The Human Genome

Written by Eric Stoner on October 11, 2012

Baylor v West Virginia

It’s up over at Rotoworld NFL Draft

The System There’s nothing that I can write about the Air Raid offense that Chris Brown of hasn’t already covered in a more thorough and insightful fashion than I could ever hope to.  I’ll link to his work on the WVU offense at the end of the article, but I found this passage to be particularly illuminating regarding quarterbacks and offensive systems:

“An unfair but unsurprising label for Smith, given Holgorsen’s history, is that he’s a ‘system quarterback.’ … The most common concern about system quarterbacks is that college productivity doesn’t translate to pro success, but for Smith, the plays he’s running, albeit in a spread offense, are essentially NFL ones. The running game is based on the inside and outside zone, the passing plays are found in every NFL team’s playbook in one form or another, (read more…)

The End Of The Innocence: A Penn Stater Takes One Long Last Look

Written by Jimmy O'Brien on October 9, 2012

NCAA Football: Michigan at Penn State

With God as my witness, I have a confession to make.  Regarding the atrocities committed at Penn State, the subsequent cover up, and the aftermath, I am guilty.  Maybe not to the extent that Joe Paterno, the athletic department administrators, and Jerry Sandusky are guilty, but I have blood on my hands.  I didn’t fully grasp my own complicity in the crimes until I returned for a football game this Fall.  There, amid the pomp and the pageantry, my mind kept drifting back in time, and the guilt began gnawing at me like a rat’s tooth on bone.


Remember when the days were long,

And rolled beneath the deep blue sky.

We didn’t have a care in the world,

With mommy and daddy standing by.

                                                                Don Henley

I entered Penn State in the Autumn (read more…)

Under Pressure

Written by Eric Stoner on October 5, 2012

Dion Jordan1

It’s up, over at Rotoworld.

The 2012 draft class had some solid, intriguing pass rush prospects, but overall it was considered a weak year – especially compared to a 2011 class that featured Von Miller, Aldon Smith, and Ryan Kerrigan.  This year is a different story, however.  We’re looking at two of my personal favorites this week, but I can’t stress how much edge rushing talent this draft class will likely end up having.  If your favorite team misses out on one of these two guys it’ll hurt, don’t stress too much….unless they go to a division rival.  Then you should worry.

Link to the rest of the article.

Mebane, No Gain.

Written by Andrew Parsons on October 4, 2012


In this post, I wanted to take a break from analyzing players in their rookie season. I wasn’t really sure exactly where I wanted to go with this article, so I just spent much of my “film time” this week going through all the games, and seeing what stood out to me. On this week, and well, almost every week, it was the Seattle Seahawks defense. Now, we’ve all had it forced down our throats recently just how good this unit is. The praise is well deserved. I’m not going to be talking about the recently made popular “Legion of Boom” defensive backfield of Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Brandon Browner, and Richard Sherman like you may be expecting. I’m not even going to feed you more on how big of a Bruce Irvin fan I am.

What I do want to do is give recognition to DT Brandon Mebane. I’m not sure (read more…)

Southern Showdown

Written by Jimmy O'Brien on September 30, 2012

Civil War Cover Shot

A Civil War Between Aaron Mellette & Demetrius McCray

Click Here For Video Of The Match-up

On a crisp late autumn afternoon, in a scene much like the ones played out a century and a half before, on battlefields throughout the North and South, two armies emerged from tunnels at opposite ends of Rhodes Stadium for a Southern Conference showdown.  The November 19, 2011 matchup of Appalachian State versus Elon University was not only a rivalry game between two North Carolina schools, just 130 miles apart, tucked tightly into what had been the cradle of the Civil War, but also an epic battle between two of the FCS’s finest players, Elon wide receiver, Aaron Mellette, and Appalachian State cornerback, Demetrius McCray.

It was a war waged on the Carolina plain all afternoon, in a series of small skirmishes and bigger battles, (read more…)

Manuel or Automatic

Written by Eric Stoner on September 26, 2012

Wake Forest v Florida State

It’s up, over at Rotoworld Draft:

E.J. Manuel‘s career up to this point has been marked with inconsistency – a guy whose size, athleticism, and arm make you drool over the possibilities, but possessed too many holes in his game to overlook or bet on him at Party Casino. His biggest flaw (holding the ball too long) has been a notable career killer for many an NFL quarterback. Holding the ball too long can be a symptom of many factors, but the root of the problem almost always goes back to the quarterback being unsure and uncomfortable with the defensive coverage and how it affects his progressions. Further, Manuel would exacerbate this problem by “shrinking” in the pocket (squaring up to the line of scrimmage and crouching, entering a running stance) and trying to improvise – often leading to self-induced pressures and sacks. Even (read more…)

Proving Me Wrong: Chandler Jones

Written by Andrew Parsons on September 19, 2012


I was wrong about Chandler Jones. I try not to be over reactionary about these types of things, because doing so will usually make you look stupid. But in watching countless tapes and meticulously analyzing Chandler Jones, I’m already looking dumb, so why not? Honestly, I could have easily done this after Week 1. Chandler Jones is already standing out. Chandler Jones is already an impact player,  just 2 games into his career, which is more than I ever expected from him.

Did I call Chandler Jones undraftable, or anything like that? No. What did I say about him? I recall saying something to the effect of, “Chandler Jones is a 4th round talent, and that’s mostly based on his long arms and natural power.” I thought his upside was Ray Edwards. (In his Vikings days, remember, I didn’t say Jones was undraftable.) A nice complementary pass rusher who would (read more…)

Ay Bray Bray

Written by Eric Stoner on September 19, 2012

Tennessee v Florida

It’s up, over at Rotoworld NFL Draft:

I’ve been highly intrigued with Tyler Bray as a prospect since the Volunteers played the Gators last season. During that game, Tennessee lost then sophomore receiver Justin Hunter on the first drive. Bray showed a ton of grit, helping to keep the game close while getting hammered behind a completely overmatched offensive line – not to mention, the velocity he could put on some of his throws absolutely jumped off the screen. While the rest of Bray’s year was derailed by injury, I thought the arm talent and pocket toughness he exhibited in that game against Florida could lead to a potential breakout season if Bray could iron out other facets of his game.

For the rest of it, click here.

Film Session: Breaking Down the Jaguars Defense

Written by Eric Stoner on September 15, 2012

Jags D

It’s up at Big Cat Country this week.

Announcers and analysts often talk about coaches “scripting” out their first 10-15 plays, but fail to elaborate why. It has everything to do with “tendencies” – distinct playcalling or decision-making patterns that can be tracked through detailed playcharting. It’s how you figure out whether a team will run or pass out of a certain formation, what their go-to play is on 3rd and medium, or what protection the offense is likely to use with a particular personnel grouping so you can get a blitz with a free rusher. Conversely, offenses can pick up on what fronts, run fits, sub-packages, and coverages a defense will use against certain formations and personnel groupings. Figuring out these tendencies is what coaches spend all their time breaking down film and charting plays for.

Read the entire thing.

Week 1 Player Review: Dontari Poe

Written by Andrew Parsons on September 12, 2012


It’s not hard to let the mind wonder about former Memphis, and current Chiefs DT Dontari Poe. We’re talking about a 6’4, 350 pound man (read: freak) that’s putting up 45 reps of 225 and running sub 5 forty yard dashes. I considered myself to be squarely in the “Pro-Poe” camp throughout the draft process, but it’d also be unfair to say that there were no concerns. If you were in love with Dontari, it likely wasn’t entirely based upon his play. Much of the time at Memphis, Poe was rather underwhelming, especially considering his level of competition. There were certainly a lot of things that needed to be adjusted technique wise in order for him to be a productive football player. However, I felt as if he showcased some natural skills that made him very much worthy of where he was drafted. These feelings weren’t solely due to his (read more…)

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