards.
I just thought he was a fan.

posted by grum@work at 04:19 PM on July 30

So grum is not your real name?

posted by bperk at 04:24 PM on July 30

That's ridiculous. Everybody uses real names here.

posted by Hugh Janus at 05:04 PM on July 30

I feel silly now.

posted by insomnyuk at 05:16 PM on July 30

This is a new one to me.

posted by Debo270 at 09:49 PM on July 30

One is implying that he lacks the intelligence to understand the Pats offense.

More than talent or intelligence, it may be as simple as hard work and experience that helps a receiver fit into the Patriots' offense. This bit about Julian Edelman explains some things. Now entering his 4th year as a Patriot, Edelman says he is no faster now than when he started, but he is now able to read the defenses and anticipate the plays. He has also been practicing his route running in order to sharpen it. Edelman had been hanging on with the Patriots because of his versatility as a receiver, punt returner, kick coverage man, and occasional defensive back. He may never become a major factor in the offense, but because of his work ethic, he has a chance to do well. There are some legitimate questions about Mike Wallace's route running. I should think he would be able to read a defense, but could he do it to the extent required by the Patriots' offense.

posted by Howard_T at 11:50 PM on July 30

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.